AN: This ended up being a two-shot because I kept thinking what would happen if Garrus found himself in the same situation. Apparently the answer is "smut." I guess after "Interrogation Tactics" Garrus deserves some revenge. Apologies for the abrupt end. Contemplating a "closure" chapter as a follow-up.
This chapter is rated M for language, sexual content, and questions of consent.
Garrus was by no means an expert on humans. Working and living closely with them had done a little to illuminate some of the mysteries of their species, but he was a long way from understanding them to a satisfactory degree. But he always felt that, if he could claim familiarity with any human, it would be Shepard.
Which was partly why he was so damn confused by the other night.
They'd spent a lot of time together over the last few years (with the obvious exception of when she was dead). Her moods were less of a mystery to him, her comments hardly ever surprised him anymore, and even her odd sense of humor was beginning to grow on him.
But then he woke up with his face in her hands and her lips on his.
At first he thought it was funny. He'd never seen Shepard at such a loss, stuttering her way through an almost plausible but undeniably ridiculous excuse. Correction – it was fucking hilarious. Only his respect for her (and an underlying fear of getting his ass handed to him) kept him from mentioning it to Tali or Joker. Or anyone else, for that matter.
In the end, he was utterly baffled by what she had done. Shepard was hardly what he would call 'shy.' If she had wanted to simply feel what his skin was like, she would've asked. And the way her lips had felt pressed against his… it seemed intimate. Looking back, it somehow felt like had been intruding on something by waking up.
Which made no fucking sense.
And of course, there was the lingering feel of her fingers. Her scent, augmented by whatever she put in her hair that always reminded him of a summer's eve on Palaven, was all over the Battery. All over him. Made it impossible for him to concentrate without thinking of her and wondering what the hell all of this meant.
He was vaguely nostalgic for turian ships. At least then he could find a more suitable outlet for his confusion – beating the shit out of a crewmate or fucking some willing female senseless. But acknowledging this desire usually lead to images of pinning Shepard beneath him and –
AND, he thought sternly, it was better to just stop that train of thought right there.
So even if his dreams were filled with memories of her fingers tracing the lines of his face, he made sure his waking hours were spent forgetting it had ever happened. He owed Shepard that professional courtesy. Seemed like more than a fair trade. She saves his life on Omega and he doesn't blackmail her with embarrassing information about what she may or may not do during the night shift.
They fell back into their usual routine, debriefing and witty banter with the overly familiar small talk that had seemed to characterize their time together. The silent agreement between them to never mention what had happened seemed to suit Shepard just fine. And while Garrus couldn't help but feel… something about it, he figured it was just as well to not say anything.
Not that it stopped him from occasionally dropping hints that could still bring an appealing shade of red to the Commander's cheeks. But he was gentlemanly enough not to outright say anything.
The incident had so slipped into the back of his mind that when Miranda, during their usual weekly meeting about the state of the Normandy's guns, asked him to go over the new Thanix Canon's specs with the Commander, of course he agreed. Any embarrassment or humor either had felt at the incident had long since disappeared, so when EDI reported that the Commander was in her cabin, he headed up without a second thought.
He was unsurprised when she didn't answer the door - she was often too engrossed in whatever she was doing to even notice. That's why her cabin was usually unlocked. She had a strict open door policy with all of her crew, something that the Cerberus staff was a little uneasy about but that the old Normandy crew was more than accustomed to.
Needless to say, Garrus didn't hesitate to barge in. It'd gone against his turian upbringing to do so on the SR1, but he'd been scolded enough times that he no longer thought twice about it. He was flipping through his report, highlighting the pertinent facts, as he walked down the steps. His mouth was already open to apologize for interrupting her, automatically looking up to the couch – her preferred place of work – and frowned when he noticed she wasn't there.
He looked over to her desk, unsure of himself for the first time since entering the room. He couldn't see a damn sign of her, and he silently cursed EDI for actually being wrong about something.
Somewhat annoyed, he placed the datapad on the couch and was about to leave when his attention was finally drawn to the large bed to his left.
You know. The one with the sleeping woman sprawled across it.
Shepard was a light sleeper. Everyone knew that. It had taken him off guard the first time he flew in a shuttle with her. About three minutes in, he turned to ask her a question to find her gently snoring against the bulkhead. Ashley had found his reaction hilarious, but explained that it was something Shepard had probably picked up in basic. Marines got into the habit of getting sleep wherever they could, whenever they could. If that meant sleeping through a shuttle ride or on a ground transport, then they'd do it. Garrus had been skeptical until they landed and Shepard had immediately woken up, not in the least bit groggy. Once Wrex had decided to test the limits of this self-induced coma, seeing how many times he could poke her before she'd wake up. He'd ended up with a pistol in his face not a second later.
Garrus had long accepted this unusual quirk (one of many that Shepard possessed). Shepard was a light sleeper. Shepard hated the smell of the human drink "coffee." Shepard hated something called "spiders." Shepard never remembered to feed her fish. Shepard liked punching people before shooting them square in the chest.
Which was why he couldn't figure out how the hell he'd managed to get into her room without waking her up.
He stared at her for a moment, and once he determined that she was in fact breathing, he felt a little more at ease. Didn't mean his curiosity wasn't peaked.
Claiming a concern for the Commander's health, he moved closer to investigate.
He somehow manage to walk over to her beside without making a sound, hardly an easy task given the cramped space, his massive armor and the alarming number of abandoned clothes. He wondered if he should suggest her getting a maid. This might not be an Alliance ship, but surely there were protocols about this sort of thing.
The clock on her nightstand (an oddly human trait, putting a clock next to one's bed) marked the time as 1000. Well into the first shift of the day. He seemed justified in his obvious intrusion. How could he have known she'd be asleep so late in the morning?
A small canister next to the clock caught his eye. He paused before reaching for it, checking to make sure Shepard's breathing hadn't changed. It occurred to him that harassing her for intruding on him while he slept was now somewhat hypocritical, but his Detective instincts wouldn't let him just walk out.
Yes. Blame this on the C-Sec training.
Garrus quickly inspected the canister. Medical grade sedative. And apparently the entire thing was empty. But what could she need a sedative for? He was quite certain she'd never had problems sleeping before, at least not if the shuttle and Mako rides were any indication.
As if in answer, the light from the fish tank reflected off something across the room. He looked up to see Shepard's old helmet.
He looked over at the Commander quizzically. It was obvious now that she was in a deep, drug-induced sleep. Her head rested haphazardly on the pillow, mouth slightly open and probably another half hour away from a pile of drool forming. She was breathing deeply, a slow and even breath that escaped with the occasional snore. She looked like at some point her and her blanket had gotten into a fight, one that she had apparently lost, since it was tangled around her left arm and waist, and binding her feet together. She was half on her back and half on her left side, propped up slightly by a bundle of sheets that had somehow escaped her limbs. It couldn't have been comfortable, but she seemed heavily rooted to the spot, too far gone for the minimal discomfort to reach her subconscious.
And as he stood over her, watching her sleep, he couldn't help but think that she looked – what was the human word? – adorable.
Wait. Did he just call his commanding officer 'adorable'? Fuck, that's not a good sign.
He sighed in frustration at his obvious weakness. Staring at Shepard while she slept was pretty close to creepy.
But… Shepard had done it to him, right? She'd set the precedent. Hell, he'd never looked into it. Maybe this was normal for humans…?
Even he thought that sounded moronic.
Just leave, Vakarian. Last thing you need is Shepard catching you in here. Or worse, someone else.
Spirits, that would be just his luck too. Get caught by someone like Kelly or Kasumi or (worse) Joker. He would probably die of embarrassment on the spot.
His talons flexed as he thought about it, bringing his attention back to the canister. Slowly the facts presented themselves in what seemed to be the most relevant order.
1. Shepard was an interesting example of the human species that deserved further consideration. You know, to bridge the gap between their species and for science and so on.
2. Shepard was asleep.
3. She'd done it first, dammit.
4. Oh yeah, Shepard's asleep and unlikely to wake up anytime soon.
Maybe another minute or two wouldn't hurt…
Garrus shifted his weight slightly as if to sit on the edge of the bed, but immediately decided against it. Even with Shepard tranqued, it didn't seem wise to get that close. Better to stay out of arm's reach. And hope she didn't sleep with a pistol under her pillow. So instead, he found himself kneeling by her bed, staring at the lines of her back and wondering how she could possibly sleep, contorted as she was. He was tempted to move her to make her more comfortable, but realized he was somewhat lacking in experience with human comfort.
And he could not emphasize enough how much he did not want to wake her up.
He hadn't been lying when he thought Shepard was an interesting member of the human race. He'd never cared much about humans. They were just... there. Like the salarians and asari before them, they were just another species crowding the already densely packed Citadel. But he couldn't deny he'd been drawn in by Shepard just like all the other members of her crew. She was... fascinating.
Ugh, he thought, I sound like Mordin talking about one of his science experiments.
Not that he intended to stop looking. He just felt... dirty and clinical while he did it.
Shepard wasn't often so... exposed. Her armor and even her civvies tended to cover more than was currently laid bare before him. A loose tank top that was riding up, more than just a hint of her abdomen visible. More milky skin and then a pair of shorts that definitely earned the name "short." The blanket and sheets hid little pieces of skin here and there, but for the most part she was there in front of him, almost as if on display. Tempting him, even as she slept.
He soaked in the arch of her spin, wondering at the muscles and vertebrae hidden just below. It was odd to think that even though her body was much more vulnerable than his, there was still considerable strength lurking beneath the surface. Who would think, looking at the gentle curves of her hips and the supple lines of musculature, that this woman was one of the most feared soldiers in the galaxy.
If he hadn't seen her in action himself, he wouldn't have believed it. She was just too smooth, too soft.
How smooth? How soft? And he cursed himself as soon as the question formed. There was no way to ignore it, no way to pass up the opportunity to actually touch her without the risk of enemy fire keeping it strictly platonic.
This is still platonic, he argued, pulling off his gloves. There's nothing romantic about it.
Part of him knew not to examine that idea too closely.
He wavered in his resolve. On the one hand, if she woke up, Shepard was likely to be none too happy to find him there. Even if she'd been caught in similar circumstances. But on the other hand, who gives a fuck?
He placed his hand in between her shoulders with the same sort of precision that one would expect from someone dismantling a bomb. At the first contact, he had to force himself not to pull away. She's asleep, he reminded himself.
Yeah, that's probably what they thought at that Cerberus station before Miranda woke her up.
Garrus tried to ignore the doubts and instead applied more pressure, focusing everything on the feel of her skin. Spirits, was she soft. A predatory thought appeared briefly in the back of his mind, something that made him wonder how much pressure before she bruised, how much before he broke the skin. Instead he continued to gently rub a circle there on her back and pretending she was a delicate piece of china.
If she'd stirred at all, shown any signs of waking, he probably would have left right then. He was sheepish enough to value his pride over his desire to continue. But luckily - or unluckily - she didn't react. He stayed like for a couple more minutes, the feel of her skin hypnotizing him. And then, very abruptly, it wasn't enough anymore. Even while his left hand relished in the contact, his right twitched and begged for its own chance to explore.
He started by gently brushing a few stray strands of hair from her face, all the while keeping the gentle contact on her back. Her hair had always had a hold on him, had always begged for him to touch and feel. He took a handful and let it slide through his fingers. He did it again and again, surprised by how easily it allowed his talons to move through it. Brushing it, he found himself wishing it was longer, but was still quite satisfied.
Finally his hand burned for more, and he drew a line down the contours of her face, down her delectable neck, over her collar bones, and... He hesitated at the swell of her breasts. If hair was new territory to him, then this was definitely beyond his experience. They were something new and intriguing, but if memory served something that humans just didn't go around touching. The one time some guy at a club had "copped a feel" as Jack put it ("Commander, what does this have to do with cops?" "UGH! Everyone just SHUT UP and pretend this NEVER HAPPENED!"), Shepard had punched him square in the jaw with just a touch of biotic blue for emphasis.
But he knew she had touched his fringe, something that was probably equally inappropriate, when she'd caught him asleep in the Battery. While that might not be a justification for the breech in trust and cultural taboos, it made him want to exact his own form of vengeance.
Watching her face, he slowly let his talon slide along her right breast through the thin fabric of her shirt. He was somewhat disappointed when she continued to breathe evenly, not even the slightest bit of awareness.
Of course, that just meant he could keep doing it.
You need to stop. No way this ends well.
I'm just curious. This is completely innocent.
Then why are you molesting your commanding officer?
But Garrus kept moving his hand, then switched to cupping her breast, squeezing gently. He hadn't expected it to be so... he wasn't sure how to describe it. Nothing in turian anatomy was even remotely close to this. Too tender and fluid. Still strangely appealing, making his cock twitch slightly.
Emboldened by the Commander's relaxed form, he brought his talon to the bottom edge of her shirt, not letting himself pause as he brought his hand underneath the fabric and finally found his way inside. He continued his probably inept groping, finding a surprisingly soft center at the peak of her breast. His talon made soft circles around it, but was baffled when he noticed the tip hardening under his ministrations. He pinched it slightly, eliciting a slight moan.
It should have made him stop. He should have taken it as a warning and gotten out of there. And then he should have taken a long, cold shower. But the aroused sound, small as it was, stirred in his blood and drowned out any remaining vestiges of self-control.
He did it again and again, listening to her breathing quicken and her lazy groans of satisfaction, a drugged quality making it sound heavy and low. Too guttural. Almost turian.
Garrus understood that his mind was starting to become clouded. His proximity to Shepard and her unconscious reaction to him were having the same effect as a shot of ale. He was watching more than participating, his only conscious thought being "More."
His hand reluctantly left the confines of her shirt. It trailed the length of her abdomen, no longer satisfied to notice the differences between them. Her belly button, which a few moments ago would have demanded undue attention, was ignored as he continued lower. It was easy to imagine her body arched against his. Skin and scales and her moans, full of need and much louder than her sleeping body could manage.
Heady thoughts engulfing him, his talon slipped under her shorts and into her panties.
He didn't know what he had been expecting. If she were a turian woman, he'd find nothing but plates protecting her sex, though possibly loosened from his ministrations. But Shepard was, obviously, not a turian woman. It hadn't occurred to him that she'd be open to him, with nothing to bar his further exploration. The idea was a little intoxicating, and it was certainly a little erotic to think that nothing stood between him and the most private parts of Commander Shepard.
Again, he felt out of his depth, not sure what he was looking for. As he stroked, he knew he'd found the right spot only because her breathing hitched slightly as he rubbed against a small nub. Experimentally, he tried again, closely watching her reaction. Every stroke, every swirl, every gentle flick earned him a muffled whimper. He began to work in earnest, pleased beyond what he would have expected to see her writhe slightly, incomprehensible syllables fighting through her dreams and barely passing her lips.
He desperately wanted to take her, to mark her shoulders with his teeth and her hips with his talons, to fuck her and hear her scream his name, punishing her for making him feel this way and not even having the decency to be awake while he fondled her. But he had to satisfy himself with her murmured, unaware approval.
One finger continued to stimulate her, another pushed against the tight fabric of her clothes and found her entrance, warm and wet and way too inviting. He bit back a moan as he pushed into her core, moving slowly so as not to hurt her. She bucked slightly, her paralyzed limbs and the blanket restraining most of her reaction. He began to move inside of her, slowly at first but then faster and faster as he felt her start to tighten around him.
A thing sheen of sweat had started to form on her neck, and he impulsively leaned down to lick it. He nuzzled her slightly, then moved up to her ear. Nipping affectionately as he whispered, "Come for me, Shepard."
Too soon he felt her tighten and convulse slightly around his finger with a strangled mewl. He continued to stroke her, though not with the same wanton abandon as before, as her body gradually relaxed and she let out a contented sigh. Reluctantly, he pulled away, massaging the back of her neck with his other hand.
Feeling incredibly dirty, he stood up and awkwardly looked around, truly nervous for the first time since entering her quarters. Retreat was obviously the best option.
Yes, run away to the Main Battery and pretend you didn't just finger fuck your sleeping Commander. He almost laughed at the absurdity of it. Of all the ridiculous situations to be in, this was probably one of the least likely ones.
It was guilt more than anything else that made him gently rearrange her blankets. The gesture of tucking her in seemed far too intimate, a further violation.
Garrus sighed, not sure how he'd ever be able to look her in the eye again. He mumbled invectives at himself as he grabbed his datapad - like hell he was leaving proof he'd been in there - and stormed out.
And while he no doubt would need to sort out his feelings on what had just happened, his first priority was to deal with the painful amount of pressure in his lower armor...