Ugggh, if only you could romance Mordin in Mass Effect 2. Here's hoping he's up for grabs in Mass Effect 3!


|| Parting Words ||

There was a scream, followed by the patter of footsteps.

Mordin.

Mordin.

It all seemed too unreal. Her mind had to process what was happening in chunks. She raced to the salarian's side, dropping to a knee as she put her hand against his wrist to check his pulse.

He was cold.

A deathly chill passed through her as she froze beneath her armor. No, no this couldn't be happening. Shepard's pupils traced every portion of his body. She began scanning him up and down for a blood mark. Where was he hit? Where was he wounded? "Someone get me a goddamned medi-gel!" she screamed frantically. Shaking his limp body ever-so-slightly, she pressed, "Mordin, hey Mordin. Come on, stay with me now. Dammit, where the hell is that medi-gel?"

Tali quickly handed Shepard a medi-gel, to which the Commander snatched without even thanking. The quarian jumped from surprise, but quickly found herself feeling sympathetic. "Shepard..." she hushed, her voice on the verge of breaking. Her eyes softened on Shepard as she reached out to her. She suddenly felt a hand tap her shoulder and turned to Garrus, who merely shook his head. She understood the simple gesture and stepped backwards, giving Shepard room to grieve.

"Come on Mordin. Wake up. Wake up you idiot! You can't die here! Not when we're this close!"

And then, he regained consciousness. "Ah," the scientist grunted, slowly opening his large, globular black eyes. He took in a deep, nasally breath. "Ah, Shepard. Nice to... see you again."

"Mordin," Shepard exhaled, her voice lifting with respite. "Damn it Mordin, you nearly scared me to death. I thought for a second that you were -" She stopped halfway through her sentence and noticed the unnatural look of pain that plated his usually brisk expression.

"Thought I was what?" he chuckled. He tried to sit up, but Shepard pushed down on his tense shoulders to try to keep him still.

"Don't move. You're still hurt."

"More than hurt, Shepard." The salarian smiled grimly, knowingly. "Too many of them. Lost shields. Foolish on my part. Took a stupid risk. Should have stayed behind cover," he hushed. He ignored Shepard's over-protectiveness and propped his body up, straightening his back against the rusty brown, only to grimace afterwards with excruciating pain. He sucked in short gasps of air between the gaps of his clenched teeth.

The relief that built in Shepard's chest quickly sank as terror to her gut. "Hey, don't apologize," she soothed, trying her best to sound affectionate.

"Did not apologize. Simply stated facts."

Shepard applied the medi-gel to the wound around his stomach, but it did little good. She listened to him grunt and moan, every torturous, agonizing moment hurting her as much as it did him.

"Ah... stings. Have not felt this bad since after drinking water on Tuchanka."

She smiled, though her brows grooved. A heavy feeling of worry sat on her shoulder as she searched for something to say to him that wouldn't sound too mushy. "Your... your anti seeker swarm formula worked like a charm back there," she finally managed to blurt out. "Stupid stupid stupid..."

He grinned. "Ha-ha, thank you. Did not think it would work. Personally believed we all were doomed. Not practiced in engineering. Biology my forte. But nonetheless, glad to help."

She chewed her bottom lip, forcing herself to keep a straight face. "I knew you could do it." She studied his features. His face was turning pale. Feeling pressured to end the silence, she continued, "The bleeding stopped. You only got grazed. We're going to get you to an infirmary as soon as we can."

Mordin laughed, then shook his head. "Deceit? Playing me for a fool? Interesting strategy Shepard. Did you forget? Was a doctor, among other things. I know when a wound is nonfatal. This..." He took in a nasally breath. "Is fatal."

"Mordin, don't say that."

"The shot most likely ruptured my liver, my kidneys, and possibly several major arteries. Even if the bleeding has stopped on the outside, internal bleeding will continue. Wound is too deep. Medi-gel ineffective. Very low chance of survival."

Those last words hurt more than anything else she'd ever heard. "I never took you for a pessimist, doctor," Shepard laughed, her vision clouding with tears. She turned her face away for a moment and blinked copiously, tears falling down her smooth cheeks. Damn it, why did she have to start crying now? She tried her best to put her face at an angle so that he wouldn't see.

"Not pessimistic. Merely stating facts." He snickered and rested his head against the wall. "You go on. I won't survive. Only weigh you down. Prove detrimental. You know this too. Though, I truly would like to believe otherwise…" He sniffed. "Do not try to convince me."

Flaring her nostrils and swallowing, she resolved the weakness growing within her and said, "Mordin – look at me. You're going to make it. You're not going to die." She lowered her head, forcing him to stare into her dark red irises. "I am going to save you. I'm not losing anyone on this damn suicide mission."

"Very noble of you to say. But very ignorant as well."

Her lips cambered to form a smile. She looked at the ground, a few more tears falling from her eyes. "Hah. Shut up."

Shepard slipped her hand onto his, holding it in a delicate grasp. She squeezed, and he squeezed back weakly.

"Please, Shepard. Stop this folly. No need for you to comfort me. Knew the stakes. Ready to accept them. Content with my life. Have done much. Have lived the past thirty-two years to the fullest." He inhaled sharply. "No regrets."

Her chest felt heavy, like someone had just applied a massive weight to it. "Thirty-two years? Mordin, you're going to live much longer than that."

He sneered. "Wish I could share your optimism. Or ignorance. Doesn't matter. We salarians generally live up to forty years. Our metabolic rates are faster than most other organics. Sad but true."

"But you might live longer. You'll never know for sure if you die here."

"True. But you will never know either if you die for me." He looked away, his eyes settling over the rest of the squad as they silently watched the two converse. He turned back to Shepard and finished, "Most salarians do work befitting such a short cycle. That being said – I'm glad I lived this long. I'm glad I was able to work with you. Greatest achievement of my life, helping you save the galaxy. Perhaps atones for what sins I have committed."

"You're going to have plenty more achievements when this is over with. We're going to stop the Reapers for good. You're going to be there when it happens." Shepard's grip on his hand tightened. She tensed her muscles, her brows furrowing with discomfort.

There was a lengthy break of silence between the two. "Shepard. Remember when we spoke of 'reactions to stress' differing between species?" Mordin finally said.

Her lips curved. She genuinely laughed at the thought of those memories, the vigor causing her to release a few tears. "Yeah Mordin, I still remember." She wiped them away and sniffed. "Why're you bringing it up now?"

"Mentioned before, not interested in humans." He paused. "Was lying. More than interested in you. Fascinated. Speechless. Amazed."

Shepard looked broken to the core. Her chest tightened, a hard lump forming in her throat, making it difficult for her to swallow, to breathe. "Mordin…"

The salarian lifted his free three digited hand and brushed a tear from her eye. He smiled, his dexterous fingers smoothing through her silky jet black hair. Her hand reached up to grasp them. "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy..." He laughed, and his body relaxed, falling motionless once more. "Always wanted to be lead role. But had to stick with Polonius. Director said my voice was too scratchy." He sniffed. "Ah yes, but we can't always get what we want."

She laughed.

He smiled. His hand eased down her cheek as he grasped her chin. "Beautiful. No... no other words needed to describe you..." He coughed uneasily, his voice dropping in volume.

Shepard leaned forwards, her grip on his hand tightening, as if she believed that holding onto him physically would keep him alive. "Mordin stay with me. Don't give up."

"Wish... I could Shepard. Wish I could..."

"Don't wish it. Do it. Live Mordin. Please..."

"Hah... if willing something was so easy... would have willed many things... in the past."

"Mordin..."

"You only have one chance to stop the Collectors. If you do not... then the galaxy..."

"Forget the galaxy for one damn second," Shepard whispered. "I don't want to be in a galaxy where you're not there with me."

"Shepard... I..." There was something in his eyes. Tears. It'd been so long since he last cried he almost didn't recognize them. As they trickled down his cheeks, he smiled.

"Shepard..." he whispered, drawing his final breath. "I... love..."

His breathing slowed to a halt. His face lost its color.

His hand loosened its grip.

Silence.

She stared impassively at his lifeless body. She couldn't believe it. She wouldn't believe that he was dead. "Mordin? Mordin! Mordin!"

No response.

Shepard pleaded that this was just a dream, that this was just another figment of her imagination. That maybe she was just imagining things in some sort of delusional fantasy. But once the adrenaline settled down, she knew it to be true. She grew still and hung her head, her dark raven tresses concealing the sorrow of her face. Slowly she leaned forwards and touched her forehead with his, her fingers laced tightly between his. She squeezed on his hand until her knuckles blanched white.

But he didn't move a muscle.

"Mordin... I love you too."

And for a moment, the galaxy seemed even smaller.