Summary: Ashley is settling in on Normandy and making friends… her way.
“Seriously LT, that’s all you’re lifting?“
Ashley had to pitch her voice a bit to be heard over the noise level in Normandy’s cargo bay where the marine detachment was busily running laps or taking turns at the weights in the gym they’d unfolded from a cargo box.
Kaidan grinned and finished putting the stops on the bar after adding the weights, taking the good-natured ribbing in the spirit it was intended. "Yeah, I’d like to be able to raise my arms tomorrow. You know how it is.”
Ashley finished with what she considered an acceptable number of laps so she settled on a mat to do some stretching while watching Kaidan start lifting his reps. Technically he was supervising the men and women who were exercising, but they didn’t need that much supervision just to run in circles. She’d been impressed by the discipline from the first moment she’d stepped on board; it was the kind you only saw on space assignments where every bit of space was shared three ways and everyone had to deal. It would’ve been nice to run through engineering just to lengthen their strides a bit, but the engineers had politely but firmly vetoed that idea.
So she had a little itch left over, wanting something out of her exercise that she hadn’t gotten. Had never been a problem ground-side. Serving on a ship was teaching her a lot of little things that the rest of the space-accustomed crew had taken for granted for a long time.
Including things about the more mysterious members of the military that were never wasted on mundane stuff like garrison duty.
kaidan and ashley both give great hugs. after a while, they develop a habitual greeting: whenever they spot each other from opposite sides of the room, they run toward each other, and ashley launches herself into kaidan’s arms. he spins her in a circle, puts her down, and they fist-bump.
(they try it once with kaidan jumping into ashley’s arms. it works just as well and she brags about it for the rest of the week.)
Knowing there was a reality out there where Kaidan had lived
was one thing, seeing him standing in front of her was another.
He looked as sucker punched as she did though, staring at
her like he wasn’t sure if this was real or not and Ashley couldn’t help but
feel the same.
“Please God,” She muttered softly under her breath and
reached out to lightly touch Kaidan’s shoulder. When it was solid under her
fingers and didn’t disappear like a whiff of smoke she pressed down harder and
looked up to meet Kaidan’s eyes.
“Hey Ash,” Kaidan said, in the same raspy voice that she
could remember in her dreams, saying goodbye to her.
“Hey yourself.” She laughed, a mixture of disbelief and
Between one heartbeat and the next Kaidan had shrugged her
arm off and was hugging her, pressing his face into hair and just holding her.
She carefully hugged him back, slowly at first, and then into a rib crushing
She was glad that no one else was in the room, both of the
Shepards had walked out to discuss tactics against the reapers in a comparison
of what they had done.
“I buried you Ash. Even though there wasn’t anything to
bury.” Kaidan broke the silence but not the hug. “I….you were gone.”
She wanted to say something to that, to refute that she had
buried him too, had packed up all his belongings and sent them back to Earth
and didn’t even have a single picture left of Kaidan in the end. Instead she
pulled back and smiled at Kaidan, reaching up to cup his cheek with her hand, “I
know Kaidan. It’s not the same but we have here now.”
A here they’d both suffered to get to, full of loss and
differences but Kaidan was still him and she was still her and this point that
was all that mattered.
“Dinner?” Kaidan asked, “I think I can get the chef to part
with some food.”
“Make up for lost times then.” Of dinners and discussions
they never got to have. “I’m down for it.”
“Come on then, Spectre Williams.” Kaidan’s lips twitched in
The only reason for them smiling so dorkishly while looking like shit that I can think of, is that they’ve just fought some major really tough battle, while Shepard was also fighting some other big boss on his own, and now it’s finished and they are just happy to see they all made it out alive.
Actually, now that I think of it, it sounds a lot like the end of the first game…
But yeah, I simply wanted to see them all beaten up and barely standing :3
Messages sent to Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko from Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams.
“Hey, thanks for the save back there. I owe you one.”
Messages sent Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams from Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko.
Warning: Omni-Tool will soon be offline.
“Was told they were gonna shut off your omni. Talked to Shepard. Gonna keep it around for a bit.”
“Went through your locker today. Someone had to. Shepard couldn’t. Found some old hairbands. Wearing it like a bracelet. Found an old sandwich behind some poetry. Typical you.”
“Kept your journals. Hope you don’t mind. Couldn’t let them go.”
“Just thinking about the future. Would have taken you back home. The view of the English Bay is beautiful. I know you would have liked it. Water usually pretty cold, though. I’ve got a feeling you’d dive in anyways.”
“Ash, I found your audio books still downloaded to my old omni-tool the other day. Listened to some of it. Never really understood the guy before now. No wonder you were crazy about him. I think I was just jealous that he got more attention than me.”
“Read some Tennyson from your journals today. Didn’t completely get it myself. Figured you liked it though. Pages covered in scribbles. I’ve missed your handwriting.”
“And ask ye why these sad tears stream?/Why these wan eyes are dim with weeping?/I had a dream–a lovely dream,/Of her that in the grave is sleeping.”
“…Guess I got some of it.”
“Garrus and I stopped by your memorial plaque the other day. Still as good as new. Got to talk about old times. I miss you.”
“Thinking about that message you sent. I owe you one. What were you gonna give? Cause I know what I would’ve taken.”
“Went dirnking with shaepard. The alcoashol doesnt ehlp mucvh. Can stillf eel the hole in myu chesst.”
“Hangover doesn’t help much either.”
“Ash. Sometimes I still forget you’re gone. Maybe it’s the way I clutch your journal to catch your smell. Maybe it’s the hairband snapping on my wrist. Maybe it’s how I can’t stop listening to your audio recordings. Don’t want to forget your voice. Can’t forget you.”
“Not like the recordings help much. You don’t sound like you in them.”
kaidan blurs in and out of consciousness, but that thought is constant and certain.
she’s standing behind the AI as kaidan smashes into the shuttle, once, twice, she’s walking towards him and as he fades out he hears her voice. stay with us, LT.
he can barely think i’m not an LT anymore before he’s gone.
she holds his hand on the normandy, and he hears shepard’s voice low and concerned and liara’s voice higher and frantic and it’s too much for him, but she is there, and she squeezes his hand. stay with us, k, she tells him.
i told you not to call me k, he thinks, and he gets another squeeze.
and i told you i was stubborn.
warmth and peace wash over him and he drops into darkness again.
the medics are as gentle as they can be on the sprint from the normandy to huerta. but kaidan hurts everywhere, feels like he can’t breathe right, feels like his skull is splitting open and his eyes are bleeding and he wants it all to stop.
he wants to let go. it hurts too much.
don’t you dare. she’s keeping pace with the medics.
why are you here, he thinks.
i’ve always been here, LT. i always will be.
he feels her standing watch by his bed as a team of surgeons goes to work. he starts drifting off again, and she moves in close. he thinks he can feel her breath on his face.
now fight, she whispers in his ear.
and because he never could say no to her, his last conscious thought is i will, ash.