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 recently, and as it's been less than a month, 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. Omni-tool
2. Mystery ingredient
3. The long walk
4. Marking the days on the calender
5. Mako
6. Good looks and charm
7. Secret snack tray
8. Leather seats
9. Hot summer nights
10. Cold winter days
 

  • 1

Cold winter days - ME3 spoilers

In the months after the Reaper War, everyone and everything was unsettled, spinning out of control, royally fucked up and with no easy way to fix any of it.

Some of the problems, like the crime and the illness, the piles of dead, those could be solved with enough time and hard work. London was never going to be same, but being the site of the final victorious battle had raised spirits far enough to keep the rebuilding moving forwards. It certainly didn’t help that they’d finally re-established contact with a few of the colonies; New London had sent enough tea to fill the Channel.

(The allies had looked on in amazement at the joy that dried leaves could bring. They soon adapted, though, realised that there were worse things than a hot drink and the sizable tea urns that they’d managed to scrounge up became the hubs of the rebuilding effort. Tea parties beyond the end of the world, just the thing to keep Londoners .)

But all the good spirits and cups of tea in the goddamn world couldn’t change the fact that Mother Nature was apparently pissed as hell. All across Europe, temperatures were plummeting and the weather was going haywire, cycling almost constantly through rain, snow, sleet, hail.

Plenty of people left. The avenging armies all went home, which meant fewer hands to help but also fewer mouths to feed. And then then were those who’d spent the war on Earth, mostly unwillingly, and who chose to leave once that choice was finally given to them. Some even left unwillingly, wanting to stay but lured by the hope of loved ones who weathered the storm elsewhere, or driven away by compromised immune systems and a shitty environment.

There were plenty of theories, just as there always were. Some scientists blamed the Reapers, claimed the weapons they’d been using had fucked the climate. Others said it was the result of months and months of dust and ash choking the atmosphere, blocking out the sun.

Of course, the why of it all didn’t much matter; the cold kept getting colder, the rain kept getting harder, and the job remained the same. Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night became the unofficial motto of the survivors (with put the bloody kettle on serving as the more official motto), who cleaned roads and cleared rubble whenever and wherever they could. Work was scheduled around temperatures, not times - no one could rewire anything when they couldn’t feel their hands.

The cold was starting to get to everyone one way or another, even the Alliance soldiers with their suits’ built-in heat regulators. The civilians spent their time crammed into the smallest space they could find, crowded around whatever heaters they’d managed to salvage. It was great for body-heat, not so good for hot tempers.

The night watch was the worst; coldest temperature and no damn distraction from it, and that was before Second Lieutenant Mackley had drawn the short straw four nights in a row. She was surprised as hell on that fourth night to find that she wasn’t the only one braving the elements.

The girl was an odd one, a civilian who, like so many others, had taken up arms for her home and now wasn’t quite sure what to do now she’d put them down again. There were all sorts of crazy rumours about her and her alleged involvement with the N7s.

Maybe one night Mackley would ask her about it all. One night when the girl didn’t look so lost when she thought no one was looking.

xxx
No such thing as a free lunch
Anarchy
Shadows

Nice :). I liked the bits about the tea and the weather, in particular. Never thought whether or not the weather would be affected. Well done :).

Pretty dead around here today :(.

---


Kolyat didn't understand his father. His thoughts, his feelings, why he did what he did; they had always been a complete mystery. He'd never known who his father was and had long since accepted he never would.

So when his father had shown up out of nowhere, trying to talk him out of killing someone, Kolyat didn't know what to think. He had felt angry- so much anger he didn't know how he could have room for anything else- but also confused. Lost, like the world had tilted and spun until he could barely tell where he was anymore.

His father hadn't cared enough to stay and Kolyat didn't understand why he would suddenly care now. But he apparently did because he was there, his voice heavy with fear that only confused Kolyat even more. And that, more than anything, was what made him stop and wonder what the hell he was doing. He didn't know that either and it was becoming clearer by the minute that there was very little he actually did.

---

Prompts:
-The condor passes
-I'd rather sail away
-The world's saddest sound

Re: Mystery Ingredient

(I was wondering where people were... hi!)

Poor Kolyat. Thane turning up again like that would've been a bit of a sudden turn and you showed that nicely.

Hey yourself =).

Thanks. I always figured it was a bit of a nasty surprise for him. Writing this made me like Kolyat a little bit more, too. lol

Mari'Shan nar Kanen huddled a little further into the corner underneath a window and tried not to make a sound. Her own breathing sounded unnaturally loud inside her helmet, the filter rattling unsteadily. Or maybe she was just hyperventilating. *Breathe, Mari,* she thought. *You'll get through this.*

*Oh, who am I kidding? I'm a girl on her Pilgrimage, I--*

Her train of thought cut off sharply as some sort of shadow flitted across the alleyway opposite the house she'd curled up in. There were monsters everywhere, deadly things that her childhood had not prepared her for. She was just a history student. A student with a sniper rifle, but a student all the same. Another shadow a few seconds later and this time, this time Mari whimpered and clutched at her rifle as a baby would grasp a stuffed toy. (Not that she'd ever had one. Too many allergens in the fluff for it to be in the bubble with her.)

There was the sound of shrieking - the monsters. Gunfire - hopefully friendly. Screaming - not so good. The quarian girl shifted uncomfortably, shouldering her rifle to peer out over the city block. It had been a week. London was still burning, the people inside it were still dying, but at least there was *something* Mari could do, rather than sit and wait for death to find her. It would, eventually, if nobody found her. Antibiotics only stretched so far. Every pull of the trigger was one fewer monster roaming the streets, and for a few minutes Mari'Shan lost herself in the methodical aim, fire, reload. Aim, fire, reload.

A noise behind her made Mari squeal, stand, nearly tripping backwards over her own wrapping out of the window. That would definitely be an embarassing death - cracking her mask open against the floor, assuming the fall didn't break her neck. A humanoid figure emerged from the shadows and Mari levelled her rifle at it, the muzzle of the battered old Mantis pointed directly at the creature's head.

Then the beast stepped forward, the darkness peeling away to reveal a turian with both hands held in the air. Mari lowered her gun and the turian lowered his hands, reaching one out in an aiding gesture. Mari chuffed a weak laugh as her legs trembled, exhaustion finally making them give way. She'd never been quite so happy to see an alien.

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

Potential multiplayer character shenanigans, go go go. I made a quarian infiltrator during the ME3 demo, but I haven't played MP since because I'm on the 360 and don't have Gold. So, yeah, headcanon is that little Mari here was on Earth when shit went down, and when she finally got off the planet she decided to go fight the Reapers.

Prompt time! Guess what I've been watching?
o This is your heart; never let it rule your head
o Dead men get listened to
o You're just getting that now?


Edited at 2012-07-25 10:14 pm (UTC)

Very nice, very atmospheric.

Inspired by this

====
"One thing I don't get, Shepard," Kaidan said, sitting down at the mess across from her, coffee and breakfast in hand - thick slabs of bacon, fluffy mounds of eggs, and a huge stack of toast.

"Oh?" Shepard looked at him over the rim of her mug and raised an eyebrow.

Kaidan glanced around the mess before leaning a bit closer. "That reporter - Diana Allers. What in the world made you let her onto the Normandy?"

Shepard shrugg, a grimace flitting across her features. "She says she's working on a story to boost morale for the Alliance. I figure every little bit helps." She reached across the table to wrap her fingers around his wrist and gave a gentle squeeze. "I can handle her, Kaidan. She's a picnic compared to Al-Jilani."

He let go of his mug to grasp her fingers, smiling. He didn't say any more but told himself that he'd watch the reporter. Just in case.

#

About a week later, his first clue that something was off was the giggles. He'd just exited the crew bathroom, towel slung around his waist, intent on the crew quarters to get dressed. The giggles came from pair of soldiers that usually guarded the war room door - this must be their lunch break or something - but they were staring right at him. As he met their gaze they ducked away, but not before Kaidan saw the glaring blue Fornax logo on the datapad that one of them was holding.

Bewildered but shrugging it off, he entered the crew quarters to get dressed. Only to find another three female crewmembers were avidly watching him as he entered. Kaidan wasn't shy - co-ed training basic cured any soldier of that - but this... staring was unnerving. He found himself clutching the towel around his waist. "Don't you have somewhere else to be?" he said in an even tone.

Their eyes snapped up to his face, triple blushes sprouting on each face. Hastily executed salutes and Yes, sirs left him in relative privacy aside from Traynor who was in the back, eyes skimming over a datapad, paying no attention to Kaidan.

Traynor suddenly hooted with laughter as Kaidan pulled his head through his shirt, tucking his dog tags beneath the collar. "I can't believe Joker said that." She laughed again, tossing the datapad carelessly on the table in front of her. Kaidan glanced over and found his eyes fixed on the image revealed: him, Kaidan, bare-chested and smoldering under a scattering of text. Traynor looked up guiltily as Kaidan, in two quick strides, crossed the room and picked up the datapad.



The Men of the S.S.V Normandy, the glaring cover declared. Blurbs also declared features about Joker an the Normandy, a section for Vega's recipes, and... Kaidan felt his iron-clad control slip... Special in-depth Interview with Kaidan Alenko: Stealing the Commander's Heart and Bonus steamy centerfold!

In a remarkably calm voice, Kaidan looked over at Traynor who was twisting a strand of hair around her finger nervously. "So."

"So," Traynor let out a nervous chuckle. "It's a nice picture, you have to admit. I, uh, wasn't looking at you--" she raised her hands in a warding gesture. "I mean, you're good looking, but not really my type--"

"Who?" Kaidan leaned over the table, his biotic corona springing to life on it's own accord, the blue flickering across his eyes.

"Allers!" Traynor yelped, leaning back. "She's not an Alliance war reporter, that's just a front. She's here to get new stuff for Fornax."

Kaidan took a deep breath and his corona faded. "Thanks," he said, and turned on his heel, taking the datapad with him.

#

Diana Allers sat up with a wince, rubbing her backside where a large combat boot had left an imprint, and turned just in time to see the Alliance blue shuttle lift off and zoom away.

"It was nothing personal!" she yelled back. "Your modesty only makes you hotter!" With a sigh, she checked her omni-tool for a direction. The Major had wanted to set her off on an astroid, but the Commander had intervened at the last minute, and now she was at least a good day's hike away from the nearest town on some backwater planet that the Reapers hadn't touched yet. And the Major had wiped her omni-tool clean: all her files, all her painstaking work to get secret pictures (the shirtless ones of Alenko were the hardest), gone from her tool.

But she wasn't a complete moron. She hitched up her varren-skin skirt a bit and from the inside of the hem, retrieved a small data chip. "Good thing I keep backups," she said smiling brightly. Squaring her shoulders and kicking off her heels for the journey, Diana Allers turned toward the nearest town, and started walking.

=====
You know, I almost like Allers after writing this. lol

1) Olympics in space

2) James/Ash - target practice

3) Debating the options

Re: Omni-tool (2/2)

I lol'd! I never take Allers with me, but she might be acceptable if I make this the new head!canon.

Hehe! I know, right? What makes it even more head-canonable is that she's always talking with Traynor. :D

Haha This is now headcanon. Nice job =)

Re: Omni-tool (2/2)

Hahaha ok this is officially my new headcanon. Love it.

I love this. So much. May be giggling slightly embarrassingly.

ROFL!

I can't believe it. You made Diana Allers make sense.

*ding* Headcanon accepted. *ding*

*takes a bow*

Thank you! :D

NSFW - Cold winter days (FemShep/Kaidan)

NSFW

**

Kaidan curls around the flutter of her moving body: fingers unfurling, legs stretching, feet twisting beneath the sheets.

“Stop,” he whispers, drawing out the vowel against her neck. She shivers but finishes the rotation, a sinuous undulation that rolls from her hips to her shoulders, until she's turned over completely, and her head is tucked beneath his chin.

“Can't make me,” she promises, and her lips brush his throat with each little pucker. He draws a slow hand up the arc of her spine, lingering between each slight indentation of flesh across bone. “What time is it?”

“Like you care.”

His hand continues its errant journey, making a sudden turn at her clavicle and winding down.

“I—”

She gasps and gives a little mmm of pleasure as his fingers flicker over her breast and then disengage, continuing ever lower.

“Care,” she finishes, breathless, as he shifts, bringing his leg up between her knees. The blanket tangles around them a little tighter, and her lips press firmly against the curve of his neck. His fingers find the curls covering her wet sex, but he holds back, leaning his head down on the pillow, resting his mouth just above her ear.

“I think the environmentals are out again.”

His hand splays out across her abdomen, fingertips just brushing her mound. Her hips push upward against him, and her hands slide across his back. He feels her warm, ragged breath on his chest. Their little cocoon of bedclothes and blankets protects them, bodies wrapped scalp to toes, but he can't resist a little teasing.

“Maybe I should check.”

He dips one finger, then two, drawing lazy circles around her clit. He nuzzles into her hair, whispering, feeling the rumble of his voice flow from his chest to her trembling arms.

“Maybe I should just get up, find my omnitool. Fix it.”

His thumb presses down, and his fingers thrust inside her—all the little moans she'd been muffling into his skin burst out in a half-strangled cry.

“Don't,” she says. “Kaidan, don't stop.”

“Can't make me,” he chuckles, and she retaliates with a little nip to his neck.

He keeps up the steady ministrations, drawing his fingers in and out of her, watching as her whole body moves in response, twitching, twisting, air forcing out between her clenched teeth. Her eyes are still closed, and she keeps her face buried against his neck and shoulder.

“Janie,” he sing-songs. “I know what time it is.”

"You're insubordinate," she says, going for a warning but barely breaking past a desperate mewl.

"You're incorrigible."

He shifts again, pinning her beneath his weight, speeding up a little. The air trapped with them in the blankets is thick, tingling, filling his head like the gentle drone of bees.

"More," she says, less a request than an instruction.

"Open your eyes," he replies in kind, drifting down to her chest. He blows a stream of cold air across her breast, and she complies.

He holds her gaze as his lips close over a nipple, drawing from her a series of inarticulate moans and gasps. She's close—he feels it, his own biotics responding reflexively, rushing together like opposing tides slamming into the sea. Her nails dig into his shoulders, and she's gasping again, taking in just enough air to expel his name, over and over, eyes locked on his, begging with every little exhalation.

He watches the climax break over her face, open and vulnerable—something new, the darkening of her iris, the hitch of breath in her throat, the almost whine of emptiness as his lips release her breast and his fingers slip from her body, and her head falls limply back into the pillow. Her eyelids drift down, fluttery little petals closing over, as he kisses his way up her throat and along her jaw.

After a few minutes, she's regained her voice.

"You're going to be punished."

“Worth it,” he decides, tickling her bare skin with his stubble.

**

1)it's the end of the line/I guess our luck is up
2)of all the things I've heard/why'd it have to be these words?
3)hold on to where you're from/it's where your heart goes when you're done

Edited at 2012-07-26 05:15 am (UTC)

{Theory: Omni-tool=holographic projection of solid light from small chip. May not be canon, but it's a theory, anyway.

Also: please excuse the length. Got carried away... again.</i>}

When she eventually manages to turn over the flip-proof, certified all-terrain vehicle, it's on a small planet somewhere in the Armstrong Nebula.

Always knew she couldn't drive the fucking thing.

When she wakes, it's to too-bright light and a throbbing head, and she groans, spitting out red hair. It's still upside-down, and she looks around her, panicking for Kaidan and Garrus, before realising that they aren't with her...

Must have got out and left her there. Bastards. Wouldn't have thought either of them had it in them.

She grunts at a slight, but not unbearable, pain in her shoulder as she struggles to slide out of the seat, touch her palm to the door panel; there's a beep, hiss and click, then the door opens. She's about to attempt the arduous climb out of the... well, tank, when an armoured hand is extended past the open door.

Ah. Kaidan. She thought so.

She takes it gratefully, heaving herself up to her feet, and looks up to see...

Not Kaidan. Oh.

Crew-cut, stubble, concerned eyes. "You good?" he asks, watching her as though for breakages. "Hurt at all?"

She nods, breathing still slightly heavy, and frowns at him, or, more specifically, what he's wearing. Weird...

She shrugs it off, raising a hand to her forehead. Must be another graduate of the program. "Yeah," she says, before quickly elucidating, "I am. Good, I mean. Think I bruised my shoulder."

He nods, gives her a crooked half-smile that reminds her of her own. "Worse could've happened." She raises his eyebrows as he sighs, slumping to the ground and sitting on the sand - the motion takes a conspicuously long time due to the armour's inflexibility, and God, she knows that feeling. After a moment of debating with herself, she joins him. They sit beside each other, eyes on the overturned Mako, and there's a long silence before he asks, "You got a team with you?"

She nods, then pauses. "Yeah. No. I dunno. Two guys. Kaid's pissed off and left me. Kinda surprised at that."

He frowns at her. "Kaid as in Kaidan?"

She nods. "Uh-uh."

He raises his eyes to the sky, seeming to consider it. "Must be a common name." He holds out his hand once again, this time differently. "John."

She shakes it, smiling and noting with satisfaction his surprise at the firmness of her grip. "Jane." It's a brisk, solid shake, an exchange of pleasantries between soldiers, and familiar to her as her own name. Familiar is good, after all the shit with Saren and so on. She likes this guy.

He lets go and switches on his omni-tool. "I'll get my pilot on the comm-link, see if we can't get you back to familiar territory."

She smiles at him, grateful, and asks with interest, "What ship you serving on?"

He unconsciously looks up, as if he wants to spot it. "Oh. Cruiser. Used to be my captain's - he was a good guy. The Nor..."


Edited at 2012-07-26 02:30 pm (UTC)


+


She wakes to a throbbing head and two very concerned soldiers peering down at her.

"Next time," Garrus says firmly, "I drive."

Knew they wouldn't abandon her.

Chakwas joins them, one hand still clutching a datapad, and sighs. "A concussion, Commander. Nothing that will keep you off your feet for long."

She starts to sit up, Kaid offering her a hand, and begins, "What about John?"

They frown at her. "Who?" they ask, almost in unison.

"The guy that brought me here," she explains, but they keep frowning.

"We brought you here," Kaid says. "You were passed out in the Mako when we found you."

She rubs her head with gritted teeth, but things begin to make sense now. All a hallucination. The great Commander Shepard is cracking up. She laughs, shakes her head at her own stupidity. "Sure. Yeah. Sorry, guys." Her head is a strange place.

"You dropped your omni-tool?" Kaidan asks, and her hand strays to her wrist. The chip is still intact. She shakes her head.

"Not mine," Garrus chips in from the corner, and Kaidan agrees, "Not mine either. An extra?"

She shrugs, taking the chip from it and turning it over in her fingers. "Dunno. Maybe someone else left it in the Mako."

He shakes his head. "It was outside it, Commander."

+


She turns it on later, in the deserted med bay, and it flickers on with a small welcome message. She touches a finger to it, searching for the user profile so she can return it, and stops as a familiar picture comes to the screen. She frowns. John. She touches it again, agreeing to check over the user preferences and account info, moves to the user info logs, and her eyes widen.

This tool activated: 30-5-78. Her N7 graduation. What?

UserID: John Shepard.

NetworkID: ShepMeister54.

LocationKey: NormSR1.


end.

-+-

-The air that I breathe
-French
-Prothean artefacts

Oh, his CO has them in spades. Hell, next John - Shepard, he corrects himself hastily, that's all he'll use to the guy's face - is gonna start rescuing kittens from trees and holding babies for photoshoots.

The babies part makes Kaidan wonder if he has any family off this ship, if he has someone to come back to after all this is over. It makes him wonder why he's wondering.

The Hero of The Citadel. Sounds like something out of those old DragoonStar games. He remembers some of the kids at Jump Zero talking about them (levels and trolls and levels and dungeons and... did he mention trolls?), about the few memories they had of home. Before the talking stopped and the hopelessness started.

Late one night, with a combination of a splitting migraine and too much coffee, he comes down to find Jo... Shepard in the mess hall, frowning at his omni-tool, pressing buttons and typing things with a faint air of desperation. Kaidan grabs an inevitably hideous mug of coffee - more coffee is probably a bad idea right now, but hey - from the dispenser, sitting opposite the man and sneaking a glance at his omni-tool.

Wow. He's trying to hack his omni-tool to play DragoonStar. The code scrolls past at a ridiculous rate on Shepard's arm, and the commander grits his teeth, eyes flickering and fingers flying, wading through it with the air of a despairing, drowning programmer.

Knowing he's been busted, Shepard looks up, blue eyes meeting his, and grins, sheepish and crooked, clearing his throat; it's a habit of his when he's embarrassed, Kaidan's noticed, and berated himself for noticing. "The great Commander Shepard," John says, quietly, a trace of colour in his cheeks, "Nerd of The Citadel."

Charm? Hmm, maybe, in his own way.

Kaidan gives a small smile before drinking his coffee, wincing at the taste. Then he looks back to John, and says, "Never played it. Heard about it, but..."

John's eyes widen. "Never?"

"Never."

John shifts slightly, and Kaidan understands its meaning immediately; after a very small, invisible debate with himself, he takes the seat next to John, pulling the mug to the other side of the table, and leans to take a look at the omni-tool.

"Here..." John breathes, eyes still taking in the code; he touches his fingers to it, removes a segment. "Great. This should do it..." He touches his hand to the tool, removing it and placing it on the table with a flourish, exhaling. A projection rises from the tool in front of them, orchestral music blaring tinnily from the omni-tool's tiny speakers. DragoonStar, large letters read in a pointed, slightly vicious typeface.

He leans on his elbow and looks to Kaidan, eyes bright, smile almost daring him. "Wanna try?"

Kaidan hesitates before asking, faux-seriously, "You think I'm ready for this, commander?" His mouth twitches.

John laughs, the sound low and pleasant, and reclines in his seat, eyes on the game, shoulder brushing Kaidan's; Kaidan swallows, pretends he hasn't noticed. "You're the best I've got, lieutenant," he says, eyes meeting his. "Don't abandon me now."

Two hours later, the coffee lies cold and forgotten; Kaidan is fighting trolls, John - because he can't think of him as Shepard now they've played DragoonStar together - loudly urging him to go for the neck.

+


Garrus' mandibles twitch in the equivalent of a grin, and he glances at Shepard as he straps away his rifle; several Collectors lie scattered on the ground, heads blown precisely and quickly open. John is crouched behind a bunch of crates, still breathing heavily, holding his own shotgun, eyes several miles away.

Not that they talk about this kind of stuff much, but, Spirits damn him, he has to ask. "Who is she?"

John almost - but not quite - hides it when he jumps, looking at Garrus in surprise. "Wha?"

Garrus just stands, waiting for an explanation. "You've barely been able to shoot straight since we got here."

John swallows, stands, putting away the shotgun, looking out over the horizon. "I don't..." His voice is quiet, unlike his usual tones. "Kaidan," he replies, eventually. "It's Kaidan."

He turns, walking past Garrus before he can make any reply.

+

-Layers
-Surprise
-Twenty-three

Sweet and cute =). Well done.

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