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Every Word But Farewell

Title: Every Word But Farewell
Fandom: Mass Effect
Pairings: Kaidan/Male Shepard
Rating: NC-17
Warning: Misuse of biotics, angst, crack, pining
Word Count: 6023
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Shepard's inability to say goodbye like a normal person throws Kaidan for a loop.


One of the first things that Kaidan noticed about the Normandy's commander was that the man refused to say goodbye properly. In fact, Shepard never used any of the socially accepted ways of ending a conversation, no “I'll see you later” or “Nice talking to you,” not even a simple “Bye.” Instead all Kaidan ever got was an abrupt “I should go,” before the other man walked away.

It was weird, like no commander that the biotic had ever served under, and he hadn't known what to think at first. Actually, the first few times that Shepard suddenly walked off, Kaidan thought that he must have offended the other man somehow and he spent the next few hours wracking his brain for a way that their discussion of ship repairs could have set him off.

Childhood trauma involving electrocution? An extreme dislike of omni-tools? Every reason that the lieutenant came up with was more ridiculous than the last and Kaidan was embarrassed to admit how much time he spent on it. Particularly when the biotic finally realized that Shepard wasn't angry, he just had the social skills of a five-year-old.

Seriously, Shepard acted like that with everyone: one minute he would be asking about your fondest memory and the next he would be striding off toward the bridge like he'd forgotten you were there.

Eventually Kaidan learned not to take the sudden dismissals personally. He accepted them as one of the other man's many quirks as a commander, no different than the way that he liked to dress his team in armor of his choosing before they left the ship. If anything, the latter was harder to get used to since the biotic was never quite able to shake the feeling that he was just some giant dress-up doll.

Still, the awkwardness was a small price to pay in exchange for working under a man like Commander Shepard and Kaidan started to look forward to their conversations soon enough. Maybe the other man completely failed at social niceties, and he really, really did, but the lieutenant could tell that he also really cared. Shepard cared about each and every member of his crew and his inability to end a conversation gracefully was just part of his charm.

Truthfully, it was rather adorable, Kaidan and Ashley spending far too many evenings laughing about their commander's missteps after she came on board. Ash had the better impersonation by far – at least when she could keep from giggling – and more than one briefing was almost ruined when she mouthed “I should go” at him.

Kaidan had never really had a friend before, not one with whom he felt as free to smile as he did with Ash. Because the gunnery chief had a wicked sense of humor and no patience for the lieutenant's shyness and she forced him to have fun despite himself. A little too much fun sometimes, but the hangovers were worth the memories.

Only then Virmire happened and the biotic didn't have anyone to laugh with anymore. Ash was dead; she was dead because Shepard had decided that Kaidan's life was more worth saving and the lieutenant didn't know how to deal with that.

Suddenly the commander's awkwardness seemed more cold than cute, the man just going on with his life even though Ash was gone. It drove Kaidan crazy, his grief burning within him as they ran around the galaxy chasing Saren until the biotic couldn't take it anymore.

So the next time that Shepard came to talk to him – and really, the two men were just retreading old ground at this point – the lieutenant couldn't stop himself from grabbing onto Shepard's arm.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Kaidan demanded, too angry to respect the difference in their ranks. “How can you just sit here asking me about the latest tech upgrades after what happened on Virmire? Don't you even care that Ash died for you?”

He regretted it the moment that he said it, the biotic flinching back at the pain in Shepard's eyes. Because the commander's mask had disintegrated in the face of Kaidan's anger and he could see exactly how much the other man was hurting when their eyes met again.

But instead of returning the lieutenant's harsh words in kind, the commander just asked him tiredly, “What do you want me to say, Alenko? I had to make a choice so I did and to dwell on it would be to dishonor Williams' sacrifice. Because we have a mission to complete and if we fail, she will have died in vain. They'll all have died in vain.”

Kaidan felt even guiltier at the despairing slump of Shepard's shoulders and his own voice was much softer when he reached out again. “I'm sorry; I shouldn't have lashed out like that. I just... can you tell me why? Why me instead of her?”

“Honestly, I don't know,” was the answer and somehow this eased the biotic's turmoil when no amount of logical arguments could have done the same. “I didn't have time to weigh your value against each other – even if such a thing was really possible; I just ran on instinct and you're the one that my feet brought me to. I know Williams was your friend and I'm truly sorry things worked out like this.”

“It's all right. Or rather, I think it will be eventually,” Kaidan said, and if his smile was not entirely free of sorrow, he was comforted to know that Shepard shared his pain after all. “Besides, Ash would have kicked my ass for moping this much already and you're right, she would have wanted us to burn Saren to the ground. So tell me, what kind of tech were you thinking of?”

From there the conversation turned back to business, the two men slipping back into the easy camaraderie that they had known before. While things weren't entirely resolved between them, not yet, they had at least come to an understanding and the next time that Kaidan looked at the time, three hours had slipped by.

“I should go,” Shepard murmured and the biotic couldn't help but chuckle at the way that some things never changed. But this time the commander seemed almost reluctant, looking back over his shoulder twice before he finally walked away, and over the days and weeks that followed, he and Kaidan fell into a rhythm – a few hours carved out for each other in the evenings whenever they were on board the Normandy.

While things were strictly business when the two men were running missions, they could drop the barriers when no one else was around. Soon the lines began to blue between Kaidan's duty and his heart and the lieutenant should have been terrified. The Alliance had been everything to him for so long, order and structure to a boy lost adrift, and without his honor, the biotic didn't have anything.

But when he was with Shepard, his life seemed so simple, like they could talk about anything and it would be all right. So Kaidan found himself telling the other man about Brain Camp, about Rahna and the guilt that he would never be able to set down.

The lieutenant found himself listening as well; listening to Shepard when he spoke about Akuze and all the good men who had died there on his watch. They told each other things that neither man had ever shared with another living soul and somehow theirs demons lay a little lighter afterward.

However, even as the commander and his lieutenant grew closer, Kaidan couldn't forget about the regs entirely. He couldn't risk admitting the true strength of his feelings, no matter how much he wanted to hold Shepard, to kiss him and damn the consequences that were sure to come.

This is when “I should go” became the biotic's lifeline, the reminder of where the boundaries lay even as the commander's awkwardness only grew more adorable. Because those three little words always made their appearance when Kaidan was starting to give in to temptation, transforming his Shepard back into the Commander once again. Not that Shepard was his, which was the entire problem, and “I should go” was the only thing that kept the lieutenant from ruining everything.

Yet this lifeline only worked so long as the words were spoken and one night his commander let him go too far.

It was after the Normandy had been grounded, after her crew had thrown away everything in order to do what was necessary, and Kaidan was still reeling from their sacrifice. He was lost and Shepard was the only anchor that the biotic had now that he wasn't an Alliance soldier anymore.

So Kaidan sought out his commander in order to discuss their strategy for Ilos, or at least that's the excuse that he used to justify his visit to himself. But as soon as he saw Shepard sitting by the window, the lieutenant knew that reason had naught to do with this. Because they were on different footing here, a line crossed as soon as he stepped into Shepard's quarters, and Kaidan didn't have the strength to walk back out that door.

Instead the two men talked and skirted the edge of flirting as they had so many times before. The biotic even managed to discuss a tiny bit of actual strategy before Shepard smiled at him one too many times and he found himself confessing like a love struck idiot. Not that the lieutenant really could confess when even Shepard wasn't blind enough to have missed the way he felt, but Kaidan brought things into the open where they couldn't ignore them anymore. Because he was tired; he was tired of denying himself a chance at happiness when the entire crew would probably be court-martialed if they survived the coming day.

Yet apparently Kaidan wasn't the only one who had decided to be reckless on the eve of battle because Shepard barely hesitated before stepping forward to claim his lieutenant's mouth.

The first kiss was slow, almost uncertain until the two men found a rhythm, Shepard's arms wrapped tightly around the biotic's waist. But he kept stopping Kaidan whenever the other man tried to press closer, chasing the pleasure that his commander's mouth promised him. He wanted this; he wanted everything and he couldn't hold back a groan when Shepard finally allowed their hips to meet. Because once his first burst of shyness was overcome, the other man kissed like he was drowning – heat and sighs and swollen lips until he had no air to give.

So Kaidan pulled back to take a breath, panting against the commander's mouth until some of his lightheadedness finally eased. Only some because the scent and feel of Shepard had him reeling, the biotic still half expecting to wake up aching in his bed as he'd done so many times before.

But he didn't wake, not even when Shepard took Kaidan's bottom lip between his teeth and bit down gently, and perhaps this was truly happening after all. So there was only one answer that the lieutenant could give when his commander drew back just far enough to ask, “Are you sure about this? I don't want you to do anything that you'll regret in the light of day.”

“Trust me, the only thing I'd regret is not doing this when I had the chance,” Kaidan promised fervently. “And if you don't want to take me to bed tonight, you had better send me away right now.”

“In that case, clothes off, soldier – I want to know what I'm working with,” Shepard said with a crooked smile before pushing his lieutenant toward the bed. Although it took a few more heated kisses before the two men managed to take their hands off of each other long enough for Kaidan to comply.

Even then, the biotic had barely pulled his shirt over his head before Shepard was touching him again, calloused fingers exploring every bit of skin that they could reach. The commander was surprisingly gentle, no longer cautious but almost reverent, at least until he brushed Kaidan's ribs and a helpless giggle left the lieutenant's lips.

Then Shepard's smile turned positively wicked, the biotic's warning “Don't you dare,” doing nothing to stop the other man from launching his attack. Soon Kaidan was laughing uncontrollably as the commander searched out all his weak spots, deft hands dodging his attempts to block far too easily.

The biotic had always been extremely ticklish and his commander seemed delighted with this discovery, cornering his giggling lieutenant against the bed until Kaidan finally managed to grab onto him. He pulled Shepard forward, the two of them tumbling down onto the mattress in a tangle of limbs and laughter and when they sorted themselves out again, Kaidan looked down at his commander with a triumphant grin.

“You are wearing far too many clothes,” he announced from his perch on the other man's hips, a small flare of biotics trapping Shepard's hands against the bed. To which he responded with one raised eyebrow and a challenging, “I guess you had better do something about that since my hands are tied.”

This was one order that the lieutenant was glad to follow, though Kaidan took his time about it because it was his turn to tease Shepard now. He slid his hands beneath the other man's shirt, pushing the fabric up the commander's chest until he had room enough to work and then set about finding all the spots that made Shepard moan out loud.

While the other man was disappointingly unticklish, Kaidan did stumble upon a few interesting reactions and it wasn't long before his commander was writhing wantonly against the bed. The biotic actually had to strengthen his field a few times in order to keep Shepard from moving and if this was more than a onetime deal as Kaidan hoped, he was going to invest in a pair of cuffs the next time they docked at the Citadel. Biotics were all well and good, but the feast laid out before the lieutenant really deserved his full attention so he let his Stasis flicker out as he tugged Shepard's trousers down.

“Keep your hands there,” Kaidan ordered before bending his head to taste and the filthy moan that the other man let out was music to his ears.

The biotic had always loved giving blow jobs even if the taste was generally unpleasant and the motion made his neck ache before too long. But having another man trembling at his mercy was intoxicating and Shepard was no different, Kaidan's own cock stirring as he wrapped his lips around the commander's shaft.

The lieutenant swallowed Shepard down until his nose brushed the other man's groin, hot flesh throbbing against his tongue as Kaidan hummed in the back of his throat. This vibration made his commander groan harshly and when the biotic glanced up to admire this reaction, he could not look away.

Because Shepard was staring down at him as though he wanted to eat Kaidan alive, face flushed and shirt rucked up around his shoulders, his hands twitching where they lay. But he still hadn't moved them and such good behavior deserved a reward. So the biotic swirled his tongue around the head of Shepard's cock before swallowing him to the root again and judging by the way that his commander was shaking, it wouldn't take much more to make him come.

But as much as the lieutenant was enjoying himself – and he really, really was – this wasn't how he wanted things to end tonight. If he only got one shot at this, something that was looking far too likely, Kaidan was going to make the evening count.

He was going to do everything – or at least make a good attempt at it; everything that he had been dreaming of ever since he had seen his new commander and fell in lust right there. So the biotic swallowed around Shepard's dick one more time and then released him, smiling somewhat smugly at the other man's disappointed groan.

Oh, yeah, I've still got it, Kaidan thought and as much as he usually tried to forget about his years of misspent youth, they were coming in handy now.

“You are a terrible, terrible tease, Alenko. Do you have any idea how hot that is?” Shepard asked once he had finally gotten his breath back enough to speak again. “But if you don't speed things up a bit, I may have to take back the lead from here.”

Assuming I decide to let you have it, Shepard, and that's not a fight won so easily. “Don't worry, Commander. I'm just getting started and I think you should probably call me Kaidan now considering everything. Just tell me that you actually have lube around here somewhere or this night is going to go downhill rather fast,” Kaidan replied, leaning across the other man to rummage in his bedside table for supplies.

Sure it wasn't the sexiest move, but the lieutenant was not a fan of chafing and his commander seemed to appreciate the view. Although, Shepard definitely appreciated it more when Kaidan stopped to kiss him again on his way over, the biotic quickly forgetting all about his search in the slide of skin on skin.

They made out like teenagers, grinding their hips together until Kaidan was ready to come in his pants like he hadn't done in years. But something about Shepard brought out his playful side despite the challenges that they would face tomorrow and the lieutenant was quite content with this. At least until his groping fingers found their target and Kaidan remembered that he'd been planning something better before he got distracted by Shepard's admittedly fantastic lips.

So he sat back on his heels, the commander a vision of tawny skin beneath him, and Kaidan was pretty sure that he was the luckiest bastard who had ever walked the earth. Sure their entire crew might be about to die and the universe was apparently spinning around its cosmic reset button, but Kaidan could live or die with the rest of it as long as he got to have this.

However, Shepard didn't seem to appreciate the biotic's moment of reflection, the other man bringing his hands down to grab hold of Kaidan's ass and grind up into him. He squeezed the lieutenant roughly before shoving his pants out of the way and the biotic's breath hitched at the feel of Shepard's palms against his skin. Warm and rough with calluses, Shepard held onto Kaidan like he never planned to let go and the controlled strength within those fingers made the other man feel weak.

It brought to mind the battlefield, the way that the commander's hands danced across his guns and omni-tool as he tore through his enemies like a krogan on the warpath, and Kaidan had always been attracted to people who could keep up with him.

“Well, are you going to use that stuff or did you intend to get my hopes up needlessly?” the commander asked, interrupting Kaidan's heated recollections to nod at the tube in his hands. His grin was smug and infuriating and so fucking gorgeous and it didn't falter a whit at the annoyed glare that he received.

“Just for that, you get to watch,” the biotic growled, a flash of blue slamming the other man's hands back to the bed again. He held Shepard there as he slicked up his fingers and both of them groaned at that first press inside.

The commander couldn't seem to keep still as Kaidan worked himself open bit by bit, tugging against the biotic's Stasis almost desperately. He only grew more frantic the longer that he couldn't break it, his hands clenching into fists as his whole body leaned toward his lieutenant, and the hunger in Shepard's eyes made Kaidan feel invincible.

Sure the biotic knew that he was hot, but the light show tended to put off any potential human lovers and most of the aliens that he'd slept with were just there to fuck the freak. Yet his commander had always taken his powers in stride, treating them no differently than he would a gift for medicine or a turian's inhuman accuracy, and it was nice to feel like a normal man again. A man who was desired for everything he was, his stubborn pride and love of rule books and even the incandescent aura that liked to follow him around. It made the biotic feel like he could do anything and Kaidan was determined to return Shepard's gift in kind.

Because the other man shouldn't have to be the Commander all the time, not when his lieutenant was there to share the burdens of his mind. Not when Kaidan was there to fuck Shepard's brains out until he remembered how to relax again.

Which was exactly what the biotic intended to do now that he was ready, three fingers sliding into his ass easily. So he rose up on his knees, holding Shepard's gaze as he guided the other man's cock to his entrance and waited there.

“Patience,” he ordered when the commander shifted restlessly beneath him, Shepard's helpless begging worth the self-control it took to pause.

There was just something irresistible about pushing Shepard's buttons and the biotic wanted to crack that smug facade once and for all. He wanted to break his commander open, to curl around the heart of him and never let it go. Kaidan was lost already even if he hadn't said it; he loved this crazy, reckless soldier more than anything and he knew that his smile must be hopelessly fond as he looked down at him.

Something definitely seemed to catch Shepard's attention, the commander's expression almost startled for a moment before he broke into a smile of his own. A real smile, soft and crooked at the edges, and the sight of it made Kaidan's heart pound even harder in his chest.

The lieutenant ducked his head almost shyly, this moment somehow more intimate than simple nakedness could be, and he could feel himself blushing pink. But Kaidan wasn't quite ready to give up the upper hand in this encounter, not when he was still aching to be filled. So the biotic lowered himself onto Shepard's cock, taking the other man inch by aching inch. Kaidan hadn't done this since joining the Normandy but his body remembered and the slight twinge of pain only made the pleasure burn brighter in comparison.

“Oh, God,” Kaidan moaned when Shepard finally bottomed out, his own weight pressing the commander's length in deep. For a moment all he could do was breathe, his biotics flaring as he waited for his body to adjust to the sensation – too full, too open, too much.

But eventually his muscles relaxed enough for the lieutenant to start fucking himself properly. He rose up on his knees again, all but the tip of Shepard's cock sliding out of him before he slammed back down again. Kaidan's rode the other man hard and fast, keeping his pace nearly brutal until his thighs trembled and his head began to swim.

Every stroke felt better than the one before it, the last bit of pain disappearing beneath a rush of pleasure, and when Kaidan finally managed to hit his prostate, the biotic's rhythm stuttered awkwardly. He couldn't keep it going as his nerves lit up like he'd been snorting Red Sand again, every thrust driving the lieutenant higher as Shepard moved under him. Because the commander wasn't passive despite the biotic restraints holding his wrists to the mattress, the other man meeting every downward stroke with a sharp snap of his hips.

The motion drove Shepard's cock even deeper, deeper than Kaidan would have thought possible, and he barely even noticed when his biotics flared and died. He couldn't hope to keep them active this close to the edge, not when he couldn't even remember why he wanted to.

Because suddenly Shepard's hands were everywhere, stroking up the lieutenant's thighs and across his stomach, cupping his ass to pull him down harder until rough fingers wrapped around Kaidan's length where they belonged. Shepard squeezed his cock roughly, jerking the biotic off in counterpoint to the short thrusts of his hips until Kaidan couldn't take it anymore.

With a brilliant flash of blue, the biotic let go of his control, throwing his head back sharply as he came across his commander's chest. Kaidan was pretty sure he screamed as well, shouting Shepard's name loud enough to echo, but all he could hear was the ringing in his ears and the crackle of a dissipating charge.

“Fucking hell, do you always come like that?” Shepard asked once Kaidan had regained his senses slightly, the commander sounding more impressed than anything.

“Not always, that just means you blew my mind,” the biotic murmured lazily, saving his energy for what he knew was coming now. Because Shepard was still hard inside him, every shift of the other man's hips making Kaidan's cock twitch valiantly. The sensation verged on overwhelming, the lieutenant too out of practice to manage another round so easily. But Kaidan was hardly going to leave his commander hanging so he went willingly when Shepard pulled him into another kiss.

The other man teased the lieutenant with teeth and tongue, pulling him close and then rolling Kaidan onto his back on the bed. The movement made him groan, oversensitive nerves protesting the slide of Shepard's cock inside him, but he knew that it wouldn't be long before too much turned into not enough again.

So the biotic just wrapped his legs around Shepard's waist and pulled him closer when his commander began to thrust, long slow strokes drilling Kaidan into the bed. Shepard seemed determined to mark every inch of the lieutenant's body, sucking a line of bruises into Kaidan's chest, though the biotic swatted him away when Shepard started to nibble at his neck.

Kaidan might not regret this – and he really fucking didn't – but they were still breaking regulation and he didn't need the proof visible for everyone to see. Thankfully, Shepard didn't seem to mind the biotic's caution, that wicked mouth just heading south without complaint. However, the commander did fix Kaidan with a slightly incredulous stare when the biotic's cock began to swell again.

“What are you, fifteen?” Shepard asked, though Kaidan honestly couldn't tell whether the other man was more jealous or impressed. “I was expecting to have to work a bit harder to get your engine revving up again.”

“What can I say, Commander? You make me hot,” the lieutenant replied, chuckling lightly at Shepard's disgruntled frown. “Let's just say there are a few side benefits to the biotic metabolism, some of which are good to balance out the bad.”

“Oh, really? What's your record then?” the other man asked and Kaidan should have known that his commander would take this news as a challenge to be beat.

But as nice as it would be to let Shepard fuck him into exhaustion, the biotic had to be able to fight tomorrow without staggering. So Kaidan just pulled the other man close and whispered, “My record's seven, but right now I want to watch you scream for me,” flaring his biotics when Shepard protested the subject change.

Kaidan hadn't done this particular trick in years and the biotic bit his lip in concentration as he extended his Stasis field around the other man again. Shepard's whole body this time instead of just his hands, something that was surprisingly difficult to do without causing injury. The act was similar to Throwing but far more gentle, the blue glow dancing in a caress on Shepard's skin.

Although the lieutenant would have stopped in an instant if the other man had asked him, Shepard just looked intrigued and it had been a long time since Kaidan had had a lover with whom he could show off like this.

“I assume that's supposed to tingle?” Shepard asked, his illusion of calm cracking slightly as his voice broke in a gasp. Kaidan could feel echoes of the commander's pleasure through the connection he had created; the other man's body sparking in response to the biotic's energy. He wrapped Shepard from head to toe in this embrace and just when the commander was starting to relax into the waves of pleasure, Kaidan pulled it taut and Hummed.

Shepard did scream for him then, his body jerking as the biotic's field vibrated all around him like a plucked a harp string. It felt as though the lieutenant had found all of his weak spots at once, every nerve singing to Kaidan's tune as his mind blanked out.

The biotic wasn't far behind; the echoes of Shepard's pleasure pulsing through his mind were better than any physical touch could be and the grind of the commander's cock against his prostate sent him back over the edge again.

Kaidan sank into the mattress with a satisfied groan, body aching like he'd just run a marathon. Biotic tricks like that required much finer control than battlefield maneuvers and thus far more energy, but it was worth the effort for the blissed out grin on Shepard's face.

The other man had collapsed on top of Kaidan, cock still buried deep inside him and he could have happily spent the rest of his life like this. Shepard certainly didn't seem inclined to move anytime soon, the biotic receiving little more than a grunt when he nudged his commander in the side.

But eventually Shepard looked up blearily, resting his chin on his hands and asking, “Where did you learn to do that? I'm pretty sure that wasn't covered in any Alliance training camp.”

It was more of a mumble than a proper question, but if the biotic could understand Shepard through battle static, a little slurring was hardly going to stump him now. So Kaidan just threw an arm across his commander's back and responded with a quiet laugh, “Brain Camp was full of horny teenagers; they may not have taught us about biotic sex but you can be damn sure it was one of the first things we figured out. I've got a whole array of tricks that I could whip out if I had a good reason to dredge my memory.”

“I'll keep that in mind for the future; but next time we're going to be doing things my way because I have a few tricks of my own,” Shepard said and while he seemed to be expecting a challenge from his lieutenant, that sounded great to him. Kaidan was just glad that there might actually be a next time and he was looking forward to seeing what kind of things the other man had up his sleeve.

“Now, you should-” go, the biotic mentally filled in, gearing up to roll Shepard off of him before the other man's actual words sunk in.

“-get some sleep; we have a big day tomorrow and I need you sharp for it.” That wasn't at all what Kaidan had anticipated, some part of his mind still expecting the commander to throw him out instead. But he wasn't going to question his good fortune, not when there was no place that he would rather be, and when the lieutenant curled up with Shepard at his back, he slept better than he had in weeks.

When he woke, it was off to Ilos and the biotic held tight to the memory of Shepard's arms around him as everything seemed to fall apart around them and all their plans proved flawed. But somehow Shepard's ragtag band managed to defeat Saren anyway, stopping his insanity without getting themselves killed or arrested for mutiny.

Instead they were named triumphant heroes and the two men had a celebration of their own after the speeches finally wound down. In fact, the days that followed were some of the happiest in Kaidan's memory and Shepard seemed to feel the same way about him.

Because now “I should go” was a promise instead of an ending, a promise that the commander would greet his lieutenant with a kiss when he entered Shepard's quarters after his shift was done. Indeed, the biotic's official bed lay untouched and forgotten as the two men spent every night wrapped around each other and Kaidan did eventually let Shepard fuck him into exhaustion as he had wanted to.

Sure it wasn't perfect, but it was good and the lieutenant should have known it couldn't last. He should have known that falling in love with his commander would only lead to heartbreak; he had known and he'd done it anyway.

Shepard was worth the risk so Kaidan tried to ignore the chill of premonition that struck him sometimes; a premonition that proved true when the Normandy was attacked by a faceless enemy.

However, at the time the biotic didn't put two and two together since he was too busy trying to save his crew. They couldn't hope to fight off their assailant when the unknown ship was ripping through the Alliance's best shields like they were tissue paper and Kaidan helped direct the evacuation as best he could.

At least until his commander paused in the hallway when he should have been running to the escape pods with his soldiers and everything else disappeared. The ship might be burning to ash around him but all Kaidan could see was the familiar tilt of Shepard's lips in apology.

“Joker's still on the bridge. I have to – I should go,” his lover shouted over the hissing of the flames roaring towards them and the biotic couldn't tell him not to try. So Kaidan simply kissed his commander one more time in both plea and forgiveness, whispering, “Please, just come back to me.”

Then he turned and ran down the corridor, sliding into an own escape pod and waiting to cast off until Shepard appeared at the end of the hall. He had to go then because the docking bay was starting to collapse around him and he watched with his heart in his throat as his lover threw their pilot toward one of the few remaining pods.

They were so close to escaping, so fucking close, when the Normandy finally shattered and Shepard went spinning into the black instead. Kaidan tried to catch him but for once his biotics weren't fast enough, the commander slipping out of range before he could grab on.

So all the lieutenant could do was watch as his lover drifted, cursing every engineer who'd ever designed these pods without thrusters and hoping desperately for a miracle. But no matter how he strained, all Kaidan could hear was static and the echo of Shepard's last words in his head. That's all he could hear long after the survivors were rescued by a passing freighter, the biotic holding onto his composure by the barest thread as he gave his report.

Because it didn't seem real; it wouldn't be real until he saw Shepard's body and the commander had yet to be found. Kaidan couldn't grieve when he didn't believe it; he wouldn't grieve even as the loss of his lover ate away at him.

Instead the lieutenant just kept waiting for his commander to show up with that familiar crooked smile even as his bed seemed emptier with every passing day. But Kaidan had to wait because Shepard had promised; he had to wait because Shepard had never said goodbye.


End