Tolim remained sitting although he couldn't stop his mandibles from twitching as he waited impatiently for the doctor to finish checking Jane over. The doctor swept his machine gently across Jane's ribs where the bruises had finally faded to just a hint of discolored skin. Next, he scanned along the arm currently in a cast. Finally satisfied he had all the data he needed, he plugged the machine into his computer and viewed the results.
"Everything looks good Miss Shepard. Your ribs and arm are almost fully healed and even better there is no sign of pneumonia in your lungs. I take it you've been doing your breathing exercises as ordered?"
Jane grinned, "Yep, someone even makes sure I do the exact number every time."
"Excellent. I'd like you back next week. If your bones continue healing at this rate, I'll take your cast off then. I'll probably have you keep it in a sling for a few hours a day until you have had a chance to work your muscles a bit more."
"Great! Uh, what about my restrictions?"
"Anything you can carry comfortably with one hand is fine. Take your pain medication only as needed."
"I've been cutting back on it already, usually only use it at night."
"Uh doc, I meant, you know, all my restrictions," Jane explained waving a hand in Tolim's direction.
"Oh...OH. Um, so long as your careful, I don't see why not. Missionary is out for a bit yet but you on top should be fine. If you had two good arms, from behind would also be fine. If it hurts, then stop obviously."
"Thanks! We'll be careful."
"Good because I don't want to see you until your next appointment."
The doctor left the room allowing Jane to pull her shirt back on. Tolim moved to her side to assist her.
Jane grinned up at him, "You're in trouble now mister."
"I think it's the other way around, I believe I have several IOU's from you. Yes, I know I have them written down somewhere," Tolim murmured as he patted his pockets as if looking for them.
"Well make sure you don't work late tonight then," Jane replied with a smirk.
"As if I don't have enough incentive already," Tolim countered with a chuckle.
"Never enough I always say. Now let's get out of here so you can get back to work."
"As you wish," Tolim said with a flourish of one hand.
"Oh my god, I can't believe you are still quoting that vid. If you call me Buttercup, I will hurt you."
Tolim laughed, "You were the one that picked it out."
The ride back to the apartment seemed far to short. Tolim turned to say goodbye to Jane but she gave him that grin and swung her leg over his lap. Her hand crept up and stroked his cheek plate. He kept his hands on his legs fearing he would hurt her if he tried to embrace as he desperately wanted to do. Smiling, she bent her head at that angle that signaled she was going to kiss him. It had been awkward at first, as they learned how to grapple with their partner's different anatomy but now the gesture was familiar.
Her lips grazed his and her tongue danced along the edges of his lips. A soft growl arose from his chest as he leaned into her touch. Their tongues tangled briefly before she pulled back.
"There, now you can go to work and know what is in store for you when you get home."
Tolim gave a wistful sigh, "Somehow, I think I will be finding the reports I have to update today a challenge."
Jane grinned at his expression while she climbed off of his lap. She waved goodbye as the car lifted off to bring him to work. There was a spring in her step as she sauntered into the front lobby, it was turning into a most excellent day.
She waved in greeting to the salarian manning the front desk as she headed to the elevators.
"Miss Shepard," he called out, "someone is here to see you."
Jane turned to see who, when another voice caused her to switch direction again.
Jane's mouth dropped open as she turned to find her best friend standing there. His mandibles flared in a grin at her.
"Garrus! What the hell? Why didn't you tell me you were going to be on planet?"
Jane reached up to give him a one armed hug, Garrus gingerly patted her trying to avoid her cast.
"Sparatus didn't tell you? There is a meeting tomorrow I have to attend."
"No, he didn't. And neither did you! Well, come on up and we can catch up."
"Ah, how about we take a walk. I've been riding in a ship for three days, it would be nice to stretch my legs."
"Sure, there is a nice park near by, Jane suggested. "Crap, wait a minute."
Jane hurried over to the front desk. "Can you connect me to Councilor Sparatus's guards?"
"Of course Miss Shepard, one moment...there you go."
"Dronak, that you?"
"Yes Miss Shepard, I've been wondering where you were."
"Still in the lobby, a friend of mine showed up and we are going to head to the park so if you want to follow along, you better hurry."
"On my way."
"A guard, really Shepard?" Garrus shook his head in disbelief.
"Yeah, yeah...I know. I was just released off of most of my restrictions so I've needed someone with me at all times."
"For a broken arm?"
"No, I'll explain when we get outside," Jane muttered under her breath knowing he would be able to hear her but not the attendant.
Garrus nodded, waiting beside Jane. It wasn't long before the unmistakable sound of booted feet echoed in the area. A turian with a light tan hide and green colony paint jogged out into the lobby. Garrus eyed the guard, his armor was clean, weapon holstered and looked well maintained. It seemed that Sparatus used former military for his retinue of guards.
Dronak stopped short upon seeing Advisor Vakarian standing next to Miss Shepard. He nodded in greeting.
"Advisor Vakarian, Miss Shepard. Ready when you are."
"Salute him, he loves that. Remember that General back on Menae?" Jane snorted as she elbowed Garrus in the side.
"And there you go, ruining a perfectly nice afternoon by bringing that up," Garrus stated as he sighed dramatically.
"You poor thing," Jane mocked.
Garrus followed Jane out into the morning sun. Dronak stayed several paces behind them. Neither of them said anything until they had entered the park proper.
"So what really happened? I thought it was odd that you were on medical leave for a broken arm," Garrus asked.
"They left out that two of my ribs had been badly broken. The doctors performed surgery to fix them and make sure there were no loose bits that could do more damage in there. I had to have someone with me at all times in case of complications so Tolim's guards were given a schedule."
"Damn Shepard, you should have said something."
"No sense worrying you. I know you were dealing with your job and your family. Speaking of them, how are they?"
"Dad and I are still talking so that's good. Though now he is bemoaning the fact that Sol and I haven't settled down yet."
Jane chuckled, "You could always ask the Primarch to transfer you back to the military."
"Yeah and then Sol would be out for my blood as well," Garrus laughed.
Dronak slowed his pace allowing them more privacy. His eyes scanned the area looking for anything that shouldn't be. There hadn't been any Cerberus attacks in a while, but no one was taking a chance still.
Garrus bent his head down closer to Jane's, "Liara said you had put in your retirement to the military, that true?"
"Yeah, after getting hit by a krogan, don't bother I think I've heard all the jokes already, I decided I wanted to do something else."
Garrus chuckled, "Can't imagine why a krogan to the side would change your mind."
"Better than a missile to the face," Jane countered with a grin.
"My injury just improved my ruggedly handsome face," Garrus stated with a grin.
Jane patted him on the shoulder, "You keep thinking that."
"Jane," Garrus faltered for a moment.
"Are you happy here?"
"I'll be better when I get this damn cast off."
"I mean, besides that. You know, you and Sparatus. You have to admit that you are an odd pair."
"I know, I certainly didn't expect us to be still together. But amazingly we work."
"I just didn't want you to think you had to settle for him. There are lots of other choices out there. He and I have had, ahem, our issues since the war ended."
"Don't worry, I didn't. You should have dinner with us, get to know him out of work and you might find he isn't exactly what you think he is."
"If you think he will agree to it, sure. Send me a message where and when and I'll meet you guys. I should go check into my hotel but I look forward to seeing you tonight."
Jane leaned up on her tip-toes and gave him a chaste kiss to the scarred side of his face. Garrus watched her walk back towards the apartment, the guard moving up to walk beside her now. He shook his head that this was the same woman who had prodded, yelled, and threatened the galaxy to unite against the Reapers.
Jane bustled about the apartment unable to keep still. She had already wrestled herself into a nicer shirt and brushed her hair. She had just begun her nightly check of her plants, they were now an even dozen, when Tolim burst through the door.
"Good, you're still here," he growled.
Jane scratched her head in confusion, "Of course I'm here, I was waiting for you. Why would you think otherwise?"
"The message said you were meeting him for dinner."
"No, read it again. It said WE were meeting Garrus for dinner."
Tolim tapped at his omni-tool and found the message. He ducked his head in embarrassment, it did say we.
"Now, you want to explain what that," Jane asked waving her hand at him, "was all about?"
"I wasn't going to let him just stroll in here and appropriate what was mine."
Jane would have laughed if he wasn't so deadly serious. Instead she asked, "Yours?"
Seeing the fire building in her eyes, Tolim tried to explain.
"Perhaps that was a poor choice of words."
"I meant, we are couple and I wasn't going to let you go without a fight."
"Fine, I can understand that. But why would you think he was here to whisk me away?"
Jane walked to where he stood near the door and took his hand in her's as she waited for his reply.
"There were plenty of rumors during the war that you two were, you know, together. After you returned to active duty, he was the one I watched. But he didn't return to your side so I pursued you."
"Tolim, I'm sure there were rumors, but Garrus and I, we never had a romantic relationship. Let me explain, after Cerberus rebuilt me, I found myself alone working for an organization I didn't trust. The Alliance didn't know what to do with me and were dithering about trying to blame pirates for what the Collector's were doing. When I found Garrus, one of my old crew, someone I could trust, I finally could breath a bit easier. The Illusive Man may have told Miranda she was my XO but it was Garrus who I went over dossiers with and mission tactics with. We swept my cabin and the Main Battery of cameras and bugs and we would lock ourselves in and discuss anything and everything. He was the first one to look me in the eyes and say I was really me, not something fake that Cerberus had made to look like Commander Shepard."
"Why would you think you weren't you?"
"I died over Alchera, Tolim. Not nearly died...I DIED. An explosion threw me free of the Normandy and it damaged my air hose. So while, the little oxygen I had vented into space I saw myself falling towards the planet. Either one of those things would kill me, both of those things were happening to me. I remember every horrible second before I blacked out and then I woke up on a lab table. How could I not wonder if I was really me?"
"Vakarian helped you adjust," Tolim stated matter-of-factly.
"Yes, and during the war, once more he was my right hand man. You should thank him, without him I'm not sure I would have survived. He was the only one who would really yell at me to take care of myself. Ordering me to bed, bringing me food. Hell he probably spent more time sleeping in my cabin than he did in his own bunk, watching over me. I returned the favor when worry over his family ate at him. Together we could function where alone, either of us might have faltered."
"So you won't be running off with him," Tolim breathed out in a sigh of relief.
"Don't get me wrong, if Garrus showed up here when I was fully functional saying he needed me for a mission, I would follow him in a heartbeat. But we never had a romantic relationship, he is my best friend. You and I, however, we are a couple."
"I'm sorry," Tolim began.
"It's alright," Jane interrupted, "I thought you understood how I felt about you. That's what I get for following the advice of those articles on the net."
"What do you mean?"
"Well," Jane stammered, "they said you shouldn't declare your feelings too quickly as that scares men away. Although we have been together for months, most of that was when I was in space. But if you have any doubts, I love you Tolim."
"Well then we have both been foolish. I was afraid to say how I felt, everything I read said humans were slower to form emotional bonds than turians. I've been going slow but Jane, I love you too."
Jane laughed pulling his head down so she could press her forehead to his.
"Now that we have that settled, let's go to dinner. And I expect you to at least try and get to know Garrus. I don't expect you to be best buddies but try and keep an open mind."
"I will. Perhaps it is too soon for this, and you don't have to answer right away, but Jane, will you be my bond-mate?" Tolim blurted out.
Smiling Jane answered, "That sounds like a fine thing to me too."
"Good. It will probably take nearly a year for us to plan the ceremony. I'm sure both of our governments are going to want to make sure we invite the right dignitaries and that sort of thing," Tolim explained happily.
"Oh, now that's where I draw the line. Our governments can go take a long walk off a short pier, our marriage is for us, not them," Jane argued.
"Well, what then?"
Jane thought for a moment than a sly smile crept across her face, "I believe there is an old Earth tradition that will serve us well."
"What is that?"
"My translator didn't quite understand that."
"It means we find the nearest official who can marry us and do so, privately. Neither of us has family and I really don't want a formal ceremony. Although, we can have a party later on to which we can invite friends and whatever dignitaries our government think are necessary."
"Agreed, that sounds perfect."
"You know, I even have a great idea for the reception."
"Whatever you want is fine with me," Tolim agreed cheerfully.
"I've always wanted to have a Luau."
"A Hawaiian feast."
"Oh no, you can't mean," Tolim began.
"Yes, don't worry you won't be the only one suffering. I think I'll stipulate on the invitation that no Hawaiian print, no entrance. It will be a sea of Hawaiian shirts, it will be glorious," Jane laughed.
"I love you Jane, but your love of giant flowers is sometimes scary."
"Want to back out now?" Jane grinned.
"Never," Tolim proclaimed.
Five months later on a once quiet stretch of beach on a remote planet.
Dusk had just started to creep across the sand when the Tiki torches flickered to life along the perimeter of the area. The light they provided was minimal at best, so artificial lamps were discretely placed about as well. Music drifted across the sand as well, loud enough to be enjoyed but soft enough to allow conversation still. From the edges of the dunes all the way down to the sea, the area had been cordoned off. Planters of tropical greenery had been brought in to help hide the temporary fences erected to maintain some semblance of privacy and protection.
The party was in full swing when a human woman and a turian male escaped the throng. Hand in hand they strolled down to stand at the edge of the sea. They did not escape without notice however. A few individuals broke away and prevented those who would have followed them from doing so, allowing the couple a moment of privacy.
Jane sank down onto the sand with a relieved sigh, giving a tug she pulled Tolim down to join her. He folded his legs dropping to the sand. Once he situated himself, he wrapped an arm around Jane's shoulders. She leaned into him with a happy sigh. For a few moments they just stared at the rolling arrival of waves a short distance from their feet.
"Had enough of our party already?" he asked.
"Just wanted a moment for us. I haven't had to deal with that many people in a long time. When I told the Prime Minster he could invite whoever he wanted as long as my friends were included, I had no idea he would invite dignitaries from every species."
Tolim laughed, "I'm more surprised that they all showed up with some form of clothing with tropical flowers on them."
"Well I did stipulate that it was mandatory on the invitations. I must admit the sight of a geth prime with a hawaiian shirt over it's platform, well that was something to see alright."
Tolim sighed, "Do you regret not being out there, running around the galaxy anymore?"
"Tolim, are you trying to get rid of me?"
"What a foolish question Jane."
Jane chuckled, "No, I love being a plain old gardner."
"You'll never be plain," Tolim countered.
"I hate to admit it but I had to use some of my war tactics to get that job."
"Please don't tell me you threatened to shoot the man unless he hired you," Tolim groaned.
"Ass," Jane nudged Tolim in the side before continuing, "the salarian that ran the place was aghast that I wanted a job there. I had to threaten to spend all my time there tending the plants without pay before he finally relented and gave me an official position."
Tolim laughed, "I'm glad he saw the error of his ways. You know, we still have to decide where we are going to go on, what was it you humans called it? Sugarmoon?"
Jane laughed, "Honeymoon...it's called a honeymoon!"
Tolim snorted, "Hardly my fault that the translator keeps calling it sugar. What exactly is honey?"
Jane's mouth open and shut as she tried to think of a way to explain that bee's made it by regurgitation without it sounding even more disgusting than it already was.
Shaking her head she laughed, "You don't want to know, but for our purposes it just means a trip taken by newlyweds. I would say, anywhere we want, with the Reapers gone it's a brand new beginning for both the galaxy and us."
"A new beginning, I love the sound of that."
~Author's note - Thank you again for all the reviews, follows and what not! I'm happy so many have enjoyed my quirky little story. My next one will be slightly different, a FemShep/Mordin, written for Mordinette's prompt on the kinkmeme.~