A/N: Hello my lovely readers. I deeply apologize for my long absence. Life has been one big event after another for me. For those that are interested, I got my degree and am now a full-time teacher, and I have two children (two years old and five months old). I have been trying to flesh out the next chapter to Contact, but the time periods when my brain is not mush is limited. I have not given up on this story and have the plot planned out for a long while.

SPOILERS: It will eventually be tired in parallel with cannon. Here is a snippet of what that looks like. This takes place after Shepard gets Garrus to let Sidonis go.

The ride back to the Normandy was tense. Garrus had switched the taxi to manual just to have something to do with his hands. Shepard, for her part, stared out the passenger side window, arms and legs crossed and making damn sure she wasn't looking at him.

Garrus gripped the wheel tighter. "You had no right to do that, to intervene," he growled at her.

She responded with a scoff of a noise, but didn't speak.

Garrus's growl grew until it was loud enough that Shepard could hear the subharmonics. She tensed at the warning, just in time for the shuttle to jerks and Garrus to roughly land it on top of a building.

"You don't get to judge me," he growled. "You've never had someone betray you, kill your whole team, and then just… get to walk away. Live his happy little life with the blood of his comrades on his hands. What would you have done?"

Shepard still refused to look at him, arms wrapped around her torso. She opened her door and got out.

Garrus exited out his own door and followed her. "You can't know what you would do, you've never—"

"I would hunt him down," she spat at him, still not looking, but shoulders shaking a little. "I would have forced my way into the spectres, angled for the council to fund a man hunt, gathered people under the guise of a noble cause, run them ragged with my need for revenge…" Her voice shook and she paused. "And I would have killed him."

Garrus paused. "Shepard… I—"

"And after," she cut him off "I would drink." She chuckled, but it was hallowed, "Well, more than I already had been." She dropped her arms to her side and looked up at the towering taller buildings around them. "Always told myself I wouldn't drink before going on missions. Then it was I wouldn't go on missions drunk. Then I was put on missions to go hunt down rumors of geth… Lots of downtime not on missions. I stopped eating, aside from the bare minimum nutrient paste to keep myself going. Couldn't let the crew see. I had to keep going for them, but slowly they left. Wrex went to beat some sense into his people, you went to your spectre training, Tali went back to the flotilla. Was just Kaidan and myself from the ground troops. Chakwas and Joker and Adams too, but… Oh and Presly, but we never really got along."

Garrus's subharmonics petered out. "Joker told me… about what happened when the collectors attacked," he admitted quietly.

Shepard wiped her cheek and leaned against the shuttle. "I… I didn't mean to hurt him—any of you. I just… I couldn't keep doing it. Nihlus was gone, Saren was dead, and I… Well too much free time. Drinking helped, until it didn't. Even now. It helps that I have a goal to focus on, but…" She gave a dark chuckle and pulled out her pistol. She put it under her chin and pulled the trigger.

Garrus's eyes went wide and he moved to stop her. Too late. He stood a pace away as Shepard's body slumped, blood covering the shuttle. Then her body twitched, followed by a gasp and cry of pain as the damage of the bullet healed. In just a few minutes, Shepard was healed.

"I'm not allowed to die. Miranda made sure of that. She has also made sure there is no alcohol on the ship, despite Kasumi's best efforts." She slid down the shuttle to the ground, her knees curled up to her chest. "I can't die. I am trying to power through, but to me Nihlus only died a few months ago and I… I can't." She looked up to Garrus. "So, I know what you are going through. I know the pain, but vengeance doesn't help. It leaves a void. I don't want you to lose yourself to this," she thumped herself on her chest. "If I am forced to be alive, I don't want to do it seeing my friend become like this. Because it starts off with a few drinks, but it ends with it being so easy to not get in the escape pod. To push your friend to safety and just… stop fighting."

A/N: Thank you for sticking with me through my overly extended absence. Contact is not dead; it is just in a coma!