A/N: Finally finished 3rd and the last chapter of this short story! Damn, this one made my life really difficult, along with some writers block.
Well, anyway, I hope you like it :) There will probably be more one-shots about this particular pair ^^
I just finished putting on my shirt, after Doc examined new battle scar on my stomach, when the Med Bay door opened, admitting Admiral Hackett. He just stood there, not looking at me or Miranda, but at the fast approaching Doctor Chakwas. The two stood at the door, talking. They were too quiet for me to hear what they were saying, but the Doc was probably just reporting the condition of her two patients.
Finally, after few minutes, Chakwas exited the Med Bay, leaving us with the Admiral.
He approached me, with a small smile. "Heh, looks like you recovered."
"Admiral Hackett." I said cautiously, glancing at the ex-Cerberus operative. She looked just like when we met, few months ago; cold, calculated, devoid of any emotion. A real Ice Queen. He followed my glance. His eyes met Miranda's unwavering gaze, and after a few tense moments, he gave her a curt nod.
I haven't realized I was holding my breath, up until that moment.
Returning his gaze on me, he continued "Sounds like you went through hell down there. How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine. Both of us are."
"We weren't expecting to see you here." Miranda startled me a little when she spoke up.
"You were out there as a favor to me." He then turned towards the operative "That's why I decided to debrief you in person. "
"What the hell happened there Commander? The mass relay exploded and destroyed the entire battarian system! And I can remember specifically telling you to go ALONE, or not at all." Its an understatement to say that he was displeased about that. I stood up uneasily, and Miranda moved to stand beside me.
"We had no choice. I confirmed Dr Kenson's suspicions that the Reapers are coming and destroying the relay was the only way to delay them a little. Everything is in the file. As for going alone..." I glanced at Miranda, and I swear, there was an amusement in her eyes, even though the rest of her face was ice! "... I decided the mission had better chances if someone went with me." I simply said, giving him the datapad.
"And... Amanda?" He asked, taking the datapad.
I looked at Miranda again. How should I tell him? She gave me a slight nod, indicating it was better if he heard it from me.
"Doctor Kenson was already indoctrinated when we freed her from battarians." I looked at the Admiral, but his face was impassionate. "She sedated us for almost two days. When we finally broke free from her custody, there was barely an hour left until Reapers arrived, so I started engines of the asteroid. We tried to warn the colonies, but... time ran out."
The Admiral sighed "At least you tried. The battarians reported there were no survivors." His face grim, he continued. "I won't lie to you Shepard. The battarians will want blood and there is just enough evidence for a witch hunt. And we don't want war with the battarians."
"So, what are you saying? Are you going to arrest us and give us to the battarians so they can exact their revenge?" Miranda asked, raising one slender eyebrow.
"You did what you did for a good reason, but there were more that three hundred thousand battarians in that system... All dead."
"They died to save trillions of lives. If I could have saved them, you bet your ass I would have!" Now I was starting to get angry. I managed to buy us few more months to prepare for the Reapers, and they want to sentence me for that, instead of gathering the army to fight off the invasion? I clenched my fists . Is this really the galaxy I'm trying to save?
"If it were up to me, Commander, I'd give you the damn medal. Unfortunately, not everyone will see it that way."
"So what do you suggest?" I know I sounded a little bitter, but damn... I just can't believe we are even having this conversation!
"Evidence against you is shoddy at best. But at some point, you'll have to go to Earth and face the music. I can't stop it... But I can and will make them fight for it."
"I will gladly stand trial..." I heard Miranda take a sharp breath, but she stayed silent... for now, at least. "Once this mission is done."
"Do whatever you have to do out here. But when the Earth calls, you make sure you're there with your dress blues on, ready to take the hit."
"You've done hell of a thing, Commander." With that, he turned, and left the Med Bay. I gave the sharp salute as the doors closed behind the Admiral.
"You know they don't care about anything, except their own comfort?" Miranda glared at me "They will make a scapegoat out of you, just so they can sit back and relax a little while longer. That is, until the Reapers arrive and destroy the humanity."
I stood my ground, enduring her glare as best as I could "So be it. I'm just one person, its not like you couldn't do the same thing without me."
"Wake up, Shepard! The Illusive Man wouldn't spend billions of credits on you, if he thought I could do it!" Miranda raised her hands in frustration.
"We both know he can be wrong, Lawson." Now it was my time to glare at the woman in front of me. "You both try to paint me as a perfect human specimen, but I'm not!" I approached her, but she refused to back down, so our faces were now only inches apart "If I were, I wouldn't have died two years ago. Kaidan wouldn't have died at Virmire!" I yelled at her.
Her eyes remained hard "You still don't get it, do you? Without you, this whole team would fall apart, just like after the first Normandy's crash. You are the glue keeping us together. And sure, I may be as good as you on the battlefield, but without you..." She lowered her head, as she whispered "... I don't know if I could keep fighting, much less keep the team together."
"They respect you." I said gently, lifting her head, with a finger under her chin. "Every one of them, even Jack. They know that, if something happens to me, you are galaxy's only chance to defeat the Reapers. You and me, we know about Reapers more than anyone…"
She put a finger on my lips, silencing me "That's not what I meant." With that, she closed the small gap between us, gently brushing her lips against my own.
My eyes widened with shock, and before I had a chance to return the kiss, Miranda broke off. Not looking at me, she turned around and left the Med Bay.
I just stood there, dumbfounded, staring at the door which closed behind her.
Is this for real? Did Miranda Lawson just… kiss me? I thought Engine Room… She said it was just reliving stress… But…
God Damn it, Miri.
I shook my head and ran after her. She probably went to her office, so I made my way there first.
Locked. Luckily, I'm the Captain of this ship "EDI, override the lock on Miss Lawson's door."
Moment after, the lock turned to green and the door opened, but the room was empty. "Lawson?" I called, but only silence greeted me. "Damn it Miranda, where are you?" I cursed under my breath.
"Operative Lawson is in the Port Observation deck, Commander." Huh, why didn't I remember to ask the ship sooner?
I went to the Port Observation deck, and as I stood in front of the doors, I took a deep breath to calm myself a little, before I went inside.
Miranda stood, staring out of the window, seemingly not noticing that I entered the room.
For a few moments, I just stood there, watching her.
God, she is so beautiful.
I walked up to her, stopping right behind her, unsure what to do. Should I hug her? Or not touch her at all? Or maybe... I don't know...
Miranda startled me a little when she broke the silence, not turning around "I'm sorry Shepard. For what I did in the Med Bay. It was unprofessional, wrong and..."
"... I totally want to do it again." I finished her sentence, smirking mischievously and not feeling the least bit confident like I sounded.
She whirled around, shock evident on her face, her eyes wide and mouth slightly open.
Taking my chances, I grabbed the back of her head with one hand, and her slim waist with the other, pulling her for another kiss. Her hands found their way around my neck instinctively.
It was fierce, rough and passionate and nothing like the kiss in the Med Bay. Our teeth clashed as our tongues battled for dominance. We broke it only when the need for air became too great.
Leaning our foreheads together, we gasped for air. I smiled as I spoke "So... "
"So..." She echoed me.
"Does this mean you want me to help you relive some more stress?" That made her chuckle.
I made a hurt expression when she playfully hit me on the shoulder "Well, if that's all you want from me... Than maybe you should talk to Garrus instead." She said turning her back on me.
Not wanting to let her get away, I slid my hands around her waist, pulling her close "Oh, we have already tested his reach and my flexibility. I wasn't impressed." After she jabbed me in the ribs with her elbow, I added "I meant, in the ring! He is awful in hand-to-hand combat, I kicked his ass, without breaking the sweat. And I didn't even use my biotics." I said, kissing her neck.
We stood there for a while, just watching the stars.
"Promise me one thing." She suddenly said.
"If you have to choose between me and saving the universe, please... Don't choose me."
Damn it! Me and my stupid mouth. Now I understand the rules about fraternization in the Alliance. There is no way in hell I could ever let her die. But... I cant doom the universe either, because that would mean she would die anyway, along with everyone else.
"Please Shepard, promise me that, or I will go back to the Illusive Man and you will never see me again." She said turning towards me, breaking the hug and moving out of the arms reach.
Shit. How can I promise her something like that?
"I... I promise you, that I will do the right thing." And if I think that saving your life is the right thing, then fuck the universe!
"That's not what I asked of you." She obviously had the same thoughts.
"Well, that's all you get!" I almost shouted. Luckily, I was able to control my voice, to some degree.
"Shepard..." Her voice had a hint of a threat in it.
I closed my eyes "I'm sorry Lawson, but I just can't promise you that. You will just have to trust me." Like Kaidan did. We weren't lovers, but he was my best friend, and I still sent him to his death on Virmire. It was the right thing to do. It was.
I opened my eyes, to see her looking away from me. I extended my hand towards her "Do you trust me?"
"What?" She looked at me, confused.
"Do you TRUST me?" I emphasized the word trust.
She hesitantly put her hand in mine "I... I guess so."
I pulled her closer, taking her other hand in mine "Then trust me when I say, that I will do whatever is necessary, not to get in the situation where I will have to make that choice."
She smiled, as she leaned towards me, propping on her toes, so she could plant a gentle kiss on my lips "I trust you... Alex."
I smiled as I returned her kiss. This was the first time she has ever called me by my first name.