"I don't believe this; the great Commander Shepard…can get sick?"
"Yeah, yeah, real funny, now go and get me some more tissues, I'm running out." Shepard threw up a cloud of snotty tissues and James winced.
"Gross." He commented. When Garrus had told him earlier that Shepard was ill, the young solider hadn't believed him. Now, standing in the woman's cabin, Vega fought he urge to pull his collar up around his mouth and nose…just in case.
Shepard gave him an angry glare, her nose red. "If you find me so 'gross' why are you up here?" She demanded, her bunged up nose making her aggressive question sound a whole lot less intimidating.
"Hey, hey Lola," James held up his hands in a placating gesture. "I actually came up here because Kaidan told me to tell you he was making some soup, if you want any? And also I wanted to see you snotting into tissues and coughing your lungs out with my own ojos,"
Shepard threw a tissue at the man, but thankfully James was too far back for contact to be made. Both he and his commanding officer watched as it floated lazily to the floor.
"You going to be able to fight the reapers like this Lola?" Vega questioned, a smirk tugging at his lips.
"I just need medicine from the Citadel," Shepard retorted, crossing her arms in a childish manner. "I bet I could still kick your butt at any rate."
"I'm so sure," James chuckled. "Anyway, is there an answer to my previous question moco?"
Shepard's eyes narrowed. "What did you just call me?" She growled.
"Nothing!" James defended.
Shepard glowered at him for a few seconds and then relented. "…fine," she huffed. "Tell Kaidan that, no, I don't want any soup."
"Aw, but Major Asombroso will be upset!" Vega said his tone faking sadness.
Shepard was in no mood for the man's antics apparently as she glowered at him pointedly. "Alenko cannot cook," she stated. "He is a great solider, and an even better friend, but he cannot cook."
"Ouch," James winced. "You're not very nice when you're ill are you Lola?"
"And you're annoying all the time," she snapped back. "Now go and get me tissues."
Just as James ducked a rolled up ball of tissue, Garrus strolled into the room. He and Shepard had known each other for long enough that the turian didn't even have to knock anymore.
"What's going on here?" He asked, his tone slightly amused, as he hopped to the side, dodging the tissue missile which had just careered over Vega's head.
"Commander Shepard doesn't want any soup." James explained as he drew himself back up to full height.
"Why's that?" Garrus questioned, looking from Vega to Shepard.
Shepard glowered off to the side. Apparently the Commander disliked the fact she couldn't punch the flu to death. James hid a smile.
"Kaidan's the one cooking." She muttered.
"Ooh," Garrus winced. "Yeah, maybe not a good idea to eat anything he cooks, you'll just end up even more sick."
"For real?" Vega fixed Garrus with a rather stricken look. "I ate some of his food the other day."
"We'll honour you at your funeral." Replied Garrus without missing a beat, and then he turned back to Shepard. "We're just docking at the Citadel now Commander, is there anything, other than the medicine, you'd like us to get you?"
Shepard let out a low groan and sneezed heavily into a tissue. "I'm hungry." She muttered.
"So we'll get you some food." Garrus decided.
"Oh hey, no, no," Vega shook his head. "She shouldn't be eating any take away food from the citadel. What she needs is a good hearty meal, like mi madre used to make."
"Well unless your 'madre' appears on the ship-" Garrus was interrupted as Shepard sneezed loudly and then groaned. "-Shepard's going to have to make do with regular old citadel food."
Shepard rolled into a ball and stuck her face into a pile of snotty tissues. Both Garrus and James winced.
"No, I think Lola needs a pick-me-up, something that'll get her going," Vega decided. "Hey Commander I'll cook you something."
"You…can cook?" Garrus scoffed out a laugh. "Now this, I've gotta see."
"And you will see, chicken legs," James said, putting an arm over his alien friend's shoulder and guiding him to the door. He stopped short of leaving himself and yanked an electronic notepad off of Shepard's desk; he tapped a few words out and then handed it to Garrus. "Here, see if you can find any of this stuff on the citadel."
"You're not coming with?" Garrus questioned, taking the notepad uncertainly.
"Nah, I reckon moco here might want some company." Replied James throwing his thumb over his shoulder.
"Well alright," Garrus concurred. "But try not to get sick too, it'd be a shame if all the glory went to me in the upcoming battles…" the turian paused for a moment and then smirked. "Oh wait, that's already inevitable."
"Yeah, yeah, keep talking chicken legs." Vega retorted, smiling at his friend's words.
Garrus gave the man a casual salute and then strolled out of the room. James turned to look at Shepard who was now lying spread-eagled on the bed.
"I can't afford to be ill," she groaned, her bunged up nose making the words slightly difficult to understand. "I've got reapers to stop."
"And you will stop them," James said, drawing closer to the bed. "But Lola, you are human and humans do get ill."
"I don't." Shepard growled back.
"Well then I must be hallucinating chica because, to me, you don't look too good." James replied, sitting down on the end of the bed.
"You could hurt a woman's pride by saying that James," drawled Shepard, she sat up slightly and smirked over her knees at him. "Gone off me already?"
James went slightly red and he coughed awkwardly, looking over at the wall so as to avoid his commander's eyes. Truth was, Vega hadn't been thinking of a lot recently apart from Shepard. The woman was easy to admire anyway, due to her feats. But when you paired those feats with a body and a face like Shepard's…it was a little hard to get her out of your head.
"Do I detect a mournful tone?" He switched himself back on and turned a smirk upon Shepard. If he kept reacting like a twelve year old to his commander's flirtations, she was going to think something was up. "Jealous of other potential mujeres?"
Shepard rolled her eyes and looked like she was about to respond, that was until her eyes suddenly bulged. Yelping, the woman leant to the side, vomiting into her bin as James watched her hopelessly.
"…ow." She muttered once she'd sat back up, shuddering and wiping at her mouth.
"This is a cruel illness Lola," Vega remarked, looking at her with a pitying gaze. "Where'd you manage to pick this up?"
"Search me." She grumbled back.
"On any other day I'd say 'my pleasure', but maybe not today." James said, pulling a slightly disgusted face.
"You really know how to make a woman feel beautiful." Came the commander's annoyed reply, and then she sank back onto her back, hiding her face under a pillow.
James watched her silently for a while, noting the way she kept shifting position, apparently uncomfortable.
"You in pain there Lola?" He enquired, edging closer slightly.
"My back hurts like a bitch," Shepard's muffled response sounded and she flailed her arms slightly. "One of the many perks of this stupid flu."
James looked at her for a while, his eyes roaming down her body and then he shuffled closer slightly.
"Do you want a backrub chica? I've been told by many a woman that I'm good with my hands."
Shepard's face slowly appeared from underneath a pillow. Her large blue eyes flickered from James' face to his hands and then back up again.
"I'm not too 'gross' for you?" She muttered.
"Never Commander." James returned with a wink.
"Well then…sure," the woman sat up again, sniffling slightly. "I'd love a backrub."
"Great," James made his way properly onto the bed, coming to sit next to his commander who moved into a better position. "I'll tell you Lola; I've had many a dream of this…though you were never this sick in any of them."
"Hey," Shepard raised a stern finger and glanced behind her quickly. "This is strictly professional Vega, no funny business."
"Never Commander." Repeated the marine in a carefree voice and then he slowly began pressuring the woman's shoulder blades, kneading them softly through the fabric of her pyjama top.
"Ahh that is good," Shepard began relaxing into the lieutenant's hands, her head lolling to the side. "Yes." She let out a contented sigh.
James kept up the pressure, not ashamed to admit he was enjoying the wide variety of different noises his backrub was eliciting from Shepard.
"Hey Commander," he murmured after a few quiet moments. His tone was soft, husky even, and Shepard seemed to notice, because she glanced back at him, her eyebrows pulled down slightly. "I was just wondering if you wanna take your top off-"
"In your wildest dreams Vega," retorted the woman immediately, not even giving the man a chance to finish his sentence. "And I'm ill anyway! I don't have the energy for anything, least of all-"
"Woah, woah, Lola," James drew back, raising his hands, yet again, to placate the woman. "I was just wondering if you'd want to take your top off so my backrub would have more effect, you know? I mean, a massage through your clothes is one thing, but my hands can't work their proper magic unless they're touching skin."
Shepard scanned his face as he said this, her eyes narrowing for a fraction and then she glanced away.
"…fine," she relented. "But like I said no funny business."
Vega grinned. "I wouldn't dream of it chica." He returned.
Shepard's hands went down to the bottom of her pyjama top and paused there. "Yeah you would." She replied before slowly peeling her top off.
James watched appreciatively as Shepard's pale skin slowly became apparent. It was as smooth and as a clear as marble with only a few moles here and there upon the, otherwise clear, landscape of skin. Despite himself, the lieutenant felt some saliva rush into his mouth and a small swell of heat radiate throughout his body. He took his time gazing at the back of his commander, tracing the spine with his eyes as far as he could until it, disappointingly, became hidden behind fabric yet again.
"Hey, Captain Hormone, my back's hurting," Shepard's voice suddenly interrupted Vega's thoughts. She had her head turned slightly; not quite looking at him and James noticed with a slight thrill that there was a hint of a blush upon her cheeks. "Could you do the erotic staring foreplay thing after you've finished my backrub?"
Shepard was sitting in front of him with no top on…it took a while for James to shake himself back into action, but shake himself he did.
"Sure thing Lola, sorry. Must have zoned out." He mumbled while bringing his hands back up to her shoulders.
"Yeah," Shepard replied, her tone mocking. "That's what must have happened."
James chuckled and shook his head as he began plying her shoulders again. Shepard let out a few moans of pleasure as he kneaded her shoulder blades.
"Uuh. How'd you get so good at this?" She groaned tilting her head to the side and closing her eyes as James' callused hands pushed down upon muscles, relieving her of vast amounts of pressure.
"I'm just a natural Lola," Vega shrugged, grinning. "As I am with everything."
"Oh I bet." She responded and James felt a thrill run up and down his spine.
"I am bendecido con grandeza." James replied after a short while.
Shepard shook her head. "I don't know what you just said, but I'm going to presume it was something big-headed."
"I'm hurt Lola." Returned Vega.
Shepard seemed about to reply, but then she suddenly lurched forwards. Yanking up the bin she vomited messily inside. Grumbling in pain after she'd finished.
"Ouch." She groaned.
James watched her with an expression of both sympathy and disgust. Once Shepard turned to look at him however, he painted on a purely pitying look.
"Need me to get you a glass of water or something Commander?" He questioned softly.
Shepard nodded mutely, looking even sicker than she had previously. James got to his feet, picking up a glass on the way to the woman's bathroom. Just as he entered, he heard the main door to Shepard's cabin open up.
"How are you feeling Shepard, any better?" Garrus' voice sounded and James exited the bathroom, appearing on the scene with a glass of water.
"I could be worse," Shepard replied grimly.
James noted, with a slight hint of disappointment, that the woman had tugged her pyjama top back on, though she must have done it hurriedly as it was slightly turned up at the sides. He came to stand beside Garrus, holding the woman's water.
"Did you get the medicine?" Shepard continued. She was clutching the bin to her chest like a teddy bear or something.
"Here it is," Garrus chucked a pack of pills onto the bed and Shepard launched herself onto them, clawing at the packaging viciously. "And I got your food supplies too," Garrus said, turning to look at James. "They're all waiting downstairs in the kitchen…though you might wanna clean the counters a little bit first, Kaidan managed to make a hell of a mess."
James shook his head as he handed the glass of water to Shepard, who snatched it from him, resulting in it sloshing almost everywhere.
"How much mess can you make while making soup?" Vega questioned.
"A lot." Garrus replied seriously.
Shepard knocked back two pills in quick succession, glugging down the water afterwards. As she wiped her mouth, she looked up at Garrus.
"How long till I'll be up and running again?" She asked.
Garrus shrugged. "The pharmacist said that the pills should stop the vomiting within a few hours, can't speak for the headache."
Shepard growled lowly, but then shook her head. "The headache doesn't matter," she stated decisively. "It's just this damn vomiting that's keeping me-" The woman paused and her eyes bulged. Quickly she grabbed the bin again and Garrus and James both winced as she hurled into it.
"I'll go get working on your food," James decided after a few seconds of watching is commander vomit. "It'll make you feel one hundred per cent."
"I'll come with you," Garrus muttered. "Whatever that illness is, I don't want it."
"This food better be worth a million credits Vega!" Shepard moaned pitifully at the two men's departing backs.
"Oh it will be Lola." James returned, throwing a wink over his shoulder and then he and Garrus headed for the elevator.
"I tell you," Garrus began as he pushed the button for the lower floor. "Some of those ingredients were really hard to find. I mean, nobody I asked had even heard of a chilli."
James chuckled and shook his head. "You people haven't lived," he returned. "Never heard of a chilli. Loco."
Garrus laughed along with him for a while and then leant against the wall, smiling. "So, how was Shepard?"
"Eh," James rolled his shoulders and bent his neck from side to side. "She was ok."
"Not too violent?" Garrus checked. "I've always got the impression our esteemed commander could get a little violent when it came to being ill."
"I'm a calming influence." James returned smirking.
Garrus shook his head and chuckled as the elevator doors opened and the pair sauntered towards the counter. Thankfully it appeared someone had taken it upon themselves to clean up the counters, but Kaidan's soup was still bubbling on the stove. James decided to take a look. He headed over to the pot and pulled off the lid, only to pull back in disgust as an overwhelming odour of sweaty socks floated out.
"Jesús Cristo!" He complained, slamming the lid back down and holding his nose. "What on earth has Alenko put in there?"
Garrus was leaning on the other side of the counter, a look of distaste on his face. "Don't ask me," he returned, shrugging. "I always just tell him that whatever he's making is lethal to turians."
"I think whatever's in there is lethal to anyone," James replied, his eyes wide before he turned to regard his ingredients, spread out on the counter. "Let's get going then." He decided and then he began searching through the draws for a sharp knife.
Garrus absentmindedly began poking a tomato to and fro, watching as his friend searched. "So Vega, cook for many women?"
James popped his head up from behind the counter. "On occasion," he responded. "Why?"
"Hmm, no reason," Garrus muttered, though a grin had formed on his face. "What women would you have cooked for then?"
James gave his friend a funny look as he got to his feet, holding his knife in his hand. The man snatched the tomato off of his alien friend.
"Don't play with my ingredients," he scolded. "And I've cooked for a few girlfriends before. Why the curiosity compadre?"
Garrus, now without his tomato, began poking a pepper trying all the time to look nonchalant. "I don't know. It's just; I've seen my fair share of human movies…"
James began cutting the tomato before him slowly, trying to figure out what the turian was getting at.
"Yeah? So?" He replied.
"Well I don't know. I just always got the impression, from these movies, that cooking for someone could be seen as a pretty romantic gesture," Garrus glanced up at the marine to gauge his reaction. "That's all."
A smile had made its way onto James' face. He side-eyed the alien, obviously sensing what he was implying.
"It can be." He agreed, for once keeping his response short and sweet.
Garrus' eyes narrowed slightly at this dirty play; apparently the other man wasn't going to give anything away. James stuck a hand out and grabbed the pepper the turian was playing with out of his hands. Garrus immediately picked up some celery, snapping it into chunks.
"And you and Shepard…you get on pretty well." He continued.
James let out a short laugh and rewarded Garrus with some eye contact. "We sure do."
"So…" Garrus trailed off and squinted at James.
James looked back at the alien, his eyebrows raised. "So…?" The man mimicked.
"You know what I'm getting at Vega, don't make me shove this up where the sun don't shine." Garrus raised the halved celery stick and held it threateningly while James laughed.
"Why do you care anyway chicken legs?" James returned after he'd finished laughing.
"Well, I like Shepard, she's always been a good friend to me," Garrus explained. "And, for some reason, I also like you. And Shepard, she likes you too."
James shrugged, his lips pulling into the slightest of pouts.
"I think you'd be good together," Garrus continued, sounding more earnest now. "I've always said, it's good to have something to come back to, and you make her laugh. She's always happiest when she's with you-"
"Woah," James laid his knife down, looking at Garrus in confusion. "Vakarian are you trying to tell me to make a move on Lola? I mean Shepard?"
Garrus leant back with his arms crossed and nodded.
"Do I have to tell you about the all types of loco that suggestion is?" James picked his knife back up again, restarting on the pepper. "I mean, chain of command, she might not feel that way-"
"Yeah," Garrus' voice was steady as he interrupted his friend. "But you do…and I think she does too."
James stared at the alien for a little while, the knife hanging limply in his hands and then he shook his head smiling. "Damn Garrus you really know how to get heavy with the conversation don't you?"
"All I'm saying James, is Shepard could really use the company…the happiness and I've always felt that if you're going into hell, it's good to have someone you love by your side." Then the turian strode away, leaving James to mull over these words.
There was a knock on the door. Shepard groaned and pulled her pillow over her head.
"Kaidan I've told you, I don't want your soup!" She yelped. "I'm sorry, but I just-"
"Commander, it's me," James' muffled tones sounded through the door and Shepard perked up, placing the pillow by her side. "I'm really sorry to be a bother, but my hands are kinda full with my obra maestra. So would you mind…" Vega trailed off as the door opened.
Shepard smiled at the man and then looked down at the tray in his hands, an intoxicating smell radiated out of the plate upon it.
"Mm," she felt her mouth fill with saliva already. "James that smells gorgeous." She stepped aside to let the man enter the room.
"Naturally." James returned over his shoulder as he walked to the bed, waiting for the woman to join him. He was trying to sound casual, but the man felt like he was about to burst. Freaking Garrus had put thoughts in his head and now he couldn't do anything to shake them out.
Shepard padded over to the bed and sat down on it making herself comfortable against the pillows. Once she was ready, James gently placed the tray on her lap and whipped out a knife and fork, handing her to them with a flourish. Shepard laughed as he did this and James noticed, with fondness, the dimples on her cheeks and the crease around her eyes.
"Has anyone ever told you, you'd be a great waiter?" She remarked, still smiling at him.
James grinned back. "I was for a short while," he answered. "But apparently customers don't like it if you tell them to go fuck themselves."
Shepard began laughing again. "Only you." She said after a little while, and James smirked in reply.
There was a short while of silence and then the Shepard looked down at the food on the plate, eating it up with her eyes. She dove in, shoving the food into her mouth and making noises of delight as she did so. James watched her with raised eyebrows as she demolished the meal.
"Is there anymore?" The woman gasped between one forkful, looking up at James with a hopeful glint in her eyes.
"I made enough for the whole crew," Vega replied. "Though I don't know whether they'll get a chance to eat it, what with the way you're putting it down."
"It's so good," Shepard enthused. "You really are-" The woman paused like she had forgotten what she was about to say, but then she shot to the side, yanking up the bin and, once again, vomiting into it.
"Oooh." She grumbled, her head still halfway into the bin after she'd finished vomiting.
"That bad eh?" James joked.
"Nooo," Shepard wailed, her head slowly arriving into the world again, a mournful look on her face. "It's so nice, but I can't keep anything down!" She grabbed a packet of mints from the side of the bed and shoved one into her mouth while she looked tragically down at the food on her bed. "I'm sorry James, but I don't think I can eat it."
"Hey, no worries Lola," James responded, genuinely meaning it. "You can just eat it when you're fit and ready."
"I feel like I've been ill for years," groaned the woman, watching as James leant down to scoop the tray and food off the bed. "When will this illness leave!" She raised her hands to the sky in annoyance but in doing so brushed against James' arm. The man felt a thrill rush through him as he placed the tray and plate down on the woman's bedside table.
Shepard, too, had paused and she was looking at James in a way he'd never seen her look before. The man thought back to Garrus' words and then he slowly leant down, his eyes never leaving hers. The kiss was soft and gentle. The woman's lips, thankfully, tasted like mint and James steadied himself against the bed as he pressed his lips upon hers. Shepard responded, drawing herself up so she could get more purchase, her hands on marine's chest, palms flat. Her mouth gradually opened and James responded, skimming his tongue across the inside of her lip, he wrapped his strong arms around her back and the kiss began to get more forceful…and then Shepard pushed him away. A surge of humiliation and horror at what he had just done exploded through him as James felt the woman pull away from him.
"Lola I-" He went to make excuses to apologise, but then went silent as he realised the woman was simply retching into the bin again.
"I'm sorry!" She moaned as her face became apparent behind the bin again. Her cheeks were as red as her scratchy little nose now.
A dopey smile managed to make its way across Vega's face.
"I don't suppose you want to repeat that now," Shepard paused again and vomited quickly into the bin. "Do you?"
James squinted slightly and drew back. "As much as I want to say I do," he responded, watching as the woman wiped her mouth. "I don't."
"Urrgh," Shepard slapped her palm to her head. "I hate this illness!"
James leant forward again, brushing his thumb across her cheek. "It'll be gone in no time Lola, don't worry about it."
Shepard's eyes softened as she gazed into his hazel orbs. "Will you stay with me?" She murmured, her voice soft. "I promise I'll try not to vomit on you."
"You've got a deal chica." James replied smiling and leaning in to plant a kiss on her cheek.
Shepard hugged him to her.
James shot a glare at Steve who was standing over his friend's cot, watching as he groaned and grumbled about the flu he'd managed to pick up.
"I feel like death Esteban," he returned. "Remember to tell everyone how awesome I was at my funeral."
Steve shook his head in amusement. "I'll definitely tell them about how much of a drama queen you are." He returned.
James threw his arm over his eyes so he could only hear as the door opened and another person stepped into the room.
"How is he?"
James perked up a little at Shepard's voice, but he stayed in place, groaning.
"He's overreacting," Steve replied. "I tell you, Vega can take a bullet and he can take a heavily armed krogan, but give him the flu and he's down in seconds."
Shepard stepped closer to James and knelt down at the side of his cot. "I'm sorry that I gave you the flu James," she mumbled humbly. "Though it is kind of your fault."
James took his arm off his eyes and gave the woman an incredulous look while Steve exited the room. Shepard raised her eyebrows at him and then got back to her feet. Walking to the door, she locked it, spinning back to look at him afterwards.
"But luckily for you," she murmured, drawing closer again. "I'm nearly as good with my hands as you are,"
James sat up slightly, suddenly feeling his nausea all but disappear as Shepard leant in, kissing him lightly on the mouth.
"And I'm pretty fantastic with my mouth too." She added.
James wasn't feeling so sick anymore.
Ok. So this is my first Mass Effect fanfiction. I hoped you guys liked it! I always feel really nervous about posting in new fandoms, but I really do hope you guys enjoyed this.