A/N: This is a fill for a prompt on the ME kink meme.

The prompt was: "After the collector base mission and just before going their separate ways, Shepard decides to give her alien lover a lock of her hair as a keepsake, much to his/her puzzlement. I adore Garrus, but this could work with any alien. Feel free to make this a minifill, a drabble, art!fill or anything really. I just want something cute with an alien getting both weirded out and utterly charmed by a little human oddity."

Thank you to Spyke1985 at for beta reading.

Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

"What's this?" Garrus narrowed his eyes with suspicion at the strange item in Shepard's outstretched hand.

"It's a medallion with a lock of my hair," she explained enthusiastically, nearly bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet with excitement. "See? You push this button, the locket opens, and here's my hair inside."

"Eww," Garrus gasped as he stared at the object at the end of the silver chain. He had just started to reach for it, but now his hand recoiled in horror and he took a step back.

"Eww? What do you mean, eww?" She snapped the pendant shut and put her hands on her hips, the necklace dangling from her fingers along her right thigh as she glared at him. "I thought you liked my hair. You said it was silky and smooth."

"Yeah, I like it—when it's attached to your head."

"What the hell's the difference?" She lifted her shoulders and turned her hands upward in an exasperated shrug. He could be so difficult sometimes.

"Well, it's not you anymore—it's just a part of you that you've cut off. And now it's dead." He tried to explain the obvious without angering her even more.

"Garrus," she sighed, "the hair on my head that you like to stroke so much is also dead. So it's basically the same thing."

'Gross,' he wanted to say, but thought better of it.

"It's just like your talons," she continued. "Those are made up of dead cells, too. That's why it doesn't hurt when you file them."

'That's true,' he thought and nodded his head, relieved that now he could enjoy her wonderful hair again. He did love to weave his fingers through it and let the strands slide over and between them.

"But... why are you giving this to me?" He still didn't understand where she was going with all this.

"Because," she bit her lower lip as she tried to steel herself enough to squeeze out the words she needed to say, "I want you to remember me while we're apart. I thought that having a part of me with you would be a little bit like... having me with you. I don't know when we'll see each other again." Her voice dropped to almost a whisper and she had to fight back the tears that were welling up in her eyes. "But if you don't want it—"

"No! I do want it!" He quickly closed the distance between them and snatched the chain from her hand before she had the chance to put it away. He pushed the little button on the side of the medallion and stroked the hair inside, swallowing hard at the thought that this was going to be his only connection to her for who knows how long. "Jane," he rumbled as he closed the locket then pulled her to him and held her tight, "do you really have to go? To hell with the Alliance."

"We've talked about this," she sighed, burying her face in his chest. "It's the only way to prevent the war with the batarians. I have no choice."

"Dammit," he growled. "I'll miss you."

"I'll miss you, too," she said and pushed her body into his, soaking up his heat and committing every little detail about him to memory: his scent, his touch, the shape of his plates under her fingers. This was all she could take with her; and this was one thing they could not take away.

Two days later they docked at the Citadel and dropped Garrus off. He stood at the docking port, watching the Normandy pull out and take his heart with it. He stayed and stared into the darkness until he could see the ship no more, and for some time even after that. His feet frozen to the ground, he had to will himself to turn around and move away. 'Turians don't cry,' he kept reminding himself, but damn if it wasn't hard to see where he was going.

He still had his small apartment from his C-Sec days, but he had no fresh supplies in his cupboards, and whatever was left must have gone bad by now. So he headed to a store to stock up—most importantly he desperately needed a bottle of turian brandy.

The air in the apartment was stale, but he didn't care. He put the bag down, took out the bottle and pulled the cork out with one efficient move. He walked over to the couch and collapsed on it, propped his feet up on the coffee table and took a long swig of the liquor. As the alcohol slid down his throat, burning a path to his stomach, he remembered the night he and Shepard had spent at the Dark Star Lounge, having a drinking contest, then ending up sprawled out on her bed, too drunk to do anything but sleep.

They made up for lost time the next morning, though, he chuckled to himself, his plates shifting a bit at the memory of her mouth, her tongue, and her agile little fingers on his body.

Trying to distract himself from those arousing thoughts, he recalled the shock and joy he felt when he'd realized that she was alive and she was the one coming for him at his base on Omega. Then his mind flashed back to all the missions they went on together, just like old times, fighting shoulder to shoulder, always in tune with each other's thoughts and intentions.

He drank until he felt his brain was hazy enough to let him drift off into a dreamless sleep, then stripped off his clothes and climbed into bed. It didn't really help; he kept seeing her in his dreams, and when he woke up the next morning he reached out to touch her and pull her into his embrace. The bed beside him was empty, and it took him a while to become conscious enough to understand that it wasn't because she'd gotten up and gone to the bathroom or she'd decided to check something on her terminal.

His fist clenched into an enraged ball, ripping the sheets underneath, then he remembered the memento she'd given him. He got up in a hurry, rummaged through his clothes that he'd carelessly discarded on the floor, and found the necklace with the locket. With trembling hands, he pushed the little button and when the cover sprang open and the lock of her hair came into sight he softly stroked the delicate strands.

His chest filled with gratitude at what he finally realized was the best gift she could have given him: a part of herself, just like she said, that he could carry with him even while they were so far away from each other. He wished now that he could have given her something similar, but he hoped that she was thinking about him even without that.

He snapped the pendant shut then put the chain with it around his neck. It felt good to feel like she was there with him, right next to his heart.