He’s surprised it’s taken this long for her to retaliate.
“If you lock up like that on the field, you’re dead,” he’d told her, watching her eyes flicker to him under the wisps of hair that escaped the tight bind of her ponytail. She’d been listening, but only barely. That’s what she does– she’s good at pretending to listen, but he’s not their instructors. He knows every tick, every nervous tell (and there aren’t many), every unhappy twitch and twist of her wrists.
“It’s ridiculous,” he’d continued, even as she’d stubbornly continued wrapping the training bandages around her palm, the linen pulling so tightly he could hear it straining. “Fear is a weakness.”
She’d gritted her teeth and glared at him. “I can handle it.”
And then he’d remembered the way she’d frozen in place with only seconds to spare before he’d had to push her out of the way of a pirate’s sweeping batarian-issue blades as they’d hurtled overhead. Hegemony-purchased ten-folded steel, stainless, almost as mean a cut as the ninjato blades that terrorist cell in the Horsehead Nebula use, and infinitely less breakable. He wonders how many idiots met their very bloody and decidedly headless end that way. She’s not going to be a statistic on some datapad stuffed in the back of Alliance archives, and he’s going to make sure of it.
“Don’t you hate them for what they did?” he’d said, and at those words a cord of muscle had leapt out on the side of her neck, and he’d known then he was starting to chip away at her meticulous self-control. That angered him, sometimes, the way she kept everything on the lowdown, how you didn’t know things were bad until the last few moments before the explosion. She was letting this dictate her, but she was stronger. He was stronger.
“Stop talking,” she’d told him, turning a familiar glare on him.
“You should hate them,” he’d gone on, steepling his fingers together, utterly calm. A wisp of biotics had curled around her wrist, bloomed out and away, and disappeared. He’d need to push her farther. “But instead you blanked on me like a green rookie out on his first round of recon. It’d be hilarious if it weren’t so pathetic. You’re going to get yourself killed, and it’s going to be for nothing. Out of what? Misplaced childhood fear? They die. Same as all aliens.”
She’d deflected the first blow easily enough, but she hadn’t anticipated him using his knife. A mistake. Underestimation often cost agents their lives. Better to be prepared for something that never happens than be taken by surprise. Her dodge had been sloppy with shock, but she’d evaded it all the same. Freakish reflexes.
“What are you doing?” she’d said, trying to catch his wrist with one hand, sounding more angry than curious. Good, he’d thought savagely. Get angry.
“Making you listen,” was all he’d replied, and lunged at her again.
And they’d gone tit for tat, the way they’ve always done, but he’d known that she realized something was different about this time too. She’d gasped when he’d feinted forward, knife glinting in the fluorescent room lights, hoping the mimicry would startle her, and it had. Dead– that’s what she’d have been, if this had been a real scenario and he’d been the batarian pirate with the double-edged slaver’s blade. One day there will be a pirate she’ll have to kill, he remembers thinking, and I won’t be there to do it for her.
His knuckles are still stinging from the backhand he gave her, and remembering the sharp crack of the contact makes him want to stop, but stopping isn’t an option when he’s gone so far. She looks at him with eyes wide. It’s such an odd expression to see on her.
“You’re still fighting scared,” he says, and then leans in, lifts his hand– and slices a cutting glance across her cheekbone, watching the skin bloom apart cleanly like a scarlet flower under the touch of the knife. It’d have been so easy for that cheek to be a throat instead. She has to understand.
She breathes deeply, fighting back the compulsive tears, and presses a protective hand at the bottom of the cut, the first joint of her knuckles turning red with excess blood. He steps back, waiting, but the answer doesn’t come the way he thought it would. He hears the buzzing before he sees its manifestation: the low drone of a building mass effect field, whirring, bubbling, boiling– one skill he does not possess. And then it’s all around her, violet and indigo and black, whips of furious, bluish purple , covering her like a second skin.
Amirah breathes again, the line of her mouth tightening. The biotics pool around her feet like water, so raw and jarring that it makes his eyes water. Then she’s raising her fist, and something gathers around him, beneath him, holding him down, and she’s glowing with the force of the fields. Her eyes are flaring brightly when she slams him into the wall.
“I told you to fuck off!”
And the world explodes into a pattern of mauve and ebony, his eardrums exploding with it. The knife falls from his nerveless hand, clattering to the ground by his knee, and he fights to breathe in while the biotics are still swarming over him. He slides downward, back to the wall, and hisses at the sharp, fiery pain in his ribs when he tries to breathe. Occupational hazard, he supposes.
She’s still watching him, her shoulders conspicuously still, chest heaving with exertion. She wipes at her lips with one hand, and he notices she’s painted her nails purple. Purple. What a stupid thing to notice.
He coughs, putting a hand over his sternum. “That’s more like it.”
The medics find him in the training room three hours later after she storms off, and as they help him to his feet though the pain makes his head swim, he hopes this had better damn been worth it.
She knows the answer, but she asks anyway. She can see the shadows of nightmares all over Shepard’s face, even in the eyes– the tired slope of the shoulder and the unhappy pull of the lip. She’s never been any kind of an expert on human physiological language, but Shepard is different.
If you mean is she renegade or paragon, she’s an unforgiving renegade (who opted to get the scar surgery because red neon scars don’t really suit her). And I’m not talking the kind of renegade that just chooses a few witty replies and pushing a merc out the window in the worst thing she’s done. She’s absolutely ruthless when it comes to getting shit done her way. If it benefits humanity’s survival, she’s willing to take any risk and pay any cost. She refuses to appease people to get the job done (unless it’s absolutely necessary…ME3 >.> ) I’ll put a list of her…“achievements” under a cut so I don’t offend anyone.