Shepard came over to talk about the weapon upgrades. His favorite subject, really, and Garrus had been listening very carefully in the beginning. But the longer she spoke, the fewer words got through to him. The idea that it was a translator glitch occurred to him but he dismissed it quickly. He understood the words. Those that he could catch.
“Great job… secondary cannons, so… efficiency up to… just love to hear… like purring.”
The lips, the lips were the culprit. They were a constant source of distraction, moving, as they were, in such a fascinating manner. He’d spoken with hundreds of humans before but never quite noticed how limber, mobile and flexible the lips could be, under certain light. From certain angles. In certain magnification levels when studied through his visor. He had done his homework. Humans needed to coordinate hundreds of muscles to form facial expressions and perform the seemingly effortless act of speaking. It sounded profoundly exhausting, but Shepard could do it for hours unending. Perhaps lips had the sort of muscles that never tired, kind of like his…
She had stopped speaking and was peering into him, as if expecting a response. He’d been trying to keep up his side of the ‘conversation’ with nods and random flicks of his mandibles, but apparently it wasn’t working all that well. He had no idea what she was saying. “Come again?”
“I said, the targeting system… when they hid behind… and just, puff! You know? And… he goes bam-bam like…”
The assortment of shapes her lips could mold was staggering. There were lines and curves and circles small and large. There were asymmetries: curling one end or the other, though she preferred to curl the right. At times they were smooth and moist, at others, they seemed dry; and after missions they often sported tiny, dark cracks she’d pick at with her teeth and tongue. Sometimes, when she wasn’t aware he was watching, she’d put out her lower lip and turn it inside out, so that he could see the slickness within. And sometimes, she liked to suck her left thumb in secret and bite on the stubby talon. Just that one, and there was something very childish, and yet extremely sensual about it. Come to think of it, everything about lips was sensual. Oh yes, he had done his homework alright. Human lips were made of sensual, with more nerve endings than the tip of his…
“You’re not listening to me at all, are you?”
“Um… I was, but… what was that last thing you said?”
She was getting suspicious, so he tried to be serious. But as soon as she started speaking again, someone turned the audio off, and left only the picture, focused on those pink, plump lips and the harmless white teeth behind, and the tip of the soft tongue that darted into view every so often. They opened and closed and smiled and pouted, and then they grew strangely still. He knew they would move again, so he stood, waiting. Until a touch on his face ended his transfixion.
“Garrus,” she said, and it wasn’t the Commander speaking. It was her. She had a voice of her own, although he’d only heard it once before, over a bowl of his favorite fruit. “What’s the matter?”
Only now did he become aware that his head was cocked all the way to the side: that’s how absorbed he’d been in watching her, drinking in the sight of her lips, those lips, he couldn’t tear his eyes from the lips.
“Kiss me,” he said, and it was a whisper of need both sweet and desperate, a whisper underlined with the insuppressible rumble of mating subharmonics. Could she hear that? He had no idea. He had no idea what he was asking for, no idea what to expect, he only knew he wanted it more than he wanted anything in his entire life.
Her eyes widened. In surprise? No. More like excitement, and now that he had the idea, he realized how excited he was. Almost trembling. Her lips moved to form a feeble smile, but it fell of quickly. She didn’t speak and he was infinitely grateful, for now he was officially unable to deal with words. Instead, she licked her lips, surprising his senses into a state of acute desire. She licked her lips so that they were glistening as she approached, inch by tantalizing inch.
And when they finally landed on his mouth, he couldn’t help but close his eyes and let out a ragged little groan which mixed with her violent, voiceless exhale. They stayed like that for seconds uncounted and through the haze, he tried to notice everything, remember everything! Her sweet scent and the pulse of her heartbeat that he could sense through the lips, her lips! They were everything he had imagined and more, so much more, the softness and the wetness and the warmth, oh, the warmth! He wanted to embrace her, pull her close, but he didn’t dare move, for it would have broken the spell. They stood frozen, frozen in time, frozen in touch, and yet he was melting in the heat of it.
It was overwhelming. He lost sense of space, lost sense of body, and had to open his eyes before losing sense of balance as well. She felt it, and disengaged. They looked into each other’s eyes for a long time, a lightheaded calm alike the mellow afterglow of lovemaking settled upon them, the quiet humming of the Normandy, the only sound around them. But soon it became all too loud to bear. She spoke first.
“Do…? Ahem.” She cleared her throat. “Do turians kiss?”
“We… um…” He cleared his throat. “Sometimes we touch tongues, yes.”
A hungry expression ghosted over her features, making him smile, making him want, and it was almost painful. “Show me,” she breathed.
He leaned forward, took her by the back of her head, sensory input already too saturated to process the touch of her hair, silky under his fingers. He pulled her in, held her firm as he pressed his forehead against hers. She returned the gesture with her own, pressing her mouth against his. He tasted her, then, and her lips parted. Now he was trembling, and his heart was thumping, and his blood was boiling. He felt her little hands, one gripping his arm, the other resting, carefully, on his waist. Why the caution? Or perhaps it wasn’t caution. Perhaps she was trembling for the same unnamable reasons he was.
Her lips parted, and the tip of his tongue met the tip of hers. He wasn’t surprised at his own lustful whimper, but he was at hers, though it was no more than a soft moan, barely audible above her breath. He had to invest every atom of willpower into keeping still, into fighting the urge to hold her close, squeeze her so tight she’d have to beg for air. Hide his face inside her gentle collar. Rub against her pliant body. Oh Spirits. It was too much. Too fast. He had to retreat.
Again, they stood in silence, studying each other. Her face was flushed, and she was fiercely beautiful.
As usual, the words left his mouth before he had the chance to think about them at all. “I’ve never done this before, Shepard.”
“Kissed an alien?”
“No. This.” He rubbed his forehead on hers, a wishful, fearful spasm rolling down his stomach. But she pressed into the touch perfectly, so perfectly that he feared he’d fall apart right then and there. “It’s a gesture…”
“I know what it means,” she whispered.
“You do?” He blinked, trying to focus, searching her eyes for traces of playful mischief. There were none. No humor. And this once, he was glad to see it gone. You do, he concluded, and tried to smile, but all that came out of the attempt was a gentle flick of his right mandible.
She nodded. They just stood for a time, breathing. And then, he saw the spark light up again. “So…” she said, her lips curving in that wonderfully devilish way. “When do I book the room?”