So this is just a little short story I felt like writing while I was playing through Mass Effect. Although Bioware does a GREAT job of making the 'evil' path something besides the typical homicidal jackass, I felt like making renegade Shepard seem a bit more human. This is probably going to be the only chapter, since everyone who played the game knows what happens next and I don't have any ideas that would make it anything different from the game.

Comments are greatly appreciated and please point out any errors you might see, I'm a horrible proofreader.

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"In fact, I think your mission is over, Shepard. You may be a Spectre, but the Normandy is still an Alliance ship. I'm going to have it locked down. You are grounded until the Council decides our next move." Ambassador Udina still managed to look smug, despite the death glare he received from Shepard.

No. No, no, no…You shithead politician, you goddamned liar…"You bastard! You sold us out!" Shepard shouted at him, taking a menacing step forward.

Udina, to his credit, didn't flinch. "Your dreams about the Reapers are not proof, Shepard, only convoluted theories stemming from what must be a case of post tramuatic stress disorder."

"Don't you get it? If Saren finds the Conduit we're all fucked!" Shepard brought one hand onto the grip of her pistol.

"That's enough, Commander." One of the councilors said sharply. "Return to your ship until we have decided your next course of action."

Kaiden put a hand on Shepard's shoulder before she could retort. "There's nothing we can do, Commander. Let's go."

Garrus sighed as the three of them left. "I can't believe Udina has the nerve to do this to a Spectre."

Shepard didn't answer, staring blankly ahead as they left the Council chambers. I failed.

---

"Doc, I feel like shit. Give me a painkiller." Shepard snapped as she entered the medical bay.

"I don't think that's a wise decision, Commander. Even if I were to give you drugs, it would do nothing to aid the situation."

"I don't care." Shepard glowered at her.

Chakwas sighed. "I suppose I can give you something to help you. But I'd suggest you keep to your quarters for the next few hours." She walked up to a cabinet, opening and taking out a bottle of amber liquid.

Snatching the bottle from the doctor's hands, Shepard turned on her heel and left, not even batting an eye as she bumped into Kaiden when he passed through the door.

"Hey Doctor Chakwas, can I-" Kaiden was interrupted as Shepard brushed by him, not even noticing his presence.

"You might want to talk to her, Kaiden." Chakwas said once Shepard was well out of earshot. "I'm worried about her."

Kaiden nodded. "So am I." He said to himself as he headed to Shepard's quarters.

---

Damn them. Damn them all. The Reapers will kill them all and there's nothing I can do.

A sharp rapping on the door brought Shepard out of her reverie. "Commander?" She heard Kaiden's voice through the door. Shepard downed the last of the liquor from the bottle in her hand before speaking. "Come in," She said in a slurred voice.

Kaiden opened the door and slowly stepped in. "Hey, Commander...Are you, uh, are you alright?" His nose crinkled at the scent of alcohol coming from her. Then he really looked at Shepard, sitting on her bed. The sight of her shocked him. This was not the stern, no-nonsense, calm even under fire Commander he had known. Neck length black hair, normally slicked back, was scattered across her face, and tears trickling from her eyes had made the little eyeshadow she wore stream down her face. Her eyes were still red from crying, and an empty bottle was clutched in her hand.

"Does it matter?" Shepard muttered, not bothering to look up. "Maybe if we're lucky we can watch the Reapers kill Udina."

"It's not over yet, Commander." Kaiden replied.

"Yes it damn well is!" Shepard shouted, causing Kaiden to jump. "Don't you get it? The Council, the Alliance, everyone is going to die!"

Kaiden took a few slow, hesitant steps towards Shepard. "Commander, we're going to stop Saren. The Council will-"

"To hell with the Council!" Shepard snapped. Suddenly, she buried her hands in her face and began to sob uncontrollably.

Kaiden blinked, unsure as what to do. He silently fumed at the Council, at Udina, at the galaxy, for turning Shepard, his Shepard, from a brave, if not blunt, reckless, and ruthless soldier, into this broken shell. Taking another few steps forward, Kaiden put a reassuring hand on Shepard's shoulder. "You've never given up before, Shepard. Not after Mindoir, not Akunze. I don't think they would want you to-"

Shepard flinched, as if something had struck her. Her hand shot up, swinging the bottle at Kaiden's head. He reacted instinctively, forming a biotic shield. The bottle shattered harmlessly against the shield. Kaiden took a deep breath and sat next to her as she tossed the broken bottle aside.

"Don't...don't say that. I failed them. They should want me to die."

"Don't say that. You're going to get through this. We're going to get through this." Kaiden hesitated for a moment, then tentatively reached up to hold Shepard's cheek in his hand. "You've always taken care of yourself. But your gun and armor can't save you from everything. Let me help you. Let me be your shield."

"I couldn't save them, Kaiden. Not on Mindoir, not on Akunze. Not on Vimire. Not Ash..."

Kaiden brought his hand down from Shepard's face and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. He hesitated at the mention of Ashley. "There was nothing you could've done, Shepard. She made her choice."

Shepard leaned against Kaiden's shoulder, the alchohol dissapating her usual aloof manner. "No." She whispered. "I made a choice. I chose that no one would ever doubt a Williams' bravery...No, no, I chose you."

"I'm sorry you had to make that choice, Shepard. I'm so sorry. I..." Kaiden paused, at a loss of words.

The corner of Shepard's mouth twitched ever so slightly in a shadow of a smirk. She lifted her head from Kaiden's shoulder, her arm gripping his shoulder as she steadied herself and sat up. Her inebriated eyes managed to focus on Kaiden's. "You talk to much, Kaiden. Actions speak louder then words."

Kaiden smiled and caressed Shepard's cheek in his hand, wiping away the black eye makeup and brushing the hair out of her face. He couldn't tell whether it his or Shepard's breathing he could hear as she leaned closer. Her lips slowly pressed up against his. Shepard climbed onto Kaiden's lap, never breaking the kiss as she pushed herself against him. Kaiden leaned back onto the bed with Shepard on top of him.

Joker's voice suddenly blared through the room. "Uh, Commander? I've got a message from Captain Anderson. He wants you to meet him at Flux."

Both Shepard and Kaiden jolted up in surprise. It took Kaiden a moment to realize the thudding noise he had suddenly noticed was his own heart hammering against his chest.

Shepard didn't move from her position, only glancing up and taking a deep breath before speaking. "Did you choose this exact moment to tell me that, Joker?"

"Not at all, Commander."

"You damn well better not have been spying on me. What does the Captain want?"

"He didn't say, but he sounded pretty determined."

"Alright, I'm on my way." Shepard stifled a sigh, then looked back at Kaiden and smirked. Despite the disheveled appearance she still had, Shepard's face appeared as calm as it always has, and her eyes were once again full of sharp clarity. "I hope you realize what you've done, Lieutenant Alenko."

Kaiden's eye lit up like a geth about to be run over by a Mako. "C-Commander, I didn't mean to, I..." He continued stammering unintelligibly, until Shepard cut him off with another kiss.

Shepard smiled down at Kaiden as she pulled her head back. "Thank you, Kaiden. Shall we go see what the good Captain wants?" She said casually, clambering off of Kaiden. He simply laid there, staring at Shepard as she brushed her hair with her hands and spit on her hand to wipe away the last of the makeup on her cheeks.

As she reached the door, Shepard turned around and smirked at Kaiden. "Don't worry, we'll...talk later." Her tone was serious as always, but the look in her eyes suggested otherwise.

Kaiden couldn't help but grin. "I'd like that."