alchera

Waking

(On AO3, if you prefer!)

Even before he fully emerged from the blissful indifference of sleep, Kaidan’s head began throbbing anew. His brow furrowed in response, ensuring that his eyes remained tightly shut. He paused for a long moment, using the senses other than sight to get a handle on things around him. He felt the smooth fabric of sheets against his skin. The softness was relative, of course. Military standard issue sheets were not exactly luxurious, but, he reminded himself, it certainly beat a sleeper pod.

He could smell the lingering scent of Shepard on the pillow beneath his head. Even now, he was still getting used to waking up and her being there. Their initial time together in a relationship had been so unfairly short and the loneliness after the disaster over Alchera had seemed so long. This change was difficult to get used to, but he was thankful nonetheless. Kaidan didn’t really care to admit to himself just how many times he’d silently wished for such a simple truth that seemed so impossible. She was alive. She was by his side.

He remembered, as he slowly pieced things together, that he’d fallen asleep with his head on Shepard’s lap. Despite his protests, she had insisted on retreating to her cabin with him and helping him to recover. She’d shut down any and all distractions and taken the time to gently massage his head, neck, and shoulders. The migraine hadn’t fully subsided by the time he’d fallen asleep, but he did feel remarkably relaxed. He couldn’t help but find it amusing that those hands could so fluidly ease the tension in his muscles, but they’d become infamous for their ability to kill.

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Kaidan and Grief

I have always HC’d Kaidan as being very emotional and feeling things like anger, grief and loss intensely. Not because he’s an angry person, but because he *is* so emotional and he feels things deeply. When he lashed out at Vyrnnus defending Rahna - that was those emotions.

So for me, Kaidan is bitterly emotional after he loses Shepard over Alchera. Angry, despairing, unable at first to move past those horrible feelings. He doesn’t fall into drinking or drug use, but instead loses himselves in despair and functions on autopilot. Kaidan throws himself into his work with a desperate abandon that worries Anderson - it’s clear he doesn’t care if he lives or dies. He accumulates vast sums of credits from danger pay from taking on these missions. He gets new scars, new skills, maybe even a tattoo.

The bleeding wound that is the loss of Shepard never quite heals because what if? What if he’d disobeyed their orders and stayed? What if Joker hadn’t stayed behind? What if Shepard hadn’t gone back for him What if? WHAT IF?

After a time his life becomes more normal and the agony of missing Shepard isn’t quite as keen. So he tries to move on … but he never quite can. There is always a face in the crowd that looks like theirs, or that damned Shepard VI telling him he looks like a varren person, or their face on Memorial posters and Alliance advertising - “Remember Normandy”.

He can’t forget.

He won’t.

He hates it and loves it. The pain becomes something that he clings to desperately, bitterly, ferociously. Because it’s all he has left. The gap Shepard left in his life is one he doesn’t want to fill; he needs to feel something, even if it’s pain.

Originally posted by cactuarkitty

headcanon:

the virmire survivor goes to alchera after the SR-1 is destroyed. they never tell the alliance. but they sit, quiet, in front of shepard’s helmet, and they think about how easily it could have been them, how many times they’ve escaped death - and their breathing echoes in their ears.

maybe the ghosts of the normandy talk back to them. maybe they don’t.

but shepard finds footprints on alchera, and always wonders whose they were.

asimovsideburns  asked:

I always chose to interpret the Alchera mission as Shepard getting some closure, coming to terms with what happened. Basically, a Loyalty Mission for yourself, to remember the crew that followed you on a mutinous mission to save the galaxy. I always brought back every dog tag, because they were the ones my Shepard was fighting for. And as long as they can help it, my Shepard never leaves a soldier behind.

That’s actually a very positive way of looking at it. I usually come from the point of view of having a degree of PTSD, but I admit for myself in some cases, facing the events that cause the triggers can bring closure and healing.

Thanks for another perspective! 

*eye twitch* Kaiden….

Is that like Kaidan’s really off brand Cerberus clone except he’s got one lazy eye that keeps drifting to the far left and when he blinks it googlies around for a sec before slipping off to the left again? Cerberus never really could get a clean DNA sample from Kaidan, but they managed to obtain it from Shepard after they fell to Alchera and it was not in good condition considering.

Maybe Kaiden is BFFs with Shephard (the other Shepard clone no one talks about) and they have stupidly ridiculous space adventures together. They were meant to be trashed but escaped in a wild bout of luck in an absolute fluke.

Okay, so one of Sarah Shepard’s biggest fears is that her helmet comms hadn’t gone out over Alchera and that the rest of the crew had listened to her die. Her gasps for air as her suit depressurized, her struggles as she tried in vain to plug the leaks in the hoses, her little sounds of fear before it finally went quiet. I was just thinking of how the team would react to hearing that, and her receiver had been damaged, so they could hear her, but she couldn’t hear them.

Kaidan: Doesn’t understand what he’s hearing at first, he saw the pod in the cockpit deploy, she had have been on board. Fear and panic grips his chest when he finally understands. He tries calling to her, but there’s no answer, just her choking gasps for air, tears run down his face as he tries to comfort her, but she can’t hear him. He’s listening to his friend (or lover) die and there’s nothing he can do about it. He shouldn’t have left her, should have gone with her to get Joker, maybe then she would have made it. He calls her name into the silence a long time after the noises stop until he can’t bring himself to say it again.

Liara: Just sits in her seat and sobs, head down. She’s haunted by the sounds for weeks afterwards, can hear them when it’s quiet. She’s never listened to someone die before and it kills something inside of her to know that the first time she has, it was a friend.

Garrus: Grips the harness so hard his hands hurt, his jaw clenched so hard his mandibles ache. She’s his mentor, his guide, he’s learned more travelling with her than he ever did at C-Sec. He starts shaking in his seat, wanting to go to her, wanting to help her, but he can’t, all he can do is sit there until there’s empty air. Turian’s can’t cry, not really, but eventually there’s low mournful keening that doesn’t need translating.

Tali: Turns her modulator off so no one can hear her cry as she listens to her friend die, the one who helped her on her Pilgrimage, introduced her to so many wonderful things. Her hands press to her face plate, her shoulders shaking unmistakably and when she gets back to the Flotilla, she can’t sleep because of how loud it is.

Wrex: Doesn’t do anything, doesn’t move, just stares straight ahead. Eventually he starts rocking back and forth slightly. He’s heard people die, that wasn’t something new, but they had always been enemies, those trying to kill him, and it had always been quick. It was never a friend, a member of this strange krannt he had come to be in, and it was never by a slow suffocation.

and finally

Joker: Alliance finds his escape pod shortly after they find the others. He’s alone, curled up in his seat so hard he had broken bones. Wide eyed and not moving because he saw her die, he watched her as she was blown out into space. In his mind, it was his fault. He killed her, as surely as if he had held a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. He’s treated for shock and doesn’t speak for almost a solid month.

Just finished Alchera. Ugh that is just depressing.

Please tell me I’m not the only one has to collect all the dog tags every single time. It feels like a personal failure if I don’t.

The Rain

I don’t normally write Shenko angst but this was in my head. Enjoy.

*

It was raining again.

It had rained every day since she went away.

It started raining on Alchera after the debris finished painting fiery trails in the sky.

When the last escape pod fell.

When he realised she was gone.

He’d sat and waited for the recue teams while frozen drops of methane fell. Coating his armour. Frosting his visor.

He didn’t care.

It rained when he fronted the Alliance Committee investigating the Normandy’s crash. It rained when he went to visit her mother to give his condolences. It rained when he sat in the bar on the Citadel and drank himself into a stupor.

It rained each night after.

And now, sitting in his dress blues and staring at her memorial, it was raining again. He didn’t care. His hands curled into fists as he struggled to hold back the lump in his throat, waves of crushing despair washing over him.

He held on.

Just.

But it hurt.

It burned.

He was hollow.

Empty.

Alone.

It wasn’t fair.

The rain fell. Fat drops that sent people scurrying for cover as soon as the ceremony was concluded.

Not Kaidan.

He stayed.

He was used to the rain.