I wake with delicious aches all over my body, and for a few glorious moments all I can do is moan happily and wriggle, then memories of the night before collide with my waking mind and mortification sets in. I remember Shepard coming to visit me the night before, I remember failing utterly to set her off and keep her faithful to the woman that I know she should be loyal to, and I remember the hours(hours! God...) of mind-blowing and totally satisfying sex. And yet, I also remember that she was stressing a need of the moment and not a more permanent desire, and a few tears escape my eyes as I consider what that means for me. 'A taste of heaven, of an eden I will never be allowed to stay in.'
I quickly pull my catsuit on and shuffle out of my quarters, only to hear a blood-curdling scream of pain echo out of the medbay. Our acrobatics the night before mean that I recognize her voice even now, and all I can think is that Shepard is in pain and I have to save her. My heels click harshly against the deck as I sprint across the ship to the door to the medbay and slam the lock override, the whoosh of the door blocked out entirely by another scream that frames the scene before me. Victory is lying on a bed, Karin Chakwas frantically rushing about with her omnitool glowing and administering medigel to the lesions that continue to appear on the commander's body.
The arcing of blue biotic fields wipes any doubt about what is causing her pain from my mind and I know that this is unequivocally my fault. If I hadn't placed the biotic amps in her, if I hadn't changed her so fundamentally, she'd be fine right now. She's rejecting the framework and it's all because of me, memories of my early life dredging themselves up as I sink to the ground staring at her.
I knock at the old-fashioned oak door, waiting for the words to come, dreading them. "Enter, Miranda." The tone of my father's voice is everything that it shouldn't be, flat and uncaring, filled with a businessman's edge that should only be for when he is speaking to clients. My breathing shaky, I push open the doors that seem to extend into eternity over my head and enter the office, walled in by books. He doesn't turn to look at me. "You have failed again, child. Your tutors have told me that you were spending more time in your classes drawing and writing silly stories than you were doing the coursework you were assigned. You disappoint me. What do you have to say for yourself?"
"Father, my classes are boring. They are all that I ever do, and I know what is being taught every bit as well as the tutors, it isn't fair!" He finally turns to look at me and I flinch, seeing the deadness in his eyes that I dread every night in my dreams. My nightmares. "Fair is not a word you should ever use, Miranda. Business isn't fair, and you cannot be either. If you know the material, then I will bring in new tutors to teach you things you do not know. Do not fail me again, or you will be sanctioned. Do you remember what that means?" My eyes flick to the ground as the memory of my last sanction fill me with fear. "Yes Father." I can still feel the wet, the pain of the electroshock, the rub of the restraints on my wrists and ankles.
Now the images shift. I am older, smarter, and just as trapped. "Miranda, you have failed me. I warned you that you would be sanctioned if you failed." He looks behind me at someone I didn't see when I entered. "Take her." I curse myself as strong hands grab my wrists, cutting off my biotic abilities completely even as I am lifted off the ground and swiftly removed from the office, a bag making its way over my head soon after. Hours of pain, lashes over every part of my body, always enough to hurt but never enough to make me bleed. Again and again and again the pain comes, squeezing tears out of my eyes no matter how hard I tried to stop them.
Again, new images. Another failure, but this time I am old enough to escape, and I fight back. I run, shoving through doors until I find the nursery. I reach for the baby and...
"Miranda! Miss Lawson don't just sit there, get in here and help me dammit! You know what to do here better than I do, you rebuilt her! Save Shepard or so help me I will rip out your fingernails!" The frantic shouts of the doctor wake me from my pained recollections and I stagger to my feet, desperately trying to figure out what to do. Then I see it, the tiny perforations along the sheath around one of the eezo nodes, and I know who did it and how to fix it. "Damn you Wilson... If I hadn't already killed you, I'd kill you now." I turn to Karin and tell her to prep the repair module that I had specifically included on the Normandy. "We have to get her in there now, it'll place a protein overlay on all of her implants and repair the damage my former assistant did to her. I'm actually amazed that it's taken this long to occur, but at least it happened on the ship and not out of assignment." Please Shepard, just hold on.
I wake to find myself on a table in the medbay, one hell of a headache and more burns than I've had in a long time stabbing me awake with the pain. Still, I'm alive, and whatever was hurting me is gone. The first thought I have is "Ow, what the fuck happened," followed very quickly by "Oh hello gorgeous, what are you doing sleeping on my bed?" Then I realize that I'm in the bloody medbay, so of course Miranda would fall asleep at the foot of my bed, she'd be worried about me. I can't really say I blame her, I did rock her world last night and completely blow her objections away, and the sight of her so adorable in her chair moves me to do something I've never really been big on doing.
My body aching from whatever happened, I slowly and painfully flip around in the bed and take her hand, my lips pressing carefully on her knuckles as I snuggle back onto the bed to rest some more. As I drift away again, I have several fleeting thoughts, among them a fairly simple one. "I need to get her something other than this damnable catsuit to wear.'
It is several hours later when I wake again, righted on the bed and conspicuously missing Miranda's presence. Chakwas walks in and sees my eyes are open, smiling at me and telling me, "Glad to see you up, Commander. I believe your XO is holed up in her office, having found you holding her hand in your sleep earlier." I grin and bounce up, thanking her even as I sprint out the door and across the deck to Miranda's office.
I don't know what to do, what to feel or say or think or anything. I had believed I knew what was happening last night as Victory seduced me, but when I woke in the medbay to find her clutching my hand and so at peace, I began to question my own conclusions, my own judgement. I had believed that the commander was just lonely, that she was perhaps painfully horny after two years without sex, though looking back on it I find it quite likely she hardly noticed the absence since she had been fairly abstinent before Tali, had only been with Tali a handful of times, and had in fact been unconscious or barely even classifiable as living for the better part of her reconstruction. What does that mean for last night? What if she wasn't stressing the present because of immediacy, what if she was stressing the present for another reason?
I have recently come to understand that she has actually known me longer than she knew Tali, at least in terms of knowing things about me or being there to hear me. I managed to build a rapport with her when I thought that it wouldn't make any difference, when I thought she'd never remember anything anyway. I quite accidentally helped Commander Victory Shepard, the first human Spectre and Hero of the Battle of the Citadel, Savior of the Council, Butcher of Torfan, learn more about me than she knows about her former lover, and if last night is anything to judge by, perhaps I began to build something else too.
My thoughts are interrupted when the door of my office hisses open, a smiling and mostly recovered Victory standing in the doorway. "Hey there lover." she quips, that cocky grin and those come-hither gray eyes piercing straight through my heart. My breath catches at the sight of her, dark skin and Indian features conjuring to mind descriptions of the Hindu goddesses of old. Of course, I know from her files that those are not the gods she believes in, and having seen her fight I can attest that she does her own deities proud as well, the Tuatha Dé Danann well served with every battles she joins. Still, I cannot help but wonder if this woman is not truly the angel she seems to be, frightening and beautiful at once and always in command of the situation.
"Commander, about last night, I understand that it was just an immediate need, so I have no hard feelings about it at all." I lie with a straight face, keeping tight rein on my emotions and hoping she doesn't notice my heart shattering as I say the words. I watch her face fall and I know it's because I also just took away the chance of it ever happening again, just to save myself the heartbreak when she tells me she doesn't want to continue later. "O-oh, okay... I thought... I thought maybe you felt..." She turns away, so thoroughly dejected and depressed that at first I panic and wonder if I read the situation wrong before I remind myself that it's just her losing a fling, nothing big or world-breaking. She doesn't like to share, and she likes to lose even less, and I'm just protecting myself from getting too attached to a woman who is spoken for.
I don't know what hour it is. I don't know how much time has passed. I know that I have gone on a mission(or was it two?), but I don't remember much from them(it?). Everything is a blur, just out of focus, out of reach. Nothing really seems to matter to me at the moment, though I don't know why(is it because of Miranda?). I'm sitting in my cabin(alone, so alone) still dripping from my shower but I don't care, I don't feel, I just simply exist(it isn't simple). I hear EDI talking, but the words don't make sense, I can't connect them to a meaning. Then I feel hands on me but I don't look up(they won't be hers).
I hear another voice(so beautiful, so haunting) and the world shifts. The bed doesn't support me anymore, it's like the only way to stay upright is to stand and wrap my arms around this person before me(such a soft chest). Dark hair brushes my cheek and the teasing tones of her voice trip into my ear(I could listen to you forever), the words roaring inside me. "Shepard, talk to me. Tell me what's wrong, tell me... tell me what I did wrong. Tell me I was wrong."
I don't know what to do, I can't speak, so it's a stranger's words in my voice that get said, "You were so fucking wrong you stupid fucking bitch, how could you think that I would use you like that, play with you like a thing?" I feel her shrink, feel her shake, hear her whimper(don't cry, I didn't mean it), but she doesn't defend herself. The stranger's words continue in my voice, "I'm not fucking playing around here, I'm in this for the long bloody haul, so tell me now if you're too much of a pussy to handle it and I'll let you run off and be a mewling quim without me. I want the woman who can rebuild a life, not some jumped up scientist in a catsuit, d'you hear me?"
She nods meekly, shaking and shivering and trying not to cry(no tears, no tears, baby please no tears), just clinging onto me until she can look up and I see her eyes(those big, beautiful chocolate eyes), and my heart melts all over again(please let me love you). "Shepard, I..." she murmurs, her voice watery and uncertain, "I'm so sorry. I thought you were just looking for gratification, a fling, that you didn't... that you wouldn't..." She trails off, uncertain but resolute to do something. That's all I see on her face, a look that says "I have to do this now," and then her lips are pressed to mine(sweet taste, salty tears) and nothing else matters. I feel my arms snap around her shoulders and pull me close, one leg hooking behind her hip to keep her there and I snog her silly and when it breaks, I finally speak my own words, "Stay here tonight, Lawson. That's an order." I feel the smile on my lips and I say one more thing, my voice dangerously husky, "And call me Vicky... lover."
A/N: SO! Here we are, the not so awaited second chapter of this little glitch-fic where I play on a more well-traveled field. I can find plenty of Miri/FemShep stories, though the number of good ones(in my opinion) is limited. In point of fact, these are them:
First up is Ms. DKLC, with The Girl Crush, a story I've been plugging for a bit now because it's just so darn good. :3
Next is TheChemistJorax with The Perfect Woman(and attending sequels), as well as The Days We Have Forgotten.
Last is sunshinelemonaid with her AU high school story Chasing Perfection, more fun to read than some others purely for the Kaidan hate.
So my lovelies, please read and review, I love to hear what you think!