Mass Effect and its characters don't belong to me.


Uneasiness

Kaidan wished he could say that after being rejected by Shepard he got over it and moved on without a struggle. That couldn't be farther from the truth, though.

Part of him – the soldierly part – was actually impressed (though a bit pissed off, too) that the two of them could act as professionally as they did.

There was no real sign of a more personal relationship on their behaviors during missions and still, whenever he was called to be a part of the ground squad, he felt as an awkward third wheel and couldn't stop himself from looking for issues on Garrus' conduct.

The turian had to make mistakes somewhere; after all, his girlfriend was his Commander and had an above average tendency of throwing herself in harm's way. And quite literally.

That was the reason the Alliance forbade fraternization, wasn't it? (Never mind that, if she would have him, he'd be willing to break the rules for once.)

He actually couldn't understand how Garrus was able to keep a leveled head seeing Shepard bioticaly charge the enemies the way she did.

If she were his girl, he'd call her on her lack of personal safety; convince her to be more careful, to fight smarter without putting herself in danger as often.

Instead, Garrus kept his distance on the battlefield, taking out the enemies that kept at range and clearing a perimeter around the 'human hurricane', further allowing her to act recklessly.

Another part of him wondered how the hell the turian could act so nonchalantly about their relationship, as if it was an ordinary thing to be dating Commander Shepard.

Kaidan couldn't stop thinking that she deserved better than that. She deserved someone who weren't afraid of showing what she meant to them; someone who weren't ashamed of their relationship.

Someone better than Garrus Vakarian.

It was slowly getting under his skin.

It was not until their search for the Leviathan creature led them to Despoina that he'd seen their professionalism crack.

Though his understanding of turian facial expressions and sub vocals was lacking, to say the least, Garrus' uncertainty and concern before Shepard launched herself on the deep sea in the old mech was loud and clear even in the simple act of saying her name. Their locked gazes were a silent shout that made him cringe when she said "I'll be fine."

When they lost contact to her, Kaidan had to hold Garrus back to stop him from going to another Tritan.

"Something's happened. We need to help her!" Garrus snarled at him, trying to get free as more Reaper troops started showering down on them.

"We need to keep the deck clear for her to come back!" Kaidan said, reaving a Brute before shooting a Cannibal.

When the last two Marauders fell, Kaidan scoffed and shook his head attracting a glare from the turian.

"What's funny?" The anger was simmering in Garrus' voice.

"She's always risking her life, charging around and putting herself in jeopardy, and you're always so calm about it," Kaidan started, looking at Garrus. "What's different now?"

"I'm not at her six now."

If that'd been said with any trace of smugness, Kaidan would've laughed, asking since when did Shepard need Garrus Vakarian to protect her, but it was stated as matter-of-factly that the Biotic couldn't deny its truth. Vakarian really did have her back at all times during battles allowing her to fight at the best of her capacity with reduced risks.

Any reply Kaidan might've wanted to make was cut short as a new wave of Reapers fell down from the skies.

They were in the middle of the firefight when Shepard surfaced, but instead of start shooting rockets at the Brutes marching towards the shuttle, the Tritan's hatch simply opened, letting out a limp Shepard on the deck floor.

Before Kaidan could even register what was going on, Garrus launched himself after her; all thought about tactics and strategy gone to hell. The turian's movements were jerked and hasty in opposition to his usual sniper precision.

He'd finally seen Garrus' mask fall…

And now he was selfishly wishing he hadn't.

It dawned on Kaidan that the 'professional distance' he'd observed on the two of them so many times during battles wasn't actually due to the lack of feelings. On the contrary: it was just their way to make sure the other would be safe, because losing control of their feelings was dangerous.

He'd known that. He'd always had.

Bizarrely enough, one of the Brutes attacked the other, buying Garrus the time to get Shepard to safety.

They went on automatic motions till they were in the shuttle and leaving the planet.

Garrus had Shepard lain on the floor, scanning her with his 'tool. "She's freezing!" He said with sheer desperation.

When Shepard gasped and started coughing, the Major let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.

"You okay?" Garrus asked with a startling frailty.

"Yeah, yeah!" Her answer was rattled and laced in another coughing fit. She grinned, strained. "Hell of a headache, though."

But Garrus wasn't amazed. Kaidan had the impression that if turians could cry, he'd be tearing up as he said: "Never do that again."

Shepard's answer was interrupted when Cortez announced that Ann Bryson was on the Comm. Kaidan thought that she wouldn't give her boyfriend's plea an answer, anyway.

After she gave a quick report to the Doctor, the Commander collapsed on the shuttle's seat, paler than she had been a second before.

Garrus kneeled in front of her and – when had he taken his gauntlets off? – took her face in his hands with a delicacy Kaidan never imagined him capable of. Her hands touched his scarred mandibles and for a moment, Kaidan thought they would kiss, right there and then.

Instead, Shepard touched his forehead with hers and sighed deeply whispering something to her boyfriend's ears only.

Feeling like a voyeur, the human walked over to the cockpit and closed the door, giving them some privacy.

That War had left everyone broken somehow – over lost family, lost homeplanets, lost friends… Lost life everywhere – but he didn't want to think about how Shepard looked ripped apart at that moment.

He didn't want to admit that he wouldn't know what to do with a broken Commander Shepard.

The destiny of the Galaxy was hanging on her being whole.

And it was selfish of him, but, for the first time, Kaidan was grateful not to be the one responsible for holding her together, because he didn't know if he'd be up to the task.


Notes:

I always thought that Garrus' reaction on the Leviathan DLC was a bit out of character, even though he and Shepard are in a relationship. So I wanted to explore this.

Also, I have this idea of Kaidan being a real sticky kind of boyfriend, with some real old-fashioned ideas about the dynamics of a relationship (I can't really explain why, he just rubs me that way...), but I don't think Shepard would survive in a relationship with someone who keeps trying to cut her wings in order to protect her. It's just that Kaidan seems to be the sort of guy who needs a damsel in distress, and that's just not who Shepard is.

It's one of the reasons I can't really picture them together. He'd be perfect with Liara, though or Dr. Michel.

I hope the read had been at least interesting!

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