A/N: This is just me satisfying the muse with a one shot. I just had to get it out once I saw the vid of the scene itself in ME2. So in this case it is indeed a spoiler so don't frigging read it if you don't want a frigging spoiler. Just stop reading once you hit the non-bold script and take a euphoric comfort in the revelation that the Tali / MaleShepard pairing is in fact now possible in the new game.
She was babbling like an idiot, she said so herself. Her entire body shook like a leaf fluttering on the tree's branch, balanced at the precipice between breaking and falling to the ground or being lifted by the breeze. So she was nervous, beyond nervous. Nothing she had been through could prepare her for what she was feeling. Keelah, she wasn't just nervous, she was terrified. Not because of the dangers of this… this… she couldn't even find the right word to describe it.
She was sure she would be fine, she ran the numbers again and again until she was satisfied that she would be safe, just as he wanted. She shook her head, smiling sheepishly beneath the mask as she paused slightly in her ramblings. At first she had been tempted, oh so sorely tempted to just throw caution to the wind and believe that the first compounds she found would work flawlessly, but then she would end up sick and Shepard would only blame himself. And by the Veil she knew that was the last thing he needed, let alone she wanted to press onto him.
She wanted, truly wanted this to work. She could scarcely believe the depth it ran. Any singular moment when their lives were not in imminent peril and she was at liberty to think and not just react to the violence that surrounded most of their missions her thoughts were drawn indelibly to the cybernetic, scarred soldier that was Commander John Shepard. Now at this moment between breaths she remembered how their first meeting had been; marred with a violent prelude and pain.
Just a few weeks into her Pilgrimage and she had been shot, the wound had yet to be completely healed and she had been far more frightened than she allowed herself to show. Alone, against a Turian assassin and two Salarian mercenaries. She was alone and at their mercy. Despite her training, she had no illusions that she stood any chance against the aggressors. That was until the booming shot, roaring from a sniper rifle, nearly blew the Turian's arm clean from its shoulder, not only wounding the assassin but dropping him to the ground with a cry of pain.
The next thing she saw was the back of an armed and armoured humanoid soldier, vaulting straight over her and the crate she was backed against. The scene was iconic; the sniper rifle she had just recently heard the report of was slung across his back, still going through its folding sequence as he had replaced it with more suitable weapons. An assault rifle blazed blue tendrils of lethal projectiles into one Salarian while the other was ripped brutally off its feet and thrown towards him by the biotics of a Krogan she would later meet as Wrex.
The first Salarian thug died as the rapid fire of the rifle scythed through the alien's body and dropped him to the ground without even a cry of pain. The other had the barrel of a shotgun shoved in its face as it got within arm's reach and with a brutal explosion of fire and shrapnel the hitman's head disappeared in a sickening blend of hard suit helmet chunks, mixed with minced Salarian brain and flesh matters. Shepard hadn't waited for the shotgun to cool down as he'd placed it to the back of the Turian's head as the assassin slowly rolled onto all fours still grasping at his ruined shoulder. The sound of sizzling flesh was heard and a hiss like hot metal being quenched in water that the lackey let out in pain. He had pulled the trigger without ceremony nor word to the fallen assailant. He had turned to her and she had been unable to suppress the shiver that ran through her.
His visor was spattered in his second kill's blood which he tried vainly to wipe away with the back of his hand. The weapon barrels were still smoking, and gory ichors clung to his boots as he moved. His tread was heavy and intimidating. His broad shoulders, indomitable, his magnificent blue eyes, icy yet holding such intensity that they seemed to burn through whatever they beheld. She had spoken, venting anger at her ambushers and had tried to direct that fearsome attention away from her.
The first thing he had asked was if she was alright.
He had held out his hand to help her up. She had hesitated, only for a moment as she took in his fearsome countenance that even now softened as he gazed upon her. His brow had furrowed slightly though it was hard to tell with the helmet in the way, and those fierce blue eyes had somewhere along the way become kind and gentle. She taken the offered limb without thought and immediately marvelled at something she had found thus far as inconsequential. Five strong fingers brushed past her own three to take hold of her slim wrist.
"It's okay…" his five fingers ran along her forearms as he moved towards her. "Come here." He drew her to him slowly. Her own digits ran up his arm to his broad shoulders, clutching at them tenderly as his came to rest on her back. She found her next words dying in her throat as his other hand slid into the gap between her hood and her suit's neck. Brushing against the material softly, yet still hard enough to feel, tilting her head she unwittingly allowed him better ability to caress the sensitive area.
She found herself struggling to concentrate, to even keep her eyes open as her shivering abated with his soothing presence and all she felt was an indescribable euphoria that stole her breath away. She half regretted pulling away, excuses already coming.
"I… I just don't want to- I want this to work, I've thought it over, minimised the risk." They moved to sit on the edge of his bed she looked away shyly, "but… I'm still nervous." His eyes never left the faint shining dots on her face, a small smile tugging at his lips. "And that always makes me talk too much." The smile was reaching his eyes now, "It's a defence mechanism and its stupid and…" she almost choked as his five digits scraped gently over the left side of her visor, cupping the side of her face.
She looked down away from him and tried to keep explaining, needing to keep explaining. "People who…" the other hand came up and mirrored its twin on the other side. "Who just see the helmet can't see my expression so-" his hands gently moved her head so she was facing him once again, her breath almost caught again.
She felt the world spinning, she needed an anchor. Three fingers clasped his wrists, clinging onto him as if he were the only solid object in reach. "I have to make it clear what I'm…" the mask gave a slight hiss as it came off, losing the suction and falling away. "What I'm…" his eyes… his expressions… never changed. "Feeling…" she trailed off. What was she feeling? He heart pounded in her breast, harder than it ever had. She felt like the world was getting smaller, putting pressure on her and the way out was gazing into her mercurial eyes not a foot away. Oh, Keelah she loved him.
She surprised even herself, almost diving forwards and pushing him back onto the bed. Somewhere between sitting, lying down and straddling him, their lips had met and her world exploded. It was all she could do to stay coherent as her left hand laced it's digits with his right above his head. He forewent involving his last two fingers and entwined his thumb, index and middle finger with her delicate, nimble three. He clasped them tightly as his free hand moved tenderly across her back and brought her closer.
They broke away when they ran out of breath, both of them breathing heavily, trying to catch up what they'd just done without for a good half a minute. His forehead touched hers as he nuzzled upwards slightly. She opened her eyes and found him looking right back at her.