There was a request for a VeetorxFemshep oneshot or multi-chapter. I'll admit, it took me by surprise, but when I got to thinking it over I came to the conclusion 'I can do that!'. This is dedicated to that requester you know who you are. ;)
So here we are dear and gentle readers.
Rated something or another… most likely M just in case. I own nothing. Please enjoy .Some artistic license was taken.
The monsters were everywhere. He saw them, of course he saw them. They crawled over the planet like a pestilence in his worst nightmares that only thoughts of the Geth used to occupy. Now all he saw were these multi-eyed, winged, and deadly things. His doctor said he would get better. That it was a natural response to the trauma and exposure he had endured. Perhaps they were right. Or the monsters were just capable of cloaking themselves.
Veetor wasn't entirely sure anymore.
He still jumped at the sound of buzzing whenever he heard it aboard the flotilla. Those insects… he could feel them crawling all over his suit again. Searching, and waiting for something he could not understand but he knew they wanted the humans.' Those colonists,' Veetor's hands twitch in response to thinking about them.
'So many screams', he pondered darkly, 'so many helpless people. Keelah, I should have saved them. I should have protected them.'
The way Commander Shepard had protected him.
Every time his reflections fell on that one particular human, his heart clenches tightly and his stomach threatens to split in two. He remembered looking at the screens and believed she was a mirage. Because Tali'Zorah had been a mirage to him with her team and he had to activate the mechs to protect himself from the monsters or the things that could have been faces worn by monsters.
His head fell into his hands as he sat down heavily, trying to make sense of the scenes flowing behind his mind's eye like the streams he had seen for the first time on his pilgrimage. It was difficult to sort out the delusional false memories from the true ones.
Yet, he had seen the striking human staring defiantly up at one of the cameras. Her eyes had been calculating, he had practically been able to see the conclusions she had drawn on her face. Yes, he remembered her looking straight at him through the screen, her hands on her weapon looking so cautious but so…
He laid the majority of the weight of his head in one three-fingered hand for a moment, and let his other rest on his knee. Shepard, she had been compelling the moment he had seen her. She confused him because the humans were all gone. They had been taken, hadn't they?
He stumbled to recall, and his memories yielded the same result. Indeed, they had all been gone. However, there had been three humans suddenly there from a ship he couldn't recognize. Veetor had given up almost all hope that the fleet was coming for him. One lone quarian who hadn't even completed his pilgrimage yet… who would risk their life for him?
Shepard had, and so had Tali'Zorah with her team. He had watched the interaction between them with delirium nipping at his mental stability too harshly to truly understand what was occurring. Tali'Zorah had known the human commander. So much time in their suits had allowed the quarian species as a whole to understand body language with the same readability as facial expressions.
He had been too distracted or perhaps too far into a hallucination to stop the heavy mechs from wounding the quarian team. It was a deep shame for him to have harmed one of his people's though he was not blamed for the incident due to his illness at the time. His doctor had explained to him all too easily how bad his infection had been once he was safely placed with his people. Yet, Veetor did not excuse his actions. They were reprehensible and they had forced Shepard to fight them leaving Tali'Zorah to stay behind to treat the wounded.
He was caught by a wave of self-loathing that he had almost harmed the human Commander.
'That', he recalled with tremors shaking his body in ill-contained excitement, 'was when I met Shepard.'Veetor could not stop his body from tensing up, both in remembered fear and awe. She was human, not quarian. She had been an unknown when he was terrified and injured. Veetor could not recall what he had rambled, only that he had been talking.
Then his memories flashed to her there, so close to him in that room. Her voice had been so very soft. Soothing tones, gentle body language, concern bright on her face and reaching for him as he swam in madness brought on by bacteria. The quarian male shook at the recollection, too caught up in emotion to stop himself.
"No monsters," he had said, "No swarms. No no no." It is all he grabs in his mind. It repeats each day like a litany and even his dreams had continued the phrase.
He could still hear her voice. "It's alright now Veetor. Nobody is going to hurt you anymore," she had stated. Her gentle words had convinced him she was not a monster, but a hallucination could still have been possible. She'd kept her voice comforting as he'd told her about the seeker swarms, the freezing colonists, and the monsters. He had pushed his findings from his omnitool to hers, and she'd thanked him kindly.
The other human, the mean one he decided later, had wanted him to go with them. Veetor could not recall why that had been bad, only that Tali'Zorah had been furious at the idea. He recalled being upset by the heated words he had trouble following.
Commander Shepard, his heart swelled in remembrance of her face. Her lips pressed tightly and alien eyes that had turned hard to defend him. Protect him, and he shuddered at the jumbled memory. "He's traumatized and he needs medical care," she had said so fiercely it sent a ripple of longing through him, " We have the omnitool data. Tali will take him to the Flotilla." Home. He had recognized the words. Shepard had ordered to send him home. "Veetor," Shepard had said so achingly sweet to him, "you're going to be alright now. Do you understand? No more monsters."
She had said those words to him, and still sometimes he saw them when no one was around. The doctor reminded him over and over again that it would be a while yet until he had fully recovered. It ate at his restless soul to have to wait. He wanted to see Shepard again, and to thank her. He had pestered Tali'Zorah for information on the human as much as he'd dared. What she had not told him, he had shyly looked up on the extranet.
His mind and heart inflamed for the human who braved the monsters and mecs. He whimpered in his enviro-suit at the thought of her and the images that accompanied thinking about her. The fleet whispered of the quarian she'd saved on Omega not so long after and of course over Tali'Zorah's rescue by Shepard on multiple occasions. The way she had treated other quarians on pilgrimage in Illium and the Citadel had caused considerable good will toward the unusual human.
Veetor worried sometimes that he was just another name on the list of people she'd saved; and if it were so he was still grateful to have his life but his blood thrummed with wanting to be more to her. More than just a half-insane quarian she found on Freedom's progress.
He raised his head and took a deep breath, the sound was louder than someone outside of a suit. His hands clasped together at the thought. The kindness she'd shown him. He wanted more of that. He wanted Shepard to look at him and smile the way she had at Tali'Zorah Vas Neema.
'Vas Normandy,' he corrected mentally.
Tali'Zorah was considered a traitor right now. She would have to come back to the Flotilla for the trial, which meant that Shepard would be here. Veetor nervously jiggled his right leg. Shepard who was captain to them, commander to her kind, and so radiant to look upon that the fact she was so alien to him didn't matter. Her human skin, the extranet had told him it was thinner and softer than what quarian skin was. Veetor had a very tough time trying to imagine what it felt like for all he had true knowledge of feeling was the inside of his suit. He flushed behind his helmet at the thought of touching her over-fingered hand if she was amenable to the idea of course, and if the room where sterilized so he would not relapse his healing progress.
He knew his doctor would be here soon to come and get him. He had begged and pleaded to be released from the medical ship long enough to attend the trial, and eventually he had worn the medical staff down to acceptance. He had fidgeted with his suit several times, making sure it was completely safe and relatively clean. His hands still shook as an after-effect of being so ill from his last suit puncture and it had made the task three times as hard. Veetor couldn't explain why he had to look presentable to Shepard Vas Normandy, since he had been an absolute wreck on Freedom's Progress, but he wanted…
The door opened to his left, and Veetor moved to stand, his legs trembling under his weight for a fraction of a moment. He could tell that his doctor was still displeased that he insisted on tiring himself out in this manner, but to him any fatigue was worth seeing Shepard again.
"Tali'Zorah Vas Normandy, and Shepard Vas Normandy have arrived for the trial. Come, we shall make our way there."
Veetor nodded, twice out of nervousness and sudden crippling tameness. "Y-Yes," he answered quickly and attempted to keep himself from stuttering. Even the mention of Shepard sometimes made him painfully shy, but to see her again cause his stomach to twist in an odd sort of way.
The long trek through the joined ships gave him a chance to work off some excess energy. He found himself worrying that she might not remember him. Shepard had saved so many, how was one more hero-worshipping awe-struck quarian going to make an impression? He felt himself heat up in shame. He was nearly consumed by what the human had done for him, yet it was unlikely she'd given him a second thought.
He didn't want to go to the trial anymore, and rubbed his arm in hesitation. It was already too late however, for they had reached the trial, and his eyes locked onto Shepard in the span of a heartbeat. His suit filtered and translated her hauntingly sweet voice as she defiantly stood in defense of Tali'Zorah. Veetor had already assumed Tali'Zorah was innocent, for Shepard would never take a traitor on her crew, Shepard was too upstanding for that. In his mind, there was no other way Shepard could be.
His rapidly beating heart stopped dead in his chest when Shepard volunteered to re-take the Aleri.
"Shepard?" He nearly vibrated with unabashed excitement. "how did you get onto the Rayya?" He knew the answer, but was not sure if he was supposed to know she was coming. He had recovered enough to have some wits about him. She is here and everything made such clear sense again.
"Shepard is here to help me with my trial," Tali'Zorah interrupted, but Veetor only had eyes for Shepard ; not that anyone could truly tell under his helm.
"Oh yes," he stumbled out adoringly, "I heard about that." He could not help himself from trying to lear all that he could on this particular human. Veetor politely turned his head toward Tali'zorah as he attempted not to let himself be caught focusing on Captain Shepard. "I hope you didn't really do what they said you did," he stated not unkindly though in his heart of hearts he knows she couldn't have because she is with Shepard.
Tali'Zorah shook her head at him. "No Veetor, I would never endanger the fleet."
He nearly hummed with acknowledgement, but chose instead to stay focused on the object of his affection. "Oh well, good." Veetor did not care about the trial, except that it brought Shepard so achingly close to him that he almost forgot to breathe so affected was he. "So can I help you with anything?" He nearly spat out the words as fast as they could form in his head. She was so very close to him with the same sweetly concerned look on her face. "I mean, probably not-but you helped me."
He felt the statement said it all. Shepard had helped him, had saved him from the monsters, and he would move his home world of Rannoch into another galaxy for her if she asked it.
Shepard smiled at him and he felt his whole body alight with a pleasantly warm sensation. His suit felt far too tight at that smile which seemed to be just for him. 'Oh Keelah,' he thought happily.
"Tali could use some friends right now. Would you be willing to tell the Admirals how she helped you?" Shepard truly was living up to his expectations of a selfless and exotic human who went out of her way to help quarians. Veetor felt deeply touched considering his peoples history since losing their world had been fraught with discourtesy and abuse.
"No!" He twitched in horror at his mistake when Shepard stared at him confused. "I mean yes," he stumbled a little when she immediately relaxed into another kind smile. "but, I already did! They came to see me, but I didn't want to talk in front of the crowd," he nearly whispered the last part in abject shame. He wanted Shepard to like him and not think him a coward.
His doctor came to his defense, and he hoped it made his seem less cowardly. "Veetor is doing better, but is not up for public speech just yet."
Veetor bounced in agitation, excitement, and a growing need to be closer to Shepard.
"I talked to them," he reiterated quickly, "so did that soldier Kal'Reegar. We both told them how you helped up." He knew if she could see the man behind the damn helmet, she would have been able to tell how much he desperately wanted to do anything that would please her. "I hope it helped," he stated shyly, craning his neck downward in an obvious display of quarian infatuation.
His doctor and Tali'Zorah held their tongues about it and Veetor was grateful.
"I'm sure it did Veetor," Tali'Zorah interjected, "Thank you." However, it was not her thanks he wanted but that of a certain human. He wanted Shepard to see him and to know he felt for her. Veetor had not been able to find much on human courting rituals, but if they were like the quarian; he would have to wait until Shepard indicated interest to pursue her.
Shepard shifted uncomfortably and Veetor's eyes were riveted to her once more. Her eyes softened and she placed a suited hand on his shoulder. He tried to dispel the imagining that he could feel her human heat through two suits. "Do you remember anything new about… the Collectors?" Her tone was apologetic and cautious. "Anything at all?" Her question was almost too quiet to here.
A shudder ran through the length of his body. "Nothing new. I'm sorry," and he truly, deeply was, "Every time I go back to that place in my mind… I…I…"
'See monsters,' he finished in his thoughts, but outwardly his body tensed up again and he rambled.
Shepard grabbed him by the shoulders, gently but firmly. Her face smiling softly at him, with such understanding shining in her eyes that it made his own water slightly in response. "It's alright Veetor," her voice saying his name sounded like a caress, "come back to us. It's okay."
She said 'us', all he heard was 'me'.
He fidgeted under her gaze. "I want to help. I do."
Shepard shushed him and told him that he had done everything right. "We are going to find the things that did this, and we are going to kill them," she promised sincerely.
"Good," he replied firmly, "thank you." His whole heart behind his words.
"Take care of yourself Veetor," and he basked in her sweetness, "not many could go what you went through and come out sane."
He wasn't certain he was any longer. Yet, after her words had penetrated he realized one horrible fact that caused his stomach to clench so painfully he shook all over. Shepard was leaving again.
"I know," he whispered forlornly because Shepard was so wonderful and he was so very broken. "I didn't." He bounced up slightly in regret of having shared too much. "But thank you Commander," he insisted while using her correct title. "It's only because of your help that I've come this far."
Then she shocked everyone present by leaning in, and kissing his helmet, right where his cheek would have been.
"You'll get through this Veetor'Nara Nar Rayya ," she stated assuredly, "I have faith in you."
He blushed under his helm, his blood rushing to his face and causing him to bounce all the more. "It's Vas Tonbay now…"
A strange indentation appeared in Shepard's cheek that had Veetor utterly fascinated. "Veetor'Nara Vas Tonbay," she restated as if tasting the words on her alien pink tongue that Veetor had read quite a bit about accidentally, "I like it. It suits you."
His heart swelled with pride and his omnitool blipped as his suit went to adjust is increased heart rate, mistaking it for a breech in his suit structure.
When she had defended Tali'Zorah so passionately, Veetor had known his strange reaction to her was more than mere infatuation. He was in love with Shepard Vas Normandy and strangely jealous that Tali'Zorah was now known as Vas Normandy. Veetor would have paid dearly to have Shepard as his Captain. He had to stop his hand several times from reaching toward her as she told the admirals off and rescued Tali'Zorah from exile. He aborted another attempt of his to touch the human. He had stood after the trial, waiting to speak with her once more. He ducked his head shyly when he locked eyes with her while she finished speaking with Kal'Reegar.
It appeared that the ancestors had other plans for Shepard though, when he overheard her being told to return to the ship to solve some sort of dispute. He'd watched fixated as she quirked her human lips up in a grin. Veetor bounced a little to shake his mounting agitation over possibly not being able to speak with her.
She waved to him, a human gesture of departing he had read. His arm trembled as he waved back. His eyes still saw monsters lurk in every corner when she was apart from him. Desperation and perhaps, a touch of his current mental instability caused him to follow her down the long corridor where the Normandy, her ship, was docked. He vaguely registered his Doctor's protests as he moved swiftly after Shepard.
With great effort to stop his shaking, he reached her just in time to grab her elbow firmly. Shepard whirled around with wide eyes as she registered it was him.
"Veetor?" Her tone held her startled question in the forefront of his mind.
"I had… I had to thank you again," he ducked his head shyly as his body twitched under the pressure of talking to her.
"Go ahead Tali," she ordered naturally. Her gaze turned back to him and his breath caught in his chest, which was rather unpleasant in his suit. "You don't have to keep thanking me Veetor," she reprimanded gently.
"No, I know! I just. You make the monsters go away," he uttered truthfully.
He watched the confusion unfold into understanding and concern on her face. Concern, he noted absent mindedly, never pity. Veetor was so sick of pity.
Unexpectedly, Shepard caught him in a hug. She was smaller than he was, he realized for the first time for he was on par with an adult human male's height. Her body molded against his, causing him to tremble and clutch at her. He was startled by how much he needed someone to hold him, and he had not understood that until she wrapped her arms around him.
"Hey now," she said right next to his helmet, her head tucked by his neck and he ached just to touch her outside of his suit. He longed to smell her scent and feel her hair run through his fingers. "It's going to be alright."
Before he understood what he was doing, he unclipped the face plate to his helmet. Shepard gasped.
"What are you doing? You could get sick again-"
He cut off her rant by settling his lips over hers. The extranet had told him humans kissed this way, and that was similar enough to quarians. He took cautions though, not to invade her mouth with his tongue for he did not know how sick that could make the both of them."
"V-Veetor," she stuttered once he pulled himself away from her, her eyes seemed much brighter without his shield in the way. He clicked it back into place, knowing he would be swimming in antibiotics later for this one indulgence.
He felt giddy and remorseful for he had not waited as he ought to have for the female to make the first move. He watched her comically wide eyes as she looked at him. He noticed that her face changed color when she blushed as well. Humans were not all that dissimilar from quarians, a few obvious things aside.
"Is… is that how quarians say 'thank you'?' Her voice sounded slightly strained through his suit filters once more.
"Uh, I… no," he whispered suddenly shy.
"Oh thank goodness," Shepard replied brushing a lock of her human hair behind her ear.
"I'm sorry," he forced out in dread, "I should've-"
"No," she said equally forcefully, "no. You did nothing wrong. I…" her eyes searched his mask intently, "I… care deeply about the quarian people."
The way she stressed the words caused Veetor to understand her meaning. She looked down quietly and for a moment they traded places. He could not stop the confident and goofy smile that spread over his face. Shepard. The Shepard, no, His Shepard for he was not going to give her up again; felt something for him as well.
So much passed between them without the need for words or vocal expression, and the easy feeling of being wanted filtered through his thoughts.
She had feelings for quiet and shy Veetor. Who still saw monsters both while awake and in dreams. He gently lowered his helmet to touch her forehead, his arms wrapping around her as if she were a life line.
"Exposing ourselves, or linking our suits with someone else is the greatest amount of trust a quarian can show." He explained for her benefit, "it also indicates a willingness for intimacy…" his words trailed off.
"Are you saying what I think you're saying?"
He nodded his head against her, reveling in their embrace. "My immune system won't be strong enough for a few weeks yet… but…"
Shepard pulled back and looked at him, her cheeks faintly still red and Veetor felt at a loss for words.
"I… um… I think I have to come back to the flotilla for some other business for Tali," she mumbled and glanced downward.
His suited hand traced her cheek tenderly. "I want this to work, I do."
He watched her gaze soften in that gentle understanding she always had toward him. "So do I."
"Uh, Shepard? You really need to come back here and stop this fight. We're running out of chairs in the comm room," a male voice interrupted urgently.
"I have to go," she stated with genuine regret in her words.
Veetor nodded, and watched her leave while waving goodbye. He rested his head on the glass window nearby and looked out on her ship. His heart throbbed painfully as he watched it take off, but she would be back he knew. Then there would be a moment between them free of problems and monsters. A moment just for them, he promised himself.
"Keelah Se'lai," he whispered to the retreating figure of her ship's thrusters, "my love."