Sleep didn't come. More so, it wouldn't come. Every time Shepard's eyelids started to droop from exhaustion and sleep started to creep into the back of her mind, it was all but brushed away because his face wouldn't leave her mind. It silently haunted her, as she begged and wished for everything to be different. Why had this happened? Why did tears burn quietly at the back of her eyes even though she was too tired to cry? Why did her heart feel like it was being ripped out of her chest? None of this made any sense to her, and the lack of sleep just wasn't helping.
Turning over to lay on her back, Shepard found herself letting out a deep sigh for some unknown reason. Her nearly lifeless dark eyes began to memorize the ceiling in either complete boredom or as a way to bring sleep to her racing mind and fatigued body. The coolness of her semi-wet bed sheets made a long shiver run down her spine, as she gently raised a hand to push aside a clump of hair that had fallen into her face. The same hand continued on its journey making Shepard run her long fingers through the mess that was her hair. The water from the shower had knotted and curled every strand of hair into something that resembled a bird's nest. Not that it mattered though, for she couldn't even remember how she had gotten out of the shower in the first place, or how she had even had enough strength to get up, get dressed, and find her way into bed.
Breathing in, Shepard felt a hitch in her once steady breathing. The following exhale was nothing more than a hiccupped sob, as fresh new tears rushed into the corners of her eyes. Trying to fight to once again be in control Shepard smashed her eyelids tightly together. This wasn't possible, no one could cry this much, especially after all the hours of laying here in complete misery. Then again-
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Blinking in surprise Shepard couldn't help but feel stunned at the sound of someone tapping at her door. The shock made her instantly bolt upwards into a sitting position. It even took a few good tries before her fingers would respond to let go of the handfuls of bedding that they clung fearfully to. It was such a surprise because after all of this time no had tried to see how she was doing, instead everyone had just seemed to let her do her own thing. Perhaps they all knew better than to get in her way, not that anyone needed that much evidence to support that theory, one look at her room was proof enough. A second passed and Shepard couldn't help but try to comb her hair with her hands like a mad woman, whoever was at the door shouldn't see their Commander as total mess. It would most likely lower morale, or cause the loss of respect. A flicker of hope slowly passed through Shepard, maybe Garrus was all right after all... Or maybe his injuries were just too bad.
"Come in," Shepard heard herself say in a raspy voice, as she swung her legs over the bed and stood up to quickly walk over and greet whoever was at the door, and at the same time she also tried to mentally prepare for whatever the news was. The door opened in a blur, relieving one lone figure.
"Shepard," Miranda said with a slight nod and even voice, as her blue eyes ran over the battle field that was the Commanders room and down Shepard's body to observe her chaotic appearance. The whole process made Shepard's face hot with embarrassment. All of her life Shepard hadn't been the girl who everyone's eyes would automatically follow with interest and desire, more so because she had always been one of the boys. Not pretty miss perfect, just herself. Miranda on the other hand was the kind of girl Shepard had and probably will never get along with. Miranda was just the girl who never had a hair out-of-place and always looked a hundred percent. In some ways Shepard figured that Miranda intimidated her, or at least brought up unresolved issues from her childhood, any other time Shepard would have loved to speculate. This though, just wasn't the time.
"What is it?"
"Me and the Illusive Man have just spoken, and we both think it would be best for everyone if Doctor Solus was aboard this ship, so that we can really start on the task at hand."
An unwanted scoff fell out of Shepard's mouth as she crossed her arms in defense. It was already hard enough knowing that eventually she was going to have to go head to head against some almost unknown foe, but to get ordered around before every step you took was enough to make anyone snap. Not only that, but after the night Shepard had gone through being told that you had to go back out to Omega was like being told you had no choice in the matter of someone punching you in the face. Images of the dirty streets and hungry vagrants ran across Shepard's vision, as did Garrus. She couldn't leave him behind all alone in the Med-Bay. If the situation was the other way around, she knew for a fact that he wouldn't leave the Normandy until she was all right.
"Miranda... I'm sure that this can wait."
"But Commander..." Miranda retorted and gave a blink of her perfectly curled eyelashes, but just before Shepard could cringe at the questioning from Miss Lawson something unexpected happened. "I'm... I'm so sorry."
"What?" Shock was all that Shepard could feel. Never had she thought that Miranda would let those words come out of her mouth. Almost instantly Shepard felt her eyes narrow in disbelief, because what Miranda said couldn't be true. Or at least it was just to stunning to be correct. Wasn't Officer Lawson never wrong? "Sorry? For what?"
"You left me to help handle the situation, and I failed. I blame myself for what happened to Mister Vakarian," Miranda lightly whispered as she almost unknowingly fidgeted with her impeccable hair. In an instant Shepard felt her eagle-eyes pick up all the clues that had been laid out right in front of her. She had been so quick to judge that she hadn't even noticed Miranda's nervous eyes and deep-set frown. An inner battle was waging inside of Officer Lawson, and just that simple task of apologizing must have taken more courage than Shepard would ever be able to comprehend, but the stigma between the two of them had blinded Shepard. That was something that should have never of happened. Putting feelings and emotions first instead of being a leader could cause someone to get killed, or at least halt progress on getting anywhere with this Suicide Mission. No one should suffer because of Shepard, it wasn't fair for everyone.
"Miranda..." Speechless, that was how Shepard felt. An uncomfortable moment full of tension crossed the threshold between the two of them. Gathering up the right words sometimes was the most difficult thing to do, and being tongued-tied was something that Shepard wasn't used too. Often enough she could always be counted on to say the right thing. Words just went hand in hand with being in charge. Not wanting a disappointment Shepard let her instincts do the talking. "You don't need to blame yourself for what happened, no one could predict that the gunship would be fixed in time to launch another assault, and one person couldn't have stopped it either. All though if you truly do feel like this is your entire fault then make it up to me in the future. Show me why you are the best of the best, prove it. We both know you are capable of it."
For the first time since Shepard had met Miranda she found herself smiling around this Cerberus Officer. Maybe they would always butt heads down the road, but at least for now Shepard could be there for her and the other crew mates. It did somewhat feel good to back on top. Even if it didn't really feel like two years had passed.
"...And Mister Vakarian? How is he doing?" Shepard couldn't stop herself from asking. Not having any clue about what was going on was driving her insane, and yet as soon as she asked she regretted it. Sometimes ignorance was bliss.
"Stable, but still unconscious."
The smile on Shepard's face slowly dropped, because it just felt wrong to smile given the circumstances, but dwelling on the issue wasn't doing anyone any good. If she kept on reliving the memories over and over no progress would be made. Being busy was better than nothing, just keep moving, and the time would fly. Eventually everything would be back to normal.
"I'll be ready to go to Omega in exactly one hour, be ready."
The blindly bright light was just now starting to be tolerable. The pain had receded just enough to be considered bearable, even though it still hurt like hell. Gently, ever so gently Garrus forced himself to open his mouth. His jaw was like a rusty hinge that gave up a mild protest from not being used for so long. A flare of heat surged through his rebuilding and freshly healed nerves, but the turian could take it. He was strong enough to stand the hurt, which must have been a good sign. Hours, maybe even days ago he had begged for death to take his life. Now everything sufficient enough to live through. But not knowing how much time had passed was the real thing that was tearing him up inside, because not knowing was the hardest part about anything. Had it been days, or weeks?
Darting his eyes over the new and shiny Med-Bay Garrus couldn't help but ponder at how long he had been out. He wondered if Shepard had visited him, how she was doing, where she was. He thought about what his face must look like; it probably resembled something straight out of a horror story. A pang of fear went through his heart as when he thought about what he would like to Shepard. It was hard enough that he was turian, right out of the gate that was a setback, and now this. Compared to what Shepard could get, why would she ever want someone like him?
Trying to find something else to focus on Garrus gingerly let his mandibles expand, as if to test the waters. Needles began almost instantly to dig and spread over the bad side of his face, as the bandage that tightly held together the fabric that was his face shuddered from the pressure of being pulled and expanded. Spirits, what a mess he was.
The sound of footsteps was picked up by his still sharp hearing, and the turian couldn't help but turn his face to see who had caused the noise. Thinking that it must be the doctor surprise flat out over took Garrus when she saw her standing in the doorway. It wasn't just anyone, it was her.
Without being able to stop herself Shepard ran her eyes wildly over his face. She hadn't expected to find him conscious, because no one had told her that he was awake, but here he was. Defying all of the odds. Yet seeing him like this was still a jolt of bewilderment. Then finally after long enough the new image of his damaged face sunk in. A gasp of escaped Shepard's mouth without her control. It hurt to see him like this, lying in a hospital bed, broken. She had easily picked up on the flash of pain that just talking made him feel. A heavy weight came down on her heart.
"Garrus," she didn't think. She didn't consider the consequences of her actions, she just simple ran to him. It wasn't logic, it was pure emotion. The day that had passed faded away, she couldn't even remember what had happened, it just didn't matter. The moment she stood by his bed side she quickly snatched his hand without knowing what was happening and pressed it gently to the one side of her face. It was a sweet and simple caress that meant so much more than words could simply sum up. So many things ran through her mind and heart, it was a confusing mess of not understanding what to do next, but she didn't have to know what to do. Garrus was here for her when she failed to recognized as to what could be done or said.
"What are you crying for?" He said giving her his old cocky smile as his thumb easily circled around her high cheekbone, it was just incredible to see him smile even after all of this, though that smile was now somewhat off because of the injuries. A cough mixed with a laugh was all Shepard could get out as a response. The sound was so out of place that within seconds both of them started to laugh like nothing had happened. In the process Shepard watched through wet eyes as Garrus timidly wiped away the tears that had managed to escape from her eyes.
The rawness of Garrus' newly healed face made Shepard feel sick, not because it was unattractive, but because it should of never have happened to someone that was so important to her. Personally she could have cared less about how Garrus looked, because he was more to her then a pretty face, he was real. He was her friend, a great and dependable genuine person. Every time Shepard thought about him she couldn't help but smile, and she couldn't help and try not to laugh about all of their inside jokes. She needed him more then he would probably ever know. Some facial scars wouldn't change that, nothing would ever change that.