Disclaimer: I OWN NOTHING! NOT A THING! I also may have got some details horribly wrong. Please do not eat me.

1. Meeting

The ship is quiet.

It is silent but for the soft thrumming of the fusion core. The lights are low for the artificial night and the night shift crew are lounging, languid, bored.

This ship is quiet.

Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko stares at the ceiling with half-lidded brown eyes, his expression one of pained resignation. There is a soft hiss as Dr Chakwas injects his prescription pain medication and he settles in to wait, wincing as the Dr murmurs an apology, her normally soft and soothing voice like needles.

The ship is quiet.

Night turns to day.

Kaidan's eyes blink slowly open then squeeze firmly shut against the too-harsh lights in the med bay. He groans and pinches the bridge of his nose in frustration at the lack of improvement in the crippling migraine, one of the worst he's had on record.

"You ok?"

It's not the Doctor, which is strange as he doesn't remember anyone else in the ward last night, but then, he muses, in the state he was in that's probably not surprising. He turns his head gingerly and opens one eye as little as he can possibly manage and all he can think of is the colour green.

"That's one hell of a hangover soldier."

The voice is dripping with wry amusement and he can't help but smile a little.

"I..." He clears his throat against the gravel, closes his eyes and tries again, "Migraine."

"Oh." There's an odd sort of rustling noise that sounds strangely lop-sided before the lights dim perceptibly. "How's that?"

Kaidan sighs happily and tries to open his eyes once more, staring up at the grey of the ceiling, adjusting to the blessedly soft light now filling the med bay.

The voice chuckles quietly, "I thought so."

The odd lop-sided shuffling begins again as the doors to the room hiss open. Doctor Chakwas' steps are like knives, punching their way through his head.

"Commander Shepard!" She exclaims in a shrill, exasperated voice, "Get back into bed this instant. I did not just spend and entire night and a good chunk of Alliance Military funding fixing your leg only for you to break it all over again."

There is a moment of silence before Kaidan voices his only thought. "Ow."

"Damn it, I'm sorry Lieutenant." Chakwas runs a tired hand over her face, moving to prepare more of his pain medication.

"It's fine Doc." He mutters, "Didn't need that head anyway. I have a spare in the cargo bay."

The Commander laughs openly and blessedly quietly and he can practically feel the Doctor's quelling stare before she presses the injector to the base of his neck.

"Shepard, I meant it. Back to bed. Now."

There's a small, resigned sigh near Kaidan's head just as he begins to fade.

The ship is quiet.

When Kaidan wakes once more his head feels lighter, clearer. He smiles and his eyes flicker open gingerly to the darkness of the Med Bay. His shoulders and back feel slightly numb from lying for two days on the slightly too hard cot bed and as he stretches, he winces at the cracking and popping of his stiff joints.

He props himself up on his elbows and takes a quick look around the room, his eyes settling on a small glow coming from the bed on the far side of the bay. The commander is propped up on about three pillows, all of which he's pretty sure she's gotten up to get herself despite orders to the contrary, and is perusing the contents of a small datapad.

"Good morning Lieutenant."

"Ma'am." He replies, his conservative nature quickly jumping in to take hold.

She turns her head towards him and once more he's assaulted by the colour green. This time he can see why. He's seen photos of the Commander before but she is nothing like them in person. On camera she seems larger than life, the hero of Elysium, the decorated Marine and poster child of the Alliance. The woman in front of him now however, seems smaller. Oh she's tough alright but there's something almost vulnerable in the way she sits curled around the datapad, black hair hanging over her face nearly hiding the keenly intelligent, shockingly, vividly green eyes.

"Lieutenant, I am currently off duty with my leg covered in medigel and Meditech. Ditch the Ma'am thing; call me Shepard."

"Only if you call me Kaidan." He can't help but smile.


"So, you're an L2 huh?"

Kaidan blinks, "Sorry?"

She waves the datapad haphazardly, "I've been doing a bit of research."

"Oh, yeah that's right. One of the lucky ones." He rubs the back of his neck in an unconscious gesture. "You're an L3 right?"

She grins and taps the side of her head knowingly. "Yep, one of the first." She frowns, "doesn't talk to the amp properly sometimes though and I can't get nearly as much field strength as you can but it seems to work ok most of the time. You're new here yes?"

Kaidan blinks at the verbal flurry of information she fires at him, his brain still not firing on all cylinders, and barely registers the question at the end of it. "Ah, yeah. Transferred from Mars last week."

The door to the Med Bay hisses open and the lights flicker on. Kaidan closes his eyes for a moment before blinking furiously to adjust.

"Lieutenant, good to see you're on the other side." Dr Chakwas places a cool hand on his forehead in an amusingly old-fashioned manner.

Kaidan catches a snort of suppressed laughter and green eyes flashing with mirth at the Doctor's fussing. He once again feels himself grinning back.

"How are you feeling?" The Doctor asks, "That was an unusually bad one yes?"

"Not the most fun I've had in a Medical Bay ever Doctor." He notes wryly, wincing at the injector at his neck.

"Well that should deal with the last of it. But you're to stay off your feet for one more day. The patrol's quiet enough that the Captain has said he can do without you for a bit longer. You're on call though."

Kaidan nods. "R and R. Got it. Thanks Doc."

"Anytime. Now go away."

Highly amused at being dismissed like a child, he pushes himself up off the bed and onto slightly shaky feet.

"Commander." He nods to Shepard and though she narrows her eyes at his lapse into formality, she doesn't comment.

"See you 'round Lieutenant."

As he turns to leave he catches a snippet of conversation between the Doctor and her remaining patient.

"Ari, don't tease the new kid." The Doctor's voice is fondly amused.

"Would I do that?"

There's a slight pause before, "Arianna Jane Shepard. Where the hell did you get those pillows?"

The doors hiss shut and Kaidan, not bothering to keep the broad grin off his slightly haggard features, begins his slow shuffle down the hall to his bunk.