Jane sat on a cot waiting her turn for the doctor. Mordin had tried to escape after Garrus left but Jane had grabbed his hand and pulled him down beside her. He huffed a bit but decided a moment of rest might not be a bad idea. They watched as Dr. Chakwas tried to tend to a wound on Grunt's face.

"I don't need anything. It's fine," the krogan growled at the doctor.

"At least let me put some stitches in. I promise it will still scar but it will heal faster."

"No, I don't want a nice neat scar. It needs to be large and ragged looking. Those are the kind that impress the females."

"Fine. But come see me if it starts to fester."

Grunt laughed, "I should be so lucky. Good fight Shepard! Can't wait for the next enemy to show their face!"

Dr. Chakwas shook her head after the krogan left and turned to Shepard and Mordin. She scanned the couple where they rested against each other.

"Some muscle strain, some bruising and fatigue but overall nothing that a good hot meal and some rest won't fix. Well done Shepard."

"Thanks, but I had a lot of help. Anyone else besides Grunt hurt?"

"Mostly minor things. Grunt was the worst but he insisted on waiting."

Jane chuckled, "Yeah I'm sure he was afraid you would heal up his first battle scar."

"No doubt. Alright, you two are free to go just promise me you'll grab something to eat before you do anything else."

Together they left the med-bay and made their way to the mess hall. No one sat in any of the chairs, even Gardner was absent. Bins of ration bars were placed on the counter along with containers of water.

"I'd better go see how bad the damage is. I'll try and catch up to you later."

Mordin tossed several rations at her. "Look forward to later then."

Munching on one of the bars that Mordin had thrown her, Jane rode the elevator down to the belly of the ship. The area bustled with activity as her crew worked hard on slapping patches on the damage they couldn't fix while in space. Even her squad could be seen lending a hand moving debris if they weren't up to the technical end of things. She heard the shuffling gait that could only be Joker and turned to find him bearing down on her with a datapad in hand.

"Here's all the readings EDI got from the base."

"Great. But if you're here, who's flying the ship?"

"I let EDI have the helm. What's next?"

"Can the ship make it to the Citadel as is?"

"I think so, if we make a series of smaller jumps that won't stress the systems as much."

"Do it. I would rather not bring a damaged Normandy in at Omega or Illium and get the scavengers into a feeding frenzy."

"Got it. I'll head back up and begin plotting our course. Oh and the Illusive Man requested that you call him. I told him you were in the med-bay."

Jane groaned, "Ok, thanks for buying me some time."

"Seemed the least I could do since I couldn't actually hang up on him earlier."

Jane seethed at the Illusive Man's arrogance. He had spent billions of credits bringing her back to fight a foe few believed in but yet he refused to listen to her advice now. She had been at the Battle for the Citadel and she had seen the Reaper being built on the base. There were few who knew them better than she did and they were mainly on the ship with her. Now it was more urgent then ever that they make the Citadel before Cerberus could come after them.

"You ok Shepard?" Joker's voice rang through the room.

"Yeah, can you get a secure channel to Hackett now?"

"One moment."

The holo screen flickered to life once more and the grizzled admiral appeared before Jane.

"Commander, I assume the Collectors will no longer be a problem and you are ready to return to Earth now?"

"Yes sir. We are en route to the Citadel now to drop off those crew members that don't wish to travel to Earth."

"Good, what's your ETA?"

"A couple of days, the Normandy took a beating but she is still flying. If repairs delay us any further I'll let you know. I assume you got the information I forwarded to Anderson in case we didn't make it back?"


"Good, I've got more information from the base. I made copies of all the data and am giving it out to various crew members to bring back to their home worlds. After the Bahak system, everyone needs to know we are on borrowed time."

"We can discuss it further when you return to the Alliance. Hackett out."

The image fizzled away leaving Jane with a bad feeling.

Her cabin had never seemed so welcoming as it did now. Of course, it would be even better once she got a certain salarian up to her quarters. A quick shower to wash away as much of that dammed base as she could before she threw on the sleep shorts and tee-shirt she wore to bed. She headed back to her desk to activate the comm system and ping Mordin down in his lab.

"Hey Mordin, all done with my calls. Feel like relaxing and watching a vid with me?"

"Of course, I'll be there as soon as I finish putting away some materials."

Jane turned down the lights and reclined on the bed. She pulled up the space vid they hadn't finished the last time they were together. The swoosh of the door opening announced his arrival. He discarded his jacket and removed his shoes before joining her. He looked as tired as she felt, and with a heartfelt groan he reclined next to her. She didn't think either of them would end up seeing much of the vid. But that was fine, knowing that they were both safe, here, at this moment that was enough.

She snuggled closer to him and he wrapped an arm around her. The voices droned around her and her eyelids drooped lower and lower.

"Commander, you have an incoming call from a Captain Shepard," EDI announced.

"Aw crap."

Mordin chuckled at Jane's obvious discomfort. She nearly fell when she bolted from the bed trying to reach her terminal before her mother got impatient. The console lit up showing her mother on the other end.

"Uh hi Mom."

"Really? Is that the best you can do? You didn't even answer my letter, but I happened to catch you on the news with that reporter. So you have time to talk to her but not your own mother?"

"Sorry Mom. I was going to but."

"But what?"

"I didn't want you to worry."

"Honey, I worry more when I don't hear anything from you."

"I know but I'll be returning to the Alliance soon and we can talk more. Well assuming Hackett lets you, he's been kind of vague on how much I'll be able to do after I get back."

"I'd like to see him try to stop me," Hannah replied gruffly.

Mordin was torn between wanting to escape and fascinated between the exchange between the infamous Commander Shepard and her mom. Catching Jane's eyes he mouthed, 'should I go' to her while pointing to the door. Jane mouthed 'no' back to Mordin.

"And you have someone with you."

"Yeah, so can I call you back tomorrow? It's been a long day."

"And you just turned that lovely shade of pink that signals you're embarrassed your mother caught you with a boy in your room."

"I'm not fifteen anymore, and he's not a boy. Oh hell, Mordin might as well come say hi to my mother before she glares me into it."

Hannah Shepard laughed, "I'll let you go now dear. Now that I've thoroughly embarrassed you. Love you and please try and call me or message me more than once every few years."

Jane let a relieved breath out. "Love you too Mom. I'll definitely try to and keep in contact better from now on."

Mordin laughed as he watched Jane run back and leap into the bed. She thrust her head under a pillow, Mordin lifted one edge up to peer at his lover.

"Fascinating. The only force in the galaxy you fear is your mother."

"I don't know how she does it but she can reduce me to the mental state of a ten year old with her hand caught in the cookie jar."

"The Shepard women must be a fearsome force for the Alliance."

Jane rolled out from under the pillow chuckling.

"Anderson used to say that the only thing he feared is if the two of us united because the galaxy would tremble in our wake. And my Mom took pity on you, eventually you will have to meet her."

"Faced a charging krogan with only a pistol, think I can handle an evening with your mother."

"That's a warm up for meeting my Mom. Call it a night or you want to watch some more of that vid?"

"Sleep, then will have energy for more entertaining things."

"I like the way you think."

Two figures stood on the gangway where most of the crew had already followed down and onto the Citadel. Behind them, the Normandy seemed so desolate now. The ship had been patched up as best as they could after returning from the other side of the Omega-four relay. Mordin stood at Jane's side while they watched a crew of workers try to do a few last minute repairs. Jane turned and pressed into Mordin's hands a disc, much like ones she had given to others of her crew.

"Give it to whoever you think might be able to prepare your people for the Reapers."

Mordin tucked the disc into a pocket.

"Will miss you. Will be strange to be alone again."

Jane threw her arms around Mordin and burrowed her face into the side of his neck.

"God I'm going to miss you. And I've already been warned that my communications will be limited, as they put it. So I don't know if I'll even be able to send you any messages."

Mordin tucked his face into Jane's hair. One hand cradled the back of her head, the other held her close to him.

"Don't worry. I'll get messages into you."

"I don't see how."

Mordin snorted, "Really, have contacts all over the galaxy, owed favors, shouldn't be problematic. Will wait for you, however long it takes. And if you need to, ah, be liberated, can take care of that too. Sure I can find others willing to help as well."

"I'll, uh, let you know. Hopefully the Alliance will listen, if not." Jane let that thought trail off. "No matter what happens I want you to know that you're the best thing that has happened to me in a long time."

"Was honored when you asked me to join you against the Collectors but being asked to be a part of your life has been more than I ever expected. Send word when you are free and I'll arrange to join you."

"If you don't mind, I'd love for you to meet my Mom before the galaxy goes to hell. Uh, your family won't have a problem with us, will they?"

"Would like to meet your mother. As for me, irrelevant what they think, past age for breeding contract, considered too eccentric anyway. Would like to introduce you to my favorite nephew though. Following in my foot steps, might as well corrupt him all the way," Mordin laughed.

Jane smiled at him. "Deal, we'll corrupt your nephew and you get to meet the steely gaze of my Mom."

Jane's fingers ghosted along the side of his face, a face that had become dear to her in such a short time. His lips quirked up in that grin of his that she loved, part mischief, part joy and uniquely his. A soft tug from her and then their mouths met and the heat brought a rush of delight to her. And when the soft moan escaped him she knew he wasn't unaffected. Jane blocked out everything but this moment; knowing it would have to last her for awhile. The slightly astringent smell of his skin from too much time in a lab, to the warm, buttery soft skin on his neck that she loved to kiss, and the heat of their bodies where they pressed against each other. They were all filed away into her memory, something to savor for later. She reluctantly broke the contact between them.

"You better go before I kidnap you and take you to Earth with me."

"Have only to ask and I will willingly go with you."

"I need you on the outside trying to motivate everyone. Besides if you are with me on Earth, who will break us out?"

Mordin nodded, his eyes solemn. He shouldered his bag and walked slowly down the gangplank. Jane watched until she could no longer see him then she shut the hatch finally before she headed to the cockpit.

"As soon as we are cleared, head us to Earth, Joker."

"Aye-aye Commander."