A/N: Hi. This was a prompt I filled over on Mass Effect Kink. Javik/Liara are not a real popular pairing, but I think with some good, careful writing they have the potential to be really really sweet. So here were are. Please enjoy.
Mass Effect (c) Bioware and all that jazz
"Javik, I'm going now."
Liara was dressed for a night out of the house. Her outfit was simple. It did not show excess skin, contrary to the popular style of the day, but the wine colored cloth fit snugly against her body. Javik stood defiantly in the middle of the room, his hand balled into a fist to keep it from reaching out and running along the curve of her hip.
He would treat this like any other battle. And he refused to show weakness.
"This is a pointless activity," he said firmly.
In his own cycle, people would back down when he used that voice. But Liara only fought back harder. She stood just out of his reach, placing her own hands on her hips. "Shepard and Tali will be here for only a few more days, and Tali needs to relax. This is her first night out without her family since the baby came." Her voice was calm and quiet, using the same tone she used when explaining something to their children.
Javik stole a quick glance behind him at the two girls playing happily together on the floor. The identical asari children rolled a ball between them, giggling. They were oblivious to the small argument taking place between their parents.
"If I recall," Javik said, returning his attention to Liara, "the first night away from the children is not... relaxing." A ghost of a smile crossed Javik's mouth briefly at the memory of Liara's first time out after having the twins. "You went grocery shopping. You called me six times in five minutes. It was impressive."
"You exaggerate," Liara said, with a small laugh. "But getting out is a first step. Tali needs this."
The bell to their home chimed cheerily. Liara turned to the door. She hit the interface and it whizzed open with a slight "whoosh." Tali stood before the door, nervously wringing her hands and shifting from foot to foot. Beside her, Ashley tried in her awkward way to assure her that everything would be alright. Shepard had conquered reapers, he could conquer a baby quarian.
Conquer was exactly the wrong word to use. "He doesn't need to conquer him! He needs to make sure he's fed, and clean, and that he sleeps well, and that-"
Liara intervened. "Tali," she said, placing a hand on her friend's shoulder. "It's going to be fine. Javik took care of the girls just fine the first time I left the house, and they're still alive."
"You had an agent watching the house the whole time," Javik retorted.
A look of guilt crossed Liara's face, "You... saw that," she said quietly.
Javik's only reply was his soft, evil laugh. He could almost visibly see the aroused chills that it sent through Liara, and that pleased him. If she was going to leave him home alone with the children while she went out and had fun, he would be sure she missed him the whole time.
"Well, we need to hurry," Ashley cut in. "Those drinks won't drink themselves." She threw an arm around Tali and with her other, pulled Liara out of the house.
"Wait!" Javik demanded. He marched across the room and toward Liara, who had turned stiffly at his tone. She watched him warily as he approached her. When he was within a few feet of her, he reached out, and let his hand follow the curve of her hip briefly. It was a light touch, and it did not last very long, but Liara took a step away from him with a gasp.
Her face flushing violet, eyes wide, she said with a shaky voice, "You-" She regained her composure and glared at him. "Bastard."
Javik laughed evilly again. "It seems I will be having an easier time than you tonight."
Liara turned on her heel and marched away without another word. Javik watched her go, followed by Ashley and Tali, who were both very confused. The door slid closed before him, shutting him in the house with his daughters.
Adaeze and Kilai were well behaved girls. And they were smart. Javik sat on the overly lavish sofa Liara had insisted on purchasing and watched them play together, chattering in their own language that even he could not figure out. They seemed to be discussing something vastly important to a couple toddlers. Rules to some sort of game they had made up, perhaps?
Twins were a rare occurrence for asari. It was proper that the only remains of a prothean bloodline would be something so extraordinary. He gazed at his girls, knowing they were all that would be left of the protheans once he was gone. And they would have a better life than he had ever expected to have. Javik's eyes drifted to the wall, his thoughts mixed between plans for the future, and painful memories of the past.
The chattering stopped. Javik snapped his attention back to Adaeze and Kilai. If the few years he had been a parent taught him only one thing, it was that children were only quiet when they were causing trouble. But his daughters simply gazed up at him silently. The still was almost scary. They smiled serenely at him, and Javik had an uneasy feeling: the calm before the storm. He shifted, tension coiling inside him, a warrior's instinct that served him just as well as a parent as it had in battle. If they they thought to take off in opposite directions, he would be ready to move quickly enough to catch them both.
But instead, the girls both sprang forward to him, throwing their tiny arms around his knees. "Daddy," Kilai said, gazing up at her father with large blue eyes, "I'm hungry." Adaeze nodded in solemn agreement.
Javik stood, gently pushing the girls away from his knees. He crossed the house to the well equipped kitchen and opened the refrigerator. It was mostly bare. Javik shook his head slightly. "Absent-minded asari..." he muttered, but his tone was full of fondness and affection. His girls clung to his pant legs. He sighed.
"It seems there is no food here," he announced. "We will have to go get something." He glanced over his girls, checking that they were well dressed and clean, and reminding himself that wandering around in armor was no longer appropriate social behavior.
Still, as he left, he grabbed a pistol and deftly concealed it somewhere in within the folds of his clothing. He was not about the let peace lull him into some sort of false sense of security. Nothing was going to happen to his girls on his watch.
Javik led the girls down the street to a cafe that was a favorite of their mother's. He stepped inside the small building. The place was not very busy, and the one waitress on duty greeted them cheerily. "Mister Javik! Hi!"
"Hello," he replied, trying to make his voice sound as friendly as he could. Liara was always telling him he intimidated people with the way he spoke. He recognized the waitress, but he could not remember her name. Thankfully, she directed her attention to his children, bending over to say hi. They readily told her that their mommy was out relaxing, and they were being good for daddy.
Javik felt that truth was liable to change at a moment's notice, probably without warning.
The waitress led them to a table outside on the patio. Both girls scrambled into their own chair. Their chins barely came up over the edge of the table. Kilai hopped onto her feet to see better while Adaeze sat on her knees, holding onto the edge of the table to keep from falling. The waitress adjusted the height of the chairs so that both girls could sit comfortably and still reach the surface of the table. Adaeze was satisfied with this, and settled in happily, but Kilai still stood, looming over the table like it was her kingdom.
"Sit down," Javik said firmly. Kilai looked up at her father. The defiance in her eyes was from Liara. "Sit before you fall," Javik repeated. Unlike her mother, Kilai obeyed the hard tone in Javik's voice, and her little butt hit the seat of the chair with a soft thud. Javik sat down, in his chair with dignified grace and accepted a menu from the waitress.
She smiled at him. "I'll be right back to take your order."
The demand came from Adaeze, which was a rarity- she was quiet and more cautious than her sister.
The waitress turned to the small asari girl. She looked up at the waitress, her eyes watery. "I wanna 'menoo' too!"
"We're big girls!" Kilai added, her own gaze defiant and proud.
The waitress glanced at Javik, who was fighting a battle with his emotions, and hoping it did not show on his face. After a moment, he set his jaw and said, "Fine, but do not expect me to read it for you if you are such big girls." Hearing that his daughters considered themselves "big girls" had his heart swelling with pride, but then the idea that his babies were growing up ripped said swollen heart out, stomped it flat then fed it to a thresher maw. He stared silently at them while they solemny took their menus from the waitress and opened them up.
Javik gave his menu only a brief glance. He knew what he wanted and what Liara always ordered for the girls, and chances were the waitress knew as well. Returning his attention to his daughters he watched as they laid the menus out flat and compared them, pointing to pictures and chatting together in that strange language only they knew. One touch with Commander Shepard had provided Javik with all he needed to adjust to the languages of this new cycle, specifically Standard Galactic, and Shepard's own human language. But try as he might, Javik could not figure his daughters out. He could read them, but their language eluded him for reasons he could not define.
The waitress returned after a short wait. She smiled at the small family. "Usual?" she asked.
Javik nodded curtly, "Yes, for me. And for them-"
He was cut off by Adaeze, announcing assuredly, "This!" The menu was stretched flat out on the table, and both girls had their small blue fingers planted firmly on the picture of a specialty ice cream dessert. Javik stared dumbfounded at them for a moment.
Outsmarted by a couple of toddlers.
Javik refused to let the girls win. He leveled a stern look at them and said firmly, "They will have their usual. And then, if they behave, they can have that." He gestured vaguely at his daughters' pointing fingers.
"Sure," the waitress said brightly. She scooped up all of the menus and left the family alone again. This left with Kilai and Adaeze with nothing to play with. They fidgeted, testing the limits of their father's boundaries. A small shift here, dropping a leg off of the chair there. Javik held his gaze on them, prepared to hiss a quick "no" at either of them if they actually tried to climb out of their chairs and run away. But they never did. Instead, they simply talked to each other. Javik realized they talked constantly. If they were not having a conversation with each other, they were telling one of their parents about something, sharing their thoughts, or describing their day in simplistic terms, often repeating the same phrase several times because they did not have much else to say.
The waitress whirled by the table once, delivering drinks. Adaeze and Kilai took their drinks eagerly, and Javik remembered to mutter "thank you" to the waitress since Liara was not there to do it for him. To his surprise, both of his girls echoed him, calling their thanks out to the waitress as she walked away. He saw the big grin it put on the girl's face.
It was not much longer before their food was delivered. Javik set his fingers gently against each plate. None were poisoned. "Of course they aren't," Liara would have scolded. But Javik had to check anyway.
It was shocking how quickly two growing children could eat. Adaeze was finished first because she was quieter, but even Kilai had cleaned her plate before Javik could finish. Both girls demanded more, and helped Javik to finish what was left of his meal.
The waitress dropped back by again. "Do they need that ice cream?" she asked.
Javik sighed. "I suppose," he said. He knew his voice sounded harsher than he had meant it, but as long as the waitress brought his girls ice cream, he did not really care.
She delivered the dessert with a bit of a dramatic flourish, earning squeals of delight from the two young girls. The waitress presented them with three spoons and left. Javik did not have a sweet tooth, but he could not imagine his daughters ingesting that much ice cream on their own. So, he helped them eat it.
For the greater good of his daughters of course.
Javik remembered to tip the waitress well before he paid and gathered his daughters to him. They chattered at him while they walked, and they wanted to look inside of every store window they passed.
"What's that?" Was asked with almost religious devotion every time they passed something that moved, or had bright lights, or made sound, or came into their line of sight in general.
They were halfway home before the sugar rush hit. It was like an explosion of activity, enough for a full ship of children, burst from the two small girls. Their conversations turned from happy chatter to excited screams and shrieks. They tried to run away from their father, but he held to their hands firmly, pulling them back every time they tugged ahead of him.
That soon became a game. Javik found himself allowing Kilai to run ahead, then pulling her back, her feet lifting off the ground while Adaeze ran ahead. His pace had slowed as the act required impressive coordination. But the game sent delighted squeals into the air. A few people stopped to stare, but a glare from the last living prothean sent them on their way, shuffling and avoiding eye contact.
When they were a few feet from the front door of their home, he released their hands and let them run to the door. It was locked, so they could not enter, but Javik was not far behind. He opened the door before they could get bored and run away.
When the door slid open, the girls burst into the house, headed straight for their room. They must have made plans through all of that screaming on the walk home. They were loud, but they were also entertained. Javik sank into the sofa, for once glad that Liara had insisted on the thing.
"Curse to the dust what ever human invented ice cream," he muttered, rubbing his forehead.
He did not get to relax for long however. A sharp crash startled him off of the sofa. Without thinking, he drew his pistol and ran to his children. They looked up at him, wide-eyed from the floor, a lamp laying on its side between the two of them. Part of Javik was relieved- the crash was just a lamp falling. Another part of Javik was annoyed- the crash was a lamp falling and likely breaking. The girls were staring intently at Javik's gun, he realized. When he was a child, it would have been considered normal to teach a young child to hold and fire a gun, but now...
He imagined Liara would end him if he tried to teach them how to handle a weapon before they had even learned to read. Seeing that they were not injured, he slowly turned away from them and took the gun to his own room where he unloaded it and turned the safety on. He placed the thermal clip and the gun in separate locations. If he needed the gun, it would be inconvenient, but if either of his girls found it, they would not manage to shoot themselves, and that was worth inconvenience.
When he returned to the girls' room, he was surprised to find the lamp upright and not broken. The girls were still sitting around it, looking up at their father with big eyes. He sighed, then smiled at them. He crossed the room to the lamp and picked up, placing it back on the shelf where it belonged. "This is not a toy," he scolded gently.
A beeping from the other room captured Javik's attention. "Stay here," he said absently to his daughters as he left the room.
The beeping was from an incoming message on the home's vid com. Javik answered it. An image of a tired looking Shepard blinked into view. He was cradling his son, who was sleeping soundly. Shepard smiled blearily at Javik.
"So I heard you were watching your girls while Liara tries to make Tali relax."
"The first time out of the house without the children is hardly relaxing," Javik scoffed.
Shepard laughed. There was a slightly insane edge to it. "She's called me to check on us so many times, I've lost count. But she sounds like she's having fun. She hasn't called for a full ten minutes. I think Ash took her omni-tool away from her the last time she called."
Javik looked his former commander over. The man who had faced down and defeated reapers was cuddling a small baby with as much care as any father. "The child is not ill, is he?" Javik asked.
Shepard grinned, and for a moment, all of his exhaustion was gone, replaced by pride. "No, he's fine. He has a surprisingly strong immune system. How are your girls?"
Javik turned around. He realized it was quiet. He turned back, "I suspect they are causing trouble. I will talk to you later."
"Good luck," Shepard offered before he disconnected.
Javik hurried to his daughters' room. It was empty. The door to his own bedroom was still closed, and it did not sound like they were behind it. Javik bent down to place a hand on the floor, but before he made contact, he felt eyes on the back of his head. He whirled around.
Kilai was standing before him, her lips and teeth stained a dark purple and she was working her mouth and tongue, gagging lightly as if trying to get rid of a nasty taste. "Daddy, it hurts," she whined.
Javik was a fearless warrior. He had seen unimaginable horrors, fought losing battles against hordes of monsters that had once been his comrades, his friends. He had faced death without flinching.
He had never been seized with the paralyzing terror he felt now, looking at his daughter covered in blood. Was ice cream somehow poisonous to asari? Damn it, he had not even though to ask, instead, he had just given into their childish wants! Where was Adaeze? The only thing that terrified Javik more was the thought that for some reason, the blood around Kilai's mouth might be her sister's instead of her own. He looked around the hallway, his body finally responding and moving.
Adaeze appeared, marching out of the bathroom covered in as much purple as her sister and holding a tube of human toothpaste that Liara had insisted they keep just in case someone came to visit. She chucked the tube at her father. "Yucky, daddy!" she yelled.
Reflexes are the only thing that stopped that tube of toothpaste from hitting Javik in the face. He caught the tube and looked at it. The substance oozing from it was purple and smelled faintly of the Earth plant called mint. Javik's heart rate had not slowed yet, and his mind was still working in panicked overdrive.
"What were-?" he stammered.
"It smelled good!" Kilai said.
"It lied to us!" Adaeze added.
The adrenaline drained from Javik. He shook his head. He pulled both of his girls to him. He had meant to say something important: scolding them for getting into things they should not have, telling them he was glad they were alright, explaining why toothpaste was so "yucky." But the only sound that came from him was some sort of sound that might have been laughter.
He stood and tried to regain his composure. Taking both girls by the hand, he dragged them back into the bathroom. While he cleaned them up, he managed to find the words that had escaped him earlier. In a soft but firm voice, he told them that they should not play in the bathroom, that they should never ingest anything that is an unknown, and that toothpaste tasted bad because it was for cleaning, not eating. In his mind, he was scolding himself for his previous irrational thoughts. Of course ice cream was not poisonous to asari. Asari owned that cafe, and the waitress would have told him if he was unintentionally poisoning his girls. He also wondered why he would think that Kilai was covered in Adaeze's blood.
He shook the thoughts away and led his girls back to their room. The girls had recovered from their ordeal already. They were again chattering and laughing. They tugged away from him and resumed playing. "Stay here," Javik said, a little more fiercely this time. He left them in their room again, but made sure he could see them from the bathroom while he cleaned the room up. The sink had the worst of it. Splotches of gooey purple were smeared across the porcelain and dropped on the floor. Javik slipped as his foot landed in a larger pile of the goo. He caught himself on the sink before he could fall into a painful landing. He pulled himself back up carefully, cursing ancient gods that no one believed in anymore. Looking at the substance with the bathroom light, he wondered how he had mistaken the goop for blood. It was clearly the wrong shade of purple, and much thicker. It was not any easier to clean up, however. It smeared and stuck, and when it got wet, it bubbled and became slick.
When he was finally done, and the bathroom sparkled like it had before his daughters had attacked it, he returned to their room. He did not see them at first. They had unmade their beds and pulled smaller bits of furniture, like their small table and chairs, to the middle of the room. The sheets were tossed over the furniture. They did not cover the structure completely, and were mostly pooled on the floor, save for a corner hooked to whatever bit of furniture tiny arms could reach. One of the sheets moved, and one of the girls peeked up at him from underneath.
"Temple!" she announced.
"Is that so?" Javik asked. He scanned the room closer until he found another wiggling bump under the sheets- his other daughter. He crouched down to his daughter's height. With a smile, and a quick flick of his wrist, he had the sheet flying into the air, exposing his daughters and their furniture. They squealed and scrambled for new cover.
Javik smiled. "It needs some work," he said. He rearranged the furniture, spreading the chairs and the table out. He searched their room for something tall. Liara usually refused to allow tall things in their room out of fear that they would climb up and then fall off. Javik had always argued that children would hurt themselves anyway, and that is what made them grow up strong. He thought, however, after thinking he was seeing his daughters bleeding, that he just might have to agree with Liara, just a little bit.
He left the room, searching for something tall. In his room, he found a floor lamp that was not quite his height. That would work. He took it back to the girls' room and placed it in the middle of the arrangement of chairs. Then, he took one of their blankets. It was nowhere near large enough to cover the whole fort, so he tossed it at his girls. They giggled from beneath it. The sheets from his bed would have to do. He went back and took them off of the neatly made bed, secretly enjoying the thought that that would annoy Liara.
These sheets were large enough for his purpose, and soon, he had arranged them into some semblance of a blanket fort. They labored until the fort was sturdy enough to withstand its own weight. They gathered pillows and other smaller blankets into their new "home." The girls dragged Javik under the protective barrier of asari silk. He had to hunch over to keep from snagging the blankets and bringing the whole thing down on top of them. The girls snuggled up to him, yawning.
"Tell us a story, daddy," they insisted.
"What kind of story?" Javik only knew horror stories, bedtime stories had always been Liara's strength.
"Scary monster and the pretty girl!" Kilai said.
"What?" Javik asked. Was Liara telling them horror stories before bed? That might explain the lack of sleep they were getting in this house, if his girls were having nightmares.
Adaeze explained. Her words were often not clear, and her sentences were incomplete, often consisting of the same idea repeated again and again, but Javik was able to figure out the basics of what she was telling him. Some sort of monster captured a beautiful young woman, but after they get to know each other, they fall in love and then there was something about a prince and princess.
"Once upon a time," Javik started, stretching out on the ground beside his girls. He had heard Liara use these words often.
But apparently, for this story, they were wrong. "No!" Adaeze nearly screamed. "One day long ago!"
"One day, long ago, there was a... scary monster who lived in … a forest."
Javik sighed. He reached out and placed a hand on his daughter. Reading a child was more difficult than reading an adult, but he was able to pick out memories of Liara telling the story to their daughters. His daughter's previous babbling made more sense now, but that only made the story make less sense. When they were older, he would have to explain that falling in love with someone who is holding you prisoner is a very bad thing.
He made his way through the story, making sure to put forth the appropriate emotions he picked out from their memories of Liara. They listened with an intense attention that reminded him of himself when he was younger, learning how to fight and not die.
By the end of the story, when it was discovered that the beast was really a prince who needed the love of a fair maiden to break through his monstrous exterior , a curse thrust onto him from outside influences, to the nice, softer man underneath, his daughters were sound asleep against him.
With a relieved sigh, Javik stretched and rested his head on the pile of pillows. He was asleep within a few seconds.
Liara opened the door to her home, waving to Tali and Ashley. They waved back, all of them giggling from some sort of joke that would have stopped being funny long ago any other night.
"I'm home!" Liara called. She paused. The lights were still on, but the house was silent. Liara walked slowly from room to room, looking for her family. "Hello?" she called tentatively. Nothing looked out of place, but the house seemed almost too clean, especially the guest bathroom. She looked into the girls' room.
The room was in a general state of disarray, but the sheets and furniture were arranged into some sort of fort. Liara recognized the outline of her floor lamp as the central pole to the structure. "Hello?" she called again softly.
She stepped into the room. Something caught her eye. She laughed quietly. Javik's legs were sticking out of the back of fort. "It seems they've finally killed you," Liara teased. She lifted up the "door" of the fort, finding her family beneath. She gasped.
Javik was curled up with his two daughters, arms wrapped protectively around them. They were clinging to their father's shirt, soundly asleep. Liara leaned close to them, running a finger along Kilai's cheek. The little girl shifted. Javik's arm shot up and his hand clamped onto Liara's wrist. In a swift and surprisingly graceful motion, he had her across the room and back at the door away from the children. He leveled a harsh glare at her.
It took less than a second for Javik to recognize Liara. His gaze softened and he released her wrist. "You are home," he said simply.
Liara's lips pulled into an amused smile. "Yes." she said. She looked back at the fort. "Are those our sheets?" she asked.
"Yes." Then it seemed to dawn on Javik that Liara had caught him sleeping, "defenseless and cute," curled up against his children. He pushed past Liara and into the hall, leaving his daughter's room behind. "We should get them cleaned up. It was a silly game they insisted on playing." He turned back to the room.
Liara stopped him. "We have other sheets. Let them sleep. Their night is over, but yours is just beginning," she said "I seem to remember a promise you made earlier." She paused to run the tips of her fingers down his cheek. A surprised expression crossed Javik's face at the bold suggestions he read from Liara's touch. She whispered, "And I think I owe you a little extra." She took Javik's hand and dragged him toward their room with a coy smile.