Notes: the next chapter of "The Chosen and the Beloved" should be up by the end of the week, never fear!

So at one point, if you go down to the cargo bay to pester Zaeed enough, he'll refer to Jack as "a Hell of a girl". It was a totally throwaway line, but of course my shipping mind seized upon it and would not let me rest until I'd written this.
To be honest, I'm a little surprised there's so little fic of this pairing – they seem really compatible to me. Ah well.

Anyways, enjoy, and as always, I thrive on your feedback!



Jack finds herself seeing a lot of Thane and Garrus and Zaeed once Shepard starts assigning her to ground missions. She's not sure how she feels about this. Normally she works alone — only one she can trust is herself — but it's the price she's paying for getting dirt on Cerberus, so she sucks it up.

She decides pretty quick that she doesn't like Thane. Sure, he's funny, in a deadpan, quiet kinda way, but he's all 'noble' this, 'honor' that. He passed her having a lively discussion with Zaeed and Grunt once, boasting kills old and new, and said to them, "It isn't well to make light of death. Others' lives are not trophies to be taken at whim." He's way too uptight to be an assassin, Jack thinks; she's always imagined them being... well, cooler.

Garrus is okay. He used to be a cop, which puts her on edge until the 'used to be' part really sinks in. Sometimes she wonders how he got into it in the first place, especially when she finds them both laughing about the merc unfortunate enough to stand between an impatient Shepard and a thirtieth-story window. She catches his gaze and they grin at each other and the wariness of an unlikely alliance, brought about only by service to Shepard, dissipates. She doesn't think he'll stop sighing over the commander long enough for them to be friends, but at least there's another person in this stupid Girl Scout troupe that she can get along with.

Zaeed, she likes. He's loud and rough and just the right kind of cruel, and right from the beginning, they get along like a house on fire: raucous, deadly, and likely to collapse at any minute. Shepard must see this, because he starts being their range more often, picking off mooks from a distance while she and Shepard tear shit up with shotguns and shockwaves. Once, he catches Jack watching him as the shuttle bumps down through atmo and winks at her; and if watching him explode vorcha at two hundred meters hadn't been enough, this sure as hell is. It's like being punched in the stomach, and there's not one fucking thing she can do about it except grit her teeth, curl around her fingers, and try and pretend he's not three times her age. When he comes to Pragia with them, she gives up entirely; and he smells like smoke and blood and cheap bourbon, and Jack is suddenly idiotically glad for the lattice of ink that hides the bruises on her arms. She doesn't talk to him for a week afterwards, just makes it very clear to Shepard that she will be going to Zorya, and coughs something that might be an apology as she ducks into the shuttle. "Yeah," he says, and only that, but there's a smile in his voice; and, later, if someone from Engineering wanders into the cargo bay wondering if something's come loose, that'll just be a coincidence.