Disclaimer: All characters belong to Bioware.
Beta Reader: Mealyna
Summary: Shepard finally works up the courage to make a move on her gunnery officer. Only things don't play out as well as she hoped. That's okay… she thinks. Sometimes things just don't work out. But it seems like he might have said no for very crazy reason. Seriously, how can anybody think that?
A/N: I've been enjoying 'Garrus turns Shepard down' stories and felt the need to throw my hat in the ring. So ding-ding.
Part I of III
From her high vantage point, the sniper in Shepard is in full control as her eyes lock onto her target. With her robotic eyes, her sight is far above a normal humans and because so, she can see every little detail. From the shimmer of metallic plates in the hard cargo-bay lights, the strain of the reinforced punching bag taking every powerful hit with a little less integrity, to electric blue eyes filled with a fierceness she rarely sees and loves all the more for its rarity.
He's doing well, she notes. He is the healthiest he has been since arriving on the Normandy after their fateful encounter on Omega. She wonders if that meeting was planned or if finding him so soon after rebirth—and him following her with such loyalty—was her reward for playing hero for so long from the universe. While she will not put anything past the Illusive Man, Shepard likes to think with all the crappy hands she's been dealt over her short life that something good had finally come back from the higher ups.
Not good. Great.
So very great.
They weren't close on the first Normandy. They were very by-the-book and more student and mentor than friends. This tour is different. She feels more at ease in the cramped space of the battery than her spacious loft. She talks with little restraint and an ease in her shoulders she hasn't felt in years. He comes along on most missions (more like all) not because he is the best choice, but because she wants to hear him talk, of all things. She wants to hear his two-toned voice rumble in amusement behind her in a way that makes her body shiver and ache. She wants to see his gaze turn predatory as he lines up a shot and have it turned on her, before confusion mars his face because she is looking at him and not the fire-fight. There are a lot of things she wants, but she is not sure how to make the jump from friend to something more.
There is no one instant she can point to and say when it started. When her new friendship with him changed into a 'like'. When that like became an attraction. That attraction became a want. That want became a need.
But it is there now. A pulsing flame inside her heart that she both loves and hates. That fills her with a boneless weakness that makes her smile stupidly in all the wrong places. That fuels her dreams and drives her hands at night as she tries to find some relief from the heat. Only it's not enough. His voice alone can do the job her fingers have failed at.
Garrus Vakarian is the person she trust most in the galaxy, as he has proven over and over again his loyalty to her, and that is what's holding her back from acting. To lose that which she has become so dependent on in her second life would be her undoing. A sensible part of her brain reasons that he would never outright turn away from her—especially right now—but he might pull away. The business with Sidonis maybe behind him, but the hole the loss of so many friends at once made is still a dark void she sees flicker past his eyes at times.
The only reason he gravitates to her so much is because of their history and the fact he mourned her once already. They are both living on second chances and she wonders if they are really making the most of them.
While she may quietly relish his strong hands pulling her to safety, his motivation is direr than she likes. If she is being honest with herself the reason she brings him on all of her missions—takes him on every shopping trip and pointless errand—is not because she wants to, it's because she knows she cannot stop him from following if she leaves him behind. At first she wanted him at her side as much as he wanted to be there. They fell into step with each other and even Miranda couldn't complain at her lack of rotation with the combat crew with the efficiency they both displayed on the field. The third for the mission always changed, and sometimes Shepard would bring a fourth and fifth if they happened upon a partially large base, but Garrus was always there.
But now things are different. There are others on board that have gained her trust after giving her theirs. Kasumi was the first. It was hard not to like the sweet broken-hearted thief after meeting her. Her sense of humor was light and refreshing next to Garrus' sometimes bleaker jokes. Others followed shortly after and even now more are being added to the list. And now she is completely clueless how to take the next step in their friendship; either by manning up and spilling her guts or just leaving him on the ship for one damn mission.
Brilliant blues meet her greens and all thought vacates her body.
Garrus tilts his head to the side as he looks up to her spot. He scratches his fringe as confusion fills his eyes. He taps his omni-tool and hers ping with a message.
Vakarian: What are you doing? You know staring is not polite.
She rolls her eyes at him through the glass and quickly taps a reply.
I was on my way up from seeing Jack and I was mesmerized by that body of yours. She laughs at how true her words are.
She sees his shoulders shake as he flares his mandibles at her. Her tool pings again.
Vakarian: As much as I love to give a good show, I would prefer a partner, if you have time.
The idea of sparring with him sounds fun. Dangerous, but fun. So how can she say no?
For you big guy, I've got time. She sends as she makes her way to the elevator. He doesn't reply but when the doors open he is there. Leaning against a crate in front of the door with his arms crossed and clear excitement on his face. They've never sparred before. They've seen each other fight on the field and for that she knows they are near evenly matched to the point she can't guess who will win. Shepard just hopes she can stay focused on the fight enough, and not how very appealing his shirtless state is to her, or she'll be flat on her ass in seconds. She will never hear the end of it if she doesn't put up a decent fight.
But she still drinks in the sight of him, as she has never seen in such a state of undress before. There should be nothing appealing about his form, but she knows it was his good heart that she fell for and so it was only natural her mind would accept his physical form as well.
"Staring again, Commander?" He tills his head to the side again and she finds the move adorable.
"Just never seen you without a shirt before," she says. He shifts in slight embarrassment as he looks away and fingers his bandage.
"Verdict?" He asks as he looks back at her, flaring his mandible in a lopsided grin.
"I'm fighting the urge to jump you as we speak," she smiles at him and pats his arm. "Come on."
She leads the way to make shift gym the crew has been piecing together all while thinking she needs to be less flirty. It is just hard seeing that she's always told him the truth and it feels strange to hide anything from him. Luckily—or maybe unluckily—he is taking her comments as friendly banter.
They set up the mats and she strips off the top of her Cerberus uniform to her tank top. She watches his face for a moment, hoping for some type of reaction that would show he has an interest in her like she does him. Seeing none, she sighs as looks down at her pants as she kicks off her shoes and socks.
"Maybe I should go grab something looser?" She thinks out loud.
"Trust me; it wouldn't make a difference." The smugness in his tone makes her smirk as she starts to walk and stretch.
"Oh? Cocky are we?" They circle each and Shepard feels her heat kick-start as he narrows his wonderful blues at her.
"More like realistic."
She grins. "You always end up on top?" Damn it! Stop flirting.
"All but once." Damn it, man, stop being so thick.
"I'm going to need the name of the man who knocked you flat on your ass."
Something in his eyes flickers and he charges at her. It is a weak move, meant only to initiate the fight and see how alert she is. Shepard moves nimbly out of his long reach and waits as he backs up.
"It was a tie actually. And I doubt you'll know her."
"Sounds like you had fun." Shepard charges and feints to his left as he blocks. She's not too sure how to hit him, his hard plates will do more damage to her than him, and all her N training taught her was how to kill or seriously maim, which she doesn't want either of. So she sweeps at his leg and he side-steps before landing the first blow with his long arms. "Damn you have reach." She moves from his range and raises her brow as the grin on his face.
"That's what she said."
"You're an idiot, Garrus."
"No, seriously, that's what she said."
He comes hard and fast and there is no more time for well thought out moves, just action. He throws more hits than her but she dodges more. Her hits almost always land while he is met with air. The few hits he does land take a greater toll and she finds she has to set aside some of her worry at hurting him and go for his more vulnerable, less plated places. He grunts as she lands a hard blow to his gut but it only fuels him to fight harder.
The rush of her blood and the thump of her heart feel good and she can't help but smile as she catches his eye for a moment. His returning smile makes her heart, somehow, pound even harder.
All the while he's still talking and Shepard is surprised by the story he is telling.
"…she and I were the top-ranked hand-to-hand specialists on the ship…"
"…ended up holding a tiebreaker in her quarters…
"I had reach, but she had flexibility." He pauses and grins. "Kind of like you."
Shepard doesn't feel the hit he lands that sends her stumbling back. Her mind is too busy trying to work out what she just heard.
Did he just… hit on me?
This is her chance. He gave her an opening. Fucking hell, he gave her an opening and she is going to take it.
I swear to God, if this is you being dense I'm kicking your bony ass.
Garrus is unprepared for her sudden speed as she launches herself at him. Landing another good hit on his gut, knocking the wind from his lungs as she finally trips him, and sends him hard to the ground. She follows as she lands on top of him and holds down one arm while trapping the other with her body. It's not a good hold, as his rounded cowl means he can easily rock her off at any moment, but it does its job as she leans down.
Her face is near his as she smirks. "You know, we can go straight to the tie-breaker right now."
And to make damn sure he can't misunderstand this as another joke, she lightly bites down on his mandible.
His jaw drops as she pulls back. He goes slack under her as he gapes up at her. Blue eyes wide and disbelieving.
Shit. Maybe that wasn't an opening after all.
"Garrus?" She hates the slight shake of her voice but it can't be helped. Not with the way he's looking at her. Suddenly aware of how her chest is pressed to his, how her thin shirt and bra does nothing to stop his hard chest from digging in her softer one, and that the feeling is making fire lick her up and down her spine, she pulls away from him. Sitting on the ground next to him she waits as he props himself up on his elbows to look at her.
He close his mouth only to have it flop open a few useless times before he finds his voice.
"Ah, um, aren't you and-? I mean do you-?" He closes his eyes as he shakes his head and quickly stands. "I-I don't thinks that's a good idea, Shepard." Then he flees before she can speak. He's in the elevator before she can get to her feet.