A/N: I've started to write this fill for a prompt at the ME kmeme. The prompt was:
"I'd like to read a story where Garrus pursue romance with Shepard and not the other way around like in the games. I want him to offer her to blow off the steam and for her to be the awkward and insecure one. It doesn't matter during which game it happens."
I thought it would be fun to turn things around like that, so I started to write this story. I hope you'll like it. Rated M for possible future adult content.
Sorry for all the in-game dialogue in the first chapter, but I needed them to set up the scene.
Thank you to The Red Celt for beta reading.
Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.
Garrus was in a good mood. A great mood, in fact, compared to how he'd been feeling for the last few weeks. Sidonis had been dealt with, and (though he would never forget his betrayal and the death of his teammates) he could finally put the past behind him and concentrate on the present. He had Shepard to thank for that; this amazing human who was not only his commander but also his best friend, just about the only friend he had left at this moment. Just the fact that she was alive made him feel like maybe the galaxy's goal wasn't to crush his soul and spirit, then chew him up and spit him out in a broken mess after all. He'd even finished all the gun calibrations he could do and was running some firing algorithms for fun - he had to occupy all that free time he had at his disposal now somehow.
Life was good.
So when Shepard came to see him and asked if they could talk, he was more than happy to oblige her.
"I wanted to thank you again for your help with Sidonis," he said, his voice calmer and smoother than it had been for a very long time. "Whatever happens with the Collectors or the Reapers or whatever comes after us, I know you'll get the job done."
"I couldn't do this without you, Garrus," she replied matter-of-factly, putting her hands behind her back.
"Sure you could. Not as stylishly, of course," he smirked and followed her with his eyes as she walked over to a crate in the corner to sit down. "It's strange going into a suicide mission on a human ship. Your people don't prepare for high-risk operations the way turians do."
"How do turian crews get ready for high-risk missions?" she asked, putting an elbow on her knee and leaning forward as she watched him move around and gesture as he talked. She was glad to see him calm and relaxed again; she'd been worrying about his state of mind and what his time on Omega had done to him.
"With violence, usually. Turian ships have more operational discipline than your Alliance, but fewer personal restrictions. Our commanders run us tight, and they know we need to blow off steam. Turian ships have training rooms for exercise," he explained, "combat sims, even full-contact sparring. Whatever lets people work off stress."
"You mean turian ships have crewmen fight each other before a mission?" This was something new and she wasn't sure if it was such a good idea.
"It's supervised, of course," he shrugged. "Nobody is going to risk an injury that interferes with the mission. And it's a good way to settle grudges amicably. I remember right before one mission we were about to hit a batarian pirate squad. Very risky." He started to pace again as the memories came rushing back. He hadn't thought about this in a quite a while. "This recon scout and I had been at each other's throats. Nerves, mostly. She suggested we settle it in the ring."
"I assume you took her down gently?" she asked with a smile. She couldn't imagine anybody beating Garrus in contact sparring. She'd seen him in battle many times before; handling a sniper rifle wasn't the only thing he was good at.
"Actually, she and I were the top-ranked hand-to-hand specialists on the ship. I had reach, but she had flexibility. It was brutal." He shook his head, remembering the vicious blows and kicks they doled out to each other. "After nine rounds, the judge called it a draw. There were a lot of unhappy betters in the training room. We, ah, ended up holding a tiebreaker in her quarters," he added, his heart beating a little faster at his recollections. "I had reach, but she had flexibility. More than one way to work off stress, I guess." He spread his mandibles wide in a mischievous grin.
He was lost in the memory of that night for a few seconds, as long-forgotten feelings and desires threatened to resurface again, making his plates shift a tiny bit. He could use some tension release right now.
It wasn't like him, however, to share such intimate details of his life with somebody. Why now? Of course, Shepard wasn't just anybody; there was a strong connection between them even before she had died then came back to life to reclaim their friendship and give him a chance for maybe something more.
He turned towards her and searched her face, trying to decipher what she'd thought of his revelations, worrying that maybe humans didn't view these kinds of liaisons the same way as turians did. She shook her head, but she was smiling, and his stomach released the knot that had started to build.
Maybe he could risk taking this one step further.
"I've noticed that you carry a lot of tension yourself," he started, trying to sound as casual as he could. "I think I could help you with that."
"You want to do some sparring with me?" she asked, her eyes opened wide in surprise. She did not expect to be challenged to a sparring match when she came in to talk to him this evening.
"Ah, no," he chuckled. "I meant the other way of blowing off steam." He leveled his gaze at her, his piercing blue eyes burning with intense heat as he waited for her answer.
"Oh." Her heart jumped into her throat and her blood rushed to her face, painting her cheeks bright red when she realized what exactly he meant. She had a lot of affection for him and there was nobody she trusted more, but this was totally unexpected. She'd never considered him more than a friend; she'd never considered an inter-species relationship before, period. But...why not? They both had a dangerous profession and they never knew what fate would throw at them on their next mission. She remembered a sign she once saw when she was in basic training: "Carpe Diem," seize the day. She decided then that they were wise words to live by.
"Well...why not?" she said out loud, standing up from her sitting position on the crate and looking him straight in the eye. "If we can figure out how to make this work..." She wasn't sure about that, to tell the truth - they were two different species, after all. Maybe this would all be just talk in the end. Just some light banter that they could tease each other with.
"I'm pretty sure we can make it work," Garrus replied with a grin, remembering his time with that asari dancer on Omega. Before that, he would have had his doubts, too, but since humans and asari were so similar, he knew things would go well. Really well. "But we can do some research first if you like," he added encouragingly, trying to put her mind at ease.
"Oh... okay," she said, her voice trembling a little bit. Maybe this was actually going to happen. "I... didn't know you had a thing for humans," she smirked, trying to sound her usual confident self again.
"No, I don't have a thing for humans," he replied, stepping a little closer and looking deep into her eyes. "Just for you."
Her eyelashes fluttered and she let out an almost inaudible gasp in surprise.
"Well...okay then," she finally said, swallowing hard, as she backed away towards the door, "I... I'll do some research... and... ah... you know... let you know when... umm... you know..."
"Okay." Garrus flared his mandibles in a smile.
Then she was gone, leaving him staring after her with a happy grin on his face.
Yep, life was good.