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Shepard was speechless. The room was deathly silent. Anderson got up and walked over to the glass case behind his enormous desk. He selected a bottle from the third shelf and two glasses. Setting them on the desk, he carefully poured the amber liquid into each of them. He picked up the glasses and walked back over to her. He offered her a glass as he sat down in the chair across from her. She gratefully accepted it, taking a generous mouthful before setting it on the table. The liquid was rich and warm, burning a trail down her throat.

"I'm sorry, Shepard," he offered weakly, studying his glass. "She blindsided me. I had no idea why she came to see me and then she dropped that bomb right before you walked in. What right did she have to use that?! I swear Shepard, if I had known that there was a leak from the inside, I would never have put you there…."

"I know," she reassured him. "What do you think we should do?"

"Well…" he started slowly, thinking "…it pretty much goes without saying that the Krogan are going to want a cure for the genophage."

"There's nothing else we have that they would want."

"Christ, Shepard. You know what that means don't you?" he spat.

She nodded. "No wonder the Dalatrass paid us a personal visit."

He studied her face for a moment. "I know this isn't any of my business to ask but…"

She looked down at the glass on the table. "It is your business now and, for what it's worth, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for involving you. But I'm NOT sorry for what happened."

"I'm partially to blame for this mess, too. I should have been more thorough in my research, but we both know that we couldn't let anyone else do it." He paused. "Sera, besides you, me, and now the Dalatrass, who else knows about this?"

"Only my mother."

He stopped short. "You didn't tell Garrus?!"

"I – I can't," she said simply.

"What?! Why the hell not? Don't you think he has a right to know??"

"David, I can't do it. I'm still trying to think of how to tell him now. I know he needs to know, but when he finds out…" She broke off.

"Well, you better tell him sooner rather than later or he will find out from someone else…" He stopped as the doors to his office opened and his assistant walked in.

"Councilor, you have a visitor. She says she won't leave until she sees you."

Anderson peered through the doorway and a heartfelt grin spread across his broad face as he entered the outer office. Shepard could her some whispering and then footsteps returning. Her ears perked and her head slowly turned in the direction of a woman's voice in harmony with Anderson's.

"Mom!" A relieved and happy smile broke across the younger Shepard's face.

"Seraphina!" The older Shepard was overjoyed seeing her daughter sooner than she anticipated.

They embraced each other in a long overdue warm hug. They had last seen each other at Captain Adam Shepard's funeral, a little over 2 years ago. It was a long time to be apart but, with each of them in the Alliance, one an Admiral and the other now a Commander, it was virtually impossible to be in the same place at the same time. Recent events made it even more difficult. The best they could manage was to send one another holo-messages when they could. It was how Sera told her mother about Garrus….and what happened during her court martial.

They pulled apart, each studying the other. As far apart as they were in age, the younger woman was a spitting image of the older one, save for one thing: her sapphire blue eyes, the one trait that Hannah was ecstatic her daughter had inherited from her husband. They were a deeper, brilliant (especially when her emotions ran deep) blue and stunning set against the ebony black hair her daughter had inherited from her. One thing was for certain, the younger Shepard would never have to worry about aging gracefully.

"Sera! What's wrong??" Hannah asked, giving her daughter's face a once over.  Even though they had been apart for so long, there were some things you can't hide from a mother. Sera's pale face and midnight blue eyes framed by dark circles told her everything.

"Mom…." she began and then faltered, not really knowing how to continue. She looked over at Anderson for help.

"Hannah…" he began, "the Salarians are threatening to blackmail Sera with what happened at Chimera."

Hannah's mouth gaped. "What?!?" She looked at her daughter for further explanation.

Sera explained, "The short of it is, if necessary, they will use it as leverage to control the terms of the treaty between the Turians and the Krogan so that Earth can get the help it needs. The Dalatrass is convinced that the cost for Krogan aid will be steep. So, she demanded to be a part of the negotiations or else she will release what happened to me at Chimera."

"Oh dear God," her mother said sinking onto the couch and the other two followed suit.

All three were silent for a few minutes, each trying to think of a solution to the problem.

"Sera, have you told Garrus yet?" she asked, already knowing the answer but wanting to hear her daughter say it.

Sera shook her head solemnly.

"Seraphina!!" Hannah admonished her daughter.

"I know mom. I just….can't. It's not that I don't want to. I do. When I even think about telling him, my mind goes completely blank. There are no words. Hell, when I see him, I want to run."

Hannah pursed her lips into a thin line, frustrated with her daughter. It was ironic that her daughter, the Great Commander Shepard, couldn't figure out how to handle a situation such as this. It didn't surprise Hannah at all that this is way her daughter would react, though. She had been this way all of her life. It seemed that her courage was somehow inverted. Everything that seemed insurmountable, hopeless and desperate, Sera grabbed by the balls and got it done. When it came to her own vulnerabilities, however, a wall went up and aversion was the number one tactic. She could thank her husband for passing that trait on to their daughter, the subtle but obvious flaw in the Shepard armor. The only way she could get through to either Adam or Sera was blunt confrontation; sometimes a swift kick in the proverbial 'ass' was all it took.

"What happens if he finds out from someone else? Have you considered that? If he does, you know it will be far worse."

"I know but what if…"

"What if what? What if he hates you? Walks away? Completely loses it? What?" Hannah said, exasperated.

"Yes," Sera said simply.

"Do you love him?" she barked at her daughter, her tone demanding an immediate answer.

"Yes! Of course I do," Sera bit out more sharply than she intended.

"Then it's a chance you'll have to take. If he doesn't understand, then he never deserved your love. But what if none of those things happen? What if he loves you more? Wants more? Wants you?"

Sera knew her mother was right. She would never know if she didn't tell him.

"I know you're right, mom. It's always easier said than done though."

"Of course I'm right, Sera. Once you tell him, then you can work together to take care of the problem with the Dalatrass. The fight with the Reapers is more than enough to deal without having to worry about Humans and Turians going to war – again."

Sera shook her head sadly. "I'm so sorry mom."

Hannah studied her daughter's face. It had changed so much since Adam's funeral. Her young, soft, lightly freckled cheeks now bore the glowing scars of her cybernetics, the only tell-tale sign of the horrors she had faced. Her eyes, which once beamed with a passionate blue flame for adventure, now had a permanent dark shadow behind them. It saddened Hannah that Adam wasn't here to give their daughter the advice she desperately needed and tried to think of what he would say.

"Don't be sorry, love. We can't help who we love. We just hope they love us in return and somewhere in between things will be as they are meant to be," she said, softening a bit but still firm.

"Thanks, mom," Sera said, smiling, finding solace in her mother's words. Her father's absence felt more poignant than ever, knowing that her mother was trying to fill the void.

"Now, what do you say we go have some dinner? I'm starving. David, would you like to join us?"

Shepard nodded getting up from the couch and David smiled as he offered his arms to the two women to escort them out.
Hello Hannah Shepard! :) Hope you guys enjoy this Chapter...another one full of edits and re-writes so I hope I did it justice.

Trying to make good on posting a little least on this chapter anyway.. next one might take a little bit longer though. Sorry! :(

As always, all characters and environments herein belong to Bioware.

Previous Chapter: [link]

Next Chapter: [link]
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AuraLady Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
ah Anderson... I always cry when he tells me he's proud of me
masseffectfreak Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013
What happened between shep and garrus?!!
illusionsfire76 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Well if I told you that, then I wouldn't have a story to write :)
masseffectfreak Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013
illusionsfire76 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:giggle: I sorry.
masseffectfreak Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013
Hahahahaha :D
vr5angel Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Gay! The suspense is driving me crazy...! Can't wait for the next chapter!
vr5angel Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
That was supposed to say : Gah! . However my iPad felt the need to autocorrect me....
illusionsfire76 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
:lmao: I kind of figured that's what you meant but it didn't stop me from doing a double-take when I saw your initial comment at first glance. I think auto-correct is freaking hilarious especially when it makes repeats offenses. HA! Anyway, thanks for the comment. I'm glad you're enjoying the story.
Ashynioki Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012
You're quite good at suspense. All that conversation, and yet you've managed to reveal nothing about what actually happened at Chimera. Can't wait to find out. ^_^
illusionsfire76 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
:bow: Thank you very much! Suspense has always been a forte but I fear my writing is lacking. We'll get there eventually, I'm just a huge believer in the 'story-telling' part of it all.
Ashynioki Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012
Lacking what, exactly? You keep the reader's interest, which is more than a lot of fanfic can say. As for getting there eventually, that's what makes it fun. It's always best to reveal important information when it will have the greatest emotional impact on the characters. Makes for a more entertaining experience.
illusionsfire76 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Lol! :blush: Well, I haven't been writing long so my confidence isn't that high which I suppose helps in a weird way. I am my own worst critic; constantly comparing to myself to other writers who I feel are much better than I. Honestly, I'm just happy there are people are reading it and liking it enough to comment. It keeps me going and so for that, I am very grateful. :)
Ashynioki Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012
You're welcome. ^_^ I do the comparison thing, too, but I try to keep from doing it too much. I don't want to lose what I want to say in trying predict expectations. The great thing about fan fiction is that it isn't your paycheck, so you don't have to impress a publisher or appeal to a specific demographic. You're free to say exactly what you want to say, exactly how you want to say it. I really like that you are using the game's narrative as a backdrop, but not relying on it to drive your story forward. Make it your own. I'll be here for the whole ride. Promise.
illusionsfire76 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Awww thanks hun, you're sweet :hug:

*... :) wanders off to do some more writing/editing..*
Turian-Lover Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Leave it to Mama Shepard to talk some sense into the younger one, lol : )
illusionsfire76 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
of course! and always there to tell you i told you so... ;)
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