Disclaimer: Nope. Don't own a thing, save for my own Commander Shepard. A/N: Here it is, folks! Something I've been brainstorming over the past few months, but could never really put the ideas to paper...or computer screen. However, thanks to my one-shot, Cold Sad and Restless, I finally have the inspiration to work on this ME2 fanfic. I can't thank my beta, Star58, enough for all of her patience in dealing with my rampant brainstorming and constant ideas. A slight warning to you all, this fic will involve a same-sex pairing. So, without further ado, here's Mass Effect 2: Reflections!
Disclaimer: Nope. Don't own a thing, save for my own Commander Shepard.
A/N: Here it is, folks! Something I've been brainstorming over the past few months, but could never really put the ideas to paper...or computer screen. However, thanks to my one-shot, Cold Sad and Restless, I finally have the inspiration to work on this ME2 fanfic. I can't thank my beta, Star58, enough for all of her patience in dealing with my rampant brainstorming and constant ideas.
A slight warning to you all, this fic will involve a same-sex pairing.
So, without further ado, here's Mass Effect 2: Reflections!
The Iwojima, 0400
5 hours after the attack on the SSV Normandy
Garrus sucked in a breath, muttering curses as his eyes adjusted to the sheer ferocity of the Iwojima's sterile white sick bay. As he rubbed his eyes, he wondered what it was that made humans decide to color their medical facility such a stark color. If anything, they could have at least chosen a more soothing option: this harsh white color wasn't going to do anything to make the patients' feel better. It certainly wasn't doing anything to make him feel better, that was for sure.
Despite the hustle and bustle of the medical bay, the comforting murmur of a doctor's voice, the recitation of long-winded medical terms and the labored breathing of several of the survivors, Garrus thought it felt...quiet. There was just this...sickening anxiety wrapped in a tight ball in his stomach, causing it to throb. The pain made it hard for Garrus to focus. He could certainly hear what was going on around him, but all he could understand was just...noise. He glanced back at the console nearest to him, one that displayed a crew roster, colored red to signify those that didn't make it. In the five hours that they'd been on board, it'd gone from a small few to over two dozen.
One name, however, was a different color. In contrast to all of the reddened names Garrus saw, Shepard's was a bright yellow. With a heavy heart, he recalled what such a color meant in the human military.
Missing in Action.
Garrus let out a breath of air that could have been mistaken for a chuckle, and a dull ache in his side pierced through the silent haze that had been forming around him ever since he'd been patched up by one of the doctors. He groaned and touched his side, shifted in his seat, and returned his gaze to the monitor.
Nothing had changed, at least in regards to Shepard's name. The former C-Sec officer noted more names had been darkened by a red haze. He clenched his mandibles tightly to his face, the pain slowing bringing his senses back online, like an old computer slowly being fired up. Maybe they wanted to believe she was still alive, like he did. Garrus couldn't tell for certain.
He watched out of the corner of his eye as doctors and nurses treated burns and pulled shrapnel from what little personnel remained of the SR-1 crew. A pained yell brought the turian's gaze to rest upon a few struggling medical officers, trying desperately to restrain a hysterical human male, his jerks and spasms throwing off any attempt to keep him under control. Garrus strode over to the man, and using most of his remaining strength, pushed him back onto the bed. Satisfied that the man had been restrained, the nearest doctor, a beady eyed human with a sagging wrinkled face, thumbed a needle and injected the patient with a small sedative. He turned to Garrus.
"Thank you for that." He paused a moment, looking downward. Garrus noticed that the human was biting his lip, a gesture of worry and confusion. When he did at last speak, Garrus noticed his tone had become quieter.
"I...I've spoken with Dr. Chakwas." Garrus' heart did a leap at the mention of the late Normandy's doctor, who was in critical condition not far from where he stood. Like the rest of the crew, Garrus held a special place in his heart for the human woman, bonding over small talk when they were recovering from injuries during their travels, either from Saren's geth or from mercenaries.
"How is she?" The turian was surprised at how crackly and hoarse his voice had sounded. He hadn't spoken to anyone since the attack, only quietly nodding or shaking his head to signify yes or no to when the doctors asked him questions.
The doctor wrung his hands, pacing back and forth. "Yes...she's...she's recovering. She's doing nicely, actually. Only a few good burns across her shoulder and left leg, and we've pulled out the shrapnel that was embedded in the small of her back. She's sleeping now, but she told me to ask for you when she woke up."
Garrus swallowed, nodding. When the crew had come aboard, battered, bloody and disheveled after escaping from the Normandy's wreckage, Garrus expected Chakwas to be one of those helping to treat his wounds. He never once thought that Chakwas, one of the few human woman he'd come to respect in the past 4 months and one of the best human doctors he'd come across, would be injured. It just didn't seem possible and it made their current predicament seem more severe, more painful.
He ground his teeth as his mind began to drift back, the medical bay fading as he drifted back to the late Normandy.
It was a usual moment on the Normandy: Garrus was calibrating the Mako and the rest of the crew were attending to their own duties. Nothing out of the ordinary, until he heard a horrible wrenching noise, like a steel door rubbing against hard concrete, and a support beam shot through the ceiling. It would have cloven Engineer Adams in two, but Garrus was close enough to toss the human out of the way. The support beam impacted his suit with a crunch and Garrus felt his side go numb. The wrenching was then followed by a bright burst of energy as it sawed its way through the Normandy's hull like butter.
"Garrus! Help me with Adams!" Tali cried over the explosions and Garrus placed the engineer's arm around his shoulder. Wrex and Ashley were near the elevator, holding the door open for the remainder of the crew who hadn't already been obliterated by the surprise attack. Garrus spotted several bodies being tossed around the cargo hold before the door sealed closed, and, with a shuddering rumble, the elevator slowly rose upward.
" Gah! I've always hated this bosh'tet!" Tali cried out, slamming her omni-tool covered hand into the elevator's hologram controls, causing the elevator to jerk slightly as it sped up. Up near the mess hall and sleeper pods weren't much different. Crackling wires, pieces of metal and showers of sparks danced about the room in a cyclone of destruction and mayhem. Tali and the others ushered the remaining crew members up the stairs as Garrus caught sight of a white streak rushing past him.
The blue-skinned alien whipped her head around, her suit's helmet in hand, her eyes wide with adrenaline and fright. "Go on without me, I need to help Shepard!" she called, her suit's barriers flickering as a small explosion went off beside her. Garrus didn't have time to go after her or even object, as Tali pushed him up the stairs and into an escape pod.
They climbed in, strapped themselves down, each face a picture of sickening shock, fear and adrenaline mixed together: paled faces, wide eyes, perspiration dotting the corners of their brows. Tali typed at the controls to the escape pod, checking to make sure the artificial gravity was set to on, before making her way to her own seat. The pod jerked and the inertia pulled Garrus to the right side, his jaw tightly clenched as his stomach did a few loops. The pods engines died down a few minutes later and the window looking out over the void of space lit up in a bright crackling mess of light and fiery red explosions as a vessel of an unknown make spewed laser fire on what little remained of the Normandy.
Both aliens watched silently, the only other sound of in the pod being the labored breathes of the few human crew members that managed to escape. There came a small whimper and what sounded like a body impacting metal. Garrus and Tali turned sharply, to find Dr. Chakwas slumped in her seat, her doctor's uniform wet and darkened with a substance that painted the air with a fresh coppery smell.
"Oh, Keelah!" Tali hurriedly unbuckled the doctor and tilted her head to the side, making sure Chakwas' body was safely secure before turning back to her turian friend. "Garrus, do you know what to do?" Tali sounded like she was going to break down, and her hands were shaking even as she held Chakwas in place. "I...I don't know enough to help her...please tell me you know what to do!"
Garrus's heart thudded in his chest, his breath coming out in short gasps. He felt frozen to the spot, unable to answer.
"Garrus!" Tali shouted again, fear tingeing her voice.
"I...I don't know Tali. We just have to... to wait. It's all we can do..."
"What?" Tali got up, her voice a painful mixture of helplessness, anger, sadness and frustration. "Garrus? What can we do is wait? That woman has saved our lives more times that we can count when we went up against Saren and the geth and all we can do is..."
"Hey! Vakarian! Tali! Do you copy? C'mon, someone answer me, dammit!" Ash's voice crackled to life harshly over Tali's omni-tool, and Garrus pressed two talons to his headset, keying into the faint signal.
"Ash! It's Garrus. We're here, but Chakwas looks like she took a very hard hit when we weren't looking. We need to get her to a doctor...or we might lose her." Garrus looked at Tali. She was still shaking even as she checked Chakwas's wounds.
"Shit." came Ash's reply. "I heard Joker over the comm a little after we jettisoned. I think backups on the way..." Ash's voice trailed off. "Oh my god..."
Garrus was about respond, ask what was going on. Tali gazed out at the viewport, a small quarian prayer spilling from her lips. There came one last flash of light from the Normandy before another piercing laser cut what remained of the Normandy's hull into scraps of flaming metal, wires and circuits.
Tali put a hand to her suit's vocalizer, audibly gasping. She whimpered. "What about Joker and Liara?" she cried. "What about Shepard? Where are they?" She shook her head wildly, trying in vain to deny what she'd just witnessed. "No no no no no..." she said in a barely audible voice. Garrus felt a lump in his throat that made it hard to swallow.
Tali inhaled sharply and there was little more Garrus could do than pull the young quarian mechanic into a hug. Tali wrenched away, shaking her head, and Garrus mentally cursed himself. Tali muttered something about Chakwas and went over to check on her and keep her stable, leaving Garrus alone and helpless, his belly inflamed with fear and anger.
"Officer Vakarian? Officer? Are you ok? Do you want to lie down?"
Garrus flinched and blinked, the doctor's voice bringing him out of his reverie. The former C-Sec officer shook the memories away, for fear he might just freeze up again. His skin itched, and he felt like he couldn't just stay in this particular sick bay for much longer.
He nodded to the doctor. "I'm going to go check on Liara T'soni. I'll be back in a moment." The doctor nodded and stepped away. Garrus keyed the door's holographic interface and stepped out into the hallway. He hadn't familiarized himself with the ship's interior yet, so he keyed his omni-tool with a flick of the talon and typed in a few commands. A few moments later, he was outside Liara's room.
Garrus let out a shaky breath and keyed the door open, not knowing what to expect. The room they'd given the asari was basic, a small bed and sofa with a viewport that looked out over the stars. Liara sat with her back turned towards the turian, still in her armor, her helmet resting near her. She was leaning, her hands to her face. Occasionally, she'd let out a small shudder and an audible sob. Near her, a small computer was on, displaying that same list of the dead that the turian had been looking at only a few minutes before. Shepard's name was still wreathed in that sickening yellow color.
Garrus felt that lump forming in his throat once again and he stepped towards her, gentling laying a hand on her shoulder.
The alien woman flinched, her eyes wide and sparkling with unshed tears as she looked up at him. She offered a shaky 'H-hello, Garrus..." before her lower lip quivered and she started to cry once more. Garrus sat down next to her, his mandibles twitching in the turian form of a small, compassionate smile.
"Hey, Liara..." he said quietly, putting an arm around her shoulder and hugging her tightly. He glanced over to the terminal and reached out with a free talon, typing at the holographic keys and shutting the computer off. He felt sick looking at it.
Liara jerked in his arms. "No!" she cried out, turning the computer back on with a few quick flourishes of her hand. Garrus swallowed and Liara sheepishly gazed back at her turian friend. "I...What if they...find her? She could have...she could..." She put a hand to her eyes, tears falling. "Oh Goddess, Garrus..." Liara sniffed and looked up, her eyes raw with sadness. "She...she can't be...she just can't be...Shepard always seems to come out a little battered and bruised towards the end, but she always comes back..." Liara paced back and forth, wringing her hands with her eyes cast downwards. Garrus stood up.
"Liara...I don't think..."
The asari jerked her head upwards, her facial expression defiant, a small fire to her eyes that didn't seem to suit the naturally calm woman. "Garrus, please...don't. Just..."
Garrus looked to the monitor again, read down the names of the dead, saw the change in color to Shepard's name. His breath caught in his throat. "Liara..." he choked out. "She's...she's gone."
Liara shook her head frantically, fresh tears springing to life and began to weakly but defiantly pummel Garrus' chest before her took hold of her in his arms. Liara cried openly now, while Garrus gently rocked her back and forth, trying his best to calm her down. He knew that there was nothing that could be said, not for the death of a woman that had changed all of their lives.
That ends the prolouge for Reflections! How was it? What did you think? Comments, critique and feedback is greatly appreciated.