A/N: Ask and ye shall receive. I never intended on writing another Mass Effect one shot but here it is. Hopefully not too much fluff. As always please read and review!!
Shepherd shifted uncomfortably on the bench, one leg stuck out awkwardly in front of her. Her knee and lower leg were still in medi-restraints, the surgical pins not only holding the shattered bones together but assuring that she set off every alarm whenever she entered a restricted section of the Citadel. Eventually she had been banished from C-Sec and the Council Chambers. Hell! She couldn't even visit her own tub, the Normandy was currently undergoing repairs under the watchful and loving eyes of its pilot, "Joker" Moreau, when he could be dragged away from his new found lady love that was. Anyone coming aboard the Normandy was going to have to be comfortable with xeno's because Shepherd was pretty sure Liara wasn't straying far from her pilot and she certainly wasn't going to give Garrus up.
"Oh, Damn," the pain was starting again, she'd hoped to avoid the need for painkillers until after the council meeting. They left her feeling fuzzy and off-kilter but Garrus had noticed and gone to get them. Damn her pale skin that just got paler or went green when she was ill, damn his assessing eyes and well, just damn it all. If she wanted to be in a snit, she would be and the council and Udina and Anderson could just put up with it.
Garrus, her lips curled into an unconscious smile as she thought of him, he wouldn't put up with it, he'd drag whatever was bugging her out into the open even if it took a riproaring fight to do it. People assumed he was submissive, saw only his quiet, somewhat retiring nature and immediately believed she was the one calling all the shots…fools. Her beloved Turian had a temper of his own, Could she call him that, her beloved Turian? He was hers, she knew that, just as she was his and boy oh boy, did she love him, still, perhaps best not to voice that particular sentiment out loud. Shepherd groaned and buried her head in her hands, the pain was making it hard to think, and worse she was wasting time on stupid thoughts. She hated having to walk that fine line between medication and stubbornness that left her clearheaded and competent.
How could he want her, love her? She was as fractured as her leg and that was pretty banged up. Her hardsuit had held the limb together long enough for her to scramble up the huge pile of wreckage, Sovereign had made of the Council Chambers. At the time her ears had been ringing so badly she wasn't even positive it was voices she was heading towards. She had dragged herself to standing as she crested it and seen only one thing. Garrus, the bright blue of his eyes, the golden suede of his skin, the dark green of the armour she had pulled out of Spectre stores for him. He was alive! Gravity had done the rest, all she'd had to do was stay upright until he had caught her, held her. The same damn stubbornness, he was always telling her off for, had kept her from falling apart in the field but once she was in his arms and out the door, her face buried in his neck, she'd cried and cried. Relief mainly, shock, somewhat. Thankfully Chakwas had taken one look at her and ushered them away from the other military personnel. She was fully aware of the mental and psychological requirements of her commander and never falling apart in front of the junior officers was right up there on the list.
Fractured. It was a good word that, it suggested that there was some semblance of a whole remaining, broken but not out for the count just yet. That was her, not out for the count, not yet, she had the Reapers to find and destroy first and then, maybe, then she could rest a while. Could one fractured human save the galaxy? Hell, Shephard certainly didn't know but she was going to try her damn best.
They'd talked about it one morning, lying in bed after Virmire, hesitant to face the crew after she had sentenced Ashley to death. She spoken of how…fractured she had felt, all jagged bits and pieces she was trying to force into some semblance of a command and how she felt that she failed, both her command and Ashley by leaving her there. Garrus had leaned his head on his hand and ran a gentle palm along her arm. "You talk about feeling broken, Kalyss but what you don't realise is that that is where your strength comes from, where your convictions stem. If not for the death of your family, your experiences as a marine, as a colonist, as a Spectre, would you be so adamant about helping people. I have never seen you turn someone away, even when, perhaps you should have. These experiences have all made you what you are today, this … vibrant woman who has managed to recruit a diverse bunch of races as allies, who has saved hundreds if not thousands of lives and is both loved and respected by her crew. Kalyss, look at your crew, your officers, your friends. They've become a family unit, because of you. You know I saw Engineer Adams teaching Tali and Wrex how to play your poker, yesterday"
"Really? I bet Tali wins"
"It'll take her all of 5 minutes to start card counting"
"Card … counting?"
"Pokers not a game of chance, it's about knowing the odds, if you know what cards have been played and what you have in your hand, you can work out what the others should be holding and which card is …"
"…you're changing the subject."
"No, you brought it up"
"Kalyss, you are snatching at this topic as if it was a life preserver. What I said before made you uncomfortable."
"I just don't think I'm special, I'm just doing my job and not very well. So far I've killed Liara's mother and then Ashley while releasing what I've been told will become a great threat to the galaxy in later years, assuming of course the Reapers don't always get us first. This whole mission has been one screw up after another. Even Nihlus was murdered on my watch" She rolled onto her stomach and buried her face in her arms.
Garrus grip on the back of her neck was gentle as he gave the slightest of shakes, "You're a fool, Kalyss Shepherd. I hope one day you will able to see yourself as the rest of us see you." He'd pressed his mouth against her shoulder, and opened it slightly so she could feel the warm damp of his breath. His version of the human kisses he loved so well before dressing and leaving her to her misery. It was the only time he had ever left her to her recriminations and it had pulled her out of her depression faster perhaps than his kind words or gentle hands.
"You're a fool, Kalyss Shepherd," The Turian's voice pulled her out of her stupor.
"Who else?" he settled himself beside her and pressed the hypo to the side of her neck. The hiss of compressed air was followed by her muffled grunt as the drug was forced through her pores into her bloodstream. She leaned against him in relief.
"Kalyss, people are watching."
"I don't care, I'm on medical leave remember? Technically I'm a civilian and as such I can do whatever I want. I also want to point out that you're not a member of the Alliance military so this doesn't even count as fraternising"
"You are tempting me to …fraternise and the Council Chambers is not an appropriate spot" He stroked her cheek gently, taken as always by the contrast of their skin, his gold against her white.
"Sorry," she laced her fingers through his and lent back, "This is taking forever and I still have paperwork to do."
"Do you know why you've been called?"
"Scuttlebutt around the station says if humanity is ever to be offered a seat on the Council, this is it. I know Udina and Captain Anderson have been called too. I assume they're somewhere around here."
"You don't like Ambassador Udina?"
"I don't agree with him, he's been here so long it's almost like Earth has become …abstract to him. He's so busy focussing on the big picture he forgets the lives, his decisions are affecting. I think you have to balance both views to be an effective representative."
"Commander…Shepherd?" a young Turian stood in front of them, his avian features twisted as he tried to make the pale, injured young human woman in front of him fit the description of the famed human Spectre who had saved the Council and Citadel Station from destruction. Garrus growled low in his throat and the youngling, practically snapped to attention. "The Councillors are ready to see you now."
"Alright," she levered herself up, leaning heavily on the crutches, Garrus handed her.
"Kalyss, before you go in … I have something for you. I had meant to keep it for your birthing day commemoration but I remembered a conversation we had a while ago and …here"
The lump of dull, black stone was cool and heavy in her hand, the surface pitted and fractured. She looked at him questioningly.
"Turn it into the light"
As she turned the stone over, light seeped into the fractures and reflected off the crystalline structures. It flared into blues and greens and purples. Shepherd laughed amazed, as it became reds and golds and oranges.
"It's beautiful, Garrus, what is it, some sort of opal inside?"
"I'm not sure, the point is, Kalyss, that without the fractures, you would never see the beauty. It would remain hidden." He stroked her cheek again, saw her jaw tighten in the familiar way that meant she was suppressing some strong emotion.
"You should not make the Council wait any longer. I will wait here for you."
He watched her struggle up the stairs, knowing that she would accept no help and as she turned back to look at him, before venturing into the inner chamber, he wondered if this time she would believe him.
You are a worthy person, Shepherd.