Summary: For Shepard, death is just another technicality.
Warnings: Injury and unreality.
Previously on Ghost: Shepard was thawed successfully from the black water, though her recovery will be complicated by the damage done to her eyes. Miranda confronted her own worst memory while waiting for the revival process to finish, and not even Garrus’ return could fully reassure her. But Shepard’s awake, so that’s something. Right?
Her crew was safe. Garrus was safe. Everything else — the cold, the pain cracking her left arm in half — could be dealt with later. Shepard could barely move, her throat burned, and she didn’t want to think about her eyes, but her people were safe. For the next couple heartbeats, that would be enough to let her ignore how uneasily she sat inside her own body.
Shepard remembered Garrus’ hands in hers, a fleeting touch, and saw him in her mind’s eyes, keen and bright as the edge of a knife, the base spread out behind him. Her relief sharpened. She’d made it back over the line again, holding on with nails and teeth to what she learned on the other side. She’d gotten that one thing right, and now she could rest. Her body would catch up. For now, it was enough to remind herself how to breathe, and to feel her heart beat in her cold, stricken chest.
A door opened nearby. Reflexively, Shepard turned — twitched, really — her head toward the sound, and strained to hear.
“Officer Vakarian,” said Miranda. Was that relief, in Miranda’s voice? Wonders never ceased. “Welcome back. I trust your errand was successful.”
A noise that could have been a sigh or a laugh floated down toward Shepard. She tried to brace her good arm against the bottom of the pod to leverage herself up, but her muscles wouldn’t obey, and she stayed where she was, gritting her teeth as the thermal blanket caught on her wet skin. This was a thousand times worse than waking up half-finished back on Lazarus Station; at least then she’d been able to stand the layers of muscle wrapped around her bones. Now she wanted tear off patches of slippery, clammy skin, and make sure she bled actual blood instead of black water.
That’s not a healthy approach, commander, she thought, and felt the last word echo through her skull. Commander. Commander.
“You could say that,” Garrus said, his voice warm against her ears. God, Shepard wanted to see him so badly her mouth went dry. “How is she?”
“I’m fine,” Shepard tried to say, but something ripped the words out of her throat before she could open her mouth, and a stark-white shriek of lightning hit her spine.
Hello, commander. It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken, hasn’t it?
Let’s get started. You need to know how little you brought back with you this time.
The Joker finally has Batman’s attention, but he doesn’t know what to do with it. His excuse for the kiss/bite is that a few wires got crossed in his excitement. That excuse will feel a lot more flimsy the second time it happens.
Batman’s excuse is that he didn’t expect to need his anti-kiss defenses around the Joker. That excuse will also feel a lot more flimsy the second time.
Ivy has never been greener. Joker makes a point to rub it in every time they cross paths.