Original prompt from the kinkmeme was
So we all know that cross-species relationships are rare, except for with Asari.
So what if one day Sheperd sees a couple; a human and the same Species that Shep's lover is. Or maybe one of the couple spots them.
Anyways. Shep is still new to Lover's culture/way of treating relationships and sex. And somehow (s)he ends up hanging with this other couple, and ends up asking the human of the pair for tips.
Personally, I'd prefer FemShep/Garrus, but I'd love to read anyone's ideas for any pairing.
Learning you only need to worry about allergic reactions in certain cituations, not all sex with Dextro-DNA's. Ex) Just normal penetration sex is fine, but ingestion? Nonono! Or meds that reduce allergic reaction (The news mentioned meds that make people able to eat each other's foods, same concept right?), have fun with it.
Secret/odd erogenous zones.
References to the chat with Mordin and the forwarded advice booklets.
Questions that embarass one/both parties.
Having this happen before Shep's had sex with their lover, and being warned that the intimite anatomy of their lover is rather different. ("It looks scary and spiky, but its soft, don't worry.")
Extra bonus for Shep bringing it up to their lover at some point.
- So, well, I tried. Not really sure it is any good, but maybe it will amuse someone.
The Presidium garden was quiet and almost peaceful during what the Citadel's cycle tentatively dubbed nighttime.
In this case, the ambient lights were way down, and there were even less visitors around than during the daytime. In fact, the only moving creature Shepard had encountered was a Keeper, intent on its own unfathomable business.
Under normal circumstances she wasn't sure whether she approved of the strict access restrictions to the Presidium, which after all meant that the garden was only accessible to a privileged few who probably did neither deserve nor appreciate it, but at this moment she simply was grateful for some peace and quiet. Sometimes, the Citadel's ambient noise level was making her feel like she couldn't even hear herself think anymore.
That last meeting with the Council just now had gone quite as she had expected; of course they didn't believe her, but they hadn't tried to dissuade her when she'd informed them of her decision to get to the bottom of that problem of the humans that had disappeared from their colonies.
She was on her own, but she was still a Spectre. It could have gone worse. She hadn't really expected any help from the Council, anyway. They knew what she was going to do, and that had to be enough.
By all accounts she should be far too busy with all of this to even consider personal problems, but unfortunately it didn't work like that. Her mind kept returning to the problem that her old friend Garrus represented. Or rather, the problem her own reactions to him represented. It wasn't his fault that she wanted more than she should have. Maybe more than he was willing to give. In any case, more than she had any right to ask.
She shook her head. No use thinking about that now.
The Citadel's lighting system was trying for something between moonlight and starlight here, brighter than stars, but ambient. At least whoever was responsible for the daytime sky simulation had forgone trying to simulate a starry night sky as well. She was glad of that. Simulated clouds were one thing, but an artificial starry sky couldn't be any less than tacky, at least to anyone who had ever seen the real thing.
Her feet took her along paths carefully maintained to look almost natural, into a patch of trees and bushes. It was darker here, the plants casting heavy shadows. This looked like a spot enough out of the way to find some quiet and perhaps do some thinking.
Shepard stepped into a small clearing with a small rare silverleaf tree in the center, then stopped abruptly.
It seemed this spot, while remote enough, wasn't as deserted as she had assumed. It was a bit hard to make out the details, with the low light, but there were already two people present.
Shepard just got a glimpse of long light, probably blond, hair from one of the two shapes, which at least was a good hint that one was a human. There was a faint chuckle that turned into a slight moan, and from the sound, it was probably a female, and she seemed to be having a good time.
Shepard suppressed a smile, thinking that some things never changed. Good for them. She had no desire to disturb them, so she turned away, retreating back into the darkness between the trees.
She almost made it back on the path without being detected when a low snarl from somewhere behind her made her stop in her tracks.
That wasn't a sound any human would make, but the tone was vaguely familiar. She turned reflexively to look back. The scene had changed, and there was a turian all right, sitting on the ground, the ambient light reflected off his fringe.
He turned his face towards her, and for a second she shrank back, because what she could see of his facial markings was familiar, and for a split second she thought she'd inadvertently stumbled upon Executor Pallin. Then she noted this turian's eyes were a bright yellow. No, she'd never seen that one before.
It took her a second to realise that the human was no longer with the turian, and she went into full alert immediately.
Instinct told her to step clear from the tree beside her, and she didn't question it.
A split second later that decision was reaffirmed as the blond woman appeared at her shoulder. There was something about the way she moved that was both confident and threatening, and that made Shepard reassess the situation. That one was no civilian or diplomat.
Shepard went into a defence stance, but held her peace otherwise, waiting. She kept her hands off her weapons for now. Her eyes had adjusted to the gloom well, but even so she couldn't make out much of the human's features.
"Well, well. Twitchy, aren't we?" The woman's voice was deep and quite pleasant, and held a sort of confident amusement.
The turian had come up on her other side, too far for Shepard to reach without giving him time to react, close enough to provide support to his partner if necessary. The way those two moved as a team was both surprising and familiar in an uncanny way. And they'd tagged her as potentially dangerous.
She nodded slightly at him, acknowledging that she knew what they were doing. Those two were professionals, and used to fighting together.
"I didn't mean to disturb you." she said calmly.
"Yes, you just got lost. You are aware that this is a restricted area? And carrying arms on the Citadel is prohibited except for specifically authorised personnel?" the woman asked.
Shepard smiled quickly. "I am, but that doesn't apply to me. I'm a Spectre."
The woman snorted. "Nice try. You certainly look the part", she replied, "but there aren't that many human Spectres around, and only two are women. And I know both of them. So who are you, really?"
"By 'know' she means to say that she beat up one of them, and got in a drinking contest with the other." the turian to Shepard's right supplied helpfully.
Shepard raised an eyebrow. "You seriously mean to tell me that that had no further consequences?"
The turian's teeth flashed white as his mandibles twitched into his version of a grin. "The Spectre was too embarrassed that she got her arse handed to her by a single ex-Alliance soldier, so she didn't press any charges." he said.
"She started it, anyway." the woman muttered, defensively.
"The drinking contest was a draw, though." the turian continued.
Despite the careless banter, both of them were completely focused, and Shepard had no doubt they were ready to attack if necessary.
Shepard turned her head very slightly to keep him at least in her peripheral vision. "So who are you?"
The human chuckled, as if amused by a private joke. "You really must be new around here. I'm Fisher. He's Nisus. We're with C-sec. And I repeat my question."
C-sec. Somehow she didn't even doubt it. Shepard smiled again. "I already told you. Name's Shepard."
Fisher cursed not quite under her breath. "Oh, I'll be damned."
The turian hesitated for a moment, thinking, then calmly stepped up to Fisher's side, both showing support and no longer actively threatening Shepard.
"I believe her." he stated, still sounding amused.
"So do I" Fisher replied absently. "It would just fit our luck, wouldn't it." She stepped back, further into the clearing as she left the cover of the trees, and Shepard got a better look at her. She was tall, with a soldier's built and strong features that weren't conventionally handsome and certainly not pretty, but somehow striking. Even with the low light, Shepard could tell her eyes were a deep blue. It was hard to tell her age, but Shepard'd have given her at least a decade more than herself. She wore a set of standard fatigues, or rather, the lower part of them, and a tight grey top.
The turian had followed her, and he was in a similar state of undress, his upper torso bare, plates gleaming with a dull metallic sheen. His yellow eyes regarded her curiously, but with no hostility or indignation. Shepard was no expert, but he seemed older to her than Garrus, though maybe that was just due to the faint scarring that broke his white markings around his right eye. He definitely was a bit taller than Garrus.
Neither of the two seemed self-conscious in any way.
Shepard shook her head. "As I said, I had no intentions to disturb you. I'll just take my leave."
She wasn't able to refrain from giving Nisus a discreetly curious look, but she had better manners than to openly stare. Even if she was severely tempted.
Shepard cocked her head to the side, silently questioning.
The two exchanged a glance, then Fisher spoke up again. "There are a lot of rumours about you, about the battle of the Citadel. About Reapers."
Shepard couldn't suppress the grimace at the last word. "Yes, I can imagine there are."
"We'd really like to hear your side of the story." Fisher said. "Because we both were on the Citadel when Sovereign and Saren came to play." Nisus added. "And we stayed for the cleanup, which wasn't pretty at all."
"No. Not pretty at all." Fisher agreed meditatively. The two exchanged another glance.
Shepard could believe that. She thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. "All right." She wasn't sure whether she wanted to deal with the usual disbelief right now, but then again it might take her mind off her current, minor worries. And who knew, even if they didn't believe her, maybe they'd at least be alert when things started to go really wrong. It might be worth a try, at least.
And if they were interested enough to at least delay their planned activities for the sake of hearing her story, she was content to oblige. It wasn't like she was in any real hurry to return to the Normandy.
She followed them back to the middle of the small clearing, under the sole silverleaf tree, where they obviously had set up themselves with a blanket, their discarded clothing piled beside it.
Shepard sat down a bit gingerly, and the two C-sec officers took their places opposite her.
Fisher leaned forward to dig through their belongings, then retrieved a bottle. She tossed it at Shepard, who caught it in reflex.
"Here. We're not completely uncivilised."
Shepard chuckled, uncapped the bottle and took an experimental swig. Whatever it was, it definitely had a kick, and a quite pleasant aftertaste, and it left a nice warmth in her stomach.
She returned it to Fisher, who took a quick swallow herself with a cheerful disdain for any potential contagion, then started to speak.
Shepard had to hand it to them, they knew how to listen, though perhaps with their job she shouldn't have been surprised. Cops always knew how to listen. They didn't interrupt much, either.
Between her and Fisher, they made short work of the contents of the bottle, and while she was far from being affected by the alcohol, she found she was slowly relaxing a bit.
To her own surprise, she even told them what she'd told the Council, what they were going to do as soon as they retrieved that IFF device.
When she had finished speaking, she leaned back with a faint sigh, staring gloomily into the artificial sky overhead.
Nisus gave a thoughtful growl. "Sounds crazy." he stated, without any malice.
"Utterly insane." Fisher agreed.
Shepard didn't need to turn her head to know they were looking at each other.
"Odds are it's true, then." the turian continued, unhurriedly.
Fisher snorted. "With our luck, what else would you expect."
That made her turn her head and stare at them. "You believe me?"
The two exchanged glances again, then Fisher shrugged. "I don't think we can afford not to believe it. And you seem rather sensible, on the whole. So, yes. We believe you."
Shepard had to smile at that. "I wish the Council would show that much sense about the whole mess."
Fisher snorted again, and the turian shrugged philosophically. "Nothing to be done about that."
Shepard found herself watching them again. It was almost eerie, like looking into a distorted mirror, but the way those two interacted was so much like Garrus and herself that she couldn't help but be fascinated.
Well, of course the similarity ended at certain point. It was clear that they were a lot more than just friends, or even casual lovers.
Fisher was leaning against Nisus in a careless, relaxed way, completely unconcerned about their half-dressed state and what any observer might think. Her companion had one arm around her, clawed hand resting lightly against her hip.
So it can work, somehow, Shepard thought, feeling strangely comforted. If those two can figure it out, we can. Provided that he even wants to, of course. But it is possible. We could make it work.
Well, she really should be going now, and leave them to their ...activities. She sat up, stretching the muscles in her back.
Fisher suddenly chuckled.
"What's funny?" Shepard asked, startled out of her thoughts.
"I was just thinking that if the rumours had been true, about you being Cerberus or at least of like mindset, I'd have gotten a scandalised 'Really, Fisher, a turian? How can you do this?' out of you by now."
Shepard laughed. "I don't do scandalised well, but if you insist..."
Fisher waved her off, but the turian turned his head, and Shepard felt again that sharp yellow stare.
"Just leave off the scandalised tone, then." he rumbled.
Shepard blinked. "I beg your pardon?"
Fisher cocked her head to one side, giving Shepard a quick look.
Shepard met her eyes levelly. She was too old to blush. At least she hoped she was.
She was still debating with herself whether to deny whatever the turian implied or make light of it with some humorous comment, when Fisher quirked an eyebrow at her.
"I understand it's not a common choice", Shepard remarked, "but don't worry, I won't pry."
The human woman laughed heartily at that, and Nisus flared his mandibles in a quieter display of amusement.
"Shepard, no need to be that polite. It's not like we bother to keep this a secret. Or care what anyone thinks, for that matter."
"That's the only way to go", Shepard agreed absently.
Fisher gave her a look. "Oh. So not just idle curiosity, then?"
"Doesn't look like it." the turian commented before Shepard had a chance to reply.
"Hey, I never said .." Shepard tried, then stopped and sighed. She couldn't believe she was actually going to admit this, and faintly wondered what exactly had been in that bottle. "All right. There might be some...personal relevance."
"Well, well, well." Fisher said thoughtfully, then shrugged. "Don't worry, we can keep our mouths shut." She and her partner shared a look, and he slightly nodded as if in reply to some question she'd asked of him. "Right, then. We're not usually in the habit of discussing our personal life like that. Quite the opposite, actually, and after a few black eyes and bruised ribs in our coworkers that point seems to have made it across. But I think in this case an exception is in order. So, feel free to ask. What do you want to know?"
Shepard looked at the artificial sky again. "Oh, I don't even know where to start." She thought about it. Maybe something general..."How can one tell if a turian's even interested?"
There was a rumbling laugh from Nisus, then a clank and a startled grumble as Fisher elbowed him, from the sound of it none too gently. He probably didn't feel much of it, but she absent-mindedly rubbed her elbow. "Oh cut it out, it's not as obvious to a non-turian as you think." Fisher snapped at him, then addressed Shepard again. "What he's trying to say is that turians aren't very subtle about interest."
"Not helpful." Shepard commented gloomily.
"I won't ask who or even too many details" Fisher continued, "but...is it a male or female?"
"Male", Shepard admitted.
That startled Shepard enough to turn her head towards them again. "About my own, I guess. Maybe a bit younger." And what did that say about her, that she didn't even know. She'd never even thought about it.
"Former, at least."
"Under your command, part of your crew?"
"He's my friend." she corrected automatically, then shrugged. "Technically yes, I suppose."
Nisus started to laugh again, and got shut up again with another jab with Fisher's elbow, probably harder this time.
"Then it's almost guaranteed that he's interested." Fisher said. "Military means he's probably more than used to the idea of, err, easing stress with fellow soldiers. He's young enough not to be too set in his ways as to not consider any non-turian, and given what you are, you probably just need to drop a hint and that's it."
Shepard raised an eyebrow.
"Confident behaviour and a strong character are automatic turn-ons." Nisus agreed cheerfully. "It's just how we are wired. Add to that that you're a superior fighter and don't back down even from a Reaper, and you got a combination that's really hard to resist."
"Turians as such aren't shy or inhibited about sex either, and as opposed to humans, they don't automatically expect some shared pleasure to mean anything. They don't play complicated games like most of us humans do. So if you're curious about this, just corner him at your convenience, touch him casually and see how he responds to that. If he doesn't move away or find some excuse, you can assume he's interested, and you can proceed to have your wicked ways with him. " Fisher continued matter-of-factly. She smiled quickly. "Worked well for me, at least."
Her partner chuckled. "You wouldn't know how to be subtle anyway." he pointed out. "I wouldn't have expected a human to push me up against the bulkhead in the middle of an argument like that."
Fisher didn't seem embarrassed in the least. "I didn't hear you complaining then. Or any other time." Having made her point, she leaned against him again.
Shepard had to smile at that. "I'll just have to take your word for that. That it's not only physically possible but pleasurable, I mean." The words were out before she could rethink, and she bit her lip. No sense in insulting them.
Fisher threw her a questioning glance. "What on Earth are you talking about?"
Well, no way to go but forward. "Um. There's a friend of mine, a Salarian, who suspects something and felt obligated to provide me with ...educational material. Anatomical references...and, well, turian-asari porn." And that was downright scary, she didn't add.
"Oh, ouch." Fisher grimaced.
Nisus flicked his mandibles like she'd seen Garrus do if he tried to get rid of some unpleasant taste or smell. "Yes. Those. I think I know what you mean."
"Right." Fisher started again. "Well, what you have to keep in mind about that is that they're about as representative of turian sexual practises and habits as the humans-only variant is." She grinned wryly. "Which is to say, not very much. You have to remember porn movies are made with the viewer's pleasure in mind, not the participants's, and to satisfy a fantasy, not being a step-by-step instruction or documentary. You can have fun watching them" Nisus twitched his mandibles, very obviously not saying anything, and Fisher rolled her eyes "provided the turian with you isn't busy laughing his arse off because he thinks it's hilarious, which kind of tends to ruin the mood-"
"Well, it is!" Nisus defended himself "I mean, really, when you think about it. You do remember that one, where-"
Another jab with Fisher's elbow made him shut up again, and Fisher continued as if he hadn't interrupted "and you can get some interesting ideas from them, but you aren't going to learn lovemaking by watching porn." She chuckled. "It's really not representative. Think about it. I don't know about you, but average humans neither have anatomical proportions like that, infinite endurance and seemingly no pain threshold at all, and they don't just randomly enter a room and indiscriminately start shagging everyone in sight like rabbits on Halex either, do they?"
Shepard grinned at that mental picture. "Not normally, I don't think."
"It's the same with that, I suppose. Turians don't play nearly as rough as it's portrayed there."
"At least not once they're adults." Nisus clarified. "Teenagers, they can be a bit...unrestrained, they don't seem to be able to tell the difference between sex and a fight, for a while, and they're eager for both, and then things can get a bit rough." He shrugged. "It's just hormones, and a normal phase in our development. No sensible parent would bother asking their son or daughter about the origins of any suspicious claw or bite marks. And no adult would take it very seriously. By the time they get into military training, they usually are somewhat reasonable again. Your prospective target should be safe enough."
"Um. If you say so." Shepard threw caution to the wind. What the hell, the options were either embarrass herself with two strangers or later on with someone she cared about. The choice on that was clear enough.
She looked at Fisher, trying to avoid Nisus' eyes and hoped to hell that she didn't blush.
"They really do have spikes, don't they?" She gestured vaguely. "So...how do you avoid injury?"
Fisher just blinked. "Spikes? What do you- oh." She chuckled as she understood what Shepard was getting at."Not really. More like small barbs, and they're not rigid. And they only come into play when a turian man is really close to his limit, so to speak." She chuckled, clearly remembering. "No idea what they do for a turian woman -" she looked at Nisus for help, and he just replied "Exactly what it looks like, to stimulate some nerve centres."
His mandibles widened again, as he flashed Shepard a grin. "Evolution has gone differently in that regard in us. As opposed to your species, where pleasure seems more or less optional for the female and has no relevance to conception, a turian female, even when receptive, requires several climaxes to make conception possible. With us, the female of the species is just as strong as the male and they are usually faster. Even in our non-sentient ancestors, trying to overpower the female had to end badly for the male. So since the female's cooperation had to be secured for successful mating, evolution just had to find a way to make it worth her while. Hence certain adaptions." His grin widened. "It's just biology, the insensitive ones never successfully bred and died out. And of course even now that we're sentinent and it's just recreational and not about reproduction, there are some standards that are expected and have to be maintained."
"You can quote evolution theory for all you like, but I'd say it's just that your women have you men trained better." Fisher commented cheerfully. "Not that I'm complaining about that, mind. I think it's very sensible."
She looked back at Shepard, clearly amused. "I can tell you with absolute certainty that I'm not into pain, I have known enough human men to be qualified to make comparisons, and I can say with confidence that being with a turian can be very pleasurable. Trust me on that one. Just take your time to get used to each other, and you'll be fine." She smiled. "And before you ask, yes, they do expand a bit once they get going, but no, it's not to the dimensions that you probably saw in those movies. Don't know how they're doing that there, but it's not natural."
"Well, actually, they -" Before Nisus could finish, Fisher had clapped her hands over his mouth, trapping his mandibles against his jaw. "And no, don't feel obligated to enlighten us. Some questions are better left unanswered in order to ensure a good night's sleep."
She released him, and he grumbled, but it sounded more amused than anything else.
Shepard filed that away for further reference. "And about allergic reactions to dextro aminos - or the other way round, for that matter?"
"Have yourself checked to see how sensitive you really are." Fisher shrugged. "It's not a problem, for most humans. Most aren't even allergic, but if you are, things can get ugly. You shouldn't be sharing each other's food, of course, but if neither of you has a severe allergy, you won't have any problems in that regard during sex. If you are unlucky enough to be, there are pharmaceuticals available that can be taken as a precaution."
"He'll know whether he's susceptible to that or not." Nisus threw in. "Testing for that is standard practice in our military."
So there was that, Shepard thought. No reason not to go for it, to give it a try. Except the real one, of course.
She became aware of Fisher's slight frown.
"You look more worried, not less. What's on your mind?"
Shepard just shook her head. There was no way explaining that one. No way at all.
"Don't push her." Nisus' calm voice rumbled. "She's only just now figured out that she doesn't just want that friend of hers for some fun but for something more permanent."
Shepard whipped her head around to stare him down, something like a snarl on her lips, but her automatic anger drained away at his calm look. He wasn't trying to offend or come over as condescending. He was just making an observation. Unfortunately for her it was a correct one.
"Well, wasn't it obvious?" Fisher wondered. "No one goes through that much trouble and research just because one is curious. If she was just feeling kinky, she could always cruise some bars and snag a similiarily minded turian for some experimentation. Of course she cares for him."
Shepard was still staring at Nisus, who didn't even hesitate in answering his partner. "Humans can be remarkably blind to their own emotions and goals."
Now that stung. Even, or especially, if it was true.
And she was even less certain now that she could do this. She wanted him in her bed, not only for the obvious reasons but because that was the way humans did this, the way they did get close to another. She even more wanted him in her life.
"Oh, damnit." she said very softly. She had almost convinced herself that this was just easing tension with a good friend, that once she figured out how to do this, technically, things would be fine.
She even now didn't quite know what she'd done if she'd really lost him, there on Omega, but the depth of her feelings had scared her even then. Now...if she ruined this, she really wasn't sure about the consequences.
She met Nisus' yellow stare unblinkingly, and he nodded, as if she had made a point. "Word of advice" he said quietly. "Be very sure what it is that you want. And never make a promise you are not certain you can keep, and don't imply one, either."
"What about what he wants?"
"I think that's clear enough. He's still with you, your entanglements with Cerberus withstanding, and he's following where you lead. I assume he knows where you are going."
"Of course he does. But we're trying to save the galaxy here. He might see it as duty."
Nisus twitched his mandibles. "One doesn't exclude the other. I know I wouldn't set foot on a Cerberus ship without a damn good reason."
"Not a Cerberus ship, anymore. It's my ship." Shepard corrected absently
"Precisely." Nisus replied calmly. "Shepard, my kind doesn't do things halfway, and once we're committed to a cause - or a person - then that's that. We very, very rarely change out minds about things like that, and never without a very good reason."
"If it helps, try to see that again from an evolutionary point of view. Humans evolved from omnivorous mammals living in loose groups. That still makes them a bit skittish, playful, curious, easily bored and prone to react stupidly when under pressure. Turians evolved from carnivorous scaly things that lived and hunted in packs, which meant they have some sort of pack discipline hardwired, because that was behaviour needed for survival. A predator that lives in a group can't afford to waste its time with questioning authority all the time. They need to know their place in the group, and they know that the strongest, smartest and best must lead. So they don't challenge for the fun of it, but if they do they mean it."
Shepard thew Nisus a quick look, but he didn't seem offended by that analysis.
"So, you get tightly knit groups of very social creatures that know they have to work together to keep themselves alive. Now add sentience to that, and you get a species of people who have a strict hierarchical society and are intensely loyal to the group they are a part of, whether that's family or military unit. The downside, of course, is that they tend to be a bit arrogant, opinionated, stubborn, slow to give their trust or to accept new ideas and come with a quick temper." Fisher shrugged. "As long as you don't forget that and expect human reactions you'll be fine."
"In any case, it's really up to you. You're the one of higher rank, so you're in charge, and what happens and how far it goes is your choice."
Shepard shook her head. "No, absolutely not. It can't be that way. I can't possibly order him to -"
"It's not an order." Nisus interrupted, his voice strangely patient. "Not like you think. You certainly have heard before that this is how our society works, that those of lower rank support their superiors in any way they can, and those of higher rank protect and guide those below them and take care of their needs. That's not just fancy theory, it's how we are. Oh, it's not perfect, because whereever there are individuals there's conflict, and a certain degree of selfishness, but on the whole it is just that. Any soldier of ours will know that when he's sent into battle he may very well be sacrificed for the greater good, but only if it's necessary and never for his commanding officer's personal gain. We can trust our own to adhere to that, and it's not something that even needs to be talked about. In the end, it's always about trust." He lowered his head slightly. "That's why you won't see many of my kind following a human's orders, you know. If your friend does, and by his own choice, that's saying everything that needs to be said on the subject. He trusts you."
"That translates to every aspect of their lives." Fisher added. "You are aware that turians are a military society, but what us humans tend to forget is that strictly spoken there simply are no civilians as we understand the term. Military service is mandatory for every one of them, and it's not just lip service. Of course not all of them can stay in active duty, but every adult turian knows how to handle themselves in a fight. In a way, they are all soldiers." She smiled brightly. "I remember some very arrogant merc a couple of years back who was ignorant of this fact and thought he could coerce a turian settler by threatening said settler's wife and children. She was less than impressed, I suppose, because she very nicely first took his rifle off him and then returned it to him. End first, and right into his face. Repeatedly. " Her smile was somewhat bloodthirsty. "It was an inspiring display."
Shepard remembered seeing Garrus in full-out protective mode and nodded. "I know what you mean."
"Yes, I thought you would." Fisher smiled. "Anyway. Nisus is right, as the higher-ranking one of the two of you it really is your choice. And it's not like he can't refuse, of course, so, no, you're not abusing rank here, either. He wouldn't misunderstand that like a human soldier might, anyway. It's cultural difference at work again. Turians don't play power games like this, and any normal and sane adult wouldn't dream of forcing their attentions on someone who doesn't consent to that, so they don't even think about that. No means no, and that's it. They have other hangups. Don't get me started on how they react when something you do goes against some established protocol or rule, regardless of your reasons or the final outcome of your actions." Her expression was wry for a moment, then softened again. " But that kind of abuse of power would be considered criminal and a sign of mental instability anywhere where Hierarchy law is upheld, and the consequences would be severe for the offender."
Shepard sighed, still a bit dubious. "I can see your point. But still..."
"I know. I can see why you worry, but you'll see soon enough that it's not an issue." Fisher leaned against her partner again. "And it won't always have to be that way. This social position imbalance, it evens out after a while. Once you learn how to be equals." She smiled up at Nisus, and he leaned his forehead against hers. Fisher slipped her hand under one of his mandibles, and he gave a low sound that to Shepard's ears sounded suspiciously like a purr.
Nisus suddenly pulled away, his mandibles working in a way Shepard again knew from Garrus. That was embarrassment. He threw Shepard a quick look, then broke eye contact and lowered his head.
Fisher cleared her throat. "Um. Got carried away here, maybe."
Shepard kept a blank expression. Now, that was odd. They had just spent quite some time giving Shepard the turian version of the birds-and-the-bees-talk, down to the shape and size of a male turian's intimate anatomy, and neither of these two had even batted an eyelid at the topic. Instead, they had rather given her the impression of finding all of that quite amusing. And now that she'd seen them touch foreheads they acted like she had caught them at something highly inappropriate, or at least private.
She didn't quite get it, but resolved not to comment.
"Oh, for crying out loud." Fisher muttered. She looked at Shepard again. "It's not what you probably think. Look, Shepard, me and Nisus, we go way back. We've known each other for a long time, and we've been together for a long time, and we will stay together. So that touching foreheads, that's a promise. That he'll never leave. And that touching under one mandible, in that context, that's..." She paused, and Nisus said softly "It means 'I'm sworn to you'. I can't explain further. It's not something meant to be discussed."
"It's fine" Shepard said, just as quietly. "I think I get that one."
"Right." Fisher cleared her throat again, then suddenly shook herself, almost back to her normal self. "Oh, look at me. I'm getting as bad as a turian. Then again, I never was any good at all that emotional stuff."
"I'm not, either." Shepard admitted.
She was interrupted by a soft chime of her omnitool, and with a suppressed curse brought up its holographic interface. With a rather resigned sigh, she scanned the new message. Miranda again, with an endless list of very sensible requests and comments that needed her attention. And of course, it was urgent. It always was.
"Duty calling again?" Fisher asked, sympathy in her voice.
"Duty in the guise of a Cerberus XO. Sorry, I better get back to my ship before she decides I've gotten in trouble and sends an away team."
The two C-sec officers just nodded. "You got your XO. We got Executor Pallin. Hard to say which of us has it worst."
"I know Pallin." Shepard mused. "I'd say it's a draw." She shrugged. "But someday I'd really, really like to hear your story."
The two exchanged glances again, then Nisus said "Not this time, I think. But next time you dock on the Citadel, let us know, and we can find us some slightly disreputable place where we can have a drink or two and swap some stories. Then we'll tell you that one."
"In fact, bring your friend." Fisher added, cheerful again, then winked at Shepard. "We could compare notes." She turned more serious. "No, really, see that you come back in one piece and let us know how that Collector situation turned out. And send word if there's anything we can do to help." "We weren't always C-sec." Nisus said. "There are still some people who know us. Though they probably wish otherwise." They shared a chuckle at what sounded like a private joke.
Shepard nodded, feeling oddly touched by that offer. "Thank you, I will." Her lips quirked into a smile. "And thanks for what you told me. I very much appreciate it. Have fun, then."
"Oh, we will." Fisher assured her cheerfully as she tackled her unresisting partner to the ground.
With a smile, Shepard took her leave then, but once she had left the clearing and was back in the shadows of the trees, something prompted her to look back.
They had, indeed, resumed their previously abandoned activities, and for a second she felt shame for watching from afar. Then reason caught up. They hadn't seemed to be that much in a hurry, and besides, if Nisus' senses were even half as sharp as she knew those of Garrus to be, the turian had to know she still was close by. They just didn't care. They weren't ashamed of what they were to each other, what they did and what everyone else thought about it.
And maybe it was even intended as a demonstration. She wouldn't put that past them.
She would have assumed that this act between members of such different species would look bizarre, wrong, but it didn't. It held its own beauty, expressed in the contrast between shiny plate and soft skin, and in a gentle, unhurried rhythm that was nothing like the frenzied rutting she'd viewed in those awful movies. Each touch spoke of deep affection between those two, each motion was perfectly in sync with the other's.
That's how it should be, she thought.
She had seen enough, seen what she needed to see. Time to leave them to their privacy.
With all the stealth she was capable of using, she slipped back onto the path that would take her out of the gardens.
Fisher leaned over her partner. He was purring, and looking quite pleased with himself. She chuckled. "So. That was the famous Commander Shepard. Do you think that made a difference?"
"No." His voice was low. "Not to the final outcome, that was never in question. Might have sped things along, though."
She chuckled again. "True. They'd have figured it out by themselves eventually. She seems sensible enough, after all."
"He seems to be, too, under normal circumstances."
Fisher made an approving sound as Nisus stroked his hand absently over her hip. "So you think you know who she was talking about?"
He gave her an almost insulted look. "Don't you?"
"Well, yes. Not that hard to figure out, after all. They are going to be just fine. Well, then." Her expression turned mischievous. "Is she still around?"
"Can't you tell?"
"Good. I can, but I won't tell you."
"Why's that?" Fisher asked, surprised.
The turian grinned. "Because if you can't tell you will assume she is, and you'll feel inspired to put on a show. Or more of one, as the case may be." He purred happily. "Which means I win."
Fisher was tempted to cuff his head on general principle, but was swayed from that as he pulled her close again.