Author's Note: As per the usual - this is the racy series and only one of many kinds of genres I write. This chapter contains sexuality and turian orgy. Don't think you want to read that? Go read "Where Angels Fear To Tread" or "Man of Dust."

Victors Like You and Me

The Citadel was in shambles following the defeat of renegade Spectre Captain Anderson, his army of geth, and the sinister Reaper who had indoctrinated, transformed, and ultimately possessed him. But on the SR-1 Normandy, despite the fact that she was docked at the Citadel's half-destroyed shipyard, a mood of triumph permeated the vessel's halls. Turian Spectre Garrus Vakarian and his partner, former C-Sec officer Jane Shepard, had led them to victory, and the Normandy's crew were ready to celebrate.

As she walked down the corridor to the med bay, Shepard thought of just how much her life had changed in the last few months. Back then, she'd been overworked and underpaid at C-Sec, struggling with criminals who played the system, crooked fellow cops and Executor Pallin looking down his nose at humans. Then, out of nowhere, Garrus had shown up and changed her life.

She'd never told anyone about her illicit affair with the turian during the First Contact War, which had only ended two and a half years ago. And yet he'd remembered her, remembered her well enough for five years to come find her and ask her to be his XO. Working at C-Sec had become demoralizing enough that she probably would have said yes even if she hadn't spent the past five years wondering whatever had happened to the man who'd given her the best sex of her life.

The sex had been one of the greatest bonuses in agreeing to this crazy mission, but it had also been one of her biggest concerns. She knew she had a hard time keeping her emotions in check where Garrus Vakarian was concerned, and she didn't want to spend her life as anyone's mistress, no matter how good he was. And then there was this ship

The Normandy was a joint human/turian vessel, but with its commander and its crew mostly turian, it tended to run turian military style. Shepard didn't think she would ever get used to the sparring room in the hold, where Lorik Qui'in had nominated himself referee of the matches. The idea of crew members settling beefs through physical combat—and other crew members betting on the outcome—didn't sit well with her, though Qui'in hadn't allowed anyone to suffer an injury that would affect their ability to perform on missions, and Garrus assured her this sort of thing was perfectly normal for turian crews.

Another thing that was apparently perfectly normal for turian crews was coming around the corner and finding two of your fellow crewmates half-undressed and all over each other. In this case, Shepard thought as she hastily stepped back through the hatch and shut it again, it was the ship's cook and the stores officer. Shepard had run into the stores officer like this a few times before, and each time she seemed to have a different man for company.

Heh. I guess she really can get you anything you want.

But why can't she get herself a private room?

Shepard circled the ship, choosing an alternate path to get to her final destination: the med bay. Everyone had been more or less roughed up during the Citadel battle, and as usual, Garrus had insisted that he would be fine until his crew was looked after. Finally, Shepard had needed to bribe him into going for a checkup, with the result that she owed him an unspecified favour to be collected in the future.

She shivered to herself. Part of her felt she ought to know better than to make the turian open-ended promises like that. Back during the war, he'd shown himself entirely capable of abusing the hell out of any power she gave him over her…

…another part of her privately confessed to liking it.

Shepard knocked on the med bay door and was greeted by Cadeucia, the ship's chief medical officer. "Here to claim my problem patient?" the turian doctor asked with a wink.

Shepard grinned and folded her arms. "Has he been misbehaving?"

"Shepard, get me out of here!" came a voice from the other room.

Cadeucia started laughing. Smirking, Shepard crossed the room and opened the door to see a cranky-looking Garrus Vakarian sitting on a cot, a bandage on his left arm and a scowl on his face.

"Holding me prisoner on my own ship," the Spectre grumbled. "There's going to be repercussions for this."

"Watch your tongue," the medic replied, "or I won't clear you out of here in time for tonight's festivities."

"Festivities?" Shepard asked, confused.

Cadeucia flared her mandibles, clearly amused. "Commander Vakarian, I am shocked at you. For shame. Not explaining to your own XO about this highly regarded turian tradition."

Garrus' mandibles quivered as he shifted his weight on the bed.

"What's this now?" Shepard asked.

"Main bridge, one hour. I'll leave you to your educational talk," Cadeucia said with a sly grin as she exited the room.

Shepard was curious, but she had priorities. "Are you feeling all right?" she asked.

Garrus wrapped his arms around her waist and tugged her closer to him. "It's just scratches and bruises," he said, "nothing medi-gel can't fix."

"Hey there," she murmured as she rested her forehead against his, "you seem pretty frisky, actually. You want to play doctor?"

"What's that?" he asked.

Shepard grinned. "First I examine you….all over…" she said meaningfully as she let her fingers trail down the back of his neck. "Then we switch."

He shivered, and she doubted it was from cold. "That sounds like fun," Garrus replied. "I'll start thinking of reasons to get Cadeucia out of the med bay."

"She's not here right now, is she?" Shepard asked with a wink, straddling his lap.

"Wicked woman," Garrus breathed, "but we can't. We have to save our energy."

Garrus turning down sex was a first in Shepard's book. Sometimes it felt as though she'd fucked her way across the galaxy in the last few months. Sex on the beach on Virmire. Sex under the stars on Feros. Very quick sex in a very cold cave on Noveria that reminded her of her first meeting with Garrus on Oya in the grip of winter.

"Save it for what?" she purred against his fringe, though inside she was shaken. Was he finally tiring of her?

"For the favour you owe me."

Now that sounded promising. Still, Shepard had to ask. "Garrus?"

"Mmm?" He was nuzzling her collarbone, his face buried in the side of her neck.

"Are you still happy with me?"

He pulled away long enough to look into her eyes. "I love the way you keep me…almost satisfied."

"Almost?"

"You always give me just enough to keep me wanting more," he murmured, his hands trailing her body.

"Stop that or I swear I'll tear your clothes off right here." The medbay seemed hot all of a sudden, stifling—how did Cadeucia stand it?

He fidgeted, clearly both aroused and anxious. "Can it wait a few hours?"

She folded her arms. "What's so special about this favour that we can't spare time or energy for a quickie in the medbay?"

Garrus drew a deep breath and let his hands come to rest on her shoulder blades. When he spoke, his voice was serious. "It's turian tradition, after a major victory, to burn off stress in a shipwide celebration."

"So we're going to party," Shepard translated.

"Yes."

Shepard blinked. Why was he acting as though this news might freak her out? "Booze, food, rowdy behaviour, all-night excess?"

"Yes," he said, his mandibles clicking.

"Garrus, that's exactly what humans do."

"And, er, what about…." His eyes glanced up and down Shepard's body with obvious appreciation.

"Screwing?"

He nodded.

"Yeah, we do that, too."

"Oh." Garrus shrugged. "I guess that goes to show you can't believe everything you read on the extranet."

Shepard began to get a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. "Why? What did it say?"

"That humans would pair up and sneak off after the party, instead of doing it, you know, during."

"During?" Shepard asked slowly, wondering if he really meant what she thought he meant.

Garrus nodded. "That's the whole point of an after-combat celebration. The fighting's done with, so the only reasonable way left to burn off stress and ease tension is to…"

Shepard heard the squeal in her voice as she coughed out, "You're inviting me to a turian orgy?"

Garrus tilted his head. "I'm the commander, Shepard. It would be very bad form for me not to go."

She noticed he was not denying it.

Shepard wasn't sure whether to wrap her arms around him possessively or shove him away in disgust. He was hers, dammit. She didn't want to share him with anyone else, let alone the whole fucking crew, and tradition or no, she didn't want to let any other turians fuck her, either. She didn't know if it would be worse to let him go alone, and spend the whole night by herself in their bed wondering what he was doing and with whom, or to go, and have to watch exactly what he was doing and with whom while warding off amorous turians.

"And I want you to come to the celebration with me," he murmured in her ear. He seemed to intuit her fear. His mandibles flared. "We'd be exclusive, of course."

Shepard blinked. "What's that mean?"

"You don't mate with anyone but me. I don't mate with anyone but you." He licked her ear. "I haven't forgotten our deal."

Shepard let out a long, ragged breath. That had been her condition for joining him on the Normandy: that he not entertain any other females, turian or otherwise, in his cabin. He'd more than honoured it, too. Shepard had seen quite a few females of various species turn their heads to check out the turian Spectre named Garrus Vakarian, but Garrus himself was oblivious to any woman but her, though she had no idea what made her so special in his eyes.

Garrus was nuzzling her now. "I don't want any woman but you. And it would be bad form for me to stand alone there on the bridge during the whole thing. And it would be very, very uncomfortable…to spend all those hours missing you while everyone else had a nice time."

She quivered and finally opted for wrap her arms around him. "People are going to think we're serious," she teased him.

"We are serious." But he released her, and looked very serious indeed as he gazed into her eyes. "Aren't we?"

She'd never been sure how to interpret his comments about marriage on her first day aboard. He'd never brought it up since. Truth be told, though she was a little afraid of leaping into that kind of commitment with a turian, for fear he might someday want a woman of his own kind, she was all but assured that sleeping with Garrus Vakarian had ruined her ability to enjoy human men. She had everything to gain and nothing to lose.

"I hope so," she murmured.

"Good," he replied. "So you'll come with me then?"

She looked at him for a moment and then started to giggle.

He scowled as he realized the double entendre in his words, but then he licked her neck and her laughter cut off in a strangled moan. "Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?"

She couldn't deny it. Her hands massaged his shoulders, and she wondered if she might be able to get a little action before it was time to go to the bridge.

Garrus groaned—holding onto his self-control was clearly not easy. "Let's go shower and clean up before you make us unfashionably late."

#

Shepard dried herself off, a little bit miffed that Garrus had managed to avoid sharing the shower with her. He'd washed before he'd gone to see Cadeucia, so he didn't actually need the shower, though Shepard had privately hoped the strip-show she'd given him in the cabin would change his mind. It hadn't, though it had put a noticeable tent in his bodysuit. He'd sat out there the whole time she'd been in here bathing and thinking without him to distract her.

She didn't want to think, dammit, about the event they were about to attend. She just couldn't imagine getting naked in front of the whole crew. She was more than nervous—she was scared, but she couldn't let Garrus go alone. Not because she didn't trust him, but because she didn't want to imagine him alone on the bridge while the rest of the crew…

Oh, God.

What was happening to her? First, she screwed a turian, then she quit her job with C-Sec to shack up with one, and now she was about to take part in some weird mating ritual? She was sick, a fucked-up xenophile, and she should leave right now to check herself into a psychiatric institution. Maybe the doctors there could tell her why she was starting to get hot and wet when she thought about the whole crew getting a firsthand demonstration of just what Garrus Vakarian could do to her…

Wrapped in a towel, she opened the door to the head and stepped out into the cabin. Garrus was lounging on their bed, wearing an outfit that reminded Shepard of a kimono more than anything else. It was dark blue with subtle green and gold patterns. She had to admit he looked good, really good, and a selfish part of her wanted to just jump him here and now, duty be damned. She was getting horny enough to feel pent-up and edgy.

Shepard looked in her closet and then she laughed, on the verge of hysteria. "What do I wear?" The idea of wearing clothing to an orgy seemed ridiculous and yet she couldn't imagine walking up to the Normandy's control deck completely naked.

"You should wear that black silk robe," he murmured, his voice thick. "Nothing underneath it."

His rough voice rose goose bumps all down her arms as she took off the towel and did as he requested. She could feel his eyes on her, watching her. He looked hungry, and she shifted uncomfortably; her bud was hot and swollen and, though she was wet inside, it felt very dry. She'd love his hands on her, or better yet, his tongue. Her breasts felt tender and sensitive; her nipples were hard peaks under the robe, and he hadn't even touched her yet.

It would feel so good to rub herself, just a little, just to bleed off a little tension—but she didn't. Better she go into this not thinking clearly. If she really thought about it, she'd lose her nerve.

So she shifted her stance, and even the slight pressure of her own thighs against her swollen folds made her moan. Garrus came up behind her, ran his tongue over the side of her neck, and she sighed, her arousal clear.

"You're beautiful," he murmured. "I can't wait to be with you."

"I'm scared," she admitted as she looped her arm around his neck.

"Don't be," Garrus answered gently. "I am for you. You are for me. I don't mind if everyone knows…no. I want everyone to know just how much I love you. How much I want you. How good we are together." He nuzzled her neck. "Let's go up there…and show them."

#

As the elevator opened, Shepard noticed that someone had done a little rearranging to the Normandy's main deck. The work chairs were gone, replaced by a series of couches, pillows, divans, and blankets spread around the room against the outer wall. It was a bizarre sight, to see a low chaise that would have looked right at home in some primitive human Sultan's harem tucked up against the weapons control panel, or a pile of brightly coloured cushions tumbling from the helmsman's console. Small tables bearing glasses and decanters of wine were placed around the room, and at first, Shepard wondered just how much wine everyone was supposed to drink; then she realized that nobody was going to be topping up glasses during this kind of party.

Most of the Normandy's crew was clustered around the galaxy map. Shepard's eyes scanned the room, taking in who was there and who was not.

Unsurprisingly, the only other human on the ship, Warrant Officer Ashley Williams, was nowhere to be seen . Ashley's grudging participation in this mission, out of a desire to bring the renegade Captain Anderson to justice and prove that humans were willing to fix their own mistakes, had gradually developed into trust and real affection for the turians of the SR-1 Normandy—but Shepard wasn't surprised to see that her affection did not extend as far as screwing them. Mercifully, the krogan, Wrex, was also absent. To Shepard's surprise, the quarian, Tali, was there, holding hands and exchanging shy glances with Lilihierax. The asari, Liara, was present was well, and looking curiously at Lorik Qui'in, completely oblivious to Lantar Sidonis staring longingly at her.

As Garrus and Shepard walked towards the bridge, the chatter in the room died down until by the time they stood side by side in front of the galaxy map, facing the crew, the whole assembly had fallen silent.

"Crew of the SR-1 Normandy," Garrus began, "it has been my honour and privilege to serve as your commander. Against all odds, and with so few supporters, we have carried the day. Captain Anderson, in the end, recognized that he had been indoctrinated, and gave his life so that we could stop Sovereign. The Reaper has been destroyed, and the Council, saved. We could not have done it without each and every one of you."

The crew cheered. Garrus continued, "This war is not yet over. The Reapers are coming, and in the days ahead, we will be called upon to face them. I know I will be able to count on you then, as I count on you now. But tonight, we join together, to celebrate our victory!"

The crew cheered again, louder, rowdier.

"Commander!" A voice calling from the back—Garrus' old friend, Lantar Sidonis. "Show us how it's done!"

Whistling, howling, and more cheering. Shepard quivered nervously, and as the fabric of her silk robe stroked the skin beneath, she was reminded once again that she wasn't wearing anything underneath and the whole crew was looking at her and Garrus. She was embarrassed already and she was still wearing the robe.

"Before we begin," Garrus said, "who is exclusive?" He asked the question by taking Shepard's hand in his and raising them to the assembly for all to see.

Cadeucia raised her hand at exactly the same time as the pilot raised his. Those two had been married for years and by now the whole crew was accustomed to seeing them bunt heads and nuzzle when they passed one another.

Shepard raised an eyebrow when two of the weapons officers, both male, raised their hands together. No one else, however, seemed the least bit surprised, and Shepard remembered that turians tended not to care about one another's personal tastes as long as they didn't interfere with their duties.

Lilihierax and Tali raised their hands and ducked their heads. Shepard wasn't sure turians could blush, but Li was trying his hardest, and Shepard had bet that Tali had turned strange colours as well underneath her mask.

"And who is simply observing?" Garrus asked as he lowered his hand and Shepard's.

Another three turians raised their hands. Shepard knew one of them—a female in the maintenance section who had a husband and kids at home on Palaven. Jarringly, though, she knew there were more than three turians in the crew with mates elsewhere. Oh well, not her business. It wasn't as though she were going to be doing someone else's husband. There were a lot of good-looking turian men on the Normandy, but only one Garrus Vakarian.

Shepard had to admit that this little ritual made her feel a lot better. They were making it obvious, right now, who was off-limits. She tightened her grip on his hand and felt a reassuring squeeze.

Garrus leaned forward, touching his forehead to hers in what she now knew to be a turian kiss. There was a series of "awww's" and sighs from the crew, though someone in the back—it sounded like Ogrinn—called "Get on with it!" to a chorus of boos.

There was a noise behind her. Shepard turned to watch as four turians carried a large couch into position behind the galaxy map, set it down, and moved back. She could guess exactly what it was for, and, swallowing nervously, she looked questioningly at Garrus.

He bowed his head, whispered in his ear. "Close your eyes and let me help you forget everyone else."

Meaning the crew would be watching, but hell, if anyone could help her forget all those eyes, it would be Garrus.

Shepard reminded herself she was doing this for him, not for herself. If this was what was expected of him, she had to play her part. Still, she really hoped he didn't bend her over the couch, or something embarrassing.

When they reached the couch, Garrus surprised her by taking a seat on it and patting his lap, encouraging her to sit. Confused, Shepard began to do so, only to realize that he had grabbed the hem of her robe and flipped it up, so that her bare ass was sitting in the hollows of his thighs. His naked thighs. He must have opened his kimono or whatever the hell it was called as she was sitting down.

Clever turian. She still had her robe on, and nobody could see that her ass was bare or that his shaft was even now probing her inner thighs in search of her opening. They could have sex right here while she was still fully covered.

She waited while he wriggled under her—it felt like he was patting her ass, though she could guess he was actually putting on a condom. Then he wrapped his arms around her, stroking her breasts through the silk, and while her cheeks did heat up a little as she saw the crew watching her getting fondled, she had to admit it was kind of turning her on, too. His hands slipped down to her waist, then gripped her hips. She couldn't help but moan as the head of his cock nestled between her folds. But just before he released whatever muscles he had that kept his shaft inside his body when he wasn't using it—right before he entered her—they received an interruption that Shepard had not been expecting.

The Normandy's navigator, Aquila, had stepped forward from the group of turians and approached them. She stopped just a bare pace away.

Shepard had initially had trouble with Aquila. The navigator was a self-described "turian nationalist," which Shepard translated as "raging xenophobe." Garrus said she'd had some bad experiences during the First Contact War, though that didn't explain her dislike of Wrex, Tali and Liara, or justify the fact that she'd snubbed both Ashley and Shepard, even though Shepard had done her best to be friendly. Still, in the last week or so, she'd seen signs that Aquila had been starting to come around. Right before the battle of the Citadel, in fact, Aquila had told Shepard that she'd been proud to fight alongside her.

Shepard didn't know why Aquila would think to interrupt them now, though, not now that she and Garrus were on the verge of a rather public sex act.

Aquila bowed her head. "The crew wishes to offer you both our gratitude."

Shepard leaned her head back. "Garrus, what does that mean?"

Aquila was not done. She fell to her knees before them. "And for my behaviour during this mission, I would like to offer you both my most eloquent apology. For this reason the crew has elected me to show their thanks, so that I might perform my penance. Will you accept this gift?"

Shepard stared at her blankly. "Garrus, I don't get it."

He ran his hands along the side of her waist. "Do you remember my eloquent argument to get you to join this mission?"

Oh, yes, she remembered Garrus' clever tongue very well, and the fact that he hadn't bothered using it to form words. Instead he'd taken her to his room, to his shower, and dropped to his knees, where he had…

Shepard looked down at Aquila and blushed as she realized what the navigator was offering. "We can't do that. We're exclusive."

Aquila looked as though she'd been slapped. Or punched, right in the gut. Or both.

Shepard looked at her partner again for guidance. She hadn't meant to hurt Aquila, and now the crew were murmuring in consternation and Shepard was getting this strange notion that she'd offended them, or worse.

"We can," Garrus murmured, "if you want to."

She twisted in his lap to stare at him.

"Just this once," he said with a tentative smile. "A special reward."

Her eyes narrowed. "Why would you let me…you want the same freedom, don't you? Blowjobs from your crew."

"No. I just think this could be very nice for us both." He tilted his head. "But it's up to you."

There was something she was missing. "What would you get out of it?" Garrus didn't strike her as the type who liked to watch. He was far too…active…for that.

Garrus whispered in her ear so only she could hear his answer.

"I know how much you love to be licked. I think it would make you come, many times. Do you know how it feels for me, to be inside you when you come? Your muscles do…things…to me…" His breath was hot, his breathing ragged. "She would lick you, and I would be inside you, and every time you came I would feel it…" His hands slid from her rib cage up to her breasts, cupping them.

Shepard felt her pulse accelerate. Garrus' talons took her nipples, pinched ever so slightly, rolled them.

How would that feel—raspy turian tongue and Garrus inside her at the same time?

Oh, God, it didn't help when she could feel his cock pressing between her legs, seeking admittance. Her nipples were hard and tight. Her bud throbbed for attention.

"What do you want in return?" she asked Aquila, her voice trembling.

The female turian bowed. "Only for you to accept my apology."

Shepard shivered. "All…all right."

She felt Garrus' teeth nip at her neck. Encouraging her.

Oh, God.

This couldn't be right. But she was doing it. Shepard sat back, feeling Garrus' cock slip inside her. His concave thighs provided the ideal seat; her ass fit into the hollows perfectly. Trembling, Shepard spread her legs as Garrus crossed his hands protectively over her abdomen.

Shepard dared not lift her eyes. She knew damn well the crew was watching her, and if she looked at them looking at her, she'd bolt for sure.

And yet she couldn't close her eyes either. She stared at Garrus' hands and folded hers overtop of them for security as she watched Aquila move forward and assume position. The female turian peeled back Shepard's robe, exposing her. Aquila's talons slipped beneath Shepard's legs, just above the knee, supporting her.

"May I please you both?" Aquila asked.

Shepard barely had time to register that the ritualized consent had to be some kind of turian thing, not just a Garrus thing, when she heard her mate rumble his assent and she realized that Aquila was waiting for her permission.

Oh God, am I really going to do this?

Her clit burned. It was so hot. Cool saliva, a soft tongue—it would feel so good.

"Yes," she said.

Garrus nipped her again, approvingly.

Aquila touched her tongue to Shepard's clit.

Shepard mewled, shivering from pent-up tension. Garrus' hands began to move, slipping under her robe, gently kneading her breasts. Rewarding her. She could feel him swelling inside her. Aquila licked her and she moaned.

Then she felt another tongue—Garrus' tongue—caressing the back of her neck. Halfway through the lick, Aquila joined in.

"Oh, my God," Shepard gasped.

Garrus' tongue retreated. "Do you like it?" he murmured.

He was giving her a way out, but…

She trembled, watching Aquila squint her eyes in delight as she began another long, slow lick. Turians love to please their superiors, Shepard remembered. She had absolutely no argument that she was coercing the navigator or taking advantage; Aquila looked very, very happy to be right where she was.

"I love it," Shepard whispered.

She spread her legs as widely as she could, giving Aquila full access and feeling Garrus sink deeper inside her. Her body relaxed, and she heard Garrus groan; her lowered resistance meant he'd been able to expand inside her, and she knew how much he enjoyed that.

Garrus' tongue moved over her neck again. Aquila made a happy noise and resumed, licking steadily now, shifting her tongue's position ever so slightly each time to stop any one area from becoming oversensitized too quickly.

And Shepard closed her eyes. She didn't know how to cope with the knowledge that the whole crew was observing this display, so she shut them out and focused on the one person who always gave her strength.

"Garrus," she moaned.

He pressed his teeth into her shoulder, a reminder that he was there, with her, in her.

And with him beside her, she had courage to abandon her inhibitions in the knowledge that he would be there to protect her, support her, defend her. Her thoughts, no longer wasted on fears, could be better used to appreciate the pleasure rippling through her body. Garrus' shaft, pumping a little more roughly now inside her. Garrus' claws, cupping her breasts, flicking her nipples. Her robe fell open. She didn't care. Garrus' tongue, scraping her neck, marking her as his. And, God help her, Aquila's tongue, so hot and soft and wet, worshipping her on behalf of the whole crew…

And all she had to do was pump her hips and arch her back and savour the sensations…and come.

Shepard felt her own arousal intensify at a speed and rate she'd never imagined. Her body burned; her clit, greedy, demanded more, her muscles milked Garrus' cock, her back arched to shove her breasts even further into her lover's hands. She felt like some kind of primitive turian sex goddess, sitting here on Garrus' lap, her legs spread, her hands tearing her robe open wide, and as her body began to quiver like a live wire from sexual tension, she opened her eyes.

Yes, the crew was watching her.

And she watched them, fearlessly, not the least ashamed as sensation tore through her, setting her afire. She stretched her legs as wide as she could, arching her back, displaying herself to the crew, trembling on the point of orgasm. Just a little more…please…a little more…

Garrus growled behind her, gripped her breasts painfully tightly, thrust hard.

Shepard couldn't keep her eyes open as her orgasm ripped through her. She convulsed as Garrus pumped inside her and Aquila pinned her hips in her claws and pressed her onslaught, licking faster, more forcefully. The crew cheered. Shepard gasped air into her lungs, wondering how long one orgasm could last. Garrus howled as he spilled inside her, his talons raking over her ribs.

Finally, Shepard stilled and opened her eyes. She was slick with sweat; Garrus, under her, was breathing heavily and leaning back against the couch for support. The crew, however, were no longer watching. Apparently her and Garrus' orgasm was the cue for the crew to go at it, and that they most certainly had done. She and Garrus were all but forgotten by everyone save one person.

Aquila still knelt before her, head lowered, eyes on the floor.

Shepard lifted herself up with muscles that felt like rubber. Garrus gently withdrew from her so she could move in his lap to face him. She kissed him fiercely, but all the while she was aware of Aquila's presence, and so she kept the kiss short.

She couldn't find the words to ask him what she needed to know. She stared deeply into his eyes, glanced at Aquila, nuzzled him, and then looked at him questioningly. Mercifully, Garrus understood.

"I love you," he murmured, reassuring her that he had not found her behaviour slutty or disgusting. He nodded to the navigator. "You should thank her," he murmured to Shepard, "so she can join the others."

Shepard blushed. She was barely able to stammer out the words "thank you," now that she was able to think coherently. Aquila, however, seemed happy as she rose to her feet and found herself immediately the center of attention from several turians who wanted a little of what Shepard had just enjoyed and were willing to offer favours in return.

Shepard turned away from the female and clung to Garrus, burying her face against the side of his neck. He held her, stroking her, caressing her cheek with his tongue. "Jane," he said quietly, over and over, guarding her while she got her breath back.

When she finally released him, he stroked her hair and asked, gently, if she wanted to go. She realized he would take her back to the cabin if she asked him to, and that he would stay with her—but as she looked around the deck, she realized that the activity which seemed perverse and deviant to a human was apparently just turians being turians.

If he was at all serious about that marriage business, then she had better get used to this.

She took a deep breath to steady her nerves. "No," she told him. "No, I don't want to go back to the cabin. Tonight…I want to party like a turian."

#

Eventually, Shepard found herself facedown on the galaxy map, her breasts rubbing back and forth on….she thought it was Hawking Eta and the Ismar Frontier, but she couldn't tell for sure. Her hands splayed out in the direction of the Far Rim. Garrus was gripping her hips with his talons and thrusting again and again into her folds still slick with Aquila's saliva.

Shepard lifted her head and forced her eyes to focus. Across the room, the stores officer was taking on two crewmates at once, one with her mouth, one with her rear, while a third tapped his foot impatiently, waiting for his turn. Liara was bouncing in Lorik Qui'in's lap. Cadeucia had her pilot husband pinned to the floor.

Shepard turned her gaze to the side. Lilihierax appeared to be quite innocently tinkering with something on his omni-tool, or it would be innocent were it not for the fact that whatever he was doing was causing Tali to writhe and moan most indecently. Shepard had a vague recollection of something about neural stimulators in quarian suits, and then her thoughts, already blurred by waves of pleasure, were interrupted by another body slamming down next to hers on the galaxy map.

Aquila. And she seemed to have found herself a playmate of her own. Shepard tried to remember the name of the turian who was atop her—Ogrinn, that was it. Shepard was almost certain he was married, and not to Aquila, but if the navigator knew, she obviously didn't care as she closed her eyes and mewled in ecstasy.

Shepard knew she really ought to be more concerned about the fact that she'd just had great oral sex from someone who first, wasn't Garrus, second, was another woman, and third, was now getting fucked right beside her by a man who was married to someone else while she, and Garrus, watched, and did some fucking of their own. Instead of being upset, or disgusted, it just made her hotter, and soon she came…screaming.

Shepard wasn't even finished when Aquila squirmed beside her and started lapping her neck. The shocking intrusion was inexplicably exiting and Shepard found herself peaking again, before the last sensations had fully ebbed.

There was really only one thing to do—reach over and rub Aquila behind her fringe, returning the favour as the female turian found her own pleasure.

My God, was there any bottom level to this debauchery? What the hell did the turians put in their wine? Her head reeled. Even Garrus appeared to be rapidly approaching the limits of his endurance; he was ramming himself deeper than ever now, wilder, rougher, snarling low in his throat as his talons pierced her hips and his shaft threatened to split her…

Shepard was so exhausted, she could do little but hold on for the ride, gasping for air and shrieking with pleasure until Garrus was shuddering inside her, and her vision fuzzed to grey, then black.

#

"It really is a shame for you to cover her up like that." Lantar Sidonis' voice seemed to be coming from a long distance away.

Shepard, however, was very comfortable right where she was. There was a warm body beneath hers, holding her securely. The familiar scent told her it was Garrus. His tongue laved her neck; then she felt something soft and fuzzy against her cheek. A blanket.

"She's cold," Garrus murmured.

Shepard frowned. She'd wanted him to say he loved her—even an acknowledgement of satisfaction would have been nice. His words made no sense as an endearment, and….

Laughter, close at hand. "She'll be angry when she wakes up." Shepard realized, slowly, that Garrus had to be talking with Lantar. "She'll think you're ashamed of her. If I had a lover like that, I would show her body off to everyone who would look."

"She's human," Garrus replied. "Humans don't like being on display naked." He stroked her back through the blanket, and she sighed as the soft fabric caressed her skin.

"Really?"

"Yes," Garrus purred as his other hand—the one under the blanket—caressed her belly. "Humans like to save the sight of their bodies as a gift for their mates."

"Strange," Sidonis murmured, and then rumbled in his throat. "Yet oddly enticing. So, just for you, hm?"

"All mine," Garrus retorted smugly.

"Except for last night."

"Yes." He sounded strangely subdued as he stroked her hair. "I pushed her very far, Lantar. Perhaps too far."

"You know, the crew used to wonder what the hell you were thinking, mating with a human," Sidonis said suddenly. "Exclusively, no less. And she might have won their respect for her skills and courage but…now, she's one of us. Species be damned. There's no man or woman on this ship who can honestly say you two aren't good together."

Shepard snorted as she cracked open one eye. "Thanks, Lantar."

The other turian had the good graces to look surprised as he hastily excused himself.

Garrus growled happily, nuzzling her. "Good morning," he murmured.

"Hey there," she replied, kissing his cheek and looking around.

They were back on the couch where they'd started the evening before. The room looked like a war zone, and most of the crew appeared to still be sleeping, draped over the furniture and one another. Some of the chairs had been broken during the festivities, and the bridge would probably smell like turian wine and sex for a long time to come.

"You guys really know how to party," she teased.

Garrus licked her cheek. "Thank you," he whispered in her ear.

"For what? Accepting an honourary membership in a species of debauched militaristic perverts?"

His jaw dropped…then he tilted back his head and laughed.

Shepard shrugged, feeling strangely shy. "I might as well accept that it takes one to know one."

Garrus nuzzled her again. "So I didn't ask too much of you?"

"Well…" She looked around the room again, at the sight of Aquila sprawled out between Ogrinn and Captain Gavorn, at Tali and Lilihierax curled up sweetly in the corner, and at Liara face-down in Lorik's lap, and shook her head. "As long as you folks don't do this kind of thing every week. I think it'd stop my heart."

"We'll wait until after our next stroll into hell, hm?"

"You're presuming I'll want to walk right into hell with you, aren't you?"

Garrus looked so crestfallen at the question that Shepard had to laugh. "I love you. Yes. I'll come with you." She kissed him again. "Wherever you lead, I'll follow."

Her mate murmured in her ear, "I had an interesting communication come in while you were sleeping. The Council wants to nominate you for Spectre training."

Shepard grew very still in his lap. "What did you tell them?"

"I told them it was your decision. And…I told them that I would only let you go if they would send you back to me." He ducked his head. "I hope that wasn't too controlling of me."

"Controlling? That you knew exactly what I would have asked for? No." She stroked his fringe. "What would you think, if I went?"

"I would think that when you came back, we should get married. Enter a partnership as equals."

Shepard found herself shivering, and not because she was naked under the blanket. Beneath her, Garrus grew very still.

"You've never told me what you thought of that idea," he said quietly. "Us married, and not just lovers."

She never had, because part of her had always thought he might not mean it. Now, though—it wasn't just the crew who could no longer doubt that they belonged together. For the first time in her life, it was no longer a hope—it was a fact.

"I think I'd love that," she said quietly. "Almost as much as I love you."