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Home For Christmas

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"Are you dressed yet?"

"I'm coming!" Shepard yells down the hall when for the fifth time she's called. "Just give me a second, okay?!"

Her stomach feels full of lead, or butterflies, or maybe lead butterflies. It's changing pretty frequently now. But she always has prided herself on keeping level headed in situations where other people might not be, and so even with the strange lead-butterflies continuing to remind her of her plight she manages to get dressed and march down the hallway of her apartment appearing confident.

She is met by laughter, and Kasumi, with the hood of her sweatshirt pulled over her eyes dares to point. "Your shirts on backwards, genuis."

Blood rushes to Shepard's face. With a quick look down she confirms that her friend isn't messing with her. "Thanks. Everything else looking good?"

Tali pulls her feet under her and adjusts her hair from where it had began to fall into her eyes, and gives Kasumi a little push. "Everything looks great, Shepard. Why worry so much about how you look, though. I mean I don't think your mom cares-"

That reminded her that she hadn't exactly been forthcoming about her mother's invitation to come back to her hometown for the holidays to her friends. "Well, it's not going to just be my mom. Anderson and Hackett are going to be there," She flinches. "And my dad."

"Oh," comes the flat response in in unison. And then Kasumi gave her a half smile. "Hey, it could be worse. You could've told them you have a boyfriend or something."

Shepard's face turned an even darker red when reminded of the other detail she'd neglected to mention. She'd intended to tell her mother that her and her love interest had broken up recently when she got there (after all, her mother wasn't in her life, she couldn't call out the lie) but it wasn't going to be an easy thing to face by any means.

"Oh," says Kasumi again just as dryly. "You did do that, didn't you." It's not a question.

Shepard nods. "I did do that. No big deal, though, it's a week. Just a week. I can do that alone."

Neither Kasumi nor Tali look especially convinced, but it's not like she an do anything about her lie now. She had like an hour before she to be at the airport, after all. And then it was just quiet for a moment, no sound at all except Kasumi digging through her hoodie pocket.

"You're not going alone," she says, holding up her phone with a cheeky grin and pulling her hood off. Shepard happens to not like where this is going, and she shakes her head. There's no use arguing with Kasumi Goto though, it's best to just hope that it doesn't turn into anything. "You get to the airport, I'll call in a few favors and get you a boyfriend. And then I'll get him a plane ticket."

Something tells her that she doesnt want to know how she intends to do any of that, but arguing was useless. She doesn't want to have to worry about someone else, but...this facade would at least get her mom to lay off her for a while- she can only hope Kasumi can call in favors to a decent guy.

It's only a week though, right? She can survive a week of anything, even in front of the brass and her damned father.

At least, she hopes she can.

Chapter Text

Toothbrush, meds, good camera, clothes, phone...did I leave anything?

Being that this is the fifth time she's run over this list in her head, she's pretty sure she has everything. It's not much, but the flight from London to Utah is an incredibly long ordeal, and she really doesn't want to have to deal with not having something she needs.

Well, maybe it isn't really that. Maybe it's more of the fact that she needs something to busy herself with. Instead of thinking about this trip and all the ways it could go wrong.

Wait.

Wait....She'd forgotten to call someone to tell them she wouldn't be around this week, hadn't she? But who was it?

Someone important, Shepard is certain but all these lists and this loud flight and the stress is finally getting through her usual level-headedness.

Garrus. Oh shit, she'd forgotten to tell her best friend she was leaving. What sort of person does that make her?! What sort of friend?! The bad kind, she's sure. She's quick to send a text. It's not as good as a call, or even remembering to give him his present before she left, but it'll have to do.

JShep: uh ha...sorry forgot to tell u before but I'm gonna be out of town for a while...like till after christmas but I'll call u??

She doesn't get a reply, so she goes over the list in her head again, and again and again. And then she feels the seat beside her sink down a little and hears a soft, familiar sigh. What...?

Her brain doesn't register why he's here, but she turns to face him, and yeah. That's Garrus. She keeps staring, of course because she doesn't know when to quit.

"Hey," he gives a small, awkward wave. "I thought I was going to be late, since uhh...I didn't get a lot of notice for this little trip."

Wait. Kasumi called him in? But her mom knows garrus, she'd know they weren't really dating. And can she pretend to date her best friend for a week?

Shepard repeats her new mantra in her head before even talking to him. You can survive a week of anything. It's just a week. "Kasumi talked to you? sorry, I didn't know she'd call you. Hell, I didn't want her to call anyone, but this is..." She considered garrus for a moment. "Almost the best possible outcome."

His mandibles open a little and drop as far as they can manage, and he brings a hand to his chest. That is definitely making fun of her scandalized look. "Almost? I'm hurt, Shepard I thought we were friends."

More than friends, really. Not like that, of course - this is all just fake, but Shepard had never really had any friends that came close to what Garrus is to her. Sometimes he just knows what to do for her when even she doesn't know what she needs.

"I just meant for playing up to my parents. My dad...Well, I'm sure you know how my dad feels about any species that isn't human," she offers a slight eyeroll.

"Well, your mother already loves me so that's a plus," he hums as if thinking about it deeply, but still offers an  over the top grin. She manages to chuckle, and just having him around makes her shoulders feel a little less tense.

Honestly, Shepards feeling pretty good about this all of the sudden. They both laugh for a few minutes before settling in and watching the plane take off. The sky isn't at all the same thing as the stars she'd loved to see when she was younger, and her mother would take her on the ship she was currently serving on in the Alliance...She'd even been to the Citadel once, years after that, before unfortunate circumstances had cut Shepard's own military career short and she was stuck on earth.

"So uh..." Garrus' warm voice suddenly interrupts her thoughts. "I don't suppose we want to talk about this, so we aren't caught up in any lies?"

Shepard nods firmly. "Seems like a good idea. I think we already know each other well enough to fake something at least."

He laughs again, even if she isn't entirely sure why. "Right, right. How long have we supposedly been at it?"

She sputters a little. "Since May. Been at it? That sounds dirty."

"Well, I...uh..." His eyes widen a little bit and his hands move to wring together nervously.

"Such a prude," she sighs and shakes her head, trying to hide a smile. He had a mental block when it came to her friendly flirting, sometimes but that was fine. She was mostly just used to that brand of back and forth from talking to Kasumi and Vega. "If anyone asks how we met, just tell them the real story. It's not worth making it more complicated than it needs to be, right?"

He offers a small tilt of his head in lieu of a nod. It's means the same thing, and although his slightly different body language had taken some getting used to, she can say with a certain degree of confidence that she's better at reading Turians than most of her species.

"And if they ask why we started daring? "

Shepard wiggled her eyebrows. "Well, you know what Tali's always saying, right? There's no Shepard without Vakarian." And there isn't, and that often hits her hard, like it does now. No Shepard without Vakarian

And they sit there for a minute and smile stupidly at each other, before she realizes what they're doing and quickly breaks her eye contact. Nope. No. Her friendship with him is not taking a backseat to this...fake relationship, damn it. Not happening.

But she will admit that she doesn't feel as sick to her stomach as she did before, and better yet she isn't feeling the need to check her carry-on again.

It's a long flight of doing nothing. As expected, of course but they don't even talk as much as she might be guessed. Between naps, she does manage to ask him why he had let Kasumi bully him into doing this.

He holds up his hands defensively. "No bullying involved. You're my best friend, Shepard and as soon as I heard you needed something I was on it. You do a lot for me, and I wanted to do something in return...Plus, your mom makes the best dextro food whenever I come over."

She rolls her eyes again at the last part. "That's the only thing she can cook.  And you say that like I'm actually a decent friend. I ate everything in your fridge that wouldn't kill me last week. I almost set Thane's son on fire...do I need to keep going with the bad friend examples?"

He gives a tilt again, to the opposite side. "That's sufficient, thank you. You're just humble, that's all."

Her, humble? Yeah right. She just snorts and goes back to sleep.

The still half-asleep Garrus and Shepard are both equally surprised to see Shepard Sr. at the airport waiting for them. Shepard puts on a brave smile despite her heart pounding and shaking her entire body and runs over to hug her mom. How long has it been? A year, almost two, not counting Vidcalls. Hannah is thankfully just as happy to see her daughter.

"Jane!" She squeaks. " I'm so happy you're here! And is that...Is that Garrus Vakarian back there? Hi, Garrus! Jane, is that why you've been avoiding telling me about your boyfriend?"

Shepard chokes back a laugh. Yep, definitely, that's why. "I just...he gets nervous when we talk about that stuff, you know how he is. It's good to see you too, mom."

Garrus gives a small wave from a yard or so behind them. "Hi, Hannah. Good to see you again, it's been too long. How'd the tour go? I hear Oraka works his people hard, but this whole turian-human ship thing is a good idea."

Now, that was new. She'd known that her mom was being deployed on something odd, but she hadn't gotten any more details about it other than that it was new. But Garrus seemed to know plenty. Seems like she'd have to drill her mother about that later.

Especially with the uncomfortable glaring said relative was now doing at anywhere but her face. "I think he's alright with me," she chucked nervously. " Kindred spirits you know? He came out of retirement to run that ship, from straight after the war...but he's still willing to give us a chance, after fighting is is all he knows...But I'm sure you have better things to think about than human-turian politics. "

"I'd still love to hear your opinions," he hums, "But between us we've got kind of a lot of luggage to grab."

It's weird to compare her mom's little two story farmhouse to the prefab apartment she lives in, or that most of London is made out of. It's an entirely different brand of living, that's for sure. Even looking at the farmhouse from the outside is making her feel kind of warm and fuzzy insude, like it's her home, too.

Shepard gets out and starts to open up the trunk, while casting a quick glance up at the sky again before Garrus stops her, and awkwardly a hand around her waist (because her mother's watching, she reminds herself as an entirely different warm feeling starts rushing towards her face.) "I'll get it, you go on and get inside."

Its a little harder to smile at him than it usually is. "Okay, umm...Are you sure?"

He's already balancing two suitcases in his gangly arms and a smaller backpack. "I've got this."

Her mother pushes open the door into the parlor area. Well, it's a living room, really but her mother thinks it's fancy to have a house with something called a 'parlor' in it, whether it is one of not. The first thing that catches her eye is Hackett and Anderson at the coffee table, playing cards.

That doesn't exactly surprise her, but sometimes it's pretty funny that her mom has an N7 and an admiral playing cards at her coffee table. She offers both of them a small wave, returned before going back to their game.

"Shepard," says Anderson, laying a few card's down on the table. "It's good to see you, been too long."

"Yes it has," she grins. "Everything good on the intergalactic front?"

Hackett chuckles at that, but doesn't offer any further comment. Anderson gives a stern nod, and she can see his own smile from her position by the door. "Sure is. Word is that we might have a Spectre soon. Too bad you're not still out there, kid. We could use a Spectre like you."

It isn't meant as a jab at her. Anderson's basically family, and he always means well but it still manages to hit her hard. She'd still be out there if Azuke hadn't happened. It was the definite end of any career she might've had, though.

"Yeah, but whoever you do get isn't gonna have the attutide, so I guess that's a plus. besides, don't you think all that power would go to my head?" Shepard taps her forehead for emphasis, before hearing the door start to open behind her and diving out of the way of a figure obscured by the bags he's carrying.

"Wide load," she jokes and pulls two off of the top of his pile, and turns to her mother before Garrus can argue. "Upstairs bedroom?" she asks. Usually that's hers. Not like she's been around to use it a lot.

He mother nods. "Yep. Need me to grab the turian pillows from the basement?"

"That would be great," says the muffled voice behind the bags.

And of course with the word 'Turian', both Anderson and Hackett lean to try to get a better look at the new entry, but fail. There's no further attempts to look, which is good. At least she knows they won't take it bad. Not as bad as her dad will, at least. Speaking of that half of her parents, better get that mess over with sooner than later. "Where's dad?" She asks.

Garrus has disappeared up the stairs, but that's fine. She'll just give her dad a warning first. "Hey, hope you aren't too mad, but uh...humans? Not superior enough for me to choose one over a turian I guess." Actually, thinking about it, it might be kind of fun to shock him. A bad idea, though.

"At the store," her mother says and the look on her face says he's not my picking up groceries that she's forgotten. "He'll be back in a few minutes or so - oh. I guess I ought to ask him to grab Garrus something to eat, huh."

"No," she says and she's not even sure why. "Don't worry about it, we'll grab something for him after we settle in and I can talk to dad."

Her mothers almost upset expression solidifies into an exasperated one. "You don't have to worry about-"

"I know I don't," says Shepard firmly. "And in case you haven't noticed, I've never given a lot of thought about what he wanted. But I don't want him to be too suprised, and I honestly don't want to take any more shit about my decisions than I have to. "

"Alright," says her mother, and then she grumbles. "I don't give it much thought either. Just didn't want you to think you had to have his approval. For the record, I'm really, really happy it's Garrus."

She gives a small, secret smile. "So am I, mom." Best possible outcome, she decides. It is the best possible outcome. "I'm heading upstairs for a second to throw some stuff where it needs to go."

Shepard flees the scene, taking the stairs two at a time like an overeager child. The tension leaks out of her shoulders like someone's pulled a plug as soon as the bedroom door shuts behind her.

Suitcases still sit by the door, not unpacked yet. Garrus stands nearby and seems to just be staring into empty space. She reaches forward to snap a few inches in front of his face. "Hey, Destiny Ascension to Vakarian. You okay?"

His eyes come back into focus. "Uh, yeah. It's just...There's only one bed...I don't want this to be akward."

"Pfft, you literally signed up for awkward. Speaking of which, I forgot to talk to you about some things."

Yes, that is her deflecting yet another problem that needs to be addressed that she doesn't want to think about right now. Fair? Maybe not. " What sort of things?" he asks, sounding skeptical and rightfully so.

"Like uh...Kissing things."

His mandibles flare out before quickly drawing in tightly to the sides of his face. "Okay. I uh...don't know much about that, but I guess I see enough of it in movies that I could try. How often do you plan to be kissing me?"

What a question to hear out of his mouth...she doesn't know how to answer that. "I dunno. It's kind of a more spontaneous thing than that."

"If you kiss me out of nowhere, " Garrus replies dryly, nearly looking amused. "I might have a heart attack."

"Fair. But I don't know, enough to convince everyone. Wait...how do turians kiss? "

That sounded like a stupid question, and maybe something she should have looked up instead of straight up asking. At least he's pretty much used to her asking overly personal questions on a fairly regular basis.

And he laughs at her. "We don't. There's lots of other ways to show affection, you know. Mostly we just use words. But okay, I could try kissing you, if we needed to."

Ugh, that made it.sound like such a chore. Also, the whole no kissing thing was news to Shepard. Downstairs the door opens and closes again. She panics. "Can you stay up here for a minuite? Sounds like dad's home, and I uh...I got to talk to him before he sees you."

He nods. "I'll hold down the fort. And start throwing clothes in a dresser or something, that seems helpful."

If she wasn't stressed again, she might've managed a chuckle.

As expected, her father is downstairs and hauling in bags of groceries. And of course, he's smoking inside the house which would make her mother slap him if she were anywhere in sight.

The situation so her father is definitely an unconventional one, but Jane can't say that she's ever been dissatisfied with it. He was really only around occasionally, and even though Hannah likes him well enough, they differed in opinions enough that it would be a constant problem if they were together-together. Coming over on some occasions and holidays and birthdays is all he'd ever managed (although not for a lack of trying to be involved) but it's always been enough.

Other than that he likes her mother a great deal, he is her biological father, likes smoking a little more than that, and he's ridiculously rich, Shepard has to admit that she doesn't know all that much about Jack Harper.

And she hadn't ever gotten any evidence to prove it, but she wouldn't be surprised if he worked for Cerberus or Terra Firma.

"So, which one said something you didn't like that sparked into an argument?" She asks him. "If I had any spare credits on me, I'd guess it was Mom."

He offers a shrug. "She thought it was best I should leave before it escalated. Probably for the best but I can't say that I wouldn't have enjoyed a little longer to debate the matter."

"Hmm, " she hums. "You gonna need to go back to the store After I tell you who I brought with me?"

He raises an eyebrow at that, over a cybernetic blue eye. "Well, you're going to have to be honest with me even if I do. As long as you root for me when Anderson and I inevitably end up in a fist fight. "

Was that...was that a joke? "No promises, dad. I guess it depends how you manage to take the news that I'm dating a turian."

She's answered helpfully by him taking a long, slow drag. the smell of cigarettes smoke is something she uniquely associates with her father, since he's the only one who still smokes anything that doesn't come out of a fabricator.

"Really? How does your mother feel about that? As I recall she was stationed on Shanxi for quite a while." Of course he'd bring up the First Contact War.

"She loves him, just as much as I do." Maybe...maybe at this point it's kind of about pissing him off. So she takes a couple of breaths and puts on her commanding N7 voice. "I don't want you to be a douche to him, Harper. I mean that." Garrus doesn't deserve that and she wouldn't wish the wrath of her father on anyone.

He doesn't laugh at her, at least. He probably should at that. she'd laugh at him if she had been the one hearing it. Instead he just sets down a bag of groceries on the counter, and she follows him as he giwe back and forth, putting things away.

Huh. He seems to know where everything goes.

"Well?"

"...Well what?"

"What's his name, how old is he? What's the damned man like?"

Alright, maybe he isn't hung up on the turian thing. It's maybe he's just trying to support her despite his personal beliefs, which is a laughable suggestion. "His name is Garrus, he's two years older than me, and he used To work in C-SEC, but he didn't like it much. We met five years ago, not long after I moved to Earth. You gonna try to play nice?"

He glares at her through the corner of his eye and takes another drag. "I don't like to play favorites, of course. But you happen to be my favorite daughter. So sure, despite my feelings on the species of the galaxy and the way they treat us, I'll leave my 'prejudice' at the door."

 "Thanks," she manages a sigh. "You want to meet him?" and then they could quickly escape the fallout of anything else under the pretense of running to the store for dextro food.

"Sure," he says, but ultimately he looks unimpressed. 

 She almost just yells, 'Vakarian' towards the stairs before she thinks better if it. "Garrus, sweetheart could you come down here?" She doesn't hear anything in return, but he appears at the top of  stairs quickly, sees her father and comes straight down, and offers a hand for him to shake.

They're...they're shaking hands. Garrus Vakarian and Jack Harper. This is one of the weirdest days of Shepard's life, and considering her friend group, that is an accomplishment. "Good to meet you," says her father. "I'll admit that I haven't heard much about you, but that's mostly my own fault. If you managed to get Jane to like you, though I'll count you as a decent uh...person."

 "Likewise. Uh, about it being good to meet you, of course. I've actually heard quite a bit about you, from both your daughter and Hannah. It's good to get to finally meet you."

Jack gives another solemn nod and makes some excuse that he'd better let her mother know he was back. Once they're alone again, Shepard just shrugs. "He hasn't brought up the First Contact War or the STG yet. Just don't expect him to get any more friendly than that. I mean, he's a businessman about all else, but that doesn't mean much when he's on vacation."

 

One thing is pretty constant, and that is that no Shepard woman can cook. Maybe that's a good thing that they have people over, incredibly eager to do it so that they don't. 

Hackett and Anderson left almost as soon as Garrus and Jane had gotten back from the store. Tensions remain high between both of them and her father, but they'll be back either tomorrow or later this week, despite that.  So now it's Just the two Shepard ladies, Jack and Garrus.

Her mother has poured three glasses of wine and one of some unidentifiable blue liquid for Garrus,and now sits down at the Table with Jane, as they talk and watch the other two cool I'm silence. "Alright," says hannah, swirling the glass. "Spill it, what finally got you two to realize the weird romantic undertone in your relationship."

 Shepard raises an eyebrow. "What is that supposed to mean?" No, really. What is that supposed to mean?

"I've had best frIends before and you two were a lot closer than that. Still are, of course but you get what I mean. He obviously liked you for a long time before you two for together. And it was pretty obvious that you felt something close to the same."

She doesn't even know what to say to that. Garrus doesn't like her in that way...and despite some weird feelings earlier, she doesn't like him like that either. But she's got to come up with something to tell her mom, right? She's glanced briefly across the room and into the kitchen where he'a leaning over the counter, chopping up some weird vegetable that her body couldn't process. "I guess neither of us really realized until we just tried dating once, you know?"

Her mother follows her gaze and nods. "Yeah. I think I do. I haven't been in a situation like that, but I guess the same can be said for a lot of things you've done. Have you...have you given that offer I sent you any more thought? I know it would take you away from him, at least for a while-"

 Oh...Oh. That's what this was about. "Yeah. Yeah, I have and I'm still not sure, but I'll have an answer for you by Friday. Promise."

 "Okay," she says and doesn't push it anymore, which is good.

 "Dinner's nearly ready," chimes in a duel-toned voice from the kitchen. "Well, yours is. Mine's not." Shepard laughs again. This seems like a good time to kiss him affectionately. All for show, of course, but a damned good show.

 

Oh yeah, there was the problem she had wanted to think about. And of course Garrus without a shirt. She sees that sometimes anyways, when they work out together, but just looking sort of always just takes her breath away.

Anyways, enough thinking about the way his plates shift when he breaths, and more thinking about what the hell they're gonna do about the bed. "Hand me my pillow, I'll take the floor." 

 "Hey, I dragged you into this mess, only fair you get the comfy spot," she argues, not quite using her N7 voice but not messing around either. It's plenty clear that she isn't giving a request.

Normally he wouldn't argue, Unless it was something he felt was important. "Nope. We can switch off tomorrow, hand me my pillow, Shepard."

 "Screw you, Vakarian" She throws him the pillow. If he tried to get away with not switching tomorrow she was going to have at him.

 Garrus catches it with ease. "Can't," he shoots back. "This is pretend remember? Maybe if you ask nicely though I'll-" he's cut off by something else hitting him. "Hey, not fair! I can't just pull off a limb to throw at you. Actually, yes fair. I'm keeping this. Going to put it on a plaque above my fireplace."  

He waves the bottom half of her left leg at her and she snorts. "You'll let me use it though sometimes, right? " he shrugs. "Oh, come on. That's just rude."

Azuke left her with plenty of scars, true. She'll never have the career she'd grown up dreaming about, or the life her mother had lived. But...sometimes she can't bring herself to care about those things anymore. Like when she imagines finding something else that she loved to do (although nothing had had turned up yet) but mostly when she thought about get friends. She can imagine a life near all of them, but especially the kinds suave, nervous, sweet turian a few feet away.

Chapter Text

"What human foolishness are we partaking in now?" 

 Although Javik sounds deeply annoyed by this turn of events, it is easily betrayed that he isn't to Liara by the way he leans over her shoulder to get a better look at the bowl on the table. 

Liara smiles. "Actually, this is mostly just a Shepard thing, as far as I am aware, but I'm not really versed in human holiday traditions. We're making cookies. Or well....I'm trying to."

He gives her a glare she can feel, even if she can't see it. "You don't know what you're doing, do you?"

 Liara turns aroud, back still to the counter, and smiles. "No clue. This recipe is surprisingly unspecific. But... Maybe I shouldn't have used Shepard's recipe." 

One of his hands move to rest at her hip, and the other on her shoulder. A deep hum rumbles through him, and her attention is suddenly very far away from her poor attempt at cooking. "Perhaps I could help you come up with something more productive to do..."

Liara manages to cut off the undignified noise she's making, but it's not of any use when his hands start to go other places. Suddenly she's up on the counter, and her hands fly to the sides of his head, and his upper eyes flutter towards her movement. Before she is able to continue, the phone starts ringing.

Javik groans and rolls both sets of eyes. For a moment, she just sits there, dumbfounded until Javik steps aside, and growls. "Go get it. I'll look at your recipe."

She passed back into the living area, and looked at the ID on the vidcall. "Hello! How are you this morning, Shepard?"

 Shepard gives a small shrug as she comes into view on the static-filled holo. "Good, I think. Are you busy, or can I sit and talk to you for a minute?"

 "Sure. But oh, aren't you busy with your family?"

She shakes her head. "They're still asleep, I think." She tilts the camera down a bit to reveal another figure sleeping in the floor. " And look who I've got with me - but I'm sure that news has already spread around, hasn't it?"

It had, which was not suprising, being that Kasumi and Tali  were the ones at fault for it. She nods slightly. "Yes. But is...is he sleeping on the floor?"

"We're trading off tonight," she answers quickly. "I would've been fine to let him have the bed but he was pretty clear that he wasn't gonna take the offer. I hope it wasn't because of my leg."

"Has that ever stopped him from doing anything before?" She shakes her her head. "Then I'm sure it wasn't because of that. Is everything going alright so far?"

Shepard shrugs again. "Better than I thought, definitely not perfect. But I was calling you about something my mom said, actually. Does...does Garrus and I's friendship have weird romantic undertones? "

Liara laughs a little. What a question! "Why do you ask?"

Shepard appears a bit uneasy, even through the grainy vidcall. "Just...Just something my mom said. It might just be her, though. I didn't think..."

Well, there was occasionally a difference between things you should say to your friend and the truth. And if there was occasional noticed heated glances between Shepard and Garrus while the other wasn't looking, should Liara intervene? She thinks about it for another minute. 

 "You two are certainly...close. What do you think? I can't say I've noticed any...Strange undertones. Do you like him?"

 "Of course I fucking like him!" Shepard raises her voice before taking another sharp glance in the direction of the turian sleeping on the floor. She continues by violently yell-whispering. "We're best friends. I like you too. Hell, I like Zaeed but I'm not going to marry him. I don't...I don't think I love him, but I hadn't really thought about it until I had to think about it like that!"

Liara nods carefully. "Now might be a good time to start thinking about it, then so that things don't have to be complicated later."

 "I..." Shepard pauses. "I guess you're right. I don't want things to be complicated, but I guess now that I've kissed him I'd better work this out. It's just that his friendship is important to me, and I don't want to ruin it over stupid feelings."

 She somehow doubts their friendship would be ruined if one of them had to confront the...what was it again? Oh yes. 'Weird romantic undertones' in their friendship. Liara was just giving Shepard a small push in the right direction. "Understandable. And lucky for you you have got until you get home to figure it out."

 "I guess. I'd better let you go and maybe start making breakfast."

She smiles at her friend. "Alright, just remember the toaster can only be set so high, remeber?" Shepard throws her a rude human gesture and cuts the vidcall. Liara is still smiling a little when she walks back into the kitchen. remember

 

Shepard stretches, and takes another glance at the table. "I can't believe you got up before me," she huffs. "You're on a vacation, lighten up a little, Mr. I'm Obsessed With Whatever It Is That I Do."

"I'm punctual," he corrects, rolling his eyes at the datapad in his hand. "Something that neither you or your mother are, unfortunately." She takes another bite out of the eggs she'd been happy to get up to, and snorts at him. "Have you heard of the Normandy?"

"Nope," she says. "Haven't touched an Alliance ship in three-ish years and even then I wasn't working for them. And I try to mostly stay away from the news reports about any of it for obvious reasons."

Jack raises his mug slightly as if toasting the idea that she had nothing to do with the Aliance these days. He would, of course. "You wouldn't have anyways, it's an experimental ship. Well, unless your mother happened to mention it."

Jane lets out a very long sigh and nearly facepalms. "No, but Garrus seemed to know plenty. Wonder if mom told him or what, since I doubt the Hierarchy would be any more lenient then the Alliance in information. "

 "You're right about that. I may have looked at a few of your mother's files to determine where she was serving and used my sources to go from there."

"Awh," she cuts in. "I knew you cared about her."

That earns her a scowl from the opposite side of the kitchen table, and she ducks her head and shoves her mouth full of food in a futile attempt to avoid it. Of course, he's still scowling, so it hadn't worked, but she considers it a valiant effort. "So, you going to tell me about this Normandy, or am I just going to have to guess and hope one of you eventually decides to clue me in? "

 "It's been designed by both the Turian Military and Alliance for the supposed -"

 "Someone's been snooping," chimes in her mother from the end of the still, dark downstairs hallway. Hannah has her glasses on, and even though she wears contacts half the time Jane can't figure out how they fit when her glasses are so ridiculously thick. Science, she supposes and doesn't wrack her brain any further about it, because she quickly moving to cover her eyes when Hannah leans down to kiss Jack. 

"Disgusting," she says, over exaggerating the whine in her voice. But really, she's glad her mother is close with him. That only could be a good thing, right? For both of them?

Her mother laughs. "Hey, no one complained when you were kissing Garrus last night. Speaking of which, where is he?"

 "Even less of an early riser than me or you. Hey, speaking of Garrus, mom do you know if there's anything good in town to do?"

She shrugs. "There's a few movies showing. Or ice-skating, but uh..." Her face twists into a slight grimmace. "You know the turian saying about anything water related. He might not be too keen on that. "

Oh yeah, she knew the saying. Lots of drowning and so on, and so forth. To be fair, she wasn't a huge fan of ice skating either. "I'll bring it up when he wakes up, but you're probably right. Breakfast?"

"I'd love some, " Hannah hums. She doesn't end up saying anything else about the Normandy or about Jack's 'snooping' over breakfast, thankfully, because she honestly can already see exactly where that conversation would head, and it's nowhere near anything pleasant. 

 

After she finishes breakfast at goes back upstairs to see Garrus struggling with something. "Uh..."  He says slowly, face still resting on the special turian pillow that her mother had thrown a pillowcase over. "This is really embarrasing."

Shepard honestly can't even see what's wrong, other than that he's still laying on the floor and his eyes are quickly darting to her and then to anywhere but her, back and forth and back and forth. "Uh...what? What's up?"

"My fringe is stuck in the pillow case," he whispers. If he were able, she's certain he'd be blushing a lot. "And I can't get it out...."

What a dork. What a lovable, perfect dork. Maybe they need to have a sleepover sometime after this. You know, a friendly, platonic sleepover. Except, who is she kidding, that's not really what she wants, is it?

Get it together, Shepard!

"I got you," she says and kneels down beside his  spot on the ground. His reaction is nearly as funny as the situation itself. Slowly shes able to remove him from the poor pillowcase. "I assume that that isn't a nightly occurance? I don't want to have to end up paying for new pillow cases."

 Garrus sits up and rolls his eyes at her, which is something she sometimes regrets teaching him. "Nope, I think that's probably the only time that happened, thank you for your concern. I'll just be forgetting that it ever happened."

Jane is biting back giggles. "Well, no more using them, okay? How long have you been stuck?"

 "Any longer and I would've called you," he assures her, stumbling to his feet. "And trust me, I've learned my lesson. That didn't happen when I stole Vega's pillow last week."

She chooses not to comment on that small bit of information and  instead flops over into his spot. "Wanna eat breakfast and go ice skate or something?"

She offers it non-chalantly, so he knows that it's totally up for debate. She's not even sure she'd want to. She'd tried it once a few years ago and had almost broken an ankle. But he looks...kind of excited about it.S

No, actually he looks really excited about it, kind of like a happy puppy. Oh no. Bad comparision. Actually, perfect comparison since he does. 

 "I've never tried that before. Could we go ice skating?"

"Yeah. Uh...They should make turian ice skates but I'm not really sure if they do." 

There was still some tension between races, but Shepard had to figure that in a generation or two there wouldn't be a problem, and there would be way more turians that lived on earth than there were right now. There wouldn't be any people left to remember the First Contact War, or use it as a way to alienate humans who were friends or even with turians.

Garrus shrugs and pulls her out of her train of thought. "If they don't I'd be happy to do anything else. This is a little weird, I know but I do like to spend time with you."is

Of course it was sarcastic they do things all the time together but it turns her brain on overdrive again, and Shepard has got to think about it for a moment before awkwardly looking at the ground.

Was this a good time to bring it up? Does she really want to? No. No it's best to think about this now, and just tell him. she needs to be blunt, and not worry about it.

Even if that's harder than it sounds.

"Same goes for you. I...I was talking to Liara this morning and I was kind of wondering if-"

And then the sound of something shattering downstairs stops her, because of course it does, and Jane pulls slightly on the sides of her hair, and hisses. "I swear to god if-"

"We're fine! Everything's fine! A mug just fell over," calls her mother from the kitchen and Shepard sighs loudly. Likely story. Either they were throwing things at each other again or they had gotten busy in her absense, which also seemed pretty likely (and quite frankly, disgusting).

Shepard rolls her eyes, and suddenly her confidence and sudden need for bluntness is gone. Garrus gives her a look. "What were you saying, Shepard?" 

"Nevermind, it's not important. Let's go downstairs and get you food before they manage to break something important. "

He chuckles in response. "Lead the way, I'm right behind you."