New fic up on ff.net
Word Count: 21k
Main Characters: Kaidan Alenko, Fem!Shep
Summary: The words now mattered less than the giving. “It’s something to show you that I still know who I am. That you still know who I am.”http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7895266/1/Long_Suffered
Below are ALL of the notes on the evolution of the story:
I know I've done very badly the past few months on finishing IC. To be forthright, I had every intention of writing over winter break, but it got away from me. In the form of Dragon Age 2.
Now a new semester has started and I have already fallen a bit behind in my chem and trig studies. In the form of Mass Effect and ME2.
I'm not here to talk about uni. I'm here to gush about the amazing amount of writing I have been doing lately for FIC in ME. Specifically No.2. I didn't have a ton of inspiration for the first game. Honestly, I thought it was a little lack luster given what the goal was. Maybe because a few years out from its original release the audience (namely me,) has had a chance to catch up and it was a little predictable. I mean some of the tropes they implemented were effective, but not WOW.
Then, I played ME2. Wow. WOW.
I was nervous about even getting ME2 because all of the ratings rated it lower than the first ME. I don't know if they were comparing the two games or if they were reviewing it to all other games. Either way, it should have gotten much better reviews. I say this because the developers knew exactly what they were doing. The game I'm playing is MY game. SO many of the choices that you deal with in ME2 are based directly on your choices from the first game. It was... thrilling. I don't use that word lightly, but it really was most enjoyable. [Times like these make me glad for a brother who will nerd out with me and let me rave for fifteen minutes about how excited I am for Mass Effect 3.] Another part of why I enjoyed ME2 so much was because I did not let read any spoilers or get into ANY of the fandom at all. TBH, I still haven't. I looked at a good bit of fanart, and now I wish I hadn't because I may or may not have been spoiled by a few things. I don't even want to play the ME3 demo because I am SO excited for this game.
**note to self, take off March 6th/7th when ME3 is released so I can just finish the game in one go. not even joking about this.
Anyway, I've been writing a single story that was inspired by the events of Horizon in ME2, and its aftermath. If you, by some chance, are the last person on the planet to arrive to this game (and that's not just me) and don't want to be spoiled, navigate away now. I have story notes that are going to be fairly spoiler heavy for the second game and I haven't written in LJ in long enough that I can't remember how to do a cut off the top of my head. So navigate away now!
I played through ME and ME2 without any kind of incentive or pressure from anyone. I started by playing Dragon Age: Origins, then moved to DA2 and thought that if BioWare’s “main game” was partially as good as DA:O or DA2 then it would have to be pretty good. I was not disappointed.
I nearly spoiled myself by visiting BioWare Confessions on tumblr too often, but got some self-control and did not see really spoiling confessions before finishing both the games. Except I saw one where someone was dissing Kaidan. Before I’d ever met him, I saw this confession and thought, “This guy must be a saltine cracker. I will not romance him!” At the time I thought Garrus was romanceable in ME (okay, so maybe I was a bit spoiled) and thought I would try my hand at him. Lol, turns out, I don’t really like Garrus as an LI. As a friend, I am sure I could tolerate him more, but he was too hardline, too “by any means necessary” for my tastes, even in the first game. That was only enhanced in the second game because of his experiences. I ended up sympathizing with Kaidan and the things he had gone through. Despite having a rough childhood, and having killed someone by the age of 17, he was a really, really decent guy.
Yup, I bought it, hook, line, and sinker.
Then came ME2.
I did REALLY well at not spoiling myself for this one, and honestly, it was excellent. I am still surprised at how people rated it so poorly compared to ME1. The hardest thing I had to get used to were a few changes in the command system from the keyboard, but after a few missions I had it down pat and I was really enjoying it. The emotionality of the game was intense (yeah, especially an unguided take of the suicide mission), like reuniting with Garrus and Liara and Tali. Each time, I wanted to say, “No!! Really! Please come with me!”
With your new crew, you really didn’t know who you could trust or who you could not. Cerberus, I wanted to hate them, especially after I spent so much time in ME building relationships with alien races and doing my best to represent the human race. Why would I trust an organization that only viewed me as an investment? I was glad that the paragon options were mistrustful of them, but it didn’t feel like being a complete tool was going to get any progress, so I cooperated- not that I wouldn’t have either way, since the game channels you into that choice, but still… I accepted that it was my choice to work with them.
And oh, yes, I was waiting and waiting for some kind of reunion with Kaidan. After forcing him to go help the other crew members and then getting spaced at the beginning of the game (btw, I didn’t even know what was happening when the suit was venting. I thought for sure it would work out some way!) it was SO emotional. Anderson kind of left me hanging and Joker was like, “Whatever, gotta get stuff done, let’s move on…” and so I was waiting for someone to give my Shepard a break. I KNEW Kaidan wouldn't let me down!
Then Horizon happened.
Honestly, the only thing I didn’t like about the interaction was that I thought Kaidan would join the crew. I was not angry with his responses or even the way Shepard’s dialogue went. I admitted, I expected him to be a little more sensitive, but to be fair to him there was no information going around about where Shepard was or what had happened. He had every right to react the way he did- to him it seemed like Shepard was nonchalant and that she had betrayed the Alliance. Plus, he had just gone through nearly being taken by the Collectors, and that had to be harrowing in and of itself. For him to hold it together so well, I thought was admirable.
Shepard didn’t react so strongly, and that too is understandable. She was probably overwhelmed at seeing him after holding off the Collectors, but she was also on a team with people she barely knew. Why would she go baring her heart in front of such people? She’s in charge and meant to be the leader of the team. She can’t go freaking out just because she wants to. No, she’s the one who has to hold it together.
It was a very mature situation, and I thought it was great. Plus, more information came out when Kaidan sent the letter and he really did explain himself well. In my headcanon, as soon as he got back to the Citadel and found a private place, he had a good cry. Then he wrote Shepard a letter.
This story came partially out of my own feelings on the subject, perhaps what both Shepard and Kaidan were feeling, but also by something that could have actually happened. Shepard was running around taking care of unfinished business for everyone else, but not for herself? How’s that fair? So. Here 'tis.
It’s safe to assume that this is not an entirely unique idea, but it’s my take on it at any rate, and since ME3 is coming out soon, this is my tribute to stoking the fan fire. MARCH 6TH, HURRY UP.
Since writing these notes, I have... not done very well at staying away from ME3 stuff. NO SPOILERS HERE. But I did read that Jennifer Hale made a comment about Shepard, that at this part of the series her humanity really comes out, and she's "very tired." (Read Interview Here
) And some other stuff.
I just feel really happy with the way this story has come out. It took a few days to hammer out the draft, but when it came out it was pretty much the way I wanted. A few details took more time than others to hammer out and some things might feel a little forced, but I tried to hold in mind a few things:
1. Both Shepard and Alenko are two adults. Most of the ME fans tend to occupy a younger demographic than the actual characters. That or those fans who give fandom a voice speak with a voice that says they are younger than the 32-34 range of Shenko. I think this is the origin of a lot of inter-fandom drama that is completely unnecessary when it goes into an angry, jealous direction.
2. The actual characters always conducted themselves with self-control, even when they were throwing caution to the wind and admitting their feelings (hello, pre-Ilos night) the mission always came first. Their loyalties to a higher cause always came first. This is sad, but also admirable, and a HUGE characteristic of their relationship.
3. I really felt like they were in love, in a love tempered by experience and the understanding that you don't want to suffer any more than possible- not you or the one you love. If it's less painful to let him/her go, then you will. I think that was at the heart of Kaidan's letter, actually. [WHICH YOU CAN LISTEN TO RAPHAEL SBARGE READ RIGHT HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9LWRWb_al4-
it adds SO much depth to the letter!!! aslkjdlwjeerrrrr!!!]
Other factors boil off of these two, which I already touched on in the larger exposition above, but I just wanted to share these two main points as the main guides for why I didn't write something so amazingly dramatic and, "OH MAN U GAIZ KISS AND MAKE BABEEZ." Even though I really. Really. Wanted to.
Have I mentioned that I'm ready for March 6th?
Oh, I also listened to Jack Wall's "Love Theme" from the ME SDTK on repeat for a few days. It's so simple and elegant. Looooove it. A few times I listened to "Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift (ft. the Civil Wars. Learn them. Love them.) The first song choice was obvious for inspiration, and the second is for a different fandom also arriving in March, but the lyrics are so appropriate for a relationship in which the outside circumstances are uncertain, but the love within it is as strong as any rock. Very beautiful, protective song. I enjoy it, but in the light of Kaidan/Shepard, I LOVE it. Loooove it.
I'm seriously wishing my life away for March 6th right now. Good thing time doesn't work that way. /whew
If you read this all the way through, I salute you. I also thank you. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts in this whole process.