This has gone through a couple different version. This, now, is the original, short version, somewhat revised. The version that became Shepard's Turian Adventure, more or less, is on my Palaven Blues profile under the name Insurgence (link is on this profile).
Jane Shepard shifted her grocery bags, trying to get a better grip before the straps cut through her hands.
"Want me to carry one?" her friend Tali asked.
Jane snorted, looking through the thick, tinted glass at the face she could barely see. "I don't think so. Last time we went shopping together, you managed to slip one of your dextro protein bars in my bags. I puked for approximately a week, you know."
"Keelah, maybe you should look at the labels, instead of scarfing down anything which does not run away from you first." She pushed Shepard's shoulder lightly, and Jane grinned, pushing back.
"You should quit trying to poison all your friends. I know you think you're special, being the only sapient dextro race but – what was that?"
Jane froze, spooked. She glanced around, but all she could see was the usual Citadel crowd: liberal amounts of batarian and asari and salarian, a fair amount of humans and quarians, and just a sprinkle of others.
"What was what?" Tali asked. "Oh, that's a good restaurant."
Jane barely glanced at the restaurant, instead trying to peer into the darkened alley that ran beside it. She set her bags down carefully and stepped forward, omni-blade arm held out stiffly. The years of self-defense her father had given her were augmented by her job as a bouncer. Whatever it was, she was certain she could handle it.
As she took her second step into the alley, she heard a scuffling noise. Whatever it was knew that she was here, now.
"Tali, light," Jane said quietly. The alley flooded with light, and Jane reacted at first without thinking, raising her omni-blade and crouching slightly, ready. Then she saw it was only a stray turian that had been rummaging through the dextro restaurant's trash, frozen now because of the light.
Jane lowered her arm, laughing at herself. "Jeez, big guy, you gave me a scare."
"Ew, Jane, leave it."
"Aw, but he looks hungry. Are you hungry, buddy? Are you?" The turian watched her warily, eyes flicking between her and her friend. "What have you got against turians, anyway?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe the giant claws that would rip my suit and leave me fighting for my life? Or maybe because they're dirty. Let's go, Shepard." Tali sighed, already knowing that this wasn't going to turn out well.
"In a minute," Shep muttered. Without breaking eye contact, she stepped backwards toward Tali, reaching into the quarian's groceries.
"Hey, stop it! Those are expensive!"
"He's hungry, Tali. I'll pay you back, don't worry." She slowly unwrapped the food she'd gotten from Tali. She knew turians were dextro, like the quarians, and he was clearly interested once she'd opened the food.
"You want this, buddy? Come on, you're hungry, come on, boy." Her voice had gone high and sing-songy, and Tali snorted light laughter behind her. Shep ignored her and watched as the big turian crept forward. She was dismayed to see how skinny he was.
"Look, Tali, no one's been feeding him for a long time."
"It's a stray, a feral. Leave it alone. You know they say you can't trust them unless they're properly trained by a good owner."
"He's not gonna hurt me, I can tell. Right, big guy? Come on, that's it." The turian crept closer until he could snag the food, some kind of meat wrap, in his talons. Then he backed away a few paces and crouched, attacking the little wrap.
"Look how hungry, Tali!"
"Look how toothy, Shepard," Tali returned.
Jane eyed the teeth, admitting to herself that Tali was right about those. Not that she'd ever tell Tali that. She really didn't need something that toothy loose in the house. But the way he was looking at her … almost as if he was begging for her help.
Once he'd finished with the wrap, he started sidling forward again, blue eyes locked on her grey ones, sniffing the air delicately to see if there would be more food forthcoming.
"Aw, come on, buddy, you're friendly, aren't you?" Jane patted her leg, encouraging the animal to come closer.
The turian kept his ice blue eyes on her, watching for any sign that she would start yelling, probably. He looked like he'd been abused.
"He was definitely someone's pet, though, Tali. Look at him."
The turian had reached Jane now and started nuzzling her hand, looking back up at her face in between each head-bump to confirm her continuing good mood. She couldn't just leave him out on the street, could she? She looked to her friend, eyes wide and lip pooched out.
"Take it to a shelter," Tali advised.
Jane sighed. Tali was probably right … Jane knew from experience she couldn't even keep fish alive. It would be a disservice to the animal to take it home if she couldn't take care of it. She unbuckled her belt, and the turian cringed back.
"No, no, buddy, I'm not gonna hit you. I just need a leash to safely walk you. It's okay. Come on, come smell it. It's not dangerous." She held the belt out, waiting while he smelled it to assure himself it was not a threat. Once he seemed comfortable, she slipped it around his neck. He stiffened, but didn't fight it. Clearly, he had been walked on-leash before.
Tali snorted. "He is going to pull," she predicted. "The belt will choke, and you are going to end up mauled. When you wake up in the hospital, I am going to be laughing at you, still."
"Don't be so melodramatic. He knows how to walk on a leash. Don't you, boy?" She gave a light tug and the turian moved, sticking close to her side, which was all the distance the jury-rigged "leash" would allow.
Jane led him out of the alley, making soothing noises the whole time. Tali was busy on her omni-tool, muttering to herself about unprovoked animal attacks.
"Whatcha doin', Tali?"
"Finding a shelter for that monster. You cannot keep it, it is bigger than you are."
The turian flicked his mandibles at that, and Jane reassured him. "Oh, no you're not a monster. Oh, no you're not! Oh, no you're not!" She let her hand drop to his crest, nearly at her own head height even though he was still crouched. She started scratching him under the crest and he made a light keening sound.
"You have got to be kidding me," Tali said. "That thing is still intact. Do you have any idea how much noise an intact turian can make? You are definitely not keeping it. Let's go." Tali grabbed her grocery bags again and started walking briskly away. "We are getting it to a shelter now."
Jane sighed and reached for her own groceries, but the turian grabbed them first, flinching away from her as if she might hit him for it. Her heart broke as she watched him cringing away from her.
"Hey, don't be scared, buddy. If you want to carry for me, I won't complain. Come on, now." She gave another little tug to the leash and he started to walk beside her. He must have been a house-pet, he was just too well trained. "What should I call you?" she wondered out loud.
"Do not name that thing!" Tali yelled from up ahead.
"What do you mean, you are full?" Tali demanded.
Jane could barely hear her, but the way she was waving her arms around at the clerk who manned the shelter's front desk was clear enough. Jane had hung back with the turian, since he seemed scared to go in. She ran a hand along his shoulder as he trembled.
"It's okay, big guy. Shhh, it's okay."
Tali stormed out a moment later. Jane could tell she was glaring even through the mask.
"They are full," Tali said.
Jane waited. She knew she didn't need her friend's permission to keep an animal. They didn't even live together, not since Tali had married that Kal'Reegar guy. But still, she waited.
"If you are keeping it, you need to buy food for it, at least," Tali said, giving up.
"Do you hear that, big guy? You're coming home with me, yes, you are, yes, you are!" Jane grinned at her new turian, and he seemed to grin right back, mandibles wide. If he was a dog, he'd be wagging.
"Do you have to do that voice every time you talk to it?" Tali punched a few numbers into her omni-tool. "Kal, hi. Look, I might be a little late. No, it's just – I know, but –"
"Tali, I can manage. You go home." Jane didn't want to get Tali in trouble and she could handle this on her own.
"Never mind, Kal, I'm on my way. I'll see you soon, love." Tali sighed as she hung up. "You be careful with that thing. Do not have your hands in the bowl when you feed it, okay? And do not let it sleep on the bed or it will think it's in charge." Tali pointed a stern finger at Jane before picking up her groceries and heading home, walking a little more quickly than normal.
Jane watched her go, momentarily worried about the two of them. Then her turian nudged his head into her arm and she forgot about them.
"Hold on a second," she told him, handing him the end of his leash. She played around with her omni-tool until she found a pet store that was willing to deliver. "Bed, food … ooh, a turian naming book … jeez, you're expensive." She laughed when the turian seemed to quail in response to that. "No, don't feel bad, sillypants."
It was so weird how he seemed to understand everything she said. And the hands, turians must be smart as pyjaks. Her turian waited patiently while she ordered everything she would need for him from the pet store.
"Okay, that should be it. Come on, buddy. Let's get home. They'll be there in fifteen minutes, we have to beat them. Come on." She patted her thigh and broke into a jog. The turian matched her pace easily, even carrying her groceries and his own leash. As she ran, she noticed just how many other people were out walking their own turians. She caught a few looks, herself; hers was the only turian that was currently off-leash. Shep snorted. They really should learn to train their animals. She'd only just gotten a turian, and she'd already trained him to behave off-leash.
Jane was panting lightly by the time she got to her apartment door. Her turian was not panting at all; his long stride had allowed him to keep up effortlessly, even while carrying everything. Jane laughed at herself a bit as she unlocked the door and let them in.
The turian stepped inside cautiously, eyes wide as he tried to take in the entire apartment. She grabbed the groceries from him and headed for the kitchen, thinking she would let him just get used to the place for a bit. Instead, he followed her, nearly stepping on her heels as he made sure she couldn't leave him behind.
"I'm just going to the kitchen, big guy, calm down." She moved him back a little, trying to leave enough room for her to maneuver in the kitchen. He didn't seem to like that, but stayed put, fidgeting with the end of his improvised leash.
"Oh, hey, buddy, you don't have to wear that, still." She paused in putting things away, leaving the fridge open as she took the belt collar off him. She considered pulling it back through her belt loops, and instead decided to throw it into the living room. The turian flinched when she raised her arm.
"Hey, it's okay," she soothed. "Not gonna hit you, big guy." She finished shoving the rest of the groceries into the fridge without taking them out of the bags first; most of them were probably fridge stuff, she reasoned. "Let's go sit –" Shepard was interrupted by the chime of the door, and her turian stiffened, growling as he tried to place the noise.
"Easy, big guy, it's just –" Her turian brushed by her, nearly knocking her over in his mad dash to get to the door and scare off the apparent intruder.
"Hey!" She followed him and pulled him back from the door slightly. "Knock that off, mister! No, sir," she told him, waving one finger at him. He stopped growling immediately and stepped back from the door so Jane could open it.
"Hello," she said to the salarian who was waiting there, holding a large bag with several more at his feet.
"Delivery for Shepard?" he asked. "Turian bed, food, books, etc.?"
"Yes, that's me."
"Sign here," he told her, holding out his omni-tool for her electronic signature. Once she'd signed, he started shuttling all her merchandise through the doorway.
"New owner?" he asked, looking around.
"Uh … yeah." Jane's eyes narrowed slightly, sensing he was going somewhere with this.
"Did you register him?" the salarian asked.
He sighed, shaking his head. "Must be registered. Also, legally required to fix voices. Cannot own unaltered animal on Citadel. Very illegal. Very expensive if found out." The salarian coughed slightly after his quick speech.
Is this a shake-down? "Well, he is fixed. Quiet as a –" Her turian chose that moment to start growling again, as the salarian deliveryman had just stepped a little too close to her.
"I see. Should also get him … ah, the other kind of fixed," he said, pointing to the turian's crotch. "Males tend to get protective. Can be dangerous. Not legally required, however …." The salarian trailed off, waiting.
"How much to get him registered?" Jane asked, glowering.
The salarian ignored her question, continuing with his pitch. "Can take care of through the store, bring license tag tomorrow. Bit of problem, with voice box intact, however."
Jane gaped. "You're a fucking criminal, you know that?"
"Not the one with illegal animal in apartment," the salarian pointed out, sniffing lightly.
"Fine," she grumbled, punching buttons on her omni-tool. "There you go."
"Pleasure doing business with you. Send his name over and I can bring a name tag for him tomorrow, as well."
Shepard shut the door on him before he could demand any more credits. Her turian was already going through the bags lightly. He wasn't taking anything out completely, just looking through curiously to see what she'd gotten.
"Well, are you hungry?" she asked him. He stopped sniffing around the folded-up bed she'd bought and stared at her, mandibles thrumming. Yes, it was a safe bet that was hungry.
A few minutes later, her turian was settled on the floor with a bowl of … well, not quite kibble. The pieces of whatever-it-was were big enough for him to pick up, kinda like the giant shredded wheat blocks. Except, nothing with those fucking teeth was going to be eating wheat. Jane sat on the couch, flipping through the turian raising guide. She guessed he must be full grown, as he towered over her. Jeez, she hoped he was full grown. Something else in the book caught her eye.
"You're not going to hump all the furniture, are you?" she asked. He seemed to look at her reproachfully. "Don't be offended, it was just a question." She tried to absorb all the information she'd need to get him situated into her house with no problems, but her eyes were glazing over already. Something about paper books just put her to sleep. After about the third time she forced her eyes back open, she saw that her turian had crawled up onto the couch with her, and was playing with the naming book.
"Oh, isn't that cute … hey, where'd you find a pen?"
The turian jumped up at the change in tone, backing away from her and crouching by the bookcase.
Jane got up, leaving her book on the couch. "Let me see it." She held her hand out until he placed the pen in it, careful not to poke her with it. "And the book," she insisted, holding out her other hand. He gave it back to her, shaking slightly, and she couldn't help it; she had to reassure him.
"Easy, big guy, easy," she whispered, stroking his cowl. It was just at the right level with him sitting on the floor. He stayed tense for a moment, then wrapped his long arms around her legs, burying his face in her thigh. He certainly was friendly. She flipped through the book he'd been playing with, wondering how badly he'd scribbled on it. Instead, she found a circled name. She started giggling; it looked like he had done it on purpose.
"So, I guess your name is Garrus then, huh?"
Garrus looked up at her, unsure why she was laughing. He spread his mandibles at her again; it really looked like he was smiling when he did that.
"Oh, all right, then. Garrus it is. Sir Garrus Scalypants, esquire." Garrus chuffed a bit at that, and Shepard relented. "All right, just 'Garrus.' Come on, I'm tired. I'm going to bed."
Garrus seemed to know that word, as he scrambled to his feet and raced her into the bedroom. She was still grabbing the plush bed she'd bought for him and he was already gone. She dragged the heavy thing behind her, pausing in the doorway to turn on the light. Garrus was lying in the middle of her bed.
"I don't think so," she told him. She dragged the pet bed to the foot of hers and snapped her fingers, pointing at it. "Down."
Garrus looked at her sadly, mandibles drooping.
"No, sir. Down," she repeated, snapping her fingers again. He hung his head, crawling off of her comforter and settling on the clearly inadequate bed she'd spent so much on to get him.
Jane changed into her nightshirt, brushed her teeth, got ready for bed. The entire time she was aware of his intelligent, mournful eyes on her, asking why she'd make him sleep on the floor. He was still staring as she got into bed, snuggling deep under the covers. He rested his chin on the edge of the mattress.
And sighed, deeply.
Jane sat up and glared. "You are so manipulative, you know that?" she asked. "Fine, but just for tonight." She patted the comforter beside her and Garrus was instantly on the bed, bumping her arm with his forehead to show affection.
"Seriously, Garrus, leave me some bed, would you?"
He backed off just a little, leaving her enough room to sleep, but no more. Jane grumbled to herself, but she wasn't really upset. What was better than the unconditional love of a pet, an animal who looked as though he was dying of grief if he wasn't being petted that very second? She stroked his fringe lightly, smiling at the purring sound he made. She guessed she was one of those people now, the kind who let their animals sleep right up on the bed with them. At least she wasn't tucking him in; he could sleep on top of the damn blankets.
Jane woke to find her turian Garrus nuzzling her face. "Erg, jeez, knock that off," she fussed, pushing him away gently. She glanced at the clock, groaning. Looked like her new buddy was an early riser; she was up an hour earlier than she needed to be for work. Garrus nudged her shoulder, and she decided it was probably better she was up insanely early. She still had to walk him and feed him and all kinds of things before she could go, anyway.
"Okay, I'm up. Let me just pee, first." She stumbled toward the bathroom, dropping her panties to sit down.
Garrus was staring at her through the open door.
"Dude, occupied," she yelled, swinging for the door that was just past arm's length. His face disappeared briefly, but came back when he realized she couldn't reach. Jane got up to wash her hands, and Garrus snuck by her into the bathroom.
"Really not cool, Garrus, you're supposed to wait while –" She broke off mid-sentence when she turned the faucet off, but the water noise kept flowing.
He was using the toilet.
"Goddamn, you're smart," she whispered. She had heard someone claim you could train cats to use the toilet, and she knew turians were supposed to be smarter than them, but … she'd never heard of a turian going in the toilet unprompted.
He even flushed when he was done. He must really be as smart as a pyjak, at least.
"Good boy," she praised him, wanting to make sure he kept the habit. She'd have to walk him either way, but if he was using the bathroom properly, she wouldn't have to clean up any messes on their walks.
Jane threw on a pair of sweatpants; you shouldn't have to mind how you look when you're just taking the turian for a walk. Garrus was already grabbing his collar and leash when she got to the living room. He stood still while she fixed the collar around his neck, then nearly pulled her through the door as she opened it.
"Hang on, buddy," she said, looking to see what she had stepped on. Was she expecting a package? She opened the little yellow envelope to find the tags the deliveryman had promised yesterday.
"Hold still." She fiddled with the little metal rings, not wanting to take the collar off and put it back on. Garrus squirmed impatiently, ready to go already. "Now remember, you have to be pretty quiet. I already got your voice fixed, remember?" She pointed at him; he nuzzled her finger. I hope that means he understands. Then she started the walk, finding out all-too-soon that taking an untrained turian on a walk was more like being dragged behind a horse than anything else. After the fifth time she corrected him for pulling, she sighed to herself. She would have to get him enrolled in some kind of training class, but at least it looked like he'd use up all his energy before she had to leave him home while she went to work.
Ten hours later, Jane was feeling a little guilty as she leaned on the bar. Last week she'd agreed to drinks after work tonight, but that was before she'd adopted Garrus. Now, she tried to find a graceful way out early so she could make sure her turian was okay.
"Really, Charles, I do have to get going."
"It's early!" Charles put on a playful pout, batting his eyelashes. God, he had thick eyelashes for a guy. She really didn't want to end the date after two drinks.
"I've got liquor at my place," she offered, watching as his eyes went wide.
"Six months for a date, then straight to your place? Sure, let's go." He started to grab his jacket, while trying to finish his drink and pay the tab all at once. Jane smothered a snort. Well, he might be a little goofy, but he was a nice guy, wasn't he?
"Just gotta warn you, I have a brand-new turian at my place. Not aggressive, though."
"Sure, no problem. I love the little guys."
Garrus started keening before she'd even got the door open. Once she did, he immediately took all her personal space, nuzzling and touching lightly as though to assure himself she was really there.
"Affectionate little guy," Charles said, and Garrus stiffened.
"Easy, Garrus. This is my friend, okay?"
Garrus growled lightly over her shoulder, eyes locked on Charles's face. Jane poked him in the chest-plate.
"Hey! No, sir. Be nice."
Garrus immediately ducked his head, tags jingling.
"Aw, it's okay, buddy," Charles said, patting him on the shoulder. Garrus gave Shep a look that was clearly asking for permission to bite.
"Let's go in. Dinner time, big guy, you hungry?"
"I could eat something," Charles joked, letting his hand graze her ass.
"Little presumptuous. I thought I only invited you here for drinks?" She winked when she said it, though, before heading inside.
She showed Charles where to find the drinks while she poured Garrus a bowl of his Shredded Meat, or whatever it was called. When she bent to set it on the floor, Charles whistled appreciatively.
"It's a sad day when the bouncers look so much nicer than the dancers," he sighed.
"Oh, please. You've seen what you look like. So, do I get a private dance? I took you home."
"Hey, hey, don't abuse the dancers. Besides, I got the impression you wanted to take it slower than that." He handed her a drink and Shep took a sip, surprised at the taste. She didn't even know she'd had mixers.
"Take it slow, then," she agreed.
An hour later, Jane was pinned under Charles on the couch.
So much for slow. Although, to be fair, he was doing a very slow and thorough job of getting her warmed up. He stopped abruptly, sitting up.
"What's wrong?" she asked. He pointed, and she noticed Garrus, sitting with his face approximately three inches from hers.
"He, uh. Keeps growling in my ear."
"Garrus, no! Bad." She glared, but Garrus wasn't shrinking back. "He must think he needs to be alert in case you try something."
"I was trying," Charles muttered.
Jane grabbed his hand. "Come on, let's take it to the bedroom." A little fast, maybe, but she did like him, and he had been asking her out for a while. Plus, she was drunk; didn't seem like a bad idea.
They closed the door behind them, locking the turian out. Charles grabbed her, and they moved in the general direction of the bed, each trying to get undressed without breaking the kiss.
"Nice," he moaned once she'd discarded the bra. They fell onto the bed, all hands and heat and –
"The hell?" Charles asked. He was kneeling over her, looking at the door.
"Don't worry about it." She turned away to shout. "Garrus! Knock it off!"
Charles grimaced. "Does he maybe have a crate or something?"
"I'm sure he'll settle down in a minute, once he sees I'm not –"
Garrus burst through the door, then, snarling. Jane moved quickly, pushing Charles off and snatching Garrus's collar before he could attack.
"Garrus, no. Garrus, down!"
Charles didn't wait to see if she'd gain control of the animal, instead opting to grab as much of his clothing as he could and scramble away. Garrus calmed the moment Charles had left the bedroom.
"Garrus, stay!" Jane snapped, chasing Charles into the living room. "Hey, Charles, I'm sorry. Let me just put him in the bathroom –"
"Are you out of your mind? You need to get that thing trained. It's aggressive." He was fighting with a sneaker that turned out not to be his. He finally dropped it.
"He's not going to hurt you." Jane had her hands on her hips, irritated that she was standing here in panties and Charles was racing out the door.
"I'm not staying to find out. Forget this shit." He slammed the door as he left. Jane slowly turned, still topless, to look at Garrus.
He hid behind the bedroom door.
"Garrus, get out here." She waited while he slunk towards her, avoiding her gaze. "What do you think you're doing? You can't threaten guests."
His mandibles flicked; he appeared to have a different definition for "guests." She rubbed her face, trying to get rid of the sudden headache.
"You're taking a class. You can't be doing that when I have people over." She'd find a class on her lunch break tomorrow, she decided. For now, she was just going to bed.
"You just had to ruin it before I got any, didn't you?" She punched her pillow, flung the blankets around, kicking them until she was comfortable. "Stupid … untrained …." She was asleep fairly quickly, though, the night of drinking hitting her harder now that the fun part was over. She was already asleep when Garrus climbed up on the bed, claiming his spot next to her.
Jane shifted in her sleep, moaning.
"Change your mind?" she asked.
"Wasn't going to give up that easily." Charles grinned, then snagged her panties with his teeth, pulling them down while she laughed. He hovered over her a minute, just looking without making any contact yet. Then he slid lower, letting his hands graze her ribs and finally settle on her hips.
Shep felt herself buck a little as his tongue reached her bud, probing gently.
"God, yes. Oh, just like that …."
Charles started licking more energetically, growling into her warmth. Shep shivered at the vibrations. She was having a hard time keeping still for him. He gripped her tighter around the hips, keeping her immobile.
"God, Charles … yes …." She was getting close already; her hips fighting to lift up and meet him, she needed more, please Charles, please … His talons dug in, still trying to –
Wait. Jane opened her eyes to find Garrus bent over her, servicing her with that long blue tongue.
"Stop, no," she whimpered, but she'd woken too late. His talons dug deep as she writhed through her peak, trying and failing to stay quiet. His tongue never stopped until she stilled.
The moment she'd recovered, she was screaming at him, face flushed and eyes welling up. "What is wrong with you? Are you fucking sick?"
Garrus scrambled back, panic in his eyes. He fell off the far side of the bed and just cowered there. Jane grabbed the sheet and wrapped it around her.
Just an animal. Not his fault.
I'm fucking an animal! It'd better be someone's fault!
Garrus whined slightly, and suddenly she wasn't angry anymore, realizing how terrified he must be. Shit, she was scaring him. She had a responsibility to be a good owner, no matter how disgusting he acted. Besides, she hadn't bought a crate, or read the training guide, or anything.
"Garrus," she said quietly.
He whined again. Shit. He probably expected she was going to start beating him, or throw him out on the street where she'd found him. She sat down on the bed, brushing away the shame-tears.
"Garrus, come here, please."
He practically crawled, moving only a few inches at a time, cringing the entire time. Eventually, he crouched at her feet.
"Garrus, I'm not going to hurt you. But you can't do that again."
He looked at her, seeming not to understand this time. Shepard sighed before deciding to call into work. They could find someone else to discourage the mostly-female patrons from getting too handsy with the dancers. She needed to take him to a class now.