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Requiem for the returned

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Earth, March 23, 2187 CE

 

When they said ‘your whole life flashes before your eyes when you die’ she hadn't given much thought to it. It had been a long time since she'd even considered her own life. She was too busy considering others, too busy arguing with politicians, too busy fighting for a future it didn’t seem she’d ever reach. There were too many big questions to answer, to consider the small ones. Like, would they even be looking to her for answers if she hadn't survived the Skyllian Blitz, if Saren hadn’t fired the first shot on Eden prime. Everything would have been different. She would have been different.

 

Or maybe nothing would change. It could have been anyone in her place.

 

The future would be the same wouldn’t it? It could go on without her. After all she was just one insignificant human. She emptied the clip of her pistol into the crucible.

 

In truth it wasn’t her whole life that flashed before her when the crucible detonated. She only saw the people she was leaving behind. She saw the future she could never have. She saw Anderson asking her if she ever considered settling down, if she ever considered starting a family. She saw herself sabotaging every hope and dream she had. For better or worse she had nothing worth making it off the Citadel for. Because deep down she'd never believed she’d make it out of this war alive.

 

Earth, October 3, 2170 CE

 

The thing about dreams is sometimes they felt real. She woke up gasping for air, feeling the heat and feeling of flesh burning off her skin. She woke up certain she’d died on the Citadel only to find herself safe on Earth. It felt like she hadn't been home in seventeen years. That the last place she’d been on Earth was the other side of the country. Not that Vancouver wasn't nice. But she’d grown up in Toronto. It was her shitshow still showing the signs of the riots that broke out during the first contact war.

 

Her place wasn’t exactly a luxury hotel. But the shithole apartment was mold and relatively pest free. What pests were there were, were the kind her roommates cat took pleasure in hunting. Mica was probably the best thing about the place. The grey tabby was far more charming than the man that owned her. Probably because she didn’t spend all her time complaining about not having a boyfriend. Darius was sweet but he was more than a little stupid and he never shut up. Despite that he was brilliant when it came to tech. Half the crap they owned had been fixed up by him.

 

She was still shaking off the dream when she noticed her own hair. Long unruly curls with bleached ends that she hadn't bothered to take care of despite complaining constantly about it. In the dream she’d cut it all off in the washroom of the Alliance recruitment office with scissors she’d nicked from somewhere. She remembered something about wanting to fit regulations. It was stupid, but...

 

She slipped her omni tool onto her wrist. It had been old when she’d gotten it but it felt ancient now. The date it displayed was accurate but… It was a really, really convincing dream she’d had. That or she’d been sent back in time. A chill ran down her spine. She hoped it was a dream. If it wasn’t… Well, if it wasn't they were fucked.

 

She grabbed the knife beside her bed padding to their shitty washroom. She could still see the echo of the scars on her face as she pulled her hair into an elastic. The knife followed sawing at the ends until the bleached ends were gone. It was uneven as hell and there were still a few blonde bits but it was manageable. She had no idea how she hadn’t gotten fed up with it years ago. Darius probably. He’d throw a fit when he woke up.

 

Earth October 4, 2170

 

Running with the Reds wasn’t a choice. The problem with growing up in foster care was it sucked. You either got adopted, you kept your head down, or you were a target. No one had wanted her and she’d never been good at keeping her mouth shut. So she’d ended up a target. A target that ran away at thirteen, and got sucked into a gang that couldn't care less if any of the kids they picked up lived. It was the same rules with a different setting. Become an asset, keep your head down, or become a target. She’d never been any good at keeping her mouth shut. So she ended up a target. Only this time she wasn’t alone.

 

Part of her had known there would be a shootout out. She'd seen it in the dream she ignored, dammit. October fourth, ten forty-six pm. She’d watched it play out exactly the same way. The thugs she’d pissed off two days before storming the cafe they were having lunch at. In hindsight she should have trusted it.

 

Darius hadn’t made it, she’d frozen up and watched as an entire clip was emptied into him.

 

She bit back a sob as memories replayed themselves in her mind. It didn’t matter that she’d changed the outcome this time. That she hadn’t frozen. Darius was talking but she couldn't focus on the words. He was still alive this time. He had a bullet in his arm but he was alive. The dream, everything she remembered was real. It was all real.

 

They shouldn't have been there. She should have trusted her gut and stayed home with him. But some sick part of her wanted to live in denial. It wasn't a dream.

 

It wasn't a dream.

 

This was real.

 

The reapers were coming and they were all fucked.