Deja Blue

A Mass Effect fanfiction

By Lywinis

Joker always avoided looking at the machines. He knew they served their purpose; one kept her breathing, and another kept her heart beating, still another kept her brain in stasis. Mechanical arms danced along her prone body and restored the damage space (he) had done to her. Saline and nutrients were fed to her in a series of tubes that strengthened and restored bone and muscle to their pre-death state.

Miranda had explained the specifics to him once.

He, in his infinite idiocy, had asked.

He now considered himself lucky that he hadn't insisted on sitting with her sooner. From what Jacob had described, he would never have gotten the nightmare of torn flesh and blackened bone to fade from his memories. It was still rough sleeping with the image of her form growing smaller in the blackness of space as she scrabbled for her last sips of air from a busted tank.

He didn't like thinking about it. In typical Joker fashion, he didn't. Instead, he settled himself on the opposite side of the opaque sheet drawn up over the hermetically sealed room and flicked the microphone on with his omnitool. The bacta or whatever it was would fix her up, he was sure of it. It got her breathing, after all.

He focused, clearing his throat into the mic.

"Where were we? Right, right. Blasto had just cornered the rogue spectre Allea." He paged through his collection, looking for the right volume. His fingers danced just as fast as if he were still flying. He called up the program, the pages of the comic flickering past his calloused fingertips as he searched for his place.

Her breathing schlooped in and out as the artificial lungs kept air moving through her body for her. He raised his voice to be heard above it.

"Blasto has cornered the rogue Asari spectre Allea. Even though he knows that he must bring her in for the good of the galaxy, there is still a twinge in his tentacles when he remembers the feelings she evoked in him on their last mission together." His finger slid across the omnitool, bringing up the next page of the comic. His voice changed in tone and pitch, coming as close to a Hanar as a human could.

"One wonders whether you ever loved this one, Allea. If you did, this one humbly requests that you drop your weapons and surrender peacefully." Joker's eyes flicked over the images, knowing that they were being displayed above her head on a small holoprojection.

His voice changed again, approximating an Asari's voice. "Of course I loved you, Blasto. I still do. But can't you see that this will save the Council, not damn it? Once this is done, we can be together...forever."

The screen changed again, the bright orange and reds of an explosion bathing his face in a lurid light as he read on. Blasto and Allea came to a standoff above the dock where the Destiny Ascencion rested, a thin catwalk the only thing between them and oblivion. In the end, the Asari withered, throwing herself on Blasto's tender tentacles. Blasto saved the day, with only a little bit of eyerolling on Joker's part.

He shook his head at the form that slumbered behind the opaque sheet. "We all know who really saved the Destiny Ascension, they just won't let us print it anymore."

He flicked through another page, reading the text to her as he had been, until the end of the comic. His throat closed up as he read through the dramatic wounding of Allea as the rogue spectre pushed Blasto out of the way of stray laser fire from a group of Batarian mercenaries. She lay in his tentacles, coughing up purple fluid as he pressed a tentacle to the gaping wound.

"This one is very distraught at the idea of you going anywhere." Blasto wiped some of the blood from Allea's lips.

"I don't seem to have much choice, Blasto." Allea coughed, a weak smile on her lips. "I'm a peace with it. I got to see you again."

Where it had never faltered before, Joker's voice broke. He swallowed and glanced at the opaque sheet.

"Sorry, Commander," he said, sitting straighter in his chair. "I know you don't mind the kissing parts so much, but I do."

He took a sip of the coffee he had brought with him and continued on long into the false night of the station.

Joker ran his fingers along the outlay of buttons, his body taut with confidence as he lined up the SR-2 for a jump through the Mass Relay out of Omega. A flurry of screens vied for all of his attention at once, but EDI and his own skill kept them in check. He breathed easier as the Normandy slid through the relay like silk across skin. He leaned back and tapped his fingers against the leather of his chair.

This was like coming home, even more so than he thought it would be. The screens scrolled information past him, but he ignored it in favor of the autopilot as he dug up the latest issue of Blasto.

He heard her, even without the motion detector on the chair.


"Hey, Joker." The glowing red eyes had taken some getting used to, but Shepard stood before him once more - well, she leaned against the AI casing to his left. Shepard believed every surface was a chair if she pretended hard enough. He smiled at the memory.

"Something wrong?"

"Not really." She looked out at the stars swirling past the viewport.

Her brow was wrinkled as if in deep thought. She came up here a lot when she had something on her mind. If Joker didn't know better, he'd be flattered at the attention, but the whole crew knew about the picture of Alenko in her quarters.

The silence was broken again, an easy question.

"Have you been keeping up with Blasto?"

"Blasto? Yeah, never missed an issue. Why, you want copies?" He pulled up his collection on his omnitool. "I think I loaned you about six month's worth of issues, didn't I?"

"Yeah, you did." She frowned out the viewport, as if something was amiss. "It's just really weird. I keep reading these, and it's almost like I've read them before. I knew Allea was going to be shot by Batarians before she showed up."

He shrugged. "That's really weird, Commander. Might be a reboot neither of us was aware of. You know how these comic publishers are - the last time Blasto rebooted he was female."

"Ugh, don't remind me. That was the worst writing of the entire series."

"The art was nice, though."

She nodded. "Well, I still have about six more months to catch up on. You mind?"

"Not at all." He punched a few commands into his omni. "Sent 'em to your quarters. You should have time to finish them, since we won't be hitting the Citadel for at least twenty hours."

"Thanks, Joker."

"See ya, Commander."

He paused to watch her as she made her way back to the CIC in order to take the elevator up. Yes, all was well at long last. A smile played against his mouth, almost hidden in his beard as he turned back to his instruments.

His baby was flying again.

A/N: Who has two thumbs and still wants a Jokermance for ME3? This chick. I guess you could call this one-sided on Joker's part, but I think if Shep ever found out she'd be all over that like nobody's business. That said, the idea wouldn't leave me alone. Have fluff.