Thane regarded the woman sitting across from him carefully. She looked no different than she normally looked, but something was off. If not in appearance it had something to do with her eyes. Her normally warm, inviting chocolate colored eyes held a coldness he hadn't seen before. Thane wondered if it had something to do with the mission or if it was something far more personal.

She was staring into her coffee mug, gaze intense as she contemplated the cup's contents. While her focus was elsewhere he contented himself with gazing back, losing himself in her beautiful brown eyes. In the proper lighting they flashed orange, like they had in the Dantius Towers as she recruited him. Taking on a color he was most familiar with, an orange color, rather like a sunset. Sunset colored eyes…NO!

He felt his hands tighten into fists in his lap and it took all his focus to keep the emotion from his face. Even if Shepard was lost in thought he was taking no risks. He had yet to tell her of Irikah and a small part of him didn't want to, which unnerved him greatly. Shepard was unlike any woman he had ever met save for one. Unconsciously he had found over time that he was drawing similarities between the two women, comparing them, and the realization of this floored him.

As if she could feel his unease Shepard came back to the present. "Something wrong Thane?" Gods even the way she spoke, the inflections and tones of certain phrases were so much like his Irikah he wanted to scream. Shaking his head he regained control of his emotions, gathering enough strength to look her in the eyes.

"Why would something be wrong Sih- Ah, Shepard?" She gave him a weird look, before she smiled and her never ending sarcasm came into play.

"Oh, I don't know. You started twitching slightly, babbling on about taking aim at a target and then something about sunset colored eyes…and I think a little drool might have been involved." She was laughing at him now, though he knew it was just simple teasing. The drool thing was an exaggeration he knew, just to try to embarrass him.

It had failed though; he was more embarrassed by the solipsism itself. He had just blurted out meeting Irikah and he hadn't even been thinking about her, he had been thinking about Shepard.

"Well, I came in here to escape the likes of Kelly Chambers and her constant message reminding, crew monitoring, over all sexual harassing manner…but it seems like a bad time for you so I guess I'll leave you to it." She stood to go, but found his hand gripping her wrist. She halted in surprise, she hadn't even seen him move.

"You don't have to leave if you don't want to Shepard." He motioned for her to sit back down.

"You know, you don't have to address me by my last name. I think we know each other well enough now."

He smirked slightly, "Doesn't Officer Vakarian still call you Shepard? He's known you far longer than I."

She laughed, "Vakarian can't call me anything else. It would go against every fiber of turian culture considering he still thinks I'm his superior officer. I actually think if he called me Brina his head would implode."

Thane cocked his head, "Brina?"

Shepard smiled when he said her name. "Yes, Brina is an old Celtic name. It means 'protector'."

She patted him on the shoulder in a silent good-bye and exited Life Support, leaving a very stunned drell assassin behind.

Protector…heh…good one Arashu.

A/N: Bioware owns everything, I'm simply playing in their sandbox. Enjoy! :)