Written for Kaidan Appreciation Week 2017, my meager contribution.
“Your son is no longer welcome here!”
“Then my family and I are no longer welcome here!”
He’s five years old. He’s sitting between his parents in the back of the skycab that is taking them away from his mother’s family, her parents, her sister, and her nieces. All because of him, because he’s a monster. He would cry and beg his mother to forgive him, but even at five years old, his shame and guilt do not allow him to show more grief than his mother does. And so far, he’s only seen a single tear roll down her cheek as she looks out the window.
“But they said I was a freak!”
“Don’t you ever say that about yourself! You are NOT a freak!”
He’s eight years old. He’s sobbing in his mother’s lap because the neighbors’ children were harrassing him earlier. The kids at school used to bully him all the time too until his parents decided to home-school him last year. But he’s a good-natured, sociable child, and the neighbors’ kids had looked like they were having so much fun, he had only wanted to play with them. He’s sobbing even harder when he hears his dad arguing with the neighbors outside. He’s making his parents’ lives so much more difficult than they have to be. He really is the most horrible boy on earth.
“Your mother was worried sick! What if something had happened to you?!”
“I don’t care!! I wish something had happened to me, I wish I were dead!”
He’s twelve years old. He slams the door to his bedroom as hard as he can. He won’t cry. He won’t cry, damn it. He lets himself fall on his bed, his face hidden in his pillow, and he screams as loud as he can. He ran away this morning, and his father has just brought him back after finding him trying to hitchhike on the highway. He had had such a good plan, too. He was going to go to Alaska and live with the bears, far, far away from humans. He hates it here. He hates that his parents only keep him around out of pity. He hates that they know he’s a freak and that they keep him at home all the time. They keep making excuses that it’s to keep him safe. He hates that they keep him instead of throwing him away, like the defective boy he is.
“I’m sorry… I just… You scared me, Kaidan.”
He’s seventeen years old. Rahna’s words are still ringing in his ears when he finally arrives home. His temper scares him too, sometimes. His temper has made him a murderer. And yet his parents welcome him home with open arms, and he sees no fear in their eyes. He doesn’t understand. Unconditional love should only go so far… How can they still love him when even other biotics are afraid of him? He doesn’t dare ask them, though. He’s caused his parents so much grief over the years, and they’re still there for him. He had wanted to blame them for sending him to Brain Camp, but he had heard what the men in suits had told his parents when they came to take him away. It’s for his own good, he will be with people with the same ability, people who will understand him in a way no one else can, people who will help him reach his full potential. No wonder his parents had bought into it. They probably thought they were holding him back. He realizes how unfair he’s been with his parents. He owes it to them to become a better person. Someone even other people are not afraid of.
“It’s good to see you, Kaidan.”
He’s twenty-three years old. By now, he’s gotten pretty good at reading people, especially their eyes. Chaz is genuinely happy to see him. But he shouldn’t doubt his friend. His best friend. Chaz is the only non-biotic, asides from his parents, who has never been afraid of him. Chaz is a corporal now, about to ship out on assignment, and Kaidan is so proud of his friend. Who would have thought the lanky street urchin he had met in Tokyo would end up an Alliance Navy Corporal? He knows Chaz had wanted him to enlist as well, so he hopes Chaz is just as proud of him. He’s still just a private second class, but he already knows he wants to make it to officer.
He’s thirty years old. When he first lays eyes on Meris Shepard, he only has a fleeting thought about Akuze. She’s so vibrant and full of life, it’s hard to think of her as a sole survivor, as someone who has survived something so horrific. She’s all grins and laughs… and yet… and yet… They are all at the Oculus, to celebrate Chaz’s promotion to Lieutenant Commander. Chaz is the one who introduces them, and Kaidan can tell that, beneath that bubbly exterior, there is something else in Meris’s eyes. Something he can’t quite define. He wants to know her. He’s not sure why, but he knows she’s going to be a part of his life. For better or worse.