AU: Daddy's Little Girl
Dr. Liara T'soni is the galaxy's foremost expert on the Protheans. She also swears and drinks like an Alliance sailor, hits on antything that is 1) sapient and 2) breathing, and has never encountered an argument that couldn't be solved by a headbutt followed by swift kick in the quad, with the occasional well-placed Carnifex round for good measure. She's also lost tenure at University of Serrice due to a little incident involving her, a motel room, too much Ice Brandy, and a grad student who happened to be Dalatrass Linron's ten-year-old nephew.
All this is the result of Liara's dear old dad having been around while she was growing up. Maybe Benezia decided that it wasn't politically expedient to have a pureblood daughter, and left her with Aethyta to raise. Maybe instead of meekly submitting to the dissolution of their Bond, Aethyta fought back, and managed to win joint custody (or at the very least visitation rights) of Liara. The end result is the same: a Liara that's all too aware that she's a quarter Krogran.
Some things I'd like to see:
- Liara cussing up a storm when Shepard (Bro or Fem, take your pick) stumble around trying to deactivate the stasis field on Therum.
- Headbutting the Krogan merc in Therum (followed by a kick in the quad, of course) instead of cowering behind a barrier during the final fight in Therum.
- Liara/Benezia banter in Noveria.
- Liara hitting on everyone in the Normandy. Just a little harmless flirting for the most part. Except for one particular crew member- it turns out Liara's into older men with scars. Unfortunately, for a century-old Asari maiden, older men are in short supply on board an Alliance vessel. With the exception of that Krogran Battlemaster holed up in the cargo bay.
- Post ME 1: The Shadow Broker getting his just desserts a little earlier than expected.
"Commander. Can we talk about our newest crew members?"
Shepard could just imagine what Ashley had to say about the prothean scientist. Who had so recently beaten Wrex in an arm-wrestling tournament, both blatantly cheating. Tali had come to Shepard, disturbed, claiming that she'd seen them leaving the Commander's room with suspicious smirks that John did not dare think about. Her cursing that you could hear from all the way across the ship. The looks she could give, almost girlish but most assuredly were not innocent in the least.
"She just grabbed my ass again. And I know she doesn't mean a lot by it. She doesn't even leer at me much anymore. But I'm still not comfortable with it."
"I know, Williams. I know."
Here on Noveria, none of them were exactly feeling exactly cuddly and overwhelmed with closeness. Although, more than once Liara had offered to warm both humans up, to Ashley shaking her head as John had a panic attack.
Had Liara been a member of the Alliance, she hopefully would have been reprimanded and sent to group workshops about sexual relations in the workplace, where she would have learned a lot about personal space and how others had the right not to be casually groped as they passed her in the halls. But she was not, and so all her unofficial CO could do was ask for her keep her hands to herself, said sternly, and met with the question, 'did that mean she couldn't put them on Shepard? At all?'
Even the way she fought was unlike all the other asari, who depending on hit-and-run tactis. Speed and agility, rather than brute force like running up to that krogan mercenary to headbutt the poor alien. Then kick him repeatedly in the head before emptying a shotgun into him. While everyone else was left awkward aiming their own guns at the geth and trying not to get too distracted by the bloodshed. Beginning to wonder if it had been a good thing to let her out of that stasis field, and realizing that her cursing them for not being able to figure out the mining laser sooner had not just been a matter of stress.
After it had been over, Liara had spit purple blood and smiled through a split lip. "Thanks, Commander. For finally showing up. What took so long?"
"Nevermind. Asshole." Shaking an adorable sneering head. "Nice armor. Where are you supposed to blend into? All the snow on this planet? Where's your ship?"
The rest of them trailing behind the asari, who still had yet to holstered her weapon. "Over here."
"Is that a Mako?" A worrying smile. For once, everyone was glad to have Shepard driving. Until he drove off another mountain and the tank flipped. With Kaidan and Ashley, cursing, clutching new bruised limbs, John apologizing and Liara laughing her head off. All of them crammed in, but only Liara enjoying the close contact. Blue hands moving in too close. That smile. "Woops. Sorry." As the humans shifted to the other side of the Mako, despite gravity not wanting them to do that.
"Pathetic. I haven't spent much time around your species. Do you all act like this?"
Then they were called, basically, 'pussies' by a female-looking alien that even Williams had more muscles than.
Needless to say, they were all a little afraid of her.
But she was an expert at protheans, and when it came to that, reasonably professional. Even if she kept hounding John to meld again and show her that vision that, after the fifth time, he realized was not necessary. It was the way she'd light a cigarette afterward, and lean against something, claiming that for basically a kid, Shepard was alright at melding, although he definitely needed some more training at the physical part, but she was perfectly pleased to tutor him at that.
"Oh, Johnny, did you not know how asari mate?"
As Shepard rubbed his neck, very conscious of every part of his body, the space of this room, the distance between him and Liara. "I don't care much for that name."
"Then what should I moan out the next time we meld? Just 'Commander'? Actually, that works for me."
Looking thoughtful, while John tried not to run away. And he didn't. His fleeing was less a run than a shifting against the wall and walking away before sprinting towards his room.
Only when it came to her Mother was there reluctance than her usual headstrong self. Liara was resented even saying her name. "We're not close. It's been years since I've even talked to her. My Father was the one to raise me."
A grimace through the smoke coming off a cigar that reminded John of Hackett. "This isn't really bedroom talk, is it Shepard? If you're trying to talk me back into your bedroom, I'd prefer a more direct approach."
"I take after my Father. Who's own Father was a krogan."
"Yeah." Then backing him into a corner with those big dark eyes and breathy voice. "You don't see the resemblance? Maybe you should look closer."
"…I should go."
Liara thought it was hilarious to make all the saliva in his mouth dry up as she offered to apply medigel to his latest wound. Then see him sliding away. Her sexual stimulation sucked air out of the room. Ashley's latest advice, "Watch your back, skipper. Those pinches hurt." As Kaidan laughed and claimed Liara was something straight out a Formax subscription.
Which John would know nothing about. Truly.
With various crew members voicing little comments and concerns, Wrex grabbing his shoulder and saying that asari was nuts, and he personally felt bad for what they'd done to 'Shepard's bed, but had no regrets because the azure was that good.' Which had Shepard head for the first bar he could find on shore leave. Only to find Liara already, and taking shots off another asari's stomach-and then found himself joining in when biotics were brought out to drag him deeper into a strange hell.
She seemed fascinated by every scar, which explained her dalliances with Wrex. Tracing the faint mark on his scalp with the tip of a finger. Slowly. "Normally, when I fuck humans, I want them to have longer hair. Something about the way your species looks, surprised and showing off your necks…of course, normally I like older men." This said while taking another shot of tequila and taking a twist of lime, a coy glance. "Are you going to finish your beer?"
A tireless worker, and someone you wanted at your back, no matter what. A person that made a better friend than enemy. Someone who had a good sense of human, even if she had problems with human interaction and couldn't understand what was wrong with inviting others to join in with her and Wrex (as the krogan flinched), at the very least Shepard, could they use his room?
A room he often found himself in, doing paperwork, and not hiding in at all. Because it didn't matter where he was, Liara found him. She was good at hacking and side-stepping procedures, despite her claim of preferring to knee in the quad. Which also had Wrex turning slightly pale over her saying things like that. He could close and lock the door all he wanted, Liara would still find a way inside to sit on his desk or his bed, talking about asari culture or her studies at prothean dig sites, about human idiosyncrasies, ask why come he never shaved his face completely because that had to be a little rough on his partners. Crossing and recrossing her legs that not even armor could make looking at completely professional. As she had to know.
"I do sort of miss being at the dig sites."
"Really? You seem to not mind being around people."
"Sometimes. But I did love learning more about the protheans. Actually studying them, rather than just seeing a few artifacts while shooting mercenaries."
"And I thought you enjoyed shooting mercenaries that get in our way?"
"I do. But something in-between blowing everything up and studying. I have to say, this mission is definitely more interesting than being in a class back at Serrice. And dealing with those brain-dead undergrads that couldn't hold their liquor for shit."
Something niggled at him. A fact from the Council, who had not been pleased to even mentioned Liara T'Soni's name. "You were employed by the University of Serrice weren't you?"
He saw himself, curled into a ball, clutching his now-bleeding genitalia. "No offense."
"I had tenure, even. For a while."
"Well. You know how Serrice is famous for that Ice Brandy?"
"Let's just say I had a little bit too much of that stuff. Let's just say there was a hotel room. And Dalatrass Linron's nephew was there."
"In my defense, salarians age faster than other species."
This asari that turned the walk of shame into a daily, casual stroll through the Normandy as the others watched and ate breakfast.
She'd also disrupted John's breakfast many a time by coming up behind him as he was eating to whisper something in his ear. Sometimes actually touching him with her tongue, that had been who-knew-where-but-here's-a-clue. Saying things like 'you really like sausages, huh? That explains a lot.' Still a little uncouth and confusing, even when everyone was still trying to deal with the fact that they were conscious and this wasn't a dream. Liara could somehow event taint cereal.
When they headed to Noveria, to talk to Benezia who had turned traitor for Saren, for once everyone wanted to cram themselves into a small, easily gropable place with Liara—who at one point earlier might have had some weird asari sex with Wrex while Shepard drove. Ashley got the short straw, however, and got to go.
Though, she had to have second thoughts as the Mako tumbled over, sending them all flying into Shepard. To Liara's unending amusement. "We should stop meeting like this, Commander," was her little comment, after she'd found herself seated in his lap.
"One time. And it was an accident. And so was this time."
It was only in that Mako and the snow, shooting things, that Liara was comfortable. Even if she'd asked to come along, wanting to confront the woman who'd given birth to her. Uncharacteristically, she'd been rather quiet and snippy, hardly flirting or threatening anyone. It only made John and Ashley more interested in meeting her Mother, who could be the only explanation for this change. Was she so bad as to make Liara decide to ignore the strip clubs here?
"Really, Liara, you don't want to go?"
"No, let's just get this over with. Unless you…?"
"No. Oh, no."
"You're so uptight, Williams. Even Shepard has gone with me to at least watch a few lap dances."
"One time. And I didn't watch—not that I participated. You know, let's just hurry this up."
When they did finally get through all the red tape, and they someone arrested rather than the other way around (as often happened with their asari post-doc scientist got bored), the crew could finally head out to where Benezia was. Liara almost silent, except to sass back another asari scientist that was supposedly meditating only to almost murder them. Thankfully, the murder attempt had been to keep them from learning too much about the geth rather than just because of Liara herself and her comments. Between that and having to shoot those bug things and fighting geth, they were all thoroughly sick of this entire planet.
"Bet the strip club sucked anyway."
When they finally met the Matriarch, the Missus T'Soni, she was a stark figure in this room. Dressed in black, as though in mourning. Slow measured words, a hint of the breathy quality Liara had inherited. "You do not know the privilege in being a mother-"
"As though you know anything of being a mother!"
"There is power in creating. As you would know, Liara, if you put your mind to anything besides following your father's footsteps from bar to bar in-between studying the already dead."
Liara visibly flinched as Benezia turned to the huge monster before her, bug-like, the larger version of what had been trying to kill them repeatedly since they'd come to this station. "Her children were to be ours. Raised to hunt and slay Saren's enemies."
"Alright, you really have lost your mind." The younger asari sounded disgusted, almost afraid.
Voice without inflection, and aimed for Shepard. "I won't be moved to sympathy no matter who you bring into this confrontation."
"Liara's here because she wants to be, not because I asked her to."
Still, nothing in blue eyes that her daughter had also gotten from her. "Indeed. What have you told her about me, Liara?"
"What could I say, Mom? Huh? Besides the fact that you finally lost your mind? Maybe that you're evil? I told them to shoot for your chest since it's the easiest target to hit."
"Have you faced an asari commando unit before? Few humans have."
"I can't believe you'd kill your own daughter."
"Perhaps I shouldn't have listened to your Father. Perhaps dealt with the political repercussions of having a pure-blood daughter. I used to fear you might be a Ardat-Yakshi. Now I know that you're just like Aethyta."
Liara, to her credit or perhaps not, didn't hesitate once. Even when the geth and her fellow asari tried to kill her. Even when her mother turned her biotics on her only child. After the room was cleared, but for a weakened Benezia, she still kept her finger on the trigger.
"This is not over. Saren is unstoppable. My mind is filled with his light. Everything is clear."
"Start talking, Benezia. What's Saren's next move?"
"I will not betray him. You will…you will." Benezia physically seemed to struggle with her words. "You must listen."
With the Matriarch returned to her previous self, if only briefly, they were able to listen to her explain about what happened, about the Conduit and Saren and Harbinger. "I was not myself. But I should have been stronger." Liara's disdainful snort. An OSD handed over as Benezia began to lose control over her indoctrination. Perhaps seeing the one noble asari stammering, fighting for every word, was what undid Liara, finally.
"Mom. Fight him. Don't leave."
Again, Shepard mentally filled out. Leaving Liara, again. The archeologist sounded like the girl she'd been so many decades ago.
"You've always made me proud, Liara. It hurt to watch you grow up from afar, but Aethyta was a better parent than I would have been." The emotions seeping out again, as she raised her hand. "Die."
Liara's hands still did not shake. She might have been the one to take the final shot. It only mattered when you were alone at night and left with your thoughts, sitting up so that a crew member would see the light and realize that the person inside might be in pain from the previous day's mission.
She didn't seem the same person who'd sent him porn over the extranet, asari stuff. Then asari and human collections. Then some asari/human/krogan stuff that made things even more uncomfortable with Wrex. Until they could no longer even make eye contact.
Now she seemed to be a quiet asari who'd spent years at dig sites, hardly talking to other people. Even the way she drank was different. With her elbow held closer to her body. Not bragging as she finished the glass off.
"Shepard." There was nothing blurry in that gaze. "Is it time already for you to try comforting me? Will there at least be a pity fuck?"
"I came to make sure you were alright."
"It's fine. I didn't know her. Not truly."
"Surely you remember some things about her."
"To keep her alive, in my heart? You're hopeless at this, Shepard." Her eyes were downward, thoughtful. The strangest smile blooming on her pretty face. "She used to like wearing yellow. I remember that. Does that change anything?"
It felt odd to hug someone. Uncomfortable. Both surprised, and tense.
"Shepard. If this is heading in the direction it feels like, I have to ask: can we invite Wrex into this?"
"He's really good using his fingers. Not so great at the melding part, no subtlety. But that's what you're good at it. And possibly your tongue, going off what I saw when you took that Jello shot."
Shepard demurred, as he had many, many times before. Left her at least smiling now, and hopefully somewhat more cheered up than before. Left with their friendship still comfortable, and intact, and in no way changed from just simple body contact and a new side of Liara shown. His gift of a M-6 Carnifex Hand Cannon was just that, a gift, and if his stomach gave a little twinge at her smile, that was no one's business but his own. As was the time when he finally gave into Liara's various charms and decided to let her teach him all about asari physiology as she'd offered so often.
And then it became everyone else's, as Liara began bragging, right in front of John, about bagging their Commander, finally, but it had really been worth the wait.