I wish i had a little house out in the country

where we could go and spend some time alone

and if you just once would be there with me

I never meant to be there on my own.

-The Sandmen

It was an insisting sound of birds that woke Shepard from his sleep. He stretched and slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was a blue sky, it was a lovely warm and peaceful day.

"Oh you're awake." A woman said at his left. John's whipped around and looked up at her, she smiled warmly and her brown eyes was amused at his reaction. "Relax John, you just fell asleep, and we figured you were exhausted."

Shepard relaxed a little and smiled back best he could.

The woman looked out towards the horizon. "You know, I always loved winter, the English bay looks so pretty when there is frost in the air." She sighed heavily and smiled melancholy, "It will snow soon."

Shepard sat up in the recliner and looked in the same direction as the woman. He should be alarmed, but all he felt was peace, as if... As in never before in his life. He turned his head and wet his lips, "Where, - where am I?"

"Don't be silly John." The woman said, "You know where you are." She turned to walk back into the house, "Can I bring you anything?"

"No I'm good." Shepard said, getting up from the recliner. Leaning in over the railing of the porch he took in the Veiw and couldn't help but to think that even if he had seen lots of pretty places in the galaxy, this was the most beautiful of them all. Almost magical.

He couldn't remember how he got here, or where 'here' even was, but found that he didn't care. It felt right, like he was supposed to be here.

Kaidan was walking aimlessly around the rubble, turning over the dead soldiers, every time dreading it would be John's lifeless eyes that would stare up at him.

"Do you think he made it aboard the Citadel?" Garrus asked as he aimlessly turned over a block of pavement to see who was under it. "There is a very real chance that he isn't even amongst these casualties."

"No one made it." Kaidan answered softly, unable to look at Garrus at all. "You heard Anderson."

"Kaidan." Garrus said, when Kaidan ignored him, he grabbed the man's arm. "Kaidan!" He pulled Kaidan closer staring him down. "If anyone could pull this off it's Shepard, and you know it. The reapers all self destroyed and died. Do you really think that he didn't have anything to do with that?"

"True." Kaidan nodded. "But... just for once Garrus, I wish that.." He shook his head sadly. "He told me that he would be waiting for me, so I better be there." He looked around miserably, "I'M HERE, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?" Kaidan yelled, kicking a rock on the ground, tearing himself loose from Garrus' grasp, "Shit.."

Garrus didn't know what to say, he just fell silent and let Kaidan rave and rant.

"I just want him to be okay." Kaidan said, his voice fell to a near whisper. "Or dead." He rolled over a dead soldier and pulled off his dogtags before he slowly searched on. "I just want closure.. No, that is bullshit, I want John. I just want something for us, is that too much to ask for? Happiness that is not on borrowed time." Kaidan drew a deep shuttering breath and turned his gaze up towards the Citadel in the sky. "He promised me, Garrus."

"Kaidan." Garrus said softly, slightly berating.

"I know, I know.." Kaidan whined, "You can't keep all promises." He turned and looked heartbroken up at Garrus, "Tell me, of all the promises he kept, why would he break the one he made to me?"

"I'm sure he wouldn't do so on purpose." Garrus tried, "But Shepard isn't.."

"Garrus, please."

"Alright." Garrus sighed and started to search bodies together with Kaidan.

Shepard stood in the living room and looked at the pictures on the wall. He took a picture off the wall and studied it, "Is that Kaidan?" He asked, not really sure why he said that, but it looked like Alenko just shorter and plump, which made Shepard grin.

"Yes, dear." The woman said, entering with a beer which she handed to Shepard. "He was such a troubled child." She looked worried as she took the picture from John, and hung it back on the wall.

"How so?" Shepard asked, taking a sip of the beer.

The woman's expression changed indicating that she didn't want to talk about that. And just offered a "He turned out alright, the dear boy."

"That he did." John agreed with a nod. Shifting his feet a little uncomfortable, he finally asked, "Why am I here?" He didn't know how else to ask, there simply weren't any polite way of admitting that he had no recollection of this place or the woman, prior to waking on the porch.

The woman rose a brow, "You don't remember?" When John just looked down at his feet, the woman placed a warm hand on his cheek, "That could be expected, don't worry about it."

Shepard looked up again, suddenly recognizing Kaidan in the womans features. "I'm sorry Mrs Alenko, it's just.."

"Don't worry about it, son." Mrs Alenko said with a smile, "Come on and take a walk with me. We could go down and look at the bay if you want to."

"I would be delighted. Mrs Alenko." Shepard said, holding out an arm to escort the woman outside.

"I don't care!" Kaidan spat, "Just do it!"

The medic looked at Major Alenko with sad eyes, not sure how to tell the major the obvious. Commander Shepard was stone dead, he had a huge blast hole in the side. "But.."

"I said, do it!" Kaidan yelled more angry than before.

"Kaidan!" Garrus said shaking Kaidan gently. "He is gone!"

"No he's not!" Kaidan growled, pulling free of Garrus' hold. "He came back once, he can do it again!" Kaidan rubbed his face with his grimy hands, his shoulders slumped and he nodded. With a thud he fell to his knees next to Shepard on the ground.

Garrus looked away, feeling like an intruder to an intimate moment.

"John." Kaidan said, caressing the dead man lovingly on his cheek. "It's not fair that you leave me behind after all this. I fought so hard to have a future with you. I thought.." He choked on his words for a moment, trying not to cry. "I thought that we would.. I - I.. I need you to wake up." Kaidan leaned down further and rested his forehead against Shepard's. "John, I love you. Please don't leave me."

The medic was about to stand, feeling very awkward, when Garrus stopped him with a gesture of his hand. "Do it." He just said.

The medic sat down again and got the transportable defibrillator out again, he pushed Shepard's shirt aside and placed the metal plates on his chest. "Major?" He said softly, "You have to move back. Sir."

Kaidan hesitantly let go of Shepard and sat back on his heels, looking at the medic as he rigged the defibrillator. He didn't dare to look up at Garrus, he was sure that he thought him crazy. But he just had to try.

"Clear!" The medic yelled, shocking Shepard so his entire body spasmed. The medic felt for a pulse, but found none. He looked up at Garrus, who just nodded for him to go again.

"It's very peaceful here." Shepard said, sitting down on a rock, looking out over the bay.

"That it is." Mrs Alenko said.


Shepard turned around to see who said something, but there was nothing. He shook his head and returned to gazing out over the water in the sunset.


Again he turned around, looking confused.

"Is something wrong?" Mrs Alenko asked softly.

"I could have sworn I just heard Kaidan." Shepard said, shaking his head amused by himself.

"Oh." Mrs Alenko said, taking Shepard's hand in hers. "I guess he found you."

Shepard looked confused, when the calm veil was suddenly ripped by a mind numbing headache, like an explosion in his head. He remembered the Reaper beam, the explosion.. "urgh.." He felt mostly like he was going to puke, holding his head between his knees to keep the nausea, dizziness and pain at bay. "Am I dead?" He managed to force out.

"No." Mrs Alenko said amused. "Not yet."

John wake up.. Please

Shepard could hear the pain in Kaidan's voice. But he didn't have time to think about it as it was followed by more pain.

"There is a pulse!" The medic almost danced with joy, he had turned the defibrillator up so much that he was sure he had broken a rib or two on the commander, but that was secondary right now. That he had even gotten a life sign from what he had considered to be a dead man, was a miracle. "We need to get him to a medical center of some sorts, right now!"

Kaidan kissed Shepard's forehead, "Thank you."

When Shepard opened his eyes again, he was no longer in the calm, nice porch by the English bay, waiting for a beer. He was in pain, he could smell antiseptic and death. He had wanted to say something, but all that came out from his lips was a pained muffled scream of pain. A nurse with friendly blue eyes came and did whatever it was she did, Shepard didn't care, nor did he see it. But suddenly he was floating again, closing his eyes falling into a dreamless sleep.

Next time Shepard woke, he found Kaidan at his side, it made him smile. But he felt so weak that he wasn't sure if the smile was just in his thoughts, or if it actually made it to his lips.

"Hey there." Kaidan said with a smile, "How are you?" When Shepard just groaned in pain, Kaidan blushed slightly, "Yeah stupid question."

"Eng-lish bay." Shepard slurred.

"English bay?" Kaidan repeated like an idiot.

"You were right." Shepard's eyes closed, as he forced out the words, he felt tired and worn, "It's beautiful."

Kaidan blinked confused, but accepted that stranger things had happened, and just took John's hand. "Was that were you were?" Shepard just looked serene and Kaidan took that as a yes. A nurse came in to administer some more painkillers, and Kaidan just sat still, waiting for her to leave again. "Maybe we should go there, together I mean." Kaidan said with a soft smile, "You and me having a beer on my parents porch." He didn't mention that he wasn't even sure that his parents lived, or if his childhood home had been leveled with the ground. but he got not reply, he could tell from Shepard's breathing that he had fallen asleep again.

It would take almost six months before they finally stood by the ruin that had been Kaidan's childhood home. Shepard sat down on some rubble where the porch had been, he leaned his cane against the remains of the wall, and sighed. "I'm sorry." He just said, not sure that anything he could say would be sufficient.

"Yeah." Kaidan whispered, sitting down next to Shepard, resting his head on the shorter man's shoulder. "The veiw is still beautiful."

"That it is." Shepard said, wrapping an arm around Kaidan. "It's prettier with a beer to go though." He chuckled.

"True." Kaidan mused. "We could do that though, stay and rebuild, and then you could have as many beers as you'd like, looking out over English bay."

"I'd like that." Shepard said softly. "I'd like that a lot."