This short story was inspired by 'Hearts Don't Break Even' by Amaven (check it out in my favorites; it'll bring you down, though.) So, yeah. Enjoy!

-Marioninja1

I was sitting across the bar when she walked in. Ashley Williams, the damn love of my life, my reason for destroying the Collectors when all I wanted to do was give up, with a bullet through the back of my head letting air into my corpse. Ashley was with another man, a good-looking guy. Both were in those clothes they made us wear on the SR-1 that I'd grown tired of years ago. They were both laughing, having a good time, kissing, hugging...suddenly, my drink seemed extremely uninviting. I had bought clothes like Thane wore, and I put the collar up over my face as I watched Ash and her new boyfriend.

"C'mon, just one drink!" Ashley giggled.

"No, I'm on duty." The man said.

"You're always on duty, Michael." Ashley said. I felt like crying as she said that: she said it to me when she was celebrating Armistice day. "Besides, you're on leave. You're supposed to enjoy yourself."

"I enjoy myself around you." Michael said. I suddenly realized that he was on the SR-1. He was a crewmember, and we had gotten to know each other fairly well.

Ashley rolled her eyes, causing my broken heart to burn. "Don't talk like that. It's complete crap."

I was hoping that, maybe, if I quit Cerberus and blew up that base Ashley would come back to me. I was wrong. "You know at least one part of you likes it. Wanna dance?" Michael asked. They made their way to the dance floor and danced until both of them were tired and flustered. They were going to go to their table, but accidently went to mine and sat down across the table from me.

"Ash, this isn't our-" Michael began.

"Shepard?" Ashley asked, eyes widening. I tossed a credit on the table and walked as quickly as I could out of the bar, but Ashley ran after me. "Shepard, wait!"

I turned around suddenly, and Ashley bumped into me. "I did wait! I waited for months! I destroyed that damn base for you! Quit Cerberus for you! I just hope you enjoy your time with Michael." I said, then turned around and walked away again.

"Shepard, I can understand. Give me a chance." Ashley said.

"You didn't give me a chance on Horizon. I've lost sleep because of what you said. I risked my life just to get one more chance to prove I wasn't with Cerberus, Ashley, just to kiss you one more time, just to touch your skin one more time. But I see Michael beat me to it." I said.

"Please, Shepard-" Ashley began.

"Goodbye Ashley." I said, walking to the SR-2. All Cerberus signs were removed, and the ship was mostly repaired. "At least you might find happiness."

"You can find happiness! With me!" Ashley said, crying.

"And cause Michael to lose you? I went through that, and I'm still going through it. It's a living hell, Ashley. I wouldn't wish this upon my worst enemy." I said. "You were my happiness, my life. Now you're Michael's. At least he can have you." The Normandy door opened, and I heard Ashley's boots hitting the metal behind me.

"Please, just one more chance." Ashley said, hugging me around the waist.

"I can't do that to Michael, even if he did it to me." I said, letting the tears fall. "I lost you on Horizon. You lost me in the Dark Star Lounge."

"Shepard, I want you, not Michael." Ashley said.

"Because you were obviously loathing your time with Michael." I said.

"Shepard, that's not fair!" Ashley protested.

"Fair? What is fair? All I do is risk my life to save others and I can't even be with the woman I love!" I shouted, breaking out of Ashley's hold and turning to look at her face.

"But Shepard-"

"No, Ashley, I thought you loved me. I mean, it was odd that you couldn't tell me in person that you didn't mean some of the things you said , but I accepted that. It's not easy finding out where I am. But lying about me being able to come back to you?" I said.

"Shepard, I thought you were never coming back to me." Ashley said.

"I couldn't find you! I sent you messages, I asked Liara where you were, I begged Anderson to tell me where I could find you just to talk to you...Then I just want to get drunk after spending all day trying to find you and you come in the damn bar with another man." I said, looking Ashley in the eye. "Everything you said was a lie, everything you did meant nothing to you. But it meant the whole damn galaxy to me, Ashley. I guess this is your Horizon." I walked into the Normandy, and Kelly asked me what was wrong.

"Everything." I said, putting my back against the wall and sliding down it. I drew my knees to my chin and let the tears finally run free. "I hate the galaxy. I hate life. I hate myself. I hate everything. Let's just save the galaxy so I can fade away."

Probably the most depressing story I've ever written...I still like it though.

-Marioninja1