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The Good Soldier

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“I rebuilt her, you know.” Miranda swirled the golden liquid in her glass, sapphire eyes flaring at the sight of the dancing Commander, the excitable woman’s body twisting, afro bouncing with each movement as she laughed at Joker’s terrible stumbling he considered ‘grooving to the music’. She spoke out to notice the shadow creeping closer from the darkened hallway that led from the kitchen, the face one she knew well from her early SR-1 dossiers of the crew.

 Miranda raised the crystal glass to her lips, the liquid soothing her unease at the brunette’s approach. She wondered when the two of them would stop capering around one other, those earth-brown eyes meeting hers more than once during Shepard’s stress relief party.  

And now the Alliance officer set her approach by sliding into the seat beside Miranda’s own. When the brunette didn’t offer a greeting, gulping down her own glass and avoiding eye contact, Miranda offered her own piece of conversation. “She’s my magnum opus. My grand, living masterpiece. A testament of my skills.” Miranda took another sip and quoted, “Speak to me of that beauty which the people interpret and define, each one according to his own conception; I have seen her honoured and worshipped in different ways and manner.”

“Khalil Gibran’s Before The Throne Of Beauty Xxvi .” Ashley sat her drink on the counter, fingers circling the rim of the glass while her eyes flickered up to Miranda’s veiled gaze. “I wasn’t aware you liked poetry.”

Miranda smirked, reflecting on the data Cerberus collected on Ashley Williams, spelled out in clear words in her file. Miranda knew every last detail of the woman, down to the small birthmark under her middle toe on her right foot. She prided herself on the art of information collection, always the upper hand in battle or conversation. But the confidence in which the soldier spoke to know Miranda amused the older woman, as though Williams researched her before her arrival.

Deciding it best to not comment on her extensive knowledge of the young woman, Miranda replied in way of greeting, “Lieutenant Commander Ashley Williams. I had wondered when we might meet in person.”

The young woman startled at that, though hid her reaction well by turning her head toward the dance floor, the blare of music muffling any noises that might have resulted in her surprise. “Miranda Lawson. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I came across your radar.”

“The woman who stood against Shepard.” The corners of Miranda’s lips tugged into a coy smile. “You had quite the reputation with Cerberus.”

Ashley’s gaze returned to her glass as she burst out laughing. “I’m sure, often accompanied by a string of words you can’t repeat, right?”

Miranda’s tongue flicked out to wet her lips, taking note of how Ashley pretended to ignore the action, though she crossed her legs tight, shifting higher on the stool. An interesting reaction coming from the otherwise put together soldier. Miranda allowed herself to slant to her left, her shoulder knocking into Ashley’s own, the LC nearly jumping out of her clothes at the gentle brush.

The older woman directed her lean, pressing into the pink-cheeked Alliance loyalist so that Miranda’s lips hovered close to Ashley’s ear. She resisted the urge to suck the lobe into her mouth, a quick nip in full view of her crew. “Not here, but if we went somewhere more private, I might be more willing to share.” She skimmed a finger over Ashley’s muscular thigh, a breathy sigh passing her parted lips as she drew her hand to Ashley neck. The Lieutenant Commander fought off a shiver at the wisp of a touch, Miranda tucking strands of the brunette’s silken hair behind her other ear. “Maybe indulge in your curiosity a little.”

Maybe Miranda was more than a little curious herself. Ashley Williams impressed on paper, in both skill and intelligence. Headstrong, beautiful, and unyielding to her morals, the ex-Cerberus operative found herself intrigued by the brunette to her left.

She rose to her feet, making a show of stretching out and enjoying the ravenous stare her audience member gave in return.”Shepard said to make ourselves at home.” Her eyes flickered out to the dance floor, energy buzzing as not a limb remained stationary.  With the crew occupied, she unhooked one of the buttons at the top of her blouse, a deeper line to her cleavage revealing itself. “I think I’ll take a bath. I heard Shepard has that nice jacuzzi tub in her master bath.”

Ashley didn’t move, though her eyes stuck to Miranda as the older woman climbed the stairs, each step slow and deliberate, a swing to her hips as she walked.

No one lingered upstairs, allowing Miranda to slip effortlessly into Shepard’s bedroom and to the bath. She took her time undressing, laying her clothes on the counter. The tub filled while she did so, water steaming and enticing. She didn’t know if the LC would take her obvious hint and join her, but Miranda hoped for the best as she eased herself down into the blessed bath. At the very least, she could enjoy this simple comfort.

The door opened, a wary Ashley entering the room. Miranda smiled, gliding through the water and tipping her head back for a kiss, one in which the LC delivered with gusto, lips soft and pliable against her own. Miranda’s damp hand reached out and gripped Ashley’s chin, prying her away for a hoarse, “Lock the door.”

Always the good soldier, Ashley did what she was told.