Title: Nous Deux (two of us)
fandom: mass effect
warnings: violence & smut
Chapter 6: Shepard & Shore leave
John Shepard had been in the service for five years, enjoying the newfound family he had. He had no objection to follow orders, he had followed orders his entire life. This was no different really, except that you were treated a little better. The Alliance army had its fair share of sadists like Vyrnus, but they were pretty easy to avoid if you knew how. All in all John thought it panned out alright. Besides, the Alliance was based on a strict ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in regards to just about anything besides your psych evaluation. So his past never came up, neither did his sexuality. He knew how to hide important stuff from prying eyes, and this was no different. His discipline and no questions asked, 110% in all missions attitude had helped him skip through ranks pretty fast. He still wasn’t sure he was worth all the trust placed in him.
Sometimes he had wondered what had become of Kaidan after they shut down Jump Zero, but he just supposed that your first love always would fill you with a sort of melancholy feeling, no matter how and why it ended. He had had other lovers since, but none as intense. None of them even rivalled Kaidan in his memory.
”Shepard!” Ade poked John, ”You’re zoning out.” He laughed, ”We’re here to get laid man. Ooorah! Shore leave!” He laughed pushing a drink in Shepard’s hand.
”Sir, yes sir!” Shepard laughed back, and took a sip of his drink.
”Check that Asari chick on that table.” Ade nodded towards a table dancer. ”Wouldn’t mind bugging her.”
”Oh really? Then why do you keep staring at the lt?” Shepard snickered, ”Come on Ade, go talk to her. Off the record and all.” He elbowed Ade.
”Okay.. yeah..”Ade blushed visibly in the red lights of the club. ”I should.”
”Yes you should.” Shepard grabbed Ade’s arm and pulled him down to him, ”You only live once, make the best of it marine.” He yelled in Ade’s face with a laugh.
”Alright there drill sergeant.” Ade shook his head, ”I’ll go talk to her.”
”Good, piss off.” Shepard grinned smug and took a sip of his drink, turning his gaze to the Asari table dancer, not noticing when Ade left. After a while he got up to get another drink. He pushed in between people at the bar, and leaned in to get the bartender’s attention. ”Yo, thirsty marine!” He yelled.
He got his drink by an annoyed Turian, and Shepard turned around with a smile, looking at the dance floor. He had never been a dancer, never would be. So he was quite content with watching others dance. He saw couples melt in and out, dancing. Sipping his drink feeling fine. Then he heard it, someone yelled, ”Alenko, two!” and the ”Sure thing.” yelled back. A jolt of joy and panic mingled shooting up and down his spine like a pinball ball. He wanted to turn his head and look down the bar, but on the other hand he didn’t want Kaidan to see him, if it was Kaidan, he could have family for fucks sake. He didn’t have to be the only person in the galaxy named Alenko. But when he saw the person leave with two drinks to go back to a table in the corner, he recognized his back, the way he walked. No doubt, that was Kaidan.
Shepard just stood and sipped his drink, casually watching Kaidan as he sat down with some other people. John felt a sting of sorrow as Kaidan leaned in and handed the drink to some fella, smiling brightly. He used to smile like that when he saw him back on Jump Zero, John knew what that smile entailed. No wonder he moved on, come on, it had been years and they hadn’t promised each other anything. He tried to push it out of his mind, turning around to order another drink from the Turian. As he turned again, Kaidan and the fella were on the dance floor. Yep, they were definitely more than friends, Shepard thought to himself as he watched them. He felt slightly ashamed of himself that he was jealous, that should have been him dancing with Kaidan, they had deserved to have fun. He sighed and looked down into his drink, deciding that the next would be double up.
”Having fun Staff Sergeant Shepard?” An amused voice said next to John. He looked away from Kaidan and his friend and right into the face of Private Inez Portillo. ”And congratulations on your promotion, we’re looking forward to -”
”Portillo.” Shepard sighed, ”Shore leave, remember? No work talk, please.” He smiled at her. ”But thank you.”
”Still, just wanted to say I’m sure you’re gonna be great, Sir!” She said toasting with John, ”Still weird though.”
Shepard laughed, ”That I’m your superior? I always was.” He smiled a sly smile at her.
Portillo blushed lightly and looked away from Shepard, ”Is it true they recruited you for the N7 program?” She asked.
”Maybe.” Shepard said with a laugh. ”Please, no more work talk. We’re here to get drunk and unwind.” He gestured towards the dance floor. ”Why don’t you go dance?”
”Not much of a dancer, sir.”
”Yeah I relate.” Shepard chuckled.
”Hey come on, Inez.” another Marine laughed pulling Portillo’s arm, ”Let’s dance.”
Shepard grinned and gestured towards the dance floor, urging Portillo to go dance. He turned his head and looked at Kaidan’s group wondering if he should go say something. Maybe Kaidan didn’t want to know him anymore, after all Jump Zero had been a terrible place, and maybe he just wanted to forget everything that had gone on there.
Five drinks later Shepard could hardly stand, but came to the conclusion that he couldn’t ignore it any longer, so it was with a hammering heart and a dry mouth he walked over to where Kaidan sat. He stopped in front of the table, trying to look casual, but too long in the army and servitude made that hard, so he knew he still looked like he had a stick up his ass even when he tried to look relaxed. ”Alenko?” He said with enough force to drown out the music.
Someone elbowed Kaidan who looked up puzzled at the man at their table. Why the hell would one of those marines come here? ”That’s me.” He said.
Shepard swallowed, maybe this had been a super bad idea. ”I’m sorry, I got the wrong man. Have a nice evening Gentlemen.” He saluted them and turned around, and walked towards the exit, he would just have to go find another bar to drown himself in booze, this served absolutely no purpose. His chest stung from the reality of Kaidan not recognizing him, he recalled when he first had come back to earth he had imagined the moment they’d meet again.. Needless to say he had pictured it a lot different. Good or bad, he had never thought they’d be strangers.
Kaidan got up from his seat, and looked after the man who walked with long strides towards the exit. ”What the -”
”Come on, it was nothing.” The man next to him said.
”No, I have to -” Kaidan pushed out through the people seated, until Des grabbed his wrist, ”I’m going with you.” He stated and got up.
”Alright.” Kaidan shrugged, there was no need telling Des he could look after himself, Des wanted to feel like the protector, and Kaidan let him. Actually it was quite endearing.
Shepard was at the elevator when he heard someone call ”Hey! Wait!” He knew the voice, and the last thing he wanted was to turn around and be faced with Kaidan not recalling him. He did however turn around to see Kaidan come towards him with his ‘friend’ in tow. How cruel the world was sometimes. ”Yes?” Shepard said, crossing his arms over his chest, giving off as much authority as he could.
Kaidan read the name strip on Shepard’s chest. ”Staff Sergeant Shepard.” He said looking up at Shepard, ”Why did you ask for me back there? Do I know you?”
”No.” Shepard shook his head, ”I thought you were someone else for a moment,” He smiled, ”I think I had my fill for tonight. Again, I’m sorry.” He got this insane urge to wipe his nose like he had done none stop while on Jump Zero. ”Excuse me.” He turned his back to Kaidan and the other man. Grinding his teeth he wished that the damn elevator would be here soon.
”Are you sure?” Kaidan asked, ”You seem familiar somehow.”
”I’m sure.” Shepard said not wanting to turn around, and his entire body told him to run.
”Staff Sergeant!” Ade yelled running towards Shepard at the elevator. ”Where you going? – eh, Sir.”
”Chora’s den.” Shepard said straightening his back, turning to look at Ade.
”It’s just that the men were asking where you went.” Ade said.
”I’ll see you tomorrow.” Shepard said, nodding at Ade, Kaidan and his friend – stepping into his salvation, the elevator. ”Jesus.” He whispered, rubbing his scalp, and wiping his nose in an old trained move. No amount of drinks in the world would make him feel better, he felt less than nothing. What he had considered the love of his life didn’t even recognize him. Maybe it had been a lot of things, but not love? No, he had loved Kaidan, he know he had. He was in a foul mood by the time he walked into Chora’s den.
Two hours later Shepard was sitting at the bar, nodding off. He didn’t even register that someone came to stand next to him. ”Come on, time for you to sleep.” Ade said softly hauling Shepard off, aided by Portillio.
Shepard attempted to walk, Ade and Inez holding him up. ”He don’t remember.” Shepard mumbled miserably to himself.
”Who doesn’t remember, sir?” Inez asked politely, trying to maneuver Shepard into the elevator.
”Kaidan.” slurred, trying to wipe his mouth for drool, and then giggled most undignified.
”Who the hell is that?” Inez asked Ade over Shepard’s shoulders.
”No fucking clue.” Ade shook his head. ”Come on, Shepard – we need to get you to bed.”
Shepard almost slid from their hold as his legs buckled. ”I fucking loved him.” His head lulled to the side and rested on Inez’ shoulder. ”And his cock.” Shepard smiled a drunken sly smile.
”Okay did he just say what I think he said?” Ade asked battling for a better hold of Shepard as they walked out of the elevator.
”Dude, leave it.” Inez said, ”It’s his private life. Seriously.”
”You’re right.” Ade said strained now that Shepard seemed to have passed out and was dead weight.
Finally they were at their barrack and could tip Shepard over in a cot. He whined a little as they let him go none to gently. Both Ade and Inez just stood and stared at him. ”Maybe we should check out who this Kaidan person is.” Ade said.
”Come on Tenworth, leave it alone.” Inez argued.
”Still man, he just seemed to upset. And have you ever seen him drink himself into a coma before? I haven’t. He is usually the one picking others up from the floor at the end of the night.” Ade looked at Inez, ”I don’t know.. it’s just disconcerting to see him like this.”
”Between you and me, I didn’t know he was able to do anything but to bark orders.” Inez grinned.
The next morning Shepard woke with a mother of a headache. When he saw the others they smiled and snickered. ”What? Did I piss myself or something?” He asked and looked down himself.
”No, Sir.” Inez said, offering him a cup of coffee. ”You were just drunk as a skunk, Sir. Chora’s den sent someone to ask us to fetch you.”
”Oh.. Eh well then,” Shepard smiled embarrassed, ”It’s those damn Batarian shots.” He sat down and wished he had not been a complete idiot, he didn’t remember leaving Chora’s den at any rate.