“I’m glad we’re taking the time to do this. I could use a sanity check.”
Major Kaidan Alenko, Alliance Marine and Commander Shepard’s oldest friend and crew member sits across from him, looking at the menu and deciding what to order. Life has been pretty crazy lately for the crew of the Normandy. It’s good to have a meal with an old friend, a sworn battle-brother.
“There aren’t enough moments like this… with people I care about.”
Kaidan reflects on his time in a hospital bed, fighting for his life after a near-death experience on Mars at the hands of Dr. Eva Coré, a Gynoid infiltration on the planet Mars.
Kaidan’s shaken, but he’s also strong. A true soldier. Damaged, both mentally and physically, but also willing to rise to any challenge that the world throws at him. And opening up to Commander Shepard is the hardest challenge yet.
“You plan a career, you focus… and then suddenly the world’s ending and it’s too late… to find someone.”
He loved once. Rahna. A woman. In an act of rage, Kaidan killed their biotics instructor. She never looked at him the same way. She was scared of what she was, and she was right to be.
“I guess I’m just choosy or patient… I don’t know.”
Kaidan justifies his lack of romantic success. He doesn’t know what he wants, and he knows it. It’s not that Kaidan isn’t desirable. He is. He’s just been looking for the right one.
“Maybe what I want is something deeper with someone I already… care about.”
Kaidan is probing. Deeper. Making the subconscious, conscious. All he ever wanted was on board the Normandy the entire time. It was you.
“It feels right, doesn’t it?”
Commander Shepard looks over at Kaidan, weighing his options. Is this really what he wants? Shepard, the sly dog, has been flirting with half his crew since first acquiring the Normany, and has possibly consummated with some of them.
“It’d be nice to have someone to turn to when things turn grim.”
Commander Shepard speaks tersely, without a hint of emotion, as though he’s exploring a possibility. Maybe he never considered that he could fall for a man, maybe he never considered that the one that he cares about most in the world is not a Turian mercenary, a Quarian pilgrim or an Asari doctor. He’s a human male. Just like Shepard.
“Someone to live for… maybe love.”
Shepard looks over at Kaidan. He’s more than a possibility, an option. He’s the man worth saving the galaxy for, the man that, despite his quiet and reserve, is the most loyal man that Shepard will ever meet.
“It does feel right… after all this time.”
After all this time , Shepard chooses his oldest friend, his most sworn brother-in-arms as his companion. This isn’t a game or a one-time thing. This is a real genuine connection formed over years of war, years of suffering. Kaidan has kept silent for all these years, but now, it’s out there. And it feels right.
“What’d you call it, a sanity check?”
The two men find their love for each other. Both men had never considered that they could love another man, but as this conversation suggests – one of the most tightly written and honest in the entire Mass Effect trilogy – it’s more than just a possibility. It’s a bond that they shared; one that was forged in the fires of conflict, and that continues to grow organically and truly. And that’s what makes this dinner date so special: not the sexual tension or the drama, but the nuance and the open honest exploration of the feelings of two men who never considered such a possibility. Not aloud, at least.