by N7Krogan I'm still working on finishing all the pics. Hope you enjoy this anyway!
A smile teased Leah's mouth as she watched Kesh find her light. The theatrics of politics was something the Krogan Councilor had ignored until she had offered a wager.
One hundred letters of fan mail and fifty credits later, Kesh admitted that Leah might know something after all.
She knew Kesh didn't care about having a "luminous head plate," but any politician worth their salt knew the value of publicity.
A short mousy-haired human had the floor. "Morgan Decker of the Prodromos Times.
Councilor Nakmor, you stated before that the splitting of the Nakmor clan was inevitable, but what does this fracture mean for the Initiative, and colony security?"
"The restructuring of the clan is a family matter. This does not change anyone's obligation to follow the laws of the Initiative or their respective colonies," came Kesh's gruff reply.
Leah spared a glance at the Salarian Councilor. Una Eshel looked ill under the harsh press lights. The Dalatrass wouldn't contradict Kesh, or any of them, in public.
A united front was the only thing all six Councilors agreed on. The real fun would begin during their meeting after the press conference.
A blinking light caught Leah's attention. She glanced at her forearm, not wanting it to appear like she wasn't giving her fellow Councilors her full attention.
She dismissed the message and prayed she was discreet enough or tomorrow's headlines would read: “Councilor Llewellyn Has Better Things To Do Than Care About You."
Michael should have known better. When it blinked again, an image of her hands around his neck sprang to mind.
She placed her hands on her lap to hide her forearms beneath the conference table. It was like she was in high school again trying to hide her smartphone from the teacher.
The fact she had once owned a smartphone made her feel old.
Leah forced herself to focus on the Asari reporter who now had the floor. Movement caught her eye as a dozen heads turned in sync to her left.
A hush fell over the press corps, and that's when Leah saw him. Michael was making a beeline for her and a hundred different reasons why filled her mind. None of them good.
He leaned in to whisper, but his loss of breath made whispering impossible. "Your children are alive!"
The gasps of the crowd confirmed that the discreet mic she wore had picked up his voice. For a moment, she stared at him; the meaning of his words lost in their impossibility.
Then, by pure reflex, she stood and left the stage.
The walk to her hovercar was a blur. Leah sat in the back seat and stared at Michael. He was speaking, but she couldn't make out the words. She snapped out of it when he tapped her knee.
"Leah! Are you with me?"
That was the first time he had ever used her first name, she realized. His face came into focus, and she cleared her throat.
"Their condition?" Her voice sounded far away from her as if it wasn't her who had spoken.
"Lael and Leander have mild waking sickness and are in recovery. Lorelei is in serious condition, but they couldn't tell me more,” said Michael.
She stared out the window with her heart in her throat. There must have been a mystery pod opening today, she thought.
Leah scolded herself for using the slang for the pods that were damaged so severely that identification of the people inside them was impossible save for what species they were.
She had stopped keeping track of them over half a year ago. She had given up on her babies.
She focused on Michael, examining him as she would an insect in a jar. "You made it look like I used my children for publicity." Her voice was even, but her stare eviscerated him.
"Councilor, I didn't I..." He tapped his omni-tool. "I've arranged a car for Lamont, and your mother will arrive from Advent in five hours."
He should have known better than to think he could divert her. She had eaten staffers alive for less. "Yes. You did."
"It's my fault for trying to avoid nepotism." Leah laughed without humor. "In a galaxy of the blind, my only choice was the one-eyed man."
Michael didn't say anything more, and Leah was glad until the silence forced her to think about what she had said. She'd fix it. After.
"I'll resign immediately."
Or now. Leah looked at him. His near-constant smile was gone, disappointment dulled his blue eyes, and he looked small despite being strapping. His tone sounded as regretful as he looked.
"I'll consider it...after you spin what happened into gold."
Michael's eyes reignited with purpose; she hoped she had made the right decision. "Yes Councilor, of course!”
She nodded as his fingers began to dance upon his omni-tool. Satisfied, she returned her attention to the window and watched the traffic without seeing any of it.
Leah stood outside the door of the recovery room. Inside, her sons, who would always be her little boys, laid in their beds as they tapped away on their omni-tools.
Lael and Leander were men now, but they were also so much more. The present and past melded together allowing Leah to see them both as they are, and as they once were.
Lael slipped his long auburn hair behind his ears, and then he was ten again complaining about the barber smelling like rubber bands.
Leander scratched his face, and then he was seventeen again freaking out about a pimple because he had a shot at homecoming king.
The present released Leah entirely as the memories of her sons flashed unbiddenly. Lael was five and hugging Lorelei because he loved his sister more than his mom.
Leander was nineteen and hefting the rookie of the year trophy for professional bioticball. Lael was twenty and handing her his pistol's thermal clip as he despaired over Shepard's promotion.
Leander was four and furious that he wasn't blue like Lorelei. The memories faded, allowing Leah to focus on her sons as they were once more.
They were alive.
Her breath hitched. Her eyes closed as hot tears ran down her face. Her strangled cry was cut short by her hand.
She felt strong arms embrace her and she collapsed into them, wrapping her own around the lanky body they belonged to.
She smelled the clean scent of a body released from stasis as she buried her face into a shoulder.
They were alive.
She could hear the gentle lilt of Leander's voice and Lael's bass that rumbled against her as they spoke – what they said held no bearing on her; the sound of their voices alone held all
the meaning she needed.
They were alive.
She felt the embrace tighten as she broke down. Their soothing tones turned to concern and Leah knew she was worrying them.
She had cried in front of them before, but they had been proud tears, not this helpless convulsive crying that she struggled to control.
The urge not to frighten her sons gave her the strength she needed to pull back and steady herself. She managed a small smile as she looked into two sets of watery green eyes.
Lael wrapped his arm around her back. "Mom, let's sit on the bed okay?"
"Say-" She cleared a throat that was thick with joy. "Say it again."
"Let's...sit on the bed?"
She turned to Leander who obliged her. "Mom."
She let her sons lead her to the bed where they sat on the edge flanking her. “I let you go..." Her breath shuddered as she fought to speak. "God forgive me."
Leander slipped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close resting his cheek on the top of her head. “There's nothing to forgive!”
Lael's entire face contorted in concern. "How could you have known?"
"I should have known."