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The Green Wave

Chapter Text

Another night has slipped away
Wishing the time would let me stay
Stuck in between two lives that could never be the same
I remain without a chance to say to you
That every word I said was true
I lay awake all night just staring back at you
Into the waves again I go
Holding on to you
I found a way to make it through
Holding on to you


Holding On to You by Story of the Year

*****

Garrus paced around the room. It was a small apartment located close to the bureaucratic buildings meant mostly for temporary housing of dignitaries. The Normandy Elect had all stayed there when they first arrived. Most had moved out by now, but Garrus was allowed to remain, even though not many knew where he actually lived.
The apartment was on the fifth floor and was rather simple. Garrus had gotten some turian-specific furniture, but outside of that it wasn't very personalized. The Cynosure Banner and Galactic Unit Citation were in a box on the shelf. Tucked in a drawer by the bed was the box of Shepard's things. Various weapon mods and a few pieces of tech were strewn about nearly everywhere. Even though Garrus still didn't have a lot of personal items, he found he was a little more messy when not on a ship. The large window let in lots of "natural" light and looked down upon the courtyard that held the Normandy.
Garrus had slept fitfully after his run-in with the group out in the wastelands, telling Hackett he'd give him a call after a chance to rest. Now, he'd had a shower, dressed in his casual clothes, and was speaking through his omnitool.


"They sounded anti-military, maybe even anti-government," he explained. "One took a shot at me, but it was more of a display than an actual invitation for combat. It didn't make any sense."
"Radicals never do, Vakarian," Hackett grunted. "You'll get a headache trying to understand."
"What will you do about them?" he asked.
"In a few days we'll send another pick up team and offer a ride in if any of them want one. But we'll be ready if they don't, and definitely be putting them on a watchlist."
"Aye, sir."
"Enjoy some down time. I'm sure you didn't get enough of it during the war," Hackett said, his voice losing some of its gruffness.
"Actually, there's something I'd like to ask about, sir..." Garrus began.
"Fire away." Hackett sounded like he already knew what it would be about.
"The anti-synthesists sounded like they had intel from someone working on the team studying the Cynosure," he said carefully.
"That's not good," Hackett mumbled.
"They said there's a chance they can isolate the synthesis energy. And maybe locate Shepard's energy somewhere out there..." Garrus was trying hard to not sound like he was hopeful, his mandibles twitching.
"Don't suddenly start putting stock in what they say just because it's what you want to hear, Vakarian. You know better."
"I do," he sighed. "But are you saying they completely made that up?"
"That team is not in my direct supervision, so I don't get very detailed updates--"
"Aren't you urging them to search for Shepard?"
"Like I said, I'm not their supervisor. The greater focus for them is on the future, and what to do with the synthesis now that it's here. It gets dangerous if we start trying to play God and bring back everyone we miss."


Garrus dropped it and the call ended shortly after that, then he left his apartment and began walking down into the courtyard. It was a beautiful day to be visiting the main hub again.
It didn't feel right, but he knew better than to try and push ideas he didn't understand. Shepard's situation was so unique; Garrus knew it wasn't right to try and clone or resurrect every person that left loved ones behind, but what if Shepard wasn't actually dead? What if she got stored as an AI in the Citadel when she interacted with the Catalyst? What if her consciousness was somehow within all other consciousness?
Garrus remembered a comment Mordin had once made when discussing life after death and the various religious views on what happens to those who "pass on".
"Spirits are science. Moreso than religion. Spirits are energy. Energy is everywhere."
And there wasn't just spirits involved, if the Catalyst was some kind of tech. The synthesis had changed everything and Garrus hated trying to chase all these potentialities with no real knowledge of how they might work. He wished Mordin was still alive; he would have undoubtedly had a lot to contribute to the team studying the Cynosure and synthesis. That is, if he wasn't on a beach studying seashells.


Garrus let his eyes linger on the Normandy as he walked through the courtyard, just a moment longer than was usual for the average passerby. It was long enough for him and an asari also preoccupied with a data file to crash into each other.
"Oh!" The data file clattered to the floor as they both recoiled.
"I'm sorry," Garrus grumbled. One hand instinctively covered the pistol near his hip as he leaned over and picked up the data pad.
"All these advancements, but we haven't risen above clumsiness," the asari giggled, accepting her data pad gratefully. "Thank you."
"We're enlightened, not perfect," Garrus said with a shrug, and then moved on without a second look.


He was headed to meet Vega for a day of pure indulgence. Vega was good at helping him get out of his head long enough to remember what life is supposed to be about. A battle simulator called Spectre Status, similar to the one that used to be on the Silversun Strip, had already gotten put into place in the inner areas of the Citadel. Some frowned at the frivolous hobby returning so soon after the war, and the soldiers who frequented it, but the adrenaline junkies needed some way to curb the addiction as they acclimated to peacetime.
Vega was waiting when he arrived, leaning against the outside of the building, pretending to ignore glances from people trying to determine if he was indeed one of the Normandy Elect.
"Hey," he said as Garrus approached, standing up straight. "Ready to put this place through its paces again?"
"Okay, but no complaints about faulty hardware this time," Garrus quipped as they bumped their fists in greeting. "Or software."
"Whatever, Vakarian," Vega chuckled. "Although, there's something you should know..."
"What's that?" Garrus asked, following as Vega turned to enter the building.
"Spectre Status may have spread the word that the Normandy Elect likes to play here..."


Vega opened the door and Garrus balked; the lobby was filled to the brim with citizens who grinned and cheered at the sight of them. His mandibles flared in shock. Is this what Shepard used to feel like all the time?
"Vega, we--"
"Can't walk away now!" Vega laughed, elbowing him in the side. Garrus knew he was right. How would Shepard handle this? He exhaled a quick breath and fell back into step, nodding and waving to some of the spectators. Eventually they made it to the service desk where an excited salarian greeted them. There was already a set of various strategy missions ready and cued up for them.
"After this... we are not coming back here again," Garrus grumbled as he swapped his real pistol for game tech.
"That's too bad," Vega shrugged. "I understand the spectator profits are going to really help the economy. The owner is funneling a lot of it back into rebuilding efforts."
"So this is me doing my civic duty, that's what you're saying?" Garrus chuckled, and Vega just grinned with another shrug, his simulator armor forming perfectly to his shoulders. "You should consider becoming a politician. You've got manipulation mastered."
"Eh, maybe when I beat you at this game I'll move on to that career." Vega turned and headed into the battle room, blank and empty for the time being. Even in the thoroughly enclosed space, the bustle of the crowd outside could easily be heard.
"Glad to know you have such faith in yourself."
They both laughed and readied their weapons as the landscape around them flashed and took the shape of their first mission.

*****

Many hours later, Vega and Garrus sauntered into a restaurant, having worked up a tremendous appetite. They'd worked the battle simulator for quite a while, the owner being very happy to extend their time. Being watched on the battlefield didn't phase Garrus, but he could certainly do without trying to weave through a crowd and dodge those taking pictures. He agreed they would return sometime, with the condition that they were allowed a separate entrance and exit (and that the game difficulty was increased).
Vega had insisted on picking the eatery. It was called Oorah, and while it did have some dextro food, it was run by humans and catered mostly to an Alliance audience. Garrus could tell right away why Vega liked it; it was just his style. A large bar lined one wall with various booths and tables scattered about. The walls were covered with military memorabilia from Earth, portraits of important officials included. Many of them Garrus wasn't familiar with, but there were plenty of pictures of the ones he was. He felt uncomfortable as they walked towards the back of the room for some privacy. He was sure there were several images of Shepard staring at him, but he wasn't about to let his unease show.
They settled in to a booth in the back, though couldn't avoid several looks from the moderately-sized group of patrons. Though they were respectful enough not to approach, Vega and Garrus could hear the murmuring. They ordered copious amounts of food and it arrived rather quickly.


"The first time I came here," Vega said between mouthfuls of food, "it was the day it opened. Just a couple of months ago. I was here nearly all night, partying with Alliance soldiers. I came back the next day cuz I had such a great time and all I could think was how well they cleaned up after the time we had." He pointed to a picture on the wall behind Garrus. "That's from opening night. You can see me in the middle."
"It's easy to see why you're popular here," Garrus agreed, glancing at the photo. "Am I supposed to be swooning?"
"You're just as big of a celebrity here," Vega assured him. "They're plenty happy to welcome other species."
"Don’t worry, I'm not feeling discriminated against," Garrus replied, glancing around the room and then taking another bite of food. After swallowing he said, "Although, if you ever take another turian on a date, don't take them here. Or quarian, for that matter. The dextro options are not exactly inspiring."
"Sorry to disappoint you," Vega laughed, then winked. "I'll find somewhere extra nice to take you next time."
"Good, I deserve better," Garrus joked, but then the two of them grew quiet, not meeting each other's eyes. Eventually, Garrus cleared his throat. "Look, I know you and I haven't exactly been super close, but... I want you to know I appreciate you keeping in touch with me. It's been... difficult to stay connected."
"I know I'm no Shepard, and I don't try to be," Vega replied. "But I know she'd like me to not let you get too lost and end up on Omega again or something."
"My time on Omega was not the worst time of my life," Garrus contradicted good-naturedly.
"Yeah? What was?" the human challenged. Garrus's mandibles twitched and he resisted the urge to say "now".
"Ask me in about 80 years," he grumbled instead.
"Fair enough," Vega conceded with a shrug, then looked down thoughtfully. "Geez... We're both young but we've packed a lot of life into the first couple decades of our lifespans. I wouldn't have it any other way, though." Garrus nodded and his shoulders fell a little as he sighed.


"What do you think life looks like now?" he asked, his tone tired. "It feels silly, considering it was only a few years ago that I joined Shepard to go after Saren... But those grand adventures feel like my whole life. What happens now, after the war? After the Normandy? After Shepard?"
They stared at each other for a moment before Garrus looked away, but he could still feel Vega's eyes studying him.
"...I don't know," the human eventually admitted. "But this is a brave new world, Vakarian. I'm sure there's possibilities we haven't even considered."
Garrus nodded, still looking down. It felt like that idea was supposed to help, but it didn't. Vega took a long drink of his booze then spoke up again.
"You can punch me for this if you need to, but... speaking of going on dates and considering possibilities... have you?" In an effort to lighten the mood, Vega threw his arms up in front of his face as if bracing for an attack.
"No," Garrus said. His tone was definitive, but he didn't have it in him to be greatly offended by the question.
"Uh, well... again, you can punch me, but... maybe you should think about it," Vega said, rubbing the back of his neck. Garrus narrowed his eyes as he continued. "There's an asari over there that's been eyeing you for nearly as long as we've been sitting here."


He immediately turned to look, not bothering to be subtle. There were only three asari in the restaurant, and two were already hanging on separate Alliance soldier's arms. The one alone was sitting at the bar and awkwardly met his eyes. Having past the point of no return, she stood and approached their table. It wasn't until Garrus saw the data pad she was clutching that he recognized her.
"Oh," he muttered under his breath, sighing and leaning back in his seat as he studied her a little closer. She wore a form-fitting, Citadel-sponsored research tunic. Her skin was pale lavender and she had white markings along her forehead and crest. She seemed older than Liara, but definitely not old enough to be a Matriarch. It was hard to pin down the ages of long life-spanned individuals.
"I'm sorry, did I break your data pad when we bumped into each other earlier?" he asked. “I can help you replace it.”
"Oh, no, no, it's fine, I just... um..." she stuttered and drifted off.
"All these advancements and we haven't risen above awkwardness?" Garrus asked.
"Erm, no, I suppose not..." she mumbled, looking down and frowning. Garrus caught Vega's expression: cringing and his eyes wide, mouthing out "dude".
"Er, don't worry, I'm only speaking from experience," Garrus added hastily, clearing his throat.
"He is, he really is," Vega backed him up.
"Ah," the asari said, looking back up and managing a small smile.


"Is there... something I can do for you?" he asked curiously.
"Er, my name is Xanossi Jannure, I'm on the team researching the Cynosure," she introduced herself. Garrus immediately straightened up. Hackett and the Councilors had been keeping him at arm's length from the team and their specific findings. They claimed it was too sensitive of a topic to involve him in the details and he hated it, but knew how to submit to orders on issues that weren't going to budge. But now a member of the team was seeking him out? He was definitely intrigued.
"I'm actually hoping I could ask you a couple questions that may assist with our research... may I sit for a moment?" she continued, shifting her weight.
"Oh, uh, sure," Garrus said, but Vega was already scooting over to let her sit on his side, which she did. "What kind of answers are you looking for?"
"The impossible ones," Xanossi said with exasperation, placing her data file on the table. "We don't know what Shepard did. But we also don't know why Shepard was the only one that could do it. We're trying to look into what made Shepard unique."
Both Vega and Garrus snickered and then laughed, leaning back in their seats. Xanossi's brow furrowed as she looked between the two of them.
"That could take a while to go over," Vega finally got out. "You got a couple hours?"
"Spirits, I could go on for days," Garrus breathed, giving himself another hefty dose of booze.
"You did love her, didn't you?" Xanossi asked suddenly, and Garrus froze, staring at the asari. "I mean, it was fairly obvious even if neither of you officially declared it."
"...I haven't stopped," he said. It almost appeared as if Xanossi blushed at the earnestness in his tone.


"Erm, well, what I mean is how she was unique biologically," she self-corrected. "We don't know if the Catalyst fired and the Cynosure occurred because it was specifically her that activated it, or if anyone could have done it. But we have a theory that something was different in her neurologically, perhaps from the Prothean beacon? Were there any times you may have seen evidence of this?"
"I wasn't with her when she received the beacon," Garrus grunted. "But I was when she received the Cipher through melding with another asari. You're saying it may have changed her brain in a way that made her the only one that could save the universe?"
"It's possible," Xanossi nodded.
"Why aren't you asking Liara about this? I thought she was to be your main point of contact," he asked, tilting his head. Liara was first priority simply to keep him out of it, but also because he wasn't especially keen on answering questions about Shepard at any given moment. It felt like talking about her behind her back, even if he only had truthful and good things to say.
"She is, but... I suspected you may have known her a little more... intimately?" Xanossi questioned. Vega's brows raised at her boldness, and his eyes went to Garrus, who said nothing but narrowed his eyes. "...there was also a period of time just after she was revived by Cerberus where you were with her and Dr. T'Soni was not," Xanossi added.


"Could her Cerberus enhancements have been part of what you're looking for?" Vega asked.
"We're fairly sure that while Shepard's enhancements were the best of the best, they weren't specific to her. Not the way the Prothean beacon may have been," Xanossi answered. "Were there any other times that may have been similar to that event, where something reacted to her, or she activated something rather intuitively? Especially highly complicated or ancient tech?" she inquired, turning her attention back to Garrus.
"On Ilos," he stated. "A Prothean VI called Vigil spoke to us. She probably gave a report about that at some point; Hackett or the Councilors would have it. There was also a Prothean device before that... I don't think it was a full VI, but it spoke and Shepard could understand it's instructions when all I heard was gibberish. She also intuitively recognized the energy of the Prothean beacon on Thessia in the Temple of Athame."
"She also spoke with a couple of Reapers on several occasions, correct?" Xanossi asked, lifting her data file and beginning to take notes.
"Yes... probably more than anyone else who didn't get indoctrinated," he replied. He thought back to the many times Shepard had wrestled with the idea of them being in her head and all the extra psych evals. She always came out clean, but it clearly unnerved her more and more as the war went on.


"What about Leviathan? That thing could get in your head too," Vega added, his expression becoming grim. He'd been with them on that mission and seen firsthand the mind control abilities it possessed.
"That too," Garrus nodded. "I don't know that it changed her biologically... but she did tell me that it called her an 'anomaly'."
"See, that's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for," Xanossi said, looking at him pointedly as she worked on the data pad. "Things she'd share in the privacy of her quarters with her most trusted confidant, but may not think to mention in an official debrief."
Garrus's mandibles twitched; he wasn't sure how he felt about being an asset because of his "pillow talk" with the Commander.


"What happened to the Leviathan, anyway?" Vega asked no one in particular.
"We believe they simply went their own way after the Cynosure, perhaps back to their planet," Xanossi replied.
"Good luck getting in touch with them, then," Vega grunted. "Are the Reapers communicating at all yet?"
"No... they're around, but apparently don't have anything they want to share with us," Xanossi informed them. "The husks and other... creatures seem to be disappearing, too."
"I can do without those things around anyway," Garrus grumbled.
"I think we all can. They seem to be operating similar to the Keepers and managing themselves, except they don't have a purpose so... they're just fading out of existence," Xanossi shuddered. It was quiet for a moment and Garrus went back to thinking about Shepard and the Catalyst.
"The Citadel preceded the Protheans, correct? And the Catalyst is believed to be some hidden function of the Citadel, similar to the Keepers?" he asked.
"Yes," Xanossi replied. "Where are you going with this?"
"Shepard and Prothean tech obviously had a connection that others didn't... but the Catalyst isn't Prothean in nature if it is part of the Citadel. So if the Catalyst responded to Shepard because she was Shepard, it wouldn't be because of her Prothean... sensitivities or whatever you want to call it. The Catalyst isn't Prothean. If anything, it's closer in nature to Leviathan," he finished, shrugging.
"You're right," Xanossi sighed.
"So unless Leviathan actually did alter something in her and nobody knew about it, you've got nothing," Vega summarized. Xanossi’s shoulders slumped.


"I'm guessing that means you're back to square one," Garrus commented. Xanossi shrugged and managed a small laugh.
"Well, as much as starting over isn't my favorite thing, at least it gave me an excuse to spend some time with two of the most distinguished bachelors in the galaxy," she said, flashing a wide grin full of charm. Vega smirked and puffed out his chest, not seeming to notice that she was mainly looking at Garrus, who just twitched his mandibles at her.
"I'll let you get back to whatever it is you two do these days," she said, scooting out of the seat and standing.
"I hope you find less dead ends," Garrus said.
"Thanks!" she said, waving as she walked away.
"A hundred credits says you hear from her again within two weeks," Vega muttered as he watched her go.
"No bet," Garrus grunted.
"Just try to let her down easy, Vakarian," he chuckled.


Shortly after that, the two of them left the restaurant and began wandering around somewhat aimlessly. They had more pleasant conversation, but were also comfortable in silence.
It was in the silent moments that something occurred to Garrus; Vega never asked what he did outside of their visits. Garrus didn't ask him either, but that was because O.L.F. was confidential and he didn't want to be forced to make something up. Outside of threats meant to intimidate, he was actually a terrible liar. He suddenly had a suspicion and it was time to test it.
Eventually they stopped and both leaned against a railing overlooking a park with a garden. It wasn't very fancy, but it was still beautiful, complemented by the twilight. They could see a few families beginning to head home before it got too dark.
"What kind of duty has Hackett had you on since the memorial?" Garrus asked.
"A lot of random odd jobs, but mostly transport of officials, civilians, and supplies," Vega shrugged. He didn't miss a beat.
"Did you get new armor for that? Your other set probably isn't exactly what you want to use now, right?" Garrus asked, glancing at him.
"Yeah, nothing fancy though." Vega stood up straight and rubbed the back of his neck.
"Hmm." He let a moment pass. "It's amazing how quickly each race had politicians ready to put into place. I mean, you remember when we had to find the Primarch in the early stages of the war... they got a lot more established by the time they held the Cynosure Ceremony. I wonder how they did that?"
"Beats me," he said. "That's above my pay grade to know who goes where."
"Well first they just had to know who was still alive, and where they were, then get them brought in... It had to have been quite an undertaking."
"Probably so."


Garrus let another moment pass, beginning to doubt his suspicion, but something told him to keep going.
"Have you heard people talking about that Undertaker person?" he inquired. At that, Vega stiffened a little.
"Yeah. Who do you think he is?" he replied.
"I think he works for Hackett and the Council," Garrus said casually, looking back out over the park. "Like a Spectre, but without the attention. And I actually think there's more than one. There's rumors of a turian Undertaker and a human one being spotted out there." He stood up straight again. "I'm sure it's all pretty confidential, though, and nothing anyone can talk about," he finished dismissively, looking at the human out of the corner of his eye.
Vega laughed, shaking his head and gripping the railing with his hands.
"I'm not surprised you've figured all that out, Mr. C-Sec," he said with a smirk.
"I'm not surprised you were also offered the job," Garrus replied earnestly. "They needed some way to put you to good use without looking like they were favoring the Normandy Elect too much."
"Yeah. It's been almost like a beta test for Spectre, honestly. But I gotta get some time in N7 before I'm likely to be considered for that," he said thoughtfully. "I guess that's what my future looks like now... after the war, after the Normandy."


"Have any good finds while you were fishing for officials?" Garrus asked with a smirk.
"Are you suggesting we compare conquests?" Vega laughed. "Like measuring... fish?"
"Maybe," the turian shrugged. Vega laughed again, then crossed his arms.
"Alright. Councilor Camilio."
"Turian Councilor, not bad," Garrus mumbled, nodding. "I got the new Primarch."
"I'll see your Primarch, and raise you the new Executor of C-Sec, Cameter Erastis."
"You sure seem to like those turians," Garrus teased.
"Actually, they sure seem to like me," Vega retaliated, and Garrus laughed.
"Salarian Councilor, Ahann Jonarth," he fired back.
"Alright, time for my secret weapon..." Vega smirked and cracked his knuckles. "Thirteen of Councilor Tevos' daughters."
"Thirteen?!" Garrus exclaimed, his eyes widening. "How did that happen?"
"They were all in the same place, hunkering down when it hit the fan," Vega explained, still smirking and puffing out his chest. "Many of them were very happy to see me."
"Spirits, Vega," Garrus laughed. "Don't you ever doubt your luck."
"Oh believe me, I won't."
They both chuckled and then shared a contented sigh. Garrus's mandibles twitched.


"It's been mostly dead unspecifieds for you, too, lately, yeah?" he asked.
"Yeah," Vega agreed solemnly. "I haven't seen a live reading in nearly two months. Well, except for the glitched reading on Shepard, but that's--"
"Wait," Garrus cut him off abruptly, swiftly moving to face him straight on. "You have Shepard in your database?"
"Uh... yeah. You don't?" he replied, his brow furrowing.
"Hackett wouldn't let me," he breathed.
"Aw, man... I'm sorry," Vega said, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Why didn't you tell me?!" Garrus growled, stepping closer into the human's space.
"Hey, I didn't know you were doing this, too, 'til just now," he said, holding his hands up in defense. "And I figured they'd let you at least see it. It's not like it's showing anything conclusive."
"But it's showing something?" he hissed.


"Well, I mean, yes and no..." Vega ran a hand through his hair as he continued. "Sometimes, it's nowhere. Sometimes it's this reading that bounces all over the place, miles away in seconds, and doesn't ever stop. Every now and then it will stop, but it will disappear when I get close, or it will still be there but there's no one there. I once dug fifteen feet down in the middle of an empty dirt patch just to make sure." He shrugged and shook his head, unable to keep from fidgeting under Garrus's intense gaze.
"Once it said she was every living person around me, and another time it said she actually was me," he sighed. "It doesn't make any sense, man. It's nothing to go off of. I'm sorry."
Garrus looked away, his hands clenched into fists as he processed this information. This was not nothing. He had to find a way to determine what it meant. His mind raced for a solution.
Then, as if a light had turned on within him, he knew.


"Were you scanning last night?" he asked, his tone and body language conveying the importance of his question.
"Yeah..." Vega was wringing his hands, unsure where the turian was going with this.
Garrus pulled up his omnitool with a current Citadel map. He didn't have his O.L.F. equipment with him, but he knew how to orient himself well enough to get within the ballpark of where he'd encountered the anti-synthesists. He showed the area to Vega.
"Did the reading show her here? Last night? Even for a moment?" he growled, his tone more about urgency than anger. Vega leaned in, zooming in and out as he considered it.
"Uh, yeah--"
"Tell me exactly what that reading showed," Garrus demanded. Vega straightened back up, suddenly taking on the form of a soldier reporting to a superior.
"It wasn't there when I started. Didn't see it all night until it started pinging up in random places, all over each of the Wards. It settled there for... several minutes. Maybe 20, max? I wasn't close but I was considering going to check it out when it moved. It briefly scattered everywhere again and then it disappeared. Haven't seen it since."


Garrus's heart was thundering in his chest, his mandibles flaring. He swiftly shut down his omnitool and turned away from Vega, trying to take some deep breaths. He wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. After several long moments, Vega stepped closer and spoke again.
"Vakarian, are you... are you thinking this actually is Shepard, somehow?" he asked quietly.
The question took him down a notch. There was no way to call that evidence proof. And it didn't actually give him any new steps to take to try and reach her if she was out there. He took a deep breath and turned back to face his friend.
"I don't know," he admitted. He was smiling, but his tone was tired. "But... that's where I was, last night, and it was... eventful."
Vega's eyes widened and he exhaled heavily, massaging his jaw.
"Well, damn."


"Yeah," Garrus replied. "I'll tell you the full story later... For now, can you let Hackett keep thinking we don't know the other is in O.L.F. and we didn't talk about Shepard's indicator?"
"Hackett's my supervisor in the Alliance, not just O.L.F. If he asks me directly and I don't answer truthfully, it could be dangerous for me," Vega replied, his eyes narrowing slightly. "But, yeah, short of that... I won't bring it up."
"I understand," Garrus said with a nod. "Thank you, so much. I think it's time I get back to my place. I'm in need of some rest and I suddenly feel like I might explode."
"Yeah," Vega chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck. "I think I might too."
"Thank you... for sharing all that with me," he said, greater levels of emotion threatening to make their way out through his tone.
"Of course. Hit me up again soon," Vega said, extending a hand. Garrus took it and clasped it tightly, patting the human's shoulder with his other hand.
"I'll send you a message as soon as my head's a little more clear. Don't head out again until I do," he told him.
"You got it."
The two nodded at each other and then they broke apart, Garrus darting off toward the Normandy's courtyard and his apartment. Lacking patience, he summoned up a skycab as he walked. He felt both too energized and too tired to sort out everything going through his mind right now.
But there seemed to be at least one thing he could trust: if Shepard was out there, somehow, she'd found a way to be with him at least one more time. And if she could do that... she could do it again.