There was no night or day on a ship, but the Normandy ran on Earth's twenty-four hour schedule in an effort to keep things as normal as possible. At "night", most of the lights outside the CIC went off, leaving only the runner lights on so no one had to stumble to bathroom in the dark.
It was nearing midnight and the ship was quiet, but not everyone was asleep. Kaidan, dressed in a pair of pajama pants and a soft cotton shirt, padded down the corridor toward the Starboard Observation. He had tossed and turned for over an hour before giving up and hauling himself out of bed. He'd briefly entertained the idea of going to see Liara, she was usually up until the wee hours of the morning, but in the end decided to find someplace quiet and let his whirling thoughts run their course.
Kaidan turned the lamp on as he entered the Observation, bathing the room in a faint gold glow. With a heavy sigh, he sat on the sofa facing the large window. Kaidan stared out into the endless void of space, watching stars and planets pass by, wondering how long it would be before those planets had Reapers breathing down their necks. There was a soft whoosh behind him as the door again slid open and Kaidan looked over his shoulder to see Shepard, still wearing his fatigues, standing in the doorway with his arms held behind his back.
"Can't sleep either, huh?" Shepard asked.
"No," Kaidan said, "it's been… a restless night."
"Want some company?"
Kaidan smiled, "Sure, I'd like that."
The man turned back toward the window as Shepard circled around the side of the couch.
"I, ah, brought you a present."
Kaidan raised a curious eyebrow, "Oh?"
Shepard nodded and Kaidan laughed when the man showed him what he'd been hiding behind his back: two brown glass bottles with silver caps. Blue and white labels loudly proclaimed the contents.
"Not just any beer," Shepard sat on the couch, settling into the cushions, "a good ol' Canadian lager."
"How did you get a hold of this?"
"Liara," Shepard handed one of the bottles to Kaidan, the glass was as cold as ice, a little bit of frost dusted the bottom. "She did some digging, found out who imported from Earth, and I did a little haggling the last time we were on the Citadel." The man looked down at his beer, idly turning the bottle in his hand, "Been waiting for the right moment since."
Kaidan wondered if Shepard meant the right moment to drink the beer or… something else. They had been dancing around each other ever since their lunch on the Citadel, flirting in an embarrassingly awkward manner once in a while, both of them wanting to proceed but one or the other always stopping short, hesitating...
"They didn't have any steak sandwiches, though." Shepard said.
Kaidan chuckled, "The beer – and the company – is good enough for me."
Shepard gave him a tired but genuine smile. He held up a bottle opener and Kaidan tilted his beer toward the Commander, letting him crack it open.
"Cheers." Shepard said, cracking the cap off his own bottle.
They clinked their bottles together and Kaidan took a sip. Sweet, bitter, cold beer flooded over his tongue. Nothing had ever tasted so good. Absence really did make the heart grow fonder apparently.
"…Thank you," he said.
Shepard nodded, "You're welcome."
Together they enjoyed this rare moment of peace and quiet, and each other's company, taking sips from their beers once in a while. Outside, the stars continued to slowly drift by, passing planets winked different colors: blue, green, purple, orange.
Kaidan was nearly finished his beer, only a few swallows left, when Shepard shifted a little closer and wrapped one arm loosely around his shoulders.
"Just like that, Commander?" he teased. "Not even a subtle yawn-and-stretch maneuver?"
Shepard laughed and turned to look at Kaidan. Their eyes met and a sudden hush fell over them. Kaidan swallowed thickly and finished off his beer in one nervous gulp.
"Kaidan…" The Commander's clear green eyes were apprehensive as he leaned in, pressing a somewhat awkward kiss to Kaidan's lips before pulling away. He uttered a small, self-deprecating laugh, "It's been awhile. I'm a little rusty-"
Kaidan didn't let Shepard finish that thought. He leaned in, cupping the man's cheek in his hand, and kissed him. Their empty beer bottles rolled off the couch onto the floor, but they went unheeded. This had been a long time coming.
"Shepard…" Kaidan sighed softly, feeling the man's tongue just barely touch against his lower lip.
"Adam." The name felt a little strange on his tongue, he hadn't said Shepard's name since they first met. Still, it also felt… so right.
"Just… once more," Shepard smirked.
Kaidan laughed softly and pressed his lips lightly to the other man's ear. "Adam," he purred.
Shepard's smirk became something very close to a grin. He was usually "Shepard", "Commander", "Commander Shepard", and occasionally "Shepard-Commander". It was nice to just be "Adam" once in a while.
Kaidan's return smile was a little softer, concerned. Up close, Adam looked completely exhausted. His skin had a waxen appearance and there were dark circles under his eyes. As much as he would like to continue, Shepard needed rest. They would (hopefully) have time later to finish what they started.
"Come on." He took Adam by the hand and stood, leading the man toward the door. "We're going to bed."
"Is that an order, Major?" Shepard chuckled.
"You bet." Kaidan said with a smirk.