A/N: Because y'all asked for more… This is IT though!
Samara had not expected to find the monastery so intact when she returned. As her shuttle approached, she observed a considerable amount of labor had been accomplished in the restoration. Perhaps more than what Falere could manage individually. It did not sit well with her. The crumbling south balcony had been completely redone, and the lower level where the bomb had initially detonated looked tidied up. Even the courtyard looked presentable.
She steered the shuttle towards the landing pad by the rear of the monastery and touched down. Before getting out, she checked her side arms and made sure her barriers were functioning properly. Samara opened the cockpit and stepped out of the shuttle. The path leading back to the monastery looked worn in, used. There has been more than one person treading here. She drew her pistol and set off down the path. Judging from the surroundings, the hemisphere was in spring. The lake still contained hints of frost biting along the edges and the local plants refused to open their leaves all the way. Samara had been gone for eight years, far too long for her liking, but the galactic restoration had taken so much effort, and the repairs on the mass effect relays had not extended to this little-used system. Samara had eventually taken off in her own shuttle, a journey that had been weeks in the making. She dared not think of the consequences if someone else beat her to the monastery.
By the time she was half-way down the path, another person appeared on the other end, an asari. It was not Falere.
The asari raised her hand, to gesture or to threaten, Samara did not give time to find out. She threw her own biotic field at the asari and pinned her against the nearby rock face. The asari cried out. Samara yelled, "Where is my daughter?" She strode forward with as much poise as she could muster. She had to retain some calm if she were to handle the threat accordingly. The asari tried to speak, tried to gesture, but the biotic field proved to be too much. Samara lessened it a little and watched her captive breathe deeply. Her deep red markings looked somewhat familiar. Perhaps she had seen a matriarch with a similar design.
"We… we did not think you would come," she wheezed.
"Who is we?" Samara asked. She pointed the barrel of her gun right at the offender's chest.
"Daddy, daddy!" Samara did not lower the weapon; instead, she glanced to the side and saw an asari child running toward them, most likely no older than five. "Who's that lady?" The little asari point up at her in an excited manner. Samara nearly dropped the gun. The child bore Falere's markings.
"Just a visitor, Reyla. Go get mother."
The child nodded and ran off. This time, Samara did drop her gun. "What is the meaning of this?" she asked.
"I would rather not have my daughter around to see you point a gun at me," said the asari. Samara's biotics dissipated and she pushed off the wall and brushed herself off. "She's going to get Falere. That way you don't kill me."
"You sent her to get her mother," said Samara.
"Yes, my bondmate Falere," said the asari. She glanced down to the monastery and looked back.
"Impossible." Samara's chest constricted. She wanted to bash the asari's face in for lying in such a way. What had she done? Killed her daughter and stolen her identity? The code compelled her to see the evidence through, however.
"It's not impossible, Justicar," said the asari. "Please, come with me. There is so much to show you."
Samara studied the asari before her. She looked young, close to Falere's age. Her face did not exhibit any telltale signs of lying or duress, just concern. The synthetic lines flickered in a subdued way, nothing like a stressed individual would exhibit. "What is your name?" she asked.
"Erenya Kurin," she said. Samara gestured to the path and Erenya fell into line walking ahead and keeping her hands visible at all times. She had been trained in ways to handle threatening situations, obviously.
Samara wanted to question the asari further, but a shout from ahead interrupted her thoughts. She looked up. The voice sounded so familiar. "Mother!"
Her eyes widened. "Falere!" Samara pushed aside Erenya and walked forward. Falere stood by the shore of the lake, whole and alive, with the asari child clinging to her leg. I have been stupid to stay away for so long. She could not help sweeping her daughter into a tight hug, her hand going to the back of her daughter's crest, cradling her head. She pulled back a little and studied her daughter's face. "It is so good to see you well." She glanced down at the child then back to her daughter. "Forgive me for staying away for so long."
Falere pulled her back into an embrace. "At least you returned," she said. "I feared you had perished in the war." At last, they both stepped away. Falere smiled at her. She looked content; Samara could not remember the last time she had seen her daughter so happy, even when she was a child. "There is so much to show you." Falere reached down and clasped the child's hand. "Reyla?" The young asari stared intently at Samara. "This is my mother, Samara; your grandmother." The little girl's eyes widened. She stepped forward and held out her hand. Samara took it.
"It's very nice to meet you," said Reyla.
Samara smiled and shook the child's hand. "It is a pleasure to meet you as well." She felt a pressure against her chest again, different this time. She released her granddaughter's hand and looked back at Falere. "How is this possible?" she asked.
Erenya stepped forward. "Um, Reyla, why not come help me in the kitchen. I'm sure the Justic- erm, Grandmother, would appreciate something refreshing." She smiled nervously at Samara before picking Reyla up and walking away into the garden.
"I don't understand," said Samara as she watched them walk away.
"I have a hard time believing it myself, sometimes," said Falere.
"Were you diagnosed incorrectly?"
Falere shook her head. "No, I was an ardat-yakshi," she said.
This loosened some of the tension in Samara. Part of her feared Falere had been needlessly locked away these past centuries. "Then how?"
"The… event. It was almost eight years ago. An energy wavy hit that combined organics and synthetics," said Falere. "My DNA restructured itself to not include the ardat-yakshi strand anymore."
Samara nodded. "We had not considered how the synthesis may affect ardat-yakshi," she mused. "It will make an interesting report for the research committee."
Falere looked down. "Oh." Her tone fell. "Is that why you are here?"
Samara reached out and placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder. "I am here because I want to be," she said. "I wanted to see you."
"Really?" asked Falere. She glanced up again. Samara nodded. "In that case, I suppose I should give you a proper introduction to my bondmate."
Samara smiled. "She seems smart," she said.
Falere nodded. "She is kind as well, and brave."
"How did you meet?" They walked into the garden, moving at a leisurely pace.
"She crash landed here soon after you and Commander Shepard left. She had been with the group of commandos," said Falere. "She found her way here after wandering through the jungle for days. It was miraculous that she reached the monastery at all. I am so fortunate to have her." Falere's gaze grew distant. "She saved my life."
Samara nodded. She looked around at the various flowers her daughter had tended. "How old is she?" she asked.
"Around my age."
"I meant my granddaughter," said Samara. She smiled. The word felt good to say.
"Oh, she's nearly six," said Falere. They paused near the monastery entrance. "Erenya and I are having another child. She's carrying this time."
"How long?" Samara asked.
"About a year and a half to go," said Falere. She paused, her feet shifting against the gravel walkway. "You are welcome to stay for the birth. Reyla has only had us for company her whole life."
Samara did not answer. Instead, they went inside the monastery and joined the other two in the kitchen. Erenya helped a VI assemble a platter of fruit and vegetables. Reyla stood by the table. She looked up at them when they walked in. Falere and Samara took their seats. Reyla wandered over to Samara, watching her with blatant curiosity.
"You're really my grandmother?" she asked.
"Yes, of course," said Samara. She helped the asari sit on her lap. "I let your mother sit the same way on me when she was your age."
"Where have you been, then?" asked Relya.
"I was helping Commander Shepard," she replied.
"The war hero?" Reyla's eyes got that look of amazement again.
Samara nodded. "She defeated the reapers and saved the galaxy. But after, we had much to do to make the galaxy whole again. I only just found the time to return to Lesuss."
"Will you stay?"
"Reyla!" Erenya returned to the table and placed a plate of food down before sitting next to Falere. "Where are your manners?"
"It's fine," said Samara. She looked over at Erenya. "I believe I owe you a proper introduction. My name is Samara." She glanced down at Erenya's stomach. "I hope I did not cause you any harm. I was concerned for Falere's safety."
"What happened?" asked Falere, looking between the two of them.
"She had daddy cornered!" said Reyla. "It was cool!"
Falere glared at Samara. "Mother."
"I should not have done it though," said Samara, directing her gaze at Reyla. "I was rash and almost hurt your father. That would have been terrible." Samara looked over at Erenya again. "I must thank you," she said. "You've given me something I thought I would never have." She looked down at Reyla and smiled. The child looked so much like Falere had in her youth. She feared that she would blink and find it was all illusion. "I think I will stay," she told Reyla. "I must be eons past retirement." She met Falere's eyes. "If it is still all right with you and Erenya, that is."
"It's more than I've ever wanted of you, mother," said Falere.
The four of them sat at the table: Samara at one end, her daughter and bondmate holding hands, and her grandchild sitting on her lap. She might have imagined such a scene a thousand times in her life, but never had she thought it would actually happen.