Kaidan frowned when he opened the locker that held his personal effects. The first thing he grabbed was his helmet – he could almost smell the fresh paint on it and, most telling, it was free of any dents or damage. Considering the injuries he sustained, there should have at least been some scratches in the paint. Instead, his helmet was like new. Same for the chest plate, the greaves, the leg armor... all of it was like new. Even the old dents and scrapes that made his armor his were missing. Sure, it was still that same shade of custom blue he favored with the white stripes that he thought set the whole thing off and the mods were all the same. Hell, even the clasps and buckles were set just so and didn't need adjustment. But it wasn't the same armor he wore to Mars. It wasn't the same armor that saved his life.
It was his, but it wasn't.
When he asked the doctors and nurses about it, they gave him a knowing smile and said his mysterious benefactor wanted to remain anonymous. His gut told him this was all Allie, but his armor wasn't cheap and now with the Reapers arrival he was certain any armor would be in short supply. He knew Allie would be busy rallying the troops, trying to get help for Anderson and for everyone still on earth.
Would she have had the time to replace all his armor? Would she have even had the inclination to?
He remembered the hurt look on her face when he questioned her loyalties, asking if she'd been modified like the husk-looking soldier he unmasked on Mars. He remembered the sound of her voice, the fear when she screamed his name when Dr. Eva grabbed him by the front of his helmet and smashed him against the shuttle. They talked about it a little, and about Horizon, too. He knew how much his words hurt her, but when she left he felt like they'd taken five steps forward in fixing their relationship. Even so, she hadn't said anything about his armor when she visited him. Nothing in her demeanor or their conversation led him to believe she was behind this.
After inspecting each piece, he realized he shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Still, he would have liked to have seen his old set. He knew his injuries were severe, especially the ones to his head, and he wondered how much worse they would have been if it hadn't been for his armor protecting him.
Allie was well on her way to Sur'Kesh, her mind replaying the conversation she had with Kaidan before they left. She wondered if he found his new armor yet and her gaze drifted to the box in the corner of her quarters that held the damaged pieces. She pulled the box out and opened it, her fingers tracing the dents and scrapes that covered his old armor, tracing through the thin sheen of red dust that dulled the vibrant blue paint.
Maybe some day he'd ask her about his new gear.
Maybe some day she'd admit to replacing it.