Author's Note: All the characters belong to Bioware. A big thank you to them for giving us such wonderful and memorable characters.
"God dammit Joker!" Garrus roared. He threw Vega to the ground and punched the elevator up to the CIC.
Vega rolled to sit up on the ground, rubbing his head he picked up the comm, "Joker, you've got one pissed off turian headed your way."
EDI turned to Joker, "Would you like me to seal the cockpit?" Joker quickly shook his head. He was fairly certain he could handle Garrus.
A half-second later, Joker regretted his decision. Garrus stormed into the cockpit, "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Saving your life," Joker didn't look up from the controls.
"She's still down there!" Garrus hoped he had kept the pain out of his voice. Anyone would be upset the commander was left behind, right?
This time Joker paused, "I know."
"Well then turn this goddamn ship around! We have to get her." There was no question who the "she" in question was.
"I can't." Joker's voice was pained.
"Why the hell not?"
"Harbinger." Joker stopped there. For most of the crew, that would have been enough. But Garrus waited, still staring. "You're lucky I was able to get you and Vega out of there," Joker finally continued.
"No," Garrus said quietly, "I am not lucky." He was quiet for a few more moments. Joker almost let out a sigh of relief. He hadn't expected Garrus would go so quietly. Reapers be damned, Garrus was never one to run from a fight. Joker thought he heard the click of Garrus's seldom-used pistrol. "You will take the Normandy back or I swear to all the gods I'll take it without you."
EDI stood. "Garrus, I can't let you do that."
Garrus was still speaking in painfully measured tones, "You can't stop me EDI. I'll shoot you too."
Joker finally looked up from the controls, "No one is shooting my girlfriend."
"Then don't leave mine behind."
Joker sighed, hoping Garrus would put the gun away. Although, Joker figured if Garrus was going to shoot him he would have done it already. "I can't go back. Normandy is too big. I'm lucky I made it the first time."
"Then I'm taking the shuttle. She's down there. She wasn't going to solo the dreadnaught, and she sure as hell isn't going to solo this!"
"The arms aren't even open." Joker pointed to the still closed arms of the Citadel.
"I'm getting her if I have to kill Harbinger with my bare hands." Garrus holstered his pistol slamming the doorpad as he went.
After enough time had passed, Joker finally felt able to speak, "I'd hate to see him angry." Joker attempted a half smile at EDI. All the same he slowed the Normandy and swung her back towards London. Despite his misgivings, he could swing her a little closer, give Garrus a fighting chance. Hell, Garrus wasn't the only one who wanted the commander back.
"Jeff," EDI said, "I think he loves her."
"Yeah. He does."
Vega tried to stop him in the shuttle bay, Garrus shoved him aside roughly, "You're either coming with me, or you're on the sidelines, but you sure as hell aren't stopping me."
"Garrus, the shuttle barely flies." This time it was Cortez. Joker had managed to pick him up from earth too. Everyone but Shepard, he thought wryly.
"It only needs to make the trip once. I'll find a new shuttle once I'm down there." Garrus left unsaid that he didn't intend to make a trip back without Shepard. And if he was honest with himself, he didn't expect to make it back. He didn't need the shuttle to fly, he just needed it to fall. It needed to keep him out of space and get him back on earth. He needed to get to her. She couldn't do this alone. "There's no Shepard without Vakarian," he murmured. He was firing up the shuttle now. His hands were moving independent of his body. He knew his hands were flying over the controls, racing through the preflight check, but he felt like he was in slow motion.
He glanced over, "Alenko, you're wrong if you think your biotics will stop me."
Alenko's response was immediate, "I'm coming with. You need a copilot."
"No, it's too dangerous." Garrus had no illusions that this would be his fourth suicide mission.
"Look, you're not the only one who loves her."
Garrus nodded and returned to prepping the shuttle. Whatever his feelings on Shepard's previous relationship with Alenko, it didn't matter now. The comm crackled to life, it was Admiral Hackett, "The arms are open. Move the crucible into place. I repeat, the arms are open."
"Hurry," Alenko whispered.
"Goddamn you Shepard." The shuttle hummed to life, and Garrus pushed the throttle hard. Garrus noted with some triumph that the Normandy was closer to London that it had been.
"We don't have much time," Alenko said pointed to the now arranged Crucible.
"You think I don't know that? Do you think I don't know she might be somewhere dying right now? I saw her get hit by that laser…I watched…and I couldn't…" Garrus felt something strange in the back of his throat. He wasn't sure what it was, but it made it nearly impossible to keep talking. Alenko was blissfully silent, he looked like he was fighting his own demons.
Cortez hadn't been exaggerating about the shuttle. It was on its last legs. The hit from the reaper must've been brutal. Garrus had the throttle punched and he could feel the engine shuddering. "This might be a one way trip if we can't find a new shuttle." He wanted to make sure Alenko realized just how much of a one-way trip this was.
Alenko nodded, "Wouldn't be the first time."
The shuttle rocked. Alenko almost fell out of the copilot's chair, Garrus held the steering yoke firmly. "What the hell was that?" Alenko asked scanning the viewports. "There," he said a moment later pointing towards the Crucible.
Garrus felt his heart sink. He was too late. It was on fire. Crumbling. He had watched her go up that beam into the Citadel to activate the Crucible. She was in that fiery inferno now, and he was here. Outside. He had never felt so impotent. So useless. At the same time, he felt a strange swell of pride for this woman who had agreed to be his. Shepard had done it. When everyone else was gone, still she stood. And she had picked him. Now, let's hope she's still down there, Garrus thought with a wan grimace. He pushed the shuttle closer, flying across the still smoldering rubble.
"There!" Alenko yelled pointing excitedly. Garrus thought he might have seen Shepard, but Alenko continued, "that's a good spot to land."
It was. It was near the center of the Citadel, the most likely place for Shepard to have been. He surely wouldn't be asked to pilot the shuttle again, he thought as he looked at the flashing yellow lights. The shuttle had hardly touched down when Garrus was at the door and sprinting over the ground. "Shepard!" He yelled his voice hoarse. "Shepard!" he vaulted over the rubble. He heard Alenko moving in the opposite direction calling for Jane too.
Garrus pulled up his rifle. It was a cross between a sniper and an assault rifle—Shepard had given it to him a few weeks back, just after Palaven. He found it comforting. He scanned the rubble with his visor looking for a heat signature. Nothing. "Shepard!" He called again desperation was seeping into his voice. "Shepard!" He kept moving. Damn you, he thought, damn you Shepard. He ran for what felt like hours, pushing the IR on his visor, straining to see movement. Anything. "Shepard!" Garrus's leg stumbled on a piece of rubble, threatening to crumble. He forced himself on. She hadn't given up, he wasn't about to either.
"Garrus!" Alenko's voice pulled Shepard back as though from a dream. "Over here! Garrus!" Alenko was pointing at a heap of rubble across the plain. He was pulling rocks from it, but the pile seemed enormously high. Garrus sprinted. He hadn't run this fast for anything: not in C-Sec, not as archangel, not on Ilos, or the Collector base, never. "It's her!" There was hope and pain in Alenko's voice, and Garrus braced himself for the worst.
Garrus threw himself at the rubble, tearing into it, straining his wounded and weakened muscles. He saw the shape that had attracted Alenko's attention, through his visor he saw it was still warm, and he let himself have a glimmer of hope. It was a human female with the distinct N7 markings on her armor. It could only be her. "Shepard." He whispered his voice threatened to break and he couldn't say anymore. Kaidan was on the ground next to him pulling at the pieces of concrete. The rubble hadn't buried her too far, but as he uncovered her he knew that would be the least of his worries.
The more rubble he took from her, the more his heart sank. He saw her chest rise and fall, but it was so ragged. There was so much blood. "Shepard…I—" He couldn't say any more. There was a nasty wound on her side that was still seeping blood, there was blood coming from her nose and it had found its way on to her lips. One of her legs was twisted into a grotesque angle, and blood matted her red brown hair. "You can't leave me now." He whispered leaning close to hear her heart.
"Garrus," the sound was faint, but it was Shepard. Garrus felt something wet on his cheek. He touched it, confused, it was clear and he wasn't hurt. He didn't know where it was coming from.
"I'm here, Shepard. I'm here." He cradled her body next to his willing that some of his strength could be hers. He had never realized how fragile she was. How light. He had touched her half a hundred times always being careful of her skin. Sure he would leave light scars, but he never worried about hurting her. Now, she was all flesh and blood and broken bones. So very breakable. He held her as close as he dared sprinting back across the rubble towards the shuttle. Garrus didn't think it would take off again, but he didn't have another choice. Shepard needed medical attention now.
Alenko was just behind him, on the comm, "Joker we have her. I repeat, we have her." Alenko was beside him now, "Joker's coming. The shuttle won't make it."
Garrus nodded. He slowed, "Medigel?" Alenko nodded and gave what he had to Shepard. "Hold on. Just hold on."
"She'll make it back to the Normandy." Alenko announced glancing over her wounds. "It won't be pretty, but she'll make it to Dr. Chakwas." Garrus nodded. Alenko had more combat medicine training that he did, and Garrus trusted his opinion. Garrus laid Shepard on the ground. She coughed weakly, spitting up blood. Garrus looked at Kaidan nervously. He didn't know too much about human anatomy, other than the parts he had explored with Shepard, but he was certain this wasn't good.
"Shepard, I think you can hear me, but it doesn't matter. I love you. Always have. Since you tore into me on the citadel clinic for being reckless. I didn't know it then, but I couldn't stop watching you. And before the Omega Relay—Shepard that was the best night of my life. So what I'm saying is, you can't die on me. You can't break an order." Shepard's eyes were closed, and she didn't respond. Garrus looked around anxiously listening for the Normandy even though he knew he wouldn't hear her.
"She's here!" Alenko yelled. He was a few yards off, he must not have wanted to hear Garrus thought. Although if he was in Alenko's place he wouldn't want to hear another man confess his love for Shepard. Hell, even as Shepard's boyfriend, he wouldn't take it well.
Garrus picked Shepard up again. He thought she felt lighter, but he couldn't be sure. He tried to be as careful as possible, resting her head on his shoulder, "Just hold on."
The Normandy was a flurry of activity when he stepped on with Shepard. Dr. Chakwas was waiting at the airlock with a stretcher. Garrus laid her down as quickly and as gently as he could. "She's lost a lot of blood," Chakwas announced already linking up an IV.
"We're the same type. Take mine." It was Kaidan. Garrus grimaced in spite of himself. He would have given everything to be human for this moment. He would have poured every blue drop of blood to save her, but it wouldn't. Kaidan, the man she used to love, would do that. Garrus felt sick. He had always vaguely wondered what jealousy felt like. Now, he wished he didn't.
Dr. Chakwas nodded, "Alenko with me. The rest of you will just be in the way."
Garrus moved forward, "No—" he began.
"No, nothing. I know how you feel about her, but you can't help her right now." Garrus shook his head stepping forward. "Vega," Dr. Chakwas ordered, "keep him out." Then Dr. Chakwas and Shepard were gone.
"Jane," he said to the empty air.
Garrus paced the mess. Vega stood in front of the door, arms crossed. The windows were darkened, so Garrus couldn't see what was going on in there. He couldn't hear anything either. It took every ounce of his turian upbringing not to storm the medbay to find her, but he knew that if Dr. Chakwas asked for space she needed it. The gods knew that was the only thing he could do for her now.
What would his father say if he could see Garrus now? He, Garrus Vakarian, was in love. Love wasn't something turians experienced. At least, not like how humans did, and certainly not how he was now. Platoon first. Casualties happen. For turians, Shepard would have been honored, mourned even, but no one would have gone back for her. And then he had said, "I love you." Shepard had said it to him on the citadel and his stomach fluttered just thinking about it. Now, he wished he had been able to say it then, when could hear, when he could see her smile, see the light in here eyes. But turians didn't say that. And certainly not Garrus, he was supposed to marry a primarch's daughter. And now he was infatuated with a soft human. And warm. Spirits was she warm.
He almost smiled remembering how he had fallen in love with Shepard. IF only he had loved any human, as though an excuse of a flesh fetish would suffice. If he had frequented Chora's Den looking for asari dancers, then maybe he would have been taken less by surprise. But he didn't. He had never even looked at a human, until Shepard. And now he loved Commander Shepard. The Shepard. A fighter like a turian with an attitude like a krogan, and a body like…well, like Shepard. She was no ordinary human. She wasn't ordinary, period. Regardless of race. No, there was no shame in loving Shepard, no shame in weeping for her, no shame at all.
"Garrus." He stopped pacing and looked up. It was EDI, "she will be all right."
"How do you know?
"The Normandy is telling me."
Garrus nodded. It didn't quite make sense, but he knew she had links with most of the computers on the ship and could probably see what was going on in the medbay.
"Garrus? Jeff is sorry for before. He said he wouldn't have left me either." EDI looked remarkably awkward for a synthetic.
Garrus nodded again. Jeff should be sorry for what he did, but Garrus wasn't sorry. He had no words for anyone but Shepard. EDI drifted away to the other end of the mess where the rest of the crew was waiting. Garrus guessed they were watching him, but he didn't care enough to look.
Dr. Chakwas emerged a few minutes later looking almost as bloody as Shepard. Garrus paled, a feat for a turian, struggling to maintain his composure.
Dr. Chakwas looked at him, "She'll be all right. It's good you got to her when you did. A little longer and we would have lost her."
Garrus nodded. Relief flooded through him, and so did that thing in the back of his throat. He couldn't speak.
"You can see her now." Dr. Chakwas continued.
In a daze Garrus headed into the med bay. Shepard was there. Eyes closed, breathing regularly. Garrus sighed in relief. She was covered in bandages, Garrus knew the recovery would take a long time, but she was breathing and he was here. For all that, Garrus considered this one a win. Kaidan was awake and looking visibly paler. "Thank you," Garrus choked out.
"We all know you would've if you could," Kaidan smiled then closed his eyes to give them the semblance of privacy. In a moment of courtesy, Garrus admitted Alenko must have had a hard day too.
He sat next to Shepard's bed watching her breathe for a long time simply delighting in the fact that she was still alive. "I thought I lost you," he finally whispered.
"Never," Shepard's eyes fluttered open. "Never. I told you I'd always be with you."
Garrus looked at her, "Shepard" he stroked her hair, at least the parts that weren't covered in bandages.
"I love you Garrus Vakarian," she said. It was the same declaration she'd made on the Citadel.
"I love you too Jane Shepard." He kissed her forehead.
She smiled, then frowned. She knew it was the first time he said those words. Garrus was about to ask her what was wrong. "Garrus," she said touching his wet cheek, "you're crying."