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On Which We All Agree

Title: On Which We All Agree
Fandom: Mass Effect
Pairings: Kaidan/Male Shepard
Rating: Pretty much gen, maybe T for ogling.
Word Count: 5156
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: The crew of the Normandy bonds over Kaidan's sexy, sexy voice... among other things.


Kaidan is starting to wonder if everyone on the Normandy went insane while he was gone because the entire crew has been acting weird around him for a while now.

At first he had assumed that the awkwardness in their interactions was left over from the showdown with Udina on the Citadel. Shepard may have forgiven Kaidan already but something like that was bound to cause lingering feelings of mistrust. So the biotic could hardly blame the rest of the crew for being angry when remembering his actions still made him cringe and he was just happy to be allowed on board the Normandy again.

But even after Garrus stops glaring at him and Joker’s comments finally lose their bite, there’s still something off with everyone. Something is making Liara and Tali giggle whenever Kaidan tries to have a conversation and he’s getting tired of being bombarded with inane questions all the time.

Garrus and Vega haven’t been as bad as the others since he doesn’t really mind talking about weaponry but, seriously, why would Liara think he cares about asari architecture? Although Kaidan does consider her one of his closest friends, their conversations have always focused on the mission rather than anything frivolous and he’s barely talked to Tali or Cortez at all. Which is why it’s so strange when the quarian asks him to read the manual for the coffeemaker to her one morning – something about her suit being unable to turn the pages easily – never mind the fact that she could probably look it up much faster on her omni-tool instead.

Of course, while Kaidan should probably just tell Tali to stop joking around, he’s always been a pushover about things like this. Stand by his principles to the death, no problem, but chance disappointing someone he cares about and the biotic folds easily.

Besides Shepard has been ignoring him lately – which really, what the fuck? The other man said that they were good – and that always screws his judgment up. So if he’s going to pine over the Commander, Kaidan may as well do it with company and who knows, maybe Tali will be able to make the coffee taste less like paint thinner after this.

She certainly seems excited by his sigh of agreement, sitting at the table attentively while the soldier leans against the counter and starts droning on about filters, beans, and proper maintenance.

Kaidan’s still not sure why she wants to listen to him since he’s always thought his voice was far too gravelly and it’s only gotten rougher with the stress of these past years. So when Tali starts giggling again, he assumes that she must have a previously unknown thing for coffeemakers and the low hum of pleasure that underscores his every word is totally not awkward at all.

I really hope she isn’t getting off on this, the biotic thinks with a wince before shoving that idea to the back of his mind and focusing on the pages in front of him instead.

After the first few paragraphs, Kaidan actually starts to find a sort of Zen in the process, the words flowing through him without requiring any real attention. He allows his thoughts to go blank and, sad as it sounds, this may be the best meditative state he’s ever reached. Usually the soldier has trouble putting aside his worries but this manual is so boring that zoning out comes naturally and it’s almost a shock when he reaches the last page. But the biotic just gives a little shake of his head to clear the fog before looking over at Tali to see if she’s satisfied.

Only it’s not just Tali staring at him now and Kaidan quails a bit as he finds himself facing a score of hungry eyes. Somehow the entire crew had crowded into the mess without him noticing, everyone but Joker, and the soldier has never been so embarrassed in his life.

This is even worse than the first day of boot camp and considering that his squad partner shot him with a tranq gun, that’s a hard line to beat.

But his friends have just watched him read about coffee maintenance for twenty minutes and when Kaidan spies Shepard standing near the back of the crowd, the biotic wants to disappear. Because the Commander is laughing at him, the amused quirk of his lips more telling than any smile, and the soldier wants to kiss that expression off his face. Which is exactly what Kaidan should not be thinking about with the entire crew as audience; even if most of them have probably guessed by now, he prefers to believe his pining isn’t so obvious.

That's the only way the soldier manages to function without blushing constantly and his friends have been kind enough to leave him the illusion until now. But the ridiculousness of this situation is overcoming his denial and when even the Prothean seems to be smirking at him knowingly, Kaidan loses it.

“Um… I’m just going to go now,” he mutters, his face burning as he flees the room, and he doesn’t know how he'll ever be able to face any of the crew again.

So the biotic speed-walks back to the Starboard Observation Lounge, determined to bury his humiliation in the endless sea of stars until it doesn’t seem so terrible. Of course, what Kaidan really wants to do is drink until this entire morning is just a blurry memory but that would only give the crew more ammunition and he can already feel a migraine coming on.

Although, the embarrassment might have been worth it to see Shepard smile, it’s not like he does that much these days. And I could have sworn I saw a hint of heat in his expression, but that’s probably just wishful thinking on my part.

---

She had forgotten just how attractive the Major was over these last two years. In fact, Liara had rarely thought of Kaidan since losing the first Normandy, the biotic’s charms had been rather overshadowed by Shepard and the coming destruction of their galaxy.

Which is a shame because his physical attributes are most impressive and his voice makes her want to embrace eternity.

The sound is simultaneously soothing and enticing, rather like the best asari dancers who tease and tease and only leave you wanting more. Indeed, there is a richness to it that has only improved with age; his voice seasoned by experience like the finest wines of Thessia, and Liara has always appreciated gorgeous things.

So even though she knows from the beginning that she has no chance of claiming him – Shadow Broker or not, his pining is obvious – the asari intends to enjoy the fantasy.

The Normandy is small enough that she can lurk nearby whenever Kaidan is having a conversation, his voice beautiful even when discussing medi-gel and guns, and Liara soon notices that she’s not the only one interested. In fact, based on the information that she’s gathered, the only person who hasn’t realized how pleasant Kaidan's voice is, is Kaidan himself.

So Liara recruits Tali to her cause, the two of them having already bonded over the Major’s impressive assets, and if their first efforts are a little heavy-handed, the pair finds a rhythm soon enough. She simply had to remember that Kaidan has a soldier’s heart: kind and honest and much more comfortable discussing practical issues than art or history. Admittedly, supply lines and galactic politics are a little heavy for off-duty discussions, but everything sounds lovely when spoken with that gorgeous voice of his.

It actually becomes something of a running joke between them that the biotic could make anything sound sexy and one night after Liara has a bit too much to drink, she dares the quarian to prove this hypothesis. Tali has the Major wrapped around her finger, the biotic is never able to resist her air of innocence, and so she’s the best choice to make Kaidan say something ridiculous.

Ridiculous and sexy since, as it turns out, the two of them were right.

---

If anyone had bothered to ask him, Steve would have described himself as cautiously optimistic when Shepard said that Alenko was going to join the Normandy, cautious because there was definitely some grumbling.

But even if the Commander’s oldest friends still had reservations, Shepard could always use another ally and for every time Garrus cursed the biotic’s actions on Horizon, the turian also spoke of half a dozen missions where Alenko had saved his life. So if the two men had worked out their issues, Steve was hardly going to second guess Shepard’s choices, not when he knew how important the Major was to him.

It was obvious in the way that their conversations always turned back to Alenko and once Steve met the other soldier, he could kind of understand the Commander’s besotted grin.

Because the man is a fucking rock: strong, loyal, and exactly what Shepard needs to keep him sane through this whole mess, and while the Major may have had doubts in the past, he obviously intends to make up for them now. Of course, Steve could just be a hopeless romantic who’s seeing connections that aren’t there, but it only takes one conversation to convince him that Alenko is head over heels in love with the Commander and those men deserve whatever happiness they can find.

Besides the Major is a seriously gorgeous man and even if he's already taken, no one said that Steve can't enjoy the view. His voice alone fuels many a nighttime fantasy and if Shepard's blushing is any indication, the pilot's not the only who dreams about that gravelly purr sometimes.

---

Kaidan is going to be the death of him.

Shepard had been so sure that his attraction was under control, the emotion locked up deep after Horizon, Mars, and everything. So he offered Kaidan a place on the Normandy SR-2 without a moment’s hesitation because, inconvenient feelings aside, the Major was a damn good solder and he wanted him at his back when the final battle came.

But while he manages to ignore the way that the other man’s smile makes his heart beat faster and pretends that he’s not staring at Kaidan’s ass constantly, Shepard can’t ignore that damn voice of his.

Memory simply didn't do justice to the way that sound strokes across his skin, even the most mundane conversation making him hot and bothered now. Seriously, listening to the other man complain about his coffee shouldn’t make Shepard want to kiss him breathless and he’s had to excuse himself from the room more than once.

It’s even harder, pun intended, when they’re discussing something for which Kaidan has a passion because Shepard finds the way his eyes light up too damn adorable.

The Major has always worn his heart on his sleeve, his honesty refreshing after all the political crap that the other man has to deal with, and their conversations help keep the Commander focused amidst the craziness. Of course, he often gets distracted by the desire to taste Kaidan’s lips and the very important question of how the biotic would sound in the throes of ecstasy, but Shepard is quite good at shoving down those thoughts.

At least he used to be. Unfortunately, it seems that his crew has finally noticed that the Major’s voice is damn attractive and ever since Kaidan returned to the Normandy, they’ve been going out of their way to make him speak.

Suddenly Shepard can't even grab a quick snack without wandering into a heated discussion of weapon upgrades or battle strategy and no man should be that sexy when discussing the best way to make a kill.

Shouldn't be, but is, and he can only take so many cold showers before it becomes ridiculous. At this rate, the Commander is going to deplete his water ration two months early and using the showers in the crew quarters would be disastrous. Because there's no way he could keep his hands to himself at the sight of Kaidan wet and naked, not when he can barely refrain from kissing the other man on the battlefield.

His feelings have already become too obvious if Garrus' smirks are any indication and he needs to lock this down again before he ruins everything. He and the Major are friends, friends and nothing more, and Shepard should be able to live with that.

It's not like he has time for romance anyway and Kaidan deserves more than a few short moments carved out between catastrophes. The biotic deserves to be adored, to be treasured and loved more than anything in the universe and Shepard can't do that right now. He has to put the mission first even if he sometimes wants to let the other man support him, even if Kaidan is what he's really fighting for. That just sounds so selfish and the Commander is determined to be a better man than that.

Of course, all the determination in the world doesn't mean much compared to his crew’s diabolical scheming and he’s pretty sure that they’re all out to get him now.

There's no other good explanation for why Kaidan is reading about filtration methods when Shepard walks into the mess that morning, his mouth shaping each word like a caress. The other man obviously doesn't realize that he's gathered an audience, his stance is much too relaxed for that, and he's going to be mortified when he finally glances up.

But the Commander can't really blame the rest of his crew for their rapt expressions because the Major is well worth the attention and for once Shepard decides to look his fill.

Kaidan really is ridiculously attractive, even that floofy hair of his making the other man want to tackle him. He wants to shove him up against the counter and lick the words out of his mouth, press against that muscled body until both of them are breathing hard. He wants to do stupidly domestic things together; see that bay in Vancouver that the biotic always talks about and maybe even meet his mother when this war is through.

However, that doesn't mean he's going to do anything about it and when the Major finally notices his attention, Shepard is the first to look away. Not that Kaidan seems to have noticed the heat behind his gaze since the other man is too busy being furiously embarrassed, his face flushing scarlet as he flees the room.

And maybe the Commander stares after him somewhat longingly but the rest of his crew is too polite to ruin the illusion that he's cultivated, at least they are until EDI decides to corner him.

---

Traynor knows all about sexy accents; she is British after all and she's used that quite successfully in seductions through the years. But Alenko? Alenko has her beat.

She doesn’t even go for men and she can admit that his voice gives her the shivers, that low growl somehow even better when taking Shepard down a notch. The Major is the only one who can talk sense into the Commander on a regular basis and Traynor would bet her fancy, fancy toothbrush that she knows exactly why.

Because she’s seen the way that Shepard stares at Alenko’s ass when the biotic isn’t looking and while his voice still isn't as gorgeous as EDI's, the Commander seems to like it fine.

So Traynor joins Liara and the others in trying to pull the Major from his shell. The biotic is strangely unaware of the effect that he has on everyone and she wants to see what will happen when he finally gets a clue. He and Shepard would be adorable together and the specialist figures that Alenko's voice is the best place to start.

If they get him talking often enough, the Commander is bound to crack eventually and it's not like fraternization regs apply to them anymore. After all, both men are Spectres now and the job should come with some perks to make up for being shot at all the time.

Unfortunately, Shepard turns out to be surprisingly resistant to the idea despite his pining. He even manages to avoid jumping Alenko when he and Vega get into a heated discussion of turian small-arms technology and Traynor is expecting at least a kiss for that. But this just means that the crew will have to try a little harder to crack that poker face of his and Tali seems more than willing to step up to the plate.

Traynor is actually rather impressed when the quarian convinces the Major to read about their coffeemaker and she summons the rest of the crew to the mess once she finds out.

Even the Commander shows up to watch their little production and Alenko's mortified expression when he finally notices all of them watching him may be the funniest thing that she has ever seen.

“I almost feel guilty now,” Tali says a bit mournfully when the Major responds to this revelation by running away, not even noticing that Shepard's eyes are locked on his ass again. “I never meant to embarrass him.”

“Don't worry about it,” Traynor reassures the quarian before trading a grin with Liara and promising, “Next time we’ll have him read the weapons manual instead; with the latest round of upgrades, that document is practically a book in itself and by the time he finishes, we'll all have passed out from the hotness anyway.”

---

Primitives.

Javik will never understand their obsession with frivolous matters when all civilized beings should know that war is the only true way of life. In his cycle, a warrior never allowed himself to become distracted from the task at hand and while the Prothean respects the Commander for his actions, the human has trouble separating his emotions from his work.

Case in point, Shepard's ridiculous attraction to that Major of his. Sure the man is a decent solder and his biotics are impressive for such a young species but that's no excuse for fraternization when there's a battle to be fought.

Even if his voice does have an interesting cadence, one that is most pleasant in its own way, this is completely unrelated to Javik's actions after he comes on board.

Indeed, there are many perfectly valid reasons for the Prothean to spend more time with his companions, improving their battle strategy for one, and if the Major happens to be talking during these meetings, that is just coincidence. He is not the one drooling over every word the human speaks, the Prothean leaves that foolishness to Liara and the young quarian and he only hopes that Shepard does not allow this to ruin his focus now.

Though Javik must admit that the foul concoction that the primitives call coffee has never sounded quite so good before.

---

Garrus is having way too much fun watching the rest of the crew fall over themselves whenever Kaidan speaks. The turian may not find the Major attractive himself but he's perfectly happy to enable everyone else's massive crushing and even he has to admit that the biotic saying 'calibration' has a pleasant ring to it.

Besides, watching Shepard walk into walls whenever Alenko laughs is most hilarious thing that Garrus has seen for ages and they could all use a bit of fun right now.

It did take him a while to forgive Kaidan for his lack of trust on Horizon, but the man was willing to admit that he was wrong and he'd always been a good ally to have in a fight. A little judgmental and too much by the book for sure, but watching him Reave their enemies was a thing of beauty and Cortez had put forth a convincing argument that the Major’s bitterness over Shepard's resurrection was due to a broken heart.

The Commander certainly acted like someone had shot his puppy after Alenko rejected him and once he’s watched the two men interact on the SR-2 for a few weeks, Garrus finally admits that the shuttle pilot had a point.

Not that the turian plans to do anything with this information other than enjoy the awkwardness because it's far too amusing to watch the Great Commander Shepard lose his cool over a crush. The man who ended the worst feuds in the galaxy can hardly talk to Kaidan without stuttering and Garrus may have to ask EDI for a recording when all of this is done. That would be the ultimate in blackmail material and the turian could probably finagle a new gun from it at least.

Although, to be fair, the rest of the crew hasn’t been very subtle about their attraction either and he knows the Major is starting to wonder what's going on.

For all his stuffiness, Kaidan isn’t actually an idiot and he's definitely noticed the way that everyone has been fawning over him. Or at least, the man has noticed that the others aren’t acting normal because he has some odd blind spots where his own assets are concerned.

Garrus may not have the best luck with the ladies, but even he doesn’t understand how the Major can still be so clueless about this. Shepard has all but begged to calibrate Kaidan’s weapons and if that doesn’t say smitten, nothing will. Honestly, if this holding pattern goes on for much longer, the turian might have to step in, if only to put his friends out of their misery.

But not just yet because all of that sexual tension has translated to some impressive viciousness in combat and they need whatever advantage they can get. So if Shepard wanting to get laid leads to him kicking Reaper ass across the galaxy, Garrus is all for it, and he'll toast at their wedding when this damn war is done. Besides, Tali has achieved some truly impressive results with her begging and the turian can't wait to see what she convinces Kaidan to read next.

---

Since the arrival of Major Alenko, EDI has observed a marked change in the habits of the Normandy’s crew, one that is statistically significant.

Before the biotic came on board, each of Shepard's companions tended to remain in one section of the ship, focusing on the task for which they were most suited and rarely venturing into other rooms. However, while it appears to be largely unintentional, Major Alenko has disrupted this system irrevocably. Now the crew tends to gather wherever the man happens to be located and her biometric diagnostics imply that all of them “want into his pants” as Jeff would say colloquially.

Even Specialist Traynor is affected despite her preference for the female body, though she has already proven easily swayed by the right kinds of audio stimulation so perhaps that is not very surprising after all.

Indeed analyzing Alenko's voice has revealed a number of sounds that organics deem ‘pleasant’, which may explain why so many of her crew members find him desirable.

However, while EDI was initially concerned that this shared attraction would disrupt the Normandy's efficiency, the increase in non-regulation actions during off-duty time has actually improved morale significantly. The greatest change the AI has seen is in the Commander: since Alenko’s arrival, Shepard has averaged an additional hour of sleep each evening, attributable to a two percent decrease in the frequency of his nightmares, and this has translated to increased endurance and effectiveness on the battlefield.

So while her experience with relationships is admittedly limited, the data appears to indicate that Alenko and the Commander are good for each other and these positive benefits would only increase should the two men decide to strengthen their bond physically.

A somewhat risky proposition in these times of war, but the extra-net implies that people fight harder for their loved ones and Shepard himself told her that it’s good to be brave sometimes.

Indeed, EDI does not understand why neither man has initiated a more sexual relationship since her scans have shown that they find each other quite attractive and Alliance regulations forbidding fraternization with one’s commanding officer no longer apply.

Perhaps her information is inaccurate, unlikely but one percent possible, and thus EDI turns to the Normandy's crew for help. Given some of the conversations that she has overheard, many of them are already aware of the situation and they should be more useful than the extra-net for calculating her next move. But Jeff nearly chokes on his protein bar when she mentions her suspicions while Traynor and Garrus laugh until they’re crying and Liara just smiles indulgently, all of them advising EDI to let Shepard and Alenko figure things out for themselves.

“You can't rush love,” Cortez explains after she asks him for his opinion and as he is the only member of the crew who has been married, he is the closest thing to an expert that she has. “I know they care about each other but they obviously have their own reasons for staying silent, no matter how hot that would be.”

However, while her programming advises her not to act without knowing the most likely outcome, EDI does not want to do nothing when the Major and Commander are running out of time. Even with the allies that Shepard has gathered, the chance of success for this mission is still less than forty percent and the likelihood of both men surviving is only fifteen if they fight on the front lines as they are wont to do. An unpleasant reality but numbers do not lie and EDI does not want her friends to die without knowing they were loved.

So she corners Shepard on the way back to his quarters after the incident with the coffeemaker and attempts to make her case. “You should follow the Major. His biometrics show that he was most distressed by everyone's attention and your presence would improve his mood.”

“If Kaidan's that embarrassed, I highly doubt he wants to see me either,” the Commander replies and EDI does not understand how he can still be oblivious.

While she had intended to approach the issue with some delicacy, his refusal is causing an interesting effect within her systems, one that the AI would classify as annoyance based on the extra-net. Indeed this anomaly is the only reasonable explanation for the next words that she speaks.

“With all due respect sir, you are an idiot. My diagnostics show that Major Alenko is twenty percent more relaxed when you are with him and you have smiled twice as often since he boarded our ship. In addition, my data shows that his voice makes you “all hot and bothered” as Specialist Traynor would say and I have tracked your gaze to his ass on thirty separate occasions in the past two weeks. Of course, the rest of the crew has shown a similar preoccupation with the Major's assets, but based on your interactions, I am positive that he is in love with you.”

“I- What?” Shepard asks, his voice registering confusion and a hint of jealousy.

Good. That should make him more willing to believe the truth. “I said that Alenko is in love with you just as you are with him. It really is quite obvious but if you cannot trust my calculations alone, I have a number of recordings that you may find interesting.”

The Commander still doesn't seem to believe her, which is foolish of him considering how often she has proved herself. However, he does at least look hopeful and EDI can work with that.

“I am not sure why you have not said anything since the rules against fraternization hardly apply to Spectres. But if you are worried about the mission, I can assure you that a relationship should only be beneficial based on the data I have seen. Indeed your efficiency should improve by at least another three percentage points and you will be much happier as well.”

“Three whole percentage points, really EDI?” Shepard asks with a crooked smile. “Is that your way of telling me that I need to get laid?”

“Yes. It is. So are you going to walk to the Starboard Observation Lounge under your own power or do I need to drag you there? I would prefer you to choose the former option as this form still makes Major Alenko nervous and I do not wish to ruin the mood.”

“All right, I'm going. I promise,” Shepard says, holding his hands up in defeat. “I never expected to be taking love advice from an AI, but I suppose you had a good teacher, didn't you?”

“Indeed I did, Commander. Now go find your man.”

EDI allows herself a small smile as he strides away, following his path with her sensors to ensure that Shepard does not falter before he has seen this mission through.

However, she need not have worried because the Commander does not give himself a chance for second thoughts. No, he sets his shoulders with determination, walks straight up to Alenko and announces conversationally:

“I think you should know that your voice is the sexiest thing I've ever heard and I'm totally in love with you.”

Even Shepard cannot miss the way that Alenko's face lights up at this statement, his expression caught between joy and disbelief, and that right there is all the permission that he needs. The kiss which follows would not have been out of place in an old Earth romance story – the ones that EDI totally does not watch in her free time – and the pair truly is adorable.

Though it doesn't take very long for things to become more heated and soon the AI turns off her cameras for politeness' sake. Jeff has taught her that some things do not need to be recorded even if most of the crew would probably love to see everything.

Indeed her biometric sensors show that the two men are quite enthusiastic in their efforts and it is good to know that her captain is enjoying himself. EDI only hopes the others aren't too disappointed when they discover that the Major has been removed from circulation, but her data implies that happiness should be the overwhelming thought.

Once the crew recovers from their surprise that is, and as the reaction to this news is bound to be entertaining, the AI may need to record a few videos. Alenko deserves some restitution for the way that everyone has been drooling and his voice is quite lovely when he laughs.


The End