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.
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.”
“Problems, chief?” Lieutenant Alenko’s soft-spoken query roused Ashley out of her this-is-not-what-I-signed-on-for conundrum. The sleeper pod in front of her blinked a green Ready light at her, everything looked good, nothing out of the ordinary that she could see, but…
…but that didn’t mean everything was fine.
But she answered, “No, sir,” automatically, just in case. She would do this. It’d just take a moment. Another couple of moments. The rest of the shift she’d been assigned to were already sleeping, or at least sealed in their pods and looking like they were sleeping. She’d waited until last, intending to take a few minutes alone to check things over - but having a superior officer hanging over her shoulder wasn’t going to make that easy without being obvious about it.
Except Lieutenant Alenko didn’t look like he had anywhere else to be.
He’s the staff lieutenant, helping new crewmates get settled in is part of his job, she reminded herself.