Kasumi treats conversations the same as a heist; stick to the shadows, collect information, shift the attention off herself. It’s an effective method, one only Keiji saw through when they first met. She assumes for Shepard to as well, the mythology around the great Commander leading her to carry around grandiose expectations of the woman.
Shepard disappoints, but anyone on the SR-2 can see why by the amount of liquor bottles Shepard puts into the trash compactor on a weekly basis. It’s a whisper in the corridors, a random sighting of a stumbling Commander as she makes her way into the main gun, the stench of whiskey wafting through the air in cramped shuttles on missions.
The fact that everyone survives the Omega Relay seems nothing short of amazing, especially considering the fact that Shepard went through an unopened bottle of bourbon right before the team set to ground.
Whatever legend used to be there, Commander Shepard is nothing but a husk.
When Kasumi sees the Commander again almost a year after Shepard turned herself into the Alliance, the sparkling light in Shepard’s blue and grey eyes dazzles Kasumi as she spots her former leader by the door to the apartment, an honest smile brandishing her lips, the strangest and most foreign of sights.
Interest piqued in the radical change, Kasumi makes a game of watching Shepard that night. She recognizes the raven-haired man at Shepard’s side from a picture frame on the SR-2. Shepard introduces him as Kaidan Alenko, and the man holds out his hand.
A small touch passes between Shepard and Alenko later in the evening, a hand on the small of her back. She beams up at him, and Kasumi recognizes love when she sees it. The way Alenko looks at the Commander, Kasumi sees Keiji in his eyes. Good for Shepard.
Kasumi turns her attention to snooping, the mystery of the Commander solved.
As the party winds down, the crew of the Normandy sit in a circle and reminisce about old missions. Kasumi brings herself to visibility as she listens to the recounting of the old, simpler days with the Collectors.
That’s when Kasumi notices Shepard.
Shepard’s eyes glaze over as she nods along, half listening to the ballad of her accomplishments. She sips her beverage and chimes in when chided, but never volunteers any information herself. She agrees with the person talking and moves on to a story from the SR-1.
Kasumi decides to break her silence to test a theory forming in her head.
“Hey Shep, remember when you helped me get Keiji back?” Kasumi turns to the rest of the group, uncomfortable with every eye on her but determined for an answer. Hopefully no one would contradict her statement, but it helped that no one else served on the mission.
Shepard nods, expected. “Yeah, that was a fun mission.”
Kasumi chuckles, eyes glued to Shepard’s face. “I still can’t believe you grabbed that guard and made out with him. Talk about a distraction!”
The room stills, a few of the SR-2 crew exchanging glances in Kasumi’s peripheral vision. They know, she realizes, but no one speaks to correct her, perhaps in on the game she plays. Alenko quirks an eyebrow as a blush spreads across Shepard’s face.
Shepard casts her eyes on the floor, taking a swig of her cup. “Yeah, well, it worked, didn’t it?” She reaches out to squeeze Alenko’s hand, who runs his thumb over her knuckles.
A sly smile plays on her lips. The game begins. “I didn’t tell you to use tongue, Shep.”
Shepard’s face darkens into a deep purple as Garrus joins in on Kasumi’s laughter. “I need a drink,” she says as she storms away from the couch, Kaidan at her heels. Heated words drift in from the other room, none of them discernible. Kasumi feels a bit guilty at causing a fight, but a whole new world opens before her with opportunity.
Garrus tosses her a wink when he catches her gaze. Liara catches it and scowls, crossing her arms over her chest. “That didn’t happen, did it?”
All eyes turn to Kasumi as she shakes her head. “Nope! But Shep doesn’t know that.”
Garrus’ eyes glint over the rim of his drink. “This opens the door for so many possibilities.”
One of the newer crew members, Kasumi thinks her name is Traynor, speaks up. “This, uh, this doesn’t seem right, messing with the Commander like this.”
Garrus sits his glass on the table, leaning in to Traynor. “Shepard wouldn’t hesitate doing the same to us. Why not let us have a bit of fun with her?”
A slow ripple of nods crosses the room. Kasumi leans back in her seat, smiling, just as Shepard reenters the room, a full glass in hand and noticeably more tipsy. Alenko keeps a hand on her waist as he escorts her back to her seat. She leans into him after they sit down, head resting on his shoulder. His fingers lace over hers on the glass.
Garrus jumps in first. “Shepard, we were just talking about the time you and I had that arm wrestling contest on the SR-2. What a sore loser you can be.”
Shepard smiles one of her fake smiles, the kind that looks like baring her teeth. Alenko grips her shoulder, attempting to keep her calm. “Me, lose? Dream on, Vakarian.”
“Oh, it happened. Maybe you just blocked it out to try and keep your record spotless.” He grins, and Kasumi thinks she can see smoke coming from Shepard’s ears.
Joker cackles, slapping his knee. “I think I remember that. Her scream came all the way up to the bridge. Didn’t realize that was you though, Garrus.”
“You’re gonna have to teach me how you did it, Scars. Lola’s been damn near impossible to beat.” Vega joins in, laughing as Shepard’s scowl deepens.
“Laugh it up, guys. It’s not going to happen again,” Shepard responds through gritted teeth, taking a large swig of her glass. Alenko rubs her shoulder, doing his best to keep her level-headed. Everyone in the room knows that he’s the only thing holding her back from jumping up and fighting them.
“What about those lap dances? I would hate to see that talent of yours go to waste, Shepard,” Jack laughs. She sits her glass on the table and moves to straddle Miranda’s lap, performing an imitation of the imaginary dance. Jack throws her head back, making eye contact with Shepard as she smirks. “Am I doing it right?”
“I think hers had more hip swing to it,” Miranda goads as she hooks her fingers through Jack’s belt loops.
Shepard’s face falls, mortified; Alenko’s does as well. Kasumi wonders if there isn’t a bit of truth in that for them, if Shepard didn’t give him a more private showing once or twice before. Alenko lets go off Shepard to stand. “Glyph, I think it’s time to turn the music up. Anyone want more to drink?”
A series of “aw”s resounds in the room, but it doesn’t take long for everyone to stand, for the party to resume to its rowdy behavior. The conversation gets left behind as the night picks up once more, Cortez challenging Joker to a drinking contest. Shepard and Alenko disappear upstairs, maybe for one of those private lap dances.
Kasumi wouldn’t mind giving one of her own to the young Lieutenant Vega, with muscles for days and tattoos that she wanted to see if they extend all over his well-toned body. Shepard isn’t the only one known to use a little tongue.