Author's Notes: One of the aspects of ME 2 I found disappointing was that, unlike Dragon Age, none of the other characters ever commented on your choice of love interests. Given that half the romance options in ME 2 were aliens, I thought it was definitely a missed opportunity, and this is my attempt at fixing it. Title blatantly stolen from a Babylon 5 episode.

Confessions and Lamentations

Miranda Lawson

It's just past 1300 hours on the Normandy's day cycle—kept on military time to make Shepard feel more comfortable—and I'm bent over my desk, analysing the latest mission report when a chiming sound rouses me from my contemplation. It's the alarm I set as a reminder to check in for my weekly briefing with the Illusive Man, and I absently rise from my chair as I touch my computer monitor to silence the timer.

I'm halfway to my office door before I suddenly remember—there is no daily briefing. I don't work for the Illusive Man anymore.

My step falters and stops, and I suck in an involuntary breath, trying not to submit to the unsettled feeling that threatens to sweep over me. I don't regret breaking ties with the Illusive Man, with Cerberus. I know I did what I had to do. Even so, this sensation of being…adrift is something I haven't felt since before I joined the organization.

It's something I hoped I'd never feel again.

I'm still standing there, somewhere between my desk and my door when the entrance chime sounds. Before I can think better of it, I take a deep breath.

"Come in."

The door whirrs and swings open to reveal Jacob, who starts to enter but stops abruptly when he sees me standing only a few feet away from him.

"Oh." He lifts one hand to scratch the back of his neck. "Sorry. Are you going somewhere?"

I smile, hoping it doesn't look as strained as it feels. "No. Not anymore. What can I do for you, Jacob?"

I can feel his gaze on me as I turn to reseat myself behind my desk, but my composure is back in place by the time I meet his eyes. He appears…not upset, but distracted, a suspicion confirmed the moment he begins to pace back and forth in front of my desk.

I sit back and wait, and it's only a few seconds before he pivots towards me and blurts out in rather unceremonious fashion, "So Shepard and Vakarian are sleeping together."

The silence stretches a moment before I raise one eyebrow. "I know."

Whatever response he was expecting, that wasn't it. "You—you do?"

My eyebrow lifts even higher and I lean forward, steepling my fingers on the desktop. "Jacob, I wouldn't be very good at my job if I didn't know everything there is to know on this ship. Especially about the Commander."

His face twists a little as he considers that. He never was particularly good at hiding his emotions. "Yeah, I guess. How come you didn't tell me?"

I give him a scornful look. "I'm not the gossipy type, Jacob; you know that. I leave that business to Yeoman Chambers."

He snorts softly. "Point taken. I am curious as to what you think, though."

"Who says I think anything about it?"

Now it's his turn to give me a look. "Come on, Miranda. I know you well enough to know you have an opinion on just about everything."

"Fair enough." I incline my head slightly. That's the only acknowledgment he's going to get, even though he's completely right. "I think it's a mistake. Or at least, not the brightest idea Shepard's ever had."

Jacob folds his arms over his chest. "Because Vakarian's a turian?"

"That's part of it, in a manner of speaking." I rise from my chair, crossing the room to stand by the viewport overlooking the stars. "All relationships are distractions, intimate ones in particular. But one with a turian?"

I shake my head, turning to face Jacob and unconsciously mimicking his crossed-arms pose. "Shepard's a public figure. And you know her, she won't attempt to keep something like this a secret. The first time the two of them go out in the open together acting like a couple, the media will descend on her like a varren on a fresh kill. It's just a big mess that she doesn't need, especially considering what's at stake in our mission. She should be focusing on finding a way to defeat the Reapers, not dodging reporters and paparazzi."

"Yeah, but Shepard's a big girl." I can hear the frown in Jacob's voice. "You don't think she can handle the spotlight?"

"Of course she can handle it," I retort. "Don't get me wrong. One doesn't spend two years working to bring someone back from the dead without developing a healthy level of respect for that person's abilities. I just think, given the severity of what we're up against, that we should be working to eliminate distractions rather than all but laying the welcome mat out for them."

Silence settles over the office, and I walk back over to the desk with brisk steps. "And what about you, Jacob?" I finally ask, raising an eyebrow at him again. "What do you think of our intrepid commander's choice of…partners?"

"I don't really know yet." He scratches the back of his neck again. "I just found out about it, so it'll take some time to process. I guess it's a little, uh, unusual, but beyond that?" He lifts one shoulder in a half-shrug.

I lean back in my chair, crossing one leg over the other. "Are you jealous?"

"Jealous? Of the turian?" He looks at me a long moment, his frown softening, eyes lingering on my face just a little too long before he answers. "Nah."

He straightens, gives me a nod and turns to go, but he looks back over his shoulder at me just before he reaches the door.

"And Miranda?" His voice is quiet. "Relationships don't always have to be distractions."

My eyes meet his, and then the door slides shut behind him.