Had requests for an addition to this, so here it is! :)
(Past/Present scenes separated by break lines)
Garrus traced his scar tissue with the tip of a talon, giving a soft grunt at the feeling.
He was finally removing the bandage for good and taking the time to really look at himself in the mirror now. The wound had left a cracked appearance across one side of his face, splitting up into the faded blue of his facial markings. He shifted his jaw a little, mandibles flaring out so he could study them as well. It had healed up better than he could have hoped for all things considered. Sometimes his jaw still felt a little stiff and if he opened his mouth a little too wide he would hear the shifted plates click together, but they were minor discomforts he was content to endure.
He was alive, and he had her.
Stepping away from his reflection he moved to pull his tunic over his head. A glance towards the control panel told him he only had fifteen minutes before he was supposed to meet Shepard so he picked up the pace. He had learned all too well that she would be sour with him if he was late and he really couldn't blame her. The restaurant had been happy enough to cater to the famous Commander Shepard and push the reservation up by a couple of years, but they still had to book it well in advance. He had almost forgotten about it entirely, but not Shepard. She had been looking forward to it and it and making her wait only meant hell for him later.
So he adjusted the collar of his tunic and gave his scars one last glimpse in the mirror before making a hasty exit.
"Garrus, you're late!"
"I'm sorry." Garrus apologized before wondering why he should be required to do so. "What am I late for?" The young human girl gripped his angular shoulders after she had stopped shaking him, squinting one eye at him.
"You're joking, right?"
"Turians don't joke," he replied, huffing up his chest a little. Shepard released him and crossed her arms, giving him a disapproving look.
"They're taking us out on a trip today. We get to see the rest of the Citadel! Do you know what that means?" Garrus' eyes darted left and then right before settling back on the redhead's expectant face again.
"That...we...get to see the rest of the Citadel?"
"Ships, Garrus. We get to see SHIPS," she emphasized. The turian was not quite sure what all the fuss was about and cocked his head to the side. He'd seen ships many times traveling with his father. In fact, if you just looked up half the time you could see them flying over the Citadel grounds. Having co-habitated in the care center with this peculiar human for a couple of months, however, he had learned it was best not to tell her that the things she was excited about were, really, not all that fantastic.
"You want to see the ships?" he asked, instead. The girl beamed a bit.
"Of course! Can you imagine being right up close?" Yes, Garrus thought. Her mother was an Alliance officer, wasn't she? Didn't they let their hatchlings around their vessels? Then again, if they got so excited over these little things maybe it was best that they didn't. Shepard's eyes widened and she clasped her hands together. "Do you think they'll let me fly one?"
"No," he replied, probably a little too quickly. Realizing his error, he added, "You need a license."
"Right," Shepard huffed, clenching a fist in disappointment. When her large eyes flickered to him again they did a double take and with the tact she just didn't seem to have, she touched his face. Garrus tilted his head away from her, having hoped she wouldn't notice the bandage on his lower left mandible despite how obvious it was. "What happened to you?"
"Training," he replied, waving away her hand.
"Did you break something?" He gave her a flat expression.
"No. It's just a split plate."
"You broke it."
"I did not break it!" he argued, his voice reaching an awkward pitch that he quickly subdued with a cough. "It's split. That's not the same thing."
"Can I see it?" Alright, he thought, she was getting a little too interested in his face now.
"No," he said. "Stop that. Why do humans have to touch everything?" Shepard indignantly pulled her hands back at that remark.
"Well, excuse me for caring," she frowned and turned her head sharply to the side. Garrus gave a defeated sigh. He hated when she did that.
"That's not what I meant," he said.
"I know," Shepard said, offering him a crooked smile he wasn't expecting. Perhaps she was just in too good a mood because of the trip to be angry with him. He was glad because her silent treatments were never very fun and she had a habit of glaring pointedly at him all day when she thought he'd earned one. "What's a split plate feel like? Like a cracked bone?"
"I don't know," he replied honestly with a shrug. "I haven't cracked a bone."
"Did it hurt?" She had gone back to staring at his bandage. At least she had decided to keep her hands to herself now.
"Only at first. Now it just kind of feels strange." Shepard nodded with a thoughtful look and her fingers to her chin. Garrus began to feel a little anxious. She didn't usually look that focused unless something unsavory was formulating in her mind. He hadn't been expecting what it was, however, and took the blow from her fist full on at his shoulder. Caught off guard, he stumbled and blinked at her disbelievingly. Her face contorted uncomfortably as she waved her hand about and cradled it in her other arm.
"Oww," she said. "Geez, Garrus."
"What was that for?" he asked, feeling a bit riled from the surprise attack.
"I wanted to see how hard your plates were. That really hurt!" Garrus thought to ask her what in the universe was wrong with her that she'd hit him instead of just asking, but something else inside him decided to respond instead. He growled and shoved her shoulder roughly. She stumbled and nearly lost her footing entirely but returned the look he had given her a mere moment ago.
"What was - ?"
"Just wanted to see how soft you are," he retorted, feeling rather witty. Honestly, he knew exactly where this was going. Their initial tousle upon meeting hadn't been their last. When they argued, it often ended up in roughhousing. There was nothing personal about it and neither had any intention of really hurting one another. It was just how they tended to 'work it out'. For all the things that Shepard did that Garrus thought was completely bizarre – this was one thing about her he could appreciate and fully understand. So when the human and turian came forehead to forehead, claw to hand with one trying to force the other to submit, it was all in good, reckless fun.
"Ah, there you are. I was starting to worry."
Shepard gave Garrus' elbow a jab of her finger before wrapping her arm around it.
"Afraid I'd stood you up?" he teased before leaning in to give her forehead an affectionate brush of his own.
"You know how well that would have ended for you," she grinned and then let her smile soften. "You look good, Mr. Vakarian."
"Oh, this old thing?" he chuckled, smoothing the tunic with one hand. It looked almost identical to the one he'd worn during their first time together, except that the blue was accented with black and slim trims of silver. Shepard had had it tailored for him especially as a gift and this would be his first opportunity to wear it. He had to admit she had good taste in color, not that he hadn't made it obvious what his preferences were by this point. Her own attire was new to him as well; a simple, high-collared sleeveless dress so deeply blue it was almost black. The way the skirt spilled off her hips and down her legs in a gentle flow of fabric was so lovely Garrus almost thought it a shame the sight was so rare. Almost...simply because the sight of her in anything, or nothing at all, made him just as happy.
He was pulled from his admiration when Shepard's fingertips brushed his face, tracing the scarred flesh. Her tilted his head into her touch and watched her smile.
"It looks great, Garrus," she said, and he rumbled a small laugh. She quirked a brow and smirked a bit. "Shush, you know what I meant."
"I know," he said. "Shall we?" She nodded and turned to the hostess to be escorted to their table.
Once they were seated and handed their menus, Shepard gave a the hostess a polite smile and nod, waiting for her to go before biting her lip and grinning at Garrus elatedly from across the table.
"Excited?" Garrus asked, though he was well aware and entirely amused by it.
"You're joking, right?" she asked in all seriousness.
"Of course not. I thought it was obvious by now that turians have absolutely no sense of humor." Shepard crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back in the chair, raising a finely curved brow in his direction. Garrus folded his talons on the table and tilted his head to the side. "I told you. I'm not a very good turian."
"I think you're a fine turian," she said, nudging her foot against his ankle briefly beneath the tablecloth. "Best one I know, in fact." Garrus felt the faint tickle of a rumble begin in his throat, but kept his affectionate murmurs quiet as he watched her. She really couldn't have cared less if anyone saw her playing footsie with her turian mate in a fancy restaurant. She was usually fairly subdued about displaying her affections in public, but there were times when she didn't seem inclined to be terribly discreet. He supposed it was part of her all-too-natural urge to be defiant about everything. The minute there was any sign of distaste for her choice in a mate, she became ever more blatant about her love for him. A light brush of their fingers walking through the Citadel soon had them walking arm in arm. A subtle head bump suddenly had her hands on that vulnerable part of his neck that bordered on scandalous. The more reserved, proper turian part of him almost stopped her sometimes, but the vigilante that he'd become during her absence only wanted to encourage it further.
Unfortunately, they'd been banned from a couple of places. He might have cared had he still been part of C-Sec, if he had been anything like what his father had wanted him to be, or if he had never met her. And he really didn't want any of that. Shepard's cry for the world to dare to challenge her whims was far too entertaining to miss.
"Garrus, there's a problem." Shepard had since buried herself in the menu and she was scrolling back and forth with her brow furrowed and lips pursed together.
"What? It's supposed to be a multi-species restaurant. They should have something we can both eat," Garrus replied, finally plucking up his own menu and skimming its contents.
"It is... I just... There's so many choices. How am I going to choose something? I mean, who knows when we'll be able to come back here again?"
Garrus tapped a talon to his jaw thoughtfully.
"Well," he hummed, curling his tongue around the word as he drew it out. "You can just do what you did with that mercenary gang back on Omega."
"You'll have to be more specific, Garrus," Shepard said, mouth quirking with a hint of amusement. He gave her a crooked turian grin and pointed a finger at her, folding his thumb down.
"Just close your eyes and shoot."
"Hmm." The mischievous grin was full blown now. "I knew there was a reason I loved you."
"Why does she keep talking about all the boring stuff?" Shepard said in a hushed tone.
"Shh, it's not boring!" Garrus hissed back, jabbing her in the ribs with his elbow. She grimaced and rubbed the tender spot with her fingers. He picked up his stride a little to stay close to their tiny tour group while an Asari who's blues were darker than their caretaker's spoke about the Citadel's architecture and its meaning. Shepard didn't lag behind for long before sidling up to him again.
"Don't tell me turians like all this history stuff."
"It doesn't matter if I like it or not. It's important to know."
"We're supposed to learn from our ancestors."
"The turians didn't build the Citadel," she pointed out. Garrus scrunched up his nose and looked at her exasperatedly. He'd long since decided that there were just some things humans would never understand, but that didn't make this any less frustrating. Besides, they kept getting the 'warning' eye from the two mature Asari and he wasn't about to get in trouble because of Shepard...again. Shepard's small lips curved into a smirk at his expression. "Bet you thought I wasn't listening."
"...where the Council convenes. Any questions so far, dear ones?" Shepard's hand shot up in the air with such force Garrus could feel a small breeze brush past him. "Ah, yes. What is your question?"
"When are we going to get to see the ships?" The matron Asari blinked twice and then smiled good-naturedly.
"We won't be visiting the docking station, little one. It is very busy and we don't want to distract the pilots, do we?"
Garrus knew what Shepard was going to say. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the breath rising in her throat ready to expel the words heedlessly out of her mouth. He had to do something – and since tackling her was out of the question...
"Can we see the atrium again?" he spoke up a little louder than he'd meant to. Taking his tone down a few notches he added, "Please...?"
"Certainly," the matron said with a bow of her head before turning. "Come along." For a moment, Garrus allowed himself to feel relieved that he had averted a disaster. He trailed right along the others feeling rather proud of himself, even chancing a glance in Shepard's direction despite the fact it might end up earning him a betrayed scowl.
But she wasn't there. Garrus stopped dead in his tracks and whirled around to the left and right, and then all the way around trying to find out where she'd vanished to. It was then his eyes caught sight of her bright red hair as she headed in exaggerated stealthiness towards the nearby elevator. Forget proud, now he was just panicked and torn.
He could just ignore her; stay with the group and let her get caught by the Citadel staff. Then she'd be chastised for misbehaving and he would have nothing to do with it. No calls to his father. No endless lectures once he got home.
As he watched the lanky, spry young girl edge ever closer to the elevator that probably led to much more exciting things than fountains and plants, Garrus felt something coil up inside him. Everything he relied on that told him to be a good, responsible turian insisted that he turn right around and forget about whatever insanity he was entertaining. Nothing good would come out of giving chase to this brazen human girl. What did he plan to do, anyway? Drag her back to the care center kicking and screaming? That was hardly going to happen...not that he couldn't do it. He had far more training than her and she was far too scrawny to beat him weight-wise. He just didn't quite fancy the idea of getting into a brawl with her in the Citadel's restricted areas.
"Hah!" she yelped and turned with her hand to her chest as though he'd given her a heart attack. "Garrus -!" In a hasty move, she grabbed him by the collar of his tunic and whirled him into the elevator and activated the holo to close the doors before they were seen. It took her a couple of tries since she was just a few inches too short to reach it. Garrus startled a bit as the elevator began to move and then blinked, dumbfounded, wondering when, exactly, he'd gotten close enough for her to seize him like that. Shepard huffed up her chest with a relieved breath and grinned at him. Oh, spirits, here it comes.
"Couldn't stay away, could you?" she teased.
"Quiet," he growled, clenching his small claws. "I just came to make sure you don't break anything."
Shepard seemed oblivious to his scorn.
"Good. Watching my back. That's what a second-in-command should do."
"I – what?"
Shepard wandered over and planted her hands on his angular shoulders firmly.
"I knew you wouldn't leave me," she smiled and the turian found his arguments caught in his throat. That look on her face. It was different from all those contorted expressions she usually gave him. It was...softer. Her eyes...they were...sincere? Proud? That thing coiling in Garrus' stomach soothed itself into a swell of warmth that ran right through him. He'd meant to tell her how crazy she was, talk her out of this before they got caught, but instead he stood up straight and felt his mandibles twitch faintly.
"A turian never abandons their Commander...," he said, eyes darting to the side before looking at her again. "Commander."
Shepard's eyes gleamed then, and she smiled a genuine smile. It was enough for Garrus to forget the inevitable consequences for a time. He had a mission now. He had to escort his Commander safely to the docking bay. He didn't hold the same fascination for seeing the ships there, but the idea that she trusted him enough to claim him as her second, a very honorable position indeed, was enough.
They planted themselves firmly against the walls of the elevator when the doors opened again. Shepard dared a peek outside first and then motioned for Garrus to follow when she was certain there was no one present in the hall. There appeared to be very few people on shift that day, and they managed to get farther back into the building with little trouble.
Instead, the trouble came when they tried to enter any of the doors.
"None of these things are opening!"
"They're security locked. Didn't you think of that?" Garrus asked as though it should be common knowledge.
"No, Garrus. I didn't think about it," she said with a frustrated, mocking tone. "What do we need to do to open them?" Garrus stepped up beside her and regarded the glowing orange holo on one of the doors.
"These doors look like you need a key code."
"How do we get those?" Garrus shrugged up his shoulders a little.
"My dad usually just gets them from his console at work." Shepard clenched her fists and stared at the holo as if she was silently challenging it to a duel.
"Right. We need to hack a computer!" she decided. Garrus opened his mouth, not sure what to say, and then finally clamped it shut. Where in the great expanse did she come up with these things? She turned to him then, fiercely determined.
"Mr. Vakarian! Find me a computer and hack it!"
"Shepard, all the computers are inside the rooms," he said, jabbing his finger at the holo. "How can I hack a computer to get a key code if I can't even open the door?" Shepard looked as though she was about to rationalize her plan to him somehow, when the holo on the door suddenly turned green with a soft chiming noise.
"What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything."
"Whatever. You're brilliant!" she punched him happily in the shoulder. Garrus would have enjoyed the compliment more if he wasn't busy trying to drag Shepard away from the door and around the corner. She naturally protested, but when he clamped a hand over her mouth and crouched with her behind the wall, they both grew silent at the sound of the door opening.
"...promise I'll be back in just a few more days. …..I know, sweetie..."
Shepard and Garrus sat and listened to the female voice, unaware of who exactly she was talking to since they couldn't hear anyone else. She lingered somewhere between the room and the hall since the telltale whoosh of the door closing had yet to be heard.
"...know I don't like being away so long, either. Tell you what. I'll bring you a new model for your collection. Which one are you missing...? Of course." The voice became faint and the words too much of a murmur to decipher. When the sound of clicking heels could be heard, the turian and human girl tried their best to become one with the wall. Luckily, the woman that exited the hallway was too involved with her omnitool to notice them. "Hey, Lilian. It's me... Yes, I just got his call. Yes... I'm sure he'll be fine... You know Jeff..."
Shepard didn't waste any time. Once the woman was well out of range, she grabbed Garrus by the wrist and rushed around the corner just in time to throw them both through the closing door. Garrus rolled a couple of times, making him dizzy as he landed up against the far wall with his rear in the air. Shepard had tumbled a bit herself, hair in a tousle as she stood up and lifted her arms in victory. Once she had reveled enough, she moved to help Garrus back to his feet and began scanning the room.
"Computer...compuuuter..," she hummed. "Ah ha!" Wandering over to the console in the corner of the room, her face soured up again at the fact it was just out of her reach. Darn adult things. "Garrus. Help."
"I thought I was hacking it," he said.
"I can do it. How hard can it be?" Garrus shook his head and relented, ducking down to allow Shepard to climb up on his back. When he moved to stand again she fumbled, grabbing hold of his fringe and jerking his head back as she tried to get on his shoudlers.
"Ow! Shep-aaaaaackk!" he squawked. "Geez. Watch where you're grabbing!" The girl finally managed to get her legs clumsily over his shoulders and he grabbed hold of her ankles, trying not to lose balance.
"Garrus, stop being a spaz! I can't see anything!"
"I'm not a spaz!" he retorted. "Whatever that is!"
"You're both spazzes. Why are you in here?" Shepard and Garrus looked alternately one way or the other, Garrus almost falling backward with surprise at the third voice joining their conversation. Shepard was just about to suggest that maybe the office was haunted when the voice corrected her assumption. "Over here." The turian and human girl snapped their attention back to the console where a vid call had popped up. It wasn't a ghost after all, but a young boy looking at them warily.
"Oh, it was you," Shepard said.
"I'll ask again. What are you doing in my mother's office?"
"None of your business," Shepard said.
"It could be," he replied with a wry smirk. "If I call C-Sec and tell them there's thieves in the docking bay."
"You wouldn't," Shepard dared and Garrus could only drop his head against his chest at her gall.
"Why wouldn't I?" the boy challenged back.
"Because your mom is part of the Alliance."
"How do you know that?" His eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"Because of the symbol on the wall behind you," Shepard pointed out. The boy turned and seemed to notice this for the first time before turning back around. "My mom is also from the Alliance, so telling on me would make you a traitor."
"How do I know you're not the traitor? You're breaking into an Alliance office with a turian."
"I am not! And he's not 'a turian'. He's my second in command. We're going to go see the ships at the docking bay." The boy seemed to study them a moment. Garrus glanced up now and gave Shepard's leg a poke. When she looked down at him he pointed at the screen. Looking back up to see what he was gesturing to Shepard grinned. "You like ships, too."
"What makes you say that?" Spirits, Garrus thought, he was almost as stubborn as she was.
"Well, there's all those ship models in your room... And your hat is from the piloting academy." The boy reached up and touched the bill of his cap consciously for a moment. "Are you going there?"
"Not yet... but I will," he said, seeming to regain his confidence again after a moment.
"What's your name?" His eyes darted to the side and then back cautiously.
"Jeff. We need to see these ships. I haven't gotten to see any up close. Please, you have to understand." A few strained seconds of silence followed until Garrus spied a smirk crawling over the boy's lips.
"Alright, you got me. Tell ya what. My mom's got a key code for the main door. You keep it quiet and I'll give it to you."
"Really? That's so awesome! You rock, Jeff!" Garrus huffed a breath, exasperated.
"Whatever we're doing, can we please hurry up? If we stay here too long we're going to get caught and then no one's seeing any ships."
"Cool your jets, turian," Jeff said. "The code is 24589."
"Yes!" Shepard pumped her fist in the air.
"But, really, the prickly kid is right. You'll wanna get moving." Shepard nodded and managed to climb with some semblance of grace off of Garrus' shoulders to the floor.
"Thanks a lot, Jeff. Good luck at piloting school!" she said over her shoulder as she headed for the door. Garrus followed, crossing his arms with a bit of agitation.
"I'm not prickly..."
It wasn't difficult to locate the main doors leading to the docking bay as they were much wider than the others. When Garrus and Shepard came upon them, she paused and stared up at the door anxiously. Garrus waited for her to put the key code in to the door, becoming puzzled when she continued to hesitate.
"Everything okay?" he asked.
"Yeah... Of course... I'm just..." She bounced on her feet and began to gnaw at a finger a little. "I'm...not sure..." Now? Now she wasn't sure? Garrus looked at her with widened eyes a moment. "What? I've never seen the ships so close..."
"Are you scared?"
"No!" she insisted instantly. Garrus raised an eye plate and then decided that this was it. It was his time now. When the Commander was unfit to make a decision, it was his call. Wrapping his talons around her smaller hand, he stood up on his toes and input the key code. The door chimed and opened with a heavy gust of air that threw Shepard's hair about her face wildly. She stared, wide eyed as the initial blast of light began to fade. Garrus squeezed her hand to remind her he was there.
"Come on," he said, and led her out onto the platform.
Shepard wrapped her arm a little more firmly around Garrus' as they stepped out on the docking platform on their way back to the Normandy. He adjusted his stride when she stumbled a little against him, uttering a giggle he doubted anyone else ever got the chance to hear. The wine had no doubt gone to her head at this point. She was no lightweight by any means, but when she was in the right company she would allow herself to relax and smile a bit more. It wasn't as though he was going to complain when she leaned her body into him for support anyway. He merely curled his arm around hers, the other hand tucked in the pocket of his trousers as they sauntered casually towards the railing at the end of the dock.
As they neared the edge Shepard untangled her arm from his and trotted in her bare feet to the rail. She had forfeited the heels about an hour ago and stood on tip toes with fingers curled about the bar to look at the sweeping view of the Citadel and ships below. Garrus stepped up beside her and tilted his head upward to take in a similar sight above.
"You know... I always knew I was meant for this," Shepard sighed. "Well... not the dying and the savior thing...but this..." She gestured widely outward. "My own ship...my own crew..."
"Really?" Garrus hummed, leaning sideways with his elbow on the railing to look at her. "You knew it all? No surprises?"
"Hmmn," she laced her fingers together and looked up thoughtfully. "I didn't expect that I would fall in love with the turian I made my second." Garrus chuckled.
"But you knew you'd have a turian as your second?" he prodded.
"Of course," Shepard said, as-a-matter-of-factly. The turian's eyes gleamed mischievously.
"Well, no one told me about this plan. If I'd known I was scheduled to be recruited by Commander Shepard beforehand I could have skipped out on the whole C-Sec and Spectre debacle and gotten straight to it."
"But you look so good in blue," she pointed out. "Besides, you probably thought I was crazy the first time we met. You may not have wanted to come at all."
"Oh, you're crazy – ah," he grunted as she punched him in the shoulder playfully for the remark. "But I was going to say you get things done. And, believe me, I'm had crazier Commanders."
"There was a human, in fact." Shepard's eyes lit up.
"I thought you'd only ever served with the turian fleet." Garrus rumbled a deep chuckle.
"As far as they know."
"Garrus!" Shepard gasped and tugged on his tunic now. "Did you work as a double agent? You never told me this! You horrible liar! Tell me now!" Garrus reached up and took hold of her hands to stop her from jostling him with excitement at his scandalous secrets.
"I was officially recruited at a childcare center." Shepard's expression grew blank at that and she tilted her head, squinting and trying to decipher where the truth ended and the joke began. Was he trying to be humorous again? Garrus waved his hand dismissively.
"I'd barely grown into my plates," he clarified. "It was like a game."
"You're weird, Garrus," Shepard finally said, with a cocked grin.
"Nah, you're weird."
"Uh, no, you're weird," she said, poking her tongue out between her lips and scrunching up her nose. Truthfully, it wasn't a face he'd ever seen her make before. It wasn't exactly one she wore during their time on the battlefield, and it was perfectly inappropriate for meetings with the Council, though he wouldn't be surprised if she'd been making it mentally. It was completely and utterly childish, and for some reason it tickled something in the back of his mind.
He turned his attentions back to the radiant redhead before him and she and raised her brows in question, having been watching him while he thought.
"Shepard...," he said.
"What couldn't what?" Garrus paused and stood up straight then.
"I think I knewyou."
"What?" Shepard said with a small, confused laugh. She became ever more puzzled and froze when the turian suddenly leaned in towards her and took in a deep breath near her cheek. "Garrus, this is hardly the place..."
"Spirits... It is you... Much less cookie and paint smell...but still..."
"Uh, what?" she squeaked, almost afraid to move since she had absolutely no idea what was going on. Garrus lifted his hands and grasped her shoulders, leaning back just enough to look in her eyes.
"The care center, Shepard... Shepard.. the name can't be a coincidence... Your hair...your face...your scent... it can't be a coincidence."
"Oh, Garrus, that's impossible...Don't be -"
"Stupid? Yes, you called me that back then, too," he said with a light chuckle. Shepard clamped her mouth shut and stared and he willed her to realize what he just had. It took a moment, but when he saw her eyes grow wide he knew the memory had struck.
"No. Freakin'. Way. That little troublesome turian...?" Garrus' head reared back a bit.
"Troublesome? Excuse me, but I believe it was you who were always getting us in trouble."
"Excuse me, but you bit me," she said, placing her hands on her hips. If there had been any doubt before, Garrus was now certain that this was the very same human he'd met before. The thin, awkward little body had been replaced with a fine set of curves and muscle, but the way she jutted out her hip and pursed her lips in that accusing way was all too familiar.
"And it seems you've developed a liking for that," Garrus said. Shepard lifted a finger and waved it at him, mouth agape. "Okay, that was kind of low, sorry."
"You better be. Damned turian," she huffed, crossing her arms now. She was pouting. Spirits, he could remember how much he hated that before, but now it somehow just came off strangely endearing. "I guess... that would explain the deja vu feeling I've been getting out here..."
"That's right...we snuck out here before, didn't we?" Garrus recalled, turning his gaze back out to the port. "Another one of yourbrilliant plans, I think."
"All my plans were brilliant," she said, leaning on the rail again. "Arebrilliant, in fact."
"Hmm," Garrus hummed deeply. "Even the one involving the hanar and the Citadel water supply?" Shepard flinched a little and reddened a little in her cheeks. Whether from embarrassment or the alcohol, Garrus couldn't be sure.
"It was the first hanar I'd seen, Garrus. I thought he was dying and needed to be set free," she said quickly, though the rationale from her childhood didn't seem to carry as much weight as she'd hoped. "They look like jellyfish, for god's sake."
"I...wouldn't know," Garrus said. He stared outward at nothing in particular, feeling surreal at what they were discussing, and the fact he and his tiny human Commander had actually reunited and done...well, so much more since then. He was pulled from his thoughts when Shepard sidled up next to him and brushed her soft hand over his rigid one.
"You know what?" she said. Her eyes gazed up at him soft and warm as they'd been the first night they'd decided to begin something together. Sometimes he felt as though his heart might swell out of his chest when he caught her looking at him like that.
"What?" he asked, quietly. Her smile widened as she curled her fingers between his talons.
"You kept your promise." Garrus squinted a little and felt his mandibles flare just lightly in a smile. She was right. Leaning close he touched his forehead to hers and nuzzled there just a little.
"Told you so."
"I can't believe we did it."
Shepard and Garrus sat side by side, dangling their legs off the edge of the platform as they held tight to the vertical railing on either side of them and watched the glorious ships soar overhead. Every time one came close enough a gush of wind would stir up and engulf them. They'd hold their breaths and then let it go in an exilerated and delirious fit of laughter.
"I... Uhm.." Shepard began, glancing down at her shoes as they dangled into nothing below. Garrus turned to look at her, breathing a hefty sigh after having regained himself from the last pass. The little girl glanced his way only briefly and smiled. "I'm glad you came... I was... kind of afraid you weren't gonna."
"You wanted me to come?" he asked, his brow plates raising in confusion.
"Well, yeah... I mean... I could have done this all on my own, of course," she said, lifting her head to assure him of her self-confidence. "But... It's better with you here."
"Oh," Garrus replied, simply, still regarding her and trying to figure out exactly what was going on in her head. He knew the whole idea was rather futile, but he just couldn't seem to stop trying to understand her.
"Can I tell you something?"
"I... I don't have a lot of friends...really..." Her tone fell quiet and became a little difficult to hear over the rush of the spacecraft around them. Luckily, Garrus had excellent hearing, but he still had to lean in to catch all that she was saying. "Kids don't like me much. I get in fights with them a lot. My mom says that it's a phase or something."
"You mean you won't always be crazy?" Garrus asked and Shepard granted him a disgruntled look, so he added. "I'm just asking! I just thought it would be strange if you weren't...uhm...crazy... Cause..then how would I recognize you? I...I kind of like that you're crazy. I'm...uhm.. I'm shutting up now."
"You like that I'm crazy?" Shepard asked with a look that made Garrus unsure about answering, as it may be bad for his health.
"Just thought...I wouldn't like it if you changed, Shepard," he said with a helpless shrug of his shoulders.
"I thought you didn't like -"
"Just -!" Garrus lifted his hands to stop her there. "Don't make me explain. You're so confusing all the time and you get me in to so much trouble...but..."
"I like you too, Garrus," Shepard smiled and the turian startled, caught off guard. "Even if you're a weird turian." Garrus stared, and then replied.
"You're the weird one."
"We're both weird. We'll make a good team, then, won't we?" Shepard tucked her hands in her lap and swung her legs, seeming thoroughly pleased with the idea. Garrus noted her contented demeanor and thought that, maybe, her words actually had some truth to them.
"We're friends..., right?" he said hesitantly after a moment of silence hung between them.
"Of course," Shepard replied without skipping a beat. Garrus looked down at his own feet now and gave a small turian smile. "But if we're gonna be friends you hafta promise me something."
"You have to promise that no matter where we go or what we do when we grow up...that you'll find me so we can travel the galaxy together, become famous...and shoot bad guys in the head."
"Hm. My dad says that sniper rifles are best for that," Garrus said, tapping his chin with a talon. "Can I have a sniper rifle?"
"Heck yeah," Shepard said with a nod and giggled a bit at Garrus' toothy, lopsided grin.
"You got yourself a deal, Commander," he said. "What are – eaugh!" Shepard unceremoniously spit some sort of clear fluid into her palm and held it out to him. When he simply looked at the mess in horror she shook her head.
"It's how we promise. Spit in your hand and put it in mine."
"That's...disgusting. Do you humans all regurgitate like that? What is wrong with you people?"
"It's not...whatever you just said. Ugh." She wiped her hand off on her pants without a second thought. "What do turians do when they make a deal?"
"Sign documents." Shepard gave an audible groan and lifted her fist instead.
"Just...hold your hand like this." Garrus eyed her warily, but did as asked. Shepard slowly pressed her fist against his. "There, fist bump. Promise?" Garrus tilted his head and looked at his balled up fist for a second or two.
"Yeah, I promise. Can I try again?" Shepard shrugged and held up her fist again. Garrus pressed his against hers more readily this time.
"Yeah, good. Like that," Shepard grinned.
"It's like head bumping...but with your hand...," he noted.
"Why would you bump your head?"
"It's...," he considered it a moment, continuing to repeatedly bump their knuckles together testingly, trying to find the best angle from which to perform this interesting behavior. "What do human mates do when they like each other?"
"Hug...or kiss, I guess," Shepard said, a little amused at how interested in this maneuver he'd gotten. To spice things up, she splayed her hand out after he'd hit it, simulating an explosion. Garrus perked up at this, obviously intrigued, and tried the whole thing again but with the new addition.
"Probably like that," he said.
"We've done that." Garrus stopped fist bumping a moment and looked at her, surprised.
"Yes, huh," she said. "When we were wrestling. You head bumped me."
"No. I head buttedyou. It's different."
"Uh huuuuh. You head bumped me."
"I would never head bump a human! I don't like them like that!" he insisted, obviously flustered at the idea. "That's just...wrong."
"I'm just kidding," Shepard said, sticking her tongue out at him before turning back to the view. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched the small turian huff a ruffled breath. He was way too easy to rile up.
She slipped backward and lay staring up into the expansive ever flowing sea of ships above. The future just couldn't come soon enough. There was so much awaiting her...awaiting them. When she finally received her very own ship she imagined the stories they would tell about Commander Shepard and Garrus Vakarian. As the turian settled back beside her and offered her a glance, she felt the excitement well up inside her. Her dreams were immense and wild, and they only grew greater with the thought of this turian by her side.
They'd made a promise now, and nothing – not even death itself – would keep them apart.