Disclaimer: Mass Effect 2 belongs to BioWare, not to me.

LOTS OF SPOILERS FOR ME2, You've been warned.

A/n: Honestly, the idea of being with Garrus didn't really occur to me during Mass Effect 1, but when the option came up in ME2, I fell in love with the pairing. Garrus was so awkward and cute about it in the game that it made me really like him. I plan on writing this through up to the culmination of ME2 :)

Pairing: FemShepard/Garrus, with some FemShepard/Kaidan mixed in for that extra angst flavor

Two years.

It had been two years that she'd been dead. Okay, more specifically it had been two years that she'd been nothing but "meat and tubes" to use Jacob's words.

And Shepard was in a sort of limbo in this unforeseen future she now found herself in. She had no center, no compass, no path. There was the mission, yes, but that was one of the only things left to cling to by her fingernails and keep her sane. And the sane part was debatable.

The only ones on 'her side' were the vary same she would have been least inclined to trust before waking up in this dream universe.

Soldiers were meant to be ready for anything; to adapt. But this was just too much to cope with at once. She wondered sometimes if the term 'soldier' was still appropriate. She didn't feel like much of a soldier. She felt like a... well, a rebel or some renegade who'd decided the end's justified the means. And she hated it. Hated being thrown into a situation that flipped the balance between friend and foe.

She was working with Cerberus, for god's sake! A xenophobic organization that had committed atrocities that made her sick to the stomach even thinking about. Experiments on thorian creepers and rachni, killing Admiral Kahoku. And then there was Jack, of course. If someone had told her of the eventuality of working with Cerberus two years ago she would have laughed her ass off. That or she would have threatened them with her 'very big gun'.

It was out of necessity. At least that was what she kept trying to convince herself of. But if she were to be completely honest, she simply had no where else to go. No one else in the galaxy was willing to address the Reaper threat.

Anderson had seemed sympathetic, but the damn Council was as stubborn as they'd ever been. And even having Anderson on said council did little to change that fact. If anything, since coming back from the dead they'd become even more hostile toward her. She'd saved their asses from Sovereign and they repaid her by making her out to be some delusional woman duped by Saren into believing the Reaper threat existed. Like it was all some fantasy, that she'd been tricked into believing. But she wasn't some idiot child and she knew the truth that the Council had apparently chosen to ignore. And it royally pissed her off.

Then there had been Kaidan. The way he'd looked at her when he'd realized she was working with Cerberus. Out of necessity, she'd tried to explain. But it had sounded as hollow & disingenuous to him as it had to her. She'd thought that just maybe he'd understand. That he would follow her into hell, damn the consequences, but no such luck. He'd kept her grounded before; after the Council had but the kabosh her attempts to stop Sovereign attacking the Citadel.

And now. when she had really truly needed someone to understand her side to avoid breaking inside? When she'd needed someone to tell her she was doing the right thing? He'd shut her out said she'd betrayed him. Betrayed him! She'd been dead, for fuck's sake! It's not like she could have written him a letter! And Cerberus was the only group that was doing what needed to be done, even if their methods were questionable.

Kaidan had looked at her with such disgust that it had made her ache inside.

And so it came to pass, that Shepard had lost her strongest anchor and was slowly but surely drifting away. Maybe she was still floating somewhere out in space slowly losing her oxygen supply. Maybe this was all just some vivid hallucination her brain had cooked up to deal with oxygen deprivation.

"Dammit Kaidan! You're so focused on Cerberus that you're ignoring the real threat!"

And there it was. She felt her self returning slowly to solid ground. There was a new anchor to keep her. No. No, that wasn't right. It wasn't new. It had always been there. She just hadn't seen it properly until now.


The turian & former C-Sec officer who had been there since the beginning. Always in the background and not at the forefront of her mind, but still... always there.

And he hadn't left her. And he appeared to trust her completely. Effortlessly. And why did Garrus trust her so easily, when Kaidan clearly didn't?

Kaidan supposedly 'loved' her. Weren't the ones who loved you supposed to trust you? Weren't they at least supposed to give you the benefit of the doubt? Wasn't that how it worked? She hadn't been in love enough times to know for sure, but she'd seen enough romance vids to know that was the way it was supposed to work in a perfect universe. But life and fiction were hardly ever similar.

She was on the verge of cracking completely on the trip back to the Normandy. She should have been focused on the Collectors, but her mind couldn't shake that look she'd seen on Kaidan's face. Betrayal. It was the look that she couldn't help but think deserved to be on her own face, not his. What right did he have to call her a traitor? Her teeth clenched tightly and she could hear the grinding of her molars reverberate all the way to the back of her skull. Her hands were clenching and unclenching. She needed to maintain her composure for the sake of her crew, but it was proving difficult. She had this overwhelming desire to kill something-- gah! Maybe she was spending too much time around Grunt.

She felt a presence close to her side and looked up from her seat on the shuttle. Garrus had sat right next to her. Very close to her, she couldn't help but notice.

He didn't speak, but his predatory eyes were watching her carefully. They were assessing & deeply calculating. But they were kind eyes nonetheless.

She'd met so few turians before the mission against Saren. Before she'd always seen them as intimidating, and frankly downright scary to look at up close. They were like prehistoric raptors staring you down like you were their next meal.

Having one look at her so closely should have been unsettling. But it was Garrus. He wasn't just some turian. She barely even thought of him in such a base terms anymore. When she saw him, she saw Garrus Vakarian. Not Garrus Vakarian, the turian. And it felt comforting; him watching her like that.

She felt her heart lurch, when she wondered if there would ever be a day when he stopped trusting her too like Kaidan had. Shepard wasn't sure what she would do then. She felt so lost now, more so than she ever had. But if Garrus left her too...and when he'd nearly died on Omega she'd been so scared...

Something must have shown in her eyes, because Garrus's mandibles flapped outward then slowly retracted like he was considering something to say. He looked uncomfortable for a second and then his eyes shifted from her to the floor..

"So that boyfriend of yours was a real douche-bag, Shepard." Jack commented offhandedly from the other side of the shuttle, "See, that's why I 'fuck 'em and leave 'em'. Less drama that way, ya know?"

Shepard's eyes drifted away from Vakarian who was avoiding her gaze, to look over at the tatooed biotic across from her. Jack was fiddling idly with her favorite pistol. Shepard gave her a half-hearted smile, "Thanks for the advice, Jack. I'll keep it in mind."

Jack leaned casually back in her seat and nodded at her. After a moment a mischievous grin spread over her face. "Hell, maybe you should screw the turian," she nodded toward Garrus, "both of you are so fucking uptight, I'm sure both of you could use the release."

Garrus let out a surprised chuff followed by a few intelligible noises at the comment and Shepard was sure she'd turned several shades of red. It was dark in the shuttle so maybe no one would notice, but based on the self-satisfied smirk on Jack's face it was doubtful.

Getting back to the Normandy and off this shuttle couldn't come fast enough.