A/N: Okay, I finally managed to upload this one. It's the last Chapter and I redid it a lot of times, just to be sure that it's the way I really wanted it. I won't say too much here, the rest I'll write at the end. Just want to thank you for all your support first! You're all awesome!
Why I am alive
The war was enormous.
Not only because Shepard was leading the largest fleet the galaxy had seen against the greatest enemies they would ever have, it was overwhelming on a personal level. Conflict, battle, even war weren't something he wasn't used to, but saying goodbye with the intension of saying it, was.
When the time had finally come for him to kiss his boyfriend for the possibly last time, Shepard didn't want conflict anymore. When he touched Kaidan's face and looked deep into his eyes, he could experience peace. And when he said he'd be waiting for him, he didn't mean it.
He had realized later that it was the first lie he'd told Kaidan. But was a small lie justified if he could inspire hope with it? Would Kaidan ever forgive him after he had discovered that Shepard had lied?
He didn't know and now wasn't the time to think about it.
He was falling. Through space and time and endless darkness. He had no prove if he was really falling or not, he didn't know if he was lying face down on the floor or if he was being pressed against the ceiling.
Wind blew past him and fire was near his body. He felt cold and heat at the same time. Caught between tubes and glass, his skin was burning but his soul was screaming. He was screaming for an evac. For Kaidan.
Slowly, Shepard started to realize that he was indeed falling. Actually it wasn't him who was falling but the piece of environment which kept him imprisoned. Eventually, he landed. The earth trembled and the impact rattled every single bone in his body. Something heavy and solid fell down and buried him alive. He couldn't breathe properly and he couldn't move.
He knew that he was losing blood and the end of his life was near. He knew that he had completed his journey and beaten his enemies. He knew that now was the moment to say goodbye. To pray for salvation. To look back at his life and make peace with his regrets.
But he couldn't.
Once upon a time, Shepard had been in a similar situation. He didn't remember when or where only that he had laid in his own blood for hours, maybe days. At that time, the only thing Shepard wanted was to die because he couldn't bear the pain and vengeance had become very meaningless.
But not today. Today, he had too many unfinished business which still required his attention.
He needed to feed his fishes and his hamster. There was still another model he needed to find. He had promised Chakwas a bottle of brandy and there was a lonely Asari wife on the citadel he had a massage for. And there was Kaidan.
When this name came to his mind, all the other things became small, tiny. Kaidan's smiling face appeared before his closed eyes and how much wanted Shepard to touch it. To gaze into his eyes and simply say three small words.
"I love you." he didn't know if he had said it or only thought it. It didn't really matter if he said it or not, but at the same time, these three small words were the reason why Shepard wanted to live.
He remembered that someone had told him once that before death, life would flash in front of his eyes. But now, he was seeing the future drifting away. A future he would share with a man who would become his husband. A future with his husband in which he could find peace.
A future he might never have.
"No!" Shepard breathed out, still unsure if his voice made any sound. He refused to give up now. He didn't survive the blast of the Crucible so the Reapers could take him with then to the dark pit of abyss. He refused to die.
Because he had too much to live for.
He had never told Kaidan that he loved him. He had missed the chance. When Kaidan had begged him not to be left behind, Shepard wanted to tell the man that he loved him. He wanted to say it all the time but all he managed was a harsh command.
"You're in no condition to keep fighting, Kaidan!" He had barked at the ramp of the Normandy. "Get to the medbay!"
"No, don't leave me behind!"
"I'm saving your life! Go now!"
"No, please! I'm with you! Don't leave me again!"
Kaidan's voice gave him strength now. He wished he had said what he always wanted. What Kaidan deserved to hear. But instead, he had told him to go and it was the last time he'd seen Kaidan. How simple would it be if he had finished this? He could die peacefully right now, knowing that Kaidan knew that he loved him. But how selfish would this be?
"I love you, Shepard…."
Kaidan's voice sounded softly in his ears. When he heard the words, he could almost see the major's face. Then, his face shifted and Shepard saw the most heart-breaking expression he had seen in his live. Kaidan's extended his hand and reached out for him; his brows curved in pain. His eyes were almost dead and red blood coloured his body.
Then another thought occurred to him. What if Kaidan and the Normandy didn't make it? What if Harbinger had shut them down? What if Kaidan….
He couldn't continue, because the simple thought cut off his already damaged breathing capability. His heart wrenched into a mess of pain and hurt and his eyes became wet. He couldn't remember when he had actually cried the last time, but now his tears keep coming without him having any control over it.
The future he could have shared with his husband flashed before him. The sun kissed house at the English bay withered within seconds and all it left was a pile of blackened rubble. The bottle of Canadian Larger slipped from his fingers and when it shattered on the floor, the silhouette of his lover splintered into thousands of pieces.
Kaidan's brown eyes became grey and faded. His touch became cold and didn't linger. His kiss was nothing but an illusion and soon the man he loved was nothing but dust.
Shepard screamed because the agony inside his heart overshadowed the pain of his injuries. His strength vaporized and his dignity became ashes. He cried and screamed though he knew that it wasn't real. It was only his fear which had become visions but still, it tore him apart.
Despair was all he felt right now. Despair and darkness. And this darkness wasn't the absence of light but his state of his mind.
His chest trembled and Shepard screamed again. He refused to believe it. Refused to let it happen. To let Kaidan dwell in the same agony because he knew that it would happen if he didn't come back.
He forced his body to move and failed. He tried again and failed again. But failure had never prevented him from getting what he wanted. He steamed his arms against the metal burying him. His strength increased with every breath he took and with every second, more of his power gathered in his muscles.
He didn't know how he did it or how long he continued to crawl. He didn't even know where he was crawling.
One of his legs was broken and though he could see his own bone through his ripped flesh, he didn't feel the pain. He couldn't move his left arm or feel it. His head was heavy as if it had gained ten kilo in the past hours. The air which reached his nose was filled with the smell of dust and fire.
There was no light to guild him. No water to appease his thirst. No food to fill his stomach. There wasn't even a sound.
But Shepard kept crawling. He dug his bloody fingers into the gabs between rubble and pulled his body after him. He lost the rest of his armour on his way and his flesh chaffed against the hard surface.
But he didn't stop.
He was tired. Tired and powerless. He wanted the pain to stop so he could just rest for a minute. Just a minute and then he'd go on.
When his eyes feel shut, Kaidan's face returned. He smiled and extended his hand to help Shepard. But then again, the vision faded and Kaidan's eyes turned pale.
"Don't leave me again…." Kaidan whispered and his soft voice echoed through Shepard's mind.
His eyes flew open and his heart clenched. He couldn't rest; he couldn't die, not until he found Kaidan. He needed to be sure that his lover was okay. That Kaidan would have a future. A future they'd share together.
The air around him had changed. It was cold and a fresh smell was in it. After a while, Shepard recognized the smell as rain and his heart jumped. He remembered Kaidan's taste when they had kissed before the SOB. His lover had smelled like rain and in this moment, it was the greatest smell Shepard could imagine.
He had no strength to move anymore. He had no power to shout, to call for help. But he had determination. He felt his brain react and he summoned the skill he'd been gifted and cursed with. A blue surge of energy emerged from his outstretched hand and the shockwave blasted stones and rubbles from his path.
Air hissed past him and light filled his eyes. He didn't know if it was day or night, only that it was too bright. From afar, hazed figured were screaming and shouting. They ran towards him and a dog barked somewhere.
Blue was what he saw first. The blue of their uniforms, the blue of their eyes. He braced his one good arm against the surface under him and came trembling to his feet. He tumbled towards the dark-haired man with blue uniforms and almost smiled.
"Kaidan…." He whispered and a pair of strong arms caught him. "I'm back…."
Then his knees touched the floor and his body slackened. He took a desperate breath to clinch on to life, but his mind blackened and his was gone….
Three months later
When he opened his eyes, he didn't see anything. He listened but it was quiet. Only a steady peep interrupted the silence and a smell of fresh flowers lingered in the air.
His fingers twitched and his body trembled. He could feel his leg and his left arm again and the pain was gone. When he took a deep breath, his chest didn't rebel. He blinked a few times, but sleep overcame him quickly.
When he woke up again, it was day. Fresh sunlight shined through the blinds before his window and a bunch of flowers occupied his bed-drawer. He didn't know which kind these were, only that he liked them. Their core was orange, almost red, but their blossoms were cyan, almost blue.
He smiled and turned his head around. It was surprisingly easy to move right now. His injuries were healed and his head was back to its normal weight. He jumped out of bed and smiled at the new strength and agility in his limps. His whole body was as good as new and Shepard felt as if Miranda's voice had just waked him.
For a moment he was glad because it wasn't too late to stop the Reapers, but then he prayed that the war was over and that all his feelings for Kaidan weren't imaginary. Or a dream.
The door hissed behind him and he jerked his head around, almost expecting to see Miranda standing there. But the man he saw was a man Shepard had the deepest of respect for. Admiral Hackett looked as if he had aged ten years. All his hair was white now, not only grey. His jaw clenched and Shepard hastily saluted.
"Welcome back to the living, Commander." The admiral said with both hands behind his straight back. "You have done humanity proud."
"What happened, Sir?" Shepard's voice was strong. "Have we won?"
"We wouldn't be standing here, talking, if we didn't."
Shepard didn't punch his fist into air or make any other gesture of victory, he only sighed out of relieve. With the breath, all the pressure he'd felt left him along with all the misery of the war. He suddenly felt young again, full of hope and passion. It was as if the past three and a half years of his live had been his entire conscious time. It was as if he was reborn. In peace.
But peace came only with one man for him.
"And Kaidan?" Shepard asked, feeling his voice tremble. "Did he make it?"
"See for yourself, Commander," Hackett only nodded and stepped away from the door.
And there he was. The most beautiful man Shepard could imagine. The most perfect one. Though Kaidan had more wrinkles and grey hair as Shepard remembered, his eyes hadn't changed. Simply the sight of Kaidan caused a twitch in his lower body. His stomach felt like as if some bugs were rampaging in it. He couldn't believe it, but he remembered that they were called butterflies.
"Kaidan," He was almost there to hug him when he remembered that Kaidan had asked him to be subtle. He cleared his throat and gave Kaidan his hand. "Good to see you, Major."
"Admiral," Kaidan's voice almost sent Shepard spinning. "Could you give us a minute, please? I'll brief the commander."
If Admiral Hackett suspected anything or knew anything, he didn't show it. He nodded slightly and said that he'd be expecting them soon. Then he left.
Once the door was closed, Shepard was caught by the most passionate kiss and embrace in human history. Kaidan wrapped his arms around his torso and his lips were pressed against Shepard's so tightly, the commander could feel his teeth behind them.
He responded with matching force. In his arms, he channelled all the hurt and pain and want and need and longing and love. His couldn't say what he was feeling only that he was feeling so much at once. His arms didn't left Kaidan's body for one second and his lips caressed the skin he missed so much.
"I love you, Kaidan!" He managed to say under his breaths. "I love you! I love you so much! So much!"
"I love you, too!" Kaidan responded and something wet and salty reached Shepard's lips. The licked the tears away and didn't know if they were Kaidan's or his. "Shepard, never leave me again! Please, I beg you, never do this again! I can't live without you! I love you!"
"I know, I'm so sorry!" Shepard sobbed, slightly muffled because his mouth didn't leave Kaidan's. "I won't leave you ever again. Ever! You make me feel alive. And complete! You are my live now! I need you!"
"I…." Kaidan couldn't finish his words because Shepard's lips cut him off. He wanted to be close to the major, closer than he'd been ever before. Closer than possible.
He leaned into Kaidan and pushed him towards the wall. When the major hit the surface, he let out a low moan. With his eyes half closed and his mouth longingly open, Kaidan looked more amazing than Shepard could ever imagine.
He touched those painfully missed skin and kissed those beautifully swollen lips. He buried his face in Kaidan's neck and his hand wandered along the gorgeous body. He pressed his erection against Kaidan's and in this moment, he didn't have any control over his own body.
Though his mind told him that Admiral Hackett might be waiting outside and that now really wasn't the best time, his body seemed to think that now was exactly the right time to release its load. When Kaidan's hand touched his arousal, he finally went over the edge.
He let out a low groan and his legs trembled. The sensation of coming into Kaidan's hand was indescribably good. He felt the warmth of Kaidan's skin and the strength in those fingers through his hospital gown. Resting in them, Shepard thought that his cock didn't belong anywhere else, except in Kaidan's butt or his mouth.
When the sensation waved off, he felt ashamed and suddenly tired. He lowered his head and tried to calm his breaths. But his heart was still bumping too strongly and Kaidan was still there, holding him.
"Sorry," Shepard whispered, deeply humiliated by his own weakness.
"It's okay," Kaidan only said. He retrieved his hand from the darker spot on Shepard's gown and suppressed a chuckle. "You came back to me, that's all I want."
"I'll always come back to you. Always." He leaned in and kissed Kaidan again. Then he did it again. He couldn't stop and he couldn't think of anything else to do right now. "I love you so much!"
"I…." Again, Kaidan was interrupted. Only this time, it wasn't Shepard's lips that cut off Kaidan's words, but the hiss of the door.
Out of instinct, Kaidan and Shepard snapped away faster than an explosion. He felt his own face became hotter and hotter and only hope that Hackett couldn't see it because of the light in his back.
The Admiral's face was stony as ever. He eyed them both quietly and Shepard felt very much like a small child caught in an impudent act. But he credited himself that he didn't lower his head in shame.
He cleared his throat but Hackett cut him off.
"Commander," The Admiral's voice didn't change in the slightest. "We need you to make a statement."
"What should I tell them, Sir?" Shepard asked, trying to keep his voice calm and trying very hard not to think about how visible his blooper was.
"Only proclaim that you're alive." Hackett said. "That's what I need for now. I trust you will give us your full report once you've recovered."
"Of course, Sir." Shepard nodded and resisted the urge to glace at Kaidan.
"On second thought," Hackett turned in his walk out. "The reporters can wait. You should get your rest. You and Kaidan made through a lot. You deserve your time."
Hackett didn't wait for an answer but walked out of the door, leaving Shepard standing with mouth open. He didn't believe what he just heard. Was Hackett suggesting that….
But when Kaidan's hand found his again, Shepard didn't care what Hackett thought. He felt the major's mouth at his ears and shivered. He closed his eyes and a vivid vision of a future started to take shape in his mind.
"I love you, John. And I'm proud of it!" Kaidan whispered softly and his kiss was all Shepard needed right now.
Yes, Shepard sighed mentally. Yes, that's why I am alive.
Puh, it's finally done. :-D
I really have to say that this one was much more a challenge than all the other stories I've written. Somehow it started as a small project for ME kinkmeme, but then things just got out of hand and it ended here. I really didn't like Renegade Shep when I started it, but then I replayed the game as a renegade and kind of understood his actions. I explained them here as I saw it and of course it's all just my opinion.
Still I enjoyed writing this story and reading all your comments! Again, I couldn't have done this without you! As Kaidan had helped Shepard, you have helped me! Together, we saved the galaxy! XD
And I hope I did the ending alright. I really wasn't easy and I cried once or twice writing it. I promised a happy ending and I delivered one. :-D
I think I'll be silent for a while because I need to focus on the story I'm currently writing for the Mass Effect Big Bang. So don't worry, I won't story writing about my OTP!
Thank you! All of you! You're awesome! And please leave a comment^^ (You know what you think about the end. I really hope it's better than the original game ending. :-D)