Author's Note: So, yay! I finally finished the last chapter for "Breathe". I'm sorry for taking so long! It took me a while to actually get started on this chapter (work and school, ugh!) and when I finally got going, I didn't even want to wait for my beta to look over it (sorry Kat!). I wanted to continue Serena's and Kaidan's story into ME2 so I've started working on a sequel which I'm calling "Just Breathe". Be on the lookout for it! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! It really made me feel special knowing that there are people out there who like what I write. Thanks again, and I love you guys!

Serena finished drying off and pulled on her usual pajamas and tank top. She quickly ran a brush through her wet hair and sat back down in front of her desk. She must have gone over the Ilos datapad a hundred times already, but she resolutely set herself to read it again. The door to her room rang and a lone figure stepped in.

Kaidan's eyes took a few seconds to adjust in the dim room. He hesitated, still not sure this had been a good idea. When he finally located her sitting at her desk, he lost his breath. She stood up, and he took in her appearance. She was wearing those pajamas again. The pants hung seductively low on her hips, and the tank top she was wearing only accentuated her curves. He almost gasped as his gaze moved further up. She was wearing the necklace he had given her.

Serena waited. She could feel the heat rushing through her body as Kaidan looked her over. Breathe, she reminded herself, just breathe. His eyes reached hers and Serena was thankful for the relative darkness of the room. She could feel the blush creeping into her cheeks.

"Commander," he said, finally making his way toward her.

Serena smiled, crossing her arms over her chest. "You probably shouldn't call me that. After everything that's happened, I don't think I'll be a 'Commander' after the mission is over."

"We're a hell of an example of humanity's best and brightest, huh?" Kaidan said. He tried to focus on their conversation, but that was hard to do considering she was so close to him.

Serena shook her head. "I keep reminding myself we're doing the right thing."

"If I didn't think you were doing the right thing, I wouldn't be here." He paused. He needed to tell her how he felt. Flirting was one thing, but this was more than that. He needed to make sure that she knew that. "If things don't go well, I just want you to know – well, I've enjoyed serving under you." That was lame, he thought to himself.

Serena took a step closer. They were almost touching. "Kaidan," she said quietly, "you stopped being a subordinate a long time ago."

Kaidan's heart raced at these words. "You're right. About everything." He took a deep breath and looked her straight in the eye. Here goes nothing. "I think about losing you and I can't stand it. The galaxy will just keep going. Everything, even the Reapers, will come around again. But you and I, we are what's important right now," he paused, trying to choose his words carefully. "Serena, you make me feel…human."

Serena furrowed her brow at what he said, but she understood. After years of being treated like some sort of pariah, Kaidan felt like himself around her. She smiled and reached up to touch his cheek. She wanted him to stay the night with her, but she was afraid he would reject her. He was right that this opportunity would probably never come around again, and she needed him to understand.

"Kaidan, I've never…I-I mean, this is the first time…"

Serena looked away, clearly uncomfortable. Kaidan didn't understand what she was trying to tell him, and then it dawned on him. His hand moved up and he took her hand in his. She looked at him, surprise showing in her eyes.

"Sex means being intimate with someone," she began, "and I've never allowed myself to get close to anyone. Until now."

She finally looked at him, and Kaidan's breath caught at the intensity in her eyes. He had thought about this moment for so long, but his thoughts were nothing compared to the real thing. He brought her closer, running his fingers through her long hair, drinking in her scent. She was telling him that she belonged to him and only him, and his heart pounded in his chest with anticipation.

Serena knew that Kaidan was the one she was meant to be with. She could feel it in her heart. She leaned into him, feeling the warmth of his body next to hers. She brought her arms around his neck and their lips finally met.

Kaidan let out a small groan against Serena's lips. His arms went around her waist, pressing her body to his. He deepened the kiss, savoring her sweet taste. She was everything he had ever imagined…and a whole lot more. His hands moved over her back, desperate to touch all of her. He couldn't get enough of her. The passion that he felt in her kiss only made his need grow stronger.

Serena fought to catch her breath. She felt Kaidan quickly pull his shirt over his head before resuming the kiss. Serena was in heaven. Kaidan's scent was intoxicating, and his body heat made her delirious. He grabbed the back of her thighs and pulled her up, causing her to wrap her legs around his waist. The sensations he was inciting in her were both terrifying and exciting, yet she was not afraid. She knew Kaidan would never hurt her.

Serena's body was wrapped around Kaidan so intimately, it took all he had to control himself. He carried her over to the bed where he gently set her down. He needed this to be perfect for her. He didn't know what the next day would bring, but he did know what he felt at that very moment. The word itself might not have been spoken, but Kaidan knew it was there. Serena would never have given herself to him if she didn't have strong feelings for him just as he would never have slept with her had he not felt those same feelings himself.

Serena leaned back on the bed and looked up at Kaidan. His eyes were warm as he placed his body next to hers, bracing himself on one arm while the other reached out to cup the side of her face. This was their moment. She would forever hold this night close to her heart. Kaidan leaned down and took over her mouth once more. Serena closed her eyes in contentment and lost herself in his kiss.

Serena relished the feel of the adrenaline that pumped through her veins. She could see the relay before her. They had less than a minute to get to it. Easy enough – unless you counted the four Colossus' that were in the way. It would be impossible to fight them and still get to the relay in time. She would just have to gun it.

She took a deep breath and turned to look at Kaidan sitting next to her and then at Wrex and Garrus in the back seat. "Everybody hold on," she said before turning back and slamming her foot on the accelerator.

"Great," she heard Wrex grunt, "the last time she said that she ran us right into a juggernaut."

"Shepard, you're not gonna ram the Mako into one of those Colossus', are you?" Garrus asked, gripping the edge of his seat tightly.

Serena couldn't respond. She was trying to dodge the geth and maneuver the vehicle at the same time. This had better work, she thought to herself. 15 seconds…10 seconds. She gunned the accelerator and the Mako launched itself into the relay. She felt the familiar lurch of the mass accelerator in her stomach. The next few seconds were spent in darkness before the Mako reappeared on the Presidium. The vehicle's wheels squealed as they touched ground and, before Serena had a chance to press on the brakes, they crashed into the nearest wall.

Saren was finally defeated. Kaidan was both thrilled and exhausted. He had used all his biotic energy to bring Saren down. He limped toward Wrex, who was helping Garrus up. They both gave him triumphant smiles before he turned around to look for Serena. She was on the ledge above them.

"We did it!" she said, smiling down at them. "Saren's dead."

Kaidan smiled back, but his relief was only temporary. He noticed the window behind her. Pieces of Sovereign were breaking through the glass and into the tower.

Serena turned around before yelling out to them. "Run!"

Kaidan couldn't move. The last huge piece of the Reaper ship came crashing down. No matter where she would try to run, the debris was still going to crush her. He had to save her. He mustered up what little biotic energy he had left and caught her in a biotic throw. Kaidan fell back, drained and tired, as the ship crashed down. His last thought before blacking out was of Serena and whether he had succeeded in moving her out of harm's way.

Serena groaned in pain. Her muscles felt like they were on fire. She slowly sat up taking in the scene before her. Her right arm hung limply at her side, and she gritted her teeth as she placed her shoulder back in its socket. She stood up, pushing the debris away from her body and cradling her right arm. What the hell happened?

She remembered telling her squad to run when she saw a piece of Sovereign on a collision course with the Citadel Tower. The next thing she knew, she was being thrown across the tower, away from the falling ship. Kaidan had thrown her. That was the only explanation. He had saved her life.

Her heart jumped to her throat as she thought of Kaidan, Wrex and Garrus. The debris had landed right where they were standing. No, she thought, moving as fast she could to the other end of the tower, I can't lose anyone else.

She saw flashes of light and knew that a rescue crew had arrived. She sped up, ignoring the burning pain in her muscles. They had to be ok. He had to be ok. Serena climbed over the debris, holding her breath at what she would see. Relief washed over her when she saw Captain Anderson standing with her squad.

She threw a look at Wrex and Garrus to make sure they were ok before setting her eyes on Kaidan. She saw a corner of his mouth turn up into a slight smile as she made her way down. She managed a quick nod to Captain Anderson as she walked past him, but she only had eyes for Kaidan. She fell into his arms and almost cried in relief. It was over, and they were ok.

Kaidan wrapped his arms around Serena, holding her tightly against him. He buried his face in her hair not caring that Captain Anderson, Wrex and Garrus were there. She was safe and that was all that mattered to him.

They had survived. Kaidan knew that there was still a lot to be done, but at the moment all he could think about was Serena. Whatever greater power existed in the universe had certainly been looking out for them. He would take advantage of that chance and make the most of their time together. One thing was for sure: he was never going to let her out of his sight again.

Serena fell back against her bed, exhausted. After the battle with Saren and the meeting with the Council, all she wanted to do was sleep for days. She hadn't even bothered to change out of her armor. The door to her room swished open, but she didn't look up. She recognized the footsteps and managed to open her eyes just as Kaidan sat down next to her. She turned her head to look at him.

Kaidan leaned down to give Serena a quick kiss on the forehead before beginning the process of removing her armor. She didn't move or say anything, but he caught her sigh of content. He took off her boots, arm and leg pieces, and finally her body armor until she was lying on the bed in just a tank top and tight shorts. He placed the armor off to the side of the bed before making his way next to her.

Kaidan's body heat was making her drowsy. She scooted closer to him and sighed again. This was perfection. She wanted this forever. He made her feel complete…like she had been missing something in her life and didn't realize it until had Kaidan stepped in. She drew her arm across his stomach and pulled herself tightly against him. Her last thought before falling asleep was that, no matter what happened, her heart would always belong to him.