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August 12, 2012
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After Thessia by Eji After Thessia by Eji
There's a story to go with this picture....

After Thessia

After Thessia, the ship had been starkly silent. Shepard hadn't said a word to anyone and had stolen himself away to his quarters after relaying the news of Thessia to the asari councillor. The unspoken despair and failure hung in the air long after he had gone, and it was not lost on Kaidan.

Despite everyone else's efforts to steer clear of Shepard's quarters, Kaidan felt in his gut that he had to go up there. He hesitantly motioned the door open and entered, unsure of what he would find. There, seated on his bed and staring listlessly at the fish tank was his Commander. For the briefest moment, a look of surprise flashed across Shepard's face as he realized Kaidan had come in, seen him like this. Then, it was back to the hardened mask, as if that had never happened.

"Kaidan, what are you doing here?" he asked, finally.

"Shepard... I understand you might want some time to yourself, but," Kaidan was going into unknown waters here, so he treaded carefully, "I wanted to see if there was anything I could do. In case you needed someone around."

"There's nothing you can do," he replied shortly. "There's nothing I can do, not for Thessia, not anymore."

Kaidan frowned, slowly approaching but still keeping a respectable distance. "Shepard, you couldn't have known that was going to happen. We were going into everything blind. You did your best... you've always done your best--"

"Yeah, that'll really make those dead asari feel better, won't it?" The acid in Shepard's voice bit back at Kaidan, but his eyes faltered after he had said it. "I... I'm sorry, Kaidan. I didn't mean to snap at you. I just..."

Shepard slowly got up from his bed and touched his hand to the cool window of the aquarium. His eyes sank as he watched the eels swim about, blissfully unaware of the hell around them. "So many lives... so many millions, trillions of lives." He took a breath, and Kaidan could hear a noticeable shudder hidden within it. "Everyone's always looking to me. Always hoping that I'll come through, that I'll save them. As if I were some kind of god, or... superhero. I have to be strong, inspire others, I can't let up this image of strength that they can rally towards..."

Kaidan joined him at the tank, his soft brown eyes scanning Shepard's tightened features, catching the strained brows. "You're doing all you can. That's all anyone could ask for."

"But it's not enough!" Shepard's voice was hoarse, and Kaidan could instantly feel it. His shield, his carefully constructed shell of control and defiance and determination; Kaidan saw it chip and crack, and in the holes he saw a vulnerable and shattered boy behind it. Shepard's lip bit back a gasp, but it was far too little, too late. The gasp became a shudder, and the shudder broke into a torrent of racked, ugly sobs that forced Shepard against the aquarium glass, fists pounding at it. He slid down to the ground, his shell crumbled and his sadness and fear laid bare and naked for Kaidan to see.

Kaidan knelt down and slowly extended his arms. Instinctively, Shepard rebelled against them at first, but the pain was far too great, and with a choked cry he relented and let those strong limbs embrace him with a gentle warmth. He felt as if a soothing balm was working its way over his raw nerves and he gave into it... as Kaidan held him silently on the floor and let Shepard cry for the first time in years.
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:icondorianpavus:
DorianPavus Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013   Digital Artist
I never knew you supported mShenko as well! Great!
Reply
:icondorianpavus:
DorianPavus Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013   Digital Artist
I never knew you supported mShenko as well! Great!
Reply
:iconrlchill:
rlchill Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
omg, this actually made me cry! :( its beautiful, but it just BROKE my heart!
Reply
:iconizzy1992:
izzy1992 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012  Student Digital Artist
ow! my heart! you broke it :(
Reply
:iconrhapsody4u:
Rhapsody4u Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I really like your style. Really a nice interpretation after the events of thessia. Nice work.
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:iconandrewryanart:
AndrewRyanArt Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Student General Artist
I wish Bioware had allowed Shepard to show more emotion, this is exactly how I was feeling after Thessia and wanted the game to reflect that and it was such a missed opportunity for Kaidan or whoever Shep was romancing to offer their support.
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:icondorianpavus:
DorianPavus Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013   Digital Artist
This.
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:iconn7kopper:
N7Kopper Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
I also wish for the opposite. To kind of roll with the punch, say "OK, Kai Leng was smarter than me this time, covered all the bases, even stopped my Charge by making the ground collapse under me - next time, I'll get him. And I'll take special care to arrest him - it hurts them more"

But nooooooo, Shepard has to make a hot-blooded murder of hatred rather than simply 'cuffing the helpless, disarmed guy. That's not how my Paragade was supposed to roll! (I understand why it was done, though - the game needed an unsympathetic villain, considering the Reapers...)
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:iconmr18er:
mr18er Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012
I agree with you 100%.
Reply
:iconmusta3nk3li:
Musta3nk3li Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great job, as always :) I love your art, I only hope to see more of it in the future <3
I've always thought that something was really missing, after Thessia. I expected your LI to confort Shep or at least to talk about it - I was really disappointed when I found out that only Garrus had some lines about it (along with Joker of course... if only Bioware made him romanceable!! :frustrated: )...
God bless the internet for this!
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:icondoctorhyper826:
DoctorHyper826 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
tears, actual tears are coming down my face, like a waterfall in fact. Brilliant story, short,sweet and so full of emotion, I geuss because this rings true for so many Shepards. The artwork is amazing also, simple yet well detailed in the right places. Bravo!!
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:iconrosered77:
RoseRed77 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012
DUUUUUUDDE.......I felt exactly the same way after that damn mission. I totally needed a hug from Kaidan too lol and asked a friend of mine to draw something very similar to this (except with Femshep)
Reply
:iconeji:
Eji Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012
Yeah I definitely could've used some Kaidan hugs :C
Reply
:iconausyandy:
ausyandy Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
Wow! This is so nice! Great art, and very nice story to go with the scene.

That story rings true a bit for my Shep, too. He had to let everything out to Kaidan after Thessia and a few other missions, and lost it over the insane amount of pressure he is constantly under.

Awesome art, and writing!
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:iconeji:
Eji Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012
Thank you! Yeah, I always wished there was something like this to show what Shepard was going through...
Reply
:iconriversun:
Riversun Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That;s pretty much my Shep after Thessia D:: that was the worst mission of her life. Except she'd be ranting and swearing and throwing things before crying xD
Reply
:icondanironyai:
danironyai Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
This made me cry. It's so beautiful. (T_T)
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:iconmasseffectfanger:
MassEffectFanGER Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
After the failed Thessia mission, my Shepard banged Cortez hard against the fish tank. A kind of rude release of anger and stress...
But he has apologized to him afterwards. ;-)
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:iconelledontyoudare:
ElleDontYouDare Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student General Artist
awwww! this is so sad!!!!!


I had a similar story in mind for this, but i dunno, I think I like yours better XD

great job, and wonderful art!
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