Lily leaned forward in her chair, her nose almost to the window. Nihlus laughed at the sight.
"I'm not sure if you are leaning forward in order to try and make the ship go faster or are just that mesmerized by the view."
"I've never seen the Citadel like this. I've only been there on the Intrepid and there are no ports down in the engine room. Damn, I wish I had an omni-tool so I could record this and send it to my mom."
"Ah, it is an amazing sight. And look, we'll be there well after your boyfriend will be off shift."
Lily took her eyes off the sight before her to turn towards him. "And I suppose you sent him a message already, letting him know which docking bay we will be at?"
He glanced over at her. "I didn't think you would mind."
She flashed him a smile. "No, I don't. It saves me having to find a public terminal and contacting him myself, so thank you."
He inclined his head a little. "You're welcome."
The time it took to arrive at their designated spot seemed to be in the range of hours. Lily didn't even wait for Nihlus to finish all the docking procedures before she was up and at the hatch, waiting to open it up.
"Clear," Nihlus said.
Lily threw open the door. Workers bustled around the area, working on the ships docked all along the bay, but no sign of the one she needed to find. She spotted a gate blocking access to this space and looked beyond it for a certain person. She found him finally, waving at her. He used his size to force a path towards the gate. Her feet barely touched the ground under her and she sped off. She had barely put one step through the checkpoint when alarms went off. The C-Sec officer on duty put up a hand to stop her from going any further.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but you are coming up in the system as dead. Hang on while we try and get the machine working properly."
Lily sighed. "Well, to be honest, they thought I was."
Nihlus stepped up around Lily and went to the man's console. He input a few things and motioned for Lily to come through.
"See, you should have waited for me."
"I forgot about the checkpoint. What did you do?" she asked, stepping through the gate without the alarm going off this time.
"You're alive again. Try not to change that, Pink."
The Spectre nodded to her and the turian waiting for her before he strode off into the crowd. Garrus swept Lily up in his arms, but at the little cry of distress she made, he quickly released her.
"Crap. I'm sorry -" he began.
"It's okay; it just pulled on the stitches a little."
"I know a clinic; they can take a look at you." He took her hand in his and began to tug her in a direction.
Lily pulled back a little, forcing him to stop. "Oh, hell no. I'll get it looked at when I am back on the Intrepid. If you'll loan me the credits, I desperately need a change of clothes, a shower, and a real meal."
Garrus chuckled a little and rubbed his nose with one talon. "Yeah, I didn't want to mention that -"
Lily poked him in the side. "What, that I smell like a dead varren? Then don't."
"You never have to ask to borrow credits from me. I am curious though, why did he call you Pink? Was it because of your hair? Although that is definitely red."
Lily sighed. "Because when I first ran into him after I broke free, well, I was only in my underwear."
Garrus's mandibles fluttered for a second as he thought about that. "Oh! I told you that pink set was a horrible color, and now we can consider it unlucky as well."
"Yes, well, they were on sale and comfortable and how was I to know that I would end up wandering around in my underwear?"
He chuckled a little and took her much smaller hand in his. Hand-in-hand they wove their way through the throngs of people as she led them to her favorite store. Even with not trying on anything and only picking up items in her size, it still took much longer than she wanted to before they were finished. But through it all, Garrus walked beside her, ever patient as he waited for her to get whatever it was she thought she needed. His presence was a strength that she had sorely missed since he had left the Intrepid. That thought had her flashing him a smile, which he returned along with a raise of his eyebrow plate. But she just nodded that she was done, so he directed her back towards where the apartment was.
"The place I found is kind of small and a little shabby, but -"
She pulled him to a stop. "Garrus, I don't give a damn. After all I've been through, it will seem like a fancy vacation, so long as you are with me."
The contented hum that had been threatening to spill out finally broke free. So he did the only thing he could to show her that he felt the same way - he gently pulled her against his chest while his head dipped down to rest against hers. Neither one of them gave a damn that people had to go around them.
She pulled back enough to gaze up at him, a soft smile on her face. "Have you heard anything more about those stupid forms?"
Garrus nodded. "I went to my dad asking if he knew anything about what the holdup was. He said he would look into it. So now we have to wait some more."
"Ugh, god only knows how long that will take. Well, let's get me cleaned up and burn what I am wearing before we get some food."
"You want to go out to a restaurant after?"
"Nah, let's just grab something and eat at -"
"Our place," Garrus interjected.
"Not like I've contributed anything -"
"You will. Come on, it's not too far now. A salarian runs the complex. He seems okay."
They had just barely entered the lobby when a salarian held up a hand and, clutching a box, rushed towards them. At Lily's curious glance, Garrus shook his head, at an obvious loss as to what was going on.
"Vakarian! What's going on? Why did a Spectre leave this for you and he said I could only hand it to you? He said you have to deliver this to a Pink Commando. Is it dangerous? Are you in trouble? Because I don't want any troublemakers here!"
Lily's mouth dropped at the amazing rate of speech he managed without stopping to breathe.
"What?" Garrus managed to blurt out.
He thrust the box towards Garrus as if it was something dangerous. He barely grabbed it before the salarian had retreated to the relative safety of his desk. He handed it over to Lily with a grin.
"So, uh, you must be the Pink Commando?"
"I'm going to kill him," Lily growled out.
Garrus laughed and led her down the hall towards their place. He opened the door and ushered her inside. She placed the packages she had been carrying down and set about opening the box that Nihlus had left her.
"What is it?"
Lily pulled out a note and an implant.
"What does it say?"
I figured you needed one of these. It only took asking one or two people why there was a hold-up with your application to C-Sec (that wouldn't have been my first choice, but I know they need good people like you) - your boyfriend has been 'persistent' (that's the nicest word I can think of for what they really said) with trying to get you in. You should be notified of your acceptance shortly and not to worry; it will count for your service to the Hierarchy. I made sure of that. See I used my powers for good, although I'm sure it will annoy someone somewhere anyway. Instead of just protecting their interests, you'll be doing that same thing for all species now.
Oh, and that dig site? Well, it's safe, and they found a large cache of artifacts from a previously unknown extinct species. Needless to say, the Council and the Hierarchy were very happy we stopped the pirates. And I made sure that their gratitude extended to you - part of what helped push your paperwork through.
It was a pleasure working with you. I wish the two of you the best.
Lily handed the note to Garrus. His eyes widened as they took in the message Nihlus had left her.
"I can't believe he did that for you. Put that in and see if your notice came through."
Lily shook her head, already removing the clothing she had been stuck in for days.
"Not until I get clean. Throw those out. I never want to see them, or smell them, again."
His eyes narrowed when she removed the bandage that covered her middle, exposing the ugly wounds.
"Dammit, I knew I should have made you go to the clinic."
Lily ignored his comment and looked about. "Bathroom?"
"Through there," he said as he pointed at a door off to one side.
"Still not going tonight," she said as she dropped the last of her coverings on the floor.
Garrus stood outside the door. There was no way they could both fit in there at the same time. He leaned his head against the door, taking solace in the sound of her movements inside.
"Oh my god. A hot shower."
"Well, mostly hot, for about five minutes anyway."
"Long enough to get clean at least."
When he heard the water shut off, he moved back from the door.
"There are some bandages in the cabinet under the sink. Grab them, and there should be some disinfectant as well under there," he called out as he grabbed her discarded clothes and shoved them in the disposal unit.
She came out brandishing the items in her hands. He took them from her and dropped to his knees so he could get a better look at her injury. His hands were steady as he carefully applied the ointment to her. Now, he was grateful that he had given in to his urges and bought all this first aid stuff when he first moved in. He just hadn't known it would be her that would be needing it first. Being this close to her when she was naked should have had his blood stirring, but all he felt was grateful. Grateful that she was alive and he had the chance to do this. He wrapped a strip of the gauze around her middle and gently fastened it. Even though his task was done, he didn't get up. Instead, he carefully wound his arms around her, placing his head against her warm body. He needed to feel that she was warm and alive and with him.
"Garrus?" she asked. Her hands cradled his head to her. Her fingers stroked whatever part of him she could reach.
"If I had been there -"
"It could have been worse."
"The only way it could have been worse was if you had really died there. I thought I lost you."
"No, a lot more people could have died. They had Serlo and Relmos checking far away from where the pirates actually were. If Nihlus hadn't known where to find them they might have been able to carry out their plans and innocent people on Mindoir would have died."
His hands dropped away slowly and with a sigh, he got to his feet. She brushed a kiss across his lips before donning her new clothes. She grabbed the implant from where she had left it and handed it to him.
"Give me a hand?"
He nodded. The place where her old one had been was mostly healed up, so he reluctantly had to cut it open. He quickly slipped the tool inside and wound another strip of bandage around her wrist. He watched as she quickly set up the new machine and then listened to it ping several times. She opened up the first message and quickly turned it towards him.
"He did it! This is the acceptance from C-Sec and telling me where to report tomorrow morning for my orientation."
She opened the next message. "Wow, that was quick. This is from Captain Victus. He says that he put in a reference for me and if I should ever change my mind, the Hierarchy can always use good soldiers like me."
"He did the same thing for me. I'm glad he did it for you as well. Are you ready to go get something to eat?"
"Am I ever! I'm going to have to watch myself, having access to all this great food on the Citadel -"
"Hmm, I know of a great exercise program that we can do together," he said, using the low rumbling voice she loved.
She laughed. "I'm sure you do."
She reached up and caressed his cheek. He covered her hand with his. The laughter was gone from her eyes and she looked at him in a way that made his stomach flutter.
"At one point I thought I might never see you again as well. But the thought of you helped me break free and kept me going."
"Lily. I'm, crap - I love you. Thinking you were gone for good, it felt like the weight of a hundred worlds had been dropped on me. I couldn't breathe -"
"I love you too. We are a team. If something ever happens again, promise me - you will fight on, no matter what happens."
"I will, for you."
She smiled at him. "Good. Now, let's get some dinner. Tomorrow will be the start of our new life here, kicking ass on the Citadel."
He laughed and shook his head. "Somehow I think your instructor would disagree with that assessment, but the rest of it sounds perfect."
He pulled up his tool and sent her the access codes to the apartment.
"There. It's official now, we're living together."
She took his hand and pulled him out of the flat. "Come on. I'm sure you scoped out someplace nearby we can grab something to eat."
"Are you kidding? That was my first prerequisite when I was looking for a place. How close was it to food vendors."
"You're so smart."
As they wove their way through the throngs of people, they often drew looks, for it seemed an odd alliance. But if anyone had asked them, they would have answered that they were two former Hierarchy soldiers just starting their life together.
A great big thank you to Mordinette for all her help and support throughout this whole process. Thank you! And another to all the readers who let me know they enjoyed this - so, thank you!