Last chapter inbound…
I have to admit a part of me is a little sad to finish the story already as I've really enjoyed posting here after taking such a long break from the site. Thanks to everyone who has placed this story on alert, favourited it or reviewed it. I really appreciate it :)
Two hundred and thirteen days later, Shepard and Garrus sat enjoying cool drinks with miles of white sand and blue sea stretched out in front of them. Most people would have declared the view to be beautiful, but what really made it so for Garrus were the two destroyed Reapers lying to the East in the depths of the water. They were just ugly, broken ornaments, waiting for someone to come along and sweep them up. He, on the other hand, remained mostly intact. As did Shepard, thank God, the Spirits or whatever could claim the credit for saving her. She'd been in a bad way directly after the final battle on Earth, but her condition had drastically improved since then.
"It doesn't get much better than this, does it?" he murmured as his gaze went on a leisurely wander over her bandage free, bikini clad form.
"I'd wager not, Garrus. Beautiful surroundings and you right beside me in a pair of speedos. How could you improve on that?"
"You do know I'm only wearing these because you made me."
They were bright blue, overly tight and ridiculous looking, to the extent that he felt glad that the only other people he could see apart from him and Shepard were just tiny specks off in the distance, almost indistinguishable from the rocks, palm trees and sand.
"But you look so good in them!" she exclaimed. "They show off your wonderful legs and that tight little ass of yours."
She smirked at him, eyes sparkling with mischief, but he saw the amusement disappear from her face a moment later when she took a sip of her drink.
"You okay, Shepard?" he asked.
"Yeah, yeah…" she replied, though there was a hint of pain in her voice nonetheless. "I just…pulled some of the scar tissue, I think. It's settling down already. Don't worry."
But he did. Just a little anyway. His memories of sitting by her hospital bedside were still too fresh for him to stay entirely rational about her safety and well-being. He could still perfectly hear the beeping of the machines she'd been tethered to and picture the terrible white dullness of the small room that had once confined her.
"Are you absolutely sure you're okay?" he said. "You went pretty pale for a second there. Do you need my help?"
"What, with drinking?" She laughed then placed her drink down on the ground so she could take his hand instead. To his relief, none of those movements seem to cause her any more pain. "Stand down and relax, Garrus," she said in a tone enriched strongly with affection, but also a certain measure of firmness. "No need to worry and start fussing and fretting over me all because of one little twinge."
"I know that, but…" He paused. "Just…just remember I'm always here if you do need help."
"Well," she said. "If you honestly don't mind, you could fetch my omni-tool for me and save me from the terrible hassle of getting up off my ass and looking for it. I left it somewhere inside, but I think I heard it go off a few minutes ago."
Immediately, he swung into action, dropping a tender kiss on her forehead and saying, "Anything for you," before walking the scant few metres to their rented beach hut. Made of leaves and wood, the hut was rather dwarfed by the palm trees standing tall around it. However, its small size suited the two of them just fine right now as a place to stay. They didn't want anything grand. They didn't want space. What they wanted was to be as close to each other as possible and have all the chaos of late replaced by a new simplicity.
"Thank you,'" she called out after him as he headed up the stairs and through the wide open door. "I'm not sure where exactly I left it. Maybe try the dresser?"
In actual fact, he found it dumped under some of her clothes beside the large, inviting bed that dominated the hut's central room. Neither of them had exactly taken the time to properly unpack since their arrival the previous night. They'd both been far too distracted by other more enjoyable matters like admiring the view and trying out said bed extensively and repeatedly.
To reward his triumphant return with the omni-tool in hand, she repaid his kiss from before then gave him a couple of extra pecks on both his cheeks as well as a final one on his nose.
"Anything important on there?" he asked, watching as her fingers danced over the device.
"Hmm…nothing galaxy shattering. No one's desperately calling for our help – thank God. Tali sent me a link to an extranet article about our marriage and what it might mean for interspecies relationships in this post-conflict era."
With alarming frequency, articles had been written about their relationship since they'd allowed the news of their marriage to be capitulated out from the shadows into the public arena. The worst rather predictably being a Fornax piece, which featured graphic shots of a couple of lookalikes demonstrating the best positions for turian-human couples.
"There are a few more messages from people wishing us a happy honeymoon as well," she continued. "A fairly perfunctory one from Hackett and a longer one from Samantha."
"What does Sam's say?"
"Let's see…she hopes we allow ourselves a proper chance to relax because we've more than earned it. She's sure the galaxy can cope for a little while without us now the war's over and even if it struggles a bit, we still better not hurry back or we'll have her to answer to. Instead, she wants our only mission over the next few weeks to be enjoying the sun, sea and sand."
"I think those are orders I can definitely follow. Even if they were issued by a subordinate officer."
She laughed so heartily that it made her eyes crinkle up. "Likewise. To the letter," she said. "You know, we haven't actually tried out the sea yet since we've been so…busy with other things and it looks very blue right now. Are you up for a bit of a dip? I'll keep a close eye on you to make sure you don't get in too deep."
"Cross my heart, in fact. You mean far, far much to me for me to ever let anything bad happen to you, Mr Vakarian."
"I'm deeply touched, Mrs Vakarian." Carefully, he got to his feet, bringing her up with him so she was left standing in his arms at the end of the manoeuvre. "You're such a wonderful wife to me."
"And you're as good a husband as you are a sniper and calibrator. Which is really saying something." She kissed him. "Love you."
"Love you too."
Both with one arm looped around the other, they made their way down the sand towards the sea. At the edge of water, she kept right on going, pulling him along with her and not stopping until the water lapped gently at their knees in greeting. She lay her head on his shoulder and they simply remained set in that position, unspeaking while their eyes searched the horizon.
Garrus' mind slowly drifted away to the life they would share together. To the first house they would buy as a couple, furnish and transform into a home. To the orphaned human and turian children they would love and raise together. And far, far beyond even that.
And that's the end! Thanks to everyone who read the whole thing. I hope you enjoyed it. If anyone has any comments on the story, then I'd love to hear them.
Best wishes to all of you :)