Kaidan knew he'd fucked up. From the tips of his fingers to the marrow in his bones he knew he made a mess of things. Shit! Why had he let anger get the better of him, why had he let the hurt take control? Two years! That's how long he'd missed her, grieved for her, wanted her back. He'd held her in his arms, smelled her hair, felt her breath on his neck, felt her trembling like the very first time he'd held her. It was like she had never been gone.
That was the problem. She had been gone, but now she was back. He'd felt his heart racing as she walked towards him, he'd felt giddy at the sight of her and his hands shook as he realised she was alive. He'd doubted, it wasn't possible, she wouldn't have lied to him, not contacted him. Unless she wasn't the woman he thought she was, the woman who completed him, stole his heart. But it was her, she was everything he remembered, her strength, her determination, the love in her eyes that was only for him.
Why? Why had she not contacted him, let him know she was alive? Why was she with Cerberus, why couldn't she come with him? The pain was unbearable, his heart broke all over again and he wanted to hurt her, to lash out, make her feel what he was feeling. If he'd noticed the hurt in her eyes he would have understood that she already did. It was only later he realised the truth.
So now he had to fix it. But how? He'd be lucky if she even spoke to him or wanted anything to do with him. Shit, shit, shit! He sat in front of his terminal, buried his face in his hands before running his fingers through his hair, not the least bit concerned about the mess that resulted. What would happen to his career if his superiors found out he was in contact with her, she was working for the enemy now. He decided he didn't care, he couldn't let her go, he needed her like he needed to breathe. Without her he couldn't survive. But what guarantee did he have that she would even get his message? There had to be a way.
To start with he sent her an email but the moment he pushed send he realised how unsure, how insincere it sounded. Why the hell did he mention that date? Damn it, he had to do better. He didn't expect a reply, why would she, it was a lame apology and she deserved much more. His lips lifted in a half smile as an idea occurred to him, it grew into a grin as he thought about how to do it. He needed help and there was one person who might still talk to him.
It was some time later when he finally received a reply, long enough that he was starting to wonder if he was wasting his time.
J: Asshole. What do you want?
K: Really? Way to greet an old friend?
J: That was before I knew what a bastard you could be.
K: How is she?
J: As if you care. I haven't seen her so self-destructive before, she's lost what she was fighting for and she doesn't care any more. And that email, boy was she pissed. I hope you're happy with yourself.
K: No, I'm not, hence the contact. I want to fix this, I need to fix this. I fucked up!
J: No argument here. What do you want from me?
K: I've thought of a way to do it but I need to know my messages will get through, it's not like I can talk to her directly.
J: Why should I help?
K: Because you used to be my best friend. I missed our conversations when you disappeared. Why Cerberus? What did they offer you?
Kaidan was surprised when a response didn't come back immediately. He had a feeling there was more to Joker's disappearance than just his disappointment with the Alliance.
J: You're probably going to hate me. I knew they were trying to bring her back.
It was Kaidan's turn to hesitate. He knew but hadn't told anyone. Why?
K: You knew? How? Why didn't you tell me?
J: I wanted to protect you. It wasn't a hundred percent guaranteed that she would come back and after the way you fell apart after she died I wasn't going to put you through that again. By the time I knew for sure we were under Cerberus control and I couldn't let you know.
K: So how come you can contact me now?
J: Because Shepard is smart and we've got some brilliant people on our crew who don't like Cerberus any more than we do.
K: Anyone I should be concerned about, you know, taking my place?
J: I don't think Shepard's thought that far ahead. She was in such a rush to get to Horizon, to get to you, and now she's heartbroken. Asshole.
K: I deserved that.
J: Yes you do.
There was no response and Kaidan wondered if he had any chance of making things right, with anyone.
J: Have to go. Send your messages to me, I'll make sure she gets them. You owe me big time for this. Make it right, Alenko.
K: That's the plan and thanks. Beers on me next time we're in the same place.
There was no response so Kaidan assumed the connection had been terminated, hopefully by Joker. There was a glimmer of hope and he grabbed on for dear life. He had to get to work. He smiled as a memory ran through his head and he hoped his plan would work.
Tonight I'm dying to tell you
That trying not to love you, only went so far
Trying not to need you, was tearing me apart
Now I see the silver lining, from what we're fighting for
And if we just keep on trying, we could be much more
'Cause trying not to love you
He hit send and closed his eyes, his heart beating wildly. This was something that they shared, it became a contest at times to see who could outsmart the other. He could only hope there was still enough feeling there and not too much hurt. All he could do now was wait.
Almost a week went by and he was starting to give up hope. Maybe he'd damaged their relationship too much and the thought almost killed him. He'd lived without her, every moment painful, every day he woken up to his empty bed and every day he'd cried. For two years he'd put one foot in front of the other, doing what had to be done with no emotion or feeling. He didn't want to live like that, especially knowing she was alive. His omnitool beeped and he looked at to see Shepard's name. Taking a deep breath he opened the message.
Only makes me love you more.
You say, "forgive me", And you say you're sorry now
Keep talking, I'm listening
Tell me from the heart
Keep talking, the words may lead you
Kaidan couldn't stop his hands from shaking, his heart was racing as he realised she was giving him a chance. It was what he wanted and more than he'd expected. But he loved her, so deeply. Now he had hope that she still loved him. He opened up a search, a smile ghosting his face as he found what he needed.
Back into my arms
How come every time I get the chance
I lose my cool and I blow it,
And I get all tongue tied,
Lost in your eyes,
The break wasn't as long this time and he was relieved. He'd loved this game when they'd played, they'd often done it across the mess, sending each other secret messages. They'd found a common interest in music, especially music from the twentieth century and it had become a challenge to outsmart each other. Now it was much more than that.
You're a fool and you know it
I have loved you all along
And I miss you
Been far away for far too long
I keep dreaming you'll be with me and you'll never go
He laughed at her slight change of words and he could see her grinning as she did it. His world was suddenly a lot brighter.
Stop breathing if I don't see you any more
I took for granted, all the times
That I thought would last somehow
I hear the laughter, I taste the tears
But I can't get near you now
Oh, can't you see it, baby
You've got me goin' crazy
Wherever you go, whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
I love you.
He needed her to know, he would be waiting, he had no choice. She was the only woman he wanted, would ever want. She had to know. He needed to know she felt the same way.
Whatever it takes or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you
I wonder how we can survive this romance
But in the end if I'm with you I'll take the chance
I love you
Kaidan gasped, his eyes filled with tears and they rolled down his cheeks. He didn't care. His wildest dreams were coming true and he had hope. It would have to be enough until he could hold her in his arms, kiss her lips, show her how much he loved her. His omnitool beeped and he looked at it in surprise.
J: Hey, Alenko,
K: What, no name calling?
J: Guess I can give you a break ;)
An imaged popped up on his screen. Shepard was sitting at her desk holding a picture of him, smiling with tears rolling down her cheeks, her fingers gently brushing the image of his face. His fingers immediately went to his face, as if he could feel her hand beneath his, the tenderness of her touch on his skin.
J: Just so you know, we're on a possible suicide mission and we might not make it back.
K: You have to make it back, I can't lose her again.
J: Maybe now she has something to make it back for so that gives us all a chance. Will keep you posted.
A series of files suddenly appeared on his screen and he realised they were the mission logs from the Normandy. Joker had sent them through, probably against Cerberus regs but Kaidan knew that wouldn't stop him. He would read them and pass on any relevant data to Anderson, someone he knew still believed in Shepard.
One file was separate 'Lazarus' and he frowned as he read the note:
You'll need at least one bottle of whisky and probably something to stop you throwing up if you watch these. This is how they brought Shepard back.
Kaidan shuddered. He wasn't ready for that, not yet, maybe not ever. He didn't need to see how she was brought back, it was enough that she was. It was also enough that he'd realised she was who she claimed to be, she had to be or his sanity would be in question.
He glanced at the image of Shepard that was still open before him and smiled. The thought of her not coming back caused a moment of dread, but he knew she would fight to get back and he would wait, as long as it took. He'd spent two years in hell waiting but there was no other choice for him. All he had to do was wait.
A/N: The ideas you get when listening to music for a while. This just popped up and I ran with it, it's a slightly different way to fix the fiasco that was Horizon. Hope you enjoyed it.
Songs referred to:
Trying not to Love you – Nickleback
Keep Talking – John Farnham
Should've Kissed You – Chris Brown.
Far Away – Nickleback
Right Here Waiting For You – Richard Marx