Garrus didn't pace, or sweat, or stare in the direction Shepard had left in- he only glanced at it anxiously from time to time and stared at his omnitool instead. On the screen was a half-composed message to his family- Counselor Sparatus had offered to carry it back personally (the extranet being badly damaged by the Reapers' wiping out every satellite they could find, getting messages off-planet on your own was nearly impossible.) Even when there wasn't exactly a Council any more with the Citadel half-trashed and being towed back to the Serpent Nebula for repairs, it was still an offer that shouldn't be dismissed lightly. The problem was writing the damn thing.

He deleted it for what must have been the tenth time, locking his jaw- what the hell could he say? "Sol, Dad, I'm alive, sorry I didn't tell you about my bondmate"? How many years had he not told his family about Shepard? Not told Sol, not told his mother, not told his father even when they had been on better terms? Instead he had waited and they'd be finding out through an extranet feed as reporters made it back to turian space. He kept typing between glances across the room but nothing would come out so he gritted his teeth and deleted it again and where the hell was Shepard she should have been back by now, she never took this long something was-


"Shepard." The orange light disappeared as he powered down his omnitool and looked over to her- something had changed in the last few minutes in the lines of her face. It had only been minutes, damn. "Is something...?"

In answer she climbed back into her seat next to him, scooted it over another inch or so till it touched his and burrowed so deep into his side her grip on him almost hurt. His brow plates shot up but nothing would come out of his mouth and he swallowed his words, simply putting an arm around her. Whatever it was she was uncomfortable talking about. It was still early, they had plenty of time to sort out the small things. Spirits, they finally had time... Her forehead was against his chest so he touched his to the top of her head instead and breathed in her scent.

He'd been doing that a lot, part of him noticed as the last of his stress pooled away in the softness of her hair. Back on the Normandy the smell of her had slowly faded out of their room to the point where he had to imagine it, and scent being what it was to turian couples, to have that back again...

"We need to leave." Muffled by his shirt her voice was quiet, stable but insistent.

Garrus pulled back slightly, mandibles flared out and down in concern. "Is something wrong?"

Shepard shook her head, the bright wave of her hair contrasting sharply and beautifully against the dark fabric of his tunic. Then she took his hands and curled her fingers tightly around them, bringing them between their bodies and her eyes were on him and... Spirits, they were dazzling.

"Part of me still thinks this isn't real, that I'm just dreaming again and when I wake up you won't be there. I need something real, Garrus, something I can't make up. I need you inside of me, now."

The hot rush that sped through his skin at that was almost enough to undo him right then and there. But he had too much self control for that, he wasn't a teenage cadet anymore and he kept it in his plates. Even kept his voice level, though his subharmonics betrayed him. "Do you have a plan?"

"Not really. You're the tactician here, I just charge in with an assault rifle and nova people's asses."

An entirely different kind of warmth spread through him as she quoted the old line she loved to tease him with. He hadn't heard it since they were on top of the Presidium together. Damn. He tightened his hands lightly around hers and leaned into her forehead with a smile.

"I am. And I have an idea."

If anyone noticed the two of them slip out of the mess they knew better than to say anything. When they reached the garage Shepard started breaking her way into one of the general use base vehicles with her rudimentary hacking skills until Garrus stopped her with a light touch to her arm and a small grin, raising his omnitool. But instead of using it to hack the lock he spoke into it. "I need a chaffer. Can you manage?"

"No problem." came a familiar voice over the com. Shepard gave her man an amused look as he thanked the other end of the line and powered his tool back down.

"Why Mr. Vakarian," she chuckled, resting her back against the side of the car in a way he'd be sure to appreciate, "It's almost as if you don't want me driving."

That earned her a laugh and he took her up into his arms and pulled her close- she could feel as well as hear the rumble of amusement and want mixed in his voice. "True, but not for the reason you think... I want you paying attention to me."

Damn he knew how to turn her on, between the low rumbling tone of his voice, the grip looped around her back with one arm around her waist and the other up the line of her spine, brushing her hip just so with his talons... she shivered in a way that had nothing to do with the cool air. They were still kissing when the car pulled up and Cortez popped the top with a magnanimous bow. "Your chariot awaits. Where to?"

"Home." Garrus said simply as they got in the back, eyes not leaving hers and damn the things that did to her... even before she'd come to terms with her attraction to him she had always loved his eyes. Wherever they were going she didn't really care, her attention fully on her lover and his mouth and his hands.

There was only one thing that could distract her from Garrus right now and she spotted it rising out of the rain- when had it started raining anyway? All of a sudden she could hear the clatter of it on the roof and see the hazy dreamy sheets it painted over the slightly fogged windows. What had she been... ah yes. Rising out of the rain just off the main docks where they had left it that afternoon was her beloved Normandy. A thought struck her and the white flash of her teeth showed as she grinned. "Steve, stop the car."

Garrus blinked at her curiously, flitting one mandible and tilting his head. Shepard just gave him a broad smile and took both his hands. "When's the last time we got rained on, love."

"Has to have been Virmire." His curiosity was piqued and she knew she had him. One of her hands left his to open the door- hell it was so much louder like that, it was pouring out and they had a good two hundred yards to the airlock.

"Run with me?"

"You say it as if I could possibly deny you anything right now." came his soft reply. Fuck his eyes were so blue.

"Don't worry" Steve said from somewhere that seemed miles away, "I know not to wait up."

Shepard dragged her eyes away from Garrus' to flash her friend a weak grin, and she backed out of the car pulling her man with her. They both yelped in different registrars at the sudden blast of cold and they stood there getting drenched as their driver saluted them with a grin and drove off.

For a few seconds there the two of them just stared at each other. Garrus arched his browplates, water running in rivets down the little tips at the end of his mandibles. "You do know it's freezing out here." He tried but couldn't hide the amusement in his tone.

"Well then try to keep up and get inside!" With a laugh she was off- he just managed to keep up and not lose hold of her hand, clasping it fiercely as they raced across the dock, chasing each other through the downpour. She couldn't stop a rise of giddy laughter that broke from her and whenever she looked back he had a similar wild grin on his face. There was nothing in the world but the two of them. It was such a heady, floating feeling that even though she knew the code for the airlock she forgot it and he had to help her key it in.

This is a terrible idea, they're going to look for us tomorrow and I won't want to come out.

They were already kissing fiercely by the time the decontamination cycle finished to let them into the Normandy, the jacket of her dress uniform and his boots discarded carelessly in the airlock.

We're docked, there's going to be people around the ship doing repairs, we're going to...

A trail of sopping clothes followed them all the way to the elevator- he was kissing her throat with light nips, never teeth, just the hard cartilage of his mouth and flicks of his tongue. It was desperate and needy- every touch saying you're really here and I missed you and I needed you and he was pressing her against the door of the elevator as it ticked slowly up the levels of the ship and she could feel the heat of his skin on hers, feel a familiar hot pressure hard against her stomach.

There's a damn skylight over the bed, someone will have a camera and the whole galaxy is going to find out that Commander Shepard doesn't shave her legs, and you might just be doing this so you don't have to talk to him about that other thing-

By the time they hit the top level and tumbled out onto the floor they were three socks and a pair of panties shy of naked. She landed with an 'oomph' on his chest and grinned down at the man on his back underneath her, easing off him carefully and offering a hand up, which he took. His gaze made her tremble in all the right ways and she stopped worrying. Walking backwards ahead of him she pulled him through the threshold into the cool blue glow of the darkened bedroom with her. The doors shut automatically behind him, cutting them off from the rest of the world.

"... So that's how that works." came a voice from somewhere along the roof over the skylight some time later.

Kasumi chuckled to herself and casually hacked another roaming camera drone to head it off in another direction. Her cloak had a nice little field built in that kept her dry and projected the illusion of the rain travelling normally where she was, so she was comfortable and invisible in her little seat on the roof of the Normandy. As the evening deepened the rain lessened to a soft pattering outside the ship, not that the couple below would have noticed.

She stayed up there a few hours hacking anything with video equipment that floated too close, occasionally leaning over to catch a glimpse of the two of them for herself. Not bad, not bad at all. "Well... damn, I might have to take you up on that bar idea Shep. I wonder if turians like Japanese girls?"