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AUTHORS’ BLANKET WARNING FOR THESE CHARACTERS: The story involving Deniaud, Salieri, and Vaeros 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/Vaeros] Collaboration Log
Three to Tango: Caricias
Caresses. A gentle stroking with the leg or shoe against some part of the partner’s body. This can be subtle or extravagant.
There was only one lit area in the entire room, a light in some unknown spot high over the stained wooden boards cast a bright circle into the space. The edges of the spotlight were soft as it faded towards the darkness. She waited in the shadows. Her eyes remained focused on the center of the brightly lit floor. She could hear him moving along the edges. If she squinted, the engineer could catch the faint outline moving. She didn’t know why he was taking so long to start, but Marielle knew she was also being unreasonable. Her plans for the evening were keeping her from focusing on their dance. Her body wanted to move to rid itself of the its nervous energy, and the engineer silently chided herself for her lack of focus.
His black shoes clacked on the floor as he walked around the edge, and it echoed in the silence. His Draconian senses had kicked into overdrive after their discussion, and his heart thumped loudly in his ears. Erik Vaeros narrowed his eyes as he focused on the dark outline of her body in the shadows as he neared her. He could hear the near-nonexistent stuttering of her black stilettos as she waited in the darkness, a nervous tick she didn’t even know she possessed. His pointed ears twitched at the sound, a grin pulling at the corner of his mouth. He could hear her lips parting as she took in a breath to calm the racing heartbeat in her chest. Marielle’s soul sang and moved in sweeping motions, as it often did, in a symphonic melody to match her mood, and the engineer was full of it emotion that night. Erik didn’t need to hear it to know her mind wasn’t on their rehearsal. The woman was thinking of her date - which she refused to call a date even though he and everyone else knew better - with the insipid Salieri. Erik silenced the anger so he could focus on her. He stopped next to and just behind her, his hand moved slowly as it took her hand, a calloused thumb drawing a soft line on the inside of her wrist. He leaned down to close to her ear, bending low to compensate for their height difference. “Focus, Bright Eyes,” he whispered, his lips brushing against the top of her earlobe. “It’s just us. Just you and me.”
Marielle had jumped when she felt the tender touch on her wrist and she shivered as his breath kissed along her skin. She could only nod in response, and she ignored the fluttering in her stomach. Her wrist bent back to grasp his hand, a finger sliding under the cuff of his dress shirt to feel the scar tissue underneath. The engineer gave his wrist a squeeze in silent appreciation for grounding her back to the moment. “Sorry. You’re right.”
He couldn’t help but grin at the hitch in her breath, though his own caught in his lungs when a dainty finger brushed against the sensitive surface of one of the many scars hidden on his body. She was the only one who knew of their existence, and he was still in awe that the woman hadn’t turned away in disgust at seeing them. His nose brushed along the temple as he straightened and took the slow deliberate pace away from the engineer towards the center of the spotlight. His back remained to Marielle, but he could hear her just beyond the edge of the shadows. Erik was dressed in a pair of simple black slacks and a white dress shirt. The top button was unbuttoned. His long maroon hair was messily styled to appear like it hadn’t been.
Gideon had walked into the dark hall several minutes ago and cobalt moved over the pair as they prepared for the dance. The Betazoid mix couldn’t help but feel a little jealous of the Draconian. The security chief had no natural ability for dancing and obviously Marielle had picked Erik because he did. ‘Just one more aspect in which I’m not good enough for her.’ He sauntered to a table and quietly pulled out a chair to sit down. He rested a dark blue bud rose on the tabletop. His gaze focused on Marielle and he willed himself to believe that she didn’t really feel anything for Erik. She put on a good show, though. It would still be difficult to watch.
From the shadows, Marielle appeared. She left her hair down that night, black strands curled into waves. She was dressed in a simple dark purple dress with a plunging queen anne neckline that kept her shoulders covered but her arms bare. The bodice wrapped around her chest, fabric hugging her like a second skin. The skirt flared out at the waist and ended a few inches below her knee, a long slit ran up her right leg to end at the hip. Gold strappy stilettos covered her feet. Her leg peeked out with each confident step towards Erik, and she stood behind him with her body almost flush against his back. “Remember,” she started, “the key to tango, especially the Argentine tango, is to watch your partner.” Her voice carried so easily in the empty and shadow-filled ballroom. She hadn’t noticed Gideon arriving, her own nervous energy had kept her eyes glued to the dance floor.
Erik, however, did know that the security officer had joined them. He had been annoyed to sense Gideon lurking in the shadows, especially since the Draconian knew of what she refused to acknowledge - that her affections for the half-Betazoid ran deeper than friendship. The idea still had him tasting bile in the back of his throat, but he willed himself to focus. If the security officer wanted to witness the connection he had with the engineer, then Erik would be more than happy to educate Salieri as to why he was a better match for Marielle Deniaud than the security chief would ever be. The Draconian made a show of wiggling his arms and shoulders, which earned him a laugh and a light smack on the back of his head from the woman behind him. “Ow. Bright Eyes! Geez. I know!” There was a pause, and he looked out to stare at a random point on the floor just beyond the soft edge of spotlight. “But, tell me again. I like how you describe it.”
Marielle giggled softly. She leaned forward to close the already narrow distance between them, her cheek just resting below on his shoulder blade. Even with her insanely tall stilettos, she was easily dwarfed by the Draconian’s height. “The key is to anticipate their movements, predict them with the tiniest of glances, and the faintest inkling of a twitch,” she spoke clearly as her hand slipped between the sliver of a gap between his bent arm, fingers spread apart as they pressed against the side of his body and moved up his chest. “The woman is to trust her partner wholly because she is to give up all control to him. The man is to treat her with the utmost respect, promising to never do something she cannot follow yet always pushing beyond the boundaries. He has to push between what is possible and what is erotic.” Their combined bodies moved to one side, leg bending while the other remained straight.
The Draconian grinned, his chin dipping so he could stare at the hand. “And do you trust me, Bright Eyes?” He looked at the woman behind him, purple eyes falling to the top of her head.
At that, her hand slipped away from his chest, sliding along the same path. Marielle looked up at him and her head tilted to the side. It was a curious question, especially when they were about to begin their dance. “Of course, I trust you, Erik, you ass.” She smiled up at him, the glow only growing brighter when he returned it with a smile of his own. “Now. Come on. Stop fooling around.” Her hands moved up to his cheek, and she stood on her tip toes to turn his head. “Remember. Feel me more intimately than anything, even more your own senses. This is about trust and connection.” There was a pause before she wryly asked, “Do I need to blindfold you again?”
“I knew you were the dominant type.” Erik chortled when she sputtered, and his chin moved as instructed. His arms hung to his sides again. “Alright, Bright Eyes. I’m all yours.” The words rang true for him.
Gideon watched the exchange and shifted in the chair, though he remained quiet. It wasn’t quite jealousy that surged within him, because the half-Bajoran knew that Marielle had chosen him that night during her drunken state. But the gall of the Draconian to be so bold was enough to get his blood boiling. ‘We’re both friends who want to be more with her. She has to see it.’ The security chief sighed softly and shook his head as he tried to clear his mind and focus on how much Marielle enjoyed the dance, not how much Erik enjoyed it. His fingers played with the stem of the rose and he grinned to himself as he thought of the gift awaiting the engineer within the petals.
Marielle laughed. “You better be,” came her cheeky retort. Her hand moved through the gap of his bent arm again, her fingers spread apart as they pressed against the side of his body and moved up his chest. Her eyes closed through the movement as she kept her body flush against Erik’s. She could feel his heart jumping as his hand rested over her own, his callous fingers brushing against her soft skin as he nearly interlaced their fingers. She slipped the limb from his grasp to slide her body against his back to stand beside him in one graceful step, her other arm flying out in a thoughtful bend as her head turned to meet the Draconian’s eyes.
The piano started with a heavy syncopated rhythm and castanets clapped the steps. The violins surged in a sweeping plea of emotion and the seduction began.
His inhaled as Marielle’s hand smoothed over his shirt. The pressure she applied was always thoughtful of the scars hidden underneath, but the heat that emanated from her palm always made him want to combust. He loved the first look she gave him when they started the routine. Her normally bright and bubbly expression made way for something sinful.
The slit of her dress flew open as she spun, exposing the length of her leg, until she was pulled to stand in front of Erik with her back flushed against his chest. Her eyes closed, lips parting thinly so she could inhale sharply. She kept her arms gracefully bent in the air as his hands smoothed over the sides of her body, his nose tracing a line along her cheek.
Their tango started slow, flirtatious with intense and deliberate moves. And, when Erik allowed her to spin away, he followed in close pursuit to close the gap. His hand pulled her in tight to his body with a snap, his lips dangerously close to hers. Their eyes flickered down to stare at each other’s mouths before they met back in an intense shared gaze. Marielle’s hand rested on his bicep, her elbow supported by the strength of his own. Their other hands came to rest on the other’s shoulder blade in heated embrace.
Erik led her in a series of small steps. They promenaded backwards together until she moved beside him. His hand rested on her back, the other just under her bust. He stared down at her as she looked at him. He watched as the corners of her mouth twitched up into a delightfully coy smile. He moved with her, their legs in perfect time until he pulled her to a stop.
They lingered in place, rooted to the ground as they stared up at each other, their noses brushing against the other’s cheek and both their lips parted thinly as they seemed to beg for air.
“Erik,” her heavy voice was breathy, filling the shadows of the ballroom between the beats of the music. “Make me believe you.”
He didn’t care that Salieri was waiting in the shadows and he didn’t care that he would take Marielle away the moment they were done dancing. Because she was there, in that moment, in his arms. Begging him. The plea sent a shiver down his spine, and he released a soft growl in response. “Anything you want, Bright Eyes.”
Their bodies moved as one. There was a thin gap between their bodies as they moved, their legs floating in an intricate succession of sweeps and kicks. Sometimes they mirrored each other, other times they moved as one. The song continued, and their flirtation grew more intense. More physical.
‘Tenere le mani fuori,’ Gideon growled to himself. ‘The frak am I kidding? She’s loving every minute of this.’ He leaned forward and held his hands together, thumbs rubbing the soft flesh of his palms. “I should have waited,” he whispered, lamenting his excitement for his and Marielle’s dinner that evening. He considered leaving so that he wouldn’t have to watch anymore. The Draconian’s possessiveness would only serve to enrage him. The security chief inhaled and shifted again in the seat. ‘It would only disturb her if I left.’
Something changed, and it took her half a beat to realize that she was falling behind the tempo he had set. Marielle felt herself being led, and she followed the Draconian willingly. Her heart raced with each step, her eyes closing at times to just feel the movement and his hands over her. There was a stutter in her breath every time his nose brushed along her cheek. Erik was changing their routine, but she didn’t care. She decided to just enjoy losing herself in the dance, and she let him take control. Logos had shut down completely, though a filing cabinet with the traditional steps was wide open. Pathos was in full force, however, the symphony alive with passion and desire as swirls of dark hues moved in pace to the melody. Eros was cracked open, and it supplied the passionate curves for her movements.
And, Erik relished in the sound of it and the feel of the quiver along her skin. His eyes watched sweat form along her temples. He kept a furious pace, perhaps much faster than they had practiced, but she kept in time with him as if it was natural. He could feel her body molding with his, sense how she was no longer following the steps of their choreography and instead letting him take her where he wanted. Erik lost sight of the music that surrounded them, and he danced to the music of her soul. The Draconian watched as she turned away from him, the staccato of piano keys faded and the violins wept in the lost. The smooth sound of a cello gave a dark warning.
Marielle pulled away from him, her toes dragging along the floor as her legs created small circles. She pretended like she didn’t care, her chest heaving from the exertion of their joined bodies. He appeared in the peripherals, dancing around her like he was begging and pleading for her attention. Her green eyes flickered to meet the his purple, and her breath hitched at the darkness that swirled under the surface.
His arm reached out, his hand pressed firmly on her stomach to stop her from stepping too far and his hands never stopped touching her. Erik couldn’t help but grin at the coyness that danced in her eyes as he moved to stand behind her. He happily played tug-of-war with her, determination and desire growing with each purposeful step. The Draconian’s arm rested over the engineer’s, and he curled in around her in an embrace. His nose brushed along her cheek when her head rolled to the side, and he had been ready to nip at the flesh when her arm came up and pushed him away. The scent of her filled his nostrils, and his eyes turned hazy.
Marielle took a few steps away, her eyes snapping open when she heard Erik’s steps in full pursuit. When his hand pressed into her waist, her arms shot up over her head and she spun away with his arms enclosing around her. Her eyes fluttered shut as he closed the already small distance between them, and she felt his lips barely brushing against hers.
The ghost of a kiss had him growling with want, but Erik pushed no further. Instead, he inhaled the breath she released through thinly parted lips. Gods, this woman was going to be the death of him. His hands moved over her body again, hands fluttering over her bare arms until he held her them in the proper position.
Again, they moved together, creating lines with their bodies. He held her, towered over her as she fell into a perfect split. He pulled her up into the air, her chest leaning against his as her feet created a flutter of kicks behind her. They twirled along the floor, legs tangling as their kicks wrapped around the other’s knee. It culminated with the Draconian lifting her, Marielle’s body twisting as he rolled her from one shoulder to the other. His arms wrapped around her as he kept her in the air, her legs and arms wrapped around his torso with her head buried in the crook of his neck, and he moved them along the floor. They were one soul again, their movements in sync as he lowered her feet to the ground. Their bodies never separated as they continued through the movements.
Marielle felt dizzy, her legs starting to ache at the furious pace he had set. But still, she kept up with him as she allowed the Draconian to finish the set. The music had ended several minutes ago, and the engineer was sure he hadn’t noticed. Erik was dancing to music she could not hear, but whatever it was, it moved him. She gasped when he pulled her close to him, the snap of their hips together sending a chill through her. Her eyes locked with his as he dipped her back, her hand pulled straight up behind his ear and the other on his shoulder. Unable to hold the gaze, her head turned, green eyes drifting to the ground.
He could feel the thrumming of her heart and could see her vein pulsating on her neck. His nose dipped to brush along the line. That resulting shiver that moved through her only made him want to find more sensitive places. Erik continued to tower over her, his breath heavy on her skin. He knew it was only a minute, maybe two at the most, that he kept her dipped. He knew it was much longer than what was customary, knew that she’d pull herself away, but the Draconian silently begged for just one more second to have her in his arms. Because she was in his arms for that much longer. In his arms and not someone else’s.
Marielle turned her head when it was clear that Erik wasn’t going to release them from their dance. His face was shrouded in shadow, the light behind his head. The muscles on her back burnt from keeping the deep arch to her back’s curve, and she could feel his fingers gripping at the fabric of her dress on her lower back. The closeness of his face surprised her and her breath stilled in her lungs. Her eyes drifted to his thinly parted lips. “Erik?” she whispered out to him softly, hoping to rouse him from whatever trance held him. Her tongue darted out to lick her dry lips.
His eyes followed the movement, but still Erik said nothing. He had a vague recollection of their music ending a minute ago, somewhere before his lips had barely brushed against her own. Slowly, his foot swept back and he pulled her up with him. The hand that held hers lowered, his fingers tracing along her bare arm until it rested on her upper arm while the other remained on the small on her back. He said nothing as he stared down at her. He willed himself to step away, but his body did not comply. Instead, the hand on her upper arm slid to rest just between her shoulder blades and the hand on her lower back slid to wrap around her back and settle on her hips. Erik hugged her. She was so small and so delicate in his arms. How had he never noticed? He buried his nose in her hair and inhaled deeply. The sounds of the ship faded away, and he drowned himself in the symphony of her and in the sweet calming essence of her scent.
Marielle had opened her mouth to say something. Anything. She wasn’t sure what had changed, but the usual bite that seemed to always be on Erik’s tongue was missing. In fact, the Draconian didn’t act anywhere like his usual self and the engineer was finding herself feeling a little lost for words. “Are you okay?” she whispered. Worry painted her tone, and Marielle’s arms hesitated before they finally wrapped around his midsection in a hug. Her head buried into his chest, and she was surrounded by the odd combination of an almost sickly sweet aroma with campfire. Her head lifted and she pulled a way enough so she could look into his eyes. “You were off the music. By a lot. What’s going on?”
‘Too intense. I have to break the spell.’ A smile crawled onto his lips and Gideon clapped his hands together. “Bravo!” he called. He had to break the tension. Standing, the security chief made his presence know to them both. While his smile was for Marielle, the derision in his eyes was solely for Erik. ‘Know your place,’ he silently instructed the counselor.
Marielle’s head snapped at the sound of applause, her hands dropping instantly from Erik’s sides. Her eyes narrowed into the shadows. “Gideon?” she called out softly. “Computer, illuminate 100% please.” She blinked as the empty ballroom was filled with light, and her vision settled on the security chief at the first row of tables by the dance floor. “Gideon!” she exclaimed happily. She pulled away from Erik’s embrace. She didn’t even notice how Erik’s hand tried to hold onto hers. Her heels clicked on the wooden floor as she ran towards him in hurried steps. She released a giggle as she leapt up into the air to cross the remaining distance. “I wasn’t expecting you until later! Ryan told me that they’ve been running drills without us there! They even increased the intensity- And are still surpassing their previous runs! Can you believe it?!”
Erik’s hands brushed along her skin as she pulled away. It trailed along her arm until his calloused fingers lingered over her palm and to have her fingers slip away from his curled fingertips. Purple eyes watched as she flew in the air, and he met Salieri’s eyes. His jaw clenched.
He smirked before his eyes found Marielle. His hands quickly came out of his pockets as he prepared to catch her since she was coming at him full steam. Gideon laughed as she did indeed leap into his arms. The Betazoid mix twirled her a single spin and gently placed her feet on the floor. Despite her resistance to his advances, he persisted in displaying his affection for the engineer. “Of course I believe it,” he murmured into her hair. A deep breath filled his lungs with her fruit and floral amalgamation.
Her arms naturally wrapped around his neck. “How long have you been sitting here? I didn’t expect you for another twenty minutes.” She wrinkled her nose. “I’m not even remotely ready. I’m all sweaty and gross.”
“A couple minutes, that’s all,” he murmured. The white lie wasn’t a stretch. He’d only been present for ten minutes. “I couldn’t wait until the showcase, I had to sneak a peek.” Gideon mirrored her pout playfully and grinned. “Forgive me?” He had all but forgotten that the Draconian was still in the room. His relationship with the counselor was tenuous. Professionally, they were good company. Personally, it seemed that the engineer served to create a huge rift between them.
“You’re ridiculous sometimes,” came the giggled response. “I’ll go change and get ready.” Marielle pulled away, her hand unknowingly trailing along his arm until it reached his hand. She gave his fingers a quick squeeze. “I’ll be showered and dressed in fifteen minutes!” She spun and nearly skipped to the back dressing rooms, flashing Erik a dazzlingly bright smile and her hand quickly grabbing his to give it a squeeze as she passed him.