A/N: John Shepard is here to show his one weakness. Takes place a few days after Shepard's elaborate April Fools' Day prank. Not certain where it was inspired from.
Tali looked behind her console for the third time, uncertain of where she'd placed it. One of her tools for hands-on maintenance was missing, and she had no idea where it'd gone. The other two engineers had watched in amusement as Tali tore her half of the engine room apart, looking for her tool. She didn't even necessarily need it and could always borrow one of theirs, but the quarian just had to know where hers went.
She checked by EDI's avatar and then paused. Why didn't I just ask EDI? I could have saved half an hour. Tali sighed and stood up. "EDI, do you know where my tool is?" she asked.
"Yes. It on the Commander's desk," EDI answered.
Ken smirked as Tali unconsciously formed fists. "Still not talking to Shepard, eh Tali?" he questioned, a smirk on his face. Tali had all but killed the commander after his prank. Whereas a few of the humans had started laughing, Tali had screamed bloody murder and kicked one right between his legs before storming off. It had been worth seeing.
Tali glared at Ken. "What would you do if you saw Gabby dead?" Tali asked.
"Go get a beer—Ow that hurts woman!" Ken shouted, rubbing his arm.
Gabby grinned and cracked her knuckles. "He'd get two beers; one for me, remember?" she pressed.
"You'd be dead; I would only need one."
"You idiot; you're never going to see me dead because it's practically guaranteed I'm going to outlive you!"
"What gives you that impression you..."
Tali had already left the engineering bay, wondering mildly if she'd come back to find the engineers making out. That was a continual question among the crew; what did the squabbling engineers do when no one was around? I should place some cameras around my workstation and see if I can catch them doing something. But for now, I have to see that bosh'tet and hope he doesn't try to hide my tool from me, or I'll beat him to death with it.
The quarian engineer got on the elevator and waited impatiently for it to reach John's cabin. He was probably up there; he had begun spending a lot of time up there when he was thinking or planning. I'll just ignore him, grab my tool, and leave. Honestly how could Shepard do that to me? I was practically crying, terrified I'd lost him again and it was my fault, and instead it's all part of his grand idea to play a prank on us. If only Aunty Ra'an was here, she'd let him have it for sure.
Tali stepped out as the elevator reached Shepard's cabin. The door didn't open right away, but instead EDI announced that the interior cabin was decontaminating. It was something Shepard had his room do when she came up. But I'm not going to be up here very long.
The room finished decontaminating and Tali walked in. Sure enough, Shepard was there, sitting on the edge of his bed with his foot in his hand. He looked genuinely surprised to see his door open—he'd probably been absorbed in whatever he was doing. Tali gave him a glare before her eyes widened as she gasped.
"Keelah, Shepard, what did you do?" she demanded, pointing at his foot.
Shepard glanced down at his bloodied foot; it was dripping on his floor and he was in the midst of bandaging it. "I think I stepped on something," he answered simply.
Her tool forgotten, Tali rushed to look at Shepard's foot. Shepard lay down as his foot was lifted up into the air to give Tali a better look. "Why is Doctor Chakwas looking at this; there's blood everywhere! How can you be so casual about this?" Tali muttered, looking it over.
"She already did, Tali," Shepard soothed. "I'm just replacing the bandages myself—"
"You really should have someone else do this John or at least report it," Tali interrupted, bandaging the rest for him. "What if we had to run a long distance on a mission or jump something? You could hurt it worse! Keelah."
John Shepard smiled to himself. Note to self: next time Tali's mad at you, go visit Grunt.
Tali finished the bandaging and glared at Shepard. "You need to be more careful, Shepard."
"It was just an accident, Tali," Shepard assured. He had no idea a little wound like this would be that frightening. It wasn't like when he had spilled fake blood on the floor and pretended to shoot himself. It hurt to think about what came after that.
"Still...this looks painful," she mumbled, concern flooding her voice. She traced the injury with her finger.
Shepard let out a short bark and flinched wildly, his foot nearly squirming out of her grasp.
Tali jumped at the sudden outburst. She glanced at his face for an explanation and found him holding a grin back. "Shepard?" she asked slowly, poking his foot. Is he hurt worse than I thought?
"Don't do that please," Shepard requested quickly, trying to pull his foot away. He did and stood up, keeping a distance between him and Tali. Keelah what is he...you've got to be kidding me.
"John, are humans ticklish on their feet?" Tali asked. She knew quarians were ticklish around their ribs, but she never knew anyone to be ticklish on their feet of all places.
"No, of course not," John answered, sounding very defiant.
Tali frowned at his tone; he was denying it too much. Come to think of it, that's how I sound when... Tali narrowed her eyes evilly at Tali. Shepard caught that much.
"Now Tali," Shepard warned, holding his hands up. He didn't get much further as Tali tackled him into the bed. Maybe he'd taught her hand to hand too well, because she used her flexibility to sit on Shepard's legs. She grabbed his good flailing foot and began lightly scratching the sole.
Shepard held it in as long as he could and then burst out laughing, squirming each way he could to get out of Tali's grasp. "TALI! Tali stop..." Shepard gasped before falling into silent laughter. For Tali, it was near impossible to hold onto Shepard and continue her little torture. A grin appeared on her face; hearing John beg for mercy was worth it. Payback is nice, after all.
Suddenly Tali jumped into the air, Shepard's foot forgotten. The commander had managed to twist around in his squirming and squeeze Tali's ribs, causing the quarian to yelp. "Ha; thought you'd be ticklish there," John breathed as Tali landed again.
"You're assuming things, John," Tali said, standing up. "I was just surprised, that's all." She didn't like the way his eyes gained that same evil look. Well, there's only one way to hold him off. She jumped at Shepard, but found herself pinned this time. Tali's laughter filled the room.
Ken glanced at Gabby. "So is it me, or has Tali been gone a while getting her tool?" Ken asked.
"Yeah," Gabby agreed. "It's been half an hour."
"I wonder which tool she—Ow!" Ken complained.
"I can keep punching you in the arm, Kenneth."
"So rough, woman. Be gentle."
Gabby punched Ken again and called up EDI. "EDI, what is Tali doing?"
"I am not at liberty to say," EDI answered.
Ken and Gabby exchanged quick looks; they knew what that meant. "Exactly when did this non liberty began?" Ken asked.
"Ten minutes ago."
Both engineers exchanged an eager look at each other. "Think that gives us enough time?" Gabby asked slowly.
Ken jumped her. "You bet your ass, woman."