“It’s not a shell. There’s so much life, living here! That’s what I’m doing, I’m living here! I’ve been learning new things about myself all the time! Like how I can make metal do my bidding! The point being, Earth can set you free.”
Summary: Sometimes, it’s best to end it while the love is still there.
Warnings: Cursing. That’s it. (I’m surprised I haven’t written any *bow chicka wow wow* scenes yet. Whaaaaaaa?)
Word Count: 4,238 (HAHAHAHA SOMEONE STOP ME.)
A/N: I’m still so astounded the fact that you guys actually enjoy my writing????? Like it’s so rusty?????? BUT YEAH, ANYWAY. I dunno, it can’t be all rainbows and unicorns, friends, so I was like, LOL, LET’S DO THIS. So yeah, I present to you the final chapter of this series thingy. I dunno what to call it. But again, thank you so much!!!!! I am extremely humbled by your response!!! I have one request that I’m working on right now, but if you guys have anything else you’d like me to slaughter, I’d be honored to be your shitty author. I legitimately love you all.
P.S.: Shameless promo here. GO FOLLOW BECCA BECAUSE SHE IS FANTASTIC AND PERFECT AND SO INCREDIBLE. Tbh, she inspired me to write because of her own brilliance so GO, FRIENDS. GO READ HER STUFF. Okay read the thing now byyyyyyye.
It’s been two weeks.
Fourteen days, seventeen hours, twenty-nine minutes, and eighteen, nineteen, twenty…
After being exclusive with Lin for a solid eight months, (and seeing him consecutively for thirteen days since that first date despite some days that only allowed you half an hour together), it’s been two entire weeks since you’ve physically seen him. Your fingertips haven’t grazed the stubble on his cheeks, his arms wrapped themselves around your waist, your lips haven’t tasted the sweetness of his own. Your ears haven’t been graced by his melodious voice, your eyes have not been transfixed by his mesmerizing dark brown orbs, your skin has not felt his radiating warmth. It’s been fourteen days.
This wasn’t fair.
Not to you, not to him.
You couldn’t help it. Your life was far too hectic, far too full of chaos for you to balance your career and a relationship. To make matters worse, he was in the throes of his musical with deadlines left and right. Lin was at the mercy of creativity for the sake of production, and he often disappeared for days at a time to clear his head or find inspiration. When creativity struck, he was a goner.
And sure, you spoke as much as your lives would let you. Over text, numerous phone calls, playing phone tag, leaving sweet voicemails, you were both still on each other’s minds. But it wasn’t like your lifestyle allowed much time to spend together, no matter how desperately both of you wanted to.
You had already met his parents (upon his insistence and disregard for your apprehension), slept with him (which carelessly happened on the third date because the way he kissed you when he dropped you off at home after breakfast had needy, lust-filled undertones that you just couldn’t deny), and woke up next to him a few nights in a row (because the feeling of the contours of his body matching perfectly with yours was a sensation you just couldn’t do without), you two were going so strong.
You knew his birthday, his favorite color, the way he took his coffee, the poem that made him think the hardest, the song that never failed to send a chill down his spine. He knew which cushion on your sofa that you found the most comfortable, the cupboard where you kept your sugar, the plans you had for your future together (even going as far as the color of the back splash of your kitchen, the type of dog you’d get, and even names for your kids – you two just didn’t know how to take your time), the things that kept you up at night. If asked, you both could write novels about each other.
But perhaps those novels would only intersect for a chapter, only to diverge upon completion.
And maybe it was time the chapter ended.
You picked up your phone to shoot him a quick text and saw that he had already beaten you to the punch.
(5:10 am) - Good morning, beautiful :) Rise and shine! (5:10 am) - Wakey, wakey, rise and shaky! (5:11 am) - Despierta, mi cariña 😚
If only he’d known that you couldn’t even manage to snag a wink of sleep the entire night.
You tossed your phone behind you and rolled over on your side to get a glimpse of the clock that sat on your bedside table.
5:13 in the morning.
Your schedule at Columbia had you coming in at 6:30, giving you a little less than an hour to get ready. With a groan, you willed yourself out of bed, taking a minute to sit up on the edge to mentally prepare for the day.
A ping came from behind, alerting you of another text.
(5:16 am) - I’m thirty seconds away with your favorite: ME. (5:16 am) - And bagels and coffee, but clearly I take precedence ;)
Your heart leapt up into your throat, and you felt asphyxiated, wrought with anxiety and guilt for having led him on for this long.
It wasn’t like you didn’t want to see him because you did. Fucking Christ, you wanted nothing more than to see him, to wrap your arms around him, to kiss him, to hold him. If he asked you to stay home, you’d find someone to cover for you (even though you had an opportunity to scrub in for a spinal correction for herniated disk, otherwise known as your Holy Grail) just so you could spend the entire day in nothing but your underwear and Lin’s t-shirt while both of you lazed around your apartment.
Even though you anticipated it, you jumped at the sound of the buzzer, signaling you to make your way over to your front door to let him in. Without even checking who it was outside, you simply pushed the button to let him in, lingering by the coat closet after unlocking the door.
“Good morning, sleepyhead,” he greeted as he sauntered into your abode, the scent of coffee quickly filling the immediate space.
Lin didn’t waste any time, gently placing the items on the side table opposite the coat closet. He took you into his arms and placed a quick kiss on your temple before finding your lips, kissing you passionately as if to make up for the moments he couldn’t be with you.
“Hi,” you managed to squeak in reply. That was all you were able to say.
He walked over to your kitchen and brought the brown paper bag and tray of coffee to the counter, quickly offering you a cup. “Just the way you like it.”
All you could do was smile softly as you took the cup out of his hands, making yourself comfortable on a kitchen stool. Taking a small sip, you remained quiet as you watched him pull the food out of the bag, beckoning you to dig in.
“Mike’s was packed this morning,” he started as he took a bite, still talking with his mouth full. “I mean, it always is, but it was like everyone within a three-mile radius suddenly needed dozens of bagels. It was insane.”
You just looked at him from across the counter, not really knowing how to segue into the conversation that needed to happen.
It was too difficult though.
There he was as eccentric as always, charming and mesmerizing, so full of light and conversation. You’ve always enjoyed his mere existence, the way he looked at you, the way he spoke to you, the way he held you – everything about him was so incredibly fantastic. It was all just… wrong timing.
“Lin, we need to talk.”
Damn it, how cliché was that? You sounded like every Goddamn romantic movie Hollywood ever produced. And you couldn’t even help it. You didn’t want to sound so generic, so insensitive, so callous, but you just didn’t know how else to do it.
He put his food down on the napkin in front of him, his eyes finding yours, trying to read your expression. “Oh, um. Okay.”
You swallowed hard, already feeling the tremors in your fingertips travelling throughout your entire body. Fuck, you weren’t prepared for this.
“I can’t see you anymore.”
Shit, you just ripped the band aid right off. No bracing yourself for impact, no warning.
In that moment, you couldn’t bear to look at him. You could practically feel his eyes burning a hole in you, wordlessly pleading.
“Why?” He breathed quietly. “What’s wrong? I thought we were doing fine.”
Words were suddenly foreign to you, and you found yourself struggling to construct sentences.
“Y/N, what happened? Did I do something wrong? Baby, look, if I did something wrong, I’m so sorry. If I hurt you, I’m sorry. But please, tell me what’s wrong.” Lin moved over to your side of the counter, placing both hands on yours in some attempt to get you to face him. “Why can’t you see me anymore?”
Why couldn’t you see him anymore?
You were too busy. He was too busy. Your schedule was complicated. He disappeared randomly. You barely had enough time for yourself, let alone another person. He needed time alone to write. It wasn’t fair to him and it wasn’t fair to you.
The answer was simple, so why couldn’t you just say it?
“Lin, I…” You began, but you couldn’t even finish. Eyes fixated on the wood counter, you felt tears already forming, blurring your vision. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for what, Y/N?” He asked almost frantically. “Why are you apologizing?”
You could practically feel your own heart madly beating on your tongue, somehow making it even harder to speak.
Suddenly, you felt him wrap you up in his arms, pulling you closer, tucking your head under his chin. Of course, this only made the dam break, sending your tears streaming down your cheeks.
“Baby, please look at me,” Lin whispered as he pulled away, taking a hand to lift your chin. He placed a kiss on your forehead before holding you again. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
You couldn’t handle it anymore. He was too good to you. The way he was comforting you right after you’d just broken the news that you decided you couldn’t see him anymore was enough to break you into pieces.
After gathering yourself and mustering the courage to elaborate, you let out a trembling sigh and ran a hand through your messy hair, turning it face him.
“I can’t be this,” you spoke, gesturing around. “For you. I know you will always be here for me whenever I need you, but I’m just not… I can barely find time for myself, and when I do have a free moment, sometimes you’re somewhere else. And I get it, trust me, I respect that, but it’s just not fair for both of us to have wait around for the other to be free–”
“Y/N, I’m making the conscious decision to do this. This isn’t your doing, it’s mine. I’m the one that’s choosing to be here. I’m here right now! I’m making the time see you–”
“Lin, that’s just the point! You’re the one doing all of this and I can barely meet you halfway.”
“And I’m fine with that,” he replied softly, his voice quivering. “I’m fine with all of it.”
“But I’m not, Lin,” you spoke as tears rolled down your face. “I’m consciously wasting your time–”
“You’re not!” He exclaimed with a shake of his head. “You are not a waste of my time.”
“This is for the best,” you mumbled, feeling a wave of guilt wash over you, practically drowning you in its relentless tide. “I can’t let you do this. ”
There was a measure of silence between the two of you as he took a step back, taking a deep breath.
“So that’s it?” He asked, his tone admitting defeat.
You couldn’t say anything in reply. Instead, you just sat there with your head down, unable to meet his somber gaze.
Without another word, he stepped towards you and kissed the crown of your head.
“I love you,” he murmured against your hair.
And with that, he saw his way out of your apartment, letting the door click shut behind him.
The rest of your morning was a blur.
You cried in the shower, sobbed in the elevator, wept on your walk to work. Sniffling in the resident locker room, you opened up your locker and stuffed your bag in it, causing a sticky note to fall to the floor. Not wanting to leave a mess, you bent down to pick it up.
It was a note scrawled in messy handwriting.
‘Sixteen hours until I get to see you again. It won’t be long now :)’
It was a note he’d written when he brought you dinner at work. Lin dropped it off one night and pasted the sticky note on the Chinese food container, leaving it for you to find when you got a chance to eat.
For fuck’s sake, you couldn’t catch a break.
Wiping a stray tear away, you stuck the note back up on the door of your locker, your fingers lingering on the ink for a few moments before you shut it.
Okay, breathe, you thought. It was your decision. Deal with it. Stop crying. No more crying.
If only that inner pep talk actually worked.
It was a sixteen hour shift, but there was no prize at the end of it anymore.
Despite the usual excitement at work, you still found your tasks monotonous, going through the motions without your typical glee, counting down the hours until you could just go home, curl up, and cry.
Ten hours into the day, you managed to steal a few moments to yourself to grab a quick bite to eat downstairs in the cafeteria. Hunger just wasn’t on your mind though, so after grabbing an order of fries, you opted to sit in the quiet chapel to gather yourself in peace.
Phone in hand, you mindlessly unlocked it, checking to see if you had any texts, missed calls, or voicemails.
There was a notification for a new text message and your heart stopped as you held your breath. Part of you wanted it to be from Lin, but the rest of you knew that you wouldn’t be able to take it.
It was from your little sister asking if you could help her on her science project this weekend.
You let out a sigh, partly in relief but mostly in disappointment, because you wanted to know if you were still on Lin’s mind. But you didn’t have the right to think that way anymore. You’d made your bed, so now you had to lie in it.
Your fries had already gone cold and you no longer found them appetizing (if you even had an appetite), so you picked up your things and left the chapel, deciding it was best to get back to work instead.
The rest of your shift was spent with you doing post-op follow ups on the pediatric floor, sulking between patients and sniffling in empty rooms. Your eyes were obviously puffy and your nose was embarrassingly red, something you know Lin would’ve teased endearingly. The thought of that only twisted the dagger that was already buried deep in your chest.
Midnight struck and it was almost time for you to head home to your warm bed, with blankets to wrap around you, pillows to support you, and blackout blinds to shield you away from the monstrosity you’d created earlier.
After checking your roster for any additional stat checks you needed to complete for the night, you approached a fellow resident and handed her the tablet.
“You’re up,” you told her with half a smile. “Goodnight.”
You went straight home after changing out of your scrubs, trying to distract yourself from the inevitable breakdown that was already on the brink. Typically, you’d whip out your phone and dial the number you knew by heart. Lin never made you wait more than two rings to pick up the phone as long as he was awake. He’d ask you about your day, and even though he had no idea what your medical jargon meant, he was still all ears for you.
But you couldn’t do that anymore. It was time to face reality now.
Stepping foot into your apartment building, you walked over to the elevator, took it up to the ninth floor, moping down the hallway before getting to your place. With a swing of the door, you were greeted by the shadow of two coffee cups and half-eaten bagels still sitting on your counter under the moonlight. You shut the door and just stood there, tears spilling over, guilt and heartache suffocating you, his words from this morning still resonating in your head, his kiss still very much present on your lips, his scent still lingering in the air.
You couldn’t even look at it.
With your eyes shut, you sulked to your room and closed the door, collapsing right onto your unmade bed, not even bothering to change.
You had gone six days without hearing from him. Not that you expected to, especially since you felt you had no right to hurt because this was your choice.
Work had you just as busy as always. Running from floor to floor, dashing from OR to OR, you were fully submerged in your daily duties (and rightfully so, because lives were at stake). It gave you the opportunity to focus on something else, to distract you from the fact that your heart was trying to claw its way out of you because you had betrayed it.
Things were slowly normalizing themselves and you felt like you were going to be okay.
At three in the morning on day seven (you still couldn’t help but count the days), you stirred awake, subconsciously reaching for your phone on your bedside table.
No new notifications.
Part of you wanted Lin to fight back, to convince you that you’d made the wrong choice, to show you that he was relentless and persistent. But you knew that wasn’t the case. The man would jump off a roof if you told him to and he’d do it in a heartbeat without a second thought.
You told him to go.
Sleep was nowhere near the top of your priorities at this point, so you went through your phone, swiping through pictures, reading through text messages, listening to voicemails.
‘Hey baby,’ it started. ‘I just so happened to order way too much Pad Thai and I don’t want it to go to waste, and I know a certain doctor that also just so happens to really enjoy Thai food. I also just so happened to walk past David’s Cookies on Bayard and it reminded me of your sweet tooth, so I got you something sweet.’
There was a brief pause.
’I also got you some cookies.’
You heard him chuckle at his own joke and you started laughing despite the tears forming in your eyes yet again.
‘So I’ll see you in a little bit because A) I can’t finish all this food by myself, and B) I can’t last another moment without seeing your face. Hasta luego, cariña.’
That was the day he stopped by the hospital just to drop off your lunch. He was protective of you, and he knew that if you didn’t take the time to eat, you would’ve starved.
Sitting up against your headboard, you placed your phone somewhere to your side and you cried, your sobs resonating throughout the four walls of your room, shoulders heaving, knees trembling. You cried for the mistake you’d made, cried for the pain you’ve caused, cried for the man who had made everything in your life so much brighter.
He was the missing piece. He was the love of your life. He was always the endgame.
Without a second thought, you quickly dialed his number and prayed to every religion’s God (or Gods because you were in the midst of an act of desperation) that he would pick up.
‘Hey, you’ve reached Lin! Leave it at the beep!’
Your heart dropped. Sure, you didn’t really expect him to answer the call, but you also hadn’t prepared yourself for this outcome. This was pure improvisation at this point, and you figured you should leave a message because you had nothing more to lose.
“Lin, it’s me. I’m sorry, I made a huge mistake. I wasn’t thinking when I thought it’d be better this way, but I just can’t do it. I’m so sorry, Lin, I’m so sorry.”
As pathetic as it was, you were blubbering already, hiccuping after every other word, sniffling between sentences.
“And I know you don’t even wanna hear from me anymore, but I just need you. I was so stupid to think breaking up was a good thing. Lin, I’m sorry.”
You hung up and sat there all distraught, unable to catch your breath as you tried to choke down your sobs.
That was it. It was really over. You had pushed away the one man that truly wanted to stay, screwing up everything in the process.
As your sobs finally ceased, sleep finally found you, giving your body a moment to relax from all the strenuous crying.
An hour and a half later at 4:34 in the morning, you heard your buzzer go off, causing you to gasp yourself back to consciousness.
Your heartbeat raced as you tiptoed to your front door, pressing the button for the intercom.
“Who is it?” You called out groggily, rubbing your swollen eyes.
“It’s me,” he replied.
You didn’t even need to confirm his identity. You knew that voice.
Without hesitation, you buzzed him in and felt the waterworks flowing again, relief washing over you despite the guilt that still burrowed in the pit of your stomach. You unlocked the door and opened it, stepping out into the hallway to greet him when he came upstairs.
“Y/N,” he spoke softly when he spotted you from the elevator, picking up his steps to get to you sooner.
When you were finally within his arm’s reach, he took no time in taking you and holding you tightly. You finally let yourself breakdown in his arms, crying softly against his chest as you held onto him.
“I’m sorry,” you sobbed. “I’m so sorry.”
“Shh, I’m here, I’m here.” Lin smoothed the hair on the back of your head. “I’m not going anywhere, baby, I promise.”
His voice cracked and you heard the heartbreak you’d caused.
After managing to pull away from him, you took a deep breath to recollect yourself, wiping your eyes with the back of your hand.
“I love you,” he whispered, beating you to it. “A thousand times over, I love you.” His eyes welled up as he looked down at you, his arms still not letting you go.
You couldn’t even give yourself a chance to reply. Reaching up and placing your hands on his wet cheeks, you pulled him down for a kiss, your eyes fluttering shut, forgetting the rest of the world around you.
He returned the kiss with an arm around your waist and his other hand in your hair, pulling you impossibly closer to make any remaining space between you disappear. His teeth grazed your bottom lip, giving it a slight nip.
“I am so in love with you,” he murmured against your lips when he broke away, his nose nuzzling yours.
“I love you,” you whispered in reply, pressing a kiss on jaw. “I love you so much, you don’t even know. I’m so sorry.”
You rested your head against his chest with your arms around his waist, not wanting to feel what it was like to not have him in your arms again. The six full days you had to endure without him were already hell on earth.
“It’s okay, Y/N, I’m here now.”
Lin took your hand in his and his fingers found themselves at home between the spaces of your own. He led you back into your apartment, not taking his eyes off you, a soft grin on his face.
Once the door was closed, he brought you over to your sofa, sitting you down on your favorite spot before taking a seat right next to you.
“I know I will fall off the face of the earth, sometimes for days at a time,” Lin started. “And I know the hospital will make you disappear on a near daily basis, but the bottom line is that, no matter what, you are the one thing that will always remain constant for me. You will always be the first thought on my mind and the last dream of the night. I will always come back to you. In all possible circumstances, I will always choose you, Y/N. It will always be you.”
A single tear rolled down your cheek as you smiled at him, leaning forward to kiss him once again. The weight on your shoulders finally lifted itself off and dissipated into nothing.
You settled into his side and he draped his arm across your shoulders.
“I’m sorry,” you said softly. It seemed like that was one of the only things you could say.
“Apologize one more time and I’m walking out the door,” Lin joked, chuckling slightly.
The sound of his laugh gave you the sense of comfort you’d lost that dreaded morning, and your lips managed to break into the most genuine smile you’ve had in a week.
“I missed you,” you said as you looked up at him.
Lin simply pressed his lips to your temple. “Not as much as I did.”
You were thankful you had a full twenty-four hours off from work, giving you the entire day to spend with the love of your life.
Both of you spent the next two hours talking about everything and nothing. He caught you up on the progress of his musical, you educated him on medical terminology, you both laughed at the absurdities of your respective careers. He played with your hands, drawing shapes on your ticklish palm with his index finger, watching your fingers curl sequentially upon every swoop and curve he drew. You nestled into the crook of his neck, the soothing sound of his voice lulling you to sleep.
After falling asleep nestled comfortably in his arms, you were woken up sometime late in the morning by Lin leaving a trail of kisses, starting from your forehead to your jawline.
“Good morning, sleepyhead,” he greeted you quietly.
“Hey,” you replied with a groggy smile, still between sleep and consciousness.
“I’m thinking bagels,” Lin suggested. “Are you thinking bagels, Y/N?”
Your sleepy smile grew into a foolish grin, and you pressed your lips to his, giving him a quick peck. “You read my mind.”
Ive gotten to meet all of your Shepards so I thought i would formally introduce mine! So I’m going to do a quick Bio for her!
Name- Miranda Leanne Shepard
Background- Spacer War Hero
Miranda is very brash and temperamental, and has a hard time controlling those tendencies, specifically in front of the council, she is incredibly strong and uses it to her advantage, shes just really an ordinary soldier, made for front lines combat, but excels in sniping as well. She’s well versed in all weapons able to mod, assemble, disassemble, and fire with ease, and she chooses armor piercing ammo as her ammo of choice. She prides herself on her strength and her intelligence, and not so much her ability to keep her cool. She finds punching things the only way to really reduce her stress levels and takes all of her losses to heart, she is a very sentimental person and her desk is filled with picture frames of her companions over the years. Shes very humble and doesnt like when people bring up her successes such as elysium feeling her failures far outweigh her success. She was very close with Ash and leaving her behind was the hardest choice she had to make. As for her family life, she was extremely close to her father, and was devastated when he was declared KIA when she was 16. She tries to keep in contact with her mother, but as time goes on it gets harder. She grew up with Anderson and he became a father figure to her, and he is one of her main motivators to keep going and to not give up.