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[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Roots & Branches: Renard Deniaud
Two empty bottles and one freshly uncorked bottle of wine sat in the center of their table. Their dinner plates had long been cleared away, leaving them with their desserts and their filled glasses of wine. Their server had left them a basket of bread and a plate of olive oil - something with which to slow the wine if they continued to drink. The two level café was busy, but Renard’s request to have the second floor allowed him and Gideon a level of privacy in the open floor plan. Their table was closest to the black metal railing, and they stared at the patrons who dined on the first floor.
“That one,” Renard pointed to the busty blonde by the bar. His dark green hues moved over the lines of her curves, which was only highlighted by the short form-fitting dress she wore. The hem of her dress pulled up her thigh scandalously as she sat on the barstool, her leg thrown over her knee. He leaned forward, his arm dangling over the railing. “I think that one would suit you quite nicely.” The eldest Deniaud sibling was warm with wine and had spent a good portion of the dinner pointing out women to the security chief.
Gideon had barely glanced in the direction of the woman in question before shaking his head, cobalt irises rolling at the suggestion. It would be at least the fifth time he’d denied being interested in anyone they’d ventured eyes on during their time at the cafe. The half-Betazoid picked up his glass of wine, sipping leisurely before setting it back on the table and slipping a bit further down in his chair. “You’re striking out.”
The ambassador took his glass, swirling the wine briefly before taking a sip. “My good man,” Renard began with a laugh. “It isn’t that I’m ‘striking out,’ as you say. It’s just that you refuse to admit you see anyone else.” He chuckled and waved a hand over the patrons of the cafe. “You mean to tell me that there is no one here who catches your eye?” He grinned. “Come now my good lad. I promise I won’t tell my sister.”
The security chief shook his head, his fingers curling at Renard in a ‘come here’ motion, though Gideon made no effort to lean forward. “If you were head over heels with someone, would you really want to shop around?” He hummed softly. “I find it hard to believe you don’t see it.” He wasn’t going to admit that he had looked.
Renard sighed softly as he shook his head. “We do not have such a luxury, my sisters and I.” The words were uttered with some sadness despite the acceptance that washed through him. He took a long sip of his wine, the glass placed gently on the table so he could reach out for the bread in the basket. He tore a small piece, dipped it into the olive oil, and plopped the morsel into his mouth.
Gideon uttered the same sigh, his cobalt gaze drifting to the man sitting across from him. “Don’t know that I’d consider it a luxury,” the Betazoid mix muttered. “When the one you’ve fallen for is promised to another.” His hand waved limply at nothing. “At some point. Maybe tonight, for all I know.” He picked up his glass of wine. “Do you know who it is tonight?”
The ambassador lifted his eyes to meet Gideon’s gaze. “So you know, then?” he asked. “She told you?” There was surprise in his tone. Renard didn’t think his sister would ever reveal such things to anyone, let alone to the security chief.
He nodded, then shook his head. “Tequila. Actually, was it bourbon?” With a shrug, Gideon smirked and sipped from his glass. “She was drunk and told me not to tell me. She doesn’t know I know.” He set the wine aside and reached for a piece of the bread, placing it face first into the olive oil before holding it to let the remnants drizzle off.
Lifting the filled bottle, Renard refilled his glass before topping off Gideon’s. “I should have suspected that Chaos wouldn’t have told you unless she wasn’t of her full mind,” he muttered as he took a sip. The eldest Deniaud sibling placed the glass down on the table, his finger spinning the glass by its base. “As for whom,” he paused and sighed, fingers coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose. “I don’t know. A trader of some sort. Better looking than the others who have shown interest- Actually, he may be a bit of her type.”
“Pretty and stupid?” Gideon muttered, his brows furrowing as he bit harshly from the bread.
“Pretty, not stupid. There’s wit there, from what I saw.” Renard took a long drink of his wine. “I doubt Papa would accept a proposal from this Majors character, if he chose to offer it. A trader doesn’t scream importance,” he revealed with a shake of his head. “Tonight is merely a punishment for what Marielle did to Auden the last time she was here.” He took another long sip.
His eyes lifted to settle on Renard. Gideon’s jaw clenched and he shook his head as he cleared his throat against saying what was on his mind. After a bite of the bread, he came out with it anyway. “Your father is a vile person. Marielle does everything for him.” The security chief picked up his glass of wine, his brows furrowed in anger as he nursed a couple long sips.
He said nothing for a good long while, instead choosing to stare at the patrons who enjoyed their dinner and their friends. “Papa is,” Renard paused as he tried to find the words and simply shook his head. “Papa believes in a different philosophy, something that does not quite belong in this day and age. And, Chaos. Well. She walks a fine line.”
“She belongs in the stars,” Gideon revealed quietly, his gaze lifting to the black sky.
“It was easier for our sisters. Joséphine and Valantine. They’re vapid women with no mind for anything beyond themselves.” At the revelation, Marielle’s brother snickered as he drank his wine. “Chaos was always a free spirit, and Papa and Mama had issues trying to break her of it.” He took a deep breath, his head shaking as if trying to rid himself of the memories.
The half-Betazoid frowned as he glanced across the table at Renard. “She’s not a horse to be broken to ride. Your father should cut his losses and let Marielle do what she wants to do. Let her be happy, for Gods’ sake.” Gideon set the wine glass down, returning instead to take a bite from the oil-soaked bread on his plate. ‘Doesn’t even have to be with me,’ he thought with a brief wince.
“I don’t disagree with you, Gideon.” Renard drank the entirety of his glass of wine in several gulps without taking a breath. “But, it’s not up to me. I was spared because I am the supposed heir, but I suspect it’s simply because I was fortunate enough to be born a man.” He poured himself another glass of wine. “If Mariëlle was to was disobey our father, it would mean losing her family. He’d never speak to her again, and I know that such a thing would break her.”
“E 'ancora dire una parola gentile con lei in mia presenza, lo stronzo. (He has yet to say a kind word to her in my presence, the asshole.)” The Italian rolled from his tongue with a grunt and Gideon squeezed the remaining piece of bread between his fingers, letting the excess oil run down his fingers a moment before licking it from his skin.
He chuckled lightly but said nothing. “She has tried.” Renard waved his hand nonchalantly. “She thought marrying Adam would have saved her from her fate.” At the mention of Marielle’s former husband, the ambassador grunted in annoyance. “It would have been ideal. They cared for one another, those two. Childhood friends. But, he broke her heart and she didn’t really desire to fight after it.”
Gideon couldn’t help but turn the corner of his lip up in a smirk as he raised a brow toward Renard. “I hope your father doesn’t think Marielle’s been keeping herself chaste since then.”
It took him several long seconds to understand the security chief’s words, and he let loose a loud guffaw in response. “I don’t think Papa likes to think about such details. Blissfully unaware, let’s just say.” Renard shook his head as he laughed, lifting his glass to Gideon. “I’m glad she’s at least keeping herself happy in some fashion.” He took a long sip of his wine.
The Betazoid mix tilted his chin as he thought back to what Marielle had said before, wondering if perhaps he’d misheard. “But isn’t that why she’s ‘damaged goods’?” Gideon curled the two fingers of each hand in quotes.
“Quite,” he replied with some disgust. “But, it was done in marriage so not as undesirable as say an outing out into the lavender field with a supposed friend.” The eldest sibling stared at Gideon knowingly.
He raised a brow and leaned back before smiling and nodding. Gideon sighed softly as he shook his head. “Can’t help it if she can’t keep her hands off me,” he muttered wryly, his cobalt irises twinkling with mirth.
Renard snickered. “I’m sure it is an injustice you’re willing to endure.” He lifted his glass, tipping it in his direction in silent toast before taking a sip.
Gideon reached forward, picking up his glass and lifting in response. “I’ll drink to that.” The Betazoid mix did so before setting the wine aside.
He tore off some bread, dipping it into the olive oil. “What is your plan then?” He plopped the morsel into his mouth, dark green eyes watching the security chief carefully.
At the question, Gideon focused on his fingers as they quietly drummed against the table top. “Well, I’m not going to marry her after what Adam did.” He sighed softly and shook his head.
Renard laughed sadly. “You are at a disadvantage. I fear my sister would rather marry out of obligation than out of love, though I suspect that’s a lie.” He took a thoughtful sip. “She may say that she doesn’t believe in it, but Mariëlle has always been a romantic. To her detriment in many ways.”
“Tell me about it,” Gideon muttered. “I can’t make her see how badly her father treats her, how stupid he is to use her like a pawn. So, I’m either going to talk with Aubert or-” The words caught in his throat as the half-Betazoid frowned. “Do what I do best and just be there for her, however she needs me.” He was considering another option, but with what Renard just revealed, it might not be the best idea. And look how well it turned out for Erik Vaeros. Gideon frowned at the thought. But Erik had run away and the security chief had shown that he could be there when Marielle needed him. Maybe it would be different if he revealed his heart to her.
Drumming his fingers on the table, dark green hues moved from the security chief to the patrons below them. He took some time to think, sipping his wine as his thoughts drifted. Finally, Renard turned to Gideon. “You’re aware of the gala being thrown in her honour tomorrow?”
Gideon was jolted from his thoughts, blinking as he focused on Renard. He tilted his chin slightly before dipping it down in a nod. Whether he’d known about it or not, he knew now. “Yes?” The half-Betazoid sat up, pushing to sit straighter in the chair.
He chuckled. “Do not feel bad, my good man. She was informed of it just tonight as well.” Renard poured more wine into his glass, and he stared at the quickly disappearing wine in the third bottle. “Auden is the front runner for her hand. Papa was at a loss after Vatia, and he’s been scrambling to find someone of the same standing. Auden is the closest.” He took in a long sip, nearly finishing the glass in a single gulp.
“Am I invited to this one?” Gideon quipped sarcastically.
“I certainly hope so,” Renard replied quickly, “because it would be far more entertaining to watch you smash Auden’s pretty little face with that fist of yours than to have you wallowing in your room.” The ambassador laughed heartily.
Gideon laughed quietly as he considered what Marielle had revealed to him after his fight with Geovani. A smirk found his lips and he nodded. “I don’t imagine Marielle would be mad at me too long, but what about your father?”
“Do you really care?”
“If he’s going to take it out on Marielle instead of on me, then yes, I care.”
Renard considered the answer and simply shook his head. “Chaos is quickly approaching a point of no return,” he took a careful sip of his wine, finishing the glass, and pouring himself another. “She is the only one who can choose for herself.”
Gideon frowned quietly as he agreed to himself. He glanced up toward Renard. “Have your holo recording then. Just keep me away from the alcohol until we’re sure there won’t be any arrests involved, hmm?” A devilish grin found his lips.
He snickered. “I just need to know, Salieri,” Renard took a careful sip of his wine as he stared at Gideon. “Do you think my sister would risk everything she loves for you?” He shifted in his seat, straightening as he leaned against the edge of the table as he stared at the security chief. “Because ultimately, she would have to choose between our family and you.”
The Betazoid mix inhaled deeply as his cobalt irises held Renard’s dark green gaze. “Like you’ve said, Renard. Only she can answer that. All I can do is tell her I love her, and that my pitiful empathic sense believes she feels the same for me.”
“You love her, hmm?” Renard chuckled softly to himself. He shook his head slightly.
Gideon swallowed and shook his head. “Do you have any idea what I’ve done for her? Truly?” He raised his brows. “And would do again in a heartbeat.”
“She has told me stories. Of how you saved her on Atlantis. And again in Malahakir.” Renard nodded once in silent appreciation. “But, let’s not kid ourselves in believing that it was solely for her. If your feelings are what you say them to be, then I suspect you saving her was also for you, not just for her.”
The security chief nodded, a shoulder raising in a lopsided shrug. “Of course, I have my moments of selfishness.” Gideon had a quick smirk at that. “I don’t get nearly as many as El does,” he revealed with raised brows, humming softly as he shook his head.
He shrugged as he poured the last bit of wine into Gideon’s glass. Renard waved to the barkeep on the first floor, pointing to the empty bottle in his hand. “Ask what you want. I’ll answer all I can so you can hopefully convince my sister to leave this life.”
“Is that what you want for her, too?” Gideon asked, slightly surprised by the wording Renard had chosen. He reached for a slice of the baguette, drenching it in olive oil as he watched the oldest Deniaud sibling.
“What I want- I lost some time go,” Renard revealed softly. He turned and watched with some interest as a blonde walked into the cafe. “Well then. That one- Surely that one will catch your attention.” The eldest of the Deniaud children finished his wine in a long sip. He pushed to his feet and patted Gideon on the shoulder. “Come on, my good man. You’ll play, what is it, my wingman.” He chuckled and made his way towards the stairs.
He rolled his eyes to the sky and sighed heavily. “Sorry, El. It’s just an act,” he muttered before finishing the last of his wine and pushing to his feet. Gideon set the glass on the table and picked up the last slice of baguette. He folded the bread in half and shoved it between his lips before making his way toward Renard. His groan was lost into his full mouth when he heard the Deniaud call out, ‘Shots!’