So I decided to cut this short, truth is that I simply don't remember what I wanted to write, but I do remember the end, so I sorta just re-arrenged things and pulled out all the inbetween. I have changed the warnings as a result of the changes. (with other words, I removed the happy end tag, and gave it an open ending tag) - Thanks to Portionsmaster for kicking my ass in regards to finishing this. This is not betaed, no one I knew had the time. =) Live with it.

Kaidan and Shepard spent the night in the hayloft, enjoying each other's company and the peace and calm. Shepard had fallen asleep leaving Kaidan to wonder out into the early morning. Come dawn he had made a decision. They would ride today, he was not going to risk his father's wrath. Another Kaidan in another time would have done 'what was right' and submitted to the law, but that Kaidan would never have left his appointed role, neither would he ever have hoped for love and a different kind of life.

"Mother." Kaidan came and sat next to his mother in the early morning light. "I think it best if I left within the hour. I know that leaving the brotherhood was not what you or father would have wanted me to do, but - " He took a deep breath, "I am going to leave the country, you will never have to worry about it again."

Sarah gave her son a sad smile. "I had wanted a different life for you, son."

"I know mother." Kaidan said softly, "But this is what I was dealt, and this is what I must, eh make better." He smiled warmly at his mother. "Rest assured, I will be happy even if I will miss you."

Sarah didn't answer him at first, and stared fixated out the window at the garden bathed in orange light. "I fear it will not make a difference."

"What?" Kaidan whispered. "What mother?"

Sarah refused to turn her head and look at him.

"What did you do mother?" Kaidan yelled, getting out of his chair so quick he knocked it over. "Answer me!" His voice shook with fright and anger.

Sarah looked past her son, "I sent word to your father when you arrived."

Kaidan let out a pained sound from deep within his throat. "Mother, how could you?"

Sarah finally turned her head and looked at her son. "Because you are a fugitive, and I will not have Ashley's chances at court be ruined because you aren't content."

"Content?" Kaidan yelled, "I was sent to die in a foreign province!"

"Don't be so dramatic." Sarah said softly but without conviction.

Kaidan breathed through his nose, trying to control his own panicking breath. "I am taking two horses, and you'll never see me again."

"For your friend in the barn?" Sarah stated.

"For my friend in the barn." Kaidan said, not really surprised that she knew. His mother had always had ears and eyes everywhere. Kaidan heard a commotion outside, looking down at his mother's expression he realized he had run out of time. "I am not going back." He stated, "And my blood is on your hands, mother."

Sarah looked alarmed, "No!" She gasped and stood up trying to reach for Kaidan, but he swiftly moved a step backwards, out of her reach. "You must!"

Kaidan shook his head, "For too long I have done only what you expected of me, and where did that get me?" His lips was a fine bloodless line of determination, "It ends here."

Voices yelled outside, and Kaidan finally jolted into action, sprinting out of his mother's livingroom, and unto the back porch. His eyes scanned the garden in the direction of the barn, at first he didn't see anything but after a moment he saw Shepard stumble out of the hayloft and fall to the ground. Kaidan's blood ran cold, Shepard was still, much to still. Taking a step towards the barn completely focused on the still figure in the dirt, he had not heard anyone behind him. A warm hand grabbed his shoulder forcing him to stop.

"Leave him." A deep voice said.

"Father." Kaidan sighed as he recognized the voice, "unhand me."

"They are here for him." Lord Alenko said, "I made a deal with Lord Cortez, and they just want the traitor, you are free to return to your duties."

Kaidan's eyes widened. "Traitor? Shepard is no traitor." He turned so quickly that Lord Alenko lost his hold in his shoulder. "He went above and beyond for his king, why would he be a traitor?"

"That is none of our concern." Lord Alenko said with a little smile, "Important thing is that you are safe, son. You only have to follow them and be reassigned."

Kaidan laughed coldly, "Are you that naïve? They will kill me first chance they get and claim that I tried to escape."

"Lord Cortez gave me his word."

"No!" Kaidan growled, "He will not take Shepard, and he will not take me." To Lord Alenko's mortification Kaidan's entire body flashed blue with crackling energy, "I will kill him, and you before that happens."

"Please son." Lord Alenko pleaded.

"NO!" Kaidan yelled, the biotics crackling dangerously.

Shepard struggled to get to his feet, his right arm felt all wrong and numb, he figured he had broken it or torn it from its socket from the fall.


Shepard blinked to focus on the man standing in front of him. Managing to get to his knees, Shepard just sighed and looked up at the voice. "Steven."

"This hurts me more than it hurts you." Lord Cortez said, rolling open a scroll.

"Somehow I doubt that." Shepard mumbled, looking down at his numb arm, which just dangled like a broken branch at his side.

"His Royal Highness King James the third, demands you captured, prisoned and executed should you return from the province of Everdark. You stand accused of high treason, murder and conspiracy to murder the King." Cortez said.

"Stephen." Shepard said softly, "I love James like a brother, do you in your heart of hearts believe I would ever hurt him?"

"I do not know." Lord Cortez shrugged. "What I do know is that you worked directly against the decree of the ABM, and therefore the King."

"I see." Shepard wet his lips, tasting blood in his mouth. "Jaqueline and my child?"

"They were exiled." Lord Cortez said and finally a genuine smile broke through, "I saw to that myself, I know they are safe, for now."

"Son or daughter?"

"A daughter." Lord Cortez said, "She has her mother's affliction, and I do not know for how long I can keep their aboding a secret."

"I have no money to give you." Shepard said in a near whisper.

"I know." Lord Cortez said. "You can pay with your life."

"How so?" Shepard asked looking up at Lord Cortez.

"I kill you here and now, and you take your knowledge of the prince to your grave."

"He found out." Shepard felt an insane laughter bubble up his throat. "So that is why I am a traitor?"

"He doesn't know, but I do." Lord Cortez shifted on his feet, clearly not comfortable with the topic. "Miranda the whore told the interrogators. And they told me."

Shepard closed his eyes, he could only imagine what that statement actually meant. Poor Miranda, she did not deserve the fate dealt to her, all she wanted was to make her husband proud and happy.

"You abandoned your post." Lord Cortez continued, "You deflected the war effort in the province of Everdark, and thus labelled yourself a traitor."

"I did not." Shepard said in a near whisper. "I killed the war lords, and won the province back."

"That is not what the few of your men who made it home alive said."

"Before or after they were interrogated?" Shepard asked, but received no answer.

For a while, Lord Cortez just stared down at Shepard who was slumped down on his knees at his feet. "What will it be? Shepard?"

"Will you keep the child safe?" Shepard asked in an empty tone, "I need to know."

"For old times sake John." Lord Cortez said, "Because we were once brothers, I will personally see that the child is shipped to far away shores with the next traders."

Shepard shook his head, "Sell her into slavery?"

"When the ABM find her they will most likely kill her."

"How did they know to find Shepard here?" Kaidan stared at his father, "Mother didn't know who was in the barn."

"Kaidan, let them take him, and forget about all this." Lord Alenko said with a loving smile, "Please son, you do not want to be involved in this."


Lord Alenko took a deep breath, "Apparently your old tutors daughter –"

"Samantha?" Kaidan gasped, "She promised me! Dammit!"

"She is dead." Lord Alenko said, "And your friend there, Shepard, will soon be dead as well. Do you really want to join them?"

Kaidan bit his lip, and then sent his father flying across the porch with a heavy biotic push, "John!" He yelled sprinting to where Shepard and Cortez stood.

Lord Cortez looked up, "There is the wayward biotic – kill him."

"What? No!" Shepard growled trying to get to his feet.

"If I were you friend, I'd worry about my daughter, not some biotic lordling." Lord Cortez said with a hint of laughter in his voice. "I need your answer Shepard, my offer won't stand for ever."

Grinding his teeth to not scream in pain as he stood, Shepard looked directly at Lord Cortez and spit blood on the dirt between his feet. "What deal? You want to kill me and Kaidan - and sell my daughter into slavery?"

Lord Cortez pointed at Shepard, "I could give you over to the ABM's interrogators, I have seen their handywork, and I'm sure that after a couple of hours with them you'd wish you had just taken my deal."

Kaidan sent the first three soldiers flying in a spectacular display of biotic powers. Shepard couldn't help but to smile, impressed that someone who never honed his abilities knew exactly how to use them when it came down to it. "No deal." Shepard spat. "Do your worst, Steven."

"Very well." Lord Cortez huffed, getting his sword out of its scabbard. Shepard looked broken, sickly and bleeding so Cortez had not expected him to react quickly, but none the less he had but gotten his sword in hand before his face erupted in pain as intense as fire.

Shepard easily took the sword from Lord Cortez as he grip lessed by the blow. Shepard blinked and a dull pain spread to his face and it sounded wet when he drew breath. He pointed the sword at Lord Cortez. "And when James comes for you? Then what Steven? He will and you know it!" Lord Cortez stared at Shepard, his gaze full of hate, trying to ignore the pain of the tip of the sword penetrating the skin of his collarbone. "His accusations against me are untrue, you know me Steven! I would never have betrayed James, never. I gave him everything – I was willing to die for his cause. Can you say the same?"

Kaidan came running having disposed of the soldiers. "Stop John!"

Shepard didn't move his gaze from Cortez. "Give me one good reason not to put this swine out of his misery."

"Please think it over." Kaidan stopped next to Shepard panting. "My family will pay the price for a dead Lord in their barn."

"But.." Shepard drilled the swordtip a little further down into Lord Cortez' flesh. "For you my love." Shepard whispered, "Anything." Cortez let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding. "Steven – Where is my daughter."

"With her mother."

"Where are they?"

"Like the lordling said, kill me and his family will be prosecuted." Lord Cortez gasped trying to will away the pain of in his shoulder.

"I owe no allegiance to his parents."

"But he does." Cortez countered.

"I am sure that Kaidan won't let you hurt my daughter." Shepard growled, "So where is she?"

"Go to the void." Lord Cortez spat.

The soldiers that Kaidan knocked over started waking, and Kaidan looked around in a panic, he was out of energy, the blood flowed from his nose from exhaustion. "We have to go John. Please. If we stay we are dead."

Shepard turned his gaze for a second to look at Kaidan's pale bloodied face, his eyes wide in pain and panic. "Get a horse." He whispered.

Kaidan nodded and sprinted into the barn and just grabbed the first horse he saw, he fumbled with the bridle, his fingers oddly stiff and cold kept slipping, and his head was pounding. Finally he decided it was good enough and hauled the horse out of the stable. Shepard was surrounded, but stood fast. "John!"

Shepard took a deep breath and rammed the sword down through Lord Cortez' shoulder lodging the sword in the ground beneath the man. He turned and shouldered the nearest soldier, screaming in pain as he did so. Kaidan closed his eyes and used the last bit of energy he had to topple over the two most advancing soldiers closest to them, hoping to buy them time to get on the horse. Kaidan's knees buckled, surprised as a strong arm caught him.

Getting on the hose was difficult but Shepard managed with help, when he turned to help Kaidan with his good arm, he just hauled Kaidan across the horse in front of him, kicking the scared animal for it to run as fast as it could. Kaidan curled around Shepard's legs as good as he could, it hurt to lay on his stomach across the horse and used everything he has in him to not slide down and off.

Kaidan heard Cortez scream something in the background but the sound of the horse's hooves hammering down into the ground overpowered any other sound. He felt Shepard's legs tense up, but then kick the horse again forcing them out into the forest at a neck-breaking pace.