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Scene 1- Enter the Matriarch

Normandy SR3, Commander’s Quarters…

 

"JANE!"

Shepard sat bolt up in bed; her afternoon nap suddenly interrupted. She had thought it would be all right to take downtime while docked at the newly repaired Citadel, but apparently, fate had other plans. "Huh, what!?"

Liara rushed about the room, straightening and organizing everything she passed. "Get up. My father will be here any minute, and you're still not dressed!"

The Commander rubbed her face with one hand, blurry eyes struggling to focus on the hurricane that was Liara. "Honey, she won't be here until tomorrow."

After the attacks on the Citadel, Aethyta had decided to find employment elsewhere, and after Liara agreed to spend more time with her, the Matriarch had asked Shepard to let her stay on board the Normandy for a month. The Commander had said yes… though Liara had thrown a fit.

"Jane, it IS tomorrow!"

"Huh?" Shepard looked at the clock, and her brow knit in confusion when she noted the date. "What? I just took a nap…"

"Fifteen hours ago! I know you needed sleep, and after everything that's happened, I don't blame you… but you have got to get up now!" She went back to stacking data-pads on the desk and pushing gun parts around.

Shepard pulled her sore, stiff body out of bed and trudged over to get some clothes for after her shower.

Liara hurried to clean up the mess on the table in front of the sofa while her bondmate showered, and had just finished when her bondmate stepped out, fully dressed and squeaky clean, if a bit damp. The maiden wasn't much better off, having worked up quite a sweat.

The door chimed.

Shepard smiled; glad they had made it just in time. She was still a little sore, but not all of it was from the long sleep. Her beautiful wife had spent two hours yesterday writhing beneath her before she'd fallen into her lengthy tour of duty in La-La-Land, and she was still feeling it in her back and her ass… but it was totally worth it.

Liara grinned back, pleased her bondmate was well. She had been worried about how tired she'd been after the war, but it seemed that all she'd needed was love, great sex, and a long, uninterrupted, fifteen hours of sleep.

The chime went off a second time, shaking Liara from her thoughts. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door.

"Took you long enough. You two in here doing the horizontal mambo?"

Liara closed her eyes, sighing at her father's usual vulgarity, while she heard Shepard make a small choking noise behind her. "No, father, we were not."

Aethyta made her way into the room, past her daughter and the Commander, stopping next to the fish tank, with a pointed look at the bed. "Uh-huh."

Looking past the Matriarch, Liara's eyes fell on the bed… or rather, the completely unmade, tangled and twisted mass of covers and sheets that was supposed to be their bed.

"Goddess." She ran over and started hurriedly straightening the mess, blushing furiously. "We were NOT doing that."

"Well, why the hell not?" Aethyta made her way over and sat down on the corner of the messy bed, halting Liara's attempts to pull the covers into shape. "Shepard's not a one-hitter quitter, is she?"

Liara knit her brows together. "A what?"

Aethyta looked at her daughter-in-law. "You've been giving my kid regular virginity inoculations, right?"

Shepard was turning an interesting shade of red. "Uh…"

Liara didn't understand the phrases but assumed (correctly) that her father was saying something horribly embarrassing and tried to steer the conversation to a different subject. "How are you settling in? Are the quarters arranged to your satisfaction?"

"I got a bed and a bar, that's all I need. I'm more worried about your satisfaction… or lack thereof." She tilted her head to the side. "I just don't understand it. You're both in shape, young, healthy… no reason you should have to paddle the purple canoe alone."

Shepard was still blushing, but her shock was wearing off enough for her brain to turn on. "Pink," she corrected.

"It's purple," Aethyta argued.

"For a human it's…"

"Well, Liara isn't a human, is she? Are we really having this argument again? If you don't want it in azure, I'm sure you could find it somewhere else in another color." Suddenly the Matriarch turned to her daughter. "She does that for you, right!? The azure kiss?""

"Goddess, father!" Liara covered her face with both her hands. When she spoke, her voice was muffled. "Yes, she does that, everything is fine, nothing is lacking in our love life, can we please change the subject of conversation?"

Aethyta let out a sigh of relief. "Thank the damn Goddess!" She turned back to the human. "Shepard, you know this isn't anything against you… I just have to be sure my girl is being taken care of."

Shepard just nodded dumbly.

"There's a lot of things I'd be willing to forgive you for not doing, but there are just some things a woman's gotta do for her bondmate… like airing the orchid."

"Airing the…" Liara sighed. Sometimes talking to her father felt like someone trying to explain mass effect theory to a Vorcha without a translator… and Liara was the Vorcha.

The Commander took issue with the Matriarch's assumption that she didn't do everything she should for her daughter.

"Now hang on just a damn minute."

"Jane…"

Shepard crossed her arms over her chest. "No Liara, let me say this. Aethyta, I love your daughter. I would and will do anything and everything for her… she knows if she wants something that I'm not already giving her, she can just ask, no matter what it is… and I'll do it."

The Matriarch sighed. "That's was I was afraid of.'

"What?"

"Liara is just like her mother, and if I remember anything about my time with Nezzie, it's what went on in the bedroom."

Liara's hands covered her face again.

"That woman was the most pompous, uptight, holier than thou Asari on all of Thessia… but when we locked that door at night, she was putty in my hands. Oh, she was bossy, don't misunderstand… but not in the bedroom. She liked to be overpowered a little, liked when I made her mine."

Shepard swallowed hard.

Liara moved her hands to cover her ears instead but kept her eyes shut tight.

"But one thing she never had the strength to do was ask me for anything. She was too afraid I'd think she wasn't happy with how things were, so when she wanted to try something different, she kept it to herself. I only ever found out because I caught a glimpse of it one night when we were joining. Her walls were shaky, and I… may have prodded a little."

"Father!"

Aethyta turned. "What!? We'd been together almost two hundred years, by then she shouldn't have had any damn walls left… I sure as Hell didn't." The Matriarch turned back to Shepard. "Point is, you're not an Asari… you can't poke around in her mind as easily as I could her mother's… which means, if there is something she's hiding from you out of fear or embarrassment, then you'll never find it. So she has to tell you, or you'll never know… so you tell me right now… has she ever asked you for anything?"

Shepard looked at Liara, then back at her father-in-law. "Yes."

"And?"

"And I did it for her."

"Good." The Matriarch nodded. "So… what was it?"

Liara made a strangled noise.

The Commander coughed. "Uh..."

"Why you humans are so damn shy when it comes to talking about sex, I'll never know… you sure do it often enough." She turned to her daughter. "You, on the other hand… sometimes I wonder if Benezia had my genes removed from your DNA after you were born… you sure as hell don't act like any kid I ever expected to have."

Liara grinned a little at that. "And you don't act like the father I expected to have."

Aethyta laughed and looked down, grinning. Her gaze remained at her feet, and she tilted her head to the side.

Shepard and Liara both regarded their guest curiously.

The Matriarch leaned forward and reached under the edge of the sheets hanging half in the floor, pooling at the foot of the bed, and grabbed the black strap attached to a harness complete with a very… large… toy. Lifting it up, she looked between the mortified faces of Shepard and her daughter. "Are you serious? This thing fits inside her?"

Liara was frozen in place, her hands clamped over her open mouth, eyes shut tight.

The Commander was looking very pale. She had never fainted in her life, but if she was being honest, right then… she felt a bit dizzy.

"Damn Shepard… I'm sorry I implied you hadn't been performing your bondmate duties… I didn't know you'd been slippin' her the crippler over here." The Matriarch tossed the toy onto the covers, with Liara snatching it up and shoving under the bed instantly. "Me and Nezzie had a lot of fun with one of these, let me tell you…"

The door chimed.

"I'll get it!" Shepard and Liara said in unison as they both rushed over to the door.

When it opened, Ashley Williams was greeted with the sight of a very flustered looking doctor, and a very tense looking commander. "You two getting it on?"

"Goddess!" Liara turned, about to walk away, then realized her choices were between Ashley and her father. She wisely remained at her bondmate's side.

Shepard mustered her best 'commanding officer' voice. "Report, Williams."

The knowing grin was wiped off her face in a heartbeat. The Marine snapped to attention. "Aye, Commander. You said to inform you the minute Aria T'Loak was onboard the Normandy."

Shepard nodded, turning to Liara.

The Matriarch had meandered up to the group, curious. "You let Aria T'Loak onboard your ship… intentionally?"

Shepard leaned back against the doorframe. "Yeah, turns out Aria has it in for Cerberus, and since we were going after them anyway, she told me she was… I mean, she asked if she could come along."

Aethyta looked at the commander dubiously. "Asked?"

"Yeah… sort of." Looking back at Ashley, Shepard crossed her arms. "Did she clear security?"

Williams nodded. "Yeah, sort of."

Shepard rolled her eyes. "What happened? I said we had weapons on board for her to use."

"Oh no, she didn't bring any weapons, it wasn't that." Ashley grinned. "She wasn't exactly patient enough to stand there while the scanner took its sweet time, and she didn't appreciate the marines standing guard having a conversation like she wasn't even there. I get the feeling Aria T'Loak isn't often made to wait… and even less often is she ignored."

Shepard shook her head. "What did you do with her?"

Ashley bit her lip before answering. "Well, she was rather upset, and I figured you'd want me to keep her happy, and prevent her from tearing Private Westmorland in half with her biotics so… I might have mentioned you had a bottle of Novarian rum behind the bar in starboard observation."

The Commander smiled. "Good thinking, Chief."

Williams grinned back. "No problem, Skipper."

"Well, I guess you need to go handle that." Aethyta nodded to Liara. "Don't worry about us, I'm sure me and the kid here will find something to talk about."

The maiden stiffened, looking quickly at her bondmate. "Oh, I'm sure Jane doesn't have to leave." The hopefulness in her voice was hard to miss.

It was true, Shepard didn't actually have to speak to Aria today…

"You shouldn't keep her from her work, Little Wing. C'mon, I'll tell you about the first time your mom and I tried uphill gardening."

"Uphill gardening?" The maiden sounded confused.

Shepard clenched her ass.

"I should go."

**********************

Scene 2- Enter the Matron

Two days later…

 

Shepard closed her eyes, took three deep calming breaths, and straightened to her full height before activating the door to the starboard observation lounge and stepping into the room.

"… bent over her desk!?"

The Commander stumbled but caught herself before she fell.

"Are you serious!?"

"She didn't fight you!?"

"In the front or the back?"

Silence.

All those that had been listening to Aria T'Loak's story, Ashley Williams, Garrus Vakarian, Tali'Zorah, Liara T'Soni, and now Jane Shepard… all turned to stare in abject horror at the Matriarch chillin' behind the bar.

Realizing all eyes were now on her, Aethyta cocked her head back. "What?"

Again, silence.

"… it's a valid question."

The Commander, whose expression remained half shock, and half cringe, finally tore her eyes away from her father-in-law and looked over at her bondmate… who was turning an alarming shade of purple. Her mouth hung open slightly, as she struggled to think of something to say, and failed miserably.

Aria, who had claimed the couch for herself, decided to speak, her expression not one of shock, but of smug mirth. Though it was meant for everyone, she directed her statement to the Matriarch. "Wouldn't you like to know."

Aethyta scoffed. "You can't say you fucked the Asari Councilor over her own desk and not tell us which hole it was in."

The room remained in stunned, breathless silence as the two oldest Asari bickered.

"I shouldn't have even told you that much, consider yourself lucky I was feeling generous." The Queen of Omega let her voice convey her feeling of superiority to those gathered, as she leaned back further against the cushions, her usual look of boredom settling across her features. It was obvious to everyone that the discussion was over.

Everyone except Aethyta.

"That's a damn cop-out, and you know it! You don't brag about a top-shelf conquest like that, then back down when people start asking for details." The Matriarch leaned forward, her elbow on the bar. "So spill, T'Loak. Were you plowin' the backfield or what?"

Even the great Aria T'Loak was stunned into silence at that.

It was at this moment that Commander Jane Shepard realized she was doomed. Her new father-in-law had just embarrassed the most powerful criminal in the Terminus System… with dirty talk.

Shepard looked once more at Liara, who stared back at her, those blue eyes pleading with her to be rescued. Shepard glanced at the still waiting Matriarch, and then back at her bondmate. The maiden, having seen her demeanor change, was now giving her a warning look. 'I'm really gonna get it later.' The commander gave her an apologetic half-smile, the young Asari now glaring daggers at her.

"I should go."

************************


Scene 3- Enter the Pureblood

Five days later…

 

Walking into the starboard observation lounge, Shepard suddenly stopped, strongly tempted to back up out of the room.

"It's fucking Varren-shit."

In the middle of the room stood Aria T'Loak, looking furious, surrounded by wisps of biotic energy. She wasn't directing her anger at anyone in specific… well, not anyone who was currently present anyway.

Liara, who was perched on the edge of the couch, Omni-tool in hand, was looking mildly amused. "I see no reason for her to lie."

Aria turned to the maiden. "Exactly my point! Either she's lying now, or she's telling the truth, and she lied to me back then. Whichever way you look at it, she's a fucking liar." The matron began pacing back and forth. "Even if it was the truth, that's not how you break the news… you don't call your kid up 600 years later, and 'Hey dear, just wanted to say hi… oh, by the way…'" She rolled her eyes. "Bitch is just screwing with me." She was talking more to herself now. "I know she is… she was bonded to the damn Hanar when I was born! You don't just up and bond with someone unless the two of you have been fucking."

Shepard snickered. "Your father was a Hanar?"

Aria stopped pacing to glare at her.

"So, what's your soul…"

"Shepard, I swear to Goddess if you finish that fucking sentence, I'm going to throw you out your own fucking airlock." The Asari's biotics flared brighter.

Liara leaned to the side a little to look past Aria at her bondmate. "She doesn't have a soul name; her father wasn't actually Hanar." The slight grin on the maiden's face was contagious, at least to the Commander.

Aria spun to face her. "I just told you that wasn't true!"

Liara shook her head. "Aria, the blood test doesn't lie."

The matron looked askance. "You just said it wasn't complete yet!"

"It's not, but I can tell just by looking at the DNA… the lack of any other racial traits validates your mother's story… Aria, I'm very sorry…" The barely concealed amusement in her voice betrayed her true feelings, "… but your farther was another Asari."

"Varren-shit!" The matron returned to her pacing. "I'm not a fucking pureblood."

The Commander looked over at the strangely silent Aethyta standing behind the bar, wondering if the older Asari would take issue with the fuming matron's remark. However, the woman remained mute... though it was obvious the scene before her had her full attention. Despite the fact that her eyes never lingered on anyone specific for too long, she was distracted by the conversation enough not to notice she was cleaning the same glass for the third time.

Liara reached out, touching the matron's arm as she walked past, tilting her head to look up at her. "Aria, calm down. We will know for certain who your father is once my filters have run your DNA through the Asari Republic database." Her voice was comforting, trying to calm the other woman. "It's not such a horrible thing, you know."

Aria looked at her in confusion. "What isn't?"

Liara's smile was small and shy, if a bit self-deprecating. "Being a pureblood."

This time Shepard was ready to jump to her defense, but Liara spoke again.

"Besides, you've changed your name so many times, no one will know. In fact, we were surprised to learn you were the daughter of Matriarch Anya N'Shar."

Aria gave her a dubious look. "The Shadow Broker didn't know she was my mother?"

Liara smiled, this time it was genuine. "Well, perhaps *I* wasn't surprised, but everyone else was at least."

Aria sighed. "I guess I can't call you pureblood anymore."

A beep from Liara's omni-tool signaled the completion of her search and alerted her to a 100% familial match.

Aria strode over to her, stopping dead in front of the seated maiden, towering over her. "Well?"

Liara stared at the information, disbelief, confusion, and shock all vying for position on her face. "This isn't right."

The impatient matron leaned forward and tilted her head to read the upside-down display. "Well who the fu…"

Silence.

Shepard waited in fear. She didn't have to wait long.

"WHAT THE FUCK!?"

Liara jumped when Aria cursed but was otherwise in complete agreement. "Is… is this true?"

The Commander watched as both of the women turned to stare at the Asari behind the bar.

"Uh…" The Matriarch spoke softly. "… Yeah."

Aria was the first to find her voice. "You knocked up my mom!?"

Liara spoke as well. "And what of my mother, was she just another fling to you?"

Aethyta held up a hand at that. "Now hold on a minute. First of all, I didn't meet Nezzie until three hundred years after things were over with Anya, and she didn't have you until two hundred years after that. Second, don't ever question my love for your mother. She was my reason for living. Those were the best two hundred years of my life, and I'd give up anything except you if I could go back and do it all again."

The honest and heartfelt words struck deep in Liara, but the reality of the situation was still somewhat alarming.

Aria glanced between the two other Asari. "What about my mother?"

Aethyta pulled her gaze from Liara. "Oh, Anya? Yeah… she was just a fling."

Aria's jaw dropped.

The Matriarch looked at her in confusion. "What? That's the way she wanted it. A few quick romps and we went our separate ways. I'd heard she'd fallen in bed with a Hanar not too long after. Believe me, I was shocked to learn they'd bound wrists. Kinda made me a little insecure. I've always been proud of my performance in the bedroom… I guess her getting bonded made me think I hadn't been up to snuff. And to lose out to a Hanar! Yeah, I was licking my wounds for a while after that one."

Liara and Shepard were both looking back and forth between the two other women, neither really certain what to say about the unbelievable situation they'd found themselves in.

Aethyta continued. "Well, I guess I know now why she bound wrists with her next conquest… she must have just found out she was pregnant."

"Wait," Shepard interrupted. "… I thought Asari couldn't 'accidentally' get pregnant."

The Matriarch scoffed. "Well, that's what you get for thinking."

"Huh?"

She rolled her eyes at the human. "Asari can have accidents too, dick-bag. Sometimes really great sex can cause people to get over-excited and start mapping genes."

Liara spoke to her bondmate. "It's not common, but it does happen."

"Pfft." Aethyta crossed her arms over her chest. "Not common my ass. That's twice now I've gotten my partner so turned on they mapped my DNA, and I've only been with three Asari… if it’s happening two-thirds of the time that says to me it's more than fucking common."

Liara was horrified. "I… I was an accident!?"

Aethyta had a smug grin on her face. "Sweetheart, your mom may have been all prim and proper, but she could be a wildcat in the bedroom… and she got wild for only one reason…" She smirked, her chest swelling proudly. "… Me."

A blush covered the maiden's face, and she was beginning to look a little queasy.

Aethyta continued. "Anya on the other hand… she was wild all the time, lots of partners… well, more than most maidens had. I know for a fact that Benezia never had it as good as I gave it to her… but I must admit, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for getting Anya N'Shar flustered enough to map my DNA."

Aria was still struggling to compute this sick twist of fate, and she finally spoke again. "How is that possible?"

The Matriarch leaned against the bar, a sarcastic lilt to her words. "If you don't know that by now, then you're not doing it right." Seeing no one else was going to say anything, Aethyta spoke again. "See, when two Asari fall in love…"

Shepard met Liara's suddenly fearful gaze. 'Sorry, honey.'

"I should go."

 

************************


Scene 4- Enter the Matriarch… again

Two weeks later…

 

"I probably shouldn't have told her… but I honestly didn't believe she'd investigate, much less come find you." Matriarch Anya N'Shar leaned against the cushions of 'Aria's' couch in starboard observation. She was in the corner, turned sideways with one leg over the other, one arm in her lap, the other outstretched along the back headrest, her hand idly stroking her daughter's neck folds like she did when she was young.

Aria was busy trying to look pissed, but her body remembered the Matriarch's motherly touch, and despite her immense irritation, it was relaxing her.

Liara was sitting on the right of N'Shar, trying not to smile at the Queen of Omega looking more like a princess.

"Well, she didn't exactly seek me out… I was in the room when Liara broke the happy news." Aethyta's sarcasm was dry, but she had a smirk threatening to turn up the corner of her mouth. "I do see the irony… second unintentional offspring reveals parentage to first unintentional offspring… that'll teach you not to sleep with other Asari."

Aethyta brought Anya a drink, then sat down between her and Liara, putting an arm around her daughter's shoulders. "But I don't regret one minute of it." And for the first time in either of their lives, the father kissed her baby's forehead.

Anya was smiling at the reunited family beside her and turned to look at her own daughter, who was also watching the scene with interest, and a hint of a smile.

It was gone the second the doors opened.

Shepard stopped in front of the table, looking at the four Asari gathered together, a huge grin plastered across her face. "This has the makings of a really good holo-photo."

Aria held up her empty glass. "And this has the makings of a really good face shredder."

Shepard's smile fell.

N'Shar swatted the back of her daughter's head. "Be nice."

Aria grumbled.

The Matriarch turned to the Commander. "I'd like to thank you again for coming by Thessia to pick me up… I so very rarely get to see my baby."

Shepard grinned again, tickled pink at Aria's antics. "It was no trouble; we were in the neighborhood."

The purple Asari glanced at Liara quickly, then smiled at Shepard. "Ah yes… how was that second honeymoon on Nevos?"

"Nowhere near long enough." The Commander grinned.

"Shepard!" Liara gave her wife a look of disbelief, before addressing the Matriarch. "It was a lovely location, though I'm not surprised. It came highly recommended."

Aria's head whipped around, sending the maiden a warning glare complete with a pointed glance at Anya.

Liara relented. "Our first was on Earth."

"That one wasn't long enough either," Shepard cut in.

"Jane!" The maiden was becoming exasperated, but her small grin never faltered.

"Glad you're finally getting the idea." Aethyta nodded in approval of her daughter-in-law's newfound feisty side.

Anya spoke again. "I agree. Enjoy this time while you have it. Once the baby is born, your sex life will disappear for a while. Trust me."

"Baby!?" Aethyta jumped slightly next to her.

Anya chuckled. "Relax, Aethy, it's not yours."

"How did you know I was pregnant?" Liara glanced at her bondmate, who shrugged, just as baffled. Then she knit her brow and sighed once realization dawned. She looked at her bondmate, raising a brow… giving her time to form the same conclusion. It didn't take long.

In unison, they turned their eyes to the Queen of Omega.

Aria smirked.

Liara smirked right back. Two could play at that game. If Aria didn't have to keep pillow talk to herself, then she and Shepard didn't need to either. "Aria… what a lovely bracelet… is it new?"

The matron's smirk was wiped off her face, leaving only complete terror in its wake.

Anya and Aethyta both looked over at the woven band, and immediately realized what it was. Aria caught them looking and hid her hand by crossing her arms.

"Was that…?" Aethyta paused, not trusting herself to say the words out loud without laughing the blue off her ass.

"It's nothing." Aria's clipped tone told the Matriarchs everything they needed to know.

"We know a bondmate bracelet when we see one, honey." Anya smiled gently at the brooding matron. "May I see it again?"

"No." Aria sounded absolutely petulant.

The Matriarch sighed. "Well, may I at least know the name of the person who claimed my daughter's wrist?"

Aria was quiet for a few moments. When she did speak, it was almost a whisper. "Thea."

Anya smiled brightly. "A beautiful name… an Asari name." She began rubbing her baby's neck again. "In fact, my good friend's daughter is named Thea. You remember Matriarch Sasha?" She directed this to Aethyta.

"Sasha Tevos?"

Aria's entire body tensed. 'Shit'

Anya continued. "That's her… her daughter is Thea Tevos, our representative on the Galactic Council."

Aethyta's jaw dropped. In hindsight, it probably would have been wise not to say anything. But she never really planned ahead. She lived in the moment. You had to, at her age.

"You fucked the Asari councilor over her desk, and she ended up bonding with you!?"

Anya was affronted until she realized Aethyta was talking to her daughter. "Aria?"

The criminal stood, and walked away from the couch, staring out the viewport with her arms crossed over her chest, her back to the others present.

Anya rose as well and went to her daughter. Standing beside her, the Matriarch tilted her head to get a better look at her baby's face.

Aria's voice was soft again. "You're disappointed."

Anya smiled. "No…" She took her daughter's chin between her fingers and turned her head, forcing the matron to look at her. "You're bonded… I had thought this day would never come." She kissed her forehead.

"And I'm pleased to learn you've found yourself someone reputable, though I doubt Sasha will be quite as thrilled with the situation. I only have one complaint…"

The room was silent.

"You didn't invite me to the ceremony."

Aria released a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. "We eloped. We didn't want to risk anyone finding out about us. She shouldn't lose her career and everything she's worked for just because she fell in love with another Asari… maybe if it hadn't been me…"

"Don't torture yourself with 'what ifs'… just enjoy the happiness you've found." Looking at Liara out of the corner of her eye, the Matriarch grinned at Aria. "So, how long are you going to make me wait until I get to be a grandmother?"

The criminal stiffened.

Everyone else in the room laughed at her discomfort.

Aria glared at them all, then stalked back over to the couch, returning to her seat to brood.

"So…" Anya sat next to her daughter. "On her desk, huh?"

Liara wished she'd had better lighting and a holo-camera so she could record what must be the rarest sight in the galaxy: Aria T'Loak blushing.

Aethyta answered for Aria. "Yeah, she bent her over and had at it." She chuckled at Aria's glare.

Anya asked *the* question. "In the front, or the back?"

Laughter.

Aria was not amused.

Aethyta felt vindicated. "Somebody, probably famous, said something about great minds once…"

Aria wasn't in the mood. "I think that phrase must have originally said something about dirty minds…"

Anya shook her head. "Says the Asari who had an illicit affair with a high-ranking government official on a desk."

Shepard grinned, glancing at Liara. They shared a look. 'Anya doesn't know the half of it…'

Liara bit her lip. She would never forget the day she had received the holo-vid recording the entire session.

"Hey, your methods are unique, but you bagged yourself a wealthy, powerful, great looking Asari, so that proves they are effective. You did better than anyone expected… lotta people underestimated you." Aethyta nodded to Aria. "I'm damn proud of you, kid."

In abstract, Aria had known for weeks that Aethyta was her sire, but it wasn't until this moment that the reality actually hit her. This was her father… and she was proud of her. "Thanks."

Aethyta nodded.

"… Dad."

Liara was having a similar moment of clarity. Aria was her sister. A half-sister, but a sister, nonetheless. A big sister. A criminal… the Queen of Omega. She idly wondered if she was allowed a royal title as well. She was the Shadow Broker, after all. Queen of Hagalaz perhaps?

Anya smiled at her daughter. "Honey, I know you've always thought you disappointed me, but that's not true. I may be a Matriarch, but I'm not so old as to forget how much trouble I caused when I was your age."

Aria rolled her eyes. "How many respectable politicians did you bend over their desks?"

"Well, none that I recall." She pursed her lips.

"That's what I thought." Aria shook her head.

"Wait, does it count if I was the one being bent over?"

Aethyta howled with laughter.

"As a matter of fact, that one was your doing, Aethy."

The other Matriarch grinned. "Yep, that was our… second time in your boss's office?"

Anya nodded. "That was the first time you wore that new style Turian model we'd picked out my last payday."

Aria stood, deciding to pull a page from Shepard's book.

"I should go."

 

************************


Scene 5- Enter the Matriarch again and again and again

Six days later…

 

"Here we stand… worlds apart, hearts broken in two… two… two…"

The music was loud enough to cover the moans as the joining, and the two bodies, gained momentum.

"Sleepless nights… losing ground I'm reaching for you… you… you…"

Illuminated by starlight, a strong hand slid down soft skin, teasing the surface with its nails.

"Feelin' that it's gone… can change your mind…"

A sharp intake of breath as teeth scraped a purple shoulder, and the mark was soothed by lips and tongue.

"If we can't go on… to survive the tide… love divides…"

Experienced fingers sliding effortlessly into slick heat, a warm thigh draping over a pressing hip.

"Someday love will find you… break those chains that bind you… one night will remind you… how we touched and went our separate ways…"

A strong arm around a back for support, helping to pull the body harder against the thrusting hand.

"If he ever hurts you… true love won't desert you… you know I still love you… though we touched and went our separate ways…"

The moaning grew muffled as dark purple lips fought to mark the supple neck, teasing them with its closeness.

"Troubled times… caught between confusion and pain… pain… pain…"

Sharp nails dug harshly into muscled arms, taut with effort, straining with each push, with each pull.

"Distant eyes… promises we made were in vain… in vain… vain…"

Breast against breast, face to face, mingling breath and stolen kisses… black eyes and fluttering lashes.

"If you must go, I wish you love… you'll never walk alone… take care, my love… miss you love…"

A figure suddenly entered the room.

Shepard stopped dead in her tracks, staring at someone's naked ass. 'Talk about a blue moon…'

She idly wondered for a moment why the figure was rocking against the bar.

It was then that she first noticed a purple leg tossed casually over one of the deep blue hips.

And it all clicked.

The Commander gasped in surprise.

Aethyta looked over her shoulder at the commander, not for one second stopping what she was doing. "You need something Shepard, or you just here to admire my technique?"

Just when Shepard thought she couldn't be more shocked; the other woman's face came into view.

"Matriarch Anya!?"

The Asari clung to the still rocking body of Aethyta, sparing Shepard a grin. "You just gonna stand there and watch, honey… or were you hoping for an invitation?"

Aethyta grunted, talking beside the other Matriarch's crest. "Try not to get knocked up this time, yeah?"

The look on Shepard's face screamed 'scarred for life'.

Anya gave the human a wink.

The Commander swallowed.

"I should go."

 

***************************


Epilogue - Exit the Matriarch

One day later…

 

Aria stood at the bar, mirroring the position of Aethyta behind it, two shot glasses, and a bottle of Ryncol between them.

Liara was standing a safe distance away, conversing quietly with Matriarch Anya when the door opened.

No one entered.

"Uh… anyone in there?" Shepard's voice came from beyond the doorway.

"Yes?"

Hearing Liara's voice, the Commander poked her head in the room. "Hey."

"Hey yourself." Liara watched her bondmate enter, curious as to why she had seemed afraid to do so sooner.

"Matriarch." Shepard nodded stiffly to Anya.

"Commander." The Asari returned the gesture with a smirk.

Liara raised a brow.

Shepard saw the look and, wanting to avoid this conversation for as long as possible, pretended not to notice.

"Well, we should be touching down on Thessia in the next few minutes."

Aethyta spoke up as she took a shot of the powerful alcohol. "The Matriarchal Council is no doubt eagerly awaiting the return of their wayward representative of Serrice… Hell, they probably sent an honor guard. Don't expect they'll be too happy to see my ass, though."

The Commander glanced towards the bar. "Hey, where did you get Ryncol? That's not allowed on Alliance ships."

Aethyta scoffed as she poured another shot. "No wonder I sell so damn much of it then. This happens to be part of my personal collection… that bottle is older than Liara."

Aria picked up her newly refilled glass and downed it like a pro. Aethyta did the same, then started pouring another set.

Shepard walked over to Aria. "You handling that stuff ok?"

The Queen of Omega gave her a withering look. "I know you humans can't hold your liquor, but don't ascribe your species' inadequacies to me just because we have a mildly similar physical appearance… the Asari have far superior physiology." She knocked back another.

"Wow, you're bitchy when you're drunk." Shepard laughed. "Well, superior physiology or not, you aren't a Krogan."

Aria smirked. "As a matter of fact, I'm one-fourth Krogan."

Aethyta was grinning like a fool.

"I thought it didn't work like that?"

Aethyta recycled her old phrase. "That's what you get for thinking."

Aria scoffed. "Yeah, what would you know about it?"

The Commander shook her head. The intoxicated father/daughter act was amusing, but she knew this couldn't end well.

"Okay, give me that bottle."

Two sets of biotics flared.

"Never mind."

Liara smiled at her bondmate when she returned from her failed mission to rid her ship of Ryncol. "Have fun?"

Shepard shook her head. "Those two are a mess."

Anya looked over at Aria interacting with her sire. "Yes, but they are a rather adorable mess, aren't they?"

Liara nodded in agreement.

Anya put her hand on the maiden's shoulder. "You will love being a mother, Liara… no matter how big she gets…" She glanced back at Aria. "… she will always be your baby girl."

"I can't wait. Jane swears I am already showing, but I think she just trying to rush it… as if her saying I seem further along than I actually am would somehow speed up the process…" She gave her bondmate a fond look.

Shepard grinned. "I'll admit… I am a bit impatient for little blue."

Anya raised a brow. "I do hope that is not the name you have picked out for her."

Liara laughed, shaking her head. "No, that is a… what is the term?"

"Inside joke."

"Ah, yes. She is referring to a promise she made me before the war… that once it was all over, and the galaxy was saved, our future would consist of 'marriage, old age, and lots of little blue children'. So far, she has kept her word." Liara kissed the commander's cheek.

Shepard pulled Liara into an embrace, sliding her arms around her bondmate's waist. "And I will continue to do so. Oh, I can't wait to have a mini-Liara running around in that park in Armali, digging for ruins in the grass."

Liara rubbed her nose against her Commander's. "I'm fearful that when it comes to discipline, you will be a… pushover?"

Biting her lip, Shepard shrugged. "You're probably right."

Liara and Shepard let their foreheads lean together.

Joker's voice cut in over the ship's intercom. "Commander, we've just completed docking procedures."

Shepard sighed. "Why is it every time I get you close, that damn pilot has to interrupt for some announcement?"

"I can still hear you, Commander." Joker sounded amused.

Liara pressed her head against Shepard's collarbone, hiding her smile from her bondmate.

The Commander was grinning too. "Thank you, Joker."

"Anytime."

"More like 'all the time'." She groused.

"I heard that." He responded.

Again, Shepard sighed.

Anya smiled at them and tried to bring them back to the discussion at hand. "So, what name have you picked out?"

The maiden answered with a smile of her own. "Jayla."

"What a beautiful name! Is it human?"

Liara smiled. "Yes, Jane picked it out because it sounds like a combination of our names… and because of how much it resembles an Asari name. She didn't want our daughter to feel out of place growing up on Thessia."

The Matriarch smiled. "An excellent choice, Commander. Your bondmate is greatly blessed to have you."

Shepard blushed.

Liara nodded in agreement. "Indeed I am."

The intercom came alive once more. "Commander, sorry to interrupt again."

"What is it now, Joker?" The Commander's mood was rapidly turning sour.

"The Asari Councilor has requested permission to board."

All eyes turned to Aria, who's drink had paused halfway along its journey to her lips. She seemed to be frozen.

Shepard spoke again. "The Galactic Council's Asari representative, Councilor Tevos?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

Liara furrowed her brows. "I wonder what she's doing on Thessia?"

"Perhaps she was visiting her mother?" Anya reasoned.

"Permission granted, Joker… offer her a tour of the ship, and let her know where to find me."

"Aye, Commander."

Everyone was still watching Aria, who it seemed had broken from her trance and had switched to water.

Lots of water.

Anya made her way over to her daughter, placing a hand on her back. "I am very excited to meet your bondmate. I haven't seen Thea in person since she was just a baby."

The matron was staring nervously at the counter.

"Listen, kid…" Aethyta leaned on her elbow. "If you don't… want her to know about me… I'll understand."

"I'm not ashamed of you."

The Matriarch was surprised at the certainty in her eldest daughter's voice.

"Neither am I." Liara smiled at her father.

Anya placed a hand on hers. "None of us are."

Aethyta rubbed the back of her own crest with her free hand. "Hell, ya'll sure do know how to make a girl blush."

Though she had every intention of later blaming the vast amount of Ryncol she'd ingested… even Aria wore a smile.

A room full of smiling faces greeted the councilor when she entered the starboard observation lounge. Surprisingly, her bondmate was among them. "Aria?"

"Thea." The criminal came over to her, taking the other matron's hands in her own, and kissing her cheek.

Tevos's blush was obvious. "Aria…" She wasn't expecting this sort of welcoming.

She was led over to the bar, stopping in front of two Matriarchs… one of which she recognized.

"Matriarch Aethyta." She nodded with respect.

The gesture was returned, and there was a small grin on the older woman's face, but she remained silent.

Thea turned to the other Matriarch, who seemed very familiar, but she could not place her.

"Thea." The Asari smiled at her. "I don't believe we've ever met in person since you've grown up… Anya N'Shar." She nodded, as was custom.

Thea could have hit herself for not remembering the Serrice representative from her yearly holo-conference with the Thessian Council, but in her defense, there were a lot of representatives. She bowed deeply. "Forgive me, Matriarch, I did not recognize you. My apologies."

"Unnecessary. There are far too many people to remember in politics these days." Her smile grew. "Your mother is a very old and dear friend of mine, you know… in fact, I held you when you were just a baby." She cupped the matron's cheek. "You have grown into such a beautiful woman, and an accomplished one at that. Sasha has much to be proud of."

Thea's blush deepened as she suddenly realized this woman had seen her earlier intimacy with Aria… and she not only served on the Thessian Council with her mother but was a close personal friend. It wouldn't be long before her mother would be calling her in a fit of rage at her choice in bondmate. 'Goddess.'

The Matriarch continued. "You were born only two years after my daughter… you even shared a playpen once." She shook her head. "If I had known then that you two would end up binding wrists…"

Thea's jaw dropped. Her head whipped around to stare at Aria in shock.

Aria only smiled, if a bit sheepishly.

"… I'd have been immensely pleased. Sasha, on the other hand… well, she won't react well to the news I would imagine. Perhaps it's best she not know just yet." Anya held apart her hands. "Now, may I have a hug from my new daughter-in-law?"

Thea stepped into the elder Asari's arms, a smile gracing her features. The feeling of acceptance washed over her just as did with the warmth of the motherly embrace.

Though everyone was trying to pay attention to the two women interacting, the tears in Aria's eyes proved a powerful distraction.

Shepard was in shock, Liara was looking smug, and Aethyta was fighting tears of her own.

As the two separated, Aria quickly wiped her eyes.

Thea turned to her bondmate. "You never told me who your mother was."

Aria shrugged. "It never really came up."

"You told me about your father."

"I only said what species my sire was… I don't think that qualifies as 'telling you about my father'… and anyway, that wasn't true." Aria leaned her back against the bar.

Thea's brow knit in confusion. "What do you mean?"

Before Aria could answer, Anya interrupted. "I suppose that was my fault." She spared a glance at her daughter. "I never told her who her real father was. It was easier to let her believe her sire was Hanar than to know the truth." She looked at Aethyta. "I didn't want her to be ridiculed for being the product of a sapphire joining."

Thea felt her mouth fall open. "Aria is…"

"A pureblood." To her credit, Aria didn't cringe too much when she said it, not wanting to hurt Liara's… her sister's… feelings.

Tevos stepped over to the matron and put her arms around her neck, kissing just behind her jaw. Pulling back, she stared at her lover. "You're just full of surprises, aren't you?”

Aria swallowed.

Her bondmate smiled. "It's alright… I like surprises."

Aethyta laughed. "Good thing, ‘cause we got one more."

Anya laughed with her, looking at her daughter. "Do you want to tell her, or should we?" She motioned to the other Matriarch.

Aria shook her head. "No, I got it." She slid her arms tighter around her bondmate's waist. "Thea, when my mother told me the truth, I went looking for my sire… and I found her."

Thea had slid her arms down, pressing her palms against the matron's upper chest. "Where?"

Aria smirked. "Behind the bar."

The Asari in her arms stiffened.

Aethyta nodded. "Yeah…"

The shock was clearly written across Thea's face. "You're… Aethyta's daughter? With…" She turned her surprised eyes to the other Matriarch. "Anya… you… you bonded with Aethyta?"

Aethyta laughed, getting everyone's attention. "Honey… we did a lot, and I mean a lot of things together… yeah, bonding? It wasn't one of 'em."

Anya grinned. "Aethy and I weren't exactly in love. It was more of a 'friends with benefits' sort of arrangement."

Thea was taken aback at the well-respected Matriarch's admission. She couldn't imagine how the always proper elder had managed to end up in a relationship with Aethyta, much less producing a child who would one day run a criminal empire that spanned half the Terminus System. "How did you end up having a baby with Aethyta?"

"Well, when two Asari fall in bed…"

Liara coughed, hiding her blush in Shepard's neck.

Anya interrupted Aethyta. "I think she means, 'what was a good girl like me doing with a bad girl like you'…"

The bartender nodded. "Ah… that'd be an appropriate question if you had actually been a good girl."

Laughing, Anya replied with a wink. "If I recall, I wasn't the only good girl who went bad for you…"

"You were bad before me, don't try to save face now in front of the councilor here, you were knockin' heels with half of Serrice while I was still shaking my ass in Flux."

The Commander cringed. "I've been to Flux."

Aethyta rolled her eyes. "Well, not while I was working there, dick-bag. Fuck, could you be any more of a prude?"

Anya shook her head. "I was no good girl back then, but I am now, for the most part. Yet, I still can't say no to you… not a good position for a respected politician to be in. Now I know how Benezia must have felt."

Aethyta grinned, glancing at Liara. "She had trouble saying no, too. It's not some mysterious, unnatural power… I'm just really great in bed."

"Not just in bed…" Anya shared a look with Aethy.

Shepard swallowed.

Thea was somewhat bewildered at the conversation going on around her, a little uncertain what to say. Aria was still holding her, and… it was nice. To be open, to not have to hide their relationship. They were among friends. Family. Her only concern being her relation to Aethyta… the Matriarch was now her father-in-law. Imagining future holidays and family gatherings with the older Asari in attendance was somewhat frightening.

The intercom caused her to jump. "Commander, there is a representative of the… Matriarchal Council of Thessia?" The man sounded uncertain. "… asking for Matriarch Anya N'Shar. She doesn't sound very happy."

The Commander nodded, even though she knew he couldn't see it. "Thanks, Joker. Inform the representative that the Matriarch will be along shortly."

"Aye, Ma'am."

"Well." The Matriarch in question turned, sweeping her gaze across the room, speaking to all those present. "I guess that's my ride home." She embraced the two matrons at the bar in one big hug, kissing each on the temple. "I love you both. I hope you will visit often."

Thea kissed the Matriarch on the cheek. "We will."

Aria was busy trying not to smile.

She gave her daughters some parting advice, which she had little doubt, would be completely ignored. "Be good."

Aria rolled her eyes.

Thea wisely remained silent.

Anya walked over to Shepard. "Thank you again for allowing me to spend such an enjoyable week on board your ship, Commander. It was so good to see my baby girl."

Aria's scoff was ignored by all.

Shepard smiled. "It was great having you."

Aethyta winked at the Matriarch. "I'll second that."

The Commander made a small choking noise.

Liara made a mental note to question her bondmate about that later. "It was so lovely meeting you, I do hope we can spend time together again."

Anya smirked, looking at Aethyta. "Oh, I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot of each other."

Liara gave N'Shar a questioning look. "How do you mean?"

Aethyta tossed an arm around the other elder's waist. "Anya is letting me crash at her place, instead of getting a hotel room. She said she wouldn't mind if I stayed there a little more long-term."

Anya grinned at Aethyta, and leaned in for a chaste kiss, which quickly became anything but.

Liara suddenly realized just why the Matriarch wouldn't object to a long-term arrangement. "Father, I do hope you plan to be careful…" She cleared her throat to interrupt the dueling tongues. "… I believe that one sister is quite enough."

The Commander nodded in wholehearted agreement.

Anya laughed, pulling the group towards the door. "Alright, enough talk. Let’s get to that representative before she has a fit." She looked at Aethy as they moved into the corridor. "I can't wait to see her face when she realizes who I've brought back with me."

Aethyta's gruff laughter could be heard throughout the observation deck, and soon Shepard and Liara's could as well.

Aria waited patiently for the laughter to fade, and the doors to the lounge to close. As soon as the soft hiss, followed by the sound of metal meeting metal was heard, she lunged forward, shoving her tongue into Thea's mouth… and absolutely dominating it.

The councilor wasn't exactly caught off-guard, she'd felt Aria tense seconds before she attacked, and she had opened her mouth to save her bondmate the trouble of forcing her way in.

Aria pushed Thea back, guiding her towards the small table in front of the couch, stripping her lover of the traditional Asari gown that covered far too much skin.

Empty glasses and a small centerpiece were roughly removed from the table with a sweep of a purple hand, and soon after, a blue body was pressed into their place.

Thea hissed through her teeth as her bare back met the cold table. She waited for the comforting warmth of Aria's body to press down on top of her. She didn't have to wait long, but… "Really, Aria? Again?"

The Queen of Omega was still completely clothed. "You love it."

She couldn't deny it.

Sharp teeth bit her neck, the blue skin darkening into a purplish mark, a sign of Aria's ownership. The criminal held both of the councilor's wrists in one hand, keeping them above, against the table. They both felt their bondmate bracelets brush together, giving them both pause. Aria smiled at Thea, leaning in for a surprisingly gentle kiss. Then it was back to business.

Thea wrapped her bare legs around leather-clad hips, moaning at the unique sensation.

Aria slid her free hand down to cup her lover's warmth, before finally pushing two fingers deep inside.

Thea arched her back up off of the table, a long sigh of pleasure spilling from her lips as her lover began to rock against her, using her whole body to push deeper into her.

This was the scene the Matriarch walked in on.

"Well, that didn't take long."

The voice of Aethyta caused both matron's heads to whip towards the door so fast it was comical… to the elder, anyway.

"What the fuck!" Aria was not amused.

Thea, unable to move or cover herself, just pushed her face against Aria's neck, hiding behind her collar.

"I forgot my bottle." The Matriarch walked around the bar and picked up the forgotten object. "This shit is too expensive to waste on these damn marines." On her way out, she stopped at the door. "By the way, nice touch, keeping the leather on. Just don't forget to take it off after the first orgasm, or else it will start to stick. "

Aria may have a bit of exhibitionist in her, but she had to draw the line somewhere. "You gonna get out of here, or would you rather stand there and critique the rest of my performance?"

The Matriarch shrugged. "Depends. Do you feel there is any area in which it could do with some improvement?"

The whispered 'Goddess' against her neck did not go unnoticed. Aria knew she had to get rid of her father, because if she was uncomfortable, then Thea must be borderline ill. "Will you get out of here, already?"

The elder wore a smirk. "And not be here to teach my kid the only thing I was ever good at? No, I think I'll stay."

Aria growled. "Don't you have a horny Asari waiting on you?"

All mirth left Aethyta's face as realization dawned.

"I should go."

 

THE END

Song: Separate ways (worlds apart) by Journey