A/N: It's been ages since I wrote fanfiction so this has been kind of fun. Like masturbation really, it feels good while you're doing it, but afterwards you just feel ashamed. =P I've had several Fem!Shep/Garrus stories floating around my head and just needed to make them go away. I'm Rinter_Degan on the bioware social network and sometimes I'm actually on it!
This is spoiler-rific! Seriously though, if you're on for ME2 fanfic, you should have already beaten the game by now.
It bothered me a little how Garrus just seemed to go along with everything rather than really make serious space!batman advances on your Fem!Shep. And while some people found the final scene cute and sweet (well, it was), I kind of wanted more...I don't know what I wanted, but I think I wanted less awkwardness. Garrus is badass. He deserved better. (And by he, I mean me, the shameless fan).
Also, that Sidonis thing blew over way too quickly.
So here's yet another Paragon!Shepard/Garrus story.
Disclaimer: Bioware owns Mass Effect, etc. etc. I'm just playing in their sandbox.
"I don't want to talk about it and I have nothing to say to you." The words came with unwavering certainty and heart wrenching finality. Climbing into the shuttle, Garrus kept his gaze somewhere past her head.
"Garrus…" Shepard felt her throat tighten at the hostility in his tone.
"Not now, Shepard. Or I'll end up doing something we'll both regret," the turian snarled through a clenched jaw and the look he gave her sent chills down her spine. For a moment, she was ashamed to admit, she saw Saren through the blue markings, not her comrade. There was still death in his eyes and he flexed his talons, glowering.
Thane stiffened beside her, and in the corner of her vision Shepard saw his hand casually brush against his gun. She gave a slight head shake and the drell bowed his head, looking almost ashamed. Garrus wasn't Saren. All turians did not look alike.
She didn't feel like reaching out and comforting Thane, but she did so anyway, patting his shoulder as she sat down. Drawing her pistol, she began to fiddle with its calibrations, more out of nervous habit than necessity. The sights were off by a tenth of a degree or so. She'd sighted it in at 50 yards, but it pulled a smidgen to the left- not that its range made it necessary to be much more accurate. Shepard tried to ignore the fact that she might have damaged her friendship with Garrus beyond repair. And had it even been worth it?
For what Sidonis did, Shepard would have killed him ten times over. Losing Ash was hard enough. The geth, the krogan, even the Reaper had all been dedicated to Gunnery Sergeant Williams. Losing Kaidan, Wrex, Garrus… Her mind stopped before she could continue the list. She would have taken the darker parth. She would have slaughtered the bastard responsible, slowly. War hero or not, she'd learned things as an N7, things that did not need to be spoken of. Her own hypocrisy curdled her stomach.
Half an hour ago, she had been certain letting him kill Sidonis would be a grave mistake. She'd been so caught up with preventing it that she hadn't really thought about the repercussions. Garrus couldn't kill Sidonis; if he gave in to that obsession he wouldn't be Garrus any more. Shepard couldn't let him do it. It wouldn't be right. He'd understand – he understood why she did what she did with Dr. Saleon, right?
But in the end, Saleon died and Sidonis didn't. Saleon was pride. Sidonis was personal.
Her reasoning echoed hollow now. In the light of his reaction – Garrus had never once treated her with such rage – Shepard began to question her own judgment. She tried to do the right thing, tried to keep the body count to a minimum. Was that really the right thing though? She trusted Garrus's judgment – even if he was prone to bouts of brash enthusiasm, he still listened to reason.
Maybe this time she'd been wrong.
"Are you sure that's how your pistol should be sighted, siha?" Thane's raspy voice broke through her reverie and Shepard looked down to find the settings completely off. Smooth.
"…Just trying something new," Shepard managed a lopsided smile and Thane hesitantly rested a hand on her elbow.
"I can take a look at that if you want," he murmured, his breath suddenly warm on the side of her face.
From Garrus's corner came a low rumble, a cross between a growl and hiss, but he didn't look at either one of them.
"It's fine, Thane." Shepard didn't move his hand, grateful for the comfort. "What kind of soldier would I be if I didn't know how to maintain my own weapons?"
Thane only gazed at her with inky dark eyes.
They spent the rest of the shuttle ride in uneasy silence.
"Garrus seems…troubled," Kelly informed Shepard she stared blankly at her private terminal. "And you do too, if you don't mind me saying so."
"…Just tired, Kelly." Shepard managed to keep her tone friendly. Telling Kelly it was none of her goddamned business wouldn't really help matters. And the yeoman was right; Garrus had been short with everyone lately, rasher in combat, and taking his meals alone in the main battery instead of in the mess hall. She'd been somewhat resigned to leaving him be. What would she say to him? "I'm sorry I let the guy who got all your friends killed walk away. Better luck next time?" They didn't exactly make cards for this kind of occasion.
"Maybe you should speak with him, Commander. After all you've been through together, you know he respects you."
After what happened with Sidonis? Not bloody likely. He wouldn't walk away from this mission, it was too important. But her? Kaidan and Liara didn't seem to have any problem doing so. Losing Garrus too was something she didn't want to contemplate, especially since it might already be too late.
"I think he needs some time to get his head on straight," Shepard said. It was a feint, and if Kelly thought so, she was too polite to say it. The perky redhead gave her a pained smile.
"If you say so, ma'am."
Shepard resisted the urge to beat her own head against the terminal.
"You know, Shepard. Garrus might need to go see Mordin."
"Why is that, Joker?"
"Someone shoved that stick he had right back up his ass. I think he's needing a surgical extraction and Chakwas probably doesn't know all that much about turian anatomy."
"Joker…" Her voice dropped fifty degrees and an octave.
"And I'll just shut up and drive now, ma'am. Yeesh."
"Shepard, I like what you've done with the turian."
Shepard buried her face in her hands, mostly to keep them from punching the grinning krogan in his shark-toothed face.
"He's so much more fun now. I still hate turians, but this one, he knows how to have a good time. You're a great battlemaster, Shepard. I can't wait to see what you do with the fishman…" He paused thoughtfully. "But if he's a lost cause, can I eat him?"
"No, Grunt," she exhaled slowly, counting to ten. "No, you may not."
"Ah, glad you came by. Needed to talk with you. Certain crew members experiencing high agitation. Not naming names: patient-physician confidentiality very important. Cause of distress partially situational, but not entirely. Part of it physiological – turians prone to hormonal imbalances. Would suggest a change in diet. Maybe some extended shore leave. Research would suggest that certain crew members haven't had their necessary allotment of non-combat oriented stress reducing activities."
"What exactly are you suggesting? Getting him…them drunk?" Shepard sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger.
"Maybe. Unlike Salarians, other shipmate species have mating drive. Can cause irritability, mood swings, and general unpleasantness. Very bad for morale."
Shepard winced. "Thanks Mordin, I'll take that into consideration."
Because hiring a female turian hooker would solve all their problems. Maybe an asari if Garrus was feeling adventurous.
"Any time, Shepard," Mordin called as she trudged out of the tech lab wondering if this was some ass-backward Salarian attempt at humor.
"Shepard, you need to talk to Garrus," Tali said flatly the next time she made her rounds to engineering. "It's been over a week." The Citadel was long behind them – they were docked at Ilium for supplies.
Donnelly and Daniels fell uncharacteristically silent, making no attempts to hide their eavesdropping.
"I was just about to ask you if you would do the honors…" Shepard leaned against the console. Of all the crew members, Tali was the one she could speak most freely with. Once upon a turian had that dubious honor but…"You weren't there and he's known you almost as long as he's known me."
"Shepard…" Tali's tone held more than a smidgen of disapproval.
"Damn. I could get on my knees and beg if that's what it will take." Shepard's voice held a slightly desperate plea.
"You need to talk to him. He might like me, but he respects you."
Shepard sighed, not bothering to correct the tense of the verb. "I'm not sure what to say, Tali. The more I think about it, the more I'm certain if our roles were reversed, I would have dragged Sidonis somewhere secluded and finished him off with a welding torch and a screwdriver. Picturing losing you, Wrex, Garrus…" She didn't mention Kaidan. Not any more. In fact, she'd almost forgotten the whole Horizon-causes-insomnia issue. Now her insomnia revolved around her lack of contact with Garrus.
"I'm glad we mean that much to you." Tali's three-fingered hand rested hesitantly on Shepard's arm. "But you should still talk to him. I can't pass that judgment for you. It's between you and Garrus. But the least you can do is talk to him about it. He'll listen to you. I know he will."
"That's what I thought about Kaidan." It slipped out by accident, and Shepard pursed her lips, glaring down at the floor - seeing through it, in fact, right into space and eternity and straight to Horizon.
"Garrus isn't Kaidan," Tali said with a surprising amount of steel. "Garrus is still here. Keela! And you are the captain. It's your job to come to a compromise. You're both being pigheaded, and I don't know who is the bigger bosh'tet…"
"I don't want to push him. I'm not seeing any way I can make this better, Tali. Not when I think I'd go much further than Garrus to avenge my own friends." Shepard spoke quickly, in a last bid to maybe earn some sympathy from her friend.
"Now who's whining like a quarian with a tummy ache?" Tali snapped. "You march up there right now and go talk to him, or help me I have a shotgun and Chiktikka will fry both your optics…"
Shepard backed away from the quarian girl. Her formerly meek comrade had grown a quad that would put Wrex to shame. Hell, it put her to shame. With some effort, she retreated to the elevator, Donnelly and Daniel's nervous laughter echoing in the halls.
She leaned back against the wall, dreading the confrontation that was to come. Tali was right of course. She'd been pussyfooting around the issue. She just needed to man up and apologize. They could track Sidonis down again. Hell, she'd nail the sniveling bastard down to the floor of the cargo hold and let Garrus have at him. Admitting she was wrong wasn't such a hard thing. She did it all the time.
But she hated letting people down. Letting Garrus down in particular. She'd done so on Omega, and here she was doing it again. This was a personal failure. She could lead her crew and function, but she would have no peace till she and Garrus came to some kind of understanding. They had time. They could hunt down Sidonis again. Since Harkin was arrested, she'd let Garrus stuff him in a crate – with airholes – and mail him to C-Sec; it would be easier to find their quarry this time around.
"Commander, there is an altercation in the mess. You are needed right away to settle this." EDI's voice echoed in the confines of the elevator.
"Miranda and Jack at it again?" Shepard straightened up as the elevator doors opened.
"Negative, commander. The participants are Mr. Krios and Office Vakarian."
Before the shock had a chance to register, a chair sailed into the wall. The crew had scattered – most taking shelter in the med bay. In the corner, Gardner ducked behind his counter, occasionally peeking up to get a good view of the fight.
Garrus, his mandibles flaring, threw a punch. Thane jerked to the side, a little less graceful than usual. He still flowed like silk in water, dodging the rapid strikes and batting away Garrus's powerful talons.
"Stand down!" Shepard snarled, stalking forward.
Thane hissed as one of Garrus's strikes connected. He staggered back, and raised a hand, throwing the turian into the bulkhead with a powerful biotic wave.
A loud crack drowned out Shepard's order as Garrus hit the counter. To his credit, Garrus, steadied himself immediately and lurched forward, knocking aside chairs in his urgency to get to Thane.
This was unacceptable. This was her goddamned ship, Cerberus or not, and these…these…little boys knew better. Instinct kicked in and Shepard berated herself for letting her feelings get the best of her for so long. Friend or not, this kind of behavior would not be tolerated on her ship. Tali was right: she was the goddamned captain. It was time she acted like one. Even Grunt knew better than this and he was a teenage krogan. Thane vaulted across the table, intent on meeting Garrus halfway.
Shepard was faster. She charged into the midst of the fray, facing down Garrus.
"Enough!" she roared as both men hurtled toward her. Teeth clenched, she braced herself for impact.
Thane veered to the left, turning his charge into a roll and working off the excess momentum. Garrus clipped her side, skidding to halt by the med bay doors. His armor made a loud thunk as he slammed into the wall.
Still standing, albeit with aching ribs, Shepard glowered at them both.
"What the hell is going on here?"
Thane stood off the side, hands clasped behind his back, head bowed solemnly. From Garrus's corner there was only heavy breathing as he faced the wall.
"Gardner, give me a sitrep. Now," she said, her voice eerily calm.
The cook stood shakily, glancing at the broken furniture and chipped counter. Chairs were overturned, broken plates and spilled food littered the floor.
"…I...The turian – "
"Officer Vakarian," Shepard corrected, not taking her eyes off the turian in question.
"Officer Vakarian…" Gardner said with a rough gulp. "He bumped into Mr. Krios… they started arguing – I didn't hear about what, and…I think Officer Vakarian took the first swing."
"You think?" Shepard asked through gritted teeth. Her heart was still pounding. Getting between a turian and an assassin while not wearing any armor had not been the smartest idea. She'd be favoring her right side for awhile.
"I…I did indeed take the first swing, Commander." Garrus's voice was strained. He still hadn't turned away from the wall.
"Are there any pressing injuries?" Shepard asked. "Thane? Garrus?"
"No, siha. I…I'm sorry I…"
"No, Commander," Garrus said stiffly.
"Thane, I'll speak with you later. Go see, Dr. Chakwas. She'll patch you up. Officer Vakarian…" There was a tautness in her jaw that Shepard couldn't quite relax. She took a deep breath. "Come with me."
Shepard turned to the cringing Gardner. Something on her face must have frightened him, because he immediately bent over to pick up an overturned pot.
"Leave it. The crew is dismissed for twenty four hours of shore leave. Effective immediately. Mr. Krios and Officer Vakarian will remain behind. EDI, make sure everyone is updated." Shepared ignored the gaping audience in the med bay.
Jaw clenched, Shepard silently made her way to the elevator, stepping over debris and spilled food. She could feel him on her six. He entered the elevator, keeping off to the side. She pushed the button for the lower decks and stared straight ahead, not trusting herself to look at him. Even from here, she could feel the rigidity of his posture. Tension filled the space between them, a smothering the otherwise roomy elevator. .
"Not now, Garrus." It came out harsher than she intended, but Shepard was in no mood to apologize to anyone.
He fell silent and she led the way down to the cargo hold. Silently, she left him standing by a stack of crates. Down here, the crew had stashed some basic gym equipment. There was only one thing down here that really interested her. She unfolded several thick red mats in the makeshift exercise area. Kicking them across the floor, she lined them up and gazed expectantly at Garrus.
"How far can you throw me?"
"Excuse me?" He stared with those cat-like eyes, like he didn't understand the question.
"I said how far can you throw me? Think you can keep it on the mats?"
"I…" Garrus stared at her.
"You want to fight, Garrus? Let's go," she snapped. "You and me. Old school. No biotics. No tech. You can leave on the fancy armor if you're worried about getting hurt."
Garrus bristled, narrowing his eyes. "I don't think this is a good idea, Commander." He spat her title.
"Worried I'm going to kick your ass?" Shepard said coolly. She kicked off her shoes and pulled her shirt off, exposing unnaturally creamy skin and a black sports bra.
There was a sharp intake of breath. "Are you sure you want to do this?" Garrus's tone wavered.
Shepard stretched, ignoring him. She rolled her shoulders, trying to loosen the tension. Without looking at him, she continued to warm up. She was halfway done when she heard his heavy armor crash onto the floor. Legs spread in the splits, Shepard glanced up nonchalantly as Garrus stared down at her, shock written across his face.
Oh yes, turians didn't bend that way.
"Something wrong, soldier?" she scowled.
"I…I'll leave my gloves on," he said warily.
"Fair enough." Shepard pulled herself to her feet. "You need to limber up?"
Shepard dropped into a defensive stance, hands up around her face. She'd done a bit of training on how to take down turians. An Alliance favorite really, right after batarians.
Underneath the armor, Garrus wore a tight black bodysuit – more insulation than anything else. He left his boots on. With the exception of the collar, turians were all razored angles and sleek sharp edges. Living weapons. An unpleasant smile crossed her face. This was going to hurt.
He was wearing his eyepiece, studying her with a look she didn't recognize.
Outside the armor, Garrus moved fast. He lunged forward and she danced backward, staying just out of range. Turians had long reach and sharp talons, though he'd said he wasn't going to use those.
He made a half-hearted punch and she easily deflected it.
"Come on, I've had nastier fights with Joker," she taunted.
Garrus snorted, not voicing whatever snappy comeback he might have had. Maybe he didn't have any. There was a predatory glint in his eyes now. He looked hungry, and Shepard wondered if they ate soft squishy primates on Palaven. He struck again and her head snapped back. White light burst behind her eyelids and she retreated further, her head ringing. She shook it off, focusing on the grim figure in front of her, smiling a bloody terrible smile.
"Is that all you got?"
This is shaping up to be three parts. I'd like to write more action, but I just like floating around in people's heads and making snippy dialogue. I like reviews, but who doesn't?