Hey guys! Only two chapters left! Thank you so much for all the support! If you love Fury, be sure to check out the story 'Just Another Night on the Citadel' for her adorable counterpart, Athena! Also, If you were wondering just what craziness Miranda and Aluna got into before, take a look at "The Hanar Incident"! Thank you so much guys, and a last question- would you like to see a T or M rated sequel with Fury and the rest of the Normandy kids as a young adults? (18-20 ish?) let me know! READ AND REVIEW, there will be a surprise next chapter for those that to do!

Early on the morning of Christmas Eve, Shepard found herself awake and in need of a tall glass of water. As she headed downstairs in the direction of the kitchen, she was surprised to find both Jack and Fury sitting together in the family room, talking quietly. Shepard stopped on the bottom stair, pressing herself flat against the wall, listening in.

"Miss Jack, are you and my gwandpa gonna get married?"

Shepard smiled in the darkness as Jack choked on the water she'd been drinking.

"What?! Hell no! The day someone puts a ring on this finger is the day I decide to remove my tattoos! Not gonna happen!"

"So you don't ever want to get married? Ever?"

"Not on my life, kid."

"...Why not?"

Jack placed her glass down on the table and curled up on the couch, wrapping her arms around her legs and tucking her chin into her knees.

"Because I don't want to. All men are the same. They use you up and then leave you. What's the point?"

"That's not true!" Fury piped up. "Look at the Geth! Mommy says lots of people thought they were all the same, and one of them turned out to be good!"

Jack snorted from her place on the couch, reaching for the glass on the table, but then changing her mind.

"You know what I think? I think a boy did something real mean to you and now you don't trust any of them! Well that's silly! You can't be a-scared of eberyone..."

Jack sighed, looking off into the distant buildings through a window. Suddenly, she spoke in a soft voice Shepard had only ever heard once before when Jack had retold her story of being a Cerberus experiment.

"How am I supposed to stop being scared?"

"You don't," Fury said, "eberyone's afwaid of something, even my mommy!"

Jack let out a bark of a laugh.

"Hell, Shepard? She's not afraid of anything! Reapers, Yahgs... Falling in love..."

"That's not true! My mommy is a-scared of lots of stuff! Like spiders! And Gwandpa Arkas! And..."

Fury trailed off, now curling up on the couch, too.

"And of losing me..."

Shepard pressed her forehead into the wall by the staircase, squeezing her eyes shut to keep back the tears.

"...really?"

"Yeah... She and Daddy think I don't know, but I heard the doctors. They said no one like me exists, and that I'll be sick for all my life... They said... They said they don't know if I'll live past 30..."

Shepard watched as her tears splashed against the floor below her. So Fury knew after all. Her condition would always be unstable. She would probably go before both of her parents. Shepard was so adamant that she meet all of her family now, because they may not have the chance in the future.

"See," Fury continued, "Mommy's not a-scared right now because I look fine! But after the party, we have to go back home to Illium so the doctors can watch me..."

"I... How does Shepard deal with that?"

"She knows anything could happen to me, but she can't let that bother her all the time! She has to be happy now while she has me! Mommy said there's an old Fwench phrase for stuff like that. 'Que sera, sera'. 'What will be-"

"-will be'," Jack finished.

Jack sat in the darkness for a moment, thinking to herself before...

"Hey kid?"

"Yeah?"

"You ever think about being a psychiatrist?"

"Nuh-uh."

"Well don't. It's really boring and you have to listen to people's problems all day."

As the two of them started laughing, Shepard slipped back upstairs. The water could wait till morning.

(/)

Galactic Breath was unlike anything Shepard could've imagined. They were a hodge-podge group of aliens- a couple Turians, many Asari, four or five Humans, two or three Salarians, and, strangely, a Batarian. They sung their way easily through a quick rendition of 'Silent Night' before swinging into a jazzy 'Baby It's Cold Outside'. Garrus caught his father tapping his feet appreciatively to the music multiple times, smirking as his mother called him out on it.

"See?! See?!" Mazia cried. "You're enjoying yourself! Once you loosen your plated ass enough to get that ancient stick out, you have fun!"

"Mother!" Solana gasped, turning pink about the mandibles.

"Sorry dear! Just had to set him straight!"

"This really was a great idea, Liara," Kaidan said, one hand holding a glass of eggnog, the other arm wrapped protectively around Miranda.

"Ahh, music. Missed performing while in STG. Always yelled at for humming while preparing wet-mount slides for observation. So time consuming, had to keep self entertained!"

"My sister almost became a member of this group," Irenah cooed, lofty voice coming from her place on Joker's lap.

"My mom? Really?!" Kolyat gasped, moving closer to her to hear the story.

"Oh yes. Irikah was a beautiful singer... Like nothing I'd ever heard..."

Shepard watched As Irenah's eyes darkened, fading into her memories. Shepard had seen Thane fall into solipsism many times before, but Irenah's memories were nothing like his. She spoke at a normal pace and in a low voice that drew all the guests in.

"It is night. We are small children. Mother and Father are worn from a long day's work. Our brothers are sleeping. They've asked Irikah to sing for them. Her voice washes over us, high, soft, and smooth. 'Do not fear child... The oceans call for you...' I sit pouting, jealousy filling me as my father says 'you will go far, love.' She smiles sweetly but says nothing..."

Shepard could see in Irenah's expression that the memory was changing. Fear filled her eyes.

"The phone is ringing. I am greatly excited. Today my sister is to audition for Galactic Breath. I pick up the phone. 'How did it go?' I ask before realizing that she is crying. 'That bad?' I ask, and she gasps for breath as she answers me. 'I didn't go,' she cries out. I am in shock. Before I can ask why not she says, 'there was a man in the street today! He tried to kill someone!' I start shouting question at her. Are you ok? Did he hurt you? 'I jumped in front the mark', she gasps. I'm horrified. I yell louder. You could've been killed, hurt, anything. But she's not listening. She hears nothing."

Again, Shepard watched the scene change in her eyes.

"I hate him. My parents are taken with him, my sister adores him, our brothers think he's cool, but I hate him. He is taking my sister away from me, making her give up her dream to be with him... And yet I love him also. She glows when she is with him, she smiles wider than I've ever seen, and even now as he wraps his hand around her pregnant belly, I cannot find it in my heart to be angry."

Suddenly Irenah's memories started to sound more like Thane's- rushed, frantic, sad.

"She sits on my couch, rocking baby Kolyat. 'If he loves you, he'll give up his stupid job!' I cry, feeling pangs of anger as my sister tries to hide her red eyes. 'He did,' she whispers, 'but he's unhappy, distant. He's asleep again...' I sigh, watching baby Koko grab at the long necklace my sister is wearing. 'So now what?' I ask. 'What will you do? Go into hiding so he can play God? It's not our job to bring the oceans to the living, it's blasphemy!' She is quiet. 'I love him, Irenah. I must.'"

The frantic tone in Irenah's voice grew, gravelly tones growing as well.

"I am screaming. How could this have happened. He told us she'd be safe. And now she's gone. Her body adrift in the sea, her soul flowing into afterlife. 'Goodbye,' I whisper as the tides carry her away. I am broken. I hear Kolyat shriek at his father. He is put into our care. I cannot look at him. He has his face. The face of the man who murdered my sister."

"'He's dead', my brother murmurs, eyes welling with tears. No. It cannot be. We tried so hard to find Kolyat. We did everything we could, and now the last part of my sister I had is gone. 'Thane... Thane is dead.' My brother says. And I am numb. Then, suddenly, I smile. 'They'll be together now,' I whisper, 'maybe now they'll find peace.' My brother smiles and walks away. In the quiet of the afternoon I sing to myself: 'Do not fear child... the oceans call for you...'"

Finally Irenah returned to the present, face flushing red as she looked at her feet.

"I'm sorry..." She murmured. "I've... Never shared that with anyone."

"Your sister sounds like a real nice lady," Fury said, patting Irenah's hand comfortingly.

"Yes... She would have loved you..."

The afternoon drifted by slowly, whispers filling corners of the room as Jack and Zaeed's constant hand-holding went unnoticed by no one. Fury often disappeared during the course of the day to her room, each time returning covered in paint.

"I swear, that kid is messier than a bar in Omega. How does she get like that?" Shepard asked on Fury's third paint-covered appearance.

The mistletoe also turned out to be a heap of fun. Kal'Reegar and Oriana found themselves under the decorations once, as well as Mordin and Mazia. Most entertaining of all the match ups, however, was Wrex and James, whom had a manly arm-wrestle post kiss to regain their macho status.

As Shepard surveyed the happy guests right before they went off to bed to await Santa's arrival, she remembered with a pang Fury's last diagnosis.

"'Won't even see thirty... She'll die of lead poisoning from the metal in her body,'" She repeated to herself. Thinking of Irenah's story, Shepard sent a quiet prayer up to the gods.

"Look... I don't really believe in this stuff... I lost faith long ago... But please... She's just a baby... The oceans will have to wait..."