“The scars are starting to fade. I remember they drove you wild.”
Garrus always knew that he was going to die violently.
It was becoming clearer with each new day, that his actions—reckless and dark, in retrospect— on Omega, were finally catching up with him.
There was no escaping it now, trapped as he was in this compromised, blown-out shelter.
It all started like so many other things— with good intentions, and a singular propose: To purge out all the deplorable criminals— drug dealers, murderers, rapists— off the most lawless and depraved space station in the Terminus system. And he wasn’t alone in his goals. He’d met a few brilliant others with similar intentions, though now…
He ducked his head, avoiding sloppy, ill-placed gunfire. He risked a glance over his shoulder, knowing fully what to expect.
Laid out in ten bloody heaps, those like-minded individuals were now dead.
His teammates and his friends.
But it wasn’t his murdered squad that his last thoughts lingered on.
It was of Shepard and of the last time he saw her alive—Citadel sunshine in her hair and a smile like a flame. Two years miserably passing, yet he could remember it like it was yesterday. They’d made plans to grab a beer after Shepard returned from the very standard recon mission aboard the Normandy, the one that was doomed to be her final assignment. It was a good memory; kept him warm on the loneliest and coldest nights.
Lining up another headshot in his scope, he killed a freelancing mercenary, and yet they kept coming. There was no end to the disposable cannon fodder, and the bodies were piling up in messy carnage on the bridge.
It was the pulpy gore that expunged Shepard’s pretty face from his psyche, replacing it with an image that Garrus should have never worked up the nerve to see. And yet, he couldn’t—wouldn’t— accept her death without evidence, and that proof came courtesy of a grainy, gritty video found in one of the salvaged black-box units flouting in the Normandy’s mangled space debris.
The newly appointed Counselor David Anderson had warned him—warned them all— that some things were best left unseen, else you risked being irrevocably changed forever. Garrus demanded the black-box vid anyway, using his height to tower over Anderson, but there was little reason for coercion. Anderson handed him a data-pad, with a solemn expression, and pitiful, pathetic sort of look.
Three days he spent beating criminals within an inch of their worthless lives, and waited three days more to watch the short, pieced together surveillance video.
And when he did, Garrus realized Anderson had been right.
It was terrible.
He sat in his dark, small apartment, face illuminated only by terminal glow. He watched as Shepard was slung far away from the decimated Normandy, grip rocked loose by another blazing shot from some unknown enemy craft, and body spun into black, unforgiving space.
Her body that was never to be recovered.
She swayed and struggled for as long as she could with laboring breathe, through the punctured oxygen tank, fighting until the very end.
But not even an inspiring force like Commander Shepard, could grapple with the unforgiving logistics of being spaced.
He only watched it once.
Grave despair filled his heart, but he swallowed it down.
He couldn’t risk dwelling on all that could have been, or wallowing in ill-timed, impossible love.
Emotionally, it would’ve crippled him; reduced to being paralyzed and broken down.
Garrus packed a worn two-strapped duffle bag he’d kept from his service in the Hierarchy’s military, and booked passage to Omega that same night.
Another shot whistled past him bringing his thoughts back to the present. It was perhaps both the worst, and the best time to reminisce. He doubted that there would be any other opportunities.
And Garrus knew that out of all the enemies surging across the bridge, fatigue would be the one that would kill him. He was running out of time, running out of energy.
Running out of resolve.
There was a lull over the barricade before five more freelancers jumped over. Three more followed behind the first group but kept a careful distance from the others. Garrus could only make out their silhouettes. He readied himself for this next wave, but before his aim rang true, his target’s chest was blown out from behind. Consecutive, quick, rhythmic shots echoed the first.
Two perfect kills, and neither of them his own.
Wildly, he directed his rifle to the figure walking out of the shadowy overpass, the figure who held a raised semi-automatic pistol. Through a circular breadth, he witnessed a confident ghost stroll across the boulevard like she owned it.
He looked away, shocked.
No way in hell.
He must be getting delirious.
A wild dream was surely bleeding into the last moments of his bleak, crippling reality.
He looked through the magnifier again.
The shiny embossed N7 shield stood out against a polished black and red hardsuit. His heart pounded into his ribcage. Shaking, he moved his view upwards— terrified and worse yet, hopeful—until he saw the face that both haunted, and possessed him. Sweat dotted her forehead, razor-thin incisions crept along her cheeks, unnatural incandescence burning beneath each laceration. He watched a slender Kevlar-covered finger pull free a strand of hair from the corner of her full mouth, and intense, vivid eyes stared him down through the scope.
It was Shepard.
She looked very much alive; there was a feverish-ecstasy in the way she moved and unloaded her terminal clip into an enterprising freelancer who tried to blitz her just now.
And against all reason, it appeared that she was here for him.
There was little time to process what this meant, but a renewed surge of adrenaline pumped through his veins— he’d not felt so revitalized in years. Shepard had some explaining to do, that much was certain, and after seemingly returning from the dead, Garrus hoped she’d be in a chatty mood. If not, he planned to hold her down and loosen her tongue one way or another.
He didn’t move from his position, hunkered down behind a balcony that was now damaged beyond repair, even after he knew that Shepard crossed the threshold into the room that he held for so many hours, alone and desperate.
She approached, with due caution, and asked for his moniker.
Garrus finally breathed— a dull ache making its presence known in his shoulders, arms, and back. It felt good to stand, even better to walk, but pulling off his helmet and seeing Shepard’s expression was by far the best sensation.
Her smile was unguarded, shocked and beautiful.
Together, they were going to get the hell off Omega.
Like so many of their missions before, there was little reason to doubt that they could do this. He cared little for the other two humans who accommodated Shepard; they served only as additional brawn and backup. Shepard directed, and utilized their abilities, with unhesitating, smooth authority. The building was safe-guarded with efficiency, and two out of the three mercenary leaders were dead.
It was turning out to be a decent day, even though betrayal and revenge weighed heavily on his mind.
But it was the damn gunship, that mowed a scalding line across his chest, up to his uncovered face and threw off his equilibrium. He dove, seeking cover but fell short, for there was nothing that could guard him against that sort of firepower.
It felt like his skull had been split in two.
He clutched the barrel of his rifle, laying in a shallow puddle of his own hot cobalt blood, fading in and out of consciousness. He was aware enough to know when Shepard arrived, and delivered the killing blow to that wretched piece of machinery, but the edges of his vision were turning dark.
Her face suddenly hovered over his, mouthing his name— though he couldn’t hear her vibrant voice. He was glad to see her, so close to his dying body. In his final, fleeting moments, he witnessed her resurrection— felt her living presence one more time.
The irony wasn’t lost on him.
It was funny how quickly things could return to their normal rhythms after a life-changing crisis. The universe never stopped moving. The ebb and flow paused for no one and gave little time for wound-licking. It was a blessing, in a way: forced endurance, adaptability, gratitude, and genuine appreciation for normalcy.
But then there were some things that would never, ever be the same, no matter how much time passed.
Just like Anderson warned.
Garrus carefully peeled off the hypoallergenic graft off his face and grimaced at his reflection.
For the first time, he truly started taking in the lurid injury that ran across his bill, maxilla, frontal, and zygomatic plates. The damage was deep, raw, and would scar terribly, even with the liberal amount of topical antibiotic ointment that his bandages contained. Sickly blue and yellow bruising blossomed from each jagged tear and split. Blistering punctuated the layers of open burn wounds, and the pain was almost unbearable.
Experimentally, he fanned one tender, maimed mandible out, leaning closer to the mirror that hung over the sink.
He looked awful, but at least all his teeth were still intact, and he’d not lost the eye closest to the injury. It was a small thing but made his new disfigurement easier to accept.
Dr. Karin Chakwas cautioned him about infection, and he scowled at the collection of sterile supplies and equipment laid out on the stainless-steel countertop.
He didn’t even want to look at his face, much less touch it.
Chakwas was one of the finest doctors that Garrus ever met (though a bit too much like a mother hen, for his tastes), and she’d already assured him that she’d be more than happy to assist him with any sort of care that he required. As the resident physician, Chakwas was always on call, but it was so late in the Normandy time cycle, that disturbing her for something this minor seemed childish.
Besides, it wasn't as if he lacked the skill-set to tend to his own injuries; every solider went through basic wound care training.
He could change his own bandages.
He huffed and admonished himself for being so stubborn, before picking up a pack of antibacterial soap and tearing it open. The Main Battery was a quiet haven abroad the Normandy SR-2, a place far enough removed from the Cerberus agents that Garrus could feel mildly comfortable. They all were friendly enough, but he placed zero trust in them, and sharing quarters with any of them seemed like an invitation for trouble. So, he was grateful for the washroom that was attached to the Main Battery. It was big enough to slide a surprisingly cushy cot into the corner, and a chair that could double as a nightstand if need be. The metal sink and counter was the biggest bonus, however. In addition to the convenience of washing gun oil off his hands and face, Garrus could handle business such as personal medical treatment in peace.
He still needed to use the crew showers, but if he went late enough he seldom ran into anyone. He certainly didn’t tonight and doubted he would tomorrow.
He was about to turn the hot water on to fill the sink, and start the intricate cleaning process of the blast wound when the smooth hiss of the entry doors from the Main Battery alerted him to a visitor. He tried to push a sudden eagerness away, because Shepard was the only who would have the mind to provide him with such late-night company. He’d not seen her as much as he wanted since leaving Omega or coming out of surgery, though he was able to bring her up to speed up on everything leading up to their reunion.
She had yet to volunteer the details of her rebirth to him, but if past behavior was truly the best indicator, then Shepard would initiate that conversation when she was ready. But, that still didn’t stop his desire to corner her, and…
Light footsteps pattered towards the washroom, interpreting his wayward thoughts, and Shepard lightly knocked on the side of the wall to announce her presence, as there was no door to separate the two rooms. She leaned against the frame, arms crossed. The Commander appeared to be off-duty. Shepard was dressed in a tank-top and loose pants that rested low on her hips. Garrus could see a thin strip of exposed smooth flesh between the two garments, and her bare arms shared the same strange, glowing scars that her cheeks did. They did nothing to take away her beauty, only made her carry an otherworldly quality that stirred dormant emotions that Garrus thought he pushed and buried away so that he might function without her.
How much more of her slender body bore the evidence artificial, science-driven revival?
He politely looked away.
“Shepard, need me for anything?” he casually asked, opening a pack of gauze pads.
She shrugged, and entered the room. The sway of her hips made the edging of the pants drop down just a fraction lower. “Haven’t really got to catch up with you since…” Shepard trailed off, approaching him, and then looked down at the contents spread out on the countertop. Shepard reached down and examined a set of disposable gloves. “These aren’t designed for turians,” she said, before tossing them down, clearly annoyed.
“I’m aware of that,” he replied, sharing her irritation. “But I don’t need them. They were just in the kit that Dr. Chakwas gave me.” Garrus glanced down at her. Shepard’s hair was slightly damp, and she smelled clean. He continued, “You’re surprised that a Cerberus run ship wouldn't have things like that for non-humans?”
Shepard’s face twisted into slight disgust, and Garrus held no illusions about her feelings towards their newest colleagues. “These people are assholes,” she stated, confirming his suspicions. “I feel like my hands are tied, but sometimes you just gotta suck it up, if you want to get shit done.”
“I get that,” Garrus agreed, visions of C-Sec filling his mind. He hated that Shepard was experiencing the same gridlock he was so previously familiar with. The feeling of being trapped. Cerberus would eventually pay for it, he was certain. Trying to control Shepard was like trying to master an inferno— eventually she would burn them all to the ground. That’s how she was now, more than ever— like her fiery death infused her with its destructive, and impulsive properties. Gone was the woman who could calmly mediate through the patronizing words of the Council, or negotiate with deranged rogue Spectres.
Shepard now took twisted delight in her ability to intimidate and frighten; didn’t bother hiding it.
And yet, she never spoke, or acted in that fashion to him.
It thrilled him, at his core, as if he alone was gifted with immunity from the venom she could, and would spit at the rest of the universe.
“How’re you feeling?” she asked, looking up at him. Out of uniform and combat-suit, he marveled at how slight and supple Shepard was.
Urdnot Wrex foolishly called her that only once.
Garrus remembered that her use of profanity was like the finest poetry.
“Well…slapping war paint on it, as you so kindly suggested, probably isn’t going to cover how fucked up my face is now.” She smirked a little at his response. No, while Shepard wasn’t a callous bitch to him, that didn’t mean she hid the fact that she was a still a huge smart-ass. “Honestly though, this is the worst pain I’ve ever experienced,” he continued, deadpan humor revealing the truth of the matter.
Worst physical pain.
Her death still held top tier for the mental kind.
“I’m sorry,” she said, smiling melting away. “And, I don’t think your face is fucked up, Garrus.”
He finally turned to her, letting her see the uncovered damage. He’d kept his profile to her since she entered. It wasn’t meant to shock, or even disgust her, only to show her. Garrus had little time to be placated, even by Shepard, who as far as he knew, wasn’t the type for throwing out empty comforts, or flattery. It left him wondering why she was even bothering.
Her neutral expression didn’t waver, and her eyes betrayed nothing as they scanned across the trauma. After a moment, she replied with a little smile, “After it heals, you’ll just have a very distinguished scar.”
It really wasn’t false praise, she was being sincere.
“Heh.” Tension Garrus didn’t realize he was carrying disappeared, and his good mandible flared out in a grin. “Does the same apply to you?”
“I think these…” Shepard motioned to her cheeks, and said thoughtfully, “Are only the beginning of what I’ll have to give to this war.”
Her fingertip traced one of the thin incisions. What did her skin feel like? Would his calloused digit be able to recognize the difference in texture between marred and unmarred flesh?
She dropped her hand and suddenly said, “That’s probably been exposed to the air long enough.” She snatched away the bar of soap away from him, and started running hot water. “Sit down, and I’ll patch it up for you.”
“I can do it— “, he retorted. She bent her body at the waist and leaned over the sink. The baggy, cotton pants pulled just enough against the curve of her ass, revealing the appealing round shape.
“It’ll be easier with help,” Shepard interrupted. Water flowed in-between her fingers, white suds of bubbly soap collected in the creases of her phalanges and palms, while she cradled the bar, rubbing lather free from it.
It was distracting to watch when it shouldn’t have been. Garrus tried again, “No—“
Shepard rinsed off the froth and turned off the facet. A few drops of persistent water trickled out, and the sound of liquid against metal echoed too loudly. “Shut up, and sit down,” she scoffed, drying off her hands.
Pride wasn’t the reason for his apprehension.
But, he did as she advised, slumping down in the chair next to the cot, and watched as she pulled the thin medical gloves over her hands with a snap. She finished ripping open the packaging of the gauze pads and then agitated a bottle of disinfectant wash. It sloshed against the insides of the container. She poured the solution into an irrigation trey, letting the gauze pads soak up the liquid.
She approached, standing before him. Even sitting down, he barely needed to look up at her. “You don’t have to worry. Tactical medic training comes standard with what I do,” Shepard assured him.
“I know,” said Garrus. How many times had she dispensed medi-gel to him, and another squad member when things were close to turning sideways on the battlefield?
Too numerous to even estimate.
“I’ll be careful,” she softly promised, before stepping into the space between his spread legs. His vision was immediately filled with a close-up view of her slender neck and clavicle. Garrus straightened his back with a jerk. He’d not expected her to choose this position to tend to his face, thought she’d keep to the side of his shoulder if anything.
“Look this way,” Shepard suggested with the same low tone, wagging a finger to the side. He followed the direction, turning his head to give Shepard better access to her task. He tried not to inhale too deeply when the same finger caressed the underside of his chin to tilt him a bit more.
Her touch was featherlight, a whispered graze.
He barely felt it, yet was hyper-aware of the sensation.
She pulled one of the squares out of the trey, squeezing the excess liquid out, and held it firmly against her middle finger, using her index and ring fingers to keep it flat. Gently, she started to blot the inner, most painful part of the wound, working in a half-circle outward. The cleansing agent was cold, but didn’t sting. Periodically, she’d discard the worn slab of cotton, and pull a fresh one out of the mixture. She worked around the entire area, using just enough pressure to loosen any leftover debris or bacteria. She stepped back just a bit, to inspect her work, only to fetch another clean pad, and start swabbing down his inflamed mandible.
Garrus winced; a sensitive part of his face already feeling untouchable by caustic pain. Shepard pulled her hand back, noticing the shift in his brow plates.
“Oh,” she whispered. “I didn’t know they were so...” She didn’t finish her thought, only returned to her charge, and somehow managed to be even more careful, and dainty with care. “How’s that?” she asked, sweeping down the highest point to the lowest edge of his damaged maxilla in little circles. “Better?” she murmured, breath hitting his auditory canal.
Garrus made a small noise of compliance in his throat.
Better didn’t describe what was happening. A pleasant, low buzz was forming at the base of his skull, traveling down to the back of his neck, to settle near his upper spine. This was strangely intimate, and pleasurable. A low-grade euphoria brought on by Shepard’s altruistic attention; the same woman who could flatten her enemies with a well-placed concussion round. It was an intriguing juxtaposition.
“I think it’s clean,” Shepard said. Garrus straightened his neck and observed her reaching for a few pieces of dry gauze, and started to softly pat away any remaining cleanser. Regrettably, she stepped outside of his perimeter afterward, returning to the counter to start unpacking a clean bandage.
She coated it with an even layer of viscous antibiotic ointment, before returning to him.
He scolded his cock, for it was now keenly aware that this very attractive female was attentively soothing his pain away. Standing between his knees, Garrus couldn’t help undressing Shepard with wandering eyes. He ached to see her bare before him, to experience the way she tasted and felt. But this wasn’t the time for fantasy, when the object of his affection was only centimeters away, lining up the compress that would cover the damage of his mauled face. His body continued to disagree and ignored his mental commands.
Shepard pressed the dressing against the irritated damage, using the tip of her finger to trace an unhurried path along the border, adhering it to the healthy plating that surrounded the blast wound. “I’m almost done,” she said. Disappointment seeped into his brain. “There. Looks good,” Shepard said softly, praising her work.
Garrus was sure it did, and he could still feel the phantom pressure of her hands on his face. “Thanks.”
Shepard peeled off the gloves, tossing them over to the counter. “Anytime.”
Garrus wondered if, despite his best efforts to keep his injury clean, infection did indeed set in, giving him a fever that unbridled him. He caught her wrist right as she moved away, couldn’t help the reflex, so driven by the desire to be closer to her. It was narrow in his grasp. She didn’t pull away, only looked at him with a curiously raised eyebrow. “Do you like men with scars, Shepard?” he inquired, not bothering to keep the provocative interest out of his voice. He’d already brought this up once, though whether Shepard picked on the subtle flirtation at the time, he couldn’t be sure. Garrus recalled that the corner of her mouth perked up at his comment, however.
Without missing a beat, she mimicked, “Do you like women with scars?” a bewitching smile paying on her features. It inspired confidence.
“I like you,” he proclaimed and pulled her down, so that she sat across his lap. There was no resistance in her as he did so. It was if she anticipated it, and smoothly drifted to the good side of his face, and Garrus felt heated anticipation build at the base of his vertebrae. “Does anything else hurt, Garrus?” she asked out of the blue, voice low and thick against his mandible.
“I can think of somewhere,” he replied, sub-vocals droning loudly. Garrus knew that Shepard could hear them, and hoped that she could interpret them for what they meant: affection, interest, desire. He fingered the bottom of her shirt, before he pushed past it, just enough so that his thumb could stroke across the bare skin of her abdomen.
The space between them felt different now— heavy and hot with arousal.
No, he realized, it’d been building the entire time.
Always, between them.
They’d simply picked back up from where they left off, two years ago.
“I have my own aches that you can help me with,” Shepard mischievously admitted. She pressed a light kiss to his jaw, dragging her mouth his chin to give another. He met her tongue with his own, liked the way it felt to push it between her lips, liked her reaction even more because Garrus never heard her make such a sound of contentment before. He took it as approval, and slipped his hands higher, dragging the thin material of her shirt up and off. Her upper body was vastly different than the females of his own species, but she was still well-proportioned, and enticing to look upon.
She caught him staring, and her eyes shone with playfulness.
Shepard fluidly dropped to her knees, the motion making her breasts bounce slightly. He watched, enthralled and intrigued. Kneeling before him, Garrus wondered if he really didn’t die on Omega, and that this was just some sort of sweet afterlife reward for all his virtuous deeds. Maybe the human concept of Heaven existed after all, because what else could explain what Shepard was doing, leaning forward, and working his hot erection free from his hardsuit, with her nimble fingers. He was already literally half-cocked, and it took no effort for Shepard to stroke the rest of his member out of its protective sheath.
He had a perfect view of her as she started bobbing on his cock, lean muscles in her back undulating with every dip, and her free hand was pushed past the hemline of her pants, drawstring undone, following the rhythm of her mouth between the junction of her legs. He could hear slick, wet sounds every time her wrist swerved. Obviously, he wasn't alone in the strangely erotic effect of Shepard's aid from earlier. Of its own accord, his hand slid through her sleek hair, cupping the back of her head tenderly.
She was getting herself off, just as she was doing the same to him.
This display laid out in front of him was heady, and too surreal, but perfect— better than he could’ve ever dared fantasize about. It’d been too sacrilegious to even consider in the space between her death and resurgence. Garrus indulged often, as of late, no longer held back by the taboo of masturbating to the image of his lost Commander.
Shepard released his cock from the confines of her snug mouth abruptly, though the hand that gripped the base still kneaded, before starting to stroke the entire length. Her eyes fluttered shut, and her glistening, full lips parted to accommodate the quick panting that escaped through them. Extended from the tip of his phallus to the bottom of her lip was a link of spit that only just broke when she pressed forward, resting her forehead on the top of his leg. She used to point to brace herself, take tension off her knees to surge her hips forward on the hand that now moved frantically. She was closing to coming, and Garrus started to think of anything that would prolong his own release: taking down his rifle, filing C-Sec paperwork, or calibrating the Normandy’s weapon systems.
None of it proved to be enough against the hitching of her breath, and motion of her hand. He resorted to squeezing his eyes shut, and dipping his head back, not wanting his own orgasm to break this strange spell that was transpiring with the two of them.
“Oh, Garrus,” she whimpered, and he opened his eyes in time to watch a shiver dance along her backbone, her body bowing before going limp.
In afterglow, Shepard looked euphoric, and relaxed.
It was a beautiful sight.
Lazily, she pulled her hand out her pants, index and middle finger coated in a clear, slippery fluid.
The same two fingers that dabbed at his injury with sterile cotton, and cleaning solution early in the night.
His cock pulsed in her hand and Garrus reached down for her, waking Shepard out of her groggy post-orgasmic state. When he touched her, Shepard looked up at him, pupils were blown wide, beaming with confident sexuality. Using his knees as leverage, she pushed herself off the floor, gliding up so close to his body that his erection slide between her soft breasts. His loins wanted to follow the sensation, but Garrus held enough control to stop the bucking motion. Instead, he drifted his hands along the curvature of her waist and hips, sliding underneath the loosened material of her pants, and pushed off the garment. It pooled around her feet, and Shepard stepped out of them.
The interior of her thighs were wet with the same liquid as her two digits; her lean body flush and open for him. And only now, completely nude in front of him, did Garrus notice that yes, she was bestrewn with fine, smoldering cuts that cross-crossed haphazardly along her toned planes. Not once did she seem concerned with shielding them from his eyes.
She wasn’t ashamed.
There was only a moment in which Garrus wondered if the chair would support them both without breaking, but that concern suddenly ended when Shepard straddled him, and he felt the tip of his cock rub against the delicate, slick pleats of her body. Shepard arched her back just so and then guided herself agonizingly slow down upon him. She was silken and tight wrapped around his erection.
His brain disintegrated into the most primal fibers, and Garrus couldn’t quite remember when one hand gripped the side of her waist, and the other twisted back into her hair. His instinct urged him to push up and in, to be whole with her, and take her.
He just had to own her, his raw instinct demanded it.
But, this was a woman who knew nothing of submission. He’d been a fool to even entertain the thought that Shepard had been in anything, other than total control of this lascivious encounter. It was a happy miscalculation; Shepard could have her way, especially if it meant that they could do this again, and again. She rode him, meeting every one of his strokes, whilst moaning and sweating. He liked how she looked with such a sheen, impassioned by their encounter. Shepard maintained eye contact with him the entire time until Garrus saw bright stars and came, hard.
His focus blacked out, much like it did on Omega when his death seemed so imminent, but this time there was no semblance of pain. When he opened his eyes, Shepard was there, again like on Omega, but instead of worry, she wore an expression that could only be described as pleased.
He wasn’t dead, and neither was she.
And there would be plenty of time for him to return the care that Shepard so graciously bestowed upon him. Plenty of war left to fight, and plenty of wounds left to heal, but Garrus had a suspiciously optimistic feeling that he and Shepard, together, would make it through somehow.