When Joker had found out that the new Shadow Broker was spending the night aboard the Normandy, he hadn't been able to resist cracking a joke. To her credit, Liara had just smiled, demurely pretending not to understand the reference. Leaning back, Feron had grinned to himself. He was proud of her; his boss was one classy lady.

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- Earlier -

"A girl can get lonely, cooped up all alone on a big ship like that," Shepard had said.

"Doesn't she have that other drell to keep her company?"Joker had asked."The colourful one with the bad jokes?"

"What the hell," Shepard had replied with a shrug, "He can come too." With that the commander had turned on her heel and marched out, signalling that the decision had been made. On this ship her word was law, and if she wanted a girl's night with an old friend, then dammit, Commander Shepard was going to get one.

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- Presently -

After another small tour of the ship, the commander and her guest retired to Shepard's quarters. The two had been in the room for a little over an hour when Feron wandered out of the elevator on the topmost floor.

When he'd been invited to visit the ship he'd agreed immediately not wanting to pass up a chance to see such an advanced piece of technology for himself. The Normandy had been impressive, true, but he hadn't received a welcome half as warm as the one Liara had gotten. That was fine though; he was used to being overlooked. In fact, he almost preferred it; discretion was second nature to him at this point. It was a trait that had come in handy more than once in his previous career.

So when Liara was ushered off onto her tour, he'd let her go with a smile and a shrug. No one offered to show him around but that was acceptable. Just meant he had more freedom to amble along as he pleased and see things at his own pace.

Eventually he ended up on the top floor and at the doors to what he assumed was the Captain's lounge. A peel of laughter wafted out of the room and Feron couldn't help himself as he wandered closer. There was another giggle and it was obviously Liara's; her voice familiar to him after their months of working together.

That wasn't entirely true of course; with his memory he could perfectly recall every note of the woman's voice, every pitch and nuance to the way she gave her commands. Still, there was something novel in the way her laugh seemed more girlish, more innocent perhaps than he'd ever heard it before.

Drell as a species had a familiar burr to their voice that wasn't present in any other race. Maybe that was why he was so conscious of people's vocal ranges. The most similar he'd ever heard had been the turians; they came close but still weren't quite right. And perhaps this was what caused him to lean against the metal, and press his ear to the door.

He wasn't sure how long he'd been standing there, but he was startled out of his eavesdropping when he heard a polite cough by his shoulder.

"By the gods!" he exclaimed gasping as he spun around, "I didn't even hear you. You shouldn't sneak up people like that, Krios."

Thane didn't deign that with a reply. Instead, crossing his arms, he asked in a completely neutral tone, "What are you doing?"

Though the answer was obvious, Feron didn't think it would be such a great idea to give a smartass answer while talking to one of Kahje's best trained assassins. Leaning against the wall again, he folded his own arms and answered coolly, "They're talking about you, you know."

Thane frowned at the younger man – or at least his eye ridges seemed to descend a bit – but regardless, he stepped closer to the door.

"After you," Feron said with a sweeping gesture.

Almost cautiously, the other drell leaned in.

"And now they are discussing matters concerning you," Thane said after a moment, his voice even.

With an invitation like that, Feron couldn't resist. Taking his place besides the older man, he too pressed his ear against the door. They were both silent for another minute, before Feron pulled away flustered.

"I did not cry afterwards," he said clearly insulted.

Thane raised an eye ridge delicately, but he didn't even need to say anything. The older drell reminded Feron of his dad. More specifically, when his dad didn't believe he had an actual job. Sure it might not have been the insurance sales he'd said they were, but information trading was a pretty good industry all the same.

Two sets of feminine laughter drifted out and at an unspoken truce, both men leaned back in.

Shepard said something Feron didn't quite catch, but the gist of it was clear enough. When Liara gasped shortly after, Thane let out a small, dark chuckle. Feron, sure his voice didn't go that low, subconsciously adjusted the collar of his coat.

In the room, the human said something else and Feron's frill darkened with secondhand embarrassment. "You didn't!" he whispered, suddenly scandalized, "She couldn't have let you!"

Thane didn't say anything in response but there was no hiding the slight upward twist to his lips. For a guy that wasn't very expressive, he could sure come across as pretty damn smug sometimes.

"Wait, what?" Feron asked suddenly, overhearing something that was even more unnerving.

Both men pressed closer against the door.

"We can't do that, can we?" he asked, unsure if he should be more baffled or disturbed that something like this would come up in conversation between the two women.

"No, we can't," was Thane's calm answer.

"I'd meant it as a rhetorical question," Feron said with an incredulous look. "I mean, how can you even really be sure?" he whispered back, grinning.

"I'm sure," Thane said with the same finality as everything else he'd ever said.

Very slowly Feron's grin began to wilt as he took that thought into consideration.

"You sound like you're speaking from experience," he said, the skeletons of a joke rattling around in his mouth.

The other drell didn't reply but simply stared at him with those deep, soulful eyes of his.

Feron let it go. The mental images weren't something he'd soon be able to soon forget. Ever.

Liara said something else, and Thane laughed at the question.

"Now they're just making things up!" Feron hissed, barely able to keep his voice a whisper, "There's no way that's possible."

"Hmm," was all Thane would say as he touched his chin.

After overhearing a few more facts that he would have preferred to stay private and a plethora of things that made Feron uncomfortable to be standing in the hall with another man, Thane broke the tension hanging in the air. "Excuse me," he said, turning to the younger drell, voice politely level as always, "but I believe I have many things to contemplate. I feel I must meditate on this." With that he pushed himself away from the door in one fluid motion. Adjusting his coat and smoothing out wrinkles that weren't really there, he finally turned to walk away.

Damn, Feron thought ruefully, half in awe and half jealousy, but wasn't that man a smooth sonofabitch. He really had some some moves.

Speaking of which, it sounded like that was the way the ladies' conversation was going. Glad to be alone again, Feron undid the top button of his coat and returned to his position at the door.

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- Meanwhile -

"Do you think they're still there?" Liara whispered from the floor, as she watched Shepard climb onto the bed.

"I'm pretty sure, yeah," the other woman replied with an almost wolfish grin.

"You tease," Liara said, just loud enough for her voice to carry. Staring up at the human – still a tall, commanding figure even when dressed only in her underwear – Liara felt she understood what Thane must have seen in her old friend. There was certainly something attractive in the way Shepard was brandishing her pillow, that was for sure.

"C'mere you," Shepard said in a voice that could cause weaker men to suddenly need to sit down. Leaning over, the woman grabbed her asari companion and heaved her onto the bed.

Liara gasped loudly, maybe louder than was necessary, but she too grabbed a pillow.

.

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- And just so you know -

From where Feron was standing, pressed up against the metal of the door, he could have sworn he heard Liara make an unmistakeably girlish squeal of glee. There was the sound of something soft hitting something else, a flurry of giggles and then a moan. Taking a deep breath, Feron abruptly turned around and walked stiffly back to the elevator.

Had he stayed any longer, he probably would have been able to hear something that would have sounded a lot like two pairs of feet jumping on a bed.

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If you thought that was good, marginally alright, or just better than getting kicked in the head by a horse, you should probably leave a crit so next time we can move up a level. ~Together~ (Comments are good too.)