Hey there! Sorry, I was caught up in some other stories, but I had some specific requests to update this and even though it took some time… here you are! The idea got stuck in my head and I had to roll with it. Once again, I am working on the rambling Shepard does, but it was sort of how I envisioned her character… so I tried XD
Also, Lumlum- Have I told you I adore you yet? Because I do.
Silverdragon0315 I hope those midterms went well!
Smeemoney- No I am not trying to kill you I promise
Rated M for later chapters and language! I own nothing. Thanks! For all of my reviewers thank you very, very much for leaving some sort of comment I do honestly appreciate it!
'Dear Aria-' Shepard tapped at her omni-tool with more force than was strictly necessary. She glowered at the two harmless words before deleting them.
'Aria, you insane blue bitch-'
Delete, delete, delete and delete.
This was harder than Shepard had given it credit for.
'Sadistic azure harpy-'
Hm… getting warmer, but she wasn't sure the reference would be understood.
'To the current ruler of Omega if the Patriarch hasn't finally spaced you-'
That might be construed as hostile. Shepard puffed a breath out in annoyance. Her index finger tapped the delete key repeatedly.
'Aria-,' alright, well, that was simple enough. Straight and to the point, she could work with that. '-it has come to my attention-'
'Ugh. That won't work,' she thought grumpily, 'it sounds too much like an Alliance report.' Her eyes narrowed at the screen once more. She thoughtfully tapped a finger to her chin as she pondered what exactly to say to the ruthless Asari female… or male-female. Whatever Aria was at any rate.
"You plan on talking to me anytime soon, Alice?"
Shepard blinked her gaze up quickly. It landed to her right where Garrus stood with an amused expression shining in his eyes.
"Really hadn't planned on it," she commented flippantly, returning to her task.
'Aria, I have found disturbing evidence-' Did that sound too verbose? Shepard did a mental shrug and soldiered on.
'-that an illegal weapons ring has been trading on the Citadel. Furthermore,-'
"It is really sort of boring to be walking around while you're ignoring me," Garrus rumbled quietly.
Shepard felt her lips as they quirked into a smirk at his tone more than his words. Was the big bad Archangel sulking? It was almost precious. Almost.
She gave a too innocent expression in his direction. "Did you want to help me compose a letter to Aria?"
He looked torn between flat out refusing, and making some bullshit attempt to 'help' her. Shepard snorted dismissively as she returned to her omni-tool.
'-I have found that whoever is running this operation also has detailed plans for-'
"I could help you know. I can do more than just shoot people. Mind you, it is very stylish shooting and no one does it quite like me, but I can do more," Garrus insisted mildly.
Shepard spared him a 'And?' glance. When he said nothing else, but moved his mandibles in a nervous habit, she sighed and closed the Omni-tool for a moment.
"Yes, Miss Gunn?" he replied with a cheeky grin.
"Hush," she deadpanned.
The turian to her right huffed with indignation at her second dismissal. She turned the omni-tool back on and the orange glow stung her eyes slightly.
Shepard barley held back a squeal of surprise when Garrus' taloned hand wrapped tightly around her wrist, and effectively shut down her work yet again.
"What the hell-" Her words were cut short by the look a pure and unadulterated hatred that seeped from every sharp angle in his face. Garrus was staring straight ahead. His entire body stood so unnaturally still that for a moment Shepard could have sworn he was made of stone. Real-life looking stone that had the neon blue eye piece attached, but stone none the less, and it unnerved her.
She reached a hand toward her 'concealed' weapon. Though her civilian clothing had extremely limited places to hide the procured hand gun, she had managed it.
"Sidonis," he hissed with outrage. Shepard watched his mandibles as they flattened against his face in agitation.
'Well, shit,' she thought humorlessly. As if she hadn't had enough to deal with currently. Yet, she remembered how betrayed Garrus had been and it had forced her to agree to his request for vengeance. Her eyes locked on a non-descript Turian, with a bare face, which was heading toward them.
Not, exactly them, but in their general direction.
And, why, oh why, did Shepard have the feeling she was going to have to stop Garrus from shooting him in the middle of the Citadel with thousands of witnesses? As she stole a glance up at Garrus once more, she could have ventured a guess that it had to do with his incredibly determined expression. And, had Garrus looked at her with that much concentration, he would have been tied to the bed in her cabin long ago.
Hm, that was something to think about right before she fell into an exhausted sleep later, if she lived that long.
Shepard clicked into the muscle memory of battle. Her pulse increased at the thought of entering into yet another altercation. Her fingers danced their way down her hip to the grip of her firearm. Remembering her better sense of judgment, she tugged her captured arm slightly to get his attention.
"Now really isn't the time," she started commandingly, with her tone just a touch pleading.
His blue eyes bored into her intently for all of two seconds before returning to the figure of Sidonis.
"You promised me Shepard," he hissed out menacingly.
She winced internally. "And, you know I will keep my word. But right now, if you shoot him in the middle of the damn Citadel, we are going to have C-SEC crawling all over our asses."
"He can't be allowed to get away with what he did."
Shepard placed her free hand over the taloned one that held her. Her tone switched from commanding to cajoling instantly.
"He isn't going to get away with it, Garrus," she half-whispered his name. Her eyes scanned the area immediately around them with wariness. She was also taking the time to look for the nearest exit route just in case she was unable to corral the more murderous side of Garrus.
This, if she were perfectly honest, was something she rather liked about him; his determination that is. However, this just didn't seem like Garrus to her. This near-raging plated turian was almost like an imposter wearing Garrus' handsome face.
"Garrus," she snapped, watching his gaze touch hers for a moment, "he is not going to get away with what he did. I've already sworn that to you, but we cannot just shoot him with witnesses everywhere."
His mandibles twitched wide for a moment, as if he would roar or berate her. His eyes flashed under the synthetic light with the fierceness of a predatory animal on the hunt. He clenched his hands, which caused her to wince in discomfort. His mandibles quivered under her concerned gaze.
"I- I can't Shepard, he has to die. My men, good men, died because of him. If we take him out now, I won't even need Harkin."
Shepard felt her breath still as the crazed look in his eyes. Her throat had gone impossibly dry and for once in her career she was without words to command.
"I need to set up, it won't take me long. Distract him for me," he stated with conviction as he scanned the surrounding area.
However, Shepard already knew that there were very few places for Garrus to hide in such an open area as the commons. He would be caught in a matter of moments even if she did her very best to cover him. And, she doubted she would be able to smooth it over by talking to Chellick. Public executions were a bit of a touchy subject, with good reason she supposed. Also, her Spectre status was in name only. If she tried to use her status it could be revoked from her again.
Maybe it was time she took Samara up on that meditation lesson?
"Vakarian," her tone was low and full of unspoken warning, "we'll get another chance."
His mandibles flared as he reached for his weapon. Right there in the open. Shepard felt her alarm rise.
"You don't know that-"
"Do you trust me?"
His blue eyes became startled and she had finally succeeded in pulling his eyes from the intended target.
His mandible clacked at her. "Of course I do, Shepard, you know that."
Her eyes softened under the weight of his confession. "Then trust me now."
His breath stilled and his sharp eyes refused to even blink. Shepard counted her racing heartbeats until he said something. Her fingers wrapped around the grip of her gun, just in case she might be forced to create some sort of commotion to stop Garrus from murdering Sidonis at that very moment.
"You don't know what you are asking."
"I'm asking you to trust me."
Garrus' eyes glazed over slightly and she watched the internal battle that was raging inside of him. His whole body lurched suddenly, like a cat ready to spring upon an unsuspecting mouse.
"Spirits damn it Shepard!" Garrus snarled as he stopped just three inches shy of her face. "He got away because of you!"
No words had ever wounded her more deeply. Shepard flinched and withdrew from him by four or five steps. Her gaze narrowed on him harshly, a reflex to hostile tones like the one he was projecting at her now. She shook her head in part hurt and part indignation. She could tell that Garrus was still furious and whether that blame was all on her she couldn't say.
And, quite frankly, she didn't care.
"You know what Vakarian?" Shepard sneered with distaste, "You go ahead and shoot him. Go for it. I won't stop you." Her features hardened into the mask of authority she usually wore when someone stepped out of line. "And when Chellick comes to drag your plated-ass to jail... I'm not gonna stop him."
Her bitter laughter caused Garrus' mandibles to flutter in an emotion Shepard didn't feel like noticing.
"I've wasted time and resources that I could be using to try and save my species from destruction to help you bury a painful part of your past. Literally. You've asked me to help kill someone in what can only be considered cold blood, and because I am your friend… I agreed. "
Her lips firmed under the weight of her fury. "And, I'm still going to help you kill him. But only because I swore to you that I would."
His too bright blue eyes widened at her cut and dry tone. Shepard had always been a little too soft hearted where Garrus was concerned and while it ached to admit she loved him, it was the truth. But, now that affection was getting in the way of her job and Shepard just didn't have that kind of time to piss away.
She pointed a finger at him in a threatening manner.
"Know this, don't you ever ask me for another favor Vakarian. Not one. Now get your act together or get the fuck off my team. I have bigger things to deal with than this."
She heard his mandibles click in shock as they snapped against his other face plates. She only heard it because she had turned on her heel and left him there. He would either be smart and leave well enough alone until they had another chance, because Sidonis had not seen them, or he would be an idiot and get himself caught.
Right now, she wasn't entirely sure she gave a flying fuck.
Shepard took a ragged breath and opened her omni-tool again. Her face was flushed with anger and she held her head down slowly as she continued her message to Aria. With her mood soured she erased the whole thing.
'Aria, you need to send someone here in the next standard day. –S.'
It wasn't exactly a work of art but it got the point across. She blinked down at the second missive with misgivings. She had already altered Aria, but she knew it would be smart to let the Asari feel like she had some sort of control in the situation.
Oh, Shepard had not been entirely truthful with Garrus earlier. She had a vague idea who might be behind the illicit smuggling of weapons into the Citadel, but to accuse the individual outright without a boatload of evidence would serve nothing but to get her removed from the ranks of the Spectres again.
Because death just wasn't enough to keep a good Spectre down…
But bureaucracy had a nasty habit of doing far more damage than the Collector ship that had sliced through the Normandy like butter.
Shepard debated over sending another missive, perhaps to Thane in hopes of keeping Garrus out of trouble. However, he was a grown Turian and he had to learn to live with his choices just like everybody else.
Dear God in heaven, what was it now? Her eyes already narrowed in fury at the interruption.
"Aria sends her regards," the stranger stated in a bored tone.
Shepard became distracted as her omni-tool pinged in a familiar tone. She opened the screen with caution.
'Shepard, Already done-A.'
She fought the urge to be slightly impressed by how far the blue fingers of Aria could reach. She spared a glance for the newcomer at her side and let out a groan of frustration.
Another damn Turian.
She would have been convinced that she had offended some sort of deity from another world, maybe run over some sort of important religious site while she bounced around in the Mako? It would have made sense, that vehicle had defied the laws of physics when she plunged off of a 12,000 foot cliff and they all lived.
Because that was the only theory she had going right now as to why she was suddenly plagued by the species.
She took in his markings with an air of deja-vu.
The Turian's mandibles twitched in amusement. "Close, Grizz."
She nodded absently. "That's right." Shepard stared at him… waiting.
"Aria sent me," he rumbled softly and she nearly cringed when his eyes widened suddenly, "seems like you've been busy since we last met."
She growled like an angry cat. "Was there a point to this Grizz or do I get to introduce you to my newest toy?" She pulled the 'procured' weapon from its less than discreet hiding place and eyed it appreciatively. Even, if it was a piece of crap, she knew how to use it and that was all that mattered.
The Turian gave a bark of laughter as he threw back his head.
"You're funny for a human," he chuckled.
She didn't find him all that amusing for a Turian.
He shrugged his shoulders when she failed to reply. "Aria has a job she needs doing. You up for some work?"
She took in his grey armor and his lighter plates. In a way he looked very much like Chellick except his markings were all wrong. He was a handsome enough turian, she supposed. Shepard contemplated his question carefully.
"Depends," she answered truthfully, "what kind of work?"
"Your letter ain't the first time Aria's gotten word of some scumbags running guns without paying the proper dues."
Shepard raised a brow about the 'dues' part. She nearly pinched the bridge of her nose to fight the oncoming headache she knew was coming. Cerberus was good, but they couldn't fix everything.
"What's that got to do with me Grizz?" Her patience was wearing thin.
The turian had the gall to shrug at her again. "Aria figures since you've been so good at keeping an eye out for her, that you'd be willing to help her stop the ones trying to come after what's hers," the male replied in a nonchalant manner.
She wasn't impressed by this.
"Got to be honest with you, I'm busy right now. Saving all sentient species, maybe you've heard about the Reapers? Anyway, I told Aria as a courtesy, nothing more," her voice carried an edge of steel to it.
His avian eyes regarded her with interest,
"You know the deal by now Shepard. This goes to show the example of what happens to people that cross Aria. And she said so. What other reason do you need?"
Shepard straightened herself to her full height. "Not interested. Send Aria my best wishes," she sneered sarcastically.
"I like you Shepard," he rumbled with a turian-smile, "so I'm gonna give you a day to think about this."
She opened her mouth to tell him where and how he could stick it when he leaned in close and his mandibles pulled back into a wide grin.
"You smell good, by the way. What's that? Two suitors? Three?"
She felt her control snap at his leering and gave him a token of her esteem. A solid right-hook across his face. She dusted off her civilian clothing as he staggered back a step.
"Thank you," she responded politely, "and yes, it's two suitors."
Grizz looked at her with a new appreciation that made her stomach tighten in a mild form of fear.
"Wanna make it three?"
Shepard sighed softly. "Please don't make me shoot you."