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“This is stupid,” Shepard declared, her eyes glowering, annoyed. 

The studio was large and mostly filled with equipment that didn’t make sense to her. Give her a weapon and point her at an enemy, no problem. But this? Cameras, lights, action? She didn’t know what to do with this. 

A long-suffering sigh, loud and audible, came from her commanding officer. “Just bear with it, it will be over soon,” Anderson assured as he pulled his hand over his face. 

Shepard paced like a tiger caged, her trademarked bright red hair weaved into a braid swung around her like a whip. Ten steps left, then ten steps right. Her emerald eyes flashed at anyone who dared looked in her direction.

“How soon is soon?” she demanded. “I’ve been here for hours!”

Anderson rolled his eyes and bit back yet another sigh. “So have I,” he pointed out, his patient fraying. “And I am here with you.”

She stopped pacing for a split second. Her face frozen as if slapped. Then the frown was back, her feet continued her ten steps pacing. “That will teach me to save a colony,” she muttered under her breath.

Anderson dumped the rest of his now cold coffee down his throat. There wasn’t enough caffeine in the world to deal with a Shepard bored and angry. Shaking his head, Anderson tried to smile and failed. Then a movement caught Anderson’s eye, Shepard was still pacing and growling under her breath, the photographer was waving his arms at him, signalling that they are ready for the fourth pose. 

Taking a deep breath, he turned to Shepard. “Come on, they’re ready for you.”

The tiger stopped. Going from an aimless aggression to a targeted one. Her eyes gleamed as her lips split to show her teeth, an almost gleeful smile on her face. Oh god, what have I done to deserve this?

“Be nice,” he said as Shepard walked towards the set. 

She rolled her eyes at him, looking for all the world like the 15-year-old he found half dead with a giant hole in her guts, the prime suspect for the murder of a bunch of gang members and still snarking at him. 

She wrenched the rifle from the photographer’s assistant. The asari winced and shied away from Shepard as if expecting to be hit for her troubles. Shepard might be rough but she was never cruel. At least not to anyone who didn’t really earned her ire unless he counted. 

Another assistant, a turian this time was directing Shepard. Anderson could see first confusion, then irritation flashed across her face. As the turian retreated, she stomped over to the tiny platform and green backdrop. 

Her voice loud and it carried. “This is dumb, why is my omni-tool on my left arm? Why am I holding an Avenger?”

The question was directed at nobody but her anger was like an electric charge sweeping through the room. Anderson saw the two assistants winced visibly. He sighed and walked over as fast as he could without actually looking like he was at his wits’ ends. 

“This isn’t about you. This is about recruiting more soldiers. Most damn soldiers are right handed, even though you are not,” he hissed. 

Shepard narrowed her eyes, the green made all the brighter under the lights. “But this isn’t even the weapon I used during the Blitz! This isn’t even fucking accurate,” she growled. 

“I know, I know,” he said, keeping one hand on Shepard’s arm. Her eyes flicked between his hand and his face in annoyance. He let go immediately. 

Where has that punk ass kid gone to? Anderson couldn’t believe he actually missed the days of Shepard as a kid.  

“Come on, work with me here. That’s just the standard issue rifle. Everyone recognises it.” he pointed out

Shepard’s brow knitted together, so hard it looked permanent. 

Anderson turned to the photographer and winced. The salarian was dressed in a suit of bright yellow and lime green. He could only guess that’s the latest high fashion wear imported directly from Surkesh. With a hand shielding his eyes, the light reflecting off the shiny suit a little too bright for his human eyes, he mouthed “Sorry.”

Shepard watched as the photographer nodded at Anderson. She bit back a growl of impatience. The salarian turned back to her and gave her a smile which she shattered with a scowl. 

He gulped visibly. “Ms Shepard, it’s just a couple more shots,” he said, his set of three camera bots followed him as he walked towards her, waiting for his commands. “then we are…”

The rest of the words died prematurely in his throat as Shepard glared at him. The photographer jerked his eyes over at Anderson. Shepard got to give credit where it’s due, the photographer took a deep shuddering breath and attempted again. 


Shepard snorted, and that’s was the end of his attempt. Anderson rolled his eyes and strode over. He stood with his hands on hips next to the photographer. The salarian took the hint and fire up his camera bots. They whirled about her. Shepard was attempted, fuck was she attempted, to sent a jolt of biotics at each one. 

“Come on,” Anderson cajoled. “Just pose for fuck’s sake.”

Her emerald eyes shot a glare at Anderson. He stared back, unfazed. “Here.” Anderson struck a pose. “Like this.” He stood with one leg behind the other, left arm held up at an angle and right arm mimicked holding a weapon.

Am I seeing what I’m seeing? Shepard stared unblinking, no longer frustrated but completely confused. 

Anderson dropped his hands to his side. His false cheer completely gone. “Do you want this to last longer than it already has?” he growled. “You think it’s fun babysitting you?”

Shepard sighed, a sound agitated and weary. Her body felt like lead, the hours standing and posing, taking a toll. She looked at Anderson who got back into the pose, her eyes losing the gleam from before. 

Shepard blinked once. Her feet shifted to match Anderson’s. She blinked twice. Her omni-blade buzzed as she awkwardly tapped the omni-tool on her left arm. Blinking thrice, she propped her Avenger on her elbow and struck the pose Anderson demonstrated. Her eyes flat, tired and done. Her lips pressed thin. 

Anderson perked up and yelled, “Hurry up!”

The bots whirled towards her and the lights flashed blinding her.