A Romance for the Romantics
By Rachel Helvey Gloess

Authors note: Ok, this is just a rough little piece that I worked up . . . it's just a sappy little scene I imagined after some postings on the main board about Gadget's knowledge (or lack thereof) of romance/dating. Enjoy!

(Oh, and if anyone could think of a title, it would be much appreciated!)

Gadget sighed and tightened a bolt on her strange looking device. She pushed her hair back with a greasy hand. Although she knew what her invention was supposed to do, but it just wasn’t wanting to cooperate. She stood back and flipped the switch. The machine shuddered, wheezed, and fell silent. Shaking her head, Gadget flipped the switch to the off position. The snow blower/leaf rake/de-icer for the Headquarters’ runway simply would not be fixed today.
Gadget tossed the wrench over her shoulder. But it never landed.
Gadget looked back, startled. Chip was standing there, the wrench in his hand. He glanced and it, then grinned at Gadget. “Hard day?”
Gadget nodded, tears coming to her eyes. Chip’s grin faded.
“Are you alright?”
Gadget sat down on the floor. “Chip, I just don’t understand.” She looked up at him with big blue eyes. “Have I lost my touch?”
Chip knelt down next to Gadget and set down the wrench. “What do you mean?”
Gadget held her head in her hands. “It just seems that nothing has really worked right in the past two weeks. I haven’t been able to even fix the toaster!”
“Well,” Chip reasoned, “Dale really shouldn’t have tried to toast acorns.”
“And I couldn’t fix the transistor radio.”
“I don’t think anything would work after it’s been doused in cheese chowder.”
“And the incident with the Ranger Plane.”
“Well, didn’t you say once-”
“I know, ‘how many times can the wings fall off a plane.’ When will everyone forget that?”
Chip patted her arm. “Now, Gadget. Let’s look at the big picture. Two weeks of ‘down time’ in ten years. I don’t think that’s anything to worry about.”
Gadget paused before answering. “You really think so?”
Chip nodded. “Definitely.” He stood, then helped Gadget to her feet. “How about a late snack?”
Gadget looked at the wall-mounted watch and gasped. “It’s already 11:00?!”
Chip nodded, laughter in his eyes. “Dale’s just getting started on late night TV. That is, after the news.” He took Gadget’s arm in his and escorted her out to the kitchen. Monty was there, doing the last of the dishes.
“Nice to see ya, Gadget-luv.”
“Thanks, Monty.” Gadget spontaneously hugged the Aussie mouse.
“I saved ya some o’ me fondue.” Monty motioned to the fondue pot, still accompanied by slices of bread, crackers, and sliced fruit. He finished drying a dish and placed it in the cupboard. He winked at Chip. “I’m headin’ off ta’ bed—me an’ Zip gotta get up early to catch a chee-ee-eese ship!” Monty was on the brink of a cheese attack, but managed to keep in control. “Just clean up afta’ yourselves.” He hummed a merry tune as he left the pair to themselves.
Gadget hadn’t realized how famished she had become while working on the Ranger . . . . well, come to think about it, she hadn’t even thought of a name for her invention. She began to devour the meal. She paused only when she noticed that Chip was staring at her from across the table. “Um, Chip? Something wrong?”
Chip shook himself back into reality. In truth, he had been staring at Gadget. He groped for an answer. “Oh, ah, you have grease on your face.” He reached out with a finger and wiped her face. He showed her the evidence.
Gadget giggled at herself. “I guess I need to stock up on some wet wipes.” She scrubbed at her cheek with a napkin.
“No, no, you’re not getting it.” Chip walked around the table and sat next to her. He took the napkin and wiped Gadget’s face gently. She sat still for a moment as he tried to clean her face.
Chip tried not to stare again. He finished wiping off the grease. Gadget turned to look at him. “Well? Is it off?” Her eyes met his. “Chip?”
“Oh, yeah. I got it.” His mind felt foggy. He remained facing Gadget.
Gadget laughed, albeit nervously. “Golly, Chip. You look like you’ve been hit with one of Nimnul’s ray guns.”
He gave her a wry grin and looked away. “Nah, I’m fine.”
Gadget raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure?”
Chip nodded. “Positive.”
Gadget resumed eating, then stopped after realizing that Chip hadn’t moved. “Gee, is there something you need?”
Chip shrugged. “Well, if you’re up to it, I’d like to take a walk tonight.”
“Tonight? Chip, it’s probably 11:30 by now!”
“Well, if you don’t want to . . .” Chip took a bite of cheese-covered acorn.
“No, that’s not what I meant. I just thought that you liked to go to bed early.”
Chip winked—he actually winked! Gadget thought. “Dale’s not the only chipmunk in the house that can stay up late.” Chip leaned closer. “So—what do you say?”
Gadget hesitated, and ate a big bite of un-cheesy orange to conceal her indecision. “Well, alright.”
Chip practically glowed. “Great.” Suddenly, he became a little nervous. “Are you sure it’s alright?”
Gadget nodded. “As long as you’re fine.”
Chip finally eased back from her. “Well, I’ll go grab a scarf. You need anything?”
Gadget shook her head, her mouth full. She swallowed, then spoke. “I think I’ll be ok; I don’t usually need to wear a coat or anything.”
“I’ll let you finish, then. Be back in a few minutes.”
Gadget just shook her head and giggled. Chip left the room, taking only a moment to stop and smile back at her. Then he was gone. Gadget polished off another rodent-sized apple wedge before feeling full and satisfied. She was curious at Chip’s behavior. She knew that he liked to flirt with her, and occasionally flirted back. But he had never been this forward . . . but somehow, she liked it! It gave her a little tingly feeling. Of course, she thought Chip was handsome. But that wasn’t what was so attractive about the chipmunk. His determination, his drive, his sincerity, his love for his job. They were similar in a lot of ways.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Chip’s reappearance. “Ready?”
“Sure!” Gadget jumped up to join Chip. They exited through the front door, much to Dale’s disdain.
“Hey, guys! You’re gonna miss Conan!”
“That’s ok, Dale. Fill us in later.” Chip ushered Gadget through the door as hurriedly as gentlemanly possible. If Dale was prodded, he would keep trying to reel them in, and they would be stuck watching late shows and B-movies until at least 3:00 in the morning.
The air was crisp. Fall had fully set in, and the autumn moon shone orange through the branches. Gadget felt her breath being taken away as she spotted the stars above. She paused, taking a moment to stare at the sky. Chip stopped as well.
“Golly.” Gadget marveled. Chip gave her a quick smile, then slightly tugged at her arm.
“C’mon,” he whispered. “It gets better.” Gadget, still in awe, followed. Chip led her further up into the branches until they came to a very flat branch. It was almost like a platform, Gadget realized. They were so close to the top of the tree that there were no other branches blocking the view of the stars. “Well?” Chip asked. “What do you think?”
Gadget looked around. It then dawned on her that the platform had actually been carved out of the branch. She looked at the “floor,” then at Chip, then at the floor, then back at Chip, her eyes wide. “You did this?”
Chip nodded. “It took me almost a year.”
“When did you have time?”
Chip shrugged. “Oh, downtime between cases, early in the morning, sometimes even late at night.”
“Well, I’m impressed.”
“Thanks.” Chip sat down and stared at the sky. He then motioned for Gadget to do the same.
“Gosh, Chip. This is beautiful.” She settled down near him.
Chip’s cheeks reddened. “I’m glad you like it. It’s sorta—my own little place.”
Gadget wrapped her arms around her knees. “Thank you for sharing this with me, Chip. It’s really extraordinary.”
Chip was silent for a moment. “Well . . . Gadget, you’re really extraordinary.” His heart seemed to stop. He couldn’t believe he’d actually said that. He closed his eyes, embarrassed. He then felt a touch on his arm. He tentatively opened his eyes to see Gadget gazing at his face.
“Chip, is that what everything was about tonight?”
“Wh-what are you talking about?”
Gadget blushed. “Tonight at dinner. I mean, you were flirting, weren’t you?”
Chip covered his eyes with one hand. “I’m sorry, Gadget. I don’t know what I was thinking—I mean, I—”
“No!” Gadget held up a hand to stop him. “I didn’t mean it like that.” He stared at her. She stared back, unsure of how to continue. “I meant to say . . . I guess . . . I kinda liked it.”
Chip raised an eyebrow, questioning. Was she kidding? Of course not; Gadget would never say anything to make someone feel silly or hurt. At least, not on purpose, he reminded himself. “You—you liked it?”
Gadget bit her lip and stared at the ground. “I guess so. I mean, technically, it’s probably nothing but a bunch of chemicals rushing around in my brain and my synapses might just be firing too quickly, but-”
She was cut off by Chip spontaneously taking her face in his hands. Her blue eyes widened as he stared deeply into their depths. For the first time in her life, she lost the ability to speak. Words failed her as she gazed into Chip’s dark eyes.
“Gadget. I want you to be honest with me.” Chip took a deep breath. “Would you—could you—think of me as . . . more than a friend?” He let the implication work its way into her mind.
Gadget blinked, uncertain of what she was hearing. “Chip, do you mean . . . that you want to date me?”
He pulled away slightly. “Well, I suppose. The thing is . . . well, ‘date’ sounds like something that high school kids do.”
Gadget grinned. “Well, actually, I’ve never been on a date. I don’t think that the trip to the opera or going to the drive-in with all of you really counts.”
Chip smiled, in spite of his nervousness. “No, I doubt it.”
She took one of his hands into both of hers. “I would be honored if you would be my first date. Right here, tonight.” She giggled, then became serious. “Um, Chip?”
“Yes, Gadget?”
“What do you do on a date?”
He squeezed her hands. “Well, sometimes you hold hands.”
“Ok. Should I take notes?” Gadget began to look a tiny bit worried.
Chip shook his head. “Don’t worry about messing up,” he said reassuringly. “Dates just . . . just flow.”
“Alright. What else do I need to know?”
Chip shrugged. “Mostly, you just be together—as a couple. Some people go out to eat, some go to a movie, others go for a walk.”
“Some look at the stars,” Gadget reminded him, now looking more relaxed.
Chip nodded. “Right—you’re catching on.”
“Ok, I think I got it. You go do something together, and just let things flow.”
“Anything else I need to know?” She shivered a little as a chilly breeze moved the branches around them.
Chip grew a touch bolder. “Well, sometimes, when it’s cold, a couple will stay close to stay warm.” He invited her to move closer. And she did.
Gadget snuggled against Chip’s side. The leather of his jacket was surprisingly soft to the touch. She began to catch on to his little game, and was curious to see where it led. “And?” she prompted.
Chip swallowed hard. “Well, sometimes the lady lets the gentleman put his arm around her.”
Gadget smiled. “That doesn’t sound too bad.”
Chip didn’t move.
“Chip? Are you alright?”
He nodded, his bravado melting away with her nearness. “Fine. I’m fine.” He gulped. “Gadget, are you . . . ok with this?”
Gadget thought for a minute. Here she was, alone with Chip, pressed against him in the cold with the stars shining above. She looked up at him. “You know, I am. This is really nice.” She moved another fraction closer. “And I am cold.”
Chip was shaking a bit, but not from the cold. He gently placed his arm around her. They sat like that for several moments, not moving, not speaking. The stars captured their eyes for the time being, but not their minds.
Gadget spoke first. “Chip?” she whispered.
“Thank you for the date.”
He turned his head and met her eyes. “No, Gadget. I wanted to thank you. For everything.”
Gadget was confused. “Everything?”
Chip continued. “You’re not just the brains of the team, Gadget. You’re the heart. You encourage us, keep us going—and not just with words, but with your actions. Gadget, you—you keep me centered. You let me know when I cross the line. You keep me in check. And I—I just want to let you know how special you are to the Rangers.” He paused, and took a breath. “And how special you are . . . to me.” He tentatively raised a hand and touched her hair. Gadget felt her breath stop as some unseen force brought the two together. Somewhere far back in Gadget’s brain, a counter ticked—the second time in her life that she had been speechless.
When the kiss was broken, Chip didn’t know what to say. He was simply dumbfounded that he had found the guts to finally kiss Gadget.
Gadget brought her hand to her lips. Her first real kiss. She smiled. “So, do people do –that- on dates?”
Chip couldn’t hold back a chuckle as he replied. “Yes, sometimes. If everything goes well.” He was not prepared for what happened next.
Gadget wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. After a few breathless moments, they parted. Gadget spoke before Chip could say a word. “I think everything’s going –very- well.”


Disclaimer: All characters featured in this work are the property of Disney. No copyright laws were meant to be violated. Any semblance to any other work (fan fiction or otherwise) about the Rescue Rangers is purely coincidental.

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