Summary: While on a mission, Shepard and Thane share a moment. One that will undoubtedly alter the course of their association. Sometimes all you need to get the ball rolling is a little improvisation.

Disclaimer: Bioware could take over the world you guys. They have enough loyal followers. Also- this is an unbeta'd piece. Please let me know if you spot any glaring discrepancies.


He's been on many ships in his life; so many that he's lost count. The decontamination process is something he no longer notices. It's one of the few times he can relax and allow memory to take him elsewhere. He flicks his eyes quickly between Kasumi and the Commander. Both are to his right, and each seems to be lost in their own thoughts. For a moment, there seems no harm in returning to memory.

The lights are low in Afterlife, just like most nightclubs throughout the galaxy. The dim light invites daring behavior from the foolish. Though to people like him, it is a gift of the gods. He turns his head slightly; scanning the room is second nature to him. The woman across the table sighs, and he looks back at her, an eyeridge raised in curiosity.

"We've been here for hours," she grumbles. More to herself than anyone else it seems.

"Hardly," he replies. "Have patience Commander."

She is a disciplined woman, but he's worked with her long enough to know that this is not her forte. She prefers action and results, rather than the recon necessary to achieve them. Shepard turns to watch the crowd once more, and he allows himself a second to look at her before he makes his own noise of frustration, but it's lost in the pounding noise of the club.

She's wearing that dress again. The same one she wore to Bekenstein, may the gods damn him for dwelling. Even with his perfect memory, he's still distracted by it. He's walked among humans for decades, but this dress. It hugs her form better than a glove could, and the collar emphasizes her throat in a way the screams to be touched. He can feel the itch in his hands and clenches them into fists to restrain himself.

In fact, dressed as she is, the woman across from him doesn't look like Commander Shepard in the slightest. Her face has been painted, and it creates pleasing angles and depth. Her eyes look larger, her lips fuller, and her pale skin has faint splashes of color at her cheeks. It's so different from drell women, but it's also strangely appealing. Her hair, usually bound tightly at the back of her head now hangs loose. He's never understood hair, its mechanics or appeal. But watching the dizzying lights play off it now, he finds he has another temptation to resist.

"So, not to be a downer," Kasumi's voice in his ear interrupts his ogling, and he thanks the gods for it, "but what happens if this guy doesn't show?"

"We improvise," Shepard replies.

"An unsettling statement," he comments. "Far too many explosions."

"Spoil sport," she throws him a pouting look across the table.

His pulse quickens as he watches the neon lights flicker across her impossibly pale skin. It reminds him of the sand on Kahjee.

"We've got movement over her," Kasumi pipes up from her spot by the bar.

Shepard lazily turns in that direction.

"Wait, that doesn't looks like Sayn," the thief continues.

"Jonus Sedaris would be a fool to send her second straight into Aria's den," Thane comments.

"Agreed."

"How do you wanna play this Shep?" Kasumi asks.

Their leader frowns into her glass for a second. "Wait him out. Sedaris' a control freak with a short fuse. She'll recall him fast if she thinks she's been stood up."

"Fair enough, whose round is it?" Kasumi chuckles as she turns back to the bar.

They don't have to wait long. The glow of the Salarian's omni-tool is almost painfully bright. It's clear he's anxious and the caller is angry. His movements are jerky as he tosses a credit chit onto the table. He's afraid of what the Asari will do when he returns.

"What's the plan," Kasumi asks. She sounds excited.

"Cloak and stay on him," Shepard answers. "Thane and I'll cut around back and pick you both up."

"Understood, going dark."

They wait till their target is out of eye sight before they make for a darkened side door. Omega's alleyways aren't well lit, though they're still brighter than the club, even so they can't be covering that much ground. Running would be stupid for both of them. His lungs don't favor it, and apparently her shoes don't either.

"God damn it, I hate these things," she snarls at no one. Her face is pinched with pain, but she seems determined to keep her usual pace.

"Shepard-" he begins, but Kasumi's voice interrupts.

"Got a situation here." Her tone is worried, and he freezes immediately.

"What's wrong?" The pain is apparently forgotten as Shepard is onto damage control.

"A drunk stumbled into me. I think this guy knows I'm here."

"Damn it," she swears under her breath. "Hang back & we'll pick him up. How far behind you are we?"

"He just passed the 36-D junction," their comrade whispers.

"Shit, we overshot," Shepard mutters as she glances up at the neon sign indicating 38-D.

"Whatever you're planning, better make it quick, Shepard," Thane says over his shoulder. Already he can see the Salarian rounding the corner toward them.

There's little warning, and he barely hears her words.

"Guess we're improvising then."

He's shocked when he feels the sharp jerk on his coat lapel that hauls him off his feet and against her. There's a muffled grunt when he collides with her, and another when they land against the alley wall. But the real surprise is when Shepard presses her lips to his. One of her hands winds up the back of his neck and too many fingers press against the base of his skull. The other keeps clutching at his lapel, as though she's trying to get a better grip but is afraid to let go completely.

His body responds before his self can- his mind too busy dealing with the shock. One hand immediately latches on to her hip, pulling her as close as possible. Later he'll worry that he was too rough- that he left bruises. The other delves into her strange hair. He's surprised to discover how delicate it feels against his scales, like it is made of naught but air. Their mouths are moving together, trying to figure out a rhythm. She hooks one knee around his, and traces his lips with her tongue. He groans low in his throat, it's similar to the sound she makes when he sucks her lower lip between his teeth and tugs slightly. This part of himself, long abandoned awakens eagerly, and he can feel the answering warmth of her own body.

"Target approaching," she whispers between pulls of their lips, but her eyes flutter shut when he scratches his nails very gently against her scalp. She tips her head back, baring her throat to him- an invitation to kiss and bite.

Despite his profession being one regarded as despicable, Thane has always considered himself an honest man. And the honest truth is that he's wanted to do just that for weeks. Shepard has the prettiest throat he's ever seen on a human and that isn't just in his professional opinion either. But she's human, and doesn't realize the intimacy of such a thing. Plus she is a lady, and shouldn't be touched so scandalously in public. Instead he nibbles on her earlobe, relishing in her shivers. She arches her back, pressing herself tight against him. He traces the shell of her strange looking ear with his tongue and she sighs in pleasure. She turns her head further, baring more of herself to him.

For two wild seconds he considers it. Human skin is so much more delicate than drell scales, and the thought of her throat decorated with his markings almost has him coming in his pants. He growls, vocalizing the arousal she can surely feel against her belly. He can hear her panting, almost like an animal. She turns her head, her lips seeking his. Her tongue slips into his mouth and rubs against him in a way that nearly undoes all his restraint. The taste is like nothing he's ever had before- salt and eezo and traces of the alcohol she drank, all combined with something that tastes indescribably female.

His senses are overwhelmed by her. The scent of her own arousal is burning in his nose, her taste is addicting, and despite how strange her hair appears- the memory of it against his fingers is going to be difficult to ignore. She's making the most wonderful mewling sounds- little whimpers of pleasure, yet plaintive for more. He can feel her blunted nails scrape against the scales of his chest perfectly. It's as if the gods designed her to be his complete undoing. Her movements are once again encouraging him to kiss her throat. Instead he responds by placing open mouth kisses to her collar bones. Nowhere near as satisfying as feeling her pulse under his lips, but it's the most he feels comfortable with at the moment.

Their bodies are starting to move together, a prelude to something far more intimate, and she's making the most perfect sounds, and he thinks he hears her sigh his name. Now that shocks him! When he blinks, he notices the Salarian has since passed and is now more than two blocks ahead. Slowly the mission returns to him. Perhaps it is a blessing. Any longer and he might not have been able to stop himself from taking her right there in the filthy alleyway.

"It should be safe to move," he says with great reluctance. She makes a noise somewhere between a grunt of agreement and a whine of disappointment. Personally he thinks it sums up their situation perfectly.

"Decontamination complete," EDI's voice announces, jarring him from memory. "Welcome back Commander Shepard."

"Thanks EDI," she replies.

"Gotta hand it to you Shep, that was quite a show back there," Kasumi says.

Shepard blushes the most attractive shade. "Just a shame there were no explosions this time," she mutters.

The interior airlock doors open and Kasumi practically skips ahead of them as she makes her way on board. "Oh, I wouldn't exactly say that," she calls over her shoulder.

Thane feels his frill blush scarlet. Shepard sighs and pulls her shoes off. "Hope I didn't offend you with that back there. Sorry if I did,"

"No need, Commander," he replies formally, not sure how to speak to her after such events. "Your eyes seem to be returning to normal, are you well now?"

Shepard chuckles. "The sparkly lights are fading." She reaches up into empty space, like she's trying to touch something only she can see. "Pity, they were kinda pretty." She drops her hand. "Hopefully I'll see them again someday," she says as she too strides on board. Though she's blushing again, she throws him a wink before heading toward the elevator.

Thane hums his approval and follows at a distance.

"How intriguing," he thinks to himself.

~fin~


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