Author: korinaka PM
Time is a luxury in the thick of war, and what is sown must always be reaped. As one of only two people alive who can speak the prothean language, Shepard is given the task to learn more about Javik's civilization while she is still able.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - Javik & Shepard (F) - Chapters: 12 - Words: 42,343 - Reviews: 110 - Favs: 153 - Follows: 196 - Updated: 11-05-12 - Published: 05-27-12 - id: 8157442
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Heuristics is a kmeme fill that has seriously gotten away from me. I will be posting the final draft here, which differs slightly from what has been posted on the kmeme. I'd also like to say a big fat thank you to my wonderful beta Penstakingly, who happens to also be a very talented writer. This fic would be one hundred times worse without their amazing skill and dedication. Thanks for putting up with me!
From the moment that Shepard had released Javik from his stasis pod, he had been a man of few words, preferring to let his feelings be known by a solid gaze or a half-concerned noise of disapproval in the back of his throat. She had never known him to speak more than was necessary. He never reached out to her unless there was some immediate matter to attend to or he felt it necessary to divulge some secret of war that he was sure she didn't know. She'd tried valiantly to provoke him into opening up about the protheans past just their wartime tactics and interactions with the Reapers, if not to sate her own curiosities then at least to have something to bring back to a wide-eyed and spring-heeled Liara.
Her attempts had so far proved mostly unsuccessful. He'd told her bits and pieces of his dead culture in between oaths of vengeance and lapses into defeated nostalgia, but nothing of significance. Liara admitted that her forays into Javik's cargo hold had proved likewise fruitless. After a few moments of prodding, he'd typically clam up, brush past her to see to some pressing matter that didn't involve discussing his long-extinguished race, or simply tell her to leave.
The closest Shepard had come to really touching Javik was during their visit to the Citadel. Only there did he seem to soften and seem to really see the galaxy around him as a citizen of the 22nd century, not tinted in hues of black and red by the glasses of war and loss and 50,000 years of stasis. But even then, he'd curtly thanked her for her time and returned to the Normandy. When they next spoke, he had once again erected his walls.
"It's infuriating," Liara said with a frustrated shake of her head. She crossed her legs and draped her arm over the back of the padded bench, staring out the window of the starboard observation deck. "Of all the protheans to uncover, we have to find the grumpy stoic one."
Shepard laughed and leaned forward, about to deliver some insightful and encouraging comment about how she was so sure he'd open up eventually, but Joker's voice interrupted her. "ETA to Arrae is thirty minutes," his voice buzzed with faint distortion over the intercom.
"Well," Liara commented, smiling gently, "perhaps we can bemoan our bad luck some other time."
Perhaps in a subconscious effort to maybe—just maybe—uncover more about both Javik himself and the finer details of his civilization, Shepard requested that he accompany her along with Garrus to Arrae. He'd complied without a complaint, as he always did.
They made short work of the Cerberus grunts, and amid a flurry of reunion speeches and excited questions shared by Shepard, Garrus, and Jacob, Javik waited patiently within the facility. Jacob cast him a wary glance every so often—the same glance he'd given to Thane when he'd first been recruited. Jacob gave her an achingly familiar "Commander-are-you-sure-you-know-what-you're-doing" eyebrow-quirk and Shepard nodded to him, a knowing smile playing on her lips as her eyes slid automatically sideways to Javik's stiff form.
After getting patched up and surviving the barrage of third degree from his former teammates, Jacob stood and offered a hand to Javik. Javik took it reproachfully, unsure of how to treat this sudden display of human emotion. "Thank you for your help out there," Jacob said, giving Javik a stern handshake before releasing him. "We all really appreciate it." He then excused himself, leaving Shepard smiling with crossed arms and Javik staring in confusion at Jacob's retreating back.
"He did not inquire into me being a prothean," Javik stated, switching his gaze after a moment to Shepard.
Shepard shrugged. "He doesn't know. And quite frankly, I don't think he cares." She uncrossed her arms and faced Javik, who was staring intently at her. There was a look in his eyes that was different from how he normally looked at her. It was fiercer somehow. Interested. He was not simply entertaining a question of hers or communicating about battlefield tactics.
His lips pressed tightly together.
He was curious.
"Does it bother you?" Shepard asked, intending to milk this moment for all it was worth.
"No," Javik said quickly, abruptly tearing his eyes away from her to settle once more on Jacob, who was talking quietly with his girlfriend in the main room. "It is strange that he does not wish to know more about me. Surely he has not seen a race that resembles me. Surely I am foreign to him?"
"I can't imagine he knows what you are just by looking."
"Then he does not care who you ally yourself with?"
"As long as whoever I choose as my ally can handle themselves with a gun, why would he?"
Javik nodded and seemed to disconnect himself from the subject entirely, turning his attention to the doorway and then to Garrus, who was walking through it with his assault rifle nestled in his arms. "You choose your allies wisely, Commander," he said under his breath, his voice heavy with accent, before they all moved to finish the mission.
Liara's blue eyes positively sparkled. "Fascinating," she said for probably the fifth time since Shepard had walked into her room.
Shepard, feeling quite accomplished about getting Javik to reveal a very subtle but ultimately fatal personality quirk, leaned back against the wall. She'd relayed the conversation on Arrae to the ever-grateful asari, and ever since, she had been veritably trapped. Liara was absolutely not letting her out of her room until every tiny detail of this Javik-Shepard-Jacob interaction was revealed.
Liara whirled suddenly to her private terminal and tapped a few things, bringing up what looked like a research diary. She typed for several moments before pausing, looking up, and then saying "Fascinating, Shepard," one more time.
"Yes, well," Shepard cut in, genuinely worried that Liara might melt into a puddle of excited asari-doctor-goo, "now we know where to start."
"Exactly. He obviously trusts you more than he trusts me, so I think you should handle this from here on out."
"I—wait, what?" That certainly got her attention. She peeled herself off of the wall, stepping next to Liara and peering at her research diary. "Handle what? What exactly is 'this'?"
Liara didn't even give her the decency of a sideways glance. Her eyes stayed glued to her research diary and she hurriedly tapped away at it. "'This' is our little Prothean situation. I want to know more about him, Shepard. I need insight into his culture." She stopped typing mid-sentence, cutting off an exuberant exclamation of serious progress being made, to look up pleadingly at Shepard. "Please. When he dies, his civilization dies with him."
Those eyes. She could never resist those eyes, the warmth in them that tugged at her heart. "Dammit, Liara."
Liara smiled in satisfaction and turned back to her terminal. "I'll take that as a yes. You should get started whenever you feel is appropriate. Just remember, give him attention, but not too much. It's important to act more or less disinterested in him. If I'm correct in my assumptions, if you ignore him enough, he'll eventually come to you."
"I can't believe you've roped me into this."