In Thy Tomb of Nightly Chambers

By, Sonsasu

Episode Two

"Watered Down Soul"


In thoughts from the vision of the night

When deep sleep falleth on men

Fear came upon me, and trembling

Which made all my bones shake


One year ago


Garrus continued staring, his gaze unwavering, as if by looking long and hard enough he would suddenly comprehend the mentality of Shepard. Unfortunately, nothing in this life was ever so easy. Ultimately, the human relapsed into silence, once again returning his brow to the blue tiled wall. Where overhead, the shower nozzle poured ceaselessly, generating a dense steam, its formless substance partly obscuring the exhausted expression plastered across the man's face.

To the Turian standing quietly in the threshold, he took notice of two things.

Though difficult to see fully beyond the beclouded glass, his sharp eyes still managed to pick out the bent form of the commander. With both forearms braced against the wall, allowing the veteran to lean further forward, Garrus felt a twinge within the pit of his stomach. The hands that could handle a sniper rifle, keep it perfectly unfaltering, rested on the same place as his arms, long digits splayed apart, his trembling fingertips appearing to be the only thing preventing him from collapsing onto his knees.

Another tentative step into the moist room permitted the automated door to slide shut behind him.

Now that he stood slightly nearer, he could better see the shaken, unguarded figure. Hung low, Shepard's head remained directly in the water's path, the clear flow of liquid rushing along the dusky skin, rivets trailing his scarred back and contours of muscular legs.

Despite the gratifying warmth surrounding Garrus, enfolding him, pursuing the air-conditioned chill to scant memory, he felt, more than saw, an uncomfortable sense of vulnerability radiating from the otherwise impenetrable soldier. It provoked his remaining steps, reeling him closer until he stood mere inches away, the transparent barrier born out of sand forcing restraint on his desired actions.

To reach out, would at best receive poor reaction, if not confusion, which in turn would breed anger.

"I know you're there Garrus…"

Suddenly turned towards him, the penetrating eyes appeared glazed, dilated pupils blankly observing the invaded space before them, barely aware of anything. Those thickly lashed eyelids drifted halfway closed, giving him the semblance of a man lost, immerged in profound thoughts, and unable to escape their recurring loops.

"Do you need something?" His usually pleasant voice contained none of his typical welcoming mirth, and for some reason, this tightened the already tangled knot in his belly.

A foreboding sense of uncertainty made him hover over a haunting concern for the unbalanced commander.

"I…"

What was there to say? Was it some sort of displacement he felt? Did by seeing the jagged, worn inside of Shepard create this pained ambiance of- "no…no not exactly."

Perhaps belief in this human was indeed an idiot's notion.

Staring into the tired, blue eyes, shades lighter then his own, stained with the dark shadows from sleepless nights, he curled each finger, clenching his fists until they shook. Nevertheless, it was his, and this feeling of indecision was not something he was willing to suffer, either a person understood what they were going to do, or they did not. Choice made, he backed away, kneeling with one knee touching the metal floor.

If these results turned sour, there would be no returning to a professional relationship.

Resisting the staggering urge to glance upward, he pressed specific buttons along the wide neck rim, his armor's skintight grip hissing softly, releasing him a second later. Apparently, assuming he had retreated outside, Garrus saw, much to his amusement, that Shepard jerked into full, wide-eyed attention, failing to respond when his frame reappeared before the glass door, lacking a good percentage of clothing.

The sudden babbled words of a drunken man, his laughing tongue unchained by reluctance or fear of reaction, returned to traverse his mind, dancing to a shrill song lamented in sweet sorrow.

He touched the tips of his fingers to the glowing green panel beside the rim made to keep water from spilling outside. An instant later, the obstacle slid aside, and he took the final steps to stand within the small space occupied by the human.

A chorus of words did not pass between the pair; only the minuscule tilt of Shepard's head indicated his curiosity and extreme fatigue. When he had entered, the weary soldier had moved, keeping him in sight so that his back leaned against the wall, trusting nothing but a hard surface of unyielding tiles to be behind him.

What do you want? Pale shaded blue questioned.

Garrus shook his head, murmuring softly, "nothing."

The length of a moment held in the wrinkled hands of a mute, descended to steal what little concern for his actions would in turn create. His hands alighted themselves gently to the human's ribs, slipping beneath the unmoving arms lain at his sides. The tops of his knuckled brushed the wall, and with a small amount of pulling, he eased Shepard from his position to press against him. Muscles bunched, flexing as if to resist, as if to shift or shy away.

He did not tighten his hold.

Instead, Garrus allowed his left arm to circle the trim waist, his fingers curling around the opposite hip, and his other to creep upward, gripping the firm, rounded curve of the human's shoulder. Lastly, he eased his own head forward, tucking his chin in the crook of Shepard's neck, and then laying the side of his cheek to rest on the near mirrored bone structure wrapped in soft flesh.

Time fled down the constricted throat of an hourglass, the heavy weight of minutes, or perhaps seconds ticking away on an invisible clock.

No added motion came into reality; it was merely the rise and fall of their chests, touching hardened scale to softer skin, which filled the empty bottle of quietness in the tiny square box. Eventually, human arms slowly crept upward, pausing briefly, before slipping to places partly reflecting Garrus's choice of placement, and one faint sigh later, a chin followed, settling more heavily with an unspoken burden strongly attached.

A stone of peace seemed to crack the sewn together shell holding Shepard's internal world intact, for small tremors began to race beneath the rippling bands of sinew, and the once lax digits stiffened, pressuring their resting spots along his shoulder blades.

He wanted to calm him, to incinerate the troubles pursing his commander and close friend to crumpled ash, though nothing came forth at first.

"I'll never betray you."

It surprised him, in lieu to his search for words, they had simply welled up without foreknowledge, spilling from his mouth to caress the air, dispite never having even thought to string the sounds together. That promise carried an almost physical encumbrance, yet what ensued, only increased the sensation within him.

"I swear it, never…"


-Tune into the next episode-

"Skipping Stone Persona"


-Disclaimer-

I do not own Mass Effect