A/N: Written as a seond fill for a prompt over at masseffectkink LJ meme. The prompt said: Shepard has had a horrible day. Someone notices, and gives him/her the hug he/she needs. And as you can imagine, I was all "yays!" This is not beta-read, so if you spot any errors, please, let me know, so I can correct it.

Disclaimer: I own nothing, just my randoms and stupidity.

Birds and Statues

Some days, you are bird, and some days, you are statue. Deal with it.

As Allison thought about her favorite Dilbert rule, she couldn't help but agree with it. It would be all rainbows, if she got to be the bird in everything - flying all around, shitting on the people she didn't like and then fly away before they got to do anything. Oh yes.

But sadly, fate had different opinion of the matter - this time, she was the statue all over again, for weeks now. She was peacefully dead, but then someone had to stick their noses into someone else's business and revive her. Which wouldn't be so bad, if it at least went as planned. But nooooo - there had to be traitor in the team, which of course didn't allow Miranda to finish the reviving process properly. Then, just as she was awakened prematurely she had to fight her way through the station, and since then, she felt as if she never stopped to have a bit of rest, or just to talk properly with the few friends she still had and who welcomed her back in the world of living with cheering.

She was exhausted from all the flying and running around, she was bored from the searches for supplies, she was frustrated from dealing with The Illusive Man and most of all, she was lonely.

She tried to speak with Garrus - but he had been busy with calibrating something, and then Tali came and all Allison could do was to slip away quietly before she could make things awkward. Jack was kind of off-limits, first they didn't know each other that well and then again, Allison doubted that Jack of all people would be open to talk with her just for the sake of talking. Miranda as she were would be the last one to talk about emotions. Bleh. Grunt had been doing something Allison preffered not to take much attention in - and it probably wouldn't improve her image of Battlemaster, if she were to get all teary in front of him. Sure, they were close now, after his problems and their solving at Tuchanka, but not close in exactly that aspect. Mordin was good for taking her mind off things, he was funny, smart and all that - but he was unused to deal with people on the emotional level, and Allison didn't want to make her personal 'Scientist Salariaaaaaan' uncomfortable. Jacob was quite taken with Kasumi, and when she stumbled over them making out in the lounge, she couldn't get out of there quickly enough. Wrex was on Tuchanka, and while he was sincerely happy to see her alive and kicking, he couldn't leave Krogans. And Kaidan... well, when she thought about it, she re-wrote at least twentith version of her reply to his email not so long ago, and when she tried to write the twenty-first one, her brain decided it was quite enough and poof, here she was with a killer headache.

How do you reply to email who basically tells you someone else's misery is your fault because you dared to die anyway?

Without really thinking where she's going, she would herself in the cockpit of the Normandy, witnessing yet another of the amusing incidents between Joker and the Normandy's AI. This time, they argued about her optics being covered in some slimy substance - and when Joker wouldn't stop making fun of EDI, he suddenly found himself spinning around on his famous leather seat, finally noticing his Commander.

"Commander!" he called half-through fifth spin around. "Fancy seeing you here! Coming to see your pilot BFF?"

"More likely to see in what kind of trouble my pilot got in again," she replied with a small smile. "EDI, stop the spinning slowly - I'm dizzy just from looking you doing that to Joker's seat."

"Understood, Commander," said the AI, as the spinning slowed down until it stopped completely under Shepard's amused stare. "What?" asked Joker, innocence dripping from his voice like honey, "not my fault EDI can't take a joke and that I happen to be quite messy when handling my jello. Anyway," he turned back to his console, as something beeped to summon his attention, "why don't you take a seat in the co-pilot chair? It's pretty lonely in here, when you have no one to trade insults with."

Gratefully, Allison went to the chair, curling her legs under her as she sat down. She always liked to spend time in the cockpit, watching stars fly by, write the reports and sign those written by someone else, listen to Joker and Kaidan talking about everything and nothing at once, sometimes to offer a word here and there, or just enjoying being quiet while someone else was speaking - or trading insults with Joker, if Kaidan was away. That had been her favorite past-time; the man could be as spiky as a hedgehog - but once you got under all those spikes, you found charming young man with amazing sense of humour, self-worth issues, and gods-forbid-you-from-speaking-of-it - feelings.

She didn't realize how deep in thought she got while Joker had been typing commands into his console, until his voice shocked her out of her reverie. "Hey, Commander? You okay?" Joker turned his seat towards her, his eyes gazing at her worriedly, as he obviously had been trying to catch her attention for quite some time.

Allison tried to to shake his concern off. "Nah, just having one hell of a day being followed by one hell of a headache. Must be all those things which can not be unseen."

"Like Jacob and Kasumi playing tonsil hockey?" asked Joker, making a disgusted face. "Sheesh, I would have never thought people will make me regress into a teenager in his 'ewwww, get some room' stage again." He wiggled his fingers at her. "Definitely taught me not to check the security cameras in the lounge!"

"Do not even speak of those things," groaned Allison, her headache showing its ugly head in full-force again when she thought about happening of past few hours. She pressed her fingers against her temples. "Seriously, I would have thought that all this expensive Cerberus upgrades and break-through technology would be able to deal with such mundane things like headache."

"I can help with that," offered Joker, earning himself a surprised glance. "Hey," he raised his hands in front of him, "I may be a cripple when it comes to my legs, but these hands," he wiggled his eyebrows naughtily, "can make not only Normandy dance. Just come over and sit on the floor."

Allison eyed him for a short moment, before she rose to her feet and came over to sit between Joker's legs. Joker really knew how to work these fingers, with just few touches on the base of her skull or her temples he got the headache to lessen its intensity. "Tension headaches," he commented. "Just give me a moment and you'll get rid of that." His hands slid from her head to her neck and shoulders, massaging the stiff muscles there with sure touches.

"Tell me more of your hell of a day," he said suddenly, breaking the comfortable silence which descended on them.

Allison tensed. She wasn't one who would spill all her troubles to first person who would be willing to listen - but this was Joker. And when he felt comfortable enough to share stories from his days at flight academy, it would be only fair to share her troubles with him.

"It was like this..." she started, slowly telling him about everything what happened since her awakening, his hands never stopping their motions, relaxing the tight muscles underneath, making her headache flush away. She finished her speech with: "... and that would be that."

"That's not everything," Joker said after few second of silence, his hands stopping moving over her shoulders. "Sure, it would give you a bad feeling for the day, but this is something deeper, Allison," he finished, adding her name to make her aware that he's serious.

She was quiet for a moment. "It's just... I never really realized how alone you can feel on a ship full of people," she finished awkwardly. It took her by surprise when she was embraced from behind by strong arms.


"Dammit, Allison," whispered Joker hoarsely in her ear. "You are not alone."

'Don't cry,' she willed herself. 'Just do not cry. Don't.' Still, tears streamed down her cheecks as she sagged in Joker's embrace, one of her hands coming to rest on his forearm, as he hugged her around her shoulders. It felt so good to just be held, wrapped in warm embrace of someone she cared about and who cared about her in return. None of them said anything else, just held onto each other as if their lives depended on it, drawing strenght from the contact. Some time later, she was asleep with her head laid on Joker's thigh, as he plotted next course and run diagnostics.

He paused in mid-motion, as he typed commands, looking down at the sleeping woman. And he smiled.