Shepard threw her helmet into the storage locker. After some unclasping and wiggling, the other parts of her armour followed, and she slammed the locker shut.
She shed the undersuit, dropping it to the ground in front of the locker, then headed for her shower.
This had been a stressful mission. They had had to infiltrate a relay station of the enemy, capturing it fast and decisively before any alarm could be sent out. There had been heavy resistance, and her and her team's skills had been taxed to the utmost, but they had been successful. They now had a way to listen in on enemy communications without the Reapers being aware of it.
It had been a close thing, but they'd come through without any losses and only minor injuries to her squad.
The hot water cascaded down her body, soothing away lingering aches. A muscle in her shoulder that she suspected of being pulled eased down gradually.
She sighed. She'd really have liked some time to wind down, which would have involved Garrus and some serious easing of tension, but unfortunately, that wasn't to be. Councillor Velarn was supervising this part of the overall plan, and he was to debrief her personally. He wouldn't take it too well if she made him wait too long, especially for, as he had acidly called it once, pursuing relations with her turian subordinate. Although Velarn had stopped the snipes regarding that topic recently, so she supposed she had to be grateful for small favours.
Well, at least she would take enough time to clean up and change into a fresh set of fatigues. Even Velarn couldn't take exception to that.
She shook her head, sending droplets of water flying. She couldn't even blame him, not really. Duty had to come first, it was something they could agree on and always had. She had no doubt that Velarn knew very well that he was adding to her frustration, however, and that he was feeling amused by it. That would be just like him, she felt.
They had some sort of new-found respect for each other since escaping the Citadel together - and having had a strictly private match between them on the way - but that didn't make them any sort of friends.
She had told Garrus about that, too. She wasn't ashamed of it, and as far as she knew among turians it wouldn't even have been worth mentioning, but she wasn't certain about how that translated for the two of them, and it was maybe better to err on the side of caution. She kept no secrets from him, not like that, and he needed to know that.
Garrus hadn't shown much surprise, which she considered a sign he knew her too well, but quite some amusement, and then he had proceeded to prove to the both of them why it was his company that she preferred, in a very energetic manner.
He hadn't been jealous, not because of something like that, but there had been something, and she wasn't quite sure what it had been. Interest, maybe, or some form of competitiveness. Whatever it was, it kicked up his performance to a whole new level.
No, he had no reason to be jealous, and he knew that.
She smiled in remembrance, then reluctantly reminded herself that this wasn't the time for this, either, and turned off the water.
She was just rubbing a towel vigorously over her hair to dry it off as she heard the door to her quarters open and close again, and then familiar footsteps outside.
There was only one person who had permission to enter her quarters at any time unannounced, so she didn't even bother to check. "Be with you in a moment!" she announced in a raised voice, then proceeded in a more efficient way to get herself dry.
Damn. She might not be a turian for whom it was perfectly normal to come back from combat, grab the next willing crew mate and work off the remains of stress and fury in a less destructive way, be it sex or rough sparring or a combination of both, but if she was honest she wasn't that far removed from that mindset, either. Right now, she'd very much like to go out, get a hold of her companion, shove him against a wall, or maybe the fish tank, and test his endurance. Rigorously, extensively, and with multiple test scenarios.
She slung her towel over her shoulders and exited the bath.
"Sorry, Garrus, I still have to make my report to Velarn, as much as I'd like to let him wait for a bit longer. Make yourself comfortable, I'll be back as soon as I can."
With a sigh, she stepped down the stairs to the locker beside her bed that held her clean laundry, then came to a stop.
Garrus was sprawled on her couch, looking quite comfortable, and at least to her very, very tempting.
On the adjacent part of the couch was a turian with intricate facial markings in civilian clothes, his pose collected, almost formal, a perfect contrast to Garrus' ease. His green eyes regarded her with unmasked amusement.
Unfortunately Councillor Velarn remained where he was, sitting on her couch, so it probably was no hallucination.
Her first impulse was to draw the towel around herself, since at the moment it didn't hide anything of relevance from view, but she refrained from doing so. The first step to be embarrassed was to act like it, and she sure as hell wasn't going to give him that satisfaction.
Besides, it wasn't as if he was seeing anything he hadn't seen before.
She knew turians weren't bothered about nudity like most humans were, but even so, this was simply inappropriate. She threw Garrus a glare, which seemed to further amuse him, resolved to do deal with him later and regarded Velarn with all the dignity she could muster. Even so, she felt she was probably blushing in some interesting places. Inwardly, she wished the Councillor into the deepest spot of hell, right now.
"Councillor Velarn. That is unexpected." She raised an eyebrow at him. "I wasn't aware the debriefing was that critical that you had to come to my quarters immediately and without sending warning ahead."
The dynamics between them had changed since their escape from the Citadel. There was considerably more mutual respect in their interaction, but the difference in personality made them still clash, although with less spectacle than before. They could at least admit, however grudgingly, that the other one might know what they were doing after all, but she hadn't quite forgiven him for letting her think him a helpless civilian on their way out of the Citadel, and he still took offence at her lack of formality in her conduct. So far it was an uneasy ceasefire with some occasional minor skirmishes between them.
This had to be another ploy of his to get on her nerves. Well, maybe it was just payback for the last tricks she had played on him. "I will, of course, remedy my current lack of proper attire momentarily." Her voice was clipped, and she wasn't quite able to kept her annoyance from showing, as much as she tried. It was a valiant effort, though, and she felt she ought to be commended for it. Her movements were almost casual as she opened her locker, pulled out a bathrobe and slipped it on. She was aware that the crisp way she tied the belt gave away her tension, and was annoyed at that, too.
To her surprise, Velarn's mandibles twitched with suppressed amusement, and he gave Garrus a quick look. "I stand corrected. You were right about her reaction."
Shepard crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I'm missing something here." she stated, throwing Garrus another look.
He had the grace to look faintly nervous. "Well..." he said.
"This isn't an official visit, Shepard." Velarn said calmly.
She frowned. "What is this about, then?"
Velarn still seemed somewhat amused. "You seem very tense. You once helped me with that. I offer to return the favour."
Her jaw dropped. He couldn't just have said what she thought she'd heard, could he? She threw a look at Garrus, but there seemed to be no help there. He looked...interested? Intrigued?
It couldn't be a dream, because the pulled muscle in her shoulder continued to vaguely hurt, and that didn't happen in dreams. She didn't remember taking any drugs either, or any opportunity where she could have been dosed without her noticing.
"Is this some sort of prank?" she asked, her tone more sharp than she had intended.
Velarn's mandibles twitched again. "Hardly. I do not have a sense of humour, as you have pointed out to me before."
She transferred her attention to Garrus. "And that's fine with you?" she asked, incredulous.
His looked back at her, calm enough. "Of course." There was this expression in his eyes that she knew very well. "In fact, that could be very...interesting." He twitched his mandibles into a rather roguish grin. "For one of us, it's nothing outrageous, really. He's just observing proper protocol by making that offer to you in my presence."
She was missing a lot of the cultural context here, but from that she could at least tell that Velarn was acting like towards a turian couple. He was more or less acknowledging the fact that she and Garrus were an item here, something he had refused to believe or accept so far.
Still, this was a bit extreme, wasn't it? This wasn't some sort of emergency situation, where it was just her and Velarn and the adrenaline high from surviving against extreme odds. Yes, she was a bit wound up, but nowhere near the level where she would abandon all conscious thinking. This here was about choice, not just some reflex. And Garrus...Garrus was right here. That couldn't be right, could it?
"So...what do you expect me to do?"
"Whatever you feel like. Kick him out if you don't want him. Keep him here if you want to take him up on his word."
She blinked. "And what about you?"
The grin was definitely wide now. He was enjoying this. "Same options. And I don't mind sharing, if that's what you're asking. Though I must point out that if you should decide you want us both to stay, this could turn a little...competitive." He exchanged glances with Velarn at the last word, and Velarn flared his mandibles, partially amused, partially as in reply to a challenge.
Shepard stared at the two of them. If she had any sense at all, she'd refuse them politely and stop even thinking about this.
"You are seriously suggesting a threesome with Councillor Velarn to me, here?"
"Well, actually he was." Garrus said with a nod at Velarn. "But...yes."
She really shouldn't think about it, but her libido was only too happy to point out the possibilities. Graphically, and in 3d. There was a part of her that really wanted to try that. All right, make that the major part.
Unfortunately her reason came up with too many issues. That sort of think worked well and was fun when it was a one-time-only arrangement for all involved. If a relationship was involved, things were different and so much more complicated.
"I'm not going to go into details, but let's say, I tried something along these lines before, and it didn't go over too well."
Two sets of inhuman eyes, one blue, one green, watched her intently, waiting for her to explain.
She waved her hand. "Someone always gets left out or at least feels that way. Or someone worries too much about whether their partner maybe is enjoying it too little, or even worse, too much." And she sure as hell wasn't going to get into detail any more here.
Velarn laughed, but it wasn't mocking, and Garrus twitched his mandibles again. "That was with all participants being humans, wasn't it?" At her nod, he shrugged. "On the whole, I think, turians, we're a bit more social, and our egos aren't that fragile." he winked, an expression he had picked up from the humans aboard. "It's just a problem of logistics. And we are very good at working together." His voice had dropped at that least sentence, and Shepard suddenly found it hard to focus as her imagination came up with several interpretations as to what forms that cooperation could take.
She looked at Velarn. "If we do this, is this going to be a problem once we're on duty again, or will it earn me your contempt in the long run?"
His eyes brightened as his pupils shrank, and his mandibles dropped in astonishment. "What sort of reaction would that be? You think I'm likely to respect you less if we share some pleasure when off-duty?" She didn't reply, but he shook his head. "Why would I offer to sleep with someone I don't respect? Do you think I have that little self-respect, or that I'm that desperate or that lacking in prospective partners that I'd lower my own standards like that?"
"Neither." she had to admit.
Velarn snorted. "Humans. I'll never understand the way you think." His eyes flashed green as he turned his head slightly. "I have no problem keeping work and private life apart. From what I've seen so far I don't think you do, either." His head lowered, almost imperceptibly. "I'm not trying to talk you into anything, though, and I won't be insulted if you refuse, whether permanently or just for now. This is only about pleasure, nothing to get worked up about."
She found that she believed him.
"Still, why me?" she asked him.
He regarded her unblinking. "You're a good soldier, and you have my respect. You're in no way intimidated by me and under no obligations, nor seeking any favours from me, so if you agree I can be certain that it is simply because you want to."
It made sense, of course, but she still gave him a doubtful glance.
Something sparkled in his green eyes, a hint of humour that he usually kept well hidden. "And maybe just because I want to."
That startled a smile out of her.
What the hell. If they didn't think it wrong in any way, it made no sense for her to worry about it.
She very deliberately walked over to them, sat down on the couch between them and leaned back, raising an eyebrow at Garrus.
"Let's assume I admit to being curious about how you good you are at working together." she said to him. "How is this supposed to work?"
"Well..." Garrus drawled, his voice dropping to exact the tone and pitch she found so irresistible "let's try this." Suddenly his hands were around her waist, and he pulled her into his lap, her back against his chest. "You let us take care of you for a while, and we'll just make it up as we go along. How's that?"
His hands slipped underneath her bathrobe, caressing her skin just underneath her breasts, and she took a sharp breath as he found just the right spots to gently dig his claws in. The skin weave had made her less sensitive overall, and hypersensitive in some places, and he of course knew that and was taking full advantage of it. Sudden heat ran through her, but she wasn't going to let him win that easily. "Lose that suit of yours and try again."
Garrus laughed, and let go of her, letting her rest on the couch.
She kept her eyes half-closed, listening to the sound of hastily removed fabric and smiled at how fast he apparently could get out of his clothes with proper motivation. Then he was back, lifting her again into his lap, and she leaned against him with a sigh. Even with her bathrobe between them she felt the heat of his body and its alien but by now familiar lines, and that just felt right.
"Well?" he asked, a teasing undertone in his voice as he replaced his hands on her.
"Sounds good to me. Carry on, then."
He chuckled, his breath warm against the side of her neck, as he threw her bathrobe open in a casual flick, then resumed his slow stroking over her body, in a way that made her want to purr. Shepard leaned her head back, closing her eyes briefly, then opened them again and looked at Velarn.
He was watching them attentively, his expression almost thoughtful.
"Have you reconsidered?" she asked him, and he blinked. "Of course not. I wasn't sure I was included, though."
Shepard snorted, then gasped as Garrus' hands found her breasts. "Of course you were. You're overdressed for the occasion, by the way."
Velarn chuckled, unoffended by her tone, and Garrus leaned in to lick her throat. She stroked against the underside of his fringe, and he rumbled happily.
A second set of hands joined Garrus', and she opened her eyes and looked at Garrus searchingly.
All of that had been a bit sudden, and they had never really discussed situations like this. It'd just never come up. Of course the idea of this excited her, and quite a lot, but she still wasn't sure what the limits were here. She didn't want to hurt his feelings in any way, however inadvertently. If this had been Velarn's idea, and Garrus felt some sort of social obligation that made him reluctant to refuse, then, intriguing or not, the councillor would find himself outside her door faster than he could dismiss the idea. Garrus growled, and she knew that sound and that expression of his. Very turned on, quite happy and with no misgivings whatsoever. She had always been able to read his moods. He met her eyes briefly, and as most of the time knew what she was thinking. He lowered his head again, licked the side of her neck and said softly. "It's really all right. Just enjoy."
That reassured her.
She turned her head to have a look at Velarn, taking in his appearance with quite some curiosity. His overall colour was brown, shaded from dark brown that was almost black down the middle of his chest and belly to lighter shades outward. His arms and legs were a lighter brown with some subtle patterning in darker tones, small dots that ran into swirls. There was some patterning of tiny white dots on his upper chest and flanks, and she wondered how she could have not seen that last time. Then again he'd been injured last time, and the patterning was so tiny it would be easy to miss with blood all over him.
His plates were shiny, not with the metallic sheen that Garrus' plating had, but more like high-gloss varnish.
Velarn noted her scrutiny, and looked at her questioning, his hands stilling over her ribs. "What?"
"You have patterns on your plates."
He seemed a bit taken aback. "Of course I do. I'm an adult and colony-born, so why wouldn't I?"
Garrus cut in before she could form a reply. "Worlds with high radiation like Palaven give our plates a metallic overall colour if we're exposed to that in childhood. Other environments bring out different colours, although random factors in, too. The patterning sets on with full physical maturity and the contrast deepens with time. The precise pattern is always individual." His voice turned playful. "The white is artificial and an expression of his personal sense of aesthetics, though."
Velarn snorted at that, but it didn't sound offended.
Shepard gave Velarn a mild look. "I was just going to comment that it's beautiful, by the way."
He seemed surprised, and his expression changed into something she couldn't quite decipher, then he leaned in and licked the other side of her neck. It was almost as if he was cataloguing the taste of her skin, because he flicked his tongue over her collar bone, then curled it around one nipple.
Garrus let go of her breasts and reached lower, placing both hands firmly on her inner thighs, his claws digging into her skin just the right way. She gasped again, tensing as sudden need made her arch against him. It was immediate, and raw and she needed to be touched.
Velarn growled, lowering his head, and his tongue trailed further downward, tracing down the line of her belly. She twitched, as he continued lower, and wasn't able to suppress a yelp as the turian's tongue curled around her clit.
Garrus dug his claws in again, and this time she moaned as Velarn licked at her. She leaned her head back, and Garrus licked her throat, then nipped playfully at her neck.
Velarn was lapping at her, occasionally slipping the tip of his tongue through her folds, teasing her open, then returning to taste her clit again.
It was too much, and she was too keyed up, and despite that she somehow was still somehow almost taken by surprise when he flicked his tongue a few times, sending her over the edge.
She whimpered and shuddered against Garrus, aware that Velarn had lifted his head and was regarding her with a quite pleased expression. There was a trilling purr underlying his normal voice. "Very nice."
Shepard felt that that judgement, while completely correct and accurate, should have come from her, but she wasn't about to dispute that.
Velarn gave another strange clicking purr, and Garrus replied to that.
She twitched as she made that connection. "You're talking in subvocals." Velarn laughed and nuzzled her collar bone, which was distracting, but not distracting enough.
"I thought that that's done only in combat." She had heard Garrus do that before, at least, although it was something that usually got filtered out by the translators.
"No, it's part of normal speech." Garrus said, nipping at her neck. "A close approximation would be talking in slang in a human. Whether it's appropriate depends on the situation."
"Then again, maybe this is a form of combat. A contest, at least." Velarn suggested, but his tone wasn't quite serious.
"Does that make me your enemy?" She decided to play along.
"Not at all." His green eyes glittered as he moved down her body again, gently nipping at her belly. "But maybe you're the battlefield."
Shepard was almost certain he making fun of her. "Still, not fair, if you're talking and I can't understand."
"Doesn't translate well." Velarn replied, almost regretful. "It's not words as you hear them. More like concepts, or moods, and heavily depending on context."
She was again distracted as Garrus slid his hand between her legs, rubbing against her for a moment. Desire again ran through her, sudden and immediate.
"So." he purred. "Do you want to continue this?" His tone implied that he knew her answer already.
Shepard slid off him, getting to her feet again and leaving her bathrobe in his claws. She grinned as she caught his slightly confused expression.
"I might need some more convincing." She stepped over to her bed and looked back at the both of them, tossing her head back in challenge. The effect probably was ruined by her smile, but judging by the quick way they both were on their feet and approaching her, the message was clear enough. "Well?"
Garrus came to a stop a step away from her, and she turned towards him.
She considered tackling him, just because she felt like he might need a reminder about who was in charge here, but something in his stance told her he feeling playful, too. Her reflexes were good enough to spin around and face Velarn, who had come up behind her. His mandibles were flared into a grin, and she found herself admiring the effortless way he moved for a split second, just before Garrus took advantage of her brief distraction and tackled her to the bed.
Wrestling a turian on a soft surface wasn't a smart endeavour for a human, especially not if the turian in question was a hand-to-hand specialist, but in this instance the fun was in the trying.
Velarn joined in, of course, and sneaky ex-elite commando that he was, he had little reluctance to resort to unconventional ways to subdue an opponent. His hand suddenly was between her legs, stroking her in a very distracting way, and Garrus flipped her on her back. His expression was intent as he leaned in, licking the side of her neck. His hand was resting on her shoulder, ready to pin her again if she showed any sign of aggression, and she smiled briefly. He was rarely that assertive, but if he played that way, he could get quite intense.
Apparently she wasn't to be in control of this, she pondered philosophically. Well, that was fine with her. There'd be an opportunity to get back at them eventually, she was confident of that.
She relaxed, then tensed again as Velarn drew his fingers over her labia and then upwards, deliberately missing more sensitive spots. She instinctively raised her hips, seeking more contact, and Garrus took up smoothly where the other turian had left off, rubbing against her with the back of his hand. The scales there gave him an unfair advantage, and she whimpered.
He looked at her, questioning, and she remembered. There had been a question. It had slipped her mind, somehow.
"Oh. About that. Yes. I'm convinced. By all means, do continue."
They both made sounds of amusement, then Garrus sat and gathered her up against him, her back against his chest, spreading her thighs with his knees. Velarn leaned in unhurriedly, running his claws down her torso in a oddly methodical manner, which puzzled her for a second. Then she figured out that he was mapping the extent of her skin weave, trying to learn which areas on her were sensitive to touch and which weren't. He kept his findings to himself, but he seemed quite sure of himself as he rested his hands on her upper thighs and licked at her breast again.
Garrus ran his fingers over her again, which felt nice but wasn't quite enough at this point, and she twisted her hips in his grip.
He chuckled, getting the point, and his hands moved from her hips upwards. He changed his hold on her to around her waist, then pushed himself into her with a sudden move.
She moaned, rather vocal in her approval, and Garrus echoed that with a deep growl. His hands stroked over her, encouraging her to relax against him as he moved against her slowly.
She ground against him, almost impatient, and he growled again, his claws digging into her waist, sending pleasant shocks through her. His grip tightened a bit, and she relaxed and let him have control for the moment.
Velarn gave another clicking purr, deeper this time, and even to her ears the amusement was clear. She wondered briefly what the joke was, but then he lowered his head, and his tongue curled around her clit again, and all thoughts concerning the intricacies of language were relegated to a place somewhere far at the back of her mind.
That was...definitely a new experience. One that she approved of. Very much. She might have told him so, but for some reason her voice wouldn't work properly, and she couldn't seem to get enough air into her lungs anyway to accommodate speech, so she left it at that. He seemed to get the idea well enough despite her momentarily lack of communicative skills, because he bent to his current task with undeniable enthusiasm.
Apparently, Garrus approved very much as well, because he picked up his pace, thrusting against her, and the sounds he made at that were very familiar and indicated that he was having a very good time.
She reached down and stroked over Velarn's fringe, which earned her a contented purr and a slight tensing of his claws on her thighs. He was almost disturbingly good at what he did, and she started to understand what they'd meant by being good at working together.
Desire ran like fire through her nervous system, and she moaned again, with that familiar, pleasant tension working its way through her that was a certain sign that she was close again. Garrus felt that, of course, moving faster inside her and urging her on, and she held on to his wrist and Velarn's fringe, and her self-control.
"No, don't hold back." Garrus' voice was low and purring in her ear, and he made some strange sounds that she hadn't heard of him before that might be speech or just noise, but the urgency behind them was obvious.
Velarn gave a growl-hiss that held amusement and intent in equal parts and fluttered the tips of his mandibles against her, then again curled his tongue around her clit in a manner that probably should be outlawed in Council space on general principles just as Garrus pushed against her sharply, and that set her off again. She swallowed a whimper as her climax hit, making her shudder against Garrus. They both kept at her, moving against her, stroking her, drawing the sensation out until Garrus jerked against her hard, coming with a deep growl that made her shudder all over again.
Velarn chuckled, and she let go of his fringe, almost embarrassed as she tried to catch her breath again.
Garrus nuzzled her neck, then let go of her waist, slipping out of her.
Velarn looked past her at Garrus, giving a sound that was like a low chirp, but then ended in something that somehow still was recognisable as a snicker. Garrus snorted in reply.
"Anyone care to explain the joke to me?" Shepard asked, good-naturedly.
"He was just teasing me about my age."
Shepard frowned. "How so?"
Garrus seemed amused rather than insulted. "That tone is used by an adult demanding the attention of a teenager. Basically, he just compared me to an adolescent. Which by definition implies a certain lack of endurance, in this context."
Shepard chuckled. "Oh, I see." Men, she thought. Whether school boys or soldiers or spiky, scaly aliens, some things apparently really transcended species.
She raised an eyebrow at Velarn. "And I assume the implication is that he can do better?"
Garrus, who knew her so well, snickered as she raised herself away from him and leaned towards Velarn, lips curling into a half-smile. "Very well, then. Let's see about that."
Velarn's mandibles flared in that half-amused, half-challenge manner, but he didn't resist as she pushed him on his back. He couldn't seem to help giving an involuntary growl as she set one hand on the inside of his thigh. She traced the faint pattern there, continuing upwards slowly, and smiled as his growl changed pitch when she touched the dark plates between his legs. A firmer touch there showed that they were already loose, which just meant that she had his full interest. She couldn't resist applying a small measure of pressure and gently stroking upwards, and the plates parted under her hand. Almost automatically, she stroked him again, dragging a fingertip over that gap and along the promising hardness beneath. He growled, and she expected him to draw back and briefly regretted her action, but instead of that the plates parted fully, freeing his length.
She looked up at him, a bit surprised, because to her knowledge at least male turians didn't go for much manual stimulation on their tender parts. It just wasn't part of their ingrained sexual behaviour. Garrus certainly wasn't really comfortable with it, at least, so she had accepted that as just another fact in their relationship and left it at that. Of course, that didn't mean turians couldn't learn, with an agreeable partner of another species, over time. As Velarn certainly must have.
Velarn met her eyes almost defiantly, daring her to comment, and she realised he had resigned himself to a smart quip from her about this. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. It would have been very impolite and downright crude to needle him about the identity of his past partners if he didn't bring up the topic himself, and she had more class and better manners than that. She might wonder, but it was none of her business. She met his eyes, shook her head very slightly. His eyes widened for a moment, then softened again as he understood her wordless assurance. He leaned his head back, not very noticeable if one wasn't familiar with turian body language, but it was part concession, part a gesture of trust, and in any case permission to continue.
She carefully stroked him, checking for his reaction. His pose was relaxed, at ease, and the growl changed in pitch. That told her enough.
She decided it was a good moment to try something she had been wondering about.
With a mischievous grin, she bent down and slowly ran her tongue over him, mapping the strange texture and definitely alien and slightly metallic taste. It was far from unpleasant, and from the way he was getting slick and the high-pitched sound he made Shepard assumed that he approved. She continued, keeping it slow and experimenting a bit with different pressure and direction. A distant part of her mind noted the fact that while interesting ridges and bumps seemed to be standard features, exact shape and placement varied individually. It was an observation purely for scientific interest, of course, and she was looking forward to examine the differences in practical application.
Meanwhile it was rather rewarding to explore his reactions, she thought with faint amusement, coaxing another growl out of Velarn.
"I must admit that looks really enjoyable." Garrus purred. "And judging by the sounds he makes he agrees."
Shepard wasn't sure whether he referred to those strange high-pitched gasping noises the older turian made or something else that was outside her hearing range, but she enjoyed this just as well. Suddenly he jerked away. She immediately let go, worried that she'd done something wrong, but the apology she'd automatically formed died away unspoken at Garrus' slightly amused chuckle and Velarn's expression. That one she could interpret.
Oh. Well, then.
She crawled up Velarn's body, straddling him, rolled her hips in an unmistakable invitation. His hands closed like clamps around her waist as he pulled her close, sliding her onto him in a quick move.
She gasped at the suddenness of it, then moaned as he started to move against her, a lot more slowly that she would have have expected from him.
She rocked her hips against him, and he growled, then again made some low, quite musical sound ending in a gasp that probably was more reaction to another of Shepard's movements than conscious vocalisation.
It had enough meaning for Garrus, though, who replied with a trilling growl that sounded rather pleased. Before she had time to wonder what precisely Velarn had told him, Garrus came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her. She leaned back into him instinctively, and his hold tightened, pressing her close to him. He rested his head briefly over her shoulder.
"I'm not going to translate the last bit." he said with a chuckle.
"No need. I think I can guess." she replied, then threw her head back as Velarn moved against her in a decidedly delicious way.
Garrus purred and slid one hand down her body, stroking her in time to Velarn's thrusts.
She realised he was actively holding her down on the other turian, and for some reason that turned her on even more.
"Good." Garrus said, close to her ear. "Then let's oblige him." He licked the side of her neck again, then gently closed his teeth around the back of her neck. Something in that touch went straight though her nervous system to some primitive part of her brain. She whimpered, and his finger circled over her clit, making her arch her back against him in reflex. Velarn's hands were tight on her waist, claws just shy of breaking skin, as he thrust up against her sharply.
Their timing was perfect, and she gasped and felt herself clench around Velarn as she came hard. They both held on to her, clearly enjoying her reaction, but this time she had a goal, and recovered quickly. Garrus let go of her, stretching himself out beside them.
Shepard leaned forward, running her hands over Velarn's collar. Then she gave in to temptation and nibbled on his mandible.
Judging by the sounds he made, he liked that quite a lot. He seemed to like it even better as she started moving against him again.
Shepard threw Garrus a quick look, and found his expression equally interested and amused, and the latter threw her a bit. "What's so funny now?"
Humour sparkled in his eyes. "Just seeing some parallels. 'More than one way to ease stress, I suppose'."
Shepard was lost for a moment, then got the reference and snorted. She remembered Garrus' story about him and some recon scout he'd been constantly at odds with, and how that had ended up in the both of them resolving their differences first by fighting, then by, presumably vigorous, sex. Well. She and Velarn might be at odds, too, and there was no denying their current activity, but the situation was completely different, of course. Naturally. "Don't see the similarities," she protested, her mind not really on the subject as she rolled her hips again in a way that made her sigh and the turian under her almost whimper.
"Of course not." Garrus said, his tone completely unconvinced.
She gave him a lopsided grin, then looked at Garrus questioning. "Any recommendation as to how to make him lose some tension?"
Velarn gave an insulted sound that was almost convincing.
"Sure. Bite the side of his neck. Here, let me give you a hand."
Velarn's growl of protest turned into one of startled unease as Garrus grabbed his fringe firmly and yanked his head to one side. Shepard darted in without any hesitation and clamped her teeth on the side of his neck, at a spot where the skin wasn't protected with irregular scales. He screamed, a high-pitched complex sound that was something she hadn't heard before and arched against her as if she'd put a live wire to him. She let go of his neck, but clung tight as he bucked into her, his thrusts hard and erratic. She welcomed it, sharing in his pleasure and enjoying his expression as he shuddered hard a few times, then went calm under her, tension draining out of his frame.
Shepard drew herself back a bit so she could see his face, and she really liked that slightly dazed, slack-mandibled expression on him, and the way his whole body had somehow become relaxed, almost pliant despite the inherent rigidity of his plates.
She idly stroked over the side of his fringe, marvelling over the almost polished texture. His eyes were half closed, as if entranced by what she was doing, and he purred for a few breaths, his voice even deeper that Garrus' would have been in that situation.
Shepard traced the stripe on his cheekplate with a thumb, and his eyes opened fully again. She winked at him.
"Quite spectacular a reaction, if you don't mind me saying so."
"That... that was highly inappropriate." Velarn gave Garrus an almost scandalised look, but his tone lacked any bite.
Garrus laughed quietly, brushing a hand over the other turian's collar in a casual gesture. "Are you complaining?"
"...no. Not as such." He still seemed vaguely dazed. Then he shook his head as if to clear it.
"You bit me." he stated, giving Shepard an almost accusing look.
Shepard showed him her most insolent grin. "Well spotted. And given your nice reaction I might do it again." She laughed as his expression grew even more scandalised. "Scratch that. I will do that again."
Velarn snorted, but she didn't even need the hearing range of a turian to detect the humour in it. "We'll see about that." He suddenly wriggled under her, then heaved himself up, effectively dislodging her. She hit the mattress between him and Garrus, and Garrus' expression turned a bit predatory in a way that she had learned to appreciate. He turned on his side and reached for her, a deep purring growl in his voice that caused Velarn to snicker in amusement.
Before she could move closer by herself, Velarn's hands were on her again, and he lifted her up quite easily and set her into Garrus' arms. Garrus growled, running his hand down her side and over her hip, then he gripped her thigh firmly and hooked her leg over his hip, pulling her close. Velarn was a warm and rather unyielding presence against her back, one hand snaking around to cup one of her breasts, the other following down the curve of her hip and buttock, gripping her firmly.
Garrus ground himself against her a few times, which made her bite her lip in pleasure, then slid himself into her in a quick stroke.
In perfect timing, Velarn nipped her shoulder sharply and tightened his grip, letting her feel the tips of his claws briefly, and she screamed.
The scream turned into a low moan as Garrus found his rhythm, very slow but intense, and she found herself already out of breath, the friction exactly what she needed.
"Nice." Velarn's voice was close to her ear. "So there is a way to make you stop talking back at me."
"You only wish," she managed, her voice broken by another involuntary moan.
"How true. I'm prepared to work for it to become reality, however." His tone was was it always was, slightly exasperated and with the implication that she was straining his patience, but there was an undertone to it that was new. It would probably have spoken volumes to another turian, but even so it told her he wasn't really being confrontational, and that was enough for the moment. His hand clenched around her breast, firmly and just shy of painful, and that made her arch her back and grind herself into Garrus, who gave a low, appreciative growl and returned the favour.
There was something about being held between the two males that appealed to her in a way she hadn't quite foreseen, the way they were both intent on her, and the illusion of having no control about any of this. And it was an illusion, because if she had at any point felt this a threat, soldier reflexes would have taken over, and between her training and Cerberus enhancements this would have ended badly. As it was, it was simply an invitation to let go, to enjoy herself, and that was what she did.
Garrus licked down her throat, and she arched against him, then ground her rear against Velarn, instinctively seeking more contact.
If he'd been human, there wouldn't even have been a question in her mind about what she'd have wanted him to do, but given the differences in anatomy and techniques, this was probably a bad idea. It made her hesitate, though, and Garrus stilled, as always picking up on her moods.
Velarn growled, his voice low. "I see. If you want to try, tell me."
She nodded before she could think better of it, or ask whether he knew what he was doing. If she had learned one thing with him since the Reapers had attacked the Citadel, it was this: if he offered to do something or claimed competency, he meant it, and he took any further questioning as an insult. She could take him up on it, and trust in his ability or leave it.
He shifted his hand to her inner thigh, holding her firmly, then pressed up against her. She gasped, her fingernails involuntarily biting into Garrus' collar. She hadn't taken her altered body into account, or maybe it was really his different shape, but even though he was slick and going slow, that hurt. She gritted her teeth, feeling herself stretched, unable to really relax.
Velarn touched the tips of his mandibles to her shoulder, making a sharp clicking sound that was unmistakably a command, and Garrus pushed against her in a slow, grinding move that got her back into the mood instantly. She gasped again, another slow thrust from Garrus distracting her perfectly as Velarn sunk into her fully. It was a mix of pleasure and pain that somehow even got her more excited, and she whimpered.
Velarn's mandibles were on her shoulder again. "Too much?" he asked, and there was real concern in his voice for once.
She almost snarled. "If you stop now, I am going kill you."
"Ah. We're back to threats to my life, I see." He sounded almost amused about it. "Based on previous observations I take that as a good sign."
She wanted to reply, but something in her brain switched over and finally decided - or remembered - that this was was not only fine, but in fact exactly what she wanted right now, and pleasure flooded her nerves. She groaned, maybe not as articulate as she could have been, but they both got the idea just fine. Garrus gave that growl-purr full of intent that she knew so well, still keeping his strokes slow and intense, and she held on to his collar, in a way that made him probably feel her fingernails again, but she couldn't seem to ease her grip.
Another stroke from Garrus that made her arch against him, and she swore incoherently.
"Not quite beyond speech yet, but getting there." Velarn commented in a perfectly neutral tone, but the underlying sounds told a different story. His claws were pinpricks in her thigh as he shifted his weight against her, both making her suddenly and very pleasantly aware of his presence and pushing her up against Garrus, which was another firework of pure sensation. Garrus growled, then thrust against her a few times, unexpected and fast, and that broke her. She was aware that she was making a mewling sound that was probably completely undignified, but she couldn't help it, and she was writhing between them, for a timeless moment unaware of anything else but the flood of sensation through her nerves, a wave of bliss forceful enough to drown in. Her mind cleared enough for her to note that neither of them showed any sign of stopping, and she was back from zero to redline in moments. Garrus made a throaty multitonal sound that ended in a trill, and Velarn replied with a similar sound. She didn't have enough mental capacity left to wonder what they were telling each other, her whole attention on the friction between them, and the way it was making her body tense with renewed need.
Too much, and not enough at the same time, and she clung to Garrus, almost desperate, and then Velarn's teeth gripped the back of her neck, rougher than Garrus had ever dared to, and that send her over again, with an intensity so great that she really blanked out for a moment, vision turned into whiteout, nerves hopelessly overloaded.
Part of her felt them both react just about the same, but her focus was too narrow, and she was only able to concentrate on getting some air back into her lungs.
She felt them both separate from her, but was rather unwilling to move immediately, so she remained between them, feeling almost bonelessly relaxed.
Garrus gently brushed a clawed thumb over her cheekbone. "Your face just right now? That's why I don't mind sharing." he said softly.
She rested her head against his, still not quite able to speak, and unsure of what she'd have said even if she could have.
He purred, then lifted his head to look over her shoulder at Velarn, his expression turning slightly mischievous. The sound he made was vaguely familiar to Shepard, but not in this context. She knew that from combat, when he accomplished a particularly difficult shot.
From behind her, she could hear Velarn give a growling laugh, with a undertone that was very similar.
Shepard had the sneaking suspicion that they were keeping score, and was torn between the impulse to strangle both of them and laughing at that very competitiveness. Well, Garrus had warned her. Sort of.
Humour won out in the end, and she grinned.
"Finally speechless, Shepard?" Velarn said, and under any other circumstances his words would have raised her hackles and made her say things in return that'd have them at each other's throats again. Now, she listened a bit more closely, and the undertones in his voice weren't as unfriendly as his words might have indicated. Far from it.
She didn't even try to reply but leaned back into him, ignored his startled intake of breath and hid her smile against Garrus' plates as Velarn slipped an arm around her almost as if he couldn't help it. He growled, but it wasn't serious at all.
"You do know that once she recovers her breath she'll probably make you eat those words." Garrus pointed out, sounding supremely amused.
Velarn gave a sharp laugh. "I expect nothing less. Nothing ever comes without a price, but it'll be worth it to know that there is a way to get her to stop talking back at me. Not applicable in formal situations, of course, but at least a solution exists. There's some comfort in that knowledge."
Shepard turned around and looked at him, still smiling. "I'm glad you think so," she informed him. "Because I find myself in the mood to find out exactly what it takes to make you lose your power of speech."
There was a defiant gleam in his green eyes. "Quite a lot, actually."
"Good. I like a challenge."
He met her eyes calmly, but his mandibles twitched with the slightest bit of apprehension. Her smile widened. There were contexts where revenge was a perfectly acceptable moral choice, she felt, as she leaned closer to him.
At some point, they unanimously opted for a break. Shepard found herself sprawled in the middle of a tangle of limbs and bodies in shiny silver grey and dark brown. Realistically, Shepard knew that any human female didn't have much of a chance against two healthy and enthusiastic turians who were intent on thoroughly exhausting her, but between augmentations courtesy of Cerberus and her original stubborn nature that simply refused to give in, the score had to be about even, although she had lost count somewhere along the way.
Right now, she was snuggled up to Garrus, her cheek against his chest plates, while Velarn was curled up around her, one hand on her hip, face pressed against her shoulder. It was surprisingly comfortable, given the fact that turians were mostly sharp angles and pointy bits.
Velarn had been visibly surprised when she'd made it clear that he was more than welcome to stay the night. Well, her exact words might have been more to the tune of him getting his scaly arse down on the bed again and shutting up for the next few hours at minimum, but while he had -as expected - bristled at her choice of words, he'd stayed.
And for someone with a temper and an attitude as his, he had a strange tendency to cuddle when asleep.
She grinned. This fact was pure gold to tease him with, at some point or another. Everything else they'd done was off limits for discussion outside this room as far as she was concerned, but that, that was too good to pass up.
Garrus was out like a light, his breathing faster than any sleeping humans but quite normal for a turian. She didn't know whether it was a turian thing or just something he'd learned at some point, but he could fall asleep almost instantly and wake just as instantly after whatever time he'd set for himself. It was very efficient, and she envied him that ability.
Something subtle changed in Velarn's breathing, and she knew he was awake. And probably considering whether to remove his hand from her hip. "Don't bother." she told him, still considering Garrus' sleeping form with a sense of contentment. She wasn't worried that them talking would wake him. Noise wouldn't. Her moving away would. In the end Velarn took the course she would have taken. He remained as he was and dared her to make anything of it. It made her smile, although she was somehow glad he couldn't see it.
"What are you doing awake? Bad dreams?" Turians were as subject to having nightmares as any other species capable of dreaming was. They just didn't react as openly dramatic as humans did.
Velarn gave a noncommittal growl, then replied. "I could ask you the same thing."
"That's an easy one. I don't need much rest these days. Between the cybernetics and the other enhancements Cerberus saw fit to grace me with, I can run on less sleep than even one of your species." She grinned. "I always considered ironic that Cerberus with all that investment of resources and money ended up making me a hell of a lot less human than I was. I doubt they appreciate the irony quite as much, but I make my best effort to teach them. They'll get it, eventually."
The councillor didn't reply, and that was unusual. He remained silent for long enough that she'd have assumed he'd fallen asleep again, but she could tell by his breathing that he hadn't.
"Shepard." Velarn said unexpectedly, his voice uncharacteristically hesitant. "I know you were wondering about some of my ...reactions. You didn't ask, and I appreciate your unexpected display of tact, but your assumptions are most likely incorrect." His mandibles twitched against her back.
She turned her other side to look at him.
"It's none of my business where or how you learned your skills. Or who taught you, for that matter. Although I feel I owe them thanks for teaching you that well." she said, attempting a joke, but it fell flat at his expression.
"No." he said, with a sigh. "That's precisely what I meant, you're assuming the worst, whatever that may be. You think it's something I'm ashamed of. It's not. It was just a private matter between friends, that's all."
She picked up on the past tense and he nodded, as if she had remarked on that aloud.
"Not all civilian ships made it off the Citadel in one piece."
Shepard stared at him as the implications sunk in. His expression was solemn, and in a way both more open and more aloof that she'd ever seen on him.
"No," he interrupted her. "That's not why I brought this up. You and the Reapers, it's personal for you, isn't it." His voice was flat. "It's personal for me, too. You're not the only one. That's what I wanted you to know."
There was nothing she could say to that. He'd resent any comment she might have made, of that she was certain. From the way he held his head she could deduce that he was already half regretting saying anything at all.
So she just nodded, and laid a hand against his chest plating.
He relaxed again as he realised she wasn't going to say anything else on the topic.
She hesitated, then decided what the hell. "You do know that I won't stop giving you my opinion, whether you'll want to hear it or not? Doesn't mean I don't respect you. Doesn't even mean that I dislike you. Just what I am."
His mandibles twitched. "I hadn't expected you to suddenly act differently now. And I might tell you just the same."
Shepard rolled her eyes. "Likewise." She paused. "We're more alike than initially assumed, aren't we?"
Velarn growled. "Now there's a frightening thought." It was noteworthy that he didn't deny it, though.
She chuckled, he flared his mandibles, and the following silence wasn't uncomfortable.
"Go back to sleep." she suggested after a while. "We can continue our feud in the morning, if it's still necessary."
Velarn snorted. "Probably."
Rather pointedly, she turned her back on him again, settling comfortably against Garrus again. A very low growl sounded from behind her, then Velarn curled up against her again, and his hand was back on her hip.
She was very careful not to laugh, but she did smile as she relaxed, sensing the older turian's breathing even out almost instantly.
It left her to idly contemplate turian behaviour and customs. She wasn't sure whether this really was an efficient way of resolving differences, but she could see the appeal. And if some differences happened to require more than one attempt to settle, she supposed that would be quite fine with her.