I should probably warn you: While writing this chapter, I was hit by a train, a bus, a yacht, a plane, and a nuke, all of which labeled "FLUFF". If you can't handle adorable, robot cotton candy fluff, then you will probably get diabetes and die. Enjoy!
EDIT: Forgot to mention this! The hug in the previous chapter was inspired by Mevanna's pic on Deviant Art titled: "He Does Care". Check it out next time you're surfing fanart! It's one of the cutest pics out there! ^_^
"Are you nervous?" Shepard leaned against her fish tank, tilting her head at Legion as it stood near her desk. The geth had taken to coming to her quarters during her off hours and before missions to talk. It seemed that it, along with EDI, considered her the best go-to option when asking about organic emotions, thoughts, etc.
"Are you inquiring if we are nervous about defeating the Old Machine, or nervous about attaining peace with the Creators?"
Its top plates twitched. "The probability of destroying the Old Machine is high. The probability of reaching a peaceful agreement with the Creators is..." Its light dimmed. "...less certain."
"Remember, Legion: There are quarians who want peace. Tali and Koris especially do, and they're both Admirals." She walked over to the geth and lightly punched its shoulder. "And, you have the most respected, badass person in the galaxy backing you up."
"We are aware of our assets, Shepard-Commander." Legion replied. "However, the likelihood of these assets not being enough is high. Two Admirals and you may not be enough to influence an entire race of people who have spent centuries hating the geth."
Shepard nodded reluctantly. "I know. Still, we just need to have faith."
Legion's plates flickered. "Faith is not a common aspect of geth thought processes."
"Well, think of it this way: We've accomplished the impossible before! We survived the suicide mission at the Collector base. I was able to help cure the genophage. So, the likelihood of achieving the impossible again is statistically higher." Shepard spread her hands hopefully.
"Correction: You have frequently accomplished the improbable. Impossible would mean that such acts could not be achieved and were not achieved."
The commander shrugged impatiently. "Whatever. The point is that your chances are as good as they'll ever be."
"Yes, but..." Legion trailed off, turning away slightly.
"Yeah, Legion? What is it?"
The geth's light blinked as it looked back at her hesitantly. "We have an inquiry, Shepard-Commander."
At that moment, Legion looked more organic than ever before. Its fingers were slightly twitching, its plates were fluttering, and it wasn't directly looking at her. In all appearances, it was very nervous about what it was about to say.
Shepard placed her hand on its shoulder. "Legion, look at me." She waited for the light to be shining directly in her eyes. "Never be afraid to ask me anything. Understand? I'm your friend and commander, no matter what."
Its light brightened slightly. "Acknowledged." It looked at the hand on its shoulder. When Shepard started to move it away, Legion placed its own hand over it. "Shepard-Commander...if peace is not attained, if the geth are forced to continue their battle with the Creators...who will you stand with?"
Shepard blinked in surprise at the question before looking thoughtfully at the ground. The engine warmth of Legion's mechanical hand on top of hers seemed to slowly pass through her whole body. In that hand, she felt the touch of something alive, something real. Her decision was clear. "I will stand with the geth." Her voice was firm and held no room for doubt.
Legion's top plates fanned out in what looked like an expression of shock. "You would stand with the geth despite your past encounters with them? Despite your friendship with Creator Tali?"
She nodded. "I would. Tali is my best friend, and...and I know that she'd have to side with her people. If worse comes to worse, I may have to fight her." The mere thought of facing her old friend in combat brought a painful lump to her throat. She blinked rapidly to push the idea aside. "But, this isn't about who I'm friends with. It also doesn't matter what happened in the past. If the geth are free of the Reapers, they won't be the enemies that I faced before. My past experiences are completely different from what the geth have the potential to become."
Legion stared at her for a long moment. "Despite your understanding of us, we did not expect you to choose our people over the Creators."
Shepard squeezed its shoulder gently. "It's the right thing to do, Legion. Your people were pushed into fighting the first time, just as you are being forced to fight now. You did nothing wrong. I won't allow an entire race to be wiped out just because of a tight-assed prejudice against synthetics."
Legion's flashlight blinked rapidly a few times. "Thank you, Shepard-Commander." Its voice dipped briefly. Its hand remained on hers.
At that moment, a thought occurred to Shepard. 'A promise of protection as well as an affirmation of friendship...' Removing her hand from Legion's shoulder, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around both of its shoulders, drawing it close. It made a surprised, electric noise before slowly wrapping its own arms around her back. "Don't worry, Legion." She murmured. "I won't let you down."
Its grip briefly tightened and it made another one of those signature geth sounds. When it spoke, its voice was more quiet than usual. "Acknowledged."
Sorane and Legion stared up at the towering statue before turning their gazes back to the two individuals standing under it. The statue was made of black stone and was of a geth and a quarian clasping hands in a gesture of friendship. This beautiful monument stood on the very spot where Legion had died to bring individual thought to his people. Beneath it, Tali was placing a small bunch of blue and white flowers on a plaque that held the names of the quarians and geth who died in that last war. Garrus looked on silently, his head tilted back to regard the clasped hands of the two stone beings.
"They visit this statue every day." Shepard remarked.
"Creator Tali mourned my passing longer than I thought she would." Legion said, walking over to the quarian's kneeling form. "It is...good to know that I was so important to her." Slowly, he reached out to brush his hand against her arm. Her back briefly straightened and she looked around. As she did so, her face came into view out of the shadows of the monument.
Her skin was a pale lilac color and her eyes were an almost-glowing shade of silver-white which was made even more radiant with the synthetic green glow. Her long, black hair was tied back and tucked into her suit. Shepard regretted that she hadn't been able to see that beautiful face during her lifetime.
A wistful smile came to Tali's face and she looked at the monument fondly before standing up and walking over to Garrus. As the two embraced, Sorane walked over and wrapped her intangible arms around both of them. For a moment, her two closest friends seemed to sense her presence. Their eyes flickered briefly and Tali seemed to choke on a sob. Tears filled the commander's eyes as she stepped away. "Let's go back."
In an instant, they were in Legion's silvery-blue field of glass and metal flowers. Shepard threw herself down on the grass and closed her eyes, drinking in the warmth of the twin suns. A few tears trickled down her face and into the grass. "I swear, I will one day be able to go down there without crying like a wuss." She said half-jokingly.
"It is a common organic response to cry when noting the absence of loved ones." Legion stated, sitting down next to her.
"I know. It hurts so much knowing that they're down there, mourning me, thinking about me, and I can't even tell them that I'm okay and that I'm waiting for them. I miss the missions, the conversations on the Normandy, Garrus's calibrations, Tali's hugs, EDI's jokes, Joker's wise-ass comments, Grunt's laugh..." She sighed, wiping her face. "You were dead longer than I was. Does it get any easier?"
"No." Legion's response was immediate. "I felt the absence of my companions every time I saw them. The sadness is always painful. I miss Creator Tali deeply. I miss EDI and Jeff. That never lessens. Before your death, I missed you. Being in your presence made me happy and sad at the same time. I noted your vitality while also noting my inability to be a part of it."
"Exactly!" Sorane sat up again. "That's exactly what I feel!" She looked up at the red-orange moon. "I know it isn't as bad as the sadness that the living feel for the dead, but it still hurts."
Sorane ran her finger along the edge of a copper dandelion. "Hey, Legion? What did you miss most when you were dead and I was alive?"
Legion seemed surprised by the question. His brow plates fanned out entirely and his light blinked three times before dimming. The plates took a few seconds to go back down and he only spoke when they had done so. "I noted the absence of our conversations with regret. Despite my automatic understanding of organic thought following my transfer to this plane of existence, I felt lacking in some respects. I enjoyed learning slowly, in an organic manner, from you. The slow, vocal exchange of data, punctuated with gestures and moments of physical contact, was...pleasing." He turned away from her in an almost shy manner. "What did you note about my absence, Shepard-Commander?"
She folded her hands thoughtfully. "I missed our talks, of course. I also really missed that sound you make."
"Yeah." Shepard grinned. "You know, that sound all geth make, that...techno, electric, warped sound, kinda like an old computer booting up. Know what I mean? That..." She tried to imitate the sound, but only succeeded in sounding like a retarded cricket. "Not that. It... I don't know. Do you know what sound I mean?"
"It is the sound of geth communication through high frequencies or the sound of heavy processing." He tilted his head. "That is what you noted most?"
"It's not what I noted most." She admitted. "It's just the first thing that came to mind. Hearing that sound always comforted me. It was soothing, a constant reminder that you were there and alive, like a heartbeat."
Legion's brow plates started to fan out again. "A heartbeat?"
"Uh huh." Sorane nodded in affirmation.
A moment later, the quiet, hesitant sound of a rebooting computer touched her eardrum. Smiling, she scooted closer to lean her head against Legion's shoulder, so she could feel the vibration of his metal shoulder as he made the soothing, warped noises. A hum of approval passed her lips. At the same time, for some reason, she was suddenly overcome with an emotion that was similar to sadness. It wasn't sadness, though. On the contrary, she felt perfectly happy. It was more of an ache, the pain of being close to something wonderful, but not quite close enough. "I missed you, Legion." She muttered in a near-whisper, nuzzling his shoulder. "I missed you a lot." A note of raw vulnerability crept into her voice as she snuggled against the warm, comforting form of her old friend.
It was strange: While alive, Shepard never would have been so openly affectionate. A blatant act, such as a hug or resting one's head on another's shoulder, would often be completely out of the question, with a few exceptions (such as Tali or Liara). Here, she felt none of the stigma that would cause her to restrain herself. She could tackle Thane to the ground in a hug if she chose to. She could give Steve a sisterly kiss on the forehead as a greeting. She could repeatedly poke Miranda's face in an obnoxious, teasing manner, prompting her friend to put her in a headlock. She could sit between her parents, leaning into both of them, allowing herself to feel like a child again. She could nestle against Legion's side and drift away from consciousness with her head on his shoulder. It all felt right and natural.
Slowly, Legion's quiet techno voice faded to silence. Sorane opened her eyes to see a soft aura beginning to travel across the geth's body. It was that same red-silver color that she had seen briefly a few days before. This time, Legion allowed it to spread and did not withdraw it. Wherever it came in contact with Sorane, it sent a soft, warm pulse through her body.
She closed her eyes, drinking in the nameless, clement feeling. The soothing warmth was followed by a jolt of electricity that excited every nerve ending and caused her skin to tingle pleasantly. Then, it was immediately followed with a sweet, oh-so-gentle sensation that could only be called a caress. Deft, kindly hands were touching her with a tenderness that made her feel lighter than air. The red-silver light spread and she felt as if her face was being showered with feathery kisses.
It all felt so beautiful, so pure, so perfect. When a warm, metal hand cupped her cheek, she immediately turned her head to touch a kiss to its palm. "Legion..." She sighed, making the already-beloved name sound like a prayer.
"Sorane." Was it possible for a robotic voice to sound breathless? If it wasn't, Legion's was pretty close! When Shepard opened her eyes, she saw that his plates were completely fanned out. His light was brighter than the twin suns overhead, but still wasn't bright enough to outshine the red-silver aura that pulsed from his soul and into hers.
Sorane placed her hand on the hand that rested on her cheek. At the same time, she allowed her own feelings to be known. A gold-green light emanated from her body. It touched the red-silver light of Legion and merged with it. His brow plates flickered and he seemed to almost shiver as the light traveled across his spirit.
They leaned closer until they were hugging each other tightly, their auras melding together so that one could not tell whose was green, whose was red, whose was gold, and whose was silver. It was all one light, melding together, blending, combining into one center of radiance.
Sorane felt herself beginning to dissolve, giving herself over to this sensation completely. Legion began to dissipate as well, becoming less tangible and turning to pure energy.
Then, for a split second, the two souls were one and the same. There was no Legion and no Shepard. There was only the light and the love contained within. Silver and gold and red and green turned to white. All was still except for the pure, alabaster star floating in the silvery-blue field.
Then, slowly, the colors became visible. The light turned to form. The one entity became two. Slowly, Shepard and Legion returned to their own separate consciousnesses and withdrew the powerful light, drawing it back into their bodies to reside forevermore.
Sorane probably would have staggered if she had been standing. She blinked rapidly, staring up at Legion's face. "Wow..." She gasped, a smile spreading across her face. "That was...wow."
The geth's head flaps flickered in silent agreement. His arms were wrapped snugly around her, not intending to let go anytime soon.
It wasn't until after Legion's death that Shepard realized she loved him. Him. Not it.
When Legion dissolved his spirit with a final farewell of "Keelah salai.", her heart shattered. Seeing her beloved friend fall to his knees in front of her was too much to bear. The wounds she felt from the loss of Mordin reopened and began to fester with a new infectious sadness.
The true realization came when the tall form of a Geth Prime approached. Shepard heard it speak and, immediately, spoke the only name on her mind. "Legion?" Her hope skyrocketed at the thought of Legion's consciousness simply being converted to another platform. Maybe, that was what he had meant when he said that he needed to "go to them". Maybe, when he went to the geth, he went as a program that could no longer be held in his smaller platform and required a larger one. That made sense scientifically, right?
When the Geth Prime told her that Legion was truly dead, a crushing pain wrapped itself around Shepard's heart. As soon as she was alone in her room, she threw herself onto her pillow and sobbed as she never would allow herself to sob in front of her crew.
She felt some comfort later on when she talked to EDI. "Before it sacrificed itself, Legion referred to itself as 'I' instead of 'we'." The AI noted.
"Yeah? So?" Joker glanced at her.
"The singular pronoun indicates Legion's independent personality had fully actualized. In its last moments, it was not an avatar of the geth consensus. It was a person." EDI explained.
"Shepard-Commander, I must go to them. I'm sorry."
"That's what I figured." Shepard muttered, looking out the window at the distant stars. 'In the end, Legion was truly alive. For a moment, he was able to live.' A lump rose in her throat as she wondered what could have been. If Legion had continued to live with this new self-awareness, what more could he have accomplished. What could Shepard have learned? What would have happened to them?
Remembering his awkward hug during their reunion, his curiosity concerning organic thought, and his pure, selfless attitude, she knew that whatever would have followed, had he survived, would have been truly wonderful.
Joker nodded in understanding. "Well, when the geth fleet helps us retake Earth, I guess we'll owe that to...him."
Days later, the crew was on shore leave. Shepard came across Joker at Purgatory. What started as a comparison between dancing and desperation quickly turned to: "What do you think about me and EDI?"
"Why not?" Her response was almost instantaneous. If she had been asked the same question a few years ago, she would have put a hand on her pilot's forehead and asked if he had seen Doctor Chakwas recently. Now, it didn't even occur to her to see anything wrong about the idea. "If we all ended up dead this time tomorrow, what would you regret?" She ignored the pang in her own chest as she spoke.
"Getting a shattered pelvis. And a broken heart. It's such a stupid idea." Joker glanced to the side, a look of raw vulnerability on his normally-cheerful face.
'No, Joker. Letting this go is a stupid idea. You know your feelings and you can still express them. You didn't wait until after her death to figure it out. EDI is still here. If you let that opportunity slip, you'll regret it forever.' She thought. Instead of voicing these sentiments, she simply told him: "Sounds like you've got bigger things to worry about than looking stupid."
Joker blinked at her, a slight smile coming to his face. "Yeah. I guess I do. Now, if you'll excuse me..."
Shepard watched him go with a mildly wistful expression on her face. 'Go get her, Jeff.' She thought fondly. 'Go get her.' She sat at the table for a few more minutes before standing up. As she walked toward the exit, she felt a sudden sensation on her shoulder, a brief sense of warmth. In the very back of her mind, she heard the echo of an electric voice. At the same time, her heart began pounding loudly and a feeling of calm spread throughout her body. Legion was suddenly standing in front of her in her mind's eye, as clear as if he was really there.
A moment later, the feeling was gone.
"You should've seen it, Legion!" Shepard laughed. "He just shot the Thresher Maw right in the head! None of his krannt would come close, but he just jumped right in and BAM!" She moved her hands in an imitation of an assault rifle.
"The life of a krogan suits Mordin well." Legion commented.
"Yeah." Sorane collapsed on the couch next to him. "Now I'm starting to wonder if I should choose to be a krogan rather than an asari."
The geth's light dimmed and his head plates twitched. He always became withdrawn whenever Shepard brought up reincarnation.
"Relax." Sorane's voice became softer and she leaned forward to touch her lips to the side of his face. "I won't go until you're ready to go with me."
"Acknowledged." Legion wrapped his arm around her shoulders and rubbed her arm gently. "Sorane, did you not wish to invite Thane Krios and Steve Cortez over for a marathon of Doctor Who?"
Sorane sat up straight, grinning brightly. "Almost forgot! Where's that remote...?"
"You do not technically need one."
"I know. It's just a habit." Sorane stood up to walk over to the coffee table when a strange sensation caused her to pause. It felt as if there was an invisible rope in her chest, a rope that was being sharply tugged. She blinked. "Legion, do you feel that?"
"What specifically do you feel?" The geth asked, tilting his head.
"It's like... It's like something's pulling at me." She winced and put a hand over her heart. "It's pulling really hard, too..."
Legion made a sound of understanding. "I felt a similar sensation when your end drew near. It means that a loved one is currently dying."
"Who, though?" Sorane closed her eyes, allowing herself to partially give in to the feeling. After another yank, a face flashed through her mind. "Doctor Chakwas!" She looked back at Legion. "I feel that...I should be the first one to meet her."
"You should go to her. I will remain here until you return."
"Okay." She walked by the couch, kissing Legion briefly before allowing the invisible rope in her chest to pull her from the apartment, through the afterlife, and down to Earth.
Doctor Chakwas was lying on a bed in the Normandy's Medical Bay. Her eyes were closed and, despite her labored breathing, there was a soft smile on her face. Joker was sitting next to her, holding her hand. "You're gonna be fine, Doc." He murmured, wiping his eyes on his shoulder. "You're gonna be fine."
"I know, Jeff." Chakwas's voice sounded so frail and weak. "I feel fine."
Mentally, Shepard tried to recall how many years it had been since her own death. Chakwas certainly hadn't been this wrinkled before. Her eyes widened slightly as a realization occurred to her. 'It must have been at least twenty years. Mordin just had his Rite of Passage, after all...' Time just wasn't something she thought about anymore.
"Goodbye, Jeff." Chakwas whispered. "I...I will say hello...to Shepard...for you..." Her last breath escaped her silently and her muscles became limp. Sorane paused long enough to brush her hand against Joker's tear-stained cheek before following the doctor's spirit to its first sight of the afterlife.
Karin's first thoughts were, apparently, of a beach. Sorane smiled at the sound of crashing waves and stooped to pick up a shell. It didn't take long for Chakwas to appear, walking along the coastline. "Hey, Karin!" Sorane called out. "Long time, no see!"
Doctor Chakwas froze, her eyes widening. Sorane noticed that her face was young and that her gray hair had turned black with just the barest silver undertone. Still, it was unmistakably her. Wordlessly, the doctor rushed across the sand and threw her arms around her old friend. "It's good to see you again, Shepard." She murmured, her voice thick with tears.
Sorane smiled, returning the hug. "Welcome home, Doc."
There was only one true choice. As soon as the Catalyst named the option, Shepard knew that it was the only one.
To control the Reapers was to become the Illusive Man. It would mean abandoning her true self, becoming something unrecognizable, being aware of her friends, but unable to ever interact with them.
To destroy the Reapers was to kill EDI, one of her closest friends. It would kill the geth, who had only recently attained individuality thanks to Legion's sacrifice. It would do nothing to heal the galaxy. It would only allow another cycle of hatred between organics and synthetics to begin.
To synthesize organic and synthetic life...to do that would mean allowing true peace and understanding to flow throughout the galaxy. She thought of the quarians and the geth. How close would they become if the final boundaries between them were destroyed? She thought of EDI and Joker. That love alone seemed to shine like a beacon in her mind, every bit as clearly as the beacon of green light that awaited her.
She braced herself for only a moment, hoping that her death would be a quick release from the pain she was currently feeling, before beginning to limp down the path. Her entire body felt like a ghost, a bloody, aching ghost. Her feet, on the other hand, were as heavy as lead, dragging across the hard floor with agonizing slowness. Still, she forced herself to keep moving. If she paused for only a moment, she knew that she would never move again. Then, the galaxy would be doomed. Only she could finish this mission. This was how it had been from the very beginning. She always knew that, one way or another, she would be the one to end this nightmare.
The light was drawing closer, slowly closer. Her feet seemed to be welded to the ground. She had to keep going! Gritting her teeth, she summoned every ounce of strength that remained and began to run. A divine power seemed to be pushing her, because she felt the pain vanish, only to be replaced with a familiar sense of calm. She ran faster, faster, faster. She used the very last bit of vitality within her to leap into the air, to feel the hot wind on her face before the light took her.
Before oblivion rose up to meet her.
The only sign of the passing of time was shown in the world of the living. Over the years, Legion and Sorane watched people age, die, and come to the afterlife. He didn't bother to think about how many years had passed. All he knew was that he was with Sorane. Then, they were both with Tali. Then Joker. Then EDI. Everyone eventually joined them. Eventually, Mordin came to them. He still held a faint attachment to those he had once known as well as a strong bond with his father, Wrex, and his adopted uncle, Grunt.
Parties at Shepard's apartment became frequent. Legion was glad that he could actually be a part of the events, in contrast to Shepard's party on the Citadel, the last one before her death, which Legion had observed from the hidden plane. Now, he would watch Tali do humorous impressions of the Normandy, dance with EDI in order to convince Joker to stand up from the couch to cut in, and sit beside Sorane's bed every morning in the aftermath.
He was looking down at her sleeping form after yet another celebration. She was beautiful. There was simply no word that better described her when referring to her appearance. The relaxed calm on her face, her sleep-mussed hair, and the smoothing of the usual lines on her brow spoke of absolute peace and contentment.
There was something, however, that Legion enjoyed more: That moment when he would first wake her up.
He moved from his position next to her bed and sat down on the edge of it. Reaching out, he began to lightly stroke her golden hair with a metal hand. When she stirred, he began to make the quiet processing sounds that she loved so much. His hand moved from her hair to her cheek and he cupped it gently. He felt her eyelids flutter against his fingertips as she slowly woke up. Her startlingly green eyes gazed blearily up at him before her face was transformed by a tired smile.
This was what Legion had grown to love most. Being the first thing Sorane saw when she awoke, seeing her instinctively smile at the mere sight of him, made him feel happier than almost anything else.
"Lie down, Legion." She mumbled drowsily. "Don't wanna move yet."
Legion immediately obliged, nudging Shepard lightly toward the other side of the bed before lying down. It was an awkward position, but he was able to adjust his form enough so that he didn't feel discomfort. Her arms curled around his middle and she buried her face in his warm chest. "Did you have a pleasurable time, Sorane?"
"I always do." Sorane smiled against him, kissing his chest.
"I will never understand why you all choose to succumb to the effects of alcohol when the ability exists to drink without suffering any ill effects."
"Are you kidding? Being drunk is fun! It's the hangovers that suck. We stay away from those. Besides, not getting drunk means not seeing Tali drunk. I don't think these parties would be the same without that!" Sorane snickered. "Seeing her act out the Normandy's engine never gets old. 'Shhuuuum, shhhuuuuuum, wuhwuhwuh'!" She laughed softly. "Classic."
Legion gently rubbed her back as she fell silent, listening to her steady breathing. "I love you." He said as she closed her eyes again. At this point, it was easy to say. Both he and Sorane said it often to each other, usually at completely random moments.
The geth never said the words in the tender, adoring manner Shepard always used. Instead, his words were a simple statement of fact. In their most intimate moments, when they were sharing their auras, his voice would dip slightly. It was not like an organic voice, but Legion knew that Sorane understood the feelings behind it just the same.
His head flaps fanned out as Sorane scooted up toward the pillow and kissed the side of his face. When her soft, gentle voice whispered "I love you too.", he became determined to remain in that bed at Shepard's side for at least the next few centuries.
After all, a few centuries are a bare minimum when compared to the infinite stretch of eternity.
I may or may not type an epilogue for this. It depends on what strikes me. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this little trip through heaven (literally) and leave reviews. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I really like reviews. Chapter three didn't get as many reviews as I had hoped for. That made me sad. Please review! Just don't flame. Flames make a sad Legion. Peace out! ^_^