Chapter 33 of Valkyrie

“How long are we going to have to wait?” Garrus asked for what felt like the twentieth time.

“I don’t know,” Shepard said, leaning back against the bench in frustration.

“You know,” Kaidan said, “I used to think that fountain was soothing. Right now, it’s setting my teeth on edge.”

“How long does it take for the Council to see our evidence and then realize we have a problem here?” Garrus wanted to know. “I recorded Sovereign’s message on my omnitool…”

“As did I,” Kaidan added. “As did Shepard – they were all turned on and recording.”

“So we have the data of three ‘tools,” Garrus said, ticking off the points on his talons, “We have three eyewitnesses who heard it – us three – plus we have corroborating evidence from the salarian recon team that the Council sent themselves. We have the location for a new relay that Saren’s going to use to find the Conduit…weapon…whatever… and we’re sitting out here while they debate policy?” His mandibles flared. “This is why I left this station in the first place.”

“We’ve got to give them a little time to get up to speed,” Shepard said wearily. “This is a lot to wrap the mind around, you have to admit. But I think this time, they’ll come around in the end.”

“Whatever you say, Shepard,” Garrus said doubtfully.

“Well, shit,” Shepard said, stomping away. “They didn’t come ‘round after all.”

“Commander, are you going to be okay?” Kaidan asked, his forehead furrowing in concern.

“I’m not going to take out a wall, if that’s what you’re asking,” she said, though blue biotic energy crackled around her fingers.

“I was more hoping you’d take out a Councilor,” Garrus muttered.

“I think that one is pretty clearly against my mandate as a Spectre,” Shepard said ruefully. “Even in the interest of maintaining galactic stability, I think the rules are clear that you don’t kill the boss.”

“Just one of them?” Garrus asked hopefully.

Shepard smiled in spite of herself and shook her head. “Nope, not even the turian. Don’t worry though,” she added. “Let’s get back to the Normandy and I’ll think of something.”

“Got a plan, commander?” Kaidan asked.

“I’m working on it,” she said. “I’ve learned a thing or two about insubordination from my lieutenant over the last few months. I’m sure I can come up with something to complicate the chain of command.”

I’m here for you if you need me, commander.

Kaidan winced. After all this time, you’d think that he would have something new to say when Shepard as looking like she was ready to take out a wall. Instead, when he’d found her alone by her locker - looking like she was about to rip the thing off of the wall for not opening fast enough - he’d opened his mouth and the same thing as always spilled out. Not that he didn’t mean it…

Got a something up your sleeve, commander? What am I saying? When don’t you? That’s what I lo – appreciate about you, ma’am.

Damn it. Had he really said that ? Thank God no one had been standing nearby. He’d nearly told Shepard that he loved her. As far as he had thought about his relationship with Shepard, he hadn’t gotten to the love part. He wasn’t even sure he could call her more than a friend right about now. But his heart and his mouth seemed to have made a deal without consulting his brain and the word nearly tumbled out.

Shepard hadn’t missed it. She’d teased him in that way she had, that way that made everything seem comfortable and easy. And then he’d had no choice but to…

But to try and kiss her.

Kaidan holstered his pistol, his head still reeling. He still couldn’t believe he’d done that.

No, check that, he could believe it. He’d been thinking about how – and when – and where – he would kiss her when he finally got the chance. As for the where, he’d allowed himself to get pretty creative about both locations on the ship and locations on her body. Truth be told, he’d been awfully restless the last few nights.

He’d gotten so close to kissing her, too, before Joker – damn the guy – had interrupted them. For one brief moment, Shepard was in his arms, smiling, and he’d forgotten everything else. He’d forgotten he’d come down to keep her from tearing the ship apart with her biotics, since she’d seemed pissed off enough to do so after the Council and Udina had grounded the Normandy. He knew she was seething, not only over the politicians’ idiotic move, but over the fact that it proved that no one seemed to believe her in spite of everything she’d said and done to prove her case against Saren.

He believed her – hell, he’d talked to Sovereign, too. The whole situation was terrifying, quite frankly. The fact that no one believed it made it doubly so. And so Kaidan wanted to make sure that Shepard knew that he had her back – always had her back – even if he couldn’t say so in an eloquent way.

Only it hadn’t been her back he’d been concerned with a minute ago. It had been her lips, and arms, and…well, everything he could get his hands on for a moment there. Damn Joker for being so efficient and giving them that message right away.

Kaidan almost thought that Joker might have done it on purpose, only, there was really no way the helmsman could have. But then, Joker had given Kaidan a strange look just now as Kaidan went out the airlock to follow Shepard to her meeting with Captain Anderson. Sometimes Kaidan had to wonder how much Joker saw on the ship after all.

Joker looked guiltily at the camera switch. Part of him felt a little bad for interrupting Alenko and Shepard, but when he’d fired up the crew deck camera to see if Shepard was on board, he’d been shocked to find that she was standing right under said camera – with Alenko. And the two of them looked like they were about to engage in some very serious business right there against the lockers.

He’d panicked and given them his message, then switched the camera off. Then he’d kicked himself for not recording the whole thing on video. That would have been…

Bad. He told himself. That would have been bad.

Alenko was his buddy for a start – he really didn’t want to see anything there. He liked the guy, but he didn’t want to see the man getting lucky. As for Shepard, well, he probably shouldn’t even let his mind go there. She was likely to read his mind – and then remove his head from his shoulders.

Joker was just glad that there were only a few cameras on the ship: CIC, command deck, cargo hold, and engineering. Because given the way those two were looking at each other just then, if there were cameras everywhere, then sooner or later, someone was going to get a show.