A/n: I've had this sitting around for a while, all half-finished. Today, I decided to get off my tush and finish it. It's a short Shenko oneshot.
Admiral Hackett's ship was the first to dock at the damaged Citadel. He knew how things had fared in the assault, but there was no news from Shepard's small infiltration team. The Admiral gathered an entourage of armed soldiers and exited the ship.
His well trained eyes scanned the nearby area for danger though he knew the men under his command kept a watchful eye on him. Only a fool would walk into this situation without their wits about them.
He was a tall, gangly man with silvering blonde hair and hawk-like eyes. His face was clean shaven, thus accentuating his beak shaped nose. Often times, the Admiral was noted for being terse, but those that knew him simply acknowledged that his abruptness came with his choice of career. The man was all business.
Hackett made his way through the rubble to the Citadel tower where Anderson was undoubtedly headed.
"I'm at the emergency elevator," Anderson's voice sounded in his ear through the comm.
"Almost there," Hackett replied, maneuvering over a section of crumbled wall.
A few minutes passed and the Admiral and his entourage reached the elevator. He and Anderson exchanged a grim nod and entered the dimly lit transport.
The emergency elevator was plain and grey; it did not possess the sterile aesthetic and glass walls of the main elevators. They were lucky that Saren was in too much of a hurry to seal the emergency elevator.
Hackett turned to observe Anderson. The Captain was fidgeting; it was a very strange behavior for the normally composed man. But he knew that Anderson and Shepard had a close bond. He knew that he was worried about her, and the Admiral couldn't blame him. He was concerned as well.
The elevator doors opened and the chaotic mess that used to be the Council's chambers was revealed.
"Good God," Anderson cursed, "alright, fan out. Search the area and find Shepard and her crew." He directed the C-Sec officers into action.
The two Alliance officials nodded at each other and joined the officers in the search. It was tedious work; rubble of all sorts littered the ground. Each member of the search party felt a deep well of despair over the situation. Minutes had passed and there were no signs of life. Had Shepard and her crew made the ultimate sacrifice?
"Captain!" a voice rang out amidst the chaos, "We found them! They're in here!"
The remaining individuals in the search party scrambled to the alerted location; Anderson nearly tripped over a shipping crate in his haste.
"It's ok. It's over now. You're safe," he told the crew. The Captain watched the officers extricate Alenko and Vakarian from the rubble. They looked slightly worse for wear, but seemed relatively fine.
But they were both visibly upset.
"Where's the Commander?" Anderson looked around in panic. "Where's Shepard?"
The ground team couldn't reply and the Captain watched as Alenko sat down in utter dejection. The Lieutenant looked over at where the reaper ship had crashed, his expression numb. Silently, Anderson helped the younger man to his feet, unwilling to speak the unthinkable about Shepard.
Everyone slowly walked away from the scene. They occasionally glanced back at the gigantic wreck of Sovereign in disbelief.
Just when they had given up hope though, a crash sounded behind them.
It was Shepard.
She picked her way through the rubble to her friends and her lover. They'd won. Sovereign was no more, and the organics of the galaxy had a small victory.
The look on his face spoke volumes and Shepard didn't care who was watching. She limped over to her Lieutenant as quickly as possible. For a moment they simply stood and looked at each other, not more than a hand's breadth away. There was so much that they left unsaid, even after all that had transpired before they landed on Ilos.
The dam broke.
Their bodies met with a dull thud, the sound resonating throughout the ruined chambers. Nobody else existed in their world; both Commander and Lieutenant ignored the presence of others as they passionately embraced and kissed.
Admiral Hackett's heart sank. He didn't want to be privy to this kind of information.
"Shipping crates," he grumbled, glancing away from the couple.
"Sir?" Anderson enquired. He looked in the direction of the Admiral's gaze.
There, in the midst of the debris, lay a pile of seemingly innocuous shipping crates. Hackett pointed out the crates with a wave of his hand.
"Have you seen them here before, Captain?" he asked.
"Occasionally," Anderson nodded.
Hackett glanced back at Shepard and her Lieutenant. Apparently they added tongue to the mix when he wasn't looking. It was enough to make him completely turn his back on them.
"I find something peculiar about the crates," Hackett clasped his hands behind his back.
Anderson arched a brow, clueless as to what the Admiral was thinking.
"The orange ones are the only ones that break," Hackett narrowed his eyes.
"Hm," the Captain nodded, "this is a true observation, sir."
"I also notice another thing," the Admiral raised his voice so that the entire room could hear, "those two crates over there are right on top of each other. They need to get a room before the other crates start having issues with them."
His words had the desired effect and the red faced couple quickly parted.
"Sir," Anderson interjected, "Do you want us to include the shipping crates in our reports?" His wrung his hands, dreading the answer.
"Absolutely not," Hackett grumbled, "I don't care what the shipping crates do, so long as they don't jeopardize the mission."
Thus, the shipping crates were never spoken of again.