Partners Like You And Me
Jane Shepard had never been to Omega before and, now that she was here, she didn't care if she ever came back. When she got back to the Citadel, she was going to have some words for Chellick, whose stupid idea this mission had been, and for Executor Pallin too, for putting his seal of approval on this Godforsaken operation.
Organized crime on the Citadel had been flourishing at a previously unheard-of rate ever since the geth attack. Gangs took advantage of the chaos and destruction to smuggle their people onto the Citadel, lay claim to territory (particularly in the battle-ravaged Tayseri ward) and set up all manner of criminal enterprises, from drug labs to weapons importation to trafficking in sentient beings.
C-Sec agreed that desperate times called for desperate measures, but this measure had been desperate indeed. Chellick and some of his people had gone undercover on Omega, posing as a pirate warlord and his crew from the Nemean Abyss, hoping to call out all the major gangs to a meeting to discuss a mutually profitable deal. The meeting, of course, would be a setup designed to wipe out these gang leaders; a strike team would be waiting for them when they arrived at the meeting place. C-Sec hoped that the loss of these key figures, and the fight for succession, would throw the gangs into confusion and give C-Sec an opportunity to strike.
Shepard had been offered the dubious honour of leading the strike team. And she had accepted.
The operation wasn't even illegal. There was no law on Omega. Shepard found something strangely gratifying in the fact that she would not need to arrest the gangsters, read them their rights, and then watch them use legal loopholes to escape justice. Everyone knew these people were guilty, and that the universe would be a better place without them. The knowledge was strangely….liberating.
But there was one possible complication. A major complication.
Conducting a raid on gang leaders on Omega itself probably counted as fucking with Aria. And fucking with Aria—Omega's Pirate Queen—was the one thing you did not do on Omega.
Miles Harron had pointed this out when Shepard had told him where she was going. Honestly, she'd been shocked. Sergeant Harron was usually so mild-mannered and easy-going that she'd never expected him to chew her out so forcefully and with so many expletives.
He hadn't cared that they'd needed a team leader with her combat experience. Hadn't been interested in hearing about the other highly qualified officers who'd be under her command. Hadn't given a shit about her desire to hit the gangs where they'd feel it.
All he'd cared was that the mission was, in his exalted opinion, dangerous and foolhardy and not worth the risk. He'd even gone so far as to say that Chellick's orders were illegitimate and the two of them ought to quit C-Sec over this. And he'd been more angry than Shepard had ever seen him, or even imagined he could be, when she told him she had been given a choice and she'd said yes.
Shepard had shared an apartment with Miles Harron for almost two years. He'd been the only thing to keep her together after she'd heard the news of the crash of the SR-1 Normandy. He'd braved her demons to pull her back from the edge of despair, teaching her to function again, gluing her back together piece by piece. He hadn't cared that she was broken.
That they were broken.
They were lovers who never used the word love with one another. Miles' true love had died serving the turian military and he'd fallen into a self-imposed isolation until he'd recognized a kindred spirit in her. They shared a home and a bed, looking for all the world like a couple.
Did she love Miles Harron? Perhaps, in a way that somehow felt incestuous and wrong, for she cared for the man as a brother, but still turned to him in the dark of night.
Did Miles love her? She didn't want to know.
Her love for Garrus Vakarian was an immovable thing, as unchanging as stone, as eternal as bedrock, sitting hard and cold and unrelenting in the bottom of her chest. Her grief could not change it. Time could not erode it. She lived with it and around it and in spite of it, but Shepard had come to terms with the fact that she would spend the rest of her life mourning the missing half of her soul.
Her relationship with Harron, whatever its nature, had been stable, mutually comforting, the best either of them could do with the cards they still held. It was all the more shocking now for Shepard to come to terms with the fact that they had fought.
If Harron's objections had been the risk inherit in this mission, why had his final words to her be "Go if you must; we're done here?"
Had he broken up with her?
…Had they even been "going out" to make a breakup possible?
She'd spent the whole trip to Omega dwelling on this question. The first morning aboard ship, she'd been certain that when she returned, Miles would sweep her off her feet, rub her back, nuzzle her…welcome her home.
The second morning, she figured that upon her homecoming, she would find that their apartment had reverted to her apartment in her absence, with Miles' things gone and Miles himself nowhere to be found.
She seemed able to convince herself of either extreme depending on her mood, until now she simply hoped that the question would lay dormant during the upcoming mission and not distract her.
Jane shifted uncomfortably on her heels. The building where she hid gave her a vantage point out the side window to a courtyard several stories below. For the past day she'd lain low in this room, out of radio contact with the rest of her team, waiting while the gangs' enforcers moved in to secure the area. Thankfully, the gangs seemed reluctant to enter this building. She wondered who owned it.
If Aria had any idea the C-Sec operatives were there, they were well and truly fucked and…
That was another distraction. She thrust it from her mind and, obediently, it left, even while the memories of Garrus and Miles chewed at the corners of her brain.
Wait. Something was happening.
Jane hadn't even dared to set up her sniper rifle lest the enforcers below notice unexpected movement. Now, though, things were beginning to happen. The bodyguard population, steadily increasing for the past several hours, seemed to have stabilized. An aircar pulled up, and out stepped Vido Santiago of the Blue Suns.
It was very close to showtime.
Shepard held her breath as the notaries of Omega's underworld gathered. She glanced at her omni-tool, double-checked her assigned target. She located him easily in the press of bodies below. Her crosshairs crawled up his cheek, over his ear, touched gently on his temple. The head of the Blue Suns—Zaeed Massani.
Shepard took a deep breath, released it, and halfway through her exhalation, squeezed the trigger.
Garrus Vakarian stalked down the hall of the SR-2 Normandy, feeling like the prize exhibit in some intergalactic zoo. He couldn't complain about the resurrected ship's capabilities, its armaments, its provisions—Saren Arterius had thought of everything.
Everything except the fact that this new crew was not his old crew. He was tired of his new pilot, Jeff Moreau, a human man with a big mouth that would have gotten him blasted out an airlock if he'd been born a turian and spoke to his commanders in the same manner. He was tired of Kihilix Tanus, his so-called XO, whom he couldn't trust any further than he could throw an elcor. And most of all, he was tired of Kelly Chambers, his alleged yeoman and psychological advisor. Kelly was absolutely the last straw.
He had no doubt that Kelly was perfectly capable at doing his paperwork and taking his messages, and he also believed that the psychology degree on her omnitool was the genuine article, but the second she'd started going on about how she had affection for all species and running her fingers up and down his arm, Garrus realized he was looking at a grade-A whore.
Whore was a rude word, he amended in his head. Courtesan or consort might be more appropriate. Kelly was doubtlessly doing the job that Saren had hired her to do, and he couldn't fault her for that. No, Garrus laid the blame for this wholly on Saren Arterius, who no doubt had overlooked all the other qualified candidates in favour of a young, attractive female human with a taste for turians.
Garrus knew exactly why the chief of Facinus would have made such a choice. No matter how strongly Arterius believed in turian supremacy, the fact remained that he was well aware of Garrus' affections for Jane Shepard. It would throw a serious wrench in Saren's mission if Garrus were to put the whole "hunting the Collectors" business on hold while he went in pursuit of Shepard, and so, Saren had provided Kelly as a handy distraction custom-tailored to Garrus' personal tastes.
Garrus hoped that Saren had spent some time detailing to Kelly what she and Garrus ought to do, and he hoped the mental images had made Saren sick to his stomach.
Well, Saren had underestimated him. Garrus loved Shepard, not human girls in general, and Kelly was no substitute. Her charms were of no use to Garrus Vakarian. He was engaged to the best human soldier in the galaxy and he was twice the man he used to be when she was at his side. Now he was going to take the Normandy around the galaxy and gather up as many of his old crew as he could get: Lilihierax, Tali'Zorah, Lor'ik Quiin, Liara T'Soni, and Urdnot Wrex, and then he was going to the Citadel to get Jane Shepard back. Fuck Facinus. Fuck Saren Arterius. Fuck this insane mission he was on. Fuck…
Then a rogue thought crossed his mind, and brought a revelation in its wake that staggered him.
He had the ability to retrieve Shepard, no doubt, but…
She didn't know if she'd killed Massani. She didn't think so. Holy God, that bastard was tough. She'd gotten Santiago, though, and she'd seen the Eclipse leader fall. That was when everything went straight to hell. Either the gangs had far more members in the lower levels of the station, just waiting for a call, or Aria's people were among the horde now laying siege to the building.
The C-Sec team had been forced to retreat to this area, a building specifically chosen as a fall-back point because of the bridge that acted as a choke point. Shepard had ordered the underground entrances dynamited shut earlier in the day; Omega being Omega, a few more explosions went unnoticed. This was the point of last resort in case the entire mission went pear-shaped, and much to Shepard's dismay, it was being used. The rest of her team was downstairs, holding off the soldiers who managed to run her gauntlet without being knocked from the bridge by her sniper rifle.
Now Shepard had gone to a place beyond logical thought. Her body knew how to cram heat sinks into her sniper rifle, how to shoot mercs off the bridge, how to shove ration bars into her mouth and drink from her canteen in the brief moments between assault waves. Logical thought only served to remind her that even bringing down the tunnels would not stop the mercs from digging their way through eventually, assuming she didn't run out of heat sinks first, assuming they didn't get their gunships airborne first, assuming…
Logical thought eventually looped around into visions of her bloody death, and so she ignored it and fought on. They had done what they had come here to do. The heads of Eclipse, the Blue Suns and the Blood Pack were dead, dying or suffering badly from loss of personnel. Organized crime on the Citadel had been weakened long enough for C-Sec to take back the control they'd lost in the aftermath of the geth attack. She would die for a worthwhile reason, and soon…
…if an afterlife existed, soon she'd be with Garrus again.
Garrus stood before one of the Normandy's viewing ports, staring out at the frigid vacuum of space.
He was not going to sleep with Kelly. Nor was he going to pursue the affections of any of the sleek, dangerous turian women who were on his crew.
But should he head to the Citadel for Shepard?
He did not trust Saren Arterius nor the Normandy's Facinus crew to gather information on Shepard and report it honestly. As a result, he had needed to do his research himself, and what he had managed to find on the extranet, though incomplete, had given him something to consider.
Shepard was still working for C-Sec and making quite the name for herself. He had found news articles involving multiple high-profile busts made by Shepard and her team. He did not doubt that she missed him, but she had done him proud by picking up the pieces from his death and reassembling a life for herself.
Did he have any right to come back from the dead and ruin that?
Sometimes at night he raged that of course he had the right, but in the morning he remembered that yes, for him it had been mere weeks since he'd last kissed Jane. For her it had been years. If she had another relationship…
…truth be told, he did not care if she had another relationship. He had faith that she would still love him best. No, he would not hold his silence for the sake of some undeserving and overly lucky fool who could never deserve a woman like Jane.
He would only hold his silence for her.
Garrus had no doubt that this mission was a one-way ride. To find a way through the Omega-Four relay, which no other being had ever passed safely? Hells, even the instructions on his dossiers would be enough to kill the average soldier.
It would be the utmost in selfishness for him to tear Jane away from her new life in order to join him on his deathride.
If he survived the Omega Four relay, then he could consider his triumphant return from the dead, sweep Jane off her feet, pick up where they left off. If he survived the suicide mission, they could build a future together.
If they didn't…
If they didn't, he could go to his death
Garrus didn't want to think about that.
He could go to his death knowing there was still something good in the world, some hope against the coming storm, a beacon of brightness who could rally the species and lead the fight against the Reapers in his absence. Before he crossed the Omega Four relay, he would give her all his files, all the information he had. She would understand. She was, at the heart of her, every bit the warrior he was.
It was the wise decision, but wisdom could not warm the chill on his heart as he stared into the cold embrace of the stars.
Hours later. Hours? Days? Shepard measured time in empty ration bar wrappers and burned-out heatsinks now. She had half a bar and five heatsinks left. The last merc on the bridge was dead.
They all had to be dead downstairs too. They had to be. It was way too quiet down there. Shepard's ears still rang with the echoes of gunfire, but all the other little sounds that she usually heard when reloading her heat sink were absent. There was no return fire from the bottom level. No shouting, no swearing, not even a moan. No sounds of motion….except...
Yes. Boots on the stairs.
Just when Shepard thought she was prepared to die, the knowledge that there were others in the building proved her wrong.
Her sniper rifle would be useless in such close quarters. She pulled out her last grenade, ready to pull the pin and send it flying down the stairs into the stunned face of…
Garrus had come here to recruit Jacqueline Pointe, not Jane Shepard. And he'd arrived too late. The human biotic lay dead on the floor downstairs, shot through the skull with a high-powered rifle.
He could have given the mission up as a bad deal and withdrawn, but no, of course not, he had heard the gunfire coming from upstairs and realized that at least one of Pointe's teammates was still alive. Alive and making a good showing of him or her self. And so Garrus, ever the hero, had gone thundering up the stairs and to the rescue of the one person he'd been least prepared to see.
He'd given himself one heartbeat for all the panic and joy and apprehension and lust and worry and adoration inside, and then he had begun his work.
Garrus and his team had held off an incursion through the tunnels, had killed a wave of mercs who'd made it over the bridge, and had been ready to leave and take Shepard with them when the gunship rose up in front of the windows.
Now, Garrus carried Shepard's unconscious body past the smoking wreckage of the gunship, not feeling the least bit of satisfaction over the fact that he'd managed to bring down the thing with rifle fire.
Nothing he'd done—or ever would do—would mean anything if Jane did not survive.
"Give me a mirror."
The turian nurse shook her head wordlessly.
Dammit! Where the hell was Cadeucia? Shepard did not have time to play games. She struck like a viper, seizing the nurse by the collar, jerking her off her feet. She rammed her face into the turian's in a violent parody of a headbutt as she growled, "I said give me a fucking mirror."
The nurse, still unspeaking, complied.
Shepard released her. The turian brushed herself off and smoothed her uniform, seeming disgusted at the animalistic display put on by the barbaric human. Shepard didn't give a fuck.
She turned the mirror over and her throat closed off.
She'd known it was bad but…for God's sake, they hadn't even bothered to grow skin to cover her cybernetic jaw. There was a disgusting ring of scar tissue, like…like an anus in her cheek, and through it she could see the silver metal and fine blue lights of the cybernetics. That didn't even begin to cover the fact that her her right ear was just a hole in her head. She couldn't even hide it under her hair, which had been shaved away on that half of her head. Not that it hadn't been singed anyway, she admitted begrudgingly.
"Haven't you people ever heard of plastic surgery?" she snapped, because yelling was better than crying.
The turian nurse folded her arms and said coldly, "We have better things to spend our mission budget on than making you pretty." Her concluding sniff was likely a nonverbal "or what passes for pretty with your species."
It felt like a slap in the face. Shepard had never considered herself to be the type of woman who obsessed about her appearance, particularly when there was a life or death mission at hand. But now…
She'd never felt so unspeakably hideous.
And she didn't want Garrus to see her like this.
Dear God, she had to have been hallucinating. Garrus was dead. She'd been to the funeral. He'd been sucked out the side of the mortally wounded Normandy, into space where he suffocated to death as the black vacuum froze his bones.
Perhaps she would wake up tomorrow and this would all be revealed as a nightmare. Yes. That had to be it. Poor Miles Harron would sit up in bed and look at her quizzically and she would get up and go about her regular life. This awful disfigurement and the Omega mission and Garrus would fade away into dream…
If she had to give up Garrus to make the rest of this not be real, would she do it?
No, of course not, but she rather doubted her fairy godmother would come down before her and offer her the choice. She was going to wake up next to Miles tomorrow whether she wanted to or not, and that meant that nothing she did now was going to count.
So Shepard curled over on her side, pulled the blankets up over her shattered face, and cried herself to sleep.
Garrus padded into the med bay and watched Shepard sleeping. For a few moments he simply stood over her, seeing her chest rise and fall under the light sheet that covered her. The nurse had told him that Shepard was healthy, despite the scarring, and that she was fit to leave the medbay. She had simply refused to.
Garrus had done his best to hide his hurt that Shepard had chosen to avoid him for two days rather than leave this room.
Kelly had, unbidden, provided a psychological evaluation, the main points of which were that a combination of surprise at discovering Garrus alive and well coupled with the self-esteem damage that came from disfigurement had left Shepard in a state of shock. The redhead had made a recommendation that Garrus give Shepard some privacy to come to terms with her new reality, and Garrus had almost been grateful until Kelly pushed her luck and offered to stop by his cabin, allegedly to feed his fish, but her touch on his arm had been the last straw.
He'd stormed up here instead, and now he was wondering if he'd come just to spite Kelly and Saren. He held his breath, debating whether to leave her to her rest, if being here with her would cause her harm…
If the positions were reversed it would surely hurt him more to think that she might leave him here alone with his wounds. Particularly when he'd not called her the second he found himself back in the land of the living.
Instead, Garrus gently lifted the sheet. She shivered, but not for long. He tucked himself in behind her, warming her back. She sighed softly and pressed herself against his chest.
He folded his arm over her belly and breathed in her scent. He felt his mandibles quiver with longing now released. She smelled like…like…
He'd been alive again for several weeks, but it had taken this long for him to find his way home.
Shepard turned over in her sleep, twisting to accommodate an invasion in her cocoon of warmth and softness. Something covered in cool plates, yet warm within, firm but not uncomfortable, supportive, familiar.
A nagging voice at the back of her head told her she was dreaming. This had to be a dream because Garrus was…
Shut up, she told the voice.
She felt happier than she had been in a very long time. If this was a dream, she would have her whole waking day to face reality. For now…
She nuzzled her face into his throat and breathed in the aroma of turian: forest woodlands and leather, uniquely Garrus, not the fresh-meadow scent of…
"Shepard," he rumbled, and the word drove all thought from her mind.
"Garrus," she replied, melting against him. She tugged at the fasteners on his shirt and he did not stop her. Soon her hands were reacquainting themselves with the topography of his body, the curve of his cowl, the strength of his shoulders, the…
…yes, the long, jagged scar where she had stabbed him so long ago. She let her fingers play over the knots of flesh. Jane realized, with a pang, that she had already begun to forget the shape of him. The scar did not feel quite the way she remembered.
She lifted her chin and he tasted her, his tongue gently sweeping her lips. Her lips opened to receive him, and soon their tongues touched, moist, sweet…
Shepard opened her eyes.
Crystal blue eyes looked back into hers.
She could taste him, smell him, feel his warmth, stroke his hide. His breath caressed her cheek. It was real. He was real.
"Garrus," she murmured once the kiss ended. She felt her lips curve into a smile.
He took the smile as an invitation. He wrapped his arms around her and sat up, pulling her up with him, depositing her in his lap. His talons hooked the hem of her sleep gown and pulled it over her head in one smooth motion. She was naked before him so quickly, so simply.
He raised an eye ridge. "No underwear," he murmured.
Shepard mock-scowled. "This ship doesn't stock underwear for human females," she retorted, "and like hell if I'm asking Kelly to borrow hers."
Garrus clutched her to him protectively. "No, do not do that by any means."
His words awoke the questions that had slept uneasily inside her mind. She had seen the way Kelly looked at him, and she wondered…
Why hadn't he contacted her the second he'd awakened? She was sure he must have had his reasons but…
He hadn't slept with Kelly, had he?
Fearing the answer, but needing to know, Shepard wriggled until his grip loosened and she was able to draw back enough to look into his eyes. "Is there something I need to know?" she asked, her voice hesitant.
Garrus looked confused. This brave, bold warrior who'd stormed the besieged building and shot down the gunship in perfect confidence now seemed lost as he stroked her cheek.
"How long have you been alive? Why didn't you find me right away? Are you and Kelly together? Am I…am I ugly…."
Jane Shepard, who had held off a horde of Omega's finest mercenaries for who knew how many days, was crying.
Garrus parted his mandibles. "I want…"
No, this was not about what he wanted.
"I need you to be happy," Garrus whispered. "I don't know what life you've lived while I was gone…"
No, he had to be honest.
"While I was dead. If it made you happy, I have no business taking you from it. If your concern is Kelly, the answer is no, we aren't together. I belong to you, Jane. As long as you live, I belong to you."
Shepard gaped at him, awash in guilt. Garrus had turned down Kelly's offer. And what had she done?
Gone to bed with the first turian who'd offered.
She hadn't intended to tell him the details. That was the last thing to tell a lover, everything you'd done with another man. She had hoped she might somehow not need to tell him about Miles at all, or at least, not so soon.
But faced with his declaration, on top of the shock of finding him alive, on top of the strain of her own battle wounds and whatever drugs Facinus had pumped into her system to save her life…
She lay her head on his shoulder and slowly choked out the whole story of what had happened since his death, as though she were vomiting out a poisonous meal, chunk by repulsive chunk. And he did not pull away from her. He held her, stroking her back, smoothing her hair, until history lay puddled all around them.
Garrus knew he had no right to be angry. He'd been dead, after all. It wasn't cheating if you were widowed.
So why did he feel outraged? Not with her—no, never with her. They'd had this discussion. He'd told her he'd wanted her to learn to live again; she'd asked the same of him. He could not blame her for doing as they'd both agreed.
No, his fury was for this Miles Harron for trespassing on what was his.
And there was, of course, only one thing to be done about it.
"Do you love him?" Garrus asked quietly.
"Do you love him?" he barked, as a drill instructor would, and Shepard responded as any soldier does to an imperative.
"There," he murmured softly, stroking her shoulder. "The truth."
Shepard looked miserable. "Do you know how it hurts to tell you," she said, shivering, naked before him, running her hands up and down her arms. "To tell you what I did when you were…"
"Dead," he countered, lifting her chin. "I was dead. You were surviving, that's all. You did what you needed to do to survive."
Spirits, she looked…ravaged. Devastated. Not from the damage done by the missile; no weapon could have placed that hollow, haunted look in her eyes.
"I don't know how Saren brought me back," he murmured, "but he did. And I still love you. Do you love me?"
"Yes," she whispered.
"Then what else matters?"
Garrus reached out and cupped her breast.
Shepard was about to protest when Garrus' talon scored ever so lightly over her engorged nipple and she bit down on her lip to stifle a moan. She could speak up in a few seconds, once the sensation of pleasure had faded.
By then, of course, Garrus' tongue was laving her other nipple and a whole new pleasure was overloading her nervous system.
He switched breasts, now delicately scratching the wet nipple and softly lapping the reddened one. Pleasure burst from her throat in a cry.
It was true. All of it was true. She'd had sex with Miles Harron. Had had sex with him over and over again. Had shared a bed with him. She cared for him, she had been aroused by him, but she did not love him, not in the way she loved Garrus.
And now Garrus was alive.
Shepard bit down on her lip, took a deep breath, and lay back on her elbows so that she could spread her thighs for her mate.
Garrus mewed as her nipple left his tongue, and he looked at her, first surprised, then delighted—and so hungry. He was at her in no time, enjoying what she was offering, licking and suckling. Shepard squirmed. This was no tender seduction; he was feasting on her clit as though he couldn't get enough, and then his tongue was inside her, drinking of her.
She would complain about the speed of this foreplay were she not already so wet.
Shepard writhed, gritting her teeth, because although the pleasure was something she'd craved for years, it still wasn't enough. She was too aroused to relax and not getting what she needed to come, and her only relief was the fact that Garrus appeared to be just as edgy. He was clawing at his clothing, tearing the fabric, fumbling because his attention was on her, unwilling to stop licking her long enough to undress properly. His mandibles flickered against her inner thighs and she could wait no longer.
She sat up and shoved him away from her. Her hands fisted on his clothing and finished what his talons had started, rending the fabric. She raked his ruined pants down his thighs and his shaft sprang free, as though his it knew more than his brain where it needed to be right now.
"I love you," Shepard growled, "so fuck me."
Garrus drove forward, wrapping his hands around her shoulders and bracing himself as he drove her backwards against the bed. He'd thought about taking her from behind, but he needed to look into her eyes, needed the confirmation that he was with Jane herself and not some poor substitute. He would have used his knee to spread her legs for his entry, only they were already spread, her thighs stretched wide, opening herself for him. He was more than happy to fill her. He thrust into her with a force that made him wonder, once his brain had accepted the thought that he was buried deep in Shepard where he belonged…made him wonder if he'd hurt her, but from the way she had her knees gripping his waist, he guessed not.
"More," she said, her voice torn between plea and command.
Still, he tried to be gentler as he began to rock his hips, moving in and out of her, but it was hard. Hard, because while he was dead she'd found a companion, and that companion needed to be taught a lesson—he was back and Shepard was his. His. He would mark her with his talons and his teeth and his seed so there could be no mistake. He was back, and Shepard had returned to him.
His thoughts were disrupted by a sudden exclamation of pain from the base of his throat. Shepard—her little omnivore's teeth—she had bitten him!
Shepard spat, clearing her mouth of the dextro blood before it could make her ill, and she smiled at him awkwardly. Garrus barely saw. A raging firestorm of arousal tore through his senses. Lust like he'd never felt before drove him against the one female who'd ever marked him. If the scar on his side was fake now, the scar on his throat would be genuine.
He drove into her now, hammering her hard, and felt her cries become screams as she tightened her grip on him hard enough for him to feel her nails score his plates. He felt frenzied, wild with desire, and yet half strangled, as though he were hard enough to burst and yet still would not be able to find release until she was coming in his arms. He was afraid he might cause her pain and yet he could not stop himself. He was out of control, and it was terrifying and wonderful and unspeakable…
…and she shattered beneath him, crying his name, and he exploded into her, and the release took his breath away.
They lay there gasping for breath. The Normandy's air circulation systems caused a breeze that chilled their sweat-slicked bodies. When they finally found themselves able to speak, they found they could say nothing but each other's name.
The second time was slow and sweet.
"We're in trouble, you know," Garrus said at last.
"Just like old times," Shepard said with a contented sigh.
He raised an eye ridge. "Nobody's ever come back from the Omega Four relay."
"Then it pleases us to be the first?"
He chuckled. "Right now we have no choice but to work with Facinus. You understand that, don't you?"
Shepard nodded. "I know you don't like it any more than I do, but you're right. Facinus are taking the Reaper threat seriously. The Council isn't. We can't afford to wait for the Council to get the evidence they need—as if Anderson wasn't enough! What they would call "proof" would be enough to doom the whole galaxy."
"I'm sorry I didn't come get you first," Garrus murmured. "I should have known I couldn't do this alone."
"I know why you didn't." Shepard wrapped her hand around his. "I think I might have been tempted to do the same. Only this mission is too big for us to hedge our bets. It has to be all or nothing if we're to have a chance."
"What about your…Mr. Harron?"
Shepard closed her eyes, then turned to face him. "As I said, it has to be all or nothing if we're to have a chance."
"So you've decided."
"I'm not just surviving any longer."
Shepard still felt guilty about Miles. It wasn't his fault that he wasn't Garrus Vakarian, and it wasn't a bad thing that he'd been concerned about her mission on Omega. In the end, though, she and Garrus were partners. They had both learned that there were things they simply couldn't do alone.
"What's that human saying? A credit for your thoughts?"
"I was thinking there are things we just can't do alone."
"Really? And what about outside of bed?"
The third time was both spicy and sweet.