A/N:Welcome to the end of GOTDW! Please note that this section is explicit (romantically so, but still).
Thank you for reading!
When I'd imagined this moment, it felt much more like a victory and less like a rescue. Shepard clung to me like a weed, and shook, and finally fell, my arms the only things holding her up.
She still didn't smell like herself. She smelled like antiseptic and medi-gel and plastic. I lifted her, a little swell of pride curling through me when she gasped, and carried her to the bathroom.
"Forget how strong I was, Shepard?"
"Like I could," she sighed, and nestled closer. "What are you plotting?"
"You smell like a hospital and you're freezing. We're taking a shower."
She rubbed her cheek against my neck and I sucked in a breath, almost stumbling. That got me a throaty laugh. "Careful. If you drop me, you don't get to be the next Primarch."
"Extenuating circumstances. Illegal tactics were used by my enemy." I set her down under the showerhead and tugged at her shirt. "Arms up."
"I don't think the Hierarchy will accept that." She lifted her arms. When I pulled off her shirt, she covered her breasts on pure reflex. I wanted to tug her hands down, but there would be time for that. Soon.
When I slid a talon under the band of her underwear, I paused and waited. She looked down at me and smiled.
"It's fine, Garrus." She let her hands fall to her sides and ran a fingertip along the mark on my unscarred cheek. There was a looseness in her posture I'd never seen before, something unguarded and new.
Of course it was new. We'd never been here before, in all our dancing around each other. Finally, it was starting.
"It's fine," she said again, and brushed her finger against my mouth. I pulled her underwear away and tried not to stare.
The first thought I had was fascination, not desire. The small indent at her navel, the cleft between her thighs, the hard peaks of her nipples - it was uncharted land where I had expected sure footing. She wore vulnerability like another kind of armor, and that made her powerful.
None of this was what I had expected. Then I looked at the cut of her hip, the way her ribs showed as shadows, and the sharp edge of her wrists, and all I felt was want.
"You're over-dressed for a shower," she said, with another throaty laugh, and I fumbled for the clasps on my tunic. Shepard tried to reach down to help but winced. "Ugh, sorry, you're on your own. My ribs feel like they're on fire."
"You broke all of them a week ago, Shepard. That's expected." One clasp down, three to go.
"Keep talking, Garrus. It's not like I'm naked and freezing in front of you."
Two more clasps. "I hear hypothermia is excellent as foreplay."
"You're repeating yourself, you already tried that on Noveria."
"Noveria was survival."
"So is this," she said, and cradled my face in her hands.
Once I had her under the warm spray, I didn't want to stop the soft noises she made, content and half-asleep. I ran my talons through her hair, gently as I could, and she pressed her back into my carapace.
The plates at my groin shifted as my cock started to harden and flare, and I shifted away, only to stop when she reached back and slid a wet hand down my leg.
"Don't leave," she said.
"I know what Chakwas told you, Shepard. No strenuous activities." Even to myself, I didn't sound convincing.
"You're already defying her by being here at all," Shepard said, and I heard the smile in her voice, rich and slow. "And you could just do all the work." She arched against me, against my hands, which had somehow found their way to her breasts. I rubbed my palms in a slow circle over her nipples and grinned into her hair when she gasped.
"If you start this and don't finish, I will throw you out an airlock."
"Empty threats, Shepard." I pinched a nipple between two careful fingers and felt her tense under me.
"Jesus - more of that, yes," she sighed. "Where the hell did you learn about breasts?"
"Research," I said, and nipped her neck. "Now be quiet, and let me take care of you."
"Yes, sir," she replied, and my cock pulsed behind its plates. Now that was interesting, and we'd explore it later, but now she was water-slick and cool against my skin. I'd waited three years. All I wanted was as much of her as I could get, until she told me to stop.
Shamelessly, greedily, I bent my head and set my teeth, so gently, to the skin on her throat.
"Garrus, are you - are you marking me?"
I'd have to be rougher for that to happen, even with her skin so soft and thin under my teeth, but I hummed a yes.
"Do you mind?" I said and waited for her answer.
"No," Shepard said immediately. She laughed. "I just thought it was, you know, understood. If we're doing this, we're doing it. Marking is redundant."
"Is this redundant too?" I couldn't help teasing, even as what she said settled one of my last doubts. I dragged my tongue from the ball of her shoulder, up her neck, and around the shell of her ear.
"Oh." She was perfectly still in my arms. I made my way back down her neck, nicking her skin with tiny bites that made her gasp and strain. "Garrus, Jesus Christ."
"Answer my question, Shepard." I was counting on her stubbornness holding out a little longer, and I was right; she stayed quiet and slid a hand up my thigh. The movement seemed mindless enough, but I knew Shepard too well. When her fingers ghosted over the plates at my groin, I growled low in her ear and didn't miss the way she shuddered.
I looped my hand around her wrist and pinned her hand to the wall. "Remember the doctor's orders. No exertion on your part. You're supposed to be -" my concentration was frayed - "passive. No, you're supposed to be receptive."
She whined low in her throat. I closed my eyes and thought about cleaning my armor and thresher maws to keep my cock from slipping out of my plates completely.
I cupped her breast in my free hand and licked the red spots where I'd bitten her. Her heart beat under my hand. She whined again and ground her hips back, standing on tiptoes to slide her wet skin over the seam of my plates. I growled - stubborn, stubborn to the end - and when she strained again, I let go of her hand.
For all of three seconds, I let her have the advantage. She reached back, scratching lightly at my plates, laughing a little breathlessly when I bucked into her. When I slipped my hand from her breasts and between her legs, she froze, her hands stilling.
I will swear forever that Shepard held her breath the whole time I traced her clitoris with the barely-there pad of my finger. She was slicker than I'd imagined; I wanted to taste her and see if what I'd imagined was true, but more than anything I wanted to push her, just a little farther.
"I won't hurt you," I said into her ear.
"Garrus, I know," she gasped. "But you're driving me crazy, I don't know how much longer I can keep standing and you haven't even started."
"Hold still a minute more." Slowly, with all the control I'd had trained into me, I slipped one finger into her. She was hot and tight, every fantasy ten times over, and I threw back my head, groaning at the ceiling and trying not to give into the urge to push her against the wall and just take.
She clenched her cunt around my finger. I lost the last battle with my self-control and my cock slid free of the plates, already wet.
"Shepard, please, just a minute more - it's not a damn contest." I curled my finger into her, careful of my talon, and I could tell when her shoulders tightened that she was thinking the same thing. "I won't hurt you," I said again.
"I know, it just - it feels so good." She clenched again and I pressed into her, just enough to send a shock of pleasure from my cock straight into my spine. "Sorry, sorry. I'll stop."
I dropped my forehead to the top of her head. She was warm again, the shower had done its trick, and I didn't want us to still be in here when the water inevitably went cold. But we had a few minutes more - enough for what I had planned.
With my shoulder dropped, I could circle over her clitoris with my thumb while I thrust inside her. An awkward position, and one I couldn't hold for long, but when her breath left her in one shallow rush and she arched into me, moaning, it was worth every discomfort.
"Oh God, Garrus, yes, there, oh, oh -"
Then she was silent, her eyes closed, head thrown back, and I felt a shudder start deep inside her body and fly outward. She clenched around me, her hands scraping the walls, and when the shudders stopped and her knees buckled, I held her up with an arm around her waist.
"Research, my ass," she gasped a moment later. "You're a natural genius, Garrus."
I flexed my mandibles at her when she looked back over her shoulder. I slid my finger out of her and guided her back up. She leaned against the shower wall and breathed deeply, a flush spreading down from her cheeks and over her neck.
"Do you need a moment to recover?" She tossed a frown at me, a frown that turned into laughter when I spun her around to face me.
"Even if I did, would you give me one?" Shepard still sounded breathless. "You seem pretty - well, you know." She gestured vaguely at me. I flicked my mandibles at her in a grin.
"I can be patient, Shepard."
She cut me a look under her lashes that spiked something hot in my gut. "Oh, I'm sure - good thing you don't need to be." She reached out, watching my face the whole time, and took my cock in her hand. "Wow, it's - no, don't freak out," she said quickly when I turned my head away. "It's different, that's all. I forgot there'd be ridges." She circled under the flared head with a finger before wrapping her hand around my cock again. "And you're uh, very thick." Her voice was breathy. "That's - god, I can't even get my hand around you." She reached down with her other hand and linked her fingers, pressing both thumbs under the head. I was slick already, but the pressure her fingers and the way her wrists turned sharp as she stroked me made me cry out. The first spasm twitched through my cock, and fluid beaded at the tip.
"Shepard, you keep saying this name -"
"Relax, Garrus, I thought you'd know that's one guy you don't have to worry about. Ever." She stroked lightly, once, and at the head of my cock, she added a wicked little twist that left me gasping. I had to lean forward, my hands braced on the wall over her shoulders. I wanted inside her so badly I felt dizzy. Her hand felt a little strange on me, too many fingers and still too cool, even in the hot shower, but it was Shepard.
"If you keep that up, we're going to need a real shower, and I'm not washing in ice water," I groaned. She didn't stop, just kept up the slow, light strokes that were driving me crazy. "I mean it, Shepard."
"Ruining my fun," she said, but the flush had spread over her chest and her breathing was still fast. With an effort I hadn't known I could make, I pulled her hands off my cock and pinned them to the wall over her head. I crouched down as she arched toward me, and swirled my tongue over one nipple, then the other. I was quick, just wanting to tease, but she moaned and squirmed against me, asking for more.
I teased Shepard as long as I could stand, with the flat of my tongue and the barest hint of teeth on the fullest part of her breasts, until she tried to swing a leg over my shoulder. I had to pull away - I'd fantasized about this, about kneeling under her and probing her cunt with my fingers and tongue until she couldn't speak - but there was a fine tremble in the muscles of her thigh that I knew wasn't from desire.
I steadied her with a hand when she started to tumble toward me and shut off the water with my elbow. For a moment, I worried that without the heat and steam, Shepard would be cold, but when she wrapped her arms around me, she was warmer than I'd ever felt her. The flush covered almost all of her back, where her sharp shoulder blades moved just under the skin. I closed my eyes.
"Bed. Now. I need -"
"Yeah, I know," she groaned into the skin of my neck, and followed her words with her teeth. I grabbed the base of my cock and thought of the rachni, of Council meetings, of -
Shepard's hand slipped into mine. "Let's go," she said as she pushed away from the wall. We were both a little unsteady as we went down the stairs, and there was no grace in the way we fell on her bed. She rolled to her side and propped herself on one elbow to look down at me.
"How do you want me?" she asked. "I don't know what your research came up with, but mine seemed to imply a lot of the usual human positions won't be as good for you as they are for me."
I couldn't reply at first, the thought of Shepard researching this taking over my mind and blanking out every other thought. So much wasted time.
I could regret it, or I could focus on Shepard now, warm and pliant and alive. "You're right," I said in a strangled voice. "But there are a few that will work - and let me keep to the letter of the doctor's orders." I sat up against the pillows and raised my knees with my legs spread, ready to pull Shepard to me. She had other ideas.
She crouched between my legs, her fingers dancing over my waist. If she'd touched me there in the shower, we'd never have left. I let my head fall back, a dual-tone noise I'd never made before coming out of my mouth. Somewhere inside was her name.
"Shepard, you don't have to -" Everything broke apart when I felt her tongue, the tip shaped to a point, tracing the vein that ran from root to tip. "Fuck, don't stop."
"Yes, sir," she said, her mouth just above the head of my cock, and licked back down the way she came. When she tried again, I pushed her back by the shoulders and held her there.
"If you do that again," I panted. "I'll make a mess all over you."
She froze, and then a whole-body shudder moved through. Her eyes were wide.
Interesting. I filed her reaction away next to the yes sirs with the only rational part of my brain still working. That deserved exploring later.
"Come here," I said, and held out my arms. She slid up my legs and settled on her knees just over my hips, her fingers not quite touching my waist. When she met my eyes, I didn't wait. I grabbed her hips, as hard as I could without piercing her skin, and pulled her down onto my cock.
"Aah!" She choked out the cry and gripped my shoulders, digging in her nails. I waited for her to adjust, stroking her sides, thumbing her nipples. She was still for a long time before she started to rock back and forth, getting used to my cock inside her.
My cock inside her. I twitched, deep in her cunt, and she moaned.
I leaned forward and pressed my forehead to hers. "Are you ready? Can I?" She nodded and opened her eyes. I rolled my hips, slowly.
"Garrus!" She dug her nails in deeper, clenching around me, but she didn't look away. "Oh my God, Garrus."
I thrust into her, still slowly, but this time she ground down against my hips. When she clenched again, I had to stop moving and close my eyes.
"Hey." Shepard touched my unscarred mandible. "Hey, it's okay. You don't have to control yourself for me. Just look at me. I want to see you."
I opened my eyes to her smile. She ducked her head, almost shyly, before darting back in to press her mouth against mine. A kiss. A very human kiss, with a flicker of tongue and teeth. It grounded me, and when I thrust into her warmth again I found our rhythm.
It was hard for Shepard not to be in control; I had to hold her still when she tried to go faster. She whined and shoved down into me, begging for me to give her more. I stopped moving, just to watch as she wriggled.
"Goddammit, Garrus, if you stop now I'll kill you." She curved her spine down to touch her forehead to mine.
"Ask me nicely," I said. In time she'd learn that the reedy hum under my words was a sign that I was just as close as she was, but I'd keep that a secret for now.
"Please," she breathed. Because it was Shepard and she never begged, not truly, she ran her tongue along the tip of one mandible, with a heart-stopping hint of teeth. "Please, Garrus, I need -"
She never finished. I wasn't in the mood to tease, not with her hands playing over my waist and the first tremor starting at the base of my cock. I thrust again, holding her forehead to mine with one hand while I slid the other into the warm cleft between her legs.
"Oh - oh my god - there -" Shepard's thighs squeezed tight over mine, slick with water and sweat, and as she clenched inside the rest of her body went limp.
The pressure on my cock was just this side of painful, and when I came I thrust through each spasm, drawing out the pleasure until I was dizzy and my thighs ached. Shepard curved into me with her arms looped around my neck, until she murmured an apology and pulled away. I slid out of her with an obscene little noise that made me shiver.
"We should clean up," she said, her face half-buried in a pillow. "I'm an invalid. You go get a towel."
I rolled onto my side. "It can wait," I told her, and curled my hand around her shoulder. We breathed together, in our familiar silence.
I woke up with a very familiar, very naked turian watching me, and my first thought was Oh god, what did I fuck up now?
Then I tried to sit up. The cradle of my hips ached in an unmistakable way, and I remembered everything.
"You looked like you were considering a strategic retreat for a minute there," Garrus said. His voice was light, but I heard the tense subvocals, and I hated that I'd given him a reason to worry.
"For a minute there, I couldn't believe you were here," I said. "Been a long time coming." He watched me, his face not moving, but without clothes or armor in the way I saw how his plates realigned and some last tension left him.
"Too long," he said. I nodded. He ran a talon over my bare thigh, feather-light. I swallowed hard.
"I missed you, on Earth. Six months was a long time to go without seeing you. I think I knew before, but that was when I understood. I didn't think you'd ever feel the same, so I didn't ask. But I hoped." I looked down at my hands. "I wasted a lot of time, Garrus. I've got no idea where we'll end up, but I'm glad we're here now."
"Right where we should be," he said. I watched as he arranged himself on my bed, all sharp lines and graceful muscles, and remembered the first time I saw him. Demanding more time, so terribly earnest and brave, so focused on doing the right thing. Maybe all this had started then, with the seed of what had taken three years to grow planted in that moment.
I laid down next to him. The fit was awkward, and however I turned something sharp jabbed into something soft, but we'd work it out. For now, I was happy to be still, and to be with him. Right where I should be.
The pile of rubble below me used to be the lake on the Presidium, I was sure of it. Now it was mud and broken rocks, and the air was barely breathable.
"Garrus." Liara's hand squeezed my shoulder.
"I'm not leaving." I couldn't look at her. "I'm staying until it's certain, one way or another."
"She wouldn't want you to -"
"Don't tell me what she'd want, I know. I already know." She would want me to go and start fixing things. Putting the galaxy back to rights, clearing away the dust.
This was what I wanted.
Liara shifted and dropped her hand away. Behind her, Tali cleared her throat.
"Where do you want us to start digging?"
I looked at what was left of our best hope, high above our heads, and pointed.
We started to climb, calling her name.
I woke up when the rocks shifted. It was cold, and dark, and still. Like Mindoir. But the air smelled like fire and molten slag, and I remembered what I'd done.
The silence stretched on, the only sound me gasping for air, and then I heard him.
I pulled in as deep a breath as I could, and screamed.
His voice paused.
Right behind you.
One breath left.
I put my hand against the rocks above me and pushed. Time enough for one more miracle.