NOTE: In case you didn't read the summary, or don't speak English (in which case I really can't help you all that much and this note is pretty meaningless), this one-shot is a "What if?" story. It in no way reflects anything that may or may not actually happen when I start CDC up again. I just had enough people asking me to pair Alex with someone that this is how I chose to answer. I put up a poll debating whether or not to actually post this in the first place, and 10 of you were either ecstatic or didn't care, and at least one of you began spitting coals. If you're that one person that didn't want Alex to pair with someone, then DON'T READ THIS. Ok? Problem solved!

If I come back and see a bunch of reviews berating me for trying to humanize Alex due to popular demand, I will send you many angry thoughts with my telepathy and be that much more hesitant in posting things in the future. I don't want that. You don't want that (I hope). And I have at least two avid readers who also don't want that. So, if you don't have something constructive to say, don't say it. Mmk?

Disclaimer (Sort of): This is not explicit. I do not write explicit scenes, and let's face it, Alex Mercer isn't exactly your typical guy who falls over himself to spontaneously become a romantic overnight. I did my best to keep him in character with "my" Mercer, as much as that kind of thing is possible. This scene is the spark, not the flame. If that's not your cup of tea, then there's this nifty thing called a "back button" that will solve this problem nicely. We now return you to your originally scheduled program.

Also, mild ME3 spoilers. Very mild. As in, "Wild Character A appears!" and very mild plot references. But if you haven't played ME3 by now, or at least heard what the plot is about, then shame on you.

This one-shot is broken into two halves. The first is Shepard's, the second is Alex's. If you only care about Alex's reaction, you can skip down to the line break and pick it up from there. Inversely, if you only want Shepard's side (admittedly the longer of the two), then you can stop at the line break and pretend the second half isn't there. They can pretty much each be read as stand-alone stories if you don't feel like reading one or the other. I won't be offended.

This is a bad idea. A very, very bad idea.

Shepard absentmindedly pulled at the sleeve of her uniform shirt, casting rueful glances back at Garrus and Vega, currently watching her expectantly while Liara looked on in confusion. Was it just her, or was it really hot in here? She tugged at the collar of her all-of-a-sudden too-tight top and cleared her throat, raising her hand to the door before pulling back, grimacing. She turned and stared pleadingly at her crew, receiving only an unashamed grin from James and a commiserating 'smile' from Garrus, who at least looked like he pitied her poor choice in judgment.

In retrospect, she really should have expected something like this from Vega. After that stunt she'd pulled daring him to serenade Dr. Chakwas, complete with kneeling and boisterous hand waving, Shepard really should have been more careful who she allowed to give her dares. At the time—a whopping ten minutes ago—the dare had been something to laugh over at her expense; a good way to get their minds off the mission and the countdown to total galactic annihilation. But now, two shots of Serrice Ice Brandy later, she was beginning to regret this decision. Badly.

I am not nearly drunk enough for this. Shepard took a steadying breath and pressed her palm to the glowing green indicator on the door, watching it whir open obediently. This would have been easier if he had chosen to stay down on the Engineering Deck rather than all but claiming the Crew Lounge in Kasumi's old hangout.

She was going to have an audience.

She glanced around quickly, trying not to look as awkward or embarrassed as she felt and pretty sure she was failing, and spotted him immediately. Like always, Alex claimed the space he inhabited merely by existing in it, and the fact that he was sprawled over a couch on his back, watching something on a datapad, did not diminish the fact.

She froze in the doorway, ignoring Vega and Garrus' voices as they tried to shoo her into the room, and stared at him. He had to know she was standing there. Shepard had learned early into their acquaintance that it was literally impossible to sneak up on the man, even if nothing in his body language gave away that he knew, and she was almost positive he chose to ignore her just because he knew how absolutely mortified she felt right now. Finally, she worked up some of her famous Shepard Nerve and approached him, clearing her throat, as if he wasn't aware that she had been hovering anxiously a few paces away.

"Shepard," he greeted her without looking up or otherwise acknowledging her presence. Idly, she recognized the video playing on the datapad as the one of him wrestling a Thresher Maw on Tuchanka.

"Alex," she replied, clearing her throat again. Wow. She could really use a drink. And hey, there just happened to be a bar right over there. She decided to make use of it, and hurried around to pour herself a drink that would have given Grunt a run for his money.

She couldn't help but notice wryly that Alex had removed both of the components necessary to mix Ryncol from the cabinet, and replaced the containers with some kind of weird black liquid that she decided not to look too closely at. Since Alex had decided he'd rather spend his downtime here instead of below deck, the rest of the crew had sort of unanimously decided that so long as Alex was present in the room, the bar was off-limits. Alex hadn't seemed too upset over the decision, and had slowly begun replacing various drinks and glasses with ones he had picked up on his travels.

Shepard pulled down a fancy bottle that looked like something out of a fantasy vid and stared at it. She barely recognized anything in the cabinets, but this one smelled good and she poured a glass and downed it, eager to see if she could make this problem go away with enough alcohol.

It didn't work. She set the bottle down and looked up in time to find Alex directly across from her, leaning on the bar, smirking from beneath his hood. Her eyes flicked inevitably to the mechanical eye shuttering oddly on his left side, and the lightly glowing lines stemming from it. Briefly, she wondered how far those circuits went, and then discarded the thought as she fixed her gaze back on his face.

From the grin, he knew exactly where she had been looking, and she was relieved he didn't seem offended by her staring.

"Is there a reason you're raiding my bar, Shepard?"

She didn't think it would be prudent to remind him the bar belonged to everyone on the ship, and bit her tongue. Over his shoulder, she caught James peeking around the corner at them, and she sent him a glare that made the large man duck back out of sight. Alex didn't so much as glance over his shoulder to see who she'd glared at, and that worried her. How much did he know? How much had he heard? The man had hearing that could make a cat jealous.

"Oh, you know…" Shepard began benignly, hoping that if she played this off casually enough that Alex might not suspect anything of her true motives. "Some of the crew were playing truth or dare, and, yeah."

She could see him cock a brow beneath his hood, and idly wondered if he would think it odd if she brained herself over the head with the fancy bottle.

"Does that have anything to do with why Vega is outside the door eavesdropping on us?"

Shepard heard a muffled curse from around the corner and hastily retreating footsteps. She wouldn't be surprised if James had sprinted back to the table in his haste to avoid viral retribution. As to how Alex had known James was standing out there at all was debatable.

"Yes," Shepard admitted glumly, reaching for the bottle to pour another glass when suddenly she realized it wasn't where she'd left it. Somehow, Alex had returned the bottle to the cabinet and closed it without moving from his spot across from her. She pretended not to have noticed, and turned her grab at empty air into a nonchalant rub at her back. "I'm here under a dare," she ground out, feeling her face betray her as her skin warmed. Alex's expression revealed nothing, but that wasn't unusual. It was the smiles and smirks that he aimed her way that were unusual, seeing as how he didn't reveal anything to anyone else on the crew except Joker.

Stiffly she turned back to the cabinets and began to rummage through the various bottles, looking for something familiar. She was not nearly drunk enough for this conversation. It wasn't until her fingers closed around one of the tall black containers that she heard him speak again.

"Did they dare you to kill yourself?"

She hesitated, daring a glance over one shoulder. His face was shrouded by his hood, but she could see the one mechanical eye fixed intently on where her fingers were touching the glass container, inhumanly luminescent. She tried to decipher his voice as she slowly removed her fingers from the glass. It hadn't sounded upset, or nervous, simply curious. As if he had honestly wondered if that had been the dare they'd given her.

Damn but the man—virus—Alex was good at hiding what he was thinking.

"No," she finally replied. "Why?"

"Because you were about to pour yourself a nice drink of DX-2386 A." A corner of his lip twitched upwards, and Shepard felt her face heating again. "Trust me. You don't want to drink that."

She decided to take his word for that and turned away from the cabinet to face him again, joining him in leaning on the bar. "I am Commander Jane Shepard," she began, face set in serious lines, and she ignored the amused smirk on his face. "Hero of the Citadel. First human Spectre. I made the cover of Badass Weekly after the events of Akuze went public, and again after the defeat of Sovereign."

"Your point, Shepard?"

"My point, Mercer," Shepard growled, feeling agitated for more reasons than she cared to count. "Is that I was dared to come back here and—" her voice faltered and, to her horror, cracked. She couldn't force the words out, so instead she turned her back to him and pressed her forehead to the cabinet door in frustration.

There was an entire ship full of male crewmembers, and even female crewmembers, which would have been a better choice for this particular dare. She'd have rather been dared to fly to Tuchanka and give Wrex a sponge bath than continue on with this line of conversation.

"All right, Lola…" Vega grinned broadly, leaning over the table. "I dare you to…" he looked around, as if searching for inspiration, before his gaze landed on the closed door to the Crew Lounge across the hall. His grin turned shark-like. "I dare you to go give Mercer a kiss. On the mouth."

Suffice it to say, Shepard had been just drunk enough for that to have been hilarious instead of potentially life-threatening. Now she was contemplating all the various ways to inflict bodily harm on James Vega without getting court-martialed. Again.

Shepard exhaled through her nose and opened her eyes again. Nothing in the dare had said she had to talk to Alex about it first. She could just… grab him by the jacket, peck him on the lips, and bolt out of the room before he realized what had happened. It seemed safest for all involved, and she could aim Alex in Vega's direction when he inevitably comes around asking questions.

It wasn't technically breaking any regs, since Alex wasn't officially a member of her crew, nor was he a member of the Alliance Navy, as far as she was aware. He also wasn't technically alive, or even particularly human, so it shouldn't be that weird… right?


She drew herself up, fixed her collar again, and turned back to face him, pleasantly surprised to find him right where she'd left him for a change. Normally he would have moved, or maybe even gotten into her personal space just to irk her, but he was still leaning against the bar, watching her as if waiting for a punch line she'd failed to deliver properly.

I'll give you a punch line, Mercer. I'll give Vega one too. Right in the face.

Calmly, Shepard set her glass back down, closed the cabinet demurely behind her, ignored the sight of James' face peeking around the door, and walked around the bar to join Alex on his side. His eyes never left her face, but his expression revealed nothing. Shepard shivered. In the back of her mind, she was acutely aware that she was walking on very thin ice here, and that startling something like Alex Mercer was a Bad Idea of the Highest Degree.

Without giving herself another moment to second-guess her decision, or giving him a chance to ask any more questions, she snapped her hand out and grabbed a fist-full of the front of his jacket, not bothering to try and jerk him towards her. She was fully aware that he weighed more than the rest of the crew combined at any given time. She had exactly two seconds to wonder at how long she had to live before she squeezed her eyes shut and crushed her mouth against his.

If she had been expecting him to flip out, she was not disappointed. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as she didn't dare open her eyes to see what his expression looked like, but she didn't need her eyes to feel the lethal blade immediately pressing against her ribcage on her right side or hear the alarmed noise he'd made as she caught him off-guard. She counted each heartbeat, painfully aware that if Alex continued to react poorly in the next few seconds, she was going to find herself skewered on a wicked blade as long as he was tall. In the span of another two frantic heartbeats, she'd felt the blade press closer and something that felt like a spiked band of iron wrap almost painfully around her waist.

Idiot, she cursed to herself. Three seconds had passed and she hadn't dared to move a muscle, either to back away or press closer. She'd have to let Alex work this out, and decide if he wanted to outright consume her right there in the bar or forgive her for her grievous trespass. Another painful heartbeat, and the tentacle constricting her waist and making it difficult to breathe eased off a bit, relaxing a mere fraction of an inch. The blade at her ribs pulled away, and Shepard all but sagged into him in relief that he hadn't decided she was worthy of death by consumption.

She felt a hand at her shoulder, pushing her back with just enough force to make it quite clear that if she didn't obey his not-so-subtle hint, he was more than capable of sending her flying across the room. She pulled back, opening her eyes into a squint, wincing. That thick tentacle was still holding her prisoner, and even though it wasn't threatening to crush her anymore, it was far from teasing or friendly.

She finally opened her eyes the rest of the way, and almost wished she hadn't. Alex was fixed on her as if nothing else existed in the world, the mechanical eye blown wide with shock, his expression so close to absolute incredulity that she had to check the ridiculous urge to laugh, complete with slack jaw and wide eyes. It was the most emotion she had ever seen on his face since he'd thrust the Widow into her hands before they'd gone into the Collector Base.

"The hell…?" came his low, disbelieving voice in a whisper that was obviously not meant for her to answer. That potentially fatal tendril wrapped around her middle constricted again, almost subconsciously, and Shepard managed to hide her flinch. Damn but that thing was strong. She'd hate to feel it if he was actively trying to break her in half.

"Iwasdaredtokissyou," she blurted out in a single breath, eyes wide and as innocent as she could make them, all too aware of the shadow that crawled across his expression, turning disbelief into something that eerily resembled murderous rage. "ItwasallVega'sidea."

"Oh really?" He could have been discussing the weather for all the care and concern in his voice. Shepard did not suppress her shiver. That was the voice he used on the people he was about to kill and eat. She became incredibly aware of that tentacle still holding her hostage, and of the lack of effort it would take on his part to simply rip her apart right there. "You were dared to kiss me?"

She nodded jerkily, not daring to take her eyes off his face. She couldn't have looked away if she'd wanted to. "Yes," she whispered, not sure what to do with her hands. Her right was still fisted in his jacket, and the left was resting uselessly on the countertop.

Alex hummed, the sound low in his chest, and Shepard dared to flick her eyes away from his, instead latching onto the faint pulse of blue crawling down the left side of his neck and disappearing into the collar of his grey hood. The tentacle around her waist tightened again and dragged her closer, and now she couldn't so much as even pretend she had a chance to wiggle free. They were close enough now that she was sure he could feel her heart beating a staccato rhythm in panic against her ribcage, and she was slightly alarmed to realize he didn't have a heartbeat, nor was he breathing. At all.

Not human, she reminded herself, flicking her eyes back up to his.

"The last woman to kiss this body was named Karen Parker," Alex murmured, not once taking his eyes off of hers, and Shepard shuddered in his grip at the hate in his voice as he said her name. This was clearly not going to be a very nice story. "She betrayed me, stabbed a cancer into my back, tried to kill me." His mouth turned up into a grin, flashing teeth, and it was not a nice grin. His voice lowered to a dark murmur. "I trapped her in an elevator and tore her apart from the inside out. I made sure she stayed alive long enough to see me rip the black heart from her chest. But I didn't consume her. Do you know why?" Shepard shook her head helplessly. "I didn't want her memories. I didn't want her hate, her revulsion. I left her to bleed out in the elevator. No excuses. No regrets. No mercy." Alex's eyes roved over her face, as if searching for similarities.

"It was a dare," she whispered again. She was incapable of bravery until she had at least a foot of space between them.

He pulled her closer until she was amazed she hadn't broken a bone yet, and lowered his head within a fraction of an inch with hers. "You misunderstand me, Shepard. Karen may have been the last woman to kiss Alex, but you are the only one to ever kiss me. And, forgive me, but I refuse to allow that to count as my first kiss."

Shepard's eyes bugged wide and before she had a chance to protest or otherwise react, his mouth slanted over hers and she forgot what she was about to say. There were two major discrepancies between kissing Alex and kissing, say, Kaidan. Alex's skin was almost feverishly hot, and she was moderately surprised she hadn't been burned yet. And for a creature claiming to have never been kissed before in his rather considerable lifespan, he certainly knew how it was supposed to work.

She wasn't a prude. She'd had a few boyfriends back before her Academy days, and a few in the Academy, but since her promotion to Commander she had kept her distance. It had been a long time since anyone had so much as touched Shepard in an intimate fashion, and while she wouldn't have normally associated being forcibly bound in place with a spiked tentacle as intimate, it was more than she'd had in the past several years. Maybe that was why she couldn't stop herself from relaxing, or wrapping her arms around his neck, or closing her eyes.

It was probably also why she wasn't protesting, or trying to get free, or so much as worrying one iota about that tentacle still wrapped tight around her like an iron chain. She managed to scrape enough willpower together to drop a hand to the spiked chain holding her prisoner and push on it, only mildly intrigued that it shifted beneath her fingers as if it were alive before uncoiling from her waist altogether and allowing her unrestricted access to some much-needed oxygen. But she had no illusions that just because he'd released her meant he planned to let her go. The vice-like grip he had on her hip with one hand was proof enough of that, but she couldn't find it in her to be upset.

Wryly she realized she'd had far too many drinks to making decisions like this with any sort of lucidity, but then a hand slid around the small of her back as the other tilted her head to the side so he could reach her easier, and she forgot to care.

We are in the bar, Shepard's Voice of Reason whispered. Anyone could just walk in and see you with his tongue down your throat.

Shepard disagreed. Anyone on the crew with so much as an iota of self-preservation would simply turn around and walk away if they caught Alex in a position like this. Except maybe EDI, who wouldn't understand the significance of it all.

Finally, she realized that she was becoming lightheaded from lack of breathing, and broke away with a deep gasp. Alex seemed unfazed, and she silently cursed his ability to survive without air. She tried to force words out of her throat, but nothing but a strange inarticulate whimper emerged.

Alex was smirking down at her, but she noticed a distinct lack of hard lines in his face, and his mechanical eye was relaxed and not twitching or shuttering as it usually was. "There," he grinned, voice low, and Shepard had to catch herself before she leaned into him. She'd never noticed before, but damn Alex had a voice built for sin. "Now you can tell them you kissed Alex Mercer and lived."

That he could still be joking was a testament to how inhuman he had to be, since Shepard could hardly get enough air to stay conscious. Abruptly, he released her and stepped away, leaving her to either brace both hands flat on the bar or stumble to the floor.

"Is that it?" she managed to choke out, still amazed that she was alive and whole, and silently marveling at how much she just wanted to grab him again and see how far he'd be willing to go if she could ignore the fact he was a walking virus that ate people to survive.

Alex paused, draping himself back on the couch and picking up his datapad, cocking a brow at her. Shepard was sure she was imagining the small smile on his face. "Hmm…" he hummed noncommittally, turning his focus back to the vid playing on his datapad. "For now."

Shepard forced herself upright and walked drunkenly past him, all but tripping over her feet as she headed out the door, replaying those last two words like a mantra. What did it mean? What did she want it to mean?

She smiled goofily when she realized James had long since fled his position by the door, and decided she wanted it to mean just what he'd said.

'For now.'

Alex felt like his skin was on fire. Shepard had been acting oddly ever since she'd crept into the Crew Lounge like a guilty puppy, but the very last thing he had expected her to do was grab him by the shirt and kiss him. It had been amusing to watch her stumble over her words, trying to drown whatever it was she wanted to say with the drinks from his cabinet—he'd only barely managed to stop her from taking a swig of his latest attempt at giving the Collectors free will—and he'd been willing to play her game for as long as it continued to be entertaining.

But she hadn't asked him an embarrassing question, or done something ridiculous. She hadn't done anything he had expected the crew to have dared her to do. Instead, she had stepped right through his barrier of Do Not Touch and… well.

Alex was willing to admit that he had reacted poorly to the sudden addition of another living being in his personal space. The only time humans ever got this close to him was when they were either trying to kill him or he was about to consume them, and for the first handful of seconds his body hadn't been sure which possible scenario to react to. He'd been halfway to bisecting her and pulling her inside before his fragmented memories stopped him in place and offered him a logical explanation for her actions.

Don't eat her, you idiot. It's just a kiss.

Alex had, predictably, been completely in shock. She hadn't moved so much as a muscle since pressing her mouth to his, and honestly Alex was glad she hadn't. If she'd done anything that could have remotely been considered hostile, he would not have been able to rein back the instinct that screamed to eliminate the threat that had gotten inside his guard. He forced himself to relax, but he wasn't willing to release her yet. Idly, he realized she was still way too close to his person, and pushed against her shoulder with a hand that trembled with the need to form claws and get some much-needed distance between himself and what the virus inside him considered a unique cross between enemy and prey.

She backed off—thank the bloody Void—and he was sure his expression had to be somewhere between "What the holy flying hell" and "Did that really just happen?"

He stared at her as she explained that she had been dared to kiss him—why did the idea of someone having to be dared to kiss him bother him so much?—and tried to sort through what, exactly, his thoughts on the matter were.

Was he angry? Not especially. She hadn't attacked him, and she hadn't done irreparable harm to his person. Was he confused? Hell yes. He hadn't been this lost since he'd first woken up in the morgue.

He wanted… he didn't know what he wanted. He knew what his memories told him, and he knew what his synthetic side was telling him—elevated heart rate, dilated pupils, increased respiratory cycle—but he didn't know what to do with the knowledge. If he had been a human man, the answer would have been obvious. A woman had just kissed him of her own free will, and any hot-blooded male would have capitalized on that. But Alex wasn't human. He wasn't even sure what he was anymore. He couldn't call himself a virus, not since consuming the Reaper, but he wasn't a machine either. He was… something in between.

A computer virus, a voice in his head whispered with a snicker, and Alex had to fight the urge to roll his eyes.

He furrowed his brow as he studied Shepard, still holding onto his jacket as if not sure what to do with her hands, eyes locked on his. She was afraid, he realized. Terrified, actually. Alex frowned. The idea of someone being that afraid of him, just because of a kiss, bothered him in a way he hadn't ever considered. He wasn't that scary… was he?

Desperately, he called up all the relevant memories that he could find, not all that surprised to find Karen at the forefront. Karen had been the only one in his memories that had affected him personally, since she had been in a relationship with his host's body. Thinking of her kissing him—Alex—made his skin crawl with revulsion. It was difficult to make his mind differentiate between what had just happened and what had happened over two hundred years ago.

Time meant very little to him, especially in his own head, and pulling himself out of the memories of his past was harder than he would have thought. He watched Shepard for a moment longer before he spoke.

He told her about Karen, about his last less-than-pleasurable experience with being kissed, and was concerned to see the blood drain from her face. He hadn't meant to frighten her. He just wanted to enlighten her, to let her know why he was reacting the way he was.

Obviously he was worse at this than he thought.

Rip a tank in half with his bare hands? Easy. Sprint up the side of the Empire State Building? Child's play. Almost single-handedly kill a Reaper, a race of ancient sentient machines created to destroy all life in the galaxy? Piece of cake.

Talk about his feelings?


He felt her trying to pull back, to free herself from the grip he still had around her waist, and something twisted in his chest. He didn't want her to pull back. What did he want? Well, he knew he didn't want Shepard getting away, so he ignored her struggling and pulled her closer, and then paused.

He didn't see her as an enemy anymore. His skin wasn't crawling with the desire to rip her apart for being in his personal space. His mind wasn't registering her as a potential threat, or as prey. He was… well not relaxed. He was still on edge, but he didn't know why. It shouldn't bother him that Shepard was afraid of him. It shouldn't bother him that the first kiss he's ever had in his two hundred and seven years of existence was because of a damn dare. It shouldn't… but it did.

He refused to accept that the only reason anyone would ever want to be that close to him, to give him that ultimate sign of trust, was because they had been dared to do so. He refused to believe that he would never be able to share that with someone else just because of what he was. He was Alex Mercer, the Blacklight virus, ZEUS, death personified.

And right now, he knew exactly what he wanted. He wanted to prove to her that he wasn't a monster, that he had emotions and dreams and feelings just like her, just like any human. He wanted to show her that she didn't have to be afraid of him, that he was long past the point where he could have consciously hurt her in any way.

He wanted to kiss her again, and so he did.

It was… easy. He knew exactly what to do, how to draw her lower lip between his teeth, how to pull her flush against him until he could feel her heart beating a staccato rhythm against his chest. He had never been this close to a human before. Not like this. Never so close that he felt as if he were about to sink into her skin like the virus he was. He wanted her closer, and so he released her waist and her hip and pulled her tighter against him with a hand on her back, using his height to tilt her head so he could have better access to her mouth.

But it wasn't the slow burn beneath his skin or even the sudden silence in his head that had him feeling like he was human for once. It was the fact that Shepard had melted into his arms, utterly unafraid of him, of what he was, of what he could do to her just by tightening his grip. This woman, this soldier, this hero… she trusted him.

Her grip on his jacket tightened, pushing lightly against him, and Alex dimly remembered that humans needed to breathe.

He pulled back, watching with mild amusement as she gasped for breath, gaze locked on his face as some strange emotion passed behind her eyes. He couldn't muster the energy to frown, or scowl, or wipe what he was sure was a thoroughly pleased expression off his face. He had always taken what he wanted, and he felt no regret for doing so now.

Alex felt himself smirking down at her as he pulled away, leaving her to brace herself on the counter—it was oddly thrilling to see how his kiss had affected her—and he settled himself back on the couch with a datapad that he pretended to watch.

Even with his eyes on the screen, he could see her staring at him, mouth agape, eyes wide with surprise.

"Is that it?" Shepard blurted, and he glanced back up at her, a smile pulling at his face.

No, he wanted to say. No, I'm not finished with you yet. Instead, he pretended to think it over, looking back at a video that was suddenly incredibly unimportant. "For now," he mused thoughtfully, smile widening as she stumbled drunkenly past him to head for the door.

Alex knew what he wanted, now.

And he always got what he wanted in the end.

A/N: *fidgets* Umm... yes. So, there it is. At first, it was just Shepard's POV, but then I was like "You know, I bet it'd be even more fun to write Alex's side." And so the second half was born. I don't usually write romance (although this is only a romance if you tilt your head and squint at it), so obviously I was leery of posting this on here. But I had enough people who seemed to at least be mildly interested in what I have to say on the matter, and so here it is.

Once again, let me reiterate that this is a "What if?" scenario. It doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to have Alex and Shepard paired together in CDC - you guys should know by now that I never plan these things; they just sort of happen.

I've only ever written one 'romance' before, and it was in my other full-length FF "Thedas for Dummies," and that 'scene' was even LESS descriptive than this one, believe it or not. It was (surprise surprise) very difficult to rationalize what Alex's thought-process would have to be during a situation like this, but I did my best.

*squeaks* Be gentle!