When you move
I'm put to mind of all that I wanna be
When you move
I could never define all that you are to me
So move me, baby
Shake like the bough of a willow tree
You do it naturally
Move me, baby
You are the rite of movement
Its reasonin' made lucid and cool
And though it's no improvement
When you move, I move
You're less Polunin leapin'
Or Fred Astaire in sequins
Honey, you, you're Atlas in his sleepin'
And when you move, I'm moved
When you move
I can recall somethin' that's gone from me
When you move
Honey, I'm put in awe of somethin' so flawed and free
Movement by Hozier
They both woke in the night, but tried not to alert the other. Garrus shifted and turned, trying to get comfortable once more, but Shepard lay still and stared at the wall away from him. She didn't want to interrupt his efforts to sleep again. He seemed to frequently be restless at night still, even though she'd acclimated to the apartment by now.
Shepard couldn't get their night on the roof out of her head. There had been so many opportunities for them to seduce each other straight into bed, but her lack of remembering and subsequent headaches had stopped them every time. Garrus was being incredibly understanding, especially considering he could recall everything that was supposed to be happening. Not having those memories was a different kind of irritation and disappointment. It left her feeling empty, like being unarmed on a completely different kind of battlefield.
Garrus wasn't successful at drifting off again. Eventually she felt him slowly roll out of the bed and stand, grunting and grumbling as he stretched and cracked his spine. That didn't help either. He stepped away and the door to the bathroom closed before the light flickered on and she heard the sink begin to run.
Finally, she turned over, watching the door. When he came back out, maybe she would try again, to remember, to touch him in ways she used to. She could always try anything, but she didn't want to just experiment as she had been with the other areas of her life since the war. She knew she must know the best ways to know him, and he deserved her confidence in this, at least. It was silly, but without so many memories, she felt like she was trying to take the place of someone who knew him better.
The sink turned off, but was replaced by the stronger stream of the shower, telling her he'd be taking his time. Through the bathroom door she heard him give a gruff purr, likely reacting to the hot water both soothing him and washing away the groggy half-sleep that kept him caught between alertness and rest.
Shepard rolled over onto her back and now stared at the ceiling, her hands clenching the blanket over her abdomen. Some part of her recognized that sound he made. What did she used to do to be the one to elicit that sound from him as the hot, running water did? Sure, she'd done it unintentionally a few times before, but wasn't there a specific touch, a motion, a stroke that she used to know?
Her head began to hurt and she silently raged against the threatening pulsing of pain. Was it possible to push through? What would it take to trigger the memories that would let her share herself with Garrus the way she wanted to? She tried to dig deep and think of anything that might be related; her bed in the captain's cabin, her clothes, his clothes, pillows, a dress, a breath, a texture...
Her headache spiked and she pressed the palms of her hands against her eyes. She thought she might send herself into another seizure or lose consciousness, and Garrus probably wouldn't appreciate that, but she was too committed to the fight now.
She didn't know how much time passed, but the water abruptly turned off. She heard him sigh and then briefly "hum" a tune familiar to her. She suddenly became hyper aware of her hands and brought them away from her face, staring at them in the darkness. She gently ran one over the other, and thought about her callouses that Garrus had recognized. They were getting softer. Sparring alone didn't produce them the way handling weaponry, or handling Garrus, did. She didn't want her hands to get softer; Shepard's hands were not soft...
She blinked and suddenly she knew. The memories hit all at once, but seemed detached and fleeting, like it may be gone if she didn't focus all of her attention on it.
The flirting, the early, lingering glances... the concern for each other's safety they'd had on every mission that was just a little different.
"Why don't we skip right to the tiebreaker?" she'd boldly offered.
"Why the hell not?" he'd boldly accepted.
More than one awkward, but helpful conversation with Mordin, emphasizing risk of chafing.
"Consider me seduced, smooth talker. Now shut up and stop worrying." She remained as confident as ever.
"I want something to go right. Just once." Garrus, not so confident.
"Is this okay?" he'd asked for the third time between nervous and exhilarated breaths.
"Trust me to tell you if it's not-- ah, oops..."
His mandibles caught in her hair. A pair of sweatpants they'd accidentally torn by teasing each other too long. The way things got easier as they learned each other more thoroughly...
Before she realized it, she was standing and walking towards the bathroom, her headache gone. She opened the door without knocking and stood in the doorway. Garrus was still completely naked, his pants on the floor behind him, having lost himself in thought staring at the sink as his skin dried.
"Shepard...?" he murmured, glancing curiously at his state of undress and at her, wondering if she knew what she was doing. They'd been discreet about nakedness up to that point, simply not to trigger painful experiences for Shepard, but he didn't move to retrieve the clothing.
"I remember," she said simply, just the hint of a sultry smile on her lips and in her eyes.
"You... remember?" he repeated carefully, not daring to make assumptions but definitely becoming hopeful at hearing those words.
"I remember making your heart race," she whispered, stepping close enough to place her hand on his chest as he turned to face her. She felt it expand as he drew in a shaky breath. "I remember what pleasure looks like on you..." Shepard let her hand wander down towards his waist and watched his mandibles flutter into a smirk. He hadn't yet moved, as if afraid he might scare her, or her enthusiasm, away. Shepard didn't mind; she felt her own heart racing and couldn't help grinning when it wasn't followed by a headache. She brought her other hand up to the back of his neck and gripped him there, moving forward to press herself against him.
"I remember what it sounds like."
Shepard let her head rest just under his, gently placing a kiss near his neck. Her breath trailed a path up to the side of his face as she let her hair entwine with his mandible. Garrus's eyes closed briefly and a deep, guttural purr was already coming from him. Simply having her body on his bare skin was more than enough to entice him, his own hopeful desires amplifying the allure of her and warming his already warm flesh.
"Spirits, Shepard," he breathed.
"Yep, that's exactly what it sounds like," Shepard said with a tantalizing laugh. He exhaled heavily and looked at her, as serious as he could manage, his hands gently, but hesitantly, landing on her waist.
"Shepard, are you sure you--"
"Don't make me think too hard about this, Garrus," she interjected, her voice quiet but abrupt. She heard it in her own voice, then, and so did he: the confident tone of someone who trusted themself to know precisely what to do, the Commander Shepard that had survived so much for that very reason. "I'm as sure about this as I've ever been."
She knew exactly how to push him over the edge, and briefly wondered if perhaps she had too much power... but her body was already in motion, one leg flexing up, sliding along the outside of his. He responded exactly how she knew he would, and that confirmation was nearly as satisfying as the sensuality he returned. For the briefest of moments Garrus's eyes closed again as he inhaled sharply, and then he dove headfirst into the passion. One hand went to her raised thigh and formed a tight grip while the other positioned itself in the middle of her back, encouraging her spine to curve around it as she opened herself up to him. Garrus wasted no time bringing his mouth to her neck and teasing the skin every way he could.
In a smooth, well-practiced motion, Garrus's hands moved under her thighs and Shepard lifted her feet off the ground, wrapping her legs around his waist. He turned and placed her over the bathroom counter, but she clung to him with her arms and legs still. His chest rumbled against hers, his purr deepening, evoking a quiet "mmm" from her.
Then, she chuckled; not too loudly, but enough to make Garrus pause and bring his forehead against hers.
"Hm?" he questioned, his hands still wandering to all kinds of provocative places.
"I should've said 'get ready to roll'," she murmured. Garrus took a moment to give a good laugh at that.
"There will always be next time," he purred, then got back to what he'd been dreaming of for over a year.
"At the risk of sounding like a broken record... are you okay?" Garrus asked, not yet relaxing onto the bed beside Shepard. Her heart hadn't yet slowed from their activities. "I have the vial from Chakwas close by if you start to fade out," he added reassuringly.
Shepard understood he was expecting her to be in pain or go into a seizure like she had after the simulation at Spectre Status.
"I think I'm experiencing normal levels of dizziness," she mumbled with a smirk. Garrus couldn't help but seem a little pleased with himself, despite his concern. "But... I feel like I'm going to lose what I remembered. Talk with me about it."
"What exactly do you remember?" he asked.
"I remember the first time," she said, then chuckled. "You were so flustered... and lost your visor right before our suicide mission." Garrus chuckled too.
"You thought I was silly for worrying about our love-making interfering with the Collector Base raid, but we may not have made it if you hadn't found it before we left," he joked.
"I remember Mordin's advice," Shepard continued. "Good thing you did too and were prepared with the appropriate lotions and creams."
"Of course," Garrus chuckled.
Shepard listed off more events and details, but as she did so, her tone and expression became more flat. Garrus thought at first she was just getting tired, but then recognized her monotone as what happened on the Normandy, when she was numb. Shepard caught his expression falling, but didn't comment on it. They both knew this was a better state than a seizure, but some part of her resented herself for it.
Throughout those discussions, they also unfortunately discovered that she hadn't remembered every detail of their relationship. Shepard tried to hold on to what she could.
"I remember you getting me flowers," she murmured. She was laying on her back, staring up at the ceiling as Garrus carefully traced patterns along her skin with one finger. "It was close to the end of the war. You talked about making sure the war didn't kill romance, and that if we won, some day all the flowers would come back."
"That was the second time I brought you flowers," Garrus told her. "Do you remember the first?"
"...I don't," she admitted, squeezing her eyes shut.
"...that's okay," he soothed, lifting her hand and holding it close to his face. "You will."
Several hours later, Shepard woke slowly, awareness and relaxation fighting for dominance. She was finally conscious enough to realize that she didn't hear Garrus breathing beside her, and turned to confirm the bed was empty. It felt familiar that he would wake before her. The flowers from the day before had been placed on the nightstand along with a note: "Meet me on the roof when you're ready for breakfast."
With a contented smile she stretched and rolled out of bed, waking her body further. She felt more like herself than she had before her sleep. Despite knowing Garrus was waiting, she decided a quick shower to wash off the night's activities would be a good idea. She was efficient, and not much time had passed before she was dressed for the day and leaving the apartment.
The elevator doors opened, but it was not empty. Shepard stepped to the side to let the man exit, but he instead stepped back.
"This is not my floor," he explained, clearing his throat.
"Oh, okay." Shepard entered the elevator but something began to feel odd to her. "Are you the owner of the building?" she asked the man.
"No." He wore a bright smile, but the way his blue eyes watched her felt disconcerting.
He didn't make any selection on the elevator keypad; they were already on the top, and he hadn't entered here... why had he gone up? Shepard didn't want to reveal the access code for the roof so she simply pressed the button for the floor below, where Vrila was taking residence. That was the simplest way to evade the situation.
The elevator had barely started moving when the man calmly reached forward and initiated the emergency stop, then turned to face her.
"I was hoping to speak with both you and Garrus. Where did he go off to, Shepard?" he asked, still relaxed in his posture but looking far too smug.
"I believe you're mistaken, and you do not get to hold me hostage," she interjected harshly.
"Oh, you almost sound like you when you're upset!" His tone was oozing self-congratulation, and for a moment Shepard just paused as she gave him a closer look. He looked rather average aside from the brightness of his eyes, but his energy spoke louder than his appearance. She could sense he was excited, like a raving fan, but also like someone who was about to achieve something they desperately craved. The way she could feel his emotions left her unconcerned for physical safety, but still uncomfortable.
"I'm not Shepard," she said, her voice level.
"I know you have to say that, but I know..." he said, then shrugged and waved his hands dismissively. "It doesn't matter. I can still have this moment."
"I don't-- oh!" Realization crashed over her like a chill down her spine as she recognized him. "Hyatt."
His eyes lit up and he smirked.
"This is fascinating," he mused. "You are fascinating, just as everyone has said."
"I know how you feel about me," she snapped. "You do not want Garrus to find out you were here." She squared her shoulders and placed one hand on his shoulder, moving him away from the elevator panel. He didn't protest moving, but began talking quickly again as she was trying to get the elevator functional again.
"You're so closed off to possibilities. What if I know more about what happened to you than you think I do? You need me to help you remember."
The elevator started moving, stopping his tirade, but Shepard was fairly sure it wasn't her interference that fixed it. It was going up.
"Your time is up," she told Hyatt as it passed the floor she lived on. Hyatt's eyes narrowed and he huffed with impatience.
"You could be restored, whole again--"
The doors opened onto the roof and Garrus's shadow surrounded him. Garrus didn't say a word, but his lowered head and fierce growl said enough. This was no longer the casual war hero; this was the vigilante Archangel with a lot less mercy. Hyatt tried to appeal to Shepard one more time.
"Shepard, I can explain how--"
Hyatt would not get a chance to explain. Garrus brought his hand away from the omnitool he'd used to override the elevator and lunged at Hyatt, gripping the front of his shirt and dragging him out of the elevator.
"He didn't hurt me," Shepard tried to assure the turian as she stepped out as well, but Garrus didn't want to listen. "He's not trying to hurt me."
"I shouldn't have thought you'd let me speak like she did," Hyatt hissed, then abruptly stopped fighting as Garrus bent him backwards over the barrier surrounding the roof.
"Garrus!" Shepard shouted in surprise, watching as Hyatt's flailing fell still.
"You wouldn't do this here," Hyatt grumbled, his hair hanging upside down and blowing in the wind. "You wouldn't spill my blood in your cozy new home."
The three of them were silent and still for a moment. They all knew Garrus was not likely to follow through, but they also knew enough of him wanted to. The gesture was meaningful for the moment, as evidenced by Shepard's frown and Hyatt's shaking hands.
"...how convenient for you," Garrus finally growled. He hoisted Hyatt back onto the safe side of the barrier. Hyatt tried to shove Garrus away and he did let go of his shirt, but then gripped his arms in a way that Shepard was sure was painful. Hyatt couldn't do much about it as Garrus began walking him back to the elevator.
"You do not belong here," he snarled. "If you come anywhere near this building again, I will once more make sure you leave, and then follow you until you're somewhere I am willing to spill your blood."
Garrus got the elevator doors to open and then threw Hyatt in, causing him to hit the floor and back wall with a thud. Hyatt simply glared back as Garrus sent the elevator down to the lobby, but Shepard thought she caught a flicker of a smirk before the doors closed.
She stared at Garrus's back and waited as he took a couple deep breaths to calm his adrenaline. When he was ready, he turned halfway and simply reached out his hand, and she was there, ready to be pulled into his embrace.
"He didn't even put his hands on me, Garrus," she assured him. "I'm fine."
"I'm not," he huffed, a quiet purr coming from him that Shepard realized was mostly to calm himself. "Did that feel like calling me off Sidonis all over again?" he asked with a sheepish chuckle. Shepard's brow furrowed.
"I know who Sidonis is, but... I don't remember a confrontation," she admitted.
"...oh." With a quiet exhale they separated. Garrus's head was turned but Shepard caught the disappointment on his face. She floundered in the silence that followed, desperate to fill it with something other than her own swelling anxiety.
"He said I needed him to help me remember," she blurted out awkwardly.
"Him, help you?" Garrus's head whipped back to face her. "This is the man who hung a poster of you, upside down, with a red 'X' over it," he huffed, shaking his head.
"Maybe his tune has changed and he's discovered what a gift I am to the universe," Shepard scoffed. Garrus's mandibles twitched, unsure how to respond to her self-aggrandizing sarcasm. There was another long pause that caused Shepard to wrap her arms around herself.
"How did you even know he was in the elevator with me?" she asked, once again trying to fill the space.
"I... just could," he mumbled. "I guess because of the synthesis. Something just felt off. How did he seem... to you?"
"He seemed... excited. Like he had achieved something important," she replied. Garrus just grunted and paced away. Shepard knew he was thinking hard about something he didn't want her to ask about. If she were fully herself, would she ask him about it anyway?
"...your note mentioned breakfast?" she eventually questioned, her voice careful and small.
"Oh, yes," Garrus replied, slowly turning back towards her. "I have it set up over here."
They both made their way to a sampling of food Garrus had set out on the patio furniture, and did their best to enjoy a meal in less than comfortable silence.
Shepard felt off for the rest of the day. It was normal for her to feel like she was forgetting something important, because she was, but it seemed stronger now and she'd been walking on eggshells. Late in the evening, they'd showered together and were retiring to bed, and Shepard was hoping to finally escape the feeling with sleep.
She laid down and started to get comfortable, but then realized Garrus had sat down on the bed but stopped there. She rolled over and saw him staring at her like he was waiting for her to say something.
"...what?" she asked, fidgeting with the blanket.
"I, um... I thought--" He cut himself off, mandibles twitching as he stammered. He was looking at her so intently and she didn't know why. He looked lost and it made her nervous.
"What?" she repeated, an edge to her voice. He hesitated, choosing his words carefully.
"I... thought maybe, you would be considering how to address the situation with Hyatt," he murmured.
Roxanne Blaker was categorizing the incident as just some weird run-in with a creep. An unfortunate, isolated event.
Shepard would be seeing this as part of the pattern and taking action. Hyatt would be a new task or mission. At the very least, Shepard would have reported the incident to a superior as intel.
That's the Shepard behavior Garrus was expecting. He was ready to fall into step with a Commander who wasn't there. That's what he was searching for in her eyes and not finding.
Shepard turned away from him, stiffly settling back down on to her pillow, unable to meet his gaze.
"I figured you would run point on that," she grumbled as an excuse. Truthfully she hadn't considered it. Did she even used to use the phrase 'run point'? She didn't know. She wanted to hide from her uncertainty.
"...I understand," he said quietly, and she wished he didn't. "I'll take care of it."
Soon he was settling in among the many pillows behind her, and she felt his cowl against her back and his arm carefully draped over her waist. She allowed herself to relax but it was a long while before either of them fell asleep.