You only fail if you stop writing. Lesbian fiction in both 'fan' and 'original' flavours, made by hand in Taiwan. Now with 50% more other crap!
(Prompt by mirandaputsherbestbuttforward: Miranda is romantically involved with Commander Shepard, but when she’s with him, she can’t help but to think of that night when Jack came to her for advice and a shoulder to lean on, which turned to more than just comfort, but rather a sexual distraction. Now, Miranda’s questioning herself and where her feelings lie. Which is why she goes to Jack late in the night before the suicide mission.)
(I’m so bad at prompts you guys, I can’t even.)
Among Mad People
What was that? What the hell was that? What the fuck was that?
She genuinely liked him, that much at least she could feel good about. But to be honest, she thought it would be difficult for someone to truly dislike him. He had that fire, as she’d told him; he was charismatic, said the right things at the right times, inspired loyalty through action…he’d saved the bloody galaxy! His enemies, as had been said more than once, had a tendency to wind up dead.It had been fun, once. Flirtatious. She’d felt a mingling of gratitude for her sister’s safety and an oddly maternal sort of pride – she’d built him, brought him back from a charred husk to save the galaxy once more. There was a sliver of guilt in that; sometimes she wondered if the dead shouldn’t just be allowed to rest. Those three feelings had coalesced into an odd sort of attraction.
And that man, that undefeatable paragon of strength, needed her. It was a heady feeling, and one that kept her involved in their little back-and-forth for longer than she should have. By the time she realized that he was falling in love with her, she was at a loss: if she cut him loose, humanity could well suffer the consequences. Stringing him along wasn’t the honest path, but it was the only one she felt sure wouldn’t end in disaster.
And then he kissed her, and she didn’t know what to do. She pushed him away, hoping he wouldn’t take offense at her flustered shock, tried to play it off…and then when he left, she sank into her bed, put her head in her hands, and despaired. She supposed she could keep up the charade. It wasn’t as if they were likely to come back from the Collector homeworld, and it wasn’t as if she’d never slept with a man she didn’t care for.
But that had been honest, prearranged, with both parties fully aware of the other’s intentions. It had been clean and simple, the nail to scratch an irritating itch. This…this would not be.
Still, if that had been all she might have found a solution. She was exceptionally intelligent, and with limited variables it wasn’t too complex a situation. But of course, life was never quite that simple, and she had more than just Shepard on her mind.
- - - - - - - - - -
That was another situation that she’d fallen into unexpectedly – honestly, if she survived this mission she’d have to ask for an assignment that didn’t involve gallivanting across the galaxy with such…interesting people.
They’d clashed almost instantly upon meeting, there on Purgatory. If she turned the situation around, she could clearly see Jack’s side: if she’d seen her father’s ship in the docking bay in front of her, then turned to find his people behind her, she’d have been nasty too. She admitted the experiments conducted on the young woman were a mistake, no question. Still, she hadn’t felt any personal need to apologize until after seeing the Teltin facility for herself.
That plan had been derailed when Jack had flown into her quarters, overflowing with rage that even a “bigass bomb” hadn’t been able to vent, and had demanded an apology.
Nobody demands anything from Miranda Lawson.
Shepard had sided with her, of course, but it was hard to feel vindicated, caught between the only two people in the galaxy able to make her feel guilty. She’d shuffled Shepard off with the excuse of work – honestly, who has that much work? – and he’d left without complaint. As soon as systems indicated that he was back in the captain’s quarters, she’d beelined for the subdeck.
There’d been no fighting that time; neither of them wanted someone to call Shepard down on them like recalcitrant children. There had been a lot of cursing, mostly on Jack’s part, but eventually she quieted down and they shared an uneasy but peaceful silence for several moments.
“We’re a lot alike, you know.”
Jack had looked at her as if she were crazy, until she began to explain. That had been the beginning of a bad habit.
Jack almost never left the subdeck except for food and missions, so it always fell upon Miranda to join her below. They talked, they argued, they threatened each other, they poured out painful stories. Jack talked about Manara and ‘vandalism’ and prison bathrooms, Miranda about her own struggles, insecurities, secrets. She had always been a biotic, but she hadn’t always been so strong. Much of what she knew, she’d learned the hard way.
And then one day, something unexpected had come tumbling from Miranda’s lips: “I care about you.”
To say Jack hadn’t taken it well was an understatement. They’d argued.
“I’m not asking you to care about me! I just…I needed to say it, in case we don’t survive this. I don’t want any regrets.”
“Fuck you,” Jack had snapped in return, fists glowing blue, “This isn’t a girls’ club, and I don’t want your fucking ‘caring’. That shit’s nothing but trouble!”
“You can tell me not to say it,” Miranda finally ground out, on her way to the stairs, “But you can’t make me not feel it.”
She’d gotten halfway up to the engineering deck when she’d heard boots on the stairs and then a hand on her wrist, pulling her back down.
“Look, I…Murtock. A guy.” The story had come spilling out.
Miranda hadn’t known what to say. Jack had affected a distance from it, had denied any survivor’s guilt…any pain at all. It was all faked, of course, even the operative could tell that much. There had to be some words, somewhere…but Miranda couldn’t find them.
“I wish I could help,” she murmured, “But I can’t. I can’t fix it.”
“No shit,” came the muffled response, Jack’s head buried in her arms where she sat on the bed. “Yet another reason we wouldn’t work. You gonna bug out now?”
Jack turned her head just enough to allow one brown eye to find Miranda’s.
“As a suicide mission.” Miranda couldn’t help a small grin at her little joke, and when Jack’s shoulders hitched in a surprised grunt of laughter, her own spirits soared.
“That was the worst joke I’ve ever heard. Alright fine, you can keep hanging out down here. Just keep your mushy shit off of me, alright?”
The thrown salute and ‘yes ma’am!’ had been the final straw – Jack had burst out laughing.
- - - - - - - - - -
Back in the present, Miranda sighed and glanced up at her screens. Her introspection had eaten up almost all of her remaining time; they’d be at the derelict Reaper soon. She continued to watch the displays, showing the location of every crewmember on the ship, and gave a quiet sigh of relief when Shepard, Jack, and Grunt convened on the armory. She wasn’t sure she would have performed optimally in her current state of mind.
Not that the waiting was much better, even with life sign monitors and constant mission status updates. And when things went to hell, as they did so very frequently, it was all she could do not to join half the crew where they’d assembled by the airlock to receive the squad and their cargo. Instead, she went down to the meeting room – she needed to talk the Commander out of activating his newest toy and talk Jacob out of spacing it. She knew full well what each man would want, but it was her job to make sure everyone knew what Cerberus wanted: an intact geth.
- - - - - - - - - -
Later…it seemed like much later, but it wasn’t really. An activated geth, apparently called Legion, an integrated IFF, and a warning that it would need to be tested. She’d gathered the squad in the shuttle – she couldn’t decide now if that had been a good or a terrible idea. Maybe if they’d only taken a landing party, the others might have been able to fight off the Collectors. Statistically unlikely, but she was human after all and couldn’t help feeling that the crew’s fate was at least partially her fault.
Then there was a madcap jaunt into an active geth base. Once again she’d remained on the ship, since that mission obviously called for tech experts. If she hadn’t seen them in action before, she’d never have believed the petite Tali and Kasumi of being able to wreak such widespread havoc so quickly. The so-called ‘heretic’ geth attended to, they’d immediately hared off for the Omega 4 Relay.
Miranda hadn’t been sure how to feel about that, but that didn’t stop her from having something to say. The Cerberus party line was beginning to feel a bit dated, but, as always, it was her job to uphold it. In the end it was the Commander’s decision, and the course was logged. In just a few hours, they’d all be walking into almost certain death.
She was stuck, frozen between the possibilities. On one hand, the Commander wanted her, needed her…perhaps even loved her. He’d put himself in danger to help her and she owed him her gratitude, her loyalty. On the other hand, Jack didn’t want her, would rather stab her than admit to needing her, and forget love – the woman barely tolerated her. If she needed someone to distract her from the face of imminent death, the logical choice was clear. She got to her feet and started for the elevator.
The doors opened onto the engineering deck…and to the sight of Jack, one hand on the elevator call button. They both stopped, staring at each other for a long moment until the doors began to close of their own accord. Quickly slapping the door open key, Miranda stepped out and let the machine glide away silently.
Jack was the first to break the silence, turning her body away and crossing her arms over her chest. She sounded angry.
“What are you doing here? We’ve only got a few hours, I figured you’d be…upstairs. I heard you and Shepard have been pretty friendly lately, if you know what I mean.”
“I…” Once again, Miranda was at a loss for words. This had never happened so often before in her life. “I don’t want him,” she finally said, sounding lame even to herself. “I should! It makes sense for me to want him, but I…I don’t. For some damn stupid reason, all I want is you.”
“Damn,” Jack began, and Miranda lifted her eyes from the floor to take in the other woman. Was she smiling? “You sure know how to make a girl feel special, Cerberus!”
A little high on the idea that Jack might have changed her mind, Miranda shrugged. “I can’t waste all my best lines on the ones who don’t want me, after all.”
Jack just rolled her eyes and began to walk, presumably headed for her hidey-hole again. Miranda trailed after.
To her surprise, they strolled through the barren engineering room and into the drive core, where Jack stopped to lean in the doorway, looking up at the massive glowing sphere. Miranda needed Jack out of her line of sight; she needed to regain her composure. Hands on the core’s control panel, she stared sightlessly forward, thinking furiously.
She hadn’t planned to come to engineering – she’d climbed in the elevator with the intent of going to Shepard’s cabin. But she hadn’t been able to make herself press the right button, so when Jack summoned the elevator to the lowest deck, she’d been taken along for the ride. She shouldn’t have been here, shouldn’t have been tormenting herself like this before the most important mission of her life…but somehow she couldn’t walk away.
And then there was a body pressed to her back, hands slipping over her hips to spread across her belly, and a shaven head fell to rest against her shoulder.
“Even if we live,” Jack mumbled, “If we somehow survive this clusterfuck and have our whole lives in front of us, this probably won’t work.”
Miranda was paralyzed. Her body wouldn’t move, her throat barely worked. Her mind, on the other hand, was racing.
“I…I’m not asking you for a guarantee,” she finally said softly, even though everything in her wanted to scream ‘promise me you won’t die’.
“I mean like…shit like this never works out. You get too invested, you get sloppy, you get dead. Plus, in case you forgot, I’m a fucking psycho. Somebody’s gonna wind up hurt or dead, and it’s probably not gonna be me.”
“I don’t care.” Still paralyzed, at least Miranda’s voice had steadied – she was telling nothing but the simple unvarnished truth, and that made it easy.
Jack chuckled against her shoulder, and Miranda swore she felt the faint shadow of a kiss through the material.
“You’re as crazy as I am.”
Miranda grinned up at the drive core, blinking back the tears gathering in the corners of her eyes. She turned in Jack’s embrace, leaning back against the edge of the panel and settling her own hands on the other woman’s thin hips. Pulling their bodies flush, she bent her head to whisper past the biotic amp in Jack’s ear.
“Welcome aboard the Normandy SR-2, we’re all mad here.”