Hello everyone! I finally decided to write more in regards to Wings Of Fire, but this story is a tie-in to another story. This story will serve as both a epilogue to WOF, and the prequel for a story called "Mass effect: Pathways" Authored by "The Werdna"
So to make this a little less confusing, ill state the differences here in the authors notes for you all. The changes from WOF are all fairly small, and include Kaiden living rather than Ashley, and Zaeed and Aria not being Shepard's neighbors. If you have other questions please send me a PM and ill be glad to answer. I sincerely hope you all enjoy the journey, and as always, reviews are key to a better story. Have fun!
Legacy Of Fire
Spectre John Shepard sat on his bed, his back against the headrest while carefully caressing a seashell from a certain special doctor he once knew. Letting a sad smile spread across his face at all the memories that small shell brought to his mind. He gently put it back in the box from where it had come, along with the baby rattle and the OSD with Mordin's final message to him. He stared numbly at the box for a time, his thoughts a slow but persistent current in his mind. He picked up the baby rattle and gave it a shake, listening to the sound of sand hitting the inside of the wooden toy.
Should I ask her?
That same line had been plaguing him for a while now, but the answer kept colliding with problems his mind threw up at him.
Will she get mad? Or upset? I haven't really talked to her about adoption before. The idea of adopting a child for him and Tali was hardly foreign to him, but he just didn't know how to bring up the subject. He rubbed the back of his neck wearily before sighing and putting Mordin's wedding gift back on his bedside table.
He took a deep breath and swung his legs off the bed, standing up with a grunt and heading downstairs to the living room where he'd last seen Tali. When he reached the top of the stairs he frowned; he didn't see her in the living room or the dining room table. He jogged down the stairs and glanced quickly in the kitchen, but didn't see her there either. The house seemed incredibly empty without her face lighting up the room. Deepening his frown even further, he looked outside the glass door in the dining room and felt his frown instantly dissolve as he saw her sitting in a chair outside, soaking up the sun.
He crossed the distance and eased the door open, catching the warm wind on his face as he exited the house and grabbed a nearby chair. Settling down beside her, he smiled at her lack of a mask, but managed to keep his hands to himself as he gained the mental courage for his proposition. He stared out across the ocean at nothing in particular as his mind raced for a way to say what he wanted to say, but he once more came up with a blank and sighed.
She turned her head ever so slightly, her eyes half lidded and smiling slightly to acknowledge him before turning back and closing her eyes in the sun. She didn't need to speak for him to know she would listen to whatever he had to say.
"…Tali?" He looked over at her, seeing her eyes remain closed as she answered him.
"Yes John?" He paused once again, trying one last desperate time to think of anything less abrupt then what he was going to say, but again, failed.
"How do you feel about adoption?" He watched as her eyes snapped open and she looked at him with a confused expression.
"What? Um, wh-why?" she looked as awkward on the subject as he felt, but she finally got control of herself and eyed him carefully. "What exactly are you asking John?"
He looked down at his hands and pursed his lips a little, but eventually looked up at her.
"Tali, I've been thinking about this for a while now… Would you like to adopt a child with me?" he watched her face practically light up as she heard him, and felt his stomach flutter when she smiled.
"Of course I would John." His whole body felt slightly… different, when she said those words. Like a combination of being giddy and sheer terror were fighting to gain control of him. He had no idea how to raise a child, but he knew she wanted one, and thus would do it with vigor and a smile. He had seen the way Tali sighed a little when couples walked past with kids running along behind them, or how she seemed less cheerful for the entire day afterwards. He couldn't stand to see her like that, and the more he thought about it, the more he sorta liked the idea himself. He was startled from his thoughts by Tali's arm on his shoulder.
"John?" Her look of excitement was slightly tempered with concern as she watched his face.
"So, you think I'd make a good dad?" He smiled at her as the concern vanished from her face.
"Yes, I really do. But what brought this on?"
"A couple of reasons I suppose. First, a few of the others are having kids. You know Kaiden and his wife are having a girl soon? And Wrex's kids are almost a year old now…"
"So that's it? You we're jealous?" Tali had a smile on to show she was kidding, but he shook his head seriously.
"No, not jealous, happy. But the most important reason is that I agree with Mordin." He reached over to grab Tali's hand in his and squeezed.
"You would make a wonderful mother, Tali." She looked around nervously for a moment before she finally replied.
"I'm not so sure Shepard. I mean, I don't really know the first thing about being a mother! What if I mess up? What if it turns out to be one of those brats that no one likes because I didn't know what I was doing?" Shepard chuckled at that, but cupped her chin to make her look at him.
"I'll make sure that doesn't happen. But you are the perfect mother Tali. I've never met a more loving person, and that's what a child needs most. Someone to love them even when they turn into mutant teenagers that only want money and car keys." His joke got a laugh from her, and she leaned her cheek into his open palm.
"Ok John, but we'll need to make some changes in the guest room." He frowned at her, but she just rolled her eyes and began to list things off from a mental checklist.
"First, we need to change the paint in there to be more kid friendly, like maybe animal wallpaper? Second, we need to get a crib, blankets and child toys."
"Not to mention a surplus of diapers."
"Which you will be helping me change, by the way." Tali laughed as Shepard hung his head.
"See? You're turning into a mother already." She swatted his arm playfully and got up from her chair, bouncing on her toes with a short squeal of exuberance.
"Keelah, this is so exciting! Auntie Raan will be ecstatic! Not to mention Hannah… Or Kasumi!" she leaned over and grabbed his hand to pull him from his chair, earning a grunt from him as he stood.
Come to think of it, Mom will be pretty excited.
He immediately imagined his mother bursting through the door of his house and going straight to the crib without so much as a backward glance for him. He laughed to himself as Tali dragged him inside to start the planning and preparations.