Chapter 38

Not owned by me or anything. Owned by EA and Bioware

There he was, a veteran of a galactic war. A highly trained soldier with more kill counts than he was certain any sniper had ever achieved. He had led a crew of specialists and waged a guerilla war against three of the deadliest gangs in the galaxy. But on this day, the day he was finally released from the hospital after over a month, was one of the few days he'd ever feared death.

"KEVIN KEEP IT STRAIGHT! ISMENE, FOR THE LOVE OF THE SPIRITS, WILL YOU STOP PULLING TO THE RIGHT!?"

Nurses, doctors, and orderlies dived out of their way as the kids stampeded their way through the hallways. Everything was a blur as Garrus clung to the chair for dear chair jerked, left, then right, followed by the sound of an old man screaming, "You little…." He had no idea where they were taking him as he caught glimpses of people he knew and shouted apologies to them. After what seemed like his fifteenth apology, Garrus finally felt the cool recycled air of the presidium caress his face and fill his lungs.

"You two…" Garrus' voice was shaking as he turned to glower at the panting children.

The smiles drained from their faces. Kevin's normally brown face turned beige and Ismene's throat released a series of subvocal apologies. Garrus snorted loudly and looked over his shoulder to see Leela struggling with his bag as she tried to make amends to all the staff and patients she passed. When she exited the doors, Garrus chuckled at the look on her face but remained quiet as she pulled on Kevin's ear and tugged on Ismene's mandible.

"If you two ever pull a stunt like that again I will blister your asses until you can't walk straight!"

"But…," squeaked Ismene.

"I'll figure it out with you young lady!" Leela snapped making the child recoil with a yelp as she escaped Leela's grip. Kevin managed to wrestle away from her but there was no place they could go to escape her disapproving gaze. "The mayhem you two caused, the damage you could have done, plus the patients you disturbed! You two know better than to act like that!"

"Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to keep your voice down," ordered a disgruntled turian.

"Sorry!" snapped Leela before taking a deep breath. "I'm sorry," she said once she'd calmed down.

"And I'm going to have to ask that you refrain from disciplining your children on hospital grounds unless you want me to call security. I don't care that you're the galaxy's savior, but one should learn to conduct themselves better with their offspring."

"I would watch who you're threatening," hissed Leela as she stomped toward the turian. "It was an empty threat, this time. But if they need a swat in the ass, they'll get a swat in the ass. You just stand there at your post like the good little orderly you are."

"Leela," coughed Garrus from his seat. "Leave the poor woman alone. She's just concerned."

"Concerned about what?" Leela asked indignantly.

"That your mental state may affect your treatment of your children."

Leela turned back to the turian and saw the same emptiness her mirror reflected back at her most mornings. .

"Have you?"

"I haven't seen my mate and children in three months," answered the female.. "I'd have episodes and she took our daughters."

"Did you hurt them?"

She looked to Garrus and shook her head, "No. My mate is a former Commando. She held me back and I've been here getting therapy. The doctors let me help out in exchange for the therapy costs and some meds."

Leela's arms wrapped around the turian's waist and she squeezed her gently whispering, "You'll see them again." She felt the turian nod and her powerful limbs squeeze her tiny human frame. Leela gave the female a final apology and comforting word, and turned to the kids warning, "You two are going to be punished for your little escapade."

"Yes, Leela," answered both kids in shamed unison.

"I apologize for my intrusion on this matter," replied the female.

"It's fine," said Leela with a sad smile. "Just remember to take it one day at a time."

The female smiled and nodded before excusing herself and entering the hospital. When she was gone, Leela sent a text before handing a pad to Kevin and Ismene to go play with in the grass. With them occupied, she helped Garrus out of the wheelchair and led him to a nearby bench. He handled himself just fine, as she knew he would. His stride was strong but he was still having difficulty maintaining his balance. His hand gripped the cane she'd given to him that morning. It was a strong cane made of walnut that she was assured would support his frame. He'd spent ten minutes testing the support and gave Leela a deep kiss which got a loud giggle from both kids. "What are you smirking about?"

Leela continued to grin as she leaned in and kissed his mandible. "Just the look on your face when you gave me that kiss this morning."

"I kiss you all the time," snorted Garrus as he dropped onto the park bench.

"Way to ruin the moment dear." Leela plopped down next to him and rested her head on his shoulder.

"Because I mentioned that I kiss you all the time?" Garrus looked down at her, mandibles twitching. "How did I ruin the moment?"

"Garrus," she took him by the mandible and turned his head, "It was how excited you were when you kissed me."

"I see," he hummed, palming the handle of his cane. "Well it's a good cane. Sturdy, solid," he rapped it against the concrete, "and it seems reliable."

"Well it's a hand-made strong support system with a nearly unbreakable core," Her hand rested on his and squeezed. "At least that's what the salesman said about the first one he tried to sell me before I snapped that in half and had him order a custom made one.'

Garrus rolled his eyes and chuckled before resting his head on hers and began rubbing his plates against her flesh. He felt her relax into him and soon he heard the soft breaths of her dozing and laughed inwardly. He had forgotten how tiring it could be having two kids running around all the time. He'd gotten so used to coordinating rest periods for him and them that he had forgotten that she wasn't used to it. Every time she came to visit him she looked just a bit more tired. The dark circles under her eyes had steadily grown bigger and from her emails and the outburst, he could see she needed a break.

"Leela?"

"What," she mumbled, rubbing her face into his shoulder.

"Did you sleep last night?"

"Two hours," she yawned.

"I'll take the kids for tonight."

"Can't," she sat up and rubbed the tired from her eyes, "we got too much stuff to do."

Garrus watched her yawn and shook his head.

"Last time I saw you like this, was the night before you told Victus about his son."

"You've seen me worse," she scoffed. They both chuckled and she felt Garrus' reassuring arm wrap around her waist.

"I have," he replied holding up a hand and began counting. "There was the thing against the Collectors, Saren, Noveria, Rannoch…ow!"

"I get the point Garrus," scoffed Leela as she removed her elbow from his ribs. "After this evening, I'll curl up with you. We can pass out and sleep 'til the kids come crashing down on us."

"That's not likely to happen," he laughed as she rested back on his shoulder.

"Yeah, I know." There was a sudden beep from Leela's omni-tool. "She's here," announced Leela after shutting down the message.

"Who's here?" Garrus stood up and followed Leela who had called for the kids. They headed up the stairs and back to the hospital entrance where a blue air-car had taken residence.

"She really needs to learn to tone it down."

"Wow," exclaimed Ismene as she ran a hand along the car. "Whose car is this?"

"It is mine, young lady."

All heads snapped around to the hospital doors which revealed a tall statuesque purple skinned asari. Her face was covered in green markings and she was dressed in a blue pair of slacks, black tee-shirt, and black suede jacket. Her blue eyes seemed to pierce through them, checking for weaknesses or other defenses to break down. Garrus fought the urge to place himself between the asari and Leela as his mate began to approach the new female. Her head was held high and her limp almost non-existent. Garrus hadn't seen this level of confidence in her since she'd been back, but he knew she was posturing based on the slight tremor in her good knee after each step.

Garrus could see the faintest pulse of biotic energy escape from her her hands. The asari's gaze remained focused on Leela. Garrus watched as her cold gaze scanned his mate's body, focusing on the injuries until finally, the piercing gaze slowly transformed into one of motherly concern... Finally, the asari's legs moved forward and Garrus could see Leela relax. Her limp now fully visible, Leela approached the older woman whose arms stretched out in a welcoming embrace. Leela collapsed into the woman, arms squeezing around the asari so tight that the she had to reprimand the human.

"By the goddess child, you've been through worse than I imagined ." The asari gently pushed the Leela away and shook her head. "But not as bad as I was originally told." A blue hand stroked Leela's scars and the older woman smiled. "At least you walked away with just some scars. They're definitely an improvement."

"It's all part of the job Aunt Tu've," joked Leela with a light punch to the asari's arm.

"Aunt?" echoed the kids and Garrus at the sound of this word.

Turning, Leela gave them all a smile and nodded, "This is my aunt, Tu've J'Kajni."

"So you're Rose's mate." Stated Garrus stepping forward, hand extended. "I can see why you two were attracted to one another."

"What do you mean?' inquired the centuries old woman as she took Garrus' hand.

"From the way you were staring down Leela," he smirked with a flick of his mandibles. "Only a formidable person could stand up to the Shepard women," he chuckled at the strength of her grip. "And I can tell from the strength of your grip, you've spent some time as a Commando."

"Commando and instructor," smiled Tu've as she wrapped an arm around Leela's shoulder. "Her parents hired me to tutor this red headed mule when she first started exhibiting symptoms of biotic potential."

"Thanks for giving him fuel to tease Aunt Rose with," huffed Leela as she tried to hide a smile.

"You're most welcome my lovely niece," Tu've smiled at Leela before walking to her car where she removed a couple of bags and presented them to the children.

The kids looked to Garrus for permission and when he nodded, they ripped into the brown paper; eyes widening in surprise at what each contained. Both kids stammered words of thanks while Tu've grinned at them in appreciation.

"What did you spoil them with?" sighed Leela as she walked forward with Garrus. When they saw the gifts, they both laughed while the kids glowered at them.

"What's so funny?" barked Ismene.

"Watch those sub-vocals," warned Garrus as he heard the anger in Ismene's voice. "They may not hear it but I can."

"Well, you need to stop talking about how you find Leela's butt nice."

Garrus' mandibles fluttered embarrassingly as he heard Leela, Kevin, and Tu'Ve laugh behind him. Patty had told him that he'd have problems with his voice control, but he didn't realize just how little control remained. He tried to look menacing to his mate and the children, but the three continued to laugh while Ismene did her best to keep her own giggles under control. He remained stoic until they all calmed down.

His flutters slowing and turning into annoyed twitches as he asked, "So would you explain to me why my mate felt the need to power up her biotics?"

"It's a reflex I groomed into her," smiled Tu've as she took the bag from Leela and headed toward the car. "You never once noticed how when she is nervous or when she's in a tense situation her barriers go up? If she doesn't want to be touched or doesn't wish to have others around her, she subconsciously creates a barrier. Only when she realizes that it's up, will it either remain and grow stronger or dissipate."

"I've seen several biotics do that," huffed Garrus as he limped toward the car with Ismene in tow. "Just because she can do it doesn't make her special."

"That may be true," smirked Tu've as she slammed the trunk shut, "but Leela's biotic fields react differently. I taught her to mold it to work with her body to increase her striking power." Tu've gave Leela a stern look, "Which is one of the reasons why she has so many scars."

"Don't teach me offense if you aren't willing to work on defense," retorted Leela as she opened the car and helped the kids inside.

"I taught you everything you'd need to move up in the ranks," commented Tu've with a tired sigh. "It's not my fault that you didn't improve your defenses. I always told you that your barriers needed work."

"That sounds familiar," snorted Garrus. "Maybe we should talk to Jack and…"

"Oh shut it Garrus," Leela bit, shooting him a venomous glare.

"Or what?" he teased as he passed by her, "are you going to turn on your barriers and push me back?"

"Only in the places that matter the most." A malevolent grin spread her lips leading Garrus to mutter that he knew ways to break them. "I look forward to the attempt."

Climbing into the front, while Garrus settled in the back, Leela turned to her aunt and asked, "So, what's Mom got planned for this evening?"

Tu've turned on the car, and they took off as she smiled at her niece, "All I'm going to say is that you're going to have a tough time sleeping tonight."