Warning: Squickiness. Chapter is recommended for mature reading. (NC-17/R18) Just cause I don't want to get into trouble.

Chapter Ten

My Future is in Your Arms


The Normandy drifted through space with a sort of eerie listlessness. After months with the knowledge of almost certain death hanging over them, the crew didn't seem to know what to do with their extended life spans, which was likely compounded by the fact that those who had prepared themselves for that absoluteness of their fate had discovered at twelfth hour that they, in fact, wanted to live.

Elrika was right. You always had regrets, even if your only regret was dying.

"Vak… Garrus."

The turian pulled his gaze away from the humans picking at their food in the mess to see Miranda approaching him. Slowly he turned to face her, aware of the bone-deep ache in his body, but considering the extensive treatment he had just received, he knew he was feeling much better than Miranda had to be. The Cerberus Operative's left cheekbone was covered in gauze, her arm was in a sling and Garrus was well aware that she was heavily medicated from her migraine due to over-using her biotics.

She was one of the luckier members of the crew.

"Good to see you're alright." The statement was awkward and stiff, and it had Garrus cocking his head. Seeing this, Miranda scowled a little and dropped her eyes.

"I am glad you're alright as well, Miranda."

She lifted her head and smiled a little. "Commander Shepard is in her room if you're looking for her." Miranda offered him a data pad with her free hand. "Can you give this to her? It's a summary of the team's physical status." She turned away. "You should look at it, too. As her second in command."

Garrus, who had not even bothered looking at the slate, just blinked. Miranda was sashaying away as she grinned over her shoulder. "After all, this isn't a Cerberus vessel anymore, and Elrika can put anyone she wants as her second in command."

Garrus raised an eyebrow ridge. "And how does the Illusive Man feel about that?"

"I don't know." Miranda shrugged and keyed the panel for her room. "I resigned."

Looking away from her door as it hissed closed behind her, felt a strange sense of release in his chest as he examined the ship anew. Though nothing would really change, the idea of the Normandy being Shepard's ship again felt… right, whether or not he was her second in command.

Shaking his head, he looked down at the data slate. Among the surviving members of the team there were two cracked skulls, one stressed chassis, twenty seven broken bones, fifty-five fractured ones, two cases of extreme exhaustion, three cases of severe blood loss, one mild case of shock, over one hundred and eight superficial wounds, two system faults, over forty cases of deep-tissue damage, four dislocated joints, a chipped tooth and four headaches ranging from mild to severe enough to require immediate medication, including Miranda's, and apparently Legion's equivalent as his – its – higher processing functions warred over a particular strategy.


Closing the screen, Garrus strode for the elevators, the listlessness of the rest of the ship not reflected in its turian renegade. He had done his drifting, done years of it, and he finally found a place and purpose. Like hell he was going to be away from her now.

Just as he was reaching for the elevator call panel, the doors opened and Garrus reared back when he saw Kelly's exhausted face. She smiled, but her smile was less bright, less wide. Garrus knew that something joyous inside Kelly had died there on the Collector Base, but he couldn't mourn it. They were in a war, and fighting beside Elrika showed that the universe was a darker place than one might like to acknowledge, and not only was there nothing that could be done about it, there was nothing that should be done about it.

It was just the way things were. No one had the right to save the galaxy. They could just live in it and hope for the best.

"Is Chakwas in the medical bay?"

"Yes." He stepped into the elevator as Kelly stepped out.

"Garrus." She looked over her shoulder. "Be happy…"

Garrus stared in silence as Kelly walked away and the elevator door closed. Swiping one hand over the good side of his head and along his crest, Garrus tried to imagine how Elrika felt seeing all of faces of the crew that were just like Kelly's, shaken, tired. The damage done to her team. The empty spaces where Jacob and Samara had been. Jacob who had volunteered for his death which was, in some convoluted way, similar to Kaiden's death on Virmire. Samara who had been slain by mere chance when watching Elrika's back, just as she feared someone would be. It was no wonder she had run to her room to hide, but Garrus was determined not to let her do it alone.

Garrus stepped out of the elevator at the Loft, swiping his claw through the holographic panel. When the door hissed open, he was immediately greeted by an empty room and the sound of Elrika's shower running. Swearing, Garrus opened the bathroom door, preparing to drag Elrika back out from under yet another cold shower. He immediately knew his mistake when a gust of steam hit him in the face, obscuring his sight for a moment. He reared back, shaking his head and swiping his claws through the air in an attempt to clear it. When it finally did, he opened one eye and froze. Elrika was standing by her towel rack, one of the towels on the floor, and the barrel of a pistol pointed directly at him. When she saw who it was, Elrika expelled a sharp breath and lowered her arm.

"Jesus, Garrus." She compacted the gun and put it away, not caring a whit that she was dripping wet and naked before him. "I'm glad you're alright, but don't do that again." She smiled, and her smile stole his breath. "I thought you were a POed Cerberus lackey come to do me in for backstabbing their boss."

"I…" Sweet Spirits, she was naked. Garrus couldn't help his eyes travelling down her body. She didn't try and hide herself, letting him look to his hearts content, and look he did. He felt his mouth go dry as he watched the water trickle down her fine, soft skin, following the corded lines of muscle and catching in the echoes of battle that yet remained. Her right shoulder was a mass of yellowed, fading bruises even though they had been inflicted less than five hours earlier, the cut in her jaw was nothing more than a pinkened line and only ghosts of her wounds remained. She might have been scarred once, but no more and never again. A part of him wondered what scars her clothes had concealed all those years ago.

A part of him was saddened that he would never find out.


His eyes jumped to hers, seeing a leonine look of predatory delight in her eyes.


Commander Shepard.


His brain finally realised what exactly he was seeing.

And then the mortification kicked in.

"I am so sorry." He exploded backwards, barely managing to hit the door close icon as he propelled himself into her desk. Logic would have had him fleeing for the door, but logic was somewhere in his crotch, only deepening his mortification, and he stumbled into Elrika's room. Only when he was confronted with her bed did he realise where he had gone. As he choked on his own panic, Garrus spun back to his escape route only to find Elrika standing there, dripping wet and wrapped in a towel. Barely wrapped in a towel. Held together by one fist, with a split that crawled up her thigh and almost expo-

Garrus' head snapped back on his neck so hard he gave himself whiplash.



"Look at me."

"You can see the stars through your roof." It was true. They drifted lazily toward the aft of the Normandy and provided a pleasant-

Elrika's towel smacked him in the face. "Garrus."

Garrus stood for the longest time, completely and utterly stupefied by the fact that he had Elrika's towel on his face, which meant she was standing in front of him completely naked, and that meant she was standing between him and his exit, whilst completely naked, and wet from a shower, which meant she was wet and naked, and since he had her towel on his face she was naked and without a towel which meant if he took the towel off-

"Hey, Garrus. Inhale, bring oxygen to your brain, focus on me."

He didn't think he had any blood left in the top half of his body to carry the oxygen to his brain, even if he could manage to inhale. Because if he inhaled, he would be breathing in the scent of Elrika on the towel, a towel that had been covering her nakedness, and now that it was on his face, she was naked in-

"Garrus. Stop it."

The towel slithered off his head. Instantly he covered his eyes with one hand and backed away. "I didn't mean to walk in on you in the shower, Elrika." Was that strained, choked sound really his voice?

"Garrus, you're standing, conscious, and most importantly, not dead from anaphylactic shock. I'm glad that you can walk in on me in the shower. Actually… it was quite thrilling." Did she sound closer? She definitely sounded closer. He dropped his hand, but now his eyes were closed. He could not look at her. He could not see her naked. She was naked. He couldn't look.

"So let's go back to that, shall we, and stop whatever it is that's going on in your head. Now that you're fine, I can think of something else I'd much rather be doing than worrying. Or talking."

Soft. Husky. So close. Something soft and pliable impacted on his chest and he felt his insides shrivel as he realised that she was pressing herself against him. Oh yeah, she was definitely closer. Hands touched either side of his face, bringing his head down, and he felt her breath on his face as she brushed her lips along his lipless mouth. Then the hand on the unscarred side of his face slithered down his arm and grasped his wrist, placing his hand on the back of her…


Garrus felt his entire body seize as the breath rushed out of his body, his eyes opening as Elrika shoved him backwards. The back of his calves hit her bed and he fell backwards as she crawled atop him, her naked, naked, NAKED form straddling his waist. Garrus felt every part of his body go numb, except for one very particular part which was very, very active when he saw the long line of his body pressed so intimately against his, even if he had armour in the way. Armour that her fingers were skittering over, trying to find the clasps.

"How do you get this off?"

Breathless, his head roaring, Garrus barely managed to understand what she was saying.


Yes? He thought the word, but could only manage to look at her. At the muscles visible under her skin. At the way they played and shifted. The perfect slope of her shoulders. The arch of her collarbones. The roundness of her breasts that lead him to the flat expanse of her stomach, that divot called a 'belly button' and to the-

Garrus slammed his eyes closed and leant back, his skin feeling prickly and hot, like he was too big for his armour plates let alone his combat gear. She was a human, and though her waist was slender, it was nowhere near what was aesthetically pleasing on a turian female. Her hair was short for a human, and the comparison on a turian would have been ugly. And human ears were hideous. There was nothing about her that should have aroused him, and yet here he was, ripping into her sheets to keep from throwing her under him, spreading her legs and-

He felt her shift and his eyes slowly opened, instantly giving him a mouth-watering view of her breasts. He let out a long, quiet croon as his neck craned, his fangs parting unconsciously. He was not ignorant of the pleasure centres of a human – so similar to an asari, and a few turians at C-Sec had been less than abashed in relating their escapades. He wanted to know…

Elrika's spine arched and a guttural sound escaped her as his tongue traced over her nipple, and his fangs delicately closed around it, tasting her. Her hips moved against his armour and her fingers raked along the surface hard enough to draw his attention, finally, from the lust-filled haze that clouded his mind.

"Garrus. Your armour. Off. Now."

Garrus dropped back, breathless, and stared up at her. "Elrika. I…"

"Put… your mouth…" Elrika slammed her fist into his chest plate hard enough that he felt it through the thick, ablative coating. "Stop talking, Vakarian. Stop thinking. Stop doing everything we've been doing until this point, damn it! We are no longer in imminent danger of death. This isn't a 'final chance fuck'. The Collectors are dead, Harbinger's slinking home with his tail between his tentacle-arms. Now, I love you -"

"You-" Garrus almost choked on his tongue as she grabbed his face in both hands, pulled him up and pressed her nose against his.

"I love you," she bit out. "I love you, Garrus. I love you and I want you and I crave you and the last six months of I-can't-touch-have-lick-suck-fuck him has been hell. Now it's all over, all excuses are dead, and I want to have mind-blowing, inter-species awkwardness sex with you. Now get. Your. Armour. Off."

Garrus stared up at Elrika. Not at her body, not at her hair, not at her scars or bruises or muscles. He looked up into her eyes, into the red glow sitting in the centre of her pupils. At the unnaturally bright green that encircled it.

At the eyes of the woman he had spent the last three years craving, wanting, desiring, admiring, worshipping, missing, mourning.


His mandibles flared and he bared his fangs in a savage turian smile that had the green of her eyes darkening and her breath quickening.

"Yes, ma'am."

Garrus rose, his hands touching the clasps on his chest that had the seals popping open. Just before his mouth met Elrika's she ripped the front from his body and sent it flying off to one side. When she wrapped her arms around his head, her breasts crushed against his hard chest, contained still within his body suit.

It had to go.


He wrapped his arms around her waist and rolled her over, sending his back piece bouncing off her armoury. When the two of them finally managed to fight his arm guards and gauntlets off of his body, she dropped her hands to find the clasps of his codpiece. Garrus gave a long, low growl as he rested his forehead against hers, rubbing gently in a turian kiss. He felt her hot breath on his face, and he looked down to see her hands flattening on the blue of his armour. It couldn't come off until his thigh guards and boots were gone, and his claws raked at her sheets, desperate to feel her soft palms against him. He bumped her head up and she clasped his unscarred jaw in one hand, scraping her teeth over one of his mandibles, and then kissed him.

He rolled her back over, settling her atop him as he reached around her for the clasps of his thigh guards. Elrika didn't help by pushing his chin up, exposing the vulnerable length of his throat, which she then proceeded to lave with her tongue. That was manageable, and he managed to toe one boot off. Then she bit down on his skin and Garrus felt all sense escape his mind. He collapsed back against the bed, his arms folding around her, twisting and writhing under her as she played him with her teeth. She found out what made him moan, what made him arch, and what made him sink his claws into her back. When she let up, Garrus slid his hands over her spine, feeling the perfect curvature of her backside fall into his palms. He pulled her up, forcing her mouth away from his neck, but bringing her breasts into his view.

Unable to resist, Garrus parted his fangs and let his tongue trace a line over her left nipple. Elrika let out a cry and wrapped both arms around his head, arching against him. The scent of her was all around him as he reached down blindly and managed to unclasp his other thigh guard and kick it and his boot off. He then lifted her easily with both hands and she reached down and pulled away his codpiece. Then he lowered Elrika's naked body to rest against his, separated only by the thin layer of his body suit. Chills swept his body as he sat still for a time, Elrika cupping the back of his head with one hand, the other clawing at his back, unsealing his body suit.

Elrika rose up onto her knees over Garrus, pulling the body suit down his chest. She only got that far, however, before she became entranced with his chest. Her fingers slid along the armoured carapace at his neck, finding the sensitive skin at his clavicle. Garrus rumbled deep in his chest as he pushed his body suit off the rest of the way, tossing it aside carelessly. Rather than leap on him as she had before, though, Elrika settled herself over his legs and slid forward until he was resting against her stomach. That was enough to make him groan, but when she slowly slid her palm from his stomach, to circle around his hard length, and squeeze gently, Garrus' head snapped back, his chest arching, and he let out a turian cry of pleasure.

With a mind of their own, one hand came up to slide behind Elrika's back. He dragged her up his body, hissing in her ear at the feel of her against him, naked form to naked form. His other hand pulled her hand from him, holding it out and to the side.


Elrika's green eyes met his blue ones, their foreheads and their noses touching. Then she leant forward, her lips brushing his. His name slipped out on her next breath and he closed the distance, catching it with his mouth.

Millions of years of evolution on Palaven had ensured that turians could exist in the scorching radiation, but in the temperature controlled environment of Shepard's room, in the cool sheets of her bed, her skin against his made him burn like a newborn star. Her body was hard beneath her skin, but that skin was so unimaginably soft, so unlike Elrika.

Their mouths did not part as he rolled them over, settling her breath him. Every one of her exhalations slipped down his throat and into his lungs, letting him breathe in her life. He knew that he was leaving lines with his claws, blunted though they were, but her body responded regardless, encouraging him in perfect harmony with the sounds that were escaping her throat. Their bodies moved without conscious direction, falling into place like they had been sculpted that way, though evolution had no hand in it.

Garrus arched over her and Elrika wrapped her legs around his, dragging him closer. His eyes asked permission.

Hers told him to stop fucking worrying.

Garrus laughed against her throat, but that laugh turned into a strangled moan as his hips slid forward, causing her to cry out with him. For a time they held still, immortalising that first, perfect moment in both of their memories. His head slowly lifted and he braced himself on his arms over her, his eyes opening so his vivid blue gaze could hold her green one, and there were no more words between them. No more words were needed. They spoke in ways that no ear could possibly hear.

Garrus lowered himself to her, closing the distance between them, unable to bear it. His heart spoke to hers through their chests as their eyes held one another's. Her entire body moved against his, meeting every motion eagerly, demanding more, demanding him. His forehead brushed hers, their eyes never parting, even as hers began to cloud over, seeing something behind the flesh, beyond the real. Like she could see the stars above his head through his eyes. Garrus felt the same, though it was not stars he saw.

It was paradise.

Her breathing became erratic, echoed by his, by the abandon of his movements. He couldn't control them anymore, swept away by the promise of completion, unable to do anything but follow his body's demand for it. His spine bowed and he pulled his hands away from Elrika, ripping at the sheets to keep his eyes on hers, when all he wanted to do was throw his head back and howl. As if sensing his struggle, she threw her arms around his head, clasping his brow to hers. Her nails scraped along the sensitive skin there as she anchored herself in place as much as him. Each movement of his hips was met by hers, each harsh breath was caught by her mouth, and he breathed his own back in return.


And then physical reality fell away and Garrus' mind was consumed with white-hot heat. There was no more universe, no more Reapers, no more Council. No more Elrika and Garrus as separate entities. In that single, frozen, perfect moment, there was only the distant stars and Elrika's bright, bright eyes.



The world was bathed in blue light. Ethereal. Magical.

The stars drifted lazily overhead, trapped in the same lethargy that he was wrapped in. The sheets were curled around his waist, tangled around one leg, and he couldn't be bothered righting it. It took him several minutes to realise he was, in fact, awake.

It took him several more to realise that meant he had fallen asleep.

Blinking slowly, as though even that movement was beyond his strength, Garrus drew a deep breath and slid his hand along the side of the bed. The emptiness of it sent his heart slamming against his ribs, though he could do no more than look at it. His claws shifted through the sheets, finding the fissures his talons had torn. Not during the first time. Perhaps the fifth or sixth. Blood dotted the sheets where his claws had scored her body. Or perhaps his fangs. He could feel a lingering numbness where the antihistamines had begun to wear off at the end.

Pushing his arm against the bed, Garrus lifted his torso from the rumpled sheets, seeing first that his chest piece had hit Elrika's desk. Her belongings lay scattered on the floor, but the armour dominated the surface, like a trophy. One of his gauntlets was resting on the low table near it, and the other was defying gravity on the edge of the couch. Garrus let his eyes pan over her room, lit like the bottom of Palaven's clear oceans. He almost expected a fish to go darting past his vision at any point.

And then he found her, and everything else just didn't matter anymore.

She was naked in front of the fish tank, her fingers on the glass as she watched the water beyond like it held… everything. The room was bathed in blue, but she was lit by it, coloured by it, until she was like some Spirit that had emerged from their coupling, possessing her with energy of a world beyond theirs.

He saw lines on her body from his possession of her, from his claws, from his grip, from his fangs, but they were already fading, her accelerated healing treating them like any wound. As Garrus pushed himself to sit, sheets pooling around his waist, he resolved to simply make more.

Either hearing or sensing him, Elrika glanced over the delicate slope of her shoulder and looked at him. Garrus felt his breath slip from his lungs as her glowing eyes found his. No red. Just bright, vivid green, lit from the reflection of the fish tank.

She smiled and Garrus forgot how to breathe.

"I love you."



The end!

Thank you everyone that has taken the time to read Gestalt. You, readers, are the reason I do this. I want to share my stories with you, and I want you to enjoy them. I want to be a good writer so that what I offer the world can be appreciated and enjoyed. So I hope I succeeded. I hope Gestalt was everything I wanted it to be.

To my subscribers, I am so glad that you have stuck it out with me. Thank you for liking my work so much to want to follow it so closely. I really appreciate all of you.

To my reviewers, I have to say that you guys kept me going. Even when I was despairing, and hating my work, I would read the reviews and let them bolster me and give me faith in my ability again. Don't feel disheartened because I have not responded to them. Believe me, I love and adore each and every one and they mean so much to me.

To all Mass Effect fans, fans of Shep/Garrus pairings, gamers, readers, writers and fanfictioners, all I have to say is thank you, thank you for reading this fiction. Thank you for everything.

Now, I promised a snippets/snapshots chapter, and I did temporarily have one up, but something has gone wrong with the formatting and my beloved little symbols are gone, breaking up the flow of the chapters. So until I can fix them, they will not be present. I am working on it, though!

I love you all

See you next time!