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[JL Deniaud/Rocha/Salieri] Relapse

USS Aldrin Lounge


by First Lieutenant Marielle Deniaud & Lieutenant Gideon Salieri
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Stardate: 1703.29 [29 March, 2017]
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“Hello, darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk to you again.”
- Simon and Garfunkel [The Sound of Silence]

Marielle hummed softly to the music that filled her office. The smaller space, offered to the assistant chief of engineering, allowed her to focus on her thesis without annoying the rest of the engineering staff or her commanding officer. It had been a blessing when she had discovered the small private area. The glass walls gave the space an openness that she loved, with the additional benefit of having the clear surface for her equations. Already, the meticulously penned works covered near every centimeter of the two large windows, the beautiful cursive of her handwriting giving softness to the harsh lines and colours of engineering. She could see the warp core from her little corner, but it allowed her a degree of privacy as officers needed to round the corner to even see the space. It was such an overlooked area of Engineering that many didn’t even know the space was there.

He’d only ventured into Engineering a few times prior, not really taking the time to look at the department. Gideon Salieri stepped inside and paused just beyond the proximity sensor to take a look around at the space. The security officer slid his hands into his pockets as he glanced around, surprised at how small it was compared to the Lorelei or the Hermes. It had taken him a week to get used to the new hum of the engines, but the warp core had become like white noise since then. He was still in uniform, the pips removed from his collar and disappeared into his pocket the moment he’d stepped out of the brig. The chief of security was always respectful of the uniform. It was part of his identity.

Hold. Hold on. Hold on to me.
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady.
A little unsteady.

Gideon stopped an engineer with a gentle touch to his arm. When Lieutenant Paul Palmer shied away from his hand, Gideon blinked and backed off a step. “I’m sorry, just looking for Lieutenant Deniaud.” Palmer just pointed and returned his attention to his PADD. The security officer frowned a bit and shook his head, wondering what had spooked the engineer. He raised a hand to the scar on his eyebrow, rubbing against it as he turned and walked toward the Engineering offices. The motion had become something of a nervous tic, as if feeling the slightly tougher skin grounded him.

Mama, come here. Approach. Appear.
Daddy, I’m a lone.
‘Cause this house don’t feel like home.

Her music filtered beyond the glass walls, the soft music filling her office as she swayed side to side while she stood in front of her desk. Her back was to the windows, her eyes focused on the schematics that covered the surface. Marielle sang softly, her breathy mezzo-soprano voice adding a gentleness to the voice that filled her speakers.

The Betazoid mix furrowed his brows as the music became clearer. He stood for a moment to listen to the lyrics, hoping to discover something about her mood based on what was playing. He’d stopped by Engineering to see if she’d opened his gift to her, a set of four wooden handleless mugs - a remnant of his visit to Earth - he’d found while unpacking, ask about dinner sometime. Gideon glanced at the window, noting that she did seem busy.

If you love me, don’t let go.
If you love me, don’t let go.

Marielle’s head leaned to one side as her fingers traced along a line of power conduits through the Aldrin. She was in the process of getting to know her new home. The traditional design only made her love of the ship grow. There was so much more personality to the Prometheus-class warship than she ever imagined. It purred differently than her previous post, the hum nearly musical in its pattern.

Gideon approached the glass, reaching up to knock gently on the clear window when a click behind him stopped him in his tracks. The warp core hummed to life as the need for power elsewhere on the ship caused the generator to kick on. The security officer shivered as he swayed, his eyes dilating as the room disappeared from his vision. He was frozen, shivering in place as he waited for the hiss of the whip and the bite of the electric lash. “I don’t know,” he whispered.

The engineer turned to stare at her equations, but the sight of Gideon just beyond her glass window had her pausing. She focused on the man, blurring the gentle swirls of her cursive. Her lips curled up to a tender smile, but it dipped immediately when she caught the expression on his face.

His face had drained of color, beads of sweat dotting his hairline as Gideon started to pant softly. While his eyes remained distant, they darted around before squeezing shut. He heard the lash, a quiver ran his spine and the security officer clenched his jaw, twitching to one side as he waited for the bite into his back. A heavy groan fell from his lips.

Her brows furrowed as she watched his expressions contort. Marielle stepped forward, the doors opening with a soft hiss as the doors slid open for her. “Gideon?” she called out softly. The engineer stepped forward, her hand lightly touching his shoulder. “Hey?”

At the hiss of the door, he’d recoiled, yelping quietly and then pulling further away from Marielle. “I don’t know!” Gideon stumbled back, his hands grasping at his uniform before holding them protectively away from his body. He pressed his shoulder against the bulkhead, shivering now with more violence. “Lieutenant-” he started in a whisper, his head shaking furiously. “Gideon Salieri, Sigma-”

She glanced around quickly, glad to see that the other officers were busy with their duties to notice. “Hey. Um. Let’s,” she paused slightly as she tried to remember what it was that Gideon had said about a safe place. “Um. The box?” The engineer motioned to her office. “Do you want to go in there? It’s safer?”

He’d paused, gasping at the idea. They’d never offered him the box back. Was this a ploy? As the woman in front of him motioned to the office, Gideon shook his head briefly, disbelieving that this wasn’t a trick. He whined softly, squeezing his eyes shut as he shook his head. They never let me back in the box. This is wrong. Morha’s dead. Still, it was the box. They couldn’t hurt him in the box. “Yes,” he breathed, darting inside and immediately curling into the corner. “Two four eight,” he whispered.

Marielle lingered outside her office and sighed softly as she watched Gideon disappear into her office, hearing him cry out again at the hiss of the door as it closed behind him. She lightly tapped her communicator. “Lieutenant Deniaud to Doctor Rocha. I’ve got a situation in my office with Lieutenant Salieri. I need you here immediately.” She remained outside her office, just beyond the proximity sensor’s range to keep the door closed, and she watched Gideon press himself into the farthest corner.

Niels Henrik Rocha arrived quickly, his steps quick as he approached Marielle. “What’s wrong?” he asked quickly. He was winded, having had run quickly towards her at the urgency that laced her tone. He bent over, his hands pressed into his knees, as he took in long breaths.

The engineer turned to look at the counselor with worry clear on her features. “I don’t know?” Marielle answered simply. “He was down here, and I noticed something wasn’t right. I don’t know what set him off.” She turned back towards the man in her office as she peered through shut the glass doors.

The counselor turned towards her office, his eyes sweeping over the cursive that covered her windows. “This is beautiful-”

Marielle’s lips formed a thin line as she turned her attention to the Nandanian beside her. “Henrik!” she snapped at him. With Erik gone, the engineer had found herself missing the cantankerous Draconian and had thought bonding with Henrik would have eased some of her loneliness. Unfortunately, the assigned counselor was less than helpful during their sessions because he simply kept showering her with compliments. Marielle hadn’t had a proper counseling session since that first one, where all Henrik did was lament on her plight. She didn’t even know she had any ‘plight’ of which to speak. She managed a dinner or two out of politeness, but the Nandanian was quickly chipping away at her patience. “Focus. Gideon’s going through something. You have to help him!”

He nodded and immediately entered her office, the doors hissing open as he crossed the threshold “Lieutenant Salieri. Come. Let’s get out of this office and go some place more calming.” The doors hissed shut behind the Nandanian.

Gideon had his back to the corner, one arm tight against his chest, the other wrapped around his legs. His head was tilted at an odd angle as his eyes closed, whispering to himself. At the sound of the hissing of the door, he winced away, crying out softly in anguish. The second hiss of the door produced the same effect followed by a whimpering cry, “I don’t know!”

Henrik stood in front of the the security officer with his hand reaching out towards Gideon, who immediately jumped away, curling tighter into the corner, as if that were possible. “Lieutenant Salieri,” he tried again.

Marielle watched as Henrik did absolutely nothing to calm the Betazoid mix. The engineer sighed as she lingered beyond her office. It was quickly becoming clear that the counselor was going to be useless, and she tapped her badge to contact the one man who could help. “Lieutenant Deniaud to Lieutenant Winnetka. I need you to come down to engineering. I have a situation that’ll require your discretion.”

“On my way,” came the response from Ryan Winnetka.

The engineer moved towards her doors to her office, the doors opening softly with its customary hiss. She watched as Gideon pressed his back into the wall even more at the sound. Her vibrant hues swept over the door frame as some understanding clicked in her mind. Quietly, she reached over to the panel on the wall and lightly pressed her finger on the glassy surface of the panel by the door. Tentatively, she moved away and she nodded once in approval when the doors remained open. Marielle silently studied Gideon as she tried to pinpoint the trigger. ‘It couldn’t just be the door. He’s been walking in and out of rooms without any issue,’ she thought sadly.

“Ahh!” His body jumped at the phantom lash and Gideon arched his back away from the wall. “Stop,” he whimpered. “I don’t know.” He opened his eyes suddenly, his breaths coming quicker as he realized that he was in the box and they were still hurting him! “It’s supposed to be safe in the box,” he cried. It wasn’t fair. “I don’t know anything!” he cried in agony, pushing himself against the wall in desperation.

“Henrik, you should probably back away from him,” she offered, the suggestion more of a command than not. Her tone was kind and soft, mostly for Gideon’s sake, even though all she wanted to do was yell at the Nandanian. Her eyes remained on security chief. She recognized the signs fairly quickly. She had suffered something similar soon after her time on Atlantis.

“What is he jabbering on about?” Henrik sighed as he looked down at the shaking man. With a resigned sigh, he reached out and attempted to pull Gideon out of the office. His slender fingers wrapped around Gideon’s muscled bicep. “Come on,” he urged kindly. “All you need is a warm beverage and some time with people.” The security officer had wrenched away, clutching again at his uniform before laughing disjointedly and sliding down the wall into a seated position.

Winnetka stepped into Engineering, glancing around quickly. The security officer cleared his throat to get people’s attention. “Got work to do?” Ryan took long steps toward the direction they were all looking, finding Marielle and Henrik standing just inside the office. He furrowed his brows. “What’s going on?” His brown eyes found Gideon and he whispered to himself, “Holy Jesus.”

The engineer didn’t answer Ryan, her normally warm expression had transformed to something sharp as her annoyance simmered just under the surface. “Henrik. He doesn’t need a damn warm beverage or more people seeing him this way,” Marielle’s warning voice filled the office. She was careful not to raise her volume or to snap. The counselor’s inability to read the situation was only hurting Gideon. Her head swept to the side, finding a few lingering officers just beyond the window. When they caught her gaze, Marielle’s eyes widened and her jaw clenched in her irritation. It was enough to give them a sign that they were to disperse immediately, and they left her little hidden corner.

“I disagree, Miss Ellie,” argued the counselor as he once more tried to get Gideon to move his feet. He bent over the security chief and attempted to pull him up to a stand. Henrik struggled pathetically. “He simply needs to be surrounded by people who care about him.” He laughed sheepishly. “Heavens, he is quite the heavy man, isn’t he? I can’t seem to make him budge.”

Gideon jumped to his feet, wrenching bodily away from Henrik and moving to the opposite corner, pressing his back against the wall. “Stop!” He looked desperately on the floor as he clutched at his uniform. The security officer was searching for his scattered pips, having heard them clinking against the concrete floor when they ripped off his uniform. “Sigma Gamma Mu two four eight seven three,” he whispered desperately.

Marielle turned to Ryan and nodded in his direction finally. “Something set off Gideon,” she explained softly. “I don’t know what it was, but he’s relapsing. Do you know if he said anything to you about what Erik did? We have to snap him out of this.” She turned to Henrik when the Nandanian sighed and attempted a third time to grab Gideon’s arm. “Henrik,” she snapped finally as she quickly crossed the short distance and grabbed the Nandanian by the arm to pull him away from Gideon. She shoved the man towards Ryan before turning to immediately look at Gideon.

Ryan looked at his friend, his expression melting to one of sorrow. As Rocha stumbled in his direction, Winnetka grabbed hold of the counselor and shoved him against the door jamb. “Try-” The Chicago native racked his brain. “Frak, I don’t know. Do you have one of your croissants?” He kept one hand firmly on Henrik’s chest to keep him pressed against the door jamb as he looked on, annoyance evidently mixing with concern in his features.

Her hands were up in an attempt to show him that they were empty and in view. It was what Erik had done when she was in the holodeck with Rayna Elkhorn. “Hey,” she soothed as she smiled warmly at Gideon. She failed to hide the sadness that overwhelmed her. Her vibrant hues swept over his face, her sparkling emerald irises searched the depths of his rich blue. ‘I did this.’ Marielle desperately wanted to just reach out to hug him, whisper in his ear that it was alright and that he was safe and that she was sorry. Quietly, she sighed. Remembering Gideon’s revelation regarding Morha, her eyes fluttered shut. There was no way to know if seeing her eyes would only send him deeper into his memories. ‘Here I go again. Being selfish. Ryan should really be the one doing this.’ She kept the warm smile on her face as she faced Gideon. “My croissant?” she asked Ryan without turning to look at him.

“Bread,” Ryan specified.

“Won’t that set him off again?” exasperated the Nandanian.

Winnetka glared at Rocha. “Aren’t you supposed to know what to do here!?”

“I am attempting to be of service, but you are in my way,” Henrik offered weakly. “He simply needs to move and he will-”

Ryan pointed at Gideon, who was frozen in the corner, but not crying out at anyone approaching him. “He’s better like that with you here,” Winnetka motioned downward to show his spot, “than when I came in and you were trying to pull him up.”

She had been listening to the heated conversation behind her. While she believed Henrik was a poor excuse of a counselor, the man had made a valid point. “Gideon,” Marielle spoke softly and carefully despite the brightness that she pushed into her tone. “I’m famished.” Marielle pushed a soft giggle past her lips. “I’m going to eat, but I need to get to my bento box in my desk. Is that okay?” She remained standing in front of him with her eyes closed, her hands held up with her wrists facing him.

The half-Betazoid was quiet, his back pressed against the glass as his eyes darted to the three of them. Three of them in the box with him. Gideon’s knees weakened and he slid heavily to the floor, pulling his knees close into his chest as he shook his head. “Why isn’t it safe in the box?” he whispered in confusion, as if resigning to whatever mode of torture they had devised for him next.

Her head leaned to one side as she attempted to listen. His voice had moved. With her eyes closed, she slowly lowered herself to the floor. Her knees touched the carpet before her bottom rested on top of her feet. The last time she had fallen into the practiced seiza had been with Erik, and she lamented how the Draconian would have been better equipped to handle the security chief. She was still uncertain if she wanted to confirm the tie to Morha. “Are you sure about this Ryan? I mean-,” she stopped herself with a sigh. “No other options, I guess.”

Ryan’s eyes widened slightly at an idea. “Offer it to him, but make him take it. The doc made him take it.” Winnetka grabbed Rocha by the shirt and pushed him roughly against the door frame in a brief fit of anger, glaring at the counselor for being so ineffective.

“I really don’t want to be Morha,” she whispered to herself and nearly cried at the confession. She leaned to the one side, her hand blinding feeling for the side of her wooden desk. Her slender fingers moved over the polished surface before she turned slightly in order to reach with her other hand. Marielle moved on touch alone as she attempted to find the right drawer. “Tu dois me faire confiance, Gédéon. Je suis là pour toi (You have to trust me. I’m here for you),” she reached out to him with her voice as she pulled the drawer open and began to feel around for the silver box. “Voulez-tu entendre une chanson? (Do you want to hear a song?)” She hummed softly, the melody filling the quiet office.

Gideon had descended into a whispering, quivering heap of flesh, his hands held tight around his knees pulled up to his chest as his mind replayed his experiences within the cell on Malahakir. The security officer’s eyes were dulled, unfocused as he shivered harshly despite a thin layer of sweat on his skin.

When she found it, Marielle kept her eyes closed while she straightened in front of Gideon. Remaining in the seiza, she placed the silver tin on the floor between them. Blindly, she felt over the cover before her fingers found the sides and lifted the silver top. Marielle reached carefully into the bento box, her fingers brushing over the smooth surface. Butter clung to her fingertips as she picked up the simple chocolate croissant. She offered the whole thing to Gideon. The engineer held it up in front of him, her hand well in the confines of his personal bubble. “Pain au chocolat, Gédéon,” she explained. Marielle waited and when he didn’t reach for it, she nearly sobbed in desperation. She wasn’t cut out for this sort of work. This was what a trained psychologist was supposed to do on a starship. “Il est entré dans mon coeur, une part de bonheur dont je connais la cause,” she sang softly. “C’est toi pour moi, moi pour toi dans la vie. Il me l’a dit, l’a juré pour la vie.”

The French was off. Gideon’s full body quiver began to subside, his breathing slowing as the melodic tune cut through his terror. “Che cosa? (What?)” he whispered, dulled gaze turning to Marielle. He recoiled slightly upon seeing her arm outstretched to him. But the sound of her voice settled him again and Gideon focused again on the woman before looking to the chocolate pastry. A deep breath filled his senses with the aroma of chocolate and butter.

She remained kneeling before him, her eyes closed with her face pointed in his direction. The engineer continued to hold the chocolate pastry in front of his face, her arm steady with the gentle bend of her elbow while it hovered in the air. “Et dès que je l’aperçois alors je sens en moi mon coeur qui bat.” She hummed a few bars, a small smile on her lips as she felt her heart flutter over the old memories that flooded her. Marielle focused on the warmth that moved her as she sang the verse again, her voice breaking with the strength of her emotion.

Henrik gasped softly. “What a beautiful singing-”

Ryan grabbed Henrik by the shirt and pushed him out of the office, following the counselor with a glare. “What kind of counselor are you?! You have a patient in there having a full scale meltdown and you’re leaving it to two untrained friends to pull him back!?” Winnetka stepped closer to Rocha, his jaw clenching. “And fawning over Marielle while our friend is quivering in the corner-”

She ignored the tiff between Henrik and Ryan outside the office. “Gédéon,” Marielle called out to him softly. “J’espère que tu acceptez le croissant. Je l’ai fait moi-même. Rappelez-tu combien tu avez aimé manger ce que je cuisinier? (I hope you’ll take the croissant. I made it. Remember how much you love eating what I make?”)”

He reached out, closing his thumb, fore and middle fingers over the corner of the croissant, pulling gently on the pastry to tear off a bit. Gideon slowly moved the piece to his mouth, his eyes closing as the dessert nearly disintegrated on his tongue. A quick shiver overcame him and he opened his eyes, focusing on Marielle. His cobalt gaze moved over the small office before returning to the engineer. Gone were the visions of metal walls and chains from the ceiling, the smell of blood and vomit replaced with butter and chocolate, and plum blossoms, orchid, peony, and wild orange.

She pulled back the hand that had held the croissant and lowered it to her lap. Her free hand came up to wipe at the tear that was trapped between her closed eyelids. “Tu te souviens quand tu viens me rejoindre dans la cuisine? (Do you remember how you’d join me in the kitchen?)” she asked softly, a small sad smile on her lips. When Marielle heard nothing, her head tilted to the side. “Te sens-tu mieux? (Do you feel better?)” Her eyes remained closed, her voice uncertain as she announced, “Je vais ouvrir mes yeux maintenant. (I’m going to open my eyes now.)”

“Sì. Grazie, El.” Gideon could feel his heart beating heavily in his chest, his head swimming as he continued to pull for air. “Abbiamo fatto questi? (We made these?)” he asked quietly as he ate the last bit of the croissant he’d torn from the whole one. He heard the humming of the warp core and glanced up at the ceiling, blinking as his surroundings became more apparent to him. The chief of security decided against asking why her eyes would be closed.

As the Italian reached her ears, Marielle’s chin dipped down and to the side so she could open her eyes without looking at the security chief. Her eyelids fluttered as they opened, and she adjusted to the light before her chin lifted enough to look at him. “Allô Gédéon,” she greeted softly.

“Ciao,” he greeted in return, his voice low and cautious. He furrowed his brows as he looked over at Marielle, glancing to either side before finding her again. “What happened?” Gideon slowly brought his fingers to his lips, suckling the chocolate and butter from them. He glanced up as Rocha stepped into view, then over toward Ryan.

“You simply suffered a mental break-”

“A relapse,” Marielle interrupted Henrik quickly. She lifted the other half of the croissant in offering, her chin dipping as she turned away. The engineer purposefully looked over her shoulder to look at Ryan as she tried to control the wave of emotions that moved through her. “Hey Ryan, could you take Henrik to his office? I think he’s missing an appointment.”

Winnetka nodded and curled his fingers around Henrik’s bicep, pulling the counselor away and leading him out of Engineering. “You’re gonna be lucky if your office isn’t the brig for the next few days,” Ryan murmured.

Gideon’s eyes widened and he snapped his gaze at Marielle. “Oh, Gods, I’m sorry!” He held a hand over his mouth, closing his eyes as he shook his head. The security officer ran his fingers through his hair. It had already been bad enough that she’d seen him when they rescued him from Malahakir, but now she’d witnessed more than she should have to. “Prophets, I’m sorry,” he groaned and held his hands over his face.

Marielle turned to Gideon and kept her eyes on the croissant. “Don’t be sorry,” she replied softly. Her fingers tore into the pastry, and she slipped the morsel over her tongue. She was thankful for the momentary silence between them, even if the atmosphere was heavy. “I went through something similar on the Lorelei.” She tore another piece, twisting the pastry as she focused on the melted chocolate chips caught between the layers.

“Was it bad?” he whispered, frowning as he leaned his head back. Gideon offered a hand to her, only just then noticing that she wasn’t looking at him. A wave of guilt overcame him and his features tightened in sorrow.

“It was,” she revealed softly. Her voice had turned brittle. “I apparently tried to jump off a ledge. I was with, uh, I was with Lieutenant Elkhorn.” She silently ate the torn piece as her memories replayed through her mind. She had come to in a rose garden with Erik by her side. “All I remember was thinking that Marcus had broken his promise, and I wanted to-” Marielle inhaled sharply and shook her head. She ate the last bit of the croissant and focused on the bittersweet taste of chocolate and the savoury flakes of croissant overwhelming her senses.

“I’m sorry, I hope I didn’t- I wouldn’t want you to see that, Prophets.” Gideon whimpered as he shook his head again, hiding his face in his hands. “Gods, what a mess I am.” He shifted, trying to disappear into the wall behind him.

Her eyes finally lifted to look at his face. She couldn’t bring herself to look into his eyes; she didn’t want him to see the emotions she couldn’t hide. Marielle gave him an understanding smile. “We’re all messes, Gideon,” she soothed softly. “We all have our demons. Yours is still fresh. Be kind to yourself. It’s never easy. Until then, we’re all here for you.”

His eyes found her for a moment before averting to the carpet. “At least you had Erik to help.” Gideon frowned as he straightened his legs. “I’m going to start calling you for therapy sessions.” A low groan overcame him.

She looked over her shoulder towards her open door, where Henrik and Ryan had once been standing. Marielle chuckled lightly at his declaration, her face turning so she could look at him once again. “I’m a poor excuse for a counselor. I’m better with machines than I am with people. But, you should consider calling Erik. He’ll pretend he won’t like it, but I know he’ll only want to help however he can.”

Gideon nodded at the suggestion. There was a moment before he looked up at Marielle. “Thank you,” he whispered. He wanted to lean into her, snuggle against her and just be held. The engineer was too far away for the reach, and too distant emotionally. He furrowed his brows as he sighed, wondering again what had happened.

Marielle gave him a weak smile. “Any time, Gideon.” Quietly, she dusted her hands before sliding the cover onto the tin. Marielle shifted her weight, falling forward slightly to press her toes into the ground and then lifting her knees up together as she moved out of the seiza without having to press her hands to the floor. She dusted herself lightly as she held the tin on one hand. “I think you should call it a day. Call Erik. See if he has anything to offer.” She offered the tin to him. “And take this. You don’t look like you’ve been eating.”

All he could do at first was nod in agreement as he reached out for the tin. Gideon pulled it to his chest, holding it there as he tried to gather the strength to stand. His cobalt gaze turned up to the engineer. “Did you like the cups?” The security officer was a bit concerned at his weakness, wondering if it was a side effect of the relapse.

She smiled. “I did. They are beautiful. Thank you.” Marielle lingered in front of him as she took a small step back. Her fingers gently wrapped around her wrist, and she looked up at him briefly. “You really didn’t have to get me anything, especially since I didn’t get you anything. You’re always giving me stuff.” Her smile strained slightly. ‘Or saving me. It seems like all I ever do is give you bad memories,’ she lamented silently. “I feel like all I ever do is take from you.” The engineer forced herself to laugh, the sound soft and sweet despite the awkwardness in its pattern.

The security officer used her distraction to push himself to his feet, leaning hard against the wall as his head swam again. Gideon swallowed and hummed softly as he nodded. “They were made from the same driftwood as the bowl, they belong together.” Like we do. The Bajoran mix groaned softly before chuckling quietly. “I don’t need anything in return.” He paused. Your timing is terrible, Gid. “Maybe dinner, some time?”

“Oh. That’s nice. I’ve been using them to hold-,” she revealed softly. Marielle turned to face the schematics on her desk, but her head whipped back as she stared at Gideon. The question had come as a surprise. “Oh. Uh. I probably shouldn’t,” she replied softly with a weak smile as she began to ramble, “I’m still adjusting, you know? I’m trying to finish this stupid thesis and get used to this ship. I’m still trying to work through my duties as Commander Danaen’s assistant. Make sure I make a good impression and have a good relationship with-”

His fingers easily palmed the tin, pressing it against his chest as he nodded, trying to hide his disappointment. Gideon had hoped for an eventual yes, but the misdirection of her explanation stung him. “It was a stupid suggestion,” he cut in quietly before pushing off the wall. “Thank you.” He raised the tin to show what he was thanking her for.

“I- It wasn’t-,” Marielle fumbled foolishly over her tongue. ‘I just think I’ll end up hurting you more, Gideon. If I was strong enough, I’d stay away for good.’ “When things settle, yeah?” she offered weakly. “We could get the group together and have a nice dinner. Like the one we had in San Francisco.”

Gideon hummed softly in agreement as he stepped out of her office, unable to express to her how much he wanted her in his life at the moment. The Bajoran mix frowned once he’d turned his face away from Marielle, his eyes searching the Engineering space. How much did they see? The security officer’s brows furrowed when several engineering officers turned away quickly at the sight of him. Enough. The Betazoid mix reached into his pocket, feeling his pips roll between his fingers as he stepped out of main Engineering.





Copyright 2017. All works involving Mariëlle A. Deniaud, Henrik N. Rocha, and Gideon M. Salieri, including character biographies and published stories, are the property of the United Space Federation and its author. It cannot be reproduced, imitated, and copied without written permission from the authors. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction using aspects of the Star Trek universe as created and copyrighted/trademarked by Gene Roddenberry, Paramount, and their affiliates.
   
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