Unprompted: Vancouver

“You know the Commander?”

The question had been innocent enough, yet Kaidan couldn’t help the pang that shot straight to his heart.

Yes, he knew her. He knew her better than anyone else in the galaxy, or at least he had before everything had turned to hell.

He knew the way she smiled at his flustered sentences, back when he was still her staff-lieutenant who couldn’t string two words together around the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. He knew the breathy sighs she let out when he placed feather-light kisses along the juncture of her neck and clavicle. He knew the touch of her fingertips along his skin, and the way she felt under his. He knew of the softness of her skin, a miracle after everything she’d been through, and every single scar she’d had. He knew what she smelt like, what she tasted like, and what to say to bring a smile to her face.

But he knew the pain she’d caused him, too. It hadn’t really been her fault that she’d been brought back to life, although he hadn’t believed her then, and hell, still couldn’t really believe her now. He knew that he’d hurt her too; the pain he’d seen in her eyes on Horizon and the way she’d simply let him go without another word were testament to that. He’d seen the pain in her eyes a few moments before, before her mask came down and a smile that would have convinced everyone but him spread across her lips.

She’d said she was happy for his promotion, and that hadn’t been a lie, but Kaidan knew that she wasn’t really happy to see him. He couldn’t blame her after everything that’d happened between them. Duty had separated them; his to the Alliance, and hers to the entire galaxy, and he didn’t know how, or even if, they’d ever recover. God, he wanted them to, more than anything else, but what he wanted wouldn’t change anything, nor would it turn back time.

And it broke his heart all over again.

“I used to.”

ME Fic: Retirement

Inspired by a conversation with theherocomplex and some recent thinking about Val Shepard post-game. (mostly) fluffy headcanoning ahead!

#

On the first real day of her retirement, Shepard wakes with the dawn. She cracks an eye open as the sun begins to slant through the curtains and creeps out of bed quietly.

These days, she tends to wake up full of aches and kinks, so she doesn’t stint the warm-up. She spends a good while stretching out, watching the sun rise higher through the windows. She’s only forty—give or take a couple of years—but, well. She’s had more than her share of physical damage, hasn’t she? Her flesh and bones are riddled with old scars, metal, wires that hold her together. You have to be careful with a construct like that. So she jogs in place, shakes herself out, rolls her head from side to side until her neck cracks, stretches until the tightness in her legs eases and the persistent ache in her shoulder fades to something dull, easily ignored.

Then she steps outside and runs.

Keep reading

Every time I think about Shepard’s clone, I feel so bad for them because they never really had a chance to have a normal life.
One of the first things they say is: “Hide? Why? I’m Commander Shepard. I never hide.”
The entire DLC was them saying “I’m Commander Shepard! Look at me! I’m Shepard! The real one! Shepaaaaard” and everyone going “lol right.”
But they do feel like they’re Shepard. They look like Shepard, they have the same DNA. It’s understandable that they would identify with Shepard. Who else could they be? It’s not easy saying “I’m a clone, I don’t have a real identity yet, I need to construct it for myself.”
Especially when the clone explains what Cerberus intended to do with them: “I was created for spare parts in case you needed another arm, or a heart, or a lung.”
It reminded me of the book The House of the Scorpion. It explores the point of view of a clone who develops his own personality and needs but others don’t really see it or understand it. It’s a fascinating read. 

Anyway, I’m amazed that they compared “Maya Brooks” to Miranda. I think Shepard’s clone was attracted to Brooks’ readiness to acknowledge them as the true Shepard. Brooks tells the ‘real’ Shepard at some point that he’s not the real Shepard… “Not anymore,” she said.
It must have been reassuring to hear this! So much that the clone will tell Shepard: "You have Miranda, I have her. Mine has more bite.”
Of course, Brooks ends up betraying the clone when things don’t go her way. The clone’s face when she turns away instead of saving them always breaks my heart.

There’s also the clone’s relationship with the Illusive Man: “He abandoned me when he had what he wanted. You.”
I think that’s pretty much it. It explains how the clone feels about themselves and about Shepard.
Their entire existence is about this other person who is the “real” person everybody wants. This person gets the ship, the friends, the memories, the respect and admiration… The clone even thinks of it in terms of a cult: “the cult of Shepard.”
Interesting. But where the clone could have been a bit more nuanced, the writers made them over the top evil so we, as players, wouldn’t pity them too much. They felt wrong. So basically, it’s alright if they’re gone almost as soon as you meet them. They’re a DLC character, it doesn’t matter…
Ah but it does matter! To me, I mean. It matters to me :)
Point is: Shepard’s clone deserved better. They were screwed over by everyone and it completely messed with their head. I think that, given the chance, the clone could have become their own person. They would have been able to deal with all those identity issues and would have been ready to start a new life for themselves. So yes, I feel sad when I think about them because I think about lost opportunities (for them as a character but also as a story told in the ME universe).