Two characters by candlelight. Set late in ME3.

There was a thump and a whir, and the whole apartment went dark. In the office, Shepard stared helplessly at her terminal. "What the hell just happened?"

"Power's out," Garrus called from the other room, his voice echoing strangely now that all the background hum of appliances was silent.

"The power just goes out? On the Citadel?"

"Sometimes." It sounded like he was moving around. She caught a glow out of the corner of her eye, probably the light on his omni-tool. "Keepers re-route something, grid gets overloaded somewhere, you know. Check your omni-tool."

She lit it up, the usual orange glow seeming too bright in the darkness. A new message from Citadel Utilities popped up. "Hey, Garrus?"


"The good news is, they know about the outage. The bad news is, it could be hours before they fix it."

"Hm. Do you have flares or anything? I don't know how long the battery in the omni-tool is going to last."

Shepard made a face, not that he could see it. "I don't think so—oh, wait!" She got out of her chair and tripped over something before she remembered to light up her own omni-tool. She managed to get to the kitchen without further incident and found what she was looking for in a drawer. "I've got candles," she announced, pulling tapers out of the drawer.

"Candles," said Garrus from the doorway, sounding skeptical. "Why do you have candles?"

"I don't know. I think maybe Kahlee left them." She managed to get her omni-tool's mini-fabricator to spit out some makeshift candle holders, and enough of a spark to light the first candle. She used that one to light another half-dozen or so.

"That still doesn't explain why she and Anderson had them."

Shepard shrugged. "They're supposed to be romantic."


"Oh, come on." She picked up a pair of candles and approached him. "Dim light... flickering flames... it all encourages a certain... intimate... mood, doesn't it?" She leaned in close, pressing the candle holders into his hands, looking up at him through her lashes. "Plus, I thought you were the one who did all that research?"

He flicked a mandible as he accepted the candles. "The research was good at indicating what humans do, Shepard. It wasn't very good at indicating why."

She turned back to pick up another pair of candles, and ushered him with her into the living room, depositing all of the candles on the table and herself on the couch. "Are you trying to tell me humans are that mysterious?"

"No." He sat down next to her, though not close enough. "You're a little confusing, though. Collectively."

The dim light of the candles cast his eyes into shadow, and the light flickering along his scars made them look rougher and more ominous. He looked older, darker, mysterious himself as he tilted his head toward her. Shepard slid closer, pressing her thigh against his, her shoulder against his side, and wrapping her arm around his back, low, where it began to narrow. "You're telling me you don't find this at all appealing?"

He breathed out a short laugh, ruffling her hair, and his arm slid around her shoulders, pulling her more firmly into him. "I always find you appealing. Doesn't have much to do with the candles."

She'd take it, she decided, even if he was being contrary, and turned her face up for a kiss.