Across the Universe

Back to the Citadel

"I can't believe Shepard asked me to babysit you two," Ashley sighed, following behind me and Joker as we rolled/limped along. "Meanwhile, she's off with Vakarian and Alenko. Sometimes I feel like she never brings me along."

I shrugged my shoulders, spinning the wheels on my wheelchair. "Well, do you really want to be stuck with Sabs as she tells Udina why we need a new Mako?"

"Guess not," Ash replied, but she still seemed a little bit… absent.

Yeah, she was wishing that Sabrina had brought her along.

"Ash, are you feeling like a tomato?" I questioned her seriously. The soldier raised an eyebrow.

"What in the world are you talking about Kim?"

Joker turned his head to give me a similar expression. "Yeah CP, what?"

"Long ago tomatoes were classified as a vegetable. Then, over a century ago they were reclassified as a fruit," I explained. "To this day, there are people that completely reject the tomato as a fruit thus making it the most left out fruit. Ash feels sad because Sabrina never brings her along, so if Ash was a fruit she would be a tomato."

Ash ruffled my hair. "You're a tomato."

I scoffed. "I am not a tomato."

Joker snickered. "Yeah, she's not a tomato."

"Oh really? Then what fruit is she?" Ash asked him. I giggled at how serious we were about this topic.

"I don't know," Moreau grumbled. "Like, a strawberry or something."

"Oh, I can see that!" Ash exclaimed. "Because they're so small, and so is Kim."

"They're also really childish," the pilot added.

I huffed. "Yeah, well you're an orange that isn't ripe!" I shot back decisively.

He turned to look at me, appalled. "What? Yeah, no way."

"She's right," Ash agreed with a grin. "You are the unripened orange."

Good old Ash, always there to back me up. I nodded and smiled. "See? Even Ash can see that you're an unripened orange."

The three of us continued rolling, limping, and walking along. "What do you guys even mean when you say I'm an unripened orange?" Moreau asked us. We shrugged.

"You can't just explain it easily all the time," I replied. "For example, Sabrina is a dragonfruit. Wrex is a grapefruit… Tali would be a plum, Garrus seems like a lychee to me, and Kaidan is a peach," I shrugged. "You're an unripened orange. It just makes sense."

Ash looked up in thought, contemplating all my fruit comparisons. "Yeah, I can't really say why Tali's a plum or why Skipper is a dragonfruit. They just are. But with Kaidan, he's really sweet so… he's a peach."

"And he looks cute," I added with a wink.

"When you say things like that I start to realize how the rumors got started," Moreau stated, smirking even more when I scowled.

Me and Kaidan? Never going to happen. I was a strong supporter of him and Sabrina, especially if it kept Liara from chasing after my sister. THAT was a pairing that I would never approve of in a million years.

It was my NOTP.

"Again, he is not my love interest," I responded dryly. "Tali is my love interest. Tali gets all the points."

"That's the other rumor that's sprung up," Moreau teased.

I stuck out my tongue at him. "It's not like my feelings for her are serious, she knows I'm just kidding around. The love I have for her is purely friend love. It's better than love-love."

"Love-love?" Joker laughed in disbelief. "What are you, five?"

"I'm twenty-five," I deadpanned before completely changing the subject with a cheerful grin. "But yeah, so, pizza! This is going to be tasty."

"So the one-sided relationship topic is going away? Okay," Joker shrugged as we approached the pizza joint: Blue Moon Pizza.

I had researched the establishment for a good amount of time before we docked, and I was happy with my restaurant choice. One of the first human-owned restaurants on the citadel, and they were alien friendly (of course, they'd have to be on the Citadel), and… 4.5 star rating on the extranet!

So if it sucked, I was going to write a scalding review. It would be so scalding, that it would burn the 4.5 down to a 3.5.

Entering the place, I nodded in approval. The first thing I spotted was an asari waitress. The first thing I smelled was fresh pizza.

Fresh, delicious pizza.

…Good sign.

Silver and black booths and tables were placed neatly around the space, with some old style arcade games lining a wooden wall on the left side. The rest of the walls were a dark navy colour with some photographs of happy customers and the employee's hanging from them. From where we were standing I could see that on the back wall, 'Blue Moon Pizza' was painted in white, curvy letters. The lights glowed a lovely cyan hue, and the floor was dotted with a galaxy-like pattern. The place seemed fairly busy, and… oh cute! A turian kid!

Yeah, I liked the place. No, scratch that… so far I adored it.

"Aw CP, come on," Joker chuckled. "Get the stars out of your eyes."

Ashley snickered. "Cute, she's drooling."

I snapped out of my trance and wiped my face. "You saw nothing."

The asari smiled in amusement at our antics. "Table for 3?" She asked us.

"Yes please," Ash replied, mirroring the server's smile. "Hope that accommodating two cripples won't cause you too much trouble."

"Not at all!" The asari beamed. "Here at Blue Moon Pizza we pride ourselves in our ability to serve everyone, regardless of race, age, allergies, or disabilities. Right this way please!

My heart fluttered and an ecstatic grin grew on my lips as we followed the asari to our table. "I love this place," I sighed dreamily. Our server removed some chairs to make it easier for me, a male human employee coming over to help her out.

Joker chuckled, shaking his head at me. "Never thought I'd see someone fall in love with a restaurant."

"Shush you, you're ruining my moment," I remarked. The pilot rolled his eyes and took a seat, the male server pushing me in my wheelchair and setting me so I was right across from him. Once the two of us were seated, Ash took the chair next to Joker. Menus were handed to each of us and the male server that was helping the Asari clapped his hands together.

"Hello, my name's Dylan and I'll be your server today, can I offer you anything to drink?"

I glanced up to look at his face. He had stubble, a strong jaw, blonde hair, and green eyes. And a cute smile. "I'll just have water for now, thanks."

"Same," Ash agreed.

Moreau shrugged. "Well, if the girls are having water I guess I'll have that too."

"Three waters coming right up," Dylan announced before walking away from our table. As soon as he was out of earshot Joker leaned forward with a mischievous glint in his eyes.

"So CP, how many points did that guy get?" he questioned me. Ashley raised an eyebrow in confusion.

"What's he going on about?" the soldier asked me. I opened up my menu and decided to keep my attention elsewhere.

"Well, once me and Moreau got into the topic of my ideal guy, and our server just now pretty much fit the bill," I explained, scanning the different pizzas and flavours. "Do you guys wanna share a pizza or just go for the by the slice option?"

"Whoa whoa wait," Ash stopped me. "You and Joker were talking about your ideal guy and I wasn't there? Spill."

Joker laughed. "Blonde hair, green eyes, stubble but no beard. Looks to be in his twenties. What he's missing is an accent, and we can't tell if he has abs."

"Guys, slice option or split a pizza?" I repeated, feeling a blush begin to dust my cheeks. Why did I ever talk to Moreau about that stuff?

"Kim, this is important," Ash teased. "We found basically your perfect guy."

"But what would Tali think?" I whined. "Come on guys, just drop it. Please?" I begged. Sadly, that was when Dylan arrived with our waters. Joker smirked at me, and I was certain I could see devil horns poking out from his head.

"Excuse me, Dylan, right?" Joker started. Dylan nodded in confirmation. "See, we have reason to believe that you might be my friend, Kim here's," he pointed to me, "ideal man. We'd just like to ask you a few questioned to confirm."

Dylan glanced at me, amusement shining in his eyes and his smile widening as my blush darkened. "Well, of course."

"Sorry about this," I mumbled.

Our server shook his head, gentle smile on his face. "No, it's fine. I'm honored to be in consideration for a girl as beautiful as yourself."

"A smooth talker, huh?!" Ash laughed, totally on Joker's side for this one. My face burned five times hotter and I hid my face in my hands. Joker watched Dylan with a hint of annoyance.

"First of all, do you have abs? It's a very important feature," the pilot asked the other man seriously. "Secondly, how old are you?"

Dylan chuckled. "I have abs, and I'm twenty-four. Are you ready to order?"

"We'll need just a few more minutes," Joker grinned. When Dylan was out of earshot, the pilot turned to me with a raised eyebrow. "So? Is he a winner?" he inquired. I removed my hands from my face and glared at Moreau darkly.

"You're an ass," I stated.

Joker grinned. "I know."

Ash watched the two of us bicker for a minute before speaking up. "So, what kind of pizza do you guys want to split?"

"I like pepperoni with mushrooms!" I announced. Joker scrunched up his face in disgust.

"Mushrooms on pizza?" Moreau gagged. "Talk about ruining a good thing."

Ashley rolled her eyes and smiled. "It's not that bad. Okay, how's about this… We'll get two pizzas, Kim chooses one and you choose the other."

"Okay," Joker nodded. He scanned his menu. "I choose… the BBQ buffalo chicken pizza."

It was my turn to gag. "Chicken on pizza? What is wrong with you?" I grimaced. "I can understand chicken in a sandwich, or chicken with a mashed potato dinner… but on pizza?"

"This, coming from the girl who likes mushrooms on her pizza!" Joker exclaimed. "You're unbelievable."

"You're unbelievable!" I shot back with a hint of anger.

Ash rolled her eyes. "Break it up you two."

I huffed and crossed my arms. "I hate you both."

The female soldier sighed, leaning over the table and resting her head on her hands. "Now I know why Shepard asked me to babysit you two," she waved over Dylan. "We're ready to order!"

"What can I get for you guys?" Dylan asked us as he approached. He turned his gaze on me and I rubbed the back of my head awkwardly, averting my gaze.

"Um, large pepperoni mushroom pizza please," I requested softly. He nodded and jotted it down in his notepad before turning his gaze on Joker.

"Large BBQ buffalo chicken pizza," Joker told him. Dylan jotted it down and grinned.

"I'll get these ready for you folks in a jiffy," Dylan walked away, heading to the back (where I assumed the kitchen was located) while Joker changed our conversation topic.

"So, back on the topic of comparing people to fruit… I don't think Garrus is a lychee. Lychee's are sweet, but Garrus is always so angry," Joker shrugged. Ash and I gave the pilot equal looks of disbelief.

"Garrus? Angry?" I raised an eyebrow. "Garrus is so cool."

"Yeah, he doesn't really strike me as angry," Ash agreed. "I mean, the two of us spent a good amount of time with Garrus a couple days ago. He's serious, but fun to be around."

"I thought I was the fun one in our group," I joked. Ash let out a short laugh.

"Yes Kim, you're the fun one."

Joker adjusted his hat on his head. "Well, regardless, I think Vakarian's a kiwano."

I stared at the pilot in silence for a few minutes before leaning my head on my arms. "I've never even heard of that before. What the hell's a kiwano?"

Joker tapped a few buttons on his omni-tool to pull up a picture. I gaped in surprise when I saw it, it was all pokey, and orange, and the inside was green.

"Yeah that looks like an angry fruit," I stated. "But I don't know, Garrus doesn't really strike me as a kiwano… Though I agree that lychee's might be too sweet for Garrus!"

"Maybe we're focusing too much on fruits that look spikey, maybe we should try to consider fruits that aren't spikey," Ash suggested just as Dylan arrived with our pizzas. I licked my lips as the pepperoni mushroom was placed in front of me, and smirked mischievously as Joker looked at my pizza of choice and cringed.

"Want a slice Moreau?" I asked him sweetly. The pilot scowled.

"Never," he answered in disgust. I let out a giggle and took a slice for myself while Dylan set the chicken one down in front of Ashley and grinned at us.

"Hope you guys enjoy!" The server beamed at us before going to tend to other customers.

"We will!" Ash and I responded in unison, glancing at each other and giggling a bit. After that, Ash and Moreau both took from the chicken pizza (bleh) and the three of us began to eat.

"Why do you think that Garrus is an angry person anyways Moreau?" I questioned, taking a bite out of my pizza. "I mean, sure he's pretty serious but he's nice!"

Joker shrugged. "Yeah, well, he's a C-sec officer. All those guys have sticks up their asses, but Vakarian's worse because he's all about finding his own form of justice," the pilot explained. "And he's always so serious. All the time. Guy can't take a joke."

I shrugged. "Maybe he just can't take your jokes."

We ate in between bouts of banter, and once we were full we asked for the leftovers to be packed. When Dylan brought over the bill, I was the first to pull out my credit chit.

"I'm paying!" I announced, leaving no room for argument. Ash raised her arms in surrender while Joker grumpily put his chit away. I grinned up at Dylan, who smiled down at me as he scanned my chit to process the transaction. "Thank you very much Dylan, the food was delicious."

"It was a pleasure serving you," he replied kindly. "Want to swap omni-codes?"

I was taken aback by his forwardness and clumsily activated my omni-tool. "Sure! Sounds good, great! I'd love to!" I nearly squeaked in response.

Dylan chuckled, opening his and scanning my tool. "You're cute. Thanks a lot Kim, hope I'll hear from you soon."

Ash unlocked the wheels on my chair and began wheeling me out. I had the pizza sitting on my lap while Joker limped out behind us. "Kim got a boys number," the soldier teased. "I wonder how Skipper's going to react," Ash laughed as she pushed me.

"Maybe she'll shoot him," Joker grumbled as he limped behind us. Ash looked over her shoulder to smirk at him.

"What, are you unhappy that Kim's dream guy actually made a move?" she asked him.

"Of course not," Joker scoffed. "Just wondering if there's something wrong with him. I mean, CP? Cute? Even after I asked him about his abs?"

Ash grinned. "Sounds like you're jealous," she stated.

"Jealous?" Joker repeated incredulously. "Nope. Not a chance. I was just trying to embarrass CP."

I didn't pay any mind to the two of them as they bickered back and forth, instead staring at Dylan's contact into on my omni-tool. Very few guys had shown interest in me before, and I was incredibly shocked that he was still interested AFTER Joker had put him on the spot with his dumb questions.

"-Kim? Hello?" Ash snapped her fingers in front of my face and I shook off my trance.

"Yes?" I turned my head to look up at her in confusion.

"Shepard's on voice chat," Ash told me, amused.

I grinned and spoke up. "Hey Sabs! Whats up? You all done with Udina?"

"Yeah. We're heading over to Choras Den, why don't you three meet us there?" Shepard's voice rang from Ash's omni-tool. I nodded even though she couldn't see me.

"Yeah, sure! See you in a bit," I glanced at Ash and Joker to see if they were alright with that. They both nodded in approval.

"Shepard Out."

"So Kim, mind explaining why you were so out of it a minute ago?" the female soldier inquired. I felt my cheeks heat up slightly, and I smiled up at the soldier shyly.

"I've never really had a guy ask me for my omni-code before," I explained softly.

Joker snickered. "Yeah, go figure."

Ash shot him a glare before returning a friendly gaze to me. "Well I think it's cute. Are you going to message him?"

I scoffed. "Maybe, I don't know. I mean, I might," I began to stumble over my words. "He was pretty cute. He kind of had a Chris Hemsworth vibe… You know what? I'll ask Tali," I decided with a nod.

"You have such a girl crush," Ash rolled her eyes as she wheeled me towards the elevator. "Shouldn't take us too long to get to Choras Den. We're maybe five minutes away if Joker keeps up."

"Hey, hey! I didn't come out with you guys to break a leg," the pilot called. We laughed at him a bit, but slowed down. Eventually we made it to a darkened hallway, the one I think Tali and I went through to get to her meeting with Saren's assassins. Ash was pushing me through a doorway before we were stopped by some guy.

I stiffened up when his eyes widened in recognition. "Kim?" He called.

Ash leaned down to whisper in my ear. "You know this guy?"

The man grinned over at me, approaching us. "Kim! It's me, Finch, remember? You're in a wheelchair now? That's new. But you haven't changed a bit. Your face is still kiddish, your hair's still short…" he looked me up and down, eyes lingering on my chest. "Well, those are new too," he purred, stepping closer and reaching towards my chest.

Ash smacked his hand away. "Touch her and I'll tear your hand off."

"Hey buddy, mind keeping your hands to yourself? Joker growled, limping to stand beside me, Ashley staring the guy down.

He raised his hands in defense. "Whoa there, easy," he laughed. "Me and Kim go way back. She used to be our gang's mascot," he glanced down at me. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your new friends Kim? What would Ryan say if he saw you acting this way?" Finch mocked. I glared at him. "Fine, why don't the four of us go see Shepard? She's doing me a favor over at Choras Den."

"I find that hard to believe," Ashley muttered, wheeling me behind the creep. Joker limped quicker now, staying beside me. All three of us watched Finch with dark expressions on our faces.

I was so angry I couldn't even speak. The last time I saw that guy was a day before Sabrina took me to meet Damian, and Finch had beat me up for absolutely no reason. He said it was to keep me in my place, and that was the only reason Ryan hadn't shot him in the face for it.

Finch was the only one that beat me that didn't get shot. And that was only because he did a lot of good work for Ryan.

But thinking about the gang now, it just made me angry. Ryan had always been such a prick. All of them had been sadistic fuckers, and Sabrina was the only one that actually cared about me. Sure, Ryan used to tell me shit like how he was my big bro… but he didn't raise me. Sabrina did.

And Sabrina would have shot Finch for laying a finger on me.

"You still holding a grudge on me?" Finch questioned as Ash pushed me along. "Man, Shepard spoiled you way too much."

I refused to answer. Finally we entered Choras Den, saw Sabrina talk to a turian. "-named Finch wanted me to use my authority as a Spectre to free Curt Weissman."

"The xenophobe? I should have known he'd have friends," the turian sighed. "Thank you for the information. We'll increase the guard on his cell."

Finch clenched his fists and charged up to Sabrina. "I knew you'd rat us out Shepard!" he shouted. "Now it's payback time. When we're through telling our story, the aliens will all know what the first human Spectre really is!"

Sabrina pulled out her pistol and raised an eyebrow at Finch. "You know, I never liked you." She pulled the trigger, shooting the asshole right in the face. She holstered her gun and grinned down at Finch's dead body.

And then I rolled over it with my wheelchair.

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