mass effect me3

Scar Tissue

[[Summary: When I played ME3, I sort of blindly took the option to erase Shepard’s scars without really considering the implications. Then I wondered how Garrus would take it, and here. Have some angst.

AO3]

“Shepard. This tech you found would let us erase the scars selectively. With careful application, we could do your whole body.” Dr. Chakwas leaned back in her chair, pouring a careful finger of whiskey and passing it over to Shepard. “Drink before making a decision. Sip, not chug, my dear.” The drink burned all the way down Shepard’s throat, but she had already made up her mind. The alcohol was only fortifying her, making a choice that seemed obvious even more so.

“Do it. Just my face.” Finishing the rest of her drink (and ignoring Dr. Chakwas’ request that she not drink it so quickly,) Shepard stood, walking over to one of the examination tables. Hardly her first time here, and not likely to be her last. Before the machinery could swing out over her face, she traced those few scars she did have- the jagged one that echoed the shape of her cheek, going from eye level to roughly mouth level, tinged a faint red. The one on her forehead, going into her hairline. The one at the corner of her mouth. Not many, but none of them had been there a few years before. This was all Cerberus, and stress. It made her feel older, but not in a linear way- older by decades, battle-worn as any krogan.

The actual procedure itself only took moments, the flicker of pain nothing compared to what she had felt before. Then Dr. Chakwas was passing her a mirror, and Shepard could hold up a scarred knuckle, each individual finger seeming to have a separate story, and see a face that looked untouched for the first time in too long. Gone. All gone. Maybe the great Commander Shepard should have been above vanity, but her own reflection made her smile. “Got someone I have to show, doc. Thanks.” There would be a nice transfer of credits to Dr. Chakwas, the source ‘anonymous’, after this.

“You should rest, let your face settle some,” she was saying, but Shepard was already out the door, a flood of painkillers taking away so many of the aches and pains she no longer noticed in specificity, mood bolstered to the point of being very nearly silly, the whiskey not helping the cause any. The crew was staring, though whether they were doing it because their captain wasn’t walking in an entirely straight line or because her face was suddenly lacking distinct topography wasn’t clear, and to be honest, Shepard couldn’t bring herself to give even a single fuck.

“Garrus.” Leaning against a wall in an attempt to look suave, Shepard entered his domain, the smile on her face attempting to be cocky and instead just looking uneven.

To her chagrin, he didn’t turn around. “Can it wait? I’m in the middle of some-” No, not this again. It had been months. Spinning him around bodily, Shepard made him look at her, holding his face in her hands. “I’d say kiss me, but I need my lips intact today.” She’d have to settle for their customary forehead touch, though in her current state, it was more of a gentle headbutt and then a step backward, waiting to see if he would notice. Of course he would notice. It wasn’t like she had touched her hair or lost weight or done something that would be equally inexplicable to a turian.

“Shepard, what the hell happened to your face?” Not quite the reaction she had been hoping for. Garrus held her face between his hands, turning it this way and that, blinking his eyes rapidly. “Or are you another evil clone? Because if we’re dealing with another clone, I’m out.” He held her gently though; deep down, Garrus knew this was Shepard, as much as he didn’t seem to want to believe it.

One finger went over the space where her most prominent scar had been, rubbing the spot again and again like he could rub away make-up. “Before the Citadel was attacked, I traded medical supplies with another turian I met. He gave me something that could erase scars.” She was naked, so naked, all Shepard wanted to do was go back to bed, sleep everything off. Not that it was ever an option for her. Not that she could ever see a future where it would be.

He let go of her face, hand dropping to his side, and something about it reeked of finality. “Those scars were you. We all supposed to erase our scars now and forget what we earned?” She wanted to reach up and touch his own, that side of his face that was twisted and gnarled from where it had taken a rocket launcher. She’d thought he had died then, and even now it hurt, but she wasn’t a touchy person, couldn’t bring herself to be that person even now.

“You earned yours. Cerberus gave me mine. Maybe I don’t want to be reminded of fucking Cerberus every day.” They were already making her life hell, additional worries on top of the Reapers, and yet Shepard owed her life to them. They had made her in a very literal way, and it was something she faced with every aching part of her body. “I can’t look at my face and see them anymore, Garrus. I can’t do that.” If anyone knew how close she was to breaking from all this shit, they’d lose their faith in her. She couldn’t even let Garrus see; any facial expression Shepard had reverted to something neutral, guarded.

“They were still you,” he replied, but his voice was softer now, more quiet. “You’re always still you. Commander Shepard, savior and asshole of the galaxy.”

“And sometimes I just want to be Shepard.” Garrus had softened now, and the the spirit had gone out of both of them. Not in a bad way; they simply had too much history with each other to fight for so long. “I didn’t erase all my scars, Garrus. I’m still me. It’s just my face.” Just the most visible part of herself, but also the thing she had to see every day in the mirror.

Maybe to both their collective surprise, Garrus grinned at her. “You still got that scar near your hip that I like?” This was better ground, more familiar.

“I can show you.”

“I guess the calibrations can wait.” Garrus touched her face one more time, fingers mourning the missing topography of scars. They would be okay; they had weathered worse than this.

  • Bioware: we need more time before we release Andromeda, there's so many tweaks and tests we need to do before the game goes out to the public. They'll know it's unfinished and we'll get backlash for it!
  • EA: *stepping into a bathtub full of money* what a shame, if only there was something we could do to help you
  • Bioware: you could give us more time to work on the ga-
  • EA: if only
The Jacob Romance in ME3 in a Nutshell:

Shepard: Hi Jacob, I’ve really missed you the last six months. How have you been?

Jacob: Oh hey Shepard, six months was sort of a long time so the ex-Cerberus scientist you met and I are in love now and she’s pregnant with my child. We might name it after you.

Shepard:

plot twist: EDI loaded a backup of herself into a toaster on the Normandy to ensure survival, but she had to deactivate it to ensure it wasn’t taken out in the blast, so one day, while they’re trying to get the Normandy off that random planet, Chakwas is trying to force Joker to eat something and he finally just gives up and grabs some bread and goes to make toast. He pulls down the lever and hears “Good morning, Jeff. On a scale of 1-10 how burnt would you like this toast?” and he breaks down crying in the galley, to which Toaster!EDI can only respond with “That was a joke.”

Things Shepard falls off, through, and into in ME3

• The roof on the way to the shuttle port during the Reaper attack
• A bridge on Tuchanka
• A turian barricade
• Through a fucking fish tank
• Down the side of a building directly after the fish tank
• A structurally unsound krogan base
• Into a hole in the ground in an asari temple
• A ledge on the Rannoch base
• A walkway on a geth dreadnought
• Grace and dignity when they danced in front of everyone