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[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Roots & Branches: The Admiral, Part 1
Marielle stepped off the shuttle and stood before the familiar silver and glass high rise. She shielded her eyes against the brightness of the sun and the brilliance of the blue sky above them. Even in the summer, San Francisco was a little brisk so the winter meant a sharper chill. The air was crisp and biting but refreshing. The salt in the air was comforting, and the sight of the familiar skyline in the distance only added to the feeling: she was home. A warm and joyful smile pulled at her features, excitement nearly bubbling over as she considered seeing her favourite uncle. “Let’s go!” she quickly grabbed Gideon’s hand, her strides quick as she made her way towards the entrance.
Gideon chuckled softly as he carried the luggage off the shuttle, dropping them immediately when Marielle’s hand found his and he nearly broke into a jog to keep his arm from being torn off. The Betazoid mix shook his head as he caught up, his longer strides not requiring as much exertion as the researcher’s hurried steps. He’d been greatly refreshed by the visit with his grandmother and father, the smile on his features was easy and genuine. Gideon nodded to the security guard as they stepped into the building and then into the turbolift.
The ride in the turbolift felt excruciatingly long and she nearly whined as a result of it. She released his hand before the lift had stopped and Marielle rushed out before the doors had even fully opened. “Uncle Greg!” she bellowed into the large condo that spanned the top two floors. She ran into each room, the doors having been left open. “Uncle Greg?” She pouted as she walked out of the kitchen after not having found the man. She had searched the two floors in the span of a few minutes, running into the three bedrooms upstairs, the two bedroom downstairs, the office, and finally the kitchen.
The half-Bajoran had slid his hands into his pockets, a lazy smile on his face as he watched Marielle run about the space. Once she’d settled down enough to look his way, Gideon raised his brows and smirked. His eyes shifted to the balcony overlooking the backyard and leading up to the pool deck and he nodded his head in that direction.
She glanced at the security chief, her head turned in the direction he had indicated. “Oh!” she exclaimed as she quickly hurried to Gideon, her hand wrapping easily around his as she pulled him towards the balcony. “I bet he’s in the pool- It’s heated and he likes to hang out there when it’s cold outside. Something about it being good for the heart.” The researcher dragged him towards the glass doors and led him up the stairs towards the roof. The sound of splashing water had her immediately releasing his hand, and she took the floating bamboo steps two by two. When she reached the top, Marielle’s smile grew even brighter. “Uncle Greg!”
Alderic looked up as he pulled himself up the ladder from the modest size pool that took up half the roof. The admiral smiled brightly at the sight of his niece. Water dripped over his aged skin, the few small scars that marred his flesh only highlighted his time in Starfleet, and onto the tile that lined the pool. The elder gentleman was dressed in burgundy swim trunks, his salt-and-pepper hair hanging flat as water dripped from the ends. “Short Stack!” he bellowed with equal excitement, sharp yet warm green hues sparkling in delight. His eyes widened, however, as he watched Marielle run in his direction. “Wait. No. No, no, no,” his voice soft and filled with disbelief before the volume grew. “Wait! Short Stack!” he cried out. “No! No-!”
Marielle leapt high into the air, much like she had always done whenever she greeted the people who carried her affections. Her arms were stretched out, ready to wrap around his neck in a tight hug. However, the smile on her face slowly disappeared as she watched the expression on her uncle’s face turn from excitement to dread. “Wha-”
Gideon waited a few moments before walking up the stairs, taking his time to look over the backyard and beyond. He wanted to give Marielle some time with her uncle before making his appearance. The Betazoid mix knew that the two were close, perhaps as close as Gideon was with his grandmother. He held onto the railing at the top of the stairs as he stood just beyond the landing, leaning against the metal pole as he watched the pair fall into the pool with a resounding splash. He shook his head with a smirk on his face as he chuckled quietly.
Alderic broke the surface first, and he kicked his legs furiously so he could lift a hand to wipe the water from his face. He rolled his eyes at his niece when her head popped up a few seconds later. “What did I tell you about being aware of your surroundings?” he grumbled at the woman as his hand came up to splash her. There was no real anger in the tone, just lighthearted joy.
She giggled, turning her head before the water could reach her eyes, and splashed the man in retaliation. “Um. Be aware?” she offered weakly.
The half-Betazoid stepped to the edge of the pool, greeting Marielle with a smile when she made her way toward the lip. He took a half-step back and then squatted down, offering his hand to the researcher to help her out. “Pretty sure even I’ve taught you better than that,” he mused quietly, winking at Marielle.
She took Gideon’s hand, and there had been a half second where she considered pulling him into the pool. Instead, she allowed him to pull her out of the water. The weight of water added resistance as she pressed her hand against the lip to push up while Gideon pulled. Water rained under the hem of her button down dress, the white fabric sticking to every curve of her body. Her long hair, normally curled in soft waves, had been pulled straight as it clung to her skin and her dress. “Augh. I just washed this one too,” she lamented as she lifted her arms up in the air. The cold temperature clung to her skin and she shivered uncontrollably against the chill. “Gah- This isn’t good for the heart!”
Alderic’s eyes widened, and he quickly spun in the water so his back faced his niece. “Short Stack! Get a damn towel and get decent!”
Gideon glanced toward the admiral, then back to Marielle as he leaned back, letting his gaze linger along her form as a wry grin slowly found his lips. The Bajoran mix cleared his throat and winked at the diminutive woman before following suit and turning his chin to face away from the now sheer dress she wore. He had to pull his mouth open wide in an exercise to remove the smug look from his features before Gideon could face Marielle’s uncle. The half-Betazoid slid his hand back into the pocket of his beige trousers, the other tugging at the tan tunic over his shoulders before smoothing the small wooden beads patterned on the left shoulder and breast.
“Huh?” Marielle glanced down and blanched. Apparently, the silk slip she wore to add an extra layer of clothing did nothing to hide her lack of undergarments. “Uh. Right.” Her steps sounded wet against the tiled deck as she ran to the small bamboo cabinet that housed the pool towels. She grabbed three, wrapping one around her bust before draping another over her shoulders. “You can look now.” The material did nothing against the cold, but it was far warmer than her dress. She closed the cabinet door and made her way back to the pool’s ladder. She held out the folded towel in her uncle’s direction once he pulled himself out of the water.
The towel snapped as Alderic shook it loose. He took a moment to wipe the water clean from his skin and to fluff the fabric over his short hair. “Now,” he began brightly as he draped the towel over both his shoulders. “How is my favourite little niece?”
She giggled as she took his slender calloused hand and pulled him towards Gideon. “She is good and very glad to see you,” she reported. “How is my favourite uncle?”
The admiral grinned. “He is very good and very glad to see you,” came the mirrored report. He turned his attention to the young man who had helped Marielle out of the water. The warmth in his eyes dissipated quickly, replaced with a sharp and keen spark in his hues. “You’re that kid on the video link all those months ago.” He hadn’t forgotten. “Gideon Salieri.” His irises flickered quickly over the security chief from head to toe and back again in quiet observation.
Gideon’s grin hadn’t faltered despite the change in Alderic’s demeanor and he nodded in affirmative. “Guilty.” He made several steps to meet the researcher and her uncle, offering his hand to the admiral.
Alderic took the offered hand firmly, his grip just a touch tighter than deemed socially acceptable, to shake. “You’re the one who’s apparently too good to sleep with my niece.”
“More like she’s too good for me, sir,” he repeated with a grin as his grip was strong, but did not attempt to outpower the admiral’s firm shake. Gideon knew there was a time for pissing contests, and this was not one of them. He only had to make it known that he was not a wimp.
Marielle punched her uncle’s arm. Hard. “Stop it. He’s damn good enough. Talented too.”
“Ow! I’m glad to hear- Wait. What?!” Alderic’s head snapped his head in Marielle’s direction before it moved back to Gideon. The grip around Gideon’s hand tightened.
“He does this thing with his t-”
“I do not want to hear this!” Alderic released Gideon’s hand and shook his head furiously as he turned to face his niece. “You’re my damn niece! I don’t want to know anything about your sex life.”
Gideon chuckled softly, the tips of his ears brightening as a flush threatened to creep up his neck. He curled and then stretched his fingers, attempting to realign his tarsals, sure that the admiral had rearranged the bones in his hand. He turned his gaze to Marielle, brows raised as he shook his head in slight disbelief.
Her peal of laughter was bright and filled with warmth as she stared up at her uncle. “Well, maybe that’ll teach you not to try and scare my boyfriend.” She wiped the joyful tear from the corner of her eye.
“Freaking brat,” he grumbled under his breath, a wry grin pulling at the corner. “It’s my job to scare any would-be boys in your life.”
“I don’t scare that easy, El,” Gideon grumbled under his breath.
Her hip jutted out to one side, her hand resting on her waist as she looked up sassily at Alderic. The towel remained draped over her shoulders as her other hand came up with her thumb sticking out. “One, it’s not because I can do that myself,” she began as her pointer finger uncurled to join her thumb. “Two, Gideon is not a boy so you don’t have to worry.” Her middle finger came out to join the other two fingers as a wickedness sparkled in her eyes. “And three, my sex life is damn go-”
“You know what. I’m going to go get changed. It’s cold out and I don’t want to stand out here a second longer,” Alderic nodded once in Gideon’s direction. “We’ll have a real introduction when my niece calms her sass down.” He turned his attention to the diminutive woman again. “Don’t know where you got that damn attitude of yours,” he huffed before he made his way to his stairs and disappeared to the first floor of his condo.
“That was fun.” Marielle giggled softly to herself as she pulled the towel from her shoulders and then unwrapped the towel from around her body. She turned and looked up at the security chief, her hand once more finding her waist as her hip jutted out to one side. The towels were draped over one shoulder and she purposely ignored the chill in the air.
“Tons,” he replied dryly. “I’m looking forward to scrubbing the hull of the Aldrin with a toothbrush for the next three years.” Gideon stepped closer to Marielle, his fingers gently tugging the wet dress away from her skin as his hands roamed her chest and torso.
She hummed delightfully as she stepped forward, her hands sliding up his chest and over his shoulders until they reached the side of his neck. “Well. He was picking on you,” she pouted up at Gideon cutely. “I couldn’t let him get away with it.” Her body pressed against his as she pulled him down into a sweet kiss.
His arms encircled her and he released a soft gasp as the cold wetness of her soaked clothes seeped into his tunic. The kiss was punctuated with a soft moan as he shivered with the passing breeze. “My hero,” he whispered once they’d parted, winking at Marielle. Gideon hummed and nodded toward the stairs. “I think you need to change, too.”
“Probably,” she replied with a soft giggle. “I’ll catch a cold out here.” She held onto his hand and led him to the stairs. “Come on.” The towels were held in front of her body, and she shivered at the passing breeze. “Oh yeah. That’s cold. I’m going to need a hot shower,” she muttered as she crossed the threshold into the condo. “Could you grab the suitcases for me? They should have brought it up by now.” Marielle pressed a chaste kiss on his cheek before moving towards the stairs to the side and disappearing into the room at the end of the small corridor.
“Of course,” he’d said quietly before they parted. Gideon made his way back toward the turbolift, his cobalt gaze searching for the two pieces of luggage that had accompanied them since the Aldrin. He wiped his hand on the damp cloth of his tunic as he approached the suitcase and his duffel, leaning to pick them up.
Alderic paused on his way to his bedroom from the kitchen. The towel was draped over one shoulder, and he stopped as he spotted Gideon. He stared at the front of the security chief’s clothes, easily noting the stark difference from between the large wet portions of the cloth in comparison to the dry.
His back straightened and he turned, stopping himself from taking a step when he noticed the admiral. He took in a slow breath and pushed himself forward, a slight grin on his features as he nodded at Alderic. “I’m just going to drop these off. Marielle wants to warm up with a shower.”
“Uh huh,” he replied. He moved past the security chief and a knowing grin finally reached his features. Amusement moved through him easily, but the admiral held back from laughing aloud. He’d be able to laugh in the privacy of his own room. “She already knows, but just remind Short Stack that I don’t care. I just don’t want to hear a thing.” Alderic disappeared into his room.
Gideon’s brows raised at the implication and he blinked after Alderic, shaking his head after a moment. “Oh-” he winced as the door closed and the half-Bajoran hummed, his gaze moving to Marielle’s room as he headed in that direction with long strides.