fic: Horizon [Mass Effect]


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Garrus was sure she wasn’t aware that she was doing it. But he knew. He could even remember when she had started doing it.
Somewhere between Feros and Noveria she had adopted it from the Lieutenant. But not only Garrus had seen it. Ashley, Wrex and Garrus had had a bet running if they would ever notice it. Garrus had won – she still hadn’t noticed it. But he wondered if it still counted after her being dead for two years. But with Wrex on Tuchanka and Ash dead, there was probably not prize he would win.
Ashley and he had even a count running who did it more often. Of course it had been Kaidan. It had been some kind of fun for Shepard to throw him off balance.
This was one of the things that made him sure this was really Shepard. Rubbing her neck, whenever something caught her off guard or if something made her kind of embarrassed was something Cerberus couldn’t have known. She never showed it in public, on no vid that existed of her she had done this. Only some of her crew could have known and he was sure none of them would have told Cerberus.
He wondered if she would ever notice it. If he had to bet, he would place his creds on ‘no’.

She had become very grim, since he met her on Omega. She still was ‘the’ Commander Shepard, but there was something new on her, something that made her more serious. He would bet all the tricks she had played on them wouldn’t happen now. But the last two years had changed them all. So, who was he to judge her.

He had become the Archangel and she the more serious Shepard who rubbed her neck, whenever she wasn’t sure what to say or what to do. But deep inside them they were still the same. Their next destination was Horizon. The Illusive Man had said Kaidan would be there.

She did it more often since she got the knowledge of his presence. She made her Patrol through the ship as usual, but from his post he could watch her in the mess. Whenever someone addresses a question on her, she had to think about it first, after this puzzled behavior.

The Lieutenant had meant a lot to her. Now seeing him after two years, being confronted with what had become of him must be hard for her. He didn’t question her operational capability or herself, but he still worried about her. He had no clue what Kaidan had done in the meantime since the team broke up. He hoped the Lieutenant hadn’t changed too much, and that he would believe her. Garrus could not think about the consequences if he had changed.
Shepard wouldn’t take it lightly.


It was rare to see her like this. It was even rarer to hear her mourn. Normally she just became quiet and serious. This time was different.
Garrus sat in the mess, when first Kelly and then Joker approached. He eyed them suspiciously at first. But after they explained he understood. He nodded and finished his meal.

“You will talk to her?”

He looked at the Yeoman. “First I will check how intense it is.”


He entered the room and got a glance from the Merc at the workbench. “Looking for something?”

“Yes, but I won’t need your help for that. I can handle myself.”

“I thought so. You wouldn’t have earned that reputation if you couldn’t.”

Garrus nodded and tabbed through the different cameras on the ship on the screen. He rolled back a few hours and searched for the entries the two had been speaking of.

There: Shepard had left the elevator after stowing her stuff in her cabin. Her face was solemn, her eyes turned downwards, trying to avoid everyone.

“Commander? You received a new message on your private terminal.” Kelly turned around half way and threw a glance at Shepard before she swirled around and looked at her worried.
Kelly had already told him, what they both had said. But to hear it by himself was something completely different.
He watched Shepard how she fought against tears when Kelly question caught her completely off-guard. She admitted that Kaidan, now Commander himself, still meant a lot to him. If she thought it was over. She hoped not. She had imagined it completely different. She forced her feelings back inside.
Garrus saw how difficult it was for her. He had seen her fighting a lot and often, but this was different. This was nothing she could solve with a gun and a round of projectiles.

This was something she had to make out with herself.


He saw that she had left Kelly very hasty. A quick thank for the talk was all she could manage.

He searched the next vid he had to check. She had approached the bridge and Joker had turned around immediately. After a short chat he had asked her if everything was clear between her and Alenko. She had dropped her eyes and hesitated. No, not really, in fact nothing was clear, she didn’t know.


He saw how she had retreated afterwards. She had been moving fast through CIC straight into the elevator stopping every question with a wink of her hand. No camera had the right angle to catch her face, but he was sure that he would not be pleased.

Again he moved through the camera pictures.

She entered her cabin and stood in front of her desk. One Hand moved in the direction of her private terminal, eventually stopping.

She sighed and rested both hands on the desk. Her fingertips were getting white as she dug them into the plate of the desk. He saw her trembling as her muscles were getting tenser. Finally she pushed her self away from the desk and stood there, breathing harsh and to Garrus’ consternation, with tears in her eyes. One was already leaving a wet trail on her left cheek. She tilted her head until she could see the little frame with the picture. Garrus had - on the one occasion he had been up there in her cabin – seen it black.

Now she moved a hand in his direction and he could see from another camera, that it showed Kaidan, but just as long as she held her hand in position. As she removed it, the screen got all black again.

She wiped the tears from her eyes and moved again towards her terminal. She switched it on and he saw her eyes widening a bit. She hesitated, but eventually hit the button that started the message. She made a few steps backwards and listened.


I’m sorry for what I said back on Horizon. I spent…”

Garrus muted the sound and just watched. Just a short time was necessary to see, that she would live it through. He saw her face, another tear, but nothing of her forlornness before. She would fight. Whatever Kaidan would promise her now on this audio file, she would use it. It would be another inducement for her fight to survive, to come back from the Omega-4-Relay.

He turned off the screen and turned to go.

“Spying on Shepard? She won’t like it.”

“Making sure she doesn’t need help, because she would ever ask for it.” He turned his head around to Zaeed. “But, as I see it, she will be fine. So there is no need that she knows of this.”

The two men exchanged some serious glances. “In the interest of the crew, I take it?”

“Exactly.” Garrus left the room and went back to his post. He would not need to talk to her until she wishes by her own.



Ronja listened tree times to the message. And every time she lived through her memory of this encounter on Horizon. Still exhausted from the fight with the Collectors their husks and their machine she approached the man, one of the very few survivors. She remembered her fear Kaidan could be among those that left Horizon on the Collector ship. She had thought his voice was an illusion first, until he came around the cargo.

He initial hope when he held her in his arms in a tight embrace that made her feel relieved. But then he had started talking and she got no chance of explaining. He had stated that he won’t believe her. That had hurt most of all. After being honest with him about every little piece, he now said she would be a traitor. That he didn’t know her anymore. She had tried her best, but it had been without any hope. He hadn’t changed. He still was stubborn.

But he was not stubborn enough to not admit a mistake, or to apologize if necessary. She could understand him. Now. After she had heard three times what had led to his reaction. She couldn’t blame him. She wasn’t even sure if she would have reacted any different.
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