w końcu sie doigrasz, Shep
Kaidan used to play galactic warfare in the bathtub when he was a kid. The photographic evidence exists somewhere, on a data stick or the save file from one of mom’s old datapad camera apps, and Kaidan knows he can’t avoid the truth forever. One of these days, it’s gonna come out.
Kids do that, though. They don’t want to get in the tub but once they’re in, they don’t want to get out again. It’s a luxury, to stay in until your fingers start pruning. They don’t know it, but it won’t last.
There aren’t any bathtubs on the Normandy. A shower’s what you get and, with the right company, a shower can be fun, too. Breathless, palms on the tiles, eyes shut under the spray… But there’s nothing that eases aching muscles like Jacuzzi jets and a long soak—even if there aren’t waterproof Alliance fleets to join in on the fun this time.
So… Kaidan doesn’t know what he was expecting. A candlelight setting on the lightpad by the door, maybe. Music. Smooth jazz. Shepard tucked against his chest, the small of his back bumping Kaidan’s stomach with every breath, ripples in the soapy water, both of them knowing the exact shape of the bodies hidden below the bubbles skimming the surface. The scar on Shepard’s knee and the tuck of his elbows, head pillowed against Kaidan’s collarbone, nosing his jaw, kissing his throat.
The idea makes the muscles in Kaidan’s thighs tighten, the heat in his belly turned up along with the highest temperature setting on the Jacuzzi jets. They pulse hot water against his warm skin and he opens one eye, Shepard scooting closer, water sloshing against Kaidan’s chest and into the hollow of his collarbone like the dip of a tongue, a renegade kiss.
‘Say hello to my little friend,’ Shepard says.
The Blasto loofah in Shepard’s hand is how Kaidan knows it’s the real thing. That it’s not just an idea he had once, a thought before sleeping, of Shepard’s soldier’s palms trying to be gentle while working the shampoo into Kaidan’s hair, blunt fingertips rubbing their way along Kaidan’s scalp, and the short little gasps Kaidan lets go of on account of how good the whole thing feels. It shouldn’t, but it does. It’s the hair in Kaidan’s eyes, the tentacles falling over Shepard’s ears, and Kaidan finding Shepard’s fingers on the bottom of the tub.
They stay in there long after those fingers start pruning.
Posts tagged Kaidan Alenko
I’m just doing the url justice.
CONVERSATIONS HAD NEAR THE MED BAY
‘So why are we standing here, exactly?’ Joker asks.
‘Joker, I’ve never wanted to hurt you before, and I don’t intend to start now,’ Shepard replies, ‘so I suggest you keep moving.’
Commander stuff, Joker figures.
Besides, Alenko’s not his type.
Chakwas brings some brandy along one afternoon, considering making that a Friday tradition. ‘Here’s to a fine view,’ she says, and Shepard toasts to that. ’Maybe you could get some beach chairs set up in the hall next?’
‘I’m starting to worry you like the lieutenant’s calibrations better than mine, Shepard,’ Garrus says.
‘Can it wait, Garrus?’ Shepard asks. ‘I’m in the middle of some…observations.’
Garrus supposes he should have seen that one coming.
‘I have heard, commander, that if you take a picture, it will last longer,’ Tali says.
‘Considering that’s frowned upon in twenty-two systems, I think I’ll pass,’ Shepard replies.
Humans are curious, their flirtation rituals so subtle even those involved in the proceedings sometimes have no idea they are a part of anything at all.
‘Some gaze at stars,’ Liara says, ‘and some look deep into their hearts to understand the galaxy’s great mysteries. Others look closer to home to find meaning in this vast universe.’
‘If I wasn’t so distracted, I’d make an embrace eternity joke right about…now,’ Shepard replies.
They are all grateful to be spared Shepard’s indignity.
‘Just give it a good old krogan charge,’ Wrex suggests. ‘You break it, you buy it—isn’t that right, Shepard?’
He leaves Shepard reeling, as always. It wouldn’t be half-bad to be known around the ship as the kinky krogan, now would it?
‘You do realize the LT’s known you’re there for about a week now, commander,’ Ashley says.
‘I know everything that goes on on my ship,’ Shepard replies.
At least Ashley won’t have to wonder when her commander’s lying to keep up morale, seeing as how Shepard’s so damn bad at it.
art by stonelions! working on a longer teen au fic at the moment so…have some teenies.
THINGS SHEPARD ISN’T GOOD AT
Waking Kaidan up when he goes.
Keeping Kaidan up when he stays.
Following orders from anybody who isn’t Garrus.
THINGS SHEPARD IS GOOD AT
(Kaidan always thought he’d be a wriggler.)
Wiggly. Twitchy. All angles and a sharp chin and knees and elbows. Not the type to cuddle because he’s not the type to hold on. He’s more of a ‘Look, Kaidan—no hands’ type.
Always crashes because of it, too. But it must be fun to go that fast for a little while and not care about impact.
Fun and crazy.
And knowing how to sleep with somebody else.
And putting his cheek against Kaidan’s stomach or pulling one of Kaidan’s arms with him when he rolls over.
Matching his breathing with Kaidan’s breathing.
Being not-too-heavy and not-too-light, not-too-cold and not-too-warm.
Thinking he’s all wrong.
…When he’s actually all right.
THINGS KAIDAN ISN’T GOOD AT
Staying up late if there’s no homework in front of him.
THINGS KAIDAN IS GOOD AT
Being a pillow.
Being the best pillow.
Shepard might not know the first thing about being a father—unless the baby’s a full-grown krogan in a containment tube—but he does know they’ll have to call a poison control center if he squeezes medigel into Ashley’s mouth.
Tempting as it is right now.
‘Don’t even think about it,’ Kaidan says.
And Shepard thought it was bad watching him in pain—headaches, long ones, hours disappearing into days, closing his eyes and drifting off and waking up to find nothing’s changed. Nothing you can change.
Loving things—loving anybody—is all about feeling helpless. There are other things, too, good ones, but it all comes back to helpless in the end. Shepard holds his daughter in his arms, taking his fourth lap around the living room, while Kaidan scrolls through the latest parenting guides on his datapad.
‘We’re big damn heroes, Kaidan,’ Shepard says.
And they still can’t make a baby feel any better when it comes to teething.
‘You know, Shepard, she’s chewing on my Black Widow,’ Garrus says.
Shepard doesn’t lift his elbow off his eyes. ‘No kidding,’ he replies. ‘Just… Just listen to that for a second, Garrus. You know what that is?’
‘The sound of a small, pink, human child getting drool all over my favorite sniper rifle?’ Garrus asks.
‘Silence,’ Shepard says. ‘Precious, sweet silence.’
‘And drool,’ Garrus adds.
That’s what being a father’s all about.
Since Shimmy’s been having a rough time for the past couple days, I figured I’d try to cheer her up with some Kaidan. Never drawn him before so I hope he looks okay, and I hope this makes her smile even a little bit!
greetings from vancouver
They spend days, sometimes weeks, away from each other. That’s a given. And Shepard knows—because Kaidan told him one time, private in the dark, a yawn in his voice but his shoulders hard and the small of his back tense—that half the time he’s turning, looking for Shepard to be there.
‘Just trying to remind myself, I guess,’ Kaidan added. ‘Gotta break myself of the habit before it gets to be a bad one. You know, if it isn’t that already.’
But at least he chuckled when Shepard’s chin, stubble rough, rested on his shoulder.
‘Absence,’ Liara says, ‘makes the heart grow fonder.’
Shepard rubs his, below the chest, under a reinforced ribcage. Rebuilt now. No scaffolding necessary. The pieces all fit.
Liara’s right, as always. Except for the specifics—since five minutes apart or five days apart has the same effect.
‘Hey, Shepard,’ Kaidan says, sleepy over a stack of datapads on the dining room table. He wraps his arms around Shepard’s waist instead of keeping them folded like a pillow—and outside the window, Vancouver’s still sleeping.
Shepard sleeps on shuttles. There’s something about the motion that makes him feel steady. When he wakes up and rubs his eye too hard with the heel of his palm and checks his messages, there’s one from Kaidan, right on schedule.
Hey, Shepard. Why didn’t you wake me?
Shepard still can’t figure that one out. How to explain what sleep means, its importance like currency.
‘One of these days, I’m gonna start asking myself if you even like it here,’ Kaidan says.
Shepard puts the bag down on the kitchen counter. Groceries. Potted plants in the windows. A refrigerator that isn’t mini. Mugs that don’t match. Dishes in the drainboard. Coasters. A toaster. It smells like morning coffee.
‘Only if you already know the answer,’ Shepard says. Kaidan presses him against the dishwasher. They laugh when Shepard’s ass turns it on and kiss harder, over the hum vibrating through Shepard’s muscles.
Greetings from Vancouver, the message says. One of those photo-editing apps. The buildings shape Kaidan’s body. His nose is pink. It must be getting cold already.
Home—no longer a collection of rooms and crew-members and squadmates and urgent messages—is where the heart is.
Mrs. Alenko was crying. Shepard couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen somebody cry. ‘I take it back,’ he said. ‘These rings are just a coincidence. My doctor says I’ve probably got retrograde amnesia. A Reaper crushed my skull and I say things and it’s like somebody else is making me say them. I might be indoctrinated. Just a theory.’
Mrs. Alenko hugged him. Shepard could remember the last time somebody’d hugged him—but not like this. ‘Phew,’ Shepard said later, wiping the cold sweat off the back of his neck. ‘You know, Kaidan, I think I was less scared of facing the Reapers in London?’
Mrs. Alenko never had to know that Shepard had compared her to the synthetic life forms that’d tried to wipe humanity off the face of every planet.
‘You’re engaged,’ Garrus said on the other end of the line.
When Shepard asked him how the hell he did that, he could practically feel Garrus shrugging, maybe-grinning, the old sly twist of his wry mouth. ‘I always hit my mark, Shepard,’ he replied. ‘…Congratulations, by the way.’
‘Am I gonna have to fight Scars for best man?’ James asked.
Shepard scratched the back of his head, wondering if anybody was going to have the decency to act surprised.
‘You can if you want to, James,’ Shepard replied, ‘if you want to attend the wedding in spirit because Garrus vaporized you.’
‘Ring bearer it is,’ James said.
‘Ring bearer, huh?’ Kaidan asked. Then, he made a joke about ‘precious’ Shepard didn’t get, but Shepard laughed anyway.
He hadn’t spoken to Joker in a while. No animosity, just…silence. People needed their space. And with space travel limited these days, they had to re-quantify what ‘space’ actually meant. It was a whole lot smaller and a whole lot bigger than it used to be.
Shepard hated definitions. Distinctions. Space, too, a lot of the time. Dead zones. Lines gone quiet.
‘I’ll tell him,’ he said.
‘Yeah,’ Kaidan agreed. ‘You will.’
Complaint filed with Tenants’ Board
Subject: We know he’s a war hero, but…
List of Grievances: Unruly noises after curfew hours; Possession of weapons in civilian areas; Property damage
They’d faced down Reapers. Thresher Maws. Rachni and Rachni Queens. Spores that exploded and pods that oozed and husks—so many damn husks. Day after day; night after night. Heavy fire. Rocket-launchers. Geth drones.
‘Shepard,’ Kaidan said, ‘it’s just… It’s ants. On the scale of things, they’re pretty small.’
‘You never know, Kaidan,’ Shepard replied, clip already in his pistol, taking point on the other side of the door. ‘It’s never just anything with us.’
The corner of Kaidan’s mouth twitched. His fingers tingled. There were a lot of ants and they’d kind of taken the pantry hostage. How many times had they been charged with the task of protecting vital supplies no matter the cost?
So he hit ‘em with stasis and Shepard went in hot, pistol blazing, shouting ‘Ante up!’
Which was pretty clever, all things considered.
Complaint filed with Local Traffic Administrators
Subject: Dangerous driving
List of Grievances: Erratic, unpredictable driver on the loose; improperly zoned ground transport vehicle in use
Shepard jammed the ignition. Gunned the engines. ‘Hold on to the dashboard, Garrus,’ he replied, ”cause we’re gonna make this run without hitting a single red light.’
‘Do you mean not ‘hitting’ a single red light,’ Garrus asked, ‘or not actually hitting the light posts like the last time?’
‘Both,’ Shepard replied. ‘Aim high, Garrus. Live hard or you’re not living at all.’
The Mako’s wheels turned so fast they left skidmarks on the pavement. Shepard wove in and out between the stanchions in record time, and they would’ve made it all the way—if he hadn’t overhsot one mark, flipped the Mako over in a complete barrel roll, and landed bottom-up in somebody’s front yard.
Garrus closed his eyes. With Shepard’s dizziness, he wouldn’t be able to see Garrus smiling.
Complaint filed with Blasto Theme and Water Parks Co. Inc.
Subject: Pro Pilot Ride
List of Grievances: Too dangerous!
Jeff slid behind the dash, face lighting up when the drivers responded to his touch. Both he and the dash had a decidedly attractive glow, though EDI’s tastes found Jeff’s skin more appealing than the flashing buttons on a circuit board.
And that, as she understood it, was what was known as ironic.
“Oh c’mon Kaidan it’s pretty funny.” [High-res]
The space husbands are, in fact, amused.
‘I was always getting into scrapes and falling down at that age, myself,’ Shepard says. ‘At least, I think I was. Can’t really remember that far back.’
‘That’s what worries me,’ Kaidan replies.
It’d be nice if their kid could make it out of the single digits with less major head trauma than Commander John Shepard at age thirty-five, but at the rate Ash is going…
Well, she’s not the only person Kaidan knows who wants to be just like the crazy guy.
And Urdnot Grunt.
…And Garrus Vakarian.
All three at the same time.
‘Don’t take it too personally,’ Shepard says, leaning back in his chair while James knocks back a cool one. ‘The other day she asked me if Uncle James was a dinosaur.’
‘For Tuchanka!’ Ash says, and for one moment, it’s almost like she’s flying—at least before she hits the ground below the old oak tree.
‘Your papa’s the one who can fly. Levitate, technically. Kind of like floating,’ Shepard tells her, bending down with one knee achy on the cold tiles, scarred fingers easing the medigel on and the bandage after just, just right. Kaidan leans in the doorway, arms folded, braced by a hard edge that holds him up but doesn’t hold those feelings down—watching Shepard handle with care the livest wire he’s ever worked with in his life.
There’s no way to quantify the expression on his face, serious and dark, while Ash holds still and Shepard holds her tight.
‘You’re a tough egg to crack,’ Shepard adds.
‘You’ll never break me,’ Ash replies.
Shepard admits he might’ve fallen asleep somewhere in the middle of the day when Kaidan turns him around to face the mirror in the bedroom and he sees the patterns drawn in dark blue marker all across his face.
‘Turian war paint for your dad, huh?’ he asks.
‘They’re dog whiskers,’ Ash says, and rolls her eyes.
The first time she fell, she was just learning to walk. And they knew it was gonna happen that way. They knew that the whole time.
Teetering steps. The fear of gravity. The pride and what followed, a little girl pitching forward all at once.
And Shepard was the one who tried to catch her. Kaidan felt it in his chest and saw it in Shepard’s eyes.
‘You know she’s gotta know what it’s like to trip up sometimes,’ Kaidan told him after they put Ash to bed, her snores over the monitor kind of reminding Kaidan of Wrex in the middle of the night.
‘There’s a long way to fall, Kaidan,’ Shepard replied.
Kaidan touched his hair, pushing it off his forehead, kissing his cheeks and the shadows, protecting the sadness of loving a small thing. The scope. The whole damn galaxy in size.
Shimmy wanted ugly Blasto sweaters. (I heart you, shimmy.)
It’s kind of early for this sort of thing but I ain’t even sorry. Ya’ll are just lucky I didn’t do this in April, p much. <3
Keeping the romance alive isn’t the problem.
They do some crazy stuff sometimes, absolutely. Like the night with that buzzing thing Kaidan picked up one year for Shepard’s birthday. And the time they tried—and failed, although they came pretty close in the end—to have sex in the hammock at Kaidan’s family’s old summer cabin.
‘Look,’ Shepard said, getting his knee scanned to make sure none of the pins have busted out of place, ‘if we don’t hospitalize ourselves just once the fun way, then it’s probably not a real marriage. That’s my understanding of how those vows worked.’
War wounds, he calls them. Where Vega can hear.
To have, to hold, and to take with me onto the frontlines.
Shepard twisted under Kaidan when the hammock flipped. He landed first, briefs around his knees, with a crack and a gasp and, lying on his back, winded, Kaidan’s elbows on either side of his chest, he grinned like this was Tuchanka and he was a krogan and the rumblings of a Thresher Maw below the surface of the sand were just starting to make themselves known. ‘There’s three of you,’ Shepard said. ‘You know, Kaidan, this is kinkier than I thought it was going to be.’ Then the hammock popped off its hook and Kaidan had to check Shepard’s head for lumps and bruises and significant damage. Had to, but mostly wanted to run his fingers through Shepard’s graying hair.
‘War wounds,’ Garrus says when he hears it. ‘Really, Shepard?’
‘Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it,’ Shepard replies. ‘…And don’t tell me if you’ve tried it already.’
‘This is a war wound,’ Garrus says, pointing to his face.
‘And here I always thought it was renovation to improve structural faults.’ Shepard grins the three-Kaidans-possible-head-trauma grin. ‘Who knew?’
Yeah, keeping the romance alive isn’t an issue even when it comes to the holidays, even with Mom’s sweaters and Shepard’s idea of presents for their friends—one Christmas it was costumes for all the main and supporting characters in the Blasto-verse; the customized Cup o’ Calibrations mugs were something else; the year the Commander Shepard small-scale model came out was the best, and when Shepard sent them out to everyone, he said, ‘It’s like I’m there with all of them, throughout the galaxy. Watching. Judging. Listening. And if they need some supplies picked up from a neighboring planet or somebody’s lost their credit chit, then I’ll be there. Because that’s what heroes do.’
Heroes take out the garbage. Fall asleep on the couch. Rub their war wounds. Open presents.
‘Mom’s sweaters,’ Kaidan says. ‘Wouldn’t be the holidays without ‘em, right?’
Shepard unfolds his and his eyes light up.
‘Okay,’ Kaidan admits. ‘So maybe I picked them out this time.’
‘You feeling enkindled right now?’ Shepard asks.
The couch is sturdier than the hammock. Nobody falls this time, and Blasto… Well, he always saves the day.
waiting on the news you
know how it is
you know how it is
The parameters of grief:
There are no parameters.
But there are still crowds, light and shadow, a few familiar colors, which spread and fade like they’re no thicker than water.
The parameters of grief: it doesn’t evaporate.
Kaidan doesn’t pray. There are soldiers who do and soldiers who don’t. There’s no measurable difference between both sides. He thinks, probably, the soldiers who do are more at ease. But he won’t make those assumptions.
Shepard doesn’t pray. They’ve got their differences but sometimes, they’re a lot alike. It wouldn’t have worked as well as it did between them if the fundamentals weren’t there to build on. Everybody needs a foundation. Grief is the foundation.
The parameters of grief: it eats itself, never created, never destroyed.
Grief is a constant. Memory over time. Energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of grief. E = mg-squared. Grief is an equation.
Grief is a waiting room. A date. 2183 CE. The name of a ship. The SSV Normandy. It broadcasts over the speakers. Code blue. A soldier’s colors. Kaidan’s head in his hands.
Grief has no body. It isn’t put to rest. It’s out there in space. Floating. Not praying; it’s not the praying kind.
Kaidan’s thumbs dig into his forehead until he has a headache. The don’t find the body. He debriefs his superiors. Grief doesn’t stay behind in the waiting room.
The parameters of grief: it fits in a situation room, too. It turns your hair gray before it should be gray.
Grief is still a waiting room. A date. 2186 CE, this time. Kaidan’s been here before and his head hurts. Grief is loss divided by love. Irrational numbers. Probably infinity. Grief drifts through space. Kaidan sits on a plastic chair and waits.
‘How you holding up, Major?’ James asks with a disposable hot cup of instant coffee.
‘It’s the waiting,’ Kaidan replies. Grief’s waiting. ‘The waiting… You know, it sucks.’
The parameters of grief: light on the shadows of hope. They amputate its left leg and its right arm. They rebuild it on the operating table. It heals itself. It shows remarkable capacity for regeneration. It’s happened before.
‘Next time,’ Kaidan says into his knuckles, ‘I’m dying first.’
Like a prayer. Here’s the church and here’s the steeple. Open it up—and here’s all the people.
Shimmy, oh Shimmy. My heart…