A Taste of Home
Prof. Cassandra Lobiesk
As far as Commander Shepard had been concerned, food incompatibility was a mild deterrent to sustaining a relationship.
Shepard liked to eat. It was not outwardly obvious, because like most hardened soldiers, she’d kept her training and workouts at optimal level. Rain or shine, her subordinates often found her sparring in the workout room or joining the landing party for excavations. She didn’t really pay attention to her physique in that conscious way some men and women did to please others, but she maintained it because it was a by-product of her routine.
But when she wasn’t on active duty—which, admittedly, is almost never—she liked to eat. What most people didn’t know was that Commander Cybele Shepard was a closet foodie, and when she went out for a bit of R&R, she sought out the best restaurants and eateries. She sampled the most exotic flavors and extremely delicate chocolates. Sometimes she even tried the most potent liquors (though she wasn’t one to shirk from the tried and tested—Ryncol with a dash of crème de menthe was still her favorite).
What she couldn’t—and wouldn’t—touch was dextro-based food. Which posed a bit of a problem, considering that was all her boyfriend could eat.
And her boyfriend could eat.
Garrus liked to eat. It was not outwardly obvious, because his lean, turian figure was primed like a soldier. When he wasn’t blowing off steam at the workout room or sparring with his superior officers, he was accompanying his commander in missions that require his expert sniping skills. He was a soldier through and through, though admittedly he aimed to maintain his body structure solely because he would hate to have to rework all of his armor. Customizing armor to fit his exoskeleton was a damned hassle and a half. Better to stay in shape to avoid the stress.
But when he wasn’t on active duty—which, admittedly, he tried to avoid if he could—he liked to eat. He wasn’t a closet foodie by any means, but he admired his fair share of dextro-based cuisine. There was nothing quite like it in the galaxy, and honestly, there really wasn’t much of it to begin with. Few species even appreciated the taste of dextro foods, so it was a loss to everybody else’s taste buds, and a gratification to the turian tongue.
What he couldn’t—and wouldn’t—touch was everything else. Which posed a bit of a problem, considering he couldn’t share his love of food with his girlfriend.
And his girlfriend could eat.
It was difficult that neither could share admiration for the other’s food. Equally difficult was the fact that Shepard would never understand what was so good about turian chocolate and yet quarians could. She’d seen Garrus snapping a piece off before handing half of the bar to Tali once. Tali had giggled nervously, looked strangely at Shepard—who’d been watching with mild interest—and stored the food for later. It was an innocent enough exchange, and Garrus was oblivious to the human custom of chocolate-sharing and courting, but Shepard still couldn’t escape the fact that the twang that rose from her chest and began to throb in her head was a momentary pang of jealousy.
Turian chocolate was just another thing Garrus could share with a quarian like Tali. Just another reason that he was better off with someone who could share and enjoy his food with equal fervor. Just another reason to Shepard that it might not have been the best, to keep a relationship with an alien when there were humans aplenty who would tickle her fancy. And sometimes, there were days where Shepard vocalized this.
Garrus had plenty to say in the matter. Of course, Garrus had plenty to say about Shepard’s pragmatic attitude in their relationship. It was surprising that Commander Shepard of all people would be less optimistic about their chances. Even more so that the whole thought process started because he couldn’t share his damn chocolate with her.
So he decided to do something about it.
One night, in the privacy of Shepard’s cabin, Garrus decided to try something new.
“What’s in the box?” Shepard asked, suspicion and curiosity warring over her usually stoic expression.
“Chocolate,” Garrus said. “What you would call truffles in your language.”
Shepard tentatively grabbed a chocolate truffle, smelled it, found nothing out of the ordinary. She ate the piece and savored the delicate lightness of the chocolate and the brush of mint in the truffle’s center. It was delicious. It reminded her of the chill of mountain air and the warmth of cocoa between her hands. It reminded her of a home she never thought she’d experience ever since she’d become a soldier. The entire experience left her breathless and mute for as long as the truffle had been inside her mouth.
Just as the sensation of the chocolate ran its course, she opened her eyes. Garrus lifted one round truffle with two taloned fingers and popped it in his mouth. Suddenly all good sensation dropped to one of horror.
But instead of the allergic reaction she’d come to attribute to turians eating levo-based foods, what she saw was a smiling turian. “Good, isn’t it?”
“What…I…this isn’t dextro, is it?”
Garrus chuckled. “All the technology we have at our fingertips, someone was bound to figure out how to make non-chiral based food. The one I know owns a chocolate shop.”
“So this…we could both eat this?”
“Did you ever doubt me?” Garrus held Shepard’s hands in his own. He leaned down and brushed her lips with his. “Makes things more enjoyable, doesn’t it?”
Shepard didn’t think she could be any more delighted. “Yes. Yes, it does.”
Garrus grabbed another chocolate, this time taking only a bite of it before feeding the rest to Shepard. The two kissed again, and Shepard could taste the flavors of home on Garrus’ tongue.
Food incompatibility was a mild deterrent to sustaining a relationship where Cybele Shepard was concerned.
But Garrus Vakarian was nothing if not versatile in coming up with solutions.
Leave a Reply.
Poetry poetry poetry! This is where submissions get a bit more creative than most, and it's a wonder how many HOLers (particularly the eagles) are filled with fabulous artsyness.