Author's Note: So welcome to my first fanfic. I'll apologize ahead of time if there are any spelling mistakes. Since this is my first fanfic, please be nice. I love comments and reviews to help me improve. Thanks for taking the time to read.
How could I still be alive? After what I just did I figured I should've been locked away for an eternity. Yeah, I'm Commander Shepard. I saved the Citadel 2 years ago. I defeated the Collectors. I screwed over the Illusive Man. But I'm also a mass murderer of 300,000 batarians. The Alpha Relay destroyed an entire system and took thousands of innocent lives with it. Just to stop the impending arrival of the Reapers. So I'll ask that question again. How can I still be alive?
I was in the med-bay still staring at the closed door that Admiral Hackett had just left through. I'd agreed to stand trial at Earth once I was ready. Turning myself over to the Alliance would be a good step forward but I needed to wait for my team to disband. When I was heading to the prison to rescue Dr. Kenson already half my crew was gone. Kasumi, Zaeed, Jack, Grunt, Thane and Samara got transport and left since the successful suicide mission had ended. The others – Garrus, Tali, Legion, Mordin, Miranda and Jacob - were sticking around for a little longer.
So once I had saved the doctor she took me to her base which was located on an asteroid. They had discovered a Reaper artifact which they dubbed "Object Rho". The object showed the Dr. the arrival of the Reaper. Her plan was to send this asteroid into the relay and destroy it. But nothing has ever been that simple in my experience. Dr. Kenson turned on me and sedated me for two days. I woke up with less than an hour before the Reapers were supposed to arrive. I had no choice but to start the Project and send the asteroid into the Alpha Relay. I luckily got extracted seconds before the asteroid crashed into the relay. That brings us to now. Hackett had finished debriefing me about the situation. I told him I'd gladly stand trial on Earth. I just still couldn't believe that was my only punishment. A trial and probable incarceration. 300,000 lives killed by my own hands. This reminded me of Garrus and how guilty he felt when Sidonis betrayed him and his whole team was killed. He blamed himself for their deaths. I felt that way right now except it was my own fault that those batarians died. Sure Kenson betrayed me but I did the killing. Garrus was betrayed but the mercs killed his squad not himself. I needed to stop thinking about this or I'd drive myself crazy with guilt. I left the med-bay and headed straight for my cabin. I avoided eye contact with any of my crew members.
I lost track of time in my cabin. I immediately sat down on the couch and just thought. Not about murdering millions for once. I thought about the Reapers. What if I hadn't woken up? What if the Project wasn't activated? How quickly could the Reapers destroy us? I know it was all 'what it' scenarios but still. It was hard for one of these questions to not cross my mind.
What stirred me from thoughts was the soft hiss of my door opening behind me. I leaned forward to see Garrus standing at the top of the steps looking down on me. He wasn't dressed in his armor. He was in his casual civilian clothes I'd only seen him wear twice now.
"Garrus. Do you need something?" I tried to sound professional.
"Are you okay?" he asked me.
Damn it. I didn't expect him to read me so well. I straightened up and acted like I was fine – which I wasn't.
"Of course I'm o-"I got cut off.
"Don't give me that Shepard" Garrus said sternly. "EDI told me you came up an hour ago and didn't move for over an hour. An AI got worried. That's not okay".
An hour? I hadn't moved for an hour? Damn, I must've been thinking way more than I thought. Garrus was still standing at the steps. I gestured for him to sit next to me. He didn't hesitate.
"Now, tell me what's wrong" Garrus said once seated.
I let out a nervous sigh. Garrus should know better than to what's bothering me. I buried my face in my hands and fought back oncoming tears. I'm stronger than that. I felt Garrus shift over ever so little to me. I gentle hand rested on my back.
"It's the Bahak system, isn't it" Garrus said softly. "The one you destroyed"
I winced slightly at his words. It sounded like he was blaming me. I looked at him, my blue eyes burning into his.
"Are you blaming me?" I asked with a trace of anger in my words. Garrus sat back like my words had literally hit him.
"What? N-no I didn't mean it like that. I…I was just guessing. That is what's bothering you, no?" Garrus said nervously.
I couldn't hide anymore. Garrus could read my emotions like a book sometimes. I sighed again and gathered my words.
"Yes you're right. The fact that I killed 300,000 batarians hasn't left me and I don't think it ever will" I explained.
"You had no choice" Garrus said.
My anger rushed back into my veins. I clenched both fists and stood up. I faced him with anger written all over my body. I could tell he knew he'd hit a nerve. His eyes screamed 'I'm sorry'. But that didn't stop me.
"Actually I did have a choice. I didn't have to send that asteroid in the Alpha Relay! I could have called The Normandy and left!" I yelled.
Garrus stood up and faced me now. He was going to challenge me in this argument.
"If you hadn't destroyed the relay the Reapers would have come through and killed us all. We wouldn't even be having this argument. Everybody we care about would be dead" Garrus said with his voice just slightly raised.
I opened my mouth to counter him but nothing came out. He was right.
" I…I just wish there was another option" I said softly.
Garrus came closer and hesitantly took my hands in his.
"I know you do" he said. "If there had been more than one option, you would've chosen the best one. But there was only one option this time. Sure 300,000 lives were lost today but think about how many more you saved"
I smiled. Right again.
"Okay. I get it now. I feel a little bit better now" I confessed.
Garrus touched his forehead to mine and pulled me into him.
"Just a little?"
My smile broadened. "Okay a lot better"
"That's what I like to hear" Garrus said.
We embraced a little longer and then slowly let go of each other. I quickly kissed him on the cheek that wasn't injured. I couldn't help myself.
"You sure you're going to be okay?" Garrus asked.
"Yes. Absolutely" I confirmed.
He nodded and showed himself out of my cabin. I returned to the couch and relaxed again. I felt so lucky to have Garrus as a friend and a lover. He always knew what to say to cheer me up even if he started out a little awkward. He means a lot to me. I remember telling Liara I never expected to find peace in the arms of a turian yet here I am, comforted by his words and embraces. With Garrus around I don't feel like a cold-blooded killer. I feel like…me.