What.

How the hell? First chapter and that many reviews and hits? What? How did this get so much attention and get so liked? Wow. I.. don't really know what to say. I know you guys just made me get a hell of a lot more motivated. Thank you. Now!

To answer something, yeah. I got the ending where Shepard lives in the third game. I don't consider that him living. The mass relays are gone, he is all sorts of messed up, and god knows where he is and what he's going to do after that. Basically, the entire universe you worked to save is gone from your sights. Even if you live, for all intents and purposes, everything is gone.

And. It. Is. Terrible.

So! Let's continue, then. Clyde Shepard. The best damn Shepard around. Sarcastic, arrogant and god damn awesome. This chapter is.. more of a re-introduction of Clyde Shepard. I kind of want to get across what kind of guy he is, and just a bit of change that came from my original story. So, here we go then, shall we?


Chapter 2: Birthmarks and Scars

SSV – Sidious.

It was a quiet ship, most of the time. During the Reaper War, the ship wasn't in the front-lines. Not even the back-lines. Not in any line. The SSV – Sidious was a ship made for finding survivors. It was, in all point, a flying hospital. It was lightly armed with only a few military men on board at all times in-case of ambushes. Not much in terms of heavy weapons or biotic support, but it was enough to keep the ship safe in most scenarios. They didn't have many men, but the ones they did have were rough and hardened. Veterans that made sure everyone knew they had been through and how they did it. And the doctors were top of the line, of course. The crew was friendly, too. No drama between the crew ever surfaced, and even then, it was promptly stuffed out. After all, there wasn't really any time for that. This ship was one of the rare ones who realized that a someone's personal dilemmas in the middle of the Reapers attempting genocide wasn't the best thing. So, that was how it was. And, after the war ended, the atmosphere, while getting more crowded, got great. Everyones spirits were up as high as they could go. They had done something that nobody had ever done since the history of time had done. Of course they were on top of the world.

The SSV – Sidious wasn't exactly a big ship. It was smaller than the Normandy. The captains quarters didn't really exist. The captain just slept with the rest of the crew, like he was one of them. See, even the captain of the ship wasn't a douche.

So, now, someone might ask; A ship like that sounds perfect. What could ruin a ship like that? What could possibly spark some drama on a ship that had a nice crew, lack of military ego with mostly just healing survivors? Well. It's simple really. Sometimes, people get on the ship and don't really like medicine. Maybe they are too proud to accept it. Maybe they are afraid of more pain. Sometimes, trauma comes into play. People aren't exactly accepting after they have seen what some of these people had seen. Entire planets being wiped out in a giant inferno isn't exactly good for the mental condition. Family members being turned into piles of blood from the Reaper ground forces. Yeah. Sometimes, these people had a pretty good excuse to not exactly finding anything very comfortable, no matter what the situation of the ship was. Just something you got used to around the Sidious. Luckily, as was mentioned, the doctors were high-class. The Alliance went all out with providing med-support for this ship.

However. Sometimes, mental problems might exist, but not the kind anyone is thinking of. No, sometimes, people just are entitled to be treated better than everyone else. Sometimes they think we are secretly triyng to poison them. Why? Who knows. Those people don't ever mention the Reapers. And the best ones are the ones that just simply don't like the taste of medicine. It's hard trying to tell a veteran of war to drink something, or to take a needle he doesn't want.

It's especially tough when that guy had just saved the galaxy.

"No, no. NO! Come near me with that needle. I swear to god, so help me, lord have mercy on you if you come near me with that needle. I will make you see the inside of your damn face." He spat.

Commander Shepard. The man who ruined the peace of the SSV – Sidious.

"Commander, please, lay back down. It's just some antibiotics. Nothing more. You—"

"I know what it is. I don't like the damn form you have it in. Don—OI!" He had interrupted the nurse by brandishing his hand as though it was a sword in the direction of the needle. "If you touch me with that thing, I swear—"

"Yes, yes. Inside of the face." The nurse said, annoyed with this turn of events. "We don't have any more pills for this kind of infection, commander. This is the only option."

This had been going on for the last half an hour when they told him that he had an infection from one of the several wounds he had on his body. It was a damn medical mystery how this man had survived all he had. He came in to the ship as beat up as one person could get and refused all treatment, or at least pretended to ignore all words, until he saw the Normandy again. After that, he was cleaned up, bandaged, the works. And now.. apparently, a needle was the cause of this ruckus. Facing down a Reaper, one thing. Needles a completely different sort. How did this guy get any sort of shot if he was scared enough to start throwing biotics around because of one needle?

Either way, a few people had come to check out the situation. Even some of the other patients were curious what all the noise was about. Of course, Shepard was oblivious to this. He was only concentrated on the small needle of chaos and destruction in the nurses hands.

"Please let us give you the shot." The nurse said flatly.

"No." He said almost instantaneously.

"I'm sure this isn't going to be your first shot, Commander. This isn't going to hurt."

"Not the point."

"What do you mean 'Not the point'? What else could it be?"

"I've taken a lot of pain in my time, ma'am." Shepard said almost in a confused way. "That's not the problem here."

"Then what is?"

"I don't know! I just don't like fucking needles! How are there no more pills for a god damn infection? Is that even medically allowed?" Shepard spluttered out in one of his own revelations. More akin to him trying to rationalize anything that avoided the needle that was being waved in-front of him. The nurse looked about ready to try and dive over and forcibly ram this thing into his arm. He was ready though. He had leaped out of the bed they had given him and pushed his back against the wall, glaring through his hair at what was becoming an army of med-staff coming to administer a shot.

"Isn't this a bit too much trouble for one guy refusing a needle?" He asked with a bit of a coy laugh. "I mean, I know I can be such a damn charmer, but this is a bit too much attention. Autographs will be handled by my secretary."

"You don't have a secretary, Commander. Now, please—"

"That's the point. I don't have a secretary. What travesty is this? How does a guy save the galaxy and not get even one person to change my socks when I wake up? Bullshit, I tell you." He agreed with mock-scorn and a nod. "You want to be my secretary?"

"No."

"That's a shame. I think you'd be great at it. We could play 'Dominatrix, The Asari Slave 3'. Fun game. Wait, scratch that. Joker showed me that once. Funny guy, Joker—"

"SHEPARD! What in.. What is going on here? Stop—Let me through. Keelah, why are so many people—Shepard! What did you do?"

Just in time!

Emerging from the crowd was a Quarian. A very specific Quarian. The one he, just a few hours ago, was punished by severely for being a bit too.. impolite towards. Who knew something with only three fingers could smack someone so damn hard. Either way, she pushed through the mix of patients and staff that were crowded around him and his bed to witness the supposed madman that he was sure didn't take long to get passed around the ship like wildfire. She had to be dealing with her own stuff though, so it even impressed him a little that word at his attempted face-crushing of the medical staff spread through the ship so fast. He couldn't help but drop his guard down a little though. He was almost about to hug her in his new found good mood of seeing his girlfriend if it wasn't for the extremely annoyed looking nurse waving the needle like a sword.

He'd prefer the sword.

"Tali! Hey chickadee. Can you believe it? I don't have a secretary!"

"W-What?" Tali said, her annoyance at the situation leaving her briefly at the sure absurdity of what he said.

"Yeah, I—Wait, no. That's not the point. This woman wants to stake me with that thing. I'm refusing." Shepard said pointing at the needle as though it were a raised gun.

Tali regained her thoughts quickly, however. She had gotten used to the sheer absurdity of Clyde Shepards insanity. How such a buffoon saved the galaxy will be a question for the next generation. She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, twirling one of her fingers in a circle, which had become there signal that she was currently rolling her eyes at him.

"A shot? Well, okay. And why are you refusing this shot, Shepard?" Tali asked.

"Clyde."

"Shepa—"

"Clyde. "He said flatly. "I'm not responding unless you call me Clyde."

"This is hardly the time! In-front of the people on the ship? Aren't you worried about an image at all?"

"Not even slightly."

Tali let out a hard sigh. Even in-front of the people he had just saved, he still insisted she called him by his first name. She just silently hoped that when they were on missions he wouldn't ask her to call him that. He was still Commander Shepard to everyone, after all. Everyone had their own image of him until they met him. Most of them were disappointed, as these people were going to be, more than likely. Tali bit her lip in a desperate attempt to stop the exasperated sigh that was about to leave her.

"C-Clyde." She stammered a bit, but picked herself back up quickly. "Why are you refusing this shot?"

"Needles suck." Shepard said as though he were answering the most obvious thing in the world. "You know that. I've told you that. Hell, I'm pretty sure you've seen that."

"I've seen you be reluctant towards shots, but not cause anarchy over it," Tali said. "Just take the shot. Look at what you're causing here."

"Negative."

"Shep- Clyde, Take the shot."

"Nope."

And the stalemate happened. It looked like all hope was lost until Tali had moved beside him, completely innocently at first, but suddenly, the three fingered wrath sprung again, grabbing his ear and pulling on it until he had no choice but to crumple back on to the bed. He let out a cry mixed with laughter and pain, sitting on the bed with a thump. Ow's and please spilled from his lips, pleading with his new Quarian overlord to release the vicegrip she had on his ear.

"Need I remind you, Commander, I am still not very happy with that stunt you pulled a bit ago." Tali said with mock-coldness. "I don't plan on forgetting about that."

"I-Ow, ow! Sto, HEY! Didn't we hug and laugh that off?" Shepard pleaded. Tali nodded over to the nurse, who finally let out a sigh of relief and began walking over to the now-focused Shepard who was trying to rid the three fingered destruction off his ear.

"You laughed it off. I am still not satisfied." Tali said pointedly. "I can keep this up for a long time, you know."

"Why did I fall in love with the mean one?" Shepard yelled out.

"Same reason I fell in love with the stupid one." Tali said flatly. She was normally not adamant when displaying affection in-front of everyone, but that was more stating a fact to her this time. Well, if nobody knew that he had a Quarian girlfriend, they did now.

"I take offense to that!" Shepard said with a wince. "I still don't want the shot."

"Too late," The nurse said in a huff.

What?

Tali released his ear for him to look around, seeing the nurse now walking away with the antibiotic shot now empty. He looked over on his shoulder do, indeed, smell the disinfectant. He could only vaguely feel the mark of where the needle had gone in. He looked back at Tali who he assumed was wearing an extremely mixed version of annoyed and amused look underneath her visor. He felt a bit stupid now. He looked back at the nurse, the confused crowd still looking at him, then back at Tali, then leaped on his bed.

"Well! That's over."

"Seriously?"

"Don't want to talk about it!"

"I had to distract you so you could get a shot? Are you nine? Maybe even five? Or am I giving you too much credit?" Tali said amused.

"Since when were you the one who told jokes and made fun of me?" Shepard said teasingly. "I thought that was me."

"It was. I can't say it isn't fun. I see why you do it now." Tali said with a small laugh. She sat at the side of his bed, looking down at him. He was.. very odd looking now, even compared to humans. He had a long orange scar that ran down the right side of face, barely missing his eye. His normally white hair that had been changed long ago by the biotic enhancement surgery that Mordin had given him only accented the orange imprint of his cybernetics and his complete lack of facial hair. From what Tali knew, a lot of humans did grow facial hair when they got older. Was this part of the surgery too, or was Shepard actually much younger then she knew?

It would certainly explain a lot.

None the less, they shared some peaceful silence for now, content to watch over the working crew over the ship they were on. Maybe it was still sinking in. The fact that they had destroyed the Reapers was barely registering with them still. It probably would take a long time for Shepard to finally realize this his fighting days might finally be over. He might be able to finally retire now.. maybe put the gun down and just relax for a bit. Although, Maybe not. The quiet life had a high possibility of driving him crazy. He let out a sad chuckle when he remembered him telling Mordin that exact thing. Maybe he'd run some tests on a couple seashells in his honor. Like, how far he could throw them. Would that count?

"Are you okay?"

That was random. He almost felt like he was going to doze off until the slightly synthesized voice rang out. He peered one of his eyes open and looked up at her. Tali was staring down at him, with what he could only think was a bit of concern. He let out a bit of a sigh, glancing at the back of the nurse who was now administering other doctor-like-advice to the people around him. He looked up back at her with the best 'I'm fine' expression he could come up with.

"Yeah. Why do you ask?" He said with curiously.

"Even that is a bit overboard for you." She said plainly, reaching one of her hands over and patting his hair. "I know Mordin and Dr Chakwas always said you hated shots, but wasn't that a bit much?"

"It's probably more like.. I dislike strangers with needles."Shepard said with a wave of his hand. "I've always been like that."

"Really, Clyde?"

"Sort-of." Shepard admitted. "Maybe it was a bit too much, no? I think it was the utter shock of learning I don't have a secretary."

"I can tell when you're lying, you know. You get increasingly more sarcastic." She said in a bit of a teasing tone, but switching back to serious quickly. He let out a bit of a deeper sigh and moved himself deeper into the bed, trying to get himself comfy for the obviously serious talk that was about to wash over.

"So, this time, be honest."Tali said. "Are you okay?"

"Honestly?" Shepard said with an obviously uncomfortable tone to his voice. "I don't think so."

"You don't know?"

"Not really," Shepard said honestly. "I mean, I just.. get the feeling I shouldn't be alive right now."

"That's a bit silly." Tali said curiously, placing one of her hands on his shoulder, beginning to start rubbing it in a slow rhythm. "If anyone deserves life, it's you. It isn't like you to dwell on serious stuff."

"True," Shepard huffed. "I don't know. I feel.. a lot more on-edge now that the adrenaline high is gone. Paranoid. I finally slept, you know."

"Without nightmares?"

"Yeah."

"Isn't that a good thing?"

"You'd think so," Shepard said with another huff, running his hand through his hair. "I shouldn't be, though. Mordin was in them. Kaidan was, too. And Legion, and Thane. And my whole team on Akuze. I didn't exactly like them, but it reminded me why I can't ever fail." He moved his hands over his face, wiping it off even though he wasn't really sweating. "It feels like I'm forgetting about the people who died."

"You don't have to suffer for what the Reapers and Cerberus did, Clyde." Tali said sadly, moving her hand up through his hair. "It still doesn't explain why you threatened to punch a nurse, however."

"It's one and the same. I just.. feel a lot more on edge. Multiplied by the fact that I really, really do just hate needles. Seriously."

"Yes, I know, you really are a big baby," She teased. "It's not like you to be paranoid. Especially after such a victory. It's.. not like you. After we beat the Collectors you were practically a walking parade."

"I was, wasn't I?" Shepard said with an embarrassed laugh. "The nightmares were always with me though. Even when I was on Earth. First it was friends that I lost in the streets, then Akuze. Then Kaidan. I've just.. always had them."

"You understand you're trying to tell me you losing nightmares is a bad thing, right?" Tali said curiously. "I think your subconscious is about as stupid as the rest of you."

"Maybe." Shepard admitted. "I guess now that it's finally over, I keep expecting something else to take the Reapers place. And.. you know. I still don't feel like I should be alive. I feel like I should have died in some sort of stupid noble sacrifice to save the galaxy."

"You are traumatized by the victory of war." Tali said with a nod. "I really did fall in love with the stupid one."

"I.. guess you did." Shepard admitted. "It's temporary. I'll get used to sleeping without nightmares soon. And when the council comes to bore me with how I plan on managing all the alliances that have been set up, It'll probably sink in that the worst is finally over."

"Let's hope so. It's kind of funny. You're worrying, which is unlike you, and it's stupid, which is completely like you. I don't even think therapy could help you with this one."

"Luckily, I have something much better then therapy." Shepard said devilishly. Without a second warning, he had leaped from his bed, snatching her with playful yell. Tali yelped in a bit of surprise, followed by a rather unfamiliar giggle. He wrapped his arms around her waist, looking up at her standing figure, still trying to see inside her visor with obvious difficulty, squinting his eyes to look at the expression she was making.

"Why do you have to wear that thing?" He said with mock-sadness. "It ruins any kissing that could be attempted."

"I wouldn't let you anyway," Tali said, pushing his shoulder playfully. "Look at all the people here."

"Wouldn't bother me."

"Why do you completely lack any shame?"

"Just my Commander Shepard Swagger." He said with a laugh. "Just you wait till you I get you—"

"Would you shh!" Tali said with a badly hushed laugh, wrapping her hand around his lips to cover the words and the laughter that was now emanating from it.

The peaceful times kept going for quite a bit of time. While as embarrassed as Tali acted when showing her relationship off to the public eye, she didn't seem to fight very hard when Shepard so openly flirted with her in the middle of the med-bay. They laughed. They joked. So much so that all of Shepards worries had left his brain for the time being. He felt true peace, maybe for the first time in a really long time. No more Reapers. Shepard couldn't stop thinking about that enough. No more Reapers. The savior of the galaxy. Maybe he wasn't being as modest as he said. He did just complain about a secretary earlier. It didn't matter this time, though. Finally. Maybe, if only for a little longer, he wanted more peace. And maybe, for once, some good dreams.

And.. the party poopers.

"Commander Shepard," an officer said curtly. He was completely ignoring the fact that he had a girl sitting on his lap. "The council wants to speak with you."

"Can't it wait?"

"It's urgent, I was told."

"The Reapers are fucking dead, what more do they want from me?"

The officer shrugged, sitting and waiting for Shepard to leave Tali behind and follow him to the boredom sanctuary of the councils lectures.

"Can you not go anywhere?" He asked Tali with a bit of a laugh. "I have to go pretend to listen to what the council has to say."

This earned him another shove. "Go ahead. And try not to blow up the com-link this time?"

"I make no promises."

Shepard slowly moved off the bed, taking his time. He stretched his arms to the air, cracked his neck and then nodded towards the officer slumping his shoulders to purposely look bored, waving towards Tali who waved back, content with all the time she had to spend. He slowly made his way behind the officer, silently riding the elevator up to the bridge. It was a to-the-point walk. However, even this guy seemed to steal a glance at him every now and then. He almost wanted to make a joke about it, but he didn't say anything. He wasn't in too much of a mood. Because, it was time to play something he hates. Despised. And utterly wish he didn't have to do. The one down side about being the galaxy superhero;

Politics.


The next chapter will have plot. And more substance. I promise.

Also, please forgive any obvious typos I made. Just getting back into writing, and I don't got a beta/person to edit outside of me yet, and I am god awful at it. Work in progress. :D

Thank you all for the support you showed. Definitely kept me going whenever I saw another review chalked up. All the positive reinforcement is great for the writing drive. I hope I don't disappoint.