A/N: Alright folks, this was just a little idea that my muse dropped in my head a few nights ago, and it wouldn't leave till I wrote it. Hope y'all enjoy it!

Regret

"Alenko, radio Joker and tell him to meet us on the AA tower," Commander Shepard says. Good… He…he made the right choice. The LT and those salarians deserve to live.

"Yes, Commander. I…" Alenko starts to say something else, but I cut him off. I can't hear what he's going to say.

"You know it's the right choice, LT," I say, taking more shots at the incoming geth.

"Ashley…I'm sorry," John says. "I had to make a choice."

"I understand J—Shepard. I don't regret a thing." I quickly turn off my radio as more geth enter the fight. I need to concentrate, and if I keep listening to him, I'll lose my resolve.

God, why did it have to come to this? Why did he have to make a choice?

Next to me, the last marine left with me to guard the bomb falls to a hail of geth bullets. I keep fighting, but now I'm alone.

Minutes pass, and I have no idea how I'm still fighting. They just keep coming, and it's not like they have enough time to defuse the bomb anyway. So why am I even bothering to fight?

Because I'll be damned if I let him down. I swore that I would defend this bomb, and if it's the last thing I do in this world, I'm damn sure doing it well. He'd expect nothing less.

At some point, a sudden burning erupts in my shoulder. I numbly look down to see blood pouring freely from the wound. Looking back up, I calmly destroy the geth that shot me. As its sputtering dies away, the sound is replaced with an almost unnerving silence.

I look around the open battlefield in front of me, staring blankly at the bodies of my fallen comrades and the scattered debris of geth all around me.

Wordlessly, I collapse next to the bomb. I don't even bother trying to treat my wound. It won't matter soon anyway. The timer reads just over a minute.

Off in the distance, I hear the faint sound of a ship's engines, and a vaguely Normandy-shaped speck flies out of view.

Good, they made it. He made it. He was the only one that ever really mattered. God must have spent extra time working on John Shepard. His drive, his passion, his kindness… No one man could possibly have everything he did without divine intervention.

In a way, he was my divine intervention. On Eden Prime, I was prepared—like I am now—to give my life. Every marine is. But just when I thought all was lost, out he came from the wilderness like a knight in shining armor.

He took me in on the Normandy, despite my family history. In fact, he didn't care that I was a Williams. He was the first CO to ever give me a chance. He took me on missions, actually made me feel useful for once.

I should have seen it coming. I should have been able to stop it. There are regs for that stuff.

But I fell in love anyway.

In 45 seconds, my whole time on the Normandy flashes before my eyes. Every moment spent with him, every touch of his hand against mine…

At least he's safe. Safe to continue the mission. Safe to stop Saren. Safe to stop the Reapers. I'm glad I was able to give him that.

Death closes all; but something ere the end,

Some work of noble note, may yet be done,

Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The timer hits five seconds. In those precious seconds, every possible future I could have had with him plays out in my head. All the words yet to be spoken, all the love yet to be shared, and all the memories yet to be made. And because I loved him so much, I'll never get to see any of it.

I told him I didn't regret a thing. I was lying.

I regret never telling him how I felt.