A/N: This is a series of one-shots set post-ME2 but before ME3. Just some fluff with Shepard and one of his romances. Each chapter will have a different male Shepard (i.e. different backgrounds and paragon/renegade attitude). Not sure if I'll do a female Shepard's with male romances, but well see how this goes.
Disclaimer: Mass Effect owned by BioWare & EA (Electronic Arts) International
Mass Effect: A Single Moment
It was quiet. He had turned off the music a while ago, knowing it wouldn't wake his guest. He remembered a time when he enjoyed the quiet. Now it was just a warning, the calm before the storm, to coin an old saw. They were coming, thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions perhaps? Who truly knew?
It took hundreds of ships, and thousands of lives, to bring down one Reaper. To take on a fleet seemed impossible. Thankfully 'impossible' was a word that had lost its meaning to him over the past few years. It was impossible to stop Saren, impossible to come back from the dead, and impossible to reach the Collector's base of operations.
But now came the waiting, the insufferable feeling of sitting around in a state-of-the-art starship crewed by the best, brightest, and deadliest in the known galaxy and not having a damn thing to do.
Shepard analyzed the readout on his rifle. The mass field generators were properly aligned, the scope perfectly tuned to his eye, and the targeting computer calibrated to fire every shot with brain vaporizing accuracy. Everything checked out. Just like the last time he checked it. And the time before that.
With a deep inhale, Shepard rubbed his face, trying to keep lethargy at bay. Even with the routine duties and maintenance required to keep Normandy at peak operational efficiency, it seemed like there was little to do. Plus the past month filled with almost non stop action and drama made the little things seem dreary.
"EDI." Shepard said. "Can you bring up the information we retrieved about the Reapers?"
"Of course, Shepard." EDE replied in her electronic tone. "Retrieving now."
The screen on his computer flashed with raw data on the Reapers taken from the Collectors' base. Much of it still needed to be organized and much of the science was over his head. In fact, some of the technology was previously considered to be highly theoretical by many council species. Other aspects of the Reaper's internal workings were never even imagined.
Of course, very little of what he saw made any sense to him, but he felt that if he stared at it long enough, something would make sense, hopefully.
A yawn came from his bed followed by rustling sheets. "What time is it?"
"1700 hours." Shepard said without taking his eyes off his computer. Another thing that came to his mind was the conversation he planned to have with his partner, one that might not become pleasant. "You missed lunch by the way."
"That's alright." She said. The sleep made her voice fuzzy. "I was planning on something special tonight. Candle light dinner with some asari cuisine. Got it special order after we hit Illium when you dealt with the Shadow Broker."
"I never pegged you as eating alien food" Shepard said with a grin. "I always pictured you eating caviar and sipping Dom Pérignon."
"Just because I once worked to establish humanity as the dominant galactic superpower doesn't mean I thought humanity did everything right. Learn and adapt, as they say."
Shepard shook his head and closed the window on his screen, getting ready for the big moment. "Well, I look forward to it." He turned his chair around. Miranda hugged her knees to her chest with a dazzling smile. Her dark hair spilled over to one side, frayed from an active night.
"Still looking over the schematics we found?" Miranda yawned and cracked her back. "You've been glaring at them for over a week." She stood on the bed, wrapping the sheets around her, creating a flowing dress that trailed behind her as she set a bare foot on the cold floor. "I think you're getting a little obsessed."
Shepard chuckled. "You're calling me obsessed with my work?"
"I may take my duties with the up most seriousness, Shepard, but even I and the Illusive Man know that a man or woman has to unwind every now and then." The dark haired woman walked up to Shepard's desk and pushed a few stray locks aside. "We all have our vices. And I think it's time I showed you one of mine."
She bent down and typed in a few commands into Shepard's console. The sheets slipped, revealing some of her alabaster skin and a good portion of her side bust. Shepard enjoyed the view, but with Miranda, he never knew what was an accidental slip and what was made to look like an accident. A video popped up that only took the Specter an instant to recognize as the events of last night.
"I love watching your cute butt move." She said with a sly grin. "Just as much as you love watching mine."
"I thought I asked you to take out all the cameras." Shepard groaned.
"I did…well most of them anyway." Miranda replied. "But I'm a professional, Shepard, and I like to study my work to see where…improvements can be made."
Shepard let out an amused huff. "Have you found any?"
"A few here and there. For instance." She draped her arms over him. Her soft hair brushed against his face. "In a few minutes you're going to try that move where you pick me up and stand on the bed." She laid a hand on top his head and played with his hair. "Notice that you don't give a girl a heads up when you do such radical maneuvers."
"I'll be more thoughtful next time." Shepard watched the video before cocking an eyebrow. "Just how much footage do you have of us?"
"Of us?" Her smile could have melted steel. "Enough." She yawned and stretched, keeping the blanket around her like a toga cloth. "I'm going back to my quarters and get ready for tonight. I also bought a new dress I think you might like." She bent down and picked up her Cerberus uniform. "And you might want to see if there are any contraceptives left in storage, hate for you to make an emergency run to the cargo hold with your-."
It was time to speak. "I know you can't have children."
She stopped, dead silent. Her uniform slumped back to the floor. The fish tank cast an aqua glow on her, turning her into a dark haired phantom.
"How?" She asked without turning her head. "Who told you?"
"The Shadow Broker, the yahg, he kept dossiers on us. All of us on the Normandy."
"So you did some digging on your girlfriend?" Miranda asked, her voice a fine cold edge. "Looking for any old flames? I have a diary if you want to take a look at that?"
"I'm sorry for looking, but I wanted to see what he had on us. If there was anything he found that could hurt you." Shepard pushed himself out of his chair and gently made his way to Miranda. "I already told Liara to stop all monitoring and data collecting on you."
She sucked in a breath and let it out slowly. "No. I'm the one that should be sorry. I…I've been doing the same thing with you even before the Lazarus Project. I read up on everything about you, military files, family background, back to when your parents first met. Even managed to find some old photos of you. You were such a cute little…" Miranda could not finish. Her body trembled.
"Hey." Shepard said gently and placed his hands on her shoulders. "That doesn't mean we can't adopt, although I prefer to wait a bit before we take the plunge."
Her chuckle was choked and she shook her head. "Do you know of the extranet site IwantShepard'?"
"No, but I can take a guess about what it's about." Shepard replied. "Something to do with fish?"
Again she shook her head, this time rolling her eyes. "It's a site filled with human fan girls, asari in their matron stage, and strangely enough a female quarian and a female krogan. At last count, their membership just past the ten thousand mark."
"Really? Shepard said, taken aback. "And you just happen to know this information off the top of your head?"
"Most of the asari believe that your genes would make their daughters as great as you." Miranda faced the fish tank. "They clamor on about having children like it's a right, not a privilege."
"Look at me." Shepard brought his hand to her cheek, lightly touching her with his finger tips, and turned her head. Her eyes shined with a watery glisten. "I don't care what some women blathering on the extranet. I care about what you think."
With an embarrassed snort, she returned to the fish tank. "How you can say those sappy things with a straight face always astonishes me." She wiped her eyes with an index finger. "But, what about what you want, Shepard? Do you want to be with a woman who can't give you children?"
Shepard brought his arms around her, bringing her into his warmth. "I want the woman I love."
Another laugh came. "Shepard, always saying the right thing." She took his head with her hands and brought his lips to hers. Shepard felt her tongue slip in, moving in a passive manner. When she broke off the embrace, she leaned in further, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Thank you, Shepard." She whispered into his ear.
With a smile, the first human Specter put his arms around her waist. "Anything for my girl. We just have to have hope."
"Hope." Miranda repeated. Her voice was not as lively as before.
The door slid open, and the lights automatically clicked on when she stepped into her quarters. Miranda ran a hand through her hair again. A nervous habit she had did her best to hide, but after a while with Shepard, she had feared that some cracks had formed on her professionally built shell. She may not be with Cerberus anymore, but that did not mean she would let herself grow soft.
She sat at her desk and activated her console. The device instantly dialed into the Normandy's communications array, linked up with the closet comm buoy, and covertly transmitted to a pre-assigned audio-only network used by one of her contacts. She rapped her fingers on her desk as she waited for the other person to login.
"Hello?" The crackling voice came from the speakers. A human doctor she had hired. "Ms. Lawson?"
"Yes. It's me. It's time for your weekly progress report. Did you analyze the specimens?" Miranda asked. She knew that her twin sister was a more…advanced version than her, but she did not know if her father corrected the problem Miranda had.
"I did. I detect no flaws, genetic or otherwise, in her reproductive abilities. She should be able to conceive and give birth without difficulty."
She nodded, keeping her smile from showing. Even if he could not see her, she was on the job, she was the ice queen. "Good. When she has her next check up, obtain fresh samples from her doctor and run the tests again, just to be sure."
"Understood." The man replied. "Now about the second project, I was able to successfully manipulate your egg cells genetic structure and cloned more. They're stable and fertile. However, I've been unable to find a way for them to survive in your womb due to your benign neoplasm."
"It doesn't matter. Recent events have made me retune my plan." Miranda pulled up a file filled with medical histories. "I've decided to go with my second option of using a surrogate mother. I'm sending you files of some promising candidates. I want your input on them; see if any are more compatible than the others."
"I'll start tomorrow, first thing." The man said. "Anything else?"
"Just one more item I want to discuss." Miranda replied. "You ever surf the net, just for fun?"
"Uh…I check the net for zero-gee football scores from time to time." The man's nervous tone was painfully obvious. "Why? Got your own fantasy football team?" He forced a laugh.
"No, but I did stumble upon a quaint little site called IwantShepard'. Every heard of it?" Miranda did not wait for the man to answer. "Even more astonishing, there's someone who posted a forum saying that he has Shepard's sperm for sale. What do you think of that?"
"I can explain." The man blurted out. "I was able to produce more than enough for what you wanted and there is a market for…I was going to cut you in on…"
"Save it." Miranda let her voice grow cold. "I gave you that sample in the strictest confidence that you would use it solely for the project, not put it up on the intergalactic market for fan girls and asari with ticking biological clocks. Now cancel any orders, retract your statement, and take down that damned forum or I'll stop the payments on your gambling debts on Omega. Is…that…understood?"
"Y-yes, Ms. Lawson." The man replied softly.
"Good. I'll contact you again in a week." She closed the link and leaned back in her chair. She was used to going behind people's backs. A basic necessity in her former job, but this little operation of hers always made her feel…uneasy.
"Hope." She whispered to the ceiling. "I'm sorry, Shepard, but hope is for those that don't have the power to take control themselves." She closed her eyes and smiled. "Hope. It's not bad for a name though. If it's a girl."