Nightfall

by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - names belong to Paramount.

*

The sun would be black soon. It had been slowly but steadily growing darker over the past few hours so although it was only just mid-afternoon, it almost looked like dusk.

There were few things in nature that truly astounded Kathryn Janeway. She could be impressed or intrigued by how something functioned, but as she usually understood at least some of the biological processes involved in the continuance of nature, she could scientifically detach herself and simply be an observer.

This was not one of those times.

The most infuriating factor in the viewing of the rare occurrence was that she couldn't actually view it. While the Doctor had provided them with an abundance of medical equipment (some of which she deemed as being absolutely unnecessary - just why would she need to keep taking her birth control boosters?), he had not anticipated the need for protective eye wear or lenses. It was hardly his fault of course. The chance to observe an eclipse would not have been high on his list of priorities when deciding what equipment they would need and what equipment the ship could spare.

Still, despite the fact that they couldn't actually look at it, they decided to appreciate it to the fullest. Using the shuttle's computer and sensors, they calculated where the best view for the totality would be. It was quite some distance from where the shelter was located, so they loaded the shuttle with a few supplies and decided to make a camping trip out of it.

Chakotay pointed out that it was hardly camping. Instead of walking they were flying, and when they reached their destination they would have the full facilities of a Federation shuttle (with extra supplies) at their disposal. Kathryn was adamant. Where they were going she had no bathtub. As far as she was concerned they were living like cavemen.

Reaching the co-ordinates they found a relatively clear area to land, scaring off a few members of the local wildlife in the process. As the hatch lowered and they stepped out, Chakotay made a point of apologising to the animals very loudly.

Rolling her eyes, Kathryn grabbed two blankets and nodded towards a small rise about two hundred feet away.

"Come on. We've only got half an hour before the totality."

As he took one of the blankets from her they set off towards the raised section of land. Once there, they each laid out a blanket on the grass and sat down.

It had become quite dark already, and they spent the time in a comfortable silence, occasionally smiling at each other.

Eventually, Kathryn's curiousity got the better of her. How much would it hurt, really, just to have a quick look? No longer than .5 of a second for example. It would probably-

"Don't even think about it young lady."

Brought out of her thoughts by Chakotay's voice, she studied his rapidly darkening features. "I beg your pardon?"

"You heard me," he answered, grinning. "You were just plotting how long you could get away with looking at the sun for. I don't need you going blind on me."

Shaking her head she smiled. "Are you sure you're not a telepath?"

"A Betazoid perhaps. Despite the...unfortunate business with Suder-"

"*Unfortunate*?"

"-as I understand it, most Betazoids are supposed to be sensitive, understanding, and have the kind of eyes you could drown in."

"Enough Chakotay, please. You're making me gag."

Chuckling, he glanced quickly towards the sky. "No, I'm not a telepath Kathryn. I just know you."

Nodding, she looked at him. "Too well at times."

He shrugged as if he didn't quite believe that to be possible. "Well someone has to. Who else is out here?"

Kathryn opened her mouth to retort that they were accompanied by the monkey when they both seemed to realise how dark it suddenly became.

"This is it," she whispered.

It was eerily silent. There were no sounds of nature. No birds singing, no animals scurrying through the trees. Utter silence.

Kathryn shivered. At first she thought it an instinctive reaction to the darkness, but then her logic kicked in. If light was being blocked from the sun, then so was the heat...

"Here," he offered quietly, holding out his arm in obvious invitation.

She barely hesitated, telling herself that there was no one there to see anyway while trying to ignore the more obvious choice of wrapping the blanket around herself.

Chakotay's arm settled around her easily and Kathryn decided to be extremely indulgent by snuggling up to him.

Snuggling? She was a snuggler now? Dear God...Hell, why not? Just while night was falling during the day. An eclipse was something she rarely managed to appreciate. She'd treat herself.

Leaning down a little, she rested her head on his chest and pulled her blanket over them.

He sighed at something, his chest pushing against her back and his arm tightening its hold around her.

"Just for nightfall," she whispered.

"Just for nightfall," he confirmed.

It was a promise that neither of them kept.

~FINIS

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