Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the game series Mass Effect, nor do I own the rights to the song "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum. I am simply a fangirl and a gamer and an aspiring writer who is borrowing them for the amusement of myself and others.

A/N: Not for the first time, an certainly not for the last, I cried at Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now." After my most recent play through of Mass Effect 2 and hearing that song several times, my mind immediately went to the FShenko pairing. This is only a small fic-let, two or three chapters at most, and one that I've worked hard at perfecting. Hopefully you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Need You Now

Chapter 1

Picture perfect memories

Scattered all around the floor

River Shepard sat at her private terminal in her quarters on the SSV Normandy SR2. Going through the various data pads in front of her, she assured herself that everything that needed to be taken care of was completed. It had taken a long time, but after doing side missions and gaining the loyalty and respect of her crew, upgrading the Normandy to the best of what they'd had to work with and finishing various odd jobs, she believed that they were finally ready.

Throwing down the last data pad, she sat back and heaved a great sigh. The movement caused the digital picture frame to her right to activate. The image glowing back at her made her breath hitch and her heart clench painfully. She grabbed the frame and held it gingerly in her hands.

Reaching for the phone cause

I can't fight it anymore

For several moments, she just stared at it. Kaidan's grin stared back at her and River could feel the tears stinging at the backs of her eyes. As the tears threated to fall, she reached forward and opened her private messages. In her saved archives, a small number considering the number of various messages she received, she found the message from Kaidan.

Horizon.

That one word filled her heart with lead and her blood with ice. So much had been said, and just as much was left unsaid. River reread the words that she had read nearly a dozen times before.

And I wonder if I ever cross your mind

For me it happens all the time

Not for the first time, River thought back to random moments she'd had with Kaidan. The time they'd spent together to build the kind of bond that they'd had. The one that ultimately led to their one night before Ilos.

She could vividly remember the rough callouses of his hands. The scratch of this stubble against her cheek. She could hear his voice and laughter in her head. Hell, she could still smell his musky sweat from the completion of a mission.

And each memory was like a kick to the gut. She loved the cherished memories, but the pain reminded her just how alone she was.

It's a quarter after one

I'm all alone and I need you now

Said I wouldn't call

But I lost all control and I need you now

Without much thought, she hit the tab to reply. What would she say, what could she say, that hadn't already been said?

~Kaidan-

Don't apologize. I probably would have had the same reaction. I understand your feelings and I feel the same way about my...Let's just say hosts. I've stepped on their toes enough times in the last few weeks that I'm sure they're wondering if bringing me back was worth it.

I know that I won't be able to convince you that I'm not working for Cerberus. But I promise you that my loyalties, my heart, will always be with the Alliance. With you.~

River stopped typing and sat back in her chair. Between her racing heart and the tears pouring from her eyes, she knew that she was a mess. But she knew that this had to be done. She had taken the time to help everyone with their problems and conditions. Now it was time for her to help herself as well.

And I don't know how

I can do without

I just need you now

~I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry. For not contacting you sooner. For letting you hear about me through rumors. For dying. For not being there. For so much.

If there had been any other way, I'd have done it. But I did the best I could with the hand I'd been dealt. I didn't like some of it, but I did it and I helped a lot of people along the way.

We are hitting the Omega 4 Relay soon. I plan on stopping the Collectors, or I am going to die trying. Hopefully it won't come to that. Garrus and Tali are with me, as well as a mix of others I picked up along the way. A part of me wishes that you were here. Knowing that this may be a one way trip makes me wish I was spending my last night with you. But it's that same thought that makes me glad that you're not here. I want to know that no matter what happens, no matter the outcome, you're still out there. Fighting and being the best Alliance soldier I know.~

Shepard rubbed her eyes, wiping away the tears that she couldn't hold back. It was hard to write, but she wanted to get it out in case the worst came to pass.

"EDI, ETA to the Omega 4 Relay?" Shepard called out.

The holographic blue orb lit up behind her left shoulder. "Approximately 20 minutes, Shepard," the AI responded before it disappeared again.

River turned back to her terminal and squared her shoulders, mentally preparing herself for the final push. She knew it was foolish to be like this, but she wanted, needed, him to know.

~I remember everything about Ilos. I remember everything before Ilos...And after. How could I not remember? Those memories are all I have of us. Those moments were the happiest I've had since...Since Mindoir. You gave me those moments. And I will always treasure them.

Thank you, Kaidan, for everything.

I love you.

River~

Shepard sniffled lightly once and tapped the 'Send' icon on the screen. It was done. She stood and turned away from the terminal. It was time to get ready.

It was time to face the Collectors.