Garrus holds out hope that Shepard is alive.
He's busy helping fix the Normandy's critical systems and it keeps him preoccupied, for the most part. The crew are slowly building the Normandy back up after crash-landing on the uncharted planet. When night comes however, he looks up at the stars and thinks of finally holding her in his arms again.
It takes six weeks but they finally fix the Normandy. The ship they called home flies into the stars once more and that's when it hits Garrus with startling clarity.
Shepard is dead.
He knew when he'd been evacuated off Earth that it would be the last time he would see her alive. He wishes he'd stayed. He wishes he had died with her.
It's a few days into their four week trip back to Earth that he sees her. He's in engineering, looking down into the cargo bay when in his peripheral he sees movement beside him in the reflection of the glass. His eyes snap towards it and he feels his gut drop when he's looking at a familiar human face, a pair of brilliant green eyes looking sadly at him from behind red hair.
He can't move, he can't even breathe. He can't do anything but watch as she speaks, "You need to fight it Garrus."
He tries to ask her what he's fighting but his mouth is so dry he can't get the words out. He coughs and in the blink of an eye, she's gone.
He looks around but he's alone in engineering. There's not a soul to be found.
They are now one week into their journey. Garrus is in her room (their room she'd said days after picking him up from Menae) feeding her fish. It hurts to be here, surrounded by memories of her, but he'd never forgive himself if he let her fish die. She had loved the useless aquatic creatures.
"Garrus, No!" Her yell pierces the silence and he spins to face the bathroom. The shout had come from beyond the closed door and for a second he's rooted to the spot.
Hearing his name a second time stirs him into action. He rushes towards the door, noting with alarm that the temperature of the room has increased ten times over. In just a few seconds, the temperature has become unbearable but the thought of Shepard drives him forward. He can feel his plate crack and his skin blister as he reaches the door. He opens the door and what greets him is enough to make him shiver.
The room's empty and heat that had been cooking him moments earlier is completely gone. She's not here; she hasn't been here in months.
Two weeks in and halfway there.
He can't sleep. It's the middle of the night cycle so he decides to wander the Normandy, maybe clear his head a little. The hallways are dark, the lights dimmed for the late hour. They should brighten as he walks past them but he's thankful when they don't.
He makes his way to the cockpit, but a hand grabs him as he passes the airlock. It doesn't seem plausible but he knows it's her, he can tell by the strength of her grip.
"Garrus, stop." Her voice is wavering with emotion, "you need to go back, you can't go in there." He hears her breath hitch and turns to face her.
He's so relieved to see her, that what she's saying doesn't register straight away. But he sees the tears in her eyes, the defeat in her posture and the words catch up to him.
"Shepard, what's wrong?" He steps towards her, arms outstretched to finally hold her and is shocked when she steps back, avoiding him. The rejection stings.
"Go back, Garrus." She steps into the airlock and closes the door behind her. He tries to open the door, but it won't budge. He looks up at the monitor that shows inside the room and sees it's completely empty. She was never there.
Only a week until the Normandy reaches Earth. Garrus is dreading it. Returning to Earth means confirming what he already knows; Shepard is dead.
It's too much. It's all too much. He feels his throat tighten until he can't breathe. He's choking. He can't face the reality that she's gone. He can feel the panic set in, he needs to get away, but there's nowhere to go. For the first time, The Normandy is a prison. He falls to his knees.
He feels two strong hands lift him up then curl around him, supporting him. "It's okay, Garrus. I've got you."
He can't help the low thrumming of sorrow that escapes him. "Shepard, please don't leave me again. Please..." He looks down at her and he can breathe again.
And she doesn't.
Tali holds a plaque in each hand. No one can see but everyone knows that behind her mask, tears are streaming down her face. She is not alone.
The war was won, the Reapers neutralised but the Galaxy had lost three of the greatest heroes it has ever known.
David Anderson: The man that had kept Earth from being totally lost to the Reapers.
Alexis Shepard: The Commander who had activated the Crucible and neutralised the Reapers.
Garrus Vakarian: Who saved the pilot of the Normandy from being burnt alive when a malfunction caused an explosion in the cockpit shortly after lift off. He had carried the injured pilot to the airlock for his safety and then contained the fire, sustaining horrific burns in the process. The trauma was so severe that he was put in an induced coma until he could receive proper medical care. He saved the Normandy but sadly died from his injuries just one week before reaching Earth.
Tali stepped forward, placing her two best friends names on the wall as close together as they would go. They had been together in life. They would be together in death.