Ashley Williams

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popehippo wrote in me_challenge
How is this different from the official challenges? These are drabbles only. Also, you will be posting your replies to this post instead of to the community.

So read the prompts, write a story, submit a prompt! But most of all, have fun!

1) Aim for about 100 words. Longer or shorter is okay, just try to keep it in one comment. (note: this is more to give you a guideline than anything. Your drabble can be as long as you want--but we're not looking for a multi-chapter fic here!)

2) Post your drabble as a reply to the comment the prompt is from.

3) Put the prompt you used as the subject. If you just want to comment on something, leave the subject line blank. This will make it easier to navigate once the threads start collapsing.

4) If posting an entry with NSFW content, please warn in subject line and at top of post.

5) After writing your drabble, write down three or so prompts of your own at the end of each reply.

6) Prompts should generally be short, no more than a sentence. Prompts may include characters and/or pairings. In that case, try to also include some word prompt (i.e. Kasumi/Thane, sporks), unless you feel your configuration of characters is exotic enough to be inspiring on its own.

7) The same prompts may be filled multiple times. By the same person, even, if inspiration strikes. No need to hold back!

SPOILER WARNING: Mass Effect 3 is HERE! Please remember to ALWAYS list any and all comments (whether fills or replies to fills) with very clear and bolded spoiler warnings if they contain information regarding the game. Thanks. :)

PROMPTS:
1) Heirloom
2) Ancestor
3) He's gone.
4) Coffee
5) Don't you dare judge me
6) Broken
7) Naked
8) Bloody but unbowed
9) Advertisement
10) Hello I'm Commander Shepard and this is...

  • 1
Spoilers for ME3 endgame.

Since the Normandy’s crash, James had three main jobs: patrol the perimeter, keep everyone’s rifles working, and go looking for wandering turians. He’d taken on the last one himself.

This time he found Garrus in one of the usual spots, perched on the edge of a cliff high enough that James was glad humans had shit night vision. He didn’t want to know what Garrus saw at the bottom.

“Major’s about to start the nightly briefing,” he said. “You comin’?”

“In a minute.”

James almost left it at that, almost turned away to head back to camp and leave the turian in peace. Except it wasn’t peace, and James was getting tired of the moping shit.

“You know Shepard made it through, right?” Rather than a question, the words came out as a demand, a hint of anger daring anyone to contradict him. “And you can bet your ass she’s coming for us.”

Garrus didn’t say anything, just sat there, staring up at unfamiliar stars. An annoyed grunt escaped James, and he turned to go—for real this time—when he heard the turian let out a breath.

“I wish I didn’t believe you.”

“Yeah? Why’s that?”

“Because grief I could deal with,” Garrus said as he got to his feet. Moonlight reflected off hawk-like eyes, an alien silhouette blocking part of an alien sky. “It’s the hope that’s killing me.”

He strode off back toward the camp, and James waited until he was out of earshot to release a sigh of his own.

“Shit, Lola,” he said to the stars. “Don’t make me a liar, all right?”

Only the insects answered, so he turned and followed the faint trail back to what remained of the Normandy and her crew.

--------------
1. whistle while you work
2. when you wish upon a star
3. I know you



Edited at 2012-06-20 03:27 pm (UTC)

This was so good.

He's gone. and also Coffee

Shepard felt her hands tremble a bit as she handed the cup over to Kolyat, desperately trying to dismiss the image of the one that had had a home on the table down in life support for all those months from her memory.

She told herself that his visit was not unwelcome. It was just surprising.

He took a sip of the hot liquid, looking up from his drink and then back at her with dark, familiar eyes.

Clearing his throat, he said, "He cared a great deal for you. I suppose... I figured that maybe visiting with you from time to time would make me feel better."

Shepard shifted, arms crossing before falling to her sides.

He was a piece of his father, all that was really left.

Suddenly, she felt sick. "I'm glad you're well. But this isn't something... I can't..." She stopped, took a breath. "Honestly? Seeing you just hurts."

~~~
I wanted to end this with "I should go" like burning, but then I figured that would be ridiculous.

prompts
1 you stole the lights
2 how dare you?
3 turian chocolate


Re: He's gone. and also Coffee

I wanted to end this with "I should go" like burning, but then I figured that would be ridiculous.

*giggles*

I liked this, because it kinda sorta brushed up against a topic I wish had come up in the game (even though I know it couldn't) but I haven't seen anyone discuss at least in the comm or in drabbles--how does Shepard feel being involved with someone with a grown son? What's their relationship like?

"Don't you dare judge me."

{That whole little sequence with Shepard breaking down about Thessia but barely getting a word in edgeways about Earth seemed a little odd to me, and the whole idea of Shepard cracking up, produced this, I guess. First attempt at properly writing either Garrus or Liara, so please don't kill me if it seems a little... off.}

Shepard's glaring at him, nostrils flared and eyes hard, and Garrus is silent. "Don't you dare."

Liara is leaning against the wall, wiping the blood from her mouth; it shines dark and blue on her hand under the ship's sterile light, and she stares at it as though she can't believe it's there. Maybe because she can't - her tenure as the Shadow Broker hasn't changed her feelings for Shepard, a fact that's plain for all on the Normandy to see.

Garrus stands, arms folded, mandibles flickering in what's the turian equivalent of a raised eyebrow. "Interesting to see your idea of military discipline, Shepard."

She watches him as though she might try to hit him too, breathing heavily, the air charged, then looks down at her knuckles, slowly wiping the smudge of blue off them on the hip of her trousers. "She's not the only one who's lost a home in this war."

Thessia. Garrus has been watching Liara weep, babble on about things she couldn't have done until she was hoarse, and Shepard becoming more and more unresponsive, knuckles white.

Until...this.

Liara watches the commander like a hunted animals, eyes wide. "I am...sorry, Shepard." Then she turns, walking off slightly faster than necessary.

"You're right, she's not the only one," Garrus tells Shepard, not relaxing. "But neither are you." He sees a flash of hurt in her eyes, but ignores it, and, the flames on Palaven fresh in his mind, walks to catch up with Liara. He doesn't look back, but he doesn't hear anything behind him, and he can feel Shepard watching him.

Re: "Don't you dare judge me."

Oooh, dang. Nicely done.

Forgot your prompts!

Hello I'm Commander Shepard and this is... (Spoilers)

[ Recording #5201- SHEPARD, J. - GENERAL TRANSMISSION ]

Hello? Is anyone receiving this? ... Hello?

Well, I don't suppose you could reply if you are. There's a war going on out there.

I'm Commander Shepard, and this is-...this is goodbye.

I failed. The Crucible didn't work. I don't know why. I just don't have the answers, I...I hoped...

The only hope now are you soldiers outside, still fighting. Don't lose hope. If they're going to take us out, give 'em hell before they can. Maybe some of us can still make it out of this. The Protheans failed, but they didn't have what we have. Teamwork, loyalty, hope. We have all of this, and we don't need their Crucible.

...listen to me, going on like anyone can hear this. Nngh...there's blood everywhere. I can't even tell where it's coming from anymore. Not exactly a blaze of glory, is it? They teach you to be a hero...and then heroes die laying in a puddle of their own fluids, and it's messy and ugly and...no, forget that.

....

...Kaidan. You're probably the last person that can hear this. You might even be dead, I don't know. I hope not.

Do you remember that first time we met? I do. It was in the mess, and you never once noticed me in that crowd, you were too busy with enough food for three people...hah...and I noticed you. I don't remember why, but I saw you and that...that was it. It was done and I couldn't turn back. It was always you.

Have a...have a beer for me, would you? When all of this is over, have a drink for me.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't keep that promise. I'm sorry I couldn't come back. I'm glad...glad we had that last...that last moment. I'm glad we got the chance to say goodbye f-face to face...

God, it's cold in here. Why am I shivering? This is pathetic...this isn't fair...this...it's taking so long.

Kaidan, I love you. I'm so sorry...I can't come home.

Ah...nngh...w-wait...there's a...what is that...?

I...I should go...there's something coming down...

[ End Recording ]





Prompts:

-This is the last time
-Happier days
-What could have been

Edited at 2012-06-20 05:52 pm (UTC)

"You know, I'm getting tired of doing this without you." His voice crackled over the comm, distance combining with the raspy vocalization of his species.

"I need to be here, now, with Shepard." Liara shifted, a data pad clutched in her hand as she looked from one data feed to the next. Live communication had become rare, but now that she finally had him on the line, she found herself at a bit of a loss as to what she could say.

"I'm... pretty sure I stayed on despite the, uh, change in management so I could watch your back. Remind me, what am I doing away from you, again?"

Liara felt a smile pull at her lips, "You're taking care of business." What she wouldn't give to finish that sentence with a promise of "just one more run" or "when you've finished, I suppose I could see about finding a place for you, here."

"Oh, yeah," he said, like that was the answer to everything.

"Take care, Feron."

prompts
1. aliens exist
2. you look like a varren person
3. one less to worry about

prayers for those left behind (ashley; virmire; what could have been)

When the radio goes silent and the last salarian beside her drops dead at her feet, she has a vision like the snap of a whip, loud and fast and unwelcome. It’s her and her sisters, sitting on the floor eating junk food in their pajamas, talking about everything and nothing at all. Their laughter is easy but rough, voices tired. It's so nice to see them again, after everything.

But no...no, she's not in her pajamas. No, now she’s in her dress blues, medal upon medal pinned upon her chest as the walls of her family house melt away to show a crowd cheering for her. Commander Ashley Williams has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? On her left are Shepard and Kaidan and the rest of the crew, to the right her family and they just look so proud, and then she looks back to her left--

Silence falls as her blues turn to white, into a gown long and delicately beaded that she feels so unlike herself in. But it's okay because he’s there, right there, smiling and waiting for her to just say those two words.

A child cries in her arms, and she finds herself praying for its health and happiness. God, but how much her daughter grows up to look like her.

Sunsets from a rocking chair, his hand in hers.

Then there is a flash of white with not a sound to go along with it, and she doesn’t see anything at all.

--

Prompts:

- Training day
- Ignore those warning signs
- Let's start over

Edited at 2012-06-20 06:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Hello I'm Commander Shepard and this is... (Spoilers)

Oh, man. I love the way you went with this prompt. That's totally not a direction I would have thought of, but it's great.

“Third and Fifth Fleets retreat! Second Fleet, hold out until everyone is through the relay!”

No. Hannah stared at the screen shouting orders at her, at the image of Hackett on the monitor interrupted by static from the battle. “Sir, the Orizaba and the Logan have the biggest guns, we can stay behind to pro-“

“Damnit, Shepard, I gave you an order. We need those guns for another day.”

“Sir-“

“This battle is a massacre. Arcturus is gone. We need to regroup. Meet at the rendezvous point. ”

She faltered, not expecting him to be so blunt. She looked to the readout screens, one of which showed Arcturus Station, sections of it blinking frantically with red damage alarms. One section, one very familiar section, already completely destroyed.

She knew her orders. She knew what they meant. She knew what they were leaving behind. She should have retired. They should've found a nice little place out on one of the colonies - Elysium, or Benning. They should already have some fat grandchildren by now. Their daughter shouldn't be in in a jail cell, Hackett shouldn't be ordering her away like this, none of this, none of the last three years this should have happened. He's gone. She told herself. He's already gone. She tore her eyes away from the screens, and prayed that Jane had gotten off of Earth, somehow.

“Yes, Sir.”

---

-Heatstroke
-Act like adults
-Memory shard

Edited at 2012-06-20 06:26 pm (UTC)

*sniffle*

Post-ME3. Not very spoilery.

I haven't written in a long time, but this community looked fun. Hope you don't mind me trying it out :)

Kaidan had expected to be alone when he escaped to the roof of the temporary housing in Vancouver. He turned to leave when he saw a woman sitting there, but she heard him and spoke before he could escape.

“Major. Didn’t expect to see you up here. Have a seat if you like.”

He started to protest, but she cut him off by holding a bottle out to him.

“Want some whiskey? It’s the good stuff, and I probably shouldn’t drink it all by myself.”

He recognized her from Anderson’s office, back when he’d been a councilor. She’d always seemed nice enough, and it felt rude to leave now. Fighting the urge to flee, he sat down she held out her bottle of whiskey to him. They sat there, passing the bottle between them, cultivating a comfortable silence, looking out over the broken city landscape and the mass of revelers below.

“I hate Victory Day,” she said finally, speech slightly slurred. “I know it’s supposed to be a celebration, but I find that it’s just…”

“…a symbol of all we’ve lost,” he finished quietly, a pang of sorrow and guilt shooting through him at the thought of Shepard. He normally tried to distance himself from those memories, but it was impossible when V-Day came around.

She nodded, taking another drink. “Exactly.”

It was then that he noticed the rings hanging from her neck. It was something the survivors had started doing, marking themselves as widowed and not ready to move on.

“It doesn’t get easier, does it,” she said softly.

He felt the weight of Shepard’s tags on his chest. There was a long silence between them before he responded, “No. It really doesn’t.”

----
1. Robodog
2. Can't catch me
3. Babies don't have souls

Aw man, all of this fills today are giving me the sads. But, they're awesome so it's okay. Loved this, glad you decided to join us!

You guys have broken my heart with your gorgeous, gorgeous fills.

As the lights went down in the theater, familiar music began to play and Shepard groaned as she slumped down in her seat.

"Oh, for fuck's sake. I just want to see some fucking Blasto."

Garrus grinned and lifted a talon to his mouth in imitation of the human gesture for quiet. "Shhh. This vid paid for the personal shuttle we drove here."

Shepard glared at him and opened her mouth to retort but was cut off by the booming narration.

"Amid the chaos of war, two lovers are reunited..."

On the screen an actress's ruby-painted lips part in breathless wonder. "Garrus... I thought... I thought I'd never see you again."

Shepard snorted beside him. "I believe what I really said was I thought you were dead."

"Shepard..." The turian actor's fake scars were quite convincing. At least they were on the right side this time. "I fought like hell to see you on the other side."

"And that was Kaidan who said that," Shepard griped. She tossed one of her chocolates toward the screen. It bounced off a quarian's helmet, and he turned back to glare at them.

Garrus fought down a laugh. "You are going to get us kicked out. Again."

"Their love was stronger than the Reapers. Stronger than death itself..."

The turian actor stood on the edge of a cliff looking over a tropical jungle, a set of dog tags dangling from his talons. "I will find you again. I swear to you, Shepard."

"You know, if I was Miranda, I'd be pissed," Shepard said. Loudly. "She went to all that trouble to dig me out of the rubble and you get all the credit."

The asari on Garrus's other side leaned across him to hiss at her to be quiet. He caught Shepard's wrist just in time to prevent a chocolate assault claiming another victim.

She yanked her hand back and started chanting, "Blasto! Blasto! Blasto!"

"I'm going to get the manager," the asari snapped as she got to her feet.

"No, wait," Garrus said. "We're sorry. We'll quiet down."

He leaned over to Shepard before she could jump in. "If you're a good girl now," he murmured in her ear, "I'll reward you for it later."

She turned to face him, a smirk quirking the corner of her lips. "That a promise, Vakarian?"

"I swear to you, Shepard," he replied.

--------------
1. I know what we're going to do today
2. busted
3. Venn diagram

Edited at 2012-06-20 07:47 pm (UTC)

Ha. This was cute, funny, and made me smile. Nice job =).

Awww. Love the dynamic here, Garrus is the stabilizing agent (I can totally relate, since my hubby's a bit forward, and I'm largely non-confrontational).

Fantastic way to go with that prompt, for sure.

Bloody but unbowed - ME3 spoilers re: Earth

London’s calling.

The message had gone out on every single frequency. Every frequency. The Reapers would know that they were coming, but the Reapers had always been one step ahead. There was no reason why this should be any different. And they’d need every person they could get once Shepard hit the ground. It was worth the risk.

Privately, in the very back of his mind where he kept all the things that he’d rather not think about, Anderson couldn’t shake the idea that the broadcast would only be a risk if there was anyone left to hear the damn thing.

It turned out, though, there were people left to hear the broadcast, lots of them. According to the Resistance’s admittedly limited intel, survivors were flooding into England from the French coast. Whole units running through the tunnel, stealing boats, the odd plane, a fair few who apparently swam the goddamn Channel when no other option presented itself. Not to mention the people already in England, the ones who had been there since the beginning, the ones who managed to organise more boats, more planes, safe landing grounds and routes across the country.

Anderson’s arrival to England could also, perhaps more accurately, be described as a crash landing in Richmond park. The team that came to drag him out was almost entirely made up of English survivors, the sole exception being the N7 captain who led them.

“Welcome to London, Admiral,” the captain said.

“It’s a little different than I remember,” Anderson replied. “How far are we from the meeting point?”

“A little over ten miles, if we could go direct. Addie here,” the captain pointed at the sole women in the group, “has come up with a longer route, but it’s one that might not get us all killed so the guys are in favour of it.”

The guys were three men, two in battered but well-fitted Alliance kit, while the third’s suit was clearly scavenged. All of them, even the captain, were battered and bruised, thinner than they used to be.

“We should get moving,” one of the soldiers said. “All due respect, sirs, but I have not stayed alive this long to die in a goddamn park.”

The captain signalled his team; they fell easily into standard formation. As they walked towards the road, Anderson caught a brief glimpse of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral through the trees. It was stained with smoke and ash, had a few more holes in it than the last time Anderson had seen it, but it was still there. More or less.

xxx
Prompts -
Girls’ night out
Age of the geek
Second star to the left

And you really can see St Paul’s Cathedral in Richmond Park – if you know exactly where to stand. =)

Second star to the left

(I have no idea if this effing works, but oh well. Writing!)

“Shepard, I don’t get it,” Garrus said, eyes darting over the screen, trying to absorb the colorful, painted images flickering by.

She popped some popcorn into her mouth and wrapped a hand around his arm, leaning into him from their seat on her bed in the loft. “What don’t you get?”

“Second star to the right and straight on til morning. How does he tell which one is the second star? And once you’re in space, without a chronometer, how do you tell if it’s morning?”

“Shhhh,” she shushed him. “It’s just a movie. Don’t ruin it with your Palaven logic.”

“But it should make sense.”

“It’s a metaphor,” she explained, teasing light in her tone. “For young children and the innocence of youth, and never having to grow up and become adults and worry about adult concerns. The whole place is make-believe, just roll with it.”

“I’m not sure I can,” he said with dubious disapproval, as the fey boy led the three Darling children through the air without benefit of jet packs or technology. Unless pixie dust was a primitive, unknown name for element zero.

Later, walking through the debris strewn wreckage of the Citadel, he looked up at the stars above Earth and wondered which of the hundreds he saw could be the second one, wishing, like Peter Pan, he could find Never-Never Land and not have to deal with harsh realities or life without her.

---
PROMPTS:
- Where dreams are born
- Miles beyond the moon
- Far precious more than gold

"A pod of cannibals and Husks, 3 ravagers, a Banshee, and a family of 4 holed up in an old fallout shelter," Shepard announced as he walked into his makeshift office, shrugging on his jacket.

Lt. Commander Williams looked up from the desk, "Not bad. We got Brutes. Lots of Brutes. And..." She trailed off and jerked her head toward a side table, where a tall metal cylinder rattled and bubbled.

"Williams, they better be what I think it is," Shepard said, making a beeline for the perculator.

"The real deal sir. Found a crate in the rubble of a dry goods store. Most of the bags were ripped, but I found a couple good ones. It's just about ready, too."

Shepard grabbed a ceramic mug from next to the machine and immediately poured himself a cup. He only stopped to blow on it once before taking a sip, closing his eyes, and making a guttural noise in his throat. Ashley just smirked.

"If there's one thing the marines know how to do, it's how to make a damn good cup of Joe," Shepard said.

He was about to take another sip when the door swung open.

"Jack," He said, holding the cup out, "You gotta try this!"

"Is that- Oh hell yes!" Jack almost leapt across the room and grabbed the cup from Shepard's hands. Her reaction to a sip neatly mirrored Shepard's.

"Who made this?"

"I did," Ashley replied.

"Shit, you make some damn good coffee, LT," The ex-con said, "We might have to keep you around after all."

***

I. Baby's On Fire
II. My Daughter's on a Date!?
III. Needing is one thing, but Getting's another

Hah. What is it about military types which just screams to me 'coffee addict'? :)

{Always wondered about the Fleet's sort of faintly disapproving attitude to mixed-species relationships, and out of that came this.}

Tali's used to the stares on the Citadel, and the mutters - "A human and a quarian? Really? Is that even possible...?" - when she's there with John. No matter how self-conscious she is about it, how much she tries to gently sort of...suggest that her hand should be over there, away from his, because they're, well, in public, he just shakes his head, smiles a little sadly. His hand releases its link with hers, and she misses the warmth slightly, but breathes out...then his hand comes to rest on her shoulder, with a quiet, "This OK?"

All she has to say is "no", but most of this system knows about them anyway, and, well...

"It's OK," she says, because it is, somehow, and she nods.



When the first quarian approaches her when she's visiting the Fleet - Kash, fresh from a pilgrimage - and asks for a quiet word, he thanks her. She's surprised. "Why are you...?"

Kash'Vila's voice is smiling as he draws a small photo from his belt, and Tali's surprised to see that it's of him with his arm around a young, laughing human woman, the London eye in the background. "For showing me," he says, simply.

She remembers the Citadel, and she smiles.

-------
• My boss's boss
• Symphony No. 9
• Prologue

Edited at 2012-06-21 01:16 am (UTC)

D'aww. Very sweet.

They don't talk much about the future. It makes the war and their slim odds all too real. It's too painful. He wants to make plans, he wants to let himself daydream about a house, or a cabin somewhere, about laughing children and getting to see her smile more often. About what she'll look like as she gets older, about lazy Sundays spent wrapped in each others arms.

But even thinking about it hurts. When he thinks about the past, that hurts too, not nearly enough good memories, and what few there are just remind him of what was lost. So when he lets the old memories stir up, he reaches for the pocket knife in his BDUs and tries to think about when he was a kid, about summers on the coast, fishing with his granddad. The knife is an old thing, but his grandfather had always kept it well-sharpened and clean, and he continues to do the same. It's all he has of home.

One day it's not in his pocket anymore, and he nearly rips apart the ship looking for it. It's stupid, given all that's on their plate, but she notices the change in his demeanor and doesn't let him rest until he tells her what's wrong.

Three weeks go by, and he still hasn't found it. He still reaches for his pocket at times, forgetting that it's not there. He's down in the shuttle bay checking on supplies, and as his hand goes to reach for the phantom limb, she comes up behind him and presses a small box into his hands.

"Make a new heirloom," she whispers over her cup of coffee, and she gives him a restrained smile that's sad but somehow still manages to give him hope.

They don't talk much about the future.

----

-Fever
-Brothers in arms
-With our arms unbound

  • 1
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