Making the best of things

Kaiden wasn't quite sure what he was supposed to be feeling. The last two missions had him negotiating for the safe release of Chairman Burns and getting help for a mentally unstable Alliance Major at the head of a biotic commune. It shouldn't be bothering him, he was a Alliance Lieutenant, it shouldn't matter if he was biotic or not.

He remembered the murmurs when he was in the biotic commune's compound, their muttered insistence that Father Kyle would protect them, that they needed him. There had been dozens of men and women, packed together in ramshackle Alliance bunkers, fending for themselves away from the rest of the universe. And that damned Burns -- held hostage at gunpoint by desperate L2s -- he couldn't get that image out of his head. He'd half expected to be cleaning brains off a bulkhead and taking Burns home in a body bag.

But as much as it upset him: desperate men and women at the fringes of society, doing what they had to, it upset him for entirely different reasons as well. He knew, as far as L2s went, he'd gotten off lucky with only occasional migraines, but he'd made something of it, the military had been happy to have him. He didn't much care for killing, but he got the job done. When the reparations bill got scrapped, Kaiden was upset, but he'd gone back to his post and kept working.

"You alright, Kaiden?" Shepard interrupted his train of thought. Of course it was Shepard. She always seemed to show up just in time to prompt an uncharacteristic baring of his thoughts. She leaned up against his workstation.

"I'm fine, Commander." He wasn't sure he should be talking to her. They always ended up flirting, it wasn't good for morale, it wasn't good for either of their reputations. Even if she was a Spectre, there were rules, regulations.

"I've only had a couple biotics under my command, but I know the last few missions had to be harder on you." Of course she'd been able to cut right to it, it must have been obvious.

"It's nothing --"

She snorted, somehow managing to make it seem delicate. "Sure it's nothing, that's why you're moping all over your navigational array."

"I'm not moping!" He protested, quite a bit louder than he'd really thought was appropriate. "It's -- nothing you need to worry about, Shepard. Not as a commanding officer not as -- not as anything."

Shepard nodded, clearly satisfied with the answer. "I'd better get out of here before I break my promise not to flirt with you today." She gave him a wink and left while Kaiden stammered at her back.

He gave her retreating back a weak smile, that would have been harassment if he didn't want it so damn bad.