Disclaimer: I do not own Mass Effect

-o-o-o-

Kaiden couldn't sleep. It was that same image over and over again. That same dream. This was worse than those damn migraines he got all the time. The soldier screwed his eyes shut as if it would drive the pictures out of his head.

Realizing it was a lost cause, and that he definitely did NOT want to sleep, EVER again, Kaiden got out of bed. The ship's internal clock read between too late at night to too early in the morning. Grimacing, the ebony haired lieutenant made his way out of his cabin to the mess hall. He felt like a zombie on his feet, shuffling his way down the elevator and towards the coffee dispenser.

Even the immediate beep of the brown liquid materializing in the pot, as if out of nowhere, took too long for the man. He did not want to run into anyone else while he was out here. Especially the one who's face he kept dreaming about. Whose body he kept imagining holding him down. Caressing him.

…Fucking him.

His hand holding the cup trembled slightly, and he brought it to his lips, hoping the hot, bitter liquid would wash away the troubling dream. Hopefully taking whatever feelings chained with it down to the endless depths of his mind. He could NOT have this screwing with their mission. Not to mention he would never do anything to break the precious bond they had formed through all the blood-pulsing battles and close calls.

"Trouble sleeping?" A deep, rough voice asked sternly from behind him.

Kaiden choked on his drink, quickly setting the cup down on the table before it could end up broken on the floor. Apparently, however, he had placed it too fast with a little too much force, hot brown liquid splashing over the brim to spot the flat surface. The lieutenant was almost too afraid to turn around. He had faced deadly enemies, horrible ghouls, and terrible Thresher Maws. Yet none of them inspired the same amount of gut-wrenching worry as the man standing behind him right then.

Swallowing harshly to dispel the lump in his throat, Kaiden blinked as he turned slowly to address the other. His perceptive brown eyes took in the shock of blond hair and the deep set violet eyes, "…Commander."

The man's muscled arms rippled as he crossed them over his broad chest, a rare smirk adorning one side of his mouth, "Why do you always sound like I'm gonna court-martial you for breathing wrong?"

"I… just have a lot on my mind." The lieutenant mumbled apologetically, rubbing the back of his neck.

He set himself to the task of cleaning up the spill, doing everything he could to avoid eye contact with the one man he sorely wished wasn't standing in the same room with him right now.

"What could possibly keep you up so late?" Shepard wondered gruffly aloud. Though, somehow, the man made it sound like an order rather than an inquiry. It was a talent.

Kaiden paused in his search for a decent towel to clean up with. His eyes sought and found the Commander's lighter orbs before he muttered absentmindedly, "Dreams…"

Cursing himself a second later, Kaiden rushed to get back to the task at hand, tearing his gaze away from those purple orbs with more difficulty than he thought possible. The Commander, on the other hand, frowned slightly. The answer had sounded cryptic. As if there were more to it than his lieutenant was letting on.

The lieutenant was so focused on searching while simultaneously ignoring Shepard, that he immediately tensed when a hand fell on his shoulder.

"Care to tell me about them?" Shepard asked, hand outstretched before the other.

It took Kaiden a few seconds too long to realize the Commander was holding out the towel he had been desperately searching for. The lieutenant had been too busy attempting to force himself to swallow throat that had remained strangely dry.

Choosing not to answer, the lieutenant merely nodded his thanks for the piece of clothe as he hurriedly cleaned up his mess. He ignored the raised brow of his Commander beside him, the man probably wondering what Kaiden's deal was. Convincing himself that he was definitely NOT running away, the lieutenant tossed the towel into the hamper as he picked up his coffee and tossed a wary glance at the silent man before him.

"Lieutenant…?" The Commander let the word hang in the gap between them, eyebrow still raised at Kaiden's strange behavior.

"I've… got to go." Kaiden replied slowly. He paused after the statement, lips parted as if he wanted to say something more. But without another word, he simply pivoted and walked out of the room.

Shepard was just left to watch the other go, confusion and worry combining in the echoes of the man's footsteps.

-o-o-o-

The next night the raven-haired man awoke drenched in sweat. It was the same again! Did he ever get a break? As if it wasn't enough that he couldn't keep his distance when they went out on missions. Who else could watch the Commander's back better than the lieutenant, after all? But he couldn't even get away from the man in his dreams.

Getting his breathing under control, Kaiden got silently out of bed and paused in the corridors. Feeling like a burglar planning to raid the ship, the man stealthily observed the empty halls. He didn't want to bump into the Commander again, after all. For some reason, whatever brought the dreams managed to bring with it a large dose of guilt. He couldn't control it. So why should he be ashamed?

All the same, the lieutenant would prefer if he didn't bump into the man during after hours. Strangely, it brought along with it a sort of intimacy that Kaiden just did not want to think about right now.

He had just made it to the dimmed lights of the kitchen, about to let out a sigh of relief, when the lights brightened an instant later. A gruff, clearing throat sound brought Kaiden's attention to the corner of the room. There, leaning nonchalantly against the wall as if standing there at odd hours at the night was completely normal, was the Commander.

"Lieutenant." He greeted, amusement dancing in those normally stoic eyes.

Caught, Kaiden couldn't help the flush that crept up from his neck, heating his face.

Thinking of the first excuse that came to his mind, the lieutenant mumbled, "Sorry. Sleep walking."

That said, Kaiden did an about-face and walked right out. He did not catch the inquisitive smirk that appeared slowly on his Commander's face.

-o-o-o-

From then on, Kaiden spent his restless nights in his own cabin, pacing back and forth like a caged animal. What was he doing? This was his space craft as well. He couldn't let a few twisted-

-yet extremely hot-

-dreams confine him to his own quarters like a criminal. Not to mention he must be confusing the hell out of the Commander, a man he would trust with his own life without batting an eye.

Even his close confidant, Joker, had been commenting on his weird actions as of late. Of course, the dreams weren't something he chose to share with the pilot, but that didn't mean he could stop them from expressing themselves visually through his own traitorous limbs. Kaiden couldn't even be in the same room for more than a second with the Commander before stiffening, making some lame excuse, and bolting.

Gritting his teeth, Kaiden forced himself back into the tangled sheets, shutting his eyes as he looked forward to the prospect of sleepless hours ahead.

-o-o-o-

"What is UP with you lately, man?" Joker asked for the millionth time that day, fingers flying across the console before him.

"Nothing." The lieutenant replied, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

"You've been acting light a freakin' ghost lately." The Joker said, serious for once. He turned to fix a questioning look at the man standing beside him, his next tone mocking, "You don't even take the time to warm up milk and some cookies while you visit anymore."

"We both know you don't need the extra sugar." Kaiden smirked.

Too late, the lieutenant recognized the silent, booted tread of the man who was suddenly behind him. The hairs on the back of his neck raised, but he pretended to be preoccupied with studying the stars outside the port side windows.

Not waiting for recognition of his presence, the Commander said tersely, "Gear up, lieutenant. We hit planet side in an hour."

Paling, Kaiden couldn't help his knee-jerk reaction of whipping his head around to look at the man as he spluttered, "But I thought… weren't you taking Tali and Ashley?"

Catching the smaller man's gaze and confidently holding it, Shepard explained in a light tone, "Nah. I feel like a smaller assembly is in order. Just you and me, lieutenant."

Without another word, the Commander was gone just as quickly as he appeared.

Not having caught the tension between the two, attention consumed by the control panel before him, the Joker waved, "Boy do I envy you two. Another mineral excavation at some distant backward planet in the toilet end of the galaxy. Have fun."

Throat dry, the lieutenant cleared it before he could reply, "Yeah…"

Joker watched the other leave, shaking his head slowly, "Those L2 implants must be messing with him more than usual."

-o-o-o-

Kaiden desperately wished for some enemies to materialize before the Mako, wanted anything to fill the silence within the small terrain vehicle's hold. He sat rigid in the chair, piloting the tank-like Mako with extreme precision as he attempted to ignore the purple gaze that threatened to burn a hole straight through the side of his head.

From the passenger seat, the Commander, arms crossed over his chest, finally spoke up, "So."

Eyeing him with a brief, sidelong glance, Kaiden echoed in confusion, "…So…?"

A stretch of silence fell between them once more. Honestly, the lieutenant would have preferred gouging his own eyes out with a fork than this torture. Before he could even attempt anything of the sort, Shepard continued, "Anything you feel like telling me, lieutenant?"

The raven-haired man paused, pretending to muse for a few moments before forcing out a calm, "… Nah. Nothing I can think of, Commander."

Shepard merely grunted in acknowledgement, leading the lieutenant into the false hopes that nothing more would be said. Of course, the Commander did not have the reputation of relentlessly pursuing any mission he took until completion for no reason, "What about those dreams of yours?"

Horror clutched at Kaiden's heart, and he desperately tried remembering how to breathe. The thought of his Commander's hands. His voice. Those lips. All the moaning… Clearing his throat, the raven-haired man desperately tried to douse the heat stirring between his legs by thoughts of desecrated husks. Eyes trained on the unmarked road ahead, the lieutenant remarked lightly, "Oh. Ah, those are long gone. Hope I haven't worried you, Commander."

"Of course not…" The Commander replied, not sounding convinced at all.

A knot of worry made itself at home at the pit of Kaiden's stomach.

-o-o-o-

The thought that the Commander would just not let the subject drop that easily was confirmed later the next day as Kaiden received a note in his morning's log:

Go see the Doctor.

The fact that the man would use his authority to force Kaiden to seek medical help when the lieutenant was perfectly fine irked him to no end. Armed in his resolve to demand the request be taken back, the lieutenant headed straight for the Commander's quarters. Knocking on the door, he heard a gruff 'come in' before the door beeped and opened.

Striding into the room like a man on a mission, the raven-haired man stopped and opened his mouth to speak only to have his jaw hang slack instead.

The Commander, apparently, hadn't even gotten out of bed yet. The blankets were tossed and strewn about, barely covering Shepard's manhood and half his muscled form. The glimpses of naked skin burned into Kaiden's memory even as he took in the Commander's nonchalant pose. Bent arm hooked over one propped up knee, the other leg flat on the bed, Shepard blinked the sleep slowly out of his eyes as he looked up at the shocked lieutenant.

Unsurprisingly, Kaiden found his throat dry once more. His dreams were no where near the real thing up close. Those perfectly chiseled abs. Those thick thighs. The unsuppressed power emanating from the man even when he was barely awake and not even doing anything.

When his brown gaze finally lifted to the finally awake, and amused, purple orbs, Kaiden could have just died on the spot. He opened his mouth once more, only to shut it again as nothing would come out.

"You were saying…?" Shepard inquired, eye brow cocked in his continued amusement.

"I…" The lieutenant backed slowly to the door, "forgot, I have a… medical appointment I need to be going to."

The Commander didn't think he'd ever seen Kaiden retreat so fast in his life. When his room was empty once more, he let out a small chuckle. Well, this was an interesting discovery…

-o-o-o-

The Commander was angry.

No, angry was not even close to describing it.

Commander Shepard was pissed the hell off.

As he stormed out of the ship, not sure where they were docked and for once, not even caring, the blonde-haired man couldn't help the message repeating itself over and over again in his head.

'It has been indescribable being under your command and in your team. I can never thank you enough. However, there are some… issues that I need to deal with right now. Please understand. Consider this my resignation. No hard feelings. And hopefully, our paths will cross again in the future. ~ Lieutenant'

He didn't know where the raven-haired man had gone. Didn't even know what time he left.

All Shepard knew was that he would find him.

And he would make him sorry.

-o-o-o-

Kaiden shuffled along the road, the only belongings he had fit in the single backpack he wore outside of his armor. He even had a few credits tucked away. He knew the crew probably wouldn't be too pleased with him when they woke. He didn't even know how the Commander would feel. He just hoped they would understand.

Just as he was wondering to himself where he would go, he heard a gravelly voice he could pin down anywhere bark out loud, "Lieutenant!"

Eyes widening, the slender man whipped his head behind him as if he had been slapped. He could see the muscular form of an angry, blonde-headed man heading his way. How did he even recognize him from this far away?!

"Shit." Kaiden cursed under his breath.

Before he could even think, he realized he was pelting his way out of the streets and weaving into alleyways. Wondering why he was running as if he was an escaped convict, the lieutenant found his hurried pace quickened when a more pissed off bellow followed, "Lieutenant!!"

He had thought he would have at least a good day's worth of time to get as far away as he could. Too bad he didn't think to remember the Commander's odd hours. He didn't even realize the man would take it as far as to chase after him.

After a while of running, the Lieutenant risked a glance over his shoulders. Relief started to flood into him as he realized the streets behind him were empty. But then there was that voice again. And it was closer than he thought possible.

"Kaiden."

The raven-haired man stumbled, looking forward once more. The Commander was there, standing at the opening of the alley, his expression one of un-reigned fury. Skidding to a stop, the lieutenant barely managed to not topple over when he was a few feet before Shepard.

"Co…mander…" Kaiden said slowly, eyeing the man before him warily.

Brown eyes darting around for an escape route, the Commander was, as always, a step ahead. His shotgun cocked as he growled, "You so much as wiggle your toe, Alenko, and I will fuckin' blow it off before dragging you back to the ship so the good Doctor could patch you back together."

"That… would be… unnecessary." The lieutenant said slowly, in hopes of calming the quivering mass of angry brawn down. He hoped the touch of sarcasm he placed in there didn't spell his own doom.

Before anything else could be said, Shepard covered the distance between them in two strides, shotgun hanging loosely at his side as he grabbed the front of Kaiden's armor, "What the hell were you thinking?"

"I left it all in the message-" The raven-haired man started to explain, but Shepard cut him off by slamming him back into the wall, gun clattering, forgotten, on the ground beside them.

"The HELL you did." The Commander growled, heat stringing angrily through his words, purple eyes accusing as they drilled into widened brown orbs.

For the next few moments, the only sounds were their ragged breathing, both combating for the upper position through sheer willpower and their glares alone.

"Explain." The Commander vocalized through gritted teeth.

Pinned against the wall, the only movement the raven-haired man could make was tilting his head back to lock eyes with the furious Commander before him.

"I… can't…" Alenko felt his throat close up, his voice almost cracking.

"I think I, of all people, deserve an explanation." Shepard growled, his fist tightening around the front of the armor it had latched onto.

"Can't… fraternize…" The lieutenant tore his eyes away, not wanting to see the hate. The disgust.

"What? That's what this is all about? Because you can't think of anything else but screwing Ashley?" The Commander ranted.

Alenko shook his head.

"The scientist's daughter?" Shepard's frown deepened.

But the lieutenant simply shook his head again.

The Commander looked thoroughly confused, "Tali…?"

Kaiden squeezed his eyes shut before forcing his chin up so he could lock eyes with those furious violet. His mouth barely formed the words, "No… with…. YOU…"

That took the fight swiftly out of the muscled man before him. Not looking as if he could breathe, the Commander took a step back, releasing his hold on the lieutenant. Alenko hung his head, shame filling his every fiber. Great. He had managed to disgust the one man that he ever admired in his life. The wall behind him being the only thing that kept him standing, the lieutenant looked back up at Shepard. Trying to read the man's stoic expression was like trying to decipher the emotions of a boulder.

Alenko opened his mouth to apologize, only to find it hindered by the lips of another.

The lieutenant gasped as strong hands hooked around him, one slipping behind his waist and the other behind his head, pulling him towards the warm and strong body of the Commander. His slender body had no hope against the much stronger form of the hungry man before him, jaws working easily to deepen the kiss as a warm tongue ran along Kaiden's lips.

A moan escaped unexpectedly from Kaiden's assaulted mouth as Shepard's hand slipped lower around the lieutenant's hips, grinding their clothed erections together in a relentless rhythm. The lieutenant arched back, his lips moving back only a couple inches due to the fingers still encasing the back of his skull.

"Is that all…?" The Commander questioned breathlessly, half-lidded eyes observing Alenko's own.

"Commander…" Kaiden blinked, surprise filling his voice as he replied, "I didn't think-"

Shepard interrupted Alenko by rubbing his muscled thigh between the lieutenant's legs, causing a throaty moan from the slender man trapped between the Commander's muscled form and the wall.

"Tell me…" Shepard demanded, taking his time to taste the lieutenant's neck, "… what did you dream about, Alenko?"

Breathless, the lieutenant gulped air before he managed to a reply. Eyes refocusing, he looked into Shepard's smirking gaze. This was real. The Commander really did want him. Didn't hate him. He. WANTED. Him.

"I dreamed… of you… fucking me." Lieutenant Alenko finally said, adding with a slight smirk of his own, "Commander."

"Well, Lieutenant…" Shepard said, dragging the other closer to him, "let's see what we can do about that…"