I had just finished twisting the screw one last time on Shepard's washing machine when the door bell rang.
"I'll get it!" I heard Jane say from the living room again, where she had been playing out a song again on her piano, but soon I heard her say, "Oh my…"
"Is Garrus here?"
I know who that flanging voice belongs to, and immediately I stand, wiping my hand on a rag as I got to the door. Jane looked at me, a little unsteady on her feet, as a turian came forward with his hands on his back, looking at our house. His eyes finally found me, and his mandibles tightened around his face. Dark blue markings were painted on his face similar to mine, making his scowl darker.
Another turian ran forward, female this time, and she launched herself from behind my father into my arms. She has grown well, although she's a little shorter than me, and her fringe was not as prominent as mine or my fathers. And like all turians, she had our clans' dark blue paint under her eyes and down her lip to her chin.
She smacked me in the arm, "So this is where you've been! We just received the message from Admiral Hackett that you've retired here on Earth!" She turned and saw Jane standing by the door, and she grew quiet.
I sighed, and reached out my hand to Jane. She looked at me nervously, before taking my hand and standing beside me. I could see my father's scowl getting darker, but my sister merely smiled at us. I put my arm around Shepard's shoulders as she wound her arm around my waist.
"Father… Solana… this is Commander Jane Shepard of the Normandy. Jane… this is my father, Lucien and my sister Solana."
Solana waved at Shepard, but my father was merely scowling. He was looking at me, his ice cold blue eyes… similar to mine, seemed like it was boring into my very soul.
"Please have a seat." Jane said, her old Commander aura returning… stern, but still polite. "Garrus, I think we still have some dextro drinks and food in the fridge, please get some for your family."
I blink, looking down at her. She had a very stern look in her eyes that reminded me of our days during the Normandy. The one that said just follow my orders, soldier.
I nod, heading behind to the kitchen, and I heard Solana speak. "Your house is really lavish. It's a great place. Your own island… it's the perfect retirement home."
"Thank you." I heard Jane say, her voice not sounding strained at all, "Hackett gave the island to us and helped with the construction of the house. It's well equipped for turian and human living."
"That's wonderful." Solana said, "Not that many houses can accommodate dextro living. I've seen asari/turian houses but not like this. Hackett is really considerate to do this..."
"This pairing is a farce."
I entered the living room again as my father spoke, and put down the juices and snacks for them a little too roughly. I sat down beside Shepard again, and she looked up at me, a little sad.
"Dad." I said, as I look at my father, his eyes were really glowering. "If you came here just to insult us, you don't need to come down here at all."
Solana nudged my father, "Dad, don't be stupid. This is Commander Shepard…"
"A Spectre!" My dad spit out, "I will not have my son… my ONLY son, mate with a human. It… it will be an abomination!"
"I will mate with whoever I want to! In fact, I already have!" I said, standing up, "And in case you haven't noticed, this woman is Shepard. THE Commander Jane Shepard. The Savior of the Galaxy, the Destroyer of Reapers, the Peacemaker who helped us… the turians… to get out of Palaven alive by forging an alliance with the Krogan!"
"A price we'll pay for in the future, I'm sure." Lucien seethed as he also stood up, his face barely inches from mine, "Have you forgotten the Krogan Rebellions?"
"It will be different this time, I swear it. Clan Urdnot is now the one in charge of the Krogans, and Urdnot Wrex and Bakara are smart enough to control their people."
"And what is this… whelp you will be having soon?" Lucien's hard eyes gazed down at Jane, his mandibles tight to his face.
"Our child is none of your business." I almost shouted again.
"It will be, considering I will the grandfather of whatever that half-breed will end up to be. The whelp will be a disgrace to the turian people. A turian-human?! Seriously, Garrus? I thought you were stupid when you left C-Sec to go after that Saren, but this is beneath even you…!"
"Watch your tone, old man. That whelp is my child. If you think I'm going to let you insult my family, I will break your fringe!"
I looked down at Shepard, her bright green eyes bright with fury, her eyebrows furrowed. She reached up and put a hand on me to pull me back down to the seat beside her. She looks at me, "Sit down, Garrus. We'll deal with this."
I nod, and sit down beside her, putting her hand in mine. She looked at me sternly, "Garrus, this is your father. You will treat him with respect as you had come to respect me. I understand your anger… I love our child too. But you must remember that he is the reason you are here with me now. So you will treat him better than you did just now."
I blink, but yes, I understand her. I love my father, but he kept insulting Jane… my unborn child. But Jane… I know she could handle it. I nod to her again, and she turned her attention to my father.
"Mr. Lucien, I am sorry for my… fiancé's outburst." She said, bowing lightly at my father. Solana laid a hand on my father's arm and he sat down. He was about to say something, but Jane raised her hand.
"But let me be perfectly clear." She said, and she tightened her hold on my hand, "I love your son. Deeply. With everything I am. And I love this… half-breed… inside of me, as you call it. Whatever it's race going to be, this… will be our child… born out of love rather than anything else. I came from death… two times already… because I love Garrus. I fought, and fought so hard just to be with him again. I love him… beyond life, beyond death… and certainly beyond your anger. If you do not wish to be a part of this family… our family… then I won't stop you. But you cannot and will not separate us."
The four of us grew quiet, but slowly, my father… started to chuckle. Solana gave me a nervous smile as our father shook a little with laughter before shaking his head. "Hackett was right… you do know just what to say to people."
Jane's shoulder relaxed a little, "I take it you're… okay with this now."
He sighed, "There is… nothing more I can do now. You have already mated, and share the same house… and even had a… child." He looked at me, "Garrus had always been a stubborn boy, even until now. He will not stop to get what he wants."
"And now I do." I heard myself say, and Jane squeezed my hand gently.
He nodded, and looked back at Jane, "I am… sorry for my outburst, Commander. I'm sure Garrus here has told you of my… dislike for Spectres."
Jane's lips lifted a little, "But… I am not a Spectre now, Mr. Lucien. I am retired. You shouldn't even be calling me Commander."
Dad nodded, "But of course, forgive me. I had forgotten that little fact. Then what am I to call you now?"
She looks up at me, her green eyes twinkling with mirth, "You may call me… Jane, your son's fiancée."
Solana let out a little squeal and I look at her, only to see that she was too thrilled that her brother was about to be married at the Savior of the Galaxy. My dad simply nodded, "Very well… Jane. It is… good to meet you. However… there is something to be done, our traditions are strict, and it must be done."
I look up at my father, and he took out a can of paint and a small brush. Ah of course… I have almost forgotten that part.
Jane pulled at my hand and I look at her, seeing her slightly confused. And I pulled her up to me as my dad and Solana stood as well.
"It's… a ceremony… to accept you to our clan." I said, and her green eyes blinked, and her eyes watered. I had to wipe away some of the tears that had started falling down her face, and I chuckled, "Don't cry, you'll end up running the paint."
She laughs, but soon Dad and Solana came forward, and I stand aside as they take her outside to the beach. Jane was still a little weak on her legs, but she clung on to my father like he was her support. I could feel my chest inflate with pride. My family and my future wife… walking together. My father stood in front of her, while Solana held the paint and the brush.
"You must forgive us, but the Rite is something only turians can vocally do." My father said, "Your translator might not work. And there would be a part in the rite that would be a little… crude."
"I can translate it for you, Shepard, don't worry." I said.
Jane nods, and my father bends over to pick up some sand from the beach and holds it in his palm, as the other hand puts his thumb over her forehead. He began speaking, an ancient turian language that only elder clan leaders know, but it sounded to Jane like really low growls, and keens.
I turn to Jane as I translate for her, "He says, 'Spirits of the soil, the wind, the water and of the light. This woman is of our blood, bound by love to my son, Garrus Vakarian. Her heart is pure, her spirit strong. We embrace her into our fold, our family… with open arms and acceptance and love. Guide this woman, Jane Shepard of the Vakarian Clan, to greatness, to glory, and to love unending.'"
Jane blinked and my father took the paint, and mixed it with a bit of sand from his palm. Using the brush, he lifted her chin and started drawing the markings… our markings… to her face and jaw line. Dark blue lines followed the curve of her jaw from the lower part of her ear to her chin, and he drew a line from left to right, underneath her eyes. When he was done, her paint looks exactly like mine.
He then takes a knife from his belt. He looked up at her and says, "Sorry, but it is part of the rite." This is the crude part about our ceremony.
He gashes an inch long wound to the palm of her hand, and lets it bleed. She flinches a little bit, but that was the only reaction she had to being wounded. I stood beside Solana, and my father lifted her hand to us.
Jane looked confused as my father bent over and took a small lick of her blood, and Solana followed, taking a bit of her blood. When it was my turn, I flared my mandibles a little bit, smiling at her, and licked her blood… all the way up to her wrist. I know for a fact that Jane's wrist is really sensitive, and I was right. The little hairs in her arms rose into what she had called "goose bumps" as I licked the sensitive skin on her wrist.
When I straightened, there was a flicker of lust in Jane's eyes, and I chuckled.
My father then slashed similar wounds to his own palm, to Solana's and to mine. "Our traditions dictates that you are to take some of our blood. As you seem to immune to Garrus' cellular make up, I think it's safe to say that our blood would not have an effect on you."
She nods, and bends down, taking a small lick of my father and Solana's blood. When she bent over to me, she looked at me, smiling, before licking my blood… and kissing my wrist. I blink. If I had hairs on my body, I would have goose bumps as well. I swallowed hard as I controlled my shifting plates with my breathing.
I came forward and leaned my head, putting my forehead to hers gently. I stood aside as Solana and my father did the same. And when they straightened, my father's mandibles were splayed. He was smiling.
"Welcome to the Vakarian clan, Jane." My father said, as he closed her wound with MediGel.
I grasp her hand, and pulled her to me. She is a Vakarian now… by turian customs. But she needs to go through human customs as well. It was something she would've wanted. Solana looked at us now, her mandibles flaring in mirth.
"Actually, we were told by Admiral Hackett that he would be visiting tomorrow, Garrus. We are to stay here to wait for him." Solana said.
Jane nodded, "Of course, there are a lot of spare bedrooms you can use." She looks over the setting sun, "It is getting a little late, maybe we should head back inside. We still need to prepare dinner, Garrus."
I nod, and allowed my father and sister walk ahead of us as we returned into the house.
"By the way, Garrus." My father said, his eyes looking a little mischievous at me, "There is… one more Rite you should do. If you can still remember to do it."
Jane pulled at my hand again, looking a little confused as my father and sister went inside. My mandibles flare a little, smiling at her, but I was thankful that turians can't blush. If we did, she'd understand my… discomfort.
"I'll… tell you about it later."