You know Garrus is only playing to humiliate them. In a nice way. (And probably to crack some joke about discovering the whereabouts of all the galaxy’s missing steak sandwiches.)
There were more than a few things Lieutenant Vega believed that were, blatantly, not true at all. But a few stood out more than others—louder, like the man himself; unsubtle, like his collection of tattoos and scars.
One: that it was funny to tease a turian about thehuevos rancheros—which smelled positively scrumptious—because he couldn’t actually eat them. (It wasn’t funny.)
Two: that everyone on the Normandy appreciated the long, slow walk he took from the showers back to his digs, with nothing more than a child-sized towel around his hips, water dripping down the center of his spine. (Only most people appreciated it, but those who didn’t more than made up for such misplaced enthusiasm.)
Three: that he knew Shepard better than anyone else. (Painful, really, as all the funniest jokes were.)
Four: that he was unbeatable at cards.
That seemed like an obvious challenge to Garrus.
‘It’s a tradition,’ he told James, companionably, neither of them bare-faced but only one of them smarter. ‘For all the newest members of Shepard’s team. A card game with a turian—I’m sure the idea of that doesn’t worry you at all, does it, lieutenant?’
‘Course not,’ Vega said, sliding into his seat. ‘Deal me in. Let’s do this, Vakarian. Gonna wipe that turian smile clean off your face.’
‘While you’re at it, could you see about wiping off the scar as well?’ Garrus asked. ‘I know how it makes the ladies swoon, but I did like that part of my face just fine before I lost it to a missile.’
‘Where the hell’d you get this guy?’ Vega asked Shepard. ‘Never seen such a goddamn funny turian.’
‘I’m a bad influence on them, apparently,’ Shepard replied.
Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on what part of the table you were sitting at—he couldn’t be a part of this little experiment in dressing a man down. …Literally.
Someone had to keep their commander on his toes.
And Shepard’s blind spots were never going to kill him, because Garrus was always going to be there to prevent that from happening. And to exploit them, occasionally, in non-hostile situations, when all the chips were on the table.
He did enjoy that particular human saying.
Shepard had conned some of the mechanics on board into thinking he was a rube at Skrillian Five; Alenko was hard to read, but Vega had been beating him at cards for days now; and Vega had everything to prove, which meant he was the first one to lose everything.
Without his child-sized towel, he seemed less pleased about the prospect of showing everything off. But if he wasn’t committed to going all the way on the ship, how could he possibly do the same on the field?
This sort of training was good for him.
‘I wonder if Liara would be willing to take a picture,’ Garrus said, sweeping his winnings toward him with one arm. ‘You know, I’m told those last longer?’
‘I’ve created a monster,’ Shepard said.
‘Oh, Shepard.’ Garrus checked his hand again, then spread it flat against the table. ‘You always know just how to flatter me. And don’t worry, Lieutenant—I know it’s cold in here. You don’t have to explain anything about human male anatomy and its temperature sensitivity to me. Wouldn’t you know—Shepard’s already told me about it quite thoroughly.’
‘It is cold in here,’ Vega muttered.
‘Just from that one time on Noveria…’ Shepard added.
‘What a great way to get some R&R,’ Kaidan agreed.
It certainly was, Garrus thought, and dealt them all in again.