"What's a nice girl like you doing on a space station like this?"

Kells jumped and spun around, grabbing her pistol and hiding it behind her back. "How did you get in here?" she demanded of the large man standing just inside the door, silhouetted by the light outside her dingy apartment.

"Now, now, Miss Tealiegh. I wouldn't ask you to give up your trade secrets. For example: I didn't ask how you got in and out of my base. That's called 'professional courtesy'." Garrus drawled sardonically, sauntering in and locking the door behind him.

It took her a moment to recognize him, as she had grown accustomed to the sight of him in body armor. Out of it, he looked smaller, but no less powerful. She shivered slightly, aggravated at her own attraction to the way his ice blue eyes pierced her, the way his mandibles fluttered slightly. "What can I ask, then?" she countered, slipping a finger to check the safety. It was off.

He tilted his head thoughtfully, as his mandibles twitched. "If you want to play things that way, answer my question first."

She took a deep breath, trying to calm the quivering in her belly, the shaking in her knees. "I was looking for somebody. But I didn't find him, so I left. Why are you here, now? What do you want with me?"

"You know, I could help you with that," he made himself comfortable on the sofa, kicking his foot up on the coffee table and resting his rifle against his thigh. "I've been on Omega a few months. That's a lifetime in a place like this. If he's not here anymore, I might be able to find out where he went. But first, you'll have to tell me who you're looking for."

Kells turned away and fixed herself a drink. Was he one of the kinds that couldn't eat the same food? She hoped not. She wanted to insult him by not offering him any. "Why are you so interested in me, anyway?"

He shook his head. "See? You're not playing by the rules we've established. You have to answer my question first."

Kells turned back to him and leaned against the counter, draining her glass before slamming it on the counter and answering. "His name is Alek. Aleksander Justinian Borges. Leader of the rebellion on Honla, hero to the people, father to my son and utter bastard who abandoned all of us about eighteen months ago. That good enough?" She spat bitterly. "Now: answer my question. Why are you trying to help me?"

He regarded her a moment, unsure of how to proceed. How could he tell her? This woman was a total stranger. And besides, outside of species, they were nothing alike. This one was taller, thinner. She did not have the compact hardness and sure-footed grace of her, who had been conditioned almost from birth to be the consummate soldier. This one's eyes were too wide, a clear, hard grey instead of warm green. She had a mouth that was too wide, and seemed to want to smile more often than it did. Her auburn hair tumbled around her shoulders in an completely impractical way, an affectation Shep- she would never have allowed herself.

But the conviction in her voice, the fire in her eye, the razor sharp wit and the steel in her nerves. The way she was hiding the pistol behind her back and managed to slip in and out of his base without anybody noticing until he reviewed the surveillance tapes when he couldn't sleep. And the way she set his blood on fire with desire. He felt alive for the first time since Shepard had died.

He shrugged and looked away, and Kells relaxed slightly, having grown uncomfortable in his steady, appraising gaze.

"I came to Omega to help people," he told her. "Usually, that 'help' means killing. It would be a nice change of pace to help by finding somebody I was supposed to keep alive."

"I don't like working with aliens," she said matter-of-factually. Yes, aliens. This was not a man. This was an alien. She tried to focus on that, but only found herself noticing how he was not Antiss. He eyes were expressive, he had a sense of humor, he didn't make her head ache with odd smells. And he wasn't Alek, either. He was dependable and capable and calm and serious. Her heart fluttered. "Besides, why would I accept help from somebody who's defenses were so easily penetrated?" she challenged him as she turned to pour another drink.

Garrus acted without thinking. Before Kells could react, he had one arm wrapped firmly around her waist, a leg wedged between hers and both hands pinned against the wall above her head. "Why don't we test your defenses before we start throwing insults around," he breathed against her neck, sending shivers down her spine as he deftly disarmed her and clicked the safety.

He holstered her weapon and she took advantage of her freed arms. She elbowed him in the side and started to slip out of the hold he had around her. But she was not quick enough, and he was too strong. She found herself seated on the counter, facing him, he was between her legs with her hands again pinned against the wall above her head. She struggled against him, trying to work her legs up to kick him away, even though she knew it was useless. "Just try it," she panted. "Brant will be back in a few minutes. How well do you think you'll do against both of us?"

His mandibles quirked and Kells couldn't help but notice how his nose crinkled slightly when he smiled. "I already took care of him."

Her heart plummeted, and she became truly afraid. "You monster! What have you done to him?" For all his faults, Brant was her truest friend in the galaxy. She could not manage without him. Panic rising, she began to fight in earnest.

Garrus tightened his grip. "No, it's not like that. I didn't hurt him, he's just... busy." The Asari had been expensive, but he had never seen her fail. He hoped Brant appreciated it. "Trust me, he'll be fine."

There was a moment, when he stared into her eyes and saw only the wounded terror of a caged animal. "Tell me to go," he said softly, holding her hands in one of his and using his free hand to stroke her hair gently. "Tell me to go and I will."

But she didn't. Fates forgive her, she didn't want him to go. "Why me? What are you really after, Archangel?"

His eyes grew haunted. "You remind me of somebody," he said simply. "Somebody I lost."

"Fair enough," she conceded. "You're nothing like him." She darted her head in and nipped him on the sensitive skin below his ear. He growled and reached up, under her skirt, and hooked a talon into her panties, tearing them off. She kicked off her shoes and hooked her toes on his waistband and pulled it down.

He stared at her in astonishment. "I didn't know humans could do that!"

"I'm a resourceful girl," she quipped, wrapping her legs around his waist and pulling him closer. "What else am I supposed to do when you limit my options?" She grinned in wicked triumph as she felt his arousal growing against her thigh. So that worked the same. Good, it would make things easier.

It was hard, and painful. He was bigger than she expected, and she was too nervous to look but she was sure there were bumps or plates or something that bit into her painfully. She welcomed it.

He let go of her hands and clung to her like a drowning man, plunging into her well of soft heat. She dug her fingers in between his plates, and nipped at sensitive exposed skin. He welcomed it.

It was a desperate act, painful and fierce and loveless and it hurt so sweetly. She wanted it to, she had been carrying the pain inside her heart and it broke and spilled over her body and finally it was out. She began to sob and he pulled back. "Are you alright?" he asked, concerned.

She slapped him as hard as she could. "Don't you dare stop now!"

His head spun and his cheek stung. Mandibles no longer fluttering, he slowly worked even deeper into her. She cried out in pain and ecstasy and he could no longer control himself. He spilled into her with a force that surprised even himself.

He remained within her a moment, reluctant to let the moment of companionship end. She shifted unexpectedly and he was free. He took a breath, trying to steady his racing heart as she slipped around him and off the counter. "Where is your child?" he asked, oddly curious.

"Get out," she ordered flatly, and too late he realized she had retrieved her pistol from his holster.

He pulled his pants back up before raising his hands. "Look, I just-"

"My son is safe and he's going to stay that way. Now get the fuck out before I kill you," she clicked the safety off

"You really ought to get to a clinic," he observed as he slowly made his way to the door, noting a trickle of blood making its way down her leg.

"I can take care of myself..."

"That much is evident."

"And if I even so much as think you're following me or trying to contact me, I will sell you to the Blue Suns. Got it?" She shook with anger. What a waste of time.

He grabbed his rifle and she cocked the trigger. "You might want this," he reached into his pocket and tossed a datapad onto the sofa. "A man matching Borges' description boarded a transport off of the station a few days ago. All the info's right there."

Her eyes darted to the datapad and then back to him. "Th-thank you."

He smiled sadly and turned to go. "I hope you find him. And that he has a damned good reason for running off. If not, well, you know how to find me."

She shook her head. "You need to be more careful about who you trust, Archangel. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday that generous heart of yours is going to get you into trouble. And when it does?" her mouth quirked. "Well, you know how to find me."