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It was pouring rain again. It was coming down so strong that it woke Jane up. The redhead opened her bleary eyes and surveyed the darkened room. Seeing a flicker of light from beyond the curtains, she counted. One. Two. Three. Four... She could hear the rumble in the distance.
Satisfied that all was well, Jane began to relax as she felt sleep calling her back. She glanced down at Liara who was still fast asleep in her arms. The asari always slept better when it rained. Jane could remember a time when she had thought this kind of happiness was never going to be a reality. God, she had been lucky.
The redhead was just beginning to doze off when she felt the bed shift slightly under a new weight from behind her. Jane waited for the inevitable tug. She couldn't keep herself from smiling when she felt the blankets pull back slightly.
"Mommy?" A hesitant voice inquired.
"Whatie?" Jane's voice was heavy with sleep.
"Are you awake?"
"No, I'm sleeping." Jane mumbled.
The same voice was now mildly irritated. "No, you aren't."
Jane rolled onto her back to face the little asari perched on the edge of the bed. "What is it, baby?"
She leaned in and hugged Jane's chest. "Can I sleep with you?"
Jane stroked the little asari's crest. "Why?"
The four year old sat up and pulled her little pink robe closed. Sometimes she reminded Jane of a little woman. Then she spoke with a seriousness that almost made Jane believe her. "There are reapers under my bed."
"But I destroyed them all last time." Jane reminded her.
The little asari was quite distressed now and she made it clear by tugging at Jane's gray alliance-issue t-shirt, "No, those were in the closet! These are under my bed." She huffed in annoyance. Jane couldn't see her face that well in the dark, but she was pretty sure Karly was probably rolling her eyes at her sire's obtuseness.
"Well..." Jane was so perfectly warm and comfortable. She didn't want to get up. "What would Grandma do?"
She could tell that Karly had tilted her head in contemplation. "Grandma would headbutt them," She stated matter of factly. "But my head is too small," she seemed saddened by that.
"Um," Shepard sighed, "Why don't you use the Crucible?"
"I tried, but it didn't work!"
"Because its a flashlight!"
The redhead sat up and began pulling back the covers. She realized there would be no satisfying her this time and if Karly continued raising her voice she might wake up Liara. Jane yawned and rubbed her face. "Are you sure there are reapers?"
"Yes!" Karly hopped off the bed. She was visibly relieved that the situation was going to be dealt with by a seasoned professional.
Jane scooped her up and walked out of her bedroom and cracked the door behind her. She made her way down the hall to Karly's room. She asked her seriously, "Did you attempt any sort of recon?"
Tears began to form in blue eyes. "Teddy went to check and she didn't come back."
"So this is a rescue mission?" Jane said with determination.
Karly nodded solemnly. Then her thumb quickly found its way into her little mouth.
Jane stopped outside of her daughter's room and bent over to put her down. She protested. "Karliah, Mommy can't fight the reapers and hold you at the same time, okay?"
"Otay." The little blue asari hesitantly released the death grip she had on her sire's t-shirt; however, once on the ground Karly latched onto the leg of Jane's sweat pants and trailed along behind her.
Jane slowly opened the door. The first thing she noticed was Teddy's large furry rump sticking-out from where it was half wedged under the bed. A beaming flashlight was a few feet away.
The first thing Jane did was flip the light switch. Then she made her way over to the bear that had apparently been missing in action. She plucked it out.
"See, Sweetie- Teddy is just fine. She just had trouble getting to the evac shuttle." Little blue hands shot out and eagerly snatched the alliance teddy bear. The bear was blue all over and had a white ribbon with small alliance emblems tied around its neck. It had been a gift from Ashley when she'd visited them on shore leave.
"Okay, so lets see if there are reapers hiding under the bed." Jane grabbed the flashlight (aka: 'The Crucible') and waved the beam under the bed. She grabbed Karly's arm and had her get down to see what she was doing.
"So far I don't see any reapers, Honey."
"You aren't really looking!" Karly was thoroughly disappointed.
Jane yawned. "Oh I am, Sweetie. I am."
"There!" Karly squealed.
Jane reached her arm under and pulled on something shiny and tentacle-like. It made a squeaking noise. She dragged it out from under the bed. It was a long, purple, semi-inflated Thessian octopus toy.
"Its not a reaper. Its just Mr. Squids." Karly stared at it blankly. "Remember him? You two like to go swimming together."
"There aren't any reapers?"
"Nope, I got 'em all last time. This room is reaper-free."
She seemed reluctant to accept that information. "Otay..." The little asari yawned as the sleepiness set in.
Jane scooped her up and tucked her into bed with Teddy. Shepard sat with her for about ten minutes before she nodded off. She bent down and gave her a kiss on her forehead. Karly resembled Liara significantly, but Jane could see quite a bit of Benezia in her- especially the nose.
Jane climbed back into bed.
"Reaper duty?" Liara's sleepy voice inquired.
"The warfare never ends." Jane snuggled back up to Liara. She was careful as she put her arms around her waist. Liara was well into her second pregnancy. "Accident or not, if Aethyta lets her watch a horror movie one more time-"
"It was not a horror movie. It was a documentary about the war-"
Jane chuckled. "Anything about the reapers is a horror movie, Li."
The asari muttered tiredly, "You are certainly right about that."
"And besides, Karly hasn't been able to sleep since. I'm sorry, but saying she's 'got to learn about it sometime' is not an excuse..."
There was no response and Jane noticed Liara had nodded off. Following the asari's example Shepard went back to sleep as well.
Two hours later...
Jane's eyes popped open when she heard the lighting. For a moment Jane wondered if Karly would sleep through it, but her questions were answered when she heard the rapid patter of little feet followed by the sound of their bedroom door opening. Jane grinned and remained still as she felt a little body holding a teddy bear snuggle up behind her.
"Night night, Sweetie."
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