Jane was at a loss for what to think. Over 300,000 dead. Johnny had tried to save them, but it had been too late. Sure she was useful in the prison, getting him in and the prisoner out. But after coming across the Reaper artifact, Jane felt like more of a hindrance. Her mind filling with similar horrible visions from the artifact. Visions that Johnny had refused to go into detail about when telling her about the hunt for Saren. And she was ashamed that even with a stim she was barely able stay coherent enough to help with the escape, at least she was able to hack the damn droid that got the door open. It must have been Johnny’s implants that cancelled out the sedation, though that hadn’t helped her.
Jane vaguely remembered being held by Garrus, but then woke up in the med bay with Johnny and Admiral Hackett. The officer was upset that Jane had gone along, but she had called him out on sending Johnny alone. That because of the lack of extra support they had been captured and lost valuable evacuation time. The Alliance officer commended them for the actions, even understood the severity of the decision to try to get a warning to the colony but he still had to take them in for a trial. All for his mistake in not being more forth coming or letting Johnny do things his way and this is how they were repaid.
And Garrus was gone, probably furious with her. Most of the crew had left taking the chance to escape the Alliance authority. The engineers stayed on, they were the only ones who knew how to handle the engine. Joker stayed on because EDI, pretending to be a VI, convinced the soldiers she would only answer to him. That was all that was left of the crew. Currently Jane was being watched by Johnny’s old team mate Alenko in the cargo hold of ship, restrained with omni cuffs on that she was pretty sure she could hack in a moment. If she cared enough to muster the energy to do so.
Alenko was leaning against the crates watching her. “You were with Shepard on Horizon, with the head wound right?”
Looking at him through the hair that had fallen out of her braid, Jane only nodded. Up till now she had been ignoring Alenko and his early suggestions of sitting in a chair he found and preferring the floor. She was scared and there was no comforting rumble from her mate near. Old training took over and she found a small corner and was taking a perverse comfort from the low hard surface. It was something familiar about being captive again.
“Must say, you lived up to your alias, Red Fury. You were quite a sight covered in all that blood.” Tilting his head Alenko studied her, and seemed determined to get her to speak. “Shepard never mentioned a sister.”
“Probably got tired of people telling him I was dead or soon would be as a slave.” She finally spoke, her voice was hard and cold sounding.
That made the soldier flinch, not much of stomach this one apparently, Jane thought to herself.
“Sorry, you must have been trapped for a long time.”
“Fourteen years. Don’t apologise,” she said, tired of pity. “Shit happens and Johnny already feels guilty that it was Garrus who eventually found me while he was dead. For the last few years I was treated well and the training I got from that engineer saved many lives.”
“So - Shepard was really dead?” Alenko asked as he uncrossed his arms, letting them hang at his sides.
“Yes, he has implants and scars to prove he was rebuilt. Just like it’s true that he only joined Cerberus to save the colonies, making sure to destroy the Collector base and the monstrosity they were creating instead of handing it over to the Illusive Man. He even managed to win the loyalty of the entire crew, did a better job with them than you I guess.” Jane was being rough on the dark haired man. He was being more civil now than when she first met him on Horizon. But she was scared and angry and he already hurt her brother so he was as good a target as any. Ken and Gabby were much better than him, they could have gone with the rest but they wanted to make sure the Normandy got to earth safely, not caring if they were arrested. They were loyal to Johnny, not Cerberus.
The rest of trip was silent as she pulled her knees to her chest and tried to bite back the tears, ignoring the honey colored looks from Alenko, and trying not to think of the bright blue eyes that were missing.
Earth was beautiful, it was Jane’s first time ever seeing it in person. Vancouver was much different than a small farm town or a hazy space station. Not that she was here for tourism. Surprisingly, Jane’s ‘Cell’ was more of a small apartment with a decent view of the large city. For the most part captivity was boring, after hacking the first data pad, all tech had been removed from the room. Now she was left with a couple of hard copy books and deck of cards that Vega was nice enough to bring by.
She liked him better than Alenko, Vega had a sense of humor and was successful in lightening the mood with jokes and little flirty comments. After working at the bar, she knew his type. Vega loved flirting but would easily get nervous if anyone flirted back. He spent more time working out his muscles than dating, his true love was his work as a soldier and it wasn’t uncommon for those like him to avoid most serious relationships. Thinking of Garrus, maybe there was a point to the no fraternization rule on human ships.
Unfortunately, Jane still wasn’t able to see her brother or send word to him or anyone for that matter. She couldn’t even get Vega to do it, he seemed to have a soft spot for her but had to refuse anytime she asked about Johnny. Jane even resorted to playfully threatening Vega, but he had a hard time believing she was a vigilante on Omega. Even decided Lola was a better nickname than Fury, but he never saw her on the battlefield. Jane knew she could be damn scary if someone pissed her off enough, fortunately Vega always managed to distract her before she could put the effort into it.
Jane did see Alenko a couple more times, he had been put in charge of her interview. By the end she would be pacing and occasionally hitting her head on the one way mirror not caring how silly it probably looked to others who were undoubtedly on the other side. Jane knew Alenko was making sure she didn’t leave anything out or try to change the story but god he was annoying. He even attempted small talk like Vega but ultimately failed at saying anything to make her loosen up. Of course sharing a bit of a sob story didn’t work on everyone to get them to open up. Alenko’s time at BAAT sounded horrible, but it was nothing like Jane’s time in batarian space. Not that Jane should be comparing, but it was hard to feel sympathy after living through worse.
Alenko asked about Cerberus and the Normandy, and Jane refused to give specific names of the crew, not wanting them to get in trouble. He asked about the Collector base, and she gave the exact details no matter how crazy they sounded, knowing Johnny was used to telling the fantastical, maybe if they heard it from multiple sources they would finally listen. He even tried ask about her time on Omega, more personal questions which she explained had no importance to the charges and refused to give him more than necessary.
Jane saw the look in his eyes, the way someone would look at a victim. She hoped it wouldn’t brought up but somehow the conversation would swing that way. Alenko felt sorry for her. That is why she loved her turian. Garrus didn’t feel sorry for Jane, he felt angry for her, protected her long enough until he gave her the tools to protect herself. She was never a victim with him, she just had more experience and quarks than most.
God she missed Garrus, Vega already got a black eye when he tried to wake her from a nightmare. Jane didn’t even bother to try and sleep in the bed, and instead pulled the sheets onto the floor. The whole idea of confinement was too difficult for her to handle without falling into some habits. And Garrus was the only one who successfully pulled her out of those episodes. He was probably upset she left without him, she knew he would be but she didn’t expect him to just leave without a word. And now there was no way to contact him.
The next day Alenko collected Jane to take her to a special tribunal. Seemed the authorities had no idea what to do with her. Jane technically helped in genocide but was thought to have been dead for well over a decade. The batarians wanted her shot or returned as their property, but the humans could never do that. Jane wasn’t military either and would not get the same treatment as her brother.
Entering the hall Jane found that while full, there were no reporters, instead seemed to be packed full of high ranking soldiers and politicians. Surrounding the table on the platform was Hackett with a couple other Alliance types, a couple more in just suits, and large projection of Anderson and Udina.
Calling the room to order a female officer started the meeting. “We are here today to discuss the unique situation of Jane Shepard, more specifically what charges would be appropriate and how she will be tried…”
Before the woman could continue the large doors opened again to reveal a turian in a dark suit and hood over his fringe, he strode purposefully into the room ignoring the guards and assistants following trying to speak with him quietly. But he continued forward, not bothering to reply.
The speaker stopped and those on the council watched as he came to stop level with Jane. She was stunned, the turian had similar coloring to Garrus, but slightly lighter and more worn plates, his eyes were a pale silver, and he was noticeably shorter and yet still managed to still tower over her. He even wore the slightly more elegant blue colony marks similar to Garrus’.
He stood straight at attention and announced to the room, “Is this the tribunal for Jane Shepard?”
Hackett raised an eyebrow, “We are still discussing what this meeting is exactly, but yes. And you sir?”
“I am her Advocate, Castis Vakarian.”
Over the halo image’s speakers they could hear Udina call out, “What is this nonsense?!”
The Anderson threw him a dirty look, “I am sorry Advocate, but how is it Miss Shepard has a turian representation?”
“She is a citizen of the Hierarchy.” He simply stated in a cool voice as the room went up in a roar.
Hackett appeared to have enough of the commotion and used his booming command voice to call the room to some form of order. Turning his hard blue gaze to the turian, he asked “Silence!... Mr. Varkarian, how is it a human is a citizen of your people?”
Jane’s eyes were so wide, it felt like they were bugging out. She was half expecting to be shot today, only to find herself standing next to her mate’s father, who never spared her glance since entering while he claimed she was part of the Hierarchy. She was going to love this explanation.
“As of three weeks ago she was married to Garrus Vakarian. I believe her new name is actually Jane Vakarian according to your tradition.”
Udina scoffed, “That is ridiculous, we have no records on her for decades.”
Taking it in his stride, the senior Vakarian continued, “I have the forms from my government showing the bonding and the citizenship to the planet Palaven and the city Cipritine, she has been given a client race tier equivalent to her mate.” He pulled out the documents and gave them to a guard to relay them to the table.
Hackett looked them over, “These look in order, but how do we know this marriage was legal?”
Vakarian’s, voice gave no opinion away one way or another about the series of questions as he explained, “I believe earth has an old set of customs regarding the law while at sea?” Hackett nodded and waved for the advocate to continue, “Then it is legal for the captain of a ship to perform a marriage ceremony in international waters. Three weeks ago Commander Shepard was captain of a human vessel in the terminus system, which could be considered international waters or space, and he performed such a ceremony between Garrus Vakarian and Jane Shepard. We have witness and vids showing such.”
While Hackett’s hand covered his mouth, Jane could still see the wrinkles of smile around his eyes as he hid the reaction. Anderson spoke up in a relaxed tone, “I do believe he is right. Steven.”
Senior Vakarian nodded like it was nothing, “And as a citizen of the Hierarchy it is up to us to deal with her involvement of the Alpha relay and her involvement in the events prior.”
Udina started to get upset again and before he could get too loud Anderson yelled over him, “I think he is correct, I’ll leave it up to your review board Steven, Anderson out.” And the halo turned off.
Collecting up the documents Hackett looked down at Jane with a look of relief, “Thank you Advocate for making this board’s job easy. We will of course turn over Miss Shep -- sorry, Mrs. Varkarian over into your care. We will need her on the planet to be witness for her brother’s trial, so I recommend you take her somewhere safe. A guard will bring her belongings shortly.”
The turnian nodded to Hackett, “Of course Sir, please contact me with the details and I’ll make sure my client is present.”
Finally the advocate turned to the flabbergasted Jane, she had a hard time understanding what just happened, “Jane I believe? Not exactly how I imagined meeting my daughter-in-law, I believe is the term. But I think we should go,” he took her elbow leading her out. “There is a very upset turian out there who may well try to kill the guard carrying items with your scent.”
“Um, yes sir. Thanks.” Was all she managed to get out.
Outside the hall, he turned Jane toward a private alcove where she saw Garrus pacing. Without thinking she broke out into a run at him. Garrus must of recognized her steps because he turned and caught her, pulling her up close, breathing in her hair deeply before nipping at her lips.
“I’m so sorry Jane, I should have stayed, found out what happened.” His voice was higher pitched, broken sounding.
Jane smiled, her joy pushing aside the anger and hurt momentarily, “You got me out of here now. We’re together, we can deal with it.” And after saying it, she knew they could.
They turned when they heard a quiet curse, and saw Vega standing with a couple of bags, “Damn Lola, didn’t know you had thing for turians.”
Garrus pulled her closer and started growling at the large marine. Jane slapped him on the chest and he let her go reluctantly. “He’s was nice, so you be nice,” She whispered to him before turning to the bulky man. “Lieutenant, what can I do for you?”
“Sorry, miss, I was told to bring down your belongings. Managed to get your armor but they wouldn’t allow me to get your weapons.” He handed her the large case sounding sad, he knew Jane had a lovely black widow, oh how she loved that gun. “And here is your clothing and jewelry you came with.”
Jane snapped up that small bag finding her locket, taking a moment to place it back on. She had not explained to anyone the healing bite her shoulder was, the only thing she had been able to keep of Garrus. But she had missed her locket, just another reminder of the turian behind her, their team, and her brother. “Thanks Vega, you’re not half bad for a babysitter.” She stuck out a hand, “Look after Johnny for me?”
He shook her hand with a firm grip, “Sure thing Lola, Loco won’t get into any trouble on my watch.”
Jane flashed him a smile and turned back to her husband and father-in-law. “So where now?”
It turned out the Vakarians took Jane’s safety seriously, and where Jane found out, was the turian embassy. Garrus wrapped an arm around her in the skycab but his father warned them to save all discussion until they were sure there were no bugs or other surveillance listening.
The embassy was a large well protected human style building not far from where Jane had spent the past couple weeks. Most of the furniture was for turians, large with lots of cushions, but they seem to embrace the more human extravagant architecture for the structure itself. It made for an interesting combination. She was led to a room that already held Garrus’ armor and gear, even though he hadn’t been allowed to wear it in the government building, he had still kept it with him.
Closing the door the lighter turian turned to the pair. “That went as well as could be expected. We are lucky that your brother was so clever.”
“What do you mean, sir?” Jane asked puzzled, sure Johnny was a brilliant tactician on field, but she had never seen him pick up a law book as a child and for the most part he seemed to defer to guns to solve everything.
“Please, call me Castis, we are family.” Castis corrected, before he turned and sat at the desk, while Garrus let Jane go in order to put her meager items away. “The Commander wasn’t just eccentric insisting on a human wedding on the ship. He guessed that something may go wrong and you would have to deal with human authorities. Up until working for Cerberus you were thought dead, it would look bad in any court.”
Garrus came back and pulled Jane to sit down with him on a small couch and explained. “Once I figured out what had happened I contacted my father and we found the loophole that the Commander made so we could push through paper work on Palaven.”
Jane couldn’t help but relax into her mate’s touch, for the first time she was not vibrating with nervous energy. Looking between the two, she asked, “So what now, after I give my testimony I’ll be tried on your planet?”
Castis nodded, “Yes, but our views in this case are very different. In turian law the superior officer is expected to take the punishment for a bad mission and decisions made. It is not considered the fault of the subordinate. I am sure whatever the Alliance decides for Commander Shepard, the Hierarchy will find it acceptable and leave you be.”
“So I’m off? Just like that? While Johnny is put in front of a firing squad?” Jane asked, feeling bile raise in her throat.
Garrus gripped her shoulder in support as Castis shook his head continuing, “No, chances are that Admiral already has a plan on how to appease the Batarians while only giving the Commander a slap on the wrist so to speak. You sneaking onto the mission is what really put a wrench in the legal works. But your brother planned well.”
Jane dropped her head in her hands and let out a breath, so much in one day. So many fears smoothed. Not being able to stand the situation she slipped out of Garrus’ hold to sit on the floor, the hard surface and felt more grounded. She heard Castis excuse himself and Garrus sat with her and pulled her into his lap, long arms wrapping around her securely.
“I am so sorry Jane. I should have never left.” He spoke softly into her hair.
She nuzzled into his cowl against his neck. “I should have just told you, if we had one more we may have held them off. Saved that colony.”
“You had no way of knowing how the mission was going to turn. I would have preferred to be there, but.. I understand. Just, don’t do it again? I don’t like not being able to watch your six.” his arms tightened around her, warming her up for the first time in weeks.
Jane nodded, “I promise, it felt terrible for me too, almost as if I was sick. I thought non turian couples didn’t get the same feelings as turian couples did?”
Garrus shrugged, “It can vary I guess. I’m just glad you’re here.” After a few moments, “We are going to have to fill Dad in on all the details. I think he is starting to believe me. He can put us in contact with someone in the Hierarchy that will listen and hopefully do something. While Shepard is tied up in this we’ll need to try to prepare. Alpha relay was too close.”
Jane sat up and looked into Garrus’ blue eyes, “I help where I can. Think anyone will take a human Cipritinian seriously?”
He chuckled, “If you get angry and yell enough, yes.”
Garrus was having a hard time concentrating on anything when he and his father headed to Earth. It was his first time there but all he could think of was getting to Jane. Waiting the single night before the trial had been nerve wracking. He’d spent most of it staring at the building Jane was being held trying to remind himself why he couldn’t just go and break her out.
With Shepard, Garrus had learned there were times you needed to break the rules. He had been shocked at his father’s discovery of the Commander’s clever loophole, and gave him a new appreciation for following the rules. This way Garrus could save his mate, and not have to be on the run for the rest of their lives.
Feeling her shiver, Garrus had an idea. During their honeymoon, Jane had introduced him to the joys of a bath. Not being able to swim, no turian in their right mind would have gotten in one, but where Jane was involved… Well Garrus had very little self control.
Luckily this was a human designed building, and the interior designers had included the tubs without thinking of who would be occupying the room. He raised his omnitool and the sound of water came from the tub as it began to fill.
The sound drew Jane’s attention and she cocked her head at him in question. Spirits, she had even started picking up turian mannerisms. “I thought you would like to get freshened up. Try to relax a little.”
Carrying Jane with him, Garrus moved them to the tub only setting her down to remove their clothing. Slipping in the warm water he pulled her to sit in between his legs. There was plenty of room for her to sit by herself, but there was no way he was going to allow that. It wasn’t only for her comfort he suggested the bath, but part of him was upset that her scent was so different, likely do to different soaps and environment. But the sooner he removed the unknown scents, the happier he’d be.
At first Jane hissed at the heat, it was a touch warmer than she liked, but she adjusted quickly. For now Garrus focused on running his hands lightly over her skin. Garrus wasn’t going to push for more, he wasn’t sure exactly where they stood after he had left her. But he wasn’t able to stop from enjoying the closeness his body had been craving for since the start of the Alpha Relay incident.
Garrus tried to leave it at that, but Jane had thrown her head back on his shoulder and was making small sounds of enjoyment that were thoroughly distracting. Groaning he shifted his hips a little to relieve some of the pressure of her soft ass on his plates. As his hand ghosted over Jane’s nipples and her waist, and traveled lower as her legs fell open in invitation. He told himself he would wouldn't push but her needy sounds quickly changed his mind.
Garrus found himself purposefully avoiding her center and Jane became even more demanding with the short thrusts of her hips. When Jane growled in frustration she lowered her own hand to take care of it herself, and a more dominate side of Garrus took over.
He growled darkly in return and took the wrists of both her hands in one of his and held them away from their bodies and continued his teasing. Part of Garrus wanted to see how far he could take her, how long it would be before Jane was begging for release. For he needed her permission before going any farther, to know he could be forgiven.
Garrus’ free hand kept up its almost lazy, but carefully controlled stroking, always avoiding where Jane wanted most. At one point, he drifted back up to pinch her nipples and was rewarded with a choked sob.
“Please,” Jane hissed.
Garrus let out a rumble of pleasure and ran his tongue over the edge of her ear. “Yes Jane?”
“God, I need… I need more,” she gasped.
The thought of her begging Garrus for something only he could give was a huge turn on. But he need to know for sure. “What do you need?” Garrus kept his voice calm, ignoring his twitching member, now out and caught between their bodies.
Jane was so frustrated, she almost screamed and cried out, “I need you to fuck me. Turn me over and take me like a turian!”
That was all he needed. Using speed he normally reserved for the mats flipped their positions and half lifted Jane out of the tub, keeping hold of her hands above her and bent her over the edge. Now she was stretched out below him, the muscles in her back rippling as she squirmed to get any touch that could help.
Garrus’ free hand clamped on Jane’s hip to keep her still as his lined himself up. Quickly he thrust into her dripping core, the first time she felt any touch there and she came instantly. Garrus hissed as he rode it out, determined not to fall over the edge with her this time. As Jane quieted down, he started to move again. Garrus could never tire of Jane, someone as small as her should never be able to fit him, yet she always did as if she were made for him.
He must of said it out loud, because Jane began to laugh which constricted muscles that did interesting things to him. Speeding up Garrus now sought his release, now he was pounding into her and she stopped laughing and was crying out in pleasure. As she lost it again and he came with roar. Garrus fell across her back and tried to catch his breath. He could only thank the Spirits he did knot again. He didn’t want to have to wait it out, but that didn’t mean Garrus hadn’t thoroughly enjoyed himself this time, and judging from the sounds coming from the soft body below him so did Jane.
Sighing the pair got out of the tub and gently dried each other off before laying down. They spent the rest of the night holding each other and sharing their stories.
Work is going to be running late so you all get this chapter twelve hours early. Thanks for the comments and fed back, it's been helping me make final decisions on the second half of this part. Enjoy!
Jane gave her testimony over the next couple days, for the most part, the Vakarian men stayed with, making sure no one tried to approach and bother her with questions or comments. Which Jane was grateful for. Not only was the marriage looked down on, some felt like she had cheated to get out of punishment. She would never let others make her feel bad about her decision, however, this whole technicality felt like she was cheating.
Near the end of her part of the trial, Jane found herself alone for the first time since before this all began. Not that sitting the busy hall was truly alone, but Garrus went to find them some food and Castis had to step away for a call. Not wishing to allow her dark thoughts to take over, Jane looked out of the window, letting her mind go blank. At least until Alenko found her.
“Hello, Major,” Jane tried to maintain a sense of courtesy.
“So, you and Garrus.” It was more of a statement than a question as he took the seat next to her.
Jane tried to not sound defensive, “Yes.” His words were nicer than other reporters, but the tone was similar enough.
“I would think that would be something you’d mention in the interviews.” Alenko almost sounded like he was pouting. Like they had become best of friends while she was basically his prisoner? Well, that kind of happened with Vega, but he hadn’t been one of her brother's friends that turned his back on them.
“It was personal, and I didn't think would affect your investigation.” Being stuck in those interviews and courtrooms had trained Jane to leave the emotion out of her responses and keep everything focused on the facts.
“Looks like it did.” Alenko sighed and crossed his arms. “I guess I have a hard time understanding how you wanted something so far from your own kind, after being held captive for so long. And no man would have left you to be arrested by the Alliance.”
Now the soldier had pushed too far, Jane was a big girl and didn’t always need a knight in shining armor and if she did it would be a specific turian in blue armor she had outfitted herself. “You have no right to say that. I got off that slaver ship on my own, Garrus only made sure I survived to see the next day. He is my partner on and off the field, not my bodyguard. My mate, my choice.”
The iciness in her voice took the Major by surprise and he took a breath to respond when someone cleared their throat. Looking up they found Castis watching, head tilted slightly in curiosity. “Major,” he nodded to Alenko.
Alenko stood, fell to attention and replied back, “Advocate.”
“It is probably best if you go back to your duties,” Castis suggested in a careful tone. The human nodded and left while Castis took the vacant seat. “Glad to see my son chose his mate well.” Jane only smiled and ducked her head, she was still nervous around the older Vakarian. “But they must have seen your bond mark, why did none of them realize?”
Jane shrugged, not wanting to bring up Garrus leaving. It had even made her question the validity of the bonding some days and instead gave the cultural reason. “Human’s use rings to show marriage, to them the mark is another scar.” Castis raised his brow plates but didn’t add anything.
Jane never got to give Johnny a real goodbye or message, but he gave her a nod and relieved smile on that last day. She could go to Palaven knowing he’d be ok. Garrus’ father looked to be correct, the trial was all for show, nothing bad would happen to the hero of the Citadel.
The trip to the turian homeworld was not that long, and to be honest, Jane was excited to get to see it. Garrus told her a few stories of his childhood, the only downside was she couldn’t feel the sun on her skin like he could. Jane would have to wear an enviro suit outside do to the low yet harmful radiation. It didn’t help that she must have gotten sick again, her insides were cramping and feeling bloated. Maybe being planetside for a long period after years with artificial hadn’t agreed with her.
Cipritine was a huge city that sat in a valley surround by high mountains, and the trees and fauna reminded Jane of some of the plants from the Citadel, in particular near the Council Chambers. Everything seemed to be on fire or shining in silver and purples. It was so different from the lush green world she’d known all her childhood or the metal hulls of her adulthood.
Garrus’ family home was on a small bit of land, enough to have a treeline separating them from neighbors. The house itself was a simple single floor home with large windows, surrounded by a large blooming garden. Entering Jane saw the inside was comfortable and simple, nothing extravagant like the embassy but instead worn in with familiarity. There was a female turian, with darker plates and familiar blue eyes who greeted them enthusiastically. She bumped foreheads affectionately both the male Vakarians before turning to Jane, who was working on getting her helmet off.
“So you’re Jane, how my brother managed to get you as his bondmate is beyond me.” Her mandibles were flared in a smile. “I’m Solana, or Sol, welcome to our home.”
Jane nodded trying to smile back, still feeling queasy and nervous. “Thanks for having me.”
Solana put a hand on her shoulder and led her down the hall, “Of course, please go change. Mom is having a good day and is looking forward to meeting you.”
Garrus guided her the rest of the way to what Jane realized was his room. The blues screamed Garrus, did that turian like any other color? She must have said it out loud because he laughed and ran his talons through her hair, “Well, I am becoming fond of red as well.”
Sighing Jane started to change. Something had been bugging her for awhile now and knew they needed to talk and this was one of the few times that they were really alone. “Garrus, before. You weren’t exactly kicked off the ship were you?”
He slouched on the bed head in his hands. “No. I was angry. After everything we’ve been through, we were married but you left me to go into danger without even telling me. Separation right after bonding is hard for turians. It hurt, almost physically.” He ran a hand down his chest and waist as if the pain lingered. “So when I knew you were safe I left, Spirits it still hurt but I got it in my head that you would only ever follow Shepard, he would always come first.” Still refusing to look at her, “I’m sorry, I was stupid.”
Jane finished pulling up her pants, she knelt between his legs and cupped either side of his face, “You were right to be angry, it was a stupid thing for me to not tell you. It’s no longer just me, no Shepard without Vakarian, right? I figured it was a quick infiltration gig, but I won’t underestimate a mission again. But you can’t go running off assuming everything.” Bumping her head with his, she whispered. “I love you, Big Guy.”
Garrus rumbled back, “I love you, Red.” Both chuckled at the old nicknames. He took a long sniff before dropping his mouth to her shoulder and mark. “How is it you smell even better than I remember?” He murmured into her skin.
Jane laughed giving him a quick kiss before they stood, “Probably because I’ve only had your soap for showers.” She pulled the door open and dragged him out before he could get any ideas.
They found Vakarian matriarch in a type of wheelchair in the kitchen seemed to be making a warm drink on a stove. Whatever it was, it filled the room with something similar to cinnamon. The frail looking turian turned and looked at them with dreamy hazel, whose plating was a darker gray. It was clear Solana was a copy of her mother and gave Garrus the darker hints to his plating. Jane felt a pang of sadness, those eyes probably used to be as clear and sharp as his but now they were clouded with her sickness.
Garrus had mentioned wanting to return home to see his mother after leaving Omega. He had some contact with Solana while on the Normandy, and during his absence, their mother’s health had deteriorated. He hadn’t told Jane the full extent because no one could be sure if they would return and he didn’t want to cause any more pain if he didn’t.
“Jane, good you brought my son back from war.” The turian matron reached for Jane’s hand and gripped it tightly.
The redhead froze not sure what she meant, but Solana jumped in, “This is our mother, Terra,” in a low voice she added, “Sometimes she gets confused, she thought Garrus was away at war.” Jane shared a look with him, his mother wasn’t too far off, but he had warned her that only his father knew some of what had happened.
Jane pushed the thought away, “It’s good to meet you, Terra. Thank you for letting me stay.”
She joined Garrus at the table, and Solana started handing out the drink that their mother had worked on. “Jane, we have some Levo drinks as well. Garrus made sure to have some delivered.”
“Thanks, but I would really like to try that, I’ve never seen it before.”
The sister was surprised by the request but humored Jane and got her a cup too, “So, how did my thick-headed brother get a nice girl like you?”
“What can I say, after scaring him out of his sniper’s perch it was love at first sight,” Jane replied calmly thinking back to Butcher’s take on the slaver ship rescue attempt.
Sol tried not to choke while Garrus groaned into his cup, Jane busied herself by trying the spicy warm drink. It was absolutely lovely and nothing like the drinks she served at the bar. Judging by the rumblings from Garrus, he must have really missed it after being gone for so long.
“Sol, the first thing you should learn about Shepards, none of them are nice.” Garrus gave Jane a pointed look after she scoffed before continuing, “I was in the middle of a mission to rescue slaves from a cargo ship when she ran into my scope screaming like a war demon covered in blood.”
Sol eyed her, but Jane only shrugged, “What can I say, you were taking your sweet time.” Quoting a line from when she returned the favor.
“Wait, it’s true, you were a slave before?” Sol asked.
Jane put down the cup, normally people avoided using the s-word, but she was happy to see Sol wasn’t. It was a little refreshing considering how many of the human representatives during the trial had trouble with it. “Yes, every since the attack on Mindoir I was in Batarian space. After I recovered from the escape, or rescue depending how you look at it, I worked on Omega station as a bartender and an assistant at a tech shop. Then Garrus got tired of paying for his drinks and hired me as his armorer so no one else could have them.”
Sol’s jaw dropped as she looked at Garrus, who refused to meet her gaze. “My brother manage to bond with someone he rescued, made his drinks, and likes guns as much as he does. Talk about a dream come true.”
“She only wants my sniper rifle.” He muttered good-naturedly.
“Only because the Alliance took my Black Widow,” Jane grumbled back.
Both the turian females laughed at the exchange. Terra gripped her son’s arm, “She’s got a fire in her and not just her fringe. Good thing son, Vakarian men always need someone to keep them in line.”
Jane smiled as she saw a faint blue blush creep up Garrus’ neck.
The next couple of weeks were hell. For now, Jane was under house arrest until more progress was made on Johnny’s trial. Jane tried to keep busy, helping Sol around the house and with Terra. Some days the older female was lively and chatty telling stories of Garrus and Sol as fledglings. Those made Jane’s heart clench, she hoped someday to have a family like theirs. Lord, she hadn’t realized how much she missed that part of her life. On the bad days, they would sit quietly and stare out at the garden, answering any questions the confused older female had.
At least Garrus was making progress, using his family’s connections he was able to speak with different officials, to convince them to prepare some way for the Reapers. Some were starting to listen, luckily her husband was persistent if anything.
On one of the better days Terra was showing her how to make the spicy drink her children liked, it was called Kila and was made from a substance not too different from coconut milk with a few other spices. Jane was concentrating on stirring the slight simmering mixture when Sol leaned on the counter next to her. “So, are you going to take up the colony marks?”
Jane shot her a confused look, “What? I thought only turians were allowed to.”
“Well, you are an official citizen of Cipritine. That includes rights to wear the marks, didn't Dad tell you?” Sol asked, sounding confused that she had to explain such a simple concept.
“He didn’t really go into too many details. Wouldn’t it upset others? I am human, even if part of the Hierarchy.” Jane pulled the Kila off the heat, the small bubbles showing it was done.
Sol shrugged reaching for some mugs for them, “Some of the ruder ones, yes, but to be honest when this farce of a house arrest is over you will be working with Garrus as another advisor, I’m sure. You may be taken more seriously if you wear them. It’ll show that you take respect our culture and care for the people.”
“Aren’t they applied with acid? Not sure my skin could take that.” Jane winced, sure she was used to pain but did not have a desire to seek it.
“You could use paint, that’s what fledglings do until they come of age,” Sol suggested. “You won’t get in trouble, I know Dad fought to get you the best citizen placement possible. At first, they gave him a lot of trouble, but he was able to convince some of his friends to listen.”
“Really?” Castis didn’t seem to dislike her, but he was always buried in work when not speaking quietly every evening with Terra. The first time Jane glimpsed it she was taken aback, it was just so sweet. She knew that Garrus felt like he was nothing like his father, but Jane saw it. They were so much alike they would always butt heads. The tenderness his parents showed was the same Garrus had shown Jane when she was at her lowest.
“Yes, you should think about it,” Sol commented before leaving with one of the mugs of Kila, not even asking if there had been enough for her to have one.
And Jane did think about it, it would help her for sure, and it after a little more research she got a wicked idea for a surprise but Jane would need to get back in touch with Jack whenever she got a chance to leave the planet.
A very embarrassing mistake got pointed out in the first part, so I released a bunch of updates. To make up for it, here is a nice long chapter a few days earlier.
Thanks for reading!
While Jane had settled into the Vakarian household, she was still feeling sick and they were all starting to notice. The few times Garrus tried to entice her for some fun in bed she had to turn him down. God she wanted him but her guts were still squirming and did nothing to help the mood. Finally he had enough of her discomfort and managed to get a meeting arranged with Mordin, worried that something had happened since Omega Relay.
So now they were on the Citadel, standing in the front of the hospital waiting for the salarian. To be honest Jane was feeling better, but she didn’t want Garrus worrying. Soon she spotted Mordrin’s lopsided horns over the crowd and she rushed to greet him.
“Mordin how are you?”
“Good, good. Time for personal projects, but miss Normandy’s lab. Equipment is not as advanced now. Glad to hear you were able to get out of Alliance custody, not fair to Shepard. So what’s this about your sickness?”
Jane’s head reeled, she forgot he could get so wound up. “Uh, yeah. Do you have somewhere private we could go? Don’t really want to do scans out in front of everyone.”
The red salarian blinked, “Yes, of course. An old colleague is lending me a room here, come.”
Inside they were waved through the waiting room when the staff saw Mordin, it seemed as though they were expected and it wasn’t an unusual occurrence. The door opened to an exam room and Mordin motioned Jane to jump up on the table. When settled he selected an instrument and took a blood sample. He let the terminal run it while he ran his medical omnitool over her.
The salarian hummed to himself, sounding intrigued, when the terminal beeped he turned to look at it, “Interesting.”
Garrus was getting nervous, shifting his weight, “What is it Mordin?”
“Oh, looks like Collectors made changes to her genome were to repair Jane’s body.” He stepped back to the table, “Common for batarians to use operations to sterilize slaves. When I first treated Jane she was missing reproductive organs. They have appeared to have grown back.”
Jane froze, she’d known since she first became a slave she would never have children, not many owners wanted to deal with pregnancies. After a couple years she didn’t want to, what would happen to a child brought up there? But now, after spending time in Garrus childhood home, Jane found herself watching families longingly.
“So, I could have children now?” Jane asked quietly. Garrus wrapped his hands on her shoulders and rubbed them.
The doctor nodded, “Yes, everything things seems normal, in a few more weeks it should be fully developed. Your amino levels are odd though, have you’ve been eating or drinking dextro based nutrient?”
“Uhh, yes.” Jane replied guiltily, “Kind of hard to resist when on a dextro world. But I’m eating plenty of levo food.”
“Good, as long as there is no reaction. You should be feeling better soon now the organs are mostly finished growing back and as you adjust to the hormones, if anything gets worse just contact me. I’ll be forwarding my notes to Dr. Chakwas just in case you need another opinion. She is at this hospital now.”
The pair thanked Mordin and remained in the room after he left. Garrus came to stand in front of her, pulling up her chin to look in her eyes, “I didn’t think you wanted children.”
Jane sighed and lifted her shirt showing the vertical scar on her lower abdomen, it was one of the oldest and barely visibly, it was one of the first she got when she was processed. Garrus carefully traced it with a blunted talon. “After going through all that pain, I was happy they did it. No one, let alone a child, should go through what I did. Damn it I was a child…” Tears pricked at her eyes and Garrus held her hands tightly. “But being with your mom and sister, hearing stories of you all growing up every day. I want more than just fighting by your side. I do want a safe galaxy, a home with kids. I just hate that now I can have them, they wouldn’t be yours.”
Garrus gathered her in his arms and she felt his comforting purr. “Jane, any children we have will be ours, how we have them doesn’t matter. Now I just have even more to fight for.”
Of course Garrus would be supportive of this, not hold it against her. Jane really was extremely lucky, even if the Reapers were coming she had found love and support. She pulled him in for a deep kiss, her soft tongue tangle with his rough one. He let out a small growl, the poor turian was probably very frustrated as of late.
Pulling away Jane smiled at him, “Now I need to run a private errand.”
Garrus raised a brow plate, “You know you are still supposed to be under watch, if you were to try to run I would get in trouble,” he said jokingly
“Oh Bright Eyes, if I were to run it would be to make getting caught fun. I’m sure you’d have an entertaining punishment.” Jane giggled as his eyes glazed over, “But I do have to go.”
She slipped off the table and managed to avoid his grasp, “You’re really going to leave me to my own devices like this?” He asked, a pleading tone in his voice.
“Oh yes, because I know I am a better dancer than all the ones you could find on the Citadel.” Jane smiled at his groan as she left him behind. Now it was time to go find Jack and her contact.
Garrus waited at the shuttle transport going over the medical appointment in his head. He never thought to ask why Jane did not want a family. He didn’t care if they adopted krogan, they would all be their children. But seeing her face when she asked about having her own, he realized just how important it was.
For awhile he could only try to imagine her swollen pregnant belly. He had seen pregnant humans while working in C-Sec, and was worried at first. It was hard to imagine they could stretch that much. He wouldn’t mind having a human male donor as long as it was artificial, but it would have to wait. They had to deal with the Reapers first and see if there was any place left to raise a family.
Garrus fingered the boxes in his hand. While waiting he hadn’t remained idle. After Jane had come to Palaven his father had forwarded some reading material on human marriage customs. He hadn’t looked too closely before, relying on what Shepard had told him. Now Garrus understood the purpose of exchanging rings and realized that it might be one of the small reasons everyone was so surprised to find Jane had married.
Garrus did some searching and found a suitable jeweler on the Citadel, one who was able to make his idea come to life and create a suitable design for turian hands. Overall it may seem unnecessary but the check up that morning only went to prove that he needed to be clear that he married her and her culture, not just her becoming part of his turian family.
There was a flash of red, looking up Garrus spotted Jane walking toward him side by side with Jack, both laughing. “Hey there cop. Did you get a doughnut?” The biotic asked in a sarcastic voice.
Garrus cocked his head, “What?”
Jane laughed, “Human joke. Thanks Jack, it was good catching up. And I think you should go for the school offer.”
“Will do, girl scout.” She gave a mock salute to both of them and wandered off.
Garrus looked down at Jane, “Do I want to know the trouble you two got up to?”
Jane only smiled, “Maybe later.”
Before going to the transport Garrus pulled Jane into a secluded section of the dock, one of the more garden like areas. He took a breath, it almost felt like after the Collector base when he last asked. “Jane, you’ve done so much for my family and supporting my government in attempts to prepare. I just want you to know that this bond has meant everything to me, but I am here to support you and your culture.”
Lowering to one knee he opened her box and her hands came up to cover her mouth. “Jane Vakarian, will you do me the honor for being my wife?” Inside was a titanium band with a blue stripe along the middle. The same blue was his colony marks.
Jane let out a breathy giggle as she leaned down to kiss him, “Of course you big idiot, your wife and your bondmate.”
With swell of pride Garrus placed the ring on her hand where he was told it went. Standing he gave her a hug showing the one he got himself. It was much larger, but same titanium with a stripe of red like her hair. It was a reminder of Jane, like the blue was of him. A piece of each other that could be carried always. She laughed at it but made it clear she loved them and appreciated the gesture. With that they got on the transport to go home.
They got back to Palaven in the morning and were welcomed by the Vakarian women, both happy to hear Jane was doing just fine. Garrus excused himself, he had another meeting to talk about a possible task force.
The meeting soon lead to another and another, but at least they were getting somewhere. They agreed form to a task force led by him and Jane would be second in command. Their job was to prepare supplies and strategies for possible attacks and the evacuations needed. Now he would have to start looking to the rosters to pick out possible recruits. Finally he was getting something done.
Entering the house Garrus found most of the lights turn off, everyone seemed to have gone to bed but he could see a light coming from his room. Quietly stepping in he found Jane already sleeping with her back to the door, and a plate of food sitting on the desk. He hummed in disappointment. She had tried to wait up for him. With today’s progress, they would put an end to this house arrest and let her actually do some work. While Jane had grown close to his family and they had in turn loved her, but she still needed something productive to do. Garrus put the thoughts aside, and started to wolf down the food when she shifted and rolled toward him.
Garrus eyes locked on her face. It was it’s usual beautiful sleeping self but she now wore the bold blue marks of his home city. In many of his private fantasies Garrus imagined what they would look on her face, but was never completely sure Jane would be allowed to wear them or would even want to once she was a citizen.
Forgetting his food, Garrus stalked to the bed, sat down next to her and barely traced his talon along the marks. They were made with paint like the kind he had before he turned fifteen and had them permanently done. Her green eyes fluttered open and seeing him she smiled and arched up stretching, “Hey you.”
“This is new,” was all he managed to say, it looked better on her than he imagined. Jane had been able to keep their true shape while getting them to mold to her face in an intriguing manner.
“Sol helped me work out the design, I figured it’s about time I practiced wearing it. Might help get a little respect around here when I have to deal with other turians. And that you’d like it. Don’t think I never noticed you tracing where they would go.” She gave him a lazy smoldering smile.
Garrus let a rumble of pleasure out and leaned pressing his mouth plates to her lips, kissing her deeply, one that would make her toes curl. Hearing her deep sigh, he pulled away he let Jane see the heat in his eyes. “It’s unusual for a mate to take their partners colony marks, but not unheard of if they didn’t have their own. You’re right though, I always wanted to see it.” But he had enough talking, now he started nipping and licking at her neck, enjoying her soft sighs as Jane stretched to give him better access.
Jane’s hand came up to start unbuckling his tunic, pushing it away. He pulled back to lift her thin top and took in the sight of her once odd, but pleasing chest. A flash of color made him pull back. Wrapped around her thin waist was a stylized blue tattoo that was obviously based of the colony marks decorating their faces. A thrill of desire went through him, Jane knew his species was attracted to waists like her’s was attracted to breasts, but this was so much more.
Tattoos on turians were rare, they didn’t have much soft hide was available, and for it to be his colony marks as if showing Jane was Garrus’ alone? It was much more sexual and deviant than the bonding mark and it drove him wild.
Garrus’ hand came down to touch the new marks, drinking them it. While there were still some raised scars from her time as a slave, the new color had not changed the overall smooth and silky texture. As his talons skimmed her sides, Jane let out a giggle. “From what I read this is an equivalent to a nipple piercing for you or some such thing. Jack was very kind in helping me find an artist on the Citadel.”
Garrus could only rumble his pleasure and he dipped his head to lap at her newly inked skin. The sensation caused Jane to forget whatever she was about to say, her hands tangled with his fringe pulling at it and scratching the sensitive underside.
But it was too much, normally Garrus would allow her as much control as she needed. But to come home, find her in his bed, covered in his own colony marks, and bond mark. He needed to take control and play out one of his fantasies. Standing he went to a set of drawers, digging until he came across an old pair of omni cuffs from his C-Sec days. Jane was sitting up on the bed watching but not saying anything. Going back to the bed he firmly took her wrists and pulled them to the head board. Pausing he looked into her eyes, making sure she would be alright, while there was a shadow of fear, her head nodded with the bare amount of movement. If it became too intense he knew she would tell him or she would hack the cuffs, it was well within her power.
Locking Jane’s wrists above her head Garrus sat back, talons grazing her sides as he gazed at her muscled body stretched out for him. Green eyes blazing over the blue marks on her cheeks, lower other blue marks decorating her waist. She had given herself completely to him. The walls were thick enough, he could do anything he wanted to her and no one would hear. The thought of the power Jane entrusted to him was maddening, Garrus did have a possessive and dominant side and relished in it when she allowed. But he would never hurt her, no he enjoyed giving her more pleasure than she ever thought she could handle. And tonight he would show how grateful he was for this trust.
After stroking and teasing her skin, he moved up to sit above her chest. Jane smirked at him as he rubbed his member over her lips. “Open”
She obeyed and went farther, taking his tip into her mouth and sucked. Garrus let out a hiss as he enjoyed it for a moment before threading a hand in her hair, pulling her forward to take more of his cock. Not that Jane could take much of it at this angle. But it was enough. It wasn’t long before her talented tongue drove him to distraction.
Moving back into position Garrus found she was already dripping, and pulled her thighs over his hips making her back arch and rest her weight on her shoulders. He gave the waist tattoo a stroke and pulled her onto his cock, stretching her. It had been a while for both so he had to pause, giving them a minute to adjust before he used his grasp on her waist to control her movements in tandem with his thrusts.
Garrus set up a hard drawn out pace that would drive them both crazy. He could feel Jane’s walls grasping hard already, wanting release. But this was his night, and he wanted more. Looking to her face, her eyes were on him, and she was gasping, whispering for him to take her harder, faster.
Growling, he leaned down to bite at his bonding mark, not enough to draw blood, but enough for her to cry out and squeeze him hard.
Pulling out Garrus flipped her over, and pulled her hips up so she was on her knees arms now crossed, above her wrists still locked. After being patient for so long, he was going to make the most of this encounter. Looking down her back he found the tattoo wrapped all the way around and mirrored the front. He ran his talons down her spine making her gasp his name and leaving red marks on the pale skin.
Lifting her hips Garrus lined himself up again and thrust in, deeper than before this time. Setting up a fast pace and not allowing Jane to move so all she could do was mew and cryl into the pillow. Reaching below he felt for her small clit with his fingertip, rubbed it bringing her closer to the edge. He leaned over breathing into her ear. “You’re mine. Say it.” He brought a hand down on her ass, giving it a sharp slap.
Jane moaned deeply and he felt her convulse under him, she was close to the edge, and he was too but he needed her to say it.
Suddenly her hands were free, she turned and her hand snapped back pulling his face closer. He growled and nipped at it but she didn’t release him. In a deep voice she breathed against his neck. “I’m yours as much as you’re mine.” And she bit his neck hard. Garrus roared, pumping hard a few more times before releasing and losing himself as she followed over the edge after him.
Coming to, Garrus found he had collapsed on top of Jane and both were breathing heavily. Groaning he realized he’d knotted again, trapping both their releases inside. It wasn’t unusual for bonded couples but he wasn’t used to it yet. He rolled to his side, holding Jane and bringing her with. Holding her and rubbing gently as she shivered in his embrace.
“Sorry if I was too rough,” he mumbled into her hair.
In return her inner walls clamped down again making him groan and release more of his seed, Spirits, she loved doing that him. “You weren’t… It was good.” She shuddered again. “Very good.”
His chest rumbled with pleasure, “Good to know we can put my old C-Sec equipment to use.”
Jane bit back a laugh, too tired to move, “Go to sleep.”
Garrus woke, Jane still in his arms which held her tightly. She was still asleep and there was nothing he wanted more than to enjoy this moment.
At least until the scent of blood reached his nose. Panic rose in him, worried that he had hurt her at one point last night. Pulling the sheet back Garrus carefully looked Jane over, besides the remains from last night, blood also covered their thighs.
“Shit.” He cursed.
Jane was waking up, still confused from sleep. “What’s the matter, Big Guy?”
Panicking, Garrus started to ramble, “Spirits, I’m sorry… You should have said something…”
Looking around Jane saw the blood and started laughing. How this situation was funny was beyond Garrus. He needed to get her medical attention now!
“If Mordin can’t get to Palaven, there must be someone who can see you.” He was pulling up his omni tool, not sure who to contact when Jane had gotten control of the laughter and placed a steady hand his, stopping him.
“Garrus, calm down. This is normal.” She got up, inspecting the bed more thoroughly.
“Bleeding is normal?” He asked in a stunned voice, not believing there was anything normal about being covered in his mates blood.
“For human woman yes. Get up, we have to change the sheets and wash off.” When Garrus didn’t move, Jane sighed, “It's been years since my last cycle, I’d forgotten about this part. Its matter my body builds to prepare for pregnancy. Since it didn’t happen this month it had to flush it all.”
Garrus cocked his head, sort of understanding the situation. “This is the human's version of a female's heat cycle.”
Jane smiled and nodded, “Sort of, it’ll be done in five days and happens every month unless I take a suppressant. What happens to turian woman?”
“I guess it is just reabsorbed, other wise it is a waste of energy.” Garrus finally got put and folded up the bedding, and followed her to the shower.
“Well that’s handy,” she grumbled.
Garrus held her back from stepping under the water, “Anything else I should know about this.”
Jane thought about it for a moment. “I might get cranky from the cramping, but as long as you keep a supply of chocolate it will help.”
Garrus wasn’t sure how terrifying a cranky Jane could be. Note, get levo chocolate. Then he remembered they would be meeting some of the new task force today. “We should get something to help with the... smell.”
Jane’s head hit the side of the shower wall, “Turian’s and their fucking noses.”
Jane had a hard time biting back the tears, Terra had been gone for a few days but the whole family was taking it hard. Garrus was using the Reaper preparation to work through his guilt. He’d confessed he knew of Terra’s illness during the Collector mission and felt like he failed his family by not returning sooner. Not that they really had choice, but Jane had wished she’d known earlier in hopes she could have done something. Sol was busy taking over the matriarch position, for such a small clan they were old and well known with many duties. Castis had no such luxury.
Losing a bondmate automatically removed him for work, but this family did not function well without a duty. Walking through the quiet home, Jane found him in office, staring out at Terra’s old seat in her garden. Knowing sitting around was not helping any she decided to interrupt his thoughts.
“Castis…” He looked up with a vacant expression. “Garrus mentioned you knew a good shooting range. Now I have access to weapons again, I could use a little practice.”
Castis took a moment or two longer than necessary, Jane didn’t rush him, “Of course.” And he began to stand, his weight seeming to affect him for once.
Jane nodded and collected her new Black Widow Garrus had gotten her in celebration. From his stories she knew Castis would be an unforgiving instructor, but it was something that would help her getting back into the swing of things.
Leaving the house they climbed into the less populated foothills. It wasn’t long before they an old and basic shooting range, the very same place Garrus first learned. Together they quietly set up the targets.
Settling the gun to her shoulder, Jane took a moment to become familiar with the new weapon. While it was the same model and mods as before, it was still new.
Her first shot managed clip a target, and Castis hummed approval by her side, “It is good see all that time wasn’t wasted training the boy.”
Jane laughed, picturing a small version of her mate struggling to hold the heavy weapon. “To be honest he seemed a little peeved how quickly I caught on.”
That comment brought a laugh from the older male, “He was far from a natural and liked to complain.” His voice grew soft, “She always said I was too hard on him.”
Jane re-sighted and hit the clipped target dead center, “In the long run he really does appreciate it. Garrus has saved a lot of people with what you taught him.”
“Still, I could have been more understanding. He was never suited for C-Sec, too hard headed. I feared it only caused heartache for my mate.”
Jane lowered her weapon and looked at Castis full on. “From the little time I knew Terra I can honestly say she loved you both greatly. Partially because you are both so alike.”
For once some emotion crossed his face, Castis was surprised. Jane smirked and lifted the weapon, “During one of our talks you two came up. Her one wish was that you two would finally realise it and turn your bull headedness to something useful together.”
Castis let out a rusty chucky, “That minx… Helping Garrus with your predicament and getting his task force did that. We were too late for her to see much of it, I only hope we will have time to mend what is left of our relationship.”
Jane smiled as she hit the second target on the first try, “We will do all we can to make sure that happens. And trust me, Garrus wants the same thing.”
Thank you to my new beta Caythleen! You have already been a great help catching some of my mistakes and helping me post better content. Hope you are all enjoying!
Garrus groaned, leaning over his terminal. A small form came up behind him and started to rub his lower back through the thinner armor, targeting a knot that had developed over the last hour. He groaned again wishing he could feel his mate’s hand on his hide and not through the armor.
“Come one Big Guy, we’ve done all we can today. We need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for when the new squad arrives.” Jane sounded almost as tired as he did.
Garrus sighed, “You’re right. But what can we really do with only another two squads? It’s been almost six months since the Alpha Relay incident. According to EDI’s calculations, we are running out of time.”
Jane pulled on his shoulder making him turn around. “So we don’t have an army, we’ve done more with less before. At least we have been able to get the stockpiles started and emergency evacuations planned.”
“Right as usual. Let’s go get food.”
Garrus looked down at Jane as they walked to the mess, it felt like old times. She was now a Reaper Advisor with him, wearing her customary blue armor, the same color as colony marks she wore.
The first few weeks on the job Jane had gotten a lot of stares but soon those on the Menae base got used to the little human female who wore the colony marks. Especially after she hacked the sim room, forcing the newest cocky recruits into an unexpected blizzard and then sabotaged most of their heating units. It was a little sad how quickly the once tough turians cried for mercy but they all soon learned not to challenge the little fiery redhead.
Garrus was grateful to have her with him through all of this. After his mother’s death right before they were scheduled to come to the moon base he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to get any work done through the grief. But Jane was there to comfort and push as needed. Losing her own family so violently gave her a unique insight into helping Garrus with his mourning. He even found her talking late at night with his father. Garrus was shocked that the older male wasn’t locked away in his office. Somehow Jane convinced him to not only stay actively involved with preparing their city but also took Sol on as his assistant.
Jane truly was a wonder to their family, Garrus couldn’t have found a better partner in love or work.
When they arrived at the mess Jane motioned for him to sit down while she got the food. Garrus had started throwing everything into work, but she made sure he took care of himself with things like this. It almost felt like things were reversed from so long ago. She came back with food and their drinks, though like every day this week she could only pick and nibble at her food. When her eyes kept straying to his tray Garrus sighed and nodded.
The gleam in Jane’s eyes as she attacked the dextro steak made him laugh. Normally Garrus only saw that look in the bedroom. She paused throwing him a glare. “Don’t laugh, it’s not surprising levo food here makes my stomach turn, no one here can cook it.”
Garrus gave her a smirk, “Not like you don’t get enough at night.”
Jane slapped her armored fist on his shoulder making a loud clank. “Perv.”
Taking on a more serious note, he said, “Maybe we should see Mordin or Dr. Chakwas. You’ve been taking care of my family and me, but your appetite has been weird, it’s time you take care of yourself.”
Jane shook her head, “Not now, we have too much going on. Johnny is released soon, maybe we can go and see him, one of the doctors is bound to be there too.”
Garrus sighed and turned back to his food. She was right, at least they’d be able to speak to Shepard soon. Hopefully get more prepared on a galactic level.
In the middle of the night cycle, Garrus was pulled away from the sleeping form of Jane by the sound of high priority call signal from the terminal. Forgetting about clothes he sat down to answer it. The face of one of their sergeants came into view, “Vakarian, Sir, Ma’am.” Garrus glanced at Jane who had wrapped herself in a sheet and was standing at his shoulder.
“We just got word from in batarian and human space. There are ships matching the description of Reapers speeding past small colony systems and attacking any home world or major military establishments. I’m sorry ma’am, Earth is one of the heaviest attack sites.” Garrus could hear the trill of remorse of regret from the Sergeant.
Jane’s hand tightened on his shoulder, Garrus covered it with his own. “Get everyone on stand by and get us a connection to the Primarch and admirals. There is no time to accept no as an answer.” The dark turian nodded and before the screen went dead they were already getting their undersuits on. Garrus watched Jane out of the corner of his eye, “I’m sure he is alright Jane. They couldn’t kill him the first few times.”
Jane took a fortifying breath, sealing her chest piece on. “But they did once, and it took two years and millions to bring him back from one of those times. All it takes is one bullet and they have bigger guns.” Turning her frightened green eyes to his, “You better fucking duck Vakarian.”
Stopping his practiced motions of putting on his gear Garrus pulled her to him kissing her hard. “You better do that as well Vakarian.” He whispered to her and they finished putting on their armor and grabbed they weapons and headed to a CIC hub..
Turian space wasn’t safe for long. They already lost Taetrus. It had been one of their most historic colonies. They rallied behind the idea of saving it but it was a death trap, and soon they had to abandon the idea. Even to those who didn’t call it home, it was painful to hear of the retreat.
Garrus and Jane were concerned when the admirals questioned her about the destruction of the Alpha relay. They were desperate to get all the extra time possible and wanted to look at all the options. But there wasn’t time to rig up an asteroid and chances of wiping themselves out in the process were too high. Some suggested suicide runs against the oncoming Reapers, using ships as projectiles, but there were not enough ships to last. Even if they could take out a few, there were more Reapers on the way and then nothing would be left to protect their people.
Admiral Coronati came up with an ingenious idea at the last minute. Just before the Reapers would try to use the mass relay to get to the turian solar system, two ships would go out, attack and start collecting as much data on the invading force to be sent to the fleet before escaping or being destroyed. With that information, the turian armada was able to send the fast ships by FTL jumps into the heart of the Reaper force as they came through, get off and shot and leave before the enemy could lock weapons. It worked to bring down several Reapers, and news of the attacks sent a cheer through the Menae control room.
But it didn’t last. Reaper drop ships managed to get through and husks were soon loose upon Palaven and Menae. But Reapers underestimated the civilians, having required service to the government meant many its civilians were armed and could help protect their own homes. That meant more forces could be diverted to the moon, try to draw the enemy away from the cities, hoping the larger military target would be a higher priority.
Jane was shaken awake from her cat nap and found her husband shoving a levo ration bar in her face. The damn things tasted like sawdust but they had been up for the past forty hours trying to advise the admirals how to fight an impossible war and fight off things that made the husks seem like a sweet daydream. Jane shuddered thinking the mindless glowing human forms, but others started to appear that would give her even more nightmares. The other creatures were larger, smarter, and very turian like. To see a form so like Garrus’ twisted into a nightmare was horrifying. It seemed like the Reapers were not as picky in what they used as cannon fodder anymore.
Chugging water to wash the taste away, Jane asked, “What’s the news Bright Eyes?”
Garrus chuckled, keeping an eye on the battle taken place outside the barricade. “I’ve got a lovely invitation to help kick that Reaper out of the party. Can you stick with General Victus and make sure he doesn’t strap a bomb to himself and run out there?”
Taking the tri-fingered hand she struggled to stand. Jane shook her head to help clear the fog from sleep, she was much more tired than she should be. “Babysitting duty, my favorite. Be careful, I doubt they got the comm’s tower back yet.”
“Yes, dear,” Garrus called over his shoulder before signaling the small group of turians to follow.
Sighing Jane turned toward the command post. The thin pale colored general was there. To be honest she quite like the male, he actually listened to Garrus’ and her advice from the get go. But he was a bit of a hot head as far as the strict turian military was concerned. The thought made her look up at the burning planet she had become so fond of in a short time, maybe he is what they needed to survive this.
Focusing on the incoming reports Jane tried to do her job and ignore the worry for her mate.
After what felt like hours, the radio crackled back to life, Jane caught some of a conversation.
“--, he’s actually here?”
“Yes, just dropped off in a shuttle. Ripped through a wave of husks and dropped a brute.”
“Would’ve given anything to see that.”
“Spirits it was glorious. He is looking for the Primarch…”
Who were they talking about, Jane wondered. Garrus left on foot, not a shuttle. At least the Primarch, now the comms were up, would be a lot easier to find.
Soon after Jane turned at the sound of weapons fire at the barricade. They were under attack again, before Jane could get to her snipers post all hostiles were down, taken out by someone outside the perimeter. She made her way down to find the general approaching the one and only Commander John Shepard. Garrus was already standing at his back along with their old guard Vega. She couldn’t hold back the warm feeling of relief, her brother had survived. She stood behind the general and waited for the appropriate time, Johnny had his Commander face on.
“General Victus.” The human soldier called out.
“I’m Commander Shepard of the Normandy.”
The general put his weapon away glancing back at Jane, knowing their relation, “Ah, Commander I know who you are. I can’t wait to find out what brings you out here.” He turned to Garrus, “Vakarian, where did you go?”
Garrus sagged, not bothering with coming to attention, “Heavy Reaper unit on the right flank? I believe your exact words were ‘get that thing off my men.’”
Victus kept his voice level, “Appreciate it.” As much as Jane liked the general he could still be a bit of an ass and this stress was not helping.
Johnny stepped forward looking annoyed, “General you’re needed off planet. I’ve come to get you.”
Jane couldn’t help with the eyebrow raise, as far as she knew the general and her brother had never met, why would Johnny be here for him? Victus turned, a dark look coming over him, “It will take something beyond important for me to leave my men or my turian brothers and sisters in their fight.”
Jane sighed, Johnny should have known better, all turians had a nasty stubborn streak. Garrus stepped forward, “Fedorian was killed. You are the new Primarch.”
“You’re needed immediately to chair a summit and represent your people in the fight against the Reapers,” Johnny explained.
Jane’s jaw dropped, she had unknowingly been charged with the Primarch’s safety. A human, sure they liked her, but half of them only listened because of Garrus. Victus pushed past everyone to look at Palaven. “I am Primarch of Palaven? Negotiating for the turian Hierarchy?”
“Yes.” Johnny stated as if it happened every day.
Victus turned back. “I’ve spent my whole life in the military. I’m no diplomat… I hate diplomats.” That was one point that Jane could agree on.
“What makes you think you’re not qualified?”
“I’m really not a kind of “by the book” kind of guy… And I piss people off.” Jane had to choke back a chuckle, he had seemed to be picking up human sayings from herself and Garrus. And he wasn’t joking about pissing off others. If turians were more like batarians she’d have to be worry about protecting him from his own men as much as from the enemy. “My family’s been military since the Unification Wars. War is my life. It’s in my bones. But that kind of passion is... deceiptive. Can make you seem reckless. When you’re anything but.”
The rallying tone entered her brother’s voice, “War is your resume. At a time like this we need leaders who’ve been through that hell.”
“Put like that you’re right.” Victus quietly agreed.
“And honestly, uniting the races may take as much strength as facing the Reapers.” Already he sounded tired, and he pointed to the rubble around them. “See this devastation Primarch? Double that for earth. I need an alliance. I need the turian fleet.”
Victus watched the human biotic. Jane felt her gut clench, she new it would be hard to leave Menae, not knowing where her family was, but to leave everything if it was even worse? That explained the dark spots under his eyes. “Let me say goodbye to my men.” The new world leader turned on his heel and left.
Johnny let a breath he’d been holding and turned back to Garrus with an annoyed look. “Now that we have a breather.” Without any warning a fist flashed out and hit the turian square on the nose. Even without biotics, Johnny had a lot of power, and the unprepared brother-in-law fell to the ground. All the soldiers near by tensed, but did not interfere when Garrus help up a hand telling them to hold off. Jane ignored it, and knelt next to him to make sure nothing was broken
Growling Johnny looked down at him, “And that was for being a dumb ass on the Normandy. If you’d actually stayed around Janey wouldn’t have been taken by the Alliance.”
Garrus rubbed at the small trickle of blood from his nose. Looking up at Johnny, he said with complete honesty. “Trust me, I am still beating myself up over that.”
Johnny nodded, seeming to be happy with the response. Giving Garrus a hand, he pulled the turian back to his feet and turned to smile at Jane, “My god Janey, you’ve gone native!” He mimicked the lines of her markings on his face with a finger.
At first, Jane was in shock. God men could be weird. Pushing the thought away, Jane threw herself at her brother and hugged him with a sigh of relief. “Thank god you got out.”
Johnny returned the hug tightly and dropped the joking tone, “I’m one of the few. There was no chance for them Janey.”
Stepping back Jane nodded, even with what Garrus and she had accomplished, it wasn’t near enough.
Garrus joined them, “Without him down here, we’ll likely lose this moon.” He didn’t add that this battlefield had been the main plan from the get go, to take pressure of the planet.
Johnny looked like another weight was add to his shoulders, “Without him up there, there is a good chance we lose everything.”
Garrus’ mandibles flickered, the only sign of out agitated he was. Turning to the giant Reaper in the distance. “Look at that. And they want our opinion on how to stop it.” Taking Jane’s hand, “Failed C-sec officer, an ex-slave, vigilantes… and we’re their expert advisors?” Jane gripped back hard, they had tried to do as much as possible and it never seemed enough.
Jane looked to her brother, “Do you really think we can win Johnny?”
“I don’t know Janey,” Johnny replied quietly, “but I’m sure as hell going to give it my best shot.”
“If anyone can do it, my brother can. We’re with you. We’ve done what we can here.” When Jane finished, Garrus stood next to her and nodded agreement.
Johnny let a tired but happy sigh for a second before returning his eyes to the new Primarch. The Commander took over again and they were all herded to the shuttle. It was time to return to Normandy.
Sorry, just a couple last min edits. Thank you Caythleen!
Jane was shocked by the changes to the Normandy, it was clear it had been in the middle of being converted to follow Alliance regs by all the hanging wires and random parts laying around. She was happy to find EDI was still there, the AI was too good an asset and friend to lose to prejudice, and she helped keep Joker on board as well. Jane knew he felt responsible for Johnny’s death but getting the Commander off Earth had helped redeem the pilot.
Jane was also ecstatic to learn that Johnny already told Traynor to set her and Garrus up in the same room they were married in. It would be a nice change from the Main Battery that Garrus decided to turn into their office. Finally, they would get some peace and quiet, without worrying that someone would come barging in.
And while the levo food was immensely better what Jane had been eating on Palaven and Manae, Jane still found herself craving dextro food. As far as she knew it wasn’t addictive but when she forced herself to not snag a bite of Garrus’ food her head would be in the toilet the next day. At least on the ship, it was easier to hide from Garrus, although EDI had taken notice. Jane had decided to forgo the anti-spyware now that the AI was on their side for sure but now she was reconsidering the decision.
While rinsing out her mouth EDI’s voice came over the speaker. “Mrs. Vakarian, do you need medical assistance?”
“Just Jane, Edi. Mrs. makes me sound old. Thanks for asking but I’m fine, just ate something bad.” She tried to keep her voice light, hoping to brush off the question.
“Alright Jane. Though I must warn you, out of the all the crew, 94% had the same items of food you had, but none of them have shown sign of sickness.”
“Weak stomach?” Jane suggested meekly, “I’m fine, I should find some work.”
“Actually Jane, I was wondering if you could help me with a project?”
Since getting on the Normandy Garrus was busy managing emergency relief for Palaven Refugees, and Jane was scrambling to find something even somewhat useful. A job for an AI would be interesting.
Leaving bathroom, she asked, “Sure, what have you got in mind?”
Johnny had told Jane about the droid hiding on Mars, but it was something very different seeing what was left of it. Part of her knew it would be human looking, but really? The body proportion on this droid was beyond ridiculous. Why did everyone except Jack have bigger boobs than Jane?
Running some scans with her omni tool, Jane bit her lip before asking, “Are you sure about this EDI? You weren’t exactly designed for it…”
“I have run many of the most likely models of the transfer, and there is a 99.7% it would work.” EDI had shown Jane some of her findings if anything it looked like the circuitry in the droid was eventually mean to be used by EDI.
“I suppose, but the majority of your systems will have to remain in the ship. You are much more complex than the original program here.” Looking over to the orb, “Plus we don’t exactly have the redundant systems to replace you.”
“Of course, I would not leave the Normandy Jane.” EDI stated matter of factly.
Jane shrugged, and left her tool up, “Alright, let's begin.”
At first there not much happening, a flutter of light from EDI’s servers and a couple of clicks from the servos in the droid. “EDI how’s it going?”
And a sense of dread filled Jane as she was meet with silence. Like any good programming practices, they agreed EDI would give verbal cues when certain points in the download were met. Jane jumped back as the Droid sat up suddenly, scanning the dark room.
“Oh crap…” Jane muttered. Still, EDI wasn’t saying anything, but she must have been busy dealing with the now active droid. In general, the movements were jerky, and a force field sparked to life between Jane and the danger. Already Jane was pulling up different sabotage programs to try to distract the droid and give EDI a chance to take it out from the inside.
Even with all of the distractions, the damn droid was determined to get to the field and push through it, shrugging off the electric power ripping through. But not toward Jane or the exit, instead it was heading toward EDI’s servers. And Jane couldn’t do anything but watch as it sunk its fingers into the server racks, directing the energy from the shield that was overloading itself into EDI.
“EDI, can you hear me? You need to drop the force field!” Jane cried, trying to get one of her hacks to work. A sharp hot scent filled her nose, as the electronics started to burn, and watched as that server caught flame. Jane dropped to the floor and covered her mouth as the room filled with fire suppressant.
Just as she reached it, it slid open with a hiss, revealing Johnny flanked by soldiers with more fire extinguishers. He only stared down at her, eyebrow crooked like hers did. Coughing Jane pointed in warning behind her.
Turning he frowned at the fog, and called, “EDI talk to me.”
As the light of the AI Core server came back up, Jane flipped over and pulled her feet under her to be prepared. She focused on the droids glowing visor as the slow click of heels came toward them out of the fog. Johnny made an effort to put himself between Jane and the enemy.
Before Jane could explain, EDI’s voice came from the body, “Is there a particular topic you wish to discuss, Shepard?”
Johnny straightened and threw Jane a curious glance, looking back to the AI he asked, “EDI?”
EDI was using her new eyes to inspect the new body, before nodding, “Yes.”
“You’re in Dr. Eva’s new body.” He stated, not sounding like he believed it.
Even Jane had been worried, she pulled up her omni tool to continue the readings from earlier.
EDI crossed her arms, Jane wasn’t sure if she realized how defensive the gesture could be taken, “Not all of me, but I have control of it. It was not a seamless transition.”
“Transition,” Johnny almost sounded accusing, “You blacked out on us for awhile there.”
EDI nodded, giving him the same explanation she had given Jane, “Correct. When we brought this unit on board, I began background process to search for its information on the Prothean device.”
Jane stepped in, worried Johnny wouldn’t understand the tech babble and try to shoot EDI. Her scans had shown she did indeed have control, “EDI found a backup power source for the unit Johnny, she could restore its power and gain access to the controls.”
EDI nodded to Jane, seeming to understand the cue to use more simple explanations, “During this process it… struggled. Thus, the fire.”
Johnny sighed, looking between the two women, “Well at least Jane was here, but you should have warned the rest of us.”
“The amount of resistance was unexpected, and once the struggle began bringing the crew up to speed would have been counterproductive. All attempts to help would have been limited by reaction time. Jane was able to help slow it down before it could do a real damage to my main Core server.”
Jane nodded to the AI, she was young and didn’t know how to make a proper thank you so Jane left it alone knowing what she had meant. They answered the rest of the questions about how this system worked for EDI, again keeping it in layman terms for everyone, expect the engineering chief who was truly interested.
Johnny relaxed a little more, “Are you planning to take that body somewhere?”
EDI gestured to her ship self, “Normandy’s weapons are not suited to every combat situation. This platform could provide limited fire ground support.”
“You mean you could come with us?”
“Correct.” EDI confirmed, “This body could accompany you to areas the Normandy cannot reach.”
Jane watched as the tactician's gears started to spin away, “Johnny, she is also a person, as much of the crew as the rest of us. Even she needs a little shore leave.”
EDI tilted her head at Jane, “I understand Normandy’s organic compliment would benefit from it, but I fail to see how…”
Cutting the AI off with a swipe of her hand, Jane stopped the question, “Everyone on the crew gets the same rights EDI, even for the synthetics.”
Johnny nodded, “She is right EDI. But first, I need you to guarantee this mech doesn’t have any more surprises in it.” He made to turn away, “Run whatever tests you can, then we can talk about using it off the ship.”
“One moment.” EDI stopped him. “I am running trials… Complete, I can send you a full report if you wish? However, my first step should be restoring the functionality to the Normandy to reassure the crew all it normal.”
“Just…” Johnny started, sounding unsure again, “don’t be surprised if the crew is a little wary of your new body. It was shooting at them a little while ago…”
“Excellent point.” EDI agreed. “I will take it to the bridge. Joker will also want to see it.” And she turned on her new heels without waiting for a dismissal.
Johnny exchanged wide-eyed looks with Jane, and he muttered, “On that, we can agree.”
Jane sniggered, “We have got to see this.”
They missed the lift going up, so by the time they got up to the CIC the siblings were met with confused looks from the rest of the CIC, but they waved them off. Inside the cockpit they found a gaping pilot, staring at the almost stoic AI sitting in the sit next to him.
Hear them enter, Joker turned and stage whispered, “Hey, Commander! Check out my co-pilot!”
“And you had no idea EDI and Jane were going to install herself in this body?” Johnny asked, sounding skeptical.
Joker looked Jane, “Thank you, and honestly, you don’t believe me?” He turned to look at EDI again, “Okay, let me put it this way: if I knew that EDI was gonna install herself into a sexy robot body, do you honestly think I’d be able to keep quiet about it?”
Raising his hands, to frame her, he sounded almost like an excited kid. “Look at that! I would’ve baked a cake!”
Without turning away from the screen, EDI said in a quiet and unsure voice, “I am right here, Jeff.”
Joker backed down, “Yes you are, EDI. Yes, you are.”
Jane meet glances with Johnny, but suddenly Jane felt like EDI getting this body was only to improve her fighting capability.
Garrus tried to keep calm, he’d just finished reading the notification about EDI’s system malfunctions. He shouldn’t have been surprised that Jane had gotten involved, but sometimes he wished she showed some sense of self-preservation.
Leaving the Main battery Garrus found his mate in the mess enjoying a cup of coffee. Sitting next to her, he flipped a mandible in a small smile, “Heard you had some fun this morning.”
Turning, Jane returned the smile, “I guess so. I’m just relieved it worked out.”
Garrus couldn’t help the worry that found its way into his voice, “Me too.”
But still Jane had heard it and reached up and gently rubbed his mandible to comfort him, “Sorry for the surprise.”
Grabbing her hand, he tried to move on. She was fine so he shouldn’t make a deal out of it. “Feel up to sparring? It’s been awhile since we had a chance.” Since they had moved their task's force operations to Menae, it had been nothing but work and sleep.
Jane nodded and stood, dragging Garrus with, “Sounds good to me.”
They made their way to the cargo bay, it was the only place with enough room. The usual crew was there, Vega, Cortez, and the other techs. There were a few curious glances but no one said anything as they set up the mats and prepared. Vega did turn around to lean on his workbench to watch the fight.
Garrus tried not to stare too much while Jane stretched. If he wasn’t careful he’d just drag her back to their room… Maybe after the fight, he decided.
Like many times before they got into position, taking a moment to decide who each were going to this sparring match. It only took a small smirk from Jane and Garrus surged forward with a few punches to test the water. Prepared, Jane quickly moved out of his range, she swept to the side and used the moment to force behind a kick. And in their own version of a dance the bout continued, though it was tamer than many other times. Neither wanted to risk injuring the other.
However this time, Jane seemed to tire out a little faster and in less time than normal, she had run out of steam. Pulling back a little he cut his assault short and made a fatal error. He’d left a side open and with a liquid-like motion Jane surged forward and got the leverage to flip him to the ground. Before he could recover the small woman was on him and managed to get his arms tied up in a lock behind his back. He gave the tap out signal to show defeat, it was one of the few positions in which his size and Strength wouldn’t help any. With a smile, Jane let him up and straightened her clothing before her shirt rose up high enough to show her colony style tattoo.
Vega gave a high pitched whistle, having watched the match. “Dios Lola didn’t know you could dance like that.”
Jane grabbed water for her and Garrus, and smiled at the human marine, “Well I had a good teacher, but the girls at After Life were better dance instructors than this awkward turian.”
“Wait… you were a stri-” Vega caught himself, and threw Garrus a careful glance and changed his word choice. “An entertainer on Omega?”
Garrus chuckled, he wasn’t upset with Vega. Every soldier no matter the species heard stories of the popular bar. And Jane never once felt ashamed by working there, though Garrus did appreciate that only he got to reap the benefits of most of the talents learned there.
“Well, mostly I worked at the bar.” She motioned to Garrus, “Then this handsome blue eyed customer tricked me into taking up vigilante work.”
Vega gave a chuckle, “Well if you’ve got another in you, I wouldn’t mind a match.”
Jane had an evil look on her face, and Garrus knew why. Shepard already mentioned they would have much of a challenge going toe to toe with his new Alliance group, soon the large human would learn that Jane was a natural at hand to hand combat.
Garrus took up Vega’s post and watched as the humans paired off, he would always enjoy watching his wife use the skills he had taught her. It helped reaffirm that she could take care of herself when he wasn’t there.
Considering his size, Vega was remarkably light on his feet which was good since he seemed to favor the human boxing style. Jane was easily able to keep up the speed of the blocks and landed some solid hits of her own. However, Garrus could tell Jane was getting tired out faster than normal, she must have still been recovering from her chronic illness on Palaven.
Jane must have realized the same thing, and there was no way she was going to allow Vega to win, he was already to smug. When the opening came she slipped closer and knocked him flat on his back with a hard kick to his waist. The marine landed hard and even though winded, he laughed hard at his new position.
Breathing hard Jane joined him before giving him a hand up, “Johnny already told me you wouldn’t have a chance.”
“Taking advantage of me Lola? That’s just cruel.” But by his tone, Vega was only joking.
“Your ego is big enough Vega.” Jane joked back, grabbing the water and towel she announced, “I’m going to hit the showers, today has been long enough.”
Garrus was about to follow, but then remembered the comments about dancing. He gave her a signal to take the elevator and turned back to Vega.
“Vega, what do you know about human dancing?” Garrus had an idea for a while, but he needed the help of someone with more experience.
“A bit. My uncle insisted I learn, a great way to show off to the ladies.” Vega said proudly. While Garrus knew the man had no mate of his own, he did flirt with everyone.
“Do you know tango?”
On Jane’s way to see her mate, the cook stopped her. “Excuse ma’am. We got the dextro supplies you ordered.”
That would help cheer up her turian for sure, “Good, do you mind if I take over the kitchen for a minute?”
“Of course not, but what do you plan on making?”
She smiled, “Just think of it as turian hot chocolate. I’ll show you, and it would be a great help if you could take one to the Primarch. It may put him in a better mood when meeting with Wrex.”
The young cook nodded and watched eagerly. Jane was sure Terra had not meant to teach the human the recipe to share with the Galaxy but if it could help those trying to save it Jane was sure the matron would not have minded. Jane went ahead and made herself cup as well, hopefully, it would calm her stomach.
Entering the battery Jane found Garrus in his usual position, leaned over his terminal shaking his head as the numbers scrolled across the screen. Without making a sound she came up behind him and simply waited.
At one point he must have caught whiff of the drink because he turned quickly looking confused. Seeing the offered mug he took it, “Spirits yes.” Taking a large drink he looked at her softly, “Still can’t believe she taught you how to do this of all things.”
Jane shrugged sipping her own spicy drink. It was still painful to think she was gone, in their short time together the matriarch had become a second mother. “Woman knew her son what can I say.” Her omni tool beeped and Jane laughed reading the thank you from the Primarch. “Well, least I have options if I get tired of you.”
Garrus read the proposal of marriage, extreme for just a drink but it showed how light hearted it made the Primarch. He growled and reached for Jane pulling to his side, rubbing at where her tattoo was. “Over my dead body.” And he nipped at her lips in his own version of a peck.
Jane knew he missed the colony marks on her face, but being on a mostly human vessel it made the others uncomfortable. She thought Traynor’s eyes were going to fall out when she came on board, and Joker made a joke about needing to learn how to put on makeup. So whenever possible Garrus would rub at the corresponding mark on her waist, it was turning into a tick of his. Jane would have to send Jack another thank you, it did wonders for her sex life.
“So, you weren’t joking about Victus and his un-turian like leadership.”
Garrus leaned back against the console. “From the stories I’ve heard, I’m not too surprised. But Victus is right. The Hierarchy still managed to save its fleet but civilians can’t hold the planet, there are more evacuations every day. We need the Krogan horde’s power on the ground.”
The thought of the Horde sent a shiver through her, not every Krogan could live up to Grunt or even Wrex. But if they turned out to be worth half as much they would be mighty indeed. All Jane hoped was that Wrex didn’t try to ask Johnny for the impossible like everyone else and would be able to keep his people in check when the smoke cleared.
Looking up Jane caught Garrus looking at the map, moving closer to him she tucked herself into the curve of his arm and stood her to toes to nip at his good mandible. “Don’t worry, I’m sure they are safe. You’re just like your dad and you are damn hard to get rid of.” She knew he was trying not to be selfish in the worry for his remaining family.
He rumbled an appreciative purr and nuzzled her hair.
Jane couldn’t hold back the smile of being back in the field with Johnny. During the Collector mission, they had made a brilliant team. The siblings and Garrus were bloody unstoppable as Zaeed often said. But on this prothean recovery mission they brought along Liara, they needed a prothean expert. Of course, their combat experience was needed because of the Cerberus soldiers were also searching for the artifact.
Once allies now enemies didn’t seem to learn not to mess with Shepard. They brought him back perfect but didn’t bother to listen to a word he said. Jane tried not to think that any of the Cerberus team in her scope or on the end of her omni blade was a friend from Normandy, she’d hoped that none of them had gone back given the husk like features they had been seeing in the field.
Even with the expert, sweet Liara couldn’t make out the static data they had found. Johnny though, with the thorian knowledge of the Protheans he gathered during his adventure chasing Saren could. Jane understood the asari’s annoyance. Being an engineer, Jane didn’t like not knowing how something worked. When Johnny managed to open the life pod when Jane had failed and she felt like kicking her brother in the shins like when they were kids.
Didn’t he remember, he was the one always digging in the dirt, while she took apart their dad’s sky car. Jane was the one good with tech, not her bumbling brother.
On the shuttle she studied the Prothean. At least he did not look as much like a bug as Collectors, though the shape of his head reminded her of so many exploding silhouettes she had seen in her scope. At that moment he brushed her arm and glared as if he heard her thought. Then after a moment his gaze shifted down, looking at her in detail leaning in and taking her scent.
“You are not completely human… How have you managed to mate with other species?”
Jane tried not to look frightened. Smelling Garrus’ scent wasn’t anything new, but very few knew she had been modified by the Collectors. As far as Mordin was concerned she was human, just with a bit of DNA modified by the leftovers of the Prothean cycle. “I’m human, you’re probably just picking up traces of my mate.”
Javik watched her intently and Jane made sure not to fidget. As far as she was concerned she was everyone’s equal, she wouldn’t kowtow to anyone again. Seeming to understand this he gave the barest nod and turned away to get off the shuttle.
Garrus growled to himself as he avoided his old friend. Of course, the old Krogan would ask for the impossible while the gun was being held to their head. And now it was putting his family in danger. Garrus wasn’t sure anymore if the Genophage had been the right thing, but now it needed to be dealt with. The salarians would be unhappy if it did happen, but the krogan would be upset and become more xenophobic than ever if a cure wasn’t found. And right now the Primarch needed the krogan, not the salarians.
During his thoughts Garrus finally found Jane in the mess, picking at her food like usual. Spirits he hoped they’d meet Mordin or Chakwas soon, she really wasn’t well. The turian paused, the prothean was in the mess as well. Seated away from everyone, head tilted watching Jane. His wife had already filled him in on his ability to read others with a touch. And Garrus didn’t like the look in Javik’s eye.
Garrus just grabbed a tea and sat next to the male out of time. “And what do you find so interesting?”
Javik turned his unnerving yellow gaze on Garrus. “I didn’t see the purpose of a mate that you could not procreate with. But now I understand.”
Garrus growled low and dangerously, “Whether or not we have children is our own business. I don’t like it when others make my wife uncomfortable.”
Javik did not lose the snobbish tilt in his voice, “Back down savage. Your mate is not in any danger. I am only curious.” With that, he got up and left. Garrus watched until Javik was gone from the room and only then did he get his food and join Jane.
Jane was tucked under a console in the CIC, working on one of the Star Maps projectors that were going in and out randomly. The first time it happened there was a ship wide panic that the whole Attican Traverse disappeared, thinking an even larger incident than the Alpha Relay had happened. When Jane had discovered the overloaded junction the emitter was now having to share with other Alliance systems, everyone gave a sigh of relief and even found humor in the situation. One IT glitch and their whole perception of the war had changed.
“Jane?” A voice came from above, loud with panic.
She hadn’t heard anyone come up behind her, and jerked in reflex and hit the back of her head on the sharp interior lip of the panel. Rubbing at it Jane hissed out, “Yes Traynor?”
One couldn’t help but like the young tech, she was talented at putting her foot in her mouth but had powerful drive to do all she could now that she found herself stuck on the Normandy with people she considered legends. Jane only wished she would wind down just a little, else Traynor would burn herself out.
“I know we are heading to the Annos Basin to meet up with the Diplomats, but I just received a distress call from Grissom Academy.” The young woman was nervously playing with her hands.
Jane recognized the name with a twinge of worry, Jack had been debating taking a teaching post there before the Reapers had arrived. “And?”
Traynor froze, like a puppy about to be hit, “I know getting a treaty between the Turians and Krogans is the Normandy’s top priority, but I don't think we can put off this call for help.”
“And you're not sure how to pass on the information to the Commander.” Jane sighed as Traynor nodded vigorously. Pulling up a knee to rest an arm on it, Jane had to remind herself that this was Traynor’s first time on an active wartime ship. “What would the normal protocol be, ignoring the fact we are fighting a godlike race of machines?”
Traynor came back with a snappy textbook answer, “All emergency signals are passed along to the Commanding Officer.”
Jane held up a hand, offering Traynor her own answer back. “And there you go. I am not trained by the Alliance, but whether it be a bar or a squad of Turians the regs are there for a purpose.” Jane hated that it meant more trouble for Johnny, but this was his life and she knew he’d do the right thing. “Tell you what, if it is Alliance pass it on directly if anything else let me know and I’ll see who else we can send.” She hoped to take some pressure off her brother, after all, if it was turians involved there was a chance her and Garrus’ squad could help in a pinch.
Traynor sighed relief, “Thanks, I just wasn’t sure if the old rules apply to life.”
Jane laughed, “Hell no, but that doesn’t mean we scrap it all.” Turning back to the panel, “Five minutes, and this new junction will be up. And Traynor, don’t tell the Commander you came to me first.”
“Yes, ma’am. Thanks.”
As soon as Jane finished replacing the panel’s cover, Johnny’s voice came over the comm, “Vakarians, prep for a ground mission and meet in the Cargo Bay in 30 minutes.” Jane quickly picked up her things, happy that her brother wasn’t willing to give up his duty to get a job done.
The trio managed to sneak onto Grissom Station, but Shepard had to send Cortez and the shuttle away. Garrus shoved a feeling of dread aside. They would find another way off, it wasn’t like they could evacuate more than a dozen people on the shuttle anyway, another option was needed if they were successful.
Making sure to stay quiet, they were able to sneak up behind the attacking Cerberus operatives, dispatching them quickly. Luckily the security office was nearby, and they found Dr. Sanders. Garrus had never met a human so pale overall. Jane had pale skin, but her hair was darker than the light gold of Sanders, even her eyes looked like ice. The group wasn’t shocked hearing what was happening, except that the students themselves were being attacked and taken.
Both Garrus and Jane straightened a little behind Shepard when he’d said they would do what they could. Even though they both weren’t soldiers at the core, they would do anything to protect the innocent.
Leaving Sanders to handle getting a way off the station, they started to go deeper into the facility. They didn’t have far to go before running into trouble. The door opened to show a large glass window splitting them from another passage. As the door on the one side opened, Garrus ducked down, behind the low wall and dragged Jane down, using his body as a shield just in case they were spotted.
Garrus felt the grip of her hand on his waist tighten, in the other room were three guards dragging a male adolescent by the feet toward one of the dock bays. He lifted his assault rifle aiming for the window when a blue biotic field covered his hand freezing it.
Behind them, he could hear Shepard hiss, “No, we need to get farther in before the alarm goes up.”
Turning Garrus watched as Jane turned her panicked stare from the boy to Shepard and bared her teeth. For the first time since he first saw her through a scope, he found himself in the presence of the wild woman who’d killed all her captors. Before he or Shepard could move to stop her, Jane dashed over to a grate farther back down the hallway, got it off, and managed to get through even while wearing armor.
“Shit,” Shepard cursed, looking after her down the vent, “Keep it quiet!”
Garrus held his breath and listened. There was a couple thumps from her moving in the vent, then a couple of cracks of bone and a wet gurgle. Garrus knew the sounds would be drowned out by the sobbing boy, and unless someone saw Jane take them down or came to check out the boy’s sounds, they’d be fine.
There were a few more bumps, his mate’s softer tone and a gasping kid came through the vent. Quietly Jane pointed the boy back toward Sanders’ area with instructions to wait with her. Turning back the men, Garrus almost flinched.
She had red blood coating one side of her face, and her green eyes burned with the embers of the madness he’d only seen on occasion. He almost couldn’t remember the last time Fury had taken over Jane, now it seemed alien on her once smiling face.
Before the Commander could get out anything she held up a hand, and amazingly, Shepard stayed quiet. “You didn’t see our friends get dragged off just like that on Mindoir. I did. There was no way in hell I was going to sit there and let it happen again.” Closing her eyes and taking a breath, some part of Jane seemed to come back to the present. “No one saw or heard, the bodies are in a planter, out of sight. Let's continue.” Without waiting for a reply she started to move forward almost mechanically.
Garrus and Shepard shared looks, and Garrus saw the hurt in the Commander’s eyes. Ever since meeting up again on Omega, Garrus had learned more of Mindoir from both sides. When they were separated Jane managed to meet up with friends, they ambushed and no where near any place they could hole up or get weapons. Shepard had been on the farm with their parents, unable to help them before he got to the hunting gear. He’d been forced to defend it alone for over twenty-four hours, with no chance to get to anyone outside. The guilt of it still bothered Shepard, and Garrus suspected that while the siblings had talked it over, neither had forgiven their own selves. Jane felt she should have been home maybe one more pair of hands would have spared their parents and Shepard thought if he had made a run for it he could of found Jane before she was taken.
Garrus doubt either was correct in their regrets. Maybe he could help push them toward mending that before the end of this war. Spirits knew he would give anything for one more time to talk to his father civilly. All the years before Jane in which they refused to see eye to eye seemed like such a waste.
Once they were farther in the alarm went up, not the usual kind though. Garrus scoffed at the Speaker's attempts to persuade the kids not to trust the Alliance. Judging by the damage to the classroom, Cerberus didn’t put their best behavior on initially. Jane picked up one of the pads and smirked.
Shepard gave her a questioning eyebrow, carefully, still seeming to worry she’d jump down his throat again.
Jane shrugged, the smirk turning into a grin, “Just think you’re going to like some of the staff here.”
Neither of the men seemed to have a clue what she was on about, but were happy she had seem to come back to herself. Take the wins you can, Garrus thought to himself.
Sander’s came through on the comm, giving directions to more students and staff. Breaking out to a run, they picked up only the spare ammo they would need. Coming up to Orion hall, the group had to jump back as Cerberus guards were flung across their path.
An angry and familiar voice followed the bodies, “Eat this.”
“Jack?” Shepard asked, unsure of what was before them.
Turning Garrus found Jack, hands coming down from her biotic attack, standing guard over a group of teens like some angry mother varren protecting her pups. So this must have been what Jane had found funny.
“Shepard?” Jack started toward them.
Before she got more than a few feet, a rumble came through the floor platting. Looking through an open door, Garrus cursed as he saw and Atlas squeezing its way into the room. Spirits, just a little overkill.
Before they could get into position, Jack slid in front of the struggling member of her group and through up a shield that caught the first heavy slug it fired. Dropping her shield she looked at the trio, “Everyone down! This thing’s outta your league! Shepard, keep it off us!”
Getting into cover Shepard directed their attack against the Atlas. This was a no-brainer for Garrus. Even though this place was Alliance run, the students were still civilians and C-Sec training took over. Together they were able to make a more dangerous target than the fleeing kids, and it was long before they were able to whittle down the enemy’s shields and armor. Garrus had to hook a hand on Jane to haul her behind a crate when he heard the whine of a failing generator and they were able to avoid the resulting blast. She flashed him a smile of appreciation, and Garrus couldn’t help but return it, adrenaline did odd things to a person.
The rest of the standard Cerberus team fell easily, and Jack was able to drop her shield. Leaning over the railing of the floor above, she looked them over, “Kahlee said she was putting out an SOS. I have no idea King of the Boy Scouts would show up.” She gave out some orders before jumping down to their level, biotics flaring to slow her descent.
Shepard walked toward her hand outstretched, and Garrus winced when instead of accepting it Jack punched him in the jaw. Luckily she didn’t put any extra force in it, so Shepard only stumbled a little before recovering.
Jack glared at him hard, “Damn it, how many times did I tell you not to trust Cerberus?”
Rubbing the spot that was likely to bruise Shepard replied quietly, “You're not telling me anything I haven’t told myself, Jack.”
Still not losing the attitude, Jack got into his face, “Oh, you feel bad? Well shit, I bet that’s a big comfort to all the people Cerberus has killed!”
Deciding to break the tension, Garrus stepped in, “As charming as ever…”
“Bite me, Garrus,” Jack shot angrily, “Or better yet, bite the Shepard’s sister. Probably how she likes it.”
Garrus’ mandibles dropped, not expecting the dig at his people’s customs, and Shepard’s eyes glowed as they became comically wide. Jane though almost doubled over with explosive laughter. Even Jack couldn’t help a small smile looking at the other woman.
Dropping the attitude, Jack refocused them. “All I care about is getting my guys out of here.”
“Your guys?” Jane asked, looking at the teens above.
Jack almost had a soft look on her face, when chuckled and looked up as well, “Yea, I guess so.” Going back up to check on them, Jack left Garrus and the others to figure out a path through the facility. Jane volunteered to work on the lockout systems while Shepard relayed info to and from Sanders'. Garrus took up a lookout post where he could keep an eye on the room in case there was another attack.
“So,” Jack leaned on the railing next to him, “been enjoying your mate’s new ink?”
And Garrus almost swallowed his tongue and sputtered not expecting the comment. Jack couldn’t hold back the laughter, seeming to know he was uncomfortable talking about some of these things.
“Don’t worry, I’ll let you keep that little kink in the bedroom. It was all her idea, so don’t go blaming me for corrupting her.” Looking down at the siblings, “Not sure of those two who is more renegade.”
Under control, Garrus had to agree, but there was one difference, “Jane will always do the right thing without even considering anything else. Whereas the Command is willing to do anything to get it done.”
“Suppose you're right,” Jack shrugged, “Seemed like she took the Alpha relay hard.”
Garrus nodded, it was hard to fathom, but even after being a slave to the batarians she was completely distraught at a number of lives lost. The media didn’t see it, but he did, every day when small moments of shadows entered those green eyes. What he wouldn’t give to have been able to help in some way.
Gathering everyone up, they moved on, Shepard’s group charging out into the open and being noisy. The idea was to attack the brunt of the force, if they got hung up the biotics would support or slip by as needed. In one room, while taking a breath, Jane came across some orders. Seems while they wanted any of the kids, there were a couple, in particular, Cerberus wanted. The ones Jack seemed to yell at the most, tough love did seem to be Jack’s MO.
The team paused at one open door, for once they had the drop on one of Cerberus’ engineer. Garrus personally hated them and their unending supplies of the turret. Quietly Jane walked forward and took him out with her Omni blade. The body hadn’t hit the floor before she started looking over the damaged Atlas. Turning back to the men, she smiled, eyes large and hopeful, “It's still working…”
The pair looked at each other, of course the chance to work one of these would put a child-like gleam in her eyes. Shepard could only nod, “Go ahead, just be careful where you fire.”
Garrus nodded, and said in a sarcastic tone, “Yea, I don’t think rockets are good for my health.”
Jane got a few good hits in with the Atlas before it took too much damage, it made their clean up job easier.
Finally they were at the bay, students filing into the shuttles. From what Sanders was shouting they wouldn’t have much time. Jack paused looking over those running past. “Where the hell is Rodrigez?”
She was answered by the sounds of shots, and Garrus heard Jane cursed under breath. One of the students listed as a primary target was on the other side of bullet proof glass running from a fresh new squad of Cerberus goons. The Shepard glowed blue, as he tried to smash through the window, “She needs covering fire!”
“She needs more than that,” was the only warning Jack gave, and Jane barely had time to shove her brother away from the path of the biotic. And with one blast she shattered the whole window and pushed the attackers back. They got the girl up on her feet and onto the shuttle.
On the way back to Normandy Garrus was surprised to see how well Jack took to being a leader. She was tough as nails, rude, and still ready with a snarky reply. But he was most taken back by the worried look she gave when Shepard was asked what he thought of the Biotic Artillery uses. And the rush of relief when he suggested more support roles.
Staying on the fringes, Jane let out a sigh, seeing Garrus curious look she explained quietly, “These kids are the closest thing to family Jack has, and they really are still kids. They don’t belong in war, let alone the front lines.”
Garrus nodded in understanding, “And she was worried Shepard would only view them as another strong weapon meant to be used?”
Jane nodded, “And to be honest if it was back before Saren… I think he would have. But now he is seeing more of the big picture and not just the goal.”
Garrus nodded, turning back to the conversation between Jack and Joker.
“Cover your ears kids… Hey, Joker, f-”
After dropping off Grissom’s students to a safe zone, Jane knew they had to pull focus back to the getting Krogan aid. By now Wrex and the Dalatrass would be waiting for them, and the longer those two had together the more likely there would be a second war. Trying to help relieve some pressure from Johnny, Jane worked with Traynor, sorting through the messages and requests. Together they were able to handle supply requests, after all, Jane had been doing that for months before for the turian groups. And down in the war room, they were able to hand out smaller missions to the Alliance Marine groups and some of Garrus and her task force. All the jobs were well within their ability and would save the Normandy travel time, and more chances to focus on the harder missions.
One late night, Jane was running through some numbers, trying to find proper warship medical supplies when Garrus had come to find her. At first, she didn’t hear him and jumped at the nibble on her shoulder. Looking around she found it was only them left working this late. Even Victus had left awhile ago.
“You need rest,” Garrus said softly.
Jane turned in his arms and leaned back, “I’d love rest, but there is this damn turian who always pounces on me anytime I’m near a bed, or shower, or wall…”
Garrus shut her up with a kiss, looked like he was learning ways of dealing with her snark, “Point taken. But come on, you’ve done enough today.” He pulled her away from the console.
She followed him lazily out of security and to the lift, her head felt like it was full of cotton. Damn it, Garrus did have a point about needing to stop work. Hearing him clear his throat Jane looked up.
“Shepard knows you’ve been redirecting missions before they come across his desk.” Garrus showed no emotion, and instead, he watched her.
Jane tried not to flinch, remembering what she’d said about passing only the big decisions on to him. “I know it may be stepping out of my bounds but… Garrus, he would have let that kid be taken. Just for the strategic advantage. I figure he isn’t pulled in too many directions at once he will be able to take the time to make the right choice, not the easiest.”
The lift stopped, and Garrus placed a hand on her back and guided her to their room. “He realized he made a bad call, Jane.” He pulled her to sit in his lap on the bed, holding her close, chin resting on her head. “And he is grateful for what you're doing. He hadn’t thought he could use our men, with the deal the Primarch is wanting. Just give him time, he is used to commanding a ground team, not multiple forces all over the galaxy.” Giving a squeeze, he continued “Shepard only asks that you don’t wear yourself out trying to save his sanity. After all, you have a very demanding husband to look after.”
Jane chuckled, feeling relief. At least her brother wasn’t angry. After Grissom, and the resurgence of Fury taking over… Well, she was afraid it wouldn’t be the same again. Getting up, she pulled Garrus’ armor off, before moving to the bed and tucking herself against him. It wasn’t long before sleep came.
Jane watched Wrex who was almost jittery with anticipation on the shuttle. To be honest, she was slightly peeved at the old clan leader. Why was it so hard for people to understand they had to work together? On the other hand, Jane knew how hard it was to get the Council to admit it was wrong and actually get around to doing something about it. This was probably the only way something would get done about the Genophage while in this century. If they managed to survive the Reapers. And it was the right thing to do by the female Krogans, they did not belong in a lab. Jane could only hope they were being treated better than those in the lab on Tuchanka.
Landing Wrex put on a show of power for the salarians. Jane doubted he would actually do anything, mostly he was enjoying being in a position of power with salarians for once. “Bets on if he actually kills one of them?” She murmured quietly to Javik, trying to build comradery.
The prothean sneered, “The Krogan is only posturing, he wants to appear virile for the females.”
Smothering a laugh, Jane shook her head. She knew he was the avatar of Vengeance, but come on, did this guy ever lighten up?
Getting into the lab, Jane found she wasn’t surprised Mordin was behind the leak. Seeing him return from trying to rescue his supposedly kidnapped student, he was torn over what he had done with improving the Genophage. Jane suspected it always bothered Mordin and subconsciously sought out jobs like Omega’s clinic to make amends. While he did good work there, only someone with his skills would have a chance of finding a cure within their lifetime.
It hurt to see the females who hadn’t survived if anything Mordin seemed to show a great depth of sympathy. Jane always liked the scientist, he’d done so much for her and she wasn’t sure how to comfort him. At least they could make sure the surviving female made it home. Things appeared to be going well when there was a shudder and the alarms lit up. They had enough time to get Mordin and the female into the elevator but were delayed when a bomb arrived in the one they intended to take.
Before Jane could move out of the way, Javik pulled her to him and turned his back to it and brought a biotic shield between them and the blast. She shrugged him off, while Javik looked her over for damage, only to sneer when he confirmed she was fine. Her ears were popping, but she had no idea what his problem was and had no time to ask as they jogged after Johnny toward another exit.
Of course, Jane shouldn’t have been surprised that picking up the female Krogan would go wrong somehow. If it wasn’t the Reapers it was Cerberus. Ok, maybe they had another way to deal with the Reapers but did that really have to undermine everything the Normandy did?
There was one part she found entertaining, Jane kept having to remind herself not to shoot Javik. Of course, any remark on how he looked like a Collector was met with anger and hissing. She really had to send him a vid of a hissing cockroach, Spirits he’d be pissed off. Annoying the high and mighty Prothean lightened her day greatly.
On each level and check point, they found more enemies, with Wrex yelling at them the entire time on the comm. Jane understood how he felt, not being able to be on the frontlines but shouldn’t a battlemaster know not to distract their troops this much?
Unfortunately, before they reached the pickup point, Wrex had to take the shuttle and fall back, there were just too many attackers for him to defend it on his own. It took some time, but the team was able to clear the floor, and even prevented another Atlas from attacking their friends. Jane felt some disappointment that she couldn’t ride in this one, but a least she had taken note of weak points in the last one which helped destroy this one.
Wrex landed on the next flyby, and quickly pushed his way past everyone to stand in front of the medical pod. Mordin was already there, raising a hand to help the female out when Wrex shouldered him aside and to his place. Jane had to hide a giggle as he tried to look gallant doing it, only to have the hand ignored by the obviously healthy and capable female as she gracefully stepped out of the pod.
Javik glanced at her questioningly, and all Jane could do was whisper back “Posturing savage.” Even the prothean wasn’t able to stop the quirk of his lip at the comment.
Before introductions could be made another couple of Cerberus members jetted down to start another attack. While Jane’s hand was still reaching for her gun, the female snagged Wrex’s overly large shotgun, and fired from the hip, taking them both down. Not waiting to see if they stopped moving, the female shoved the gun back at Wrex, “I can handle myself.”
Wrex didn’t even move to put the gun away, only looked at Johnny, “Women…”
Before he could finish the thought, Jane flinched when she heard a power shot ring out behind the group. Pain blossomed in her side as she stumbled down, crying out. Damn the thing burned, and she struggled to breathe. A sniper must have gotten behind them while they were focused on the others. He must have had an amazing weapon to break through her shields and armor with one shot.
Johnny threw a grenade toward the bastard’s direction but to her utter amazement, it was Javik who knelt over her snarling, focusing on any Cerberus who managed to slip by Johnny and Wrex. When he wasn’t shooting he was applying medigel, the cool feel of it helping the pain some.
Taking a moment to reload Javik glared at her, “Why you were a good choice to bring on this mission is beyond me. You should not be on a battlefield in this condition.”
“I just got fucking shot! Up until then, I was doing fine asshole.” Jane snarled at him. She was tired of the looks and attitude. Added his willingness to protect her from bombs and other threats, Jane felt like she was being jerked around too much.
Javik only shook his head in frustration before firing again. Soon the top floor was cleared again they were able to safely get on the shuttle. Even with the medigel she was still bleeding, and the numbing agent wasn’t helping the cramping in her midsection.
Mordin knelt in front of her and started scanning and performing triage, Jane knew there was an exit wound, but there would be some patching up needed inside. “Bullet wound to the abdominal wall, nicked some organs, minimal internal bleeding. Need surgery. Sign of foreign object. Jane, are you still eating dextro food?”
Hissing, Jane had no idea what he was getting at, “Only drinks, trying to kick the habit.”
He shook his head, “Not enough to explain readings.”
“What are you blathering about, slug” Javik spat. He hadn’t left Jane’s side. She kind of wish he would part of her mind rambled trying to distract herself, he was an asshole. “She is with child, of course, there is a foreign object.”
Just then the shuttle shook, and the movement and the statement caused enough pain and confusion to knock Jane out.
Jane slowly became aware of things, it all felt like a dream when she first woke up on Omega. A steady beep, low hushed tones, and rumbles, the scratchy sheets used in the medbay, the smell of sterilization chemicals. And a dull throb from her middle. Trying to shift she let out a hiss of pain.
There was a quick heavy set of steps and Garrus’ flanged voice came out, “Jane, are you awake?”
Jane tried to speak but had to cough from the dry throat before getting out, “With this pain, I wish I wasn’t.”
The snarky remark was enough to relieve Garrus and he let out a laugh and stroked her hair with his talons. Mordin joined the group as Jane opened her eyes. There was Garrus, Johnny, the doc, and a large krogan like shape almost completely covered in robes and veils closer to the door. Before she could say any more Mordin was shining a light in her eyes and rattling off random instructions, something about bed rest plenty of both levo and dextro food.
Raising a hand in surrender she pleaded. “Mordin. Just slow down and rewind. What happened? I remember getting shot, and Javik trying to make a terrible joke…”
Mordin shook his head fast. “No joke Jane, his diagnosis was correct. You are just over two months pregnant from my estimate.”
Jane felt the bottom of her stomach drop out. How? She hadn’t even seen another human in person since going to Palaven and rejoining the Normandy. Looking to Garrus, fearing a look of hate and distrust she started blathering, “Garrus, I swear, I’ve never… haven’t seen.... I don’t know how…”
Garrus grabbed her hand and said softly, “Jane, let him finish, you don’t have to worry.”
Mordin looked between the couple a few times before it clicked, “Ah, don’t worry. No infidelity. Remember we saw genome changes made by Collectors?” Jane nodded unsure of where this was going, “Symptoms appeared to be minimal but caused reproductive organs to grow again. Turns out they were better than only functional. My theory is the Collectors were obsessed with combining Shepard and Prothean DNA, to better themselves. But project was interfered with, process slowed and ended up combining turian DNA later on. Suspect turian bonding rituals had an effect on your changes.”
It was all too much to take in, so she looked to Garrus, who was watching her intently, “Uhh, what he is trying to say is yes you’re pregnant, but with my child. The Collectors did something to you, that made you body able to accept, uhh, my DNA.”
Johnny rubbed his neck awkwardly, “God this is way too clinical.”
Mordin jumped in, “Yes, exciting implications. Turian-human hybrids.” He had a large smile, ignoring Garrus nervousness, Johnny’s discomfort, and Jane’s confusion.
Jane was frozen, not really looking at anything. A child. Garrus’ and her child? She had no idea how it was possible, but if Mordin said it was… She looked at Garrus, whose image became watery as tears started to fill her eyes. Leaning forward he put his forehead to hers, “Hey now, we’ve wanted this, maybe a little earlier than expected but this is a good thing.”
Jane couldn’t help but laugh, “But that was adoption, we’re talking about mutant babies.”
Johnny groaned, “Also don’t know if you realize how crazy human mothers can get, Garrus. I remember the great craving of chocolate chili cheese soup when mom was having Janey.”
Jane rested a hand on her belly, not really feeling anything, but hoping she might. “So what now?”
Mordin pulled up some items on his omni tool, “Hard to say, first hybrids to make it to viable embryos. Can only guess at when babies will be grown, and will more than likely have more turian features than human. But for now eat equal part levo and dextro foods, cravings for dextro food may have been body needing it for biological changes and then nutrition for babies.”
Garrus raised a brow plate, “Sorry, I think my translator is glitching. You keep saying plural Mordin.”
He bobbed his head, “Yes, two separate embryos. Never before with turians, but not unheard for human. Higher rate of fertility may be do to sudden organ regrowth.”
Jane thought back, Javick knew, every conversation hinted at it. “How did Javik know?”
Johnny shrugged, “Protheans can communicate by touch, maybe he could sense their life?”
The thought of someone else knowing before her made Jane sad. Like she wouldn’t ever be able to connect to them. Hell, even now she was the last to know.
“Jane will need to rest. Commander, Garrus, I must request you leave.”
Johnny gave Jane a hug and Garrus gave her a kiss, a hand joining her’s on her still flat belly and they left Jane to her sleep and thoughts. Wars and babies, how were they supposed to go together?
Shepard dragged Garrus to the rec area, saying the new father needed a drink. Entering the room they were greeted by Vega, Cortez, and Wrex. All three stopped the conversation, set down their cards and turned to the brothers in law.
“Yo, Scars, is it true you knocked up my Lola?” Vega called out.
Without catching the teasing tone, Garrus started to tense and snarl. Jane was his, only his. His mate, his friend, the mother of his unborn children. Luckily Shepard caught him before he went after the muscular man, who seemed to lose the color in his face at the sound coming from Garrus.
Wrex gave a throaty laugh. “Ah stupid humans, never joke about claim on a turian’s mate. They can be more territorial than a krogan.”
“Dios, sorry man, it was just a joke. But is Wrex telling the truth? About you and Jane?”
Garrus took a breath, before nodding, “Something the Collectors did. Still not sure how, or at least I don’t fully understand what Mordin said.”
Cortez laughed, “One shuttle ride with that scientist and I’m not surprised. Come on Commander, get the poor father to be a stiff drink before he goes into shock.”
Shepard guided Garrus to the bar where the others joined. He pulled out a blue turian brandy and poured a large amount that Garrus gulped in one go. “Ugh, this is terrible. Let Jane stock the bar next time.” He pushed the glass forward asking for more.
The Commander poured another of his own, after pouring something for everyone. “It’s what we’ve got for now. I cannot believe my sister got married, at least I didn’t to expect the shocking news of being an Uncle. Damn Garrus, you have a way of always blowing my plans out of the water.” He raised his glass, as did everyone. “Congrats and thank your spirits that you did not conceive on the Normandy.”
The group laughed and drank down the drinks.
Jane woke sometime in the night to find Mordin gone, but the female Krogan was sitting on her bed looking quiet and almost serene. Jane had never seen a female before, with all her robes she seemed very mysterious, and Jane had a feeling there was a lot going on behind her veil.
“Hello, young mother.” Her solemn voice came out.
Jane sat up gingerly, “Uhh, Hello…?”
“You may call me Eve. Before this, I was a shaman for my people and had given up my name, so this name will do now.”
Jane nodded her head to the leader. She knew how respected Shaman’s were in krogan culture. “It is an honor, Eve.”
Eve’s yellow eyes almost twinkled in the low light. “I have heard much about you from your brother and Wrex. You’ve have lived quite an interesting life. Done the impossible, just like your brother. Escaping enslavement, becoming an honorable warrior on a lawless world, destroying the Collectors. Even if your children are an accident, it still defies the laws of the galaxy.” She tilted her head, “Maybe you’ll share some of your luck with my people and I. I have yet to see proof if the Salarian has been successful.”
Jane looked away, gently touching her stomach as if it would break. “After my colony was attacked, after seeing people shot down, beaten, burned… I woke in the batarian processing camps and was told I’d never have a family, a life. That all that mattered were my masters. I drew happiness from the fact that none of my children would go through what I did. And now…”
“Now you worry they will fall victim to the Reapers?” Eve finished for her.
“Yes. What they do is sick. They treat everything as a tool, twisting body and mind to their needs. Their pawns took me just because I was related to Johnny, inadvertently gave me this miracle. But what will they do to all children if we fail.”
“The answer is staring at you in the face Jane. We will not fail. It is not only your brother who is drawing this galaxy together but the whole of Normandy. The turians have their spirits, Krogan have their horde, humans their drive. But the Galaxy has Normandy and your children will be all of it’s children. They will be safe.”
The krogan’s words made Jane tear up, and she was right. They wouldn’t be standing alone, they could beat the cycle together. Any Reaper, Brute, or husk would never lay a finger on her children.
Garrus tapped his foot impatiently as he waited for the elevator to reach the crew deck. It had been two full day cycles since Jane had woken and Mordin just sent word that she was released. Knowing Jane she would have headed straight to the mess, fully enjoying the permission to eat dextro food again.
Garrus was a little hungry as well, not being able to eat much since they had found out. He and Jane needed to talk. Mordin mentioned he could terminate the pregnancy, it wasn’t ideal timing after all. But there was no guarantee they could do this again. Even the great salarian genetic scientist couldn’t be sure what would happen.
Then there was the crew. Shepard wanted this to stay in the circle of trusted comrades. With how odd Cerberus had become and the hotheads in all government positions, no one would put it past some party to try to use Jane in some power play or research. As far as most of those outside their group of friends was concerned Jane was pregnant, but with a human child. The implications meant annoying whispers and gossip but what mattered was that she and any possible children were safe.
Turning toward the mess he found her well into her meal, half levo, half dextro. Upon seeing her smiling green eyes, Garrus decided that dinner wasn’t a priority anymore. Right now his instincts were screaming to take her somewhere private and check her over, see for himself she was truly alright.
Sitting down, he planned on trying to wait for her to finish. “Hey there, how are you feeling?”
“Better, but a little tired of the looks already.” Jane looked up and around the room.
Garrus followed her gaze, noting several of the crew looked away, embarrassed at being caught staring. “Cerberus or Alliance. Suicide mission or Galactic war. Gossip is all the same. You remember how many weeks the old crew talked about that last pregnant woman on board.”
Jane nodded, turning back to her food. Garrus leaned over and in his most smooth sounding voice, “Let's call it an early night.”
One of her eyebrows drew up, and Jane started eating at an agonizingly slow pace, “I just got out of the med bay, I plan on partying the night away.”
“And I plan on making sure my mate is ok.” He growled in her ear, catching the slight shiver down her back. Even with Jane’s teasing, Garrus could drive her nuts in his own way, knowing what his voice could do to her.
Jane was on her last bite and make a show of dragging the fork out of her lips obscenely while making a slightly exaggerated moan, not unlike the sounds she made in their bed. That was enough to try Garrus’ patience. Not caring about leaving her tray, he grabbed her arm and pulled her toward their make shift room.
Jane giggled, a sound he only heard when she was in a good mood. Ignoring all the looks he got, Garrus focused on his goal. Getting her in private. In the room he made sure to run more advanced privacy programs on the door, they were not going to be disturbed unless it was the Reapers themselves.
Turning back, Garrus barely paused before pulling Jane close and removing her clothing. What used to be awkward was now something he could do in the near dark. Meanwhile, her small hands knew where to find the seals on his armor. He still stole a few moments to run his talons over her sides and was rewarded with a hiss.
When both were bare Garrus moved Jane to the bed, gently laying her down and hovering over her. Taking a moment to look her over. Jane’s skin never looked softer than when under the light of the stars that they flew by. He brushed a thumb across a cheek where her marks were normally worn, then followed a path down her neck and shoulders. His mouth and tongue followed. Taking in the feel, scent, and taste of each bit of skin and scar. One's old from before Omega, she explained each one to him over the time they since they met. Somewhere from Omega, he’d bandaged himself. Others from the Collectors. And the freshest from the war. Together they made a barely visible star chart, connecting some of the freckles that dusted her skin. Garrus made sure to spend extra attention on the newest, a round one on the lower stomach. Purring he pressed his forehead to the lives under it.
Reaching lower Garrus found she was already wet with excitement. Looking back up to her he pinned her with his gaze as he lazy started to lick at her slit, finger tip finding her clit. In the past, Garrus had proved he could make Jane reach her peak in record time, but not tonight. Tonight, Garrus took his time, savoring her taste and the sounds of her gasps and begging.
When Jane was on the edge, he pulled himself up and sunk his hard dripping member gently into her. It was almost like when they had started sleeping together, that he was afraid of breaking her. Human bodies were delicate and yet resilient, but now he wasn’t sure. Turian women were at risk for many things while carrying young, so tonight’s love making was slow, careful, and world shattering.
It took all of his focus to keep up the slow rhythm and not give in to his instincts, especially with her breathy voice begging for more. Somehow Garrus found the strength to continue and pinned Jane down so all she could do was feel the experience.
Finally, Jane fell over the edge with a high pitched cry, her clenching muscles and the bite of her nails inside Garrus’ cowl bringing him to completion. He tried to fall to the side only to find them locked together again. Apparently, his body didn’t get the memo that she was already pregnant.
Once their breath became more controlled, Garrus carefully turned so she was resting more comfortably on top of him. Sighing he murmured, “Looking forward to a good night sleep.”
Smiling lazily, Jane propped her head up on his keel. “The sex that good?” And her muscle clenched his sensitive cock.
Hissing in almost pain Garrus explained, “More of just having you near. Protective mate instincts.”
“So you’ve been working for the past two days with no sleep?”
He didn’t meet her eyes, “Perhaps.” Running his hands up her back, “We need to talk.”
Jane’s face became nervous, “About the pregnancy?”
“Yes… Timing could have been better…”
In a quiet voice, she cut him off, “I want them.”
Garrus’ brow plates rose, Jane could be stubborn, but she normally took more time to think things through. “Really?”
“Yeah, I know it means I won’t be on your six in missions. But this may never happen again. And even if we threw the hybrid part out the airlock, they are too special to lose now. Not for my convenience.”
Garrus placed his forehead to her’s, “I was thinking the same. And you are still one hell of an armorer, I doubt the Alliance would care if you develop some new tech to keep the great Shepard and his partner Archangel alive.” Shifting as he felt himself start to recede, he sighed moving her to nestle in his side, “Guess this means I’ll need to do more research, you humans are so complicated. Two births at once?”
“There have been many more than that, twins are just more probable than triplets or more.”
“I know your species is stretchy but that is bordering on ridiculous.” Garrus chuckled as he dodged a well-aimed pillow.
“I swear Bright Eyes, if you ever call me fat…” But Jane was soon shut up with a kiss.
Pulling away, Garrus had a thought. “You’ll need to do some social studying too. If you think I could be overprotective before, I’ll be worse now.”
“What, are you going to hand feed and bathe me?” Jane scoffed.
While both practices were archaic and throw backs to turian primal days, the bathing part did not sound that bad. “Do you think Shepard would be ok putting a large tub in here?” While looking around the room, he missed another swing of another pillow and caught it full force on the top of his head.
Thank you all for reading, I am happy to see how many have stuck it out this far! Hope you keep enjoying the series, even if I have the tendency to like cliff hangers too much. And a big thanks to my Beta for helping me get these out!
Wrex was getting impatient to get back to Tuchanka with Eve, but Garrus convinced Shepard to run by the Citadel. Normandy didn’t have the equipment to monitor Jane’s condition and they needed a full-time medical officer who they could trust. A medic and Mordin were not going to work in the long term.
Luckily, she was his sister so Shepard didn’t argue and Wrex of all people knew how important children were. Once again they were at the hospital on the Citadel again and Mordin had pull strings again to get them in. Entering the lobby they spotted a few familiar faces, first was Thane. Garrus couldn’t help but feel sorry for the man, his health was going down hill quickly, the once colorful scales were duller now but he seemed happy, spending his last moments reconnecting with his son.
They also found Dr. Chakwas and Dr. Michele. The later Garrus hadn’t seen since before Saren. She was the one who spotted Garrus and called him over, thickly accented voice sounding excited, and a blush decorating her cheeks.
“Dr. Michele, happy to see you are doing so well.”
“Garrus! Yes, I have just gotten a request to join the Normandy. That is your ship, yes?” She reached out to touch his shoulder. Garrus heard a sound close to growling come from Jane’s direction.
“Garrus, Dr. Solas, Jane, Commander. Good to see you,” The older woman joined, tactfully bringing the other in the conversation, she seemed happy to see them but less excitable than the younger doctor. “We have been discussing my placement as the head doctor here, but you know I will always come back to the Normandy if needed.”
Shepard shook both women’s hands, “Good to see both of you. Doc if you could come back I think it would be best, we have some interesting cases on board and while I’m sure Dr. Michele is capable I would prefer your skill and familiarity with the crew.”
“Of course, Commander” Dr. Chakwas smiled, she turned to the the now pouting Dr. Michele, “I will contact the board of directors, after your years running the clinic on the Citadel this position would be better suited for you, my dear. I’m too used to patching up wounded soldiers to do much else.”
Dr Michele seemed down but ended up agreeing to the last minute change.
Dr. Chakwas joined them as they made their way to the assigned room. While Shepard caught up with the doctor Garrus looked down to find Jane looking smug. “And what are you so happy about?”
“Just glad to have Dr. Chakwas back. I don’t think Dr. Michele would have completely enjoyed being on the ship when she finds out you’re married.”
Garrus flicked a mandible, thinking, “What do you mean?”
Jane rolled her big green eyes at him, “Really? No wonder it took you so long to figure me out. She has a huge crush on you.”
That made him backpedal, “What, really?” Before Jane, Garrus had never looked at non-turian woman that way, and now, well he only had eyes for Jane.
Jane chuckled, “I wonder about your taste, another redhead green eyed woman mooning after you?”
Garrus pulled her aside, letting the others continue and grabbed Jane’s chin lifting her face to meet his gaze, “You know there is only you Jane.” He let his sub vocals rumble his feeling ignoring the look from a turian medic walking by.
“I know, it’s just fun to mess with you.” She leaned up on her toes and kissed his mandible.
Entering the room they found Mordin showing a stunned Dr. Chakwas the data collected so far. “My god, the implications of this are staggering.”
Garrus watched Jane start to shift uncomfortably, arms wrapping around her middle. He stepped in, “Doctor, please understand we don’t want this getting out for now. Especially with Cerberus’ recent attacks on colonies and research bases.”
Shepard nodded, “They are getting more aggressive in collecting any data related to the Reapers. Including the tech responsible for this. There are reports of their activity from the Omega 4 relay after our return.”
The doctor raised her hands, “Of course, of course. Well, Dr. Solas, let’s get these tests done, it's not often I get to do prenatal care.”
Shepard excused himself, mentioning that Kaiden was there and awake, and Garrus remained to support Jane. They took blood samples, scans, and even pulled up an ultrasound. To Garrus the images didn’t look like much, but besides Jane’s steady slow heart beat, there were two rapid heart beats that had a turian pattern. It hit him, looking forward to a life with his love was now about to get a lot bigger. The war going on was now even more important, it was no longer for the Galaxy. It was for his family.
Leaving the medical room Jane let out a sigh of relief. As impossible as this was, everything appeared to be fine. She was waiting for something to go wrong, for some reason this would fail. But it never came.
Garrus left to go check in with the wounded and refugees from turian space who were in one of the large holding areas, while Jane went to join her brother. As much as she had disliked Kaiden, she felt bad about the severity of the attack that landed him here. They would need every available fighter in this war.
Walking in she found her brother sitting with a bed ridden Kaiden. Jane paused a moment, while she knew he had been a soldier, and had a wide build, she hadn’t been prepared for how much muscle Kaiden actually had.
The pair looked up at her entrance and Kaiden made no move to cover his bare chest, and let the sheet barely cover the muscles that formed a V that led down lower. Before Garrus, Jane would have been attracted to this obviously male form, but now she only saw how squat and awkward he looked. Garrus had more muscle, but it was stretched over a larger frame, one she found mouth watering compared to this. It made her wonder if the Collector’s change of her genome had a side effect of making her go through a more subtle true bond like turians. The thought warmed her.
“Well Jane,” Johnny broke her thought process, “You’re looking at the next human Spectre.”
Kadien almost blushed, “Nothing is set in stone yet.”
Jane hid her surprise. First, Johnny sounded almost friendly. Given what Kadien had done on Horizon, Jane was shocked Johnny seemed so relaxed. He must have forgiven his old teammate, and she should be happy, but it would take Kaiden a lot to redeem himself to her. Second, she didn’t expect any human getting put up to Spectre so soon after the distrust of Johnny’s time with Cerberus. Part of her worried, unlike her brother, most candidates went through a training process, hell even Garrus did before he dropped out to go to Omega. Guess the same rules didn’t apply to humans. It wouldn’t be a good habit to fall into, there was a reason for training
“Well, congratulation Major,” Jane said before turning to Johnny, she continued, “Garrus went ahead to check on the turian refugees, I was going to join. Let us know when the Normandy is ready to leave.”
Johnny nodded and turned more serious, “Everything checks out alright?”
Jane nodded, but before she could leave Kaiden spoke up looking concerned, “You were admitted to the hospital?”
She tried not to snap at him, it was an impulsive and intrusive question. But to be seen at a hospital that was bursting with the seriously wounded she could understand his concern. “We needed more specialized equipment. During the last mission I was injured and we discovered I was pregnant.” She didn’t go into detail, if he wasn’t joining them then there was no reason he needed to know the babies were in fact turian.
Kadien was taken aback and stumbled out congratulations of his own. Jane would have to grow used to the confused looks. Being married to a turian and pregnant, it would be quite a scandal in normal circumstances.
Jane nodded her thanks and turned to leave.
The docks were an eye opener. Vega pointed out how it appeared most of the Citadel seemed to have forgotten what was happening everywhere else, but not here. The continuous growing wall of remembrance and the converted cargo storage full of wounded made it clear what was really happening. Jane made notes of things the Normandy could possibly help with. Food, medical supplies that could be directed here to relieve pressure. They might even be able to help the spiritual side that many started taking solace in.
Jane passed a batarian priest, and instead of hate filled messages, he was quoting from even older religious texts Anew followed. But he did not have any of the relics or representations he normally would have. Jane remembered one of their surveys revealed the ancient pillars that held great symbolism for them. Johnny had almost left them, but once Jane recognized them there were collected. Keeping her eyes at a respectful angle she clamped down on the fear and approached the priest.
“Excuse me, but we found a set of the Pillars of Strength. If you want, you can pick them up from Docking Bay 24. Tell them… Jane Vakarian gave the order to give them to you.” She worried at giving her name. She doubted there wasn’t a batarian who didn’t know it by now after the Alpha Relay.
The priest seemed surprised, but instead of instant hate, his tired voice was filled with uncertain relief. “Thank you… It will mean a lot to those here.”
Jane nodded and left it at that. She doubted they would ever be friends, but at this time everyone needed something to help survive.
Jane couldn’t believe what Johnny was telling her. “They want you to what?”
“Like I said, go back on my word to one of my most trusted friends and potentially screw over this whole alliance,” Johnny growled staring at his fish tank, almost as if daring the newest batch of fish to die then and there.
Hating that Jane couldn’t give the damn salarian a piece of her mind or have a beer to relax, she settled on imagining all the things she could say to the salarian leader next time they were together in person, Javick could probably suggest something. “So what did you say?”
“No, of course, I can’t imagine what would happen from the repercussions. Slimy bastard said to keep his suggestion in mind.” He was now leaning on the tank, eyes closed.
Jane got up and leaned against his shoulder taking his hand, “You are doing everything you can. There is always someone who won’t get their way.”
“It’s just hard to believe how petty they can be when so many are dying.” And he gripped her hand in return. Taking a breath, “Every time I close my eyes I see that boy’s face. He was playing on a rooftop on another building before they attacked, I could see him almost every time I went to the Alliance building. As I was escaping I managed to see him get on an evac shuttle. I was so happy, in the middle of all the destruction they could save a kid… Then the laser ripped it apart like it was paper.”
Jane felt her eyes fill with tears. Her brother used to be more of a renegade soldier but that didn’t mean he didn’t have a soft spot for kids. Had none of this happened she could almost imagine him being a farmer like dad with lots of his own kids running around. But not everyone was so lucky in what the universe had planned for them.
“Don’t forget that they are many more children out there. Krogan, human, turian, salarian, even your own nieces or nephews who are counting on you still. You’re gut got us this far and we trust you, and you aren’t alone.”
“Thanks, Janey. Just stressed,” Pushing off the glass Johnny looked her over, “So how are mom and the babies?”
Jane laughed, “Never thought anyone would call me that. But as far as the docs can see I’m good, even considering I wasn’t getting enough dextro food and had been shot. At least now levo food has started tasting better. I guess it was my body’s way of saying it wanted more of the other protein.” Rubbing her stomach she continued, “And still no idea when they’ll be ready. Turians are very different. As far as Mordin can tell they will look mostly turian but have some human benefits. Better cooling and warming systems, larger lung capacity like humans, no lung tissue in the bones like turians. That kind of thing.”
Jane sighed, she loved her tall turian but he was getting a bit much, “Wants to do everything for me. I think you’ll be getting a request to put a bath in our room unless he is joking, something about turians helping clean their females. Sounds like they are made of glass during pregnancy. He doesn’t believe me when I told him about how mom still ran marathons most of the time while pregnant with us.”
Her brother only chuckled, “I figured he was the hovering kind. I’m sure Mordin can prepare some reading material for him to help get him off you ass.”
“Thanks, brother, just what I want to talk to him about,” Jane replied in a sarcastic tone
Johnny returned it with a big smile, “Anything for my sister.”
While Johnny had to wrestle with his choice he kept his ground crew busy with some side tasks on the surface of Tachunka. Even on the krogan homeworld, Primarch Victus had some tasks, without warning Johnny ordered Garrus and Vega down with him. It was all kept quiet, the only thing they knew, was it was for Victus and to not mention anything to Wrex. Luckily the Krogan was too busy with Mordin and finishing Genophage cure tests to notice.
Whatever was happening had Victus on edge. Deciding to use a bribe to get information Jane brought up some of the favorite hot drink to the war room. The two young girls guarding the door to the war room waved her through, Jane always enjoyed hearing them gossip, though that was silent for a week after word of her own news made its way around Normandy, Jane guessed she was the topic of choice then. Today they were debating the krogans plight. After getting to know Eve and Wrex, Jane felt like the warrior race had bad timing, asking for a miracle while everything was being destroyed by the Reapers. But it was within their right, hopefully, they would at least learn the benefits of a fight with the rest of the galaxy instead of against once this was all over.
Walking down the stairs Jane found the Primarch staring intently at a vid feed from Johnny’s helmet. She tried not to wince when she saw a harvester attacking. Luckily Garrus was there and the two were focusing on whittling it down from a distance. If it was just Johnny and Vega, the two meat heads might try to charge the damn thing. Not that Jane didn’t like charging enemies while under the cover of her cloak, but never at something that was big enough to eat her shuttle.
Placing the drink at Victus’ elbow Jane remained quiet, focusing on her own. The thing she learned with this turian while on Menae, he hated making non battle decisions. If it wasn’t battle related he would pass it up the chain. Now he couldn’t, so given the chance he would try to talk it through without giving away details. Sometimes the frustration was entertaining when it was some pointless show of power, for the real stuff Jane could only feel empathy for Victus.
As if on schedule, Victus spoke, his gaze on the vid, “What do humans do when their children are in a rough spot?”
Jane felt her eyebrows lift to her hairline, when Victus heard of the pregnancy he voiced congratulations but left it at that. He hadn’t cared about the details, turians only wanted jobs to get done, no matter the private life which was refreshing. “Depends on the family. Some go all out to shelter them, others let them figure out their own way in a mess.”
Victus shook his head, “It is in our blood not to let any personal issues get in the way of duty. Even if family… Sometimes I wish we’d learn more from humans.”
After a couple more minutes of silence, Jane was about to turn to go to the Vakarian office when a name came over the comm, “... Lieutenant Victus…” Looking at the screen she saw a very young and pale turian. Way too young to be the one in charge of a unit. Turning her gaze to the Primarch she saw him shift, becoming tense. So the Primarch was conflicted, asking the great Commander Shepard to help a mission gone wrong and wondering if he was really doing it to help his son out of a tight spot.
Jane decided to remain in the main war room, skimming reports from Palven and making notes for Garrus and the Primarch. She was still there when the ground team radioed back saying they were staying with the squadron through the rest of mission. Something about a Cerberus bomb on the surface. It seemed like something the group would do, but the stiff posture of Victus screamed that there was more to this. First, he wasn’t surprised to hear about the bomb, but knowing they needed krogan help, why didn’t they pass the information along earlier? If anything a krogan-turian combined operation would help the distrust… Something wasn’t right.
This time Jane watched the feed in its entirety. She saw Victus swell with pride for his son, back in control of his command, acting like a true leader, but when the identity of the bomb maker was finally given it became clear.
With anger, she turned to the leader and hissed. “You would put the only people willing to help you in danger to save your own ass!”
Hunching his shoulders Victus didn’t look at her, “It wasn’t an issue until Cerberus go involved. And I couldn’t risk the krogan knowing…”
“Sure they’d be angry, anyone would. But they may appreciate the sign of respect and trust by telling them?” Jane couldn’t believe the Hierarchy would be so concerned about saving face with so much more at risk.
“I didn’t know that for sure,” he bit out. “Don’t forget, I sent my son down there. Your family isn't the only ones down there.”
That shut Jane up. She didn’t know his whole story, maybe there was more to it, or maybe he just made a bad call.
Soon they saw his son die, all the anger left her, leaving a pit of dread. Jane couldn’t help but imagine what he was feeling. Would she feel it one day? Gently Jane placed a hand on Victus’ shoulder, he leaned toward her not really see the screen anymore.
With a sudden bunching of muscle, Victus brought his fist down on the edge of the ring of the holo center with a loud bang and left a dent in the metal. The room got quiet watching the deathly still turian regain his breath. After a moment he stepped away from the middle of the war room up to a private terminal. Only pausing long enough to gently grip her comforting hand.
It wasn’t long before the ground team was back, and first thing Johnny did was run off to Hackett. That was one part of being a soldier she could never do, they needed to trust Johnny to handle it, hell knows how he'd been doing it on his own for this long.
Jane was about to leave to find Garrus when Wrex stomped in looking like he was searching for a fight. Focusing on the Primarch he marched over bellowing, “This is how you try to gain my people’s support? A bomb!”
“We couldn’t risk another galactic war with the krogan!”
Jane approached the two, ready to step in if it came fist to cuffs.
“The genophage wasn’t enough? You needed another way to keep your pets chained?” Demanded Wrex.
Victus tried to explain, “The decision was made hundreds of years ago. So much has changed!”
“Wrex, wait…” Jane hissed, trying to push the large krogan back.
Wrex fixed his eyes on the Primarch, ignoring Jane. “You still didn’t tell us about the bomb, coward!” On the last word, he charged forward, flaring biotics and knocking Jane down in the process. With a rush fear, she cartwheeled her arms and trying to catch herself as she felt Johnny’s strong arms reach out to support her.
“Hey,” the commander yelled, with enough force and authority to get the attention of everyone in the room. “Watch yourself Wrex. The reapers are out destroying the galaxy and you want to fight about this!”
Johnny steadied Jane on her feet, making sure she was alright before turning to the others. “Primarch you had a bomb on Tuchanka! And Wrex, you would’ve done the same damned thing.”
“Shepard --” Wrex started.
But Jane stepped in this time, her heart still fluttering with the fear of falling, she glared at the clan leader, “It’s over, his own son died today making this right!”
Victus shook his head, “Please, Jane, it’s alright.”
“Alright Shepard, I agree. We have stronger enemies to face.” Wrex conceded finally gaining some control.
Johnny looked at both with hard blue eyes, “We do.”
Leaving the Primarch to speak with Johnny, Jane followed Wrex out. “Under normal circumstances, we can bicker about this shit Wrex. But now, with the Reapers, none of us can afford to.” He only grunted so Jane grabbed his arm making him pause in the conference room. “Don’t you ever forget what he gave up to save your people. There are a lot of them down in that valley, they would be dead now. And if you ever hurt my children or family because of another damn tantrum, being in the sights of Garrus’ rifle is the least of your worries…”
That made the krogan’s temper diminish. Looking at the floor, “I… am sorry. After centuries of not being trusted, I’m not ready to take anyone but Shepard for their word. This just proves that I can’t.” Turning he left, probably to go talk to Eve, she seemed to be the only one on board that could get him to think rationally. Hell, if she had learned how he behaved in the war room, Garrus wouldn’t be the only one out for blood. Krogan females were protective of all young and those carrying them.
The next transport to the Tachunkan surface was just as rough as the first, Garrus decided just to sit it out instead of pacing, it made the wait worse but at least he wouldn’t fall over. They barely had time to deal with the loss of the younger Victus, before they were throwing themselves into the fray again, this time with Mordin and his precious cargo to protect.
Landing in the middle of a hus infestation, Wrex charged out roaring, “They’ll sing battle songs about this some day.” He used his own body as a deadly battering ram along with his shot gun and was soon covered in blood. “Reaper blood has finally soaked our soil,” he cheered, sounding happy to be in the middle of battle again.
When the area had been cleared, Shepard called out, “We have to get to the shroud, the air strike is on its way.”
Mordin left the shuttle, helping Eve out, “Female is safe, Shepard. Vitals are strong.”
The landing party was met by the krogan’s ground forces. “Whats a salarian doing here? No one said anything about this,” one called out angrily.
Mordin paused and blinked at the group surrounding them, “Multiple krogan. Problematic.”
Shepard stepped in between Mordin and the krogan who’d voiced the question, “Who are you?”
This krogan was almost as large as Wrex and didn’t seem too impressed by Shepard. “Urdnot Wreave, Brood brother to our… illustrious leader.”
Wrex shot him an annoyed look, “Wreave and I shared the same mother, nothing more.”
“For which I am thankful for. I remember what it means to be a true krogan.” Wreave growled challengingly.
Wrex did not let the insult go unnoticed, and decided to headbutt Wreave into submission. He had the mass and power to cause the other krogan pain, unlike Jane who had only stunned her challenger by the fact she had tried it.
“Enough!” Eve called in a forceful voice, and all silent fell silent and focused on her, “You can stay here and let old wounds fester as krogan have always done. Or you can fight the enemy you were born to destroy and win a new future for our children. I chose to fight.”
Amazingly all the males shut up, and they followed the directions to get onto the tomka trucks that made up the convoy.
S “Copy that artamec, we are on our way. Trying to make up for lost time. Shepard out.”
Sitted again, Eve turned to Wrex, “Wreave isn’t the only one who wants revenge for the genophage, Wrex. You have to placate them somehow.”
Wrex didn’t sound worried and commented “I’ll command the Council return some of our old territory. We’ll need room to expand. Recapture the glory of the ancients.”
Mordin unable to stop himself, pointed out, “Glory of Ancients led to countless deaths. Creation of Genophage. Expansion plan. Problematic.” And Garrus had to agree, he didn’t want to have to live through a second rebellion war.
Shepard, remained standing and asked, ” What were the ancient Krogan like?”
Eve explained in a wistful voice, “Tuchanka wasn’t always a waste land. In the old times, the krogan were a proud people. We had dreams, a future to look forward to.”
“Until salarian interference,” commented quietly, like he took personal responsibility in something that he was not involved in until much later. He hadn’t made the first choice but was part of the reason it had continued.
“No we destroyed tuchanka ourselves.” Eve stated, squashing that line of thought. “Technology changed us, made life too easy. So we looked for new challenges, and found them in each other. Nuclear war was inevitable.”
“And now our planet is rubble. We’ll need a better place to live.” Wrex stated.
Shepard shrugged, “I’d say helping defeat the Reapers deserves a new planet.”
“Or ten. You haven’t seen how fast we repopulate.” Wrex chuckled at the implications.
“Wrex,” Eve snapped.
“What?” Wrex asked innocently, “With the genophage cured we’ll have a lot of catching up to do.” Looking at Garrus he added under his breath, “We can’t let Turian genes and weird Prothean tech show us up.”
Garrus shook his head, deciding not to answer the joke about his own children.
“Commander. On the shuttle was there something you were going to say?” Eve asked and everyone turned to Shepard expectantly.
He was unusually quiet as if weighing choices in his mind. With a grim look, Shepard got straight to the point. “The dalatrass tried to cut a secret deal with me.”
Wrex sat forward a little, angry in his voice, “What kind of deal?”
Shepard crossed his arms, looking just as annoyed “She said they sabotaged the shroud years ago.” He pulled up his omni tool, “The cure won’t work unless we fix it.” He played a recording of the salarian’s deal.
“And she thought we wouldn’t know better?” Wrex scoffed.
“Correct, probably would have fooled tests. Familiar with STG work. Can adjust. Did not come this far for nothing.” Mordin did not sound shocked, and as if it wouldn’t affect his work in the slightest.
Eve nodded gravely to Shepard and said, “You spared our race genocide commander.”
Wrex nodded, “Told you we could count on him.” Before he could add anything the tomka came to an abrupt halt. “Why are we stopping?”
The driver called to them in the back and explained the road was out and they would need time to clear it. The group got out but soon found themselves under attack again. Holding off the oncoming enemy they could only watch the turian fighters attack get swatted away from the reaper like it meant nothing. A ship crashed, barely missing their position and Shepard shut the vehicle door, ordering them to make a run for it, that they would meet up later. Garrus helped cover their retreat into some underground ruins.
The ruins gave him the creeps, everything was so dark and still compared to the surface. They found some murals depicting a giant thresher maw. Assuming the artist didn’t exaggerate it, the beast was massive and hopefully dead. It turned out to be the mythic thresher maw Kalros.
Finding an exit they were now even closer to the Shroud and the Reaper guarding it. Running across the sand they found a safe outcropping where the tomkas were able to pick them up. Barely missing the sudden ripple sand of a thresher maw following them. Only seconds after closing the door followed before the thing tried to attack and missed.
They lost it but were now faced with a Reaper big enough that Garrus had no idea how they could face it down on foot.
Groaning he made the observation similar to when he saw the Thorian all those years ago, “I don’t think we have a big enough gun to handle this”
Vega came along side him and spoke up, “Scars has a point. No cure if we kill ourselves.”
Wrex and announced, “We are procuring the genophage cure no matter what it takes. Everything my people will ever be depends on it.”
Shepard gave him a sharp look, “Then I hope this idea of yours, you talked about is a good one.”
Wrex almost looked worried, before pointing to Eve, “It wasn’t mine. It was her’s actually.”
In a confident voice, Eve only stated, “Kalros. We summon her to the Reaper.”
“Will that really work?” Shepard sounded as optimistic as Garrus felt.
Surprisingly it was Mordin who defended her idea, “Already discussed it. Just need to distract reaper, draw it from tower while cure is synthesized and released.”
“What makes you so sure she’ll come?” The commander asked, looking at the surrounding sand.
Eve sounded almost like she was giving a lesson like a shaman she was, “Legend says it is mother from which all other thresher maws spawn. This is much her home as ours.”
Wrex nodded, putting it into layman terms, “If Tuchanka has a temper, Kalros is it. Nobody has ever faced her and survived.”
“I’ve taken some risk in my time, but this seems crazy.” It wasn’t often Shepard took a risk on such a scale like this.
“And going head to head with Sovereign wasn’t?” Wrex asked, and not waiting for an answer pointed out. “This is the only way to get to that tower and release the cure, there is no other choice.”
Eve gave them the directions to summon the creature and Wrex took a moment to recognize Shepard as a brother in front of all his men. Garrus wasn’t sure exactly what it meant, but if Wrex were to fall, his men would know to treat Shepard with even more respect than the battlemaster’s own brood brother.
Before Wrex could continue, they were interrupted by attacking rachni reaper forces.
Roaring the massive krogan turned his back on them and yelled, “See you on the other side!” And he dove back into battle, seeming to enjoy every moment of it.
Running toward the Reaper, Garrus let out his own whoop of excitement as the turian airstrike returned for a second attack. “I knew they wouldn’t give up.” And they only had to focus on dodging the damn things legs and brutes, while the strike ships drew the laser beam off them.
Take a breather behind a barricade, Shepard looked over the area where the keystones were, which just happened to be where the Reaper was sitting. “Shit, Garrus, James. Fall back to the vehicles.”
“No can do sir,” Garrus said taking a pot shot at a husk. “I am not facing my wife's wrath if I let you get hurt.”
James laughed, “He has a point, Shepard, even I won’t face down the demon of a sister.”
The commander stared open mouthed for a moment, before smiling a little, “Point taken. Alright, we only fight enough to make a hole and making a run for it. Try not to get knocked on your ass.”
With that, the ground team took off for the goal.
Jane paced the cargo hold, waiting. Joker had been feeding her reports of the teams progress to get the Genophage cure to the Shroud, and it hadn’t gone as planned. A Reapers arrival, and Mordin dead. At least there were reports of it being taken down, by a thresher maw. It sounded much larger than the one she helped kill. Now they were on their way back but there wasn’t many words coming from the shuttle or the status of those on board.
She couldn’t stop the flutter in her stomach as she watched the approach, nor the chill when she saw Johnny helping a limping Garrus off the shuttle. They all looked miserable, but at least they were alive.
Jane ran up, taking her brother’s place supporting her husband. “Sorry Janey, he got plowed by a Brute down there while I was trying to set off the keystones.”
“You got him back alive, that’s all I can ask for. Go deal with your politicians and admirals. I’ll take him to the medbay.”
Garrus sucked in a breath as he tried to pull himself straight, “I can still hear you know.”
“Oh shut it, quicker we get there the sooner you get food,” Jane muttered, relieved she could breathe again.
All through Garrus’ checkup, Jane’s stomach kept doing flips. It looked like he got away with only a few bruised ribs and would be back in the field after a week’s light duty, thank the spirits they weren’t broken, else he’d be laid up much longer and possibly hooked up to a respirator. Lung tissue in the bones was a stupid evolutionary design.
The downside was that Garrus would have to remain in the med bay overnight. Jane wanted to stay with him, but her mate urged her to see Johnny. Once Garrus’ was diagnosed her brother had left, Garrus was worried about him, he had been strangely quiet when they returned.
Jane agreed, feeling embarrassed that she hadn’t thought of it herself.
Upstairs in Johnny’s cabin, she found it only lit by the glow of the fish tank. Johnny was sitting in the dark corner of the couch. He had changed and showered but didn’t seem to have the energy to do anything else.
Glancing up he simply said, “Janey.”
“Hey, Johnny. Looks like you kept up the Shepard name by doing the impossible again.” She tried to joke.
“But at what cost? I saw how they krogan reaction to Mordin. The damn doctor was going against his own government's wishes to correct the wrong his people did, and they still wanted to kill him. What if they do go to war.”
Jane sat down next to him, rocking slightly from the extra new weight. “Once they see his success, Mordin will probably be this new generation's most popular name. They were fighting the Reapers alongside the turian air support and will soon be fighting side by side on Palaven and earth.”
Johnny side and scrubbed at his newest dark stubble. “Hopefully, if Mordin died for nothing…”
Jane cut him off, “But he didn’t. You told them what the Dalatrass tried to pull, and we know Mordin is the only one who could have pulled it off.”
Johnny nodded and reached over to hold her hand, “Thanks, Janey, I just needed a minute to sulk. The person leading this army can’t be seen being weak.”
Gripping his hand back, Jane gave him a small smile, “You only have to be my brother when we are here.”
They spoke a little longer, before exhaustion of the past couple of days caught up to them. Leaving the cabin, Jane couldn’t bring herself to go to her cold and lonely bed. Going into the med bay she found Garrus already asleep on the small bed. Pulling up a chair she leaned over to place her head on his shoulder.
After a moment she felt a content rumble, as he woke up and looked down at her. “Hey you, sorry if I woke you.”
He brought up a hand to thread in her hair, “Couldn’t sleep anyway. Is Shepard alright.”
“He will be,” she sighed. “The stress is getting to him.”
“And my getting hurt didn’t help any I’m sure.”
Jane kissed a scarred mandible lightly, “We are just happy he brought you back to me. No one could expect me to raise your brats alone.”
Garrus started to chuckle, but it quickly turned to a grown. “Damn, don’t make me laugh, it hurts.”
“Which is why you are here tonight. Now go back to sleep, I’ll be here.”
Even though bedridden he reached down and pulled her up on the bed with him. There wasn’t much room, but they made it work without hurting him. It wasn’t long before sleep overtook their quiet murmurs.
Garrus’ mandibles fluttered in worry. Something was very wrong.
The trip back to the Citadel had been quiet. There was a short detour to Turian space to drop off Victus, both Garrus and Jane were sad to say goodbye to their leader but knew he had to start coordinating the krogan relief force. Without asking, Victus made it clear he expected both the Vakarians to remain with the Normandy instead of resuming their forces. At least with the detour, Garrus had time to heal up and everyone had time to mourn for Mordin. But the quiet couldn’t last forever.
When they arrived at the Citadel, the CIC filled with concerned murmurs as there was no answering hail. Finally, Bailey was able to get through and gave them a brief explanation of what was happening. If someone had told the ex C-Sec officer that a coup could knock out all control of the station he would have laughed it off. How could anyone take out something so large and organized? Now he was worried. The last thing they needed was to lose the only leaders who could unite all the races in one fighting force. Shepard could only do so much, he needed them behind the mission to fight the Reapers. It was like when he gave the order to save the Council from Sovereign. As annoying as they could be, it was Shepard’s duty to protect them for all the galaxy.
Garrus finished suiting up and Jane was at his side making sure to double check all the mods she had installed to his equipment. Since being grounded she had become obsessed with perfecting his guns and armor. If she couldn’t have his back in the field she was doing all she could to keep him alive. Garrus didn’t admit how much he loved the attention, while she helped everyone, only he got such care. For turians, this type of attention was only for loved ones, working with another soldier's equipment this closely was very intimate.
Smiling at her, he tried to lighten the mood. “After this quick job, how about a break?”
Jane gave him a lopsided smile. “Now that we tied the knot and you knocked me up, might as well take me on a proper date.”
“I might have a couple of ideas.” Dating wasn’t really what turians did. They worked hard and play hard, blowing off steam in any way they liked, but arranging romantic outings just for the sake of it wasn’t usual.
Taking a moment to press his brow to hers, he breathed her scent in. Releasing her, he winked and turned to the shuttle.
Cortez told them they would be dropped off as close as possible but they would have to fight their way in. Nothing new, but these operatives were more advanced than the Cerberus groups they had gone up against before. These humans were trained and they had a plan. That was dangerous. But they weren’t expecting someone to join the fray from behind.
The team was only able to save Bailey, who was doing his best to work through the pain of a gut shot. After getting him some medigel, the C-Sec Commander was able to give them a better idea of the situation. Even though he couldn’t give them too many details after being locked out of his own systems, he told them where to find one councilor, one was better than none.
Things were going as well as expected, as big of an operation as Cerberus had planned, they were no match for the strike team. When they found the salarian councilor they almost let out a sigh of release. At least until a male Cerberus operator dropped from above, Shepard managed to shoot out the window and jump down to join them but was unable to do anything while the councilor was endangered, until he moved it was too risky to shoot in his direction. All eyes were on the dark male when Thane melted into view from the shadows. Instead of firing, Thane took on the assassin in a hand to hand fight. Garrus was in shock that someone as sick as Thane was, was able to move as quickly as he did. They were too far away to join in easily, and too fast to get a lock on with a gun. Thane landed a few good hits, but then he staggered, looking down Garrus saw a flash of silver as the assassin removed his sword from the drell’s chest. Shepard ran catch Thane as he fell, and dark male ran for it. Thane assured them he was alright and passed on the truth about the coup. Udina had finally shown his true colors, Anderson should never have stepped down, Garrus thought bitterly.
Of course, the skycar ride didn’t last long. But history should have taught Garrus that Shepard driving meant a 50/50 chance of crashing or something catching on fire. He had no idea how the commander kept hold of the wheel when the damn assassin stabbed the roof the fucking sword. What was with this guy, sure omniblades were used but this archaic sword was a bit ridiculous and borderline insanity.
After piling out of the car a familiar feminine voice came over the comm. “Are you guys ok?”
Johnny gave Garrus a confused look, and he spoke to his wife. “Yea had to ditch the car. Jane are you on the Citadel?”
“Well yeah, you left a man with a gut shot to try and hack control of C-Sec back. I have Bailey patched up and have his communications up, still working on the security feeds.”
Garrus bit back a growl, trying to remember that she was safe and self-sufficient enough to remain so. Shepard was wise enough not to push him on the subject for now but turned the angry turian’s energy on the enemy. He cleared the area by himself, letting the spray of a headshot keep him calm. But part of him was screaming to protect his mate and children, another wanted to lock her away for being stupid enough for putting herself in danger.
“Any info on the councilors?” Shepard asked, taking a breather while Garrus let loose.
“Their life signs are still transporting. It looks like they are at Shalmar’s plaza. And Udina’s with them. If he is leading them to that assassin… All their guards are dead if he could take out Thane…” Jane sounded worried.
“Janey, just monitor and keep us posted. We’re on our way.” Looking to Garrus and Vega. “Let’s go.”
Garrus focused on killing as many Cerberus agents as possible. Everyone that died here couldn’t go harm, Jane. It was all he could do to stay sane as they made their way through burnt out stores and bombed out apartments, and not think about what could happen to her.
Jane directed them to an elevator, barely making any sense as she tried to help jostle the assassin and his hench men off the roof with the controls she hacked. Spirits that woman was terrifying with technology. Who knew an elevator could be used as a deadly weapon?
Finally stepping out into the light of one of the skycar pick ups, they were faced with the last of the Council fleeing to a skycar, taking direction from Udina and humanity’s newest Spectre Kaidan.
“Shepard?” Their old comrade called in confusion.
Udina spoke up, in his usual demanding voice. “Shepard is blocking our escape, he’s with Cerberus.”
Kaidan didn’t take his eyes or gun off the group, “Udina, let me handle this. Shepard? Guns down.”
“Kaidan, you better listen. Stand down.” Shepard commanded like he would any other crew.
“I can’t do that.” Kaidan’s grip tightened on the weapon but did not fire.
Shepard dropped his weapon, but did not order the others to follow and asked, “Would I do this if I wasn’t dead certain Kaidan? If I weren’t right?”
Before he could continue another C-Sec car dropped on top of the sabotaged one, knocking it away. Stepping out of it in over sized C-Sec armor was Jane, Kaidan turned and brought up a biotic hand toward her as a warning while keeping the pistol on them. Garrus let out a low warning growl, one wrong move and he would rip his once friend limb from limb. Jane called out, being careful not to move, “Hold on Alenko. Udina’s behind this attack. The salarian councilor confirmed it.”
Udina waved the allegation off sounding smug, “Please! You have no proof, you never do.” Turning to Kaidan accusingly, “You’d trust known Cerberus allies?”
“There were Cerberus soldiers in the elevator shaft behind them. If you open that door, they’ll kill you all.” Jane yelled, pulling up a vid feed showing the group.
The asari councilor looked to the conflicted Spectre and said calmly, “What Shepard and Vakarian say is possible. Unlikely, but possible.”
Udina scoffed the group and made his way to a terminal. “We don’t have time to debate this! We’re dead if we stay out here. I’m overriding the lock.”
The commander pulled another gun on the human councilor, Kaiden shouted, “Stand down.”
Shepard also appeared to have had enough, now that his pregnant sister was on the scene and so close to the real traitor. So he started to pick on Kariden, calling out the bullshit of his mistrust once again, trying to get him to act instead of freezing up. “You find a big shot human to defend and suddenly you have teeth, is that it? You were standing beside me when Anderson said he needed us.”
“‘You’re our one chance’” Kaidan quoted back quietly.
“I don’t give a damn about you trusting me, Kaiden, but his decision deserves your respect. We’re in this for him… and earth.” Even being an ass, Shepard could bring out the best of a soldier.
Taking a breath the new Spectre fixed his sights on the traitor, “Udina step back from the console.”
“To hell with this.” Udina started to use the terminal.
Jane rushed forward to pull him away before completing the command. He shoved her away, pushing her to the floor while pulling out a pistol. Acting on impulse Garrus ran forward, roaring. His control had finally snapped. Jane managed to sweep a leg under the man, knocking him to the floor, giving Garrus the perfect opening to bring his assault rifle to the man’s forehead and unloaded rest of his clip.
Breathing heavily he dropped to his knees next to his wife and started to check her over. “Hey, Big Guy… I’m fine.” She gave him a look to back off, but he was too angry. Why was she even fucking here? They had this handled. Ignoring her annoyed looks, he picked her up and set her on her feet, keeping a hand hooked on her armored waist and pulling her close. Shepard better be giving them time off after this, he needed time to be reassured she was ok and remind her why she shouldn’t be running into danger like this.
Leaving Shepard to deal with Kaidan and the Council, Garrus steered Jane to the dock the Normandy normally used.
Jane leaned back in the bed, deliciously sore and thinking over the last night. Johnny let them go to the ship to get checked by Chakwas while they wrapped everything up. The good doctor gave her an all clear, but a clear warning of no falling over. The twins were developing some of their spurs that could cause damage to her or them if force was applied. She had blushed when Garrus bluntly asked about restricted activity noncombat related.
The doctor laughed, seemingly not phased by the question, “I know turian relations can seem like sparring sessions, but as long as it doesn’t result in an actual fight she can participate in any of her normal activities. Just be gentle.”
Her husband dragged her back to their room, taking her hard and desperate, then slowly kissing and licking all of her body. Then repeated it. Damn turians and their stamina. But during all of it, Garrus rumbled deeply to Jane, explaining his distress knowing she was on the station, how he could barely follow orders when she appeared in the skycar. As nerve wracking as it was for her to remain on the ship, she realized that she could easily put him and the ground team in danger if he was distracted from the mission. So she promised to remain behind, and in return, he finally let her fall over the edge after keeping her there for what seemed hours. At some point they had slipped into a deep sleep.
Now in the morning the turian in question walked in the bedroom, and took a moment to enjoy the view of her on the bed, nose plates shifted taking in their mixed scents. “As much as I could watch this all day, we do have a date today.”
Jane groaned and buried herself in the covers, “I thought you were determined to make sure I wouldn’t be walking anywhere today?”
“Hmm, this was practice. In case I need a backup way to keep you out of battle.” He came closer, sitting on the bed and leaned into her hair, nuzzling it. “But I did arrange some fun for us.”
Jane let him pull the covers away and took her time dressing, not acknowledging the trail his eyes took watching her move. Even though he had explored her body, he would still marvel over the differences, more so now. Her chest had grown a little larger and was definitely showing a belly. Apparently, turian woman didn’t show much, and humans ability to stretch seemed to fascinate him.
Once dressed Garrus led her to the airlock where Johnny was waiting. Jane didn’t know he’d be joining them, “Hey, what’s up?”
Johnny smiled at the couple, “Doctor’s orders, R&R. Plus I have to arrange some personal stuff. Anderson’s apartment, Thane’s funeral.”
The Vakarians winced. Word had been spread of the assassin’s death after the battle. Jane’s only solace was that he went down doing something right, making the universe a little brighter like he had hoped to do. She did regret not getting a chance to say goodbye, at least Johnny did. Jane wondered if her brother took on some of the drell’s ideals, to not just do a job but do the right thing. Since coming back from the dead Johnny hated any mentions to the Butcher of Trofan days, so maybe he had grown.
“He won’t be forgotten easily,” Garrus said quietly before clearing his throat “But for now, doctor’s orders. I have a surprise for all of us. Something that doesn’t involve shooting at Reapers” Garrus smiled, leading the two of them to a skycar.
“Well I don’t think they’ve conquered the bar yet,” Johnny forced a smile.
Jane grunted, “Yes let's dangle booze in front of the woman who can’t partake.”
Garrus chuckled, “I already scoped it out, but then I thought if this was my last day alive, I’d want to remember it.”
Jane didn’t like the idea of it being the last day for any of them, but with the galaxy, as it was, you had to live that way. “So?”
“So I had an idea.” He purred as they piled into the skycar.
Jane and Johnny watched the skycar climb high into the Presidium, “Where are we going” Johnny asked.
“Somewhere we’re not supposed too,” Garrus replied coyly.
“Now we’re talking,” Jane grinned, as a child she was always the one more likely to get in trouble, where as Johnny was the golden boy.
“Ever have that one thing you always wanted to do before you died?” he asked them.
Never wanting to miss a minute to embarrass either man, Jane smirked, “I’ve woken up with a turian next to me.”
“Still trying to make me blush?” Her husband replied smoothly.
Johnny groaned, “I’m busy trying to stay alive, and not thinking of my sister and best friend in that way.”
“So what’s your one thing Garrus?” Jane asked taking pity on the Spectre.
“The whole time I worked at C-Sec I’d stare at the top of the Presidium and say to myself, ‘I want to go up there.’” She could almost imagine the unscarred bright eyed and enthusiastic cop for a second. “But there are 137 regulations telling me I couldn’t”
Johnny looked at him with an eyebrow up, “So you got them changed?”
“No.” Garrus stated matter of factly, “Now I just don’t give a damn.” Gone was the cop in shiny armor, and in his place was Jane’s scarred Archangel.
Landing the car they got out and admired the view Garrus shrugged, “Figured we might as well do something stupid. It might be the last chance we ever get.”
Looking down Jane’s breath was taken away. The Widow’s gasses gave everything a soft glow, and even with all the smoke from different areas hit by Cerberus, it was still streaming with life. It made her feel like she was back on earth. But this time she was truly free. No owner, no guard, no gloomy station. The twins did a little flip, seeming to echo her sense of thrill. “Incredible,” she whispered.
“Before we head back, there is a thing we are going to settle. Once and for all.” She turned and found Garrus holding a sniper rifle, not unlike the model he trained her with. He turned to the siblings, “Not saying either of you doesn't know how to handle a gun. Just saying some of us know how to make it dance.” He threw the gun to Johnny, “So let’s find out who’s really the best shot.”
Johnny put on a smug look, “There are a few people who’ve seen me in action Garrus. They seemed impressed.”
“Yea, but I’ve actually seen you dance Shepard. No comment.”
Jane couldn’t hold back a giggle, even in high school Johnny was hopeless at any of the dances, “You forget Vakarian, this Shepard can dance.”
“And isn’t it so much better to be a Vakarian now, without that reputation following you?” Garrus asked, pulling out a bottle.
Johnny shouldered the gun, “A’right Vakarian, you’re going down.”
Garrus took a couple step back, pulling his arm back, ready to launch the makeshift target. “And don’t worry, I loaded with practice slugs for when you miss.” And with that, he threw the bottle.
Johnny was quick to lift the weapon and fire, they let out a whoop when it shattered, sparkling as it fell into the lake below. “That was an easy one, to build up your confidence.” Garrus grumbled and turned to pick up his own special rifle, “Long range I wrote the book. Nobody alive can do this. Not even Commander Shepard. Give me a tough one.” He tossed another bottle to Johnny. The bottle was thrown about as far as the first, and again was easily destroyed. “Come one, I said a tough one.”
Even Jane had to agree after Garrus took his shot, it was too easy of a throw. “Well, what about me? After all you did teach me everything you know.” Now it was her turn.
“As far as you know.” He commented, then his voice dropped. “The master always saves a few tricks.”
Jane didn’t let the voice distract her as Johnny threw a second bottle. The last comment made him jerk a little, giving the bottle an interesting spin. As he turned to hit his brother-in-law’s shoulder she aimed and turned it into a pink cloud like its brethren.
And they continued blowing through the targets, Johnny being the first to miss. While he was better with a sniper than most, he wasn’t a specialist. It was down to husband and wife, Johnny’s throws getting more difficult. Knowing they would be out of targets soon Jane came to a decision. Garrus had been pushed out of his boundaries, having to deal with her stupid stunt and pushing him on every desire to keep her safe. He needed this win, to prove to himself he could do something for her. With a small smile, she aimed a little high and missed.
“I am Garrus Vakarian and this is now my favorite spot on the Citadel!” He shouted it so loudly that on a rare occasion she could hear his subharmonics without having to touch him.
Wanting to save face, she whined, “It’s windy up here!”
He leaned down, resting an arm around her waist, giving the tattooed area a squeeze, “There, there. I know there are other things you're good at.” Closing the distance, he gave her a long kiss.
Johnny sputtered before yelling, “Oh for the love of… Get a fucking room.”
And the trio broke out in laughter, deciding to leave before C-Sec came.
The rest of the day Garrus insisted she go out with Liara shopping, for date night clothing. Guess he took the finally going on a date joke seriously. Amazingly, they actually found one place that had maternity wear that didn’t involve house dresses, mostly for Asari, but it would do for her. It was a simple blue dress with a plunging neckline and flowy skirt, showing off her legs and down playing the sizable belly. Liara had to help her in and out of the clothes, and couldn’t hold back the giggle and questions when seeing the blue tattoo wrapped around her waist. Jane blushed, knowing that Shadow Broker was only asking to make her uncomfortable. Chances were Liara already knew Jane had gotten it and that it showed anyone else who she belonged to. A funny concept for a freed slave, but she did belong to him, his bite mark showed that the wedding ring showed that just as much as her bite and his ring showed he was hers.
Smoothing out her skirt Jane sat at the bar and sipped on the dextro juice, the bar tender at first refused to give it to her, but soon figured out you never deny a pregnant woman what she was craving. Jane forced herself not to fidget as her turian moved through the crowded toward her, she knew it was Garrus, but after dinner, he said they would be going to one of the clubs. She had the crazy idea to play around a little. To redo how they met, so it was more normal, not some firefight or purposefully dancing to drive him nuts.
Jane did let herself smirk as he blew past a very pretty turian female dancing by herself. Even scarred Garrus still turned heads. “A turian on shore leave. Come here often?” She asked as he sat down next to her.
“Is this that first date we talked about?” Garrus whispered the whole play acting thing confused him. She nodded, “Got it... Yes. Yeah. I come here often. A good place to blow off steam. The scenery isn't bad either.” He scanned the dance floor, catching sight of the earlier turian watching. Jane glared at him, play acting she was fine with, sharing no. But he saved the situation with a compliment, “But the view in front of me is even better.”
But Jane wasn’t going to let the pickup line be that easy, “That supposed to melt a girl's heart?”
“No,” his voice low just like Jane liked, “But this voice is.” He leaned forward, almost breathing into her ear over the loud thump of the music, “My name is Garrus Vakarian, Codename Archangel. All round turian bad-boy and dispenser of justice in an unjust galaxy.” How she managed to keep a straight face she had no idea, “Also I kill Reapers on the side. And you are?”
Fine, he wanted to play hard ball. “Jane Shepard, code name Red Fury. Trouble maker on Omega and one hell of a bartender.”
Garrus watched her carefully, still as a predator, “Shepherd, huh. I might’ve heard a few things about you.”
“Oh, flatter me,” she smirked.
Garrus let a finger trail on her forearm, “Word is you're smart. Sexy. A wicked shot. Also, you kill Reapers on the side, too.”
Jane would never let him live down such cheesy pickup techniques but it was too funny to stop, the music dramatically started to change and she had to speak louder over it. “Uh-huh, and do most of the girls fall for that?”
Now Garrus was grasping at straws, “Well, sure. You know, this voice, uhh… and uh. I’m running out of banter here, Jane.”
It was too soon to quit now, so she whispered back in encouragement, “Make it up, remember. We just met.” She urged him to continue.
“Right,” Garrus barked like a soldier before switching back into the smooth tone. “I mean, yeah. All the girls fall for it. Let me show you.” The hand he had been stroking her arm now grabbed it gently, pulling her to the dance floor.
“What are you doing?” Jane asked in almost a panic. Stripping on Omega was one thing, but dancing in a reputable place on the Citadel, well that was different. C-Sec would probably arrest her for causing an incident.
“It’ll be fun,” Garrus crooned in her. Not listening to her no’s, he wrapped one had on her waist, the other took her hand in his and pulled her close. Soon she had no choice but to follow his lead. Even the other dancers cleared room to watch the couple.
“Been taking lessons on the side.” Garrus murmured. Being so close, held so intimately, yet, still appropriate was exhilarating. Jane found she couldn’t think about anything but the slight pressure on her waist as he moved her along the floor.
“You're going to pay for this,” she growled, forgetting the earlier game.
“Promises, promises,” his smug voice breathed into her ear. She started to sway more with the sound, he paused. Rocking her side to side adding a little flare to the dance. Her dress flipped around and he chuckled, “Now you're getting it.”
After that little move, Jane felt much more confident in the very human style of dancing. Garrus then rolled her out of his arms. She let the moment take her completely losing contact with his hand until she found herself face to face with Vega. The lieutenant liked what he saw, but some fear came into his eyes as Garrus pulled her back to him. If at all possible they were even closer, his thigh almost brushing her core, making her want to run back to the ship and get him out of the tight fitting blue suit he wore. Without the bulky armor he normally wore, it was even more obvious how much muscle he carried on his large frame.
The song came to an end and as one last way to get back at him, Jane placed a thigh on his hip allowing him to lean her back far, only his arm around her waist keeping her up. The salacious move was recognized by most as almost groping him in public and there were many gasps in the audience as they applauded.
Instead of letting her up, Garrus let her hang and asked, “So, tell me. Would the girls fall for that?”
“Oh, hell yes.” Jane looked up at him, “I see you’ve been putting that reach and flexibility to good use.”
He let her up, keeping her tight to him. “You know it. And it only gets better when you try it in bed.”
That did it, without a word she took his hand and dragged him back to the ship. It was time she showed him, just how much he meant to her. And find out who was giving the sneaky bastard lessons.
I know this is a little out of order, but I wanted time for the whole family to have together, and then some alone time for just Jane and Garrus. A little fluff to give them a break.
Walking into the bar Jane was stunned how similar it felt to Afterlife. Thumping music, flashing lights, the smell of the booze spilled on the floor making it slightly sticky. Yet you didn’t feel the need to carry a weapon. One major difference, Jane did find, was the lack of need to carry a weapon. It was almost boring in reality. She had no idea why Aria would be here, the matriarch must hate it, but she still needed to speak with her old boss.
Earlier in the day, Jane got more of the details of the mission Aria wanted Johnny’s help with, after much needling him. She still didn’t like it, but she had to be sure her brother would be safe.
The displaced queen had set herself up in a private lounge, that while not sitting above everyone, she would still be able to see everything happening in the on the different levels, and a clear line sight on the front door and emergency exits. Even on the Citadel, one couldn’t be too careful. Walking up Jane nodded to the guard, he was one of Aria’s crew from Omega. He gave her a silent greeting and didn’t try to stop her.
Aria was looking bored while getting a lecture for a Citadel official.
“So you admit you and your thugs are here illegally?” The woman snapped.
In a condescending tone and a glare, Aria replied, “Yes. And it only took C-Sec three weeks to figure it out.”
The immigrant officer shoved the comment aside. “I don’t care who you are -- you’re required to go through processing like all other refugees. Come with me.”
“I don’t think so.” Jane winced, she recognized the tone, it meant something bad would happen. “Sheerk, get me the asari councilor.”
Surprisingly the councilor answered the call immediately. “Greetings, Aria. Is there something you need?” If anything the councilor sounded like the subordinate in this relationship.
“I’m being asked to submit to immigration processing.” Aria’s tone sounded like an annoyed adult dealing with children. Although as old as she probably was, and the power she normally held it probably did feel that way.
“Of course you are.” The councilor leaned over and made an entry into a terminal, looking back up she continued as if this was an everyday occurrence. “Done. What else can I do for you?”
And then Aria said something Jane didn’t think was possible. “Nothing, thank you.” Never had Jane heard her utter any kind of thanks, everything was expected to her.
“My pleasure.” And the link was cut.
Aria turned back to official and said in a dismissive tone. “I think we’re done here.”
Jane walked up, it was her turn to see the queen now.
“Enjoy the show Red?”
Back on the station, Aria scared her and seeing the power she held over the councilor and her brother Jane figured the asari should be more frightening. But Jane had learned it was all an act, not that Aria couldn’t have her killed, but after facing Reapers and Collectors she just seemed so small on this couch. Sitting Jane replied, “I guess there’s one rule on the Citadel, huh?”
Looking over the bar Aria shrugged, “I guess so. I hate this place. So sickeningly uptight.”
“Then why are you here?” Jane couldn’t understand how the queen of chaos was in the capital of order.
Aria stood, obviously agitated. “Cerberus stole Omega from me. The Illusive Man is now squarely at the top of my shit list. He will pay for every second I’ve spent in this bureaucratic hell hole.”
Jane crooked an eyebrow, “How did you let those fucks kick you out?”
Instead of being snapped at, Aria stood to pace and explained, “Deceit. Distraction. And a big fucking army. They lured me away from Omega and ambushed me. I escaped, but Cerberus had already laid siege. By the time I could launch an assault, they were too entrenched.” Unlike many other politicians, she didn’t sound personally hurt, but it was embarrassing and hard for anyone to admit.
Jane couldn’t help but wonder what could have lured her away from her Omega. Aria only loved herself and the power she held. That fact alone made it dangerous for anyone to try to attack Omega. Up until seeing the previous conversation, Jane thought the only reason the Council did not deal with her, was because Aria seemed satisfied with only controlling Omega. But it was clear Omega was a bigger piece of the puzzle than Jane had figured it for.
“And you need a soldier who can do the impossible to get Omega back,” Jane stated, getting the reason she came.
“Glad to see we think alike. With Shepard I could get Omega back under my rule.” Aria took her seat on the couch, closer to Jane than before. A flash of when they first met came to mind. “But that is for your brother and me to figure out. You’re here because you don’t like it.”
Jane nodded, “Johnny is in enough danger getting the rest of the galaxy to unite, you are adding to it with your greed.”
Aria threw her a dirty look, “I don’t expect anything for free, that is a naive notion. In return, he gets the merc groups, trained killers that can do things his armies are too squeamish to accomplish.”
“The same mercs who were planning to overthrow you if the information we provided was correct.”
“I don’t forget the debts I owe, and I always seem to owe you. But yes, after you and your mate cleared out the leaders, it put them back in their rightful place. Under my thumb.”
“Johnny shouldn’t have to go alone,” Jane muttered.
Putting her arm around the back of the sofa, Aria light touched Jane’s shoulder, “I would have preferred both of you, but you are not exactly available.” She nodded to the slight bulge of Jane’s belly. “And I don’t know or trust the others on his team. And Archangel has too large of a need for justice to expect that he would let me have Omega again.”
Jane sighed, she doubted she could change Aria’s mind, but it was worth a try. “Is there no other way?”
“No. Power over Omega means power over the merc groups. But there is still more that needs to be done that you could handle for us here. That way when we do succeed in taking Omega back, the mercs will be ready to fall into line.”
Jane tilted her head curiously and Aria continued, “They all have requests on top of everything else we are dealing with. The Eclipse needs their leader released and Blue Suns are having trouble with a tuiran general who is putting a stop to their weapon’s supply source. If you could fix these issues before the Commander returns they will be ready to fight.”
Jane thought about it a moment. There was no way she’d be able to change either Aria’s mind or Johnny’s, but if she could make it easier… “Don’t you think they’ll be too caught up to getting revenge on me? I did clear out a lot of them as Fury.”
Aria laughed deeply, “You gave them all a promotion by killing off a good portion of their leaders. Either they sing your praises or are scared shitless of you.”
That surprised Jane, but then again many of the people in this line of work had little loyalty or drive for revenge. “Alright, give me the contact info.” Standing Jane pulled herself up to her full height and glared at Aria, “And you better bring my brother back. I need him more than the galaxy does.”
Aria only nodded her head slowly, and that single movement was better than any guarantee she could have given verbally.
Jane physically shook herself as she turned away from Vosque, of all the asses to get promoted in the Blue Suns, why did it have to be that creep. And now she’d have to complete his dirty work if she couldn’t find another way to free up their weapons supplies.
While walking away Garrus had come from his discussion with the turian refugee leader. Looking at Vosque with concern he asked, “Is everything ok?”
“Yes, just handling some situations for Aria to get more support. Apparently, Vosque thinks he can bed the Queen of Omega.”
Garrus let out a bark of laughter, “He must have a death wish. What is Aria having you do?”
Jane found a seat, she wasn’t sure if the pregnancy was actually making her more tired than usual or just that fact she actually knew about it now. “Since moving operations here, the merc groups have been running into trouble. Leaders arrested, difficulty getting weapons. I’m not sure what to do.”
Garrus sat with her, wrapping an arm behind her, “Who was arrested?”
“Commander Bailey had Jona arrested. The Eclipse needs a leader, but she is insane, I can’t ask her to be released.” Jane sighed.
“We should have killed her when we had a chance…” Garrus considered it for a moment. “What about Sayn, he is now second and sitting around here waiting for orders.”
Jane was surprised, Sayn was always a bit of a pushover but he could actually be a decent leader if he had the chance. “He would be the lesser of the two evils, and after all this, we wouldn’t have to worry about as much corruption as before. Aria should prefer him to a warhead like Jona. What about the Blue Suns? They are asking that we kill a turian general that is not letting his weapons supply go.”
Garrus stiffened, “Which general?”
“Someone called Oraka.”
Garrus let out a hiss of breath, “He is one of our best when he isn’t drinking away his female troubles. But he probably needs those weapons… I would talk to him, with the state of the galaxy he should be able to find weapons somewhere else.”
Jane nodded, both options were better than the current ones. “I’ll do that. How are the refugees doing?”
“Not good, they need more specialized dextro medical supplies. Currently they only have generic military one, honestly, it is too advanced for what they need really need.” Garrus looked worried, there was almost nothing he wanted more than to do something to help his people.
Then she reminded a comment from the Doctor, “We have a surplus nonmilitary grade medical supplies on the Normandy. Chakwas was going over the inventory and expressed worry. Maybe we could trade for them.”
Garrus looked hopeful, “We could definitely put them to better use. Let me see.”
Jane stood as he rushed off, and began looking for Syan. As expected he was just sitting around waiting for orders, and it didn’t take much effort to appeal to his greed about taking control from Jona. Mercs were so predictable.
But then, so were turian generals. Jane found Oraka sitting in one of the shop areas of the Presidium. Walking up, Jane took the initiative to introduce herself. “Hello General Oraka, I’m Jane Vakarian.”
His brow plates rose, “Why hello, it is an honor. I have heard much about you and your family.” Motioning to the space next to him on the bench, “Care to sit, I suspect you are here on Normandy business.”
Jane sat, happy to be off her feet, “I hear you’re taking on the Blue Suns.”
“I need to do my part for the Citadel, Vakarian. The Blue Suns are raiding C-Sec weapons shipments. I’m putting a stop to that.” He leaned back with a huff, “Those mercs are seriously jeopardizing the Citadel’s ability to defend itself if the war comes here. When the war comes here.”
Jane knew he was right, but this was her only chance to save this soldier's life, and they needed people who knew how to lead as much as they need weapons. “There are other ways to secure weapons, General.”
Oraka leaned forward and had a defensive tone, “You don’t think I’ve tried? There’s a black market dealer on the Citadel right now, but he won’t sell his top-line arms. The Reapers are destroying everything in their path, and I can’t stop them... But I can stop the Blue Suns.”
With the fighting throughout the system, Jane wasn’t surprised that the tier one grade items were being snapped up, but they needed the mercs to win this. “Let me see what I can do for you.” At least her years on Omega gave her some ideas of how to deal with black market sellers.
As she stood, Oraka watched her, “I’d appreciate your help, your brother helped me in a time of personal crisis, I know what Shepards are capable of. And I’ll have a plan of action ready if things fall through.”
Jane nodded and left to find a contact. Earlier she already spotted a salarian she recognized from Omega. He specialized in arms back then, it made sense he would now as well. Luckily he was easy to barter with, and in their travels it was easy to find items he was interested in trading for. Jane let out a sigh of relief as she notified the Normandy of another shipment to pick up. At least some of the relics they found would be put to good use.
Garrus finished bringing the military medical supplies on the ship and wasn’t surprised to find his mate and the Commander in the CIC. However, he was surprised to find Shepard in his armor and carrying a large arsenal of weaponry. As far as he knew they weren’t scheduled to leave for a few more days and had no active fighting missions on the seemingly peaceful Citadel.
“Commander, was there an emergency call?” He asked, stepping along side.
Shepard shook his head and ignored the annoyed glance from Jane. “No, just joining Aria on an away mission. I should be back by the time we are resupplied and maintenance completed.”
Garrus looked at Jane worriedly. Last time her brother left on a mission alone Jane almost died. She couldn’t be thinking… “I couldn’t talk them out of it, but Aria promised he’d come back,” Jane said, cutting off his line of thought.
The Commander put on a smirk, “Only the Reapers could keep me away from the chance of meeting my nephews or nieces. Don’t worry Jane, we’ll be careful.”
“You better,” she muttered and gave him a hug, “If not I’ll post your porn history to the galaxy.” Shepard laughed it off and returned the hug.
Turning, he gave Garrus a firm shake, “Keep an eye on your woman and Normandy while I’m gone.”
Garrus nodded, “I’ll have this ship up to turian standards in no time, Jane though is a force unto herself.”
The group laughed as Shepard finally left. Turning to Jane, Garrus needed to know she would be ok, “He is one of the best, he’ll be back.”
Jane sighed, “I know, it’s just after finally bringing our family together I can’t help but worry with no one there to watch his ass. He is developing a sacrificial hero complex.”
Garrus nodded and was already planning. He didn’t have many more duties while on the station, and Jane needed a distraction. There was always that sushi place, maybe it was time for another date night.
Sorry, this one was a little late, and unfortunately, I am not sure if I'll make next week. Work is sending me away and I'll barely any time to sleep. Thank you all for reading!
Sorry for the wait, work was a little crazy and I am now caught up on sleep. Here is a longer chapter to make up for it.
9/13 - Just some edits, sorry if anyone got excited, still a few days before an update. Thanks Notsora for the catch!
Garrus was still basking in the relief of finally knowing his father and sister were safe. Earlier he’d finally gotten to speak with them, EDI forwarded the comm link to the battery and Jane was able to join. They were a little beat up, but safe which both he and Jane were relieved to hear. Their family was still in general danger as was the entire galaxy, but they were out of immediate danger. The door swished open, and Garrus turned to see Shepard enter, tired looking, but also safe from his adventure on Omega.
“I hear there has been good news,” Shepard stated with a smile.
Garrus leaned on his console, “Yes, my father and sister made it to the evacuation. She has a broken leg, but will be fine.”
Shepard hissed a little, knowing how bad a broken turian bone could be. “Good. I’ve got to say, I’m not sure how Jane would be if she lost them as well. She speaks of them as she would our family.” A dark look came over him as he was thinking.
“How did Omega go?” Garrus asked, giving him another topic to focus on.
“Back under the command of Aria, but it was more difficult than we expected. The place was riddled with Cerberus troops and mechs that blew any others we faced out of the water. Even a new Reaper creature that was the stuff of nightmares.” Shepard shuttered before looking at Garrus, “And I learned a lot about Aria and her private life.”
“Really? To those on the station, she was something of a god.” Garrus couldn’t help but be curious.
“There was an underground resistance group, led by a female turian. Nyreen Kandros, Aria’s past lover.”
Garrus felt his brow plates raise, surprise filling his voice and subvocals, “Really, I didn’t know Aria was capable of love.”
Shepard crossed his arms and leaned on the wall, “I don’t think she even realized how much she cared until Nyreen gave her life to give us time. Without it most on the station would have died, Aria demanded we go back, but Nyreen said to save the people.” There was a moment of silence as the face weighed heavy in the air between them, “I think I truly understand how far you would go for my sister.”
There was no question, Garrus would die to see Jane was safe and nothing would change that, before he could do more than nod, Shepard focused his intense gaze on Garrus. “And that’s why Garrus, whatever happens in the war you have to stay alive. My chances won’t be great and Janey will never accept that. You need to be there for her and your children when this is all over.”
Garrus stood a little straighter, “Of course, but you're my friend and brother as well. I won’t let you throw yourself away.”
Shepard smiled, “I don’t plan on it, but I just need to make sure your ugly mug ducks because my idiot of a sister loves it for some reason.”
Jane looked over the report, and shift from foot to foot nervously trying to ignore the slight queasiness she was now accustomed too. She knew what had be done, and that she could contribute, it just took convincing her brother to ok the mission. Looking up for the fiftieth time, she finally found her husband and brother leaving the battery, swapping friendly insults. Turning she waved them over.
“Janey, what’s up?” Johnny asked.
“We’ve been getting reports from Horizon. Looks like they are setting up a refugee center there.”
Johnny nodded, “Good, the Citadel can’t really take anymore.”
“Yes, but there are only accepting human refugees, and from my calculations, they have already accepted twice as many as they should have supplies for.” Jane pointed out, getting to her real worry.
Johnny and Garrus looked over her notes. “It does sound odd, but maybe there were private donations?” Garrus suggested.
Jane agreed it was a possibility, “Still we should send someone to check it out.”
Johnny shook his head, “No, we need to get to the Flotilla as soon as possible. It sounds like the geth may be working for the Reapers again, and we can’t afford to let the Quarians be tied up in another war. Or risk letting the Reapers have another ally.”
“Which is why we can send an undercover team,” Jane suggested.
Garrus’ blue eyes focused on her, “You can’t be suggesting yourself Jane…”
Jane held up a hand, “Just hear me out,” pulling up the message Horizon was sent with the list of those given priority. “The undercover team could get in and out much faster with a pregnant woman in the party. And I wouldn’t be alone, Vega or someone could come with me. I also have the best knowledge of how these types of settlements should be set up. God knows how many I visited with Anew.”
Johnny didn’t seem happy but was listening. Garrus had resorted to pacing. “And what’s to stop them from recognizing you if something bad is actually happening?”
Jane waved the concern aside, “Dying my hair and skin tone is easy, we can even give false bio scans for identity. Come on. This is something I can do to help, it would save you time. Besides, I am going mad on this ship, at least here I am not running into the direct fire.”
Garrus sighed but seemed to listen. He knew from her complaints how being confined to the ship was getting to her, just sight seeing around the Citadel was not enough. She needed a mission of her own.
“I’ll look over your notes before I give this mission the ok, and I want Kaiden to go with you too. At least there is one human Spectre not everyone will recognize, and he is familiar with Horizon.”
Jane sighed, he was right and at least Vega would be there. Maybe she could come to terms that Alenko was part of the Normandy now. “Fine, let me know if you have any questions.”
Jonny nodded and left the war room. Garrus remained, still studying her face. Stepping toward him, Jane wrapped her arms around his waist, his arms coming up around her softly. “I’m sorry Bright Eyes, but this is something I can do, I need to do it.”
“I know, just having to fight my instincts,” he sighed into her hair. “But I understand your frustration. Just promise to be careful and get out of there as quickly as possible?”
“I promise, I won’t be without my turian comfortable bed for long. My back couldn’t take it.” Jane smiled as that got a laugh out of him.
The disguise didn’t take long, modern of medical technology, Jane was darker overall and could easily pass for Vega’s sister, even their facial scars matched. Which left Alenko to play role of husband and father. Jane wasn’t sure how she felt about it, to make it believable she would have to get used to the casual touches expected by a married couple. Touches that she hadn’t accepted from anyone since before Garrus.
Garrus’ hand ran through her dark locks again, still not used to the change. “And you're sure the red will come back?”
Jane giggled, her mate was almost hurt when he saw the dark color. She knew it wasn’t the only thing he liked about her, but it was clear he loved it. “Yes, the dye will wash out. I’m still your Red.”
Leaning down he gave her a kiss that showed it wouldn’t be any other way. “As long as Kaiden remembers that.”
“I’m sure he’ll behave himself, if not he may come back missing a ball or two.”
Garrus shuddered, “I have no idea how your species males survived this long.”
“We make do Scars,” Vega called out, doing a final check of the secret compartments that held their weapons and armor. Jane had to get special designed light armor, not as good as her normal stuff, but the only kind that could get over her obvious belly. Their bags had false bottoms that were shielded from scanners if inspected only clothing and personal belongings would be found.
Alenko and Johnny came out of the elevator going over last minute emergency channels for Spectres. Even though Johnny had given the green light to the mission, he was micro managing it. Stopping in front of the group, they looked around, “Alright, your shuttle is scheduled to leave in the hour. Remember to spend regular check in’s until you arrive. And as soon as you get what you need, get the hell out of there.”
Jane tried not to roll her eyes, “Of course over protective brother.”
Johnny gave a mocking looked hurt, “Over protective? I’m just saving my own skin, you should know how sharp your husband's talons are. This is for my own safety.”
“Of course. You guys just be careful with the geth, they could be allies as well.” Jane pointed out, and before she shouldered her pack, Alenko took it from her.
“I’ll make sure to get everyone back.” He commented seriously.
Finishing their goodbyes, they trio left the Normandy. Jane paused to watch the ship leave. It was hard to believe she wasn’t on it, and she had to remind herself that it was her idea, and what she wanted.
On the shuttle, Vega stepped up the cockpit to check in with the pilot, leaving Jane alone with Alenko. No. Not Alenko, Kaiden. Kaiden Jameson, Jane’s husband. That was going to take some getting used too.
Kaiden moved a little closer, “Not sure if this is how I saw my Spectre class being used… But could be worse.”
“Yea, you could be completely ignored, die, come back and called a traitor.” As soon as it was out Jane felt a little bad. It was clear the Johnny had made up with Kaiden, but doing it herself, Jane found it difficult.
“I’ll admit to making a mistake,” Kaiden said in a terse tone, “But I am hoping to make up for it.”
Jane sighed, “Since we are working together, I suppose I could get used the idea.”
Kaiden blinked, expecting to fight some more. “Good… Well… There is one thing I was wondering.”
Jane raised an eyebrow and motioned for him to continue.
“Your… Pregnancy… Was it Vega?”
That had to be the last thing she expects to hear and couldn’t help but laugh. Well, at least Liara was good in her work, keeping the babies’ ancestry secret if even the newest Spectre didn’t know. She guessed that little detail was forgotten when Johnny brought him up to speed.
“Well my brother trusts you, so I guess it’s alright to let you in on the secret. I have never cheated on my husband.”
It was fun watching the gears turn as he tried to work it out… “But that means…”
“Just call it weird Collector science and try not to think about it too hard.” Jane stood to walk around, and take the pressure off her lower back, while Kaiden dealt with the ramification of the little bomb she dropped.
Sanctuary appeared to be like any other complex on a human colony but with more security than Jane would have expected.
Vega sounded his confusion as well, “Are refugees really this dangerous?”
Kaiden shrugged, “Scared people can be dangerous, especially if any of them are under Reaper influence.”
The expedited screening made Jane feel a little guilty looking at the long line of adults waiting. Everyone looked tired, dirty, starved, but ultimately relieved to be here. Hopefully their trust was in the right place. To flee their nightmares to something worse was unimaginable.
The security details were just as prevalent inside as outside. It was almost like they were in lockdown. They were assigned a room and told they would not be able to leave their habitat block unless orders said so. Even their omni tools were confiscated. Not that, that stopped Jane. With some careful maneuvering, the three were able to set up around a maintenance access panel in a common area where she was able to start hacking without anyone noticing.
But that only led to more worry, these security systems were too powerful for this type of location. The only clue she had so far was the name of a person in charge, a Dr. Henry Lawson.
“Crap,” Jane muttered when she found it.
“You know the name?” Kaiden asked.
“Yea, one of the Cerberus agents on the Omega 4 team. Henry was her father and a piece of work. An expert in genetics and a bit of a god complex. From how she spoke of him, he isn’t a philanthropic kind of person.” Jane’s brow furrowed, “But Cerberus helped her and her sister escape his control, so I wouldn’t think he was working with them at least.”
“But she deserted Cerberus,” Vega pointed out.
“We’ll need to search more.”
But they never got the chance. That night there was a loud alarm, announcing lock down. Without a word, they started to suit up into combat gear, if anything was happening they would be prepared.
Hacking the door to open didn’t so much, the ever present Security had run off. Carefully they made their way deeper into the facility, Kaidan and Vega spreading out in front of her. Given the change of the situation, Jane prepared her pistol and did not argue.
It wasn’t long before they found the dead security team and the Reaper mutants that tore them apart. After a round of cursing and shooting, the enemy was taken down. Vega grabbed up omni tools for them to use, while Jane got on to one of the computers.
“Fucking hell, we were refugees, we were to be their damn lab rats!”
Kaiden gripped her arm, “You’re saying that these things were once the people fleeing here?”
Jane looked him dead in the eye, “Yes, seems like Cerberus needed a test group to study, wanting to find a way to control them.”
“Looks like they did a poor job of it,” Vega muttered, leaning over to close the dead eyes of a husk.
Now that she was on something more powerful than a maintenance hatch, Jane worked on releasing those still locked up and included a warning to evacuate as quickly as possible. Before they could do the same a signal came through.
“... anyone listening, get out. Sanctuary is not safe! This is Oriana Lawson, Sanctuary is a trap...”
“That’s Miranda’s sister!” Jane gasped, fingers flying to see where she was.
“Miranda, is she the Cerberus operative?” Kaiden asked.
Jane nodded, “If Oriana is here, I wouldn’t be surprised if Miranda isn’t far behind. This must be the research Johnny was helping her with.”
“At least we have one friend here, what now?” Vega asked, waiting, gun at the ready.
Kaiden was torn for the moment. Jane knew he had the same desire to help those here, but Johnny wouldn’t want her in danger. “We’ve taken care of some of the husks already, we should push forward and try to help.”
Looking at her for a moment, Kaiden gave a firm nod, and they pushed further in.
The labs they fought through would only add to Jane’s nightmares. Part of her could only imagine what they would have done to her and her children. But there was no guilt in killing the husks, death was better than the horrors they had become.
Pushing forward they finally found the last of Cerberus hold outs, around the same time that Miranda did. Unfortunately, her father was one of the few left. Hearing him speak to her and Oriana only made Jane sicker, how could a parent become like this. Jane could only hope she did more for her children.
They managed to talk Henry into releasing Oriana, but before he could finish his demand to get out alive, Miranda used a biotic blast to send him through a window, his back breaking with an audible crack on the med beds full of his monsters below.
Miranda took a moment to console Oriana before turning to Jane.
“Jane, fancing meeting you here, given your condition.” Miranda glanced down to the bump.
“It was supposed to be a simple recon mission.” Jane let out a breath of relief. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, really. I don’t know how you managed it, but I’m grateful you're here.”
Vega and Kaiden backed off, checking over Oriana for injuries, Jane spoke softer, “Miranda, this thing was a huge risk. Why didn’t you tell Johnny?”
“He has a war to win. This was my fight, its been a long time coming.” Miranda threw a glance over her shoulder at the dead man who’d made her life hell.
“You did it, it’s over.”
Miranda turned away, unable to hide how tired she was, “Yes. I just wish my sister didn’t have to see all this.”
Not sure what to say Jane started, “About your father…”
But Miranda cut her off, “I’m glad he’s gone, Jane. I’m sorry if that sounds cold.”
Jane was surprised she had taken time to consider the loss of her own parents, but she could understand. “Anew was almost a mother to me at times. But I still would have killed her if it meant my freedom.”
“It's finally over, for both of us,” she sighed in relief, “We can stop running.”
“Yes, you can. Let me scrub the data and we can meet up with the Normandy.” Turning, Jane let the sisters catch up some more.
Jane wasn’t a step off the shuttle before strong turian arms wrapped tightly around her. She almost didn’t have the breath to laugh, before tapping on Garrus’ pauldron, “Ease up there Big Guy, everyone is fine.”
He loosened his grip enough to let her breath before rubbing his forehead to her’s. “I can’t you trust to not get in trouble on a simple mission can I?”
Jane wanted to keep it light, it wasn’t like she had planned for all that to happen, but wasn’t going to run out into a fight anytime soon, “What can I say, I got bored.”
Stepping away from her husband, she saw Johnny exchange grips with Kaiden and Vega, “I did bring a gift for my brother though.”
Crooking an eyebrow, Johnny looked at her speculatively, “You clean out a Husk infestation and you managed to get me something?”
Handing him a data module, “I believe we can get more info on Kai Leng from this.”
His blue eyes became dark with hate, and he nodded accepting it. “It’ll have to wait. We managed to find Legion, and need to free the geth from Reaper control. Tali is on board too, along with other quarian admirals.”
Jane smiled, “Quarians and get on board. Such fun.”
That earned her an eye roll, “You have no idea. What until you hear what Legion has in mind.”
Sorry for the delay, things have been a little hectic
Garrus was grumbling to himself while looking over his old firing algorithms when Jane finally made her way to him. He needed the distraction because his instincts were screaming to hover over Jane since they picked them up from Horizon. He hadn’t even looked at them since he left the Normandy, but seeing the main gun on the geth ship had given him some ideas.
At the sound of the door, he paused long enough to check it was Jane, before saving and closing his progress. Turning he gave his wife his full attention. “When you said your own mother was active during pregnancies, I didn’t think that would mean so many firefights for you.” He kept his tone light, but the worry was still there.
Jane gave him a small smile. “I wasn’t expecting it either, but it is war. And Kaiden and James did a good job keeping me a sniper and not on the front line.”
That surprised him, “Kaiden now?”
Leaning on his terminal beside him, she shrugged, “I didn’t want anyone questioning why I called my ‘husband’ by his last name. And I have mostly forgiven him, I figured if Johnny had no hard feelings my grudge wouldn’t be of any use.”
Garrus nodded and was happy. The tension between the two of them had been hard to deal with, at least now he didn’t have to worry about what he said in front of them. At first, he did feel resentment, but it was nice to have one of the old team back once Kaiden had pulled his head out of his ass.
“Miranda was also in there getting patched up and overheard about my condition. She volunteered to look over my medical files and Mordin’s notes to see how she could help. With her knowledge of experimental medical procedures, I figured it would hurt. She mentioned that she might be able to pinpoint a due date.”
Garrus felt only relief, Miranda proved she could be trusted, and a due date did worry them. Turian pregnancies were only six months versus humans nine months. No one was sure what to expect when they were born, but chances were good there would be some complications for her or their children. At least now they might be somewhat prepared for it.
Next Jane gave him a lopsided smirk, “I also heard about the geth ship and their main cannon…”
Garrus couldn’t help the trill of excitement, it had been impressive. “Never thought I would be fighting inside a gun before. It gave me a newfound respect for geth engineering for sure.”
Looking at the terminal she saw what files he had been working on, and let out a laugh. “And of course the first thing you do when back on the ship, is update our own main cannon. Did you find the time to calibrate theirs before the quarians blew it up?”
It wasn’t the first time someone made fun of his calibration or the last. “I wanted to work on it while the ideas for still fresh. And no, I was a bit busy trying not to get shot at.”
Still smirking, Jane stepped in front of him trapping him with her small form. “Not because you wanted to relive the memory? The excitement of being there?”
“Maybe that too.”
Reaching up, she dragged her soft nails over his neck and was rewarded with a growl. “Should I be jealous of a piece of tech?”
Slightly embarrassed from the implication, Garrus stuttered, “Of c-course not.”
“Tell me how it worked.” She demanded softly, eyes intent on him.
“Well it's similar to a rail gun but - Jane, what are you doing?” His thought process became confused as she started to undo the seals of the armor around his crotch.
“Don’t worry about it. Just keep talking.” She flashed an evil smile and knelt in front of him.
At first, he didn’t think she was serious as she reached into his skin suit, but after a firm scratch over his hip spurs, he growled and continued, “Railgun, right. But instead of a physical projectile… Jane what if someone comes in?”
Giving his already spreading plates with her little and very warm tongue licking along them. “Better be quick then, I don’t think we locked the door.”
Swallowing hard Garrus realized she wasn’t going to stop, the sooner he got through this, the sooner he could move them to somewhere more private. “No projectile, but it sends out an energy pulse.” His paused for a moment has his cock slipped out into her soft hand. Jane gave it a tight squeeze and still, crooking an eyebrow at him, waiting for him to continue. Cursing under his breath, Garrus focused on the geth gun. “As it travels the length of the ship it gathers energy from different outputs.”
Jane then took him into her mouth, moving in tempo with his speech. Between her mouth and the fear of someone like Shepard walking in to find his sister giving him a blow job, was proving to be too much and Garrus knew he wouldn’t last long. He didn’t think he was voyeuristic by any means, but Spirits, the things she could do. “It leaves the ship at close to the speed of light, with enough power to rip through most ship’s shields.” Her nails dug into his hip spurs again, “Spirits Jane, please, I can’t remember anymore.”
Satisfied with the plea, she picked up the tempo before taking him fully and he shuddered as he spilled down her throat, the memory of the pulse of the gun rolling over his cover went through his mind.
Garrus hadn’t moved from his spot, only remained standing due to the fact he was gripping the bar behind him with a death grip. He was sure there would be talon marks that would never buff out.
Leaning back on her heels she smiled up at him, “Glad to hear it was so informative.”
“Thanks… I’ll never look at geth tech the same way again.”
Garrus decided to head back to their room to check on Jane. She proved more tired than she had thought and he wasn’t able to wake her up at their normal time, and instead, let her stay cocooned in their warm sheets.
The last thing he expected was a shoe to come flying at his head when the door open. Even crying and upset, his mate had a hell of an aim. Picking up the small shoe, he carefully walked back in looking out for any other projectiles.
Inside he found a mostly dressed Jane crying, sitting on the bed, her face wet and red from the effort. Slowly he took a knee near her, and before he could touch her she flinched away. “Jane, what’s the matter?”
Red rimmed green eyes glared at him. “The matter is, I just spent ten minutes trying to get one shoe on, and am now too tired to get the other on.” Gesturing to the clear baby bump she cursed, “I could fight through a damn facility overrun by Reaper’s monsters but now have trouble dressing myself.”
Garrus’ brain stalled for a minute. Normally it would take something truly terrible to make Jane cry, but he never expected wardrobe trouble to be an issue. “Well, here, I can help.” He gently took her ankle, and pulled the shoe on, doing up the fastenings. Not as good as she did but he made his three fingers work the laces. There did seem to be some resistance from some swelling. “See, all good to go.”
But she only got redder, “That’s not the point. How can I be a proper mother to our children? Until Terra the closest thing I had was an owner. I can’t even hold them properly in cowl! And now I can’t even take care of myself.” She sniffled loudly and turned away.
It took a moment to catch what she was on about. Garrus was happy that in their brief time, his mother had come to mean so much to her, but trouble holding their children? Sure she couldn’t tuck them into a cowl like a turian, but her chest could be a very soft and comfortable spot. He’d fallen asleep there a number of times. Wrapping her in his arms, he sat on the bed and pulled her into his lap. “I think you’ll do just fine. You love them right?” She was still pouting but nodded. “That’s all they’ll really want.”
They sat there, taking deep breaths while she calmed down. Finally, she reached for a corner of the sheet and wiped at her face. For once he was glad she wasn’t wearing their facial marks, they would have run and smeared badly. “Thanks,” she said quietly before leaving to finish getting ready.
Drifting out after her, Garrus wasn’t sure what to do with the outburst. Shepard must have seen his shell-shocked look and called to him from the mess.
“Hey, Garrus, what’s up?”
Walking over, Garrus found Miranda and Oriana sitting with Shepard finishing their coffee. Sitting down he looked carefully between the humans. “I’m not sure. I just found Jane crying over having a hard time with her shoes. That was one reason she wouldn’t be a good mother.”
The trio shared some sympathetic smiles and Miranda spoke. “I imagine that turian female don’t have hormone driven outbursts do they?”
That made him perk up a little, “It’s just hormones?”
Shepard quickly shook his head, “Never say ‘just hormones’ to a woman, first rule Garrus.”
Oriana nodded, “My friend’s husband did that. It ended badly. Chances are there is some truth to her worry, but the hormones may have made the reaction stronger. We call it Baby Brain, sometimes even a photo can make a woman break down and cry.”
The other two nodded, but at least he was more at ease now. Knowing what was going on was normal, made him feel better. He was still shocked Jane didn’t think she’d be a good mother, but at least he had a better idea how to handle it.
To say Jane was mortified was an understatement. To be found crying over shoes almost drove her to another fit. Hopefully, Garrus would just forget about it.
She met him, Miranda, and Dr. Chakwas in the med bay for the checkup.
Miranda gave her a smile, “Before I go over my recommendations, let's take a look at the babies.”
Hopping up on the examination bed, Jane raised her shirt. Miranda brought up a screen and waved a tool over her growing belly.
At first, there was nothing but, soon shapes began to appear, and besides her normal deep heart rhythm, there were two faster ones, almost in sync. Soon two form appeared, small and almost turnian shapes, curled toward each other. Knowing they were there and seeing them were two different things, and Jane’s breath caught in her throat. Garrus hand reached up and gently gripped her shoulder, seeming to be affected the same way.
Miranda’s smile grew, “Good, everything seems to be developing just perfectly.” Leaving the image up she turned to the soon to be parents. “I looked over Mordin’s notes, and agree with most of them. They appear to be predominantly turian, with human respiratory systems and denser bones.”
Garrus and Jane let out a sigh of relief.
“However, it is impossible to be sure when they will be born,” and the dread returned as they watched the ex-Operative intently. “Chances are good they will be born at the six to seven-month mark, but their human systems may not be fully formed and may be very delicate when they are born.”
“What kinds of complications are we looking at,” Garrus asked, keeping them focused on what they could do about it.
“Their lungs will have to be monitored closely, and their digestive systems will be the most affected. I doubt they will be able to handle solid foods like normal tuiran children, so we’ll have to supply them with Jane’s breast milk with a dextro additive and see how it goes.”
Jane took a calming breath, knowing what the complication would be was still a relief. “Will I be able to give birth normally? Or will their plates prove an issue?”
Miranda looked over the readings before commenting, “I don’t think they will have the full density by that time and will harden later. I’m sorry but it is impossible to tell the sexes.”
Nodding Jane smiled broadly, “Can’t know everything I guess. Thank you, Miranda, this helps a lot.”
Miranda gave her a soft smile. “This is a precious gift, I’m happy to have helped.” Sharing a look with Chakwas, she nodded to the office area and gave the couple some privacy.
Turning to her mate, Jane gave him an apologetic look, “Sorry about this morning…”
Garrus smiled and press his mouth plates to her hair, “No need, I’m here to help with everything and at least I dodged the shoe this time. Your condition is partially my fault.”
Laughing Jane said, “I’ll hold that against you during labor.”
Reaching for some fabric, Garrus handed her the bundle, “I did manage to get this, it might help with some of your fears.”
Unfolding it, Jane discovered the fabric was a wide blue strip sewn into a circle. Raising a brow in question she looked back at them.
“I don’t want to be stuck holding the kids all the time. With this, you can tuck them in as if you had a cowl of your own.” He kept his voice light.
Realizing that he’d been listening to her rant, and went out of his way to solve the problem, Jane clasped the soft scarf to her chest and pulled him in for a deep kiss. “However did I manage to get you?”
“I think it had something to do with how you moved your waist dancing. And the flexibility. Definitely the flexibility.”
It wasn’ the first time Garrus had been called to the meeting room by Shepard, but he was surprised to find Jane and Legion were there as well.
“Shepard.” He said in greeting and nodded to the geth before taking up his spot at Jane’s side.
“Garrus good, Legion has an idea he wants to run by us for the mission. He found the location of the server the Reapers are using to control the geth. Legion? What is the plan?”
Legion nodded and stepped forward, pulling up a schematic of a large building, the same make as the geth ship.
“Once in range we can disrupt the local signal so we can shut down the platforms stationed there.” Focusing the schematic on a large server node, he continued, “Using an access point here an organic can upload into the system and disable the blocks of Reaper code.”
Jane looked intrigued, “An organic? They think in a manner Reapers can not predict accurately. We will also be using most of our iterations locking down the other platforms.”
Shepard nodded, “I guess I’ll be the one to hook in?”
Legion’s facial mechanisms flexed for a second. “No.” He turned to Jane, “Our calculations show that Advisor Shepard Vakarian will perform the best. Her knowledge of programming and tech will help with the disorientation.”
The siblings' eyes grew large and Garrus shoved he sense of panic away, his mind quickly going through everything that could go wrong. Like a Reaper attacking while they were almost defenseless.
Shepard was the one to speak, “Legion, that might not be possible. I can’t let a pregnant woman romp around a war zone.”
“Johnny,” Jane hissed, but Shepard kept his hard blue gaze on Legion.
The geth nodded, crossing his arms. “Understandable. We have run through all the calculation. We can say with 99% certainty that we can remain in control of the platforms while convincing the Reapers everything is fine. We will have time to evacuate once done.”
Jane walked around the table and gripped Shepard’s shoulder, turning him to face her. “You know if anyone can figure out those odds it's Legion. If someone else were to do it, it might take too long.” She shot Garrus an apologetic look, but he nodded. She had a point, and he would insist on going, at least if he was looking out for her for once, he’d feel better.
“Alright, but we go over everything carefully so we know exactly what happens.” He looked at the schematic again and started question Legion about landing zones and backup escape routes.
For once Jane was worried. She was on the shuttle by herself, Johnny insisted on making sure they had the area under control before she was dropped off. Finding herself in real danger was different than walking into it knowingly. Especially now she knew what her children looked like. It made it that much more real.
She was rubbing her belly when the all-clear came. Taking a breath she left Steve on the shuttle with a small wave. Outside she was met by her guard, an armed Garrus, Johnny, and Legion, who fell into step around her.
Entering the Facility was chilling. There were hostile geth everywhere, on guard, at workstations, resting in pods. None of the moving or reacting to their presence. It was like being in a tomb.
Going deeper Legion stopped at one console near a series of pods. Pressing a button, one of the geth prime pods that was empty opened.
Stepping up to it, Legion motioned for Jane to step in. “I will be able to create the virtual link with this.”
Jane eyed it, and then looked at one of the standard size bodies, and gave Legion a dirty look. “I’m not that big.”
Legion paused for a moment, trying to figure out the error while Garrus and Johnny chuckled. “We meant no offense, but this will be more comfortable.”
Garrus gave her a hand as she stepped into the pod, “I know, I’m just pulling your leg.”
She could tell it took Legion a moment to figure out the saying before turning to close it again. With a hiss, the lid fell into place and Jane gave Garrus a reassuring smile before looking around at all the inputs.
“Please remain still,” Legion ordered.
Jane faced forward with a disappointed frown, but continue to move her eyes around. There was a brief light before it all went dark.
Jane blinked a few times before finding herself on a lit platform in a dark boxy cavern. Legion appeared before her, almost glittering. “You're here with me?”
“This is just a projection to acquaint you with the environment, I will only be able to guide you through comm link further in.” He stated.
Jane nodded and looked down to see a replica of a geth gun, her old blue armor, and no belly. It was disorienting, and she reached down a hand to feel her flat stomach. “We thought you’d be able to move faster without your offspring. The weapon can be used to remove the affected code. We felt this simulation would be easier to adapt to.”
Taking a settling breath Jane nodded. “Let do this.”
Legion talked her through the journey. It felt odd to be firing on nonhostile targets, but it did make life easier. She wasn’t prepared to come across any other data. Seeing the geth war from their perspective was sobering and she couldn’t help the flash of anger for them. It made her want to punch Admiral Dora’Xen all the more. The geth were fumbling living creatures, slaughtered before they had a chance to speak. But considering the Reapers, she could understand the quarian fears of AI.
After destroying the last node, Jane still had to make her way back the exit port and took a moment to enjoy the ability to move without being hindered. It would still be a couple of months before she could do so again.
There was a sense of vertigo as she returned to the real world, and already her feet were scream from remaining still for so long. Garrus was the first one there to help her out of the pod. But a flash of movement to the side caused him to pull her behind his mass as he leveled a weapon at a now very active geth prime. It towered menacingly about them with its single red eye.
“Legion?” Johnny asked in a loud annoyed tone.
“It’s alright Shepard Commander. They are not under Reaper controller.” The geth stood at attention and the light turned pure white like Legion’s, “They wish to join.”
Jane let out a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding as everyone relaxed. But her stomach was still doing nervous flips. Reaching down she almost jumped as she felt a bump.
“Oh, oh Garrus!” He turned to her with a worried look. Taking his hand, she pressed it to the area and watched him jump as there was another kick. Looking back up into her eyes, he gave her the biggest smile she’d seen in ages.
I promise I haven't forgotten you all or this story, life has just gotten in the way. Chances are I may get 3 or 4 hours of sleep before work tomorrow as it is. I'm not sure how regular this can be, but I shall try. Thank you all for your patience, comments, and reviews.
Garrus was more tired than expected after the infiltration mission that he would have thought. Given that he didn’t need as much sleep as Jane, he was surprised she was still awake. But Shepard was currently on the surface, trying to destroy the last part of the Reaper control on Rannoch, and the tension was too high too to consider getting sleep.
Currently, they along with many of the crew left behind were waiting and listening to the comm, all hoping Shepard could do the impossible again. Already he, Tali, and Vega had made their way through multiple geth and geth Prime.
“I have made it to the marker, locking targeting signal now.” Shepard called into the comm.
Garrus steadied Jane and himself on the bar before the war room holo as the ship swooped down, the rumble of the charges shook the floor.
There were the sounds of explosions, then the deep whine of the last thing they wanted to hear.
Before anyone could react, Legion came through, “Shepard Command, we have located transportation.”
“Quick, everyone to the ship.”
Jane let out a shuddered breath and turned her green eyes to Garrus in relief.
“It not a Reaper base, it's a live Reaper. Quarian fleet, I need an orbital strike.”
And the relief turned to dread, there was no way they could be accurate enough to not hit the ground team in such a short amount of time.
“We’re clear of the firing range.”
Amazingly scanners showed the first shot hit.
“Did we hit it?”
Shepard took a moment to reply, “Yes, but it looks like the main firing cannon is a weak point. It's priming to fire.”
“Damn it. With the Jammers, we can only fire manually. We can’t make that precise of a shot.”
Legion came on the comm again, “We may escape before it recovers.”
“No, pull over.”
Jane slammed a hand on the panel, and it blared angrily. “Idiot.”
In his commander's voice, Shepard stated, “If we run, the geth stay under Reaper control and the quarian fleet is dead. This ends now. EDI, sync the Normandy’s laser targeting system to the whole damn fleet.”
Suddenly Jane ran from Garrus’ grip and slid beneath the console with more grace than a heavily pregnant woman should have.
“On it EDI.” She growled.
Knowing that Jane probably new the ship as well as anyone else Garrus watched. But Kaidan cried out, “What the… Jane?” And managed to grab an ankle to pull her out.
Sliding on her back, Jane didn’t stop touching the two live sparking wired together while giving the Major a death glare worse than anything they had seen from Shepard. “Alright, you seem to know what you're doing.”
And she slid farther back, grabbing at more connections. After a moment she called, “Go for it EDI.”
Holding their breath, they waited, having to listen to Shepard dodge a fucking Reaper's main cannon. After the fourth pass, with was the double beep confirming the lock.
“Fire.” Was the only warning before every ship including the Normandy opened fire on the Reaper.
“Kill confirmed,” EDI announced to the crew, and jeers and whistles filled the room.
Jane fully collapsed on the floor, eyes closed and breathing hard. “Garrus, I kinda feel like a krogan stuck on their back. Can you give me a hand.”
Garrus let out a chuckle but gave her a hand up. She managed to throw Kaidan another glare, and he backed up another foot.
But it wasn’t over. They had to listen to the argument between Legion and Tali, only the geth seemed sure about the decision to use the Reaper code to advance themselves. Shepard sounded torn, and Jane pulled up her own commlink.
“Johnny, they never wanted to war, they were only protecting themselves… It was a misunderstanding. They want true life, not a hive mind.”
“ ‘Does this unit have a soul?’ “
“Upload the code. Tali, call off the quarian fleet.”
Again holding their breath, they listened to Tali send the message, torn over the decision. “I beg you, change your mind.”
“No, nobody else dies today. Continue the upload. All units, this is Commander Shepard, the Reaper is dead, call off your attack”
Garrus was torn, after years fight against geth, then at their side it was a hard call to make. It was the damn rachni all over again. Tali though surprised him. “This is Admiral Tali’Zorah. Shepard speaks with my authority.” Given time he could see her agreeing, but she was young, and the war with the geth was deeply rooted in her heritage. But if Shepard’s confidence could sway her, maybe it could the fleet.
They continued to bicker, the admirals taking different sides. Shepard reminded them of the precarious odds the fleet faced. But the clock was ticking. Garrus’ train of thought was disrupted when Jane grabbed his hand.
“You’re entire history has spent trying to kill the geth. Forcing them to rebel. You forced them to ally with the Reapers. The geth don’t want to fight you. If you could believe that for just a minute, this war would be over. You have a choice. Please, Keelah se’lai.”
There was silence before a tired voice responded. “All units, hold fire.”
And then it was shattered. “Error, copying code is insufficient. Direct personality dissemination required.”
Jane’s free hand raised to her mouth in a gasp, Garrus gave her a look of confusion but remained quiet.
“Shepard Commander, I need to go to them. I’m sorry, it’s the only way.”
Tali spoke quietly, “Legion, the answer to your question is ‘Yes’.”
And for the first Legion used her name, “I know Tali. Keelah si’lai.”
The comms were cut off by the ground side, a sign Shepard considered the mission over. EDI ran through the final count. “Commander Shepard safe. Admiral Tali’Zorah safe. Lieutenant Vega safe. Geth mobile platform Legion killed in action. Geth communication coming in - all units confirming upload and requesting briefing with Normandy and Quarian Fleet.”
The room was quiet for a moment, fully comprehending what happened, Garrus gathered Jane in his arms, taking a moment to wipe the tears from her cheeks. “Did you hear it at the end? He used I instead of We…”
Jane waited in Johnny’s cabin, he remained on the surface while an agreement between the long-warring factions was reached. It concluded with the geth joining the war, permission to start moving nonfighting personnel quarians back to the surface of their home, agreements to help develop immune system upgrades, and the decommissioning of Admiral Dora’Xen for inhuman testing. And all it cost was the death of her friend. At least some good came of it, and in a way, Legion lived on in all of his people.
But Legion wasn’t why she wanted to see her brother. Today gave her perspective of what the end of this war would be like, and they needed to settle some things.
When Johnny walked in, she could see the bittersweet relief, they’d managed to save the planet at minimal cost. Even if Legion's death meant more to them than others in the war. History would only know him as the first of the new generation of geth, not the sharpshooter with a hero worship complex who would dance when no one was looking.
Not saying anything Jane hugged him tightly, ignoring the pain and smell of his armor. They stood like that for a minute, before he released her, “Thanks, Janey.”
She nodded and waited for him to change and join her on the couch. “Taking out another Reaper on foot Johnny? Do you have a death wish?”
“No, I don’t. I just can’t take any more of the running… From the Reapers, from Cerberus…”
“Or from the batarians?” She hissed. He gave her a confused look, “Come on Johnny, you never ran again sense the slaver attack. I know you still blame yourself for not getting to me, but I still survived. You can’t keep doing this.”
“No Janey, I do. Everyone refused to listen to me at the start of this, now they don’t have anyone else to turn too.”
“And you’re human, others will step up if you give them a chance. Hell, I wouldn’t have been able to help EDI so quickly if it wasn’t for my time with Anew. But others won’t do it if you don’t give them a chance.”
Johnny stared off into space for a minute before sighing and releasing the tension. When he turned to her and took her hand he looked much older, and the spitting image of their father. “I’ll always regret not saving you that day Janey, but I am grateful for how strong you were. I don’t think I could have survived that.”
Jane smiled, finally hearing him come to terms with the attack. “No, you would have been too thick headed for it. But you can make up for it by actually thinking before taking out a Reaper on foot. Or at least give us more warning?”
He let out a deep laugh, “Only for you Janey.”
Nodding, Jane stood up, “Now my nose may not be as good as a turians, but you need I shower, and I need to work on a project with EDI.”
Stepping out of the cabin and into the Elevator, “EDI, if you have the free processing space I’d like to work on my Lifeboat project.”
“Of course, Jane.”
After Rannoch Johnny felt the Normandy needed some leave, of course it took an order from his commanding officer to convince him. But now they were back at the Citadel and Jane was relaxing on the ship, Garrus was out making rounds with the refugees, making sure supplies were lasting. Johnny was out, meeting up with the crew on leave, making time for the little things. He even offered to take her to dinner to make up for sneaking off, some sushi place and then show off the apartment. But all the excitement had finally caught up with the soon to be mother and Jane made it clear to everyone she was to remain undisturbed while she rested or worked on her private project with EDI.
She was about halfway through the engineering reports on the crucible when EDI came threw with a message.
“Jane, the Commander is under attack. Garrus and others are going in to help.”
“Attack? Is it Cerberus?”
The feminine voice filled the room, “Unknown. No visible markings, and slightly different weapons. But all human.” There was a pause. “I am ordered to keep you updated but you must remain on the ship.”
Jane got up and started pacing. Damn turian, it had to be Garrus who gave the order. She knew it was for the best, but she didn’t think she would have to play the role breakable woman all the time. A few minutes later there was a buzz of someone at the door. It opened to show the doctor looking concerned.
“EDI mentioned a spike in your vitals.” She held up an omni tool. “We can’t be letting you get so stressed. You'll need to lay down.”
Jane grumbled but followed orders. The doctor was trying to distract her but it only got her more aggravated. “Could I at least listen to the comm? Otherwise, I’m imagining the worse.”
“Alright, but it goes off if you don’t calm down.” The doctor relented.
Jane sighed, and closed her eyes, trying to stay calm. Overall the whole thing sounded messy on all sides. No one had ever gotten the drop on Johnny like this. Even with the grey box heist, he had all his gear by the time they were caught. But even with that hindrance, the attackers couldn’t kill him. Even Cerberus wouldn’t be so sloppy. Something felt off.
When Garrus and Vega joined up they finally got out of the area and back the apartment, she was exhausted but had remained calm. She spoke a couple minutes to Garrus, he promised to keep her in the loop but encouraged her to sleep. They would be dealing with this threat quickly and she should be safe on the ship, she had the utmost faith in her boys but hated not being there. At least he agreed to send scans of the gun so she could feel useful.
Trying to push the bad thoughts out of mind she laid down and looked over the scans.
Jane woke early but didn’t find any messages. Odd, Garrus said they were likely to do some recon last night on the gun they found. She hadn’t been able to find out much, beyond the fact it was a prototype. The housing was poorly designed for mass production so it must have been a proof of concept.
Getting up she was greeted by a fairly quiet ship, not too different than when normally on the station, but surely her brother had ordered everyone to cut the shore leave short after the latest attack? Protocol meant they would have returned to their stations on the ship.
Walking into the med bay Jane looked for the doctor but only found her brother and a dark woman she never met before.
“Johnny? What’s going on?” The pair looked up from the terminal toward her.
He stared at her intently before letting his eyes trail to her stomach, his eyes glowed with anger for a second, something his cybernetics rarely did nowadays. “Just finding out the truth.”
The woman glanced between them before speaking up, “I’m Maya Brooks from Alliance Intelligence. The Reapers control has infected more people than we all thought. We had to get rid of the crew, it’s too dangerous to trust any of them.”
Turning focus back on Johnny, Jane asked, “Where’s Garrus?”
Johnny’s mouth thinned before he spat, “That turian won’t be on this ship again. I should never have let it touch you. I failed my sister, but not anymore.” Waving a hand at her unborn children. “We’ll get rid of those soon, and it’ll be just us again, Jane.”
Her hands came up to her belly to block their looks, cradling and protecting it. The crew was gone, Chakwas wasn’t here. Johnny was behaving oddly, maybe he had succumbed to the Reapers. Unlikely, he didn’t at the Alpha Relay…
Then it hit her. He hadn’t called her Janey. He always did, at least once. He knew she hated it as a kid and insisted on using it like she did with Johnny. Now it was something they loved to do, a reminder of the times before they lost their home and family.
“You're not my brother.”
“No, I am better. I will actually protect you.” He sneered.
The Brooks began to smile coldly and crossed her arms, “Damn, I was hoping he could keep it together long enough to fool you until we left. He wanted you alive.”
The imposter pulled a gun and turned it on the woman. “I’ve got all the records now, I don’t need you anymore. But she’s the closest thing to family he had. I have. I am not giving that up.”
Turning back to Jane, “The other Shepard shouldn’t have let you be taken by those fucking slavers. I wouldn’t have, and even if they did I would have hunted them down until you were safe. I for sure wouldn’t have let some beast impregnate you. I assumed it was another human, that would be alright. But these freaks, Shepard never should have let that happen.”
For a moment Jane felt true fear, then burning anger. For someone to have her brother's face and throw all his efforts out the window, to call her love some sort of evil animal, to threaten her children. Ones she never should have been gifted. Something in her snapped and in a quiet cold voice said, “No. They are my children. Garrus is my husband. And my real brother, the real Shepard is going to fucking kill you.”
“As long as she doesn’t get in the way, do what you want with her,” Brooks said to the fake Shepard. “And we won’t be worrying about Shepard for long, soon he and all his closest crew will be running out of air. Put her somewhere she won’t get in the way. I’ll handle the preparations to leave.”
The woman went past her, but before Jane could lash out, Evil Shepard grabbed her arm roughly twisting and pushing it rushing up behind her. She hissed in pain as he said softly. “Come now, sister. Let’s find you a place to stay until you feel better.”
They took the lift down and down the hall to Diana’s room, but when the door opened it was clear it had been turned over like it had been searched. Twisting her wrist, the imposter wrenched her omni tool off. Then he pushed her roughly into the room and she was barely able to grab hold of the couch back before falling. The door hissed shut behind her, running on adrenaline she turned around and slammed her fists on it, cursing.
Looking around the room, Jane’s mind was going at FTL. Unfortunately, it seemed whoever worked over the room, there didn’t appear to be any piece of tech left, the shutters to the outside and cargo bay were partially shuttered, not that they were useful. Grasping at straws, Jane called for EDI but there was no reply. Looking around the door, she couldn’t find any loose panels or wire, why did the Alliance have to finish repairs on this room of all of them, and from the almost silent vibration, she knew they were going through pre-flight checks.
How was she supposed to save them from in here?
One thing about engineers trained today, they felt like they could only do their work with omni tools or terminals. They never had everything stripped from them, never had to get creative. Unfortunately for Jane, she couldn’t see options for any of her usual tricks. Not that she could safely go about the ship if she did get out, and she was no longer some desperate slave with a death wish.
But they had forgotten about the trash compactor. Thank the Spirits for Alliance laziness in not removing all redundant systems, now Jane was able to get into the ship’s automation systems. Part of her wonder what Diana would have thought of the room original purpose, would she have asked for other quarter?
Jane would have to trust her team to get out of wherever they were trapped. For now, at least she could monitor some of the ship's systems through the trash compactors had access to the automated routines, it was an old fashion software text, but usable. Try to hinder the attackers as much as possible. Without EDI is would take them hours to figure out systems were failing due to a resourceful prisoner.
For now, everything had been locked down, no one in or out. She had been focused on fluctuating the engine levels out of alignment when a bad reading came back she did not cause. A small energy was drawn from one of the maintenance hatches outside the ship… Holding her breath she deleted the report. Hopefully, no one saw it, and fingers crossed hoping it was Johnny and the team.
Jane upped the error readings, hoping to add to the confusion and stop anyone from spotting real minor ones. The attackers must have been on edge, they ended up canceling her alerts on engines and got the ship going with brute force.
But Jane needed eyes, sensors only told her so much. Looking around she spotted simple holo clock. It was only used it for music and time, but the thing was capable of more. Right now she was happy it had a holographic display. Using a high heeled shoe, she broke open a panel into the internal wiring. With some quick jerry-rigging she got a simple black and white feed.
But they weren’t jumping to FTL… Looking at the sensor readings she saw they were being slowed by a skycar. At one point the damn thing wiggled what would have been wings on a ship. It had to be Cortez. Well, she could help there. Hopefully, Garrus would forgive her for running his calibrations. Opening up his programs, she started to fiddle with some of the rarely used inputs. They were little things that could help squeeze his .45% improvement, but if they were really fucking wrong, it was like trying to hit a flea on a jumping pijak with a pop gun.
Jane then turned to the inside camera feeds. From the looks of CIC Johnny had got in, and man was he mad. No guards were left alive besides the pilot carefully locked in the cockpit. There were small fires and even one man who looked like he had been trampled by a Krogan. Flicking through the different inputs she found all those who were left in the cargo bay. Johnny, Garrus, and Wrex were struggling to keep up with the fake Shepard, Brooks, and the last of their guards, but the trio was gaining ground. The others were panicking as they were being pressed to the open cargo bay doors and making costly mistakes. Abandoning the screen, she ran to the partially opened window, seeing the fight in color now.
Finally, her Johnny got his hands on the other and let loose. While he didn’t have the finesse of her or her husband in a hand to hand fight, Johnny knew how to cause pain. There was a jump in the ship and her heart flew up her throat as both slid to the edge of the bay, and close to the zooming Citadel buildings. Luckily Garrus and Wrex were they to pull their Johnny to safety.
The fake said something but wasn’t happy with the answer. He refused the helping hand and fell down, in between the buildings. Even in armor, his broken body would be in too many pieces for anyone but Miranda to put back together again.
Jane sighed relief. Even without her tools, she managed to help at least a little. She got an alert of someone hacking the ship, and she smiled as she recognized EDI’s code. EDI decided to start ripping at the blocks from inside the ship and soon she was greeted with a familiar feminine voice.
“Jane, are you in need of assistance?”
Jane smiled, leaning back against the wall. “No EDI, I’m fine, no harm done. But I would greatly appreciate it if you could unlock the door before my asshole of a husband breaks it down?”
“Of course Jane. Logging you out.”
Sorry for the delay, it took forever for me to get this chapter finished as I wasn't happy with part of it. Hopefully, it was worth the wait. Unfortunately with holidays and traveling coming up, I am not sure when the next will be. Please and thank you for waiting.
I do have another AU (non Reaper) started and a good number of chapters done, I wasn't planning on starting it until one of the two current stories was done. But if there is interest I can start posting to help get you through the holiday season. Let me know, and thank you for kudos and reading!
Garrus found Shepard leaning on the railing of the dock, looking out at the Normandy. Unlike the previous few months, Shepard was wearing his armor, clearly still unnerved from dealing with the clone. He turned as Garrus stepped up alongside him. “How is Janey?”
“Just some bruising that medigel took care of, still shaken so she’s laying down.”
“God,” Shepard muttered, rubbing a hand over his face, “I can never seem to keep her safe.”
Garrus wasn’t sure quite what to say, “Shepard, this wasn’t your fault. Not even Miranda knew they’d followed through with the clone experiment.”
“Still, I put my sister and your children in danger… Maybe the Normandy isn’t the safest for them.”
Garrus could relate to the feeling of hopelessness, the times Jane put herself in danger he was at a loss as to how to prevent it. “Jane isn’t totally helpless and if anything were to happen while we were away on a mission we wouldn’t be able to react as quickly.”
“That’s true… Do you know if she saw any of the fights at the end?”
He couldn’t stop from stiffening up, he hadn’t seen Shepard that angry, ever. “She saw it but didn’t hear anything. She thought the clone slipped off the ship.”
“Probably for the best.” The orange flames that marked him as not quite human flickered in his eyes again. “He just kept going on and on about how he could have saved her, that I had failed her again and again. I meant to save him, but that day on Mindor and then Torfan came back.”
Garrus looked back at the windows of his room, where Jane was resting. It would hurt her, to know her brother could be that vengeful… “I think your right. I hate keeping things from her, but the stress of this would be too much right now. It’s done, probably best to focus on a more important thing.”
Shepard nodded. “Like an impossible war to win…” Taking a breath, his tone became lighter. “But first a party.”
Garrus raised a brow plate at the change of topic. “A party? We’re not going to raid Chora’s den again, are we? I think the new owner is on the straight and narrow.”
Shepard let out a laugh and smacked him on the shoulder, “No guns unless we set up a shooting gallery. It was Joker suggestion, and Anderson did just gave me an apartment that is way too big for me.”
“And you have one of the best bartenders in the galaxy at hand.”
“So I’ve heard… A bartender who can’t drink, making drinks for a bunch of soldiers, perfect combo.” Shepard stepped away, “I’ll go make arrangements, and you’ll make sure to tell Janey the good news!”
Garrus seemed relieved to be out in public, where Jane was less likely to kill him. She didn’t take well to being the designated bartender, but when she heard how Johnny had given him the task of asking she thought it was hysterical and agreed. But now it felt odd going to some party, instead of a war room to plan an attack. It was almost domestic, maybe Joker was right and they needed a break to blow off some steam.
Wearing Garrus’ favorite blue dress they arrived a little before the start time with a bottle of wine and old fashion photo in a frame. They were let into a large living room, with modern furniture, fire, piano, and impersonal art. It was gorgeous, but not her militarian brother.
Johnny came out to greet them looking dashing in a suit, something else Jane would not have expected and gave her a kiss and her mate a smack on the shoulder. “Great, you're the first ones here. I need help Janey, I have no fucking clue what I’m doing.”
Jane laughed and made her way farther into the apartment. “Well, you picked up all your grungy boxers so that’s a plus. Do you have alcohol?”
He nodded and showed her not one, but two bars. “A bit excessive, but with krogans and marines on the guest list, it may be enough.”
She nodded, “Looks like you just need some music.”
Johnny nodded and turned to Glyph who was floating in the middle of the room. Taking a cue, it put on subtle classical music. “Oh, no no no Johnny. Glyph, let’s get something a bit more exciting.” After a moment the music changed to some generic easy club music, “Much better, now you only need something to make this a little more your home.” Turning she handed him the photo frame.
He quirked an eyebrow at her, before looking at the photo. It was a family picture of them with their family, on Mindoir. They were still kids in the photo, shocks of red and black curly hair, and large smiles mirroring the ones their parents wore. “But, I thought all these were destroyed?”
Janey smiled sadly, she had assumed the same. “Amazing things can happen if you’re friends with the Shadow Broker.”
Johnny didn’t say anything, only hugging her before moving to place the treasured photo on the mantel. Jane leaned into Garrus with a sigh, enjoying the warmth of his arm around her.
The moment was broken by the door opening and Wrex’s booming voice, “What’s this about booze Shepard? I swear ever since I joined up against Saren for free I haven’t had a decent paying gig. Your bar is forfeit.”
Garrus’ head whipped around to Johnny, “Shepard, do not tell him about the second bar.”
Garrus was pleasantly buzzed, Spirits did he need it after the past few days. Even on break Shepard still managed to get in trouble and there was only so many times he could pull the commander or his sister back into safety. At least Jane wasn’t actively looking for trouble now.
Thinking of the small redhead, he looked down off the balcony, and found her chatting with Liara by the piano. Garrus forced himself to relax, this apartment was probably one of the safest places in the galaxy considering who the invitees were.
The sound of a boot made him look over, the old and just as scared merc joined him in leaning on the rail. “I see you two are still making a go of this. Never thought I’d be the one to walk that hellcat down the aisle.”
Garrus chuckled and turned his gaze to his mate, “Well, she did try to kill you when you first met. That’s how all the best friendships start.”
That got a laugh from Zaeed, “Not bad for bird.” He took a swig of his beer, “You know this place could use some defenses.”
Looking down at the room, the sniper in him had to agree. “This does have a good vantage point.” And then the conversation turned to ways of better defending the apartment.
Soon their discussion was interrupted by Jane, “Hey what are you guys up to?”
“Discussing what a miserable excuse for an apartment this is,” Zaeed growled.
“It’s not that bad.” Jane chided.
“Yea, it does have some good booby trap options.” Looking over at Jane, his mandibles flared, “Did I ever say that I like your hair… and the rest of you.”
“Bleh, sodding love fest,” Zaeed muttered leaving to look at the odd art behind them.
Moving closer to Jane, Garrus purred into her ear, “And, to borrow a phrase from Vega, you look smoking in that dress, Red.” He almost chuckled when she turned red as her hair.
Jane turned a lovely shade of pink but before she could say anything there was a shout from Joker downstairs. “Jane, get down here, Javik is demanding another Fornication on the Beach.”
Jane returned downstairs laughing, “Fucking aliens and their girly taste in drinks.”
Garrus watched her move away, enjoying the moment… Wait, a tripwire would work for the door. Following her down, he decided to take a look at the door. And get a Blue Menae.
“Nope, I am not staying if you start shooting.” Jane called over her shoulder, leaving the makeshift firing range, and find solace with the other women in the small bar. Jack was leaning over the bar discussing different thing with Miranda. Jane watched, listening to the two talking civilly, or at least as much as Jack could manage.
Stopping the flow for a second, Jane commented, “Miranda, you forgot the booze in that drink.”
Miranda smiled, “I know, I thought you could use a drink for a change.”
Jack sneered, “Fucking goody two shoes.”
Johnny had walked in just then, for once his implants hadn’t outpaced his drinking, and he was swaying from the effects of alcohol. He screwed up his face like he was thinking hard, then blurted, “Haven’t you kissed and made up yet?”
There was silence, until Miranda asked, “What?”
“I mean honestly, this is all sexual tension. Two powerful biotics, forceful personalities, confident in their sexuality.” He slurred with a stupid smile.
Jack turned around, facing him, “Are you shitting me.”
Whereas, Miranda covered her face “Oh my god.”
“Really Johnny!” Jane called, only answered by his confused look. “Out.”
Jack leaned back on the bar, “I need another drink.”
“Me too.” Miranda agreed, not making eye contact.
“I’ve got this ladies.”
From the other room they heard Shepard yell, “Sorry Joker, it's a no-go.”
Jane found Johnny later, less drunk this time. “Smooth move there asshole.”
“Ugh, can’t believe Joker talked me into asking that. But you got to wonder…”
She stopped that line of thought, “Nope, don’t go there perv.”
“Probably best, actually I did have something more serious to talk to you about.” Curious, Jane followed him to one of the rooms. “Listen, Janey, this place is huge and way too big for me and my locker. The Alliance is my life, and I don’t really need an empty apartment to come to on my time off.” He gripped her shoulder, “I want you and Garrus to have it.”
“What?” Jane was worried he was still drunk.
“You two need a home when this is over, and this would be perfect for you if you don’t want to go planetside. Of course, I expect you to be able to make room for the crazy uncle when he gets leave.” Johnny smiled, “Janey please, let me at least look after my family this way.”
“Well, of course, you meathead. And we’d love you to stay here whenever you want.” Jane threw her arms around his neck. “Thank you.”
“Now that that’s settled. I feel like dancing.” He turned to march out.
“Oh lord help us.” Jane groaned and went in search of her mate.
Garrus was behaving oddly near the front door. Coming closer, she heard him speaking with Zaeed over a comm channel, discussing booby trapping the hot tub.
“Hey Big Guy, what are you doing?.”
“Hey Red, we’re setting up some protection for Shepard… You know, against clones.” He slurred.
Jane grinned, it wasn’t often she got to see this side of him anymore. “Maybe not. You want to use the tub, right?”
“Why would I, it’s Shepard’s.” He looked so cute confused.
“Well, this is no longer Johnny’s place. He wants us to have it, and I remember how much you like tubs.” Jane stroked his waist, suggestively.
“Oh, wait… Really?” Jane nodded excitedly, “Zaeed, put everything back. Right now.”
Jane laughed, “Come on, let's join the party.”
Hand in hand they walked into see her brother shuffling about randomly, staring at the ceiling. Surrounding him were others watching and dancing, expressions of confusion. Jane overheard Tali, “Whatever it is, it’s not dancing.”
“Fine, let's see a professional then,” Johnny shouted over the music. “I ran into an old friend of Jane’s when on Omega. Nyrif I think… She just sent me some vids of the bar when Jane worked there.”
Jane perked up, she hadn’t heard anything from her old friend since leaving. Then there was a bit of dread… Vids of dancing girls… From a bar where she danced. Before she could say anything, the huge screen in the dining area was showing the stage while beats of Bang, Bang, Boom played.
Then Jane had to watch, as a younger her came out on stage, in a revealing outfit, very not pregnant, and started dancing. The room was filled with whoops and two loud groans from the Shepards. This was the last thing she wanted her brother seeing.
“Se’lai, Jane, you are amazing… And… Is that Garrus?” Tali shouted loudly.
And there in the corner of the screen was dumbfounded, and almost during Garrus minus the scars. Looking up at him, Jane began laughing as a similar look was now on his face.
“Dios, Lola, I should have stopped by Omega.”
Garrus’ started growling and turned violently to Vega, who held up his hands in surrender.
Johnny, turned off the vid, “I need more alcohol.”
Soon the partygoers started to pass out wherever they found an open spot. Going around, Jane made sure the bodies were covered and had water within reach. She found Grunt already worshipping the porcelain god and mumbling about sharks and dinosaurs.
Turning at a deep laugh, she found Garrus leaning in the doorway also enjoying in the young krogans misfortune. “Well mama, ready for bed?”
Feeling the pain of being on her feet for hours, Jane nodded happily. They didn’t make it for before finding a swaying Tali in the kitchen. Taking an arm each they dragged her up to a guest room, having to stop occasionally when Tali insisted on giving them hugs, letting them know how much she loved them, how happy she was about the babies, and particularly begged Jane to be a quarian version of a midwife.
“Please Jane, it is such an honor, and quarian birthing rooms are the safest…”
Jane giggled at the younger woman’s antics, “I’d be happy to have you help me, but first, you need to sleep. They're not coming today.”
Tali squealed, falling on the bed, before jumping up again, holding on to Garrus. “Two babies Garrusss! Two! Just think of all the cute chirps!”
Garrus chuckled and moved her back to the bed, “And all the diapers… Good thing we have an incinerator on the Normandy.”
“Keelah Se'lai, you poor things.” She managed to mutter before passing out.
Laughing the two left, curling up in their own bed.
Garrus woke to the sun in his eyes, and Jane wrapped around him, the feel of her soft skin on his plates. Jane shifted, leaning up to kiss him. “Hey, you.”
“Hey, you.” Looking around, he found themselves in the large master bedroom. Bits of the night came back. Booby trapping, the blast from the past. He’d have to find a way to get the vid, knowing he’d hadn’t been able to get his own copy without his visor at the time. The only issue was asking her brother for it.
A rumble not his broke his thoughts. “I’ll go get you some food.” She only replied with a smile and another kiss.
Leaving the room, he found others from the party passed out on different surfaces. Shepard was leaning on the rail Garrus had occupied earlier in the night.
“Hey, Shepard. Hell of a party.”
Shepard smiled, “It was pretty good. But did we really watch my little sister dance while you awkwardly ogled her?”
“Best not to think of it. By the way, thanks for the apartment.” Garrus was still getting used to the idea while now sober.
“Of course. What use do I have of it?” Shepard shrugged.
Garrus looked at him sideways, “You might want it for when you have your own family.”
Shepard was still smiling but seemed sadder. “Garrus, I don’t think I will have that family. Chances of me getting out of this are not good. It’s better to not plan.”
“You're a fool if you think I’m letting my brother get out of being an uncle that easily,” Garrus stated matter of factly.
“Your brother, huh?” Shepard asked in a smug voice.
“Yup, besides Jane would kill me if I let anything happen to you. And she’ll kill me if I don’t get her breakfast.”
Like all things, their short break from the battle was cut too soon by the call to war. Jane could still hear the panic in Liara’s voice when she called the apartment with the news of Thessia under attack. And could still feel the shock at the asari councilor’s confession of a previously unknown Prothean VI on Thessia.
Johnny was pacing the meeting room, venting his frustration. “They expect me to do the impossible, without knowing all the cards… We might have learned what the Catalyst was months ago.”
Jane grimaced, “Not that it's Liara’s fault, but I’m surprised the Shadow Broker had no idea.”
Johnny leaned on the table, “She is still trying to sift through all the information stores and didn’t think a well-known temple would be hiding something this big. Considering the head start the asari had compared to the rest of the universe, no one would have guessed they violate their own laws. But it's not just the Reapers I worry about.”
Raising an eyebrow, Jane asked, “What is your gut telling you now?”
“While the Clone was made by Cerberus, he wasn’t acting on their behalf… And they have been too quiet recently.”
His blue eyes met hers and there was a nervous flutter that wasn’t a kick from the twins. “They are always one step ahead it seems.”
“Exactly, and we can’t afford to lose the Catalyst to them.”
Garrus understood the unshed tears in Liara’s eyes, watching the Reapers descend on her homeworld. Too many memories of their attack on Palaven were coming to mind. Thank Spirits his family was safe for now. With Jane floating far above them and his father and sister in a quiet refugee camp.
Currently, they were ground side, helping the forces break through the waves of husk attacks to get to the temple. It was sickeningly familiar to Garrus now, but he could see the horror in the commandos’ eyes. Hearing about it and facing the mangled creatures that may have been a friend were two different things. It was brutally clever tactic the strategist in him recognized. But it was their reality, and they found the strength and means to kill their mutated people with ease.
Surrounded by the slaughter and the sounds of the Reapers attack, Shepard led them into the temple. It was almost wrong how quiet and serene the building was. Paintings and relics hinting at the protheans intervention of the asari race long ago.
“Normandy, we’ve arrived at the target. Beginning the search for the VI.” Shepard reported into the comm, knowing Jane and others were waiting for updates.
EDI voice replied, “Understood Shepard. We also need to report, Jane has been moved to the med center. She is experiencing contractions.”
Not waiting for Shepard, Garrus pulled up his comm. “What? I thought she still had a few more weeks.”
“According to Miranda’s notes, that was only an estimate. Because of the hybrid nature, it is unsure of an exact that.” EDI replied calmly. “I will keep you updated.”
Garrus remained frozen, staring at a relic, not seeing it. He felt Shepard grip his shoulder. “She is with one of the best doctors we have Garrus. The sooner we finish here, the sooner we can get back to say hi to the newest Vakarians.”
Garrus nodded numbly, knowing there was nothing he could do about it now, but every part of him screaming to go to his mate. Again he began scanning, not bothering to note anything that wasn’t related to the task.
Shepard shouted out, turning Garrus found the Commander standing in front of a better version of the VI they met on Ilos. He only half listened to the conversation, focused on remaining still, and failed to notice when Kai Leng and his forces arrived.
Raising a gun, Shepard demanded, “You? What do you want?”
Garrus and Liara also training their weapons on the gunship behind, the light shining on them made it hard to focus.
“Your attention. Someone wants to speak with you.”
Raising a remote holo display, Kai Leng stood back as the Illusive Man’s image came up.
Garrus only listened with one ear. They were so close to getting the Catalyst, before the VI closed up, saying something about detecting an indoctrinated presence. Garrus had to admit, it might explain why the Cerberus group was now going out their way to trip them up.
Once again, Shepard tried to reason with the madman, Garrus couldn’t help the growl. He was tired of fighting this battle, everyone making it harder for them. He just wanted to get to the damn ship to be with his mate and to see his children.
“Kai Leng, the Commander has something I need. Get it, and bring the data back.” And with that, the Illusive Man was gone.
Snarling, Garrus unleashed his shot, hitting an approaching Cerberus grunt in the head. But before he could re-aim on the super soldier, his was gone from the scope with inhuman speed. Insults were thrown, and for once, Garrus remained silent, intent on killing the assassin. It was the next best thing to killing the Illusive Man himself.
It wasn’t until after Kai Leng called in air support, that Garrus figured they had dealt some major damage. During the distraction, the assassin had gotten the drop on Liara and used a biotic throw to send her flying at Garrus. He barely had time to catch his teammate before they fell on the floor in a tangle of limbs. Shepard remained steadfast and firing his weapon, but the shield of the other biotic proved to be too strong and no shot got through.
Having enough, Kai Leng stabbed his blade into the ground and called, “There is only one way this ends. Target the supports.”
And the gunship was back, this time focused on the millennia-old pillars that supported the roof. Thrown by the falling debris and jumping across the unstable floor, none of the team was able to reach the VI before Kai Leng.
“Cerberus thanks you.” He said calmly before downloading the ancient program, and running to the waiting gunship.
Garrus managed to get to his feet but heard Shepard grunt as he lost his hand hold. Fighting the part that wanted to go after Kai Leng, he dived across the floor and grabbed Shepard before he could fall. “Shepard! Hang on!”
Pulling him up, Shepard grabbed a pistol from the floor and fired uselessly at the retreating gunship.
The comm came back up, and as a reward for their efforts, they had to listen to the commandos around them dying from incoming Reapers, not knowing that while Shepard’s team had made it, they were not successful.
Jane laid quietly in the Med Bay, watching a distraught Liara make her way to her center of operation, locking the door behind her. Jane’s heart broke, she’d heard the mission over the comm, and knew they were too late, and another homeworld burned as they once again seemed to be running away to safety.
It wasn’t long before and tense Garrus and Johnny ran into the room, looking around wildly. Only to find a clearly still pregnant Jane.
“Hey, sorry, but it was a false labor…” She said quietly.
Garrus was already wrapping his arms around her, nuzzling her hair. Johnny breathed out a steady breath instead of a joke, he only seemed more tired.
Chawkwas came over to the group. “Braxton Hicks are common near the end of pregnancy. Looks like we still have a while yet.”
Garrus nodded, not releasing his arms. Jane leaned into him more, knowing that he needed touch to ensure she was safe. There was no idea how hard the birth process would be for her and, to be honest she was scared of being by herself for it. “Will she have to stay here?”
“Best if she were to remain on the ship and under close watch, but the more walking and activity the better. It helps with labor.” With that, she stepped away.
Johnny stepped forward, gripping her knee as a comforting gesture, before leaving silently.
“As bad as we heard?” Jane asked quietly, not ready to leave Garrus’ embrace.
He sighed heavily, “Reminded me too much of seeing Palaven attacked. And nothing to show for it this time.”
“Maybe not, when EDI discovered Cerberus was here she started digging through the transmissions to get some lead on them.”
“We can only hope. I sure as hell didn’t think of it, I was too worried about you up here. Almost missed Kai Leng’s arrival.” He helped her stand, keeping a long arm around her as they left the room.
Jane followed blindly. Had the false labor distracted them that much? They were in too dangerous of a mission to be worrying about something they couldn’t help with.
Jane helped EDI finalize the findings about Cerberus, the AI had managed to find their new headquarters, so maybe not all was lost yet. Taking the moment when Johnny and Garrus would be distracted, Jane searched out the doctor.
Dr. Chakwas looked up as Jane entered, “Jane, are you feeling contractions?”
“Not at the moment, but I did wish to ask you something.” Jane rubbed her hands together.
“How can I help you?” She asked, switching off her terminal and giving Jane her full attention.
“When I do go into labor or any more false starts. Please don’t tell the ground crew if they are on a mission?”
The doctor furrowed her brows, “Garrus is normally on the team. Are you sure you do not want him to know you are about to give birth?”
Jane held up her hands pleadingly, “It sounds bad, but they can’t have that kind of distraction. The last mission may have gone better if they hadn’t known.”
Chakwas nodded slowly, “I see your point, but you cannot blame yourself for something you had no power over. You are all under enough stress as it is.”
Jane nodded, “I know, but this is just for the future.”
“If it's what you want, radio silence it is. But if there are any complications I will need to contact Garrus in case you are not able to deal with it.”
“Agreed.” Letting out a breath of relief, Jane left and heard a ping of a message.
It was from EDI, informing Jane she was on the mission infiltrating Cerberus, requesting that Jane speak with the Commander about their side project.
Jane made her way to her brother’s cabin, knowing he’d be going over all the details before they arrived. Stepping into the dark room, she found him staring off at the fish tank instead of his terminal.
See her, Johnny greeted her with a smile. “Today is not the day I get to meet my nieces or nephews is it?”
“Sadly no, I am just a little bigger. Too big if you ask me. But I do need to discuss something with you.”
Johnny laughed and moved to join her on the couch. “What’s up?”
“After losing Legion, I started working on a project with EDI. Seeing another AI die, it made me realize something similar may happen to EDI, and we cannot afford to lose her, for the sake of the ship or Joker.”
A dark look passed through his eyes as he nodded and motioned for her to continue. “We call it Lifeboat, which it essentially is. EDI’s program is complex to run, but not to store. In simple terms, we think we can make a temporary backup of her program, separated from the system and when activated it would make it a dead brick, unable to run until downloaded, but we would be able to revive her.”
Johnny sat for a moment stunned, “Like rebooting the start file for a computer?”
“Correct, and we think it would work for more than EDI. We plan to test it with the next mission, to see how fast and complete the save is, and if it can be downloaded after. If successful she is requesting we give the technology to the geth.”
Johnny didn’t say anything at first, but Jane could see his brain working, thinking through the outcomes. “So after the war, they could possibly repopulate… Could be dangerous if turn to the reapers, an unending army for them or a way the Reapers could ‘back up’ themselves…”
Jane nodded, “Yes, I am with EDI on this, but I need the input of someone in power.”
He groaned and scrubbed at his face, “I only wanted to be a soldier, not someone with any sort of power like I have now… But I agree. This war has already cost us enough, I’d hate to see Legion's sacrifice go to waste.” Smiling at her, “So this is the project you two have been so secret about?”
“Yea, we weren’t sure it would work,” she shrugged. “And we didn’t want to get Joker’s hopes up. To be honest, we don’t think Joker realizes EDI could die.”
Johnny grimaced, “He just told me his sister and parents were on one of the colonies we lost. I lost you once and had no one, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.” Leaning over he hugged her tightly, “Thanks for looking out for my team.”
Jane returned the hug, “They are our family now, we all have to look out for each other.”
There was a moment of silence, that was soon interrupted by a hard kick from one of the twins. Sitting back, Johnny eyed her growing belly carefully, “Feels like they’ll have the hand to hand skills you and Garrus have.”
Jane laughed, used to the movement by now. “And they are always reminding me of that, last night they kept hitting and kicking at Garrus, freaked him out a little.”
Johnny laughed, “Good to see all the Shepards are keeping him on his toes.”
Jane finished the final touches on the Lifeboat unit. Making a backup of an AI as complex as EDI was difficult to start, and she had to make it compact and able to withstand physical and electronic attacks. The unit was basically a brick with complex storage that was specifically made for the structure of EDI’s programming and surrounded by a Faraday's cage. The Faraday’s cage was as simple as making an enclosure made out of a continuous conductive material, in theory, electronics that were turned off could escape damage of an EMP but the cage would increase those chances. According to her and EDI’s calculations, this design would have the highest probability of success. She hoped.
Setting down the soldering gun, Jane looked up to find she had James and Garrus as an audience. “We’ll download EDI’s copy and test the effects of a short range EMP.” She explained, putting away the unused materials.
“And that little box will be enough? I’ve seen her computer room, it's a little bigger than that.” James commented looking at the box that was smaller than a shoe box.
Jane smirked a little, even Anew would be proud of this prototype. “She needs all that equipment to function, this is more like a comatose phase for her. You don’t need a lot of room to store data.”
“Well, Lola, I didn’t know you were this smart.” James shrugged, and Jane didn’t take it as an insult. So far he’d only see her work on the fly and didn’t fully understand what she’d been doing at the time. And while he could maintain his equipment, he didn’t fully understand the designs of it.
Garrus leaned next to her cockily, quirking his head to the side. “Vega, you know that shotgun armor piercing mod you love?”
“Yea, its based off batarian tech. Packs a hell of a punch.”
Jane felt her face heat up, knowing what Garrus was about to brag about. “You’re right, developed by an old batarian engineer. What the history books don’t say is that it was mostly worked on by her slave.”
James' face scrunched in confusion for a second, eventually putting two and two together. “Crap… You mean Lola?”
Garrus hummed out approval as he nodded, and Jane jabbed him in the side. “Anew worked on a lot of projects but by then she was old, with shaky hands and forgetful. I picked up the slack. If she lost work, she might have sold me to make ends meet. It was mutually beneficial to work and I enjoyed more than the tasks slaves normally did.”
James smiled, “Jesus, I’ll make sure not to piss you off and give you all the treats you crave if it means I get in on some of the tech.”
Jane shook her and gathered the unit to start the download. Garrus chuckled, “You should see what she can do with an enviro suit.”
Jane quietly left before they started another competition of better kill shots. Although she was proud of that little trick up her sleeve.
The download would take awhile, so Jane sat herself down in EDI’s empty chair and looked out at the Cerberus station in the distance. Scans showed there were many ships and a lot of activity in the fight between them and Alliance ships. But also, more worryingly, that the station was running advanced active scans, that had a chance of seeing the Normandy even if in stealth mode.
Johnny came up behind them, already in armor and followed by EDI’s armed platform.
“Joker, what’s our status?”
Without looking up, Joker replied, “We’ve got a foothold but it’s not much, Commander.” He shifted carefully in his seat. “A lot of fighters are in the launch bays.”
“Can you get us in?” Johnny asked, focusing on the mission.
Joker sent him a glare, “Hey, I got us to Ilos. I can do this. Might be a bumpy ride though.” Janey knew that if Joker was telling her brother, the worst driver in the world that it might be bumpy, she would take it seriously and started to buckle herself into the seat.
“Do what you can.”
EDI stepped toward Johnny. “Shepard, I am ready.”
Joker looked panicked for a moment, before turning to face them. “Wait. What? Are you crazy? You can’t go to Cerberus headquarters.” Gesturing at the screen he scrambled for reasons. “They could have a virus or a kill switch... or.”
EDI cut him off, “I will be fine Jeff.”
“Head to the shuttle.” Johnny almost followed but stopped at Jane’s glare and a nod to Joker. They had initially joked about the two of them testing out new AI/organic relationships, but it was clear how distressed the pilot was. He needed his commanding officer’s and friend’s reassurance.
“Fifth fleets cut through their line. Now is a good time as any.” Joker said in a clipped voice.
Stepping closer Johnny looked down at him, “I know what your going through, not being able to go with her.”
Joker scoffed, “Yea, it sucks. Thanks for bringing that up.”
Jane flicked the pilot on the arm, earning a glare at her before he softened and called back to Johnny’s retreating back. “Hey Shepard, keep her safe.”
The corner of Jonny’s mouth lifted as he looked back glancing between Jane and Joker. “Same to you.”
More to herself, Jane hissed, “Men.” Looking a Joker she said, “He’ll do his best, and EDI can help them more than anyone else. She’ll be safe.”
Joker paused, “I know, but I can’t help her without breaking every bone.”
“I know exactly how you feel every time Garrus goes down without me. Until we found out about the pregnancy I always had his back. But we can still do things here to protect them. After all, EDI still is on the ship and needs it to function.”
Joker gave her a smile of thanks before taking the controls and flying into the chaos.
Of course, Shepard would use a damn ship as a battering ram. He wasn’t delicate by any means but Garrus to admit the human had style.
They were taking a breather while EDI worked on the next door. As good as Jane was, he doubted she could have hacked as quickly. EDI pointed to a panel. “The data hasn’t been scrubbed from that terminal. You may find the information interesting.”
“What is it?” Shepard asked, bringing it online.
“Information on Lazarus, the project that brought you back.”
There was a vid, a conversation between the Illusive Man and a scientist. It confirmed what they all knew but never thought about. Shepard had been truly dead. To the point where only the Illusive Man and Miranda thought they could bring him back.
Shepard sounded shaken “I had no idea it was so bad.”
Garrus grunted, “It was pretty stark. You ok?”
Shepard stood a little straighter, “I’m still me. I doubt I would have been able to turn against Cerberus otherwise. I don’t remember anything. Maybe they really just fixed me, or maybe I’m just a high tech VI that thinks its Commander Shepard. But I don’t know. I…”
Garrus stepped in, not liking where he was going with this. “It’d be surprising if that didn’t mess you up a little. But Jane would know if you weren’t you. Trust in her.”
They listened to the rest, mostly confirming the tactics Cerberus used to get Shepard invested and more willing to work with them. By the time they were done the door was clear.
They found more logs about EDI’s creation. Garrus was relieved she didn’t hold grudges or reacted to freedom the way Cerberus feared. And now he had a new appreciation for her loyalty to Shepard and the crew, and for her jokes.
The remaining logs were frightening. The Illusive Man had truly lost it, implanting his own people and himself with Reaper tech? Even with his conviction that they could remain in control, Garrus doubted it would end as well as the experiment with adding the tainted tech to EDI’s program.
At the end of the trail of destruction left by the ship, they found the path clear to the central lab. Entering the room they found an empty observation platform with a remarkable view of the sun. But only a large terminal was visible. When they started to access it, they received the call from the Illusive Man. Nothing new was given, and like all the other times he remained steadfast in his opinion of controlling the Reapers. He attempted to distract EDI, but ultimately failed. As they brought up the VI, he signed off.
Finding the Catalyst was the Citadel a shock. Garrus had assumed the Crucible was of Prothen design, not the work of many cycles, each adding their own piece, and destroyed before they could finish. He could only hope for the sake of his unborn children that this cycle would be different.
The conversation was cut short by Kai Leng, who finally made an appearance. This time was different, he wasn’t as well put together and seemed almost high on the feeling of fighting them. But Shepard kept them focused, but quick decisive orders. With a goal in sight, he was playing today, they had a job to do and a galaxy to save.
They left Kai Leng’s broken and bleeding body. Giving Shepard space at the terminal, searching for anything else that could help, Garrus and EDI searched the room for any more threats. They found nothing, but a sound of shuddering breath and scrap of metal drew his attention to the almost dead Kai Leng, currently limping toward Shepard.
Garrus almost raised his weapon but caught Shepard's sharp blue eyes lit with anger and almost missed the shake of his head. The Commander knew he was there, and for once had the upper hand against the assassin. Lowering his guard, Garrus watched with a sick sense of satisfaction.
Before the blade could come down, Shepard dodged to one side, and the blade impaled the terminal input. Twisting, he stood to bring out his own, almost red omni blade and used all his weight to impale it in the middle of Kai Leng, slicing through many organs and probably his spine.
“That was for Thane you bastard.” Shepard snarled quietly to him, letting the body fall to the floor.
The VI came up again, “The Citadel is in position. They are preparing to finish the harvest of your people.”
“I’ll stop them,” Shepard growled.
“It is too late. I recommend finding ways of conserving information for future species. Perhaps you will succeed where we failed.”
“You didn’t fail. You gave us a chance, and we’re not done yet.”
While they were on the station, Jane tested the Lifeboat. And after running a file comparison she proved that the copy was intact up to the point that EDI was before leaving on the mission. Quickly she sent a message to the Geth with instructions on how to turn one of their old deep space stations. Now that they didn’t work as a hive mind, the station was no longer of any use. Until now. With some changes, it could store most of their people, and a few changes to the shielding they could make it behave as a Faraday’s cage.
The only issue if anything were to happen, they would need outside help to open the new age mausoleum and redownload the programs. Jane left the specifics up to them but did suggest they tell at least one group of organics as a safety measure. Else it would be like the sleeping beauty fairytale, an entire race that was asleep until a passing prince awakened them.
They were grateful for the information and assured her all safety measures would be taken. Jane wanted to help more, but they were in a race against the clock. Earth could only hold out for so long alone. Johnny worked hard, calling all the armies he’d gathered, hoping they would keep their promises of aid. Now it was time to see who were their real friends.
Word came down the chain, to rest and prepare. They’d arrive in Sol by morning, and many were chomping at the bit and already ready to go. Not tired enough to sleep, but not being able to handle the heavy silence of the ship Jane retired to her room. She’d thought about going to Johnny, not having long to speak with him when he’d boarded, but she saw Liara go to his cabin and decided to let him have this night privately.
Johnny had mentioned they had something of a relationship on the first Normandy but hadn’t quite picked it up again. Jane hoped that would change, he needed something to hold on to so he’d at least try to survive. Sure he said he’d only need her and her new family, but more wouldn’t hurt.
It wasn’t long until Garrus came in, fresh from the showers. Seeing her already laying down, he stripped his clothing and got into bed with her. Pressing up behind her, he wrapped his long arms around her, pulling her close.
Jane still couldn’t believe all that had happened. Escaping slavery, their family lost on Omega, destroying the Collectors, their growing family… And possibility it could be all lost tomorrow.
Jane clutched hard at his hands, not needing to voice her worry or need of distraction. Now they just needed to feel each other, prove they were alive and still would be in the days to come. Pulling one hand to her breast, and the other lower, past their growing children, Garrus soon got the message and started gently stroking her skin and nipping at her neck.
They’d learned a while ago that the pregnancy had made certain actions too intense for her. Her breasts had become larger and more tender. She couldn’t withstand licks and nips from his mouth, but the pads of his fingers for feathery strokes of his talons were enough to put her on edge. It didn’t take much to get her panting and rubbing her bottom against his already loosening pelvic plates.
Lower, his hand was following the usual pattern of stroking around her bud and teasing her opening, spreading the wetness that was developing. At times Garrus attempted he loved putting Jane on the edge, it was almost too easy and she could remain there for a long time until he took pity or lost control.
But he could no longer take her as roughly as he used to. Instead, he got to explore gently sex, something unusual for turians, but something he again found he enjoyed. Jane especially loved times like this. While he was behind her, she was complete in his control. It felt safe, to be completely wrapped up by an apex predator who was also gentle.
Tonight, though, he didn’t have the usual patience. Once he felt Jane was prepared enough, Garrus lifted her top leg and place his leg between hers to give him space. Slowly his cock had fully extended and she gasped at the growl at her throat and he rubbed against her dripping core. He maintained the motion for a moment before moving his finger pads to her clit and changed the angle to enter her.
Upon sheathing himself in her, both Jane and Garrus groaned and waited a moment, enjoying the stretch. In this position, he wasn’t fully able to enter her or knot, but it kept him from going to deep. Once their shallow breaths were under control, he began to move again slowly.
Jane could only lay in his grasp and shift her hips slightly to encourage him to go faster.
Again Garrus tightened his grip on her body, “No Jane, just enjoy this.” And Jane gave up what little control she had.
It was slow, sweet, and almost too intense. Jane was teetering on the edge, brought there by gentle touches and thrusts, which also kept her there but didn’t push her over. Finally, Garrus bit down on the mark he’d given her almost a year ago, reopening it but not as deeply as then. Combined with a hard pressure on her clit, she fell over the edge and her body clenched hard around his cock. Gripping him as tightly as he was holding her. After a few more pumps, she felt his hot release inside, triggering a smaller aftershock.
For a while they didn’t move, only basked in the glow, relaxed as they could be considering. Garrus released the bite, licking it gently before receding back into his plates. He loosened her arms enough to let to turn and bury her face his cowl. She took a moment to kiss his bond mark.
They had a lot to say to each other considering the uncertainty morning would bring. Jane knew that Garrus would go with Johnny and the armies. Face what was most likely to be death. There was a chance she could convince him not to, but they needed everyone they could have. Part of her felt horrible for not being able to stand with him, but what use would she be down there.
Instead, they kept their thoughts to themselves and focused on the feel of skin against plates. Memorizing it, just in case.
Thanks to everyone for sticking with me this far, it's nice to be out of the writer's block stage (for now). One reason I like to have most of a story done before posting. We are getting closer to the finale, hopefully, I won't keep you on the edge of your seats for too long. Have a good holiday!
I seriously considered splitting this chapter up because of the length... But decided it might be too mean. Hope you enjoy and thank you for reading and the support!
Jane woke much earlier than normal but was pleased to see Garrus was still asleep. Looking at the clock there was still a good amount of time before they would hit the Sol system, and everyone who would be fighting needed as much rest as possible. Who knew how long the battle would last?
She didn’t even know when the next time she could lie in his arms like this, but one of the twins had decided her bladder was a good bed, and the call of nature was too strong to ignore. She could only be thankful she no longer had morning sickness.
Drying her hands, Jane was prepared to turn back to her room when she found her brother leaning in the hall, staring at the memorial board one of the crew had installed. It may have been a little morbid, but it was a reminder of what they had sacrificed so far. Those who added to it did their research. Even the first to die at the beginning of this was on there, Jenkins, a young soldier Johnny had mentioned.
“Can’t sleep?” She asked quietly.
Johnny sighed and nodded, “You?”
“One of the joys of pregnancy many women gloss over. We have the bladder the size of a pea.”
Johnny chuckled but eyes remained on the board. “I always wondered why Nyhlus wasn’t included on this.”
“The Spectre?” Jane’s brow furrowed. She hadn’t noticed, taking comfort that so few of the SR-2’s crew had been listed. “I guess because he wasn’t technically a member of the crew.”
“We’d run out of room if we included everyone who’d died so far. If we are speaking technically, my name should be on there.”
Jane moved to stand in front of him, barely reaching his chin and glared, “They probably don’t think a self-fulling prophecy would be good for morale. Not that it will come true.”
Johnny frowned down at her, “Its war Jane. We could all die in this battle. You shouldn’t even remain on ship, but the Normandy can’t afford to not join the armada.”
“And if we fail we’ll be as good as dead anyway. I won’t let you waste time dropping me off on some deserted planet only to wait for the Reapers to come.” As much as she hated putting the children at risk, it was true. She lived as a slave, she wouldn’t want them to have a short life of being hunted.
Pushing off the wall, Jane saw Johnny’s hands clenched in anger. “Unfortunately, you’re right. We don’t have time.”
“Just focus on getting the Catalyst, Johnny. Then you come back.” Jane hoped if she’d said it enough it would be true, right?
“I plan on stopping the Reapers’ harvest, and making sure our family gets out of it.”
Jane ignored the fact he meant Garrus and her, leaving his possible demise heavy in the air.
“I imagine you didn’t get much rest. You should get back to her.” Jane didn’t have to mention Liara’s name for her brother to understand.
Almost shyly, he rubbed the back of his neck. “So you saw that?”
Jane nodded, “I’m happy you have someone. I just wish you had taken more time to be with her. Liara is a good woman.”
Johnny smiled, “She is. She was so awkward when I first met her. First few attempts at flirting were failures.”
Jane slapped his shoulder, “Get back to her and rest then. Or whatever. But standing here isn’t helping.”
Johnny half turned back to the lift. “I only meant to check in with the CIC, I’m normally too wound up after a nightmare.”
“Another?” Jane asked, thinking back to the disturbing dream he'd briefly explained before.
“Yea, same woods from Mindoir, but some of them were there.” Johnny glanced back at the board. “Guess I’m having a hard time processing what I saw on Earth, and not sure how much worse it is now.”
Jane grimace but understood. A battle zone with just soldiers was one thing that was difficult enough. But throwing in civilians and probably children would be extremely hard for the boy she knew on Mindior. He loved children, it was cruel he hadn’t been able to have that big family he first dreamed of.
“Well, try and rest, you’ll need it.”
Johnny turned back and hugged her tightly, “You too Janey. Love you.”
“I love you too, you big dope. Now go.” Jane muttered but didn’t let go at first.
Sparring the wall another glance, Jane turned as well and returned to Garrus.
The cargo bay was bustling with activity. As expected the Normandy and all it’s gather forces had converged on the Sol system, to find the Reapers pulled in tightly, guarding the Citadel which remained closed, hanging above the Earth. Garrus felt like he’d been punched in the gut, seeing images come in of another world being pulverized by the enemy forces. It was just as bad if not worse than Palaven.
Even though the Citadel was in space, they would be attempting to get to a single mass relay that was on the surface. No one was exactly sure why the Reapers had set it up, but it was the best way to get to the Citadel. To be honest, it was too similar to Ilos for Garrus’ comfort.
Garrus was fully geared and waiting for the order to board one of the shuttles, but he took a moment to drag Jane into a quieter space between the crates. They had said a sort of farewell last night, as this was different than previous missions. He couldn’t stand the wide-eyed fear she now wore. One hand on the small her back and another caressing their children he pulled her close, pressing their foreheads together. Taking a moment to take it all in. All they had survived, all they had created, and he said, “I trust you’ll have a Blue Palaven waiting for me, Red.”
Whatever Jane had expected him to say, it hadn’t been that. She froze for a moment in shock before laughing hard enough to tear up. “Of course Big Guy, only the best for my favorite customer.”
Garrus chuckled and gave her a kiss. “Don’t worry. We have every fighting force in the Galaxy out there. We’ll deal with the Reapers and be back in no time.”
“Good. Just come back in one piece.” She said softly, resting her head on his cowl.
“Of course, and I’ll drag Shepard back as well,” Garrus promised.
They separated when the call rang out to load up. Giving her another kiss, Garrus pulled away and felt the weight of each step as he got on board with the Commander.
Jane made her way to the war room, happy there was one familiar face amid all the flurry of activity. Tali had opted to stay on board, stating she would have better access to the fleet under her command from here than from surface. The mobile war room would be better equipped to contact the other ships than any on the surface when communications were limited or disrupted.
The quarian glanced at Jane as she finished giving formation orders. Muting the comm she said. “We’re in place, and the marines have landed at the gathering point.”
Jane looked at Tali sharply, “Kal’Reegar?”
Tali nodded and went back to barking commands. Jane took a breath, ignoring the spasm of worry, they all had a personal stake in this it seemed. While their relationship was still forming, Jane learned from a drunken Tali just how close she’d close come to the sole surviving marine. Losing him would be like Jane losing Garrus.
Making sure to stay out of the way, Jane watched as they prepared and waited.
The surface was as bad as Garrus feared. He gave last minute directions and support to the troops there. There was a marked improvement in everyone's mood, no matter species, as the crew of the Normandy mingled about. When Shepard entered the ruined building, all the noise dropped as he approached Garrus.
For the sanity of the turian soldiers, Garrus kept up a relaxed and cocky stance. If their leader was calm and confident, they would feel the same. Garrus tensed up with Shepard, losing some of his self-assurance.
“Shepard. So I guess this is…”
Shepard smiled, “Just like old times?”
Garrus’ train of thought stalled, not expecting his brother-in-law to be using the same tactic he had been. “Huh. I guess. Might be the last time we get to say that.”
A fire lit in Shepard’s eyes, “Think we’re going to lose?”
“No, I think we are going to kick the Reapers back to whatever black hole they crawled out of. Then we are going to retire to somewhere tropical and live off the royalties from the vids.”
Shepard smirked and leaned back, still looking relaxed. “I’ll meet you there. After this, I think my days of saving the galaxy are over when this is done.”
“Be sure to leave room for all the autographs.”
Shepard chuckled, “Just need to beat the Reapers to get there.”
Looking away, Garrus was reminded of something he had heard. “James told me there is an old saying here on Earth. ‘May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.’ Not sure if turian heaven is the same as yours, but if this thing goes sideways and we both end up there… Meet me at the bar.” It hurt to think about, Jane was so adamant they’d all live, but soldiers knew differently. And sometimes it was better to accept it. “I’m buying.”
“Shepard and Vakarian, storming heaven… I guess there are worse ways this could end.”
“But maybe some other day.” While Garrus could accept death, he wasn’t ready for it to be the only option. Not when Jane and his children waited for him. “Shepard, forgive the insubordination, but your old friend has an order for you… Go out there and give them hell. You were born to do this.”
“You know we are brothers. You could use my name.” Shepard… John thumped a fist on Garrus’ shoulder. “Goodbye Garrus. And if I’m up in that bar and you’re not. I’ll be looking down, I always have your back.”
Garrus nodded, hoping he wouldn’t have to tell Jane any of this. Shepard nodded to the troops around before moving farther into the makeshift camp.
Jane winced as the ship switched direction again, the sudden movement more painful than expected. The tension had finally broke, the attacks on multiple fronts underway. Most of those in space or some on the ground were to draw forces away, to give the ground teams a more clear path to the Mass Relay point.
Gritting through the pain, Jane focused on the comms, trying to stick with the reports coming from Johnny’s group. Fearing at the number and variety of ground forces they were facing. Everyone was holding their breath, waiting to hear if even one of the ground teams made it to the mass relay.
At on particularly sharp turn Jane stumbled only to have Tali catch her arm. Once the battle started, Tali didn’t have as many updates to give, since the captains of the ship knew what they were doing. Instead, she’d stationed herself near Jane giving her silent mental and physical support.
Smiling at the masked face, Jane felt a small pop, like her hip joint cracking, and the flow of warm fluid.
For a moment, Jane was mortified. It wouldn’t be the first time she had wet herself a little, not uncommon in later pregnancies. But the following pain not caused by any movement made it clear something else was happening.
Jane felt the blood drain from her face and stared at Tali in shock.
“What’s the matter? Do you need to sit? Water?” Tali asked, voice rising in pitch as she noticed the change in Jane.
“My water… just broke. I’m going to labor.” Jane gasped in a small voice.
For a moment Tali did nothing, processing what she had said. “Keelah se'lai…” she whispered.
As the quarian turned to the rest of the room, Jane had a moment of clarity and gripped the other female’s arm painfully. “Don’t… They can’t be distracted. Just help me to the med bay.”
Tali looked around for a moment, but at the sound of another pained intake of breath, she nodded and moved them through the door. Luckily the guards on duty were more focused on their screens to be there usual gossiping selves. It was almost funny how easy they were able to move through the war room and CIC without anyone noticing what was happening.
The hiss to the Med Bay was the sweetest music Jane had heard. Tali called out, “Doctor, we have a problem.”
Chakwas was pressing medigel to a crew man’s head wound, probably from a fall during the battle. It didn’t take the doctor long to figure out what they were there for.
Briskly, she turned back to the injured crewman. “Alright you, you should be fine. No more running with Joker at the helm, and come back if you feel nauseous.” Once he left, the doctor took Jane’s other side. Once at the bed, they stripped Jane of the now ruined pants, “Help her to the bed. How long?”
Jane was focused on her breathing, “Small cramps since they left. Water just broke…”
“Well, these two will be true Sons of a gun, won’t they? Tali, can you stay to help? I sent the other attendees to help with the wounded.” Chakwas was already running around the room, collecting her tools.
“Of course,” Tali said, still holding Jane’s hand. Even in a suite, the familiarity of three fingers was a comfort.
Chakwas made herself busy between Jane legs, and she really didn’t notice or care. Not moving almost made the pain worse.
“Sorry Jane, but you are too far along to give you any sort of pain blockers. These little ones want to come now.”
Focusing on her breathing and nodded.
Chakwas stilled and asked quietly. “Are we still radio silent on this?”
“Yes, they are doing what they need to down there.” Jane gritted out.
Garrus groaned in pain. Why was it always a damn Mako? Shepard wasn’t even driving the one that was thrown at them. From the pain in his side and the smell of burn dextro meat, he knew his armor was smoldering from the impact.
He let out a grunt as Shepard pulled him up behind the burning wreckage, the only usable cover. Hopefully, there was still some mercy and those inside were already dead.
“Normandy, do you copy? We need an evac. Now!” Shepard called, somehow not injured.
There was a crackle of static admidst the roar of the Reaper cannons, but Jokers voice came through, “We’re taking heavy losses up here, Commander.” The sound of engines came in range as the ship approached, “On our way, Commander.”
As the ship started down, cargo bay already open, Shepard slung an arm around Garrus’ waist and heaved him back on his feet. Shouting to him and James, Shepard yelled, “Come on.”
Soldiers came out on the ramp, laying covering fire, and Shepard handed Garrus off to James, “Here, take him.”
Using his weight to prevent the pull of the marine, Garrus turned back, “Shepard…”
“You gotta get out of here.” He said simple, stepping off the ramp.
“And you’ve got to be kidding me. Jane..”
But Garrus was cut off, “Don’t argue Garrus, she has you now.”
Pulling against James again, Garrus bit out, breath short. “We’re in this until the end.”
Shepard stepped toward him, “Whatever happens here, she knows I love her. And your children will have a father. Look after them.”
Garrus could only reply in a whisper, not sure if he could be heard over the shots and artillery, “John… I will.”
With that causal lopsided smirk, the Commander stepped away and Garrus allowed James to help him up the already closing ramp, the ship speeding off before it closed on his friend.
It was a blur of activity and pain as they made their way into the cargo bay. Trying to give updates to those who were nervously waiting.
James gripped Garrus tighter, “Come on, Scars, let's get you to the med bay.”
“No, I need to see Jane.” Garrus pushed the pain away. Shepard's solo approach shouldn’t be kept from her.
EDI’s calm voice came over the comms. “Garrus, you should go to the med bay.”
Surprisingly he was cut off by a harried-sounding Joker. “Cop with the stick up his ass, you should really listen to her.”
Weakening in his determination and physically, Garrus nodded, entering the elevator. On the crew deck, they found wounded waiting in the kitchen area, and the window and door the med bay shut.
Entering the med bay, Garrus felt his stomach drop again as the smell of blood fled his nose again. This time it was Jane’s.
Finding the strength to move, he pushed away from James, and half limped, half ran to the med bed that held Jane. Tali looked up in surprise and worry, but stepped away, allowing him to take Jane’s hand.
She had clearly gone into labor during the battle. That plus Shepards forced evac left him reeling. “Jane.”
She looked up at him, her lips a perfect O as she breathed heavily and eyes slightly unfocused and glassy. “Garrus… You’re on fire?”
Garrus wasn’t sure to laugh or not but held her hand tighter. Chakwas was there, doing her job at the bottom of the bed. “Damn it, someone get that armor off and put him out.”
Garrus didn’t move to help as Tali and James followed Chakwas’ orders, slapping medigel on the singed undersuit. “Why didn’t you tell us?” He asked Jane.
“You… needed… to focus,” Jane coughed out, skin sweaty and pink from the excursion.
“Jane, honey, I need you to focus and push when you feel the next contraction.” The doctor sent Garrus a disapproving look, “And you, shut up and keep holding her hand.”
Not sure why it was important, Garrus quickly removed his gloves, wanting to feel her skin and comfortingly combed his other hand through her hair.
Jane puffed her breath, then seemed to contract every muscle in her body as she pushed. Garrus almost wished he left the glove on.
“Spirits.” He had no idea she had some much strength in one hand as it clamped around his fingers, making him groan as the bones creaked dangerously.
When it passed there was a triumphant yell from the doctor. “Good, Jane. That was the head. Just two more pushes for the shoulders and hips and one will be out."
Garrus held his breath, the pain of her grip distracting him from his other wounds. With the final push, Chakwas took the small wet bundle and handed it to Tali. The quarian took it away and began cleaning it. Soon the small piercing cries of a baby wrang out and Garrus felt a rush of pure joy.
Purring he nuzzled his face into Jane’s hair. “You did it, Jane.”
“Not quite”, Chakwas said, still focused between Jane’s legs. “This little one is pointed the wrong way. We can still deliver them without surgery, but you are going to have to push harder. But only when I say.”
Jane’s head fell back and closed her eyes. “Fucking Vakarians… Such a pain in the ass.” Nodding, she prepared herself.
Then someone piped the comm into the med bay. Admiral Hackett's rough voice called out, “This is it, everyone. The arms are opening. Ten seconds to contact.” Everything grew quiet besides Janes breathing and a single babies chrips and cries. “That’s it. The Crucible is docked.”
They waited for more, either through the comm or some sign it fired. Jane gasped out, “Nothings happening…”
Chakwas sharp blue eyes focused on his mate, “Jane, I need you to focus, alright… And push!”
Garrus barely had time to prepare for the hand crushing again. No matter how much Jane squeeze, he never got used to it. Agonizingly, Jane managed the delivery, expletives filling the room and making a stunned James blush.
“Good job, just a little more Jane,” Chakwas called.
Hackett's voice came out again, “All fleets. The Crucible is armed. Disengage and head to the rendezvous point.”
Jane turned her red-rimmed eyes to Garrus, “But where’s Johnny?”
Garrus heart seized for a second, not sure what to say. He was spared it for a moment by Chakwas. “Jane, give me a big push.”
Again her body clinched, almost breaking his hand. At least with this, he could comfort her, even if it meant pain for him.
As Jane cooled down again, there was a subtle shift in the near silent engines, signaling FTL being used outside of stealth mode. Letting go of her hair, Garrus gripped the bed to remain standing. Even for a regular pilot, the jump was hurried and not up to Joker’s usual finesse.
“One last push Jane,” worry finally creeping into the calm doctor's voice.
With an enormous growling cry Jane pushed, and finally, Garrus did feel something crack just as the doctor turned, removing another little, wet bundle.
Both ignoring the pain, the two watched her back and waited, Garrus focused on standing and keeping Jane stable on the bed as the ship swayed about them. After an agonizing moment, there was another, just as loud cry and they released a breath they’d both been holding.
Jane leaned toward Garrus, panting put slightly but more relaxed as if her body knew it was done for now. Opening her green eyes she looked around the room again. “Johnny?’
And the goodbye on the surface came back. He had to hope, for Jane’s sake, John was safe… But he couldn’t lie to her. “We got injured and he sent us back. He continued the push.”
Jane closed her eyes, “Did he make it?”
“I can only imagine it was him that opened the arms,” Garrus whispered, wondering just how safe the Citadel would be after the Crucible fired..
The train of thought was cut short as Chakwas and Tali came over with two bundles wrapped in blankets. With a smile, they were placed on Jane’s chest. “Two perfectly healthy babies. A boy and a girl. I’ll need to keep an eye on all of you, for now, to be safe.” She started cleaning up Jane, giving them some time to process.
Garrus looked into the blankets, they held two turian looking fledglings. Their cries quieting as they heard his vocals and looked into their parents' faces with one blue set of eyes and one green.
Chakwas was already pulling Garrus away, “Come on Papa, let's get you wounds looked…”
But she was cut off by panicked sounding Joker. “The relay just blew. Everyone hold on!”
And that was all the warning Garrus got to wrap his family up in his arms before the ship was hit by something, and with wild sparks and pops, the room went dark.
Garrus held onto the bed as hard as he could, ignoring the screaming pain of his hand. As all the equipment around them were being thrown, he focused on keeping Jane and the babies safe. He heard Chakwas and Tali cry out, and could only hope they were safe.
It seemed unending until with a final large bang the came to a halt. The room was filled with groans and the cries of the children. When the emergency lighting kicked on, Garrus lifted his head and found Jane safe, holding the babies tightly to her chest. Letting out a sigh of relief he looked around to find Tali already helping Chakwas up.
Chakwas nodded, and limped back over to the bed to check her patients, Tali fiddled with her suit, “I broke a seal, but antibiotics are already being pumped in.”
Garrus nodded and turned to the doctor. “Can you make sure they are fine?” He asked stroking his mate’s hair. “I need to figure out what happened.”
“Of course, but you still need better bandaging. Send the wounded and don’t be far behind.”
Garrus gave his assurance and limped out. Throughout the Crew deck, he found others injured, or pulling out flashlights to begin checking the ship. The elevator was down as well, and while his side was still in pain and his hand was at least fractured, he managed to use the access ladders to get to the CIC.
Up a level wasn’t much better, all systems were down and everyone was nursing some sort of injury. He nodded for Taylor to follow him and went up to the cockpit. There he found a panicked Joker, awkwardly leaning over EDI’s mobile platform that was slumped in her seat and not functioning.
“EDI, come one baby…” Joker pleaded quietly.
“Joker…” Garrus gently grabbed the man’s shoulder, “Joker. What’s happened.”
Looking around at all the dead screens, “I don’t know man… I was trying to pinpoint the Commander when the order was given to fall back. EDI forced me to leave… We were making mass relay jumps like crazy. She started to fucking countdown, mentioned emergency landing. The last thing I knew we just got to the Kepler Verge and she forced the ship on a heading then everything went dead, I barely had enough power to make a crash landing.”
Garrus tried to keep up with his quick recount. Whatever the weapon was, it didn’t discriminate against the Reapers. “Right. Do you know which planet?”
“Ontarom I think? She mentioned one with an oxygen atmosphere.”
Damn, not the meeting point they had planned. Garrus wonders how many other ships were taken out, it any landed here or if they made it all the way through.
“Alright, let's open the airlock.”
It took time, like all the other doors there was no power, and they had to use the manual override. Stepping out, they found a lush green planet, the sun about to set. They were all silent as they looked around, Joker and Taylor turned to him, not sure of what to do next.
Looking over the ship, Garrus was relieved to see while scratched and dented, it was intact. Sighing in relief he started going through a mental checklist. He hoped the battle was won, but they had to be ready. “Taylor, get to the rest of the ship, get some sort of communication up. If they can patch themselves up, do it and start making reports of damages, those too hurt go to the mess for triage.” She was already writing it down on a pad of paper she managed to find. “I want those reports in an hour. Joker, if you don’t have to see the Doctor, see what you can pull from the computer. We’ll get people work on EDI, we still have the Lifeboat if it’s bad.”
Both nodded, seeming determined now they had something to focus on. Returning to the ship, Garrus allowed himself to be pulled by his instincts, back to his family.
Chakwas had finished looking after Jane, giving her and the children leave to return to their room. From the rudimentary tests and knowledge of the scans before, they decided the children would be found with a smooth type mixture made from their mother’s milk and dextro protein. Fully turian young were developed enough to eat a type of mush, but human children normally had a liquid diet. While their digestive systems seemed to favor turian, Chakwas said there would be benefits from the nurturant Jane could supply. The idea would have seemed odd to Garrus years ago, but he’d learned to roll with human ways awhile ago, and he was too tired to care.
Garrus tucked both sleeping fledglings in his cowl and helped move Jane to the room for bed rest. She laid down with a pillow, propping herself up and held out her arms for their children. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he handed them over and took in the sight.
They were small enough for one to fit in one of his large hands, not unusual for turians, but they weighed almost twice as much. The doctor confirmed, this was because their bones were not full of almost empty lung tissue, but a denser marrow. Looking at their deep chests, Garrus could understand that their lungs were larger and took after their mother.
Other than that and the external soft plates he found they looked to be like almost any other turian child. The girl was born first and had his eyes but lighter plates and a redder hue to the hide between, whereas the boy looked just like Garrus himself but with the same shade of green eyes Jane had.
Garrus smiled and let out a purr, it was clear by the babies snuggling they had already imprinted on Jane and himself. Jane commented how attentive they were watching while in the med bay, surprised to learn that turian eyesight was fully developed at birth to help with imprinting.
His purr was answered by a chorus of sleepy chirps, and Jane smiled softly at him. But it soon fell, “So, what’s the sitrep? Do we know where Johnny is?”
Garrus tried not to wince. He didn’t want to ruin this moment. “We got reports he made it to the Citadel, and something activated the Crucible, but it took out the EDI’s and ship’s systems while we were attempting to follow Hackett’s order to fall back. The crew is working on it and she managed to get us to a hospitable planet for now. I’m not sure about John though.”
Jane took an uneven breath to steady herself and held their children tighter. “Right, well… Gabby and Ken can handle the engine. Tali and I can start work with EDI.”
Garrus reached out and brushed her check while slipping his fingers through her hair, “Jane, please take time to rest. Time to meet the twins.” Jane pressed into his touch, nodding and smiling. “Chakwas was asking about names for the paperwork…”
Jane sighed, knowing his worries. Turian tradition was to wait for the gathering of the family, to pick the names together. But stranded on a planet, far from the only family they both had left, not sure if they would see them again. Would the possible pain be worth it?
Garrus unfocused his eyes thinking, when Jane gently grabbed his chin, forcing him to look at her. “We’ll wait,” she said in a firm tone. She released his chin to take his hand, feeling the heavy bandage and winced, “Sorry again about that.”
Garrus couldn’t stop the rumbling laugh, “Between the hormones and the pain, I am amazed human males ever survived.”
“Chocolate Garrus. Lots and lots of chocolate.”
Jane knew Garrus was worried about her and felt guilty since he had so much more to worry about, becoming the Normandy’s new leader. But it was just so easy to fall into her quiet surly ways again. It was almost as bad as when she was on Omega, at least now she broke the habit of not using furniture.
But now she found herself with almost as bad of a habit. When she wasn’t holed up in her room with the twins, watching their every movement, she was crawling around EDI’s control room making repairs to the brunt out systems with the infants tucked into her fabric version of a cowl. The crew adored the babies, always offering to babysit to give the parents a break, but Jane couldn’t let them out of her sight. They were such an impossibility, she was afraid if she wasn’t watching they would disappear as if a dream. They were the hope for rebuilding the galaxy.
While they didn’t have names, James already nicknamed them. He understood their wish to wait but said they would get nicknames anyway, so Baby Girl and Little Guy were added as the newest members of the Normandy. It felt good to not be adding names to the memorial for once.
Repairs were going well, but they were still ground side. Food would be an issue, but on cut rations, they would be able to last for a couple extra months, and there was nearby water source so thirst wasn’t a problem. The Lifeboat status lights appeared to be functioning, but Jane had to recreate basic operating systems for EDI’s control center and rebuild the hardware. It was turning into a duct tape Frankenstein, but seemed to be moving forward.
Jane found herself wedged between stakes when she heard a gentle tap.
“-ust a minua,” she mumbled around the screwdriver in her mouth, the only way she could hold it while attaching a drive sata cord.
Shimming out she found Garrus arms and legs crossed, leaning on one of the server stacks. “I am happy to say it’s finally our rotation for two days off.” Early on Garrus insisted incorporating minimum breaks for the crew, knowing that while getting back was important, they couldn’t afford to burn themselves out and make any mistakes.
Jane frowned, they were so close to an engine test, “I don’t know Garrus, we might as well get this done.” She gestured to the ship as a whole.
He shook his head, “Nope, we are taking a break, and Tali has threatened me with keeping the niece and nephew from her. We’ll are going to take a break from all of this a get a full night’s sleep.”
Jane knew he loved their children unconditional, but babies only slept, ate, cried, and pooped. And never at the most convenient of hours.
Reaching up to grasp the small hands that clutched at her scarf, she shook her head. “We can’t take a break from being parents Garrus.”
Stand up Garrus wrapped her up in his arms, pressing his forehead to hers, “Yes we can, it called getting a babysitter and the whole ship has been jumping at the chance to do it. Besides, a night camping won’t make them very happy.”
“Yes, camping. We need off this ship Jane, when we get back the scheduled work crews will have completed their tasks.”
Jane sighed, fully going limp in his arms. “You’re not going to take no for an answer are you?”
Garrus tilted his head a little, not even bothering to answer.
“Fine, just a damn shame I can’t take a break from the stupid breast pump,” Jane muttered, getting no sympathy from a giggling turian. While the children needed their mother's milk, there was no way Jane would risk the traditional way with their teeth. Just another cross-species issue.
Garrus was finally able to drag Jane from the ship, much to Tali’s relief. His mate had spent the last hour giving her instructions over and over with how to take care of the twins. But at least they were off the ship and could relax a little. Their normal methods were still off the table, with Jane still recovering from childbirth sparring and more intimate play were off the table.
Shouldering his pack, Garrus lead her away from the makeshift camp around the ship. Luckily this world was still in an early stage of evolution, with no large predators or other harmful factors. Garrus had done his research and after talking with the scouts he found out about a small clearing with a lake that would be perfect. He left them with clear instructions that no one was to come near the area. Even though sex was off the table, Garrus wasn’t going to mind if Jane wanted to take a skinny dip in the water.
By the time they reached the clearing Jane’s worries had calmed dramatically, and she was able to relax in the lush forest. Forgoing a tent because of the mild weather, setting up their bed and camp was quick work. And Garrus got his wish. Not an hour there and Jane was strutting toward the water, leaving a trail of clothes.
Garrus sat back a moment and watched her. She was still more curvy from the pregnancy, not a bad thing he found, and he almost missed the swell of her belly but still enjoyed the view. He let his eyes trace her curves and the bold lines of her tattoo around her tapered waist.
With a very distracting run, Jane bolted across that last few meters and jumped into the deeper part of the water. Primal fear flared for a moment before she resurfaced, and he watched in fascination as she swam about.
Her movements in the water wear so gracefully, Garrus forgot about his plates which had begun loosening. Humans were remarkable creatures. Jane was floating on her back and called out. “Are you gonna join Big Guy?”
Garrus chuckled and approached the water, watching her intently. “I agree, baths are marvelous inventions, but swimming is still something turians cannot do.”
Splashing water toward him, Jane tutted, “Yea, yea… Bouts of drowning. But you can still soak.”
Shrugging off his clothes, Garrus wadded out. “Not as nice without hot water, but it’s alright.” To be honest, it was cold, but if it meant he got to be near her, he could deal with it. Besides, the temperature helped get is instincts under control.
Garrus found a shelf to sit on and continued to watch her splash about. When she got bored, Jane came to him, and crawled into his lap. He was happy to find that while normally cooler, she was able to retain her heat better than him. Garrus pulled her close, hoping to steal some of it for himself for once.
“Thank you Garrus. You were right.” She sighed happily.
Garrus stroked at the sensitive side of her ribs with his talons, earning a hiss of pleasure. “Sorry, but did you just say I was right.”
“Oh shut up.”
“Of course, Red.”
They lounged the rest of the time, enjoying the warmth of the sun, and then spent the night wrapped in each other's arms watching the stationary stars.
Getting back to the ship, Garrus was pleased to find an excited flurry, the engine test was successful and soon they would be able to get back to where they were needed.
There was on panicked Joker that met them.
“Jane, it's EDI.”
Garrus saw the blood drain from her face, “What happened?”
“The Lifeboat status light is flashing…”
Jane ran past him, heading for the control room, Joker struggling to keep up.
The simple black box that supposedly held their friend was still there, but the green status like was now flashing. Jane watched intently for a bit, before laughing. Looking up at the bewildered males, she smiled, “EDI is fine. She’s awake, she found a way to communicate.”
“With just a light?” Joker asked skeptically.
“It’s flashing prime numbers. That’s no mistake and almost impossible for it to be an accident.” Jane smile, moving from the room, “Let me check on the kids. I’m not done with the repairs, but I’ll get them started again.”
Joker and Garrus sighed in unison. “Thank god, she’s safe,” Joker said quietly sitting in a chair.
Garrus and other had suspected how attached he’d become to the AI, and couldn’t be more pleased to see something going right. Maybe picking up the pieces wouldn’t be so bad after all.
In case anyone is wondering, I am writing this as if they have been stuck planetside for 4-6 weeks. It takes a hell of a long time finding all the issues, let alone fixing them to be able to make a ship worth enough to leave the atmosphere.
Garrus was pleased with the progress the Normandy had made. And the single night away had given Jane the chance to clear her head and figure out the final issues of EDI’s systems. It proved anyone needed a break when stuck on a problem.
The systems came up slowly but everyone, Joker most of all, sagged in relief as EDI’s voice filtered through the ship. Unfortunately, her mobile unit was out of commission but she had enough control of the ships system to give the organics a break and make take off easier. Garrus left it up to Joker to fill her in on the battle data and current situation that her backed up self would not have knowledge of. At least EDI was able to fill in gaps with possible hypothesis as to what exactly happened.
Once leaving the planet they were able to set up some old method of communications and reached other vessels, that had made it to the meeting point. Those ships had made contact with Earth.
Garrus was in contact with a turian general, and the damage seemed insurmountable. Ships limping, those that made it, relays damaged, lifeless Reapers and their armies of horrors littering almost every homeworld and large colonies. But they would find a way.
Jane came into the room, green eyes aflame, gasping. The twins had been woken roughly and began to cry, twisting in her scarf. “Have they heard about Johnny?”
Garrus glanced at the general, he had just finished explaining the ruined state of the Citadel, and he dreaded what the other turian would add to the report.
The general glance around, uneasy. “I… I’m sorry ma’am. But reports are saying they haven’t found his body… But his last location on the Citadel was destroyed as it crashed to earth. Chances are not good.”
All light and hope left her eyes, and she sagged heavily, Garrus was barely able to catch her, as her knees gave out. It was always a strong possibility, but she clung to hope. Now it was all she could do to cling to the upset twins as Garrus’ subvocals cried out with the generals at seeing her break down.
“Thank you general. Our engines are functional and depending on the state of the Relay we’ll try to head to Earth. Send word, we hope to be there in a week, maybe more.”
“Of course sir, safe travels.” and the general cut the link giving them privacy.
Reaching down, Garrus lifted Jane’s exhausted body and took her to the safety of their room. There he sat on the bed, holding her as she held onto the twins and cried. It was so much like when held her after learning her identity and relationship to his best friend. Slowly he rocked her, still holding them as they fell asleep.
There was to be a public memorial for John and the others on Earth, and they decided to wait for the Normandy to limp back. It was only right for all the surviving crew to be present. But Garrus felt like the crew needed a moment to mourn their commander in private, to show their real emotions before facing the public.
When he found himself in the middle of the crew, holding to the simple name, Garrus wasn’t sure what to say. John had given them so much to believe in, would him being gone mean all his ideals would disappear too?
The moment was broken as the door to his room opened, and Jane stepped out. Garrus wasn’t sure she’d join. She had retreated into herself after learning the news. Staying locked up in their room, sitting on the floor unless he was there to put her in bed. Taking care of the twins but not saying a word.
Now she stood with the others, face frozen into an expressionless emotion. But her eyes burned with grief and love for her family. Nodding he tightened his grip on the strip of metal and placed it on the memorial wall with all the others. Turning he found a wide range of emotions. Tali trembling, Taylor trying not to cry, Joker showing his frailness for once, Vega standing stiffly in the back. No one was unaffected by it, but Garrus was sure they would take up John’s flag of unity. They would remain strong.
Looking at the memorial, Garrus read all the names silently, remember every one of them from the SR1 and others lost in the war. Finally, he stopped at Commander Shepard. It was hard to believe the self-assured human, and all he’d done. There was no way he’d ever truly leave the Normandy or its people. At least now he could rest knowing everyone he loved was safe.
Garrus was beyond pleased to see Jane out of their room, she had been more active since their little memorial. And this would be a joyful moment, the naming of their children with Sol and his father present through a comm call.
Stepping into the comm room they were greeted by the holo of his remaining family.
“Garrus, Jane. It’s good to see you safe.” His father smiled through the link.
Jane gave a small smile, it spoke of how happy she was given the past week.
Sol was almost bouncing up and down in excitement. “Yes, but please, can we see my niece and nephew?!”
Garrus chuckled and held up the sleepy boy into view, and Jane held up his wide-eyed daughter, taking in the first look at turians besides Garrus.
Sol almost reached out to touch them, forgetting they were only holos.
“They are surprisingly turian in looks” His father commented, still smiling. “And strong and healthy. Congratulations. I hope their birth wasn’t too strenuous.”
Sol nodded in agreement, “How old are they?”
Jane answered, “Seven weeks. They were born during the retreat from the battle.”
“Well, they do not lack dramatic timing,” Garrus’ father chuckled. “So, what were you considering for names?”
Garrus was thrilled they had been able to perform this part of turian tradition, it made it clear he still had some family. “Well, humans have two given names. So we need four.” The pair nodded and he continued, “We were thinking of Tarquin John for the boy.” John was obvious, but many now knew of the Primarch son’s sacrifice and it seemed fitting he would carry both names.
His father nodded, “Good names to live up to. ANd my granddaughter?”
“Terra Hannah,” Jane said quietly, “Hannah was my mother’s name.”
For the first time in many years, Garrus saw his father soften in a way he only did for his mate. “I’m sure she’ll live up to those names as well.”
Sole spoke, her voice slightly raw sounding. “Thank you, mom would have been honored.”
Jane held Terra closer to her breast. “I’m only sorry they didn’t get to meet all of them, but we can do this much at least.”
The family continued speaking, catching up on their current duties. Sol and their father were back on Palaven, working to rebuild. His father mentioned they’d need both their expertise if they decided to return. Garrus had yet to pull Jane from her grief long enough to discuss it but promised they would consider it.
Their time was cut short due to other duties, but the new parents promised to send vids and pictures of the newest Vakarians as soon as possible.
Jane felt like a piece of fragile glass, one wrong movement or word and she would shatter in front of the eyes of the entire galaxy watching her brothers memorial. There was a large amount of pomp and circumstance, more speeches and twenty-one gun salutes. More attention than Johnny would have wanted, but everyone else needed this to mourn him. Jane wasn’t sure if she’d ever find closure.
The crowd was surrounding a large obelisk, the Normandy crew in the front row. The monument was not only for Johnny but also the other who lost their lives in the final battle. At least it wasn’t a statue of him, her brother would have hated it and that alone may have brought him back from the dead to blow it up.
The thought of that almost made Jane laugh but she squashed it. Having to keep up the stoic look as they finished folding the Alliance flag. One of the generals handed it to her and the turian councilor handed the Spectre plack, showing Johnny’s service to them.
Jane kept control of her features, standing with the items, wearing a black dress, the only color, a slash of blue of her colony marks and the twins scarf. It was a blessing no one questioned their presence. It was rumored Jane lost her child and they adopted two turian children found in the aftermath. And since it was a touchy subject, everyone was happy to assume the rumor and didn’t pry. After all hybrids were impossible.
Hackett took his turn at the podium, murmurs becoming hushed.
“The war is over. The Reapers have been defeated.” He stated solemnly. “Against all odds and the greatest threat the galaxy has ever known, we survived. We suffered many losses. The Relays are severely damaged but we won. This victory belongs to each of us, every man, woman, and child. Every civilization, on every world.” He took a moment to look at the crowd of all the species.
“Now as we take our first steps to restoring what we lost, we must remember what it took to win. This wasn’t a victory by a single fleet, a single army, or even a single species. If this war has taught us anything, it is that we are at our strongest when we work together. And if we can put down our grievances long enough to stop something as powerful as the Reapers, imagine what we can do now that they are defeated. It will take time but we could rebuild everything that was destroyed. Our homes. Our worlds, Our fleets, and defenses. All of this and more. Together we could rebuild a future greater than any one of us could imagine. A future paid for by the sacrifices by those who fought and died alongside us. A future that many will never see.” He paused a moment, letting it sink in.
“And while we still have many challenges ahead of us, we can face them together. And we will honor those who died to give us that future.”
It was a good speech and gave the message Johnny had been fighting for through all of this. Jane listened carefully and clutched the flag and plaque. Garrus wrapped a long arm around her. Jane’s part was done, she just had to hold it through to the end, and he was there supportive as always trying to keep her in one piece physically. Once they got on the transport to Palaven she could take time to fall apart before taking on the task of rebuilding.
They already had jobs lined up. Caitus made arrangements for Garrus to join a task force to remake the local enforcement and she would work with the engineers, using her knowledge of enviro systems from her time with Anew.
Her hearing returned to hear the finishing choruses and cheers of joy. Looking around there was a small sense of hope, knowing that her brother managed to bring all these people together.
They exited Normandy for the last time, Jane focusing slowly on putting one step in front of the other, but was stopped by a pair of Geth at the end of the gangway. There were mobile units like Legion sans N7 armor. She had heard a few ships from the flotilla had volunteered to go out to the station the Geth had created a supersized Lifeboat that held backups of all their programs. To be honest she was surprised until Tali told her of the sympathizing factions of Quarians that had formed. They had been livid learning what their ancestors had down and wished to make up for the Morning War. Finding enough functional units for the newly awakened Geth had been difficult, and the Quarians stepped up again and volunteered to host them in their suits. Which based on the same tech were compatible. Obviously these two had found some available bodies.
Garrus stepped in front of Jane and the children protectively, unsure of what to expect.
The pair focused past him and looked to Jane, asking “Shepard Vakarian?”
Jane nodded slowly, “Yes, but its just Vakarian now. Shepard isn’t my surname.”
“Yes.” They said in unison.
“So no Shepard.”
“No. Shepard is your title.” The leading one stated as if it was just that simple.
Jane brow furrowed in confusion. “A title?”
The unit nodded after thinking about it a moment, “Yes, for those who did a service for the Geth, in honor of the Shepard Commander.”
Well, that explained why they always referred to her brother as Shepard Commander. “Why do I have it?”
“For giving us the Lifeboat protocol and for telling the Galaxy about our side of the Morning War. We would have been wiped out without it. In return, the Geth wish to provide us to be put into your service for protection for you and your family.”
Looking at Garrus, she found he was just as confused as she. “But we are citizens of the Hierarchy.”
“Yes. But the Geth wish to repay you for your services.”
Garrus leaned back, crossing his arms. “Looks like you inherited John’s fan club, Jane.
Jane threw him a glare but thought it over. Having another pair of eyes would help, who knew what dangers there would be in this new galaxy. “Alright, as long as the Hierarchy has no issues, we accept.”
Garrus nodded in agreement, and scoffed, “I doubt they would deny us anything, and probably already have guards arranged for us as well.”
“What do we call you?” Jane asked.
They focused their headlamps, thinking. “We do not have designations organics normally use.”
Jane considered them for a moment, it’d be easy to call them Geth One and Two but impersonal. “Right. How about Archangel and Fury since you’ll be taking over our old jobs.”
Garrus nodded, liking the idea and without further instruction, Archangel and Fury fell into step behind them. It was time to go build their home and future.
Thank you all so much for reading and sticking with this story. I have been working on it for so long, it's hard to believe it's coming to a close! I do have an epilogue that will hopefully satisfy you, but I am out of ideas as to what the second generation would do. I will probably not add a third part unless someone helps me with some inspiration.
Its been a crazy ride for my first ever fan fic, but you all made it so worthwhile. Thank you for all the support and help! I will be wrapping up Solider's Legacy soon, but I am not stopping. Soon Angel in Blue Jeans, and AU FemShpard/Garrus story will be coming out that you will hopefully enjoy as well!
Tali groaned, shifting uncomfortably, she looked into the holo-screen, “Well at least you’ll be here soon. I have no idea how you were able to move around with how big you got.”
Jane smiled, “Well I was carrying two, but most humans don’t have as many problems when pregnant.”
“Still I’ll be happy when she finally comes. You’ll be here in two weeks right?”
There was sharp turian shrill from Tarquin, looking up she saw the naked fledgling go running through the living room, Garrus following in hot pursuit.
Turning back to the screen, “As long as Normandy isn’t held up. We’ll make in time in to see our goddaughter,” Jane assured her old friend. “I need to go, Garrus is having trouble with bath time.”
“Alright, I still think sonic showers are the best. See you soon.”
Jane signed up and left to find Garrus holding a struggling Tarquin, “Is the little guy giving you trouble?”
“Unlike you and Terra, he hates water. And ‘Angel and Fury are no help. They only say it is against their programming to help in domestic matters.” Garrus grumbled walking into the bathroom, where Terra was already splashing in the bath, giggling happily.
Jane chuckled, “You just has to explain it in a way they’ll accept. Like how it is good for his health.”
“Yea, Yea… They only really listen to their Shepard.”
Finally, Tarquin stopped his struggle and resigned himself to a bath, looking sullen next to his sister. He gave her a few grumbles and chirps.
“Momma, Tarq wants the ship.” Terra the more talkative of the two translated their twin baby talk.
Jane nodded and pulled out a small model of the Normandy, Tarquin’s green eyes lighting up. Handing it to him, his mood changed dramatically. Rolling up her sleeves, Jane grabbed a washcloth and began to help Garrus in their nightly ritual.
“How is Tali holding up?” Garrus asked, focused on Terra.
“She is very tired of being pregnant. I don’t blame her, 12 months is a long time to be in such a delicate situation. The Geth have helped a lot with Quarians re-acclimatization to Rannoch, but pregnancy is still outside their scope. Besides being huge, the sneezing hasn’t stopped, but I still don’t think that’s as bad as morning sickness.”
“Aunt Tali’s baby?” Terra asked.
Jane smiled at her daughter, “Yes, and Momma’s going to help. Are you excited to go to Rannoch?”
Terra trilled and nodded and Tarquin looked excited as well, “We see Normandy?”
Garrus nodded, “Yes, and Joker already said you could fly it and EDI will show you the engine room this time.”
Tarquin squealed with excitement, upsetting the water and spraying the bath water onto Jane. They finished their bath and put the twins to bed. They’d finally convinced the pair to sleep in different beds, but they still shared a room.
Jane was looking out the window toward Cipritine, many of its buildings still lit up, continuing construction of more than a few buildings. Garrus came up behind her and she leaned back, settling into his arms.
“This will be our first vacation since coming here. Are you ready?” He murmured into her hair.
Going down her ever-present checklist she nodded. “The southern power plant is set to go online this week, and the Vakarian shipyard is at capacity, so they’ll be busy for awhile. Time enough for us on Rannoch and to stop by Tuchanka.”
“Wrex sure is proud of his new capital. Still hasn’t gotten rid of the rubble throne of his.”
“He doesn’t want the Krogan forgetting what they came from. He hopes they’ll see it as a warning of their destructive tendencies.”
Jane sighed. It had only been four years since the start of the rebuild, but the drive of the war was impossible to give up so the galactic community decided to put it use and redirected to rebuilding. On Palaven, Jane learned her knowledge of engineering and experience of setting up power facilities with Anew helped. It helped her finally come to terms with her enslavement. Without it she may not have been able to save as many.
All the pain was worth it, if even for just this moment with her mate and children.
“Fury mentioned you found time to see Miranda.” He didn’t need to ask why.
Jane turned and buried himself in his chest. “My genes have held the alteration from the Collectors for the most part, but it's unlikely we’ll be able to have more children. Seems it was a fluke before.”
Garrus gripped her tighter, nuzzling her hair and humming in comfort. “We knew it was a possibility. But we have the twins, and we could always adopt.”
Jane remained still, they had talked about trying again, now things had settled and the twins were older. Part of her wanted to feel life grow in her again. At least she could take comfort in the fact she’d managed to carry Terra and Tarquin to term. They were her world now, her reason to rebuild.
“Yea… We could. At least you could go off the hormone blockers.” She added with a smile.
Not able to use conventional condoms, they had to put Garrus on hormone blockers turian used. No one was sure what birth control worked for Jane, so it was the only solution to no more unplanned pregnancies. It did mean no more knotting, something Jane knew he missed. It was a great sign of intimacy for turians.
Garrus chuckled, “Insatiable human.” And he pulled back to kiss her deeply.
Breaking apart, Jane looked up into his bright blue eyes, “I love you Big Guy.”
“Love you too, Red.”
Garrus waited outside the viewing chamber, trying his best to distract the excited fledglings and the worried father. Even with the statistics showing how safe Quarian births were now, there was no appeasing Kal’Reegar until he got to hold his child.
Garrus could understand his worry, Jane’s pregnancy was a pile of unknowns and her timing had been terrible.
“How long is Momma gonna be gone?” Tarquin asked.
Not unusual for turian children, Tarquin sometimes had separation anxiety. Of course, Jane’s insistence on taking them everywhere only made it worse. He worried for they would be going to school in the next year, and the trouble it would cause.
“When little Jane gets here.” It had been a couple hours already, and as a precaution, sterilized birthing rooms were still in use even though the Quarians hadn’t need full suits for the past couple years.
When Tali asked if she could name her daughter after Jane, they were surprised but grateful. Tali was pleased because she hadn’t really thought of any backups. Garrus was also pleased to be given the task of guardianship if anything were to happen to Tali or Kal. If anything it meant he had an excuse to drag Jane off planet to visit her namesake. His mate had hardly any concept of a real break.
Breaking his line of thought, the observation window opened. The group quickly gathered around the window. Inside, Garrus saw Tali laying back on a bed, holding a wiggling bundle with a tired smile. Garrus was taken aback by Tali without her helmet. She looked remarkably like Jane, but with more angled features, lavender skin, pale eyes, and dark hair. She was now even braiding hers like Jane’s.
Tali gave up the bungle to Jane, and with her charge, she came to the window to Kal’Reegar. “She’s perfect,” he said quietly to himself.
Angling the baby to Garrus, the twins almost leaned out of his hold and pressed their faces to the glass. Wrapped in the fabric, was baby quarian skin a pale red like her father. She let out a cry, opening her eyes to show a pale lavender like her mother.
“Wow,” Terr gasped, “No hair, like me.”
Garrus laughed, “She’ll grow it, just like Tali.”
Terra leaned back on his hip again, with a frown. “But I don’t, but Momma does.”
He looked at his daughter for a moment, they were at the point they were starting to understand they were different being biologically turian and human. But since they could not see the difference it was difficult to understand. Recently Terra had become obsessed with things like her mother’s hair. Both kids loved playing with Jane’s long hair, even though now it was streaked with white and silver.
“I’m sorry Baby Girl, but no. You didn’t get Momma’s hair. But you still have the color of her hair in your hide. It’s very pretty.” And it was, it had grown only more vibrant as she’d gotten older. Whereas her brother’s plates were more grey and had his hide the same tan tone Garrus’ did.
Terra nodded but didn’t seem completely happy with the answer.
Jane groaned as Garrus’ hand rubbed her back. Both were tired but found enough energy after the trip to get re-acquainted with their bed.
Shifting, she felt a cramp in her calf and hissed. He had been feeling rather amorous that night and took full advantage of Jane’s flexibility that remained long after her muscle had smoothed out with age. A matter that still bugged her on certain days no matter what Garrus said. “Ugh, I’m getting too old for this Garrus.”
Garrus mouth found her neck, scraping it with his mouth plates, “You're not old, do I need to show you again?”
Jane laughed and struggled as he tried to flip them over. “No way, we need some sleep. Weren’t you complaining about a week-long hangover from Wrex’s send-off?”
“Fine,” he gave in, and settled down, deciding she made a better pillow.
Jane stroked his fringe, resulting in a purr. “So Terra was asking about hair again?”
“Yes, she was wondering about little Jane’s ability to grow it.”
Jane remained silent. She knew the twins would have trouble with their dual biology, Tarqiun was already showing issues with his lungs not being strong. It normally didn’t affect him unless he got too excited, but she never expected anything as simple as hair as affecting her daughter this much.
“Maybe I should do something, to show her that it doesn’t matter.”
Garrus held her tighter, “What would that be?”
Combing her fingers through it Jane thought. “I could shave it.”
Garrus stiffened and leaned up on an elbow to give her his full attention, blue eyes showing brightly in the low light. “Like before Omega?”
It was accepted they didn’t really talk about that time much, or even Omega. Once reporters got bored talking about the battle and their time on the Normandy, they had decided to focus on current events instead of before the war. For which Jane was grateful. She wanted her children to live in the now, and not be filled with prejudice like Johnny had been. Jane learned long ago, she couldn’t blame a whole race for her hard life. It was better to focus on the now.
But some days were tough, it wasn’t often Garrus found her in a nest of blankets in the twins room on nights he had to work late. When he did, he’d carry her to their room and rock her back to sleep, chasing the fears away with stories about his mundane day.
One thing Jane still took pleasure in her hair. She rarely cut it and so it had grown fairly long. A simple thing she relished in after so many years bald. Plus it hid the scar from the control chip.
Jane took a breath and nodded. “She thinks it’s important to have because I make such a big deal about it. If I cut it, I’ll look more like her.”
“Jane, she loves you. This phase will pass.”
Her mouth turned into a hard line, she wouldn’t drop it. “She wants to feel part of the family. Tarquin looks like you more and more every day. Terra just wants to share something with her mother. If that means I get rid of my hair, I’ll happily do it. It’ll grow back.”
Garrus leaned down to press his forehead against hers, “Alright, but I still can’t get over the fact it doesn’t hurt to cut. Cutting the fringe is torture of turians.”
Jane chuckled, “I promise, it’s completely normal.”
Garrus was in the living room watching Terra and Tarquin playing, amazingly they still had their own secret language, even though they started speaking years ago. From across the room, it would be chirps, but if they could touch it was almost silent. He wondered if they should speak with Javick, there was a chance the prothean tech of the Collectors gave the siblings some of their abilities of communication. Javick was always referring to them as if they were really prothean and not hybrids. Or maybe it was a human thing with twins, the concept of multiple births was still odd to him.
The sound of the door and the steps of Jane and Fury came in. ‘Angel greeted them, and the kids were already up and running to greet their mother.
When Garrus joined them, he was surprised to see them standing still, nervously looking at their mother. Garrus could understand why. Fury was standing in the room, white head, shiny and hair-free. He hadn’t seen anything like since he carried her from the slave ship all those years ago. Back then he had no idea of what precious cargo he’d carried to safety.
Jane smiled softly and knelt down, eye level with the twins. “Hi there. Momma decided to get a haircut. What do you think?” She tried to sound happy, but there was a hint of nervousness
Slowly the fledglings approached her, unsure of the change. Tarquin was the first to speak, “You look different Momma.”
Jane nodded, “Yes, but it’s alright.”
Terra raised a tri-fingered hand to touch her skull. “It's smooth.” Looking at her a little harder their daughter added, “You look like a train.”
His mate smiled and looked up at Garrus, “Yes, I decided I wanted to look like you Terra. Afterall, you’re the prettiest girl I know. What do you think?”
Terra thought about it a moment. “I like it. Did it hurt? What's this booboo?”
She had seen the ugly scar from the chip. “It didn’t hurt, but I’m a little cold now. And that's an old scar from a long time ago. It doesn’t hurt either.”
“Good,” Terra nodded, more confident. “Come on Momma, I want to show you my fort!” She grabbed Jane’s hand and pulled her toward the play area, clearly ok with the change.
Garrus sat down again, mandibles flaring in a smile, watching as his family happily played. It seemed like Jane was right, like always. He was grateful they were able to handle the hard job of being a parent to two special children. Spirits knew, in some ways, it was harder than war but much more important.
Thank you all so much for the amazing support, for my first time writing it has been a fun and rewarding experience! Never would I have guessed I'd have so much interest in this brainchild but I am happy to have seen it through to the end.
In the last chapter, I mentioned that I was unsure of any sequels but after the amazing response and good ideas I have found inspiration. I don't know how long it will take, I still need time for research and to hash out the major plot lines. But I am happy to announce that there will be a sequel! Keep your eyes out for the third installment of the Archangel's Fury: Dying Light (working title). We'll follow the lives of the Vakarian children as they find their place in this new galaxy and the new dangers it comes with.
Thank you all again, you have been amazing readers and I am looking forward to giving you more worthy content to enjoy!