Posted by : Wendy B Thursday, 12 April 2012

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction for my personal entertainment (and maybe yours). Mass Effect and all related characters and locations are the property of Bioware Inc. RATING: Grown ups.
I was dead. I liked it that way. At least, I think I did. I don’t really recall what was going on while I was dead. I just remember watching the Normandy explode in a brilliant flash and then listening to myself breathe until I couldn’t any more. There was no light at the end of any tunnel, unless you count the Normandy. My life didn’t flash before my eyes. Just... an image of my dad. With that look on his face. You know the look. The one that makes a kid either want to escape into the biggest hole in the ground, or climb the biggest mountain to make him proud. Or in my case, both. The mountain climbing always won out, though. I’m pretty sure I didn’t see my dad while I was dead. But alive, I see him all the time. I see that look. It wasn’t the look on his face when he was cut down in front of me, but it’s the one I remember.

Jenkins. He’s got a look for me, too. It’s not the terrified expression he wore when I was holding him against me on Mindoir, trying to comfort him and keep him silent while the batarians ripped our lives apart. I think, maybe, I could handle it if that was the look that haunts my dreams. Instead, I see him with his big stupid grin. That big stupid grin he greeted me with the day he joined the Alliance after promising me he wouldn’t. I was the one his parents entrusted him to before they were massacred! I was the one who saved him on Mindoir! But I thought all he cared about was the shiny armour of the Alliance soldiers. Who was I to deny him that opportunity when I had joined the Alliance myself? It was my job to protect you, idiot! How can I do that when you’re standing in the line of fire! Jenkins just laughed and gave me that big stupid grin. I’m an adult now, Jax, he said. I don’t need you to be my hero anymore. I can take care of myself.

 I laughed. Your hero? He smiled. Always have been, Jax. Now it’s my turn to make you proud.

 I don’t want to be any body’s fucking hero, but I can’t help it. I just do what my dad expects of me and I somehow never fail to prove myself to him because he’d instilled in me this drive to climb those damn mountains when his own broken, withered legs prevented him from doing so. That’s not my definition of a hero. It’s just what everyone wants to call me. Sometimes I think it’s funny that I got a medal for Elysium. They gave me a medal for cutting down every batarian in my sight on Elysium and ripping out their guts and tearing off their heads with my bare hands and screaming the name of every one of my friends and family that died on Mindoir. I guess it was a good thing there were no witnesses. I’d probably still have gotten a medal, but they’d have known what I really was and quietly locked me away. Instead, they promoted me and that look on my dad’s face kept on pushing me all the way to the Normandy where it was once again my job to keep Jenkins safe. I failed.

I was the one who saved him on Mindoir. I was the one who killed him on Eden Prime.

A bullet to the brain would solve me. One for you. One for me. But my dad won’t let me hide in that hole. He won’t even let me stop climbing these fucking mountains. Every time I get to the top, I keep hoping there is a hole that I can fall into and end it. Imagine my disappointment when facing off against something as great as Sovereign failed to kill me. Imagine my further disappointment when I actually did die, only to be brought back again by Cerberus. I hate The Illusive Man, Liara and Miranda for that. At least Cerberus made amends by giving me an opportunity to find that release again. I surrounded myself with the dead and the dying and those who weren’t afraid of the other side or who brought it with them. Imagine my further disappointment when I survived a fucking suicide mission.

So I’m back. The war hero. Waging war on our ultimate destruction. Solving everyone’s problems because they expect no less of me. Fuck you all. I don’t want to be your hero.

Some kid is talking to me. He looks like Jenkins. He looks like my dad. The newest face to haunt my dreams. I want to shoot him in the head. But I don’t. Because he’s offering me a choice. For the first time. I have a choice. I’ve climbed the final mountain and now I can choose to end it all. I’m not really listening after he tells me what I want to hear. What I need to hear.

Fuck you all. I don’t want to be your hero. But I will be. One last time. And then I’ll be done.

WHAT IS THIS?

This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two.

I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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