Mass Absolution

A/N: This is the sequel to Mass Symphony. Bioware owns all things Mass Effect-y...and my slightly used soul.

Chapter 1:

He clenched his fist in her red hair, gripping it painfully tight in his hand. He knew he was hurting her and part of him rejoiced in it. He ground her face into the wall as he thrust into her from behind with abandon. Bruises and lacerations covered the whole of her naked back, he ran his other hand down her spine in a sick imitation of affection. As he came, pleasure building to a blinding heat, he forced her to look at him and his heart stopped in shock as he stared into a teen aged girl's face, green eyes wide and empty in death. The howl started somewhere deep in his gut-

And ended up a rather soft grunt that left his mouth with a whoosh as he pried his eyes open, the nightmare fleeing back into his fevered brain. Deep, shuddering breaths left him, piling upon one another until he was sure he was actually awake. The lurid red light in his apartment washed the whole room in blood, red blood. Careful of his aching head, he turned onto his back and sat up. A soft moan pulled his attention to a pile of sheets and bare skin in the bed next to him. The light flowed over the asari whore's blue skin, mottling it in the color of fresh bruises. Garrus choked back bile as his mind flashed back to his dream.

He grabbed one of the many half empty bottles of liquor off his nightstand, letting the bitter liquid wash the taste of vomit down his throat. Without a word, he swung out of bed and stalked out into the living room. He sat, uncaring of his nakedness, in a chair facing the door, picking up his sniper rifle, pulling it apart with a precision born of practice and endless drills. The habit was comforting. He cleaned the disparate parts of his weapon lovingly. Really, it was the only friend he had any more.

As much as he willed himself to stop, his mind kept returning to the nightmare that woke him. It wasn't the first time it had occurred, or countless other similar scenarios had invaded his night time hours. These weren't even the worst of them. The worst ones were from memory, reminding him of a time when things were right with the world, when he had someone out there who thought he was worth a damn. The true things always hurt more. Though it was getting hard to tell what was true any more. The flash of her eyes in the dark mako, the way she said his name. Spirits, he wished he could rip that part of his brain out.

Footsteps behind him told him that his guest was awake. Out of his peripheral vision, he saw her hand gliding toward his face and caught it tightly in his talons before she could touch him. A soft hiss escaped his throat as he watched her narrowly. Her face hardened as she pulled her hand back. She instead held it out to him, palm up. He pressed some credit chits in the bowl of her hand, more than they'd agreed on and told himself as she left that it wasn't because of the blood he'd seen on her lip or the bruise on her shoulder.

A sound suspiciously like a whimper left his lips, then. How far he'd fallen, still felt like he was falling, a never ending spiral into degradation. He felt helpless, and hopeless. Omega was fast teaching him that there was no rock-bottom to hit, that it just didn't matter. He'd thought he was helping by taking out some thugs and a few druglords, and maybe things did get better for a short time, but there was always someone ready to step in and pick up the slack in the criminal underworld. More and more often, nowadays he daydreamed that maybe it would be better just to crash this station into a nearby moon, but he knew that it would just start over again on some other rock.

He'd put together a small team of like-minded soldiers, ex-mercenaries and...assorted others. There wasn't the easy trust that had been on the Normandy, each of them only had their own murderous interests at heart. Garrus knew that this was mostly because of him, because he was tainted, because he wasn't and could never be her. They only had the comraderie of vengeance to keep them united and functioning as a unit. These people, his people, he didn't love them, but he respected each of them for their skills, and he allowed himself a tiny bit of pride at their kill count to date. They were growing bolder, their strikes not as surgical as they used to be, and Garrus feared for the day when his inability to lead led them all down a darker path.

He was finding that he was hoping the Reapers would show up soon, so he could be spared the thought of what he would become if things continued like this.