A trail of armor lay along the path between the elevator and Shepard's quarters. Each piece discarded ungracefully, cast aside by a weary hand, kicked out of the way, scarred by gunfire and covered in blood. The gauntlets were off first, followed by the greaves, laying at their final resting place near the door. After stepping inside, there was her helmet resting on the corner of her desk. Shoulder pads and breastplate decorated the few stairs into the living quarters. The remaining bits and pieces made up a breadcrumb trail right to the foot of her bed.

There, Shepard was lying face down in her plain grey fatigue underwear. Her skin gleamed with sweat, pale white and painted with a pink flush that matched each new bruise. No longer pulled back in a tight bun, her hair pooled around her neck. Tendrils clung to damp skin. She was tired. Exhausted, even. But her mind refused to slow down. It refused to stop for long enough to let her sleep. So, instead, Shepard just lay there.

She didn't move an inch when she felt the mattress dip under the weight of another person. Her only reaction was a shiver when she felt a deft hand sliding up her backbone. Thane's fingertips drawing another wave of heat from her skin. Still, she didn't move from her spot, her face buried in her pillow.

Her breath hitched when she felt his lips on her shoulder blade, his hand trailing across the width of her back and then down, down along her ribcage, the curve of her waist, resting on her hip.

He could feel her shift just slightly as if in invitation. Not one to forsake an opportunity, he lifted a leg and placed it carefully on the other side of her hip, his thighs barely hovering above her own. His fingers sought out her hair, lifting it carefully from her neck and smoothing it aside. A quiet sound of pleasure parted from the weary commander's lips when she felt his mouth on the tender skin beneath her jaw.

They both smelled like the battle. The sharp, almost acidic smell of Collector blood. Sweat - hers saltine, his a mixture of exotic scents she could hardly recognize. His lips were cool. His hands on her shoulders, gentle, yet persistent.

"Thane," she said quietly, his name catching in her throat. He could feel his blood pound in his veins, a silent response to the yearning in her voice.

The drell leaned forward, his chest pressed against her back. While he was careful not to rest his entire weight upon her, she welcomed the feeling. His lips were at her ear, soft flesh pressed against cartilage. When he spoke, Shepard's eyes drooped closed again, goosebumps rising over her arms. "I am here, siha."

She could feel him against her back. Not just the weight of his body, but the way his desire manifested itself. Before she could say anything, his hands were guiding her face towards his. She didn't fight it. She didn't want to. She didn't have to.

The moment their lips touched, Shepard's hands went to his face, curling around the back of his neck and guiding him even closer. His tongue drew lazy circles on hers while she only wanted to press forward, only wanted more and quickly. With practiced care, Shepard turned over onto her back beneath the protective canopy that was her lover. She took in a sharp breath when his hands left her hair, leaving a flushed trail down her throat, over her collarbones, dipping beneath the taut grey fabric of her bra.

Shepard arched her back at the sensation, and he nearly trembled at the feeling of her hips pressed against his.

They were alive. They'd made it. The present threat was nothing but smoke and parts, and they were the reason behind it. They were the victors. They had another day, another night, to live, and they would spend it together.

Thane shut his eyes as Shepard smoothed her hands down his neck. "You're still wearing all of your clothes," she stated matter-of-factly in a voice thickened by desire.

"I am."

"That's a problem." Her strength always surprised him. All it took was a few well-placed limbs for her to flip him over onto his back. He watched her as she straddled his thighs, fingertips dancing along the smooth leather encasing his person. In only a few swift movements, she'd unbuckled his jacket, revealing the form-fitting suit beneath.

A quiet rumble escaped his throat as he felt her warm lips on the skin of his chest, the wet heat of her tongue. Her fingers went to the suit's zipper, and she began to slowly pull it downwards. Slowly, almost painfully, following each inch with another kiss. By the time she reached the sensitive skin of his stomach, he was already shifting beneath her, hands running through her hair with an impatience she did not expect from him.

Drawing her mouth away from his stomach, Shepard moved her face to his. He relished in the almost stifling heat of her skin, such a contrast from drell women. The soft texture of her skin, the swell of her breasts pressed to his chest, the color of her flushed cheeks. She was an intoxicating contrast, and he loved that about her.

Shepard's breath was warm and dewy against his lips. Time seemed to slow as his hands slipped down the curve of her waist, fingertips sliding beneath the simple fabric and across her damp skin. Each touch sent a wave of pleasure through her. The remaining adrenaline in her system made every caress feel unlike any before.

After what felt like an eternity, she was finally able to feel his cool skin against her own. Letting his strong hands guide her downwards, she gave a little gasp as they met. Even after two glasses of wine before they reached the Omega 4 Relay, it still took some time for them to figure out each other, to see how the other moved. While not awkward, they had to get used to each other.

This time, their bodies seemed to meld together in relief. He recalled with clarity how her back arched, her thighs tensed, the clear, light sound of her pleasure. And these moans were heard a second time as she tossed her head back, her fingers tightening around his where they rested on her hips.

The only sounds that reached her ears were the echoes of herself paired with the halting murmurs and quiet groans from Thane's mouth. Her head was all but swimming, her skin humming, her lips burning. She felt disconnected from her body, yet so thoroughly immersed in every action and reaction that it was almost painful. A delicious pain that she'd never felt before when with a man.

Despite their own desperation to never stop, to never miss a moment of what was unfolding before them, Thane curled an arm around her back and maneuvered her beneath him. She went willingly, a leg hooked around his, arching herself even closer to him than before.

She reveled in the feeling of his arm wrapped around her back, cradling her against his chest as he moved even deeper, even closer.

The crescendo was almost too much for Shepard to handle. Her fingers dug into the skin of Thane's shoulders as she clung to him, her entire body shuddering. He, too, held fast, his face buried in the soft skin of her neck. Her heart felt like it would pound out of her chest. Her lungs ached as she gasped for air.

But the ability to draw breath was quickly stolen from her when she felt Thane's lips on hers. They were less rushed. Tentative, even.

"I look forward to fighting by your side for the months to come." His voice was quiet in her ear, a rumbling whisper. "I will be your weapon for as long as I am able." It was a solemn vow laced with a passion that always rang true in his words.

A grunt of protestation parted from Shepard's lips. "You're not just a weapon, Thane. You're so much more to me than that."

He placed another tender kiss on her mouth. When he drew away, Shepard finally opened her eyes. Their faces were only inches apart. The room's dim lighting cast a shadow over many of his features, but she could still see his eyes. She could see the relief in them. She could see the desire.

She could see the love.

A/N: TA-DA! And so ends my first smutty fic on ever.

Please be gentle. ;)