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The Thicket of Things. SL by LtCdr Marielle Deniaud and FstLt Gideon Salieri

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by First Lieutenant Gideon Salieri & Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud
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AUTHORS’ BLANKET WARNING FOR THESE CHARACTERS: The story involving Deniaud and Salieri involves adult situations and coarse language.  It is designed to be read by adults and not intended for children.  Caution is advised if any of the above is offensive.  WARNING TO THE WARNING:  You’ve been warned.  Consider yourselves fully warned.

[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Stardate: 1707.31
The Thicket of Things

Her eyes were closed and her face tipped towards the white clouds that dotted the blue sky above her.  Just beyond her reach, the aged Yumi bow was nearly covered in the tall grass that surrounded her.  The fabric of her clothes - the blue floral kimono was covered by the purple hakama, the sleeves pulled back by white linen straps - pooled around her.  The long raven tendrils of her hair were pulled back in a simple bun, a simple silver hair ornament pushed into the strands.  A thin layer of sweat clung to her brow.  After an hour of intense target practice, Marielle had simply fallen into the ground and ignored how the blades of grass tickled the sides of her face.  Her chest continued to heave as she eased her body from the intense training to a calmer state.

His shadow reached her first, approaching from one side to linger over her face as he stopped to stand above her.  Gideon rested his hands in his uniform pockets, his brows slightly raised as he looked down at the engineer with the obvious question on his features.  The security chief said nothing as he watched, his imagination running wild as he tried to outline her features under the kimono.

“Are you just going to just stand there?” she asked without opening her eyes.  A smile pulled at her lips as she ‘looked’ up at him.

He hummed quietly as he considered a response.  ‘Anything else could be dangerous, El,’ he warned her silently.  Gideon cleared his throat and shrugged to himself.  “I’m open to suggestions,” he stated playfully as he bent at the waist to lean closer to her.

Marielle chuckled softly.  She blinked away the darkness and her focus did not settle on the security chief until she’d adjusted to the brightness around her.  She looked up at Gideon, rich emerald eyes studying his face and moving over his attire.  She was silent, somewhat surprised to see him hovering so close.  His face was shadowed by the sun that rested high in the sky.  “You’re not really dressed to play,” she retorted in the same manner.  With a quiet breath, the engineer sat up and smoothed out the strands of her hair.  “Allô Gédéon,” she greeted softly and began to remove the linen straps that kept her kimono sleeves in place.

His body straightened when hers lifted into a sitting position.  “Ciao,” he greeted in return as his hand moved from his pocket to the hem of his uniform tunic.  “I’d say the same for you, but I think it depends on the game.”  Gideon chuckled to himself as he lowered to sit cross legged behind her, reaching to help with the straps.

She hummed softly as she pulled the yugake glove from her hand, smiling appreciatively as he eased the tension of the straps to let her kimono sleeves free.  They worked in silence, with him removing the straps and her adjusting the collar so it sat high on the hollow of her neck.  “I doubt you’d be able to keep up with the game I was just playing,” the engineer mused with a soft laugh as she adjusted the dip to the fabric at the nape of her neck.  She removed the rest of the traditional wear, but opted to keep the hakama as she didn’t have the proper obi wrapped around her waist.  She opened her hand for the white straps and neatly gathered them to rest by her bow.

Gideon scoffed defensively and shook his head.  “That sounds like a challenge, madam.”  He rested his hands on his hips and shifted his elbow to jab her gently in the side.

Marielle shifted, pushing to her knees and adjusting the layers of her clothes before kneeling in the seiza before him.  Her hands smoothed over the purple fabric as she looked up at him from under her lashes.  She fell to her training easily as she smiled wryly at him.  “Me?  Challenge you?  That doesn’t sound like me at all,” came the teasing quip.  The engineer’s smile remained on her features, though the act was dropped.  Slender fingers lifted as she covered her mouth while she giggled at herself.  ‘What am I doing?  Why am I flirting?’  Her head leaned to one side as she finally looked at him.  “Not that I’m complaining, but what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Well, I have the holodeck reserved for self defense classes and someone went past their time slot,” he explained with an accusatory smile in her direction.  Gideon lifted his arm and turned his wrist as if looking at a wrist watch.  “Should’ve started twenty minutes ago.”  The security chief hummed as he raised his brows in Marielle’s direction.

Realization hit her pretty quickly.  The engineer’s eyes widened, a horrified expression washing over her natural glow.  “Oh Gideon!  I’m so sorry!” she exclaimed as she rocked forward and back, the momentum easily lifting her to her feet in one smooth and graceful movement.  “I had no idea!  I’ll get out-”

“El!”  Gideon pushed himself to his feet quickly, reaching to grasp her by the shoulders to stop her from frantically running away.  “It’s okay,” he soothed her.  “I’ve already cancelled the class.”  The security officer smiled to ease her tension.  “I figured you needed the time.”  He paused as a wry smile pulled at his lips.  “But you could make it up to me somehow.”

“You didn’t have to cancel the class-  I’m so sorry.  Take my next holodeck time slot, okay?”  Marielle chuckled softly despite the guilt that moved through her.  “But, I do owe you.”  The engineer lightly tapped the tip of his nose.  “What do you want?  Tiramisu?  Cannoli?  Zeppole?”  She lifted her heels off the ground and leaned forward slightly.  “Maybe we’ll go old school, hmm?  How do good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies sound?  What dessert are you craving?”

‘You.’  Gideon blinked and shook his head at himself.  ‘Get it together, Gid, she’s not food.’  He groaned inwardly as his gaze returned to the engineer.  ‘But her mouth tastes so good.’  His sigh was accompanied by a grin as he slid his hands into his pockets and shrugged his shoulders.  ‘I can only imagine what-  Stop!’ he berated himself with a soft chuckle as his cheeks turned pink.  “Ah, well.  Anything you make would be fine, but you bake anyway.  I think it needs to be something new.”

Marielle raised a brow at him.  Her finger came up and poked him playfully in the sternum.  “Yeah?” she asked challengingly.  “Suddenly my pastries aren’t good enough for you, Mr. Gideon Salieri?”  The words were uttered teasingly.  A strong breeze swept over the grassy field, lifting the mess of cherry blossom petals in their direction and making the long fabric of her kimono dance around her arms and ankles.  A hand came up to push back the curled tendrils of her hair.

He reached up instinctively to pull the hair from her face, fingertips caressing her temple gently as he grinned and shook his head.  “Plenty good enough, El.  But this was a serious infraction,” Gideon tried to put on a straight face as his brows furrowed in accusation.  “The normal offering of pastries just won’t do.”

Warmth coloured her cheeks with a healthy glow of pink, a pleasant shiver shooting through her spine as his fingers brushed against her skin.  “Very well,” she chuckled softly.  Her chin dipped down as she continued to look up at him from under her lashes.  “How can I make this up to you, Mister Salieri?”

“I don’t think you’ll fully understand how much your oversight put things into a death spiral if I just tell you what the consequences are,” Gideon started.  A wry smirk found his features as his fingertips moved to brush an invisible strand of hair from her face.  “Surprise me,” he teased with a wink.

Again, she shivered under his touch and she hummed softly to herself as she considered what she could do.  “I think,” she began as she took a step back then another and another, “the best thing I can give you is a challenge.”  Marielle giggled softly as her bare feet wiggled against the cold ground - her zori and tabi were left abandoned by her bow and quiver.  She gave him a wink before her feet suddenly took her sprinting through the field of grass, her lilting laugh carried on the cool breeze.

He blinked once, twice, thrice.  His brow raised as she darted away, but an overwhelming sense of serenity moved over him as her laugh reached him.  Gideon sighed quietly to himself and struck out at a jog as he cut into the tall grass to give chase.  “I feel like I’ve been chasing you since I first heard your laugh,” he said to himself, groaning at the thought.  The security officer raised his voice after Marielle.  “Why is hiding from me your idea of recompense?!”

“Oh come on, Gid!” she called out behind her, laughing brightly.  “It’s about the thrill of the chase!  It’s the best part!”  Her hands brushed over the top of the grass as she sped towards the edge of the field.  She disappeared into the bamboo thicket and her strides slowed as she avoided the rocks and fallen branches.  “Life is all about the chase.”

The security officer pushed through the tall grass, his movements a bit slower as he was careful to watch where he stepped.  Gideon adjusted his direction based on the sound of Marielle’s voice.  “What happens when I catch you?!”  His gaze lifted between the thick stand of bamboo in which the engineer disappeared and the ground in front of him as he slowed to a brisk walk.

“What do you want?”  Her voice resonated in the thick forest of bamboo.  The sky was hidden by the towering reach of bending branches, the sun barely filtering through the blanket of leaves.  This was her domain and Marielle moved silently in the shadows as if she was one.  Grinning, she pulled the hair ornament from her hair and dropped it in a clearing on the ground before disappearing deeper into the forest.  

“That’s a dangerous question, El!” he warned her as he turned toward her voice.  Gideon reached forward as he eased the bamboo shoots aside.  He kept his eyes moving between the ground and the thick growth in front of him.  His gaze searched for Marielle’s footprints or a broken branch.  His steps paused for a moment as he listened for the engineer.

Her laughter echoed against the bamboo and filtered in from the shadows.  “Like you’ve never lived a little dangerously?”  She continued to move silently.  From afar, she could catch the glint of his yellow uniform.  Grinning, she reached up and began digging for the ends of the familiar red ribbon from the depths of her bun.  She removed the satin and released her hair.  It tumbled over her shoulders as she draped the ribbon over a leaf then moved deeper into the thicket.  She began to hum softly as she sifted her fingers through her hair to comb out the raven locks, knowing the sound would travel.  “Something ‘bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman,” she sang into the darkness.

His steps stopped again as a glitter caught his eye.  Gideon stooped down and reached for the hair comb, his thick fingers picking up the ornament reverently.  He hummed quietly as his fingers twirled the object and he listened for the engineer again.  The security officer stood up as he glanced around him, a smirk on his lips as Marielle’s voice surrounded him.  “This isn't going to end well for you,” he warned.

“Computer,” she whispered.  “Two hardwood bokken swords.  Keep the blade roughly seventy-six centimeters, overall length at roughly one hundred and two centimeters.”  She pushed one of the weaker bamboo branches down.  It bent at her whim.  When the wooden swords appeared before her, she took one in each hand and pushed forward.  “Something ‘bout, something ‘bout, something ‘bout you makes me wanna do things that I shouldn’t,” the engineer sang aloud as she led him with her voice, a swell of power rising from her throat.

He slid the ornament into his pocket as he followed the faint indentation from Marielle’s bare feet.  Gideon strained to see through the dense bamboo, cursing his eyes as he saw glimpses of color in the distance but looked too late to catch sight of the engineer.  His fingers picked the red ribbon from the bent branch when he came upon it.

As she approached the small clearing, Marielle was sure to leave a steady trail of footprints on the ground and she left one of the bokken in the center.  Her eyes swept over the clearing before she danced around wildly to leave a mess of heavy prints in the dirt before disappearing quickly into the thicket of bamboo.  “Nothing to prove and I’m bulletproof and know what I’m doing,” she taunted him as she sang, a quiet laugh filling the pause in her words.  “The way we’re moving- like introducing us to a new thing.”  

His lip turned up at the corner of his mouth as he glanced around again, her voice still drifting on the breeze from several directions.  The security officer closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, groaning to himself when he couldn't pick up her floral amalgamation from the green of the surrounding bamboo.  “I really don't think you know what kind of trouble you're setting yourself up for!” he warned again.  When she giggled in response, Gideon turned and moved quickly toward her voice.

“I wanna savour, save it for later.  The taste of flavour- ‘cause I’m a taker, ‘cause I’m a giver.  It’s only nature,” she sang to him.  The bell-like mezzo soprano teased him, rich and full.

The security officer stopped in his tracks as he entered the clearing.  His gaze shifted all around him as he looked for any sign of the diminutive engineer.  Cobalt irises settled on the wooden sword and his brows raised as he approached the weapon.  Gideon picked up the bokken and tested its weight in his hand, twirling it as he tossed the hilt from palm to palm.

She watched from the shadows, verdant green darkening in the shadows.  With both hands on the guardless grip, Marielle waited until his back was turned to her.  With a sly grin, she ran out quickly, her steps practically silent as she held the wooden weapon to her side with both hands.  The smooth tip brushed against the side of his neck as he leaned away.  “I live for danger,” she spoke out the last bit of the lyrics.

Gideon turned quickly and brought the wooden sword up to guard against Marielle, his lips pulled into a smirk.  “This is hardly fair, El,” he lamented despite his growing smile.  He studied her quietly, moving his stance to mirror hers as he took the hilt of the bokken in both hands.

The engineer shifted back with a soft laugh.  She held the wooden sword in front of her, her grip firm but easy.  Her feet moved quietly on the ground as she side stepped around him, the balls of her feet moving before her heel touched the soil.  “How so?” she asked sweetly.

He dropped his center of gravity slightly as he eased into a martial stance.  The sword lifted to point at Marielle and his hands gripped the hilt by his chest.  Gideon pivoted on his back foot as he kept the engineer in front of him.  “I can't hit you,” he informed her with a shake of his head.

Her eyes studied him carefully.  While the security chief had background in karate, she wasn’t completely inept with the ancient training tool.  “You’re assuming you’ll be able to touch me.”  Marielle’s smile was warm, her tone teasing.  Despite the jovial taunt, the engineer was calm and steady.  Her breath as quiet as the air that surrounded them.

“We’ll never know, I suppose.”  Gideon slid forward several steps to draw an attack.

She giggled softly as she tipped the bokken down and her arm swept back just slightly.  Marielle watched his body as she continued to move around him.  “Now where’s the fun in that?” she mused softly.

He released a soft breath as he shook his head.  The security officer relaxed and lowered the wooden sword, letting it hang in one hand as he held his other hand out toward her.  “There’s no fun in-”  Marielle moved quickly towards him, charging immediately to his center.  It was exactly what he’d hoped for.  Gideon lifted the sword back to guard as he stepped to the side, swiping aside the bokken as he turned to face the diminutive woman again.

As he reacted, the engineer moved to the side and spun, her body ducking low under his swipe.  Her grip tightened on her hilt as it connected hard with his calf, and she brought the wooden bokken up as her feet quickly shuffled back.  The ground was soft under her feet and she moved without hesitation.  Determination coloured her dark and flawless emerald eyes.

The security officer groaned with the sting of the hit.  His chin shook toward Marielle as he lifted the bokken once again.  “That wasn’t nice,” he grumped quietly as he released a steadying breath.  Gideon tensed and contracted his leg muscles to work out the ache.

She gave him a sweet smile.  “I’m a dangerous woman,” she sang, mezzo soprano turning sultry as she pulled at the lyrics.  The engineer released a quiet breath through thinly parted lips and she easily found her center once more.  The bokken was lifted and held with both hands, her slender fingers unwrapping then wrapping around the hilt to ease the tension that gathered at her fingertips.

“I’m starting to see that,” he murmured with a shake of his head.  Gideon considered the situation and smirked to himself, chuckling softly.  “You’re gonna pay for each bruise.”  He lifted the tip of the sword threateningly in her direction.  The bokken was swung in his fingers, twirled to reacquaint himself with the weight of the weapon before he lowered again into a stance.  The was hilt grasped in both hands and held behind him.

She shifted her hands along the wooden hilt.  Gideon easily overpowered her with strength, but she had speed on her side.  She was also banking on the assumption that the half-Betazoid had formal training in hand-to-hand but not swordsmanship, especially not the ancient artform.  Marielle couldn’t help the wicked smile that pulled at her lips or the devilish glint in her eyes.  Despite her silent breathing, her heart was racing.  It drummed relentlessly against her chest.  The banter between them had grown heated over the last few days.  She wasn’t sure what had caused it, but she wasn’t complaining either.  It thrilled her, sent chills down her spine and filled her with anticipation.  “Am I?” she mused softly, her voice turning low and almost breathy.  “An hour in the brig for each one?”  The engineer shifted her footing as she moved the sword back and sweeping it up along her side.

“Oh, no,” he answered.  The security officer gave no other indication that he would continue the statement, his eyes darkening slightly as he stared at the engineer.  Gideon let his smirk remain on his features, letting it be the only emotion he revealed as he studied Marielle.  His feet shifted with her movements so that he kept her in front of him, advancing a step or two at odd intervals.

The engineer hummed softly to herself as she studied his body.  There was no way she’d be able to manage another hit.  He was calm and steady on his feet, and his height gave him an advantage she couldn’t overcome so easily.  Her chin dipped just slightly and she looked up at him from under her dark lashes.  “Ah, Gédéon,” she practically moaned.  “Je me demande si tu seras victime si facilement (I wonder if you’d fall victim so easily).”

“Un'ora di che suona più piace. (An hour of that sounds more like it.)”  The security officer shook his head as he refused to be swayed by Marielle’s utterance.  He took a step forward to draw an attack, shifting his stance back when she didn’t take the bait.

She stepped back and released a sultry hum.  “Je doute que tu avez dur avec moi (I doubt you’d last that long with me),” she teased with a soft gasp.  The engineer stepped a bit to the side, watching as his body turned to keep her in front of him.  She scraped her teeth over her lower lip as she appeared coy.  “Je pense que tu avez peut-être raison.  Je suis la lionne.  (I think perhaps you were right.  I am the lioness.)”  She let her eyes flutter in flirtation.

Gideon shook his head again and his eyes fixated on the engineer as he silently reminded her that he wouldn’t be swayed.  “Vieni a prendermi.  Hai trenta secondi prima che ti metto sulla schiena.  (Come get me.  You’ve got thirty seconds before I put you on your back.)”  The security officer raised his brows at Marielle, the corner of his mouth lifting in a smug grin.

Marielle chuckled softly as she shook her head at him.  There was a bit of a disappointment that he didn’t seem swayed so easily by her flirtation.  Perhaps she’d read the tension incorrectly.  Silently, the engineer reminded herself that it shouldn’t have mattered.  Her eyes moved over the clearing as she quickly assessed their surroundings once more.  “Allons-y, Gédéon (Let’s go),” she straightened as she pushed away the desire she’d use to fuel her flirtations.  “Venez avec moi avec tout ce que tu avez (Come at me with all you’ve got).”  

“You know I have no idea what you’re taunting me with,” he grumbled as he stepped forward to close the distance between them.  “But your time is up,” Gideon informed her as he watched her step to the side.  The security officer took a step in the same direction, the bokken raised to defend against her attack.

Her grip tightened on the hilt of her sword just as a strong breeze swept into the clearing.  She ignored how her hair floated on the cool air and how it tickled her neck.  Her eyes remained steadfast and strong, sharp emerald hues locked with the depths of his blue.  “Isn’t that part of the fun?” she smiled warmly at him.  “You speak Italian.  I speak French.  However, you have an advantage I don’t.”  As she stared at him, she replayed the short attack in her mind.  She shifted forward to shorten the distance between them.  A matter of a few steps had her sending her attack in his direction.

“What’s that?”  He grunted softly as his momentum shifted from moving forward to attack to backpedalling with his defense.  His body moved fluidly as he adjusted quickly to Marielle’s strikes, accepting the blows against the blade of the wooden sword.  While the bokken wasn’t a weapon he considered himself proficient in, it was similar enough to a katana, if not much heavier.  He treated it as a broken bo staff.

The sound of their bokken making contact echoed in the bamboo forest and disappeared into the darkness.  She moved with him, their bodies dancing as they mirrored the other’s movements.  When he struck from above, she twisted and blocked with the bokken.  When she attempted to reach him from below, he stepped back and pushed her swing out.  Her smile grew as the percussion of their wooden blades filled her ears.  Her eyes watched him intently, green never breaking away from the richness of his blue.  The intensity he showed sent a thrilling shiver through her.  The fabric of her hakama floated with the swift movements of her feet.  

Sweat began to bead in his hairline, his chest lifted and fell heavier as he started taking in deeper breaths.  The engineer’s quickness was an equal balance to his reach and strength, but his tenacity had just begun to surface.  ‘Maybe she doesn’t need to be all muscles to match me,’ he mused to himself.  Gideon danced around Marielle, the bokken sword lifted to block and swept to counter attack.  He never swung to hit the diminutive woman, simply to draw her attack.

She wasn’t sure how much time passed.  It felt like an eternity, but what an eternity it was.  In that moment, she couldn’t help the lilting laugh as her joy overwhelmed her.  It’d been so long since she’d had a good fight.  She’d always been weak in hand-to-hand, but she had enough confidence in handling a weapon.  Marielle grunted every time she fought against the strength he easily pushed against the wooden blade.  The ache in her limbs made it difficult to push back against his attacks.  Every attempt she made to shorten the distance between them, Gideon easily countered.  She spun around him, her back brushing against his arm as he twisted with her.  When she moved out of the spin, she lifted the bokken for the killing strike towards his side.  It was one that he easily mirrored - the wooden blade poised by her neck.  Her arms remained still as she stared at him, her chest heaving with her breaths and her eyes filled with heat.

He stood tall, feet shoulder width apart and his hand raised to block an attack, the other arm stretched, the bokken acting as an extension of his shoulder as the wooden blade hovered dangerously close to Marielle’s neck.  His chest moved with his deep breaths, a dark haze settled over his irises as he watched the engineer.  After a few silent moments, Gideon lifted the blade gently, tapping the flat of the wooden sword on the underside of her chin.

The spell was broken with the gentle touch, and Marielle giggled.  She tapped the side of her hardwood sword against his side as she gave him a bright smile and a wink.  She remained poised, unmoving and unrelenting, with the bokken in both her hands.  “Tu ne déçoit jamais, Gédéon (You never disappoint),” she managed softly, her voice low and almost guttural as she continued to take deep breaths.  Her heart threatened to break through her chest, the sound drowning everything else in her ears.  Her eyes fluttered shut briefly as a strong cool breeze swept over her.  It kissed the sweat that clung to her skin and made her hair whip wildly around her.

Gideon smiled at the sight and he lowered the bokken as he eased his stance, transferring the sword into his other hand so that he could brush aside Marielle’s weapon and step closer to her.  The way her shoulders moved with her deep breaths and the wind pushing her hair into her face, sticking with the sweat on her body drew him to her.  She had a certain glow that he wanted to bask in forever.

She remained rooted in place as he moved closer, the bokken lowered slightly when his hand easily pushed it aside.  The engineer continued to breathe heavily as he approached.  Her tongue swept over her lips when she found them dry, a warmth spreading through her despite the shiver that made her fingers tingle.  She could feel the haze moving over her as she lost herself in the depths of his blue.  Realization snapped through her, however, when a rustle through the bamboo forest pulled her from the mesmerizing stare.  Her eyes widened slightly as her hand moved before she truly put thought into the moment.  She acted on instinct alone, her feet shuffling back and her body spinning around him.  The bokken was lifted, both hands wrapping around the hilt, and she let it fly towards his backside.

He howled in surprise as the wood connected with his ass, his own sword dropped as he staggered away from Marielle, his hands covered his wounded backside.  “Cazzo, woman!”  Gideon groaned as the pain continued to radiate through his hips.  “That was dirty!” he grumbled as he continued to utter curses under his breath.
Her hand came up to cover her mouth as she giggled.  She turned to face him, her smile infectiously bright as she released a lilting laugh.  “What’s wrong with playing dirty?” she asked as she approached him.  “I don’t mind being a bit filthy.”  The engineer chuckled softly as her shoulder brushed against his as she made her way towards the clearing’s edge.

“Cazzo,” he grumbled again.  The security officer shook his head as he reached for her shoulder and spun her around.  Gideon stepped behind her and pressed the back of his knee against hers, unbalancing the engineer.  He helped her fall so that she wouldn’t hit the ground hard.  His hand grasped her easily by the back of the neck as he caught her mere centimeters from the soft earth.  “Good thing, you’re about to be,” he smirked down at her.

She gasped at the sudden change in position.  Her hand dropped the bokken and immediately grabbed the sleeve of his jacket.  “Gideon!” she exclaimed with a laugh.  “Don’t you dare!”  

“What’s this?” he asked as if surprised, a smile overcoming his features as he hovered over the engineer.  “Suddenly don’t want to get filthy?”

“Oh my gods!” she laughed aloud.  Her grip tightened around the fabric of his uniform.  “Gideon!  Please!”  She attempted to find her footing once more, but the angle was near impossible to pull out of without his help.  

The security officer grinned.  “I like the sound of that,” he stated with a wink.  “With more feeling,” he directed, his free hand emulating what he desired from Marielle.

The engineer stared up at him incredulously, her laughter only growing brighter and warmer as she felt the strain on her limbs.  When he simply watched her with that smile and that playful look, Marielle narrowed her eyes briefly.  She closed her eyes as she took in a calming breath.  Slowly, her eyes opened and she pulled from the depths of her past as she stared up at him from under her dark lashes.  Her arms shook from the exertion of her archery practice and their bokken sparring match, but she managed to lift herself just enough to cross the short distance between them.  Her nose brushed along his cheek, a light touch in teasing.  “Gédéon, je t’implore (I beg you),” she breathed out, the plea uttered with a quiver.

He’d encircled his arms around her when she pulled herself up and his eyes closed as she pressed closer to him.  Humming quietly as a shiver moved through him, the security officer leaned back, pulling Marielle to her feet as he kept his arms around her.  “Dei, il divertimento che potrebbero avere, (Gods, the fun we would have.)” he murmured as he held her.  Gideon lowered his chin to rest his cheek against her raven hair, enjoying her pleasant floral amalgamation mixed with the musk of her exertion.

She released a long and shaky breath as her eyes fell shut.  Marielle took in deep breaths as she leaned into him, her head resting briefly on his chest and her fingers still gripping at his uniform.  She could have lived in that moment forever but she quickly recalled the uncomfortable conversation she had with her mother.  “We should probably get going,” she managed after several long minutes though she didn’t attempt to pull away.

“Got somewhere to be?” he muttered to argue against moving.  It was enough she probably felt his excitement, it would be something else if she saw it.

‘No,’ she sighed quietly.  “I’m pretty sure we’re going to run into someone else’s holodeck time.  And, don’t you have rounds?”

He groaned in complaint.  His stance shifted to hold her tighter as he swayed slightly with Marielle against him.  “I’m going to be doing rounds for the next few days since I can’t frakking sit down.”  His last few words were spoken with an accusatory tone and a huff.

Marielle giggled softly.  “It’s nothing a dermal regenerator can’t fix, you big baby.”  With a deep breath, she pulled away.  Her fingers were the last to remain close to him.  “Come on.  Let’s get to Sickbay so Cana can take a look at your ass.”  The engineer laughed aloud at the idea.  The nurse was going to owe her big time for it.

“Oh, Hell no!”  Gideon shook his head vehemently.  “I’m not going anywhere near Sickbay.  Nope.”  He backed away and his hand slid into his pocket so he could retrieve her red ribbon and the silver ornament.  “You can have these back after you run a dermal over my ass.”  His fingers uncurled to show her the items.

She laughed softly as she made her way to him.  “Be still my heart.  The words every woman wants to hear from a handsome man,” she mused with a shake of her head.  Her steps carried her towards him quickly.  “Computer!  Arch!” she called out through her laughter.  Her hands found his sides and she pushed him out the holodeck as the doors opened for them.  “Come on, you big baby.  Let’s get you healed up, and then you can give me back my things.”

The security chief put the ribbon and the ornament back in his pocket protectively as he let Marielle push him around.  Gideon hummed quietly, not minding at all that the engineer was bossing him.  He would put up a fight if she directed him to Sickbay, acting like the baby she accused him of being just to keep her laughing.  “You still owe me for two hits,” he muttered, smirking to himself.


   
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