9: Introductions.

Shepard woke up feeling both startled and frightened. Cold sweat trickled down his naked torso as he fought to control his breathing. Once his breathing submitted to his control, he took a moment to observe where he was. The only light in the room came from a familiar fish tank in the walll of the room. He sighed in relief once he realized he was back on board the Normandy inside his Captain Quaters in his bed. Though his relief was short lived as images of his dream kept appearing in his mind. Unable to find the will to lay back down and go to sleep, he got out of his bed.

"Mmm... Shepard?" He heard Miranda's voice as she woke up on the left side of the bed.

He looked back at her a smiled. He had almost forgotten that she shares the same bed as him now. He leaned over just to move a strain of hair from her face and behind her ear. "Go back to sleep." He told her, gently caressing the side of her cheek. He knew, however, that she would not go back to sleep now. Not without him by her side. After a yawn and a quick stretch, she sat upright with her back leaning on the bed frame. She kept her naked body hidden under the sheets and stared at Shepard, who was now observing the fish in his fish tank.

"Come here." She told him.

As much as he wanted to, he answered. "We have work to do."

"And what work would that be? We already stopped the Collectors. And if you haven't noticed, you're naked."

He chuckled, she had him there and she knew it. She crossed her legs under the sheets and patted her lap, welcoming. Shepard gave in and laid back on the bed with his head on her lap. It was strange, when they first met he would have never expected Miranda to be so... Vulnerable. This was a side of her that she only showed him. There was a mutual trust between them, enough to let her guard down around him and that was a lot for a person like her.

Then he remembered his dream and he was troubled by it. She began to, very gently, trace the angles on his face.

"What's wrong?" She asked him.

"It's nothing... Just a dream." He answered, avoiding the question.

Miranda rolled her eyes and pinched his nose quite hard and she laughed as he playfully smacked her hand away. She went back to tracing his face.

"I can tell it's bothering you. You can tell me." She assured him.

He hesitated for a second. Then he started telling her everything that happened in his dream. The message from Anderson about the strange Mass Relay, the return of Liara (to which her eye twitched at the mention of her name, as she knew of their past relationship), to their discussison with the Illusive Man, and going through the Mass Relay. "... And then everything went black. I could hear the Normandy being ripped apart and everyone inside screaming. It all felt too real to be a dream."

There was silence between them as Shepard closed his eyes trying to shut out the image of the Normandy being ripped in half. She even stopped tracing his face as she tried to make out all that he had told her. Finally, she kissed the middle of his forehead and said.

"Maybe it wasn't a dream."

Shepard opened his eyes and looked at her with a puzzeled face. "What?"

"Maybe this is the dream." She considered.

Even Miranda looked more confused than he did with what she was saying. Yet, Shepard wondered if she could be right? The dream felt more real than any dream he has had before. He sat up, trying to determine what was real and what was fake. He tried so hard to remember why this would a dream and not the other way around. He looked to her for help.

"What else do you remember from the dream?" She asked him.

"I told you everything."

"Then go back to the end, again. Why did things go black?"

He tried very hard to remember the final details. They felt unimportant to his mind, yet he recalled it trying to piece it all together from the beginning, as if reliving the entire dream would help him remember, and it did. He remembered the force of the Mass Relay jump sent him falling backwards and he hit his head hard on the metal floor. Absentmindedly, his hand reached behind his head. At first, he remembered there was nothing there. Yet after the realization, he felt a bump on the back of his head and his gentle touch sent a painful chill through his body. He looked at her again, shocked.

"This... This is the dream."

Miranda nodded as she got out of bed, pulling the covers around her and walked over to him. He just stared at her slowly walking to him, feeling very sad. He did not want this to be the dream. He wanted to stay and crawl back into bed with her. But now, after the realization, the dream was slowly fading with each step Miranda took towards him. She reached him after what felt like hours and she placed her hand on his cheek. Sadly, he could no longer feel her touch.

"You have to wake up." She told him.

"I don't want to wake up." He confessed.

"You have to."

"What if I wake up, and you are not there? What if I wake up, and you are dead?"

The room disappeared. They were both now standing in complete darkness, the only light they had was radiating off of her body. She gave a small smile.

"I am not dead. I wouldn't let something like a crash kill me. I can tell you, very well, that I am alive." Then she quickly added. "Probably not worried about you because I trust you can handle yourself, but I'll sure as hell be happy once I see you."

They both laughed. Very slowly her light was beginning to go out. She leaned in close, past his face and stopped by his ear and she whispered.

"Wake up, Adam."

And like a spell, Shepards eyes rolled back and closed as he fell back into the darkness. He continued to fall, and he wondered how long he had been falling. But when he opened his eyes, he found that he was no longer falling. He woke up to an early afternoon sky, the feel of sand underneath his body and the sound of waves crashing against the shore not far from where he lay.

He suddenly remembered everything that happened, including his dream. He sat up fast which sent a hammer burst of pain straight in his head. The pain was so intense he had to close his eyes tightly and hold his head, as if that would stop the pain. He felt small soft hands on his chest, gently pushing him back down.

"Hey, hey. Easy now." He heard her say.

He let her push him back down on the sand, where he kept one hand on his head. With his free hand, he felt around his body. He realized his armor was gone and all he had on now was a black t-shirt, dark pants, and his boots. This also meant that his weapons were lost, possibly in the wreckage of the crash. He began to feel very worried about his crew and companions. He also remembered that he was no longer in the same Universe as before, curiousity then struck him.

"Where am I?" He asked whoever was there with him.

"You're on a beach on the Wounded Coast. You fell from the skies and nearly drowned. If it wasn't for Anders and my brother, you would probably be dead." She informed him.

Once the pain eased, Shepard opened his eyes. Sitting on her knees next to him was a young pretty girl with light skin tone and long black hair. She wore a strange type of robe and had a Staff laid down behind her in short reach. She had a shy smile on her face when he looked at her. He could tell that meeting people was both exciting and frightening to her.

"Hello." She greeted. "My name is Bethany."

"And my name is Comm-" He hesistated, not sure if he should give his Military Rank to this person in this strange new world. They might not even have a military, he thought. "- Shepard. Call me Shepard."

"Nice to meet you, Shepard."

There was a small moment of awkward silence before Bethany spoke again, mostly to herself. "Shoot, I almost forgot." She got on her feet, grabbing the staff. "I need to get my brother... Or you can come with me? I don't know."

"I'll go with you." He said, slowly getting up and then followed Bethany into the camp not far from the beach.

Shepard usually liked visiting new places in his own Universe. The only difference is that he at least had an understanding of the planets he would visit. Here, everything is unknown and could be completly different from what he is used to. He was still curious about this Universe and felt quite surprised to find that Humans exist in both Universes. Still, he was on guard for anything suspicious that may or may not happen, even if he is without a weapon. He reminded himself that he is an Infiltraitor. If anything happens, he can activate his Tactical Cloak ability and escape.

As he walked behind Bethany into the camp, he noted that it wasn't much of a large camp. Seven tents surrounded a camp fire pit, which wasn't lit at this time. His eyes fell upon another female human, who resembled a type of Pirate from the stories he used to read as a child, though with much more revealing clothes. She was sharpening a dagger until she looked back at him. Her eyes seemed to undress him and she had a small smile as if she liked what she was seeing, although flattering it made Shepard feel a bit uncomfortable. She gave him a wink before disappearing into her tent.

"That was Isabela." Bethany told him. "And I would becareful if I were you."

"Why is that?"

"Because she is as dangerous as she is... Sexy." Bethany said with a small blush.

She then slipped into the tent at the head of the camp. It was slightly bigger than the other tents. Yet, inside it felt smaller. Big enough to house at least two, there wasn't much within the tent besides a small bed, a desk with a man sitting in front of it on his chair, writing in what appeared to be a journal, with a feathered quill. Like Bethany, he too had a staff which leaned on the leather wall of the tent. He closed his journal, got off his seat and turned facing them.

He was a young man, no doubt the same age as Shepard. His hair was also black and unkept with a black beard and unnaturally blue eyes, that seemed as if they glowed in the dark. What he wore was different from his sister, wasn't anything like a robe. It looked like clothing fit for a warrior, yet it was clear he was no warrior. He looked at his sister with a soft smile.

"Bethany." He said in a lightly accented voice.

"Brother. How are you?"

"Better now." He looked towards Shepard. "I see our guest is finally awake."

"Commander Adam Shepard of the Normandy." Shepard said with an outstretched hand.

He did not know why he said 'Commander' this time, but he felt that this man was different somehow. The man wasted no time accepting his hand and shook it.

"Commander, huh? Forgive me for not having an impressive title, such as yourself. My name is Ethan Hawke."

Already on the spot, Shepard knew the kind of man he is. Charming. Though what may have come naturally before, now seemed forced. As if there have been some kind of changes with the man. It was obvious he is an honorable man and a leader for those who reside in this camp. Though recent events seem to have finally caught up with him and weighs down heavily on his shoulders. This man, Hawke, is just like him.

"Ethan is too modest. He was Champion of Kirkwall-"

Bethany gasped and covered her mouth as if she said the wrong thing. Shepard saw Hawkes eyes begin to water but he shook off whatever he was feeling with a weary smile.

"Was." Was all he said.

"I'm so sorry, Hawke." She said, close to tears.

"It's alright, Bethany."

Shepard watched as she left the tent with her head down. She did not say bye or announced in anyway that she was leaving. He recognized the look on her face as a look of shame, for bringing up some kind of event of the past that was unknown to him. It was clear that she held a lot of love for her brother and would not like to see him pained. Hawke let her go and Shepard turned back to him.

"She means well, my sister." He said.

"She is a sweet girl." Shepard commented.

"Even as a child she was always sensitive." He said this as if remembering some distant memory, but he snapped out of it right away and changed the subject. "So Commander... Commander of what exactly?"

"I am afraid that tale is full of many complications." Shepard replied.

"A man of mystery... I can respect that. But, I have to ask. Can I trust you? These are difficult times and it is hard to know who to trust nowdays."

"I don't think you or I are in a place to trust one another, yet."

Hawke nodded but pointed out. "I could have left you to die out in the water."

"And I could have killed your sister all alone on the beach." Shepard countered.

Shepard could tell that he hit a button. There was a protective look in his eye, a very deadly protective look. But Shepard was not intimidated, he stood his ground and soon the air in between them grew warm. They both concluded in their mind that they are dangerous to one another. Two strangers of two different Universes. It was hard to tell if they could trust eachother and that only heated the moment. It seemed as if they were on the verge of fighting eachother until a new arrival entered the tent.


Feeling the air around her, the skinny pointed ear woman grabbed for her staff ready to defend Hawke. The air changed quickly as both Hawke and Shepard acknowledged her.

"Merrill, it's alright." Hawke told her. "This is Shepard, our guest from this morning."

Still not convinced everything was alright, she kept her eyes on the stranger. Hawke moved in between them and had her look him in the eyes. She finally calmed down and placed her staff next to his, What is it with these staffs? Are they some kind of wizards?, Shepard wondered. Pirates, Wizards, Elves, Elves!, it seemed as if Shepard woke up in a mythological world. He wondered what was next? Then thought it best if he didn't say that. Things tend to happen if he asked that or the famous What could possibly go wrong?

"Merrill, where is Varric?" Hawke asked.

"He is with the others-"

"-Others?" Shepard asked, interested now.

"I am sure they are your people." She told him. "Yet many of them are... Odd."

"In what way?" Hawke questioned.

"One was blue with strange tentacles on the back of her head-"

Liara is alive! If she is alive then the others might be too.

"Excuse me, Merrill? Could you take me to them?" Shepard asked her. "You just described someone from my crew."

She looked towards Hawke, who nodded his approval. She told Shepard to follow her and they both slipped out of the tent with Hawke following them out.

"Shepard... When you come back, we have a lot to discuss." Hawke told him.

He didn't bother replying, he just nodded in acknowledgement as he followed the Elf towards the moutains...

Haha! They finally met x] idk, personally I liked it. For those wondering what was the point of the dream sequence, it was just to show that Shepard has strong feelings towards Miranda as well as Liara. Also, I enjoy writing dream parts to anything because it gives me the freedom to do whatever I want without any to judge and whatnot lol. Leave reviews, por favor! =D