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Three to Tango, part 2. SL by LtCdr Marielle Deniaud, FstLt Gideon Salieri, and Dr Erik Vaeors

USS Aldrin Lounge


by First Lieutenant Gideon Salieri, Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud, Doctor Erik Vaeros
[Stardate ]

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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
Stardate: 1707.31
Three to Tango: Colgada


Colgada
A spinning move executed by a couple at the end of an inside barrida, in which both dancers lean away from each other and spin rapidly until the man leads out with a back step.



He took a moment to watch Marielle before turning his gaze to the Draconian.  Gideon had dressed up for the dinner with the engineer, wearing a beaded tunic in Bajoran fashion and loose pants.  He’d chosen golden brown hues tonight with bronze accents in the beading.  The Betazoid mix considered attempting small talk with the counselor but decided against it.  Instead he picked up the bud rose and held it under his nose, enjoying the aroma.

The Draconian’s back was to Gideon, his eyes following the path the engineer had taken towards the back of the stage.  With the illusion of their dance broken, he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his black slacks.  His dark purple eyes lingered on the black curtain as he tried not to think of how she was getting ready for the security chief.  He willed himself to listen to movement of the symphony he had come to find soothing, but it was difficult when he knew that her soul sang different for Salieri than it did for anyone else.  Erik began to understand just how much he’d lost his chance.  The sound of the half-Bajoran’s soul - waves crashing soothingly on the beach - only served to irritate him further.

There was something he wanted to say, come to think of it.  Gideon set the rose back onto the table and rested his elbow on the top of the chair.  “Hope I didn’t cut your rehearsal short.”  It was a genuine remark as he hadn’t intended to interfere.  The security chief glanced back toward the curtain behind which Marielle had disappeared.  “Looked really good,” he said offhandedly.  “Marielle puts on quite an act for you.”

His eye twitched as Salieri’s voice seemed to fill the ballroom.  The music had long stopped to leave the two men in silence.  “Was she acting?” he asked off-handedly, trying his best not to snap angrily.  He was always prone to outbursts.  It irritated him to no end that the security chief could so easily appear nonchalant about anything.  “I couldn’t tell with her hands all over me.”  He turned and grinned darkly.  “Her soul didn’t exactly sound like it was acting.”  The Draconian turned his back to the security officer.  He wondered if he could possibly put a stop to their plans.  It was dinner, where Gideon and Marielle would talk about their stupid departments.  He personally thought it was just an excuse for her to spend more time with the half-Betazoid, but he couldn’t exactly tell her.  She’d only stubbornly deny everything.

“How does her soul sound when she’s with me?”  His lips pulled into a smile as he recalled the heavy iron door that guarded Eros and how it had swung open at the sight of him in a suit.  ‘Damn, I should have worn a suit.’  He turned the chair around, trying to decide whether to take a seat again.  Gideon frowned as he pulled a piece of lint from his tunic.  He wasn’t going to show that the Draconian could get a rise from him.

“It’s no different from its usual bubbly mess of rainbows and unicorns.”  The gruff response wasn’t a lie.  It just wasn’t the whole truth either.  Erik didn’t want to tell him that the damn symphony crescendoed every time she even thought of the security officer.  Musical instruments just blared out in a bright syncopated melody that made her heart race.  The melody that her soul had picked for Salieri blended so well with the homophonic movement of her own.  It was unlike how it sang for everyone else.  With Gideon, there was harmony.  That didn’t exist for him.  Marielle’s soul only sounded joyful.  If the Draconian wasn’t so damn angry that the object of her affection was someone other than himself, he would have thought the blended sound beautiful.

Gideon smirked and took a couple strides toward the middle of the floor, his dress shoes clacking softly on the wooden slats.  “Why does it make you so mad, then?”  His gaze took in the rest of the hall.  There were tables along the wall he’d come from, a raised stage on the far end, and dressing rooms beyond the curtains where Marielle had disappeared to.

Something deep within him growled menacingly.  ~He’s a smug little fraktwit.~

Erik’s teeth ground together and his jaw clenched further with the movement.  His hands balled into fists in his pockets.  He kept his feet firmly rooted to the floor and willed himself not to rush after Salieri.  “Not mad,” he growled out.  “Annoyed, sure.”  His eyes snapped to the security officer as he stood a distance from him to his left.  They were a few feet apart, their shoulders pointed towards the dressing rooms where the engineer was changing.  “Things were going great then I had to leave.  You just swooped right on in-  Again.  You’re always getting in my way.  You’re like a frakking little fly.  You just.  Won’t.  Go.  Away.”

“Your way with Marielle?”  Gideon shrugged and refused to turn and look at the counselor.  “I was there before you.  Not going away, either.  May as well get used to being second best.”  His hands found his pockets and he stood, watching the dressing room where the engineer was.  They were going to have it out, it seemed.  The chief of security figured he may as well get it over with.  The tension between them had grown in the months following Atlantis and Malahakir.  And the petite engineer was at the center of it.
~He thinks she’s his.  He’s baiting you.  Smash his frakking smug face into the wall!~

Erik ignored the dragon hissing and growling deep within his soul.  The frakker wasn’t helping matters, only adding to the anger that was already threatening to boil over the edge.  His eyes narrowed briefly and he rolled his head from one shoulder to the other.  The cracking of bones filled his ears.  “You’re a real smug tosspot.  You’ve been going on these little poor excuses of dates, and you think you’ve got the girl?  You don't even know her!  She hates roses!”  He nearly spat out the words as he pointed to the flower on the table.  “Hate to not hate breaking it to you, you walking venereal disease.  You’re going to reach the end of this little honeymoon soon.”

He chuckled and glanced down at his shoes, still grinning.  When he looked up, Gideon was still sporting an amused smirk.  “I highly doubt that, counselor.  I’m in this for the long haul.  Marielle’s soul will sing for me, not for you.”  He hadn’t know about the rose, but luckily there was more to that particular bud than the flower itself.  He’d created some beads and strung them together in a pair of earrings for the engineer.

The claim of forever set the voice deep within Erik seething.  The rabid roar threatened to overwhelm the Draconian, and he winced when he felt his eardrums nearly shatter.  He looked towards the dressing room and attempted to focus on the aria that defined her.  But, Erik found no calm there.  He could hear Marielle speaking to herself.  She was so happy.  And, it wasn’t because of him.  It was because of the smug pretty boy who just happened to find her before Erik even had a chance to know she existed.  The universe apparently had a frakking twisted sense of humour.  “Her soul doesn’t move for me like it does for you,” he spoke softly to himself, “but it crescendos for me too and becomes rich.  Brighter than anyone else.  It swells in movements only Mozart or Bach or even Vivaldi wished they could compose.  That means something.”

~Just frakking punch that pompous ass in the face already!  Cut off his face and stuff it down his throat.  See just how popular he is once he gets a jacked up face.~

“You may be in this for the long haul,” Erik managed to barely get the words out without hissing.  The Draconian turned to face Salieri.  His fingernails broke through the skin as his hands balled into tight fists in his pockets.  “But, she isn’t.”  He paused, eyes narrowing to glare at the grin on the security officer’s face.  He really wanted to break every single tooth. “She’s got crap in her life you can’t contend with because you’re a nobody.  I at least have a chance.” His body took one step closer to Salieri without his permission.  His body tensed as he took on a predatory posture.

~I frakking told you it was a stupid idea!  You didn’t listen!  And now, you’re going to frakking lose her to that!  You’re such a frakking idiot!~

The Betazoid mix turned, facing Erik square.  “You have no chance.”  He knew what the Draconian was talking about, but he couldn’t reveal that he did.  The engineer didn’t know he knew.  ‘Just like I don’t.’  Gideon decided to continue the charade with the counselor.  His chin came up a hair, normally bright blue eyes darkened even though his facial features remained jovial.  While his stance didn’t show any tension, the security chief was ready to jump.  “After a night with me, she’ll change her mind.  You can count on that, lizard lips.”  His weight shifted to the balls of his feet.

“What the frak you say!?!”  Erik roared as he closed the distance between himself and the security officer in a blink of an eye.  In the span of a second, his hands had slipped out of his pockets, clenched at Salieri’s throat, and slammed the security officer at the first available table.  Chairs clattered back, legs tumbling into each other.  He stared down at his prey, purple eyes slitted as he narrowed his gaze.  “Say it again. I frakking dare you.”  His calloused fingers tightened around his neck.  “I frakking dare you to talk about her like that again!  Do it, frakker!”

His hands had instinctively grabbed the Draconian’s wrist, Gideon felt his body lifted up and all the air pushed from his lungs as his back met the table.  He blinked, having not really expected the counselor to make a move on him despite being ready for it.  His lips parted for air and his lungs screamed in despair when none came.  The security chief raised a leg to try and kick the counselor away, but the effort was futile as his foot slid harmlessly down his side.  Instead of panicking, he smiled up at Erik while his face turned a light shade of purple.  ‘Yeah, this is how you win her over, gastropod.’

“Gideon!” her scream filled the ballroom.  The sound of her hurried steps echoed against the walls, heels clicking against the wooden floor.  “Erik!  Erik!  What are you doing!?” Marielle reached the table, her eyes wide with fright as she tried to pull the Draconian away from the security officer.

“I swear to the Gods, Marielle.  If I had known this was the dipshit you were talking about that day, I wouldn’t have told you to sleep with him!”  Erik growled as he stared down at Salieri.  “This frakker just said that one night with him and you’ll-”

“I don’t care!” Marielle screamed, tears starting to roll from her eyes.  Her hands rested over Erik’s, slender fingers trying desperately to pull the scaled limbs from Gideon’s neck.  “Let him go!  You’re going to kill him, Erik!”

He finally found some resemblance of his self-defense training.  Gideon turned slightly, lifted a knee up, and shoved at Erik with the heel of his foot on the Draconian’s stomach.  Paired with Marielle’s fingers pulling at the man’s hands, it pushed the counselor back a few steps.  Gideon pulled in a ragged, gasping breath and coughed as his hand reached his throat.  He sat up slowly, his gaze focused on his attacker.  “Don’t tempt him, El.”  His voice was broken and hoarse.

The engineer was at Gideon’s side the moment Erik was pushed back.  She leaned over him, fingers lightly brushing over his bruised skin.  She caught the Draconian reaching out for the security officer again, and Marielle immediately scrambled to put herself between them.  Her hand reached up to wave in front of the Draconian, while her other rested on Gideon’s arm.  “Erik!  Stop!”

But, Erik didn’t hear.  His slitted eyes remained focused on Gideon as he stalked forward.

He reached forward, grabbing Marielle around the waist and moving her aside in a swift movement.  His other arm swung around to aim a haymaker at the counselor’s temple.  If the Draconian wanted a fight, Gideon was more than happy to provide one.  He was sober, there was no threat to his career for getting into an altercation if he wasn’t drinking.

“Gideon!  Don’t!”  Marielle screamed.  Her steps stuttered on the ground as she dashed forward to close the short distance, her petite body ducking under Gideon’s swinging arm and to wrap herself around the security officer’s midsection.  Her bare back was exposed to the Draconian.  Her eyes closed tightly as she prepared to get hit by whatever blow the counselor was sending their way, and she pressed herself into Gideon’s body.  Her hands gripped at the fabric of his clothes, knuckles turning white as her body shook.

Erik stepped forward as he sent an arm up to block the side punch, his other reeling back to send his fisted hand into Salieri’s stomach.  He sent the fist flying forward just as Marielle wrapped herself around the security officer’s body.  The voice deep within him thrashed in a mad panic, and the fist stopped instantly.  Roaring, he stumbled back to stop momentum from carrying the punch forward.

His momentum faltered as Gideon aborted the punch upon feeling Marielle put herself between them again.  The security chief turned to take the Draconian’s punch into his side if it connected.  His arms encircled the engineer protectively and he guided them a few steps away from Erik.  

The Draconian fell backwards to land hard on his behind.  His body shook and Erik’s hands lifted in front of his face.  The colour returned to his hand.  He’d been balling his hand into a fist so tightly that his skin had turned white.  His chest heaved heavily, rising and falling as he took deep breaths to try and calm himself.  “I-”  He covered his face with his hands and groaned as the inner voice in his head berated him for almost hurting her.  “Marielle.  Bright Eyes, I-”  His voice was soft as he tried to croak out the words.  Purple eyes returned to normal.

“Shh, you’re okay,” he whispered harshly to Marielle, his cobalt gaze still focused on Erik.  His throat was still red and fingers were bruised into his skin.  Gideon’s vocal chords throbbed from Vaeros’s attempt to crush them.

Marielle’s body shook without her knowledge.  She suddenly felt cold, and her skin was chilled as adrenaline suddenly disappeared from her veins.  She could hear her heart beating wildly in her ears.  Her hands were unsteady as they gripped the front of Gideon’s tunic.  “Are you okay?” she managed softly, her forehead falling to rest against his chest.  Tears moved slowly over the curve of her cheeks.

“I’m fine now,” he whispered quietly, painfully.  “You’re my hero.”  Gideon brushed Marielle’s dark hair back from her face, thumbed the tears from her cheeks, and he leaned down to kiss her forehead.  His other hand rubbed her naked back gently, his body swaying easily in an attempt to calm the engineer.

“Good.”  Her chest hurt with the force of her deep breaths.  “Good.”  Flawless emerald eyes lifted to stare at Gideon and then turned to look at Erik.  Her gaze continued to move between the two men.  Her lips formed a thin line, and she pushed the security chief back as she stepped back to create some distance between their bodies.  “Now.”  She stood before him, her eyes closing as she tried to will her body to stop shaking and her fisted hands dangling on her sides.  Her chest continued to rise and fall she took deep inhalations and released them with equally strained exhalations.  “Will someone tell me.  What.  The.  FRAK!  YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING!?!”  Marielle had started the sentence slowly, hoping to keep some semblance of calm, but she found herself losing it quickly and she was screaming by the end of it.

Erik jumped to his feet.  His mouth opened as he tried to find an explanation, but he found none.  Even the gruff voice inside him was stunned into silence.  He just stared at her.  Pleadingly.  He couldn’t even enjoy how she looked.

She stood before them, dressed in a simple blue-green dress.  The modest sweetheart neckline was supported by two thin straps.  The high cut of the skirt wrapped around the slender dip of her waist, the asymmetrical flow of the fabric hugging her curves in its drape.  Her hair was left down, gathered together by her beloved faded burgundy ribbon.  It allowed for the elegant lines of her cursive on her spine to be seen, the back of her dress dipping just enough for the ink to be framed.  The hem of her dress brushed along her ankles but the cut of her skirt allowed for a hint of her svelte legs.  Tan stilettos covered her feet.  

The cold rage on her face was something Erik had never seen or thought capable.  There was no music.  The symphony had fallen into a cold silence.  The quarantined rooms of her subconscious were in a standstill.  Logos had shut down completely, the file cabinets shut tight with a resounding slam.  Pathos and Ethos were black in darkness.  The normally warm and inviting hallway that connected the rooms were cold.

Gideon stumbled slightly at being pushed back, but accepted the distance between them.  It was almost necessary to keep from being physically overwhelmed by the engineer’s anger.  “We were talking and things escalated,” he croaked since Erik seemed to have lost his nerve.

Slowly, her steely eyes met Gideon’s.  “And exactly what was being discussed that had both of you ready to kill each other?”  Her voice filled the ballroom with the faintest of tremors as she tried to control the rage that threatened to overwhelm her.  

“I told him we were in this for the long haul.”  There were enough meanings to what he said that it was true to repeat.  His voice was soft, the little bit of talking he’d been doing loosened the damaged vocal box so that there was no longer a noticeable rasp in his voice.  It still burned like Hell when he spoke.  Gideon watched Marielle intently.

“You frakking liar!”  Erik took three long strides with the intention of punching out the security officer, who straightened, ready to receive him.

Marielle’s head snapped in Erik’s direction.  “Take one more frakking step.  Just one!  And, I swear to you I will rip your goddamn spine out through your mouth and break it into a million pieces, Endeem Jalan Drakivaeros!”  Her head snapped back to Gideon to meet his eyes.  “If either of you take one more step, I swear to whatever Gods you worship that I will be the end of you!  Is that understood!?”  Her normally sweet dulcet tone had changed in her rage to penetrate the air with the orotund threat.

If he hadn’t been on the receiving end of her rage, Erik would have found it sexy.  Before his very eyes, the air swirled around her as if she commanded the wind with her very breath and she was bathed in a light that emanated from deep within her.  He blinked the vision away.  The Draconian stopped mid-step.  His foot fell to the ground, his heel clacking loudly.  “Bright Eyes.  Please-”

“Just tell her you want her for yourself, Erik,” he chimed in loudly, cobalt orbs still focused on Marielle.  “You want her regardless of what she wants.  To fall into your arms.”  Finally, Gideon glared toward the counselor, finger pointing accusingly.  “Say it!”

Erik’s head snapped to Salieri’s direction.  “Yes!  Fine!” he shouted back.  “I do!  I’ve never hidden it!  I told her just as much!”  He glared at the security officer.  “But, at least I don’t have sex on my mind all the time.”  He pointed at Salieri.  “Only reason I want to wring your neck is because that’s all you think about, even when you don’t know you’re thinking about it!  You think one night with you will have her tied to you forever!  You think she’ll just melt into your arms and be addicted to you just like the hussies you’ve bedded on this ship, the Prevailer, and the Academy!”

Marielle inhaled sharply at Erik’s accusations.  Her expression remained cold and empty as her focus turned to the wall behind Gideon.  She really hated the security officer’s past and how it often made her feel less than absolutely sure of his intentions.  The engineer had to work extra hard not to say anything that could possibly hurt him because she knew he was trying so hard to distance himself from it.  But, the worry always lingered in the back of her head.  What had once been so easy had become muddled through the months.  Malahakir, Morha, John Stone, her father.  It was all too much.

Gideon scoffed and shook his head.  He glanced toward Marielle and his expression softened as he waited for her to tell Vaeros to frak off.  “You know better than that,” he said quietly.  “He’s the only one trying to keep my past alive.”  The Bajoran mix took a couple steps toward the engineer.  “Let’s get out of here,” he suggested as his hand outstretched to hers.

The Draconian turned his eyes to Marielle.  “Don’t Bright Eyes.”  He looked at her pleadingly.  “He’s just going to hurt you.  You know he is.  You’re always thinking it-”  He took a small step towards her but stopped as she stepped back.  Slowly, the symphony began softly.  It was almost too soft for him to hear.  The cordoned sections of her subconscious began to flicker to life.  He watched as Pathos moved in slow swirls of blues and greys.  It made the inner dragon within him whimper.

The engineer blinked to clear the haze of her thoughts.  Her eyes met blue before it turned to meet purple.  Marielle crossed the dance floor to stand in front of Erik.  She looked up at him.  “You need to go.”

“Bright Eyes-”

She shook her head.  “Computer.  Arch.”  Marielle took a breath, her voice suddenly softer.  “If you ever truly cared about me, if you were ever truly my friend or want to save whatever friendship we have left, go.”

Gideon kept his gaze focused on Marielle, pushing all thought of the counselor from his mind.  He remained standing a few feet from the engineer, his hand still outstretched for hers.  ‘I know you think it’s just friends, El, but it’s so much more.  I wish you could see.  I’m trying so hard for you.’

Erik stared down at her and sighed.  He slid his hands into his pockets.  His shoulders slumped forward.  “So it’s him then?”

Marielle threw her hands up in the air.  “You two are no better than the idiots that trapped me in engineering!” she screamed, her voice nearly screeching as she felt her anger swell at Erik’s question.  She pointed her finger at the Draconian.  “Get out!  I’ll deal with you later!”

The counselor sighed quietly as he took a small step back.  Dark eyes looked up to stare at Salieri.  He couldn’t contain the low threatening growl that erupted from deep within his chest.  His eye twitched as he sneered.  The eyes softened immediately when he looked down at Marielle.  “Later?  I’ll see you for our run?” he asked hopefully.  He felt his heart sink when she didn’t answer and just focused on the hallway beyond the arch.  With a sigh, he stepped over the threshold and the doors slid closed behind him.

Marielle remained standing in the center of the dance floor, her naked back to Gideon.  Her hand came up to pinch the bridge of her nose and she closed her eyes.

Quietly he closed the distance, the silence dampened the sound of his heels against the wood floor.  Gideon paused a few minutes as he stood behind Marielle, his hand hovering over her shoulder.  “I’m sorry,” he whispered genuinely.  He placed his hand on her skin, cupping her shoulder with his fingers.

“For what?”  She stepped forward to create some distance between them.  The engineer turned to face him, completely and entirely incensed.  Marielle stood in front of him, her hand on her hip as it jutted out to the side.  It irritated her to no end that the evening had turned as it did - that the excitement for her date with Gideon had been smashed because he and Erik had gotten into an actual fight over her.

“Acting the fool,” he started, looking appreciatively upon her.  “He’s been lusting after you for so long, and I let it get to me.”  Gideon reached up, combing his fingers through his hair as he sighed and shifted his stance.  His wandering gaze discovered something and he walked to the table upon which he’d nearly had the life choked from him.  Setting a hand on the tabletop, Salieri used it as leverage as he bent down and snatched the destroyed rosebud from the floor.  Thick fingers gently touched the wilting petals as he turned the bud between thumb and forefinger.  His eyes looked up from the flower to Marielle.  Gideon waited quietly for the engineer to say something.  Anything.

“Did you goad him?”  The question was sharp without the softness of her normal tone.

Barely containing a wince, the security chief nodded as he sighed softly.  “I couldn’t handle his jabs anymore.”  His hands dropped in front of him, the flower dangled from his fingers.  An impish grin found his lips and he looked back at Marielle’s stony facade.  “Usually I can brush anything aside.  Guess that’s not the case with you.”  Her expression didn’t change and his own faltered a moment, but remained.  “Got a soft spot.”  Gideon raised his hand, tapping his chest over his heart.

Her eye twitched and she closed the small distance between them to snatch the rose from his fingers and slam it on the tabletop, dark blue petals exploding.  “Don’t make light of this, Gideon!” she snapped at him.  Almost instantly, her voice softened, “He almost killed you.”  Her chin dipped and again she was pressing her fingers into the bridge of her nose again.  The pressure building behind her eyes made her head feel like drums were playing in her skull.  “You couldn’t just leave the guy alone?  You just had to poke at the proverbial dragon in the den, didn’t you?”

“Whoa, whoa,” he started, hands raised.  “El, I’ve always been cordial to that gastropod until he opens his mouth.  I don’t know how anyone could possibly be friends with that guy, but I respect that you are.  I’m sorry that I’m not okay with being called a walking STD, trash, a loser or any of the other uncalled for nicknames he has for me.”  Gideon sighed and pulled out a chair, dropping into it.  His fingers searched through the scattered petals on the table, finding one in particular and sliding it into his pocket.   He looked up at Marielle.  “His constant barrage against my character is based on old news.  I’m sick of him trying to use my past against me.  Against us.”

She ignored the usage of the word ‘us’, though the very idea had her heart stuttering.  She just wasn’t sure if it was annoyance or affection.  Gideon had become her best friend, and they were practically inseparable.  “Gid.”  She sighed, her face still hidden by the fingers that pinched firmly into the bridge of her nose.  “Erik’s an ass.  That’s who he is.  He gives everyone a nickname and he tells everyone the worst about themselves.  It’s his idea of twisted therapy.”

Gideon frowned and shook his head.  “I don’t understand how anyone is okay with that.  You don’t treat people like dirt and expect to be given respect.  The same thing doesn’t work for everyone.  As ship’s counselor, he should be the flexible one.  I’ve been the one letting so much slide.”  His voice had steadily risen with the argument, but it leveled out before it got out of hand.  Gideon’s brows furrowed as he waited for Marielle to explain.

“I don’t know!”  She threw her hands up in the air.  “I don’t claim to know what goes on in his head.  But, I do know that it’s worked for a number of the crew.  It worked on Durandus and on me.”  Marielle’s heels clicked on the ground, and she kneeled in front of Gideon between his legs.  A hand reached up to touch his cheek, to which he leaned forward.  “You can’t do this, Gideon.  There will- may be things in my- future that are far worse than Erik Vaeros, and you can’t fly off the handle.  For both our sakes, you just can’t.”

Salieri rested his forehead against hers and his hands slid up her arms to rest on her shoulders.  He pulled her up from her knees and guided the engineer to sit across his lap.  Arms encircled her waist and he looked up into her green eyes, nodding.  “I won’t, then.  As long as we’re together.”  Gideon’s expression was gentle, his voice soothing.  He hadn’t noticed that he spoke as if they were already dating.

“Even if we’re not.  Especially if we’re not, Gideon.”  Marielle sighed, both her hands resting on each of his arms.  “You can’t throw away your career for anything or anyone.  I can’t protect you all the time.”  She leaned her forehead against his.  “Promise me,” she whispered.

His eyes glassed over before closing.  ‘There’s confirmation that she’s the one who had the probation lifted.  Why do you keep denying what you feel, El?  Because of your father?  Why can’t we just enjoy now and worry about that later?’  He breathed in deeply of her peony and plum blossoms, wild orange and orchid.  “I’d be nothing without you, El.  A meaningless husk.”  Gideon tilted his chin to touch the tip of his nose to hers as cobalt looked for her emerald.  “But I promise to keep in check.  Forever.  For you.”  

The engineer looked down at him, a sad smile on her lips as she searched the depths of his eyes.  The words he used sent alarms ringing in her ears, but she said nothing on the matter.  She straightened and looked around before her eyes settled on the darkening bruise on Gideon’s neck.  Her hands slid up his arms and along his shoulder, one carefully tilting his head back by his chin while the other brushed along the lines.  She released a long breath at the markings.  “We should get you to Sickbay and have them look you over for any real damage.  I think Cana is working tonight.”

The adrenaline from the fight had long since left his bloodstream and the bruise was starting to ache.  He might have agreed to go along if the engineer hadn’t mentioned that Nurse Graves was working.  Gideon frowned and shook his head slightly since Marielle still had his chin in hand.  “Let me take you home.  I’ll go later.”

Marielle’s hand released his chin and she looked at him disapprovingly. “I could order you to go to Sickbay, you know.”

He smiled and nodded.  “You could.”  Gideon raised a brow as if daring her to do so.  One hand remained on her side while the other slid down, resting on her thigh.

The engineer rolled her eyes.  “Tu êtes un bâtard effronté  (You’re a cheeky ass),” she muttered under her breath softly.  “Come on,” Marielle stood, taking the hand that rested on her thigh and grabbed his fingers.  “I’ve got a med kit in my quarters.  I’ll at least help diminish some of those marks so you don’t have to deal with questions tomorrow morning.”

Gideon stood as well, fingers intertwining with hers as his other hand reached up to feel his neck.  There were at least four indentations in his skin and the slightest touch suddenly caused a burning sensation.  He winced a bit and frowned as he walked behind Marielle a few steps, then caught up with her as they neared the arch.  “Might have to just hide in your quarters all day,” he said playfully, squeezing her fingers.

   
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