They had a rare chance for a break, one night as one year became another, and Thane brought Shepard to a small beachside resort.
Well, not just her. The whole crew came along. In case of emergencies, of course. This would be interesting to explain on their expense report…
But that day, it hardly seemed to matter. Shepard walked through the resort to meet Thane at the shore, passing Miranda and Jacob together by the fire pit, Jack steadfastly getting Joker drunk, Tali laughing as Garrus flirted badly with her. Shepard found herself with a smirk as she reached the worn stairs towards the shore. This is what they all fought for.
Shepard felt the day’s warmth radiating from the sand as she walked the beach, closing in on the lone silhouette at the shore. He wore white, just as he asked her to as well.
“Thane,” she announced herself and he turned with a soft smile.
“Siha.” She would normally have put her hand in his, but tonight, there was a bouquet there.
“Flowers? That’s a first,” she teased. The smell of salty sea air reached them on the breeze, and she reflexively breathed in deeply.
“I confess, they’re not for you,” he answered. Shepard cocked an eyebrow, waiting for details. “I want to share them with you another way.”
“I’m listening,” she prompted.
He knelt, set the flowers in the sand. They were foreign to her, although the faint light from the resort behind them caught the rich blues and purples of its petals and anthers. Standing again, he offered his hand to her.
“First, come with me. Into the water, siha.”
She rested her hand in his, comfortable and familiar. The smooth and scaly areas of his palm mapped in her mind– not with clarity rivaling his, of course, but with a serenity that was hard to find these days. He led her to the water and once it reached her knees, Shepard had to ask.
“What’s this about, Thane?”
“It’s a tradition from the days of Rakhana,” he began and stopped shortly after, water just above her knees and below his. The waves were small, gentle, and the ocean was clear. “Though we didn’t have many oceans there. It’s to bring good luck in the new year ahead.”
She chuckled, stepping over a rock buried in the sand underwater. “We can always use more of that.”
“Then together, we jump over seven waves.” He squeezed her hand, and she nodded.
“Double the luck, then.” She had to admit to a certain worry and watchfulness– he insisted he was capable, that the disease was not that far along, and still she kept an eye on him with every wave they leapt over.
“Siha, the bouquet,” he asked and gestured once they’d finished. Wordlessly, she fetched them and held them out. “No, I… I wish for you to make the offering.”
He held his hands together, trusting she would follow his signal. “To Kalahira, mistress of inscrutable depths, whose waves wear down stone and sand. We offer this and ask for your guidance before you set us on the distant shore of the infinite spirit.”
He paused, took a breath, and Shepard tossed the flowers out to the waves. They watched it float away together, shoulder to shoulder, cool and comforting.
“I will always be with you, siha.”
Shepard took the moment to rest her head on his shoulder and he wrapped his arm around her waist. “Wouldn’t have it any other way.”