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Authors' Note: This takes place before the sim on 201801.22.
[JL Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
The Ring Makes it Official
He walked down the corridor, his hands in his pockets as he headed to his quarters from a late shift. Gideon's fingers played with the metallic pips in his right pocket, his gaze unfocused as muscle memory carried him toward the door of his quarters. He'd called Marielle to let her know he would be late with another disciplinary issue, apologizing that he would make it to dinner late and she could go ahead without him if she wanted. 'You know you're going to have to propose to her properly, right?' Cana's words echoed between his ears and the Betazoid mix flushed as he grinned.
It'd been a good five days since she'd officially moved in with the Chief of Security. They were still in the process of figuring out what needed to stay and what needed to go. With two drastically different styles, it was proving to be more complicated than they had thought. Still, the transition seemed fairly natural. They were practically living together already; everything else was just superficial details.
After a fairly uneventful day in her office, she had opted to continue the peace and quiet. As always, she had changed out of her uniform immediately after her shift. Without any social plans, Marielle enjoyed the rare opportunity to wear something truly casual - black shorts and a simple dark green camisole. Her hair remained in its rope braid, though the tail had been wrapped into a bun. Marielle's bare legs were crossed at the knees as they rested over the armrest of her winged chair. With Gideon announcing he would be late, she took the opportunity to get some much needed work done. She was several days behind on reports.
This would be the fourth night Gideon came home to Marielle already there, and the thought of doing it for the rest of their lives brought nothing but a smile to his features and warmth in his chest. Once he reached the door, he entered his code and stepped inside, his cobalt gaze searching for the researcher as the door slid closed behind him. As he saw her, the Betazoid mix hummed and shook his head. "I'll never get tired of that," he said softly to himself. He raised his voice in greeting, "Ciao El."
"AllÃ´ Gideon. Dinner's in the oven." The aroma of roasted chicken and vegetables inundated the confines of their living space. Her attention was focused on the report in her hand. "I just need to finish this. I'll be with you in a bit."
The chief of security had paused only briefly, the smile not leaving his features as he continued on, stopping beside the chair to lean in and give Marielle a quick kiss to her temple. "Let me change and we can eat when you're done." Gideon walked past without her acknowledgement, heading into the bedroom. His pips clattered into the wooden bowl on her - their - dresser. He ran his fingers over the wooden puzzle box he'd given Marielle upon her moving in, shaking his head as he noticed it was still unsolved. 'Didn't think I was that good.' In a matter of minutes, Gideon had changed and headed back into the living space.
It didn't take long for her to finish and she placed the device on the coffee table as soon as she was done. Quiet steps carried her to the kitchen, where she picked out a bottle of wine that would work with their dinner. She carried the two glasses in one hand and the bottle in another. Once she reached the dining room table, she poured the dry white into their glasses. "I can't wait until we get to Starbase 78. I'm down to my last crate of coffee. Angry Ellie's going to make an appearance in about two weeks if I don't get a new shipment of beans."
"Can't have that," Gideon murmured as he entered the kitchen, looking for somewhere to help out. His gaze moved to the oven and he bent over slightly to glance inside. Upon noting that the temperature was low enough to simply keep the food warm, he reached to turn it off and picked up a heating pad, pulling the door open to take out the roast chicken. "I could have Uncle Eigam ship some Jestral leaves as backup."
"That's just cruel. Making your girlfriend suffer through faux coffee - basically coffee flavoured tea! - for the sake of ship's security," she grumbled with a grin. She took a sip of her wine as she settled into her seat at the dinner table, which was already set for their late meal. "How did it go? Did Lieutenant Centgraf take the disciplinary action against her too personally again?"
He sighed dramatically, unable to hide his smile as he set the casserole dish on the stove top to let it cool enough to bring it to the table. Gideon followed soon after with a trivet to set in the middle of the table, placing the chicken and vegetable dish on the buffer and dropping the heating pad behind it as he took his seat. The half-Bajoran shook his head, a mild look of surprise on his features as he explained. "She came in red-faced, accepted the notation and left without so many as three words. It was Ensign Bertrand who did all the talking and kept me there."
"It's always the ensigns who never shut up," she giggled softly as she lifted a slice of chicken and placed it on his plate. It was followed by a scoop of the roasted vegetables.
"I happen to recall a particular ensign who was fond of chittering about Wolfen pups," Gideon grinned at the memory, his eyes glittering with mirth as he nodded to her in appreciation. His fingers curled around the stem of the wine glass.
"All you're doing is making my point, Gideon." Marielle laughed brightly as she served herself chicken and vegetables. Her knife worked through the meat and she slipped the morsel between her lips.
The security chief chuckled as he shook his head. "How much you want to bet Redshirt is still an ensign?" He sipped the wine, humming softly.
She snickered as she swallowed. "How much do you want to bet Redshirt is still cowering under a table?"
The chuckle grew into a light laugh. "How much would you bet Redshirt is still alive?" Gideon laughed as he finally cut into the chicken his girlfriend had served him.
Marielle's laughter filled their quarters, the peal of laughter bright and warm as she thought on the odd character. "To be fair, I would have turned into Redshirt on that ship. We were always getting into the weirdest situations. I just don't understand why he never transferred."
"Into a psych ward at Starfleet Medical, you mean?" The half-Bajoran shook his head as he combined a bite of chicken with a slice of pepper, eating them together.
She chuckled softly. "I think Erik tried once? I think he said Starfleet Medical refused to return his communications when they realized it was Redshirt." She took another bite, following it with a sip of her wine.
Gideon huffed, smiling toward Marielle as he swallowed the bite and nodded toward her. "Your day must have gone smoothly. You're very relaxed." He sliced another piece of chicken, stabbing gently at another vegetable to bring them into his mouth.
"I was able to get some work done," she nodded with her approval and her relief. There was the slightest shake of her head. Her lips pulled up into a wry grin. "Are you trying to tell me I'm usually high strung?"
His gaze shifted to her and away quickly several times before he shook his head. "No, of course not," Gideon quickly replied. "Not at all." He winked in her direction, shaking his head. "Just means I know when you've had a bad day and you need a nice soak." He took a sip of wine, humming quietly.
"Or Giddy." She hummed softly as she sipped her wine.
"Or Giddy," he agreed with a mischievous smirk. "In the shower," Gideon suggested as his forefinger tapped on the rim of his wine glass, a brow raised in the diminutive woman's direction.
Laughing softly, Marielle placed her utensils on her empty plate. "You're starting to make me wish that I did have a bad day today." She stood up, taking her empty plate to the kitchen. "Did you want dessert?" she called out as she placed her plate on the counter and reached into the fridge for the rest of their chocolate bourbon bundt cake.
"Yeah," Gideon replied wistfully, sighing heavily as he took the last bite from his fork, his gaze following Marielle to the kitchen. He set his utensils on the plate and picked it up, standing to follow her. The plate was set on the counter on top of hers as he pressed into her from behind. "My favorite," he whispered as he nuzzled her neck.
* * *
Marielle sat up, an amused expression on her lips as she stared at the box. Her eyes lifted up to find the richness of his blue. "You're really insistent on me opening this box," she laughed, reaching for the simple object. Her hand lightly shook it, and she could hear the familiar sound of something inside. "Five credits says I try to open this, and I'm going to get interrupted."
Gideon had smiled and nodded before shifting to let one leg rest underneath him, his right leg extending behind Marielle and bent at the knee to give her something to rest upon. He scooted slightly closer, his cobalt gaze intent on her verdant green. At her wager, the half-Bajoran frowned playfully. "I will toss anyone out the airlock who interrupts you." He then raised his fingers to his lips, zipping them closed.
The sound of her communicator on the dresser filled their bedroom. "Doctor Vaeros to Commander Deniaud."
"See." Marielle laughed softly. "Mind getting me my communicator?"
Gideon's eyes narrowed as he glanced toward the counselor's quarters, which happened to be across the hall. It always made for interesting conversation, or lack thereof, when they crossed paths. "Make sure you're thinking of an airlock so he can see, with me shoving him out of it." He grumbled softly and slid off the bed, moving back to the dresser and picking up her communicator. He debated simply turning it off, but returned to Marielle. He slid back into his place beside her as he held the badge in his hand, waiting for her to offer her hand for it.
She raised her brow at the security chief before taking a moment to examine the exterior of the box. Her thumbs began to play with the detailed panels in attempt to move them. Her eyes didn't lift from the box as she held out her hand for the communicator. "This is really well done. It must have taken you months to make this." Marielle grinned as she found a seam.
His expression softened at her smile and Gideon nodded. "I put my heart into it," he revealed quietly as he dropped the badge into her palm.
Marielle tapped her communicator with her thumb, her eyes focused on the box. "Deniaud here. It's late and I'm busy Erik. So unless you're calling about an emergency in Engineering, you better hope you don't see Scary Ellie in the morning," she announced to the connected link. The flatness in her tone gave no hint of amusement.
There was an odd silence on the other end of the communicator. "Uh. Nevermind. My mistake, Bright Eyes. We'll chat in the morning. Vaeros out."
The researcher tossed the communicator back to her boyfriend without looking at him. "Okay. Let's see," she hummed as she began to twist the box along the seam and felt it lock. She hummed, her finger swiping up a loose panel to find a small dial hidden under it. Her thumb moved the dial, her nose wrinkling when it didn't budge. Her head tilted to one side and she lifted the box to peer under it. "Ah," she muttered her fingers pinched at the two carved details that had gotten misaligned. She attempted the dial again, grinning when it turned.
Gideon caught the badge and laid it on the mattress toward the foot of the bed, his gaze focused on the theorist as he watched her work on the puzzle. He was always mesmerized when she was solving problems in her head, the slightest twitch in her eye, the tilt of her chin and the glint of wonder that shined in her verdant obs absolutely enthralled him.
Her fingers worked each piece that seemed out of place. She turned the box easily in her hands as she played with the little clues each movement created. The sound of the internal mechanisms made her grin. The soft clicking and popping made her smile. "Got it!" Marielle giggled as she pulled out the tiny drawer that popped out a she adjusted the final piece of the puzzle. "That was so much fun-" The words died on her tongue as she stared at the prize hidden inside. She had expected a button. What she found was a white metal ring with a dark blue sapphire that had a hint of green.
Gideon watched her intently, his smile never once faltering as his leg swayed gently, resting against her back and he leaned on his hand. His voice was soft, a whisper not meant to be heard, as if it were a stray thought on the breeze. "Vuoi sposarmi? Veux-tu m'Ã©pouser? Va aka pre ey? (Will you marry me?)"
Marielle's mouth dropped open, but she had lost her voice. She simply stared into the small hidden compartment drawer that had popped out of her puzzle box. "I- What- Why?" Finally, her eyes lifted from the small drawer in her hand and she looked to the man beside her.
"Marry me," he whispered, again his voice so soft, she would have to strain to hear it, but the words were formed perfectly on his lips. Gideon leaned forward, his chest moving slowly with his heavy breaths. His heart nearly became arrhythmic from the fluttering of the muscle within his ribcage. The Bajoran mix had lowered his chin slightly, his darkened cobalt irises locked on her dazzling verdant emerald orbs. Everything else he wanted to say would just be too cheesy and ruin the moment, so he watched her in silence.
"You sure about this?" she asked softly as she looked into his eyes. She thought back to the Apollo Lounge, where she had essentially proposed to the half-Bajoran. She had thought it would have been a small change to their relationship, but the presence of a ring meant something entirely different. Something far more serious. Her instincts flared. It felt right yet all too wrong at the same time.
"I've never been so sure of anything in my life," Gideon assured her, his hand reaching up to brush a stray tendril of hair behind her ear, exactly as he had done the very first time they met.
She shivered, a soft blush colouring her cheek. "And, you're," she paused, "You're sure you won't get tired of me?" Emerald irises remained on the ring. 'How am I going to keep doing this? I can't keep up my career and take care of him at the same time- He'll get bored of me if I stop.' Marielle attempted to consider her choices. 'I could do it. It's better than marrying someone I don't know. At least I'd be happy? He cares about me, and maybe he'll actually calm down.' She wasn't sure if she'd convinced herself.
The silence between them didn't seem unusual and he knew she was stuck in her thoughts. Gideon chuckled quietly at the vision of Logos and Pathos in a swirl of activity. His head shook, his smile turning nostalgic as he recalled something he'd told her once before. "I'll know all the reasons I love you, and be satisfied."
Her eyes fell back to the ring inside the drawer. She attempted to find the words, but all that came out was an answer she hadn't expected. "Yes," she whispered, the answer so soft that even she hadn't heard it. 'This is the right choice.'
Gideon's smile erupted as he tensed, having seen the movement of her lips but not heard the sound pass her tongue. "Yes?" he said softly to confirm, ready to burst if she had.
Marielle's head nodded in affirmation slightly. "Yes." It was uttered louder. She placed the tiny hidden drawer on the bed as she immediately reached for the man beside her, her arms finding their way around his neck. She chuckled softly and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Thank you. It's beautiful."
"Yes!" he nearly shouted, happily accepting the woman into his arms as he laughed. Gideon held Marielle against him, kissing her when he was able as they tumbled onto the mattress. "El! You said yes!" His smile split his face, short fits of laughter still bubbling from his throat as he basked in the joy overflowing from within him.
"Well. It'd be damn awkward if I said no, now wouldn't it?" Marielle laughed softly.
"Just a little bit," he answered with a snicker before pressing his lips against hers, humming deeply with elation. Gideon broke the kiss, an expression of dazed wonder still painting his features. He tilted his chin slightly as he nodded toward Marielle. "You're sure? About- your father?" He raised a brow. "I'm not asking to save you- I ask because I love you, I want you by my side until we get old and forget who the other is."
She adjusted on top of him, sitting up to straddle his stomach. "I don't know what to expect with Papa. I guess we'll find out when we talk to him. Hopefully he won't throw a fit."
His hands caressed her thighs. Gideon stared up at Marielle, his thoughts still in a daze as he grinned stupidly. It took him several moments to snap out of his vision of shouting to the world 'She said yes!' and he chuckled quietly. The security chief shifted his gaze, one hand sweeping over the comforter as he searched for the ring.
Marielle raised a brow as his hands swept over the top of the bed. "What are you doing?"
Gideon found the drawer and picked it up, lifting the small compartment to glance inside, glad that he had made it small enough to wedge the ring within. He smirked and looked up at Marielle as his fingers dislodged the band and he offered it to the woman sitting on top of him. "Do you like it?" He'd heard her telling him it was beautiful, but his doubt needed to be reassured.
She gave him a guarded smile, not moving towards the ring. "It's perfectly Ellie." Marielle eyed it, watching the light glint off the metal and the dark blue stone.
"What's wrong?" The Bajoran mix closed his fingers around the ring, his eyes searching the researcher. He wanted her to look at him when she answered.
"Nothing." She hesitated as her eyes lingered on the hand that held the little piece of jewelry. It was odd how such a small thing could hold so much. "It's just- I, uh. I've never had one of those," she pointed to the object hidden in his hand. "I may or may not be freaking out a little." 'Or a lot. Oh. Definitely a lot. Holy crap. What did I just agree to do?! What was I thinking? I'm going to be exhausted every night! I wanted to get so many papers published and actually go on those idiotically cool SFI missions! I won't be doing that if I've got to take hours out of my daily schedule to make sure he doesn't get his rocks off with some-' The thoughts were instantly silenced as she chastised herself. 'Stop it. He's a good guy. Not everything has to be about work. He lets you live your life. This is good. You're overthinking it and you're happy!'
He had to chuckle softly, amused by her revelation. Gideon reached up gently and slid his fingers along her wrist, pulling Marielle's hand to his chest and turning it over so that he could drop the ring into her palm. "You don't have to wear it," he said quietly, still smiling as he watched her reactions. "But keep it." He interlaced their fingers, the ring warm in their palms.
She smiled down at him, nodding as she glanced at the ring. "It's very pretty." Marielle leaned forward, giving him a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you."
Winking, Gideon shook his head. "Thank you." A contented sigh passed his lips as he ran his hands along the top of Marielle's thighs. "Round three is yours," he offered, his brow raising again.
Marielle chuckled. "Actually. I think I'm going to go shower." Quietly and quickly, she leaned over and kissed Gideon once more on the cheek before sliding off the bed and disappearing into the bathroom, the door closing behind her.
Gideon rolled to his stomach, propping onto his elbows as he watched the doors close behind Marielle. He sighed softly, lacing his hands behind his head as he dropped his face into the comforter, suddenly unsure of what just transpired. He tried not to intrude on Marielle's emotions - beyond the obvious freaking out stage - to leave her in her thoughts. The Bajoran mix decided instead to relish in the delight that she'd said yes, humming to himself.