A fanfic about Shepard and Miranda's relationship, spanning ME2 (through flashbacks), ME3 and beyond. Please rate and review, it's the only way I know if i'm doing a good job or not.

It had been 5 hours and 23 minutes since Commander John Shepard had been taken into surgery. Not that Miranda was counting or anything. She just couldn't keep herself from glancing towards the holographic clock in the foyer of Huerta Memorial hospital each time she paced past it. She was anxious.

She had never felt such relief as the moment when the message from one of the search parties scouring the damaged sections of the Citadel had found Shepard alive. Her feelings when she had seen Oriana safe and well on Illium were nothing compared to that. But the relief had turned to fear and anxiety when she had managed to see him for a few brief moments as he was wheeled into the surgery unit. His face and the area of his body that was visible had been covered in bruises and blood. She guessed he had injuries. His dark hair was darker still with blood. It had made her stomach turn over. What if he...?

No. She couldn't think that way. He had survived whatever had happened on the Citadel, and was being seen to by the best doctors there were. One of them had even seemed to know him, for the way she had spoken. He would make it. He had to.

She had just glanced up at the clock again – 5 hours 27 minutes – when a voice came from behind her.

"Miss Lawson. Is there any news?"

She turned. Admiral Hackett had stepped out of the lift unnoticed by her, and was now striding towards her. He looked tired, but less stressed then he had when they had parted last night. The defeat of the Reapers had lifted many peoples spirits, even if the task of rebuilding the galaxy was a daunting one.

"Admiral." Miranda shook Hackett's hand, then shook her head, glancing towards the locked door. "They took him into surgery a while ago. Since then, there's been nothing. Just the occasional doctor coming in and out."

"Hm. I suppose that's to be expected. They need time to assess his injuries and do what they can." Hackett met her gaze. "He'll make it through, Miranda. He's made of stern stuff."

Miranda let out a faint laugh. "I noticed when we worked together. Any news on the Normandy?"

"Not as yet. We can only hope that they will be in contact once the Mass Relays are in better repair."

Miranda felt a twinge. The thought of the Normandy and it's crew being destroyed was horrible, almost as bad as losing Shepard. Finally, tiredness and the strain of the last few days (months really) began to tell on her. She sank down onto one of the foyers chairs with a audible groan.

"How long as it been since you slept, Miss Lawson?" Hackett was frowning.

"A day... maybe two." She glanced up and saw the frown creasing the mans brow. "No, i'm not going to leave. I want to be here when he comes out of-"

"When he does, he will most likely be unconscious or sedated. Besides, what good is staying here going to be if you're dropping dead from lack of sleep?" Hackett's tone turned from stern to gentle at the conflicted look on Miranda's face. "Go and get some rest. There are Alliance facilities on the Citadel if you need to use them..."

"No, I have somewhere I can go." Miranda hesitated. "You'll tell me the moment there's news?"

"You have my word." Hackett said gravely.

"Alright." Miranda took one last look at the door, before turning with a soft sigh towards the lift.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

As the door of the cab closed and the vehicle lifted from the ground, headed towards the address Miranda had programmed in, she leant her head back against the headrest and closed her eyes. She hadn't wanted to leave, hadn't wanted to admit to Hackett that he was right, but she was aching all over and very tired. She really needed some sleep, even if it was just for a few hours.

She had a place to stay; an apartment an old contact of hers had said was hers whenever she wanted. It was the apartment in which she had met Shepard the day they had... reacquainted themselves. The memory brought a slight smile to her lips. If only the good memories would stay.

She couldn't get the image of him injured, bloodied from her head. It seemed burnt into her mind, and she couldn't make it disappear, no matter how hard she tried. She had seen him that way before...

In a flash, the memories of Project Lazarus came back to her.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

"Are we sure this is Shepard?"

She was stood on one side of a floor to ceiling wall of thick glass. Jacob Taylor was stood beside her, arms folded, a slight frown on his face. It was he who had asked the question. On the other side of the glass, a group of Cerberus scientists were clustered, examining the body of...

"Wilson says the DNA profiling matches. It's him." Miranda answered, her gaze never wavering from the other room. "As much as I distrust Liara T'soni, she would want to help Shepard. Perhaps she really believes Cerberus is the best chance Shepard has."

Jacob made a disbelieving sound under his breath. Miranda didn't blame him for his distrust; Cerberus was seen as pro-human and a terrorist organisation. Why would an asari trust them? After a minute, Jacob glanced from the scene before them, to Miranda.

"Do you really think this is possible Miranda? The Illusive Man has near unlimited resources, sure, but he's no miracle worker."

Miranda paused before answering, her eyes finding Shepard's prone form again. A small part of her had been wondering the same. Shepard looked... awful. Burned, wounded, barely human. He had been dead when they had got him. Not breathing, heart stopped, the works. He was only 'alive' because of the machines working as his lungs and heart. This was, without a doubt, the toughest project she had taken on.

But, the Illusive Man had given her a job to do. His words from before, 'See to it that we don't lose him' seemed even more poignant now. She was going to obey her orders, and succeed.

"He might not be, but Cerberus scientists are. I know it's possible." She met Jacob's gaze for a moment, and gave him a slight smile. "And you know i'm never wrong, Jacob."

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

Despite her confidence, the next 20 months had been a torment. Progress was painfully slow at first, as the beginning stages were, apparently, a painstaking process that needed time and care. Gradually however, improvements came. Soon enough, Miranda was able to physically see the progress that had been made each time she entered the laboratory. The use of cybernetics had greatly sped up the process.

Just after a year had passed, Shepard finally began to breath unassisted. To the scientists, this was a cause of celebration, a sign that everything was going to plan. To Miranda, it was exciting, but just another milestone. Shepard was still badly injured, there was still so much to be done. And there was the nagging doubt she felt about whether Shepard would work with Cerberus or not. He was an Alliance soldier, a man who had seen the darker side of Cerberus. Would he trust them?

It was then that she had thought of it. Using a control chip, or something like it, to adjust Shepard's behaviour. After all, they could have no guarantee that after he woke up, Shepard wouldn't simply leave, or worse, try and destroy the facility. She had put her idea to the Illusive Man. His rejection of the idea had been instantaneous, and had left her frustrated.

A wake-up call came at the 20 month mark. She had come down to the laboratory for a weeking briefing from Wilson about progress. Previously, she had expressed her doubts about his estimates on the doses of sedative and anaesthetic Shepard would need as his metabolism and system improved. Wilson had laughed her off, saying he knew what he was doing.

Once again, the improvement in Shepard's condition was striking. There was extensive scarring over his face and body, but that was something that was being improved upon. Much of his internal system was now almost normal again. Wilson was showing her the rate of improvement on a datapad.

"So as you can see, neurological activity has once again improved by some margin, and testings on his-"

"Wait." Miranda interrupted. Her attention had been caught by a change on one of the monitors showing Shepard's vital signs. "Look. There. On the monitor. Something's wrong."

Wilson, looking dubious, stepped forward and examined the screen. Miranda saw his eyes widen.

"He's reacting to outside stimuli. Showing an awareness of his surroundings." His eyes turned to the bed, and the man upon it. "Oh my God Miranda, I think he's waking up."

Miranda quickly moved to beside the bed. Shepard's eyes were half open. As she watched, they opened wider, and his breathing began to quicken. The heart rate monitor began to pick up.

"Damn it Wilson, he's not ready yet! Give him the sedative." Miranda snapped. The idea that their long months of hard work were about to go to waste because Wilson hadn't bothered to recheck his numbers was infuriating. Her gaze moved to Shepard. She knew he could hear her, and she also knew this must be incredibly disorientating. She saw his head moving, saw him try to lift his hand. God, he was nowhere near ready to try moving yet. Her hand caught his and she pressed it back down to the bed. His eyes focused on her then, and she held his gaze.

"Shepard, don't try to move. Just lie still, try to stay calm." Her voice, her manner, was firm, but calm. Nothing like she felt within. Wilson was at the monitor, watching Shepard's vital signs climb.

"Heart rate still climbing. Brain activity is off the charts." Miranda moved round to the monitor to see for her self as he kept talking. "Stats pushing into the red zone. It's not working!"

"Another dose, now!" Miranda commanded. She knew that to him, she might sound cold, distant. She watched as Wilson pressed something on the computer screen, and saw a needle press into Shepard's arm, administering another dose of the sedative. The effect was instant. The urgent beeps slowed as Shepard's heart rate slowed again. She moved to beside him, and saw that his head was turned, his blue eyes on her. She could see the confusion, the questions in them, beneath the effect of the sedative. She heard Wilson reporting that stats were back in normal range, that they'd almost lost him.

"I told you your estimates were off. Run the numbers again." She snapped. She would certainly be reporting to the Illusive Man about this. Wilson was supposed to be one of their top scientists and yet he had made an almost fatal error.

Her eyes moved to Shepard again, watching as his eyes glazed over, then closed.

"You better not scare me like that again, Shepard." She murmured.

Over the next few weeks and months, she had increased her watchfulness when it came to Wilson, especially when he was dealing with Shepard. She didn't feel right about him, didn't like the way he acted around her. He seemed furtive, even sneaky.

During her free time, she found herself looking up details about Shepard. She had already done a cursory scan of his personnel records when being give her task by the Illusive Man, but now she looked more closely. She actively wanted to know more about the man beneath the calm exterior. She had found everything she could about his past; about Mindoir, his work with the Alliance before the Normandy, what caused that drive he had. She realised later on that this was the beginning of her feelings for John Shepard.

Two years, almost to the day since Commander Shepard had been brought to Project Lazarus, her suspicions about Wilson had been proven right.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

You have reached your destination. Citadel taxis wish you a pleasant night.

Miranda opened her eyes, brought out of her reverie, and glanced out of the taxi. The vehicle had alighted just below the stairs that led to the high-end apartments. With a soft sigh, she got out of the taxi and walked up the stairs, hearing the whooshing sound as the taxi lifted into the air once again.

As she entered the apartment she scanned the room quickly, checking for anything amiss, any sign of trouble. Then she shook herself off. Her time spent hiding from Cerberus had made her hypersensitive to danger or trouble. Old habits died hard, she supposed.

She locked the door behind her, before moving into the apartment. She found some packets of what looked like soup and broth in the kitchen cupboards, but nothing fresh naturally, and not really enough for a biotic to live on. If she was going to be staying here whilst Shepard was recovering, she was going to need to get some supplies.

She paused then, smiling faintly. Not only had she automatically assumed that Shepard would be alive and would recover, but she had also automatically said that she would stay here, with him. Because it was true. Now that the war was over, and now that Cerberus was gone, she no longer had a reason to run, or a reason to be away from him.

Her exhaustion was rolling over her again. She checked the clock and saw that it was the early hours of the morning. She thought briefly about calling Oriana – it was the middle of the day in the little colony she had now settled on to help with rebuilding – but realised she was probably in the middle of the relief effort. She would call in the morning, once it was evening Ori's time.

She quickly heated and ate one of the packets of soup (not that bad, really), went and showered, then borrowed one of her contact's wife's nightdresses and got into the large double bed. She laid on her side, her eyes on the view of the darkened Presidium through the window, and thought of that night with Shepard once again. They had laid here afterwards for a little while, talking about everything and anything. She had hoped, for that small length of time, that she was easing his stress and worry by giving him a shoulder to lean on. He was strong, but still needed someone.

Unbidden, the image of him bruised and battered on that hospital gurney rose in her mind again, and she felt tears pool in her eyes suddenly. She desperately wanted to see him, to know that he was going to make it. Truthfully, she wanted to be able to take the pain she knew was coming to him away. But she knew that was one thing she couldn't do.

She turned her head and pressed it into the pillow lightly, trying to block out the mental images she was seeing. When she finally slept, images of the Normandy, the battles and of Oriana and Shepard came through her dreams.