Pain. Pain was all he could feel.
Not from outside. In fact, he was provided with every comfort available to an ex-Primarch, ex-Spectre, and ex-Reaper Specialist. No, this pain came from him. From inside. The dulled pain of more than a hundred years of fighting, and the sharp, ever-present, burning pain that came with ten years of being alone.
He shouldn’t have been shocked at how much it hurt. He had lost her once before. Lost her in a flare of fire and ice. But this—this had been a much different kind of pain. He had watched her red hair turn grey, her green eyes fill with pain, and the strength—the physical kind—leave her body. The damage she had done to herself over the years built up, and decided to dump itself on her in one last year full of endless doctor’s visits, longer stays in the hospital, and one big knife through the chest for him.
And then she died.
Not in an explosion, or via a bullet in a vital place, she just…died. Died next to him one moment, her fingers desperately trying to hold on to his, and her face—her face from thirty years ago, young and fiery with her red hair falling around a triumphant face—is up on every screen in the entire damn galaxy the next, two numbers under her name. Two numbers, with a dash between them, and it was over.
He missed the days when it was just one number. The days they had had together. Every single one of them was a precious memory he refused to let slip away. Spirits, he had loved her so much.
He was old now too. Almost a hundred and twenty, a very respectable age for a very respectable turian. He didn’t want to be respectable—he wanted to be left alone. Alone until the darkness he knew came for him. The pain was starting to arrive from outside, as well, a growing feeling of build-up in his chest that he refused to tell anyone about. After all, they might try to fix it. He was now sure he didn’t want that. He loved her.
He held her tags every night. At the funeral, everyone had tried to pretend like they had some sentimental piece of Commander Shepard—a hundred and three different kinds of flowers were provided by different people, in the hopes one would actually have been her favorite—but Hackett had stepped in and prevented her N7 dog tags from being auctioned off for an exorbitant amount of credits and gave them to him. When he asked Hackett why him, the old Admiral just said, “I know you’ll take care of them.”
He was grateful. He loved her. And so he held them every night and willed her to come back. Either for her to come back, or for him to join her. He did not actively seek death. He just awaited it without an ounce of resistance, to greet it like an old friend, giving his hospitality willingly.
And so one morning he woke up, and he didn’t.
He distinctly remembered standing, and his bones didn’t hurt. His joints didn’t protest when he walked forward to open the plain door he was sure he did not have in his apartment. His plates didn’t creak or even cause him pain when he smiled.
He opened the door, and he saw only one thing. He heard a voice, too—a voice that went with red hair and gunfire, green eyes and ships, pale skin and blunt fingernails. A voice that meant humor, laughter, fury, fire, love, life, home. A voice he had been waiting for for ten years.
"I’ve been waiting for you, Vakarian. They have ryncol."