Title: Customization

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Bioware.

Beta Reader: Chi Kyoku

Important to note: I'm a PS3 user. So my ME1 knowledge comes from YouTube and wikis only. The Mako does sound like a monster, though. Was it really that bad?

Commander Shepard was never what you might call artistic. If it could stop a high-end piercing round from near point-blank, well, she really didn't give a damn what her armor looked like. It was beyond her list of worries what color her new armor came in. As long as it did the job, Shepard would wear damn near anything.

… well, except the colonial regs. That jumpsuit was hideous.

So it was such a strange thing that she was wasting time doing this. Time better spent contacting the Earth fleet for a status update, even though she knew the bitter answer. Or checking in with Palaven to see how the turians were faring as they waited for aid to come, the same aid Earth was crying out for. Or, well, anything but this.

She was Commander Shepard—everyone in the shrinking galaxy had some need of her, some mission to undertake or a report to review. In fact, downtime was a rare commodity to her these days. It felt near-blasphemous to relax while, at the same time, Anderson was fighting the war she had tried to prepare the universe for. Fighting in her place. There was no doubt in Shepard's mind that her talents were better spent in combat, not running around the galaxy like a damn chicken with its head cleaved off. Hell, Hackett should be here, not her. He was the one in charge. People seemed to forget that "Commander" was her title, not her name—that, even as a Spectre, she was an Alliance soldier first. The only reason she had taken the Spectre title was to further humanity's place in the galaxy, not to appease any kind of want on her part.

The galaxy didn't know humans well enough yet to understand this. To them, "Spectre" overshadowed any other duty, as it did with any other species, and it let the carrier of such a title work apart from their own people's need. If the Alliance had thought for one second that she was abandoning her post and acting fully as a Spectre, nothing else, they would have come down in force on her. Nothing any of the other races might say or do could change that.

She answered to Hackett as surely as her own crew answered to her.

Now she had nearly two hours on her hands before her ship would reach the Citadel, where she was due for a meeting with the Council. It was meant to be her downtime: get a quick nap, or sit down and eat with her crew. There were countless things for her to do on the Normandy, even if she didn't feel like working.

She had never used the customizing feature before now. Honestly, she never had the time. She rarely visited her own room, which was why her fish tank would still be empty if it wasn't for the new VI system. She only needed a few hours of sleep, thanks to her upgraded Cerberus body, and everything else that she needed to do could be done anywhere else on the ship.

But she felt too childish to do this down on the fifth deck, where the crew armory was.

Shepard rocked on her feet as she brought up the customizing screen. She had been wearing standard sets for so long that she felt it was time to build her own from all the parts she had gathered.

It was when she had finally put together a set that was technologically superior to both her Blood Dragon and Collector armor that she realized she still didn't want to switch over because of a very stupid reason.

It wasn't pretty enough.

None of the pieces even remotely matched in color. And, while she could argue that she was the last hope of humanity and it was important that she didn't run around the universe looking like a damn scavenger, she still felt silly.

It didn't matter what her armor looked like, only how it held up.

With an angry huff, she began to cycle through the options. She picked her material easy enough (shiny!), though her tints were a bit more time consuming than she would ever admit. She was very partial to a rich blue, but she didn't think much of it. She picked black as her secondary color.

That was where things got difficult.


She cycled through all of them quickly, waiting for one to catch her eye. Too bad there were only three freaking patterns. She went through each, staring long and hard at each virtual Shepard as she slowly took it in from each angle.

Only three? Really?

With another huff, she slapped her hand at the projection, and was surprised to see a color print of her hand appear on the image where it had went through.

She let out a happy squeak (she would go to her grave again before she would tell anyone she squeaked) and began to run her fingers over the image, making pointless shapes. Once she was sure that she had the hang of it, she cleared the pattern tool and started again. Only she couldn't think of anything interesting. Not like Tali's intricate design, or her premade sets.

Once again, she found that she was doodling. Well, it didn't have to be anything amazing, did it? It's not like many of her crew had amour that interesting, color-wise. Hell, she had found that they would run around in the same damaged armor forever if she didn't take the time to buy them new sets and plain order them to change.

Even Garrus had run around in his rocket-damaged suit until she had given him a new one.

His armor did look good in general. Or maybe it was the turian in them that always looked good?

Blue, black, and, just recently, silver…

With a start, Shepard looked at the main colors of her new suit. Blue and black.

Damnit, it looked like his old armor.

No wonder she liked the blue so much; it was the same blue as his markings. Slowly, a sweet smile came to her face as she cleared off the pattern and began to trace her fingers over the right side of the armor, the same side as Garrus's scars. She had traced the real ones down in the battery when he had rejoined the Normandy, afraid that she would not get another chance to commit them to memory. He had merely leaned into her touch and sighed at the feel of her soft skin on his damaged plates.

She was eager to be with him again. It seemed unfair that they had only been together once, a rushed event before the Collector base. They both wanted more time to simply lay there and touch. But they didn't have time. They never seemed to have time.

Shepard pulled back from the screen and smiled at the copy of his markings covering the right breast plate. The program had automatically fixed the lines, so they were clean and the turns sharp where they needed to be. It was almost like the program knew what she was trying to recreate and was helping her do it. Of course, this was EDI she was dealing with…

She changed the color to the same rich blue before going back to the main colors, changing the main color to silver and leaving the secondary black. Stepping back, she found that she was proud of her work. She saved it before starting anew. That one was more sentimental than practical. So she started working again, with brighter colors, but nothing she came up with was as pleasing to her as the saved one. Well, what was so bad about wearing that one?

Honestly, she had no issue with people associating her with Garrus. It would even save her a huge amount of time spent fighting off peoples' advances if they knew with one glance that she belonged to the turian flanking her.


Since when did Shepard belong anywhere? To anyone?

Did she belong to him, truly? He seemed so distant lately, though she always attributed it to his worry over his family and the stress of the Reapers. But she was sure that her bed had to be more appealing to him than the battery floor? If he didn't want anyone to know about them, then that was fine with her; she had always been a private person.

Looking at her saved gear, she steeled herself and dispensed the armor. She wanted to wear it.


"Yes, Shepard?"

"Our ETA?"

"Twenty-one minutes."

"Thank you."

"You are welcome, Shepard… I like your armor."

Shepard grinned at the idea that EDI had been involved in its creation. "Thank you again, EDI."

"Logging you out."

The elevator pinged as she came to the third floor. She was still surprised to see the mess hall so empty, but she reminded herself that this was an Alliance ship and that her current crew would never idle around like her Cerberus crew had during work periods. Not that she thought her Cerberus crew had been lazy, far from it. They merely did their job quicker since everyone on her crew was, literally, the best that money could buy. But her new crew made up for it with heart and dedication to the job.

She walked quickly to the main battery, giving a quick wave to Dr. Chakwas through the glass. The doctor gave her a knowing smirk in return as she entered the back room.

"Really? The one time he's not in here…"

Shepard checked the cramped space, and, sure enough, he was nowhere to be found. That was odd. He had almost never left the battery before, and stayed glued to the Mako before that.


"Vakarian is on the CIC deck, speaking with Primarch Victus."

Shepard glared at the mounted camera and said, annoyed, "Why didn't you tell me before I came down here?" Her intentions had been clear; even the unshackled AI should have seen that.

"You did not ask, Shepard." EDI's tone was clearly amused, and Shepard could only guess that Joker was rubbing way too much off on her.

She stomped back to the elevator. She had hoped that she would have enough time to change if her armor upset Garrus for some reason, but with her delay and the elevator's slow pace, she would be forced to wear the armor off-ship to her meeting with the Council; even if Garrus was appalled by it…

Damn it, she should have just worn mismatching colors and called it a day. Now she was worrying if Garrus would like her outfit.

This had to be a delayed effect of spending too much time with Kasumi.

Shepard stepped out onto the CIC deck with a glare that stopped Specialist Traynor cold. As useful as the woman could be, it was disheartening to see her become another Kelly. At least she wasn't hitting on Shepard… yet.

Traynor's eyes flickered over the symbol on her breast plate and a confused look over came her face as she worked on placing the image. When she did, her jaw dropped.

Shepard just had to smirk. Working on an Alliance vessel meant no fraternization of any kind. Why, they even made it clear that it was a double no-no with aliens, as humans were still new to the galaxy and didn't need any kind of galactic drama caused by bedding an alien. They also didn't want to risk any of the many adverse reactions the human body could potentially have with alien fluids.

Her smirk died as she headed to her right. Her head was high, but she felt… nervous. And then she felt silly for feeling nervous and angry for feeling silly, and so on.

"Commander," the two guards greeted her as they cut off their chit-chat at her appearance. Kelly had been the biggest gossip on Shepard's last trip, but Kelly was nothing to these young women. Shepard even found she didn't mind the amount of time it took to get past the scanner, since half it was spent eavesdropping on the two.

"I like your new armor, Commander," the one behind her said as she stepped into the scanner. "That design looks familiar, though."

The woman in front of Shepard jolted as her back went ramrod straight. Clearly she was dying to point out where the mark was from. Her mouth was twitching.

Shepard gave a nod to both as she exited. As the doors slid closed, she heard an excited gasp, then, "That's Vakarian-!"

"-you two-balled, no-dick turians!"

Whoa, what now?

Shepard blinked as she took in the sight before her. Wreave was pacing back and forth in the small space given at the conference table. His body was bent in the "I'm a krogan so I'm on the verge of death-charging you 24/7" way. Both Victus and Garrus had their backs to her through the glass, and both had their arms behind them in the "I'm a turian so I control my anger better than you can ever hope to" way.

"You think I'll ever trust a damn thing you offer after what was done to my people! Let Palaven burn for all-"

Garrus tensed greatly at that comment and Shepard felt the need to intervene.

"Don't be so rash, Wreave. Everything is too strained for anyone to be considering deceit, and even if it wasn't, I wouldn't allow it." Shepard stood in the doorway with her hands behind her back as she stared Wreave down, daring him to challenge her on her own ship.

"Shepard," Wreave growled. His eyes took in her armor, since she rarely wore it on deck, and he huffed. "And now you dress like them?" He gave a low growl, one that was mirrored off to her left. "I trust your word, Shepard. You've proven yourself krogan, but them…"

"I understand, but this isn't the time to hash out old wounds. The whole universe will burn, Wreave, not just Palaven. Not just Earth."

With a nod, Wreave cooled as she stepped aside to let him pass.


"Four minutes."

She entered and took Wreave's spot as she turned to face the two turians. Her new position gave both of them full view of her armor and both went slack… jawed? Slack-mandibled?

Maybe this was a bad idea…

Victus shifted as he cleared his throat. "Um, I should commend you on defusing Wreave so easily. I must prepare for departure, Commander." He gave Garrus a sidelong glance as his mandibles went tight and his fringe perked up. "Vakarian."

Victus was gone as fast as his legs would carry him.

That just left Shepard and a still-stunned turian.

Was her paint really that big of a deal? She knew it showed what clan turians belonged to, but she thought on a human it would just show how fond she was of him…

"Ah, Shepard… I see you painted your armor." She watched as his mandibles curled tight to his face before they loosened as he stared at her mark. Hell, she felt she might as well have tattooed the damn thing on the bare skin of her breasts with his current reaction.

"Yes, I did." Seeing that her voice came out harder than she wanted, she added, "I'm very fond of the color and design. They suit me." He finally tore his gaze from her chest and looked at her. "Don't you agree?"

His eyes bored into hers as he fought for his voice. "Yes, they do." His voice was heavily flanged, startling her in its depth. He composed himself as he rushed out his next words, subharmonics pitchy. "But isn't this a bit presumptuous of you?"

Her eyes widened as his words hit her harder than they should have. He seemed to panic at her expression.

"Wait, that came out wrong!" He fumbled to get to her side as she took a step away from him.

"We've arrived at the Citadel, Commander," Joker said over the comm.

"We should head out." Keeping her voice flat, Shepard turned to go, but he caught her arm.

"I mean it seems too soon, but it's not, is it?" She looked up at him with unmasked confusion. "I mean, it feels right, with you it always feels right. Taking down Collectors or Reapers, with you…" He leaned down and pressed his forehead to hers, a turian kiss. "I've been so distant lately, when I should be spending every free moment with you. Should be acting like every moment is our last…" His talons traced her cheek. "Sorry, Shepard." He grazed his gloved talons over her breast plate. Over the mark. "Of course." His voice engulfed her.

She knew she was blushing. Shepard found it was her turn to fight for the right words. "I wanted to ask… I mean, my room is awfully big… and you've already tested out the bed. If you're tired of sleeping in the battery," which she knew he did as the bunks in the crew quarters were too small for him, "you can always join me. Anytime." She held his gaze as she caressed his face.

"I'll… take you up on that."

"Commander, are you coming?" Jeff's voice rang out around them. They pulled apart slowly and Shepard did her best at smoothing her features. They both headed to the main deck and she was met with the smirking faces of the guards.

"Commander. Vakarian."

Then, after a moment of clear turmoil in the guard behind her: "You two make such a cute couple."

The guard to her front paled as Garrus laughed. Shepard smiled faintly in response.

"Thanks." Garrus sent Shepard a lighthearted grin as they left the small room.

"Are you insane-!" It was cut off by the swish of the doors.

Once on deck, she was greeted by the many curious faces of the crew. With Garrus walking alongside her, there was little doubt as to where the mark came from, but they could only guess at the meaning.

At the air lock, Jeff, EDI, Mordin, Liara, and Vega (her third for her ground team) stood waiting for her.

"What's with the paint job, Lola?" It took all of her self-control not to roll her eyes at the man's nickname for her. "Looks like Scars' tats."

She grunted as she failed to hold back her laughter. "Scars, Vega? Really? What are you calling Liara? Blue girl?"

Liara let out an exasperated sigh, "Cyan."

Joker interrupted then with a sigh of his own as he addressed his Commander. Shepard was a little miffed, as the 'Cyan' nickname warranted a snarky comment on her part, but she let it drop as she looked at him. "About time you did something to show you were taken. If I had to watch Kaidan, James, or Liara hit on you one more time, I was going to announce it myself via comm." Jeff snorted.

Liara turned a strange shade of violet that Shepard realized meant she was blushing. "I haven't been hitting on Shepard!" she growled as she whirled on Joker.

James wasn't even fazed by the comment. "So what's the deal?"

"I just like the way it looks." She smiled. She noticed Garrus stiffen out of the corner of her eye.

Mordin, who had been watching with his normal neutral expression, suddenly stepped close to her, a wide grin on his face. Shepard knew better than to trust that look.


"Added without Vakarian's prior knowledge?"

"Uh, yeah."

His grin broke wide as he looked at the turian next to her.

"Act of placing clan marking on oneself is seen as willingness to join clan."

"What?" she quizzed.

"Proposal of marriage."

Shepard's jaw dropped as she gaped at Mordin, not daring to steal a glance at the turian next to her.

She did what!

Wait, bigger issue-

He said yes!

His earlier words hit her like a ton of bricks. He had though she was proposing marriage and he had said yes. Even with the Primarch's clear disapproval (his actions made sense now), he had said yes. Even with his own worries about his planet and family, he had said yes. He loved her.

Garrus Vakarian loved her.

Garrus Vakarian loved her enough to marry her, species be damned.

And all Shepard could do was stand there like an idiot, clearly making things worse.

She felt so helpless. For the first time in her life, she was speechless. She had no idea what to do.

She jumped when Garrus started laughing. "Thank the Spirits, Shepard." She finally turned her dumbfounded look on him. "You really had no clue what you were doing?" She numbly shook her head. "Have you read any of the pamphlets I sent you on turian customs?" Again, she shook her head no.

"Aw, so no wedding? I was going to call best man." Vega grinned. "And I'm sure the bachelor party would have been loco with me and Joker calling the shots."

Jeff let out a wistful sigh as his imagination clearly took over. EDI just looked at him.

Liara sent her a sorry look as she finally closed her mouth. Her senses finally returned as she glared at Mordin and fought down a blush.

"Where are Primarch Victus and Urdnot Wreave?" Shepard asked EDI.

"Here," Victus called, flanking them. Wreave was still in a bitter mood, judging by the way he looked, and she knew she would not have the patience to deal with him if he threw another fit.

Smashing down her feelings, she nodded at them.

"Liara, Mordin, you both have business to take care of while docked. I want you two to stay together and take EDI along."

"Expecting trouble?" Liara rose an eyebrow.


"James, Garrus, you're both with us." She gestured to herself and the two… diplomats behind her.

So did that make her a diplomat as well? Ugh, as if her day wasn't bad enough already.

"We need to speak with the council," she ended as she debated taking a weapon with her. She could handle Wreave, but if that new turian councillor reacted the same way as the Primarch…

Everyone headed out at her order. She lingered back and, as she hoped, so did Garrus.

"Garrus, I'm sorry," she whispered, finding her throat too thick to speak any louder. "I didn't know-"

He cut her off. "Don't worry, Shepard." He gave her a forced, toothy smile and her heart clenched at the sight. "It was a misunderstanding."

She felt hollow as he walked past her and off the Normandy, onto the hectic deck of the Citadel.

'What if… what if I don't want it to be?' she thought as she stood alone at the airlock.

The visit with the new Council was… excruciating. Surprisingly, though, it had little to do with the Council this time. She was just on edge during the whole trip. Every little twitch and grunt and sigh from Garrus showed up on her radar, distracting her. She tried to ignore the sad glances he would send her way when he thought no one was looking, and how he stopped himself from touching her—when it was clear that all he wanted to do was simply hold her hand or touch her side.

Both James and Victus picked up on the morose vibes and stayed quiet. Only Wreave talked. The krogan droned on about battle after battle, taking their silence as interest.

Shepard did humor him with a few "then what?" and "oh, really?"s.

When Victus caught her eye and looked… apologetic, Shepard was sure she was doing just as crappy of a job as Garrus was at hiding her feelings.

Councillor Quentius even looked happy for them. She had liked the new turian Councillor the moment he approached her and tried to help as best as he could. He was earnest in his regret that Earth could not be helped, and she appreciated it.

When Garrus opened his mouth at a comment made on her armor by Udina, she rushed the conversation back on track, not wanting to hear the heartbreak in his voice.

It was simple enough to finish her business. All that was needed was for Wreave to talk (boast, more like) to the Council, and, in turn, receive their agreement that they would not interfere with curing the genophage. Yes, they could have done the same damn thing over the comm, but Wreave had been insistent that he meet them face to face. Shepard understood why. He was gaining power now, and he wanted the other species to squirm as he flaunted it.

She was just shocked that Wreave didn't head-butt anyone in Udina's office.

Now she was back on the Normandy, looking through her messages. After rereading the same sentence and still not understanding one word, she gave up.

Go talk to him, her mind reasoned.

Yes, that was the best thing to do. If left unchecked, this could fester into something serious… and end the little bit of happiness she had. Standing in the elevator, she called out, "EDI? Where is Garrus located?"

"In the main battery, Shepard."

"Of course." She sighed. "That's all—oh, wait."


"Once I enter, please turn off all cameras and comm links until either Garrus or I leave the room, or there is an emergency." She didn't need this to be recorded; she owed him that much.

"Very well, Shepard. Good luck."

"Thanks. I'm going to need it."

"I highly doubt it. Logging you out."

She walked out of the lift, feeling a little lighter at EDI's kind words. Entering the battery, she was met with Garrus' back as he leaned over the main console. He didn't greet her, which wasn't new, as he was often too absorbed in his work to notice people coming and going. But the way his shoulders tensed showed her that he knew it was her.

"Garrus," she said as calmly as she could.

He slowly turned, taking in the armor that she still wore. "Shepard. Need something?"

She stared at him as she gathered her thoughts, causing him to shift nervously under her gaze.

"Yes," she breathed out finally as her shoulders dropped, her eyes prickling with emotion. "I'm sorry," she rushed out before he could butt in. "I just needed to paint my damn armor and I couldn't think of anything that really symbolized who I am. I mean, I've been killed and rebuilt. I've lost my home many times over, both Earth and the Normandy. I've had people pop in and out my life constantly and I've changed so much. But the one thing that has stayed steady, the one thing that I know I can depend on even in the face of a freaking apocalypse, is you. The only thing I could think of that showed who I am… is you."

She wasn't too sure that she was saying it right, but she pressed on.

"And while I didn't mean to ask, I would never say no." She met his eyes with no doubt in her own. "May I keep these on?"

He was staring at her in the same shocked way as before. "Ah… Wouldn't a ring be better?"

Shepard smiled as she looked up at him. "No one would be able see a ring under my suit," she said.

A pleased look appeared on his face as he closed the gap between them. "True."

"I am fond of your markings, and the color is so nice." She traced the marks on his face. His eyes closed as she laced her fingers into his fringe and touched the soft skin no turian woman would ever be able to reach. She brought his face to her and kissed him the human way. He opened his eyes halfway to watch her as their armor clanked! together.

Her lips pressed to his mouth. While she was still wary from the last time she had kissed him and stuck her tongue in his mouth, leaving her with a cut tongue thanks to both their haste, she still wanted to taste him. Slowly he opened and she entered, mindful of his sharp teeth, and pressed against his long tongue. He gripped her hips as he shuddered against her. It was clear he was holding back. He always held back, afraid that he would hurt her. But she wanted him to enjoy himself with her. She would not break as easily as he feared. That was a hard thing to make him believe, as she has already died once, and that was a wound that might never completely heal for both of them.

Pulling her tongue out, she moved his head to the side with more force than she had used on his fringe, and bit at his neck. He let out a dark hiss as his grip tightened on her.

"Shepard," he warned. His voice was deep, the flanging of his voice dominant. Fire shot through Shepard as his voice raked through her. She really did adore his voice.

"I remember you told me you were a bad turian," she cooed as she tried to make her voice deep with want and licked at his neck. She nearly laughed at how silly she sounded, but the low rumble at the back of his throat was all the encouragement she needed to continue. "Why don't you show me how a bad turian takes his commanding officer?"

She pulled back to look into his eyes. His willpower was clearly waning.

"How he makes the most feared woman in the whole damn galaxy scream his name…" She grazed her blunt nail along the edge of his jaw. "Over and over."

Faster than she could follow, she was spun around and slammed back against the console.

"How about…" he growled in her ear after licking the shell, "…I show you how I fuck my mate? Show her that it's not nice to tease him. That she should tell him when other members of the crew are trying to take what is his."

Her body shuddered at the promise in his harsh words and actions. Even if he was tame by turian standards, he was nowhere near so by human ones. No, not tame at all, as he had shown over and over—with Saren, C-Sec, and the Collectors… and on Omega.

Wait… he had sounded almost… jealous?

Shepard smirked at him. "The key word is try, my dear Archangel."

Armor banged against armor as her body arched against him. He narrowed his eyes at her as he pressed harder in return. Clear want smouldered in his eyes.

Could turian talons rip through armor? Well, she was pretty sure she was about to find out.

"Sorry to interrupt, Commander." EDI's voice held more humor than remorse as Shepard gave a startled cry. "But you have a vid request from Captain Anderson."

"Damn it!" she growled out in frustration before enough lust cleared from her head for the words to truly hit home. "Wait, Anderson!" Her voice was full of clear relief to hear he was still alive. She looked up at Garrus, apologetic that she was cutting their moment short.

Garrus nodded as he pulled away, allowing her to talk to her mentor, who was currently fighting for all of humanity. "I'll be here if you need me, Shepard."

She gave him a quick turian kiss before rushing off to talk to Anderson. He watched her go with quick steps and sighed happily. He really did love his human mate…

He shifted uncomfortably in his newly tight armor.

… even if she did leave him frustrated, more often than not.

With a smirk so full of mischief that it would make Kasumi proud, he thought it was about time he paid her back some of the… frustration he was feeling.

After all, she had made it clear that she had an open door policy with him now.

Shepard found her way to him first. She had changed into her uniform, the dark blue one trimmed in gold, with three dark stripes on each shoulder showing her rank. He was surprised to see her so soon; she gave a small smile at his questioning look.

"He couldn't talk long." They both knew why. "But he's holding strong. Earth's holding strong." He words were painted with more hope than truth.

"A planet full of Shepards." He gave her a smile in return. "That, I believe, is a Reaper's worst nightmare."

"Like a planet full of Vakarians won't give them pause?" She sighed as she walked over to him, wrapping her arms around him without hesitation. She wished he would take off his damned armor for once; she wanted to feel his hotter body pressed against hers.

Three long fingers ran through the short curls that clung to her head. Sighing at the sensation, she leaned heavily on him and closed her eyes.

"Shepard… Charlotte." Her eyes opened at her given name. His dear blue eyes caught her greens as he spoke in a soft but strong voice. "With us out here giving it our all, we have a damn good chance. I know this because you said so yourself, and you don't say things just to pacify or manipulate."

He leaned down and nuzzled the curve of her neck. She giggled at the feeling. It was clear that he was going to say more, but she couldn't help herself. She kissed him. Her lips lingered on his as he sighed.

Then, feeling her earlier playfulness return in full force, she said in his ear, "Oh, but I do. I say things all the time to manipulate a certain gullible turian who always seems to show up right when I need him." A jolt of pleasure shot to her core as his hot tongue flicked out against her tan skin.

His hold was no longer merely for comfort.

"Tell me, when did you manipulate this poor fool?"

"Why, I got him to leave his respectable post at C-Sec and dragged him around the galaxy, all based on visions in my head."

His teeth scratched at her skin, making her jump. He let out a low chuckle.

"Hmm, are you sure he didn't use you?"

With those words, his hands travelled down her body and lightly gripped her hips. Her hands took hold of the neck of his armor, as the cowl was too large for her to wrap her arms around.

"How so?"

"Free room and board and all the geth one could shoot. Plus, you took him to such lovely places. Ilos was a favorite."

His tongue worked its way up her neck to her ear, where he nibbled lightly as he pulled her hips flush to his. Her moan came out loud, showing how eager she was, and he laughed in her ear, little puffs of hot breath against her flushed face.

"Ready for me already, Shepard?" One hand moved to rub at the junction of tights, causing her to involuntarily buck into his hands.

Flustered, she fumbled to get their game back on track. "I also tricked a notorious vigilante into helping me fight the mythical Collectors."

"Ah, I believe he was also using you as well."

"I figured as much. Was it for my body, then?"

"If it was just that, then I believe Tali was more than willing to offer her help in that area."

Shepard pulled back in shock as she forced Garrus to look at her. "What? Tali was, was hitting on you?"

There was a dark gleam in his eyes as he grinned. "I am a highly desirable male, and the scars only add to my charm."

She stared at him for a moment longer. This was clearly revenge for her earlier words. "I don't know what to be more upset about: Tali hitting on you, or the fact that you knew she was hitting on you." His grin faded as confusion marred his face. "I hit on you like mad on the first Normandy," Shepard explained.

"No, you didn't," he snorted, "You're shameless when you flirt. I would have noticed 'Oh Garrus! How 'bout we go test drive the Mako alone, naked?'" He mocked her voice as he rolled his eyes.

She stepped back, not one bit pleased by the impression, and folded her arms as she shifted to one side.


A memory flooded him: one of him half under the metal beast named "Mako" and Shepard sitting near his hip.

"Um, Garrus, how about we test drive the Mako when you're done? Just the two of us?"

He let out a low groan. "You wrecked the undercarriage up good, Commander. I'll be lucky if I can fix it before our next mission, let alone in time for a test drive. You know, it does have thrusters."

"Garrus, that's not what I—wait, it has thrusters? Like, it can float? Since when?"

"Since always, Commander."

"Why didn't anyone tell me?"

"It's in the manual. Plus, I'm sure I've screeched it in your ear more than once after you drove off a cliff you claimed you didn't see. How do you not see a cliff?"

"They just pop up sometimes."

"It's a cliff."

"Fine! How about you drive next time?"

"Yes!" came both Ashley's and Wrex's relieved sighs.

"Oh, shut it, all of you!" Shepard huffed, and stomped away. Then she called back, "Just for that, I'm always driving!"

A moan was shared by all. The next time Shepard was behind the wheel, she would most likely drive even worse than usual, if that was possible, just to spite them.

Garrus couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You, uh, liked me back then?"

She blushed as she lost her stance. "Yeah… I thought it was cute how eager you were to help people, and how flustered you got when I… misunderstood you."

"I was never flustered."

She laughed at his denial. "Remember when you said that you could get things done for once without C-Sec breathing down your neck? And I was so straight-laced that I yelled at you that we don't endanger civilians, even though you didn't mean it like that? You were so cute, all flustered, and I felt terrible for yelling at you for the whole day. First time I felt bad for yelling at a soldier, too."

"… That was our first conversation on the Normandy…" He was shocked that she remembered it. After all, she had the whole damn crew to talk to, while he had rarely left the Mako's side. "So, ah, since then, you…? All this time?"

"I was being a bit selfish when I nudged you to be a Spectre. I knew you wouldn't be able to stay on as part of my permanent crew… And I thought it would be nice to have you fight with me as a Spectre… You're the only one I really trust at my six, after all."

She shifted nervously under his gaze. It had changed into a look that made her mind numb and her body ache.

Then he was on her.

Without warning, he swept her up and, like before, slammed her against the console. She squeaked (damn it!) as he leaned over her and pressed his tongue in her mouth. Her lips met his plates with bruising force. He growled low as he parted from her, his hands gripping her hips painfully.

"You make me crazy, Shepard. So damn crazy."

His hands tore from her hips to pull off his gloves. Happy that she would finally be able to rid him of his armor, her hands went to unbuckle the latches, but he stopped her.

"No time," he grunted out as his bare hands touched hers.

She was still set on removing it, and his hand caught hers on her second try.


He kissed her the human way again as he held her hands.

Garrus's lower armor was painful. He needed his mate now, and as much as he wanted to feel her bare skin rub against his body, now was not the time or place. All they could do here was something quick and dirty.

He spun her around, pulling her soft human hips to his with one hand, while undoing his groin armor with the other.

"Stop shifting, Shepard," he hissed. She clearly did not like the new position. All the while, she was twisting and turning against him and his hold. She had reached back with her hand to try to dislodge his grip from her, so she could turn and face him. He growled as he hurriedly pulled himself free, using the slit in his underarmor meant for baser needs. Luckily, her squirming had her bumping against him, ensuring that he was fully hard when she finally did free herself from his one-handed grip.

"Damnit, Garrus!" she huffed out when both his hands captured her again. She gasped as he pressed himself against the soft flesh of her rear. Pleasure filled him, but what finally pushed him over was when she bucked back, seeking out his member while she let loose a whimper. "Damn… it." She began to squirm again as she looked back at him, her eyes unfathomably deep with want—want for him.

That was something he would never understand. When she could have anybody, and he meant anybody, why him?

"Garrus…" she whined.

He grabbed the band of her pants and underclothes and yanked them down, her arousal hitting him like a dreadnought. She was already wet. Good.

"My shoes…" She quickly kicked them off as he pulled her garment from her lower half. He fixed her body so that her chest was flush against the console and her ass in the air. He braced her legs up as well as he pushed her down and entered her.

Shepard gasped when she felt him- finally- enter her. She gripped the chrome edge of the console as he shot into her. Crying out, she tried to keep her head twisted back to hold his searing gaze, but soon his pumping became too much. She turned her face to press against the cool console as he hit deeper and deeper.

His talons moved to grip her hips as he increased his pace, passing the level of human rough and entering turian mild. If it wasn't for her Cerberus body, she would have been in pain. But she was still bucking back against him, urging him on, wanting more of him, wanting all of him. A strange, dark sound came from him, a sound that she had no hopes of understanding, but she guessed at its meaning as he leaned over her, trying to get deeper, even though he was hitting her innermost walls already.

He was so clearly lost in his pleasure that his talons dug far too deep into her hips.

She cried out at the sudden hot pain in her side. Her body jerked from the contact, but he held fast. His body leaned down on hers and he bit into her neck.

"Garrus!" she growled, trying to snap him out of his haze. But she stopped; what was done was done, and he would feel bad enough already once they were finished and he saw her wounds. Gritting her teeth, she pushed back against him, trying to wipe the pain from her mind—which wasn't hard, as he had found that special spot that made stars swim in her eyes with every thrust.

Forgetting why she wanted him to ease up, she dug her fingers deeper into the console. A snap! was lost to her as he groaned in her ear, calling her name as he filled her. She came as she felt him release, milking what was left as he came undone.

Garrus nuzzled her back as he pulled out, feeling calmer than he had in a long while. A small sigh came from the woman below him as he pulled away.

Red dots at her neck caught his eye instantly. There was a strange taste in his mouth, and, with horror, he realized that he had bitten clean through her clothes and into her tender flesh.

"Spirits!" he cursed as his hand flew up to hover over the wound. Traces of red on his talons made him rear fully back.

Shepard had pulled herself away from the console and had a soft smile on her face. His claws had cut clean through her jacket, leaving three identical marks on each side, and had cut through her skin weave deep enough to draw blood—no easy task.

"Calm down, big guy." She walked slowly towards him with her hands up in a peaceful gesture. "I'm fine, just a few cuts that will heal. We can wear gloves next time."


Even after he wounded her during something that should have given her nothing but pleasure, she still so … so loving.

He was such a monster.

"No, you're not." Garrus cursed himself for thinking out loud. "It was an accident. This is new for both of us." She closed the space between them and put her hands on either side of his face. "I'm in this for the long haul, remember?" Her eyes looked wide and vast as her body trembled, obviously fearing that he would bolt from her.

Seeing that he was only doing more damage, he wrapped his arms around her, pressing his face to her neck. She sighed as she relaxed into his hold.

"Me too."


Garrus stepped back after he finished applying medi-gel to Shepard's wounds. She gave him a smile as she pulled her clothes back on.

Damn, she would need to have the tears fixed, and it was all too clear what—or who, in this case—had caused them.

At the startled cry Garrus gave, Shepard swung toward him, wide eyed. He was gasping in shock with his hand twitching in front of him.

"The console!" His mandibles were wide with surprise as he slowly stepped closer. "It's… it's…"

"…it's smoking…" Shepard peered at the console as it gave off little rivulets of steam. "…and flashing." She jumped as it gave off a bright pulse. Hmm, maybe that was why she had seen stars? "You should really fix that."

She nodded sagely as he turned his shocked expression on her. The console, clearly wanting Garrus' full attention, let out a high-pitched whine. Shepard took a cautious step back.

"It's not about to explode, is it? Uh, I should go. Let you work and all."

"Commander!" was all she heard of his dismayed cry as the door closed behind her.

At least that would keep him busy for a while.

And a busy turian was a happy turian.


She sprinted across the half-full mess hall (all eyes on her) as she called over her shoulder with a mirthful laugh and salute. "I'll leave things to you, Vakarian!"