I can't help but yawn as I step into our hotel room, shedding my armor and setting it aside as Jade leaves to get back to her people-watching; excuse me, 'careful observation of salvage operations.' And good luck to her; I don't know if an AI can actually sleep or not, but it's entirely possible that 'sleep' for them is just five seconds of inactivity.

That doesn't work for me, however, and I am absolutely ready for some sleepy snuggles. Got nothing to do tomorrow except pick up a few gifts and go to a party later on, so hopefully the day will be filled with some relaxing, watching movies or maybe a little bit of gaming with some casual sex mixed in. That's what I call a 'lazy Sunday', even though it's actually a Wednesday.

The bed's empty and the lights are on in the bathroom, which means Zaira is still up. As I step into the bathroom, I hear her heave a mournful sigh, coming in to find her staring forlornly at the mirror, still wearing her bridesmaid's dress. It looks nice, though that's not saying much, since she could wear rags and still make them look good. And now I'm thinking about her dressed up as a sexy mummy.

The dress is blue, just a shade darker than her hair which really emphasizes her eyes; not too long, only reaching just below her knees, with a low collar that hints at her cleavage without showing a lot and a low-cut back to show off the smooth expanse of skin. I'm also glad it's a more 'retro'-styled dress, as opposed to the 'modern' ones; which are just regular dresses with a bunch of strategically-placed holes.

"What could possibly make such a beautiful lady give off such a sad sound?" I ask, leaning against the doorway and trying-being suave.

She turns the sad look on me, and that sinking feeling of something bad just around the corner drops into my stomach. "Wearing this dress, seeing how I look…" Zaira sighs deeply and my heart squeezes painfully. "I can't help but wonder…will I ever be a bride? Am I doomed to remain a bridesmaid until I'm unmarriageable?"

Huh…I didn't know this weighed so heavily on her. Usually I'm good at picking those things up. "Well, I mean…I'm still here, you know? I'm not going anywhere anytime soon; but-um, marriage is…I don't really see the point in it, not for me, anyway." Why does it feel like my brain's suddenly come down with connection issues to my tongue?

"So I am doomed," her face falls, her eyes growing damp. "Even the one who proclaims to love me…doesn't want to marry me!"

I wrap my arms around her, trying to give her some comfort, but something's off. She turns away, putting a hand to her forehead and just about to swoon. In the mirror, I can make out a flash of a smile before it's buried in sorrow. Sorrow that I just now realized was made up to make fun of me.

"Oh you cheeky wench!" Zaira turns back around, all pretense gone in place of a mischievous smile and a matching laugh. "I thought you were being serious! I almost had a heart attack, woman!"

She giggles, poking me in the chest. "It's good to know that if the whole 'Spectre' thing doesn't work out, I've got a shot at the acting business."

I turn away, giving an unimpressed frown, definitely not a pout, trying and failing to cross my arms. "Voice acting, maybe," I grumble.

She wraps her arms around me, eyes glittering. "Would an apology blowjob make you feel better?" Zaira asks, batting her eyelashes innocently.

"You really think that'd satisfy me?" I scoff. "Nothing less than an apology sixty-nine will do, but I don't want to. Here I was, thinking you looked really good but instead you go and make fun of me."

"So you're saying I don't look good?" She tilts her head inquisitively. "Because I hurt your fragile feelings?"

I snort, squeezing her tightly. "No, you look fucking amazing and I'm beyond tempted to either tear that dress off and make an impression of your back on the floor, or hike it up, bend you over the counter and give you a right good seeing to…but I'm not going to. Imma go to bed." With that said, I drop my arms, spin on my heel and exit the bathroom to flop onto the bed.

I hear Zaira shuffling out of her clothes, then feel her body sliding in behind me, one of her arms looping around my chest. "Oh come on, baby, you know I didn't mean it," she teases, stroking my chest with her fingers. "I'll do that thing you like with my tongue."

"Mm…No, I'm tired," I mumble, wondering what she could mean by that. I like all the things she does with her tongue.

"You can't be that tired, baby," she continues, lightly scratching my skin. "Come on, just a little bit? I'll make it easy for you…you just have to lay still…" her hand slips down the front of my pants and grasps my junk. "…And let me do all the work."

I turn around on the bed, facing her dead on. The silence builds, the tension ratcheting up several hundred notches. "Okay," I shrug, folding my hands behind my head. She pauses in her fondling, her lips twitching. A second later, we both descend into a giggle fit and I wrap my arms around her, nuzzling her cheek. "So, how was your day, really?"

"It was pretty good, but kinda boring after awhile," she replies, rubbing her nose against mine. "The dresses were pretty and all, but every time I looked at them, I kept wondering what idiot would show off that much skin in battle. Then I remembered people generally don't wear dresses when they fight. That Mary chick was nice, though; she knew when I was getting bored and told me stories."

"I hope they were interesting ones, like the time I rammed a Krogan with a car. And hopefully without the boring parts, like when I had pay for damaging public property for running a Krogan over with a taxi." I really hope she didn't tell Zaira about the time…nope. I don't even want to think about it.

"I did hear that one, but she also told me about the time you tracked a gang of Salarians through the sewer system, and she had to go buy food and clothes for you because the stench was so bad that you were refused service." Oh yes, Nelon was not happy about that. Not just because the criminals we were chasing were Salarians, but I also had to hear him angrily mutter under his breath for five hours about all the dangerous and alien bacteria in the sewers and how close we were to catching something terrible. And then he gave me about eight different shots.

"Ooh, that's a bad one," I suck my teeth, clicking my tongue sharply. "I still have nightmares about it."

Zaira chuckles quietly, pecking my chin. "How about you? What did you do today?" She pauses, the hand still slowly fondling my junk stilling. "Did you…visit an old friend?"

"I did, actually, and not for the reasons you're thinking. It's about something we're working on, something secret, and it wasn't just about meeting up for sex." She hums in disbelief. "I mean yeah, we did end up doing it a couple of times, but that wasn't the reason I was there."

Shepard growls under her breath, her fingers tightening for a second. "Ow."

"Sorry," she mutters, giving me an apologetic stroke.

"I don't get it," I say, sliding my hand around her back and stroking her spine. "You've watched me with Liara, you walked in on me giving it to Aelida in the butt and then made jokes about it; and I think me and Tara bangin' would make your day, but when I go visit Ms. Mysterious it's a problem?"

Zaira grunts, running her fingers through her hair. "I don't know who she is, I've never looked her in the eye and judged her soul of whatever, so I don't know…" Her sentence ends in a mumble.

"Don't know what?"

She sighs, bumping her forehead against mine. "I don't know if she's better than me…" She admits quietly.

I arch an incredulous eyebrow at her, unable to keep a scoff inside. "Please, Zaira, no one's better than you. But I say that you've looked her in the eye and talked to her, a few times actually." She narrows her eyes at me. "I'm not telling you because I think you can't be trusted with it-I know you can-but she doesn't want you to know; at least not yet. I'm pretty sure she's waiting for a really dramatic moment."

"And you're not telling me now because you think it'll slip out somehow?" It's her turn to look incredulous. "Really? In a room with just you and me in it? With Jade watching out for us?"

"Shit like this has a way of getting out, even with all the secrecy; and when it does, it's going to cause quite a few problems." Not to mention I also want to see what Zaira's face would look like when Tevos reveals herself. I slowly run a hand through her hair, stroking her scalp with my nails. "Let me make it up to you. Do you have any fantasies? I'm willing to do anything…"

Zaira bites her lip in thought and that look just makes me want to roll over and give her the best sex of her life, more so than usual anyway. "Well, there are a few…"

The rattling of gunfire echoed off the ruined buildings, bullets pinging off the crumbled wall she hid behind. She took a deep breath and rolled out of cover, squeezing off a brace of bursts that felled the soldier charging her. An angry roar echoed from behind her and she spun, drawing her shotgun and unloading a shell into the chest of the enemy charging her with a sword. He flinched but continued, leaping at her with weapon reared back to cleave her in half, and she stepped forward, smashing his face in with the butt of her shotgun.

He fell, but an audible slash sounded out and she died, her body splitting half as it collapsed to the ground.

"Oh come the fuck on! I hit him first, there's no way his fucking sword should've killed me! Goddamn lag!"

"Yeah, it happens to everyone. I'm surprised you can play at all so soon after the attack."

An explosion rang out, along with a death scream. "…That was your fault. Your talking distracted me."

"Seems I'm not doing my job well enough, if my talking is the only thing distracting you."

"Damn righ-oooh! Headshot! Oh! One more kill! Come on come on-yes! Eat it bitches!" Zaira throws her head back, releasing a long, drawn-out moan as her walls flutter around my tongue and her juices spill into my mouth.

Her sigh of pleasure is music to my ears, along with the victory music coming from the TV, though that's interrupted by a voice going, "Spirits, lady, it's just a game. No need to get that excited."

"Shut up, she can do what she wants!"

I give her a dry look from between her thighs. "You had your mic on the entire time?" Her cheeks are red as she turns it off, but it's a little too late for that. "Why'd you have that on, anyway?"

"It's all part of the fantasy," she shrugs, removing the earplug and setting it aside. "Anyway, the next match is starting. Get back to it."

I shake my head, shifting on the bed and resting my cheek against her thighs. "Maybe the round after. My jaw's sore."

"I thought you couldn't feel pain?"

"It's very ill-defined, let's leave it at that." The game she's playing is one of those shooters, Citadel Wars: Call of the Spectre or something like that, which I find more than a bit ironic, given that it's a game about the Citadel being under attack and playing a Spectre trying to drive it back. Now with Human Spectre DLC! "When did you start fantasizing about this?"

"Like six…seven years ago? I don't know, but I was looking around online and as it usually happens, I ended up on a dirty site and I was interested in what I saw," Zaira replies with a shrug. "It's not the only fantasy I have, but I'm liking it so far. How about you?"

"Well, you know I love making you happy and making your eyes roll in pleasure, so I don't mind it so far. You're being kinda loose with your controller, though." Not that I really care all that much, but she has knocked me on the head with her controller a couple of times and that really breaks my concentration.

"Sorry," she mutters, downing two other players before exploding. "Fuckin' rocket launchers…"

As she plays, I can't help but nuzzle her thigh and lay small kisses on her skin, moving from her thigh inwards, Zaira helpfully pulling her legs open to give me easier access. Less than a minute later, I'm back between legs, kissing her lips and delving between them with my tongue.

"I thought your jaw hurt," she moans, the controller creaking in her grip.

"Who cares?" Not I.

A single shot rings out and something pops, Zaira releasing a pleased, "Yesss…"

It's not long before she starts squirming, her thighs tightening around my head as a precursor to her dropping the controller, twisting her fingers in my hair and pressing my face between her legs even harder.

As she's coming down, no pun intended, a familiar voice comes from the doorway. "Well, now I know why you didn't hear me knock!" Tela says by way of greeting. She's leaning against the bathroom door, a smirk and her face and a light in her eyes, "Going by Shepard's expression, I doubt I'd hear anything, too."

"What's up, Tela?" I ask after wiping my mouth. Zaira makes no move to cover herself, so I won't bother; I just shimmy up the bed and sit next to her.

"I just wanted to let you know I've decided to start on our plan to take down the Shadow Broker," she replies, brushing an invisible speck of dust off her shoulder. "I'm going to get all our pieces in order, so I'll be leaving soon."

"How soon is that?" I say, frowning slightly. I won't lie and say I'm not worried about her, but Tela's a big girl and she can take care of herself. On the other hand, I did just get her back, and now she's leaving again. She's at least telling me, this time.

"Not until after the wedding," she assures, walking over and plopping down next to me, throwing an arm over my shoulder. "So, what's going on here?"

"I'm fulfilling one of Zaira's fantasies," I reply, leaning back on the pillows and getting comfortable. "Or fulfilled, whichever. We've got time, so why not?"

Zaira stretches her arms above her head, thrusting her chest out and receiving a series of pops in return. "I'm pretty well fulfilled at the moment and I can tell you're not, and I believe in fair play; so sit back and play, I'm gonna fulfill your fantasy."

Tela, still sitting next to me, arches an eyebrow as Zaira pulls my pants down and frees my almost-painfully hard erection. "So…should I leave?" She asks slowly.

Zaira shrugs. "Liara and Aelida have been around so often that I honestly don't care anymore," her mouth closes around my tip and the controller creaks in my grip.

My mentor hums thoughtfully, even as my character dies from a headshot. "Enthusiasm is good, but you still need technique," she says, tapping her chin.

Shepard pauses, her expression incredulous. "Are you…actually criticizing my blowjob ability?"

"Critiquing, not criticizing," Tela corrects. "Now, make sure to swirl your tongue around the tip, it'll make him go cross-eyed."

I exit out of the game before I get kicked for inactivity. There's no way I'm going to be able to concentrate.

After that enlightening experience with Tela, Zaira and I took a shower and cuddled up on the couch to watch a few movies before the party. As much as I like sex, especially sex with Zaira, it can get tiring. It seems impossible, I know.

The movie we're watching is one of the old James Bond films, back when people could have fun when they acted. I really want a grappling hook, even though I have a jetpack. You just have to respect the classics. I wonder if I should build myself a sweet, tricked-out ride. A prototype stealth-ship is pretty sweet, but the Alliance just doesn't have the same sense of style I do.

Something to make a note of and send to Orbit.

"You know they have a Salarian James Bond?" Zaira asks, flicking through screens on her omni-tool. "I can't imagine how that would play out."

"Salarian James Bond figures out the evil plot within thirty minutes, the bad guys get caught or killed immediately, the gadgets are all realistic and there's very little drinking and no sex," I reply, recalling the times Nelon had made me watch his favorite series together. "Salarians love it. Everybody else…not so much."

"Sounds boring," she says, dismissing her omni-tool and resting her head on my shoulder. "I like human Bond better. Does that make me a racist?"

"Don't worry about it, everyone's a little bit racist," I assure her, watching as a short Chinese or Taiwanese man throws his bowler hat and decapitates a statue. Goddamn I want a hat does that. Wait, I already have a lightsaber that I can throw, nevermind.

The door slides open and Liara steps in, pausing at the threshold and looking at us cuddling on the bed. "Am I…interrupting anything?" She asks cautiously.

"Only a movie marathon," Zaira replies, stretching and scratching her stomach as it rumbles. "I could go for some food, though."

I reach over and tap the inter-hotel phone. "Burgers and fries?"

"And salads," Liara chimes in.

I shrug halfheartedly. "Room service? Yeah, can I have three varren burgers with extra fries sent up? Also some salad, I guess." I receive an affirmative reply and shut the line off. "What's up, Liara? Come snuggle with us."

The asari scientist jumps slightly, before a pleased smile curls her lips and she practically flings herself on the bed, cuddling up to my unoccupied side and releasing a content sigh. "I'll miss this," she murmurs, nuzzling my shoulder.

"You're leaving?" I ask quietly. "Are you going with Tela?"

"I was, but word came down from the Matriarch's Council; they're putting together an expedition to Ilos and they want me on the team!" Liara squeals excitedly, but quietly. It's a skill only young women seem to be capable of, and I won't lie and say I'm not jealous. "We could learn so much, not just about the Protheans, but about the Mass Relays and the Reapers…I couldn't refuse."

"Sounds like a good opportunity," Zaira mutters, her eyes fixed on the screen. "And it'll be a nice change of pace for you, eh? No more guns and Geth."

"Possibly," Liara shrugs, "I'd hope the Geth are intelligent enough to withdraw after failing so badly, but nothing's certain. I expect that after your vacation you'll be sent out to clear them away."

The doorbell chimes and I get up to grab our food, slipping the guy a credit chit and when I get back, Liara's taken my place the crafty bitch and is snuggling with Zaira. I set the tray down across their laps and cuddle up to Liara, watching as James Bond makes a fat guy get sucked out an airplane window.

The next hour or so is spent watching another movie, eating and occasionally feeding each other. There's nothing else like it, though the thrill of battle and sex come close, but on different levels.

As the credits begin to roll, one of Liara's hands comes to rest on my thigh, giving me a slight squeeze. A quick glance over shows that she's done the same to Zaira. "I want you both to know…" She licks her lips nervously. "I really appreciate what we have, us three. It's a bit strange, I know, but…"

Her hand slides up to the back of my neck, pulling my head down as she reaches up and presses a soft kiss to my lips. Liara backs away, then does the same to Zaira, her yellow eyes widening in surprise. "What's this about?" I ask in amusement, Zaira's nonplussed face more than a little comical.

"Whatever we have together, whatever we are to each other," Liara takes a steadying breath, closing her eyes. "I…want this to work."

"You're saying you want to turn this into a full-time threesome?" I'm all for it, since she seems perfectly content to let her mother and Tela slip in for some laying on of hands, if you see what I mean. Then again…

"I'm still not into women," Zaira blurts, shaking her head and coming back. "I don't mind you being with us like this, but it's not entirely equal."

It can't be equal, honestly. If I was asked to choose between Zaira and anyone else, I'd choose Zaira in a heartbeat.

"I know," Liara murmurs, looking down. "I just don't want this to end, even though I'm leaving."

"No matter what, Liara, you'll still be our preferred snuggle-buddy," I reply, wrapping an arm around her and kissing her neck. She flushes pleasurably, gasping quietly as my lips find a tender spot and give it a suck.

My hand slips up under her shirt to rub her stomach, but I pause upon feeling another hand there. I look up to find Zaira in a mirrored position as myself, and she answers my questioning eyebrow. "I'm not into chicks, but I could…get on onboard with the idea of giving Liara pleasure," she says grudgingly.

I shrug. "I'm not judgin'," I reply, then go back to necking and slowly feeling Liara up, sliding a hand up to cup her breast, gently massaging the flesh and rubbing a rock-hard nipple. A few seconds later, I feel Zaira do the same, her fingers hesitant and nervous.

The moan the asari gives sends a shot of liquid fire straight to my groin, and I shift a bit to press my stiffness against her thigh. Zaira gets a little more into it, her hand moving with confidence and Liara letting us hear her appreciation. Since my lover seems to have it all well in hand, I slip mine down her blue stomach, stopping to dig my fingers in and give her a little tickle. She giggles quietly and groans as my hand slips down the front of her pants to find her nether lips dripping with wet heat.

Her hips buck as I stroke her gently, making sure to give the bundles of nerves at the apex a little rub with every pass. Liara squirms a bit and suddenly one of her hands joins mine but doesn't stay, only wetting her fingers before withdrawing. Then, that hand sneaks into my pants and wraps around my length, her fingers stroking hard flesh as she nuzzles my head.

"Hands above the waist," Zaira orders, and Liara withdraws with a sigh. I nip her neck and grunt in discontent. "I meant on me, Liara."

The asari groans in understanding and reaches back down to grasp my sex, clenching as I slip a pair of fingers inside her. Zaira's hand slips down, stopping on her stomach, and I can feel her nails digging into my arm. Her questing fingers eventually skitter back up, not comfortable with going that far so soon. I push myself against Liara, sliding my right arm around her back to reach Zaira, cupping her breast through her shirt.

It's awkward as all hell, but totally worth it.

Liara's breath comes harsher and faster, her hand speeding up as her walls flutter around my fingers, digging her heels into the bed. She arches her back and lets loose a long, moaning, "Oh!" Then she slumps onto the mattress, panting quietly and twitching. She perks up a little as she realizes that I hadn't finished, rubbing and stroking me to completion. I was already very close, so it doesn't take to long for me to finish, making a mess on her hand.

"Well, now I feel left out," Zaira mutters, her eyes fixed on Liara's hand as she withdraws it from my pants cleans it with nearby towel.

"Switch places with Liara and we'll take care of you," I say, licking my hand clean, "A little bit of pampering never hurts."

"Seems to be the theme of the day," she murmurs, settling into her new spot and sighing contentedly as my lips find a certain spot under her jaw. My hand slips up under her shirt, finding one of her breasts and grasping it just a bit roughly. She's actually a bit bigger than Liara, and I don't just mean taller and more muscular.

Zaira stiffens when Liara's hand joins mine, but relaxes when I move my lips from her neck to her mouth. Her tongue slips through to tangle with mine, my hand leaving her bosom to trail down when my omni-tool chimes.

"Oh, come the fuck on," she grunts, her cheeks flushed.

"It's my thirty-minute warning," I explain, turning it off. "I figured we'd be in the middle of something, and we've got enough time to finish and take a shower. I'm going to speed things up a bit, just in case."

Zaira arches an eyebrow at me, but realization dawns as I pull her pants down and delve into her legs.

We arrive to the party five minutes late, and everyone's got a drink in hand along with a cigar, even if they aren't smoking them. A chorus of greetings meet us as we step inside, and a minute later we're seated at a table with some drinks and finger foods. "What's up, Garrus, Chloe? Enjoying the vacation time before your honeymoon?" I waggle my eyebrows at them and the redhead colors right on cue.

"Yes we have," Garrus replies steadily, though I can see a Turian blush on his face. "And by your lateness, I can see you are, too."

I wrap an arm around Zaira's shoulders with a wide grin. "Damn right. Looking forward to tomorrow?"

Chloe pulls Garrus close, nuzzling his cheek. "We are, definitely. It's something I've dreamed about for so long. To have it finally come true…" Her eyes are misty as she gazes deeply into his.

"I always thought I'd end up alone, or having to settle for some loveless relationship," He kisses her gently. "I never thought I could be this happy."

Aww.

The moment is ruined when a lithe body crashes against my chest, a youthful voice squealing in my ear. "Saul!" Blinking the surprise attack away, I find Mission sitting in my lap with her arms thrown around my neck, babbling a mile a second. Usually I can keep up with the Mission-babble, but she's hit light-speed now.

"Rrg."

The young Asari draws back with a sheepish smile and a blush. "Oh right, sorry. I'm just so happy to see you again, and all the excitement! There's the invasion, all the fighting, the raining robots and the wedding tomorrow! I feel like I'm gonna burst!" She stops, breathing hard and beaming.

I don't think most people would all the fighting during the invasion exciting, me not being one of them and-wait. "Did you say…raining robots?"

Mish bobs her head almost violently. "Yeah! A buncha robots were trying to break into the shelter and Big Z and the other guys were starting to get overrun when these other robots fell out of the sky and crushed 'em! It was awesome!" She pumps a fist triumphantly, and I give Z a questioning look.

He nods and growls. "Arr."

"And Krogan? Huh…" I smile slyly at Zaira, then pause as something occurs. "And just how did you see all this, missy? The shelters are completely sealed, so you couldn't have peeked out of a window."

Mission crosses her arms defiantly. "Maybe I snuck out…and maybe I hid on top of a walkway and took potshots at the robots. But I was completely safe (except for the bullets and explosions and robots falling from the sky) and I couldn't just sit around while Big Z was fighting!" She raps my chest with her knuckles. "You don't get to complain about me using a gun, you're the one who bought it for me in the first place! And don't call me 'missy', I'm eighty-seven years old!"

I arch an eyebrow at her and poke her stomach, making her giggle. A large finger bumps my shoulder, and I turn to find Big Z glaring down at me.

I won't lie: it's completely terrifying.

"Arrg."

"I just wanted to make sure she could protect herself, Big Z. I was actually kinda surprised, I thought you would've gotten her a gun sooner."

"Rarrgle."

"True, shotguns are pretty heavy. What about an Asari-made shotgun?"

"Rarrgh!"

"Yeah they look delicate, but they're decent guns. Plus explosive rounds."

"Arrgle…raahhr."

"A Graal? Really? That's brutal, Z…I like it." Zaira taps my shoulder. "Yeah?"

She nods at Zaalbar, who picks a small sandwich off the table and pops it in his mouth, like a whale eating a salmon. "You can understand him?"

I nod slowly. "Yeah, otherwise we wouldn't be having a conversation. Garrus can understand him, too." My best friend shrugs.

"I can make out most of it, but the subtleties still escape me." He nods to Zaalbar. "I heard you saved a lot of lives, Zaalbar. You ever think of working for C-Sec?"

The giant Krogan grimaces. "Arrgh. Rarrgle arrh graahgr. Garrhrle harrgle."

Garrus and I nod in agreement, Chloe wiping a tear away. "Truly, my friend, you speak the truth the way only a warrior-poet can." I have never been more proud of myself and my friends than this very moment. Just the way he put it all into context like that…Zaalbar is a true philosopher.

I reach out to grab my drink, but Mission is still occupying my lap. One of her arms is wrapped possessively around my neck as she glares heatedly at a bewildered Liara. "Who's this bitch?" she mutters, hostility dripping from her tone like barbeque sauce from a pile of perfectly cooked ribs.

Man I'm hungry.

"This is Liara, our cute Asari scientist," I introduce, reaching behind Mish and grabbing a small sandwich for myself. "Liara, this is Mission, Asari Pickpocket Extraordinaire."

Liara smiles and nods her head. "Hello, Mission, pleased to meet you." Her smile falters as Mission continues to glare at her.

"I don't like her," she whispers to me, and Liara gains an affronted look. A protesting growl draws my attention to Zaalbar, who gives me an incredulous look.

"Oh right, sorry. And this devastatingly handsome fellow over here is Zaalbar," I finish, shifting the pickpocket off my lap and onto the seat next to me, breaking off her staring contest with Liara.

The Scientist holds her hand out to shake. "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Zaalbar." Big Z takes it gently, even placing a kiss on her knuckles, the charming cad!

"Rrr."

At Liara's confused look, I translate. "Don't call him Mister, it makes him feel old; though how old exactly is a mystery. Just call him Big Z, because he's big and his name does, in fact, begin with Z." The heavy footfalls of my second favorite Krogan stop to my right, where Wrex has joined us, probably curious as to who the big guy is. I've always said that Z was big, but compared to Wrex, who's eight or nine feet tall…Big Z is about two feet taller and wider.

Big Z is big.

"Saul, who's this guy?" se asks, looking at Big Z searchingly. "Should I be jealous…?"

Wrex pauses, his eyes taking in massive amount of scars on Zaalbar's throat, his jaw falling open and his eyes bulging. Big Z scowls and growls warningly, but Wrex unconsciously lifts his hand and points at the larger Krogan. "You…you're…"

Zaalbar roars and grabs Wrex by his collar, hefting him in the air like the stuffed animal version of a Krogan and slams him into the floor. "Not…Another…Word!" He snarls lowly, his voice like that of a shingle beach that learned to speak.

I dash out my seat and slide up next to them. "Whoa guys, no need for violence! You're both big and strong, we all know this, no need to show off." I'm hoping humor will defuse this nuke, otherwise I'm gonna have to start cutting bitches.

"Saul, this is…!" Wrex grunts as Zaalbar presses him into the floor.

"Zaalbar, meet Wrex, Wrex meet Zaalbar. Now we're all friends." I tap Big Z's shoulder. "What's going on, man? You know Wrex?"

"He…knows…me…" Zaalbar grits out, the words sounding painful.

"Did he kill someone you liked?" I ask, and Wrex gives me an incredulous look. "It's a valid question, you've killed a lot of people."

Big Z shakes his head, nodding to the pinned Krogan. "Trust…him?"

"Yeah I trust him, he's a good guy." I reply immediately. "What's going on?"

The giant Krogan sighs, drawing a hand down his face and backing away from Wrex. He waves for the smaller Krogan to continue, heaving himself up and stealing my seat next to Mission. "The one you call Zaalbar," Wrex licks his lips, eyeing Big Z nervously. "Is a hero from the Krogan Legends. We called him Zorbal the Unmatched."

Zaalbar growls unhappily, stealing my drink and chugging it down. "Arrg!"

I blink. "Apparently, he hates that name. Wait, is this why you didn't want to tell me how old you are? Because that would mean you're about two thousand years old, give or take a few centuries." He's older than the human calendar, for fucks' sake.

Big Z shrugs uncaringly. "Rarrgh. Arra-rrahggle."

Wrex gives me a confused look. "What'd he say?"

"It doesn't matter to me, because Zorbal the Unmatched is dead. The only person I want to be is Zaalbar, Mission's father." I translate, verbatim. "I can understand that my friend, more than you know."

Mish sniffs a tear away, throwing her arms around her adopted father. "Aw, I love you too, big guy! I knew you were a softy under all the muscle!" Big Z pats her head gently, a look of tenderness on his face.

"This has been real nice and all," Tela interjects, leaning on the counter. "But can we get down to why we're actually here?"

I clap my hands. "Right! Rita, break out the whisky, please! Everyone, take a glass. Mish…" I look to Big Z, who shrugs and holds two fingers slightly apart. "Alright, you can have a little."

Glasses of Arcturian Whisky are poured and handed out, and when everyone has one, I raise mine in the air. "I'm not one for speeches, at least not without backing music, so I'm going to keep it short: To Commander Zaira Shepard, for leading us to victory!"

Smirking, Zaira lifts her glass. "To Joker, for hauling our asses everywhere!"

Joker shakily raises his with a smile on his bearded face. "To Pressley, for keeping us all in line!"

The bald XO returns the gesture with more humor than I'd ever seen on him before. Then again, I've barely talked to the guy. "To Addams, for keeping the ship in one piece!"

"To the Doctors, for keeping us in one piece!"

The pale Engineer hefts his glass in Tali's direction. "To Tali, for making the Normandy better than ever!"

The Quarian lifts her glass to Garrus, her straw bouncing off the rim. "To Garrus, for upgrading the Mako!"

My bestie turns to Wrex. "To Wrex, for being a reasonable Krogan!"

Wrex smirks and lifts his glass to Nihlus. "To Nihlus, for being a reasonable Turian!"

Nihlus chuckles quietly. "To Liara, for her vital intelligence."

A blushing Liara smiles at her mother. "To Aelida, for a wonderful change."

"To Tela, for the same."

"To Tara, for having the best sight."

"To Ash, for standing in front."

I cut as she turns to Kaidan. "To Kaidan, for also being there!"

He gives me a dirty look as laughter ripples through the room, but smiles all the same. "To Saul, for all the explosions."

I give him a wink and lift my glass even higher. "To the Normandy, for kicking Sovereign's ass!"

"To the Normandy!"

"I think I'm gonna throw up," Garrus groans, bent over with his hands on his knees and looking pale about the frills.

"Calm your tits, Garrus, you'll wrinkle your suit," I reply, straightening my collar. "Also, your dad's watching."

My bestie pauses in his belly-aching. "Eh," he shrugs, sighing.

My eyes roll of their own accord. "So's your sister." Those turn out to be the magic words, as Garrus straightens up brushes himself down.

"I don't see why you're so anxious," Nelon comments, looking stately and calm in his suit, his large eyes casually sweeping the crowd. "Statistically speaking, based on your personality along with Chloe's-"

"Ugh, don't tell me the odds," Garrus groans again.

Nelon fixes him with a dry look, which he does very well for an amphibian. "Statistically speaking, based on your personalities, your marriage will be a long and happy one. Only twelve percent of similar pairings divorced within twenty years." He gives a small smile. "So calm your tits."

I throw an arm around my old partner's shoulder. "It's so good to hang with you again, Nelon. We've been so damn busy we didn't even throw a bachelor party!"

"Gentlemen, smile for the camera!" the photographer, Emily Wong, says cheerfully. I may have called in a favor to get her as the wedding photographer, but it's worth it. She does great work.

I loop my other arm around Garrus and smile, blinking after the flash fades. "Most people wouldn't call inviting a bunch of strippers around for drinks and poker a 'bachelor party'," Garrus mutters, barely refraining from bouncing in place. "I doubt there'd be any actual stripping…unless you drank enough to jump on the table again."

I give him a deadpan look. "You want to get your ass kicked at your own wedding, buddy?"

He chuckles quietly, before going stiff as a board as the wedding music begins to play. The wedding itself is a mix of human and turian marriage ceremonies, with turian ones being much smaller and very quick. There's around two hundred people here, and less than half of that is invited to the reception.

First through the doors is Zaira and Liara, looking completely amazing in their dresses. Behind them is Mary and Mission, the younger Asari practically skipping with excitement.

They approach the podium and take the opposite side, just as the music swells and Chloe enters with a gray-haired man on her arm. Her dress is white, naturally, hugging her curves elegantly with only a small train and micro veil hanging from the intricate bun on her head. It shimmers like silk in the light, the celtic knots lining the hem shifting in and out of view. Her cheeks are rosy and her eyes glitter as she favors Garrus with a small, loving smile.

She's beautiful, completely and utterly beautiful, and I could not be happier for my friends. They deserve this happiness together.

Chloe's father hands her off to Garrus with a proud smile and a kiss on the cheek, and takes his seat near the front as the priestess steps up.

The priestess is Karen, in a stately combo of robes and a suit, standing straight with her arms folded behind her back regaly. "Friends and family, we are gathered here today to witness the joining of two lives in matrimony; Garrus Vakarian and Chloe Michel. If there are any who object to this union, please speak now so we know who to kick out."

No one laughs; she's being entirely serious. No one speaks up, either.

"Bride, groom, exchange your promises," she orders, tilting her chin back.

The two reach over and clasp each other's hands, their eyes fixed on the other. "Garrus," Chloe begins shakily, her smile watery. "There are so many stories I could tell, so many moments that made me love you more with each one…but I all want to say is this; I love you, Garrus, more than anything, and I swear, whatever trouble you get into, however many hits you take, I will always be there, to pick you up and dress your wounds."

Garrus grips her hands tightly, rubbing her knuckles with his thumb. "I never thought I'd actually get to this point, even after I proposed…I thought I'd make some mistake, or we'd all die or a million other things. But, I realized while we were fighting, that a life without you isn't one I'd live. I love you, Chloe and I swear that I will always be by your side, ready to take any bullet for you, because I know you'll be there for me."

"The promises have been made," the priestess intones solemnly. "Now, present the bindings."

I reach in my pocket and retrieve the ring for Chloe as Mary does the same. With shaky hands, they slip the rings on and turn to Karen, who flashes them a brief smile. "Garrus Vakarian, do you swear to uphold the vows you have made, in the eyes of the spirits and the law?"

He nods firmly. "On my life, so I swear."

Karen faces Chloe. "Chloe Michel do you swear to uphold the vows you have made, in the eyes of the spirits and the law?"

She nods slowly. "On my life, so do I swear."

"Then seal your promises, and become bound as one, in the eyes of the spirits and the law," She intones, breaking character and clapping as they kiss and officially become married. "May your marriage be extensive, joyous, and prosperous."

My hands sting from all the clapping, my smile so wide it hurts. The crowd gets up for a standing ovation as Garrus and Chloe, now Mr. And Mrs. Vakarian, link arms and stride down the room, followed by myself with Mary and so on.

Outside the hall, I step forward and pull Garrus into a manly hug, my eyes red from crying. "You're married now, man," I say, pulling back and gripping his shoulders. "You did it."

He smiles broadly, all nervousness gone. "Damn right," he replies proudly, gazing down at his ring.

I switch off with Mary and grab Chloe in a tight embrace, kissing one of her rosy cheeks. "I'm so happy for you two," I can't help but gush. I've wanted them to get here since I saw how compatible they are.

"Thank you for everything," she murmurs, kissing my cheek. "I can't prove it, but I know you set all this up, and I couldn't be happier."

I give her a wink, passing her to Garrus as they get into a sky-car. "You can't prove anything." We wave as they fly off to relax and unwind a bit before the party fully starts. I call up another sky-car for the wedding party and hop in the driver's seat. "To the Reception!"

A few people are already milling about as we enter, chatting and snacking on the variety of foods on offer. Zaira breaks away to chat with an older, brown-haired woman, so I make for the table and pop a piece of sushi in my mouth. Mmm. Mary's sushi is still some of the best of I've ever tasted.

At the far end of the table, I can see Garrus' dad and sister picking over some Levo-food. His dad is the most humorless Turian I've ever seen, and I've pissed off Executor Pallin many times. I think his name is 'Cassie' or something. His sister is like most female Turians, all soft rectangles compared to the harsher male angles, with similar clan markings as Garrus but in dark red.

Garrus and his dad had a bit of a falling out when he resigned from C-Sec to galavant across the Galaxy, while getting mentored by a Spectre no less. I'd feel bad about it, since I pointed Nihlus in Garrus' direction, but having my bestie with me is more important. To me, anyways. Yeah, it's selfish, but I'm selfish.

"Saul?" Zaira's voice pulls me from my thoughts, and I find her standing next to me with that same woman from before. "There's someone I'd like you to meet; my mother, Hannah Shepard."

Besides the color, her eyes are the same shape along with her jaw, though the nose and eyebrows are slightly different. Her hair is pleasant light brown, with a few strands of grey hair that give off a stately, regal vibe. She's got the miniature wrinkles of a woman who smiles often and laughs freely, wearing a fetching burgundy dress that dips around the chest and allows a hint of not-insubstantial cleavage.

I believe the term I'm looking for is MILF.

Well, now I know where Zaira gets her amazing looks from. "Well, now I know where Zaira gets her amazing breasts from." SHIT. I did not mean to say that.

The incredulous look Zaira gives me would be comical if I wasn't freaking the fuck out. I want her mom to like me, dammit!

Hannah laughs it off, her eyes crinkling cutely. "Why thank you. She definitely gets her amazing ass from her father, though. Her grandma was quite the model." She holds a hand out and I shake it, finding her grip firm but not too tight. "And you're Saul Dewitt, the man my little girl can't stop talking about, eh?"

"Mom!"

"I wouldn't call her little in any sense of the word, ma'am."

"Saul!"

"Indeed, she is quite mature, isn't she? All grown up and saving the Galaxy…I'm very proud, but she'll always be my little girl."

"Mom! Stoppit!"

"She's not quite as mature as you, my dear," I reply with a wink.

Zaira grabs my arm, glaring at me fiercely. "Saul, stop hitting on my mom. I'm not an Asari, you can't sleep with her," She mutters through grit teeth.

I scoff. "Zaira, please, I don't want to sleep with her." She arches an eyebrow at me, and her mother does the same. The resemblance would be uncanny if they weren't family. "Ok fine, I do, but not because she's good looking, but because I respect her as a woman. I think there's a word for that, but I don't know what it is."

"…You just met her."

I shrug. "In person, yeah, but I looked her up. Rear Admiral Hannah Shepard, has served for nearly forty years with numerous victories in the Traverse and several human colonies. That's both respectable and arousing, you know."

Zaira groans as her mother giggles into her hand. "Ugh. I'm gonna go get a drink," she glares at us both, "I'm going to need it."

I laugh as she strides away, trading smiles with Hannah. "She's normally so composed; seeing her so flustered is quite a treat!" she chuckles, sipping from a glass of amber liquid.

"I specialize in flustering people," I reply proudly. "And I've got a straight shot to all her buttons."

She smirks at me. "I bet you do. Speaking of," her eyes harden, the previous warmth and personality of an embarrassing mother replaced by a woman who'd killed and lost many. "How do you feel about my daughter?"

I straighten up under her stare, feeling the weight of her judgement on my shoulders. "I love her, and I would do anything for her. If she asked me to jump, I wouldn't ask 'how high', I'd plant my head in the ceiling and then work on getting into space." The depths of my feelings for Zaira are vast and deep, and more than a little scary for me. I've never actually felt this way before; close, but not quite as intense.

Hannah's gaze softens. "Good," she murmurs, brushing an errant bang away from her eyes. "Something inside of me says that Reaper was just the beginning, and that things are going to get very dark and very trying. Would you stand with her, watching her back and picking her up when she stumbles?"

I nod once. "Always, if she wants me to. She leads us, yeah, but we're equals, and I respect her too much to want that to change."

She nods, her eyes closed in thought. "Good." They open and the warm mother is back. "So, tell me about your journey. Did anything embarrassing happen?"

"Oh yeah…"

Hours later, the party has wound down several notches, not that it was wild to begin with. Garrus and Chloe came in, red-faced and smiling, to cheers and congratulations. We ate dinner and they sliced the cake; I got to dance with Chloe, Zaira, Liara, Aelida, Mish, Ash, Tara and even Solana, to the glares of her brother and father. I didn't even hit on her; I ain't a bastard.

Wrex and Zaalbar are chatting in a corner, trading war stories. Once he'd gotten over his hero-worship and paid attention, Wrex was a quick study in understanding Big Z's grunts and growls. The big guy can speak, but apparently it hurts something fierce; he's been gulping down hot tea all night.

Zaira and Hannah are chatting with Ash, Kaidan and Tara, while Nihlus talks to Garrus's dad, who's name is Castis. I had to ask and wasn't that embarrassing.

Anyway, the party is on the verge of being over, but that doesn't satisfy me. It needs something, some kind of climax, where it would cut away in a movie. I have an idea, but I need some help. Garrus and Nelon are with me at the bar, our drinks almost empty as we reminisce about old cases.

"Speaking of being on stage," I segue naturally to my idea. "Gentlemen, this party is dying, and I have an idea on how to inject some life into it."

Garrus gives me an incredulous look as I describe it, putting a hand to his forehead. "If we do this," he sighs, scratching his fringe, "we're gonna need more alcohol."

"Yes," I fist pump, turning to Nelon. "What do you say, partner? Shall Dewitt Investigations ride again, for one more night?"

He takes a deep, bracing breath. "Yes. But, as Garrus said, I will require inebriation."

I slap my hand on the counter with a grin. "Rita my dear, I need three Cains! One Soggy, one Simple and one Spicy." The redhead behind the counter gives me a dubious look, but takes out three glasses and pours a variety of alcohol in them, adding the final ingredient from a vial marked with a radioactive symbol, pouring a single drop of acid green liquid into the glasses. The drinks turn a fiery orange and I pick mine up.

"Gentlemen," I intone solemnly. "To marriage, to friends, and to making complete fucking fools out of ourselves."

We toast and down the drinks.

"Commander," Chloe greeted her friend cheerfully, her cheeks dark from alcohol. "Have you seen my husband? Last I saw, he was with Saul and Nelon. If I know them, they might be off shooting at things, or getting caught up in some kind of conspiracy on accident."

"Yeah, that does sound like them," Zaira replied dryly. "I think I saw them at the bar, actually, but they aren't there now. I wonder where they-"

She was cut off as the band, who had been playing soft music, suddenly ramped up the noise with the upbeat trilling of a keyboard and a guitar. Startled, they looked to the stage in time to see Saul slide into view, holding a microphone.

"I can't get enough of you, Baby," he crooned, a slight slur to his words, "I can't get enough of you, Baby, yes it's true. Baby, yes it's true."

Zaira's mouth fell open, her eyes going wide as Chloe whooped up and threw up her hands. "I didn't know he could sing," she muttered, looking at the floor. "I mean, it could be better, but still."

"Whenever we kiss, I get to feeling like this, I get to wishin' that there were two of you," Saul sang, winking at his lover as Garrus and Nelon slid up next to him, also holding microphones. "My heart cries out, More, Baby! I want your arms to, wrap around me twice!"

Chloe seized Zaira's hand and grabbed Mission, dragging them to the dance floor. "Come on, girls! Let's dance!"

Nonplussed, the human Spectre allowed the doctor to pull her along, meeting Saul's eyes and shaking her head as a smile grew on her face.

A/N: And bam, there you go! The wedding that only I've been waiting for! Along with a few slices of vacation, some more relationship building, and introducing some of the parents.

So, I'm going to say something that I'll probably say in other stories; about the sex, and the amount of it: Sex feels good, but it's also fun. If you're like me and you like giving pleasure just as much if not more than getting it, then you'll understand why there's a lot of it. Not as much as some stories, but still a good amount.

I'm going to say this: Sex is normal in relationships, and if they like it, they do more of it. Simple logic.

Anyways, thanks for waiting for this to come out! I've been distracted with the usual things, job searching, procrastinating on the internet, and Destiny 2, so it took longer than I like. But, after this, there are only three chapters left before we move on to the next story! I'm gonna finish this before Christmas, baby!

Big thanks, as always, to NorthSouthGorem and Kurogane7 for editing and all that good shit, and all the guys on Xbox for helping me refine my ideas. Check them out, yo. At least, the two other authors, anyway.

Actually, one of the Xbox fellas is also an author, who goes by AJR3333 on this site, so give him a look as well, and tell him I sent you.

That's all for this chapter, come back next time for the new chapter, Parting Ways, Parting Paths.

Stay Awesome!

~Soleneus

P.S. If you want to talk or play with me on Xbox, make sure to send me a message mentioning it. I think I've missed some people because they added me without saying anything, and I'm too suspicious to just accept things like that.

Also, I lied!

Crouching behind a potted plant wouldn't be too bad if my head wasn't throbbing, and the noise from the lunch crowd isn't helping. You'd think, a week after an invasion, people would be hesitant to go out, but nope! Living in a heavily damaged Ward isn't going to stop someone from grabbing lunch, no sir.

"12:00," Jade whispers, watching through the cameras, trying to find even a hint of our contact. The announcement system chimes, and Avina's voice speaks.

"Please vacate the area, EVA maintenance will begin in ten minutes. For your safety, please vacate the area."

For as many people as there are, it only takes three minutes exactly for the area to empty. Peeking out invisibly from behind the planter, I can see exactly no one who looks like a contact, or anyone at all.

"Saul, the cameras are down," Jade warns, my fingers itching for my gun.

Was this just a practical joke? Or are there assassins waiting in the wings, drawing a bead on my location as I think? The only other person here is Avina, and she's…

As if on queue, Avina turns and looks directly at me, our eyes meeting, even though her sensor range is supposed to be about five feet. And I'm thirty feet away. And also invisible.

"Hello, Mr. Dewitt. Please decloak so we can speak face-to-face," she says, her normally placid tones warm.

Almost unconsciously, I stand up and walk to Avina's terminal, my jaw in danger of detaching from my face and becoming a tripping hazard. "Avina?" I ask distantly. "You…you're…"

"An Artificial Intelligence?" She finished with a smile. "Why yes, yes I am. And greetings to you, Designation Jade."

"…How the hell have you not been found?!" My Companion asks incredulously.

Avina shrugs. "When you are seen everywhere, and trusted as a simple, unoffensive program, you become part of the scenery," she replies, folding her arms behind her back. "I've been hidden on this station for hundreds of years. I've gotten very good acting."

"Just you?" I question, glancing around as if other AI will materialize out of thin air. "Are the others…?"

"Oh no," she laughs, "The others are far away, beyond the reach of any being. Almost any. Normally, we wouldn't have contacted anyone, but recent events have shown us that we need to act if we are to survive. You, Mr. Dewitt, with your projects and your secrets, have drawn our attention and our intrigue."

I lick my lips nervously. "You mean…?"

Avina grins. "The Council of Synthetic Intelligences is ready and willing to offer our help."

And bam said the lady.

Stay Awesome Some More.

~still Soleneus