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Four days in the pit left him frozen to the core and burning with rage. It wasn’t enough that he was being forcefully detoxed from Grave Dust - even a week on the drug generated dependency. Silence became his constant companion and he couldn’t even force himself to imagine Marielle’s laugh. The prisoners had also been made aware that Gideon survived by leaving his area. A well-liked Cardassian and Nausicaan had been killed in the cave in. The Starfleet officer should have died with them and the seventeen others. He was pelted daily with rocks, to the point he curled to protect himself and missed the daily ration of bread. On the afternoon of the fifth day, the half-Bajoran was lifted from the pit. A regenerator was haphazardly run over his wounds and he was released for work the next morning. The former security chief ate quickly and then retreated into the barracks to hide from the returning prisoners.
The Ferengi was nearly steaming under the heavy coat that was two sizes too big for him. Narrow fingers were buried in the patchy fur that covered the thin wool. He grumbled under his breath as he thought of home. His eyes narrowed on the body on the lower bunk and a toothy grin pulled at the corner of his lips. “Hoo-man. You live,” he offered in gruff greeting.
“Se è così che lo chiami, (If that’s what you call it.)” he muttered in response. His body curled under the coat he’d been given upon his arrival to the prison. The thicker one Fregg had gotten him after the fight had been taken away. Dull cobalt stared at the floor as he lamented his future.
He made his way to his bunk and exchanged his large fur coat for a better sized version. He made his way to Gideon before he dumped the heavy bundle on the half-Bajoran. “You’ll have to owe me for that coat. The next fight is in two days. Make sure you win,” he chuckled, the braying cackle interrupted by raspy coughs. His fingers curled into a fist and Fregg beat at his chest to ease away the uncomfortable tickle. “Ah- It’s going to get colder. We’re moving farther from the sun. Winter months.” The very thought had him laughing again.
Gideon furrowed his brows at the thought, but kept his comments to himself. ‘Come cazzo puoi dirlo?’ His gaze lifted briefly to the Ferengi and he nodded in silent thanks as he pulled the heavier and warmer coat over his body like a blanket. He had nothing to say to the short man.
Fregg quickly glanced behind him and turned to the curled bundle on the bunk. “They’re making us work longer hours to make a new cavern. So many bodies- You were lucky, hoo-man,” he revealed. He shook his head and sighed when he felt exhaustion working into his limbs. He pulled the hypospray from his body and pressed a hand on Gideon’s arm. “To help you sleep.” A simple tug revealed a portion of the half-Bajoran’s neck and he pressed the device into the exposed skin as he released the Grave Dust into his system. “We’ll have to be careful. The next drop-off is soon and the location is being moved because of the collapse. Don’t call more unwanted attention to yourself, hoo-man.” He straightened and tucked the ancient hypospray into the hidden coat pocket and made his way towards the bunk he’d called his own.
He grunted softly when he reacted too late to move away from the Ferengi. Gideon hadn’t considered continuing to use the drug since it had been the reason for abandoning his station. A heavy sigh fell from his lips and he pushed himself to sit up so that he could hang up the coats and properly nestle under the blanket on his mattress. The half-Bajoran groaned quietly as he dropped back to succumb to the hallucinations.
“Children! Your father’s home, go greet him!”
The stampede was almost instant and it vibrated the walls as a group of children rushed towards the half-Bajoran who had just stepped over the threshold. Five little bodies - three girls and two boys - pushed against one another as they exclaimed excitedly. They shared similar traits: subtle ridges on the bridge of their noses and a pale tawny complexion with a hint of a rosy undertone. The combination was of raven hair and blue eyes or rich chocolate strands with green irises.
Laughter filled the air as he squatted just inside the doorway. Open arms were quickly filled and he toppled backward with the momentum. “Oomph!” Gideon smiled as he attempted to corral the rambunctious children to give them all hugs. “Maman! What are you feeding them!?” The half-Bajoran grunted again as they crawled over him in their excitement.
“I have a boyfriend!” the eldest announced as she pushed her brother off her father’s lap. Mara was the first born and was easily the most outspoken of all her siblings. “His name is Atticus and he gave me his pencil!”
“Ew!” came the joint exclamation. Ethan was the second born and had Marielle’s smile. “You’re too young to have a boyfriend!” He also had her tendency for stating the obvious.
The diminutive woman leaned against the doorjamb of the entryway that led to the kitchen. Dinner was on the stove and the house was rich with the aroma of baked bread. Her arms crossed over her chest. Emerald irises moved to her husband, a gentle smile pulling at her features. “Welcome home, love. How was work?”
“Is Atticus in your class?” he asked Mara with a steady smile. He then nodded toward Ethan. “You are too young to have a boyfriend. He can be your friend that’s a boy.” Gideon winked and kissed Sybil on the forehead before sitting up and grinning toward Marielle with adoration. “It went well. Were they well behaved?” The half-Bajoran gripped the youngest boy, Chris, to his side and pushed himself to his feet. The toddler giggled as his stomach was tickled.
“That’s what a boyfriend is, daddy!” Mara rolled her eyes and made her way towards the playroom with her siblings. “Bisnonna! We have time for a game!” At the exclamation, the stampede moved towards the finished basement, which had been designated their play area.
The Academy instructor smiled toward his youngest son as he carried the boy toward his wife. “Do you want to play or help Maman and Papa with dinner?” Gideon smiled as he cradled Chris to his hip and leaned to give the diminutive woman a kiss on the cheek. “How was your day?”
Marielle stepped back as the children ran past her and she chuckled softly, her head shaking slightly at the sight. She looked up affectionately at the half-Bajoran. “They are always well-behaved,” she offered with a warm smile. “It was good. We drew pictures and Chris made bread.” She giggled and wiggled her finger at her youngest. “You were such a big help, weren’t you?” The diminutive woman had long retired from Starfleet, having chosen to remain at home before the birth of their first child.
He gasped playfully and gawked at his son on his hip. “You baked bread? Such a big boy! Give me five.” Gideon held up his open hand to the child and smiled.
“Bread!” Chris squealed with delight and his tiny hand continuously swung onto his father’s open palm. “Bread! Bread!”
The half-Bajoran kissed the boy’s temple and then lowered the toddler to the floor. “Go downstairs with Nonna. It’s Maman and Papa time.” Gideon smiled as Chris walked awkwardly toward the stairs, grabbed the spindles and slowly descended into the basement. His bright cobalt turned toward Marielle and he lifted his arms to wrap around the woman. “I love Maman and Papa time,” he mused wryly before kissing her smile.
She giggled and shook her head at him. “You’re insatiable,” she mused before returning his kiss. Her arms draped over his shoulders, her back arching back slightly as she pressed herself against him. “Though, you’ll have to be careful with me. I carry precious cargo.” Marielle let the words settle between them, her smile never disappearing.
Understanding came quickly and if it was possible, his smile grew wider and his expression glowed. “Really?” he asked her for confirmation of his thought. Gideon pressed his stomach against hers as if to feel and one hand trailed down her side. Excitement nearly had him shivering.
Marielle nodded. Her hand slid over his shoulder, the other arm draped around the back of his neck to keep her close to him. She held up three fingers, jewel green irises twinkling with mirth. “We’re going to need a bigger house.”
“Three?” he gasped incredulously. “Triplets?” A delighted guffaw slipped from his lips as he tightened his arms around her and picked her up. Gideon twirled her carefully before setting her back on the floor and leaning down to place a quick kiss to her lips. “Oh my Gods,” he breathed with his excitement. His gaze found Marielle’s and love blossomed for her again. “I love you my little babymaker,” he whispered before smothering her with another kiss. He was hungry for her again.
A hand shook Gideon awake, the silent Trill looking down at the half-Bajoran with a meaningful look. He pulled away to grab the coats they kept to one side.
He whined quietly at being pulled from his illusion and shook his head in silent refusal to get out of bed. The protest lasted all of a second before Gideon sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. He rubbed his face harshly to clear his thoughts of the diminutive woman and their gaggle of kids.
Fregg made his way towards the half-Bajoran and chuckled softly. “Good dreams?” he asked. It was a needless question. Grave Dust always gave the recipient his heart’s deepest desires.
“Triplets,” he whispered. Gideon dipped his chin to hide the disappointment from his features. ‘It’s just a dream. She’s dead. I killed her. What are you doing Gid?’ He chastised himself with a soft grunt and pulled his fingers through his hair.
The Ferengi chuckled. “May they provide you with good profits.” He shook his head. “It is a good woman who can give a man children.” He glanced quickly over his shoulder before looking at his bodyguard. He pulled the ancient hypospray from the depths of his pockets and turned the dial. “I want to try for a day to see if this works. This dose should last until afternoon. If we time it right, you’ll get another at the break then dinner. I can increase my influence if this proves profitable.” He leaned forward and pressed the device against his neck. He did the same to the Trill when the silent man moved to get the same dosage.
His argument was cut off by the administration of the drug. Gideon sighed softly and waited to see if he was going to be able to push to his feet and carry on the day. His gaze lifted briefly to Eritas to see how the Trill was handling it.
“Gideon,” she whispered to him, fingers interlacing with his. Marielle gently pulled at his arm to get him to his feet. “Time for breakfast. I made chocolate croissants. You better get downstairs before the kids devour them.”
“I love your chocolate croissants,” he murmured to the illusion as he pushed to his feet. The former security chief picked up his coat and shrugged it over his shoulders. He stepped into his thick boots and pulled the jacket tight over his chest. Gideon followed Marielle’s lead toward the door.
Fregg chuckled as he watched the half-Bajoran move. “You should learn to speak quietly if this is to work,” he muttered. He tucked the device into the hidden pocket of his jacket. He scratched at his jaw before his hands buried into his pockets. “Maybe a lower dose,” he whispered to himself.
She walked beside him, her head on his shoulder and his hand sandwiched between hers. “I asked Nonna to take the kids for a walk on the beach today. They’ll be gone all day,” she revealed softly as they made their way to their destination together. “I thought maybe we could have some alone time.” She giggled softly.
Somehow, the Ferengi’s words reached him and Gideon simply adjusted by speaking in his native tongue. A warm hum and languid smile pulled at his features as he nodded. “Amo il tempo di Maman e Papa. Sono tutto tuo. Dimmi come mi vuoi, (I love Maman and Papa time. I’m all yours. Tell me how you want me.)” he mused with a wry smile. Dulled cobalt somehow twinkled with mirth as he interacted with the figment of his imagination.
The gruel at breakfast had never tasted so good. Warm chocolate melted in his mouth between buttery flakes of the croissant. Gideon had no idea how much of a spectacle he was making of himself - he didn’t care. Instead of being trapped in the underground prison, he was enjoying a morning meal with his wife. Marielle walked with him to the tram and they curled against one another whispering sweet nothings.