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Title: Thereafter
Author: Tavia-chan
Game: Mass Effect
Characters/Pairings: FemShep / Garrus
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Bioware, I'm merely attempting to expand upon it.

This takes place a few weeks, possibly a month, after the destruction of Sovereign.

Exiting out of the CIC, Garrus Vakarian strolled down the stairwell toward the living quarters of the SSV Normandy.  The celebration that had followed the defeat of Sovereign was going on all throughout the Citadel—throughout the parts that remained relatively intact, that is.  He was all for revelry after the hell he and his commanding officer had gone through, but it had turned out to be livelier than he preferred.  He noticed how empty the ship felt, especially with the looming silence in the air.  His mind began to wander to the faces he had seen at the celebration.  All the crew from this ship, the people he knew from C-Sec, high ranking officials he had investigated, even his fath-

He abruptly shook his head to stop his thoughts from drifting too far off.  As he turned the corner at the foot of the stairs, he began to wonder where…

His steps gradually came to a halt as he noticed a female individual sitting atop a platform set far to the side of the mess where the lighting was dim.  She was leaning forward with her head bowed low, making it difficult to distinguish her face.  Even without seeing all her features clearly, Garrus knew who she was—the person who had stopped an army of Geth and Sovereign himself, Commander Shepard.  Remembering how she had almost acted embarrassed from all the praise being thrown toward her, he had to admit it wasn't surprising to see her here.

He glanced over to the mess hall table.  Numerous bottles and containers of alcoholic beverages suitable for every type of alien that had been on board were strewn about the surface.  From what he could gather, it apparently had taken the Commander a while to find an appropriate drink for herself.  Garrus could see a few empty bottles resting beside her feet, and she held an additional one in her hand.  If he recalled correctly, humans called it "beer."  Being the Turian that he was, his stomach lacked the curiosity and courage to ever attempt trying it.

"Figures I'd find you here, Commander."

The woman looked up with her brow raised and a smirk on face.  Lifting the bottle in the air, she said, "Yeah, I thought I'd like to be surrounded by the ship that carried us through hell for my celebration."  She motioned to the clutter on the table with a jerk of her head, and she slid to the side of the platform, giving the Turian enough room to sit.  "You can join me if you want…"

Garrus shifted his weight to his right side, staring from the corner of his eye down at the clear cylindrical container filled with the pungent red liquid fit for his race.  "Drinking with the commanding officer…?" he murmured with intrigue.  Shrugging, he grabbed the drink, ambled over beside her, and took a seat.  He unscrewed the lid of the container, which caused the air-tight seal to pop.  He sipped the stinging fluid gingerly.  The moment it touched the inside of his mouth it shocked his senses, but in a way that was enjoyable.

As they both got situated and the silence began to close in around them once again, Garrus felt as if he should say something.  He had observed how she had been acting strangely ever since the end of the chaos.  It was almost like she was distancing herself from everyone, especially the crew.  On an average Turian vessel soldiers usually didn't question authority's actions no matter what.  Concerns, personal or otherwise, be damned.  However, she wasn't a Turian, and this was far from any Turian ship.  "Why is it that you're down here, Commander?"

"No reason, really," she lifted her shoulders in a shrug.  "Thought I'd get away from the crowds for a bit, that's all."

"But, you seem down…"

She regarded the Turian with an interested glance.  "Do I?  Didn't know it was that noticeable."

"It is with you, Commander."

"I'll have to learn to conceal it better then."


"I should hide in my quarters more often.  Yeah… that would work."

"Don't avoid the issue."

"Alright."  A heavy sigh passed through her lips as she rested her back against the wall.  "It's just something I've come to spot after certain operations.  Kind of silly."  Her eyelids lowered, and she slightly chuckled.  "The high profile mission ends, and… everyone heads home as if they didn't even know each other."  She began to rattle off the list of the human crew of the Normandy that were either retiring or being moved to other assignments.  She eventually rambled her way to the aliens, "Tali'Zorah is leaving in a few days to finish up her Pilgrimage.  Wrex says he needs to take care of some business on the Krogan homeworld Tuchanka.  Says I'll be surprised when I see him next.  Then, Liara – mmhh, I'm not sure what she's going to do…"

"What about Alenko?"

"Rumors say the higher-ups want to reassign him."

"Are you sure?"

"Well… they'll have to go through me first."

Garrus stared at her with bewilderment.  It seemed odd to him that the splitting of a squad would affect her so much.  "I thought you would be used to that kind of thing by now, Commander."

"I am," she was quick to say.  "…in a way.  Being part of the N7 program, there were numerous times I would be placed into a random company with people that didn't even know each other to be sent out into a hellhole.  You get close under those conditions, whether you like it or not."  She paused to shift to a more comfortable position.  "They either died during the mission, or they survived.  The end was always the same, though.  Separate ways…"

In all honesty, he had never felt the way she did.  When he had left C-Sec, he hadn't exactly left anyone behind that he particularly enjoyed the company of.  Always red-tape or regulations getting in the way of things.  He had never bothered to know a person deeply—usually nothing besides their name and rank.

"What about you?" she suddenly asked, snapping his gaze straight to her.  "What are you going to do?"

The Turian blinked a few times, contemplating his answer.  He turned his head away from the woman and looked to the floor.  "I received a message from my… father…"


"He wants me back at C-Sec."


Garrus took another sip of his drink, using it as an excuse to let the silence fall between them once again.  He trusted her enough to pick up on the subtle signs that it was a tentative subject.  He didn't know what he wanted to do.  He didn't feel like trying to come up with an answer for her or anyone just yet.  Before he was even thinking of what else to discuss with the woman, for Turians were never the greatest for small-talk, she had finished the beer in her hand and had gotten another from the table.

He waited for her to be fully seated before finally saying, "May I ask you something, Commander?"

"Of course."  She took a few gulps of the beverage.

"How is it being one of the most important people in the galaxy right now?"

"Honestly?  I don't like it much…"

"But, you definitely deserve it."

"Nah," she said, waving her hand in the air.  "Any other person as… tenacious as me could have done what I did."  She began to smirk again.  "And I didn't even do it alone either."  Before he could respond, she began to take a long swig.

His mandibles began to instinctively twitch in frustration, and he could sense his grip around the container in his talons becoming tighter.  He felt the sudden urge to stand and pace in front of the woman.  He resisted it.  "Permission to speak freely, Commander?"

She chortled with amusement.  "We're not on duty right now, Vakarian.  Go ahead."

"I think you're wrong when you say anyone could have done what you did," he began more flatly then he had intended.  "No one I've met would have been able to go through a Relay with a simple Mako cruiser to land into the Citadel to stop one of the most threatening entities of the galaxy.  With all the regulations and hostilities between the different races, no one would have dared assembled a crew like yours.  You persisted even when you were bogged down by the political antics of the damn Council.  When Williams died on Virmire…" he paused as he thought about the incident, "it affected you, but you still continued on, knowing that her sacrifice would be meaningful.  You were determined to make it worthwhile.

"And… hell, you've taught me more than my father or being with C-Sec ever could have about how this screwed up galaxy works.  You have an… undying commitment that seems to flare up whenever it's needed most.  I think that's what makes you unique, Commander," he ended, turning his head to suddenly meet her unwavering gaze.

She stared at him intently, her eyes appearing thoughtful as she digested his words.  The direction of the light reflected off her green orbs, making them lightly glisten.  Her intense scrutiny made him shift uncomfortably in his place.  He wondered what she was trying to glean from him.  He didn't think he had said anything surprising enough to the woman to garner such a stare—certainly it wasn't anything that she hadn't heard before from the rest of the crew.

He was compelled to look down to his drink, clearing his throat.  "Well, uh… I was thinking that…" he searched for something proper to say.  He was beginning to miss the simplicity of command that came with Turian vessels.  As he attempted to begin a different part of their conversation anew, it shortly dawned on him that he hadn't answered the Commander's previous question.  "I was thinking that I'd… stay aboard the Normandy for a while longer… ma'am," he blurted awkwardly.

She turned away, and he observed from the corner of his eye her thumb fiddling with the rim of the bottle in her hand.  She brought her trim limbs up onto the platform to sit cross-legged.  The bangs of her chin-length dark auburn hair fell from behind her ear to partly cover her eyes.  "Thanks, Garrus…" was all she said in not much more than a whisper.

With his tension lowering, the Turian lifted his drink to his mouth.  However, before he took a sip, he softly responded, "Any time, Shepard."
Character: Enora Shepard - Soldier - Sole Survivor - Colonist
Alignment: Paragon

I aplogize for any spelling or grammar errors beforehand.

Credit for the beautiful and inspiring preview image goes to :iconarmesan:, which the full-view can be seen here: [link] Thanks for your permission to use!

This is another installment of me trying to portray Shepard as more 'human' than as an elite soldier. I wanted to flesh out the beginning of the strong bond that Garrus and her would have in the coming situations of ME2 as well. It's the budding stage of their true friendship and future relationship. I hope the effort I put into how they were addressing each other in the beginning compared to the ending is noticed by you awesome readers. Also, I'm hopeful that I was successful in portraying the characters and their personalities appropriately.

Again, I tried to envision each voice actor saying these particular lines. I struggled with Garrus' lines when it came to him speaking of the Commander's accomplishments - it was difficult to make it sound natural.

However, I can't help but admit that I'm thoroughtly pleased with how this came out, espcially the start of it. I wrote this in the middle of the night, probably around 3AM last night, and I finished it up now, which is 2AM currently. I think tiredness assists in my overall writing.

I pray that you enjoy, and thank you for reading.

-Other work-
Fidelity: [link]
Needless: [link]
Thereafter: VIEWING
The Lost: [link]
Add a Comment:
halomom86 Featured By Owner May 4, 2014
me likie!
jpgFury Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011
sweet - I love G's hessitancy here.
Tavia-chan Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011
Thank you. ^^
glintbladesong Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I really liked this. It was very very well written. I'm not one who can pick up on any grammatical error (as you well know! :) ), but in terms of the story it is spot on.

My first couple of ME stories centered on a similar theme, the person behind the all conquering hero, and it felt very satisfying to see someone else take a similar story line and expand on it in their own way.

The dialogue flowed very well and naturally between the two characters, it took no effort on my part to be able to hear them in my head speaking those lines, nothing felt out of place. Gives a level of quality to aim for in my own writing.

Thank you for writing this.
Tavia-chan Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011
Thank you for reading! I appreciate your praise, but I still have much to learn. :)

My enjoyment in writing truly comes when I'm doing dialogue, so I'm happy you think I did well. I struggle with describing a character's actions; I lack the vocab. pertaining to such things, it seems. With a simple enough setting like this short fiction, I usually do alright, but I never do action scenes justice. I picture them perfectly in my imagination. However, it's just difficult to put it to proper words sometimes. Anyway, thank you again!
Kaleesh-Miko Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Short and sweet. What a lovely read, brought a smile to my face : )
I also really enjoyed how you made the cliche "depressed Shepard" more realistic. Most of the time it gets a little carried away, but you made sense of it. Bravo! Keep up the excellent work ; )
Tavia-chan Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Thank you very much! I was glad I was successful in my efforts. I appreciate you taking the time to comment! :)
raconteurr Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I really enjoyed this piece. Extremely realistic and touching in it's own special way. Both were very in character and you did a fine job of portraying the "human behind the spectre." I will definitely be reading more of your work, =]
Tavia-chan Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Oh, thank you very much! I appreciate it. :3
UmbrellaCorpUS Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
can you link me to that picture in full size?
Tavia-chan Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Of course. The link to it is in the description. Here: [link]
UmbrellaCorpUS Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011
hey thanks
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