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A Splendid Gift

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“Mother, you cannot be serious about this.”

Unfortunately, as Liara studied Benezia’s stony face, with its usual narrow-eyed, disapproving gaze, she realized that her mother was, indeed, quite serious.

As serious as she’d been when informing Liara that she would attend the University of Armali for her undergraduate studies, and nowhere else. (Liara had gone to Serrice for college instead, more to spite Benezia than anything)

As serious as she was when telling her friends that once Liara entered her matron years, she would become a politician. (Liara was determined to be a xenoarchaeologist)

Apparently, Benezia was equally serious about the human alpha standing in the foyer, guarded by two of her mother’s beta acolytes and wearing a suppressant collar.

“You could be more grateful,” Benezia said, pursing her tattooed lips into a thin line. “This is a gift, after all.”

A gift! A sentient being as a gift. Even if this slave is an alien, I have no desire whatsoever for one.

Liara heaved a sigh. Her mother never listened, especially not to her thoughts on politics, the slave trade, or alien cultures and how undervalued they were. Perhaps it was because she was an omega, and not the alpha daughter Benezia had hoped for. More likely, Benezia thought she was too young to have any worthwhile opinions, regardless of her presentation.

Reluctantly, Liara studied the woman before her. She didn’t know much about humans, but she didn’t think they were supposed to sway and slump like that. Drugged, most likely. The woman had a shock of wild red fur on top of her head, pale pink skin, and odd clusters of dots on her face and forearms. Very curious indeed.

“You must return her, mother.” Strangely, Liara found herself unable to tear her eyes away from the human alpha, who almost tipped over before one of the acolytes caught her elbow and steadied her once more. “Better yet, let the poor thing sleep off whatever they gave her and then set her free.”

“I will not,” Benezia said, her voice rising dangerously in pitch. Liara almost winced. She knew that tone and it didn’t bode well. “You’ve shown absolutely no interest in getting to know people, Liara. No interest in making friends, no interest in having fun, no interest in mating—”

Liara’s face burned with embarrassment. She finally managed to look away from the human, but only because she couldn’t bear to see the acolytes’ reactions. Not that they would react. They were trained not to show any emotions while on duty. “I am perfectly happy with my studies and my life. Besides, aren’t such things frivolous compared with my education?”

“Most certainly not,” Benezia insisted. “Establishing a social network is crucial for your future. And since you seem unable to find lovers, friends, or even acquaintances on your own, I’ve acquired a way for you to practice.”

Practice?

The thought made Liara queasy. She barely heard what her mother said next, because the spinning in her head made it sound distant and far away.

“I’m told this human’s name is Shepard: a former rebel, responsible for sending a transport ship full of humans to the Andromeda galaxy.”

Liara’s eyes widened in surprise and she looked at the woman again, studying her with even greater interest. She’d seen footage on the news of the human transport ship that had escaped the asari fleet en route to the next galaxy over. This pale, haggard-looking thing was responsible for that escape? She was broad-shouldered and muscular, Liara noted with a faint flutter in her belly, but otherwise, she didn’t look like much.

That does explain why mother bought her though. This human is a war prize, a status symbol as well as a potential mate. Of course she’d get me a gift I neither want nor appreciate, for herself more than for me.

“She has some natural biotic abilities,” Benezia droned on. “Nothing like ours, of course, but you should keep the collar on her at all times. I wouldn’t want her to hurt you.”

Liara ground her teeth. “Yes, mother,” she said, knowing better than to argue. Already, she was making plans to tuck the human— Shepard, she reminded herself, she has a name —in bed and then send her… somewhere else. Anywhere but here. She would deal with her mother’s inevitable scolding later, once she sorted out the details.

“Thank me and take her to your room, then,” Benezia said, with a careless wave of her hand. “I suppose she should clear whatever they gave her for transport out of her system, as you said.”

I’m surprised you were even listening to me.

“Of course. Thank you, mother.”

Benezia nodded at the acolytes, who each took one of Shepard’s elbows and led her up the large staircase to the second floor, where Liara’s room was. Liara watched them go, feeling sick. She’d only been back from school for a week, and things were already worse than ever.

***

As her eyes fell open, Shepard groaned unhappily. Her head felt as if someone had thrown a wet blanket over it and then made liberal use of a shock stick. How she’d gotten into that state was even less clear given the soup of memories floating around her brain: ships bursting into flames, the flash of a mass relay, blue hands crawling over her skin, a needle…

It was a mess but sorting it out wasn’t Shepard’s most pressing problem.  She needed to figure out where she had woken up and just how fucked she was. Her vision was still fuzzy and her body felt heavy, but nothing was missing, and beneath her was something yielding yet pleasantly firm at the same time.

Mattress. A nicer one than I’m used to.

There was light, too. Natural light, so she probably wasn’t in prison. Before she could speculate further, she heard a noise coming from somewhere in the room. It was a word she realized, being repeated several times. “Hello.” That was it. “Hello,” in a slightly distressed feminine voice.

“Hello,” Shepard repeated back, her words sounding slurred even to her own ears. “Where am I?”

“In my room,” the voice said and Shepard turned toward the sound.  Her eyes were rapidly improving, letting her see a blue, humanoid shape standing near the edge of the bed she was sprawled on.

An asari. Not good.

“Doesn’t really help,” she muttered.

“Right, of course not.” Whoever this asari was, she didn’t seem anything like the ruthless commandos Shepard had spent the last couple of years alternately running from and fighting. She sounded young; young and deeply unsure. “My name is Liara,” the asari continued. “Liara T’Soni. We are in my mother’s house on Thessia.”

Thessia. Even worse. Anywhere in the vast asari empire would’ve been bad enough, but Shepard really didn’t want to be caught in the belly of the beast.

Right around then, she became aware of a weight around her neck. When she reached up to touch it, she found a ring of hard metal.

“Oh, that,” Liara said apologetically. “That’s, um, a biotic suppressor. So you don’t hurt me.”

Shepard pulled herself into a sitting position, letting her balance return as she pieced together her situation. Between the collar, her location, and the fact that Liara smelled like an omega, there was only one conclusion to be drawn. “So, I’m supposed to be what, your sex slave now?”

“No, of course not!” Liara blurted out, sounding legitimately horrified by the suggestion.

“Then what exactly am I here for? Repairing your extranet connection?”

Shepard’s vision had returned enough for her to see the dark purple blush that appeared on Liara’s face. “Well, I suppose that is what my mother bought you for, but I never asked her for it.”

“That’s something, I suppose,” Shepard said, surprised to note a twinge of disappointment mixed in with her relief. Now that Shepard knew that this omega didn’t plan on forcing her, she was starting to notice some of her better qualities.

Cute face, well built, that mouth-watering scent…

She shoved those thoughts aside. Her alpha instincts might not have recognized it, but this was hardly the time, especially with some asari slave owner.

Liara herself didn’t seem to have noticed Shepard’s distraction because she was still complaining about her mother. “I mean, really, she never listens to anything I have to say and her attitude toward other species is completely unreasonable. Just because humans or turians are less advanced than the asari, that’s no reason for us to go around enslaving them.”

Shepard raised an eyebrow. “Less advanced?”

“Oh, I just meant that your technology and culture haven’t reached the same level of complexity as ours. If you read Larissa S’aut’s paper on the subject, she posits that there a number of factors that influence…”

Shepard threw up her hands. “Whatever. So, if you don’t intend to keep me as a slave, what’s the plan?”

“Well, I can’t let you go as long as my mother is around, but she’s leaving for a summit with some of the other influential matriarchs in a few days. Once she’s out of the house, I should be able to smuggle you off of Thessia.”

That sounded more promising. Shepard had been emotionally numb before, simply waiting for shock and despair to set in, but now she felt a wave of relief. It seemed she wasn’t in such a terrible situation after all. She had an ally, even if that ally happened to be an asari. Shepard had worked with a few asari rebels and dissidents before, although none of them were like this one.

Liara seems like… a nerd? Yeah. A cute nerd. Harmless. Even a battle-hardened soldier like Shepard, who had learned never to underestimate a potential enemy, didn’t see anything particularly threatening about her ‘captor’. She couldn’t summon up even a scrap of fear.

Liara, however, seemed slightly wary of her. The asari moved her hands nervously, as though unsure what to do with them, and swayed slightly where she stood, trying to decide whether to step closer or keep her distance. “Is it true that you helped a human transport ship escape through a supposedly inactive Mass Relay to the Andromeda galaxy?”

Shepard blinked. “So they made it?” Hope fluttered in her chest. Even if she had ended up as a slave in asari space, the knowledge that she’d succeeded would have made the sacrifice worth it. Hopefully, the Ryder twins were on their way to establishing a new, peaceful colony, far from the asari’s reach.

“As far as I’m aware,” Liara said. “I saw something about it on the extranet.” She wrung her hands while staring somewhat guiltily at her feet. “I suppose that’s why mother, erm, purchased you: as a conversation piece, which just so happened to double as a gift for me.” The young asari sounded decidedly disgusted by the whole business.

“Won’t your mother be upset when she comes back and finds me gone?”

Liara chewed her bottom lip, which Shepard couldn’t help noticing was attractively plump and purple. “Of course, but I plan to be long gone as well by the time she returns. I have already decided I don’t want to stay here between semesters.”

Semesters? Shepard thought. She really is young, isn’t she? It was always hard to tell with asari, who aged far more slowly than humans, and lived much longer, too. Even most of their elders looked relatively young by human standards, closer to middle aged than ancient. “You’re a student?”

“Yes. I’m working on my doctorate in xenoarchaeology…which is a waste of my talents, according to my mother.”

Yep. Young, with lots of mommy issues. But at least she has spunk and wants to help. I really lucked out.

“Well, uh, good luck with that? And, thanks. For planning to get me out of here. It’s… not what I expected.”

To Shepard’s surprise, Liara blushed. “You are not what I expected, either.”

“Huh?”

“Oh, I forgot to offer you food! Humans are a levo species, correct?” She didn’t wait for confirmation before bustling toward the door. “I’ll be back,” she called before disappearing from the room. 

The door hissed shut, locking audibly behind her and Shepard sat in silence for a moment, then stretched back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. It had been a whirlwind five minutes, but her situation wasn’t as bleak as she’d expected. In fact, she felt more hope than she had in awhile. Her friends had escaped to freedom, and soon she would as well… assuming Liara was telling the truth.

***

“I’m really sorry about this,” Liara told Shepard. “It should only be for a couple of days. If it helps, this is top of the line. My mother always buys the best.”

Shepard shrugged before taking the bunched up sleeping bag from her. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve slept a lot rougher than this.”

Liara could believe it. Now that she’d gotten a better look at Shepard, it was obvious that she’d lived a hard life. The tanktop and shorts she’d been delivered in showed off a number of scars, but somehow these didn’t mar the human’s well-defined physique. If anything, they enhance it .

With an effort of will, Liara tore her eyes away from the sight. That’s what your mother wants you thinking about . All through dinner, Benezia had been needling her, trying to find out what Liara thought of her “gift,” and how soon she planned to make use of it.

“Is there anything else I can get you?” Liara asked, keeping her eyes firmly on her feet.

“One of those pillows. Seems like you’ve got enough of them up there.”

“Oh, of course.” Liara handed Shepard not one but two of the pillows from her bed before climbing into it. Beneath her, she heard Shepard shifting back and forth as she tried to find a comfortable position. “Is everything all right?”

“Yeah, just fine,” Shepard told her and a moment later, the noise stopped.

“That’s good,” Liara said, and then, on impulse, she added, “Good night, Shepard.”

“Night, Liara. And, uh, thanks again for everything. Most people wouldn’t stick their necks out for a stranger this way.”

Liara was glad Shepard couldn’t see the flush that her complement produced. Helping this human was more than just right; it was something Liara realized she wanted to do.

“I’m just glad I could help,” she said. “Sleep well.”

“You too,” Shepard told her, but even after the light had been turned off and silence settled in, Liara couldn’t do as she’d been bidden. It had been a long time since she’d spent the night with anyone else in her room; not since her first year at university. But that had been another omega as well as an asari, not this strange human alpha.

Strange, and compelling. Liara had seen humans before, but never so close up, and now her imagination was running wild. Were there spots elsewhere on Shepard’s skin? What about that red fur? It looked so soft. What would it feel like beneath her fingers? Where else did Shepard have it?

It didn’t help that the room was uncomfortably warm. Normally, the house was climate controlled, but something must have been broken because Liara’s skin felt clammy, the blanket too heavy on top of her. She pushed it back but the air on her skin brought her little relief. Her discomfort went deeper, coming from somewhere inside…

Oh Goddess, no. Not my heat. Not now.

Liara wanted to protest that it wasn’t time, that her heat was still a week off, but the rational part of her mind that was still functioning knew proximity to an alpha could alter the timing of a heat. Especially if you’re attracted to them.

As much as she hated to admit it, Liara couldn’t deny that was the truth, especially not when her recognition of the problem seemed to worsen it. With every passing second, the warmth between her legs increased, her azure pulsing uncomfortably in its emptiness. 

There were drugs that would ameliorate the problem, but it would take at least 12 hours before they could kick in. Right now, Liara was stuck sharing a bedroom with the alpha her body clearly wanted, giving off a scent she knew Shepard would notice very soon.

Unless you relieve yourself, a needy voice whispered in her head.

Liara’s mind rebelled against the idea almost immediately. Surely Shepard would notice! She was only a few feet away! The human would undoubtedly see her, smell her… but Liara’s tingling body very much liked the idea anyway. Her hips rose, searching for some kind of contact, and her fingertips trailed down her belly without conscious permission.

She yanked them back as though she’d been burned.

No! I couldn’t possibly!

The last thing Liara wanted was to act like far too many of her people did. Although no self-respecting asari would ever stoop to the level of bonding with a human, or any other alien species, they could and did mate with them. For amusement. For practice. For the sake of variety. For a naughty thrill. It had become quite popular in recent centuries to take alien lovers, almost a trend—although the expectation was always that one would settle down with a proper asari bondmate when the time came to grow up and produce pureblood children.

And as for Shepard, the human almost certainly had no interest in mating with the enemy. She had just survived an attack from the asari fleet and been taken prisoner, after all. It was hardly the kind of experience to put one in an amorous frame of mind.

That’s why you need to take care of things yourself. So you won’t bother her. Shepard’s in a vulnerable position until you smuggle her off of Thessia, and she might feel obligated— 

Liara chewed her lip. While her lust had been debating with her conscience, her body had gotten started all on its own. One of her hands had slid beneath her nightgown, pulling it well above her thighs. She tried to divert its course, but although she managed to avoid tending to the painful throb between her legs, her hand continued up as though it had a mind of its own, cupping one of her breasts instead.

A powerful jolt passed through Liara as soon as she took her nipple between two fingers. Even that small touch threatened to make her shudder and cry out, and the itching, the burning, the unbearable emptiness grew worse by the moment. She tried to remove her hand, but it refused to obey.

I should at least go somewhere else to finish this. Somewhere Shepard isn’t.

Once more, she attempted to stop what she was doing, this time to get out of bed and hurry to another room—one of the empty guest rooms, perhaps. Surely that would be far enough away. But that would mean being alone and her body couldn’t bear the thought. She felt a cold shudder of unwillingness at the mere thought of leaving her room. No—of leaving Shepard, whose presence she was suddenly hyper-aware of.

The human’s steady breathing had become a light snore, and when Liara took a shaky breath of her own, Shepard’s smell filled her nose.  It was a heady combination of strong, familiar alpha-scent, mixed with something alien and altogether alluring. Liara didn’t have the words to describe it. She only knew that she craved it.

Her eyes darted over to Shepard’s sleeping bag. In the darkness, she couldn’t make out anything more than a shadowy lump, but her mind had plenty of memories to draw upon. She remembered Shepard’s hair. How soft it had appeared, and how much she had wanted to run her hands through it from the first moment she’d laid eyes on the human. She remembered Shepard’s smile, and her brilliant green eyes, and the scars that highlighted her pale, muscular frame. That led to imagining that frame over hers, pinning her to the mattress, pressing down upon her with its delicious weight…

***

I must be dreaming, Shepard thought. Nothing real could smell this good, like honey and sugar and sex all rolled into one. It was a scent that travelled straight from her nostrils into the depths of her being, making her shift hard . Her cock was fully extended in seconds, throbbing so painfully that she opened her eyes.

She couldn’t see anything in the darkened bedroom, but after a few blinks to banish the last shadows of sleep, it became clear that that delicious scent was real, and only growing more powerful. On instinct, Shepard wrapped a hand around the base of her shaft and squeezed. This was hardly the first time she’d woken from an erotic dream in this condition, but she couldn’t remember it being this bad.

Even in her lust-addled state, it wasn’t hard to figure out what was going on. She’d been around her share of omegas in heat, and while Liara smelled slightly different — better — than those humans, the effect was unmistakable. The realization made Shepard’s head spin. What am I supposed to do now? What do I want to do?

Finding a rational answer was rapidly becoming impossible. Liara’s scent was already powerful, but as Shepard’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, she realized that the asari’s hand was moving beneath the sheets as soft, needy moans spilled from her lips.

Shepard felt torn in half. A part of her knew she should say something so she and Liara could talk like rational beings but another, more primal side screamed at her to climb on the bed and take this omega. Paralyzed between her urges, she lay in the darkness, her hand gliding up and down her cock, riding the edge between pleasure and pain.

The sound of her own name broke the spell. It was faint enough that she scarcely heard it the first time, but when Liara repeated the word between gasps, Shepard finally found her voice. “Liara,” she croaked, “I’m here.”

Liara’s eyes flew open. Even in the dim light, the shock on her face was unmistakable. Her next “Shepard” sounded more horrified than aroused and her hand jerked from beneath the sheets. “Oh Goddess, Shepard, I’m so sorry, I wasn’t — I mean, I didn’t realize...”

“It’s okay,” Shepard said, fearing that Liara would combust otherwise. “I don’t mind.”

That might have been the wrong thing to say, because Liara stammered back, “You… you don’t?”

Shepard tried to give a calm, sensible answer, but her tongue had a mind of its own. “No, I… fuck, you smell so good, Liara,” she blurted out.

Liara bit her lip and shuddered. “It hurts,” she whimpered. “Shepard, please, it hurts.”

Her meaning was clear enough and Shepard drew to her feet, staggering toward the bed as if drawn there by a tractor beam. Just before she could climb into it, though, Liara found some small bit of sanity. “Wait,” she muttered. “You don’t have to do this.”

“I want to,” Shepard said, without hesitation. Any possible consequences didn’t seem to matter, not with Liara so near at hand that Shepard could touch her, her scent promising pure bliss if only she could get a little closer.

“Are you certain?” Liara asked, even as she sat up and leaned toward Shepard, seemingly compelled by the same force.

“Yes,” she replied, and as soon as their lips crashed together, she was completely lost.

Liara’s taste was even sweeter than her scent. Her lips were the softest Shepard had ever claimed, and they held a hot, needy flavor that worsened both the spinning in Shepard’s head and the unbearable ache between her legs. Not that she cared. Her discomfort was minor, distant – especially when Liara’s mouth opened, inviting her deeper.

Shepard didn’t hesitate. She pressed forward, tensing and trembling as Liara’s tongue slid against hers. The kiss was sloppy and more than a little inexperienced, but Shepard hardly noticed. Kissing this beautiful omega, tasting her, on the verge of having her, more than made up for it. And fuck, she wanted to have Liara, in any and every way possible.

Blunt nails scratched her biceps and she realized Liara was trying to grasp her. Shepard flexed involuntarily, and judging by the high-pitched, needy moan Liara poured into her mouth, the display of strength was very welcome indeed. Her mind had already shut down all its higher functions, but some savage part of her preened. This beautiful omega wanted her. She could smell it every time she breathed in her scent.

That heady feeling of being desired spurred Shepard to tip Liara back on the mattress and press her gently into it. Their bodies molded together as though they’d been made for each other, and Liara gasped, her eyes going wide and dark. In her lust-dazed state, it took Shepard a moment to realize why. Then Liara arched beneath her and she felt friction. The asari’s nightgown had ridden up, leaving her lower half bare, and the soft, naked flesh of her stomach was pressed flush against Shepard’s cock.

Dimly, Shepard realized Liara’s skin wasn’t quite like hers. It was differently textured, made of tiny, overlapping scales, but that didn’t make it any less soft and pliant. Without conscious thought, Shepard rocked her hips forward. Her instincts demanded that she move, thrust – do something to ease the pressure.

Fortunately, Liara didn’t seem to mind. She whined and clawed at Shepard’s back, fisting the fabric of her nightshirt while burying her face in the crook of Shepard’s shoulder. Her hot, rapid breaths hit the side of Shepard’s neck, and those soft noises only became more insistent. “Shepard…”

That was a plea, if ever Shepard had heard one. Liara’s body and scent were calling, begging for more, and Shepard saw no reason to deny her – to deny either of them. She slammed Liara to the bed with a snap of her teeth, nipping possessively at the asari’s throat while pinning her wrists to the mattress. Liara didn’t struggle. She shifted and squirmed, but only in an effort to get closer even as her thighs fell open.

Shepard growled around the mouthful of flesh she’d claimed. It didn’t matter that Liara was an asari, that Liara’s mother had purchased her for precisely this purpose, or that they hardly knew one another. This omega – her omega – was in need, a need that Shepard knew she could satisfy. She would take this gorgeous creature until Liara’s heat was sated and they were both utterly spent.

***

Liara dug her heel into Shepard’s lower back, begging without words. She didn’t remember wrapping her legs around the human’s lean hips, but she’d obviously done so at some point, probably to draw Shepard closer. To help her in. 

In . That was the only thought Liara’s fevered brain could process. She needed Shepard inside her, and she would do absolutely anything to make it happen faster.

Luckily, Shepard seemed to be of a similar mind. She also seemed to know what she was doing, because she angled her pelvis differently, and Liara felt something warm and firm rub between her legs. Shepard’s cock. It had to be. Liara’s inner walls clenched and even though she was already dripping, still more wetness slid through the swollen lips of her azure.

“Please,” she gasped, curling her toes and fighting uselessly against Shepard’s grip on her wrists. She didn’t actually want to escape, but she needed more, and wasn’t sure how to get it. “Shepard, please…” She said those same two words over and over again, ‘Shepard’ and ‘please’, until something blunt touched her entrance and began to press forward.

Then she couldn’t say anything at all. Liara had used her own fingers and even a few toys in an attempt to soothe past heats, but none of them had felt anything like this. Shepard was so thick, and the sensation of her spreading open Liara’s azure was indescribable. Liara clutched desperately onto the alpha, whimpering helplessly against her shoulder.

“Fuck, you’re so tight,” Shepard groaned. The alpha took her time, working her way deeper with a series of short thrusts rather than trying to jam her full length inside all at once.

And yet, even though Liara knew she needed that consideration, some mad part of her was so hungry for Shepard that any delay was painful. Liara spread her legs further and her hips pressed upward, trying desperately to get her alpha to fill the emptiness in her core.

Only when she felt Shepard’s pelvis meet hers did Liara get some semblance of relief.  For an instant, both of them went still, staring at one another in amazement. Even in the darkness, Liara saw the warmth in Shepard’s eyes, making her feel not only full, but safe. Somehow, she knew that this strange human alpha would never hurt her.

That might have been a comforting thought, but Liara was too needy to focus on it for long. “More,” she whimpered, and Shepard drew back a few inches before plunging in again. The thrust sent shockwaves through Liara and she wrapped her arms around Shepard, craving every bit of the alpha - her alpha’s -power.

Shepard was more than eager to give her just that. Her pace increased by the second as she gave herself over to her instincts. It was too much for Liara. In the grip of her heat, her body coursing with sensations she’d never experienced before, she was rapidly falling apart. A moaned “Yes,” was all she managed before everything went blank, her mind unable to focus on anything but the pleasure she was feeling.

When Shepard realized what was happening, her eyes went wide and she grabbed hold of Liara’s hips, driving even deeper. With a last, desperate cry, Liara tensed, her inner muscles clenching down and her legs locking around Shepard’s rear in an effort to keep every bit of her alpha inside of her.

Liara had never known an orgasm could feel so good. This was more than any pleasure her own hand could provide, more than just relief from her heat; it was a shot of pure ecstasy injected directly into her bloodstream. She shivered and trembled in Shepard’s grasp, completely consumed by what she was experiencing.

And yet it still wasn’t enough. As full as she was, as good as she felt, she craved more. With Shepard pressed flush against her, Liara felt the beginnings of what her lust-addled brain instinctively knew was a knot forming at the base of the alpha’s shaft. Even while her body coursed with its climax, her mind reached out to Shepard. It took a painful effort to hold back the urge, but she managed. As much as she’d already shared with the human and as badly as she wanted it, she knew that the meld was too intimate for someone she’d just met…

… yet her instincts told her otherwise. Liara’s head pounded with the urge to reach out, to touch the blazing consciousness she could feel just beyond her grasp. To sink within it, and draw it within her. 

On some distant plane, she realized that Shepard might have objections. She was human after all and many aliens were frightened of the meld. And so, out of concern for Shepard rather than herself, she tore her lips away from the alpha’s and whined, throwing her head to the side and sobbing openly.

“Liara?”

Shepard’s hips never stopped moving, not even for a moment—Liara doubted either of them were physically capable of stopping—but the alpha’s expression became confused, then concerned. Liara raked furrows down Shepard’s back, panting with the effort of restraining herself. She tried to speak, but couldn’t—even the small lapse in concentration while she formed a sentence might unravel her already fraying control. Instead, she blinked tears from her eyes and stared at Shepard with the most pleading look she could muster, hoping the human would somehow understand.

It took Shepard a moment, but eventually, understanding did dawn. “The mind meld thing,” she panted, clearly struggling to articulate while in the midst of increasingly frantic thrusts. Each one sent a shockwave through Liara’s body, making the urge to reach out ever stronger. “Is… is that what you…”

“Stop,” Liara yelped, abandoning her hold on Shepard’s muscular back and pushing weakly, helplessly, at her shoulders. “Please, you have to stop, or I’ll… I’ll…”

With what Liara sensed had taken a monumental effort of will, Shepard froze. The alpha held perfectly still, trembling. A bead of sweat rolled down one of her temples, and Liara had the sudden, intense urge to catch it with her tongue. “It’s okay,” Shepard rasped, sounding surprised herself, then: “It’s okay,” again, with far more certainty.

Liara tried to warn Shepard. To explain how intimate the meld would be. To prepare her in some way. But the low tone of Shepard’s voice, with its slight, soothing rasp, promised to give Liara everything she could possibly want and need, and she found it impossible to resist any longer.

She tried to say ‘Embrace eternity,’ but all that came out was a cry of utter relief as she allowed the beacon of Shepard’s consciousness to draw her in, submerging her in a mind that was alien but altogether beautiful from the moment she touched it.

Shepard was strong. Her will, her passion.

Shepard was brave. Self-sacrificing. Liara could sense the scars of that commitment all over her.

Shepard was curious, with a strong desire to learn and see and do.

And most of all, Shepard wanted her. Wanted her with a strength that sent Liara shuddering into another orgasm, far stronger than the first.

Shepard… 

It grew increasingly hard to tell where she ended and Shepard began, even while Liara started forgetting why she should care. I… am… yours…

It was the only coherent thought she could string together as the bulge of Shepard’s knot breached her entrance, pressing inside and filling her azure completely. 

***

Shepard had heard of what she’d just referred to as the mind-meld, but no description could’ve prepared her for this. It was as if her thoughts were running together with Liara’s, bombarding her with a dozen new feelings all at once. The omega’s uncertainty and curiosity, her kindness and frustrations, and above all, her pleasure and her hunger all flooded through Shepard in an unstoppable torrent.

Yet as intense as the sensations were, they didn’t overwhelm what Shepard was already feeling. Instead, they only added to her existing pleasures, as if she was somehow filling Liara’s tight azure at the same time as her own thick cock was filling her. She shuddered from the combined force, barely able to keep herself from exploding at once.

As it was, all she could do was go still, staring down in wonder at Liara. The omega’s eyes had become dark pools where it seemed Shepard saw not merely a dim reflection of herself, but her as Liara saw her: powerful, comforting, and the only balm for a desperate hunger.

It was that last feeling that spurred Shepard to move again. She had to go slowly, knotted together as they were, but any motion was more than enough. Just being inside Liara would have been incredible, but when she was also experiencing the asari’s pleasure as her own, it produced a combination like nothing Shepard had ever felt.

Only a few short thrusts later, her self-control was already on the verge of breaking and then she heard Liara’s voice, not in her ears, but inside her mind. Yes, Shepard. Please. I need you. Give me everything.

That plea was Shepard’s limit. Her lips captured Liara’s and an instant later she was coming harder and longer than she could remember. Liara’s inner muscles squeezed down around her knot, drawing out a seemingly endless stream of come. 

Her omega joined her instants later, pulled over the edge by both the meld and the feeling of Shepard filling her. It was a connection that worked both ways, generating a feedback loop of pure ecstasy. Every time Shepard thought she was done, sharing the electricity of Liara’s climax would draw fresh pulses out of her, which in turn would trigger the omega once more. It felt as if the cycle could go on forever, pleasures piling on top of each other until everything in their heads became a blur of white light.

Only exhaustion finally stopped them. Shepard couldn’t begin to guess how long it had taken, but at last, she collapsed on top of Liara, as utterly spent as the boneless omega beneath her.

Even then, the meld remained, but it was less intense, no longer a total merging of selves but rather a timeless place containing just the two of them. That was amazing , Shepard thought, realizing that Liara could hear the words even as they formed in her mind.

Goddess, yes. I never… I mean, not like that, with someone...

It was too adorable that even Liara’s thoughts were rambling and Shepard reached down, stroking her new lover’s cheek. She was so beautiful, her scaled skin flushed purple, her breathing slow and peaceful. In that moment, Shepard could hardly believe she’d just met Liara. Instead, it seemed as if she’d known her forever.

I feel the same. You are an alien, and we met under horrible circumstances, but still…

Shepard smiled against Liara’s throat. She’d tucked her face into the crook of the omega’s neck, wanting to breathe in her sweet scent forever. She sighed, nuzzling the tender spot. Although there were a few bruises, she hadn’t broken skin. Hadn’t taken the mating bite.

I would have let you, Liara thought, with such earnestness that Shepard’s heart clenched.

“Later,” Shepard murmured aloud, kissing Liara’s shoulder. “After your heat ends.” Liara hadn’t confirmed that they would remain together after that in any capacity, but in her heart, Shepard simply knew. The connection they’d formed was too strong to ignore.

Some part of the meld must have lingered, because Liara answered Shepard’s unspoken question. “You know, my next semester hasn’t started yet. Perhaps a brief sabbatical to learn about human culture would contribute more to my education?”

“You wanna learn about humans?” Shepard chuckled.

“Besides the fact that at least some of you are amazing lovers? Yes.”

Shepard tore herself away from Liara’s throat—because the temptation of her lips was even more intoxicating. She kissed the omega softly but deeply, taking plenty of time to savor the taste of Liara’s mouth. “I could show you Earth, if you want,” she said when the kiss finally broke. “Plenty of humans and aliens there for you to study.”

Liara’s eyes, which had faded back to their former blue, now  widened in surprise. “Oh, my mother will be furious!” Before Shepard had a chance to feel disappointed, a positively devious smile spread across the asari’s innocent face. “An added bonus, I suppose.”

“Are you sure you really want to do this?” Shepard asked. “There are other asari outcasts on Earth, but Thessia is your home…”

“Honestly, I’ve been looking for an excuse to leave here for years.” Liara reached up, caressing Shepard’s cheek with a soft hand. “It seems that the universe has been kind enough to provide me with the perfect one.”

Shepard grinned. She wasn’t sure if she believed in fate, but meeting Liara was definitely challenging her perceptions. “We don’t have to make a run for it right away though, do we? Like, we aren’t in any danger for the next few days…”

“Oh, no! In fact, my mother and the staff will, erm… expect me to enjoy your company during my heat.” Liara’s expression became apologetic, but Shepard reassured her with another kiss.

“Aw, don’t be upset. Free room and board while I mate with the most beautiful asari in the galaxy isn’t exactly a hardship.”

Liara seemed relieved. “Good.” She hesitated, then sank her fingers into Shepard’s hair, combing it tenderly. “I still have a lot to learn about humans and their mating practices, after all.”

Shepard leaned into the touch, shivering with renewed arousal. She’d thought she was exhausted, but feeling Liara pet her hair had her cock twitching again, even before her knot had even finished deflating. “Well, I hope I’m a decent teacher.”

Liara’s irises darkened, swirling with a shining black light. “I have no doubt you will be. Besides, I can assure you that I am an excellent student.”