Bright Stars, Blue Stars

April 2016
Prof. Cassandra Lobiesk

Commander Shepard was not prone to violence.


She was a soldier first, and if one mentioned Reapers or Cerberus anywhere near her vicinity, likely she'll have the urge to take her Specter-requisitioned pistol and shoot something. Or someone, if anyone tried to stop her. But no one ever did. She was Commander Shepard for spirit's sake, and no one gets on Commander Shepard's nerves when she's holding a gun.

Garrus had discovered that this tendency towards violence was limited to the mission at hand. Just like her poor driving skills were limited to the damn Mako. Thank spirits they had Estevez doing that instead.

So, okay, perhaps Commander Shepard was prone to violence. This wasn't the case all the time, however.

When she was off-duty, for example, Shepard was a different person. She doesn't often show this other side to just about anyone. To her, intimidation was more beneficial than admiration. She'd found it gained her better results when people looked at her as the human woman who can go toe to toe with a thresher maw and survive. She certainly found it more satisfying when reporters avoided her like a plague, because honestly, screw reporters. Garrus would have punched them, too, if he'd had a chance.

On the other hand, Commander Shepard the human woman was someone real, tangible, precious. Whole. She may not have seen any practical use in being seen as a person, but Garrus did. It's what made her stand out to him. It's what made her shine.

Brighter than any star, he'd thought, amused. Though honestly, if she exuded the same kind of heat, she'd probably burn the entire Normandy down.

He grimaced. Spirits, she's inadvertently started fires in the Normandy before. Shepard liked fires almost as much as she liked guns. Garrus needed to be more careful with his metaphors.

He felt the warmth of a human cheek leave his shoulder, replaced with a hand that gently nudged his side. "Vakarian."

Cybele Shepard stared at him, pale grey eyes a shade darker than usual, mouth quirking up into a half-smile. "Thoughts?"

The two of them had taken a skycar back to Garrus' favorite spot on the Citadel, with a bird's eye view of the Presidium. Passing cars whizzed below them, a faded hum in the distance, a familiar sound that he'd found comforting both on the Citadel and on board the Normandy. Shepard must have found much of the same feeling, because he could swear that she'd dozed off, if only for a little bit.

She'd blinked a few times to clear the sleep from her eyes, and now she stared at him with the piercing gaze that usually told him she was listening very, very carefully.

"I was thinking about stars."

A raised eyebrow. "Stars."

"How many star systems do you think we've gone through, Shepard?"

She shrugged. "Countless, I'd say. The galaxy has enough star systems to explore in a lifetime, and I doubt we've seen them all. Why the sudden curiosity?"

"Did you have a favorite star?"

Shepard pursed her lips in thought, treating the question as seriously as she could. That was another not-so-violent thing she did in these rare moments: consider something deeply. She was a woman of action for the most part, and Garrus knew the commander rarely had time for self-reflection.

"I guess I do," she said carefully. "Do you remember the big, blue one in the Krogan DMZ? Nox or Nex..."

"Nith," he said, remembering the star well. They'd visited the system at least twice on missions, and Garrus remembered the searing heat of the bright blue giant that encompassed the three-planet system. He had often been drawn to the star himself, though he was partial to his homeworld's small, comforting Trebia (a not-so-special yellow star as far as the view goes, but special in the sense that it has sustained the turians for thousands of years).

"Yes!" She smiled. "Big, bright, blue Nith."

Garrus did not usually snort, but in this case, he couldn't help himself. Of course Shepard would pick one of the biggest, hottest, most imposing stars in the Milky Way as her favorite. He should have known. That was just how she was. "Go big or go home, right?" he teased.

"I'd like to see you think of a star more badass than that," she challenged.

"But I have, Shepard."

Another raised eyebrow. "Oh? And what star is that?"


"Hah!" She swatted him hard. Then she pulled him down to crash his lips to hers. Hard.

Alright, so Shepard was not entirely un-prone to violence.

But Garrus supposed he was fine with that.