A/N: All characters owned by Bioware, all that good stuff.
This is just a shameless, fluffy one-shot between Garrus and Shepard that has no real plot or purpose, with some Liara and Shepard's fishes thrown in that was the result of random ideas popping into my head in the middle of the night and listening to "I Was Lost Without You."
This is set sometime after the attempted Cerberus coup, but before the famous date on top of the Presidium, even though you get Liara's message before it. Also, Garrus hears about his family earlier than in the game and Shepard and Garrus confess their love for each other before the Citadel date, but it worked for the story, so there it is.
My Shepard is a Colonist/Sole Survivor/Paragon, same as in my other story, "Old, Unhappy, Far-Off Things." It's set in the same universe, but can be read separately from it.
"Didn't I have more fish in there?" Jane Shepard wondered to herself as she lost herself in the hypnotic blue lighting of the fish tank, waiting for Liara to come up to talk to her about something important. Then later in the day they would be heading to the Far Rim to meet up with the quarians.
Never a dull moment aboard the Normandy.
Shepard tried to think back to the last time she had fed them and she could not for the life of her remember. That had not exactly been at the top of her priority list lately. Maybe she should have let Kelly keep the fish, but Kelly had been so insistent on Shepard having them back, she couldn't say no.
Remembering to clean her gun and repair her armor, no problem. Ask her to take care of her own pets? Maybe Garrus was right. It was time to buy that automated feeder. She would have done it sooner, but there was always some new mod or weapon upgrade she set her sights on.
Maybe she shouldn't have bought anymore fish, especially that Khar'shan Snapping Eel. The description had clearly warned her that the eel would turn carnivore if it went too long without food.
"Well, that explains where some of the fish went," Shepard thought, a humorless chuckle escaping her lips. Yep, definitely time to spend the credits, since she clearly could not be trusted to take care of her own pets.
Sometimes, Shepard could not believe she was worrying about things like feeding her fish. If she didn't bring all of these different races together to save Earth, if the Crucible wasn't completed...if she failed to stop the Reapers…best case scenario, she would be lying face down in a pool of her own blood on a battlefield somewhere. Worst case scenario…she would be transformed into a Reaper soldier, nothing more than a husk. Unaware, in complete obedience to the shrill signal of the Reapers.
She wouldn't feel anything anymore.
Shepard suppressed the shudder from the growing chill throughout her body. She couldn't let herself think that way. They could not and would not fail.
Shepard turned her head to the door when she heard Liara's approach, who carried something a black square in her hands.
"Hello, Liara. Come on in," Shepard invited, waving her hand into her cabin.
"I appreciate you taking the time for me, Shepard," Liara thanked. Shepard remembered when she had first met Liara, she had always been so surprised that Shepard would come visit her and talk to her. Most of that shy, quiet asari had disappeared from the experiences of the last three years, experiences that most likely never would have happened if Shepard had never been killed by the Collectors. Not that Shepard would ever say that aloud.
"Of course, Liara, you know I always make time for anyone who needs it. What did you want to see me about?" Shepard asked, watching as Liara strolled down the steps to the couches, placing the object on the table.
"Could we sit for a moment?" Liara looked like she could not contain her excitement at showing Shepard whatever was in this box. Maybe a new Prothean discovery Javik pointed out to her that could help with the Crucible?
"Unlikely, Jane, Javik still stares at Liara as if she's got two heads whenever she asks questions," Shepard thought, moving to sit on the couch seat across the object. Shepard could not deny Javik's usefulness nor could she fault him for trying to handle waking up 50,000 years later to find once primitive species in positions of power, but his attitude could be trying at times.
After pressing a few buttons on the console that had appeared on the top of the box, a brightly blue orb the same color as the fish tank floated in the center, a beam of light rising towards the ceiling. After a moment, the beam of light took the form of a Reaper and then of the blueprints of the Crucible.
"What is all this?" Shepard asked, fixing her sapphire-blue eyes on the holograms.
"A record of the galaxy. Information on the Reapers, the different races of the galaxy and the Crucible. I'm encasing these records in time capsules and seeding copies across the galaxy, with a VI equipped with every translation and linguistics program I could find," Liara explained.
"So it's an information guide like Vigil?" Shepard asked.
Liara nodded. "Yes, I've been preparing it for quite some time, in case…" she trailed off, not wanting to finish the sentence.
"Hopefully we won't have need of them, but it's still a good idea," Shepard said, shooting Liara an encouraging look.
Liara gave a small smile in return. "I knew you would agree, but the records aren't complete. There are still a few entries I need to finish, ones I would like your opinion on."
"Really? Which ones?"
Liara knelt back down and pressed a button on the console. The blueprint of the Crucible was replaced by a recognizable figure with shoulder-length auburn hair, sparkling dark blue eyes, and who wore the now standard issue Alliance casual uniform.
"Your own. It would mean a lot to get your input on your entry," Liara said, staring hopefully at her, awaiting Shepard's answer.
Shepard brushed the stray strands of her hair behind her ears while staring intently at the hologram image of herself. Part of her didn't feel all that comfortable with the idea of people knowing about her 50,000 years from now. Forget the whole reminding her of her own mortality aspect (something she did on a daily basis anyway), the last thing she wanted was to become some type of legend, with little school children learning all about her life. God, what if they gave her some type of nickname? Like "Shepard the Savior" or "The Shepard"? Hopefully no one would go that far.
Then again, this account would probably trump any others. Her image would not be tarnished by the likes of people like Khalisah Bint Sinan al-Jilani.
"You know me well enough to fill in the blanks, Liara. It's your call how history will remember me," Shepard said encouragingly. This obviously meant a lot to Liara, so who was she to ruin this for her?
"Are you sure?" Liara asked, slight disbelief entering her voice. When Shepard nodded, Liara stood upright.
"Alright. I'll say that Commander Jane Shepard was born on Mindoir, but never let what happened there define her." Liara began to pace as she continued talking.
"Jane Shepard was also a tactical fighter. Most enemies never saw her coming."
Shepard had to fight back a smirk at the thought of using her tactical cloak to sneak behind people or take the opportunity to position herself for the perfect sniper shot. If the shock on their faces from a sudden bullet striking them from nowhere was any indication, Liara was definitely right about her enemies never seeing her coming.
"She was a soldier and a leader, one who made peace where she could."
Though there was nothing like the adrenaline coursing through her during a fight, despite her love for her sniper and all of her tech toys, she still believed in finding the best way through, talking people down who might see reason. She was never an "ends justify the means" kind of woman, despite everything she had been through.
"Though Shepard believed in shouldering the burden of responsibility herself, she always had the support of her friends and her crew, whose concerns she always placed before herself, and who would always be grateful for everything she had done for them. But there was one person in particular she always brought with her on the battlefield, who she turned to when she needed support." The image of the Shepard holo-image transformed before Shepard's eyes to that of her trusted turian squadmate, Garrus Vakarian.
"I thought you said this was just my entry," Shepard pointed out. Was Liara actually going to include all of this? She was always open with those close to her, but she was not sure how comfortable she felt with millions of people knowing these types of intimate details.
"I did. I also said I wanted your opinion of other entries, including one on Garrus. People need to know about the people behind the resistance in this cycle, who were testaments of strength and resolve to their species," Liara said, determination clearly shining on her face.
"Why do you need my opinion? This is Garrus's entry," Shepard argued, shifting in her seat.
Liara shook her head. "We both know how Garrus would portray himself. He never gives himself enough credit, even if he does act cocky at times. I need an honest opinion and you know him better than anyone."
Shepard sighed, an uneasy frown passing her lips. "I'm not sure about this, Liara."
"I could write this entry also, but I really think it would mean more coming from you. You don't have to say anything about your relationship, if it makes you…uncomfortable," Liara said, biting her lip, not meeting Shepard's gaze.
Shepard vigorously shook her head. "No, it's fine, I'll do it, but I need some time to figure out what to say."
A look of relief passed across Liara's face. She sat down next to Shepard, hands resting on her knees.
"You've been a good friend to me, Jane, more than I had ever expected when we first met." She paused before taking a deep sigh. "I should have joined you against the Collectors back on Illium," Liara admitted, staring off at the wall.
"You've made up for it, Liara, many times," Shepard replied.
Liara leaned back and looked over at Shepard, gratitude shining in her eyes. With a slightly teasing tone, she said, "Well, I suppose I did just write your name in the stars."
Liara then glanced over at the fish tank, staring at it for long moment before asking, "Shepard, maybe I'm imagining it, but didn't you have more fish in that tank?"
When Liara left a few minutes later, after Shepard had proclaimed she should never again ignore clear warning labels, Shepard poured herself a glass of wine, taking small sips as she stared in contemplation at the holo-image of Garrus. She remembered the first time she saw him, arguing him with Executor Pallin, asking for more time to find evidence against Saren. The determined look in his steel-blue eyes had drawn her to him even then, though not in a romantic way. That had not come until much later.
She couldn't remember the exact moment she felt that type of attraction towards him. Maybe it was after Ash had brushed her off when they met up on Horizon and Garrus defended her from Ashley's inflammatory accusations. Or maybe it was when he revealed himself to be Archangel, clearly worn physically and emotionally, but still clinging onto any shred of a chance at survival. Just like Shepard on Mindoir, just like at Akuze.
Broken soldiers and comrades who had found solace in each other. That would be a great angle for all the romantics who found these records.
"Garrus Vakarian was born on the turian homeworld Palaven. He joined the turian military at fifteen, but chose to follow in his father's footsteps and became an investigator for Citadel Security. He was a deadly sniper and could calibrate any weapons systems set before him."
Shepard chuckled under her breath so the recording would not catch it. No one would understand how seriously that turian took his calibrating, especially where the Normandy was concerned. It was a running joke with everyone on the ship, but especially Joker. He loved getting Garrus riled up by mentioning something may not have been calibrated right.
"But the most important thing about him was his determination to fight against any injustice he saw. That's how I first him. When I was sent to talk to the Council about Saren Arterius's involvement with the attacks on the colony Eden Prime in 2183," Shepard said, shaking her head at how this was already sounding like a memoir.
"He was tasked with finding evidence against Saren. Despite the Executor's order to cease his investigation, Garrus continued the hunt for answers.
"When I first met Garrus, he was brash; frustrated by all the bureaucratic red tape he had to deal with during his investigations. He was never completely ruthless, but he did believe it did not matter how he took down a suspect."
Shepard remembered the endless conversations on the Normandy SR-1. While Garrus fixed the Mako after a mission (which was pretty much after every mission since Shepard had the habit of driving up and down mountains; it wasn't her fault if the Mako couldn't handle steep inclines), Shepard would sit on the floor next to him and she would argue that the rules were sometimes there for a reason, that the end did not always justify the means, and that nothing was more important than saving the lives of civilians.
"Over time, I was able to encourage him away from this path and look for the best way to achieve a goal, not just the fastest. But when I died…" Shepard paused, swallowing the growing lump in her throat. She never liked to talk about her death, hoping that if she never reminded herself of it, it had never happened. Not just for herself, but because she did not want to remember how the lives of the people around her changed, and not necessarily for the better.
"Everything changed for him. Garrus quit C-Sec, continually frustrated with the lack of concern for the Reaper threat, offended I was being swept under the proverbial rug. He felt like he was not making a difference. He traveled to the asteroid station, Omega, then controlled by the defacto asari ruler, Aria T'Loak." Shepard didn't know if Liara wanted her to be this detailed, but once Shepard started, it was as if everything was pouring out of her like a tidal wave and she could not control it if she wanted to. Maybe she was more open to this idea than she had thought.
"He rallied a team around him and called himself Archangel. They fought all of the mercenary gangs on Omega, quickly earning a reputation as saviors of the unfortunate and huge pains in the ass for the mercenaries. They were eventually betrayed on the inside, by a turian named Lantar Sidonis, who the mercenaries threatened to kill unless he cooperated. Garrus survived, but was forced into hiding.
"When I finally found him, he had been holed up and under siege in his apartment compound for a day, exhausted but still fighting to the last breath. If I hadn't shown up, he would have died there."
Shepard had no doubt Garrus could have fought back against the waves of mercenary soldiers, but if she hadn't been there to ensure the gunship hadn't been completely fixed, if they hadn't gotten him up to the Normandy after he took a rocket to the face, he wouldn't be here. Another unpleasant fact Shepard did not like to ponder on too much.
"Once Garrus fully recovered, he agreed to join my mission to take down the Collectors without hesitation, but he still carried that guilt of causing his team's deaths with him. He would stop at nothing to bring Sidonis down. One day, he finally had a lead on him. I agreed to help him, but insisted that what he was doing was not justice. Though I encouraged him, he decided to spare Sidonis on his own, who he saw carried the guilt of what he had done on his shoulders, so much so his life had lost all meaning. Garrus finally saw the grey in a world he usually saw as black and white."
Shepard had never been happier to see Garrus stop himself from falling off the abyss and go down that dark path. She knew the temptations of revenge better than anyone, but the price was always too high.
"Garrus never once doubted me for working with Cerberus, when so many others did. When I met up with him a few months ago after escaping Earth, he willingly joined up with me, despite his homeworld in ruins, under attack by Reaper forces. I have never taken his loyalty for granted and I greatly value it and his friendship.
"The truth is…" Shepard took a shaky breath, running a hand through her unruly hair. "I couldn't do any of this without him. He is more than just a friend…he is everything to me and there are some days, when the pressures of this war become too much to bear, I wonder what I would have done without him."
What was she doing? Why was she admitting her deepest feelings for potentially public records? Liara had wanted a biographical entry, not an in-depth analysis on why Shepard had fallen in love with Garrus.
Yes, love. Shepard had been afraid to say the l-word outloud, even to herself, because they had yet to take that final step in their relationship. Shepard sensed that Garrus loved her. It showed every time she caught him staring at her with concern whenever they returned from a tough mission, every time she woke up from a nightmare and he was there to comfort her and tell her everything would be ok, every time they would banter back and forth, with the ease and comfort that had come from years of knowing each other. She also sensed he knew she loved him, but they had yet to say those three little words.
But for the purposes of this time-capsule and the people who may see it in 50,000 years? To hell with it, why shouldn't she confess her love for Garrus?
"The truth of it is, when I see myself in a future free from the Reaper threat, I see me and him together on the Normandy, continuing to save the innocent from galactic threats. Possibly even relaxing somewhere warm and tropical in our down time.
"No matter what the future holds, one things is certain: there will never be a Shepard without Vakarian," Shepard whispered, watching with frozen tears in her eyes as a holo-image of herself appeared beside Garrus's, embracing him tightly around his waist and pressing her forehead against his.
Shepard bit her lower lip to keep the tears at bay. Standing up from the couch and taking a strong sip from her red wine, which burned down her dry throat, Shepard turned the time capsule off. That was enough for one entry.
Today it seemed everyone was moving about on the ship. Just on the third deck alone, she first bumped into EDI, who had another question about organic behavior (thankfully not about sexual attraction; Shepard didn't know if she could have handled another one of those). Then James and Javik were having a conversation. Or rather, Javik was providing short, few word replies to James's questions, but when Javik saw her, he did not hesitate to restate that EDI should be watched.
Ignoring the comment, she continued her steady pace to Liara's office, the time capsule firmly in her hands. However, when she entered Liara's cabin, Liara was nowhere to be found.
"Dr. T'Soni is in the lounge with Garrus Vakarian, Commander." Shepard almost jumped at the sudden sound of Glyph in an otherwise silent room.
She thanked the hovering drone before turning around to head to the lounge. Rounding the corner, she almost rammed into Liara head-on, the time capsule trembling in her loose grip.
"Shepard! I'm so sorry, I didn't even see you," Liara apologized.
Shepard waved away the apology. "It's alright, Liara, I was actually coming to see you. I finished Garrus's entry." She held out the time capsule for Liara to take, but surprisingly, Liara did not move to take it from her. Shepard noticed a pensive look crossing her face.
"Why don't you hold onto it for a little while longer, Shepard? You might want to add something else."
Shepard frowned. "I pretty much said everything that needed to be said and more, Liara, I really don't think…"
Liara shook her head, interrupting her. "Trust me, Jane. Hold onto it for a little while and look through some of the entries."
Still puzzled by Liara's insistence for Shepard to keep the capsule, Shepard decided to drop the issue for the moment. "Ok, Liara, I'll see you later, then," Shepard said, walking away towards the lounge. Liara nodded, a small smile gracing her lips, before she headed towards her cabin.
Why would Liara want her to look through the entries? If there was something so important, why hadn't Liara shown it to her when she was up in Shepard's cabin?
Definitely something to file away for later.
When Shepard entered the lounge, she saw Garrus staring out the window, seemingly lost in his thoughts. Shepard placed the time capsule on the nearby couch and inched her way next to him.
"Hey there, handsome," Shepard greeted, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder. That seemed to jolt Garrus out of his reverie.
"Oh, Shepard, didn't see you there," Garrus said, turning his usually razor-sharp gaze on her. She was alarmed by his somewhat dim eyes.
"You seem distracted, Garrus. What's wrong?" Shepard asked, her hand floating down to his three-fingered talon, taking it into hers.
Garrus sighed, pulling his hand away and sitting down on the nearest couch seat, refusing to look at her. "It's nothing."
Shepard would not let him get away that easily. She knelt down before him, grabbing his right hand again and tilting his head towards her on the scarred side of his face. "We're in this together, remember? You don't have to face anything by yourself. Please tell me what's bothering you."
His shoulders sagging and sighing deeply, Garrus said, "I finally heard from my father."
"Well, that's good news, isn't it? That means your family got off Palaven in time," Shepard said encouragingly, squeezing his hand. Her heart dropped at the helpless look on Garrus's face.
"I don't know. They were trying to get to the shuttles, but…my sister was injured and…their feed turned to static. I haven't heard anything from them since," Garrus replied.
"That why Liara was in here?" Shepard asked.
Garrus nodded. "She was going to search through her sources for any information. I want to keep hoping, but I also know I have to expect the worst…and I'm not sure I'm ready to do that."
Shepard didn't know what to say. Usually she never had a problem with saying the right thing, reassuring people that everything would work out. She never took her gift with words for granted and always trusted it to make things come out for the better. She had told Garrus before that his family would be ok. But now, how did she know they were alive? Just a standard reassurance would not comfort him now. He needed to know she would always be there for him.
Shepard raised herself up from the floor. Without letting go of Garrus, she plopped down on his lap and rested her forehead on his, breathing in his pinewood-like scent. Garrus seemed to be doing the same, lowering his head to the hollow of her neck, pressing himself against it and molding his body to hers.
"No matter what happens, Garrus, I'll always be here to get you through this," Shepard whispered, clutching his neck. Garrus raised his head, threading one of his talons through her hair, lightly scratching at her scalp (just the way she liked it), the other wrapping around her waist.
"Never doubted it," he said quietly. "And I'll always have your six, Jane."
"Never doubted that for a second," Shepard said without hesitation. "Who else would remind me to take care of my fish?"
Garrus pretended to look annoyed, but he was not doing a good job concealing the amusement in his voice. "Is that why you came down here? To finally rope me into feeding your fish so they don't die for the tenth time?"
"I have not killed my fish ten times," Shepard retorted, folding her arms across her chest. "It's only been twice… three if you count today."
Garrus's mandibles twitched, a sure sign he was biting back laughter. "You killed more of them?"
"No! Well, sort of. I forgot to feed them again…I think that eel ate some of them," Shepard finished lamely, feeling a slow blush rising in her cheeks.
Garrus looked nothing short of amused now. The despondent look in his eyes had completely disappeared. "I know you feel an obligation to buy every single fish you see on the Citadel, but I warned you about that eel and the evil look it had in its eyes. It was all part of its diabolical plan to take over your fish tank."
Pleased to see that Garrus had shaken himself out of that dark place he had been milling about in, she continued, "Last time I ignore the fine print on anything. I was actually coming down to give Liara's time capsule back to her, but she wanted me to hang onto it for a while."
"I remember her mentioning something about that a little while ago. Not a bad idea. If anything goes wrong, the next cycle won't have to start from scratch."
"She asked me for my opinion on my entry and…yours," Shepard confessed. Surprisingly, Garrus did not seem shocked by the admission.
"I'm not surprised she asked you. She already asked me and I told her I didn't feel comfortable doing it. Hate recording myself, my voice never comes out right," Garrus said, still grazing his gloved talons against her scalp.
"You don't mind?" Shepard asked, while wondering why Liara hadn't mentioned asking Garrus.
Garrus shook his head. "I trust you to say what needs to be said. Personally, don't like to think about how people 50,000 years in the future will know about me, but Liara seemed insistent and I hated to disappoint her. Just as long as you mention how stylish I am, you can say whatever you want."
Shepard chuckled, looking fondly down at Garrus. "I'll be sure to add it, since Liara is letting me have it for a little while longer."
Why does she want you to keep it?" Garrus asked.
"Don't know. Said she wanted me to look through a few entries, presumably I need to hear something." Shepard suddenly felt Garrus's talon in her hair stop for a moment at her statement. Shepard stared at him suspiciously.
"Do you know what's she talking about?" Shepard asked, fixing Garrus with a pointed stare.
"Absolutely not," Garrus replied. Shepard did not fail to notice how his mandibles went slack or the nervousness creeping into his eyes.
She lifted herself from his lap and strolled over to the capsule. "Well, why don't we find out right now?"
"No!" Before Shepard could blink, Garrus hopped off the couch and dashed over to the capsule, blocking her from retrieving it.
"What? What don't you want me to hear?" Shepard tried to maneuver around him, but Garrus continually blocked her arms whenever she tried to reach for the capsule, proving how great his reach still was.
Now her curiosity had been peaked. She had to know what he was desperate to keep secret for another 50,000 years.
Sensing that Garrus would not relent, Shepard knew she had to use a sneakier approach. Kasumi would have been so proud to see her now.
"Alright, Garrus, you win, I won't listen to it." Garrus still did not budge from his defensive position, clearly not trusting Shepard to suddenly drop the issue. If that's how he wanted to play it, time to bring out the big guns.
"In fact, we have a few more hours before we reach the Far Rim. Want to take advantage…test your reach and my…flexibility?" Shepard asked suggestively, reaching up to stroke underneath his fringe and lick the side of his neck, sure ways to stoke arousal from him.
A deep purring emanated from his chest, his eyes drooping closed as he took in her touch. The one second of distraction was all she needed to reach around, grab the time capsule, and bolt from the lounge before Garrus could even move.
When Shepard reached her cabin, she ordered EDI to lock the door, knowing Garrus would be on the elevator behind her once it came back down. She felt somewhat bad for tricking him like that, but if he had just let her have the capsule in the first place and not acted so suspicious…
She set the capsule on the table at her couch again and turned it back on. Glyph appeared in the center, along with the blue orb.
"What can I do to assist you, Commander?" the drone inquired.
"Could you look for any entries that Garrus Vakarian may have recorded?" Shepard asked. That had to be it. That was the only explanation for why he had been so desperate to keep her from looking through the capsule. He may not have done one for himself, but he definitely did one for another, and Shepard could not shake the feeling she knew who that someone was…
"I have found one entry recorded by Garrus Vakarian. Shall I play it now, Commander?"
Shepard nodded. "Do it, Glyph."
Glyph's image disappeared, replaced by the holo-image of herself floating above the capsule.
"I knew it." Shepard couldn't believe Liara had gotten Garrus to record an entry on her. Why did Liara even bother asking her about her entry, then? Why not just ask about her doing Garrus's entry?
Unless…Liara had wanted Shepard to hear it all along, had wanted Shepard to know what Garrus said. The shy archaeologist Liara wouldn't have done such a devious thing, but Shepard would not put it past the Shadow Broker Liara to do something like this. She had to remember to thank Liara the next time she saw her.
As quickly as her holo-image appeared, the sound of a recording emanated from the capsule, in a familiar flanged tone she would have recognized from miles away.
"I first met Commander Jane Shepard when tracking down Saren Arterius. I had found a lead, but it almost resulted in me accidently shooting my witness. She did not hesitate to berate me for it. At the time, I didn't think I deserved her anger, but I realize now she was right. When she let me join up with her in her fight against Saren and the geth, I saw it as an opportunity to get things done my way, without all the bureaucratic red tape in the way. How quickly I discovered that this human would not let me do that. With absolute certainty, she would argue that it did matter how you took down a suspect, that if I didn't care about the lives of civilians above catching the culprit, I was no better than people like Saren. I admired her certainty, even if it took me awhile to fully understand her reasoning. I admired a lot about her. Though her driving skills left much to be desired."
Shepard remembered how angry she had been with him, risking Dr. Michel's life like that. She clearly recalled the chagrined look on his face and in his flanged voice… poor Garrus, she had made him so flustered.
Certainly not the last time that would happen.
And why did everyone give her such a hard time about the Mako? No one died. Some minor bruises and cuts from driving off a cliff and not using the thrusters, maybe, but no one died.
"After we defeated Saren, I came back to C-Sec, inspired by Shepard's example and determined to make more of a difference. All of that changed after the destruction of the Normandy and Shepard was presumed to have been killed in action. Warnings about the Reapers were dismissed, Shepard's previous claims ignored. On top of that, I again felt constricted by all C-Sec bureaucracy. I finally decided to leave and find someplace where I could really make a difference.
"That place was Omega, filled with criminals no one else could touch. Again following Shepard's example, I assembled a team to stop the mercenary groups on Omega. We were successful for a time, but were eventually betrayed by one of our own. Every member of my team was killed and I was forced on the run from murderous mercenaries.
"One day, they launched an attack at my base of operations and I thought I was done for. Mind you, I was not prepared to go do without a fight, but deep down I knew I would not make it off Omega alive. A lucky shot, a slight break in concentration, was all that was needed."
It was then Shepard swore she heard a hard knock against her door (presumably Garrus trying to get in), but she found herself too engrossed in the capsule to even give a smart-ass reply.
"From my perch, I watched three mercenaries cross the bridge, but who began shooting at the others. It was then I recognized one of them and I thought I was delusional. It wasn't until she reached me that I knew it was Shepard, miraculously come back from the dead to save me. Shepard may disagree with this, since I almost died when the leader of the Blue Suns propelled a rocket at me, but she saved me that day and not for the last time. I almost lost myself in my crusade for revenge. I believed killing Sidonis, the one who betrayed my team, would avenge my men, but Shepard continually tried to talk me out of it, even stepping in front of him to block the shot. Only when Shepard forced me to listen to him did I understand the guilt he lived with, the path I was about to take. I've never told her this, but only looking back do I finally understand this and I will always owe her for stopping me from doing something I would have lived with for the rest of my life."
It was here Garrus paused, as if trying to compose himself, his sub-flang becoming increasingly noticeable with each sentence, a sure sign he was becoming more emotional. Shepard could not do anything but sit stock still on the sofa, afraid to move and accidently interrupt this recording. She knew she would not get another chance to hear it otherwise. Knowing Garrus, he was probably already half-way with unlocking her door.
"Many things will be written about Commander Shepard the legend and how unique she was, the heroine willing to do whatever it took to do the right thing, willing to make any self-sacrifice asked of her. But Jane Shepard the woman was beloved by her crew for always treating them like equals. She valued her friends and no concern or problem they had was ever trivial to her. She believed in protecting the innocent at all costs and she was willing to help anyone who needed her. She was a deadly soldier on the battlefield, but being a peace-maker meant more to her.
"It has been more than an honor to be by her side these past three years. Even if it means putting my ass on the line more often, I have no regrets. I believed in her when she was forced to work for Cerberus to defeat the Collectors, and I believe she will see us through now. I've grown to care for her, not as just my commander or my friend…she has become everything to me. I will never be able to repay her for everything she has done for me, all that she continues to do, but I will stand by her to the very end. I would rather die fighting at her side than live in a galaxy without her in it." His voice had lowered with each sentence until it was nothing more than a choked whisper. Turians couldn't cry, but from the sound of it, Garrus would have been if he was able. Like with Garrus's entry, the holo-image changed to that of Shepard and Garrus locked in a passionate embrace, taking in the comfort they could only get from the other.
Why would Garrus try to keep this from her? That had been beautiful. Unless he was embarrassed or…could it be he was afraid she wouldn't feel the same way? This entry pretty much spelled out that he loved her, so much that he couldn't imagine living without her. Was he scared of possible rejection?
Lip trembling, hot tears stinging at her eyes, and a strong lump in her throat that would take a while to clear, Shepard turned off the time capsule, watching the image of her and Garrus fade away, just as she heard her door opening.
She didn't move from her seat as Garrus approached her.
"You heard it all?" he asked, his subharmonic more prominent. When Shepard nodded, he continued, "If you don't…I mean…if…I can always go out and get new scars if it'll…"
It was always funny to see Garrus so flustered, when he could be suave and cocky only a moment before. Another thing that endeared him to her.
"Are you…you embarrassed, Garrus?" Shepard asked, not trusting her voice to stay steady.
"Yes…I mean, no! I mean…I meant everything I said, I just…"
Shepard didn't let him continue. She shot up from her seat, wrapped her arms around his waist in a death-grip and touched her lips to his, pouring everything she had into the kiss. She felt his arms encircle her own waist and clinch her tightly to him, his nose nuzzling part of her cheek.
When she pulled away, a few small tears leaked out from her eyes. She moved to wipe them away, but Garrus beat her to it and brushed his talons against her cheeks.
Time to put down his fears of rejection.
"I love you, Garrus Vakarian," she breathed, finally saying the words, words that only been expressed in her actions, reflected in her eyes.
His mandibles flared as relief flooded his face. "I love you too, Jane Shepard. Now…where do we go from here?"
"Well, you already grabbed the girl and kissed her like you mean it," Shepard said, pretending to put serious thought into the question.
Garrus titled his head towards the bed. "I believe you mentioned something about testing reach and flexibility, unless it was just a ploy to distract me? Clever move, by the way."
"Partly. I wouldn't be opposed to the idea. In fact, I have a lot of stress I need to work out…could take quite awhile," Shepard smiled, stroking the skin under his scarred fringe.
Garrus smirked, his eyes practically glittering with dark desire. "Well, then, it is my duty as your boyfriend to alleviate it, isn't it?"
"One of many, my dear Archangel," Shepard murmured as they began making their way to the bed, practically flopping themselves down on top of it.
"Along with reminding you to feed your fish," Garrus remarked, stroking her hair. Shepard's eyes widened and her face paled as she realized she had never gotten around to feeding them before Liara came in.
"Shit!" Shepard jumped off the bed, ignoring Garrus's deep-throated laugh behind her.
"Laugh it up, Garrus. Keep it up and you'll be buying me new fish," Shepard snapped, pressing the feeder button, her face falling as she took note of another missing fish.
"What, so you can neglect more of them? Never," Garrus teased. Shepard glared at him while stomping back to Garrus and punching him in the shoulder.
"I'll take that as a sign of endearment," Garrus said, grabbing her around the waist and pulling her back down onto the bed.
"Just for that, I won't add how stylish you are," Shepard threw out, but wrapping her own arms around his neck.
"Damn shame. I'm all about style. Maybe we should hear what you had to say about me?" Garrus asked innocently.
"Which part? How I roped you into deathly missions, saved your ass more times than I can count, how much you love your calibrations…and how there is no Shepard without Vakarian," Shepard admitted, her voice catching at the last sentence.
"I like the last part," he said, releasing the clasps of his gloves and tossing them off his talons.
"Maybe I should add how much of a cocky bastard you are, forgot that."
"You wouldn't have it any other way," he said, nuzzling the side of her face.
Shepard's eyes softened. "No. I wouldn't. I wouldn't trade you…this… for anything."
Garrus placed a gentle kiss on her lips in response. "Neither would I."
"Think we should let the people of the future know that?" Shepard asked, shaking off her N7 hoodie.
"They've heard enough. Let them use their imaginations," Garrus replied before reaching down to kiss Shepard again.
As Shepard kissed Garrus back, this one more fervent than before, signaling the beginning of a long and passionate tryst between them, she briefly wondered what the people of the future would think when they found the capsule and heard these accounts. Would they fully understand the depths of Shepard's feelings towards her beloved turian and those of Garrus towards his commander?
Even if the Reapers destroyed everything they knew and loved, even if Garrus and Shepard died side by side taking out Harbinger himself, the love between Garrus and Shepard would be preserved forever in this time capsule; it could never be torn apart or destroyed. This knowledge filled Shepard with a strange sense of comfort. Comfort that lasted hours later, their bodies still joined, both resting in silence and treasuring this simple moment and the presence of the other, before their arrival into the next shitstorm to come their way.
A/N: Such a simple concept, yet a struggle to write! Anyways, like it? Hate it? Review and let me know! To anyone reading "Old, Unhappy, Far-Off Things," I hope to have an update soon!