It’s been so long since I’ve spoken to you. So many years have passed, each one as unremarkable as the next. I cannot talk to you from here. But I want you to know that I am always watching.
Yours was the last face to grace my mind as my body was taken apart, atom by atom, in the centre of the crucible’s beam. Yours was the smile that gave me peace as my life came to an end. Yours was the life I sacrificed mine for in the end. I died so that you, and everybody else, could live on.
I was with you, Liara, when you cried. And you cried so much for months after, I sometimes feared you would never stop. You didn’t know it, but I slept beside you every night, just watching you sleep, hoping you were finding peace in your dreams. I laid my hand on your face, knowing you would never feel my touch again, but somehow hoping that I was doing the same within your mind, making you smile yet again.
I watched you smile for your visitors, the well wishers, and could see the sadness behind your joyless eyes. I longed to hold you. I still do, every second, every minute, every day. I was in every room that you entered as you went about your day. I know you were only going through the motions at first, I know that when the tears rolled down your cheeks on occasion, it wasn’t because you spilled your drink, or dropped a plate. It was because you were remembering. I remembered with you, closing my eyes as you closed yours, feeling the pain inside as though it were a tangible thing despite the fact that I am not tangible, not any longer.
I was by the bedside as Dr. Chakwas examined you months later and confirmed what you had been suspicious about for some time. There was a little Us growing inside you. Our own little wing, getting bigger and stronger with every day that passed. You smiled at Chakwas, but could not stop the tears from coming. Chakwas pulled you to her chest and I was grateful beyond measure that she did what I could not. I rubbed small circles on your back as you cried. The bitter-sweet feeling inside me was intense, and I cried along with you, though you could not hear me.
I was there when you gave birth to her, Liara. I watched with joy as she came into the world, kicking and screaming as all babies are wont to do. I had never heard a sound so perfect, nor seen a creature so overwhelmingly beautiful, besides her mother, of course. The squirming bundle of blue was placed upon your chest and the smile you gave her was one that I hadn’t seen in so long I had begun to think I never would. There was happiness in your eyes again and it made my heart soar. I knew that gazing upon our little one had gone some way to mending the broken parts of you and I was glad.
You named her after me, but called her Junior. I liked that. Junior Shepard was a noisy little bundle, but she was our bundle and for a long time I could barely look away from her. I spent almost every moment just looking at her. Counting the freckles on her little face, trying to figure out what she was thinking, whether she was happy. Sometimes I thought that she could see me, you know. She would look straight at me and I would feel my ethereal heart stop. I would smile and she would make gurgling noises in response and kick her feet in the air, her tiny little toes flexing and her little hands grabbing at nothing.
You were and are a perfect mother, Liara. You don’t hear that enough because you never let anybody in any more. Our daughter is testament, though, to how wonderful you are. From the moment she could walk, Junior was you all over. You often pouted and muttered what a terrible idea it was to get her that little spade and bucket, but I knew how proud you were on the inside, despite the fact that the garden was full of holes and Junior needed baths at least three times a day. I laughed along with you both when you bathed her, putting bubbles on top of her head and splashing water everywhere in an attempt to overthrow the ducky overlord who terrorised the other bath toys. I saw myself in our little wing at those times, and pride bloomed in my chest like a beam of pure ecstasy.
You worried about her too much on her first day of school. But you needn’t have, because I was there with her every step of the way. You should have seen her, Liara. From the start she has had the courage of a certain mother who spent her younger years adventuring into deep, dark caves in search of the things that excited her. Junior let nothing bring her down. She was fearless and kind and she made the loyalist of friends. She called them her squad mates, and I knew it was because of the stories you would tell her before bed. I chuckled when I listened to them. You embellished a lot of details, but you made me sound a lot better than I believed I was, so I couldn’t complain.
It has been years now, Liara, and I want you to know that I am happy for you. I know you feel guilty sometimes, having come to love another as you loved me. But I am not coming back, and though you will never leave my heart, I want nothing but happiness for you and our daughter. I was never any good at telling you how I felt, not really, and the time we spent together was short, and filled with violence, fear, pain, and uncertainty. But the moments I spent with you were the most precious I experienced in all the years I lived. Always remember that. She tells you she loves you often, and I can see how she is healing you, bit by bit, filling the void I left behind.
I know that I will always hold a place in your heart, and you, you will always fill mine to the brim. I will continue to watch over you and Junior, but from afar now, as is right.
I love you.
Note: This piece of work belongs to me, Archerdarke.
The music belongs to Bioware.
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