Note: Upped the rating to K+ for mild suggestive content and sensuality... *wink*
Garrus leaned forward. His head made a soft thunk on the glass.
It looked familiar. Really familiar. But there was no way, he thought. It was too long ago to be the same, wasn't it?
He stood back and admired the rest of the models. Shepard had a very nice collection, but he found it somewhat macabre that she even had a Reaper model. That thing was creepy enough. Personally he would never buy a model of one of their greatest enemies and put it in the same room as he slept. They knew what it was like, what it was capable of. And yet, she never showed fear, or hesitation.
That was probably what he loved the most about her.
The bathroom door slid open. He turned to look – and then slapped a hand over his eyes as he turned back around.
"You forget to put on clothes or something?" he asked, scratching his fringes awkwardly.
She laughed. "Actually, I sort of did."
"What? How does anyone forget to wear things?"
"You know, it's more like 'I forgot to bring clothes in there in the first place.'"
He scoffed. "Figures."
"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, digging into a side closet.
"Well," he started, "I feel like you've been a lot more... forgetful lately."
"Oh really? How so?"
"Like when we were rescuing that quarian but you forgot she was even there?"
"Huh." She grinned. "Yeah."
He glanced up a little. Then he averted his gaze once more.
"Shepard, are you going to dress yourself or what?"
"Do I really need to?" she purred.
Garrus sighed. "Depends on what you... had in mind."
"If I stay naked," she said, eyeing him seductively, "will that give you any ideas?"
A human hand touched his chest and he jumped. How did she get so close without him noticing?
"I... uhm... y-yeah." He cleared his throat. "I-I mean, no. Maybe. Wait..." His voice trailed off and he rubbed his head. "What?"
Shepard laughed. "Don't worry about it. Mordin prescribed a strict 'no inter-species awkwardness' treatment for me today. If you get what I mean." She gave him an apologetic smile.
"Ah," he said. "That's... too bad."
She sighed. "Yep."
There was a very long and awkward silence.
Finally, Shepard walked to her closet, pulled on some clothes, and sat on the bed. She motioned him over.
He sat down just as she stretched herself on the bed. "Lie with me," she commanded.
Garrus chuckled as he obeyed. "Yes, ma'am."
It took a while to get into a comfortable position, but at last he had his arms around her, gently stroking her soft human skin. He hummed in approval.
"You know," she started, "sometimes I wish things were this easy."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean..." She sighed. "I mean, for example, I wish I could just lie here and not have to think about the Reapers coming to destroy us all or the things I need to do to fight for the good of the galaxy."
"It's a burden, that's for sure," Garrus said.
"Yeah. But no one said fighting for justice was pie."
He looked at her, confused. "Pie?"
"We have a phrase," Shepard explained, "that goes 'easy as pie.' That basically just means it's easy."
"So... if you're saying it isn't pie," he clarified, "then you're saying it isn't easy."
He smirked. "So, anyway... what was that thing you said earlier?"
"Easy as pie?" she suggested.
"No, before that."
"Erm... justice isn't pie?"
"Yeah, yeah... justice." Garrus cleared his throat. "I was just thinking..." His voice trailed off into a small chuckle.
"Nah. It's nothing. Pretty stupid," he assured her.
Shepard grinned. "Hey, if it's not about calibrations, it's not stupid."
He shot her a playful warning look. "Careful, Shepard. I get real touchy when someone insults my calibrations."
"I hope you meant that literally," she said, giving him a mischievous smile.
He shook his head, laughing. "Maybe later. I just wanted to say... did I tell you about the first time I saw justice at work? In person?"
"Nope." She ran her hands across his chest. "You usually never talk about your childhood."
"Because it wasn't a very unique one. My childhood was a lot like the childhoods of other turian kids around then. There wasn't anything special about it."
"But what about this 'justice at work' moment?" Shepard asked.
"Getting to that." He shifted slightly. "Do you really want to hear it?"
"Of course." She smiled encouragingly. He took a breath.
"It was on the Citadel. I was six years old and still didn't know how to stand up for myself. Pitiful, I know, but not all people start out on the right foot.
"I was in this... nursery, with my favorite toy. It was a turian cruiser model, from way back when it was so much harder and frustrating to calibrate cannons..."
"...and all of a sudden, an asari started to bug me, bully me. She wanted my ship, the same ship my father got me for a gift." He paused. "I was scared, but I kept holding on. For what, I don't know. Maybe to prove I could stand my ground, or maybe just out of turian instinct. It doesn't matter anymore.
"Right when I was sure she was going to pummel me, this... girl. She came and stopped that asari, even going so far as to push her away from me. She inspired me, Shepard, inspired me to always do some good whenever I was able. And in the end, even though she never asked for it, I gave her my toy, so she could be happy.
"There hadn't been another person in this galaxy like that. Nobody I knew would have liked to stand up to authority, to always do what was right and make others follow the example." He looked at her. "Until you."
They stared at each other then, one face human and one turian. Shepard had this strange look that seemed innately familiar. He was never very good with reading human faces.
Finally, she spoke. "That was... interesting."
Garrus cocked his head as best he could while lying on a bed. "That's it?"
"I can't say it sounds new. Haven't you told me that before?"
"No. I haven't told anyone that. Well, maybe my father, but that was back then to explain why I had a horrible drawing of a cat instead of a turian starship."
She froze. "Garrus, what was this girl's name?"
"I can't remember," he admitted. "Why?"
"I just... nothing. Never mind."
"If it helps, I think it sounded special, and... pretty. Like yours."
She chuckled rather weakly. "Trying to charm me, Officer Vakarian?" A small yawn escaped her and she furrowed her brow. "Anyway, let's... talk about this later. I'm tired."
"Sure. I mean, yes ma'am."
They settled in next to each other and drifted off to sleep.
Shepard woke to an empty bed. She checked the time. Apparently she'd slept for five hours.
She got up and headed for the bathroom, but something caught her eye. Slowly she opened the display case and removed the turian cruiser, running her fingers along the rough and smooth edges.
She turned to the bottom. The black marker was messy and worn from years of play, but it was still legible.
"Karian," she muttered. "Of course."
"Leena!" Hannah put her hands on her hips. "What were you thinking, trying to... to beat someone up like that?"
"But Mommy!" she protested. "We were the good guys!"
"'We'? Who's 'we'?"
"Me and Karian." She pointed with the cruiser to the small turian sitting in the corner by himself.
"Karian? Is that his name?"
She nodded very seriously.
"And how, exactly, were you being 'the good guys'?" her mother asked, air quoting when necessary.
"He was being bullied by this asari," she explained, "and then I stopped her, and then she tried to beat me up, and then he tripped her. So we are the good guys!"
Hannah chuckled. "I see. Did you like it?"
Leena cocked her head involuntarily. "Like what?"
"Being the good guys."
Leena's face was blank for a while, then transformed into a broad grin. She nodded vigorously.
"When I grow up, I think I wanna be just like you."
He kept digging through the drawer. It had to be here, somewhere.
He took it with him almost everywhere. It was like proof that he really was making a difference, fighting the good fight. Like that girl had. Spirits, what was her name?
The only thing he could remember about her was her deep and penetrating eyes, although now they were easily replaced by Shepard's similar gaze. He stopped for a moment, thinking intensely. If that turian cruiser model was the same one he gave that girl all those years ago, and Shepard had it now, then what was the relationship between them?
Were they sisters? No, Shepard had already told him she was an only child. And her mother had told him at... her funeral, when he asked if there was anyone else in the family there. He still regretted doing that. Hannah Shepard had looked the most distraught of all, and asking if she had any other children had reminded her painfully of the fact that she had lost her only daughter...
...My darling, my baby... She'd surprised everyone when she burst into tears, this tough-as-nails captain, the mother of the most important human in the galaxy. After asking the question Garrus found himself trying to comfort her. He had looked back at the casket then, wondering if it was all reality or just some horrible nightmare–
He turned suddenly. Shepard was standing there with something in her hands. "Hey," he greeted back.
"You know," she said, stepping forward, "you never did tell me your name was Garrus, not Karian. But I can see where I was mistaken."
Garrus gave a throaty laugh. "So it was you, huh?"
"Yeah. I guess it was."
He stood, holding two papers, one with a mess of purple and red on one side. "You know, I really should have known," he said, walking to meet her halfway. "But after all those years, it's crazy that I never thought to look on the other side of this drawing."
He flipped the paper over. In almost legible handwriting, it said "Leena Shepard."
Shepard laughed. "My mom helped me with that."
"Was she angry, by the way?"
"She was, at first. Then she was proud because I stood up for you." She gave him a sideways glance. "What about you?"
"My father wasn't very happy. I wrote him this so I wouldn't be caught tongue-tied if I ever tried to explain." He handed her the other paper.
After reading it, she looked up. "You spelled my name wrong."
"Yeah, I know," he deadpanned. "Give me a break! I was only six."
She laughed. "That's okay. I didn't even get your name right for the longest time." She handed him something. "That means this is yours, right?"
He turned the starship in his hands, seeing a smudged "From Karian" on the bottom. His mandibles flared in amusement. Contentedly, he handed it back. "It's not mine anymore. I gave it to you."
"And you're letting me keep it?"
He blinked. "Of course."
Shepard smiled and stepped closer, wrapping her arms around him. "I guess it's a small world after all," she murmured.
"You mean galaxy?"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever."
She released him but still held his waist, a sly grin easing itself onto her mouth. "Guess what, Karian?"
"Yes, Leina?" he asked back with his best pronunciation of a misspelling.
"Mister Mordin says I can play with you now." Her grin got wider.
Garrus laughed. "Really? That's... great." He cleared his throat. "Would you allow me to show you my, uh, turian cruiser?"
"Only if you let me show you my... creativity," she muttered, pushing him back to his console, hands beginning to roam.
"Anything for you, playmate."
The doors to the main battery slid closed and locked.
A/N: And it's done! Thanks to everyone who faved, reviewed, alerted (even if it was only for this chapter, lololololol), et cetera. Love you all!
Sorry for the crap innuendoes but I just had to do it. :P
Feel free to read and review as you please. And thank you for reading :)
This is Sathaeri wishing you all a very good day.