The Ghost of You

The mission was going haywire.

The turian soldier, Garrus Vakarian, leaned against a low wall, holding on to his stomach as he bled, his blue blood running down his blue armor. He shifted as he reloaded his rifle, holding on to it, fighting the gathering darkness blurring his vision. He growled in pain before looking up, listening to the sounds of battle beyond the wall behind him.

Garrus had returned to Palaven after the funeral of his lover, Helena Shepard, and found her grave in one of the quieter areas of Palaven, underneath a khardrak tree… which was dry looking tree that bloomed these incredibly fragrant flowers once a week. He loved that tree. But soon he found out that while Helena's grave was quiet and peaceful, his home planet in general was in disarray. Thousands were homeless and many were grieving and looking for their families. He found his sister and father, but their home was destroyed, after Reapers landed directly over it.

Another problem was that after saving the turians on Palaven and assisting in destroying the Reapers, several renegade krogans… Wrex's enemies who were against Clan Urdnot… gathered their forces and assaulted several cities in Palaven, which included his own city. Still angered by what the turians and the salarians did to their people, they took up arms and fought against them, even though Wrex was doing his best to keep the peace. He confirmed that the renegades were members of the Clans whose leaders he had killed for their ruthlessness and stupidity. They harbored their anger against them, even though Shepard had cured the genophage before her death.

And even though Garrus knew that Primarch Victus could probably send someone else to help Wrex, he decided he would do it himself… not just because the krogan battlemaster was his friend, but also because… he didn't know what else to do in his life but fight.

It has been three years after Shepard's death, and yet, Garrus can't get her out of his mind. It was the reason why he joined up with Wrex in eradicating the renegade krogan. Battle was all he knew, and battle was where he would die. He had thought of settling down… of finding a nice, turian woman and have children… but every time he did, he would remember Helena and their conversation about turian-human babies, and his heart would twist in the most painful way that he had to take in a deep breath.

He missed her… every damn day he lived… he missed her. He missed her confidence… her wisdom... her strength. He missed the days that they would talk and banter around while they fought, he missed the nights of lying down beside her, her red hair fanning down her smooth back as she slept, warm and naked against his carapace.

He missed the times when she would open her bright emerald eyes at him when she woke up, her lips curving into that beautiful smile he so loved, before moving up to him and kissing him good morning.

He coughed harshly, clinging to his rifle as he put a hand on his mouth. He gasped in his breath as he looked down at his hand, seeing blue blood on it. Opening his Omni-tool, he realized that his shields had run low, and his Medi-gel supplies were empty. He closed his eyes, and breathed in, trying to qualm the panic rising in his chest. He could feel himself weakening. It was getting harder just leaning against the wall behind him.

Someone was coming up to him, he could hear the footsteps. Slow. Deliberate. Like the person who owned those feet was watching him. He gripped his rifle tight, before raising it up to his shoulder and opening his eyes.

Familiar green eyes and a curving smile greeted him, and the winds of Palaven lifted the person's red hair as she kneeled in one knee in front of him. "Hello, Garrus."

"Shepard…" He couldn't help but gasp out in surprise, "But… you're dead…"

Helena smiled at him, before folding her legs and sitting beside him, leaning against the wall with him. She looked exactly like she had when she lived, her fiery red hair billowing down her shoulders, her green eyes sparkling like emeralds… her red lips curved into that smile he had loved so much. He couldn't help but lean forward, taking in the scent of flowers from her, his head resting on her shoulder, telling him she was real, and right beside him.

Her shoulder shook a little from laughter, "I have to say, Garrus, you really are hard-headed." She said.

He couldn't help but laugh with her. "Having a carapace that resists radiation helps a lot in that aspect."

"I told you to live." She said, looking in front of her, "I wanted you to live. You could've had children… a wife…"

He shook his head, "I can't live a life without you, Shepard. You know that right?"

She sighed, "You lived without me for two years after the first Normandy exploded, Garrus. I would've thought that you were the first one who could handle it the best."

"That was different." Garrus said as he shifted closer to her. He grunted as he raised his arm, and Shepard moved her head so that it settled around her shoulders. She laid her head on his shoulder, and he nuzzled the top of her head, breathing in her scent, his mandibles flaring a little in a smile. "You were my commanding officer… my friend. Your death affected me in a different way. But since that night… in your cabin… before we fought the Collectors, everything… changed."

Shepard nodded, "I know. It changed me, too. I was so afraid to lose you in that Collector Ship."

He grunted, "Is that the reason why you chose me as the Fire Team leader twice? Because you wanted me to be safe with the others?"

"There's safety in numbers, I suppose." Helena said as her hand lay over his chest, tracing the outlines of his armor, "And it's because I know you can lead a team effectively, even with happened to Sidonis. God knows if Sidonis hadn't betrayed you, you'd still be doing mercenary work with them rather than come along with me."

"Highly unlikely, Shepard." He said as he coughed a little again, feeling a hint of blood dripping down his chin. "I'd still go with you regardless. Reapers are a bigger threat than those lowly scum in Omega."

Shepard's shoulders shook with laughter, "Is that the reason why you're battling these krogan, then? With the Reapers gone, you were looking for something else to fight?"

"I suppose so." Garrus said as he took a deep breath and looked down at her, "I loved you, Shepard. I still do. I can't… seem to move on without you. Fighting and loving you were the only things I knew best, and without you… well… that just left me with the option of fighting."

She shook her head before looking up at him, reaching out a hand to run her fingers along his mandible, "You're wrong. You would've been a lot of other things, Garrus. You would've been a wonderful husband… a great father…"

His mandibles flared a little in a smile as he lifted his hand and grasped hers, holding her five-fingered palm against his face, "I told you once that it would be an awfully empty galaxy without you, Shepard. And it is. Nothing in this galaxy meant anything to me as much as you."

Shepard smiled a little, before burying her head into his shoulder again, and he tightened his arm around her, his mandibles clicking on the top of her head, and he nuzzled her, stirring up the scent of flowers from her. He breathed in deep to take in her scent, and the pain in his body faded. He held her like that, not really noticing the time, but more focused on the fact that Helena was beside him, her body warm against his. Finally he sighed, "I don't know if I'm dead or dreaming, Shepard. But whatever this is, I don't want it to end."

Helena chuckled and separated from him, looking up into his eyes, before running a hand down his mandible. "Garrus… you've been dead for thirty minutes now."

He blinked and looked up at her, and she smiled as she stood up, holding out a hand to him. He took it and pulled himself up, before looking down at the low wall. Sure enough, a turian body… his own body… was leaning against the wall, clutching his rifle limply, his other arm outstretched beside him, his eyes closed. His body's mandibles were slack, which gave it the impression that he died with a small smile, and his eyes were closed. His body looked… peaceful.

He blinked again before turning to look at her, "Thirty minutes…"

Helena smiled a little, "You were already dead when I kneeled in front of you, Garrus. I just made sure the Devil doesn't get you. You're too good to be brought to Hell."

"I… I see." Garrus said finally, before he sighed, "What'll happen to… my family? Our friends?"

Helena shrugged as she came forward and took his hands… the same movement she did when she first visited him in the Battery after they found him in Menae. "I don't know either, Garrus. But… we'll look out for them… up there."

He nodded slowly, before looking down at his body again. He's dead, and even as he lay dying, Shepard did what she promised. That she would always be there for him. That he would never be alone.

His mandibles finally flared in a smile as he looked down at Shepard, "I love you, Shepard."

She smiled, her green eyes sparkling as she stood up on her tiptoes and wrapped her arms around his cowl. His own body bent forward, and her lips touched his lip plates, her tongue reaching out to get a taste of him, her fingers gently clawing at the underside of his fringe, making him growl a bit in wanting. He couldn't help but comply, opening his mouth and kissing her back, wary of his teeth. She tasted as she always did… warm, sweet and full of love. He wrapped his arms around her, breathing in her scent and her warmth against his cool armor, loving every feel of her.

And now he could finally say that his galaxy was once again full of life… even in death.

They separated, and Shepard planted a kiss on his forehead plate, "I love you too, Garrus Vakarian."

He smiled, and gave her a toothy grin, "And now, for the question that I've always been wondering about…"

Shepard raised a brow at him, and he continued, "Is there a bar up in heaven, Shepard?"

The woman laughed, throwing her head back and making his grin wider, "Yes, there is, Garrus."

"No spiders?"

"No spiders."

"Great. Because I seem to remember making a promise that I'm buying."

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