Mass Effect: Yes, Feron and Liara Were in Love
Most fans consider Lair of the Shadow Broker to be the best DLC in the trilogy. Said people are mostly Liara fans. As a Liara fan myself, I would have to agree. "Lair" is one of my favorite Mass Effect DLCs by far. Being someone who plays female Shepard (a mostly ignored demographic), it was nice to finally get some fan service in the form of a DLC devoted entirely to Liara fans and Liara's romance.
Liara's feelings for Feron are the reason why Shepard and Liara spend the entire DLC arguing. Liara gives Shepard some serious glares, and Shepard is just as angry and annoyed.
Liara is desperate to rescue Feron and badgers Shepard to irritation about it. If Shepard romanced Liara, then Liara's desperation makes her feelings for Feron all the more apparent -- which would in turn annoy the heck out of Shepard.
In some cases, a Shepard who romanced Liara can move on from her, and it's yet another reason why Liara is possibly so angry. But if Shepard hasn't moved on, it makes Liara's obvious feelings for Feron all the more painful.
Look at things from Shepard's perspective.
Shepard comes to see Liara and is met with this very cold, very angry woman who doesn't and can not stop two seconds to talk to her. What is more, she seems a bit insanely obsessed with the Shadow Broker, and since Shepard was dead when events were happening, she has no idea why.
Shepard can ask Liara for an explanation, but she doesn't give enough information for Shepard to really make a judgment. On top of that, she admits that she's obsessed with rescuing this friend of hers. Shepard can ask if Liara and the "friend" are close, and Liara will say yes.
From Shepard's perspective, it looks like Liara has fallen in love with someone else and has possibly moved on. Because Liara isn't property, Shepard fully acknowledges that she had every right to move on (take notes, Kaidan) and that her falling in love with someone else after Shepard's death plus two years is not considered "cheating."
For Shepard, it hasn't been two years. But because Shepard is (mostly) written as an emotionally stable human being, she has the option to move on as well, and it is not cheating. Think about this. If you had been dead for two years and were brought back to life, would you expect your lover to be waiting around for you? Or would you expect them to have moved on? It's selfish to just walk back in their life and demand they pick up where you left off, it's selfish to assume they would put their life on hold for years just because you died, and it's crazy for Shepard to purposely set out to do the same.
So even if Shepard doesn't find someone else and start a new romance, it still makes sense that she would try to move on emotionally, for her own sake and for her partner's sake. But at the same time, it still hasn't been two years for Shepard. So she probably still has feelings for Liara, and it's hard to deal with watching the person you care about fall in love with someone else. Shepard is only human.
So the fighting.
Liara Never Denies Her Feelings For Feron
The writers purposely made it very obvious that Liara has feelings for Feron.
If you didn't romance Liara, Shepard can ask her after the Shadow Broker fight if she and Feron are together. If there wasn't a reason for Shepard to think they were in love, she wouldn't have asked Liara.
Liara will say that making a move on Feron while he's "in a vulnerable state" would be wrong. This heavily implies that she would like to make a move on him.
If Shepard did romance Liara and asks about Feron, Liara either a) points out that Shepard's kiss made things obvious what was what or b) teases Shepard that she's jealous, depending on whether or not Shepard took the earlier Paragon kiss.
Basically, Liara never denies that she loves Feron. In fact, she dances around the question entirely. I don't think she really understands her feelings (being so young and inexperienced) and probably doesn't want to hurt Shepard.
If you think about it, Liara met Feron in the Redemption comic very soon after Shepard's death, and they weren't even together long while hunting for Shepard's body. Shepard's corpse was barely cold, and yet Liara developed feelings for someone else!
It's not shocking. Liara falls in love with Shepard almost immediately in the first game. She does the same thing with Feron and feels terrible about it later when Shepard is resurrected.
But with that being said, I don't believe Liara ever had sex with Feron. Anyone who played Liara's romance knows that she is very reserved and doesn't just jump into sex willynilly. She was intended to be a subversion of the Promiscuous Asari stereotype that was presented in the first game -- just as Wrex was a subversion of the Dumb Krogan stereotype and Tali was a subversion of the Weak Quarian stereotype.
The alien followers in the first game were meant to give the alien races the appearance of having depth and being nuanced, rather than the two-dimensional archetypes that they were. So for Liara, jumping into bed with a practical stranger is completely against her personality.
Not that that's saying much, given her 180% turn in the second game, I know. But Liara being cold and ruthless was an act. Without Shepard there to protect her, she had to become cold and hard, and I think she hated it -- one more reason she may have actually resented Shepard.
Feron Is Not Innocent
What's more, Feron is not someone to be pitied. If you read the comics, you know that Feron betrayed Liara at least twice in an attempt to give Shepard's corpse to the Shadow Broker. Liara will also confirm this in the Mass Effect 2 base game.
Feron did that on purpose. He realized he wanted Liara for himself and tried to get rid of Shepard. But he loved Liara so much that in the end, he sacrificed himself so that she could escape, having realized just how important Shepard was to her.
That was what Feron meant when he said he didn't deserve Liara as a friend: by the end of "Lair," Liara has no idea why he betrayed her and is still crazy-loyal to him.
Or maybe Liara does suspect but is still loyal to Feron anyway. After Shepard's death, she seemed to have isolated herself from the rest of the crew and was very friendless and alone while she grieved. I think it's implied maybe once that she kept in contact with Wrex and Hackett, but no one else. Having a friend like Feron -- even if he was ultimately a crappy friend -- obviously meant something to her.
There's a good reason why Shepard is allowed to (hilariously) talk to Feron at length while he's still strapped in the torture chair, purposely letting him get shocked again and again. This is the guy who fell in love with your girl and then proceeded to try and steal her while she was grieving and in a vulnerable state.
Ironic considering how Liara is so hesitant to make a move on Feron while he's in a vulnerable state.
People have pointed out that Feron seems like a decent guy and is pretty respectful toward Shepard. . . . Of course he is. He just watched Shepard's bloody massacre against the Shadow Broker's forces. Feron is a lot of things, but he isn't stupid. If Shepard found out he was in love with Liara and had attempted to steal her affections while she was vulnerable and grieving (which is pretty scummy), he would be in for a world of more pain.
People say Liara wouldn't lie to Shepard, and I don't believe she's lying when she says she and Feron aren't together: they aren't.
That does not mean, however, that they are not sexually attracted to each other and very much in love.
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© 2018 Ash Gray