|Be my Valentine, Taz
Author: gypsy rosalie PM
Valentine's Day turns into a disaster when several crewmembers get the same idea and Taz ends up with five valentines, all purporting to be from Up.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Taz & Up - Words: 6,686 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 3 - Published: 02-13-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7831564
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Well, I have been planning this since November, been working on it since January, had it written since the start of the month and I have finally gotten around to putting it up. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Enjoy.
Let it be known, first of all, to all concerned, that Taz hated everything chirpy and cutesy. And let it be known, more importantly, that if Taz hated chirpy, cutesy things, she loathed everything soppy. Naturally, Valentine's Day- the international date set aside for all things chirpy, cutesy and soppy- was a far cry from her favourite day of the year.
She abhorred the gaudy pink decorations, she despised the lovey-dovey shows of affection being passed around non-stop. More than that, though, she hated the fact that, no matter how much she disliked the flowers and the cards, she had never received a single one.
Not that she would ever admit that. To everyone else, she hated Valentine's Day because she was too tough for it and that was the end of the story.
Fortunately, since joining the Starship Rangers she hadn't had to tolerate much in the way of celebration. In a military organisation focused on killing robots and space exploration it was always downplayed, and in any case every year she'd either been on a mission, in training or no-one around her really cared and she could treat it as a day like any other.
But this year was proving to be different. This year was the first with her newly assigned crew on Starship 15A2- and February had been talking about little else for weeks.
And this year, Commander Up wasn't going to be there- he'd been sent on a small freelance mission to rescue a hostage from a faraway planet. Not only did she have to take charge of the crew for the rest of the week, but she wouldn't be able to spend a pleasant evening watching the 'Karate Kid' to whittle away the hours of the worst day of the year. Her best friend- the only one whose company could cheer her up and the only person whom she'd ever secretly wanted to receive a Valentine from (although she told herself she didn't care every time the day went by and she didn't)- wasn't going to be there.
February 14th, 2093 just wasn't going to be her day.
The thirteenth of the month started out with a bang- literally. Taz shot up in bed after the most violent nightmare she'd had in weeks, the top of her head colliding sharply with the underside of a low shelf.
'AY AY AY!' she shouted, rubbing her throbbing cranium. 'MIERDA! My head!'
She flopped back down onto the bed, still swearing.
Oh, gran. As if another day of dis isn't gonna be bad enough.
Up had already been gone three days- and they had been three days of absolute torture. Tootsie had insisted on following her around for a whole afternoon, chattering. She now knew everything there was to know about fourteen different types of hay. Taz didn't care that there was even one type, let alone how it grew or whether or not it was the best kind to stuff a scarecrow with.
And then there had been the morning she'd barged into Krayonder's room to demand why he still wasn't up when it was nearly twelve- only to see something she really could have done without. Krayonder had then gone on and on all day about how Specs had only been 'fixing his computer' and she'd heard the words 'man' and 'dude' for hours on end as he tried to build up an implausible excuse.
Taz dreaded whatever horrors were in store for her today.
Right on cue.
Taz threw the nearest projectile at the door, swearing again as she realised she had just broken her favourite zapper.
'Go away, February!' In this case, she was talking about the schience officer and not the month, although either could work with her current mood.
'Aw, Taaaaz! I want you to see what I did!'
Taz sat bolt upright, banging her head again.
'What have jou done?' she asked threateningly, jumping to her feet and stalking towards the door. 'If jou have been breakin' de controls I will cut open jour throat and…'
She slammed the button to unlock the door and a bunch of pink crepe paper streamers hit her in the face.
'Perra!' Taz snapped, jumping up and down in an attempt to grab hold of the streamers and tear them from her doorway. 'I almost wish it was de controls! What de hell have jou done?'
'It's Valentine's Day tomorrow! I'm making the ship look pretty! Don'tcha like it?'
The Lieutenant exploded. 'NO! I don't- ees ridiculo! Is muy estupido! And jou are not- hear me, not- decorating dis ship! Take all dis down!'
February's eyes went huge. 'Don't you like Valentine's Day?'
'Does dat even need an answer?' She turned and punched the keypad, causing the door to slide shut at an impressive speed. It wasn't quite the same as slamming the door in the girl's face, but it would have to do.
'Um, yeah, it does!' she could hear February calling. 'Do you like it or not?'
Taz groaned into her pillow.
'Omigosh, shh, you guys!' February flapped her hands about to silence the other crew members. 'We gotta talk about Taz- I have, like, totally the best idea ever!'
'Maaaan,' Krayonder slumped forward over the table they were gathered around. 'Taz is one mad dude at the moment. I can't do anythin' without pissin' her off- and then it's hasta luego, buddy!' He mimed throat-cutting, 'I've been stabbed in the back more times than the girls off a soap opera this week!'
'Yeah, yeah,' February cut in, to everyone's relief, 'doesn't anyone wanna hear my idea?'
No-one said anything.
'Specs? Krayonder? Bug?'
Bug, still in the early-relationship loved-up phase, eagerly accepted the offer.
'Anyone else?' February wheedled. 'It's a great idea! I though it up myself with my schiency mind!'
'An idea?' Tootsie suddenly sat up, 'hell yeeeeeah!'
The schience officer, enthusiastic now that someone had finally shown some interest, began to launch into a monologue, accompanied with girlish hand gestures.
'Well, tomorrow's Valentine's Day- oh-em-gee I am soo excited, don't you just love it?- and have you seen my decorations yet? Are they cute or what?
'What's a Valentine's Day?' Bug asked. February stopped in her tracks.
'Oh, Bug, you don't know about Valentine's Day? Oh, it's the best day of the year- you, like, send cards and flowers to the person you love…you have to get me one, Bug, I'll take you to pick it out later…'
'I hate to interrupt,' Specs said, pushing her glasses up her nose, 'but what precisely does this have to do with Taz and your idea?'
'I was just getting to that!' February said excitedly, patting Specs on the head, 'well, I think the reason she'd being so mean is she thinks no-one's gunna send her any!'
Krayonder, Specs and Tootsie all looked at one another.
'Naaah!' the three said in unison.
'Taz is always mean to us,' Krayonder said, 'and dude, no-one ever sends her any- 'cause no-one likes her!' he smirked, the wicked smile falling as he caught the glares of the rest of the crew.
'That's really harsh,' Specs said in disgust.
'Yeah, and we like her!' February protested, 'well, I do. I think she'd be kinda pretty if she dressed like a girl!'
'Down on Bug World we were always taught not to judge a person from the outside,' Bug lectured, 'we learned to find beauty everywhere and in everyone- and Taz may always act tough and angry- but if you look past that she really does care about us! She always helps us out when we're in trouble- look at when Tootsie got locked in the engine room and she spent an hour tryin' to get him out! Look at when I thought I was gonna die 'cause I thought that leaky air conditioner was dripping bug spray, and she fixed it. Look at when you…'
'OKAY, MAN! I'm sorry!' Krayonder leaned back in his seat and raised his hands. 'Wooooah! I get the picture! Anyway,' he added, still trying to redeem himself, 'I only meant that no-one likes her in that way…'
'Somehow I don't think that's what's bothering Taz…' Specs started but everyone ignored her.
'No, but hear me out, I've got, like, a totally brilliant plan!' February said again. 'We should make up, like, a secret admirer for Taz and send her flowers or a card or something pretty and then she'll be happy again!'
'Again?' muttered Krayonder. 'When was the chick ever happy to begin with?'
'And what happens,' Specs, forever the practical one, said, 'when she finds out it's not real? Your hypothesis is flawed- starting a lie like that will only cause more problems than it solves. A fake admirer isn't the answer.'
'Aww!' February sat down looking miserable. 'That's sad…'
'Well, that's that!' Krayonder got to his feet, brushing his hands together as if the situation was all done and dusted. 'You guys want pizza?'
'Hold on- February's a genius!' Bug's antennae pricked up. The schience officer looked smug. 'But instead of a fake secret admirer, what about a real one?
The group looked a little confused. Krayonder's face contorted into a grimace.
'No way, man- there is no way I'm gonna date Taz just to please you guys! I'm out, buddy, I'm out!'
'No, no!' Bug said. 'Look, can you all keep this to yourselves?'
February's pupils suddenly grew to twice their size. 'Ooh, gossip! I love gossip, oh, Bug, dish the gossip pur-leeease!'
'Well, thing is,' Bug began, 'I wasn't supposed to tell anyone, but a while back someone told me they liked Taz.'
February was bouncing up and down in her seat at this news. 'Who? Who?'
Bug paused. '…Up.'
There were several different reactions to this revelation. Krayonder let out a loud 'wooooah', Specs muttered something along the lines of 'knew it' and Tootsie was instantly reminded of the relationship he'd once witnessed between a stack of hay and a haystack down on Farm Planet.
'Up?' February gasped. 'Reeeally?'
Bug nodded solemnly.
'But Up's like, Taz's best friend!' the schience officer couldn't quite get her head round the idea. 'I mean, friends don't date friends! That kinda kills all the…shopping and romance and…exciting-ness- and isn't Up like, fifty years older than Taz?'
'Seventeen, actually,' Specs corrected, 'and it has been statistically proven that relationships formed on or from the basis of friendship are ninety per cent more likely to last.'
February stared through Specs' head, pretending to understand this pastiche of complicated phrases. 'Um, yeah…I guess….'
'But the Commander's goooone…' Tootsie added unhelpfully. 'How's we gonna get him to send the little girl a Vally-tine when he fly-d away in the sky?'
The schience officer suddenly banged her palms down on the table. 'We could do it! We could write her a Valentine and pretend it's from Up!
Specs frowned. 'Isn't that manipulative?'
'Yeah, girl, Specs is right!' Krayonder said, shooting the object of his secret affections a cheesy grin, 'and I thought you just said you didn't approve of friends dating friends?'
'Yeah, but now I've thought about it, they'd be, like, totally cute! Can't you just see it? If he likes her and we send a Valentine from him then she'll be happy, and then maybe they'll get together for real and maybe get married and maybe have me for a bridesmaid and then I can wear that gorgeous pink dress I saws last week on earth!'
'You are planning way too far ahead,' Specs said, folding her arms, 'and that is by far the dumbest plan I have ever heard!'
Taz never gave any rangers in her care the evening off- she believed, as a tough son-of-a-bitch, that a starship ranger was never off-duty, however at some point each and every ranger had managed to sneak across to the space station where Starship 15A2 was docked and spend adequate time in the gift shop.
'Oh, Bug!' February was gushing for about the fiftieth time as they strolled up and down the aisles of pink paraphernalia that currently adorned the store, 'I'm sooo excited! I reckon I'm gonna get about nine Valentines this year- I got twenty last year 'cause I'm so hot, but now I got a steady boyfriend- that's you,' she paused to scratch him under the chin, 'some of the guys might not send any. So probably about nine. Yeah.'
Bug made a facial expression akin to a frown. 'But you told me Valentine's Day was about showing that special someone you love them…'
'Well, duh, Bug! Ooh, look, you totally gotta get me this one!' she held up a card that showered glitter all over the floor as it was removed from the shelf, thrusting it into Bug's hands.
'Okay, you go buy that and give it to me tomorrow, and I'm just gonna, uh, look for something…' the schience officer wasn't the best at coming up with lies.
'You're not lookin' for a card for Taz are you?' Bug queried. 'I thought you decided not to do that anymore…'
'After Specs told you it was a dumb idea…?'
'Oh, yeah, that's right- I'm not!' February shot him a sweet smile. 'I'm not gonna now. I'm just gonna, um, powder my nose…' she slunk off into the next aisle. February may not have been a very good liar, but Bug, who was only new to the interactions with humans and still thought the schience officer was the most wonderful, virtuous human girl in the universe, believed her, shrugging his scrawny shoulders and ambling along toward the counter. Now he 'knew' his girlfriend wasn't going along with her plan, maybe he could have a go at it. Not that he didn't love February, but down on Bug World he'd had a mad game with the bitches- just ask Buggette!
He knew exactly how Up felt about Taz, and as a bug who'd had as many as two girls in love with him, who better to write a convincing love note?
He grabbed a random card from the shelf, hid it behind the one February had demanded he buy for her and wandered casually toward the counter. Meanwhile, the schience officer was giggling as she stuffed the frilly, flowery card she had chosen under the equally flowery card she was planning to buy for Bug.
'Krayonder, shut the heeeeell up!' Specs groaned. Taz wasn't the only one who didn't care for the gaudiness that currently filled the shops. Although Specs didn't feel physically sick at the sight, she wasn't a fan- and she wasn't particularly pleased that she and Krayonder had managed to sneak away to the G.L.E.E. Space Station to have some time on their own, only to be trawling through one of the station's tacky newsagents.
She had to admit, Krayonder annoyed her sometimes. He was so easily persuaded. February had been nagging and nagging at him to go along with her plan, despite Spec's insistence that it was a 'stupid idea', and soon enough Krayonder, the one who'd been most opposed to the notion, was quite enthusiastic about getting a fake card for Taz.
'I'm just sayin', why don't I have a go, man? Now February's not doin' it, maybe I could write a cool card for Taz? I mean, I'm pretty cool, I can impress the ladies, right?' he waggled his eyebrows at Specs, who rolled her bespectacled eyes and hid the sensible card behind her back as she continued to try and talk him out of it.
'Hey, Megagirl, how do you spell Taz?' Tootsie called, passing a rather scribble piece of cardboard over his shoulder to his robotic wife. 'D'ya think ya could run a spellcheck over this, honey?'
'The errors in this document are numerous,' Megagirl droned.
'Uh, what's that mean?'
'I shall recite them in chronological order,' the robot began, 'the word 'happy', listed in my vocabulary of human words to mean 'a joyous or pleasant feeling' is spelled with an 'h' and does not contain the letter 'q'…'
Once a large list of data had been downloaded, it was very tricky for a Megagirl unit to stop relaying such data in the middle of a transmission, and so Tootsie was forced to sit for at least ten minutes while his metal, critical (but still in his eyes very beautiful) wife went through every spelling and grammatical error she found- an unbelievably large number indeed, considering he'd only written two very basic sentences.
After about the first word he'd zoned out, instead focusing on how dang beautiful Megagirl's hair was and the gorgeous way her mechanical mouth moved. And then, when he'd finished thinking about that, for the people of Farm Planet physically couldn't concentrate on two things at once, he wondered whether he should get Megagirl to just write the thing for him.
Taz had decided not to take any chances this time, sleeping at the foot end of the bed to protect her head from low shelves if she shot up in the middle of the night. She lay there, her zapper under her pillow and another one under the blankets behind her, staring at the glowing red numbers on her clock and watching as ones rolled forward into twos and the minutes went by at a far too leisurely pace. There were still two agonising days to go before Up came home and took charge of this ridiculo crew and she didn't know if she could last that long without killing one of them.
Sure, they were her friends, sometimes, when she was in a good enough mood, sure sometimes she could get on with each of them if she put in a bit of effort, but being in charge of them was making her want to stab something. They were the biggest bunch of idiotas she'd ever known- even Specs hadn't been smart enough to realise she'd seen them all try and sneak off- and Taz had ensured there was hell to pay when they all got home. She'd been forced to attend to the ship's daily cleaning all on her own- and it wasn't exactly a small craft- and hence had been in just the mood to scream at them for half an hour about abandoning their duties and not getting the job done.
Taz rolled over, turned back onto her original side, flipped her pillow over and kicked all the blankets off but no matter what she did she just couldn't find a comfortable position to sleep in tonight. In the end she gave up, stumbling out of bed and in the general direction of a refrigerator in search of some water.
She fumbled her way through the halls, pausing every few steps to viciously tear down one of February's streamers that got in her way, and by the time she returned to her room she had been hit in the face with Valentine decorations so many times the effects of the glass of water had completely worn off and she was even more hot and bothered than when she left.
Taz swore as she climbed back into bed, feeling as though throwing her pillow across the room might provide some relief, but not doing it as she couldn't be bothered to go and get it again afterwards. She laid her head down and her cheek came into contact with something flat and papery.
The Hispanic Lieutenant should have been up at least ten minutes ago to begin her routine of working out, punching anything she could find and terrorising the others but she couldn't do anything except sit on her bed and stare. She'd been debating about how to react to the card she'd discovered in her room nearly all night, her emotions changing and changing again on a loop.
First she was shocked. The fact that any one of the crew dared to go into her room, even when she wasn't there, was astounding. Some of them- well, one of them- well, Krayonder- didn't even dare go near her at all if they could possibly help it. The fact that someone had actually sent her a Valentine was just unbelievable.
She'd read it and her demeanour had changed. For a little while she was amused at the very obvious forgery, written in a handwriting not even vaguely resembling Up's and in a style of speech Up wouldn't even dream of attempting. And then she became angry at the pathetic attempt, at the insult to both her and the Commander- how dare they assume-
…what if they knew about her feelings for Up? A flood of panic went over Taz as she worried about losing her tough reputation in favour of a lovelorn one, and then the whole set of emotions went by again.
She opened the card again and reread the message:
I've never told you this before, but I have a very big heart and it loves you. You are a beautiful human, and I would let you tear off my head and let your larva devour my body any day.
Hugs and pincers,
As if anyone could pull off a fake Valentine with a message like that. Still, Taz grudgingly decided, Bug had only been with them a few weeks, he'd had very few encounters with humans and he was dating, and thus being heavily influenced by, February. He was bound to get a little confused. She would let him off the hook this time, but it if ever happened again, she thought with a cross little hum, she couldn't be held responsible for the actions of her knife. She tossed the card aside and went off to the gym, putting it out of her mind.
'For de last time, jou idiotas,' Taz growled, as a small metal object hurtled past the porthole and the others began to scramble to their feet, 'jou are not getting up every time an estupido mail pod comes past. We got a lotta work to do today and if anyone gets out of deir seats before dis meeting is over I will cut off jour heads and use dem as boxing gloves!' she shot a very pointed look at February, who was leaning and straining in the direction of the door.
'Yeesh, you're no fun, man!' Krayonder said. 'Up woulda let us get the…'
He was stopped in his tracks by a killer look from the Lieutenant. 'I mean…uh…let's get this meeting…on the road, man!' he tried to pull a convincing I'm-being-helpful look, which everyone chose to ignore.
'Right, idiotas,' Taz sat back down, 'first t'ing's first, in dos semanas we got another mission coming up…'
It had been like this since ten this morning. She had tried her hardest to keep the handful of rangers on task, assigning them difficult training activities involving more pushups than they had ever done in their lives, standing over them and barking at them to finish the daily maintenance duties, but every time a postal pod docked, everyone would immediately charge for it.
February had been gushing all morning about the twelve Valentines she had received, jumping around and showing them off to everyone excitedly despite the fact three of them were ones she had sent to herself, and despite Taz's best efforts to purge the ship of decoration, seven new banners had somehow sprung up overnight.
And that, of course, wasn't the only thing making Taz annoyed…
Dear Taz, the second card from 'Up' had read,
You are, like, totally hot and when I come back I would so love to pay for us to go shopping for you….
She hadn't even bothered to read the rest of it- but February was going to be made to pay for this.
So dat was where Bug got de idea…at least, Taz thought, it stood to reason that if February had misled him to believe this kind of behaviour was acceptable, Bug would think it was okay too, hence her card from him. She was becoming less inclined to chasing the large insect up on the matter, and more inclined to tear February's blonde head from her shoulders as each moment passed.
Taz went over all of the General's instructions carefully, ensuring that every minute detail was covered thoroughly in the meeting, in the hope that the mail pod would be forgotten, but the second she put down the stack of papers they all leapt for the door.
'Sit down!' Taz growled ferociously, throwing them all glares and allowing her narrowed eyes to remain on February for a little longer than normal, 'I am in charge of dis ship right now! And no-one is to move unless I say!' She rose and stomped towards the door. 'Wait dere.'
Taz was going to put a stop to this once and for all. She marched down the ship's corridors towards the landing dock, unsure what exactly she was going to do to stop any more mail pods coming and interrupting her temporary command- indeed, stabbing the controls would not do her any favours as far as her job was concerned, but that seemed to be the way her mind was heading.
The pod had already docked by the time she got there, and was engaged in ejecting envelopes all over the floor. Muttering swear words in both English and Spanish, the Lieutenant stooped to retrieve them, absently flicking through them as she went.
February…February…February…ay, what do all dose idiotas see in dat perra…Bug, Specs, February, February, Krayonder, me, Febr…
Hang on a minute. Taz shuffled back through the cards again, her brow furrowing as she confirmed the fact that a third envelope was addressed to her.
'Dis is getting ridiculo…' she said to herself, tearing open the envelope to reveal a rather brightly-coloured card with a picture of a sheep on it.
In ordinary circumstances, a person in this situation might have laughed. But Taz was far beyond seeing the humour in the situation- it was like they were deliberately tormenting her by dragging her into the one celebration she hated- and at the same time mocking her, her Commander and her hidden (or so she thought they were) feelings for him.
The card appeared to have been written by two separate hands, or rather, half of it was handwritten and the other half neatly typed. Just like its predecessors, it was signed by Up- and just like its predecessors it was ludicrously fake.
Dear Taz, it began, and 'Taz' was misspelled, even if you was the horse that ate my cousin…the scribbly handwriting continued for about four lines of ridiculous farm planet sentiments, most of which were difficult to read due to the wide variety of spelling mistakes riddled throughout even the simplest of words, before suddenly morphing into stiff, formal writing. The typed paragraph described the futility of all humankind and went on for seventeen lines of tiny print before finally getting to a point about 'downloading emotions' for her.
Well, it seemed Tootsie and his robot wife had it in for them as well. Taz took a moment to cheer herself up by imagining the different ways she could shoot Megagirl before snatching the last two letters off the ground.
They were both addressed to her.
They both claimed to be from Up.
They both made Taz very angry indeed.
Taz didn't want to hear about how she was 'aesthetically appealing from a scientific point of view' or how she was 'pretty tough for a chick, man'. Today was turning out to be worse than she imagined- why did no-one realise she just wanted to be left alone?
'D'ya think Taz'll cheer up when her Valentine comes?' February leaned across the table and giggled. 'I bet she's gonna be excited!'
'Wooah, dude!' Krayonder suddenly sat up straight, his eyes wide. 'I thought you said you weren't gonna send her one!'
'Well, yeah,' the schience officer said, tossing her hair back, 'but then I changed my mind again! I just thought it would be so cu-'
'Aw, man!' Krayonder banged his hands down on the desk. 'Why didn't you tell me, man? Then I wouldn'ta sent one!'
'Me too!' Tootsie said, puffing his chest forward as if this mistake were something to be proud of, not embarrassed about.
'Me too,' Bug put in.
'Me too…' Specs shook her head.
The five of them exchanged worried glances.
'Now what are we gonna do…?'
There was a brief silence as they contemplated the sticky situation they had gotten themselves into.
'We gotta get 'em back, man!' Krayonder had jumped to his feet, letting his chair clatter across the floor, 'we gotta hide 'em before she finds 'em, or we're all screwed!'
'We'll have to get to the mail pod before Taz does…'
'We'd better go now…'
'What de hell is wrong wid all of jou?' came a loud voice from the corridor and all of them sat down with a bump, realising with horror that they were too late, and rather than succeeding in their plan to cheer her up, they had only succeeded in royally pissing Taz off. Krayonder, forgetting he had knocked his chair out of the way, landed rather awkwardly on the floor and was struggling to get back to his feet when Taz burst into the room, fuming, a large bundle of post in her hand..
'Who do jou hijos de puta t'ink jou are? What makes jou t'ink jou have de right to…' Taz couldn't even get all of the sentence out, her free hand bunching into a fist then uncurling and reaching for her knife then repeating the process, 'how dare jou insult me- and insult Commander Up in dis manner! What did jou t'ink jou were doing?'
'We just thought-' February began.
'Callar!' Taz shouted before she could try to explain. 'I don' want to hear it! Jou all t'ink just 'cause dere is no Commander around dat jou can act up and no-one will care? Well, let me tell jou, jou lil pieces of...' (the group all covered their ears) 'jou will be sorry abou' dis! Jou will all be taking a walk- off my knife!'
There were gasps all round and Taz reached for her sheath, only to find the blade was missing.
'Wait dere- I'm going to find my knife…' she turned on her heel and stalked towards the door.
Everyone shrunk away from February, horrified that she had dared open her mouth when their Lieutenant was in a murderous mood.
Taz turned slowly. '¿Qué?' she said, her voice dangerously quiet.
'D'you think…' February began, her voice trembling a little, 'we could, um, maybe….have our letters now?'
'Jou want jour letters?' Taz said in the same soft voice. 'HAVE JOUR LETTERS, JOU PERRA ESTUPIDO!' and with that she hurled all the envelopes directly at the schience officer's head and stomped off.
Everyone watched her go. Krayonder was gripping onto the edge with shaking hands, Bug's antennae had drooped considerably and Specs was shaking her head miserably. Only Tootsie and Megagirl seemed to have instantly recovered (if indeed Megagirl had been affected in the first place), the robot was now connecting to the internet and making screechy dial-up noises in the process and her husband chattering away to her about her 'beautiful singing'.
'Well, we sure blew that one,' Krayonder said after he found his voice. 'I guess it wasn't such a good idea after all…'
'We just hurt her even more…'Bug concurred perceptively, and Specs looked at him, impressed by his insight. 'I guess we should probably go tell her we're sor-'
'Hey, look! I got eight more cards!' February called cheerily from the pile of mail.
Taz hadn't been able to find her knife, and by the time she'd walked back to her room, she was in no mood to go all the way back to where the crew were assembled to beat them up. Instead, she stropped off to the gym to work off her frustration on the sports equipment.
Unfortunately for her, most of the sports equipment had already been destroyed when she worked off her frustration this morning, yesterday, the day before that and the day before that, and all that were left to destroy were the weights.
Taz grabbed hold of two extremely heavy dumbbells, forgoing a warmup and ignoring the fact that they were of different sizes and thus unbalanced, and hoisted them over her head. This didn't give her the same satisfaction as beating something or someone to a pulp, and she was just wondering what it would feel like to club a robot over the head with one when a whining noise indicated the arrival of yet another pod.
'Mierda!' Taz shouted, choosing instead to hurl the weights across the room, where they crashed against the wall and made dents. She stomped out to the landing, determined to settle this once and for all. If she had to encounter one more pink envelope addressed to February…
There was nothing in the landing dock when she arrived there but a very large box. The delivery pod was already rattling away back in the direction it had come, and Taz was left with the enormous package. Muttering under her breath, she stepped over to it and opened the note attached to the top, her breath hitching involuntarily as she read it.
Figured you might need this to help you out today.
Taz's mouth opened but no noises came out. This was not a drill. Up's handwriting. Up's style of speech. Very definitely, therefore, really, actually, from Up.
But what could Up have sent her? The box was huge. A weapon? A television? Some punching bags to replace the ones she'd destroyed?
She ripped off the lid and jumped back, startled, as a loud coughing noise came from within.
'Yeesh, Taz, I was wonderin' when ya were gonna open that, it ain't exactly a piece o' cake tryin' to breathe in here….'
Taz's eyes were almost wide as Bug's were naturally. 'Up? What de hell are jou doin' in dere?'
There was a bit more coughing, the sound of rustling and Up stood up in the box, grinning at her, his moustache askew. Taz was completely dumbstruck.
Up waved one hand in front of her face. 'Hey there…'
She blinked. 'What de…I t'ought jou were on a mission!'
He shrugged. 'I was…finished early, and I figured I might come back an' surprise ya…' he paused, reaching his arm out of the container and touching her shoulder, 'an' I know today's never been the best day for you…'
Taz swallowed. She had never outright told Up she hated Valentine's day, but as her best friend, she should have realised he'd be perceptive enough to notice something was up with her. She wasn't quite sure what she was feeling right now- whether she was cross for Up for giving her a fright, still shocked at his weird way of returning, grateful that he had returned or what…
In the end she settled for half a smile and a muttered gracias. Up smiled back.
'So how've ya been doin' while I was away? Rangers all behavin' 'emselves?'
'Oh, it's been gran,' Taz said sarcastically, making a face at him, 'dey've all been idiotas, I nearly killed dem all more dan once and I destroyed everyt'ing in de gym…sí, time of my life…'
The Commander reached out to embrace her, an awkward action to perform while standing up to his torso in a cardboard box, which resulted in the whole thing tipping over and depositing him in a heap at his Lieutenant's feet.
Taz gave him another weird look as she hauled him up off the ground. 'De hell are jou doing wid all of dis, anyway? Why di'n jou just come back in a drop pod like everyone else in de galaxy?'
Up gave her a guilty little smile. 'Now don't get mad…' this sentence instantly made Taz raise her eyebrows- any explanation that began with don't get mad was bound to end with her being angry…
'But,' Up went on, 'well, I kinda…wanted to, uh,…'
'Get on with it!'
'I wanted to send ya a Valentine…but, uh, I know you don't like all that pink stuff, flowers and that, so, uh, I sent you me instead…' Up was beginning to sound like he'd only just realised how lame his plan sounded, but Taz couldn't help laughing just a little bit, and this encouraged him.
He dusted himself off, stepped closer to her and took both of her hands in his. Normally this sort of action would infuriate Taz, but right now it was all too much of a surprise for her to be thinking straight.
'Whadja say? Be my Valentine, Taz?' he automatically flinched, waiting for some sort of injury as a response but there was none. Taz was looking him up and down, as if considering something.
'Just let me get one thing straight before I agree to dat…jou are for real, right? Jou haven't just been sent by dat perra February or anyt'ing…?'
Up's brow furrowed. 'Say what?'
Taz shook her head, allowing her smirk to evolve into a fully-fledged grin. 'Never mind.'
'So is that a yes?' Up looked hopeful.
'Do I have to do any'ting?'
'Oh, I dunno, maybe watch 'the Karate Kid' with me? Think you're tough enough to handle that?' he held her hands tighter as he saw her nod, and leaned down slowly. 'Oh, and there might be a couple o' these, too…' and he kissed her before she had a chance to stop him.
Taz's eyes seemed to have misted over when they broke apart. She stared at him for a few moments and Up briefly wondered if he'd done something wrong.
'Oh, I t'ink I'm tough enough to handle dat,' Taz said at last, smirking mischievously and Up chuckled, taking her word for it and kissing her again.
And from that moment onwards Taz's day didn't seem as bleak and depressing as she'd first thought. In fact, it didn't feel all that depressing at all.
Haha, that was a bit of a fail, a -long- fail, but I hope it'll do :D