"Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence."



The starboard observation was quiet and dim. Shepard almost feared disrupting the peaceful silence. Carefully, she walked inside to let the door close, so the light outside did not disturb the twinkling stars.

Gentle light illuminated the room. On the floor, Kaidan was sitting on a mat, leaning on the couch. Butterfly's head was on his lap as he massaged the back of her head.

Shepard placed her hand on his shoulder and looked questioningly at Butterfly.

The Major held and kissed her hand and said, "Surgical wound."

Sleepily, the girl looked at her mother. "Mommy, you're home."

"Yes, I'm home." After what she saw today, she really wanted to hold Butterfly. But the girl looked so ill. "How are you feeling, B?"

"I'm fine," although her face said otherwise. Like her mom, she wouldn't show her weaknesses.

"Shush, sleep Princess." Kaidan gently rubbed her head and set her on the pillow. "Don't worry. I'll be here if you have a nightmare."

Nightmare… Shepard knew what it meant, and was worried. She couldn't help her daughter escape from the nightmares.

Butterfly frowned as she tried to sleep. She relaxed when her dad placed headphones over her ears. Classical music slowly soothed her to a slumber.

The parents waited until she slept then changed their positions. Shepard realized her boyfriend had something to say so she followed when he led her to another couch in the corner of the room.

"I believe EDI already reported to you," he started.

"About Butterfly's fight with James? Yeah, she gave me a full report. I haven't seen the security footage yet but I heard she gave him quite a thrashing." She was proud of her daughter but the father didn't agree.

Sternly, Kaidan shot her a disapproving glare. "It's not funny, Amala. I know I can't keep you two out of a fight, but at least we should give Butterfly proper training before throwing her into the battlefield."

"Wrex would gladly help. He always wanted to teach B how to shoot a shotgun. Besides, didn't you send her off alone to fight Kai Leng?"

He had a feeling they were going to have another hot argument. God, he hated it. "Let me be clear, love. First, I didn't know Kai Leng was there. And second, I didn't send her off alone. Butterfly was assisting Thane. But things are never simple for the Shepard women, I guess."

"Afraid not. But isn't that what you love about me?"

"Aye. But that doesn't mean I will stop worrying."

"Oh, poor Major. He has a pair of handful of ladies to take care of."

"The hardest and most terrifying job in galaxy, but I wouldn't trade it for anything." Kaidan held her.

She let herself enjoy his warmth for a while before reverting to business mode. "I agree. B needs a lot of training. But about the nightmare you mention earlier…"

"Butterfly said she had a strange dream. I'm not sure if it was a childhood fear like a monster in the wardrobe or..."

"She always had problem sleeping. But I fear it might have gotten worse after… whatever Cerberus did to her."

"Makes sense. I feel terrible that I can do nothing to prevent it."

They fell silent. Both knew Butterfly was damaged but didn't dare say it.

Kaidan ran his fingers through his hair awkwardly. "What about the mission? Wrex called me. He ranted about a bomb and turians but it was hard to understand him while he was yelling."

"Well... It appears the Primarch didn't tell me the whole truth. Long time ago, the turians buried a bomb beneath Tuchanka's surface, in case the krogans tried to rise up again, they'd bomb the whole planet. Cerberus found out about the bomb and tried to detonate it. The turians sent the 9th platoon to disable it in secret."

"Of course there was a conflict?"

Shepard smirked sarcastically. "Yep, my life has never been easy. The 9th platoon's ships were shot down and then they were attacked by Reaper's troops while Cerberus was digging the bomb."

"Let me guess. You helped the rest of the platoon disable the bomb without informing Wrex."

"The alliance between krogan and turian is still fragile. I don't want to make it more complicated. We don't have time for impediments. He must have raged when he found out about it afterward." Shepard sighed.

Kaidan knew she was hiding something. "You lost someone."

There was no use denying it. "Yeah, lieutenant Victus. He was Primarch Victus son."

The Major didn't know what to say. As a father, he understood the Primarch's sorrow. When Butterfly was taken, his world crumbled.

"He died bravely. Although he made a bad decision that got most of his unit killed, he tried to complete his mission." She ignored telling him the man almost gave up, but she persuaded him to change his mind. "Primarch Victus said he proud of his boy but... I can't stop thinking. What if I lose Butterfly like that? No one has said it yet but I know the Alliance would use her as a war asset. Sooner or later, we have to let her join this war."

Despite her age, Butterfly's ability was valuable. And they couldn't be selfish by keeping her safe while the whole galaxy brunt down.

They were parents, yes. But they were also Alliance soldiers. Duty always came first.

"I know, Amala. I know." Kaidan tried to soothe her. "But we won't just throw her out of this ship unarmed. We will teach her to fight, to survive. It's the best we can do for her now."

Shepard smiled and held him tight. She wanted to stay like that but she still had things to say. "I was thinking. What would you think if I ask one of our friends to be B's godparent?"

"Good idea. But who?"

"I haven't made a decision yet. There are so many choices." She thought about each of their friends. "Garrus is like a big brother I never had. Liara is trustworthy and she loves B so much. Wrex, Bakara, Chakwas, and Joker... Really, I can't choose."

Thinking about the people in the list, Kaidan couldn't help but laugh. "Wrex would make her a warlord. And Joker... well, I wonder if he would be able to keep up with our swift Butterfly."

"Hey, I heard that!" Joker protested via intercom.

The couple laughed. They knew they didn't have complete privacy. But the pilot had kept quiet long enough.

"I think Chakwas is the best choice since she's already taking care of Butterfly." Kaidan ignored the nosy helmsman. "Garrus and Liara are good too, but I don't know if they understand human culture or nature."

"Oh, you're right. I forgot about that. But... I don't know. I think I want to ask Bakara to be B's godmother."

"Urdnot Bakara, the krogan? What's your reasoning Amala."

"I'm not sure." The thought of her big friend made her smile, though. "But Butterfly calls her mother. Bakara is lovely for a krogan. She is a sweetheart."

"I never thought I would ever hear anyone describe a krogan with the word sweet." Unconsciously, Kaidan set his girlfriend on his lap. They were cuddling while watching their daughter sleep.

"We'll meet her tomorrow. You can see for yourself." Her words lost as she stared into his eyes. Instantly, she knew it wasn't the time to talk about someone else.

"Your cabin?" Kaidan asked.

Shepard hesitated. She looked over at her little girl and laughed.

Following her stare, the Major chuckled. "She is too smart for her own good."

On the mat, Butterfly turned around turning her rear to them. She also pressed her earphones with both hands to keep them covered on her ears tighter.

She didn't know what they were doing. (Miranda said she would understand it when she was older.) But it was really embarrassing to watch.

"We'd be very bad parents if we sneaked off and left our little girl alone. You promised to keep her safe, didn't you?"

"You're right. But... well, have you ever thought about... um, Butterfly's new bedroom? I mean..."

"I know what you mean." Shepard replied with a smile. "I think it's quite necessary. But no, I don't want her to move out because I want you to move in."

"You had plans to move someone else in?"

She hit him not so gently. "I may if you don't stop teasing me."

Kaidan chuckled and kissed her. Shepard fought just to save some of her dignity before yielding. "You have another reason to kick her out?"

"Oh please, you say it like I am an evil step-mother. I just think B ought to have her own room. Grunt's old room is still vacant. We can add more furniture and other decorations."

"Sounds good. I believe we have a bed and a footlocker in stock. But I still wonder if Butterfly will understand." Butterfly didn't want to give them problems, so she'd move. He knew it. But Kaidan really didn't like forcing his daughter into following an order.

"We can talk to her later. Right now, I need my sleep." And then, she shifted her position until she lay comfortably on his chest.

Kaidan shifted as well and they fell asleep on the couch.

Thank to The Lonely Traveler for the beta. :)