A/N:

This will be an on-going story featuring a romance between Ren-Shep & Zaeed

This Chapter is really more of a prologue. It shows how they first met and gets the story to ME2 where things actually start.

This is AU-ish in a few ways, my stories always are. Rated M, mostly because I like to cuss like a sailor in life and in my stories.

Shepard in this is : Earthborn, was on Akuze, Renegade.

Beta: None, sadly, all errors are my own. Anyone interested in the position?

Bioware owns all. Sadly.

Read. Enjoy. Review. Follow. Favorite. I'll love you forever lol.

I.D. was a runner for the Tenth Street Reds. She was their best runner. Anything that needed to be delivered, she handled it. She was small for her age. They called her I.D. because her temper matched the color of her hair, fiery. And also because the last person to hurt her ended up with an incendiary device in their skycar.

The Reds had been family since she bailed on the orphanage at the age of twelve. The streets were her playground, and she really liked to play. The last two years, though, she had seen the stakes get raised. Her best friend had been murdered rather brutally. The authorities weren't looking the other way anymore. And she couldn't seem to find a way out of the streets or the gang that didn't involve dying.

She'd given up hope.

J.T. was the current head of the Reds. The skycar that she destroyed had been his. He had a package for her to deliver across town to a rival gang. She was halfway across town before it dawned on her what this was. It was a fucking suicide run. She was so damn tired of it all.

So lost in thought, it took her a while to realize that someone was following her. She darted into an alley and was stepping around a corner when she a gun pressed against the base of her neck.

Brilliant.

"In a hurry, little girl?" There was a slight accent to the gruff voice that whispered in her ear. Her hand started to glow blue. "Now, now, I'll sever your goddamn spine before you can move your hands."

She shook her hands to lose the biotic glow. "What do you want?"

"You've got a package to be delivered to Dax." The man pushed her further into the alley. "Do you know what's in it?"

She shrugged, the gun slid along her neck. Shit.

"Dax's expecting you. You won't make it past the goddamn front door." He walked her into the wall at the end of the alley.

"I know." She turned slowly until her back was against the wall and his gun pressed to her forehead. "You can have the fuckin' package for all I care."

"Do you know who I am?" He was amazingly casual about it all.

She gave him a long look. There was something familiar about his scars and the tattoo on his neck. He looked to be about ten years older than she was. She finally shook her head, no, her hair was pulled back in a long ponytail, and it pulled against the wall a little.

"Zaeed Massani," he introduced himself. "Who the hell are you?"

Zaeed Massani? She was dying today, even if Dax didn't do it.

"I.D." She finally answered.

"That's not a name." Massani's arm holding the pistol showed no signs of tiring.

"Asa. Asa Shepard." It took her a moment to remember her own damn name.

"Shepard's not a bad name. You should use it. You don't look like much of a shepherd. Maybe you're the lamb?" He pulled the gun from her forehead, but kept it trained on her. "How old are you, little lamb?"

"Nineteen." She sighed at him. With the gun no longer on her head, she reached slowly back to grab her bag and held it out towards him. "Package is in there. I'd rather you kill me than Dax."

"Why?" Zaeed's eyes narrowed.

"Because I know what he does to women before he kills them." Shepard closed her eyes for a moment as memories of finding Kristen's body came back to her.

A hand brushed a stray tear from her cheek. Her eyes shot open to find Massani standing much closer, close enough to whisper in her ear.

"I'm not going to kill you." His hand slid around to grip the pony tail hanging down her back. He pulled her head back, and ran his other hand along her neck. His hand paused at the scar that ran along the underside of her jaw. "No, I'm definitely not going to kill you, little lamb."

All of a sudden, he let go and stepped away from her. She had to stop herself from reaching out for him. She caught the smirk in his eyes at the movement.

"C'mon, let's go for a walk." Zaeed grabbed her bag and sauntered out of the alley. He didn't even bother to see if she was following.

Arrogant bastard.

Sexy bastard.

She thought about making a run for it, but she felt like a goddamn moth to a flame. He led her to an upscale hotel across the city, near the Alliance docks. Zaeed tossed the bag on a table just inside the room, then ushered her inside. She walked all the way over to the large windows looking over the harbor below.

He stepped up behind her, his hands resting on her shoulders. He pulled her back against his body. One hand held her tightly, while the other pushed her hair out-of-the-way. He placed a kiss on her neck just below her hairline. He chuckled when she shivered at the feel of his stubble against her soft skin.

As she saw it, there were three options. She could let Massani seduce her, the firm hand slowly sliding into the collar of her shirt was damn convincing. She could run, the hand began to just graze the top of her right breast. Very fucking convincing. The most attraction option involved a more active role. The hand drifted a little lower.

Active role it was.

She pressed into him. Her head rested back against his shoulder. His head twisted around to the right so his lips could tease the side of her neck.

Being putty in his hands was not active participation.

Making a sudden decision, she moved out of his grasp. Her breath was coming in short bursts. She turned to find him watching her intently with hunger in his eyes. He reached for her, but she just shook her head. It was her turn, damn it.

She placed her hands on his chest for a moment, then slowly removed his armor and tossed it aside. She pulled the undershirt over his head. She didn't stop until he was completely naked. Then she shoved him back on the bed. She undressed slowly and casually. Her hoodie, shirt, pants, they all ended up in a pile on the floor.

Before she could move towards him, his hand latched to her wrist and yanked her on the bed underneath him. He held both her arms by the wrists in his hand over her head.

"You can't stay in New York." Zaeed's free hand caressed a slow path that started at her neck and slid all the way down over her abdomen between her legs. "I can always use a biotic. Come with me, Little Lamb?"

Shepard gasped in response as his fingers found their target.


When Zaeed woke up hours later, she was gone. He chuckled to himself when he found the package sitting on the table with a thank you note on it. Little redheaded lamb. If there wasn't a damn bounty involved, he would've tracked her down immediately.

Five years passed before he heard anything about his little lamb. A news report about Akuze caught his attention. The reporter bitch shoved the camera in the lone survivors face. Her hair was shorter. She had more scars, but it was her. He could still remember every goddamn detail of that one night. She'd gotten under his skin, and he couldn't get her out.

He'd always intended to track her down, but the years continued to pass. He found himself watching another news report.

"…this is Emily Wong reporting from Arcturus Station. The Alliance has confirmed that the Normandy was the most recent ship to be lost in the Omega Nebula. There are twenty-one confirmed dead at this time. Commander Asa Shepard, the hero of the Citadel, has been confirmed to be among those dead. The Commander was…"

Zaeed tuned out the rest of the report. He should have tracked her down sooner. What a bloody waste.