ME: All the Things That I've Done Ch.40
Chapter 40 – The Gang Is All Here
“Kaidan, this is a surprise.” Mira settled back on her heels.
“Step in a little further and let the door close. I have something to say and I don’t need those people out there to eavesdrop.” Kaidan tilted his head to the open doorway Mira stood in.
“Alright.” She took a couple of steps and the doors swished shut, leaving both Spectres in the intervening hatchway between the Citadel and the Normandy. Mira watched Kaidan as he turned his head back to look at the Normandy under Alliance colors. A flicker of a smile stretched on his mouth but she didn’t get anything else as to what the man was thinking.
“I’ve been doing some thinking since we last spoke.” Kaidan began. “I guess I wasn’t really listening when I should have when you told me about Cerberus and the time you were…mostly dead.” He sighed heavily and turned toward Mira. “I’m sorry, Mir, for things I have said and the way I acted. I was a fool.”
“No more of a fool than I was.” Mira walked to stand in front of Kaidan at the viewport.
“I had gotten this notion in my head that Cerberus changed you, made you ruthless in how you dealt with achieving your goals. Then I realized when you commented that I went through the same training, that we,” He motioned between them. “do whatever it takes to accomplish our mission. That is who we are, as soldiers, as Special Forces.”
“The Illusive Man used me for that talent, Kaidan. He didn’t change one single thing when he brought me back. Miranda explained that he wanted me as I was, not one single thing changed, for I had to be the same woman who accomplished the impossible.”
“Yeah, after thinking on what you told me, I realize that.” He swallowed and looked at Mira fully in the eyes, his stoic mask gone. “We are a team, Mir, partners. We have been through hell and through it, found each other under the armor we both wear. I hated not being with you at your side and accomplishing the impossible. Despite what colors the Normandy or you wear, you are still the same woman I fell for all those years ago.”
“You’ve grown, Kaidan.” Mira said softly.
“I guess I have and you made it happen.” His eyes softened. “Thing is, I don’t want to be left out anymore. I want to be at your side during this fight for our existence.”
“Despite any regrets?”
“Because of my regrets, Mira. Because I belong at your side. I hated having my gun pointed at you when you went after Udina. It was wrong.”
“Who will be there to protect the Council?” Mira’s mouth quirked a little.
Kaidan gave a sardonic laugh, “That is what C-Sec is for. My job…no, my duty, is out there protecting the galaxy from outside threats, like the Reapers.”
“Well, then, it seems your mind is made up.”
“Yeah, that is, if you will have me back aboard the Normandy?”
Mira pondered this for a split second and grinned widely. “Welcome aboard, Major. It is good to have you back, Kaidan.”
Kaidan smiled in relief, visibly relaxing. “It feels good to be back.”
Then Mira sobered. “It isn’t going to be easy, Kaidan.”
“Nothing ever is when you are involved.”
“And us?” Mira asked timidly.
“Let’s work on that. We both have a lot to talk about and work through.” Kaidan lightly brushed his fingers across Mira’s cheek, tucking her hair behind an ear.
“That we do. Now, let us get you settled in. We are a little short of bunks but I think we can put you up somewhere.”
“What? I can’t camp on the floor of the captain’s loft?” Kaidan winked at Mira.
Mira chuckled. “In time, Major, you will do more than camp on the floor.”
Kaidan nodded as if he could live with that promise. They walked toward the Normandy together.
-= ||N7|| =-
Mira left him alone on the Starboard Observation Lounge while she attended to some things to supply the Normandy to head out again. Kaidan stood at the open viewport and watched the various ships fly past. Everything from shuttles, transports, supply tugs, was cycling through the various docks on the Citadel. He actually felt good to be on the Normandy again. His place was at Mira’s side, finishing this mission that they stumbled upon all those years ago. She did mention Thane’s passing over two hours ago and was saddened. The short couple of weeks he had remained at Huerta was spent talking with the assassin, as they waited for their various tests, treatments, and therapy.
In retrospect, Kaidan got a better understanding of Mira from the drell. Not so much Mira the soldier, the commanding officer, but the woman who pushed herself to make sure the crew came out of their various assignments alive. Then, Thane helped him straighten out his doubts and fears. There wasn’t a shortage of love for Mira or that they as a couple were doomed to fail. No, Thane helped Kaidan get back his down-to-earth observations and simple aspect of being human. Was love enough? When Thane asked him before Kaidan left the hospital, Kaidan answered “Yes.”
Something else changed, however, and that for Kaidan was an obstacle but he kept telling himself to remain open. There was no such thing as black and white, especially as a soldier. The universe was shades of grey, and as a Special Forces officer, they worked in the grey. Mira didn’t like working with Cerberus but at a time when she was being touted as a traitor or a fake, she took the resources the Illusive Man provided in order to further her mission against the Collectors, and to an extent, the Reapers. Hackett and Anderson understood this and didn’t hold it against Mira. Kaidan only saw at the time, Mira working for the enemy and resented the fact that Mira would do so. She had understood the reality of that time far more than he did.
The doors opened into the lounge as someone entered. Kaidan turned his head and noticed Dr. Karin Chakwas enter. She gave him a brief nod of greeting and walked up to him.
“Major, it is good to see you where you belong.” Her cultured accented voice told him.
“It feels good to be here. This is where I should be.”
“Indeed, it is. You have been missed.” Chakwas paused a moment as she looked over Kaidan. “You are looking well, Kaidan. How are the migraines these days?”
“Not as bad as they once were. I think those years of suppressing the implants, combined with stress, brought on the worst migraines. Since then,” Kaidan sighed and gave the doctor a brief smile. “I’ve not held back and have been freer for it.”
“This is good. You are the highest rated stable L2 in the Alliance. I would even say you rank up there with Shepard.”
Kaidan laughed. “She is in a class of her own, doctor, especially now with those L5s.”
“Ah, yes, I argued with the decision to give her those.” Chakwas frowned.
“What do you mean?” Kaidan cocked his head.
“You wondered where I disappeared to before you saw me on the Normandy? Miranda Lawson approached me and offered a proposal I couldn’t refuse. You see, not only was I to be the doctor for Joker when the new Normandy was being built, but I was the consultant on Shepard’s rebuilding.”
“Ah, because you knew Mira’s medical record and biotic abilities, you were tagged.” Kaidan nodded. It made sense and in a way, he was relieved to know that a trustworthy doctor was there by Mira’s side.
“She is quite a bit more powerful with those L5s but…I worry about her. It takes a lot more control for her. These past few months haven’t been easy on her.”
“Yeah, I noticed that she is just holding it together but the energy still leaks out.”
“Exactly. Kaidan, you need to help Shepard fine-tune that control. There will be many hard battles in this war but I…we, don’t need our commander to burn out before the end.”
“Why ask me, doctor?” Kaidan asked.
“You are on par with Shepard regarding biotics, next to Liara. Also,” Chakwas smiled knowingly, “you need to get to know Shepard again. Consider it a doctor’s order for both of you to take this ‘therapy’.”
Kaidan’s mouth twitched and then lifted in a smile, shaking his head slowly at the sly intervention of the doctor. Chakwas answered his smile with a nod and turned to leave him alone again in the lounge.
- - - -
The door opened again as Kaidan was lightly dozing in the reading chair. The buzz and perfume informed him who his visitor was before they announced themselves. The whisper of Mira quietly walking over and kneeling at his side made Kaidan feel heady. The waft of lavender filled his nose, bringing back so many memories of their times together but one in particular.
The sun was heading westward toward the horizon on the pleasant afternoon. It was cool enough to warrant wearing sweaters, even for two hot-blooded biotics. Kaidan relaxed in his chair on the porch, looking out over the view of the lake and taking in the sound of various bird calls echoing through the trees. His feet were propped up on the porch rail before him, hands folded over his midsection. The Alliance seemed distant right now, and all that mattered in the world was the woman inside that was cleaning the kitchen. He could hear Mira singing softly, happy as can be, just as he was.
Ten years they bumped into each other during various missions and then finally served together the past year on the Normandy. It was a hell of a ride but at the end, everything he did, even breaking regs, was worth it. Kaidan finally got the woman of his dreams and his father approved. Closing his eyes, Kaidan played back the night before Ilos, reminisced that taste of Mira’s lips as they kissed with unbridled passion. The mix of ozone and lavender always made Kaidan dizzy whenever he was around her.
Even now, he could smell Mira as she approached him on the porch. He smiled when Mira squatted down next to him, her hand lying on top of his. “Well, hello there.” He rumbled, opening his eyes slightly, watching the light breeze flutter at the loose strands of Mira’s hair.
“Somehow, I had always pictured you like this.” Mira said to Kaidan. “With a couple of days growth, that perfect coif all roughened up and hanging around your face. This is the true Kaidan Alenko.”
“I don’t have to dress up for anyone here.” Kaidan responded. “If I didn’t have such wanderlust to roam the stars, I would be content to stay at the cabin for the rest of my life.”
“Then you wouldn’t have met me and had all those fun times.” Mira chuckled.
Kaidan turned his hand over, wrapped his fingers around Mira’s, and gave it a tug. He pulled her onto his lap, all without putting his legs down from the rail. Mira wrapped her arms around his neck and settled into Kaidan’s body. The bulk of Kaidan’s sweater on Mira added to the warmth between them. He couldn’t tell Mira just what wearing that sweater did for him. To know that a part of him was on her, gave him a primal sense of possession. However, Kaidan found it incredibly adorable and sexy, which Mira would protest, vociferously the adorable part of Kaidan’s assessment.
“There is nothing to say that after all this is over, that I won’t retire here, Mir. Of course, there would be someone with me, if she ever decided to hang up the commander role.”
“And deny Anderson and Hackett their star soldier?”
“They have had you since the start of your career.” Kaidan looked into those blue eyes he fell for when he first saw her at the academy. “I would like to have my turn.” He pressed his lips against Mira’s forehead before setting his cheek there.
“Someday, Kiadan, we will both have our turn.” Mira said softly. “Until then, these stolen moments will have to do.”
He opened his eyes and looked over at Mira, giving her a tender smile. Kaidan sighed and stretched his body against the lounge chair before settling back down to see Mira watching him with interest. That look made him flush and body pulse with desire.
“Hey, sleepyhead.” Mira said in a low voice.
“How long have I been dozing?”
“Four hours. We are already heading out to our next assignment. We will be going to the aid of an old friend.”
“Tali. The Quarians sent a call to the Citadel to request assistance in a matter. It is going to be a few hours before we reach the Veil, so are you hungry?”
“Famished.” Kaidan smiled. “I haven’t eaten since before Cerberus decided to make a house call on the Citadel.”
“I figured you would say that. A couple of the restaurants had managed to get back to business and I ordered dinner for the crew.”
“The crew, huh? I thought…”
Mira laughed and grabbed Kaidan’s hand. “They are having hamburgers. I have something special for us.”
“That is?” Kaidan asked, intrigued by Mira’s dinner idea.
“Bailey turned me onto this pizzeria down in the wards.”
“Oh, man, you know how long it has been since I had a decent slice of pizza?” Kaidan grinned.
“Yes. I seem to remember that you liked the works, with jalapenos?”
“Then get out of that chair, lazy, and join me up in the Loft.” Mira stood up and waited for Kaidan to get out of the lounge chair.
Swinging his legs over, Kaidan stood up, stretched, and sighed happily, as the pops in his back sounded. With a nod, he waited for Mira to lead the way. As they walked to the elevator, the loud voices and laughter from the mess area filtered over to the pair. Mira smiled fondly as she stepped into the elevator and pressed the deck one button.
“So, tell me why we are having pizza and not joining the rest of the crew?” Kaidan asked curiously.
“I thought you would appreciate some quiet time and maybe we could have time to just…be ourselves, catch up on things or whatever.”
A flicker of a pleased smile crossed his face. This was a good step and he approved. He didn’t want to rush into things as happened when Mira returned from the Omega 4 relay. Mira was making the first step into getting their relationship back on track. A simple night in, having dinner, a drink or two, and just talking like two adults instead of officers in the Alliance, would do wonders for both of them.
- - - -
He laughed hard as Mira finished the story of beating the thresher maw on Tuchanka and Wrex telling her about mating offers from those of his clan. To think a krogan and human female mating was ludicrous. Still, it was good to laugh about the adventures of the Normandy crew. It didn’t matter who was there, the Normandy was a ship that had interesting adventures.
“Garrus still drops his jaws when he thinks about my standing toe-to-toe with that maw. He would never admit that doing that was beyond crazy and more borderline suicidal.” Mira giggled as she took a drink of her wine.
“Of course not! I mean, Turians don’t duck or run.” Kaidan wiped the tears from his eyes. He lay back on the couch, full of pizza and laid an arm behind Mira. Between them, they had devoured one and a half large pizzas. This night felt good, Kaidan admitted. “It’s nice to know that some things don’t change.” He looked at Mira with a slight smirk.
“You know me, I don’t run from a challenge.”
“Never!” Kaidan sighed in contentment.
Silence dropped between them as they just sat there on the L-shaped couch digesting the evening. This time, unlike before, neither of them is drunk or riding high on emotions of needing to know the other is real and alive. Though, this was also different, as Mira wouldn’t have invited Kaidan to her quarters on the original Normandy for just a simple dinner with a friend. Kaidan took notice of Mira and saw that she had relaxed a lot over the past year among the crew. Maybe the time under Cerberus’ flag wasn’t entirely bad.
“This was needed, Kai.” Mira said at last.
“It was.” Kaidan agreed. “Let’s continue doing this, given there is time during this whole war business.”
“I’ll make the time if you do.” Mira looked over to Kaidan, smiling.
“I will. So, now that I am aboard, what do you want me to do?”
“Besides grace my couch?” Her smiled turned lascivious.
Kaidan laughed low in his throat and reached over to give a quick kiss on Mira’s nose. “Besides that.”
“Having another Spectre will do wonders in digging for intelligence. Plus, you are the diplomatic one.”
“You have diplomacy, too, Mir. Don’t sell yourself short.”
“I know how to inspire soldiers, Kai, that’s different.”
“Okay, so, what else?”
“I need an XO for this crew. Miranda was good at her job but she is…unattainable. You know the Normandy and half the crew already. When you saved Anderson’s and my ass back in Vancouver, you took command of the ship easily, getting the job done with little fuss from those onboard. Not to mention, you got James’ respect and had him snap into line with no argument.”
“He’s a Marine, Mir. Marine’s follow orders when they are barked.”
“Now, don’t you sell yourself short.” Mira smiled, giving Kaidan his own words back to him.
“He’ll follow me to hell but it is good to know he will listen to another’s order when given. During this chaos and with most of the crew being techs, we need to maintain a chain of command. I have my hands full spearheading the effort for gathering allies and coordinating with Hackett and Anderson. I need someone I trust implicitly to keep the crew together and in line.”
Kaidan thought it over and knew it was true. Order and structure on an Alliance ship needed to be maintained. With his squadron, Kaidan got his taste of leading a group of people and garnered their respect. He searched Mira’s eyes and saw the trust she had in him and it made him feel proud to be with her. She was a true soldier, a patriot. Anyone who said otherwise would get their teeth knocked in by him.
“Alright, I accept. I take it there are going to be plenty of meetings between us?”
Mira chuckled, “Yes, business meetings, hun, with lots of coffee and data pads.”
“Business first, yup.” His mouth quirked wickedly though. They naturally fell into the easy camaraderie and flirting. To Kaidan, it was right. “Thank you, Mir, for trusting me with this.”
“I wouldn’t have anyone else, Kaidan.”
“Commander, we are approaching the Veil. We got the codes from the flotilla to approach.” Joker broke in.
“Thank you, Joker.” Mira smiled and then laughed along with Kaidan.
“Some things never change.” Kaidan said and laughed again.