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Kaidan would have been fooling himself if he didn’t feel a little nervous, a tiny bit apprehensive as he rang the bell for Shepard’s cabin.

“It’s open.”

The bulkhead rolled apart. He saw the back of Shepard’s head through the glass, and gingerly took a few steps forward.

They’d slept together last night. Not had sex. Slept together. He’d fallen asleep in Shepard’s arms, listening to their breathing to try and numb himself to the throbbing sensation inside his head.

That was, technically, the third date. Everyone said you weren’t supposed to have sex until the third date.

“Hey,” Kaidan said, in something that ultimately came out only a little higher than a mumble.

“Hey.” Shepard stood from the couch, and turned to face Kaidan. It wasn’t quite a smile. He watched Shepard’s eyes, watched the movement of his face, and it was clear he was checking him out.

“I… uh… didn’t bring any alcohol,” he said, sheepishly.

“I didn’t realize that was what you had in mind,” Shepard said, in a voice that was surprisingly soft, surprisingly low as he slowly approached Kaidan. He wasn’t wearing a jacket, just that grey v-neck t-shirt and the jeans.

“What did you think I had in mind?” Kaidan said, his voice catching on his breath as Shepard moved a little closer.

“Well,” Shepard grinned, now close enough for Kaidan to smell him, “you tell me.”

That smell. A metallic scent, burned, resilient, and Kaidan liked it. Like him. He liked him a lot.

His eyes scanned the cabin for a moment. Fish tank. Ships. Skylight. Sound system. His vision alighted on the bed-side table for a fraction of a second, on a bottle of some translucent fluid—lubricant, presumably—and a packet of condoms.

Shepard knew what he had in mind, and he was thinking of the same thing.

“I guess… uh…” and he felt his cheeks flushing as he failed to string a coherent sentence together, “I guess you were what I had in mind.”

“Really?” Shepard smiled, placing a hand on Kaidan’s shoulder and sliding it gently up his neck, to the jaw, and Kaidan felt himself shiver a little with anticipation.

“Really.”

He leaned his head forward, slightly, moved his hands to rest at Shepard’s side, clutch his figure through the fabric of the t-shirt.

They kissed. Slowly. Impossibly soft for two people so tough, but it just felt great. Without thinking about it, Kaidan gently rolled his tongue against Shepard’s lips, and after a little resistance, they parted. Shepard let out something like a groan of pleasure as their tongues probed each other’s mouths, tasting their shared breath, the stubble raking against their lips with a sensation that was too damn nice to call ‘painful.’

They pulled apart for a second, breathing suddenly heavy, and Kaidan felt something melt in his gut as Shepard’s eyes crinkled into a sort of smile he hadn’t seen from him before.

“Wow,” he said, in a voice that was also new, higher-pitched, happier.

“Yeah.” Kaidan smiled, and moved in a little closer, his lips drifting back, but Shepard pulled his head away, turned a little—

“Sorry,” he said. “It’s just… it’s been a long while.”

“How long?” Kaidan whispered, absent-mindedly sliding his right hand up Shepard’s side to his armpit, fingers stretching up to the shoulder, gently rubbing circles through the fabric.

“Long enough.” He straightened himself upright, fingers reaching inside the collar of Kaidan’s fatigues. “I just… don’t know what you’d like. I don’t know where you’d like me to touch you.”

Kaidan felt himself snort with a half-laugh as he reached around and took Shepard’s wrist in his hand. “That’s… that’s really sweet,” he said, guiding Shepard’s hand to the centre of his chest. “Well, I suppose I like being touched here,” he whispered, and guided Shepard’s other hand to the small of his back, “and here. That feels nice.”

Shepard nodded a little, and rested his forehead against Kaidan’s, his hand finding its way under the uniform shirt, sliding upwards and then down, past the waistband, inside his pants and his underwear and against the muscles where back became thighs.

Kaidan shuddered as Shepard leaned a little closer, palm settling against the curve of his ass. “Does that feel good?”

“Yeah,” Kaidan breathed, his face locked in a stupefied smile. “Yeah, that’s… great.”

“Good,” Shepard whispered, and leaned in to kiss him again as his hands roamed across Kaidan’s torso, and Kaidan felt heat rise from his legs, and his groin, and his chest, and without thinking he moved his hands to Shepard’s waist and slid his t-shirt up, up, over his head, tossed it to the side and went straight for Shepard’s collarbone.

He moaned. An actual moan, a low, throaty grunt of pleasure from Commander Shepard as Kaidan dragged his lips back up, back across his chin, up to his mouth again as his fingers trailed down Shepard’s chest, down to the belt, fumbled, rubbed at the stiffness in his crotch as Kaidan finally released the belt and freed the pants from Shepard’s waist, and the boxers, and Shepard moaned again as Kaidan instinctively pushed him towards the bed and nudged him down.

In that one moment, Kaidan thought, as he stepped back for a second to take stock, Shepard looked perfect. Everything. The tiny orange slivers of his scars that were still visible, the fineness of his hair, the flushed tone of his skin, the bandy legs, the curve of his erection, the way his eyes, his beautiful eyes, looked up at him with expectation and longing.

“You look amazing,” Kaidan whispered, stepping back and undoing his bootlaces with his feet. He was going to add a Shepard to the end of that, but it felt odd, suddenly. He’d known Shepard as Shepard for god knows how long, but it felt strange to be calling him by his last name now. Formal.

But what else can I call him? he thought, unbuttoning and removing his own uniform shirt and casting it aside, and undoing the buckle of his belt carefully, deliberately. I’ve never called him John. Ever. I fell in love with Shepard.

He slid down his pants, moved a step closer. Kaidan took a look at Shepard, at his smile, at the slight nervousness and the warmth and the desire in his face, and his mind was made up.

He slid his palms down the back of his boxers, brought them down, felt himself springing to half-mast as he clambered out of the final bits of discarded clothing, and crept forward, down onto the bed, pressing their bodies together, and he brought his mouth to Shepard’s neck again.

They both moaned that time. Gasped, moaned, made sounds that neither had heard from the other before as the sudden friction provided a shock of endorphins.

Kaidan propped himself up again on his forearms, and allowed himself a moment to peer into Shepard’s eyes, to smile, to lean down a little and kiss him on the nose, to enjoy the sensation of Shepard’s hands wandering across his back.

It felt unusual to call him Shepard, but downright odd to call him anything else.

“You’re incredible, Shepard,” Kaidan whispered, leaning down to kiss him again, on the lips, and grunted as their lips bashed together as Shepard rolled them over.

Kaidan gasped for breath as Shepard’s mouth headed downwards, and the hand on the back of his head tracked him down to the centre of his chest, the nipples as he kissed them both, and then a trail of kisses down Kaidan’s belly.

Shepard lingered for a while at the navel, sliding his hands up and down Kaidan’s thighs, looking up momentarily before planting a kiss at the tip of his erect penis.

Another kiss. A lick. A slick, warm, wet motion, and Kaidan shuddered again, with a huff of pleasure, and he heard blood roaring through his ears, his breath heavy as he threw his head back, his vision whiting out, and—

“Stop!”

Shepard looked up, and recoiled slightly. “Are you OK?”

“I’m close,” Kaidan said, timing his breaths to try and hold himself. That had taken him by surprise. “You’re very good at this,” he told Shepard, taking his face in his hands as he slid back up the bed so they were side-by-side.

“I’m glad to hear it,” Shepard grinned. They kissed again, and again, and Kaidan’s hands trailed across Shepard’s body: one at the back of his neck, gently smoothing over the buzz cut of his hair; the other to his groin, messily gaining purchase and stroking Shepard with enough friction to make him moan again.

Shepard’s moan became a gasp, a gasp that Kaidan caught with his lips, and he felt his hips begin to buck, the rhythm becoming unsteady.

“I’m ready,” Shepard said, reaching for Kaidan again, unceremoniously pulling himself across the bed so that they made contact.

“You sure?”

“Yeah,” Shepard breathed, palms reaching around to fondle Kaidan, tickle and play with his balls, the sensitive skin at the head of his penis, stroke his ass and squeeze tight—

“Yes,” Kaidan breathed, his breath becoming ragged as his body reacted to Shepard’s presence, and he felt himself flare with a corona, “yes… Shepard…

He heard Shepard mumble something muffled, something that sounded like “Kaidan,” and that was enough to send him over the edge, thrusts, a crack as he flared and detonated and shivered in involuntary spasms—one, two, three, four moans of ecstasy as he spilled himself, and Shepard did the same, face buried in Kaidan’s shoulder, body twitching as he called his name in a high whisper—

“Kaidan!”

—and he breathed in, and out, and clutched Kaidan’s ass involuntarily, and let out a sound somewhere between a growl and a gurgle as he finally came, threw his head back as warmth oozed between their chests.

For a moment, nothing else in the universe mattered. Kaidan felt his sphincters clenching a little, and was uncomfortable, but not enough to detract from this. He took a breath in, a breath out, and smelled ozone (his own), semen and Shepard.

Shepard.

“You OK?” he whispered, gently prying Shepard’s face away from his shoulder and kissing him on the forehead.

“Yeah.” The smile on Shepard’s face said it all—ecstatic.

It had lasted for all of five and a half minutes. Best lousy sex Kaidan had ever had.

“You OK?” Shepard whispered, leaning in again and kissing Kaidan’s cheeks, his eyes, and it was only now that Kaidan realized he’d been crying. Actual tears.

“Fine, fine,” he said, stealing a kiss at Shepard’s cheek, “it’s just…”

“I know.”

They kissed again, long, slow, tender, too tired to go exploring each other’s mouths again and happy to just rest their lips against each other’s.

After all this time. It was worth it.

“Sorry,” Kaidan said, reaching up with the cleaner of his hands and wiping his eyes, “it’s just… I’ve wanted this for so long.”

Shepard placed a hand on Kaidan’s cheek, and, for the first time that evening, looked genuinely surprised. “Long? How long?”

“Yeah. I… ah… I wanted you ever since I first met you.” That was a simplified version of the actual truth: irrational lust had become reasoned longing, which had become unrequited love, which had, finally, become something deeper, something better than he could’ve dreamed of.

“You should’ve said,” Shepard whispered, stroking Kaidan’s cheekbone with his thumb. “I might’ve been interested.”

“Yeah, but… things got in the way. You were my superior, and…” Kaidan trailed off, unable to reason any further, because Shepard already knew the story, and he could imply whatever Kaidan hadn’t explicitly told him.

He settled for tilting his head a little and kissing the palm of Shepard’s hand instead. “Thanks, Shepard,” he whispered, and kissed him again, “that was amazing.”

“So were you, Kaidan.” Shepard reached back, found a towel from one of the drawers, wiped away the mess they’d both made and tossed it to the side.

Kaidan rolled onto his back, and stared upwards, through the skylight, at the stars. Last night he’d been in this same position, trying to ignore a splitting migraine, but now the sweating and the heavy breathing was for an entirely different reason.

“Come here,” he told Shepard, shuffling into a position where they were both comfortable—Shepard splayed across Kaidan’s chest, nose just touching his chin, Kaidan’s arms around him as they kissed again.

His hands roamed southwards, the fingers tracing the vertebrae, every scar, every zit, every pimple, the cleft and the curve of Shepard’s ass. Kaidan felt him suck in a breath; he clearly liked that.

“So, uh…” Kaidan whispered, squeezing his eyes shut because he knew they were watering again, but he didn’t care, “first time, not bad, huh?”

Shepard chuckled. “Amazing,” he smiled, and found Kaidan’s hand with his own.

So are you, Kaidan thought. He didn’t give a damn about anything else right now. Shepard was beautiful, and, as far as he cared, perfect.

Their fingers interlaced, and they kissed again.