1419: When You’re Strange – Chapters Nine and Ten

Title: When You’re Strange
Author: Actually-Fen-Harel
Media:  Video Games
Topic: Mass Effect
Genre: Romance/Sci-fi
URL: When You’re Strange: Chapter 9
URL: When You’re Strange: Chapter 10
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck

Hello ladies and gents, and welcome back to yet another installment of When You’re Strange. And last time, Actually-Fen-Harel pissed away whatever potential this story had to partake in what may be one of the dumbest excuses for a cuddling scene in recent memory.

So yeah, I’m still a little sore about that.

But… well, it wouldn’t be the Library if we didn’t truck on anyway, now, would it? So let’s keep going. We’ve got two more chapters to hash out.

We start today’s first chapter with this:

A/N: To remind you guys, when Shepard and Garrus are alone, they’re speaking Turian Common, unless I state otherwise. Mkay? Yes? Good. Now read. :D

*BAM*

I’ve already gone on a rant about this, but goddammit author, why didn’t you just stick to the bolding!?

Anyway, we open up with…

The rest of the mission was just about pure hell. Shepard was glad she’d warmed her teammates up, as they were in a near constant firefight for the rest of the mission. Matriarch Benezia ordered all the security to attack Shepard’s group, and they had to fight their way to the hot labs, only to see an asari in a really stupid looking hat standing at the top of a set of stairs. She had a superior sneer on her face as she spoke to them, and her voice was as icy cold as the planet itself. Shepard couldn’t believe that the bumbling asari child she’d rescued came from this ice queen.

More fucking plot summary! And as predicted, it came with an extra side order of Liara bashing.

Blah, blah, we then get more fucking plot summary, and summed-up action scene, and it’s mostly just plot regurgitation which is not being made interesting in any real way. Especially when it contains sentences like this:

It was three highly trained, armed soldiers against one powerful Matriarch. It wasn’t an easy fight, but the outcome was inevitable.

Hey, it makes my job easier, I’m not about to complain.

So after that, the matriarch dies, and then a dead asari commando is made to stand and talk, and –

Wrex interrupted her stream of thought with a dam of indignation.

*snerk*

“Dam of indignation”? What, did Wrex secretly employ a bunch of beavers to dump a ton of logs on Shepard? And how the fuck did the beavers survive in Noveria’s cold if it’s so cold you need to strip down and snuggle with the commander to warm back up?

“Shepard, millions of my people gave their lives to stop these bugs from taking over the galaxy before. Are you really thinking about letting it happen again? Is there even room to consider it? My people were neutered for their efforts. If you let that thing live today, you’re spitting in the face of every krogan life ever lost to the rachni and the genophage.” By the time he’d finished speaking, he was roaring at her and his eyes were bright with anger and indignation.

Oh. He was ranting angrily at her.

Then honey, just say he was ranting at her angrily! Though I wonder why you really need to say it considering that you then showed it anyway. It’s almost like—

*SIREN BLARES*

Oh hey, it’s my old friend the DRD. I hope they like the grasshopper pie I baked them.

*muffled screams*

And yes, I did mean “grasshopper” pie. With live grasshoppers! Eliza is always good about teaching me new pie recipes, you know?

She looked at him with determination, her jaw set and her eyes small blue orbs of ice.

I hope you don’t plan on walking past any space heaters. You won’t be able to see if you do!

“Wrex, I don’t like it any more than you do, but you heard what the queen said. Her people were indoctrinated, they weren’t in their right minds. Have you already forgotten the way Benezia was just acting? Did you see how different she was from when Saren’s grip tightened on her, to when she was her own self? Night and fucking day. You know I don’t give a damn about killing things, but if I kill this queen, the last of her kind that isn’t indoctrinated or insane, it would be worse than if I’d given the damn genophage to the krogan myself. Think about that before you accuse me of not having my priorities straight. Besides, if they’re willing to fight the reapers, they could be a powerful ally, and you, of all people, know it.”

Wait, so Taren isn’t being a renegade bitch for once? Well. Color me very surprised at that.

His eyes widened and she could see a slow, burning anger there, but he finally broke eye contact with her, grudgingly admitting his defeat.

Hey, don’t be so sour. At least you didn’t get fucking bashed because the author doesn’t like you. Like, you know, a certain asari whose mother you just finished killing.

Anyway, Shepard lets the rachni queen go, and then we end that scene on Shepard …

The asari slumped down to the ground, lifeless once more, and Shepard slumped down next to her, back against the glass as she rubbed the bridge of her small nose between her thumb and forefinger.

Doing that. For some reason that isn’t explained.

We then cut to the Normandy, as Shepard rushes straight off to the showers.

As she reached to turn on the hot water, she realized the long gash on her arm was deeper than she’d thought. She creased her brow together as she walked over to the medi-gel dispensary and grabbed a pack, biting it open and slathering the cooling gel onto the wound.

Wait wait wait wait wait wait wait, stop.

So you got this big gash (which might’ve happened in some of the prose I skipped last installment, I don’t know), and you didn’t think to go straight to Dr. Chakwas to get that checked out first?

*BAM*

*hits buzzer*

“Strong, Independent” Woman Count: 13

Because nothing says a character is strong and independent like making stupid decisions like that!

As she watched the skin slowly knit together, she sat on the shower floor, back against the wall, knees up, behind the small cover of a cold steel partition wall. She folded her uninjured arm over her knees, and rested her forehead on it.

She heard the door swish open, but decided to ignore it, hoping the person would just take a piss and leave her the hell alone.

When your gash likely left purple blood in the wake? Yeah, good luck with that, Taren!Sue.

She was never that lucky.

You see? There you go.

Anyway, Garrus comes in, and as Taren tries not to be noticed, she witnesses –

Before she could object to the racket, his sub-harmonics began to scream with agony and frustration, and a feral growl ripped its way out of his throat, melding into a roar of anger as he reared back, then slammed his head plates against the mirror in front of him, spidering the safety glass and leaving a deep indentation that warped his features in the mirror view she had of him from where she sat. He stood straight, releasing the sink, which now had a double row of lines etched into its sides, and walked towards his locker. She heard him rummaging around in it, and let her head fall back to the shower wall as she braced herself for his eventual discovery of her presence.

And Garrus is pissed about something.

She heard him grasp some things in his hands, and the locker door slammed shut. Or, at least she thought it had. Apparently it hadn’t, as she heard a growl of agitation, and something small fall as he smashed the locker door again. Then the growl grew louder and she heard him kick the fucking door multiple times like it’d stolen all his credits, and several items either fell out of it, or fell out of his hands as he attacked the hapless metal door. One last kick made the metal obey him finally, and he snatched the items off the floor and huffed. She heard him stomp his feet as he moved with purpose towards the showers.

And apparently, it’s pissed him off so much he’s taking his anger out on a locker door. Gee, I hope he doesn’t –

She tensed as he neared the point where he could see her, and as he made to pass by her, he froze, catching something that wasn’t supposed to be there in his peripheral vision. His eyes snapped to her, roving over her form, then locking eyes with her for a second, before quickly looking away and drooping his head in shame as his neck flushed the deepest blue she’d ever seen.

He shifted uncomfortably under her gaze, eyes flickering to her face for a microsecond as he opened his mouth to speak, mandibles pressed tightly to his face. “How long have you been there?”

And why is Garrus this angry in the first place? I swear, he wasn’t this angry and temperamental when he was tracking down Sidonis, and he was livid at that time. So what the fuck is bringing this on now?

She flexed her throat and trilled comforting tones to him as she replied. “Did you see or hear me come in? No? Then that’s how long I’ve been here.” She would’ve been amused at his question if he wasn’t in such a disturbing mood. As it was, she was determined to figure out what the fuck was wrong with him, because it obviously wasn’t good, if the wanton destruction of ship property was any indication.

Ah yes, she realized how disturbing his mood is … which would’ve been great, if you hadn’t answered his question with a quip, you stupid bimbo!

*hits buzzer*

“Strong, Independent” Woman Count: 14

Seriously, why didn’t you just give him “I was here before you came in” instead of that smart-ass answer? Good God, woman, what’s wrong with you?

His jaw clenched tightly as he heard her answer, and he glared daggers at her.

See? Now he’s pissed off even more. Excellent job.

*slow clap*

She looked at him steadily, seemingly unaffected. He sighed, and looked away in defeat. She slowly stood and moved to him, taking the items in his hands from him gently, and placing them in order of use on the low partition wall she’d just been using as cover.

Oh. Never mind.

She then goes over to him and embraces him gently to calm him down. She sings a lullaby, turns on the shower water, he calms down a little, and … well …

He trilled gratitude and comfort, as well as affection bordering on the possessive tone she had only ever heard her mother use towards her father.

Yeah. It’s another fucking scene of cuddling. At least this one makes a little more sense than the last one.

She stiffened slightly at the sound, and he noticed, quickly harmonizing a question.

*sigh*

I’m not going to talk about subharmonics. I’m not going to talk about subharmonics.

She flexed her throat so she wouldn’t have to concentrate on clamping down on her sub-harmonics, and continued to hum the quiet tune she’d been using to soothe him, though it didn’t have quite the impact it had before, and she knew it. She grimaced as he moved his hands up to her shoulders and pushed her back, holding her only far enough away to see her face, which she’d slipped a neutral mask onto as she felt and predicted the actions he would take in his curiosity.

She decided to turn the situation to her favor if she could, and spoke before he could. “Want to tell me what had you so upset earlier? I’m here if you need someone to talk to. Or a shoulder to cry on, I guess.”

There you go. Finally, Taren takes a course of action that doesn’t make me want to shove a meat hook through her eye. It took you, what, nine chapters to have her do something that doesn’t make me totally despise her?

She smiled encouragingly at him, but the smile faltered slightly as she could see determination bloom in his ice blue eyes.

His gaze never faltered as he spoke. “Don’t think you’re getting away with it this time, Taren. My problems and yours are interwoven, and we need to hash them out and deal with this before it becomes an even larger problem than it already is. We’re going to be honest with each other, and if we’re doing that…” He pressed the side of her throat where her inhibitor implant lay, buried under layers of thick skin and muscle. It deactivated at his incredibly accurate touch. “Then we need all our cards on the table. No clamping down, no hiding who and what we are, or what we are really feeling. I’m tired of games. I can tell now that you’re about to go into heat within a day or so, and we need to get things out of the way before anyone does or says anything they’ll regret.”

Wait, is that why Garrus was…

*headdesk*

Oh fuck’s sake, he’s being a jealous little tit, isn’t he?

As she looked up at him, he saw, heard, and smelled genuine fear come from her for the first time. Her sub-harmonics were trilling high in panic, begging and pleading with him not to continue, but he knew he must for both their sakes, and he hummed reassurance and calm back to her, softly leaning down and nuzzling his forehead into hers.

Wait, what is he doing?

She sniffed, seeing if he’d released his marking scent with the action, but only smelled their lightly combined normal musk, made slightly stronger by the moisture in the air. She carefully returned the gesture once he pulled back, holding back her own marking scent as he had. He smiled as she pulled back, sweeping her wet locks back from her forehead to reveal the tiny, delicate plates near her hairline, and he nuzzled them affectionately, testing the waters as he trilled the same tone he’d used moments before that had made her clamp down on everything.

Marking scent? Um, what does …

Wait.

He didn’t hear any sound at all in return, and when he backed away to look at her, her face was a mask of concentration. He thought she was clamping down again, until he looked into her eyes, and saw the sadness there. He heard as that sadness finally translated into sound, and he placed his hands on either side of her face, brushing her cheeks with his thumbs. “Tell me, Taren. What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing, I’m just a bitch.”

She tried to look away, but his hands held her gently and firmly in place, forcing her to look at him. Her eyes were glassy, and starting to redden slightly, all signs that she was crying. He’d thought it had just been the water rushing over her face, but now he knew that it had only mixed with the tears that were flowing freely from her eyes. He trilled comfort and sadness at his discovery, and his hands abandoned their posts at her face as his arms wrapped around her shoulders, pulling her into a caressing embrace. “Spirits, Taren, tell me what’s wrong. I want to help. Please, let me in.”

*raises finger, then pauses*

We’re in for another example of why this romance is a better romance than most romances we get in the Library, isn’t it?

She rested her head in the crook of his neck and wrapped her arms around his waist, pulling him to her tightly as she let a sob escape her lips. Her halting voice was uneven, wavering with sorrow as she finally spoke, harmonizing a hint of her own personal hell as she did. “I don’t know what to do, Garrus. This… I don’t know how to deal with this. I know if I let myself go the direction I’m going in, I’ll just end up getting hurt. You’ll leave, and I’ll be alone, and I can’t deal with that again. I know that tone you were using, and I want to respond, Garrus, I do, but-”

He interrupted her, suddenly breaking his embrace on her, ducking down to her face and grasping her head in his hands again, silencing her with a kiss. It didn’t last long, but it was enough to let him show her how he felt, as he trilled a strongly possessive and loving sound at her, only breaking the kiss to press his forehead to hers, his tone changing to one of asking, no, begging permission. “I’m not going anywhere, Taren. I’ll be here until you make me leave.”

Hang on, lemme get the sappy romantic music.

What, did you expect sexy saxophone music? Because I don’t think this scene really calls for that.

She sobbed hard as her tears trickled onto both their cheeks, hot and desperate, as she tried to clamp down on her sub-harmonics, but failed. They screamed permission and acceptance, as she cupped his face in her hands and they released their marking scents together, both laying claim to someone as a mate for the first time. Her scent was fainter than his, but any turian encountering either one of them in the next month would know exactly what their status was, without having to look for a mark.

Even for as heartwarming as this all is, I can’t help but feel this is still a little fast for them. I mean, it’s a fine idea for a plot line, but from what I know of the character I’m not totally convinced she would commit that quickly, especially if she has issues with commitment as earlier chapters implied. And suddenly, she’s all melty over Garrus.

Ah well, at least we have a reason why she would go all melty over Garrus: she knows he’s gentle and caring when it really comes down to it. I’ll take that over no reason, even if it is flimsily developed at best.

Anyway, Shepard laughs a bit, and then she points out that they’re in a shower, and they do need to make it quick since crew members could walk in. So she’s like “we’ll do the sexings later.” Of course …

Besides, I still need to talk to Liara. Not that I’m looking forward to it, but I still have to do it.” She sighed sadly at the overwhelming burdens of command. She knew it was unavoidable, but that didn’t mean she had to like it.

Because nothing says “I have a hate boner for this character” like taking a potshot at Liara at a time like this. And by the way, Liara still hasn’t had anything to do in this stupid fic. You know, apart from rush out of a tunnel in the only appearance she’s made in this fic.

Anyway, we then get more scene. Garrus picks up the shampoo, he doesn’t know what it is, and then he shampoos Shepard’s hair when she explains what it does. She has to give him some instruction first, but Garrus’ hands get exploratory as he shampoos the hair. And once she rinses, he marvels at her hair.

I’m going to skip most of that, because all told it’s relatively harmless. It does kind of remind me of other scenes of men romantically touching hair, which doesn’t hurt, either.

Anyway, Garrus embraces her a little, but he does get a bit more exploratory, and finally she turns to him.

She’d seen almost that exact look before, just not quite as intense, on every turian male she’d ever fucked. Something she couldn’t place that was normal in that situation was missing, but the sheer intensity of his gaze stunned her and froze her to the spot, unable to look anywhere but his eyes as they burned with the fire of a thousand suns. Then came the one part of the scene that had eluded her memory a moment ago. His low purr slowly progressed in volume until it was a soft growl, then grew unto a deep, guttural vibration that shook his mandibles violently.

And there it was, the unmistakable mating call of a male turian. It may have been subtle and strange to most who weren’t turian, but to her it was like flashing neon signs and loud alarms that screamed ‘HEY! MATE WITH ME! OVER HERE! YEAH! ME!’. She felt her stomach drop as she realized why he was so suddenly having this reaction to her. She’d just gone into heat.

‘Oh, shit.’

*facepalm*

Wow. So the narration generally takes a general narrative approach, and then suddenly it gets ridiculously conversational right out of nowhere. I’m sorry, what?

A/N: DUN-DUN-DUN! So yeah, cliffhanger, also, this is the second chapter in a row where sex has been suggested, but has not occurred. Yes, I’m a terrible, awful, mean, evil tease. Deal with it. :P

Honey, that would only be teasing if I wasn’t gay. Which I am. Also, contrary to what you seem to believe, not all of us are reading this for the sex.

Dunno when the next chapter will be out, I’ve typed over 8k words tonight so I’m fucking tired. I’m going to bed nao. kthxbai. :D

Whatever, whatever.

Review or don’t, whatever. blargh. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

*headdesk*

Actually-Fen-Harel, were you twelve when you wrote this? What the fuck is this author’s note? I just … really? You wrote all the ‘z’s in there?

*BAM*

Good gravy.

Anyway, that ends Chapter 9. Chapter 10 opens up with another author’s note, where …

A/N: Hiya guys! So this chapter commemorates the 50th follower, as well as over 5,000 views! Yay! This is my most popular story yet! I wonder why? :P

I do too. It may be Shakarian, but even with a decently-written romance it’s still crappily written as a whole!

Also, I got the turian word for bond mate from taking the literal latin translation: Vinculum Materia, and combining the two words, then shortening it. I know nobody cares. I just like to list my sources. ^.^

Oh? Then where’s the nod to Google Translate, Actually-Fen-Harel?

Because see, here’s the thing: you would’ve gotten away with this little parlor trick if your Latin didn’t turn out to be total shit. Because when someone who actually knows what the fuck they’re talking about comments? They can pick out the flaws immediately. Thus was the case when I poked Taco in the secret clubhouse, and even he was able to see right through this with his decent-at-best Latin. His comment was as follows:

In this case it’s not really close. Vinculum does mean a bond, but is the object noun, as in a chain or fetter.

Materia is not even close, as it means “material” or sometimes “origin.”

Essentially, those two words in that order mean “chain material” or “The chain’s origin.”

And yes, I looked further into this issue myself. All of the definitions of various words for “bond” I encountered were object nouns, and the one I found that was closest to the version you’re looking for is an object noun that names it and doesn’t lend itself to compound nouns. So actually, Latin doesn’t really have the form of “bond” you’re looking for, at least not that could be used in a similar fashion we’d use it in this phrase in English. “Mate” has the opposite problem: it’s too specific. There were at least five or six words for “mate” I found that were relevant to the definition used here, and all of them framed it in the context of “spouse,” so if anything “mate” in Latin is actually way more specific than in English. And you were trying to combine them.

*BAM*

Actually-Fen-Harel … look, I get it. I get that turian naming conventions borrow rather heavily from Latin, and I get that the reasoning for this name fits into that “borrows from Latin” mindset. But honey, that doesn’t mean anything when your made-up name for turian soulmates stems from terrible Latin. You can’t just plug a phrase into an internet translator and expect that to do all the work for you: the reason we say things get “lost in translation” is because words tend to mean different things depending on the language, and even if the word is very close, there’s the chance that the word will carry a different connotation in the other language.

Frankly, I’d ask you to look at examples from languages, but I think this brief bit from Amistad perfectly sums up the problem with translation in general:

So yeah, your Latin is shit, and you’ve just revealed you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to that. Congratulations.

So, lots of crazy stuff coming, events some might see as happening too soon, and other crap that’s just plain awesome. So yeah. Read already. :D

*BAM*

Please stop with the smileys. They are very annoying.

Her eyes were wide, her subvocals trilling alarm as she looked at him. Her throat was tight, and she didn’t trust her voice at the moment, but she knew she had to snap him out of his current state before someone walked in on some very rough, bloody sex. “G-Garrus… Come on, wake up; we’ve got to get to my quarters. You know we can’t do this in here.” She was pleading with him, her sub-harmonics begging him to heed her.

He wasn’t listening.

And we’re about to get a rape scene, aren’t we?

His mating call became more pronounced as the seconds wore into a minute, and she could smell his mating musk starting to release and fill the room. She had to do something drastic to contain the situation, and quickly. “GARRUS!” She growled at him, switching from the commoner’s dialect to that of a commanding officer,

How you could do that when you’re saying a name is beyond me, but hey: we’re in a fic where subharmonics don’t need fundamental pitches above them to sound, so sure, why not.

Snap out of it! We have to get out of here!” She held her breath as she prayed to anyone that would listen that her words would carry enough weight to shake him out of his daze.

Thankfully, that seemed to register with him, somewhere in the back of his mind.

Oh good. That would have been a disgrace after all the decent to good scenes of Taren and Garrus together.

After that, Garrus apologizes and leaves. Taren is then left to recollect herself, and just as she catches her breath, who should show up but Wrex?

She noticed him sniffing the air suddenly, as he stilled, his half-naked form rigid as his eyes went wide. “Shepard  … Why do I smell marking and mating musks in here? For that matter, why do you smell like you’re in heat? I didn’t think humans went into heat.”

That’s because they –

His face was the Webster’s dictionary definition of confusion and suspicion as he looked at her.

Wha-hey!

*BAM*

You shut up, Actually-Fen-Harel! You have no business bringing dictionary definitions according to Mariam Webster unless you’re correcting someone’s incorrect use of a word! But as a legitimate description?

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

Good Lord!

Anyway, Shepard then turns to Wrex and is like “I’ll explain when I have time”, to which Wrex is like “Okay.” She then rushes out of the bathroom, and we see …

Kaidan heard the odd sound of something clicking against the floor rapidly, in the pattern one would normally hear from running feet, and he noticed a pale flash of movement in the periphery of his vision, and turned just in time to hear Shepard’s door open and close.

Oh hello Kaidan, how nice to see you again. We haven’t seen you since the fic started. How’ve you been?

He shook his head at the sound, and his commanding officer’s shyness, wondering how she made it through boot camp if she was that shy.

For the same reason she made it through boot camp despite her nonsensical biology. Don’t ask: the less you know, the better.

He turned back to his normal post with a shrug, seeing that nobody else in the mess had noticed the scene, and resumed his duties.

And how did nobody else notice their naked commander running out of the bathroom towards her quarters? You’re telling me nobody noticed that?

*headdesk*

Come on guys, really!

So then she walks in and sees Garrus there, being a little worried. Of course, as she approaches, she gets very excited, so then she is confused as to why he’s still controlling himself. She asks him what’s wrong, and of course …

He let out a huge sigh, and his shoulders slumped as he broke eye contact and lowered his head. His voice was soft and halting as he spoke, as if something were lodged firmly in his throat that he couldn’t clear. “Are you sure this is what you want, Taren? You know if we do this, I won’t be able to hold back from marking you as my bondmate. I care about you, and I don’t want you to regret this. If you tell me to leave, I will. If that’s what you want, tell me now, because I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.” He looked back up to her eyes as he choked the last words out, sorrow and pain pouring from his eyes and sub-harmonics.

And of course, she sticks to her old guns, right?

A single tear escaped her eyes as she lifted her other hand to hold his face fully between her two hands, bending her body to lower her face to his. “Garrus Vakarian, if I didn’t want this, I wouldn’t have allowed you to put your marking scent on me, would I? I know it’s not easy right now, but for fuck’s sake, think, turian. You’re the only one I’ve ever marked. Do you think I would do that if I didn’t care about you? I… I know this is all very sudden, and I can understand you being worried; I’m worried too, but this…” She gestured between the two of them, “This is something special. There’s a… A connection here. I can’t ignore it, any more than you can, and I refuse to. If you’re sure, then I’m sure.”

And she doesn’t. And remind me, we’re only on chapter 10 of 25, right?

*checks*

Yep, 10 of 25.

Well, at least this fic didn’t waste any time giving what it promised to the Shakarian fangirls. It promised hot sex and romance, and it’s certainly delivered on that thus far! Just don’t come crying to me when this shotgun marriage turns out to be a huge mistake in the middle of a high-risk mission.

Or not. I mean, considering how it routinely skips over all that boring plot to get to the romance, would you be surprised if she routinely forgot that shit?

Well, whatever the case, after that, take two guesses as to what happens. If you guessed hot sexytimes, well, you’d be right. Accompanied, of course …

She straightened, tugging at his towel, which he slowly removed before tugging on hers with a shy smirk.

“BAAAAAA!”

*GONG*

Ah, right on cue.

Anyway, yeah, it’s another sex scene. Highlight reel time!

She looked down at him and smiled affectionately, then gripped his cowl, curling her talons into the flesh behind it. She growled a challenge, then grinned devilishly. “Take me, Vima. Make me yours.”

And there it is. Vima. Which sounds like Kali-Ma’s slightly stupider cousin!.

His eyes went wide as he heard her use the turian term for ‘bond mate’, and a warmth flowed over him that threatened to drown him. He finally recognized the chord that had been plucked in his soul on Therum, the strange look that she’d given him when they’d first been intimate; it all came flooding to him in a rush, and he found himself on top of her, nuzzling into her neck and keening a whimpering tone of gratitude at her.

Dear God, why does the narration always switch between conversational one sentence and then lyrical the next? It’s really super jarring!

So of course, they have sex, and it’s rough, and blah blah blah, thrusts, sex, and I’m going to skip pretty much all of it because it’s nothing you guys don’t know. Anyway, we then jump to:

He purred in response, trilling happy notes and stroking her back with his hand. He couldn’t believe the insanity of the past week. It was the week that would forever change his life, forever mark him as a new turian, forever make him wonder if he hadn’t decided to go to that clinic, at that moment, where he would be now.

Definitely not laying in a bed, with his bondmate curled onto his carapace. Definitely not having an exciting life, touring the galaxy on a state-of-the-art hybrid ship, with a hybrid Spectre as a commanding officer. He chuckled at that thought. The turian-human hybrid ship and her turian-human hybrid captain. It was a perfect match, like fate had intervened to make sure the mission would succeed. His chest swelled with pride, and he knew then that this was no coincidence, this was providence.

And a sudden bucketload of pretension that just came right the fuck out of nowhere and bit us in the face. Like, of all things to dock you for, you’re going to make me dock you on that? C’mon!

He heard her sigh softly and barely caught what she mumbled with her mouth pressed into his chest, “Wha’so funny?”

Ah, nothing, just how shit this fic is.

He chuckled and nuzzled the top of her head. “Sleepy already?”

She mumbled something unintelligible, then jerked upwards with a start. “Shit. I still have to talk to Liara.” She groaned and flopped over on her pillows beside him, whimpering into them and half-heartedly punching the pillow a few times in frustration. She turned her head to look at him, and found him propped up on his elbow, watching her with amusement. She huffed a few strands of hair out of her face, then gave him a dirty look. “Yeah, yeah, laugh it up, Vima. You’ll get yours.” She smirked and rolled her eyes as she made to get out of bed.

She didn’t get very far.

“One more round, then you can go talk to Liara.” He whispered into her ear with a purr.

And that ends that chapter.

So yeah, there really wasn’t that much to snark in Chapter 10. But if I know my Library, that means it’s about to pick up really badly soon enough. As in, holy shit, it’s about to get real.

What happens then? We’ll see. I’ve been Herr Wozzeck, patrons. And I’ll see you folks next week!

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90 Comments on “1419: When You’re Strange – Chapters Nine and Ten”

  1. AdmiralSakai says:

    The rest of the mission was just about pure hell. Shepard was glad she’d warmed her teammates up, as they were in a near constant firefight for the rest of the mission. Matriarch Benezia ordered all the security to attack Shepard’s group, and they had to fight their way to the hot labs, only to see an asari in a really stupid looking hat standing at the top of a set of stairs. She had a superior sneer on her face as she spoke to them, and her voice was as icy cold as the planet itself. Shepard couldn’t believe that the bumbling asari child she’d rescued came from this ice queen.

    More fucking plot summary! And as predicted, it came with an extra side order of Liara bashing.

    Although to be fair, Matriarch Benezia’s hat really is stupid.

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    In this case it’s not really close. Vinculum does mean a bond, but is the object noun, as in a chain or fetter.

    Materia is not even close, as it means “material” or sometimes “origin.”

    Essentially, those two words in that order mean “chain material” or “The chain’s origin.”

    Kinky.

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    He looked back up to her eyes as he choked the last words out, sorrow and pain pouring from his eyes and sub-harmonics.

    Wow, Garrus is really giving Draco “so much depressing sorrow and evilness” Malfoy a run for his money here!

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    So of course, they have sex, and it’s rough, and blah blah blah, thrusts, sex, and I’m going to skip pretty much all of it because it’s nothing you guys don’t know.

    What, no biting? Why would she bother making such an abnormally huge deal of it before, then?

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      No, there is a bite in there. But this time, she’s okay with it, because she fell in love with Garrus in that time!

      Or something.

      I dunno, I feel like this plot thread would’ve been more convincing if it didn’t resolve itself within the first third of the story.

  5. batjamags says:

    Shepard couldn’t believe that the bumbling asari child she’d rescued came from this ice queen.

    *SLAM!*

    Stahp.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      Two more weeks, man. Two more weeks…

    • batjamags says:

      Besides, I still need to talk to Liara. Not that I’m looking forward to it, but I still have to do it.” She sighed sadly at the overwhelming burdens of command. She knew it was unavoidable, but that didn’t mean she had to like it.

      *SLAM!*

      Seriously. Liara’s cooler than you’ll ever be, but that’s no reason to be jealous.

      • batjamags says:

        She mumbled something unintelligible, then jerked upwards with a start. “Shit. I still have to talk to Liara.” She groaned and flopped over on her pillows beside him, whimpering into them and half-heartedly punching the pillow a few times in frustration.

        *SLAM!*

        Taren, I know you’re jealous of how awesome Liara is, but you don’t have to whine about it. It’ll only cause both of us more pain.

  6. batjamags says:

    It was three highly trained, armed soldiers against one powerful Matriarch. It wasn’t an easy fight, but the outcome was inevitable.

    Yes, it was inevitable. Shepard, Garrus, and Wrex all died painfully.

    The end.

  7. batjamags says:

    Wrex interrupted her stream of thought with a dam of indignation.

    Come on, fic, there’s metaphors and then there’s… Uh… moronic metaphors. Morophors? Metamorons? Let’s go with that.

    That right there is a metamoron.

  8. batjamags says:

    She looked at him with determination, her jaw set and her eyes small blue orbs of ice.

    You might want to get that checked out.

  9. batjamags says:

    Wait, so Taren isn’t being a renegade bitch for once? Well. Color me very surprised at that.

    Well, she’s sort of renegade, but with more asshole and less genocidal maniac.

    I’m actually OK with that. Except for the asshole part, of course.

  10. batjamags says:

    Before she could object to the racket, his sub-harmonics began to scream with agony and frustration, and a feral growl ripped its way out of his throat, melding into a roar of anger as he reared back, then slammed his head plates against the mirror in front of him, spidering the safety glass and leaving a deep indentation that warped his features in the mirror view she had of him from where she sat. He stood straight, releasing the sink, which now had a double row of lines etched into its sides, and walked towards his locker. She heard him rummaging around in it, and let her head fall back to the shower wall as she braced herself for his eventual discovery of her presence.

    Now, now, Garrus. I know that it’s very frustrating being in this fic, but you just have to be patient, and it’ll all be over soon.

  11. batjamags says:

    Also, contrary to what you seem to believe, not all of us are reading this for the sex.

    *Raises hand*

    Ooh! Ooh! I’m reading this to laugh at it mercilessly!

    And also literary criticism and stuff, but mostly to laugh at it.

  12. batjamags says:

    Vinculum Materia, and combining the two words, then shortening it.

    So, a portmanteau? So, that would be… Vineria? Like vinerial disease? So… Turian bond-mates are named after an STD? Appropriate, I suppose.

    Fun fact: I once named a character in a project I was writing for school Vineria, only for my dad to point out what that sounded like. So, I followed the 90’s school of name spelling and called her Vynaria. Good times. Except for the fact that the entire story was shit and I never finished it, since the class only called for a couple scenes.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      *snerk*

      I can’t imagine how your teacher must have looked at that when she graded it.

      • batjamags says:

        Like I said, I realized what I was doing and changed it before I submitted it, but still.

  13. batjamags says:

    And we’re about to get a rape scene, aren’t we?

    *Looks at Door Launcher*

    I’m gonna need some bigger doors.

    • batjamags says:

      Oh, whew. I thought I was going to have to break out the Black Gate again.

      His face was the Webster’s dictionary definition of confusion and suspicion as he looked at her.

      Webster’s… Dictionary… Definition…

      *SLAM!*

  14. AdmiralSakai says:

    she rubbed the bridge of her small nose between her thumb and forefinger

    She has other, larger noses?

    Shit, I’m going to have to reset the “[X] Days Without A Visit From The SCP Foundation” sign again, aren’t I?

  15. batjamags says:

    She looked down at him and smiled affectionately, then gripped his cowl, curling her talons into the flesh behind it.

    Garrus is wearing a cowl?!

    He is Space Batman!

  16. TacoMagic says:

    It wasn’t an easy fight, but the outcome was inevitable.

  17. Swenia says:

    Then the growl grew louder and she heard him kick the fucking door multiple times like it’d stolen all his credits

    Whoa, there, they have a fucking door on that ship!? Is that standard on all Alliance ships? And if so, where do I sign up for the Alliance’s space navy!?

    • SC says:

      *Glasses walks up in full N7 armament*

      …Uh.

      Glasses: I heard the Alliance has ships with fucking doors, so I enlisted and did such a good job that they made me a Spectre!

      Wow. It’s… it’s been like ten seconds.

      Glasses: I know, right?

      • Swenia says:

        Yeah, yeah, yeah, spectator 3M or whatever. How was the fucking door, girl!?

      • SC says:

        Glasses: My other suit needed double-dry-cleaning afterwards.

        *SC chokes on his soda*

      • Swenia says:

        *Walks in wearing an Alliance prison uniform*

        Look, some shit happened. I made it to Admiral, then they saw I used to be a queen and made me sit on the council.

        Apparently they missed the part where I was a totally shit queen.

        Things happened and now the Alliance no longer has a seat on the council. So my bad on that.

        On the plus side, the fucking doors lived up to the hype. In fact, after leaking the plans to the Extranet, humanity is making a killing on galaxy-wide emergency laundering services.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        :|

        Goddammit, Swenia. This is why we can’t have nice things.

      • SC says:

        …You two have single-handedly doomed the galaxy. Well done.

        Glasses: Nuh-uh! I became a Spectre!

        Would you ever take the job seriously?

        Glasses: Probably not…

        My point, made.

      • Swenia says:

        Naw, we got this. Glasses and I had a discussion and we’re pretty sure the Reaper’s whole ‘deal’ is that they really need to get laid. We are probably completely certain of this.

        We’re working with a local private contractor to create an intergalactic door launching platform to help the Reapers get rid of some of that pent-up aggression.

      • Garrus: Why is the fate of the Galaxy being left in the hands of those two? It’s not my native Galaxy, but it’s similar enough that I’m worried.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        Ah yes, let’s let the Reapers reproduce even more than usual. Brilliant idea!

      • SC says:

        I can almost hear Herr screaming from here.

      • Swenia says:

        That reminds me, we should see if Bi-… the contractor can expand the spanking machine to capital scale. Just in case the Reapers need an attitude adjustment.

        Or are into that sorta thing.

      • SC says:

        … You contacted Bifocals, didn’t you.

        Glasses: Well…

        I’m about ready to rip that N7 off your cuirass, missy.

      • TacoMagic says:

        All told, this is still a better way to deal with the Reaper plot-arc than the Crucible.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        Taco, don’t give them ideas!

      • batjamags says:

        We’re working with a local private contractor to create an intergalactic door launching platform to help the Reapers get rid of some of that pent-up aggression.

        Yep! I’ve got it almost-

        … You contacted Bifocals, didn’t you.

        *SLAM!*

        DOOR LAUNCHERS ARE MY THING!

        *Pouts*

        Kane + GoodJamags: Oh, grow up.

      • Herr Wozzeck says:

        Don’t worry, Batjamags, all you have to do is logic bomb the door launcher.

        Like, how in the world is it that the Reapers can fit in such a small hole, anyway? You’d think their tentacles wouldn’t even get one inch in there!

      • batjamags says:

        Say, you’re right! Hm…

        *Clears throat*

        Tired of reapers not fitting through your fucking doors? Sick of your intergalactic door launching platforms getting logic-bombed by THAT GUY OVER THERE I SWEAR IT’S NOT MY FAULT BIFOCALS?

        Try ALL NEW batjamags brand Door Launchers, now with logic-bomb-proof technology! Now, for the low, low price of whatever’s in Contacts’ wallet at the moment, you can get your very own batjamags-brand Door Launcher, plus a second one ABSOLUTELY FREE! ThisisalimitedtimeofferdoorknobsnotincludedonFREEseconddoorlauncherbatjamagscoisnotliableforanydamagessustainedthroughusingdoorlaunchersonthereaperssodon’tsueuswhentheylaseryou.

        BUY NOW!

      • SC says:

        Bifocals: I WILL KILL EVERYTHING!

      • *Agent [REDACTED] manifests next to Bifocals and stabs her with a syringe*

        Agent [REDACTED]: Rest now, child.

    • Herr Wozzeck says:

      No, Swenia. Don’t enlist just for that.

  18. TacoMagic says:

    He trilled gratitude and comfort, as well as affection bordering on the possessive tone she had only ever heard her mother use towards her father.

    *Snaps them with a towel*

    You two wanna do that somewhere other than the crew’s locker room?

  19. Swenia says:

    She carefully returned the gesture once he pulled back, holding back her own marking scent as he had.

    Yeah, that’s not how that works. Like, at all. If you don’t want to scent-mark your partner, you keep your head away from them. Scent marking isn’t all that intimate in the first place, though. Hell, you’ll scent mark your pillow every night. And any hat you decide to wear. And your shirt when you’re putting it on.

    Not to mention that fucking cupboard with the door at forehead level that I never notice is open. Whose idea was that, anyway!?

  20. TacoMagic says:

    She smirked and rolled her eyes as she made to get out of bed.

    Oh shit! The double whammy!

    *Cerbersheep charges into the room and hits THE RED BUTTON*

    -[An orbital gongbardment-related full-library respawn event later]-

    Why do we even have that button!?


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