The Vakarian Chronicles Part 4: Surin Island

Chapter 12

Laughter.

Solana's. My father's.

Jane's.

I get up from our bed, the sun shining through the window, as I hear the three most important people of my life laughing downstairs. I put on my shirt and my pants before heading down the stairs.

My… family… was standing by the wall near the living room, where several framed pictures were being set up by Jane. On the wall was a giant screen, with the picture of our shore leave in Anderson's apartment was. There was a table underneath it, and there were pictures of the Normandy SR-1 Crew, Thane, Legion, Ashley, Anderson, EDI and… my mother.

Jane smiled up at me as I walked to them, "Good morning, sleepyhead." She said, and she kissed my scarred mandible. "I was just telling your family about our crew."

"Really? Any particular story I should know about?" I said as I looked at the pictures.

"She was telling us that you were quite the ladies man." Solana said, "Apparently, you even got a quarian to have a crush on you."

"Ahh… Tali." I look down at Jane, "I didn't know you had an idea about her… infatuation with me."

She shrugged, "I found out during our party. She was pretty drunk, and I found her in the bathroom." She laughed, "She was like all like, 'Garrus? But you're with Shepard! What? The three of us…? Well… hmm…'"

I laugh, mainly because she got Tali's accents very well. "Luckily, I wasn't there. I would've taken up that offer."

She nudged me in the ribs, not so hard, but it hurt, and Solana and my father laughed at us. He looked at the pictures on the table, particularly at my mother's picture. "So these are the people that you've lost." And then he looked up at the giant picture on the wall, "And these… are the ones who survived."

We both nodded, and Jane spoke, "If I could get a picture of everyone I've ever lost in my life, this wall won't be enough."

"You and me both, Jane." I said, and I put my arm around her. My father smirked at me, "I see you have done the Rite. Congratulations."

I looked down at Jane, whose shirt was showing off my bite mark. Her face flushed pink, and I couldn't help but chuckle. "Yeah… we did."

The door rang then, and Jane slowly headed for the door. She opened it to reveal a human, with graying hair on his head and face, along with James, Kaidan, Tali… and the Shadow Broker herself, Liara T'Soni.

"Shepard!" Liara almost shouted, and ran into her arms, with Tali joining her, as Hackett, James and Kaidan merely grinned. I walked to them and shook hands with the three humans, "Admiral Hackett, to what do I owe the pleasure? We thought you were busy with the reconstruction of the Citadel."

"I was, actually, but I decided to take a little break, at least for a couple of days." Hackett said, as he put his hands on his back. "I wanted to visit the house. I wasn't here during its construction… I only had the blueprints and the programs. It seems it was well made."

"It's heavenly, Admiral. Thank you very much." Jane said, with Liara and Tali on her sides.

But the Admiral merely raised a hand, "It was not mine to make, Shepard. It was actually Anderson's idea to build this house."

I blinked and looked down at Jane, who was just as confused as I was. "Anderson?"

"Anderson… was really supportive of you, Shepard." Hackett said, "He made sure to save some of your money… the salary you received from the Alliance, ever since he started working with you. He knew you were orphaned, and that you had no home to come back to once you've decided to retire. All of this… came from your savings, with his help." He smiled tenderly at her, "He loved you like a daughter, Shepard. He was always proud of you."

Jane's green eyes watered, and I put my talon on her cheek as a tear fell down her eye. She smiled at me, "We owe him so much, Garrus."

"There was also the apartment on the Citadel, the one he lent you for your shore leave." Hackett continued, "Since his children were well supported by his wife, he decided to bequeath it to you. He had other properties to give to his family, the apartment was just an extra and he decided to give it to you… as a token of his gratitude for everything you have done for him. It says so in his Last Will and Testament. I will gladly keep it under my name for the meantime, until your… child is old enough to claim it."

"I understand." Jane said.

Kaidan coughed, "Actually, there's another reason why we're here, Shepard."

"Oh?" I asked.

"There's actually one more phrase in Anderson's Will." James said, "He added it when he… uhm… found out about your relationship with Garrus was… serious."

Jane and I looked at each other, and Liara came forward with a datapad, "Here, I was able to get this from his files as the Shadow Broker. Read paragraph number fourteen."

I took the pad, and put my arm around Jane as I read, " 'It is also my wish that… Jane Shepard and Garrus Vakarian be married under both turian and human customs, to be officiated by Admiral Hackett and Officer Lucien Vakarian.'" I looked at my father, "Is that why you visited, dad?"

My father shrugged, "When I found out about it, I was… furious. I talked to Anderson when he told me about this, when we were rescued by the krogans in Palaven. He used to be an old contact of mine, I picked my human recruits for C-Sec based on his observations." He shrugged, "He told me that the two of you… were a good match. I didn't agree to it, but he was insistent. He told me to meet Jane first to make up my mind. If he said that if I didn't think that she deserved you, Garrus, then I wouldn't officiate your union by turian customs." He laughed, "I guess she changed my mind."

"So that means…we have to get married, in human customs." Jane asked.

Everyone around us nodded, and she looked up at me. "But… that would mean I have to find a dress, and invite guests and find someone to officiate."

"That is why we're here, Shepard." Tali said, and from underneath her helmet, I could see her bright eyes smiling, "We're the guests… and witnesses. And Hackett is here to officiate."

"Wait what?" Jane rounded on the Admiral, "You… can marry us?"

Hackett laughed, "Married exactly fifteen couples during the Reaper Wars myself, Shepard. I studied being a Minister in my youth, I still have a certificate."

Jane's breath left her and she gaped open mouthed at everyone. "But…"

Liara sighed impatiently, "But what Shepard? You're already married by turian customs."

Jane looked at me, "I… I don't have a wedding dress."

Her horrified face went to me, and I had to laugh. All of us joined in the laughter as I put my arms around her, "Sweetheart, you could wear a sack on you right now and I'd still marry you."

Tali and Liara chuckled, "Don't worry, Shepard. I'm sure we can find something in your closet." Liara said and Jane looked at her, shocked.

"Wait, you're going to marry us NOW?"

I shrug, "Well, they're here already. So why wait?"

"Here? In the living room?"

Hackett chuckled, "Unless you want a beach wedding. We could do it outside."

Jane blinked and shook her head, "No… here… here is fine."

Tali nodded and pulled at her hand, "Then let's go find that dress." And they dragged Jane into her closet upstairs. James and Kaidan came forward, "We got a suit for you too, Garrus." Kaidan said as he brought up a bag. "You can't exactly wear your civvies. Here, we got this from a turian shop in the Palaven."

"Oh, thanks." I said, and I headed to the lower bedroom to change, with James and Kaidan behind me. I entered the bathroom as I heard James and Kaidan talking.

"You seem to be really calm about this, Scars." I heard James say, "You sure you want to be marrying Lola?"

"We're already married by turian customs, James." I said, while pulling out a pair of pants from the bag Kaidan gave me. They were made of turian silk… which is like human silk, smooth and shiny, but it's a little more sturdy compared to the frail threads of human equivalent to accommodate our spiky carapace and rough skin. I put them on, "In my book, we are already husband and wife."

"Right, right…" James said, and I headed out the bathroom, wearing the pants, and holding the shirt. Kaidan was scowling behind me, while James was looking around the room, which included Jane's piano. He blinks, "Wait… does this mean… Shepard knows how to play the piano?"

I chuckle, my mandibles flaring, "Surprised, Vega? Shepard can't dance, but when she plays the piano, you'll think your God composed the song she's playing for you."

Kaidan's dark look faded and he smiled, "Yeah. She does, apparently it's one of the things she first bought once she got her Alliance pay. She only had an apartment, with no furniture, except for that keyboard she bought. She said it was the one thing she wanted to learn as soon as she had the money."

"Huh." James said, touching the keys, "I didn't know that about the Commander."

"I didn't either, back then." I said as I put on the shirt. It was made of black turian silk as well, but had dark blue vertical lines in the front. It reminded me of the suit I wore during our 'mission' on the Citadel. "I actually only found out about it when I stayed with Shepard in Anderson's apartment one day. She was playing the piano when I woke up. Some song called 'Sonata Pathetique'."

"Yeah, that was her favorite." Kaidan said, and he sighed. "You're a very lucky turian, Garrus."

I couldn't help but swell with pride. "Yeah, I am."

I finished zipping up the suit, smoothing it down my chest, and I turn a looked at them. "What do you guys think?"

"Looking real smooth, Scars." James said, as he shook my hand. Kaidan came forward and shook my hand as well, "I was… stupid to let her go. But… I can see now that you're the better man." He smiles at me, "Take care of her, Garrus."

I nod, "I always got her six, Kaidan." He nodded back and smiled at me, "Let's get this done, guys."

We entered the living room, to see that Hackett stood by the wall that had the pictures, and Solana and my father standing in one side. Kaidan went by the foot of the staircase, and Tali came down, nodding at us, "She's ready."

"Alright." Hackett said, "Garrus, please stand by your family… here at my right side if you please."

I stood with my father and Solana and looked at him. "It is tradition that someone must give the bride again. Ordinarily, it would have to be the parents, but in Shepard's case, it would be Liara and Kaidan, since they're her closest friends." Hackett smiled a little sadly, "Anderson wanted to do it when he was alive, but I'm sure he's with her right now."

I nod again, and I heard footsteps coming down the stair, and I lost my breath.

Jane walked down the stairs, wearing a simple, but beautiful long white dress, her short hair topped with a sparking hair ornament. A bouquet of Earth flowers… white roses she called it, was in her hand, and I remember that it were the flowers on her side of the bed. She was leaning at Liara's side, grasping her hand, and when she reached the foot of the stairs, Kaidan took her other arm and started leading her to me. She had little of that paint she called make-up on her face, along with our clan markings, but she was smiling so beautifully at me, that I can't help but smile back.

Damn, I am one lucky bastard.

Kaidan offered her arm to me, and I take it, before shaking hands with him. Jane kissed Liara's cheek, and the two of them stood back to join James, Tali, Solana and my father.

Hackett put his arms out a little, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the union of Garrus Vakarian and Jane Shepard."

"In some human customs, it is required that the couple would speak their vows in their own words." I looked down at Jane, a little alarmed, and she returned the same look to me. No one told me about making my own vow for Shepard. Luckily, Hackett seemed to have known that. "But since this is a little rushed… and I doubt that the couple has made their own vows, please allow me to quote a human verse…. 'Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily-angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.' Remember this, my friends."

Wow… those are beautiful words. No wonder a lot of species think that humans are just as wise as the asari despite their limited lifespan.

"May I have the rings, James?" Hackett asked now, and James came forward bearing a small box, and the older man smiled. "I had Karin measure your fingers. Don't worry, the rings will fit."

"Now then, Jane. Do you take this man, Garrus Vakarian, as your husband, to have and to hold, for richer and for poorer, through sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live?"

"Yes, I do." Jane said, smiling up at me.

"And do you, Garrus Vakarian, take this woman, Jane Shepard, as your wife, to have and to hold, for richer and for poorer, through sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"

"Yes, I do… and beyond that even." I said, and Jane chuckled as her eyes watered with tears.

Hackett smiled approvingly, "Now take these rings, and put them on each other as you say these." He brought out a small notebook and gave it to Jane. She carefully slipped a platinum ring… on to my second finger, seeing that I only had three, but it fit me well. "Garrus Vakarian…" Jane read, "I give you this ring as a symbol of our vows, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you."

I take the ring James gives me… two times smaller than my own ring. "You put it on her right ring finger, Scars. It's the fourth digit on her hand." He winks at me as he went back to his place, and I slip the ring into her finger. Hackett gave me to notebook to read, "Jane Shepard, I give you this ring as a symbol of our vows, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you."

Hackett nodded and put the notebook away, before laying his hands on ours. "Then by the power of the Systems Alliance, and as Minister for the human Church, I now pronounce you husband and wife." He looks down at me and winked, "You may kiss your bride."

I laugh as the people around us clapped, "Now there's something about this Rite that I can do all day." Jane laughed as I pull her into my arms, and her sweet kiss met mine, before we separated. Hackett shook hands with us, Kaidan, Tali, Liara and James were clapping and cheering, Solana was crying from happiness, and my father nodded in contentment.

"Yeah! Let's celebrate!" James said as he hurried into the kitchen, "These guys got dextro and levo drinks, yo! Let's crack open some to celebrate the new couple!"

"Wait! Wait!" Liara said as she set up something on a tripod in front of us, "We need pictures. James, get back in here!"

I stood beside Jane, while I had both Hackett and my father sit in front of us. Solana, Tali and Liara stood by Jane's left side, and Kaidan and James stood to my right. Liara set up her Omni-Tool to synch with her camera. "Alright everyone smile! 3… 2… 1!"

I didn't know how much I smiled, but I could say it was pretty wide, from the feel of my mandibles. And Liara fixed it on a frame, before putting it on the wall, beside our picture of the shore leave. Everyone headed for the kitchen for some drinks, but Jane pulled me back, her eyes still slightly watering.

"I feel so happy…" She said simply, and I touch her forehead with mine, "Me too. You're now officially Mrs. Jane Shepard-Vakarian… in both human and turian standards."

She laughs, and we start heading to the kitchen. But suddenly, she pinches my backside, and I jump a little. I look down at her to see her wink seductively, "Excellent. Now I have my human honeymoon to look forward to tonight."

Oh wow… she's right.

I reach behind her, putting my arm around her waist, but not before pinching her butt as well. "I can't wait for it. Mrs. Vakarian."

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