Author's Note: written for Mass Effect kink meme on livejournal. Anon wanted: Garrus/FemShep species swap; Like a gender-bender but not; While exploring ruins on a new planet, Shepard, Garrus and unspecified-squad-member-three come across a hi-tech Prothean device. Squad-member-3 accidentally (or maybe not?) activates said device and *poof* Garrus is human and Shepard is turian. Of course, once back on the Normandy and told by Mordin that they'll just have to wait for the effects to wear off, curiosities are piqued and sexing ensues.

Author's Note The Second: While clearly this was meant to be just smutty smut smutastico, it got REAL. And there's actually only a tiny bit of smut to play lipservice to the Great And Powerful Meme, because I think it could easily have done without. It's that serious with the emotions and FEELINGS and things. (I'm also half-tempted to write a totally bonkers AU where neither of them ever change back fully and what that means for both of them in their respective societies at large...)

Disclaimer: Bioware owns all.

"You've got to be kidding me."

Chakwas merely stood off to the side, a smile escaping the hand she had mostly covering her mouth.

"Why jest? Clearly condition is temporary."

"Temporary? How can you tell? What guarantee can you make me?"

While Shepard shrieked at Mordin (who was entirely nonplussed) in her newly dual-toned voice, Garrus was completely silent, prodding his skin curiously and examining his fingernails. He pulled at his hair, letting a lock curl and uncurl around his fingers, and he scrunched his facial muscles in such an innocent comical way that Chakwas snorted into her hand. He didn't even seem to heed her.

"No guarantee. Simply very informed assumption. Pass out of blood system in natural course, re-written DNA will not duplicate. Back to normal, no time at all."

Shepard let out a low growl of frustration, and Garrus's head whipped around and he stared at her.

"Doctor Solus, I think Garrus and Commander Shepard just need some time to adjust to situations. If there is truly nothing that can be done for them, they will simply have to...wait it out," she offered, and Shepard tried to glare at her, with only mild success.

# # # # #

"Too traumatizing to the crew? To the crew? I'm missing four fingers, can no longer purse my lips and I feel weir..."


"You know, your voice doesn't sound much different. Also. I like your hair," she added, but she sounded utterly miserable even though he was pretty sure that was a compliment.

"Mordin said it would flush out of our systems, we just have to sit tight and let it happen. You're getting all worked up over nothing."

She stopped pacing, and turned to look him, sitting on her desk in completely mundane Cerberus-issue threads (it was all anyone had, but at least these didn't bear the logo), his shoulders hunched. His fingers gripped the edge of the desk, and he wasn't looking at her.

"You okay, Garrus?"


"No, really. Talk to me. I've been bitching this whole time and you've hardly said a word."

"It's just really...odd."

"You're telling me."

"No, I're..." he looked up at her. "You make a very attractive turian, and..." he dropped his gaze again.

She crossed her arms and jutted her hip, and found that when she wasn't paying attention, her mandibles seemed to flutter in amusement all on their own. "And?"

"And this body does a very poor job of disguising arousal!" he said louder.

"Holy crap Garrus. You're blushing."

"I know. It's infuriating. Everything about your bodies gives away your emotions. There are no secrets with your species!" Suddenly he sounded pretty upset, and it was her turn to laugh.

"Welcome to my life. It took me forever to figure out when you were screwing with me and when you were serious." He just 'hmpf'ed and so she decided to tease him. "So is my...waist supportive?" She put her hands on her hips, and he looked up at her with his head still bowed. "How about my fringe?" she reached for her head like she was going to run her fingers through her hair and promptly jabbed herself in the side of the head. "Ow!"

He let out a chuckle. "Careful."

"I miss my boobs," she said remorsefully, and that got her a full laugh from him, which in turn got a smile out of her.

They loitered awkwardly before Shepard decided nothing would make the time pass any faster, so it would be better if they both got completely soused. She shooed him out of the way, and he slid over on the desk, making room for her to duck (awkwardly - her height wasn't the same as it was before and she didn't bend quite the same way) under her desk.

She rose with her fingers wrapped around two bottlenecks. He smiled and said "magic" and she looked positively victorious.

"Hey, at least you can drink this now - have a beer, Garrus," she fiddled with the bottle opener for a moment and then a small smile was visible with the crack and hiss of success. She handed him the bottle, which he examined curiously before opening hers and tipping it to her mouth.

Just in time for Garrus to shout "stop! No!" and she spluttered.

"Okay, now I'm pissed."

"And you weren't before?"

"I can't have beer! This sucks!" She contemplated it for a moment, and then just tipped it back. "I don't care, if I'm going to be miserable, I'm going to be drunk and miserable."

He chuckled, and she found it ridiculously adorable. And okay, attractive. He made an attractive human. She'd just been messing with him before, but she really didn't feel attractive herself, despite his insistence that she was. She was flat-chested (or, well, bow-chested but without the definition of femininity), didn't have hair to run her fingers through, and she felt rough and sharp instead of soft and curvy. Garrus, on the other hand, had the same brilliant blue eyes but seemed to draw in upon himself, giving the air of being less confident than she knew him to be. It was a bit of a sick double-standard, but human-Garrus was really growing on her. She just wished she was a bit more squishy herself so she could show him how much fun it was. As it stood, she didn't want him to touch her.

"Why so miserable? In case you missed it before, I was pointing out that you're not as unattractive as you think you are."

"Stop reading my mind," she grumbled, and stalked down the short steps (almost falling on her face) to sprawl on the couch. She heard the soft footfall of him hopping off her desk to come around the corner and join her.

"How do you think I feel?"

"You look hot, so you don't get to complain."

He crossed his arms across his chest, and raised one eyebrow (which she got a kick out of, since he couldn't do it before, but clearly the urge had always been there). "And I was unattractive before?"

Her shoulders sagged. "Stop being the girl. I wouldn't've let you touch me if I didn't find you attractive. It's you're differently attractive."

"Closer to home."

"Not in the way you mean," she started, and then let out a huff. "Stop making my self-conscious body issues about you. I'm brooding in true turian fashion and I don't want an audience, but as we're out in the middle of nowhere, I also don't want you to get shot on my ship, or hell, me get shot on my ship just because no one recognizes us. I've got a bit of a shoot-first crew here," she pointed out.

"I know." He sat down across from her, close enough but far enough to respect her new desire for personal space. "I'm not looking for compliments here, Shepard. Not to rehash the past, but I never lacked for female companionship. I know I, well, was," he said, and plucked at his shirt, "attractive for my species. Or at least attractive enough. So you say I'm attractive like this, fine, but I feel exposed. I feel...naked. I don't feel like any amount of armor will protect me. And you? I said I never really thought of humans...that way, but you have some other quality that supercedes your...humanity that made me take the risk with you. Now? Now I wish I was in my right body because I wouldn't have to worry about hurting you..."

"Bruises and scrapes heal."

He rose quickly and stalked away from her. "See? I don't know how to deal with you like this! You insist on finding the worst part about everything, and that's not like you!"

She sat forward, still rigid. "And all I want to do is fucking kiss you and I can't!"

He tried not to look hurt. "You said that didn't matter," his voice was flat.

"It doesn't!"

"Then why...?"

She sat back and turned away from him again. "Because it wasn't possible before, so it didn't matter, but now it is and I can't have it and it just pisses me off that this ever happened."

He sighed. "Can't say I'm thrilled with it all that much either, since it seems to be showing me this other side of you that I don't understand and I don't think I like very much."

"I don't want to argue with you, I just want to go back to normal and forget this ever happened," she replied softly, and he couldn't help but feel he'd hurt her somehow. He knew it was all in her head, but his hangups about feeling like anyone could just come in and evicerate him were now warring in his head with this feeling like being together had been some sort of mistake, and that butted heads with his instinct that they actually had overcome their species' differences and this was both more and less complicated than that. It was all very confusing.

He let her sulk for a moment, and then went over to the couch and held out a hand. She stared at his hand and then placed hers in his and let him pull her up to face him. She was at eye level with him, which he found amusing, because she always had to look up at him, and now they were of a very similar height. She was wearing some of his old clothes, and he couldn't help but think that the way they didn't quite fit was much more endearing when she looked like this than when the only thing of his that she could pull on was a top that she swam in.

He leaned in and laid his forehead against hers, running his hands over her plates and resting them in the curves of her hips. "Your waist is really quite lovely," he said softly, their heads still pressed together. She let out a breathy chuckle. Then he ran one hand up the side of her face and backwards, stroking gently over her fringe, and she finally let her hands rest on his ribs. "And your fringe is beautiful," he added, and she snorted. "No, really. Have you looked at yourself? You've got this dark purply-magenta coloring just here," he gently prodded the area towards the back of her neck and she shivered. "And you'd look great with a little facepaint," he pulled away from her forehead. "Here," he started to trace patterns she could just barely feel over the sharp angles of her face, "and here."

"And what would my facepaint look like?" she asked quietly.

He smiled, and she couldn't help but try to do the same. It was strange was was instinctual and what was new. But his smile just gave her warm fuzzy feelings. "It would match mine, of course."

"Oh yeah, and why is that?" she asked, and he felt a twinge of satisfaction that she'd started to move her fingers lightly, stroking his ribs.

"You're my mate, and depending on whose clan was dominant, I'd either change mine to match yours, or you would change yours to match mine. Except for this bit here," he stroked across a bit of her fringe. "This would be your marking to prove you were unavailable. Every female does something different, but they all follow particular pattern rules."

"And what are those?" her voice remained low, like his, tentative, like their little touches, as though louder noises would chase away this developing familiarity.

He shrugged. "Don't know, never had a mate before," he tilted his head, and then pursed his lips almost comically, and she had no chance to laugh before he pressed them against her face.

It didn't really do much for her, and she really really wished she had her own lips back, because his lips looked quite nice. She chuffed. "Okay, so I get it. The kissing doesn't do much for you. Point taken," she added dryly.

"I do like when you do this, though," he said, and used his less nimble but now much more muscular tongue to press, lick and flick on that part he'd told her was purple (which she felt was a little girly, but then again, she hadn't seen any turian females...that she knew of). It made her shudder, and she was glad that some errogenous zones were the same even though most of them were really (really, strangely) different.

"Mmhmm. That's nice," she agreed, and he carefully went about showing her how, without making it feel like a lesson, touching, stroking certain places was very nice. She started to feel a little bad, like she'd been doing it wrong.

"You haven't been doing it wrong."

"I didn't even say anything!"

"But you sighed in that way that you do when we're..." he paused and gestured with his hand, "and I tell you it does nothing for me."

"Humanity has done nothing for your dirty talk, Garrus," she informed him and he gave a little shrug. "Have I mentioned that I love that you can be so full of innuendo outside of those doors, but the moment you walk through them you become this gentlemanly bumbling fool?"

"That sounds like an insult."

"It's endearing. There's a difference. Believe me. Now do I have to be the one who shoves you down on that bed before you'll have your squishy naked way with me?" The sparkle was back in her eye, and he grinned. He held his hands out to the side and let her push him down and he sunk in and bounced a little on the bed, grinning the whole time. She, meanwhile, discovered that she couldn't quite crawl up the bed the way she used to be able to. She was thankful that her talons seemed shorter than his were (unless he filed them down, which he tended to do more often as of late) as she unbuckled his pants and helped him shuck them off.

# # # # #

Due to new anatomical restrictions ("and here I thought we were finally getting the hang of this"), and amidst discoveries aplenty about their respective original species ("so I'm guessing the 'I want you so much I want to crawl into your skin' method really isn't a thing with your people?"..."That actually sounds kind of disturbing, Shepard."), it took several tries before they found something comfortable for both of them. Where before, Shepard preferred being on top to reduce chafing (and approached intimacy the way one did when they were learning to ride a horse - painful for a long time but then you got used to it), now it was Garrus who was being a baby about his sensitive skin. Neither of them reached orgasm before the awkwardness won out.

"I think we're forcing it too much," she said, out of breath more out of frustration than anything.

"I think we've talked more about our feelings since we played body swap than the entire time I've known you," he said dejectedly. "Clearly being a human male while you still have all the turian," he gestured, "parts isn't any more ideal than the way it was before...but at least before we could..."


He paused, looking at her before looking away. "I always thought of it...differently."

She nodded. "That original plan, just reliving was never going to work that way, was it?"

"Don't think so," he admitted. "It was always...more than that to me."

"Me too," she said, and reached out to touch him, and he hissed in pain. She pulled her hand back and examined the area she'd touched. His skin was bright red with little streaks of red where the skin had been scraped a little too raw by their desperate attempts to prove they could still make love to each other. She crawled out of bed and beckoned to him. "I've got something for that. C'mere."

"I don't understand how you ever let me touch you," he grumbled as she smoothed some of the cooling cream on his thigh she always discretely applied post-coitus.

She wished she could smile a little better. "It's about more than just the sex," she chided, capping the cream. "I mean, the sex is nice..."


"Good, the sex is pretty damn good, okay?" she laughed. "Is your ego appeased now?" He nodded and her voice carried as she placed the cream back in her medicine cabinet, and then leaned against the doorway into her bathroom. "There is enough about that part that is complicated that I like that the rest isn't complicated. I like that when we disagree, we argue it out and it's over with. I like that I can be a girl with you, and you just...god, I feel like a moron talking about this, but I like that you just...hold me sometimes. You make me feel safe, and I didn't expect that and..."

"Just sometimes you wish this sex thing was easier?" He stood in front of her and cupped her elbows, fingers stroking the rougher skin there.

"Well, yeah," she chuckled, and he laid his head against hers. She'd come to really like this expression of affection of his.

"Lay down with me?"

She nodded, and let him lead her back to the bed, and they carefully arranged their bodies (he now wore a pair of her sweatpants, and she was reclothed in his) to get comfortable.

They must have dozed for a few hours, and when she awoke before him, she had a funny taste in her mouth. It took her several seconds before she realized her tongue was running over squared-off teeth and it felt thicker in her mouth. She looked over at him, and he continued to sleep, but now his breathing sounded more like she was used to. His skin also wasn't as pink as it had been. She wondered how it was going to work, their dominant DNA retaking the mothership, and clearly it was a fade-out process. She pulled her hand out from under the sheet, and saw that she still had three thick fingers, but the skin was somewhere between turian and human, and there was a visible separation beginning in her two thickest fingers. She reached back under the covers to pick up his hand. His fingers still appeared to be separated, but looked like they were trying to merge together. She let out a soft giggle at the thought that his fingers were so disused to being five that they instinctually separated into the triptych while he they were lonely.

He made a noise in his sleep, and burrowed his head closer to her.

She had her breasts back. She grinned and let out a hushed cheer.

"Go back to sleep," he murmured, and his voice was not quite the same, but it had a ring of the dual-tone she had developed a little crush on shortly after they had met.

"I have my boobs back," she stage whispered in her delight.

He cracked open one eye, and it was back to what was familiar - the blue-in-blue with overlarge pupil. She reached out with her strange in-between fingers and touched the corner of his eye. "Your eyes are back to normal."

"Yours aren't," he said, and reached up to touch hers, his fingers separating again.


He shrugged. "At least we know it is fading."

She nodded, and then felt his fingers stroke over her lips. Lips! She smiled against his fingers, and leaned down to press her lips against his. He froze for a moment, and then let her take the lead, suckling and nibbling, changing her angles. Then she took it one step further and coaxed his mouth open with her own and slipped her tongue between his teeth (of which several felt like canines, but weren't needle-sharp yet). He was a fast learner, and began to participate with enthusiasm. She loved the feel of his velvety tongue against hers, and she reached for him to pull him closer to her. Her skin was a little rougher than his, but she no longer had the plates, and while his skin was moving towards normality, it was just a little rough and he had not redeveloped his plates either.

She pulled away for air. "Let's try this again," she dared him, and reached under the covers to grasp him in her hand. He inhaled sharply.

"Go easy on the newly-human," he joked. "Well, mostly, anyway," he added, seemingly just noticing the rough patches of skin on his own body.

She laughed, and wrapped a leg over his hip, scooting her pelvis closer to his. "I know this is more fair to me than you, but I'm not going to let this opportunity pass me by," she chided, and kissed him again.

"Now I get it," he said, and leaned in to taste her again as she led him into her. She was much tighter around him than she was with his normal physiology, and she made a sharp whimpering noise he was used to that generally indicated good things. She gripped his arms tightly, and it didn't last long, but his shallow thrusts seemed to do the trick.

"Can't quite," he seemed to be trying to get as far into her as he usually did, but the position limited them.

"S'okay," she breathed. "I don't have to worry about you hitting my...cervix this way."

"Just, am...I?"

"Like that, like that," she managed to get out, and curled her body around him (even though her knees didn't quite bend the way she was used to yet) as much as she could, pulling him into her. He tried to return the favor, wrapping his arms around her.

"This what you...meant? Crawling...inside my skin?"

"Mmmhmm," was all he got out of her before her breaths started to shorten and she had no more words, only short staccato "ah"s. He felt her clench around him in a different way than he was used to, and it drew his orgasm out of him. It didn't last as long as he was used to, but it seemed more urgent, more intense. He tried to pull away from her when he was pretty sure it was over, but she tightened her hold.

"No, stay with me like this. For as long as you can."

He smiled easily still, and she kissed him again.

When he woke again, he knew he was going to miss the kissing.