So this fic was originally written for a prompt on the good old Mass Effect Kink Meme, which essentially asked for a story about Shep and Garrus eloping after their Citadel date. I figured I may as well post it here as well since I spent aages writing it on and off over the last few busy months and I'm happy enough with it.
It's pretty much pure, unadulterated fluff the whole way through and will be rated 'M' before the end for smuttiness. I think I'll post a short section every couple of nights over the next week or so as I definitely want to fine tune some parts before leaving them here.
As always, reviews are welcome and much appreciated, particularly because they help me improve as a writer.
A constant buzz of noise surrounded Shepard as she made her way with Garrus through the Presidium Commons, to which she was frequently adding her own voice and laughter. For once, nothing differentiated her behaviour from that of the Citadel's most carefree inhabitants who didn't seem to grasp the peril faced by the galaxy in the war with the Reapers. She had good reason though for swapping her usual serious demeanour for a more relaxed one tonight. Garrus was in the midst of treating her to what had so far been the best date of her life and, dammit, she deserved to enjoy it. Duty and all her responsibilities could wait for just a short while. For him.
He'd already driven her to the top of the Presidium where they'd shared a romantic moment complete with a sniping contest. She'd let him win of course. He'd earned it for being such a sweet-heart, if not for actually being the proven better shot. Now they were looking out for a restaurant in which to indulge in a nice meal. Preferably somewhere classy, intimate and quiet. Certainly somewhere with a selection of both levo and dextro-cuisine so neither of them would be left hungry.
Before they could complete their search for good food, however, an advertising terminal succeeded in thoroughly diverting their attention. It activated as they approached the window of a quarian restaurant, a pretty, but blurry purple asari suddenly appearing on its screen and calling out to them.
"Why hello there, Officer Vakarian and Commander Shepard!" she said, talking like she was an old friend of theirs and not some figment made of pixels. "I see you're out on the town again, enjoying your seventy-second trip to the Citadel in each other's charming company. Together, you've visited many well-known romantic locations including Rodam Expeditions, Aeghor Munitions and *out of bounds: data unavailable*."
Laughing, Shepard stopped in front of the advert and raised her eyebrows suggestively at Garrus. He grinned back, but then the Asari continued to babble at them and her mouth as well as his mandibles fell slack.
"Are you two gorgeous lovebirds ready to take the next step in your relationship?" she asked. "Do you want to make the move from mere mates to husband and wife? Then come to the Chapel of the Eight Banners tonight for a wedding you'll never forget. There's no waiting; we have special Council approval to take you through all the annoying legal mumbo jumbo ourselves. Plus, our eloquent ministers are trained in many turian and human wedding traditions so you can take your pick. We can even provide human style wedding rings or use our tattooing facilities to paint you with matching markings in a relatively pain-free procedure. It's entirely your choice!
"You just need to bring your two lovely selves and we can get started. So if you're interested in pledging your eternal loyalty and devotion to each other tonight, come see us on the fifth level of the Presidium Commons. Just ask the nearest Avina terminal for directions from wherever you're standing are right now. We've already married hundreds of couples and sincerely hope to have the pleasure of marrying you soon!"
The asari disappeared only to be replaced by a hazy shot of the chapel and the sounds of the human wedding march mixed with a bizarre trumpeting noise which Shepard could only guess was turian in its origins. Five awkward seconds of that passed before the advert shut up for good, leaving her and Garrus to stare at each other with no idea of what to say now silence had finally returned to them.
God. Maybe she should have just kept walking like she usually did when one of those damn things triggered and started trying to sell her a funeral shroud, bottle of pheromones or whatever else.
The problem wasn't that she didn't want to marry Garrus. She did. In him, she'd found the rare treasure of a best friend as well as a boyfriend and she intended to hold on to him for as long as possible. No, the problem was that despite her feelings on the subject being stark and in-focus, Garrus' remained an unknown. Though turians entered into lifelong, exclusive marriages just like humans and the two of them fitted together perfectly, it didn't necessarily follow that he would be ready to consider entering into a legally binding union with her yet.
She cleared her throat as if the action would somehow clear her head as well. "Well that was pretty presumptuous," she said. "Usually, if a couple gets pressurised to marry it's by relatives, not some random advert."
"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Besides, what kind of couple is going to be convinced by an ad to get hitched? I know you've agreed to be a one turian kind of woman, and I can assure you I'm a one human kind of man, but we don't need to rush into anything before we're both absolutely sure we want to." He paused for a half-beat. "Not that I'm, uh, suggesting I'd actually be averse to marrying you of course. You're definitely the type of woman worth marrying."
His bearing suddenly became that of a turian who feared they'd revealed too much and he clamped his mandibles down tightly as if to ensure no further thoughts along those lines could escape. But she didn't have a problem with any of it. Quite the opposite really. What he'd just said more than earned its place amongst the collection of the best things she'd ever heard. It had maybe even beaten off all the competition and claimed the top spot.
"Garrus," she said quickly, placing her hand firmly on his arm to steady his nerves. "I'm certainly not averse to the idea of marrying you either. Tonight or at any other time. I'd love to be the girl who gets to tie a dashingly handsome sharp-shooter like you down for life."
"You…you really want to get married? Already? To me?" The gears in his head seemed to be struggling to turn while he processed the concept.
"Of course to you, Garrus. Who else?"
"Huh. That's…well, that's…fantastic." His voice melted down into a soft purr. "I have to admit, when you said you loved me earlier, I thought for just a moment about what it would be like to ask you to marry me right there and then at the top of the Presidium. But I figured it was still too early to risk it. I didn't want to freak you out and spoil the moment."
"As you can see, I'm not freaked out at all by anything you've said."
Head cocked to one side, he glanced at her appraisingly. "No, you're really not. You look happy."
"So why don't you ask me?"
The words seemed to soar out of her mouth from somewhere deep inside her, no doubt propelled forward by all the emotions coursing through her body. But she felt no desire to try to scramble them back. She meant them.
Oh yes, she definitely meant them.
"If you want to, then yes. Go right ahead."
"I…wait, do you mean ask you to marry me tonight, here on the Citadel in that chapel? Or just sometime in the future?"
"Whichever you prefer." She smiled at him encouragingly. Very encouragingly. "My answer will be exactly the same. And here's the best thing; it won't be a 'no'."
"I'm, ah, not sure how to ask you properly. The vids didn't exactly include instructions on proposing either. I'm meant to give you a shiny ring to wear on your finger as a present, aren't I? But I haven't got one."
"I don't care about that, Garrus. I'd say ask me the turian way, but I know turian engagements officially begin when a couple starts to draw up a marriage contract together and I really don't think we need one of those."
"No. We definitely don't."
"Then why not forget the cultural norms, human and turian, and just ask me your way? If you want to."
"Okay." With a tender look on his face, he stepped towards her, leaving no gap at all between them, "I think I can just about manage that without screwing it up."
Eyes never leaving hers, he placed one of his hands gently on her cheek. With the other, he took her own hand and laid it against his chest. Through his tough plates, muscle and bone, she could she feel his heart hammering erratically away in his chest. She wondered if he realised.
"I love you, Shepard." His voice was unsteady, much like his heartbeat, yet somehow still determined as he said those three words out loud for the first time. "I'd be honoured to call you my wife because...well, because you're you. Will you marry me tonight in that ridiculous chapel?"
"Yes," she said.
Almost as soon as the answer left her lips, he pulled her into an embrace, which was probably a damn good thing because she highly suspected she'd become too overwhelmed to keep speaking in any intelligible sort of manner. Even someone of her strong constitution and steely nerves refined by hundreds of battles couldn't quite handle all of this. Ten minutes ago they'd been walking along as a mere couple boyfriend and girlfriend. Now they were engaged. By end of the night they'd be married.
"I guess the advert worked on us after all," he said, when they finally drew apart after God knows how long. "That's actually incredibly embarrassing."
She laughed. "If we ever tell someone else the story of how we ended up getting hitched on a night out together, we'll just conveniently forget to mention that part. Anyway, it's not like it would have had any effect if we hadn't already wanted to marry each other."
"Very true. So we're really gonna do this tonight, huh, Shepard?"
Another positive answer was the only correct response to that question. "Without a doubt, Garrus."
"Do you want to run hand in hand to the chapel right now then?"
"If you think you can stand a very minor delay, I'd like to change first." She gestured towards herself and the no longer crisp uniform she'd been wearing all day. "I'd just rather not get married in this. I don't have anything quite right stashed in my closet either, but there are plenty of nice clothes shops around here. I'm sure I could pick something up."
"Maybe I should change too. Heavy armour's not usually considered appropriate wedding attire even in turian culture and you know how much we love our military. Plus, it's not exactly romantic. How about we split up now and both try to find something a bit more classy?"
"And then meet at the chapel in a couple of hours?"
"Certainly sounds like a perfect plan to me, Shepard."
They always had been good at strategizing together. Apparently, it made no difference whether they were making battle plans or organising an impromptu wedding.
Thanks for reading the first little chapter :)
Provided my busy schedule allows it, the next part should post Tuesday.