I woke up just as earth's sun began to push its ways through the tree’s and in through the windows of the house Shepard and I were given. I sat up and swung my legs off the bed. My neck felt a little stiff so I grabbed the ends of my crest and started pulling at it to the side until that familiar cracking noise ran down my neck, then same the other way.
Damn I feel old...
I stretched out and yawned, shaking away the grogginess of weeks of relaxation. Then I turned to check on Shepard, who was still sleeping. She was curled up and somehow managed to throw all the blankets off the bed in her sleep. Not that I never needed them, and Shepard never complained about the cold. Especially since it didn’t drop below 15 degrees on this island. Despite that, Shepard always did love wrapping herself in them. She had that familiar look on her face, a grimace of sorts that told of an unpleasant dream. Despite the war being over for over a year now, there were still nights where she was restless.
I always seem to wake up first, guess I'm used to longer days of Palaven or just don’t need as much sleep. I stood up and walked over to my pair of discarded pants and put those on. My shirt was... somewhere.
I'll find it later.
Then I walked over to the fridge, took out some food and Caffeine, then made some coffee for Shepard and left it on the warming plate and stepped outside. I took a seat on the chair out on the house’s balcony and watched Earths alien sun rise up like it's own wake up routine. Almost like a morning on Palaven I thought. I ate my breakfast casually thinking over a couple things. Like how long it’s been since I’ve been home, or seen my family. Even during my month and a half on Palaven –soon as the relays were functional enough to get me there, along with the rest of the surviving Turian forces-- I never got the chance to go back to the area of the city where I was born. Closest I got was a view from miles up on the way in on a shuttle. Smouldering with only a couple fires left burning with that solemn orange glow of everything you grew up with being turned to ash. I thought I could almost make out some buildings that were landmarks of the city, though obviously severely damaged and barely standing. You could see other areas where there was nothing, barren craters in the city that spanned a couple miles where in the centre still lay a half melted reaper corpse.
The Miracle on Palaven, I thought.
Can’t stand to think how there were still thousands of people around there indoctrinated or not when they set off those nukes.
During my time on Palaven and I wasn’t even able to recognize half of what I saw. Massive indoctrinated quarantine camps. Mass graves. Overcrowded makeshift hospitals and more sorrow than I care to remember. There were a couple buildings around the area I worked in that gave me a true sense of how bad it was, I remembered them, strong military bunkers all reinforced and with enough fire power in them to make a krogan whimper. I used to marvel at these strictly defensive and offensive buildings guarding the perimeters of our cities and used to think nothing could match them. Indestructible.
And now it seemed as if they were all made out of simple trees. It was bad everywhere, not just on Palaven. All the Galaxy looks this way, all looks beaten and bruised. It will take time, but we’ll have this place just as it was.
Looking around me now there wasn't much damage here, perhaps why they chose this place for Shepard to get away. There was some historical 200 year old navy harbour from one of the humans world wars a few miles away. A single reaper stopped by to turn it to scrap. Other than that the whole of this Island was relatively untouched by the war.
After I finished my meal, I messed around my omni-tool for a bit, listened to some music, and re-read the conversations I had with my sister. It seems if timing works out she’ll arrive in the Sol system on our last day of touring The Citadel. Which is good timing, I’m sure Shepard could use something like meeting my sister after were done sifting through that empty husk of a space station. Something neither of us are particularly looking forward to, but something Shepard says she has to do to “put those ghosts to bed” she said.
Hmm... I’m sure Sol and Shepard will get along great, much to my own expense I’m sure.
I took in a deep breath, held it for a moment and let it out in a long sigh, sub harmonics making a low rumbling sound as I did. Shepard then walked out to join me on the balcony, cup of coffee that I made for her in her hand.
“Missing home Mr. Vakarian?” Shepard said as she stood behind me and leaned her elbows on me, reading my conversation with my sister over my shoulder.
“Home. Hmm, not really sure where that is anymore… spent a lot of time in a lot of places... and after Palaven... the Normandy is my home for now.”
I closed my omni-tool and turned to look at Shepard. Any evidence of whatever she was dreaming was no longer there, she seemed a little more up-beat, ready to face the day ahead.
“Palaven is still your home, your turian remember?” she said as if I wasn’t aware “Though the Normandy does make a nice home doesn't it? Hell the Normandy is my home too, more than Earth ever will be anyways…. Still a nice view though” she said looking over to the same sunrise I was watching all morning.
“Mmm, you weren’t born on your home world. you grew up from station to station. I'm sure you long for ships as much as I long to see the Cipritine skyline as it once was... that won't be for years now.” I said, she shrugged in agreement and we sat in silence for a moment. Then she stepped into a more amusing conversation “and despite you being from a completely different planet, you managed to end up with one of those ‘humans from earth’, ewwww. Unless that doesn’t apply to a spacer like me.” She shook her head at me with a disappointed look, imitating what i took as a shocked turian. Then she laughed at her… impression of a Turian's opinion on my romantic interests.
“Shepard—“ I began to protest but she was already continuing with her exaggeration-
“but on the bright side, that human is THE commander Shepard, which despite being no-where close to home in terms of accepted romantic options it still makes you the luckiest Turian—no, luckiest man in the Galaxy.” She put her hands at her hips in a quick heroic pose as if she was narrating her own vid.
Knowing I couldn’t just let her get away making me out as a hapless and lucky Turian, I countered her with “heh, well I still have the countless fan girls waiting on me if this thing falls through” I said giving her a ‘im the badass and you know you’re lucky to get a Turian like me’ mannerisms that only someone who spent a significant amount of time around me would be able to pick up on. Then our conversation turned into a less serious of who's the lucky one conversation with only one of us ending up on top. “HAH! Yea all that krogan fan mail must really be weighing you down” she finished with a long sympathetic drawl. “see? My stunning looks have shattered Krogan-Turian amnesty“ I coughed at that last part, while holding back laughter as we battled to see who could make the other crack first.
“hmm, we'll I’ve seen bigger weapons tough guy” she said, folding her arms with that unimpressed look but also noticeably holding back a huge smile
“uhuh, and not even your spectre status will get you access to those. And I'm sure you wouldn’t want to risk an inter species incident. Wouldn’t want another war on our hands” I said
“All I’d have to do is ask” she shrugged confidently “still have a stash of requests in my back room from when we killed that thresher maw for Grunt’s 'sweet 16' ” she said with a smirk like she knew she already won.
“His what??? And you kept those?!? SHEPARD! I won’t let…….. Annnd you won” I said.
I broiled for a minute before saying "No one can have you. not while im around, not even death. I'll make sure of that... so long as you'll have me of course."
“Hah, I think I’d believe you could stop that." She said with a chuckle before moving into a more exhaled tone.
"Still not sure how any of us made it out of that last one, it was close... and I already knew I would win. all I need to do is just throw you off with a human thing you don’t know of, then make you REALLY jealous, and your sub harmonics show me all the emotion that stoic face of yours can't. I love that about you, makes kicking your butt at these conversations oh soo worth it”
“You want facial expression? don’t date a Turian” I chided, shrugging my shoulders, acting unimpressed though pride still simmering a little on the inside from losing.
Shepard sympathized me the same way I did to her when we figured out I was the better shot back on the Citadel she said “Been with you this long, I think I’m a little past the point of no return. besides...” she walked over and placed on hand on my shoulder and brought her face close to mine “I Love You Garrus Vakarian” she nuzzled her nose to mine, then backed up a bit, smiled and added “don’t ever think that’s gonna change you oversized parakeet”
I scrunched my face at her and glared lovingly “you know I don’t like that comparison and that there is no resemblance. Aside from that I have no intention of ending this thing either…. I-…. Love you too”
damn it, real smooth.
The thought of the Citadel flashed my mind again. We were heading to where I almost lost her. Holding back a sudden flashback of despair I quickly said “I… well I’m glad you’re able to follow orders Shepard even from subordinates like myself.”
“Hmm well it’s not like I would let you get away with telling me you love me just once now would I?” she continued to smile at me, watching me. “And that hum as you say love. Hmm, yea definitely worth coming back from the dead again to hear.”
“All those romantic... skills... I guess” I said.
“Yea… and now where heading back to the end. Might as well get it over with huh?” she said, looking up to the sky.
“No,” I said thinking even further back to when I was nothing but a hot head C-SEC officer meeting her for the first time. “we're heading back to the beginning.”