|Really, I love the chemistry you and that one male Shep have|
((I would assume we’re talking about this lovely Shepard right here since he’s the only one that I talk to…?
If so, then askldjfklsajdf thank you. I love our interactions as well, even if they are few and far between at times. I’m glad you enjoy them, Anon.))
Are you drunk?
Only it’s a half-lie because there is some kind of alcohol on his breath yet the look in his eyes is decidedly sober in that dangerous kind of way. John flicks the pool ball across the table with a mild irate flick of fingers.
“I’m off duty for this shift.”
As if that’s a valid explanation. Shepard rolls his neck and drags a thumb across the green felt in thought. Somehow it helped being here, staring out across the table as if envisioning how it all was suppose to play out.
Didn’t help he always managed to sink the eight ball without noticing.
The commando watched the commander move around without stumbling, the alcohol able to be smelled from across the table. The sight was something that he hated, the commander no longer having confidence in himself.
“You’ve been off duty for the past two hundred-something shifts. Isn’t it time you actually clock in?”
His fingers stopped the eight ball from falling in all the way, his eyes meeting John’s.
“I simply wanted to check on you. It’s been…too long.”
“More than just too long.”
John can’t help but agree. Hell, when he finally came to the conclusion to crawl out of seclusion there had been a beard stubbornly growing without his noticing until he looked in the mirror. Surprising really, just to see the broken man looking back at him. The soldier in him had rebelled at the mere thought that he was defeated in any way.
Maybe it was seeing himself in the mirror—seeing what he let himself become—that finally was enough of a push to have him accepting the fact everyone tried to convince him of; humanity needed soldiers and seeing as they were on short supply—
Well, Shepard figures he’ll be enough for now.
“We have work to do Vau,” he says. “Briefing at oh eight-hundred. Mission intel will be disclosed on a need to know basis. Apparently Alliance Command wants this kept quiet.”
The scruff is what had really indicated to Boss that time had passed both of them by and John had secluded himself. He feared that he was ‘broken,’ unwilling to show his face anymore because of some pedantic details that Boss didn’t see as applicable. They needed a leader and that’s what John was—or at least was supposed to be.
“That quiet of a mission, huh?” He disregarded the part of being referred to by his last name. “Guess it really must be a big target. Rather anxious to get back out there.”
“So you say.” It’s indulgent; John doesn’t believe Boss is quite correct but he won’t say as much. Instead he’ll drink his coffee and listen. “Temari is a capable leader,” he finds himself saying after a pause as if he needs to justify his apparent lack of presence as of late. People didn’t need to know he was compromised and his sister was playing favorites by simply keeping him on board.
Something close to a laugh slips free and his gaze lingered as if Boss was unfamiliar to him. Shepard shakes it though, brows knitting together as he quickly turned attention back down to his coffee. Clearing his throat, he nods, “There’s a planet on the outer reaches. Distress signal. As for our next move, well, it’s been quiet. Too quiet. The reapers aren’t stopping by any means but it’s like they’re holding back.” John frowns, fingers tightening around his mug briefly.
“Almost like they’re waiting for something.”
“So I know.” Boss hated how John always seemed to evade acknowledging the commando’s viewpoint. “She’s a capable leader, of course. And so are you. You just have to get in the habit of thinking that again.” And stop feeling sorry for yourself.
“A distress signal? Is there a message that goes with it or just a signal?” He frowned just slightly, letting his arms fall to his sides and shaking his head. “Sounds too familiar to something back home. Things quiet down for just a bit and then a full-scale invasion occurs.
“Have you thought about springing the trap, sir?”
|Boss/John till hell freezes over|
Temari is your commander now, Shepard wants to say yet the words stay lodged in his throat. It’s a mantra he’s repeated to himself and to the crew countless times over. He was merely a ghost now to them. “It was for the best,” John says instead because he can still feel Kaidan’s blood on his hands, he can still remember the feeling of Joker’s bones snapping under his hands.
It’ll be a long time until he’ll be okay. John doubts he ever will be.
“It’s the calm before the storm, Boss,” he says with a hint of a smile. There have been enough datapads passed in front of him to get a handle on what Temari is doing as well as the countless missions she’s sent the crew on. “Better to catch your breath instead of running yourself into the ground.”
“No, it most definitely not was for the best. There’s no point in hiding. No matter what your status is.”
Boss paused for a minute, shifting his weight between his legs, his arms crossing over his chest. If he didn’t know better, he would have thought that John’s appearance was a reluctant one. Something that he truly didn’t want to do. But there’s always a reason behind his actions.
“I’ve been through enough of that to last me a lifetime. So many storms and so many calms.” He smirked, just barely. Enough to let Shepard see his amusement. “Any word on our next move?”