Night had entirely fallen by the time they reached the cabin. Everything was soundless as usual but the nightfall gave it a slight chill, like something was out there.
Riker stood cumbersomely behind Cassidy as she fought with the jammed door handle. After several wrenches it became slack under her sweat riddled hand; the wooden door groaned open in protest, filling the empty space with a spine chilling noise.
Cassidy jerked off her boots and clutched her rucksack, slashing it open hurriedly she signalled for Riker to take a seat on the rotting floorboards. He did as instructed and sat with his back pressed up against the wall, a look of wonder filled his expressions as his glance fell from one thing to another in the cabin: the chair, the table, the cupboards, the empty fireplace…
She observed him and smirked for the first time for what felt like an eternity “Not exactly royalty but it’s kept me safe I suppose” She chuckled softly, she sat cross-legged next to him as she pulled out different stained and designed flasks from her rucksack. “This place is so…’homey’….How long have you lived here?” He asked her, his gaze finally falling back to Cassidy. “About a year…just under- could you roll up your trouser leg please?” She murmured still gathering the dissimilar canteens out of her rucksack and examining all the labels. Riker looked down bewildered but then recalled the injury to his leg; he nodded obligingly and gradually turned up the cloth which was concealing his gashed thigh.
As the material passed over the wound, a raucous cry escaped his mouth. It echoed in the small space and made Cassidy wince; she reached out and touched his forehead with the back of her hand, it came away covered in a cold and fear filled sweat. “Shhh…” Cassidy began her voice soft and forgiving. “Think of all the things you love, say them out loud.” She instructed him as she began to dribble a few drops of clear liquid onto some stained cloth. Riker eyed her suspiciously but was soon seizing the material of his shirt when the discoloured cloth was placed over the oozing gash. “My family, the colour blue, penguins….” Riker started to list all the things he loved in-between harsh and painful cries. The more he listed the more he found the pain would gradually ease away. “I love the colour blue too” Cassidy smiled at him, attempting to distract him from the pain. So far her plan was working well. “What else?” She asked him kindly, Riker knew what she was doing- after all he was more or less a grown man now- but it was helping so he went along with it.
“Music, girls, beaches, summer, vacations, theme parks” Cassidy raised an eyebrow at him although almost all of her attention was still on the job she had to do. “So you’re a ladies’ man?” Cassidy winked at him, he let out a short laugh “Terrible myself, my brothers are always better than I am with women.” She grinned “Almost done” She told him.
Once done Cassidy gingerly put the slick with blood covered cloth to one side and admired how well she’d done. All the red and black fluids were gone, the skin around it looked a lot healthier than it did before and the wound would most probably heal up in about a month.
“Thank you Cassidy” Riker told her sincerely, she shook her head at him. “Honestly its fine…” she packed away her remedies and herbs before turning to see him grinning at her. “Thanks” “You said that already” “I know, but I needed to say it again.” The gratitude was clear between them, she saved his life and he saved her from taking hers.
It was sometime later; when Cassidy decided to cook the food she had caught before bumping into Riker, that she should begin setting up a small log fire outside the cabin with firewood and tinder. Riker was unable to do much in his current situation so Cassidy had told him to get some rest. Incredibly he didn’t protest, he nodded and made himself more comfortable.
The relationship they had between them was still undecided in her head, so until Riker was healed she had the option to kill him or let him live. This is what humanity was reduced to, the trust which was only brief before the invasion was now at a blunt nothing. He was a threat to her, she had no idea who he was other than what his favourite things are, she didn’t know where he was from and among other things she also had no clue what his plans were.
“Possibly he’s thinking the same thing…” Cassidy thought, she stole a glance at Riker though the exposed door of the cabin, he was lying there where she had left him. His eyes were flippantly shut and his golden locks were dishevelled in a sudden and unexpected catnap. “Probably not.” She thought her mind going into further detail “He seems harmless…although most murderers probably seem harmless at first…” This thought hushed all the others and turned all her consideration to Riker. For some mysterious reason she couldn’t tear her eyes away from his snoozing figure. Inside Cassidy felt something indescrible “a burning passion? Surely not” she slumped down in the elongated pasture; whatever the sensation was which she was experiencing, it wasn’t pleasant. “You are a strong girl, imagine what Will would say if he were here!” Cassidy scolded herself. “Not very kind words is my guess” her mind hissed at her unhelpfully, she honestly considered that she might be slowly turning insane.
Turning back to the fire she saw that the wood, into which she had been drilling into with another sapling, begin to burn. Throwing moss and other flammable vegetation onto it she saw a series of small flames lick at the moss and eventually after a couple of minutes Cassidy had her fire going.