Letters from the Brig
By KSCrusaders (Sable Rhapsody on BSN)
"If someone had told me this morning that you'd be hauling me and a turian primarch off this hellhole..."
"I'm so sorry, Garrus. I wish I could have gotten here sooner."
"It's ok. I know you did everything you could."
The sadness in Kaliya Shepard's eyes was answer enough. She stood beside Garrus in front of the Normandy's new Kodiak shuttle, waiting for Victus to finish saying goodbye to his men. Some of them glanced at her; she had the good grace to meet the eyes of the soldiers she was condemning to die.
She had never looked so beautiful to Garrus; long black hair stirring slightly in the backdraft of the shuttle's engines, bright blue eyes burning as she looked up at Palaven. But he couldn't even say anything to her in front of the primarch and his men. To them, she was an icon. She had to stay that way.
Victus finally turned away from his second-in-command and entered the shuttle. Shepard, Vega, and Garrus followed in silence. She made her way up to the cockpit to talk to Cortez.
"Signal Normandy to ready the war room, as well as quarters for the primarch," she said.
"Yes, ma'am." Cortez gave her a long look as the shuttle took off. "You ok, Commander?"
Her hands were shaking. Shepard took a moment to compose herself and nodded. "I'm fine. Mostly relieved the mission was a success." She made her way back to the three men and strapped herself in. She could feel Garrus's gaze boring a hole in the side of her head, but she didn't dare look at him. She wasn't sure she could keep it together in front of the primarch if she did.
"Thank you, Primarch," she said to Victus. "This war summit is just about the only hope I have of bringing everyone together against the Reapers."
Victus gave her a long, searching look. "I'm still getting used to the title. But you're welcome, Commander. Garrus tells me you have a history of uniting people."
Shepard shrugged. "All I did was befriend some...interesting individuals."
"That's what you call being buddies with an AI, the head of the krogan clans, and the Shadow Broker?" said Vega. When Shepard merely shrugged, he shook his head. "Loco. The whole lot of you."
"You didn't shoot when Wrex pulled a gun on you, that has to count for something," said Garrus dryly. "Come to think of it, Commander, a lot of your friends have nearly gotten you killed at some point or another."
The look she gave him warmed him from head to toe. "You haven't," she said very quietly.
Garrus glanced quickly at Victus, who was watching their exchange with a carefully expressionless face. Thank the spirits for the new shuttle pilot's quick work; the engines shuddered as the Kodiak pulled into Normandy's shuttle bay within a matter of minutes. Shepard got the door for them after giving her pilot a quick pat on the back.
"I apologize for the state of the ship," she said as Victus and Garrus exited the shuttle. "Normandy was in the final stages of retrofit when we left Earth. She's fully functional, just looks a little unfinished."
"As long as she can shoot and stealth, she's perfect," said Victus. "I imagine you want to debrief your people," he added, glancing at Vega. "Meet me in the war room when you're done." With that, he turned on his heel and made for the elevator.
Vega let out a long, low whistle when the primarch had gone. "Well, he's a badass, I'll give him that. Just watched his planet get toasted and didn't even miss a beat. Still, can't blame him if he'd rather be shooting Reapers than babysitting politicians."
"Babysitting the politicians is my job," said Shepard evenly. "If everyone makes it out of this summit with their vital organs intact, I'll call it a win."
"Better you than me, Shepard." Vega snapped a quick salute and headed over to the armory to clean out his weapons, leaving Garrus and Shepard a bit of privacy. He opened his mouth to say something, but she beat him to the punch.
"The Normandy's retrofitted weapons might need some calibrating," she said with a small smile. Her smile expanded to a grin when Garrus made a face.
"If those engineers messed with my Thanix cannons, I'll-"
"Relax, Garrus," she said, chuckling. "It shouldn't take long." She hesitated, then added, "Meet me in the captain's quarters when you're done. I want to talk to you in private."
To hell with privacy, he wanted to say. And to hell with talking. But instead, he just held her eyes for as long as he dared, until a faint blush started rising in her cheeks. Then he nodded and said, "As you wish."
Shepard watched him go, praying the primarch wouldn't keep her for long.
Shepard's door was unlocked. Garrus stepped into the familiar captain's quarters-and dropped the bottle of expensive wine. It bounced and rolled under her desk, but he couldn't care less.
She was standing there in nothing more than a bathrobe, the shower running behind her. She gave him a faint, almost shy smile. "You did say something about a hot shower when we saw each other again," she said quietly.
Garrus closed the distance between them in two strides and cupped her face in both hands. Shepard let out a surprised gasp; he pulled her body against his, both their hearts pounding. She opened her mouth to say something, but he stopped her with a kiss-gentle, tender, as though he was reacquainting himself with how she tasted.
Her hands wrapped around his neck, pulling him closer; he could feel her fingers shaking. "Spirits help me, Kaliya," he murmured, resting his forehead against hers. "You don't make self control easy."
"No need for decorum here," she whispered back, her smile widening. "I doubt anyone's watching."
"You did tell EDI to get rid of the security bugs, right?" He laughed when she made a face at him.
"You always were a ray of sunshine," she said. Then her smile faded. "If...if this is too soon-"
Garrus buried his face in her hair, breathing in her scent. "I wanted you from the moment I saw you on Menae. I almost kissed you right there, in front of everyone." His voice dropped to a growl as he nuzzled her neck. "Spirits, I missed you so much."
"Keep...ah...keep talking." Her hands fumbled at the catches and zippers of his clothes, each motion acutely familiar.
His hands slipped to her waist, slowly untying her bathrobe. "Mmm...you always did like my voice. What's the magic word?"
"That was an order, Vakarian," she whispered, her eyes dancing. She wiggled out of his grasp, blue energy surging around her arms. Before Garrus could react, she'd shoved him into the shower, half-undone clothes and all. He leaned his head against the cold metal wall and groaned as she shed the bathrobe and knelt in front of him, her hands slowly making their way up his thighs.
"Keep talking," she repeated. Somehow he found the coordination to shed his gloves and shirt; he ran his talons through her hair and was rewarded with a contented murmur.
"You'll need to undress me faster," he gasped. He could feel her breath, her fingers, through the sodden cloth of his pants. "Kaliya...please."
She got to her feet and undid the last clasp on his clothes, taking a step back to look at him. For a moment that felt like an eternity, they simply stood there and stared at one another. Water ran in rivulets down the sharp lines and muscles of Garrus's torso. Shepard's eyelashes were covered in droplets, her cheeks warm and flushed.
He reached out and stroked her cheek. "You really are beautiful, you know that?" Her eyes fluttered shut, and she turned her face to plant a kiss on his palm.
"So now what?" she asked. "You said you had some ideas about what would happen next." She watched, puzzled, as his expression turned deadly serious. He wrapped his arms around her, keen eyes searching her face.
"I know you," he whispered. "I know you'll give everything to win this war, even if you have nothing left to sacrifice. So I'm going to give you something not even the Reapers can take away."
She couldn't speak. A dozen questions and a million responses spun in her head; her emotions had been such a whirl since she saw him on Menae. Finally, she swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded. He smiled at her, touched her cheek with one talon.
"Close your eyes," he said. She obliged, felt him place his hands on her hips. He stepped toward her slowly and deliberately until her back was pressed against the wall; she could feel his breath on her cheeks and neck. Garrus flicked the very tip of his tongue along the hollow of her throat; she let out a gasp, arched up against him.
"Shh. Let go of everything." He worked his way up her neck to her jawline, leaving little red marks wherever he nipped a little harder. Shepard's hands found the underside of his fringe, and he had to bury a groan in her shoulder. Quick as a flash, he pushed her hands away and dropped to his knees, slipping his tongue inside her.
She cried out and bucked against him; she was already so wet, and not from the shower. Garrus set a blistering pace, licking her as roughly as he dared. She rocked her hips against him, urging him on, and it wasn't long before she felt the slow pressure and heat pooling between her legs.
"Don't stop," she whispered. Her hands clutched his cowl, nails digging into his skin. "Garrus-"
He felt rather than heard her cries as she tensed and shuddered against him. He waited until her breathing slowed before pulling away and rinsing his tongue on the streams of hot water. She opened her eyes, and found him looking up at her with a slightly goofy turian smile.
When he stood up, she wrapped her legs around his waist; he had to support her weight with his hands on the backs of her thighs. Blue eyes met his, dewed with droplets of water.
"Make love to me."
He closed his eyes and shivered, resting his forehead against hers. "As you wish."
This time, he took it slow, punctuating each thrust with a kiss. When she felt his teeth scrape her skin, she pressed all ten fingers against the sensitive spot at the back of his fringe. It all started to run together; the water, the hissing of the current, his increasing growls and her moans.
I love you, he thought fiercely as her body clenched around him and his climax took him. Spirits help me, I love you so much.
When he recovered his senses, they were both slumped against the wall of the shower, her body cradled against his. Shepard reached over and turned the water off, letting him keep her warm. Her eyes caught the pile of sodden clothes in the corner of the shower, and he heard her laugh.
"What's so funny?" he asked, his voice still ragged.
"It'll take a while for those to dry," she said, gently bumping her forehead against his scarred cheek. "I hope you got those calibrations done."
"You do remember who you're talking to, right?"
"I'm just saying, you'll probably be stuck here overnight," she replied with a glint of mischief in her eyes. Garrus sighed, tightening his embrace.
He'd stay forever if he could, but one night was enough for now. He gave her one last squeeze, then got up to look for towels. His eyes lingered on the marks his teeth had left on her shoulder, and she smiled.
"I think I'll keep a set of scars to match yours," she said. "My cybernetics are mostly healed anyway." Garrus chuckled and tossed her a towel.
"So...have you thought of what to do while we're here?" she asked as they dried themselves off.
"I did bring some really excellent wine," he said thoughtfully. "And...there was one more thing. I was writing a letter to you that I never got to send."
"Really?" Shepard tilted her head to one side as she made her way to the couch. "Well, you could always read it to me."
"You read my mind." Garrus tossed the towel aside and retrieved the bottle of wine from underneath the desk. He poured them each a glass before pulling a blanket off of her bed to keep them both warm. It was like nothing else he'd ever experienced, relaxing on her couch under warm blankets, with her curled up against him.
He booted up his omnitool, opened the file, and began to read. "Dear Kaliya..."