Hey Author! First off, thanks for writing for me. I'm hoping you're going to have a good time with my requests and enjoy whatever it is you decide to write :)
So I thought I'd just give a quick overview of my general likes and dislikes, my thoughts on each pairing and some potential ideas. Obviously these ideas are just that, and if you want to do something else, please feel free to let your imagination take you where it will! I know whatever you come up with will be great :D
Likes: I'm a fan of romance stories, adventure stories (especially questing-type stories), fluff and gen, and good lord AUs! I adore AUs, especially swords n' sorcery type stuff, coffee shop and post-apocalypse stuff. Also I'm a big fan of world-building and character studies, especially deep, thought-out stuff. For tone, I love happy endings and fluff but will just as easily read something dark or sad if you want to take it that way. After all, ME3 with all its galaxy-destruction and mass death is pretty grim, so I don't mind something that keeps up that tone. As for relationship tropes, have my top 10 (as sorted by that one quiz):
- Seemingly Unrequited Pining
- Fake Dating/Fake Marriage Accidentally Turns Into Feelings
- Friends to Lovers
- Vampires/Werewolves AU
- Role Reversal AU
- Found Families
- Espionage AU
- Coffee House AU/Food Service AU
- Royalty/Arranged Marriage
- Reincarnation/'25 Lives' AU
Dislikes: Scat + watersports, explicitly detailed gore, incest, under-age sex, character-bashing, non-con, dub-con.
Note On Sheps And Endings And Such:
I usually play a Spacer, Sole Survivor, Paragon Female Shepard. I'm flexible on the backgrounds, fairly flexible on alignment (like, don't have her kill Wrex/leave the Council to die/not cure the genophage, but she doesn't have to be a complete goody two shoes), but I'm not really flexible on female vs. male Shepard. Not that I absolutely hate M!Shep, I just overwhelmingly and strongly prefer FemShep. I don't mind if you leave Shep out or write them in a way that doesn't imply gender, just please don't write me M!Shep. As for endings, I usually choose Destroy, but if you want to explore another option or just handwave the whole thing, go ahead.
Now, on to the pairings! (These aren't listed in order of preference in any way, here or on AO3; they're actually in the order I pulled them from the pairings summary)
Ann Bryson/James Vega
The first time I played this DLC I hadn't had any spoilers about it, so I was completely surprised when James turned up in the lab to help. I loved the setting of the lab, it had such a great feel - I love to imagine them all tirelessly beavering away in there, making the collage wall thing! And I was so interested in Ann - what her life was like, what working with the project was like, what happens after she goes on to work on the Crucible (I am always kinda sad we never got to visit the Crucible as it was being built, so something that changes that/shows Ann on the Crucible would be awesome!). I loved James and FemShep's flirty banter that they both knew was just jokes, so it'd be interesting to see how James acts when actually flirting - the same or different? A fic of Ann and James meeting up on the Citadel after the Normandy crew get back from Despoina and them subsequently talking would be cool, or perhaps a meet-up on the Citadel a bit later after Ann's been on the Crucible for a while, or of course something post-ending. Maybe Ann's helping out with some kind of science project and James visits/is assigned security? Is James trapped on that jungle planet forever/for a while? And anything that builds up Ann and/or James' backstories would be awesome!
These two are the cutest and I was literally sniffling when Charr got killed off in ME3. It was a tragic sacrifice but...it was so sad...
I'm really interested in the backstory of these two. How did Charr get from presumably Tuchanka to Illium? Was Ereba born on Illium? What's happened to them before in their lives? And I am absolutely dying to know how they met and hit it off. And their marriage! And their kid! I'm pretty much looking for teeth-rotting fluff or domestic curtain fic there. Also, we see them on Tuchanka in ME2, so how did that visit go? Maybe Charr is a member of Clan Urdnot and Wrex (amusedly) supports his relationship! And how did Charr get to be sent on that scout mission, anyway? Did he go back to Tuchanka at the start of the war and volunteer? Also, when Shep gave Ereba that final message, I was thinking to myself - isn't it likely she'd recognise Shep as that one woman who encouraged her to go for Charr? Them sitting down and having a chat about the mission, about losing people, about Ereba's good memories, maybe even Shep meeting the kid, would be amazing.
Citadel Guard/Refugee Teen
I saw this pairing and thought, "Someone else looked at that interaction and thought, 'I ship it', I'm not alone!" I want to know everything about them. What colony does the girl come from, what's her life like, what's her family like, that sort of thing. I can't help but think she was a first or second year university student at home for the holidays or something, but if you want to make her younger and have more of an innocent crush vibe, I'm down for that. And what's our Citadel guard's story? How did he get posted to that desk, what kind of jobs does he deal with day to day, how does he deal with the conditions in the refugee camp, how did he join C-Sec in the first place - that kinda thing. I could see him as a newbie who drew the crap job, but that's up to you. Where do they go from their interactions we see? Does she ever realize/accept that her parents probably aren't coming? What happens to them when the Reapers move the Citadel? (And if you want to make that last one tragic, rip my heart out, author, just do it)
Female Shepard Clone/Maya Brooks
I have an unholy obsession with Shepclone, and I want everything about her. What's her mental state like? What's her feelings for Brooks - does she really trust her? Does she trust anyone? Is Maya the only one she trusts because she's literally had no one else on her team who seems to care about just her - after all, the mercs are in it for the money. What was it like waking up for her - in an adult body but with no experiences to go along with it, knowing nothing, having no frame of reference for everything? Maya must have become her whole world - which is not healthy, definitely, and not healthy is absolutely how I'd like this ship framed. And how did she learn everything in just a few months - was there some weird mental/body horror stuff going on to get her to this point? And I can't help thinking that Maya's plan has some gaping holes in it. If they had managed to off the original Shepard at the sushi restaurant and hide her body, how would they have explained "Shepard" then taking off with the Normandy without not only her friends, but without her Alliance-sanctioned crew as well? I mean, yes Shep's a Spectre, but she's also flying the Normandy in the name of the Alliance, so she's under their rules and has to follow them. So how would she then work with them to defeat the Reapers? And how would she convince people like Hackett (and since I play Spacer!Shep, her mum) that she's the real deal without her memories (and with her bad attitude, since I also play Paragon!Shep)? Basically what I'm saying is that I think Maya looks out for herself above all, and getting a fast, stealth-enabled ship might seem to her like the ticket to avoiding the Reapers, and actually her whole 'I just want a new Shep to beat the Reapers' spiel might be bullshit. She might even have been planning to off Shepclone when she had what she wanted. You don't have to include that, but that's my pet theory xD. Also, I haven't read the comics about Maya (or...whatever her other name is), but if you want to include some backstory from those that can be understood by a non-reader, go ahead! Basically make this ship fucked up and unhealthily dependent from Shepclone's side.
Garrus Vakarian/Ashley Williams
These two! This is actually a fairly new ship for me, but idk I just have a thing for human/turian pairings. Both Ashley and Garrus have such strong personalities and mind-sets so I can definitely see them clashing, but I'd love to see them growing closer and working together as a team. They have their similar backgrounds and strengths as soldiers, so anything touching that would be awesome - sharing stories about Garrus' time in the military/all of Ashley's crappy assignments? I'd love something about what it's like for them to be reunited on the Normandy in ME3, or something about them talking just after Shepard's death. A conversation or something about Ashley's promotion to being a Spectre and how she's handling it would be really great. Also them after the war - how does life go on? How do they deal with the war's fallout? And my kingdom for a fic where Ashley meets Solana and they bond, or vice versa where Garrus meets Ashley's sisters, or all the family meets!
Yes, after that moment when Grunt said "I found this blue rock for you, Liara" I couldn't help myself. It's a sign of his secret crush on her, right???? xD For real though I find Grunt’s character pretty interesting to consider. I find really interesting the contrast between the fairly childish elements of his personality/story - the stuff about searching for dinosaurs on the extranet and buying action figures you find on the Shadow Broker terminal, his drunken escapades around the Citadel which you have to come bail him out of - and the fact that he is definitely mentally an adult, a competent fighter, and judged mature and skilled enough by Wrex to lead Aralakh Company. And Liara's transformation from shy but brilliant archaeologist to the confident, in control (but still, underneath, quite vulnerable) Shadow Broker is one of the great character arcs of the game imo. Maybe both Liara and Grunt get interested in each other, when they hear about the other from Shepard? And how much does Grunt know about romance, anyway? Is Liara his first crush? Are there any social/cultural stigmas among the asari about getting into a relationship with a krogan? I am almost 100% sure people in-universe make jokes about Shepard being Grunt's mum, so does that make Liara feel weird? I'd love to see them tearing up the floor at Armax together and having a blast (with or without Shep), or potentially awkward interactions during the Citadel party, or of course after the war. Go wild!
Lantar Sidonis/Solana Vakarian
You cheated me on these two, ME3. We got follow up on so many characters - including that guy from Jack's loyalty mission being a hero - but nothing on Sidonis? And I was absolutely gutted we never got to see Solana in the flesh. So, I read a fic where these two were a pretty cute team during the Reaper invasion of Palaven and I just want more. What happens to Sidonis after he turns himself in on the Citadel? I'd love to see him going to Palaven and participating in the fighting. And what's Solana like, and what does she do? I've seen military, civilian, and black ops special agent Solana, and loved them, so literally take your pick. A Solana who has her brother's problem of being cool on the battlefield but a big dork in a relationship would be hilarious. Or is she always cool and completely intimidates everyone? Or is she kinda flippant? Basically just own your characterization of her, author, and I'll love it. I'd love to see something about them meeting during the invasion/fighting on Palaven, how Solana and Papa Vakarian get off Palaven, whether Sidonis goes with them, escapes Palaven another way, has a heroic sacrifice moment maybe? Do they get to the Citadel, only for it to be abducted by Reapers? Do they join in the battle for Earth, or escape to somewhere completely out of the way? What happens to them after the war, and how the hell do they sell this relationship to Garrus? (Or, alternately, does Solana just not give a fuck about what her brother thinks?)
Female Shepard/Lee Riley
I'd love something about Shepard's earlier life for this pairing; basically I'm thinking these two meeting in N7 school and hitting it off, their adventures and training together, how they fit their relationship around training, something like that. My Shepard is usually a Sole Survivor and I imagine she comes to N7 pretty much right after that, so them both dealing with Shepard's still healing scars would be awesome, as would a similar storyline for the other backgrounds. I'd also love some expansion on Riley, because we literally know nothing about her. Where did she grow up, what's her family like, why did she join the Alliance, why was she recommended for the N7 program? Alternately, a reunion on Cyone after years apart - do they remember the relationship fondly or did they part bitterly and they just have to get on for the sake of the mission? Has Shepard moved on and got in a relationship with someone else, and has Riley? How does Shepard feel when Riley radios that her squad aren't going to make it? Does that moment cause an unattached Shepard to re-examine her feelings for Riley and wonder if they could start something again? Maybe they meet up when Riley gets a moment of shore leave, or Shepard attends her medal ceremony?
Female Shepard/Tali'Zorah Nar Rayya
WE COULD HAVE HAD IT ALL. Like literally I will never stop being gutted that this isn't a romance option for FemShep. The delivery of Tali's dialogue just after you get her cleared of treason was one of the moments that sealed it for me; her "I got better, I got you", is so sincere and sweet, while "It's fun watching you shout" definitely sounds suggestive. Tali is such a good soul and she goes through so much by Shepard's side, they go through so much together, they have such a special bond and I can't stop raving about it. All their conversations together on Rannoch make me want to cry tbh...When Tali says "The living room window will be right here" and Shepard replies "Something you wanna tell me?" I just cannot help but think that yes, Tali wants to tell you she wants to build a house with you and settle down, but she's too shy to say it/not gonna talk about that right now because it's too distracting from the mission. What I really love about Tali is that she repeatedly comes along and supports Shepard when it would be completely understandable for her not to. In the first game there's no guarantee she'll finish her pilgrimage on Shepard's mission, but she comes anyway. In 2 Cerberus has proved itself actively hostile to her people, but she still comes. In 3 she's just got her entire freakin' planet back, but she still comes. For this pairing, oh man, write me anything. Write me Tali having a schoolgirl-like crush on Shep in 1, write her feelings during the two year gap when Shep is "dead" and how she deals with seeing Shep alive again, write how her loyalty mission maybe sparks deeper feelings, write about Tali going back to her people and fighting against the geth war and trying to channel Shep when acting as an admiral, write her and Shep on Rannoch during 3 or after the Reaper War if you wanna handwave the ending, write them hanging out on the Citadel or the Normandy or literally freakin' anywhere.
Female Shepard Clone/Garrus Vakarian
Most of my Shepclone feels are up in the Clone/Maya section, but let me reiterate that I am obsessed with knowing more about Shepclone. So, what if Shepclone survived that fall off the Normandy (who knows how, I mean, she's an evil twin to begin with, stretch believability a little more xD) and came back, maybe after the end of the Reaper War and the original Shepard's death? Has her personality changed? How do she and Garrus interact? Do they have an angsty hook up where Garrus can't get over original Shep, or does he suddenly have feelings for Shepard's clone that he never had for the original version? And what about if Shepclone had taken Shepard's hand; how would she have developed, would they have taken her to jail, would she have come aboard the Normandy (and hung out in the engineering subdeck swearing at everyone like Jack 2.0)? And what would an AU where Shepclone succeeded in offing the original Shep and stealing the Normandy be like? How does Garrus deal with aiming to take down the woman who's an exact copy of his best friend/the woman he loved? (Either friendship or shippy Shakarian is fine). What if Maya betrays Shepclone and takes the Normandy, and Shepclone and Garrus encounter each other while they're both gunning for her? What if without the original Shepard everything goes to shit; the alliances she formed break up, or the Reapers destroy the Crucible, etc., and Shepclone and Garrus encounter each other somewhere down the line while clinging onto the last vestiges of civilization? What if they're the last two left standing against the Reapers?
Okay, this got hugely long ^^; Hopefully something in there is helpful! Have a great time writing, author, and may the words flow!