Across the Universe

Virmire

Waking up that morning, I quickly realized that I had become Sabrina's teddy bear during the night.

"Get… off!" I kicked her off of me, the commander using her biotics to bring me back into her arms for an onslaught of sloppy morning kisses. "Ug, Sabs! What time is it?"

"Past noon Earth time," she told me sheepishly. "I already went to see the Council and we're in the air. You were just so tired, so I told Joker that you needed more sleep."

I let out a groan.

Thanks to Sabs, I missed an opportunity to try and convince Moreau to let me fly the ship.

"Where are we headed?" I asked her, monotone. Sabrina laughed a bit, patting my head.

"Virmire. The Council told me that a Salarian recon team there might have information on Saren, the message they sent wasn't clear so they might be in danger."

"They're probably in danger," I predicted, rolling out of the bed so I could start to get ready.

"Yup, they probably are," the commander agreed. I tossed my sweatpants at Sabrina's face, tugging my uniform on. "Clean up after yourself!" Sabrina laughed, throwing my pants back at me.

"I got it, I got it," I grinned, folding my pants up and tucking them away. "Okay, I'm going to grab myself some coffee and some food, then head on up to the bridge."

"Have fun!"

I trudged towards the kitchen, getting myself and Moreau some coffee. For breakfast, I decided to just grab a granola bar from the food dispenser before heading up.

"Hey Moreau," I greeted as I entered the cockpit. The pilot jumped slightly, and then-

"OHHHH!"

He was watching porn.

Moreau scrambled to close the tabs on his screen while I stood there, frozen and with a dumb look on my face which was rapidly turning red.

"I brought you coffee, but it looks like you're already up," I managed to joke. We both averted our gazes to the walls, the control panels, anything but each other.

Moreau scratched his beard, hiding his eyes with his hat. "Sorry, uh… Well, that was supposed to go to my earpiece."

I really just did not know what to say, so I handed him his coffee and sat down in my seat. We sat in silence for a few minutes.

"If you're watching or listening to porn still, I'm going to report you to Sabrina," I announced. Joker sighed, pulling his hat over his eyes. "But I'm still going to tell Sabrina about this, because once I'm over all the awkward this is going to be a hilarious story to tell everyone.

"Please just forget this happened," He groaned, wanting to drop the subject.

I coughed. "You're a perv."

"You're a virgin," he shot back, tapping a few buttons on his control panel. He glanced over to see me sulking at his comment (and the fact that this was the most awkward situation ever). "Okay, okay, I'm sorry. No more porn on the job."

"I don't even want to know how often you did that with me sitting right next to you," I cried, covering my face with my hands. I needed brain bleach. "This is so awkward! Moreau, how could you? I'll never be able to look at you the same way again!"

Moreau chuckled, shaking his head. "You're fine. You were able to make a joke."

I sniffled, pouting over at him. "This is the worst day of my life. Talk to me about something else so I can't keep thinking about this."

Joker looked just a bit confused. "Wait, talk to you? About what?"

"Tell me about your family!" I shouted, waving my fists in the air. "Please! Do you own any property? Do you have any siblings? What's your dad's name?!"

"Why do you want to know about all that?" he questioned me, baffled. I glared at him.

"Filling my mind with hopefully good facts about you to drown out my new bad memories," I reasoned, giving him a pitiful look. The pilot scratched the back of his head and shrugged.

"Well, okay then… My mom's a civilian contractor on the Arcturus Station," he told me, keeping his attention on the ship's controls. "And before you ask, my parents aren't divorced or anything like that. My dad takes care of my sister on our farm. It's on Tiptree."

I looked up in thought, scanning my brain for any info I knew about the world. "That's a colony world, right?" He nodded, and I grinned. "Oh right! You have a sister, I think I remember her from graduation. She was, what, two years old at the time? Such a cutie."

Joker smiled at the thought. "Yeah, she was."

"Got any recent pictures of her to show me?" I inquired, wanting to know more.

He pulled up a holo from his omni tool, flicking the little hologram towards me so I could see it. "Dad sent this over a few months ago, it was my sister's birthday at the time."

I looked it over with a grin. His sister had a huge, toothy smile on her face, freckles dusting her cheeks as she posed for the camera. "She looks a lot like you, only a hell of a lot cuter," I teased. "Same eyes," I noted, flicking the holo back towards him. He closed it, rolling his eyes.

"Well, what about you? Got any pics of you and Sabrina as kids? Do you own a place somewhere?" he pressed. I nodded, pulling up a photo of me, Sabrina and Damian. It was of the three of us back when he'd first taken us in. Sabrina was grinning, an arm slung around my shoulders while Damian rested a hand on my head. I was looking at the camera, looking a little lost with a blank look on my face. I looked young, my hair shaggy and messy, with some dirt on my clothes and some scratches on my face and arms. Sabrina looked just as messy as me, her long black hair tied into a ponytail, her jeans with rips in the knees. Damian himself was clean, wearing his Alliance uniform, his eyes crinkling with a smile.

"He came back from work," I explained, looking at the picture. "Sabrina and I'd decided to plant a garden on the balcony like some of the other apartments had. We made quite a mess digging up the dirt. Damian didn't mind though, said it gave the place more character."

"What's with your expression though?" Moreau asked me. I grinned at him sheepishly.

"Well, we were still just fresh out of the gang at that time. I think only three days out, and I was still pretty out of it. But it didn't take me too long after that to kind of get used to everything," I told the pilot, fiddling with my hands before closing the picture. "The apartment's actually under our names, so we have a place to stay when we're in Vancouver at least. It's cool, and the garden actually ended up pretty nice on the balcony."

"Yeah, garden patios ended up being a pretty big trend in Vancouver," Joker nodded. "Okay, we're not too far from Virmire now. I hope Shepard's ready for this."

We flew through Virmire's atmosphere, and I noticed a few things blinking to life on my screen.

Looking over the scanners, I sent a few readings over to Joker's panel. "Hey Moreau, we're getting a signal." I stated, the pilot nodding and turning on his comm.

"Commander, we're reading a signal. Must be our Salarian infiltration team." Joker spoke, voice calm. He glanced at me. "Catching anything else CP?"

My eyes scanned the screen, and I sighed. "There are defense towers set up. We're going to have to drop Sabrina in the Mako or we'll get shot down," I told him, turning on my comm. "Hey Sabs, you down in the storage bay? We're going to need to do a drop.

"Just heading down in the time consuming lift," Sabrina responded, sighing.

I let out a small giggle. "Want to hear something funny that'll help the time pass faster?"

"Don't you dare," Joker growled. I sighed, but didn't reveal the fact that I walked in on him watching porn while on duty.

"Tell me something funny!" Sabrina ordered.

I looked up in thought. "Want a picture of Wrex holding a shopping bag?"

"Yes."

"Thanks," Moreau murmured, fingers gliding across his control panel. A few minutes later, Sabrina told us that she and her ground team (Liara and Wrex) were in the Mako, ready to be dropped.

The fools had let Sabrina take the driver's seat.

"You ready?" Joker asked me.

I sighed dramatically. "Do you think Liara and Wrex are ready to deal with Sabrina's driving?"

"Nope."

"Careful with the AA guns," I reminded the pilot, a serious look on my face. "Because if we get shot down, it's your fault."

"If we get shot down, you can be the pilot of the next Normandy," Moreau told me with a smile. I grinned back at him. I highly doubted the Council would build us another Normandy if we destroyed this one.

"We're ready to go when you are," Sabrina called over the comm.

Opening the storage bay doors, I counted down. "Dropping Mako in 3…2…1…" I quickly released the Mako from the ship, closing the doors as soon as the Mako was out.

"We've got a clean drop, Commander." Joker confirmed, Sabrina telling us to stay out of range and continue evasive maneuvers until she, Liara, and Wrex could bring the AA towers down. Joker rolled his eyes in annoyance at Sabrina's order. "We know the drill. Meet you at the camp once those towers are offline. Joker out."

"Someone's grumpy," I commented. "Is it because you didn't finish watching your porn?"

"Shut up CP."

We fell into a comfortable silence, hovering above the range of the AA towers until Sabrina called to let us know they were offline. With that done, Joker landed us in the camp where the salarian captain was waiting for us.

And from what I could see outside of the Normandy's window, there weren't as many salarians

"This doesn't look good…" I muttered, standing up and placing a hand on Joker's shoulder. "I'm going to go check it out, okay?"

"Yeah," the pilot nodded.

I headed down to the storage bay where Ashley, Kaidan, Tali, and Garrus stood; all of them looking at least a little bit concerned. "You guys heading out too?" I inquired. Nods and vocal confirmations went around, the five of us heading out down the ramp and walking towards the nearest salarian.

"What's going on?" Ashley asked him, the salarian stared at all of us as if we were complete idiots.

"Where's your Commanding officer?" He asked us sternly, and I stepped forward.

"She's taking a Mako here," I explained to him evenly. "Could you tell me what's going on here so I could report to her?"

The salarian scoffed. "I am Captain Kirrahe. Your ship landed in the middle of a hotzone. Every AA gun within ten miles has been alerted to your presence, so I wouldn't suggest flying right now," he told us bluntly. "Everything else, I'll report to your commander."

I paled slightly.

That definitely wasn't good.

"Thank you for the information," I bowed to the salarian slightly, nodding at the rest of the crew before dashing back to the ship. Joker turned to face me as I entered the cockpit, out of breathe.

"So what's going on CP?" he questioned me, curiosity pooling in his green eyes.

I shook my head. "We're grounded," I told the older man between heavy breaths. "Tell the commander?"

The pilot nodded, activating his earpiece. "Commander, Normandy's touched down at the base but it looks like we're grounded," Joker spoke over the comm. "The Salarian captain can explain when you get here."

I practically collapsed in my seat, Joker frowning over at me. "Man, this sucks."

"That bad huh?"

"I don't even know everything yet, but I'm guessing that it sucks," I groaned. "He wouldn't even tell us everything that was going on, meaning that shit's going to hit the fan."

"Man, I hate it when they try to leave me in the dark," Joker grumbled, adjusting his hat. "Look, I'm going to stay in here, but why don't you heard back down and wait for Shepard? That way you can find out what's happening pretty fast."

I nodded. "Yeah sure," I agreed, standing up and heading back out. I could see Sabrina ahead of me, approaching Captain Kirrahe. Jogging up to join the conversation, I froze at what I heard.

"-ns base of operations. It's crawling with Geth and very well fortified," the salarian told Sabrina, who nodded thoughtfully.

"What's he researching?" the commander inquired.

"He's using the facility to breed an army of Krogan."

Wrex turned to them when he heard that, storming over. "How is that possible?"

"Apparently Saren has discovered the cure for the Genophage."

Sabrina paled slightly. "The Geth are bad enough, but now he's going to have an army of Krogan? He'd be almost unstoppable."

Kirrahe nodded, "Exactly my thoughts. We must ensure that this facility and its secrets are destroyed."

Wrex bristled. "Destroyed? I don't think so. Our people are dying, this cure can save them," the Krogan stated darkly.

Kirrahe crossed his arms, turning his gaze to Sabrina. "If this cure leaves this planet, the Krogan will become unstoppable. We can't make the same mistake again."

I frowned. That wasn't exactly the smartest thing to say with a krogan right next to him. Wrex didn't think so either, stomping forward with barely concealed rage and getting in the salarian's face. "We are not a mistake."

I watched Wrex as he stormed off, Kirrahe watching him too. "Is he going to be a problem?" he asked us. "We already have enough angry Krogan to deal with. I glared at the salarian.

"You're a dumbass," I growled, turning and jogging to catch up with the Krogan, Sabrina apologizing for my behavior. "Wrex, hey Wrex! Wait up!" I called, jumping back when the Krogan pulled out his rifle and began shooting at the water.

"I might not be the best company for you right now, Kogan," he growled. "You should go back to the ship," he suggested, glancing over at me warily. I shook my head stubbornly, he scoffed. "Just as stubborn as a krogan. Just stay back so I don't shoot you by accident."

"You've just gotta trust Sabrina," I sighed, sitting down on the sand. "You know that if this was the wrong thing to do, she'd find another way. Sabrina wouldn't just doom your race, she cares about you. All of us do."

"It's not right, Kogan," Wrex told me firmly. "If there's a cure for the Genophage we can't destroy it."

Glancing over my shoulder, I could see Sabrina walking over. "Just listen to her Uncle Urndot," I requested softly. "I'm going to let the two of you talk." Walking away, I gave Sabrina a nod before walking over to Kaidan and Ashley.

"You and Skipper are the only two people I know who would willingly walk up to an angry Krogan to talk. You've got guts Kim," Ash complimented.

I waved her off. "Like Wrex would hurt me," I scoffed. "Like any of you would hurt me, even. Come on Ash, I'm way too cute. Like Moreau said, I'm the little sister he never wanted… so I'm the little sister none of you wanted."

"It's fitting," Kaidan agreed, ruffling my hair.

I looked up thoughtfully. "But I guess I'd be Ashley's big sister that she never wanted, since I'm two months older than her."

Ashley slung an arm around me, eyes smiling down at me fondly. "Sorry Kim, I have enough sisters. I'll be the girl next door."

I stuck out my tongue at her. "I will always be your unwanted big sister."

We all looked over at Sabrina and Wrex, the commander patting the krogan on the arm before walking towards Kirrahe. I scowled, crossing my arms when the others went to go see what was going on.

"I'm going to stay here, and wait till Kirrahe is gone."

Kaidan chuckled, shaking his head. "You don't like him, huh?"

I shrugged. "I think I would have liked him just fine if he didn't insult Uncle Wrex right in front of me. I get what his mission is, but Wrex is part of our crew."

"You're pretty loyal to our crazy little family, aren't you?" Ash commented as she and Kaidan walked off. I shrugged in silent agreement as I waited for them to finish talking to the salarians. Sabrina walked up to me once they were done, pulling me into a brief hug.

"Next time, try not to call our allies names. You were so good with Tali, Wrex, and Garrus. I don't get what's wrong with Liara and Kirrahe," she sighed. "But, you know what? Good job with Wrex, I think you managed to calm him down enough for a rational conversation."

I gave her a thumbs up. "What can I say? I inherited your charisma. Anyways, what's the plan?"

"We're dropping a nuke in the middle of Saren's base," Sabrina explained. "Kaidan's going to go with the Salarian team as support, while my team sneaks into the base to disable the guns so the Normandy can drop off the bomb."

Questioningly, I tilted my head to the side. "You're sending Kaidan as support? Why not Garrus? Or Ashley?"

"I figured they could use the biotics," Sabrina reasoned. "And he's just as good a soldier as Garrus or Ashley."

"I can't argue with that reasoning," I jumped up and gave Sabrina a quick peck on the cheek. "I'm going to go back to the ship. Who are you bringing with you?"

"Ashley and Wrex," she told me with a grin. I peeked behind her to see Wrex and Ashley not too far away.

"You two better keep Sabrina safe, and stay safe yourselves! I'll see you guys at the bomb site!" I shouted to them. Wrex nodded, determination written all over his face and Ashley gave me a thumbs up. I then ran up to Kaidan and gave him a hug. "Stay safe Alenko."

"You too, Kim," the leauitenent replied, a gentle smile gracing his lips. "You know, if I did have a little sister… I'd want it to be you," he admitted, a glimmer of this… thing, in his eyes. Like something was ending.

"You're such a flatterer," I beamed up at him. With that, I returned to the Normandy's cockpit, taking my seat next to the pilot. I could see from the windows that Tali, Garrus, and Liara were heading back to the ship. Some other crewmen were loading the bomb in our storage bay.

"So, I hear we're dropping a nuke on top of Saren," Moreau commented. I smiled softly.

"Yeah," I confirmed. "You ready for this, Moreau?"

The pilot turned to me with a smile. "You know I am. What, are you scared?"

I scoffed. He was speaking blasphemy. "Me? Scared? Yeah right Moreau. There's no way we'll mess up. We're the best at what we do," I announced confidently.

Turning serious, Joker shook his head. "No, I mean…" he faltered. "…I know. And I just wanted to tell you that, well, there's no one else I'd rather fly with."

I looked away from his emerald green eyes, smile forming on my face "…Thanks Moreau."

"Yeah," Moreau mumbled, returning his attention to the control panel.

"But what's with everyone making this seem like the end huh?" I exclaimed. "I mean, Kaidan had this look earlier…"

Moreau shrugged. "I guess this kind of feels like this is it, you know? We're destroying Saren's base. Doesn't help that there's so many risks involved in this plan the salarians have."

"I trust Sabrina, things are going to be fine," I insisted, smiling over at him. "But since you seem so worried about it, do you want me to declare how much I love working with you?"

"Nope," Moreau grumbled, glaring at his console. "I'm good."

"Aw, don't be like that," I whined. "I'm sorry for not taking you seriously, okay? Listen," I looked down at my hands, fiddling with my shirt. "Well, I like being your co-pilot, okay? We… we're a team now. I can't imagine working with anyone else," I admitted shyly. Joker smirked.

"And Ashley thinks that I like you," he joked. I grinned, giving him a playful look.

"You do like me," I teased. "But it's like, you like me a lot, and I simply tolerate you."

"You're such a weirdo."

Not too long after that, we got to work. I kept my eyes on the scanners while Joker prepared to get us off the ground. The crew was back on the ship, Tali and Garrus doing minor repairs to the Mako down in the storage bay in case we needed it. Absolutely no one was relaxing on the Normandy, and I began to feel a bit tense.

And maybe just a tiny bit scared.

About an hour passed, and I noticed Saren's ship beginning to move. "Moreau, um… there's a ship moving. Fast," I pointed out, tapping a few buttons on my console and sending the readings to the pilot.

Joker growled. "Shit. That's Sovereign," he cussed, turning on his comm. "Commander? We've got trouble."

"Joker? What's wrong?" Sabrina replied, sounding worried.

"That ship, Sovereign? It's moving. I don't know what you did down there but that thing just pulled a turn that would shear any of our ships in half," Joker explained.

My eyes widened and I turned on my mic. "Sabrina it's coming your way and fast. Finish up in there, ASAP!" I snapped, my fingers dancing along the aero gel to help get everything ready for takeoff.

"Once the towers are down get to the breeding facility and pick us up there," Sabrina ordered us. Not too long after that, I could see the towers on my scanners go out.

"All right! Nice work. That's one less thing to worry about." Joker cheered, probably to Kaidan. The two of them were relatively close. "Commander, we're bringing the Normandy in. We'll get as close to the site as we can."

"Let's go!" I grinned, Joker and me bringing the Normandy off the ground and maneuvering us towards the drop zone. Things for us were uneventful, and I eagerly volunteered to help set up the bomb with Ashley. Joker seemed a bit wary about letting me leave the ship again, but Sabrina said it was fine so I went to help. Just to be safe though, I threw on a set of light armor from the armory and grabbed myself a pistol.

"Looking like a soldier Kim," Ashley stated, the two of us carrying the nuke out together and into position.

That's when things went to hell.

"Bomb is in position." Ashley confirmed, the two of us high-fiving. "We're all set here-"

"Commander do you read me?!" Kaidan called over the comm, cutting Ashley off.

"The nuke is almost ready Kaidan, get to the rendezvous point," Sabrina responded with a smile.

"Negative, Commander. The geth have us pinned down on the AA tower. We've taken heavy casualties. We'll never get to the rendezvous point in time," the biotic male replied.

Sabrina's smile began to fall, eyes widening slightly. "Hold tight, we're coming to get you," she told him decisively, waving Garrus and Wrex over. She turned on her comm. "Joker, take the Normandy and get them out of there now!"

"Negative, make sure that nuke is set. We'll hold them as long as we can-"

Kaidan's comm went dead.

Ashley placed a hand on Sabrina's shoulder. "It's okay Commander, I'm going to need a few more minutes to arm the nuke. Go get them and meet me back here."

Sabrina nodded, turning to me. "You stay here with Ash, where it's safe," she ordered, turning to look at her team. "Up to the AA tower, let's move."

I stood by Ash, helping her arm the nuke. She looked up, frowning for a moment before smiling at me. "Kim, go follow Sabrina. I'll be right behind you."

Looking up, I saw the Geth troop ship. I glanced back at Ash. "You'll be right behind me?"

She nodded firmly. "If you stay here where it's not safe, Sabrina's going to kill me herself," the soldier joked. "I'm going to finish arming the nuke, and then I'll be right behind you, promise."

"Got it," I replied with a grin and a nod, jogging in the direction Sabrina went and through the heavy doors that led to the area Kaidan and the salarian team were trapped. I quickly caught up to Sabrina, who opened her mouth to scold me, but then-

"Chief, we just spotted a troop ship headed to your location" Kaidan warned over the comm, and I felt my heart begin to sink.

"It's already here and it's bleeding geth all over the bomb site. Shepard, is Kim with you?"

"She's here," Sabrina confirmed. "Can you hold them off?"

"Negative! It's too late for us. There's just too many of them! I don't think we could hold them," Ash answered, almost robotically. "I'm activating the nuke."

"Ash, what the hell are you doing?!" Sabrina snapped.

I could hear Ash sigh through my earpiece, almost defeated. "I'm making sure this bomb goes off. No matter what."

"Ash, don't," I begged, my throat drying up.

"It's done, Commander. Go get the lieutenant and get the hell out of here," the soldier ordered, I felt my heart tighten.

"Belay that. We can handle ourselves. Go back and get Williams!" Kaidan shouted.

I grabbed Sabrina's arm. "Sabs, I'll go back and get Ashley. We can save both of them!" I told her frantically. "We can't just leave one of them behind, we can't-"

Sabrina cut me off, eyes filled with grief. "Alenko… Radio Joker… Tell him to meet us at the AA tower."

"What?" I felt numb. Garrus watched me with pitiful eyes, placing a hand on my shoulder and shaking his head.

Kaidan sounded almost broken over the comm. "Yes Commander, I…"

They were her soldiers. They would listen to her decision.

"You know it's the right choice, L.T," Ash stated approvingly, and I could imagine the small, sad smile that was on her face as she spoke.

I could imagine the Geth walking forward, lifeless and robotic, attacking her and the other crewmembers that had stayed with the bomb.

Why weren't we going to even try to save both of them?

"I'm sorry Ash," Sabrina apologized, giving me a look just… begging me not to try and do something because this was her choice.

There wasn't a right choice here. There wasn't.

"I understand Commander…I don't regret a thing," Ash admitted.

I felt empty, lost, shattered. Garrus led me along as I just watched Sabrina's back, completely numb to anything and everything that was going on around me.

Ashley promised that she'd be right behind me.

"Let it be, Kim," Ash spoke, voice soft. Calm. "Let it be."

I wanted to scream.

I only snapped out of it when we'd reached Kaidan and Kirrahe and the other salarians. There were Geth, their flashlight heads flashing brightly. I raised my pistol, shooting at them with a rage that I just… hadn't felt before. They were killing Ashley, they crippled me for a week, they…

No.

Was it… my fault?

No, I couldn't think about that right now. I had to focus, for Sabrina. I couldn't just stay in my head and worry about Ashley, I could grieve later. Wrex stood near me, hitting all the ones that I was aiming at because honestly?

I was out of practice. My shots were not deadly, unlike Garrus who I could see sniping the heads off the machines I could only barely hit their arms and legs. Once the last one fell, I felt a small grin grow on my lips.

And then out of the blue, I'd been thrown back by a blast of biotics.

"Kim!" Sabrina screamed. I lay on the concrete, dazed. Wrex and Garrus had been thrown back too, Kaidan lying face down near me. Quickly, the aliens scrambled to their feet and got behind cover, and I crawled towards Kaidan. Looking up, I saw a pale Turian jump down from a hovering platform, Sabrina shooting at him before hiding behind cover.

"This has been an impressive diversion, Shepard," he complimented. "My geth were utterly convinced the salarians were the real threat."

"Thank you so much," Sabrina shouted back sarcastically.

"Of course, it was all for nothing. I can't let you disrupt what I have accomplished here," the monster sighed. "You can't possibly understand what's really at stake."

Okay, villain was talking to Sabrina. Good, his attention wasn't on me. I finished crawling to Kaidan, rolling him over and checking his pulse. He was just unconscious, damn it, what could I do? Cautiously, I rolled the older man onto his side, supporting his neck and throwing off his helmet. I could see some blood soaking through the fabric material of his armor.

God, what could I do?

"Medi-gel to stop the bleeding, just in case it's serious," I muttered to myself, administering the gel with my omni-tool. "Keep him on his side just in case he throws up. Can't move him alone, can't leave him alone…"

I was not going to let him die.

Sabrina began firing at Saren frantically, throwing biotics and quickly making her way towards me, our allies covering her. "Kim, are you okay? Is Kaidan okay?"

"He's unconscious," I answered quickly. "I can't move him alone! And we can't very well move him with Saren shooting at us!"

Sabrina shot at the turian a few more times, before he threw a small grenade towards us. Instinctively I moved my body to shield Kaidan, Sabrina getting thrown back by the blast. Saren stepped off his flying platform and grabbing Sabrina by the neck and dragging her towards the ledge. Garrus was tossed back by Saren's biotics, Wrex helping the salarians kill some more Geth that had arrived. I stood up, pistol in hand, and screamed.

"Let go of her Sarendipity-Doo!"

I fired three shots, Sabrina taking his moment of distraction to land a punch to the asshole in the face. She just barely landed on the ledge, dragging herself to safety and running towards me while Saren escaped. Garrus and Wrex came forward to help us move Alenko while the Normandy flew in to pick us up. All of us scrambled up the ramp and into the storage bay, Tali grabbing my hand and pulling me into a hug as the doors closed.

A few moments before the nuke went off, my omni-tool flared to life. I watched as videos, pictures, and data were uploaded to it.

From Ash.

Some things were labelled for her family. Others for members of the crew. Armor and weapons now packed away and back in my fatigues, I sent them all to who they were addressed to, deleting them from mine as soon as it was done because… they weren't meant for me.

There were pictures and videos from karaoke that she took. Even a couple pics from when we made food together. One of me sleeping, with drool on my face.

I should have guessed that she wouldn't have deleted it, even if Sabrina asked.

Curling up on the floor of Sabrina's bedroom, I opened the one that was for me. Sabrina and the others were in the conference room. It had been made just yesterday, right after we'd come back from Karaoke.

"Hey Kim, I know it's kind of stupid for me to make something like this… but hey, you never know what's going to happen right?" she smiled on the screen, looking a bit tired and sad. "I just wanted to let you know… I really care about you, you know? It took me a while to realize how much, but I'm so glad to have you in my life," she laughed weakly. "You know, it's pretty easy to see who you care about Kim. But I guess there's still your crush on Tali to consider. Anyways, just… Thanks for everything Kim."

Ashley let out a groan, placing a hand on her forehead. "Yeah, you know what? This is really stupid and I'm still a little bit drunk from those shots with Sabrina. It's not like you're ever going to see this anyways… Whatever, I'll delete this tomorrow," she grumbled, more to herself than for the recording.

I stumbled out of the room, tears pooling in my eyes, and headed straight to the bridge. Moreau sat in his seat, holding his head in his hands. I let out a loud sniffle from behind him, causing him to jump up and turn his seat and stare at me, eyes sad.

"You okay CP?" He asked me, voice gentle and worried. A tear fell from my eye, causing Moreau's eyes to widen. "No, no, please don't cry," he groaned, throwing his head back. The tears just wouldn't stop falling now, and I quickly went to wipe my eyes with my hands.

"Sorry, I'm sorry," I apologized in between sobs.

Moreau's face had guilt written all over it. "Shit, no CP… I'm sorry, okay? Come here," he sighed, opening his arms. "You need a hug."

"Won't I break your legs?" I cried, still wiping at my eyes frantically. Why wouldn't the tears stop?

The pilot scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Come on Kim, I'm not made of glass. And you're tiny, I bet even I'd be able to lift you with one arm."

Not needing more to convince me, I carefully joined Moreau on his seat, the pilot wrapping an arm around me while I rested my head against his chest. He rubbed my back, taking his hat off and placing it on my head. "Am I too heavy?" I mumbled through his shirt. I could feel him chuckle.

"Nah, you're light," he assured.

"This is weird," I cried, clutching his shirt in my fist. "Why're you being so nice? This is too nice," I stated, tears still falling from my eyes and sinking into his shirt.

Moreau shrugged, averting his gaze. "Ash told me to take care of you," he explained softly. "Plus, we're a team and you're in pain. What kind of friend would I be if I just let you suffer alone?"

"How come my name doesn't taste like poison on your tongue?" I sniffled. The pilot let out a short laugh, smiling now.

"Because I'm not a weirdo," Moreau explained.

"Fine. I'm calling you Jeff now. Even if your name tastes like death."

"Whatever you want CP."

We stayed like that for a bit longer, the two of us making little jokes and Jeff just… comforting me until I ran out of tears. But just sitting in his arms… well, it felt awkward as fuck, so I soon left him in favor of my own seat.

"You made a good chair," I joked weakly, still sad. "Just not good enough."

Jeff rolled his eyes. "Believe me, being a chair was not my preferred career choice."

After that, we fell into a depressing silence; a dark cloud appearing over us.

Ashley was dead.


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