A/N: I wrote this as a gift for one of my dearest friends on dA for their birthday. Tag is his character.
Disclaimer: BioWare owns Tali and the universe.
It was a boring day on the Normandy. The crew was relaxed and no problems were reported. It was one of the few moments that Tag could breathe a sigh of relief in his quarters and not worry that his door would be pounded on with some other inane problem that could have waited to be addressed. He rubbed his temples, letting the strain from the monitor fade away from his tired eyes. The final report done away with he flipped the lights off and sauntered on to the bed.
Taking off his boots and tossing them to the side, he flopped on to his back and gazed out the skylight that hung overhead. The countless stars that speckled the velvety black expanse of space whizzed by at incredible speeds, sending the once gem-like celestial bodies into heavenly tracers. The slow bubbling of the fish tank hardly masked the gentle creak of the hull in FTL. It created its own melody that seemed more a lullaby with a soft tamber than a percolation of water and bubbles.
He felt himself slipping further into slumber. The silken sheets were cold, chilling him to the bone. Rolling on to his side, his hand slid across to the vacant spot where Tali would rest after a long day in Engineering. Even as the sheets puckered and rippled from the pressure of his hand, he could still sense the nervousness that she faced when they were alone.
Their private moments even together were guarded. Her sweet innocence in matters of the heart was offset by the lethality she held closely on the battlefield. With the Collectors dead and the inevitability that he was going to have to turn himself in made any and all time they had together more precious.
"EDI, what's Tali's location?" Tag asked, still staring into the empty space on the bed.
"Tali is currently on the elevator on her way to your quarters," the AI stated matter of factly.
He shot up with a start and awaited the knock that would be coming. He told her that she didn't have to be so professional about things. Yet, she still held a certain politeness and near embarrassment about overstepping the bounds of their blossoming relationship. The rest of the personnel knew and Garrus had given him that brotherly look when it hit him about the terms of their relationship.
Then it came. The subtle rapping that was so uncertain but held a hidden confidence stopped and was replaced by the swish of the door opening. He closed his eyes, feigning sleep and listening to the gentle swish of her environmental suit move closer to him. Gentle fingertips ran down his ear and stopped at his shoulder.
"Tag?" the sultry voice cooed gently. "Are you asleep?"
"No," he replied as he sat up and took her hand in his. "Is there something you needed?"
Tali's hand slipped from his and she disappeared into the dim light. She seemed nervous but as she stopped at his desk, her posture changed, making him approach cautiously. He put his arms around her and looked down in the delicate blue light at a long box placed on the desk top. He examined it and then Tali. She looked concerned. The wringing of her fingers were the tell-tale signs of anxiety.
"I got you something when we were last on the Citadel," she stammered.
"It's not another fish, is it? They keep dying at the drop of a hat," he snorted playfully.
Tali stiffened at his implication and rambled about the possibility that whatever was going to happen back on Earth could have terrible ramifications. Tag knew what she was trying to say. Things could go from bad to worse if everything went to hell in a hand basket; which was exactly the way it looked given the circumstances.
"It's nothing special, really. You probably don't even need it."
"We won't know that until we open it," he said, pressing the button for the lights to turn on.
"But Shepard, it's meant for you!" she replied.
"What is mine is yours," he explained, taking her hands and his and opening the lid to the box.
Inside was a long black case. His eyes lit up when their joined hands flipped the flanges up and raised the lid. Tali continued to argue about the trivial choice in gifts, but as Tag looked at the sleek firearm nestled lovingly in its case, he smiled and hushed her. He pulled it out; running his hand along the barrel his eye caught the shimmer of an engraving.
"It was silly, I know," she stammered.
He placed the shotgun down and shook his head. He spun her around, catching her before dizziness set in. She averted her eyes nervously, but he wouldn't have it.
"It's not silly," he insisted. "Nothing you do is, silly. Except thinking that doing something is silly." He placed her hand over his heart and tapped the top of her hand with his finger to the beating in his chest. "Remember: what's mine is yours."