Liara has been ignoring her work for hours.
Staring at her message terminal. Waiting. Every time it beeps she rushes to open the newest message, only to find spam or something to do with work. Nothing to do with Shepard.
Her anxiety has steadily been growing. Glyph has been no help at all and has felt the need to incessantly talk and follow her as she paces around the Shadow Broker’s base. Even when asked not, Glyph can be quite persistent when it wants to be.
‘Glyph, can’t you do something else?’
She sighs, and leaves the drone behind to go the bathroom. Liara locks the door, and approaches the mirror.
When Shepard told her about the Omega 4 relay, Liara was sure she was joking. Nobody in history had ever returned, which made the whole suicide mission Shepard had sent herself on all the more depressing.
Leaning against the hand basin, Liara questions why it had to be a mass relay filled with collectors, of all things. Why it had to be a mass relay she might never return from at all.
Tears form in her eyes, and she hears Glyph outside the door. It’s speaking about a new message from a salarian contact.
‘Is there anything from Shepard? Or anything about Shepard?’
‘No, but there is a message from a salarian,’ Glyph repeats. ‘Should I ask him if knows anything about Shepard?’
She sighs, decides to ignore him. There are more important things to be worrying about than her ridiculous info droid. Liara opens the bathroom door after quickly wiping her eyes, ridding them of tears.
‘Tell me if I receive a message regarding anything about Commander Shepard, okay?’
Just as she’s started her pacing again, the door to the base opens. Liara looks desperately to the door, hoping to see Shepard - she would walk in with the smuggest grin, walking confidentially as she usually did after a successful mission. She can see it perfectly playing out in her head. Only, it's not Shepard. It's a very familiar drell staring at her. Feron, her assistant.
‘Hello,’ she smiles, despite how forced it is. ‘Have you heard anything about Shepard?’
‘Not yet, but I told you I would keep you posted,’ he says. ‘It’s all over the news though. If Shepard's crew makes it back alive—’
‘Don’t say that, of course they will! She'll bring them back, she always does!’ Liara realizes her tone and apologizes, quietly, under her breath. She continues, voice dramatically quieter this time, ‘Shepard is the strongest person I know… She’s going to make it back. She has to. I can’t face losing her again, Feron.’
'I know, I’m sorry.’
‘For the past two years, I never knew if Cerberus would bring her back or not,’ she says, softly. ‘To me, she was as good as dead anyway. I knew giving her to Cerberus had its risks, but I was so desperate to have her back. So, so, desperate.’
Feron moves forward, right beside her at the message terminal. ‘Have you been staring at this thing all day?’
Liara feels herself about to cry, and lets the tears fall. Feron offers a hug, but she ignores him, choosing instead to lean on the desk for support. Dry-heaving sobs overtake her.
‘Please go, Feron.’
'I need to be alone right now,' she mumbles, taking a shaky breath in. 'Let me know if you hear anything.'
Without a word, he walks back to his part of the base. Liara hates people seeing her so weak, so vulnerable. She covers her mouth, trying her best to silence the noises she’s making. Something keeps echoing in her head, making her downright miserable: Shepard should have been back over an hour ago.
It’s all becoming too familiar – losing her bond mate, all over again.
‘I can't go through this again, Shepard...'
To cause herself more pain, she decides to read the last message Shepard sent. Only an hour before she left. Probably for good, Liara thinks.
Subject: On our way to Omega 4.
The Normandy is on course for the Omega 4 relay. We’ll arrive in 2 hours or more.
I know there’s a chance I might not make it back. I want you to know I care about you. You know I’m not great with this kind of thing, but maybe now is a good time to tell you that I love you. I have since the start, I think, when you very adorably told me how interesting you found me.
Wish I could have visited you before we left, but I know how much I would have wanted to stay with you. Safe, forever. And I do want that, but the galaxy is depending on me. I need to stop the collectors. The sooner I do that, the sooner I can be with you again.
Little blue children, remember? I stick to my promises. I’ll be back for you, Liara.
Take care of yourself.
Tears continue to flow as she reads. She wishes that Shepard had just sent nothing at all, or something that wasn’t so obviously a goodbye letter. Liara never responded. She was so completely sure that she would have the chance to say everything that was necessary when Shepard returned.
That possibility was becoming more and more unlikely as time went on.
Liara decides to start pacing again. Right around the base, in a circuit of sorts. Glyph follows her every step of the way, reading off new messages as they go. For an hour, she puts up with the info droid, only in hopes that it’ll mention Shepard’s name.
And then the greatest thing happens.
After hours of tirelessly waiting, Glyph says something right for once. ‘New message from Commander Shepard of the Normandy, Doctor.’
She stops dead in her tracks, ‘You’re sure?’
‘Yes. Shall I read the message?’ it asks.
Liara practically sprints toward the message terminal, bringing up Shepard’s message in a matter of seconds.
Subject: See you in an hour?
The mission went fine. Could have gone better but the main thing is – we stopped the collectors.
There were a few times where I really didn’t think I was going to see you again. So, because of that, I need to see you, urgently, for no reason in particular. (Separation anxiety? Does that sound right? Maybe it's near-death experience and missing my asari anxiety? That sounds better.)
Meet me at your apartment.
Liara suddenly feels like she’s breathing again, after years of holding her breath.