A/N: I don't really know where this came from, but here it is. Enjoy! Let me know what you think :) Bioware owns the ME universe.
I hate vents.
I like vents.
Too damn small.
People rarely look up.
At least it's an advantage.
Amonkira, Lord of Hunters…
One body falls.
Four feet hit the floor.
"Still praying for your soul?"
"I have taken to praying for yours, as well."
The human laughed. "You're assuming I still have one."
He spared a glance at the woman. "I am hoping to remind you that you do."
She tilted her head marginally to the side, "Why do you care so much? You don't know me."
"We keep meeting under distinctive circumstances. I have come to believe you are following me."
"I think it's the other way around. And you didn't answer my question."
"You are a unique person."
She snorted, "Right. If you feel you know me well enough to pray for my soul, is it safe to assume you know my name?"
The drell turned to face her, "I do not."
"Well, now I don't feel so bad since I don't know yours."
In a rare moment of facial expression, he quirked a half smile, "If you wish to address me, you may call me 'Sere'."
She rolled her eyes, "Very well, Sere. Then you can call me Miss."
"Until we meet again, Miss." With a bow, he was gone.
"It was a special day."
"My people's equivalent, yes."
"You could have let me take this one."
"It is not in my nature."
"You just wanted to see me, admit it."
"Are you flirting with a married man, Miss?"
"Are you flirting back, Sere?"
"I would not confuse talking with flirting."
She laughed, "Whatever you say."
"You are mocking me."
"And you like it."
He remained silent, neither confirming nor denying it.
"If you want to hurry home, I'll finish up here. The target is down, so your pride won't suffer."
He bowed, "My thanks. But why help me?"
"I know how important it was to my people. Time is a precious thing. Don't waste it."
She gave him a mock salute and turned back to her task, effectively dismissing him. He barely heard her whisper, "Till next time, Sere."
She stayed back in a shadowed corner of the room. She had been there when he dropped in from the ventilation shaft.
"Why are you hiding?"
"Who said I'm hiding?" She was being unusually defensive.
"Then why will you not come forward?"
"Think I was hired to come after you?"
"I know better."
She shifted uncomfortably before stepping forward, keeping one side carefully obscured. "Happy now?"
"You have not been around."
"No, I had some other things to take care of. Miss me?"
"I feared the worst."
"I hoped for it."
Those words caught him off guard, but he didn't let it show. "Why?"
"So I could get away from my past." She grimaced.
"Did you accomplish your goal?"
"No." A drop of blood fell from the hidden side of her face.
He reached out and turned her face toward his. They had never touched before this and it was oddly intimate. She stared into his eyes. When she saw the concern, she looked away.
"Let someone get too close."
"You are better than that."
"It got personal and I paid the price."
There was a deep gash across her eyebrow and her eye was leaking blood. Her lip was swollen and bruised. He pulled a cloth out of a hidden pocket and gently wiped the blood away. The side of her commando style armor was charred and the skin underneath was blackened. Judging from the dent, she had a few broken ribs as well.
"You are injured. Why come here?"
She shrugged, wincing, "Maybe I was hoping to go back to life like nothing happened. Maybe I wanted to see you. Maybe I was hoping I'd bleed out in the ducts. Or maybe because I had nothing better to do."
He didn't respond, just kept cleaning her face.
"What would your wife say about this?"
"I believe she would be glad I was helping someone rather than killing."
She huffed but bit back her retort.
"You need a doctor."
"Planning on taking me yourself?"
She held up a hand, "Don't bother. I'm a big girl."
"You will go?"
"Yeah, because you had to remind me someone cares. Thanks."
He bowed, "Until we meet again, Miss."
I wonder if he'll be here.
I know I will see her.
These guys know.
They are careful.
This will be fun.
Grant that my hands be steady…
Three bodies fall.
Two feet hit the floor.
Two necks broken before she could reload. The last one choked on his own blood.
"You look better."
"Mmm." She hummed.
"I am glad you are here."
"It means you are alive."
She took a step closer, "You just miss me when I'm not around."
"You are young to be taking contracts."
"You have a family waiting. Don't judge me."
"You misunderstand. I was not passing judgment, merely stating fact."
"And how do you know how old I am?"
"I do not know exactly, just that you are young for your people."
"I don't need you to be by dad."
"That is not my intent."
"Then why bring it up?"
"Why are you doing this?"
"Nothing else to do."
"Could it be that you enjoy my company?"
She smirked, "If we were normal people, I would say yes."
"Since we are not?"
"It can wait till next time, Sere," she gave a mock salute and was gone.
"Since when do assassins work in pairs?"
"We do not."
"Then what do you call this?"
"I don't believe in chance. Everything happens for a reason."
"Why do you say that?"
"It's what I believe. This person needs to die, but it isn't in the right place in his life for disease or old age. Given his lifestyle, an unfortunate accident would be more suspicious than a bullet in his head or a broken neck. So, the universe employs the likes of us to fix the balance."
"We keep running into each other because we were meant to, for some reason that I can't quite think of yet. Maybe we're meant to save each other."
"I believe you are being naïve."
She laughed, "I don't criticize your gods."
He nodded once.
"Do you believe that we are set to walk a path someone else has designed for us?"
Her question surprised him, "Why?"
"I don't. I like to think that we choose where we go."
"How does that fit with your earlier statement?"
"I can choose to accept a contract. I can choose how to take out my target. The target had become my target because he chose to upset the balance of life in his favor. But everything comes with a price. He is dying today because I chose to accept the contract on his life. He wouldn't have died today if I had turned it down, but he would still die another day. I think one life has to end for another to truly begin."
"I had not expected something like that from one so young."
"The years you have lived say nothing for the things you have experienced."
"Anything deep from you?"
"I believe that will have to wait until we meet again," he bowed.
He hadn't seen her on his last two contracts. He wondered if he would see her today. His target was bent over someone, speaking it seemed. The man straightened and the two men on either side of him took a step back to give him space.
"You cock sucking bitch." He backhanded the girl in front of him, "Tell me what I want to know."
He kicked her and then roughly dragged her upright again. "Tell me what I want to know or Makenna will pay for your silence."
"I have nothing to say."
That voice. No.
His target picked her up by her throat and slammed her into a wall. If he took the shot now, it would hit her. He hesitated.
"It's you or her. You know damn well how this works by now."
"And you know damn well what I'll say."
His target threw her to the ground. She bounced and rolled. He sighted in.
"What if I'm getting bored with you? What if-" His head exploded. She was off the ground in an instant, rushing at the two still left standing. Once they were dealt with, she fell to her hands and knees coughing.
"Miss, are you alright?" He laid a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"Fine, fine. Thanks for taking him out." She waved him off.
Two small children tackled her. She grunted as she hit the ground.
"Easy, guys, easy! Em, AJ, let me breathe!"
"You made him go away."
"We'll talk about it later. Go on and head back now."
A girl came up. She looked to be a few years younger than Sorella.
"I heard what he said…"
"Makenna, don't. It's over now, you don't need to worry. Take the little ones back. I'll be there soon."
The younger girl nodded and ushered them away.
"Don't get excited. It's not my name."
"What does it mean?"
"It means 'sister' in Italian."
He offered a hand to help her to her feet. She wasn't ready for his strength and stumbled into him. He caught her with a much lighter touch.
"Sorry. I wasn't really expecting that." She looked up into his dark eyes. He looked back. Her eyes were the color of the rainy skies of Kahje. She gently pulled herself free.
"Will you be safe here?"
"We've been safe so far."
"That's not something I want to talk about. It's personal."
"Thanks again. You saved my ass."
He bowed, "Think nothing of it."
She grinned and gave him a mock salute, "Till next time, Sere."
Why is it always the vents?
I know how she hates the vents.
I wonder if he knows we're not after the same target.
Two people, one for each of us tonight.
My aim be true…
Two bodies fall.
Four feet hit the floor.
She waited until he turned to face her, his prayers for the wicked always giving her pause.
"You still haven't convinced me I have a soul, you know."
"And I would be concerned if it were so easy."
"It's been over a year since we started this."
"Yes. You are not one easily swayed by the actions and opinions of others."
"Yeah, it's called being stubborn."
"Why do we keep doing this?"
"Doing what, Miss?"
"Finding each other like this. I never see you out walking on the street or having dinner with your wife or even shopping for guns. Would you say anything if I did see you out somewhere?"
He tilted his head, "Why do you ask?"
"What are we? Friends? Acquaintances? Coworkers? Strangers that share nothing but skills for killing?"
"What would you like us to be, Miss?"
"I like to think we're friends. I mean, you did save me."
"Then we will call ourselves friends."
She gave him a rueful smile, "Is it pathetic that an assassin is the only one who will have a hope to notice when I'm gone?"
"What of the little ones who were with you?"
"There are others to fill my place. They'll forget me just like everyone else."
"Don't try to lighten it up, Sere."
"Drell have a perfect memory. I will not forget."
She blinked her grey eyes and turned to the window, "Well, then, thanks I guess."
"My pleasure. Until we meet again, Miss." He bowed to her, even though her back was to him.
"May I ask you a question?"
She raised an eyebrow, "You just did."
He was about to elaborate until he saw her smirk. He relaxed his posture and spoke, "That man that was hurting you, why did you let him?"
She sighed heavily, "You heard him, it was me or Kenna. I knew I could take anything he could throw at me, so I did."
"Why not stop him? You have the skills."
"He was a friend, once." Her shoulders slumped, "I hoped he would be again. But if he pissed someone off enough to hire you to go after him, than he was worse off than I thought. It was probably a mercy killing, honestly."
"So, you let him use you were trying to rebuild what was lost?"
"Something like that, yeah. It sounds moronic when you say it. But, I don't know, I just couldn't let him go. I would have killed him myself before long if you hadn't."
"You would have been able to?"
"If it came down to me or him, I wouldn't have a choice."
The way she was standing, defensive but facing him, eyes down sent many mixed messages. She was holding something back (he could assume what it was), but still opening up a very personal part of herself to him, and she was embarrassed.
"Maybe one day I'll tell you why it was so important. Till next time, Sere." She gave her usual mock salute.
"What are you doing?' Her voice was sharp. He didn't respond. He continued making the incisions on the batarian's arms. Judging by the blood, he'd been at this a while. She roughly pulled him away and ended the others misery. "That's not like you."
"They killed her."
She blanched. "What?"
"To get to me. They were afraid of me so they killed her." He couldn't show weakness now. He felt his control slip.
"So you're going after them?"
"This is revenge. This is your choice. By your logic, you are responsible for this."
"I no longer care."
"Lucky for you I do.
"Why? You do not know me."
"I know you well enough to know you'll live to regret this."
He rounded on her, his anger blinding him. She stood her ground, not at all concerned with the angry drell only an inch from her face. He glared, expecting her to back down. She didn't even flinch. After a long moment, he took a step back.
"Don't. I get it. I started this for revenge. I stayed for my own reasons. If you want help, I'm here. If not, I'm coming anyway."
He regarded her coldly, "Very well."
"Where are we going?"
"Alright. I'll get what I need and meet you at the transport."
He bowed stiffly, "Until we meet again, Miss."
I won't let him fall as far as I did.
I will not let her stop me.
There's only one here tonight.
This one will suffer.
This won't be fun.
And my feet swift…
One body falls.
Two feet hit the floor.
"Why did you shoot him?"
"You had the info you needed. Torturing him won't change the past."
He glared at her. She stared blankly back. "The target knows someone is coming. We will have to blend in, be seen. She will not expect to see her death in the crowd."
"Oh, goody. We get to go clubbing."
"I told you I was coming with you. I meant it. I'm not letting you walk this path alone." She folded her arms across her chest.
"Very well. There are others to take care of first."
"You lead, I'll follow."
"This one is personal."
"And the rest of it isn't?"
"This is one I need to take care of, alone. An unfinished contract."
Sensing there was nothing she could say, she gave in. Giving her mock salute, "Till next time, Sere."
She was sitting on the scaffolding outside his window with her elbows on her knees and her head resting in her hands. He took in her silhouette. She was thin, he realized, too thin. Her waist length black hair was swept away from her face in a light breeze. She was looking at something far away.
"Are you well?"
She spared him a glance. "Fine, why?"
"Have you eaten?"
"At some point. I'll be damned if I could tell you the last time."
"Why starve yourself?"
"I'm not intentionally. I just get distracted and forget."
"Someone will see you."
"Miss, there is no reason to be out there."
She held up a hand and brought her modified pistol up. A short exhale and she fired once. The muffled sound of a body hitting the ground reached his ears. He knew it was someone he would have encountered later.
"One less." She shrugged, "I like it better outside."
"There is food inside."
"Reduced to bribing, now Sere? Shameful!" She laughed as she swung in the window. "Wine, too? Impressive."
"It was an impulse."
"Check it, first. Last drink I had here was poisoned."
His head snapped up. "Poisoned?"
"Yeah, some antihuman bartender. He didn't know who I was, calm down."
"I am more concerned that you did not tell me."
"You have your own problems. Besides, didn't kill me. I'll get him back later."
"I am not so lost as to not care for a friend."
"Fine, next time you can hold my hair back while I puke." She took the glass he offered her. They ate in silence, both listening for signs of trouble. When there was nothing left, she slipped back out of the window.
"Where are you going?"
"Out. I hate being indoors."
He bowed, "Until we meet again, then, Miss."
The turn their relationship had taken was not lost on either of them. He chose to ignore it. She chose to fight for it. In some inexplicable way, they had wormed their way into each other's hearts. She knew he was hurting and he knew she was lonely. That's where they left it.
So when she undressed in front of him, he was nothing less than startled. She had her back to him, so all he saw was the smooth slope of her human skin and black lace underwear. She tugged a tight strapless red dress on and motioned for him to help with the zipper. She wiggled in it before turning to face him.
"Look okay for a dead end night club?"
She was gorgeous. "Yes."
"Ready?" She slipped on black heels.
Her laughter filled the room. Even over too loud music and too many people, her laugh rang. It was rare that assassins needed to blend with a crowd and try to be seen. It was not something either was used to doing, but she amazed him with her adaptability. She fell into her role with unbelievable ease. He found himself swept up in the unstoppable torrent that was his female companion. She was far too young to be in this club, getting served drinks by asari who were hoping to gain something by impairing her judgment. He stayed close to her, acting more as her protector than her date and more than one patron had confused him for her bodyguard. She pulled him to a dark corner and pushed him against the wall.
"You're acting suspicious, Sere."
"You are drinking too much, Miss."
"I haven't had nearly as much as you think. So, we're going to go back to the bar. You are going to hold me like you care about me, damn it, and you will have a drink. Then we will dance. Do you understand me?"
He gazed impassively at the human. Why was she suddenly in charge? He opened his mouth to disagree. She moved her lips closer to his so they hovered less than an inch apart, "That better not be an objection, Sere."
He closed his mouth, uncomfortable with the fact that he was enjoying the way she was pressed to his chest. He was still hurting for his lost love. She released him and took a step back. She was right. He was acting too ridged for the club they were in. The target would run if he didn't pretend to relax. He snaked an arm around her waist, holding her as close as he felt comfortable. He ordered a weak drink and downed it quickly. He fought the urge to cringe. She put her hands on his hips and pulled him to the dance floor. She began to move, dance, pulling him with her. He always thought himself a graceful dancer, but moving with her, surrendering all control to her human frame he found out what grace really was. She moved against him, forcing him to follow her lead. His arms snaked across her body, feeling all of the curves and warmth she held. She spun in his grasp and wound her arms around his neck.
"Yes. She is watching you."
"Good." She let her fingers slide under his jacket as she pressed closer. He responded by cupping her backside. "Let's go."
Using the collar of his jacket, she pulled him off the dance floor and shoved him into a booth, where she climbed into his lap.
The target approached them and spoke. They followed the blue alien outside. Her death was mercifully quick. The uneven steps of someone well over-served sounded behind them. There was no time to run or hide the body. So she jumped him. She pulled him to her, wrapped her legs around him and braced her back against the dirty wall.
"Play along," she hissed before raising her voice, "Come on honey, my place isn't far. It's more romantic than this ally."
"Are you sure you can make it there?"
"With you to lean on, I'll be fine."
"Hey what…shit! Antha's dead!"
"What?" He had to give her credit, she was good at acting. She looked down to the dead asari and screamed. She pushed him away and 'stumbled' into the intoxicated turian. Before he knew what was happening, he was dead on the ground.
"Time to go."
I hate this dress.
She is distracting in that dress.
I should have kissed him.
I should have kissed her.
I shouldn't be thinking that, he's mourning.
And should the worst come to pass…
One body falls.
Two feet stumble.
"Where did you get a gun, Miss?"
"Had it the entire time. I thought you would have noticed when I was all over you." She tried to hide the hitch in her breathing.
"It is not like you to need two shots for one kill." He ignored her comment rather than admit how distracted he was.
She grunted, "Tell me about it."
He turned to face her. She was looking down at her chest. The red of her blood darkened the red of her dress. He pressed his hand to her, trying to staunch the flow. "Why didn't you say something?"
"We have a job to do. It missed the important parts anyway. It's too high up. And at least it was my off side. I'm fine."
"You are bleeding."
"I will be fine, then. Come on, we need to go." She took his hand and pulled him into a run. He followed her up the fire escape and over rooftops. Blood was still dripping from her chest as she slid into his unassuming room.
"Why come back here?"
"Two reasons: one, I hate this dress; two, med kit."
He nodded and she pulled the offending garment off and strapped a piece of fabric around her chest. She tugged on a pair of pants and finally let him lead her to the bed. He sat her down and tended to her injury with surprisingly gentle hands.
"You will live. But I suggest you see a doctor."
"Yeah, sure. Later. We need to move now or every one of them will go underground." She paced back over to her shirt and pulled it over her head, wincing at the way it tugged where she was shot. "Ready?"
He nodded and they were off.
Fifty eight minutes and twenty seven seconds.
She was impressed with the quick work they had made of the lengthy list of targets. They had just two more. She shifted her favorite sniper rifle to the firing position. She glanced at him and as one, they fired. Both bodies fell with a dull thud. She was grateful they were done. The bandage covering her chest was soaked with blood and she was feeling light-headed. They slowly retreated. Coming down from their perch, they were confronted with a small band of mercs who were not at all happy with the carnage they had caused. She sighed wearily. A close quarters fight broke out and she was in no mood for it. She just wanted to lie down. She dispatched the ones that got too close, her reactions sluggish at best. He seemed to sense this and stayed close to her. He took one out on her left and another that had gotten behind her. An injured batarian came up behind him, brandishing a knife and she reacted quicker than she had thus far. She thrust down on the drell's shoulder and vaulted over him, confronting the attacker. The drell spun to assist her a moment too late. He felt her body jerk against his in a sickeningly familiar way. One final well placed kick from her collapsed the batarian's airway and he fell.
"Today is just not my day," she said tightly.
He cradled her gently as he let them fall to the ground. "You saved me."
"Yeah, we're even now."
She gestured to her lower stomach. He carefully peeled her shirt back and discovered it was below the waistband of her pants. He deftly tugged them down enough to see the deep stab wound running parallel to her right hip bone. A steady stream of blood was flowing from it. He could tell it was bad.
"Miss," he stopped when he realized her eyes were unfocused.
"Sere." She choked out, fighting the blackness encroaching on her vision. She reached out and grabbed the edge of his jacket with startling strength. "Go home, Sere. For me, please go home."
He blinked at her. Why would she tell him to go home? How much did she actually know about him? Before he could ask her, her hand fell limply across her body. He lifted her up, genuinely surprised by how light she was in his arms. She was solid, no doubt, but she was human. He was sure his ten-year-old son felt the same in his arms. The thought of his son brought a dull ache to his chest. Looking down to human he had cradled against him, a feeling of hope surged through him. He vowed that she would not come to harm again.
Pain. Pain and grogginess and cold. That was all she could register before she forced one eye open. She had no recollection of how she had gotten to the dimly lit room. Careful to keep her eye mostly shut, she glanced around. She recognized it. She had sat outside that window, looking at the skyline and thinking about where life had taken her. The bed she was on shifted and she rolled her head to the other side. Lying next to her was a drell, her drell. He had one arm up behind his head and the other draped across his middle. One leg was propped up, the other extending out to the foot of the bed. He appeared to be sleeping. She sighed in relief and couldn't help but smirk. Normal people were not so comfortable waking up on Omega injured sharing a bed with an unnamed drell assassin. Cold. She was cold. And he was right there. She shifted closer to him, gritting her teeth against the pain. With a final laborious shove, she bumped against him. He started and looked down to the top of her head. She appeared to still be sleeping. He reached out and touched her arm. She felt chilled. He panicked and checked her breathing. It was steady. Admonishing himself for his worry, he pulled the blanket over her and let his arm fall around her shoulders. Her head was cradled against his shoulder.
"Thank you," she murmured.
He wasn't entirely sure why she was thanking him. He had nearly gotten her killed. She still might meet the sea if he was wrong in avoiding this dirty rock's clinics. But it didn't seem to matter. They were both there, in the darkened room and that is what mattered.
She shot out of the bed faster than he thought possible. She had grabbed the knife he kept under his pillow without him noticing. She stalked to the door silently, moving easily despite her injuries.
She narrowed her eyes, running through her options. He appeared next to her, putting a gentle hand on her arm. He opened the door, taking care to stand behind it. A shocked salarian stood too quickly and fell back against his 'date'. After a hastily muttered apology, he was gone. He watched the pair for a moment. They disappeared into another room and locked the door. He turned back to her.
"How did you hear that?"
"Habit." She winced as the adrenalin began to ebb. "He was using an older code. Newer ones hiss instead of click. I don't think he'll be an issue again."
He reached out and slid an arm around her waist, "You should not have left the bed."
"I'm not so good at doing what I'm supposed to."
"I have noticed."
"Why did you bring me back here?"
"I thought it best to be alone."
"I get that. I mean, why not let me die?"
"It did not occur to me."
"You do like me!" She teased.
"I admit I have not felt this level of companionship with one outside my family."
"I'll take it as a compliment."
She gave him a rare, heartfelt smile. It made her eyes shine. He offered one back as he helped her into the bed. She brought his hand to her lips and left a soft kiss before closing her eyes.
"You are leaving."
"Where are going, Miss?"
"I'm joining the Alliance. I'll be of age in a few days and, I don't know. It just feels like where I'm supposed to go." She was twisting her hands around in a nervous display.
"Would you rather I stay with you?" She stopped fidgeting and looked at him.
"Your life is yours to do with as you please."
"That's not what I asked."
He couldn't deny that he felt uneasy at the idea of her going off without him. He had sworn to protect her and he couldn't do that if she was in the military. To the same extent, he wanted a better life for her than he had known. "I am conflicted."
"I have grown accustomed to companionship. You have kept many lives off of my soul. I wonder what I will do, and if you will be well."
She smiled, "I'll be fine. I always am. I thought you would know this by now." Her smile faltered, "Will you okay?"
"I have made it this far."
She rolled her eyes, a gesture he was familiar with by now, "You know what I meant."
"Yes, I will manage. Will I see you again?"
"I hope so. I know you don't have any contact information or anything, but if you wanted to send me a message every now and then to let me know you're alive, I'd like that."
"I will do what I can."
Silence hung over them for a moment. She finally sighed, "You really have a perfect memory?"
More silence. She started fidgeting again. He gave her an amused smirk. She was not normally nervous in his presence. He could tell she had something on her mind. Instead of forcing it out of her, he waited. After a few more moments of wringing her hands and adjusting her coat, she reached behind her neck and unclasped her necklace. It was a flat, plain silver rope that he had never seen her without. She rubbed it between her fingers.
"I want you to have this."
"I know you don't need it to remember me by. It's not the type of thing that I can wear in the Alliance and I want to know it's safe. Not having it will help me remember who I gave it to, as well. And maybe it'll help keep a few more deaths off your soul, I don't know. I'm not good at this sappy stuff."
"I will wear it always."
"Take care of yourself."
He bowed, "Until we meet again, Miss."
"If I don't see you again, may Kalihira grant you peace on a distant shore."
I wonder if he thinks about me.
She is always on my mind.
I miss him.
I miss her.
I hope he's well.
Grant me forgiveness.
One body falls.
No feet hit the floor.
He leaves after his prayers, having lost his reason to stay.
It was rare for him to be out in the open. He found himself doing it more than he used to, hoping to catch a glimpse of her somewhere. It had been four years since he had seen her, longer since he returned to his battle sleep. He was still hunting his wife's killers and he wouldn't stop until every one of them had suffered the same fate. A voice on the news terminal made him stop. He stopped to investigate, peering over the crowds. It was her. She was being interviewed by a frail human about her actions defending Elysium from batarian slavers. She had rallied the colonists and pushed back the invaders and then had single handedly held off the attack and sealed off a breach in their defensive line. The last line of the interview made it impossible for him to suppress a smile.
In response to the reporter's final question, she replied, "And, Sere, I told you I'm always fine."
To anyone else, it would be a respectful and slightly playful ending line, but to him it meant that she still remembered. He lightly traced the silver cord at his throat and disappeared into the crowd.
He had finally finished with his revenge. Every one of his wife's killers lay dead and forgotten. He was on the Citadel preparing to return to Kahje. A commotion coming from the small clinic in the Wards caused him to leap into the vents without a second thought. He shimmied his way through until he was looking down into the room. There she was, talking with a turian and the doctor. He left when she did and tailed her for a short time. She told her squad to stay back as she went around the corner into a small store room.
"You can come out now."
"How did you know?"
"I may be human but I'm not stupid, Sere."
She was older now, her features more defined. Her grey eyes still sparkled and her dark hair was tied back in a military bun on the top of her head. She still had the scar on her lip and the one bisecting her eyebrow. To her, he looked the same. "You are well?"
"Yeah, I am. In the middle of a shit storm, but I like it." A loud crash caused her to bring her gun up in one hand while the other cradled her head. It was nothing but a keeper rearranging the crates. She put her gun away and rubbed her forehead.
"You are not well."
"I'm fine. A Prothean beacon on Eden Prime tried to fry my brain."
"It was unsuccessful."
"Yeah, it blew up."
He was about to respond when someone called, "Commander? We need to go."
She sighed, "Duty calls. I'm glad you're still around."
"As am I."
She fell into her old habit and gave him a mock salute, "Till, next time, Sere."
The last thing he heard before leaving the Citadel was that she was given the honor of being the first human Specter.
The next thing her heard about her was a short news feed about her death. He stopped midstride and listened. She had done the impossible: made it to Ilos and stopped a rouge Specter. She had saved the Citadel and the Council. In a surprise attack, her ship was destroyed and she went down with it. There was to be a memorial for her the following week in the Presidium.
He stood in the shadows of the gathering, watching her crew make speeches about the kind of Commander she was. She had managed to weave a team of humans and aliens into a cohesive unit with her as their unstoppable leader. It was in a blaze of glory that she went out, like a star going nova. The universe was dimmer without her in it, he realized. He left the gathering and wandered back to the transport.
He never anticipated how her loss would eat at him. Losing his wife had angered him and he had acted on his anger to avenge her. This human that had quite literally fallen into his life and snuck her way into his heart left him cold. He was lost, without direction. He was taking contracts and completing them, using the only skills he had left. There was no hope in him any longer. His body was dying, finally catching up to his soul. He was growing tired of waiting. He accepted the Dantius commission, refusing payment. He wouldn't need it. He wondered if he could meet her across the sea.
Who was shooting? The guards' panicked radio chatter told him someone was shooting their way up. He forced himself to go faster. Whoever it was would prove a valuable distraction, nothing else. They were gaining quickly. There was one person he could think of that could dispatch her foes so quickly, but she was lost in the void of space. He paused a moment to evaluate the threat this trio beneath him would pose. He recognized the turian from her memorial over two years ago. The asari was a Justicar and unfamiliar. The human leading them made his heart constrict. She was so familiar. The same grey eyes and dark hair, though it was much shorter now, and even the same voice. But the scars on her face were gone. He shook his head. She had died. Whoever this was, they were no more than an imitation. As he turned to leave, her sparkling eyes met his through the grate and she smiled.
Dantius lay dead on the desk and bent his head in prayer, paying no mind to the others in the room. He heard an amused chuckle.
"Still praying for your soul, Sere?"
He had kept a professional distance from him since he had joined her in her fight against the Collectors. He couldn't believe it was really her. Part of him was still wary. That part vanished when she swung from the ducts and landed on the table in front of him without him breaking her neck. He couldn't help but think the short hair suited her better. She tackled him back against his cot in a fierce embrace, which he returned without hesitation. He could feel her heart beating fast in her chest. She pulled back and looked at him.
"Sere, I'm so glad I found you."
"Miss, you died."
"Let's not worry about that now. You said you were sick."
He was still not used to calling her Commander Shepard, any more than she was used to calling him Thane. But they kept up professional appearances as best as they could. She helped him with his son in the way that only she could and ignited a long dead fire in his soul. Most everyone else would be changed by what she went through, but not her. She was stronger because of it. The rest of her crew had reservations about her willingness to have an assassin watch her back, but she paid them no mind. He and the turian were always her first choice. He followed her to the Collector ship and the dead Reaper, never forgetting his vow that she would not come to harm. The inevitable few shots made it past, but they struck her shields harmlessly. She made her typical rounds with the crew and always ended with him, more than once nodding off in her seat. When he had confessed his feelings for her, she had responded by kissing him square on the lips, declaring it was a long overdue realization.
When her crew was taken by the Collectors, she charged off to retrieve them without a second thought. It was on the eve of the Omega four relay that he found himself in tears in her cabin. She had silenced him with soft words and another kiss. When they had exhausted their passions, they lay curled together beneath her sheets.
"Did you ever expect to end up here?"
"Here? Here as in on a suicide mission with a dead woman, or here as in sharing a bed with my former business partner?"
"Business partner?" She laughed.
"For lack of a better term."
"Ok then, both."
"Not at all. I thought I would never see you again after you joined the Alliance. I heard of your exploits from time to time, and I did find you once. I considered that luck. When I heard you died, I gave in to my body's illness and was content to die when you found me again. I was hesitant to admit my feelings for you."
"You know what my biggest regret was?"
"Not kissing you that night on Omega. Can you believe that was my last thought when I died?"
He propped himself up on an elbow, "Really?"
"Yeah. I'm glad I got to remedy that." She pulled him down for impassioned kiss. When they finally broke apart, she lightly traced the silver necklace he still wore. He smiled down at her and then pulled himself off the bed. Reaching into a jacket pocket, he pulled a small box out and passed it to her. She looked at him quizzically. He rejoined her and she opened it, shock apparent on her face.
"You gave me yours so many years ago. It is selfish, but I cannot give it back. Though I can give you this one." He pulled the polished silver chain out of the box and fastened it around her neck. She traced it softly and when she looked up, her eyes held tears of joy.
Some bonds transcend time and space. They are meant to last past death and destruction. The bond of silver and blood in an impossible one to undo. He waited for his miss on the shores of a distant sea, anchored by the dull silver he still wore. She would meet her sere when her fight was over, drawn back to his side by the ever changing tides. Together they walk the sandy shores, bound by blood and silver.