#84 Out Cold
In all actuality, she’d expected Liara or Garrus. Maybe Chakwas, though the doc didn’t wander so much now that her med bay was empty again. The lack of that salarian doctor and his krogan patient freed up a lot of space in there.
But no, the person she found sitting under the lone light in the mess hall at an ungodly hour of the night shift was pretty much the last person she’d expect to ever be caught dead asleep at a table.
Shepard. Graceful as always, had face planted on the stack of datapads in front of him. A cup of what was once coffee was just out of arm’s reach. As was a piece of one of his shotguns. Ash actually came to a complete stop, fully expecting him to turn around and give her that cold unnerving stare she’d grown so accustomed to since rejoining the Normandy crew. A few moments pause saw no change in the Commander, save for the steady, deep breathing of true and utter exhaustion.
She debated briefly if that midnight snack was worth potentially rousing Shepard; she knew he hated being caught unawares and it seemed that in his two year absence that twitchy paranoia had only become more severe. She’d almost convinced herself that she should just walk away, her case of the munchies be damned, when she noticed the faint glow of red on Shepard’s arms.
He was wearing a t-shirt, which in and of itself wouldn’t be so strange if it weren’t for the fact that the Commander was never seen out of armor or Alliance jackets. Come to think of it….anything with long sleeves.
Ash realized with a start that the scars were remnants of Cerberus’ resurrection project. The glow was from the aggravated cybernetics interwoven beneath his skin. It brought to the front the very fresh memory of their reunion on Horizon a year previous, and the million different ways she wished it could’ve been different.
She hadn’t been lying. She had loved him. She believed he’d loved her back, in his own way. Now though…..now she wasn’t so sure her Shepard had come back at all.
Regardless, she took the few steps to close the distance between her and the Commander, and gently readjusted the jacket hung on the back of the chair so it sat over his shoulders as an awkward blanket. It didn’t cover the scars completely, but it muted their glow enough to make them less obvious.
Shepard didn’t even twitch, his mind passed out cold.
“Night, Skipper,” she whispered, and turned back to continue her rounds.
And the final version of this one. Plus some story snippets. Ended up totally redoing Ash from the last version since the pose seemed off-kiltered.