Hey Guys! So... I've been recently playing the Mass Effect trilogy. Now my personal Shepard romanced Kaidan and I absolutely love them, but if there is another romance I love is the one between my male Shepard and Miranda. I think the Miranda romance is wonderful, BUT I feel like Bioware could have done so much more, because personally, I see a lot of unseen potential. To me, Miranda is a much deeper character that she appears to be. So, this is my take on my first and probably only Mass Effect fanfiction. It follows the Happy Ending Mod on the Extended cut and it's more like a series of drabbles.
Darkness was all around him. The emptiness engulfed him. Flashes of his life came back to him: his childhood in the colonies, the day he defeated Saren and the Sovereign, dying once after the destruction of the Normandy, waking up to seeing her face for the first time, curing genophagy, destroying the Reapers. Was he on his way to Heaven? He flashed to all his friends, those who were gone: Thane, Legion, Ashley, Mordin… and those who had lived: Garrus, Joker, EDI, Tali, Kaidan, Jack, Liara, Jacob, Kasumi, Samara, Grunt, James… but were they still alive?... Miranda… he went back to their first conversations, how cold and distant she was. He went back to how he slowly managed to get through her walls of ice, he went back to helping her saving her sister, he went back to fighting side by side with her against the Collectors, he went back to all their he went back to Sanctuary, he went back to when he promised to come find her… was she still alive? If that was his way to Heaven, then he was sure he was going to find out, but suddenly the darkness seemed to be slowly fading. Miranda's reassuring face vanishing with it. Soft noise was what he was starting to feel. Muffled noise and a tingling sensation go through his body.
"He's waking up" was the first thing he heard almost clearly, and recognized Miranda's unmistakable voice. Was it a dream? Was his mind playing games with him? "Call Doctor Chakwas!"
"I'm on it!" said another voice
"Lionel" Miranda called softly "Lionel it's me, it's Miri. Can you hear me?" He dared a movement as he tried to open his eyes. His eyelids, as heavy as mountains, felt like they were draining all his energy. Slowly a blurry figure came into view, surrounded by a bright white "I'm right here, Lionel" she soothed him. His vision was still blurry, but he managed to finally see her face, her black hair and beautiful blue eyes. The moment she saw recognition in his grey eyes, a relieved smile appeared on her face as she stroked his short raven hair, with such a gentleness that he had faintly felt her affectionate touch. Suddenly he felt his breath hitch and his heart pounding hard against his chest. Miranda's smile vanished and her eyes once again filled with worry. She glanced back up at the monitor, her mind swirling back to when he first woke up when he was just a job to her.
"Miranda, the monitor! What's happening to him?!" it was Tali's voice. Lionel recognized her voice and he tried to move towards it, but his breathing was quickening and heart beating faster.
"Lionel, don't try to move. Just lay still and try to stay calm" she said, before snapping her head back to the door. Doctor Chakwas ran in followed by Jack.
"Heart rate still climbing. Brain activity is off the charts" Miranda explained before the Doctor could even ask "Stats pushing into the red zone. He needs a sedative!" Chakwas didn't have the time to be impressed by the accuracy of Miranda's words and immediately proceeded with the sedative.
"One dose coming right away" Chakwas said urgently.
"Oh, look! The cheerleader is a doctor too, now. Figures…" the tattooed woman commented.
"Not now, Jack!" Tali interjected, for the first time in Miranda's defense.
"Ladies, I have to ask you to go outside. If you need to fight do it there" Chakwas said categorically. Jack was about to protest, but Tali placed a hand on her shoulder gently pushing her to the exit as Kasumi made herself visible and accompanied them out of the door. Miranda was reluctant to leave, but she knew it was best to let the doctor handle the situation and hesitantly walked out of the door, her eyes never leaving the man she loved.
"Second dose of sedative" Chakwas said, but her voice was now becoming muffled once again "Heart rate dropping. Stats going back into normal range" and he felt it, his breath slowing down again, his heart beating slower. Chakwas never daring to look away from his vital signs on the monitor, until she was sure her Commander was stable.
The last thing Lionel Shepard saw were Miranda Lawson's pained eyes.
Miranda stood motionless as the door closed in front of her. She had never felt more useless. She wanted more than anything to be beside him, but her rational side knew that she was too emotionally involved to think right. She had been correct in that room, but knew that if things got worse she probably would have messed it up. With Chakwas, her Lionel was in better hands than hers. They had said their goodbyes before he headed to fight the Reapers, but there was one thing she regretted now more than ever. They never told each other 'I love you' and if something went wrong, they may never have that chance.
"Would you sit the fuck down instead of standing there like a pole?! Shepard is not coming out of that room anytime soon" Jack barked at her.
"Jack! We're all shaken up, worried and nervous, here. There's no need to be so nasty, especially to Miranda" Tali interjected again, not even bothering with surprising herself when she defended the ex-Cerberus officer for the second time.
"Tali is right" the thief added "We're all having a hard time. Just because you don't like her, doesn't mean you have to take your frustration out on Miri" Kasumi said.
"Are you fucking kidding me?!" the tattooed biotic exclaimed "Shepard is in that room! He's the one who almost died to save the galaxy and the cheerleader gets all the sympathy?!"
"Girls!" Miranda called before they could start arguing, getting their attention, sitting down beside Kasumi "Enough… fighting won't help Lionel get better… and he wouldn't want us to" No one could or wanted to argue with that. Chakwas came out of the hospital room a few minutes later. She said he was stable, but it was best not to see him, mostly because he had reacted to the outside stimuli and needed rest. None of them moved from their seats as a pregnant silence filled the air.
One by one, the rest of their companions showed up all asking the same question and all getting the same answer. Only Garrus and Liara were nowhere to be seen. Miranda assumed it was because of their wounds and they too needed rest, even if they had already been sent home from hospital. The explosion had killed most of the men running to the Crucible. Garrus and Liara had been lucky. The asari had been hit in the stomach by a rock splinter, with so much force that it had pierced through the armor and her skin. It wasn't too deep, but enough to force her to stay home and rest. The turian on the other hand had a few cracked ribs other than a wound similar to Liara's, resulting in him having to stay home as well. They might have not been there in person, but Miranda had spent enough time with them to know that their mind was on Lionel as well.
Shepard was their leader and each one of them loved him in a different way, even Grunt, the Krogan. They were all so much different from each other and yet Shepard managed to keep them together. To Grunt he was a worthy clan leader, to Kasumi and Jacob he was a most trusted friend. To Tali, Garrus, Liara, Kaidan and Joker, Lionel was sort of a gang leader, they went way back and they trusted him blindly. Not to mention that both Tali and Liara had a crush on him in the past, with the difference that Tali ended up finding love in Garrus, Liara tried not to show it, but Miranda knew she still had feelings for him. To James Vega he was a mentor, not just his Commander. To Jack, in a way he was just like what he was to Miranda: the man who opened her eyes. He had showed Jack that it was okay to let people in, to trust them and that you don't have to do everything alone. It was the same thing he had showed Miranda, other than making her understand that it didn't matter how she got her gifts, what mattered was what she had used them for… but he had done so much more.
As they had come, one by one, the Normandy's crew headed back home.
After Tali had left to go tend to Garrus, the only ones left were Kaidan, Jack and Miranda. Kaidan was hesitant in leaving the two powerful biotics together with no one to make sure they didn't kill each other. He observed them for a while. Jack was unnaturally quiet, nervously tapping her foot, on the other hand, Miranda was just as quiet, but lost in thought. Seeing that both of them were far from ready to throttle one another, Kaidan took his leave as well. On the other hand, Jack wouldn't leave until Miranda either fell asleep or left herself.
The two biotics remained quiet, glancing to each other every now and then. The more she thought about Lionel and how important he had become for everyone, each time she glanced at Jack she couldn't help but realize just how much they were alike in those things that had made them different. Jack hated Cerberus for what it did to her, but she had turned exactly in that biotic killing machine Cerberus wanted her to be. Miranda had been extremely loyal to Cerberus because it had been her home for years after she ran away and saved her sister from their psychopathic father, making her its most trusted agent. Still, both of them had learned to love a life that was meant to be lived alone. Lionel Shepard showed them it wasn't true: he didn't just made them trust others, he made Jack want to use her biotic abilities to be better and he made Miranda feel human and not just some 'perfect' result from a science lab.
Miranda knew Jack didn't trust her, even if she knew she was romantically involved with the Commander. She might have cut all ties with Cerberus, but the tattooed biotic didn't trust her, even now at the hospital. Miranda had rushed to the hospital the moment Kaidan told her about Lionel and hadn't left for a whole week and three days, leaving only when she needed to shower and change on the Normandy, barely eating anything. Miranda had stayed out of love, Jack stayed because she didn't trust her being alone with an unconscious Shepard.
Miranda had tried not to think about it, but after a week going on like it did that day, with the difference that Lionel had never woken up, she couldn't help but wonder what she would do if she lost him. Like she had told him before, she had surprised herself with how attached she got. She was afraid, afraid to lose him after all they've been through. He had taught her how to love him. He had just asked her to be part of his life and she ended up feeling like hers belonged to him. If she were to lose him… she had just no idea how she was going to cope. She felt pathetic. Miranda was not that kind of sappy soap opera woman. She hated this feeling of dependency. If she had known earlier that Love was able to turn even the toughest of soldiers into a lovesick puppy, she would have thought twice before falling for Lionel Shepard… and, still, loving him and letting him love her had been so worth it.
When exhaustion got the best of her and Miranda fell asleep on the hospital bench. Jack took her leave.
When he woke up, the bright lights made him cringe and shut his eyes tightly once more. His head was throbbing and his body was sore everywhere. He felt something weight on his chest and his leg and right hand heavy, he tried to move and a sharp pain from his side went right through him. Lionel dared to open his eyes once more. His vision was blurry, but as soon as his sight cleared up he looked around him trying to recognize the place.
"Well, this scene looks familiar" he heard a voice whisper. His eyes moved to the door. A tall man with black hair and brown eyes, in an Alliance uniform was standing in the doorway with a coffee cup in his hand and a smile on his face "Only that I was in your position… and a little less broken" he added with a small laugh. A small smile played on the Commander's lips.
"Hey, Kaidan…" he managed to say with a raspy voice.
"Glass of water coming right up" his friend whispered walking in the room and placing the coffee on the small table next to the bed and helping Shepard drink his glass of water. He immediately felt refreshed and his throat less sore, as the water washed away the metallic taste of blood.
"Just how broken am I?" he rasped out, clearing his throat.
"Eh… just enough. According to Chakwas you broke your leg, left shoulder with multiple fractures, ring and pinky finger on your right hand, two ribs and other two cracked" Kaidan explained. Shepard replied with a look that clearly said he was satisfied with himself, considering from what he got those injuries. Then memories of when he first awoke came back to him.
"Where's Miranda?" Lionel asked, his voice still weak.
"She's right there, sleeping" Kaidan replied keeping his voice low. Lionel looked to where Kaidan had motioned at and his eyes laid on Miranda's sleeping figure. She was sitting on the one armchair in the room, legs and arms loosely crossed and her head lolled to the side, her hair slightly messy. She looked peaceful, but even in her sleep Lionel could sense her worry for him.
"She's been here since we found you" Kaidan said "She has never left you"
"How long have I been here? Where am I?" Lionel asked.
"Ilium's hospital. You've been unconscious for two weeks, without counting your brief, abrupt wake up" the Major explained. Lionel immediately panicked.
"Two weeks?! And Miri never left?! It's dangerous for her to be here. She could-"
"-Easy, Shepard" Kaidan tried to calm him down "She's safe here. I got it covered. The Council already gave it a try, but I told them she's under a Specter witness protection program. You know, the typical half-truth: we need to protect her, without locking her up, in case the remaining Cerberus members decide to eliminate her because she might have been a Cerberus big shot, but whether the Alliance likes it or not, she helped you defeat the Collectors and the Reapers and she brought you back from the dead. Miss Lawson will be important now that the rebuilding part has come and taking down the remaining Cerberus. And that's one half true part"
"What is the other half part?" Lionel asked.
"The one I kept to myself" he explained "That she means a lot to you and that if you mean as much to her, it wasn't fair to keep her away from you in a moment like this" Kaidan didn't need to go into details and Lionel did not want him to. He knew that apart from Jacob, Kasumi and Grunt, his friends were still wary of Miranda, Kaidan and Jack most of all. Now he knew that if Kaidan had his doubts, after seeing Miranda staying by his side every day and every night, watching over him like a hawk, he knew that Miss Lawson's feelings towards Shepard were real.
"Thank you" he told his friend, weakly. He looked towards Miranda, wanting to reassure her. He wanted her to see he had woken up and that he was fine... well 'fine' for the standards of what he had just survived. It took just that look to make the Major melt and Kaidan walked to Miranda, ignoring Shepard weakly asking him to let her be.
"Miss Lawson" Kaidan called lightly shaking her shoulder. Miranda opened her eyes, meeting Kaidan's face.
"What is Major Alenko?" she tiredly asked rubbing her eyes with a hand
"The Commander woke up" he said. Miranda's head snapped towards Shepard and was greeted by his smile. Kaidan moved aside, keeping his hand on her shoulder.
"Lionel?" she called uncertain.
"Hey, Miri" he greeted weakly, but his smile was enough to reassure Miranda that he was okay.
"I'll leave you two alone" Kaidan said and with a reassuring squeeze on the ex-Cerberus' shoulder, he walked out of the room. Though he did not leave, and when he saw Jack, Liara, Garrus and Tali make their way to Shepard's room, he told them to give the couple a few minutes, but nothing stopped Jack to look inside the room to keep an eye on the 'cheerleader'.
The moment Kaidan had walked out of the door, Miranda remained seated for a few seconds taking in that her Lionel was alive and awake. Then she got up from the arm chair and sitting beside him she leaned down, gently cupping his face in her hands and kissed him. Lionel didn't hesitate to kiss back.
"You're okay…" Miranda breathed as she pulled back.
"I found you…" Lionel whispered with a teasing smile. Miranda let out a small laugh.
"You ass" was her one comment. That was her Lionel, even half broken after destroying the Reapers, he had the audacity to tease her. "How are you feeling?" she asked him gently stroking his cheek, after carefully lying beside him on the bed, holding herself up on an elbow.
"I've been better… considering that the last time I woke up on one of these beds I jumped into action after being resurrected" he replied, his smirk never leaving his face "What about you?"
"Oh no. You're not worrying about me after being blown to hell a second time"
"I take as a 'I'm perfectly fine' and I won't press the matter"
"Thank you… I hope you aren't making plans for a third" Miranda joked.
"I hope the whole galaxy saw the last one because I'm NOT doing it again" Lionel answered in the same way. There was a small silence between them. Miranda's fingers gently went through his short hair, soothingly. Lionel visibly relaxed under her touch. He cleared his throat.
"How are the others?" he asked softly.
"They're alright. Garrus and Liara came out with a few scratches, but they're okay" she replied "Also, you should have told me you hired Jack as your personal bodyguard, and don't worry: no fights… merely a few insults"
"You two seemed to be getting along at the party" Lionel said.
"We probably will never be friends. We're too much alike in what makes us clash… but we respect each other. Jack will never admit it, but I know that deep down this is one thing we can agree on" Miranda confessed. Lionel smiled.
"Everything is going to change from now on. It's a start" he said.
"Yeah… everything is going to change" A heavy silence filled the air, but the thick sensation of heaviness slowly disappeared as their words and new reality sunk in. They looked at each other in the eyes, letting those sensations get through their minds and bodies as an aura of relief and exhausted joy filled the air. It was then that Miranda felt the silent tears she had kept back for two weeks finally slide down her cheeks. For the first time in years Lionel's eyes watered and tears slid down his cheeks as well. They couldn't even describe what tears those were. They were tears of relief mixed with worry, grief for all they lost, and happiness at the same time. As those tears streamed down, slowly, Miranda and Lionel remembered of the mistake they had made during their last conversation, neither of them was going to repeat that now.
"I love you" Lionel said it first. His voice trembling, choking a small relieved sob, smiling at her.
"I love you too" Miranda replied smiling back at him through the tears. Her voice lightly shaking as well. Closing their eyes they pressed their foreheads against each other's, both could feel the other's shaky breath on their lips. Then they closed the tiny gap between them in a slow gentle kiss, with a tenderness that they had never shared before. It was finally, over and they could finally rebuild their lives, together this time. When they pulled back from that loving kiss, they still remained close for a few seconds more, their lips barely apart and their noses lightly brushing against each other, just to feel the other's comforting closeness. Pulling back they opened their watery eyes meeting each other's gaze, then Miranda tenderly ran a hand through Lionel's hair, down to his cheek onto his chest and, careful to his hand in the cast, she laid down, nestling her head in the crook of his neck. Lionel leaned his head on hers inhaling deeply, filling his nose with her scent, relaxing him. He felt her silent happy relief tears slowly fall on his bare chest, but he didn't say a word as Lionel himself was not done shedding his same ones. After everything they had been through, now that it was finally over, they needed to let it out and they needed each other.
And here you have the first chapter! I hope you liked it and I apologize if I mess up some minor things. I'm new to Mass Effect. Let me know what you think with your reviews and I'll see you on the next chapter!
Thank you for reading and reviewing!
The Princess of Stars