So a friend 'Noted' me and suggested a look at my FShep (Sarah) and Liara's relationship 'back in the day'. I decided to start from the end of ME3 and find a way for them to relive some special moments that they shared. It takes a while to get there, but now that the hard part is over, the next installment will be more on point, I think.
Bioware owns these characters.
FOB Hammer, London:
They had been fighting for hours and the brutes, marauders and cannibals were closing in on all sides. Liara saw Tali incinerate two cannibals with one flick of her Omni-Tool then glanced to her own left before throwing up a singularity that caught up three cannibals. She killed all three with aimed shots from her Locust but was then knocked back and over a low wall by a charging brute. There were hundreds of vile creatures all around her and the small contingent of Soldiers left at FOB Hammer.
She knew in her heart that they couldn't last very much longer. Just as she knew that only Sarah Shepard could save them. Sarah. Her heart wept when she thought of the last report they had received of the young human woman who had captured Liara's love. The last news sent from Traynor was that Sarah, grievously injured and alone, had staggered into the Citadel Beam and disappeared from the earth.
Desperation to see those impossibly green eyes and kiss her soft lips again made Liara redouble her efforts. She would do what she must to see Shepard again and give their child a future. Rolling to her feet, she emptied a magazine of biotically charged SMG rounds into the brute's armor and followed through with a warp strong enough to leave nothing but an oozing mass of jelly where its' ugly head used to be.
Seeing this, the Alliance Soldiers and their allies regrouped around the gasping Asari and laid down a wall of fire that dropped scores of the enemy and drove the rest back for now.
"That was impressive, Ma'am." An Alliance Sergeant said with a profound look of respect in his eyes.
Liara grinned as she glanced at the man. "You should see Shepard do it. She makes it look easy compared to me."
Her thoughts flew to her love again as she reloaded her Locust and absently checked its function. She prayed to the Goddess to watch over Sarah as she scanned the field to their front. Hope started to wane. Three banshees, four brutes and a host of cannibals crested the rubble that used to be a four story town house and started to charge their lines.
The Soldiers fought valiantly, felling scores of cannibals and husks, but the brutes and banshees got behind their lines and started slaughtering the defenders. Liara was exhausted and found herself back to back with Tali firing in all directions as a banshee charged to within two meters of her and Liara's Locust jammed. 'This is it.' Liara thought. 'It's over.' She closed her eyes and braced herself for the final blow that would kill her and her baby, thinking only of Sarah and regretting that they had such a short time together.
Then she felt the energy wave pass through them, the miraculous pulse of redemption and hope that swept away the enemy at the last moment. Liara opened her eyes and saw that the banshee was disintegrating before her and a pulsating, red wave rushed away through the reaper hordes destroying them all.
As the stunned cheer of victory rose from the thousands who were still alive in the rubble of London, Liara took a cleansing breath, absently caressed her belly where her and Shepard's child was now growing and looked to the sky knowing it was Sarah who had saved them all. Knowing the remarkable woman had once again done the impossible. Tears of joy for their baby's life and abject sorrow for Sarah came unbidden when she saw the huge explosion where the citadel should have been, she knew in her heart that her love had given her life for them all.
Tali stepped close to Liara, placed a tender hand on the Asari's shoulder, looked up at the expanding ball of flame and read Liara's thoughts. "It doesn't mean she's gone, Liara." She breathed. "Keelah, she has survived so much worse than this."
For ten long minutes, Liara tried to hold on to hope as Tali struggled to get through the comm-traffic to find out about Shepard.
Finally, a shuttle thumped to the ground near them and Garrus jumped out. He glanced around, spotted them, and ran over. "Let's go! Traynor has Shepard's signal in what's left of the Presidium tower. We have to hurry before the damn thing hits the atmosphere!"
"Why not take the Normandy?" Tali asked.
"It's floating dead in space." The big Turian replied as he slowly shook his head. "The shock wave from the crucible did some damage to it I guess. They have some power, but none to thrusters or navigation systems."
Liara jumped into the shuttle. "We'll figure it out later, Garrus. We have to get Sarah!"
The Citadel Tower:
Following Shepard's suit transponder, they charged through the floating wreckage of the Presidium Tower. Not up to the Council chamber, but down into the depths where nobody ever went. Lights flickered and gravity came and went in the mangled edifice. Bodies lay crumpled against walls and in clumps, their features frozen in a rictus of horror, pain and fear. Twisted corridors and floating wreckage made them detour several times and Liara became increasingly panicked at the thought of never reaching her love. They would never give up though. Sarah would never give up on them and they could do no less for her.
The transponder faded and stopped signaling minutes before they entered the vast chamber in the underbelly of the tower. Liara nearly wept when they lost the signal, making it that much harder to find Shepard, her love, the goddess of her heart, her reason for life. The chamber itself was beyond huge strewn with rubble from the ruined systems that had once stood in this room for eons, dark and domed so they could easily see the ravaged planet below while the tower was pointed that way. Soon its erratic spin rotated around to a spectacular view of the Sol system and the fleet of ships still regrouping from the bitter battle they so miraculously survived. A quick glance confirmed for Liara that this was right where the Crucible had attached to the Citadel.
Liara and her companions quickly fanned out to cover more ground and find their friend as quickly as possible. Climbing over the wreckage, Tali went left, Garrus moved across the center and Liara felt herself pulled to the right edges of the chamber. The darkness was maddeningly complete around them, making it hard to see anything outside the range of their flashlights. The young Asari felt herself starting to fall into black despair and she had to consciously control herself when she finally caught sight of something. A lump really, nothing more remarkable than a pile of dirty laundry.
She drew closer and realized that what was resting against the base of the ancient support beam was what could be another body. A person. As Tali and Garrus moved further away on their searches, Liara was drawn to the messy remains of whoever this unfortunate person was. She involuntarily knelt to look closer. Even with years of seeing the worst on battlefields all across the galaxy, she cringed when she really saw what was left of this poor person.
The body was charred beyond recognition, armor melted and fused with skin, hair and eyes burned away and out of a face that was a mass of charred, blistered skin. But even if it wasn't burned, ID would be next to impossible. The left half of the face was ruined, torn away by a force that took half the jaw, the ear and the cheek bone with it. The left arm was ripped away at the shoulder and the left leg ended at the knee. What remained of the right side of the body was a deformed, mangled mass. Hip and chest bones that should have supported the shape of a person were pulverized and crushed. The right arm had been whip-lashed back around, pinned under the body and bent at impossible angles.
Liara shook her head in sympathy and started to rise. She could not waste time on the dead, she had to find Shepard. But an agonized, wheezing whisper of a groan snapped her eyes back to the blackened mass of flesh before her. "Goddess, he
it is still alive!" She breathed. The excruciating pain this person had to be in was beyond imagining to the young Asari. She looked closer and saw that tears flowed freely from the lidless, eyeless right socket. Tears of absolute, crushing agony, total devastation, soul rending anguish and pain ran down the charred cheek.
Something pulled Liara to the form. Something made her reach out hesitantly, fearfully with her mind. 'Please no
' She thought. Just as her consciousness ever-so lightly caressed the tortured soul and barely sensed the all-encompassing morass of agony the being within writhed in, the body moved.
Liara gasped and recoiled mentally and physically from the form in time to see a bubbly gurgle of blood and spit erupt from the ruined mouth. But what she heard froze her blood and gripped her heart in a vise of dread, sorrow and hope. Softly, more of a wet whisper across crumbling leather than a word, the ruined form before her groaned "
?" She whispered as she gazed in horror at the charred and twisted remains before her. 'Goddess
' She thought, desperately hoping this was not really the woman she loved. 'Oh, Goddess, please no
Liara reached out a trembling hand and found the tag that hung loosely outside the armor and wiped away a bit of the black ash that covered it. The symbol was charred and cracked but still readable. N7. The other side read, SHEPARD, SARAH A., NORMANDY. "Sarah!" Liara cried in anguish as she felt all her hopes wither away into the blackest recesses of herself.
"Sarah, Goddess, please stay with me!" She pleaded as tears streamed down her delicate features in the ethereal gloom of the star-lit chamber and the stark reality of the torment her love was enduring. "Garrus! Tali! Come quick!" As the running footsteps of her friends closed in on her, Liara took a pack of medi-gel from her belt and
just sat there. She had no idea where to start or what to do. Ragged sobs made her gasp for breath as her mind struggled to hold on to any sense of this horrendous reality. 'Goddess, this can't be happening!' She screamed in her mind.
Garrus and Tali finally reached her and shined their flashlights on the broken body of their Commander, their friend, their sister. "Keelah, no
" Tali cried in despair as she sank to her knees by the body. "No, this can't be Sarah! Please don't let it be, Liara! Keelah, no!"
"Spirits, Liara," Garrus began, his mandibles twitching furiously as he stood there in shock. "Is it her? Is she alive?"
Liara, lost in a chasm of mind-numbing anguish, only sat there a moment before leaning close to the twisted ear of her love and gently whispered, "Shepard, I love you."
Hearing this spurred Garrus and Tali into action. As Tali spread out a litter and started administering medi-gel to every part of Shepard's torn body that she could tell was skin, Garrus called Alliance Command and prepped the site for extraction.
Liara only vaguely registered the Turian's half of the conversation as her broken heart and torn soul poured themselves out to the shattered woman lying before her. "Admiral Hackett, this is Garrus Vakarian
We need immediate med-evac and priority one transport to the SSV Nightingale without delay
You might want to send the Nightingale this way to make it faster
On the way? Good
Yes, I think it is her
No. It's not easy to tell
As bad as I've ever seen. Worse
I really don't know
a damn miracle
Liara kept talking to her love, hoping she could hear her, and praying to any deity in this cruel galaxy that would listen for one small measure of mercy for this ravaged, ruined woman. "Sarah, don't you dare leave me. Sarah, please, we need you. I need you. The baby needs you
" She pleaded with every fiber of her soul.
The call went out across the fleet. Commander Shepard, the one who united them all, the one who saved them all, needed all the medical help she could get just to survive. The best medical minds of every race immediately gathered their best gear and converged on the SSV Nightingale.
They all listened in as the shuttle medic Shepard was being transported on gave a running description of Shepard's injuries as the Kodiak picked its way through the Citadel debris field to get to the Alliance hospital ship. Burns, missing limbs, shattered skeletal structure, massive internal damage, the list went on and most of the alien doctors listening were sure the medic was either untrained or exaggerating. No human could survive the injuries described.
Except for the Asari healers, who's ships were furthest away, the greatest medical team ever assembled stood waiting at the elevator doors when they opened and Garrus charged out clearing the way. "Move it!" He snarled as he rushed forward, leading a wide-eyed medic, a determined Tali, and a distraught Liara who all pushed the gravi-gurney that bore the shattered body of Commander Shepard.
Liara absently noted the gasps of horror, the cries of shock and then the absolute silence in the hall as they passed by the doctors that lined hall. They had just passed the last doctor and Garrus had entered the ICU when she heard it. "No way she lives through that. She's as good as dead already."
Liara spun and turned her wrath on the dark haired human male who uttered those hateful words. With a flick of a biotically powered hand, she sent the man flying down the hall to crash into a cart full of bedpans. She stalked forward past the doctors again, grabbed him by the front of his uniform and lifted him up until he was eye to eye with her. "Get out or by the Goddess I will end you here and now!" Her voice was a deadly whisper that no-one could ever misinterpret as anything less than a dire promise. The man nodded quickly and she let him fall. He was scrambling away before he hit the ground.
Liara turned and started back to the ICU with every wide eyed doctor staring at her in shock. She didn't stop, but said in a cold voice just loud enough for them all to hear. "Anyone else who thinks like him better leave right now, I will not tolerate it around Shepard." Then she disappeared into the ICU.
Four hours later, Liara, Garrus, Tali, Wrex, Ashley and Grunt stood by helplessly in the corridor as the medical team buzzed around Shepard inside the ICU. Even through the ICU wall, they could hear the guttural groans of pain from Shepard as they peeled away the melted armor, inserted IVs and tubes, and cleaned her wounds.
Liara stood by the window crying softly as she watched the work intently. Tali never left her side as she quietly gave her distraught friend as much support as she could.
Grunt was so distressed and frustrated; he smashed his fist through a wall when her groans came to a crescendo. Wrex fixed him with an understanding yet questioning stare. "Do you need to leave, whelp?"
Grunt shook his head slightly before answering. "I have just never heard her
she's never cried out in pain before. In all the battles we fought in, never! I don't like it!"
Wrex nodded and looked away, "I've never heard it either, and I hate it too."
Dr. Chloe Michel came out of the ICU in tears and Ashley put a comforting arm around her and drew her close. "Chloe, why don't they ease her pain? Knock her out or something?" She asked gently.
Chloe shook her head and tried to wipe away her tears. "My god," she sobbed. "I have never seen anything like it! She is totally aware. She feels everything and we cannot stop it. Her implants and nano-bots resist most forms of anesthesia and anything strong enough would kill her in this state. I have no idea why she is even still alive, but all we can do is be as gentle as possible. It is heartbreaking!" She cried.
Dr. Silon of the Salarian contingent took over initial treatment. He had created an advanced procedure based on a chemical burn treatment Shepard herself had given him on the Citadel. They lowered Shepard into a huge, clear vat full of his experimental gel. The heavy gel, made of nano-bots and an intricate blend of chemicals and proteins, gently supported her weight and started healing her seared flesh. She would have been totally submerged, but the burns on her face and in her throat meant they could not put a tube in her mouth or a mask on her face, so her head stayed above and exposed to open air. This, along with all the IV tubes and wires that ran into the tank and Shepard, made her look more like a lab experiment than anything else.
Admiral Hackett and the Asari doctors finally arrived and Liara's hopes soared. If anyone could help her bond-mate, she was confident that the most advanced race in the galaxy could do it. They whisked by her and into the ICU wasting no time at all. She watched through the window as the clutch of seven matriarchs conferred around the vat with the other doctors.
Healer Lameya, a gifted medical melder, strode confidently around the vat and stepped close to Shepard. She would meld with the Commander and ease her pain by putting the Commander's mind to sleep or at least into a trance. It was a technique used for centuries on Thessia. Lameya's face was calm, serene as she initiated the meld with the tortured woman. A heartbeat later, the healer screamed in agony as she collapsed to the floor, twitching and gasping in excruciating pain.
Shocked and wide-eyed, the matriarchs gathered her up and came out into the hallway. She was just starting to recover when Admiral Hackett asked her what happened.
Still visibly shaken, the healer gazed up at Hackett blankly. "It was so
intense. The pain
" She shivered and shrank back into herself a bit. "There is nothing else but the pain! Physical, emotional and mental, she swims in that torment. I
I could not protect myself from it."
Matriarch Orana, an Asari of incredible power and experience, stood and walked back into the ICU. "I will be prepared and will assess the situation myself." As she walked in, she dismissed Dr. Silon with a contemptuous wave of her hand and approached the vat. After a moment she closed her eyes and attempted to meld with Shepard. Several minutes later, she finally withdrew from the ICU with an incredulous look on her face.
"What happened?" Admiral Hackett demanded.
The matriarch shook her head as if trying to clear it and struggled to focus on the Admiral's scarred face. "She
she resisted me. She forced me
she threw me out of her consciousness." The matriarchs around them gasped and looked astounded. No being had ever been able to resist an Asari meld, let alone a matriarch's.
"Sarah is remarkably strong willed
" Liara whispered from her silent vigil at the ICU's window. They were the first words she had uttered since she gave her ultimatum to the assembled doctors before. The young Asari turned to her elders and gazed at them with a conviction and strength that grew with every passing moment. "She needs me." She said simply and started moving to the ICU door.
Matriarch Orana grabbed Liara by the elbow and pulled her back. "You are not trained, girl." She spat in a tone full of haughty contempt. "You cannot protect yourself from the intense pain she is in, the chaos that engulfs her mind. It will wash you away and you will be lost and unable to return to your mind. She needs focus and you cannot give it to her. No-one can." The matriarch drew herself up and looked down her nose at Liara imperiously. "This human is lost, beyond recovering. She should be put out of her misery." Orana did not notice as several of her contemporaries looked at her in shock and silently stepped away from her, inaudibly removing their support. "We have many others out there who we can save. Now sit down and let us who know better do what is needed, child." She commanded.
Liara felt the rage building within her, a slow, intense boil that came from the very depth of her love for Sarah, from the center of her own being. She raised her eyes from the floor and they blazed with crackling biotic energy so bright several of the matriarchs shielded their eyes. Matriarch Orana stepped back in fear as the intensity of Liara's malevolent stare settled on her.
The young Asari's voice was low and glacial. "You will not touch Sarah! Don't you DARE even THINK about it again!" She demanded. "Wrex!"
The hulking Krogan stepped forward and placed himself directly between the matriarchs and the door to the ICU. "Don't worry, Little Sister," he growled, "these Varren won't get within fifty feet of Shepard. Do what you must for her."
Others stepped forward to stand with Wrex and glare at the group of ancient Asari women. Grunt, Tali, Garrus, Ashley, and Admiral Hackett all stood in solidarity between the Asari and the ICU. "You are not wanted nor needed here, Orana." Hackett stated. "I learned long ago that only people want to do a job can be trusted to get the job done. I do not trust you to take care of our girl. Get out."
Liara calmed herself and looked around at all the people who Sarah had touched in the last few years. Their determination and love for Shepard was palpable and thick in the room, and it touched Liara profoundly. "Thank you all." She whispered before looking to the Matriarch one last time. "You don't know Sarah, matriarch. She would never let anything hurt me." She said and then stepped through the ICU doors.
Liara walked over to her love and gazed at her with adoration in her eyes. She did not see the ruined face, the bandaged eyes or the charred skin. Liara sensed the tender, resolute, loving soul of the woman within, and felt the vibrant, caring essence of the woman struggling to survive in an ocean of desperate agony and loneliness. She leaned down close to the charred ear again and whispered to her love. "I am here, Sarah. I will not leave you, my love. You will never be alone."
She stood gripping the side of the gel-tank, closed her eyes and when they opened they were black as night.
Liara entered a nightmare of brilliant agony, swirling tides of perfect slicing pain and the empty torment of black despair. The chaos swept her along raging rivers of torment and for a moment she thought of the matriarch's warning to her. But she trusted Sarah, knew she was here. She felt herself being pulled along to a light, a calm center, an oasis, a tender, serene pool of peaceful love that wrapped itself around her own essence, and protected her from the terrible pandemonium of tortured reality. As Shepard's resolve created an iron shell around her, she felt the lilting touch of Sarah's tender compassion, the caress of Sarah's love, the safety of Sarah's being. They intertwined and blended together as they have so many blissful times before and the soft embrace made Liara wish to cry.
Together, they rode through the bedlam of the onslaught from Shepard's physical body to a place they both shared. Liara explored Shepard's essence as she never had. When they had joined before, Liara shied away from the dark, thorny knots of memory in Shepard's soul. She could feel their impact on her. Mindoir, Elysium, Eden Prime, Virmire. Now there were so many others. The Collector Base, Horizon, Alchera, Overlord, Mordin on Tuchanka, Legon on Rannoch and so many more where Sarah had lost family and friends or had seen horrific things that rocked the human woman's sanity.
Liara felt Sarah pulling her into one of those memories. Not one of the dark, thorny ones, but a memory that shone like the sun and warmed her soul. She let herself go and saw the cherished memory as Shepard did all those years ago. One of Sarah's most prized memories.
After pitched and desperate battle, the human woman jumped out of the stuck elevator and glanced around for more Geth. Garrus, who she was still getting used to, and Ashley followed suit quickly. Both were experienced warriors like her and she was coming to realize that she could rely on them in battle with minimum supervision when the bullets were flying.
Putting those thoughts aside for now, she glanced left and moved right across some debris when she heard it. "Hello?" A shaky, but lovely voice called out. "Is somebody there? Hello?"
She moved around a corner and looked through a shimmering barrier curtain to see a beautiful woman hanging ensnared in a force-field. Sarah gazed at the Asari woman for a moment, taking in the honesty in the Asari's eyes, the inquisitive tilt of her head and hearing the lilting caress of her voice.
Shepard shook her head and asked the woman a few hopefully pertinent questions. The human Commander did not understand the effect this alien woman was having on her, but knew it was strong and distracting her from the mission.
She had to save Liara. 'Liara', Sarah mused for a moment, 'such a lovely name.'
Shepard silently chastised herself. 'Get your head together, Sarah. You have work to do!' But she still caught her gaze lingering on the curve of the Asari's lips, the swell of the her breasts and the flare of her hips before tearing herself away and getting back to work.
After a quick battle and an appropriate use of fire-power, Sarah approached the trapped archaeologist from behind. The thrill of battle had somewhat centered her, but she still could not tear her eyes away from the face of this lovely woman.
"The mechanism that controls this should be right there
" Shepard only half heard her as she tried to figure out why this woman was so compelling to her. So captivating, so bewitchingly alluring to her.
Liara was talking about Protheans and Geth and the ruins and power sources and all kinds of things that Shepard did not understand, but just listening to that soft voice made her feel
right. The woman was so smart and Sarah absolutely loved that about her, that and her slightly naïve manner of dealing with strangers.
She heard Ashley chime in with a sarcastic, "Think fast, Miss Prothean Expert." And Sarah had an urge to back-hand the Soldier she had come to trust with her life. Shepard realized she would have to examine her reactions to the Asari Doctor before they affected the mission.
As the lift stopped at the top of the ruins and the Krogan Battle-Master threatened Liara's life, Shepard became livid. Her ferocity in defending Liara shocked even herself. As the battle raged and Geth troopers charged and flanked, Shepard never left Liara's side. The Krogan charged them twice in an effort to kill Liara after he realized he was losing the battle. Shepard stepped between them and took the brunt of the charge both times before finally killing the Krogan with a carnage shot.
Shepard yelled at them to get out of the site and followed behind Liara as they ascended into daylight. Only when they reached the surface did Sarah finally take a breath and a moment to wonder why she was suddenly losing control of herself.