Greetings! Some of you may know me from various reviews I've left for your stories. And being added to the Garrus Vakarian list (notable only because Garrus is that awesome)
So, my thoughts on this are that no one ever writes about the "Turn down" when Shepard actually tells Garrus that she doesn't want to spend the time before the Omega 4 relay. Mostly because Garrus is the only one who really seems heartbroken when you turn him down. At the same time, no one thinks of what could happen After she turns him down that night.
This is my take. Chapter 1. Later chapters rated M for hot Turian/Human relationship material. The likes of which would make Mordin blush. XD
The Galaxy meant nothing. Reapers meant nothing. The fate of all mankind was a backdrop that she would pass off as something else that was demanded of her. Commander Shepard, the Hero. Commander Shepard, the paragon. Commander Shepard, who had given her life to protect all races in galactic civilization. Commander Shepard, the woman who screamed that everyone and everything be damned because he had been taken from her.
Nowhere was safe in the middle of the hornet's nest. It should have been something she expected to see. Suicide was not a term that she used lightly in reference to anything, but it was the only way to describe this mission. She had prepared herself for it. Iron spirit tempered by weeks of preparation for this day, ready for loss, accepting of sacrifice for the good of everyone. To prove to the galaxy that Reapers were a real threat and make sure that they would survive no matter the cost. But seeing one Turian pulled down before her eyes changed everything in an instant.
As she ejected another thermal clip from her sub machine gun, Shepard could only think of the look on his face when the Collectors had surrounded him and pulled him down from the high perch that was meant to be safe. His predatory blue eyes had locked on her own for a split second. In them was a fear of something beyond his life. Then four of the insect-like beings had fallen onhim.
Now the only thing she saw was the hell spawned creation, Harbenger, standing before her. Felt the passing heat against her bare face as the thermal clip sailed through the air and landed on the hard ground. The gun revolved for one moment as another clip was slipped smoothly into place. She heard the sharp click and snap of the chamber as it prepared itself for firing again. She squeezed the trigger and charged forward as she screamed her pain into every bullet.
How had it come to this?
2 hours out from the Omega relay
"Hey. I brought the wine. Best I could afford on a vigilantes salary."
How was it possible for a Turian to look so ridiculously nervous but still look so incredibly good? It was an emotion she hadn't even known existed in the species before she had broached the subject of tie breakers and flexibility. His civilian clothing, something she had never seen him wear, granted him an almost softer appearance. Which was not difficult for a man who always wore armor and survived a missile strike to the face. It took nothing from the Turian, in the end. Long limbs held more strength than most humans could ever hope to possess, a slender waist, a broad chest, wide shoulders. Every inch of it plated in armor. And... Gloves?
She felt the corners of her lips twitch slightly as her arms crossed over her chest. Her eyes following him as he jogged across the room to switch on some horrible club toned music. Again, her gaze were drawn to the gloves as he spread his arms as if to say 'Nice, right?' while pacing towards the fish tank without seeming to notice the movement. She knew why he wore them. They had both seen the vids Mordin had provided. Not only information on the proper way for humans and Turians to engage each other sexually, but information on what could happen when something went wrong. It had not been pretty, and he had clearly taken it to heart. The gloves were for her protection.
"If you were a Turian, I would be..."
She could not focus on his words. It was all...too sweet. She could see it in his eyes. Nervous excitement, hope, and a tenderness she had believed lost to him before he had agreed to let Sidonis live. Then there was something deeper. Something that, as he spoke about his fear of insulting her, was frightneing.
She couldn't do this. They were too close, and she knew it. This had nothing to do with 'blowing off steam' before a mission. He was her closest friend, the one person she trusted above all others to watch her six, the one gun she trusted to never miss when it counted. A fist curled itself into her gut, and the pressure in her chest was as intense as it had been the day she had allowed Ash to die or Vermire.
"..Throw me a line here, Shepard!"
But just like then, some things had to be done for the greater good. Distraction could lead to disaster. Her feelings could not prevent her from making calls that needed to be made. Calls that she knew may send him to his death. And even if they did survive, even if they all made it back from the relay alive, what chance did they have? A human, and a Turian. She couldn't risk this friendship, the one thing in the universe that was a constant and solid base for her to stand on.
"Garrus, we need to rethink this."
Her reason was sound. Strong. It was for the greater good. Why was it so damned hard to say this then?
"I don't want to hurt our friendship."
His head lowered. His mind was working over her words and she tried to read the expression on his face. As close as they were and as well as they worked together on the battlefield, some things still did not translate well.
"Yeah. You're right. Let's leave it be."
Relief was mingled with deep rooted pain at his swift agreement. Maybe she had read him wrong. Maybe he had simply been nervous about being with a human. Maybe what she had seen in his eyes had been an internal reflection of her feelings.
"Probably would have torn a ligament or something anyway."
Predatory eyes raised to her as he said this, and her outer calm almost shattered. There was no light in them now, even as he attempted to joke. This she understood. He was hurt. One gloved hand was raised to rub across his armored brow for a moment, gathering himself before he turned and made his way towards the door.
"I'll let you get back to work, Shepard. And I'll be there when you need me."
Listless. It was how she would have described his walk if he had been human. There was no swagger in his step, no confidence in his gait. He almost looked lost, with that bottle of wine held in a limp arm. She could only watch him leave. It was the right thing to do. It was for the best. It was for both of them. She had to be strong. Strong enough to stop the Collectors. Strong enough to face the Reapers. Strong enough to watch him walk away and strong enough to swallow the tears that threatened to fall.
All of her training, every horror she had faced, comrades she had lost, could not prepare her for the tears. They didn't blind her to her target. It was the only means she had to release the heat of her rage as the sharpened blades of sorrow tore through her. One crystalline drop for every bullet. It was doing little good, but she couldn't find the will to stop herself. Her control was gone. Reason, gone. She only wanted to kill it. Silence the constant droning of the its words. They droned over, and over again in an attempt to shatter her will.
The few seconds that it had all taken seemed like minutes. A second thermal clip was sent flying, and still the barrier around the glowing form of Harbenger was in place. She drew another, prepared to load, unaware that her own shields were gone. Then the blunt force of a biotic blast sent her flying off her feet and into a pillar nearby. A sharp cry left her as pain flared through her like an electrical charge. Her skin cracked under her armor and every inch of her body suddenly felt as if it were on fire. Through the burn she was still able to focus on Harbenger. It walked towards her, flanked on either side by two Collectors. Each with their rifles raised and trained on her.
She tried to move, but nothing would respond fast enough. Her hand clenched painfully around her gun, but her arm refused to lift more than a few inches. She slumped back with a hateful glare. If her eyes had been weapons, the heat of her hatred would have burned the shell to ash and reached through to the Reaper at the other end. She had never in all her life felt such a burning need to destroy something.
"I know that I've hurt you, Shepard."
She went still, sorrow swelled to overtake her suffering. Its montra had changed, just for her. Because Harbenger had known her weakness, it had targeted Garrus and cut a wound so deep that it would never heal. Even though she knew the seconds were counting down before the core overloaded, mostly because of Jokers constant urgent reminders in her ear ear, the loss of the base had been worth the price of her falling with it. She could almost hear the relish in it's voice as it said the words again and raised one taloned hand. The glow of biotic energy started to gather mingled with another kind of power that traveled from the glowing body of the possessed Collector then up into it's arm before it started to focus in the palm of it's hand. She saw her death in that ball of glowing power.
Green mist was not what she expected. The sudden swift explosion of vapor came so suddenly that it took her a moment to realize that it was the blood of a Collector. Harbenger's hand was gone. Without it's point of focus to hold and gather the energy it had been building, even a being like Harbenger lost control of it's own biotic power. There was a sharp spread of light followed by a thunderclap of release that threw the glowing alien and those around it away from Shepard.
Her wide eyes snapped to source of the rasping, thick voice. Which also happened to be the source of the bullet which vaporized the monsters hand. Was she dead, her death nothing more than a dream of a daring rescue by the one she had lost? Her personal Archangel, aptly named, come to take her to wherever people like them spent eternity? If so, why was she still in so much pain?
Whatever the case was, its name had been roared from the crouching Turian sniper. Garrus was fresh from battle. His armor splattered with green gore, one arm of the blue armor missing, and his entire body and face was littered with gashes from Collector claws. He looked like he had been dragged through the pits of Hell, then beat his way to the surface to focus the scope of his rifle onto the stunned form of Harbenger. He was glorious and like the Archangel he was named for, he seemed unmoved by pain. The Turian was ready for battle. Ready to kill anything that dared to defy him.
The denial from the Harbinger of Their Doom, as it so often called itself, was cut short as the rifle sounded out again. With Its barriers down, the single bullet easily tore through the shell of the Collector, causing the back of it's head to explode. The same power that was used to possess the shell of a body, also caused it to rise up as it vaporized into little more that flurries of ash.
When there was nothing left, Garrus was on his feet again and running towards her. The clock had not stopped, and they were nearly out of time. She struggled to her feet and swayed. She was barely able to find the strength to stand. Pain wracked her body as she tried her damnedest to focus on survival instead of the blue armor heading towards her.
"Assuming direct control."
It made sense. There were four other Collectors directly in front of her. Harbenger had never been this close to killing her. It was going to try again, and again, and again, until she was dead or it was out of altered Protheans. She let out a scream of frustraition as she charged the one that had started to glow. Running on instict with pain forgotten, she shoved her sub-machine gun into what passed for the Collector's face before it had time to raise any biotic barriers. She squeezed the trigger and sent round after round rocketing into the insects armor until it broke.
"You've lost! Stay dead, God damnit!"
Ignoring the green icor that splashed her face as she fired, she saw the flare of light as Harbenger burst partially into flames. That did not stop her from firing again. Popping a heat sink, she drew her burning eyes to the Collector that was struggling to its feet beside her.
Suddenly its head yanked backwards and it went limp again. The sudden pressure of a hand wrapped around her arm and she looked into predatory blues she had feared never to see again. Sharp feelings welled within her, but she was given no time to understand. The Turian had pulled her into a full on run.
The countdown was close to a minute. The doors behind them burst open and more Collectors started to pour in. They were both taking pot shots at the Collectors. It was an attempt to hinder the scuttling bodies as they made a mad dash for the Normandy. Even when the platform leading to their salvation was destroyed by random falling debris, they didn't slow. He wouldn't allow her to slow, pause or stop. She did not allow him to slow, pause or stop.
I'll be here if you need me, Shepard.
His words rang through her mind as they reached the edge of the abyss. Their final step landing together, their combined momentum carried them both forward and off the ground. As they flew through the air hurtling towards the hatch with Joker firing an assault riffle to cover their escape, she finally understood what he had been trying to tell her.
He would always be there.
First one up! R&R please! Two more chapters left to this first fic of mine (I think).