DISCLAIMER: None of the characters belong to me. This is just my take on how they feel.

The Missing Piece

Things were not looking good. From any side. A full scale Reaper attack on Earth; Cerberus causing trouble on Mars. Alenko out of the fight- For now.

Shepard reminded herself and hoped, beyond reason, it'd be really just for now.

She sat in her quarters, staring at the empty aquarium, wrapped in a towel after a quick shower to clean up the grime from the fighting. She needed to keep her head in the game, needed to plan her next move because she just knew the Council wouldn't simply step in and help. Right?

Well, uh… humph.

No, she wouldn't hold her breath, not when dealing with those thick heads.

Still, it was hard to think of what should be her next move. She felt so lost. Helpless. Hopeless.

The images of what happened on Earth replaying in her mind. The Cerberus-bot smashing Kaidan's head against the shuttle paralysed her. The look on the little boy's eyes in the ventilation shaft... And then…

You can't help me.

She just knew those words would haunt her.

"I will overcome the obstacles inside of me"

[Commander, we are approaching the Citadel. ETA: 20 minutes.]

"Got it, EDI. Thank you. " She sighed, shaking herself back into shape and getting up from the couch to put on some clothes.

[You are welcome,] There was a slight pause before the AI talked again. [Are you alright, Shepard?]

Her smile, though a bit strained, was genuine. "Yes, EDI. Just getting my bearings and planning ahead."

Another pause.

[I see. Logging you out, Shepard.]

For a second she wondered if EDI would be able to tell she was lying, but apparently even the AI believed in the legend. She was Commander Shepard, after all. And Commander Shepard wasn't allowed to despair.

Only one person had ever seen through the cracks on her mask and had the guts to call her bluff.

But thinking about him made her heart clench. She didn't even know where he was.

Stay alive, Garrus,

She closed her eyes for a moment in what would look like a silent prayer - if she wasn't Commander Shepard, that is.

Please, Big Guy. Don't you dare die on me.

Commander Shepard didn't pray, though. Or did she?

The meeting with the Council was as useless and frustrating as she predicted.

Still, it stung. A bit.

Shepard couldn't really bring herself to focus on that for long, though. Not after hearing the News about Palaven also being under heavy assault on her way back to Udina's office. She contacted EDI immediately asking that she doubled her efforts to track Garrus down.

Her thoughts were all scattered while talking to the Human Councilor and she felt uncomfortably selfish when Sparatus showed up giving her a reason to go to Palaven and look for-

The turian Primarch. We're looking for the turian Primarch.

She corrected her thought path, even as a small part of her added: But there's no harm in searching for Garrus Vakarian as well while in the system, is there? It'll probably be the best chance – maybe only chance – to find him.

Back on the Normandy, she occupied herself as best as she could. She made her rounds. Talked to the crew, listened to concerns and reassured them as best as possible under the circumstances. She also sparred with Vega, helped Cortez in the Armory, sifted through all the Intel Liara was willing to share with her and inventoried the ship's supplies.

Note to self: get more dextro-rations on board.

For the first few hours after leaving the Citadel Shepard thought she'd be able to get some sleep. Big mistake. She'd been avoiding her cabin ever since.

Until they left the Normandy, EDI still hadn't found any sign of Garrus. And they were to maintain radio silence till they got the Primarch on the shuttle and headed back.

So, 27 hours after getting away from the Citadel, Commander Shepard of the Normandy was landing on Palaven's largest moon on official business for the Council while the turian homeworld was being destroyed.

God, the situation's all wrong. The cut's too deep and hurts so much.

When she fought the first turian-converted-husk-thing, she felt her heart just stop. Then it squeezed and crushed and froze and it was ripped off her chest.

Just by the mere thought that-

It was as if an important part of her was missing. The better part of her.

And, of course, the Primarch was dead. They needed to find a new one.

So, yeah, she was feeling a little bitchy and snapped at the turian General who, she could swear, was having fun by making her run in circles while they waited for Palaven Command to give them the name of the new Primarch-

"I'm on it, Shepard." She'd recognize that voice anywhere. The swagger and the blue markings were all too familiar.

"I hear your voice and all the darkness disappears"

When he held her hands in both of his, she finally could breathe again. The ice-cold fear that grabbed her by the throat started melting and she started hoping again, for him.

She'd fight anything for him. She'd maybe even take out Reapers on foot, if need be.

She was whole again. There was no her without him anymore.

As long as they were together, it'd be okay.

a/n.: Shortfic dedicated to theherocomplex.

Partially inspired by Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti's song: "I belong to you".