Edit: Cleaned this up a bit, added more where I thought it needed it. Hopefully it reads better.

They sat across from each other in the med bay, on two separate exam tables. Dr. Chakwas had just finished applying the bandages around Shepard's midsection and had left to find more gauze for Garrus despite his protests that he didn't need them.

The blue blood seeping from a particularly nasty-looking wound in his side didn't help his case, but for the moment, they were alone.

"Garrus, you should have allowed Dr. Chakwas to bandage that up. It looks like you're trying to paint the med bay blue."

He shrugged, and winced when he did, "Internal takes priority over external, Shepard."

"Garrus, I can't…you need to be more careful," she ended rather lamely and thought back on the mission that had almost taken them both out.

They'd walked into an ambush, a rocket being launched at them almost as soon as they'd stepped through the door. She'd only barely registered the significance of the oncoming ball of light when Garrus had shoved them both behind a nearby crate, nearly crushing her with his weight.

The rat-tat-tat of enemy fire flew over their heads as Shepard reloaded her gun throwing a hurried "thanks," in his direction before leaning over the crate and engaging the enemy.

she didn't notice the metal shard protruding from his side…

or the blood seeping from it.

There wasn't time, she told herself, they were fighting for their lives.

In the end, they'd both ended up in the medbay where a severe-looking Chakwas worked to patch them up. She'd ended up with a couple fractured ribs and a few nasty bruises across her abdomen. It wasn't until then the doctor made Garrus take his armor off that Shepard realized the extent of his injuries.

"No more playing turian-shield," she said moodily.

He scoffed, "Yeah, Shepard. Whatever you say."

"That's an order!" she snapped, surprising both of them.

He shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Well, it's one I'm not going to follow. You die Shepard, and this whole thing falls apart and everyone knows it."

"That's not true," she whispered feebly, looking down at the ground. She needed this team, the whole team. She'd been with the Alliance for a long time, was one of their most decorated soldiers, but it wasn't until now that she thought she understood what it meant to lead.

A few months ago, she would have said the mission took priority no matter who had to die to see it through. She had a reputation for getting shit done. It wasn't that the means had always justified the ends- it was that the means just didn't matter.

Now…now she just felt confused. These people, they meant something to her. They were no longer among the expendables, they were…

She felt a gloved hand nudge her chin up.

"Look Shepard, if it'll make you feel better, I'll try to be more careful," he said awkwardly. Clearly, her silence was making him uncomfortable.

She scoffed and a small smile played across her lips. "That's all I can ask."

He seemed to relax, and slowly leaned back (wincing the entire way) so that his back rested against the wall. With a long sigh, he closed his eyes and they once again settled into silence.

She closed her eyes too- damn, she was exhausted –and flirted with idea of sleep when she heard a quiet wheezing and forced her eyes back open.


His face was contorted- his features twisted in obvious pain. His breaths were haggard, his chest expanding in uneven, short, spurts. She could see the wicked curve of his teeth though his open mouth, the wheezing sound escaping between them.

"You okay?"

It was a stupid question, the guy was bleeding everywhere. Even so, he grit his teeth, but didn't open his eyes. "Never better," he spat out and immediately started coughing up dark blue blood.

"Shit!" Shepard jumped up from exam table, felt a blinding pain shoot up her left side, and stumbled to him.

"Garrus!" she shouted again grabbing his shoulder with one hand to steady herself and gripping her side with her other.

"Damn it, Shepard," he coughed, drops of blue coloring her bandages, "Sit down or you'll open that wound back up!"

Too late. She thought, feeling a thick, warming sensation pooling at her side and soaking the gauze there.

She pushed away from him and started ripping open every cabinet door searching for…something. It didn't matter that she didn't know anything useful about turian physiology, didn't know what might help. Was it his actual wound? Was it blood loss? Was it shock? She had no idea.

Where the fuck was Chakwas?

She slammed a drawer too hard and it bounced back, shooting out, and hitting her injured side. With a grunt she slid to her knees, eyes watering.

Garrus, for his part, seemed caught between coughing up and laughing up his insides. It was all she could do to flip him the bird as she sank further to the ground and into the fetal position, her head settling into a puddle of blue blood at the turian's feet.

His laughter (and coughing) only intensified and she couldn't help it when the first snort escaped her lips. She tried to ignore the giddiness she felt building in the pit of stomach, knowing it would hurt like hell and that if she started, it was unlikely she'd be able to stop…

…and this really wasn't all that funny anyway.

A few moments later, Dr. Chakwas reentered the room, fresh gauze in hand and nearly dropped it. One of her patients- her commander- was on the floor, soaking up blue blood, hands gripping her newly opened wound, laughing hysterically, while the other -whose blood was dribbling down his face and out his side- laughed right along with her.

She sprang to action immediately, going to a drawer that wasn't spilled on the floor -just what the hell had happened in here?- and grabbed two prefilled syringes, one with a greyish liquid, the other with bright blue, and injected the hysterical pair.

She wiped her forehead, alarmed and confused, as the noise died down and she waited for the sedative to take full effect.