Vis Insita

Shepard was (reluctantly) released on a sunny July morning along with a metric ton of monitoring equipment, two clucking hens cleverly disguised as nurses, one entirely new limb, and a grim expression of determination that said she was going to lose all but one of those in the next half hour or something was going to explode.

Fixed she might have been, but as Mordin had once said, "species aggression unchecked". Garrus had never been so glad to see Shepard in a murderous rage in all his life.

"Garrus, you had better have an exit strategy because if I have to put up with one more needle being poked at me, someone else is going to have to regrow a limb for once." She growled in his ear as he scooped her up off her feet and into a rib-cracking hug. She hugged back just as tight. "Thank you for coming to get me." She added so softly that only he could hear it.

"Always." He murmured into her hair. "Every single time." He let her back down (not because he wanted to, but because his back was starting to complain), but didn't let go. "You ready to blow this joint?"

"Yes." Was her heartfelt reply. "Possibly literally. Where are we bunking?"

"The Normandy is in port." Garrus told her, glad that he didn't have to take her back to the half-wrecked apartment he'd been squatting in for the past month in-between rotations on the clean-up squads and his duties as Primus Victus's representative on Earth. That was all behind him though. The former had been strictly volunteer work and the other he'd cheerfully handed off to a newly arrived diplomat who'd been under the mistaken impression that he was there to act as Garrus's assistant. Hah. "Strangely enough, people just assume that of course I'm bunking in your quarters."

"Had better be, Vakarian." Her eyes flicked towards the nurses, who were trying to pretend like they weren't there and doing an abysmal job of it. "Seriously, get me out of here."

"Aye aye, ma'am." Garrus said and reached into his kit for a smoke grenade.

000

"Dear god, the fish survived." Was the first thing she said upon their arrival in the loft.

The Normandy was in dry dock on the pretext of awaiting orders, but really they'd been awaiting Shepard. Even missing three quarters of their fleet, the Alliance was visibly conflicted about assigning command of the Normandy to anyone else but her one true master. Whether it was superstition or the fact that there were damn few Captains on the ground comfortable with working so close with something like EDI, no one would say. Perhaps it was a bit of both, but it worked out in favor of the Normandy crew. As far as work assignments went, they were untouchable.

The Commander's release hadn't been widely televised and if Admiral Hackett hadn't requested that Garrus keep mum as a special favor then he mind had tried to organize a welcoming party or something. As it was, he was glad that he hadn't. All of a sudden he wasn't in much of a mood to share.

"Yeah, the VI you installed into the fishtank's hardware kept working even after the crash." Garrus turned slightly to watch the odd mix of Illium sunfish, Thessian jellyfish, and Earth koi drifting about inside the tank. "Honestly, it's a good thing you thought of that. It was weeks before anyone thought to come up here. Otherwise, the only thing left would have been that Batarian snapping eel."

Shepard squinted her eyes and cocked her head. She turned towards him with one brow raised high. "Speaking of the snapping eel, I don't see it in there."

"Oh, yeah… I caught it eating the other fish even after meals so I fed it to Urz."

"Wow, even the ornamental fish in Batarian space…" Shepard shook her head. "So, uh, I guess we've got some catching up to do."

"You could call it that." There were a hundred things he wanted to say to her; anecdotes from working with the Primarch, that dumb-ass stunt the engineers had pulled trying to reestablish power to Whitechapel, anything really… but the words dried up on his tongue. "Shepard… I almost lost you. If you hadn't…"

"Garrus." Her hand cupped his scarred mandible and he leaned into the touch instinctively. It had taken her touch to make him like his scars and he hadn't even realized how much he missed the contact until she'd touched him again after escaping Earth that first time. "… I couldn't die up there. I had orders…" She smiled. It was a quick little thing, different from the one she got right before something died messily or exploded. It was a private smile; one he was pretty sure was just for him. "… orders from my boyfriend."

"Heh." Garrus tried to remember the last time he'd laughed, but came up with a big blank until pretty much that awful rusty painful thing he'd managed in Shepard's bunker. This one felt a bit better, like a scab coming off an old wound. "So we're still on?"

"We are definitely still on." Shepard stepped into his arms and leaned into him. "Provided that comm unit over there doesn't go off before we can escape, I'm thinking your plan of somewhere warm and tropical is go. Not sure there will be vids or royalties for a while. I vote we start a pyjak ranch in the meantime."

"Pyjaks, huh?" Garrus started to construct a horrible pun about Turian/Human hybrid children but the terminal on Shepard's desk started to blink urgently, as though prodded into activity by Shepard's words. Oh well, it was probably for the best and the joke would keep.

'Shepard? I got news that you've been released and have returned to the Normandy. If you're up to it, one of our engineering squads has gone dark. They were last seen near the Yahg homeworld.'

"Are you kidding me?" Shepard groaned as Admiral Hackett's voice filtered in from the terminal, which had apparently lost its 'call-waiting' function. "It hasn't even been a year yet!" Even so, a light had appeared in her eyes that had been missing up until that moment. It was then that Garrus knew that they were never going to retire to that little stretch of beach, not for long at any given time anyway.

'… and you know what?' He realized with a rush of energy. 'I'm OK with that.'

"Oh, answer the man." He rumbled, barely concealing his amusement. "You've got a new fist to test drive. Might as well let its maiden flight be right into a Yahg's face."

Shepard gave him a sour look. "You're lucky, buddy, that I'm not saving it for you." … but her words were belied by a smile (that othersmile) that told him that the Yahg wouldn't know what hit them.

-fin

A/N: Originally published in the ME3 section of Mass Kink, link found here: .?thread=7485566#t7485566

The sequel to No Perfect Fix.