Well, that took a lot longer then it should've. I don't know why, but I had to go through about ten revisions before I was decently satisfied. So, without further ado...
"Did that all really happen?"
Shepard nodded. "That would be about fifteen years ago now."
He was standing in a field, lit only by Eden Prime's twin moons. The sky was a deep purple, dotted with millions of stars, as it often was on the small garden world, their area of refuge miles away from a single street light. Shepard enjoyed this solitary existence; he dropped by the newly rebuilt city of Constant every now and again, but most of his time was spent doing what he was doing right now, standing in the nearby meadow, staring up at the sky and telling stories to Delinya.
Out of Liara and Shepard's two daughters, Delinya had taken the most from Shepard. Not from an appearance standpoint, Shepard was thankful; she was practically a smaller Liara with a more purple hue to her skin, but in terms of behavior, she was basically an asari version of himself. While Benezia, the older of the two, preferred her mother's booky lifestyle, Delinya was adventurous, rebellious, and almost too curious for her own good. The little asari insisted on visiting Constant with him whenever he went, and Shepard always let her. He knew she always acted like she was ready to cause trouble there, but most of the time, she just clung to his leg rather than doing anything. Delinya reminded Shepard of his young self so much in fact, it was actually terrifying. He knew any good parent would scold her for being such a troublemaker, Liara certainly did, but whenever her mother's long lectures were over, Shepard could only smile. No matter how hard he tried, he could never bring himself to be angry at her.
She was only eleven, which translates to about five in human years, but despite how she acted on the outside, Delinya was clever for her age as well. Both she and Benezia had inherited their mother's brains, that much was certain. Her incredible perceptiveness could only be bypassed by tales so ridiculous, Delinya enjoyed them enough to believe them.
"Is it true that you once killed a Reaper with your bare hands? Then convinced its partner to let you ride it?" Delinya asked anxiously, staring up at her father with her big blue eyes. Shepard couldn't express how glad he was she'd inherited those from Liara. "And then you and mom-"
Shepard smiled, shaking his head. "You didn't actually believe anything old Uncle Garrus told you last week, did you?"
Liara and Shepard had moved away from Earth as soon as the Charon relay had been reactivated. Surprisingly, the amount of colonists flocking from Earth to Eden Prime was small, relatively speaking. More people had chosen to stay behind and rebuild rather than leave humanity's homeworld. However, enough people had immigrated for them to rebuild Eden Prime's capital, Constant, where Garrus had signed on as chief of the city's law enforcement. He still held that post today, and Shepard, Tali, Jacob, Grunt, Miranda and many others had helped with the force for a year or two as well, but when Liara became pregnant with Benezia, Shepard retreated back to Eden Prime's countryside, fully intent on raising his and Liara's first daughter. Garrus visited often, along with Tali, and Delinya had grown to like the old turian, dubbing him 'Uncle Garrus.' When Shepard wasn't around, to Liara's disapproval, Garrus would share some ridiculous (and often embarrassing) stories about the old days with Delinya, usually involving her parents.
About five or six years back, the Citadel had reopened. It was still locked in the Sol system; they hadn't managed to get back to Widow yet, but the galactic capital now provided homes and jobs for many of the various races still stranded in Alliance space. Garrus had considered returning to C-Sec for a while, but Tali eventually convinced him it would be better to stay on Eden Prime, with everyone else. Wrex had decided to head to quickly growing colony as well; he now ran a small club in the shadier areas of Constant, which he had named 'The Drunken Thresher Maw.' Despite this, Shepard avoided it. The old krogan never got over being separated from Eve, and often drank away his anger to avoid taking it out on unfortunate customers. A Wrex full of Ryncol was not a Wrex Shepard wanted to talk to, that much was certain.
Someone Shepard heard much less about, however, was Ashley and Joker. They were both still with the Alliance, Ashley promoted to Admiral, and Joker still helmed the Normandy, which Shepard had passed command of to James before he left Earth for the final time. That was the last time he'd seen any of them. It was a sad thing, losing contact with such good friends, but Shepard was sure they'd drop by eventually. Right now, anyone in the Alliance was probably overworked.
"Do you think I'll ever get to visit Thessia, dad?" Delinya interrupted Shepard's long thoughts, prodding his arm slightly.
"Someday, little wing, someday." Shepard looked down at his daughter as he said this, smiling, despite the pang of pity he couldn't help but feel. Human medical science, along with Cerberus' cybernetic enhancements, would allow him to reach about 250, if he was healthy enough. He was only 45, but whether or not he'd be alive to show his daughter Thessia, however, he didn't know. At least Liara would. When he, Garrus, Tali, and all the others were long gone and merely names in the galaxy's long history, Liara, Delinya and Benezia would live on. They would be the carriers of Shepard's legacy, relics of a long gone day and age.
He felt no regret, he loved Liara far too much to ever regret anything, but it did sadden him to realize he'd never see his daughters past the Maiden stage. Shepard sighed, but decided not to explain his thoughts to his daughter. The young asari didn't quite understand her races' longevity yet, nor Shepard's short life in comparison. He'd tell her when she was ready. When he was ready.
"What was Thessia like?"
"You'll have to ask your mother. I was only there once…and it wasn't looking too good then."
Delinya shifted her attention from her father back to the night sky, the moons reflecting in each of her eyes.
"Tell me another story. Tell me about when you and Uncle Garrus took on all of Omega by yourselves! They're making a vid of it, you know!"
Shepard laughed, rubbing his daughter on the back with a smile. "Maybe later, kid. It's getting late."
Delinya frowned in disappointment. "Okay. But tomorrow you have to!"
After the usual battle to get Delinya to sleep, Shepard stepped out of his daughter's room, and into their small home's upper hallway. It wasn't a big place; but there was a strange 'cozy' feel to it that Shepard had never gotten used to. He'd grown so accustomed to cramped and dimly lit corridors on warships, their small home had always felt too open for him, at least at first. With all the vid royalties and military donations, Shepard and Liara could've afforded a colossal mansion. Garrus and Tali had given in to that temptation, (The new upcoming vid, Archangel vs The Universe had made their old turian friend a bit of a celebrity) but Shepard and Liara had gone for a more modest abode; only two storeys, three bedrooms, and ancient hardwood floors, common in the 20th century, but unheard of now. Shepard had grown to like this lifestyle, despite the years it took to adjust to it.
Yawning, Shepard crossed the hall, sliding open the holographic interface into his and Liara's room. He was greeted by Liara, sound asleep at her desk, her cheek resting on one of the many datapads scattered around her workspace. It wasn't the first time he'd caught her like this, but he couldn't help but be amused by it every time. In typical Liara fashion, she overworked herself, even during the humble life they currently led. Shepard had come to the conclusion that Liara would go crazy if she didn't have something to do at all times, and even though she'd shut down her Shadow Broker network, she always did.
A smile still on his face, he approached her, lifting her off the chair, still fast asleep, and setting her down on the double bed at the far side of the room. She rolled around slightly, sighing, before falling into a deep sleep yet again. Even in her current sleep-deprived state, Shepard would never get over how beautiful the young asari was.
Approaching the desk Liara had been sleeping on, he began clearing the mess of data pads, closing the holographic interfaces, and stacking the books Liara had strewn all over. He stopped, however, when he saw the title A Journey with the Protheans: By Liara T'Soni and Javik the Prothean.
"Goddess, did I do that again?" Shepard heard Liara yawning, as he flipped through the book's pages. Liara had obviously put a lot of work into this, there were two hundred pages worth of sketches, hastily scribbled side notes and retellings of everything the Last Prothean had told her. How anyone would sort through all this to publish it, however, he had no idea.
He felt Liara rest her chin on his shoulder as he skimmed the pages. "Are you almost finished this?" Shepard finally asked, looking sideways as Liara wrapped her arms around his abdomen.
She frowned slightly. "No…I don't know how to end it. Javik doesn't either, he says the ending to his journey is irrelevant, as only ended fifteen years ago, and that's more your story than his. In fact, I don't think I've added a single word to it since then."
Shepard looked down at the book again, flipping to the last page and reading the last line.
Javik wasn't what I imagined of a Prothean. I always thought they would be regal, noble people. It took a while, but I soon realized I was right. Javik's cold demeanour was just because he cared. He may not have acted like it, but he wanted us to succeed, he didn't just want revenge. His people were cruel because the galaxy was cruel, harsh because life can be harsh. He survived the Reapers twice, and even though his cycle didn't have a happy ending, I'm glad Javik did. He can live his life now, knowing his duty to the galaxy has been fulfilled.
Shepard moved away from Liara, picking up a pen from the cabinet, and putting it in Liara's blue hand. With a smile, he sat her down, and gently guided it along the paper, until it read:
And so can we.
Liara stared at the page for a second, as if it took her ten minutes to read four words. Finally, she laughed, and with a smile, looked up at him.
"That's….that's perfect." She got up from her seat, planting a long kiss on Shepard's lips, before pulling back and looking lovingly into his eyes.
"This did end better than we thought it would, didn't it?"
Shepard smiled, kissing her again. "It certainly did."
Well, there you go. I think I have given my 'alternative ending' it's due. Now, the question is, what next? I'm really reluctant to let these characters go, but I don't know what to do with them now. I was thinking of starting a story of what happened between part 3 and this epilogue, rebuilding civilization and all, maybe knocking it up to an M rating, (Shep did all that, he deserves some loving, doesn't he?) but I don't know yet. Suggestions would be appreciated.
Review please, thanks. :)