Lost Among the Stars

I am a HUGE fan of the Mass effect games, but I was so mad that you couldn't romance Joker. So, I decided to write a little fanfiction for all those Joker lovers out there!

Julianna Shepard: Alliance hero, commander of the Normandy, and currently dead. Joker couldn't believe it. He didn't think anything could kill that woman. Then Cerberus contacted him and offered him a job flying the NEW Normandy under the command of Shepard herself. How could he pass that up?!

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1. Nightmares

"No," he said, pushing her hands away, "I can still save her! I'm not giving up on her!"

Beside him, a pair of blazing green eyes glared beneath the helmet, "Joker! The Normandy is lost! Don't go down with it. Please...Jeff."

He glanced at her in surprise. Never before had she used his real name, not even when she was upset with him.

Nodding, he sighed, "All right. Help me up."

Suddenly, the ship gave a lurch and sent the woman sprawling to the floor.

"Jewel," Joker screamed, shaking in utter terror as he watched the large hive-like ship close in on them, "come on! Get up!"

Scrambling to her feet, Commander Julianna Shepard of the Alliance Military raced to her friend's side and picked him up bridal style.

"You tell anyone about this, and I'll deny it," he scowled, wrapping his arms around her neck, "this is just embarrassing."

As she ran through the burning ship, she smirked, "Aw, but you're such a cute damsel Joker."

"Go to hell."

She could see the last escape pod up ahead. Ducking beneath a fallen beam, she set Joker down and helped him into the pod. As soon as he was strapped in, she made a move to follow. Suddenly, the enemy ship attacked once again. The force from the hit rocked what was left of the Normandy, sending its commander flying backwards.

"Commander," Joker screamed, reaching for her, "Shepard!"

And then, she was gone. The enemy's attack had torn a hole straight through the hull, sucking the commander out and flinging her into space. With a scream of terror, Joker slammed the "LAUNCH" button. The pod closed and took off just in time.

As he glanced out the pod's window, he noticed something small hovering beside the hole. His breath caught in his throat as he recognized it as Jewel. She flailed around, gripping something on the back of her suit. Joker felt the tears fall down his face when he noticed small streams of air pouring from her suit. She was suffocating.

At that moment, she hit the atmosphere of a nearby planet. Fire ignited around her as she fell faster and faster. Joker tore his gaze away from the window. Taking off his cap, he threw it aside and screamed for all he was worth.

Julianna Shepard, commander of the Normandy, was dead.

 

Bolting upright, Joker breathed heavily. Sweat poured from his brow and soaked his sheets. Gazing around, he found himself laying in his bed in his small apartment on Earth. Wiping his forehead with the back of his hand, he carefully swung his legs over and set them on the floor. Leaning forward, he placed his head in his hands and began to cry once again.

He had just sat there and watched her die. She was his best friend and he had failed her. They had been through everything together; Ambassador Udina taking command away from Anderson and giving it to Jewel, the battle against Saren and the geth, and the death of her lover, Kaiden Alenko. He was there with her through the ups and downs, the good and the bad, and he was even there when the shit hit the fan.

All the while, he had supported her, though she might not have noticed. Turning his head, he stared at the picture he kept on the nightstand. It had been taken by their good friend, Ashley Williams, when they all had some shore leave. Joker, Jewel, Kaiden, and Ashley all sat around a table at a small cafe on the Citadel. The four of them were smiling as they tried their best to get their entire face on camera. They all had their arms wrapped tightly around one another in a large group hug. Jewel's red hair stood out drastically against the trio's dark black hair. Her green eyes glowing against her pale skin.

Reaching over, Joker picked up the picture and sighed.

"I miss you, Jewel," he whispered, tracing his finger along her smile, "I wish you were here now."

A sudden knock at his door made him jump. Setting the picture down and pulling some pants on, he hobbled over and opened the door. The moment he was in full view, a pair of strong hands grabbed him. His yelp of surprise was muffled by the black bag placed over his head.

"Be gentle with him," a woman's voice cooed, "the Illusive Man wants him unharmed."

Joker froze as he was dragged into a nearby vehicle. The Illusive Man was the leader of an anti-alien group known as Cerberus. They had caused numerous problems for the Alliance in the past and had even tried to kill Jewel on a few occasions.

Sitting in the vehicle, Joker remained still so as not to upset his kidnappers.

"Wish you guys would have let me grab a shirt first," he mumbled, trying to cover his bare chest, "I can't be the only one who's uncomfortable here."

"We don't have time," the woman spoke again, her British accent easy to catch, "we'll get you something once we've arrived."

"Arrived where? Where are you taking me?"

When no one answered him, Joker attempted to remove the bag. A firm, yet gentle hand grasped his wrist and pulled it away from the fabric.

"Unless you want to lose that hand of yours," a man snarled, "I'd suggest you leave it be."

Shivering, the ex-pilot crossed his arms and leaned back into the warm leather seats.

"Leather, huh," he marveled, nodding, "nice. Corinthian?"

"Yeah," the man answered, a slight smirk in his tone, "Cerberus has nothing but the best."

"I can tell," Joker nodded again, "wish they had seats like these back on the Normandy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. But you can never go wrong with leather."

"I hear that."

The next few minutes passed in silence. When the vehicle did stop, it was only to move Joker from one to another. For an hour they did that; stopping and switching vehicles, only to do the same thing fifteen minutes later. Finally, after changing vehicles for the sixth time, the group was transported to a docking bay. Joker instantly recognized the sounds of a large ship preparing to leave. As the door was opened, he was gently pulled from the hovercar and led onto a ship. Once inside, he was led down what he assumed was a series of hallways. Suddenly, they came to a stop.

"Welcome, Mr. Moreau," he froze at the sound of a new, deeper voice, "thank you very much for accepting my invitation. Jacob, if you would be so kind as to remove the bag?"

The moment the bag was removed, Joker blinked by the sudden light. As his vision came back, he found himself in a windowless white room. There were two chairs in the middle of it, one of which was occupied by a foul looking man with strange eyes. He wore a fancy gray suit and smoked a cheap looking cigarette. Joker didn't have to guess this was the Illusive Man.

"Please," he motioned towards the free chair, "have a seat. Jacob will grab you a shirt while we talk."

Turning, Joker watched as the man who he had spoken with in the car gave a salute and walked out. Jacob was African American with a stern face, all the while gazing at everything with the most gentle eyes he had seen before.

"Miranda," the Illusive Man's voice caused a beautiful dark haired woman to straighten up, "please help Mr. Moreau to his seat."

"I can help myself," he scowled, shoving her hand away, "thank you."

"No need to be hostile," he recognized her voice from the car, "we just want to talk."

"You tell that to everyone you kidnap?"

"Forgive our rudeness, Mr. Moreau-"

"Joker," he snapped, turning to glare at the leader of Cerberus, "my name is Joker."

"Ah," the man smirked, "of course. Joker, our sources say that the Alliance have grounded you until further notice."

"It took you a year and a half to hear that news?"

"Let him finish," Miranda said sweetly, though her face held a serious glare, "we've got an offer for you."

"Whatever you're selling, I'm not buying," he scowled, getting up slowly, "I want to go home."

"We can help you fly again, son."

Joker froze, turning to face his kidnapper, "What?"

The Illusive Man smirked as he too got out of his seat and approached the shorter man.

"We are currently working on a project to rid our galaxy of the Reapers once and for all," he explained, "we're in desperate need of a pilot with your talents. What do you say?"

Joker remained silent as he thought it over, "What project?"

Suddenly, the door opened to reveal Jacob. He saluted once again and offered the ex-pilot a dark gray shirt with a black Cerberus symbol on the left shoulder.

"Sir," he turned to the Illusive Man, "we've arrived. Shall I.....blindfold him again?"

"That won't be necessary, Jacob," he said, waving him aside, "I think Joker will be convinced once we show him Project Lazarus."

Nodding, Jacob offered a helping hand as Joker limped back through the series of hallways. Not wanting to risk a tumble, he gratefully wrapped his arm around the man's broad shoulders. Miranda scowled as she briskly passed them so as to walk with her boss.

Leaving the ship, Joker found himself in a large medical bay-like area. Service Bots roamed everywhere, carrying large boxes filled with medicine or equipment. Along with the bots, groups of people in white uniforms chatted among themselves as they analyzed data or complained about how stupid the bots were. Noticing the Illusive Man, they scrambled to get out of his way. Leading them down the hall, Miranda used a card key to open a large door leading into an operating room. Joker, with the help of Jacob, hobbled in to greet a taller man with a blonde buzzcut.

"Sir," he gazed at his boss in shock, "I didn't know you'd be coming today! I would have-"

His eyes then traveled to Joker.

"Wilson," the Illusive Man waved him over, "this is Jeff Moreau, the pilot I was telling you about. He wishes to see Project Lazarus."

The blonde fidgeted slightly, wringing his hands together, "Sir, are you sure you want to show him? It's not a pretty sight."

"Just do it," Miranda snapped, moving forward until her face was a mere inch from Wilson's, "or I will."

"Right," he scowled at her, holding his hand out, "Mr. Moreau, if you'll please follow me."

Releasing Jacob, Joker limped alongside Wilson. Behind him, he could hear the trio following them.

"Nobody explained what Project Lazarus was," he said, turning to the blonde, "care to share?"

"Project Lazarus is our attempt to bring back the one thing the Reapers feared," Wilson explained, stopping before a curtain, "now, I've got to warn you, we've been working on this project for a year and a half. It is coming along, but it's not a pretty picture. That being said, do you still want to see it?"

Joker turned to gaze at the curtain,wondering just what horror awaited him. Taking a gulp, he nodded and held his breath as Wilson pulled the curtain aside. He wished he hadn't. The air he had been holding in his lungs caught itself in his throat as he attempted to gasp in horror. Coughing violently, he sunk to the floor. Jacob and Wilson quickly moved to help him while Miranda brought him a nearby chair. Sitting him down, the Illusive Man patted him on the back.

"Easy there, son," he said, "I know this is a lot to take in."

That was an understatement. Joker barely heard the rest of the conversation as he gazed at the still form on the bed. He recognized the red hair anywhere. Julianna Shepard lay in a comatose state, wires hooked just about everywhere and her breathing slow. And alive.

Joker couldn't believe it as he left the chair and limped to her side. Taking a gentle hand, he laid it upon her scarred up cheek and began to cry. She was real. She was there. She was alive!

"Jewel," he said softly, causing the others to fall silent, "Jewel, wake up. It's me. It's your Joker."

"She can't hear you, Joker," Wilson said, appearing on the other side of the bed to run some quick diagnostics, "we're putting her back together, exactly how she was, but we'll need your help piecing together some of her memories."

Before Joker could agree to help, Jewel's eyes snapped open as she gave a sudden gasp. Jumping in surprise, Joker nearly crashed into Jacob as he tried to move forward so as to hold down the commander's arms.

"How is this possible," Wilson asked, his attention caught by a nearby beeping monitor, "it's too soon for her to wake up."

"She heard me," the pilot smiled with relief "I know she did! Jewel! Jewel, I'm here!"

"Heart rate increasing to dangerous levels," Wilson read out loud, "get him out of here, Jacob! We've got this!"

Joker fought the gentle hands that pulled him away from the table, "No! No, let me go! Jewel! Jewel!"

Eventually tired of his resistance, Jacob swiftly flung the man over his shoulder and carried him out of the room. Joker, cursing, kicked and punched him as he attempted to return to his friend.

"Joker," Jacob's stern command snapped him out of his frenzy "calm down. She's in good hands."

After they were a good distance from the lab, the soldier put the pilot down.

"Sorry if I was a little rough with you," he said, "I understand how this must be for you."

"Have you ever lost someone you cared about," Joker sneered, "have you ever watched someone die and then learn they're being brought back to life?! No, you don't have a fucking clue how this must be for me."

Noticing a nearby chair, Joker hobbled over and sat down. Placing his head in his hands, he didn't fight the tears that began to fall from his eyes.

"She risked her life to save everyone," he bawled, "The only reason she's dead is because I was too stubborn to abandon the Normandy! She had to come and save me...and even then I didn't want to leave."

"Joker," Jacob spoke firmly, kneeling down so he could stare the pilot straight in the face, "this is not your fault. No one could have anticipated that ship that attacked you."

"But if I would have abandoned ship earlier, then she'd never have died."

Sighing, Jacob merely sat in silence as the man began to cry once again.

"Joker," the pair looked up to see the Illusive Man and Miranda joining them, "when Shepard is up and moving again, we'll need you to pilot her ship on her missions. Can I count on you?"

Wiping away his tears, Joker got to his feet and glared at the man, "Just get one thing straight, asswipe, I'm doing this for her!"

"Personal feelings should be kept out of missions," Miranda scowled, turning to her boss, "I think this is a bad idea. His feelings for her could jeopardize our mission."

"Fuck you," the trio watched in surprise as their "guest" thrust his face into Miranda's , "wherever Jewel goes, I go. Get in my way, and I swear to god I will have Alliance all over this place."

The woman merely smirked back, "And just how will you do that when you don't even know where you are?"

"Oh, didn't you know," he crossed his arms in triumph, "Jewel had a tracker implanted in every member of her crew. And Anderson still has the code to start a trace."

Miranda's cheeks flushed with anger, "You're bluffing!"

"You willing to take that risk?"

When the woman fell silent, the Illusive Man turned to stare at her, "Well, Miranda?"

With a snarl of defeat, the woman stormed off towards the shuttle. Joker gave a sigh of relief as he gripped the arm of the chair for support. Jacob smirked as he patted him on the back.

"Are you really microchipped?"

"Hell no," Joker chuckled, smiling up at his new friend, "you really think any of us would have let Jewel implant us?"

The Illusive Man gave a small laugh, "Welcome to Cerberus, Mr. Moreau."

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