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SSV NORMANDY SR2 - CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS - 00:15AM CITADEL TIME

Shepard fell forward on the bed with a gasp, her thighs trembling in pleasure while Garrus held on to her hips as she reached her peak. A litany of ‘Garrus, Garrus, Garrus!’ falling from her lips. The Turian at her back buried himself into her two more times before she heard him groan her name and felt him spill inside her; the blinking red light of the camera fading. Usually she wouldn't let him film them fucking, not with an actual camera anyway, but these were exceptional circumstances.

Even as she fell asleep she was torn between wanting their plan to work or not.

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS - 6:45AM CITADEL TIME

It was nearly 7am, Citadel time, when her omni-tool started beeping insistently. Antares blinked herself awake with some effort, glaring at her wrist. She felt Garrus stirring even as she peeked at the sudden influx of notifications on her omni-tool and she couldn't help but snort as one caught her attention.

She felt Garrus moving at her back before his arm sneaked over her stomach, drawing her even closer to her lover's body, his heat something she had come to cherish in the cold of space.

"News?" Garrus grumbled, voice rough with sleep even as his hand settled in under her breasts, palm over her heart, heavy breath on her hair.

"Apparently our mark took the bait," she tried to suppress a yawn without much success, snuggling against him. It was early enough into their pseudo shore leave that she still wasn't sure if she wanted sex or cuddles, regardless, she wanted to be close to him as much as possible before duty called.

“Good, anything besides that?” He yawned, mouth wide open, teeth showing and Spirits help her, she found him adorable.

“Not really, just the press having a field day over you fucking me on camera,” she wrinkled her nose at the taste in her mouth and hoisted herself up, intent on brushing her teeth when a 3-fingered hand took hold of her wrist, stopping her before she could even step down. “Garrus?”

“Did you like having a pseudo-audience?” He asked, now fully awake and looking at her, she could see him considering their relationship, thinking, plotting. It sent a shiver down her spine.

“I-” she stopped, feeling herself start to respond to his voice like she always did. Antares swallowed, considering. She could deny him, but she had a lot more fun when she didn't. “Somewhat? I’m not sure how to explain it.”

He smiled and pulled her toward him until she was on top, sitting on his lap. Garrus kissed her forehead with the tenderness they often indulged in private, they usually avoided public displays of affections - mostly a conscious effort to make their crew at ease - but he often indulged in cuddles with her when they were alone. “Your response was very nice yesterday,” he whispered in the space between them, “imagine,” he started, guiding her so she could feel him already out of his plates, hard, “what if someone of our choosing could watch us? Could see you getting filled with my cock? Someone sitting right there by the couch,” he nodded at the empty area even though his eyes were locked on Antares’ “what if someone else could see you being unmade by my hands? Would you like that?” He asked before capturing her lips in a lingering kiss, he could smell her arousal, could feel her bare pussy on him, damp and greedy. It was an answer all on its own, but he wanted to hear her say it.

“I like the thought of it,” she said moving her hips back and forth, feeling the ridges of his dick against her cunt, she loved the feel of him, “I liked the thought of someone catching us, the danger of it, not sure I'd like someone else in the room with us, not on purpose.” She bit her lower lip, eyes down, thinking. “I’d like the thrill of maybe getting caught by someone, not so much the idea of purposely bringing them in, does that make sense?”

“It does,” he murmured and kissed her again, hand gripping her thighs, even as she ground herself on him, “my little voyeur, I think I know what I’m gonna do with you,” he smirked against her mouth, grabbing the visor on the night stand and turning it on putting it on the perfect position to film them.

“Garrus-”

“It’s my own private collection, I will cut the vid if you want me to,” he assured her, hand on her waist, caressing her skin, she shivered against him; positive reinforcement was a wonderful thing.

She looked at him, weighting in her options, above all else she trusted Garrus, not only in the battlefield but with her heart and privacy, she trusted him to keep his private collection just that, private, “do it.”

“That’s my girl,” he muttered against the skin of her throat, his hand caressing her backside before deftly slipping a finger in her pussy, “so responsive,” he muttered in her ear as she gasped, “so wet,” he withdrew his finger, only to plunge it in her again with a wet sound, “and all mine.”

She only moaned in response, seeking more contact as he fingered her, she was still slick from the night before and the sounds he was pulling from her pussy were positively obscene, but not nearly enough to get her mewling in ecstasy like he wanted, for that she needed more, they both did.

He removed his finger from her cunt deliberately bringing it to his mouth, her eyes glued on his tongue as he tasted her, “do you want my cock or just want my tongue?” he asked, his dick laying heavily on his stomach, he could feel her squeezing his fingers, the tease, and feel the warm of her breath on his skin.

“Cock please,” she grinned at him, lifting herself just enough for him to position himself at her entrance, the head of his dick resting nicely against her pussy lips.

“Naughty,” he groaned, gripping her waist and holding her still as he sunk into her with one thrust of his hips. “Very naughty.”

She gasped, throwing her head back; even stretched from the night before he was a tight fit, “Garrus!”

“Don't hold back, love,” he muttered against her lips, thrusting in and out of her, holding her still. His grip on her waist rendering her helpless on his lap as he used her body for his pleasure; getting gasps and moans out of her lips was one of his favourite things.

“Oh fuck,” she gasped, she loved that show of strength, how effortlessly he could unmake her when he wanted to. “Oh shit, please,” she pleaded, clenching around him, a groan escaping his lips.

He knew what she wanted, could feel in the tight, wet grip around his cock. He sunk to the hilt, releasing his hold on her waist as she used his dick to get herself off, it was a hot, quick orgasm that had her gasping even as he reached his own peak, cumming in her pussy, holding her thighs as he held her down again, as he tasted her lips again.

“How do you feel so good so early in the morning?” She whispered against him, tightening her muscles around him again, feeling him finish inside her.

“I aim to please,” he grinned at her, slipping out, his sensitive cock still out of his plates as he laid her besides him.

“Nerd,” she laughed, feeling her muscles nice and relaxed, she brought her wrist up to check her omni-tool again, snorting at one particular thread: ‘Vakarian showing Commander Shepard, the first human Spectre, the might of the Hierarchy!’ in bold, with nearly 50k up-votes. She snorted at the ridiculous line, she would have to show that one to Garrus some time.

Antares looked up when she heard her shower turning on, Garrus really did have he best ideas.

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - MESS - 7AM CITADEL TIME

“Is everything ok?” Kelly asked, getting her first cup of black tea of the day.

“They went ahead with that crazy plan of Shepard’s,” Joker grumbled, looking at the bottom of his empty mug, the smell of stale coffee ingrained on his clothes, making Kelly wrinkle her nose, she hated the smell of coffee.

“Did EDI find anything?” She asked, making a note to check out the vid later, she had always been curious about Turians.

“Found, traced, and closed the server, we’re flying there now to arrest the creep,” Joker still wouldn't look at her. “I can't believe she did it.” He laughed, the rumbling of it ringing hollow in her ears.

“Jeff?”

“Its all over the extranet,” he exploded, pushing away from the table, “’relationship caught on tape,’ and ’Commander Shepard a part of the Hierarchy’ and everyone’s talking about her!”

He groaned hands gripping his hair as if he could forcefully remove the images from his brain, “I ended up stumbling on the vid, she warned me about it even, but my curiosity got the better of me, next thing I knew-” he laughed, walking, limping, around the mess table; under any other circumstance Kelly wouldn't let him pace the Normandy like that least he hurt himself.

“How much did you see?” Kelly asked, voice low and calm, measured.

“All of it,” he sighed, wincing as he sat down again, he had never expected Shepard to show up in a porn vid, but more than that, he had never expected her to be the submissive one. Shepard seemed to be larger than life sometimes, to see her submitting to Garrus, of all people, was unsettling.

“You should talk to her,” she wrapped her hands around the mug, the warmth leading to a sense of comfort even as she felt the knot of anticipation growing. She definitely needed to see the vid.

“Yeah and say what? ‘Oh Commander you remember when you warned me of your plans and told me to be careful? Yeah I ended up watching my buddy Garrus fuck you and now I can’t look you in the eye,’ yeah that would go over great!” he laughed, a sharp, hollow sound that grated on her ears.

“It'll help you get past that,” she pointed out before getting up to refill her mug.

“She's gonna tell me it's my issue to deal with.”

“Well she wouldn’t be wrong though,” Kelly shrugged, picking an energy bar from the counter, she didn't much care for Gardner’s cooking, least of all in the morning. “She warned you, you looked at it anyway even after realizing what you were watching, none of it is her fault.”

“Aren't you supposed to be compassionate about this stuff?” He turned to her with a confused frown.

“Compassion doesn't rule out making you taking responsibility for your own life, Joker.”

“Yeah but…”

“You though I'd be all ’oh you poor baby,’ didn't you?” She smiled, amused, everyone always thought that for some reason. “That's not gonna happen unless you're seriously injured.”

“Yeah well, you're no help.”

“Next time just tell me you want a pity party, not actual advice,” she arched an eyebrow at him, a hint of mockery on her lopsided smile as she took the elevator, she would definitely have to watch the vid.

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - CIC - 7:25AM CITADEL TIME

Kelly heard the murmur throughout the CIC as she stepped out of the elevator, the furtive glances in her direction along with the sound of someone breathing in relief; it seemed like Joker wasn’t the only one to watch the now infamous sex tape.

She placed the mug by her terminal, surreptitiously observing the ones around her. There was Steven, his face red, and she could see him glancing at the elevator every few seconds. There was Wanda, who looked vaguely nauseous as she stared at her Omni tool. Yoshi and Laaibah were hunched over his omni tool, laughing.

When the elevator pinged announcing the commander, the crew members all turned to stare at her and the hulking Turian as she stepped out seemingly unaware, or uncaring, of the stares. Garrus stayed behind, going to the main battery.

“Kelly?” The Commander called her, opening her terminal to read the mission update, not sparing a glance to the CIC crew. “Did EDI find the leak?”

“Yes, Commander, she has traced the leak and the first ten people directly contacted by the target, to disseminate the vid if the demands were not met, she’s 99% certain they’re the same one threatening to leak private dignitaries’ footage.”

“I’m guessing we’re already en-route to their base?” Shepard asked, glancing at the galaxy map before turning back to her terminal to check the mission.

“Yes,” Kelly said, “EDI has warned me that they made some, ah, additions to the leaked evidence.”

“I thought they might do that, any idea of what it is?”

“Mostly slurs aimed at Officer Vakarian,” EDI chimed in, the hologram seemed to blink at all of them, “the scene was also edited to seem as if you were unwilling. There are discussions on the extranet to whether the video is fake or not, though there seems to be a gathering of fans rooting for your relationship.”

“Rooting for-” she stopped herself, turning to stare at the AI, “you know what? No, I don’t need to know.”

“Very well, Shepard,” the AI said and Antares got the distinct impression she was being judged, “logging you out.”

She shook her head, looking at the path Joker and EDI had traced, it would take them through a few solar flares in volatile systems, but the ship could handle it. She could feel the stares from her crew, could feel their eyes slowly taking her in as if, suddenly, she was a different person.

“Ladies,” Shepard started, using her Commander voice, knowing everyone within reach would pay attention, “you all have jobs to do that do not involve staring at me, get to it.”

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - CREW DECK - MAIN BATTERY - 9:33AM CITADEL TIME

“So, you and Shepard,” Kasumi said, sitting on top of Garrus’ weapons bench, he had thought about asking her to leave, but he had a feeling it would only encourage her.

“Yes, we have been over this Kasumi,” he muttered, eyes on the algorithm in front of him, there was a way about the Thanix, some configuration so it wouldn’t draw as much energy from their batteries, it had been fine to fight the Collectors, but the energy drawn could potentially be a problem in the future.

“Well, can you blame me for wanting details?” The thief grinned at him. Garrus thought the grin was nearly predatory, but then again, he was Turian.

“I can absolutely blame you for wanting details,” he chuckled, saving his work and shutting the console, “it's all over the extranet, everyone in this ship has probably seen it, can you honestly tell me you haven't?”

“I can dishonestly tell you I haven't,” Kasumi pointed out before chuckling herself, “seriously, how you dealing with it?”

“Now you just sound like Chambers,” he grimaced, his subvocals thrumming in annoyance, “no, I have no problem with people seeing my mate and I having sex, Andy’s beautiful, she's strong, capable, selfless, and having the privilege of being with her-” he trailed off, his subvocals switching from annoyance to singing his absolute adoration for the woman.

“Okay lover boy, so you’re fine with this, I mean, if it had been a human-”

“You really need to stop comparing me to a human male,” he interrupted her with a pointed look, even though it was Garrus, out of all people, having that look directed at her was unnerving sometimes. “Most Turians just don’t have an issue with it, it doesn’t really carry the same shame you humans associate with it, I mean… it’s sex.” He shrugged, in that up and forward way of his, a near perfect copy of Shepard’s.

“Yeah, and there’s a stigma there for humanity.”

“Which is humanity’s to deal with,” he directed another pointed look at her, “the human I care about the most is fine with it, so I really don’t care what the rest of you think.” He stopped, clearly thinking, before he threw a smirk her way “besides it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Human-Turian relations improved in the wake of this. I heard it happened nearly the same with the first Asari-Turian couple.”

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - CIC - 11:00AM CITADEL TIME

“Joker,” Shepard asked from the Galaxy map, a datapad in her hand with possible squad configurations, “how long until we get to Klensal?”

“About two hours, Commander, we’re in the Dis Solar System, but we had to slow down, the radiation output is messing with our radars and I’d hate to fly blind here.”

“We’re in Batarian-controlled territory, go nice and easy and try not to draw attention to us. We get in, arrest the dealer, and get out.”

“So stay in low orbit until you're done, got it.” There was a pause, a moment of anticipation, then “listen, isn't that what Garrus-”

“You finish that sentence and I'll let Grunt have a go at you at hand to hand,” Antares snapped. “What is it with everyone acting weird today?”

“Uh- you allowed a sex tape of you and Garrus to be leaked?” Her pilot asked in a tone of blatant disbelief.

“Who says I've done anything like that?” She allowed herself a hidden smirk as she closed the galaxy map.

“Commander?” Joker blinked, momentarily thrown off. Well, if that’s how she wanted to play it...

“Keep the comms open when I enter the compound.” She ordered before turning on her heel and going to the armoury. She needed to prepare.

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - SHUTTLE BAY - 1:15PM CITADEL TIME

Shepard had just finished fastening her armour when she felt the sound of Garrus subvocals along with Zaeed’s and another crewman getting into an friendly discussion - Davidson? Yatle? She’s have to look into it later.

“I still can’t believe you let her do it, that’s all I’m saying,” Antares blinked in surprise by that line in particular, she still couldn’t make up the  crewman’s face, he was turned to Garrus and Zaeed, but his voice was already grating on her nerves, “had she been my girlfriend-”

“But she isn’t, is she?” Zaeed’s voice cut in, a distinct sneer in his tone. “Forget it kid, you’d never get a woman like Shepard,” his gruff voice sounded scornful at the very suggestion and privately Antares agreed.

“I still don’t understand why you humans are so hung up on it, it’s sex, everyone but the Salarians are having it on a regular basis,” Garrus rolled his eyes, his gaze resting briefly on her, “and do you really think you'd have the power to stop Antares Shepard from doing anything? Really?” He outright glared at the other human, even as Zaeed gave his disbelieving snort again.

“Well if she was my woman-”

“You'd do what, exactly?” Shepard cut in once she was at the crewman’s back, she was almost certain it was Davidson.

“Commander!”

“Finish your thoughts, please, I can't wait to find out what my crew thinks of my sex life.” She glared at him, she had an inkling of what was about to come out of his mouth, and she had no time for that sort of bullshit.

“I just think-” Davidson stopped himself, swallowing hard enough for all of them to hear, “I think you ought to have some self-respect as humanity’s representative.”

She stared at the man for a whole second, torn between the urge to laugh and punch him. “Let me get this straight,” she started, leaning back on her heels, “you think I somehow equal my self-respect with whom I sleep with? And because you don't like it, you think I should either be doing someone else or not doing it?” She paused, not really giving the man time to think, more to gather her thoughts, “let me clear some things up for you because you seem to be confused, private. You work for me, you serve under me on this tour and I don't particularly care if you like me or not, if you respect me or not, all I need is for you to follow orders when I assign them, if you can't do that and keep your opinions to yourself I'll gladly hire someone else.”

“I- y-yes ma'am.”

“Good, now I have a mission to get to, so get the hell out of my sight.” She said through clenched teeth as the man saluted and scurried to the elevator.

“Always good to see you threaten people, Shepard,” Zaeed said as he grinned at her, after their rocky start it was good to know he had her back, even in this.

“Only when they deserve it, shall we gentlemen?” She grinned at them, turning around and going back to the shuttle.

KLENSAL - 3:15PM CITADEL TIME - 35:43 LOCAL TIME

“Why do you always bring me to the coldest planets?” Garrus sighed as he watched the temperature drop.

“I like to see you squirm,” Shepard said deadpan, looking at the sensors while she allowed Zaeed to drive, Garrus was on lookout duty.

“Swear’t god, if you two start flirting now,” Zaeed spit out, making the Hammerhead jump over a rock on their path.

“Admit it, you wish I would flirt with you,” she grinned at him, full of teeth.

“Don't even joke, you could be my kid for all I know,” Zaeed said, a slight crease in his brows, for a moment she wondered if he even had a kid before deciding it wasn't any of her business.

“I already have a dad, proved by DNA and everything,” she checked the location of the base again. If she remembered correctly it was underground, and, as far as her research had taken her, Leopold, the Volus contractor renting the place, wasn’t big on refurnishing a hidden underground lair unless it was to add more artificial pressure for their own, personal, use.

Which only made her question everything that had happened in the last fifteen hours, starting with a Hanar gang-leader who could possibly be indoctrinated.

“Shepard?” Garrus asking, placing a hand on her shoulder, startling her out of her musings to see that the entrance to the hidden bunker outlined on the fringe of the area they were in. “You ok?”

“Yeah, lost in thought.”

“The extranet getting on yer nerves?” Zaeed asked, glancing at her through the corner of his eyes before looking back at the plains.

“Not really,” she shrugged, the extranet could have their fifteen minutes shitting themselves over the vid, but she still had a mission to complete, “I’m just wondering how a Hanar becomes the leader of a gang, let alone one with enough power to blackmail a councillor. That’s insane.”

“Not if they think they’re doing the work of the Enkindlers,” Garrus chimed in, “besides with as many tentacles as they have, they can be deadly fast, especially if they’re hiding in a water cave.”

“Wait, wait, let me see if I can get this right, a jelly blackmailed one of yer councillors, who sent you to investigate, and to track down the jelly you released a sex tape? Yer guddamn insane.”

“Hey it worked!” She pointed out. “Besides it was either going to be a failed attempt, a success, or it was gonna end in tentacle porn.”

“You forgot the best part, Zaeed,” Garrus snorted as he leaned back on the passenger seat in the back, ignoring Shepard’s remarks about sex with the Hanar, “if they’re doing the blackmail in the name of the Enkindlers, there’s a chance they’re indoctrinated to boot.”

“Guddamn it, Shepard, you get stuck with the craziest missions.”

KLENSAL - BASE ENTRANCE - 4PM CITADEL TIME - 36:25 LOCAL TIME

“Is it me, or is it too quiet here?” Garrus muttered as they slowed down the hammerhead, the blanket of snow making everything seem muted and calm.

“You’re the one with the superior hearing,” Zaeed grumbled.

“If you two could keep from jinxing us, I’d appreciate it.” Shepard said, looking at the entrance with narrowed eyes before glancing at the datapad. “We know they have no surveillance on the outside, and they have at least one platoon protecting… is that really their name? Facename Aitos, soulname ‘pursue the darkness of the Enkindlers’?”

“That’s what our source says anyway,” Zaeed half shrugged, glancing at the scanner, “seems like they changed their name recently too.”

“Huh,” Shepard hummed under he breath, the Hammerhead’s engine was starting to cool down and they needed somewhere to park, fast. It was times like that that Antares missed the Mako, not that she would tell anyone that. “Any traps? Wires? Anything weird showing on the scanners?”

“Nothing, and it’s making my plates itch, something’s wrong.”

“Agreed, but we go in anyway, I don’t want Ham to freeze with us inside.”

Zaeed just snorted as he stopped the vehicle, the hangar door staying stubbornly closed as they hopped off.

“Shepard-”

“If you complain about the cold I’m gonna throw a snowball right into your cowl.”

“Noted,” Garrus sighed, his breath coming out as static on the comms. “I’m gonna take a look at the lock, if it’s the same as last time I can hack it and we can park the hammerhead inside.”

“Do it.”

KLENSAL - HANGAR - 4:15PM CITADEL TIME - 36:40 LOCAL TIME

With the Hammerhead parked inside they proceeded through the base, checking the rooms as they passed, hacking for information - and credits - whenever possible. The base was empty, or seemed to be that way, the light was faint, leaving everything in near darkness and the trio to proceed with their riffle’ lights on. Antares couldn’t shake the feeling someone was watching them.

“Hear that?” Garrus whispered in the comms, quiet enough that she almost didn’t catch what he said, Zaeed did though.

“You’re the one with the better hearing, birdy.”

“Water, they have something with water nearby-”

“And the bastard’s a Hanar, fuck.” Shepard interrupted him. There was only the downstairs rooms to look and she would bet her Widow that the jelly thought they could capture them.

“Close quarters with a Hanar. Fun.” Zaeed grumbled as he switched to a heavy pistol.

“Yah, aren’t you glad I brought the local Hanar expert? Because I sure am.” Antares smiled to herself, ignoring Zaeed’s mumbled ‘no.’

“Is this the time when I go back to the Hammerhead? Because I feel like it is.” Garrus grumbled over the comms, his subvocals low.

“No, this is the time to do what you do best, well… the second thing you do best.”

“So I don't get to stand around looking pretty while you save everyone then?”

“Fuck, you two are terrible at flirting.” Zaeed stepped to the door leading them to the lower rooms, a long corridor supposedly where Aitos was hiding.

“Let's get this over with.”

KLENSAL - SERVICE ENTRANCE C - 4:33PM CITADEL TIME - 36:58 LOCAL TIME

It took nearly five minutes to work out a plan, the rest was used to set the ground.

They had hacked the security feed, making it seem like the trio was slowly searching the upper level while Zaeed climbed and crawled through the air duct. Antares placed herself as bait near the trap door and Garrus was near the water registry, at the far end of the corridor.

EDI had downloaded the new layout and sent to their ‘tools, and Antares could only thank whatever deity that the criminals are diligent enough over their basic safety measures to hire a credible structural engineer to oversee the necessary changes for a Hanar-oriented habitat. The fact that said engineer did comply with Citadel regulations thus allowing her Spectre-access was a godsend.

It was a rectangular room, the bottom filled with water and different chambers for Aitos, and only one entrance to his home: a pool, in the centre of the room.

“Ready boys?” She grinned at Garrus, her blood pumping before a good fight.

“Shepard,” Zaeed’s voice buzzed over their comms, “there’s one Drell and one Turian inside, Drell has his focus on the entrance points, Turians is overseeing the perimeter and checking the camera feed.”

“Hired security do you think?”

“My guess is that the Turian is hired security, either bored out of his mind or they really don’t know what they’re doing.”

“And the Drell?”

“Either hired too or honestly part of Aitos’ gang, hard to tell.”

“Is the Turian in the part where the floor can be removed to give the Hanar room?” Garrus asked, looking over the floor blueprint again.

“Aye, you thinking they’re gonna drown?”

“It’s more likely that he’s wearing a water-proof vest, what with walking around freely like that. Either they’re gonna do down, or they’ll fight underwater too.”

“Fighting underwater? A Turian? How much is Aitos paying these guys?”

“Fuck if I know, but I want some in my bank account.” Zaeed grumbled, “I’ve got a shot lined up with the Drell, just waiting for you to waltz in Shepard.”

“Okay, here goes nothing. Garrus, start the countdown.”

“You got it.”

KLENSAL - CENTRAL ROOM - 4:35PM CITADEL TIME - 37:00 LOCAL TIME

Antares Shepard kicked in the door leading to the central room, a cursory view only to confirm Zaeed’s assessment, a Turian, looking at her with a bored expression, and a Drell, ready to pounce on her. Behind her the clock was ticking. “Where is Aitos?” She snarled, a show of barely suppressed rage.

“Right here Commander,” the Hanar said in its ethereal, permanently calm, voice. “This one welcomes you to its lair, it’s a pity you won’t survive to see Dis raise up in the sky.”

“Why did you do this? Why go after me?” She stalked forward, watching the Hanar closely, trusting her squad to keep an eye on the two henchmen.

“The truth of the Enkindlers that you have supposedly uncovered, the claims you’ve made that they’ve been genetically mutated into the Collectors, such lies must be stricken from history. This one has elected itself to be the blade that will strike you down for your insolence, Spectre.” Aitos rose up in the water as the floor receded a few meters. Antares glanced at the Turian to see him clicking his mandibles in annoyance; definitely a water vest then.

“How did you get into my network? How did you create that film of Garrus and I?”

“Your encryption was weak.” Shepard suppressed a laugh, covering it with the safety click of her gun, “your reputation needed to be destroyed, Spectre, your Council along with it,” Aitos said, his skin pulsing in different hues, she had the Hanar excited, fun. “Your lies must be curbed and if I must drag the Hierarchy into this I will, you’ve committed treason against the Enkindlers, Shepard, and this one will not stand for it!” Aitos waved one of its tentacles around, showing the floor controls before ominously pressing the button as the floor slid down all the way, Shepard falling into the water.

“Count to three for me sweetheart,” Garrus whispered in her ear, she could almost see him grinning.

‘One,’ she mentally counted, watching as the annoyed Turian pressed a button on his vest and his armour turned into a water-proof vest, breather attached, he didn’t reach for his weapon.

‘Two.’ She saw Zaeed’s shot pierce the approaching Drell’s skull, one less to worry about.

‘Three.’ She saw the Hanar approaching fast, tentacles ready to wrap around her neck before the water suddenly drained around them. Aitos slid down the floor, unable to continue his forward momentum, hitting the wall besides Shepard with a wet splash.

“Aitos,” Shepard started, coding in the specialized tentacle-cuff to imprison him, “soulname ‘pursue the darkness of the Enkindlers,’ you’re under arrest under Code 13 of the Citadel Peace Act 2, you don’t have the right to an attorney, you’re doing directly back to Kahje to face trial for the attempted blackmail of a council Spectre and the Salarian Councillor.”

“So, does that mean I can go now?” The Turian mercenary asked, arms crossed in front of his keel bone, ignoring the struggling Hanar on the ground.

“Yeah, after you answer my partner’s questions.” She said without looking up, she could hear Zaeed and Garrus moving around the room, Zaeed’s steps heavy as he dropped to the wet floor, Garrus nearly silent, only the splash of water to give him away.

“Sure, cheap bastard didn’t wanna cover any of the costs of having me and Cander over there in a water-based environment, he wasn't paying much to keep my mouth shut either.”

“This one will remember your treason, Turian!” Aitos said as Antares led him away, the flashing colours at odds with its calm demeanour. Hanar prisoners were always tricky, just as well they weren't underwater again to give her trouble.

“Please shut up, you've caused enough trouble as it is.” She sighed at the prisoner as Zaeed took the left, they were nearly out of the room when the Turian Mercenary spoke again.

“You're Vakarian, right? Nice one with nailing the human Spectre, got a few buddies interested in humans too after watching that vid-” the voices faded as they went up the entrance.

“Despite your arrest your reputation will suffer, Spectre, I have made sure of it.” There was no denying the smug satisfaction in the translator’s output and for a moment she wondered what he was really saying as irrelevant as it was.

“We’ll see, Aitos, we’ll see.”

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - DEBRIEFING ROOM - 6:15PM CITADEL TIME

She stood at attention in the meeting room, on a direct call with Councillor Valern. They were in FTL and she couldn’t even imagine the price of the call per minute, certainly more than she could afford as an Alliance Commander. “The Hanar’s in custody and we’re spreading the rumours that all the vids they had were fabricated, including mine and yours Councillor, they were planing on releasing one with another Spectre and the Consort, but I'm not sure how real the Kaius vids were.” Antares stood in parade rest, Councillor Valern on the QEC, looking as pensive as always.

“Yes, we have received the reports and we’re starting contingency plans on our end too, to discredit the leaks, and this… Hanar?” The distaste on the Councillor’s voice was unmistakable; part of her was just glad it wasn’t her at the end of his scorn this time.

“Currently in Normandy’s containment cells, we’re heading to Kahje now to drop them off with Hanar officials, before heading back to the Traverse to check on building efforts around the colonies that were taken.” She almost feels the need to salute the Councillor, almost.

“If that’s the case I’ll have our officials standing by, excellent work, Spectre,” the Councillor said before they disconnected, leaving Shepard with a sense of pride tickling beneath her skin; it was the first time Valern had called her that.

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - CIC - 6:20PM CITADEL TIME

“EDI, how is the crew doing? Have they heard the news about the Hanar and the tampered vids?” She didn’t look up from her console, fully aware that her crew was paying attention.

“Yes Shepard, Operative Lawson has also issue a ship-wide message that crew members are to carry their duties as usual, while I have spread the rumours that the leaks were false, a few of our crew mates had some complaints about the operation, but Lawson, Taylor and Ms Chambers have handled it.”

Antares blinked in surprise, she hadn’t expected Miranda to help her with her crazy plan, but she wouldn’t deny it was more than appreciated. Shepard would buy something nice for her later on.

“Good, please send a copy of my debrief with Valern to Cerberus Command and to the Citadel Archives, security level 7, make sure Cerberus loses the decryption key.” Just because she was on their payroll didn’t mean she had to make it easy for them to have access to her Citadel files.

“As you wish, Shepard.”

“Order something nice for Miranda, one of those weird ice creams she seems to like, I’ll pay for the shipping to the citadel.” She checked the flight schedule, they would be in Kahje in five hours.

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS - 11:55PM CITADEL TIME

It was nearly dark when she entered, just the glow of the empty fish tank and the stillness of space, Garrus was sitting on her couch a datapad in his hand and a fancy bottle on table; they would be in the citadel in about three days.

“How did it go with the Hanar?” He asked, putting the datapad away, his attention on her. Antares felt her face flush.

“They said something about hate crime and using the Enkindlers as an excuse, also how their national museum was conducting tests on Collector flesh and the samples they have of Protean genetic material. I didn't even know they had Protean genetic material,” she sighed in relief, taking off her armour, the day had been too long already and she wanted to stop thinking for a while.

“They do,” Garrus said, his eyes tracking her through the room, hungry, waiting. “They rarely release anything about it, apparently it's on a permanent stasis field in the depths of the southern ocean. Not a hospitable place for non-aquatic species.”

“So the Salarians have taken a look then?” She asked with a cheeky grin, removing the undersuit, adding a bit of flare to it, since Garrus was watching.

“I suppose they did-” he stopped, nearly swallowing his words as Antares walked up to him, a thin black leather collar on her hand, “Andy? Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Did something happen?” It wasn't often Antares sought the less conventional parts of their relationship. She always enjoyed herself - he made sure of that - but it was still surprising when she outright asked for it.

“No, maybe? I'm no longer sure about the tape we released.” She bit the inside of cheek, looking down at the floor, hands closing into fists around the collar.

“The crew didn't react the way you wanted them to?” He knew they hadn't. Kasumi’s probing and Davidson’s remarks came back to him full force; Antares hadn't said anything but he could almost see her getting increasingly frustrated as the day progressed.

“I felt their eyes on me, it was almost like my mother was judging me over my choices all over again.” She shuddered at the unpleasant memory.

“Come here, love,” Garrus whispered in the near silence of the cabin as he spread his legs, making room for her.

She went willingly, giving him the collar and the choice to either entertain her fantasy or leave. Garrus has never left before, not since they agreed to the collar and leash, the master and slave plays. She stood in front of him, bare, willing, her vulnerability shining on her very skin and by the spirits the trust in her eyes was breathtaking.

“I’m going to ask again, are you sure?”

“I… yes, I need to-” she stopped herself, just looking at him. ‘A grown woman needing reassurance, needing to be taken,’ she looked away, suddenly self conscious ’god what must he think of me?’ The thought came up suddenly, ugly, entirely unwelcome, shaming.

“Antares, look at me,” Garrus demanded, his voice soft.

She could never deny him. She raised her head, looking at her lover but feeling ready to bolt.

“What do you need from me, beautiful?” He was the only one who ever called her that.

She was working on the whole communication thing, but at that moment she felt like her tongue was made of lead, her brain conjuring amorphous feelings and wants, and she was unable to voice any of them.

“Do you need a spanking?” Garrus asked quietly, hands going to her waist, caressing, feeling the muscle beneath her alien skin.

She shook her head no, stepping further into his embrace.

“I want you to use your words, Antares.” He whispered in the space between them. It was part of their deal. He would give her everything she wanted or needed, but she had to use her words, her voice, she had to explicitly tell him what she wanted. And she had to look at him when she did.

It always took a while when she was feeling vulnerable, the cheek biting, the nail picking, her hand closing into fists.

“No,” she muttered, looking him in the eye quickly before she looked away, “no spanking, sir.”

He would never get used to hearing her call him Sir, it was nearly a power trip in and of itself, to have the most beautiful woman in the galaxy at your feet, just because she wanted to be there. “Do you need me to take care of you?”

There was a slight pause on her part before she nodded, murmuring a faint ’yes’ between them.

“Come here then, beautiful.” He tugged her to his lap, fingers tracing her freckles. “Tell me your safe words again.”

“Green, if I'm ok, yellow, if I'm okay but uncertain and red when I want you to stop.”

“And right now?”

“Yellow, sir.”

He didn't bother asking why she was uncertain. The day had been long from what he heard and if his girl needed the assurance he was more than glad to provide, sex wasn't necessary, the collar wasn't necessary.

He leaned back on the couch, tucking her to his side as they cuddled, Antares burrowing her face on his cowl, breathing him in. Garrus was the only one she allowed herself to be vulnerable with, no one else had ever asked, and she wasn't aware how much she needed it until they started sleeping together.

SSV NORMANDY SR2 - CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS - 1:20AM CITADEL TIME

She wasn't fully aware of time passing by until he stirred underneath her, his hand never faltering on her thigh and on her arms as he repositioned them so he could be more comfortable.

“Feeling better?” He muttered while pressing his lips to her forehead.

“I…” she trailed off, she must have dozed off on his lap, her mouth felt funny as if she had slept without brushing her teeth, her muscles relaxed and her mind clearer, “yeah, thank you, sir.”

“How are you now?” Garrus paused when her fingers traced his waist. Antares was always playful after she allowed herself a moment of vulnerability, playful and wholly herself and he always fell a little more in love with her when she did.

“Green,” he felt her grin against his neck as her fingers dug into his waist; she was definitely feeling playful.

“Then get on your knees for me,” he rumbled low in his subvocals, knowing she would feel it, knowing she would understand his stirring arousal and that he was also feeling playful.

She slid from his lap with all the grace of an infiltrator, dropping to her knees in front of him and presenting her neck to Garrus. The collar was snug on her, enough space for a deep breath, enough to allow her movement, enough for what he had in mind. Antares liked to take care of people, liked to have some sort of responsibility even if it tended to weight her down. Right at that moment her only responsibility was to get him off.

He spread his legs even farther, giving her all the room as she worked to undo the zipper and take off his pants, Garrus grinned at her flustered face when she saw that he wasn’t out of his sheath, not yet, he wanted her to work for it. She licked her lips looking at him, leaning forward and  peppering open mouthed kisses on his inner thigh, a hint of teeth against his hide. She could feel his subvocals thrumming in pleasure, even as he pretended to be unaffected.

She could smell the faint scent of his arousal, something tangy, sweet smelling, and it made her mouth water for him.

Garrus’ sheath was partially opened, she could see the blue of his cock peeking behind tanned hide, could feel the thrum of his subvocals as she kissed and lightly sucked the head of his dick, slowly drawing him out until she had all of him in her mouth. Garrus was big enough that she couldn’t take the whole of him in her mouth, so she started slow, sucking the head, while jerking off the rest of him. Her other hand crept lower, cupping her dripping cunt-

“Antares, stop.” Garrus ordered, gathering her hair in a handful and pulling her off his cock.

“Sir?”

“Who does that pussy belong to?” Garrus’ voice was rough, his subvocals filthy as he looked down at her: at his feet, mouth slightly swollen from sucking him off, voice rough.

“To you,” she answered without hesitation, a finger slipping inside, she was already so wet-

“I didn’t say you could play with yourself, did I?” He growled low in the back of his throat.

She gave him a coy look, removing her fingers and licking one by one, the hand still on his cock giving it a sharp tug.

“Sorry, Sir.” She muttered against his cock before taking him in her mouth again, working her way down as far as she could. She didn’t think she’d ever be able to take him in her throat, but it didn’t hurt to try; she loved sucking him off.

She could feel Garrus’ cock twitching in her hand, could feel his pre-cum on her mouth getting saltier as he neared his orgasm and she wanted him, wanted him to own her, wanted him to leave his mark on her. She wanted him like a thirsty man in a desert craved water. She felt the first spurts of his cum on the back of her throat, the taste tangy, sweet. She looked at him while she swallowed his cum, he was the picture of debauchery, Turian style, his shirt opened, showing his plates, his sensitive waist, the V curve of his hips. No pants, his dick still hard on her mouth, her at his feet, her thighs damp with her own arousal, what a picture they must have made.

“I think it’s my turn now,” he grinned at her, a twitch of his mandibles as he pulled her up, as he held her above his head, as his tongue and his mouth feasted on her dripping pussy. “I’ve wanted to taste you since we got back on the ship, but you were busy,” he gave her clit a flick with his tongue, “I should’ve dragged you here before anyone else got a hold of you.” Then he did that thing with his tongue that felt a little like a soft bite and a lot like sucking and she came undone on top of him, her voice hoarse as she called his name.

She came to a minute later, while he was taking her to bed, that had been one of the most intense orgasms she had with him. She was boneless, in that happy space where nothing could touch her, nothing except for him.

“Thank you,” she managed when he laid her down, the day had been tiring and she was more than ready to nod off.

“What for, Andy?” Garrus blinked at her in surprise, removing his shirt before laying down next to her. It was one of her favourites things to do during the day: wake up and sleep next to him.

“Just for being you, for being here, going with my crazy plans?” She half-asked, she could still taste his cum in her mouth, but it was one of those quirks where she didn’t want to wash the smell of him away. She wanted more, she always wanted more.

“You give me plenty of incentive,” he grinned, bending down to kiss her. There was nowhere else they’d rather be.