A/N: Based on the following prompt:

"Turians are kind of not built for cuddling, given that they're all jagged angles and made of plates.

Humans, however, are the snuggliest little shits in the galaxy.

I would like to see Garrus having some WTF moments over how Shepard can't seem to stop clinging to him sometimes until he finds out that humans respond very well to touch Because Science."

Enjoy some fluff. :)

Cuddles, Because Science

He was all angles, and she was all curves. He was at an utter loss as to how she made this work every time, and for that matter, why she wanted to. But it seemed like every time she was within an arm's length of him, and they weren't working, she immediately closed the gap. Either she draped an arm around his waist, or took his hand, or reached up and ran her fingers along his fringe or the bottom edge of his mandible.

She was so touchy. He didn't get it. It wasn't as if he didn't like it – he certainly wouldn't complain about his gorgeous, sexy, wonderful mate being as close to him as possible – but it made absolutely no sense to him at all.

The extranet was no help. Anything he searched for just led to sex. Maybe he wasn't using the right keywords. Garrus knew what pre-sex affections were like, and while they were similar, this wasn't it. (Unless he was misinterpreting her signals, and accidentally shutting Shepard down nine times out of ten. Oh Spirits he hoped that wasn't it.)

He gave up. He went to Mordin.

"Ah! Cuddling. Human expression of affection. Seen in asari too, though not as much. Theorized to have evolved from poor body heat retention capabilities in human physiology."

"And what's the point now?"

"Very good question! Humans long evolved past need for companionship for warmth. Have clothes for that now! Almost solely expression of affection. Especially prevalent among parent and child, and romantic partners, especially mates."

"So it means … "

"Commander Shepard not usually 'touchy-feely', to use human expression." This last came complete with air quotes. Garrus wasn't sure where he'd picked that one up, but was willing to bet it was Joker … though he seemed to remember Councillor Sparatus using them in a recent Council broadcast …

"Yes," Garrus said, "which is why I don't get what's going on."

Mordin thought for a moment. "Turian couples often use subset of vocal harmonics to convey common expressions of affection, yes?"

Garrus blinked. "… Yes. But Shepard can't do that."

"Exactly. Think of physical contact as human equivalent of affectionate harmonics. Shepard's way of informing you of interest and care."

Garrus raised his browplates. "I'd never thought of it like that."

"Clearly not." Mordin smiled. "Happy to help. Now if you'll excuse me, must continue synthesizing Collector data. Please keep me informed! So much information for future human-turian couples."

Garrus shook his head slightly. "Of course, Doctor. Thank you again." Mordin nodded to him, and he left the medbay.

He checked his omnitool. It wouldn't be long before Shepard would be done her shift. He decided it was time to make good on what he'd just learned.

Shepard stretched, hearing several vertebrae pop as she left her console and headed to the elevator. Working in space was a bore and a half compared to ground work, but eight hours was eight hours, except when it was ten. And today was one of those days.

Still, she'd managed to organize several missions in the next week or so, including doing a handful of favours for her crew and going to the Citadel to restock. The logistics involved in crating this ship anywhere were more complicated than she would have imagined until she had to command it, and she was infinitely grateful for the excellent crew that more than pulled their weight.

She hit the button for her quarters and leaned her head against the wall as she felt the lift start to rise. She was tired – and hungry, actually, but more tired. She didn't usually sleep through the night, and last night had been particularly long, so she figured she'd catch forty winks before skipping down to the kitchen and getting something from the fridge. It would probably beat whatever Gardner was serving (she made a mental note to maybe bump the Citadel trip up a day or two if possible … the good stuff was running low).

The doors slid open and she stepped out, palming the entrance to her loft. Her mind was full of schedules and possibilities, and she'd made it halfway across her room and all the way down the stairs before she noticed the turian sitting on the couch.

If it had been anyone else, they'd likely have been dead. Sitting in a relatively blind spot in Commander Shepard's quarters? Not smart. But she knew those blue markings anywhere, and she immediately changed course to collapse on the couch beside her mate, wrapping her arms around him tightly.

"Why hello there. Aren't you supposed to be in the main battery until seventeen hundred hours?"

Garrus' mandibles flickered in amusement. "It's eighteen hundred thirty, Shepard."

Shepard paused for a moment while her mind settled back into the present. "Oh. Right. Of course it is. Silly me." She yawned, and ran her fingers along his fringe idly. She was thinking about what she might have for supper when she realized that his talons were tracing her spine.

"I had a talk with Mordin today." His voice was doing that thing where it sounded like he was talking in two different places at once. More than usual, anyway. That was usually a foreplay thing, she'd noticed.

Wait, he'd talked to Mordin? "About what, exactly?" He ran a single talon down the curve of her spine, and she shivered slightly. Yep. Definitely foreplay.

"I think he called it cuddling."


"This isn't cuddling, Garrus." She was starting to breathe a little harder. His hands were roaming over her body. He leaned in, nuzzling the side of her head, murmuring in her ear.

"You came home late."

"Oh, well then…" Shepard managed, sliding a hand down his torso as he lowered her to the couch, his arm under her lower back, his other hand in her hair.

They lay in bed, naked and entwined, having barely moved since climaxing together several minutes ago. Garrus was running his talons through her hair gently, carefully detangling the knots that had developed over the course of their enthusiastic lovemaking. Shepard had her eyes closed, nestled close to him, once again making magic happen as she wound her flexible human body around his hard plates.

He loved it. He couldn't help but notice the way she moved her head slightly as he stroked her hair, as if trying to make each stroke last a little bit longer. Her arm was thrown up over his carapace, and her fingers were tracing the bumps on his back plates. His other hand cradled the curve of her waist and stroked her hip. She smiled when he touched her; he watched her now, bright blue eyes gazing at the smooth skin and bedraggled hair.

She moved closer, somehow. He rumbled gently under his breath, an unspoken 'come as close as you can: I'll always want you closer.'

She opened her eyes halfway, looking at him through long lashes. "Garrus?"

"Yes?" Underneath, unbidden, 'I will give you the universe if you ask me.'

"Do turians cuddle?"

He flicked his mandibles out in a smile. "No. We express affection in subvocals."

The shadow of a frown crossed her face. "Oh." Then her eyes brightened. "What does it sound like?"

Oh, Shepard. "Turn your translator off." She complied, reaching behind her to the nightstand and palming her discarded omnitool's power button, halting her transceiver implant.

Garrus wrapped his arms around her, pulling her as close against him as he could, cradling her, fondling her, cuddling her, almost purring against her cheek. 'I love you, my light, my sun. I will tell you I love you in a thousand ways which you will never hear – but I will learn a new language for you: I will learn to touch you …'