With a final blast of the Mako's powerful 155mm cannon, the last remaining geth Colossus collapsed to the ground; chunks of metal from its hull rained all around it.

Shepard, Tali, and Wrex were on their way to Noveria's Peak 15 in the Mako, when they had suddenly been attacked by battalion of geth waiting in ambush. They successfully managed to repel the attack, destroying all of them—including the two powerful Colossi—but not before one managed to launch a final siege pulse just as it was destroyed, striking the Mako's main engine.

"Damn, that was close. Are you guys alright?" Shepard asked from the driver's seat of the Mako, turning his head to look at Tali, who was sitting next to him in the front, and then to Wrex, who was in the second row of seats, behind Tali.

"I'm alright, Shepard," Tali responded, tilting her head side to side, cracking her neck lightly. The battle had rocked and shaken the Mako a great deal.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Wrex responded, "But next time I'm getting out and fighting on foot. Why should you have all the fun?" he added; half joking, half serious.

"There may not be a next time. This doesn't look good," Tali commented while typing into the Mako's holographic console before her, checking its systems and running diagnostics. "The fuel cell is damaged. All we have is auxiliary power, and it's not even reaching most of the systems."

"So we're immobilized?" Shepard asked as he stepped on the accelerator, verifying that the Mako couldn't move.

"I'm afraid so. I can't even reroute the auxiliary power—the physical lines are damaged. We're stuck here," Tali typed a few more things into the console and then stopped, resting her arms on her thighs. There was nothing else she could do. She turned her head and looked at Shepard.

"That Colossus just had to ruin our day," Shepard said with a light scoff, shaking his head.

"I'm sorry, Shepard. I tried to give the shields more power during the battle, but the Mako's fuel cell just couldn't output enough to keep them up," Tali said apologetically. She knew there really wasn't anything she could have done, but she still felt bad. As the engineer, it was her job to keep the Mako's systems running optimally in combat.

"You did everything right, Tali." Shepard said reassuringly.

"Let's just go the rest of the way on foot. We're about half way there anyway," Wrex suggested.

"I thought you didn't like the cold?" Shepard asked.

"I don't. But it beats sitting around in this broken piece of crap."

"Either way, It's out of the question. We're hours away on foot, and neither Tali or I would survive very long in this weather. I'll call the Normandy and have them pick us up. It's risky in this blizzard, but we don't have a choice."

"Bah, you mammals…" Wrex mocked. Between his robust krogan physiology and heavy armor, he knew he could easily survive the extreme cold outside. Unfortunately, both Shepard and Tali lacked the thick hides and redundant systems of a krogan; they wouldn't be able to survive in the cold outside for long. Not even with the armor and suit they wore.

"Joker, come in," Shepard said into his communicator. There was no response. "Joker, can you read me? This is the ground team. Come in, Joker." Shepard waited for a while, but again, there was nothing. "There's no response. The signal's not getting through," Shepard sighed.

"The storm must be causing some interference," Tali said, "It also doesn't help that the Normandy is still in the hanger of the NDC building, or that we're in these mountains. The signal just can't get through."

"That's that then. We're stuck here until this blizzard clears."

"We have another problem, Shepard," Tali said with some concern in her voice, "Remember when I said that the auxiliary power wasn't reaching most of the systems?"


"The Mako's climate control system is among those. The temperature in here's going to drop."

"Well, shit."

Wrex laughed, "Looks like we're heading out on foot after all."

Shepard turned his head and looked at Wrex. A subtle smirk grew on Shepard's face, as he suddenly got an idea. "We're not, but you are."


"Tali and I can't survive out there, but you can," Shepard explained, "If you head back to the NDC installation, you can get to the Normandy and send word to come pick us up. Shouldn't take you more than few hours."

Wrex didn't respond, he wasn't sure what he thought of the plan. Noticing his reluctance, Shepard added, "Come on, Wrex, only a krogan can handle what's out there. I don't bring you on missions for your good looks."

Wrex growled lowly as he hesitated, then finally said, "Why am I always having to save your ass?" Wrex complained as he grabbed his helmet and put it over his head, "You owe me one," he added, "You too," he pointed at Tali. With that, he moved from his seat and positioned himself next to the side door. The Mako's interior was only about five feet tall, so he had to remain crouched as he moved.

"Good luck. Stay safe," Shepard said as Wrex departed.

"Thank you, Wrex. Keelah se'lai," Tali added.

There was a sudden blast of frigid air as the door opened. They hadn't realized it, but the savage wind of the blizzard was blowing in the direction of the Mako's side. Within the brief period of time it took for Wrex to get outside and close the door, the temperature within the Mako dropped significantly. After the door was slammed shut, there was a sudden quiet. The only noise was the howling of the freezing wind outside, pounding against the Mako's hull.

"Well, we're stuck here for a while, Tali. It'll be several hours before help arrives," Shepard commented.

Despite the situation being potentially dangerous, Tali found herself feeling slightly excited. She had been attracted to Shepard for a while now, and while she knew nothing could ever happen between them, she still enjoyed the idea of the two being together in private for an extended period of time. They were going to be able to chat and get to know each other better. And in some way, it just felt intimate and exciting to be in a situation like this with her current captain; a man she felt attracted to, and had some feelings for.

"It won't be so bad," Tali said with her typical optimism and positive attitude. Shepard just smiled in response.

Shepard removed his seatbelt, and shuffled into his chair to get more comfortable. Observing him, Tali was reminded that her own seatbelt was still on and followed suit, also detaching hers. After a short period of silence, a few words got exchanged between the two, which soon grew into full conversation. The two conversed for a period of time; they talked about their current mission, some of the Normandy crew members, and other topics.

It wasn't long before Tali ended up talking about her people and life on the flotilla; something which was very typical of her. Shepard didn't mind it at all. He enjoyed learning about the quarian people and their culture. Their history was fascinating, and it made sense to learn more about the quarians; their mission primarily dealt with fighting geth, the race they had created, after all. Shepard was also well aware that until now, the migrant fleet had been Tali's whole life. It was only natural it was something she took great joy in discussing.

Over an hour passed while they talked, and there was a current lull in their conversation. The temperature within the Mako was now very low. While the vehicle provided significant protection from the outside, it couldn't stop the cold from slowly creeping in; not with its climate control systems being offline. The cold had also received a significant head start when the Mako's door opened during a gust. Both Shepard and Tali were now trembling lightly, and had their arms crossed over their chests. The gesture served no purpose, as Shepard wore his armor, and Tali her enviro-suit, but neither of them could help the instinctual action of protecting their chest from the cold, which was common to both species.

Tali looked at Shepard for a short while, observing how she could see his breath now. She laughed quietly; her laugh partially broken up by her trembling.

"What's so funny?" Shepard asked with light amusement, curious as to what she found humorous.

"I can see your breath."

It was easy for Shepard to forget that Tali had spent her whole life on a ship, where everyone wore protective enviro-suits. It hadn't occurred to him that something as simple as a person's breath being visible in the cold, was something she had never seen before. He laughed quietly in response, "Yeah, that happens when it's cold."

"I know. I understand why it happens, but it's still funny to see. It's like there's smoke coming out of you."

"I wish. Where there's smoke, there's fire, and I'm freezing."

"Me too. I've never been so cold," Tali said quietly, all her previous amusement now gone, "Help won't arrive for hours, and I'm… worried. What if we don't…" She didn't want to finish the sentence.

"We will, Tali. We'll be alright. We'll think of something," Shepard assured her. He wasn't sure he believed his own words.

"I hope so. I just don't know what we can do."

Shepard knew she was right. They were already very cold, and the temperature was going to keep dropping. If they didn't think of something soon, then by the time help arrived they'd at best be suffering from severe hypothermia, and at worst—and most probable—death. He had to think of something.

The first thing that came to mind was starting a fire. But that was out of the question; there was nothing in the Mako appropriate for burning, and a fire would release fumes into their confined space; they would die faster from inhalation than hypothermia. A second possibility came to mind, something straight out of the Alliance's field manual. He almost dismissed it, as it also seemed too risky, but there was nothing else they could do; this would give them a chance, at least.


"Yes, Shepard?"

"Hypothetically, how sick would you get if you weren't in your suit, inside here?"

"What? Why do you ask that?" Tali inquired, surprised by his question. She clearly found it bizarre, which didn't surprise Shepard.

"I know it's a long shot, but this is all I can think of," Shepard began to explain. He inhaled, and continued, "In extreme cold temperatures, soldiers will typically huddle together for warmth. They'll share their body heat. The Mako has a few emergency supplies in the back," Shepard gestured with his head in the direction of the Mako's rear, "Among them are a few thermal blankets. If we removed our gear and… huddled together under them, to share our body heat, it would give us the best odds of surviving."

Tali suddenly didn't feel cold anymore. She felt hot. The idea of getting out of her suit, which would leave her naked, and huddling with Shepard made her blush unlike anything in her life.

"Wow, um… Oh Keelah… Keelah… wow…" Tali embarrassingly looked away from Shepard's eyes. She put her hands together, and began to very nervously wring her fingers together, "Um… I, I don't have anything under the sui—no one's ever seen… what if I… but—" She stopped and took a deep breath to try and compose herself, "There is… there's no other way? I've never—I, uh, don't even know how bad my reaction…"

Tali suddenly felt Shepard's hand land on top of hers. Her hand wringing stopped, and she tilted her head back up, looking him right in his eyes. He smiled at her and said in a comforting voice, "Forget I brought it up, Tali. I figured it was a bad idea. I just couldn't think of anything else. But we'll find another way, don't worry."

He gently patted her hand, and then removed his hand from hers. There was a period of awkward silence. Shepard didn't feel comfortable talking again after his previous proposition. Tali just sat there, deep in thought over his suggestion. After a few minutes of quiet, she finally spoke.

"I… I have some extra strength anti-biotics I can take. The Mako's decontamination cycle unit still has power, too. It can, um, sterilize the air. I should be okay… " Tali said, very quietly and slowly. She held her hands together tightly.

"Are you sure? How sick will you get?"

"I don't know. It's a risk, but… with the precautions I can take… I think I'll be okay. It probably won't be so bad in here," Tali answered; her voice still nervous.

"Let's just try and think of something else. I don't want to risk your health."

"There is no other way, Shepard. We both know that," Tali said with a sigh, "If we don't do this, we won't survive. At least if we… share our, um, body heat… we'll have a chance," Tali's fingers were now wringing together again.

"If you're sure you'll be okay…"

"I am, Shepard. I'm sure." She wasn't sure, but it didn't matter. This was their best option for survival.

Shepard put his hand on top of Tali's again to comfort her, and smiled at her. He knew this was very difficult for her. "I'll detach the rear seats and move them to the back. So we have room to lie down," he said as he got off his chair.

Tali didn't respond. She just watched him as he got up, and moved to the back and began to detach the two rear seats from the Mako's floor.

"No one's ever… I've never shown my face to anyone. You'll be the first person to see it…" Tali muttered quietly as she watched Shepard detach the seats and move them to the back of the Mako. He also detached the removable backrest padding from the two seats to use as pillows; might as well be comfortable.

"It's a big deal to you, isn't it Tali?" Shepard asked empathetically, after he pulled the thermal blankets from the small supplies cabinet in the rear of the Mako.

"Yes… it is. We wear our suits even among family. I just, I never imagined my first time removing my suit for another person would be like this. But…" Tali paused for a short moment, and stopped wringing her hands; she looked right at Shepard, "I'm… glad, it's with you. There's no one else I'd rather it be…"

Shepard had just laid down one blanket on the floor. He had another one in his hands, the one that would cover their bodies, but upon hearing her words he stopped and just looked at her. He was surprised by what she had just said. Tali continued speaking.

"Back on the Citadel, you rescued me from Saren's men. And then you let me join your crew. You often come down to engineering and check up on me. You've been good to me, Shepard. You've always treated me so well… like an equal. I trust you. This is still awkward for me, but there's no one I'd feel more comfortable doing this with, than with you."

With those words, Tali pressed the button on the console of the Mako that began a decontamination cycle, reminiscent of the Normandy's airlock. Tali then got up from her seat and began the long process of removing her suit. She pulled the hood off her helmet and began to unfasten the multiple belts and straps throughout her body. The decorative cloth that wrapped around her body loosened, and she pulled it off. With just the actual enviro-suit left, she began to unseal the individual sections of the suit, in order to remove them.

Shepard had always been impressed by Tali's body. It was beautifully curvy and feminine, with its thin waist and wide hips. Her legs were long and her thighs were thick, yet they were toned and firm. Her upper body had a very petite build; her stomach was flat and her arms slender. Overall, she was simply a very attractive and beautiful woman by the standards of both quarians and humans. Despite the temptation of wanting to watch her undress and reveal herself, Shepard turned around and looked away as soon as she first began the process of removing her suit. He could only imagine how difficult and embarrassing this must've been for her. He wanted to make it easy on her; he respected her as a friend and a crew member.

While facing away, he began to take off his own gear. It was much quicker for him to remove his armor than for Tali to remove her suit. In a short while, he was stripped to just his boxers, while Tali still had multiple suit sections to remove. Shepard laid down on the blanket on the floor, and pulled the other one over his body, up to his neck. His body lay in a diagonal angle across the floor, in order to maximize the limited space. He made sure to face away from the front of the Mako, where Tali was undressing. He kept his back to it in order to give her privacy. He then simply waited for her to finish and join him.

After a short wait, he heard a few light foot steps behind him. He then felt the top blanket suddenly lift up, and come right back down as she crawled under it with him. Tali was now lying right behind him, but she kept her distance. Their bodies weren't touching.

Shepard rolled to his side and slowly turned so that he could face Tali's direction. She was laying in a slight fetal position under the blanket, with her arms crossed over her breasts. Her head was tilted downward, with her jaw pressed against the top of her chest. Shepard couldn't see her face. From his angle, all that was visible was her forehead and nose.

"Hey… are you okay, Tali?" Shepard asked quietly, tenderly. Tali didn't say anything. She just nodded slightly.

Aware of Tali's nervousness, Shepard decided to make the first move, and begin their body heat sharing. He reached out with his hand under the blanket, and placed it on her waist. The moment his fingers touched her skin, Tali let out a soft, quiet gasp as her body twitched slightly. This was the first time she had felt another's hand on her like that. Shepard then slid his hand around her waist, to her back, and scooted himself closer to her. With his hand positioned on her back, he gently pulled her in so that their bodies pressed together. Shepard's chest pressed against her arms, which were still crossed over her chest, covering her breasts.

Tali closed her eyes and exhaled quietly in a soft moan as their bodies pressed together. She had never felt another person's skin on hers like that. It felt every bit as incredible as she had imagined. Shepard's skin just felt blissfully soft and warm against hers; the way his body heat just flowed off his skin unto hers was amazing. It was unlike anything she had ever felt before. The sheer pleasure she got from feeling him on her soft, sensitive skin caused most of her nervousness to instantly evaporate.

"Ohh… oh Keelah… Shepard—I've, I've never felt another person's skin on mine," Tali whispered quietly. "It's, it's just—this is amazing…"

Shepard moved his other arm under her neck, wrapping it around her shoulder, and with both arms now around her, he tightly squeezed her body against his. Tali moaned again, louder than before, and immediately removed her arms from in-between their bodies. She eagerly threw them around Shepard's torso and returned his embrace, squeezing hard; her hands spread open as they pushed down on his back.

The front of their bodies were now tightly pressing against each other. Shepard could feel Tali's soft breasts squeezed against his chest. It was either from arousal, or the cold—or both—but her nipples were very hard. He had specifically noticed them as they lightly brushed against his skin, when Tali had moved her arms to put them around him.

With their bodies pressed together and their arms wrapped around one another, they just tightly held each other for a long period of time, not saying a word as they shared their body heat. Tali had buried her face in Shepard's neck; her warm breath gently tickled his skin. Their legs were intertwined, rubbing against one another.

Though the main reason for huddling together under the blanket was for warmth, Tali found herself feeling incredibly excited and aroused. It was impossible for her not to be. Being under this blanket, naked, with Shepard was the most intimate thing she had ever experienced in her life. Feeling his warm body against hers was pure ecstasy.

Without realizing it, Tali had been sensually stroking Shepard's upper back with her small, three-fingered hand. Shepard enjoyed her touch, and felt subtle chills from it. He reciprocated by doing the same thing. He gently began to stroke the back of her neck with his fingers. She felt incredible tingles from it, and instinctively nuzzled her face against his neck. She wanted so much to press her lips against the skin of his neck and kiss it, but she held back the temptation. Instead, she moved the hand that had been stroking his back upwards, and began running her three fingers through his hair.

Tali wasn't the only one excited and aroused from the moment. Between her warm breath on his neck, her soft, naked body pressed and intertwined with his, and her fingers running through his hair, Shepard found himself wanting more. Specifically, he wanted to finally get a clear look at the face of this wonderful woman in his arms.

"Tali," He whispered very quietly, "Let me look at you. Let me see your face…" It wasn't an order or a demand; it was a loving, sensual request asked tenderly.

With only some light hesitation, she moved her face away from his neck, and slowly began to tilt her head upwards. She saw Shepard's neck, then his chin, then his mouth and nose, and then finally his eyes. She was now face to face with Shepard; her face completely revealed to him. His eyes were mere inches away from hers, doing tiny, quick movements as he absorbed the image of her face.

Shepard smiled at her. It was a subtle yet loving smile, which quickly grew into a warm grin. Tali just smiled back. She was happy to see Shepard's face so close to hers, without a mask in the way. And she was overjoyed to see him smiling at her unmasked face, pleased with her appearance.

"I think we need to find you a clear mask, Tali'Zorah…" Shepard whispered softly as he smiled at her. It was a joke, but it communicated his thoughts clearly to Tali. He found her face to be beautiful.

Tali's smile widened, and she bit her lip. After hesitating for a brief moment, she whispered in return, "I don't want anyone to see my face. Except for you…" Immediately after her words, she closed her eyes and leaned forward. She pressed her lips against Shepard's.

The hand that had been stroking Shepard's hair now held his head steady as Tali kept her lips pressed against his, gently sucking on them. She had never kissed anyone in her life, but it was easy to just do what felt right; what felt good. Shepard was completely surprised by her sudden kiss, but that didn't stop him from enjoying it. He caressed her back as the two of them kissed, pressing her body against his just a little tighter. He could feel quiet moans come from Tali's mouth.

Their lips slowly parted, and their eyes locked. Shepard had a relaxed look on his face as he smiled at her. But Tali just stared in wonderment and awe; there was a hint of confusion in her face. Her mind was busy processing the joy of her first kiss; a million things ran through her mind for a brief moment, as she tried to think of what to do next. But she immediately realized there was no thought needed. She already knew what she wanted to do.

Tali suddenly pinned Shepard's shoulders to the floor, and jumped on top of him, one leg on each side of his pelvis. Her lips pressed against his as she kissed him once again, this time with far greater passion and intensity. It was the passion that could only come from a person who had spent her whole life trapped within an enviro-suit; a person suddenly allowed to release the pent-up sexual desire she didn't even know was there. The blanket fell off her back, but she didn't care. There were better ways to get heat.

She hungrily and passionately made out with Shepard. Her lips couldn't stay still—she'd quickly go from kissing both his lips, to sucking on just his lower one, to letting her tongue touch with his. Everything she could think to do with her mouth and his, she'd try. She needed to try everything. Kissing was one of the many things she had been deprived of all her life. Now that she finally got to experience it, she couldn't get enough.

Tali's breasts rubbed against Shepard's chest as the two passionately kissed; her hard nipples lightly teasing his skin as they brushed against it. Shepard had kept his hands on Tali's waist, but the teasing of her nipples was too much. He moved his hands upwards and placed them on Tali's breasts; gently fondling them before lightly squeezing them in his hands and then against her chest. Tali immediately parted her lips from Shepard, and threw her head back, arching her back as she moaned from the pleasure of Shepard's firm hands playing with her breasts.

The motion of sitting up and arching her back caused her to fully straddle Shepard, which made her private area rub against Shepard's crotch. She felt how hard he was and instinctively began to shift her hips back and forth, rubbing against him through his boxers. Meanwhile, Shepard's hands continued to grope and fondle her breasts, often squeezing them together; his thumb and index fingers occasionally pinching her nipples, and very gently tugging on them.

Tali was very wet. Shepard could feel it the moment she started to rub against him, even through his boxers. The way she so eagerly moved her hips back and forth on top of him, rubbing against the hardness in his boxers, made it obvious what she wanted. Shepard slid his hands off her breasts, and slowly moved them down her torso, over her belly. Despite the intensity of the moment, he took a brief moment to appreciate how flat and toned her abdomen was.

She noticed how his hands departed from her breasts, and we're moving down her body. She slowed down the movement of her hips until she finally stopped. Both their eyes locked together, and Tali placed her hands on top of his, letting them guide them downwards. Their hands reach the waistband of his boxers, and stopped there. The two then just stared at each other as the intensity of the moment came to a complete pause; as they considered going even further.

"Tali… are you sure you want this?" Shepard's question was very earnest. Despite how he himself was aroused and full of sexual desire for the beautiful quarian girl on top of him, he managed to put all that aside and ask. He was genuinely concerned about her; about what she wanted.

Tali just smiled warmly in response. Hearing his question, and hearing the genuine concern in his voice was very special to her. It made her feel loved and cared about. It was obvious now that this moment they were sharing was more than just passion and physical pleasure. He truly cared for her.

She lowered her body so that she lay on top of him; her face was right above his. "I've never been more sure of anything…" she whispered softly, and gave him a sweet, tender kiss.

Their lips slowly parted, and their eyes locked once again. She gave him another smile, and then slowly moved her hands downwards; she pulled Shepard's boxers down to his mid thigh. With both her legs on each side of Shepard, and her hands back on Shepard's torso, she lowered herself slowly unto him. She gasped and moaned from the sudden pleasure of their bodies joining; tingles radiated throughout her body as he entered her, all the way in. For a short period of time, Tali just savored the feel of Shepard in her. Their bodies were united.

Their love making then commenced. Tali began by slowly pushing her hips downwards unto Shepard's pelvis in a very slow, uneasy rhythm. Shepard had his hands on her thin waist, assisting to move her body up and down on him, helping her find a steadier rhythm, which he soon began to match with his upward hip thrusts. Tali kept her hands on Shepard's chest and shoulders, and positioned her body low, almost parallel to his. She wanted to be as close to him as possible during their intercourse; her face was right above his.

While they started slow, it wasn't long before their rhythm intensified. After a while of steadily making love to Shepard with her body lying flat on top of his, Tali wanted to try something more intense. She lifted her torso up and arched her back; her body now perpendicular to Shepard's. Tali reached behind body, and placed her hands on his thighs, using them to push herself up and down on Shepard with much greater intensity. She moaned loudly from the sudden increase in pleasure, Oh, Oh Keelah! Ohhh Keelah! Yes! as she rapidly moved up and down on Shepard. Her breasts bounced with the motion of her body, until Shepard moved his hands from her waist and placed them back on her breasts, rubbing them and squeezing them as she rode him.

They maintained their pace, and Tali felt her pleasure quickly escalating and approaching release, but she didn't want to finish yet. She slowed down her rhythm until she was no longer bouncing on him, but just rubbing her pelvis against his at a slow pace. She lowered her torso back down so that she was parallel to Shepard again. She was now moving very slowly, and Shepard matched her speed. With her hands back on his shoulders and her face in front of his, they kissed multiple times during the lull in their intercourse. Their kisses were very soft and sensual, each one ending with a gentle suck on the other's lips.

After a while of their kissing and slow love making, Shepard gently rolled Tali off him so that she lay on her back, and he positioned himself on top of her. Tali instinctively spread her legs, and wrapped them around him. Shepard pushed forward between her legs, and began thrusting in a steady rhythm. Tali moaned loudly; much louder than before, Ohh! Ohhh yes Shepard, Yes! She threw her arms around him and held tightly, desperately grasping at his back as her legs squeezed around him tightly. Shepard kept thrusting; slowly at first, but soon increasing both his speed and power. Tali encouraged his increased pace by pushing down on his lower body with her legs in sync with his thrusts.

Tali's hands gripped Shepard's back and her nails dug into his skin. Shepard enjoyed the stinging sensation of the six nails on his back. After a while of his intensifying thrusting, it became obvious she was getting close. Her moans were getting louder, and she was squeezing down with her legs harder and faster, encouraging him to increase the pace and intensity of their copulation even further. Shepard could feel himself getting close as well, but he held back; not until after Tali.

Finally, he felt Tali squeeze him as hard as she could while she screamed in pleasure, Ooohhhh! Yes! Ohh… oh yes! KEELAH YES! YESS! Her voice reverberated within their confined space. She had just climaxed. And shortly after, Shepard released his inhibition and let himself enjoy the same pleasure. Both of them moaned together, Tali much louder than Shepard, as they orgasmed and their pace rapidly declined.

For a short while after Shepard stopped thrusting, they simply stayed still, breathing heavily and recuperating from their climax. Tali's arms and legs, which had been wrapped tightly around Shepard, began to loosen up and relax. After a brief moment, her legs finally slid off him. Shepard then rolled off her body, laying down right next to her on his side.

Tali immediately grabbed the blanket and pulled it up all the way to their shoulders; with their intercourse over, she was suddenly reminded of how cold the air in the room was. She cuddled in closely against Shepard, giving him a long intimate kiss on his lips, followed by a trail of quick kisses down his neck. She nuzzled her face into his neck as she rested her head on his chest. Her arms were warm, folded between their bodies, and Shepard's arms wrapped around Tali's upper back, holding her tightly against him.

They stayed like that for a long period of time, not saying anything. They just enjoyed each other's presence; reflecting back on the wonderful moment they had shared.

Shepard sighed happily, and finally broke the quiet, "Do you forgive me, Tali?"

"Forgive you? For what, Shepard?" Tali asked, picking her head up off his chest to look at his face, curious to find out what he meant.

"For being selfish."

"Selfish?" Tali was lightly amused by the awkwardness of his claim, "How are you selfish?"

"Because, I've been thinking… and I came up with a very selfish realization," Shepard paused, and smiled lovingly at her, "I don't want you to ever find a pilgrimage gift."

Tali smiled with great delight at hearing his words, her eyes glistening lightly; he had confessed he didn't want her to ever leave. "That is selfish…" she said quietly as she leaned in, and kissed him, "And… I want to be selfish with you," Tali put her arms around Shepard, and held him tightly as she rested her head back on his chest.

They stayed huddled under the blanket, cuddling together in each other's arms, for a long time; until they finally heard the distant, roaring sound of the Normandy's engines. They quickly put their gear back on, and returned the Mako's interior to its original state.

Shepard and Tali gave each other a long, passionate kiss before her mask locked back into place.