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Much Abides

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The Normandy had been docked for mandatory repairs for about a week now. Shore leave had been far too eventful for anyone’s liking what with Shepard’s clone having been on the loose. With Brooks finally being locked up, and the evil tank twin gone, the real Shepard was finally looking forward to being lazy for the first time in what seemed like years.

Turns out, relaxing was easier said than done. She had tried to watch some vids on the ridiculously huge screen that Anderson had set up, but it was hard to focus on Blasto 6, when she had already lived the real thing with less cheesy lines. Worse yet, there was no getting rid of all the thoughts of the Reaper War being fought by the galaxy right this instant. She was riddled with guilt. She was supposed to be out there saving everyone, but instead she was here watching crappy vids while countless people were dying every minute.

Rationally she knew that this war was taking a large toll on her, and she knew that in order to succeed for everyone’s sake, relaxing for a couple of weeks was probably a good thing. Being refreshed before the final push could only work in her favour.

Realising that she had been ignoring the tv for who knows how long now with her internal struggles, it dawned on her that she was mostly just lonely. Having lived most of her life on ships, she was used to being surrounded by people. Especially since she took over the Normandy . They were her family, and she was used to always having someone around.

Finally turning the tv off, and leaving her cocoon of a blanket fort, she decided to check her email. See if any of her crew had checked in. Not so much to her surprise, there was a message from Kaidan waiting for her.

 

Hey Shep,

We haven’t had nearly as much time to spend alone together since our lunch at Apollo’s as I’d like. If you’ve got a chance to hang out while we’re on shore leave, let me know.

KA

 

Kaidan had mentioned that he wanted to take things slow, otherwise she would have invited him over a long time ago already. Hell he would be living here with her if she had her way. That message was enough for her to at least finally invite him over. She brought up her omni-tool and dialed him.

“Major Alenko speaking.”

“Hey Kaidan, it’s me. I got your message. I have a free night if you wanted to come over.”

“Of Course. I’m in the area. I’ll be right there.”

Shepard figured they’d probably go out, so she took the chance to go wash up a bit before he got there. She didn’t usually wear much makeup, but she figured she could at least put on some nicer clothes than the sweats and tank top she was wearing, and fix her bed-head. She settled on the casual go to of jeans and a t-shirt.

She wouldn’t have had time for make up anyway, because Kaidan was there within 10 minutes of their call ending. He must have been staying somewhere close. She ran to the door, not realising how excited she actually was at the prospect of seeing him.

The door opened, and Kaidan gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

“Hey, Shep.”

Jane couldn’t help but give him a once over, and she was pretty sure she wasn’t being very subtle. He was looking incredibly tempting in his fatigues. True, it was what he always wore, but all that really meant is that it was a constant struggle to be around him.

After admitting they still had feelings for each other when Kaidan was still at Huerta Memorial, they quickly started spending more time together. Talking a lot more during their shared downtime, working on reports together as soon as he was back on the Normandy , and whenever they had the chance, even if it was just in silence beside each other. Hell they had even had a few steamy makeout sessions in various locations around the ship, just none of them leading anywhere. Mostly because Shepard always got pinged away right before things got good. A couple times because they were walked in on. Rekindling a romance in the middle of a war had proven to be more difficult than either of them had contemplated, and they were both starting to resent even trying to take things slow.

That being said, they had easily slipped back into their comfortable camaraderie they shared on the SR-1. At the end of the day, Jane was just happy that Kaidan was a part of her life again. Cerberus had left them both with a bit of a sour taste in their mouth, and it had taken some work to finally get beyond that, but they had. She still missed the intimacy though.

“Hey.” Was all she managed to respond after a short pause, while Kaidan had already taken off for the kitchen. She just stood there, admiring him until he turned the corner out of her line of site, until she heard him start talking again, bringing her back to the present.

“So, what do you have here? I thought I could make us some dinner.”

“What? No. Kaidan, we’re going out.”

“Come on. We can go out any time we have shore leave, but we never get the chance to actually cook. We can crack open some beers. It’ll be fun, I promise.” He had already started pulling out everything that he seemed to be looking for.

“Fine. What are we having? Canadian delicacy of some sort?” She asked as she sat down watching him.

“Sure. Steak, bacon, beer. We’re just missing the poutine.”

“Poutine? What the hell is that?”

“It’s fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. If I can ever find the ingredients for it, I’ll have to make it for you. You’d love it.”

Shepard decided not to respond verbally hoping not to offend him, although she couldn’t help the grimace that unwillingly spread across her face.

Kaidan looked up to her because of her silence, and noticed the horrified look. “Oh come on, it doesn’t really sound that bad, does it?”

“It really does.”

“Well everyone says that until they’ve actually had it.”

“I guess I’ll take your word for it.” Her nose was still scrunched up at the thought of it. “So, do you actually cook a lot?,” she asked, realising that their life hadn’t allowed for any instances of this domesticity as of yet. Sure they had practically even lived together in a way, but when you’re aboard a starship, this type of thing is always taken care of for you. It was opening her eyes to a different kind of life they could share.

“Yeah. As a biotic, knowing how to cook can mean life or death. It was part of basic training for us. What about you?”

“Yeah, I love it actually. One of my old roommates back on Arcturus showed me how. He said eating nothing but that cafeteria crap was bad for morale. Obviously I haven’t had much chance to put that skill to use over the last few years being on the Normandy .”

“Is there anything you’re not good at?”

“Have you forgotten about my amazing dancing skills?”

“Of course, how could I have forgotten.”

They both shared a laugh at that before Jane continued, “I know you said you could cook, but you didn’t say you were good at it. You’re burning the garlic.” She said as she got up to try to take over.

“Sit your ass back down, and trust me will you?”

She put her arms up in defeat and sat back down, taking a swig of her beer.

“Almost done.”

She glanced hesitantly at it. “Do we have hot sauce?”

“Jane,” he said, chastisingly.

“Okay, okay. You know I’m just teasing right?... Mostly.”

He smiled as he plated their food, and passed one to her.

She took a bite as he sat down next to her. Her eyes shut involuntarily as she let out a groan of pleasure. “Okay. That’s amazing. I have to make you my trophy husband right this instant.”

Kaidan laughed. “I told you you’d like it. Although, in all fairness, I’m not sure how much of it is my skill and how much of it is real, fresh ingredients. How the hell did Anderson get all this?”

“No idea. But don’t sell yourself short. This is really good.”

They both just smiled at each other for a second before silently finishing their dinners.

She really wasn’t kidding about what she had just told Kaidan. She had just said it trying to be a funny compliment as something people say, but was starting to realise maybe it was her true feelings coming out. Well, the husband part at least. He wasn’t some trophy. He was her equal. Her true partner in every sense of the word.

This wasn’t the first time she had felt this way. Before the SR-1 was destroyed, she was almost certain that Kaidan and she would end up married at some point. For a while she was starting to lose hope after the events on Horizon, but ever since he returned to the Normandy , she slowly started seeing that future with him again.

Kaidan had noticed that Jane had become a bit solemn as she finished her dinner.

“How about we take this to the couch?” He asked as she finished up.

“Definitely.” She smiled up at him.

As they walked over, he stopped at the bar to grab one of the wine bottles and some glasses and brought them over to the coffee table.

“Are you trying to get me drunk, Major?”

“Maybe.” He said a bit coyly.

He poured them both a glass and just watched Shepard, still obviously off in her own little world.

“What’s going on up there?,” he said, as he poked her forehead. He realised that maybe he was already a bit drunk himself, as he figured he probably didn’t need to actually poke her to get his point across, as he just looked at his finger and shook his head at himself.

She gave a small silent laugh and sighed. “Kaidan, do you think we’ve finally reached where we used to be?”

He was silent for a moment, clearly contemplating, “No.”

“No?,” Jane asked, the disappointment clearly not being hidden well.

“Oh, no no no. That’s not what I meant,” Kaidan said, realising that he wasn’t getting his point across well. He quickly grabbed her hand in both of his to try to reassure her. “What I meant to say is that I think we’ve reached an entirely new place. In a lot of ways, it almost feels like we’ve surpassed where we used to be.”

“Oh. Well, good. I’ve been feeling the same way.”

“I’m glad. Is there any reason you’re bringing this up now?”

“Not exactly. I guess I just wanted to get a sense of how you were feeling about us.”

“When you put it like that, I’ve been feeling better about us than I’ve felt about anything.”

“Mmm, good. Does this mean we can finally have sex again?,” she said, being somewhat coy.

Kaidan let out a small bark of laughter. “Jesus, Shepard. It’s not like I’ve been trying to hold out on that. I know I said I wanted to take things slow, but I didn’t mean that slow. There’s just no damn privacy on a starship.”

“Did you forget that I’ve got the Captain’s quarters?,” she said, clearly amused at his logic.

“Oh, shit, you’re right. I guess I just meant any time it started to happen organically, we kept getting walked in on, or you would be called away. And then we just both keep getting busy,” he said before his smile turned a bit more coy, and he narrowed his eyes at her. “But we have all the time in the world right now.”

“That we do,” Jane said, as she moved to straddle Kaidan’s lap, not wasting any time capturing his lips with her own. Their proximity was making it extremely obvious just how much Kaidan was reciprocating her feelings right now. This was starting to feel good, and right, but she still wasn’t able to get out of her own head because she was leaving things unsaid. Now was certainly not the time to be doing that, especially if she wanted to enjoy this. The only way she would be able to do that is if she got this off of her chest first.

She backed out of the kiss, somewhat out of breath, and gently patted Kaidan’s chest. “Wait, sorry. There’s just one more thing I have to say.”

Kaidan looked a little confused, but this was clearly important to her. They had waited this long, he could wait a little bit longer to hear what she had to say, even if his pants were starting to become painfully uncomfortable. “Okay,” he said, rubbing her back.

“Listen. This might get a bit morbid, but please just hear me out.”

She paused for a moment making sure she knew exactly what she wanted to say.

“I’m not going to pretend that I think we have the best odds right now. I’m not going to promise that you, or I, or both of us won’t die before the end of this war, if there even is an end. But I do know, that if this is our last few days, or weeks or months together, I want to spend them with you by my side. I want to marry you.”

“What?”

“I know you may not be ready yet, or feel the same way as me, and that’s fine. Just say no, and we can go back to how things were a minute ago. But you need to know that I love you. I’ve loved you ever since the SR-1, and nothing has ever changed that, despite our bumps in the road. If you were to die right now it would destroy me, so if you’re thinking of saying no to save ourselves from that kind of pain, the damage is already done. I don’t want to be away from you for another minute.”

Kaidan was a bit taken aback. He had to admit that he had already had similar feelings, but didn’t want to rush things. Especially to this level. That was more because he thought Shepard would think he was crazy though, and not because he didn’t feel the same way.

“Was that a formal proposal, Jane?”

“I meant everything that I said. So, yes.”

Kaidan moved his hand to gently rest between Shepard’s shoulder blades, caressing her neck with his thumb, looking her in the eye, so she would know how sincere he was. “I know that we’ve had our issues in the past, which were largely my fault, but I’ve never stopped loving you either. I think working through those issues has made us stronger in the long run, because if we made it through that, we can make it through anything. I want to marry you too, Jane.”

Shepard let out something between a single sob and a laugh realising that she had been wanting this a lot more than she thought, and with Kaidan’s acceptance, he had admitted to wanting it just as much as she had.

He brought her into a deep, passionate kiss. She reciprocated by wrapping both of her arms tightly around his neck to pull him closer. She was so desperate to be close to him. She needed him.

Kaidan slowly moved his other hand down her back, and paused at her hips, playing with the hem of her shirt. His other hand matched it to start taking it off. They pulled away from their kiss, only for a few seconds with a moan on her lips, and a sharp intake of breath until she was free from her top. She hadn’t even noticed it but her bra had quickly followed it to the floor beside them, as Kaidan gently lowered them down on the couch. She clumsily worked at untucking Kaidan’s shirt realising that she couldn’t think straight in her desperation.

They parted again, for Kaidan to finish the job, as Shepard tried to calm her breathing while she took in the sight of him. As he lifted the shirt over his head, Shepard moved her hands to the sides of his chest, slowly tracing them down over his taut abs until they finally reached their destination of his belt buckle. She unfastened it, and unzipped his fly, grateful for the fact that he had decided to go commando today. Instead of letting his straining erection free, she opted to stroke his length still inside the confine of his pants.

Kaidan brought his lips crashing back down to Shepard’s, letting their tongues explored each other. With the arm that he wasn’t using to support himself, he slowly moved his hand down from her collar bone to cup her breast, and caressed her firm nipple gently with his thumb. He didn’t linger as he went to mirror her earlier movements to undo her belt buckle and fly. He quickly pulled down her jeans and panties, to just above the knees, only allowing her legs to part slightly. He glided his fingers through her closed lips and wasn’t surprised to see that she was already wet. As he ran his fingers along her clit slowly a few times, Shepard let out a shaky breath at his teasing. He could tell that she was ready and eager.

He also noticed that he must have been doing a good job because, though Shepard was still trying to please him as well, her eagerness and rhythm had definitely been interrupted in her distracted state. It didn’t particularly matter all that much with how long it had been, and with the noises that Jane was making, it was bringing him surprisingly close to the edge. He didn’t want to finish like this. He needed to be with her, and regain that closeness. He had to put a stop to what she was doing. He was desperate now. He took his hand away from Shepard to get her to stop. She was panting and almost whining at the loss of his touch.

There was no time to be delicate anymore. He quickly released only one of Shepard’s legs from her jeans and panties, and didn’t even bother with his pants. He released his erection and entered her to the hilt. She let out a gasp, as her panting began to increase. She was so tight. He knew he wouldn’t last long. She wrapped both of her legs around his back, opening herself up more allowing him to go deeper. His movements quickened, as she squeezed her hand between them so she could match his movements along her clit. Her other arm was wrapped under Kaidan’s arm, her hand gripping at his shoulder. Her fingers dug into him as she began to feel the tension uncoiling. He felt her tighten in spasms around him. That and the moan being elicited from Jane was enough to bring him with her. He continued his motions, but slower now as they both rode out their pleasure as much as possible.

He stayed on top of her for a minute as their breathing started to calm back down to normal. Kaidan turned his head to look at the clock.

“Christ! All of that took us less than 5 minutes. What are we? A couple of teenagers? For crying out loud, look at us. We couldn’t even properly undress ourselves.”

Shepard looked down and laughed. She hadn’t even realised that her pants were still dangling from one leg, or that Kaidan was practically half dressed still.

“What can I say, It’s been awhile.” She said, pulling her pants up with a smirk, as she sat up and put her shirt back on.

“You could say that again.”

Shepard went kind of quiet at that, caressing Kaidan’s face. “Have you really not been with anyone since me?”

“Not like that. There was that doctor, but it didn’t turn into anything. Does that really surprise you?”

“A little bit, honestly. It also makes me a bit sad. I mean, I haven’t been with anyone else either, but that’s at least less than a year for me. It’s almost 3 years for you. Not to mention that you thought I had died.”

“Well, you even just said it yourself. If I were to die, it would destroy you. Let’s just say that I’ve already lived through that. You’re not an easy woman to get over.”

“I’m so sorry you had to go through that.”

Kaidan let out a small silent laugh, “You’re the one who actually died, I don’t think you have anything to be sorry about.”

“I think you’re still the one who got the harder end of that deal.”

“Maybe you’re right. Forgive me if I’m the one being a bit morbid now, but for what it’s worth, I’d still rather be ruined by it twice, than not have this time with you now. Don’t get me wrong! I’m looking forward to the long and happy life we will have together. But to even have a chance at anything at all with you right now is a blessing.”

“I feel that way too.” She moved to sit in his lap again, and just hugged him, arms tangled tightly around his neck. “Let’s get married.”

“I already said yes, Jane.”

“I mean right now.” She said as she moved back so she could see his face.

“How would we manage that exactly?”

“We’re Spectre’s, I’m sure we could fast track a marriage license. Ideally we would have someone close to us officiate something privately to keep it out of the tabloids, but if not, we’re on the strip. I’m sure we could go to some cheesy chapel if we had to.”

“You don’t want some big fancy wedding?”

“Not at all.”

“Are you sure this is really how you want to do this though?”

She took a moment to consider the options. “Well if I had my first choice, I’d want our mothers to be there, and our close friends. I still wouldn’t have wanted anything big or fancy though. Maybe a small formal get-together. But too many people that I would want to be here wouldn’t be able to because of this damn war. So if we can’t have them all, I say why not have it just be us. Something about that is kind of romantic in itself. The biggest benefit will be that the press won’t be able to get wind of it until after it’s already happened. But ultimately, I just really don’t want to wait. And we’re on shore leave now, who knows when we’ll get a chance again.”

“Okay. The important thing for me is that I’ll be marrying you. I kind of like the idea that it’ll be our little secret, even if it’s only for a while.”

Shepard leaned in to kiss him gently. Somehow it had seemed like they were 10 times closer than they had ever been before. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Jane.”

“What do you think about Hackett?”

“I mean, I like him just fine, but I wouldn’t say that I love him,” he said with a sheepish smile.

Shepard lightly punched his shoulder and scoffed. “Ugh, you nerd. I meant, how do you feel about him officiating? If I remember correctly, I think he might be on the citadel. I’m pretty sure he’s been ordained. He would technically be able to officiate.”

“You’re not worried about him turning us in for fraternization?”

“I’m pretty sure he already knows about us… and besides, I don’t think he’d be willing to do anything to jeopardize the mission. He knows we work well together, and we’re needed in this war right now more than ever. I don’t think he’d be willing to separate us at the moment.”

Kaidan laughed. “Well, I like Hackett, so if you don’t think we’re going to get in trouble for it, then I’m game.”

“It’s settled then.” She bent over to give him one last kiss before leaving for the back office to give him a call.

Kaidan sat there for a second, watching her leave as he shook his head with a big grin on his face. ‘She can’t even be engaged or get married like a normal person.’ Though his thoughts may have sounded judgemental of her character, they were really filled with nothing but admiration. She had never been one to let things get in her way, and he was glad to see that this war wasn’t preventing her from finding happiness. This whole idea may have been a bit rushed, but Kaidan couldn’t remember a time that he felt happier.

He was just glad that he hadn’t permanently screwed things up with how he acted on Horizon, and they were even closer than they had ever been before. He hadn’t told Shepard yet, but before she had died, he was already thinking about asking her to marry him. He had even bought a ring, which in this moment he was really glad that he had decided to keep.

With that thought, he finally decided he better hurry up and do the other errands that needed to be done in order for this to work out. He would make a quick stop at the Normandy to find the ring, try to go find somewhere that was still open to buy some wedding bands, and finally stop off at the Spectre offices to get a marriage license. ‘Probably about the most mundane thing you can even do at the Spectre office,’ he mused to himself.

By the time he had come home he was shocked to find out that everything seemed to be coming together. He had managed to pull everything off on his end, and Shepard had confirmed that Hackett was in fact on the Citadel, and said that he would be honoured to perform the ceremony the following morning.

For the first time since they had decided that they wanted to get back together, they had shared a bed. They lied facing each other in a comfortable silence, as they held each other. For the first time in a much longer time, Shepard fell asleep with a smile on her face.

Kaidan was grateful that she had fallen asleep before him. He had been craving for her closeness ever since they started reconnecting after Mars. How could he have been such an idiot. He should have just invited himself up to her cabin that first night after Apollo’s.

When he had come back to the apartment, he had wanted to give her the engagement ring, and admit that he had been thinking about this for years. In the end he realised that there weren’t enough moments like this. Quiet, and filled with adoration for each other. When would they get another chance to just hold each other like this? He had opted to wait, but now that she was asleep, he took this chance to sneak the engagement ring onto her finger. He could explain everything to her tomorrow.