They had been going on without shore leave long enough for things to get tense. Cortez and Vega had fought, rather loudly too, and Garrus had practically stopped talking to anyone. Liara had snapped at EDI, Joker had snapped at Liara, and Shepard and Kaidan were fighting over Shepard's tendency to ”take one for the team” (Shepard's words, not Kaidan's).
Constant reports of losses didn't help. Everything and everyone got on their nerves. Soon it would affect their performances on the battlefield.
Shepard sat in his cabin, rubbing on his temples. They hadn't talked after the heated argument they'd had two days ago, him and Kaidan, and despite the fact that they didn't really have the time for arguments he couldn't just go and apologize. He knew Kaidan cared for him and brought up his ”recklessness” just because he wanted to keep him safe. But he wasn't reckless; he knew exactly what he was doing during a battle. Maybe he had started to get closer to his enemies after his... death, enjoying delivering punches and slicing with his omniblade, but he always had everything under control. Frankly, he felt like Kaidan undermined his authority – and worse, didn't trust him, when he kept bitching about his fighting style.
The Spectre sighed, tension all over his body. The others were probably feeling restless, too, and he made a decision. They – all of the crew – had to get to blow steam somehow.
”EDI”, he called. ”Put me to the intercom.”
”Done”, EDI answered, sounding almost pissed herself. So even the AI is getting cranky, Shepard thought.
”Thank you, EDI.” He got up and walked closer to the microphone on the wall next to the doorway, clearing his throat. ”I'm sure everyone's noticed how we are at each others' throats almost constantly nowadays. Let's clear some air. A fight night. Tomorrow. Anyone can challenge anyone.” A pause. ”I'm not saying no bets because you would bet anyway. Vega, handle those.” He closed his eyes and rested his forehead on the cool metal.
He knew who he was going to challenge. Even if it wasn't a good idea.
Shepard smirked at James Vega who was lying on the floor trying to catch his breath. The young marine had challenged Shepard the moment they had had the fighting ring ready, and Shepard had been happy to oblige.
No surprise, Vega had been down in a few minutes. Cortez laughed at the man's dazed expression. “Man, just accept it already. You're not going to beat the Commander any time soon.” Grunting, Vega accepted Shepard's hand and got back to his feet.
Kaidan watched them from the side, hands crossed on his chest, lips pursed tightly together.
“Who's next?” someone asked behind him, at exactly the same moment when his and Shepard's eyes met. Irritation flashed in the other man's eyes.
“Major”, Shepard said. Kaidan's gaze didn't falter nor did he move.
“Commander”, he answered.
They had everyone's attention by now. Vega grinned. “Yeah!” he exclaimed, ignoring the tension between the two men. Cortez eyed him warily before shifting his attention back to Kaidan, who was finally moving towards the fighting ring.
Shepard's eyes didn't leave Kaidan's, and when the biotic finally moved he felt like he had won one round already. He wanted to grin but he didn't want to seem arrogant – not when he knew the next match was going to be the hardest he had ever had.
That was one of the reasons why he liked the man so much. He honestly didn't know if he could win.
Kaidan overstepped the rope surrounding the area, ignoring Traynor's friendly slap on his shoulder. He positioned himself right in the middle of the ring, facing Shepard, hard look on his normally warm eyes. Then he nodded.
Shepard attacked. He threw a punch towards Kaidan's stomach but the man dodged and answered with a quick jab that landed on Shepard's left bicep. Grunting, the younger man blocked another blow and took a step back. Kaidan didn't follow and for a moment they just kept circling and glaring at each other.
The tension was overwhelming. Shepard beckoned with his hand, and Kaidan complied with a nasty punch that ended up not touching anything when the younger marine moved out of the way. Shepard grabbed his hand and twisted it – not hard enough to break it but with enough force to reel the biotic in – and for a fraction of a second Kaidan felt trapped. Before ending up on the mat he managed to turn enough to jab the other man to the jaw, though, and Shepard took a step back, reeling. Pure anger – all the bottled up frustration and irritation, finally making it to the surface, showed on his face and if Kaidan hadn't known his face wore a similar expression he would have probably felt scared.
Shepard didn't take longer than a short moment to get over the pain and attacked with a renewed vigor, throwing punch after punch after punch, forcing Kaidan to take a few steps back and concentrate on blocking and dodging the throws. Right after a strong hit to his left arm he finally had enough and quickly moved to Shepard's left, kicking the man behind his knee and making him kneel. Vega's loud voice carried over, booing, but Shepard wasn't down yet. He quickly rolled away from Kaidan's reach before he could take advantage of the situation. “Playing dirty, huh,” he snarled, getting back to his feet.
“Sorry, Shepard. But you're not the one believing in rules, anyway,” the older man replied, dark eyes even darker than normal and sweat starting to gather on his forehead.
Shepard licked his dry lips before answering. “Right. And you are.”
Kaidan attacked, giving several blows the other marine blocked easily enough, until Shepard stepped forward and managed to lock his hand out of the game. For a moment they just stared at each other, ragged breaths mingling between the small space between their faces, fighting for dominance until Kaidan twisted his mouth in disapproval and headbutted Shepard.
The crew cheered.
Shepard stammered backwards, seeing white for a second. Kaidan wasn't feeling much better, that much was obvious, but he still managed to start yet another attack when Shepard was out. He punched the man's stomach, and Shepard bent over with a grunt.
Kaidan could have ended the fight then and there, but he didn't. He took a step back, catching his breath and giving the younger marine time to catch his. “See, Shepard,” he told the guy, worst of his anger gone by now, “I am more than capable of doing my job. So is everyone else on this ship. You better stop throwing yourself on the line of fire.”
Shepard looked up, irritated. “Like hell,” he just snarled, lunging at the Major. Another series of punches and jabs followed, Kaidan concentrating on protecting himself this time around, until his back hit the rope and he had to get back into action. He crouched and rolled behind Shepard, getting back to his feet just in time to meet the man's annoyed gaze when he turned around. Annoyed and... there was something like awe, actually. It lurked in his eyes behind the anger, and Kaidan missed a breath when he saw it. Shepard didn't give him too much time to think about it, though.
He threw a quick jab towards Kaidan's face but the man took a step back, Shepard's fist ending up just an inch from his nose. Rather calmly, the biotic grabbed the arm and turned around, bending and moving his body towards the other man until Shepard flew over him with a loud thud. Lying on his back, Shepard looked up and blinked, having hard time believing he had actually given Kaidan a chance to do this. Then he felt pain when Kaidan bound his hand so that he couldn't get up anymore.
“Jesus Christ, Kaidan,” he breathed, hardly hearing any of the crew's yells and applause. Kaidan let go of his hand.
Shepard didn't waste time getting up and twisting their positions, forcing Kaidan to his back and straddling his hips. “Hey, it ended already! Get out of there and let the next pair in!” Vega yelled but neither of the men paid attention. If they had, they'd seen a couple of shocked, what the hell is happening faces, heard Traynor's squeal and seen Cortez's knowing look.
But no, Shepard didn't hear or see a thing besides Kaidan, lying there all sweaty. The anger was definitely gone by now, replaced with heat that made Kaidan even more breathless than he already was.
“You might have won this round...” Shepard whispered, almost menacingly. His knees pressed to the other man's sides, causing some pain, but Kaidan didn't complain.
“You just have hard time accepting when you have lost,” the dark-haired marine replied, keeping his face all neutral but failing to hide the fire in his eyes. And failing to hide his other reactions from Shepard, too, judging from the man's smug grin when he felt the hardness under him.
It took Shepard every ounce of will to keep from grinding, but somehow he managed. Lust might have replaced anger but he still knew where they were, even if he hadn't listened to the noise the crew made around them or noticed any of the reactions his and Kaidan's spar had prompted, at least not before this moment. He tore his gaze away from the guy's face with a shaky breath, meeting Cortez's darkened eyes briefly before noting Garrus' amusement and Traynor's delight. Feeling distantly something close to embarrassment through the lust-filled haze that clouded his mind he got up and helped Kaidan up too.
They left the ring together, hurrying out of the open space. Shepard grabbed Kaidan's arm the moment he stepped over the rope and practically dragged him to the elevator, receiving a few whistles and an enthusiastic “I knew there was something! I so knew! Pay up, Steve! You totally saw that, right?” from Traynor. (Although it was meant for Cortez, not them. But whatever.) They both also knew Allers most probably had every second recorded but they didn't dwell on it, elevator door opening not fast enough but just fast enough for them to not rip each other's clothes off when there were witnesses.
Kaidan stumbled inside and pulled Shepard with him, clearly losing all coherent thought when the younger man pressed him against the wall and covered his mouth with his own. The kiss was all soft lips pressing hard against each other and a hint of teeth and saliva, tongues twisting and touching, hands under shirts and on each other's hair and teeth scratching necks and hot breaths on sweaty skin. When the lift stopped on the top floor (when had either of them pressed the button?) Kaidan's shirt was already off, thoughtlessly discarded on the floor. Shepard yanked him out of the elevator with a force that made his fellow marine stumble to his arms and crush him against the wall behind him.
Kaidan didn't mind the shift of positions. He nuzzled Shepard's neck, sucking a mark or two to his skin – like a frigging teenager – and tried to get rid of the man's belt. It was harder than it had any right to be, and when he put some space between them to actually watch what he was doing with his shaking hands Shepard gave him a downright filthy grin.
“Major,” he said, squeezing his ass. “Get inside.”
For a short moment Kaidan just stared at him, mind going places. Then Shepard reached out for the button that would open the door to his cabin and the biotic stumbled a step back in an awkward realization, face burning. Shepard's predatory grin just widened.
He straightened himself and dragged the Major quite violently into his cabin, down the steps, and tossed him onto his bed. Kaidan glared at him, sprawled on the hard mattress.
Shepard missed a breath, losing his earlier smirk and most of the momentum.
The defiance, the angry heat and the pure want in the man's eyes was evident as he stared at the younger marine standing in front of him, and the sight of Kaidan, lying there without his shirt on, made Shepard's brain short circuit. He couldn't think of anything for a moment and he just stared, feeling hot and breathless.
When Kaidan realized Shepard wasn't going to do anything for god knows how long he sat up and gathered a handful of his shirt, pulling the man over him when he lied down again. Shepard tried to stop the fall but ended up crashing against the hot skin. Their bare stomachs touched, sending waves of arousal downwards their pressed together bodies, ripples of lust making Kaidan tug Shepard's shirt even more out of the way so that their chests touched too. Shepard hissed, then chuckled hoarsely against Kaidan's neck.
“Shepard,” the man managed when Shepard's leg pressed against his erection just a tad too hard, a pained expression surfacing on his face. “Shit, Shepard. Move.”
The man in question looked at him, puzzled, until Kaidan gave his leg a push. Quickly, he moved away, apologizing.
They were still so new to this.
Shepard moved to sit on Kaidan's lap, straddling his hips and, rather admirably, regaining some of his thinking ability even when the man beneath him pressed his crotch against his ass.
“You sure –” he had to clear his throat. “You sure about this?” His gaze lingered on the other man's puffed up lips and dilated eyes.
Kaidan didn't let his mind wander as he sat up and kissed him. Without a word he took Shepard's shirt off and moved his lips to the guy's neck and downwards until he couldn't bend anymore with their bodies being so close to one another. “How about this,” he mumbled, raspy tone filled with promise of sex, “you take these damn things off and we'll see where it takes us.” He gave Shepard's fatigues a small tug.
Shepard grinned. “I'd rather start with your pants, first.” Kaidan lifted his face up to meet his eyes.
They were still full of stubborn defiance. “Is that so, Commander?”
What followed resembled a boyish tussle more than hot foreplay but it resulted in Kaidan losing his pants – including his regulation briefs – anyway. Shepard pinned him down, holding his hands above his head.
“Still wanting to win?” he asked before reclaiming the other man's mouth. Kaidan didn't even try to answer, not while being kissed like that, but as soon as Shepard moved to nibble at his earlobe he let out a shaky breath he hadn't realized he had been holding.
Shepard let go of his hands and moved down, planting hot kisses across his chest and sucking a mark somewhere below his ribs, sliding his hand under the guy's back and down his spine. Kaidan brought his own hands to the man's hair, feeling the scar under his thumb right there on the hairline.
He didn't push. He most certainly did not push, even if Shepard glanced up at him right before giving the top of his cock a teasing kiss.
Kaidan managed not to gasp, but when he felt a tongue move across the shaft he might have moaned. Shepard enjoyed every second of it, savoring the man's reactions when he, as slowly and teasingly as he possibly could, took the tip to his mouth. Bringing his hand to the base of the cock he started to suck, getting more into his mouth until he just couldn't anymore without risking gagging (and he might have gagged, once, but it was just an embarrassing detail he wished to ignore). Kaidan's whole body reacted, muscles tensing and relaxing and breaths turning into quiet moans and gasps and – a whimper, right when Shepard applied extra pressure with his tongue.
He picked his pace, drawing more and more raw noises out of the man lying under him. Then, after a while that felt like a minute or so – even if it probably was much longer – Kaidan jerked and pushed him away. His face was flushed and he breathed harder than he had during their spar, and Shepard thought with a distant part of his brain that still somewhat functioned that then again, back then he wasn't about to come to anyone's mouth, and then Kaidan pushed him off the bed and sat closer so that he could finally get rid of the rest of the Commander's clothing. With swift motions he dropped Shepard's fatigues down, followed by his briefs, and without further teasing took him to his hand and then into his mouth.
The sudden heat and moisture and pressure, let alone the sight of Major Kaidan Alenko sucking him made Shepard groan. And damn the man was skilled. A flick of a tongue, a steady rhythm, up and down, and then he sucked, and without realizing it Shepard started to thrust into his mouth. He bit his lip so that he wouldn't moan out loud but when Kaidan did that thing with his tongue again he couldn't contain it, and when he opened his eyes – as if he even had a clue about when he had closed them in the first place – he saw Kaidan watching him, somehow managing to smirk although his mouth was busy.
Shepard found his hands grasping Kaidan's shoulders, but before he could make any sense out of it he tensed and buckled and pushed the man away. His cock throbbed almost painfully and it really was the only thing he could do to stop himself from coming right then and there – one stroke by that tongue, one more stroke, and he was sure he would have lost it. Kaidan fell on his back on the mattress yet again, saliva dripping from his lips and, judging from the far-from-humble expression on his face, he knew exactly how close Shepard had been. And still was.
Shepard tried to calm down but Kaidan looked so hot that it took him every ounce of his will not to just take him then and there. Just the idea of thrusting into him – He stopped that specific trail of thought with a shaky laugh that ended up coming out as a hoarse half-chuckle.
“You trying to make me crazy, Kaidan?”
Kaidan smiled and nudged his leg with his toe. “Why don't you come over here?” he asked, voice husky, and after giving him a long glance that mostly lingered on his lower torso Shepard complied. He settled down next to the other marine, dragging his hand along his leg up until his fingers brushed over his erection. Kaidan shivered at the touch and raised an eyebrow.
Shepard moved his hand to Kaidan's backside and turned him to his side to face him properly. Then he took him to his hand.
The rough stroke made Kaidan bite his bottom lip – which made Shepard close the gap between their mouths and nibble at it, and the biotic thrust into his hand and then they battled for dominance again. Kaidan curled his fingers around Shepard's shaft and stroked, sneaking his other hand around to touch his ass – and he buckled in surprise, losing the fight the moment he allowed the other man to hoist his leg up to his hip and press his finger in.
A whimper escaped his lips when he felt it slip past the muscles, pushing in, and Shepard let go of Kaidan's cock to move his hands to the guy's shoulders, pressing his face to the crook of his neck while thrusting to his hand... hands, really, hands that skillfully made him go near his limit once again in a matter of minutes or maybe even seconds. And then he felt the world go spinning when Kaidan managed to press at the right spots, at the right time, fingers curled around his shaft and just maybe stroking the tip and doing whatever it was that he was doing with his ass. Shepard wasn't able to make any sense of it anymore as he was coming all over his own stomach.
When he regained his senses he saw Kaidan hovering above him, smiling gently even if his eyes were still filled with lust. “Holy shit, Kaidan,” he managed, trying to get rid of the fog that had found its way to his head when the other man had pretty much fucked him senseless. Even without the actual fucking, too.
Kaidan smirked knowingly before guiding Shepard's hand back to his own throbbing member, and with that the Commander was back in the game. He didn't even care about the semen dripping from his belly to his sheets when he turned to his side and started to move his hand up and down, trying to recall how he had been touched just a moment ago, and it didn't take long for Kaidan to shut his eyes and start thrusting again and when Shepard nuzzled the back of his neck and licked just around there were his implant was he came with a breathless moan.
He collapsed, huffing, and after a second or two of rest he placed his head on Shepard's shoulder.
For a moment, they just lied there, easing into a relaxed atmosphere. Then Shepard sank his face into Kaidan's hair, smelling traces of shampoo as he gave his scalp lazy kisses.
“My hair's a mess,” Kaidan sighed. That prompted Shepard to get his hands on said hair and tousle it even more. Damp curls fell to his forehead and Shepard chuckled, thinking that it made Kaidan look exactly like he had just had incredible sex.
Which, he hoped, was true. It was for him, at least.
“I was sort of hoping you wouldn't find out about this yet.” Kaidan gestured half-heartedly towards his hair. “But now you know. I have curly hair.”
“It's hot,” Shepard told him, moving his lips to the man's forehead. “You make me crazy.”
Kaidan smiled. And don't I know it, read on his face, but Shepard didn't see it and he didn't say.
After a few more kisses on Kaidan's face – his forehead, his temples, his cheekbones – Shepard sighed against his cheek. “How would you feel about a shower?”
A sly grin appeared on Kaidan's face when replied, “I'm up for it if you are.”
And he was.