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Kaidan/FemShep ME3 Demo

It seemed like during the demo if you had romanced Kaidan, you could interpret the beginning as both of them still being upset about Horizon.

Anyway I just want an angsty fill from either point of view (or both) of all their feelings and thoughts during that brief encounter. Flashback sex and stuff is totally cool, if you decide to start it prior to the encounter, while they're getting ready that morning or something.

I'm really not too picky, I just want all their crazy, lusty, and conflicting thoughts. Please and thank you~

Re: Kaidan/FemShep ME3 Demo

I saw this photoset on tumblr and thought of your prompt:


I hope you get what you're looking for, op.

Re: Kaidan/FemShep ME3 Demo

That's pretty much my prompt in a nutshell! I'm surprised I haven't seen that come up on my dash yet.

Re: Kaidan/FemShep ME3 Demo

Oh. my. god. YES. I can't stop thinking about that little moment in the demo. WHERE ARE YOU MARCH 6th!?

In The Wings 1/?

Michelle was sitting with her feet propped up on the desk and her omnitool lighting her face with a soft orange glow, while she sucked on a cherry liquorice straw and James knew she was only half listening to his story about the saving try in the last friendly with the N7s.

He didn't mind too much. To his recollection it was at least the second time he'd told her, and probably the fifth time it had been told to the officer on watch, whoever that might have been. Guarding rogue N7s was nowhere near as exciting as it should have been. Although, he was kind of glad about that.

The door opened and Michelle sat up quickly, flicking her omnitool away with a flex of her wrist. James saluted but didn't stand up and Alenko merely nodded to him. "I have some questions for Shepard," he announced, staring down the corridor of the detention block.

Michelle shot James a significant look, raising her eyebrows.

"Sure thing, Commander," James said, hopping to his feet. "If you'll sign in here?"

"Must be pretty urgent," Michelle said dryly, though not quite loud enough to warrant comment, Alenko at least ignored it. James gestured for his superior to follow him down the dimly lit corridor, a walk they'd taken a few times over the past month. He chapped on the door as a courtesy and then keyed in the opening code, finding himself in Shepard's darkened quarters, a few candles glowing on the windowsill, a rosy counterpoint to the glittering city beyond the glass.

Shepard herself was in a dressing gown, exiting her bathroom and towelling her hair. James glanced at her bare feet and managed to cough out "Commander Alenko would like to question you. If there's nothing else, I'll be right outside," before he retreated back down the hall where Michelle was waiting with a smirk on her face. She stuck her tongue into the side of her cheek and laughed at his blush.

"Boy, how you stay so innocent I'll never know."

"There are important questions," he mumbled, taking his seat again.

"Oh yeah. Real important questions. I bet she'll be affirming those questions all night."


As the doors slid closed, Kaidan began unfastening his jacket while Shepard lifted a glass of wine from the sideboard, savouring the first sip as she watched Kaidan remove his shirt and pants too. He glanced at the candles and his lips twitched, "having a bath?" he asked, amused.

Shepard wasn't. The last time they'd approached anything like a conversation in these sessions they had both come away unsatisfied. When Kaidan talked, he analysed, and when he analysed, he started pulling apart everything that made him happy. To keep him happy, she had to keep him from thinking, and that kept her from feeling, and that kept them both satisfied.

She dropped her robe to the floor and approached him, placing her hands on either side of his face and pressing her lips to his. He made a small noise of desire, a little whine that was almost unhappy, where other men would have groaned or laughed in her kiss. Kaidan's hands hovered, inches from her face, she could see the whites of his knuckles and feel the swell of dark energy as his body tensed. Shepard sucked gently on his bottom lip, dragging her teeth over the slightly ragged skin and was rewarded by his hands taking hold of her hips, fingernails digging into her skin. She pushed her body against him, the hair on his chest scratching the soft skin on top of her breasts as their bodies worked for friction. Kaidan's right hand slid along her thigh, hiking it up high onto his waist, his hands clasping her buttocks and squeezing.

"Kaidan," she murmured, rolling her hips to rub her clitoris against his hip bone. He tugged at the leg that had slipped down, pulling her onto her tip toe and off balance. She wondered if he had ever thought about why he liked to be in charge in the bedroom, why he was so careful never to lose any semblance of control between the sheets. She would have liked to explore those issues with him, she would have liked to have helped him somehow, but what she would have liked no longer factored into it.

In The Wings 2/?

Michelle was tapping her fingers against the edge of the desk. Every so often she cast her gaze down the hall before looking up at James with her nose slightly wrinkled in disgust. "Come on, Vega, you can't possibly think they're talking about 'reapers' in there," she said, crooking her fingers around the dubious word.

James shrugged. "Are you suggesting Commander Alenko is not treating a detainee appropriately?" he asked.

A slight flush coloured Michelle's cheeks. "Oh I'm sure he's the perfect gentleman," she said, fanning her face with her hand. "He could detain me any day."

* * *

Her neck ached from craning it to kiss him so she let her kisses drop to his neck, over his Adam's apple and the hollow between his collar bones. Kaidan jerked her towards the bed, sending both of them tumbling to the mattress. Kaidan covered her neck and bare shoulders with kisses, one hand still kneading her ass cheek, the other sliding over her waist and her stomach while she let her foot rest on his muscled calf, her hands rest on his shoulders. He was good at this, finding the parts of her body that were always in the mood to respond, no matter how her day had gone.

She closed her eyes and tilted her head back as he sucked on her nipple, moving back to the sinews of her neck and her lips. A day spent battering her head off a closed door, not always figuratively, a day of watching the world from her window and wondering when the peaceful mirror would crack.

She twisted underneath him, wrapping her legs around his waist and bringing him down against the mattress, straddling his hips and kissing him harshly, clinging to him like a rock she didn't want to need. She pushed those feelings away, further into the wings, and instead released him from his kiss and brought her mouth to the hot, salty head of his cock. She began to suck, swirling her tongue over the hot throbbing vein underneath and eliciting the kind of gasps that she liked to hear from her tightly wound lover.

It might have been something else once, the night before Ilos or the recuperation from the battle of the Citadel. Then they had been partners, friends, maybe on their way to something more. But for the last month, they had just been lovers. Making love on the long eve of the end of the world.

Kaidan's fingers curled gently in her hair, the softest of tugs and she realised she had been ignoring him as he murmured her name. She looked up, his cock sliding from her lips with a pop, and found herself staring into his dark, dark eyes, his breath coming out ragged between lightly gritted teeth. She crawled up his body, letting him taste himself on her lips, letting him cradle her head in his hands, sliding her own hand down between her legs and making her fingers good and wet before playing them over her clitoris. He moved one hand to help her but when she kept her own rhythm he slid his fingers inside her instead, stroking in time with her fingers, his other hand curving over her ass and bearing down. She grunted and he nipped her earlobe, nuzzling into the crook of her neck.

And he made a gentle sound of contentment, a low hum she wouldn't have heard if it wasn't almost directly in her ear.

She batted his fingers away and clenched her fists in the sheets while she struggled to breathe.

"Shepard?" he whispered, smoothing his hand over her damp hair.

With a speed that surprised them both, she sheathed him fully inside of her, sitting upright and arching her back, keeping as far back from his mouth as she could.

In The Wings 3/?

"I tell you what, you ask him if he knows her," Michelle said, "that'll prove it."

"Michelle, he was on her crew for almost a year. He knows her."

"No." She sat forwards quickly. "That's working together. Look, if someone said to you 'hey, do you know Michelle', you'd say . . ."

James shrugged. "Yeah," he said. "I'd say 'yeah, I know Michelle, I worked with her a bit'."

Michelle smirked, slapping her thighs. "Now what was your first girlfriend's name?"

James eyed her. "Ted," he said after a moment.

Michelle's smirk grew. "Ok, so say I say to you 'Hey, you know Ted?' you say?"

James could feel his cheeks colouring. "Uh, yeah, I know, I mean I knew, I used to know Ted . . ." he stammered.

Michelle clicked her fingers. "That's it. Sex changes everything and only men like to pretend it don't."


"Uhhhnnnnnnnn," the groan was ripped from her throat, unwillingly, and she was dimly aware of Kaidan arching up underneath her, the fingerprints he was leaving on her waist and the short, sharp breaths he was sucking in through his open mouth. As his hips bucked he pushed against that sweet spot and she convulsed, quivering as sharp waves of pleasure radiated through her muscles, enhanced joints and cyborg parts struggling for a split second to catch up with the unexpected flood of nerve endings.

She collapsed onto Kaidan's chest, spaying her fingers over his nipples and he grunted at her weight. His hands moved over the small of her back, automatically pulling her closer, as if she might need comforting.

As if for a moment she might have thought this wasn't important to him.

She pushed his arm off her shoulder and heaved her body off of the bed, weak kneed and only aware of the world immediately around her. She headed for the bathroom, ignoring his "Shepard?" and gripped the smooth, cool sides of the sink with her sweaty palms. She raised her gaze and was confronted by a heavy lidded, rosy cheeked version of herself.

Fucking till the world ends.


She twisted the taps and cupped her hands under the cool spray, splashing her face and pressing her palms into her cheeks.

"Jane?" The bed creaked as Kaidan got up.

"You should go," she said, splashing her face again and feeling beads of water trickle down between her breasts.

"You okay?" he asked from the doorway. He leaned against the wall, his concerned face watching her in the mirror. She stared at him, drinking in the sight of him, the way he cupped one hand around his arm, his full bottom lip pouting, his eyes and his muscles and the dark tangle of hair that spattered his chest. She wanted that image in her mind.

"You only kiss me when the world's ending,"

Kaidan's eyes narrowed and she could see her lips finish forming the words. She cursed. The rules were, don't let him think, don't let her feel.

Re: In The Wings 3/?

OMG I LOVE THIS! So looking forward to more!

In The Wings 4/?

Cradling her coffee mug in her hands, Michelle shrugged one shoulder, shaking her head at James's latest argument. "If Shepard really believes what she's saying about the Reapers, if she really thinks it's the end of the world. Well, if it were me? I wouldn't sit around wasting time talking."

James raised his eyebrows. "I believe her."

"Then what are you doing at the end of the world?" she asked.


A few, solitary bubbles clung to the smooth sides of the bath and Shepard sat on the cold enamel lip, staring at Kaidan's toes.

"We need to talk," Kaidan said firmly.

A nervous giggle shook her shoulders. "And they said my biotics wouldn't make me psychic," she mumbled, curling her feet together and leaning forward. She could see Kaidan's feet come closer, felt his hands alight on her shoulders. One hand tangled through her hair, a little pressure, a request to raise her gaze. She didn't. She let her forehead come to rest on his belly, biting her lip. Kaidan's arm slid around her shoulder and he sat beside her on the edge of the bath. He pulled her in against him and kissed the crown of her head.

"I didn't realise you hated this so much," he murmured.

She choked on the sob she was fighting back. "I don't hate it, Kaidan," she groaned, giving him a gentle push while all the same nestling in closer. "I wish . . ."

"You wish?" he prompted, squeezing her shoulders.

"I wish I didn't have to distract you with sex to keep you here," she said, her head snapping up to look him in the eye. "I wish I could spend the end of the world with the man I loved, who loved me, because all that matters is here and now."

It hurt him. He pulled back a little, his hands falling to his lap. "Ouch," he murmured, his gaze dropping too. The deltoids rippled as he hunched over himself, the bathroom lights reflecting on his tawny skin. The light and shadow fascinated her but with typical Kaidan resilience, he lifted his head again and turned his gaze back to her. "I love you, Shepard, I thought you knew that. I . . . should have told you, I guess."

She didn't want to say yes, and she knew she didn't disagree. Instead she chewed on her ragged thumbnail, staring into the distance and seeing the same thing she saw when she closed her eyes.

"Shepard, you don't think we're going to survive this, do you?" Kaidan asked suddenly, his hand on her shoulder again.

Harbinger faded from her mind and she remembered lying on the cold deck, leaning against the lockers and wringing a few comforting words from Kaidan years ago. Suddenly the enamel was freezing under her thighs and her back prickled with goosebumps. "Let's go to bed." She rose, trying to move faster than he could stop her. She made it halfway to the mattress when he caught up with her, but at least he had the sense not to try and grab her arm. For a moment, she could feel her biotics prickling, the need to punch someone, to dislocate a shoulder and flip someone onto the floor.

Kaidan began to collect his clothes, glancing at the chronometer on the bedside table. He folded his trousers and tossed them on the chair while she climbed back on top of the sheets, folding her legs up under her and resting her palms on her knees. He finished tidying and sat on the edge of the mattress, regarding her with a fond smile. "Everything will be fine, Shepard. You'll figure it out."

The echo sent shivers down her spine and she drew her knees up, hugging them to her chest. "No, it won't."

"Hey," Kaidan crawled over the mattress to reach her, pulling her back against his chest for another hug. "Shepard," he murmured soothingly, rocking her back and forwards.

"No. We're not prepared." It was easier to say it against his chest, as if he was a particularly warm figment of her overactive imagination. "We can't co-operate like the protheans did. They were so much more than us, in so many ways. We're squabbling children compared to them. The reapers are going to tear right through us."

Kaidan's arms tightened momentarily before he drew back, holding her at arms length. "I don't believe that."

Re: In The Wings 4/?

That's exactly how my Shepard will feel in ME3 - vulnerable and hopeless. Good thing that Kaidan will be there to save the day :)

Love the story. Looking forward for more! <3

Re: In The Wings 4/?

Oh my god, I love you so much for writing this, Anon. It's just so damn good.

Also, the conversation with Vega and Michele is amazing. I nearly died when he said "Ted." It was just a perfect beat moment.

Re: In The Wings 4/?

omgadsdghjakwei i love this
i love the interaction between kaidan and shepard and michelle and james.

In The Wings 5/?

Although she had been quiet and contemplative for all of ten minutes, James had the feeling Michelle was building up to something. Her lips were pursed and she fiddled absently with her omnitool, scratching her fingernails over the hard light. The corridor remained dark and deserted, the guard station islanded in its pool of light from the consoles. He wondered if Alenko might appear soon and rescue him from the looming question.

"You really think the reapers are coming, James?"

No such luck. He turned to her and nodded. "Yeah. I believe Shepard."

Michelle's omnitool vanished and she folded her arms tightly across her chest. "I don't think I've ever heard anyone say it before."


"You don't want to believe it." Shepard looked away. Beyond the reinforced glass the lights of the city glistened. The tall towers sparkled, grazing the clouds, hives of humanity. "The prothean cypher. I can understand it now, more than I used to. Every time a reaper talks to me I understand it a little bit more. The protheans had a plan, I see their culture, their determination to fight."

"Vigil." A finger trailed up her arm, playing in long circles over her skin.

"Yeah." She shifted, letting her head drop to his lap and hugging his knee. She watched the city.

"Vigil had hope in us."

"I don't," she admitted, the words so very quiet. "They're going to kill us all. And they'll watch us gasp our last breath."

Kaidan bent over her, kissing her cheek, his hair falling forwards, the ends tickling her forehead. "Oh, baby."

"I killed thousands of batarians," she whispered, tears flowing. She could feel his hands stiffen on her shoulders. "And we're so busy arguing over those deaths that we've lost sight of why I did it at all."

"I read your report, Shepard. Nobody could have done anything different. Hell, most people wouldn't have done as well as you did." Kaidan sighed. "I trust you. I didn't need to read your report to know you did everything in your power to save those people."

"You just don't trust me enough to assume I'm not working with Cerberus."

Kaidan's hands stilled. She curled up tighter, screwing her eyes closed. You have become an annoyance. You fight against inevitability. Dust struggling against cosmic winds. They wouldn't keep her alive to gloat over the slow destruction of the galaxy. The reapers weren't going to risk that.

"Shepard, I . . . "

They might let her live enough to see her crew die.

"I never thought you worked with Cerberus," Kaidan said softly, his fingers circling her shoulders once more. "Not really."

"Not really?" She sat up so fast she cracked her head off his jaw. While she rubbed her skull and he checked the number of teeth in his gums, she used her free hand to slap his knee. "Not really!"

"At the time, ow, Shepard!" Licking the blood off his lip, he sighed, having to dodge a more serious blow to the shoulder. "Wait, listen, at the time I was angry, I was hurt-"

"And I wasn't? Anderson wouldn't even tell me where you were! I had to hear it from the Illusive Man!" She clenched her fist and punched his upper body, hard, despite a laugh bubbling up in her chest.

"What are you-" Kaidan raised his arms in defence, falling back against the pillows, chuckling. "I give up, I give up," he insisted, a honey-like warmth filling his voice as she toppled over to pin him to the sheets. "I want to explain," he said, voice softening and eyes fixing on her lips. She felt a stir of movement against her thighs as he relaxed underneath her. Her heart ached so much it missed a beat. Kaidan licked his lips, his tongue darting over the cut his teeth had made in the skin and she bowed her head to kiss him, tasting copper. He opened his mouth, yielding control and sinking further back into the pillow, inviting her to deepen the kiss. She pulled back, just too far for him to reach.

"Then explain to me why you gave me such a hard time on Horizon," she murmured, searching his face for an answer.

In The Wings 6/?

"They're taking their time," Michelle said, returning with a new cup of coffee. "What do we do if someone comes?"

James shrugged. "It's an interrogation. What's wrong with that?"


Kaidan's eyes closed briefly and his chest swelled and deflated as he took a deep breath and released it, blowing overhanging curls of hair from Shepard's face. "I told you, the night before Ilos, that I couldn't bear it if anything happened to you. After that night, I didn't think I could imagine a world without you." He shuddered, or his body did while his gaze remained fixed on her face. She knew what was coming next. "On Horizon, fighting the Collectors, I saw you finish that Praetorian from the hill. By the time I reached you, you didn't even need me any more. You just walked right back into my life. I, uh . . ."

"Your world pulled hard to port?" she asked, arching her eyebrows. She released her grip on his wrists and rocked back on her hips, her fingers trailing down his abs.

A little smile tried to show at the corner of his mouth. He rested his palms on her hips. "I was angry. At Joker. At you for coming back. At me because I didn't go with you. At Garrus because he did. At Anderson for not telling me you were back. At my girlfriend for not being you."

She wrinkled her nose in annoyance and dug her nails into his stomach.

"I had my way out. And I took it. And I shouldn't have."

"No." Her fingernails had left little scarlet moons on his skin. "You shouldn't have." She tugged one hand through her hair, sighing. "You didn't trust me."

Cocking his head to the side, Kaidan regarded her for a moment before he rolled her over, one leg hooking around her knees, his right arm bracing his weight while his left hand stroked her face. He kissed her, softly, and she cradled his face in her hands, her eyes stinging. One butterfly kiss and then another and another. She didn't realise he had finished until he spoke, his lips a hairsbreadth from hers. "I don't trust myself. I don't trust myself to make the right decisions, I never do."

Allowing her eyes to open, she wriggled, turning her face away. Kaidan held tight. "Kaidan . . ." she hesitated, ready to toss him across the room if need be.

Kaidan shook his head. "I'm not like you, baby. I can't do the right thing at all costs."

"I don't-"

"I wouldn't have saved Joker. I wouldn't have sacrificed you for that. I wouldn't have made a tactical decision about the soldier by the bomb, I would have gone with my heart."

Her breathing was raspy. She kissed his lips, though they remained soft and unresponsive. Pinching her eyes closed, she pushed her forehead against his. "You think I didn't?" she whispered. "Kaidan, I chose you over Ash. I had no good reason, only my heart. I'm not going to die lying."

Kaidan's thumb drew over her lips, silencing her. "Vega's a soldier, no biotics. Your singularity would incapacitate him for a good two minutes. The other guard on duty is a tech, I could disable her shields easy."

She sank back against the sheets and frowned at the unusually serious face above her. "What?"

"We subdue them, lock them up, get to my shuttle and head for the Charon relay. I think Omega's the best place, Aria T'loak would hide us for a bit. I hear Mindoir's nice this time of year."

It was. It was nice at all times of year. She levered herself up on her elbows while Kaidan rolled off her. A biotic corona flared briefly around his fingertips and he closed his eyes, undoubtedly going through the mental exercises to focus that energy. "Kaidan, what are you talking about?"

"I'm saying we go. Me and you. It's a big galaxy, might take the reapers fifty years to find us." He opened his eyes, meeting her gaze. "I could spend fifty years on a beach with you."

In The Wings 7/? (Anonymous) Expand
In The Wings 8/8 (Anonymous) Expand
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Re: In The Wings 4/?

This is absolutely perfect and I love how in character they are. Hope to see more from ya!

Hannah Called Her 3PO, pt. 1

OP I hope you don't mind the multi-fill! The title makes this seem like it could be more comedic that it really is but overall things ended up being more introspective and on the broody side. Beware, this is totally un-beta'd and probably won't be very long but here is the beginning. Enjoy!


There are some topics Shepard would never be an expert on but few could match her knowledge of Alliance regulations and operations. At least the beds of her detention quarters came with fluffy blankets because all the protocol running through her head wasn’t keeping her warm at night.

The more she would revisit manuals, mission regulations, and outdated protocol subsets that were never officially struck from current processes and procedures, the more frustrated she became. There was nothing Shepard could recall that could explain it. Nothing she could think of in the regs that Major Alenko could use as his crutch to keep him from even sending her a note since the arrest. She had nowhere to go and no means to go anywhere, unless she wanted to get neck deep in an even bigger clusterfuck, and he knew it.

When Admiral Hackett left the SR2 Shepard knew another countdown had begun. The clock for the Reapers had begun ticking long before Saren touched down on Eden Prime with his army of Geth and array of nukes.

The countdown to Harbinger’s arrival had expired along with hundreds of thousands of innocent Batarian lives. Shepard had lost her squad on Akuze, she had lost Ashely on Virmire and after vowing to herself ‘never again,’ she was able to stop the collectors with no one left behind. What happened to the souls in the Bahak system just felt beyond her control and even though Shepard knew she did the right thing, she felt extremely alone.

Whenever she wasn’t mentally paging through another manual, echoes of previous conversations took center stage.

"I was there, you did everything right. It was just bad luck."

"But you weren’t there and instead of just being late this time I was drugged six ways from Sunday. Damn sedatives."

There was no one to hear her, Vega had already checked in for the day and not even former Spectres were allowed visitors while in detention. The brass would probably make an exception for a Major, but then again said Major had to be willing to get "creative" with the rules. If Shepard allowed herself to think about the only time Alenko allowed that to happen she would bruise her hand again trying to use the wall as a punching bag.

Re: Hannah Called Her 3PO, pt. 1

This is such a great start so far I can't wait for the rest.

Re: Hannah Called Her 3PO, pt. 2 (final)

The only good thing about Shepard’s detention quarters was the view. There were no fitness facilities she had access to and the newsfeed and lit library were heavily edited. With no way to know what was happening as the Reaper clock ticked closer to zero Shepard was left to stew.

It was a sour concoction full of frustration caused by Kaidan’s lack of outreach, bittersweet with the loss of her ship and an amazing crew that followed her to hell and back (Miranda included). He always left himself a way out and she was welcome to any alternative but none ever came that included her.

Shepard took to reading Homer, hoping to find something in the epic poems that had become an ironic allegory for her life. Some days she hoped to find tactical inspiration for the war that was nearing the galaxy’s doorstep. On others, she would find humor so dark only few could appreciate. Shepard was going on a good week without thinking of Kaidan when Vega arrived with news that the defense committee wanted to see her.

* * *

“Did the Commander ever talk to you about them?”

“Once. I have orders to not acknowledge them, or encourage the topic.”

The marines watched as Shepard and Admiral Anderson rounded the corner leading to the courtroom and slipped out of sight.

“Do you believe her?”

“I want to believe.”

Major Alenko’s omnitool beeped with the delivery of a high priority message, he was unable to stop a sharp intake of breath as he scanned the contents.


“Luna has gone dark. Vega, with me. We have to get to the Normandy.”

* * *

“Commander, report to the comm room for briefing in 30.”

The cargo bay door had closed, shutting out Anderson and the remains of what would only the beginning of unrelenting devastation by the Reapers. Kaidan didn’t wait for a reply and in the moment it took him to turn and begin his retreat he found his wrist caught in Shepard’s careful grasp.

“That’s it?” She knew he wouldn’t have allowed himself to get caught if the touch was unwelcome.

He let the question hang between them for a heartbeat.


Shepard knew he gave her a boon just by acknowledging everything left unsaid. She also took note of how his pulse quickened, and pupils that dilated just enough to confirm the feelings he wasn’t ready to revisit.

“Liar,” Shepard whispered to nobody in particular.


Re: Hannah Called Her 3PO, pt. 2 (final)

Love. Period.

If the seas catch fire, part 1

Another fill, apparently.



“Welcome aboard, Shepard.”


She looks down at the dog tag in her hands, her own name glaring up at her. The turmoil as the ship takes off makes it hard to read the letters but she knows they're there, firmly there, like a reminder of a past she seems to have lost. No reinstatement in the galaxy can cure that sensation or mend that breach. Too much distrust has risen between them lately - between fleets and fractions, commanders and soldiers, between Shepard and the rest of the Alliance.

“Did you know he wasn't coming with us?”

Kaidan observes her for a moment before responding. His voice is low and there's the familiar trace of restraint in it but something else too, something a little more polished than she remembers. He carries himself with an extra layer of gravity these days, a new raster of confidence to match his rank. Major Alenko. He has always been a career man. I'm proud of you, she thinks but there seems to be no way of actually saying it so she merely meets his gaze in an attempt to fade out all the destruction around them.

“Anderson? Yeah. I figured as much.”

Before their eyes, two shuttles full of refugees get blown to pieces and Shepard forces herself to watch, to remain right where she is. The screams are drowned in the noise from the attacking ships and the explosions tearing through everything but she imagines she can still make out their dying voices. She notices Kaidan watching, too, with a grim expression on his face.

“He'll get killed down there. They all will.” She frowns, shoving the dog tag into her pocket as she brushes past him and walks into the heart of the vessel that in no way feels like hers.

Perhaps because nothing here does.

Re: If the seas catch fire, part 2



They have been aboard the Normandy for eleven hours and the situation still hasn't settled in her bones but she's already familiarized herself with the crew, has tried to force their faces and voices into her head in the same manner she always does.

My people. Routine-compassion and standardized dedication to cover up the overwhelming confusion they all feel.

There's still no word from Admiral Hackett, while the footage and alerts from all across Earth are flooding all channels and eating their way through their forced calm. She's got no real tie to the planet yet she can feel the loss of it in her throat now, the taste of defeat thick at the back of her tongue as they speak of cities and countries that she remembers from her parent's old books. There's homelessness in it, a raw wound.

"So you used to know Major Alenko, Commander?" James asks and something inside her snaps shut at the name as always, like an instinctive set of armour. She's always been good at that. Shutting off, powering down, and going on pure logic and autopilot. It's a habitual thing, refined to perfection during her time with Cerberus.

She taps the datapad in front of her, scrolling the text down so she can finish reading. 50 000 human colonists are reported dead out on the fringes of the Terminus system. Supposed Reaper activity.

"He was my staff lieutenant," she replies, not looking up. "On the original Normandy."

“Right. He mentioned that.” Her current lieutenant shifts position. She wonders what he’s really after. James Vega is a true marine, Anderson had reassured her. As loyal and dedicated as they come - as though she was buying a watchdog. “I hear he's one of the most powerful biotics in the fleet.”

“Yeah.” She leans back in her seat, crossing her legs and searching for balance as the ship jerks slightly. Lots of debris floating around, Joker had mentioned earlier. That's how you can measure destruction even in deep space. Debris. “He's the best I've served with anyway.”

When she glances up again, James is still there, hovering in what she's sure he believes is a discreet fashion. Whatever unofficial orders Anderson has given him, Shepard is fed up with it already. He's a good man, a good soldier, but she doesn't need a bodyguard any more than she needs to be coddled.

“Dismissed,” she says. “Go get some sleep, lieutenant.”

“Yes. You too, ma'am.” He lingers for a few more seconds, then he leaves her cabin and she is left alone with the digits on her screen and that thread of worry that slowly wraps itself around all of her thoughts until she can no longer separate one from the other.

If the seas catch fire, part 3


Normandy isn't the same.

The low hum from the engine seems wrong somehow, its rhythm different to her ears. Perhaps, she tells herself, she’s just unused to it after so long behind that damn desk. Waiting, reading, watching and then eventually turning papers while looking over her shoulder for the invasion – if someone had told her five years ago that she’d ever endure that kind of thing, she’d have laughed.

But as it turns out, things change. At least in some ways, although the Systems Alliance is still the same blunt, bloated and sprawling organisation with the same narrow little paths for people like her to worn their way through, protocol be damned. And the appropriate condemnation of that very behaviour, of course. The shit you've done, Shepard.

“Coffee?” Kaidan’s voice interrupts her irritation and she looks up, instinctively reaching for the mug he holds out to her – brimful of extra strong black coffee by the look and smell of it. "Three sweeteners, don't worry."

He holds her gaze, as though he wants to make sure she hasn't suddenly changed her preferences over the past few years and she's struck by a sudden, furious urge to tell him she's been genetically modified not to eat or drink. Judging by the stares she receives these days, she's certain it wouldn't even make it to the news if she announced herself a full-fledged cyborg tool.

I still miss sunlight and rain on my skin, she wants to say, as well, in another part of her consciousness where she's trapped the rest of her emotions. I still dream about Akuze and I still don't remember the details of my escape. I still prefer the taste of cheap brandy over expensive one and put too much salt on everything. And I remember your body under my hands better than I'll ever remember my own childhood.

“Thanks,” she says instead.

Kaidan takes a seat beside her and the space between them fills with that low, almost indiscernible tremor that biotic energy causes.

“I read your report on the Alpha Relay,” he says.

“Yeah?” She takes a mouthful of coffee, treasuring the too-hot sensation burning at the back of her throat. “Glad someone did. There's been a lot of jumping to conclusions going on.”

At least some of the foul-smelling drama has been directed towards Admiral Hackett, but she bears the brunt of it all the same; she's the one with the blood on her hands, still fresh for everyone to see. She's the Cerberus tool, the one who, over the course of these past few months, has been poked and prodded more frequently than when she joined the military and her biotic powers were detected. Tests, questions, samples, scans all looking for the same thing: proof that she isn't what she's made out to be. Reasons why.

Well, at least you're still human, one of the white-coated women had told her, dryly. It had felt like a scant comfort, considering.

“There's nothing in that report that suggests you could have acted differently.”

“I know. I wrote it.”

If the seas catch fire, part 4

Kaidan sits back, lowers his mug and looks at her. “You went there in good faith, Shepard. You followed orders. No one doubts that.”

She winces into her coffee. This bitterness, harsh and sour in her chest, is her latest asset and she loathes it already. She's made for many things, but spite isn't one of them. Just give me a couple of days, she bargains with herself. A little time to forget the latest round of DNA-testing and interrogation and I'll be fit for fight.

“Oh, they don't? That was news to me, Major.”

“We've never pulled ranks, Shepard.” He gives her an unreadable glance that is betrayed by the harshness of his voice, thick with held-back emotion. “Don't call me that.”

She exhales, cradling the mug in her hands to have something to do, something to focus on besides the flurry of unwanted memories. “I'm just... Anderson's right, the only thing that stands between me and a permanent holiday groundside is his good word. I'm just so fucking tired of being distrusted.”

“He's not the only one who put in a good word for you.” Kaidan shakes his head. “But you don't make it easy, Shepard.”

“Yeah.” It's something in his posture that makes her anger subside, something hidden in his words, something that appeases the wildest, most disobedient parts of her that a lifetime in the Alliance uniform hasn't been able to erase. He wants to believe her, she knows that. It's not his fault that he can't. But it isn’t her damn fault either and she’s a lot of things, but not a martyr. She finishes her coffee and gets to her feet. “That's part of my charm.”

He looks like he's about to say something else, but when he doesn't, she leaves.


Sometimes her memory plays tricks on her.

It's the shadows, she tells herself. A slant of light or a familiar angle, a string of words that resounds against a shared past, a mutual experience that seems to mirror something else. That’s all it takes. Everything is so heartbreakingly similar here.

Kaidan is stooped over a pile of work out in the mess, one hand rubbing his neck, the other swiftly working through the reports and notifications on his omni-tool. Focus, she thinks with an inward grin. He's always so absorbed in whatever he's doing, has such a presence in everything.

Kaidan is stooped over a pile of work and there are days when she thinks she can walk up to him and expect a smile or a moment – stretching out as far as the protocol would allow - of his time.

He looks at her differently now, as though she's not the only one who has been altered.

“Any news?” Shepard folds her arms across her chest and sits down opposite him.

“Nothing that we don't already know. Anderson forwarded the full report on the situation in London." He inches one of the datapad closer to her, allowing her to read for herself.

“I got the visuals from the UK headquarters back on Earth,” she says, skimming through the text anyway.

Kaidan nods. “I saw the ones from Berlin and Stockholm last night. Rome was flattened to the ground. Most of Europe has already been taken.”

You know what you have to do, Anderson had said. She rarely doubts him - or herself for that matter - but this time the odds do seem monstrously high.

If the seas catch fire, part 5

“Media's going to freak the hell out over this.” The reality of it hits her as she speaks the words and she remembers seeing herself on those wide screens everywhere, declared so many different things over the years that she's lost track or at least pretended to forget some of the names. Bury them where she buries everything else for that later that never comes. “We need a strategy for that, too.”

“You're right,” Kaidan says, his voice coloured with distaste.

“Fighting for survival just isn't the same without a good serving of propaganda. You know how it is.”

He looks up, looks straight at her, and smirks a little despite the topic. She returns the half-smile with one of her own. And for a moment everything is like it used to be; she feels herself change, bleed into the image of the past where they'd crack desperate, sarcastic jokes about mutiny and capital offences because nothing else had made any sense.

Nothing makes any sense this time around either, but she finds that laughing is much harder than it used to be.

"I saw you on the news," Kaidan says suddenly. "Before Horizon."

“Oh.” She almost jerks back in her seat, momentarily rendered useless by the dark swirl of images. She remembers that interview. Blundering through the Citadel like a living dead, reconfirmed as a sapient being on paper but still completely shaken, running into that damn camera and having to rattle off her well-rehearsed phrases once more. We all made sacrifices; we all share the losses. "Right."

"You bull rushed al-Jilani."

"Kaidan-" She remembers him too, his face as he approached her on Horizon, his voice, the way it was hard and tight and off in places.

"I didn't know you were alive." His tone is low, steady; she doesn't look at him. "I mean, there were rumours and I had spoken to Anderson, but I didn't know. Not until I saw you."

“I tried to contact you-” she cuts herself off. It's too close to the surface, too little distance between then and now. She had felt like a lab rat after Horizon, a test subject out on display for everyone to watch as she struggled to deal with her past alliances and she can still feel the terror as she felt it when she understood that they had played games with her.

“It's not an accusation, Shepard.” When she makes herself glance in his direction he winces visibly, and she looks away again. We all went to your memorial service, Anderson says in her head. I held a speech. “And it's not an excuse. I just... I want to explain.”

Kaidan,” she says again and this time their eyes meet over the datapads and the empty mugs on the table. There's a surge inside her, a violent protest. It seems like tearing up old injuries talking about it after so long, but that's what you get for being trained to contain all of your emotions and impulses, bottle it up inside until you burst at the seams. “We're not in high school. I read your letter.”

He is silent for a while. “I wasn't sure you got that.”

“I did.”

“Good.” He sounds hesitant, like he's shuffling his own thoughts on the matter around before he says something else.

If the seas catch fire, part 6

“Cerberus tracks all outgoing messages,” she explains when he's not picking up the conversation again. She takes a deep, uneven breath. “I tried to cut all ties to protect you. All of you. I didn't want any more set-ups; Horizon was bad enough.”

He frowns. “They told you I was there?”

“Yeah. They told me the Collectors might be going after you to get to me.” She tries to smile, tries to slip back into a state of ease she hasn't felt in quite some time now. He looks at her like he understands what she isn't saying, a ghost of something crossing his features. “Hell, I'd go anywhere to pull your lazy ass out of the fire, Alenko. You know that. But I didn't want Cerberus to know it, too.”

He chuckles at that and the sound of it shakes her slightly, a tremble through them both. This is why he undoes her, she knows again with full force. This way he has of simply accepting her unease and clumsily made-up covers for her own impulses, the way she treats her feelings like bullets – dodge and deflect, evade and move on. Until he simply stands there, dissolving all of her defences, accepting all of her emotions.

Around them, the borders of time and space seem to buckle.

“Commander,” Jokers voice cuts into the air, demanding their attention. “Admiral Hackett on the line.”

She nods, as though her helmsman can see her; as she rakes her fingers through her hair she notices Kaidan is still watching her, his expression unreadable to most people, but not to her. “Patch him through.”

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