Already marked this fic as completed... But this stuff just wouldn't leave my mind until I wrote it. So, here goes Chapter 2 of my Mass Effect 2 Garrus pr0n. I'm relatively certain that this is all I have in me for this game.

Garrus was halfway through his breakfast of dextro-amino rations when his comm beeped.

"Garrus, could you see me in my quarters?"

"Shepard -"

As soon as the name had left his mouth, Garrus hoped for something heavy to put into a collision trajectory with his thick skull.

There were about ten people in the mess hall, eating breakfast, lunch or supper, depending on which shift they were currently running. Three of Shepard's team members were present; of them, Miranda tried to pretend she hadn't heard anything, Jack snickered openly, and Tali... Well, it was hard to tell with the quarians, but he could have sworn she winked.

Not for the first time in his life, Garrus Vakarian was happy that he lacked a reaction equivalent to blushing.

Well, at least the atmosphere seemed to lighten a bit. It was seven cycles since returning through Omega-4, and every soul on Normandy still carried that place on their faces. It made for rather morose breakfast company.

Except for Jack. But Jack was crazy, so she didn't count.

"Uh, Shepard, can this wait fifteen minutes?"


"All right. I'll be there in a moment."

Garrus sighed and fingered the comm attached to his visor. He picked up his plate, still half filled with blue meat substitute and a half-eaten, moist brown brick that was supposed to contain what fibre and carbohydrates his carnivorous system required. Of course, now that they were back to the Citadel, he could have opted for nicer food - but the turian had never cared for a varied diet and processor food was... comforting.

"Well, I wasn't that hungry anyway." He walked over to the galley and emptied his leftovers into the biowaste bin, where they would be broken down and reprocessed into... more blue dextro-meat-goo and brown bricks. The dextro-amino food processor onboard Normandy was not a very developed one, since it had been installed as an afterthought for the ship's turian and quarian passengers.

"So, the Commander finally calls, huh?" Jack's husky drawl offered from across the nearest table. "Just remember, big guy - nothing brings the mood down quite like an anaphylactic shock. Except a nasty wrong-handed contact rash. Oh, the joys of interspecies sexual adventures. Brings back some looovely memories."

Garrus tilted his head. The way his mandibles fluttered betrayed his amusement to anyone who could read a bit of turian body language. "Hell Jack," he rumbled. "With your sense of humor, you should be recruited by the Alliance as a weapon of mass destruction."

The young biotic smiled smugly and laced her fingers behind the back of her bald, tattoo-covered head. "I sort of thought I already was."

"I still don't understand your battle cry, though. 'I'm going to destroy you?' Doesn't that strike you as a bit lame?"

"Hey! It's in the family crest and everything!"

"I thought you had no family."

Tali cleared her throat to draw their attention. "Hate to cut your important exchange in short, but shouldn't you be heading up to the Commander now, Vakarian? From what I could hear, it sounded urgent."

"Urgent in her pants," Jack snorted and rolled her eyes, but fell back to finishing her own rations – a nondescript bowl of mac and cheese, happily abused out of Normandy's much more developed levo-amino food processor.

Garrus – who hated to admit it, but knew he had been stalling – rounded the corner to the elevator.

After what seemed like far too few seconds, the doors whizzed open to reveal the small corridor to Shepard's quarters. Garrus tapped one curved talon against the door bell, and the Spectre's voice came from the door comm.

"Come in."

He took a deep breath and entered the loft.

The lights were set at about 30% capacity, low enough for his visor to decide to pick up their slack. Shepard was not at her desk; neither was the portrait of Liara T'Soni he had seen there before. The sheets on the double bed were new and neatly made.

Overhead, behind transparent plating and a shimmering biotic shield, the Citadel's great arms reached into the space in a magnificent display of light and color.

"I'm down here."

Garrus descended the shallow stairs to the living quarters. Shepard was sitting on the black leather couch – hunched over a datapad, her forehead against her hand and her elbow against her knee. The utility suit she wore was her familiar black and white Cerberus issued one, now just missing the organization's symbols.

Garrus couldn't put his talon on why, but she didn't look as military as normally, despite the M-6 Carnifex hand cannon lying on the table.

After the collectors had boarded Normandy, Shepard had never left her gun very far. Feeling close to one's weapon was certainly something Garrus could understand – he just hadn't seen it happen to Shepard before. Even after returning from collector space and going through the motions of reporting to the Council and Alliance and facing the inevitable press interest, the habit didn't seem to be wearing off. She always carried her gun with her now. Even to interviews. He wasn't sure it was a good sign. Shepard had never been... paranoid.

"Sit down, Garrus. I need your opinion on something."

Garrus took a seat across from her, feeling slightly uncomfortable on the too-low couch with its too-narrow seat.

"Tell me what you think of these."

Still not looking at him, she pushed the datapad toward him across the table. He picked it up and tapped at it to access whatever she'd been working on.

The letters bore her signature in more ways than one. They were matter-of-fact to the point of being blunt. She'd never been one to beat around the bush. But she was also honest, and did not skimp on the praise of Yeoman Chambers, Mordin and the others had helped to run the ship. Without their work, none of the others would necessarily have survived. And that made them more than just nameless casualties in a far-off war that rarely made its way into headlines.


"Shepard... Why are you asking me? I'm not a people person, and salarian and human post-mortem customs are... not my expertise."

She rubbed her hands together and her gaze wandered in obvious discomfort. "I trust you more than anyone on this goddamn float. And I'm sure turian letters of condolence can't be too different from ours."

Garrus noticed that her thick black hair was damp, and wrapped into a much looser bun than normally. Maybe that was why she didn't look as strict as normally.

Or maybe it was because being so close to her again in this room awakened some vivid memories of her being not very strict at all.

Unfortunately, almost as soon as his mind reached into the past, another recent memory of her also surfaced.

Shepard, in heavy armor, propelling herself across the void between the collector space station and Normandy's airlock...

"I'm also asking you because I can't tolerate seeing anyone else right now. Just... tell me what you think, all right?"

He returned the datapad to the table. "Uh, well, can't say I would be exactly happy to receive any of these. But that's not because of anything you wrote. Call me paranoid, but I would just hate to receive a military sealed envelope right after a major battle."

Shepard winced. "Should I add some groveling? I hate to grovel. My therapist says it's because of the dominant personality streak."

Garrus narrowed his eyes and took a few more moments to assess the woman in front of him.

She seemed angry, determined... But not sad. Her normally glowing amber skin was pale, and the shadows under her eyes told him she hadn't been sleeping much.

For the first couple of cycles after returning through the Omega 4 relay, everyone had been functioning on instinct – doing what they were conditioned to do. After reaching the Citadel, it had gotten worse; trying to pull their weight onboard while handling pressure on one side and tolerating ignorance on the other. Garrus knew she would feel it worse than anyone else, and had zero envy for her job right now.

After returning from reaper space, Garrus had seen her all of three times. They had exchanged maybe twenty words, and been in the same room twice.

Oh, people rumored. And Shepard actually encouraged those rumors. She'd held his hand one of those two times they'd been near each other, in a room with at least thirty other people, including a dozen of news agents. Maybe it was just to prove what she'd said before Omega 4, about not keeping her feelings bottled up? It had been nothing tacky or too forward, but whatever her reason, Garrus wasn't sure he was entirely happy about the gesture afterwards. Before that moment, the name Normandy or anyone aboard her – except Shepard herself – had hardly registered across the galaxy. But after that one innocent hand-holding that lasted maybe all of ten seconds... In less than ten hours, every available bit of fact and fiction about Normandy and her crew had been plastered all over the networks. Because suddenly, she was not just a shady warship returning from a distant war that had maybe saved humanity from some obscure threat. Suddenly she had become a place of sexy interspecies action between notorious war heroes and criminals.

Few news agencies had had a picture of Garrus handy, so to avoid exorbitant fees, half of them had ended up faking two-year-old pictures of a much more scarred Shepard next to some completely unrelated poor turian bastard with the wrong tattoo design. Garrus wasn't sure whether to feel angry or just amused at the links Jack kept flinging his way.

And still Shepard didn't seem to mind. Of course it had only been seven days, and her whisked from one meeting room to another so fast that she probably didn't even know what was happening outside of them, but... Damn. Why was it that she, of the two of them, had an easier time handling all of this?

Her brown eyes staring at him through the helmet... Her face covered in cold sweat and horror. Him still holding her plated arms when the airlock whizzed close, afraid to let go, because maybe, just maybe she wasn't safe yet, maybe she would disappear again if he as much as moved a hand...

But she hadn't been spaced. She was right here, with him. And also, looking at him rather quizzically, now.

"Garrus, are you all right?"

What had she been asking? Oh... right. The letters.

"Don't change anything. They are just a hand signature shy of perfect," he managed to answer.

Shepard sighed in relief. "Damn, I've been at those things for four hours. I'm happy to hear I don't need to rewrite them again."

Garrus leaned forward and frowned – or rather, tightened his face carapace in a way that would translate to an expression of concern for humans.

"Jane." Her first name still felt very strange in his mouth. "How much have you slept after the jump back to the Omega system?"

She leaned back and crossed her arms. "Some. Why do you ask?"

Garrus sat up, insulted at the blatant rejection of his concern.

"Well, judging by the way you look right now, it's at least twenty hours since you had any rest. I'm not your XO or your doctor or even your Yeoman, but I'd say that's too damned much awake time for someone who has been pummeled from left and right like you have. And if you don't like me worrying for you, well, that's too bad, because it's something that comes with being – let me see how to put it – oh yeah... friends?"

Lovers. He had been so close to saying it. But... they had only been together that one night, after what was maybe too much tiptoeing around a too hot kettle.

She rubbed her eyes. "Shit. Sorry. Really, I mean it. I'm sorry, Garrus. It's just that... Oh, damn. Have you been able to sleep?"

"Well, I've had some delightful nightmares about a huge baby reaper roaring over me while rockets fly at me from left and right, but it's nothing that a few pills from Dr. Chakwas can't handle."

She chuckled morosely. "Better living through chemistry, huh? I wish it were that simple for me. No medication that I know works on guilt. If only I'd gone through the relay sooner, I could have saved more of them... Chambers, and Donnelly, and Daniels... Matthews... Rolston had a small baby, goddammit."

"You did all you could, Shepard, and more. Jumping through right after getting the IFF operational would just have ended up with that collector particle beam ripping us to shreds. No one's blaming you and you know it. But you have to take care of yourself. We can't have you crash and burn in the middle of what's now going on."

Shepard finally looked at him directly. Her feverish eyes told him she'd been keeping herself awake with something stronger than caffeine – which probably explained why she'd avoided looking at him.

"Shepard. I can't believe this. You're on stims."

She had the grace to look ashamed. "That obvious?"

"Your pupils are about the size of a pinhead."

She leaned forward and stole a look at her reflected image on the table's surface. "Shit. I can't go to meet the Council like this. EDI, could you ask Dr. Chakwas send over some mild tropicamide?"

"Yes, Commander," the AI answered from the corner.

Garrus bristled. "More drugs? How about just doing it the old-fashioned way and sleeping?"

"Garrus, I can't sleep!" she exploded. "Every time I close my eyes, I see Kelly Chambers dissolve in front of them!"

For a moment they stared at each other in blatant challenge. Then Garrus realised there was a bit too much alpha stupidity in the room, and looked away.

He had no idea how to say what he wanted, then just said it.

"It's damned painful to watch you lose it. I was hoping that somewhere down the line, there would be some R&R for us and that when it came, I wouldn't have to visit a mental clinic to spend time with you. But that's just me. You can of course do what you see necessary."

Shepard's brown eyes widened, then turned soft.

"Garrus, that's... I want that, too."

Garrus felt his heart hammer in his chest. He felt like an idiot. And he felt great. And terrified.

"EDI, when is my next meeting scheduled?" Shepard asked after a while of staring at each other in silence.

"In eight hours and seventeen minutes, Commander," the AI answered.

"Thank you, EDI."

"You're welcome, Commander."

"That's going to be another long and tiring evening in the Presidium," Garrus said. "You should at least try to get some rest."

A mischievous expression crossed on her face. "I can think of far nicer ways to spend the next couple of hours."

She started to sidle toward him on the couch. Garrus ignored an instinct that told him to escape while he still had a chance.

"Jane." He pulled his mandibles close to his cheeks and crossed his arms. "Before going through Omega 4, Dr. Chakwas had to treat me for a very embarrassing allergic reaction. I'm not sure I want to repeat the experience of going to her office and showing her where exactly I had the pain I had been talking about over the comm."

The memory still burned his mind. It had taken a few hours for the reaction to start in earnest – enough for him to have returned to his room and try to catch some restless sleep before entering the mass relay. When he'd woken up... he still shivered at the memory of the few minutes it had taken for him to get to the meds in his bathroom.

Shepard threw her leg over Garrus in order to sit across his lap. She squirmed against him - an act considerably hampered by the fact that he still held his arms across his chest.

"Bullshit, Vakarian. I slapped on some medi-gel and was good as new. And don't tell me it wasn't worth a bit of itching and a couple of red spots. Because it totally was."

She was soft, and limber, and warm... It took all his self-discipline, and a very unpleasant memory, not to embrace her.

"Well, I'm happy you got away with so little, but I'm not sure I want to repeat my own experience before getting some serious answers from Dr. Chakwas about how to prevent it ever happening again."

"Oh, but she treated you already? So you have the meds ready this time." She leaned forward and licked his unscarred left mandible.


His whole body reached toward her warmth, including the traitorous thing in his standard-issue trousers.

He pulled his head back, not unlike a predatory Earth bird.

"I'm not talking about a couple of red spots and an itch! I'm talking about boils and mind-numbing pain! Not to mention the fact that you've been awake for at least a whole cycle! You need to sleep, or you'll end up telling the Council to kiss your ass again - remember the diplomatic mess that one got you into?"

The all-mighty Commander Shepard pouted at him.

"Just once?"

His eyes narrowed. "No."

She batted her eyelashes and her voice turned husky. "Pretty please, with sugar on top?"


She seemed to think for a moment. Then a sly smile appeared on her lips. "Have you ever had a blowjob?"

His mandibles jerked in disbelief. "Pardon?"

"I've seen a few turian sex vids – asked Jack to find me some – but none of them involved oral sex. So, I was wondering if you've ever had, you know. Someone play your skin flute. Kiss the velvet trumpet."

"Kiss my... what?"

Shepard grinned and wiggled her ass against him. "The big gun you carry in your pocket."

Garrus rolled his eyes – an expression he had picked up from the humans during his time on both Normandies – and though it didn't work very well, since he had no eye whites, it conveyed his intent. "No, I haven't had oral sex performed on me. And before you ask why – " He flared his mandibles and grimaced in what was a truly frightening display of fangs shaped like knives. "Would you let these anywhere near your reproductive organs?"

Shepard kissed the tip of his nose – or the part of his face carapace that most closely resembled a nose, with the blue tattoo on it, one of the many designed to enhance his already threatening aspect. "Love, I think I already did. But seriously. We need to fix this. I can't be associated with a man who's never had a blowjob – it is positively embarrassing."

Garrus closed his mouth and pulled his mandibles against his cheeks. "You truly intend to..."

Her hands were already working on the buttons on his trousers. Obviously, turian trouser design was very different from that of humans. In addition to having a fly, they were also fastened on the top of their hips. So... how the hell did she manage to get them open so fast?

And when in the last seven cycles has she had time to watch turian porn!

With a dangerous smile on her face, she slid from his lap to the floor and kneeled between his legs. Garrus was starting to get scared... and excited.

"How do you even know it's physically possible?"

"I don't. But finding out is the best part, no?"

He couldn't help it. The memories, and anticipation of something he hadn't considered in his wildest dreams... When she pulled down his trousers, the outline of his erection was clearly visible through his shorts. She smiled affectionately and kissed it through the white cotton, and it twitched. Garrus groaned.

Oh, hell. Here we go again...

She peeled down his shorts.

"Wow. I never considered the possibility that it would be... blue."

She brought her face very close and stared in fascination. Garrus looked at the ceiling in abject embarrassment. "Shepard, for gods' sakes..."

"It's Jane. And, did I already say wow? It's... all different shaped. Bumpy. And those ridges, and the tiny spines... I guess they erect when you come? So that's what prevents you from pulling out. I don't understand why it wasn't more painful. It sure looks painful to me." She tried to pry one of the little spines up. "Hmm. They're not very sharp. And they're so tiny. Maybe that's why it didn't cause pain."

"Shepard..." His voice lowered into a menacing growl that would have scared the hell out of anyone else.

"Garrus, it's... it's beautiful! Why don't they sell replicas of these in Turian gift shops? I would buy one! I'd give them to all of my friends! Well, all except you, obviously. You already have one."


She grinned. "Well, haven't you ever looked at it yourself?" She gesticulated towards him. "It's a goddamn work of art! All... stripey and everything! I would totally endorse a shop selling something so pretty." Before his astonished eyes, she leaned over and talked into his dick like into a microphone. "Hi, I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite cock on the Citadel."

"Jane, if you don't stop that foolishness immediately, I'm going to..." He thought quickly. "Not give you oral sex ever again."

"Shit." The corners of her mouth turned down. "Sorry?"

"Seriously. Woman. You need to sleep."

"No, I don't. I need to give head to a certain extremely obstinate and handsome turian officer."

And to his divided horror and pleasure, she did. And it was quite unlike anything he'd ever experienced before.

Her teeth were like porcellain, not very sharp at all, and her tongue lacked the coarse turian texture – her mouth was hot and felt like silk against him.

He could not help it. He started purring like a maniac and shifted forward on the couch.

After what was definitely too short a time, she lifted her head and frowned. "Garrus. You taste like... cinnamon."

"Cinnamaldehyde..." His voice was strained. "Palaven has several types of fungi that grows on a metal exoskeleton. So, our skin produces cinnamaldehyde, which is a fungicide."

"Uhh... Fungicide?" She looked at his cock and made a bit of a face.

Garrus heard himself continue to spout nonsensical facts. Something was clearly very wrong with him. "Also kills very small parasites. So, we don't have to worry about what passes for your insects on Palaven."



"I find your voice the sexiest thing after asari design underwear. But right now, could you just shut up. Please."

He groaned deep in his chest, and obeyed, and was rewarded by more of the... mind-bending stuff she had been doing on him.

She was obviously good at it. When had she had time to become good at something like this? She must have had some very interesting R&R when younger, because during the time they'd known each other, Garrus didn't remember Shepard entertaining much of an adventure with anyone.

It was becoming hard to think, and increasingly easy to just let it happen. Or even encourage it. He wasn't sure how it had happened, but his hands were now stroking her hair. It was so loosely tied that it opened from his touch and fell in damp, heavy loops over his talons. She chuckled and the sound carried deep tremors through her mouth, straight into him.

He had barely enough wits to push her away when he came.

"Shepard -"

And then he could not see or hear anything for a while.

When he recovered, her face was just inches away from his own.

"Garrus. You're all spiky now."

He blinked.

"Are you all right? You sort of passed away for a while, there."

Garrus thought. Was he all right? He actually couldn't say. His mind was spinning and he felt too weak to move. But he did not seem injured. Actually, he felt... great. At least, everywhere except his brain.

"Hmm. Shepard."

"Why do you insist calling me that?" She started kissing the side of his face, and his neck. "Out of habit?"

He looked at the ceiling and tried to wade through the muck in his brain. Did she actually expect him to form a coherent sentence now?

She was opening his coat, running her hands down his chest. All the while, her lips travelled his neck and his face, planting small kisses on them. He would never have thought that something so small could have such an effect on him.

"Shepard, I – hmm. Jane. It's... Yeah. Hard to remember."

She removed his visor and frowned. "Learn. By the way, I've always wanted to ask – what does this do?" She put the visor against her own left eye. It of course didn't fit, being designed for a turian. The interface was also in a turian language she was unlikely to recognize.

"Mmh. It spots for me."

"Huh. Calculations, vision enhancement..?"

"And network access."

She grinned. "Garrus, you dog! All this time I've thought that when you fall silent and stare at a wall on a mission, you're thinking grave thoughts. But actually you were just watching porn."

He had now regained control over his arms. Had he really thought he would not hold her? She was just as smooth and warm as his hands remembered, all round shapes that seemed to fit perfectly into his palms. Especially the place above her ass – the small of her back, they called it. What a shame that turians had no such place in their anatomy. Stroking her there made her shiver nicely all over.

He couldn't help it. He pushed himself up from the couch and coaxed her toward the bed, soaking in her warmth and her clean, sweet human scent. It was intoxicating like the smell of some strange liquor or an erotic asari perfume. He pushed her to the mattress, purring, and leaned over and against her. She laughed, deep in her throat, and allowed him to remove her clothes just to get more of that warmth, of her skin.

Some part of him realised that he was acting very strangely, but the rest did't care. And she did not seem to mind. He licked the side of her face and neck, and she shivered and moaned as his hand travelled down her now bare skin; a shoulder there, a breast, and her stomach, the small strange indentation of her birth, and the silky hair below and now, the place of her human femaleness. She cried out and arched against him, and clung to his neck and arm, calling his name, a sound more beautiful than anything he could imagine. She travelled his face with her lips, kissed him on the mouth, and he purred and touched her smooth pink tongue with his own dark, coarse one, realising that it was maybe not completely impossible for him to kiss her, after all.

He was still stroking her, and she moaned and moved against his hand.

"Garrus, please..."

He bit the side of her neck, pushed her legs open. His cock slid into her like a fresh heat sink into a well maintained rifle.

It was strange to fuck someone face to face. He couldn't help feeling that it was wrong and dangerous – and probably for the very same reason it excited the hell out of him. She wrapped herself around him, and he let go of her neck just to see what she looked like when he was in her, and almost came when he saw the expression on her face as he thrust into her. Maybe this human way of having sex was not so hard to understand, after all?

"I love you," she said, arms around his neck, and kissed him on the mouth, and then her expression changed and she was coming. She tightened up like a vice around him, and that was all it took. He pulled away and spilled onto her stomach with a vicious growl.

"Why'd you pull out?" she asked later. "I like it when you come inside me."

"Uhh, that's... Hmm. I'll have to remember that."

She was lying on her side next to him, head propped against her hand, her lips curled into a tiny smile. He lifted his hand to the side of her face and brushed his talons down to the bite marks on her neck, over her round shoulder muscle, and then the hollow of her waist that rolled into the beautiful round hill of her hip and thigh. She closed her eyes and shivered against his hand.

"I should have called you up days ago," she said, her voice low and soft. "I thought I was going crazy. And now, suddenly, all seems to be... in perspective, again. And all it took was a good fuck."

"Well, you know me. I'm a solve problems with a single headshot type of guy."

She chuckled. "Whereas I like to spray bullets from the hip, and blow shit up."

"See? We complement each other beautifully, Commander."

"Yeah, we do. And I'm sorry for shutting you out, Garrus."

"Don't worry. I had my own thinking to do. But why did you wait so long?"

"Because I'm scared out of my wits."

A low rumble of surprise rose from his chest. His forehead scales lifted in an almost universal expression of astonishment. "Scared? Commander Shepard, the all-powerful Spectre is scared?"

He was just teasing her of course, and was pleased when she caught that in his voice. She stroked her fingers over his fringe, making him purr.

"You know how it is... We live to work. Not a good place to develop feelings for a squad mate. Feelings complicate things. And I haven't felt like this for years and years." She gave a small shrug. "Or maybe ever. What's not to be scared of?"

"Would you rather it hadn't happened?"

"Silly man. Of course not."

He looked at the ceiling, thinking. "It's going to do that, though. Complicate things."

"Well, we'll just have to find time to work around those complications."

He leaned up on his arm, and winced at the sound of soft fabric being torn by the sharp spines at his elbow. "Such as this one. If we keep this up, I'm going to rip my way through all your bed clothes."

She smirked. "Way to build yourself a reputation?"

"Yes, Garrus Vakarian, the infamous sniper and destroyer of women's bed covers," he joked and was rewarded with her laughter.

"Seriously, though," he said and leaned his forehead against hers – the turian gesture of intimacy coming quite naturally already, he realised. "What do you see happening now?"

She sobered up, pressed a finger against his chin. "I have no idea. I suppose I'm going to take it one day at a time..."

Suddenly she covered a huge yawn with her hand. "Uhh, sorry."

"You should sleep."

"Yes." She looked mildly surprised, then yawned again. "I should."

He left the bed in search of his clothes, not even remembering when they had been strewn about the loft so. She stretched to her full length and watched him move about.

"You sure you don't want to stay?"

"I need to get the meds Dr Chakwas gave me. I meant what I said about not wanting to repeat the experience I had last time."

"Hmm. Strange that we fit together so well in many ways... and are entirely incompatible in others."

He somehow managed to find and put on all his clothes, even his left boot which had for a reason or another ended up beneath the couch. Now he walked back to the bed and sat on its edge beside her. He pulled the bed covers over her – sad as it was to prevent himself from seeing her naked glory – and brushed strands of hair from her face.

"Chakwas told me there's no chance of developing a tolerance for wrong handed amino acids."

It was still a bit difficult for Garrus to interpret human expressions – they were so infinitely varied – but he knew that the one on Shepard's face now indicated sadness.

"So it's always going to be like this?"

"I'm afraid so. I'll go see the doc and ask for something to treat your... hmm... red spots."

"You'll be back, then?" She lowered her head to the pillow.

"Yeah. To make sure you don't get up in the next seven hours or so."

"The Commander has an appointment with the Council in six hours three minutes," EDI reminded.

"Fuck you, EDI," Shepard mumbled and closed her eyes.

An hour later, Garrus returned from his trip to the medbay with a jar of something that was supposed to help with a human amino-allergy rash, and a slight inebriation. From the way he had staggered into her office, Dr Chakwas had deduced that he was in need of a drink, and had poured him a glass of some nasty clear Earth alcohol, explaining that it had no protein content and was thus safe for turians to drink.

In her sleep, Shepard had turned to lie on her stomach. Her face was half buried in a pillow, the long black hair in hopeless tangles around it. She looked peaceful and years younger than her real age. The long, evil scars she'd borne since Akuze had disappeared during her reconstruction, as had the few lines she'd developed in the corners of her eyes and on her forehead. Her skin was smooth like a baby's, now, new and almost unused.

Garrus placed the jar on the night stand and sat down beside her. She murmured in her sleep and wrapped her arms around his waist.

He knew there was no way in hell he'd be able to sleep in this room, but he climbed to the bed nonetheless, to lie next to her. He was rewarded with her arms around his neck, then a gentle snore against his ear. Careful not to wake her, Garrus worked an arm around her and pulled her close. He resigned himself to several hours of staring at the Citadel lights through the roof window.