Garrus sits at the Silver Coast Casino bar, the one on the upper level near the dance floor with the bartender that makes the best sandstorm cocktail on the Citadel (just enough hostra, mixed dirty and topped with a splash of orra for color), and wonders how in the hell he missed all the signs.
Is it a human thing? Well, of course it’s a human thing, but. Garrus likes to think he’s picked up on a few ticks and tells in his time on the Normandy. Humans are a little quirky, but they aren’t that complicated.
And even if there was some giant clue he’d blundered right on past, how the hell had his closest friend failed to mention it? It’s not like they’d gone on a suicide mission together or anything. It’s not like there’d been plenty of opportunity while Garrus had rambled on and on about reach and flexibility to speak up. Hey, Garrus. Funny story. Remember our biotic lieutenant on the SR-1, the one who chokes on his own integrity while simultaneously robbing everyone blind at the poker table? The one whose uniform is so starched I don’t know how he can sit down half the time but when I do something really stupid like walk into Helena Blake’s base and tell her to fuck off when she’s surrounded by mercs, he picks up the one who’s about to cleave my head open and has the grace not to rub my face in it later? I think I’m a little in love with him. Crazy, huh?
Garrus kicks back a little more of his drink, already contemplating another. Shepard and Alenko sit at a table next to the bar, shoulders hunched, foreheads close but not quite touching, though their personal spaces intersect in ways that need no translation. The way their hands brush every time one of them reaches for a drink– casually but never accidentally – the way their knees knock whenever one of them shifts in their seat – far more often than is probably necessary – and the accompanying smile that lifts years off Shepard’s face. In fact it’s the smile that gets Garrus most. He hadn’t realized just how tired, just how weary Shepard’s grown over the years until that smile showed up.
Turns out Apollo’s serves something a little better than just a good steak sandwich.
Okay, that’s a bad joke even for him.
Shepard laughs, head tilted back, the pure sound of it carrying over the din. For just a moment his arm threads behind Alenko’s lower back in a rare, open display of affection, and the Major’s eyes dart to him with a look that transcends body architecture and cultural disparity.
Some things are just universal.
Regardless of whether Garrus saw it before, there’s no mistaking it now. All he’s still trying to sort out is how two people go from nearly killing each other to being the only thing holding the other’s head above water. That one’s a little harder to wrap his head around. He wonders if either of them have it figured out, or if it even crosses their minds in the first place. Better not to ask. Better just to let this one go for as long as it can. Spirits know the last thing Shepard needs is something else to go wrong.
Alenko ducks his head, a slow smile spreading across his face as Shepard says something only he can hear.
This one’s not going wrong. Not any time soon. It’s just too bad it didn’t come together sooner. It might have saved everyone a little grief. Though maybe, these things only come around in their own time. Don’t line up your shot right and you not only miss the target but drive him into cover, and more often than not you never get another chance.
Ok. He’ll admit it. He’s a little envious.
“We can’t take them anywhere anymore, can we?” a voice says. Garrus snickers in amusement, pushing the empty chair next to him out with a foot and sliding over a glass of Blue Silenian he’s got ready and waiting, just the way Tali likes it.
“Seems that way. The best part is how discreet they think they’re being.”
She takes a seat with a grateful sigh, humming with delight at the sight of the drink. “You know me too well, Vakarian. My feet hurt. My back is killing me. I love the Normandy, but overhauling that drive core is a bigger chore than realigning the thruster manifold of a first generation Goval class frigate. I’ve been dreaming about this drink all day.”
“Even comes complete with its own emergency induction port.”
Tali chuckles. From his table Shepard catches Garrus’ eye, grins, and raises his glass. Garrus does the same.
“How crazy is it that in the middle of all this insanity, those two find each other,” he says. “What are the odds?”
“About the same as killing a reaper with a thresher maw, making peace with the geth, finding reaperized rachni and Cerberus attempting a takeover of the Citadel?”
Garrus ponders this, stirring his own drink with his own emergency induction port. “So what you’re saying is the odds are actually a lot better than I give them credit for?”
She clinks her glass against his. “The Normandy exists in its own space time continuum, Garrus. We make our own odds. Cheers.”
Garrus doesn’t see it, but from his seat beside Alenko, Shepard is still grinning.
Some things are just universal.