A/N: Good Lord, I don't know WHAT happened to me to make me write this. it's pure sugary fluff. Shenko in all its sweetness. It is short and sweet; I'll give you that.

Anyway, this would be Andromeda "Dro" Shepard (Colonist/Sole Survivor/Vanguard - Paragon) and the one and only K-bear Alenko after their little pre-Ilos romantic interlude. I dunno about you, but I absolutely couldn't stand it that Shepard was already up, awake, dressed, and staring at Kaidan by the time he woke up. So here, have some Shenko in which she's still snuggled up tight with him even when Joker gives the five-minute warning.

To keep up my inspirational kick, I put "Love Theme" from the Mass Effect soundtrack on a continuous loop. It's a beautiful piece. A soft piano melody with faint drums thumping in the background. I like to envision that drumbeat is kind of like the lovers' hearts. Yeah, I'm so sappy it makes one puke candy corn. Try not to shoot me for this lapse into complete sentimental-ness.

And this only took me a handful under twenty minutes or so to write, so, ENJOY!

Mass Effect

Five Minutes

The comm clicked on. She barely heard it.

"Ten minutes out from Ilos, commander."

The comm clicked off again. This time, she shifted slightly, almost stirring, but the strong arms she had dozed off in last night tightened around her bare waist, holding her close. Her bright blue eyes blinked open only momentarily as she took a second or two to remember where she was. A smile flickered across her face as she closed her eyes again and snuggled tightly against the lieutenant's—her lieutenant's—warm body. He nuzzled into her shoulder, exhaling deeply in sleep. She just reached back and cradled the back of his head in her palm, gently stroking his almost unruly dark hair. Even then he barely stirred, and she gazed over her naked shoulder at him, mulling over how innocent he appeared in sleep.

I love you.

She slowly rolled over until she was facing him, and she cuddled her head into his chest, sighing contentedly. His arms ever so slightly tightened around her as she let him cradle her close.

We might all be dead today, and I wouldn't have gotten a chance to tell you.

He stirred only long enough to tuck her head under his chin, and she just rested her ear to his chest, listening to the steady, peaceful rhythm of his heartbeat. She snuggled a little deeper under the covers for that extra ounce of comfort, still listening to him breathe, still listening to his heart.

You make me feel like I could take on the universe.

He started to shift as if awakening. She already was, so her eyes were the first things he saw when he did awaken. She gave him a smile and a kiss; he returned it with a loving caress to the scar on her cheek, below her eye. Then he just exhaled, long and slow, gazing at her, love in his eyes.

"Dro . . ."


She took his face in her hands again, kissing him tenderly. He just held her close to his heart, barely hearing when the comm chirped again.

"I know you need your beauty sleep, but we're five minutes out from Ilos, commander."

She sighed, a mere hint of frustration in that sigh. He just rubbed her back, rubbed the long, deep scar in the small of her back, thinking back on how she'd explained all her scars to him last night, showed them all to him, let him run his battle-toughened fingertips over them. He kissed the top of her head.

"I can't remember the last time I met anybody like you."

"You're a sweetheart. And, if you think about it, five minutes is actually a long time."

She smiled up at him, eyes glittering as she stroked his jaw.

"And do you know what I want from you in those five minutes?"

He shook his head "no."

"I want a promise. I want you to love me and forget there was ever a time when we weren't 'us.' When all this blows over, I want you to stay with me forever. Maybe a pretty house back on Earth, somewhere out in the country, with a big tree and a swing to go in it. A simple wedding, no frills. Just you. That's all I want."

"It's all yours," he murmured in response, pressing his lips to her forehead as she rested her hands against his chest. "But that only took thirty seconds. What happens with the other four and a half minutes?"

She barely smiled as she exhaled, again caught up in listening to his heartbeat, counting every low thump, numbering them, treasuring them, losing herself in the contented rhythm, breathing in his scent as she listened.

"Just stay with me."