The Perfect Gift
"Gift," EVE murmured to herself as she glanced up at the pile of debris in front of her and sighed. Sure she was supposed to be scouting out the northern quadrant for any signs of plant life, that was today's directive after all, but on having this chance away from WALL-E to peruse the junk piles alone she'd become distracted.
Plain and simple, EVE wanted to give WALL-E a gift. She'd tried before to snatch up an interesting trinket before WALL-E caught sight of it, but the trash bot seemed to have a sixth sense for those special treasures he brought back to his trailer. He always managed to find the best things first, or at least he would always turn around at the exact moment EVE had picked up the item.
She wanted the gift to be a- what was the word the computer had used? - a surprise.
But what did you get the guy, or in this case robot, who had given you everything? EVE had accessed the Axiom's computer files on the matter, having the device rattle off gift after gift that humans often gave each other in the planet's past. But therein laid part of the problem, almost everything the computer showed, WALL-E had already given to her. The conveyor belt of shelves in the trailer she shared with him was now over half-filled with items he had specifically given to her.
"Lighter," she muttered, holding up the first thing she came across in the junk pile. And so she continued, the names of the un-unique items being mumbled under her breath like a curse word as she examined each one and threw them aside. "Light bulb. Cam-era. Cell-phone. Tea-Cup."
Huffing, she slammed the tea cup down so hard it shattered. Turning her thoughts back to her directive, EVE began scanning the area for plant life.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Borp. Nothing here.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Borp. Nothing there.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Be- She started, her hope building. Borp.
Scowling at the tower of trash that had almost given her the positive readout, she lunged forward at it. The tower barely teetered under her aggressive shove but that just enraged her further. Activating her protection mode, her arm transformed into a cannon blaster.
Oh she'd show that stupid trash tower just what kind of frustrated mood she was in that day!
Blam! Blam! Blam!
Five seconds and eight smoldering trash towers later, EVE retracted her blaster and dejectedly hovered back down to ground level.
She'd not found a gift. She'd not found any plant life. The whole day was starting to seem one big waste of time. Sure, she was used to her plant readings coming back negative, but she was hoping that today would be the day she would find the perfect gift for WALL-E.
Looking out at the now smoke-covered horizon, she sighed. "No gift."
Turning to head back towards the Axiom landing point and WALL-E's trailer, a shower of debris from one of the decimated towers rained over her. Putting up an arm to shield herself, she felt the ping. ping. ping. as the items bounced off her sleek body. A distant rattle indicated more was on its way and she once again put up her arm.
Ping. Ping. Ping. Thunk!
"Huh?" She whirred, quickly directing her eyes downwards to the item that produced the loudest sound.
It was a small, battered box of polished wood and was definitely very old. On the corners there were small pieces of metal that were patterned in a decorative manner and on the front was a matching decorative latch. This was what intrigued EVE the most. Blocks and long pieces of wood were common in some areas of debris, but she had never seen one before with little decorations on it. That meant it was definitely something a human had designed, something that might work as a gift!
EVE trilled in happiness as she cradled the mystery box in her hands. Activating her fingers, she ran them over the corners and then hesitated over the latch. It seemed to be holding the box's two halves together, the middle of it having a crack and the tell-tale hinges adorned the backside. But what if what was inside was dangerous? Or what if there wasn't anything inside at all? WALL-E had given her small boxes with hinges before, their soft blue outsides and funny cushioned insides something that always made her giggle. But this was different and...hopefully special.
Steeling herself for possible disappointment, she slowly pushed up the latch and pried the box open. And as the top came up, the inside sprang to life.
A small figure of a human girl- a dancing girl- began to twirl about as a melody played.
Ting. Ting. Teng. Tung. Tong. Ting. Ting.
EVE could feel the vibrations from whatever it was inside the box that was making the music. If she wanted to, she could even calculate how many beats per second it was. The tiny dancer was spinning around and around to the tune. If she wanted to, she could output data on how fast the dancer was turning. But at that moment, EVE cared nothing about how it was doing this or the computations behind it.
All that mattered at that moment was that this music box was something special. She'd never seen one before and given that she almost dismissed the plain wooden box as nothing unique, she had a feeling WALL-E had never seen one either. Closing the box gently and delicately relatching it, EVE clutched it to her chest and launched a hyper-flight sequence towards home.
WALL-E knew that EVE had a mission today from the Captain, a very important mission seeking out plant life at that; but it didn't stop the little trash bot from sighing heavily as he arrived home to an EVE-less trailer. Clunking down his mostly empty lunch box, he opened it up and examined the two small items he'd found that day.
The first item was an extra eyepiece for himself. He'd reasoned he could never have enough spare parts just in case something happened. The second was another sealed cake for Hal, his pet cockroach.
He sighed as he placed the two items on his shelf, disappointed that he'd not found anything new for EVE.
The robot perked up, turning around to see EVE floating down beside him with her arms holding something behind her.
"Eee-vah!" He chirped, about to rush forward and hug her when she shook her head.
WALL-E looked perplexed. He'd heard her use the word before, for the things he'd given to her, but he didn't have a gift for her today.
EVE pulled her arms around and held out the box for him to examine. WALL-E's eyes popped up in surprise, glancing excitedly between the box and EVE.
She nodded, pressing it into his hands. "Gift."
He looked down at it, giddy with the thought that EVE had gotten him a gift. Starting to roll towards the shelves to put his prize away, EVE rushed in front of him shaking her head.
"No. Look, WALL-E."
Activating her fingers, she quickly unlatched the box and reached to the bottom to turn the knob she'd discovered made the music play.
Ting. Ting. Teng. Tung. Tong. Ting. Ting.
The little dancer sprung to life as the melody chimed. WALL-E's eyes zoomed out to take it all in.
WALL-E looked up at EVE, his eyes drooping to the side in adoration of her. EVE's eyes arched upwards as she giggled, pleased that WALL-E loved his gift so much. Then suddenly, his eyes drooped even more so and EVE's laughter died off. He was sad now, but why?
"No...no gif-ta, Eee-vah," the trash bot said dejectedly as he looked to his empty lunch box. He sighed, feeling horrible that EVE had gotten him such a wonderful gift on the day he couldn't find anything for her.
EVE glanced to the empty lunch box and back to WALL-E, quickly figuring out what the problem was. But didn't he know that it didn't matter to her that he'd not given her a gift today? Just seeing him so happy over the music box was quite enough for her!
And that's when EVE realized what to do.
Reaching out a hand, she cupped the edge of his eye piece and made him look up at her. "WALL-E. Gift."
WALL-E looked confused. What gift? He'd not given her one today, that's why he was so sad.
"EVE's gift," she said firmly, letting go of his eye piece to press her hand to his, palm-to-palm. "WALL-E, EVE's gift."
The little robot paused for a moment before starting with the realization of what EVE was saying.
"Gif-ta?" He asked. Surely she couldn't mean he was a gift, could she?
She nodded, leaning her forehead against his; a spark-kiss passing between them.
"WALL-E, gift," she reiterated.
WALL-E brightened up, so pleased to know that EVE thought just being around him was as great as all the wonderful trinkets he found. Tentatively, he leaned towards her and spark-kissed her back.
EVE trilled, hugging him as tightly as she could as she spun them off the ground. Why had they never seen it before? WALL-E was her gift and he was hers. They didn't need any silly human objects to say that!
Somewhere below them on the trailer floor, the music box played out its last notes and the tiny dancer came to a standstill.
Ting. Ting. Teng. Tung. Tong. Ting. Ting.