Inspired by a randomly generated, very short kinkmeme prompt: Garrus/Liara, Night Patrol. The patrol element kind of got lost, but this was fun to write anyway.
"This is probably a waste of time," Garrus muttered under his breath. "I think they all know we're on Shepard's crew."
Liara curled her fingers more tightly around his arm. "Or they're all used to keeping secrets anyway," she murmured back, and got a rumble of assent.
It was cold on Noveria, and not just from the weather. The architecture was all high-ceilings, sparse lighting, and institutional gray walls, and Liara thought she saw the weight of secrets and paranoia on every face. Unless it was just her own secrets and fears, reflected.
Shepard had called back to the Normandy in a foul mood, saying, "I'll be bludgeoning my way through the bureaucracy here for hours. I need another team on the ground. Eyes and ears open, pick up whatever you can about Benezia, Saren, Peak 15, or Binary Helix." Alenko and Williams were accompanying the commander, and Tali had stayed shipside, since a quarian on the corporate world would be conspicuous. Wrex was off dealing with krogan and other hired guns. That left Garrus and Liara to blend in and eavesdrop among the corporate crowds. Not that they were precisely good at this undercover business. Out of armor, Garrus looked ill at ease, and Liara felt uncomfortable herself in the high-necked, long-skirted dresses deemed fashionable for the corporate set. It reminded her of the sort of parties her mother had pressed her to attend when she was younger. She wasn't sure either of them was doing a very good job of pretending to be a couple, either. She, at least, had never had much of an idea how to flirt. Turians and asari were common enough sights here that they didn't stand out as unusual, at least. She could see half a dozen such pairs having low-voiced conversations in the chilly courtyard. She looked out the windows. It was dark already, and snow swirled against the glass.
"The weather's getting worse," she whispered. "We'll need to leave soon, or..." Or they wouldn't be able to get to Peak 15 at all, she did not say.
Garrus shivered. "I hate the cold," he grumbled, and she squeezed his arm a little, in sympathy.
"Let's try the hotel lounge," she suggested. "It's probably a little warmer."
"Might as well."
The hotel's lounge was indeed warmer, and the people seemed more relaxed. Maybe this would be a better spot to pick up some information. Garrus offered to get drinks, and Liara nodded. "I'm just going to freshen up."
She found her way to the restroom without incident. As she washed up and examined her reflection, the asari next to her caught her eye. "Say," she said. "Is that turian you're with just a co-worker, or your boyfriend?"
Liara blinked. "Uh, boyfriend," she lied, flushing a little. Oh, Goddess, she could even see herself blush, in the mirror. "It's new," she added hastily. "We haven't known each other long." Hadn't she read somewhere that it was always a good idea to season one's lies with truth?
The other asari sighed. "I just wanted to check before I made a move. You're lucky! He's very handsome."
"Er, thank you?" Liara said, nonplussed. She'd never particularly thought of Garrus as handsome or not. Or any of the other crew, either. Even Shepard, who fascinated her; but it wasn't just about... physical attraction, no matter what impression she might have given. The commander was friendly enough, but had gently put her off, clearly enough that even Liara could catch the cues. She ought to take up less of Shepard's time, she thought; she should venture out and get acquainted with the rest of the crew more often.
The asari next to her was touching up her makeup and chattering on about her preference for turians, and how she didn't see the appeal of human males, who just looked like asari gone wrong, and Liara realized that no, what she really ought to be doing was following her mission. She splashed a little water on her face. "I heard a matriarch came through not long ago," she said.
"Oh yes. We don't see a lot of matriarchs around here. My friend Dylla actually talked to her, and said she was so impressive! She could really feel she was in the presence of someone with special wisdom."
Liara's jaw tightened. Benezia did tend to make an impression. "Do you know what she's doing here?"
The other maiden shrugged. "I heard she went out to Peak 15, but who knows why. No one who has business out there really talks about it."
"I see." More questions might make her suspicious. Liara turned toward the door. "Have a good evening."
"Hey." She looked back, and the other maiden smiled at her in the mirror. "If you and your boyfriend are interested in a third, let me know. Just ask for Isada at the bar."
She blushed again. "I... I will."
Garrus had chosen a booth from which he could survey the whole room and looked visibly tense when she emerged. Glancing over her shoulder, she realized Isada had also left the restroom. To keep up appearances, she dropped a kiss on his cheek-plate as she joined him. He looked at her sharply, but didn't otherwise show surprise. "There you are," he said. "I was starting to wonder if you'd gotten lost."
She smiled and picked up the glass of wine he'd gotten her. "No. I was just chatting with her," flicking her head in Isada's direction.
"Did you learn anything?"
"Nothing new. You?"
"Mm. Chatted with a turian in security. Something's going on at Synthetic Insights. There's an executive who might be helpful, but he hasn't put in an appearance tonight, according to the bartender."
Liara sipped her wine. "Are you still cold?"
"A little. You were right, though. It's warmer in here."
She slid along the bench and leaned into his side, turning her head to whisper into his ear, "We are supposed to be a couple, after all."
"True." He slid his arm around her shoulders. She fought back another blush. She'd never behaved like this in public with anyone. She felt awkward, though it was more comfortable than she would have thought; he felt quite warm to her. She leaned her head against his shoulder, glancing over the room. Isada was in a corner, talking with another asari and a couple of humans.
She said, "The asari I was talking was rather taken with you. She offered to, ah, join us later."
"Oh? Oh." Garrus's gaze followed where she was looking, and she felt him tense slightly. "The one in the red dress?"
"She has a concealed pistol."
Liara's eyes widened. "I thought carrying weapons was forbidden." They hadn't been able to carry anything themselves. Shepard had left extra weapons for them with a hanar storekeeper who apparently owed the Spectre a favor.
"Yes. She might be undercover security, I suppose."
"Or she might be one of Benezia's," Liara whispered. "I haven't seen her in years, I wouldn't know all of her entourage." And Benezia and her followers might well have been able to slip something past Port Hanshan security.
"If so, is there a chance she knows you?"
Liara hesitated. "I don't know," she had to admit.
"We should keep an eye on her," said Garrus.
"What about the executive?"
He brought up his omni-tool. "I'll send Shepard a message." He paused a moment, waiting for a reply, drumming gloved talons against the table. "We're supposed to watch, but not make contact unless absolutely necessary." He sounded almost disappointed.
"She's leaving," Liara whispered.
"Then let's follow." Garrus caught her arm and pulled her out of the booth before she could protest.
Isada was headed down a corridor; the warmer decor of the hotel soon gave way to the institutional gray that seemed typical of Noveria. Fortunately for them, there were other people passing both ways in the hallway, so they weren't too conspicuous, and Isada's red dress made it easier to keep her in sight. Garrus kept them at what he deemed a safe distance. They stopped when Isada did, and leaned close together as if having a private conversation. Liara tried to look in their direction without turning her head. Isada was talking to another asari, this one dressed in the sort of form-fitting black suit many commandos favored. The asari turned, and Liara quickly turned away.
"I know her," Liara whispered. "I've seen her with my mother." Decades ago, it had been, when she visited on a break from her studies.
"Well, that's some kind of confirmation." Garrus tilted his visor in their direction, and stiffened. "She's coming this way."
Liara glanced. Isada was continuing down the corridor, but the commando was headed in their direction, with long, brisk strides. She'd definitely recognize Liara if she saw her face. She did the only thing she could think of: pushed Garrus against the wall, and buried her face against his neck, kissing the warm hide. To make things look more convincing, she told herself. She only realized she must have found a sensitive spot when he sagged against the wall, pulled her close to him, and nuzzled against the side of her face. Oh. Oh! Was this what she'd been missing out on, burying herself in her work? His breath was hot against her neck, his body was firm and warm against hers, his hands tightened on her waist, and he shuddered as her own hands tentatively moved around him. Her heart raced and her senses went a little blurry. It took her some time to realize that the commando's assured footsteps had moved past them, and another moment to pull away, reluctantly. "I'm sorry," she stammered.
Garrus didn't let go. "Are you?" he said, his voice a little rough.
She looked up. His eyes had green flecks in the blue, she noticed. She'd never noticed before, because she'd never been close enough. They were very intent, and much less sharp than usual, and she was still half leaning into him, and his hands were still on her hips... Her cheeks grew hot, and she glanced from side to side. "I... I don't see either of them. What do we do now?"
"Right." Garrus finally let go, and she stepped back, flushed and embarrassed. "I got images of both of them," he said, tapping his visor, "so I'll send those to Shepard and Wrex." His mandibles pulled in. "I hope Wrex is actually checking messages."
Liara didn't think that likely, but kept her opinion to herself. After a moment's whispered conversation, they reasoned that the commando was headed back into the more public areas of the hotel, whereas Isada seemed to be moving toward the maintenance areas, and decided to see if they could find her again. As they approached the intersection of one corridor and another, Garrus slowed down, then stopped completely and pulled Liara to the side. Straining, she could just here Isada's voice; she must be just around the bend.
"... bomb the Spectre's ship... yes, I can get to the docking bay... plant it at the airlock..."
Liara clutched at Garrus's arm. "We have to do something," she whispered.
"She's coming back," he returned, wrapping an arm around her and starting back the way they'd come.
She leaned into him to maintain their imposture, and tried to think. She heard footsteps behind them, and then Isada passed them, walking faster than she had before. On impulse, Liara called out to her. "Isada!"
She stopped and turned, looking tense at first, then relaxed and smiled. "Oh, it's you."
Liara plastered a broad smile on her face and squeezed her companion. Garrus made a startled noise. "Right, from the restroom. I was just thinking about you. Do you want to join us after all?"
For a moment, Isada's gaze turned measuring, though her smile didn't falter. "Sure," she said. "Why not?"
Liara's plan, such as it was, had been to overpower the other asari as soon as they had her alone, not that she'd had any opportunity to share that plan with Garrus. But there were other people in the corridor, in the elevator, and even in the hallway outside Isada's hotel room. It wasn't until the door closed behind them that they had her alone, and by then Liara's face was burning. At least she's not blowing up the Normandy if she's with us, she told herself.
But no matter what pretenses they'd used to get up here, she was startled when the door closed and Isada was immediately all over her, kissing her with almost bruising force, unzipping her dress and snaking a hand inside to fondle her ribs and breast and tweak her nipple sharply. Liara reeled back and ran into the edge of a desk, clutching it for balance. Isada abandoned her just as quickly, turning her attention to the turian, nimble fingers undoing his shirt as she nibbled on his neck and mandibles. Liara tried to catch her breath, feeling almost light-headed with embarrassment, even a twinge of jealousy as Isada ran her hands over the silvery plates of his chest. Then Garrus's body contorted oddly, and Liara had a moment of wondering stupidly how Isada gotten that reaction before realizing she'd just hit him with a warp.
She scrambled sideways and used her biotics to shove the desk toward the other asari, then had to dodge as it came flying back in her direction. She tried a stasis attack, but was sure she'd missed, and had to settle for activating her barrier as she backed further into the room, trying to gather the focus for another attack. Isada laughed. "Did you really think I didn't recognize you, Dr. T'soni?"
The space next to Liara folded in on itself, and she narrowly yanked herself away from Isada's singularity. Oh, oh Goddess, what was she going to do, this was a lot easier with Shepard telling her what to do... and she suddenly remembered she had a pistol, and fumbled to get it out of its concealed holster.
There was a flare and a crackle, and she felt the surge of a damping field, muffling her biotics. Isada cursed, drawing her own pistol with a speed and fluidity that Liara envied. Garrus was back on his feet, at least, and grabbed for Isada's arm. Liara finally got her pistol free, but hesitated. The other two were struggling in a way she couldn't quite follow, much too close together, and she knew she couldn't fire and risk hitting her teammate, and she still didn't have biotics...
Somebody's gun went off, and she smelled blood. Liara flinched. Garrus swore, and stepped back; she finally had a clear shot, so she fired at Isada's back. She felt her biotics come back, and Isada started to gesture, but there was another shot. A dark stain spread over the back of Isada's dress, and the asari toppled to the floor. Liara stared at her body in shock.
"Dammit," said Garrus. "Now we can't question her."
Liara couldn't help it: he sounded so exasperated that she giggled. She stood up and prodded Isada's body with one foot, and found herself laughing hysterically when Isada didn't move. Her hands were empty; Garrus must have gotten the pistol away from her. She turned toward her teammate, who stood regarding her warily, and her laughter died. "You're bleeding," she said.
He shrugged. "She got a shot off before I got the gun away from her. I'm fine. It just grazed me."
"Stop being stubborn and let me look at it," she said, pointing toward the desk chair. She got him to sit and examined the wound. He was right, it was just a graze on his upper arm, but the long furrow was bleeding heavily. Liara found some medigel in the bathroom's first aid kit and used it until the dark blue flow slowed to a trickle. She bit her lip. "I'm sorry," she said. "I shouldn't have called to her or tried to get her alone... this is my fault..." Her eyes filled with tears, and she bent her head to conceal them.
Garrus put a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, we're alive and she's not. And she's not going to be planting any bombs. That's a win for our side. This will heal in no time. Don't worry about it."
She looked up, and found his eyes very calm and focused on her. She noticed the green flecks all over again. She blinked back her tears and gave in to impulse one more time, kissing him on the mouth. She wanted to kick herself almost immediately... this was a stupid, stupid gesture to impose on a turian... but he pressed back against her, and his tongue flicked lightly across her lips, and by the time she broke it off, her heart was pounding. "I... we should get you back to the Normandy," she said.
He looked at her intently. "Your, uh, chest is showing."
Her face grew hot. Goddess. Her dress was still unzipped, her breasts were practically hanging out, and she hadn't even noticed. She hastily zipped up.
Garrus sighed a trifle. "I'll call in. See if there's anything useful in here, or on her omni-tool."
Dr. Chakwas insisted on giving her an examination too, even though she had nothing worse than scrapes and bruises. She got Shepard's message while she was in there. She left the medbay to find Garrus at a table in the mess hall. "Oh!" she said, conscious that there was no one else in the room at this hour. "How are you?"
His arm was bandaged. "Minor graze, a couple of strained ligaments from the warp." He flashed her a grin. "Turians aren't supposed to bend that way." She smiled back. "You're all right?" he asked.
"I'm fine. I have to head out, though. Shepard got a pass out of Port Hanshan, and wants me to come along to Peak 15." Her smile faded as she thought about her mother. "I... thank you. For everything."
He tilted his head sideways, regarding her with a look she didn't know how to read. "No problem, Dr. T'Soni. It was my pleasure."
"Liara," she corrected, and headed for the elevator, to get her weapons and armor.
As she passed him, he added softly, "Be careful out there."
She stopped, and met his eyes, and for some reason found herself blushing all over again. Goddess, had she ever blushed so much on one night before? "I will," she said, and he caught her hand and squeezed lightly, and she carried the memory of that warm touch out into the cold Noveria night.
I have some vague ideas for continuing this. Feel free to leave a review or message if you'd care to see more.