AN: I'm still chugging away at The Chosen and the Beloved, never fear! This was actually written about a million years ago; I uploaded it to my ao3 account and completely forgot about it. It's basically the result of me sitting staring into space for twenty minutes, trying to figure out what the in-universe reasoning for the change in power mechanics would be.

Also, because Shepard and Wrex are eternal bros until the end of time theirs is the best brotp of all brotps ok i'm going now enjoy the story bye


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Wrex has never met a human quite like Shepard before. As a whole, he'd realized during his time as a merc, humans are a lot like varren pups: too curious by far, and sure, their teeth can be sharp, but their scales are soft, and they're all bravado, more bark than bite.

But Shepard never barks. She thinks everything over, and if she can't talk or scare or smile her way out of a situation, then she'll bite, hard and without warning. She's difficult to predict and even harder to understand.

So when Wrex returns to the cargo bay to find his commanding officer sitting cross-legged in the middle of the open space, shrouded with the indigo un-light of biotics and grimacing in concentration, he's entirely unsure what to think.

When she catches him staring, she looks up and gives him a tired grin, all teeth. Between her outstretched hands is a wobbling field of distorted, glowing matter about a foot across, and it's clear that Shepard is expending a whole lot of energy to keep it there. Wrex regards her doubtfully.

"That's one of the tricks the asari uses, isn't it," he says, when it becomes apparent that she's not about to speak.

"It's supposed to be," says Shepard. She sounds almost rueful. "I haven't quite mastered it yet." There's humor in her voice, but also strain, and after a moment she rocks back, gasping, and lets the affectation go. "She tried to explain it, but it's harder than she makes it sound."

Wrex thinks about the times he's seen Shepard in battle, how she can fling a man thirty yards with only a glance and the swift slash of a hand— but only once or twice, before she falls back to her pistol and her omni-tool.

"Yeah, 'cause you fight like a krogan."

She looks up with that glint of mischievous amusement, the same one she wears when she's about to demand another tale of his so-called adventures.

"Isn't that a compliment?"

"Not when you're trying to fight like an asari," Wrex says.

Now she's outright smirking at him. Wrex smirks right back, and when Shepard realizes that neither of them is going to be the first to break the impromptu staring contest, she says, "gee, Wrex, I didn't know you had a blue, feminine side."

"All part of my mysterious charm," Wrex says, and Shepard bursts out laughing.

"All right," she says, still grinning at him with amusement. "You're the battlemaster here. Tell me something else I don't know."

This small, strange human has done more for Wrex than his family ever did. She laughs at his jokes; she speaks to him like a person, not like the Token Brutish Krogan that so many of his former employers have taken him for; and now she's asking for his help, because she legitimately respects him, because she's smart enough to know not to admit weakness to those stronger than her, but also smart enough to know to address it if it's there, and Wrex thinks that maybe the 'hardened mercenary' facade really could use a little rest. He lumbers over and offers her a hand, and she looks up at him with surprise, because while they've been friendly for a while now, it's just starting to feel like they might really be friends.

Then the look is gone and Shepard takes his proffered hand and hauls herself to her feet. "So teach me, wise teacher. Why can't I fight like a krogan and like an asari?"

"Because you use your biotics like you're taking a Kovalyov and beating your enemy over the head with it. It works in the end, and it's damn funny to watch—"

"—Hey!"

"—but it's inefficient, and it won't do you any favors when Saren turns up the heat," Wrex finishes, ignoring her good-natured protest. "You want to do impressive stuff, you have to be precise."

Shepard is watching him with her head tilted to one side: a nigh-universal gesture of intent consideration. Finally she narrows her eyes and smiles again, and when she speaks, he knows she's not just talking about advanced training.

"Looks like there's a whole lot to be learned from you, Wrex."