Liara honestly didn't know how long she'd been working.
Her fingers ached, and her back felt stiff as she tried fidgeted to try and remove the kinks. The terminal and screens and Glyph and everything was quiet after a long day, and she was grateful for the peace. She knew that being the Shadow Broker was essential for this war, but also knew that a coffee break was essential for her being the Shadow Broker.
Coffee was something she had gotten a bit addicted to back on the mission to find Saren. It had been Kaiden who'd risen a brow after she asked what the delicious-smelling aroma was, and it was he who pushed a mug towards her. Kaiden Alenko. One of the first humans she'd ever met, and still one of the kindest. His death had been a harsh one to come to terms with.
She checked the lock with her omnitool as she exited her room, mind still focussed on getting said coffee, when she heard soft music echoing through the mess hall.
"I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello, hello hello…"
The music appeared to be human, and nothing like any of the current styles she knew of. As curiosity was in her nature, she abandoned her quest for coffee for a moment to follow the trail of sound. She did not have to go far. Liara froze in place as she realized the origin.
Shepard was standing in front of the memorial wall, eyes focussed on the names in front of her. Her arms were crossed around her body as if to hold herself, and Liara realized then that she was softly singing along with the words. Her expression was one of vulnerability, instead of the agitated expression she seemed to adopt lately. Liara felt a pang of guilt. It had been a while since she and Skye were together alone. The days had become more long, more desperate. Shepard was beckoned and called from all corners of the galaxy, and Liara could feel her exhaustion coming off of her in waves, even if Shepard couldn't see it.
Shepard closed her eyes then.
"Hello sweetheart." She whispered.
She breathed a sigh of relief and quietly stepped beside Skye's still figure. She felt the slight warmth in her belly whenever Shepard used that term of endearment. She gently took her hand, feeling the tension in the callused fingers. She rubbed her hand, and Shepard gripped it tightly for a moment before slightly releasing her hold. Letting the hand go, she wrapped her arms around Skye's waist, resting her head on her shoulder. A peace was instilled within her, a peace she only got in the presence of her lover.
She gently rocked Skye back and forth, feeling her completely mold herself, the tension completely leaving her body. The music played on from Shepard's omnitool.
"..Hello hello…I don't know why you say goodbye-"
"I'm sorry that I've been so busy lately." Liara lamented. "I've missed being with you, terribly."
"Me too." Shepard murmured, and turned her head to gently press a kiss to the top of Liara's head. Liara glanced towards the memorial wall. The names stood out starkly against the metal backing, the blank slots less than they were even a few weeks ago. Kaiden Alenko. The names of the crew members who died at the crash. Navigator Pressley. Mordin Solus. Thane Krios.
"Are you alright, Shepard?" Liara asked sincerely. She'd never been like this. In fact, Liara had seen her purposely look away from the memorial wall before. Skye was famous for ignoring what she was feeling, for the sake of everyone else. Liara knew there were times she refused to deal with anything at all, and when she absolutely had to.
Shepard's voice was soft. It's usual resonance taking on a different timbre. She sounded younger than her years, and older than her years all at once."I…I couldn't stop thinking of them. Who we've lost because we were too quick or too slow. I know in most cases it couldn't of have been helped…but I don't know. Needed to come here I suppose. I never got to actually pay my respects."
"They gave so much, Liara. I hope what they gave is going to be worth it, in the end. But the odds are just…I don't even know what they are. Hell, I don't even want to know."
Liara tightened her hold. "You'll make their sacrifices worth it."
"I hope so." Her eyes were blue. A deep blue, like the Thessian seas or the extranet photos of Earth skies. Skye. She had received that name for her love of it, for her desire to go beyond it. Before that, she was Shepard and Shepard alone.
"And the music?" The song seemed to be reaching it's end, the notes fading out. A new one began then, slow and…soulful, she supposed.
"Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try…"
Shepard shrugged. "Haven't listened to The Beatles in a while. Always used to comfort me back on Earth. Maya used to love 'It's Been a Hard Days Night.' She'd sing it after a job, loud enough to make the birds fly away."
Mentions of Shepard's close childhood friend were fleeting, but they always caught Liara by surprise. The sting of her premature death always cut her deeply, in a way that made her hardly speak of her. When Skye did, it was moments like these. Where the emotions grabbed hold so quickly. One of the facts Liara remembered very clearly was that Maya's grave was behind the old warehouse where they used to live, marked by three stones.
Liara reached out to gently touch Shepard's face, guide it toward her own.
"Shepard. You can do this. We can all do this. These people, our friends died so that we could all…." She couldn't say it. She couldn't bring herself to make any more impassioned statements phrasing. She could, usually. She'd inherited at least one thing from Benezia. But now she needed Skye to understand. Have her understand everything.
She brought their lips together quickly, cupping the back of Skye's neck, pulling her in deeper. She felt Skye respond in kind, wrapping her arms around Liara's waist, rubbing small circles against the fabric. She felt the hairs at the back of Shepard's neck, the gooseflesh that appeared whenever Liara's hand brushed the skin. The kiss was all-consuming, and passionate, tongues seeking dominance. But underneath was the love they shared, making Liara week in the knees and Shepard just pull her in closer.
They broke apart reluctantly, Liara still resting her forehead against Shepard's. Their breaths intermingled, Liara could just make out the murmured 'I love you,' and gently pressed her lips against her lover's once more. The want and need to meld, to become one, was nearly overwhelming but the ever-present overload of work made Liara sigh and step back just a little.
She looked at Skye again, and gently cupped her cheek.
"You will make it. Goddess will it, we will have a home of our own, filled with all those little blue children who will be so proud that their Dad is Commander Shepard. We will have that peace."
Shepard's eyes were wide. "You want..?"
Liara took her hands, meeting Skye's eyes with her own. "Yes."
She had never meant anything more.
The moment broke then, with a message from EDI stating through Shepard's omnitool that she had an urgent message waiting on her terminal. Wariness added to the sadness in her face, and she rubbed her eyes.
"Better see what that's about." She pressed a brief kiss to Liara's cheek. "Get some sleep, love. We've got a big day tomorrow. Traynor just got some intel about some reactors going dark."
With that, the music vanished. The halls echoed with the sounds of Shepard's footsteps, and Liara was left with an ache somewhere deep inside. For Shepard, for the galaxy. For what it was doing to everyone's heart, everyone's resolve. The days of blushing and stammering as she attempted to converse with Shepard were over.
As she stepped towards the mess hall, head not even close to clear, a sudden memory flashed. Lady Benezia lying prone on the ground. No where near the regal and wise Matriarch she was; indoctrinated against her will. Her eyes glazed as she drew her final breaths, Liara's own making the imagine in her memory blurred.
"No light…they always said there would be a light."
With the air shifting, Liara felt the ground leave her, the stars surrounding her, and for a moment; an embrace. But manic eyes formed in front of her, snarling teeth. The hum of a red beam firing up. The stars seemed dangerous, blinding. The embrace was eons away, the beam coming closer and closer…and then she was gone.
Everyone and everything was just...gone.
She awoke with a shriek in her ears, with the stars in her head. The light made her eyes burn, and she cried out a bit as pain returned in her arm,
But she had just been there, with her! She…her head began to spin. The Med Bay. She was in the Med Bay. Her body felt battered, alive but battered. But something felt..empty. As if someone had taken something vital from her very being.
Skye. She was there. She was waiting.
Without making a conscious decision, Liara shot up out of her bed and ran out the Med Bay's door. Her steps were sluggish, her vision hazy, but she didn't stop until she reached the wall. The mess hall was as silent as that night, not a soul was stirring. However, there was no figure with a bun, no music playing out of an omnitool. Only a name, engraved in the middle.
Only a name.
Her knees began to buckle as rational thought began to return. They had escaped, they were safe. Did the Crucible work? No one could say for certain. Was Shepard…..No. No one one could say for certain. She would know if it was certain. She knew it with every bone in her body.
And she wasn't.
A gentle hand touched her shoulder then. She turned her head to the semi-welcome sight of Dr. Chakwas, looking as concerned as she looked stern.
"I have to say, Liara. You are the last person I would think of to try and escape my clutches." Chakwas chuckled then, seeming to remember something.
"I am…sorry, Doctor. I do not know what came over me." She muttered, eyes flickering from Chakwas to the name on the wall. Chakwas seemed to follow her gaze, and let out grieved sigh.
Liara hung her head. "I woke up…needing to know. If I dreamt it all."
Chakwas shook her head. "These days I wake up every day thinking like that. Come on, I need to check that arm of yours…and I have some news. Although I believe you already know."
As Chakwas helped her up, guiding her good arm over her shoulders, Liara felt puzzled. Know….what? Something grabbed at her mind then. A gentle poke, a nudge. To remind. She felt something akin to a smile, a burst of affection, from someone in her mind who wasn't her. Goddess.
"I do." Liara said in a shaky voice, tears beginning to fill up. She placed her hand on her stomach, wondering at the life that was growing there. Her daughter. Skye's daughter.
"It was a decision we both made….just before. It might appear rash, but-"
"You don't need to explain to me, dear. Rationality isn't always the best way to go about things." Chakwas said. She slowly guided her back to the Med Bay, Liara cursing her weakened limbs. She finally made it back to her hospital bed, and pulled the sheets around herself. Liara sunk into them, the weight of everything without much warning falling on her shoulders.
"Goddess, I miss her." She whispered.
Chakwas took Liara's hand, gently rubbing it with her thumb.
"That little girl will still have a lot of love, I hope you know that. She will never be without it." Liara nodded, eyes unfocussed. She needed to cry. She needed to check her terminals. She needed to see if everything was for nothing or not.
She needed to find her.
"I'm not giving up on her." Liara finally said, eyes boring into Chakwas's.
Chakwas smiled slightly and let go of Liara's hand. She tucked the blanket up and around the sheets, and gestured for the asari's arm.
"I know." Chakwas said softly.
A pause as she started to unwrap Liara's arm.
"Why else would you have been smiling before you crashed from exhaustion and with a broken arm?" She said this jokingly, but her voice was still edged with grief.
"Gave us all quite a scare, there."
"Skye told me to get more sleep, just a few months ago…perhaps I should have listened." Liara murmured, eyes fixed on the wound on her slightly swollen arm.
Chakwas sighed, as she began to rub medigel into into it.
"They all should have listened to her."
Liara's skin tingled as it repaired itself. The swelling began to decrease, and she wiggled her fingers a bit and winced as the pain spiked again.
"Isn't that the truth.
A/N: Some background on this fic: It started as a Dragon Age/Mass Effect crossover. Then this idea took over. Every chapter will be a different theme and character, but will all center on how the Normandy crew is trying to fix their ship and figure out how to deal with the mess the Reaper War left behind. With that being said...I'm not quite sure about this chapter. Romance isn't my forte, writing wise. But more about Skye Shepard in this chapter, so I suppose that's good.