Adams didn't think it was strange to see the whole crew hanging around the cockpit. By now, he was acquainted with the crew well enough to know that they were probably betting on one thing or another. He shook his head and let out a small chuckle as he made his way through the CIC deck.

He wondered what it was this time and whether it would benefit him to get in on the latest betting pool. He made his way down the stairs and decided it probably wasn't worth it. He had a feeling that Joker only started those pools because he could easily rig them. Nah, he was better off keeping his credits to himself.

Adams was puzzled when he pushed the elevator button and nothing happened. He moved around to the control panel and noticed that the power in the elevator had gone out. Well, that was odd, but not really a problem. Adams was not an excellent engineer for nothing. He knew the Normandy inside and out, and it didn't take him long to get the power up and running again.

He was even more puzzled when the elevator door opened to reveal Commander Shepard and Lieutenant Alenko. Well, to correct himself, he wasn't puzzled to see them. He had run into them more than a few times seeing as he used the elevator on a daily basis.

No, what puzzled him was the haggard state that they were in. Shepard had a swollen nose with a bruise that had already made its way around both her eyes. Alenko's shirt was torn so that the fabric hung down his front, exposing his upper body. They both looked extremely upset.

It suddenly dawned on Adams that they had been stuck in the elevator. And, from the looks of it, they had been there for quite a while. Just what the heck had they been doing in there? Adams raised an eyebrow at them.

"Well, that explains all the commotion in the cockpit."


"No! Joker, what did you do?" Ashley cried out.

Joker lifted up his hands to show everyone that he hadn't done anything. "Nothing! I swear!"

"Again? Keelah, Joker, you really don't want Kaidan to kiss Shepard do you?" Tali seemed to be glaring at Joker, though he couldn't really tell because of her mask.

"No, seriously! I didn't push anything. The elevator just started on its own." He quickly ran his hands over the controls in front of him. Everyone he knew was in the cockpit with him. And Kaidan sure as hell hadn't gotten the elevator to work. He had been too busy contemplating whether he would kiss Shepard or not. Joker swore he could almost see those wheels and cogs just working in Kaidan's head.

He left the elevator screen on the side terminals, but took it down on his own screen. His fingers flew as he brought up all the ship's cameras again. There had to be somebody that he missed. Somebody who obviously knew their way around a hacked elevator. Somebody like…

Joker let out a gasp as he brought up the screen that highlighted the front of the elevator. Adams was standing in front of the elevator as the doors finally slid open. But it wasn't Adams that Joker was looking at.

Shit. Shepard knew. Adams had probably told her the elevator had been rigged to stop. She knew it wasn't an accident. And she looked pissed. Shit, shit, shit…


Shepard cursed under her breath as she hissed the only name that went through her mind. "Joker!"

Kaidan groaned. He should've known that Joker had been up to something. He followed Shepard up the stairs, equally seething, though for a very different reason. He blew it. He had her right there in front of him, and he didn't do it. Granted, the elevator had turned on, but he had moved away from her. He couldn't even imagine what she was thinking about him now. Dammit, Alenko, when are you just going to stop thinking about it and actually do it?

Shepard stomped up the steps to the CIC deck. Her clothes were damp with sweat, her headache had just tripled in pain, and she did not like to be played the fool. She could hear scrambling at the bow of the ship.

"Nobody move," she said calmly, standing at the end of the gangway as she crossed her arms over her chest. She hadn't yelled out the command, yet the crew had acted like she had.

Kaidan moved to stand next to Shepard. He would have laughed at the scene before him had it not been for the seriousness of the situation. Everyone had taken Shepard's command to heart.

Joker was halfway out of his seat, crutches in hand, with a look of pure terror on his face. Ashley, Garrus, and Tali stood frozen at the airlock. Dr. Chakwas and, was that Pressly?, stood off to the side looking like children that had gotten caught with their hands in the cookie jar. The only one who didn't look at all concerned was Wrex who was silently laughing in his corner of the cockpit. Kaidan could clearly see tears of mirth running down the krogan's face.

Shepard slowly made her way up the gangway. It was clear, from the empty bags of junk food littered on the floor, that more crewmembers had been present in the cockpit. The only ones that hadn't escaped, however, were the ones that were probably the guiltiest.

"What the hell were you doing?" she asked, again, calmly.

For a moment, no one spoke. They all just stared at each other, looks of guilt on their faces. It was obvious to Kaidan that they were each trying to decide just what exactly to tell Shepard. Joker, unable to hold his position for much longer, sagged back down into his seat, a look of defeat replacing the guilt. And then they all spoke at once.

"It was all Joker's idea – "

"Hey! I didn't see you complaining when I gave you your winnings – "

"I tried to tell him to stop, honest. I told him you would be pissed, I-I mean mad – "

"And then the betting started and…"

"I just wanted a new upgrade for my omnitool – "

Shepard held up her hand and they all fell silent. If it didn't hurt so damn much, she would probably be pinching the bridge of her nose in exasperation. She turned to Wrex, who had stood off to the side, shoulders still shaking in laughter.

He composed himself long enough to answer her question. "We were betting on who would get into who's pants first," he said, ignoring the glares from the other crew members.

Wait, what? Kaidan thought wildly, finally glancing up at the screens around the cockpit. The surveillance cameras were on. More specifically, the surveillance camera from the elevator. So, they had seen everything. Kaidan bit back an angry retort as he realized that not only did Shepard probably think he has a coward, but the whole crew did, too.

Shepard took a moment as she thought about what Wrex had just said. That evil genius, Joker, was probably behind all of this. If only she could channel his…ingenuity, for lack of a better word…into something more productive.

"I see," she finally said. She needed to find some way to turn this whole situation around. It was embarrassing enough being rejected by Kaidan. Even more so when she realized that they had all been privy to her failed attempt to kiss him. "Well, it looks like I won."

The crewmembers exchanged confused looks. Joker sat up straight in his seat and cleared his throat. "Uh…excuse me, ma'am?"

"Yep. You were betting on who would make the first move and I did so I won," she said, daring for them to contradict her.

Joker shook his head. "Yeah, that's not the way this works," he started, in a small voice. "You would have to place a bet and you didn't…Commander. The rules clearly state you have to be present to place the bet."

"I was stuck in an elevator, smart ass," she retorted. "It's only fair that I get to keep the winnings because it was us you were betting on in the first place. And just who's rules are you – "

"One hundred credits that I kiss Shepard right here, right now." Kaidan had no idea what had possessed him to say that. Everyone turned their heads to look at him, and he could feel his face burning up.

Joker laughed. "You can't just bet on yourself. That's against the – "

"Two hundred he wimps out," Wrex interrupted, coming forward and giving his credit chit to Joker.

The air around the cockpit became tense. The crew didn't know whether to place their own bets or not. Kaidan looked like he was going to be sick, and Shepard just stared at him, a bemused expression on her face. Suddenly, Shepard broke everyone out of their reverie.

"Two hundred," she finally said, "that he won't kiss me." She looked at Kaidan, her eyes challenging him, as she handed Joker her own credit chit.

Kaidan didn't know what to say. Around him, the crew was starting to place their own bets and, much to his dismay, they were all betting that he was too much of a coward to go through with his bet. The only one who stood by Kaidan was Tali who, after handing her chit to Joker, went over to stand next to Kaidan as a sign of solidarity. Kaidan gave her a weak smile.

Shepard didn't think Kaidan had it in him to kiss her in front of everybody. He hadn't done it in the elevator when they thought they were alone, let alone in front of a lot of people. No, she highly doubted that –

Kaidan moved with lightning speed. One arm circled possessively around her waist. His other hand found its way to the back of her neck as he pressed his lips to hers. For a moment, Shepard was too stunned to react. Then, slowly, she opened her mouth invitingly. Her hands balled up what was left of the front of his shirt as his hot mouth slanted over hers. All thoughts flew out of her mind. All that mattered was Kaidan and the feel of his scorching mouth on hers.

Kaidan didn't hear the cries of surprise as he kissed Shepard. He only heard the little whimpers that Shepard was making at the back of her throat. He didn't see the looks of shock either. He only hung tighter to the woman who was now clinging on to his shirt for dear life. He lost himself in Shepard. As their tongues mated, Kaidan finally allowed himself to only feel. Everything, and everyone, around him became a blur. Only the woman that he held in his arms was important to him.

Finally, Kaidan regretfully brought the kiss to an end. He was afraid that if they went on any longer, he would give the crew a show they certainly hadn't bargained for. He pulled his head back enough to see the passion misted in her eyes and her lips swollen from his kiss.

Shepard had no idea where the hell she was. Kaidan's kiss had made her lose her senses. She looked into Kaidan's warm eyes and melted at his tender gaze. She moved a hand to his cheek as he brought his forehead down to rest on hers. She closed her eyes and let out a small sigh.

Sudden cheers erupted around them, startling her.

"About damn time," Wrex grunted as he moved to collect his credit chit from Joker. "Best two hundred credits I ever lost." He made his way out of the airlock seemingly to enjoy the rest of his shore leave now that the fun was over.

Kaidan continued holding on the Shepard even as he felt the crew begin to disperse around them. He vaguely heard Tali behind him going off about finally upgrading her omnitool. He leaned down to whisper in Shepard's ear. "Are you still up for dinner?"

She looked up at him and gave him a small smile. "I thought you'd never ask."


AN: Well, there it is, folks. Thanks again for taking the time to read and even review this small bit of fluff. I only have one question to make…dinner, anyone?