AUTHOR'S NOTE: I started and completed this series when I was around 12 years old. Now that I'm older, I'm slowly making edits. I'm only changing the grammar and adding a few additional details. I'm not changing the story.
The air was filled with the sounds of Husks as they fell to the ground. The smell of blood permeated across the dark battlefield.
"Shepard, we have to move to higher ground."
Maria looked over at the Asari, quickly nodding her head in agreement. There was no point in talking. The sounds of gunfire and screaming would most likely mask her words to sound like muffled groans, anyways. She quickly gave Garrus and Liara the signal to move up. Slowly but surely, the three squadmates moved to higher ground, shooting Cannibals and Husks as they went. Once the three squadmates reached the top, they found cover behind a metal beam that had fallen over during the initial invasion.
"We should probably spread out. Being located in one spot is bound to catch their attention and eventually lead to an attack from all sides."
"You're right Garrus," Shepard agreed, looking over at the Turian she loved. "Liara, you take cover behind the building across the way, behind the boulder to your right. Garrus, you take cover behind the ship that landed beside the building to your left. Move out."
Garrus and Liara quickly fled to their positions, adeptly avoiding all enemy fire as Shepard covered their flanks. Shepard smiled a bloodthirsty grin. We've gotten past their main defenses. Now all that's left to do is to push them back inside the faulty control tower across the plaza. This battle is going better than expected.
Or so she thought.
Hordes of Reaper forces continued to move in on their position, a deep sense of regret flooding Maria's core as she looked at the oncoming corrupted soldiers. Should've brought more squadmates with us this time—we could really use Tali's tech right about now.
"Shepard, watch out!"
Maria quickly shot a Husk that was running to her, before turning around to see a large, armored Marauder point a gun in her face.
Pulling her fist back, Shepard's omni-tool extended into its blade state, allowing her to puncture through half of the creature's shields when her fist connected with the Turian-like being's torso.
"Atta girl! Concussive shot!"
Garrus slid out from behind the building, approaching Maria and using a concussive shot against the reaper soldier. The monster flew back and landed on the ground, its body landing on the hard terrain as several rounds were fired into its chest by Liara and the recovering Maria.
"You saved my ass, Vakarian. Thanks."
She could tell Garrus was smiling without even glimpsing in his direction. His voice always took on a slightly lower pitch whenever he was amused, and it made her heart beat faster every time she heard the transition.
Liara came out from behind the boulder, staying low while advancing towards Maria and Garrus's position.
"That seems to be the last of them. What now, Shepard?"
"We head to the control tower. We need to signal Joker that we're ready for extraction, before things down here get much worse."
If that's even possible.
The trio ran at full speed towards the base of the tower, shooting the occasional Reaper soldier that got in their way and simply avoiding the rest. Labored breaths were the only communication between the squadmates, the rest of their energy going towards keeping themselves alive. This strategy worked for a while until the sheer number of soldiers coming at the team became too much. Using shockwave to clear the path ahead, Maria began issuing orders again.
"Go on ahead, Liara—get the tower back up and running. Garrus and I will stay down here and defend the base of the tower to make sure none of them can reach you."
Liara nodded, running into the elevator that would take her to the communications center of the tower.
"I bet you're glad we did that workout last night. Looks like you were running a bit out of breath back there," Garrus whispered into the comm. He shot at a couple of Husks approaching them on the left.
"Oh yeah? Well I'm just glad I was able to get you away from your damn calibrations to actually have some fun last night."
"You got me there."
Maria laughed, preparing to load her assault rifle with incendiary ammo as Garrus used overload on a Marauder. That's when she discovered her gun was jammed.
"Dammit," Shepard whispered, pounding the palm of her hand against the gun. "Damn thing is jammed."
"And at the wrong time, too. We have company, Shepard—get behind the tower!"
But it was too late.
Looking up from her gun, Maria saw a Harvester land on the ground meters in front of them. It stood up, readying its guns to fire. Garrus grabbed her by her arm, switching their positions before pushing Maria away from him.
Maria's head hit against a large rock as her body connected with the ground, her vision becoming blurry as a bright light enveloped Garrus's frame.
"GARRUS!" Shepard shouted, rushing over to help her fallen squadmate.
"Shepard," Garrus groaned, turning his head to face Shepard as she cupped it. Dark blue blood was slowly dripping down his left mandible and onto the cobalt blue plates of his armor. Garrus coughed, spattering blood all over Shepard's hands and the ground.
The Harvester began chirping off in the distance, slightly shifting in its position.
Liara's voice came in choppy over the comm.
"Shepard, Joker will be here in a minute. You and Garrus need to get up here."
"Leave, Maria. You need to leave without me."
"I can't leave without you, Garrus. You're a part of my squad."
You're a part of me.
Garrus looked longingly into Maria's dark hazel eyes as he pulled one of her hands away from his face, making her fingers interlock with his talons."What's losing one life compared to losing the lives of hundreds of innocent people if you don't leave on the Normandy? I'm no innocent Turian, Maria. The people out there, though? Those are innocent people. Those are people with families they want to see again. Those are people who have the potential to do great things."
He squeezed her hand.
"Go save them."
Tears flowed like rivers down Maria's blood-stained cheeks. "Garrus, you can still be saved. Don't give up."
"Shepard—Joker will be here in thirty seconds. Where are you?"
"Go," Garrus whispered. "Go be the Maria I fell in love with." Garrus's grip on her hand slowly faded, as his eyes slowly closed and his head bobbed back onto the gravel.
"Garrus?" Maria shook him.
"GARRUS!" Maria screamed, squeezing Garrus's talons with all her might.
Come back to me.
"Ten seconds, Shepard."
Shepard slowly rose off of the charcoal-colored gravel and running onto the elevator leading to the communication center of the tower. She leaned against the elevator wall sobbing, tears running down her sweaty cheeks.
This is a nightmare. Soon I'll wake up to Garrus's happy chuckling as he holds me tight to his plated body. Soon I'll wake up to the sound of sloshing water in the fish tank. Soon I'll wake up to the sound of Jack and Miranda fighting outside of my cabin.
Maria was jolted out of her reverie by the scraping of the elevator doors opening, revealing an impatient Liara and an awaiting Normandy.
This was no nightmare, this was her new reality.
Shepard had just watched the man she loved with all her heart die.