AN: Big apology for the really late update! Here's the finale to Dinner. Hope you enjoy!

Special thanks to sesheta255, who got me off my butt, and to quantumparadigm, for all those great messages! :D

Kaidan visibly blanched when he saw the "place" where he was meeting this mysterious friend. What had he gotten himself into? Or rather, what had Joker gotten him into?

"This is where you're meeting your friend?" Shepard asked, not even trying to hide the surprise in her voice.

Unbearably loud music escaped through the doors of the Golden Chalice as soon as they were open. The smell of stale alcohol and cheap perfume permeated the air. The place reminded Shepard of Chora's Den, with the exception that the "dancers" here wore golden colored…outfits, for lack of a better word.

"I – uh…" Kaidan was at a loss for words. He rubbed the back of his neck nervously. He should've known Joker would send him to a gentleman's club. The more embarrassing, the better as far as Joker was concerned. "Shepard, I – "

But whatever Kaidan had been about to say was cut off by a shrill voice calling him name.

"Kaidan! Over here!" the voice called out.

Shepard followed the voice to a group of three women sitting in a booth nearby. Two were giggling and whispering to each other while the third made her way over to Kaidan. Shepard disliked her immediately. There was something about the woman that made her cringe. She couldn't be Kaidan's friend, she just couldn't…

"I'm glad you could make it," the woman said, hugging Kaidan's arm to her chest. "Got here just in time, too. We should be going on stage in about twenty minutes. Prepared a show just for you."

Kaidan could feel his face turning red, and he was thankful for the dimness of the club. Shepard had been unnaturally quiet so far, and he could only guess what was going through her mind. This wasn't him. He wasn't the type of person to visit these kinds of clubs, let alone be friends with the…workers. He had to stop this charade.

"I'm sorry, but I – "

"Don't be sorry, sweetie," the woman interjected, now placing a hand on his cheek. "You got here, and that's what's important. Come on, let's go sit down with the girls."

Shepard cleared her throat rather loudly hoping to get their attention. She had half a mind to just pull out her pistol and shoot the woman, but she restrained herself. Barely.

Not that it would have mattered anyway. The woman dragged Kaidan over to the booth, leaving her standing alone. Shepard didn't know whether to follow them or leave, and, seeing how half the night Kaidan had blatantly ignored her, she decided for the latter. She wasn't one for theatrics, especially when it was obvious that Kaidan probably wouldn't care less if she left or not.

Shepard made her way out of the club, stopping only long enough to remove her shoes. The damn heels were a pain in the ass, and she was glad to be rid of them. She didn't care that she was walking barefoot through the space station. All she wanted was to find a quiet place where she could just sit and think about the many ways she could kill Tali and Ashley for making her into something she was not.

Kaidan was pushed into the booth with the other women who immediately sat closer to him and began to caress his arms. He glanced around him looking for Shepard. He thought that she had been right behind them, but it seemed she had disappeared.

Kaidan could feel the guilt creeping into his heart. And why wouldn't she leave? He had ignored her all throughout dinner, taken her to a strip club, and had watched him leave to sit with the dancers. Hell, he was even disgusted with himself.

All he wanted was a nice, quiet dinner with the one woman he really cared for. And he had messed it all up.

He slid out of the booth, not even offering any sort of apology to the women sitting there. He needed to find Shepard, explain to her that it was all a big misunderstanding. He practically ran out of the club, hoping to maybe catch her if she was still around. But no matter which way he looked, the woman that he wanted, that he needed, was nowhere to be found. He clicked on his comm unit.

"Joker," he said, walking around aimlessly. "Where is she? Where's Shepard?"

He knew the pilot could track her through her own comm unit. If there was someone who knew where everyone was at all times, it was Joker.

"I know you can hear me, you bastard," Kaidan hissed into his comm. "You owe me. Tell me where she is."

His comm unit fizzed, and Kaidan heard what sounded like a bored groan.

"Alright, alright," Joker's voice finally came on. "Just keep walking back to the Normandy. She's sitting on a bench just south of the ship. You can't miss her."

He broke into a run, wondering briefly how Shepard had gotten that far in so short a time. His mind went through every excuse imaginable, but, in the end, he acknowledged that his behavior had been inexcusable.

He slowed to a walk, when he noticed her sitting by herself on the bench Joker had mentioned. Her shoes had been discarded and were lying off to the side. Her body was turned away from him, looking up at the great expanse of space. He approached her carefully, not sure how she was going to react…and even more unsure of what he was going to say. Maybe he didn't have to say anything…

Shepard heard footsteps approaching, and she quickly stood, swiveling her pistol around and pointing it at whoever had decided it would be a good idea to disturb her. She frowned slightly at Kaidan's presence, but she didn't put her pistol down.

Kaidan stopped at the sight of the pistol, raising his arms in defense. But it wasn't the pistol he was staring at. He took his time staring at Shepard, starting at her bare feet, then moving up her long legs , and finally stopping when he reached her eyes.

She looked slightly uncomfortable at his gawking, but he couldn't help it. She looked so femme fatale, standing there in a fighting stance with her gun pulled out.

They stayed that way for a few minutes. Each just staring at the other, trying to figure out what the next move should be. Kaidan knew that no matter what he said, it wouldn't make a difference. To Shepard, actions often spoke louder than words.

And so he decided to act. He closed the distance between them in two strides, one hand caressing the back of her neck while the other circled firmly around her waist.

Shepard was too stunned to move. Even as Kaidan's mouth found hers, it took a while for her mind to work out that he was trying to kiss her. She was still angry at his behavior, but at the same time, she couldn't deny the warm feelings that were gathering at the pit of her stomach. She opened her mouth, reluctantly at first. Then, as his tongue began to explore hers, she lost herself to his touch.

The pistol she had been holding slipped from her hand. She vaguely remembered that she had left the safety on as it clattered to the floor. Her arms slid around his neck, bringing him closer to her.

There was no audience this time. No catcalling or "wooing" from the rest of crew. It was just Shepard and Kaidan finally enjoying time alone, away from everything, and everyone, else.

Finally, Kaidan broke away from the kiss. He looked down at Shepard, sliding his fingers across her face as he tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear. He still needed to apologize. Even he wasn't as naïve to think a kiss would make the night they had just experienced go away.

"I – ", but his apology faltered as she put a finger to his lips and shook her head.

"I think both of us let ourselves get influenced by others tonight," Shepard whispered, moving her hand back behind his neck. "How about we start over…just the two of us?"

The corner of Kaidan's mouth turned up into a grin. "Is that an order, Commander?" he asked gruffly.

"Just shut up and kiss me."

"And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it's done," Joker said, linking his fingers together and placing his hands behind his head.

"Pffft. You mean, how it's not done," Ashley replied, grabbing the last bag of potato chips from Joker's cubby hole.

"I agree," Tali added. "That could have gone very badly. What were you thinking sending them to a strip club?"

"Oh, please," Joker swiveled his chair around to look at the group that had gathered around the cockpit again. "You say it like it's a bad thing. The point is that they got together. Isn't that what we all wanted?"

"There were better ways to do it, Jeff," Chakwas piped in as she reached over for some chips.

"Yeah, like not messing with them in the first place," Ash crunched away.

"You're one to talk," Joker retorted before turning his voice up an octave. "'You have to be girly, don't swear'. Geez, you're the reason my plan almost didn't work."

"Alright, that's enough," Pressly interrupted. "Everyone back to their stations. The show's over. Besides, a fair warning, don't be expecting this kind of behavior to happen again."

Joker cocked an eyebrow at him, and sat up straighter. "How much do you wanna bet?"