Disclaimer: Mass Effect does not belong to me.

Author's note: It's quite short, I know. But hopefully, what it lacks in length, it makes up for in emotion. Be warned: it gets sexual about halfway through, but isn't too explicit.

He sat staring at the screen in front of him, his mind not really focused on the words sprawled across the display. Instead, he was thinking of his commanding officer and the illicit relationship they began after Virmire. She had come to him that night, seeking comfort, and he willingly gave it, knowing she needed physical contact with another human being to erase the guilt of the decision she made that day. She had approached him without preamble, taking what she wanted without any regard to his feelings. Their joining was violent, and he barely managed to make it through without any injuries.

She began to visit him often after that. During the day, she treated him as she always had. But at night, he came to know the passionate and insatiable woman who hid beneath the cool exterior.

He was being used, he knew, but he could never bring himself to say no. He lived for her touch, and somewhere in it all, he had allowed himself to fall for her. It would be so much easier if he hadn't, so much less painful.

It was worth it though, to be so close to her…

His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the hissing of the door as it slid open. He looked up to meet the eyes of the woman he'd just been contemplating. Without standing, he watched as she slowly approached, mesmerized by her sensual grace. She leaned in and stopped abruptly, her lips mere inches from his.

"I think we…" he made an effort to say the words that would stop her, make her turn around and never come to him again, never again cause him pain. But her presence overwhelmed him, and he became drunk on her heady scent, giving in to the inevitable.

Her forehead wrinkled slightly before she quickly shut her eyes and closed the distance, harshly pressing her mouth to his. She never liked it when he talked during her visits, and her unusual roughness was no doubt a result of his momentary weakness.

She deepened the kiss, pushing her tongue through his lips as he met her with his own, matching the tempo she was setting. Before long, she reached down and ripped open his shirt, needing the contact of her hands on his chest. She settled across his lap, a leg on each side, and allowed him to open the front of her top. He stared for a moment, taking in the view, before pushing her bra aside to gain access to the prize that lay beneath. He gripped her right breast with his left hand as he took the hard peak of the other in his mouth, sucking and swirling his tongue the way he knew would drive her crazy. She moaned loudly and arched her back into him, rubbing her hot core against the insistent bulge that had formed the moment she walked in.

She reached down to undo his pants, and stood to remove her own. Once they were gone, she straddled him again and, without hesitation, slid him inside her. He let her set the pace like she always did, starting slow and quickly building to a frenzied speed.

As she moved above him, her groans became louder, and he could tell she was reaching her peak. She never needed his help, but he couldn't resist the urge to reach between them to caress her sensitive nub, to touch her in so intimate a place. The added sensation of his hand pushed her over the edge, and she cried out, words leaving her lips for the first time that night: "Oh God, Kaidan, yes! Ohh, Kaidan!" He quickly followed, unable to control himself at the sound of her voice.

As the last waves of her orgasm shuddered through her, she buried her face in the crook of his neck. He felt moisture trickle down his back and realized she was silently crying. Her lips moved slightly against his skin as she softly murmured, "I love you."

His heart stood still for a moment and then completely shattered. He longed to hear those words from her lips, but these were not meant for him. No, they were meant for another man. A man he could never be. A man she could never be with. A man who had given the ultimate sacrifice for them all.

He watched in silence as she quickly dressed and left without so much as a glance in his direction. Only after the doors slid close behind her did Joker allow himself to respond, the anguished words escaping his body in barely a whisper, "I love you too, Shepard."