A/N: Thank you to everyone who reviewed/favorite 'd "Not You"! So this is going to be a series of one-shots following mostly Garrus, maybe sometimes Shepard. There's no consistent schedule, just whenever the breeze blows in the right direction I guess. But enjoy the story!! Don't forget to review!
Disclaimer: Mass Effect and its characters belong to BioWare.
The artificial light of the Presidium was bright as ever, perfect lighting, perfect weather, and perfectly clean streets. There were no traces of the galactic battle that the Citadel had to endure. Everything was perfect, abso-fucking-lutely perfect.
Garrus looked around. There were no threats of an ancient sentinel race ready to eradicate every living being in this galaxy. Humans, turians, asaris, salarians – all moving on with their lives, completely unaware that their very existence was hanging on a flimsy string.
He scoffed at their pathetic state and then chuckled sarcastically at the thought that his state wasn't that different; he just chose not to deny the truth. What could he possiblydo against Reapers anyway?
He rested his arms against the railing as he slumped forward. He studied the statue in front of him wearily.
His mandible flared slightly in disdain. Honestly, the statue did not do her justice. There were no subtle curves of her hips, the smooth texture of her skin, and her hair was made up of silk strands, not the choppy icicles that the statue seem to have.
It was a rough piece of boulder imitating her. It was nothing like her.
After staring at the poor excuse of a statue, his eyes traveled down to the platform which the statue stood upon. A gold plaque lied on top with the words engraved: "The Savior of the Citadel: Jane Shepard". The platform was surrounded by random flowers and envelopes. Despite all the effort from the Council to dismiss her as "delusional", people still seemed to remember her sacrifice. It was a little comforting… just a little bit.
He closed his eyes deep in thought. Being here brought back memories of the day it was first revealed.
It was the day of her memorial.
He was lying still in his bed with no hints of movement. His eyes blinked in a slow pace and his breath was steady. If anyone were to see him now they would think he was comatose.
The beeping of his omni tool interrupted the silence and caught his attention.
"This is Garrus Vakarian. Leave a message"
"Vakarian!" the voice of Ashley Williams rang throughout the room.
"Heard you weren't answering anyone's call and nobody has heard from you for weeks. You know what today is. I know it's rough but you're not the only one who lost her… You better show up. For her sake"
He turned his head to stare at the machine. Eyes blinking, breathing steadily. The room was silent again.
After what felt like hours, but only a few minutes in reality, Garrus slowly lifted himself off and sat on the edge of his bed. He rested his hands on his palms as he scratched his forehead. The tension in his chest was heavy and it was getting hard to breathe. He let out a sharp sigh and lifted himself off, preparing himself for the day.
Until that day he avoided all news vids, personal messages, the Normandy crew, and just the outside world in general. He was holed up in his small apartment on the boundary of the Presidium and the Wards. It was weird being out in the Presidium, the weather was nice – almost too nice. The tension was getting thicker in his chest.
He looked around the crowd. People were bustling, and some seemed even excited. He cleared his throat to ease the tension in his chest. This was a hardly a memorial service, this was a circus.
He suddenly felt a pat on his shoulder. He turned around to be greeted by Ashley Williams. She greeted him with what seemed like a strain smile.
"Glad you could make it, Vakarian. It'll make her happy" she said
His mandible twitched in part curiosity and part anger. What did she mean it "will" make her happy? He silently nodded and walked towards the back row of seats, avoiding further conversation.
As he trailed up, he saw couple of the Normandy crew; some were sniffling as their crewmates comforted them.
His eyes landed on Joker and Chakwas. Chakwas nodded in acknowledgement, the pilot looked up but quickly averted his gaze and hung his head. Garrus quickly looked away too, he still hasn't talked to Joker and it felt uncomfortable for him to acknowledge the pilot's existence.
He knew it wasn't Joker's fault. Not really. But it didn't stop him from wanting to blame him.
He saw Tali and Wrex sitting in the back. He headed towards them and sat down. Tali turned her head to face him but didn't say anything and turned her head back towards the platform. Wrex didn't even acknowledge him or anyone around him at all, but Garrus preferred the silence anyway. He didn't want the "how are you doing?" "are you okay?".
After couple of speeches from the Council – Garrus tuned them out – they revealed the statue. There were clapping and gasps of awe.
His eyes widened as his mandibles became slack. He was speechless.
There was Shepard immortalized by a piece of stone.
The noise around him dulled and things started to get blurry.
He suddenly wanted to vomit.
He clenched his fists as the unbearable tension in his chest spread throughout his body. It sent shivers to his limbs. He felt his breathing get faster. It was getting uncomfortable – unbearable.
He abruptly sat up, startling Tali, and walked away from the service, away from the statue, away from the crew, away from everything that reminded him of her.
As soon as Garrus entered his apartment, he began to rip his armor off. It felt heavier and constricting. It felt like he was suffocating.
He ripped off his gauntlet and blindly threw it against the wall hard enough to knock off some objects to the floor.
He paced around the room breathing heavily; somehow it helped ease the tension building up in his body.
When he finally seemed to calm down, he dragged himself to clean up the mess he made. He bent down to pick up the piece of armor until his eyes caught what was lying next to it.
It was a holo of himself and her next to the Mako in a cracked frame.
His whole body went rigid. After a moment of pause he gently picked it up.
It was a candid shot; they were in a middle of a conversation. Both of them were paying attention to each other and not the camera. Ashley snuck up on them and took the shot before either of them could notice.
"Never thought I would see the day Vakarian giggling like a girl" the gunnery chief commented after she took the picture.
In the holo Shepard was leaning back with her arms crossed, an amused smile gracing her face and he was slightly bent forward laughing.
He didn't study her features in the picture; he didn't have to, because he had them memorized. From her green eyes down frail looking legs.
But Garrus' eyes landed on himself in the holo; he was laughing. He seemed genuinely happy. She made him laugh, she made him happy.
Looking at the holo, he knew. There was no way he can be as happy as he was when he was with her. He was doomed.
His body started trembling as the heavy tension in his chest kept building up and up.
It was rising up to his throat, constricting his airway. The pressure was heavy and ever so expanding until it finally burst out in a hoarse roar.
It took all his strength and sanity with it.
He flung his arms wildly, knocking off the furniture in his apartment. His talons searched for everything and anything he can grab, throw, rip, and smash.
He grabbed the lamp, the mattress, the chairs. Everything that had a grip was destroyed.
He kept going until he lost balance and dropped to the floor. He didn't bother pulling himself up. He laid there still like he was that morning.
He finally let out a haunting scream. It wasn't tension wrecking his body, it was pain.
And Garrus knew that he will forever have to carry this pain with him.
"You ready to head to Omega?" a voice interrupted his reminiscing.
He nodded his head, not trusting his voice to hide the pain he just remembered.
As he straightened up he felt shoulders brush against his arm.
"This statue feels inappropriate."
He turned his head to look at the person next to him.
Emerald orbs surrounded by delicate lashes, a smooth but firm skin, the curve of her jaw, the soft nimble lips in a genuine smile.
He pulled her close as he leaned his forehead against hers, mandibles widening into a smile. Yup, the statue was nothing like her.