oh no cghub closed down?? :[
oh no cghub closed down?? :[
mythicbeast asked: If you're taking MShenko requests, I'd like to see your take on what life for Kaidan might be like after a Control or Synthesis ending! For a prompt, errr... "Shepard's never been so close and so far at the same time."
It’s about surviving, and not.
Because Shepard doesn’t. Not really. The Shepard who always skips the bottom step to the bedroom area of his quarters, talks to his hamster when he thinks no one is looking, can’t brew a pot of coffee to save his life, deliberately mismatches Kaidan’s socks – that Shepard died the moment the Crucible fired. The one left in his wake is someone – something – Kaidan doesn’t recognize. Feel. And definitely doesn’t understand. The ghost in the machine that would be god.
Because Kaidan does, but not really. Sure, he wakes up every morning before his alarm goes off, just like Shepard used to do. Looks Hackett in the eye during their briefings and tells him he’s fine. Fit for duty. And Hackett has no choice but to agree. They are too fragmented, too thin to worry about the capabilities of one soldier when he needs them all.
It doesn’t matter that it hurts to breathe. That he wakes up early because he never really slept the night before. That anytime someone mentions Shepard’s name he has to leave the room. That when he wades through Earth’s death and debris he does so under the shadow of monsters, guided now not by unknowable, incomprehensible purpose, but by the hand that once fit so perfectly against the small of his back, that rested against his cheek as a voice he’ll never hear again told him, know that I love you, always.
He cannot reconcile how the artificial demons they’ve been chasing for so long are now all he has left.
Kaidan functions. He works. The more he works the less he feels, especially when Hackett gives him the Normandy. The first night he spends in their cabin alone he lasts twenty minutes before he goes to sit in Starboard Observation. He’s still there when Cortez comes looking for him in the morning. He offers no explanation, and Cortez doesn’t ask.
You’ve lost a lot of weight, Joker observes. Kaidan orders him to fly the damn ship and leave the physicals to Dr. Chakwas. It’s not twenty four hours before she brings it up, too. It’s okay to grieve, Major, she tells him. But you have to remember to look after yourself, too.
He looks her right in the eye and tells her he’s fine.
He’s fine. He’s fine. He’s fine.
It’s about rebuilding, and not.
Because Shepard does. Moves his Reaper pawns like tools to weld the fragments of a shattered galaxy back into a recognizable shape. Sometimes Kaidan even believes it’s Shepard, especially when Elysium is the first colony to report Reapers repair efforts. But those brief moments of recognition, when Shepard is there but so far out of reach, are the hardest to take.
Because Kaidan doesn’t rebuild, not really. All the pieces he’d intended to rebuild with are now sovereign nations scattered amongst the stars.
Tali comes aboard when they transport a team of quarian scientists to Rannoch. She’s been worried about him, she says. Wants him to be happy. Shepard would want him to be happy.
He’s still out there, she tells him. Whatever part of him is still Shepard—
Kaidan stops her before she finishes, fingers clenched into fists, his smile so brittle and tight he’s amazed his face doesn’t fracture.
It’s about moving on, and not.
Because Kaidan can’t, no matter how hard he tries, if he tries at all.
It’s supposed to get better with time. That’s what Liara tells him. Garrus. But every minute, every second that passes feels the same. Empty. Rudderless. Maybe, if Shepard had actually died, Kaidan could move on. But he didn’t. He’s out there, watching, thousands of red eyes and singing horns, so close, so out of reach, and Kaidan wonders all the time, all the fucking time, how much he can still see, feel. Wonders if he knows.
That some small, traitorous part of him hates Shepard for choosing the galaxy over him.
He can shoulder so many of Shepard’s ghosts. The model ships. His jazz collection. The N7 hoodie that still hangs in the closet where Shepard left it before putting on his hardsuit that last time. The hamster that squeaks every time he walks through the door. The goddamned fish he overfeeds.
But when the Council sends word that one of the capital ships orbiting Eden Prime started transmitting a signal through an Alliance frequency, he discovers the one he can’t face.
They think it’s a message, Traynor says, unable to look him in the eyes. They think it’s for you.
He could decipher it if he tried. He’s almost certain of it.
But he doesn’t.
It’s about dying, and not.
Because Shepard never did, not really. And late at night when Kaidan sits in Starboard Observation and gazes out at the stars, all they do is remind him that whenever he finally gets to the afterlife he’s always wanted to believe in, no one will be waiting.
[suspicious snape voice] “you’re saying your friend named remus lupin definitely isn’t a werewolf”
[shocked, disappointed james potter voice] “remus lupin, a werewolf?? is it because he’s named after a guy raised by a wolf? is it because his surname literally means wolf? well. you’re wrong. his middle name is john, there’s no way he could be a werewolf.”