The snow was coming, he could smell it. The thick blanket of it that was already present crushed under his boots – standard issue, as ever. It was the only thing he could not part with. He still felt her hands over his, pulling them off in a heated rush. As the cold air ran over him and all sound cut from his ears, he was there again. Piles of blankets, sheets and clothes around them, silence and nothing in the viewport overhead. He cherished that quiet and the kind surrounding him now, reflected so perfectly in the sleet that muffled the quaint city traffic that did no justice to what he sees when he closes his eyes.
He sighed, stopping at the flashing red crosswalk. Home was too active, too full of his mother and her little merry band of refugees. After the war she took in all she could, surrounding herself with children and other lost wives, waiting and desperate. The orchard he had spent so many years in, the one he had wanted to show Iveline so badly just wasn't the same. He looked around the once-sleepy tourist suburb of Vancouver and tightened his hands wishing he had the thought for a pair of gloves.
The light changed and he wondered where he would go next. Funny, in the military – which seemed ages ago, a lifetime – time passed slowly. Each day, that inborn fear of death invaded your psyche and he understood the value of each breath. Six months though … He ran a frozen hand through his hair and headed toward the diner. Maybe he wouldn't see anyone he knew, maybe he would be left to sit and dwell in the silence he missed so resolutely.
"You know, Iveline –" her long, slender fingers would come up to his lips, begging another sort of moment, a bubble made of her mischievous brown eyes.
"Shut up, Kaidan." Hair gray and chestnut under blonde – endless curls that he found in his clothes. Her lips that had found his just so, drawing him back into that precious silence that has been fading each day since he heard her die a second time. And always, always – just her, just him and he never should have tried to say a word.
In his dreams, she's pulled away from under those soft white sheets of hers and the bombs come, and her feet beat towards the beam. He's screaming after her but she won't let him come. And she kisses him again, but there's no after of what those whiskey-hued eyes had promised less than twenty four hours before. There is no smile waiting for him, no gold or glory in the taste of her gun oil soaked skin.
"Major Alenko," the voice pulled him much too fast from his reverie and spots clouded his vision. These were the kind that followed him now, white dots that speckled his sights, with every muscle tensing, each breath harder and harder, mouth so dry – but it's her deep water blues and long, tied hair that settles the churn in his gut.
Miranda Lawson – the woman responsible for bringing Iveline Shepard back to life was here, in Vancouver. He hadn't realized it was her aft first, faces of people running together as they do, but he remembered her. His mind slipped backward again, to Ivi with this woman at her back, stoic and sculpted face looking him over and sneering, judging him with the hand of her own making. He had read her file, knew every word of it. She was brilliant and cold, or so he had first thought. When they met a second time, the circumstances had not allowed for pleasant conversation. She had been wounded and Shepard had just lead an assault on the so-called 'Sanctuary'. He was surprised she remembered him at all.
"You're welcome to join me, if you aren't busy." It was statement, not fact, something he had recognized before he ever heard her speak.
She started walking before he realized he was staring.
"Sure, yeah –" He rubbed his hands before he could pull the handle of the door, and wondered, why she was here. She seemed so different, the subtle circles under her eyes were testament to that and he wondered if he too bore the same look. It was her, Iveline, both shared that crease and shadow where she used to be.
Whatever moment before that had throttled him back to Ivi's bed and London all in the same instance was gone in her smokey accent and cold chill that manifested in the air around it - pulled him back to the present.
"You can call me Kaidan, Ms. Lawson." He said with a smile, brushing his feet against the mat by the pocked metal door. He was no longer Major Alenko. Retirement was still a strange thing, still a hard truth to accept after all he had been through. A little bell rang as they entered, breaking apart any remnant of that damned silence he loathed and loved – and lost, his mind provided.