Actions

Work Header

Be Careful What You Wish For

Work Text:

James Vega is ready to lose his mind.

Lately, Shepard has taken to roaming the shuttle bay in just his armour’s undersuit, pre- and post-mission.  Which shouldn’t be an issue, but... There’s no room for a uniform under that suit. No room for much of anything between polymer weave and skin.  

It’s N7 armour, custom-built for the man wearing it and designed to make the most of Shepard’s fighting style. Probably cost as much as a shuttlecraft and measured to fit the Commander to the millimeter.

And James knows, rationally , having well and fully seen Shepard strip out of the suit in the shuttle bay before that he usually wears the same standard-issue black skivvies as every other alliance grunt from Earth to Omega under it. Black skivvies that are something like 100% LESS obscene than the way the light plays off Shepard’s body in that undersuit.

But when he strips out of the outer armour but leaves the damn undersuit on, James’ imagination starts to go places - places that can only assume that Shepard is buck-ass naked under the thing.

He hadn’t served with many biotics before all hell broke loose. Even with generous enlistment bonuses, biotics were still one step away from being freakin’ unicorns, compared to other species. And James has heard *stories*, especially about vanguards - rumors that they’re more fucked in the head then your average biotic, what with the turning themselves into living sublight mass effect corridor weapons and all. One step away from being goddamn krogans and fucked in the head enough so that war and sex become indistinguishable from each other.

(He’s s een the flush on Shepard’s face after the man charges an enemy, and it’s far too much like something else for those stories to be entirely bullshit.)

#

The gods having no sense of mercy towards James Vega at all, today is no different.

When they get back to the ship, Shepard unhooks his weapons, putting them in their slots, strips off the shoulder plates, the chestpiece, the legs (bent over as he slaps off the releases open and my GOD did they have a secret breeding facility somewhere to produce someone with such a perfect ass?).  Finally, it’s just that thin layer of carbon and polymer between Shepard and what James can’t stop imagining as full-frontal public nudity .

James has to bite his lip to keep his shit together.   

He also knows he’s not the only one who notices. More than once, he’s caught Esteban and Kaidan sharing a *look*, because both of them have, at differing times, no doubt peeled Shepard out of that second skin.  And James, despite himself, ends up feeling a little jealous.  

It's not that bad before a mission. They're all focused on gearing up, and if Shepard spends an extra minute looking over intel before fastening on the rest of his suit, well, there are other things to distract a body. But it's afterwards that’s the problem, and it’s especially bad if James hasn't been on the mission.  After just a few seconds, he can tell by Shepard's body language how things went - frustrated, depressed or satisfied - and he just imagines how Alenko (or once upon a time, Cortez) would touch that sweat-damp hair and the skin beneath that second skin and bring Shepard back to some sort of equilibrium.

( You cannot go thinkin’ like that, Jimmy ) he tells himself for the tenth time this particular day.  ( This is Commander fucking Shepard ).  For all the wank fantasies James may have entertained about Shepard when he was babysitting him (just to change things up amongst a thousand other fantasies he enjoyed variously involving asari porn stars, that one dude at the coffee shop where he stopped on tuesdays, and that sort-of-creepy one with the hanar and the staff Sergeant down the hall with the perky tits), they were always firmly in the abstract.  

The Commander always kept a polite distance between them, even when they’d shot a few hoops on Shepard’s allowed “outside time” (score, Vega) or he sat trying to teach James how to play chess (score, Shepard). But since the attack, James has found himself squarely in Shepard's house, and everything feels different.

And on top of all of THAT, there’s Cortez.  That’s different too. There’s this thing between them, the exploration of the idea that they’re maybe, possibly more than just buddies and coworkers. A few stolen touches in the shadow of the Kodiak, a kiss (once drunk, once sober, and the latter was so much better.)

It’s iffy, and new, but James is pretty certain that Cortez will probably murder him in his sleep if he doesn’t break this filthy habit he’s developed of Staring. At. Shepard.

But then there’s this persistent, similarly filthy mental image that worms its way into his forebrain, of Cortez and the Commander, the pilot’s steady hands (and James has learned just HOW steady in recent days) peeling Shepard out of that second skin and the smells of sex and battle and ozone from his biotics and there's the faintest imprint of the carbon/polymer weave in his flesh and--

Fuck.

James finds other things to think about, Admiral Hackett in a spangled rabbit costume, ANYTHING, as he tries to focus on storing the discarded armour in their diagnostic cubbies and logging the returned weapons. ( The thermal clip release on Kaidan’s revenant looks like it could jam, and there’s some ongoing issue with Tali’s arc pistol and. ..) And he tries (and mostly fails) not to breathe deep as Shepard walks past still skinned in gleaming black, the Major just a little too close behind.  

And so, when when the goddamned smartass turian throws his Mantis at James with a sarcastic, sing-song comment - "Wake up, Jimmy.  If you're done examining the Commander's loadout , I need you to be a good boy and stow this." - James barely has enough time to shake off the completely ( COMPLETELY ) inappropriate thoughts before the rifle nearly beans him in the face.

They come back with a vengeance as Shepard and Kaidan head into the lift, and the Major's hand slides down the small of Shepard's back, just a little possessive, and James imagines it sliding lower against the slick-dry surface of the suit and … ( Goddamnit, son. You don’t even WANT Shepard like that because that is your boss , esse, and your mentor and... AND... )

Cortez’s discreet cough thankfully stalls that train of thought as the pilot patiently waits to stow his own heavy pistol back in the arms lockers, and James just knows, from the heat creeping up his neck and spreading to his face, that he’s got the most sheepish smile ever.

“Hey,” he says.  

It’s meant to be “Hey” as in “ Hey I wasn’t staring at Commander Shepard’s ass, or his package, or anything else Shepard-y, I was only thinking of you, guapo .”  Only his voice cracks at the end, which turns it into “ even though I kinda was .

But he makes sure to keep his mouth shut afterwards. Better to keep it simple and not give himself any more rope to hang himself with.  And really, while Cortez doesn’t look entirely amused, he doesn’t look mad, either.  It’s possible he understands.  After all, before the Major’s return, there had definitely been a *thing* between Esteban and the Commander.    

And after a moment’s consideration, James would be lying like batarian at poker if he denied that "foursome" hadn't suddenly entered his wank fantasy vocabulary.

Cortez just shakes his head, rolls his eyes in a way that speaks volumes about James’ behavior and puts his gun away.  

He doesn’t say anything until he’s nearly at the lift door, then pauses and turns back. “It really is a pretty fantastic ass,” he says, stepping onto the lift and not waiting around to listen to James’ embarrassed sputter.

( Shit .)   James bangs his head against the locker. Yeah, “foursome” had definitely moved up a few rungs on the ladder of perversion. His grandmother would be so ashamed.

#

The mess hall has a constant, low-level drone of conversation that is vaguely irritating at the best of times, a strangely unidentifiable bad-food-smell and a constant misama of burnt coffee.

Kaidan’s learned to mostly ignore it, and god bless the poor bastards on cook rotation, but Cortez thoughtfully prodding his reconstituted potatoes is enough to actually catch his attention. "You look like you just sat on a tack, Lieutenant. Are the potatoes to blame?"

Cortez looks up at Kaidan and laughs, shoving his tray away.  "Sorry, Major. I was just thinking."

"Can't be good thoughts, with an expression like that."  Kaidan sits, and watches Cortez shift awkwardly.

"They're not... bad thoughts," Cortez admits.  "It's just..."

Kaidan waits patiently for him to finish and the Lieutenant rubs his face with a sigh.

"It's Vega, and..." Cortez starts, then stops with a scowl.

Kaidan lifts an eyebrow, but he’s learned that patience (rather than some of Shepard’s more questionable interrogation tactics) is often key and begins cutting up his steak-like meat substitute protein... thing ... into uniform little pieces while Cortez considers his next words.

"Promise you won't take this the wrong way," the pilot blurts out and Kaidan blinks, then he turns and follows Cortez’s line of sight to where Shepard is chatting it up with the unlucky yeoman responsible for the day’s food preparation.

With a conspiratorial whisper, Cortez leans in. "James...  well. He's got a little crush."

Kaidan turns back to him.  "On Shepard?"  He grins.  "Yeah, I got that when I first met Vega back on earth. Besides, it’s probably nothing serious. Half the Normandy has a ‘little crush’ on Shepard. It’s like... Shepard’s own personal form of indoctrination.”

Cortez shrugs in agreement. "Yeah, but lately? James has been weirder than usual. He keeps asking me about... personal stuff.  Like is it true Shep goes commando under his armour sometimes? What's with how he smells? Is that aftershave? Are vanguards crazed sex krogans?”  he sighs.   “He was this close to drooling today in the shuttle bay.  To be honest? I'm getting a bit jealous."

Kaidan frowns around a mouthful of meat-sub and considers this as he chews.  "When you put it like that, I am too." Also, Kaidan has to admit, more than a little intrigued, although it’s not something he’s quite willing to vocalize in the middle of the mess hall.

"You are too what?" Shepard asks as he suddenly appears behind them, dropping his tray on the table and unceremoniously plunking himself down next to Kaidan.

Cortez coughs and exchanges a quick look with Kaidan before shoving away from his seat.  "Uh, we both just think the coffee's exceptionally terrible today.  Anyway.  I'd better get back to the shuttle bay. To work.  Talk to you later?"

He leaves his tray behind in the rush.

They sit there, in silence, as Kaidan watches Shepard in turn watching Cortez’s hasty retreat.

"Well, that wasn't suspicious at all," Shepard murmurs, taking a sip of coffee and wincing. “Ugh. Or not. It is pretty terrible today.”

Kaidan recognises that Shepard’s giving him an out of the conversation, and wonders how he should approach this. It isn’t as if Shepard’s a stickler for regulations (dying and coming back to life only to face the possible destruction of all organic life in the galaxy had a way of softening a career officer’s outlook on that sort of thing, apparently).  But even so, Kaidan is fairly certain that Shepard would be less than thrilled to find out that he isn’t just the unwilling star of a couple hundred illicit VI porn sims, but one of his strike team’s wayward fantasies as well.

Finally, he just settles on: "Cortez was looking for a little advice.  Ran into a few kinks with Vega."

Shepard looks concerned over a spoonful of the gluey potatoes.  "Literally or figuratively? I'm not sure I really like hearing the words 'kinks' and 'Vega' in the same sentence."

Kaidan mentally strikes out his first, admittedly unconventional , option for curing James' little fixation.  

It’s not that he’s all that eager to share Shepard. He’s mature enough to admit he’s possessive of the Commander, true. But there was a time, right at the start when they were still figuring out the basics of their relationship, where Kaidan had been open to the idea of it being three instead of two in his and Shepard’s bed. Cortez is easy on the eyes, and genuinely nice . And Kaidan found he couldn’t be all that jealous of whatever had gone on between Shepard and the shuttle pilot.

...Who was now apparently sleeping with their resident meathead, Vega. And while Kaidan didn’t often ponder other people’s sex lives beyond what was available on extranet pay-per-view, that was not an unappealing image that came up.

And Kaidan would totally be lying to himself if he claimed that “foursome” hadn’t suddenly entered into his list of private fantasies.

He’s busy enough pondering it that he almost misses Shepard’s next words.

“Still,” Shepard says with a shrug, “I would imagine once you got past the ‘overcompensating meathead’ bit, Vega’s probably a sweetheart in the sack.” This is immediately followed by something that catches Kaidan completely off guard. “I wonder. You think he tops or bottoms for Cortez?”

Kaidan quickly changes that strikeout to a definite "maybe.”
#

Because clearly the weapons bench in the main battery isn’t enough fun, James thinks sourly, Garrus has to spend his afternoon in the shuttle bay. Being... Garrus .  “So, I’ll bite, Jimmy. What’s with those longing glances you’re casting Shepard’s way?” he asks in that easy drawl that gets under James’ skin. Every. Single. Time.  “Thought you were interested in our dear Mr. Cortez.”  

James glances towards the Kodiak, but there’s no sign of the pilot.  He’d seen the Major talking to him earlier, and when he’d looked up again, they were both gone. That makes him a bit jealous too, and he’s not entirely sure who it’s directed at.

“Guess turians don’t know how to mind their own business,” he says, refusing to look at what is no doubt Garrus’ best smugface.

“Guess humans don’t know how hard it is for turians to mind their own business when they’re broadcasting theirs across the shuttle bay,” Garrus replies, sighting through the Mantis’ scope.

James lifts his chin, refusing to be cowed by Garrus in *his* armoury..  “So, what? The commander is hot.  I’m gonna look,” he says, with a cocky grin.  “If you were human, you’d understand.  Shit, I bet even turians would hit that.” A little bit of trash talk always makes him feel better.

Garrus chuckles. “Well, there WAS this krogan on Tuchanka who wanted breeding rights with Shepard. But I seriously doubt Kaidan would stand for sharing him.”

“Why not?” James’ grin broadens. “Hell,  I bet the Major’s all kinds’a kinky.  All that hardware in his head?”

Garrus holds up his hands.  “You know what, James? This is one ‘up’ I’ll let you have.”  

“Seriously, Scars? You’re telling me, if you had the chance to be in a threesome with the Major and Loco you wouldn’t go all in?” The fact that Garrus actually seems vaguely uncomfortable is a source of pure joy to James, and he’s not about to let the line of conversation go.

Garrus’s mandibles twitch.  “Sorry, James, I’m not that kind of turian.  Don’t tell me you would, really?”

“Threesome? Hell yeah. I’d show Loco and his totally kinkysearchyourfeelingscuzyouknowittobetrueyoungskywalker boyfriend how to dance with another man.” And if James does a little dance when he says it, who can blame him, he figures. It’s not everyday that he’s got Garrus on the ropes.

The turian just shakes his head with a snort.  “You talk like you’ve got a quad, Vega, I’ll give you that.”

Talk like I’ve got one?  Yo, Scars. I’d be happy to show you--”

“Thanks, but no thanks.” Garrus cuts him off.  “Remember the part about not that kind of turian?”

“Chicken.” James grins.

Garrus says something that the translator clearly can’t process.  It sounds like a cat caught in a gearshift, but the hand gesture that accompanies it is fairly universal.  

“Right,” Vega says.  “Exactly that.  Same t’you.”

Garrus just snorts and resumes calibrating the Mantis when EDI’s voice purrs from the ship’s speakers, and James wonders (not for the first time) how Joker has managed to not crash them into an asteroid with such a sexy robot on the bridge with him all the time.

"Attention crew, Normandy will be docking at the Citadel at 0300 hours standard ship’s time. We expect to be in port for approximately 15 hours for refuel, resupply and loadoff of War Assets. Please check your omni-tools for your liberty schedules.”

“Aw, sweet,” James says, rubbing his chin.  “Wonder if Esteban will wanna hit up Purgatory?  A little cerveza , a little dancing...”

“...A little distraction to keep him from noticing how often you’re staring at Shepard’s War Assets lately?” Garrus adds pleasantly.

James frowns.  “Oh, come ON.  I’m not that bad, am I?”

Garrus doesn’t say anything out loud, but as he slowly folds his arms, his body language is answer enough.  

“It’s just--you know.  Hormones.  Testosterone.  Pheromones.  Chemical, whatever.” James flails. “It doesn’t really count.  I mean, you’re a guy, right? Well, sorta? You understand.  I’d never, you know .  Not really . I mean, Esteban is Esteban.  He gets it.  He’s cool.” He knows he’s babbling, but he can’t stop.

“Of course,” Garrus says.  “Let me know how that amazingly well-thought-out strategy works for you.  Me, I plan to keep my eyes on the target and my hands on a ready supply of dextro-chocolate.”

James makes a whip-cracking gesture, complete with sound effect, then gives Garrus a big grin.  “Sparks is pretty cute.”

“And if I catch you looking at her the way you’ve been ogling Shepard? You won’t have to worry about Cortez kicking your ass any more.  I’ll take care of things for him.”

James holds up both hands.  “No worries there, Scars.  Sticking with my own species is trouble enough.” But he finds he’s feeling much more relaxed until the elevator opens, and Cortez strides out like a man with a purpose.  

...Promptly followed by both Kaidan and Shepard.

There’s a deep-seated sense of being a small, defenseless animal stared at by three apex predators that stirs down in the ancient lizard parts of James Vega’s brain, and he immediately starts looking for an exit. Or, barring that, a place to hide behind Garrus.

The three of them make a beeline for James, and Shepard jerks his thumb over his shoulder with an unreadable look on his face. "Vega, you're coming with us."

And in that moment, James fervently wishes he had listened to his abuelita about not saying anything out loud that he wouldn’t want the baby Jesus to hear.

Clearly unconcerned for James’ wellbeing, the turian simply snorts and waves as they practically frog march James to the lift.  “Have fun, Jimmy.”  

#

If James were to describe any aspect of his newly-minted “foursome fantasy,” his current situation would not be anywhere in it.

Crammed into a Citadel elevator with Esteban, Kaidan Alenko and Shepard is less “sexy” and more “thoroughly fucking awkward.” Shepard hasn’t said a word since they left the Normandy, and Cortez seems more interested some stain on the door than making eye contact with him.

The only one making conversation at all is Alenko, and to James, that’s the strangest thing of all. The Major’s never been particularly chatty or friendly towards him, and despite his earlier protestations of Kaidan’s apparent kinkiness, “Shepard’s Pet” (as James calls him in his more uncharitable moments) has always struck James as creepy and (more than) a little stuck up.

“They’ve cleaned up a lot after the Cerberus attack, don’t you think?” Kaidan is saying, as if this is not the elevator ride from hell.  Shepard grunts.  Cortez nods.  “Sometimes I can’t believe Purgatory’s still open, in the middle of this war... But hey, look at us.  Bet half the crew will end up here. Or at the Dark Star. But you’re not allowed back after that thing with the ryncol, are you Shep?”

James tries to fidget without actually seeming to fidget, fingers twitching against his thigh. Being forced into drinks with Shepard and their respective boyfriends is not the shore leave James had hoped for, and he’s thankful that Cortez is between himself and the Commander.  

He’s also thankful that Shepard’s wearing actual BDUs and not that damnable undersuit. Except Shepard’s ass still looks goddamn good even in fatigues, and he smells good. In fact, they all smell pretty good, for a bunch of dudes crammed in a tiny box. (And they all look pretty good too and maybe this would veer less into fucking awkward territory if Alenko would just stop babbling his constant small talk and...)

“Now arriving.  Purgatory,”  Avina’s tinny voice chirps.

James nearly has a bout of explosive relief decompression when the door dings open. Relief that vanishes the moment he hears the quiet conversation between Kaidan and Steve.

“Did you get everything arranged, ok?” Kaidan asks, which seems innocent enough, until Cortez follows it up with “Yeah, and I had EDI look the place over for bugs and cameras.  You know.  With Aria camping out here, we can’t be too careful.”

Shepard’s walking ahead of them, and despite James’ best efforts and discomfort over whatever the hell Esteban is talking about, his eyes are drawn to that seam where the outer, pocketed leggings cross over Shepard’s rear ( and Dios, he really DOES have a fantastic -- )

“Vega.”

( Eyes up, Jimmy. ) He thinks, but it’s already too late and he’s looking at a frowning Shepard.   “So, eh, what’s up, Loco?” he asks, as casually as he can manage with his face burning.  

“Not that way.”  Shepard puts a hand on his shoulder and steers him towards a small side entrance, past a cluster of off-duty Alliance marines. James feels another quick twinge in the lizard brain. He’d gotten a sense when they sparred that Shepard was far stronger than he was, thanks to billions of credits in cybernetic enhancements. And that one small gesture feels like it could punch through a tank.  “Here.”

And James hates himself, just a little bit, at how much more it makes him excited and ashamed and ( HOLY FUCK IF THIS IS ANY MORE AWKWARD I AM GOING TO DIE RIGHT NOW, I’M SO SORRY GRANDMA. )

But what he says, in a vaguely strangled voice is: “Thought we were getting a drink?”

Shepard just nods with that damn inscrutable Shepard-face thing he’s got going on.  Cortez and Kaidan catch up a moment later, Kaidan shutting down his omnitool with a little hum.  “OK, we’ve got access.  Private room’s all ours, Shepard.”

The fact that creepy-biotic- probably-totally-kinky Major Alenko sounds... pleased.... is deeply distressing to James and he stutters to a stop in front of the entrance doors.  “Private... room?”  He holds up his hands.  “Woah, okay.  I... Sorry, Loco, it was real nice of you to invite me along and all, but I think I’m just gonna go have a drink at the bar.”  He turns to Cortez, pleading.  “Esteban, you wanna come? Yeah?”

Cortez only folds his arms, looking James over as if he’s examining some new fighter he can’t wait to get behind the controls of and Shepard’s hand tightens on his shoulder, just a fraction of a bit and James knows for certain that he could probably crush him and ( jesus fuck why is all of this so exciting? ). The Commander leans into him, practically growling in his ear, and his breath very warm against James’ neck.  “Sorry, Vega,” Shepard says, stubble ghosting against James’ cheek, “This wasn’t exactly an invitation.”  There’s a pause, and then Shepard releases him and adds, “Besides, what happened to you showing me how to ‘really dance with another man’?”

James would find the air quotes to be horribly inappropriate in the best of circumstances. As it stands, his feet start to sweat and he knows he’s as red as a baboon’s ass.

He suddenly finds himself wishing he was back in the elevator, but they’re standing in front of a nondescript door, lousy techno bleeding out into the street from the bar and Shepard and Kaidan and ( goddamnit ) Steve are all looking at him expectantly.

“Oh. Fuck,” he says, because that’s all he can manage to say, and then lets himself be herded through the doors.  

#

James very clearly remembers a curse he once heard. “May you get exactly what you wish for.”  At the time, he thought it was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard. Who wouldn’t want exactly what they wished for?

(Well . There goes THAT theory. )

The “private room” is as garish and tacky as the rest of Purgatory, with ill-placed holographic lighting, strategic mirrors and furniture upholstered eye-bleedingly red faux leather and white satin. It was like a disco and a love hotel back home had decided to have a baby, and James feels just slightly more dirty as he follows them into the room.

Shepard goes straight to the white-lacquer bar to pour some drinks and the Major points to a chair. “Sit,” he says with a quirk of one eyebrow, and James is feeling just put out enough to fold his arms and stare back.

Then Shepard repeats the command in his field voice and James finds himself sitting before he’s had a chance to process the thought.

“So,”  Shepard says, taking a sniff of his drink. It’s green and fizzy and James hopes to hell that’s not ryncol.  “It’s come to my attention that you’ve been a little... distracted.”

Kaidan and Steve share one of those looks and the pilot folds his arms. “That, Commander, is the understatement of the century.”

Shepard knocks back the drink and shakes his head. “I need my people focused, Vega.” In the next second, Shepard is in front of him, hands resting firmly on James’ shoulders as he crouches down in front of the chair. His eyes are incredibly bright and if James was the least bit certain he wouldn’t get his arms torn off, he could reach out and kiss Shepard.

“James,” Shepard continues, completely unconcerned by James’ internal battle. “If it was up to me, I would have just hosed you down with ice water in the shuttle bay. But Steve and Kaidan convinced me we should handle this in a different manner.”

Beneath their feet, the floor shakes with more crappy Citadel techno-pop, and James can feel the vibration run up through his legs and settle firmly in his crotch as Shepard stands. “I need you to consider, James, where you think your place is on the Normandy. Where you think your place is on this team.”

“I... what?” James blinks. The shifting lights in the room and the dull, insistent bass make him want to just get up, do SOMETHING, ANYTHING. But Shepard’s gaze holds him fast.

“If all you’re concerned about is whether or not I fuck like a...” Shepard pauses.

“Sex Krogan,” Kaidan supplies helpfully and James starts to rise up out of his seat, unsure if it’s because he wants to flee or punch the Major square in his smug, pretty mouth.

“Right. Sex krogan,” Shepard continues, shaking his head as if that is the single stupidest thing he’s ever had leave to say. “Then you’re thinking with the wrong head, and you’re no use to me on the battlefield. So. This is a one-time learning opportunity.”

Steve’s grabbed a drink and finds a spot to sit on the bed, an enormous, ridiculously soft looking thing. Round and white, nearly glowing in the holo-lighting, and Cortez’s dark skin looks so inviting against it that James groans.

“Kaidan’s surprisingly possessive,” Shepard says, sitting on the edge of the bed, watching James with the same sort of intensity that he watches an enemy with. It does nothing to erase the insistent erection that settled into James’ trousers the moment the Commander’s hand had gripped him. “So I was... startled.” He turns to where the Major has leaned in to give Cortez the kind of kiss that James has been fantasizing about. “When he said that he and Steve had discussed this.”

"It’s come up in conversation," Kaidan says with a cough that’s somehow simultaneously embarrassed and lecherous as he toes off his boots.

"We agreed to share you if it came down to that. I think we worked out an amicable solution," Cortez adds, unbuttoning his shirt. And James, despite the unflagging lump of pure, unadulterated *need* between his legs, feels a little hurt.

"I like Cortez. And we both care about you, Shep... you deserve as much attention as you give others.” Kaidan nuzzles a kiss along Shepard's jawline.

"But, you know, I thought Mr. Vega and I had made a connection, and I wanted to see if he was serious, or just playing around." The bed creaks as Cortez crawls over to join the other two, his uniform shirt sliding down his shoulders. "I mean, seriously, I chose Vega over *this*?"

"You three are demons. You're like from hell, you know that?" James half curses to cover up the moan he really wants to make, lurching out of his seat with every intention of fighting, fucking and/or fleeing. He’s just not sure of the order and he doesn’t get much chance to work it out before the smallest impact of biotic energy dumps him back in the seat.

“Bad Jimmy,” Kaidan says with an infuriating little smile, shudders of blue light bouncing off his skin. “No bone for you.”

Shepard shakes his head and pushes off from the bed and he prowls around to the back of James’ chair. There’s that flash in James' lizard-brain again, like a memory of rabbit in a lion’s paws as Shepard slides his hands down James’ shoulders to rest, splayed on his chest. The heat from them is almost unbearable through the thin fabric of James’ t-shirt, and Shepard’s lips, millimeters from his ear, are just as warm. He doesn’t even bother to try and stifle the moan this time.

“James. You’re not thinking again,” he murmurs and the sound goes right between James’s legs. “I could have Kaidan keep you in this chair with stasis, but frankly, i’ve been in stasis and it’s no fun at all. So, we’re going to do this in a more traditional manner.”

“And what’s that... sir ?” James chokes out, brain racing like a starship as Shepard’s mouth just faintly traces the edge of his ear.

“Lieutenant Cortez, would you do the honour?” Shepard asks, an implacable weight against James’ back.

What James doesn’t expect, what he doesn’t expect in the least, is the pedestrian roll of dull grey tape Steve pulls out from behind the bar.

“Duct tape? Oh come on, Loco. No. That’s just rude .” James wants to sound angrier than he does, but Steve is right there, close enough to kiss and he cruelly bypasses James completely to catch Shepard’s mouth with his own. His hands work efficiently, divorced from the fact that Steve himself is busy making out with Shepard over James’ shoulder.

It makes James just the slightest bit worried that Steve has a skill set like this.

#

If what came before was tortuous, the next several minutes are pure hell, James realises, watching them strip Shepard like the Commander is a prize for display.

He’s paler than James has ever realized, in the dim light almost as pale as the bedsheets, and Kaidan is practically holding him up - Shepard’s head back against Kaidan’s shoulder and his long throat exposed, begging someone to nibble it-  as Steve works his way south, nosing through the scruff of brownish hair that  curls over the edge of those black alliance skivvies and trails up around his navel.

Shepard has no sense of shame at all, eyes flicking open to watch Steve’s progress as Kaidan’s teeth scrape over the knot of muscle where Shepard’s broad shoulders meet his neck.

James licks his own lips and he doesn’t know where he wants them to be as the two men push Shepard down on the bed, Kaidan holding him down with fierce kisses while Steve grins and takes Shepard’s cock (pale as the rest of him, straining and stiff in Cortez’s fine, dark hands) right down his throat.

“Fuck, Esteban ...” James whines and he doesn’t want to fight or flee anymore, but he very desperately wants to fuck, trying to move his hips enough to get some sort of friction in his pants while the bass from downstairs trembles against his overheated skin.

Shepard clearly loves this, makes noises like some sort of animal that has no business existing and fuck if those stories about vanguards aren’t at least partially true because James KNOWS he’s seen on the battlefield that face Shepard’s making as the Major just takes him, fucks him hard into the bed. And Alenko never breaks eye contact with James, clear brown eyes wicked (and Goddamnit, James hates how right he was about Alenko’s true, kinky self).

Watching the tangle of limbs on the bed, those steady, steady hands of Cortez’s stroking himself and the Commander while Kaidan mercilessly pounds the latter and awkwardly trades lazy kisses with the former, James knows where he wants to be.

Where he needs to be.

FUCK . OK. I’m SORRY ,” he moans out, far less manly than he wishes he sounded right at the moment and the three men pause. Kaidan’s fingers curl against Shepard’s hip as the Commander looks at James across the breadth of Steve’s shoulder.

“Sorry?” he asks and James tries to flail against the duct tape.

“I’m sorry I ogled you like you were a piece of meat, Loco. And I’m sorry about the whole sex krogan thing,” James babbles, ashamed and aroused in equal measure. “And Esteban, I’m sorry I got all stupid about Shepard, it’s just, I - FUCK - I want you, okay, and I really like you, guapo , and it kind sorta really freaks me the fuck out and .. I am totally all talk and no walk and I... I don’t know.  I guess Shepard’s ass seemed a safer outlet. BUT I’m totally not sorry that I thought Alenko there was a sex freak because clearly, I’m right .”

Steve buries a muffled laugh in Shepard’s close-cropped hair, then carefully disentangles himself, deep blue eyes bright against the warmth of his skin. “That is an incredibly shitty apology, Mr. Vega.” He snorts, fishing out a utility knife from one of the pockets in his discarded trousers. “But I guess it’ll have to do.”

“So, what’s that mean, then?” James asks, hopeful, as Steve cuts one of his hands loose. The pilot looks as if he’s considering something for a moment, then hands him the knife.

“It means get yourself free, and come find your spot, you big jackass,” Steve says, cupping James’ face in his hands and giving him a harsh kiss. “Choose wisely, young skywalker, because this is a first time you’re never going to forget.”

James is out of that seat so fast he doesn’t even notice the pain from ripping off the tape until hours later and it takes everything he’s got to not tear his clothes off (but those are Alliance property as Shepard is constantly reminding him), but when he finally gets naked, and Steve is mercifully not teasing him too much with those wonderful, steady hands, he feels the rasp of stubble on his throat and Shepard’s lips against his.

“Good choice, Mr. Vega. Keep making them,” Shepard moans in his ear, the Major obviously doing something to him that James’ can’t see from this angle, but that Shepard apparently likes very, VERY much.

“Fuck yes, sir,” James groans as he cranes his head back to catch Shepard’s mouth. “Abso-fucking-lutely sir.”

#


EPILOGUE

A loose semi-circle had gathered around where one Lieutenant James Vega lay in his little sanctum in the shuttle bay, snoring and giggling.

 

Shepard rubbed his chin thoughtfully, and after several moments, turned to the shuttle pilot. “Lieutenant Cortez. Fetch the hose, if you would.”


Cortez rolled his eyes and made what sounded like a long-suffering sigh. "With pleasure, sir."

 

“Aw, Shepard, does he have to?” Joker asked, batting his eyes. “It’s like watching a giant, tattooed puppy sleep. He seems so... happy.”

 

“Do all domestic pets on earth giggle like perverts in their sleep? Because, if so, I never want a kitten no matter how many funny cat pictures you people show me,” Garrus observed.


Shepard sighed. He almost liked it better when James was just staring at his ass.