At least the gala was months away; she didn't have to make any decisions now, and in the wake of the war, that was a blessing. Shepard's decisions were small-scale now. The choices she made for her crew of two were made jointly, and the only other lives she held in her hands were those of the men and women she decided were criminal. It was still a heavy burden, but far less heavy than the burden she had carried when she was the galaxy's vanguard against the Reapers. Her life now was as simple as she could make it without sacrificing her sense of purpose.
She was in the hold dry-firing her pistol when Garrus found her. He didn't say anything; he just sat down on a crate, leaned towards her with his forearms braced on his knees, and watched.
Shepard did this every day despite the tedium of it, and she did it until the tendons of her hands and wrists and arms ached. Click click click, two hundred times, and then she switched hands. Click click click clickclickclickclick—
She fired with both eyes open, as she'd been taught a lifetime from now and a hundred thousand light-years from here; the ghosts she saw on the other side of her sights were hers alone, and even Garrus would never hear their names.
Despite her Cerberus 'enhancements', Shepard's hands started to quiver after a couple thousand rounds. Click click click switch click click click and the joints in her arms were starting to burn, click click click switch click click quiver click until a long, three-fingered hand wrapped over the top of her sidearm and forced her into stillness.
"Jane," Garrus said, "that's enough."
The nearness of him was impossible. He was a big guy, Garrus, even for a turian man, and usually Shepard liked that—she liked that the enormity of his presence in her own life was echoed in his physical mass, and she liked having someone solid and strong at her back. Right now, though, she found his existence infuriating.
She didn't have any particular preferences in her attractions. Species mattered almost as little as gender to Shepard; she stuck mostly with humans out of availability, but any port in a storm—and her attachments were few and far between, anyway, and rarely lasted more than a few days. Sex and friendship together she could at least begin to grasp, but what she felt for Garrus couldn't be contained by that label, and sex tangled up with whatever the elusive thing she felt for him was…
She jerked her pistol down and out of his grasp, snatched the ammo block from the bench beside her, and slammed it home.
"You're going to need muscle relaxants if you keep it up," he said in a low voice.
"Yeah," she said. "Yeah, Garrus. Thanks."
The worst part of it all was that she wanted him. Jane Shepard did not want. She resolved herself, and then by sheer dint of will transformed those resolutions into reality, but never had she wanted something so intensely and personally as this.
It was starting to make her resent him.