Standard Disclaimers: I do not own Bioware nor Mass Effect!

His fingers are cold, even though they are pressed together while he attempts to meditate. He's been back on the ship for some time now, and the peaceful reflection he seeks still eludes him.

It is not entirely a bad thing. There is much to think about. The conversation with Kolyat had not been an easy one, at least not at first. His son had been suspicious of what his father was doing back at the Citadel, especially since he knew that he had not been Thane's first stop.

Whether Kolyat had discovered this through his newfound connections at C-Sec, or through Mouse who might have spoken out of turn about what Thane had requested from him, the assassin didn't know. In some ways it didn't matter, except that Mouse should know better.

Still, his son had heard him out, showing unusual patience as he had struggled to find the right words to explain. Somehow, just saying that he'd been stalking Shepard's former lover to get a better idea of the man had not struck him as wise.

However, unless he outright lied, that was pretty much the situation.

Somehow, he had gotten through it.

Somehow, Kolyat hadn't asked questions.

Slowly, they'd begun to actually talk about other things. Words became little windows into each other's lives, warily given, but with an honest desire to bridge the gaps.

If he concentrates very hard he can feel the air cycling in from the port vent. Thane breathes in and then exhales. He once more reminds himself that the tasks he'd wanted to accomplish at the Citadel are done. There should be no feeling of something pending, something waiting.

Yet, there is...

Then he hears the door open and the tread of boots in a firm stride approaching.

…And he suddenly understands why.

"Do you need something?" he asks quietly, turning his head to look at her. It's good to see her and his lips are tugged upwards for it.

Shepard gestures to the side, "Do you have a few minutes to talk?"

"You needn't ask," Thane assures her, unfolding his hands as she rounds the small table. "Time for me is short, Siha, but any I have is yours to take."

He watches her chin rise slightly at that, a subtle gesture of denial or unconscious bracing against the realities he's seen fit to bluntly voice.

He shouldn't have voiced them.

"I just wanted to see how you were," Shepard admits tone casual, leaning forward regardless. "Did things go well with Kolyat?"

"Reasonably," Thane tells her and their hands meet across the table. The warmth of her skin is a pleasure and his thoughts briefly veer off into the various ways he could take advantage of that. He smiles, amused at himself and returns himself to the conversation at hand. "We spoke of his new duties at C-Sec. He seems pleased with them. I think that there is a strong enough sense of community at the Citadel to give him a sense of home, of grounding. Any rebelliousness or need to find his individuality I think, will also be served. Captain Bailey is familiar enough with living in a gray world that he'll be a decent guide for how to do it correctly." He gestures, "Given that Kolyat apparently has become fast friends with Mouse, I think last is going to prove very important."

"Well, they do have you in common, Thane." Shepard is trying not to smirk. "I think their friendship makes perfect sense, don't you?"

Thane cocks his head to the side to consider. "Perhaps," he allows and there is silence. Not awkward, but pressing.

There are things that they aren't saying, both of them.

Shepard responds to it by shifting closer, fingers tightening around his.

She doesn't tell him how many times in the past week she's been blindsided by thoughts and images of his body flung on the deckplates or his blood painted face in those moments before Chakwas would commit herself to any diagnosis. She doesn't admit that it leaves her feeling hollow and restless.

Thane responds to it by looking down to their hands. Pale pink and pale green, human and drell.

He doesn't tell her that although he would do anything to keep her from being hurt, he cannot bring himself to create distance between them. He cannot admit that sometimes, just sometimes, knowing that his death waits for him with quantifiable impatience is more difficult than he shows.

She wants his mouth on hers. To feel the warmth of his breath, his life, tangible and concrete in the pressure of his lips. To banish the ghostly images of what did not happen and get back to focusing as she should, damn it.

But to ask for that would be too needy. Too weak. And she cannot do it.

He wants her in his arms. To feel the yielding of her body as something given and received in this moment rather than waited for. To have the memory of holding her to combat the image of her being held by Alenko.

But to ask for that would feel dishonest. And he won't be able to explain. And he does not do it.

Instead he continues to study their hands even as she continues to study his face. His fingertips arc up along the inside of her wrist where faint blue veins are nestled between tendons. There he traces the line of her heartbeat.

Her touch is lingering as her fingertips mimic the caress in return. He looks up at her.

"Siha," he says quietly.

"Thane," she says softly in return.

"What do you wish to do now?"

They are both here, now.

What isn't being said can wait.