New chapter guys. Please review, because, well. I want them. Hope you guys like the focus in this chapter. it's kind of a setup.

Alicia sprinted off the elevator, nearly running into the door to her room. The sudden turn of events involving Garrus and her was quite unexpected, and her cabin wasn't the cleanest room on the ship. Firmly aware she had less than five minutes, she sprinted to the lower, more comfortable part of her cabin, throwing the bed sheets into a more organized heap. Next, she ran around the room, arraigning the wine glasses in a way that looked a little more relaxing. It would have been obvious to anyone watching her that she was a tad nervous.

-Pull yourself together girl. He's interested, so you've already won the battle. Now you just need to relax and do your thing-

She stopped for a moment, realizing her mind had made her sound a little easier than she was. Her attention was caught on the gun parts and modification tools on her desk. Alicia cursed herself when she heard the door open, the slight hiss warning her. Turning, she saw him.

-Well….there goes the "relaxing" attitude-


-Eight minutes earlier-

-Maybe the blue? No, I'm always wearing blue. Maybe she'll find that comforting. Like a big, plated Turian pillow….That sounds stupid. I sound stupid-

The usually orderly forward battery was littered with clothes of different colors and shapes. Garrus stood nearly naked in the middle, his mind preoccupied with how to present himself to Shepard.

-Maybe I'll just go like this. She certainly seems to like the forward approach….no. The crew would have a fit, and the last of the military discipline would vanish like love from a vorcha-

He picked up a dark black outfit, the sleeves shorter than a normal officer shirt.

-Haven't worn this since Palaven-

He eyed the black material, the smooth cloth slipping between his talons.

-To hell with it. If everything goes to plan, I won't be wearing it for very long-

He slipped the shirt over his head, minding his fringe. After adjusting the strong material to contour to his plates, he turned, heading to Shepard's cabin.

-Just remember. Savor that last shot before popping the heat sink, you've got reach, she's got flexibility, and don't use the talons when finishing-

He clicked his mandibles, stepping into the elevator.

This was either going to be a total success, or a crash worse than the Kara.


They looked at each other from opposite sides of the room. There was a tension, but it wasn't unpleasant. Garrus spoke first.

"Uh…Shepard."

Alicia started walking up to him, and nearly tripped on the stairs. Things were awkward.

"Garrus. You look…Good."

She wasn't lying. The black material laid over his plates perfectly, outlining his muscle as well. To Alicia, it was damn sexy.

She stepped up to him, hoping to initiate something.

"You look pretty good yourself, Shepard. I like what you did with your hair."

Alicia stopped, and ran a hand through her hair. In her mad dash, she had lost the settled look, and instead, had an appearance that she had been standing in the wind.

She raised an eyebrow to his now visible smirk.

"Very funny, Vakarian."

He stepped towards her, the distance now closed. Placing a hand on her waist, he pulled her closer to her. Alicia's eyes widened at the move.

"I thought so. One of us has to bring the humor, Shepard. This place wouldn't hold itself up without it."

Smiling at the Turian, Alicia raised her hand, rubbing his mandible, and working his way behind his head.

"Maybe. But sometimes I think you forget who's in charge."

"Maybe you'll need to remind me."

His voice dripped with a seduction she couldn't quite avoid. She felt her breath get heavy in her throat. Raising her hand further, she reached the back of his fringe, running her fingers hard against the plate. Garrus's eyes went wide, unnoticed by Shepard.

"I think I'm lookin-"

Shepard wasn't able to finish the sentence. Garrus had grabbed her by the waist and thrown her gently against the fish tank. Her surprise increased when she felt his mouth on hers, hungrily attacking her flesh. She tried to move, hoping to understand the situation better, when she felt his hands wrapped around her wrists, holding her in place. She was trapped, yet Alicia couldn't be more appreciative of the situation. She leaned her chest out, allowing more contact room between the two of them. She felt subdued, which was new to her.

Garrus couldn't think, his mind reeling with the desire to have her. Finally, he noticed what he was doing, and a look of horror came over his features. Pulling back, he let go of her wrists, an apology already spilling out before they had completely separated.

"Shepard! I didn't mean to do that. Are you alrig-"

Alicia cut him off, pulling him back into the kiss. Separating once more, she grabbed the top of his shirt, and with a quiet grunt, ripped the fabric off his plates. Looking up, she took him by the shoulder plates and pulled him back against her. Thrilled at this response, Garrus brought his arms around her back, tearing through the fabric of her shirt, careful not to cut her.

Slowly, Shepard raised her arms from around his neck, and similar to before, carefully rubbed her way up to the sensitive spot on his fringe. Garrus stopped kissing her, instead, closing his eyes, and giving something between a purr and a snarl. Alicia kissed her way up his mandible to his ear.

"Something wrong, Garrus?"

He knew he'd hurt her if he grabbed her. His talons were sharp, and could cut into flesh easily by accident. Hoping to quell his desire to hold her close, he threw his hands against the fish tank, his claws scraping into the strong plastic as Shepard worked her way up his fringe.

"Tell me, Garrus. Do you like that?"

He tried to speak, but she increased the pressure, turning his words into another snarling breath. Down below, Garrus felt the familiar shift in his plates, and his sheath opening. Her voice was warm in his ear, sensual yet filled with longing. It drove him mad.

"Is this what you want? Vakarian? Because I'm enjoying it."

He found his voice.

"No."

She let go of his fringe, horrified she had been causing him pain of some sort. He anticipated this, grabbing her hands roughly. He brought both of them to one hand, holding her arms over her head with a single grasp. Carefully, he massaged her front, the talons adding a pleasuring texture. Leaning in to look her in the eyes, he clicked his mandibles.

"This is what I want."

He reached down and grabbed Shepard through the legs, hoisting her into the air. The thick ridge on his arm met her pelvic bone perfectly which drew a gasp from Alicia. He carried her to the bed, and threw her down onto it. Her clothes, already torn to bits, fell apart revealing her naked body. Garrus paused at the sight. Shepard laid there, helpless. Her eyes lulled, a side effect of her desire. Her brown hair spread across her pillow and chest, the hazel chaos beautiful by any standards.

Garrus breathed in, trying to control himself. He needed to be thinking clearly for this next part.

-She's mine. I'm claiming her-

"Garrus…."

His eyes perked up. Shepard raised a single finger, beckoning him to come closer.

"Mark me."

Garrus didn't even think as he climbed over her body, his plated torso meeting her soft, warm breasts. They kissed again, their tongues exploring each other's mouths. Shepard was barely aware of the sweet taste of Garrus's skin.

-Finally-

He moved back down her body, his tongue sliding along her neck, reaching her breasts. Carefully, he grabbed her nipple with his mouth, sliding his tongue over the small bud. Shepard gasped at the feel. Turian tongues were much more sensitive. Inside his head, Garrus grinned.

-Sorry Alenko. Guess I did have a shot with her. Thank the ancestors-

Alicia grabbed his head, moaning into his ear.

"Garrus…please…"

He had no more hesitation. Releasing his lust, Garrus acted. Every want, every touch, every kiss. This was their time.


"I think I'll have a scar."

Shepard rolled over, wrapping her arm around Garrus's torso. He placed his arm around her neck, careful of the injury. Even with her advanced healing, it still looked a little bloody.

"I'm sorry, Shepard. I couldn't, well,…you're…intense."

She smiled seductively at him, sliding a finger up the creases between his plates. He gave a shiver.

"I don't mind the bite, Garrus. Also it's Alicia. No "Commander" or "Shepard" in the captains quarters."

He was about to respond when she snuggled up closer to him, softly kissing his mandibles. It felt cool and relaxing against his skin.

"So tell me, Garrus…"

She whispered into his ear, barely loud enough to hear.

"How was your day?"

He turned to her, smirking pleasantly.

"Pretty good, all things considered. I ravaged my stunning Commanding officer, and even got to discover how tasty humans are."

He leaned in closer, his voice taking on a deathly whisper.

"Honestly, Alicia, it's a wonder why Palaven hasn't started importing human for meals."

Shepard stared at Garrus, a laugh brewing in her lungs.

-Don't do it. He'll just keep making jokes. Bad jokes-

She lost the battle. Her splitting shrieks of laughter rang through the room. The pure ridiculousness of the situation and his serious attitude was perfect. After the waves had subsided, she threatened a glance back at Garrus.

He stared, smirking even more than before. It looked like he was about to say something else, but he halted, his facial expression changing. He clicked his mandibles, and sunk into the bed, nestling his head against Alicia.

"I could get used to this, Shepard."

His voice sounded quieter, the deep, emotional tone she loved taking hold. She leaned in, bumping her forehead against his. She knew what it meant.

"I told you, Vakarian."

She closed the distance, her last words spoken with a weak breath.

"To you, it's Alicia."

They kissed again, the sexual nature of the situation gone. This was about passion, and as their lips danced once more, the lights dimmed readily, courtesy of a monitoring AI.


The elevator began the slow climb to Shepard's cabin. According to Joker, she'd been there the entire day. Tali didn't kmow how to ask for permanent residence, but given Shepard's willingness to help, she didn't think it'd be a problem.

-I can't imagine Shepard would throw me out after the mission. Might be better to ask, though-

Tali tried not to think about everything that had happened. The entire mission had been a giant weight on her shoulders, and it had almost broken her.

-If Cole hadn't…he tried. He tried so hard to help. Maybe there wasn't anything he could have done. Maybe it's better this way-

She had never been a fan of fleet politics, but even thinking as such left her with an ashamed feeling. Instead, she tried to think about the positives.

-Father…At least I know he cared. That he loved me, and…and he was proud-

She felt the tears wet her eyes, and she swore at herself.

-Stop it! You are tougher than this-

Tali blinked hard, the tears disappearing. She wouldn't let this affect her anymore.

The door the cabin opened with a familiar hiss, and she stepped inside, spotting Shepard standing by her terminal. The sound of the airlock alerted the Commander, who gave a surprised look at the Quarian.

"Tali. Hey, I was coming down to meet you."

She walked up, her voice full of care.

"I heard the mission didn't end so well."

Tali bought a gloved hand to her head, her sadness obvious.

"We…we tried everything Shepard. Did 23 tell you what happened?"

Shepard moved closer, glancing at the shower door for a second, then wrapping Tali in a soft hug.

"I just read his briefing. Want to talk about it?"

Tali nodded, moving her way over to the couch. Shepard opened her mouth, ready to suggest going somewhere more private, when she realized how stupid that would sound. She joined Tali, hoping Garrus wouldn't get out of the shower for a bit.

They sat at opposite ends, Tali on the couch, Shepard on the chair. Sitting down, Tali picked up what looked like a torn black shirt. She raised it at Alicia.

"Sorry, Tali. I uh…Rough night."

Tali turned to the rest of the room, taking in the sight of the bed and clothes on the floor.

"Rough night?"

Shepard nodded quickly.

"Nightmares. About Akuze."

"Oh."

Alicia leaned forward, desperate to change the topic.

"So. What exactly did you want to discuss?"

Tali crossed her arms, her actions suggesting nervousness.

"I…I don't have a home anymore, Shepard. Right now I'm Tali'Zorah Vas Neda. I'll help with the mission, no doubt, but…after we…if we make it back, would you have me on your ship? The Normandy is the closest thing to a home I have. All my family. You, Garrus, Joker…I would like to stay."

She finished, her tone sounding slightly desperate.

"Please?"

Shepard smiled at her warmly.

"Tali, you're always welcome here. My offer never changed. If you need anything, let me know. Joker and EDI will be glad to have the company, I'm sure."

The Quarian sighed, and relaxed a little more.

"Thank you, Shepard."

"Now, was there anything else? Do you want to talk about the trial?"

Tali turned her head, the topic still painful.

"I…not now, Shepard. I'm sorry, but I don't want to drag you into the insanity of flotilla politics."

Alicia nodded.

"I understand."

There was a silence between them for a bit, before Shepard continued.

"How was 23?"

Tali looked back at her, the sadness changing to…Shepard couldn't tell. Admiration? Embarrassment?

"He was…he did everything right."

Shepard leaned forward, intent on listening.

"When they challenged me, he didn't have to step up. He wasn't my captain. But when he did, he…I've never heard him speak like that. So full of passion, and a…a sense of right? I don't know. He just kept telling them how good I was, and how they were making a mistake. No one has ever said anything like that about me. No one. It made me feel…"

She couldn't continue. Alicia waited, but understood the pause. Tali hadn't entirely figured this out for herself yet.

-Loved? Keelah, no. No, that…it wasn't….he…-

"Shepard…"

Tali's voice came out like a whisper.

"How do you…have you felt love before?"

Shepard smiled, her head rising. Tali rephrased the question.

"I..I mean, do you know how to realize love? I don't know what I feel. I don't know how to…"

It broke free, and Tali gave up with subtlety.

"Do I love him, Shepard? This feeling, this pull right here…"

She motioned to her heart.

"When he spoke to me…not to the Admirals, but to ME, I felt it. It was painful, and wonderful, and it ached but…I want to feel that again."

She dropped her head into her hands.

"What do I do, Shepard?"

Alicia stood up, crossing the couch. Sitting herself next to Tali, she placed a hand on her back soothingly.

"Tali, it's normal to feel this way."

Her silver eyes appeared from between her three fingers, staring at Shepard.

"Maybe for someone who's used to it."

"Not exactly. You need to confront this, Tali. If you feel this way about 23, you need to talk to him. Let him know, or hell, peak his interest. Otherwise, that feeling will only get more painful, and what makes it good will start to disappear. Regret does more damage than heartbreak."

Tali stared at Shepard, her sliver eyes widening with understanding.

"I…but what if it doesn't work out?"

"Then you move on."

Tali wanted to scream. It couldn't be that simple.

"That's it? I pour my heart out to him, and if it doesn't work, I just let go of that and move on?"

Alicia smiled at her.

"Not really. You don't ever really move on. But it's nice to think we can."

Tali leaned against the couch, the revelations starting to tire her out. They sat in silence until her accented whisper broke the calm.

"Do you think he loves me?"

Shepard thought for a while, contemplating her words.

"He chose you over Miranda. He chose love over hate."

She sat back from Tali, and looked her square in the eyes.

"I can't tell you what he feels. He's a mystery, but…if it helps….he's a good man. You've got good instincts."

Tali sat up from the couch, staring off into space.

"I…Thank you, Shepard. I need to think about this…about him."

Alicia stood, patting the Quarian on the back.

"Anytime, Tali."

They walked to the door together, Shepard making her way to the work station.

"Tali, by the way, we're headed to Ilium next. We have to get back on track with the mission."

"Understood, Commander."

She turned to walk out, when something popped into her head.

"How did Garrus do with HIS mission? Did he catch his target?"

Shepard glanced at the shower quickly. The sound of running water was gone.

"He, uh…worked out his problem. Took a little work, but I think we've gotten past it. Well, Tali it's late, and I think I shou-"

The door to the shower opened, and out walked the devil himself, wrapped in a white towel. Turning to Shepard, he started.

"I'm not a fan of water, Alicia, but I do have to say that shower was heaven-"

He glanced over, noticing Tali. His half naked form froze in place.

No one moved.

Shepard's eyes moved from Garrus to Tali, to Garrus.

-Well, shit-

Tali broke the awkward silence.

"I see, Shepard. A little work."

Garrus opened his mouth to speak, when he was cut off by Shepard.

"Like I said Tali. You just need to talk to him, and things usually progress."

The Quarian stifled a laugh, stepping out of the room.

"Have fun you two."

The door shut, answering all of Garrus's prayers.

He turned and looked at Shepard, who was ready to have a laughing fit. He raised his head nonchalantly.

"The shower was still worth it."

I didn't include the sex scene because it was already pretty text heavy. Don't worry, you'll get some skin-on-skin action soon enough. Anyways, the next chapter is going to be pretty special. Like, 23 is a fucking boss and Tali is perfectly wonderful special. REVIEW!