A/N: Hey all, this is my first attempt at a story, so please review as I would love to get some feedback. As well, this chapter was inspired by the song "Fallout" by Marianas Trench and I highly suggest listening to it, its an awesome song and really fits the tone that I was trying to create. Finally, I do not own Mass Effect or the characters, I am simply playing around. Thanks everyone!


Fallout

After his disastrous date on the Citadel, all Kaidan wanted was a drink. A rather large drink. Or maybe several beers. At this point he really didn't care; all he wanted was to forget everything that had happened that day. But as he made his way down to the lounge, he found himself thinking back on the day's events.

"I was so sure", he thought to himself, "I was so sure that she wanted us back."

As he made his way back to the bar, Kaidan couldn't help but reflect on the actions that had led him to this point. He had sent Shepard a letter on the extranet a few days before they docked at the Citadel asking if they could get together for lunch at Apollo's, a little café that overlooked one of the most beautiful areas of the presidium. Or rather, what had been one of the most beautiful areas until the Cerberus coup left it looking worse for wear. She responded later that day saying that she would have some free time around midday and would meet up with him for lunch. When they had gotten together, things had been fine to start out with. They had just been talking, reminiscing about growing up, and about their chances in the war. Then he had brought up their relationship. He had forgiven her for cheating, he really had. He wasn't there for her on a major mission of hers, and she had needed to turn to somebody, even if it was that Turian, in order to cope. But he was back now, and he wanted them back, like the way things used to be on the old Normandy. But she had turned him down, flat out rejected him, and told him that things between them were better off as "friends". She seemed so shocked by his confession too. He saw the confusion in her eyes as she leaned away from him, and the slow, resigned exhale that followed it. She had said that "times were complicated", whatever that meant. After that, (while attempting to save face), Kaidan simply said he understood, and tried to cover up the hurt by asking when the food would be coming.

"God, what an awful day", he sighed to himself, reaching for his second beer. He didn't understand how she could have gotten the signals crossed.

"If asking someone out to lunch doesn't sound like a date I don't know what does" Kaidan thought angrily to himself. "How could she not have seen it the same way?"

The sad thing was that she would have, a long time ago. "In another life", Kaidan thought ironically to himself.

Things had been so different on the SR1. Back before the war, and before Cerberus, and before her death. When he had first met her, he was in a slight state of shock. Most everyone in the Alliance had heard of Shepard, and knew some part of her story. He had heard that she was Earth born, but grew up in one of the slums. But she somehow overcame that poverty, and joined the Alliance at eighteen. From there she rose up in the ranks, and was eventually sent with her team to Akuze, where only she made it out alive. She was a survivor, with a passionate, determined spirit, but at the same time was kind and receptive to everyone that crossed her path. She really was the epitome of the perfect woman, and he was more than a little in awe of her.

Shepard didn't know this, but he had been drawn to her from the moment he saw her. The first time they had ever crossed paths was about a year before they started serving together on the Normandy. Both their respective ships had been on shore leave at the Citadel, and the both crews had been at Chora's Den one night. Kaidan and some of his crewmates had been sitting in a booth in the corner, drinking away, when over in the corner of the bar a scuffle had started. One of the Asari dancers had been cornered by a human man, and he seemed to be trying to force himself on her. He was a huge guy, ugly as all hell, with a huge scar running down his face and he was obviously drunk off his ass. Kaidan began to stand to aid the dancer when a woman appeared and beat him to it. Kaidan was still halfway across the room when he saw the woman stroll up to the man, get right up in his face and spout something at him that was, although inaudible from this distance, clearly a threat. All of a sudden the man made a lunge at her, but the woman ducked and threw a right hook across his face, leaving him stunned and his nose broken. She then proceeded to take out his knees, forced him to the ground, and called security so they could toss him out. She stood by calmly as the man was dragged out screaming profanities at her, all the while making sure the Asari dancer was okay. Kaidan was instantly struck by her. She was obviously worried about the Asari's welfare, more so than her own and she kept brushing off any mention as to her own well being by her companions. She had such a demeanor, one that radiated confidence and compassion. It was breathtaking. Not to mention she was incredibly easy on the eyes. Kaidan's companions started talking about the scene they'd just witnessed, and it came out in the conversation that the woman was Commander Shepard. After that brief encounter, Kaidan had always had a thing for the Commander, and when he found out that he would be serving under her, it was safe to say he was excited. He couldn't wait to see more from the woman who had struck him so deeply that night; he couldn't wait to see what else she could do.

As time went on after serving together, they started talking, and he was thrilled to be a confidante to her, even if it was only about his opinions on the crew and on the missions. Gradually, things started to change. He began to open up to her about his life: his time at Brain camp, the trouble he had with his biotics, and about Rana. He talked to her about everything; he let her in. And he loved her. They had the most incredible night together on Ilos, and he had been so sure that she loved him back.

Then she died, and his world came to a grinding halt. After she was gone, he didn't know what to do. The woman he loved and respected, who he relied on was suddenly gone, and he didn't know how to pick up the pieces and keep going. But he did eventually, even attempting to date again. He was finally piecing his life back together.

All of a sudden she was back in full force, storming onto Horizon with Garrus and some Cerberus woman, shooting down every one of the Collectors that got in their way. He hated her at that moment for it. She didn't seem any different, whereas he felt he had changed so much. Two years he thought she was dead and gone, and now here she was on this god forsaken planet, acting as if not a day had passed. She even spoke to him in the same tone as she used to, expecting that he would just pick it up where they left off. So he got angry instead of allowing himself to feel for and listen to the woman he thought had betrayed him by disappearing for two years.

"In hindsight" Kaiden mused, "It probably wasn't the best course of action to take". He blamed her for his heartache, thinking she had just dropped off the grid, and never bothered to contact him. How was he to ever suspect that she had actually died? He shouldn't have gotten as angry at her about the fact that she was working for Cerberus. Cerberus is a terrorist organization, and he himself would have never have worked for them. They were a human splinter cell, and he was an Alliance soldier, loyal to his cause through and through. But he could now understand why Shepard had to join up. She had a mission to do, and that mission did turn out to be vital to the human race, but again, he just wasn't aware of it. At the time, his reactions had seemed rather logical. He didn't know all the particular details surrounding Shepard's reappearance, and looking back, he supposed that he should have been a little calmer, and more willing to listen. But the past is in the past. He had sent her that extranet letter afterwards, explaining why he said what he said, and he hoped that she had understood why he wasn't able to join her. There was that side note about the doctor in there though. That probably didn't help matters…

Then there was Mars. And the coup on the Citadel. They had really not his brightest moments. Her connections to Cerberus were still fresh in his mind at the time, and there just hadn't been time to talk to her and get her story on what had happened. Hell, there had been a war going on! They were living in confusing times, and he felt that he had to question her, and make sure she wasn't still working for them. And he did trust her. He trusted her enough to listen to her during the attack on the Citadel, and she was able to stop Udina. That had to count for something!

Even after all that, through Horizon, and Mars, and the Citadel, she had accepted him back onto the Normandy. He had even gone to ask her right after the attack, just after he had proven that he trusted her, and she had let him back on! Kaidan really thought it was because she had wanted to give their relationship another chance. Why else would she have wanted him there? She had even been down to see him a few times, just like she did on the old Normandy, and they talked about the missions again, like old times. He really thought they were just getting back into the swing of things, and starting fresh.

He hadn't seen any evidence of her being in another relationship. Garrus was on board, and had been pretty much been since the war started, but he hadn't seen any unusual behavior from them. She had always been close with Garrus; on the old Normandy she could quite often be found down in the cargo hold sitting by the Mako talking to Garrus while he attempted to fix the latest damage sustained by the poor vehicle. It didn't surprise Kaidan that they seemed to spend a lot of time together on this Normandy as well. There had been rumors of course, from various crew members, but he had dismissed them as such: just ship gossip.

"Maybe she doesn't want anything at this point," Kaidan began hopefully thinking, now nursing another beer. "Maybe she's just so focused on the war, she doesn't want any distractions. Maybe once this damn war is over, I can get her back."

Feeling a little mollified at his situation, Kaidan finished off his beer, and began walking out of the lounge when he heard two people get off the elevator. Before he had time to step into view, he heard someone being thrust again the elevator door, and then soft moaning.

With curiosity building, Kaidan backed up a little, and pressed himself against the women's washroom door, and listened harder to hear who was making the sounds.

"If it's Ken and Gabby, Joker definitely owes me those credits" thought Kaidan. But when the woman started speaking, his gut clenched tightly.

"Garrus", Shepard said quietly, "You sure you want to do this? I know we only just made this official…"

"I'm positive" Garrus replied tenderly, "You know how I feel about our chances in this war. We don't know when things could just end, and I want to spend as much time as I can with the person I love."

"Good" Shepard said, with a smile in her voice, "I was hoping you'd say that. Let's get your stuff, and move it up to where it belongs."

Kaidan then heard the two of them walk into the Main Battery, then emerge a few minutes later, and head back into the elevator.

After they left, Kaidan leaned back against the wall, clenching his jaw tightly with his fists balled up. He quickly turned around and headed back into the lounge, intent on drowning his sorrows away.


A/N: The next chapter should be up within the next couple of days