I Thought I Lost You
Shepard turned away from the console and moved to the back of the shuttle. Liara's eyes remained glued to the vid screen filled with horror. Hot tears of utter disbelief and fascination ran down her freckled blue cheeks. Her full lipped mouth parted in a silent protesting 'O'. She didn't notice Shepard walk away. Disgusted with her grievous error.
It was too much like running away from Virmire and Earth again. Failure was not an option. She couldn't fail; she couldn't lose again to a two bit assassin like Kai Leng. But she had. Fury bubbled out of her.
Clenching her hand into a tight controlled fist, she punched the back wall of the shuttle before spinning around to plant herself on the bench. Crossing her arms, she leaned her head back against the wall and closed her eyes. She had gotten cocky and more than a little full of herself, Kai Leng had bested her because she hadn't been prepared-- hadn't thought of the possibilities. Never again.
"You alright?" Kaidan asked. His voice soothing and calm. It bothered her that he could be so collected at a time like this. Thessia was being destroyed. They had lost the data to Cerberus.
"No, I'm not alright, Kaidan." She snapped. She heard the click of his armored boots as he came to sit beside her. "I figured not." He replied leaning back against the wall next to her.
His shoulder scraped against hers. She couldn't feel the contact through their respective armors, but a part of her brain figured he was sitting so close deliberately. "Shepard, I don't have any words that will make you feel better."
She opened her eyes. The gray ceiling of the shuttle greeted her. "I'm not looking for words, Kaidan. I don't need a pep talk. I failed, plain and simple."
"Oh, then you don't need me to tell you…you did everything possible for Thessia. That somehow this will all work out, and if I see that Kai Leng bastard again I will happily kick his indoctrinated ass from here to dark space." Kaidan's voice deepened on his last statement. Shepard lifted her head and looked directly at him. His lips were twisted into a scowl and his light brown eyes were unyielding as they focused on her. "I mean it, Shepard." He growled. "My boot his ass."
Shepard couldn't help it. A faint grin split her face. "Well, Major, I'll be certain to save some of him for you."
He nodded reaching up to brush a lock hair of her out of her eyes. She blinked not even realizing some of her hair had come undone from her bun. "For a moment, I thought…" He shrugged and dropped his hand away though that burning fire never left his eyes. He looked pointedly away from her. Shepard brow creased.
"You thought what?" She asked dragging his attention back to her.
"I thought I lost you, again." He huffed out a breath and leaned back again. His arms crossed his chest.
"Kaidan," She put her elbows on her knees, cupping her chin in her hands.
"I know, not the time. But, Shepard, seriously," He turned those piercing dark eyes on her again. Shepard could feel the heat rising throughout her body. She didn't need to be thinking about this right now, but she couldn't help her physical response to him. "Don't scare me like that again."
Her eyes narrowed at his statement. Was he being protective? She didn't need to be protected. He knew that, or was it concern? Was their relationship distracting to him? "Is that an order, Major?" She inquired sitting back stiffly. She really didn't need this right now. She knew Kaidan meant well, but it was too much at the moment.
"No, it's a request." His hand cupped her chin turning her face toward him. "You did everything you could." He stated firmly looking her in the eyes.
She tried to keep the anger from boiling over. She knew he was trying to make her feel better and she wasn't mad at him, but she didn't want to hear it especially not from him. "Kaidan." She stated sharply. "I appreciate it, but now really isn't the time."
Kaidan studied her a moment longer before slowly nodding and releasing her chin. "If that's what you want."
"It is." He stayed seated beside her. Minutes faded into the swirling void. His presence more reassuring than his words ever could be. She was grateful to him. She glanced at him from the corner of her eye. Kaidan had his arms crossed again and was staring straight ahead, in the direction of the cockpit.
Shepard wondered at what he was thinking. Did he think less of her? No, that was stupid, Kaidan trusted her. He had made that clear on several occasions. His suspicions about her and Cerberus were in the past. But, still, she had never lost before. It hurt. How was she to tell the Asari Councilor Thessia was gone? Lost to the Reapers all because she had been too self-assured. How was she, the supposed "savior" of the galaxy, supposed to save everyone when she couldn't even save one planet?
Leaning forward, she rested her elbows on her knees and bowed her head. She stared at her boots. A soft warm touch on the back of her neck brought a slight smile to her lips. She closed her eyes and willed herself to relax. Her body fought her. Her mind wouldn't blank, instead thoughts, images, sounds and horrid nightmares replayed through her brain. Burning and imprinting the remnants of the past hours which were best forgotten in her mind forever.
Kaidan's fingers continued their gentle journey over the soft skin of her neck careful to dance around her amplifier. She could feel tears brimming in her eyes. She wanted to quit. At least a small part of her did. The other major part was pissed. The tears would not fall, not until much later when she was alone. Then she would vent her anger, frustration, and irritation. At the moment, she would dry her eyes and play the role assigned to her. She would be the hard ass "savior" of the galaxy. She would be Commander Shepard.