by Suz email@example.com
Disclaimer - characters are Paramounts. How annoying.
Song words written by Neil Finn.
This story is written in response to YCD's song challenge (I think it was YCD..:-)). In any case, this can be blamed on her, as well as Michele, August and Elise. You guys are depressing.
The day she found the base of the mountain she came rushing into the shelter, eyes alight, cheeks flushed as they always did when she made a new discovery. He always loved that about her. He supposed it was because it showed that for once the Captain still had a child inside her who was fascinated by new things. That side of her was so different from what she normally portrayed, and he hadn't seen it since almost the beginning of their journey when he was telling her about his animal guide. A bear indeed.
He smiled, partially at the memory, and partially at her enthusiasm. She wanted to climb it, she told him, wanted to discover what was at the top. Just think of the forms of life we could find, Chakotay. The possibility of whole new ecosystems. As this planet was so similar to Earth maybe we could find some that were identical to those back home.
Ever the scientist.
It had been so hard for her to let go of finding a cure, but eventually she'd been given no choice. Now she was embracing her life here as best as she could. She approached every day with the same methodical eye she gave each day aboard Voyager, but at least here she didn't have the burden of command, no matter how much she wanted it.
Placing his carving tool back on the table, he smiled again and assured her that one day they probably would climb the mountain to discover the secrets it held. He never actually said they would. Knowing he was being decidedly selfish, he let himself sigh as she exited the room. The truth was they probably *wouldn't* climb the mountain because he didn't want her to risk injury. They had no real safety lines for climbing. They could replicate some, but that would use up valuable energy.
As he picked up his tool again, he briefly wondered if she knew how protective he was of her.
This is the place that I loved her
and these are the friends that she had
long may the mountain ring
to the sound of her laughter
She went quietly. There was no great battle, no last words, no desperate grasping onto her existance. She simply went.
He knew instantly, waking up in their bed, a short moan escaping in horrified realisation of all the things she never heard him say and would never know. Wrapping his arms around her, trying to hold onto the last fragments of her warmth, he began to whisper. She would take the words with her.
After a few hours in which he grieved but didn't cry, he wrapped her body in the sheet from their bed and carried her outside. He headed towards the rear of the shelter but had to place her on the ground for a few moments as he opened one of the stasis pods. It was difficult getting her inside as only the top half opened. Obviously the designer hadn't created them while thinking about those who had...
Eventually he managed it, almost thankful that she would never know the undignified positions he'd had to put her into so she could lay on her back. Pulling the edge of the sheet up slightly so it rested above her breasts, he considered placing a kiss on her lips but knew that if he did so he'd never be able to let go.
Closing the pod until it clicked into place, he activated it and listened to the slight humming noise indicating that it was working. Placing his hand over the clear plastic above her face, he spread his fingers before dragging them away and just looking at her.
His rescuers came two weeks later, and with them his opportunity for salvation.
In her soft wind I will whisper
in her warm sun I will glisten
till we see her once again
in a world without end
B'Elanna approached with a grappling hook in her hand, watching as he zipped and unzipped the bag, constantly rearranging the items he already had until he got the weight distribution just right.
"I got what you wanted."
"Thanks," he replied, never looking up from his task. As far as she could remember he hadn't looked anyone in the eye since they returned with the cure. It frustrated the hell out of her. It wasn't as if anyone blamed him.
She dropped the hook on the ground and it thudded harshly, creating a small dent in the muddy grass. No reaction from him whatsoever. He continued to work, moving an item from one section of the bag to another.
"Why are you doing this?" B'Elanna nearly growled.
"Doing what?" he replied, still not looking up.
"Don't bullshit me Chakotay. You know exactly what I'm talking about."
Finally he paused his movements, but kept his eyes focused on the hook. "It was something she always wanted to do but we never got around to."
B'Elanna crouched down beside him. "I know *that*. And even though it's selfish, I can understand why you want to go up there alone. No, what I want to know is why you're taking so long getting ready for it."
His head moved until their eyes finally met. "What do you mean?"
"Come on Chakotay. You're been rearranging things in that bag for nearly two hours! It doesn't take anyone that long to pack a bag."
Dragging his gaze away, he began moving items again. "I have to get things just right."
Grabbing his left arm she pulled it away from the bag. "Enough ambiguity Chakotay. If you do this, you do it the whole way. And please don't argue with me...because if you do I'll be forced to break your nose."
Keeping his head lowered, he didn't see the small grin that played across her lips, and she had the nagging suspicion that he didn't want to see it. Didn't want to see anyone being happy at that moment.
His voice was low, quiet. "Ever since it happened I've been wanting to do this B'Elanna. It was something *she* wanted to do...and I wouldn't let her. I was afraid. Afraid that she get hurt. I," he paused, voice heavy "*I* stopped her from fulfilling a dream B'Elanna. *Me*. I can't tell you how much I digust myself."
Reaching out with her free hand she gently touched the top of his head. "But by doing this...you'd be starting to let go, wouldn't you? And that's really the one thing you'll never want to do - forget."
His head snapped up and he spoke urgently. "I'll never forget."
Proudly smiling, she moved her hand down to the side of his face. "Then do it."
Appearing in the eyes of children
in the clear blue mountain view
colouring in the sky
and painting ladders to heaven
Shifting the bag about on his back and adjusting the straps for one last time, he looked up at the view before him. He had no idea how long it would take to climb.
Movement behind him alerted him to someone elses presence, but he wasn't startled. Merely resigned. He spoke as the person stood next to him.
"I said I was going by myself."
"Should you be injured you will need someone else with you. It is only logical."
Chakotay considered his words before turning to look at him. "Fine. I won't stop you. But if you come with me you have to admit that you're not coming for my personal safety. We both know why you're here."
There was no hesitation as his companion nodded. "Agreed."
They began to climb.
Chakotay had no idea how long they had been climbing. He had lost all sense of time and had long ago stopped trying to count the hours or days. He was sure that if he asked Tuvok he would know, but they hadn't spoken a word since they had started their journey. It would seem out of place somehow to break that silence by talking about something as irrelevant as time.
So he began to hum. It didn't matter what tune, and he couldn't even name it anyway, but it was something to focus on - something to help him keep going. Exhaustion had been threatening for a while now. The temperature didn't help much. During the day it was hot, but by night the cold seemed to permeate every part of his body. He knew it had to be worse for Tuvok who had been raised on the hot climate of Vulcan. It was getting colder too, as he knew it would. The further into the atmosphere they climbed the worse the temperature became.
Inevitably perhaps, to keep his mind active while his body continued to work, his thoughts turned to Kathryn.
And that was when he slipped.
It was only Tuvok's hand that stopped him from plummeting to the bottom. Gasping, he clutched onto the Vulcan as his legs dangled below him. The only sign of strain from Tvuok was a slight grunting noise as he pulled Chakotay up to the ledge.
Both leant against the rock face, Tuvok composed, Chakotay gasping.
Tuvok spoke. "If you wish to succeed in your mission, I suggest you avoid thinking about Captain Janeway."
Chakotay didn't even ask how he knew, but nodded his head. "Thanks. I'll take your advice."
She goes on and on...
Staring out as far as he could, Chakotay exhaled before collapsing onto his front on the rock he was standing on. His legs ached. His arms ached. Just about every part of him ached. Tuvok remained standing.
Reaching behind himself with his right hand, Chakotay tried to fumble for the zipper on the bag.
"What is it you are looking for?"
"It's in the side panel." Chakotay replied and continue to lay still as Tuvok unzipped the panel and pulled out the small bag. After he zipped the panel back up, Chakotay forced himself to sit back up and rubbed a gloved hand over his face. Groaning, he pulled himself to his feet and took the bag from Tuvok who studied him with a curious expression but didn't ask.
Moving as close to the edge as possible he looked down again, appreciating the beauty of the view. He wished...he wished so much. Shaking his head, he opened the bag and turned it upside down as he shook it empty, its contents blowing away with the wind and across the landscape.
Hooking his fingers under the straps on his shoulders, he turned back to face Tuvok. "Come on. Let's go."
As they moved away from the site, they failed to notice a single strand of Kathryn's hair that pirouetted in the air gracefully before coming to rest on the rocky surface.
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