By Karen Hart

Disclaimer: In no way do I own any part of the Xenosaga series, nor do I make any money from this or other fanfictions. I write these stories for love of the game(s), nothing more.

Allen stood in the doorway of Shion's quarters, and regarded the slumped figure at the table, brown hair hanging limp and unkempt, face a mask of anguish. On the table sat a shot glass and a half empty bottle of what he guessed was either vodka or white rum. Droplets of alcohol stained the table. A sob racked Shion's body, tears spilling down her cheeks, until she forced them to subside enough for her to pour another shot. She downed it quickly, shuddering at the taste.

"Chief…" Allen tried to stay, though the word died on his lips before it was ever uttered. He understood the "why" of her actions, and knew from experience that words wouldn't help in this situation. She'd done the same thing for the past two years, on the anniversary of the day that KOS-MOS had killed Kevin. In raw grief she cleared her schedule before procuring a bottle of liquor, which she would then drink until she couldn't remember who she was mourning or why. The young engineer was by no means an alcoholic, but some aches needed a great deal of dulling.

Finding no way to help her just then, he made his way back through the doorway, and stood in the corridor. He leaned against the wall to the right of the door, and slid down, head dropping forward in his own display of pain.


Hours later a dull throbbing in her head roused Shion from a fitful slumber. Grimacing, she clutched her head against the pain, squeezing her mouth shut against the bile that rose in her throat. No use, she realized before she made a blind dash (she knew her quarters on the Dammerung well enough to navigate with her eyes closed) to the head, retching into the toilet. Once finished she laid on the floor, eyes still squeezed shut against the light.

No light, she realized a moment later. Carefully she opened her eyes, and shut them again at the harsh pinpricks visible through her window; the auto-opacity of the glass not quite enough to filter out the lights of the "city". She slowly turned her head in the other direction, and opened her eyes once more. That wasn't so bad, she realized, slowly letting her eyes adjust. She shook her head in disgust, only to scream as the ache in her skull reared its ugly head once again. Again she clutched her head, though it was a futile act. Painkillers, she thought, rummaging through a drawer. Her fingers curled around a small bottle in something akin to triumph, and she pried the lid off. There was nothing inside, she realized, as she tried to shake contents that weren't there into her palm. With a snarl she threw the bottle back into the drawer, and hauled herself back to the table.

What she found there made her pause in confusion, though it was not enough to make her forget her headache. Two dark blue pills sat next to a glass of clear liquid. She sniffed the cup's contents. Water, she figured, before dipping her tongue in experimentally. Water indeed. She quickly washed down the painkillers, inwardly praying that they would take quick effect before it occurred to her to wonder who had set the pills out for her. She didn't recall doing that herself. With a heavy sigh she decided not to dwell on it. Better to wait until her head stopped throbbing.

Which would still be a while, she realized. Even in that day and age, pills took a while to go through the bloodstream. At least another fifteen minutes, at best. Coffee, she thought then. Coffee might help. With exaggerated caution Shion made her way into the tiny kitchenette. As she flipped the filter basket open, she couldn't help but smile at what she saw: fresh grounds. A flip of the coffee machine's lid revealed a ready supply of water as well. Gratefully she hit the ON switch, as her mind settled on the most likely person to display such thoughtfulness.

A few minutes later she clutched a cup of the steaming liquid, taking careful sips so as not to scald her tongue. Had he thought of food, she wondered. Curious, she made her way over to the refrigerator. There was nothing different about the contents. Nothing in the freezer, either. There was, however, a slip of paper with a UMN code scrawled on it, with the word "Sophie's" above it. At the sight of it she squeezed her eyes shut at the dull ache of gratitude.

"Thanks, Allen."