In this post-Reaper War galaxy, there’s a lot of talk about Before.
Before the War. Before the deaths. Before the Mass Relays were destroyed. Before Thessia fell. Before we lost Palaven. Before the entire galaxy was crippled.
Before, before, before.
Kaidan likes to focus on the After, because that’s when his life changed. Some of it for the worse—losing his dad will always hurt, the pain hasn’t faded even now—but most of it for the better.
Because After got him Shepard. After got him shy smiles, mischievous smirks, and utterly inappropriate (but never fails to get him hot and bothered) leers.
After got him gentle caresses, lingering kisses and hours of sweaty, satisfying sex.
After for him is: After the War, After Shepard Wakes, and After Everything.
After is this: Shepard—his John—walking towards him with a giant smile on his face, soaking wet from head to toe thanks to the tumble into the water. The smile turns into one of mischief and Kaidan knows what he’s planning even before he reaches the bench where he’s sitting with all their things.
“No, don’t you dare,” he warns, trying for stern and failing. He always smiles whenever Shepard smiles, it’s automatic these days. Even when he’s sad or angry or tired, when Shepard smiles, he does too.
He’s not smiling when he gets a lapful of Shepard for his trouble, though. He tries to push him off, but Shepard’s always been stubborn. He tries to dodge the wet kisses but he’s not really trying hard enough.
So he sits there with his slacks slowly turning into a deeper shade, smelling of salt water with water all over his face thanks to Shepard’s enthusiastic kisses.
“These are my last clean pants, I’ll have you know,” he huffs against Shepard’s lips. He shivers when Shepard chuckles.
“Well, I guess you’ll just have to spend the rest of our honeymoon naked, sir.”
He really shouldn’t be encouraging this, but he can’t help but laugh. Hides his face in Shepard’s neck as they laugh quietly together.
This is his After.
Because Before, he didn’t have Shepard. Before, he didn’t have mornings where he wakes up tangled in Shepard’s arms in a bedroom filled with photographs of places they’ve been. Before, he didn’t have dinners in front of the TV, talking about nothing and everything at the same time. Before, he didn’t have this reckless, stubborn, utterly amazing and loving man with him.
And Kaidan will always love After. Because After got him this. Because After got him Shepard.