I. Shepard .5, Garrus 0
“This doesn't count as a date!” Garrus yelled over the gunfire.
Shepard rolled into cover beside him, “For us, this is a date!”
“No, I am a traditional Turian gentleman that expects a nice night out and you wearing your frilly underthings that I can not understand how to take off,” he jumps up, taking out their merc squad’s far sniper with a quick shot.
Shepard gave him a grin through her mask, “So if I wear black lace to kill pyjaks, I can expect you to put out at the end of the date?”
“That plus dinner of some sort, I am sure that is the correct Human tradition,” Garrus nodded, taking out the other merc guarding their exit.
Shepard hopped up beside him, “If we are going to get technical about tradition, I am pretty sure the Turian tradition has you give me way more gifts.”
“The scope for your pistol from this morning doesn't count?” he asked, offering a hand to her.
She took it with a curtsy, “Not when you took it off a dead body.”
Shepard had always been told that the perfect partner would challenge you, push you to be a better person, and bring you personal growth.
Garrus was the partner that could make anything a competition, that never allowed her to forget his victory, but was ready to celebrate hers as well.
Her first success was convincing him that their last mission did count for half a date because:
1. They had drinks afterwards.
2. She bought him an upgrade for his sniper rifle.
3. She had worn her frilly underthings.
However, that success was overshadowed by his next statement.
“You think you are the master at dates Shepard?” Garrus taunted as she moved into his lap, “You’ve got yourself a challenger, first person to three successful dates wins.”
She smiled, giving an exaggerated stretch that forced his game face to drift down her form, “You are so going down Vakarian.”
II. Shepard .5, Garrus 1
“You are going to have to work harder if you want to be the official Galactic Victor of All Things Romantic,” Shepard stopped and stared at the theater’s marquee, “If I wasn’t such a good sportsman then I might be filing a complaint with the judges.”
“I’m not sure how EDI being the judge is fair,” he started, “Besides, when did we decide on that for the title? I was hoping for Owner and Defender of the fair Shepard’s Heart and Loins.”
“I wouldn’t be concerned about the title, I would just be concerned with how you will be offering tribute to the official Victor of All Things Romantic,” she explained, shifting uncomfortably in her heels, “Let’s go in before someone takes a picture of me in the dress.”
“I never thought that a Hanar poetry slam would get you to leave your weapon at home,” he let his talons graze the exposed skin of her shoulder, “Since I have no idea where you would holster it.”
She turned to face him, before gesturing down with her eyes and raising the hem of her dress. The small pistol was tucked in a black sheath and wrapped around her upper thigh. Shepard laughed as his mandibles flared.
“You know, we could just go back to the ship,” she wrapped her hand around his waist, whispering in his ear, “This one feels like being alone.”
Garrus took a step back, adjusting his jacket, “Nice try, but I’m excited for the show. All poetry inspired by the great Commander Shepard.”
“Remember in hour three of the show if you can really count this as a victory, ” she started towards the ticket booth, before turning back to point a finger, “And due to our role as foreign dignitaries, there is no chance of us leaving early.”
“Doesn’t matter, still got the point,” he shrugged, following after her.
III. Shepard 1.5, Garrus 1
Shepard had always been good at stalking.
It wasn’t really a skill that had gotten her dates or impressed past partners, but did make her skilled at tracking Garrus’ movements over the ship. It took her two weeks until she had his weekly schedule down to his 15 minute break to the mess every other afternoon to intimidate the Alliance privates and rummage through the dextro-MREs.
The picnic basket had been procured at the start of her stakeout courtesy of a more than slightly amused Liara, and Garrus’ sister had assisted with a list of his favorite Turian delicacies. Tali had found the wine, Joker had agreed to take a longer path to their destination, and EDI had agreed to shut off his access to Calibration software for a one hour period.
They had also all agreed to pretend that Shepard had arranged all of this on her own but to also let Garrus know that if Shepard could save the galaxy, she can probably plan the best date.
She had even timed out how long it would take for her to lay out the food, reapply her lipstick, and still look casual when he strolled back in.
But when he had finally stepped out for his break and she ducked in, the small note on his station didn’t surprise her.
I wrote the book on tracking. But I will concede the point.
“Nicely played Vakarian,” she whispered to herself as the door slide back open.
IV. Shepard 1.5, Garrus 1.5
When he had first met Shepard, he couldn’t bear to look at her face. She is a spinning quasar, and he was convinced that if he stopped to stare, she would burn out everything he was.
In the darkness of her cabin, he rests his cheek against the galaxy map of scars that spread across her hip. They breathe in deeply together, connecting the two ways they had died and been reborn as messy jagged creatures who wear their history stretching across their skin.
Garrus wears his markings as an allegiance to her, the face paint of his people and clan second to his personal pledge to never leave her. She wears hers to never forget, the Alliance’s pleas for surgery permanently unanswered as the hero of the Galaxy answered questions with a jagged gash crossing her cheek.
He surprised her with her own dark blue facial paint after weeks of her watching him reapply it in her small bathroom.
“For my people, these markings are a reminder of the people you share them with,” he explained handing her the small glass container, ”When two people enter into a courtship of any permanence, they can share in this marking.”
She opened the jar, “How do I start?”
He held her hand to his chest, “For the first time, it is tradition for me to apply it.”
The brush is soft against her cheek, drawing a delicate line over the bridge of her nose. Shepard tries to catch his gaze but he refuses until finally offering her a mirror to examine his work.
He wants to ask if this counts, but his words stop in his throat as she moves over him with a serpentine grace, letting a hand rest to his cheek. The cobalt paint streaked across her face, his shirt wrapped around her tiny frame, and Garrus is overwhelmed by a sensation that she is his.
“We can call this a half point,” she reads his mind and gives him his answer at the same time.
She is his, and he is hers, and no other clan’s markings would ever do.
V. Shepard 3, Garrus 1.5
Dr. Chakwas had forced them into a vacation, and the small coastal compound had been opened just for Commander Shepard and crew.
She told the Alliance that hot springs were therapeutic for the injured, that relaxation was needed to prevent PTSD, and that nobody in a post-reaper world would be okay with their hero not getting even a brief respite. She also mentioned that she had heard Diana Allers mention a story on our overworked troops.
The dates were blacked out on the calendar, and the team was told to refrain from fighting with anything,
But as Shepard slid into the small pool, Garrus actually wished for things to shoot, rather than the conversation he was expecting.
“It is okay Garrus,” she giggled, swimming away from the edge of the pool, “I know that you are just scared and it is okay to be scared of things.”
He feels his fists clench, “I’m not scared Shepard, I’m just not buoyant.”
“Garrus, it is okay, I love you just the same,” she turned in the water to float on her back, “You are also scared of bugs and Alliance medal ceremonies.”
“They just always seem like a trap, who should be giving me an award!” he dipped a foot in the water, “But that’s beside the point, I’m not scared of the water.”
She moved off of her back to tread water, “All talk Vakarian, all talk.”
It is not till Garrus is half way in the pool does he realize that he has been tricked and not even by a good plan. Shepard ducks under the surface, and he can make our her blurred form nearing him, causing ripples to lap at his abdomen.
“See, is it that bad?” she gives a devious smile before turning back into a flip and splashing him on the follow through.
Wiping the droplets from his face, “Okay, you win, I’m in this giant bathtub, what do we do next?”
She swam up, pulling Garrus deeper until she could wrap herself around him, his body temperature matching the heat of the pool.
“I float, you hold me, and remember that you are making your girlfriend exceedingly happy” she was slick and warm against him, the swimsuit reflecting the moonlight bouncing off the surface.
“You know that I love you, right Shepard?” Garrus asked quietly as she rested her head on his shoulder.
“How much?” she asked, relaxing against him.
He ran a hand over her hair, “I concede victory, you win and are the Victor of All Things Romantic.”
“I never thought I’d have anyone love me that much, but you should also admit that I would’ve won irregardless,” she chuckled, poking him in the side.
Garrus smiled, moving to hold her face in his hands. She sighed contentedly, grazing her cheek against his rough palm. “How about instead I ask you to marry me and continue to beat me until we’re old and gray and irritating our grandkids with our fight about who is better at Quasar?” he asked quietly, a slight uncertainty betrayed in his voice.
She grinned, nodding excitedly, “Only if you promise to never let me win.”
Garrus agreed, “It would be my pleasure.”