“Incredible,” Kaidan whispered. He let his head fall back against the headboard, then allowed it to loll to one side. Shepard grinned up at him from where her head lay against his leg.
“Good,” she said.
“You…good…too?” he asked, the words coming to him slowly.
“Oh yes,” she said, sitting up. Naked as she was in the center of the tangled sheets, she reminded him of a classic painting, though he couldn’t think of which one, exactly. His mind was still feeling a little fuzzy yet.
“And I didn’t hurt you before…with the biotics?” he asked.
“No,” she said. “Quite the opposite, actually. Though I don’t imagine hostiles get quite the same treatment from you that I did.” Her eyes narrowed. “They’d better not, or I’ll never let you out on a ground side mission again.”
“Yeah, well,” he waved a hand at his legs. “I’m glad you’ve never given anyone the same treatment that I just got from you right now.”
Shepard frowned slightly and turned away. “Yeah.”
“It’s pretty amazing,” Kaidan went on. “I mean for being so new at all this…” He broke off, the realization settling into place. “That’s not new to you, is it?”
Shepard’s slight frown became anything but slight. “You really going there, Kaidan?”
“I thought you were a virgin,” he said, his eyes widening.
“Technically, I was,” she said, raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah, but…” He made a face as he looked down at his naked lap. “That wasn’t part of the ‘technically,’ was it?”
“Kaidan,” she said, “I have not asked you about your past history. In fact, I rather hesitated to tell you about mine. Do you really want to have this conversation?”
“You said you were a little wild back in basic,” Kaidan said, now remembering what she’d told him.
“And I was,” she said, folding her arms over her bare chest.
“And…that…” he couldn’t finish.
She closed her eyes and let out an annoyed breath that fanned her hair from eyes. “Kaidan…”
“I was a lonely kid back then,” she told him.
“How many?” she scowled. “I haven’t asked you how many. Don’t you sit there acting so self-righteous…”
“Three,” he replied. She blinked.
“Seriously?” she asked doubtfully.
“Seriously,” he told her. “There was a girl I met when I was in basic – it lasted two years, but was mostly long-distance. Then there was a mistake that happened on shore leave that I resolved never to repeat, and there was a girl I dated while I was in advanced tech training. That lasted about six months.”
“So your last girlfriend was…” she did the math in her head, “About five years ago?”
“That long?” She felt her mouth hanging open and closed it.
“I told you it had been a while.” He folded his arms over his chest.
“Were they biotics?” she asked.
“No,” he said. “But I managed. I learned how to…control things during BaaTT.”
“Yeah, you can control things pretty well,” she muttered, thinking back to just a short while back. “But not Rahna,” she added, hoping he’d say ‘no.’
“No,” he shook his head. She nodded, pleased. His eyes narrowed. “So I’ll ask you again: how many?”
“Kaidan,” she sighed. “Alright, fine. My boyfriend from the Blitz. And before that…” She made a face. “It was less than…a dozen.”
“A dozen ?”
“Less than,” she repeated. She looked up at the ceiling and nodded her chin slightly, as if counting. “Seven,” she said. “I think.”
“You think ?”
“I was drunk most times. Though my biotics burned through the booze way too quickly to get much further than…” She shifted uncomfortably. “Why do you think I don’t drink anymore?”
He stared at her. “You have given seven or more men a blow job?”
“Just…two with the…” she began uneasily. “The rest were…” She broke off and raised her hand lamely. Kaidan’s jaw dropped.
“Okay, Alenko,” she said, eyes narrowing as she pointed a finger at him, “You don’t get to judge me. I had just gone through two years of completely unhelpful therapy after Mindoir, I didn’t get along with the foster family, and I was messed up . The fact that I didn’t go a whole lot farther than…that…was largely due to the fact I couldn’t control my biotics at all. If I got excited…” She broke off as Kaidan gave her a pained look
“It didn’t take me long to realize I was getting used,” she told him. “And gossiped about. It made me…well, as disgusted at myself as you look right now. I stopped partying. About a year later I met a guy and we were working things out when the Blitz happened. You know what happened then. I managed to pull myself out of a pretty deep hole – alone, too. While I regret what I did when I was down there…” She broke off and made a face, “Ah…metaphorically speaking… I came back from pretty far gone. I can’t take it back, but those mistakes made me realize that once you lose respect for yourself, you’ve lost everything.” She lifted her chin. “You going to hold that against me?”
“I…” He let out a frustrated sigh. “No, I… Hell, I liked the idea that you were just…” He trailed off.
“Just what? Someone without a messy past?”
“Mine.” He said the word softly, then looked at her. His eyes were searching, and her heart twisted at the sight.
“Kaidan,” she said. “I am yours.” She broke off and smiled suddenly, a wry, amused smile. “God, I really never thought I was the kind of woman who would ever say something like that . How totally…I don’t even know what to call that.”
“Shepard,” he said, “I’m not trying to be… I don’t even know what I wanted to say here.”
“I understand,” she told him. “Really, I do. I feel like you’re…mine. And God help any woman who tries to take you from me.”
“I wouldn’t want to see that,” Kaidan said, his lips twitching.
“Hey,” she told him, “If you honestly wanted to leave me, I’m not going to make you stay. But if there was any chance at all that beating the hell out of someone would keep you beside me…”
“Then you’d be jailed for murder.”
“You say the sweetest things, Shepard,” Kaidan teased her.
“What can I say?” she shrugged. “I know what turns a Marine on.” She tensed just shortly after he did. “I didn’t…mean it like that.” She scowled. “Alright, Kaidan. Honestly, is this going to bother you?”
“Honestly? I don’t like it,” he told her. “What bothers me isn’t what you did, but that you didn’t do it because you wanted to. I don’t like the idea that you were being used by some jackasses. If I had been there, I swear… If I thought you had chosen someone special, then I wouldn’t mind it… quite as much.”
“I agree,” she said. “That’s the part that I don’t like about it either. But in the end, I did choose someone special: I chose you.”
She smiled at him so openly, he had to smile back. She crawled over to him to lay her head on his chest. The contact of her skin made him relax a little. Somehow, having her touch him like this held a reassurance that her words had not been able to communicate. Kaidan wrapped his arms around her to hold her close.
“I’m glad you did,” he told her.
“Me too,” she agreed. “And you know, Kaidan, certain…acts aside, this is all new to me. I think I told you once before that part of me always…held back before. That’s part of why I never…finished what I started, even back then.” She paused a moment before she added, “And whatever I’ve done, the way I feel about you is completely new to me.”
“Same here,” he admitted.
They lay like that for a while, just staring down the bed to where their feet were tangled together in the sheets.
“So…” Shepard said at last, “You going to be okay with this?”
Kaidan thought about it. “I will be,” he said after a moment, “but only on the condition that I get to have you again – right now.”
“Really?” she asked sitting up to give him a sultry smile. “Why the condition, Alenko?”
“Well, I’m feeling very threatened here,” he said.
Shepard snorted. He didn’t sound even remotely threatened.
“So I think I’m going to have to ‘claim’ you a few times,” he went on. “You know, just to feel manly. And to make sure that you’re all mine.”
Shepard laughed loudly, then covered her mouth with her hand.
“What?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “You have a problem with that?”
“Oh, no,” she said, grinning. “I’m just thinking that with those three girlfriends, I’m feeling threatened, too.”
“Oh really?” he asked, reaching for her waist.
“Oh yes,” she said, crawling forward to straddle him. “So I’m going to have to do a lot of ‘claiming’ you right back.”
“You planning to use biotics on me, Shepard?” he asked, looking up at her, his eyes glittering.
“If I have to,” she murmured softly.
“Really?” he asked. “Is that a promise?”
“Oh yes,” she said.
“But only…” she added, as she began to slowly slide down over him,
“In the very…”
She grinned as he breathed in sharply.
Her own breath caught in her throat as she joined with him.