Series: Mass Effect 2
Characters: Directly implied Garrus/FemShep, with appearances from Mordin, Tali, Kasumi, Jacob, and Kelly
Summary: Garrus asks the crew on how to date human ladies. ;)
A/N: Thanks to jameson9101322 and silentstephi for their assistance beta reading this fanfic! I’m rather out of practice and their help was very much appreciated!
It took some time for Garrus to actually wrap his mind around the idea that Shepard had actually proposed that the two of them should blow off some steam together prior to the big Omega-4 mission. He couldn’t deny his feelings for Shepard had grown over the time spent with her. He could recall that most every mission his vigilante team on Omega had undertaken, he’d frequently ask himself ‘what would Shepard do in this situation?’
Shepard had been his mentor, his leader, his partner, and now she was going to be his lover. Not too many turian relationships began this way. Not too many turians took humans as lovers either. He’d seen his fair share of interspecies pairs, but usually they involved an asari. His parents’ generation still remembered the First Contact War between turians and humans, and distrust between the two species was still common.
Having only experienced mating rituals among his own species, Garrus admitted he’d do some research on the topic of interspecies relationships with humans. However, the thought of looking up information on the subject on the extranet terminal from a ship run by a human-centric organization scared him the most. Garrus had nightmares that the Illusive Man would personally shut the entire Normandy down if he caught wind that Shepard was bedding a turian crewmate.
So the only option was to attempt to ask questions to learn more.
Garrus’ first mistake was going to Mordin first.
“You’re an expert in xenobiology, Professor. Do you have anything on… interspecies relationships?” Garrus was already losing his nerve before finishing that sentence.
Mordin gave that creepy gleeful salarian smile of his without saying a word for a long moment.
“You and Shepard? Knew about it for a long time. Most of the crew has known for a long time. Happy to help! Can provide diagrams, vids, lotions, oils, condoms…”
Mordin pulled out a handful of small containers from a crate in the lab and dumped them in Garrus arms.
“Apply this one liberally over whole body. Smoothes hide. Reduces chafing.” The salarian tucked a large tube of ointment into Garrus’ hand.
Garrus couldn’t get out of Mordin’s lab fast enough. ‘It might make more sense to ask an actual human man’, Garrus thought as he did his best to bow out the door with enough ‘thank you’s. Garrus barely escaped, but not before Mordin snuck a condom in the pile of supplies and pamphlets nearly falling out of the turian’s arms. It apparently was a special asari-designed condom meant for turians who had interspecies partners of levo-amino acid DNA. Garrus did his best to sneak to the elevator without Kelly noticing.
‘But who to ask?’ Joker was definitely out of the question. Garrus would never hear the end of it, and the pilot would probably compensate for lack of experience with off-color quips and taunts. The whole ship would be explicitly aware of Garrus relationship with Commander Shepard.
Zaeed would definitely have the experience, but Garrus could never imagine asking the veteran mercenary for romantic advice.
Had Kaidan Alenko still been part of the crew, Garrus would have asked him. However, the human biotic had a tendency to keep to himself, and would have probably only given him indirect answers. Had Garrus been able to ask his questions of Kaidan through a vid-mail, the human would be very insulted. Shepard had recently had a rough break-up with Kaidan immediately after a stressful mission. Garrus admitting to Kaidan that he was now ‘dating’ Shepard so soon would have been a very large blow on the man’s ego, as well their friendship. Garrus wasn’t willingly going to go near that issue any time soon.
Garrus had known Tali’zora as long as he had known Kaidan and Shepard, and at least she was still part of the Normandy crew. Perhaps their familiarity would make it easier to approach the subject.
Tali was more than willing to listen to her turian crewmate’s questions. They talked in the engine room, where the Cerberus engineering crew would not be able to hear their conversation over the soft hum of the engines. They were not overpoweringly loud, but created enough white noise to make eavesdropping difficult.
“I was hoping you could help me out with my research on… interspecies dating.” Garrus found being frank with the quarian was somewhat easier than he initially thought.
“With Shepard?” Tali’s was piqued with curiosity.
“How did you find out?” Garrus was surprised.
“I’ve known Shepard as long as you have, Garrus! I noticed the way she acts around you had changed since we first started chasing down Saren. Not to mention, we had a little bit of girl-talk recently and you were mentioned.” Tali said teasingly.
“Okay, then what do you find helps set up the mood for a romantic date? I’m just looking for a woman’s perspective, of course.” Garrus wondered what kind of ‘girl talk’ Shepard had had with the quarian previously.
It was impossible to tell from her facial expressions, but Garrus could see from Tali’s body language that the question made her fidget with some minor anxiety and embarrassment.
“I’ve learned from my pilgrimage that music is a universal language. The right song could help create the perfect kind of atmosphere for your date. Though, that really depends on your tastes. I’m not sure if the same music that can incite a romantic mood for a quarian could do the same for a human or a turian.” Tali’s fingers fidgeted with each other.
Garrus recalled a time while at Flux, Shepard allowed herself a brief moment of informal dancing while still in full armor. He could exactly recall what track had been playing in the bar at the time, and wondered if Shepard would appreciate if he played that exact song again during their date. Garrus hoped it would relax some of her inhibitions while they ‘let off some steam’.
“Thanks Tali, I can think of a few good songs I could play that Shepard would like.” Garrus thanked Tali for talking with him and left the Engineering deck, heading for the elevator.
Garrus still needed to do some research from a human perspective, at least. Another possible source for advice would have to be from Jacob Taylor, one of the few human male crewmembers that Garrus knew well enough.
Jacob had been a very formal Cerberus soldier from the start with Garrus, but Garrus spent enough time helping Jacob clean weapons in the armory, and Jacob had helped Garrus learn the Normandy systems to work in the main battery. The two had gotten to know one another and got along very well after that. They both could relate about their military experience, and Jacob always enjoyed hearing Garrus’ stories about his service on the first Normandy.
Garrus felt that he could trust the man asking about romantic advice.
After sneaking back to his quarters to stash the gifts from Mordin in a crate, Garrus did his best to resume looking normal by visiting Jacob in the Armory for a friendly chat. Garrus started with some casual small talk about past girlfriends with Jacob in the armory, before he finally managed to work up the courage to ask his questions.
“What kind of gifts would you give a woman you were dating?” Garrus asked carefully.
“So you really are seeing the Commander?” Jacob was mildly surprised, but not shocked or revolted. “It depends really on what she’d like. Chocolates are old fashioned, but some women are picky about their appearance and would feel insulted. If you have the money, most women appreciate jewelry. A bottle of wine works too, if she likes drinking it that is.”
“Wine, huh.” Garrus was familiar with the human chocolate confections, but couldn’t eat them. The turian equivalent attempts were never very appealing. Regardless, it sounded like human women liked the same types of gifts that turian women enjoyed. Garrus couldn’t afford to buy any decent jewelry from the Citadel, nor did he imagine Shepard would have much use for any. Shepard had surprised him once when she had handled three shots of turian liquor in a row at the Darkstar Bar. If she could stomach that, then they could possibly share a bottle of turian wine together.
“Do you have any other, uh, romantic suggestions you can give me?” Garrus inquired further.
“Look, I’m cool with you and the Commander having a relationship, I just don’t think I’m the kind of person to be asking this stuff anyway. Women are a mystery to men, regardless of species.” Jacob was apparently done with the subject matter.
Garrus realized that Jacob might have been a bit disappointed that Shepard had never shown any romantic interest in the Cerberus Operative, and would rather consider him a trustworthy friend. However it wasn’t like Jacob was lacking in romantic prospects at the moment. It was fairly obvious that Kasumi had shown plenty of interest in the robust, dark-skinned man.
‘Perhaps I should ask Kasumi for advice’, Garrus thought. As enigmatic as Kasumi appeared to be, she was still technically human. She could at the very least, offer advice on what not to do or say to human women.
Garrus stood in the doorway of the observation deck that Kasumi had taken up residence in and waited to be invited in. She had redecorated the room with trinkets and souvenirs from her career as a master thief. She cheerfully greeted Garrus and let him in with a wave.
“Care to join me for a drink? I think I have some turian wine in my collection.” Kasumi sauntered over to her bar and started rummaging among the bottles.
“No thank you, but I may take you up on that another time.” Garrus gave her the turian equivalent of a smile. That solved the wine issue. “I came by to ask you for some advice.”
“What’s up?” Kasumi’s interest was piqued. At least, that’s what Garrus could read from her body language. With half of her face obscured by her hood, it was harder than usual for the turian to decipher the woman’s expressions sometimes.
Garrus shifted uncomfortably, unsure how to word this without offending the woman. “I was looking for some romance advice, from a human woman’s point of view.”
Garrus guessed that Kasumi’s eyes grew wider upon the realization of what exactly he was asking of her. She probably knew exactly what he was asking and who it related to.
“My first tidbit of advice,” Kasumi stepped away from the bar and approached the turian, “Is to get you something nice to wear. I really hope you’re not going up to her quarters in this filthy broken suit of armor.”
“I didn’t really think of that.” Garrus admitted.
“Do you have anything else to wear? A nice suit? Or a C-Sec uniform? Some ladies find men in uniforms rather sexy.” Kasumi smirked.
“I had to surrender my C-Sec uniform when I quit, but I do have a suit I could wear.” Garrus never really liked wearing the C-Sec formalwear—it reminded him too much of his father.
“Good! I was about to suggest I take you shopping for a new suit just for the occasion. I could get you something that would match the little black dress I gave to Shepard.” Garrus definitely noticed that Kasumi had just winked at him. It was one of those human facial expressions that always puzzled him.
“I’d offer more advice, but my tastes tend to run on the quirkier side. I imagine Shepard is a very practical woman—but what do I know? She could surprise me and be into some really kinky things.” Kasumi shrugged.
With that, Garrus felt he might have exhausted what useful advice he could get from Kasumi. He politely took his leave of the master thief, but not before picking out a nice bottle of turian wine from Kasumi’s collection to give to Shepard as a gift.
Garrus returned to his quarters once again and stashed the wine safely in the same crate he had dumped the gifts from Mordin just earlier.
Another human female Garrus could ask would possibly have been Dr. Chakwas. However, since his injury on Omega, Dr. Chakwas had taken a matronly attitude around Garrus in all his follow-up visits. She would dote on him and treat him with comforting phrases and gestures along with her topical treatments to his healing wounds. Asking Dr. Chakwas about romantic advice would be as awkward as asking his grandmother about girls.
There was one last person he could appropriately ask this kind of advice from on the Normandy crew. It was part of her job description, after all. It possibly might be the most useful advice he could get from a human, even.
Garrus sent a note to Yeoman Chambers asking her to visit him in the Main Battery when she wasn’t too busy. Which, apparently was immediately, as within minutes of sending the message, she had popped her head through the doorway of the Main Battery.
“You wanted to see me?” Chambers sounded eager as always when performing her duties.
Garrus had rehearsed his questions in his head from the moment he had sent the message to Chambers, but as soon as she arrived, he had entirely forgotten his carefully scripted thoughts.
“Have you studied anything on turian-human relations?” Garrus managed to ask after searching his brain for thoughts he had just lost a moment ago.
“Yes. I have researched several case studies on various interspecies relationship pairings, as well as some unorthodox sources.” Kelly somehow managed to make that sound less dirty than Garrus knew it really was.
“I should probably be more specific. Are there any social taboos I should avoid? Or gestures I should do to make myself more appealing to Shepard?” Garrus was quite certain Kelly knew most every possible detail to know about his relationship with the Commander.
“Ladies always appreciate it when you earnestly compliment them on their features. For instance, you could compliment her on her hair.” Chambers passed a hand over her own bright orange bobbed hair. Hair was such a mystery to Garrus. It was so variable in humans, he had noticed. Other species’ cranium features had some variety, but not as malleable as the way humans could change their hair. It wasn’t like a turian female could bend her fringes in what humans called a ‘braid’.
“What matters most is being true to who you are.” Chambers drew closer to Garrus, and placed a hand on his arm. She tried to match his gaze with a deep, understanding look. “That’s what attracted Shepard to you in the first place. She wouldn’t want you any other way than who you are.”
A long, awkward, uncomfortable pause passed between the two, as Garrus looked at where Chambers’ hand was on his arm, creeping towards his talons.
Garrus rumbled in his throat in a turian gesture to break the silence, and took a step away from the human. “Miss Chambers, I believe this is getting inappropriate.”
“Oh! I’m sorry! I was only hoping to ease the tension. But you’re right! I shouldn’t be overstepping your boundaries like this.” Chambers flustered as she attempted to resume her professional nature.
“If you have any more questions, feel free to send me a message. I’d be happy to help you with anything.” Garrus had the feeling that Miss Chambers was interested in helping him with more than simple advice. He made a mental note that he’d much rather approach Mordin again on the subject. At least the salarian wouldn’t attempt to insinuate a threesome.
Garrus watched as Chambers retreated from the Main Battery and back to her station on the CIC. He felt he had exhausted all relevant sources of personal advice onboard the Normandy by now. Perhaps he could look into some of those guides Mordin had provided him with. Garrus decided he’d rather procrastinate than research by contacting his sister for a little extranet chat to get his mind off Shepard for a short time. He figured catching up on the news from his family back home might be a nice diversion before his big date with Shepard.
Just before opening the connection with his sister, he disabled video feed. ‘Best not worry them about my problems.’ Garrus thought.