Title: Final Visit
Game: Mass Effect 3
characters/pairing: MShep, Miranda
Disclaimer: I don't own mass effect
Miranda Lawson sat in John Shepard's cabin, staring into the darkness that now surrounded her. Glittering pockets of light flew past, exploding and imploding suns tearing themselves apart as the Normandy flew past silently. The only other source of light came from the neon blue fish tank, though it was sparse of any fish, the light still shone brightly illuminating one half of the cabin and bathing half of Miranda's face in a deep blue light. Cuts and bruises could easily be seen, thrown into full relief by the abnormally bright tank, but Miranda did not care. Wounds could be healed, she reasoned, no point worrying about them now, not after what the pain had been for. The reward had been far greater. Finally, after years of running, decades of hiding and fighting to stay safe, she was finally free. She was a dynasty no longer.
A small smile crept onto her face at the thought. It was so foreign, such an unknown concept, not to be trapped by his desires, his wishes. There had been nothing else her entire life, no matter how hard she'd tried to get away from it. He would always be there, at the back of her mind, controlling her life behind the scenes, causing her to run scared, to not get close to people, to shun everything other than her work in fear that it would be snatched away, pulled from her grasp like so much had before. It was strange to finally be rid of him but she didn't regret it. She could finally start rebuilding her life, or what was left of it. After she got Oriana to safety, after the war, she could breathe easy. If it wasn't her father controlling her life then it was something else, something bigger than her, something out of her control. She knew the Reapers had to be stopped, but she also knew what the cost might be.
The doors to the cabin hissed open, light blooming from the previously deactivated sources, as Commander John Shepard entered the room. Miranda didn't move, there was no point, he'd spotted her already. It was now or never. She needed to tell him. He didn't say anything as he walked slowly down the stairs, but in the now fully lit cabin she could see the small smile pulling at his lips as he saw her.
"Miranda," he said, clearly surprised. "I thought you were getting Oriana to safety, is she alright?"
"She's fine, John, nothing medi-gel can't fix." Miranda smiled. Trust him to be worried about Oriana with everything else going on in the galaxy. It was part of the reason she'd fallen for him, he cared. Unlike her father, unlike the Illusive Man, he really cared. She'd believed it to be a weakness, something that could easily be exploited but it was only now that she saw that it wasn't a weakness. She'd believed for so long that cutting herself would make her stronger, no attachments meant she wouldn't get hurt, but Shepard had something to fight for, something she'd been missing for almost all of her life. "I came to see you, actually, we might not have another chance once you go after Cerberus."
"The Reapers will know what we're planning to do," Shepard agreed with a small sigh, his face suddenly turning grim, the smile fading. "Whatever happens."
"It's not the end, John," Miranda said softly as he sat down in the chair next to her, staring at the floor. In that moment Miranda saw the distinct change in him, the toll that the war had taken on him, not only physically but mentally. Every day of the mission to stop the Collectors he had been positive, never accepting that the odds were stacked so highly against him the mission had been dubbed a 'suicide mission'. He inspired them to do more than the impossible, fought the Collectors and not only won, but came out with every crew member alive. Now though, that confidence, that assurance that he was going to win, that nothing could stop him from saving the galaxy, from defeating the Reapers, was gone. The light that had burned furiously in his eyes had extinguished, the death of so many friends, the sheer scope of his enemy now truly upon him, had caused him to lose the hope and the fight that had driven him to victory before. "You can do this, if anyone can it's you."
"What if that's not good enough this time, Miri," Shepard sighed, rubbing his tired eyes as he did so. "What if I can get us out of this? I couldn't save Thane or Mordin, what hope does the rest galaxy have?"
"You saved me," Miranda smiled, taking his hand in hers, gently rubbing her thumb across it. "And not just from my father. You showed me that I've got a life beyond my job, beyond Cerberus, away from my father. You..." Miranda felt her voice crack as the emotion that she'd kept locked away for so long, hidden from sight so that nobody could use it against her. But she had to tell him, he had to know. What good was being free if she lived the same? If she continued to keep people at arms length, to hide away what she really felt? She'd told him about the chip, she could tell him this. "You gave me something to live for, John. I've never told you but... I... I love you."
"I know, Miri," Shepard smiled softly, intertwining his fingers with hers. "I love you too."
He leant forwards and kissed her, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her towards him. She didn't fight it, but lost herself in his warm embrace. In that moment she felt safer than she had ever done before, all her worries that had been eating away at the back of her mind forgotten, the threat of the Reapers momentarily gone from her mind. All she wanted to do was keep Shepard with her, here, away from the war, away from the galaxy that had forced so much on both of them. She knew she couldn't, that he wouldn't stay, he wouldn't run from this. He'd stand and fight, no matter the cost, she just hoped he didn't give everything to his cause. She loved him, it wasn't until she'd said those words that she realised just how much and just how much she would lose if he didn't come back. He had to come back. Instead of voicing her fears, she pushed them away, ignoring them. She had this moment, this brief calm, she wasn't going to taint that.
Not now that she had truly and completely fallen in love with him.