Title: Lost and Found Author: Dragonwyrd316 Game: Mass Effect 2 Characters/Pairing: F!Shepard/Joker Disclaimer: This is just for fun - BioWare owns all and I receive nothing but my own enjoyment by writing this.
A flash of impossibly long white blond hair trailed almost to the ground as the woman it belonged to was carried in a fireman's hold to the med bay as they sped away from Eden Prime. Blue-grey eyes awash with unshed tears as one of their own gave their life to destroy a cloning facility on Virmire. Strong arms wrapped around him as he was escorted to an escape pod, disappearing as he was strapped in, the final blast to the ship catapulting their owner into the void outside of the dying vessel. A struggling figure that quickly shrank from view as his pod hurtled away from the wreckage. These images and more were a constant companion in his sleeping hours. It had been over a year since he saw Kara Shepard get spaced, but he still couldn't get her out of his thoughts - or his heart. Even now he still mentally kicked himself for never admitting his feelings for her, even though he was sure she didn't return them.
Sighing, he rubbed the heel of his palm against his heart, the ache there worse than the ever present pounding in his head from yet another night spent in a bottle. He cracked an eye open then immediately shut it as sunlight crept through the part in the curtains to spear itself into his brain. Groaning, Joker struggled to crawl out of bed. He quickly attached the bracers to his legs, then swore a blue streak as he clumsily knocked over his crutches that had been leaning up against the bedside table. The resulting crash as they fell into a pile of empty liquor tubes screamed inside his head. With careful maneuvering, he picked them up and, with awkward slowness, made his way to the head to take care of business. He stared at himself in the mirror, barely recognizing the pale, gaunt face that looked back at him. His eyes were bloodshot and his facial hair looked like something even a vagrant would be too embarrassed to be seen with. Shrugging, he hobbled to the kitchen in the small apartment the Alliance had given him after they had ordered him grounded.
Green eyes surveyed the mess in the cramped space. Dirty dishes were piled everywhere ever since he had dismissed the cleaning service that had been hired for him. He turned to the cooling unit, opening it up, and grabbed for the jug of synthetic milk. As he uncapped it and brought it up to his lips to take a swig, the stench of spoiled dairy hit his nose and he shoved the container back into its spot on the shelf.
"You can't keep living like this, Joker," Anderson's voice crept toward him from the living area. Barely catching himself as he stumbled from shock, Joker crept out of the kitchen to look at his old captain.
"I'll live however I damn well please, Captain," Joker spit out.
"You're not helping yourself by hiding away from the world. And look at this place! I wouldn't be surprised if they had to condemn the building with the mess you have piled up in here."
"I'm not hiding from the world! I just don't want to be around people is all," Joker mumbled, not looking at Anderson as the man's words hit a bit too close to home.
"It won't bring her back, Joker," Anderson's voice was quiet and filled with sorrow.
"I know it won't! I saw her get spaced if you remember. They didn't have to freaking ground me though."
"Can you blame them for grounding you? You're not exactly the most stable element right now, Jeffrey Benjamin Moreau. How can they trust that you won't trash the first ship they put in your hands?"
"I would have been fine if they'd let me fly after I'd healed. But first it was excuses as to what my mental state must have been after seeing the Commander and the Normandy lost. Then it was excuses about my Vrolik's making me a less than stellar candidate, no matter the fact that I am the best damned pilot they've ever had. After that they made noises about how maybe if I'd been a fraction faster in executing evasive maneuvers that maybe the Normandy and Shepard would still be here. Y'know what? Fuck 'em!"
"I'm sorry, Joker " Anderson began.
"I don't need your apologies, Captain. I got dumped and that brown noser, Alenko, gets a damned promotion. I don't need them. They can keep their sub-standard flyboys."
"I know it's not fair. Unfortunately the Alliance listens to me just as well as the Council does lately - which means pretty much not at all. I wish there was something I could do."
"They've ripped apart everything she stood for! Used her for damned recruiting purposes until they began agreeing with the Council that the Reapers were nothing but a figment of Saren's imagination and then tucked her away like she was some sort of embarrassment! That's what's not fair! She deserves deserved better!"
Joker sighed and slumped into one of the overstuffed chairs, the living area surprisingly clean, minus a layer of dust, as he very rarely set foot in the room anymore. His eyes scanned the small pile of discs that he had recorded without Kara's knowledge, of her during each of their missions when he could get decent video feed, or just spending time relaxing with the rest of the Normandy crew. They were the reason he didn't step out of his room much lately, every image burned into his brain and shattering his composure any time he watched them. He glanced sideways at Anderson as the man situated himself in a chair beside the Flight Lieutenant, then down at his hands that were clasped tight between his knees.
"I agree. It's not right what they've done to her and the work she did to save them and the Citadel, but what am I supposed to do? I might be on the Council but I'm basically a commodity. They can point at me and tell the universe that humans have finally earned the respect needed to serve the greater good while ignoring our needs in the face of the other races. The Alliance treats me with a little more respect, but now that I'm no longer of their ranks, they've basically closed their doors to me too."
"So basically we busted our asses to save their lives and we get shit on, is that it, Captain? Screw the Council and the Alliance. I deserved better and so does did Kara."
He looked up from his hands over to the man sitting beside him.
"Why are you here, anyway?"
"Your doctor and Chakwas got a hold of me. They're worried about you since you haven't been reporting in for your treatments."
"What's the point? It's not like I'm going to be allowed to fly again."
"What would you do if you were to seriously injure yourself since you won't let anyone in? That's exactly what could happen if you don't continue with your treatments."
"Fine, fine, I'll go. Now will you leave me alone?"
"I'll be checking with your doctor to make sure you're actually going through with it, Joker. If you don't I might be forced to result to drastic measures that you won't like."
"Alright, alright! I said I'd go!"
Anderson looked at the young man beside him and sighed. Unfolding himself from the chair, he made his way to the door before turning to look back at Joker.
"I miss her too. You're not the only one grieving, young man. You might not realize this, but the day I received word of what happened, I felt as if I'd lost a daughter."
As Joker looked up to reply, the door shut silently behind Anderson, leaving him alone in the silent room. Laying his head in his hands, he let himself finally mourn the woman who had come to mean the world to him.
He wouldn't admit it to anyone, especially Anderson, but he did feel better now that he'd cleaned himself up and shaved. He just hated how fuzzy he felt after each treatment, even though he understood the need for the additional pain blockers. He'd tried it once without them and his body had cried for days. The agony had been excruciating.
Stumbling into his apartment, he stopped and sniffed the air, wrinkling his nose at the overpowering lemon scent that seemed to cling to the air. His eyes focused on the woman in the corner dusting the window sill.
"What the hell?" he muttered.
"Councilor Anderson hired my services to set your home back to rights. He said you'd been ill and couldn't manage the job on your own. I had hoped to be finished before you returned since he expressly stated that you weren't keen on personal interaction for the time being. He also had your cooling unit restocked," the maid replied, scurrying around the room to pick up her supplies. She bobbed her head to him then quickly let herself out of his apartment.
The message light was blinking on his comm. system. Sighing, Joker arranged himself in front of the console and accessed his messages. He frowned as the message wasn't from Anderson as he had expected, but instead was from some unknown sender. Spam more than likely, though he brought the message up on screen.
It has come to my attention that the Alliance has decided to waste the talents of an incredibly able pilot. I could use someone with your skills for an important mission I'm funding. I apologize for not going into too much detail at this time, but until I know you're interested and on board with this project, I cannot explain further.
Joker stared at the message for a long while, scratching his forehead under the brim of his cap before setting his fingers to the virtual keyboard in front of him.
Whoever you are,
I'm not going to just jump into your pockets without more information. It's true that the Alliance has grounded me and that I'd do anything to fly again, but until I know that your 'mission' isn't me just acting as a pilot for a puddle jumper escorting the rich and idiotic to their intended luxury vacation spots, I'm not going to give you the yes you're looking for. Sorry.
He smirked as he leaned back in his chair, then nearly jumped in surprise as the system beeped, signaling a new message.
That you wouldn't accept without more information speaks well of you. I would have doubted your mental capacity had you acted otherwise. Let's just say that this mission is a continuation of what you had been working on prior to your ship's demise. If you are interested or would like more information, please feel free to keep in contact. If you do sign up, as an added bonus to you, we have scientists who have been working on implants to assist with your Vrolik's disease. I have been assured that they will eliminate your need for the crutches and braces you must heavily rely on at this time.
"Holy " Joker whispered as he read and re-read the message. If he could pace, he'd be doing just that, as the message tugged at him. He knew that Kara wasn't coming back, but if what this person said was true, it might be a way for him to continue on in her memory. With difficulty, he stumbled his way to the kitchen and, opening the cooler, pulled out a tube of orange juice, downing half of it in almost a single gulp. His eyes kept returning to the alcove where the message still sat on the screen, his thoughts a jumble in his head. Replacing the cap back on the tube, he hobbled back to the chair, his fingers flying over the keyboard the moment his crutches were out of his hands.
Ok, you've got my attention. Not so much about the implants, though those are a nice touch, but about the rest. So you're going after the Reapers? If that's true, you've got yourself the best damned pilot that's ever been known to man. Anything I can do to continue what my friend had been working toward, I will do it.
After sending it off, he slumped in his chair as he suffered from an 'oh shit' moment. Torn between feeling relieved that he had committed himself to this and wanting to send another note back canceling the whole deal, he raised weary eyes to the console as yet another message appeared.
Welcome aboard. I will be sending a shuttle to collect you at 0900 hours tomorrow morning to take you to our medical facility to begin both your orientation and settling you in for the transplants. Pack light. We have everything you'll need here.
Joker looked around the pristine facility as he stepped away from the shuttle. Granted it was only the shuttle bay, but it was still impressive. Now that he was back on his own two feet, he surveyed the vehicle that brought him to the station, the symbol on the side giving him pause. It was the universal symbol for Cerberus, a well known human terrorist organization. He felt a moment of panic squeezing his chest, knowing how Kara felt about them. He turned as he saw a figure walking toward him, succeeding at keeping his mouth closed and his tongue firmly planted within, as the woman stopped in front of him. How she was able to keep the skin tight white uniform from bursting at the seams where her body curved was beyond him, but figuring it was smarter to keep quiet, he said nothing.
"Welcome, Mr. Moreau. I am Miranda Lawson. I will be giving you a brief tour of the facility as well as showing you to your room and answering any questions you might have. One of our medical specialists will meet with you later on this afternoon to explain the nature of your own procedure. My time with you will be brief as I have my own project that is taking up the majority of my attention."
Nodding, he followed behind her as she gave him a brief rundown of the nature of the facility, explaining that it was mainly a medical facility, though it dealt with one project and one project only - something called the Lazarus. He frowned as she stated that the success or failure of this project would decide the nature of his own role - whether or not they'd need a pilot to man the helm of a ship to go after the Reaper menace.
"Uh, excuse me but what exactly is this Lazarus project you're talking about? I think I deserve to know since you said my employment hinges on whether or not you can pull this off."
"Understood. If you would follow me?" she replied, leading him through a maze of hallways until they stood at a bank of windows overlooking the large med bay below.
Joker leaned forward and looked down into the room, almost squashing his face against the glass as he stared at the body laid out on the table.
"That's not funny. She's dead," he muttered, turning to look at the curvy brunette next to him.
"I assure you, it's Shepard. We recovered her body after the destruction of the Normandy and have been working night and day to restore her, to bring her back to life and the woman she was. So far we've been successful, but if she does not retain any of her original personality or thought processes, if she has changed, then this will be deemed a failure."
He turned back to the window and looked down at the woman laying on the table again, his fingers tracing the glass. He began to silently pray to every deity he could remember hearing of that the project succeeded. It became a litany in his mind throughout the next six months and twelve days, carrying him through the pain of his own implants and his removal to yet another facility while he went through physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in his legs.
He promised himself that if she pulled through this, he wouldn't make the mistake again of keeping his feelings hidden from the blond haired angel who haunted his dreams.
A/N: The cover art for this story was created by the amazing and she has been wonderful enough to give me permission to use her art for Lost and Found. You can find the full image here: [link]
The beginning of Joker and Kara Shepard's story. Here you get a bit of an insight into what Joker went through between the destruction of the Normandy and when they meet again after her reconstruction.
I hope you enjoy!
Kara Shepard is mine, everything else including Joker (damn) belongs to BioWare
I want to thank and for betaing this chapter. You two are just awesome!
Listened to this song quite a bit while writing this chapter - I think it speaks perfectly to what Joker was feeling: [link]
Finally, a decent, thought-provoking characterization of Joker. A Shoker pairing! YAY! I have to thank for bringing this story to my attention and now I will be following it. I got in so late it's probably already finished, but I will read each chapter faithfully. You really have the people down, even to the xtra-mail sounding like it came from TIM. Amazing! You have a new fan!
Thank you so much!! I fell in love with Joker from the first, including when he cock-blocked Kaidan in ME1 with one of my Sheps. While I didn't cover that game in the story, from that moment on, I knew Joker had to be the main love interest for a Shepard of mine and he's still one of my utmost favorite NPC's in the game.
And =Dinky-Mew is a fantastic friend and fellow artist so I'm glad she helped bring this to your attention. I can also honestly say that I'm not finished with the story - 22 chapters got these two through Mass Effect 2 and now we have 3 coming along. I had a move recently, so between that and trying to figure out how to start them off in the ME3 universe, I've taken a little over a month off in between chapter 22 and what I need to do in 23, so take all the time you need in reading the chapters and enjoying them. Hopefully you can access the story on archiveofourown.org that I linked to you earlier. If you can't, I'll find some way to toss the chapters you can't read on dA your way so you can still check them out!
OMG, you are such a sweetheart! I really didn't want to wait until June 17th to turn 19 to read the rest of your dynamite story! Always loved snarky Joker and wished there was more between him and Shep in the game. I mean, they have him end up with an AI and no option for Shep? WTF? Anyway, yeah and :jagespages: are fantastic. I think I shall add you to my growing list of friends unless that's too forward? I've been told I can be too enthusiastic. Now, I'm off to read more of your story. And I will comment on every one I promise. Pinky swear!
I am sorry it has taken me so long to get an in-depth comment about your work; I have been keeping up to date with the chapters, but I don't like to 'read and run' as I call it so am now working back through them for the second time to leave proper comments
You know, it's funny, I never thought of Joker as a romance option - not once. Having come to Mass Effect from my brother harrassing me to play it he warned me that I wouldn't like Joker because he was a douche, and I guess with that preconception I made sure I didn't like him in Mass Effect One. Then he started to grow on me in Mass Effect Two and by Three I couldn't imagine him not being in the game. ((Never stole me from Kaidan though :3))
My point being, initially he seemed a minor character to me, but your fanfiction makes him have such a larger presence in the games for me. I've never really thought about Joker beyond being a pilot - I love it when I read a fiction that makes me go away and think about it for ages and ages and then change the way I see things; and this does just that.
As for your writing, it is first class, as always <3
And I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get to your comment. Life has a funny way of sneaking up on us, doesn't it?
And y'know, in the first game, I never thought of Joker as a possible romance option - for the reasons your brother stated. He came off very prickly, stand-offish, and as a bit of a douche - though he did have his redeemable moments (especially when Shepard first takes control of the Normandy and then his reaction, depending on your responses, to the one left behind on Virmire). When I started playing 2 and you could really interact with him more, I began to see the possibilities and by the end of the game, I was so hooked on him. With 3, I so wanted him as an option and get the shivers every time he talks about EDI (though his convo with Mordin while that fantastic salarian is on the Normandy, in regards to EDI, is quite hilarious).
I'm really glad my fic helps to bring him more to life and give you a different angle to look at him with. I think, in a way, BioWare really messed him up in 3 because they gave him such a huge part in 2 (even if it was just listening to his off the wall comments while standing behind him) and then pared him down because of the whole 'EDI has a body now' addition to the game. It became less about him and more about the two of them.
Okay, enough of my rambling! Thanks again for your awesome comment!
away time is back
:D! This time I've
got 1500pts to give
away c:The last
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A few days ago we
had a chat to
issues and solutions
(see the original
thanks to everyone
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took 45 minutes for
the volume of talk
to max out Sta.sh
limit and this chat
went for two more
Even though summer
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OMG I'M CHILLY." .
would rather blast
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There are ten days
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More