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The Best Gift Of All

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“What on Mars? I didn’t order anything.” Opportunity insisted.

“Look, pal, I’m just doin’ my job an’ I ain’t got all day to deal with you. So just shaddup an’ take it.” The delivery rover crossly shoved the….whatever it was…..into Opportunity’s hands and sped off before the warrior could utter another word. But true to his nature, Opportunity just shook his head and took the thing inside instead of shouting “Do you know who I am?!” after the deliverer.

He looked at the card on it that said ‘From Your secret admirer’

“Well, this just got more interesting.” Opportunity said as he opened it.

What Opportunity didn't realize was that his secret admirer was 'admiring' him at that very moment. The little NASA rover felt foolish as he peered around a nearby building. This was the most pointless thing he’d ever done! And yet, Amity made sure the package was sent off to its destination before he’d had time to go back on it.

Amity watched as the delivery rover rather hastily dropped it off at Opportunity’s place and zipped away. He then disappeared inside his home, presumably to open the package and hate Amity forever because he was destroying their friendship and-

Gracious, he was burning up again. Fans whirred on and Amity took a moment to collect himself. He glanced one more time at the now closed door, then started on his way back to the embassy.

Oh, dear, he’s going to know it was me. He hadn’t thought that far ahead.

“Amity?” came the one voice he didn’t want to hear. There was Opportunity, coming out of his door. And held carefully in his hand was the rose and the note.

He didn’t hate it, obviously,

“Amity, I think Spirit’s outdone herself with her Valentine’s prank this year. Look at this. It’s beautiful! She’s never done something so nice before.” He held out the metal and glass flower as he spoke, so Amity could see it.

Instead of overheating, Amity went cold. He froze in his tracks. Finally, he forced himself to turn around and address Opportunity.

There in his soulmate’s friend’s hand was Amity’s metal flower, the gift he had spent many hours crafting for this special day, for one special Rovarian.

“O-oh wow, I didn’t know she was so talented,” Amity said, stealing a glance at the ground. “Almost looks like she paid someone to make that.”

Amity, of course, would willingly make gifts like that for free. He’d do anything for Opportunity.

“That’s odd. She’s never done that before. I wonder who she would’ve paid……Are you okay? You’re shaking” No need to tell the smaller one he’d gone very blue in Opportunity’s secondary infrared eyes. Instead, he looked at Amity with concern. A thought struck him as he noticed his shadow completely covered the smaller rover.

Was Amity…..afraid of him? He sincerely hoped not.

Amity didn’t notice his trembling until it was pointed out. “Ah, yes, I’m fine. I’ve been checked out, it isn’t a medical issue. It’s, um….” Time for a diversion.

“A-anyway, I didn’t know you two pranked each other for Valentine’s day,” he continued, desperate to change the subject. “Is that how Rovarians typically celebrate it?”

“No, just Spirit and I……Amity…..You’re so cold…..Are you afraid of me? It’s okay if you are, I understand. I just….I want to know so I can try not to be so…..frightening to you.” As if to prove his point, he sat down on his axles, so his underside was almost scraping the ground. It was an effort to make himself seem smaller and less intimidating. He also folded his solar panels up.

Afraid…. of him??

“No! No no, not of you, of course not. I’d never be afraid of anything because you’d always protect me,” Amity said softly. He supposed it was time to start coming clean.

“I guess I am afraid. And it does have to do with you. But it’s just that I….. I don’t want to ruin what we already have. I’m afraid of your reaction.”

If he’d had them, Opportunity would’ve raised an eyebrow.

“My reaction to what?” He asked, confused. “And I’m not that fickle, nothing you say here is going to ruin anything.”

Well. No one said it would be easy…. this was going to be a leap of faith.

“Opportunity, I….”

Nervous, itchy heat crept into every wire and gear in his body.

“….I think you’re very handsome…. and brave…. and smart…. if I had a heart, you’d make it beat like crazy. I… I really like you.”

“Ohhhhh, now I understand what you were afraid of. But you have nothing to fear, because I like you, too. But I get the feeling you mean a special kind of ‘like’…..Amity, are you ……in love with me?”

Electricity shot through Amity’s body. He’s gonna make me say it?!?!

He may as well say it. It was true.

“….yes. I am in love with you, Opportunity.”

The bigger rover did that eye smile thing he was so damn good at as he embraced the smaller one.

“I knew it had to be you that made this.” Opportunity held up the rose. “But it means more to me to hear you say it out loud. Makes it more special. And saves me from looking like a colossal idiot when I say….I love you, too.”

…..alright, maybe he should get this overheating thing checked, because Amity couldn’t believe his audio receptors.

“….you really love me back??” he asked giddily. He felt like a human child being told the best news of his life. He almost laughed aloud with glee.

“You know me. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.”

Whatever else Opportunity may have said was interrupted by a bright camera flash.

“Aaaaaawwwww, you two are so cute!” Spirit chirped, snapping another photo of their horrified faces.

“Oh man, I am SO showing this at your wedding!”

Amity.exe has stopped working.

What was Spirit doing here?!?! Amity had been so caught up in the moment that he hadn’t noticed her approach at all. Yet here she was, staring at them cheekily.

“….Spirit!! How long have you been he- waIT HOW MUCH DID YOU HEAR?!”

“Oh nothing much,” she said sweetly, “Just that you two finally admitted you love each other and finally hugged each other. Oh, and Amity finally stopped stuttering and shaking when he talks to you, Oppy.”

“Spirit, you…….you…….nerfherder, you were spying on us!” Opportunity exclaimed.

“Oh relax, it’s just a bit of fun for me. You know I’d never spread something like this around on you, Oppy.” She grew more serious, but quieter.

“I’m happy for you two, I really am. You’re great together. I don’t even need to give you ‘The Talk’ because I already know you wouldn’t do anything to hurt Oppy. I’m happy you two found each other. And on Valentine’s Day, of all days! You two got the best gift possible: love.”

“You know, Spirit’s right.” agreed Opportunity, “We DID get the best gift. Each other.”

Amity melted hearing this. He felt all fuzzy, yet still very embarrassed. Feeling very brave, Amity stuck out his arm and placed the turret in Opportunity’s hand.

“I can’t believe you guys are my friends,” he said softly. “I mean, I thought getting to that point would be a stretch, but now…”

He gazed up at Opportunity. “I have everything I need.”

His hand wrapped around the turret, his other arm around the smaller rover.

“And I have someone to protect me from spiders.” Opportunity said with a laugh, “You should never be ashamed or afraid to tell someone you love them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.”

“We’re a lot more lax than humans are about who loves who,” Spirit added, “We don’t care. Love is love and we always celebrate it.”

“It is such a relief to hear you guys say that,” said Amity, rolling close enough to press his mast against Opportunity’s chest. “Humans are… still working on it. But they’re getting there.”

He looked up at Opportunity. “And don’t worry, I’ll get JPL to send a laser over so I can protect you from any bug, whether it’s a spider or not.”

“Thank you. I would love that.” Opportunity said, “And I’ll protect you from all non-spider threats.”

“Aaww, you two are so sweet.” Spirit smiled, her eyes glittering. Neither answered her, and she silently left them to enjoy their first celebration of love together. Besides, she had a wedding to start planning.