Aelianus wished there were somewhere to sit in the cramped Alliance space station. The corridor he was standing in was not the easiest place to wait for someone: it was designed for transit, not waiting.

Of course, Aelianus had never been a fan of waiting, either.

In all his years at C-Sec, he'd gained a reputation for the fastest by-the-book investigations. When his son had joined the force, he'd always been proud of Garrus' drive to solve his cases – though he'd tried just as much to encourage him to use by-the-book methods for his own damn safety

His heart leapt into his throat as he saw his son turn the corner, and his train of thought died instantly.

Spirits above was he thin. And the look in his eyes. He could see it from here, even though Garrus was still a hundred steps away: bright blue eyes piercing, cold gray plates outlined with slightly-faded deep navy … so thin. The way he walked: tired, worn, a slight limp – a bullet wound to his right hip perhaps? His feet didn't drag, his shoulders were perfectly square, but Aelianus could see fatigue in his movement: he'd watched this man grow up, helped his tiny shoulders square against the butt of a rifle designed for a turian at least five years older, lifted this man, his son, up to the washbasin to clean his teeth … tucked thin blankets in around his cowl …

His son was staring at him like a half-dead man, walking down the hall like he owned it, the look in his eyes waiting for the worst of news.

"Garrus…" His son's name fell from his mouth, almost unbidden, feeling choked: his subvocals, raw and anguished, betrayed his worry about his son's state.

Garrus stopped, two steps from his father, the movement abrupt – like something had tugged him back. The look in his eyes changed, from determination to shock.

Aelianus hadn't quite realized that Garrus had grown taller than him.

"Father." The word sounded unused, unfamiliar. Garrus' subvocals were unsure – not frightened, not anxious, just unsure. Unconfident.

Aelianus put his hands on Garrus' shoulders and held his gaze. "Son." His subvocals shifted from pain to care, worry, love. They'd been so cold over the years. Aelianus hadn't ever really understood his son's struggles – had thought, perhaps, in his hubris, that he knew better, knew more.

How un-turian of him.

Garrus stood for a second, indecisive. Then he awkwardly hugged Aelianus, and spoke, his subvocals so strong they almost broke the word in half – choking on the glottal in the middle of one of the oldest turian words.

"Father."