I do not own Mass Effect or any of the characters or other things in that universe. This is simply for entertainment only and I am making no money off of it. Long live Bioware.

What do you do when you think everyone has turned against you?

Reunion

He stood in Councilor Anderson's office, he was still angry at Anderson for not telling him sooner about Shepard, he was angry at Cerberus for using her, he was angry at himself for not trusting her. When he saw her on Horizon, all he had longed to do was take her in his arms and hold her tightly, but he couldn't get his mind past Cerberus. He knew in his heart that if there had been another way, she would have found it, she had been devastated by what Cerberus had done all those years ago, she had agonized over the pain they had caused, all in the name of furthering Humanity. I should have let her explain. He thought listening to Anderson arguing with the Council.

Anderson listened as once again the Council downplayed the threat of the Collectors and the Reapers. "When are you going to listen to us, you gave me this seat on the Council, and damn it all to hell this is stupid, we have the evidence right before our eyes and you want to ignore it. Commander Alenko's report confirms everything that Commander Shepard told you when she was here," he told the holograms angrily.

The Turian Councilor spoke up, "All Commander Alenko is doing is covering up from his lover. The 'Reapers' are not real and he has brought forward no new evidence to substantiate Commander Shepard's claims. If you persist in pursuing this Councilor Anderson, we will be forced to Censure you as well as Commander Shepard and Commander Alenko."

The Asari Councilor raised her hand to stop Anderson from speaking, "There is no need for anyone to threaten anything, Commander Shepard is doing as she was asked and pursuing the missing Human Colonies in the Terminus, until we have further proof that the Collectors are a threat to anyone other than Humanity, we cannot actively support an effort to build up a fleet to fight what may well be nothing more than a very convincing ruse."

Kaidan had had enough, "With all due respect Councilors you are blind and wrong. You had a bloody Reaper corpse in your hands and you still refuse to see it for what it is, that is just plain stupid burying your heads in the sand. I will not stand by while you cast dispersions about the mental health of Commander Shepard or me. Do what you will, I am done with this," he exclaimed, turning and walking out of the meeting before anyone could say anything to him. Oh Shepard, I should have let you explain, I should have listened.

Kaidan made his way across the Presidium to Fifth Fleet HQ where he maintained quarters when he was on the Citadel. He ran into no one as he made his way to his private quarters, being a Commander had some perks, even if the politics were horrible. He looked at the framed photo taken of Shepard not long after they had defeated Sovereign and the Geth, and sighed. Sitting down at his desk he began typing a message to her, one both giving and asking for forgiveness.

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

Shepard sat on her bed reading over the pile of data pads she had stacked in various places around the bed, sighing, she glanced over at the small framed photo now sitting on her nightstand next to the radio/clock. Oh Kaidan, I wish things were different. She thought silently, replaying their meeting on Horizon for the millionth time since it had happened. Reaching out she picked up the datapad sitting next to the picture.

Shepard,

She could hear his voice in her head as she once again read the message.

I spent two years pulling myself back together after you went down with the Normandy.

It had been two years for him, but for her it was just a few months ago, she could still close her eyes, and remember his touch, his smell, his taste. Shaking her head to break the memory, she looked once again at the picture. She had once again managed to save the galaxy, but she didn't know if she would be able to save the relationship so gently built in the aftermath of the fight against Sovereign and the Geth. Closing her eyes, she let the tears seep out from under her lashes; she still loved Kaidan no matter what had been said on Horizon. She didn't think she could change that no matter what the future held.

"Commander, we are entering dock at the Citadel, what do you want me to do about repairs," Joker, the Normandy's pilot spoke over the intercom.

Shepard sighed, back to the real world, she thought before answering. "Contact Fifth Fleet see if we can't get something from them, then contact Councilor Anderson and see if he can't get me a meeting with the Council so I can give them this evidence to ignore," she replied bitterly.

"Aye Aye Commander," Joker replied.

Standing, Shepard looked longingly at the picture of Kaidan; she stretched and moved over to her wardrobe, where she changed out of the tank top and shorts she had been relaxing in, and put on her armor. It was time for her to be Commander Shepard, not Shepard, at least for now. Not that anyone really saw Shepard anymore, the only person she had ever let in was Kaidan.

Commander Shepard, Alliance Commander, Spectre, orphan of Mindoir, Hero of Elysium, Savior of the Citadel. She was all of these things and none of them, deep inside she was still just a woman. She stood to the side as Councilor Anderson spoke to the Council, awaiting her turn to speak, she had presented Anderson with all the information EDI had managed to get from the Collector ship and base before they were both blown to hell and back.

"Commander Shepard, this evidence, all you have is data from the ship and base? Where is the ship or the base?" asked the Salarian Councilor.

Shepard took a breath, here it comes, she thought to herself before speaking. "The ship was destroyed in the initial skirmish just past the Omega 4 relay, and I destroyed the base myself along with the Human Reaper the Collectors were creating for Harbinger," she explained, knowing that the information had been in her report.

The Salarian Councilor nodded, "This unfortunately puts us in a bad position. Had you managed to take either the base or the ship, we could have studied it and found what we need from there, now however, we only have your word that this data is in fact genuine, and not some cover up by Cerberus to keep you in their employ," he stated matter of factly.

Shepard shook her head, "Since Cerberus is not exactly happy with the fact that I destroyed both the ship and the base either, nor with the fact that I told the Illusive Man to go piss up a rope, I doubt this is a ruse on their part. I mean damn it all to hell, when will you people wake up and smell the coffee here. I don't care who I have to piss off to get you to take me seriously, but this is a threat to the galaxy, I can't give you more proof until the Reapers are once again knocking on the doors to the Citadel, what the hell do you people want from me," she exclaimed her frustration at the Council taking it's toll.

"Commander Shepard, while we see that the Collectors were indeed a threat to all species, we still cannot see this as proof that the Reapers are bent on our destruction," the Asari Councilor explained.

"Oh to hell with it, I give up, keep your collective heads buried in the sand for all I care, but don't you dare come crying to me to save your asses again," Shepard threw at them before storming out of the Council Chambers and heading back to the Normandy.

Kaidan entered the new Normandy, taking a look around at the Bridge and command stations. The same but not the same, he thought as he turned to find Joker sitting at the pilot's station facing him and openly staring. "Joker," he acknowledged the pilot. He hadn't realized that Joker had joined Cerberus too, he had really messed up on a lot of things, much of it apparent in the way the younger man glared at him.

"Commander Alenko, to what do we owe this visit?" Joker asked, his voice bitter, knowing that after everything they had been through, the Alliance Sentinel couldn't look past Cerberus.

Kaidan took a deep breath, "I'm here to see Shepard, if she'll see me that is," he stated softly, glancing around once more.

"Commander Shepard is currently in a meeting with the Council Commander. If you would like you can wait in the briefing room until she returns," came the reply from a disembodied voice.

Kaidan glanced around before his eyes settled on the blue globe next to Joker, "An AI?"

Joker nodded, "EDI meet Kaidan Alenko, Kaidan this is EDI."

Kaidan was astounded, no way the Council nor the Alliance was going to like this, "Wow. Well EDI where do your loyalties lie in this, I think I know Jokers, and I'm pretty sure about Shepards," he asked bluntly.

"I fully support Commander Shepard, to the point of assisting her and Jeff remove all the recording devices on the ship before we returned through the Omega 4 relay," came the statement.

"Well if Shepard trusts you I trust you. Would it be possible to direct me to her quarters, I think I'd prefer a more private conversation with her when she comes back," he asked the AI.

"Of course Commander Alenko, proceed to the elevator, Commander Shepard's quarters are on the top deck."

"EDI what are you doing, this is… never mind, I don't get involved in this stuff," Joker started.

Kaidan nodded, "Thank you EDI, Joker," he turned and left the Bridge, making his way past the crewmen working at their stations. Entering the lift, Kaidan touched the control for the upper deck, when the lift stopped, he got out and saw the door with the 'Commander Shepard' printed on the wall next to it. Sighing, and hoping he was doing the right thing, he entered the room and took a look around. First thing he noticed was the disarray, there were datapads scattered all over the bed, some on the floor others were scattered on the desk. His eyes moved to the fish tank, seeing dead fish there. Wonder if she remembers to feed them at all, he thought, taking in the hamster sitting on the shelf next to the desk. He glanced over the models sitting in the cabinet over the desk, they had been placed gently in different positions. His gaze stopped at the model of the original Normandy. Shaking himself from his revelry, he moved further into the room, only to be stopped by the picture frame showing his face sitting on the night stand next to the bed. Oh Shepard, I am so sorry. He was startled when he heard the door open, and saw Shepard enter, her armor half undone, as she sagged against the door, tears glittering on her cheeks, in that moment, Kaidan forgot all about talking to her, and just reacted, walking over and taking her in his arms and holding her tightly, wanting nothing more in the Universe than to take away the pain she was feeling in that moment.

Joker hadn't expected Shepard to return so soon, so when she stormed onto the bridge of the Normandy cursing like a Marine, he knew that the meeting had not gone well. "Commander, take a breath and calm down. Then tell me what happened."

Shepard looked at Joker, one of the three constants in this entire nightmare. "They still don't believe us. I piss off my only other means of dealing with this, and the bloody council still doesn't believe it."

Miranda had entered the Bridge to see what was going on, "You did what was right Shepard, and we all see that now. The only thing left to do is to make the Council see that they are wrong," she said calmly.

Shepard stopped, here was the most loyal woman to Cerberus, and Miranda had sided with her, not Cerberus. "Hell anything is possible at this point," she stated in frustration before turning and leaving the Bridge.

As Shepard turned to leave, Joker remembered Kaidan, "Uh commander," he called out, but Shepard didn't hear him, and was in the elevator before he could catch her attention. "This isn't going to go well," he mumbled.

"I think you are overreacting Jeff, I think it is going to go very well," came a reply from EDI.

Miranda looked at the two, "What in the world are you two talking about," she asked.

Joker just sighed, "You'll find out soon enough, one way or another," he told her, turning his attention back to his console.

At least the Alliance was helping repair the Normandy, she thought as she made her way into her quarters. When the door shut, she leaned back against it, closing her eyes and letting the tears come, and it was too much to deal with. She had saved the galaxy not once, but twice, had not even been allowed the luxury of death, and they still didn't believe her.

Shepard jumped out of her skin when she felt someone wrap their arms around her and pull her into a warm embrace, "Shepard, everything will be alright, you'll figure something out," the warm voice told her, holding her tightly.

Shepard pulled back slightly to look at Kaidan, "Please, tell me this isn't a hallucination," she whispered.

Kaidan smiled, "I think I'm real anyway. I take it the council is as stubborn as ever," he asked quietly.

Shepard pulled out of Kaidan's embrace, "You have no idea, they refuse to see the very evidence before their eyes, they just want it all to go away and not be real, and they are making that happen, and in the progress taking the galaxy down with them," she spit out as she stomped around her quarters, throwing pieces of armor wherever they fell, before stopping and turning to face Kaidan once again, "What are you doing in my quarters," she asked, fearful of the answer.

Kaidan leaned back against the wall, "Your fish needed feeding," he answered with a smirk.

Shepard laughed hard, "I've killed those fish so bloody many times it's not even funny. Now why are you really here?"

"To see you, hopefully to talk to you, explain about everything," he said suddenly afraid she would turn him away.

"Kaidan, you have nothing to explain, I understand, I really do," she told him not being able to resist stroking his cheek with the back of her fingertips.

"I should have let you explain on Horizon, I should have listened, but I was in shock that you were alive, and then that you were with Cerberus, I just couldn't believe that you would do that, so I expressed the feelings of anger, instead of telling you how much I had missed you, how much you mean to me, how much I love you," it all came out in a rush, like he was afraid that Shepard would stop him.

Shepard stood there, watching Kaidan, "Oh Kaidan, I don't blame you for being angry, I was angry, angry that I had died and left you alone, angry that Cerberus had the gall to bring me back from the dead, angry that they were forcing me to work with them. Seeing you on Horizon reminded me that I had something worth fighting for, even if you didn't want me anymore," she finished in a whisper.

Kaidan looked up, pushing himself away from the wall he pulled her into his arms once more and held her tightly, "Of course I still want you Shepard, you are my heart and soul," he whispered against the silky red hair that he so loved. Reaching down he gently tilted her face up to look into lavender eyes that had always sucked him in, "I love you Shepard, I can't stop loving you, and the thought of you not coming back from this mission has torn my heart in shreds once again," he told her, gently kissing her.

Shepard closed her eyes; pulling Kaidan tighter against her, her lips parting, tongue searching. Kaidan responded and deepened the kiss, his tongue finding hers, tentatively at first then with more confidence as the memories flooded both of them, showing them what they were to each other. Gently Kaidan picked Shepard up, and carried her over to the large bed in the back of the cabin, sitting her down gently and brushing datapads to the floor before returning to heaven in her embrace.

The Galaxy could wait a little while longer…