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The Green Wave

Chapter Text

I'm finally waking up, a twist in my story
It's time I open up, and let your love right through me
That's what you get
When you see your life through someone else's eyes
That's what you get, that's what you get

So you see, this world doesn't matter to me
I'll give up all I had just to breathe
The same air as you till the day that I die
I can't take my eyes off of you

A Twist In My Story by Secondhand Serenade

*****

After getting some food in her, Shepard suddenly became very tired.  Dr. Chakwas wasn't worried about lethargy considering how little they understood about what her body had actually gone through.
Shepard's arrival had brought a strange transitional effect to the research station.  There was a lot still to discover about her experience, how it all worked, and where to go next... but having her there and resting seemed like a completion of some kind itself.
Councilor Lyric had begun dismissing some of the personnel now that there was no "stream of consciousness" to study or interact with.  Most were simply being reassigned back on the Citadel but would likely get a bit of shore leave before they had any new material to dive into.  Lyric was only sending away those who did not know Shepard had reappeared, in order to keep rumors to a minimum.
Their absence meant a room for Shepard was able to be easily arranged, and was ready for her as soon as they decided to stop monitoring her brain activity.  An Alliance-grade translator and some clothes for her had arrived, but Dr. Chakwas was waiting for her to wake up on her own before giving them to her.  Chakwas also determined that Shepard's Cerberus cybernetics were no longer present.  With the synthesis effects, it was likely her combat proficiency remained just as superb, meaning she mainly only lost some extra durability and vitality support.
David and Nasa had been in a different room, working.  Nasa relayed that there was not any dangerous health problem with Shepard, but they wanted to have more of a plan for going forward before they went into the details of what David's scan results had brought to light.


Shepard slept fitfully, twitching and whispering under her breath no matter how Garrus squeezed her hand or stroked her hair to calm her.  He had yet to leave her side for any reason, and hadn't even taken his shirt back despite Shepard having plenty of blankets for covering.
Their conversation so far had not been very extensive, but Garrus still couldn't help but notice the moments Shepard seemed a step behind him, or less engaging than he expected.  He tried to remind himself to be patient; she was still adjusting to being organic and mortal again... but he'd be lying if he said she seemed the same legendary, captivating, steadfast Commander Shepard he'd fought wars and fallen in love with.
When Shepard finally woke again, she seemed more alert than before.  Garrus's mandibles twitched as he watched her stretch and sit up.
"How are you feeling?" he asked.
"A lot more... normal," she replied.
"Were you dreaming?"
"I don't remember," she admitted with a small frown.  "Did it look like I was?"
"Yes."


Before they could say much more, Councilor Lyric approached and asked if Shepard were feeling up to some conversation with everyone to get a clearer foundation and direction.  Shepard sat up straighter and agreed, and soon Dr. Chakwas, Brant, Nasa, and David joined them.  Garrus got out of his seat and wandered off to the side, allowing some extra room for the others.
"Are you going somewhere?" Shepard asked him, her brow furrowing.
"Just stretching my legs," he told her.  It was true, but he was also feeling too anxious to sit still.  He needed to be able to pace and work out some of his nerves as he listened.  Shepard seemed only slightly assured, but Nasa drew her attention back to the others.
"Shepard, we'd like to start with what you remember.  You said you had been observing.  Were you aware of much that has transpired since the Cynosure?" she asked.
"I was aware of too much," she replied, cringing.  "It was so loud.  It felt like I was watching hundreds of movies at once.  I think I understood a lot of them at the time, but now I don't remember most of what I saw.  At some point, I saw the Normandy, and then Garrus, and I recognized him.  That was the first time I really cared about focusing my attention on anything.  I tried so hard to focus on him, but it was difficult before I got more accustomed to the noise."
"And that's how you were able to enter the dreams and talk with him, and eventually David?" Nasa asked.
"Yes.  I don't know the scientific reasons... but the more I focused on people, the closer I got, and the more they noticed me.  Garrus was so focused on Shepard... so I learned a lot about her and who she was close with, and who else might recognize her... me."  Her brow furrowed as she finished and she rubbed at her temples.


"You are Shepard.  Even if you don't know it," David told her.  Garrus realized David was the only one that consistently referred to her that way.
"Should we call you something other than Shepard?" Councilor Lyric asked gently.
"No," she shook her head.  "There's nothing else that feels familiar."
"What else feels familiar?" Dr. Chakwas inquired.  Shepard thought for a moment.
"The Normandy, and everyone associated with it.  I checked in on Admiral Hackett a lot too...  The pistol.  When I held Garrus's pistol, I knew that I knew everything about how to use it.  I think the same would go for many other firearms.  And I have knowledge of everything I did before.  I know about the systems, Alliance protocols, Citadel bureaucracy and all that," she said.
"What about Shepard's life before the war ended?" Nasa probed.  Shepard frowned again.
"All those major events... they feel like a book I've read a hundred times.  I know them so well I have them memorized, but I don't remember living them.  And I'm sure there's smaller moments I don't remember..." she drifted off and looked in Garrus's direction, but his back was to her.
"That's what we can see on the scans," David said sadly.
"David has told me the Crucible wasn't supposed to cost you your identity, or even your life," Nasa commented.
"It never took her life.  Just altered it," David interjected.
"We think the Catalyst may have been more of a factor than we accounted for, and it may hold the answers to restoring your memory... but there's still very little known about it," Nasa explained.


"There's no rush for any decisions to be made quickly, but I'd like to make sure you're thinking about what you would like to do next with your life," Councilor Lyric pointed out.  "We'll likely be watching closely, and there are some concerns with the Cynosure Reform Advocates, but with the galaxy at peace you'll have a lot more freedom."
"I hadn't even begun to consider that.  Thank you for telling me," Shepard said with a small smile and nod.  "Also, you should know that Xanossi is part of that group."  At that, Garrus whipped around and took a few steps closer.
"The anti-syns?  Xanossi is one of them?" he stammered, his hands clenching into fists.
"Yes," she replied, looking away uneasily.
"How do you know?" Lyric asked.
"She was... close with Garrus.  I watched her a lot, too, and the other anti-syns," she said, then looked to Garrus.  "She's also very close with the one you confronted.  Hyatt, I think?"  Garrus nodded and grumbled something under his breath, turning away again with a huff.
"Is there anything else you could tell us about them?" Lyric asked, her jaw clenching.
"I think they had some kind of similar plan to isolate me... not in the way David figured out, but I could feel them when I was... wherever I was.  Hyatt is manipulative and very bitter.  I know a few of his hideouts," Shepard replied.
"I'd like you to give that information to Brant," Lyric politely ordered.
"Of course."  Garrus's mandibles twitched at Shepard's official tone; her sitrep felt so familiar.


"I can talk to Xanossi and see if we get any other useful information, too," Garrus offered.
"Please don't," Shepard said quickly, then paused.  "I mean... please don't go anywhere until I can leave this room, too."
"...right.  I won't," he promised.
Brant stepped forward with an omnitool ready, and Dr. Chakwas gestured for Garrus to follow her towards the other side of the room.  Shepard watched them go, but turned back to Brant when she felt assured they weren't leaving completely.
"How goes connecting with Shepard?" Chakwas began quietly, busying herself and Garrus with making some more tea as an excuse to be removed from the group.
"I don't know," Garrus sighed.  "There's a turian saying: turian loyalty is only as strong as the one it's loyal to.  If she doesn't know who she is, who am I loyal to?  Even in Shepard's weakest moments, she always knew who she was."
"Hmm.  Turians don't lose their mental capacities in old age, do they?" she asked suddenly.
"No.  Sometimes injuries will cause that, but it is rare," he mumbled.
"The condition is very well managed now, but in humans, as we got older our brains used to deteriorate," she explained.  "We would become slow, forgetful, and struggle to comprehend ideas that used to be familiar to us.  In extreme cases, such as a disease called Alzheimers, elderly people would lose their memory to the point they forgot their spouses and children.  Some would even believe they were children again themselves."


"What happened to them?" Garrus asked, the idea sounding frightening.
"They would often stay in a special care facility until they passed away.  Some could spend years unstable and confused.  My grandmother did this, and it was so very sad to watch," Chakwas sighed.  "But my mother and I would visit her.  It didn't matter if she remembered us or not; we would do something with her to make her days a little brighter.  A few times, she remembered us and cried, so grateful we were there to remind her who she was and love her through it."
Garrus's shoulders felt heavy as Chakwas gave him a pointed look.
"I know Shepard's not the same and it's confusing, but this is not about turian loyalty.  This is about your love for her.  And you don't have to worry about that going to the wrong person, because she either died when the war ended, or is sitting in that bed waiting for you to lead her back to herself again."
Garrus turned and looked back to Shepard from across the room just as laughter erupted from the group.  The topic seemed to have shifted and it looked like Brant was enthusiastically telling a story that had David in stitches.  His laughter was infectious and the others were also wiping tears from their eyes or trying to catch their breath.
"Don't worry.  It will be much easier for you two to get comfortable together again when you can get off this station," Chakwas said, her scolding tone now gentle.  Garrus's mandibles flared.  Off the station, with Shepard?  And they could go anywhere in a peaceful galaxy, with no missions or obligations?  He'd dreamed of the possibility but it never seemed plausible and yet the option now stared him in the face and sent his heart racing.


He didn't realize Chakwas had left his side until he saw her approaching the other group with a tray of refreshments.  He startled and quickly turned to pick up the other tray from the small counter and then rejoined the group.
All seven of them spent close to an hour happily chatting and enjoying each other's company.  It was good for all of them to have somewhat normal socialization without too much business.
"How are you feeling, Shepard?  Are you tired?" Chakwas asked after the conversation lulled.
"I feel good," she said with a shrug.  "Even a little restless from being so stationary."
"Good, that's what I wanted to hear," Chakwas replied, standing and checking the monitors she was hooked up to.  "If you're feeling ready, I'd like to get your translator placed and then you can get dressed and we'll release you on your own recognizance."
"That sounds fantastic," Shepard said with a grin.
"Do you remember how the translator is placed?" Chakwas asked, preparing the translator chip, a numbing agent, a small surgical knife, and some bandages.
"I don't want to see!" David exclaimed, and quickly turned away.
"David gets squeamish," Nasa explained with a smile.  "We'll both get back to work."  She followed David and they both then left the room.


"I remember, but I was a child when I got it last time.  My parents were with me..." Shepard said to Chakwas, her face scrunched up as she wrestled with the memory.  Garrus's mandibles twitched and he stiffened.
"I know my mother died just before the end of the war," Shepard said quietly, catching his unease.  "I dont know if I've really processed it, but... I don't need to right now."
"Garrus, can we borrow your shoulder to brace her head?" Chakwas asked.  Garrus nodded and sat next to Shepard, facing her.  She rested her hands together in her lap and leaned forward, her forehead resting on his shoulder.  Garrus brought his head close and placed his hands over her forearms, gently stroking them with his fingers.  Very quickly she relaxed into him with a contented sigh that nearly made him shudder.
The translator attached near the base of the skull, and luckily the process was so common it was rather efficient.  Shepard only felt the numbing and was soon stitched back up with a small bandage just for some extra padding.  Chakwas removed the monitors on her and instead gave her a small device that would link to her omnitool and alert Chakwas of any abnormal brain activity.  Shepard then got dressed in what Councilor Lyric had ordered; just some casual lounge wear for now.  The shirt had an Alliance logo on it, which made Shepard smile.


Just as Garrus was putting his own shirt back on (which felt strange, after so long) Brant got his attention.
"The security keeping an eye on Xanossi tells me she has not eaten since we detained her," he said seriously.
"Apparently she's more of a radical than I would have ever expected," Garrus sighed.
"What will happen to her?" Shepard asked.
"Technically I'm not sure what charges we could even bring against her outside of tampering with Citadel sanctioned operations," Lyric admitted with a shrug.  "Unless we discover more illegal activities the Cynosure Reform Advocates participated in, and count her as an accomplice, it may only be a very short period of probation."
"Is there any information we need from her?" Garrus asked.
"I know nearly as much as she does about their operations, but if we could get her on our side, maybe she could persuade more of them to come forward," Shepard said.
"That sounds ideal," Lyric agreed.
"So the plan is... make nice?" Garrus grumbled, rubbing the back of his neck.  "I may have spoiled my chances at that a long time ago."
"I want to talk to her," Shepard announced.  "I know her."
"But... doesn't she hate you?" Garrus inquired, raising a brow.
"That's a lot simpler than how she feels about you," she replied with a slight smirk, causing Garrus to fidget uncomfortably.  "She's not dangerous right now, right?" she asked, turning back to Brant.
"She's unarmed and has a biotic dampener," Brant explained with a nod.  "She hasn't shown any hostility and seems rather... resigned."
"Of course she is," Shepard mumbled, pausing and looking at the floor.  After a moment she looked back up and to Garrus.  "Shall we go?"


"You want to talk to Xanossi now?" Garrus asked, his eyes widening.
"Sure.  She's not hostile, and I'd rather get it out of the way," she replied, rolling her shoulders.
"Now that's just like old times," Chakwas chuckled to herself.
"No one's telling me I can't," Shepard pointed out with a small smirk.
"I think it's been a very long time since anyone has told you that, and we're not likely to start now," Lyric said with a smile.  "Brant, will you accompany them?  I've got a couple other pieces of business to take care of."
"Of course."
Garrus's mandibles fluttered as he tried to think of a valid objection, but he had nothing, other than he really didn't like it.  But Shepard was going to do it anyway, and when it came to business, that was definitely how she operated.  Shepard just smiled at him and began to follow Brant out of the room.  At least seeing her acting more like her old self was good news.  Garrus followed them out with a sigh.


After walking down the halls briefly, Brant eventually opened the door to a small office where Xanossi was being kept with one armed guard.  She sat at a table, slouched back and arms crossed, expression mostly neutral until Shepard walked in.  Xanossi scowled and stared daggers at her, which Shepard disregarded.  When Garrus entered, Xanossi flinched and looked down.  Garrus thought he caught sadness there, but that just confused him all over again.  As awkward as he felt, he managed to look the part as he leaned back against the wall and crossed his arms while Shepard took a seat across from Xanossi.  It felt a lot like a C-Sec interrogation.
"I don't have anything to say to either of you," Xanossi mumbled.
"That's okay.  I already know everything about you that I need to," Shepard shrugged.  Xanossi just scoffed.  "You were able to get a lot past Garrus, but what you didn't know, is that the more you learned about him, the more I learned about you.  I know about Voness and Umry, Tullna and Zilli.  They miss you."
"Shut up," Xanossi hissed.  "You weren't there."
"Not at the beginning, no.  But I traced your hurt to the source and I was there when they were talking about you during the Cynosure anniversary festivities on the Citadel."  Shepard's tone began smooth and confident, then became more monotone as she went on.  She rubbed at her temples briefly and took a deep breath.  Garrus watched her closely but kept his expression neutral as she continued.


"They watched Garrus return to Palaven and talked about the times they'd seen you with him.  Tullna was envious.  Zilli hoped you were finding adventure.  Voness was proud of you for being bold enough to befriend a Normandy Elect.  Umry wished she had kept in touch with you better."
"You're making that up," Xanossi snapped, gesturing dismissively.  "I knew after the synthesis that they wanted nothing to do with me.  You and your stupid Cynosure.  Suddenly I knew my friend's minds better than my own."
"You thought you did," Shepard corrected.  "You thought they secretly despised you and didn't even have the nerve to tell you to your face.  But it wasn't their minds telling you this; it was your own.  You couldn't get out of your own head long enough to appreciate their company."
"No.  It was the synthesis.  I could feel it coming from them," Xanossi insisted.
"You didn't want to take responsibility for your own fears and insecurities so you pushed them on someone else.  It was easier to blame your friends and the synthesis than to address them.  The synthesis did give you more sensitivity, but you were only enlightened, not perfect."
Garrus and Xanossi both looked at each other with widened eyes; that was nearly the same thing he had said to her when they first met.  Shepard didn't react and continued speaking, her tone flat again.


"Umry sent you a message shortly after you arrived here, but you didn't get it, because the research facilities on the Citadel are too bogged down by Hyatt's sabotage.  When you get your omnitool back, you'll see it.  You supported Hyatt because he made you feel special.  That's all you ever wanted."
"That's all anyone ever wants," Xanossi interjected.  "To be cared for.  To be appreciated and unique."
"If you wanted to be unique, you shouldn't have added your name to the list of people who have pointed a gun at me," Shepard replied with a short laugh, shaking her head.  Garrus watched Shepard again, amazed at what was happening.  It was like she continued to step in and out of herself.  She couldn't maintain it, but somewhere under the surface, she was there.
"It was so easy for Hyatt to lure you in and convince you to serve him.  He needed you, and you needed to be needed," she went on.  "But now he's using you just like he's using everyone else."
"He does need me.  I'm the only one of us that made it this close to you," Xanossi pointed out.
"Good job," Shepard replied flatly.  "You can also be the first one to show him you're done being manipulated."  She closed her eyes as she took another deep breath, then gave Xanossi a pointed look.  "You're going to be out soon.  You can see Umry's message.  I know Hyatt is in your head, but you can choose to be better than that, and no longer believe the lies he tells you, or even the ones you tell yourself."
"You don't know me as well as you think.  You've always been loved and adored.  You don't even have to do anything and Garrus is swooning over you," Xanossi snapped.  Garrus stiffened and his mandibles twitched; apparently he wasn't remaining as neutral as he thought.  Shepard didn't look back at him, but he caught the corner of her lip rising in a small smirk.  Xanossi scowled at them both even more.


"I don't care if you've come back from the dead twice, you're not that special," she snarled.
"I'm not here right now because I'm special," Shepard retorted.  "I'm here because he is."  Again Garrus's mandibles twitched.  "But you already know that.  It's why you got desperate.  If I was turned over to Hyatt and eliminated, you could've had a chance with Garrus.  All the more reason to further the anti-syn movement, and maybe you'd stop hearing the voices in your head..."  Shepard drifted off and lowered her head slightly, squeezing her eyes shut.  Garrus was just about to move forward and check on her when she looked back to Xanossi.
"Unfortunately, your demons are your own.  You've sabotaged a lot more than your relationships, even before the synthesis.  If you think about it, you'll realize it's true."
Xanossi looked away now, a pang of hurt on her face.
"Your demons can be beaten.  But not by removing the synthesis.  And not by taking me out.  But that's good news, because your demons?  They're not near as unconquerable as I am."
Garrus barely managed to stifle a grin as Shepard pushed away from the table and rose from her seat.  But then she wavered, and swayed forward, placing her hands on the table to keep upright.  Garrus came forward and stretched out a hand, but Shepard soon recovered and turned towards him, and with a nod she headed for the door.
Garrus glanced at Xanossi, feeling sure he hadn't left things complete between them, but he honestly could not think of anything to say, despite the yearning in her eyes.  He followed Shepard out and found her leaning back against the wall, her hand to her forehead.  Brant was watching her closely.


"Are you alright?" Garrus asked, mandibles twitching in concern.
"I think it's... just a migraine," Shepard grumbled.
"She's stable, but it may be best for her to be somewhere quiet and dark until the migraine passes," Brant told Garrus.
"Sure.  I'll take care of her," he replied.
"You know how to reach us if you need to.  Enjoy the privacy."  Garrus thought he caught a wink from the salarian as he dismissed himself.
Shepard's head was pulsing, her eyes squeezed shut.  She didn't notice Brant making his way down the hall, but couldn't miss when Garrus's arm looped under her legs and lifted her off her feet.  She flailed for a moment before her arms found security around his neck.
"Let's get you somewhere cozy," he muttered nonchalantly.  Shepard gave a small laugh then tucked her head into his chest.  She cringed as her head throbbed and focused on his steps until they stopped.  She peered ahead of them and stared at the door as Garrus cleared his throat.
"They told me you could use this room, if you--"
"I don't want my own room."
Shepard's fingers curled at the front of his shirt, her other hand gripping the back of his neck.  Garrus sucked in a sharp breath.
"Then... this next one is mine," he said gruffly, and took the few steps more over to his door and carefully brought them both through the door.  He left the lights low and gently laid Shepard on the cot, then sat on the floor next to it.


"It's not very roomy in here," he grumbled.
"That's okay for now," she replied, rolling onto her side and staring at him.
"What you talked about with Xanossi... that was spectacular use of the 'get inside their head' tactic," he said, chuckling in amazement.
"That's because I spent a lot of time there," Shepard pointed out.  "I'm glad I'm not anymore."
"Were you really able to be inside the thoughts of anyone you wanted?" Garrus asked.
"It took a lot of... practice," Shepard began, narrowing her eyes thoughtfully.  "It was like each person was their own server or terminal.  I could eventually learn to access them after I figured out how to shut the rest of the noise out.  When you were asleep, you all were more likely to notice me."
"Why spend so much time with Xanossi?" he inquired.
"She was just as focused on you as I was, and it... unsettled me," she admitted.  "I wanted to know what her intentions were, and if you'd be happy with her.  I quickly found out she wasn't a good idea, but... she hid it well, and I didn't think you were someone who would choose to never be in a relationship again...  You're too grounded for that."
"Grounded is the last thing I was while you were gone," Garrus admitted with a chuckle, looking down at his hands in his lap.  "If you really had been gone, and enough years had passed, maybe I would have been grounded enough to even think about it... but there was so much evidence that you were still there, somehow.  I could never have been with someone else while that was happening."
"Many times I thought about leaving you be, so you could," Shepard admitted, her face falling as well.  "I was getting weaker the whole time I was there.  Like forgetting where everything I saw ended and where I began.  I thought maybe if I left you, I'd just disappear, and things would be how they were supposed to."


"What made you hold out hope for a different outcome?" Garrus asked, reflecting on his own struggles with hope.
"You were the only thing I seemed to know.  I recognized you more than I recognized myself... and I was too scared to let go of that."  Shepard moved one hand over towards his shoulder and Garrus grasped it with his own.
"I'm glad you didn't."
"Me too."
"What about at Spectre Status?  How did that work?" he inquired, stroking her hand.  A smile slowly crept onto Shepard's face.
"I'm forgetting what it was like to be everywhere, but I remember that well.  I messed with the game, but I was mostly in your head.  Sometime I want to spar with you again," she told him.
"I'm sure we will," Garrus said gently.  After a pause, he looked away and his mandibles twitched.  "...do you remember the way we used to before?"
"...no," she admitted, the frown on her face sending a pang of guilt through Garrus for asking.
"How did you know how when you were in the game?" he asked.
"...I think I used your memory," she said, narrowing her eyes.  "But it felt... familiar, when I did it."
"Maybe it will come back to you in the moment," he suggested, hoping it would be encouraging.
"Maybe," she replied, with a shrug and a smile.
"Who else did you observe or interact with?" Garrus asked curiously.
"I saw billions, at least briefly.  I think I was watching the whole galaxy," she explained.  "I don't remember specific people anymore except for all the ones you know about.  It was exhausting to try and focus on just one for too long...  So I mostly kept my eye on you."  Shepard smiled and watched him chuckle.  They both were quiet and content for a moment until Garrus's mandibles suddenly fluttered and he shifted uncomfortably.


"What is it?" she asked him, her brows furrowing.  He turned himself around to face her directly.
"I'm sorry it's taken me until this moment to tell you this again..." he said, his voice thick with emotion as he locked eyes with her.  "But I love you, Shepard."
A flurry of emotions went through Shepard all at once, including relief, happiness, apprehension, and even a little surprise.  Migraine forgotten, she launched herself at him and threw her arms around his neck.  With a grunt he landed on the floor and she landed on top of him.
"I love you too," she said with a grin.
Garrus started to laugh at her enthusiasm but it was soon muffled by her lips landing on his.  He'd been trying so hard to be cautious about how she was feeling, it took him a moment to realize exactly what was happening.  But only a moment.
His eyes closed, one hand rested at her waist as the other went to the side of her head, careful of the bandage on her neck.  Shepard shifted her weight, letting her body melt into his more comfortably in a way that felt natural, familiar.  Garrus felt all the time, all the confusion, all the built up emotions contributing to his physical reactions.  It was only a kiss but it wouldn't take much for him to be swept up in a current that he didn't know if he should be in.  Just before he was ready to let his hands wander further, Shepard got her knees under her and then was on all fours, hovering above him.  It took him a moment to open his eyes again.
"You know, I think the floor would be a better place to rest than that cot," Shepard whispered, her own cheeks flushed.  Garrus just grunted as she got up and gathered every pillow and blanket in the tiny living space and threw them on the floor.  He eventually sat up to adjust some underneath him and soon they had a fairly effective little nest.  Shepard settled back in, next to him this time, tucked under his arm but with one leg draped over his hips.


"Shepard, I... I don't have any expectations," Garrus breathed, his hand wandering over her thigh and giving it a squeeze.
"I know," she whispered, her tone much more resigned than it was a moment ago.  He swallowed hard and tried to brace himself for the answer to the question he was about to ask.
"Do you... even remember--"
"I don't know," she snapped.  Before Garrus could even begin to apologize, she went on.  "My head used to hurt constantly.  It was so loud and chaotic.  Now, it's not loud, I at least feel like my head is mine... but every time I try to remember something like that, it hurts like it used to.  Like my own life is too much.  I don't remember what you, what we used to feel like."  Garrus cringed at the lack of inflection in her voice, the contrast from how lively, even sensual, she'd been moments before cutting deep.  He'd been too expressive though, and Shepard looked up and caught it.
"This isn't the reunion you wanted," she mumbled, not letting him go, but tucking her head down and starting to retreat with her leg.
"Shepard, don't," he pleaded, holding onto her as much as he dared to.  "Just having you here is... more than I could've hoped for."
Shepard didn't say anything, but she allowed herself to relax into him again.  Absently she began running her hand over the seams on the front of his shirt at the base of his cowl, and Garrus let himself quietly purr.  They were content for several moments before Garrus gently picked up Shepard's hand and looked at the palm of it curiously.
"...what are you doing?" she asked, raising a brow at him.
"I'm thinking about your body," he replied thoughtfully, and Shepard snickered.  "Not like that," he added with a chuckle.
"Then how?"


"When you first appeared, your scars were the same as I remembered," he explained.  "That's how I knew you weren't a cloned version.  I remember your cloned version and there's at least one scar I know she didn't have.  And look here."  He turned her palm to face her.  "You have callouses.  Callouses from weapons, from sparring, from spending so much time stroking my own rough skin and scars."
Garrus let go of her hand and she stared at it a little longer.  Shepard then brought her hand to the scars on his face and gently traced them.
"...I remember.  Not specific moments, but... I remember," she whispered.
"I don't know how David did it, but somehow he brought your body back exactly as it was when..." he drifted off, unsure of how to finish that sentence, or if he even wanted to.
"...except less bloody," Shepard said, and Garrus gave a laugh of agreement despite her flat tone.
"I think that means there's a good chance a lot of things will return to you pretty naturally as you do them.  Like sparring, dancing--"
"Dancing!" Shepard said with a gasp, raising her head to look at him with pleading in her eyes.  "Please teach me again."  Garrus purred and his mandibles flared out in a grin as he tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear.
"Absolutely."