Note: Made a few assumptions about the translation methods in Mass Effect. Namely, that each person has some sort of small device that translates incoming languages that it is programmed to recognize. Each being speaks their own language, which is then translated. Some people, of course, would learn the languages of other races, but I'm assuming Shepard and Tali have not.

Part of my reasoning is that not everyone would learn every alien language (in fact, few would learn more than one language at all), and there is no reason to assume that everyone learns English (or whatever it is that Shepard and other Alliance members are speaking).

If you know for certain that things work some other way, let me know in comments? I'd be glad to hear more detail, actually. Just bear with the assumptions for now, though.



Pillow Talk



Shepard relaxed on his bed, eyes lidded and staring up at the ceiling of his room. The Loft, some of the Normandy crew called it. For the first time in longer than he cared to remember, he wasn't in this position alone.

Draped over his chest, arm wrapped around his waist, was Tali'Zorah vas Normandy. Shepard quietly watched his new lover sleep, a gentle smile on his face as he listened to her light snores. Even sleeping, she was one of the most adorable people he knew. She had come to him just a little while ago, stating nervously that she had prepared sufficiently for him. Smitten by her nervousness, and just her in general, Shepard had removed her mask and seen her for the first time. Things had progressed quickly from there. Oddly enough, Tali had been the one to drift into sleep afterwards, leading to their current position.

As he watched her, the petite quarian muttered a bit of Khellish in her sleep. Adorable is that was, it wasn't an adorable thought rose to Shepard's mind when he heard Tali mutter. Not even an hour ago, Tali, free of her suit and, thus, her translator, had been quite enthusiastic with her native language during their… activities. Shepard felt stirrings as he remembered a few explicit details of the event. For a time, gone was the timid quarian mechanic he had romanced; in her place was a bold, if inexperienced, lover.

Not that Shepard could claim any large amount of experience himself. While military life had allowed enough shore leave for things to develop, he had not had the opportunity present itself often. A few short-term girlfriends with little attachment was all he could lay claim to.

Nothing like Tali. He was indeed a lucky man; he had what most guys would kill for: a lady in public and, apparently, a beast in private. And, by whatever god existed, those hips...

Shaking his head, Shepard worked to dismiss those thoughts as he looked down at Tali. She was sleeping, and likely needed the sleep to bolster her immune system after being exposed to him for so long. Granted, it had only been a little over an hour, but even such a short exposure could be dangerous. In fact, when Shepard thought about it, it was likely that he'd have to wake his sleeping lover soon, else she risked worse than a simple fever or cough.

But that could wait a few more minutes, he decided.

Shepard brushed his hand over the side of Tali's face, gently running a finger alongside what passed for a quarian ear. She reacted by nuzzling further into his side and letting loose a contented sigh.

Damn, she was adorable.

Shepard lay silently for a time, mind flitting between the upcoming mission, the girl laying next to him, their time spent together, and various other sundry details that needed attending before the aforementioned suicide mission.

Shepard was still deep in thought when he was startled back to reality by a voice mumbling in a lilting, but drowsy tone. He blinked and looked down at Tali, who was looking up at him sleepily, her pale eyes half-closed, but aware.

"Hey," he said, leaning over to kiss Tali on the forehead. "How are you feeling?"

Tali shook her head and said something sweetly in Khellish, a small, cute smile on her face. Despite the confusion, Shepard couldn't help but grin in return. Still suit-less, Tali had no way of understanding the relatively guttural language of Earth. Shepard himself had removed the translator device from his ear at some point before their nap, not wishing to lose it while they slept.

Of course, being able to understand Tali with her still not understanding him would not be very useful, either.

Looking around, Shepard spotted the mask less helmet Tali had discarded earlier. Reaching over, he picked it up and offered it to her. With some obvious chagrin, Tali donned it as Shepard took a moment to reimplant his translator device.

Once they were both secure, Tali spoke. "What was that, Shepard?"

Finally able to understand her, and secretly enjoying her translated accent almost as much as her breathless Khellish, Shepard replied. "I was just wondering how you are feeling. Given…" He gestured at their still unclothed selves, turning slightly red as he gave Tali's body a slow once-over.

She was apparently past her earlier bold behavior and started to cover herself up from Shepard's view, turning an interesting color in what he could only assume was a blush. He interrupted her, taking her hands and laying a kiss on the back of each one. She blushed even more and stuttered out, "I- I feel alright, at the moment."

She looked down at her three-fingered hands in his five. "I won't know until later how adverse an effect I may have."

Shepard nodded in understanding and continued to passively investigate her hand, having had little time to do so earlier in lieu of other… explorations.

Everything was quiet a moment until Tali spoke up, hesitantly, "Do you… do you regret it?"

It took Shepard a moment to grasp what she meant, but once he did, he replied, "No, not in the least." He hugged her closer to him. "As long as you're safe, I'm glad and honored to have… 'linked suits with you,' so to speak."

Tali grinned at Shepard's attempt to use her own vernacular against her and merely tapped her helmeted head against his chest.

Grinning, Shepard continued to tease Tali. "Especially with all those things you were moaning," he commented, working hard to contain his own mild embarrassment at the thought in favor of rubbing it in for Tali.

Said quarian sat upright abruptly, face and upper torso turning a darker shade of her skin's own, interesting, color.

"You- you don't speak Khellish!" Tali stuttered out in alarm, mortified that Shepard had understood her. She conveniently overlooked the fact that they had done things that most would consider more intimate than a few… particular words, and that she was currently still suit-less in his present.

Shepard let loose a short laugh and eyed her again as he replied, "True… but I think I understood the gist."

Tali covered her face with her hands. "Oh, Keelah…"

Shepard tilted his head to one side in a quizzical manner. "Though, I must admit to some curiosity. Just what were you saying, anyway?"

Tali sat stiffly upright in the bed, hands continuously entwining each other in her lap. "No-Nothing! Nothing important!" she claimed, her blush only spreading.

Shepard couldn't help it. "Oh, really?" he prodded.

Tali nodded decisively and replied, "Yes. Nothing at all." Her mannerisms screamed embarrassed. Apparently the wild animal Shepard had glimpsed of earlier had retreated for the time being.

Shepard looked thoughtful for a moment, then smiled and leaned back onto the bed, pulling Tali down against him once again. "I suppose I can let you keep your secrets."

Tali sighed in relief.

"… as long as you don't stop saying such things."

Tali stiffened, then relaxed with an embarrassed laugh. "Alright. For you, if you're very lucky," she answered.

The two of them basked in the quiet and mutual company for a while. Shepard's mind drifted out once again to the upcoming mission and various minutiae to take care of in the meantime. He was then, of course, taken completely off-guard by the route Tali's thoughts had taken in the silence.

"So… Do you want to go again?" Tali asked, her voice somehow both nervous and husky at once.

Shepard would later swear that a few of the cybernetics in his head shorted out at that.

Fortunately, a human doesn't need their brain for such… activities.



So, that's that. Another short fanfic. If you want to place it in the same setting as "Dossiers," this is definitely before, right after the romance scene before the suicide mission.