*** WRITER'S NOTE : Here's the current sitch in case you need timeline clarification: Chapter 9 is concurrent to Chapter 7. While Sera Shepard, Anderson & the Dalatrass have their meeting, Hannah Shepard - having some time to kill before meeting Anderson but having no clue that Sera is already in his office - crosses paths with Garrus in a stroke of pure happenstance. At the end of Chapter 9, she leaves Garrus for her meeting with Anderson and subsequently Sera - see Chapter 8. Clear as mud? Cool. Sorry so confusing.. ***
CHAPTER 9: CHERRY
While Sera Shepard meets with Anderson & the Dalatrass, the SSV Orizaba pulls into the bay next to the SSV Normandy.
As her ship docked at the Citadel, a lot of things weighed heavily on Hannah Shepard's mind: the Reapers, the Crucible, Earth, Sera, survival of the galaxy as a whole. She knew that a lot of things hung in the balance and time was of the essence. It was crucial that the right people be in the right places if they were going to stand a chance against the Reapers and she was going to make damn sure that happened.
After the Reaper's annihilation of the Arcturus station along with the bulk of the Alliance Navy's leadership, things changed swiftly. Hackett had contacted her as soon as he could, along with a few dozen others; knowing that it was imperative that they establish leadership in the chaotic aftermath. She didn't particularly care for her new promotion to Rear Admiral; having turned it down once before, but she knew the Admiral rank inherently commanded people's attention. After a brief meeting, roles and responsibilities were delegated out and set in motion.
She had initially planned on having a holo meeting with Anderson about the decisions that were being instigated, but scrapped the idea when Sera said she was going to be at the Citadel too. Instead, she sent Anderson a message letting him know she would be arriving soon and to make some time to meet with her. She sent him a quick message via omni-tool letting him know she had arrived but didn't get a response. After making her way through the docking area and countless refugees, she headed toward his office. Surprised by young polite private that occupied Udina's desk, she was informed that Anderson was in a meeting and would not be available for another hour. Filing the question of Udina's whereabouts away, she glanced at her omni-tool and decided that was acceptable. With some time to kill, she thought about what to do and remembered the bar that she and Adam used to stop at when they were on the Citadel. A drink sounded like a great idea right now.
As she walked through the door, she gave the place a quick once-over. The bar looked almost the same as she remembered hmmm
when did they add a pool table? She surveyed the customers as well, noting that most of them were Alliance, but the Turian sitting on one of the couches looked vaguely familiar. She found an empty stool at the bar and tried to remember where she had seen him before
After grabbing a quick meal and perusing the shops for the latest in weapons, mods and ammo, he decided a drink would help to calm his nerves before meeting the crew and hopefully Shepard. Garrus stopped in at a bar near the Gardens. It was a small place tucked a little ways off the main thoroughfare. It was pretty nondescript, without any flashing lights, screaming neon colors, loud music or the seediness of After Life. It retained a certain richness of aging antiquity in the subtle elegance of the black and brown tones of the furniture and dim lighting. A few round tables and chairs were strategically placed in the middle where some were playing rounds of Skyllian Five. One of the walls was lined with comfortable couches and low-lying end tables while the other was lined with about a dozen 5 foot long sticks. In front of the sticks, occupying the back of the bar, sat a large rectangular table, without any chairs. It had 6 round holes inset into its slightly raised outer edge and a triangle-shaped group of round objects sat in the middle.
He ordered a drink from the bar, his favorite Turian brandy, and took a seat on one of the couches. He took a generous sip and leaned back into the couch slowly, savoring the slow burn of the brandy running down his throat. He closed his eyes, absorbing the various tones of the conversations and ambient music in the bar. He needed somewhere to think to figure out how to talk to Shepard. He couldn't understand why she wouldn't talk to him. Liara said that she would have a word with her, but the part that bothered him the most was that, even though Shepard found out he had been trying to send her messages, she still didn't want to talk to him. Wouldn't she want to know what he had said?
He opened his eyes and took in the crowd around him. Various species lined the bar stools not many Turians; mostly humans. Then he noticed a particular human female at the bar with familiar ebony black hair and pale white skin. She looked just like Shepard
he left the couches and walked toward the bar. He paused midway, thinking better of it, and walked around to the side of the bar so that he could have a better vantage point.
They had only met one time prior to Adam Shepard's funeral and he was unsure of what and how much she knew of her daughter's personal life.
Oh crap, she's walking over here
. Shit! What do I say?!?
"Garrus Vakarian, right?" She offered her hand in greeting.
He took another drink from his glass and swallowed hard.
He took her hand, holding it warmly between his. "Yes, Admiral Shepard. I'm surprised that you remember me. How are you, ma'am?"
"Oh God, please don't 'ma'am' me, Garrus," she chuckled rolling her eyes. "You can just call me Hannah."
He inclined his head in acknowledgement. "How are you, Hannah? Would you like a drink?"
"Yes, that would be wonderful. Manhattan. Double on the rocks," She smiled and walked toward the couch he just left.
what is that??Double? Rocks?
He repeated the order to the bartender, a human, and was presented with a short glass, filled with a dark brown liquid over ice and a small, round, red object floating on the bottom. Taking both drinks, he walked over to the older Shepard and, handing the drink to her, sat down beside her. He watched her take a tentative sip from the glass, followed by a larger one once it met her approval. As she swallowed the liquid slowly, fully enjoying its flavor, she caught him watching her intently.
"Go on. I know you want to ask," she said, eyes twinkling, baiting him just like Sera, he thought.
Garrus quickly averted his eyes and ducked his head, but it was too latehe was caught. Her demeanor was so refreshing and warm, just like Sera. Now he knew where it came from. Talking to her mother was just like talking to her. That familiar warmth made him feel alive again but he quickly reminded himself that he wasn't talking to his Shepard. He wanted to ask so many things but didn't know how to choose or what was appropriate to ask. So, he chose the safest question instead.
"What is a Man-hat-tan?" he asked staring at her drink.
Her smile turned into laughter, completely caught off guard by the question. "Really? That's the question you wanted to ask??"
If Turians could blush, this would definitely one of those moments. Instead he looked away and sputtered out a cough. "No
" he said softly.
"Okay, then. Ask me what you really want to know," she said, leaning back into the couch, studying him.
He thought for a long moment, working up enough nerve to ask, "Is Sera okay?"
The Admiral stopped short, nearly coughing on her drink, and turned her head sharply to lock eyes with the Turian, brow furrowing as her eyes turned hard.
"What happened to her? What's - ?" she said quickly, the alarm building in her voice.
Garrus placed a hand on her arm to calm her. "I apologize, Admiral. That's not what I meant. I didn't mean to
I should have worded the question better." He flustered, feeling that his apology was not enough.
Softening, she sighed in relief. "Ohh
you want to know what's bothering her. Well, unfortunately I know very little. She doesn't talk to me as much as she used to
It didn't sound like he knew what happened to her daughter, she assessed inwardly. Only Alliance members, and a select few at that, were allowed into the court martial proceedings so only those who attended knew what happened. Her daughter had sworn Hannah to secrecy and she wasn't about to break her daughter's trust. Mother and daughter began messaging regularly even though Sera was working with Cerberus. She knew that it was a very dangerous thing to do, but she wasn't about to lose her daughter again. Sera told her about all of the recruitment she was doing to gather a crew together for the Collector Base mission. The message about 'Archangel,' in particular, caught Hannah's attention. It was far more detailed than the other ones Sera spoke of, revealing her daughter's opinions and thoughts about the Turian who became a vigilante for justice on the pit called Omega. From then on, it seemed almost every message that followed had some comment or thought about the Turian crew member.
Of course, Hannah could see it long before he daughter realized it: the beginnings of a love born out of a mutual respect, friendship, and honor. Sera never said outright that she was in love with this Garrus Vakarian, but to Hannah it was more than obvious, and she was ecstatic that her daughter had found someone that seemed to treat and love her like no other. It never occurred to Hannah that the man her daughter would find a match in would be a Turian. She didn't care. Her daughter was happy and that was all that mattered. She could see it in the glow of Sera's eyes when she first introduced the two of them. Hannah had never seen such a vibrant glow before; it spoke volumes of a deep love, happiness and peace. Sera deserved that more than anyone.
She did feel terribly for the Turian though, seeing the hurt and frustration in his eyes. She could tell that the relationship he had with Sera had become much more, much deeper. He had a right to know what had transpired that day. She couldn't understand why her daughter had not told him. Mentally, she added that to the list of things to discuss with her daughter over dinner.
He sipped his brandy and sat in frustrated silence, tension building once more.
Liara won't talk to me. Now, Shepard's own mother won't talk to me. What the hell kind of conspiracy is this?!?
.I'm sorry. I wish I could tell you more but honestly, it isn't my place. I respect my daughter's privacy and her trust. I can't break that mother or not." She paused, debating on what to tell him. "I can tell you that she needs you, Garrus, probably more than she knows or is willing to admit. My daughter is as stubborn as a Krogan," she said, making a clicking sound with her tongue. "She doesn't let just anyone in. In her position and after everything that's happened to her over the last few years, it's no wonder. She doesn't want to put anyone else in jeopardy. She knows what's involved when she commits herself to something but she won't do that to someone else even if it's only by association."
Her words were comforting. They gave him strength, especially coming from her. He felt relieved to know that he was on the mark, that he hadn't misread anything. He was about to find out how right his instincts were as she spoke again.
.." She paused again, heavily, weighing her thoughts carefully, and spoke softly so that only he could hear, "I know what I'm about to say sounds rather forward especially since she's told me so very little about you and we've only met once." She looked at him hard, a fierce earnestness in her eyes wanting him to believe her. "She loves you. She loves you more than she knows. Just give her some time but please, don't give up. Not yet."
His heart stopped and his breath caught in his chest. Was he really hearing the words she was saying?? His eyes went wide as his head swiveled to lock eyes with the Admiral, recognizing the familiar fierceness in her eyes. He believed her.
He just stared at her numbly, trying to process the words she said.
The Admiral gave him a knowing smile, one that spoke of years of experience. Looking at him, she saw the love for her daughter in his eyes. She didn't want Sera to lose that, stubborn or not. Apparently, the ebony hair wasn't the only thing her daughter inherited from her.
She handed her drink to the Turian. "I think you need this more than I do. Somehow, I don't think whatever it is that you're drinking is going to be enough," she said smirking. "To answer your question: a Manhattan is named after a metropolis on Earth in a place called New York. To ask for a 'double on the rocks' means that it's made with twice the alcohol and over ice. As for what's in it - Bourbon, sweet vermouth, a splash of grenadine and that red, round thing floating on the bottom is what we call a cherry. It's a fruit that grows on trees on Earth. If my daughter loves you the way that I think she does, I don't think the levo level in that drink matters," she said with a knowing twinkle in her eye as she walked toward the door, leaving him mouth agape too stunned to reply.