Title: To Be Whole

Author: Mizutanitony

Game: Mass Effect

Rating: M

Pairing: Garrus/FemShep

Disclaimer: Owned by Bioware and EA not me!

Chapter 33 Part 2

When things had finally quieted down, Leela decided to finish off her night with a nice long shower. The rhythmic pounding of the water against her neck and shoulders sent relaxing shivers down her spine. While a few people required a place on the floor, two of which were Grunt and Wrex, Leela was able to get the rest of them out with no trouble. Jack decided to stay behind at the request of Ismene and Kevin and Kasumi had smartly ducked out early for of fear of retribution. Still, Leela had to admit the party was a success. It wasn't the wild one she had imagined, but it was good to reconnect with everyone again. She was just thankful that no major incidents had happened. Shutting off the water, she grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her waist and stepped out into her room. She was prepared to dress in her pajamas when she heard a knock on her bedroom door.

"Who is it?" she called as she began running a brush through her hair.

"It's Garrus," said the voice on the other side of the door.

"Prove it," she ordered with a silent laugh.

"How?" he inquired sounding frustrated and tired.

"Tell me something only you would know," she demanded after a moment's thought. After a minute her omni-tool beeped with, i"You stole Ismene's teddy bear,"/I across her screen.

"Come in," she said with a laugh. Her door hissed open to reveal Garrus in nothing more than apair of blue pajama bottoms. "Hello, sexy."

"Evening," grumbled Garrus as he shuffled stiffly through the door.

"What's the matter?" she asked noticing his demeanor.

"Wrex's snoring, Grunt's drunken ramblings in the bathroom, the kids, Rose, and Jack. You name it and it's making going to the bathroom and getting some sleep a pain."

"I see," hummed Leela as she applied a bit of lotion to her scars. "My bathroom's free if you want."

"Thanks," grunted Garrus and he made a b-line toward the bathroom.

Leela shook her head at his reaction, a deep laugh forming in her stomach as she waited for him to come out. When the door finally opened she couldn't help but ask, "Feeling better?"

"Much," Garrus rumbled as his arms wrapped around her waist.

"You remember to wash your hands?"

"Please, Shepard," he whispered, his breath hot against her wet hair, "what do you take me for?"

"An occasionally forgetful boyfriend," she teased as he moved his hand inside the crease of her towel. She gave a slight shiver as his leathery skin came to rest on her scars.

"How can I make it up to you?" he growled, his claw making small circles against her flesh.

"That depends," she gasped as she felt his teeth scrape against her shoulder, "what do you think is appropriate compensation?"

"You know I don't concern myself with what's appropriate," teased Garrus as his hand snuck its way up her abdomen. When it came to her breast, his fingers took their time tracing their way across her skin. He could feel the small bumps form on her skin. He kissed the back of her neck, causing more of the tiny bumps to form. Coming to her nipple, he circled her areola. It peaked against his touch, as if trying to protect the small bud in the middle, it didn't work. Instead, he gently scratched his way across the taut terrain and found his target and carefully he ran a talon across the tip of her nipple. She pressed back against him, her breath hot against the hand tracing gentle lines across her chin. She was trying her best to keep from moaning out, but he knew just what to do. Sliding his thumb along the outside of her nipple, Garrus wasted no time in giving it a firm pinch. The effect was immediate as a strangled whimper escaped her throat.

"That's not fair," she whimpered once she caught her breath.

"I didn't realize there were rules," he purred as he rolled her nipple again in his fingers while his free hand began to gently stroke her hip.

"Liar," she groaned as she felt his thumb slowly creep toward her inner thigh. "We're breaking one right now."

"Don't worry," he whispered, his hot breath sending shivers down her spine, "I'll explain it if they ask."

"Okay," she whimpered as he bit gently into her neck. "You're mean."

"Look who's talking," he chuckled as he moved his right hand to the top of her entrance. The contrast of her soft hairs against his leathery flesh elicited a deep purr from the turian and he couldn't help but tease her a bit more. As she begged him to go lower, Garrus instead moved to her inner thigh, his longer fingers scratching gently along her delicate flesh and she gently began to grind against his thumb.

"See?" chuckled Garrus as she pressed against his thumb, "You're only concerned with your own pleasure." He moved his thumb upwards and gently flicked at her exposed nub making her gasp. "That's very selfish of you."

"Sorry," she whimpered as he continued his gentle ministrations. The feel of his rough flesh on her inner thigh was causing her legs to give way. She had missed this, his touch, knowing the most sensitive parts of her body. The gentle flick of his claw across her clit as he massaged her legs had her knees shaking. The caress of his hands along her scarred breast had her chest heaving as she pressed back into him for support. The purr in his chest and his teasing made her knees buckle. It took everything she had to keep herself standing but once she felt the slightest tip of his finger inside her, she crumpled to the floor with Garrus right behind her.

"You're not funny," she groaned she heard his laugh mix with his purr.

Removing his hand from beneath the towel, Garrus brought his hand toward Leela's face and ran his claw gracefully across her chin.

"You feel that?" he asked as he traced a path along the delicate length of her neck and collarbone.

"Yeah," moaned Leela, her voice quivering at the smoothness of his claw.

"And this," he asked running the back of his hand along the scars of her left cheek.

"You had them…"

"I did," he interrupted as flicked a claw across her clit, making her shiver against his chest. "It's another reason why I was late."

"I see," she sighed as he kissed her jaw line and nipped her neck, "always prepared."

"Always," purred Garrus his forefinger began teasing her entrance.

He felt her relax against him; body molding to his as he caressed her. His finger dipped inside her, making her to moan. Running his hand beneath the towel again, Garrus slowly massaged the scarred flesh of her breast, rolling her nipple between his fingers causing flesh to prickle once more. Resting his chin on her shoulder, Garrus watched as her mouth slowly opened, strangled gasps escaping as his finger gently massaged her core. She tightened around him, her eyes slowly fluttering shut. Pausing for a moment, Garrus slowly stood and with minor difficulty Leela did as well.

"What are…"

"Shhhh….," shushed the turian as he began walking forward. She nodded and blindly followed his lead, walking in step with him.

Slowly, he led her toward the large mirror that was stationed next to her bed. Pulling his hand away from her breast, Garrus chuckled at the disappointed groan that escaped his lover's throat and kissed the small lump in the center. Garrus slowly ran his finger along the fold she used to keep her towel up and wasn't surprised when her eyes snapped open.

"No," she pleaded softly, burying her face in his neck when she noticed what he'd done. "I don't want you …"

"Leela," argued Garrus with a gentle growl. Her grip relaxed and he was able to slowly begin undoing the fold. She closed her eyes as the towel began to loosen; a tear making its way down her cheek. He wiped it away with the towel before tossing it to the floor. "Open your eyes for me."

Slowly her eyes opened, her body relaxing again as they both took in the sight of her reflection. It was the first time that Garrus could finally see the extent of the damage. She had always been so careful to hide as much of it as she could. From the scarring of her left cheek to the large burn scars covering the majority of her chest and the upper portions of her legs.

"Don't ever hide from me," he whispered his finger beginning to move along her flesh. "You don't ever need to hide from me."

"This isn't how…"

"You're beautiful," he said. He saw her face flush and felt his mandibles twitch at her response. "Don't be embarrassed." His voice was husky and he could feel her shiver again at the warmth of his breath on her ear. "I'm not ashamed," he said tracing the outer patterns of the burn on the left side of her face.

"I've seen them before and they've never bothered me," he continued as his hand moved along her torso, fondling the small mounds of flesh and massaging her stomach. "They tell your story Leela, and it's a story I never want to stop reading."

His hand came to rest on her chin and with his thumb; he turned her to look in his eyes. His heart nearly skipped a beat when he saw the desire in them. It was a look he'd become quite familiar with over the past couple years. Yet instead of the ache that he saw in the mirror, he could only see the love she felt for him reflected in her gaze. Unable to resist, he pressed his lips to hers; feeling her lips suck on his tongue making his purr grow even louder. When they parted, he saw something from the corner of his eye that made him chuckle.

"What is it?" she asked, her voice weak but still curious.

"Look in the mirror." When she turned her head he saw a small smile grace her lips and he kissed her again. "See that?" he asked nuzzling her cheek, "the scars on our faces line up."

"Yeah," she answered with a small hum, "that's really something."

"Glad you agree," he purred as he rubbed her inner thigh. "So please," he asked while his teeth grazed her jaw, "stop hiding from me."

"Okay," she whispered leaning back and kissing the scars on his cheek before hissing as he reinserted his finger. "I'm…"

"Don't be," he said with a kiss to her jaw. Slowly he began to thrust his finger inside her; the muscles clamping down on the digit as she ground back against him. He could taste the sweat on the back of her neck. Moving the hair aside, he licked along the length of her neck finally causing her knees to buckle. Catching her, he fell to the ground with her, pulling her into his lap.

"Garrus," she yelped at the sudden intrusion. "You're too…"

"Sorry," he whispered; partially removing his finger.

He watched her in the mirror, the rise and fall of her chest, the way her tongue licked at her lips before he reinserted his finger. Her hips arched and he felt himself go deeper inside her. More cautious of his actions, he pulled out a bit as she thrust against his finger wanting him inside her. Instead he denied her this pleasure, occasionally pulling his finger out to gently pinch her clit drawing a pleading whine from her.

"You're ready," he growled as he nuzzled her neck.

Sweat glistened down her neck, plastering her long hair against her scalp and back. Brushing aside her hair with his other hand, he found the claw marks from the first night together. He bit down, releasing small drops of blood. She protested but he silenced her by whispering that he had Chakwas prepare their counter measures in case of an emergency. She agreed with a limp nod, her breath was labored. He could tell that she was ready. The way she pushed against his hand, grinding against what bit of palm she could make contact with. The way she tried to hide her excitement as she forced her breathing through her mouth silenced only when he kissed her. Finally he heard it, the strangled moan that always told him when she was about to climax. It didn't take much; just a gentle pinch and he felt her body piston. He watched as pleasure coursed through her as he kissed her; muffling her moans and knuckles whitening as her fists clenched. Slowly her body fell back into his, her breathing relaxing as she placed gentle kisses along his jaw and neck earning her an appreciative purr.

"I take it you enjoyed that," chuckled Garrus as he ran his fingers along her stomach and thighs. He received only a nod as she curled against his chest and straddled him. "I guess I'm supposed to carry you to the bed now?"

He received another nod and lightly nipped at her neck. Normally, she remained silent to tease Garrus but his instinct told him that he had gone above and beyond this time. It was only when he did a truly exceptional job that he made her too embarrassed to speak. Sliding them along the floor, Garrus felt Leela's chest rock against his as she laughed, a series of short whistles escaping her nose.

"Keep it up," growled Garrus as he began to slide up the side of the bed. She gave him a tempting look as he settled them on the bed; her straddling his left leg as she rubbed her forehead against his. He laughed and returned the gesture before placing a series of gentle kisses along her collarbone. "It's not going to work," he teased his hand returning to her inner thigh. "I know what happened."

He heard a strangled gasp escape her throat followed by a short deeper laugh.

"You're such a pervert," she whispered in a voice only known to a select few.

"Only for you," he replied nipping at her jaw. He watched her cheeks flush and pulled her into a kiss. "You don't need to be embarrassed," he purred as he kissed her cheek.

"I'm not," she replied kissing him. "It's just weird knowing that hearing this…" she gulped loudly, but her voice refused to return to its usual pitch. Instead of feeling embarrassed, she felt her heart melt at the sound of his purr when hearing what they called her, "secret voice."

"As long as it's just for me," purred Garrus as her lips sucked on his neck.

"Only for you," she whispered, the sound of her deeper register drawing a throaty growl from her lover.

"Good," he groaned as she gently sucked on his mandible.

To others, it would seem strange that he enjoyed his mate's "secret voice". While he only ever viewed her as Leela, he loved the voice that he would always deem her true voice. The sound of this hidden voice, the one that she had worked so hard to hide always excited him.

The first time he had ever heard it was after Rannoch. It had been a tougher battle than they anticipated. It was emotionally difficult losing Legion right on the heels of Mordin and Thane. While they had gained much over those few days, the impact of their deaths had finally taken its toll. It had been unintentional, Garrus had only gone to comfort her; instead they had ended up naked and clawing at each other and the sheets. When she had climaxed, it was unlike anything he'd ever heard from her. It took a moment for him to process it. When he asked her about it, she had hid in the bathroom. It took him a few minutes of gentle coercion to get her to open the door. When she did, he asked what had happened and when she spoke it was something that he'd never heard from any human.

It was a strange mix of feminine and masculine. Her voice had always had a deeper timbre than most of the females he'd come across, something he attuned to her military training, but this voice told him so much more. It was like a turian voice; two different versions of Leela speaking at once, the shy insecure boy that she had once been and the woman she had become. He asked her to explain it to him, how she controlled the muscles in her throat. She did as requested and buried her face in her arm when she saw the reaction it had on his lower plates. He ignored it and crawled toward her, his form pushing her to the shower floor. She had protested, but it fell on deaf ears as Garrus had only one thought on his mind.

"Only for me," he had growled when he felt the deeper vibrations of her laugh echo through his body; bringing him back to reality.

"I'm only yours," she whispered, her voice deep but gentle; eyes brimming with delight as he shifted uncomfortably beneath her. "Something wrong?" she asked as her hand traced its way down his chest, her fingers finding the little chinks in his plating that led her to his sensitive spots.

"No," he replied though the slight spike in his flange told her otherwise.

"Liar," Leela smirked as she ran a finger along his fringe. As she ran her hand along it, she let her index finger slip beneath the plates on his head. When she found the bit of flesh she was looking for, all it took was a little bit of pressure to start his mandibles quivering.

"Am…not…," he gasped she sucked once more on his mandible.

"They're twitching."

A soft growled passed her lips as her hand came to rest on the hem of his pants.

"It's only because…," he gulped loudly as her hand slipped inside his pants; her finger brushing at the sensitive skin of his sheath. He felt his mandibles twitch violently and he couldn't help but graze his teeth along her neck.

"Because what?" she teased, running a finger along the outside of his sheath.

She could feel his heat on the plates and probed gently to find him waiting for her. She heard a gentle growl as she touched him, but paid it no mind as it was merely posturing. Her nail scraped along the ridge of his tip, causing him to bite down once more on her neck. She endured the pain but couldn't hide her discomfort once she decided to run her nail along the slit in his tip.

"Gently," she ordered when she felt him bite down a bit harder than normal. "Good boy," she cooed as she slipped another finger inside, stroking the underside of his shaft.

Leela felt him grow with each touch, her hand curling around his shaft when she felt it against her palm. She moved her hand cautiously along it, applying more and more pressure as she approached his tip. Her hand grew slick as she stroked him, his natural lubrication easing her journey along the familiar ridges and gentle curve of his cock. Occasionally, she could feel his tip twitch as she reached the base of his head, his pre-cum dripping along the side of her hand.

"Leela," he groaned with a thrust into her hand. She could feel his nails dig into her back followed by a lick at the wounds he'd caused.

"No," she whispered, denying him release.

She heard a whimper escape his throat and his head bury itself in her neck, but he said nothing else. She encompassed the tip of his cock with her palm, her fingers curling around the rim of the head. Slowly she began to massage it with her palm, his warmth slowly spreading across it.

"See?" she whispered into his neck as another twitch caused more warmth to lubricate her hand. "I'm not just concerned with my own pleasure."

"I'm sorry," whimpered Garrus at the light torturous stroking of his cock. "I didn't mean…"

"You meant it," she growled, the depth of her voice causing his jaw to tremble. Wrapping her hand tighter around his shaft she began to stroke once more. "Didn't you?"

"Yes," he whined as she came to his tip, his cock twitching at the need for release. "I'm sorry." A low moan escaped his throat when he felt Leela's grip tighten.

"I don't believe you," she teased, letting her voice drop a bit lower.

Releasing her grip, she ran her forefinger along the underside. She watched as his hips followed her finger, running a callused fingertip along his glistening erection. She laughed inwardly, knowing that he was enjoying this. She would even go so far as to say he was relishing it; surrendering himself to her.

"I do, Commander," he whispered earning him a flick to his tip. "Spirits," he groaned as he felt some drops of cum land on his hips.

"That's not what I'm called anymore, Garrus," she growled flicking his tip again.

"I'm sorry, Ad…admiral," he panted at the sudden surge of pain. He tried to hide his discomfort, but a tiny whimper still escaped him. When he felt her hand on his cock once more, he buried his face in her neck. "Leela," he begged, his flange spiking as he felt the pressure inside him finally becoming too much, "Leela, please?"

"Yes, Garrus," she whispered, knowing that he had finally had enough. "You can cum."

With one final stroke, she felt him pulse against her hand. His breathing was deep and ragged as he came. She felt his nails dig into her side, drawing a bit of blood as she stroked him. He twitched with each stroke, more of him flowing out and onto her hand and the sheets. His eyes were shut tightly and she couldn't help but kiss his mandibles as they twitched with each ragged breath. When she finally felt him relax against her, she continued to stroke him as she whispered gently to him. Slowly his cock retreated inside; plates closing, but she wasn't finished with him.

Lifting his head, she slowly traced the fingers of her left hand along his lips; his fluids leaving a small trail along his plating. He said nothing and stuck out his tongue licking at the small trail before finding her fingers. She felt his purr in her chest as he began to clean her. Taking her gently by the wrist, he started at the heel of her palm, lapping up the greatest concentration of his fluids before running along the length of each finger. Her eyes remained focused on him as he went about his duty. Her mind enamored at the dedication to the task she had given him with a single minded devotion. His tongue finding each crack and crevice that his fluids had penetrated. Like him enjoying the sound of her more masculine voice, she knew that he enjoyed his cleaning just as much as she enjoyed watching him. When he finished, she leaned in and kissed him; sucking the taste of him off his tongue. Both of them moaned into each other before breaking the kiss and relaxing in one another's warmth.

"How're you feeling?" asked Garrus rather lazily.

"I feel fantastic," laughed Leela after a quick massage of her throat.

"Good," he chuckled when he caught onto what she was doing.

"What about you?" she asked, her voice slowly returning to its usual pitch.

"I feel like a shower." That got him a laugh from his mate and feeling his courage rise he asked, "Care to join me?'

"Yeah," she sighed before climbing off his lap and pulling him off the bed.

She laughed when she saw a slight caution in his step. Keeping his hand in hers, she led him to the shower where they both began cleaning one another. They were both careful to avoid doing things that they knew would excite one another, but that didn't stop them from the occasional kiss or playful pinch. As she finished washing her hair for the second time that evening, Leela shook the water from her eyes only to open them and find Garrus leaning against the wall.

"Garrus," she asked cautiously hoping he wasn't having an attack.

"I'm fine," he sighed regaining his composure instantly. "I just got a little dizzy."

"Are you sure?"

Despite his calm demeanor, and the lack of his mandibles twitching, she still couldn't fight being worried.

"I'm sure, Leela," he reassured her, reaching over and shutting off the water. As he retracted his hand, he ran it along her hair, his claws stroking the tangled mass of red. "It was just a dizzy spell."

"Okay," she said before giving him another kiss and exiting the shower.

Grabbing a couple of towels from the linen closet, she handed one to him and dried herself quickly before heading back to the bedroom. As he dried himself off, Garrus noticed that there was a bit of a problem with their current predicament. Stepping out into the bedroom, he watched as Leela pulled on a long-sleeved tee-shirt before sliding on a pair of boxers.

"Ummm," coughed Garrus when he noticed her outfit. "Can you go into the kids' room and get the overnight bag?"

"Why," laughed Leela as she tossed took his towel from around his neck.

"I want to be dressed before I try and make my way back to the living room."

"I see," answered Leela after his explanation. She said nothing else before heading into the closet. He could hear the scraping of her drawers and when she reappeared she had a pair of undergarments and pajama bottoms for him.

"Solana," she explained after seeing the confusion in his eyes. "She dropped them off a couple days ago; thought we might need them."

"Thanks," he laughed as he began to get dressed. When he finished, he couldn't resist pulling her close and burying his face in her hair, relishing the strawberry scent.

"Can you stay?" she asked wrapping her arms around his waist. "I mean, I know we agreed to go slow and if you don't want to stay…"

"I'll stay," he said pulling her close and burying his face in her hair. "But on one condition."

"The sheets," she asked suppressing her laughter.

"The sheets," he repeated before joining her.

She woke up a couple of times that night in a cold sweat; her mouth dry and her hair plastered to her head. She had no trouble falling back asleep, because he was there; his arms holding her tightly and his voice in her ear telling her that everything was okay. When she woke the third time however he was gone, his side of the bed cold but still messy from where he'd slept. Seeing that it was well past nine in the morning, she pulled herself from the mattress and made her way downstairs.

She could smell something spicy in the kitchen. When she reached the bottom she found Sam, her aunt, EDI (who was still dressed in her costume), Joker, Jack, and the kids all sitting in front of the bar eating food and watching a movie. Waving hello to them, she found her mother stumbling out of the kitchen, heavy bags under her eyes and a steaming cup of coffee in her hand. She muttered something close to a good morning and lumbered up the stairs.

"What's her…," Leela's voice trailed off when she saw Garrus standing at the stove cooking breakfast, complete with an apron.

"What?" he asked looking a little perturbed at the look she gave his apparel. "You act like you've never seen me cooking before?"

"No," she laughed joining him at the island. "I've just never seen you cook anything edible or wearing an apron for that matter."

"Fair point," he grunted as he laid a sausage like patty on a plate. "What do you want to eat?" he asked after washing the pan and setting it back on the stove.

"Whatever the other humans are eating," she answered with a chuckle.

Garrus nodded, moving to fry up some bacon and began preparing waffle mix.

"So," she coughed as she got up and poured herself a mug of tea, "when did you learn to do all this?"

"I made myself learn," he replied as he poured the batter into a waffle iron. "Kids can't eat premade food all the time."

"I find it rather…stimulating." she said, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek before heading back to her seat.

"I see," answered Garrus with a quick twitch of his mandibles. "But I don't think that'd be wise to do here in the middle of the kitchen." He gave her a wink before adding, "It may traumatize our friends and family."

"I completely agree," laughed Leela as she began to fiddle with a small black box on the island, "especially if they hear us."

"Don't touch that," snapped Garrus earning him a reproachful look. "Sorry," he sighed taking the box, "that's not really something to be opened right now."

"Okay," said Leela pulling her hand away from the box and instead fingered the lip of her cup. "Where'd it come from?"

"EDI," answered Garrus as he began plating her food. "Well EDI and I figured it out together, but she's the one who noticed it."

"You brought EDI along on a shopping trip?" Leela was actually quite amused by this notion as she thought such a trip would be like taking a child.

"Yeah," answered Garrus handing her a bowl of fruit to accompany her breakfast.

"Garrus," asked Leela after swallowing a large chunk of maple covered waffle, "there's only a couple of things that can fit into that box so it's no use hiding it."

Swallowing the meat he had been cooking when she entered, Garrus let out a sigh of defeat and shut off the stove before picking up the box. It shook in his hand, but there was no sound of rattling which removed one possible answer from her list.

"All right," Garrus sighed, sitting down next to her. "Can you please put down the knife and fork?"

Leela stuffed one last bit of waffle in her mouth and smiled apologetically.

"Sorry," she said before pushing the plate away. "You have my full attention."

"You sure?" he asked wiping away a drop of syrup with his thumb.

"Yes," she chuckled, licking at the syrup.

"Okay," he said with a shake of his head he set the box down and began. "I'm pretty sure you've already figured out what's in this box and what it's going to be used for. But I'm not going to ask you today."

"I see," replied Leela with a twitch of a smirk on her lip. "Why's that?"

"Well there are quite a few reasons. The first is…" he began when there was the sound of thundering footsteps as Kevin chased after Ismene, shouting something about her hitting him in the face with her bear while EDI chased after them, curious as to the outcome of their quarrel, "those two." They both shared a quiet laugh before Garrus continued. "The next reason is that we're both too busy with our work to take time to focus exclusively on ourselves."

"I can agree with that," Leela sighed biting into a piece of melon. "I know last night was a bit rushed."

"A little," Garrus chuckled taking a bite of his meat patty. "But you can't deny that it was a long time coming."

"Damn right it was," Leela chuckled placing a hand on his thigh.

He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before reaching down and placing her hand on the table. Grabbing the box, he turned her hand over and placed the box in it. "Shouldn't you be holding onto this?"

"No," answered Garrus as he closed their fingers around the box. "This is for you, for when we both feel that we're ready."

"Garrus…I…," she took a deep breath and sniffled loudly. "Okay," she laughed wiping a stray tear away, "I'll let you put it on when we're ready."

"Okay," laughed Garrus wiping away his own stray tear. Palming her cheek, he rested his forehead against hers and whispered, "I love you, Leela." He started to panic when he saw that she still had tears rolling down her cheeks. "Did I say something wrong?"

"No," she laughed wiping at a few more tears. "It's just," she paused and covered his hand with hers, "You've never said it before."

"Yes I have," retorted Garrus with an annoyed twitch of his mandibles.

"When?" teased Leela taking a bite of her waffle before dabbing at her eyes with a napkin.

"When you're asleep," he whispered feeling a sudden heated flush.

"Like I said last night," she gave him a gentle tap on the nose with her fork, "you're a pervert."

"Like you haven't done the same," teased Garrus. Taking her the fork from her hand he gave it a gentle squeeze and nuzzled her forehead. "I am sorry that it's taken me so long to," he let out a small cough before finishing, "vocalize it to you. I just thought that I made my feelings quite clear and that you knew how I felt."

"I see," she laughed leaning into him. "But I am curious that since I've only heard it once vocally. How the other way you've said it sounds."

Expecting some loud high pitched noise to emanate from him, Leela was rather surprised when he gently palmed the back of the head and pressed her forehead against his chest. She felt a deep resonating hum resonate from his chest in the form of two long purrs and five short rapid ones.

"Are you serious?" she asked in disbelief.

"That's a close approximation," he laughed pulling her close. "But, I promise to say it out loud more often."

"Fine with me," agreed Leela snuggling against his chest. "Just say it one more time."

"Your food's getting cold," snorted Garrus hoping to save him the embarrassment of having the others hear him.

"That's why we invented things to reheat them." Her elbow prodded him in the ribs which earned her an annoyed grunt about how the food was better warm. "Just say it."

Groaning half-heartedly, Garrus rested his head on hers. Running his hands through her hair, he felt her nuzzle against his chin and whispered, "I love you, Leela."

"I know, Garrus," she replied, her fingers locking with his. "I love you as well."

"No Vakarian without Shepard."

"And no Shepard without Vakarian."