Fandom: Mass Effect
Rating: Adult (language, and some mild smut)
mild spoilers for all three games
Beta: This one is unbetad, so sorry in advance for any mistakes.
Synopsis: Five times Kaidan Alenko sang to his Commander Shepard, and one time he didn’t.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, If I did this is how the game would have ended.
“Hands, touching hands…” Joker belted out the lyrics, horribly off key, while making melodramatic hand motions and facial expressions from his seat on an old crate pallet. “…reaching out, touching me…touching you!”
“Sweet Caroline,” Commander Shepard threw her head back and let out a resounding guffaw as the rest of the crew joined in for the chorus. “Ba, ba, ba…good times never seemed so good!”
A glance around the mess hall was all the proof Shepard needed to pronounce this particular event a success. Too long out in the Terminus Systems without any shore leave whatsoever had started taking its toll. Over the past two weeks she’d had to break up three fights and punish six crew members for minor insubordination. The shuttle bay floor had never looked so clean and they were running out of toothbrushes.
Joker finished his song, took a shallow bow amidst a resounding round of applause, and hobbled over to the Commander. “I think someone might just deserve a commendation for thinking up this excellent idea,” he said, gingerly lowering himself into the chair next to her. “Don’t you think?”
“I completely agree, Joker,” she said, watching his eyes light up with delight. “Do you think since I’m a Commander in the Alliance Navy, and a Council Spector, that I can give myself two commendations; one from each organization?”
“Aww, that’s just not fair Commander,” Joker’s lips turned down a tiny pout. “You know I thought of it first.”
“You,” she said, pointing at his chest, “made a flippant comment about having the crew ‘sing out’ their disagreements. I am the one who came up with the idea of a Karaoke party and then planned this little shindig.’ She waved her hand around, gesturing to the entire room. “I am also the one who made attendance mandatory, when no one signed up.”
Joker let out a huff of mirth. “Alright, I’ll give you that,” he agreed, “but who just serenaded the entire ship with the best damn rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline,’ ever sung?”
Shepard matched his grin. “I’ll put a note in your file. Now hush up, I want to hear Pressly sing.” The older gentleman was just climbing up onto the makeshift stage. “Ash,” she addressed the dark haired woman on her right, “what is our distinguished navigator going to sing for us today?”
The Gunnery Chief, turned Karaoke assistant, looked down at the datapad she was holding. “Um,” she said, skeptically raising an eyebrow, “’Girls just wanna have fun’?”
The commander looked perplexed for a second before rolling her eyes. “Joker!” she scolded, “how did you get a hold of my list?”
“Don’t look at me Commander,” he was the picture of feigned innocence. “I think Pressly just wanted to explore his feminine side.”
Ash let out a huff and jumped to her feet. “I’ll fix it, Commander,” she said resignedly, before marching off to save their Navagator from public humiliation. A moment later a surprisingly on key performance of The Beatles’ “When I’m sixty-four” could be heard throughout the crew deck. Chief Williams was just settling back into her seat when the elevator doors hissed open.
Kaidan Alenko strode into the room on long legs. The slight smile he wore softened his masculine features. “Have I missed all the fun?” He settled in at their table, angling his body so he could see both the performance, and his companions.
Joker frowned at him. “And where have you been, Alenko, while we’ve been participating in all this mandatory awesomeness?”
“Cool your jets Joker,” the Commander piped in. “I had him doing a shift in engineering. At least a few people have to be on duty, even when there’s a party going on.”
“Well, it sucks to be you then, Kaidan.” Joker announced. “You’ve missed everything, including Ash’s inspiring performance of ‘Love is a Battlefield.’ She won’t tell me if she was singing from experience, although I have my suspicions.”
The Chief scowled at him. “Permission to hit our pilot, Commander?”
Shepard signed. “Regrettably, denied. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put that fragile egg back together again.”
Ashley crossed her arms and leaned back against her chair. “Damn.”
Kaidan leaned in to speak, his fingertips nearly touching Shepard’s on the table. She felt her heart rate increase at his proximity. They’d been flirting for weeks now, skirting the line between what was friendly and what was completely inappropriate. “Did I miss your song?” he asked, the gravel in his voice heating up the room.
A tiny, inelegant snort escaped her mouth before Shepard could rein it in. “I’m pulling rank on this one, Lieutenant. No one wants to hear me sing.”
Joker perked up at this. “I’m pretty certain that’s not true, Commander, “he said. “I, for one, would pay good money to see that show.”
“Tell you what, Flight Leutenant,” Shepard addressed her pilot. “Make sure you’re listening in the next time we encounter some Geth. I’ll belt out a tune so lovely, they’ll lay down their arms and surrender just to make the noise stop. How’s that sound?”
Joker grinned, “perfectly acceptable, Ma’am.”
Ashley leaned back into their table, apparently over her little spat. “What about you LT?” She asked Kaidan. “Scuttlebutt says you’ve got a voice that could make angels cry.”
Shepard was delighted to see a burst of pink, color the Lieutenant’s cheeks. “I don't know where you heard that, Chief,” he said, “but I’m sure I’m not that impressive.”
“You been holding out on me, Kaidan?” The Commander flashed him a wide grin, which just made Kaidan’s blush deepen. “You got a set of golden pipes under that uniform?”
“That’s what she said.” Joker quipped, and Shepard poked him hard in the fleshy part of his side. “Ow! Watch the ribs,” he cried, rubbing the offended area.
Kaidan inspected his fingers for a moment before slowly looking up to meet her gaze. “I may,” he told her, his voice rough and breathy, and settling low in her belly, “have been told a time or two that I can passably carry a tune.”
Ashley inspected the datapad with the list of participants. “Pressly’s the last one and he’s just about finished,” she announced. “All you have to do is pick a song.”
“I don’t know,” Kaidan glanced at the table again, “I just got here. Isn’t’ there someone else who’d like to go? Have the Alien members of our crew had a chance? Maybe they’ve never experienced Karaoke before.”
Shepard shook her head. “Wrex refused, on the grounds that this is an inexcusable waste of time. Liara looked like she was going to burst into tears when I even suggested she do anything in front of a crowd. Tali sang a lovely, if somewhat creative, rendition of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow,’ and Joker managed to con Garrus into performing ‘Baby Got Back,’ much to the delight of most of the crew.”
Kaidan stared wide eyed at his Commander for a second, before bursting into amused chuckles. “You’re kidding, “he said, just as Pressly was climbing down off the crate pallet.
“I almost wish I was,” she quipped back at him with a smirk.
Kaidan frowned. “If Pressly’s the last one, I’m sure everyone is ready to go about their business elsewhere. I’ll do something next time.” He made to get up, but Shepard clasped his hand, halting his retreat.
“Please,” she insisted, pleading with her eyes. “Do it for me?”
Kaidan visibly swallowed. “Alright,” he whispered, clearing his throat, “for you.”
Outwardly, she was as calm and collected as usual, but Shepard’s inner teenage girl squealed with glee as Kaidan approached the makeshift stage. She gave him a reassuring smile and he punched a command into the console she and Ashley had set up earlier. A moment later, an upbeat, jazzy tune filled the crew deck.
When Kaidan opened his mouth to sing, everyone else’s jaw dropped too. Shepard very nearly stopped breathing.
“I've got you under my skin,” her lieutenant crooned in an unbelievably gorgeous baritone. “I’ve got you deep in the heart of me.”
“Holy God!” Joker was almost speechless.
Ashley looked incredulously at her Commander. “It’s like Sinatra himself is back from the dead!”
Shepard was fairly certain a few of the engineering crew in the first row were ready to swoon. Hell, she was ready to swoon. Kaidan’s voice was sexy as hell while he was speaking. While singing, it was liable to cause spontaneous orgasms. Shepard was very nearly there herself.
“Shit, Commander,” Ashley leaned over and let her voice get low enough to not be overheard.
“I knew you guys had a little bit of a thing for each other, but I didn’t know it went this deep. Whew!” She fanned her fingers in front of her flushed face. “I’m almost jealous now.”
Shepard feigned ignorance. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Please,” Ashley rolled her eyes. “He’s doing a good job of not staring at you the whole time he’s been singing, but it’s close. And just listen to the lyrics, Commander. Why do you think he chose this song?”
Shepard sat quietly for a moment, letting herself hear the Lieutenant’s seductive baritone.
“I tried so not to give in
And I said to myself this affair never will go so well
But why should I try to resist, when baby I know so well
That I've got you under my skin.”
“It’s just a song.” Shepard insisted. “it doesn’t mean anything.”
Ash snorted. “Who are you trying to convince?” She gestured towards the man, still crooning out the sweet love song. Kaidan turned to look directly at his Commander before beginning the next verse. The tension was palpable.
“I would sacrifice anything come what might
for the sake of having you near
in spite of a warning voice
That comes in the night and repeats,
how it yells in my ear.”
Shepard felt her heart flutter as a mix of dread and arousal swirled into her gut. “I’m in trouble, aren’t I Ash?”
The young woman laid a comforting hand on her commander’s shoulder and sighed. “so, so deep.”
Please leave me a comment if you liked my story. Every single one of them makes my whole day.
Joker sings “Sweet Caroline,” as sung by Neil Diamond. My inspiration for the scene where the entire crew sings along with the chorus comes from personal experience. My husband is a volunteer fire fighter and that is exactly what happens whenever someone sings or plays this song. I have no idea why.
Kaidan sings “I've Got You Under My Skin,” by Frank Sinatra. I always figured Kaidan would sound a lot like him, and they both have that old world romantic feel to them. So, I thought it fit. I hope you agree.
All the other songs mentioned were chosen for very specific reasons, some of them more meaningful than others. Can you guess any of them?
And yes, I do realize that all of these songs would be 200 years older than the characters in this story. Consider it artistic license.