A/N: Thank you for all the encouraging comments. I'm glad people are enjoying this. I would like to say that no one has actually said the things I posted in the last chapter, verbatim. The issues were brought up and I over exaggerated to be funny...but I might have failed. Everyone has been very polite and I was just kind of writing that for fun?

This chapter has...not child-friendly bits. Seriously.

The Bioware social network has the Garrus Love and Adoration Thread.

Masskink is on lj.

Disclaimer: Just playing in Bioware's sandbox.

Shepard wished she was certain that the "right" answer was the same as the honest one.

"What would you do if someone betrayed you?" The question echoed across time and Shepard remembered things Garrus wasn't privy to – the sour taste of treachery and her own bittersweet revenge. This was the question she had dreaded. It had taken a long time to weigh her answers beforehand, knowing it would come up. She took a deep breath.

"I don't know, but I wouldn't let it change me."

And she hoped that was the truth.

Subtle emotions were nearly impossible to read on Garrus's face, especially after the gunship incident. He crossed his arms, closing his eyes, and Shepard had not a clue what was going through his spiky head.

They stood there, the ghosts of Omega between them.

"You're tense." Shepard spoke first, slowly, reflecting on her recent reading. "Mordin says he hooked you up with medigel, and I'm patched up – good as new. Do you want spar?"

"And ruin all the hard work Mordin and Chakwas did?" Garrus asked dryly. He flexed his fingers, mandibles twitching "Why not?"

The armor came off again. She watched closely this time, noting the lines and planes of his body. He was sleek and deadly and oh so different than what she was used to. Her mind briefly wandered back to Mordin's extensive diagrams. She would do what she could to make him comfortable. Mordin's notes had been exceptionally enlightening, scarily so. While she believed him when he claimed salarians just didn't have sex drives, she did wonder just where he got all this detailed knowledge about the sexual behavior of other species.

Fornax, she decided, and promptly left it at that.

Garrus circled her warily, his gloves and boots staying on. There was something about the way he moved outside the armor – he was a natural predator, sleek and deadly. The aesthetics appealed to her and she moved with him now, counting on his natural impatience to impel him forward.

He didn't disappoint. He feinted a strike at her face, and when she shifted her weight to pull away, his leg shot out, catching her flat in the stomach. She staggered back, cursing softly because how could she forget just how long his reach was?

She hit him with a palm strike, glancing off his neck because she couldn't quite get in close enough to take him down. He seized her wrist, clutching it tightly in his three-fingered hand. Shepard tried to wrench away, work his joints against him, but he beat her to it, twisting her arm so that she flipped onto her back. She landed hard.

Her leg shot out and she kicked him, even as he brought the fight to the floor. Garrus ground his hips against her, using his body to hold her down. His skin was hot, and the plating around his limbs was hard, but from his waist to the inside of his thighs, there was more give.

Drawing her knees up, she pressed her feet flat against his chest and kicked. Turian balance wasn't quite like human balance – their legs bent to different angles and the armored collar made them just a little top-heavy. He was heavier than he looked and she grunted as she sent him careening backward. Staying on the ground was a surefire way to lose and she rolled backward on her shoulders, trying to keep a safe distance between them while she formulated another approach.

Though an intimate practice, Garrus was rapidly becoming accustomed to sparring with Shepard. Limited purely to hand-to-hand combat, it was unlikely she could win. But she struck hard and played for keeps. He might have been tired, but now it seemed like all her hits were directed at his soft underbelly. Where before she had hit almost haphazardly – his head, his chest, the rim of his collar, now she centered on the weaker points – the inside of his collar, the backs of his legs, and his pelvic region. Had she taken the time to research turian anatomy between bouts?

She tried to flank him, zigging and zagging while he lashed out in measured strokes.

"Come on Garrus," she grinned fiercely, flashing teeth. "Are we fighting or are we dancing?"

"That's what everyone asked the last time you were at Flux, Shepard. No one's toes were safe."

The taunt worked and she spun, almost like dancing, one leg high in the air. He caught her foot in his face and she laughed, loud and clear.

"That's big talk for a turian who spent the night huddled in the corner, terrified some big bad asari was going to ask him to dance." She dodged his counterattack and glided off to the side. Her banter was good-natured, lacking any poisonous edge, but Garrus suspected she'd called him down to spar for other reasons. Maybe she was still determined to beat answers out him, answers that he didn't have just yet. Sidonis's visage lingered in his mind and he lashed out, his strike glancing off Shepard's shoulder. She swore and jerked backward. Staring at him suspiciously, her face hardened and she bared her teeth at him.

The fire in her eyes, the way her lips curled in aggression, it made the softer parts of him hard. Turian love was a dangerous thing and he wondered if Shepard knew just how much she affected him.

Maybe she was secretly angry at him, for leaving her to do calibrations.

Calibrations. Smooth, Garrus. Real smooth.

"Come on, Archangel." Her hands dropped to her hips, brushing against her waist, lingering on the bare skin. His tongue felt thick in his mouth and he was sure she was baiting him now. Nerves frayed ragged, he tried not to react to her goading.

"Make me." There was steel in his sharp-toothed smile and he growled as she bounded forward. He didn't bother to brace himself, Shepard didn't weigh that much. She dropped into a crouch and while his mind tried to make sense of her actions she crashed into his legs. His knees buckled and he went down. Shepard was fast and before he had a chance to react, she'd flipped him onto his stomach.

One arm was pinned under him, and the other was behind his back. He grimaced as she straddled his lower back, pinning his arm under her warm smooth thighs. Her breath tickled the side of his face as she leaned over his shoulder, her breasts rubbing against his cowl.

"You turians aren't so tough," she murmured.

He squirmed, enjoying the feel of her soft body pressed so tightly against his back. The heat of skin contact was hard to resist, so he didn't fight her, not yet.

Something hard clamped against the back of his neck and he grunted in surprise. Pain, and something more electric shot through his system. Shepard's soft laughter drifted through the air. She'd bitten him, he realized, dazed. A rumble sounded under his collar, an involuntary reaction. He felt her lips brushing up and down his neck, alternately nipping and lapping at the more sensitive flesh.

He threw his head back, muscles tight as she toyed with him. One hand strayed to his fringe, and she ran her fingers up and down the spikes, making him groan.

"You're purring," she said, sounding pleased with herself.

"What do you think you're doing, Shepard?" he growled, his voice harsher than he meant for it sound.

"You're a smart boy, Garrus. You tell me." The wicked playfulness of her tone made him shudder. She ran her fingers along the hollow of his throat. He leaned back into her touch, trying to hold still, to let her explore slowly. And than she sank her teeth into the base of his neck much harder than before. Heat and desire shot straight down his spine. He roared, his voice hoarse with something other than pain. He jerked off the ground, lifting himself with one arm.

Shepard tumbled off his back landing on her own, and he now he was on top and she was trapped against the ground. His shaft twitched, having emerged from its protective plating. He pressed against her hips, her soft flesh molding against him.

She blinked, maybe a little stunned from the fall, and he pinned her wrists to the mat, holding her down with one hand. The other traced lightly against her soft exposed neck. She sighed, closing her eyes as he ran his gloved hand across her collarbones. They were so small, offering no protection to the expanse of her throat.

"You bit me, Shepard," he growled. "Now what am I going to do with you?"

"You should be grateful that I don't have big pointy turian teeth." She licked her lips, smiling up at him, purposefully displaying her lack thereof. His countenance was severe, that of harsh concentration, and the knowledge that it was reserved solely for her made her shiver.

"You should be grateful that I have excellent control," he countered, his voice dropping an octave. He leaned in, her breath hitching as he flicked his tongue along the side of her neck. The muscle was gray and cylindrical, rather than pink and flat and she whined softly as he licked the contour of her ear.

"Do you?" And she squirmed, unable to resist wondering just what would happen if he lost said control.

"Why don't you find out?"

He slipped his coarser tongue into her mouth, letting her suck on the tip. He tasted like vaguely like metal and spice and she moaned as his free hand ran across the fabric of her bra. He tweaked it, causing her breasts to bounce and Shepard stifled a cry.

Even if he didn't have lips, she could see the satisfied smirk on Garrus's face as he pulled back. Her nipples poked through the fabric of her sports bra and he rubbed each sensitive tip with those strong fingers, pinching and pulling lightly. His hooded gaze stayed on her face. She strained against his grip, but all she succeeded in doing was wriggling against his hips. Something hard and hot rubbed against the inside of her thighs and she bit her lip, the slew of sensations threatening to overwhelm her.

"You like this?" he asked, his tone too rough to be teasing.

She nodded, her breath coming in shuddering gasps.

"Say it, Shepard," he ordered.

"Make me." Her lips drew back in a snarl that could have been a smile. She arched her back, wrapping her legs around his waist, her thighs resting in the bony crook of his hips. He was hard all over, and she dug her heels into his flank, pulling him to her.

Turian mating was innately rough, though according to Mordin's notes their tastes had expanded since encountering the asari. Judging by his careful kisses, Garrus had some idea of how to treat a non-turian.

The hand not holding her wrists went to his mouth. He delicately took the glove between his sharp teeth and pulled it off. He spat the reinforced fabric off the side, baring his sharp taloned fingers.

Shepard swallowed slowly, staring at his dull gray claws. There was something very primal about being under him with his dangerous body. Casually, he reached under her bra, one finger hooking the elastic, and tore it straight down the middle. Her pert breasts jiggled slightly and she tried to hold still as he cut the rest of the fabric off.

Wordlessly, he leaned in, flicking his hot wet tongue against the sensitive flesh. Shepard closed her eyes, trembling as he rolled his hips. Panting, she bit back a moan as he alternated between pinching and tonguing her nipples. She was wet now, the insides of her thighs sticky and hot. His breathing was harder now, and she relished the feel of his weight on her.

And then he stopped. She bucked her hips, trying to bring him closer, but he stayed firm. Aching, Shepard threw her shoulders back, trying to encourage him to keep going.

"What's wrong, Shepard?" He sounded smug as he leaned in, very carefully nipping her shoulder.

"You stopped, you bastard," she growled. The bite stung, but then he started laving at the mark with his tongue and she sighed.

"Oh? Were you enjoying it?" He laughed, low and rough. "I didn't know. Why didn't you say something?"

"I was really enjoying it, you tease," she barked, propping herself up on her elbows.

"Tease? I'm not the one who lures impressionable young C-Sec officers onto her ship and wrestles with them in her underwear."

Shepard snorted, glaring up at him. He looked entirely too satisfied with himself and she moistened her lips.

"You make such cute little noises when I touch you," he grinned, radiating masculine pride. He brushed his forehead against hers. "I wonder what kind of noises you'll make when I fuck you."

Shepard shivered, running her hands up the bony ridges of his chest. After his earlier shyness, hearing such dirty talk came as a shock - not that she was complaining. It stirred something inside her and she wasn't going deny just how hot it was.

"Why don't you find out?" She stared up at him, hoping he'd rise to her challenge.

He was deceiving himself. When Shepard had started making those high-pitched noises in the back of her throat, his control had begun to slip and now it was going rapidly, spiraling away in a torrent of nerves and skin. He wanted to be careful this time – he worried about hurting her. He wanted to take it easy on her, even if she was the great and glorious Commander Shepard.

But she kept pushing, goading him, and after months of pent of frustration – combat only took the edge off – he needed more than a sweet gentle tumble.

She smelled fresh and clean – her skin tinged with a pleasant scent that he couldn't identify. And she tasted different, saltier than an asari and indescribably alien. It wasn't unpleasant.

"Off –" she said eloquently, tugging at the form-fitting bodysuit he wore. When he didn't strip immediately, she began trying to tear at it, her soft blunt fingers pressing into his carapace.

He pried her fingers off, and broke her leg lock, still settled in front of her. She sat there, legs spread invitingly, resting her elbows on her knees. Smirking, he pushed her gently and she fell back, a little surprised. He yanked at the waistband of her shorts and she grumbled, but obligingly raised her hips. He tossed the flimsy fabric off to the side and frowned as Shepard drew her knees up to her chest and grinned at him cheekily.

"If you show me yours, I'll show you mine," she said, giving him a pointed look.

Garrus regarded her silently. If he stripped now, he was going to throw her down and take her right then. He ached to bury himself inside her, but he wasn't sure if she was ready to for that yet. The vids had been very specific about humans needing more foreplay.

He grasped her ankles and pulled up. She rewarded him with an outraged squeal as he brought her to him. He squeezed her butt, resting her knees over his elbows. She was left balancing on her shoulders, arms propped back for support.

Shepard's lightly muscled torso appealed to him. Her waist wasn't quite as slim as a turian female's, but she was soft and pliable all over and when he licked the dimple on her stomach – a navel it was called – she gave a cry of frustration.

His tongue lapped a path down. She had a small patch of hair down there – it was a curious thing, something the asari didn't have.

"Garrus," she moaned, through gritted teeth.

He liked the way she said his name. He intended to drag it from her lips again. Her thighs were wet and he carefully licked them, blowing lightly on her sex.

"Damnit!" she swore some more. "Please don't tease me!" Her begging brought a rumble from his chest and he grinned as she twitched. His tongue glided over the puffy lips and the little nub human women seemed to make such a big fuss over. The vids and instructional materials had been most detailed about what to do here.

Shepard arched, a wail emanating from her throat.

He loved how sensitive she was. She tasted oddly sweet and musky. She tried to push against him, but he didn't loosen his grip on her hips. Inside she was very hot and very wet and he pushed his tongue, feeling her constrict around him. He found the spot inside her and she struggled harder, making those delicious keening sounds.

"Nyah…" Nonsense poured from Shepard's lips as he savored her pleas and arousal.

Where did he learn to-? Shepard whipped her head back, fingers digging into the mats. She couldn't get any leverage as he knelt in front of her steadily licking her. His tongue was thick inside her, stroking her g-spot with enthusiasm and frequently bumped against her clit, sending rough shockwaves through her core.

She cursed and cajoled, the tension between her thighs coiling tighter and tighter. She didn't have any control over his rhythm and the helplessness turned her on more. Her cries muffled wet sound of his flesh against hers. It occurred to her that they were doing this in the cargo bay where anyone could walk in and suddenly his tongue was no longer inside her and he was laving at her clit, and damnit she couldn't focus any more, the sensation was too intense and it was all too much and –

White light exploded behind her lids and she spasmed, shaking in his arms.

Her breathing came ragged and harsh, and she barely registered it as he gently set her down. When he kissed her – tongue invading her mouth – she tasted herself on him and she groaned, nipping at his mandibles.

"How was that?" he asked, preening.

"Like you don't already know the answer," she murmured weakly and he laughed. When she could form a coherent thought, she had to ask. "Have you done that before?"

Garrus shrugged. "Not on a human." He regarded her carefully. "Is that a problem?"

"Nope. No complaints here. Just…wow." A silly grin crossed her face. "But you're still wearing too much."

Garrus chuckled. "Such a taskmaster-"

She sat up, her legs were jelly, but he was close enough that she could find the fastenings. She fumbled a few times and he helped her peel the suit off.

Shepard had seen a several clinical pictures of naked turians. Mordin's diagrams had been very detailed. His entire body was covered with hard plates, but he wasn't stone-hard all over. His skin burned fever-hot under fingers, and he was suddenly held very still as she hovered over his erection.

Size-wise it was comparable to a human's – bigger than most but nothing that looked impossible. It was curved slightly, and gray-blue, and covered in bumps and ridges. Shepard gulped, imagining just how good they would feel inside her.

"Is there something wrong?" he asked, sounding self-conscious.

She smirked and lowered her head, flicking her tongue across the tip. She was rewarded with a strangled groan.

"Sh-Shepard…that might not be such a good idea…you might be allergic to dextro-"

"I'm not. But just in case there are epi-sticks by my clothes." She swirled her tongue around rounded head and he began to swear.

"Damnit, Shepard…"

He tasted less metallic here, muskier. Rocking back and forth on all fours, she took him into her throat and he hissed, his fingers tangling in her hair.

He'd had this done once before, and while pleasant, he'd never quite understood the fixation so many males (across many species) had with it. Until Shepard wrapped her pretty lips around him and sucked him into her throat, running her soft tongue along the shaft. The sight of her on her knees in front of him spurred something inside him and he groaned.

Her eyes were open, on his face, and he rocked back and forth, trying his damnedest to let her control the rhythm. The temptation was too much and he grabbed her hair, using it as a handhold.

She sputtered and then suddenly his hands were batted away and he was pushed onto his back. His member no longer enveloped by her mouth.

"Didn't I tell you I'd kick your ass if you pulled my hair?" Her voice sounded husky, and he purred at just how sexy Shepard was –even when she was threatening him, or maybe because of it.

"Mmm, I love it when you get all angry and dangerous," Garrus sat up.

She snorted and favored him with a wry grin. "You're about to see just how dangerous I can be."

She moved onto his lap, a look of determined concentration on her face. He sucked in a sharp breath as she lowered herself onto his achingly hard member. She winced and he balled his hands into fists, resisting the urge to drive into her with one hard stroke.

Inside she was so wet and soft. She gripped him tightly, and he never remembered anything feeling quite like this. Shepard was breathing hard, biting back little cries as she struggled to accommodate his girth.

"So…full," she whimpered, her eyes wide and her lips parted. "Garrus," she buried her face in his chest, clinging to him.

Having a woman on his lap like this was new, and being able to see every expression that crossed Shepard's face was incredibly arousing.

"Can I move?" he asked, nuzzling her hair.

"I…yes. Just…slowly. I need to…adjust."

Garrus pushed the rest of the way in, and she closed her eyes, slowly moving her hips with his.

"You're clenching around me," he purred. "Pulling me into you…" She was so inviting – her reactions sensual and fiery. With each inch, she tightened around him and he growled.

Slowly he began to pick up the pace. Shepard's breasts jiggled with every thrust and rolled her nipples between his fingers, pinching them with his knuckles.

"Faster," she breathed. He groaned. "Faster," she said again, louder.

He was delighted to comply.

He felt different inside her. The textured surface of his shaft rubbed against her insides, making her quiver and shake. He was thick and searing hot, and he stretched her inner walls, drawing involuntary moans from her throat. She bounced up and down on him, panting loudly as he began to speed up. She tried to rock her hips, but the sensations overwhelmed her and she gripped his shoulders, rubbing her cheek against his neck.

Suddenly she was on her back and he was over her, her legs again at the crook of his hips.

"You want it faster, Shepard?" Even if she hadn't been able to recognize the raw desire on his face, his voice gave him away.

"Yes," she hissed, trying to remember the last time she'd sounded so desperate.

"You want me to fuck you harder?" His manner of speech was sexy on its own, but the dirty words ratcheted up the effect.

"Yessss," she growled and Garrus slammed into her, rough and hard.

"Then I'll give it to you, and you won't be able to walk straight for week," he promised..

She clawed at his arms, his chest, whatever she could reach. Her blunt nails afforded her little grip and she shrieked as he filled her, deep strokes tearing through her. Her hips moved on their own. Pressure built in her core. Sweat dripped from her brow and Shepard keened as Garrus buried himself in her. She could see him going in to the hilt. The friction almost burned and the sensation of being stretched so full. He was so hot and thick inside her and she thrashed beneath him, the pressure climbing. Each thrust built it higher and wound her tighter…

His grunts were lower and his breathing harsher. The sound of flesh slapping against flesh echoed in the cargo hold. Garrus was growling, clutching her possessively as he rammed himself inside her. His hands dug into her hips and she squeezed her legs around his waist.

"So close," she whined, and his head jerked up. His mandibles splayed outward and he looked at her. "Going to-"

He growled and redoubled his efforts, pushing harder and she took it greedily, no longer caring about appearances. The crescendo built; tension winding tighter and tighter inside her till it burst – waves of white hot pleasure crashed down and she clutched Garrus's wrists. He tore his name from her lips and she shook underneath him, fists clenched, toes curling.

A throaty roar came from Garrus, incoherent in his own climax. Shepard trembled as liquid heat pooled inside and he pulled her into his arms, claws raking her sides. There was a sharp flash of pain as he buried his face in her hair. It was gone in seconds as he whispered her name hoarsely.

They both collapsed on the mats, boneless and spent.

Garrus tasted something foreign in his mouth. They'd been laying there for awhile now. He was still inside her and she wasn't complaining. She smelled human – like sweat, salt, and musk. He stroked her hair, now damp from exertion.

On the battered mats, entwined hopelessly in Shepard's limbs, he basked in a sense of contentment, satiation, and maybe peace. Shepard's breathing came slow and measured. Pressed up against him, she was soft and feminine. Her eyes were closed and she was smiling. The unguarded expression pleased him. He was Garrus. She was Shepard.

And then he saw the bloody bite mark on her shoulder.

"Shepard." He sat up quickly, trying to untangle himself. A flash of panic hit him. He shook her, not so gently, frantically looking for a packet of medigel.

"Muah?" Shepard groaned and sat up groggily. "What's your rush, you crazy turian? I was enjoying the afterglow."

"You're bleeding," he said in clipped tones, trying to beat down his panic. What if there was nerve damage? How did he manage to lose that much control? He knew better than to bite her. That was human blood in his mouth…

They both glanced down at her nude form. Her shoulder had taken the worst of it – skin punctured by sharp turian teeth. Angry red lines – claw marks- trailed up and down her sides.

"Feeling possessive, were we?" Shepard favored him with a lopsided grin and crawled over to her pile of clothes. He didn't have a human fetish, but there was definitely something compelling about the way her butt wiggled. She came back, medigel with medigel and handed it to him. "You can do the honors."


"That's an order, soldier," she smirked, sitting gingerly.

He carefully took the medigel from her hands and began applying it to her wounds.

"Seriously, isn't that normal with turians? That and beating the crap out of each other before sex?"

"You're not a turian," he said stiffly.

"Eh? I didn't even feel it when you-" she winced as he poked the ragged flesh. "OK, I feel it now, but don't you start beating yourself up over this. Next time…I'll just bite you harder."

His pulse quickened, both at the prospect of next time and the image it conjured.

"OK," he said, her charm and careless poise assuaging his guilt.

They made it back to her quarters without much trouble. The crew wasn't around to point out the fact that Commander's jacket was buttoned wrong and Garrus was missing a glove. Shepard dropped into her bed and he turned to leave.

"You can stay, you know?"

Garrus cocked his head to the side, knowing this was more than just sex, but not exactly how much more. "Are you sure? The crew will talk."

"Let them. They need to know exactly whom you belong to," she muttered, patting a space beside her. "Chambers can go find her own turian."

"Are you-?"

"Garrus, seriously. Quit being a little girl. We're beyond all the awkward small talk and I'm tired. Do not make me drag you back here, because I will not be happy," Shepard grumbled.

She was adorably grumpy when she was tired, Garrus decided as he climbed in bed next to her, trying not to catch his leg spikes on her sheets.

"So you want me to stay?" he asked teasingly.

"Only till 0400," she murmured, already drifting off.

"What happens at 0400?" Garrus asked. The warmth of her body against his was intoxicating and he liked how she fit against him.

"You get to go clean up the mess hall with Thane."


Everyone wanted something from Shepard. And what they wanted usually involved killing a whole lot of people who needed it. Fortunately, she was very good at that. Garrus listened, not unaffected as Zaeed explained his business on Zorya. Zorya was an OK place, if you ignored the mercs, the slavery, and the irritating pollen. The knowledge that Zaeed cofounded the Blue Suns didn't surprise Garrus as much as it should. Zaeed never struck him as any kind of saint. Maybe in another life, he might have drawn on the merc – Omega's Archangel would have - but there were greater things at stake.

He'd been aiming taking out snipers, hoping to avoid the pipelines, when Zaeed attacked. Shepard took cover and he followed close behind as Zaeed fired into the network of gas lines setting off a chain of explosions. He was still recovering his equilibrium when Shepard stalked out to shout down the merc.

"We're here to free these people. Why the hell would you blow up the refinery?"

And so Zaeed told her. Twenty years. Betrayal. Dead friends, Half his face blown to hell. When he spoke of revenge, Garrus intimately knew the light in his eyes and hunger in his voice. Despite the heat and flames, it made cold chills run down his spine. He didn't listen to Shepard's response. He already knew she wouldn't accept Zaeed's methods.

"I don't care what else happens," Zaeed argued and Garrus closed his eyes. "As long as Vido swallows a bullet." And that was honest truth

He followed, trying to keep the pace, his head spinning from déjà vu.

Shepard's face was concealed behind her helmet, but he knew her expression wasn't a happy one. They went in for the workers, of course, despite their companion's protests. When Vido managed to escape, as Zaeed had predicted, Garrus had his rifle out, trained on their own merc. But fireworks and Zaeed went together and after another explosion he lay pinned under the rubble, and Shepard stood over him, her gun pressed against his forehead.

Garrus stood down. This was Shepard's call and he followed her lead. He didn't know who would hate him more if he took a shot – Shepard or himself?

They talked. Shepard could talk the clouds from the sky. And unsurprisingly Zaeed accepted her hard bargain and respected her for it. There would be time for revenge later.

The shuttle ride back to the Normandy was painfully quiet. Zaeed sat in one corner, Shepard in the other. He stared at the merc, unable to look away. He had been here before, with a different perspective.

Garrus found her in her room, staring at pile of data pads. She smiled at him, and put the work aside. He sat down across from her.

"Twenty years is a long time." It wasn't a good opening salvo, but he had long given up trying to be eloquent around Shepard.

"Yes." Her expression was guarded, like she wasn't sure what to expect. "For humans and turians anyway."

"Even longer for salarians," Garrus agreed, trying to get the gall up to address the issue. Even if they had been…together… Sidonis was one topic he and Shepard had skirted around.

Shepard raised those eyebrows at him. He really wondered what evolutionary purpose they served. Did they keep her eyes warm?

"I'd like to think it wouldn't take me twenty years to hunt someone down."

She snorted and leaned over the low coffee table, her hands on his knees. "I was expecting you sooner." She'd been worried, he realized belatedly. She slipped onto the couch beside him, one hand resting on his plated cheek.

"I uh, I needed to think. About Sidonis," he cleared his throat. Her proximity affected him, especially since he knew, right on her shoulder, she wore his mark.

"I heard he's in C-Sec custody now. Shouldn't be too hard to reach him if you need to," Shepard said a little too casually.

They sat there in silence. It was a testament of her feelings for him if she was willing to let him kill a repentant man.

"I…about what happened on Zorya. That- that…"

That could have been me.

"I know." And she did, of course. She'd known all along.

"I think…I want to let this go, I do. But I let my men down, and I don't want to leave them unavenged." He hung his head. "But yeah, I see it now. I see what you meant. After twenty years I might have left those people to die too."

He recalled the sight of her in his scope.

"It might not have even taken that long."

She sat there, quiet in contemplation. "Hindsight is twenty-twenty. We both needed a change of perspective, Garrus. I…I try to do the right thing, but sometimes it's just lip service. In your case, I just wanted to make sure you weren't doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, or vice-versa."

"I don't know either… but I probably was."

"But that doesn't mean he deserves to live either." Shepard sighed, tapping his arm lightly.

"So what are you saying? Do you even know how obsessed I was? How easily I could have turned on you?" The questions came out, and he recalled the cold fury on Zaeed's face – even with the scars he was so expressive and his eyes…

"I could feel the bead of your sniper rifle on the back of my head, Garrus. It occurred to me that you might shoot me to get to him. It would have been nonlethal, of course. If you weren't too angry, you would have remembered to use concussive rounds." Shepard shrugged. "But I trust you. You're not Zaeed. You have my back."

"I was very angry," he said, guilt weighing on him.

"You didn't pull a gun on me."

"The gun was already out, Shepard."

"You're not Zaeed," she said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "And you still have time to make a decision."

"I can't promise I won't kill Sidonis if I see him again. But…I can let this go. I think I need to."

"All right," she said softly, stroking his mandibles.

"Besides," he leaned in, nuzzling her cheek. "I've found something else to obsess on." Her hands slid down his chest and around his waist.

"I know," Shepard said with a smirk.

"Do you?" Garrus murmured.

"Yup." She kissed his neck and leaned, her breathing shallow and just a little ragged.

"What would that be?" he murmured, stiffening under her touch.


He was never going to live that one down.


This monstrosity is done. Finished. Finito.

I'm not sure how I feel about the epilogue. I figured it was too short to warrant it's own chapter. Maybe I shouldn't have glossed over things so quickly, but repeating the entire Zorya mission seemed overkill. I've spent a couple days writing/rewriting/editing this chapter and am sick of looking at it.

Issue: I don't like Shepard sorta losing to Garrus/ being slightly sub in bed.

I think I mentioned in the last chapter that Shepard didn't know any nonlethal techniques to take down a turian barehanded. Not canon or anything, I just made that up. I was looking over turian pictures from the art book trying to figure one out, but couldn't really. Alas, the perils of writing someone smarter than yourself.

Seriously though, taking down people and not leaving permanent damage is harder.

Smexing-wise…I wrote it how I wrote it. If you want a character defense, I think male!turian might be more dominant the first time around and Paragon!Shep is confident/understanding enough to let him.

I don't know what I'll work on next. I sorta want to do short crack pairings. I have an Illusive Man/Renegade!Shepard respect/hate fic in the works, but I think I should finish a renegade playthrough first. Maybe. Still have that Garrus/Thane/Shep one too. Don't know if I'll ever write the Saren/Shep/Nihlus hate!sex AU. That would be very NC17, disturbing, and violation of 's TOS. I'm in the mood for dark!fic.

I make no promises on how long it would take to write any of these. This one magically wrote itself in less than a week and I'm still in shock that I churned out over 20k and it isn't total fail. Or maybe it is. I don't know right now. But do let me know what interests you and/or crack pairings, and if I get sufficient inspiration, I might be able to write more.