When the door chimed, Shepard had every intention of just letting whoever it was rot out there with no answer, until she realized that it could be Garrus. She jumped up and mashed the buttons on the intercom. It was him. Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of him, there, only a few hundred yards away. "Come up," she said quickly, scrambling around her room to kick her dirty clothes and towels into a pile and run a brush through her mussed hair. She wished that there was time to put make-up over that thrice-damned hickey, but she could hear footsteps on the stairs. Why had she bothered with her room? She had a whole damn apartment to meet him in—but there he was in the doorway, looking serious and handsome as ever. Tall and strong, with a handsome crest and bold blue tattoos over his silver skin. He wore rumpled civvies and looked uncomfortable.

"Garrus," Shepard said. Her stomach felt like it had dropped onto the floor, taking her ability to speak with it.

"Shepard," he took a few steps into the room, scanning the general disarray of both the room and it's occupant. "Can we talk?"

"Of course." Shepard sat down on the bed. Garrus took the black leather recliner, but he didn't sink into it comfortably like usual. Instead, he perched on the edge, his hands between his knees.

"I just went to Chora's Den. I had a pretty Asari dancer blow me."

Shepard was surprised by this...confession. Did he really have to tell her? She knew that turian honesty was pretty much absolute, but this was uncomfortable, and…She closed her eyes, trying with all her might not to imagine Garrus in a dark room with a willing, beautiful, well-endowed Asari dancer. Her guts still felt like they were on the floor, and now Garrus and some nameless Asari whore were dancing on them. Ouch. She deserved it though. She had told Garrus that things were casual, that they weren't dating. If this was a plot to make her jealous, it was working. She wanted to march down to Chora's Den and start spraying her Avenger at every damn stripper in the joint.

"It was awful." Garrus followed up thoughtfully a moment later.

"Wait, what?" Shepard spat. Now she was just confused all around. How was this supposed to make her jealous?

"I realized that there's only one woman in the galaxy who I want to be intimate with. Hell, I knew before I went down to Chora's Den that that was the case. But I thought…" He made a fist with one hand and then let it fall away, shaking his head sadly. After a short pause, he continued. "I thought you didn't want me around. You're right. We never agreed to be exclusive…but that's what I need from you Shepard. I need you to be with me and only me if this is going to work."

Shepard slumped her shoulders and let her dark hair fall over her face. The tears that she had hidden from Liara came down now. Her whole body shook. Garrus was at her side immediately, brushing her hair and tears away. His arms were around her and she cried onto his shoulder. "I'm sorry Shepard, I didn't mean to upset you with this." Garrus sounded genuinely repentant. "We can still just be friends if you…if you don't want the sex part of it anymore."

"No, Garrus." Shepard said. She clung to him like he was the last tank of oxygen in a vented room. "Please don't say that. I could never give you up. That thing with Kaidan…" her hand went to the hickey on her neck, "that was the last time. We were tying up loose ends, but it won't happen again, ever. We both realized as soon as it happened that it was a mistake. I don't…I don't love him like I love you."

Garrus stared at Shepard in shock. When he had come here to confess to her, a profession of love on her part had been the last thing that he'd expected. At best he had hoped that they would agree that going forward they would act like any other dating couple and take it from there. At worst he expected her to throw him out of the apartment in disgust.

He couldn't speak, so he acted. He braced his hands on her shoulders and pressed his mouth to hers for a kiss. Her surprise soon faded to urgency and she quickly opened her mouth and ran her tongue along his. Her hands were frantic around his neck, pulling him in close to her. There were still tears on her cheeks.

"Shepard, I've loved you since that first night…since before we went through the Omega 4 relay." Garrus knew it was true. He'd never felt so happy as on the days when he woke up next to her in her cabin on the Normandy.

"You've been my closest friend for a long time, Garrus." Shepard said. "But I didn't realize that it was love until…well until about twelve hours ago." Shepard shivered at the still-fresh memory.

"Love, huh?" Garrus held her in his arms. She had never felt so fragile to him as at that moment. When she sighed against his chest, her breath felt shallow compared to his.

"Love, definitely." Shepard pulled him down so that they were lying on the bed together, still holding each other close. She felt safe and comfortable with him, now that the tension of the last day was gone.

Garrus moved in for another kiss, which Shepard obliged. He was gentle with his sharp teeth and long raspy tongue, sweet in a way that Kaidan never could be, despite Garru's lack of humanity. Garrus knew where to put his hands to get the best reaction from Shepard. He tended to her breasts with sighs of delight that were every bit as stimulating as his tongue. He wouldn't dream of entering her until she dripped with her desire for him.

Clothes were peeled off, a condom applied, and love was made. Garrus entered her slowly, arching upwards to brush her core with his tip the way that she had once said felt best. Shepard raked her fingernails along the underside of his fringe and ran her tongue along his scars. He tasted like metal and smelled like the Normandy. When he was inside her, everything was right. There was no doubt or remorse—only the throbbing, wonderful, excruciating pleasure of the present.

Shepard bucked her hips, but Garrus didn't speed up his slow, measured thrusts. She knew he wanted her to beg him, just as he knew she wanted him to go faster. Shepard clenched her thighs around his waist, squeezing him in a way that made him groan and throw his head back.

She squeezed again and smashed her hips against him, again, and again until they had picked up the pace and were fucking their hearts out.

"Garrus," Shepard gasped. She lasted a few more moments, and then she came in a tsunami of pleasure that crashed through her whole body. Garrus followed shortly, murmuring her name in a desperate, resonating tone that Shepard knew was his orgasm. They melted slowly into one another, gentle kisses bringing them both back down to reality. Garrus' sweat dripped onto Shepard's chest and she laughed.

"I don't know how I didn't see it before." Shepard whispered. "This is love."

Garrus only answered her with another kiss. There was no mistaking that for anything but love.