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 Joker and Arina Shepard Moments

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Arina Shepard
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PostSubject: Joker and Arina Shepard Moments   Sat May 30, 2015 8:03 pm

Shepard walked towards the cockpit at a slow pace. Horizon had been a disaster, with the Illusive Man being the one that set up the colony, using Kaidan Alenko as bait. Half the colony was lost because of the events and Kaidan was only happy for a brief moment to see her again.

Honestly, it hurt with how he looked so betrayed, as if he didn't know her anymore. He wouldn't listen to reason to how she couldn't have contacted him and how Cerberus was the only answer, no matter how much she hated working with them.

It may have been two years for the rest of the galaxy since the first Normandy was destroyed and she had died, but it still felt like it was only yesterday for her. To her, she had just been on the Normandy, continuing to take down the Geth after the attack on the Citedal. With Kaidan, Joker, Garrus, and Liara still at her side. Pressly was still alive, Tali had just left to finish her Pilgrimage, with talks of returning some day to continue helping Shepard with her quest.

Now... now she was stuck with mostly strangers, with only two people from her old team. Only two people on this ship she felt she could trust. She had been trying to get to know everyone, she felt it was easier for her if everyone lived in harmony instead of being stiff.

Kaidan, being as stubborn as ever, wouldn't listen to her. Instead of thinking rationally, he blew up at her, calling her a traitor to the Alliance. Didn't he know she wanted to contact him? She had tried to get Anderson to tell her how to get in contact with him, when she spoke to him on the Citedal, with how to find him, but the old captain had told her it was “classified”.

Maybe she should had mentioned that to Kaidan...

Miranda had shown her some slight sympathy with how Kaidan had reacted, but it was clear she didn't like the Alliance soldier for his hatred of Cerberus. Garrus had snuck her a look of sympathy as well, but when she had looked at him, he awkwardly looked away and quickly said something about checking on the weapons.

Garrus had changed so much over the last two years. When she had first met the Turian, she had found him interesting and enjoyed their talks, even if it was more about swaying him to see there were peaceful solutions for most situations. It almost seemed like everything she said to the turian had been tossed aside the moment she died.

When she had to pick between sending in the Alliance forces to stop Saren, or to save the Council, she had chosen to sacrifice the council, against Kaidan's opinion.

It was tense a bit after that between her and Kaidan, with him being upset that she took Garrus' side over his. But they had sorted it out. They always sorted things out...

Not this time, Arina... She thought, before Joker's chair had started to turn around to face her, causing her to realize she had arrived to the cockpit sooner than she had anticipated.

“Uh, Kaidan, huh? Wow, uh, amazing what people you can meet up with again in the galaxy, huh? Soo... how'd it go?” Joker asked, his voice trying to be light, but she could sense the awkwardness and the caution, showing he was trying not to upset her.

She sighed, placing her hands on her hips, looking away from him, towards the stars out the window before them. “Fine... I guess...” She felt her resolve quickly sinking. “Actually, it went horribly.” She said, before walking over and leaning against the metal separator between Joker and the empty co-pilot chair. “It was... pretty bad...” She said, giving him a small smile that didn't reach her violet eyes. “Seeing him again... made me really realize just how much time had passed. The way he reacted... just kinda hit me hard.”

Joker winced as he turned his chair, guilt starting to hit him. Pushing it aside, he forced himself to focus on the present and not the past. He didn't think he could take on an emotional commander right then. Or how about I don't ever take on an emotional Commander? I think my life would be easier that way. He thought, before noticing that Shepard was still there, staring off to the side of him, not really focusing on anything. Shit... He thought, turning his chair around to face the controls once more. He'd end up hitting her if he turned the chair to face her and he had a feeling that wouldn't help her mood.

“Look, Commander, Alenko is being an idiot and an ass. As you said, his emotions were getting in the way of rational thinking. Ever since he got promoted, his head has gone up his ass.”

Shepard turned her eyes back to his green ones, giving him an odd look. He blinked at her, before shifting in his chair. Did he push it with bad talking Kaidan?

Her brow furrowed slightly, causing a little wrinkle between her bright eyes. “You were listening.”

His eyes went wide. “Uh...” Oops.

“I can confirm that Mr. Moreau had not turn the speakers off when Staff Commander Alenko first arrived onto the scene after the Collector attack.” EDI's glowing ball spoke on the other side of Joker.

He cursed, turning to look at the ball. “EDI!” He growled, glaring at the ball of light.

“You were taking too long to answer, Mr. Moreau. I was simply confirming what the Commander was asking you.” EDI replied, no emotion in her voice, but he swore the AI was out to get him.

“Just- Shut up!” He said, finally, before pressing the mute button. He was almost worried he was going to fracture his thumb again with how hard he pressed the button.

When the AI didn't say another word, he let out a sigh of relief, leaning back in his chair. A snicker from his right caught his attention, before it turned into a small laugh. With wide eyes once more, he turned and stared openly at his commander, who just continued to laugh.

She never laughed at his jokes. Okay, she would let out a small soft chuckle, or give him an amused look, but never an actual real laugh. His mind felt blown right then as he felt the corners of his lips twitch upward a little.

“Thanks, Joker,” she began, once she calmed down. Wiping a small tear from the corner of her eye, a bright smile stayed on her face. “I needed that. You always know how to get me to feel better.” She said, reaching over and giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze.

Joker blinked, before looking down from Shepard's hand, back to the woman before him. The smile never left her face and her eyes seemed to shine a bit brighter than they had when she had first arrived at the cockpit. Mentally pushing away the note of his commander looking beautiful in the lighting of the cockpit, he shrugged, quickly looking laid back with a hint of pride. “Yeah, well, you know. It's what I do, Commander. Anything else I can be of service for?” He asked, with a slightly cocky grin.

Shepard shook her head, her smile softening a little as she pulled her hand back. “Don't ever change... and that's an order.”

They stared at each other for a moment, before he slowly nodded. “Aye, aye, Commander.” Surprise filled him at the softness his voice carried. Where did that come from?

Nodding, Shepard stood up. “That's all for now, then.”

He nodded back, turning back to the controls. “See ya, Commander.” Happy to find his voice was normal this time.

“See ya, Joker.” She said, turning and walking away, her steps a little lighter.

Joker around the chair, watching his commander walk away. His eyes traveled down to her butt, his eyebrow going up slightly.

“Mr. Moreau, you can act on your hormones another time. You do have a ship to pilot.” EDI's voice rang out, causing Joker to nearly jump out of his skin.

A curse left him as he glared at the AI. “You don't know what you're talking about.” He grumbled, turning back to the controls, things returning back to normal.

____
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PostSubject: Re: Joker and Arina Shepard Moments   Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:35 am

Time was running out. The Collector ship was coming back online, and EDI could only keep the way open for so long for the Commander and the squad.

“We're running out of time, Commander! You better hightail it! I'm not losing another Normandy!” He shouted, his fingers moving across the controls as if they were possessed. His finger turned the mic off quickly. “Or you again...” He murmured, his eyes never leaving the screen, his heart seeming to be on pause as he waited for the away team to get into the shuttle and fly out.

The shuttle barely made it out in time, as the Normandy quickly swooped it in. The Collectors' weapons were back on and ready to fire. “Get us out of here, Joker!” Commander Shepard's voice rang out.

“Already on it!” He replied, engaging the FLT drive, rocketing away from the Collector ship. It wasn't until they were at a safe range, away from the Collectors, did Joker let out his breath, feeling his heart pick up speed again.

Collapsing back in the chair, he sighed and closed his eyes. “Damnit...” He breathed out.

“Your heart rate has increased over your normal rate, Mr. Moreau.”

“No shit, EDI.” He stated. “We almost died!”

“Perhaps you should go see Dr. Chakwas.”

“I'm fine!” He snapped, moving back to the controls.

“Very well.” EDI said, silently sending a message to the med-bay.


Shepard rolled over onto her back, the gray ceiling of her quarters greeting her. After having another chat (argument) with the Illusive Man about having her and her team march right into a trap, she took a long hot shower, the images of the bodies of the colonists on the Collector ship engraved in her mind.

She had immediately collapsed onto her bed, feeling the adrenaline rush from having to escape the ship and from the anger she had at the Illusive Man, finally drain away. For the first time in a long time, she had a dreamless sleep.

The soft music that played caused her to slowly wake. It was calming...

Her eyes snapped open. I didn't set any music to play. She sat up, feeling fully awake and alert.

“Commander, Dr. Chakwas would like to speak with you. She is waiting for you on Deck 2.” EDI's voice called from the hub in the room.

“This couldn't have waited? Why is she on Deck 2 and not in the med-bay?” Shepard asked, finding the AI's information unusual. Regardless, she got up and changed into a fresh pair of clothes.

“It is a matter regarding the health of a member of the crew.” EDI answered, causing Shepard's head to snap up.

“What happened.” She ordered, walking up the steps to her door.

“As I said, Dr. Chakwas is waiting to speak with you on Deck 2.” EDI stated, refusing to say anymore.

Shepard looked at the ball of light with a raised eyebrow. “EDI...”

The AI remained silent, causing Shepard to sigh. “Fine, I'll ask Dr. Chakwas.”

“Very well, Commander, logging you out.” The ball of light disappeared as the commander left the room.


As she existed the elevator, Dr. Chakwas walked over to her, clear worry on her older features. “Commander.”

“What happened? EDI wouldn't tell me a thing-”

“It's Joker.” Dr. Chakwas stopped her from continuing.

Shepard's eyes went wide. “What? What's wrong?”

“He's pushing himself, Commander. I've been trying for hours to convince him to get some sleep. Hell, I even ordered him, but he just waved me off. EDI notified me of his heart rate being up. At first, he assured me he was going to get some rest, but I came back an hour later and there he was. I had asked the other crewmen if anyone relieved him for a time, but they all told me he hasn't left. It's been hours since the Collectors ship, Commander. He hasn't eaten nor slept.” The doctor explained.

Shepard blinked at her. “Why is he so worked up? This isn't like Joker.”

The doctor nodded in agreement. “I know, but I'm afraid this was caused by almost losing the Normandy again.”

The commander sighed. “All right, I'll order him to take a break. If he doesn't obey, I'll carry him to bed.” She stated, moving past the doctor and towards the cockpit.

As she came up to the cockpit, there he was, body tense, staring at the screen before him, his hands still moving over the keys. Shepard crossed her arms over her chest, staring at the back of his chair. “Joker, what are you doing?”

“Flying the ship, what does it look like?” Joker said, trying to keep his voice light.

“Joker.”

His fingers finally paused on the controls. Holding in a sigh, he turned his chair around to face his commander. He had to blink a little, her image looking a little blurry. “Commander?”

She was studying him, at least, from what he could tell. Her face was unreadable, but maybe that was because he had trouble focusing on it. It wasn't an issue when he was piloting.

Joker looked at her with red eyes, tired from staring at the monitor for long periods and lack of sleep. He looked paler than she could remember him looking and he had bags under his eyes. His beard even looked scruffier than normal. “I hear you haven't taken a break.”

“Don't need it, Commander. I gotta keep an eye on things.” He stated, leaning back in his chair, in what he thought was a laid back way like normal, but the movement was sluggish and rough.

“How long do you think you can keep this up before you're drooling on the controls?”

Joker rolled his eyes. “That's not going to happen, Commander. I'd never drool on my baby.”

Her look didn't change. “Jeff, you need rest. I can't let my best pilot end up out of commission before or during our fight with the Collectors. I need you in the best shape. You're one of the few people here that I know I can count on.”

Joker stared at her hard, he thought over her words. “Yeah, I know, but I need to be here. I can't...”

Shepard's gaze softened a little. “I know you don't want to lose another Normandy and I won't let that happen. I don't want to lose her again either.”

“Yeah, but it's not just...” Joker sighed, glancing away from her. “You're right... I'll go get some shut eye.”

“Thanks, Joker.” She said, smiling a little as her arms dropped to her sides.

“Yeah, better go now before you throw me over your shoulder or something.” He said, slowly getting out of the chair.

A hand rested on her hip as she smirked a little at him. “Offer is on the table.” She teased.

Joker scoffed as he limped over to the doorway of the cockpit. “Unlike Alenko, Commander, I still have my pride.”

A small chuckle left her. “He was injured, Joker.”

“So? Still gave him grief over it.” He smirked, before a yawn escaped him. “Hmph... goodnight, Commander.”

“Night, Joker. Don't forget to eat when you first get up.”

“Okay, Mom.” Joker called over his shoulder as he made his way to the elevator.

Shepard smiled to herself and shook her head. Once he was on the elevator, Dr. Chakwas came up to her. “Thank you, Commander. I didn't think he would ever go to bed. I knew when EDI sent me the alert to come up here, it had to be something serious. I don't think Jeff has fully recovered from the destruction of the Normandy SR-1 and from losing you, Commander.”

Arina looked at her a little surprised. “What do you mean?”

“Well... come with me, there's too many ears here.” She said, before leading Arina to the elevator.

The doctor remained quiet in the elevator, not so much as a peep escaped her. It wasn't until they were safely in the Med Lab, behind closed doors did she finally speak once more. 

“Commander... has Jeff spoken to you about the events after the destruction of the original Normandy?”

“Only bits and pieces. How the Alliance separated everyone and didn't seem to care, and how the Council and everyone put the Reapers as a bad dream and decided the Geth were the enemy.” Shepard leaned against one of the beds as she spoke.

Chakwas nodded. “I see... I expected as much... Commander, Jeff suffers from “Survivors Guilt”... He hasn't said much about it anymore, seeing as you are alive again, but... he blamed himself for your death, Commander.”

“... He shouldn't though... I would have gone back for anyone.”

“But he does. He felt it was his fault the galaxy lost you.” Chakwas walked further up to her. “Arina... do you really think you would have gone back for anyone like you did Jeff?”

Shepard looked at her in shock. “Of course I would have! How can you think that?”

Chakwas shook her head. “You misunderstand. With the urgency you placed for him, would you have shown that for anyone else?”

She opened her mouth to state Kaidan, but the words fell off her lips. Kaidan was able to get off the ship without anyone's help... But Joker... “He couldn't have done it alone, Doc...”

“I know... And he didn't budge for anyone at all... only you, Arina.”

“I'm his commander.” She stated automatically.

“And I'm his doctor. You know as well as I do, titles have no real meaning in Jeff's eyes. Not the same way as it has been for you and I.” She said, moving over to Shepard's side. Leaning against the bed next to her, the doctor continued. “From what I can see, Jeff has more respect for you than any other being in the galaxy.... And also it seems to me, you see him as one of your closest allies, if not closest friend. You and Garrus are close, but it seems Joker is the one who can make you fully relax...”

Shepard sighed softly, closing her lavender colored eyes. The doctor's words hit something inside of her that she wasn't sure she was ready to think about.

“Just... think about what I said, Arina...”

She nodded, opening her eyes a little to glance at the doctor. “...I should go...”

Doctor Chakwas nodded. “Commander...” She said, moving silently back to her desk to work.

Deciding not to linger, Shepard left the Med Lab at a quick pace. As she moved to the elevator, she glanced at the door across from her, the door leading to the crew's quarters. Joker was sleeping in there... Or maybe he was sleeping somewhere else.

She shook her head, deciding to not worry about it. “I need a drink...” She mumbled, moving to the Port Observation Deck to pour a drink. Kasumi was usually fun to talk to.

____
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PostSubject: Re: Joker and Arina Shepard Moments   Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:32 pm

*Flashback to ME1, just after Arina Shepard becomes the second Human Spectre, youngest Spectre to date and to after Anderson gives her command of the Normandy SR-1.*

Arina stood behind the pilot of the Normandy SR-1 after speaking with all of the crew, old and new to the ship. What had originally been a simple covert pick up mission, drastically turned for the worse. Now, she was no longer just a soldier on board the Normandy.

She was now the captain... and a Council Spectre, sent off to chase down another Spectre who had gone rogue.

The youngest Spectre in history... The second human Spectre. Her sister had the honor of being the first human Spectre. Still... a lot of eyes were on her.

Arina was a War Hero with her battle on the Blitz, but that didn't matter to some people. A lot of the races, even her own included, were watching for her to fail. It had been hard for Vulpe Shepard when she first started out as a Spectre, but at least she had more experience, as people would say.

“Penny for your thoughts, Commander?”

“Hm?” She blinked, before turning her lavender eyes to her pilot, Joker. He was looking back at her curiously, but at the same time she could see some mirth in his eyes. A hint of a smile slipped on her features. “A penny is a pretty expensive item to give away. Even for a thought.”

Joker scoffed lightly. “Yeah, but it still sounds better than “a credit for your thoughts?” I could probably buy a thousand thoughts from you with a little historic coin.”

“Oh, I don't know, Joker. You really want to hear my thoughts?” A smirk appeared on her face, as she relaxed her stance a little.

Joker took notice. “I bet mine are worse than yours, Commander.”

Arina raised an eyebrow at him as she leaned on her hip. “You have something worse than images you can't understand that show nothing but chaos and destruction?”

“Uh... hmph, point taken.” He frowned, having forgotten about that little detail.

“That's what I thought.” She said, standing straight once more.

“Buuut, if that wasn't an issue, my thoughts would be worse.” He said, smirking back at her, silently trying to get her to relax once more.

“You are a man, Joker.”

“Oh, ho, ho, I see you have high regards to the male species.” He said sarcastically, but there was a smile.

Arina gave a nonchalant shrug, but had an air of smugness. “I do have a lot of experience, Moreau.”

He turned more in his seat, careful of how he turned so he could look fully at her. “Oh, you do?” He asked. “Bet you never dealt with a guy like me, Commander.” His eyes challenged hers.

The corner of her mouth twitched a little as she studied her pilot. “...Is that a challenge, Moreau?”

“Commander? Admiral Hackett is on the comm.”

“Thank you, Pressly.” Arina said, her voice and stance going back into commanding officer. “I should go.” She said, looking back at Joker as she started turning her body towards the Galaxy Map.

“All right, see ya, Commander.” He said, turning back around in his chair.

Arina walked away, mentally scolding herself. What was I thinking? “I do have a lot of experience”? Who says that? Ugh, he probably thinks I'm whore now or something... And “is that a challenge”? Why did I say that? Once she walked up to the comm, she pushed the thoughts to the back of her mind to think about later on.

Really, Jeff? What a way to come onto your new CO! Bet she thinks you're a jackass now... Joker thought as he sat in his pilot's chair. The moment he saw a new destination appear on his screen, he tossed all thoughts of the previous conversation aside and focused on flying the ship.
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PostSubject: Re: Joker and Arina Shepard Moments   Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:15 pm

“Shepard!” Liara shouted as soon as she was near the commander.

“The distress beacon is ready for launch.” Arina said, as she put her helmet on. Damn the fire was getting hot.

“Will the Alliance get here in time?” Liara asked, just before the burning ship shook. Arina caught the asari as she fell forward.

“They'll be here! We just have to hold on. Get everyone to the evacuation shuttles!” She ordered, grabbing a fire extinguisher, working on putting out the fires.

“Joker is still in the cockpit! He won't evacuate. I'm not leaving, either!” Liara stated, looking at Arina over her shoulder as she too worked on putting out the flames

“I need you to get everyone to the evac shuttles. I'll take care of Joker!” Arina moved to the hall.

“Arina...”

“Go! That's an order!” She shouted, not giving Liara any time to argue. She punched the button to send out the distress beacon.

“Aye, aye...” Liara said, clearly not happy, but did as she was told.

“Arina!” A voice called over the comm link in her helmet.

“Kaidan! Get to the evac shuttles! Get in contact with my sister!”

“I'm already there! Where are you?”

“I'm getting Joker, he's not evacuating.”

“Shit... You better make it off of there! I'll hold a shuttle for you.”

“I'll be fine. Just go!”

“Ari-”

“I gave you an order, Lieutenant!”

“...Yes, ma'am...”

Arina ended the link. Her priority was always to get make sure all of the crew was safe before worrying about herself. Didn't they know that? Was it hard to understand?

The commander ran through the hall, dodging the fire. “Mayday, mayday, mayday! This is SVV Normandy!” Joker's voice called out through the comm.

Damn it, Joker! She thought, hurrying her way to him.

We've suffered heavy damage from an unknown enemy!”

Joker! Get out of the cockpit!

Come on, baby. Hold together... hold together...”

The doors to the CIC opened and Arina immediately looked up at where the ceiling once been. “Damn...” She mumbled, seeing the planet they were currently hovering over. Slowly, she made her way to the cockpit, pushing a chair out of her way. It floated away from her and out of the ship.

Her breathing sounded so heavy in her mask, filling her ears as her heart rate picked up in speed. As she neared the cockpit, she could see the screen fizzing and sparking. As she walked through the barrier that had been placed she could see Joker's hands moving expertly across the damaged screens, still hoping and trying to save the ship.

“Come on, Joker! We have to get out of here!”

“No!” He shouted like a stubborn child at her. “I won't abandon the Normandy! I can still save her!”

“The Normandy's lost. Going down with the ship won't change that.” Damn it, you better see reason!

“Yeah, okay... help me up.” He said, causing her to let out a breath.

“Remind me to give you a big scolding later... after we have a few drinks...” Arina mumbled, as she moved to help him up, just before another explosion went off.

“They're coming round for another attack!”

“Damn it!” Arina shouted, grabbing Joker by the arm.

“Ah! Watch the arm!” Arina rolled her lavender eyes under her helmet.

“Did you just roll your eyes at me?” Joker asked, as they hurried to the shuttle.

Another explosion rocked the ship as Arina managed to get Joker into the shuttle. Losing her grip, she was almost pushed back, until she felt something grab her arm. Her eyes went wide when she saw Joker reaching out of the shuttle, grabbing her.

...Wait... this isn't how it happened... She thought, feeling confusion and surprise.

“Commander!” He called her, she remembered that part. Joker pulled her towards him, surprising her even further.

“I got ya, Shepard!” He said, managing to get her into the shuttle.

Maybe she was getting to see what would have happened if she had lived when the Normandy was destroyed?

Another jolt rocked the ship. This time, Arina grabbed onto the side of the shuttle, keeping herself in place. Quickly though, she felt Joker's grip on her slip. “Joker!” She shouted, seeing him stumble out of the shuttle and back onto the burning ship. Oh, God... No!

“Shepard!” He shouted, trying to grab her hand as she reached for him, only for him to be blown back further.

“JEFF!" She called out, just before the shuttle doors closed on their own. “Damn it! No! This wasn't how it was! JEFF!” The shuttle shot off as she pounded on the doors, demanding them to open again. The last image of Joker she saw, was of him struggling as the air in his mask quickly ran out.

Then the bright light from the Collectors' canon fired, blocking him from her sight.


Arina sat up quickly in her bed as a loud gasp left her. Her body was shaking as her lavender eyes stared widely ahead. Sweat covered her body, but a constant chill remained in her.

Why? Why had the dream changed? Ever since she had been brought back, Arina has continuously had the memory of the day the Normandy SR-1 was destroyed, coming to her in dream form. That day haunted her. Normally in the dream she would be trying to get Joker out of there quicker, trying to save them both. The dream/memory would skip around a lot, causing her to sometimes be in different places, some times in the point of view of her other crew members.

But... why had it all come in chronological order this time? The dream had almost felt as real as the actual event.

Why had the dream change the events of the ending? Why was she forced to watch Joker die while she was shot off to safety?

Her heart lurched in her chest.

Joker had been forced to watch her die...

The image of seeing him struggling for air resurfaced in her mind, making her feel fully awake and on high alert. Arina kicked the covers off of her, her legs feeling like jelly as they moved. Snatching up her pants from the ground, she slipped them on as she stood, before grabbing her N7 hoodie that Joker had gotten her.

Pausing a little, she looked down at the black hoodie. The red and white stripes on the arm looked exactly how it did on her original N7 armor...

Silently, she slipped the hoodie on over her black tank top. Making her way up the steps, she slipped on a pair of shoes, before giving Harley a pet as she slept in her desk chair. A soft purr came from the kitten as she continued to sleep, not noticing her human leaving the room.


As she exited the elevator on the CIC deck, bright lights greeted her. Very few people on the deck at the moment, considering it was technically the graveyard shift. She received a few greetings and salutes as she walked past the Galaxy Map.

The crew wasn't surprised to see her, Arina would come up at odd hours and start scanning planets as they waited for their next assignment. They all thought it was amazing and honorable that she was willing to lose some sleep over making sure they had the materials they needed for any upgrades to use against the Collectors.

What they didn't know was she usually had some sort of nightmare or couldn't even fall asleep. They didn't understand she came and scanned the planets to try and erase the images from her mind or try and make herself tired so she could actually fall asleep.

This night... was different. Arina's feet carried her straight to the cockpit, where she would sometimes go after scanning a few planets.

In the corner of her eyes, she could swear she was seeing fire around her. A constant fear kept her from looking up at the ceiling, afraid she would see stars and space instead of metal and lights.

“My board is green.” Joker's voice made it's way back to her. Instantly she felt herself relax. He was okay... he was alive...

“EDI, find us a fueling depot, we're gonna need to refuel before the next destination.” Joker said, moving his hands over the controls. “I don't want us go without any fuel. I hate just floating.”

“The closest fuel depot is in the Dakka system, located in the Nubian Expanse cluster.”

“Great... well we should have enough fuel to get us there before we run out... Uh... Commander?” Joker had glanced over his shoulder and had seen Arina standing there. Turning his chair around, he tossed her a smile. “Seems you're skipping a step to this, Commander. You normally scan the planets then pay me a visit.” He teased lightly, before he took in her appearance.

The smile dropped from his face. “Hey... you okay?”

Arina blinked, taking in that he was alive in front of her, before she realized he had asked her something. “Yeah, I'm... fine.”

He didn't look convinced. “Bad dream?” He asked, trying to not sound pushy. Joker had gotten used to her coming up there and mentioning to him in passing she either couldn't sleep or had a bad dream. Part of him wanted to press, but knew better of it. It's not like he told her about his own nightmares or anything.

“...Yeah... but I...” She moved over to him. “I don't want to talk about it...” She mumbled, before sitting on the divider.

“Hey, you know I'm not one to pry.” He said, turning back to the ship's controls.

Arina scoffed. “Yeah... sure.”

“Hey! When have I ever pried in your business?”

Arina gave him a look. “That moment between Kaidan and I, remember? You were spying.”

Joker scoffed. “Wha-? I was not “spying”! I had something important to tell you! Ain't my fault that Alenko had picked a bad time to get close to you.”

Arina gave him a tired lopsided smile. With a small sigh, she slipped off the divider and moved to the floor. Joker looked down at her with surprise as she rested against his chair next to his leg. “Uh...”

“Can I just...” She felt herself draining, but she knew the moment her head hit the pillow, she would have that nightmare again...

The nightmare of Joker dieing in her place...

“Sure, Commander...” Joker said softly, letting her know she didn't have to finish her thought.

Nodding a little, she rested her head back. “Thanks, Joker...”

“...Anytime...” He said, softly, moving his fingers back to the controls.

Arina closed her eyes, finding the sounds of Joker working the controls soothing. It hardly registered to her when he slipped a hand down and started to lightly massage her neck a little, his fingers slipping into her hair.

A small soft moan left her, as she turned her head a little, lightly resting it against Joker's leg.

Flight Ensign Carter made his way up to the cockpit, ready to relieve Flight Lieutenant Moreau for the next few hours. Whether Joker liked it or not, he was still human and needed sleep. Commander Shepard depended too much on the Flight Lieutenant for him to jeopardize his health.

Coming up to the pilot's chair, Ensign Carter stopped and saluted (he was still fairly new.) “Flight Ensign Carter here to relieve-”

“Shhh!” Carter blinked when Joker shushed him. Joker looked at him, not turning his chair like he normally would. Silently, the pilot pointed to something in front of him, causing Carter to frown in confusion.

Shifting a little, Carter noticed the large object that was leaning against the pilot's chair. It took him a moment before he realized he was looking at a sleeping Commander Shepard. “Uhh...” The lost Ensign looked at the Lieutenant.

“Come back later...” Joker mouthed, before nodding towards the door. “Shut that on the way out.”

Carter blinked before nodding slowly. As quietly as he could, Carter left the cockpit, closing the door behind him.

Joker relaxed the moment he heard the door close. Miranda can get over me staying on a little longer... He thought, looking down at Arina as she lightly snoozed against his leg.

A soft look appeared on his face, before he turned his focus back to the controls, one hand still resting in his commander's hair. His thumb lightly caressing her skin.


Okay... now my legs are starting to fall asleep... as if I don't have enough issues with walking... Joker thought, shifting a little. He hated to do it, seeing as she needed all of the sleep she could get, but he had to get Arina up.

Leaning down, he rubbed her arm softly. “Commander...” He spoke softly, not wanting to jolt her awake.

She didn't respond, however, so he tried again. Still no response from his CO. “Shepard?” She moved a little at that one, but settled right back down.

He sighed softly. “Arina?”

At hearing her name, Arina shifted, her brow furrowing a little. “...Hm?” She hummed softly.

Bingo... “Come on, Arina, it's time to get up. I can't stay in this seat forever.”

A soft sigh left her. “Mm.. kay...” She mumbled, moving to stand, only to stumble.

Joker cursed softly as he quickly caught her. “Eeeasy there, 'Rina...” He mumbled, easing her against the divider. Moving as quickly as he could without injuring himself, Joker got out of the chair. He looked at Arina, feeling impressed with how she was able to stand on her own, even with her eyes closed.

...Wait a minute... He thought, frowning. He waved a hand in front of her face, receiving no reaction. “Uh... Arina? Heeellooo?”

Suddenly, the door to the cockpit opened. Miranda Lawson walked in, not looking too pleased. “Joker, you were supposed to have been off an hour ago-”

That was when Arina started falling. “Shit!” Joker cursed, quickly catching the sleeping commander. “Damn it, Lawson. Real bad timing.” He said in a harsh whisper as he shifted Arina's weight.

Miranda blinked. “I thought Ensign Carter was making a bad joke when he said the commander had been sleeping with you in here.”

Joker looked at her oddly. “He said what now?”

“That's what I asked.”

He shook his head. “You know what? Never mind... Now, if you'll excuse me, I gotta see to it our commander doesn't end up falling and busting her head open.”

“...Don't you want Jacob or Garrus to take care-”

“Nope! I got it. Come on, Arina... that'a girl...” He spoke softly, getting Arina to start walking, easing her weight off of him. The crew watched silently as he lead her to the elevator.

The elevator doors opened, revealing Vulpe and Garrus. They stepped out of the elevator before noticing Joker and Arina. Vulpe blinked at the sight of her sister. “Jok-”

Joker put a finger to his lips, silently telling her to be quiet. “I got it, Commander V...” He whispered, moving past the Spectre and the Turian. “EDI, the Commander's cabin.” He said, the moment him and Arina were on the elevator.

The elevator doors closed, leaving the rest of the crew in silence.

Joker punched on the lock of the door, feeling relieved when it opened up to Arina's room.

“Mrow?” Harley greeted them, bounding up the steps and immediately started rubbing against their legs.

“Shoo! Harley, come oon, I gotta get Mommy to the bed...” He whispered to the yellow tabby. “Okay, come'on, 'Rina... Almost to the bed...” He mumbled, feeling Arina's head roll onto his shoulder.

“...Hm?” She moaned softly in his ear. He sent her a little glare that he knew she couldn't see because she still refused to open her eyes.

It was a little tricky getting Arina down the steps, but somehow Joker managed. “Okay, here we go...” Joker eased her down onto the bed. A frown appeared on his face when he noticed she was still wearing her N7 hoodie. “Okay... I don't think you want to sleep in that... Or in your shoes...”

He sighed. Was this what it was like to get a kid to bed?

He slipped her shoes off her feet, before moving to unzip her hoodie. When the zipper was all the way down, Arina groaned, causing Joker to freeze. When she started to thrash about he moved back, his hands in the air as if she was holding a gun to him.

Instead of doing what he had pictured her doing (which was something like kicking him and yelling at him for being in her room without permission and supposedly taking her clothes off of her...), Arina expertly took off her pants while staying in bed. After kicking the offending material off of her feet, Arina laid back down and relaxed, leaving Joker awkwardly standing there with his hands raised.

Uh... was the only thought that processed in his mind as he blinked down at his commander.

...Who knew she was into lacy underwear? He thought, before shaking his head. “Focus, Jeff...” he mumbled, trying to ignore the fact Arina was now only in the hoodie, a tight black tank top that seemed to show a lot more than he thought possible, and lacy lavender panties.

...It's official... I love the color lavender... He thought to himself, as he sat on the bed. “Come on... last thing to get off, 'Rina...” He softly coaxed her to sit up.

Arina obeyed, but ended up leaning against him the moment she sat up. Joker was pretty sure he was as red as her armor. Licking his dry lips, he carefully slipped the hoodie off of her arms. He almost breathed a sigh of relief, but stopped short when Arina seemed to snuggle closer to him.

“...You are not making this easy, Shepard...” He whispered softly, brushing some of her brown hair out of her face.

Staring down at her for a moment, he sighed softly, before gently leading her to lay back down on the bed. Without too much trouble, he got her under the covers. Harley jumped onto the bed and snuggled close to Arina, purring softly.

A soft smile came on his face, before Joker hung up Arina's hoodie. With a small sigh, he looked back at the sleeping woman from the top of the steps. Even from there he could see her scars glowing softly.

Without a word, he left the room, heading straight to the Crew Deck.

I need a drink... and a cold shower...


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