Soldier On

A/N: Surprise, surprise! After over a year of inactivity, I found myself wanting to write something in the realm of fan fiction again. It's nothing too serious though, just a short story retelling one of my favorite missions in ME2 and then some. It'll probably be four or five chapters of varying length, but I'm not 100% sure yet. Only time will tell! A very special thanks to Roarkshop and TheMassaCreature (shameless plugs FTW) for inspiring me to write once more.

Liberties may have been taken in this fic, and I don't own the characters within...don't sue me...


I: Final Exit


The Citadel, Orbital Lounge

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

For Garrus Vakarian, there was no question; this was long overdue. It had been five months since he had seen Lantar Sidonis; five months since his brothers-in-arms had been betrayed by him. Now with the help of Commander Shepard and the "persuasion" of a certain Fade, he could finally end this once and for all. No amount of enemies or missiles to the face would stop him now.

"Shepard, let me do this one thing and I can move on. Let me worry about the consequences."

The two stood on a platform overlooking a plaza, their shuttle parked nearby. Leaning along the side of the vehicle was the Drell assassin, Thane Krios. With the work Shepard did, she always found it necessary to have extra backup at all times, and she thought an expert hit man would work well on an assignment such as this. For those exact reasons, Garrus thought the exact opposite. If anyone was going to take Sidonis down, it would be him, and he made that clear to both of them on the way there. The Turian pulled out his rifle and began to make a quick check of it, ensuring no faults in the weapon that would force him to rely on anyone else.

"So what exactly do you want me too do with this guy?" Shepard questioned as she too did a weapons check.

"Just keep him busy until I can get a good shot. Make sure you keep him away from the crowd."

"And Tha-"

"He's not needed. This is an in-and-out deal; bait, shoot, and get the hell out." He eyed Shepard's rifle and shook his head. "And keep those here, just bring a pistol."

"What the hell? Garrus, you do know who you're talking to right?" She took a step back and placed her rifle in the compartment on her back. "Listen to yourself right now, and seriously think about what you're doing."

The Turian sighed. "Shepard, I fought side by side with this guy for six months. We worked our asses off to ensure everyone's safety; to stop those dealers, the scum of Omega. But then he decided to take the side of the very people we were fighting off! I lost ten men to him Shepard; and who knows how many more as a result of the mercenaries that took back their turf. I'm sure you can relate."

She approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Making things personal leads you nowhere but into trouble."

He didn't listen, his mind raced with images of Sidonis' brain matter splattered over the plaza. It was the only thing he thought of nowadays, on missions he'd try and hone that image and use it to his advantage. But now, with that thought keeping him awake night after night, it left him too weary to fight over this.

"I'm gonna ask you this one more time, are you sure you want to do this?"

Garrus looked her straight in the eye. "I've never wanted to do anything else more than I do now. I need this..."


About three hundred yards and a scope was all that separated Garrus from his target. He was sitting on a bench, relaxed; he was none the wiser to what was about to happen. Simply staring him down made him shake. How could he have sold his crew out? Ten lives, gone for what? The more he thought about it, the more he realized he didn't want to know. Just pull the trigger and be done with it. He didn't deserve to justify his actions.

A familiar voice rang through his comm: "Garrus, I'm in position, where is he?"

The Turian adjusted his scope, spotting Shepard a few yards ahead of him. Her dark red hair was easily distinguishable within the crowd.

"Six o'clock, Shepard." He uttered. "On the bench, wave him over, and don't get in the way. I need a good shot."

He watched as she flagged him over and began to converse with him, what about he wasn't sure; he had turned his two-way comm off, feeling no need to hear what he had to say. From his vantage point, Shepard was blocking Sidonis from view. At the moment, it appeared passive, probably trying to keep him out of view for the time being. There was already enough rabble going on in the plaza below, commotion was the last thing he needed.

A minute passed before he noticed a change in his target's demeanor. Shepard must have laid down her motives. From what little he could see, his body was tensing up, and even with her back to him he could tell Shepard was laying it in on him as he remained still, unable to speak. He bare his teeth at the sight, a little emotional turmoil would go nicely with his death he thought to himself.

His pleasure turned to confusion as another minute passed. Shepard remained in place, practically unwilling to move.

"Shepard, you're in the way…" He uttered after turning the comm back on and just as quickly back off. He could see her responding back to static, as she did so, Sidonis looked around for a moment, turned, and took a step to the left; a split second opportunity for him to make his shot, but Shepard had other plans as she grabbed him by the arm, and placed herself between him and Garrus. He watched her mouth the word "Stop."

"What the hell are you doing, Shepard?!" The conversation appeared to be getting heated, even with half his face obscured, he could tell that whatever Shepard was saying was distressing Sidonis. His mandibles flared with every word she spoke. For a moment, Garrus thought she might do the job herself, but even as he tried to walk away, she continued to block his shot.

He turned the comm back on. "Shepard!"

"-gunpoint! If I had any other choice, you bet your ass I would have made sure they didn't die!"

Garrus froze, his mandibles twitched momentarily. His voice was all it took to boil his blood and send him into a frenzy. He threw his rife to the side; still armed, and braced himself against the railing. "TEN LIVES JUST SO YOU COULD LIVE!?" He roared into the comm, his voice cracking. "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?"

Never mind the fact that Sidonis couldn't hear him, and his superior was probably deaf now, months of pent up anger at the man who had broken his resolve had finally come to a head, Garrus had found a release, but it wasn't enough. Shepards voice rang through his earpiece but it was all static to him; his mind stuck in tunnel vision. Voices still ringing in the comm, he eyed his rifle, and picked it back up.

"Shepard move, now," He yelled into the comm forcefully. "I'm taking the shot whether you want me to or not!"

"-don't eat anymore; every time I shut my eyes, I see their faces. It's all I've thought about for five whole months."

"SHUT UP, JUST SHUT UP!"

Garrus set the rifle back in place and looked down the scope. He could barely hold it steady, but he could see that Shepard continued to impede, leaving half of Sidonis' body uncovered. Any passerby wouldn't notice anything abnormal about his facial features; but with a scope on him and his shaking settling down, Garrus could see his pupils dilated, his mandibles constantly making the most subtle of twitches. For a brief moment he walked into full view, but Shepard persisted and followed him. His gait was slow; heavy. His head was to the ground; but his eyes scanned the room.

"Garrus-"

"Shepard, I told you I need to do this! I can't rest until I know he's dead!"

"Look at him, he may be living, but he's dead inside. If this is that important to you, then fine," Garrus watched as she moved aside, exposing a now sitting Sidonis, his face buried in his hands. "Kill him. But if I were you, I'd just let him go…"

He watched as Sidonis lifted his hardened face out of his hands and looked up towards him. He backed away from the scope and watched his former comrade stand up, still eyeing him. He could hear him over the comm, but he was too far away from Shepard's comm to hear exactly what he was saying, but he had heard enough to know it was a plea for mercy, but not in the way he had expected.

Spirits, he wants this.

He looked back into the scope, his hands shaking violently, mandibles twitching. Sidonis was looking directly at him now. It was amazing what you could pick up on looking at your kill through the scope; it was as if they told you their life story. But Garrus already knew his; every agonizing detail. Looking at him dead in the eye only reminded him of the stories he told him of his family being brutally murdered by the scum they fought against. He could see he never meant for this to happen, and given a second chance he'd have done the right thing. Ten graves were left in his wake to dig, and he wanted no part in it; Lantar Sidonis' life no longer had any value.

Do I really want this?

Shepard was right, the personal suffering Sidonis had placed upon himself seemed like karmic retribution, but ending his life would stop that. But the more he stared down his former comrade, the more he felt he deserved peace. If anyone deserved retribution it might as well have been himself.

"If you put your sorry ass in a position where you think you can bite off more than you can chew, then when shit hit's the fan, you better be ready to man up and face the consequences!"

It was the one of the first things he had been told in boot camp; and its sentiment rang clear now. Was Omega a mistake; was leaving the Normandy a mistake? Perhaps if he hadn't decided to go back and apply to C-Sec, Shepard wouldn't have died, and he wouldn't have been in the situation he was in right now; amongst a group, even with Shepard's reassurance, was nothing but shady. If he had simply left things as they were, Garrus thought, he wouldn't have had to give up on everything and everyone he knew.

His scope moved to Shepard, seeing she too understood the weight of the choice at hand. "Shepard, I need you to tell him something." He moved his scope back to Sidonis, his aim still shaky.

"I'm listening…"

He took in a deep breath, and exhaled violently. "Tell him I'm not letting him suffer anymore. Tell him, I'm sorry," He paused, and let out another heavy sigh. "This wasn't his fault."

He listened to Shepard say the words to him, he never moved a muscle, and said nothing. It was almost trance-like how he took the words. Garrus watched as he lifted his head, his eyes glazed, his jaw hung open slightly. Part of him still wasn't sure if he could do this anymore. It felt as if he was being given two wrong answers and no solution. For a brief moment, his body ceased shaking; his shot was clear. He took a breath, and slowly exhaled through his nose.

Spirits, help me…

As he pulled the trigger, Garrus Vakarian felt no malice, his heartbeat slowly thumping in his head. From the scope, he watched as Lantar Sidonis' lifeless body fell to the ground, blood pooled at his head, whose left side made a futile attempt to mop up the mess. For a moment, he felt peace knowing his friend was no longer suffering, but it was immediately replaced with the burdens he left behind; ten, now eleven lives extinguished on his watch. He moved his scope towards Shepard one last time; she stared directly at him. He wasn't sure what to expect, but it still shocked him to see a look as blank as the man he had just killed on his commander.

"Dammit…" He thought aloud. The turian lowered his weapon and put it to the side, his back turned to the scene. His body began to slide along the railing until he found himself sitting on the ground. Despite the commotion below, all was silent to Garrus, and for what it was worth, that was good enough for him.

A few minutes later, he would find himself staring up at Commander Shepard, cautiously looking back down at him as she offered a hand. He reached for her outstretched hand and got up.

"I've got some more personal business to take care of. The Normandy will be docked for the rest of the week. You're on mandatory shore leave. You really need it…" She said with a smirk, gently tapping the side of his face causing his mandible to twitch.

Must be the Drell, something about his kid I presume?

He forced a nod of approval. He didn't want this, but then again he wasn't sure what he wanted now. Without saying a word, he saw himself back into the shuttle where Thane was already lounging in the back seat. He appeared to have caught him in the middle of meditating as his arrival seemed to startle him. Garrus looked at him for a moment, before nodding, a heavy breath escaping him. Krios did likewise as Garrus took his seat. Shepard wasn't far behind and followed suit moments later.

"Do you want to go anywhere in particular?" Shepard asked as she started the vehicle.

"Just take me to the wards, I'll figure something out…"