There's a story to go with this picture....
After Thessia, the ship had been starkly silent. Shepard hadn't said a word to anyone and had stolen himself away to his quarters after relaying the news of Thessia to the asari councillor. The unspoken despair and failure hung in the air long after he had gone, and it was not lost on Kaidan.
Despite everyone else's efforts to steer clear of Shepard's quarters, Kaidan felt in his gut that he had to go up there. He hesitantly motioned the door open and entered, unsure of what he would find. There, seated on his bed and staring listlessly at the fish tank was his Commander. For the briefest moment, a look of surprise flashed across Shepard's face as he realized Kaidan had come in, seen him like this. Then, it was back to the hardened mask, as if that had never happened.
"Kaidan, what are you doing here?" he asked, finally.
"Shepard... I understand you might want some time to yourself, but," Kaidan was going into unknown waters here, so he treaded carefully, "I wanted to see if there was anything I could do. In case you needed someone around."
"There's nothing you can do," he replied shortly. "There's nothing I can do, not for Thessia, not anymore."
Kaidan frowned, slowly approaching but still keeping a respectable distance. "Shepard, you couldn't have known that was going to happen. We were going into everything blind. You did your best... you've always done your best--"
"Yeah, that'll really make those dead asari feel better, won't it?" The acid in Shepard's voice bit back at Kaidan, but his eyes faltered after he had said it. "I... I'm sorry, Kaidan. I didn't mean to snap at you. I just..."
Shepard slowly got up from his bed and touched his hand to the cool window of the aquarium. His eyes sank as he watched the eels swim about, blissfully unaware of the hell around them. "So many lives... so many millions, trillions of lives." He took a breath, and Kaidan could hear a noticeable shudder hidden within it. "Everyone's always looking to me. Always hoping that I'll come through, that I'll save them. As if I were some kind of god, or... superhero. I have to be strong, inspire others, I can't let up this image of strength that they can rally towards..."
Kaidan joined him at the tank, his soft brown eyes scanning Shepard's tightened features, catching the strained brows. "You're doing all you can. That's all anyone could ask for."
"But it's not enough!" Shepard's voice was hoarse, and Kaidan could instantly feel it. His shield, his carefully constructed shell of control and defiance and determination; Kaidan saw it chip and crack, and in the holes he saw a vulnerable and shattered boy behind it. Shepard's lip bit back a gasp, but it was far too little, too late. The gasp became a shudder, and the shudder broke into a torrent of racked, ugly sobs that forced Shepard against the aquarium glass, fists pounding at it. He slid down to the ground, his shell crumbled and his sadness and fear laid bare and naked for Kaidan to see.
Kaidan knelt down and slowly extended his arms. Instinctively, Shepard rebelled against them at first, but the pain was far too great, and with a choked cry he relented and let those strong limbs embrace him with a gentle warmth. He felt as if a soothing balm was working its way over his raw nerves and he gave into it... as Kaidan held him silently on the floor and let Shepard cry for the first time in years.