Across the Universe

What She Could Do

Sabrina had been spending a few days doing some things for her teammates. Sadly I didn't get to help out as much. Recently I'd been seeing Karen every few hours to exercise my legs, make them stronger.

Sadly, being a pilot didn't really make me the most active person on the Normandy.

I jogged lightly on the treadmill, Karen taking notes beside me. I felt a dull pain in my legs, mostly from the exercise than from the injury. Medi-gel really did do wonders, it'd been six days since I'd been shot and I'd been feeling a lot better.

Especially after me, Moreau, and Ash went for pizza. That was a fun day; helped heal my soul.

Karen passed me a water bottle as the treadmill slowed, and I carefully got off of it. "Thanks," I smiled, unscrewing the lid and taking a swig of water. "So Doc, am I almost fully healed?"

"You're recovering very well," Karen told me with a nod. "Your legs are nearly back to normal, the scars should fade quickly with a couple more doses of medi-gel," The doctor noted. "However, Shepard suggested you have a few therapy sessions."

I scoffed. "Therapy? Really?"

"You ran over a dead body with your wheelchair," Chakwas chuckled. "Besides that, you almost died a week ago and recently you've had a tendency to zone out. Shepard believes it's because of trauma, so, we're going to have a few therapy sessions."

"I'm fine," I reassured. Chakwas crossed her arms. "Really, I mean, trauma? I'm perfectly normal. Besides! Sabrina gets shot all the time and you don't give her therapy sessions."

"Shepard's orders," Chakwas concluded, turning away. "I expect you here in three hours. Return to your station, Officer Kogan."

I groaned but complied, exiting the med bay and gloomily walking up the stairs that led to the CIC. Sabrina forced me into therapy.

I was not happy.

Heading into the cockpit, I made sure the sound of my boots stomping against the metal flooring was extra loud so Joker knew I was back.

"I'm guessing you didn't have fun with Chakwas today," Moreau guessed, turning his head to look at me as I plonked myself down in my seat. "What happened?"

"Sabrina suggested to Chakwas that I needed therapy sessions," I answered grumpily. Turning on my screen, I brushed my fingers over the aero-gel controls to see where we were heading. "Why are we going to the Herschel system?" I questioned the pilot curiously. It seemed kind of random, I mean, we still hadn't gone to Feros like the Council suggested. This last week kind of felt like Sabrina was purposely putting off our mission in favor of helping a ton of other people out. Yesterday we'd flown to the planet Tuntau in the Argos Rho cluster to reclaim Wrex's family armor, and the day before that Sabrina had gotten us to go to the Armstrong Nebula so she could destroy some geth outposts for Admiral Hackett.

Well, I supposed she'd also helped Tali by destroying the geth outposts, and I also couldn't complain about the destroying of geth. Sabrina found some data, and Tali told me that she was going to use it to complete her pilgrimage once all of this was over. It had been a productive week, at least team bonding wise. The only one that didn't really interact with the rest of us was Liara.

"Today's help Vakarian day," Joker told me bluntly. "He seems angrier than usual. If you ask me, that guy needs therapy. You're fine."

"Thank you!" I exclaimed. "Well, sucks for Garrus but still. I don't get why I was the only one on this team that's supposed to go through therapy."

Joker smirked. "Plus, that guy you ran over with your wheelchair last week? Asshole deserved it. I'm just disappointed that you waited until after he was dead."

I grinned. "Too bad I didn't shoot him. Oh, you know what I wish we'd gotten to see? Ash tearing his hand off!"

"That would have been fun," Joker chuckled, then turned serious. "But CP, if this therapy thing doesn't work out… not that you need to talk to someone," he fixed his hat and looked away with a glare. "But if you want to, I'm here."

A blush dusted my cheeks at his offer, and I grinned sheepishly. "Well, thanks for the offer Jeff, but I'm fine." I felt a sharp pain through my chest when I realized that I might have been lying. Joker jumped a bit, surprised.

"CP, little bit informal there," he scolded.

I thought back and clapped my hands against my mouth. "Oh my god I'm so sorry Moreau! It just slipped out, I swear. Your name tastes like poison on my tongue!" I stammered. "Okay, you know what? I've been pretty distracted lately. Maybe this therapy thing is a good idea!" I decided with a nod. Joker rolled his eyes.

"You need therapy because you called me by my first name?" he questioned me with amusement. I nodded frantically. "Don't worry about it, it was a mistake. Would you feel better if I called you Kim once to make it even?"

"No Moreau!" I shook my head. "This is the only way I'll be able to accept the fact that Sabrina's making me go to therapy, do me a favor and don't make it even!"

"You're such a weirdo."

Our conversation died, and inwardly I scolded myself. I really was zoning out a lot lately, slipping up. No wonder Sabrina mentioned it to Karen.

…I guess the zoning out did start (or at least get worse) after I'd been shot. And seeing Finch again just made things worse. Most of the time I tried so hard to forget about my time in the gang, but seeing Finch again brought a lot of painful memories back. Earlier in the week I'd been so out of it that I'd almost taken some of the dextro chilli.

Luckily Garrus was there and snatched it away from me, and I was able to play it off as me being curious.

Letting out a sigh, I placed a fist against my forehead as I thought. Maybe Sabrina was right. Maybe talking to Karen would help. I wasn't about to blurt everything out to Moreau, even if he was being nice about it… Maybe I'd talk to Ash about it. She'd been shot a lot in the past, and she also had a traumatic experience with Geth. Heck, I could even talk to Tali about it.

Returning my hands to the aero-gel controls, I smiled to myself and shook my head. I found it pretty funny how quickly I went from unwilling to willing patient.

Then I got sick of the silence and spoke up. "So, how long till we get to the coordinates?" I questioned the pilot.

"Can't you check it yourself?"

"I could," I shrugged. "But I wanted to make your life difficult."

Joker smirked and shook his head. "We'll be there in about fifteen minutes."

"Cool. So, what's Sabrina doing for Garrus?" I inquired. For the last week I'd barely been in the cockpit. The only reason I'd heard about all of Sabrina's side missions was because Tali and Ash kept me updated on things.

Joker sighed, adjusting his hat and turning his head to look at me. "Well, Shepard didn't tell me everything, but apparently there's this salarian… Dr. Saleon or something, and he did some messed up shit on the Citadel a while ago. Garrus has been tracking him ever since."

I pondered that for a moment. "So… Garrus basically had a nemesis and he never let it go?"

"Well, that's what I understood," Moreau shrugged. "Figures Vakarian would hold a grudge if this guy escaped. The guy's always searching for his own form of justice. He's like a Turian Batman, except he actually kills people. Oh, and he doesn't wear a cape."

With that image in my mind, I let out a giggle. "I have got to tell Sabrina that. And we still haven't figured out what kind of fruit Garrus is."

"Kiwano," Joker answered bluntly. "You'll see."

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, no. He's not that angry."

The sound of heavy, armored footsteps clanged behind us. I turned to see Sabrina, Garrus, and Wrex were standing by the decontamination chamber, waiting for us to dock. I gave Moreau puppy dog eyes, the pilot shooing me away in response.

"Go talk to Shep," he sighed. I beamed at him before jumping out of my chair and practically skipping over to the ground team.

"Sabrina! What are you guys doing?" I asked her, the commander placing an armored hand on my head and grinning.

"Taking care of one of Garrus's old friends," she explained. "Well, an old enemy. Not really much of a friend."

Garrus crossed his arms, and for once I was able to see what Joker had been telling me. He had this sort of… glint in his eye, like simmering anger, but controlled. "Saleon is a monster, we're going to get him."

I'd hate to see Garrus if he lost control.

I hugged Sabrina's arm and grinned up at her childishly. "So, earlier in the week Ash, Moreau and I were comparing everyone to fruit, and I thought I'd ask you for your opinion on the matter."

Sabrina raised an eyebrow. "Okay… what fruit did you compare me to?"

I scoffed. "You're obviously a dragonfruit."

The commander nodded in approval. "Good, you didn't give me a lame fruit. So, what'd you need?"

Eyes wandering to Garrus for a moment, I returned my gaze to Sabrina and stood on my toes to whisper in her ear. "Is Garrus a lychee or a kiwano?" I pulled away to see Sabrina giving me a look of disbelief. "What?" I pouted.

"Kimmy, he is obviously a pomegranate," Sabrina stated loudly before whispering in my ear to explain. "He's tough on the outside, but inside it's a bunch of tasty seeds. A fight to get through, but so worth it. He's a sweetie." She stepped away from me and placed her hands on her hips. "Well, now that I know what I am, and what Garrus is, I demand that you tell me what everyone else is!"

I beamed up at her and began listing everyone off. "Tali's a plum, Wrex is a grapefruit-"

"What's a grapefruit?" Wrex asked us, crossing his arms.

"Just as awesome as you," I answered quickly before continuing. "Joker's an unripened orange, I'm a strawberry, Ash is a tomato, and Kaidan is a peach."

"What about Liara?" Sabrina inquired. I got a bit pouty, crossing my arms and rolling my eyes.

"I don't know. She's a blueberry or something," I grumbled. Sabrina sighed and placed a hand on my head.

"Don't be like that Keys, she just lost her mother. Try to relate to her okay? I know you don't like her but…"

I raised my hands in defeat. "Yeah, okay, I get it!" I snapped, being immature. "Even though I never see her anyways, I'll be nicer."

"She'll never be able to look into Liara's eyes either," Wrex coughed. Garrus snickered.

"Shut up, I'm not that short," I grumbled.

Liara was lucky that she'd gotten so many years with her mother. I didn't even remember one year with mine. I didn't know her face, or what she did. I had absolutely nothing to remind me or tell me about my mother. At least Liara had like, a hundred or so years with hers.

So how was I supposed to relate to her in that way at all? The only family I had left was Sabrina, and she wasn't even related to me by blood…

But I'd be crushed if I lost her. If I lost Sabrina, I was certain that a part of me would die with her. She was the only family I had left, and if she died…

I wouldn't have anyone.

My shoulders sagged. If that was how Liara felt currently, then I couldn't keep up my childish attitude towards her. It would be cruel. "…I'll be nicer to her," I repeated. This time, I was being genuine about it.

Sabrina smiled down at me, removing her hand and giving me a quick kiss on the cheek. "That's my girl. I knew you'd see the light."

"But if she admits her undying love for you or anything like that, all bets are off," I stated bluntly. Sabrina looked confused at my comment, and I sighed. "She has a huge crush on you," I explained. "I'm surprised that you didn't notice."

Wrex let out a low chuckle. "All of us could see it Shepard."

Garrus shook his head. "Really Shepard?"

The commander stared at the three of us dumbly. "What have I done that would have made her start crushing on me? I've just been myself."

"That, Sabs, was your downfall," I replied with a sigh. "You're so nice, and interesting, and super cool. So Liara started crushing on you, and then your kindness just made the crush worse."

"But I'm with Kaidan," Sabrina told us, shaking her head and correcting herself. "I-I mean, I'm interested in Kaidan," she stuttered.

"I approve," I told her with a nod. "Come on Sabs, there's no reason he wouldn't like you back. You're amazing and there isn't a man in this universe that wouldn't be interested. Right guys?" I turned to the male aliens with my hands on my hips. Wrex grinned at me while Garrus focused his gaze on the ground awkwardly, letting out a cough.

Sabrina hugged me from behind, pinching my cheek. "Isn't this one a charmer? Obviously Kimmy here's the one that everyone'd love!"

I shoved her off when she began trying to plant sloppy kisses on my face. "Ew Sabs! Gross, back off," I laughed, the commander laughing along with me.

"Hey Commander? We're about to dock on the Fedele," Joker called from the cockpit. "And CP, Chakwas is wondering if you want to come down for your therapy session now since she's pretty much done her work."

"Oh good, you're not fighting against it," Sabrina noted, sounding relieved. I shot her a glare and she shrugged innocently. "You need it, Keys."

"Yeah, I know," I grumbled. Poking my head into the cockpit, I called out to Joker. "Tell Karen I'll be down in a few minutes!"

He gave me a thumbs up. "On it."

"Thank you," I sang. Before I headed down, I stopped to give Sabrina a hug. "Have fun taking down Dr. Saleon! And do me a favor and don't get hurt."

Sabrina bowed mockingly. "I will try my very hardest."

"As in, she'll come back with destroyed armor," Garrus chuckled. Wrex let out a loud laugh in response. Sabrina glared at him and punched him lightly on the arm.

"Very funny Vakarian," the commander grinned, slinging an arm over his shoulder and pulling him down slightly. "But watch your mouth! I'm still your commanding officer."

Leaving the three of them by the decontamination chamber, I began my trek to the med-bay. I was happy that I no longer needed help getting up and down the stairs. As fun as being carried by Kaidan or Ashley could be at times I did not like how long it took.

Karen smiled at me as I entered her office, the metal doors hissing open. "Welcome back Kim, how are you feeling?"

I shrugged. "Not too different from how I was feeling when I saw you before."

The doctor nodded and gestured to a nearby seat. I sat down in it, spinning around in it while Karen wrote a few things down on her clipboard. "So Kim, I'm just going to ask you a few questions to start up a conversation."

I leaned back in my chair. "Sure, ask away."

"So, how was shopping on Noveria?" Karen started with a smile. "Kaidan mentioned that you brought him and Wrex."

I sat up with excitement. "Oh yeah it was so much fun! And having Wrex with us ended up intimidating the shopkeeper so we got a discount!"

Karen laughed a bit. "It sounds wonderful. Then what?"

My boots shuffled against the floor and I looked up at the ceiling. "We went to the garage. And then I shot a geth full of bullets."

"Ah," Karen nodded, steering the conversation in another direction. "How was the Citadel?"

I grinned cheerily. "Well, me, Joker, and Ash went to a pizza place, and our server was pretty attractive. He even gave me his contact info… but I haven't messaged him," I shrugged sheepishly. "Then we went to meet Sabrina and the others at Choras Den…" my words drifted off and I went silent.

Beatings, darkness, fists slamming against the door. "Let me out Finch! Let me out!"

I winced. Finch brought back bad memories.

Karen wrote down a few notes on her clipboard, nodding and giving me a gentle smile. "We'll come back to that later. So Kim, why'd you want to become a pilot?"

I shrank in my seat slightly, looking to the side. "Because the offer to become a pilot was a lot better than being part of a gang for the rest of my life."

Karen leaned forward, a glint of curiosity in her teal eyes. "What if you were given the choice to be anything you wanted, what would you be?"

Closing my eyes, I lowered my head and began to think. I loved being a pilot. Flying was like a dream come true. I was off of Earth and even just being out of the Sol System made me feel like I was across the universe. Even on the ship there was so many things I liked to do other than flying… I liked cooking with the others and hanging out, checking on things in the cockpit with Joker, even helping Karen out in the med bay. But… I hadn't really been given many choices when I was younger. Damian and Sabrina pushed me towards flight school, the gang pushed me towards stealing, hacking, and sneaking around which led to me getting some infiltrator training with the Alliance. It was just that…

Well, all of it was fun. I enjoyed all of it, even the stealing admittedly. It wasn't like I disliked what I did… I disliked why I did some things, but never actually doing them. If I was given the choice though, I knew I'd still want to join the Alliance. No matter what, I'd want to be near Sabrina…

But was that limiting my options? Maybe I could have been a chef, or a shopkeeper, or I could have gone to school and become a doctor.

I took a deep breathe, opening my eyes and gazing at Karen sadly.

"I don't know," I told her honestly.

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