A violent coughing fit woke Thane back to conscious, combined with the horrible ache all over his body. His hands clenched and he tugged only to find them cuffed behind his back. There were better ways to wake up.
He struggled to sit up and take a deep breath. His lungs ached, constricting almost in protest. Not too far away, he could hear water dripping, and he could feel the weight of the humidity in the room. Heavy, unmoving, suffocating.
Once upright, his back to the wall, he took the chance to survey his surroundings and try to distract himself from the pain. Dark gray walls with neon blue lights at the corners, dirty, dark floor, a glass wall. On the other side of the wall, all he saw was part of the hallway.
To his right, much to his relief, was Shepard. She was still out. A large bruise covered the side of her face, and a dark, angry red line marred her lip from where it was busted. Neither was more concerning than the fact her armor was gone, and she was left in only her under garments.
He tugged against his restraints, despite knowing it was pointless.
Shepard was the only person in the cell with him, meaning their other companion might have gotten away. Kasumi was a stealthy individual, and intelligent enough that he trusted her to be able to help them. As dark as the situation looked, he was confident things would not remain as they were for long.
They just had to endure until then.
Shepard groaned and her head rolled to the side. Her brows scrunched together as she started to come to consciousness. He watched as her arms flexed, as she realized she was bound like he was. Her eyes shot open. Panic. Anger. Fear.
Her eyes met his. Relief. He almost wanted to say she worried too much, but in this situation, he could not fault her too much.
“Thane…” Shepard exhaled, then tugged again, the muscles in her arms flexing as she did. “Fuck. Where—Fucking Batarians… Where the fuck is my—Never mind. Are you alright?”
Thane nodded, glancing off in the direction of the dripping water. He couldn’t see it, but the sound was incessant.
“Finally awake, are you?” Thane’s attention snapped to the glass wall. A pale Batarian leaned against the glass, his mouth curled into a twisted smirk. “Commander fucking Shepard. Never thought I’d get to see you like this.”
“Keep staring, I’ll make sure it’s the last thing you ever see.” There was a bite to her voice. There often was when she was dealing with Batarians, but not like this.
The memory crashed into him. Calloused hands shaking, gaze to the floor. Her voice trembles just the barest bit, almost unnoticeable. “I was sixteen,”she says. “Batarian slavers. The people they didn’t take, they killed. I was lucky.”
Thane shut his eyes and exhaled. Her words echoed on a loop in his mind. I was lucky.
“Boss hasn’t decided what to do with you, yet,” the Batarian said. “But I’ve got a few ideas.”
“I’m sure you do,” Shepard said with a snort.
The Batarian chuckled and walked away. A few moments later, a door on the other side of the cell opened and he stepped in with an overly confident swagger. Gun on his left hip, hand on his belt. He walked past him, ignoring him entirely, and knelt in front of Shepard.
“You look so small without your armor,” he said. Thane clenched his hands into fists and sneered. “Are all humans so fragile?”
“I’ll fucking show you fragile.”
The Batarian laughed, grabbing her foot as she tried to kick him. Thane watched her eyes narrow and just barely caught her attention. He gave her a slow nod, a silent agreement made between them, and watched as she slammed her foot into the Batarian’s palm.
While Shepard distracted him, Thane shifted and got on his back, then rocked and shifted his arms until his hands were now in front of him. He could hear her throwing insults and curses, providing cover in the best way she could now. He couldn’t help smirking, just a little. They worked well together, and had from the moment they met.
Shepard’s words died and were replaced with a choked sound. Thane’s attention snapped over to see the Batarian’s hand on her throat, barely an inch between them. Her foot pressed against his abdomen, but it did little good in the position she was in. Thane lunged forward, then brought his hands over the Batarian’s head and down to bring his forearm against his throat.
“Let her go.”
The Batarian released her throat and held his hands up, keeping them visible.
“Now, now, no one has to get hurt,” he said. “I just wanted to see what it was like.”
Before Thane could say anything, the Batarian slammed his head back against him, hitting him square in the chest and sending him flat on his back, bringing him with him. Another coughing fit ripped through his chest, sending a crawling, creeping pain from his sides to his lungs and up his throat.
He could taste blood, filling his mouth, as the Batarian maneuvered his arm in his moment of weakness, and freed himself.
“Thane!” He heard Shepard shout. ““You son of a bitch!”
“Drell are such miserable creatures,” the Batarian said, though he barely heard him over his own coughing. “Maybe I should put this one out of his misery.”
“Don’t you fucking darelay a hand on him,” Shepard growled. “Or I’ll personally pluck out all four of your eyes and fucking feed them to you.”
At that, the Batarian laughed.