"What do you want from me?" Joker ranted. "Why do you always come and talk to me? What is it about you that makes you just HAVE to make small talk with everybody?" His hands were flailing in the air as he sat in front of her. "Believe me, you don't need to feel obligated to talk to me. I know I'm not the nicest person… No, scratch that. I know I'm a complete arrogant asshole who gets people killed!" He pointed at her, almost yelling at his superior officer.

Shepard, however, remained calm as she watched her pilot throw a fit at her. "I just want to, Joker," she stated. "I like talking to you, and since when do you get people killed? Last I checked, we're all alive because of you."

Joker looked at her incredulously; "You DIED because of me, Shepard"

Alexa rolled her eyes at him and unfolded her arms exasperated. "No… I died because of the Collectors, remember? We had this talk." She reminded him.

Rubbing his eyes tiredly, Joker gave up on that particular line of thought. After all she was right, they had talked about it before, they just hadn't come to a mutual understanding of how the events had passed and who was to blame for the death of the SSV Normandy and the great Commander Shepard. "Come on Shepard, what is it you want from me?"

"You're my friend," she shrugged and answered in her easy manner.

"I don't want to be your friend," Joker balked. "Friends leave, just look at Ash." Look at Kaidan, look at YOU.

Shepard didn't quit, never had, never would. And certainly not on Joker. "You were the first one to come back and you've never turned your back on me. You've always been loyal." And that's more worth to me than anything in this galaxy.

Joker scoffed, "if it's loyalty you want, get a dog."

Two can play that game. "Can't. I live in space."

A small smirk threatened to erupt at the corner of Joker's lips. "Then get a space hamster."

"I did. They die."

Immediately his face fell and he got up with some difficulty to look her in the eye. "So did you!"

"Joker…" Shepard sighed. She looked up and caught his fierce gaze for just a split second.

"No! You have no idea what it was like without you here! Everyone was just lost and drifted apart. We were your team, but without you we were just a bunch of fucked up losers with no direction and the brass broke us apart like we were nothing. Nobody had any fight in them anymore. We didn't know what to do or even how to talk to each other. Hell, we didn't even really know who we were without you. I won't do that again!" He ranted as he waved his arms all over the place.

Shepard looked at him, confused. "Do what? You didn't do anything wrong." You were there for me. You came back for me when nobody else would. You trusted me when my friends called me a terrorist. She tried to catch his eye, but he kept evading her.

"I… I can't. Please don't. Please don't make me," he begged as his breathing became more labored.

She had never seen him this upset before. It was deeply unsettling to her to see the one she always counted on to be strong and flippant about things in this way. "Jeff, what's going on? You're kinda scaring me here."

Joker finally stilled with his forehead in his hand. "Love you, okay? I can't love you like that again and then lose you." Shit, too much info. Take it back!

Shepard was momentarily stunned, and just stared at him. She quickly shook it off and blinked a few times. "Jeff, look at me… look at me, please." She gently pried his hand away from his face and laid her other palm against his cheek. He had his eyes closed and leaned his head slightly into her touch. He looked like he was in pain.

He took a deep breath. "What I mean is… We were your team, we all loved you, when you died we fell apart, I loved you and then you were gone, we were yours…" He kept ranting.

"Jeff, Look at me!" She said in a hope to startle him out of his funk.

He finally opened his eyes as he reached up with shaking hand and touched her face where her scar used to be. When his blazing green eyes caught hers, he finally admitted;"… I'm yours. I'm yours, Shepard, and I… I love you. Goddammit, I'm sorry but I do."

He leaned in on the wide eyed, once again flabbergasted Shepard and held her face softly in his hands. "I love you Alexa." He whispered against her lips before gently, slowly kissing her.

Oh God, I'm kissing Shepard. So soft… So smooth… In a second she's gonna snap out of it and break my arm or something. If I'm lucky it's not my spine. I don't care though, it's worth it. Is that strawberries? The blood rushed in his veins and he heard nothing but the sound of his own pulse, thundering in his ears, as he gently stroked a few loose strands of soft, deep red hair behind her ear.

Shepard realized that she wasn't dreaming and started processing impressions. Joker was kissing her. He was really kissing her… Her heart started pounding in a way that her new upgrades didn't even let it do during combat and she felt her cheeks flush with excitement. His lips were light, asking permission almost, but his hands held her face as if he never wanted her to slip away, as if she was fragile and breakable if he pushed too hard. She deepened the kiss and the world started to spin.

He loved her. If only she had known, she wouldn't have kept herself under such tight control all the time for fear of making him uncomfortable. She hadn't wanted to push her own feelings down his throat, especially not since he was her subordinate and he might feel pressured to make concessions of his own if she had shown him…

But he loved her.

His soft beard tickled her face and she smiled when she remembered all the times she had imagined how that would feel. So this was how… He nipped at her bottom lip and tasted her before he wrapped his arms around her and drank deeply from her. Their tongues found each other in a slow dance, touching and feeling the other, trying to get as close as possible in their intimate rhythm.

Joker's hand snuck up her back to her hair where he snatched the pin that held the intricate bun in place, making her long smooth tresses cascade down like a waterfall. He ran his fingers through it, surprised that those fiery red locks could be so cool and liquid to the touch. Joker walked her backwards towards the copilot's seat until her legs bumped the edge of the seat. His other hand had found the hem of her shirt and was just caressing the line of skin beneath it that his thumb could reach without him putting his entire hand underneath her clothes. He wanted to give her a chance to stop him before he went too far or too fast.

Shepard had no such sentiments now. She tugged at his t-shirt and pulled it free of his pants before she proceeded to slide her hands from his sides and up his back, making him inhale sharply from the pleasurable sensation. She had noticed the fine curve of his back and the broadness of his shoulders before, and running her hands over the obvious muscle had long been a fantasy of hers. Long years of using crutches and getting physical therapy had kept him strong and fit, even if his job was in a pilot seat and not running through a battle field. His skin felt smooth and warm, practically lickable.

Joker backed her up against EDI's console and thanked the higher powers that the AI saw fit to be scarce at this moment in time. He never would have guessed that it actually had that kind of manners. The pleasant feeling of Joker's tall frame against her own emboldened Shepard so she jumped up to sit on the console and wrapped her strong legs around his hips and pulled him in. When she felt the bulk in his pants she broke the kiss and looked at him surprised.

"Is that a spaceship in your pocket or are you just really happy to see me?" She quipped with a sit eating grin.

Joker looked at her dazes through lidded eyes. "Shut up." He attacked her lips with hard hunger and ground his body into hers, making her moan in pleasure. When he let her lips go to move on to her neck, nibbling and licking his way down, Shepard was quivering and ready to sell her soul to just have him never, ever stop touching her.

It was a strange, muffled sound that caught her attention next, though. "Mmja rmmn j ded ewar n w bubngne excessble pls, cmmnde?"

Joker looked at Shepard, flushed and eyes twinkling. "Is that an AI up your butt, or have my superior kissing skills robbed you of your speech capabilities?"

Shepards jaw dropped and her eyes widened incredulously. "I… You…"

Joker gave a short nod. "Very well then." He interrupted her and returned his mouth to her neck whilst massaging her left breast through her shirt.

Shepard gasped at the shock of the sensation, but then burst out laughing.

He sighed against her skin and smiled at the sound. "I hate it when I have that effect on a woman, you know. It's very bad for my ego." This only made Shepard giggle harder.

"Good one Moreau, but I think I need to get off EDI for a sec." As she untangled herself from him and jumped down, she addressed the AI; "Did you say something, EDI?"

"Yes, Shepard. I asked if I may remind you that you are in a publicly accessible place? It did not seem like the activity you were engaging in were for the crew's eyes."

"What did I tell you?" Joker said, "she is so my mom!"

"I doubt that you would have been doing that to Shepard if she sat on your mother's lap, Mr. Moreau." EDI deadpanned.

Joker froze. "Shit, now I have a really weird picture in my head. Thanks EDI!"

"You're welcome."

Shepard interrupted them with a cough. "Anyway, she's probably right, Jeff."

"Of course she is! I would never dry hump you with my mother in the room!"

Shepard lifted an eyebrow. "-About not dry humping in front of the crew, helmsman."

"Oh."

"I mean, I am supposed to be their commander."

And mine too. "Right," he sighed.

"And though I know this isn't the alliance, going around french kissing the crew might be bad for morale."

Who's morale? –Not mine, that's for sure! "Sure, sure."

"Some might even begin to question my motives when I give certain orders."

Wait, is she breaking up with me already? "Yeah, maybe You're right. We should just leave it at that." He said dejectedly.

"What? Hell no! I just thought I'd drag you to my quarters in stead. That is – if you're interested? No pressure, I promise, and if you don't want to, you'll never hear another word about it… But I'm going up, and if you were to come by in say, half an hour, I might not throw your out on your ass…" She winked at him and sauntered down to the CIC, a new sway in her hips that had Joker practically drooling at the floor where he stood.

When she hit the elevator button and the doors closed, he turned around to sit down, only to find that his painfully hard erection was straining against his pants. He adjusted himself to find a comfortable position in vain.

"How the hell am I supposed to just sit here for half an hour after that?" He mumbled to himself.

Immediately, his most frequently used porn file popped up on screen, and his secret drawer of tissues sprang open.

"I have been researching human mating, Mr. Moreau, and if I may make a suggestion, I would propose that you alleviate yourself of excess tension before visiting Commander Shepard's quarters, in order to increase duration of your planned copulation."

Joker turned beet read and franticly tried to shut off the sound and/or vid of the porno. "You did NOT just do that, you nosy, creepy, meddlesome, viral malfunctioning piece of SOFTWARE!" He shouted.

"I'm sorry. Have I offended you?" EDI politely asked.

"Uh, YEAH!"

"My apologies. Logging you out."

Joker slumped back in his chair with a hand covering his face. "When in name of creation do I ever log in?"

No answer.

"Thank God."

As he began to calm down, the image of Shepard's swaying hips and the feeling of her rubbing against his body as he kissed her crept back into his mind and he groaned when his previous problem reinforced itself with a twitch.

His hand found his pant button and slid inside to press against his hard-on. Slowly he began to rub his shaft up and down.

Shit, her smell… Her tongue, so sweet… Those soft tits… Her legs around my ass… rhythm… oh yeah… fuck me baby… bounce that ass… God, you're beautiful…

His fist increased the pace of its pumping.

Faster, baby, come on… oh fuck yeah… So tight… So hot… Shepard… oh… ohh… "Unnghhh!" He twitched and came, spurting himself on his stomach. "Oh, shit…" He panted.

The euphoria spread to his limbs and left him in a puddle, so to speak, as he gathered up some tissues with his left hand and enjoyed the post orgasmic chill. Maybe EDI was right. I wouldn't have lasted five minutes if Shepard had actually been here… Not that he'd ever tell it that.

Meanwhile, in the captain's cabin….