Omega Days 5/5

Author:azzy
Title: Omega days
Fandom: Mass Effect
Warnings: Dub-con, breathplay, erotic asphyxiation, hurt/comfort, violence.
pairrings: Kaidan Alenko/John Shepard
Spoilers: None
Rating: M+, Explicit, N17
WIP: 5/5
Beta: erestorjunkie
Summary: Tonight he would go check out the lead he had, it might be crummy, but it was all he had right now. Kaidan looked up at the neon sign on the building, and down at the address on his datapad, yeah this was the place. He shook his head, "Plastique? Really now?" He shrugged and willed himself to believe that Saren would frequent a shady dance club, because the alternative, that the information was bad, was just too much to bear.
AN: Okay so I took a bunch of stuff from the games, and some from Revelation, shook it in a hat and this stuff came out. Nah I just stole with arms and legs from the different timelines when I thought it suited my purpose. And other stuff I just plain made up.
This is written for neilsaggy, who prompted Tumblr and I was the idiot who couldn’t resist. Nah seriously, thank you for getting my writing mojo back. I hope you like it even if it’s not exactly what you asked for. And thanks to erestorjunkie for helping me out while I tried to make sense of the plot – We ended up with less old school detective and full blown Miami Vice, but who’s counting? – [playlist]

Chapter 5.


When Shepard went out the dressing room and aimed towards his station, he was all struts, sparkles and smiles. Though his thoughts were scattered and dark, fuck Earth, he thought to himself, trying to take heart in the appraising crowd, his eyes searched the room, and he looked up at the V.I.P booth where he saw both Saren and Groto with a drink, they were still here so he better bring his A-game and remind them why this club needed him.

Groto blinked, watching as Shepard got up to his pole like nothing. “So what do you propose we do about this bounty hunter?”

Saren sighed, “Maybe we can make that pissant down there do the work for us, he is all smiles now, but I could feel him tremble earlier, he is scared out of his mind.”

“Of course he is.” Groto said, “But he’s a resilient little bastard, John Shepard.”

Saren nodded, “But what if we can make him flush out Alenko for us?”

“You’d think that would work?” Groto asked surprised, “You said it yourself, this Alenko is ruthless, why would he risk being exposed at the expense of one little dancer, no matter how tempting he might be.”

“I lied.” Saren said with a shrug. “Alenko has never used personal means to get close to me; usually he will kill and bribe his way. So it’s pretty safe to assume that he might have something like an attachment to this dancer.”

“You mean real affection?”

“I do,” Saren said holding out his glass to have a servant fill it again. “Now we have something that he wants, question is how bad does he want it?” Saren gestured towards Shepard below them, “Bad enough that he would come out of hiding and walk straight into a trap?”

“Oh I like the sound of that.” Groto cheered.

~*~

Jack was furious that she had been chosen for this task, she watched the city of Omega flash by outside the cab, she was awfully tempted to open the video file she was carrying, but the way that Shepard was hauled out of the club last night, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know what was on that video.

The cab stopped and Jack got out and walked straight to the hotel front doors, she walked past the portier and directly towards the room she had been told that Alenko would be in. She frowned, poor Shepard, he had finally found someone who he thought really liked him. She had noticed how soft his smile had been when he had looked at Alenko, and how his eyes would light up when he talked about him, even if he thought he was being guarded. And it turned out to be a ruse, a bastard that had tapped into Shepard’s loneliness. Nothing she could do about it now though. She stopped in front of Alenko’s door, and knocked.

When Kaidan opened he blinked against the stark light in the corridor. “Yes?”

“I have a message for you.” Jack said, “And just for the record,” She handed him the data pad with the video on, “You’re a fucking asshole.” Jack turned and left just as quickly as she had arrived, already running back down into the waiting cab.

Kaidan had closed the door, and stared at the data pad. What the hell? Was this even for him? He tossed the data pad on the bed and turned on the light, he looked at the time, it was about time he got up anyways, so he left his room for the coffee vending matching. Where the hell had he seen that tattooed chick before? His sleepy brain tried to place her, a cold shiver went down his spine as he recalled, he had met her when he and John had been on their way out back, she was a dancer in the Plastique. Kaidan almost spilled his coffee when he ran back to his room and snatched up the data pad. He sat down and pushed play, watching the screen, sipping his coffee.

The video was blurred and then cleared up, showing Shepard hanging from the ceiling of some sorts of large empty hall, like a closed down factory or something. “Alenko.” Saren said with a smirk in his voice, stepping in front of the screen, “Now I told the little man here about you, and he told me about you, fair exchange don’t you think?”

Saren turned his back to the camera, and walked slowly over to Shepard, who was clearly struggling with staying on his toes so his entire bodyweight would not rest on his shoulders, his head was down, but Kaidan could see blood. Saren walked behind Shepard, pulling his head up to look at the camera, “Smile,” Saren said, and Shepard tried to smile with his split swollen lip. His left eye was closed and swollen too, but the right was open and looking straight into the camera, wide with fear and pain. “So little man, tell me what did Alenko promise you?” Saren said softly, and when Shepard didn’t answer, Saren pulled Shepard’s arm, making him scream. “Earth!”

“Oh.” Saren said motherly, “Now Alenko, that is not a nice thing to do, lie to the hookers like that.” He laughed, “You did know that right? That it is what your little friend here is.” Saren’s free hand caressed Shepard’s cheek, making Shepard flinch. “He must have really liked you if he didn’t charge.” Saren laughed. “Anyway, enough with the pleasantries,” He turned from the camera, “Skarr, you’re up.”

Skarr came into the picture frame, and wrapped something around Shepard’s waist, it was not until he flipped a switch on the side of the box attached to the belt that Kaidan realized what it was, Skarr opened his omni tool and punched something in. “Alright Alenko, I hope for the little man’s sake, that girl was as fast as we told her to be.” He looked down at the omni tool, “It is 06:34,” punching a button on the box on Shepard’s stomach, “Fair is fair, so I’ll give you two hours,” The digital numbers on the box started to count down with a weak click, Shepard moaned something and Skarr leaned in as far as his big head would let him, “Did you say something little man?” When Shepard just let out a pained weak sob, Skarr shrugged.

“We’re leaving Omega in exactly two hours; I’ll be waiting at the docking hangars in plain sight.” Saren said. “Or you could come here; your boyfriend is blown to pieces in two hours, Warehouse five in the Kenzo district. Make your choice Alenko.”

And with that the video ended. Kaidan looked over at the clock; it was fifteen minutes past seven. For a moment Kaidan just sat and stared at the mangled face of Shepard where the video had cut out. Saren knew him better than he had thought, should he go after Shepard, or should he go after Saren and the bounty? If he had gotten this recording earlier, maybe he would have been able to do both. But now the time was too short and he had to choose.

He grabbed his jacket and went to get his bike, he started it up and started driving towards the docking hangars, eyes on the prize Alenko, he told himself. But in the back of his head he heard Shepard with his soft shy voice say, ‘I had not expected to like you this much,’ “Dammit!” Kaidan growled and sped up the bike trying to rid his head of these thoughts, ‘You better not be shitting me,’ – Kaidan stopped his bike, “Fuck!” he raged, turning the bike around and drove towards the Kenzo district so fast he almost crashed twice. What was he thinking? He had been hunting Saren for years, and was he really about to give that up for some dancer? Kaidan grit his teeth, the truth unsettled him and the truth was that Shepard was just not some dancer, the truth was that he had pictured them drinking beer under clear blue skies, had imagined Shepard’s eyes light up in awe and wonder, and his lips smile as he would show him all the beauty of Earth.

Shepard had stopped counting the ticks of time in his head long ago. His legs buckled under him, forcing him to let his broken arm carry the weight of his body till he found footing again. He felt mostly like crying, not because it was the end, but he wanted to cry for all that could have been. What his life could have been had it not been for the Batarian slavers, he was pretty sure his mom and dad had not in their craziest nightmares imagined that their son would meet his maker, dangling in a warehouse in skimpy clothes, sobbing over time badly spent. He wasn’t as much upset that Kaidan had lied, as he was to have his dreams ruined. There was so much he had wanted to do; places he had wanted to see, like Earth, Detroit where his parents were from. Illium for its splendors and spirituality, the Citadel for the size and adventure. There was just so much, he would have loved to do, all those dreams he had had before the slavers welled up in his mind. He could hear Skarr and his men scurry about, and he knew that Kaidan would walk straight into a trap if he came. But since Saren had left some of his men behind it meant that he wasn’t sure. Somehow that gave Shepard a tiny spark of hope.

Kaidan slammed the breaks on his bike so hard he almost tumbled from it. He looked up at the warehouse sign, it was warehouse five alright, and then he looked down at his watch, he had thirty minutes before it didn’t really matter anymore. Kaidan snuck into the building keeping to the shadows, not sure if Saren had been lying. He snuck closer to the back of the warehouse, well aware that he had to be both silent and quick. When he finally saw Shepard, he sucked in his breath and grit his teeth, not even the damn holo had done it justice, he looked absolutely mangled, his arm sticking out in a weird twisted angle, and a large dark purple almost black bruise formed on his side, from what Kaidan guessed was a broken rib or more. Guilt tightened around his chest like a belt, it was his fault that Shepard had been caught in the middle of this, the least he could do was to do good on his promise, right? To take him to Earth, if Shepard would ever forgive him.

Sneaking around the light cones, and over to where Shepard hung, Kaidan kneeled at his feet and caressed his cheek gently. “Hey John.” He whispered, “I’m gonna get you out of this, okay?”

Shepard’s good eye cracked open and focused on Kaidan, “Skarr,” Shepard whispered, “Is here.”

“Now!” Skarr yelled and jumped over a crate, followed by five other Krogans, “I got you now, Alenko!”

Kaidan turned his head and looked over at the advancing Krogan. “Shit,” He hissed.

“Looks like I lost the bet,” Skarr said drily, “I told Saren you’d not be so stupid as to come running here for the little man,” He smiled a cruel and on the same time amused smile. “He’s gonna be dead in a moment anyway.”

~*~

Shepard couldn’t really see what was going on, but he felt the rumble in the ground, and he saw what he thought was Kaidan flaring bright blue. That had to be a trick of his mind, he had heard of human biotics, Jack had talked about her childhood and the things done to her, but he had never seen it in action. A Krogan lifted in the air was hurled towards the end wall, but ended up hitting Shepard instead as Kaidan was thrown out of focus by Skarr. He turned his head to check Shepard, he seemed to have passed out, because he was hanging by his broken arm and shoulder without as much as a whimper. Kaidan noted the time on the bomb on Shepard’s chest, he had fifteen minutes to finish this fight and disarm that bomb, and suddenly dying here in the blast became a very real possibility. Funny that he should feel heroic at the end, Kaidan thought to himself, here he was trying against all odds to rescue Shepard. He had only managed to take out two Krogan, and he felt completely drained. Kaidan blinked to his surprise when one of the Krogan suddenly levitated and a spray of bullets was pumped into it till it fell lifeless to the ground. Kaidan turned to see where the unexpected aid came from, he saw the bouncer from the club and the other dancer, his headache was drumming behind his eyes because of him exhausting his implant. He couldn’t remember their names, but they seemed surprised that he was here. “Get him down!” Jack yelled, picking up another Krogan with biotics.

Kaidan welcomed the break from battle, he looked at the watch on the bomb, he had eight minutes left to disarm this thing, he focused on getting the lid off the box and stared down into a chaos of wires. He took a deep breath, his palms sweaty and his hands shaking slightly, both from exhaustion and fear. He looked up at Shepard’s abused face; he was still out stone cold. Kaidan looked back at the wires, maybe it was a good thing that Shepard wasn’t awake for the final count down and the blast, the thought that Shepard should live his last moments in raw fear was unbearable, Kaidan’s heart clenched at the thought, and a little smile tugged at his lips. Of all the things, now of all times he would realize that he regretted not telling Shepard how he felt, how he had wished that Shepard would come with him, and how he had dreamed of whatever future they’d have. Funny then in his dreams, it was always ‘them’; he had stopped imagining a life without Shepard, so maybe this wasn’t all wrong? At least he wouldn’t have to live out his days knowing that if he had played his hand differently, Shepard had never been involved, would never have paid the ultimate price for it. He would still be a goddamn Adonis in glitter, entertaining the guests at Plastique.

“Alenko!” James yelled, ducking behind a crate to avoid Skarr’s bullets.

“Right.” Kaidan bit his lip, fervently wondering if there was an afterlife, and if there was, would there be a garden where he and Shepard could sit in the sun and drink beer? – He pulled a cord and closed his eyes tight shut, but nothing happened. Nothing. Kaidan looked at the timer, one minute left. He looked at the cords again, and picked out the one he thought it was, he pulled it, and nothing happened. Kaidan’s eyes widened in panic, “Goddammit!” He cried.

“It’s okay.” Shepard whispered above him, “Pull them all.”

Kaidan looked up at Shepard who studied him with his one good eye, “Sure?”

“Ye-” Shepard didn’t finish his sentence before Kaidan just grabbed all the cords and pulled them. He could have cried when the watch stopped with ten seconds to go. He had a hard time understanding why Saren would have used such an amateurish bomb, but right now he didn’t care. He didn’t even notice the ruckus behind him as Skarr escaped the warehouse, pursued by Jack and James. Kaidan just stood and used what little of his biotic powers that had recharged and broke the chain that held Shepard up. The broken man fell into Kaidan’s arms. “Hey John.” Kaidan smiled, cradling Shepard like was he a young child.

“Hey Kaidan.” Shepard smiled as much as his lips would allow him.

“I’m sorry.” Kaidan said, kissing Shepard’s sweat covered forehead.

“What for?” Shepard struggling to keep his eye open, looking at Kaidan.

“Everything, lying to you, using you.” Kaidan said, gently wiping some blood from Shepard’s face. “I didn’t know I would…” He smiled mostly at his own stupidity, “grow this fond of you.”

“It’s okay.” Shepard sighed, “I let you.”

“That you did,” Kaidan wrapped his other arm around Shepard and held him tight against his chest.

~*~

Kaidan would have brought flowers but he didn’t since there were none to be had on Omega. He was less than impressed by the hospital, but it was what Kaidan had been able to pay for. He knew from Jack that Pitbull had talked to Groto, who thought that Shepard was dead, and Pitbull didn’t feel like correcting him. Funny how help sometimes came from the strangest places. Like Jack and James, they would never tell a soul what happened that day in the warehouse, neither would Skarr since he had some street-credit to uphold, and to be driven off by a dancer and a bouncer was more humiliation than he could stand, he would not tell anyone that Shepard didn’t blow up that day. Kaidan walked down the mucky hospital corridor, trying to ignore the poor souls who were laying and sitting there. At least Shepard had gotten a room, well he had to share it with nine others, but it was better than the corridor.

“Hey handsome.” Kaidan said with a smile as he walked into the hospital room.

“Hey there.” Shepard said, his face still banged up pretty bad and he had gotten stitches in his lip and across his brow. His arm was broken in three places including the shoulder. And he had some broken ribs and a fractured foot, but all in all it was pretty okay all things considered. Shepard put down the data pad he was reading and smiled at Kaidan, “What brings you here?”

“You.” Kaidan said sitting down at the foot-end of the bed, “I was thinking… I am leaving Omega soon, booked a seat on a shuttle to earth, and -”

“Ah okay.” Shepard’s smile died on his lips in contrast to his forgiving words. “I sorta wondered why you were still around, you ought to be running after your prize, he won’t expect it now, he thinks you died in a bomb blast.”

“Yeah well,” Kaidan said, placing a warm hand on Shepard’s shin, “I think it’s time I took a break.”

“But why? Now would be the best time to -”

“John.” Kaidan cut off whatever it was Shepard was about to say. “I almost lost everything, hunting after him. So I’ve been thinking that maybe it was about time someone else took over.” He shrugged, “And maybe it’s about time I went home to see my parents.”

“Oh…” John smiled sadly, “Of course, I just thought -”

“So you’re free now, when you leave this hospital you’re free to do whatever you want.” Kaidan said nodding at the windows to the street, “What’s your plan?”

Plan? Shepard didn’t have a plan. He didn’t really want to lay his shit on Kaidan; he had saved his life and paid for all this, and… And truth was that he was even worse off now than he had been before he met Kaidan. When he left here he was broke, out of a job and had nowhere to go. Only one real solution to that if he wanted to make enough money to get to Earth. “Maybe the Alliance office as you said,” Shepard said, knowing he was lying through his teeth.

“Sounds like a plan.” Kaidan said still smiling.

“So, when are you leaving?” Shepard asked, hoping he didn’t sound too desperate, he knew he had forgiven Kaidan for manipulating him, but he just wasn’t ready to tell himself that it had all just been an act. He had come to get him, hadn’t he? And the smiles had seemed so genuine, and maybe Shepard was just fooling himself, but why would he pay for the hospital? Did he feel guilty?

“In two days.” Kaidan said. “I just came by to see how you were doing, and if you needed something.”

“I’m fine.” Shepard said with a professional smile, “You’ve done so much already.”

“You can say that again,” Kaidan nodded, “If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t even be here.”

“Maybe I would, there is no telling.” Shepard said with a slight nod.

“So I guess this is goodbye,” Kaidan said, slowly standing from the bed, “In a weeks’ time I will be sitting on my parent’s balcony with a beer, enjoying the scenery, just kicking back, trying to forget Omega and Saren. And you? Maybe you’ll be in the Alliance, maybe you’ll be on the streets of Omega, or maybe you will be sitting next to me with a beer in your hand.”

Shepard blinked, “What?”

Kaidan pulled a chip from his pocket, “I came by to give you this, if you want It.” he placed it in Shepard’s hand gently.

Closing his hand around the chip, Shepard looked up at Kaidan with a puzzled expression, “What is it?”

“It’s a seat on a shuttle that leaves for Earth, in two days.” Kaidan said trying to keep his casual composure, but truth was he was dead nervous if Shepard would toss it back in his face or what. They hadn’t exactly had time to talk, so for all he knew, Shepard would think that all that Kaidan had said and done had been a lie.

“Yours?” Shepard asked his voice thick with emotion, “seat I mean.”

“No,” Kaidan said, “I have my own seat, that seat there is for you. Do with it what you want.” He forced himself to look down at Shepard’s surprised face as he studied the chip. “You can use it to get to earth and start over, you can sell it here on Omega, or you – you could come with me home.” His voice became nothing but a whisper.

“I -” Shepard licked his lips, “This is worth a whole lot of credit, Kaidan. Are you sure that -”

“As I said, it’s yours.” Kaidan smiled, “Anyway, I should be going – So, it’s been a pleasure, and I mean that.” He chuckled a little, even if he knew it was tasteless, “I hope to see you at the dock in two days. Shepard.” And with that he literally fled the hospital room and Shepard’s, worried, puzzled, blue eyes.

~*~

Kaidan couldn’t help but to keep looking around the corner as he was waiting on the dock for his shuttle. He had already had his bike and bag brought aboard, now he only needed to go seat himself. He looked at the clock, the shuttle would leave soon, and there was no sight of Shepard. Maybe he had sold the chip? Maybe he thought that he would have an easier time making a living of his own up here, than on Earth, after all, he knew everyone here, and had a name.

God he wished that he had done it differently, maybe if he didn’t feel like he had deceived Shepard, then he had been able to just waltz into that hospital room and kiss him, and tell him he would pick him up in two days and that they were going to Earth, like he promised. And they were going to have a nice dinner at his parents, where he would introduce John as his boyfriend, later they’d retire to the balcony and watch the sun set, drinking a beer. Just sitting there, being content, until they retired and like teenagers had to hush each other while they fumbled with the pajama pants that his mother insisted that they wore, in his single person bed, leaving the extra bed ignored on the other side of the room. And that, that would be the sweetest lovemaking in the history of love.

But as the clock ticked, it didn’t look like that would be the scenario. He would still go to his parents for dinner, and still have a beer while the sun set, and still wear those stupid pajama pants, and get into his single person bed. But it would be without John. He found that the thought made his chest tighten with worry. Why the hell hadn’t he just admitted that he couldn’t imagine going home without John? Fuck that! Maybe he should stay and re-schedule his departure? These seats had been really hard to get, not to mention really damn expensive, and if he didn’t get a refund on his he’d be pretty broke. He squared his shoulders and pushed open his omni tool, calling the hospital.

When the call had ended, Kaidan just sat and stared at the closed connection’s little swirling extranet icon. When he had finally gotten through to someone who recalled him, he was told that Shepard had been released yesterday, so a day early. He had left no contact info or told anyone where he’d go. Kaidan couldn’t ignore the sinking feeling anymore, Shepard wasn’t going to show. All he could do was to hope that he at least had gotten a fair price for the chip and that he would be okay. Kaidan ran a hand over his face and sighed, truth be told he was disappointed, mostly in himself, cause what could he ask of the man who he lied to from day one, of course he’d think he lied when he asked him to come to Earth with him. And if he had told how he felt right there in the hospital, he was sure Shepard would have thought he lied to work a different angle and for some different reason. Maybe he wouldn’t have minded? Kaidan still remembered what Shepard had said before he passed out that day in the warehouse. That he didn’t mind that it was all a hoax, that he had ‘let’ Kaidan do it.

“Hey Stranger.” Shepard said cradling his arm in a sling, against his chest. And in the other he had a plastic bag, the shirt and pants he wore was clearly hospital issue but he still had his boots. He walked over to Kaidan and put down the plastic bag. “My shorts,” He said, not willing to elaborate.

“You came!” Kaidan wanted to laugh with relief; he had worried himself sick, when he should have realized that Shepard would have to walk all the way down here.

“Yeah.” Shepard smiled a little timid, “Did you – uhm – Did you really mean that about that beer?”

“Of course!” Kaidan got up from the crate he had been sitting on and buried Shepard in a warm embrace, “I was so worried you wouldn’t come.” he admitted in a whisper. “I am so sorry I lied to you, I promise you I won’t ever do that again.”

“I told you it was fine,” Shepard said resting his head on Kaidan’s shoulder. “I wasn’t exactly honest either.”

“Alright,” Shepard said, muffled in Kaidan’s jacket, “Those Blue Suns you saved me from, they were paid to drag me out like that.” He took a deep sigh, “And I was told to drink that cocktail, I didn’t know it was drugged, but I wasn’t really surprised that it was, but they weren’t the ones giving it to me.”

“Someone knew I was there?” Kaidan asked surprised.

“This is Omega; there is always someone who knows something.” Shepard chuckled a little drily, “I wasn’t instructed to do something specific, I suppose Pitbull just wanted to find out why you were on Omega.’Ca use unlike the rest of us, he knew who you were from day one. So if I had come home to the club and said something about that you were asking for Saren, or whomever, Pitbull would have known.”

“But you didn’t.”

“No.” Shepard said finally stepping back and ending the embrace. “I sorta liked you, and besides then no one had seen Marlowe for ages, so I supposed you’d just go away on your own, no reason to get everyone riled up. Besides if I made you believe that Marlowe might come to Omega real soon,” Shepard smiled a little goofy, “I got to have you hanging around a little more.”

Kaidan smiled and kissed Shepard’s still slightly swollen lip, “Ready to leave this place?” he asked.

“Fuck yeah.” Shepard leered.

EPILOGUE;

Shepard sat in a comfortable café chair and looked out on the sun set over English Bay, a cold beer nestled between his thighs. “This is beautiful,” He sighed blissfully.

“I know.” Kaidan rested his head on Shepard’s shoulder, staring off into the orange ball in the horizon. “This is how it’s supposed to be, you know.”

“Thank you,” Shepard said softly, “Not just for the obvious, but for all that with your parents. You make me sound so respectable.” He chuckled amused, “Who would have thought?”

“What good would it do to tell them the truth?” Kaidan whispered, taking a sip of his beer in an awkward angle.

“None I suppose.” Shepard said, “But now your dad will expect me to mix drinks every time I’m here. Why did you have to tell him I was a bartender, man?”

“Want me to tell him you’re an exotic dancer?” Kaidan asked with a smile, knowing Shepard’s reply.

“I still am, only for you though. Strictly VIP.” Shepard laughed, making Kaidan laugh a little as he felt a slight blush on his cheeks, from the beer or the mental images, he wasn’t sure.

“Are you two good out here?” Kaidan’s mother asked, peeking out on the balcony, “It’s not too cold is it? I could get you a plaid or something.”

“We’re good mom.” Kaidan laughed, “Thanks though.”

Kaidan’s mother went inside again, and Kaidan straightened up in his seat. “It really is the most beautiful sight in the world.”

Shepard smiled and took a sip of his beer, he had never in a million years thought he would live to see something like this again, or feel at home somewhere ever again. He could not explain to Kaidan that it would take some time before he got used to being the master of his own life, a simple thing like sleeping in was hard for him to do, it was drilled into his core reactions to never sleep more than a couple of hours. Kaidan was frustrated that he wasn’t able to lay bone idle in a bed for an entire morning, but got up to help Mrs. Alenko instead, unable to harness his nervous energy, and needed to feel useful. In time he would unlearn what the Batarians had forced him to learn. And he was confident that Kaidan had that time, and it was a miracle in its own that they both allowed themselves to believe in them as a couple, neither was easy to trust someone else. Shepard took another sip of beer in the comfortable silence, he knew that Kaidan was a little sad that they had met like they had, and would have wanted to date and do stuff together like other people did when they were falling in love. Shepard just wasn’t other people, and he had mostly just humored Kaidan when he had asked him out to a movie and a drink, but he had found that he absolutely loved it, he almost craved it! Just to feel special and cherished for just being John and that Kaidan wanted him to be there, and no one else. It was mind-blowing really.

Shepard raised his beer to toast, “Here’s to coming home!” He said.

Kaidan raised a brow, and then smiled, “I’ll drink to that!”

THE END.

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