Ok, I typically don’t write fics, but this has been bouncing around my head for a long time – my head canon that believes Shepard survived after destroying the Reapers. Don’t worry, the story is short and the ending is smutty, so basically it has the best qualities that make a good fic. XD Enjoy!
The soldier woke up screaming again, pain coursing through her body as the numbness of sleep abandoned her. It had been like this for months now – excruciating. And there was nothing she could do but bite down and bear it.
Right on cue, the soldier’s nurse bustled into the room with pain medication in one hand and salve in the other. It was a monumental joke that the soldier was forced to stare at the nurse’s perfect Asari complexion when her battered shell of a human body looked the way that it did.
The soldier took the pill from the nurse’s outstretched hand and popped it in her mouth. Even the smallest movement felt exhausting. She said nothing as the Asari smoothed balm over the worst of her wounds. Though the nurse’s expression was placid, the soldier was sure that her injuries disgusted her.
The soldier closed her eyes, silently willing the nurse to go away. She hated her for keeping her alive, for making her endure the agony of her horrific injuries. And for what? The soldier couldn’t even remember who she was. And she probably wasn’t important to anyone, anyway – no one had ever come looking for her.
Finally, the soldier felt the Asari’s cool touch leave her body and heard the gentle click of the door closing. She opened her eyes, alone again. Quickly, she spat out the pill that she had been holding in her mouth the whole time. With some ceremony, she added it to the small collection of pills beneath her pillow that she had gathered over the past weeks.
It was almost time.
Kaidan brushed his hair back excitedly as he rushed into the hospital. It was the third hospital this week. But he had a feeling – no, a desperate hope – that it would be the last one he would have to investigate.
“I’m here to see a Jane Doe in intensive care,” Kaidan announced breathlessly to the hospital receptionist.
“I’m sorry, sir – who are you?” the receptionist asked tiredly.
“I’m Major Kaidan Alenko with the Alliance.”
“Oh!” the receptionist blushed, finally recognizing the famous hero of the Reaper War and only human Spectre. “I didn’t … I wasn’t … oh …”
“Please, ma’am – I just need to know where she is,” said Kaidan impatiently.
“Let’s see … Jane Doe, room 113, down the east wing.”
Kaidan didn’t stay to hear the rest – he bolted down the hall in search of his commander. His heart pounded as he passed through intensive care, counting the numbers on the doors under his breath. 119, 117, 115 …
Something was wrong. The door to 113 was open and doctors were running in frantically. Kaidan swallowed in horror as he heard the unmistakable hum of a heart monitor flatlining and someone shout, “She’s coding!” On instinct, he followed the doctors inside and watched numbly as the scene unfolded before him.
As the doctors ripped the patient’s gown open and pressed cold defibrillator paddles to her scarred skin, Kaidan caught just the quickest glimpse of the patient’s face. One side of it was a latticework of scars and the other was mottled and red. No one would see her and think she was Shepard. But Kaidan had spent years memorizing every plane of Shepard’s face and the recognition was instant.
“Shepard!” Kaidan cried, attempting to dash to her side.
Instead, he found himself immobilized. A blue face appeared before his, blocking his view of the bed.
“Sir, you need to calm yourself. I’ll let you out of stasis but you need to come with me and wait in the waiting area. It’s not going to do the patient any good if you distract her doctors,” the Asari nurse explained firmly.
Kaidan felt the Asari relinquish control of his body and he pushed her aside. He could see Shepard’s prone body jerking with the force of five thousand volts of electricity. A doctor slid an oxygen mask over her face as she failed to response to the stimulus.
“Sir!” the Asari protested.
“Nurse, get him out of here!” one of the doctors treating Shepard spun around and shouted.
Kaidan surrendered, shocked into submission by the doctor’s command. He knew he wasn’t helping Shepard by fighting. It was just that he was so close. With a sigh, he let the nurse guide him back into the lobby. All he could do now was wait and waiting for Shepard was always the hardest part.
Shepard awoke groggily only to be greeted by the handsome face of a dark haired stranger.
Well, if this is the afterlife, I’ll take it, she thought to herself.
Suddenly, she noticed the searing pain in her throat and the familiar ache of her skin and she realized that she had failed. She wasn’t dead. Dead people didn’t feel pain. It was enough to make her eyes well up with unbidden tears.
“Shepard,” the stranger choked, stroking her face lightly.
“What? What did you call me?” she whispered, her voice gravelly and weak.
“The doctors told me you wouldn’t remember but … I’ve been looking for you for so long. I thought you were dead. We all did. But you’re here. And … Shepard, I’ve missed you so much.”
Shepard. The name was familiar, like a character in a book she’d read a long time ago.
“Who are you?” Shepard choked out, though every word felt like sandpaper rubbing against her windpipe.
“I’m Kaidan Alenko. I served under you in the Alliance, on the Normandy, your ship. Does any of that sound familiar?”
Shepard shook her head slightly with immense effort. She stared back at Kaidan, unsure of his expression. His eyes said he was in pain but his smile said he was happy.
“We were more than just crewmates, Shepard. We were …” Kaidan trailed off, suddenly unsure of himself.
“I’m tired,” Shepard croaked. She closed her eyes, physically and emotionally drained. What Kaidan was saying … it was too hard to process.
She could feel Kaidan’s fingers brush against her cheek. Part of her wanted to push him away, to scream that every touch felt like fire on her ravaged face, but part of her wanted him to never stop. Instead, she took the easy way out and pretended to fall asleep.
To Shepard’s shock, she felt lips upon hers as she feigned unconsciousness.
“I love you, Shepard,” Kaidan said, his voice tight with emotion.
Tears leaked out from beneath Shepard’s closed lids as she heard the door close behind Kaidan. She’d never expected to hear those words from anyone, not after so many months of pain and loneliness. It was too soon to hope, but Shepard was almost glad she’d lived to hear it.
“Come on, one more step, Shepard,” Kaidan coaxed.
Shepard grunted as she forced one leg in front of the other. Her knee gave out as she put her full weight on it and she would have hit the ground had Kaidan not been there to catch her.
“You’re doing great. That’s ten more steps than yesterday,” Kaidan encouraged.
Shepard smiled even though doing so hurt her face. She was grateful to Kaidan, more than she could ever express with words.
In the past few weeks, her life had been a whirlwind of change. As soon as word got out that the famous Commander Shepard was still alive, she had been inundated with gifts and visitors. Admiral Hackett was the first to see her besides Kaidan. He’d insisted that Shepard be moved to a private hospital outside of the city and given the best medical care that the Alliance could offer. She knew that, despite her protests, he’d funneled a fortune in Alliance money to get her the best therapists and surgeons on Earth. Though her injuries would never heal completely, at least now Shepard believed that her condition would improve.
One by one, her other friends had come to visit her as well and slowly, she began to remember her old life. She remembered Liara, who promptly started bawling at the first sight of her. She remembered Garrus, who joked that Shepard didn’t need to scar up her face in a vain attempt to imitate his dashing good looks. She remembered Wrex and Grunt, who begged her to explain human female reproduction to the thousands of Krogan females who kept petitioning them for Shepard as a mating partner. She remembered James and Cortez, who spent the whole visit bickering over who would shuttle her back to the Normandy when she was finally discharged from the hospital. She remembered Zaeed, who brought her a stuff Volus plushie to keep her company. She remembered Kasumi, who appeared seemingly out of nowhere. She remembered Jacob, who came to see her with his new wife and baby in tow. She remembered Jack, who told her she “looked like shit” but also added that she’d seen worse. She remembered Joker, who teased that now he wouldn’t be the only gimp on the Normandy. And she remembered Miranda’s skin tight outfit more than she did Miranda herself, but she knew it would all come back eventually.
And then there were the friends that couldn’t visit – the ones that Kaidan told her about in that ever patient way of his. Admiral Anderson, Shepard’s old mentor and friend. Thane Krios, the drell assassin with the tortured soul. Mordin Solus, the salarian who cured the genocide and apparently loved show tunes. Ashley Williams, who sacrificed her life on Virmire so that Kaidan could live. And finally, EDI and Legion, the artificial intelligences that perished when the Reapers were destroyed. Of all of her memories, Shepard hoped that those ones would come back to her first. She really wanted to know these friends that she would never again see.
Shepard’s memories of Kaidan were starting to return, too. It didn’t matter, though. With or without her memories, she was falling in love with him all over again.
“Shepard? Are you listening to me?” Kaidan asked gently, helping her to her bed.
“Sorry. My mind was somewhere else,” apologized Shepard.
“I was just saying that I have to go somewhere on Spectre business tomorrow. It shouldn’t take longer than a week or so.”
Shepard was crestfallen. It would be the first time since she had been reunited with Kaidan that she wouldn’t get to see him every day.
“You’ll be ok without me,” Kaidan reassured, seeing Shepard’s downcast expression.
He took Shepard’s cracked hands in his and frowned. Shepard could tell that there was something on his mind.
“There is something serious we need to talk about that we’ve been avoiding ever since I found you. That day you overdosed … if I leave, I’m terrified that … I just can’t lose you again, Shepard,” Kaidan said, his voice cracking with emotion at the end.
Shepard was completely taken aback. Her heart fluttered as she realized Kaidan’s biggest fear was losing her. She wanted to hold him, to tell him that she’d never do something like that now that she had him in her life. But she couldn’t find the words.
“I promise, I’m not going anywhere,” Shepard finally replied.
Kaidan smiled, the weight lifted from his shoulders.
“And don’t think just because I’m not here to watch you, you can slack off. I want you to push yourself in your therapy sessions. You’re going to be walking again by the time I come back,” Kaidan said in a mock stern tone.
“Yes, sir,” laughed Shepard.
Kaidan kissed Shepard on her forehead with affection before he left, promising that he would stop by in the morning. Shepard smiled to herself as she watched him go. She was starting to remember how to be happy again.
It was way too early to get up but Shepard couldn’t sleep. Kaidan would be back from his trip today and she felt giddy like a little kid on her birthday. She had a surprise for him – she could walk across the room now without any help. She couldn’t wait to show him. More importantly, she couldn’t wait to the see the look on his face.
Soft voices emanated from outside her room and Shepard’s ears perked up as she heard Kaidan’s name mentioned. She made her way unsteadily to the door to eavesdrop, taking secret pride in the fact that that was something she was now able to do.
“He’s just … so … perfect,” a female voice squealed. “I mean, that Spectre is a real man, you know? I just want to touch him. All over. He’s beautiful.”
“You’d have a better chance at bedding a reaper, Chiola,” another voice replied mockingly.
“Hey! In the tabloids, they interviewed some girl he’d dated a few years back. She was a doctor. I’m a doctor. Maybe he has a secret thing for doctors?” Chiola retorted.
“Puh-lease, he’s here day and night for that woman.”
“Yeah, but … come on. I get it, she’s Commander Shepard, hero of the galaxy, blah blah blah. But her scars! And that face? I just don’t think anyone could love someone that much.”
Shepard reeled away from the door as though she’d been punched. Her scars? Her face? The way Kaidan looked at her, she’d never even imagined that she could be anything but beautiful. She’d never bothered to look in a mirror after the war – all that she needed to know had been reflected in Kaidan’s adoring gaze.
Instinctively, she stumbled over to her bathroom. It was the first time she’d been able to make it there on her own but the accomplishment was overshadowed by her dread. She clutched the sink for support as she realized that there was no mirror above it. Her heart started pounding wildly as she realized there were no mirrors in her room at all. That couldn’t be a good sign.
Shepard ripped off her hospital robe and looked down at herself. She’d never bothered to examine her body that closely, mostly because she’d been too ashamed and afraid to face what was left of it. The doctor outside was right – she was grotesque. Angry scars ran down her arms and legs. Though her torso was mostly undamaged, a terrible welt decorated her abdomen as though she had been freshly whipped. The worst part wasn’t the scarring though – it was the burns. Blackened patches of skin decorated the back of her legs and bubbling welts ran across her shoulders.
A glimmer of shiny metal caught Shepard’s eye and she staggered over to the table by the window where a fresh pot of flowers sat atop a decorative tray. She yanked the silver tray out, not caring as the vase of flowers exploded at her feet in a shower of porcelain, water, and petals. With a deep breath, she brought the tray up to her face.
What she saw shocked her. It wasn’t the same woman in the photos and vids that Kaidan had shown her. That woman was fierce and beautiful. The woman reflected in the silver was broken and fearful. Lines of faded scars crisscrossed one side of her face like spiderwebs. One of her eyes was off-color and when she examined it more closely, she could see the circuitry inside. She had a retina implant and she’d never even realized it. It made her look strangely inhuman.
In a rage, Shepard tossed the plate aside and watched it bounce harmlessly off her cushioned bed. The impotence of her throw only served to make her feel more helpless. She cried quietly and collapsed to the ground, shrinking herself into a ball in a vain effort to make herself disappear.
Kaidan knocked on Shepard’s door but there was no answer. He had a fresh bouquet of flowers in one hand and a ring in his pocket. He couldn’t wait to see her.
“Shepard?” Kaidan called, his head pressed against the wooden door.
When he received no reply, he turned the handle, icy fear suddenly clenching his heart. At first, he didn’t see her. Then, his eyes landed on a naked body curled up in the fetal position by the table, lying amidst shattered pieces of vase and wilting flowers. The sight was jarring.
“Shepard!” Kaidan cried, rushing to her side. “Shepard, wake up!”
He felt a whoosh of relief as her eyes snapped open.
“Shepard, what the hell happened in here?” he demanded, his voice a mix of worry and terror. “Are you ok? Do I need to get a doctor?”
“Leave me alone!” Shepard screamed at him.
“What? What did I do? Let me help you,” Kaidan pleaded, taken aback by the ferocity of her demand.
“Just … please, Kaidan. Just go,” Shepard sighed, slumping over in apparent exhaustion.
Kaidan scooped her up in his arms effortlessly, the cold clamminess of her skin terrifying him.
“I’m not leaving you, Shepard,” said Kaidan softly into Shepard’s wet hair. “I love you.”
“No. You love the woman you knew before the war. I’m not her. I don’t know if I’ll ever be her again,” Shepard cried. “You need to move on with your life. I’m damaged. My mind is broken. My body is … these scars … I’m disgusting. You deserve to be with someone whole. Someone … beautiful.”
Shepard held her breath, afraid that Kaidan wouldn’t argue with her, that he’d just do as she asked. But Kaidan looked at her with that pained expression that she’d grown so familiar with and sighed heavily.
“These scars – I love them because they’re a part of you. And you’re a part of me,” Kaidan said hoarsely.
Without another word, he laid Shepard down gently on the bed and took her charred hands in his. He began to kiss her, running his lips softly up her arm and feeling the ridges of her scars as he made his way to her neck. Then, when he reached her mouth, he stopped and looked at her.
It was too much for Shepard to take and she started to cry. Kaidan kissed away the tears that rolled freely down Shepard’s cheeks. His kisses meandered down her body and Shepard instinctively moved to cover herself. Kaidan pushed her arms away as he continued downward, undeterred.
Then, Kaidan put his hands under her butt and lifted her hips up to meet his mouth. Shepard gasped as Kaidan’s tongue ran across her lips. She’d almost forgotten that her body could feel anything but pain. A shiver of pleasure ran up her spine as she gripped the sheets tightly.
Just as his touch became almost unbearable, Kaidan stopped. Shepard watched as he took a step back, yanked his shirt over his head, and threw it unceremoniously to the ground. His hard body glistened in the morning light and Shepard felt overcome with desire. Then, Kaidan unbuttoned his pants and Shepard gasped. Of all the memories she had lost, surely she should have remembered this.
Kaidan leaned over Shepard, his eyes never breaking contact with hers. He ran his warm hands over her breasts, one of the few parts of her body that remained unscarred. Shepard guided him between her legs and shuddered as he lowered himself urgently inside her. Though she was wet with lust, she felt the tightness of being untouched for far too long.
With each thrust, Kaidan became hungrier and more aggressive. He pushed Shepard’s knees together and turned her to the side, driving even deeper inside her. She gasped in surprise as Kaidan yanked her head back by her hair and kissed her hard on the mouth.
Shepard felt a sudden tingle as Kaidan’s biotics flared up at the peak of his passion, pushing her over the edge. She cried out as he finished inside her, unable to control herself.
They lay together for a while, neither of them moving or speaking. The moment had been infinitely long and too short all at the same time.
“So,” Kaidan said eventually, “do you believe me now? That all I want in this galaxy is you?”
Shepard furrowed her brows. She wanted to say yes but she hesitated.
Kaidan shook his head and got up abruptly. He walked over to his discarded pants and fumbled with them.
“Are you angry with me?” Shepard asked tentatively to Kaidan’s back, watching in dismay as he pulled on his pants.
His shoulders heaved as he took a deep breath. Then, he turned, something small clutched in his hand.
“I thought it might be too undignified to propose to you without pants on,” Kaidan broke into a smile, revealing the diamond ring in his palm.
Shepard swung her legs onto the floor and stumbled over to Kaidan on wobbly legs. He stared at her in shock.
“You can walk?” he cried, grabbing her by the waist as she came within his reach and pulling her into his arms.
“Guess we both had surprises to share.”
Shepard looked into Kaidan’s face and was surprised to see tears in his eyes.
“I’ve wanted this since our first night together on the Normandy,” Kaidan said, getting down on one knee. “I’m yours, Shepard. As long as you’ll have me.”
“Forever?” Shepard asked softly, kneeling down to meet him. She gave him her hand. She didn’t think her scars looked so bad once he slipped the sparkling ring around her finger.
Please let your comments below, I’d really appreciate any feedback you have! Also, please read my other Shenko fic (one pager!) where Kaidan finds Shepard in the ruins of London!