She awoke to a feeling of serenity; a peacefulness that washed over her entire body as if nothing was wrong in the world. A wetness embraced her cheek as a cool trail of water dribbled past her forehead only to be wiped away seconds later by the tip of a soft, slender finger. Shepard slowly opened her pale green eyes. As far as she could tell, she was lying on her back and to her confusion was looking up at the bed rather than down on it. As she shifted to a sitting position, a firm but gentle hand pulled her back.

"Stay still Shepard" Liara soothed, pulling her back into her chest as she continued to wipe the sweat from the commander's forehead.

"What the hell. . .?" Shepard croaked.

"You fell and hit the floor pretty hard. Nightmares again?" she asked softly, stroking the hair from Shepard's eyes.

"Yeah" Shepard replied, once more attempting to stand. Liara held her shoulder, but the commander only brushed it off, more roughly than she had intended and headed for the sink. She doubled over into its basin, her stomach starting to lurch as she began to cough.

Liara was up in an instant. She placed the rag on the bag of Shepard's neck trying to cool her fevered skin. Shepard only continued to cough and sank to her knees, her arms still draped over the sink. Liara had her in her arms in seconds.

"Liara don't" Shepard growled trying to pull away.

"MJ. . .don't push me away. I'm trying to help you, but I can't do that if you won't let me" she said, sounding hurt.

"I don't need your help" She snapped, sprawling herself on the floor; the coolness of the tile immediately cooling her.

Liara placed the back of her hand on Shepard's burning cheek, looking on in nothing more than concern. She was confused and partly hurt, but knew on the inside that it wasn't Shepard talking to her; it was her sickness. These nightmares had been plaguing her for months, some so bad that Shepard found herself waking in the middle of the mess hall, her head on the lunch table not remembering how she had gotten there. She had even slept in Liara's room, some nights too afraid to even venture back into her own cabin. Some nights she woke soaked in a cold sweat; but those were the fortunate ones. The majority of the time her stomach nearly killed her from nausea until she forced herself to vomit. Liara could feel her pain, but she was blind from the details and Shepard was grateful she didn't have to explain how blood ended up in the sink. It's not that she wanted to push Liara away, she just hated for her to worry and fuss, but even admist her anger, Liara didn't budge in her concern or patience.

"I'm getting Chakwas" Liara sighed, exiting her cabin as she ran toward the elevator.

Shepard breathed a sigh of relief, thankful she had left. She pulled herself up to the sink as the coughing fits started over again, this time resonating down into her chest. She began to taste iron as blood dribbled from the corner of her mouth, trailing into the basin turning the perfect white stone a nauseating red. She closed her eyes and winced as the stab in her stomach only continued to grow worse, every second becoming harder to breathe. She lurched forward a second time feeling the taste on her tongue; the blood only continuing to fall even heavier. She slumped to the floor in a pitiful heap and lay, praying Liara wouldn't take to long.

Decided to take a break from my other story and come back to this one, which seems to be much easier to write. Plus I have a thing for the whole "nightmare" story, it always proves to be interesting. More chapters to come. Can't leave poor Shep in a pool of blood now can I? :p Anyway, hope you enjoy!