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A Song Remembered

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The last shuttle followed his, its flight erratic due to damage from the Normandy's explosion, but nothing that couldn't be handled. Kaidan rushed to it as it docked. Fuck protocol, this was too close, he needed her in his arms.

The door slid open and all he could see was the horror in Joker's eyes. Tears slid down the pilot's scorched cheek, "Kai - Lieutenant, I. She. Oh, god."

"No." Kaidan refused to believe, "No, no, no! Where is she?" He hurled himself into the small cabin, barely missing Joker's fragile lower half. "Where is she, Jeff?" His voice rose hysterically.

"There was an explosion. She was pushed away..." Joker was looking at the back of the pilot's seat of the shuttle, but staring at nothing. "She launched the shuttle because she didn't think she could make it." The pilot's voice was barely above a whisper, guilt washing over him as reality completely sunk in. "She didn't make."

The other survivors had gathered around the last shuttle, slowly the realization moved across the crowd. A few turned saluted, clutched their hats to their hearts. Others simply gaped. Commander Shepard? The galaxy's saviour? Surely this was a mistake. It simply wasn't possible.

Kaiden dropped to his knees, his heart may as well have stopped beating. He closed his eyes against tears threatening to fall along his cheeks. No.

How do I, Get through the night without you?

The song drifted from the holoplayer. Kaidan threw back a shot.

If I had to live without you,
What kind of life would that be?

The irony of this nearly ancient song wasn't lost on him. She loved it, had even sang it to him more than once. Kat had a great voice. He had always joked that she should be wooing the crowd as a lounge singer and making people forget their worries. Of course, she was chosen to save the galaxy, instead.

Oh, I
I need you in my arms, need you to hold,
You're my world, my heart, my soul.

Kaidan closed his eyes, he could still hear her voice.

If you ever leave,
Baby, you would take away everything good in my life.

He hadn't been able to even think of the song without nearly losing his sanity in the past twenty months. Their time together had been so short, but it was so... right. He felt like one of those guys in those terrible romance novels.

And tell me now
How do I live without you?
I want to know,
How do I breathe without you?
If you ever go,
How do I ever, ever survive?
How do I, how do I, oh how do I live?

"All valid questions," he growled under his breath before downing another drink.

He'd walked away from the ruins of the Normandy without shedding a tear. He'd been steadily working his way up in ranks, burying himself in work, really. He'd gotten reckless for awhile, taking the shittiest assignments, almost hoping they'd go wrong. But he was a good soldier, they never did. Brass liked that.

Without you,
There'd be no sun in my sky,
There would be no love in my life,
There'd be no world left for me.
And I,
Baby, I don't know what I would do,
I'd be lost if I lost you,
If you ever leave,
Baby, you would take away everything real in my life.

Kaidan let out a strangled laugh as the chorus continued. Kat hated that he called her babe, or sometimes baby. She said it was inappropriate for someone of her rank and stature. He always argued that she was still a woman. His woman. That she could still pretend to have no feminine wiles even if he knew blatantly otherwise.

Please tell me baby,
How do I go on?

He really needed an answer to that right now. Some asshole had started a rumour that Commander Shepard was alive and well recently. Really, couldn't they just leave it alone? The press had clung to her forever. But then again, he's clung longer. He sighed and laid back on his bed, closing his eyes as the song finished.

If you ever leave,
Baby, you would take away everything,
I need you with me,
Baby, don't you know that you're everything,
Real in my life?

He could still feel her pressed against him as they swayed to the music. She sang quietly, her lips fluttering against his ear."I love you, Kaidan," she had murmured as the song faded out. His heart had stopped, almost questioning if he'd heard her right, but he had quickly broke out into the biggest grin in the galaxy.

"I love you too, baby," his voice echoed his memory as he finally allowed the tears to fall.