It had been an interesting week to say the least.

The Illusive Man had finally found a lead, promptly ordered Shepard to follow it, and then seemed unsurprised when she almost died in the process.

The Collector ship had gotten close, too close; to performing the same act it had two years ago.

The memory of the fear, the outright terror that had filled her as she'd sprinted to the cockpit coiled in her gut.

Not again, not again, not again, not again

The words had repeated through her head like a mantra, over and over until she'd reached Joker.

Without EDI they'd have been doomed.

Once they were out of danger she had marched right down to Chakwas, passing a concerned Thane and Garrus on the way, and demanded a sedative.

They were currently docked back at the Citadel, Garrus chomping at the bit to find Fade and Brina avoiding doing anything about it.

She shied away from the unpleasant memory, choosing to focus on a much happier one.

Thane liked her…

She almost giggled as she smiled up at the window above her bed.

There was the occasional flirting mixed with a few suggestive smiles and the whole situation was sweet enough to induce cavities.

She was loving it.

There was a flicker of doubt as Kaidan Alenko drifted through her thoughts but she pushed him away. He had abandoned her, called her traitor and ran. She'd already let him go.

She closed her eyes as she put her hands behind her head, lying in the center of her bed she finally began to relax…

"Shepard, Thane Krios requests entry. He says it's important."

"What?!" She lunged out of bed, the sheets tripping her as they wrapped around her legs.

"I said, Thane Krios requests entry. Should I tell him to come back at a better time?"

"No, just tell him to hold on." She groaned into the floor. Scrambling up from her fall she began to look for better clothes. Must find pants…Stumbling around her bed in a wild search, she managed to grab a pair of black sweats.

After a futile attempt to tame the crimson snarls of her hair she walked towards the door, "Let him in EDI."

"Shepard," Thane spoke softly once the doors opened, "I hope I'm not disturbing you." He appeared nervous, Brina realizing he'd never been in her room before.

"Nope, not disturbing me at all, come on in." She turned to walk towards the sitting area of the Loft, stopping dead in her tracks. Holy fuck…

Brina Shepard was not the most organized person. The Alliance had somewhat fixed that, but when the Normandy had been handed over to her she'd moved back to being a slob.

Random items of clothing lay everywhere, data pads thrown haphazardly around the room. Her bed was a disaster, the covers halfway off the mattress, lying in a heap in front of the bed. She glanced at Thane, who was eyeing the destruction with a hint of amusement. Damn it…

"I'm sorry for the mess…" She muttered weakly, moving the clutter of data pads off the couch. Thane gave a small laugh though his expression soon returned to his usual flawless poker face, giving away nothing.

"I need to talk to you."

Shepard felt her blood run cold. Thane looked upset, his body language suggesting he was about to jump out of his skin. She'd never seen him like this.

"Okay, so…what's up?"

Thane glanced at the ceiling, a strange look on his face, before shaking his head and looking back at her. "I need your help…"

"Alright, how can I help you?"

He stood before the fish tank, hands clasped behind his back. He had not wanted to tell her like this, but he had no choice. There was no time for a gentle reveal.

"I had a family once, I still have a son. His name is Kolyat and I haven't seen him for a very long time…"

Well that was WAY out of left field…

"Care to run that by me again? You have a family? You're married?!" Oh I am gonna kick his scaly green ass…

"I was married. Her name was Irikah…"

"And what exactly happened to Irikah?" And why the hell didn't you tell me this BEFORE we started…whatever this is…?

"She died." He snapped.

Oh shit…

"Damn it." She cursed; posture relaxing, "I'm sorry Thane." She murmured, reaching out to touch his shoulder.

"It doesn't matter." He brushed off her concern, Brina feeling the atmosphere get icy fast as she pulled her hand away, "What matters is that my son is in danger."

"Wait," She said, crossing her arms, "I need to hear the whole story."

"I abandoned them."

"W-What?"

"Oh, not all at once," He continued to watch the fish, "Nothing dramatic. No sneaking out in the middle of the night, no final argument or slammed door." He sighed heavily, "I just did my job. I hunted and killed my way across the galaxy. Away on business, my wife would tell people. I was always away on business."

Sonuvabitch…

"Thane…" He moved away from her, Brina recoiling from his anger. Whether it was at her earlier attitude or simply his frustration with his son she didn't know. All she knew was that her Commander mask was firmly in place and it wasn't slipping any time soon.

"So how long's it been since you spoke to your son?"

"Ten years. He showed me some of his schoolwork and asked if we could dance crazy."

"Wait…what kind of a dance is that?"

Solipsism took hold, Brina stepping back as Thane relived scooping his son up and tossing him in the air. Tales of shrieking and laughing, the boy demanding his father spin him…

It took a dark turn, Thane's words taking on a pained tone as he spoke of ignoring his son.

He came back instantly, finding a warm hand grasping his. He looked at their joined hands before meeting her eyes. There wasn't anger there anymore…just concern.

"Why are you telling me this now? What's happened?"

"When my wife departed from her body I…attended to that issue." Her grip on his hand tightened, Brina running her thumb over his knuckles, "I left Kolyat in the care of his aunts and uncles. I have not seen or talked to him since."

"That's not the choice I expected from you." Brina said, releasing his hand as she moved towards her desk, "Why didn't you raise him yourself?"

"My body is blessed with the skills to take life; the hanar honed them in me. I have few others.

"I didn't want that life for Kolyat; I had hoped he would find his own way. If he hated me, so be it, he would not share the path of sin."

Thane's shoulders sagged as his head lowered, "I used my contacts to trace Kolyat. He has become…disconnected. He does what his body wills."

"What do you mean by disconnected?"

"Disconnected. The body is not our true self, the soul is. Body and soul work as one in a whole person. When the soul is weakened by despair or fear, when the body is ill or injured, the individual is disconnected, no longer whole."

"So what's wrong with him? Is he hurt?"

"Something happened that should not have. He knows where I've been and what I've done."

"Shit…"

"I don't know his reasons, but he has gone to the Citadel and taken a job as a hit man. I would like your help to stop him, he is…this is not a path he should walk."

"We'll find him." Brina soothed.

"Thank you." Thane breathed.

There was one thing that didn't make sense though, "Thane, I don't have your contacts and I don't have your tracking skills. Why do you need my help?"

This time it was Thane who grabbed her hand, holding it in both of his, "I don't need your help I want it." He studied her fingers, playing with the ones that weren't fused like his own, "The last time I saw my son…"

He stiffened as the memory took hold-

They've wrapped her body in sea vines, weighted it with stones…

He tries to pull from me, calls for her…

The hanar lift her from the platform, they sing like bells…

His body swayed as his words took on a musical tone, The fire has gone to be kindled anew…

He begs them not to take her away…

They let her body slide into the water…

He hits me…

Don't let them! Stop them! Why weren't you-

Thane convulsed, Brina unsure what to do.

It rains, it always rains on Kahje…

Warm water pours down his face…

The transfer from past to present was like a splash of cold water, Thane finding he was turned away from the fish tank.

Brina was holding him, he was in her arms. He could smell her perfume, honeysuckle.

"I'm sorry." She whispered, "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to make you relive that…"

"Perfect memory," He sighed into her hair, "It is sometimes a burden."

"Come on," Brina murmured, "We can start with Bailey, he may know something."

His hands slid up her back, grasping her shoulders as he gently pushed her away, "Thank you Shepard."

She nodded in response, rushing to gather her armor before following him out to the elevator.

"You don't hire a raw rookie for a contract killing…" She mused as she began assembling the pieces.

"I'm afraid someone may have seen that we share a name and assumed we share skills." He made a frustrated noise in the back of his throat, "I don't know why he would accept the task…"

"To be closer to you maybe?" She asked, bending down to fix her boots.

"That thought haunts me more than any other…" Thane's voice was strained.

Way to be sensitive Shep.

She straightened, hands grasping at her back to secure her chest piece. To her surprise Thane moved behind her, securing the clasps she had missed.

"Thanks…"

"You're welcome."

Brina shifted in her armor, shrugging her shoulders and flexing her arms to make sure everything was in place before she entered the CIC, "So what made him go to the Citadel?" she asked casually as they entered the armory.

Thane sighed, going to his locker and pulling out his weapons. Usually he kept them in Life Support, but they'd recently acquired new upgrades so he had left them in the care of Jacob.

"Years ago I prepared a package for him, a relic of my ill spent life. I had volus bankers store it and arranged for delivery when I died. He acquired it early, I don't really know how." There were several very frightened volus who were trying to find out.

"I did wet work on the Citadel around the time his mother died. That may be why he came here."

Brina latched on her weapons, leaving the collector particle beam behind. She doubted she'd need heavy weapons on their search.

As long as she had her Carnifex she'd be fine.

"Let's go," Brina said as they moved towards the airlock, "Joker!"

"What?!" He yelled from the cockpit, turning to look back at her from his chair.

"Open up, Krios and I are going out."

"Oh really? Well be sure you bring our girl back before curfew." The pilot smirked at Thane, who merely stared back.

"Well, I thought it was funny…" He mumbled, turning back to his consoles. There was a slight hiss as the doors slid open.

"It was funny Joker," Brina soothed as she walked through, "But this is business, not pleasure."

"Ah, well good hunting."

"Thanks hon, be back soon."

Brina looked at Thane, "You ready?"

"Yes."

"Alright then," She walked out of the air lock, scanning the docking bay, "let's find Kolyat."