Chapter 66

T’Soni Estate, private quarters, morning of the party

Shepard took a deep relaxing breath and stretched out on her stomach a light warm breeze playing across her bare back from open balcony doors.

She allowed the memories of the previous night with Liara to echo through her body. They had walked through an avenue of trees spilling scented flakes of white blossom with every brush of the breeze.

It was like walking through a light snow shower. John had been fascinated as he tested his stubby legs ability to follow his commands to walk while holding his parents hands.

When they stopped he sat and played contentedly with the fallen blossom crawling to explore one of the hidden sculptures which was an ethereal representation of a mystical Asari creature akin to an Earth griffin.

Standing close together watching their child, all thoughts of what was to come banished, their bodies began a familiar call.

To be touched, known, held, kissed, turning into each other lips finding waiting eager lips, hands exploring familiar places, sharp intakes of breath as fingers found sensitive and pleasurable territory.

Their need for each other, to be one, to be lost in their own universe of connection as strong as ever even without the flash of recognition and Liara pulled them into a meld. Pulling apart after a few moments knowing they would find release soon enough.

And so they had. After putting their son to bed the shared a dinner that served only as prolonged foreplay for what was to come. Barely making it into their bedroom before passion, need, urgency took them both.

Shepard allowed memories to flow in and out of her mind. Liara above her head throw
back in rapture, their breathing ragged and the feeling of warm soft breasts in
her hand.

As she let the memory fade away the door to the room opened followed by a weight dropping on the bed beside her.

“I believe someone wants you to join us for breakfast,” Liara’s soft tones always thrilled Shepard and she turned to see her smiling bondmate standing next to the bed, the thin fabric of a white dressing gown offering a tempting view of Liara’s body in silhouette.

Crawling towards her was her son a huge smile accompanied by gurgling that was beginning to sound more like attempts to form words.

Shepard lifted him easily into the air above her and he laughed with delight as she dropped him down to her face to kiss his nose them back into the air again.

Liara sat on the bed and ran her fingers through her bondmates hair.

“There are a few things to attend to this morning my love I am so sorry,” Liara had tried her best to clear her schedule but some things needed to be actioned to move along the ‘truth campaign’ as her team had dubbed the work to clear Shepard’s name.

Shepard gave her a huge grin, “I understand babe it’s all good. I’ll spend the morning with the little guy.”

Liara leaned in and kissed her lover affectionately and stood, “well then let us get some breakfast together.”

Thrassican Republic Mansion, Normandy crew guest wing, morning of the party

The sound of something beeping started to drill into her mind. With an involuntary groan Tash reached an arm out in the direction of the offending sound. A warm soft body pressed into her back as Liselle lay across her and the noise stopped.

Warm lips kissed Tash’s jawline and despite the banging in her head she smiled and this time the moan that escaped her lips was one of pleasure.

Liselle moved her fingers across her lovers hardening clit and positioned herself so she was now lying almost completely across her lovers back.

Tash made to roll over, “oh no you don’t… you stay exactly where I want you,” Liselle said in a husky whisper and continued to kiss and nip her lovers neck and shoulders.

Their breath quickened and the two bodies’ began to move to a shared rhythm.

Liselle moved her fingers expertly and finally when they could both hardly bear the wait any longer she plunged them deep into her lovers’ wet and open core.

Their cries of building passion and pleasure rang out again in the room and soon they were both tumbling over the edge into release as their orgasm flashed through them. The aftershocks still pulsing as Liselle gently withdrew from her lover and rolled over to lie on her back with a sigh of contentment.

Tash moved to lie on her side and looked down at Liselle stoking the side of her lovers’ face, “I’m really going to miss you when you head off to navy school.”

It was said with a smirk to emphasise the tease about Liselle having to do a course in the Asari military college before taking up her position in the Citadel Fleet.

Liselle pulled a face as she gave Tash a hard kiss before saying, “it’s not school, more a formality and when I’m finished I’ll still outrank your arse,” she smiled and gave a deep sigh before continuing in a softer tone.

“Remember when I told you if you ever made me miss you I would cause you pain,” and this time Tash leaned in and kissed her lover on the lips and on the exposed neck as Liselle continued, “well I’m going to have to cause you a lot of pain because I am really going to miss you until I can get back to the Normandy.”

They held each other’s eyes for what seemed like a long time, neither speaking both sensing the edge of imminent loss.

Tash’s face broke into a huge grin breaking the moment and said with a smile, “can’t wait to get you in my bunk on the Normandy though.”

“Mmm,” Liselle allowed thoughts of mischief to flood her mind as Tash’s hand traced a pattern across her stomach and moved ever downwards suddenly saying with a start, “Goddess what’s the time we’ve got so much to do.”

An hour later they were both dressed and ready to head out when Liselle pulled her lover into an embrace and said, “I need to tell you something Tasha… something I couldn’t tell you before but…,” she pulled out a little so they were looking at each other.

“If this is a confession abut sleeping with Paul Johnson don’t worry I already figured that out,” Tash said lightly doing her best to hide the sudden spike of jealousy she felt in her chest.

“No that’s… wait you knew, how?” Liselle said suddenly distracted.

“He had the look,” Tash said now with a genuine smile and when Liselle still looked confused she continued, “the look all your ex-lovers have after having the most amazing experience in the Galaxy… and wondering when will it happen again.”

Liselle gave Tash a gentle punch to the shoulder and then returned her arms around her lovers’ neck as she said, “no that is not what I want to talk about… and… well that was your fault anyway… but we’ll talk about that another time.”

Liselle steadied herself and said seriously, “I need to tell you who my mother is… you have no secrets from me and I don’t want this between us.”

“I thought that was Admiral Lidanya?” Tash said still holding her lover around the waist and wondering why Liselle was so obviously tense.

“She… adopted me,” Liselle said searching for the easiest way to translate what was a much more complicated situation, “Aria is my birth parent, my mother,” Liselle said and watched as confusion followed by understanding played across Tash’s features.

Stepping back a little Tash tried to reign in her response understanding what a huge confidence her Asari girlfriend had shared.

“So that’s why she didn’t… when you told her… I couldn’t understand how you managed to stop her throwing me off Omega, or worse,” Tash ran her hand through her hair and searched for something coherent to say.

“Does this change how you feel about me, about us?” Liselle asked into the silence.

“No absolutely not,” Liselle was relieved that there was no hesitation and waited for her lover to continue, “but shit Leece she’s so… well… she’s Aria T’Loak the Queen of the Terminus system… and…” Tash faltered to a stop.

Liselle took pity on her shocked human girlfriend and said in a playful tone a smile teasing her lips, “she scares the fuck out of you and you’re dating her daughter.”

They both started to laugh at the same time breaking the tension.

“So who else knows,” Tash asked as they moved towards the door of their suite.

Liselle then laid the second bombshell on her lover leaving her little time to respond as she began opening the door saying over her shoulder, “Oh, only my sister and her bondmate… Liara and Shepard.”

T’Soni Estate, midday

Tash was still reeling from the revelation that not only was Aria Liselle’s parent but that Liara was her sister.

The shuttle ride down to the Estate was not silent but the couple were not their usual chatty selves.

Liara met them in the hall and as they walked through to the rear terrace Tash started to notice similarities between the two young Asari in front of her but she was pulled from her thoughts by the sound of her name.

“So Tasha is having quite a crisis about the whole thing,” Liselle stopped and turned her gaze on Tash.

“You’re sisters,” was all Tash could muster and then looked puzzled as her two companions smiled widely.

“Well this is going much better than when I told Shepard,” Liara said and they started to walk along the rear terrace to a table that had been set for lunch.

“To be fair you did tell her just before a pretty difficult call with Aria,” Liselle said now able to smile at the memory but remembering her own nerves about her mother’s reaction to having shared the secret with her sister.

Tash sat in a chair and said again in a shocked tone, “yeah but… this is Aria… leader of the Terminus systems… and I’m… you’re her daughter… daughters,” she added the last word quickly.

“Yeah Tasha we understand,” Liselle said and kissed her human on the cheek, “Imagine Liara’s shock… why don’t you go talk to Shepard.” Liselle indicated a figure sitting in the field a little way off.

“Yes tell her lunch will be ready shortly,” Liara said smiling as Tash stood and after nodding strode away to her cousin.

“When will you tell her you have expanded the circle,” Liara said a smile playing on her lips as she poured tea for the both of them.

Liselle’s eyes followed her lover as she answered, “oh, I don’t think it will be that big a deal.”

Liara waited for her sister to look at her and gave her a knowing stare with a raised brow. Liselle took a deep sigh and then appeared to deflate.

“I have no idea why I did it Liara… I didn’t want any more lies and… well Shepard is in the circle and she’s my Shepard,” Liselle said with only a slight pleading tone to her voice.

Both sisters laughed to relieve the tension and both hoping that apart from some thunder and sparks Aria would find a way to accommodate both her daughters need to be honest with their chosen partners.

As Tash reached her cousin she heard laughter from the terrace and in spite of her confused mood she smiled as she always did when she heard Liselle laugh.

Shepard was lying on her back on the grass, baseball cap pulled low over her eyes to shade her from the sun.

Tash sat next to her cousin and looked at the small sleeping figure under a sun shade to Shepard’s right.

“Whoa he has grown loads,” Tash said, “Thessia must be good for babies huh.”

Shepard stirred and turned her head to stare at her cousin, “I’m assuming your girlfriend tells you everything?”

When Tash looked a little sheepish and nodded Shepard continued, “Then you know it isn’t Thessia.”

“But he’s ok?” Tash asked in an almost hushed tone.

Shepard smiled slowly, “yeah according to the doc’s here he’s fine. And he’s started with a tutor the way Asari children do and seems he’s developing perfectly normally…” she paused and frowned before continuing, “normal for Asari physical and mental development.”

They sat in silence both knowing well what Earth, Systems Alliance and Council laws were on the genetic engineering of hybrids.

“Anything you need me to do to keep him safe just say the word,” Tash said smiling at her troubled looking cousin, “he’s family.”

Shepard grinned choosing to put away all the fear she had for her son’s position and said, “Thanks Tash, Lee has a plan so I’m pretty sure it will work out.”

Tash looked across at her cousin taking in the deeply ingrained tension in her face and body language.

“Never thought we’d end up dating sisters let alone Asari’s,” Tash said with a wry smile.

Shepard caught the reference and replied, “She told you then… good.” Shepard’s last word was spoken in response to Tash’s nod of the head.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t with you on Elysium you know,” Tash said.

“I know,” Shepard said reaching out and squeezing the other woman’s shoulder, “you had your own orders.

“Besides I’m glad you weren’t… might have lost you along with all the others, so young, only kids…” something gave way a little inside and unusually Shepard shared what was running through her mind, her eyes looking off into the distance.

“They were scared… one or two of them were physically shaking and I always wonder if we shouldn’t have all gone to the shelters… some of them had tears in their eyes as they were dying… their lives in front of them, at the beginning of their careers and I made them stand there in badly fitting armour and unfamiliar weapons against unbeatable odds…”

Shepard turned to look directly at Tash, “they stood with me because I made them believe it was our duty, it was the right… the only thing to do… knowing we couldn’t win.”

“From what I hear if you hadn’t keep the Batarian’s occupied until the Alliance showed up they would have had time to break into the shelters and we know what would have happened then… besides you were only a kid too,” Tash finished softly.

“Honestly I don’t remember at what point but I grew up pretty fast that day…” Shepard spoke in low tones looking out again to the distance in case Tash saw the fear in her eyes, “what we’re facing will be the same… but worse, so much worse… we’ll have to stand and fight the Reapers with armour that won’t protect us and weapons that won’t kill them. Because it’s all we can do… even though I know we can’t win.”

Tash saw for the first time the huge burden her cousin was carrying and this time it was her turn to reach out place a hand on the strong broad shoulders as she said, “but you won’t be alone, we’re all here by your side and if can’t beat them we’ll make sure they knew they were in a fight.”

Shepard allowed herself a small wan smile and nodded haltingly, “there’s so much to do to get ready and…”

The shout from the terrace cut off the end of her thought.

Tash got to her feet and offered her hand to Shepard who took it and when she was on her feet was pulled into a hug.

“I won’t let you down again cuz,” Tash said and as they broke apart.

Shepard replied her voice gruff, “You’ve never let me down. You deserved better from me and the Alliance and I’ll make it up to you.”

She picked up her still sleeping son and they walked back to the women waiting for them.

Shadow Council meeting, Private and secure meeting room, T’Soni Estate comms centre, late afternoon

The meeting had been in progress for over three hours. All the usual participants were connected from secure locations across the Galaxy, their holo images projected into the relevant position around the conference table.

General Aurelos and Admiral Hackett finished updating the meeting about the progress of the Galaxy wide monitoring and early warning system code named Deep Net.

The quantum communication based buoy system had been authorised as a joint project between the Alliance and Turian Military ostensibly to improve early detection of ingress into Council space by ‘terrorists or rogue systems’.

“The contracts are awarded and we expect the system to be deployed and operational by the end of the current Galactic year,” Hackett finished to nods of approval.

Councillor Tevos who had fallen into the role of meeting coordinator looked at her fellow Asari Matriarch B’Lanea who nodded as if to some pre-agreed question.

“One of our many scientific programmes tasked with exploration of the unknown Galaxy by conventional means,” She looked at Shepard, “that is to say using FTL rather than opening new mass relays. Have developed deep space exploration vessels with unique properties specifically designed with long travel times and colonisation in mind.

“This project naturally lends itself to be repurposed into our failsafe initiative. The inner circle of the T’ara agrees the civilisations of our known Galaxy must continue at all costs.”

Shepard felt an eerie sense of d

Chapter 66