A/N: As always, all characters belong to Bioware, sadly.
I could only imagine how hilariously awkward it would have been to see a moment with Garrus as a topic of discussion between Dr. Michel and a Shepard who romanced Garrus, since it's hard to miss the obvious crush Michel has on him. :P
The arrival of the dextro-amino chocolate hadn't been the last straw. She had actually found it hilarious, since Garrus had seemed completely oblivious to the intent behind the gift. Tali had found it just as funny as her. They both had a good laugh about it, no harm done.
It certainly was no secret to Shepard that Dr. Michel had an interest in Garrus. She couldn't blame the doctor. They had saved her from being killed by Fist's men all those years ago (Garrus personally shooting the man who held a gun to Michel's head). And Garrus himself exuded masculinity in spades. Besides a deep commitment to justice, his appeal also came from how he conducted himself, all confident and suave (most of the time).
So she couldn't fault Michel for her feelings.
But under no circumstances did it mean Shepard would take Michel hitting on him right in front of her. Shepard was not the overly jealous type, but even she had to draw a line in the sand sometime.
That line was drawn the day Shepard ordered Joker to head back to the Citadel. To stock up on supplies, meet up with old squadmates, and give everyone a few hours of shore leave to clear their heads.
They all went their separate ways once leaving the Normandy. Ash to see her sister, Vega to play cards with some of the refugees, Tali and Liara to the Presidium, and Joker and EDI to Purgatory. Curiously, Garrus had stayed behind, told her he could catch up with her later at the hospital.
Shepard was left little time to ponder on Garrus as she met up with Miranda and warned her about Kai Leng, checked in on Bailey, motivated Ash to comfort her grieving sister, and dropped off items she had overheard people needing from the far corners of the galaxy. Though eavesdropped would be more accurate a description. She couldn't help it if she happened to be in the vicinity where people were having loud conversations. She was not going to ignore anything that could help the war effort. Especially since most of the time all she had to do was scan a planet to get the items.
She had promised Joker she would meet up with him and EDI when she was finished, but first she had to meet with Jacob.
Despite the stressful circumstances Shepard had found Jacob in, he looked good. Protecting those ex-Cerberus scientists from their former employer had finally given him a sense of purpose, providing direction in a life that had been somewhat lacking it.
His face literally glowed in nervous anticipation when he mentioned Brynn's pregnancy. Byrnn apparently wanted to name the child after Shepard. She didn't have any problems if it was a girl, but if it was a boy, the child would be called Shepard Taylor. That had a terrible ring to it. At least Jacob promised he would talk Brynn out of it.
Shaking Jacob's hand and wishing him the best, Shepard walked over to the window and stared out at the artificial landscape as she waited for Garrus.
Though the attempted Cerberus coup had left everyone on the station on edge, had finally spurred them into helping with the war effort, the Citadel was still a symbol of peace and refuge, a place where one could briefly forget the troubles of the war.
As Shepard found herself staring out at the passing cars, the unnaturally bright and vibrant grass, the baby blue sky with tufts of white clouds, the gently lapping water fountains in the Presidium's lake, she wondered how many more moments she would have like this. Just taking in her surroundings for the hell of it, out of appreciation for them. Not because she had to survey the layout of an enemy compound or pick off targets with her sniper rifle. How much longer would she have the opportunity to fully cherish the fact she was still alive?
It was a question every soldier in a major war faced at some point in their careers, but this was different. If they failed now, the Citadel would no longer be a place of refuge. Soon, there would be nowhere to hide. The entire galaxy, every man, woman and child, would be consumed by war and death. They would become so determined to stay alive they would not take the opportunity to live their lives. As was the fate of Protheans like Javik, whose entire life had solely revolved around fighting and surviving the Reaper invasion.
Shepard shook her head. They had more than a fighting chance of success, more than when the war began. Things had certainly been going in their favor. First with the genophage cured, then preventing the Cerberus coup. With any luck, they might be able to end the war between the geth and the quarians. What a breakthrough that would be.
"Commander Shepard! It's good to see you again!"
Shepard immediately recognized the French inflection, knew it was Dr. Michel before Shepard even turned around to face the brunette doctor.
"Dr. Michel. Good to see you made it through the coup in one piece," Shepard remarked, offering her a small smile.
"Just barely, but I hid myself away well. Now trying to deal with the influx of patients has been challenging to say the least, but we are making due even with a decreased amount of supplies," Michel commented, wringing her hands.
"Has it gotten as bad as you feared?" Shepard asked.
Michel shook her head. "It could have been a lot worse, but Cerberus troops destroyed a number of medigel dispensaries and other supplies, which will take time to restock. And for some of our patients, time is a luxury they can't afford."
"If I find anything while on missions, I'll let you know and send them here," Shepard offered.
A wave of relief swept over Michel's face. "Any help would be appreciated, Commander." She paused, as if working up the courage to ask something. "Just out of curiosity…I know Garrus is serving with you on the Normandy again…do you know if he received a box of chocolates?" She tried to maintain a nonchalant tone. A tone that was immediately transparent by the hopefulness in her eyes.
"Yes, he did," Shepard said evenly. What else could she possibly say? He was shocked when he found out they were an expression of romantic interest?
"Did he happen to say anything about them? I never got a reply," Michel mentioned.
Shepard shrugged, her face as blank as a clean slate. "I haven't heard anything."
Disappointment flooded Michel's eyes. "Well, be sure to tell him to watch himself out there," she said wistfully. As suddenly as the disappointment appeared on Michel's eyes, it disappeared, and her face brightened considerably.
Shepard knew that could only mean one thing. Garrus had arrived. At the worst possible time. Garrus had made no secret to her of how uncomfortable he felt being the object of Michel's affections.
The next few minutes were about to get interesting.
"Sorry I'm late, Shepard, just tying up a few loose ends," Garrus said as he approached the two.
Michel's pale green eyes were practically glued onto Garrus's form and she was literally shaking with exhilaration. If they hadn't been in public, Shepard wouldn't have been surprised if Michel started jumping up and down.
"Garrus! So good to see you again!" Michel exclaimed, barely trying to hide her excitement at seeing him for the first time in years.
Garrus's mandibles clinched tighter to his face and he shifted his weight from right to left. Garrus nervously glanced over at Shepard, who shot him an amused look.
"Dr. Michel. Good to see you as well," he said as straight-laced as possible.
"I was just asking the Commander whether you had received the chocolates I sent you," Michel continued, completely oblivious to how uncomfortable Garrus looked.
"I did. They were quite good," he replied, not meeting her gaze for more than a few seconds.
Shepard had to bite back a smile as she remembered what Garrus had finally suggested they do with the chocolates after he had shared some of them with Tali. Shepard never thought she would have been one of those women who enjoyed dripping melted chocolate on themselves, but she certainly had been proven wrong, even if it left her feeling incredibly sticky afterwards. Garrus had certainly enjoyed himself...
"I'm glad to hear that. I've been thinking about how you were doing since you left C-Sec, but I knew you would be alright. A resourceful and brave man like you…" she breathed, her voice and hooded eyes practically spelling out her attraction to him.
"Well, I certainly try, Dr. Michel." Garrus glanced over at Shepard again, his steel-blue eyes silently pleading her to get him out of this.
Sheaprd was about to take pity on Garrus, tell Michel they had to head back, but before Shepard could get a syllable out, Michel inched forward.
"Please, Garrus, call me Chloe," she insisted, creeping even closer.
If Garrus hadn't been blocked by a chair behind him and at risk of toppling over it, he would have been edging his way back. The best he could do was shift closer to Shepard.
"Alright, Chloe, but there's something you need to know," Garrus began, but was immediately stopped when she placed a hand on his armored-arm and squeezed it.
Everyone froze at that. Michel had a wide, almost euphoric, smile on her face, seemingly taking in the moment of finally touching him. Garrus looked to be trying to decide whether to wrench his arm away or not. Meanwhile, Shepard was trying to squelch her gut reaction to rip Michel's face off.
Michel was actually touching him in a suggestive manner, hitting on him right in front of her. Shepard felt her left eye begin to twitch uncontrollably and her lips purse.
Michel's hand had slowly trailed up to his shoulder and looked ready to move towards his fringe. "It seems like you're carrying some tension. Maybe I can help you get rid of it."
She did not. She did not just say it. Not THE same line Shepard had used on Garrus.
This had gone too far. Chocolates were one thing, but asking Garrus to sleep with her was another. No one else was supposed to make blunt sexual innuendos to Garrus except Shepard.
As much as her inner vindictive streak was screaming at her to do it, she couldn't physically attack Michel. She didn't know Shepard and Garrus were in a relationship; it wasn't her fault she was hitting on someone who was unavailable.
Plus, this was a hospital treating Reaper and Cerberus victims. How would it look for Shepard, the savior of the galaxy, to get embroiled in a catfight with one of the hospital's doctors? She could imagine the headlines now: "Shepard Shows More Concern for her Turian Lover than the Peace of Wounded War Victims."
Oh, but she wanted to give in and be a renegade for once in her life and wrench Michel off of him. Consequences be damned. Well, second time in her life. The first was at the embassies. When she finally punched that reporter, Khalisah Bint Sinan al-Jilani, in the face and knocked her to the floor. That woman had it coming after years of trying to smear Shepard.
Garrus finally chose to react, visibly flinching away from Michel and her grasp. "I'm not…"
Michel interrupted him, who despite Garrus's reaction, still looked overly determined for Shepard's liking. "Did I come on too strongly? I should have known you would be interested in more than…We could go slower if you like. Maybe go out to the Presidium before you leave."
Shepard's fists clenched at her side, so tightly to the point her blunt nails were digging into her skin.
Time to end this before there was a major incident.
"I'm afraid that won't be possible, Doctor," Shepard said as calmly as she could manage.
"Heading out, then? Will you be coming back to the Citadel anytime soon?"
Shepard had to stop herself from beating her head against the window and cracking the glass. How could someone so skilled in her profession be so oblivious? Course Garrus was living proof of this very thing.
"I'm actually with someone else," Garrus blurted out.
Shepard was surprised Garrus had chosen to be that blunt, but maybe that would permeate through Michel's thick skull.
Michel visibly shrunk, a discontented frown clearly displayed on her face, her shoulders sagging beneath the weight of the disappointing news.
"Oh. I see." She let out a deep sigh. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised you're already spoken for. Well, I hope it works out for you, Garrus." A small flirtatious smile then graced her lips. "But if for some reason it doesn't work out… "
Shepard didn't know how comfortable Garrus felt with publicly showing off their relationship, but she was about to find out. Time to clearly warn Michel that Garrus was permanently off limits. There were other means of making her point than a physical confrontation.
Pulling her credit chit out of her pocket, Shepard pretended to drop it on the floor and asked Garrus if he could pick it up for her, citing a sore back from falling onto a metal platform during the mission on the geth dreadnought.
Garrus leaned down and picked the chit from the floor. As he stood back up, Shepard grabbed the sides of his face plates and pressed her lips against his plates in a passionate kiss.
For a brief moment, Garrus's mouth plates were stiff underneath hers and his arms remained by his side. Then he seemed to get over the shock and found himself responding to her touch. He slipped his tongue between her lips, his pronged tongue battling with her smooth one. He wrapped an arm around her waist, the other hand tangling itself in her loose auburn hair, pressing against her skull. Forcing her lips to stay locked with his.
Not that she was looking for a reason to pull away. It had taken some getting used to, kissing Garrus's sandpaper-like plates, but she would never trade this feeling for anything. This feeling of warmth, of safety, of allowing her troubles to fade away for one brief moment.
Shepard could feel a number of eyes on her and Garrus besides Michel's. Let them look, she thought proudly. Let them see two people, human and turian, who had found something good in a universe going to hell in a handbasket.
When Shepard finally pulled away, she briefly shot Michel a glance and said with an overly pleasant tone, "I'll be sure to send any supplies I find your way, Doctor."
Michel's eyes had widened to saucer plates and her mouth hung agape. Finally she nodded, stuttering as she bid Shepard and Garrus goodbye and expressed her hopes they stayed safe before scurrying off, a slow blush creeping onto her cheeks.
Shepard motioned Garrus to follow her to the elevator. She ignored the stares of the patients and doctors, but met Jacob's eyes on the way out, who had a large grin on his face.
"Guess I was wrong about the Normandy being your only love, Shepard."
Shepard shot him a playful grin right back. "Guess so."
Turns out Garrus had been preparing a romantic date for the two of them. Well, romantic by their standards, with Garrus taking Shepard to the top of the Presidium and having a shooting contest with discarded bottles. The perfect date for sniper enthusiasts.
"You didn't have to do that, you know," Garrus stated as he prepared to toss another bottle into the air. At least he didn't seem too embarrassed about a handful of people witnessing their display.
"I didn't see you complaining," Shepard retorted, nodding to Garrus to throw the bottle. She hit it dead center, the bottle exploding in a sea of glass to the man-made lake below.
"That's beside the point. I thought you found all this funny."
"I did until she started shamelessly throwing herself on you."
As Shepard passed by Garrus to retrieve a bottle to throw, he placed a hand on Shepard's cheek, turning her head to face his, stroking the skin underneath his hand.
"You know she will never be any competition to us, right? There's no one else in this galaxy I'd rather be with than you, Jane. There never will be anyone else."
Shepard gave him a small encouraging smile and leaned up to plant a quick kiss on his scarred mandible before grabbing a bottle. "I know that. I'll always know that. And I'll always feel the same." Her smile transformed itself into a roguish smirk. "But I had to make it clear you were spoken for."
Garrus let out a deep chuckle, the sound reverberating in the air. "A clever move on your part, by the way, tricking me like that. You really do earn your reputation as a formidable tactician."
"Well, I could hardly say, "Hey, Garrus, let's kiss in front of everyone in the hospital to prove a point"."
"You were that blunt when propositioning me the first time."
"If you call using the words "reach and flexibility" blunt," Shepard replied, raising her arm to throw the bottle as far as she could manage, but it was not far enough for Garrus to miss.
Garrus reached out and twirled a loose strand of her hair around his talon. "You know how to push all the right buttons."
"Well now I know your secret weakness. Too bad Dr. Michel won't be sending you chocolates any time soon. We should have asked her where she got them," Shepard said, picking up her rifle for another shot.
Garrus threw another bottle, this time a little bit further than before. It spun wildly in the air, but Shepard's laser focus picked it off without difficulty.
"Guess we'll just have to find some on our own," Garrus said. Shepard did not fail to notice the suggestive undertone.
"Could you imagine telling her what we actually did with them?"
"I'm glad you resisted that temptation."
"Not completely off the table as an option," she said, her twitching lips betraying her serious words. "And as much as I enjoy sniper contests with you, I promised Joker we'd go and meet him and EDI at Purgatory. Plus Jack sent word she wanted to see me there."
"Great. Jack will tell me to bite you again and then we'll put up with the sexual tension between Joker and EDI."
"Well, if you don't want to do that, we could always catch a hanar poetry reading."
Garrus shot her an incredulous look, scratching at his forehead. "If the end of the galaxy is coming, I would much rather spend my time listening to Jack's insults or EDI and Joker dancing around each other than going out on the phrase, "This one feels like a flower," he said, slowing his words down and perfectly matching the tone of those jellyfish-like species.
"Look at this way. It's a sign of endearment from Jack. And I suspect we soon won't be the only worst kept secret on the Normandy," Shepard said lightly as she threw the bottle the farthest she had since they began the contest.
"We aren't the only ones. Don't forget those two engineers, Donnelly and Daniels. They just have yet to figure it out for themselves," Garrus said, grabbing one last bottle.
"Says the turian who didn't realize chocolates meant a certain someone was romantically interested in him," Shepard teased, retrieving her rifle for a last round.
Shepard was treated to a deep groan from Garrus. "You're never going to let me forget that, are you?"
"Absolutely not," she said, preparing for this final shot. A shot she knew she would miss on purpose, just for the chance to see Garrus take pleasure in beating her, in making him happy.
She could tell by the angle of his arm where the shot would head. By a millisecond and a minute move to the left, her rifle left out a resounding shot that continued flying through the air.
"I'm Garrus Vakarian and this is now my favorite spot on the Citadel!" Garrus exclaimed to the cars soaring by, using the same words Shepard had when she had endorsed shops on the Citadel. "Think I'm going to erect a monument right here, bronze my rifle so everyone who drives by will know who the best sniper in the galaxy is!"
Shepard squelched the smile threatening to creep onto her face at seeing Garrus so care-free, instead planting a scowl on it and lamenting, "it's windy up here!"
Garrus set his rifle down and Shepard followed suit. He clutched her shoulders firmly in his hands, nuzzling the top of her head, his hot breath tickling her scalp, before his hands trailed down the sides of her body to her hips. Shepard placed her own hands on his armored chest.
"There, there, it's okay," he murmured teasingly. When he finally pulled away from her thick head of hair, he gave her a teasing, roguish grin, mandibles flaring widely. "I know there are other things you're good at."
Shepard closed her eyes as she cherished the sound of Garrus's resonating voice. He pulled her even closer to him, encompassing her in his embrace, allowing both of them to take in a comfort they could only gain from the other in this war-stricken universe. In that moment, Shepard knew no one, not even a Genevan doctor with good taste in chocolate, would ever come between them.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed this little one-shot and the sappy note it ended on. Let me know what you think!