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We Shall Always Be You And I

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The apartment is quiet. The tempered windows keep out the noise of busy streets and bustling industry. I feel all the life pulsing desperately on the other side of it, the lights sliding across my skin in rapid vibrancy. I press my hand against the cool glass. The steady vibrations of a million million souls being, breathing, living transfers through my palm. The brevity of it all makes me melancholy. Life is so short. Especially now.

I know staying in Anderson's apartment is a decadent luxury, even if it's only one night. The timing makes the retreat highly exorbitant. Right now every moment counts and no seconds should be squandered. That, unfortunately, is the argument Shepard used to get me here in the first place. One night. Every moment matters; so no moments matter. We could be dead tomorrow. She'd smiled and kissed me until I forgot why I was arguing.

I smile and turn to go in search of my Commander. She can be quite convincing though a bit nihilistic in her approach. I suspect it has something to do with her upbringing, or lack thereof. But, it's direct and not covered in obfuscation; something that is rare, but rarer still in my line of work. So, it's a refreshing quality to be around. One more reason on my list of many of why I love her.

The apartment's high ceilings and minimal walls leave no place to observe Shepard covertly, so I stop at the living room's threshold and prop myself against the wall adjoining the fireplace. I know she's aware of me. I see it in the nearly imperceptible shift in her demeanor. She's always a soldier, even when she's safe. She's always acutely aware of her surroundings, of people's position, of every perceptible detail.

I understand the impulse, and it makes me sad for both of us, for the lives we lead where inattentiveness could be fatal. In my more somber moments, I wonder who we would be if we weren't Commander Shepard and Doctor T'Soni.

I watch Shepard move around the kitchen. I drink her in like fine wine on my tongue: slowly and decadently.

She's listening to jazz. Real jazz, she once insisted when I likened it to the modern genre, not the god-awful stuff they call jazz today. It's nothing like what they play at the clubs (not even the human ones). It was centuries old even when I was a child. But, it fits her somehow. The young Commander with the old soul and the old eyes that have seen a thousand lifetimes. I listen to the low contralto of voices mixing with the wail of instruments. Some words don't translate, and I doubt she understands all of them herself. But I feel the flow of music, the power of the voice. It's liquid emotion moving from the singer to the listener. It's heady and intoxicating. And, beautiful. All in a way that defies definition.

And Shepard moves unconsciously to the rise and fall of the music. No movement is gauche. She moves around the space like she does the battlefield, with easy grace and focused intent. Like she was made for that singular purpose. She moves like a dancer. Graceful. Elegant. Precisely. Delicately. Poetry in motion where every movement is set to the tempo of the universe. Always moving, even when still.

And, I imagine her like this always. Herself, without the mantle of responsibility. A wife. A mother. A woman. Simply, and only. She would be glorious. We would be glorious. But, I know that isn't our fate. Destiny has chosen different roles for us.

But, not tonight. Tonight there is no fate or destiny, only me and her, alone together.

She's breathtaking, and lovely. And, she's in a dress. Not the awful thing she likes to put on to go to parties. I think she wears the thing intentionally in protest of doing something she doesn't want to do. No, this dress is made of cotton and doesn't cling to her in the way normal clothing does. A sundress she called it. It's blue with white polka dots, cinched at the waist with a thin, red belt. It flows with her as she moves, the movement making her look like her bare feet aren't not touching the ground.

Affection wells in me. I love that she trusts me to see her like this.

"You gonna watch me all night?" I can hear the smile in her voice though I can't see it. Her back is turned, tending the meal she's preparing.

"I could," I step toward her, happy to be with her, "and still be left wanting."

She carefully plates the food. "Wanting, perhaps," she turns and winks at me, "but not unsatisfied."

"Never unsatisfied." I move around the island and pull her into a kiss. She tastes like mint and chocolate. I don't want to let her go.

She pulls away slowly, "The food is going to get cold." Before the words are all the way out she's dipping back to my lips. I smile against her mouth. My hands move to tangle in her hair. Hair: such an amazing evolutionary trait. I hold her to me tenderly. She's so precious; I love her so much.

I pull back. It would not do to let all her hard work go to waste. I pick up one of the plates, slip my hand into hers, and move to the dining room. She picks up the other plate and follows my direction. The music goes with us. We settle ourselves and fall into an easy intimacy. It feels good to just be with her.

She hasn't let go of my hand, and her thumb is rubbing circles into my skin. It's an innocuous thing, most probably unconscious too, but it makes me inexplicably warm. We eat; and, we talk. The music fills our silences beautifully. She doesn't let go of my hand.

We've finished our meal and we're well on our way to finishing one of the best bottles of Thessian wine I've ever tasted. It's older than I am, and I suspect my father gave it to her.

"Dance with me, Liara?" Shepard's standing with her arm outstretched and her hand open, and a shy smile on her face as if I might reject her offer.

I take a sip from my glass and let the sweetness suffuse my tongue as I look at her. She's achingly endearing. And, I think she'll never stop surprising me. Humans: such unpredictably, lovely creatures. I put my glass down and take her hand.

The heat of her hand on the small of my back is distracting. She smiles like she knows what she's doing to me. I press closer and let my fingers play along the back of her neck, pleased at the sharp inhalation of breath the motion causes. Two can play at this game.

"Doctor," her voice is low and silky. She's happy.

"Commander," I press my cheek to hers. We've slowed down and are doing little more than swaying to the music, and it's wonderful. "This has been a lovely evening." But, I'm suddenly famished with hunger for her. I move my mouth to Shepard's earlobe, "Thank you." I take the sensitive flesh into my mouth and suck.

Shepard's fingers squeeze into my skin and pull me closer, her hot breath on my neck. "It isn't over yet," she chokes out.

It's always amazed me how sensitive earlobes are. I've only ever seen them on humans and I wonder at the evolutionary advantage of fleshy appendages outside the ear. But, my curiosity quickly gets derailed by Shepard's eager, hungry mouth.

It's on my neck, then on my jaw, then somehow on my mouth. Her tongue licks my upper lip and I open to her. Her hands are on my back, then on my neck, then on my face. But, her lips and tongue touch me like they've memorized all the planes of my being and are communing with me. I tremble.

We're moving and I feel clothes disappearing from my body, so I remedy the imbalance and make clothes disappear from Shepard's body, too. The music swells and follows us and for the first time I truly appreciate why she likes this music so much: it's hypnotic and alive.

I don't know which bedroom we've made it to but since I'm naked, and Shepard is soon to be naked, I don't care, all I need is a bed. I'm hot, wet, and itchy to get my hands all over her, but Shepard stops us just short of the bed.

My grunt of frustration amuses her but her eyes show me she's just as ready to get started as I am. "I just wanted a second to look at you." And she does, from head to toe, and back again. Twice. She licks her lips. "You are beautiful." Her sincerity has always made me lightheaded, and I can already feel my biotics slipping my control. Ozone starts to fill the room. I don't know if this feeling she makes me feel is normal; I lose myself. It's terrifying. It's magnificent.

I close the distance between us. I let my fingertips trace up her arms to her bra straps before dropping them down to the clasp of her bra. I pull the clasp apart and watch as her breasts are revealed to me. "You are too, Shepard. So…very…beautiful."

My hands unerringly find her breasts and nipples and my mouth finds her lips. And, Shepard is clinging to me, her sighs of excitement making my heart trip over itself. I move us the final steps to the bed; we fall into it, our hands and mouths still fused to each other.

Her hands have found my nipples and I'm pressing down on her thigh in an effort to find some friction for the intense pressure building just below my navel. I feel Shepard doing the same as her wetness coats my thigh even through the fabric of her underwear. We're frenzied and frantic in the pressure and heat of our own desire. And I've fallen into her mind, or she has jumped into mine, without realizing; I'm not sure that isn't dangerous. But, I feel her and she feels me.

Her hands have moved from my breasts, across my back, and to squeeze my ass. It's exquisite. My hands have braced themselves on either side of her head, the leverage adds pressure. We push, rush headlong into a release we both desperately need. Shepard surges up and captures my mouth and we reach orgasm. It's surprising in its quick arrival but no less intense for its quickness.

I collapse into her and I feel her chest rise and fall in tandem with mine. We needed that release but we're still so hungry. I feel her desire as keenly as I feel my own. Adrenalin and excitement make me pounce, adroitly and gracefully, but feral nonetheless.

I trail my lips from her mouth to her neck. She has a beautiful neck where I linger and press wet kisses against a straining pulse point. Shepard arches into me, fingers pressing me closer. I lick my way down and take an already hardened nipple in my mouth. I twirl my tongue around the taut nipple and suck on it, delighting in Shepard's moans and sighs of pleasure. I kiss my way across to her other breast and lave it with the same attention while my hands take hold of the elastic of the panties still on Shepard.

I kiss my way down her stomach before sitting back on my knees and pulling the undergarments all the way off her legs. I stare at her a moment, spread open and vulnerable. I can feel the want, the need, the love. It's intoxicating and heady; it makes me feel powerful and humbled. I trace my hands up her legs, up her inner thighs, and I lay myself prostrate to pleasure her.

I open her with my tongue slowly and languidly. I lick every fold over and over until my name is a litany falling off her tongue. I take her clit in my mouth and suck. She shudders; I feel the tremors of orgasm at the edge of her consciousness. I want to take her there. I press my thumb against her clit as I slip my tongue into her opening, darting in and out in time with the desperate tempo of her hips.

She tastes like nectar and salt. Nectar and salt and apples. Pollen and stars and hinges. She tastes like fairy tales. Swan maiden at midnight. Cream on the tip of a fox's tongue. She tastes like hope. And, I revel in her, in all that she is and can be. Her nails dig into my shoulder and the back of my neck. She's arching into me, holding me fast to her. I can feel her climax coming before she does, but it's beautiful to experience it with her: together and separate, two bodies and one consciousness.

The explosion is marvelous; I ride out the waves with her. And, we are glorious. I hold her limp body as she recovers. Her music filling this silence beautifully as well.

I hear the loudness of Shepard's mind a second before she rolls on top of me. There is so much she never says out loud, but I hear it. I hear her. And, her kisses are like fire and her touch is like lightning. She moves across the planes and curves of my body like a force of nature: unstoppable, untamable. All passion and heat and want. All need. All love.

I'm lost before she's even started because her mind is touching mine in a way so beyond physical it feels spiritual. And, I witness her beautiful soul love mine, our bodies just follow.

"We shall always be you and I." She says it with her fingers buried in me, pushing me toward ecstasy, toward oblivion. She whispers it against my cheek where her face is pressed. She says it with her eyes closed. She says it likes it's fact. Like it's hope. Like it's prayer.

"This isn't goodbye, Shepard," I'm panting, pulling her closer, about to lose my mind. Not yet, goddess, not yet. Let goodbye never come. And, I feel my orgasm coil inside me, tightening, tightening, tightening, until Shepard's fingers rub just right and the tension explodes like a loaded spring. And I unravel. Heat, wetness, love, desire, eternity spill through me and I'm coming until I'm emptied.

"Hey." And she's solid and real. "I'm here." Her heat surrounds me and I cling to her.

"Are we going to win this war?" It's out before I can stop it.

"I don't know, Liara. But, I don't plan on losing."

I know it's all she can give, but it doesn't feel like enough. And I love her, but that won't be enough to bring her back a second time. War is hell.

Her jazz musicians are still playing softly in the background. That beauty has endured centuries. Perhaps hope isn't extinguished.

"But," I hold her face and I close my eyes, "we shall always be you and I." I say it like it's fact. Like it's hope. Like it's prayer.