A/N: Well, here we are. There was a small sentimental reason for me changing the posting schedule over the past week. I noticed that I had started posting the story on the 6th of May last year. (Even if sometimes it displays 7th, it's like FFN can't make up its own damn mind about when I published it. :P) Anyway, finishing the story exactly one year later just felt like the appropriate closure.
When I started out posting this story, I certainly did not expect the way it would grow, and the sort of response it would receive. Certainly, in the beginning it also did not have the kind of quality to merit much support, but I feel like I've grown and learned a lot as a writer over the course of the story, and it seems to be reflecting in the response of the readers. So, I wanted to thank everyone who has been reading this story, thank even more those who have chosen to follow or add it to their favorites list, but in particular I feel grateful to all those who have been reviewing my humble offerings. You guys are the ones who push me towards further improvement and make me want to do better and better. In short, you're awesome.
After this, I've decided to take a couple of weeks off from writing, but despair not. If you're interested in reading more about the adventures of Morgan Shepard, Liara T'Soni, their baby daughter and the rest of the peanut gallery, tune in again on Monday, 20th of May. I think I might have something new for you. :)
Epilogue - Leaving Terra
"They're leaving," Garrus says quietly, staring out of the windows of a hall near the Council Chambers on the Citadel. The quarian ships are slowly moving towards the Charon Relay, about to make the jump back to their home system, the first ones allowed to make the journey, following successful testing sessions sending through geth ships, carrying FTL comm buoys to help and restore galactic wide communications.
"Yes," Councilor Sparatus nods, standing next to him and looking outside. "Our people will follow, as soon as we get everyone back onboard. The humans insist that we bring the krogan back with us, and it seems as if Urdnot Wrex is having a hard time organizing his troops."
"Figures," Garrus mutters, not really listening, his thoughts completely elsewhere. She's on one of those ships now, heading for the relay and then back to Rannoch. In a few hours, I'll be on my way back to Palaven... so, I guess... this is it. The growing pile of corpses of our starving people built a wall between us that was simply too high...
"You should probably get ready for the journey too, Vakarian. I understand that you have a spot on the 'Valiance' with Primarch Victus," Sparatus says, Garrus nodding barely perceptibly, starting to feel rather depressed, even despite the knowledge that soon he will be reunited with his family. "Damn it, Garrus, you should look a bit happier about getting out of this mess in one piece, as a hero of our people," the councilor adds, shaking his head, then throwing a quick glance behind them. "Well now... looks like there's someone to see you. Maybe they will be able to take this gloominess away."
Garrus spins around so swiftly that he nearly knocks the councilor down, heart almost leaping out of his mouth as he hastily apologizes, unable to take his eyes off the figure standing on the other side of the hall, the familiar shape of a certain quarian, hands crossed behind her back, standing there proudly before beginning to slowly walk towards him. "I think I'll just leave you two alone," Sparatus quickly adds, looking amused as he withdraws.
As Tali approaches closer, Garrus also begins to walk towards her, meeting in the middle of the hall, nary a foot between them as they look at each other, the turian finding himself still too overcome from surprise to speak coherently. "You... why aren't you with the flotilla..." he manages, swallowing heavily.
"I... am not completely sure, myself," Tali confesses shyly. "I just... found myself unable to leave, not yet, not this way. Garrus, all I ever wanted was to see my people safe and returning to Rannoch. But while I would love to go back there one day, I don't have anyone waiting on me there now. So... Auntie Raan offered me to stay on the Citadel as her advisor as she waits for the official invitation to join the Council. I... I think I will accept the honor... unless better offers come along..."
"Damn it," Garrus grinds out, his body tensing from how much he simply wants to reach out and pull her close, to hold her again. "Now I want to stay on the Citadel myself, but my family... spirits, Tali... come with me to Palaven. Please," he speaks, no longer caring whether he sounds desperate or needy. "I need you in my life, little Chiktikka... it's a living nightmare trying to fool myself of the opposite."
"That... was the better offer I was hoping to hear, my sweet Garrus," Tali says softly, taking his hands in hers. "I have been looking forward to meeting your family, after all. Though, one day, I will want to go back to Rannoch and build a house for myself."
"For ourselves, you mean," Garrus corrects her, feeling exhilarated from the way Tali slips into his embrace from those words. "Some seasons on Palaven are completely unbearable, dry and hot, I would love nothing else than to escape to Rannoch during those months."
"Two residences, one on Rannoch, one on Palaven?" Tali asks, thoughtful but excited at the prospect. "How wonderfully decadent."
"We have gone through so much... we have earned that and so much more," he replies, continuing to hold her tightly.
"When do you have to report to your ship, Garrus?" she asks, feeling giddy from the way his hands move over her back, the pent up desire and suppressed needs of many months starting to stoke a hungry flame within her.
"Victus wants me on the 'Valiance' in six hours," Garrus replies. "Why, what were you thinking of?"
"Oh... just that for the next six hours... we are both as free as the dust on solar wind..."
"You read my mind, my sweet Shalei..."
"Garrus... you're still paying for that Citadel apartment we used to share?"
"Yeah... out of habit... and hope, I guess."
"Take me there. Keelah, I want you so much, I feel like I'm burning up from the need," she whispers, feeling Garrus bending down slightly and suddenly scooping her up in his arms.
"I will not simply take you there, my little Admiral, I will carry you all the way in my arms, before attending to your every need," Garrus promises with completely straight face, as Tali wraps her arms around his neck, burying her face in his shoulder, beginning to cry from joy.
"Oh... oh, Kal... Keelah," with a soft moan, the lithe shape of the female quarian collapses on the chest of her lover, feeling his strong, warm hands embracing her quaking and quivering form. "...what have I done to be so lucky and know such happiness..." she mumbles into his chest, slowly recovering from the intense spike of pleasure, turning her body into a boneless jelly.
"I don't think you're the only one here who should call themselves lucky," Kal'Reegar pulls her wonderfully yielding frame a little higher up, finding him face to face with his beloved, chuckling at the tired expression on her face before he leans in to kiss her on the lips, running his hands up and down her damp back. "I'm certainly feeling very lucky for finding you, Lia. One more thing we both have Tali'Zorah to thank for."
"For that, and for saving the galaxy together with Commander Shepard," Lia'Vael giggles. "And for giving us back our homeworld. I wonder what we will find back on Rannoch a whole year after leaving."
"The geth are remarkably industrious as we have seen. We will probably find beautiful cities, cultivated farmlands, thriving industry and economy..."
"You make it sound so wonderful... and you truly want to share this future with me? Little insignificant me? I sometimes think that this is all a dream and that one day I will wake up from it."
"It is no dream," he kisses her again, deeper and more longingly this time. "As soon as we return on Rannoch, I will begin to work on building a home for us. Where we could live until the end of our days... together. Lia'Vael nar Ulnay... I want you to be the mother of my children."
Lia'Vael gasps. "Oh... oh my! You really mean it, my Admiral, don't you?" The tired expression in her eyes is immediately replaced by burning desire and raw hunger. "In that case... while we can't work on that house until we get to Rannoch... we surely can start working on that other thing..."
"Keelah!" Kal'Reegar lets out a sharp gasp as he feels Lia's hand slowly travelling down the plains of his stomach to begin her tender ministrations. "...I just hope you don't kill me with this before we even get to Rannoch..."
"Bah, is this all that you could scare up?" Wrex bellows, glaring at Urdnot Grunt and the asari commando Kurin, standing in front of the crowd of a little over two hundred krogan. "This is barely one third of what we brought here! Where are all the others?"
"I don't think they're coming back, Wrex," Grunt replies with a disturbing little chuckle. "They said that Earth, even as ruined as it is now, is still way better than Tuchanka, so they disappeared as soon as they heard that you planned to round them up and throw them into shuttles. Also... what's that thing you're wearing, old man?"
"This?" Wrex asks, grabbing the hem of his red and green kilt and lifting it slightly, rubbing the texture of the thick cloth. "Some kind of cultural thing. Great, isn't it? I got it from those strange red-bearded humans up north after we fended off their distillery from a pack of vorcha. It came along with this cap... though they insist on calling it a 'bonnet', hilarious," he points at the hat he is wearing, making him look like a krogan with a cherry on top.
"And what about that... thing? The sounds it makes are horrible," Kurin asks, wincing as Wrex squeezes the bagpipes one more time to illustrate her point, making it sound as if he was strangling twenty cats all at once.
"I just think it's fun, so I took it from them," Wrex shrugs. "I admit, it sounded much better when I was completely smashed. Damn, they had some great booze way up north. No wonder some of our idiots decided to jump ship."
"Do you want us to hunt them down and drag them back in chains?" Grunt asks, probably secretly hoping for some action.
"Nah, too much effort," Wrex sighs, then chuckling evilly. "They'll be the problem of these humans now, heh-heh. If anyone asks, we don't know anything about any missing krogan, is that clear?" he bellows. "They're part of the Blood Pack! Or something!"
"What missing krogan?" the crowd yells back at him in unison. "We don't know about any missing krogan!"
"Perfect, keep it up!" Wrex flashes a broad and toothy grin. "Alright, let's get to the shuttles and back to the turian ships! We have a whole fleet of those stuck-up avians to annoy and irritate on the journey back to Palaven!"
"Councilor Tevos," the geth standing before the asari councilor bows its flashlight head. "We are pleased to inform you that the geth engineering teams stand ready to accompany the asari fleet back to Thessia. We have received information from the leader of your science team, Dr. Jelize, regarding the state of the mass relay of the asari home system. We estimate that the known work will require us roughly 79 standard galactic days."
"Roughly, you say?" Tevos can't stop herself from smiling. Each conversation with this geth representative, Legion, leaves her marveling about their ingenuity or chuckling about the quirkiness of the AI's. "But I thank you, Legion, you have been most helpful. I agree that we should concentrate on fixing the relay first, before your people will begin helping us rebuild Thessia."
"Then we will continue to work according to this plan, unless it comes into conflict with The Shepard Prerogative."
"The Shepard Prerogative? What is that?" Tevos asks curiously, the first time she has heard something like that mentioned.
"Shepard-Commander saved the geth consensus from extinction, which would have occurred if the geth consensus continued to pursue their plans for Reaper upgrades. In light of that, the geth consensus has decided to grant Shepard-Commander these rights and this privilege to override any decision of the consensus that Shepard-Commander feels unacceptable on moral or pragmatic basis."
"I... see. Interesting," the asari councilor muses thoughtfully. "But I believe that Shepard-Commander would agree to the plans we have for Thessia, after all, she plans to spend the rest of her life amongst our people."
"That is our understanding as well," Legion again nods politely.
"You are sending geth teams with all the other fleets as well, to make repairs on the relays of their home systems, as agreed?" Tevos asks.
"Affirmative, with the exception of Rannoch. There is a sufficient amount of geth programs in the system to conduct a swift restoration of the mass relay." Legion pauses a bit before continuing. "To this date, aside the Creators, the Asari Republics remain our only allies who have invited us to help rebuild their homeworld. The geth consensus considers this regrettable and wishes to reinforce our desire to assist in any capacity."
"I would not worry too much, Legion," Tevos smiles encouragingly. "Once the others see how efficient the geth are in rebuilding Thessia, the invitations will follow one after another, and with it will come recognition and gratitude, cementing your place amongst the galactic society. This is a great opportunity for your people."
"The geth consensus remains... hopeful," Legion says. "This platform will stay on the Citadel for the time being, to facilitate communications between our people and the Galactic Council. We remain as ever at your disposal, Councilor Tevos," the geth adds, bowing again.
"Thank you, Legion. We are most grateful for your assistance," she smiles, then after a brief deliberation, reaching out with her hand, wondering if the geth will reciprocate to the gesture. After a small pause, Legion takes her hand and gingerly squeezes it, as if worried not to cause her pain, then turning around and leaving her office.
"Creepy little buggers," Aria T'Loak says, stepping out from one of the adjacent rooms where she has been staying, listening in on the conversation. "I know, I know, they're supposedly on our side now. Just another one of those crazy things Shepard achieved."
"Yes, and speaking of Shepard," Tevos turns, looking outside at the ships flocking by the Citadel, all fleets surging with anticipation of returning to their homeworlds. "They will be on their way soon." She lets out a deep sigh. "I will miss them, and the baby."
"Eh... we'll make sure to visit. But I'm not too bothered right now, they'll be too focused on their child for the next few years, a predicament I find exceedingly boring," Aria states with a mock-yawn.
"Well, little Lita is a beautiful baby," Tevos adds teasingly. "You saw the pictures too, didn't you? Wasn't she just the most adorable little thing?"
"Ugh, don't even start to get any ideas, you know better than that..." Aria protests, glaring at her lover.
"But Aria... can't we even discuss it?" Tevos tries again, strolling up to the Pirate Queen, swaying her hips seductively.
"Talk all you want, the answer is still no," Aria replies sternly, as Tevos reaches her and gracefully spins around, pushing her back against Aria's chest and bumping her soft curves into the Pirate Queen's lap, wriggling seductively, grinning knowingly as Aria's hands instinctively wrap around her tightly, her lover cursing quietly as she cannot fight the reaction of her touch.
"Are you absolutely certain that we can't even discuss it?" Tevos breathes huskily, feeling Aria's hands hungrily roaming over her body.
"Well... the answer would still be no... for now..." Aria manages, also beginning to breathe a little harder, one of her hands coming to rest against the swell of the councilor's breast, while the other slips between her legs, feeling Tevos' heat radiating through the robes. "But... you are right... there is certainly no harm in talking about it... no harm at all..."
"Jack! Jack, will you stop playing that silly game!" Samantha Traynor glares, hands on her hips, irritated at the way her girlfriend appears to be ignoring her.
"Hey... cut that out, you introduced me to it, so stop complaining," Jack mutters, waving Traynor off, glued to the computer screen and not even sparing a glance at Samantha.
"Yes, a fact I deeply regret now," Traynor mutters.
"Alright, alright, just a moment, Sammy, just let me help these kids out and then I'll stop, some idiots keep ganking them the whole time. Grrr, I hate gankers," Jack growls, giving a loud cheer when her character manages to sneak up to one of the gankers, kick them in the crotch and then stuff a grenade under their armor, jumping to safety as the explosion goes off. "Ha! Enjoy your repair bills, you stupid assholes!" she exclaims happily, finally pulling away from the computer, looking at Sam, the young comm specialist anxiously tapping her foot against the floor.
"Are you quite done?" Traynor asks, managing a slightly exasperated smile.
"Uh... yeah?" Jack shrugs. "So, what's up?"
"I've been thinking... about the future, really," Samantha says, wringing her hands nervously. "I... just don't really know what to do here on Earth. I mean, I'm sure someone will eventually think of some assignments for us both... probably on the opposite ends of the planet or maybe even the galaxy, but... I don't know, suddenly working with the Alliance just... doesn't feel the same. Ever since leaving Shepard and the Normandy, ever since EDI died... I've felt completely out of place."
"You want out?" Jack asks.
"To put it simply? Yeah," Samantha replies. "I thought about hitching a flight back to Horizon. I grew up on the colony there, and I've always thought about coming back. Now seems like a good time to go ahead with that, there would be a lot to do, helping them rebuild."
"Want me to go with you?"
"Well, I'd love to, but... I don't want to pressure you into doing something you don't want to," Traynor says nervously.
Jack lets out a loud guffaw. "You apparently don't know me well at all if you think you can pressure me into doing something I don't feel like doing," she laughs. "C'mon, babe, don't be so bloody dumb. I haven't really felt like sticking with the Alliance losers after they got all my kids killed. If you wanna ditch them, sure, I'll go with you. Maybe there are some biotic kids on Horizon I could hang out with, give some tips to, right?"
"That sounds like a wonderful idea, Jack," Samantha smiles broadly, then gasping as Jack tackles her like a spinning tornado, knocking her down on the nearby bed.
"Besides... sex is still fucking goddamn fun..." Jack grins, slipping her hands under Samantha's top. "Why the hell would I give up on this..."
"This is delightful, Karin. Serrice Ice Brandy, I believe?" Dr. Chloe Michel says, sitting in one of the living room chairs of Karin Chakwas' apartment on the Citadel, enjoying an idle chat at the end of another busy working day at the Shalta Wards hospital.
"Yes, a little passion of mine," Chakwas smiles. "This bottle was secured by Commander Shepard herself. I promised her that we would share it after the end of the war, but somehow we both completely forgot about it, and now... now they are about to leave for Thessia. So, I decided to share it with you, my dear friend."
"Oh, Karin, I am touched at the gesture," Chloe says, deeply moved. "You have good taste, this is delicious."
"I am glad you are enjoying it," Karin speaks, as both women fall into a thoughtful silence, pleasantly tired at the end of another satisfying day of saving lives. "I... had an interesting conversation earlier this morning. Joker... the old pilot of the Normandy, called to speak with me."
"Ah, the young man with the brittle bone disease who spoke so poorly of the Commander? I am familiar with his file... a difficult condition to live with."
"Yes, he has been suffering from alcoholism and depression in the wake of everything that has happened," Chakwas sighs. "But when we spoke today, he actually appeared to be doing a little better, still badly in need of proper shave, but much improved. He has been assigned back to the Normandy, and he wasn't sure why, even if he was very happy about it, suspecting that the Commander was behind it."
"I don't know, Chloe... but I imagine so," Karin Chakwas nods. "It seemed like something she would want to do before leaving. Ah, Shepard... I will miss you, child, you and Liara both."
"So will I," Chloe sighs. "But they will visit, I am sure of it. I do not imagine the Commander or Liara will be able to stay put for too long, even with the baby."
"I imagine not," Karin Chakwas chuckles quietly.
"So, Karin... I have been thinking a bit about the future," Chloe Michel starts to speak. "Working at the Shalta hospital is satisfying, yes, but... I have been hatching some plans. I mean, I have good contacts amongst the suppliers, amongst our fellow doctors, I have solid reputation, so much so that patients always flock to the hospitals I happen to work at the time... and I think you can boost the same if not more impressive credentials, my friend."
"Are you hinting at opening a private clinic, Chloe? It's a lot of work, as I'm sure you know," Karin adds, a little warningly.
"I have experience from managing a small clinic in the wards almost single handedly a few years ago," Chloe replies. "But, well... I thought, maybe this time I wouldn't have to do everything myself. I was thinking about taking a partner aboard... someone who I know and work well together with."
"Hmm... an interesting offer, Dr. Michel..." Chakwas muses. "I should warn you, Chloe, no matter how many times I have tried to settle down to work in a hospital, the pull of the space travel has always proved impossible to resist. But... well, I am tempted..."
"I do not expect an immediate answer, Karin," Dr. Michel smiles at her colleague. "What I do expect... is more of this delicious ice brandy..."
"Ah... Mr. and Mrs. Donnelly, glad you could make it," Steve Cortez turns around in his chair at the bar, a small but cozy place in the Kithoi Ward, watching the now married couple approaching. Gabriella is wearing an unexpectedly short skirt and high heels, making quite a few patrons of the bar turn their heads in her direction, a reaction that always makes Steve react with a pained sigh.
"Hey, Steve, how's it going?" Kenneth claps him on the shoulder, Gabby taking his hand and shaking it firmly.
"Good, good," Cortez smiles. "I was worried that working with the Alliance will become boring after the Reapers, but the last few trips have been interesting. First, bringing Joker back up to the Normandy."
"Damn that scoundrel, he had no right to speak like that about the Commander," Kenneth curses, then turning to the elcor barkeeper to order drinks for himself and Gabby.
"Yeah, but I feel sorry for him, getting injured like that and missing the big showdown... then EDI dying," Gabby sighs, her pretty face marred by sadness. "I hope that one day he will make up with the Commander."
"The Commander who's no longer a Commander," Cortez adds, making the young couple stare at him wide-eyed. "I made my second trip just a few hours ago, bringing Admiral Hackett to the Citadel to meet with the Council, and I was brave enough to ask him whether there was anything to the rumors. He confirmed it, Shepard is no longer with the Alliance."
"I didn't even know there were rumors!" Ken complains. "Damn, we're terribly out of the loop. And Hackett meeting the Council? What's that about?"
"Oh... I'm pretty sure later today he will be introduced as Councilor Hackett," Steve chuckles, watching Kenneth choke on the first gulp of his drink, Gabby having to whack him on the back a few times to stop his coughing fit.
"Well, at least someone decent will be in charge, right?" she says, smiling.
"I think so. The future suddenly looks bright again, and I think I'll stay on with the Alliance, even if it seems not many from the old crew will. But I can understand them... there has been so much fighting, we cannot begrudge anyone who wishes to stop, take it easy and rest up a bit. Anyway," Cortez smiles, looking at the pair, the two now and then exchanging loving stares. "How's that volus treating you? I hear those scrooges tend to make you work long hours with no extra pay."
"He's not that bad, really," Gabriella replies. "Sure, there are long hours, but we do get paid for overtime. Besides, we both love fixing ships, so it's not like we mind working a bit longer now and then."
"And probably sneaking into the cargo hold of those retrofitted ships to make out now and then?" Cortez asks innocently.
"Well, it's just one more perk of the job," Ken grins confidently, watching Gabby blush in a delightful shade of red.
"Oh... look at that," she then exclaims, pointing at a nearby news terminal screen, also as a way to divert attention from her embarrassment. "The asari fleets are about to make the relay jump... that means Shepard will be gone, too..."
"Yes, she's leaving," Cortez nods. "Perhaps we should raise a toast for her," he says, rising his glass, Kenneth and Gabriella following his example. People sitting at the surrounding tables also overhear Steve and they too raise their glasses with supportive nods and smiles. "To Shepard, Liara and their baby... may fates keep them strong and safe!"
"And there they go... damn, that Destiny Ascension is one hell of a ship!" Kasumi cheers, watching the flagship of the asari fleets slowly move past the Citadel. "And it's all full with asari, huh? Shepard must be having the time of her life!"
"I don't think she sees anyone save for Liara and little Lita, if the amount of baby pictures is anything to go by," Miranda laughs, standing next to Kasumi and Bau in one of the Citadel docking bays, watching the ships circling and swarming outside, on their way towards the mass relay.
"I'll miss them," Kasumi sniffs. "Bah, but it's not the last we hear of them, I bet."
"Yes, I got Shepard to promise to stay in touch," Miranda nods. "Speaking of which, I also expect you to do the same."
"Of course, but why... oh... aww, you're leaving too?" Kasumi's face falls. "Ah, but of course... you need to check in on your sister."
"Yes, I'm heading to Horizon tomorrow," Miranda says, gently patting Kasumi on the shoulder. "Finally Oriana and I will have the opportunity to spend some time together."
"You do not seem like the type of person to settle down and live your days idly, miss Lawson," Spectre Bau says.
"Perhaps not, but I think I have at the least earned a lengthy vacation," Miranda smiles at the salarian. "And what about you two? Remember to send me an invitation if you decide to exchange rings or sign a breeding contract..."
"Miri!" Kasumi exclaims, poking her friend in the ribs. "Behave!"
"Spectre work will likely keep me around the Citadel, so we both will remain here for the time being," Bau replies, ignoring Miranda's teasing. "Knowing Councilor Valern, he will come up with another idiotic and baffling assignment very soon."
"Will it involve wanton destruction?" Kasumi asks eagerly.
"We can only hope," Bau deadpans.
"Yes, I think we will be alright," Miranda smiles, looking at her two friends. "It's a new, exciting galaxy out there, now... perfect for young and creative people such as ourselves..."
As the Destiny Ascension slowly moves through the Sol System towards the Charon Relay, Spectre Morgan Shepard, former Commander of the Systems Alliance, stands at one of the many observation decks of the super-dreadnaught, watching the view before her eyes. Earth can be still be seen there, in the distance, grey, cold and surrounded by clouds of dust, an unappealing picture, as are her memories from the time spent there. I'm sorry if anyone feels that I'm giving up on my people too quickly. I saved the galaxy, I gave them the opportunity to build their own future, why should I have been expected to deliver everything to them on a silver platter? And they certainly gave up on me fast enough, and not just once... I'm sorry mom and dad... sorry, David, but I hope you can find it in your hearts to understand why I need to leave... for once in my life, I want to place my own happiness above that of our people. And I feel that I deserve it.
And it's not like I'm leaving because I'm selfish or a coward, I am not doing this only for myself. I'm doing it for them, she thinks, tightening her embrace on Liara, holding her bondmate against her chest, helping her support Lita, also staring outside at the dark skies, eyes wide open in curious wonder. If not for them, I can't imagine what my life would be like. Not worth imagining. Not worth living.
The look in Liara's eyes, feelings of the purest of loves etched on her face as she smiles at their child, to see it fills Morgan with the kind of intense feelings that she did not even know she could possess, love and devotion so strong that it causes spikes of bittersweet pain surging through her, often bringing her to tears, but she refuses to be embarrassed about it anymore. I don't think I have ever loved her as strongly as I do right now, Morgan thinks to herself, swallowing the lump in her throat, bending down to softly kiss Liara on her brow.
Her bondmate looks up at her, those mesmerizing, deep blue pools of her eyes that Morgan instantly becomes lost in, also like her unable to stop herself from crying. Still a little weak and exhausted from the surgery, she clings to Shepard, struggling with her emotions, and for once Morgan relishes the opportunity to be the strong protector. Daddy, she tells herself, still having to smile from the idea of her new role.
"Ready to go home, sweetheart?" Morgan asks softly, moving to kiss Liara's brow again.
"I... I can't truly believe it is happening... that this is happening to me, to us," Liara whispers back, sniffling and trying not to cry. "I'm going home... to my father... and I'm bringing the two most important people in the galaxy with me... you have made me the luckiest asari in the whole galaxy, and I still can't believe it."
"Believe me, the feeling is mutual," Morgan drops her head a little lower and Liara reaches a little upwards as their lips meet in a tender kiss that they are both reluctant to break.
"It is finally over... maybe when we settle in on Thessia, it will finally sink in for real..." Liara whispers.
"I think it will sink in... and then we will be free to create a beautiful future for our child, and for ourselves... together," Morgan says, finding Liara showering her with kisses following her words, smiling as she enjoys her bondmate's amorous affections.
"Yes, together... always together," Liara breathes out between the kisses, forced to stop when Lita lets out an annoyed gurgle, demanding some attention herself, and Liara immediately begins to coo at the baby, Morgan's heart nearly bursting as she watches the young mother fussing over her child.
"Looks like we're coming up to the relay in a few minutes," Morgan remarks, looking outside. "Goodbye, Earth." Goodbye, my friends. You are now scattering all over the galaxy, just like us heading home to rebuild... it will take years, and I will miss you all, but I won't allow us to drift apart. Once the galaxy has recovered... I will make sure to seek you out. You will become a part of that beautiful tomorrow we are working to build.
"You will not miss it at all, Morgan? You could return one day if you wanted," Liara looks up at her, a little upset, but the feeling fades when she quickly realizes that Shepard is fully determined and at ease with her decision.
"No, Liara... I will not miss it. I now see that my path lies elsewhere," Morgan smiles, reaching down and stealing one more kiss as the soft blue glow of the Charon Relay appears in the distance. "I feel as if it's not just you returning home to Thessia, Liara... I feel like I'm coming home, too..."