I do not own Mass Effect, Commander Shepard, Kaidan Alenko or anything associated with them, this is purely for entertainment purposes and I am not making any money off of it.

Please feel free to review and let me know what you think, as this is my first Mass Effect fic and the first fanfic I've written in several years.

Kaidan and Shepard look at the feelings after their meeting on Horizon. Can love conquer all?

Understanding

Shepard stood at the desk in her cabin aboard the Normandy SR-2 staring silently at the picture of Kaidan on her desk. Her thoughts roamed as she stood there, thinking back to the night they shared before Ilos brought a sad smile to her face. Thinking about their meeting on Horizon brought tears to her eyes. She sat down and opened her personal terminal and went back to the message Kaidan had sent her after they parted on Horizon.

Shepard,

I'm sorry for what I said back on Horizon. I spent two years pulling myself back together after you went down with the Normandy. It took me a long time to get over my guilt for surviving and move on, I'd finally let my friends talk me into going out for drinks with a doctor on the Citadel. Nothing serious, but trying to let myself have a life again, you know?

Then I saw you, and everything pulled hard to port. You were standing in front of me, but you were with Cerberus. I guess I really don't know who either of us is anymore. Do you even remember that night before Ilos? That night meant everything to me… maybe it meant as much to you. But a lot has changed in the last two years and I can't just put that aside.

But please be careful. I've watched too many people close to me die – on Eden Prime, on Virmire, on Horizon, on the Normandy. I couldn't bear it if I lost you again. If you're still the woman I remember, I know you'll find a way to stop these Collector attacks. But Cerberus is too dangerous to be trusted. Watch yourself.

When things have settled down a little… maybe… I don't know. Just take care.

-Kaidan

Tears streamed silently down Shepard's cheeks as she read the message again, closing her eyes she remembered the night before Ilos clearly, she remembered the taste of Kaidan's mouth, the fell of his skin under her fingertips… she sighed and opened a new message.

Kaidan,

I wish I could have changed everything except that night before Ilos, and I wish I had taken more time to show you how much you mean to me before the Normandy went down. I understand that for you it has been two years, but for me it has only been a few months, so things are fresher to me than they are to you, including the pain. I should have told you two years ago that I love you; I should have let you know that I carry you in my heart always. So I say them now. I love you Kaidan and I will always carry you in my heart.

Now for the hard part, we are about two hours out from the Omega 4 relay, yes I know, no ship has ever returned from there, however, we think we have that part figured out. I and my team know that this very well could be the last thing we ever do, so please let yourself continue if I don't come back, and know that I will always love you no matter what. For whatever it is worth, I don't trust Cerberus; I never have and never will. The Illusive Man has more than once sent this crew into a trap and damn near killed us all. This is nothing more than the enemy of my enemy is my friend; it is an alliance of convenience. I do not know what Cerberus sees to gain from this, as I am doing this to save an entire galaxy from the Reapers, not just move Humanity forward, we will move forward on our own and by helping others not by ignoring everyone else out there.

Kaidan, I am also sending you everything I have on the Collectors, the Reapers and Cerberus, take it to Anderson and hopefully it will be enough to motivate the Council and the Alliance. There are four groups that I think will help should it come to that. Seek out the Migrant Fleet, they owe us all, and we owe them, Tali's father was doing stuff he shouldn't have been, however, we need to make sure we have them with us when the time comes. Head to Noveria, the Rachni Queen will stand with us, I have already received messages from her on this. They are strong and they are honorable.

The Krogan, I am attaching the research we picked up from a Salarian doctor named Maleon. It is the beginnings of a cure for the Genophage, make sure it gets to Urdnot Wrex on Tuchanka, he will do what needs to be done with it.

Finally there are the Geth, they are split, though hopefully we were able to bring them back together before we left. Find the true Geth, the ones in the Pursues Veil, and they know of us, they are with us in fighting the 'Old Machines', what they call the Reapers. I fully believe from talking to Legion that the Geth mean no harm to organics, they merely want to be left to exist and grow as we all do.

Finally, while I would trade any and all of my current team to have you by my side in this, I am glad you are not, as we may all be going to our deaths. Remember us Kaidan; you were right, except hopefully this will give us another chance at something many people don't get one chance at.

Love,

Shepard

Shepard read the message again, finally attaching everything that she needed to it. Standing and stretching she made her way out of her cabin and headed down to the Bridge. Kneeling next to Joker at the pilot's station, she spoke softly. "Joker, I need you to make sure this message goes out just before we enter the relay, and I don't want EDI knowing about it. Promise me that no matter what this message will get back to who it is intended to reach," she asked him, her eyes pleading.

Joker glanced over at the glowing ball that indicated the Normandy's AI. "I will do what I can Shepard, just make sure that we don't need that when it all ends. It's up to us," he responded.

Shepard nodded and stood back up, making her way once again through the CIC to the galaxy map, she was at peace no matter what happened today, she knew the Galaxy would know the truth.

Kaidan returned to the small apartment he had on the Citadel, he was surprised to see a message waiting for him from Shepard, he hadn't expected a reply, and hadn't gotten one; he opened the message standing at his desk. After reading the first few lines, he sat down heavily as he read the rest of the message, his eyes resting on the salutation, Love, Shepard. He bit back tears that threatened to tear down his resolve, and stood, taking an OSD and putting the data Shepard had sent him on it, and headed out, making his way quickly to Councilor Anderson's office.