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What Matters Most

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She’s always been able to tell when Jack walks into a room. She has this energy about her, this presence, one that is very unique to her. It also happens to be a little noisy at times, crashing its way into a room and announcing to everyone that she is here and she wants you to know about it.

That is how Myra Shepard first knows that Jack has managed to track her down.

There’s been a constant hum of chatter since she woke up here, one that’s never gone away, even in her sleep - not that she’d call what she’s been having sleep; more like medically induced naps. The sound of staff running around doing their jobs is ever present, even if it’s just the woman at the reception desk answering calls and people’s queries. Security make themselves known more regularly than Myra would like, keeping people away from this end of the ward and trying to keep their carefully curated air of calm. And the reason for so much security, curious well-wishers trying and failing to fight their way through to where Commander Shepard supposedly is - though by the hullabaloo she heard one time however long ago, someone got awfully close to succeeding.

The hum intensifies and Myra’s ears prick up. She hears security first, their voices low and calm and insistent. Then the nurse on the reception desk changes her tune. “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I can’t let you in there. It’s friends and family only.”

“I’m her girlfriend, damn it!”

A tense pause, followed by reluctant indecipherable muttering. Down the hall, Myra hears the groans and general noises of complaints from the people still not allowed anywhere near her room. Security’s low calm kicks up a notch to keep them in check. A voice breaks through it all, short and sharp and impatient. “Great. Now can I go in?”

Under better circumstances she’d try and make herself look a little more presentable. Brush her hair, fix her face a little. But there’s only so much you can do in a hospital bed besides make sure your ass isn’t hanging out of your gown, and sadly she’s not in a position to fix that either.

The light on the door changes from red to green and it slides open.

“You took your time.”

The tension dissipates.

Jack crosses the room in a few strides and throws her arms around Myra, holding her as tight as the tubes sticking into her will allow. A sob wracks through Jack’s body, then another and another, and soon she’s sobbing into the shoulder of Mrya’s hospital gown. Shepard tries to hush her, rubs her back comfortingly. “Hey, come on now. I’m fine. I’m right here.”

Then it finally hits her. She’s fine.

Her voice catches in her throat. “I’m fine. I’m not going anywhere, Jack.” And for the first time in too long she can finally mean it. No more Reapers, no more war. Just them. Alive.

She can finally relax.

Myra realises as something trickles down her nose that she’s crying now too, slow and steady and long overdue. All the stress of the war, of trying to fix everyone else’s messes so they’ll put their petty feuds aside to stand against the Reapers, all the What Ifs. It’s finally done.

She hadn’t realised how heavy her shoulders were until now.

They sit for what feels like hours, wrapped in each other’s arms and sobbing because they’re alive despite the odds, despite what had felt like empty promises meant only to placate and sooth the raw wound of a goodbye. When they finally unravel, they’re smiling, beaming despite the tears. Jack wipes the wetness from Myra’s face with her thumbs and takes a moment to simply look at that beautiful face of hers. That beautiful, bruised face who’s scars are finally starting to fade. That will finally have a chance to heal.

Jack presses a kiss to her forehead, lingers there a moment, then shifts so their foreheads are pressed together. She sighs in relief. “Didn’t I tell you it was a good idea?”

Myra hums questioningly.

“That tattoo I gave you. It worked, didn’t it? It brought you back to me.”

Myra decides not to be a smartass and mention that no one else knew about that tattoo, let alone could see it to identify her body under all that rubble. She doesn’t want to think about how long she was trapped under that mountain of concrete, or how intense the pain was before her body finally went numb to it all and she accepted that this was it. Because what matters is she got out alive. What matters is the woman in front of her.

Myra smiles. “Yeah, it did.”