Oh, my head. "Where am I?" Miranda woke up with a groan, clutching her head with both hands.

"Welcome back to the land of living." A chirpy voice said, and Miranda opened her eyes to see Kasumi sitting on the backrest of the armchair.

She closed her eyes again, as she massaged her temples "What happened?"

After a little pause, Kasumi spoke, "You saved my life." She said in a serious tone, which made Miranda open her eyes again.

"You thought I was going to let you get sliced to pieces by that enormous fan?" Miranda asked incredulously.

"No, but… Except for Keiji and Shepard, nobody ever risked their life for me. And you made a huge risk, by protecting me from the blast and not yourself."

"Why? How long was I out?" Miranda asked confused, she estimated that she was unconscious for a few hours, enough for Kasumi to get her to the safe house, but not more, considering that, she was feeling fine, minus the headache.

"Five days." Miranda's eyes widened in surprise, "I had Doc Chakwas get here as soon as I managed to get you to bed." Kasumi continued, "You were in bad shape. Not many external injuries, although enough to spend the whole medi-gel supply that Doc brought with her, and then some more, and luckily no internal bleedings, even though you had a few cracked ribs, but the concussion was bad."

It was then that Miranda noticed IV drip connected to her left arm, and looking under the covers, she saw that she was clad in some kind of hospital gown, that Karin must have smuggled out on one of her visits.

"Where is she now?"

"She had to go back to the hospital, but she did leave you all the data on your injuries, since she figured you'd want to take a look when you wake up."

Good. Miranda thought, as she took the datapad from Kasumi.

"Hmm, burns and cuts weren't as bad as I figured they would be, but the catscan doesn't look good. When was this taken?"

"Two days ago. Doc said she would come by later today to check on you."

"Good, I need another scan, since the swelling has probably diminished by now, but I need to know how much exactly, and my omnitool isn't equipped for that." Miranda said, as she put the datapad down and closed her eyes again.

"OK, I'll wake you when she comes, so rest now. Shepard will kill me when she hears I almost got you killed, so I need my brownie points, by taking care of you now."

"Aww, you wound me, Goto. I thought you were doing this because you like me." Miranda smiled as she teased Kasumi, who only stuck her tongue out in reply.

0000000000000000

"Miranda!" Kasumi burst into the room Miranda was occupying while recovering. "It's Shepard! She is here!"

"What? Where?" Miranda was confused, as she looked over the thief's shoulder, expecting to see the Spectre behind her, smiling.

But there was no one there.

"Not here, you silly." Kasumi chastised her, when she noticed her gaze. "On the Citadel. I just got the info that Normandy docked on Dock 24."

"I need to see her." Miranda said as she started to get up, but Kasumi put a hand on her shoulder, stopping her.

"No, what you need to do is heal." She firmly, but gently, pushed Miranda back on bed.

But Miranda struggled against the thief, "Kasumi, please. I need to talk to her. Who knows when or even if I will get another chance?"

Kasumi looked away, obviously struggling with decision. She knew Miranda wasn't ready for the stroll around the Citadel, but she also knew what it was like not to get another chance to see the person you love before they die. And Shepard could die any day now, since she was on the front lines, racing all over galaxy, saving everyone that could make a difference in this war. Just a few days ago, she was in the thick of it on Palaven, as she tried to save the Turian Primarch. Who knows where she might have to go next.

"Alright." She finally relented. "But you need to take painkillers. And wear the catsuit. The material enforcement should keep your ribs safe while healing."

Miranda smiled at the thief, "Thank you, Kasumi."

The thief helped her get out of bed and into her white catsuit, since the black one, the one Shepard got her while still fighting the Collectors, has been ripped beyond repair in the blast.

00000000000000

"I can see the Normandy, Kasumi, and Alliance officers getting off of it, but still no Shepard. Are you sure she isn't already on the Citadel somewhere?" Miranda glanced nervously towards the Normandy Docking Bay, while leaning on a rail.

"I'm positive. She is probably resting in her cabin, or something. Just calm down, Miranda." Came Kasumi's slightly annoyed voice through Miranda's comm. ear piece.

Miranda sighed, "I am calm, Goto."

At that moment, the dock doors opened again, for the Nth time that day, and Miranda automatically looked towards them, not really expecting to see the blonde Commander.

But there she was, looking as tired as Miranda felt, scars more prominent than ever, but not glowing, green eyes sweeping over her, but somehow not seeing her.

Miranda gripped the guard-rail tighter, thinking if she should go to the Commander, or just wave for her to come over.

But then something got Commanders attention, and she looked in Miranda's direction again. A small smile found its way on Shepard's face as she made her way towards the ex-Cerberus officer.

Miranda turned around, so she could lean on the rail that she was gripping just moments before.

Shepard stopped only when they were within the arms reach of each other. They just stood there, taking in as much detail as they could of each other.

"Well, you look like hell." Shepard finally commentated, and Miranda rolled her eyes.

"You look even worse, Commander."

"Heh, I heard that it's the newest fashion, to look like a homeless person on Omega, so I try my best." She threw her one of her trademark smirks, making Miranda chuckle.

"You ass." She said, smacking the blonde on the arm.

Suddenly, Miranda found herself trapped between the rail guard and Commanders body. Finally losing her cool, she quickly wrapped her arms around Shepard's neck, as Alex put her own around her slim waist, pulling her closer.

Their lips crashed in hungry need. Their tongues battled ferociously, passionately, for dominance.

They were starting to draw attention of the passerby's to themselves, but neither cared much about that.

Finally breaking the kiss, they leaned their foreheads together, as they stayed locked in the embrace.

"I missed you." Alex whispered while keeping her eyes closed.

"I know." Miranda responded, also whispering with her own eyes still closed.

"I need you with me."

"I know."

"But you can't come?"

"No, I cannot."

Shepard sighed, defeated, as she opened her eyes.

"I don't know how I'm gonna do this without you."

"You will manage. You defeated Saren without me."

"That was different. At that time, I had nothing to lose." Shepard cupped Miranda's cheeks, looking her straight in the eyes. "And now I have you."

"I know, Alex. But I need to make sure my sister is safe. I can't race all around the galaxy with you, while she is in danger, not only from the Reapers, but from our father as well."

"Did something happen?" Shepard asked worriedly, and Miranda turned in her arms, gripping the guard rail once again, while the Commander snaked her arms around her waist once again.

"I…" Miranda hesitated for a split second. "I'm not sure. It may be nothing. But it could also be the worst." She paused, wondering how much she should tell Shepard. I can't have her dropping everything just to help me, like last time. Too much is at stake right now.

"I lost contact with her and the operatives guarding her." Shepard tightened her hold on Miranda.

"If you tell me where she was last, I can…"

"No." Miranda said firmly. "I need to do this alone."

"But…"

"No, Shepard. You need to find a way to defeat the Reapers, otherwise there won't be anything we can do to keep Ori or anyone else safe." She got out of Shepard's embrace, arms crossed over her chest in defiance.

I need to change the subject. "Do you even have a plan for that?" She asked, moving away from two C-Sec officers that came too close for comfort.

"Yes. We… The Alliance is working on something, and I'm trying to gather as much help as I can, so they can finish it as soon as possible." Shepard said scratching the back of the head, not really knowing how much she can say in an unsafe environment like the Citadel Docking Bay, as she followed Miranda.

"Everybody has a weakness. Even the Reapers." Miranda said confidently, knowing that Alex needed the reassurance.

She was rewarded by a small smile from the Commander, which just told Miranda how much she needed this, for Miranda to believe in her.

"Miranda? Bailey warned me that you shouldn't stick there for much longer. Seems like a couple of Spectres were noticed in the area." Kasumi said seriously through the comm. "Oh and say 'Hi' to Shep for me!" She added in her usual cheerful tone.

Miranda rolled her eyes, and Shepard gave her quizzical look. "Kasumi says 'Hi'." She said dismissively.

Shepard's face lit up at the mention of the master thief, who was one of her best friends and confidantes during the Collectors hunt. Kasumi was the first one to notice that she had a crush on her XO, in fact.

"Anyway, Aria wants to see you. Says she has something that might interest you." Miranda continued.

"Oh? And since when are you one of her messengers?" Shepard teased her, chuckling, and Miranda swatted her on the arm.

"You really are an ass." She glared at Shepard, but soon a smile broke through, betraying her.

"So, where is the Queen of Omega? And what is she doing here?"

"You haven't heard?" Miranda was surprised by this. By now everyone knew that Aria has lost Omega.

"I was… relieved of duty for four months, and as soon as I was reinstated, I was thrust into this war. So no, can't say I heard anything that isn't Reaper-related." Shepard said, resisting the urge to roll her eyes.

"The Illusive Man now controls the Omega."

That bit of information almost made Shepard's eyes pop out. "Really? How so?"

"You better ask Aria, or even Dr. T'Soni about that, since I don't know the details. I only know that she is here now, and is looking for you." Miranda shrugged.

"I see." Shepard seemed lost in thought, contemplating this new bit of information.

"So…" Miranda began again, realizing that it was the time to say goodbye to her lover and disappear for the time being.

"So…" And Shepard continued, not really knowing what to say in such a short time they had. "Are you sure you don't want me to help you?"

"Shepard… I'm grateful that you want to help me, but you have your hands full." Miranda said approaching Shepard once again, cupping her cheeks, "If I need a door or two kicked down, I know just who to call, but for now, I'll be fine." Miranda said firmly, but with a smile, and all Shepard could do was nod.

"Alright." Shepard reluctantly agreed. "But don't hesitate to call me if you need any kind of help."

"I won't."

"Good, coz I can't concentrate on saving the galaxy, if I'm not sure that you are safe."

Miranda smiled at her overprotective Commander. "Alright, Prince Charming, that's enough of that. I need to go now." She said, playfully ruffling Shepard's carefully style spikes.

"Yeah, me too." Shepard said sadly, and seeing the look on her face, Miranda couldn't help but step up and wrap her arms around the Commanders neck for one last kiss. Shepard snaked her arms around Miranda's waist on instinct, instantly returning the kiss, which ended way too soon, in her opinion.

"Be careful, Lawson." Shepard said, holding Miranda's hand for as long as she could, as the operative was moving away.

"No promises, Commander." Miranda winked at her, before disappearing into the crowd, leaving Shepard standing there, her hand still stretched out.

0000000000000

''I'll take this one.'' Miranda said, eyeing one small, FTL capable starship.

''Perfect. Now, the funds...''

''...Are already on your account.''

As the battarian was checking his account from his omnitool, Miranda contacted Kasumi.

''It's done. I got a ship.''

''So, where will you go now?''

''I will probably check the colony where Oriana was last stationed, for clues what might have happened to her. After that, who knows, wherever her trail leads me.'' Miranda said, as she nodded to the battarian. She went past him into her new ship.

''You will find her, I don't doubt that.'' Kasumi assured her confidently.

''I know.'' Miranda smiled, as she entered the cockpit. ''Any luck in cracking that data?''

''Almost there. I'm confident I'll crack it in a few days.''

''Good luck with that Goto. And take care of yourself.'' Miranda said genuinely.

''You know me Lawson, I'm always on the sidelines.'' She could practically hear Kasumi smirk.

''Keep it that way. You still owe me big time for that bank job.'' Miranda said half-jokingly.

''Like you'd ever let me forget that.''

''So be a good girl and stay alive, at least until I can collect that debt.'' Miranda punched in the controls for take off, as soon as she got the green light from flight control.

''Yeah yeah, don't you have something better to do, like inspecting the ship or something like that?''

Miranda rolled her eyes, ''Goodbye Goto. This won't be the last time we spoke.'' She said with a smile.

''Bye Lawson, say hi to lil Lawson for me, when you see her.''

With that, Miranda closed the channel and made her way towards the Mass Relay.