A/N: This was a fill for the ME kink meme. The prompt was:
"I just want to see FemShep recovering after Destroy ending, with her LI fussing about the place (grabbing more pillows, putting time limits on visits from the brass, kicking out reporters). Just really want to see Shepard vulnerable and her man instantly turning into a big softie."
Thank you 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.
"Just a few questions—"
"It would only take a couple of minutes—"
"No." Garrus's eyes glinted with cold anger under his eyebrow plates, and his sub-harmonics rumbled in annoyance as he blocked the door and stared the pesky newswoman down. "I suggest you turn around and leave. Commander Shepard might not be in the shape to punch a reporter right now, but I am. And take your drone with you."
Al-Jilani gasped. "You wouldn't!" It took no small amount of effort to fight the urge to rub her chin at the memory of the vicious right hook Shepard had once landed on her jaw when she'd pushed the commander a bit too far with her loaded questions.
Any doubt she might have had about the sincerity of his promise evaporated, however, when he bent down to her eye level and drawled with a flaring of his mandibles that revealed his sharp teeth, "Try me."
She swallowed hard, turned around and skulked away without another word, only daring to mutter a few choice curses once she was reasonably sure that she was safely out of his hearing range.
Garrus spun around with a growl and walked back into Shepard's hospital room, carefully closing the door behind him.
"Trouble?" Admiral Hackett asked. He was sitting on a chair by her bed, his hands and his cap resting on his knees.
"Nothing I can't handle," Garrus grunted. He took a quick glance at the clock on the wall before he leveled his gaze at the older man. "Time's up, Admiral."
Hackett inspected the clock and reluctantly got up. Garrus had only allowed him five minutes for his visit, and he knew better than to argue with the determined turian.
"All right. Get better soon, Commander." He cast one last glance at Shepard as he put his hat back on.
She gave him a small smile and a nod, then watched him leave. She'd made a lot of progress in her recovery since they'd discovered her broken and battered body in the rubble of the Citadel, but she was still covered in bruises, her broken bones were still healing under the casts and braces holding them together, and there was barely any patch of skin on her that was not wrapped in bandages. Medication and some nutrients slowly dripped into her vein from a bag suspended on a metal pole, the tube attached to the top of her left hand. Her vitals were monitored by a scanning device built into her bed, the machine continuously submitting wireless data to the nurse's station down the hall.
She received the best care they could provide in the hospital, but still, Garrus would not leave her side for a moment. He hovered over her, checking her medications, her food, her drink, the temperature in the room, limited the time people spent with her—in short, he drove everyone crazy.
He stopped by her bedside and gently stroked her arm with the tip of a talon. "Do you need anything?"
She smiled up at him with gratitude and affection. "Some water," she replied in a weak voice. She had no strength and energy to do anything for herself and even speaking took some effort, but—thanks to the cybernetics Cerberus had augmented her body with—at least she was alive and recovering, no matter how slow the process seemed.
Garrus poured some fresh water into her cup then put a straw in it and bent its top so that she could drink from her prone position. He put his hand behind her neck and lifted her head a little bit so she wouldn't choke on the liquid, carefully positioned the straw between her lips, and held the cup while she drank.
"Thank you," she said when she'd had enough, and leaned back on the pillow after he'd removed his hand.
"Do you want to sleep now?" he asked in a whisper, as if she was already in that hazy state of drifting off into unconscious bliss and he wouldn't want to wake her up.
"Yeah." She closed her eyes. The pain medication made her sleepy all the time and she constantly dozed off.
He settled down on the chair by her side and watched her breathe in and out, and had almost fell asleep himself when his omni-tool pinged and flashed obnoxiously enough to wake both of them up.
"Dammit, who is it?" he groaned as he answered the call, fumbling with the buttons to turn the stupid alarm off as fast as he could.
"Nice to see you too, Garrus," Tali snorted as her face came into view on the holo-screen.
"Sorry. She's just gone to sleep," he grumbled, hoping that Tali would take the hint and sign off.
"Tali?" Shepard's faint voice came from beside him. "Let me talk to her."
"Fine." He started up the big holo projector on the wall with a sigh and synched his omni-tool with it. "Don't wear her out," he admonished the quarian, then he turned back to the bed to adjust the pillows.
"Hey, Shepard! How are you doing?" Tali asked cheerfully. She did her best to hold back the tears that threatened to erupt at the sight of her friend lying in her hospital bed, weak and vulnerable, unable to even sit up by herself.
"Been better," Shepard said, smiling, "but I'm alive."
"Do you need more pillows? It might be more comfortable to watch the screen," Garrus interjected, but before she could even answer, he decided that she was in desperate need of another pillow indeed, so he turned around and left in a hurry to hunt down one.
"Is he always this bossy and overbearing?" Tali asked with a chuckle.
"He's taking good care of me," Shepard replied, her voice warm with affection. "How are things going on Rannoch?"
"Excellent. The geth have been incredibly helpful with the rebuilding efforts—I don't know what we would do without them. Well... everything would go much slower for sure."
"I'm glad to hear that." That was an understatement if there ever was one. She had suspected that the Catalyst had been lying about the dire consequences of destroying the Reapers when she was contemplating her choices, but still, it was a tremendous relief to find out once she came out of her coma that EDI and the geth had survived, though some of their systems had been fried, and that the mass relays were merely damaged and could be repaired. It was good to know that after hundreds of years of conflict between the geth and the quarians they were finally learning to live and work together again.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Garrus charging through the door, with two new pillows and an extra blanket under his arms. A nurse was chasing after him, complaining about his snatching away the items, without asking, from a bed that had been freshly made for a new patient.
"You can't just go around the place and grab whatever you want!" she exclaimed, her hands on her hips and her eyebrows pulled into a frown.
"I need these now," was all he said as an explanation, then he proceeded to push the pillows behind Shepard's back, ignoring the rest of the scolding and pretending that he didn't hear a word the poor nurse was saying. She finally gave up with an exasperated sigh, casting her eyes and hands upward, as if begging a higher power to give her strength to deal with this infuriating turian, then finally turned on her heels and left.
"I see you're your old charming self," Tali laughed, but Garrus just groaned and didn't respond.
"How's the work on your house going?" Shepard asked. She did see the screen a little better now and she smiled at Garrus in thanks.
"It's going really well. The foundation has been laid and work will soon start on the walls. I'll send you a holo when it's all done."
"I'd like that. I hope I can visit you some day."
"That would be great! You can even bring old grouch butt with you." The young woman chuckled. "Well, I'll let you rest now. Take care, Shepard. You too, Garrus."
He grunted and switched off the screen, then turned his attention back to his mate. She'd already closed her eyes and he settled down again by her side.
"Garrus?" she called out after a few minutes, searching for him.
"I'm here. Do you need something?"
"My nose is itching."
"On the tip."
He pulled off his gloves and carefully scratched the tip of her nose with his talons, putting just the right pressure on her skin to relieve the uncomfortable feeling without causing any damage.
"My head, too," she said, and he moved his hand up to run his talons over her scalp, going in circles, remembering with a heavy heart how much he used to enjoy weaving his fingers into her delicate hair.
She'd received some head injury in the final battle and the surgeons had to shave her head to repair the damage. Her hair was growing back now, but it was still much shorter than it used to be, and it felt different under his fingers. The medical literature, which he'd been ardently studying ever since he started his stint as her self-appointed guardian and nurse, promised that eventually her hair was going to be just like it was before, and he could hardly wait to be able to enjoy her silky locks again. He felt guilty, however, for having such selfish desires, especially with everything that had happened to her, so he kept his feelings to himself.
"Ahh, much better," she sighed contentedly. "Thank you."
"Any time," he replied and stroked her cheek with the back of his finger.
She closed her eyes and he hoped that she would be able to drift off to sleep now, but the quiet of the room was suddenly interrupted by loud talking and laughter—apparently somebody down the hall had just received some new visitors. He waited for a while, expecting them to finally lower their voices or one of the nurses to tell them to quiet down, but they just seemed to get louder and louder. Shepard didn't say a word, but he could see that she had trouble falling asleep, so he jumped up and stormed out through the door, stopped in the middle of the corridor, and roared, "QUIET!"
The nurses, doctors and visitors in the hallway and all the surrounding rooms froze with a startle, their mouths open, the glass vials and cups shook and clinked together on the trays they were standing on, and the only sound one could hear for a moment was the crashing of a bottle onto the floor.
Garrus looked around with a glare, daring anybody to say something, but nobody was foolish enough to risk having their heads ripped off by the infuriated turian. He nodded with a satisfied look on his face, then turned around and headed back to Shepard's room. She watched him as he marched in and sat down on the chair by her side, and shook her head with a smirk.
"What?" he asked, shrugging his shoulders.
"Nothing. You're sweet."
She eventually fell asleep and he watched her until he dozed off himself. They were awakened a couple of hours later by a nurse bringing in Shepard's supper, and he fed her with the spoon, gently wiping off her chin with a soft cloth whenever a drop of the soup escaped and landed where it wasn't supposed to.
"You're going to be a wonderful father to our children," she said when she was finished and she leaned back onto her pillow.
He was putting the bowl back on the tray, but his hands froze in the air at her declaration.
"Our children?" he asked, turning towards her. His heart suddenly beat a little faster in his chest.
"Yeah. We can't have kids of our own—biology wouldn't cooperate—but we can adopt."
"Maybe we could find a little girl that looks just like you," he said enthusiastically, putting the bowl and the spoon down and taking her bandaged hand in his.
"And a little turian boy that has your colors." She smiled. "Especially your eyes. He has to have beautiful blue eyes, just like you."
His chest swelled up with love and happiness and he couldn't resist bending over her to gently press his mouth plates to her lips. She kissed him back, and when he reclined in the chair again, she let out a small sigh.
"I miss you."
"I'm right here." He grinned, though he knew exactly what she meant. He missed her, too. "We'll get through this, Jane. You're getting stronger and stronger, and one day we'll get out of this place and walk off into the sunset."
She let out a wistful sigh. "Tell me about that. Tell me how our lives will be."
Even though the pain was tolerable, thanks to all the medication they were pumping into her, she hated to be so weak and vulnerable. She never liked inactivity, and not being able to be up and doing things was almost unbearable. Hearing about their future lives together was something that could take her mind off of her predicament. So, she closed her eyes and listened to his voice, that wonderful voice that she loved so much, and she imagined that she was right there with him, living the life that she knew one day would become a reality.
"We'll find a nice, warm place, somewhere in the tropics, and settle down in a house by the beach. There will be a breeze from the ocean, and we'll take long walks on the shore with the kids—"
"And a dog," she interrupted, her eyes still closed.
"Okay, a dog, too," he conceded, even though he was not exactly a fan of those barking and slobbering creatures. "At night, after we've put the children to bed, we would sit on the porch, with some cold drinks in our hands, and watch the ocean lap at the beach and the stars light up the sky."
"That sounds wonderful."
"Then we'll go to bed, make love, and hold each other through the night," he whispered.
He thought that she'd gone to sleep, but after a few seconds her voice, low and soft, broke the quiet of the room. "I love you, Garrus."
He gave a gentle squeeze to her hand. "I love you, too, Jane." Then there was silence.
When Dr. Munro entered the room in the morning, bracing herself for another argument with Garrus Vakarian about the side effects of Commander Shepard's medications and the competency of the staff, she found him and the commander asleep. She in her bed, and he on a chair by her side, his head resting on her mattress and his large three-fingered hand splayed on top of her small, bandaged one. He had set up a cot in the room, against hospital regulations, but it was too low compared to the hospital bed, and he preferred to be as close to her as possible at all times.
Dr. Munro had had her fair share of conflict with the turian, but she couldn't help but admire his loyalty and dedication toward his mate. She stood there, watching the scene, an embodiment of love, and—against her better judgment—decided to ping the maintenance chief.
"Hello, Mr. Teiffel?" she said as she walked out into the hallway. "Do we still have that old bed that we were going to get rid of?"
"Yes, it's in storage right now. Why do you ask?" came the reply on her omni-tool.
"Could you fix it up so that a patient's caretaker could sleep on it? We don't need the scanner and the lifting mechanism to be functional. Just good enough to put it next to the patient's bed."
"Sure, no problem. It will be ready this afternoon. Just let me know which room to move it into."
"Room 405. Commander Shepard's room. Thanks."
The doctor turned her omni-tool off with a smile, then returned to the commander's room. Maybe that argument wasn't going to be so bad after all.