Author Note: Well, this is it. I don't know about you, but I think I'll miss Adams. Maybe I'll resurrect this character someday. We'll see. But if that day doesn't come, I sincerely hope you enjoy this last ride with her. Thank you to everyone who's read and reviewed, you're the reason this shitshow kept going. I appreciate you all so much.
Pain. Lots of pain. There was a metric fuckton of pain. Someone kept poking me, and it fucking hurt.
"Quit fucking touching me, or I'll rip out your esophagus and beat you to death with it!" I said.
Or, I tried to. What actually came out was, "Nghuhghgh, ghughg. Nughhhhhhh."
My eyelids were so heavy. Fuck, they must have me pretty goddamn sedated. I tried to open my eyes, but with no luck. They just woudn't.
"For the love of fuck, please stop drugging me. This not being able to open my eyes shit is going to drive me up the fucking wall, stop giving me drugs." Is what I meant to say. What came out was, "Nghnughn fuck ghghgnghg drugs." Which still got the message across, I think. Fuck those drugs.
Some time passed. I didn't know how much. It could've been weeks, days, hours or seconds. I hoped it was seconds. But after that time passed, I managed to open the heavy ass shit that was my goddamn eyelids and look around.
Fuck, the room was bright. It was clearly a hospital room, judging by the blinding ass flourescent lighting. God fucking damn, who's idea was it to make hospital rooms so fucking bright. Fucking hell.
There was some old hag standing off to the right side of my bed, looking through some kind of tablet. She was wearing a white coat, so she was probably a doctor. She had chin length white hair, and looked straight up haggard. God, I hoped I didn't look like that when I got older.
"Fuck." I actually managed to speak a word. Of course, the first word I spoke was a swear word. That's how I fucking roll, bitches.
The hag looked over at me, and set the tablet aside. "You're finally awake. I wasn't sure how long it would take for you to wake up."
"How long was I out?" I tried to ask, succeeding only in mumbling incoherently. Goddamnit Kasey, get it fucking together.
"I'm going to assume you asked me how long you were out, and answer that question accordingly. You've been in a medically induced coma for almost two weeks. I decided to try and bring you out of it today, and it looks as though it was the right decision."
Two weeks? Two fucking weeks? What the fuck? People could have died in the two weeks I was snoozing away in this fucking bed. Fuck that. I was going to go find them.
I shifted my position and was assaulted by pain. But I was a tough ass bitch, and I could power through that. I sat up.
"Don't get out of bed. I'll put you back under if you do. You're not fully recovered enough to leave here."
This old ass bitch was pissing me the fuck off. Who the fuck did she think she was, telling me what to do?
"Fuck you, I do what I want." I couldn't have chosen a better sentence to be the first one I was able to say clearly. Someone write that shit down. The first clear thing Kasey Adams says after coming out of a medically induced coma is "fuck you, I do what I want". Put it in the history books.
The old bitch turned to me and gave me an evil eye. "No, you do not. Not while you're under my care."
I coughed to clear my throat. "Whatever." I moved, grimacing, to swing my legs off the bed.
She came up to me and got right in my face. "Do not leave this bed."
"And who are you to think you can stop me from doing that?" I said, being the asshole that I always had been.
"I'm Dr. Halsey."
I stared at her, my eyes wide. Then, I slowly scooted back to my original position, and laid back. I coughed awkwardly. "You know what? I think I'm just going to lay here and not go anywhere. That sounds like a great idea."
The corner of her mouth lifted slightly. "I agree."
My head was pounding. My mouth was dry. My whole body hurt like fucking hell. I coughed again. Coughing hurt. It hurt so fucking bad. It felt like my entire torso was being ripped open. "Um. Dr. Halsey? Why are you my doctor? I'm literally just your every day, basic bitch medic. Why bring out one of the most renowned doctors in UNSC history to treat me?" I was really fucking curious. One of the only other people Dr. Halsey had taken as a patient in fucking decades was one of her Spartans. So why me? It's not like I was special enough to warrant that kind of treatment.
She was silent for a long moment. "I owe the Arbiter, for doing a great many things to keep John safe. I owe Captain Lasky for the same. I owe Fireteam Osiris for bringing him back to me. In light of that, when the Arbiter, Captain Lasky and Vale all contacted me, asking for my assistance, and especially when John himself also put in word in your favor, I couldn't say no." She studied me. "There are many people who are in various positions of importance who think very highly of you. That originally sparked my curiosity. After looking through your accomplishments, I was very glad I had done all that I could to ensure you lived. I have not seen a doctor of your prowess in a long time. For the most part, you saved your own life. You would have died on Sanghelios, had you not had the presence of mind to have your friend run to your room and retrieve a medical device that the UNSC no longer accepts as medical equipment. I, myself, am curious to know where you got it from."
I realized she was referring to when I had briefly come out of unconciousness to yell at Christy to bring me my staple gun. She'd done it, and I'd just stapled as much of my side together as I could manage before passing out from the pain. No one was really supposed to know about the staple gun. The UNSC thought it was an inhumane form of treatment, but they were a load of fucking idiots. That staple gun, though pretty inhumane, could save someone's life. Whoever invented it had been a fucking genius.
"Uhh..." I hemmed for a moment, not sure if I wanted to tell her where I'd gotten it from.
"Tell me where you got it."
"It was this random girl. She found me before I went on a mission. I don't know who she was. This was years ago. She just walked up to me and said, 'this might be useful to you' and handed it to me. I've had it ever since. She was blonde. Kind of weird. I don't know. She just gave it to me. I've used it a lot. It's really great for combat situations where you can't drop and give someone stitches. So, yeah. I did it to myself."
Dr. Halsey shook her head slightly. "She gave it to you. It was like she knew." She sighed. "That device is the only thing that saved you. If you'd had to wait for the Infinity, you'd have been dead long before it came. It was good thinking on your part. You were well prepared. And the placement of the staples was impeccable. Minimizing trauma and maximizing effectiveness."
"Thanks?" I said, cautiously. The most talented, calloused scientist/doctor in the known universe was complimenting me. Pardon me if I was a little bit weirded out by that.
She waved hand. "It doesn't matter. What matters is that you're awake. And alert. And in light of that, I am now obligated to contact certain individuals who have a special interest in you being alive."
I raised an eyebrow. "And who would that be?"
"The Captain, for one. He gave me specific instructions to let him know when you were concious. The other is the Arbiter. And far be it from me to stand between the Arbiter and..." She stopped and studied me for a moment. "...whatever you are to him. Someone of importance. Just how important I neither know nor particularly care about."
"What about my ODST Team? Where are they? What's up with them?" Goddamn, was there any water around here? Fuck.
"They are alive. That is all I know. I have been here, overseeing your care, and not taking an interest in military operations that do not concern me." She turned away from me. "Now, if you will excuse me, I will inform Captain Lasky of your current status, and have him contact the appropriate individuals who also have an interest in your wellbeing."
She left. It was about damn time. That bitch freaked me out. She was like the walking dead, emotionless and methodical. I didn't want to spend anymore time with her than I absolutely needed to.
I leaned back and closed my eyes. I was already bored. Being stuck in a hospital bed was fucking boring. I felt like I'd been awake for five minutes, and I was already bored. Goddamn.
"Adams, you'd better be fucking alive." A voice penetrated my boredom. A welcome and familiar voice. The voice of my bff, my main squeeze, my favorite hoe.
My eyes flew open. "Christy!"
She let out a scream and jumped onto the bed with me. "Oh my god! You're alive!"
"Yes! I'm alive! And I'm fucking tired of being here!"
"I'm tired of you being here too!" She went to hug me, then stopped, and gently patted my shoulder. "I don't know how much drugs they have you on, but you look like you hurt, so I'll just pat your shoulder."
"Thanks, I appreciate that. I feel like I got run over by a tank. I fucking hurt."
"You should totally show me your side. Is it gross?"
"I don't know, I haven't looked."
"Yoooo, you should straight up show us your side. I bet it's super gross." Ewing skittered in, looking around nervously. "Dr. Weirdo isn't here, is she?"
"Nah, she left to do important shit. And fine, I'll show you my side, but you'll have to move. Y'all can't see it if you're on my left."
They moved around to the other side of the bed, like a true captive audience. I grabbed the hem of my hospital gown and started to gingerly move it up.
"Oh, shit. You're about to show them the wound, aren't you?" Greg walked in, looking far too interested. What was this, a show? Should I be offended they weren't throwing $1 bills at me?
"Just don't re-open the wound while you're showing it to your adoring fans. That's definitely something I could see happening to your stupid ass."
Now Vale had joined the party.
"Are you guys done? And in prime viewing position? Because I'm only doing this once, because Vale is right, in that ripping open my wound to show it to you assholes is something that's totally likely to happen to me."
There were various affirmations of readiness from the peanut gallery.
I pulled up the gown. And looked at it myself.
It looked exactly like a major wound that had been stitched shut. No blood and guts. No infection. Just an almost foot long wound that had been cleaned and stitched shut. For a doctor, this was literally the most anticlimactic thing you could see after a near death experience. For the rest of them, though, it was apparently super gross and totally new.
They all spent a good minute making commentary about the grossness of the wound and how awful it looked. Ewing asked if he could poke it.
"Fuck no, you can't poke it. I'll kill you if you do. It fucking hurts."
He scoffed. "You can't kill me. You probably can't even get out of that bed."
Being the absolute fucking blazing moron I am, I totally had to correct him. "Uh, yes, I can."
"Yeah? Prove it!"
"Don't prove it. Adams, stay in the fucking bed. Don't be a blazing moron."
It was like Vale knew exactly what I was going to do.
I struggled my bitch ass out of the bed, swearing the entire time, until I was standing up in front of Ewing. "See?" I said, trying to sound as confident and badass as I could, through gritted teeth and a strangled voice. "I can get out of bed."
"Great job, Adams. Wonderful. You've proved to all of us that you can get out of bed. Fantastic. Please get the fuck back in it before you pass out and actually die."
Vale, the voice of reason. Too bad I'd already resolved myself never to listen to her.
"Whoa dude. You really could kill me if I poked your side. Goddamn, you look like shit in that hospital gown."
"You know what? No wound poking required to kill you. I'm just going to kill you right now." I took a step forward.
It was at this exact moment that Dr. Halsey returned with Captain Lasky.
Lasky looked incredibly concerned, and what little life had been in Dr. Halsey's eyes immediately dissipated, and she looked at me like I was the biggest fucking idiot in the galaxy. Which I probably was.
"Hello, Captain Lasky, sir. As you can see, I am completely fine and ready to go back to duty." I said as brightly as I could manage, my voice still sounding strangled through all the pain I was in.
Captain Lasky just closed his eyes for a moment, clearly hiding an eyeroll. Dr. Halsey didn't even make an attempt to hide hers.
"Forgive me, Dr. Adams, if I don't buy that." Lasky said, looking at me with an incredibly unimpressed expression.
I shrugged. "It was worth a shot."
"No, it wasn't. That wasn't even halfway convincing. You're a fucking idiot. I hope they don't give you any pain meds so you pay for being a complete fucking idiot."
Ah, what a best friend I had. Truly, the most kind and caring individual in my life.
Thanks, Vale. Fuck you too.
Captain Lasky cleared his throat, and I noticed that Ewing had gone completely rigid, standing at attention, his face a little pink. Haha. Sucker.
"Dr. Adams, I've been asked to inform you that your work on Sanghelios in ridding the planet of Kal 'Nradaman has lead to an outbreak of a civil war, between those who would end the alliance with humanity, and those who would keep it. Fortunately, those who would end the alliance with humanity seem to be a small enough majority that the civil war on Sanghelios won't last long. We offered to take your mother off world, but she declined. As I had last heard, she is there assisting the Arbiter in quelling the resistance. I have also heard that she is engaged in a serious relationship with a Sanghelios warrior, Ren 'Vadam, who is a fine and upstanding warrior that is fiercely devoted to the Arbiter and to an alliance with humanity."
All I could muster up was a groan. Goddamnit, mom. It's been two weeks.
Ewing broke his rigid posture to jeer at me silently. Fuck you, asshole.
"Captain, I am glad to hear of all of that. Don't you think Ewing looks especially crisp in his standard issue BDU's?"
Christy choked on a laugh, Greg bowed his head, Vale laughed outright and Ewing shot me a glare.
Captain Lasky looked vaguely mystified for a moment, then cleared his throat. "Yes. Uh, Ewing. You look very sharp."
Fuuuuuckkkk youuuuuuuuu Ewing.
Lasky shook his head, understanding that something was going on and he wasn't privy to the inside joke, but didn't particularly care what that joke was, and then he continued. "I have also been asked to inform you that the Arbiter is leaving his troops in the command of said Ren 'Vadam and is on his way to the Infinity to see to your status personally."
"Really? Because he doesn't need to be here. I'm chill. Everything's great. Dr. Halsey has been, like, fantastic. He should stay and finish the fight that I definitely started, and everyone knows I started." I shot a look at my friends. "Everyone knows I started that fight, right?"
Vale rolled her eyes at me. "Yes, everyone knows you started a civil war on Sanghelios."
"Good. Since no one seems to remember any of my medical accomplishments, I guess I'll go down in the history books as that bitch who fucked the Arbiter, then started a civil war on Sanghelios. I'll take it."
There was a collective sigh, some eyerolling from my friends, a choked laugh from Christy, a facepalm from Vale, a glint of amusement in the eyes of Dr. Halsey, and a headshake of genuine amusement from Captain Lasky.
"There are worse things to go down in history as." He said simply, putting a hand over his mouth.
I can take the professionalism out of anyone. Literally anyone.
"If you'll excuse me, I need to get back to the bridge. I'll check on your status later, Adams. I'm glad you're still with us."
Captain Lasky really meant it. He was such a great guy. Always doing the right thing and all that shit. No one in the UNSC was really his equal. God. I was so lucky to have him as my commanding officer. He also had a great ass to watch as he left your hospital room. Just one of the many perks of being stationed aboard the Infinity.
Dr. Halsey left too, citing some reason I didn't listen to, but nodded in response to like I'd listened. Christy, Ewing and Greg all left after her, because Fabian had briefly walked by and yelled at them to get their asses somewhere to something important, told me she'd be back later and I'd better be alive then, or so help her god, and it was just me and Vale left alone in the room.
I sat back down on the bed and looked at her. "You know, I'm going to miss your sorry carcass when you inevitably get sent on a mission. If you get back from that in one piece, and I'm still alive by then, we should go get a drink sometime. And you know what? Even if you're in several pieces, I'll still get a drink with the multiple pieces of you."
"Adams, that might just be the most touching thing you've ever said to me. I sincerely hope your flaming stupidity keeps you out of trouble long enough for that to happen."
I opened my mouth to say something savage in reply, but stopped when I saw her stiffen, grow serious and stand at attention. I turned towards the door and saw none other than humanity's greatest hero.
"Chief. Sir." Vale said, sort of awkwardly. I was totally going to mock her for that later.
"Spartan." He said, nodding at her. "Would you mind leaving Adams and I alone?"
"Of course not, sir." She nodded back and hightailed it out of the room as fast as her augmented legs could carry her. Bye, Vale.
I turned to the Chief. "Heyyy, Chiefy Wiefy, what's up?"
God, could I get any more weird? I hoped not.
He just raised an eyebrow at me.
I coughed. And immediately regretted it. That fucking hurt.
Thankfully, he ignored my obvious pain and awkwardness. "I came here for several reasons. One was to assess your status, and relay said status to an old friend. Another reason was to inform you that said old friend isn't someone I'll stand by and let you-"
I held up a hand.
Nah, that's a lie. I waved my arms around like a goddamned spazz.
"Okay, if you're about to tell me in a really roundabout way not to break Thel's heart or what the fuck ever, I can tell you right now that's not at all where I was going to go with that? Okay? So your Spartan heart can rest easy because, first of all, I've known him way longer than you have. I know you two have been through some shit and you're like close and whatever, but the point is that he's been around me way longer than you've been around him and I'm not going to fucking-" I stopped as he started laughing. "What?" I demanded, annoyed.
He held up his hands. "I get the idea. You're not just involved with him for a power play. Your offense at my unspoken implication is proof enough."
"Uh, I wasn't offended. Just letting you know that I'm way more important to him than you are. Just so we're clear on that."
He just shook his head at me.
"Whatever. Don't look at me like that. What was the other reason you came in here?"
He studied me for a long moment. "You and I have much in common. More so than we share in common with other people, I think. And I've come to the conclusion that you're worth getting to know. So I've come to offer such a thing."
"What, you want to be friends?"
"More or less."
"What does that even mean, Pretty Officer?"
Whoops. I had not meant to let that slip. Oh well. No taking that back now.
He just gave me a slightly mystified look. "What I mean is, given the events of the last few days, and how you've handled yourself, I'd be honored if you ended up by my side fighting for the safety of humanity."
Well, that was as high a compliment as I'd ever get from the Master Chief. And I'd take it. I'm not going to snub a compliment, especially from someone who was that hot.
What? I'm taken, not dead. He was totally hot.
"Yeah, same. I'd do an emergency bowel resection on you any day."
What the fuck, Adams? Is it even possible for you to carry on a normal conversation? Apparently not.
He looked slightly confused, but chose to just accept what I'd meant as a compliment. "Get well soon, Adams." He said, nodding at me, then leaving the room.
Goddamn, that ass. Christ. Take a picture, frame that shit and put it on my wall. What an ass.
I heard some heavy footsteps, a slight scuffle as two people apparently tried to get out of each other's way, then the Chief said, "Arbiter. Good to see you. I won't keep you."
Aw, shit. Now I had about 2.5 seconds to prepare myself for a "what are we" relationship talk. That wasn't nearly enough time for someone as emotionally stunted as me.
I wasn't prepared, not even remotely, for the rush of emotions that cascaded over me as his hulking frame filled the doorway.
I couldn't even manage to get his name out of my mouth. All I knew is that the last time I'd seen him, he was probably wishing to die so that he could forever escape my bullshit, and that he'd spent the last two weeks wondering whether I'd live or die, and god that must have been hell, because it'd be really sad to lose me.
So I did the thing that people do when they're super calm and collected and casual.
I just held out my arms and ignored the mortification that came with the tears that started inexplicably leaking out of my eyes.
He was at my side in an instant, sitting on the bed next to me, wrapping his arms around me. "Khase, don't cry."
"I'm not." I sobbed, like a complete fucking wimp.
His grip on me tightened. "Yes, you are."
"I'm NOT!" I said, trying to control my goddamn motherfucking emotions. Fucking goddamn motherfucking shit on a stick, Kasey. Get a fucking grip.
I gripped his back, pushing my face into the groove between his neck and his shoulder. "I'm not crying. This is just...a complication as a result of almost dying. I'm fine."
"Of course." He said, his deep voice soft and soothing.
It took me about a solid ten seconds to get that fucking grip, which was ten seconds too fucking many. "Did you miss me?" I asked, my voice muffled against his body.
He laughed, softly. "Yes, I did. I was worried about you."
"Good." I said, not moving, still gripping him.
He smoothed my hair, which I'm sure was just a fucking disaster. Goddamn. I didn't even have any time to look mildly presentable. Just straight out of a fucking medically induced coma. I'm sure I looked like hell.
"I have worried about you for what seemed like forever." He said, quietly, inhaling a breath against the side of my head. God, no. Don't do that. My hair probably smells like hospital and gross bullshit.
"Well, you don't have to worry anymore."
"And for that, I am glad."
There was silence for a minute. Then he slowly pulled back from me. No. Don't do that. Just hold me forever. Don't move back.
He studied my face."Khase..."
He shook his head. "I do not think it possible for me to refer to you that way."
I sighed. "All right. But you're the only one who can call me that. Anyone else does, and I'll fucking gut them like I did my shithead father."
He just shook his head again, amusement lighting his eyes, mixing with the relief that was already there. "Such a fire you have. Violent and adorable, simultaneously."
"I'll take it."
He brushed back an errant strand of my hair that had been sticking to my face. "Khase, I need to ask you something."
"Yes, I fucking love you. If that's what you wanted to know."
He laughed again. "That is reassuring to hear, but that isn't what I meant to ask."
"Okay, well, ask."
He studied me, seemingly debating in his head whether or not he was ready to ask whatever the fuck it was he was going to ask me.
I waited. I fucking hated waiting. I've always fucking hated it. Just ask your question. Stop keeping me in suspense. Please. I deal with suspense about as well as I deal with being forced to lay down in a hospital bed. As in, I don't. I don't deal with it well at all. Ask your fucking question.
"Khase..." He reached out and cupped my face. "Are you mine?"
"Yes." I said, instantly, with no hesitation. That was so fucking obvious. He'd kept me in suspense over that? Seriously?
His grip on my face tightened slightly. "Mine alone?"
I responded by grabbing him with both hands and kissing him, as hard as I could, for as long as I could manage without coming up for air.
When I pulled back, I gripped him again, tightly. "I'm yours. Just yours. No one else's. I mean, like, I'm still a UNSC ODST doctor and I definitely plan on having a lucrative career here, doing many dangerous and admirable things, but I'm still yours. I'm the girl who fucked the Arbiter, started a civil war on Sanghelios and then became the Arbiter's girlfriend or whatever."
He leaned forward and pressed his forehead to mine. "You started a civil war? Is that what you're telling yourself?"
"Actually, Vale told me that. But I'm choosing to believe it. Because that sounds fucking awesome."
He just shook his head at me. "Far be it from me to contradict you on something that makes you happy."
"Do I make you happy?" I murmured, unable to keep myself from venturing back into that stupidly sappy shit.
"Blissfully." He murmured back, wrapping me in his arms again.
"Good. Because, same." I said, ever so fucking eloquently.
I was the one that pulled back this time. "I hope I recover in enough time to get dropped onto Sanghelios to help out with the civil war I started."
"Do you?" He asked, seeming amused.
"Yeah. If I do, I'll be sure to make a stop by your place for round two, if you know what I mean." I wiggled my eyebrows at him, then elbowed him. "Yeah? You know what I mean?"
I have never seen someone fight off an eye roll with so much difficulty. Not even Vale.
"I understand your meaning. And I would be more than happy should such a situation take place." He leaned forward and gently enveloped the lower half of my face with his mandibles. "There is not a time or a place that I would deny involvement in such a situation."
"Not even right now?" I asked, wiggling my eyebrows again, starting to pull up my hospital gown. "Because I'm down to get involved in that situation, right here, right now."
"You cannot even get out of bed, Khase."
"The funny thing about that is, we can totally do it in the bed. No getting out of the bed required."
He didn't even fight the eyeroll this time, clearly letting me know how he felt about putting up with my shit.
You've been putting up with my shit for years, buddy. And you'll be putting up with my shit for a lot more years to come. Better get fucking used to it.
Kasey Adams was alive and kicking. The universe better get fucking ready for when I was up and running again. Because I had a lot of plans for what I would do with the rest of my life. I was going to be that asshole doctor, the one fucking the Arbiter, starting more wars, saving more lives and laughing at the world while it tried to keep up with me.