Forgive me, Liara.
Leah Shepard raised her pistol to take aim at the generator. All she could think of was her soul mate as she made her decision. The decision to completely eradicate the threat of the reapers; she had to make it safe for Liara to live out her life, even if it would be without the commander.
As she walked closer to the generator to ensure a precise shot, images of the ones she loved flashed before her eyes. Joker and EDI, the couple that she helped create. She couldn't help but feel guilty about her decision to destroy the reapers due to the fact that doing so would destroy all synthetics, which would include EDI. EDI had brought so much happiness to Joker's life and now Shepard's decision would take that away from him.
Then Tali and Garrus flashed before her eyes. Leah loved that they had found love and prayed that they would be able to enjoy a long life with each other. Garrus had been like a big brother to Shepard and Tali the little sister that she never had.
Then a pair of ocean, blue eyes and the most gorgeous smile in the galaxy was before Shepard's eyes. She could stay lost forever in those eyes. The way Liara could look at her and Leah knew exactly what she was thinking. If anyone had ever told Leah when she had first started off on the Normandy before the Eden Prime mission that she would be an Asari's bond mate she probably would have just laughed in their face, but now she couldn't see herself with anyone else. This beautiful being was her soul mate, her best friend, her lover.
I love you so much. I'm sorry I couldn't keep my promise.
The last thing that Shepard saw was Liara smiling at her and then a bright flash of white light.
"Liara, we have to get out of here. There have been reports that Hammer team failed. Harbinger destroyed everything and everyone near the beam."Ashley Williams grabbed at her friend and started pulling her away from the fight.
Before they went out into the final battle Shepard had pulled her to the side to say her goodbyes to her. Among her goodbyes to Williams, Shepard had given her explicit commands.
"No matter what happens, you keep her safe. If you hear that my mission failed or if the reaper forces get to be too much for your area leave and that's an order. You get her to the safest place you can think of. I don't care if you have to drag her by her ankles. Do you understand LT?" The Commander stared at her with such intensity that Ashley felt a shiver run up her spine.
"Aye, aye Ma'am."
Ashley had really let down the Commander before by not putting her trust in her friend, but instead wanted to believe that her loyalties lied with Cerberus. That mistrust almost cost Williams her life, but as always her friend was there to save her and open her eyes to the truth. There was no way she was going to let down her friend this time.
"I'm not leaving! Shepard is still out there somewhere I'm not just going to abandon her!" Liara wrenched her arm out of Ashley's grip. She quickly rushed forward and dove to cover.
Williams darted after her and slid beside her as a Maruader laid heavy fire at them. "Damn it, Liara I was told specifically to keep you safe."
"I don't care what Leah told you. I'm not leaving her. She would never leave me, so how could I possibly leave her. Especially now during this moment." Liara hit the Marauder with a warp and then sent out a singularity field.
Williams gritted her teeth thinking of her possiblities. Obviously talking Liara into leaving was out of the question. Then she held her breath and quickly hit the Asari with the butt of her assault rifle. Liara fell to the ground uncouncious.
"I hope you can forgive me for this later, but I'm not letting the Skipper down again. Joker, this is Williams I'm headed for the rendevous point. Liara and I'll will be waiting for you for extraction."
Williams quickly hoisted the Asari over her shoulders and bolted towards the extraction point that Shepard and Joker had decided on before they split up.
As Ashley approached the rendevous point, she spotted the shuttle that Shepard had promised would be there. The pilot was anxiously pacing in front of it.
"Hurry! Reaper forces are headed this way!"
As she approached the shuttle she felt Liara starting to move and struggle against her grip.
"Ashley! Put me down! What are you doing?! I can't leave her!"
Williams held tighter and leapt into the shuttle. She held onto Liara until she knew they were high enough in the air that the asari couldn't escape. She gently set her down on the floor.
Liara laid there sobbing for her bond mate. How could she have done this to me. Why would Leah do this when she knows that she could never do this to me. How does she expect me to just abandon her! She was losing Leah all over again and this time there would be no bringing her back. She was in so much distress she eventually passed out from mental exhaustion and anguish.
When the shuttle made it safely to the Normandy, Ashley picked up her friend and carried her to her quarters. She laid her on her bed and quickly left for the cockpit.
"Where did the Skipper want us to go?"
Williams approached Joker and EDI who were frantically pushing buttons to avoid reaper fire and destroyed ship debris.
Just as Joker was turning to her to answer a bright flash of light emitted from the Citadel and Crucible, followed by an orange wave of electricity like fog.
Liara woke up to sirens wailing around her and someone shaking her.
"Wake up! Come on, please wake up!"
There was smoke all around. Liara's Shadow Broker terminals were tossed to one side of her quarters. The screens would flicker to life and then go dead. What happened?
"Liara, are you alright?" Williams looked at the Asari, wishing that she would at least speak so she knew that she was okay. Instead all Ashley got was a bewildered look.
Finally, Liara opened her mouth. "Where are we? What happened?"
"We were about to jump into the relay when the Citadel and Crucible lit up. Anyway I'm not exactly sure what happened but whatever the light was caused the Normandy to malfunction and Joker was able to crash land on an island.
On an island? About to jump into the relay? Does that mean...
"Are we still on Earth?!"
"Yeah, we didn't make it through the relay before whatever happened made us lose control."
"Thank the Goddess! What island are we on? Have we made contact with the Alliance? Any word on Shepard?"
Ashley quickly grabbed Liara by the shoulders.
"Slow down! Joker has already raised a distress signal and the Alliance has replied. They're en route to pick us up. As for the Commander we haven't heard any news."
"But she was successful if the reapers have been destroyed!" Liara couldn't help but let a smile creep over her face. Goddess, it's finally over! Then a sick feeling swept over her. <> It's finally over, but at what cost.</i> She didn't know the cost of this victory, but she knew her bond mate would have given up everything to ensure the destruction of the reapers. Goddess, please let Leah be alive.
"Is everyone else that was aboard okay?"
Williams searched for the right words to say to her friend. All of the organic crew members that were aboard the Normandy had survived minus a few minor flesh wounds, however the ship's onboard AI, that everyone had come to love and trust like she was part of their crew, had not made it. Joker wouldn't even acknowledge that EDI was gone. He just simply asked that one of the crew take her body to the AI's core control room.
"EDI went silent." Those were the only words Ashley could think to say.
Liara hung her head knowing the devastation that Joker was feeling. Tears fell from her eyes as she thought of the loss of her friend and the sadness that her other friend must be going through.
"Come on. Everyone is gathering outside the ship to wait for the Alliance to pick us up."
"I'll be there in a minute."
As Ashley left, Liara quickly dropped to her knees and frantically started looking under her bed. Come on where is it? I know I put it under here somewhere. Then she found it, a small safety box. She carefully opened it praying that no one had discovered it and took its contents.
Inside was a picture of her and Leah. They had asked Tali to snap a picture of them on one their last shore leaves at the Citadel. Liara and Leah stood at a balcony that overlooked the Presidium. Leah had placed her arm around Liara, holding her to her side so tightly. As Tali began to take the picture, Leah quickly kissed Liara on the cheek. Liara blushed thinking about that moment and tears welled up in her eyes as she was overcome with the love that she had for this amazing woman. She thought of how safe and secure she felt in Leah's arms when she held her like that. Will I ever feel that safe again?
She set the picture aside and picked up a delicate, pressed flower.
It's called a Daisy. A Gerber Daisy to be more exact...I think. She recalled Leah surprising her with the beautiful bouquet of yellow daisies during one of her visits to the Shadow Broker's ship. She carefully looked over the dried flower and smiled at the memory.
She glanced down at the other items in the box. Things that she had kept from dig sites. An N7 patch from one of Shepard's old shirts. Pictures from the places they had traveled to together. Keepsakes that belonged to her mother, Benezia.
As she started to place the two precious items back to safety, she noticed that something was inside the box that didn't belong.
A letter addressed to her. She delicately ran her fingers over the writing on the envelope. Leah. Tears started to fall down her azure cheeks as she started to open the letter.
I have written this letter to you in the event that I did not survive my last mission. Liara, my heart's goddess, you are my everything. Without you I would be nothing and everything that I have done to ensure the safety of the galaxy would not have been possible if you had not been there to keep me strong. I want you to know that you are the reason that I keep going. Everyday. You are the reason I wake up; the reason I breathe; the reason I exist. I never would have imagined loving someone as much as I love you or someone loving me as much as you love me. I don't deserve you one bit and I hope you felt my love for you every moment of every day we were together. Please don't be sad, my love. You are the strongest person I have ever met and because of that strength I know you will be okay after the smoke has cleared. I love you with all my heart and all my being, Liara.
Liara couldn't control her emotions anymore. She sobbed so loud and so hard that she was gasping for air within minutes. Leah, I love you so much. As she reread the last sentence, she knew that there would be no more happiness in her life if Shepard had not survived the day's events.
The sun shone down. Clouds floated lazily by. Birds flitted about in the sunlight. A light breeze blew in Shepard's hair.
She laid there and took it all in. Her vision was a little blurry, but she could tell that it was all so beautiful. Amid all the beauty though Shepard noticed that she couldn't hear anything.
Why can't I hear anything? Shepard wondered to herself.
Then she felt the ground beneath her shake.
She tried to move so she could see exactly what her environment was, but as she tried to move she was immediately greeted by an excruciating pain throughout her body. Her breathing became labored and the pain became worse.
She closed her eyes to focus on trying to steady her breath so she could think clearly.
Leah slowly opened her eyes. Her vision started clearing as she blinked a few times. The sun that shone down on her was a destroyed reaper's laser emitter stuck on top of a building. The clouds that floated by in the sky was billows of smoke. The birds that flitted around were in fact ashes and debris falling to the ground. Shepard grew to realize that she hadn't died. However, that was the least of her worries as she realized that whatever was making the earth shake around her was getting closer. As hard as she tried she couldn't move; Leah's body was paralyzed with pain.
She closed her eyes as the shaking and tremors got worse all around her until she just knew that the ground was going to open up and swallow her. Tears started running down her cheeks as she realized that she was completely helpless and alone. Then the earth suddenly became still again.
She quickly opened her eyes. What was that noise?
Is that someone calling out for me?
Garrus! Leah tried to shout, but nothing came out. Her throat was so dry from breathing in all the smoke around her.
No! I won't just die here like this when Garrus is so close!
With all her might she managed to raise her arm into the air. As her arm wavered in the air, Leah couldn't help but notice all the blood and burns on her arm.
That's gonna leave a mark.
"Garrus, over here!"
Tali! Thank the Goddess!
Garrus and Tali quickly knelt down beside the Commander.
"Commander! Oh my God."
"Quick, over here we need a medic transport!"
Leah looked at her friends and tried to speak, but nothing. She wanted so badly to ask if Liara was safe and if she was nearby, but then the pain gripped her. Her breathing became labored again; she could hear her heart beating in her ears. She began to gasp for air. Why is it so hard just to breathe.
The medics quickly rushed up to the group and gently placed Shepard on the hover stretcher and placed oxygen on her face.
"We need to get her to a med bay. She isn't going to make it if we don't move!"
As they headed towards the transport, Leah tried to clear her vision to see what had made the earth beneath her tremble. As her focus came back for a second she saw that there was at least twenty Hammers parked with soldiers scouting the area for survivors, but they had mainly come to look for Shepard.
As the medics rushed by all the soldiers, they stopped looking for survivors long enough to salute the Commander. Leah stared blankly at the sky as they made their way. Liara. The commander's vision went black as she became unconscious.