Breaks were for the weak and the people who had nothing better to do. Shepard learned that lesson young, and the universe tended to not let her forget. For some reason she was never able to figure out she was a magnet for trouble, always attracting trouble that turned into bad news for the rest of the Alliance. From the day she enlisted it had been one thing after another, one Reaper after another, until it turned into the Council actually listening to her and sending the Normandy to solve every goddamned problem they could think of. Days be damned, sleep cycles be damned, everything revolved around trying to get everyone to behave so they would fight this goddamned war. And when they finally did, there was always something else. Shepard never heard the end of it, not even for one night that was supposed to be her first uninterrupted one in what felt like decades.

Nyx burst into her cabin, hurrying to escape the endless onslaught of demands. The more she did the more people wanted from her and the more stressed and exasperated she became. There was no getting away from being the woman in charge of saving the galaxy. The door slid shut and locked behind her. Only two people could break that lock, and one of them was an AI pledged to her allegiance. Somehow EDI understood how desperate she was to get away, understood everyone needs a break sometimes. The lock activating was EDI's way of helping.

Collapsing against the door for a brief second, Nyx let what she was really feeling show on her face. Being emotionless and in control all the time took its toll, more than she would ever admit. Between the turians, salarians, asari, quarians, geth, and everything in between, Nyx so badly only wanted a night to herself. Now she was en route to the Citadel for necessary repairs to the Normandy and mandatory shore leave, but she knew something would crop up between reading the message from Hackett and docking. Something always did. Straightening her expression, she grabbed a datapad from her desk and flopped on the coach, expecting an email already drawing her from her goal.

Of course, there was a business email. Cerberus got their hands dirty on another planet and only Commander Shepard could clean up the mess. The mission was urgent, it required upmost secrecy, blah blah blah. It almost seemed to follow a script written by the universe. Nyx moaned in frustration. Just one night. That's all she wanted. One night to forget she was the only person capable of doing any of this and relax. She didn't think she even knew the meaning of the word anymore. A moan of frustration escaped her mouth. A loud, ungainly sound, one unfortunately heard by the other person with fulltime access to her room.

Kaidan strolled through the door, opening with a soft whoosh. His eyes immediately went to the mound on the couch. "What is it this time? Reapers or the Council?"

Nyx shot upright, her eyes shining with embarrassment. She should've known it was only Kaidan. Logically, he was the only person who could be in here. But her brain was so frazzled she forgot everything and dropped the datapad. "Cerberus, actually," she answered, moving her legs aside so Kaidan could sit beside her. "Hackett wants me to check out another occupied planet and I can't even think straight about it anymore."

"What about that mandatory shore leave?"

"There is no shore leave for the Normandy. Not when we're the only people doing anything in this freaking war." Nyx slumped again against the back cushions. A war could only go on so long, she knew that. Eventually it had to end, and she had a strong feeling the end was coming soon. Commander Shepard could only go on so long though. The universe put her through everything it possibly could have, it felt like, and she was just done. Before Kaidan could fix a lot of that, but now fixing anything would be a miracle.

He slung an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. It was an awkward movement with their position, but the emotion behind it held true. He had held her in positions like this countless times, talking her back from the brink so the legend would continue. There were countless more times he was sure happened with her alone, back before the Citadel and Mars and Horizon even, but by focusing on the moments he could change he looked forward, looking forward so Nyx wouldn't have to for even a small moment. "You know, you could think of tonight as shore leave. A night you actually get to enjoy without worrying about paperwork or strategy."

Nyx glanced at him curiously. "We're in my cabin fourteen hours away from the Citadel. How is this in any way like shore leave?"

"Well, for starters, I wanted to do this." He pulled out a bottle of champagne and levitated two glasses to the ottoman in front of them. Pouring generous portions, he handed one to Nyx and clinked it in a toast. "To our first night of shore leave. Let them all be like this one."

Nyx took it and followed his lead, confused but enjoying the ride. She downed her glass in one long swallow. "I appreciate the gesture, Kaidan, but champagne and toasting our immediate future? What are you getting at?"

What he was getting at, Nyx soon learned, was both the opposite of what she expected and everything she secretly wanted. Her woes ended with Kaidan grasping her in his arms and lifting her into the air, beginning a slow embrace that climaxed into a passionate kiss at the foot of her bed. It felt exactly right in the situation, exactly right in her life and the universe and in the middle of the Reaper war. As they hungerly tore their clothes off each other she thought back briefly to her denouncement of shore leave. How wrong she was. It was exactly what she needed.