I love talking to Joker. And when he said this to me, I wish I could've said, "Yes. Yes, I do."

Haha. Anyway, Nothing like a little laugh.

Words: 850 or so

Pair: slight Tali/Shepard

Rating: T — because I didn't curse too hard, but not soft enough.


Joker always did have a way with words.

"Hey, Commander! We got Garrus back, because I always did love him...with that pole up his ass."

And, for the most part, Shepard loved it.

It was funny.

Entertaining!

"Did you collect stray cats as a kid because we really needed a mega-krogan. So, thanks for bringing him home."

A little too close to home?

Joker cocked a brow when he saw the commander show a startled look.

"Is there something wrong, Shepard?" he asked.

Shepard backed up slightly. "No," he said promptly, "it was just a strange comparison."

What? It was a joke. No need to read into it.

He exhaled and looked around uncomfortably. "I'll talk to you later."

It was even more suspicious when he left. Joker has never seen the commander actually power walk out of the cockpit. That was faster than his standard jog! Something was wrong — but he didn't care enough to think about it anymore.

Of course he missed what happened on Horizon.

Garrus looked at the black bag in the commander's hand.

"What'd you find?" he asked curiously.

Usually, he wouldn't care, but the bag was moving and he had to get on the shuttle with that.

Shepard stopped and saw Garrus looking at the bag in his hand. Oh shit.

"It's just some research I picked up," he said hastily. He swallowed. "I thought it'd be useful."

Garrus wasn't convinced. "Okay..."

Meow!

Shepard's eyes widened when Miranda and Garrus looked down at their feet.

Garrus felt disgusted from the noise. "What the—"

"Garrus!"

He looked up at an angry commander, hands slightly in the air for enthusiasm, and...no black bag?

"Stop fooling around and let's go," he ordered before rushing into the shuttle. He frowned as he sat; there went his childhood reminiscence.

The turian was baffled! Did he think he made that noise? Standing there confused, Garrus watched Miranda give him an irritated look and get on their ride.

He was framed!

And after what happened next, two individuals were convinced of the abnormal.

Joker shook his head. "Why couldn't you collect coins or something?"

Shepard rolled his eyes and folded his arms arrogantly. Joker pinched his lips.

"Did you, Commander—"

"Mind your business, Joker," he said, then left in a hurry.

Aha! He did! And by the way he acted, he had a finished collection too!

So, Commander Shepard had a collecting problem.

He was a collector — just without the bug eyes.

Now, Joker couldn't help but wonder if it was an obsession thing. And if so, he had to see what he's been doing ever since he and Tali became an item.

"I've seen the commander go into some weird shops while we're on the Citadel," Garrus groused.

Tali rolled her eyes to herself. Why was he talking to her?

And in a damn elevator!

Both were heading to the CIC, and surprised when the doors opened.

"Joker?" they said in sync.

"Tali." He got into the elevator and hit up. "I'm glad I ran into you. Well, limped into you."

"Where are you...what are you doing?" she asked.

Garrus folded his arms. "Aren't you supposed to be piloting the ship?"

"Hey! I knew you still had a little hard-ass in you somewhere."

Garrus shook his head slowly. "What are you doing here?"

He shrugged lightly. "The commander has a non-sharing problem, and I want to see it for myself."

Tali instantly shook her head in defense for her paramour, but Garrus nodded. He knew it!

"Shepard's been going to that same store on the Citadel for a while now."

And something clicked. He looked at his teammate.

"Ever since you two started—"

"Hey!" The helmet hid her heated face. Did everyone know!

Three got off one the first deck, one sure her beau wasn't as deranged as they thought, and two who couldn't wait to find this miracle — a flaw in the flawless Shepard! Well, that was Garrus; Joker just wanted to rub it in his face. So, they opened the door!

Which surprised the commander, causing him to slip and fall due to a little clutter.

Above comment: understatement.

"Shepard!" Tali exclaimed. But before she got to rush over to him, something caught her.

Some things caught her eye, and the eye of the two men beside her.

All over the floor: quarian magazines, novels on quarians and quarian-human relations. Their biology, how-tos on relating to one — all along with the many cute plush toys! Those were his favorite, and he stepped on one! But that was the least of his worries. He could tell by the way Tali was backed up that he was in deep shit.

Tali's eyes shoot open. Was that a picture of her and her father!

"Shepard..." she said lowly.

She didn't sound angry or creeped out at all.

"Shepard!"

Oh, there it was.

He looked up at the three, from a fuming Tali, to a surprised Garrus, to a smirking Joker.

Plan B!

Shepard took a huge breath, then looked to the mess on the ground.

"Garrus! What is all this?"

Tali and Joker immediately looked at the turian with shock, whose mouth dropped in turn.

Were they serious!


So, apparently the Collectors didn't take the cats with the humans?

A Kitty Reaper!

Anyway, I'd like to know what you think. Favs are nice too :)

[Please and thank you~]