Ashley Williams

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Insanity Round
Writing (tersa)
tersa wrote in me_challenge
Welcome to the Insanity Round!

In case you're new to the comm, this is just a day of the week where we give you ten prompts, and you pick one to write a drabble on and post it in the comments! (Artwork is welcome too!)

If you'd like to track the activity on today's post, just click on the "track this" link at the bottom.

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

[Guidelines]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 the first line of the fic.

5) After writing your drabble, write down three or more 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: The Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut dropped yesterday, but as it's been less than or just over 24 hours and not everyone has had a chance to play it, PLEASE make sure to mark anything drawing on the EC with an ME3 EC SPOILER (<B>ME3 EC SPOILER</B>) warning at the top of the entry (since Subject lines are not reliable in LJ any longer)

1. Indoctrination
2. All the feels
3. Boots on the ground
4. Beloved _____
5. I'm okay!
6. All nighter
7. Crack of noon
8. Spaceward, ho!
9. True blue paragon
10. Rebel without a cause
 

  • 1
As Garrus sat eating his lunch, a bleary-eyed Jack stumbled through the kitchen clutching a bottle. A grunt greeted his "Good morning" as she slid open the door and stepped out onto the back deck. After a moment's hesitation, Garrus followed her to where she stood looking out over the ocean and taking shots of some kind of human alcohol.

"I was going to offer you coffee, but I see you've got it covered," Garrus said.

Jack took another drink, then wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "The next time I come to visit, you guys need to get some decent booze."

"I'll make a note of it," Garrus replied. The hot sun glittered off the waves below, almost painful to the eye. "You know, I never got the chance to thank you."

"For what?" Jack asked. "Convincing Shepard to redo her tat?" She looked at him from the corner of her eye with a smug grin. "Buying her a turian dildo to practice on?"

Garrus felt his mandibles flare as heat rushed to his face, but he managed to turn clearing his throat into a laugh. "Well, there is that. But I was more referring to the digging her from the rubble and saving her life part."

Jack turned back to the water, shrugging her shoulders and raising the bottle to her lips. "No big."

"You don't believe that. No one in the galaxy believes that. And sooner or later some government is going to catch up to you and pin a medal..." He cocked his head as he took in the thin scraps of her bikini. "... somewhere."

"Just keep the turians off me. Not everyone enjoys having spiky aliens crawling all over them."

"I'll make a note of that too."

One of Jack's fingernails dug into the wooden railing, and she lowered her eyes to watch it. "I just wanted her back," she muttered.

"Me too," Garrus said. "But I wasn't there. You and Miranda found her. You saved her life. So thank you."

Jack huffed out an annoyed breath and shot him a glare. "Yeah, all right. You're welcome, okay?"

"Okay." Garrus nodded. "I think that's enough bonding for one visit, don't you?"

"Abso-fucking-lutely," Jack agreed as she turned back to the house. "I'm spending the rest of this trip getting tan and getting laid." She tossed the near-empty bottle over the railing. It disappeared among the palm leaves to shatter with a loud crash on the lower deck.

"I assume you're going to clean that up," Garrus said.

She waved a rude gesture over her shoulder as she disappeared into the house. "Whatever you say, Officer."

------------------
1. tomorrow never knows
2. baby, you're a rich man
3. she came in through the bathroom window

Jack and Garrus being awkward bros! This made me grin stupidly, ngl.

Captain Reynolds would be the first to admit that he had spent a large part of the last few months desperately wishing for orders, for something resembling a chain of command, or even just a simple plan. Something to work towards. And it did seem a little ungrateful to complain about the first clear order he’d received in close to a year.

But being told that he needed to get as many soldiers as he possibly could to London before Shepard arrived as some unknown future point to say the goddamn day was not the sort of order that he’d had in mind. Especially not when issues like where the hell to store all these soldiers before they were needed, or where to get the supplies necessary for a force that size or even how to get the bastards to London in the first place were all apparently someone else’s problem as far as the people giving the orders were concerned.

Reynolds had always hated being someone else in these situations.

But his team made it work, more or less. They scouted out the old tunnels of London, cleared them of husks and got ready to fill them with fighters instead. Rob went back to panicking over medical supplies and planning stockpiles around the city, triage stations for when the actions began again. Addie and Mark went back to the radios, sending out hour after hour of encrypted instructions, working in shifts without stopping until they’d organised safe routes across almost all of the UK and a fair bit of France as well. By the time Admiral Anderson himself landed in Richmond Park, they’d managed to scrape together something which could only be described as an army and Reynolds was glad to see that the Admiral was suitably impressed.

“I never knew there were so many tunnels under London,” Anderson said as Reynolds led the way to the unofficial command centre.

“The old sewers, the London Underground, some very careful demolition work courtesy of Sergeant Jackson, it all adds up,” Reynolds replied. “We started on this place as soon as your orders reached us. We’ve got plenty of room to fill.”

“And how are we doing with filling it?”

“We’ve had people coming in from all over the place. Even had a few Asari turn up wanting to help. Under any other circumstances, I’d say we have enough to take the city and then some.”

“And under these circumstances?”

Reynolds shrugged, protocol be damned. “You asked for soldiers, sir. All the rest of it has a lot more to do with Shepard than it does with me.”

xxx
Prompts -
Natural stupidity,
Technical fault,
Some problems cannot be solved with violence

Interesting =). I liked having a look at how exactly everyone got into London. Nice job.

Re: Boots on the ground

I cannot imagine how that final battle would have looked to the average grunt. Well, actually, I can now because you've provided a really good sense of it. Well done.

Some Problems Cannot be Solved with Violence

Quick question. What are the NSFW rules around here? SC is a given but what about language and violence?

Might be NSFW due to language.

---

"I thought I told you to fuck off."

Shepard leaned against the bulkhead. He wasn't going anywhere. "I meant what I said, Jack. Ignoring it isn't going to change how I feel."

She snarled, her fists glowing, but she wouldn't look at him. "I don't care about your fucking feelings, Shepard. Now, get out."

He crossed his arms stubbornly. "You have to talk to me about it eventually."

"Leave me," Jack threw a warp, almost screaming with frustration, "the fuck alone!"

Shepard ducked and it crashed into the wall behind him, leaving a scorch mark on the metal. He straighten, his face stony, but he only looked at her. Her breathing was loud and harsh in the silence that followed.

Jack waited, her skin prickling under his gaze, but he just stood there. Finally, he turned away and left without another word.

Tears were stinging her eyes and she swiped at them angrily. She didn't need his bullshit. And that's all it was. Bullshit. She'd heard it before and it had always been just another way to fuck her over. It didn't matter that things were different. It didn't matter that she-

Fuck.

---

Prompts:
-Without pity
-Mostly dead
-How 'bout goodbye

Nicely done. I really enjoy reading about the London resistance.

now settle down, find shapes in clouds (femshep/kaidan; post-game, no spoilers; "i'm okay")

A four word sentence Kaidan figured he’d never hear:

The war is over.

A two word kickstart to his heart already twice dead:

She’s okay.

-*-

Shepard’s herself, for the most part.

Though, she can’t shoot anymore, not with that arm. Her voice has a constant hoarseness, like all the fight has been shouted out of her, and her confident stride is interrupted by a stilted limp.

But she’s got some color back on her cheeks from hours spent in the sun, and sometimes when he looks at her, she smiles.

Yeah, she’s okay.

-*-

People are careful around her. They don’t let her lift anything heavy, or walk too much, or try holding a weapon even if her hands are itching for one. But she keeps going to the meetings anyway, her nails bitten to nubs and bleeding after each one.

“You’re a war hero,” Kaidan explains when she comes in ranting that everyone is treating her like an invalid. “You don’t have to worry about this stuff anymore, no one expects you to.”

“Did anyone even think to ask what I wanted? What if I dont want to be, to --” she starts, exasperated, before cutting herself off and disappearing with a huff out the front door into the dark of night.

She doesn’t ever finish that sentence, not to him anyway, but Kaidan can fill in the blanks well enough himself.

-*-

Reapers are nothing compared to the test with the two pink lines and a flashing YES YES YES sitting in her all too still hands. Soldier’s hands, always steady.

“Are you...” he starts, his hand brushing against hair (finally grown back) as he puts an arm around her. “Is this...”

“Yeah,” she interrupts, shaking her head. “It’s okay. I’m okay.”

-*-

Damn if she doesn’t look just like him, her, them, wailing and screaming in her mother’s all too steady arms.

(He tries to tell himself that she spends more time looking outside the windows than at their new daughter because, because...)

He shakes his head, and falls asleep sitting in the chair next to the two of them with his hand laced in hers.

-*-

After work one day Kaidan comes home to find Shepard sitting on the floor next to their bed, eyes unfocused and gazing out the skylight at the stars above, entranced. Her shirt is stained with pureed food and her feet are tucked under a pile of unfolded clothes at her feet.

The baby is crying in her arms.

“Sorry,” she says the minute he walks in, snapping out of her thoughts. She looks around at the mess in defeat. She doesn't even pretend this is anything but what it is. “I guess this just isn’t where I thought I’d be.”

“You thought you’d be in a grave,” he snaps, maybe too quickly, maybe with too much malice.

But she doesn’t answer all the same.

-*-

Eventually he stops asking if she’s okay. He just hates making her lie, is all.

-*-

The first toy Shepard buys for her baby girl is a replica of the Normandy.

Kaidan never says anything when he stumbles upon her with it, alone, laying on her back in the tall grass with her good hand flying it around in lazy circles against the stars above. It’s not like she ever notices he’s there anyway.


---------

It's like I refuse to make them happy or something.

Also: slow news day? Where are you guysss...

Prompts:

- Are we going to get into this again?
- I won't waste your time
- How low can you go?



Ugh ;_;. So sad...Really well done, though.

Things will probably pick up around here a little later =).

(Unbetad wordvomit and tenuous prompt connection, go go go! Here's hoping the formatting works.)

"Don't leave me behind!"

Those words ring in Shepard's thoughts. She's adrift, somewhere far-off. Like floating on her back through a sea of space. It's more likely that her mind's simply conjured up the experience to replace the hollow void left by not possessing a body any more. After all, the Crucible had been quite thorough in synthesising her - every part of her body analysed and shared with every organic and synthetic being in the galaxy. Suffice to say, it left very little behind. Only enough that she knew who she was. No body, nothing but a soul adrift in the dark. She had never believed in hell up until this moment.

The words - and their anguished half-sobbed tone - floated through her mind once more. This time she focused on them, and something in her thoughts shrieked in pain. It took a moment to realise that it was Shepard herself - she was the one screaming with no mouth, no lungs. There was more pain than ever before as she remembered that scene vividly. Kaidan, Kaidan's hand reaching out for her even as James pulled him onto the Normandy. That plainitive cry, that had brought tears to her eyes even then. If she had the means to do so, she'd be crying now.

That face stayed with her to the end, and hurts even now. Shepard turned away and tried to find something other than the agony of loss to console herself.

She becomes aware of tiny pinpricks of herself come back, like stars in the night sky being drawn into one point. And in return, the galaxy sings.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Kaidan's half-asleep when his omnitool goes off with a short beep. He jerks awake and goes to reach for it before remembering he'd left it on. With a lazy thought it flares into life, set to night-mode automatically. His inbox opens and he selects the latest message.

Subject: [ERROR]
Sender: Al82(a Sh1&ɐr!
Recipient: Kaidan Alenko
Message:
%!"%$^--------hs!bgj^£*
[INVALID CODE]
do$'t leav% me b(8in[ERROR]

He stares mutely at it for a moment, sleepy brain working through the message. His eyes flick back up to the sender's name and it feels like he's just breathed in ice. How is Shepard messaging him a week after her death?

Subject: Who is this?
Sender: Kaidan Alenko
Recipient: [WARNING]
Message:
Who the hell is this? Is this some
kind of joke? If it is, it's not funny.
Whoever this is, leave me alone.

A few minutes later, just as he's about to drift into sleep, another message pops up.

Subject: [DATA CORRUPT]
Sender: $les2* ShePA&"9
Recipient: Kaidan Alenko
Message:
^8173*&&^nhkm.:';l
[ERROR]'s shǝp%^d
ple&%e don't turn &£* yoUr om"*tool

The cold feeling continues as he stares at the message. If this is a prank, it's elaborate. His hand almost reaches for the off switch, but something stays his hand. He's never been superstitious, least of all now that he's got machinery threaded through every fiber of his being, but... what if it is Shepard? What if she's reaching out somehow?

He types out a two word reply - "I won't." - and puts the 'tool into standby, before trying to get back to sleep. The dreams are slow to arrive that night.

If 'exhausted' was a thing shadows-of-their-living-selves could feel, Shepard would feel it. She still wasn't sure how she'd sent the messages - she'd just screamed into the darkness until something screamed back (and she was expecting it to have been herself, anyway) - but there was something comforting and simultaneously terrifying about getting a response. Kaidan knew she was still around, even if she couldn't tell him the specifics. How could she, when she didn't even know herself? All she knew was that somehow, her mind was still tethered tenuously to the galaxy.

It was like a trickle of water. That strange feeling of coming back to herself, putting her soul back together like a cosmic jigsaw puzzle. Shepard supposed that with enough pieces, she could.... could what? Be stuck here fully aware that she would never see Kaidan again? Again she thought of the words and the goodbye, and again she tried to block out the pain. She could only hope that next time, the messages would not be so jumbled.

------------------------------------------------------------------
(Explanation of wtf is going on in this fic: For Alessa, I like to headcanon that Synthesis didn't take her memories, experiences, etc. because that wasn't really the purpose - it was her body that needed to be used as a template, not her mind. So she's just sort of stuck in nothing for now... but like I said in the story, put enough jigsaw pieces together and you get a whole picture out of it eventually. I might write more on this later, not sure if I should share it though. I'm not very good at writing Kaidan.)

Prompts, obscure fansong edition:
o Criminal, criminal
o Bleeding's the new breathing
o I know what I'm doing

They weren’t going to last much longer.

The Reapers were starting to move inward from the eastern seaboard. They’d already lost contact with the safehouses north of New York and west of Boston. Information from that area was increasingly scarce, and it was becoming clear they wouldn’t be able to keep their route to the Adirondacks undetected much longer. They’d taken a chance and sent out a small scouting party nearly a week ago, hoping to get a better idea of where the Reaper forces were, but none had returned.

Marie wasn’t letting herself think about that. It would take another day, maybe two, before they’d be ready to abandon their safehouse entirely, and the best way to keep her mind off the fact that her husband was probably never coming back was to keep busy. Supplies needed to be packed, the area marked as unsafe…

When their lookout told her he spotted one of the scouting party returning, she dropped what she was doing and ran out to see who it was. Elation filled her when she realized her husband was back.

Jon! Thank God, I thought you were dead,” she cried, throwing her arms around him in a crushing embrace. When he didn’t return it, she stepped back tentatively. “Are you hurt? What happened to the others?”

He stared at her blankly for a long moment. “They did not understand,” he stated emotionlessly.

Marie’s relief vanished instantly, replaced with a growing sense of dread. She slowly moved her hand toward her pistol. “What didn’t they understand?”

“That we must not fight. They only want to save us. Without them we are doomed. You understand, don’t you?”

Her heart stopped. “I understand perfectly.” She pointed the pistol at his head, hand shaking slightly. “Goodbye, Jon,” she whispered, tears streaming down her face as she pulled the trigger.

---
1. Like the exorcist, but more breakdancing
2. Who will survive and what will be left of them
3. Good morning, magpie

You know, for all that we get wrapped up in Shepard and his/her team, the real tragedy is with the people down on the ground. This is a great reminder of that.

Beloved________________

Beloved Warden of my Heart's Prison,

Your face is the most beautiful I've ever seen.
Your hair crimson, the color of a winter rose.
Your eyes shine like gems, your freckles dance across your nose.
Your voice is like a memorable tune sung by poets under a December moon.

Your biotics glow the darkest blue.
It was damn sexy how you stopped that coup.
Your smile on the battlefield stirs my heart.
My soul longs for you when we are apart.

When you rescued me from bureaucratic hell,
I never imagined things would go so well.
So to you, my Goddess of desire and affection,
I say this: When you lead, I will follow, no matter the direction.
You are my crouching leopard,
my dearest and beloved Shepard.

Yours Always,

Garrus Vakarian


--

* Advanced Healing
* Closeness
* Kinky Fuckery

Funny, when I saw that prompt I thought of writing a poem, too =). Sweet but strangely sappy for Garrus.

Shepard sat crosslegged on her bed, grunting at the knot she'd made.

Laid out before her was a blue skein of yarn that looked like it had seen better days. It had a long strand of yarn wound around it, and the middle had been torn out. It looked thin, tortured.

She held two needles in her hand, hopelessly knotted in a desperate tangle between aluminum and yarn.

When EDI came over the cabin's loudspeaker, she jumped. "Shepard? Might I ask what you're doing with that synthetic fiber?"

Chakwas said Shepard wasn't ready for wool yet.

"Chakwas said I needed a hobby," Shepard grunted, trying to turn the needle to do a ... knit ... or maybe a purl ... whatever it was had been lost in her mind. "Something about lowering blood pressure."

"That does not explain what you are attempting with that string."

"I'm knitting. Isn't it pretty?" She held it up. "See? This is a scarf. Probably. In a few days. Once I remember which way the yarn goes for which stitch."

"So, you are tying knots in yarn, to the exclusion of sleep? How does this provide any sort of cardiovascular benefit?"

Shepard sighed, and tossed her needles aside, flopping backwards on the bed. She was pretty sure her foot was tied up. "It ... doesn't."

*Normandy meals
*DIY
*What this place needs is -- !

I'm so happy! I love everything about this. I too often feel that this supposedly soothing hobby often has me instead tearing at my hair...

Chakwas said Shepard wasn't ready for wool yet.

Hahahahaha.

I sympathize with Shepard completely. Knitting is probably the most frustrating hobby ever. Well, except for sewing ;). I can definitely see Shepard being absolutely miserable at it. Nice job.

They tumble into the cabin quickly, hands in hair, him half carrying her across the deck. In truth, they had started in the elevator, untucking shirts and fighting for dominance with their mouths. She knows it is an intimate gesture, one that can range from chaste to romantic to sexual, depending on how it is performed. Judging by their interaction, she calculates it is the latter. It is an odd thing to watch, and she attempts to simulate what it must feel like. She knows that human lips are soft, movable, and contain a high number of nerve endings, making them an erogenous zone in scenarios playing out like the one in front of her. But feeling, especially tactile response, is still an abstract concept at times, and she is not sure her hardware can fully replicate it.

She makes a sound that could be mistaken for pain when he goes for her neck. EDI knows it is a structural weak spot, with the carotid artery being protected by not much more than skin. A major blood vessel that could be easily nicked, causing serious damage or even death. But the sound is not pain, it’s pleasure, and though they’re often frustratingly similar sounds, she can tell the difference now.

She wonders if the soft features that make humans so vulnerable in combat are what have contributed to their successful population levels, shifting survival disadvantages to reproductive pluses. He kisses a contusion on her abdomen and she makes that sound again, and EDI finds herself not interested in searching for outside data.

--

-Blabbermouth
-Spy
-Creeper

You have just helped clarify for me what I liked and didn't like about Joker/EDI (so thanks!). Part of what I didn't like is that we have nothing like what you wrote in game. We have no indication of how EDI feels about sex or what it means to her or if she's curious about it. I wish we could have gotten to know her better.

I really loved this, loved seeing EDI's reactions to things she must have such a hard time understanding. You know, and her being a total creeper ;)

"Burning the midnight oil or are you waiting for someone special?" Implicit, dry and wholly habitual, Shepard did his best not to smile at her question as he turned away from window overlooking the cityscape below. Unconsciously, he found himself readjusting the sleeves of his hoodie, his feet pressing down on the soles of his boots. Keep straight, don’t fidget, she always told him. Hannah stood across from him, leaning casually against the frame of the door. Her green eyes wandered the tiny space he presently called home. He gave the room a once over himself and exhaled slowly. "Neither," He replied, "I just can't sleep."

"You always did have a hard time getting to sleep," A nostalgic smile graced her thin lips as her graying hair spilled over her shoulders. "I remember having to sit on the bed until you dozed off. You were about six or five."

"I vaguely remember that," John smiled, dislodging himself from the space next to the window. He made himself comfortable on the edge of his bed motioned that she join him. Hannah denied politely with a small smile and a raise of her hand.

Okay. "How are you?" He asked. Hannah shrugged her shoulders; she kept her boots on the ground, never once falling on the habit of rocking back on her heels. "Well enough, I suppose; it's not every day you get a call that says your own is rumored to be working with a terrorist organization and a destroyer of an entire system," Her expression was neither judgmental nor disapproving, if anything she appeared resigned.

Shepard scratched the back of his head in contemplation; the answer left no alternate avenue to travel but its own. In the frenzied time of the prothean beacon discovery and the prevention of the Reaper’s arrival, he never once bothered to fill his mother in on specifics. He could only imagine, with what little information she probably had, she was fairly disappointed in his actions from a lack of understanding or reframed from making opinions at all. He had yet to stand trial, so he'd barely spoken to anyone except Vega and council wouldn't see him before judgment day. To say he felt like a mouse in a cage with a big “crazy person” sign on his back would be an understatement. "It's not like how their painting it," He started.

"To be honest, no one's given me any particulars, so I wouldn't know how it’s being painted," Hannah remarked dryly. "I suppose I'll find out soon enough, unless you're willing to spill?"

"How's Jane taking this?" He inquired, dodging the question.

"Naturally, she doesn't think you wiped out a system for the hell of it, same with your father," She replied. "Their none too pleased about the Cerberus rumors, however.”

“I can imagine,” He snorted. Dad must’ve been livid, and he could only figure Jane wanted to chew his ears off. His association with the clandestine organization seemed determined in screwing his relationships over still; a consequence he wish he could say he was completely comfortable with.

“How's the food here?"

"No worse than anyplace else I've been. The chicken could be better, though," Shepard deadpanned. When his mother remained silent, he said, "Are you here on business?"

Hannah shook her head. "Not at the moment. I was in the neighborhood, thought I'd visit my son while he was still in one place." Shepard allowed himself a small smile; Hannah wasn't one for time off if she could help it. A great chunk of his childhood was spent roaming stations and bugging officers because his mother was otherwise preoccupied with work (or Jane, depending on the circumstances). He didn't hold it against her, but the thought of his mother wandering idly like himself all those years ago was fairly amusing. "Well, I have a feeling I'll be here for a while, so, drop by anytime while still planet-side."

"I'll make a note of that, Shepard," Hannah grinned, pushing away from doorframe. "In the meantime, get some rest, kiddo; I won’t have you dead on your feet, grounded or not."

"Yes, sir," He saluted in his mother, eliciting a pointed expression that clearly conveyed the humor was unappreciated. He knew that, of course, but what was on dig on your mother between soldiers?

___________________________________
Biding my time
Empty bottles
A radical notion

Edited at 2012-06-28 05:21 am (UTC)

What I like most about this is the ambiguity of their relationship. They're not super-close but they're not in conflict. It's just... complicated. Like a real parent-child relationship. There's back and forth, give and take. Well done.

(Edited for formatting ;_; Why do you hate me LJ?)

“Mr.Vakarian sir, thank you for coming to visit us again.” The young turian shuffled his feet awkwardly and looked up at Garrus with open admiration.

Shepard and Garrus had returned again to one of the many survivor camps on the Citadel, doing what they could to help make enough quick repairs so that the people who remained could live without fear of starvation, exposure, or a breach in an unstable wall that would depressurize the whole sector. This particular camp contained many orphans, one of the few with any children remaining. The makeshift leader of the group, an Asari named Maila, had sent out a request asking them to come visit. Over the past month they'd stopped in a handful of times, and though they'd never said it out loud, they enjoyed visiting the children too.

“Shepard, please don't leave us! What if they come back!” A very small turian, Garrus said that he was barely 4, came running out from behind his brother and latched on to her leg. She was frozen for a second, staring at his tiny frame. His talons were so small, he didn't have any fringe to speak of, and his plates had yet to grow tough as they would in adulthood. Maila had told them that he'd watched his parent get killed defending their home from husks. His brother had taken them to a hidden shelter that their parents had stocked with rations. It was a miracle they'd remained alive and that they'd been found.

She gently disconnected his arms, before sitting and allowing him to crawl into her lap. He shivered against her. She always hated leaving them. “I have to go, you know that. There are other people we have to help too. We'll be back though. I promised you we would. Remember?”

“But it's so dark...”

“We have people repairing the grid. It'll be back up shortly. Then you'll have electricity again.”

“Does that mean we can vid-call you?” It was his brother who asked that, visibly excited at the prospect.

“Yes, it does.” Garrus laid a hand on the older boys head and they grinned at each other. The little one still shivered though. Shepard had a sudden idea. She pulled off the dog tags from around her neck. “Parce, these are called dog tags. I've had them with me since I was young. They're a good luck charm. They kept me safe. I'm going to let you borrow them, okay?” He stared at them in wonder.

“But if I take them, how will you stay safe?” His innocence melted her heart. She hugged him tightly.

“I have Garrus to keep me safe.” After a minute of looking hard at Garrus, he put them over his neck.

Saying good-bye was harder, but they left knowing that the camp was in a position to be safe now. It had electricity, fortified walls and a decent stockpile of water and rations. Looking back at the children waving, Shepard smiled and grabbed Garrus' hand. “You know, we were talking about adoption.” He became very still and stared at her. Was she serious? There were a million reasons they should never consider such an absurd idea, especially right now. He glanced back up and their little hands were still waving furiously.

“You're right, we were weren't we?” Her hand tightened around his talons momentarily and they turned to go.

Party hat
Remembering the lost
Javik's vice

Edited at 2012-06-28 02:03 pm (UTC)

Awww, this hit my buttons because I imagine my Shep and Garrus eventually adopting a turian boy on the fly, too. I love that the little one doesn't want Shepard to leave. It's so realistic. And it made me realize for the first time how hard the aftermath of the war would be for little kids. Everything's different, people are dead, there are no lights, and you only have the adults' word for it that the big scary monsters won't come back. And Garrus gets that, even in game, which makes a scenario like this that much more plausible.

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