Sorry for the delay. Between being away on holiday and then catching up at work post-holiday, it took a while to get this finished. Phew!
Never Go Home Again
Garrus snorts a laugh, trying not to choke as he slurps up his breakfast slop. Opposite him, Kaidan is leaning back, gesticulating his way through an anecdote of his first time in Chora's Den and his surprise at just how human asari look 'close up'.
Widening his mandibles at the human's husky laughter and lewd hand movements, Garrus catches a scent in the air and turns his head towards the elevator. Out of the corner of his eye, he notices Gardner turn to look, the male's mouth dropping open.
Shepard makes her way towards the table, clad in a skin-tight anti-radiation bodysuit, her face shiny with anti-rad cream. Unusually for the marine, and in direct contrast with the protective gear, she's wearing make-up and her hair looks styled. That, combined with the wet-look black suit has every eye in the room out on stalks.
"Interesting outfit, Jane. That suit almost looks painted on, I like it," Garrus purrs, pushing his mostly-empty bowl away and reaching out with his hand to pull her closer.
Shepard dodges away, eyebrow raised. "Says the man still wearing the same cracked and battered armour I found him in."
"You said you like this colour blue." Garrus places his talons on his chest, pulling his mandibles close to fake sadness.
"The colour is gorgeous," Shepard smiles, one hand caressing his scarred cheek. "It's the scorch marks, holes and lack of decent protection I object to."
"I'm surprised you aren't in full armour yourself." Kaidan glances between Garrus and Shepard, seemingly unable to control his grin as he clasps his hands behind his head. "Meeting the in-laws for the first time. That's got to be explosive."
Before Garrus has a chance to explain that's not why they're visiting Palaven, Shepard rounds on her ex, a wicked smile on her face, and her hands braced on her hips.
"Like your date last night with Kasumi?" She crows, grabbing Garrus' hand and pulling him up and away, turning her head to fire a parting shot over her shoulder. "Ship scuttlebutt tells me that was about as explosive as it gets, tiger."
Garrus finds himself being towed towards the elevator, but manages to glance over his shoulder at Kaidan's shocked expression and blushing cheeks.
"Kasumi? Really?" Garrus asks as soon as the elevator doors close.
Shepard leans against his side, body shaking with laughter. "Did you see his face? I had no idea it was true, I just overheard Kelly and Tali gossiping earlier. It seems that Miranda got wind of Jacob 'playing pazzak' with Kasumi and hit the roof, so our thief has moved on to the next buff bloke on board. Didn't give Kaidan much choice, apparently. Pounced on him."
"Huh," Garrus follows Shepard through the CIC towards the airlock.
"I know!" Shepard turns to wiggle her eyebrows at him, her face beaming. "Poor guy, he's so earnest and honourable, she'll eat him alive."
Garrus stops just outside the airlock door and leans closer to Shepard, wrapping his hands around her waist and pulling her closer. "Mmm that doesn't sound so bad. I love it when you eat me alive."
There's silence for a second as Shepard leans towards him, her eyes fluttering closed – then the cockpit erupts with the sound of hysterical laughter, almost drowning out EDI's soft tones asking for an explanation of the joke.
"I think it might be time to go," Shepard pushes him into the airlock, shaking her head, her cheeks flaming as red as her lips.
Garrus nods, hitting the compression controls, and dreading the ribbing he knows he's going to face from the pilot when he returns.
Shepard's trying not to gawp like a tourist, but it's so amazing to see the place Garrus grew up. The Palaven district on the Citadel is interesting, but it's nothing like being on the planet itself.
It's like a human's idea of paradise – hot, (but a dry heat), palm trees, blue sky and on the horizon the endless curved vista of the ocean. Tall, with plain walls and simple darkened glass windows, the structures are a perfect example of functionality over form. Monstrous primordial trees and ferns that tower between the structures, evidence of the planet's heightened radiation levels. The streets themselves reflect the militaristic culture, laid out in perfectly uniform rectangular grids, named and numbered for easy navigation.
"I've never known you so quiet before," Garrus teases as he walks beside her.
"You've never seen me so fascinated before," she doesn't even look at him as she stops to peer at a giant purple flower, larger than her head. The scent is intoxicating, the colour glorious, the outer petals glinting with a metallic sheen in the sunlight. "Everything here is so big, look at those trees, these flowers..."
"Hey, that's not why I'm big," Garrus widens his mandibles at her, his voice low, almost purring as he whispers in her ear.
Laughing, she pushes him away, conscious of being on display as the tourist human, without the added complications of public displays of affection. A few of the younger turians hanging on the street corner are staring at her, but she ignores their glares and turns away. No one has commented on them being together, yet, but they've been careful not to touch too often or look like a couple.
"Anyway, let's head out to..." Shepard stops speaking, her mouth dropping open as an elderly turian male walks past, a huge six-foot-long lizard walking at his side. It reminds her of images she'd loved as a child – strange, plated dinosaurs with spikes and spines and scales. "Even the pets are huge," she breathes.
"That's a baby minmi." Garrus shrugs. "Herbivore, make great pets. I always wanted one. It'll grow twice that size, easy."
She knows some of the locals are laughing at the stupid tourist, but she can't help gawking. It's like a creature out of an old vid – it has a tiny head, long, sweeping tail and is covered in bony protrusions.
"That's a baby? I hate to think how scary the adult is." Shepard whistles, shaking her head as the old turian turns a corner, his pet minmi following.
"You think that's scary?" Garrus chuckles, a melodious sound. "Wait till you see the Palaven equivalent of mosquitoes."
She swivels to face him, her mouth dropping open. She can see him shaking with barely suppressed laughter.
"All insects need to bite through our plate, remember? You should see the jaws on the things."
"That's it," she shudders, looking for the nearest building to dive into. "This body-suit isn't coming off."
"Are you sure?" Garrus leans close, his warm breath tickling her ear. "Not even in the radiation-proof, air conditioned honeymoon suite I booked for tonight?"
"Are you kidding?" She leans closer, ignoring the hisses of disapproval. "That might be the only way you'd get me naked this weekend."
"Good." He grins, stepping backwards, his eyes flicking towards the watching crowds. "C'mon, let's get to the marketplace. The hotels near there and it's less…" Her translator hums for a moment, "provincial".
An older turian walks past, with a young male trailing behind him, head down. It reminds her of one of her worries about visiting Palaven. "Are you sure we won't bump into your father?"
Garrus laughs, shaking his head in a very human way. "My father? In this heat? No, no, too many years on the climate controlled Citadel has ensured he never visits home in the summer any more. Stop worrying."
Nodding, she trails behind, walking slowly past a military training ground. Male and female turians parade in full armour – marching to a military beat as an old female instructor barks out commands.
Shepard jogs to catch up with Garrus, nodding towards the base just before they turn off the street. "I like her."
"Hah," he huffs. "You say that now. Try spending six months of your youth with her saying when you can eat, sleep or shi…"
"I get the idea, thanks. Had a drill sergeant a bit like that myself." Shepard nudges him in the ribs, eyeing the signs that are springing up all around as they enter the market. Enormous, expensive shops that look like huge brand names, but she's never heard of any of them. The buildings themselves look older; more ornate curves with huge blue domes, a slender turret rising from each corner.
"These buildings are gorgeous." She leans back, looking up at the paintings on the sides of some of them. Stepping closer, she realises it's not paint, but a combination of metals and gems inlaid into the white stone. "This reminds me of one of the wonders of the earth. Can't remember what it's called, Mahal something, but… wow."
"Yeah, we might have progressed but our architecture hasn't improved. I much prefer these buildings to the plain modern ones." Garrus tugs her hand, pulling her towards a shaded courtyard. "I always liked the entrance to this building."
All around, tiny blue birds fly in pairs above their heads. Swooping together, they land next to each other, singing softly.
"They're beautiful," Shepard gazes upwards at the brightly coloured birds.
"Those are pavela. I love listening to them." Garrus strokes a hand up her shoulder, pulling her into his arms to press his forehead against her for a second. "Like most, ah, animals on Palaven, they mate for life. You always see them together like this, fighting, feeding; they do everything together."
Shepard is distracted as she notices a sweeping piece of art that circles the whole courtyard. Carved, stylised images depict the turians' evolution from a single cell to the sentient beings they are today. There are dates below each stage, but she can't understand the turian numerical system, or the written words explaining the time differences between the year.
Pacing around the edge, she marvels at how quickly life evolved on Palaven. Perhaps the radiation helped speed it up, but it seems so much faster than on earth, with the many different dinosaur ages. Perhaps sentience appeared when the birds and reptiles were still the dominant species, without the same catastrophe that earth suffered.
Still thinking of dinosaurs, she stops in front of a familiar shape – bony body, rudimentary wings and the face of a raptor. "That looks so much like an archaeopteryx. Wow."
She grins at Garrus, marvelling at how evolution slipped down a different track here.
He shrugs, still watching the bird flying above. "It's not that accurate, it's just pretty art."
"Well," she moves closer to him, mostly hidden from the nosy locals by the enclosed courtyard, "I like the idea that we're closer than I ever realised." She strokes his cheek, smiling as he leans into her touch.
There's a loud hiss from behind her and she jumps, hand automatically dropping to where she stores her assault rifle, but she's not wearing it.
A female is standing at the entrance to one of the buildings, a clutch of young turians behind her. She's braced, as if ready to fight, her arms outstretched to keep the youngsters behind her.
But it's the children that hold Shepard's attention. She's never seen a young turian before – not even on the Citadel – and they're utterly adorable. Softer looking, with dull plates and wide eyes, even their fringes are stubby and underdeveloped.
As she looks, one of them tugs on the female turian's skirt and chirps a question. Her translator struggles, but the youngsters soft, peeping voice doesn't seem to convert. The female continues hissing, her hand dropping protectively to the youngster's head.
"Hello, I'm –" Shepard feels herself almost pulled off her feet as Garrus shifts her away from the children. "Garrus, wha…?"
"I know you meant well," he murmurs in her ear, stopping and letting her go as they reach the street. "But that female would've kicked your ass so hard if you'd tried to talk to those kids."
"I don't see why," Shepard folds her arms and glares across the marketplace, her cheeks warm. "I was only being friendly."
"Yeah I know," he rubs her shoulder through the thin bodysuit. "But the Relay 314 incident isn't that long ago for some people."
She's only half listening to Garrus trying to placate her, annoyed at the reaction of the turian female, but really more annoyed at her own stupidity, when she's distracted by the sight of an old turian charging towards them.
"Garrus," her voice is low, warning him of a problem as she instinctively reaches for the gun that isn't there. "Damn it."
Garrus has tensed, his eyes scanning the crowd as the older turian leaps towards him. Garrus staggers backwards, as the old turian wraps his arms around his torso.
"Dad?" She hears Garrus gasp.
Shepard takes a step back, eyeing the male with the seeming death-grip on her lover. He does look like Garrus, with similar plating and markings – perhaps a little faded and dull compared to his son. The skin around his eyes is drier, tougher, but the clan markings on his face are the same. It's the faded C-Sec uniform that clinches it.
"My boy," Garrus' dad rumbles, his voice deeper than his son's, the flanging even more pronounced. He steps back, bracing his hands on Garrus' shoulders as he examines the scarring on his son's cheek. "I heard the reports on the mercs taking down Archangel. I've thought you were dead for the longest time. Why didn't you contact me?"
Garrus opens his mouth, but stays silent, mandibles fluttering, blinking rapidly.
"How did you know that Garrus was Archangel, Mr Vakarian?" Shepard steps to Garrus' side, trying to show him her support.
The older turian drops his hands from Garrus' shoulders and turns his faded-blue hawk-eyes to her, his mandibles tight and angry. He looks her up and down, sniffing, before glancing at his son, then back at her, all without saying as word.
"You think I'm a good investigator," Garrus suddenly breaks the uncomfortable silence. "What did you call me? Manbat?"
Shepard represses her urge to roll her eyes at him. Now is not the time. "Batman…"
"Well, my dad taught me everything I know." Garrus' mandibles flutter making his smile look forced. "He could probably tell you exactly what I did on Omega, with times and dates for each operation." Garrus lifts a hand and waves it between them. "Dad, this is Jane, Jane, my father."
"Jane." Those faded blue eyes piece her again. "Jane Shepard?"
"That's me, sir." Shepard nods, not breaking eye contact from his fierce stare.
He pulls his mandibles even tighter, looking between her and Garrus, blinking slowly. "Well –"
"Dad, don't start." Garrus interrupts, holding up a hand.
"I'm not starting anything, Garru-chin," the older turian's voice sounds mild, but his bleak expression gives away his real feelings. "I was trying to offer to buy you both tea, perhaps some food. Maybe you can explain how you got those new scars."
Shepard doesn't know what she was expecting from the senior Vakarian, but it wasn't a seemingly innocuous invitation to lunch. They walk across the crowded market in silence, but partway across, Garrus takes her hand and squeezes it. Shepard notices Mr Vakarian tilt his head at them, but the older turian looks away without commenting. Shepard squeezes back, ignoring the odd outraged hiss from other turians at their intimacy.
After a couple of minutes of walking through the gridded streets, the elder Vakarian points to a shop doorway.
"It's still open? Really?" Garrus drops her hand to push the door open, a childlike exuberance in his voice as he dives inside.
His father holds up his hand, indicating that she go ahead. "We used to stop in here after school when he was a young –" her translator glitches over the last term. "Every day the same order."
"Kala berry cake, they still make it!" Garrus' voice drifts towards them as Shepard's eyes adjust from the bright sunlight to the more dimly lit café.
A few small circular tables are scattered about the room, decorated in the now familiar Palaven blues and greys. The place is almost full, with Garrus standing next to the one empty table by the front window. Shepard winces at the thought of being on display to the curious passersby.
Garrus sits in one of the strangely shaped chairs – crafted to allow for turian leg spurs – and pats the seat next to him. Smiling, Shepard sits, noting that Garrus' father takes the seat directly opposite his son.
"I was worried, when you disappeared on Omega," the elder turian begins, his mild voice still a contrast to his furious glare. He waves a talon at her. "Now I can see why you left."
"I'm surprised you know so much about me, but you hadn't heard that Shepard was back," Garrus shrugs, deflecting the question well, Shepard thinks.
His father turns slightly to glare at her, his breathing speeding up as he pulls his mandibles even tighter. "After the reports about your, ah, Archangel's death, well, they ah, asked me to not visit C-Sec for a while. Indefinite leave of absence. I've been a little, mm, incommunicado from real info for a couple of months. That's why I'm here." He looks out of the window, his chest heaving underneath his shirt.
Shepard stays quiet, sliding one hand under the table to stroke Garrus' leg. He glances at her with a tiny smile, but looks back at his father. Any other time, with any other person, Shepard would dive in feet first, steering the conversation using part brute force, part charm. But this isn't Miranda's father trying to kidnap her sister, or Jacob's father abusing the women under his commander – this is Garrus' father – shocked and upset, as he'd obviously thought his son dead, and said son had done nothing to tell him any different.
Some things are worth butting into, and some are worth leaving well alone. She trusts Garrus, even with all his romantic fumblings, to be able to work this out on his own. He has to.
Shepard watches a waiter approach them, obviously thrilled to be serving the exotic tourist. Their table is noisy again for a few minutes as they order – Shepard sticking to filtered, human-safe water, while Garrus orders his favourite dessert.
The waiter hovers for a moment longer, until Garrus places a credit chip on his pad, stating firmly that he'll pay.
"I told them you weren't dead," his father speaks again, his expression softer than before. "I had C-Sec agents hunting for any sign of you. There were news reports of her, the spectre, but you know those papers, there's never anything true in them. Still, I checked the dates they mentioned, but they never correlated with any actual facts. Then the head of C-Sec got wind of my investigations and claimed it was a personal use of citadel resources and gave me a leave of absence."
Garrus looks down, "I'm sorry. I thought… after we argued again just before I left for Omega, I thought you didn't care what I did."
His father growls, deep in his chest. It's quiet, so as not to attract attention, but it's a furious noise. "Of course I care. You're my only son." He clutches the edge of the table, talons digging in. "We might not agree on everything –" he glances across at Shepard, "but I care that you're alive. Not a forgotten corpse rotting on Omega."
"I didn't think," Garrus rubs the back of his neck, clearly uncomfortable. "I was so sure you were angry at my leaving C-Sec again, disappointed in my choices. I… I thought you didn't want to speak to me."
Shepard watches at the older turian takes a couple of deep breaths, trying to calm himself. "Perhaps there was a time I wanted you to stay in C-Sec, follow in my footsteps. I can't lie and say I'd have chosen where you are, but son, how could I be disappointed? You saved the galaxy from that spectre."
"He's saved it twice, now, actually." Shepard can't help but murmur.
Garrus' dad doesn't seem to appreciate her contribution, rumbling low in his chest again.
"It's true." Garrus shrugs. "But it's a long story."
The older Vakarian switches his glare back to the younger, the rumble continuing. It's only the arrival of the waiter with their order that causes the older man to fall silent again.
Shepard looks at the steaming tea, and the tense expressions of the two males. She forces her best smile and pats Garrus' hand. "I've changed my mind, let me go grab some food." She flicks her gaze to his father for a brief moment. "I might be a few minutes. Okay?"
For the first time since she's met him, Shepard notices the older Vakarian's mandibles loosening. "Thank you," he mumbles.
Shepard nods, patting Garrus' hand one last time before moving out of earshot towards the food counter. Keeping the smile pasted on her face, she browses the strange food, politely declining the repeated offers of help. She peeks at the two Vakarians, who look like they're arguing - waving their hands and leaning over the table.
Turning back to the counter, she moves to where the levo food is stored. There's actually some nice looking cakes, but her stomach is churning too much to eat. Not worry for herself, but for Garrus.
A glance back to the table reveals Garrus hanging his head, his mandibles drooping. Not a good sign. But as she watches, his father leans closer, saying something. Garrus looks up, tilting his head as he listens. After a few more back-and-forths, both turians lean back in their seats, mandibles wide.
Shepard sighs, feeling the tension in her shoulders loosening. She leans a hip on the counter and smiles to herself. She's pleased that they seem to be talking amiably now, with less hand waving and more relaxed postures.
After a few more minutes, Garrus looks up and beckons to her. She heads back to the table and pats her belly as she sits down. "Sadly, I don't think there is much that wouldn't make me sick. A shame, as the cakes look delicious."
"What is a shame is that you can't eat my dad's cooking, he's a brilliant cook."
Mr Vakarian huffs. "I can make human food."
Garrus stares at his father, mandibles fluttering in surprise.
"What?" The older turian rolls his shoulder in what Shepard recognises as a turian shrug. "I live on the citadel. I've got human friends."
"Well, that sounds good to me." Shepard smiles, patting her pocket absently to check for her allergy medication.
"Good," Garrus' father widens his mandibles at her, his faded eyes looking less predatory. "It's settled. You two can come to dinner tonight. I think I want to get to know this woman who's made my son run off from duty twice now."
"Dad…" Garrus rubs his forehead with a talon.
"Perhaps you'd like to see some photos of him as a clutchling?" The older turian keeps speaking, ignoring his son's distress. "Baby photos, I think you say. This is traditional for humans, yes?"
Shepard grins, partly at the idea, partly at the expression of horror on Garrus' face. "I'd like that, Mr Vakarian." She nudges Garrus. "What's wrong? I'm sure you looked adorable."
Garrus shakes his head, sighing. "I knew bumping into my dad might be a bad idea. But I never suspected it could get as bad as clutchling photos …"
Someone knocks on the window and peers in at them, hands splayed either side of their face as they stare at Garrus.
"It's your cousin, Neno. You've not seen him in over five years – go chat. I'll look after your commander."
Garrus squeezes her hand, worry in his voice. "That okay?" He glances at his father, then back at her.
She nods, smiling, about to answer when his father beats her to it. "We'll be fine, I can tell her stories of your youth. When you got your first tooth. That time you fell and broke your cowl."
Garrus growls softly as his father laughs, but he stands, brushing her forehead with his hard lips as he does so. She watches him run outside, tackling his cousin and grappling him to the floor in greeting.
Garrus' father clears his throat, so she drags her attention back to the room and looks at the older turian sitting opposite her.
"So…" he raises his hands, then drops them to the table.
"So…" she echoes, unwilling to guess where the conversation is heading now that they're alone.
Mr Vakarian tilts his head, leaning forward slightly. "You're a spectre."
"Yup." Shepard keeps the smile pasted on her face as she nods.
"You break laws." It's a statement, not a question.
"Not if I can help it." It's true. There are times she's been tempted, but after Saren, she's seen what unbridled power can do to a person.
The older turian nods for a moment, before trying again. "You died?"
"I got better." She shrugs, not looking away from him.
"When you died, I thought I'd lost my son." His shoulders sag. "It's like he died, as well, inside. That's why he went to Omega."
"I never wanted that for him." Shepard shakes her head, wanting to reach out to touch his hand, but unsure how he'd take it. "I wanted for Garrus to re-join C-Sec, maybe meet a turian girl, have his own life."
"But he didn't." His voice sounds almost accusing.
"No. He didn't." She clenches her fists under the table, trying to keep her voice steady.
"Then you saved him on Omega. Archangel was trapped, I'd received a report about the problem, but the Citadel was too far to do anything." His father clutches the edge of the table, the metal creaking under his grip.
"I was lucky, got there on time, I, uh…" Shepard trails off, remembering how close it had been. The merc groups, the gunship, Garrus' hot blood pooling at her feet.
"Thank you." His father reaches across the table and takes her hand. "Thank you, Shepard."
Trying to swallow past the lump in her throat, she gives him her first genuine smile. "I will always be there for your son."
"Yes, I noticed that." He releases her hand and looks down. "Is that why he went with you, the first time? Even back then?"
She shakes her head. "No, we've only realised fairly recently."
"I see." Mr Vakrian looks out of the window and drops into silence. She follows his gaze, watching Garrus laughing and smiling as he talks to his cousin. Relaxed, playful – it's rare to see him so happy.
"He's my only son." The statement drags her away from her thoughts, bringing her back to the older turian who is now staring at her again.
"Yes, he is." She holds her head high, staring back. "So I'm sure you'll want him to be happy."
"Happy?" He snorts. "That's a very human desire for your offspring. Productive, useful, integrated." He pauses, blinking rapidly. "Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm too old fashioned. I've heard said that the younger generation aren't following the traditions so strictly anymore." He sighs, then shrugs. "And I suppose he has saved the universe. Twice."
She laughs. "That he has."
Garrus bursts back into the café and charges over to their table, panting slightly after tussling with his cousin. "Want to go riding tomorrow in the hills with Neno? It's fun, not hard to learn and you can meet my cousin. He's almost as good a shot as me." His eyes are pleading and she tries not to laugh at how he's regressed back to being a kid around his family.
"Sounds fun," she grins.
"Good," Garrus murmurs, leaning close to press his forehead against hers. "I want you to meet all my family."
She closes her eyes, leaning into his gesture for a few seconds, enjoying the feel of his rough skin, the heat of his forehead.
"Back in five," he rumbles as she opens her eyes.
Nodding, she watches him leave again.
"I hadn't realised that it was so serious between you two." Mr Vakarian sounds quiet as he speaks. "I thought it might have been a fad." He huffs once, his mandibles fluttering.
"Serious?" Shepard bites her lower lip. "Well, it's been a few months, but yeah, we care–"
His father shakes his head, gesturing to his forehead. "Garrus never told you what that means?"
"That...?" She presses a hand to her brow. "Oh, well, yes. He said it was a turian kiss."
Garrus' father eyes her, blinking rapidly before sighing. "I'm glad we're meeting for dinner tonight. It seems like we'll be spending more time together than I realised."
"Why?" Shepard rubs her forehead unconsciously, trying to follow the older turian's logic.
"I'll let my stupid, impulsive son explain exactly what it means himself." The older turian stands, holding out a hand to help her up. "Let me just say, because of that gesture, you're officially a member of the Vakarian clan, so it's a good job that I do know how to cook human food."
Part of the clan? Confused, she follows Garrus' father outside into the bright sunshine. He goes to speak to his nephew, and she pauses in the doorway as a twittering pair of pavela birds fly above her head, looping in circles around each other. They stop on the edge of a nearby roof, chirping, to press their foreheads together, before flying off once more.
What had Garrus said? Most animals on Palaven mate for life. And now his father says that she's joined the Vakarian clan?
"Oh," she touches her forehead again. "Oh I see."
"Jane, c'mon!" Garrus shouts and gestures for her to come closer. She hesitates for a moment, heart thudding as she tries to think. They've not even talked about love, or the future, or anything beyond fighting the reapers at some point. While she's never wanted kids – she's a soldier, no time for that – is this what she wants?
Garrus huffs impatiently, wiggling his fingers, his blue eyes shining, and she knows without a shadow of a doubt that she'll never want anyone else at her six, that whatever else might be wrong in the universe, their relationship is perfectly right.
"I'm here, Garrus, I'm here," she grabs his hand, laughing as he pulls her to his side. Poking him in the ribs, she smiles up at him, "if you need me."
Major thanks go to Zephyr5 for her relentless betaing – she's spotted tonnes of stupid errors in exchange for me distracting her from writing her own fic by getting her hooked onto new games every few weeks. (All good games though, right?)
And thanks to all of you for reading and especially to those of you reviewing and letting me know what works and what doesn't. It's exactly why I write this stuff – so thank you.
*Waits impatiently for ME3*