I love writing Bridge.


"Chinese food?"

Sky glanced up at Syd's incredulous, almost insulted stare.

"It's Valentine's Day, and you're giving him Chinese food?" she continued, scandalised.

"Bridge likes random," he reminded her, returning to adjusting the antique Lava Lamp and making sure that it would work. Stupid early twenty - first century light bulbs - practically worthless.

"Oh." He could almost hear her blinking. "Good point." She paused again, then patted him on the shoulder. "Keep up the good work."

He rolled his eyes and moved on to filling the paper cups. The boxes of Chinese food were carefully arranged around the table, with a pair of chopsticks at each setting. He hoped he had the right blue print; Bridge had a lot of projects these days. In the center of the coffee table he'd confiscated for all this he placed the ugliest, foulest smelling flower he'd ever seen, along with a spray bottle of vinegar and a pair of gardening shears. After a moment of digging through his pockets, he removed a small ring box, opened it to reveal the silver bolts he'd strung on a bead chain, and arranged it in the center of the place he'd set for his boyfriend.

"Mental checklist ... " he muttered to himself.

--"Candlelight dinners are so weird, you know? And so cliché - it's always the same setup. If I ever had a candlelight dinner, I'd want something different. Like instead of a fancy, private table for two, I'd get the most standardised, plain coffee table I could find, put it in any old place, and sit on the floor." --

Standard S.P.D. coffee table in the middle of the common room: check.

--"And instead of a lacy tablecloth I'd use a blue print so if we ran out of things to talk about, we could always look down at the table, see the blue print, and talk about work instead. Or if they don't work in the same department, I could always explain what it meant." --

Enlarged and laminated blue print stolen from Bridge's lab: check.

--"For dinner I'd go for Chinese, 'cause I like Chinese. Not some frou - frou pasta that I can't pronounce the name of. After all, it you can't say it's name, why are you eating it?" --

Chinese food for two: check.

--"But I wouldn't get any fancy plates or anything; that would be wasteful. We could just eat straight out of the box. Oh, and chopsticks instead of silverware, because you should always eat Chinese food with chopsticks, it's part of the experience. That should be a law or something: Article 417368 of the S.P.D. Galactic Code states that chopsticks are now the required eating utensil when consuming Chinese food." --

Chinese food not removed from the take out box and wooden chopsticks to eat with: check and check.

--"Instead of wine, I'd have lemon - lime soda, because it's green and bubbly, which is always good. And in paper cups, so we could recycle, because recycling is important. Drinking out of a glass is just asking for trouble, don't you think? A mean, if you drop the glass not only to you spill your soda everywhere, but now you have all these little glass pieces to pick up, and what if you cut yourself? That'd ruin the whole dinner, especially if you had to go to the Medical Wing." --

Lemon - lime soda in organic paper cups: check.

--"Ooh, and then a lamp instead of candles, 'cause what if you knock a candle over and the whole table lights on fire, like 'Bwoosh...'? That'd be even worse then cutting yourself. Well, maybe. Fire is bad, but blood is icky. And sort of necessary for proper bodily function.

"But the lamp should something really cool, like a lava lamp. So when the blue prints get boring, you can always space out staring at all that nifty liquid stuff moving around. I love lava lamps; I wish they weren't so hard to find. I've always wanted one." --

Traditional, non - simulated Lava Lamp: check.

--"I'm not much all that into flowers anymore, at least not since the whole Hydrax incident. Although that might be fun: get a a plant from Fernovia, and then like, prune all its leaves off and make it look really bad. Exorcising demons, you know? It'd be great therapy. And what a fun group activity!" --

Fernovian Wedding Flower, garden shears, and vinegar (The best carefully researched weed killer for Fernovian plants): check, check, and check.

--"For mood music, I'd want something happy and perky that you can barely understand the lyrics of. That way you can appreciate the music more. And happy music is always good. Love songs are always so sad. And with happy music, you can have a dance contest!" --

Japanese pop music programmed into the stereo: check.

--"But if I was gonna give jewelry, I'd give a necklace, so you don't have to worry about loosing it or getting it snagged on something since you can hide it under your shirt. Probably one of those chains we use for military tags - did you know they used to call them dog tags? They probably stopped around time Cruger joined S.P.D.; I don't think that's exactly politically correct. Or galactically correct. But I wouldn't put a ring on it, 'cause what if you lose it? Then you'd be sad, and the person who gave it to you would be sad, which would make you sad all over again. Maybe ... a bolt or a washer. Something useful. That way if I was ever in a jam and needed to fix something right away, hey, I'd already have parts hanging around my neck. And then I could always look at the thing I fixed and remember that my special person helped me save the day. But, I want it to mean something, too. I mean, that's why you give jewelry, isn't it?" --

Nine silver bolts he'd strung on a bead chain to represent each member of the S.P.D. Rangers - and Boom: check and check.

Sky took a deep breath. Everything was ready and in place. Now he just needed -

There was a gasp from the doorway, and he turned to look.

Bridge surveyed the setup with a stunned look that slowly dissolved into a warm, happy smile. His eyes sparkled with tears even as they lit up his face, and he raced forward to fling himself into Sky's arms. He squeezed tight, pulling back just enough for a passionate, loving kiss.

Sky leaned his forehead against his boyfriend's when they finally broke apart again, smiling with just a hint of smugness. "Told you I listen to you."