Against the Wall

Chapter 6 of The Candidate

Garrus jumped. He’d fallen asleep at his desk, cradling the nearly empty bottle of tequila like a lifeline. Somebody was knocking… no, more like trying to bust the door with their head.

“Ok, ok, I’m coming,” he yelled in a haggard voice as he unlocked the door. “What the he…”

Nihlus stumbled in and almost fell. Garrus tried to steady him. “Damn, Nihlus. You look like shit.”


“Yeah, yeah, on your right.”

Garrus took to pacing as he listened to the sounds coming behind the thin wall with growing concern. Nothing at first, then pissing, flushing. Ok. Then came coughing. Nihlus was pushing a finger up his throat. Ok… And finally, vomiting.

But there was more to it. Garrus had picked up a sense of black despair from that one word and the dead weight of Nihlus’s body when he held him. It scared the shit out of him.

There was still a bit of tequila in the bottle on the desk and Garrus downed it in one big, scorching gulp. Better like that, or Nihlus might have ideas. Also, he wanted to be drunk again; sobering up to a display of weakness from someone you look up to was no way to end a pleasant evening. Garrus hated weakness. Garrus feared and loathed it and he had no idea how to deal with it.

It made him remember, though he didn’t want to.

There had been a period of his life when he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps in earnest. Before enlisting. Before the “Egg Cracker” case. Somebody had been using the public garbage compactors to murder turian children on the Citadel. There was a whole shit-storm in the media as pieces of little bodies piled up, with turians on the Citadel crying “the humans did it!” and causing a stupid, stupid wave of hate crimes against humans on Palaven and all major colonies. All for nothing, as it turned out that the killer was a turian woman who’d lost her only child (and apparently her mind as well), in some gruesome accident that she’d been trying to reenact, or whatever. Dad had caught her using “profiling”, a psychological method of “getting inside the criminal mind” which was devised by humans, to complete the grim irony. Garrus remembered the extranet reports showing his father as a hero, and he’d shared in the elation – until Dad came home.

That had been the single most embarrassing, most painful moment of his entire life. He’d heard the car land out in front and started sprinting down the hall when he realized he’d forgotten to bring his enlistment scroll. Dad had to see it, he would be so proud. Garrus ran back to his room, fished out the scroll from the pile of things on top of his console and went back in big euphoric leaps. But a strange noise made him freeze in the hall before entering the living room. A noise in his father’s voice, only he’d never heard those particular subharmonics before: deep, heavy, meaty, resonating in all the wrong ways with his own vocal cavity. He made a careful step ahead and peered through the doorway. Dad was on his knees, looking huge and dangerous in his heavy combat suit, looking weak and wretched at the same time with his back shaking in that weird rhythm. Mum was holding him in a desperate embrace, his face buried in her collar, her eyes shut and browplates gathered tight. As Garrus watched, hypnotized, Dad let out another nauseating groan.

“I can’t do this anymore,” he said, the words barely separable in the mess of uncontrolled vocalizations. “I can’t go back there.”

“I know,” Mum whispered. “I know.”

Garrus felt his guts twist and stepped back, afraid he’d lose his lunch if he stayed. Suddenly he found a tag to put on the horrible feeling lumped in his throat: disgust. Dad’s weakness disgusted him. His own reaction disgusted him even more.

Walking backwards, he didn’t see his little sister coming from behind. “Is that Dad?”

“Back to your room, Sol. Now.”

“But I want to see Dad.”


The way he hissed at her, the way she scrambled away from him – that was the most disgusting of it all. He’d kept his wit until he heard the door to her room swish closed and locked. Then he’d run to the toilet and vomited his guts out.

Like Nihlus did some moments ago. And now he was producing the sounds, those horrible sounds, only he didn’t have a collar to hide in and muffle them. Garrus felt the weakness spread from the toilet like a virus and his knees became flimsy. Shit.


When Nihlus finally came out, after a really long shower, Garrus was completely sober and not even a little sleepy, despite all the exhaustion and the investment of conscious effort. He’d planned what to say. He’d say: it was really nice meeting you, Nihlus, an honor, truly, but I don’t need this shit. Or he’d go with: hey, you can crash here if you want, but I’m going out now, ok? Or something along: I’ll walk you to your prefab, you need to get some sleep, you know?

But Nihlus had come out stark naked and Garrus’s mind wiped itself clean like a broken memory chip. All he could say was, “Damn. You’re gorgeous.”

Nihlus smiled, weakly. “Thanks. Look, I’m sorry about this. I wanted to go to my room but I couldn’t find my way. I was so…”

“It’s ok. Really.” He wondered if Nihlus could detect just how emotionally invested this little lie was. And was disturbed to see that yes, Nihlus could detect it and then some.

He nodded. “Give me a second to dress up and I’ll be out of your fringe.”

“Don’t… dress up. Please.”

Nihlus stopped with his hand on the door of the bathroom. “Don’t play games with me. I’m in no shape…”

“No games. I want you to stay. I want you, period.” He got up and held Nihlus from the back, encircling his waist with his arms. “Damn, I want you like I never wanted anyone before.” He snuggled against the back of Nihlus’s neck. “But I’m bad at dealing with this sort of thing, you know? I don’t know what to say or…”

“Yeah,” Nihlus whispered back, and Garrus could feel shivers traveling up and down through the smooth muscles on his stomach. Not the good kind of shivers. “Tell me about it. I didn’t cry even when my father died.”

Cry. Cry? Was that the word? The weakness crept back into his knees.

“What the hell happened to you?”

But Nihlus shook his head. Off limits. Which was just as well; past the superficial curiosity, Garrus didn’t really want to know. There was something strange at work between the two Spectres… between the Spectre and the trainee… perhaps it wasn’t as dirty as Lavena would have liked it, but it sure didn’t look healthy either. So he simply tightened his hold, pressed deeper into Nihlus, hips against hips, and damn, that chased the weakness away in no time. His hand slid down and met no resistance whatsoever.

“Yeah,” came another whisper, white-hot, maddening. Garrus set up a slow pace, and the soft rumble emanating from Nihlus’s chest was melting him. “Yeah. Oh Spirits. Oh Spirits.” Garrus bit lightly into the side of Nihlus’s neck, extracting an exquisite sigh. “Fuck, that feels so good.”

Fuck? Yeah. Fuck yeah. He turned Nihlus around, warm and pliable and so damn irresistible. He stared into the green eyes, they were so open, so honest, so fucking innocent that they were almost not sexy at all. Almost. He started to unseal his thin thermal and Nihlus joined the efforts. The fabric fell away and he stepped out of it, a tiny bit uncomfortable on the account of the very obvious fact that he’d been open, out and about, for some time already.

“Fuck, you’re hot,” Nihlus breathed, and before Garrus could smile or rumble or anything at all, Nihlus was upon him, pushing him, pushing into him, until their positions were quite the reversed from what Garrus had had in mind, and he found himself pinned against the wall, with Nihlus ravishing his neck and jaws, expert fingers touching secret places Garrus didn’t even know he had. There was an instinct to fight, to fight and reestablish dominance, but it melted away like late snow in spring sun as Nihlus went down on his knees, making Garrus claw into the wall behind.

“Ah! Oh man. Shit!”

He usually wasn’t the verbose type, but he couldn’t help himself. Nihlus knew what he was doing, boy, did he know what he was doing! Garrus propped himself up on his toes, losing focus, losing mind. His heart skipped a beat, his hips shot forward in an involuntary spasm, and Nihlus disengaged with a soft little laugh.

“And there I thought I was depraved.”

“Not… depraved,” Garrus panted. “I just… no one ever… shit…!” He laughed a little, wasting precious air. Nihlus stood up again, brushing against his length, and Garrus relished the avalanche of delightful shudders that every little touch produced in his severely over-sensitized body.

“Come,” Nihlus rumbled in a husky tone and pressed tight against him. Garrus was so hot that even the occasional accidental touch threatened to push him over the edge. He tried to exhale some sort of a warning but Nihlus was lightning-quick and strong as hell and he left Garrus breathless with surprise again as he reached down and lifted his leg, nudging the other one aside with his knee. Garrus had no time to prepare before he found himself impaled and stretched out, but Nihlus was so wet, so warm, so fucking skilled, that there was next to no pain and Garrus felt his heart climbing all the way up into his throat.

“Fuck yeah… fuck yeah… fuck!”

Nihlus started slowly, but soon built up to a furious pace, holding his leg in one hand and cradling his face in the other, breathing into his ear in short, fierce gushes, and Garrus clawed into the back of his neck and into his side, driving him closer until the motions were rubbing him just the right way and the room collapsed into a timeless haze of ahs and ohs and fuck, oh fuck, where the fuck did you learn to fuck like that…!

It didn’t take long before Nihlus started coming and now he was letting out vocal moans that pulled Garrus along for the ride of his life. Their bodies worked great together and even the mess of uncontrolled jerks and spasms had a mad rhythm to it. Nihlus kept pushing and rubbing and panting into his ear and it went on and on until all lights went off in Garrus’s mind.

Many ragged breaths later, Nihlus pulled out and dropped his leg and Garrus found it was not a trivial task to stand on his own. When Nihlus pushed himself away, several strands of clear fluid lingered between them.

“I guess I was a bit depraved after all,” Garrus said, wiping his chest. Nihlus chuckled and leaned back in to give him a delicious lick just between the ear and the jaw, causing a cascade of quivers, rippling down his back. “Damn, Nihlus,” he breathed. “This was the best fuck I ever had.”

“You’re still young,” Nihlus whispered in his ear, nuzzling against his throat. “But thank you. For everything.”

“Pleasure.” Garrus let his mind wonder as his body started feeling the exhaustion. “No… let me rephrase that: ecstasy.”

Nihlus laughed and stepped back. It was good to see him smiling again in earnest, though Garrus had no illusions about the long-term effects of post-coital euphoria. Sooner or later he’d remember, and Garrus had no intention to pretend he wanted to be there when that happened. Selfish? Sure. But also, honest. Nihlus looked like a man who preferred honesty over spared feelings.

He didn’t need to say a word, though. Nihlus went into the toilet again and reemerged totally dressed, looking only slightly worse than yesterday morning. Was it morning already? Garrus tapped the light controls and yeah, the sun was just about high enough to make an awkward goodbye a bit blurred in his memory.

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