It is exactly one month into Shepard’s convalescence when she finally asks Garrus to help her break out.
The doctors are poring over her again, checking this and that, prodding with needles and scanning her with omnitools. Amidst the madness Shepard looks at Garrus, always by her bed, and mouths at him, “Get me out of here!”
The next day, Garrus puts his head together with Shepard, and they plan. Well, it’s more like he plans, and Shepard swears and shifts delicately in bed and vetos anything that might take longer than three minutes to achieve. If she had her druthers, Garrus knows, Shepard would chain-charge her way out of the heavily guarded ICU, leaving ozone-tinged afterimages in her wake. But Shepard’s not in good shape, and that's putting it lightly.
"Shepard 2, Vakarian 1," he'd said to her the first day she woke up. "Good job making a rocket to the face look like the kiddie leagues." Shepard started to laugh, then winced in pain, a little moan escaping her. Garrus instantly felt sorry and hit the button for more drugs.
So they plan, and eventually they manage to convince just about everyone but the hospital administration that Shepard should be let go. On a fine day in London - fine by new Earth standards, which meant there were a few rays of sunshine coming through ashy cloud cover - Shepard hobbles out, one hand holding a cane, the other hand clutching Garrus. The hospital staff shadow her steps, and as she crosses the threshold Shepard twists around, grunting with the effort of it, and chucks her cane at the nearest doctor, a last act of defiance.
Garrus apologizes profusely though he doesn't mean a single word of it. In his opinion, Shepard should have been in Dr. Chakwas' care. "Red tape, Garrus," she'd said to him when she had grown stronger. "That's what Kaidan said to me. I'm tied down to this bed with red tape."
Everyone already knew how he'd felt about that.
The two of them get into an air cab and head to the nearest Alliance dock, where the Normandy is waiting with a skeleton crew. As soon as they board, Edi starts chattering at Shepard. "Missed me, Edi?" she asks.
There is a moment of silence. "Yes."
Shepard grins. "I'll let you fill me in on the gossip on our trip to Virmire."
Virmire. After much deliberation Garrus and Shepard had settled on it. A tropical locale was a non-negotiable part of the deal, Garrus maintained, as were the vids. Shepard had laughed at that. That hadn't left much in the way of choice. Virmire was tropical, with lots of beaches, emotional investment, and enough mercs to keep his skills sharp. In other words, it was perfect.
"Ash deserves a monument," Shepard murmurs to him that night as they're falling asleep, the Normandy a familiar warm hum around them, infinite stars twinkling through the flickers of her shielding. "I always wanted one for her."
"She'll get one," Garrus replies quietly, his voice more a rumble that resonates through his chest.
The trip to Virmire is uneventful, but the landing isn't. Despite only being able to limp along on the best of days, Shepard directs Joker to land the Normandy on top of the best-supplied merc base on the planet. "Shepard," Edi says. "Fighting in your condition would be inadvisable."
"This is the one time I'm going to delegate," she says. "We'll give them some advance warning first, of course. Anyone who doesn't feel like getting out can fight one of us for it. Joker, broadcast the signal."
"Giving 'em the bad news now, Commander," he says, flicking an orange hud towards him.
Garrus doesn't even give the mercs the hour-long grace period before getting his sniper rifle out. Shepard gives him an amused look when he reappears on the bridge suited up in his armor. "Got your second wife there, Vakarian?"
"She's excited, hasn't seen action in weeks," he replies, patting his gun in a fond way.
"Don't get premature about it," Shepard says. "It's going to be a long session. She'll get too hot if you aren't careful."
"Jesus Christ, I'm right here," Joker groans. "Could you two save it for the bedroom?"
“Doesn’t Edi just tell you everything anyway?” Garrus hefts his rifle onto his shoulder and gives Joker the turian equivalent of a toothy smile.
“I have been keeping that information private out of consideration for your needs, Garrus,” Edi chimes in, “but if you would like, I can show Jeff the hours of audio and video footage stored in the Normandy’s servers.”
Garrus blinks. Shepard covers her mouth. Joker looks horrified.
“That was a joke.”
“Okay,” Shepard says finally, breaking the silence. “Their hour is up and it looks like there’s a small group trying to hold out. Let’s get –“ A quiet boom interrupts her.
Edi looks to Shepard. “That was a missile. Shield strength is holding. There was no damage.”
“Alliance reqs say we can return fire if fired upon. We’re on Alliance business, we’ve been fired upon. I guess that means Garrus gets to handle his gun.” Garrus can see Joker shaking his head and facepalming behind Shepard.
“Target practice!” Garrus whoops, heading for the elevator.
True to prediction, the battle is a long one. When Garrus finally gets up from his sniper’s crouch he notices the pool of thermal clips around his station. Shaking his head, he stretches, then lends a hand to Shepard as she makes her way slowly out of the Normandy. EDI leads the way, her gun pointed in front of her, eyes trained on the group of mercs who have surrendered.
“Shepard, you didn’t have to dress up for me,” he says as he grasps her waist, helping her down the exit ramp. She’s in her full N7 armor with some Ariake pieces thrown in, and has turned her lights up to a blinding white. He wonders how long it took her to get that on. Bending and reaching is still painful for her; he’s had to be extra gentle lately.
“All the more work for you later, Garrus,” she replies sotto voce, giving him a quick smile. Joker’s protestations are extra loud in their earpieces.
Shepard gets down to the bottom of the ramp and flicks on her voice amp, straightening up. Garrus lets go and retreats to a respectful second-in-command distance, ejecting his assault rifle from its holder and holding it lightly in his hands. Shepard’s voice comes loud, with the air of authority only a storied hero of the galaxy can command. “Listen up,” she says crisply. “I’ll be short and to the point. This is official Alliance business. This planet needs to be habitable for a full colonization effort. It’s my job to make sure that happens. You have one last chance to make a decision. Join me and help take back this planet, or leave now with your lives intact.” She pauses, and her biotics shimmer around her. “The last option is to fight, but know that I’ve killed the Reapers, and you are nothing.”
Garrus is not surprised when the majority of the mercenaries lay down their arms.
It takes a while, but eventually the base they took is livable, if not classy. One day, Garrus thinks as he walks down a hallway, idly surveying the info on his omni-tool, he’ll get an interior decorator or something and make the quarters he shares with Shepard more pleasant. He pauses to take in the scenery through a large window overlooking a beach. At least the view is superb.
Shepard is on the beach, a blur of blue as she zips from recruit to recruit in a “training exercise.” Garrus feels sorry for them. Later tonight they’ll be a mess of bruises, and bathtubs are in short supply. On the other hand, Shepard’s training is light-years ahead of any kind of training they would have gotten in a mercenary company. She needs the recruits to be at their best, after all. She’s sending them out to guard the new colony that’s just been established.
A lot of the mercenaries they’d picked up from the initial assault had been young, and as time went by they’d developed a reverent attitude around Shepard. Garrus finds it amusing and altogether completely appropriate, but Shepard’s informal human ways are at odds with it. He’s mentioned it to friends in passing; Wrex especially approves, since to him Shepard’s an honorary krogan warlord.
“I sent you something,” he’d said to Garrus last time they chatted. “A surprise.”
Garrus’ mandibles flared. “Can’t tell me, Wrex?”
“It would ruin the surprise. Wish I could be there to see the look on your face when you get it. It should arrive soon, I sent it with a messenger. Wrex out.”
An alert pops up on Garrus’ omni-tool; it’s a small ship with a Tuchanka signature, cleared to land, high priority. Immediately Garrus pivots and heads towards the landing zone. It’ll take him about ten minutes to make it over, ten minutes of wondering exactly what Wrex sent. Supplies, maybe? Weapons? Garrus can’t think of anything the krogan could send that would be useful other than themselves.
“Sir.” As he approaches the landing zone, a recruit salutes him. Garrus sighs inwardly. The recruit isn’t a recruit, really, he’s one of the original mercenaries and he’s been around for a while. “Everything checks out, sir.”
“Thank you, Corporal.” Garrus passes him and heads to the ship. As he approaches, a door hisses open, and a familiar white-armored krogan jumps out, landing solidly in the sand. Garrus blinks, genuinely surprised. “Grunt? Wrex sent you?”
“Not me,” Grunt replies, shaking Garrus’ hand. Garrus takes note of the gesture. Maybe he’s learning diplomacy, after all. In small doses. “I’m just delivering your package, heh.” Grunt cranes his head around, looking past his now considerably larger hump. “Come on out.”
A tiny krogan jumps out of the ship, landing just as solidly as the adult in front of it. It’s round everywhere and armorless, with reddish scales and a gray belly. It’s the spitting image of Wrex minus the hideous facial scarring. Garrus stares, his jaw and mandibles dropping. “You have GOT to be joking.”
“Nope. Wrex thought he’d foster this one with you. It’s a she, by the way. You’ll have to name her. We don’t give the little ones names until we know they’re going to survive, but she’ll probably survive with you two around. Heh. Probably.” Grunt stoops down, scoops up the baby krogan, and shoves her unceremoniously at Garrus, who barely manages to grab her in time. He’s still in shock. “Where’s Shepard?” Grunt asks, as if handing off a baby krogan to a turian with no instructions on how to rear her is a normal thing.
“Uh...” Garrus radios Shepard. “Shepard... we have a visitor. And a little extra.” Shepard says something curtly to him; she always sounds like that when she’s in the middle of fighting with her biotics. Leaves her out of breath, she says. “It can’t wait. Grunt’s here. And he brought Wrex’s baby for us to raise.”
“Oh shit,” he hears Shepard say.
The first real argument Garrus has with Shepard is over baby names.
It’s surreal, he thinks, watching Shepard glaring at him, her arms crossed over her chest, that a turian and a human would be fighting over what name to give a krogan baby. Garrus is already begrudgingly in love with the little red lead weight and has a list of names ready to go. Turian naming custom leans towards the military; barring that, names of strength are preferred. Garrus thinks Archa and Prima are excellent names, topped only by Regina. Shepard disagrees.
“Regina is old-fashioned, Garrus.” Shepard eyeballs the female, who has managed to escape her own quarters and set up shop in theirs. Shepard gets up every night and opens the door to let the baby in, then gets up a second time to kick her out. By morning, the baby usually finds its way back. Garrus figures that half the reason why Shepard’s been so grumpy lately has been due to the daily interruption of customary morning activities. Bright spots on Shepard’s body on his visor’s infrared setting would attest to that theory.
“We should stick with what the krogan do. Don’t give her a name until she’s of age or kills something.”
“Oh please, Shepard, like she’s going to make it past her second birthday without damaging something irreparably. She’s a krogan.” An adorable one, if adorable could be used to describe a krogan. “And you’re her foster mother. What’s the over/under on that one, ten months? A year, maybe?” Garrus mirrors Shepard’s body language, folding his arms over themselves. “Nothing’s wrong with Regina. I don’t get why you’re so opposed to it when you yourself are named after an ancient human emperor.”
Shepard – Alexandra, but she goes by Alex and prefers Shepard – sighs and drops her arms, shrugging. “Fine. You win, Garrus. We can’t be calling her ‘the baby krogan’ or ‘little bit’ all the time anyway.” She gives him a pointed look as the krogan tucks her head into her chest and begins rolling around on the floor like an armored bowling ball. “But I say no to Regina. Or Archa. Your sister has a nice name, how about using hers?”
The baby krogan tumbles her way over to Garrus, knocking into his foot. She pops out of her ball shape, undeterred, and reaches a three-fingered hand up towards his right leg spike. Garrus lets the baby haul herself to her feet, tries not to snicker as the baby grabs on with both hands and dangles awkwardly in the air. She isn’t the first non-turian to be fascinated with his rigid legparts.
“Can’t. She isn’t dead yet.” Shepard’s mouth makes a little o of understanding. “What about a weapon-inspired name?”
“Don’t even think of naming her after your favorite gun, Vakarian.”
“Can’t blame me for trying.” The weight of the krogan is beginning to hurt him. Garrus reaches down and plucks the baby up, then tosses her onto the bed. She sails in a low arc and hits the bed with an alarming thump. Growling in delight, she scrambles off the bed and races back to Garrus for more. He obliges.
Shepard is silent, wearing a distant look. Probably going through a lengthy index of all the weapons known to man, Garrus thinks. He’s never known anyone to be so deadly or so skilled at using anything that holds an edge or a bullet. When she first got a blade attachment for her shotgun, she grinned like a loon for days. Her response after his inquiry had something to do with “bayonets” and a civil war. He just shook his head.
“How about Kris?” Shepard says finally. Garrus tilts his head at her, questioning. Shepard pokes her omnitool for a moment, and a holographic 3D projection of a wavy-bladed, asymmetrical dagger appears. “It’s a weapon and a spiritual symbol of an ancient culture on Earth. They were often passed from family member to family member and were commonly used in self-defense.”
“Last time, little bit,” Garrus tells the baby krogan before he tosses her again. Was that a crack he just heard? Shepard’s eyes narrow. “Ah, I think it’s a perfect name,” he says quickly. “Let’s go with it. Kris.” The newly-christened Kris dives face-first off the bed, lands on her nose, and bounces to her feet. “So, what clan name does she get, Shepard, Vakarian, or Urdnot?”
Shepard puts her face in her hands. “That’s a discussion I’m going to leave for later.”
The end! NSFW.
“Steady now. Remember that it’s a part of you. If you aren’t balanced, then it isn’t balanced. Keep breathing evenly. Shoot on the exhale.”
“Da?” Kris looks up at Garrus, her carbuncle-colored eyes worried. “I don’t want it.”
Garrus kneels down in the sand next to his adoptive daughter. “What do you mean, you don’t want it?”
Kris frowns and tries to put her child-sized sniper rifle into an imaginary holster on Garrus’ crest. “Don’t like it. I don’t want it.” Garrus pushes the gun away but Kris is insistent. “Don’t WANT it!”
All right, so there was a reason why the galaxy wasn’t being overrun by krogan snipers. Garrus did have to admit that Kris was not a natural at sniping. Nor was she a natural at things like patience or serenity. The latter two Garrus could forgive on account of Kris being a krogan toddler. The former, well.
“Kris, be careful with the gun. Don’t do that.” Garrus grapples with the krogan, so strong even at her young age, trying to point the gun away and push the button to collapse it at the same time. “Kris, let Dad take care of it.” Clearly, what he was saying is not getting through to her. Kris shoves the gun even harder at Garrus, hard enough to upset his balance and –
A high pop sounds loudly. Garrus, on his back, feels a sharp pain in his foot, feels something liquid on his skin. He lays there, unmoving, breathing through the pain, trying to accept the fact that his two-year-old daughter has just brought him down. Him, Garrus Vakarian, Archangel, galaxy-class sharpshooter, partner to Commander Shepard. A casualty of a two-year-old.
“Da?” Kris appears over him, blocking out some of the light of Virmire’s sun. She looks frightened. If krogan could cry, large tears would be welling up out of those eyes right now. “Da, I sorry! I sorry!” Garrus forgives her on the spot. Then she adds, “I trouble?”
He grits his teeth together, rolls onto his side, and levers himself up. Somehow, getting shot with Kris’ light rifle hurts worse than getting popped in the shoulder by a merc. Medigel, Garrus thinks, wincing. He’s never going to wear civvies to training ever again.
Kris gets even more frantic at Garrus’ silence. “I trouble?” she asks again, her voice creeping higher in pitch.
“No no, little bit, I’m not mad at you,” Garrus says, and pats Kris on the head. “Please be more careful with the gun next time, and listen to me when I say something.” Garrus inspects his foot. The slug has gone most of the way through, maybe even completely through. Impressive. “Pick up the gun and give it to me. Then we’ll go inside to get some Medigel.” Kris picks up the rifle and hands it over meekly.
Garrus takes it, then grasps the little krogan’s hand in his free one. The two of them head back to the compound slowly, Kris’ little krogan tail wagging behind her, Garrus leaving a trail of dark blue behind.
Shepard is amused when she hears the story. “I told you not to use live ammo, Garrus,” she says, smirking at him. Garrus is thankful that she’s considerate enough not to laugh in his face. “I didn’t save you from getting flanked just to have our daughter yell, ‘Scratch one!’ and drop you.”
Garrus laughs quietly. “A learning experience. Next time, maybe I’ll try one of those human guns. What do you call them, B guns?”
“BB guns.” Shepard turns to the green door lock interface for a second; it flashes, then flicks to red. “There. No one on this base should be able to get through there now.” She reaches over with her right hand to her left shoulder and pops the latch on her shoulderguard. It falls to the floor with a metallic clunk.
“Well, it’s a good thing I’m on the right side of it then. Unless next time you want me to test your theory.” He should have known that getting shot would rile her up. Garrus reaches up to his visor, turns it to thermal imaging mode just to be sure. He sees Shepard, mostly blue, but beginning to glow red in a certain area. Oh yeah.
He removes his visor and sets it on the nightstand beside him, then settles back into the pillows to watch the show. Shepard’s other shoulderguard, vambraces, gloves, and chestpiece drop from her body, revealing only a thin cotton undershirt that’s holding onto her body as if its life depended on it. Garrus swallows.
Shepard gives him a teasing grin, then shows him her backside as she bends over at the waist to undo her leg greaves and step out of her boots. Garrus flares out his mandibles in appreciation at the sight. He’s grown to love her curves, grown to love the softness and smoothness of Shepard’s body, so at odds with her battlefield persona. He loves touching her and watching her react, her muscles rippling underneath her skin. He loves that he has to be so careful with a human that’s come back from death twice.
Shepard’s completely out of her armor now. She stretches up, stripping off her shirt, then her bra, and Garrus admires how lithe the human body is, how it can twist and elongate and do things that turian bodies can’t do. He watches, breath held, as she wriggles out of her shorts. This is his favorite part.
Of all the parts of a human body, Garrus never expected to love female hips as much as he does. But Shepard has glorious hips, rounded and perfect and with the most delicious hipbones he’s ever felt in his life. And Shepard knows this, because now she’s walking slowly towards the bed, those hips of hers moving in an exaggerated sway as she places one foot directly in front of another. Suddenly, Garrus feels incredibly restrained by his clothing.
With slightly frenzied movements Garrus shucks off his civs, but turian clothing being the way it is – fuck the neckholes! – its takes more time to disrobe. By the time he’s finished Shepard’s standing by her side of the bed, head tilted back, neck exposed, drinking deeply from a water glass. She puts the glass and the pill bottle in her other hand down on the nightstand. Garrus growls at her, a metallic rumbling coming from within his carapace.
“You sure you can perform with that wound of yours, Vakarian?” Shepard asks him playfully, her voice a dusky, velvety sound.
Garrus clenches his jaw, reaches for Shepard, who takes a step back, smiling. “I put Medigel on it,” he tells her. He scoots over to her side of the bed.
“Looks like it’s going to scar,” she continues.
“Medigel,” and his tone of voice implies that he does not give one damn at this time.
“Might get infected.”
“Medigel,” Garrus says firmly, and in a rare display of strength he simply picks Shepard up and sets her atop his body. He holds her around her hips, digging his forefingers lightly into the flesh of her rear, his thumbs pressed against her hipbones. “Ahh,” he sighs out. Perfect.
Shepard leans down to kiss him and for a moment he lets her do that, lets her ghost her lips over his facepaint and down the scars from his injury. Kissing is a human thing, he’s learned, and he’s not particularly good at it. Well, not on the face. Other parts of the body, yes.
So he flips Shepard onto her back, crawls down her body until he’s in the right place. Shepard makes a satisfied hmm sound and slips her hands around his head, fingers curling behind his crest. It’s a familiar sensation, and one that he sometimes dreams about. He spreads her legs open wider and lowers his head, nuzzling in. Shepard hmms again, and Garrus puts his mouth flush against her and hmms right back, sending his baritone growl resonating into her.
Shepard rewards him with a quiet moan. “Garrus,” she says, and he hmms a bit louder this time, putting more vibration into it. Shepard’s hips shift under him; he holds her so that she can’t move, drops his jaw, lets his tongue make contact. “Garrus,” Shepard hisses, drawing out the sibilance of his name. He loves it.
Garrus has always been detail-minded, he knows, and it’s an advantage in this theater of operations. Being careful and calculated in combination with letting his desires guide him yields the best results. He’d hit upon that golden ratio after lots of experiments calibrating this and that, seeing if he could get one more gasp out of Shepard, one more throaty moan, one more second added onto her long, rolling orgasms. His meticulousness has allowed him to learn her body and its cues, teaching him when to hold back and when to give just a little bit more, how to keep her on the brink of climax without going over. He laps at her, drinks in her taste and her scent, uses tongue and fingers and voice and plays her until her body is taut, vibrating like a string.
Shepard is breathing hard now, writhing underneath him. He looks up briefly to see her; her eyes are screwed shut, one hand is tangled in her own hair, the other is clenching one of his horns. If he keeps going everything will be over in minutes, if not seconds. So Garrus rises reluctantly, folds himself into a kneeling position, bracing himself against his leg spikes. Shepard opens her eyes, then sits up, knowing what’s next.
She comes to him, kisses him on the mandible briefly, straddles him. Her hands find purchase in the top of his carapace, and she holds on as she begins lowering herself onto him. Garrus groans, letting his head fall back a little; she is so, so incredibly wet and he has to summon up all his willpower not to grab her hips and jam her down onto him and fuck her brains out. Patience, he tells himself, that will come sooner or later, probably sooner at this rate. For now, he closes his eyes, feeling Shepard sheathe herself on him centimeter by torturous, carnal centimeter, her slick, warm insides conforming to his ridged size.
When their hips meet they both groan at the fullness of it. “Alex,” Garrus says. He can’t help himself. “I –“
“Just show me, Garrus,” Shepard breathes, and Garrus can feel her breasts pressed against him, rising and falling with her pants. “That baby – Garrus, just –“
He doesn’t let her say any more. Garrus grips her hard around her hips, palms splayed skin to skin, and starts moving. Cautiously at first, but soon Garrus abandons all of that and gives in to his base desires. Long, sensuous strokes give way to short, powerful ones. Shepard is crying out in rhythm with his thrusts now; her fingers are clenched into his carapace hard enough for him to feel her short nails digging in. Garrus can’t keep holding her at this rate, and he falls forward, catching himself on the bed with one hand. Shepard hooks her legs around his waist and surges against him as he scrabbles frenetically for pillows to shove under her.
As soon as Garrus can get two hands onto the bed he renews his efforts. He stays there for half a minute, enjoying the change in position, but not long after he lowers himself onto his elbows, maximizing the skin-to-skin contact between himself and Shepard. She is close, he knows. He is too. He can’t keep up a pace like this for long, no matter how many times he and Shepard have done this.
Right before she comes Shepard keens out his name, and just the mere thought of finishing inside her, getting her pregnant through impossible odds, sends him over the edge. Warmth and wetness explode around where their bodies are connected. Shepards sharp gasps cut the air, interspersed with her guttural cries, and they only serve to heighten his own climax. Through the haze of pleasure and the sensation of pouring himself into her Garrus can hear his own voice, ragged in his ears, on top of the loud orgasmic purring that only Shepard can elicit from him.
When Shepard comes down, Garrus withdraws and collapses in a quivering heap next to her. Her eyes are glassy and unfocused from the strength of her orgasm; her chest is still heaving. They say nothing for a while, continue to say nothing as they recover, get up, go to the shower.
Garrus eyeballs the sheets when they return to bed, deems them fit to sleep on. He gets into his side, his body warm and loose from sex and the shower. “I think that warrants a good night’s sleep, don’t you?”
Shepard casts him an amused look. “Slick as always, Vakarian.”
“I aim to please.”
“You sure do.” Another comfortable silence follows. Then, “Garrus, Wrex called me today.”
Garrus rolls to his side. Turians really weren’t meant to sleep on their backs. “Really? About what?”
Shepard reaches for him, pulls herself close. Her slim fingers find their way into the greaves of his chest, tracing their contours. “He and Bakara had more children about half a year ago. And the krogan fostering program seems to be working out really well. He wants to know if we can take another.”
Garrus thinks of how deeply in love he is with Kris, how Virmire has become his home and Shepard his family. The answer is clear. “Of course we can. We’ll take as many as he cares to send.”
Shepard yawns, rolls onto her back. “Careful what you wish for, Garrus.”