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[Deniaud/Morgensen] Collaboration Log
The Taste of Wine
“Language is wine upon the lips.”
- Virginia Woolf
She stood in the middle of the room, glass surrounding her. The gentle curves and swirls of her handwriting graced the surface, the white ink bright against the black walls that surrounded her. Hours were lost within the holodeck. There was some notion of the silence being deafening and a soft melody threatened to tumble from her lips. It was softly offered - more spoken than sung - the gusto of her mezzo soprano long lost. “Des yeux qui font baisser les miens, un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche. Voilá le portrait sans retouches de l'homme auquel j'appartiens,” she whispered to herself as flawless emerald followed the flow of equations on the glass. The airy baby blue skirt swished gently with the faintest sway of her hips. A light white sweater was pulled to her elbows to avoid getting any of the ink on the woven fibers as she wrote. Ebony hair cascaded easily over her shoulders in gentle waves, the strands masking the mark on her collarbone.
A gentle sigh escaped his lips as he made his way over to the holodeck he had claimed for the next hour. Dressed in traditional Scandinavian attire, that of a nobleman of a long forgotten era, complete with the broadsword that had been passed down from generation to generation for as long as their family history was written hanging from his side. As he approached, he input the program into the computer and turned to the doors, unknowing that there was already a program running, and entered, stopping a few steps inside as he saw Marielle - seemingly writing with a swaying to her hips and a spoken song on her lips. She seemed at peace and a smile came to his lips as he stood silently for a moment and listened, watching her. Finally, he stepped closer and cleared his throat. “Ahem- La Vie en Rose? Last time I heard that was in Paris.”
“Ah!” she exclaimed as she turned swiftly. She had been about to call out the half-Bajoran's name, but the sight of Magnus Morgensen had her pausing with surprise. “What are you doing in here?” A nervous chuckle tickled at her throat as she felt her heartbeat settle finally. The pen twirled in her fingers as her eyes swept over his attire. Her brow lifted in silent question. For a moment, curiosity had her forgetting that she probably shouldn't be alone in a room with a man. Gideon would certainly have a fit and that was not an argument she wanted to have.
A half-hearted chuckle escaped his lips and he shook his head. “I could be asking you the same thing, honestly. You have any regard to looking at the schedules for the holodeck, or did you forget I had the holodeck from 1400 to-” He paused and blinked. “1500- Strange, the schedule showed it was free.”
“I have the holodeck until 1400,” she countered easily. She capped her pen. Her hand rested on her hip. Her chin lifted slightly to the ceiling. “CASSI. What time is it?”
“It is 1402,” the sentient computer responded with ease.
“Oh-” An embarrassed laugh slipped past her lightly painted lips. “CASSI, save and end program.” Marielle slipped the marker into the pocket of her skirt. “You're punctual, aren't you?” Her heels tapped lightly on the checkered floor as she made her way to the exit. “I'll leave you to your program. Apologies for the late start.”
He chuckled softly and grabbed her hand gently as she passed, stopping her. “By all means, I've no reason to have you run off. Besides- I wanted to show you where I grew up. It's the least I could do after the incident- I did give my word, didn't I?” He turned and looked around a moment as her program ended. “CASSI, begin program Magnus-3-Alpha.”
She turned her chin to regard the Viking, her chin dipped slightly as she studied him from under her dark lashes. 'What is he doing? Surely- Everyone in security knows- Gideon said they knew I was off limits.' The thought had her lips falling just slightly. She recalled a time when she never allowed anyone to claim her. The raised ink that graced the curve of her spine was telling of her personal philosophy, of the strength of her character and the desire to remain independent. At least, it once did. The words didn't seem to suit her anymore. She chewed on the corner of her lower lip. Surely there was no harm in staying. She was curious and she didn't want to go home. The argument with Gideon that afternoon had her wanting to hide for a bit longer. There was the slightest nod and she hesitated before pulling her hand from his. She clasped them in front of her body, fingers light over her wrist as her thumb drew small circles over her skin. “Where are we going?” she asked softly.
A moment later, the area around them began to quickly load into a vast emerald green valley. Hills to either side were covered with shades of amber, sapphire, pearl, rose, and frost. The air was cool, but not so overwhelming as it swept down below the peaks. Behind them stood a very large log cabin, likely the size of a million dollar estate. Horses ran free in the fields. Cattle of different sorts calling out and the jingle of bells on their collars echoed down the open scenery. “My home- didn't I tell you that?”
Without thought, her hand lifted and brushed back the long strands of her hair as it tickled at her chin. Slender fingers gathered the unruly dancing locks and kept them in place to one side, unknowingly revealing the hint of blue on her skin under the collar of her white sweater. The breeze swept past her, caressing at her skin and had the hem of her skirt floating around her form. Her eyes swept over the scene and she filled her lungs with the crisp and clean air. “And, where is home exactly?” Her voice was soft, not out of demure caution but out of wonder. It was beautiful.
It felt like her neck craned a great deal in order to finally find his face. “Damn. You're a frakking giant.” The quip was uttered before she could stop herself and she muttered an apology for being rude.
“If I'm a giant, you oughta meet my father. Man would be a Titan compared to me.”
His retort had her laughing softly, the lilting chime-like laugh floating on the breeze and was reminiscent of summer. It was weaker than it once was, dull and a wisp of a sound, but it was there. The response was clever. She glanced around the grounds once more. “So finest wine, hmm?” She couldn't help but raise her brow at him as she stared up at him. It was a dangerous thing to tell a French woman about fine wine. Marielle pushed into motion, but stopped as her stilettos sunk into the soft soil. Her hand reached out for him, palm flat on his bicep to steady herself.
She bent over to reach for the sharp stilettos. She turned her chin to look up at him to say her thanks and her face grew red with her embarrassment when she found herself face to face with his pelvis. There was a stutter to her breath as her eyes drifted up to his face and she pulled up to stand so that she wasn't essentially face first in his lap. When he steadied her with his hand on the small of her back, his height forced her to arch just so her eyes could meet his. There was a gasp that caught in her throat as his body pressed against hers. “Then- I would most certainly be an elf.” She turned her chin to break their shared gaze and Marielle held her stilettos in one hand, motioned with the other for him to continue with the tour.
With a single nod, he smiled and proceeded to pick her up into his arms so that she were not walking barefoot across the mud, and began to carry her up to the porch, chuckling softly as he did so. In all honesty, he could probably use little Marielle as a bench press. Hell, her hands together could probably only barely touch tip to tip around his biceps. One hand wouldn't come close to wrapping around his forearm.
A delightful squeal of surprise lifted on the breeze and her arms naturally wrapped around his neck. “If you were going to carry me, then why the hell did you let me take my shoes off in the first place?”
Magnus could only chuckle at her comment as he carried her. “You called me a giant. I felt obligated to see how much of an elf you claim to be, don't I? Besides- can't blame me for wanting to enjoy the view.”
“Perhaps I should have picked a better mythical creature,” she muttered to herself. While she never necessarily minded lacking any real height, the diminutive woman didn't exactly enjoy being reminded of it.
As they arrived at the porch, he set her down on the smooth surface of the wooden deck and grabbed the door for her, opening it and gesturing inside. “Have time for a glass or two?”
The moment her bare feet touched the floorboards, she slipped her heels back on her feet, taking care to remove the mud that clung to the sharp ends. She gave a nonchalant shrug, but curiosity kept her remaining. She hadn't tasted alcohol since her fiance had started to partake so heavily. The idea of tasting wine was certainly tempting, especially if one claimed it to be fine wine. The last she had tasted had been Elysium, the sweetest red that clung to her tongue. “And what do I get if your wine disappoints?” Her heels tapped softly on the wood as she approached and entered the space.
His smirk was glowing, and he blinked once at her question, still holding the door before leaning close to her, bending at the waist. “Well- we could always pass on the wine, Mariëlle.”
She took a step back to lean against the door jamb when he leaned towards her. His face was close, enough for her to feel his cool breath upon her skin. Her lips parted to respond, but she found herself silent. There had once been a time when she could so easily return the flirtation, but it felt foreign to receive such attention. Fingers gripped at the wooden detailing behind her. A blush coloured her face, a soft pink telling of how much she enjoyed the attention though she would never admit to it. The last had been Cassius Majors, an antiquities dealer with whom she became fast friends. The thought of the trader brought about a heavy sadness that weighed heavily on her heart. She had cut ties with him for the sake of her relationship with Gideon. She thought of him often.
He took advantage of her frozen posture and her loss for words once more, and leaned ever closer, his lips only an inch or two from hers, eyes locked onto her emerald gaze. His voice was soft, a teasing, enchanting whisper in comparison to his intimidating size. “Qui a besoin de vin quand vos lÃ¨vres auraient un goÃ»t plus sucrÃ©? (Who needs wine when your lips would taste sweeter?) Afterall, my lineage has always believed that the Red Sea was aptly named as the site where Poseidon's nose once bled. Now I know why- He could not resist the sheer beauty of God's only perfect creation.”
Marielle could only stare, unsure of what to say or even how to react. Awestruck, slack-jawed, and overall, simply dumbfounded. It'd been so long since she'd received such a compliment. Recently, Gideon seemed to rant out of her flaws - of how easily she flirted, how easily she ignored him, how easily she failed to attend to his needs. It was only recently that he'd showered her with gifts and compliments, but even those were hollow. Her tongue brushed lightly over her suddenly dry lips and her gaze dipped to his mouth. There was a stray thought, one that had sparked with only one other. Her gaze lifted slowly with her slow blink and she met his eyes, her head tilting ever so slightly. She was prepared to lean forward, to say 'To hell with Gideon Salieri', when a scar on his forehead caught her attention. Her hand lifted without permission and traced lightly over the faint line on his skin. “That wasn't there the last time I saw you,” she whispered.
He chuckled softly, watching her movements carefully as she struggled with his words and her own thoughts. In an attempt to change the subject she touched the scar on his forehead, and he retaliated by running his hand along her waist and up the small of her back, a firm grasp against her sensitive skin as he brushed his nose across hers. “A true man does not hold value in the flesh and blood his body is made of- mais dans la puissance de son coeur, et la vérité de sa langue (but in the power of his heart, and the truth of his tongue), and mine is capable of wonders.”
Her eyes fluttered shut and her body swayed slightly at the fluttering that tickled at her stomach. It was strange to feel it again, to know what it meant to be chased and desired. His ability to spin words appealed to her senses and left her weak in ways she hadn't felt in months. There was a time when the man she loved cared for her enough to gift her with such wit. Her hand lifted and rested on his chest. Fingers curled into the fabric that clothed him, her body ready to pull him close. Yet, the hesitation was long enough for her to flatten her palms to gently push him way. The attempt was weak at best as she battled with herself. “I can't,” she whispered, truly saddened that she couldn't discover if there was any truth to his claim. To bask in such emotions, to feel cherished- It'd been so long. “I can't- Gideon would be so ma-” The revelation died on her lips and she shook her head. “I'm engaged.” The simple phrase was more for her benefit than his.
He would've placed his free hand behind him to catch himself before he crashed into the doorframe, and his gaze lowered some down to her. A gentle smile came to his lips, and he looked to her hand, taking it within his own. “Gideon doesn't deserve a woman of such grace, Mariëlle.”
“Ellie,” she whispered softly. “No one really calls me Mariëlle save for my family.” She straightened and took in a deep breath, her eyes dipping to avoid his gaze. Temptation was there and she knew it to be dangerous. While the crew battled for three weeks to endure the Dumoe's unreasonable request, she had relished in the freedom of work. It made her remember the woman she once was. There was an inkling of acknowledgement that not all was right with her relationship with the half-Bajoran, but she was hesitant to fully accept it. He was, she still believed, a good man. Somewhere, under the hurt and pain, Gideon still lived.
When she lowered her head, his left hand rose to gently meet her chin, lifting it back up towards him. “Why do you let yourself be punished and battered by a coward?” It was shortly before his sentence when he had held her hand in his that he noticed a bruise on her collarbone. “No male, not man nor beast, ever attacks a woman that they truly care for, Ellie. Not a single one. Why do you insist to being with someone who will only bring you pain? How long do you think it would last before he were to lash out again?”
There was a surge of panic and she muttered the excuse she'd uttered hundreds of times - she was clumsy, it had been an accident. She shook her head in denial and her hand fell from his chest. She carefully arranged her hair over her shoulders and silently reprimanded herself for her lack of attention. There hadn't been enough time to heal the bruise, the argument had happened just before she left for the holodeck. “He doesn't,” she whispered softly as she turned, her steps nearly shuffling. She entered the house only to realize what she was doing. It was best to leave, and she quickly turned to do just that. “You don't know what he was like- Before everything, he was-”
He stepped in behind her and took her hand once more, pulling her so she stopped against his chest as he leaned to whisper into her ear. “What he was before is not who he is now. He made that clear when he bashed my face against the Apollo's bar. He told me he owned you. That you were his and I know first-hand what that will mean. The man he once was, whoever that may be, is not who he is now and with that, the man you loved went with it. You and I both know that- so why do you insist on lying to yourself and living in a nightmare?”
A shiver moved over her as his breath ghosted over her skin. There were no answers to his questions and they only filled her with a deep sense of melancholy. Others had repeated the same sentiment. “I- I wish I could tell you,” she began, struggling with her words. “I- I met Gideon and something told me, continues to tell me, to stay.” Marielle turned and dared to look into his eyes. The richness of his brown hues reminded her of warm chocolate on cold winter nights. The hint of cinnamon swirled in the depths spoke of impish mirth. There was a fire that burnt within them, glowing, wild, untamed. The pleading in his eyes was tender and one she hadn't ever seen in a man. “I wish I could tell you-“
A hand rose up to her lips, stopping her from speaking, and he shook his head gently. “Shhh. If my words are not enough to convince you- then I know of only one way that may remind you of what love should feel like.” His words were like velvet, and yet they resounded with such a crisp tone that only porcelain would've compared their texture. He leaned in, and before she was able to rebuff his movement, placed his lips to hers with the gentlest of compassion, a taste of what she once had that had been lost, and just within her grasp to take once more. His hands moved to her waist once more, wrapping around her form. The right slid its way up along her spine to her shoulder, giving it a gentle, yet powerful, defensive grasp, pulling her closer to his body.
The shock had her lingering far longer than she would have normally. It was merely a second, but it felt as if time had simply stopped. The taste of an earthy red wine filled her senses, vanilla and almond undernotes followed the brush of his tongue over her lips. There was the barest hint of submission. Love. It's been so long since she'd felt love and joy. It'd been so long since she'd felt anything at all. A soft sigh of desire was lost with their mingled breaths. The wistful sound filled her ears and she became tense with realization. Her hand flattened on his chest as she pushed him away and her lips ripped from their joined kiss. “Oh gods- What have I done? I don't know you- We're not- This isn't-” she swayed slightly as she willed her body to move, to get as far away as possible. “I'm not- I don't do this. I'm not-” Her head shook furiously and she pulled her hand from his grasp, running quickly to escape the Viking and the serenity of his program.
Shock was an understatement. Magnus had no idea that Marielle would have such soft lips, such grace, such demeanor- and damn was she persistent and as stubborn as he was. There she was, standing in his embrace one second, and the next, running at full stride back to the arms of her cowardly assailant. He didn't try to stop her. No, he didn't even chase her out the door or follow one step. Instead, he sighed, took in a breath of fresh air from outside, and chuckled, shaking his head and lowering it. “She didn't even stay to try the wine.”