"Garrus? Are you down here?"
Damn. She's going to find out.
I've never been good at keeping secrets, especially from her. Now that we're married and all, there should be nothing between us. But now…
I look around me. I'm in the basement, our weapons enclosed in glass cases, but the floor was covered with cloths, and in the middle is… my easel and my paints and brushes.
I think I already told her that I always wanted to learn to paint.
She was coming down the stairs now, slowly. She's already in her seventh month of pregnancy, and her stomach is now pretty big. But she's still beautiful. I could see her slippered feet on the stairs, and I immediately covered up my latest work, although some of my other paintings were in one part of the room. I stood up and greeted her at the bottom of the stairs. "Sweetheart, if your legs hurt, you shouldn't be walking so much. If you slip and roll down the stairs, you'd make me a very unhappy… and worried… turian."
She scoffs as she stands in front of me, "You've been spending hours of your day down here. And I knew you weren't calibrating because I can't hear you using your tools. You suck at keeping secrets, husband."
Yeah. I suck at keeping secrets.
She walked around the room now, taking in the cloth covering the floor, the various canvasses I'd propped up against one wall. Her eyes looked over the one in front… my painting of Palaven, and she went forward and looked at it. "You've been painting?"
I run a hand on my fringe, "Uhh… yeah. Remember when I told you I always wanted to learn to paint…"
"And you said you paint walls with Reaper blood… but it's not the same, although it is a living." She said, and she began looking through the other canvasses, "Yes, I remember. This one is Tuchanka?"
I nod, "Yes. I've been… painting landscapes of the places we've been through. Or trying, at least. Palaven.. Tuchanka… Noveria… Thessia… Eden Prime… some of them are good, but…"
She raised one of the canvasses… my painting of Thessia, before its destruction, and she smiles, "No… Garrus… these are really, really good! I didn't know you painted landscapes beautifully."
"Yeah… I didn't know I had a talent for it. I guess a steady hand from shooting sniper rifles help a bit." I took her hand as she lowered the painting and brought her to another set of canvasses, "Here. I think you might like these ones."
She gasps as she looked at them, "These are… our crew?"
She raised one, a painting of mine of a Justicar in red armor, Samara. "Yeah. I did portraits of them. I was starting to forget their faces, their expressions… I just had to paint them…"
"Like this one… Thane's." She said, looking at my painting of the drell, in the Life Support room, his hands on his chin as he stared out of the window in contemplation, "You captured his essence very well. He always did look serene. And the reflection of light on the scales… you got it, too."
"Actually, I… already posted some of these paintings on the extranet." I said, "Not under my real name, of course, but under a pseudonym. Liara called me and said that Kolyat saw that painting, and he was willing to buy it from me."
Jane looked at me, "Really? So… you're going to sell these?"
"Probably. With us retired, Jane, we're going to need some sort of way to support ourselves financially." I shrug, "I'm already helping Liara as a turian and C-Sec resource for her Shadow Broker network, and apparently, my paintings are really great, that art dealers and collectors are willing to pay a lot of money for it." I pointed at the painting of Palaven, "Primarch Victus already paid for the Palaven painting… 100,000 credits. Liara's going to ship it this week."
Jane's mouth dropped open, and I smirk, quickly leaning down and kissing her, "I'm the leader of this clan now, and I'm going to do whatever I can to provide for us."
She smiles and kisses me again, before leaning back, "Thank you… I just wish I could help you in any way to earn money."
I smile, my mandibles flaring as I brought her to the middle of the room, where my latest creation was. "You already do."
I pull back the cover of my latest painting, and she gasps. It was my painting of her, way back when she was first inducted as a Spectre. I was watching that day, and I couldn't help but remember the time she was inducted. She stood, proudly and beautifully, in the Council Room, surrounded by those beautiful trees. It was the first time I had seen her. And the first time I admired her.
And probably the first time I thought about falling in love with her.
Her eyes watered, and she looks up at me. She puts her arms around me, and I put my arms around her, running my hand down her lower back. "Do you like it?"
She nods in my chest, "I love it, Garrus. Thank you." She leans back and wipes her tears away, "Are you… going to sell this one too?"
"Hmm… I'm still thinking about it… " I said, but she winced and held her stomach. "What's wrong?"
"I'm fine, Garrus." She said, massaging her tummy a little, "The baby was just… moving a little."
My child… was moving inside her? I couldn't comprehend it. I've never been with a pregnant turian before… much less a pregnant human, so the thought of a baby… my baby… moving inside her was confusing to me. I kneel before her, and put a hand on her belly, pressing my face against it.
And then I felt it. A small kick, like a finger poking on my mandible through her stomach and through her dress. Our child was moving. Our miracle. He was in there, growing and moving… alive and well. I look up at Jane, her eyes smiling in amazement as our baby moved. She ran a hand through my fringe, "You will meet her… or him… soon, Garrus. Don't worry."
I couldn't help but chuckle. My child… I ran a hand through her stomach.
"I'll meet you soon, sweetheart. Don't worry."