arwingyoshi: (Arwing)
[personal profile] arwingyoshi
Title: Wrong Impression
Summary: Lucas Shepard has to break some bad news to Ashley. Set during Mass Effect 1.

---

I gotta warn you, though, I'm a hellcat off the battlefield too.

Lucas Shepard paced outside of the elevator, contemplating what he would say. He'd thought of asking Kaidan for advice, since he had at least some experience with women, but ultimately Lucas had decided against it.

Lucas liked having his teammates feel comfortable around him, and always took the time to talk to them. They'd all become dear friends in the short amount of time they'd known each other. He'd even helped them out with personal problems, like Dr. Saleon, Wrex's family armor, and even giving Tali that data to bring back to her people. He'd also comforted Liara after the ugliness with her mother on Noveria. The asari had expressed romantic interest in him, but he'd gently turned her down. She had been a little confused when Lucas later explained that he simply had a preference for men. Most asari didn't have a preference for one gender over the other, after all, since they didn't see gender the way other species did. Technically Liara wasn't a woman, but she still looked too feminine for Lucas' taste.

He'd made sure Ashley felt comfortable around him too, through talking to her. He'd been a little hard on her for her slightly xenophobic attitude, but also understanding when she spoke of her family, and said she was free to be religious, even if he wasn't himself. She'd been nice to him too, and made a few funny comments.

Then, not long after the mission on Noveria, she'd made that one comment. First, she'd said that he could stand "about one-point-two meters away", that he could wait, and that she could be a hellcat off the battlefield. It left Lucas confused, to say the least.

A day later, it clicked and Lucas wanted to kick himself.

Lucas had never been interested with woman, and had a hard time reading them. A lot of women on the ship or on his pre-Normandy squad had smiled at him a few times, and he'd smiled back. When he'd told Anderson how nice some of the women were to him, Anderson said something about how they'd do more than smile if it weren't for fraternization being frowned on. Lucas had been embarrassed that he'd misread things.

Now he was even more embarrassed and realized that he had to talk to Ash, since putting it off would just hurt her more.

Taking a deep breath, Lucas stepped into the elevator, down to the armory.

Garrus was calibrating the Mako, as usual, and Wrex was sitting in a dark corner, looking over his guns, making sure they were in top shape. Ashley was at her usual spot.

Lucas approached the Marine and cleared his throat. Ash turned around and smiled at him.

"Hey, skipper," She greeted.

"Ash," Lucas replied, not smiling back.

"Uh oh," Ashley said, frowning. "Something's bothering you, isn't it?"

"We need to talk," He said.

"About what?"

Lucas sighed. "About us," Ashley raised an eyebrow at him. "Ash, I may have... said some things. Things you might have misinterpreted."

"What do you mean?" The Marine asked, though Lucas had the feeling that she already knew what the answer was.

Now or never. "Ash, I'm not interested in you."

"Great," Ashley sighed, looking at her feet. "Just my luck, I meet a nice, handsome, super badass, and think I stand a chance with him, but no. He just jerks me around, then cuts me loose when I want to wait."

"I didn't mean to string you along," Lucas said, holding up his hands. "I'm just..."

"I bet you've got a boatload of women waiting for you back at the Citadel or on Earth, don't you?" Ashley snapped, her voice rising.

"Ash, you don't..."

"You must have a whole ton of groupies waiting to greet the hero of the Scyllian Blitz, and reward him right away," Ash grumbled. Lucas saw Wrex look up at them for a moment as Ashley grew louder, but thankfully the krogan went right back to his shotgun. "You…"

"Ash, I'm gay," Lucas finally burst out.

That made the Marine pause. "What?"

"I'm gay," The engineer repeated. "I've never been with women. I was just being friendly, and I may have... said things I didn't realize were a little too friendly. I do like you, Ash, just... not in that way."

Ashley paused again, mulling it over. "How do I know you aren't just making that up so you can let me down easier?"

"I said just as much to Liara. You can ask her. You can even ask Anderson, next time we're at the Citadel." His former commanding officer had figured it out pretty quickly, thanks to Lucas' appreciative glances at some of the more handsome male soldiers and cluelessness towards the opposite sex. "For what it's worth, I'm very sorry I gave you the wrong impression."

Ashley sighed. "No offense, Commander, but if you could just give me some space for a while, I would appreciate it."

"Can do," Lucas said. "We'll be stopping at the Citadel to do some restocking soon." With that, he turned and stepped back into the elevator.

Once he stepped off, he passed by Kaidan's familiar form. The sentinel turned and looked at his commanding officer. "Wow, you look down," He said.

"I just had to break some bad news," Lucas said. "I might have accidentally sent Ash some wrong signals and had to set her straight."

"Ouch," Kaidan said sympathetically. "She'll feel better next time we go groundside and kill some pirates or geth."

"I just feel bad that I hurt her feelings," Lucas cast his eyes down. "I didn't mean to toy with her emotions."

"Ash is strong, she'll get over it," Kaidan said, putting a hand on his friend's shoulder. Lucas looked up and smiled at him. That was why Lucas liked talking to Kaidan. He felt like he could tell the sentinel anything, man to man.

"Well, I should get back up to the command deck," Lucas said. "We'll talk later, Kaidan."

"I'd like that."

THE END

Afterword: I wrote this to basically put my own headcanon to paper. I made Lucas with the intention of romancing Kaidan (and Steve in a new game plus) in Mass Effect 3, and not interested in women. Much like the Garrus romance, I wanted their feelings to develop over the course of all three games, and not have Lucas be interested in anyone else. Then I accidentally triggered Ashley's romance and by the time I realized it, it was too late to tell her that I didn't want a relationship with her. He was just being nice to her and the game decided that meant he was head over heels for her. Ashley died on Vermire so it didn't end up mattering anyway, but Lucas saw it as sacrificing a dear friend, not a lover. So I decided to headcanon it that Lucas wasn't even aware of her intentions because he's just that clueless when it comes to women, and he doesn't realize himself when he might be leading a woman on. So I imagine Lucas set the record straight not long after one of their next to last conversations.
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