Tali/Kal, discussing the finer points of shotguns. Tali/Garrus, Tali admiring Garrus’ scars and the cultural impact they would have.
“A Katana?” Tali picks up the gun and turns it over. “That’s pretty old school, Kal.”
Kal’Reegar reaches out and takes his shotgun back. “No school like the old school, as the humans say.” he sights along the barrel, grandstanding a display of confidence for her. “It’s a good gun. Not as powerful as the Eviscerator, sure, but then it also has a bigger clip and doesn’t violate a bunch of weapons treaties.”
Not the important thing in combat, but it’s nice to know that the Fleet military isn’t going to bust his ass for carrying nonstandard gear, something Tali’s Shepard vas Normandy never had to worry about, he’s sure.
Kal puts it back on the seat between them, giving the gun a little pat as he sets it down. ‘Besides, I’ve had this one since Basic. Gotten kind of attached, you know?”
Tali nods, then looks down and does a double take. Lifting the gun again, she taps the barrel.
“Kal, why is there ‘Vera’ painted on the side?”
Kal pretends not to hear her.
She’s never met anyone with scars like his before.
Scars mean battle. Scars mean the outside, mean danger and infection and death, all the things that her people have worked so carefully to avoid.
When she sees Garrus again, and notices the giant bandage covering his face, the shading of the textures where burned skin meets the unbroken plates, Tali can’t help but wince, the bottom of her gut falling away as she unconsciously registers the thousand different risks that he must have gone through, from the initial wound to treatment and recovery.
Shepard’s scars were neat things, healed ridges of skin, and the ones after Cerberus where more machine than anything, a red robotic glow that thankfully faded over time. But Garrus’ scars are raw and rough and real.
She traces them with her fingers, feels the flutter of his jaw as he tries to hold it steady.
“I know,” he half-jokes, that crack where sarcasm covers the truth. “I’m hideous.”
“Actually,” Tali says, feeling her way forward delicately, as she treads on broken ground, “I was wondering what it would be like to kiss them.”