A/N: One more piece. The first part is just after the mission to save the Primarch was done. The second part is, of course, after the Reaper War.
Kai Leng glanced sourly at the television mounted on the wall of his flat, as he absently held his son Jhal in his arm, even while he kept an eye on the food processor unit. He didn't trust the machine's recommendations for foods good for an eighteen-month old to eat, but the information from SA-11, Public Service, on children seemed to agree.
With a long suffering sigh, he turned it off with his free hand. Jhal gurgled quietly, then grasped at his shirt tightly. "Dada?"
Despite himself, Leng felt his mouth curl into a smile as he gazed at his son. He lifted him up, stepping around the corner of the eating area of the flat, and sat down on the black sectional couch in the living room, placing the boy before him. "Yes."
Jhal's eyes wandered, eventually coming to light on the gleaming form of his mono-molecular sword, Silence, mounted on the wall (behind a triple-redundancy kinetic barrier). "Whadaa?"
Again, his lips quirked. "Are you asking for water, or about the blade?" He watched Jhal's head turn towards him in perplexity, the soft black hair waving gently as the boy waved his tiny fists in the air in the general direction of the wall.
Leaning back a bit (and letting his son rest more comfortably against his chest) he gazed at the blade on the wall himself. There were times he wondered, perhaps not without reason, if he was some kind of what Pel would call a 'nutcase'. Part of him knew he was.
He'd lost his family to 'rebels' in his youth, along with most of his extended family. A fifteen old boy shouldn't have to murder to eat, shouldn't have to sell his body to afford to finish school, shouldn't have to lie about his age to get into the military for no other reason than a place to live and food.
That he had been damaged by such events could not be denied. The only relationship he'd ever pursued or wanted had fallen apart on him, due to the ugly fact that he thought he'd found someone he could trust, and it turned out he couldn't, even when she'd given birth to his child.
He glanced at the blade again, before gently kissing his son on the forehead. "That is Silence. It cuts. It protects. It ends the lives of those who don't even know why, and those who do. It is a weapon, much like me."
The solemn, quiet nature of his voice always seemed to calm Jhal when he got rambunctious, but the tiny boy frowned. "Dada sad."
Leng looked his son in the eyes, those eyes that had not been blasted by privation, horror, a war that nearly ended humanity, and walking in on his wife fucking someone else in his own home. With a small smile, he stood, lifting Jhal once more and placing him in the eating chair as the food processor beeped smugly.
"I am sad, but I am also happy I have you." He moved away, pouring the gloopy looking contents of the food processing station's output into a small bowl, glancing at the settings as he did so. "Green peas and carrots." He shook his head, placing the bowl in front of his child.
Jhal had – after months of disastrous splatters – managed to conquer the use of the spoon. However, he was still in the process of learning to eat solids by himself. The developmental notebooks and programming he watched seemed to indicate he would be able to handle such foods on his own soon, but he distrusted them – Jhal was much smarter than the average wretched thing produced by humanity, after all.
Now he watched his son carefully pick up the spoon and dip it awkwardly into the mixed, finely diced up peas and carrots. The boy chewed thoughtfully for several seconds before making a face. "Yuk."
Leng was somehow successful in not bursting into laughter, mostly due to the front door sensor going off. "Visitor request: Pel" printed neatly on his omni-tool, and Kai sighed. Rather than take his eyes off his son, he instead remotely opened the front door.
The over-sized, crude walking abomination known as Pel wandered into the kitchen/eating area. Dressed in dark black combat coveralls with a silvery jacket over them, the faint sheen of sweat on his bald pate told Kai he'd probably walked rather than take an aircar taxi. "Wassup, slant-eye?"
Leng gave him a placid glance. "I did plan on teaching Jhal about the blade, but unless you want me to start early, don't call me slant-eye, you insipid hunk of steroidal human grown hormone."
Pel grinned, white teeth bright against his dark skin, and turned to Jhal. "And whatchu up to today, little man? What you eating?"
Jhal nodded, then shook his head. "Yuk. Wan chocat."
Pel snorted back laughter. "Boy's got his priorities straight."
Leng shook his head sourly and directed a stern glance at Jhal, pointing. "Finish your food. Then we will see."
Jhal's tiny features crumbled. "See yuk." His listless motions of eating sent Pel into doubled over laughter.
Kai's voice was dry. "When you are done amusing yourself at my expense, is there a reason you are over here?"
Pel leaned against the wall. "See, if you were a bro instead of a ninja robot, I'd say we could go catch a few brews and the Pats vs. Cowboys game."
Leng sighed. "Aside from the fact that I rarely drink, at what point did you forget that would entail leaving a small child in an apartment by himself, or did it even enter your no doubt spotlessly empty brain at any point in time?"
Pel made a production of rubbing his chin. "Could bring him with. You know, expose him to the wonders of waitresses at the Edge."
If anything, Leng's expression got harder. "Ah, yes. I believe you spoke of this before, female adoration of small children being some kind of tool you use in your ceaseless quest to completely ruin your body with a complete set of all possible venereal diseases." He felt his lips quirk. "Including turian?"
Pel hissed, and Leng let himself laugh softly, even as he paid most of his attention to Jhal. A moment later, Pel's voice lanced out, more serious. "To be honest? I just got off the horn with the Bossman. He needed some work done, but I told him I'd solo it. Tried to get him to agree not to call you up while I was out putting bullets in people...ain't a lot of people you can call to watch Jhal if you go active."
Leng nodded. "There is that. The thought of leaving my child in the tender clutches of Rasa, or God help me, Brooks, is enough to even make me quail."
Pel shook his head. "I wouldn't leave a godd-..." he trailed off, smothering the profanity. "...wouldn't leave a salarian kid with Brooks, much less a human one. I got damage, you got damage, heck the Bossman has damage, but that chick is NOT firing on all cylinders."
Leng nodded at that. "There may be something to be said about the ugly backgrounds of those of us who choose Cerberus. Certainly I did not expect to be doing this two years ago, no matter how logical Rachel's words were at the time."
He sighed. "I wonder..."
Pel grimaced. "Yeah, well, I wonder too. I wonder if Exy hadn't pulled the crap that nearly got me killed if I'd be in the Dog myself. God knows if Kahlee hadn't acted a fool you probably could have just lived your life, you know."
Leng closed his eyes in silent agony. "I know all too well."
Pel was silent a few seconds before coughing. "...sorry, man. Didn't mean to take it there."
Jhal's voice pierced his personal darkness. "Dada sad noo boo."
He opened his eyes, seeing that his son had finished his meal... albeit with a third of it on the tray, floor, or himself. Yet he smiled nonetheless. As he bent to pick up his son – he'd have to change that shirt immediately – he glanced over at Pel.
"For all the harm she has done to me, I have that which makes living worthwhile. I end lives. I am the blade. And yet, I can be more."
Pel's dark eyes met his, then the bigger man shrugged. "Got enough kids of my own I know that's the God's Own Truth." A grin broke the grim set of his face. "Go on and get him changed up, I'll wipe up the mess, man. Least he didn't throw the bowl at you like one of mine did."
Leng's voice was soft but petulant. "Last week he used a spoon to hurl peas at me." He took his son through the entry to the bedroom, and Pel shook his head quietly.
Jhal Leng knelt at the simple grave, willing himself to keep his emotions in check and his eyes dry. It was hard to do, even with his wife holding his shoulder, pressing to let him know she was there.
His father had not, he knew, been a 'good' man. He was, in the eyes of many, a murderer. An assassin. A man who turned his back on the Systems Alliance and acted in the service of a group that did many a vile act.
Kai Leng was a weapon, and did not have enough care who wielded him to not come to bad ends, and yet had died saving aliens. He'd died when he could have lived, and the only thing that Jhal could cling to was the fact that he'd certainly not died unavenged.
He placed the flowers into the receptacle next to the grave, then stood slowly. His wife wrapped her arms around him, and he nodded, feeling the wind play over his features. His voice felt shaky and rough, but he spoke all the same.
"Hey, Dad. Guess it's silly doing this, knowing you never believed in anything coming after. But I guess... it's more for me than you." He paused. "We had our second child last month, and I am... happy. Life is calm. Lots of other things going wrong in the Galaxy, but Shepard doesn't even take shit from Leviathans, much less normal people. We'll get through it."
He bowed his head. "I finally met my half brother. Funny how different we look, but both have the same mouth." He trailed off, and took a deep breath. "I miss you, Dad."
With a final exhalation, he nodded, and turned away, his wife holding his hand and following. As his shadow moved away from the gravestone, it illuminated the simple brass plate set there.
KAI ALLARD LENG
LIVES IN THE MEMORIES OF THOSE HE SAVED
REDEMPTION IS THE REFUSAL OF WHAT IS EASY FOR WHAT IS RIGHT