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[JL Deniaud/Salieri] Roots & Branches: In Our Own World

USS Aldrin Lounge


by Lieutenant Commander Gideon Salieri & Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud
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Stardate: 1701.28
Roots & Branches: In Our Own World

Her dress provided little protection against the chill of the winter evening.  Her silver stiletto heels were abandoned the moment she began to cross the white stone patio.  They tumbled from her slender fingers as her eyes stared into the distant horizon.  The sounds of the ball behind her, with its lavish decorations and its ostentatiously dressed guests, became a distant memory as her feet carried her down the cold steps and into the ornately sculpted gardens.

We weathered the silence, weathered the storms.
Weathered the violence, in these symmetrical forms.
We've broken the fear left and the fear left within.
With every last breath, I feel you on my skin.

She ran.  The layers fluttered on the wake of her speed as her hands grasped desperately at the soft fabric.  The wind combed through her long hair, gentle curled waves of obsidian strands lifting much like the layers of her dress. Her legs carried her - her strides strong and long.  The pebbled path soon ended, and her feet finally touched the cool earth.  She pushed forward, her pace growing stronger despite the burn in her lungs.

We can be perfect, we can be stars
We can remember everything that we are

She flew into the wind, the scent of lavender growing stronger as the distant horizon had become her new promise.  A chilled breeze quickly moved through the blossoms and long grass, carrying the aroma of her destination to her.  In the sweet calming fragrance, it carried the promise of rain.  Ominous clouds, dark and thick, loomed in the distance.

We'll take all the history every battle we've won
Put our faith in the mystery, in the warmth of the sun
We'll take every heart burnt, every beautiful scar,
And every lesson we've not learned, just to be who we are.

Finally, when her legs could carry her no farther and her lungs could no longer catch the very air, she stopped and collapsed.  Her feet tangled in the fabric of her dress, silk wrapping around the slender limbs that had carried her so far.  Her hands stung with the force of her fall, resonating from her wrists until it rang through her shoulders.  A soft sob tumbled from her lips, and she forced herself to sit and take in her surroundings.  The gentle rolling hills of purple and white were endless.  The sounds of the day had long faded into the night.  The incoming storm had left the lavender fields empty and silent.

We can be perfect, we can be stars
We can remember everything that we are
We can be perfect shattered and broken
We can be perfect, we can be perfect

She drew her knees to her chest, her arms wrapping around her tired and aching legs.  Her chin lifted to the sky for her vibrant flawless emerald hues to greet the blanket of stars.  They shined without remorse as they waited for empty darkness of the impending storm.  Gusts swirled loose petals into the air and bent the stems at its will.  There, she waited.

Cause' you and I live in our own worlds.
Cause' you and I live in our own worlds.

Raw piercing rain came in chaotic drops.  It bounced on the ground, turning hard soil soft.  Many would have seen the steady downpour pitiless, a fierce malignity that was all too bitter.  It seeped through her silk gown and chilled her to the bone, and yet still she remained.  Because the rain was always music to her, a melody that brought serenity.  Each drop was a note in an aria that took a lifetime to compose.  Her eyes remained fixed on the horizon as she considered the beauty and warmth of its entirety.  Finally, as the heavens continued to sing in the storm, she stood and walked back to the hollow grandiose chateau and all its comfortless warmth.

Oh, oh, oh
Cause' I know you're perfect
Shattered and broken
I know you're perfect,
Just you be who you are.

Her steps were heavy as she made her way through the ornately and meticulously maintained gardens, the small pebbles digging into the soles of her feet.  She stopped to gather her shoes from the steps, and she clutched the thin heels in one hand as she stared into the ballroom.  She was glad no one noticed her standing just beyond the edge of the light that filtered into the darkness.  There was a strange mixture of emotion in knowing that her outburst hadn’t ruined her parents’ evening, at least in the eyes of their guests.  There was relief in knowing that at least she hadn’t embarrassed them, but there was also annoyance that no one had noticed.  The layers of her gown clung to her body.  There wasn’t a centimeter of her that wasn’t drenched in rain.  Her feet were dirty, the hem of her dress heavy and caked with mud.  Fingers curled protectively around the sapphire starburst hairstick that had once decorated her hair.

He’d broken away from Renard, a hand raised as he grumbled quietly about finding Marielle.  He’d been out into the gardens and back, unable to find where the diminutive woman had run to in the darkness.  The security chief returned to the estate as he waited for her to return.  At last, Gideon stopped as he saw her approaching, his hair and clothes soaked, the rain falling in rivulets down his face, though he didn’t seem to notice.  His throat had swollen with a lump of bile, but the security chief stood as he watched her.  He pulled off his jacket, finally, and stepped toward the researcher, offering to place it over her shoulders.

Marielle stepped closer to the security chief, her forehead falling onto his chest as her free hand gripped at his soaked dress shirt.  “Let’s go,” she muttered softly into the drenched fabric.  She took another small step forward as she pressed her body against his.  “Let’s just go.  Tomorrow.  Let’s head to Somerset tomorrow.  Hell.  Tonight.  I can find a shuttle for us tonight.”

“Mariëlle!”

Gideon bent his knees slightly, dropping his right hand to pick up Marielle into his arms.  He’d turned to start back toward the house before his eyes lifted to the figure calling for the engineer.  “Is there a way around?” he asked quietly, evenly.  His voice may have been steady, but there was a strain in his tone as he fought against the emotion lodged in his throat.

She groaned softly as the familiar voice - the annoying twangy tenor - broke through the rain.  She nodded as she buried herself into his chest.  “Long way around.  Go left.  There’s a servant entrance on my side of the wing.”

“If he follows,” Gideon started quietly as he turned left and began walking.  “Be ready for me to put you down.”  His head turned so that he could keep the Indirian in his peripheral vision.

Auden chased after the pair, though the man attempted to remain under any available covering that he could find.  He sighed when he finally relented to being soaked.  “Mariëlle!  This is not what I expect out of my wife!” he barked angrily as he chased after her.  “And you!  Who the hell are you!?  Put my fiancée down this instant!  She belongs to me!”

“I belong to no one,” she muttered under her breath, her fingers twisting at the fabric of Gideon’s shirt even more as she attempted to control the shaking that rocked her body.  Whether it was from the cold of the rain or her emotions, she couldn’t quite tell.

Gideon glanced at the chateau, grumbling softly at the darkness as he looked for a nook or cranny that would be indicative of a servant’s entrance.  “Can you find the door?”  His eyes dropped to the ground beneath them as he eased Marielle from his grasp, holding her upright and close to him still as his head swiveled toward Auden.  He felt the researcher pull away enough, her hand lingering on his arm as the other felt along the wall for the door.  She seemed to find comfort in his presence, and she appeared unwilling to let him go even if it was simply a touch of her finger that kept her connected.  He was more than happy to remain close enough for her.

The Indirian glanced back as he reached the edge of the darkness, and he shook as he realized he had wandered well past the ballroom.  Growling, he screamed after the physicist.  “I should have known you were nothing more than a common harlot,” he spat as he ran towards the pair.  “What a pitiful daughter you are to your parents!”

“Don’t come any closer,” Gideon warned, his normally tenor voice dropping into a growling baritone as his cobalt gaze watched for Auden to come into view.

“Who are you?!” Auden asked sharply, though he didn’t step closer to the security chief.  He leaned to the side, his gold and red irises finding Marielle’s outline in the dark.  “If this is one of your bedside companions, I’ll have you know I won’t stand for it once we’re married!  I expect you to be the dutifu-”

“You heard her, she’s not marrying you.”  The half-Bajoran stood between the Indirian and Marielle, protective of the woman while she tried to get the door open.

“Here,” her tone was flat as she pressed her hand against a side panel that was hidden by a holographic interface.  Her slender fingers worked in a sequence of codes, and she signed when it didn’t take.  Her hand shook, much like her body, and she shook her head as she tried to remember the code.  “Sorry,” she muttered under her breath.  “I’ll get it.”

Gideon stepped backward, keeping his gaze on the Indirian as he returned to Marielle’s side.  “It’s okay,” he said quietly as he watched Auden.

“Mariëlle!”  Auden screamed out as he approached the pair.  His arms waved as he slipped on a patch of mud but did not fall.  “I demand that you come with me at once!”  He reached the pair, shoving Gideon aside as his bony fingers reaching out to clasp around her wrist to stop her from touching the panel.  The Indirian stepped back, pulling the researcher roughly with him.  “I said-”

“Let me go, Auden!”  She winced as she pulled at her wrist, desperate to get away from him.  Panic overwhelmed her, a memory of her time on Atlantis flashing quickly before her.  “You’re hurting me!  I’m not going with you!”  

“I will teach you to ob-”

He surged forward, the fingers of his left hand grasping at the wrist that held Marielle’s as Gideon applied pressure between the bones, causing the Indirian’s fingers to spasm and release the researcher.  His right hand clenched and he swung, connecting a full body haymaker to Auden’s temple.  The security chief stood over the man, fists clenched as he seethed with anger.

Her eyes widened as she watched Auden crumble to the ground.  She turned to the hidden door, her fingers dancing over the panel.  The collection of codes released the holographic shielding over the door, and it slid open at her command.  Marielle turned to enter the chateau, her foot just over the threshold, but stopped and turned to look at the Indirian.  Quickly she bent down and placed her hand over his nose.  Slender fingers gripped his chin and turned it to the side to stare at the temple.  Finding no sign of blood, she straightened, grabbed Gideon’s hand, and pulled him inside.  Her hand pressed on the inside panel, effectively shutting and locking the door behind them.  “There’s a light somewhere.  Should be by the door,” she muttered.

Gideon had taken a couple deep breaths to come down from his adrenaline high, his hands reaching to take the soaked jacket from over Marielle’s shoulders.  “I’m following you,” he said quietly as he reached for her free hand.  He decided not to voice his concern that they hurry so as not to catch a cold from being drenched.  The security chief wasn’t sure if his shaking was from the rain, the cold, the adrenaline or something else - excitement?  He couldn’t tell.

The soft sound of water dripping from their clothes echoed easily on the stone steps.  Her fingers interlaced with his and she felt around the door for the small torch.  She found it after several long seconds, and she pressed the button to illuminate the space before removing the lit square from its holster.  Marielle lifted her skirt with the same hand and kept her hold on Gideon’s as she began to ascend the stairs.  She said nothing, her thoughts completely blank as she led the way through the labyrinth of short hallways and narrow stairs.  Normally the confined space would have had her panicking, but her mind was so focused on their destination that she didn’t even register the darkness or the confines of their surroundings.  

   
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