Author's Note: This was written as a prompt fill. The prompt was that Garrus and fShep go on a date, and there's a lounge singer. You should probably take this as crack fic. It's not intended to be serious at all.
As always, BioWare owns all the characters and whatnot.
Shepard turns away from the mirror, where she's finished applying the first eyeliner she's worn in forever, to find Garrus staring at her. His mandibles are a bit agape and his head is cocked to one side as he leans against the doorframe. She does a quick check to see she's got a booger problem, or if her face is bleeding, but no, nothing. She faces him with mock suspicion.
"So...you gonna tell me why you're staring?"
"Dammit," he says, standing straight again. "I was trying to think of a better line than 'good hair, supportive waist,' but you ruined my train of thought."
Shepard grins at him. "Should I make a mental note that I've been complimented on my appearance?"
"Until I figure out how to word it properly myself, yeah." He crowds into her space and gives her a little nip on the cheek, murmuring, "It's not that you don't look great, it's that you won't appreciate me waxing poetic about your collarbone."
She laughs, kissing him on the nose, running fingertips along his jawline. "I'd pay a fat chunk of credits to see you wax poetic about anything, mister 'throw me a line here, Shepard.'"
"I could write an epic about your abusive relationship with the Mako. A two-parter, if I include the Hammerhead," he says, backing up and beckoning her out into the bedroom.
"Well." She follows. Her brow knits as she thinks. "I should return the favor, then. You, sir, have a magnificent fringe," she tells him solemnly. After a few beats, she winks at him because the fringe line is her own stock phrase.
He nods. "It is pretty manly."
Shepard points at the door. "Let's do this, then. No weapons, no armor. Dinner as if we were regular people."
"I've got your six." That earns him a sidelong glance and a chuckle as they head for the elevator.
The restaurant is a showy rotating deal in the top of a Citadel skyscraper where reservations "simply must" be made in advance. Shepard, Garrus, and the maitre d' have a brief moment of confusion; the two big goddamn hero types' first instinct is to scan the room, and the maitre d' wants them to check in before he lets them past his desk. But they get it all worked out and the couple are guided to a table right next to the window. From their current position, the ward arm stretches out, a sparkling track with the Citadel's central ring at its end.
"Beautiful view," Garrus says.
"Mmmhmm." But her eyes aren't focused on the view.
"You check the vicinity for unfriendly devices, I'll scan for snipers."
"Way ahead of you." A pause, while her omnitool maps and identifies every eezo or electron-using item in the restaurant. This includes two quarians on the opposite side of the room, one with neural stimulator activated, three volus, an assortment of asari, turians, and humans with near-useless illegal sidearms, an asari matron with self-propelled rotating earrings, a salarian with a prosthetic leg, the implants in Garrus' face, and her own assortment of cybernetics courtesy of Cerberus. She looks up at him. "Clear. You?"
"Clear. My visor will ping if there are any changes there or there," he says, one talon indicating two balconies overlooking the main floor. "This isn't normal pre-dinner behavior where I'm from, by the way."
She sighs, reaches across the table for his hand, strokes the back of it with her thumb. "Same here. Hackett straight up told me that Alliance brass is so terrified of what they'll find if they make me undergo a psyche eval, they're not pursuing it. Probably combat reflexes with a side order of good old PTSD."
Garrus waits a split second for his visor to translate her acronym, then squeezes her hand. "All our pee-tee-ess-dee is making me hungry. Let's both pretend not to be screwed up for a minute and check out the menu."
"I love a man with a plan," she tells him, and this time she's certain he's smiling.
The food, brought out on color-coded plates so as not to mix chiralities, is delicious. Shepard and Garrus relax into conversation. They can't describe flavors to each other-how to describe the flavor of butter to an alien?-but they've learned over hundreds of Normandy mess hall meals to discuss the history and peculiarities of a dish instead, and simply to enjoy eating in each others' company.
Garrus drains his glass and hums contentedly. Shepard's left foot has dropped its shoe and is rubbing against his right leg under the table. (A bonus of expensive restaurants: long tablecloths.) Dessert has been ordered. All is well. And then Shepard sits bolt upright, glaring as a human male enters the room holding a long black rectangular case.
Automatically irritated at the cause of this mood change, Garrus scans the guy. No iffy heart rate or breathing patterns, no anomalous heat signatures. "You know him from somewhere?"
Shepard practically spits, still eyeing the man, who has begun to open the case and set up some kind of apparatus in the middle of the room. The restaurant staff seem unconcerned. "Know him? No. But I'd know his kind anywhere. He's a lounge singer. Shit."
"Hey." He gently taps her forearm to get her full attention. "You're going to have to unpack that statement for me. I know there are human cultures in which musicians are pariahs, but I didn't think you belonged to any of them."
"No, it's not that. He's a lounge singer...it means he's going to...if our dessert doesn't get here soon..."
The lounge singer fiddles with his apparatus, adjusts his headset mic, and booms, "TESTING, TESTING, ONE, TWO, THREE, YYYYYES. GOOD EEE-VEN-ING, LADIES, GENTLEMEN, EVERYBODY. I SEE WE HAVE QUITE A LIVELY CROWD HERE TONIGHT. EVERYONE ENJOYING THEIR CUISIIIIINE? WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL, THAT'S MARVELOUS."
Garrus understands, now. "Want me to headbutt him? Because I will."
"Take a number," Shepard grumbles. "Let's hope we can get out of here before he recognizes us."
"Why?" he begins to ask.
"OH MY GOODNESS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN AND EVERYBODY, IT SEEMS WE HAVE CELEBRITIES IN OUR MIDST, YES IT CERTAINLY DOES." The singer runs his fingers first through his slicked back, ponytailed hair, then down the lapels of his bright red jacket. He flings an arm in the direction of the couple, and bawls, "THEY LOOK SO DIFFERENT OUT OF THEIR ARMOR, I ALMOST DIDN'T RECOGNIZE THEM! PLEASE, A ROUND OF APPLAUSE, PLEASE, EVERYONE, FOR OUR HEROES, JANE SHEPARD AND GARRUS VAKARIAN!"
"What in the everlasting fuck," whispers Garrus.
"See what I mean? Act calm. Wave politely, and then pretend you're eating and we're talking." She plasters a charismatic smile on her face, gives a little wave, and turns back to him. Garrus gives a curt little nod to the expectant diners, then inspects his water glass.
"IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'RE HAVING AN INTIMATE EVENING TOGETHER, EVERYONE, SO I'M GOING TO SING THEM A SONG. A SONG FOR OUR HEROES, EVERYONE. AND A ONE, AND A TWO, AND A...IN NAPOLI WHERE LOVE IS KING..."
"Can we pay him to shut up?" Garrus asks. "Is that an option?"
"WHEN BOY MEETS GIRL, HERE'S WHAT THEY SAY..."
Shepard shakes her head. "Doesn't work that way. You have to wait for him to finish his song, be a good sport, and then he sings at someone else."
"WHEN THE MOON HITS YOUR EYE LIKE A BIG-A PIZZA PIE, THAT'S AMORE."
Garrus' translator glitches on "big-a" and "pizza pie." For "pizza pie," it's trying to resolve what it thinks is the difference between two different foods, one modifying the other as an adjective. "dinner-pastry-like dessert pastry," it concludes. For "big-a," it throws up its figurative hands and attributes it to "unknown." "Amore," however, it recognizes. His eyes widen. It's not as though he and Shepard aren't known by the public to be an item, but having a stranger shout about it at dinner feels like an intrusion anyway.
"WHEN THE WORLD SEEMS TO SHINE LIKE YOU'VE HAD TOO MUCH WINE, THAT'S AMORE..."
Both of them shift in their chairs as the lounge singer slowly and circuitously drifts toward their table, making sweeping gestures with his arms and little dance steps with his feet. At random, he pauses his song, makes a pistol shape with his thumbs and forefingers, points them at people, and winks.
By the time pistolfingers makes it near their table, however, Garrus is trying his hardest not to double over with laughter. The mental image of "WHEN THE STARS MAKE YOU DROOL," and the very idea that anyone would sing about drooling at stars, is killing him. His translator completely loses its shit over the phrases "TING-A-LING-A-LING," "TIPPI TIPPI TAY," "GAY TARANTELLA," and "JOOSTA-LIKE PASTA FAZOOL."
"I love this," he chokes, just before the human male gets within earshot.
"Shut. It." comes the reply, but there's a little twitch at the corner of Shepard's lips.
"SCUSAMI, BUT YOU SEE, BACK IN OLD NAPOLI, THAT'S AMOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRE! WHOOOOOAH YEAH!" The song finishes with a flurry of fingerpistols and exaggerated winks in every direction. "THANK YOU VERY MUCH EVERYONE, THANK YOU, THAT WAS DEDICATED TO OUR HEROES JANE SHEPARD AND GARRUS VAKARIAN EVERYBODY, YEAH, WHAT A GREAT EVENING."
"Thanks," Shepard tells him politely, and waits for him to leave. She's peering around for the waiter and their dessert and their check.
To her dismay, the man doesn't move. In fact, he starts up again.
"OH BUT MY FRIENDS, I'D BE REMISS, I WOULD BE IMPOLITE, IF I DID NOT HONOR OUR TURIAN HERO, GARRUS VAKARIAN, AS WELL."
If turian eyes can bulge, Garrus' do. "No, that's really okay-" but he's cut off.
"I ONLY KNOW ONE TURIAN SONG, LADIES GENTLEMEN AND EVERYBODY, BUT IT WAS TAUGHT TO ME BY A DEAR FRIEND. OLD DRINKING PAL OF MINE. AND A ONE AND A TWO AND A..."
Now it's Shepard's turn to laugh, because what comes out of the singer's mouth isn't remotely turian.
"GAUDEAMUS IGITUR, IUVENES DUM SUMUS," he intones, giving his voice extra growl in an attempt to imitate a flanged voice. "GAUDEAMUS IGITUR, IUVENES DUM SUMUS! YEAH!"
Garrus leans forward to Shepard and asks, "What...IS this?"
"HEYYYYYYYYO, POST IUCUNDAM IUVENTUTEM, SHOOBEDOOOBEDOOOOO-WA!"
"Guy who taught him the song must have been a prankster. It's an ancient Earth drinking song, and this ass can't tell the difference between Latin and turian."
"ALL RIGHT! POST MOLESTAM SENECTUTEM, YOU WITH ME, FOLKS?"
At this point, the turians in the dining room are registering offense, or at least confusion. A murmur rises up among the tables, which only encourages the man, still standing at his heroes' table.
"NOS HABEBIT HUMUSSSSSS WOW!" he wails, "NUH NUH NUH NOS HABEBIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT HUUUUUMMUUU-WOO-WOO-WOO-UUUSSS!"
The song ends, and the guy leans with both hands on their table, head bowed in a post-yowling reverie. The end of his ponytail is dangling in crumbs on Shepard's bread plate, and when he flips it dramatically, eyes still closed in meditation, it lands in Garrus' complimentary bowl of gizzard grit.
Shepard looks at Garrus. Garrus looks at Shepard. With an imperceptible nod, a decision is reached.
With very little motion at all, Shepard takes hold of one of the man's wrists and gives it a savage twist. In a blink, he loses his balance and is propelled face first into an entree platter. His head bounces off the table hard, bobbles back into the air, and he trips backward over Garrus' foot, which, to everyone in the room, looks like it's only there because its owner is rising from his seat to try to help.
"Medic," calls Shepard, nudging the unconscious man with her bare foot.
The diners burst into various forms of applause.
Garrus waves a waiter over. "We'll take our dessert to go."