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Always By Her Side

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The Alliance contacted me, asking if we’d heard anything about the whereabouts of Shepard’s body.
They had her down as ‘MIA’ also known as Missing-in-action. I refused to believe she was dead and took over command of the Normandy to start a search and rescue mission to find her alive once the Relays were up and running again.

Nobody stopped me. Nobody wanted to cross me, after all, everyone knew how close Shepard and I are. We’ve even talked about marriage.

We get a message from Ashley that she thinks she’s located Shepard, but she can’t be sure.
So we go to Earth. I steel myself; expecting to see them dragging her body out of the rubble where the beam once stood and where I told her I loved her…. And she watched me leave in the Normandy because I was hurt.

Liara and Tali come with me, out of support and wanting to see if Shepard is alive or not.
I want her to be alive. I don’t believe she could be dead.
Dad wants me to go back to Palaven but my job isn’t done yet. And he doesn’t control me any more. I live my own life.

I know my family are safe, well… everyone except Shepard that is.

We greet Ashley when we get to Earth and retrace our steps, and we see all the rubble has been cleared away in the months that the relays have been down. Except for one area.
Right where the Crucible fell.
I look to Ashley.

“The Alliance won’t get here for another day or two. You have time to find her before they do.” She smiles.

“This was your idea?” I ask

I’m genuinely impressed, and Ashley motions for us to go ahead.

If she’s in there, I don’t even know how she could have survived without food. She’ll be extremely weak. There’s no way….Except, maybe her cybernetics are keeping her alive.

We rush towards the wreckage, I’ve never run so fast in my life.

“Shepard?” Tali and Liara call out simultaneously.

Ashley starts searching one area, and we all spread out

“Garrus? Where’s Garrus?” Comes a weak response through our Omni-Tools. It’s crackling, the audio is breaking up… but it stops me in my tracks. How the hell her tech is still working after the fall she had, I don’t know.

“Shepard!” All of us respond back to her, asking her where she is.

I start to see a familiar N7 logo on a broken helmet, and I keep digging.

I see her.

“Oh, Shepard.” I want to cry.

We all scramble to get the huge pieces of debris off her and she starts choking up blood.

“Stay with me, Athena. Please.” I beg, and Ashley tells me she knows of a good hospital nearby, and word will get out pretty quick that Shepard is found, but she’ll do her best to keep it a secret for as long as she can.

Athena passes out. We move as quickly as we can, I carry my love into the hospital and they immediately get to work – and I find Dr Chakwas and Miranda are here too, which makes things better.
Miranda and Dr Chakwas know Shepard’s body better than anyone, so they get to work on her and I never leave her side and I’m allowed to be by her side during all of her surgeries.

They’re surprised she doesn’t need to be put in a coma.
Dr Chakwas tells me that she was transferred here in case the Alliance found Shepard, and Miranda was brought in to bring her back to life if necessary. Which is messed up, considering the fact they were willing to bring back Shepard, but not anybody else.
And why would they trust Miranda, when she was the Illusive Man’s right hand woman?

I have a lot of questions, but all that matters to me is that Shepard gets better. They’ve been feeding her via tubes and stuff and over the months, her scars heal quicker than anyone else I know and that’s due to her cybernetics.
Ashley, Liara and Tali deal with the Alliance for me, and I send messages to Solana and my father about Shepard,
Dad finally starts to understand what I see in Shepard, and tells me he is proud of me and tells me I should probably settle down with her now that the war is over.

That was already in our plan.

Months pass, and finally Athena wakes up.

Dr Chakwas and Miranda give her a lecture, and she looks at me tearfully, and exhausted.

“Leave us, please.” I ask them.

“Of course, Garrus. We’ll be outside if you need us,” Miranda puts a hand on my shoulder and then leaves with Dr Chakwas.

As soon as the door closes, I pull my chair closer to Athena’s bed.

“You called out to us… you knew. How?” I ask her, softly, referring to how she contacted us with her Omni Tool.

“I had to… it was the only hope I had left and I knew you’d come.” Athena was slow and took her time to say every word, she sounded like she was still very heavily drugged up.

I carefully cup her face and we both start crying.

“I was given a choice. Refuse to end the Reapers, and let them win, though I don’t know why that was an option. The other choices were take control of the Reapers and merge with the AI controlling them...”

I shudder at that and Shepard continues, through her tears of relief and happiness of being alive

“Or I could merge all synthetic and organic life, or destroy all synthetic life.” She says

“Whatever you did, took out the relays for a bit… but EDI went offline… permanently.” I told her. “You had a choice to make, and it was the right one. You’re alive. You came back to me.” I let her rest against the bed and I kiss her hands.

Athena looks so broken, literally and figuratively.

“Joker is going to hate me.” she sobs.

“Hey, we’re all fine. Joker is fine. You’ve been through a lot, Shepard. You need to rest. You hear me? I’m going to take care of you, okay?”

“I hear you loud and clear, Commander.” Athena cheekily replies, coughing and closing her eyes, to fall back into a sleep.

Over the next few months, Shepard has to be taught how to walk again and soon, she’s back to the same old Shepard everyone knows and loves, or just someone straight up fucking hates.
We discovered the Genophage Cure and Shepard’s cybernetics have made it possible for us to have biological children; something we knew wasn’t possible before

“Do you think this is the galaxy’s way of saying thanks?” Athena asks me, the night we find that out.

“Maybe. It sure is a nice little gift, considering all the shit we’ve done and all we’ve been through.” I reply

I decide that I won’t be going back to Palaven, and ask Athena to marry me. She says yes and we settle down on the Citadel, where Tali and Liara decide to join us and though we want to retire and said we would, we actually don’t.
There is always a need for Commander Shepard, and I’ll always be by her side.
Though, she does tell me she’ll take my last name when we marry – apparently that’s a human custom.

Athena sets Joker up with someone we meet during our engagement party, and they’ve been together ever since. She did it because she felt sorry about EDI.
Tali and Liara get together, which is surprising but wonderful and all in all, everything ends happily ever after.

Except, there’s more adventures to talk about, more adventures on the horizon.