A/N: No-one ever said these have to be in order. This one does in fact occur before Chapter One, and is an exploration of something mentioned therein.
That's right. It's Shepard's version of giving Grunt the teenager sexual education lesson, otherwise known colloquially as The Talk.
Bianca Shepard, Grunt and the rest of her ground team sat in silence as the Urdnot Shaman drove the tomkah over Tuchanka's broken highways back to the Urdnot encampment. All save two of them were gripping tightly to whatever they would get their grip on. They were all visibly pale and shaking slightly, even Garrus and Tali. When they glanced at any of the others, there was a fragile smile passed between those who have together survived a near death experience, and still couldn't believe it.
Grunt was beaming widely at Shepard, his ice-blue eyes lighting up with childlike glee as his gaze danced around the cramped vehicle, mostly alternating between the large wound on his shoulder that would certainly be an impressive scar despite his regenerative capabilities. Shepard was also pale, but not because they had just killed a thresher maw on foot. No, she was more worried about what Liara would say, and probably do to her, when she found out about this latest stunt.
As the tomkah rolled into the Urdnot camp, the rest of the ground team got out quickly and made a beeline straight for the shuttle to get back to the Normandy, leaving Grunt and Shepard alone to go and talk to Wrex on his concrete throne. There were whispers and murmurs as the two of them passed, Shepard trying not to let anything show as they walked through the gathering throng. When they got the podium where Wrex held court, the guards that had stalled them earlier stepped back smartly, and Bianca could almost swear there were hints of fear and admiration in their eyes.
As they stopped in front of the Urdnot clan leader, the Shaman came up behind them and moved to the side of the throne. His voice boomed out over the krogan who were now converging on them, almost a hundred tall, strong warriors. As he stood to face Grunt, the young krogan bent down on one knee.
"You have completed the Rite of Passage, earning the honour of clan and name. Rise, Urdnot Grunt, and take you place in the clan." Grunt stood up, eyes gleaming. Looks like he finally found something he wanted after all, Bianca thought to herself. Now Wrex stepped forward to face them, his voice softer as it was directed at Grunt and Shepard.
"It's been many years since a thresher maw was killed, not since my turn at the Rite. Urdnot Grunt, you now have the full privileges of clanship, including serving under a battlemaster."
Grunt's reply was immediate and forceful. "Shepard is my battlemaster, she has no match!"
"On that, we agree young one." He turned a baleful red eye to Bianca. "Did you really have to go and kill a maw Shepard? Now I'll never hear the end of it, a human being more krogan than a krogan. Next you'll be telling me that Grunt's really a quint and craps dark matter," he said with a roll of his eye. He turned it back on Shepard with a smirk. "I guess that's what it takes to replace me."
Bianca pushed him on the shoulder. "Wrex, you old softie, do you miss me sometimes?"
"Shepard, we were charged with finding one of the biggest threats in the galaxy and killing it with big guns. Now I sit here all day listening to grown warriors whine like humans who stub their toes. No offence," he backpedalled, realising who he was talking to.
"None taken," replied Shepard, laughing a little. She turned to the newest member of Clan Urdnot.
"Come on Grunt, let's get back to the ship."
As the two of them began the long walk back to the shuttle, Wrex called to them.
"Shepard, one more thing. After your little maw slaying adventure, I've received a dozen breeding requests for Grunt. And one for you!" Bianca stopped stone cold as the last words rang out across the space between them, but her mortification at that was nothing compared to question Grunt asked next.
"Shepard, what is he talking about?" the human woman turned to Grunt, hoping that she wouldn't see what she was fearing. One look at what passed for innocent confusion on his krogan face told her she was dead wrong. Colour drained further from her face as she realised that she was going to perform another parental duty that was dreaded above all others: The Talk.
Fighting to regain control of herself, she managed to croak out "I'll tell you on the shuttle." She set off at a much faster pace than before, chewing up the distance and thankful that none of the krogan here would have much knowledge of human body language, so none would bother her about the rising colour in her cheeks. As they got in the shuttle that had just returned from the Normandy to pick them up, she sat down opposite her weirdly adopted son and tried to figure out how to start what was doomed to be an awkward conversation.
"Grunt, how much about krogan biology did Okeer's imprints cover?"
"Not much. Enough to be able to tell between male and female at a glance. But not much else, obviously it wasn't important." Shepard hung her head, this was going to be worse than she thought.
"Alright, so you know the difference between male and female. Is that with clothes or nude?" Grunt's eyes unfocused a little as he trawled through the imprinted lessons inside his mind.
"There's no clothes on some of them, so nude, definitely."
"Alright, that's a start. So, what do you know about reproduction?"
"Again, Okeer didn't think it was important if it wasn't about strategy or enemies. There are some odd speculations about how the asari can reproduce with any species, regardless of gender, making them potentially formidable in terms of being able to replace lost warriors, but that's it."
"I see. Alright then, looks like we'll have to start from scratch then." She called up her omni-tool and did a quick extranet search. She pulled up the first likely page and scrolled down.
"Alright, here goes nothing," she muttered to herself. She mustered up her courage and ploughed forward, determined not to stop until she reached the end. "Ok, so you know the basic different between male and female. You're already familiar with the male equipment, a penis. It looks like it's usually tucked away, but when aroused it will emerge and grow long and hard. This is due to blood flowing into the area, and by the look of it, a specific bone." She tried not to stare at the image on the display, and actively tried to not think about it in relation to Grunt. For his part, Grunt just sat there, non-chalantly absorbing the information like it was a discussion of Alexander the Great's conquest of the Known World.
"Ok, so the female will have a vagina. There are a lot of slang terms that different species use, I don't know what the krogan ones are, so don't ask. Basically, the male penis is designed to fit inside the female vagina to deposit sperm. This is called sex. The whole purpose is to get the sperm from the male into the female, which will meet up with the female's egg and produce a baby krogan in the fullness of time. It's pretty much the same for all species except asari, who have their own way of reproducing."
As she finished, her cheeks were bright red, her eyes had trouble focusing on Grunt, and she felt extremely foolish. But what other choice did she have, really? This was her son, and he needed to learn these things sooner or later.
"Any questions?" the young krogan sat thoughtfully silent for a few moments.
"Why was there a breeding request for you?"
"Because they don't know me, or have some other mental deficiency." She looked at him quizzically.
"No, it all makes sense. I'll look it up later if I'm interested, but right now, I'm hungry." This just as the shuttle touched down in the Normandy's shuttle bay.
"Alright Grunt, I'll see you later," she said, shutting the door as she got out. She shook her head, non-plussed as to how the krogan so casually dealt with an issue that mortified most human teenagers, not to mention parents. She went straight up to her cabin, not bothering getting food herself, and tried to process everything that had just happened in an afternoon. She had fought a thresher maw, killed one of Wrex's most annoying rivals, and to top it all off, had to give Grunt The Talk. She didn't know what she was dreading more: Liara's livid face when she learned about the thresher maw, or her mocking laughter when she learned about giving Grunt the sex talk. Bianca just flopped down on the bed and tried to work out the point in her life that the universe decided she deserved this punishment.