Chapter 17: Connections
Author's Note: Not a whole lot to say; other than thanks for the reviews and for liking this story. As for Typhon's brief appearance, he'll be back later. Oh and I'm now going to chuck a mission from ME1 out the window and off a cliff. Enjoy the story. And I forgot a quote for the last chapter, so now I have to make two up this chapter.
"Killing in the name of love is still killing. But people tend to look the other way."
"Some bonds are deeper than mere words or physical contact. They connect souls and make two people one. That is love."
Shepard still hadn't woken up. It had been several days and some of the crew was starting to lose hope. She was practically bandaged from head to toe.
"Explain it to me in English doc," Kasumi said. She had made asking into a habit, since she had done it for the past week.
Chawkwas sighed as she put down a data pad. "Because of the blood loss," she said for the hundredth time. "The blood loss induced a coma that she may never wake up from."
Kasumi brushed a lock of hair out of the Commanders face, smiling warmly.
"I have a good feeling about today," she said aloud. "She's going to wake up today."
The doctor smiled. "I hope so," she said as she got up. She walked over and placed a hand on Kasumi's shoulder. "I need to do more tests; you should go get something to eat."
Kasumi nodded and stood to leave, but paused when she noticed her hand held Shepard's. She released her grip and walked out of the room and into the mess. A few minutes later she had a bowl of ramen and a cup of tea.
"You look exhausted," someone said from the other side of the table. She looked up to see Garrus taking a seat across from her. "How much sleep have you gotten in the past few nights?"
"I'm," she began. But had to stop to stifle a yawn. "I'm fine. I've slept four hours."
Garrus did his best, raised eyebrow. "A night?"
"In the last three days," Kasumi sipped her tea. "I'm not going to miss her waking up."
The turian glanced over at the med lab while she stared at the fingers that tingled from Shepard's energy. "She might not wake up."
Garrus' words shocked her.
"You were the one that said she doesn't take the easy way out," Kasumi stared right at him. Putting holes through him with her eyes. "She will wake up, I know it."
"I," Garrus stopped. Noticing the pain stricken face Kasumi now wore. "Are you alright?"
Kasumi grabbed her head as a severe headache grew in intensity.
'What is this,' she thought as she felt something throb inside her mind.
A familiar voice called her name, not outside, in her mind.
The thief bolted from her chair. "Shepard is waking up," she exclaimed.
Garrus followed her as she walked to the door. As they stepped beside the door it opened. Chawkwas stumbled out, her hair in shambles and uniform wrinkled.
"It's not safe to go in there," she said as she dusted herself off.
Kasumi peeked into the med lab from the doorway. Her breath hitched in her throat at the sight she beheld.
Shepard circled her enemy, sword of light in hand as she eyed up her enemy. The body of Liz was there, the voice was there, but it wasn't her.
"Like what you see?" Liz said.
Shepard shook her head. "You aren't her," she growled. "You're a reaper, or my inner demons."
Liz wagged a finger in front of her. "Tsk tsk," she smiled. "I think you're just in denial. It is your time, give in and all the pain will go away."
Shepard faltered a little, all the pain and sorrow of her life washed over her as the things words settled.
"Join me," Liz stepped forward and placed her hands on Shepard's shoulders. "The real Liz is waiting for you. Just let go."
The sword clattered to the ground, Shepard's armor fell away. Liz smiled.
"Good," she waved towards a light. "You just have to take the steps and walk into the light."
Shepard took the first step, and her childhood flashed before her eyes. She took another step, her early years in the Alliance. Another step, the chase to stop Saren. The light was so warm against the cold darkness. Another step and the memories of being reborn joined the rest. Saving Garrus to her night with Kasumi…
"I'm sorry Kasumi," she whispered. Tears formed in her eyes as she remembered everything, the scent, the passion, and the love.
"Don't worry D," Liz said. She raised a scythe above her head. "It will all be over soon. Just remember, dying is easy."
She aimed for Shepard's heart as she brought the blade down. A smile spread across her lips as she relished in catching another soul.
"Shepard!" someone outside the darkness screamed.
The voice sent a ripple through the darkness. 'Kasumi', Shepard whispered. Her heart beat faster as she remembered what the name meant to her. Happiness.
"It's almost over Shepard," Liz said as the blade of her scythe descended through the air. Almost there.
The blade stopped in the air, Shepard's hand holding the tip of the cold steel, her eyes harder than the metal in her hands.
"I have too much to fight for," Shepard said. A light enveloped her as the armor returned. "You had your chance when I died the first time."
She shoved the blade back, sending the reaper staggering backwards.
"I live for the lost," the armor glowed blue as biotic power flowed out of her and into the darkness. "And fight like hell for the living. Now get out of my head."
The reaper charged forward, scythe ready.
"I'll take you by force then," they roared.
Shepard slowed her breathing and shut her eyes, focusing on a single piece of happiness. She reached down to her belt, finding the handle of her sword that had returned to her with the armor.
"Take hold of the ones you love," she opened her eyes. Her resolve resolute in the face of death. "And never fucking let go."
Kasumi took another step. The biotic energy that exploded out from Shepard slid her back a couple of feet. She ignored the pleas of the doctor behind her. She took another step towards the floating body in front of her that was her love.
'Almost there,' she thought as she was only a foot away.
The push increased as she took another step. Reflexively she brought her hands up to protect her face. The fabric on the sleeves of her suit split and stretched open. Her hood flew off her head. Objects began to float around them; everything from data pads to scalpels. One sharp instrument flew through the air and slashed across her cheek, leaving a bloody slit from chin to cheek bone.
But Kasumi ignored it as she had reached the bed Shepard was floating above and wrapped her knuckles around the rails on the side. She reached a hand up and pushed Shepard the short distance back onto the bed.
'Come on think Kasumi!' she screamed at herself. 'Doing something is better than nothing damn it.'
So she did the only thing she could think of that would snap Shepard out of this. She kissed her.
And then the world might as well have exploded as she flew backwards.
Shepard lurched upright, gulping down air. She looked around to see the familiar lay out of the med lab. Only everything was in disarray.
'Something isn't right,' she concluded as she scanned the room with her combat mindset. 'Is the ship being attacked?'
Voices to her right brought her out of her thoughts.
"Hold on Kasumi don't move," Chawkwas said. "You've got two scalpels and a pen stuck in your arm and back. I have to remove them."
'Kasumi,' that woke Shepard up. She jumped out of her bed… and immediately collapsed to the floor. Her legs tingled from not being used. Slowly she pulled herself along the beds railing until she made it to the other side where Kasumi and the doctor were.
"Oh my," Shepard dropped to her knees. Tears welled in her eyes. "What happened?"
Kasumi smiled as she cradled her re broken arm. Chawkwas jerked and a scalpel came out of her other arm.
"Mmm," Kasumi bit back the scream. "I banged my arm up after I saved you D. Welcome back to the world of the livingggg!"
A pen clattered to the ground as the doctor put a heavy dose of medi-gel in the wound.
"This last one is in deep," the doctor got up and began to walk away. "I need to x-ray it to make sure it hasn't punctured anything. Stay here."
Kasumi chuckled, "I don't plan on going anywhere with this thing in my back doc."
And then they were alone; Shepard covered in bandages from head to toe. Kasumi covered in cuts and lines of blood, and a broken arm.
"What happened?" Shepard slid next to Kasumi and relaxed as the thief rested her head on a shoulder.
"You were screaming," Kasumi whispered. "I fought through all the biotic power you were sitting in and saved you. Then you tossed me like a rag doll and I hit the railing of a bed, before I fell on a couple scalpels and a pen. A freaking pen, really?"
They both chuckled.
"I'm sorry," Shepard said as she closed her eyes. Just being with Kasumi calmed her down. "I'm so sorry I hurt you. I was…"
Kasumi put her good hand under Shepard's chin and turned it so they could look into each others eyes.
"Don't apologize D," she said sympathetically. "If a little pain is what it takes to bring you back from the dead, that feels like a good trade to me."
Shepard smiled. 'You have no idea,' she thought.
She leaned in for a kiss, Kasumi mimicked the movement.
"I assure the both of you," Chawkwas chirped as she returned. "Sex is not the best thing right now, for either of you."
She scanned the area that the last scalpel was. She breathed a sigh of relief, before pulling it free. Then she put a brace on the broken arm.
"Miss Goto would you go warm up the shower for the Commander," Chawkwas said. "She's probably going to want a shower after I check her over here."
Kasumi really didn't want to be away from Shepard, but did as she was told and left the room.
"How did you know I would want a shower?" Shepard asked in genuine curiosity.
Chawkwas smiled as she scanned the various injuries. "If my memory is correct and it usually is," she joked. "A certain Commander said and I quote, 'I take a shower every time I leave the med bay to wash all the medical shi…"
"Alright alright," Shepard held her hands up. "I get it. I say things without thinking sometimes."
Again the woman that Shepard regarded as her adopted mother smiled. "Your right about that," the data pad she was using to scan beeped. "Your all clear, but I am going to prescribe pain killers and light duty for you and Miss Goto for the next week. No buts."
Shepard took the two bottles of pills and left the room, not caring that the entire mess hall was staring at her.
"Yeah I'm back," she yelled over her shoulder as she stepped into the elevator.
The ride was quiet and short. She was in her room in two seconds, eyes scanning for the hooded thief. An arm wrapped around her waist from behind.
"Hey," Shepard whispered as she felt Kasumi put her chin on her left shoulder.
Kasumi smiled, enjoying the moment. "I missed doing this while you were in medical."
"You saved me," Shepard's voice became choked with tears.
"They tried to kidnap the great Commander Shepard," Kasumi released her grip on Shepard's waist so they could face each other. "You would've escaped eventually. I actually expected you to be waiting outside the base when we got there, bodies everywhere."
"That's not what I meant," she shook her head. "I was facing my reaper and your voice brought me out of a trance."
Tears streaked down her face. "I was on the edge of the afterlife. Then you called my name and I fought back."
Kasumi pulled Shepard into the best hug she could manage with the broken arm. Shepard returned the gesture, ignoring the small bit of pain from her numerous injuries.
"I would've stormed the gates of heaven to get you back D," Kasumi whispered into her ear. "Love is one hell of a motivator."
Shepard nodded against Kasumi's shoulder. "I need to shower, you need pain pills."
She handed the bottles to her. "And sleep… you look exhausted."
Kasumi rubbed her eyes. "I was too worried to sleep," she whispered as the lack of sleep suddenly hit her like a brick wall. "And every time I closed my eyes I felt, you. Something is different…"
Shepard nodded. "Yes," she stepped towards the shower. "We can talk about that later. Get in bed and take a chill pill. I'll be there in ten."
Kasumi grinned. "Already ordering me around again? Nice to see that hasn't changed because of another near death experience."
Shepard matched the grin as she stepped into the steam filled bathroom.
'First things first,' she thought as she reached for her stomach and the bandages on it. 'These are all coming off.'
Slowly she removed the bandages, the glow from the stitched scar glowing as she removed it. Next, the layer covering the teeth marks on her back. She felt the burns, the places where the teeth had dug into her skin.
'More scars to show who I am,' she thought as she ran a hand across the mirror to clear the steam off of it. She gasped out of pure horror.
"Like what you see?" the ghost of her reaper stood beside her. "Turning into the monster you try to hide?"
Shepard ran hand across the bandages that covered half of her face. The uncovered left side of her face was aglow with little red scars, and her eyes. The green that so many new her for was gone, replaced by bright red.
"What have I become," she said to herself. Shaky hands moved to take off the bandages. Each piece that left her face revealed a jagged scar that ran up her chin and over her face.
"Nice battle scars D," the reaper snickered.
Shepard dropped the bandage from her hand and then slammed the fist into the mirror. The image of Liz turned into a dozen as the mirror fell apart.
"Shut up," Shepard growled as she backed into the shower and collapsed to the floor. "I don't want to hear it."
She clutched the now bloody hand that she had hit the mirror with. The ghost of Liz knelt down to look into her eyes.
"You're just hiding from yourself," she whispered. "Hiding from what those slavers turned you into. Remember the title you took after my brother died? But…"
"Shut up!" Shepard lashed out with her biotics. The attack went through the image and hit the mirror behind it, sending shards and soaps falling to the ground. "I'm not that thing anymore."
"Sounds like you are," the reaper grinned. "You can hide from what you did, but I know it's going to eat away at you like this forever. Unless you embrace it, embrace the butcher inside you D."
"Just go away," she pleaded. Tears ran down her face as she pulled her legs close to her chest. "I can't take it anymore. Please go away."
The reaper smiled. "I'm in your head D," she tapped the side of Shepard's head. "I'll be here till either the Butcher claims you, or the luck that's gotten you this far runs out. Semper Fidelis Shepard."
And then she was alone, crying as the water turned cold.
The pang of sorrow hit Kasumi, and while at first she had thought it was the drugs talking the sorrow quickly grew from a small fire, to a blazing inferno. The sound of glass shattering told her it wasn't just the drugs and that something was very wrong.
'Shepard,' her mind immediately feared the worst as she ran to the bathroom.
Steam rolled out of the small room when she opened the door. She stepped in and heard the crunch of something under her heel. She looked down to see bloody glass. A whimper made her look up to see a bunch of glowing lines in the steam.
"Shep," she whispered.
The lines moved, a pair of glowing eyes looked at her for a second, before disappearing to stare at the floor.
"Don't look at me," Shepard hissed. "I'm a monster."
Kasumi stepped forward, ignoring the cold water that ran down her suit and chilled her body.
"You're not a monster D," she slid down the wall next to Shepard and attempted to wrap her arms around her. Shepard jerked away from the contact. "What's wrong? Talk to me."
Shepard looked up to see the reaper sitting on the counter, grinning like a madman. She felt fear grip her heart. 'She's stripping away my barriers.'
Kasumi felt a burst of fear and looked to where Shepard was looking, nothing but a broken mirror.
"Come on Shepard," Kasumi didn't let her shy away this time as she hauled her up and walked her out of the shower. "Let's get you onto the bed so I can clean those cuts and you can tell me what's wrong."
Shepard let herself be led on, and then set on the bed.
"Now please tell me," Kasumi whispered as she plucked small slivers of mirror from Shepard's hand. "What is wrong D? I felt sorrow, pain, and fear when you were alone. I want to help but you have to let me in before I can."
"I can't keep it at bay anymore," Shepard whispered. "These scars mark what I was, what I did, who I am. What I hide from because I don't want to become it again."
Kasumi wrapped a medical bandage around the cuts on the hand, before she looked up to look into the Commander's eyes.
"Hide from what?" she asked. The eyes glow put her a little on the fearful side; it was like looking into the eyes of death. "What aren't you telling me?"
Shepard felt the apprehension of the girl in front of her from her eyes, so she closed them and lay back on her bed. She sighed and mentally prepared for what she was about to divulge.
"Elanos Haliat," she whispered.
Kasumi sat down on the bed and snuggled up to Shepard, placing her broken arm on top of Shepard's waist and slipped the good arm underneath. "Who?"
"Elanos Haliat," Shepard repeated the name. "He was the man behind the Blitz. He wasn't on Torfan when Ty became the butcher; he hid for the longest time from the Alliance. Then we found him, after Ty died. He was hiding in the Terminus on a little shit ball of a planet. The Alliance threatened to send the Butcher after him if he didn't surrender, but the death of Ty was common knowledge, so he refused and dug in."
Kasumi felt a brush of sadness wash through the heart. She brushed a lock of wet hair from Shepard's cheek and kissed her lightly. The sadness wavered and was replaced by warm love.
"So I was approached to become what he vowed to protect me from becoming," Shepard continued. "I put on the mask of the Butcher, wore the colors, and carried the blades he used to cut the people on Torfan up."
She turned her eyes to look into Kasumi's soft golden ones. The feelings that were conveyed that the thief wanted to hear the rest, but she wasn't sure the end was what she hoped it was.
"So I was sent in, alone. I fought and killed so many that my armor was covered in a rainbow of blood from all the dead. I cornered the bastard in what had to be a throne room."
Shepard ran a hand up to remove the hood to Kasumi's suit. The hood slid off, exposing the cut on her cheek. Bad feelings swept over her heart as she tried to think of an apology.
"Don't be sorry D," Kasumi whispered. She pulled their bodies closer, feeling the warmth and the slow beat of the others heart. "It will heal. What your telling me won't if you don't tell me the rest."
A shuttered sigh left Shepard as she closed her eyes.
"He said that he knew I wasn't the real butcher," Shepard continued. "That I was Shepard, a mere hero trying to act like a monster. An image flashed through my head, Ty carrying Liz's body. Her eyes glazed over and lifeless. I snapped and became the monster I swore I never would. So…. I licked the blood on my fingers and told him that the Butcher was once my friend and that he paled in comparison to me."
A slight shiver came from Kasumi, but Shepard couldn't tell if it was from Kasumi or from her mind.
"When the extraction team showed up, they found me. They said I was sitting in his thrown with his body parts all over, his blood covering me, and his head on a stick. A year and a half later and lots of counseling later I locked the beast that did that away. It nearly escaped after Virmire. It surfaced when you were captive, but I held it mostly at bay. I hate it, but the barriers I put up are falling as this whole thing moves forward."
Shepard glanced at the office chair, the reaper reclined in it with her feet propped up on the table.
"You're too strong to give in to that," Kasumi brought her back to the bed and away from the reaper. "I know you can push back harder than that beast inside, and I'm here to help you through it."
Shepard looked into her eyes. The feelings and warmth she felt from Kasumi backed her statement.
"I love you," Shepard whispered. She placed a kiss on her lips, then another and another. "You always say the right things when I have no clothes on."
Kasumi shuttered from the kisses. "I guess I do," she whispered. She could feel the desire behind the lips, and the love that radiated from the others heart. "You do realize your trying to have sex with me and that I have a brace on my arm. Oh and I do have pain killers numbing everything."
Shepard stopped her assault. "Good point," she muttered. "Way to kill it for me."
"Don't be," Shepard whispered as she nuzzled her face into the crook of Kasumi's shoulder. "Just, stay with me tonight. Please."
Kasumi smiled, the warm breath of Shepard on her neck bringing more than a little fluttering to her heart.
"Wouldn't have it any other way," she whispered. A yawn. "Good night D."
Shepard pulled the sheets over them.
It had been three days since she had woken up and Shepard had barely gotten anything done. Chawkwas was constantly hounding her every time she tried to do anything. Even going so far as to keeping her from going on a shore party to take out a Blood Pack supply planet.
So now the Commander sat at her personal terminal, checking emails. She immediately deleted any that were from companies wanting her endorsement. The spam was filtered till only three remained; one from Ash, Anderson, and an anonymous person with the username of Big T.
She read the one from Anderson first; a notice that the people from the slave camp she had been rescued from were being taken care of. Delete
The one from Ash was an apology for Horizon that Shepard didn't even finish reading. Delete
She moved to the last one and opened it.
I don't remember everything that happened; guess that's what happens when you're the prototype. I just want you to know that I don't trust this organization and as soon as I finish my hunt for the people that used me. I'm going to burn Cerberus to the ground. They have ulterior motives to bringing me back, probably you too. Watch your back. And remember, when push comes to shove, bring the pain. Raptor Style.
Fair winds and following seas
Shepard reread the words three times, unsure what to reply with. Finally she decided to put as much as she could remember about him and all the things that she could think of, along with her agreement to the prospect of destroying Cerberus. She finished with:
"Where are you? Why can't you join my crew?"
She hit send and waited for a while in complete silence, until finally she gave up on waiting and walked down to the bedroom. She gently set down on the bed, the figure in the sheets fidgeted slightly. Shepard lay back next to Kasumi, the purple hair of the thief covered her face. She just lay there for a couple minutes, looking at the innocent features of her happiness.
'Hey,' she thought. 'Wake up.'
Kasumi mumbled something unintelligible as she slowly stirred.
"What is it Shepard?" she yawned and stretched. "Need me for something?"
A dirty thought immediately popped into Shepard's mind, causing her to grin like a school girl.
"We're going to get your brace taken off," Shepard hopped up and held a hand out. "And maybe find out why you can read my dirty thoughts."
Kasumi took it and was led to the stairs.
"I didn't need mind reading to tell me that."
Shepard's terminal beeped with a new message.
"Hold on," she said as she stepped over to read it.
Kasumi peeked over her shoulder.
I can't. Not until I right all the wrongs that I committed as Storm. I killed in the name of that thing the Legion has become; it's my job to end them all. You have your mission to complete, I have mine. Then I'll sign on with you. Until then we stay away from each other. Besides, if it's raining, chances are that I'm there.
See ya around,
Kasumi froze. The name, the organization, the voice. It all hit her at once.
"Ready to go?" Shepard said as she took her hand again. Kasumi didn't budge. "Hey, are you alright?"
The thief shook herself out of her stupor.
"Yeah sure," she said. "Just daydreaming is all."
She did her best to hide her true emotions and thoughts from Shepard.
'I finally found your killer Keiji,' she thought as they stepped into the elevator. 'You will truly be avenged when I see him again. I swear it.'
Author's Note: Uh oh. Kasumi is falling into the pit of despair that is angry vengeance. Wonder what will happen when she sees Typhon again, which
*spoiler alert* will be in about five chapters *end spoiler*
I'll go into more detail about some things in the next couple of chapters. But I can safely tell you that the monster from the ship in early chapters is about to make a return, hehe. Horror isn't my strong point, but hopefully that chapter will be scary to someone. As always, read, review, comment, subscribe, favorite, etc. It really helps. And as always…