Diana Shepard stands at attention before the councilors. Of all the places she’d rather spend her time, the political nexus of the Citadel is the furthest from her mind.
Do they ever stop bickering? People died at Eden Prime. Good people. Soldiers.
The fate of humanity is being challenged. It’s her duty to step up and accept fate.
The first human Spectre.
The concept resonates within her, reverberating against her nerves and skin until she thinks she’s going to burst.
The first human Spectre. Not female. Not lesbian.
She beams confidence and determination.
Now it’s her turn to act.
Liara’s lost in thought as she familiarizes herself with the Normandy’s medical bay, restocking supplies with Doctor Chakwas.
With all the Prothean history swimming through her mind, Liara finds herself embarrassed at how little she knows about humans. She’s never considered them to be very interesting, almost primitive and trivial, but something in the way Shepard treats her makes the oversight feel incredibly foolish.
In a moment of free time, she finds herself thumbing through extranet articles: ancient history of Earth.
She leans forward when a familiar name flashes across the screen.
“Diana: Goddess of the Hunt. How … appropriate.”
With one last blast, Saren’s desecrated body falls to Shepard’s feet. She breathes a sigh of relief and flashes a thankful smile at Liara. Her approach is interrupted when the world falls in around them.
Liara doesn’t wait for the dust to settle before she flings herself into the pile of rubble and claws at it desperately. When biotic energy begins crackling around her, Tali leaps in to stop her, placing a hand on her shoulder. “If the wrong piece should fall, it would kill her.”
Liara sags against Tali with fear and frustration.
All they can do is wait.
Even in the midst of chaos and grand heroics, the figureheads still argue over who would be the best spokesman for the media. Shepard shakes Anderson’s hand apologetically and escapes from the debate as quickly as her feet will carry her.
As they board the Normandy, she sweeps Liara into her arms and proceeds to lay heated kisses upon her skin. She stammers when Tali giggles behind them.
Caught up in the adrenaline of survival, Shepard had completely forgotten the sibling crewmate was still present. “Oh, keelah! Tali...”
“It’s fine, Shepard. But I think Joker may need a cold reboot.”
Liara feels alone and vulnerable when Cerberus approaches her about the Lazarus Project. Shepard’s death tore a much larger hole in Liara’s soul than she’d ever anticipated, but if it means giving Shepard a fighting chance, she’s willing to sacrifice the rest of it.
The devil’s messenger delivers her darkness wrapped in hope and promises. Liara’s dedication to her lover is obvious, but Miranda’s vigilance for a complete stranger is a mystery that eludes and intrigues her.
Liara gasps as they bond. The deeper she digs into Miranda’s mind, the more she regrets the arrangement.
Shepard will never forgive her.
Shepard’s accustomed response to waking from a nightmare is to roll over and cling to Liara for comfort, but as she jolts out of slumber, there’s no such warmth to be found.
“Oh my God, Miranda. I think she’s waking up.”
Panic and fear swirl through Shepard’s hazy mind as blurry faces hover above her.
“Damn it, Wilson! She’s not ready yet. Give her a sedative!”
A dark haired woman places a soothing hand on her shoulder. “Shepard, don’t try to move. Just lie still. Try to stay calm.”
Shepard screams, horrified and angry, then loses her battle for consciousness.
7. Letting Go
Shepard broods in silence, unconsciously balling her fists, and stares out the viewport at the expanse of space. Freedom’s Progress could have been an everyday mission until Tali appeared.
Tali: the little sister of the ship that everyone protected. Tali: all grown up and leading her own people.
Tali refused her invitation. How could she expect her to accept? It has been two years. People move on.
Miranda watched her from the opposing bench. “Something on your mind, Shepard?”
“I just...” She wasn’t ready to let go yet. “I just need something to shoot.”
“I understand, Shepard.”
Everyone moved on.
Miranda confessed that she’d dedicated two years to reviving Shepard, studying her mind and body in order to perfect its restoration. It is difficult to interpret her watchful eyes and careful touch as anything other than desire.
Judging by the way Miranda brushes her gloved fingers over Shepard’s intricate scars, she must be feeling the same butterflies in her stomach.
Shepard draws her in slowly until their lips meet greedily. The next thing Shepard remembers is picking up the crap they knocked off her desk while exploring each other more thoroughly.
That, and the smell of her apple blossom shampoo.
Shepard motions for the crew to holster their weapons before she steps into Liara’s office. Liara’s eyes widen when she recognizes the ghost in her presence. “Oh, Diana!”
Shepard makes it half way to the desk before she’s caught up in Liara’s tearful embrace. “I’ve missed you, too.”
Liara reluctantly unwraps herself from Shepard as she inspects the team. Tali, she’s glad to see, but Miranda... “Oh.”
Shepard steps back, angling for a better perspective of the tension between the two women. “You two know each other?”
Liara crosses her arms against her chest, eyes narrowing. “You could say that.”
Whatever anger still lingering between Shepard and Miranda’s involvement with Cerberus evaporates when the Reaper abomination drags its supporting platform down to the abyss with it.
The floor cracks and shifts, falling out from under them, hurling Miranda off the edge. She screams as she’s airborne, her engineered perfection useless against fate, and grabs hold of the last remaining anchor to existence.
Her own balance precarious, Shepard catches Miranda’s hand and swears she’d rather fall than let the woman die alone. They slide to a halt and together they summon the last bit of strength to climb back to safety.
Shepard isn’t sure how to break the tension between the two women she’s invited to her quarters for post-victory celebration, but she figures uncorking a bottle of brandy can’t hurt.
Liara accepts her glass with a nod, glare unwavering. “A shame Shepard destroyed the Collector Base. I would have loved to have seen The Illusive Man’s reaction.”
Miranda knocks back her shot unhesitantly. “I tendered my resignation.”
Shepard and Liara raise their eyebrows in unison. “You quit?”
She nods, unapologetically. “I want to love the women I admire without perpetuating an agenda.”
“Bold move,” Liara concedes.
“To love!” Shepard toasts.
Liara takes Shepard’s hands in hers before they part, the bright lights of Illium twinkling like stardust. Regret creases her features. “I’m glad you’ve found someone to fight beside you.”
Shepard squeezes her hands. “I never stopped loving you, Liara.”
“Miranda’s intelligent and strong and beautiful,” Liara justifies, reassuring herself.
“Just like you.”
Liara sighs. “Where do you see this going, Shepard?”
Shepard grins. “Chaska. White picket fence. Little blue children.”
Shepard gently pulls her in closely. “I can’t do this without you,” she admits.
“You probably could.” Liara laughs in resignation. “But I won’t let you.”