also here on Ao3 for much easier reading
Shepard’s funeral is on a Thursday – not that it matters given the different methods of keeping time these days, but Ashley can’t help but note it anyway.
The whole Normandy crew, what’s left of it at least, is gathered solemnly at the front of the precession, listening as Admiral Anderson delivers a speech about Shepard and her greatness reaching out across the galaxy to inspire people.
Tali is crying, Ashley can’t see it but she can tell and it’s all too easy to wrap an arm around the small Quarian and let her lean on her shoulder. It’s not all that different than consoling Sarah when their father died, just an instinct in her to help someone she had just begun to think of as a sister.
Garrus pulls Tali away with him when he leaves, with a nod and what Ashley thinks might be a grateful smile but she can never really tell with Turians, he promises to get Tali back to the Migrant Fleet before returning to the Citadel – Wrex joins them even though it’s nowhere near Tuchanka and far out of his way and Ashley thinks those three will be all right.
She’s not sure she feels the same about herself as she walks back over to the rest of the Alliance crew – Joker looks as good as she feels, with his shoulders slumped and only vaguely nodding along to whatever Kaidan is trying to tell him.
“Kaidan’s right Joker,” Ashley says once she’s close enough, “This isn’t your fault.”
“Sure as hell feels like.” Joker mutters, then slips out of Kaidan’s grasp and into the crowd.
“Let him go.” Ashley grabs Kaidan’s arm when he starts to head after Joker, “Liara’s got this.”
The Asari walks past them on her way to catch up with Joker and it might be for be for the best, Liara’s been strangely quiet since Shepard’s death and any attempts to talk to her get halted before they even start.
Ashley can’t blame her, Liara loved Shepard after all.
“I guess,” Kaidan frowns and then turns back towards her, “What about you, how are you holding up?”
“As best I can.”
For whatever reason that almost makes Kaidan smile, his lips twitching upwards before he catches himself.
“You and me both.” He sighs and runs a hand through his hair and looks around, Anderson nods their way when they catch his gaze and they nod back in unison.
Kaidan looks tired, the only other time she’d ever seen him like before was…Virmire.
They still haven’t talked about that.
“Come on LT.” She tugs at the arm that’s still in her grasp. “Let’s get out of here.”
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