Would you look'it that! Another chapter so soon? Damn, I must be running a fever! Well, really, I just had some nice ideas for 'character development.' Or rather, developing feelings. In any case, I didn't get even the slightest case of writer's block, and a new chapter formed quickly, a good way to apologize for how long the last chapter took, in my opinion. Well, in any case, I hope you enjoy!
A biotic push snapped an asari Eclipse mercenary's neck at the same time as two wrist-mounted blades burst out of her chest, killing her instantly. In front of her stood Jack, her hand having unleashed her biotic power, while Frank stood behind her with his blades buried in the asari's back.
"One hundred and eight!" both psychotics cried out triumphantly at the same time, before taking their focus off the merc to glare at each other.
"This was my kill, meatsack," Frank said, having long since stripped himself of his human disguise. Jack, never one to back down from a challenge, glared right back at him.
"Hey now, check that brain of yours, and you'll see I hit him first! That was my kill!"
"It was mine!"
The two glared heatedly at each other, and it looked like a fight was about to break out, because Jack started glowing with biotic energy, while Frank pulled his wrist-blades out of the merc, and his nanobots shaped into his trademark shoulder-mounted minigun, which was pointed straight at the violent convict.
"Excuse me!" Aceso exclaimed, getting between the two. "I think we can declare this one a tie and split the kill-count, can we not?" she pleaded, pointing to the double doors they were standing in front of. "Undoubtedly, Nassara has some private security in her office that you can..." She paused for a moment to stare at the door, her eyes narrowing. Unlike her brother, she preferred to retain her human form.
She really hadn't enjoyed how both Frank and Jack had wanted to slaughtered the cowardly salarians they had encountered downstairs. But, as always, Aceso had managed to put a lid on Frank's bloodlust. That was why Harry had put her on his team, after all.
"Yes, there are three mercenaries on the other side of that door," she informed the two hot-headed combatants. "Perhaps... you can use them to settle your score?"
"Deal!" both of them exclaimed, before Frank approached the door to Nassara's office and kicked them so hard that they bent inwards. The two charges in, to see a well-dressed asari standing behind a desk, three Eclipse mercs behind her. No doubt the mercs had been listening to their comms, because they looked awfully nervous when they saw Jack and Frank.
"And who the hell are you?" Nassara asked, calm as can be.
Aceso wasn't the type to throw around the word 'hate' on the whim. But she hated people like this asari. People who thought they were untouchable because they had money to spend on bodyguards. She was actually inclined to let Jack and Frank go wild, but her personality won out in the end, and she bowed her head.
"Forgive us for slaughtering your hired help. We are here looking for someone," she spoke in her usual pleasant tone of voice.
"Then you should have asked for an appointment at the front desk," the asari growled, glaring at them.
Unbeknownst to her, a drell, a reptilian humanoid who very much looked like a cross between a lizard, a human, and an asari, dropped down from the ventilation shaft in the ceiling.
Within moments, one Eclipse had his neck snapped, another had his throat crushed, and the third was shot. Nassara only had time to spin around, attempting to attack the assassin with a blade, only to find her wrist caught and a gun pressed against her stomach.
A shot rang out, and the drell hugged the asari, laying her down on the desk. She was alive, but not for long. He placed her hands on her chest as she breathed her last breath, then closed his eyes and bowed his head as he clasped his hands together.
"So, this is the guy?" Jack asked, on edge. Natural, considering the ease with which the drell had disposed of the guards.
"Efficient. I admire this fleshbag's assassination techniques," Frank quipped.
"Thane Krios?" Aceso asked, approaching cautiously. The drell didn't raise his head, but his eyes opened.
"I apologize, but prayers for the wicked must not be forsaken."
"You'd pray for that bitch?" Jack asked, and only now did Thane look up at them, shaking his head.
"Not for her. For me," he told them. "The measure of an individual can be difficult to discern by actions alone. Take you, for instance. All this destruction... chaos..." He walked around the desk and approached Aceso, tilting his head slightly. "I was curious to see how far you'd go to find me. Well, here I am."
"If it were up to me, I would have preferred the stealthy route," Aceso said, that soft, pleasant smile back on her face. "But, given the company I keep..."
"I don't do stealth," Jack said simply, to which Frank nodded in agreement.
"But how did you know we were coming?" Aceso wanted to know.
"I didn't. Not until you marched in the front door and started shooting," Thane told her. "Nassana had become paranoid. You saw the strength of her guard force. She believed one of her sisters would kill her. You were a valuable distraction."
"Glad to be of assistance..." Jack muttered. In all honesty, though, she didn't care too much that Thane had used them. It was a good opportunity to let loose, after all.
"In any case," Aceso said, giving Jack a pointed look to tell her to keep quiet. "We are here on orders from Commander Shepard of the Normandy. We have been asked to recruit you for a mission."
"Indeed?" Thane asked, glancing at her.
"Do you know of the Collectors?"
"They are abducting human colonies. If you have heard of Freedom's Progress, you should know that was their work."
"I see..." Thane murmured, walking past Aceso to stand by the window, staring out at Illium.
"We are going to fight them."
This made Thane spin around to stare at her curiously.
"Attacking the Collectors would require passing through the Omega 4 relay. No ship has ever returned from doing so."
"Our ship will succeed. And we have Commander Shepard."
"True enough, she has built a career on performing the impossible," he said, nodding as he closed his eyes. "This was to be my last job. I'm dying. Low survival odds don't concern me. The abduction of your colonists does."
Aceso's vision sifted through all the various visions at her disposal, and she tilted her head to the side.
"Kepral's Syndrome?" she asked, which made Thane perk up and look at her. "My father, if I inform him of this, is sure to be able to discover a cure, if you come with us."
"There is no cure."
"Then you haven't yet met my father."
Thane was quiet for a moment, then looked at her again.
"I will work for Shepard. No charge. There is no nobler cause to die for, in my opinion."
"Excellent!" Aceso exclaimed, clapping her hands together in excitement. The joy was shattered, however, when Jack let out a cry of outrage.
"Goddamn it! Now we can't settle the score!"
"This certainly is a pleasant view..."
Samara was sitting in the starboard observation room, choosing to sit on the floor rather than in any of the recliners or couches. She was sitting in a lotus position, her eyes closed as she meditated. Not too far from her sat Harry, his arms up on the backrest of his couch, a smoldering cigarette in his mouth as he stared up at the ceiling.
"Eh. A millennia or so later, the sight becomes commonplace," Harry commented, sighing. "The drawbacks of longevity, I suppose."
"Speaking of which, Garrus Vakarian asked if we really met two hundred years ago," Samara said, which made Harry chuckle.
"I was winging it. Once you've lived long enough, the centuries sort of blur together. How long has it been since we first met?"
"It was actually just one hundred years ago. You were the first human I ever met."
"Mostly because humans hadn't used the relay yet."
Samara now opened her eyes, glancing at him with an affectionate smile on her face. She studied every inch of his face, his usual bored expression, just like when she first met him. That had truly been an experience she would never forget. The technologically advanced human, a race that had never before been seen in Citadel space...
She was glad not all humans were like him, or all the races would have been conquered long ago. Hell, she was glad Harry himself had no desire to rule anything, because if he put some effort into it, he could do it with ease.
"So, how are Falere and Rila?" he asked suddenly, making Samara flinch in surprise, glancing away from him.
"I... did not think you knew about them..."
"I know more than you'd think," Harry said simply. "So?"
"I... have not contacted them for some time," Samara admitted, her gaze lowering itself to the floor. "My duties have kept me busy."
"Are you afraid of meeting them?" the scientist asked, which caused Samara to perk up and snap her head toward him.
"Because they're Ardat-Yakshi," Harry elaborated, now raising his head as well to look at her. "Three Ardat-Yakshi daughters... That sort of thing is sure to make you feel like you're responsible."
Samara sighed. Finally, she got up from the floor and made her way over to the couch, sitting down next to Harry.
"Aren't I?" she asked, a rare tone of insecurity in her voice. She gave Harry a sorrowful look. "I have only ever had three children, Harry, and all of them have been born Ardat-Yakshi."
Ardat-Yakshi was a rare genetic condition in asari, specifically affecting the nervous system. During mating, the Ardat-Yakshi's nervous system completely overpowered and dominated that of her mate's, causing hemorrhaging in the victim's brain, and ultimately death in most cases. As a result, the Ardat-Yakshi also became smarter, stronger, and deadlier after each encounter. Harry had speculated that they possessed the ability to assimilate the life-force of their victims, and given the asari's natural biotic abilities, it was added to those skills, subconsciously channeling the energy into the brain and muscles.
Harry gave her a very complicated scientific theory on the condition, but Samara hadn't been able to properly understand it. There were a lot of complicated words in there, even by asari standards.
"Don't blame yourself, love," Harry said, and now his hand moved to place itself on her shoulder. "It's just a genetic crap shoot. You just rolled poorly. But hey, at least two of your daughters inherited their mother's responsible nature."
They sat in silence for a while, before Samara leaned against him. She was acting surprisingly shyly, a trait she realized she only seemed to show around Harry. Usually, a man like him wouldn't be attractive to her at all, yet there was just something about him. Maybe he made her remember her adventurous Maiden years, or maybe he was just genuinelly attractive to her. She honestly believed it was the latter, or both. Most likely both.
"Do you think... I mean, if we had...?"
"No," Harry answered immediately. "I doubt it. But then, you never can tell, can you?"
"True enough." Samara sighed, snuggling back against Harry's side, closing her eyes and relaxing for the first time in years. "We did have a good time, though, did we not?"
Harry, being his usual self, shrugged.
"We've had about eighty-seven percent of a good time," he said, which made Samara look up and give him an annoyed look. "What? I had to take into account that you did through me out a window to fall thirty stories."
"I had never seen a human before, and you were in the middle of a smuggling ring. And to be fair, you did break my arms in retaliation."
"Alright, then ninety-seven percent."
Samara gave him another glare, but there was no fire in it. More like exasperated amusement.
"Leave it to Harry Potter to ruin a romantic moment..."
There had been quite a lot of action, but eventually, Shepard had managed to help Miranda get her sister to safety, despite the treachery of Miranda's long-time friend Niket, who had agreed to help Eclipse mercenaries bring Oriana to her father. Of course, Miranda couldn't have that, and the team had made quick work of the mercs. Shepard even managed to get Miranda to go talk to her sister.
All-in-all, things were good. Especially when one considered the fact that Thane Krios had very nearly not agreed to go with them on this mission, if not for the timely intervention of Aceso. Really, it was dangerous to have Jack and Frank on the same team. Reports said that the top eight floors of the main Dantius tower were going to need remodelling after they were done wiping out anyone in their path. The final kill-count was apparently declared a draw after neither of the two could decide which of them got the last kill, considering they killed the merc at the same time.
Yet, that wasn't what was on Shepard's mind at the moment, strangely enough. What was strange wasn't even that Samara hadn't even come to the briefing room to introduce herself. What was strange was that she was at the starboard observation room with Harry! Not only that, but they'd both been there ever since they arrived, from what EDI told her. Neither of them had come out...
There was a strange feeling in her chest. From questioning Garrus and Tali, their first impressions had been that there was history between Harry and Samara. They had acted like friends, and while neither teammates could get a read on Harry, there had been no mistaking the affectionate look in Samara's eyes on their part.
No, they couldn't have!
But then, judging from his call to Tevos, he was fairly partial to the asari... Shepard's eyes narrowed as she walked through the Normandy, huffing to herself.
Why the hell was she feeling like there was a beast in her chest trying to claw its way out and rip Samara's head off her shoulders? She hadn't even felt that about Kaiden when she'd first started getting feelings for him... She could feel her cheeks burn at the very thought of Harry doing... things... with Samara...
The Commander blinked and stopped in her tracks, looking over to see Garrus standing there, his arms crossed as he looked at her curiously.
"Something on your mind?" the turian asked.
"What? No. Why do you ask?"
"Well, even when we were chasing after Saren, you weren't pacing around this much."
"I wasn't pacing..."
"Then how do you explain wandering through the mess eighteen times?" Garrus quipped, and Shepard could feel herself flushing.
"I was just... contemplating..."
"Care to fill me in?"
Shepard took a deep breath. She was the leader of this group. She was supposed to be the tough, hard Commander who didn't get emotionally involved. Yet, Garrus was her friend, one of her best and oldest friends. Maybe she could trust him with this?
"Do you think there is... something going on? Between Harry and Samara?"
Garrus hummed to himself, rubbing his mandibles with a thoughtful look on his face.
"They sure know each other. They're friends at the very least, from what I could see... Why do you...?" Garrus trailed off as he looked up at Shepard, whose cheeks were still kind of red, almost matching her hair. "No... You...? And Harry?"
"No!" Shepard barked immediately. "No, no... No! I'm not... I mean, it's..."
"Shepard," Garrus interrupted Shepard's sputtering. "Usually, you're unreadable. But now, you're being like an open book."
Shepard made to argue, but then she sighed, gesturing for Garrus to follow her. They went into the portside observation room, and sat down on the couch in there.
"I don't know..." she admitted, frowning. "I mean, he's rough, and basically, he's sort of a psycho in many regards, but when it counts... he's a good guy. Something is kinda... I don't know how to describe it..."
"Vibrations in your chest?"
Shepard perked up and gave Garrus a surprised look. If he was capable of it, Shepard was sure that Garrus was smirking at her.
"You're not the first one to get feelings like that."
"There may have been one or two females in my life..." Garrus admitted, coughing into his fist to hide his embarrassment. "Of course, the career was more important. Didn't really commit, so my advice is limited, you know? Still, you're Commander Shepard."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Shepard asked, which made Garrus chuckle.
"Well, if you want something, you'll get it. I mean, you wanted to go after Saren, and no matter who opposed, you went after him. You want to go after the Collectors, you're going after him. You want to go after Harry..."
"I don't want to go after him..."
"Then why are you standing up?"
Shepard blinked when she realized that she had actually risen from the couch. What was she intending to do just now? She shot Garrus a dirty look, only to get a laugh in response.
"You know, you can go to him if you want."
Shepard made to argue, but then thought better of it. Why shouldn't she, after all? If Commander Shepard wanted something, she was damn sure going to get it! Giving a small harrumph, she gave Garrus a last withering glare, before leaving the observation room, leaving an amused turian behind.
"Ah, budding romances... Is there anything more sickeningly sweet?" he said to himself.
"I know, right?"
Garrus was completely unprepared for the resident kleptomaniac Kasumi to drop her cloak sitting right next to him. The result was him giving a very un-turian-like yelp and falling off the couch, scrambling away from her.
"K-Kasumi, don't do that!" he barked, clutching at his chest.
Meanwhile, Commander Shepard was making her way toward the starboard observation room. The doors hissed open, and she was treated to the sight of Harry and Samara sitting on a couch with their backs toward the door. The asari was leaning again Harry in a very affectionate manner, and once more, Shepard found that beast inside her trying to claw its way out. She could even feel a muscle under her right eye twitch in slight annoyance.
She had no idea Harry could be that close to anyone but his AI...
"Ahem," she cleared her throat, getting the attention of the two people in the room. Harry leaned his head back to look at her, his half-smoked dangling from his mouth.
"Oh, hey, Shepard! How did your mission go?"
Shepard swallowed in an effort not to growl when she saw Samara lean into Harry further in order to turn her head to look at her.
"It went well, as did Group B's. That's actually why I came. Well, I came to greet Samara, but I also need you to take a look at Thane. He has Kepral's Syndrome."
"Oh, really?" Harry asked, an excited look entering his eye as he got off the couch, just as Shepard had hoped he would. "Fascinating! I'll go have a look-see, shall I?"
Shepard watched as Harry gave Samara a smile and a pat on the shoulder, before leaving the room. She waited for a moment, now watching as Samara also got off the couch to sit on the floor in a meditative position, facing the window.
"Samara? I'm Commander Shepard."
"So I gathered. I have heard of you," Samara said, not looking back. Shepard frowned and made her way over to sit down across from her.
"I'm glad to have you on board," Shepard said, and she surprised herself when she realized that a small part of her felt like she was lying. "Your file spoke highly of you as a powerful biotic and expert with standard weapons."
"A few centuries of life certainly teaches you a few things," Samara said, opening her eyes to look at her. "Otherwise, I doubt I'd be alive right now."
Shepard nodded slowly, feeling a bit uncomfortable. She cleared her throat.
"So, you know Harry?"
"Harry was the first human I ever met," Samara explained. "Long before humanity discovered the relays, he was already exploring the stars. Unbeknownst to the rest of humanity, of course. After an altercation, we befriended one another, and he helped me try to track down a fugutive. Our mission failed, but we parted as..." Samara paused to hum quietly to herself, "...friends."
"Friends?" Shepard prodeed, which got her a curious look from Samara.
"Yes, friends. Is there a problem, Shepard?"
"No!" Shepard said quickly. "No problem. I'm just trying to wrap my head around the fact that Harry can make friends."
"Certainly, he can be a handful, but there was something about him that I found appealing enough that I kept him around. Contrary what I had believed, I did not end up regretting that decision."
"You look close," Shepard commented, continuing to prod carefully. Samara, however, gave her a somewhat amused look.
"We were, once. Now, I'm not so sure. Well, time will tell."
Shepard hated this feeling. When Samara had said those words, Shepard had wanted to snap at her... What the hell was wrong with here lately?
"Hm," she hummed finally after a moment of silence. "I should go."
Meanwhile, Thane Krios considered himself a skillful assassin. He could sneak up on anyone, and no one could sneak up on him. Or so he thought... This was the first time meeting Harry Potter, and also the moment he realized that Harry Potter was not like other people.
Thane, who had made the life-support chamber his room, had been meditating at his desk, when a voice suddenly sounded right next to his right ear, making him flinch slightly at being so caught off-guard. He shot to his feet, his hand instinctively reaching for his pistol, but the newcomer, a scarred, stitched-up human wearing a lab coat, raised his hands defensively, to show he meant no harm.
"Woah, now," the man said, grinning slightly at the sight of Thane's impressive reflexes. "Sorry for sneaking up on you like that- Well, not really, always fun to sneak up on a hanar-trained drell, but still, apologies."
"Who are you?" Thane asked suspiciously.
"Dr. Harry Potter, at your service," the man introduced. "You must be Thane Krios, then? My daughter, Aceso, informed me that you've been struck by Kepral's Syndrome. I'd like to give you a brief once-over and see if I can figure out a cure while Joker's cure is being synthesized."
"I can assure you, I've seen the best physicians in the galaxy, and they assure me that no cure can be found."
"You mean the hanar?" Harry asked with a scoff as he waved Thane off, a disgusted look on his face as though the hanar weren't even worthy of having him talk about them. "They would rather focus on making the next batch of soldiers immune rather than focus on the issue at hand."
"Do you think you could do better?" Thane asked, which made Harry grin.
"I know I can. Adrian, do a scan."
"Coming right up, dad!"
Thane blinked in surprise when a hologram of a young boy materialized next to Harry's head.
AI... That was a surprise...
The doors to the medical bay hissed open. Dr. Chakwas was currently having lunch, so Harry was alone, save for Samara stepping through the door. She was looking around at the various equipment hard at work. She had never been much for the more technological aspects of her race's progress. Computers and complicated equipment wasn't much for her. A gun or a biotic push was more her schtick.
"Harry," she spoke, making the scientist perk up. He had been hunched over a microscope, and he turned to her, a smile appearing on his face.
"Samara. Thought you'd still be meditating."
"I was, but my mind drifted to your promise," Samara said, her expression turning serious as she approached Harry. "You know where Morinth is. You promised to tell me."
"I did, didn't I?" Harry said, lighting a cigarette and leaning back against his desk. "Don't worry, I've already told Joker to set the course for Omega. My bugs have told me that's where your daughter is."
Samara sighed, rubbing her face. She looked sort of reluctant, almost disappointed that Harry had actual information for her.
"I will be needing your help, Harry," she said, looking up at him. "I cannot get close to Morinth. You, however, have a reputation on Omega. Morinth has an attraction to the dangerous kind, the hedonists."
"You say that like it's a bad thing," Harry quipped with a grin. "Isn't that a trait she got from her mother?"
Samara gave him a dirty look, but it wasn't like she could refute him. Truly, that was one of the reasons why she had been attracted to him. He was the complete opposite of her Code. Do whatever you want, when you want, however you want. That was who Harry Potter was. He wasn't held down by rules or laws. He followed his heart, and even though some of his actions may have been deeply dishonorable, they weren't such in his eyes. His goals were research and personal satisfaction, and he stuck to it, no matter how much someone might try to convince him to change. He was his own person.
Samara actually envied him at times.
Before she could contemplate further, however, Harry gave a laugh, a very amused one. The kind that Samara had learned to recognze as one that meant that he was going to cause some chaos, or at the very least piss someone off.
"You seem happy," she commented, which made Harry grin wider.
"Oh, I am. I just realized that I'm going to have to pay Aria a little visit..."
Poor, poor Grizz, always drawing the short straw. As with every time Harry Potter entered Afterlife, he had tried to stop him from reaching Aria (one would think he'd have learned by now), and yet again he had been knocked out by a lightning-fast punch to the face.
Harry, accompanied by Samara, headed up the stairs, and found Aria sitting in her usual spot on the couch. As soon as she saw him, her eyes narrowed, and all three guards up on the platform pulled their weapons and aimed them at Harry, who grinned, an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth.
"Hello, Aria," he greeted, not caring in the slightest about the weapons currently trained on his head, as he walked over and sat down next to her on the couch. Samara, following his lead, sat down as well, although some distance away from them.
"Potter..." Aria greeted with a glare. "What are you doing here? I thought Shepard took you away from Omega?"
"Oh, my friend and I are just here looking for someone, and I was hoping an old friend like you could help me find her."
"Old friend, you say?" Aria quipped, watching Harry's friendly grin. He was lounging as though he was actually meeting an old friend, not talking to an enemy at gun-point. Then again, Harry didn't share the same animosity toward Aria as she did toward him. "And just who are you looking for?"
"An Ardat-Yakshi," Harry explained, making Aria's 'eyebrows' shoot up in surprise.
"I knew it..." she muttered, forgetting about the fact that her hated enemy was sitting right next to her for a moment. "Nothing leaves a body quite so... empty... as an Ardat-Yakshi does."
"You haven't taken steps to kill her?" Samara asked. Aria just gave her a look of amusement.
"Why would I? She hasn't tried to seduce me," she quipped. "Her last victim was a young girl. Pretty thing. Lived in the tenements near here. That's where I'd start looking."
"Bollocks," Harry said immediately. "You can't even try to convince me that you don't know every single movement made on Omega. Where is she? Or rather, where are her hunting grounds?"
A scoff of amusement escaped Aria, and she gave Harry a scathing look.
"Nothing escapes you, does it?" she asked, huffing slightly in annoyance. "Rumor has it, she frequents Afterlife's VIP section. I'm sure you'd find her there. If you drop Jaruut's name to the bouncer, he will let you in."
"Thank you, Aria," Harry said with another grin, patting the asari on the shoulder. "I always knew you had a soft spot for me."
Aria was not amused. Indeed, she gave Harry a glare so heated that he thought for a second that he might actually catch fire for a second.
"All I want is for you to kill this Ardat-Yakshi and get the hell off my rock, Potter!" she hissed. "I have no interest in your personal business."
Harry rose from the couch, and so did Samara. The mad scientist nodded his head to Aria (had to show some respect, after all), before leaving. He knew very well how much Aria disliked him, though she disliked Ardat-Yakshi even more. It was a foregone conclusion that she would help him.
"So, I guess you want to use me as bait?" Harry asked, glancing at Samara with a raised eyebrow as they left the club, heading down an alleyway toward the stairs that would lead to the VIP section.
"I do," Samara said, nodding. "You embody most of what attracts Morinth. I will be staying at a safe distance. If she so much as catches sight of me, she will escape, and we cannot storm her dwelling. She surely has a hundred escape routes prepared for such an occasion."
"So, I draw attention, get her to bring me back to her place, you stalk us, and then you strike?" Harry assumed, to which Samara nodded.
"Yes. However, Harry..." She stopped suddenly, putting a hand on his shoulder. "She will be planning to inflict great horrors on your. If you are not careful, you will want her to."
"Samara," Harry said, smirking at her. "She won't hold any sway over me. Only one asari holds a place in my heart and mind."
Samara was stunned by this statement. She stood there, staring at Harry as he started walking away, his hands in his pockets. Her heart was beating stronger than ever before.
Even when they had joined the last time, she hadn't felt this way. He was rough, and he was violent, hedonistic, yet that look in his eye, that smirk on his face... It resonated with something within her...
She was still standing there kind of stunned when she felt Harry flicking her forehead.
"So, come on, let's get this over with."
"Harry," Samara stopped him as he started walking again. "Thank you. I do not share this burden easily, and you are the only soul I can imagine sharing it with."
Harry smiled. That rare, genuine smile that he only showed those closest to him, and he nodded.
"Anything for you, love," he said, but then had to ruin the moment as usual. "Of course, thise would be a more romantic if I weren't constantly reminded of you punching me on the nose when we met."
Commander Shepard was frustrated. If there was a mission to be done, she would be in charge of it! She didn't really mind the fact that Harry had set a course for Omega without informing her. She didn't even mind that he left the ship to do something, but when she found out he and Samara had left together, consider her pet peeved something fierce...
What were they doing on Omega, anyway? Harry had just said that they needed to take care of some personal business, but that didn't tell Shepard much! For all she knew, that personal business might have been more... personal... than one might think!
And that bugged her.
So, Shepard did what she thought was the best thing to do: Gossip.
She decided that the best person to gossip with would be Tali'Zorah, because why not? Unlike Garrus, she wouldn't pick up on her infatuation quite as easily, and she was sure not to blab about it to everyone after a few drinks.
She didn't think, however, that approaching Tali would make her grateful to Harry Potter. Because as she approached her, the quarian was hunched over a console, muttering curses to herself. She really did have a hard time figuring out how to work the new drive core and hyperdrive.
"Tali, how-" This was where the gratefulness came in. Because Tali yelped at Shepard sneaking up on her, spinning around and slugging her in the face. If it hadn't been for the PPPF Harry had injected her with, Shepard was sure that hit could have caused some damage.
"S-Shepard?" Tali breathed, clutching at her heart. "I-I'm so sorry! I was busy, and you sneaked up on me, and-"
"It's fine, Tali," Shepard interrupted the sputtering quarian, holding up a hand while the other massaged her cheek. "Hell of a swing you have, though. Didn't think you had it in you."
"Again, sorry..." Tali mumbled. "I was just distracted going through the diagnostics on the new hyperdrive, but it's so far over my head..."
"I take it Harry's upgrades are far more complicated than you're used to?"
"Have you seen this?" Tali asked as she gestured for the holographic screen above the console. "He doesn't work with mass effect technology in the slightest! It's like his technology is from a whole other world!"
Shepard struggled to keep her mouth shut, realizing just how true that was.
"Yeah, he sure is something, huh?" she said instead, nodding. The duo went into the drive core for privacy, gazing down at he trio of Zero-Point Modules. She still couldn't wrap her head around how crystals could carry energy, but still...
"The previous drive-core had specific power-distribution intended for specific areas of the ship," Tali said, also staring down at the ZPM's. "This new system encompasses the entire ship, and focuses on diverting power to the various areas at will. For example, if the shields are short on power, you can theoretically draw all the power from the hyperdrive and divert it to the shields."
The sound of heavy boots thumping against steel was heard behind them, making them turn around and notice Jack, for once leaving her dwelling, approaching them.
"I heard the mad doctor's name," Jack said as she walked up to them, grinning. "You ladies gossiping? I'm kinda up for that."
"We weren't... gossiping!" Tali protested, sounding almost appalled at the notion. "We were just..."
"Talking about him?" Jack finished for her. "I think that counts as gossip. Well, I'm all for it. Any guy who can create someone like Frank is enough to catch my interest."
"Did you ever settle your tie?" Shepard asked, which made Jack bark a laugh.
"Yeah. Knife-throwing. He won, but he assured me I'll be getting a rematch."
"You and Frank sure took to each other quickly."
"He's a great killer."
Shepard rolled her eyes. Leave it to Jack to only focus on such a trait... She didn't consider Frank's personality, his dislike toward organics, nor his extreme loyalty to Harry. No, she just focused on his ability to kill...
"But back to the topic," Jack said, hopping up to sit on the railing of the platform holding the console to control the hyperdrive. She was completely uncaring of the long drop below her. "How about that mad doc, huh?"
"Somehow, adding a third woman to the group makes it truly feel like gossip..." Shepard muttered, scratching her head.
"So, what's this I hear about the Commander having the hots for our resident maniac?"
Shepard hadn't been prepared for that, so she could be forgiven for choking on her own spit, sputtering incoherently as he cheeks flushed.
Damn you, Garrus! Damn you to the lowest circle of hell!
"Oh, really?" Tali asked, her voice holding a tone of amusement.
"Garrus is full of lies," Shepard lied, narrowing her eyes. "We're going to have words later..."
A thug was knocked to the ground, the last of five. Harry had picked the fight, to be honest, although not physically. Really, turians were way too sensitive about being compared to birds. Sure, someone claiming they had the brain of a bird may have been a bit more than they could handle, but still... No need to whack Harry with a bottle.
The krogan had been the most annoying. Right after the bottle smashed against Harry's head, the krogan had tried beating the crap out of him. Of course, Harry would have none of that.
"Anyone else?" he asked, looking around at the other people at the bar. They all shied away from him, allowing him to focus on his drink in peace. He shook his head. Omega was supposed to be the hangout of the worst criminals in the universe. Yet there they were, cowering like a child under the glare of their parent.
How was he supposed to lure his target out if he couldn't attract enough-
"My name is Morinth."
Harry blinked in surprise and looked over his shoulder to see a black-clad asari approaching him, smirking. There was no doubt this was Samara's daughter. She looked exactly like her. Only the voice was different.
"I've been watching you," the asari contined. "You're the most interesting person in this place. I've got a booth over there in the shadows. Buy me a drink and come sit with me?"
Harry was at a bit of a loss. Should he play hard to get, or should he just comply? If he was too friendly, too eager, that would no doubt bore her. Yet, if he acted too reluctant, that might also bore her...
"Sure," Harry said finally, grinning at her.
That was how he found himself sitting in Morinth's private booth. She was sitting across from him, staring at him. She was studying him, taking in every detail of his face, his hair, his state of dress...
"Interesting," she spoke finally after several minutes of silence. "I've never seen a human quite like you."
"And you'll never see on like me ever again," Harry said confidently. "They don't make 'em like me anymore."
"I can tell," Morinth said, smiling, before looking around the club, taking in the beat of the music, relishing in the sounds, and the sight of the people dancing. "You know, some nights I come here and there's no one interesting to talk to. Some nights, there's just one person. Tonight it's you. Why is that?"
"Maybe you just feel attracted to the weird type?" Harry suggested, which made Morinth laugh.
"The word on my mind was 'dangerous,' but 'weird' works as well."
"How about weird and dangerous?"
Morinth's smile widened.
"You're Harry Potter, aren't you?" she asked, to which Harry raised an eyebrow. "I've heard the talk. Aria hates you. You come into Afterlife and do what you want whenever you want it. That sort of speaks to me. To the darkest places in me." She paused for a moment. "I heard you had left, though. What brings you back?"
"Felt like it," Harry said with a shrug. "Figured I'd get a stiff drink, then go bug Aria for a while, remind her to keep her guard up."
"Though that means you've been away from here. Been all over the galaxy?"
"Yes. Longer than you'd think."
"When I travel, I find myself drawn to dark, dangerous places."
"I don't," Harry admitted, surprising Morinth, before he explained, "The places I go to aren't dangerous until I get there."
This made Morinth laugh.
"True enough, your reputation speaks of you as a loose cannon." She paused, considering for a moment, then smirked at him.
"Do you want to get out of here? My apartment is nearby, and I want you alone."
That was how Harry found himself in the apartment of Samara's renegade daughter's apartment. Her wall had few decorations, only a sword and an old rifle. Nearby was a bottle of the drug Hallex, and back near the kitchen was a huge stone statue of a krogan. Harry, however, didn't focus on any of that. Instead, he was sitting on the couch with Morinth, who was smiling at him.
"I love clubs," she told him. "People, movement, heat. I can still hear the bass, like the drums of a great hunt, out for your blood. But here, it's muted, and you're safe. Is that what you want, Harry?"
"Safety's a bit of a lie, inn'it?" Harry asked, sparking a cig with a grin. "Many people feel safe, then they die."
"It's true, we're never safe," Morinth agreed. "I've never understood the fascination with safety. Some of us choose differently." She rose from her seat and moved over, plopping herself down in Harry's lap, a seductive smile on her face. "Independence over submission. I think we share that, you and I."
"Maybe so, but at least I don't kill the people I hang around."
This statement made Morinth's eyes widen.
"Why do you say that I've killed? What do you know? Let's stop playing games." She moved off his lap and sat down next to him. For a moment, there was silence as she closed her eyes, and when she opened them, they were all black, as though they had been covered in a layer of black ink. "Look into my eyes and tell me you want me. Tell me you'd kill for me. Anything I want."
He could feel her presence trying to burrow its way into his head, but it was laughably weak. He had encountered the best Legilimens in the world, and even withstood attacks from Wraith queens. There was no way her mind was touching his.
"Ruh-roh," he spoke in his best Scooby Doo impression. "Looks like mind games aren't working here."
"But you... who are you?" Morinth's eyes changed back, and she blinked in confusion.
"There's only one asari who has a place in my mind," Harry told her, making her eyes widen.
"Oh, no... I see what's going on. The bitch herself found a little helper..."
As if on cue, Samara chose that moment to walk into the apartment, her body glowing with biotic energy. By Jove, she looked majestic in that form.
"Morinth!" Samara hissed, sending out a biotic field that sent the Ardat-Yakshi flying into the reinforced window with enough force to crack it.
"Mother!" Morinth hissed right back, which made Samara twitch.
"Do not call me that!"
"I can't choose to stop being your daughter... mother!"
"You made your choice long ago!"
"What choice?!" Morinth now sent out a biotic pulse, releasing her from Samara's hold. "My only crime was being born with the gifts you gave me!"
She levitated a piece of furniture and made to throw it at Samara, only to found it caught in mid-flight by Harry, who set it down. On the floor, brushing some dust off the previously airborne recliner.
"Enough, Morinth!" Samara barked, blasting her daughter off her feet. Morinth, however, was quick to get back on her feet, and the two were locked in a biotic power-struggle.
"I am the genetic destiny of the asari. But they are not ready to reveal this, so I must die!"
"You are a disease to be purged, nothing more!"
Morinth was incredibly surprise when she felt a hand close around her wrist. For some reason, there was some sort of energy flowing through her body, something that seemed to counteract her biotic abilities, the glow around her body slowly dying down.
"You've had a good run, Morinth, but it ends here," Harry said simply.
Morinth didn't even have time to reply before another blast from Samara knocked her off her feet. Samara stalked toward her, and Morinth tried to crawl away, but her back hit the recliner she had previously thrown at her mother, leaving her at the justicar's mercy.
Samara straddled her and grabbed her throat with one hand, while the other clenched into a fist.
"Fine peace in the embrace of the goddess."
Harry watched (he couldn't look away) as Samara hit Morinth with a biotics-powered punch that packed enough force to snap her neck, killing her. He felt that Samara shouldn't have to be the only one with this memory burned into their brain.
Her job done, Samara got up and slowly backed away from Morinth's corpse. Without looking at Harry, she said, "I am ready to leave this place and get on with my life. Are you ready to go as well?"
"That can't have been easy," Harry spoke, ignoring the question. Now Samara turned to him fully, and he could see the sorrow in her eyes.
"Harry, what do you think I will say? What can I say? I just killed the bravest and smartest of my daughters. There are no words."
"There doesn't need to be."
Harry always found new ways to surprise the asari justicar. Samara's eyes widened when he closed the distance between them and embraced her, hugging her tightly. Usually, her justicar reserve would have kept her stoic and uncaring, but when it was him...
Slowly, her arms snaked their ways around him, and she returned the hug. No words needed to be spoken. They said enough through their tight embrace.
Yes, just like old times...
Chapter completed! Don't know what to say here, other than that I love you all, and I hope to see your reviews! Take care, all!