The sun dipped behind the high mountains and then it was gone.
Chakotay watched as his captain rose, on shaky feet, from the mat where she had spent the last six hours.
She turned and saw him standing there. “Tell me again why I agreed to this?”
He grinned, “Because we need the dilithium and they wouldn’t trade with you until you underwent their purification ceremony”
“If I’d known it involved sitting on that itty-bitty piece of cloth, which by the way was the only thing between me and a very large and sharp rock,” She rubbed her bottom gingerly and grimaced as she continued, “I would have made you go through the ritual instead.”
Laughing, he reached out to steady her.
“Ah, ouch.” She tried to shake her head but found she couldn’t, not with any ease. Her neck had stiffened from sitting with no support, for all those hours.
He turned her to face away from him and with a firm hand worked on soothing away the knots in her neck and shoulders.
“These are tight. And Kathryn I would have, but they insisted on you. Something about you being the captain.” He chuckled. “But you have to admit, this is a far better way of getting the supplies, there’s no one shooting at us.”
“True but this is just another refined form of torture.”
Then, “Aaah, that’s perfect right there. I was going to see the Doctor but I think I can skip that visit to sick bay.” She moaned in pleasure as his talented fingers kneaded away the stiffness.
He smiled into the darkness. He could feel the knots melting away and her body relaxing.
She started to pull away. “I better get back the ship. I need to contact them and ask when we can start transferring the crystals.
“Stay for a few minutes more, there is something I want you to see.” He held her still.
She relaxed back against him, enjoying the warmth. He drew her closer. She could feel his heartbeat against her back. She knew she should move away and put some distance between them, but these moments were rare and precious and she was weaker than she liked where he was concerned.
“Just for a moment.” she whispered.
She could feel him smile behind her. “Watch.”
The mountains were no longer dark, from behind them rose twin moons. The dazzling light silhouetted the mountains, turning the edges and peaks into liquid silver.
“That’s what they call this place?” she looked up at him
“Hmm hmm. It means the silver river.”
“It’s perfect” She looked in wonder as the silvery path moved closer, bathing them in its light.
He began to sing softly into her hair, a language she’d only heard on a few occasions - a mostly forgotten tongue. Both times, she remembered vividly; once on New Earth when he was working with his wood carvings and another earlier time, when she’d thought he was gone and she’d searched through the prayers of different tribes so she could write something fitting. Faint tendrils of fear still wrapped around her when she thought back to that day.
“What does that mean?” She dragged her mind back to the present. The fear had reminded of her of the necessity of keeping a safe distance between them.
“May the moon softly restore you by night.”
She grinned. “Well then those double moons must have double the power. I feel great.”
She pulled away. He let her go. He could tell when she needed to pull back and re-establish the barriers.
Someday, he sighed inwardly.
Her hand hovered over her combadge. “Ready commander?”
“Go ahead. I’ll be there in a minute.”
She nodded. “Voyager, one to beam up.”
He waited until she was gone and then sat down on the mat she had vacated. It was still warm from the day and from her? He looked at the moons as they rose high into the sky, the silver river retreating towards them.
And then he finished his song.
“May the rain, wash away your worries. May the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.”