SSV Normandy, 2185 CE
"Hey, I'm headed to this restaurant Liara said was good; wanna come with?" Spending a couple of days on Illium in between fighting Collectors was a good time to work on installing the extra firepower upgrades Garrus had been investigating, and it meant that all the injuries Shepard had gotten during the last fight had a chance to actually heal properly. She would have been resting in her cabin, but she had taken a few stimulant shots in a non-doctor sanctioned attempt to help speed along the healing process and now she was jittery and ready to stretch her legs outside the ship.
Jeff looked behind his shoulder just in time to see a Shepard-shaped blur pop up next to him. "You're wearing my shirt."
Shepard grinned unrepentantly. "I am? Guess it got mixed up in the laundry." She plucked at the hem. "Do you mind?"
He eyed the way the band logo stretched over her chest and how the fabric settled across her hips. Oh, to be that shirt… "Nah. Looks better on you anyway."
"Never pegged you for a fan of the Flaming Zombies," she noted, flopping in the co-pilot's seat. "Saw them in concert once when I was nineteen."
He sat up straighter as he did the math. "Wait. Was that the Slippery Slope tour they did on Earth?"
"Yep. My old Infiltrator squad was on leave when they played in…"
"Dallas, October 18th."
Her eyes widened. "No way. You were there?"
"I think I still have the ticket stub somewhere. Do you remember what seats you were in?"
Shepard laughed. "Technically we were supposed to be in the nosebleed section, but Vickers charmed her way up to the middle area near the stage. You?"
"The middle area near the stage." He laughed with her. "Just think; we didn't know who the other was at the time, but we still managed to be within feet of meeting." He looked at her when he realized she had gotten quiet. "What's up?"
Shepard could feel the blush burn her cheeks and neck. "Um, how much of that concert do you remember?"
He shrugged. "I don't know; it's been over ten years since then. I do remember that the music was good, but then again, the 'Zombies were always better in live venues instead of recording studios. The beer was overpriced, but the vendors turned a blind eye to those of us that at least looked old enough to be legal. Nothing else really comes to mind, except…"
"Well, there was this one commotion a few rows down. Security was called in and some people got hauled off, but…" He stared at the way she shrank against the seat and covered her face with her hands. "That was you?"
She nodded, still hiding her face. "Henderson snuck in a few flasks of the good stuff. We were going to mix it with soda, but never got around to it. Vickers and I hadn't eaten beforehand, so…"
"You got kicked out of the concert for being drunk and disorderly? Jules, you renegade, you."
She scoffed. "Joker, if being drunk and disorderly was enough to get people kicked out of a concert like that, then the entire arena would have been empty. And technically, we didn't get kicked out."
"There you go with the technicalities again. Then if you didn't get kicked out, what gives?"
"The band asked us to wait behind stage for them." Here, her blush grew even redder. "Vickers and I were distracting the bassist and the drummer when we flashed the crowd."
Jeff sat in stunned silence. "You…boobs?" Oh, that was eloquent, Moreau. He would have said something else, but his brain short-circuited at the sudden flash of memory: a girl, one or two rows away, with copper colored hair tumbling down her back in waves being boosted up by some guy she had been with. It had lasted less than a minute, but he had gotten a good side view of pale skin and perky breasts before her shirt had lowered.
The image had stayed with him that night long after memories of the actual concert had faded. Funny, but back then he never thought to look at the face those breasts had belonged to.
Shepard groaned. "Please tell me that you were too far back to see details."
No dice, Jules. I was close enough to count freckles. He could see how uncomfortable she was, so he decided to tuck that refreshed memory away for future contemplation. "You lucked out," he lied. "All I saw was this huge mountain of a guy getting hauled away. Never even saw you."
She visibly relaxed. "That would have been Henderson. He's so tall that he makes some of the biggest drill sergeants look short. Vickers, Brown and I always joked that he'd give his location away on the field because his helmet could clear the tree line."
Joker leaned against his armrest. "So, about that invite backstage. Did you take it?"
She shook her head. "Hell no. Brown was already freaking out because while we had leave to be there, we most definitely didn't have leave to be stinking drunk and out of uniform. If we had been ID'd by any Alliance personnel in attendance, the punishment would have been severe." Shepard stretched. "So we hauled ass out of there, went back to our hotel, and sobered up in time to look presentable when we reported back in the next day."
"Wow. Sounds a lot better than my experience. Spent a fortune on the seat, paid out the nose for beer, and missed a babe showing off the goods." He shook his head in mock disappointment. "At least you have a story to pass down from that night."
She rolled her eyes. "Ah, yes. I can just see it: come close kiddies and Grandma will tell you about the one time she almost became a groupie, but chickened out at the last minute." Rolling out of her seat, she put her hands on her hips. "Anyway, back to my original question. There's a place off the beaten path Liara said had killer kabobs we had to check out, even if they are made from vat-grown beef. You want any?"
Joker sat there and looked up at her. He watched her mouth move and distantly heard her mention something about food, but all he could really think about was the fact that she was wearing his shirt and wondering if she was wearing a bra or not underneath.
Shepard made an annoyed sound in the back of her throat when she saw just where his eyes were fixed at. "Honestly, Jeff. I knew I shouldn't have said anything. I was drunk, young and stupid. Me flashing anyone again is never going to happen."
"Not even if I ask nicely?" He held his hands out in front of him when she reached over and tugged the brim of his cap far down his face. "Hey, no injuring the helmsman! Who else will you get to fly this ship?"
"I'm sure between the both of us, Garrus and I could figure something out," she teased. "Now come on, I'm starved. We're talking real food here, Joker. Not some of the stuff Gardner's trying to pass off as food." That reminded her: the next time she was on the Citadel, she was going to have to make a point to get some better supplies. Even Alliance mess halls had more flavor going on than what Cerberus had provided them.
"Aww, but here I was looking forward to playing Guess the Mystery Meat tonight." Getting up, he rolled his neck to get rid of a sore spot. "But go ahead; twist my arm, will ya."
Juliana smiled up at him. Moving aside to give him room, she walked with him towards the airlock. "I knew you wouldn't let a girl down."
"That's me. Chivalrous to a fault; I'd even give a fair damsel the shirt off my back if she hadn't stolen it first."
She gave him an innocent look. "Can I help it if your things got mixed up with mine? That's the price you pay when you pair up for laundry duty with me, Moreau."
He shook his head, but moved until he was able to link his fingers through hers. "Let me see: hot Commander-type lady wearing my clothes? I think I can live with this arrangement." That and the fact that now he had an image of her wearing nothing but his shirt, which stirred up all sorts of feelings that were better left alone if he actually wanted to pay any sort of attention to tonight's dinner.
"Hungry Commander-type," she corrected.
"Get steak sauce anywhere on that shirt and it'll be dead Commander-type," he cautioned, even if his warning look was paired with a wide smirk.
"Wouldn't dream of it." Tugging on his hand, she winked up at him. "Now come on, let's go."