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~

When the war had ended, Kaidan and Shepard found themselves looking for the next mission. Kaidan had taken a teaching position at a new school for the gifted on Earth. His job was to teach biotic control and tactics to young biotics, a job offer he'd taken without much hesitation when Admiral Hackett had brought it up. Shepard had been offered his own line of occupation at about the same time. Hackett hadn't given it a name, but Shepard had described it as a position for someone who gets things done, which had made Kaidan chuckle and hug him. If there was something Shepard was good at, that would be it.

The long time it took them to recover from the myriad of injuries they'd sustained during the war had rendered them both unable to go on long trips. Fortunately, it was some time before Shepard got an off-world assignment. A short, two day event on the Citadel, which still loomed above Earth.

"I'll see you tomorrow," Shepard said, shouldering an overnight bag. He was a little pensive as he bid Kaidan goodbye, his voice a rough drawl. Kaidan himself was getting antsy at the notion of being apart even if it was just one night, but he made sure to not let it show. Any sign of hesitation now might make Shepard change his mind about the whole trip, and if he did, who knew how much longer he’d be able to hold onto this job? It was, after all, a position that required travelling. Their parting kiss lingered, and remained on Kaidan's mind for the rest of the day.

~

The apartment door opened, and Kaidan stepped inside. He was going through the motions: Lock the door, put aside the bag and coat, heat the water and retrieve a cup from the dish-drier, wash hands. Coffee came next. Slumping on the couch, and then grabbing the living-room's datapad from the table, Kaidan leaned back, the mug resting low on his stomach, held level with one hand as the other held the datapad. He read the news.

After this, he would venture into their small workout room and do a few sets to get some of the day's stress out of his system. Most days, Shepard would come home around that time and join him. When Shepard was around, there were a great many things that could happen. Nothing was pre-determined. He liked that aspect of the day, mostly because it bore the promise of having Shepard around.

Routine was good for Kaidan. Knowing where he was going to be and what he was going to do, having a daily schedule that didn't vary too much. Those were things he'd come to appreciate after the war. He knew John was vastly different in that regard, that sitting around doing the same things every day for months, or even years, would be a torture most profound for the ex-marine. Luckily, they'd both found venues that sat perfectly with their preference.

The coffee was gone, the datapad discarded to the side. Nothing in the news was of much interest to him nowadays. He leaned his head back on the couch's backrest and stared at the ceiling. The apartment felt so empty, and the knowledge that Shepard would not be coming through the door until the next day sat heavy and unforgiving in his belly.

Deciding to find distraction in his routine, Kaidan hopped to his feet, deposited the mug on the coffee table and walked down the corridor into the small indoors gym. Changing efficiently from his day-clothes to his workout gear, Kaidan looked at the few instruments they had installed. He wasn't much in the mood for any one of them, but he did have a set schedule, so he worked by it. And by the time he was done, he was feeling a lot better, calmer and at ease. Even the faint hints of an on-coming headache were receding.

He took longer than usual in the shower, washing and then soaping himself slowly. There was no reason to rush, no one to meet when he was done, no obligations nor expectations to meet. For a moment, he let his eyes fall closed as he imagined his hands to be Shepard's, caressing his body, touching him like Shepard sometimes did when they showered together. His breath shuddered as he palmed his balls, giving them a brief massage before stroking himself once and then letting go. His eyes fell open and he looked down at his hard-on.

"Hmm," he considered jerking off, but then decided against it. The notion of doing anything sexual without Shepard seemed terribly lonely, and he figured he could wait until the next day for Shepard's return. "Later," he said out loud, and shut off the water.

After drying off and putting on his pajamas, Kaidan went to lie down in bed. He wasn't sure he'd even be able to sleep, but figured that starting out early would give him time to maybe catch a few hours of shut-eye. The bed felt considerably larger than he remembered, and colder despite the blanket he curled into. Thoughts of Shepard kept his mind busy.

Was Shepard working? What time was it on the Citadel? Did he get a proper meal or two? Did he remember to breathe?

Some time later, Kaidan's omnitool bipped faintly to indicate a message. He groaned and turned over. Who could be sending a message after hours? And to his private address no less… He reluctantly pulled his arms out from under the slowly warming cover and navigated through the interface. A smile spread on his face when he saw the sender's name.

JS> Can you talk?

Instead of answering, Kaidan punched the dial option and switched the call to the house's comm system. They hadn't installed projectors, having seen no point in doing so, but the speakers worked well enough. The line connected almost immediately, and the speaker above the bed's headboard came to life with Shepard's voice.

"Kaidan."

"Hey Shepard," he said, smiling despite himself. Something in his belly uncoiled, relaxed, and he lay back more easily. Shepard's voice speaking that one word was enough to ease a tension inside him he hadn't been completely aware of. "What's up?"

Shepard's laughter rasped over the line. "Shepard? Really?" he asked, sounding at least a little bit offended, if only for show. "I'm okay…" he then said, before Kaidan could answer, and he sounded worn out.

"John," Kaidan said then, frowning slightly. "Are you? Really okay, I mean?"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm fine," Shepard said, the tiredness very pronounced, drawing the ends of each word. "Just missed your voice." There was some rustling over the line, and Kaidan wondered where Shepard was, what he was doing. He closed his eyes, imagining the man's handsome face.

"I miss you too," he said, pressing his head a little back into the pillow. "What time is it for you?"

"It's late. I'm at the apartment," Shepard said, his voice straining at one point like he was trying to grab something. "Bored."

Can't sleep, probably, if Kaidan had to guess. "You're supposed to be sleeping, aren't you?" and it wasn't exactly a question, but Kaidan chose to make it sound like one. He wasn't too keen on ending the call when it'd just started.

"I'm supposed to be in bed with you," Shepard said, almost impatiently. There was a waver in his voice but Kaidan wasn't sure what had caused it. Another rustle filtered through. "How's the house?"

"Empty," Kaidan admitted, opening his eyes to look at the ceiling. "Quiet." More rustling came over the line, piquing Kaidan's curiosity enough to ask. "What's that noise?"

A beat of silence, and Kaidan was ready to let it go, when Shepard spoke next. "Hey, d'you mind, uh… Talking some more?"

"What?" Kaidan huffed out, surprised. That had not answered his question at all, and he considered saying so, when a faint idea flitted through his mind. A hitched breath sounded over the speakers. "Of course, I'll talk," he said, confused. "What about, though?"

"Just-" and that was definitely a hitch in Shepard's voice. "Just anything."

"John."

"Mm?"

"Are you… Are you jacking off to my voice?" the tone of disbelief was clear even in Kaidan's own ears.

"Maybe," Shepard said, like it didn't bother him at all. "Would that be a problem?"

Was it? Kaidan glanced down at himself. If anything, it made him want to see it. "Tell me," he said in a low rasp. "Tell me what you're doing." He reached a hand under the blanket and cupped himself over his pajama pants. "And I'll talk as much as you want."

"I'm in bed," Shepard started, wasting not a second. "Got underwear on but gonna get them off soon. I'm-" He inhaled quickly. "I'm hard."

A shiver ran down Kaidan's back and he threw the blanket off. "Yeah?" he said, a little breathless already as he got rid of his clothes. He hadn't bothered with underwear after the shower, so by the time he was done, he was fully naked. "I'm way ahead of you," he teased, smiling to himself as he glanced down his body, now splayed over the bed. He was hard too, and a little surprised at how much so.

"You're a terrible tease," Shepard accused, and Kaidan could swear he heard the bed creaking under Shepard's weight. "Alright. I'm naked now, happy?"

"So happy," Kaidan said, closing his fingers around his hardness. "And hard, too." He paused, eyes closed as he tried to imagine what Shepard was up to. "Which bedroom are you in? I need to know…" he needed to visualize it. It didn't offend him when Shepard chuckled. It had been a silly request, after all.

"Our bedroom," Shepard said, then let out a low sound. "Wish you were here…"

"I wish I was there, too," Kaidan admitted, tightening his hold a little. "What would we be doing?" he prompted then, curious as to what exactly Shepard was imagining. His breath hitched as he thumbed his slit.

"I'd have you ride me," Shepard said, his voice strained a little again. "Hold your hips in place and fuck you hard, like we did last week, but I'd do it slower this time."

Kaidan's breath shuddered out in a quick burst and he stroked himself. "Oh God…" he huffed, arching his back a little at the thought. Vivid memories flooded his mind. A tight grip on his hips, a thick, wonderful heat pushing in and out of his body. Those blue eyes set on him like he was the only person in the entire galaxy worth looking at. "Would you let me suck you, first? I'd love to do that for you…" he said, forcing himself to calm down, to let his voice out in a low, seductive rasp.

"Fu- Yes, in the shower, I'd hold your head in place and-" Shepard's next words were drowned out by Kaidan's moan.

"That's playing dirty," Kaidan grumbled the next moment, after he'd recovered a little from the mental image.

"If it's not dirty, you're not doing it right," Shepard said, sounding smug, if somewhat short of breath. "Back to bed, Kaid, I'm fucking you."

"You're going to have to do that when you get back," Kaidan half warned. He would not be satisfied until the fantasy was fulfilled, now. "I remember, last week, you spent an hour fingering me before you let me ride you," the memory made speed up his motions, and his free hand caressed down his chest to his belly, then lower to cup his balls for a moment. "Kept- ha- Kept bringing me to the edge…"

"You were so desperate for it… Beautiful," Shepard said, and his voice was shot, words falling over one another. "I'm gonna come soon, you close?"

"Almost there," Kaidan assured, moving the hand from his balls around himself to tease his rear. "Gonna come inside?" he asked, because there were few things as hot as feeling Shepard let go inside him, filling him in an intimate, passionate act.

"Don't I always-" the words were cut short and overshadowed by Shepard's choked groan. Kaidan could see it in his mind's eye. Shepard lying on the bed, chest flushed and sweat making his skin shiny and tempting. He saw himself riding Shepard, feeling him lose it, feeling him pulsing inside. He was gone, too.

"John!" he cried out, the exclamation hushed out by force of habit. His warm essence covered the back of his hand, spurting out in short succession. His breathing was labored, and he took a long moment to come down from the post-orgasmic high. Shepard's breathing over the line was the only indication they were still connected somehow.

"That-" Shepard said after a long moment. "That was incredible."

"And perverted. You're a pervert," Kaidan accused as he reached for the tissues on the bedside table. Shepard laughed.

"Guilty as charged, and so are you," he countered, fiddling with something. Kaidan assumed he was doing cleanup, too. Wouldn't be unreasonable.

"Sure am," Kaidan answered, and then a long quiet moment stretched between them. Kaidan turned his head to the side and closed his eyes, imagining he was lying right next to Shepard in bed.

"Feeling better?" Shepard's voice was smooth, now, serious in that way only Shepard could ever sound.

"Yeah. You?"

"Much better."

The line went silent once more, though Kaidan knew they were still online. He waited, dreaded the end of the call, but it never came. "John?" he asked at last.

"Mm?"

"Are you falling asleep?" he asked, indignant.

"Mhmm," Shepard answered, the sound closed, like Shepard didn't even bother making it intelligible.

"You're not gonna hang up?" Kaidan tried then, careful.

"Why, you want me to?" Shepard asked, sounding reluctant to. Kaidan smiled.

"I'm fine like this," he said, pulling the covers over himself without bothering with the pajamas.

"Good night, Kaidan," Shepard said on a smile.

"Good night, John," Kaidan mimicked him. Maybe one night apart could be tolerated, every so often, so long as he got to go to bed connected to Shepard somehow.