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It wasn't like Garrus had expected to go slow.  The two-hour window before hitting the Omega-4 relay didn't leave a lot of time to linger over sex.  Still, all of his research indicated that human females needed some time to get in the mood, so he'd come prepared with the wine and music, hoping that by the time Shepard's, uh, mood was ready, his nerves would have settled too.

He should have known better.  Oh, she made an effort at small talk—a few flirtatious lines around one sip of wine—but she'd barely put her glass back on the table before she'd muttered, “Fuck it,” and climbed into his lap to introduce him to the wonders of human kissing.

Garrus had really liked the kissing.

After that it had been a race to get naked, then a bit of awkward positioning, and he would have been embarrassed at how quickly he came if she hadn't been right there with him, panting against his neck and writhing in his lap.  It was better than he'd feared, but over sooner than he'd hoped.  She slumped against him afterwards, and he held her as her breathing slowed, wanting to make the moment last just a little longer.  She shivered as he stroked his thumb over her spine, then laughed.

“I can't believe we didn't even make it to the bed,” she said.

“Just following your lead.”

“I haven't done that in...”  Shepard trailed off and frowned.  “Actually, I've never done that.  Congratulations, you've turned me into the horny teenager I never was.”

“Now there's something to put on my résumé.”  It didn't necessarily mean anything more than the stress of the whole damn mission coming to a head, but he still felt pleased that she'd directed that desperation at him.  “Guess my scars were just that irresistible.”

Shepard traced the edge of his bandage.  “The rest of you isn't bad either.”  She glanced sideways.  “It seems a waste for you to come all the way up here and never try out the bed.”

Oh, spirits, he wanted to, but -  “I'm, um, going to need a while yet.”

“Didn't mean that,” she said.  “At least not right away.”

It took a minute to get comfortable.  Shepard had to let him have all of the pillows, but she didn't complain.  She laid down on her side and folded one arm under her head, running her other hand along the ridge of his breastbone.  “Sorry,” she said.  “I hadn't planned on going quite that fast.  Guess the last few weeks caught up with me.”

“Wasn't working those off the point of this?”  He hadn't thought to look up human post-coital customs and now he felt completely adrift.  The position—the way she was touching him—seemed oddly intimate for just sex between friends.  He was well aware of his own feelings toward Shepard, but she hadn't given any indication this was more than stress relief for her.

Her hand paused.  “Not the only point,” she said.  “Unless I'm making up those follow-up conversations we had.  And the one that happened a few minutes ago.”

It took Garrus a moment to get it, and then he did, and he had to fight back the sudden rush of hope.  There was a lot of ground still between more-than-friends and love.  He covered her hand with his own.  “It's going right so far,” he said, and she smiled.

“What I meant,” she said, “was that I've been regretting our agreement to wait.  I almost asked you to come up after our last stop at Omega, and it's been building since then.”

He wouldn't have been ready.  The panic must have shown on his face, because Shepard gave a low laugh and leaned in to kiss his chest above their joined hands.  

Their last stop at Omega.  “You're talking about Samara's daughter?”

“That's why I said almost.  It wouldn't have been fair to you.”  Shepard sighed and shifted closer, and he wrapped his other arm around her shoulders.  She hadn't wanted to talk about this before.  “I've never been attracted to other women, but Morinth was . . . intoxicating.  It wasn't even like I wanted her.  It was like I already knew how it would be—what she'd feel like, how she'd make me feel—and that the pleasure would be beyond description.  If I hadn't know what she was, if I hadn't listened to Nef's diary, I don't know that I could have resisted her.  And then I came out of that apartment and saw you waiting, and wanting you was just so honest in comparison.”

“You're welcome?”

Shepard leveraged herself up to glare at him.  He grinned and her face shifted to confusion before she realized he was teasing her, and she flopped back down on the bed.  “All right, not the best pillow talk,” she admitted.  She took his hand again and threaded their fingers together.  “You want to give it a go?”

“Right, because my compliments went so well before.”

“You've got me naked in bed.  What kind of high standards do you have?”

Garrus snorted and rolled so he was on his side.  “Shepard, you've convinced me of a lot of things over the years, but not even you can tell me my babbling made you take your clothes off.”

“You're right.  Must have been the wine.”  She ran a hand over his hip, then grasped his waist and pulled till he was above her.  “What I was trying to say is I've wanted this for a while.”

The admission made him feel awkward all over again.  He looked at his hand, resting near her head, and all he could think was how mismatched they were.  Everything about his body seemed designed to hurt hers.  His skin was too rough, his joints too sharp, his weight too heavy.  That he'd managed to satisfy her despite it all seemed a miracle.  “Yeah,” he said.  “Me too.”

Her smile went softer at that, and she raised her head to bump her nose against his.  The affectionate gesture smoothed away some of his insecurities, and he changed the angle to press his mouth to her lips.  She responded eagerly, but let him control the pace of it, seemingly content to have their previous roles reversed.  When he coaxed her mouth open, she made a needy sound, and her legs, already spread to accommodate him, parted further as her grip on his waist tightened.

She was breathing hard again when they parted.  “Please tell me you're ready for another round.”

“Just about.”  He nipped her jaw and was rewarded with another of those sounds.  That alone was going to get him there.  He was about to explore further down her neck when the alarm went off.

Shepard tensed, then cursed.  “That would be our twenty minute warning.”  She didn't move though, or push him off, and he let himself hope that she was as unwilling to let reality creep back in as he was.  A reality that included a crew to rescue, an enemy to destroy, and a galaxy to save.  He sighed and kissed her again, short and close-mouthed, before sitting up.

“You know,” he said, as she followed suit.  “We get through this, we're going to have a lot to celebrate, and I didn't get a chance to use much of that research I did.”  It wasn't what he wanted to say to her, but feelings could be a distraction, and that was the last thing he wanted to give her before a fight like the one they were headed into.  

“We didn't drink much of the wine either.”

He looked sideways at her.  “True.  So?”

She stood.  “So, I need a shower, you need to get ready,” she leaned over him with a grin just as his heart started to drop, “and I'm looking forward to it.”