"No matter what happens... Know that I love you. Always." - Shepard
Commander Shepard and Major Kaidan Alenko are from the Mass Effect video game series where they were soldiers fighting to protect the galaxy from a deadly invasion. Since the video game allows the player to take control over Shepard and shape all of his or her decisions, including who they romance (or if they even want to pursue a relationship), I found it interesting at just how much care was taken with the individual interactions between the characters. Out of all of the possible love interests that could end up with Shepard, my favorite was absolutely Kaidan with male Shepard. The progress of their relationship over the course of the three games was so compelling, and I loved watching them go from working together and gaining a mutual respect and appreciation for one another, to becoming wary distant acquaintances, and then to finally becoming lovers whose hopes for the future were each other.
One thing that I find really intriguing about Mass Effect was how the decisions the player makes can effect the outcomes of many situations and characters. The scenes can play out so differently depending on the choices made and watching Kaidan and Shepard carefully admitting their feelings to one another while at lunch at the Citadel seems especially poignant when considering all the times Kaidan could have been killed, not joined the crew, or where one or the other were not even attracted to the other. It really mirrors real life with how maybe the one you're supposed to be with just happens to be by your side at the right time, and if that was meant to be all along or not doesn't really matter.
Shepard and Kaidan were both very strong willed characters and their relationship strengthened the bond that they had into something unbreakable. I really enjoyed the scenes where they allowed themselves to be vulnerable around each other and find comfort, support, and understanding from someone who was right there beside them fighting the same fight. And although they both had an unrelenting drive to keep moving forward and doing right by themselves and those they fought with and for, it was moving to see how their connection gave them both the focus they needed to see what they were personally fighting to protect for themselves.
Mass Effect 3
Kaidan: "We've been friends a long time, Shepard. Have you ever known me to be with anyone? I guess I'm just choosy or patient or... I don't know. Maybe what I've never found - what I want - is something deeper with someone that I already... care about. That's what I want. What do you want?"
Shepard: "You and me? Is that what you're saying, Kaidan?"
Kaidan: "It feels right, doesn't it?"
Shepard: "Be nice to have someone to turn to when things get grim. Someone to live for. Maybe love."
Shepard: "You, Kaidan. Huh. It does. It does feel right. After all this time... You and me. I like that. A lot."
Kaidan: "And that... makes me so happy."
Javik: "The reasons you fight are still alive. The friendships of the people around you. And more. You and the human soldier are... joined?"
Shepard: "You could say that."
Javik: "I'm not. You're pheromones are."
Kaidan: "Guess we're old soldiers, hey Shepard?"
Shepard: "Yeah, I guess we are."
Kaidan: "We know the score. We know this is goodbye."
Shepard: "When this is over, I'm going to be waiting for you. You'd better show up."
Kaidan: "Don't get me wrong! I'm going to fight like hell for the chance to hold you again. But listen, there's... things I want to say. I mean, looking back... I have a few regrets, but not many. That's pretty damn amazing, right? Messed up kid that I was, never would have dreamed of the life I've had. And I owe a lot of that to you, you know?"
Shepard: "It's been quite a ride."
Mass Effect Citadel
Shepard: "Nice to see you in action on the car lot. It was... pretty hot."
Kaidan: "Why thank you."
Shepard: "What would I do without you?"
Kaidan: "You'll never find out."
Kaidan: [sitting on the couch together] "This was great."
Shepard: "What? Is it over?"
Kaidan: "Well, what do you suggest?"
Shepard: "I can't think of anything better than this moment right now."
Kaidan: "Guess we'd better get back to it."
Shepard: "At least we threw one hell of a party. Probably the last one."
Kaidan: "Ah, Shepard. You... you will find a way to win. I know it. And when you do, I'll be waiting. Yeah. The greatest challenge of my life. And the greatest reward. It's been a good ride."
Shepard: "The best."
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Screenshots from xineishiguro