Kelly Chambers could dish out romantic advice to just about anyone.

Ask her about your boyfriend and his problem with dialogue? She could come up with at least five ways to get him talking to you about his feelings. Have a girl with troublesome parents? She had the ideas to get them to warm up to you. Same-sex relationships? Inter-species relationships? She knew how to deal with them all.

She knew how to handle people just as well as she could handle their relationships. Depressed? She could make you smile. Worried? She'd ease your fears. It was just how she operated. "Fixing" people was her specialty, though she'd never refer to it as such. She merely helped them along on a path towards happiness. Or, at least, contentment.

Over the past month and a half, Kelly spent almost all of her time with her green eyes turned onto the crew of the Normandy SR-2. She'd whittled her way past the walls everyone seemed to put up. She got Garrus to tell her about his family. Jacob referred to her as a "bro" on more than one occasion. Miranda actually smiled at her once. Zaeed's borderline pornographic jokes stopped around her, replaced by something vaguely resembling mumbled manners.

She was good at her job. She knew it. Shepard knew it. The crew knew it. The Illusive Man certainly knew it.

She was a people person.

So why the hell was she blushing?

John Shepard introduced the dark-haired, dark-eyed Commander Alenko to her with a lopsided smile. "'ey! Alenko! This is Kelly Chambers," Shepard said, throwing an arm around the yeoman's shoulders, "She checks my messages and keeps everyone sane. Don'tcha, Kelly?"

Kelly raised a fist to her lips and cleared her throat. It felt like her cheeks were melting off of her face. Part of her wondered if the Mess's lighting was bright enough for him to see them turn pink. When she decided they weren't, she tore her eyes away from Kaidan and glanced up at Shepard. "Yes, Commander."

She winced when she felt the man's heavy hand petting her hair down. "Don't be so formal, Kel," he slurred. The sharp scent of alcohol coated his breath. Just how long had this party been going on? "We're all fri - all friends here."

"Do you want a drink?" Kaidan interrupted, clocking the young woman's sudden embarrassment under Shepard's heavy arm and less than tactful conversation.

He saw her expression brighten noticeably and was unable to ignore the thought that popped up in the back of his head. Cute smile; she had a cute smile. He gave a snort of laughter when he saw her slip from under Shepard's arm, turning away from both of them to move towards the makeshift bar. It was surrounded by faces both familiar and not. Garrus was busy trying to figure out which of the liquors were safe for him to drink. Tali stood directly behind him, voicing exactly how much she'd like to have a drink sometime in the next millennia. A dark-haired woman as chatting idly with a tattooed one, their voices too quiet to make out the conversation. Beside them, a ham-fisted Scottish man was going on about the Council and how they should "bugger themselves and save the Reapers from the trouble."

Kaidan slipped in through the two women, excusing himself in the process, and grabbed two beers. When he turned around, Kelly was making her way over, though everyone and their mother seemed intent on getting her attention for a hello. He busied himself with popping open the two bottles as he watched her move from person to person, her smile slowly making its way from a simple curl in the corner of her mouth to a full-on grin that nearly hurt his cheeks in sympathy.

By the time she reached him, Kelly was laughing, mostly at herself. She rubbed the side of her face as her smile faded into something smaller. "Thanks," she said, taking the beer that was offered to her. "So best-friend-of-the-commander…"

"Kaidan," he interrupted before taking a swig. It was potent stuff, and it tickled his throat as it went down. The remnants of flavor weren't at all unpleasant.

"Kaidan," Kelly grinned. She held the bottle in her hands as her eyes went from person to person, narrowly avoiding his. Everyone was having a really good time, which was satisfying in itself. Some part of this was because of her. No matter how small the job, every single member of this crew had a hand in defeating the Collectors. Even two weeks later, she was still running on the fumes of adrenaline from the whole experience. "John speaks very highly of you."

Sneaking a glance at him, she took a sip from the beer. The tart twang of alcohol had the bridge of her nose bunching up, but she swallowed it down. Of course she'd seen him before. After Shepard ran into him on Horizon, her files were filled to the brim with information on him, much more than she'd ever expected and more thoroughly researched than any biography. Before then, he'd just been that cute, quiet guy standing just to the right of Commander Shepard, the Big Hero.

God, was he cute.

Kelly's eyes widened a little at her own thoughts and her eyes fell to her beer. What the hell? she asked herself, biting on the inside of her bottom lip. You didn't even get like this around Shepard, and he's very handsome. And famous. First human Spectre! Savior of the Citadel! All girls love him. But Kaidan has such nice, kind eyes - stop it! Stop it, stop it, stop it!

" - good to talk to him again."

"Oh! I'm sorry," she apologized, reaching out and resting a hand on his forearm, an unconscious gesture. "My mind was somewhere else completely. What were you saying?"

Kaidan gave a chuckle that was somewhere between a laugh and a sigh, his eyes falling to her hand. Her gasp was only half-suppressed, and she jerked her hand away from his arm. No touching. Touching without permission was bad. But he was quick to shoot her a smile, as if to tell her he really didn't mind. "Just that it's good to talk to Shepard again. There was a lot said." He paused, considering his words. "As… you probably know."

She was nursing the beer with sudden panache by the time he finished speaking, no doubt eager to get enough alcohol in her system not to embarrass herself farther. Or to at least get to the point where she didn't care or couldn't remember the next day. "Oh no, Shepard understood. No hard feelings." Her sight focused on Gabby as the engineer passed between them to tell Kenneth to slow down and shut up. Kelly laughed, shaking her head. "It's probably good that you just said things and didn't shoot him."

"I was still recovering from the shock," he grinned, "Shepard does this thing where he makes an entrance at the exact moment he's needed. Even being dead for two years didn't change that. He still showed up to save my ass."

"Tell me about it," Kelly replied, her smile unshakeable despite the gruesome memory the comment brought forth. This was a party, and she was a fully functional human being. The Collectors were dead. What happened didn't matter. It was the past.

Four beers later, and everything was warm and soft-focused.

Whatever that was, it was a lot stronger than she was used to.

The alcohol had a very candid Kaidan cradling his ribs with laughter as Kelly held an index in the air and continued her string of impressions. "Too much alcohol. Sociological repercussions interesting. Sub - subtraction of clothing - hic - subtraction of clothing inevitable." While he didn't know the salarian doctor personally, he'd been on the receiving end of a few one-sided conversations, and he couldn't help but marvel at how much she sounded like him.

"Wait, wait, wait," Kelly giggled, flapping a hand at him as if to tell him to be quiet. "I have one," she floundered her index at him again, "One more!" He nodded, thumbing the tear in the corner of his eye away. He felt like he hadn't laughed like this in years. In fact, he was sure he hadn't. "Gawddamn, Chambers, you slag, what'd you do with my rifle?"

She was laughing through the question, ruining the impersonation, but he could still tell who it was. That was enough to have him laughing again, which broke yeoman's faux-serious expression as she planted a hand over her face and nearly collapsed against the chair in another round of giggles.

Nearly everyone was gone from the Mess by now, filtering out to either leave where the Normandy was docked at the Citadel for home or heading towards the crew quarters. Shepard was leaning against the bar, having a very intense discussion with Donnelly, who had his cheek pressed against the cool metal of the sink. Tali was sitting somewhere behind them, yammering on about something or the other, clearly not reacting as most would to the booze. Maybe she hadn't had as much to drink. But Kaidan and Kelly were the only souls left at the table, and they were taking advantage of the opportunity.

"Y'know," Kaidan began after his laughter died down, leaving nothing but a smirk on his lips. "I'd really like to know you, Kelly."

"You already know me, silly!"

Kaidan snorted as he tried to remain serious. "No, no. I mean… not drunk. Know you, know you."

Even through the encroaching haze of drunkenness, he could see her light up at the prospect. Her posture straightened a little, "You should leave -" She pulled herself up from the chair, nearly tipping forward in the process. "Whoa. You should leave me a note. To re - to remi - so I remember. One sec!"

Her strides were more than a little off balance as she made her way towards the elevator and clumsily punched in the code that would bring her to the CIC. Luckily, having done this so many times before had her go through the motions in a way that no one would expect from someone three sheets to the wind. A few stumbling steps to her terminal, grabbing for any datapad she could find, and a few stumbling steps back was all it took before she'd succeeded in her small mission.

She dropped the pad unceremoniously in front of Kaidan before sitting down in the chair across from him. Her eyes narrowed as his did, and she gave an almost delirious grin as his fingers moved awkwardly over the pad. "I don't…" Glancing up from it, he gave her an expectant look. "What am I - what do I say?"

"Pfft, it's your note," Kelly said with a dismissive wave of her hand, "Say I look pretty or somethin'."

Kaidan could feel a warmth spread up his neck and into his cheeks as he squinted at the datapad. He could hardly speak words in a clear manner, much less type them. Each time he misspelled something, he mumbled a curse to himself, but he kept going, leaving the problem uncorrected. "Okay, here," he said, sliding the pad across the table towards Kelly. "I should get out before I forget how to walk, too."

"Oh, okay!" As he gathered himself up to go, he smiled to himself. She was really cheerful. Even with that many beers in her system, she was like a tiny, woman-shaped ray of sunshine. He glanced over at her as he nudged his chair closer to the table, his eyes soaking her up. A cute, curvy, redheaded ray of sunshine. And she was smiling at him. He really liked her smile.

Kaidan shook off his thoughts, palm cradling his forehead. "It was, uh, nice meeting you, Kelly." His voice was thick, but she could catch a little bit of a smile in it. That was enough for her.

"You, too, Kaidan."

The yeoman grabbed for the datapad and stood, not bothering to push in her chair. Thankfully the crew's quarters was close, and thankfully no one was blocking the door. There was no tripping, no nudging people out of the way. There was definitely snoring and even a muffled curse as someone groaned of a stomach ache. Without even bothering to climb out of her clothes, Kelly dug a knee into her bottom bunk and fell, face down, into her pillow with a dull thwump, blindly sliding the pad beneath the bed.

Sleep came fast, and she didn't even dream. Her entire body felt like it was sloshing around. It was a wonderful feeling, especially when paired with the giddy bouncing around of various winged insects in her belly. Or maybe that was the booze. She didn't know. Didn't know, didn't care.

Morning, however, came a lot sooner than she would've liked. Everyone was gone by the time she stirred from the heavy sleep. And by the sharp pain at the base of her skull, she knew exactly where they all were. Med Bay. Moaning into her pillow, Kelly arched her back and lifted her face onto a bent arm. Her other arm was aching from where it'd spent the entire night bent over the side of her bunk. Beneath her fingers was a strip of cool metal.

She felt around for it, nails digging down below the datapad in order to get a little leverage on it. When she was finally able to open her eyes, she squinted at the orange glow. It hurt. She wished she was still asleep. Or she hadn't drank so much. But what she read had a smile tugging in the corner of her mouth, despite everything.

id lulike to know you kelly we shuld have dinner

ps yo look pretty