Hello! I'd just like to start out by saying that is my first official fanfiction. I'm really in to creative writing, but have never written a full fledged fan fic yet.

There will be spoilers for the Mass Effect 3 (and to some extent, 1 and 2) plot. I don't own Bioware/Mass Effect/much of anything, really.

So, there will be lemons. Not in this chapter, but the next one for sure, and then many more later on.

This story assumes you've played though the Mass Effect series, and are at least generally familiar with the plot and characters.

NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: It takes me a little while to get used to writing based off of another story, and to find my own style and stuff. It takes me until about chapter 4 to really get into it and start writing (what I would say is) better. I would appreciate it if you could stick with me to then, or even skip to chapter 4. I don't think it would be too hard to follow.

THEY'RE EVERYWHERE: I've seriously considered going back to write the first four to eight chapters in my fic, but upon investigating, I've actually found my growth pattern for writing fanfics is traceable by every eight chapters. The first eight are me trying new things, getting my bearings, etc. The next eight are my own straight up Tali love. The next eight are probably the zenith of making it my own, where I change the ending and set up where I'm going to be going. The next eight I dabble in putting in more meanings, the most obvious one probably being the prolonged poke at people who have obsessions over celebrities. And I can already feel myself delving into deeper issues with this next set. Not a hard fast rule, but the general trend and progression is definitely there. Anyways, just something I found interesting, and what caused me to decide against reworking my first set of chapters, even if it costs me a bit of readership.


Hackett had been able to delay the Alliance for two months. But he ran out of excuses, ran out of reasons to keep Shepard away from Earth. It had been two months since Shepard had driven a massive asteroid into that mass relay, temporarily stopping the Reapers from reaching the galaxy, but killing hundreds of thousands of batarians in the process.

Time was running out, and ever since then, Shepard had been looking for something, anything, to get an edge over the Reapers. He had found nothing. The only thing that kept him going was the thought of losing all the people he cared about. Garrus, Joker, Liara, Wrex…but one person stood out from the rest. Someone else who had been there from the start, and would stay with him until the end: Tali.

Tali had always been there for Shepard, even when almost nobody trusted him and almost everybody said the mission he was on was suicide. Tali could have easily continued to live a good life in the fleet without Shepard. She led her own squad, and was rapidly becoming famous among the quarians because of her help with stopping Saren and saving the Citadel.

But Tali always felt like something, or someONE, was missing after she left the Normandy. Yet she couldn't place her finger on it . She wasn't able to figure it all out until she saw Shepard again, alive, on Freedom's Progress. She realized who she was missing. She could still vividly remember the conversations she had with Shepard after she joined him again…

"I feel the same way about you…"

"I don't want anyone else. I want you…"

"I don't want to risk your health…but I'm willing to wait…"

Then that amazing night came. The night when Tali took off her mask in front of Shepard, the night she experienced her first kiss, the night they had been together, and the night she realized that she loved him. She couldn't live without him. But now, after two months of being together, Shepard was being called back to Earth. Hackett couldn't do anything else. Neither Tali nor Shepard knew what they would do without each other, and they both new he had to go.

The shuttle touched down on Earth. Anderson stood off to the side, waiting to meet Shepard, who stepped out of the shuttle, alone. He hit the door, and walked over to Anderson as it flew away.

"Anderson!" he shouted enthusiastically while extending his hand.

"Good to see you, Shepard" Anderson said as they shook hands firmly.

"You too, old friend," Shepard replied as they began walking. "I guess Hackett couldn't hold them off any longer."

"Don't worry Shepard. Hackett and I are doing everything we can to get you out of this. I came to help as soon as I realized the tables were turning against you."

"I appreciate it" Shepard said as they stood at a security checkpoint with a similar style to those at the Citadel.

There are twelve weaknesses a skilled assassin could exploit here… Shepard thought to himself as he remembered Thane. He allowed a faint smile to cross his face.

"So, have you found anything useful out there?" Anderson asked, preventing Shepard from continuing the memory.

"No," Shepard replied, his smile quickly fading. "Nothing."

"Well, that makes our job harder." Anderson replied with a small sigh.

"What do you think will happen? Shepard asked as they continued on. "I hope they don't ground me like the Council." He added with a hint of sarcasm.

Anderson chuckled, "We'll have to see how it goes."

Two hours later

"Commander Shepard, do you understand the charges being brought against you?" asked the member of the Alliance board.

"Yes, ma'am."

"Do you have anything you wish to say?"

Shepard shifted his weight. "I only did what I had to do. I had to delay the Reapers. We weren't ready, and we still aren't ready, and we need to-"

Before Shepard could continue, the Alliance board member cut him off. "Ah yes, 'Reapers.'" Anderson smirked grimly.

"Look, Shepard, we've all heard about your alleged experience with these Reapers dozens of times," a different member stated. "But we need proof. Can the defense provide any concrete evidence?"

Shepard looked over at Anderson and Hackett with a disappointed scowl on his face and a pleading look in his eyes.

"No, we cannot." Hackett replied with obvious restraint.

"Then, Commander Shepard, you are hereby stripped of your title. Your ship will be claimed by the Alliance Navy, and you are to remain in this building until the board decides if any further action needs to be taken. You are dismissed."

Shepard took off his dog tags, gave his last salute for a long time, and waked out of the room without saying a word.

Several months later

The Reapers had arrived. Shepard managed to escape Earth with his old friend Kaidan and his handler, James Vega. As Shepard boarded the Normandy, Anderson realized he had to stay behind to fight for his planet. He ordered Shepard to go do something, anything, to stop the Reapers. He reinstated Shepard, and turned back to face the burning city he desperately wanted to leave, but knew he couldn't.

Shepard's first order of business was to head to Mars, to investigate a lead on Prothean technology. There, he found his old squad mate and friend: Liara T'soni. Liara eagerly jointed Shepard's new crew; it was just like old times. The team found plans for an ancient device, later dubbed the Crucible, which had the potential to destroy the Reapers. But as they were escaping Mars, a Cerberus mech pummeled Kaidan into critical condition.

After dropping Kaidan off at a hospital on the Citadel, where Shepard also regained his Spectre status, the team went to Eden Prime. On this familiar planet, they found a pod containing a living Prothean. After running around the colony for a while, they discovered how to open it. The Prothean inside called himself Javik, and joined the Commander in order to help fight the Reapers.

After another new face, Shepard was glad to see another old one. He found Garrus on a moon of the Turian home world while searching for the Turian leader. After completing their mission, Garrus gladly went with Shepard.

During all of this, EDI had been busy putting herself into a new body: the Cerberus mech from Mars. Shepard was cautious at first, but his trust for EDI was already strong because of all she had done for him. EDI went on missions with Shepard every once in a while.

Kaidan eventually recovered from his injuries from before, and after becoming a Spectre himself, joined Shepard again. Wrex had to stay on Tuchanka after helping the Commander cure the genophage, which left only one old squad member missing…