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People don’t change. They only become more so. - Anonymous.


one

In the night, unable to sleep, I sometimes went to sit with the body bags in the freezer. Not every asari’s body could be returned to the universe in the manner that tradition dictated, and the siari teachers of my youth would have reminded me that all things, in time, join the universe’s entropy. But – I had a sister once.

We had not been close, Falere being so many decades older than me, and the only memory that truly persisted was the news, received, of her life bravely given to protect the evacuating civilians of a backwater planet from one or another pirate organization. Her body had been unrecoverable. Donor-mother had been inconsolable. There had been a truncated, secular memorial service, for the siari priests could not immolate a body which was not present.

You must promise me , were donor-mother’s words which rang in my ears even centuries later, you must. Her name must not pass from our family.

It was a heady burden for a girl of forty, unsure even if she might ever wish to have a child. But I had promised.

There would be questions about the way my comrades had died. I could have made those questions disappear in a moment by consenting to space the bodies. But this one, Hadria, had had a mother who sent her frozen desserts to share with the team. And this one, Poran, had had three sisters, each surgeons of a different stripe, each working at the same Citadel hospital that Poran visited whenever they returned. And this one, Gilatareme, had had a daughter – a babe of merely twelve years. I would not and could not regret my choice, but I would not deny those families their grieving because I did not like the consequences.

As the freed captives enjoyed the fresh air of the planet, the first backwater colony they could find to begin repairs on, I sat and slowly chilled.

My helmet, discarded next to me, chirped. Shaking off my stupor, I punched the button to answer, and said, “Speak.”

“Samara? It’s - uh, it’s Candace.”

Candace was the yellow-haired girl who liked to be called Candy when I, smilingly, led her to bed, who liked to remember herself the way she had been when she tinkered with terraforming equipment before slavers came to her system. “Progress with the repairs?” I asked.

“No - I mean, I think so, but that’s not - we have something on sensors. Judging by what it’s, um, squawking, we think it’s a Cerberus frigate.”

Cerberus . Cerberus would take good care of the captives, at least - try to return them to any family they had, or do something to make this right. They would not look so fondly on the only living survivor of their captors, no matter how compelling her story. But this ship was barely functioning, and could never outrun or outfight a fully-equipped human warship.

I was not ready to die. A newly colonized planet was a big place, I thought; it was time to disappear.


I had hoped the Cerberus team would simply give up when they could not find me immediately, but I had had no such luck. In fact, it had taken barely two days for the crew to track me to the overgrown thicket I had found to hide away in. I felt almost insulted, though - they had sent only three people after me, and none of them particularly inclined to stealth. One of them was a quarian - had Cerberus taken up indentured servitude while I had been paying attention elsewhere?

I watched from the thick weeds as the team tried to track me. Initially, I took the one wearing the Cerberus uniform for the leader, but he turned out to be deferring to the third member of the team - a female figure in full body armor and a covered helmet.

In fact, he mostly seemed to be complaining to her about the weather and the plant life. When she looked back at him, even I, fifty yards away, could sense the raised eyebrows under that helmet. He shut up, thank God.

I shifted to relocate. Their leader froze, so I did too. They stood, for ten painful seconds, and then the leader said, “She’s here.”

Damn it.

“Where?” said the one in the uniform.

“I don’t know.” She looked around, and, seeing the same surroundings, I guessed what the woman was thinking:  but we’re fucked .

To be sporting, I loaded concussive ammo into my rifle before I bounced a round off the leader’s helmet. “Leave,” I called, “before I make sponges of you all.”

The leader clutched at her head for a moment, then cursed and simply pulled off her helmet. Underneath was a striking woman - dark-skinned but for the fading yellow scars that jagged across her face and cheeks, as if her face had been sewn onto her body like the Witch of Challere in the stories her mother had told her.

“Shepard,” said the quarian. “What are you doing?”

“You heard her,” said the leader - evidently, Shepard. “Samara, we’re not here to hurt you. We want your help.”

“Why would I believe you?”

“We debriefed the captives from your ship. They say you freed them while they were to be taken by the Collectors. Our mission is similar.”

I looked up from my rifle for a moment.  Similar?

“There’ve been abductions of human colonies in the Terminus Systems,” the one named Shepard called. “I’m putting together a team to stop them.”

I considered. It was a good story - it matched up with the things I had been hearing about colonial worlds, though my work had rarely taken me to the actual human colonies in the Terminus. And it was something Cerberus might do, putting together a special operations team to exact retribution on those who targeted humans. On the other hand, I had heard better stories from those about to die. I leaned back down to the rifle.

Something cold and metal pressed into the back of my neck. “Stand,” said a soft voice. “Leave the rifle.”

I did, so slowly… then laughed.  Nothing ventured…  I turned, swinging out my leg, and caught nothing but air. I had been expecting the solid muscle of a human and encountered the whip-fast reflexes of a drell instead. Well, I could adapt. An elbow to block his predictable jab, a faked headbutt to drive him back, two steps forward to cut off his space, a hard foot stomped onto his own…

I heard the two sharp cracks from far away, the familiar sound of a well-trained sniper, before darkness took me. 


“…some aches for a while but no lasting damage,” the human doctor was saying. “Typical of concussive ammunition. I’d prefer you avoid any strenuous physical activity for a few days, but that seems unlikely.”

I snapped, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You’ll see,” said the doctor, before leaving. Just two left with me - Shepard and a new one, who she called Miranda, that I immediately didn’t like. Apparently the feeling was mutual.

“We should leave her for the Alliance with the captives and be done with it,” Miranda said. “Our objective was to free them before the Collectors got them. That was a success. We don’t know enough about her to -“

“That’s the point,” said Shepard. “I’d feel a lot more comfortable with someone on this ship who wasn’t on one of your boss’s dossiers.”

“Your lack of trust-“

“Is well-justified,” Shepard interrupted. “That’s all there is to it. You’re dismissed.”

Miranda stormed out. I, sitting up on the medical cot, raised my eyebrows.

“She may not be Miss Personality,” Shepard admitted, “But she’s good in a firefight and she gets results from the crew. Anyway - look, whatever happened, you need a team and a job and you don’t like Collectors. Are you in?”

“That wasn’t bullshit, back there?”

“I don’t bullshit.”

“Well, you are hot,” I mused. “I think you could make it worth my while.”

“That’s not how this works,” Shepard insisted.

“I think we’ll see about that.” I got to my feet, clapping my hand on the captain’s shoulder. “Ersena-tene , judging by the five of you it took to get me? I think you need me. Where do you keep the booze?” 


two

“Is Shepard a common human name?”

Jack looked at me through drooping, beer-drunk eyes. “I guess. Why?”

“I thought the captain might be related to the one that saved the Citadel-“

Jack laughed.

“What’s funny?”

“They’re the same person, dumbass.”

“No, Commander Shepard’s dead.”

The convict laughed again. “That’s not even close to the most fucked up thing going on on this ship, hon.”

I sat back. I hadn’t paid much attention to the reports about the Citadel. It seemed like every week the Council was crowning some new darling - one week, a turian named Something Arturius, and the next, a human named Something Shepard. The best I remembered was seeing what looked like an out-of-date file picture of a young, dark-skinned human and some comments about a hero who shunned the spotlight.

I had been a little distracted, anyway, making my twelfth or thirteenth unsuccessful attempt at hitting every single club on Illium in one night.

“Yeah - we broke out of a prison in space together,” Jack was saying.

I snickered and drank from my own beer. I preferred stronger asari liquors (or salarian pesh’kan, probably the finest drink the world), but my access to funds was somewhat limited andNormandy, for obvious reasons, carried mostly human intoxicants.

“Hey, bluey,” said the little convict through another swallow. “I gotta question for you.”

“Shoot.”

“Why haven’t you tried to tap this yet?” Jack leant back against the little bar, rubbing a hand over her body in a way… that I was certain Jack thought was sensual, but mostly looked like a drunk girl trying to locate her own body parts.

“Honestly? You’re way too high-maintenance for me.”

The girl gave her an exaggerated frown. “Me?”

“Yes. And anyway, I don’t think you bottom. And I sure don’t.”

Jack was exactly the kind of high-maintenance that I hated for a fuck. Krios and Vakarian? Those two I had thought about (together and separately). They might want a relationship after, but they would be okay when I broke it off and they’d even get the hint if I just ignored them, and they’d turn all their emotional shit inwards instead of ruining my life with it.

But Jack? Jack wouldn’t want a relationship - except she’d want emotional accessibility at all times, want my life to hinge on dealing with Jack’s shit, and the first time it didn’t happen Jack would start to hold a grudge that only really turned nasty in the middle of a firefight.

I had no interest in that.

“Well, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

I considered that. For my own part, I doubted it.


In between rounds of covering fire at Eclipse mercs that might have been my friends - had I chosen to take up my work on this planet and not another - I heard Shepard shout something at Miranda and filed it away for further reference.

I turned to the only neutral reference for human behavior she could come up with, Jacob. “In human culture, what does ‘black’ mean?”

He choked on his coffee (which I approved of, considering the obscene amount of sweetener he put into it). “Who said that?”

“Shepard. She was shouting at Miranda - something about genetic perfection.”

“Noticed that, did she?” he mused. “It’s a little rarer to talk about now than it used to be, but basically it refers to dark-skinned humans. Like me or Shepard.”

“And Kasumi?”

“Not Kasumi,” he said, frowning. “There are a couple of other black crewmen, but I don’t think you’d have met them. Anyway, it’s a lot about skin color, but not entirely. And there’s a lot of bad blood that stems from… generations of cultural oppression.”

“Ah.” I nodded. “Asari have had something similar. I think I understand.”

“Not like this,” he said, and before I could protest he elaborated. “I read a little about asari and purebloods, and it’s not the same. In the places where my ancestors and Shepard’s ancestors were from, there was chattel slavery. For generations. It was a long time ago now in human time, but those memories die hard.”

“So when Miranda says she was designed to be genetically perfect, she’s saying that her skin tone is genetic perfection.”

“Not… really?” Jacob looked at his coffee. “Thing is, you don’t get to say ‘genetic perfection’ really. Some genes code for some illnesses and protect you from others at the same time. And there’s no such thing as an ideal member of any species, anyway - a species is mostly a theoretical construct, constantly evolving in all sorts of ways. You getting me?”

“Just a headache,” I said. I was beginning to regret starting this conversation.

“Me too,” said Jacob. “I mostly pick it up from hanging around Miranda. Point is, what happened to Miranda doesn’t really make any sense as science. When she says she was engineered for genetic perfection she doesn’t mean to say anything about skin color. She doesn’t even mean to say anything about what her father thought about skin color.”

“But Shepard hears it.”

“Just like I hear it,” he said. “Because she’s still saying it by accident, even if she doesn’t mean it. But Shepard and I aren’t the sort to let that define us, not more than it has to. I wouldn’t be surprised if it never came up again.”

I stood from the mess hall table. I said, “I wish I hadn’t brought it up,” but that was not exactly true. In truth, I had had very little respect for Jacob’s skill as a warrior; at least I could see that there was something he brought to the table.


For missions less hazardous than tracking down the most notorious asari pirate outside the Terminus systems (this being, if hyperbole, only slightly so), Shepard preferred teams of three. The drell had some kind of business on the Citadel, something that required discretion. I, therefore, had not been chosen. I bore no grudge. I went with a few of the crew to drink and stare at dancers.

The male crew split off from us early on, uncomfortable with our presence, an Jack vanished a few minutes later. She glanced at me when she did, deciding whether to invite me on whatever seedy enterprise she was bound for, but I declined. That just left me and Kelly Chambers, and her wearing the tightest faux-leather pants I’d seen in about a year.

Ostensibly to get a better view of the nearest dancer, I pushed my chair closer to hers. “You’re really into this, huh?”

She gave me only a glance before looking back at the dancer. The dancer’s attention, though she hid it professionally, was more on a group of nearer, male patrons who looked like bigger fish, but even so… she was all sinew and the shape of her body was obvious as she shifted and, under the spotlights, shone. Kelly said, “She’s beautiful.”

I leaned even closer to her so my low voice could be heard. “Do you like to imagine it’s all for you, Kelly? Every time she shifts her hips, is it all to please you?”

Samara”, Kelly groaned. Her hips shifted on the seat. “I knew you were dangerous.”

“I’ve never understood the fascination with safety,” I told her. “Some of us choose differently.”

“You remind me of Shepard,” she said, still not looking at me. We both watched the dancer sway for a moment.

“Do you wish she was here? Do you wish she would bring you to a club like this and whisper all your secret desires in your ear?”

“Of course,” said Kelly. She shifted again noticeably. “I don’t understand people who don’t.”

I breathed a laugh into her ear and let my hand drift across her thigh. These were my favorite games, and pretty little Miss Chambers was fulfilling prey. I wondered what humans found attractive about other humans. Was it the shape of their necks? The style of their hair? “Tell me what it is about her. What makes you touch yourself thinking of her, in those few moments you have -“

“Her heart,” Kelly blurted. I blinked. “She’s like… an ancient goddess.”

I distracted her from her own flush by running my hand back up her thigh and, when she looked at it, I nipped against the helix of her ear, that fascinating human appendage, and she gasped.

“I had to watch vids of her, for… for the mission, and sometimes she’ll watch someone die and not even blink, and it’s so… and then sometimes she’ll risk everything - “

With a single biotic tug and the strength of my arms, I had Kelly tumbling into my lap. She yelped, but I just straightened her and let my hands run along her sides. The dancer glanced over at us, and I caught her smile, and I smiled back, and then she looked away again and gave us our privacy. I licked at Kelly’s jawline.

“They’ll see,” Kelly whined.

I grunted and pushed us back a few inches into the shadows, but I said, “And you’ll love it, won’t you?”

She shivered.

“Now tell me. When you imagine yourself dressed like that dancer, dancing just for Shepard - “

“Oh God,” she interrupted. “How could you know?”

I laughed because she was an open book to me. One nip at her neck and she presented it all to me. I let one hand rest across her waist, holding her to me. “When you imagine it, what are you thinking?”

Kelly said, “Everything she does is larger than life, even the human things, and all I could do is hang on. Try to impress her, and she - she’ll turn her gaze upon me and she’ll want me.”

“Do you feel it?” I said, moving my hand down to rest over her pussy - and grinning at the way she humped into it. “The bass… like the drums of a great hunt, out for your blood. You’re dancing for her now, do you feel it? And she’s looking at you…”

“She- Samara,” Kelly whispered.

“And she whispers something to you,” I said, as my other hand snuck under her shirt to touch her bare stomach. “She whispers, ‘Tell me you want me.’”

“I want you,” she whispered back. 

I rewarded her, reaching all the way up to the underside of her breast and, with my other hand, feeling the heat and the need that radiated off her pussy. “You can see how you’ve pleased her. You can see her smiling because you did right. And she whispers, ‘Tell me you want me. Tell me you’d kill for me.’”

“I want you,” she whispered back. “I’d - oh, oh God - I’d kill for you.”

“Anything I want,” I insisted.

“Anything you want,” she gasped.

I pressed down on her pussy, and ground up into her with my crotch, and pinched her nipple, and bit down where her collarbone reached up to her neck, and she groaned and came, as silently as she could, and no one in the club looked over except that one smiling dancer who I winked to and who winked back at me.

“That was good,” Kelly said hoarsely, when she came down from her orgasmic high. “That was really good. I can’t believe I just did that.”

I smiled for her.

“I need to…” She stood up, leaving my embrace. “I need to tidy up. And, uh - get back to work. Or… but if you want to do something like that again, no strings attached, you know where to find me.”

I took her hand and kissed it, smiling again when she blushed, and told her I would consider it. From the way that dancer kept glancing over, though, I didn’t think I would be spending the rest of the night alone.


three

“Shepard,” I said. By the sounds of her boots, she was still staring out at the expanse of space as she had been for at least the last sixty seconds. It held little interest for me, though space considerations had led me to make my quarters on the observation deck, far and away the largest available room on the Normandy. I was in the midst of my biotic forms, the exercises birth-mother had taught me more than a century ago, learned herself in her days as a commando. They hardly demanded as much practice as I had been giving them, but it was a small ship and most of the crew looked askance at an asari pirate, leaving little else for her to do. Well - their loss.

“Samara,” Shepard replied. “You’ve been digging around about me.”

I responded, “Of course,” before assuming the ashantiara form, a particularly difficult one that involved effectively balancing my entire body on a wedge of biotic energy reaching down six inches from the toes of my left foot to the ground, as my body bent into the arched delphine shape of a diving shantere. It was more the form of a classical dancer than a warrior, but then most warriors could not manage the focus and grace required.

The commander paused before responding. “And corrupting my Yeoman, too. Do you know what she did when I asked her for her opinion of you?”

“What?” I snapped, struggling to hold my body in place for a few more seconds.

“She blushed as red as her hair and then she tried to pretend she wasn’t. And then - that’s amazing; doesn’t that hurt?”

I gritted out, “Only if you’re weak.”

“Okay - well, Kelly says you’re as confident as you are beautiful, and rightly so.”

I lowered myself from ashantiara to the ground and turned to face her. She was looking right at me, her lips slightly parted. I smiled. She hadn’t been watching the stars after all. “I didn’t corrupt your yeoman, Shepard. I gave her what she wanted. Hand me the windbrush.”

“The…”

Rolling my eyes, I pointed at the frilled device on the table behind her. She fetched it, and reached out to hand it to me, but I grasped her wrist instead. “I validated her most desperate fantasy. We all should be so lucky.”

“Her most - ” Shepard broke off, looking at where my finger was rubbing the pulse point of her wrist. “What was - “

“Even I wouldn’t break such a confidence, Shepard.” I slid my hand from her wrist, taking the windbrush from the commander’s hand as she did. Taking my seat on the observation bench, I activated it and allowed it to hum against the edge where my jaw met my crest. Goddess - after a workout, there was almost nothing better. I allowed my eyes to close.

“Is that…” Shepard said. “That looks really suggestive.”

“It’s not my fault humans sexualize everything asari do,” I told her, though of course I took advantage of it all the time.

“Oh. Really, I just wanted to ask: we’ll be leaving for the Collector base soon. Is there any… unfinished business you want to attend to? So you can keep your mind on the mission?”

“I don’t leave loose ends and I clean up my own messes.”

“If you’re sure,” she said.

I shifted the windbrush to whine against my sternum and, hearing an intake of breath, opened my eyes again. That small, dark woman was staring at the brush as it shook back and forth ever so slightly between my breasts. From the way her lips moved, I thought her mouth had gone dry. “Kelly thinks you’re amazing. But if I wanted to fuck you into the floor right now,” I said to her, “I think you’d beg me for it.”

“Maybe I would,” Shepard said.

I closed my eyes again. “Tell you what - we’ll call it something to come back to. Motivation.”


“Mordin’s countermeasures cannot protect you against so many at once,” EDI was saying.

“What about biotics?” asked Shepard. “Could we create a biotic field to keep them from getting near us?”

She was looking at me. I frowned. More fool me for showing off my abilities. “Yes,” I said.

Miranda intervened to volunteer herself, but the look that Shepard and I shared said we both knew the truth; to get through that corridor would take a biotic far stronger than Miranda’s limited genetic alteration could have produced. I sheathed my rifle and began to ghost through my forms. Shepard approached me.

She said, “Remember your motivation, huh?”

“You’d better decide who’s coming with us,” I said dismissively, but even so I let her see a smile.

I watched as she picked her team - the pubescent krogan and the geth, neither of whom (which?) had much interested me on the ship. Then I watched as she explained to Garrus that she needed him to lead the fire team, and that was why he wasn’t coming. Then I watched as she explained to Miranda that, sure, she’d said Garrus was in charge of the fire team, but that was just because of his fragile ego and Miranda was absolutely a valuable member of the team. Goddess, what a fucking soap opera.

“Can we get on with it?” I asked, when she finally turned back to me.

“Just waiting on you.”

I nodded, took a deep breath, and put my hands out. The field materialized around me and expanded, as wide as I thought I could manage. I nodded again, faking certainty, and they opened the door.

The swarms buffeted against my barrier from the moment we started, and the aftershocks of it shook my arms. Focus, I thought. Focus, or there will be no body for donor-mother. We went forward until the Collectors came and Shepard waved me into cover.

Once she took cover next to me, picking off foes while the krogan made himself their target, and glanced at me. Something about my face made her frown. “Breathe,” she said.

“I’m fine,” I snapped back. “Mind yourself.”

Then we were off again. I was starting to wish we had brought Jack with us; we could have traded off duties about then. And while I was fantasizing, a Thessian penthouse, with my own serving girls…

“Down!”

I ducked. I hadn’t even seen the Collectors. The barrier flickered as I lost focus, but I had it back in a moment and then pushed into cover.

“Samara,” Shepard called.

“Go fuck yourself,” I called back.

When we moved again, my head pounded. How much further?

When we stopped again, my skin was clammy. Please, Goddess. Not much further, please.

Moved again. The world was gray. I heard someone saying something, but couldn’t make out the words. Thought Shepard needs - focus - barrier - Shepard - stop Collectors - everything barrier -

Stopped again. Someone shouting, but didn’t try to pay attention. Felt an impact on my face… felt another. Blinked. Looked. Jack.

We were through, I realized. I let the barrier collapse, and fell into Jack’s arms. She grunted and stepped back, and someone else caught me and let me down to the ground.

“You did good,” said Shepard, looming over me.

“Of course,” I whispered. “Don’t forget my motivation.”

Her mouth split into a huge grin. 

I touched my nose. Something blue and wet came away with my hand. “Fuck,” I said, and passed out.


“…textbook biotic exhaustion, if the most severe case I’ve ever seen,” the human doctor was saying this time. “In a medical sense, it’s even a good thing you were unconscious for so long. You’re mostly rehydrated and rested. Take it easy for the next day or two - and no biotics. Other than that, you’re free to go.”

“Oh,” I said sarcastically, “Well, since I have your permission - “

“Samara,” Shepard interrupted, from where she leaned against the entrance hatch of the medical bay.

“Sorry, Shepard,” I said, not at all sorry. “I’m just a little motivated.”

The commander ducked her head, I suspected to hide the darkening of her eyes. “Fair point,” she said.

I practically chased her to the elevator, and as soon as the door closed I pulled at her uniform blouse and she helped me get it off her. I wrapped it in my hand and when I shoved her back against the door I interposed it so her head rested against it, and my hand, rather than strike the metal.

“Smooth,” Shepard said.

“I’m just getting started.”

Her bra was easy - shorter-lived species never appreciated quite how a hundred years of practice made one-handed undergarment removal trivial - and then I latched onto her breast with my mouth, swirling a tongue over her dark nipple, and she cursed pleasantly.

I slid my knee between her legs as I worked. For variety, I switched to the other nipple.

The door finally opened. We stumbled back into the little entranceway. Shepard pawed at the hatch to her cabin as I let my tongue slide off her nipple and down toward her gut, and then that hatch slid open too and we were moving back together.

I reached down to the apex of Shepard’s thighs, lifted her bodily by them, took four steps forward into the room, and shoved her back into the bed. She landed with a thump and a yelp.

“Show-off,” she said.

I grinned to disguise my sudden headache. “Let’s get those boots.”

“No floor today?” she asked as she kicked them off.

“Learn patience,” I said, climbing up over her. And then I looked into her eyes, and something shifted, and we stopped. My hand sat there on the seal of her uniform trousers as my mind stuck.

She lifted one hand up to brush delicately along my cheek. I felt myself lean into it. For a moment my mind stuck on the things I had been thinking during that long walk.

“Hey,” Shepard said smilingly. “You going to fuck me or what?”

“Right,” I said. I unstuck the seal and pulled her trousers down, taking her briefs with them, admiring the dusky skin as I exposed it to the dim light. When the gathered mass came loose from her ankles, I gave into my curiosity and licked the skin there. It was tougher, of course, than the skin of her breast, but… where turian skin was hard and leathery, where salarian and untreated asari skin was waxy, human skin was smooth.

I kissed at the ankle where my saliva coated it. Shepard sighed.

“Like that?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

I swirled my tongue across the bone of her other ankle, and kissed over that too, and then closed my hands around them both. She was staring at me. I licked all the way up from her right ankle to her thigh, hard and fast. Her legs jerked against my hands, but I gave her no quarter.

I did it again with the other leg, stretching this time to stop two inches from the apex of her thighs, and gave her a nip when I stopped. She jerked again in my grasp.

“Good?” I asked.

“Good,” she said.

My body snaked up hers, my lips pausing to caress her navel, to trail the base of her ribs, to flow along the outside of her breast… and then to meet hers and bruise them if I could.

I touched my fingers against her pussy, already wet for me.

“How many can you take?”

Shepard said, “Usually, two.”

I used three. She arched into me.

“Fuck!” she exclaimed.

Fuck, she’s tight, I thought. But I pushed those fingers in as far as they went, watching as she whined. When my knuckles rested against her lips, I stilled.

“Full,” Shepard said. Her eyes clenched shut.

“Good,” I told her. My fingers pulled out of her body, inch by slow inch. She moaned at the loss. I drove them back in harder. She arched against me again.

I asked, “Have you ever melded with an asari before?”

“Yeah,” she moaned.

“Once? Twice?”

“Twice.”

“With someone - ” I dropped my voice to a whisper in her ear - “soft  and  understanding , always so careful with your mind?”

“Yeah,” Shepard breathed.

“I’m not like that,” I said, curling my fingers inside her cruelly. “You’ll like this more.”

Then I drew out my fingers until they were poised just nail-deep inside her.

“Look at me,” I said.

She looked.

Embrace eternity.

My mind invaded hers as I drove my fingers back inside her and we both felt them with her-us nerves and we both felt her heat with the me-us nerves of the fingers and we trembled against each other. I seized that feeling and forced her to keep it even as I extracted my fingers. Her muscles clenched uselessly against nothing. I felt that too.

In. The feeling doubled. I fed it back to her, again and again, and I fucked her and soaked up the echoes of the her-us nerve feeling as I drove them into her mind.

Every time, she shook against me harder than before. Her hands scrambled thoughtlessly across my body, catching my shoulders, scratching my back through my tunic, and caressing my crest.

Shepard tensed, still for four strokes, and then she came.

I fed that back to her too. She babbled, “Sam - Sa - Ara,” when she came again from that, but I didn’t stop moving. I watched her as her eyes lost all focus and as her mouth worked to take a full breath. I watched the scars on her cheeks strain across her beautiful skin. I watched her chest heave. She came again. I watched her try to scream and fail.

“Good?” I asked.

Her head bobbed suddenly.

I paused, smiling, until the moment her awareness began to come to her, and then resumed with my fourth finger added.

She did scream.

I kept up with her as long as I could, untold minutes after while we could not tell the difference between her one orgasm and the next, but every one buffeted through my nerves and against my mind. I let her go, reluctantly, so that I could sate my own need.

I came at the first touch of my hand under my trousers. I fell back onto the bed, clinging to the echoes of the fading meld, and stroked myself until I was on the precipice of a second orgasm. I felt something else, and looked… and saw Shepard’s hand there now beside my own. I let her touch me, just that hand, and as the meld disappeared I had one last good wave of pleasure.

As I tried to shift, the world around me shook. My head pounded and I groaned.

“Okay?” asked Shepard.

“Migraine - from the fucking exhaustion.”

“Water?”

“Yes. And - lights off.”

She shifted, groaning herself, to stand.

My thoughts flickered annoyingly. “Not getting clingy,” I warned her. “Just the headache.” I buried my head under a pillow, and could not hear her response.


end