Arr, mateys, thar be spoilers ahead for ME3, and enough cheese to make even Alistair proud. Ye hath be warned.
So... The idea for this came when I was reading The Last Tactician's wonderful fanfic "Nowhere To Go But Forward" (read it if you haven't already!). One chapter mentioned singing Protheans, and one thing led to another, so... this happened.
Disclaimer: Mass Effect and all its lovely characters are the property of the masterminds at Bioware, of which I am sadly not. And each song belongs to its respective artist. And Elcor Mariachis belong to Sesheta225 (if you haven'read her fic, Mariachi, do that now, too!)
"Is there a reason you're dragging us all out to a bar, Commander?" Liara inquired as the Citadel elevator arrived on the Purgatory's level.
"Because," Shepard retorted, "We never do anything all together."
"We are currently battling a Galactic War against the Reapers together," EDI pointed out as the group approached the entrance to the nightclub.
"Thank you, EDI," Shepard barely refrained from rolling her eyes at the AI's clearly obvious statement, "What I meant was that we never do anything fun all together. After yesterday's victory, I'd say we've all earned a day of Shore leave. Starting with a group celebration."
The victory on Rannoch, uniting the Geth and the Quarians, had left the entire ship feeling in high spirits, and Shepard wanted to accommodate for that by hosting some sort of celebration. Her first idea had been a fancy dinner party, but she'd quickly scratched that thought once she considered that Joker would have them thrown out within minutes. Taking the crew out to see Blasto 6 in theaters had been tempting. Finally, she had just decided to go with the easy medium: Drinks at the nightclub.
Garrus scoffed. "Sometimes, the purpose of Shore Leave is to get away from each other."
"I'm hurt, Garrus," Shepard replied, her voice laced with an overemphasis of mock pain. "I could never get tired of any of you!" Her gaze traveled across each of her friends: Kaidan, Garrus, Tali, Liara, James, Javik, EDI, Joker.
Shooting a brief glare at Joker, she added, "Okay, maybe some of you." She turned back around and entered the bar.
"…What did I do?" she heard Joker asked as the crew followed their Commander into the building.
"She is probably still upset about the shower incident, Jeff," EDI matter-of-factly replied.
Whatever Joker's reply was, Shepard couldn't hear it over the sudden sound of a dying Elcor that greeted them as they entered the bar.
Okay, she mused, maybe dying Elcor wasn't the right description to give to the (obviously drunk) man singing on a stage set up just to the left of the drinks counter. Tone-deaf Salarian that just got run over by a charging Krogan was much more fitting.
The group settled down at a vacant table between the makeshift stage and the drink bar.
"Would it kill them to hire some better entertainment around here?" Joker visibly cringed as the singer finished his song with some sort of off-key high pitched screech that would've sent even the mechanical dogs running.
That was when Shepard first noticed the sign hanging next to the stage. "Open mic Karaoke night," she read, a devious plot beginning to form in her mind. Spinning on her heel, she turned to face Kaidan, who had since sat down in one of the chairs circling the table.
Taking the seat beside him, she motioned to the stage with her head. "How 'bout it?"
"You mean, me go up there and sing?" he laughed when she nodded. "Yeah, I'm not going to do that…"
She crossed her arms. "What if I put on a pouty face?"
"Then I'd call you adorable, but I still wouldn't get on stage."
"Sour sport." Teasingly punching him in the arm, Shepard analyzed the rest of her lackeys, trying to judge which one might be persuaded. Her gaze stopped at James.
He put his hands up defensively. "Hey, don't look at me! I'm just here for the free drinks." He raised an eyebrow. "You are paying for us, right, Lola?"
"Keep dreaming," she chuckled. Hmm… If she could somehow get Joker up on stage, it might just make up for his most recent annoying stunt.
"I would like to try this… Karaoke," Javik suddenly spoke up, surprisingly.
"You?" Shepard couldn't help but blurt out.
"Do you even know any songs?" Garrus questioned.
"Yes," the Prothean began walking towards the stage, "I have been studying up on popular songs of the current and past decade." He approached the stage manager, who quickly nodded and typed something into his omni-tool. The bar's lights dimmed, save for a spotlight aimed directly at the lone figure on the stage.
Shepard wasn't sure who was more shocked – The stage manager, the crowd, or the eight of them watching from the side.
Javik accepted the microphone offered to him by the manager. He fumbled with it for a few seconds, but soon enough his voice could be heard reverberating through the loudspeakers. "In my cycle, our technology was much more responsive than this," he scoffed, then audibly cleared his throat.
"I would like to dedicate this song to my people," he declared as the background music, a flute or similar instrument, began to play. "May they long be remembered."
And thus, Javik began singing. "Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feel you,"
"I don't think I've heard this song," Tali commented, sitting down next to Garrus and offering him some sort of special dextro-appropriate beverage.
"Thanks," the Turian took a long swig, "I'm going to need this."
"That is because this song is very old," Liara addressed Tali's comment, studying something on a datapad. "I fear Javik may have been studying the wrong timeframe – This song was popular in the human year 1997."
"You have come to show you go on,"
"How has he not been booed off yet?" Kaidan muttered, something which Shepard herself wondered. The Prothean's voice was completely flat, and not to mention too low for the selected song. Mixed with his accent and odd pronunciation, the song was emitting most likely how the original artist had not intended. Far from it, in fact.
"Whevever you are, I believe that the heart does go on,"
Oddly enough, the audience seemed to be…enjoying the performance. Granted, the majority of them were most likely drunk.
"Well, it could be worse," Shepard mused, "at least this isn't as bad as an Elcor Mariachi or something."
"Actually, even that might sound better," Kaidan chuckled under his breath.
"Love can touch us one time, and last for a lifetime,"
"That's it!" Joker slammed his fist down on the table, attracting the group's attention from the singing disaster. "I can't stand another minute of this, sober at least. I'm getting drinks, any of you want anything?"
"Something light would be great," Shepard piped up after the rest of her squad had ordered. She wasn't much of a drinker, and on the rare occasions that she did she only drank a minimal amount. But, judging how the night was going, she decided that she just might need that drink. "And when I say light, I mean it, Joker," she narrowed her eyes at the pilot.
"Aye, aye, ma'am," he grinned, limping away to the drink bar.
Kaidan placed a hand on her shoulder, drawing her attention away from glaring after Joker. "I'm going to pick up some Mozzarella Sticks at Apollo, want anything?" he asked.
"Actually, those sound pretty tasty. As long as you're willing to share, that is," she poked him playfully in the stomach.
He smiled. "Be back in a few… I don't think I'll be missing much." She watched him as he walked down the steps and out the door.
"You're here, there's nothing I fear," Javik's voice had risen several decibels and octaves, which only made his singing potently worse. "And I know that my heart will go on."
Those drinks couldn't come fast enough.
The Café was more crowded than Kaidan had expected, taking him twenty minutes to return to the Purgatory with the snacks.
"A singer in a smoky room, a smell of wine and cheap perfume,"
The biotic was surprised that Javik was still on stage, and that no one had informed him that his songs were two centuries out of date. Walking up the stairs to the group's table, he was lucky enough to duck just in time as a man dressed in Alliance BDUs was flung across the room.
"Well, I guess we know what happens to people who try to flirt with the Commander," James stared at a rather smug-looking Shepard, with something like a mix of awe and fear on his face.
"How is it that you're still alive, Alenko?" Garrus asked, noting Kaidan's return.
"Because he's got a nice ass," Shepard giggled. Wait…giggled? It was then that Kaidan noticed the five empty glasses stacked behind her.
Setting the food down on the table, he sat down in his chair and looked up at the woman. "Shep, are you drunk?" he asked in disbelief.
"Wha-" a hiccup interrupted whatever she was about to say. "Naaaah," she made some sort of dismissive hand gesture, or at least that's what he assumed it was meant to be.
"No," Kaidan raised an eyebrow, "I'm pretty sure you are."
This caused her to scowl. "No, I'm Commander effin' Shepard," she slurred, "and Commander effin' Shepard does not get drunk!" She tried to stand taller, but ended up having to lean on the table to keep from toppling over.
Joker hobbled over to the table, a drink in each hand. He extended one to Shepard, but Kaidan snatched it away before she could accept.
"Joker, what's in this?" Kaidan questioned. He glimpsed a wave of fear and guilt crash over the pilot's face. Busted.
"Heeeeey!" Shepard whined, reaching over in an attempt to reclaim the beverage. "Give it back!"
"I think you've had five too many, Shep," he responded. Despite himself, he couldn't help but find the situation rather amusing. The Commander's antics had gained them a decent amount of attention, though most of the bar-goers were still focused on Javik as he belted out We Are the Champions.
"Are you sassin' me, Soldier?" Shepard crossed her arms. "I think that calls for punishment. Drop down and give me twenty!" A devious smirk entered her expression. "And take off that shirt, too, while you're at it."
Kaidan couldn't help but smile. "Yeah, I'm not gonna do that."
"You're no fun," she muttered, frowning and sticking her bottom lip out in a pouty face. Which, he had to admit, did make her look oddly adorable.
"'Cuz if you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it," Javik's monotonous performance dragged Shepard's attention back to the stage.
"Ooh, I know this dance!" she began waving her arms around, and in doing so, lost her balance and pitched forward.
Instinctively, Kaidan reached an arm out, hooked her around her slender waist, and pulled her back. The movement caused her to fall back and land on his lap. She threw her arms around his neck in the process, to avoid continuing the momentum and performing a backwards somersault over his chair.
Their faces ended up about three inches apart, and, with a smirk, Shepard closed the gap and kissed him. Some of the bar-goers who had been watching the spectacle cheered and whistled.
Pulling back, she gave him a small smile. "If you wanted to get closer, Major, all you had to do was ask."
"I think it's about time we head back to the Normandy." Fishing out his credit chit, he tossed it in front of Garrus. "Take care of our tabs, will you?"
The Turian shook his head in amusement, tucking the card into a pocket of his armor.
With her hands still linked around his neck, Kaidan carefully stood up, one arm holding under her knees and the other supporting behind the small of her back. He didn't quite trust her to be able to walk on her own.
"Aww," Shepard complained, "The party's only beginning! Do we really have to leave?"
"And I was like, Baby, Baby, Baby, oh,"
"Yes. Yes we do." Kaidan didn't know what song Javik was singing now, probably another extremely ancient tune, but the sound of it was enough encouragement alone to get out of there. As quickly as he could without tripping, he made his way out of the bar and to the elevator.
He went to press the button to the Docking Bays, but, considering the state of the woman in his arms, decided to take a less public route. She had been switching between hiccupping and giggling since they left the bar, and at one point had even snorted amidst her giggles, which caused her to erupt in a bout of obnoxious laughter. Hoping to save whatever reputation and dignity she would have left after tonight, he pressed the button for the level directly below them.
The higher class residential district was luckily void of citizens at this time of night. It was peacefully quiet, especially since Shepard had ceased her insanity. In fact, Kaidan considered as they passed a large water fountain, it seemed as though she was sleepi-
"Ooh, look at that!" she swung one of her arms wildly skyward, but Kaidan didn't have time to see whatever it was that had caught her attention before her arm accidentally smacked him in the nose. Hard. Thrown off by her sudden shift in weight mixed with the blow to his head, he took a step backwards to regain his balance. He, unfortunately, forgot about the water fountain behind him until it was too late.
The concrete edge of the fountain was just tall enough to catch him square in the knee, sending both of them tumbling backwards into the freezing water. The pool was maybe a foot deep at most, yet it was enough to drench them both from head to toe.
With a groan, Kaidan sat up, rubbing his head. Anything else he should expect tonight?
A sudden splash of water from his left caught him off guard, followed by quiet laughter. Kaidan turned to face Shepard, her blue eyes shining mischievously as she sent another douse of water cascading his way.
He couldn't help but smile. Even in the dim light, with her light brown, shoulder length hair falling messily in her face and her drenched clothing, she was still absolutely beautiful to him.
Standing, he reached down to pick her up again, smiling as she once again wrapped her arms around his neck. They do say a dash of cold water helps to overcome drunkenness, although a dip in the courtyard fountain probably wasn't what the old wives had in mind when making up their tales.
"What was it that you saw, anyways?" Kaidan asked once they had set off again.
"There was a cloud shaped like a bunny," Shepard murmured in response.
"There are no clouds on the Citadel."
She laid her head against his chest, closing her eyes. They continued like this, in silence, for a few minutes, before she spoke again.
"You're warm," she sighed, "and cuddly. Like a kitten." She leaned her head up to meet his eyes. "Can we get a kitten?"
"Somehow, I think the Alliance would frown upon that," he answered, but grinned nonetheless.
"They also frown upon falling in love with your subordinates." With a sigh, she again rested her head on his chest. Within minutes, she was fast asleep. Kaidan felt that she had begun shivering, and quickened his pace. Finally, they reached Docking Bay D224.
The Normandy was all but deserted, with most of the crew either out enjoying the night or crashed in their quarters. Only Samantha remained, standing at her usual terminal. A smile spread across her face as she watched the two walk past into the elevator.
"You know, Major," she began, "I think the point of skinny dipping is to remove your clothing." Her laughter followed as the elevator doors closed, while Kaidan just shook his head with a chuckle.
Arriving at the Commander's personal cabin, he carefully navigated down and placed the still asleep Shepard on her bed. He gingerly pulled a blanket over her, kissing her softly on her forehead, then turned to make his way down to his sleeping pod on the crew deck.
He hadn't even managed to take a step before he felt her hand reach out to grasp his.
"Don't go," she mumbled, her eyes still closed. And that was a request he could never deny.
Careful not to disturb her, Kaidan settled down beside her and pulled the blanket over both of them. Shepard curled in closer to him, resting her head below his chin and her hands on his chest. Neither of them cared about the fact that they were still wearing their drenched clothing.
Kaidan gazed down at the woman in his arms, rubbing a hand along her back as she released a content sigh. She looked so peaceful… He hoped she knew what was in store for her in the morning.
Kaidan awoke the next morning to the sound of Shepard groaning. She was sitting on the bed beside him, pinching the bridge of her nose.
"Morning, Sunshine," he pushed himself into a sitting position.
"Shhh…" she whispered, "not so loud, Kaidan."
"So," he stood up out of bed, stretching as he did so, "should I go kill Joker, or would you like to do the honors?"
A ping! from Shepard's computer halted her reply as she shakily walked to the terminal. Curiosity got the better of him, and Kaidan followed.
'1 NEW MESSAGE' the screen flashed. Settling herself down in a chair, with Kaidan leaning over her shoulder, she clicked to open it.
From: Rear Admiral Hannah Shepard
Subject: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?
Kaidan watched in dread as Shepard clicked the provided link, revealing several pictures from the previous night – Including photos of Shepard downing drinks, punching a man, attempting to dance, kissing Kaidan, and sitting in his lap.
"That bastard…" Shepard muttered. She swiveled her chair to face Kaidan. "You were Joker's co-pilot on the SR-1, right? That means you can fly a ship?"
"More or less," he answered. "Why do you ask?"
"Because after I throw Joker out the airlock, somebody's gonna have to fly to his home planet and inform his parents of the unfortunate circumstances." Kaidan didn't even try to stop her as Shepard marched towards the elevator.
A/N: This was actually a lot of fun to write! It originally started off with, "Javik sings Celine Dion on Karaoke Night", but evolved from there. And, of course, it had to be Shenko, because... Well, how can it not?
Songs referenced (in order): "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, "We Are The Champions" by Queen, "Single Ladies" by Beyonce, and "Baby" by Justin Bieber.
I'm still relatively new at this fanfic writing business (this is only my second uploaded ME fic), so any advice or criticism is appreciated! Thanks for reading!