For you … I was trying to draft a series of ficlets - the first time each and every one of the Normandy crew met Shepard. I kind of got mobbed by other projects before I’d even finished Kaidan’s, but … here it is anyway.
He wasn’t entirely sure what he was expecting from the Hero of Elysium, but whatever it was he might have been expecting … this wasn’t it.
Staff Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko nearly dropped his footlocker on his heel when he saw the wiry woman with the raven-dark hair and the N7 hoodie snuggling right up close to the SSV Normandy SR1. He had never seen anyone try to hug a frigate before, but that was what this woman seemed to be doing. He had also never seen anyone wearing a visor outside of combat, though he had heard that poorer folk without access to corrective surgery or gene mods still wore that sort of thing for eyesight problems. The picture this made was so bizarre that all he could do was stare for a moment. Then he cleared his throat and said, “I hope you bought her dinner first.”
The woman turned to look at him, and that was when he recognised her - the vulpine face framed by carelessly-hacked dark hair that had spent so much time on the extranet news cycles not so long ago. This was Commander Shepard, recipient of the Star of Terra, the woman who had single-handedly held off ten thousand angry batarians at Elysium … and she apparently liked to make out with starships in her spare time. It then occurred to him that he had called her out on her apparent starship fetish in the most insubordinate way possible without overt sexual references, and she outranked him by a fair bit. He winced, wondering how deep in the shit he had just dropped himself.
Instead of bawling him out, though, she laughed and strode along the top of the docking tube like it was a public thoroughfare, then hopped down to face him on about his level - she was a couple of inches shorter than he was, but it was a close enough thing for eye to … well, visor. “I just want to show her she’s appreciated. And oh, baby, is she ever appreciated. Seriously, the kinetic barriers on the Normandy resonate beautifully, but you can’t feel it properly with just your hands.”
Kaidan raised an eyebrow, the urge to salute forgotten in the attempt to wrap his head around that concept. “So … you use your lips instead?”
Shepard shrugged. “One of the more sensitive patches of skin on the human body. There are more sensitive bits and pieces, but I draw the line at stripping down in the docking bay. For which I’m sure security thanks me.”
That particular visual sent Kaidan retreating into some semblance of formality, even as he prayed that various bits of his body would behave themselves. He straightened his spine and saluted. “Staff Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko, reporting for duty, Commander.”
That earned Kaidan the kind of grin that he could frankly look at all day. “You just saw me kissing a frigate, Alenko. I think pulling rank can wait until we’ve given my dignity some time to make a comeback. Good to meet you.”
He returned the smile - he kind of had to; it was the sort of smile that demanded a response in kind - and then he heard himself ask, all independent of his brain, “You know the Alliance would pick up the tab for corrective surgery on your eyes, right?”
Shepard raised an eyebrow at him. “Yeah, probably. I just got used to it, though. I’ve been wearing a visor since I was about seven years old. Actually … um, acquired my first one second-hand and then had to tune it to the right settings myself. By the time I got out of boot, I’d been wearing the visor for over a decade. Being without it now would just be weird. Besides, I think it suits me.”
“Well, yeah, it does, but I guess it just seems a shame to hide your eyes behind a visor.” He stifled the wince that came from the realisation that what he’d just blurted could be construed as flirting, then realised that he probably was flirting. With the XO of the ship to which he was currently assigned. When he saw her blush, his heart fluttered and sank at the same time. It hadn’t been five minutes and already this was getting complicated. There had been a little bit of awe at the idea of serving under the illustrious Commander Shepard - and there was a turn of phrase to make him blush himself - but he hadn’t been prepared to find her intelligent and fun and … well, not to mince words, adorable. Certainly not in the first few minutes of acquaintance. But there it was. He couldn’t call it love at first sight, but there was definitely interest there, and better yet - or possibly worse, depending - it wasn’t entirely one-sided. Not if she was blushing like that … and did she have to look so damn cute doing it?
Rescue came in the form of Jenkins, who barged through the docking bay doors dragging his footlocker behind him. “Hey, Alenko! Am I gonna be stuck bunking with—” Jenkins spotted Shepard, then, and dropped his footlocker on Kaidan’s foot. “Commander Shepard! An honour, ma’am! Richard L Jenkins reporting for duty, ma’am!”
Shepard sighed and rolled her eyes, more amused than exasperated. “Could we drop the formalities for a few minutes? At least until you all get your gear on board? C’mon, guys; respecting the chain of command is one thing, but we’re going to be living together aboard this beauty for awhile. It can be tense and formal, or it can be … not so much. I prefer the not so much. Mostly ‘cos there’s scope for poker games and bull sessions. So what do you say?”