A/N: I wrote this for Shrios Fluff Week on Tumblr. This takes place after the defeat of the Reapers, in an AR/my headcanon in which Thane successfully received a lung transplant. Hope you enjoy!
I wait for her outside the bathroom of our Citadel apartment. Siha insisted that she did not need assistance, but the constant cursing that comes from within speaks to the contrary. I smile and sigh as I wheel her chair around so it does not block the door. "Siha, I'm coming inside."
"No, Thane," she says, stubborn irritation tinging her voice. "I'm just fi—"
A loud crash sounds from the other side of the door. I burst inside.
I find her lying on the floor, tangled in the shower curtain. She is naked and covered with soap suds. "Siha! Are you hurt?"
Her shoulders shake. Her eyes are shut tight. I feel a momentary stab of fear that she is in great pain before I realize… She is laughing. Her mouth opens, and a loud guffaw explodes from her lips. She tries to speak many times, but fails. I stare at her in confusion.
She takes several shuddering breaths before trying again. "I couldn't reach the shampoo!"
It is difficult for me to know how to react. Whether to laugh at my warrior angel, sprawled as she is on the floor amidst bubbles and plastic and – oddly – a yellow rubber bird of some sort. Or whether to sigh in exasperation at her blatant disregard for her well-being. I come to a compromise between the two. I hide my laughter poorly behind a sigh too loud to be taken seriously. "If only the Reapers could see you now," I tell her.
Siha snorts. "I know Harbinger would turn tail at the first sight of me in all my naked, bungling glory."
I grin. "No doubt."
"Are you just going to stand there staring at me? Help me up!"
I resist the urge to tease her further and scoop her into my arms. She hides it well, but her rehabilitation has been difficult for her. Siha has always been a woman of constant motion. Now her body requires her to learn stillness.
"You're sure you're uninjured?" I ask as I lay her back into the tub. I turn on the tap to warm the now cool water.
"No more than usual, Thane," she assures me. She settles into the tub and takes a long, lingering breath. "Just these damn legs not working like they're supposed to."
The small plastic pitcher she uses for rinsing sits by my feet. I fill it under the running tap and slowly pour the contents over her hair. She gasps under the sudden heat. As I reach for the shampoo, I reprimand myself for placing it too high. I should have known Siha would try to reach it herself rather than ask for help. "Doctor Chakwas said it would likely take months for your legs to return to normal," I remind her.
"I know." She watches as I turn off the tap and pour the shampoo into my hands. "And even longer to be combat ready. I'll have a lot of free time for a while. More than I know what to do with, really."
I grunt in agreement as I begin to massage her hair. I know how restless she's been. "Think of it as a well-deserved vacation."
She closes her eyes and gives a murmur of appreciation. "Maybe. I could get used to this sort of pampering."
"I'm glad to give it."
We are silent for a time. She relaxes, resting her head in the palm of one of my hands. The quiet between us is comfortable, safe. It is broken only by the sound of my fingers running through her wet hair, the shift of her body in the water.
"I thought of something we could do with all this free time," Siha says, her voice barely above a whisper. She opens her eyes and meets my gaze upside down.
I continue to massage her scalp, more to relax her than to clean her hair. "Oh?"
"We could expand our family."
My fingers stop their movements. She pulls herself into a sitting position and turns to face me.
"We can't have biological children of course," she continues. "Or, at least, not from both of us. But even if we found a donor or a surrogate, I think I'd want to adopt. And not a baby, either. There are a lot of kids – human and drell both – who lost their parents in the Reaper invasion. They'll need someone right now, someone to love them and make them feel safe and wanted." She looks down at her hands and gives a smile that does not touch her eyes. "I never had anyone like that, growing up. If I can keep even one of those kids from living in an orphanage, or on the streets…"
Seeing Siha like this, with her downcast eyes, she seems so small, unlike I have ever seen her. For a moment, she is an abandoned child once more, living in the belief that no one wants her. My heart aches to see her like this. I am reminded that she was not always the self-assured soldier. I am reminded of my own follies. I am reminded of Kolyat.
"You have given this much thought," I say. My voice is soft like hers.
She looks up at me and nods. "I want to help them. And…" She pauses, searching for the words. "And I've never had a family like that before. I had the people on the Normandy. I have you and Kolyat now. But I've never had a parent. And I've never been one. Not really. Kolyat may be my stepson, but he's grown up. I'm more of a friend than a parent."
I would be lying if I said that the idea of expanding our family with Siha was not a tantalizing one. I have thought on it often, in the peaceful dark of our bedroom. What few memories I have of Kolyat's childhood are some of the most joyous and cherished ones in my possession. Yet it is the knowledge that there are so few of those memories that gives me pause.
A cool, damp hand touches my arm, and I look up. Siha's steel-grey eyes are filled with sympathy. My reservations must have shown on my face. "You'll be a good father, Thane."
"History would say otherwise."
She shakes her head. "You've made mistakes. And you've learned from them. You're making up for them. You may not have been there for Kolyat in the past, but you're here for him now."
It's true, I have been doing all I can to make amends. Still, even though her words chip away at my fears, I find it difficult to set them aside completely. "Kolyat may have forgiven me. But I doubt I will ever forgive myself."
Siha nods and strokes my arm. "I know."
"Have you spoken to him about this?"
"He seems to like the idea," she says with a smile. "Us being parents together. There might be some old feelings there to sort through eventually, but we have his blessing. You should talk with him about it too. For your peace of mind, and his."
I notice she is shivering; the water has grown cold while we talked. I turn the tap back on to warm the water and pull her into my arms, her back against my chest. The lather from her hair tickles my cheek. "You want this very much."
Siha pulls my arms more tightly around her. "I do." She looks back at me over her shoulder, her brow furrowed. "What about you?"
The answer is apparent, even before she finishes the question. My heart leaps at the thought of our apartment filled with noise and laughter and pattering feet. I long for the family I might have had years ago, for the family I could have now with my siha. A second chance. I have been given so many of those lately. "Nothing would make me happier," I tell her, and know it is true.
She pulls away, turning around to face me fully. "You mean it?"
Laughter bubbles out of her as she throws herself at me in a wild embrace. Her legs give out under the sudden movement. She topples backward with a yelp, pulling me face-first into the water after her.
She is shameless. Siha is still laughing as I right myself in the tub, coughing from the suds that have made their way down my throat. Water has overflowed onto the bathroom floor. My clothes are soaked.
"We're going to be parents!" she says amidst her giggling.
I smile, wiping water from my eyes. "Yes," I agree, "and we are the picture of responsibility."
Light dances across her eyes. "Oh, we'll be great parents. So long as we keep the shotguns and sniper rifles out of reach, they'll be fine!" She catches me in another embrace and draws me in for a kiss. Our lips and tongues meet. Her body trembles with joy.
I have my fears, but she gives me courage to chase the things that I once thought were beyond me. And as our bodies play against each other in the heat of the bath, I thank Arashu for my siha, my love, the mother of my future children.