A/N: This little side-trip just popped into my head after the last Blackwork chapter and I had to take the time to write it. It follows shortly after Chapter 13 of Blackwork (after the Shepard/Vega/Liara tryst), and overlaps a bit with Chapter 14 of the same story. It is in the same theme as the main Blackwork story, and the same general mood, but is just a one-shot. I am posting it as a separate story because it deals with two separate characters and I wanted it to be found and judged on its own merits, even though it is really part of the larger story.

If you haven't read Blackwork yet, I strongly urge you to at least read Chapters 13 and 14 since they will provide a bit more context to this story.

Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.


"Liara needs your help," Shepard said, the tone of her voice turning the words into more of a command than a simple innocuous statement.

Javik tensed. After the heated argument he and the young Asari had had earlier in the week, he had a strong impression that she would refuse any help from him, no matter how dire the circumstances. She had been so impassioned in her despair, and equally chagrined when she finally understood what his people had hoped for her race.

He had almost regretted telling her the truth, but hiding it from her would have served no purpose. He had come to respect her quest for knowledge and had begun to regret the growing disappointment that was showing in her eyes when she looked at him, realizing he was nothing like her preconceived fancies had prepared her for.

"If she is sinking deeper into her grief, there is nothing I can do to help," he said tersely. Grief was something she would need to work her way through on her own. Warriors had no time for grief.

"It isn't grief," Shepard said. "She says she's having an issue with fluctuations of her biotic energy, brought on by the stress of melding. There are only two things that would help her regulate it, and one of them isn't an option. She needs a biotic stronger than herself, and we're short on Asari Matriarchs at the moment. She wouldn't admit it, but you're the only one on this ship who can help her."

Javik finally turned to face the Commander and gave her a steady look. He could read something more in her expression than she was sharing through her words. He sensed that she was unwilling to tell him all the details. Knowing the two were close, he guessed that Liara had joined with Shepard, but the idea seemed to contradict the Asari's personality. Also, he knew Shepard was emotionally tied to the human warrior and was likely to eschew intimacy with any aside from him. As a result, he grew intensely curious as to the circumstances surrounding Liara's issue.

"She is a very strong biotic. I find it odd that she would have overextended herself during a joining. But if what you say is true, you are correct; I am the only one who can help her - if she will even accept my help."

"You'll just have to convince her," Shepard said. "We need her."

ooOoo

Javik could sense the irregular pulse of Liara's biotics the second he stepped through her doors.

"Javik," Liara greeted him with a small, exhausted smile from where she sat before her bank of screens.

Her apparent civility was unexpected and he could only nod in response. He felt oddly self conscious and cursed himself inwardly at his weakness.

"Commander Shepard says you are unwell. You must let me help you, Asari."

She flashed him an irritated glance and shook her head.

"I'm fine. The loss of Thessia has just taken its toll on me. All I need is rest."

He realized his mistake in not addressing her by her name and cursed himself again for his stupidity. He tried again.

"Liara," he began, trying to keep the hint of condescension from his tone. "I can sense that your energy is severely out of synch. You know it will take much more than simply resting to bring it back into harmony."

She sighed and nodded, "I know. Only two things will help: I would have to conceive a child, or I would need someone with biotics strong enough to help me regulate it." In a bitter tone she continued, "And only a fool would conceive a child in the middle of a war."

She looked at him, her eyes betraying her desperation, but her voice was grim, her tone biting. "But I don't want your help, Javik."

"I am offering, you can accept or not, but if you do not you will remain weak. If you're too weak to help win the war, then you may as well be dead."

He had hoped his statement would at least get a rise out of her, to make her realize how important she was, but her shoulders only slumped further.

He moved to stand behind where she sat and laid a hand gently on her shoulder. He was granted a quick succession of images of her recent past that immediately shed light on her situation and why the Commander had been so cagey about the details. One image in particular, however, struck him more forcefully than the others and he was surprised at the surge of temper he felt upon encountering it.

He released her with a sigh and said, "I understand now. You were foolish to attempt a double melding. It is no wonder your energy is out of balance. You are far too young for such an ambitious endeavor. You may have even inadvertently triggered a premature shift into your Matron stage, which would explain the erratic fluctuations in your biotic energy."

Liara only shrugged faintly. "I succeeded, at least. That's all I could hope for. And..." she trailed off as she recalled the particular events of the evening she had melded with Shepard and James. She had learned so many new things about herself, and about her friends, and not all of it had been learned during the joining. She regretted nothing.

Javik filled the silence finally. "You care very deeply for Shepard and her warrior lover. You fear their deaths more than they fear death themselves. This is a noble gift you have given them, Liara T'Soni. The gift to meld with them to preserve their traits. But you must have known it was given at great risk to yourself. Let me help you so this gift will not have been given in vain."

Liara was struck by the almost gentle tone when he spoke in his deep, heavily accented voice. When she gave a small nod of acquiescence, she thought she heard a soft sigh of relief from behind her.

Javik felt her shiver slightly when he slid his hands up her arms to rest atop her shoulders briefly before moving higher. His biotics began to thrum as he activated a glowing green field of energy around their bodies. The high collar of her jacket was hindering his contact with her, however. It would have to go.

He reached around her with one hand to find the clasps of the garment and unfastened them briskly. Liara let out a gasp of surprised protest and reached up her hands abruptly to close them again.

"I need access to your skin for this to provide the most benefit to you," he said sternly, gripping her hands and pulling them away from her chest. She nodded a weak assent and dropped her hands to her lap again.

He pulled her jacket open and heard a sharp intake of breath when his fingers accidentally grazed the tips of her naked breasts. She allowed him to pull the garment off and lay it to one side. He was surprised at the softness of her skin when he rested his hands against her bare shoulders. The low hum of his biotics began to envelop them in a soft field again.

He slid his thumbs in light, comforting caresses up and down the back of her neck and knew his efforts were beginning to work when he felt her tension ease and her head sagged slightly above her chest.

"Javik," Liara said hesitantly. "Forgive me for my stubbornness. I'm grateful to you for offering to help me. I... believed I was strong enough to handle the melding with them. Perhaps I was a little desperate in the wake of Thessia and failed to think things through."

"You are necessary to win this war, As-... Liara. And the Commander seems to rely on you greatly. I must do what I can to ensure we maintain every advantage possible over the Reapers."

"Of course you must," she replied ruefully.

He was confused by the odd combination of emotions he sensed in her through their contact. She was aroused, he could tell, but trying desperately to suppress the feelings. He found it hard to believe that his simple touch would elicit that profound a response, but understood when the flash of a particular combination of her memories emerged in his mind again: The sensation of soft touches against her sex provided by Shepard's warrior lover. He sensed no underlying emotion from her aside from her apparent desire, but felt a surge of anger nonetheless at the idea of an inferior creature such as the human male touching this Asari so intimately, no matter how formidable a warrior the man might be.

Liara felt Javik's fingertips grip her flesh tightly and the intensity of his biotics flared up suddenly, permeating her skin with a pleasant electricity that made her tingle all over and caused her nipples to harden. She knew he must have read her memories and seen what had transpired. She wondered if that's what he was reacting to, or some other thought. His voice was hard when he spoke again, giving her the answer to her unspoken question.

"Did the human warrior appeal to you as a lover might?" he asked in a tone that was much sharper than he had intended.

She replied hesitantly, "Not exactly. He was gentle and... thorough. I only dwell on that moment because of the way it made me feel. It's rare for me to reach that level of... pleasure. I'm sure it was only enhanced by the aftermath of the joining, though."

Her candid answer relieved him somewhat, but the feel of her bare skin beneath his palms and the intimacy of his biotic connection to her incited a surge of possessiveness he'd been unaware he could even feel over another individual.

"Javik," Liara's soft voice forced him to return his focus to her rather than dwelling on the foreign thoughts she'd aroused in him. He buried the feelings and loosened his grip on her flesh.

"What is it," he asked, his voice returning to its calm, detached tone.

"You do," she said in a direct tone and he was uncertain what she meant for a second until he followed the thread of their brief conversation backwards. Did he human appeal to you as a lover might? he had asked.

"It is just the intimacy of this process that makes you feel that way. It will pass," he said dismissively.

She pushed his hands away from her shoulders impatiently and stood up, turning to face him, her eyes were blazing with the same fury she'd had when she'd confronted him earlier in the week. She had a strength of will that surpassed that of some warriors he had known in his cycle and he found it exceedingly attractive on her.

"Don't you think I would know what I want?" she nearly yelled. "Why do you think I was so angry at you before? It wasn't just about my people. For someone who can read the world around you so easily, you can be positively blind sometimes." She gestured as she talked and her full breasts seemed just as involved in her outburst as the rest of her. He was briefly mesmerized by her movements and wasn't sure he'd heard what she'd said once she finished speaking.

He stood blinking at her in surprise for a moment before regaining his composure. His biotic field had fallen when he'd broken contact with her and the absence of its bolstering effect on her was already becoming apparent. Her face paled and he barely reacted in time to catch her before she collapsed to the floor.

He caught her in his arms and lifted her up, holding her quietly against him for a moment. Far too long, he realized in retrospect. The feel of her skin was soft under his hands and the scent of her earlier arousal tickled alluringly at his nostrils. He contemplated her unconscious form for several seconds as he held her.

Her soft skin mesmerized him and he was briefly stunned by the the effect. He'd been intrigued by her interest in his race, which had gradually turned into a personal interest, but then it had seemed to go even deeper. Her deeper interest in him had awakened feelings he hadn't realized he'd been capable of. Feelings he was barely able to admit he was even having.

Warriors didn't take lovers in his cycle. Physical intimacy and emotional attachments were too great a distraction from the war at large. The warriors made their "contributions" regularly to ensure the propagation of their genes, but there was no emotion involved in the process. Even as the Avatar of Vengeance he was unlikely to survive into retirement, which was the only time someone like him would have ever forged a relationship that wasn't based on the need to fight the Reapers.

Having this soft, exquisitely scented, and half-naked body in his arms caused him to feel things he didn't think he'd ever feel in his lifetime. But he supposed this wasn't his lifetime any longer. It was hers. And for some unknown reason he believed she deserved to feel those things.

As he carried her to the bed and laid her down, some small part of the fearless warrior in him faded away, becoming buried in the past along with the rest of his race. This was a different cycle and warriors in this cycle found sustenance and purpose in different places than they did in the past. It was time for him to embrace the present.

He stripped off his armor, then removed her boots and lay down behind her, wrapping his arms around her and reactivating his biotic field around them both again, bolstering her energy with his own.

He lay quietly with one arm draped over her unconscious form. He was becoming increasingly distracted by the feel of her soft skin against his and felt his sex awakening and emerging for the first time since he'd come out of stasis. He hadn't even given that part of him a passing thought until this moment, beyond bathing and its usual function of eliminating waste. He swallowed hard and wished that he hadn't completely stripped before laying down beside her.

In a poor attempt to distract himself he began trailing caresses over her soft skin, admiring the way the subtle pattern beneath her skin seemed to shimmer in the light. The Asari were one of the more beautiful races the Protheans had uplifted. He often wondered if they had made their choices based on attractiveness.

She began to stir finally and he paused his caresses, resting his hand gently at her waist while he waited for her to awaken.

"Mmm... " she murmured softly, then she grew utterly still as she took stock of her surroundings. She turned her head to face him and her backside tilted into his hips in the same motion. He twitched against her involuntarily and he struggled to avoid showing any expression on his face when her eyes met his.

"Javik? You're still here?"

"You are in need of me still, Liara," he said gruffly. And I am in need of you.

Her eyes drifted over his features as though trying to discern something from them. Finally, she turned over to face him fully. She met his eyes and asked, "How long can you maintain a biotic field for?"

"For as long as you need," he said. He knew with how erratic her energy had been, it might be several hours or more before she was back to normal. He knew he could maintain it for that long at least.

He jerked back reflexively when her hand came up to trace his heavy cheekbones with a light touch. She pulled her hand back for a moment and then tried again more slowly, tracing his prominent cheek down to his jaw and forward to the cleft in the center of his chin. Her fingertips trailed back up his jaw and down his neck, then lower over his tautly muscled shoulder and his sinewy arm. She made a small sound when she realized he was naked and intensely aroused at her contact. He made no attempt to hide the fact. His connection with her gave him a vivid sense of her arousal at his closeness and it only served to intensify his feelings.

She shifted closer to him, slipping one arm around his back, pressing her breasts against his chest. She nestled her lips against his mouth, her tongue sneaking out and trailing against his lips. She tasted sweet and he darted his own tongue out to taste her again. She moaned softly when his tongue slid across her lower lip and he kissed her fully, plunging his tongue past her lips, penetrating her mouth and reveling in the flavor of her that was just as beautiful to his mouth as her body was to his eyes.

As they kissed his hand drifted down to her back, then lower. When he encountered her pants he growled against her lips in frustration.

"Take them off if you hate them so much," she whispered, breaking away from his kiss with a small smile. He immediately began yanking at her waistband in response and was confused when he heard laughter coming from her. He looked into her eyes, perplexed, and then grunted incoherently in understanding when she reached a hand between them to unfasten her belt and the closure of her pants.

He shifted down her bed to pull her pants off past her ankles, and tossed them to the floor. When he turned to look back at her he grazed his eyes over her naked body, and slid back up, caressing along her entire length with one hand.

"You are far softer in reality than I could have ever thought possible," he said. "I want to touch you everywhere."

Liara just nodded silently and lay on her back, looking at him invitingly. Her eyes closed and she sighed in pleasure as he continued his explorations of her body.

He was curious and gentle, starting at her lips again with a soft kiss before moving lower. He trailed a tentative fingertip over an area of her skin and followed it up by leaning close to inhale her scent, which was pleasantly floral, becoming stronger the more he touched her.

"I have never experienced the intimate touch of another first-hand," he confessed when he leaned to kiss her neck gently. She seemed to grow tense for a moment, and gave him an uncertain look.

He shook his head to reassure her and said, "There is no need for worry, my beautiful Asari, I am still well educated." In illustration, he dipped one digit between her thighs and did something that made her gasp in pleasure. He murmured, "And I always had top marks in Asari anatomy. I consider myself extremely lucky that parts of you have not evolved too much since my cycle."

She took a moment to catch her bearings, then said in a breathless voice, "The more technologically advanced or long-lived a species, the more slowly it evolves. Asari have been as we are for many millennia."

"Yes," he said gruffly as his fingertips and his mouth trailed over her breast. "I am very lucky."

His long tongue darted out and tasted the tips of her breasts one at a time causing her to moan in ecstasy.

"Javik," she breathed.

"Yes, my beautiful Asari?"

"N-nothing... just don't stop."

"I have no intention of stopping," he said and bent his head to inhale the scent of her skin again. He was moving ever closer to the concentrated center of the sweet aroma she'd been emitting for some time that was like ambrosia to his senses. He shifted lower to the smooth mound between her thighs and snaked his tongue out again to taste her. Her hips twitched towards his mouth instantly and he heard her moan loudly in response.

He groaned in need as her scent became almost overpowering, but if Asari anatomy was as he recalled, he didn't want to rush this experience.

He moved between her legs, then gripped her behind the thighs and pushed her legs apart, urging her legs up to her chest and opening her sex wide before him.

He watched, mesmerized as she seemed to bloom before his eyes, the soft azure petals of her sex seeming to open up and tremble beneath his gaze as though he were the sun and she gained nourishment from his mere presence. He felt his own sex throbbing with desire, but he had one more task to accomplish first.

He gripped her thighs, pushing them further apart and bent his head to inhale her heady aroma, then began to lick gently around the edges of her petals. He kept the image of her experience with the human in his mind, knowing the evolved ape couldn't have known the proper way to attend to an Asari, no matter that he'd stumbled upon a way to make her writhe in pleasure the way she had in the memory he had seen.

In spite of his own lack of first-hand experience, he had studied this part of Asari anatomy intently as a young prothean. He wasn't going to waste the opportunity now that he was finally able to test his knowledge for the first time.

He heard her sigh with pleasure when his long, pointed tongue made the first circuit of her sex, then he moved to the inner folds and repeated the process slowly and deliberately. Each time he repeated the process her moans of ecstasy grew louder and her hips quivered harder beneath his grip.

When he finally reached her center he lingered over her small cluster of buds, tasting each in turn, then teasing his tongue around them all in concentric swirls. When her buds finally opened to him she cried out in a mini-climax and he tasted the delicious flavor of her that he'd only ever read about before. He groaned against her slick flesh, enjoying the sensations her juices caused in his mouth and throat. But he knew he couldn't wait too long.

He raised himself over her and poised his thick organ at her center, positioning himself carefully so the angle would be right.

"Liara," he said, catching her attention and meeting her eyes. She gazed back at him with a look of semi-sated desire and nodded at him.

"Yes, Javik. Yes!"

He slipped his engorged length fully into her and was suddenly lost as the sensations overtook them both and they found themselves drifting together weightlessly, except for his steady thrusting into her. Part of his mind realized that she'd activated a meld with him and wondered if it had been intentional, but he didn't really care. It might mean she would need more of his help to recover, but he knew he was strong enough to lend her his biotics until she was back to her usual strength. And he also knew he wasn't strong enough to leave her very soon if he could help it, but he would never admit that fact to himself except for this moment.

The sensation of her wrapped around him and their minds entwined was far more intense an experience than he could have ever imagined, even from his studies as a young prothean. She kept speaking his name, which seemed odd to him but he decided he liked it. It must be something the races from this cycle did during lovemaking. He decided to try it and began to speak her name and instantly understood how powerful an act it was when both his emotions and her reactions began to intensify in response.

All thought left his mind suddenly when he began to feel the tight contractions of her sex around his and her scent became almost overwhelming and intoxicating, drugging him with pleasure and sending him over the edge. His senses exploded in ecstasy as he climaxed and he felt like he screamed her name like a raging imbecile but wasn't sure if it had happened in his head or in reality.

When he regained conscious control of his body he looked down at her and heaved a heavy sigh when she smiled back at him. He could feel the soft skin of her legs against his hips and his sex quivered inside her slightly at the sensation.

She sighed and arched her back beneath him, her breasts jiggling alluringly.

"That's the first time I've melded during sex," she admitted. "And the first time I've ever had... um... full completion?"

He let out a self-satisfied grunt and pulled away from her slowly, laying beside her again and breathing deeply in sated calm. He drifted a hand down her stomach and rested it on one hip.

He asked, "Does this mean you will stop thinking about the human?"

"What human?" she asked.