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He couldn’t believe his ears. He’d heard rumors but… that was her voice! He never let himself truly believe that she could be back amongst the living until he heard that specific husky timbre which seemed to creep into her vocal cords after she’d tired herself out from a long battle. Or after a night spent together.

Kaidan pinched himself - the resulting pain proved he was awake, that this wasn’t some sort of dream. Stepping out of the shadows, away from the pre-fab buildings, he approached the mechanic, along with Shepard and crew.

“Commander Shepard - captain of the Normandy, first human Spectre, and savior of the Citadel. You’re in the presence of a legend, Delan, and a ghost,” he said to the mechanic beside him.

“I love you. I’ve missed you so much these last two years. Your hair is so much longer than it used to be, almost down to your waist. Did I ever tell you that it reminds me of dark chocolate and cherries, with how rich a brown it is and the little streaks of red that explode whenever the sun hits it just right? Your eyes are like drowning in pools of honey, and when they’d sparkle every time I made you laugh, it made me feel as if I’d been given the world’s greatest treasure.”

“Kaidan!” Shepard grinned, laughing, and jumped into his arms, hugging him tight. He pulled her close and he realized she still smelled the same - like warm, toasted, sugared almonds. His eyes closed and he buried his nose in her hair, running his fingers through it. “God, it’s so good to see you again,” she murmured in his ear. “How are you, really?”

”You still fit so perfectly against me. It’s almost as if you never died. You sound the same, smell the same, smile the same. The glimmer in your eyes still makes me think of chipped diamonds set in umber. Don’t leave me again… don’t leave me again… dontleavemeagain. I love you too much to let you go this time.”

“That’s it? That’s all you have to say? It’s been two years and all I get is a ‘hello and how’ve you been’? Why didn’t you contact me and let me know you were alive? Do you have any idea what I’ve been through the last two years?” Kaidan inwardly winced as the words he wanted to say were drowned out by the hurt he’d been wallowing in during her absence.

Oh god - the way her eyes were shimmering with tears, he expected her topaz eyes to melt and leave tracks of gold down her cheeks. Damnit, that wasn’t what he meant to say. Hurting her was the last thing he meant to do, even if he was having a hard time coming to grips with the fact she was standing in front of him.

“Hell, do you even remember the night before Ilos? That night meant everything to me. I loved you, Shepard. Did you even feel anything for me in return or was I just a convenient way to scratch your itches while we went after Saren?” Kaidan shut his eyes tight, not wanting to see how his words affected her, and rubbed his fingers over his temples. “I just can’t… how can you work for Cerberus after everything we saw? You’ve betrayed the Alliance. You’ve betrayed me… us… everything we believed in.”

Stars exploded behind Kaidan’s eyes as his head rocked back from the force of her punch. While the ache was worse now, he opened his eyes to see Shepard cocking her fist again while tears flowed freely down her cheeks.

“You bastard! You should know me well enough that I wouldn’t be working with this organization unless there was a damned good reason and that reason just made off with the majority of these colonists. And as far as how I feel about you?  I fought til my last breath hoping against hope that you’d make it through this alive. The thought of losing you…” she choked out, then shook her head as if tamping down the emotion, “Well I guess I shouldn’t have bothered. This is all about how you feel and how I’ve supposedly wronged you, never mind the fact that I missed you so much it hurt but Anderson wouldn’t let me have your contact information.”

He kept making things worse. Why wouldn’t the words he wanted to say come out instead of these hateful accusations? His father would kick his ass if he saw the way his son was treating this woman.

“Even with all that,” her voice softened, hoarse from holding back her emotions, “I’d love to have you back on the Normandy. I could really use someone with your expertise on the ship.”

“No,” he said, before he could even think about it. “I know where my allegiances lie. I’m Alliance first. I’ll never work for Cerberus.”

“Joker, send the shuttle. I’m sick of this place,” Shepard uttered as he watched her turn and walk away from him. Kaidan swore the skies were mocking him, choosing that moment to open up, the resulting downpour soaking him within moments and almost hiding her from his view.

~*~*~{0}~*~*~

Kaidan stared at his message center. It had been days since he sent out the apology letter, asking for forgiveness and another chance, and he wondered if it had been too little, too late. He hadn’t let himself think about it at the time, but Garrus had been by her side when he last saw her and the turian wouldn’t have been there if he didn’t believe in what Shepard was doing. Keeping in contact with Anderson, he’d since learned that Tali’zorah and Dr. Chakwas were also on board, besides Joker, and all signs pointed toward her not being a Cerberus puppet as others had feared. Damn he’d messed up.

Opening up his inbox, his heart stuttered as he saw a reply from her:

Kaidan,

I appreciate the gesture and the apology, but I can’t let myself go down that path. Not now. I can’t be with someone who doesn’t believe in me and right now I need that more than anything. Once my crew gets back from their last days of allotted shore leave, we’re off to traverse the Omega 4 Relay to destroy the Collectors once and for all. It’s called a suicide mission for a reason - our chances of returning are slim to none.

Take care of yourself, LC.

~Shepard

Tears leaked from the corners of his eyes as he squeezed them shut. His throat burned and felt as if it were closing up. He knew she was good at making the impossible possible, but no one had ever returned from the Omega 4. He didn’t know which hurt worse - knowing that she might never return, or that he’d damaged their relationship enough to the point where he was no longer what she needed. He understood perfectly - nothing in his actions had shown anything other than complete and utter distrust and disbelief.

“God, not sure if you’re listening or not, but keep her safe. We need her for what’s to come. I… I need her.”

This was written for the monthly prompt over at :iconkaidan-alenko-fans: for February.

The prompt wasn't just about the fluffy kind of love between two people, but the longings, regrets, mistakes, etc., that can make the journey quite bumpy. The song (which I'm now very much in love with) that served to help with the prompt, is Parachute's Mess I Made which you can listen to here: [link]

I hope you enjoyed this.

The Shepard you see here is a teaser of my Amri Shepard who I haven't done anything with before.
As always, everything is © BioWare.

If anyone wants to read the continuation of this, the companion piece, check out Missteps Take 2: [link]
Add a Comment:
 
:iconopheliabell:
OpheliaBell Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Professional Writer
Too bad you don't actually get the option of punching him during that scene, because that's what I wanted to do. This was a great look at the entire thing from his POV.
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:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much! Usually I'm looking at it from Shepard's POV so it was interesting trying to get into Kaidan's head for this.

And you're not the only one who wanted a 'renegade interrupt' that would allow us to punch him during his tirade.
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:iconmatyrfae:
Matyrfae Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
My inner Brina is twitching but remaining silent, lol. :XD:

This was beautifully written, though that's no surprise seeing as you wrote it! I think this was a unique and wonderful twist on the Horizon reunion. I love how you take scenes that have been written thousands of times and make them brand new :huggle:

And though Kaidan is far from my favorite ME character, I look forward to reading Amri's story ^_^
Reply
:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, I know Kaidan is far from your favorite ME character. All I have to do is look at a certain drell to know who you prefer :XD:

Thanks so much sis! I'm glad you enjoyed the read, even if the main char isn't someone you really like. :glomp:
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:iconwynbird:
WynBird Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've never played Mass Effect before, which I assume this fanfiction is based on, but I have to say I really enjoyed reading this. Your characters and the emotions they're feeling are well portrayed. ♥
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:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Wow... for a writer, your words just left me speechless, but in a good way :)
Thank you so much for leaving this comment. I'm glad I was able to get across the emotion of the scene so others could understand what the characters are going through.

And yes, it is the Mass Effect universe :D
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:iconwynbird:
WynBird Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem! Thank you for the opportunity to read the story!
It's definitely piqued my interest in playing Mass Effect, as well. xD
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:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Mass Effect is such an amazing series. If you do ever decide to check it out, while you can play the third in the trilogy as a standalone, I'd honestly start off with the first game and work your way through the 2nd and into the 3rd. It really helps to flesh out the whole story of Shepard and the games are fun as hell.
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:iconwynbird:
WynBird Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'll be sure to follow your advice! My thanks! ^_^
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:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome! I think you'll enjoy Mass Effect if you enjoyed this little story :)
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:iconwynbird:
WynBird Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey! Just wanted to tell you, I took you're advice and tried out Mass Effect. Having just finished the second game, I can now understand so many of the allusions made in your short! Now that I know the characters and what they've been through, I can honestly say love this piece even more!
I've also wasted waayyyy too many hours playing ME. xD Thanks so much for showing me something new!
Reply
:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Woot! You're also not the only one who's wasted waayyyy too many hours playing ME! Just wait until you try Mass Effect 3! I'm still playing and replaying that game (just like I do the others) and it's been out for over a year now.

I'm also glad that playing the game helped you understand the characters better and love the piece more! By the way, did you ever read the 2nd one I posted? Kind of a part two? If not, here's the link. I posted it a day or two later after a few people asked me to continue on. Hope you enjoy it as much as the first!

[link]
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:icondinky-mew:
Dinky-Mew Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Student Writer
I love Shepard's reply - short and to the point. You could feel the hurt from the event in her words. Lovely and well written and always :)
Reply
:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Coming from someone who writes such beautiful Kaidan and Shepard fiction, your words mean a lot. Thank you so much!
Reply
:iconblackwolf582:
blackwolf582 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
I like it when I'm reading a story and the raw emotion of the scene bursts through and evokes some strong emotions in me. Well done! You seem to have a knack for drawing the reader into the characters heads and creating that empathetic bond with the reader and the character.
Reply
:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I do my best! I think I'm able to pull it off, as in the emotions, because I try to put myself in the scene and describe how it makes me feel. Or at least crawl into their heads and try to figure out how a certain situation might cause them to react. Seriously though, thank you so much! Knowing I'm able to pull readers in and that they enjoy what I write - it's such a treat!
Reply
:iconblackwolf582:
blackwolf582 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
As I read through the story I got chills. Pretty much every chapter. Kept hearing the theme music from the game in my head, especially in those scenes where it's memorable from the game. It's awesome how it's based on the game, but you give it depth and character and make it a unique story. Love it.
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:iconblackwolf582:
blackwolf582 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
Should have said "Pretty much every chapter from Lost and Found also."
Reply
:iconfala-thren:
Fala-thren Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
God, I love it! You really nailed the whole mess Horizon was...
Great work, though it leaves me with urge to eat chocolate, lots of chocolate ;)
Reply
:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I want to eat lots and lots of chocolate. I was actually eating a specially ordered chocolate bar I got from my mom while I was writing that - it's called Cherry Pie and it was chocolate, cherries, and almonds with a bit of cinnamon and rock salt. All together it was like heaven in my mouth and I think that's why some of that candy bar came through in describing Shepard's hair and how she smelled. :XD:

I'm so glad you loved this! I've talked to so many people and read so many versions of Horizon (as well as written some of my own) that it's become easy for me to step into that scene. Maybe that helped with writing it?
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:iconfala-thren:
Fala-thren Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013
This sort of chocolate sounds like heaven! Cherry + almonds + chocolate! Wow!
And of course, chocolate is always a good way to deal with emotional stress like Horizon ;)

I think it does help to read so many versions of Horizon. That way you get an understanding of how other people perceived it.
I've read somewhere of the opinion that the dialouge there was actually more written for Ash, not really for Kaidan, which is why some people thought of the whole event as OOC and badly written. And well, after reading so many wonderful FF about it, I sometimes think so myself.
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:iconcelticwolfwalker:
CelticWolfwalker Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, god, awesome! I knew you could pull this off too. Now I can write up something as I didn't come up with the prompt! *evil grin*
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:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I pulled it off! Had fun with it too! It's the only reason I was a bit late posting our collab :XD:

Now I'm off to write a companion piece to this one. This is gonna be fun!

Glad you thought it was awesome! :glomp: Also looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
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:iconcelticwolfwalker:
CelticWolfwalker Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:D Yes, after I get Garrett rendered. Unfortunately, Poser is a hog for resources.
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:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You sure it's Poser or Garrett being the hog? :XD:
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:iconcelticwolfwalker:
CelticWolfwalker Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
lol It's Poser. I have yet to put the new motherboard in to speed things up but yeah, with high settings, I push this old pc to work real hard.
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:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh I just figured Garrett was just doing what he could to make sure all your attention was on him and nothing else XD
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:iconcelticwolfwalker:
CelticWolfwalker Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, he does that too. He's alongside Cullen, Kaidan, Sebastian, Ulfric, and a couple others there regarding their turn in the spotlight. :D
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:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:rofl:

Why am I not surprised?
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(1 Reply)
:iconbloodbandit:
BloodBandit Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
Ouchies. Right in the feels. I freaking loved the description of how much attention to detail he paid to her. And how she looked the same and everything. Ffffff loved it. Also hahaha I'm so glad you enjoyed the song XD.
Reply
:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, thanks for the awesome comment! I seriously had the song playing on repeat the entire time I was writing it which helped me get into the mood of the prompt you suggested. And there was just something that kept telling me "write what he's thinking, how he sees her, but have it in words he wants to say even if they never leave his thoughts". I figured, a love that strong, he wouldn't forget how she looked or smelled or how she felt in his arms - hell, how she made him feel.

Ok, I'm gushing probably a little too much over here! Again, thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D
Reply
:iconbloodbandit:
BloodBandit Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
Hehe you're very welcome. Thank you ever so much for the fantastic read. I was so sad when it ended! I wanted more x3. Oh wow, so glad you enjoyed the song that much and it got you into the right mood for the idea xD. I think its the lyrics, how they're sung in the man's voice. At least, that's my opinion. But whatever the real reason was it was definitely a kick right in the feels! Augh :iconhappytearsplz: Omg the way she felt in his arms really got me. My favorite line right there x3.

This is true, Kaidan definitely seems like the type to never forget those little details. He felt very true to his characters. Haha nonsense! It was a fantastic fic you should be proud of it :3 gush as much as you want! Yes I very much enjoyed it, my only gripe is...write more XD. I want to know!
Reply
:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Y'know, I think I will write a companion piece to this!

I have a feeling it'll be more in Shepard's PoV rather than Kaidan's, with what's coming to mind, but we'll see!

Again, thank you so much! :icontardglompplz:
Reply
:iconbloodbandit:
BloodBandit Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
Oooo! :icondummywooplz: So excited!

Hehe you're welcome, again x3.
Reply
:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:D

I wanted to continue on with the piece, honestly, but it felt like it would have been forced so I think a companion piece will work better.

Let's go have me some fun! :XD:
Reply
:iconbloodbandit:
BloodBandit Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013
xD Well it might also have gone over that max word count as well. So better to have a companion piece :3.

Yaaay! :iconiloveitmoreplz:
Reply
:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I didn't even know there was a max word count! :rofl:

I highly doubt I went over it though.
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(1 Reply)
:iconladyilona1984:
LadyIlona1984 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What happens if she found someone new?
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:icondragonwyrd316:
Dragonwyrd316 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is just a little one shot for the contest and I wanted it more from Kaidan's point of view rather than Shep's.

And while I said it kind of highlights my Amri Shepard (her hair color and eye color) I tried to leave a first name out of the actual story so others could maybe insert their own Shepard in there and decide what happens to the relationship between the two of them.
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:iconladyilona1984:
LadyIlona1984 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
understood.
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