AU: This little one shot was done sometimes last year for a club contest over on dA. I have the tendency of falling in love with minor characters in game such as these two. I am glad to see them 'made their appearance' during ME2. Hope you guys enjoy the story.


Save Me

The ground began to shake violently, waking everyone from their sleep.

"What the ruddy hell….?"

"Earthquake?"

"To hell it's not, were you at the briefing or not? This planet's tectonic activity had long dead a millennia ago!"

"Then what the—"

"Cut the chi-chat, Redwood, Drake, Everybody assemble in front of their tents NOW!"

The two officers quickly collected their gears and emerged from their tents. The ground was now shaking more vigorously. Several officers pointed their weapon aimlessly towards the area around them. Suddenly, the earth near the campfire unraveled. Pebbles and rocks erupted to all direction.

"WATCH OUT!"

Something burst up from the hole. Nobody believed in their eyes when the dust was settled. A giant centipede like creature, more than 30 meters tall, was breathing heavily in front of them. Its entire body was covered with spike and hard brownish exoskeleton. Four long blue eyes flickered under the night sky, sending chills down everybody's spine. Its mouth, between the sharp pincers, was a sapphire glowing tongue like part that shined brighter at every breath. Its spade like claws, wavered slightly in the mid air, seemed unsure what to do with this sudden midnight prey.

Suddenly, the monster moved. It spit something yellowish from its tongue. The liquid splashed onto Redwood. He began to scream in pain. His skin started to melt like butter, revealing the bones underneath…

Corporal Toombs sit up abruptly from his bed. It took him a while to realise it was him who screamed on the top of his head. Breathing heavily, his body was soaking in sweat.

"….It's just a dream. Thank God….just a dream." He murmured repeatedly: "a dream…a dream…"

It's been months since Commander Shepard brought him back from Ontarom. The treatments he had received since returning to Citadel, while made him physically recovered significantly, did very little on his psychological improvement. He was still having nightmares. Suffering hallucination. And once or twice in a month, according to the doctors, sleepwalking.

Toombs ran his fingers through this now slightly longer hair and let out a sigh.

The whole ordeal was supposed to be over. Cerberus had been exposed. The only remain scientist had been brought to trial. He was now staying in a medical ward, in the middle of Citadel, nowhere near any thresher maw or anything that came even close. Why, now, was he still able to picture vividly about what happened, as soon as clamped his eyes shut?

He stared outside the window, watching the Citadel skyscraper for a little while, decided to go to the aide station to look for Doctor Michel. She might be able to give him something to help him to go to sleep. Not that he was very keen on the idea. Somehow those medications always reminded him of those capsules the scientist gave him on Ontarom….

He slowly shifted his legs and slipped them into the shoes. He was about to fetch the jacket on the hangar when he heard a voice drifting down from the hall.

Someone was singing.

It was a rather child-like voice: pure, crisp, and somehow, to the young Corporal, very soothing.

The song was an old children bedtime lullaby. Almost every human have memory of their mother singing them this song:

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop,

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,

And down will come baby, cradle and all.

~Mother Goose's Melody,

Who was singing the song? Toombs left his room and traced the voice to a room at the end of the hallway. The door was ajar. Inside there were several beds, all with occupants sound asleep.

Except one.

The large window facing the Presidium was wide open. A young girl, who looked no more than the age of 25, curled up in a large armchair next to the window. Rocking backwards and forwards, it was her who was singing the song. Her hair was really short, just enough to cover her head and elegant neck. She looked slightly pale, and her small face made her dark brown eyes looked rather large and shimmery. The chapped lips and dark shadow around her eyes told the sign of long-term under-nourishment. It suddenly had dawn to Toombs that she might have suffered no bigger than one himself.

Sensing someone was watching, the girl stopped singing and raised her head.

"Sorry, does she disturb you?" she said.

Corporal Toombs frowned. It took him a few seconds to get used to her language use.

"No," he replied: "Not at all. Actually, it is quite pretty."

The girl blushed. Corner of her lips curled up. She looked away shyly for a while before opened her mouth again: "The little girl's mummy sang this song to her when she was little. Whenever she couldn't sleep. She couldn't sleep tonight. Trying to get herself to sleep."

"It is a nice song." The Alliance marine nodded: "My mother used to sing me the song when I was a boy, too."

"You can't sleep, too?" the girl tilted her head.

"…Yes." Admitted the Corporal reluctantly.

"You have nightmare, too? Bad people came into your dream?"

"Yes."

"Little girl used to be like that, too. But they took her here, gave her something to eat. They told her: it is okay to cry, no one will beat her, no one will hurt her anymore…do they help you, too?" The girl tilted her head and looked at the Corporal queryingly.

"Yes. But…it doesn't work very well." Sighed Toombs.

"Oh…" The girl stared at him for a while. Finally she said: "Those things….they won't go away if you don't let them…you know that right?"

"But how do you make them to go away…." The young Alliance marine stared outside the window: "after….after…"

The girl kept staring at him curiously. Suddenly she lowered her legs and left the armchair. She walked towards Toombs.

"Come." She grabbed his hands. Her little hands wrapped under his. It was so fragile. Suddenly the Corporal had this bizarre urge to walk with her like this forever. How strange, considered he had only just met her less than ten minutes ago.

"Which room are you in?" The girl paused in the hallway.

"That one." He pointed at his room.

The girl led him into his room. She insisted him to lie back to bed, while herself grabbed a nearby chair and sit down.

"She will sing you song." Said the girl enthusiastically: "She will sing you the ones her mummy used to sing her long ago. And she will stay here for a little while. If you got scare, don't be. She will be here." The girl gave him an affirmative nod.

Strangely, Toombs obeyed.

"Now, close your eyes…." Hushed the young girl: "

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop,

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,

And down will come baby, cradle and all.

........"

"....What's your name?"

"Talitha. They called the girl Talitha. Now sleep."

Corporal Toombs closed his eyes. With the soothing voice next to him, for the first time in months, he slowly drifted into a dreamless sleep.

An angel was singing.