A/N So, I haven't written a fan fic in five years. I've carried on reading fanfics but never been inspired to write...until now. Mass Effect 3 is a masterpiece and I understand Bioware's logic in the ending we got. But, I needed more. I needed a happy ending- so much so that I've been provoked into writing again. I made my own happy ending :)
This piece was tossed together on a Sunday afternoon after I spent Saturday night wide awake trying to understand the choice I was forced to make at the end of the game and how, if at all, it could have resulted in Shepard surviving. That explanation is hinted at but not in here – I'll deal with it if I continue the story. Although, I do not want to write a multi-chapter on her life with Kaidan- there are far better authors than me already doing a sterling job at that!
Disclaimer: Bioware own everything and I gain nothing from this except the ability to sleep again now that everything is *right* :p.
Kaidan Alenko woke to the smell of burning tyres singeing his nose. Blinking, he pulled himself into a sitting position and gasped as a shot of pain screamed from his elbow up to his shoulder. The coppery taste of blood rang in his mouth and he turned his head to spit it out. Too fast, it seemed, as a jolt of pain struck across the back of his head, forcing him to screw his eyes shut. He gasped for breath, waiting for the pain to pass, and then prepared to force his dislocated shoulder back into position. He grit his teeth and pushed it back in with his good arm, letting out a ragged cry of pain. God, he hated doing that! He rolled his shoulder a few times and looked around - And suddenly remembered!
They'd been making a run towards the beam, he, Garrus and Anderson just behind Shepard sprinting for all they were worth as Harbinger opened fire on them. It had quickly become impossible to keep up with Jaina as they dived and veered to avoid the blasts while navigating through the sand getting blown up into the air. He'd dropped behind by about twenty feet when it happened. Harbinger had turned and before they could react, blasted the ground directly in front of them. The last thing Kaidan remembered before he was lifted off his feet and slammed down into darkness was a ragged cry of pain escaping Shepard, more sickening than he'd ever heard before.
Panicking, Kaidan cast his eyes around. Behind the beam, he could see the dark silhouette that was Harbinger, firing at the ground on the opposite side from them. Thank God its attention had been drawn elsewhere. He continued to scan the area, desperately seeking the familiar silver armour or the warm brown hair of his commander. He saw only with sand, smoke, fire an –wait! A flash of blue caught his eye. Garrus! Forcing himself to his feet caused a second jolt of pain through his head and he winced, knowing that an oncoming migraine was likely the least of his worries. He pulled his pistol from his back, offering up a silent prayer of thanks that he still had it and sprinted towards Garrus, who lay with his right leg at an angle Kaidan suspected to be impossible, even for the complex turian anatomy.
"Garrus!" he shouted as he fell to his knees beside the prone turian. He was relieved to find a pulse and quickly put his fingers up to his comm.
"Emergency! This is Major Alenko. I'm at the beam and I've got a man down. I need medical support immediately!" he shouted, while checking over the rest of Garrus.
When no answer came, he grew more frantic, "Joker! EDI? Are you there? I need medical support! Garrus is down!"
"Kaidan?" Joker's voice crackled over the comm and Kaidan felt a wave of relief. "Alenko where are you? What the hell's going on down there?" Joker's voice was tense with worry.
"I'm with Garrus near the beam! We were running to it when we got hit by a blast from Harbinger. Garrus is down – and I can't locate Shepard or Anderson!" Kaidan shouted back.
"There is a ground squad not far from your location, Major," EDI's smooth voice came over the comm. "I will radio them your location."
"Thanks EDI," Kaidan said. "Where's Shepard? What's going on up there? I can't see through the clouds."
"It's a shit-storm up here but we're holding our own. The crucible has docked. EDI's trying to bypass the Reaper blocks to access the citadel's computer now. Shepard and Anderson must have made it!" Joker replied quickly.
"I've managed to connect to the Citadel Jeff and am scanning for Shepard's biometrics now," EDI informed them. There was a pause and EDI continued, "It appears she is within the crucible. I'm detecting a single form and three distinct sources of dark matter."
A second wave of relief crashed over Kaidan – she was alive! And their plan was working!
"Hmmm..." EDI's voice was tinged with concern. "This will not do."
"What is it EDI?" Kaidan asked, frowning.
"The process required to engage the crucible would require the commander to-"
Her explanation was cut off by the familiar howling groan of a husk rang through the air. Kaidan turned to find seven of them loping towards him.
"Shit!" he swore, before unleashing a biotic slam. "I've got husks incoming!"
In his ear, he could hear Joker yell, "You're the most advanced AI in this galaxy! EDI, you have to change it! We can't lose her!"
But Kaidan had more pressing matters at hand. He took out the front two husks with his pistol and was preparing a singularity when the sky lit up with bright green light. Over the comm. He heard Joker shouting to EDI, "It's the crucible! It's- oh damn! We've gotta get outta here!"
"Joker!" Kaidan shouted while swiftly shooting the husks now suspended in his ball of dark energy. "What's going on?"
But he didn't hear the reply as the remaining husks were pulled up into the air, flailing wildly. Behind him, he heard the screeching of metal and spun to find Harbinger being similarly lifted at an impossible speed. In the distant sky, he could see reapers from other areas ascending through the clouds. Eyes wide, he wondered how exactly the crucible was working, but a part of him didn't care as he felt a whisper of hope rise in his chest. Perhaps they were going to win this!
Kaidan cast his eyes up to the clouds, thinking of Jaina, wondering...hoping that she was safe onboard the citadel. A grunt pulled his attention downwards and he found Garrus blinking hazily.
"Garrus! Garrus! Wake up!" he cried, "She's done it! Shepard activated the crucible!"
"Alenko?" Garrus' voice was pained. The turian winced and cast his eyes beyond Kaidan to the green-grey sky. "Holy..." he trailed off. "What is it doing?"
"I don't know. But it's working," Kaidan replied, a grin beginning to creep across his face. "The Reapers are leaving – being pulled into the sky!"
Garrus gave a low chuckle, "Never thought I'd see husks fly." He paused and cast his eyes around. "So we're still down here. Have you spoken to Shepard?"
Kaidan helped him to sit up, careful not to shift his broken leg. "No. But if the crucible is working she must be alive."
As if in response to his question, the beam went from white to a brilliant green and the pair had to shield their eyes from the bright light. Kaidan dared to peek through his fingers and found a dark sphere descending along the beam as its light slowly began to fade. With a groan, the beam generators were uprooted and pulled into the sky, leaving behind a dense cloud of dust. Kaidan rose to his feet in awe, watching as the Reaper's technology was finally withdrawn and the dust began to settle. He heard shouts from behind him and turned to find the ground team rushing towards them. He gave a relieved sigh and looked over to where the beam had been a few seconds before. A glint of silver caught his eye and his breath caught in his throat. Dropping his pistol, he took off at a sprint, ignoring Garrus' shouts from behind.
"Shepard!" He bellowed, his throat aching with the intensity of his cry. "Shepard!"
Jaina Shepard's body lay face-down in a growing pool of blood, her upper body armour shredded and her left arm pinned awkwardly underneath her. Kaidan skidded to his knees in the sand beside her body, eyes frantically scanning the bloody armour and burned, bleeding skin of her exposed forearms. He yanked off his gloves, forgetting entirely about his omnitool, and pressed two fingers to her neck. It was faint, but she had a pulse. "Shepard!" He called, shifting her onto her back, eager to see her face once more.
Kaidan let out a silent cry of horror. Her porcelain face was bruised and bleeding.
"Oh Jaina!" Kaidan whispered, raising a trembling hand to her forehead. She was bleeding from a nasty gash at her ribs and he hastily dug through his utility belt for a medigel capsule. He applied it quickly, hoping that the skin would seal, then returned his attention to her face. Gripping the top of her arms, he squeezed gently.
"Shepard! Can you hear me?" he cried. Shepard remained silent.
"Jaina," he started, his voice unsteady. "Jaina, you have to wake up." She remained unresponsive, head lolling to the side. Kaidan felt nausea wash over him. He couldn't lose her now. She'd promised to be waiting for him, dammit! After everything they'd been through, it couldn't have come to this. Jaina had given up everything to fight the Reapers and Kaidan had watched it happen, watched her when she didn't think anyone could see her. He'd seen the heavy sighs, the way she'd anxiously run her hands through her hair and consciously straighten her posture before speaking to the crew. He'd seen her doubting, watched her slowly begin to crack – and sworn that when it was all over, he'd build her up again. He'd remind her to care for herself again instead of blindly sacrificing everything. He'd make sure she never had to feel alone again. He felt his hands go numb and his heart go cold. He was supposed to be there for her. Now he might not get the chance.
Footsteps from behind him broke Kaidan from his thoughts and he turned to find a field medic stopping beside him.
"Thank God!" he cried. "You have to do something – she needs medigel. She-"
Before he could continue, a great boom shook the ground and a field of green light descended through the clouds and enveloped them, spreading outwards across the city. Kaidan's whole body was at once on fire, buzzing and he squeezed his eyes closed. A stabbing pain cut through his head, far worse than any migraine, his ears ringing as his muscles began to twitch.
"Oh God," he thought, "The crucible..." The buzzing in his head intensified and his eye balls felt as though they were going to burst, his entire being in agony.
And then it was over. In a heartbeat, the green energy field vanished and the pain began to fade. Kaidan opened his eyes to find the medic beside him panting and looking back with wide eyes.
"What the-" the man started, but was interrupted by a ragged breath hitching in the throat of the woman between them.
"Shepard?" Kaidan gasped. Her breathing was shallow and her body convulsed as she coughed up some of the blood in her throat. He gripped her right hand in his own and gently touched her cheek. Shepard drew a sharp breath of pain through clenched teeth and squeezed her eyes. He immediately released her hand, looking down guiltily. Beside him, the medic went to work, breaking medigel capsules to smear the balm on her forearms.
"Jaina? Jay, can you hear me?" Kaidan asked softly. Shepard said nothing, continuing to draw ragged breaths and Kaidan wondered if she was conscious. He got his answer when she winced, shifting her left arm and uttering a grunt of pain. She relaxed her left arm but raised her right and placed it over his own on her cheek as he had done at their dinner on the Citadel. Her hand was cool and she gently squeezed his fingers. A small smile danced across her lips and she slowly blinked her emerald eyes open.
"Kai...Kaidan?" he voice was soft and she swallowed heavily, trying to clear her throat.
"I'm right here. You're safe now," he replied, gently rubbing his thumb along her cheek.
She closed her eyes, and a hacking cough consumed her body. Kaidan gently wiped the blood away from her mouth and looked at the medic.
"I'm going to radio for help," the medic said as he discarded the last of the capsules. "We don't know what her internal injuries are. We need to get the commander to a hospital immediately. Shouldn't be a problem now the Reapers are gone." Kaidan nodded and the man stood and opened his comm.
Kaidan returned his glance to Shepard. When she opened her eyes again, she took a deep, pained breath and looked around slowly, squinting at the sky.
"Where...'m I?" she whispered, looking to Kaidan with confusion floating in her eyes.
"Back in London," he said. "I think the crucible returned you."
A frown appeared on her forehead and she shook her head slightly. "Uh uh. Was supposed to die," she said softly. She cast a brief glance down her body. "Feels like I did."
"No. No Jaina, you're alive! We're gonna get you to a hospital and you're going to be fine! We've won! The Reapers are gone. We did it," Kaidan's voice grew softer and he squeezed her good shoulder. "You did it."
She frowned up at him, blinking slowly as her eyes filled with tears. A shudder went through her and her breath hitched in her throat. "K...aidan," her voice broke as single tear escaped and ran down her face, clearing a single line through the blood and dust. "Thought I'd...never see you again."
"It's okay. I'm here," he soothed, running his hand through her hair. "And I'm never letting you out of my sight again."
She smiled weakly, blinking back her tears and visibly relaxing. For the first time since the Reapers hit Earth, Kaidan saw some of the life return to her eyes, and she looked up at him with something bordering on mischief, "Well then you'd better kiss me Major."
Kaidan let go of the breath he was holding and gave a wry laugh, his own eyes tearing up, "Oh I'll do better than that Jay, as soon as you're better."
Shepard closed her eyes and gently shook her head. "Tease," she muttered.
Kaidan's witty retort was interrupted by the sound of a shuttle overhead and he looked up to find a team emerging with two stretchers, one on its way to Garrus and one bound for them. He cast his eyes back to Shepard and found her eyes closed and her lips parted as they did when she slept. As he moved back to make way for the medics, he cast a glance back down the street to where they'd started from. The devastation in the area was huge; flaming trucks, broken glass, corpses scattered all over. But as he cast his eyes up to the sky, the first rays of sunrise were emerging on the horizon and he knew theirs would be a happy ending.