Unsane 1/2

author: azzy
beta: asylum farm
challenge: –
warning: fear of madness, NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS, sibling shepards, Imprisonment
rating: M
fandom: Mass Effect
pairring: Kaidan/MShep
summary: Kaidan is happy. John seems to have turned around, mending all his broken relations to not only Kaidan, but to Jane and Captain Hannah too. Everything is as it should be, until Jane pulls Kaidan aside and asks him if he never found John’s transformation from angry to responsible – really weird. [Sequel to Let’s get lost]
AN: This has been hanging out on my computer for the better side of 6 months, and I decided to post it in 2 bits because to my surprise people really wanted a sequel to ‘Let’s get lost’. Thank you all for your kind words, and I hope the story lives up to it. The sequel it self came about because some of the beginning of it, is actually the ending I wanted for the original, but I chose not to – mostly because it opened a Pandora’s box of more stuff, instead of tying anything together as endings are supposed to.
You can find a playlist here @8tracks

“They say ignorance is bliss… they’re wrong”

― Franz Kafka

 

March 29th 2186 – The Citadel.

Kaidan was smiling more than he had for ages, sitting here eating brunch with Shepard, his smile would in fact not stop, he felt he would cramp up in his face before this goofy smile would die. “Is the chicken sandwich any good?” He asked just to say something.

“Mmm Good.” Shepard answered amused with his mouth full of food.

Kaidan felt his grin widen to the painful, he reached for his coffee. Why had they never done something like this before? It was the perfect way to top off a night of mind-blowing sex, to eat overpriced sandwiches and small talk. He couldn’t even recall a time where he had ever felt closer to John than right now. It was amazing what cosmetic surgery had done to his self-esteem, John carried himself with dignity and pride – far cry from the stoic man with the skittish gaze he had met on Omega. Kaidan had not asked, but he figured that he had been seeing a therapist or something, addressing the issues. He had not even seen Shepard frown in the time they had spent on the Citadel together, and before the Udina incident that had been a pretty much permanent expression on his face.

His bliss was disturbed by the insistent shrill of Shepard’s omnitool.

“Excuse me.” John said with a little smile as he, neatly placed the uneaten remains of his sandwich on his plate, brought up his omnitool’s phone program and pushed the answer button. “Mother.” He said cheerfully with a wide smile.

“John my boy.” Hannah said in the other end, “Are you ready for the presentation today?”

“Absolutely.” John said with his polite smile still in place, and a nod. “Has Jane arrived yet?”

“I think so.” Hannah said, “She doesn’t seem too thrilled about this, but I’m sure she’ll come around. After all it’s not every day you get a Battlenet special named after you.”

“Yes, yes – Okay. I will call her.” John said, his smile more forced than before, “See you soon Mother.”

“Take care, son.”

Then John cut off the call, and looked up at Kaidan. “I guess she is nervous that something will mess up at the studio later.” He shrugged and shot Kaidan a carefree grin. “Come on, me and Jane – what could go wrong?”

“Maybe it’s because it’s fairly new to us all that you get along and that you agree to this whole publicity thing with Jane.” Kaidan said with a tiny voice, hating to sound so off putting, but it was true. Just a year ago, they hated each other’s guts, John wouldn’t even receive a phone call from Jane, and here he was making public appearances for the Alliance with her.

Shepard blinked looking slightly offended. “Nonsense. But it’s the past.” He reached out a hand across the table laying it palm up as an invitation to Kaidan. “Que sera, sera.” He said in a sing song voice.

“I uhm… Of course, yes!” Kaidan muttered placing his hand inside Shepard’s. “No time like the present, right?” He said, slightly winching at the corny phrase, but he truly felt like he had been blessed with a second chance. Complete forgiveness, and a love that had just been waiting to blossom he supposed in lack of a better word, he had loved John before, but now he was absolutely over the moon. It almost seemed like the angry, bitter and spiteful, Shepard from when they had brought him back to earth, was some sort of a nightmare.

“I should call Jane.” Shepard said.

“Yes.” Kaidan nodded planting his hands hard in the table on each side of his empty plate in a dismissive, definitive gesture. “I need to get to work too, even if I’d rather stay here with you.”

John smiled sweetly and let go of Kaidan’s hand, only to lean in over the table and give him a toe-curling delicious kiss. “I’ll see you later lover.”

“Count on it.” Kaidan said with a sated smile, and cheeks flush.

-*-

Kaidan had never met Hannah Shepard before, and here she was. He couldn’t help but to stare at her, her children looked like a perfect mix of her; John had her eyes and Jane had her delicate facial structure. All in all Hannah was as scary looking as she was beautiful, like a queen of old. She was completely focused on the live interview with Jane and John, both in their navy-blues, and both with a perfect professional smile.

Kaidan felt a little pang of guilt as he looked at the host, he had forgotten her name, but he remembered that he had given her a sobbing orgasm, and that she smelled like oranges. John had been angry and felt betrayed, and of course, he would! He had been in prison and Kaidan had been out getting hammered, banging anything with a pulse. To Kaidan’s surprise, to his pleasant surprise, John was talking to her like it never happened, completely relaxed, funny and on the point. Kaidan took a deep breath, it was just because he was a professional, and because decking the host was bad television – or maybe it wasn’t. He hid his snicker behind his paper cup of terrible coffee he had stolen off the employee’s machine, the mental images of John getting out of his chair and supercharging that skimpy dressed chick across the room, knocking over lamps, staff and backdrops in one giant hurl of static blue.

As the show ended, Hanna greeted her children. Kaidan was hiding behind the staff and equipment, but he could tell that John, had seen him and was talking about him, he gestured towards where he hid. Eerie that…

Hannah finally nodded, and John waved him over. Hesitantly Kaidan came over to where they stood. “Mother, let me introduce Kaidan Alenko. He works here at C-Sec.” John said, hauling Kaidan close.

“Alenko.” Hannah said with a polite smile, “You used to be a Spectre like my Jane, did you not?”

“Yes ma’am.” Kaidan smiled politely, held out his hand to shake Hanna’s, but she did not return the extended gesture. “I see.” Hannah said, her voice carried a tone of disapproval. And after a while it got so awkward that Kaidan flexed his fingers as he pocketed both his hands.

“Mother please.” Jane said from the other side of Hannah, “I know what you’re thinking, but he did nothing I wouldn’t have done, so spare your critics.”

Hannah laughed softly, “Very well my dear.” But her eyes weren’t laughing; they were aimed straight at Kaidan making him feel like an insect on a needle. “I am famished.” Hannah said in the general direction of her son.

“Me too.” John said, offering his mother an arm. “Wait…” He turned sideways to Kaidan “Are you gonna be okay?” He asked concerned.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Kaidan laughed a little confused laugh and shrugged.

“I mean I promised you that-“

“Hey later, can mean much later.” Kaidan said with a knowing smile, “You know the door code.”

“Okay.” John kissed Kaidan on the cheek. “Jane, are you coming?”

“No, I’m not hungry.” Jane held up a hand as an apology, “besides I haven’t seen Kaidan in ages.” She gave Kaidan a pointed look, telling him just to agree.

“Yes… it’s been some time.” Kaidan hurried to agree, confused as to why Jane would say something like that. Not even when they had been aboard the Normandy had they had a personal relation, everything was all business with Jane Shepard. After he freed John, handing in his resignation – their relationship had been nonexistent.

Hannah and John left arm in arm, leaving Jane and Kaidan standing in the dark studio. “Okay.” Jane said, “Don’t tell me you don’t think that is fucking weird.” She turned to Kaidan pinning him down with a serious gaze.

“What your mother? She is intimidating sure, but I’m not sure I’d go so far as weird.”

“No, you idiot.” She gestured angrily at the space that had held John and their mother just moments ago. “Them! Him! Her! Everything!” When Kaidan just looked confused, Jane grabbed his arm and hauled him off.

“Not here-“ She whispered.

Kaidan just followed as she hauled him through the Citadel until they reached the Spectre quarters, punched in her code and all but pushed Kaidan inside. “What the hell is this cloak and dagger crap about?” Kaidan asked angrily as he stumbled across the threshold.

“The only place I’m sure that is not bugged.” Jane said relaxing a bit, letting out a long breath, raking a hand through her hair. “But the new mocha machine isn’t bad either.”

“You had a mocha machine installed here?” Kaidan asked surprised as he looked around.

Jane sighed, “Yes, but it’s sorta beside the point.”

“Not really.” Kaidan said as he crossed his arms over his chest like a petulant child. “You hauled me here, practically manhandling me the whole walk here, is coffee too much to ask for?”

“I swear.” Jane grumbled under her breath, “It’s in there.” She pointed at the office behind her. “Knock yourself out.”

“Thank you.” Kaidan mock sing song and shouldered her on purpose as he walked by.

“Okay so are you gonna listen to me now?” Jane asked as she walked after Kaidan into the office.

“I suppose so.” Kaidan answered idly, trying to decide which coffee he wanted. “You want one?”

Jane rolled her eyes, “Sure, don’t see why not. I had it installed for a reason after all.”

“My point exactly.”

“Mocha latte with chocolate sprinkles please.” Jane said, waiting rather impatiently for Kaidan to make the damn coffee.

He handed her a cup and sighed blissfully, “You really coughed up some credits on this one huh?”

“Yes – But are you gonna shut up now and listen?” Jane said again, stirring her coffee.

“Yes.” Kaidan nodded and sat down, looking up at Jane as he sipped his very expensive coffee. “It’s good.” He added quickly, earning himself a growl from the Commander.

“Okay so you remember my brother right? The scarred, angry man?” Jane asked in a way so it was not really a question meant to be answered. “He has always been like that, not scarred – but angry. He has always been at war with the world, with any and all authority. And for starters he and mother never ever got along.”

Kaidan shrugged, “He grew into his own boots?”

“Oh please.” Jane exasperated, “He can’t be that good of a fuck, so you forget everything around you?”

“Actually then –“

“Don’t! It was a rhetorical question!” Jane held up her hand to stop Kaidan from talking. “If I didn’t know better then I’d think that the new John was an imposter, but I ran his prints and DNA, and…” She sighed, “It all matches, it is John.”

“See?” Kaidan chuckled, “You’re too paranoid for your own good.”

“Just promise me to think about it, because something is off here.” Jane said in a serious tone before emptying her coffee in one gulp. “And the second you see something weird, you call me.”

Kaidan smiled overbearingly, but nodded. “Aye, aye captain.”

 

 

March 6th 2187 – Milky Way / Hawking Eta / Chandrasekhar System / Hebat

“Eat your food.” The faceless stranger on the other side of the metal door said, pushing a Styrofoam tray in through a small hatch, “Growing boys need their vitamins.”

“Fuck off.” John growled, his voice without any real bite to it, his voice hoarse from a raging fit, which had just earned him bloody knuckles and a headache.

“Aw is mama’s boy upset? Is it the menu? Would you like wine to go with your assortment of the season’s fruits and vegetables?”

John just groaned and closed his eyes, “I swear the first motherfucking thing I’ll do when I get out of here is to kill your sorry ass.”

“Don’t you think we knew you’d say that? Hard to find me and kill me, when you never saw me.” The voice taunted amused.

“Alright, then I’ll just have to kill every single one of you fuckers on this rock.”

“Good luck with that.” The voice laughed, but his breath hitched as Shepard kicked the door hard from where he sat. It made John smile – so they were afraid of him, very afraid of him actually.

He had tried to get something, anything out of his captors but he couldn’t. He didn’t know why he was here; hells he didn’t even know where herewas.

 

 

 April 18th 2186 – The Citadel.

“Jane left the Citadel today.” Kaidan said casually as he stepped out of the shower, dripping water on the floor tiles.

“I know.” Shepard answered from the next room over, “She was going to some human settlement somewhere, I forgot where.”

Kaidan shrugged and tied the towel around his hips, walking into the living room where John was watching some stupid betting show. “Who’s winning?”

“I think it’s yellow team.”

Kaidan narrowed his eyes, “Wait that’s…” He leaned in over the couch to get a better look. “It’s Jack!” He cheered, pointing at the screen “Oh my God, it’s Jack!” He placed a hand on Shepard’s shoulder. “But that’s great, that means she is no longer in prison.”

Shepard turned his head and looked up at Kaidan with a dirty grin, pulling him down for a sloppy kiss, all tongue and heated ears. “You know what’s great?” He shushed Kaidan with a deep husky voice.

“You tell me.”

John turned around in the couch so they were face to face with the barrier of the back of the sofa between them. He pushed the towel off Kaidan’s hips. He chuckled at Kaidan’s helpless little gasp as he ran his fingers down between Kaidan’s butt cheeks. “How about I show you.”

 

 

April 29th 2186 – The Citadel.

“Kaidan.” Shepard said with a serious expression. “I have something I need to tell you.”

“Yes?” Kaidan ran a hand through his unruly curls, not liking the tone in Shepard’s voice.

“I have to leave the Citadel soon.” John said, his eyes looked sorrowful. “Mother asked me to join her on her on the SSV Kilimanjaro.”

Kaidan nodded, “Suppose it’s for the best, I seriously think Bailey will fire me if I miss any more days of work.” His lame joke didn’t work and John looked every bit as sad as before.

“It might be a while before I come back.” Shepard said, taking Kaidan’s hand across their laps in the sofa, and kissed Kaidan’s’ knuckles. “I will call you ever chance I get.”

Kaidan bit his lip, “Have you thought about why she asked you to join her? I mean it does sound kind of strange.”

John hung his head, “She… She thinks I am wasting my talents, here – “ He paused, “With you.”

“Thought so.”

“Please babe, she just wants what is best for me.” John said insisting, “It’s not like she controls who I call.”

“Hannah Shepard is a lot of things, but naïve is not one.” Kaidan said sadly, looking away from John’s blue eyes and down to where their knees touched, and their hands were joined. “If she wants you away from me, that is what she’ll get if you join her.”

“Don’t be silly.” John leaned in to kiss Kaidan.

“No don’t.” Kaidan turned his head away, and the kiss landed on his cheek. “This is serious.”

“I know.” Shepard said, “I just love you so much.”

Kaidan sighed, how he had ached to hear those words, and now that he heard them, they felt hollow. “I love you too.” He said a little tired, and allowed the next kiss.

 

 

April 11th 2186 – Milky Way / Hawking Eta / Chandrasekhar System / Hebat

“Happy birthday.” The voice on the other side of the door sung, pushing in a small plate with something on. John scooted over the tiled floor and examined it carefully, it was cake. Not just a cake, but his favorite cake.

“Thank you I suppose.” John sighed, poking the cake with a finger, breaking apart the sponge-like square. “Chocolate coated in morphine I expect.”

“The very best.” The captor said from behind the door.

“Don’t I get a wish or something?” John said with a strange sadness as he stood up with his plate, walking over to the small table in the otherwise sterile room.

“Sure.”

“How long am I here for?” John asked hopefully, breaking the cake further apart to check it for anything like needles or pills.

The person outside the door seemed to think long and hard. “Till the boss lady says so.”

“Figures.” John sighed, picking up the bits of cake, staring down at the pieces in his hand.

“Down the hatch.”

 

 

May 2nd 2186 – The Citadel.

Kaidan woke to the sound of his omnitool beeping, at first he thought it was an alarm, but as he came more to, he realized it was a call. He turned over in his bed groaning. “This better be good.” He mumbled as he pushed the accept button.

“Alenko!” Jane said at the other end, her comlink fuzzy and broken.

“Jane?”

“Listen, I am on Tuchanka.” Jane said.

“Why on earth would you go there? Nothing but Pyjacks and freaks with four balls.” Kaidan sighed, propping himself up on his elbow to get a better view of Shepard on the screen.

“Shut up.” Jane spat annoyed. “So I’ve been doing some digging –“

“Come on Jane, you’re being paranoid, I already told you this is crazy. You are crazy. John simply realized his responsibility after doing fuck all for a lot of years, that’s all.”

“Shut the fuck up!” Jane yelled angrily. “Just shut up and listen!”

“So the shuttle you gave him, took him to this small outpost, where he then bought admission to another frigate as a grease monkey. Called himself Spike but I know it’s him, he can’t run from his thumbprint.”

“So?” Kaidan said bitterly, “That was exactly what I told him to do.”

“I know” Jane stated flatly. “But here is where it gets interesting. This frigate went to Kanin in the Krogan DMZ, not that I know what they want to go there, it’s a dead planet. My bet is something dodgy.” When Kaidan didn’t answer Jane continued. “Next time John or Spike is registered anywhere it’s upon arrival at Tuchanka a couple of days later. It says in the manifest that he arrived alone. The shuttle he was in was registered to the Frigate that went to Kanin, but none of the crewmembers were with him to Tuchanka.”

“I admit that is odd.” Kaidan sighed. “But it doesn’t exactly prove anything but John stole a shuttle from a bunch of slave traders, or smugglers.”

“I haven’t gotten to the strangest thing yet.” Jane said, “A day later John just vanishes into thin air.”

“Couldn’t he just have gone sightseeing on Tuchanka?” Kaidan asked.

“Come on Kaidan, who does that?”

“John apparently.”

Jane shook her head. “The shipping manifest says that a shuttle arrived, but either it was empty or the crew was not registered. The shuttle was registered to MSV Broken Arrow.” She took a deep breath, “That ship has been lost in orbit of Jonus for ages, and before you say anything then Jonus is made of goddamn water.”

“I read of that once.” Kaidan said, “It’s like a fucking antique.”

“Exactly, there should not be a functioning shuttle from that ship.” Jane said softly, knowing she piqued Kaidan’s interest. “So add the clues, shuttle that should not exist, arrives at Tuchanka with no crew, and John goes missing.” She pinched the bridge of her nose, “Next time he is registered in the system is upon arrival on the Citadel, March 1st.”

Kaidan bit his lip, “I met up with him March 5th. So he had been on the Citadel for four days… makes sense.”

“Oh really?” Jane said, “Do me a favor, humor me if you must. But go talk to that nasty volus Barla Von, he is in the Presidium.”

“And say what?” Kaidan asked.

“Ask for Johns account transactions.” Jane said, “You’re C-Sec, make it work.”

“Okay.” Kaidan sighed, flopping back in his bed, “But just because you didn’t kill me back on the Normandy.”

“I might still cash in on that, so –“

“Yeah, yeah… cloak and daggers.” Kaidan sighed, “I promise.”

“Call me back when you have his transactions, and I’ll see what I can find here. You might think I’m crazy, but I know my brother, and something is very, very wrong.” Jane said as she cut off the signal.

Kaidan closed his eyes. He wished that Jane would stop with her shit, he was happy. John was normal in loss of other terms. Maybe just less broken and bitter, and wonderfully normal. Everything Kaidan had wished for and more.

 

 

May 5th 2186 – The Citadel.

Kaidan had gone to see Barla Von, he had persuaded him to hand over John Shepard’s account transactions, super-secret, hush hush and all that. Kaidan was sure that Barla Von had more than 10.000 secrets for starters.

He sat at his office and looked over the bank statements, all he could see was a pretty large withdrawal May 20th 2185, and then there was nothing, as in absolutely nothing. Kaidan worried the inside of his cheek staring at the sheet. All right he had withdrawn a lot of money in one transaction, but would that last a year? Not likely. Also he had paid for dinners and even for Kaidan’s new TV monitor, no proof of that at all. Could he just have gotten a new bank account? Yeah, that had to be it.

He buried his hands in his hair and groaned, “I’m turning into Jane, seeing monsters everywhere. Jeesh..” He tossed the statements into a drawer slamming it shut hard. Nonetheless he opened up the shipping statements, finding the ship that Shepard arrived with, it hailed from Thessia, that was weird. But he had to agree with Jane no matter how little he wanted to. John Shepard had absolutely arrived May 1st, and not May 5th as he had let Kaidan believe.

“Alenko?”

Kaidan turned in his seat. “Ah Lang.” He smiled. “Slow day?”

“You could say that.” Eddie Lang said, his face an expressionless mask. “What are you up to?” He nodded at the screen.

“Checking shipping manifests.” Kaidan said, “Looking for ships that’d carry illegal cargo.”

“Then why are you looking at the passenger list?” Eddie said, still completely expressionless.

“Eh, because people are cargo too.” Kaidan said calmly, even if his heart started to beat faster, this was really weird. “Is there something I can help you with Officer Lang?”

Eddie shook his head. “But you should leave the shipping manifests to me.” He smiled wide, too wide.

“Alright.” Kaidan answered hesitantly, “I was just checking up on a lead.”

“As I said, you should leave the harbor control to me, and go back to playing mall cop.” Eddie said, his eerie smile still in place.

“What’s with the attitude?” Kaidan asked with a frown. “Good riddance.” He shut off his computer. “Excuse me while I go arrest some shoplifters.” He brushed past Eddie as he left, trying to remember if he had locked his drawer or not.

-*-

Kaidan went straight home from work, kicked off his uniform and took a shower. There was a voice message on his terminal, weird he didn’t recall his omnitool beeping. He came out of the shower and it was an empty message, very strange. Kaidan looked over his shoulder, halfway expecting some masked man to beat him over the head, but nothing happened. He grabbed his omnitool and went to bed, he was tired but his thoughts were racing, what the hell was wrong with Lang? And why would Shepard be at the Citadel for four days, lying about it, and not spend single credit even if he saw him spend a lot of money. That was weird.

He was cut off as his omnitool beeped, Shepard. The right Shepard for a change. Kaidan pushed the accept call button, and smiled at John’s face. “Hey handsome.” He said.

“Are you naked?” John asked surprised.

“Why yes, I am.” Kaidan said with a laugh, “you caught me fresh out of the shower.”

John’s smile widened, “Good timing.”

“Depends.” Kaidan said coyly.

“I wish I could touch you.” John said softly, “Taste you.”

Kaidan coughed, crossing his legs.

John laughed softly, but then licked his lips, “Can I watch?”

“What, me?” Kaidan asked nervously.

“Yes, who else.” John whispered, “Move the camera down a little and let me see you.”

“So John.” Kaidan said a little out of breath, nervously wringing his hands. “I was thinking; do you know of a good hotel or something here on the Citadel?”

“Oh kinky. I like the way you think.” John raised a brow.

“No, not like that.” Kaidan sighed. “I have a friend over, and I was wondering what I should recommend him, so I was just thinking where you stay when you’re here.”

“At your place.” John chuckled.

“No you dope, I mean when you’re not here with me.” Kaidan shrugged.

“Come on Kaidan, you’re sitting there naked, teasing me. And you want to talk hotels?” John whined. “Move the omintool down a little so I can see you.”

Kaidan suddenly feel absolutely humiliated, like he had invited a voyeur in to his most private of private. “No.” He answered, squirming a little, pulling the towel tighter around him.

“Don’t be such a prude. After all it gets sorta lonely out here in space.” John smiled charmingly.

The connection fizzed out, and Kaidan figured it was solar flares or something that messed up the connection.

 

 

April 19st 2187 – Milky Way / Hawking Eta / Chandrasekhar System / Hebat

John spent most his time sleeping, one of the kinder guards had slipped him a book to pass time, but he read it four times over cover-to-cover now. He felt listless and tired all the time, and was positive that they drugged his food.

They had caught him off guard completely. He had gone to Tuchanka to regroup and figure out what to do. He didn’t know who had sold him out, but someone had. In the middle of the night he woke from a sharp pain, he sat up and saw four figures standing in the dark, human not krogan, and then he had blacked out. Next thing he knew he was stuck here.

He didn’t know if he was a war asset, a bargaining chip. They are in for a surprise, because either no one cared, or Jane would… Yeah what would Jane do? If she knew he was a prisoner she’d surely come right? Admitted they were never close, and hadn’t seen eye to eye in many years, but still – he was her brother, she’d come.

 

 

May 12th 2186 – The Citadel.

Kaidan sighed as he called up Jane, he was swirling a drink in his hand. This was crazy, but if Jane was crazy so was he. Finally she picked up, there were less static than last. “Jane.” He smiled swiftly, bloodless.

“Alenko.” Jane smiled, “Your turn to wake me.” Jane leaned in towards the omnitool, and Kaidan instantly wished that she didn’t sleep in the nude.

“Ehm, Jane..” He cleared his throat politely, “Your uhm… eh..” He swallowed, “Boobs – your boobs are showing. Mind putting on a shirt.”

“Oh.” Jane laughed, “Sorry.” She pulled the sheet over her body. “Better?”

“Are you alone?” Kaidan asked, feeling slightly like a creep.

“Yes.” Jane said sitting up, adjusting the omnitool. “I got some news for you, but I didn’t call you because I got nothing concrete. Maybe you’re right – Maybe I’m seeing ghosts.”

“If you’re crazy, so am I.” Kaidan answered a little desperately, he quickly took a large gulp of his drink. “Okay so, John had not touched his account since before he disappeared off Tuchanka, and while he withdrew a lot of money, then what I saw John spend here with me lately, it doesn’t add up, he should have run out of money a long time ago.” Kaidan said filling his glass again, “Also he has lots of money in the bank, there is no reason for him to borrow from someone.”

Jane looked thoughtful. “You didn’t tell him about it, did you?”

“No.” Kaidan sighed, “I’m not stupid.”

“It does sound weird.” Jane admitted, “But also what I expected.”

“That is not all.” Kaidan said, “So I was checking up on your information, and did you know that the ship that John arrived on the Citadel with, hails from Thessia? – Anyway I was checking the passenger manifest for that ship and this colleague of mine starts acting all weird.” Kaidan sighed, “Basically he told me to stop looking at the manifest, and return to being a mall cop.”

“Well, maybe you overstepped his job description or something?”

“No.” Kaidan said, “Technically he is the dock supervisor, but all of us have access to the shipping manifests in case we need to track something or someone.” He took a sip more of his drink, “The worst is really that I had put the paper from Barla Von in my drawer, I noticed the next day it was gone. I had forgotten to lock the drawer – and only that one thing was missing. Tell me that isn’t weird.”

Jane ran a hand through her red hair. “Alright, you need to be careful, because if it is what it sounds like – it might be bad. And the worst thing is I have no idea why.”

Kaidan leaned back in his chair and groaned.

“I found John’s bag.” Jane said, “It doesn’t prove anything besides that he was here.”

“Where did you find it?” Kaidan asked.

“I bought it off a trader, he had just woken up to this back being slung down to his varren.” Jane said, “He had opened it but found nothing if real value. I only noticed it because I recognized John’s jacket hanging on a stick.” Jane reached for something and held it up in front of the camera. “This was in there.”

Kaidan blinked rapidly, trying his hardest not to choke up. It was the picture of him, John and Blasto. “He kept that?”

“Apparently he did.” Jane said, “Sentimental sucker.”

“Yeah.” Kaidan rubbed his eye hoping she didn’t catch him getting all emotional.

“Anyway that is why I’m sure it’s his bag.” Jane said, “Seems weird he’d leave without it, doesn’t it? Both his favorite jacket and this photo. It makes no sense.”

“True.” Kaidan said “But it proves absolutely nothing.”

“I know.” Jane said. “Just.. just keep your ear to the ground, okay?”

“I promise.” Kaidan said, shutting off the connection without any formal goodbye.

 

 

April 25th 2187 – Milky Way / Hawking Eta / Chandrasekhar System / Hebat

John fought to keep his eyes open, he held up a hand and his fingers were blurry. He wondered if they were finally going to kill him, he had gotten used to being pacified, but this was more than that. He had been stuck here in this Spartan room for so long, that he had almost forgotten what it was like to breathe air that wasn’t pumped from an air-condition system, and what it was like to not have a constant taste of chemistry in his mouth. He barely realized that the door opened, that had never happened before as far as he recalled. “What the…” He fought to scramble to his knees from his sitting position on the floor, but failed to get to his feet. Annoyed he wiped drool off his chin with the backside of his own uncoordinated hand.

“John.” A distant voice said, he couldn’t quite place it. It was not until the person was so close he could touch her he realized who it was.

“Hnnna.” He slurred while he felt his entire face go slack.

“How good of you to remember me.” Hannah Shepard said as she kneeled in front of the ungraceful heap on tile floor that was her son. She grabbed his face with a firm hand and forced it to the left and then to the right. “You look like a drifter, honestly Johnny.”

John’s head lulled back and forth, and he reached for his mother to help him to his feet, but she removed his hand off her easily. “Don’t ruin my uniform.” She chided.

“Don’t worry my boy.” She let go of his chin and wiped her hand in her pants. John instantly fell forward like a puppet where the puppeteer cut the string. “I’ll make them look after you better.”

Hanna stood to her feet, towering over John on the floor, she turned to a figure behind her. “You need to feed him better, he is all skin and bones.”

“Yes Ma’am.” Came the reply.

“I am paying you good money one might add, and you have one job. To keep him locked up. If I wanted him dead, I would have shot him myself. No point in letting him waste away on a bad diet.” Hanna scolded the person behind her. “Shape up!”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“Hnnnah..” John drooled on his cheek, his tongue more like a dead slug in his mouth than a muscle, and it absolutely refused to cooperate. “pllss.” He reached out for her leg but she took a step back so he was outside his reach.

“No.” John managed to slur, spitting on the floor between his splayed hands.

Hannah stood up, “Next time, could we try with less drugs and more restraints? I don’t particularly enjoy talking to a drooling mess.”

“Yes Ma’am.”

“Alright, so here is what will happen, next time I visit I want to see my son coherent and shaved. And for the love of God give him something to do, like a television.” Hannah said, “He’s not in prison.”

“But… Yes Ma’am.”

She turned and ruffled John’s long greasy hair. “See you soon. And happy birthday – I’ll bring you something next time.”

And with that she left and the door was bolted behind her. John couldn’t gather his mind it felt like disjointed cotton, but what he knew was that he was gonna fucking kill her, not just kill her but to rip her throat out with his goddamn teeth.

 

 

June 5th 2186 – The Citadel.

Kaidan had been digging around, trying to find one of the crew members from the Thessian ship that brought in John, he was sure they were the key to understanding this. But he had no such luck, the ship had since left and as far as he could tell only two of the passengers remained on the Citadel, and as far as he could tell they had carried no cargo – only passengers. If he didn’t know better he’d think this ship docked just to deliver John Shepard.

One passenger was an old convict, known conman and a regular of the holding cell at c-sec. The other however was an archeologist, scientist – something. And not just any old bone digger, but the daughter of Matriarch Benezia. See that was more than interesting.

She had been difficult to track down but he had done it. Maybe she’d think he was a mad man, and maybe not, but he had to find some answers so he could sleep at night. He was sleeping too little and drinking too much, wondering what the clues was trying to tell him, or if he had just gone mad.

He stood in front of the hotel door to the room of Liara T’soni, doctor T’soni. He squared his shoulders and hoped his lame ass story would be believable even if this asari was one of the smartest in the universe. He knocked, and moments later the door was answered. He had not expected her to be this attractive, not by a long shot. “Doctor T’soni?” He asked.

“Yes.” Liara said, waiting for Kaidan to state his business.

He showed his badge with a professional smile meant to calm her, “Kaidan Alenko, C-Sec.”

“Oh I remember you, you were the second human spectre.” She spoke solemnly while she made a sliding gesture over her head to signal grandeur.

“I was.” Kaidan said, unable to keep his unease on the topic and annoyance out of it. “Now I’m C-Sec, and I have some questions for you.” He smiled his most charming smile, “If you don’t mind.”

“Not at all officer.” Liara said and let Kaidan come into the hotel room. It was a nice room, which smelled slightly of ozone, he wasn’t sure if it was the air condition or Liara that had that smell. It looked like your average hotel room, bright, nice and clean.

“I have a question about the ship you arrived with.” Kaidan said politely, seating himself in one of uncomfortable looking beige armchairs, where Liara gestured for him to sit.

“Yes?” Liara said as she seated herself in the beige armchairs twin. “The Nefrane.”

“Do you know why it was docked here?”

“No.” Liara said, and then she looked thoughtful, “Most strange really, we picked up a passenger at the Destiny Ascension. And we weren’t even supposed to dock here, but suddenly we were, and I just seized the moment.”

“So the Nefrane changed course?” Kaidan asked, trying his hardest not to sound too excited, but he scooted out to the edge of his seat, waiting for Liara to answer.

“Yes.” Liara said thoughtfully, “It was destined for Nevos.”

“Odd.” Kaidan mumbled, swiftly typing it down on his omnitool, briefly looking up at Liara. “Can I ask you something else?”

“Of course.” Liara said sweetly.

“Besides you, two other passengers got off, one was human. What do you know about him?”

“Captain Hannah’s son?” Liara said, “Well he were the one we picked up at the Destiny Ascension.” She paused and pursed her lips thoughtfully, “Captain Hannah and Matriarch Lidanya are acquainted, and I believe it must have been a favor. Maybe he couldn’t find another passage to the Citadel, and we were close by.”

Kaidan nodded, listening, typing on his omnitool.

“It is odd though, he was acting odd. Not at all like Commander Shepard.” Liara said shifting in her chair, “I believe they are siblings.”

“They are.” Kaidan wet his lips, “Define odd.”

“He was just very silent and withdrawn.” Liara said, “Not shy, more like resentful, watching, learning.”

“Thank you doctor T’soni.” He made a move to stand up, but stopped dead halfway in the move as Liara grabbed his arm and stared up at him with her intelligent deep blue eyes.

“What do you think it is?”

“I honestly don’t know.” Kaidan said a little uncomfortable, staring down at where Liara had a grip on his wrist “Maybe nothing.”

“You don’t think so, or you’d not come here.” Liara stated but nonetheless let go of Kaidan, allowing him to finally stand.

“Alright, I just think it’s very strange that John Shepard arrived as the sole human passenger onboard an asari battlecruiser.” Kaidan said, figuring a little truth wouldn’t hurt.

“When you think about it, it is very weird.” Liara mumbled to herself. “Call me if there is anything more I can help you with.” She said with a pretty wide smile.

“I will.” Kaidan said finding himself smiling back. He wished he had met this asari under different circumstances, because he definitely wouldn’t mind taking her for a round in the ringer.

 

 

June 7th 2186 – SSV Kilimanjaro.

“And when you call him.” Hannah ranted, “You make sure you find out why he visited T’soni.”

“Yes Mother.” John said with a little nod. He sat in the middle of a Spartan room, nothing but the essentials of comfort, listening to Hannah Shepard rant and rave.

“I do not care how you do it; you think of something.” Hannah slammed her hand flat down in a table, making John shy away slightly.

“Yes Mother.” He repeated, “I will, I will find a way.”

“Good.” Hannah cooed.

John licked his lips, “I could go back to the Citadel, that would make it easier.” He said softly.

“Absolutely not.” Hannah replied sharply, “I will not have you associated with that degenerate, do you have any idea what fraternizing with someone like that could do to your career?” She sighed, “Look I get it, he is handsome, but even the prettiest smiles are not worth it – believe me.” John just nodded sadly, and Hanna came to stand in front of him. “Do you think I would still just be captain if I had had a mother to advise me? No, I’d be a general or an admiral – maybe even a council member.”

Hannah started to pace back and forth in the room. “You understand don’t you? I can’t let that little gnat ruin everything I worked for. That we worked for, you, me and Jane. The family name to be restored and for you two – my brilliant children, to claim what is yours.” She stared directly at John, “There is no limit John, but you have to be smart about it.”

John nodded again.

“John Shepard, human councilman. Earth’s spokesperson.” Hannah said dreamily, “It does have a ring to it, doesn’t it?”

“Yes Mother.” John said softly.

Hannah turned and grabbed John’s chin hard like he was an unruly boy. “Then take him down, we can’t have that little insignificant bastard ruin your chances at that, can we?” Hannah sighed, “He is getting too clever for himself, the little c-sec insect, and –“

“Don’t worry mother, I will figure something out.” John said muffled due to his head being held in an awkward position.

“Yes you will.” Hannah said and let go. “Now I’m going to call in a favor, you just get something, anything on him.”

“Yes.” John whispered.

 

 

June 9th 2186 – The Citadel.

 

From: Anonymous/Barred sender

Subject: Meet me at the docks tonight at ten, I have answers. – A friend.

 

Kaidan stared at the mystery email. Should he call Jane? He poured himself another drink, could it be Doctor T’soni?

His omnitool beeped, it was John calling. Kaidan almost didn’t answer because it was getting harder and harder to talk to him, the more mysterious this became. In the end his drunken sentimental self, hit the accept call button. “John.” He said with a smile, “I was just on my way out.”

“To a bar?” John asked, noting the slight slur in Kaidan’s voice.

“No, I’m working this case, and I think I had a breakthrough.” He smiled. “How are you? Still stuck in space with your mother?”

“Yes.” John groaned, “I swear.”

“Sounds hard, I’d rather not be stuck inside a hunk of metal with any of my relatives for a prolonged period of time. Especially one with no escape. Honestly John I don’t understand why you haven’t developed a drug habit or something.” Kaidan laughed.

“There’s still time.” John chuckled.

The omnitool beeped with a call coming in on top of the one already active, it was Jane. Kaidan dismissed it, she called again and he dismissed it again.

“I miss you.” John said.

Kaidan found himself smile in spite of himself, “I miss you too.” He said, “I was just thinking of you earlier,”

“Really?” John asked.

“Yes – remember how we used to hide away on the docks of Omega and make love?” Kaidan said, his poker face absolute.

John smiled softly, “We can do that again soon.”

“I hope so.” Kaidan answered, taking another sip of his drink before John would notice the lie. They had never made love, or otherwise gotten down and dirty on any dock, Omega or elsewhere.

“Kaidan, I have to ask you something.” John said, “Maybe I’m being silly but still it’s been bothering me.”

“Yes?”

“A friend of mine told me you been visiting Liara T’soni.” John paused and chose his words carefully. “Are you fucking her?”

Kaidan laughed merrily. “She is comely – but no.”

“That’s what I thought.” John sounded relieved. “I just had to be sure.”

“Are you spying on me, John?” Kaidan asked.

“No…” John smiled apologetic, “Maybe a little?”

Kaidan frowned.

“Okay so I worry that you’d get bored waiting.” John admitted sheepishly.

“After all we went through to get here? You really think I’d fuck the first pretty asari come my way?” Kaidan sneered, “Really John? Jeesh. Talk about trust issues.”

“I’m sorry!” John held up his hands dismissive, “I don’t want to fight, please. It’s so rare that I get to talk to you.” He smiled sweetly, “I’d rather talk about us, kissing.”

“Come on John, you know I don’t do that phone sex thing, it’s weird.” Kaidan huffed, still annoyed, drunk and worried.

“I know,” John looked deflated, “Still, humor me. Take off your shirt at least.”

Kaidan huffed again, he was too drunk for this shit. He undid his belt, John watching with growing interest. “Is this what you want?” Kaidan said flatly.

John licked his lips, “Yes.”

Kaidan let his pants drop, standing in front of the camera. “Good, take a fucking screenshot, it’ll last you longer.” He sneered, turning off the comlink. Fucking bastard! Every time they talked about something remotely serious, John always brought sex into the conversation somehow. He hadn’t noticed before, but as he stood there thinking about it, it was just so damn obvious. He downed his drink, he recalled when he and John had hooked up, John had been fond of sex sure, but not completely obsessive, not like now.

He left his glass on the counter and put on his jacket, if he hurried he could make it to the mystery invite. He still wasn’t sure he should do it.

When we were minutes away from the meeting place, his omnitool beeped again, it was Jane again. He had forgotten to call her back! He quickly answered. “Sorry bad timing.” He said horridly as he tried to figure out his way in the labyrinth of corridors and boxes on the docks.

“Where are you Kaidan?” Jane asked worried.

“I got an anonymous tip, and I am on my way to meet my benefactor.” Kaidan said, his worried tone mirroring Janes.

“Listen! I have a friend onboard the Destiny Ascension, well friend is saying a lot but she owes me one.” Jane said, “She told me the shuttle that arrived with –“

“Alenko.” A voice said from the dark.

“Sorry Jane I gotta go.” Kaidan ignored her and hung up. He turned to the voice. “Eddie?” He muttered, “Eddie Lang? What is so important you had to meet me way out here?”

“You fucking idiot, I told you to stop snooping around.” Eddie spat.

“What?” Kaidan’s drunken mind realized something was wrong too late, and he definitely had not seen the Taser coming and moments later he spasmed and blacked out.

 

 

June 10th 2186 – The Citadel.

When Kaidan woke it was in a hospital bed, he went to touch his face but found he couldn’t, he twisted so he could see down his side, and saw his arm was cuffed to the iron bed.

He didn’t have more time to think about it before the doors opened and a serious looking salarian doctor entered, he turned to the nurse, “Tell the officers he is awake.” He then turned to Kaidan while the nurse exited. “Mr. Alenko. You hit your head pretty bad, but you will make a full recovery.”

“Why am I cuffed to the bed?” Kaidan asked confused.

“Oh dear.” The doctor sighed, “I’m only the doctor, here to oversee your physical recovery, and since you basically only bumped your head, and show no signs of a serious concussion, I’m going to let the officers take your statement now.” The doctor turned to leave.

“Wait, I was tasered, I remember that.” Kaidan called.

“If you were, it left no traces.” The doctor said hurriedly and left.

Kaidan sighed, this was crazy – the kafka’ish way of crazy.

“Alenko.” Two serious looking officers said as they entered. Kaidan didn’t’ recognize them, so they weren’t c-sec.

“Yes.” Kaidan said.

“I’m agent Fox, and that is agent Assim.” The man pointed to the tall angry looking Turian next to him.

“Agents? What for a bump on my head?” Kaidan blinked confused.

“No Sir, we’re internal affairs.” Agent Fox said as he sat down. “We’re investigating the attempted murder of Eddie Lang.”

“The what of Eddie?” Kaidan repeated in disbelief.

“Attempted murder, Sir.”

“I did no such thing!” Kaidan argued, “I went with a lead, got there and it turned out to be Eddie. He told me I was an idiot, and then I was tasered – next thing I remember was here.”

Agent Assim looked through the medical records on his omnitool, “No mention of taser related burns.” He said slightly bored, shutting down the records swiftly.

Agent Fox sighed and picked up an omnitool from his black standard briefcase standing between his feet. “This is the omnitool you were brought in to the hospital with. It’s registered to Alenko, Kaidan 09202151-EA-9377-HU-M. Is that you? He held it up so Kaidan could see any and all distinctive marks.

“Yes.” Kaidan said drily.

“Right.”

“So there is an email on there from a barred sender, it was sent to me yesterday.” Kaidan said hopefully trying to sit, but realized that his position was pretty uncomfortable with one arm cuffed so far down on the bed, so he opted for just lying on his back, staring up into the white ceiling.

Agent Fox held the omnitool over to Kaidan so he could open it with a thumbprint. “Okay,” agent Fox opened the email program, “There is no email with a barred sender, the last email you received was this…”

 

From: Lang, Edward, Francis 05182160-CI-1951-HU-M

Subject: Meet me at the docks tonight at ten, I have the money. – Please.

 

“No?” Kaidan would have laughed if the situation hadn’t been this dire, “I never had any email from Eddie, and what money?”

“We don’t know; Eddie isn’t out of surgery so we can’t ask him.” Agent Fox stated.

“Wait, Jane Shepard called me last night, that would be the last call in the history.” Kaidan said.

Fox went to calling history, and found no Jane Shepard, no Shepard at all in fact. “There is an old video message for you in your saved files from John Shepard.” Agent Fox said, “Know what that is about?”

“No.” Kaidan stared at the screen of his omnitool, if he didn’t look at it with his own eyes, he wouldn’t have believed it.

Agent Fox pushed play and John Shepard fizzed to life on the monitor. “Kaidan.” He paused and searched for the right words. “It was fun to play catch up after so long, but it was what it was, please, please stop harassing my sister, and please stop calling me.”

“Turn it off”

“Mr. Alenko…”

“I said turn it off!” Kaidan yelled angrily, he didn’t understand anything of what was going on, and his only hope was that it was a drug-induced nightmare, but it felt real – terribly real.

Agent Fox stopped the video recording, and silently put the omnitool away.

“I don’t know what is going on, but none of that is true, please you have to believe me.” Kaidan begged, “Call Jane, she will tell you that I talked to her last night.”

“And where did this supposed call go out from?” Assim said staring out the window at the impressive view.

“My omnitool.” Kaidan whispered defeated. He turned his head to agent Fox, “Humor me then. Call her.”

Fox looked over at agent Assim’s back by the window, “We will, but as it is now – “

“As it is now.” Agent Assim said, finally turning to stare at Kaidan in the bed. “You are going to stay here, and you are going to pray that Eddie Lang wakes from surgery.”

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