Disclaimer: Characters and locations belong to Bioware and Electronic Arts. Only the words are mine.

A note on the format: This story takes the form of a hundred 100 word drabbles, covering the full spread of Mass Effect 1-3. Not my own idea, and has probably been done better by others, but never mind. I'll be putting the drabbles up in batches of five. These are moments, slices of life, and aren't in chronological order.

Jigsaw

by Wonko

I

The first time Liara sees Shepard, she's too relieved to be curious. She's been trapped in this Prothean security field for days, watching helplessly as waves of Geth attempt to break through and capture her.

In ten seconds, Shepard accomplishes what they haven't managed in days.

"Superior firepower," is her cryptic response when Liara asks how she's done it.

Liara decides she likes that. It's very…human. Liara's never met a human before, only read about them on the extranet. They're brash and impatient, she's heard.

Liara steals a glance at Shepard as they ride back to the ship.

Curious…

II

Liara has never kissed anyone before. Not even at school, when it seemed every other Asari 'experimented'. She's always been shy, and the whispers have always been there, just within earshot.

"…and her father was a…"

"…her mother bonded with…"

"…she's a pure…"

It's somehow freeing to be on a human ship. Her mother's allegiances earn her some suspicion, but that at least makes sense to her. Not like asari pureblood hysteria.

Humans don't seem to care. She haltingly admits her parentage to Shepard, expecting…something. The human just listens. She's interested. Polite. Respectful.

And her lips look really soft.

III

Shepard's having another of her nightmares. Liara has asked her about them before, but Shepard just shrugs and closes off. There's a war to fight, she says. She even manages to hide it when they're making love, denying the questioning touch of her lover's mind. The melding is not telepathy, not exactly. They don't speak to each other in words. But they do communicate: in images, in emotions, in sensation. When they are together, naked in the dark, Liara can feel the emptiness where Shepard keeps her nightmares. It frightens her. She doesn't know how to make it go away.

IV

Liara isn't sure why they're having a picnic on Ontarom of all places, but she isn't complaining. The high ambient temperature of the planet has produced a very attractive sheen of moisture on Shepard's skin. Liara licks her suddenly dry lips.

"Does that space-cow look…shifty to you?" Shepard asks. Although she chose the location, the local fauna aren't her cup of tea.

"How can a cow look 'shifty'?" Liara replies, smiling.

Shepard is patting her pockets. "I don't trust any animal that can milk itself," she mutters, then looks up sharply. "I think that cow stole my credit chit!"

V

Shepard is dead.

Dead.

Her lover is dead. The ship is gone. Nothing remains. Not even the squad.

They are taken to Earth after they are rescued. The cradle of humanity. Liara might have found it beautiful, at another time, in another life. But this was not where Shepard came from.

Shepard was of the stars.

After debrief, Liara returns to space. Her mother's money buys her a small ship and lots of silence.

In what she calls night, she thinks of her mother: dying and afraid.

Liara nods. Yes, she thinks. Death has come, and there is no light.