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USS Aldrin Personnel Recordings image
[JL - Deniaud/Salieri] Regret

USS Aldrin Personnel Recordings

by Lieutenant Commander Gideon Salieri & Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud
[Stardate ]

He laid on his back, one hand resting on his bare stomach and the other on the mattress beside him.  He was deep in sleep when images from his past began to parade before his closed eyes. Normally, the visions would be of the four officers who had died on Malahakir; Jackson, Miller, Mordecai, and Mudan.  Their names whispered in fear as their accusatory stares bored into his soul. ‘You let me down,’ they each muttered in derision. Tonight, it was not those men he saw, but Marielle Deniaud. Her eyes were sad, her features gaunt with exhaustion and sorrow.  ‘Why did you do this to me?’ she asked him mournfully. The overwhelming guilt - though he wasn’t sure why he felt it at the current moment - had him gasping for air and sitting up quickly.

Muddled cobalt blinked into the darkness and unfamiliarity crept into his consciousness.  ‘This isn’t my bed.  Not my quarters.’  Gideon turned his chin to stare down at the faint outline of a body beside him and he gently rested his hand on the comforter.  ‘That’s not El.  Che cazzo! Cosa ho fatto?!’  The half-Bajoran hastily threw the cover from his lower body and bolted out of the bed.  The cool air caressed his bare skin and dread made him shiver. ‘Oh cazzo.  Ho sbagliato!’  He walked quickly out of the bedroom and picked up his shirt from over the back of the couch.  It was slipped over his shoulders and he leaned over to grab his linen pants from the floor near the door.  He stepped into the leggings and retreated from the foreign quarters. His eyes looked left and right to be sure no one had seen him and he all but ran to the turbolift.

The security chief tapped the access panel outside of his quarters and peered inside once the door opened.  He breathed a heavy sigh of relief when CASSI informed him that the researcher hadn’t made it home yet. Gideon reached up and rubbed his face harshly.  The clothes he’d hastily thrown on were removed once again, this time placed into the recycler to be refreshed. His steps carried him into the kitchen and he quickly picked up the broken plate from in the sink.  The pieces were set into the replicator tray to be replaced with a new porcelain dish. Thoughts raced through his mind as he made his way to the bathroom. The half-Bajoran turned the shower on and stepped into the hot water.

She’d been on her feet for nearly twenty hours.  Yet, despite her exhaustion, there was no weight on her shoulders to give her the slump that had her appearing shorter for the the last few months.  Her hand pressed lightly against her lips as a silent yawn blew warm air against her slender fingers. She had roughly six hours before her shift was to begin again, which meant that if she collapsed into bed she could technically manage five hours of sleep - five and a half if she dared to push her luck.  The smile on her lips dipped as she made her way to the bedroom. The argument with Gideon replayed itself in her memory and dread washed over her as she heard the shower in the bedroom. ‘Oh- S’il te plaît, je ne veux pas me battre.  Je veux juste ramper dance mon lit et dormir,’ she thought to herself, silently pleading with her fiance.  With a deep sigh, she slipped her boots off her feet and made her way to the bedroom.  

He felt her discomfort and hesitance before he heard her footsteps.  His skin was red from both the near scalding water and the amount of force he’d used in scrubbing clean of his sin.  ‘She drove me to it.  If she’d just come home, I wouldn’t have had to seek comfort elsewhere.’  Gideon sighed heavily as he considered the thought process.  ‘She should have left Engineering.  She knows I need her to sleep.’  It was easy to convince himself that he was not to blame for seeking solace in Jessica Sutton’s bed.

Marielle pulled the zipper to her uniform jacket and she shrugged the heavy material from her shoulders.  “Gideon?” she asked softly. Timidness had become second nature whenever she addressed the half-Bajoran. There was no way to know what would set him off.  She could only assume he was still upset with her for having had to stay in engineering. “What are you doing up so late?” The diminutive woman remained under the door jamb, her shoulder leaning against the edge.  Flawless emerald hues stared at him through the condensation that stuck to the glass walls that surrounded the shower.

Gideon turned his chin away but his jaw clenched.  He leaned against the wall, allowing the water to stream over his back.  The scars that marred his skin were hard to see under normal conditions, but the hot water had turned his back red, highlighting the white scar tissue that criss-crossed his upper back.  “Had a terror,” he muttered. It was a truth, though the content of the nightmare he wouldn’t reveal to her. There was no malice in his voice but the accusation was thinly veiled.

Her gaze dipped to the floor, guilt nearly crashing into her.  ‘I did this.’  Her eyes closed and she willed away her selfish desire to crash into bed.  “How about I make you some warm milk with honey and we go to bed?” The offering was made tenderly.  Despite her exhaustion, there was no hesitation for his care. “I don’t need to be back in engineering until 0800 hours, so I can at least give you a back rub to ease you back to sleep.  What do you say?” She turned and looked back at him from over her shoulder. “You take your time. I’ll stay awake with you.” Her steps were silent as she made her way out of the bathroom and towards the kitchen.

‘If it’s her fault, why do I feel dirty still?’  He surmised that the guilt he felt was partially hers and grunted softly in acknowledgement.  “Just the milk and honey,” Gideon called before turning his head to peer out of the bathroom. He straightened and smacked the spigot to forcefully turn off the water.  He stepped onto the plush rug and reached for a towel to dry himself. ‘It’s her fault.  I wouldn’t have if she’d just come home.’  He sighed heavily and draped the terrycloth on the hook near the door to allow it to dry.  The half-Bajoran stopped in the closet to pull on a new pair of lounge pants before dropping onto the mattress.  ‘Glad she didn’t notice that the bed was still made.’

Her hand was flat on the counter, her hips leaning heavily against the edge as she constantly stirred the spoon to keep the milk within the pan from scalding.  Her eyes were heavy, red creeping into the white. The vibrancy of her irises had dulled significantly in the last few months, but a hint of it had returned from her long shift in engineering.  Her head bobbed every so often as sleep nearly took her, but it was the searing pain that shot through her arm that startled her awake. Her hand lifted quickly, the spoon clattering against the edge of the small pot.  She moved to the sink and immediately let the side of her palm rest under the rush of cold water. ‘Augh.  When did I become such a klutz?’  With a sigh, she wiped her hand with the dishcloth and poured the sweetened milk into a mug.  She shuffled her way to bed, standing on Gideon’s side of the mattress. Her hand rested on his shoulder as she offered him the porcelain.  “Just the way you like it.”

“Thank you,” he murmured as he took the mug and nodded in appreciation.  His legs were folded underneath him and he lifted the milk to sip. The Betazoid mix let his eyelids fall closed as the warmth moved down his throat.  It wasn’t liquor, but the feeling was nearly as soothing. Gideon raised a brow and dipped his chin to peer down into the mug. ‘What could I add to this?  Whisky is the easy choice.’  He hummed soft and raised the glass to drink again.  ‘Rum!  Definitely rum.’  A mental notation was made to try it the next night.  ‘If she comes home.’

As soon as her hand was free of the mug, she made her way to the closet to change.  It didn’t take her long to appear in her usual silk cami and shorts set. Marielle was silent as she walked towards her side of the bed and slipped under the covers.  Instead of resting into the plush mattress, the diminutive woman turned to face him. “Alright, mister,” her giggle had long lost its usual warmth. “Mug down, onto your stomach.”  Her hand was on his bicep as she applied the weakest of pressure to insist he comply.

Gideon finished the warm milk in several long gulps, then turned at the waist to set the mug on his bedside table.  He faced Marielle and lifted his fingers to gently tuck a strand of hair back behind her ear. “Just lay down, El. Having you here is enough.”  His hand rested on her shoulder and he squeezed lightly before guiding her to lay back. The security chief settled next to her and fell to his back.

She stared at him, a mixture of confusion and relief flashing through her eyes.  The weary woman let her head fall onto the pillow of a soft ‘flop’ and she cozied up to her fiance.  Her hand rested on his abdomen as she settled onto the crook of his shoulder, her head resting on his chest.  She nearly cried with the sudden respite from their nightly joinings. Marielle had been prepared to simply submit, hoping with all hope that he’d be happy with one short round.  There had been genuine dread that she’d have to cater to his needs when all she wanted to do was sleep. “I’m so sorry about our fight,” she murmured over his skin. Her eyes fell shut, her body growing heavy with each passing second.  “I love you.” The words were barely a whisper as she succumbed to her fatigue.

His hand rested on her shoulder, fingertips moving in small circles as he tried to fall into slumber.  “I forgive you,” he whispered flatly. His breaths grew longer as sleep pulled at his consciousness. “I love you.”  There was a moment when his brows furrowed with a beat of doubt. ‘Tomorrow better be better.’  Gideon turned his chin and looked at Marielle through his lashes.  ‘She didn’t even try to initiate anything.’  A frown pulled at the corners of his mouth and he grunted softly.  With a shake of his head, he closed his eyes.

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