Post #4 of the 30-day Mass Effect drabble challenge. Today’s prompt: Kal’Reegar, Tali, “wish you all the best,” courtesy of the Mass Effect Random Prompt Generator.
As she finished packing, Tali heard a knock at her door. “Come in,” she said. The door slid open.
Kal’Reegar leaned in, not so much out of politeness as her quarters were too small to comfortably hold two anyway. “Hi, Tali. I was afraid I wouldn’t have a chance to say goodbye.”
“It isn’t goodbye. Not forever, at least. Transfer isn’t the same as exile.”
“I’ll do what I can to keep this space ready for you when you come back.”
Tali snorted. She saw a stack of spare parts crates in the corridor that were moving in after she left. “Try to find me something bigger. With a window.”
“Do you want a balcony and a swimming pool too?” They both laughed. Kal leaned on the doorway. “Vas Normandy. It doesn’t have the same ring as Vas Neema.”
“No. But I have good memories from the last one. They’re not all strangers.”
“Fucking Cerberus. I hope Shepard knows what she’s doing.”
“I’ll have her back.”
Kal paused. “Who’ll have yours?”
Tali’s heart pounded. Kal sounded wistful, and he stood like an awkward teenager. She’d never heard him sound like anything other than the rattle of a well-oiled rifle. She blushed.
Tali was about to say that Garrus and Kaidan were there, too. Instead she lifted her bag of personal effects—a few photos and souvenirs from life on the fleet—and she said, “Home will be with me.”
Kal squeezed her shoulder. “You’re damned right. I’ll be thinking of you. All the best, Tali.” The way he gazed at her said everything that he didn’t say. Then he embraced her.
Tali surprised herself when she pulled him close, too. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked.
Kal shook his head. “I thought you’d always be here.”
“Well, this just got a lot harder.”
“Be careful. Come back to us.”