“I’m nervous as hell.”
“Don’t be. I’m sure your mom’ll love me.”
“It’s not you I’m worried about, Shepard. It’s that one.”
Kaidan points to Zaeed, who’s sleeping off yet another bender. He’s usually good about not taking too much space, but without Shepard and Kaidan in the bed, he tends to spread out like an eagle. An extremely obscene eagle, considering he’s the only one among them who sleeps nude.
Kaidan pointedly stares at Zaeed’s exposed balls. Shepard bites his lip to keep from laughing, but then the glare that Kaidan levels at him only has him snickering harder.
“Shepard, really. My mom’s pretty understanding, but Zaeed’s gonna test even her famous patience.”
“Are you regretting anything, Major?” Shepard asks, knowing full well the answer even as he asks it.
Kaidan’s face softens. He walks across the cabin to run his hand along Zaeed’s hip, leaning in to give him a kiss on the cheek.
“No,” he whispers. “I don’t regret a thing.”
Kaidan’s mom takes it in stride, just as she’s always done, but learning about their relationship is just the first obstacle. He knows there will be plenty more during their week-long stay in Vancouver.
The war’s been over for four years now. But between Vancouver going off the grid, changing weather patterns, and the rebuilding efforts, they haven’t had the time or opportunity to visit each other. She’d known about Shepard, of course, from the vids that came out shortly after the war ended. Their engagement had been sudden and very, very public. His only regret is that he never got to tell her before she found out through the rumor mill. She and Shepard had gotten along like a house on fire, at least.
Zaeed is a new addition to their relationship. It isn’t that the poly thing is that unusual these days, but there are very few people out there who ‘get’ Massani, and hell, even Kaidan is surprised by how well it works. Kaidan and Shepard are usually too busy worrying about hurting each other to realize that they’re hurting each other; Zaeed often stops their fights before they begin, what with his no-bullshit manner. And the two of them ground Zaeed, give him something to look forward to other than booze and women (or men), though some days there’s still alcohol involved. There’s gotta be, where Zaeed’s concerned.
And sex. Lots of that. Hell, their insatiable sexual appetites are probably the real reason why Massani puts up with them.
All in all, it’s a fine situation. Kaidan really doesn’t have any regrets.
Or at least he thinks so until a snowball hits him directly in the face.
“Hey!” he yells indignantly, but Shepard just huffs a laugh while Zaeed’s twinkly eyes silently challenge him. He’s up for it, chasing Zaeed out across the waist-deep snowbanks, breath puffing prettily in the frosty air as he tackles the older man to the ground and kisses him soundly. Shepard wolf-whistles from the porch.
“Shit, you damn pup. Too young for an old man like me,” Zaeed breathes into Kaidan’s face. He smells like cinnamon and Cuban cigars, an intoxicating aroma that makes Kaidan’s groin stir.
“You better remember it, Massani. If you’re not perfectly well-behaved for my mother…” The threat remains unspoken.
“Hey, I’m a goddamn charmer when I need to be.”
Kaidan helps him up. “Yeah, you better turn it on, then.” He slaps Zaeed’s ass as he walks away, admiring that unbelievably tight behind clad in that winter tracksuit.
“The way you keep turnin’ me on,” he whispers, and giggles at himself. Must be all this cold making him go daft.
“So, the three of you are… a couple?” Kaley Alenko asks once the table is set.
Kaidan starts to answer, a simple ‘yes’ or ‘sort of,’ at least. But Zaeed’s quick to jump in, and suddenly Kaidan’s deep blush comes back with a vengeance, only this time, it’s not from the weather.
“Couple? Yeah, I’m stuck with these lugs. We couple up, him and Shepard, Shepard and me, Alenko and me… you know, the usual stuff, but it’s most fun when it’s all three of us, you get me?”
Zaeed happily digs into his plate, completely unaware of the shocked stares he’s getting from the entire table - or at least from the Alenkos, since Shepard’s more amused than anything. Massani chews his food with a care completely incompatible with his crass words and swallows, then gives Mrs. Alenko a look of awe.
“This is some Grade A shit right here, ma’am.”
Kaidan groans and puts his head in his hands, while Mrs. Alenko blushes with some mix of emotions; Kaidan isn’t sure he wants to know what, exactly, they are. Mercifully, Shepard decides to step in and save the day.
“It really is great, Mrs. Alenko. Thank you for being willing to put up with us... I mean put us up for the week.”
Zaeed nods agreeably. Kaidan just stares at them, not seeing anything but flashing alarms.
“Oh. Sure, it’s really no problem. I just wasn’t sure what to expect. And I’m kind of still not…” she trails off, looking at Kaidan with raised eyebrows. Kaidan shrugs because he doesn’t know what the hell else to do.
The talk moves on to neutral topics, such as how rebuilding the mass relays is going, how Thessia and Palaven and the Citadel are looking now, how the galaxy is adjusting to the krogans being freed from the genophage. Thankfully, the answer to all of those questions is ‘better than expected,’ and Kaley Alenko is so impressed with Shepard that she completely forgets Zaeed’s earlier fumbling.
She kisses them all on their foreheads that night, even though she has to reach and tip their heads down in order to do it. That’s a good sign, Kaidan reflects, but he glares at Zaeed as they all get ready for bed. Zaeed just gives him his signature toothy grin and relaxes in the bed, legs spread and dick and balls just hanging out, exposed and vulnerable and so delicious. Kaidan swears one day the guy’s gonna kill him.
But he dives in anyway, while Shepard watches from the desk chair beside the bed. That’s just the way it goes with them.
Years ago, the family would’ve considered snow a Christmas miracle, but the Reapers wreaked such havoc on the global climate that snow is the rule rather than the exception now. That’s fine by Kaidan; he grew up in the cold and loves skiing and snowboarding, but Shepard grew up on a climate-controlled spaceship and has no idea what to do with himself.
“My balls are crawling inside me,” he grumbles the next morning, sitting as close to the fireplace as possible without igniting himself. Kaidan sits next to him in solidarity even though it’s a little too toasty for his liking.
Zaeed picks his teeth with one long fingernail. “Well then, let’s get these bad boys roasted up, shall we?”
He sits down next to Shepard and reaches over to caress him through his track pants and long underwear; Shepard gasps in shock and pleasure, and Kaidan shakes his head in disbelief.
“Hey, you can’t just do that wherever you want, you know. My mom’s gonna be down here any minute now.”
“Says who? You’re my family, and I can toy with my family’s junk whenever the hell I feel like it.”
Kaidan growls. “Massani. Keep it down. And be… normal for once!”
“What’s the point in that? I ain’t normal. That’s why you love me.”
Kaidan puts his head in his hands as Zaeed continues to fondle Shepard right in the middle of his childhood home.
“Zaeed, please…” Kaidan begs, but Zaeed just chuckles under his breath and grins filthily.
“I love it when you beg, Alenko. Beg me. Go on, you know you like it.”
Shepard grabs Zaeed’s wrist and sets his lover’s hand on his thigh. “Enough, Zaeed. Relax. Plenty of time for play later.”
“Obviously Alenko ain’t had enough yet. Gonna make you scream later, Kaidan. Hope you’re ready for it.”
A clearing throat sounds behind them, and they all freeze.
“I, ah… thought you boys might want some socks I knitted a while back. Did it for the troops after Kaidan’s dad disappeared. Figured I had to do something to help. Got a lot of them. I can send a care package back with you if you wanna… I don’t know, distribute them, or use them…”
Kaidan’s poor mom is rambling now, and he feels like such an ass. He never should’ve brought these idiots with him. He jumps up and grabs the socks from his mom, thanking her profusely.
“Kaidan, could I, uh, speak to you privately?”
“Yeah, mom. Of course.”
He follows her into the kitchen, swearing he can feel a blood vessel burst behind his brow as he looks back to see Shepard and Zaeed making out next to the fireplace.
He stares despondently at his mom as they settle at the kitchen table.
“I really can’t take them anywhere, can I?”
She sighs. “Son, you seem happy. I’m not going to tell you what to do with yourself. But Zaeed needs a mother. Badly. Something tells me maybe he’s never really had one.” She stares off into the distance, and Kaidan gets a sinking feeling in his gut.
“Mom, it’s not up to you to mother someone else’s child. And trust me, he’s way better with us than he is without. Though Shepard is an enabler sometimes,” he admits.
“I know, son. But… I was wondering if perhaps you might want to stay here longer. Maybe get a post in Vancouver? I know you’re a big boy and all, but the three of you on your own…”
Oh, god. No .
“Mom,” he says gently, reaching across the table to take her hand. “We’ll be fine on our own. We kind of saved the galaxy together. Massani, too. We’re a team, and we love each other. I promise you, we’ll be fine.”
She sighs and looks at their joined hands. “I know you will. I just really miss having you around. Your dad…”
Kaley looks away, a tear forming at the corner of one eye, and Kaidan squeezes her hand tightly. They sit in silence for a moment before she returns the gesture and then stands up.
“I can’t believe you’re okay with… well, us.” He rubs the back of his neck, an awkward habit that he can rightfully blame on Shepard.
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well, he’s… Zaeed!” He waves his arms expansively, encompassing everything that probably doesn’t need to be said.
She laughs. “You said it yourself. You’re grown men. I don’t care what you do together, but I would appreciate it if you’d keep it to the bedroom.”
He turns bright red again. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Kaidan, relax. I’ve been around soldiers before. Hell, your father was one. I practically had to tame him.” She winks.
Oh. Oh .
“I’m gonna tame him, alright,” he tells her with a grin.
“That’s my boy.”
“But you’re not his mom, got it?”
She pouts and gives him her best puppy dog eyes. “Please?”
“No. I’m putting my foot down.”
“Now that’s how I taught you to do it!”
He rolls his eyes and then kisses her on the forehead, pulling her in for a hug.
“What would I do without you?”
“I regret everything,” Kaidan whispers against Shepard’s forehead in the Normandy’s wonderfully temperate cabin air.
Shepard snickers. “You do not.”
“Shepard. He actually started playing with you in the living room. And you didn’t stop him!”
“Hey! I resent that. I moved his hand. That counts.”
“And then you made out with him!”
“Still counts,” Shepard insists, sticking out his tongue.
“Jesus, Shepard. I can’t take either of you anywhere.”
“Oh, hush. Your mom loved us, I can tell. Plus we got a cargo bay full of socks for the troops and everyone else cleaning up London. Merry Christmas!”
“Yeah, mom’s pretty fantastic.”
“And besides that, you’re getting him back. Any minute now.”
As if on cue, the door hisses and Zaeed enters the cabin wearing his new Christmas boxers - a gift from Mrs. Alenko - and nothing else, because of course he’d go walking the ship like that. Kaidan growls and gets out of bed, thankful he doesn’t have to deal with the draft from the cold Vancouver air anymore, and aggressively stalks Massani. Zaeed’s eyes widen in alarm.
“What’s this about?”
“This? This is about you being such a little shit when you were meeting my mom. I warned you.”
Zaeed’s eyebrows lift. “So it’s like that, eh?”
“Yeah, it’s like that. Get your ass in bed. Shepard and I have a little something planned.”
“Sounds perfect to me,” Zaeed says as he crosses the cabin to the bed. “But you should know this ain’t exactly a punishment. If you’re tryin’ to get me to calm the fuck down, this ain’t gonna do it.”
“Oh, I was hoping you’d say that.”
Zaeed’s eyes widen even further. Kaidan wants to laugh but he’s enjoying toying with his lover too much.
“What’s ‘at supposed to mean?”
Shepard grabs him from behind and wrestles him down, using his greater strength to force Zaeed onto his back to straddle him.
“It means we’re gonna make you feel so good you’ll be begging to stop by the time we’re done.”
Kaidan can hear Zaeed swallow and laughs to himself as he grabs the last Christmas gift.
He has absolutely no regrets.