Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Reunion

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    Wheatley
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Wheatley on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:50 am

    Chell wrote:(She remained firmly convinced that he had never read or understood a word of Machiavelli.)

    Not a single word. A quick sound bite of pages flipping and some blatant lying. His attention span had been even worse when he was all hooked up to the mainframe, and trying to read at all, even a simple error message? Ha! He hadn't even glanced at The Prince. (Much less the flashy blue screen of death that would have told him what to do to fix the mess he was in.)

    Now, however, he hadn othing more pressing to do than talk to his... enemy? Friend? Frenemy? Companion? Something. And the moron comments had really stung. He'd been working on books since then, even if they had made his head ache. More words were presented, squinted at, and laboriously read. Stop blinding me. Wheatley immediately started, glanced up, inadvertantly blinded her again, yelped apologetically, turned off his light, exclaimed again as they were plunged into darkness, and turned the light on again, away from her face. "Sorry! Sorry! I'm- I wasn't thinking! Sorry!"

    Stewing in the silence that followed, Wheatley did his very, very best to keep from looking up at her, though now that hewas thinking ofit, his eye kept wanting to twitch back up to her face. Aaaagh, why was this so hard?! She probably hated him now, with good reason. Was it even possible to talk to her without horribly miserably failing?! Honestly, it shouldn't be this hard to apolo-

    Oh, another note!

    Squinting again, he puzzled over the message. He had to o over it severa ltimes, and even then, he wasn't sure he'd gotten the message right. Not that he'd admit it, of course. Did he miss Aperture? Well, of course he-! The Sphere paused in mid swell of pride for his birth facility, the ingrained brand-loyalty quickly rising to the forefront, and... actually thought about it. Did he? Did he really? Had he spared one wistful, nostalgic thought for the place, once he'd arrived here? "...No," he replied, sounding almost surprised. Or perhaps, thoughtful "I... really like it here, its brilliant. and I'd never ever go back. Well, probably. Most likely never. I mean, honestly, you have no idea how much fun flying is. Or, well, maybe you do, since, uh, you, you did all those... puzzles... um, nevermind." She'd mentioned the good old days, though. Or, rather, the fact that he'd referred to them as such. Wheatley fidgeted. "I mean, I wouldn't go back. And, well, it was bloody terrifying, but, um. Escaping? And, and, then taking Her on, and, well, winning! That... I miss that. Um. A bit. Is, uh, is all I meant. Though, um, come to think of it, I've... well, it wasn't quite like Her, but I've, I've been rather helpful lately. A bit. To, to some people. Ooh, did I mention, you missed it, but you probably wouldn't have liked it much anyway, but there was this fellow, Alpha, right? Absolutely massive, tried to eat the whole world. And, um, um, I helped! A bit. Uh, not him, but, everyone else. Sort of... fighting him. No, really, you should have seen it, it was absolutely amazing. And, um, somewhat terrifying, as well."
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Chell on Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:39 pm

    Truth be told, Chell wasn't entirely sure how to describe the situation they were in either. 'Frenemy' matched up fairly closely to her ever muddled feelings on it at the moment, though she couldn't place the term itself. Upon reading her request for her eyesight back, Wheatley had quickly spiraled into something of a freak-out, flailing and blinding her yet again with his flashlight beam, making her flinch. Spots floated in her vision when the light went out completely not a second later, prompting her to spend his hasty apology rubbing them away again with her arm. How did she manage to get herself into these situations, honestly? Sometimes it felt like the universe just found her pain unendingly amusing.

    At the same time, despite her irritation, she couldn't help the surprise she felt when she heard how genuinely horrified he sounded to have hurt her again, even over something so minor. She wouldn't lie, she had doubted the sincerity of his apology earlier, and even now she continued to firmly remind herself to keep on her toes, but all the same - if the guilt she was hearing was indeed real, if he wasn't just apologizing to keep her from tossing him back out into the muck, then she had to hand it to him, he was trying. Awkwardly, as per usual, but still trying. She almost might have called it borderline touching, had the circumstances not been what they were.

    Whatever was going through the sphere's head (body?), Chell listened patiently as he puzzled over her question, passing the time by scraping lines in the sand with her longfall boots. Once again, she couldn't help but be struck by how strange this all was, just sitting there listening to his chatter like he was no different than Sheik or Impa, or anyone else she'd met in the past few months, for that matter. She wasn't surprised to hear his answer, that he was happier here in the Breach - after all, it was a damn sight better than Aperture no matter which way you sliced it, and far less lonely than the world above it. (Although, to be honest, one statement did manage to catch her slightly off-guard: did he just say he could fly?) In a funny way, the former test subject realized, despite the messiness that had occurred in between, they had both accomplished their original goals in the end. They were out, as far away from Aperture as they could possibly get, and free to do whatever they pleased. Maybe this is sort of what it would have been like, if things had been different. She guessed she would never really know.

    The bit about Alpha... admittedly struck a nerve with her, though, causing her to turn and look at him as he continued on. After studying him for a while, she started writing again, quicker this time, before lowering another message down to his eye level."I've heard about it. Bits and pieces, anyway. Apparently I was dragged here right after everything had been cleared up." Funny, how that worked out. "You're right about this place, it's - home now. I'm glad the people who live here are so willing to defend it." At that, she drew the paper away, face darkening, getting to work on writing something else now. Chell was careful not to open up to him too much, but she was hoping a little bit of conversation from her would calm him down a bit, in light of what she was going to ask him next. It was something that had been at the back of her mind for a long, long time now, no matter how hard she was trying to move on. Once finished, she presented the core with another note, looking down at him with a mixture of sternness and caution. "But I do have a question: If you enjoy helping people so much, then why did you stop that lift?"
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Wheatley on Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:54 pm

    As soon as he'd read the words, he wished he hadn't. Instantly and immediately. It was obvious he'd understood, from the way he jerked, bodily, his shutters flying open and then his big blue currently-luminesent eye shifting down to avoid looking at both Chell and the paper, to look anywhere but those two places.

    Was it too late to pretend he couldn't read? Maybe he could pretend he'd suffered a glitch and his reading comprehension software suddenly got corrupted? Or maybe... No, uh, no sprechenzi English, mi habla espanol?

    Anything. Anything to avoid this discussion with her.

    Wheatley stammered for a second or two, incoherently, his eye sliding back and forth as if looking for some kind of escape route. "I, uh, I, I... I'm not sure I quite got that. No, um, bit hard to make out, actually. Very tricky, um, making out your handwriting, actually. Looks like it got a bit smudged, um, um, in fact. Your hand's probably getting tired, maybe you should give it a rest for a bit? All that, all that carrying and writing and... phew, must be hard work! Don't want to, um, don't want to get a cramp! That'd be terrible. Just... awful. Carpal tunnel, uh, uh, achilies... tendonitis... Hear that's just terrible stuff, don't want any of that."

    It was absolutely, absolutely cowardly, and he knew it, and he couldn't help himself. Wheatley knew perfectly well he owed her an explanation. And he knew perfectly well there was nothing he could really say that would justify it. He'd pretty much ruined everything, there, only it had seemed like such a good idea at the time, and... and... well, how was he supposed to know? She never talked to him, she hadn't even caught him, she'd already murdered another AI and, and She just kept on poking at him, calling him names and suddenly he could do something about it. Suddenly, he hadn't been little anymore, he'd been so big, and...

    And he needed to tell her that. She deserved to be told that he knew he'd been an idiot, and a monster, and a bully, and he couldn't say it. He would rather do anything else, anything than say it. But he knew he ought to. "I..." No no no no no no no, anything else, anything else, quick! Change subjects! Isn't that an interesting rock formation! Oh, that's a pebble... "I..." Oh! Hey, you know what would be more fun? The silent game! He'd played that for a year with one of the test subjects, one of the ones in hibernation. They'd been really good at it, but he kept losing every few minutes. It was really very amazing how they'd kept so quiet, though maybe it was the fact they were sleeping- "I..."
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Chell on Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:26 pm

    For a moment, as she was writing her question, Chell had wondered if he'd even get at what she was referring to - after all, Wheatley had never exactly been one for detecting subtleties. It only took a few seconds for it to become abundantly clear that he understood though, explicitly, and the former test subject stared him down hard as he fumbled about for an answer. Or, rather, did anything but answer. She could tell he was looking desperately for some kind of way out, and it caused her to tear her gaze away from him with a clenched jaw, because he was disregarding her again, and she didn't know what she had been expecting. It had been completely foolish to think that he would ever have the courtesy to try and make it up to her, to give her any sort of clarity on everything that had happened. Sure, he had rambled out a hurried apology earlier, but she needed something more than that, an understanding, or at least a vague idea of what had caused all of the complications between them. Anything but what he was doing right now.

    It was enough to cause her to feel another sharp pang of frustration and resentment, both towards him and herself, and for a brief moment in time, she wondered why she had even bothered. What was this worth? He obviously hadn't changed, nor did he care, and that was enough to make her want to throw up her hands and find a different cave to hide in. She shouldn't have gone out today.

    But then... she thought about it. Actually, really thought about it. Because, if she was totally honest with herself, there was a little more than just anger she was feeling right now. Chell, even on her worst days, was fairly practical. Tasks were always completed on time, puzzles were solved, and tricky things like emotions were put to the wayside to be analyzed later, once everything was as it should be. Caring too much, letting fear and uncertainties get the best of you, in her experience were as good as suicide. One misstep, one little moment of doubt in Aperture was all that it took for you to miss that jump, or end up splattered against the wall in a line of turret fire. She had to set it aside, and it was something that had carried over for her even here, were she was safe, and she could afford to care. It was a part of who she was.

    And yet, at the same time, she was still human. There were still weaknesses within her that she continually tried to battle, parts of her that wanted to let go. Hell, if she had been that cold, she probably wouldn't have the friends she had now. She probably wouldn't have even saved him. As much as she hated to admit it, there was a tiny, tiny part of her that wanted to have faith in him, to believe that he was capable of swallowing his cowardice and opening up to her. That part of her that made her want these answers so badly in the first place. And as easy as it would have been to ignore it... it felt too much like giving up. Why exactly all of this mattered so much to her, she was still working out, but the point was that it did. He mattered, somehow. Whether or not he was, or had ever truly been her friend, he was significant to her, and that's why she couldn't ignore that little voice now.

    Plus, frankly, Chell was a bullheaded sort of person. When she wanted something, she would fight like hell to get it, no matter what. And now? She wanted to know.

    Heaving a great, tension easing sigh, the former test subject began writing again, slowly. Once finished, she took a deep breath, steeled herself up for what she was about to do, and reached out to him, scooting herself across the sand a ways so it wouldn't be such a stretch for her. Slowly, so as not to spook him, she let her hand come to rest on the part of him that connected his handle to his outer shell and gave it a tiny squeeze, not unlike she would have done with a shoulder - if he'd had them, of course. It was a bold move, but she was hoping it would ground him, maybe encourage him to keep going. Satisfied that he wasn't going to freak out on her, she then showed him what her message said: "Talk to me." In any other situation, she might have laughed at the fact that she was requesting this of Wheatley of all people, but at the moment, she wasn't exactly in the mood. Looking down at him with the same stern expression as before - though maybe slightly softer around the edges this time - she waited.
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Wheatley on Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:50 pm

    The hand placed gently on his "shoulder" did not appear, at first, to have the desired effect. Wheatley's eye went wide and swiveled immediately to stare, as best he could at her hand on his frame. The thoughts that instantly began running frantically trough his mind, flailing heri arms wildly, were mostly panicked. GASP! Intimidation! She's on to me, now she's threatening me with her deadly crushing powers! Any moment now, surely, she'll really just start to squeeze- Or, or, lifting and throwing! She's, she's probably all, grrr, talk or I'll through you out in the mud again! With, with her big, scary human hands...

    They went on like this for awhile, not paint attention to tthe one thought that was standing perfectly still in the middle of the running, shouting throng, and regarding the hand with narrowed eyes. Hang on, it said. Isn't that... No, hold on, that's reassuring. She's trying to be reassuring. She's... she's actually reassuring me.

    Why would she do that?


    None of the other thoughts were listening. THIS Is TERRIBLE!, they howled, completely ignoring the one lost in the crowd. The panic was not remotely rational at this point. Wheatley was too caught up in worrying about having to talk to remember why he was a fraid to talk. What was she even wanting him to- nevermind it was something he very very much didn't want to do, that was the point. It wasn't fair! Why should she insist he do something he so desperately didn't want to do (You tried to kill her, you moron), what... hadn't, hadn't he suffered enough? She'd him to space. If it hadn't been for the portal, he'd have been there forever. And then! And then! He'd apologized. Completely forgiven her for the space thing, too! That should be enough! Surely, that was an adequate amount of punishment!

    But, oh noooo. Now she was insisting he tell her things.

    You tried to kill her. You planned out multiple elaborate death traps, and its a good thing you are an idiot, because what would you have done if you'd succeeded?

    And now she's trying to reassure you.


    The solitary thought began to elbow its way through the crowd. Wheatley, still wide eyed, stared for a moment more... and then the dam broke.

    Oh, Chell. Well, you asked.

    "It seemed like a good idea at the time I mean we just won and I was in control of the whole facility so leaving didn't seem that important anymore I'd never been that big before it was amazing! Maybe not as amazing as flying but I'd never done that yet so how was I to know? If I'd known I wouldn't have bothered I think only... It felt so good to be in control I could do anything it was just- I mean, wow! I didn't mean to punch you down that pit well all right I meant to but I just wasn't thinking She, nnngh, She got me so mad and I was so big and I didn't have to listen to her say things like that about me not-not after I---we---I- I'd done all that work and alright, no you, you really did the uh the heavy lifting and I really shouldn't have---but you didn't say anything and I thought you agreed with her and and I wasn't thinking honestly I was just so mad and it felt so good to be so big and and I wish I'd just gone on the lift with you because it was terrible and everything was falling apart and you just kept coming and I ended up in space and I'm really sorry I kept trying to kill you I'm I'm really really glad I didn't and if somebody came up to me and asked me if I wanted to be in a great big body and murder my friends I'd tell them not even a little tiny bit no thanks not interested I'll pass and I don't expect you to forgive me or anything because I wouldn't forgive me either but I'm still really really sorry I don't know why I stopped the lift I really don't it just I wanted to stay and be big but aggh it was so stupid-"

    Had he needed to breath, it was at this point Wheatley would have passed out from asphixiation. But since he didn't, it seemed like he was fully prepared to frantically gush words without a metaphorical pause for breath for, well, ever.

    But it was also at this point that the sentiment more or less started to loop back to the beginning and, if he didn't repeat himself verbatim, he was definitely running his mouth in obvious circles. To be perfectly honest, having started, Wheatley wasn't sure he know how to stop.

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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Chell on Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:58 pm

    Ohhh, she had to have asked. When Wheatley had turned to gawk at the hand on his frame, Chell nearly kicked herself, fearing her taking a risk had only served to make him even more panic stricken. Truth be told, the former test subject wasn't normally one for physical contact herself, let alone initiating it, but somehow, in this situation, it had just seemed... right somehow. Of course, now he just looked terrified, which meant she probably should have tried a different tactic. She looked away. Still... maybe he was just confused, maybe if she left it there just a little while longer he would get it...

    And then, something snapped. The torrent of words that immediately came pouring out of him were so sudden and so rushed that this time, they really did cause Chell to jerk her hand back, staring down at the sphere with wide, shocked eyes. Well, she had gotten through to him in some way, that much was for sure, although now that he'd started, it was becoming increasingly difficult to follow him. Words spun around her in a hurricane faster than she could pick them up, and it was a good thing she was as sharp as she was, or she might not have been able to absorb anything at all. What she did manage to catch created such a clash of emotions that it was nigh impossible to ponder them before they were swept from her again, replaced by something equally as confusing. He hadn't been thinking, it had seemed like a good idea at the time (she'd thought so too), he thought she'd agreed with Her (she had been too hurt and angry to think anything at the time), he had been mad, it had felt good (it would have felt even better to get out), he wished he had gone with her, he hadn't wanted to try and murder his friend (friend??), and he was really, really sorry...

    Chell shook her head, grunting as she tried to clear her mind. She had wanted to talk, but this was too much. Wheatley, at this point, had said all she really needed to hear from him for now - the problem was, having already started ranting, the core seemed... stuck. It hadn't been readily apparent at first, but once he had started repeating himself nearly word for word, it became clear he wasn't about to stop anytime soon. The former test subject unfroze, slowly. For a moment, the brief, somewhat ridiculous thought of oh god, I've broken him, it finally happened had flitted through her mind, but she ignored it favor of figuring out how to snap him out of whatever loop he was in right now. Unfortunately for her, she was fairly sure there was no off-switch hidden in that core of his, and she wasn't about to try and confirm it for herself.

    Sometimes, she really wished she could speak.

    Unable to think of any better option than what she was about to do now, the former test subject put her palm around his handlebar again and gave him a quick shake, coupled with a loud, sudden "SHHH!" It wasn't a violent movement, but it was just enough to bring him back, or so she hoped. "Shhhhhhh." Curling her fingers, she gave him another squeeze and watched him, a tiny hint of alarm plainly visible in her features.
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Wheatley on Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:22 pm

    "-honestly didn't think she was going to be able to do anything as a potato and then I was in space and-"

    "Shhhhhhh."

    "-And-and-and-and-I... I.." It was like watching an avalanche---no, scratch that, it was like watching a man who'd just been balancing precariously at the top of a long flight of stairs with his arms piled high with fine china plates... slip and fall down them. Loud, painful, and drawn out. (Not to mention a little funny to watch if you weren't directly involved). The only possible way that build of momentum could end was sharp and abruptly, with the last few words gradually dying down like that final, miraculously still intact plate rolling serenely to a stop at the end of the crash.

    "...I."

    If he'd had a jaw, Wheatley would still be working it. His eye was slightly unfocused, as his processor tried to resync with his runaway vocal synthesizer. Then, he shivered, a full body shiver, which would be more noteworthy if he didn't have so little body to shiver with. Blinked. Refocused. And said, in a rather embarrassed voice, "...I'm sorry, I'm not sure---uh, what came over me. Bit, uh, bit awkward." He laughed, nervously, a shifty little weak-sounding chuckle. "If we could sort of just pretend that didn't happen..? Al-alternatively, I could just crawl away and die of embarrassment. Figuratively, I mean. You can't actually die of embarrassment, its physically impossible. Um. Also, I can't crawl. But, uh, you know what I mean. Sort of, in a general, metaphorical sense, I can just... Um...

    ...Right."
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Chell on Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:55 pm

    Watching Wheatley compose himself was a somewhat amazing thing to behold. In all the time she'd known him (Which, in retrospect, probably wasn't as long as it had felt), Chell had never seen the core rein himself in, nor make any effort to shut his non-existent mouth, well, ever. Which had been fine by her, at the time, but now? She just needed a moment to think, and she was fairly certain he'd short himself out if he went on much longer.

    Of course, this being Wheatley, the silence hadn't lasted long, but her technique seemed to have done the trick. The former test subject let out a breath she hadn't realized she had been holding when he refocused, glad she wouldn't have to end up performing whatever the robot equivalent of CPR was. Cocking an eyebrow at his rather awkward apology, she drew her hand away, taking care to hide the smile that was currently threatening to tug across her lips with the swipe of an arm once he got to the 'dying of embarrassment' bit. She assumed he could roll away if he really had to, but hopefully, with what she was about to say to him next, he wouldn't feel the need. Turning her attention back to her notepad, she scribbled down another quick message before turning it towards the core, presenting it to him with an air of wry amusement. "It's alright. Thank you."

    The things he had said, however, were significantly less funny, causing her more lighthearted expression to gradually dissipate. Chell curled in on herself with a sigh, rested her head on her knees, and... looked at him, really looked at him for the first time since their strained little reunion. He had said so much, practically poured his metaphorical heart out to her, and yet she had no idea how to properly respond to any of it. There was no doubt in her mind that his apology was genuine now, that much had been very obvious but what could she say? How should she even feel? Frowning, she let her eyes roam over his outer shell, noting that the impressive array of scratches and his cracked optic- souvenirs from their first encounter as a team with Her - were now gone. It piqued her curiosity, though she wasn't about to question him on it. After all this time, it made sense that he might have had some repairs done, and oddly enough, a part of her was almost... happy to see him in such a better state. Though she knew it had simply been a mistake on both of their parts, she couldn't help but feel guilty every time he twitched and sparked. And, admittedly, impressed. Impressed at how he'd managed to pull himself together after that ordeal, to help her, none the less. It was hard to believe the small, flustered looking metal ball sitting next to her now was the one who had tried to repeatedly murder her not too long ago - honestly, she wondered if anyone would even believe her if she told them.

    And it was then, after a long, probably fairly intimidating amount of staring and silence that Chell realized what to say. Or ask, rather. The woman felt like she had been asking a lot of questions today, although she knew they were necessary. Trouble was, this question made her feel uncomfortable - vulnerable, even, which was not something she was used to feeling at all, particularly around him. The discomfort was visible in her posture as she began slowly writing again, all the while reminding herself that she had pushed Wheatley to brave discomfort for her benefit - whether he deserved it or not, she was almost obligated to do the same. Another note was then nudged in his direction, this time with it's writer rather pointedly, and almost nervously, avoiding his gaze. "You really considered me a friend?"
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Wheatley on Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:10 am

    Maybe if he wobbled a bit, he could manage to build up a bit of momentum and roll across the floor of the cave. Though where exactly he'd go from there, Wheatley wasn't sure, but he was sure he could figure it out once he got to that point. Or, as an alternative, he could just shut his eye and pretend to be a rock. Instead of finding one to hide unde- Oh, look at that, another note. Honestly, this was brilliant, why hadn't they thought of this before?

    "It's alright. Thank you."

    Thank... Thank you? Wh-... For what? What is she thanking me for? What did... no, seriously, what did I do, I don't know what I did. I did something, though! Obviously! Um, something... right. No, hang on, I ought to say something to that. Um. At least he'd managed some inner monologue, that time. Wheatley gave her a quick glance, looking down again before he blinded her with the flashlight, and mumbled, "You're welcome. Um, not a problem- well... No, look, you know what I mean." Or, at least, he hoped she did, because he certainly didn't. He honestly wasn't sure what was going through his head, anymore. It had seemed simpler, somehow, when she was just someone that he could remember with regret. Somebody who, no matter how much he wished he could apologize, even grovel to for forgiveness, he would never really see again. She'd been an Idea. But, now she was here, and all his brilliant plans to make things up to her just didn't seem to be working. Then, then, when he'd practically given up hope, he'd... he'd done something right. Something he'd said was enough, and he desperately wished he knew what it had been.

    They were doing the awkward silence thing again. Maybe he ought to, to say something more? Only, he was a little afraid of just starting off again---honestly, he wasn't sure what had come over him, it had all just come spilling out, even though he hadn't, for once, wanted to say a single thing. But, that wasn't true, either. He'd wanted her to understand. Then, at least, one of them would.

    And.

    And...

    Um. Hm. She was... sort of staring at him.

    ....that was just a little bit intimidating.

    No, actually, it was very intimidating. She had a very, very intimidating stare. And, while we're on the subject, maybe she could cut him a little slack, couldn't she? It wasn't as though she'd gone out of her way to clear up the misunderstanding---and, no, alright, that wasn't fair, but, honestly, what was he supposed to think when she just stood there, silently, always watching, always judging him. It was very unnerving! Honestly, even charades. (Note: He was terrible at charades.)

    Wheatley was in the middle of such a storm of fretting and mental fussing that the second note took him by surprise. "You really considered me a friend?" His eye widened again, flicking from the note to her face, averted from him, and back again. "I, err, well." They were both, suddenly, doing their best not to look at each other. "W-well, yes, shouldn't I have? I mean, alright, alright, yes, the murdering... thing, but, but before that..? I mean, maybe I'm wrong, I'd never really had a proper friend before, before... um, well, you. And, and, well, there was a Weighted Storage Cube for a few years, but that turned out not to be sentient, so... Um. Still! It was a very good listener... But, right, I was talking about- right." He glanced up at her, a little uncertainly. "I, I don't know, weren't we? A bit? Before, well, you know... events."
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Chell on Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:01 pm

    Contrary to his own hopes, Chell wasn't sure she would have been able to give him a straight answer even if he had asked. There had been so much said, so much she was trying desperately to make sense of in her own mind, but the simplest reason she could boil her appreciation down to? She was just happy that he had said anything at all. He hadn't continued to avoid her question, he had been open, and at the very least, had given her something to work off of, despite his obvious anxiety. That, for her, was enough to be grateful for, and she hoped that by giving him even the tiniest sliver of approval, they could continue furthering that connection. Because she really, really wanted to get somewhere with this.

    Speaking of moving forwards, Wheatley was talking to her again. The former test subject was staring down at her boots now, picking at the straps with her fingers in an unusual, outward display of insecurity. She wanted to give him a simple answer, something that would ease both their minds, but in that moment, she realized she had no more an idea of how to sum up their little relationship than he did. Were they? Were they really? Despite having now spent a good few months adjusting to life in the Breach, Chell was still getting a grasp on what exactly 'friendship' was. Sure, she knew the very basic definition, but as for what it meant? That was something she was still slowly, tentatively pushing herself to learn. The few people she had engaged with had been kind, very kind, and Impa and Sheik had been coaxing her out of her shell while still respecting her self-imposed boundries. Even though she was still getting to know them, they were there for her. They were people worthy of being called her friends, and while she may have been still working out her trust issues, she could hardly picture them betraying her in the same way Wheatley had.

    Of course, at the time - though she still hadn't explicity trusted the core with her life - she hadn't exactly expected that of him either. Biting the inside of her cheek, she finally met his gaze, looking for once every bit as uncertain as he was.

    ...She had liked him.

    The thought had come out of nowhere, catching even her off-gaurd, but it was true. She'd liked him, liked the way he clumsily tried to help her, liked the way his endless rambling filled in the eerie silence of the facility, liked the way that somehow, after being alone for so long, he always seemed to show up just as things were getting progressively more hopeless. Like him, Chell never really had anybody. For so long, she had been completely isolated - alone with the cold, ever present voice that seemed damn near unshakable until she had finally, finally managed to take Her down. And even then, it hadn't been enough, she'd been dragged back in to that place, she'd failed, somehow, and even if it cost her everything, she was fully prepared to do the whole thing all over again if it meant even the tiniest chance at freedom - and as usual, she would have faced it on her own. No complaints.

    And then? He'd shown up.

    Chell had been suspicious of him, at first. After all, despite his claims of wanting to get out, he was still an extension of Aperture, and that was enough to make her very wary. But as time went on, she had felt herself... softening towards him. Oh, sure, he was awkward, scatterbrained to the point where it was almost awe inspiring, and always, always talking, but truthfully? There had been something nice about that. His voice had grounded her, and after spending so long fighting, having someone on her side for once had truly been a comfort. He was warm, friendly, and oddly enough, the most human thing she had ever met at that point - for all his quirks, somehow even more human than She was, and considering She had once been one, that was quite a feat. Chell hadn't wanted to trust him, but she'd dared to, anyway, and in the end, that turned out to be her first mistake.

    That was why, even now, it still hurt to think of him lowering that lift, and somehow hurt even more to think of him being yanked out of her hands during their final moments together, hurled into the one place where she knew she'd never be able to reach him. He had been her partner in crime, the only thing who had dared to help her up until that point, and for that reason alone? He had mattered.

    Gulping, the former test subject looked away from him, clenching her jaw tight. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but she wasn't dense enough to deny it. And part of her kind of wanted to tell him, but words weren't exactly her forte, and she wasn't sure she trusted him enough to give him that much leeway. After a moment of silence, she finally nodded and started to write, pausing to erase a couple of times before pushing the notepad towards the core. "It was just - after everything - I wondered. Thought maybe I had just been a means to an end." She was looking at him again, her expression the picture of honest bewilderment. "But then, I'd never had anyone either. And you - you were there."
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Wheatley on Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:16 pm

    In the weeks and months that followed, Wheatley would find himself putting his new friendships in the Breach to the test. He would find himself straining against himself, torn between wanting very much not to repeat his past mistakes, and the fact that he was an oblivious, ignorant moron. He had been created, once upon a time, by brilliant (if somewhat dubiously sane or ethical) to come up with the worst ideas, have the worst plans, and make the worst decisions. Coming to Portal Breach hadn't changed that, and Wheatley was vaguely aware of this, if only subconsciously.

    But once, just once, he'd made a really good decision, and it was completely by accident. It had been the decision to choose her.

    Admittedly, alright, it wasn't so much of a decision as there was nobody left, and then later he'd ruined it all by continuing his track record of terrible choices, but... He'd come back, and they'd escaped, and for a little while, just a little while, he'd felt... capable. Useful. It had been absolutely terrifying, and if she had not been there, he would have failed immediately or given up or been stuck forever trying to figure out how to open a door, or something. And, maybe she could have done it all by herself, maybe she didn't need him---she'd done perfectly fine when he'd been trying to hurt her, rather than help her, after all.

    But, but, there had been something, hadn't there? They were a team! They were partners! Sort of. Weren't they? That was that nasty, insidious little thought that She had planted in his brain: Chell had done all the work, she didn't need him... And, and it was the truth.

    He'd thought he was helping himself, getting her out of the relaxation wing, but the truth was... the truth was...

    The truth was, he wasn't sure what he was, in the end. Just a lackey? A mook? A tool? Someone to open doors for her?

    "I... I don't know," the Sphere said, miserably. "I don't know anything. I look back and none of it really makes sense." He slid his gaze sideways, away from her, shutters down to a narrow, melancholy slit. "Just, after it was over, I just, I looked back, and I don't know why I... was horrible." And a sad, pathetic little thought: Maybe I'm not built to have friends.

    But, no, he had Kefka, didn't he? He hadn't betrayed Kefka. And he wouldn't. Ever, ever, ever, ever.
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Chell on Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:56 pm

    Chell continued to watch, unwaveringly, as Wheatley spoke, though his reaction to her written words wasn't... quite what she had expected. It was hard, incredibly hard for her to open up in an meaningful way to anyone, much less to him, the little robot who had once had such a large hand in what had been a constant nightmare for her. The fact that she was trying at all was still baffling that small, resentful part of her that was still trying to convince her to set him down and go her own separate way once this all was over, but she was now firmly ignoring it, for better or for worse. After every revelation she had experienced in the past... however long they had been in the cave (Minutes? Hours?), she wanted to connect. She wanted to know for sure if what she was doing was right, or even worth it considering all that had happened. If that meant she was going to feel vulnerable for a little while? Well then, so be it.

    Honestly though, it was really too bad she couldn't speak sometimes, because her intended message seemed to have sailed rrrrright over his little head. Chell bit her lip, looking away the second she saw that there was no change to his demeanor, or the tone of his voice, and pulled the notepad away immediately to press it to her chest. It was a protective action, another outward display of insecurity she wasn't bothering to hide, mainly because she had other things on her mind at the moment. Namely, what to say to him now. She had been trying to tell him, albeit subtly, that he had been important, that he did matter, but if the miserable way he looked away from her was any indication, that wasn't how it had come through for him at all. And, on that note, as odd as it may have sounded, it really unsettled her, the way his almost constant enthusiasm seemed to drain from his voice as he spoke. Even after he'd turned on her, he had never lost that energy, that almost desperate sense of optimism he always carried along with him. Whatever was going through the core's head, it must have been pretty dismal to make him sound like that.

    She decided she didn't like it at all. It didn't suit him.

    Slowly, the former test subject started to peel her newfound notepad shield from her chest, stealing another glance at him before looking away to fidget. A few more moments of indecision, and she was back to writing, more than a little reluctantly of course. Once finished, she took in a breath and lightly tapped his casing with her finger, nudging the finished page towards him when she had his full attention. "But you weren't always. You were helpful once. No one had ever helped me before. Don't you see?"

    Once she was sure he'd read it, Chell pulled the note away with a sigh, deciding to give him a bit to process that and possibly respond as she worked through what to say next. Considering all that had now been said between them, she was fairly confident she knew where she stood on their hypothetical future together, but she would have to word it carefully if he was to understand. More scribbling resumed, and yet another note was passed over to the core when she'd finished, this time much less hesitantly. "Earlier. You said you weren't expecting forgiveness."
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Wheatley on Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:02 am

    Wheatley was almost too afraid to actually read the note that she held up in front of him this time. He was terrible, just terrible, and worst of all was the unspoken and almost subconscious fear that... What if she had been just a means to an end. In a way she had; After all he couldn't exactly say he'd rescued her out of the goodness of his heart. He'd panicked, and there hadn't been anyone left to help him, so he'd woken her up and shoved her into a testing track to find the Portal Gun, and, and how could he possibly say he was her friend at all? He might have grown fond of her in short order, but anybody would have done to begin with, and he was terribly, horribly afraid of what she'd say if he told her that. But, looking back, he couldn't... he wasn't sure she hadn't been a means to an end. Had he fooled himself into thinking... If she'd been more than pair of hands and feet to do the heavy lifting, why had he...

    Why had he done that? It had felt... glorious, to be so big, but it had all gotten away from him. And, once he was disconnected again, and the world was quiet again and not about to explode, he'd... he'd thought it was the mainframe's fault. But what if it hadn't been, what if it had just been him the whole ti-

    His eye, which had caught the first few words of the note, finally communicated them to his processor. "But you weren't always." Rather incredulously, he read it again. And then once more, before slowly continuing onto the rest. To Chell, watching his expression, it would be like watching rain falling on wilting daises. Or, actually, rain falling on wilted daisies in a movie, or a cartoon, because while watering wilting daisies will certainly help them perk up again, assuming they're not cut or too far dried out or have parasites or something, in real life it wouldn't do it nearly so fast as to be able to watch it with the naked eye. However, in the movies, it most certainly would, for emotional effect. But...

    Right. Look, the point is, Wheatley went from abject misery to his old, cheerful, slightly pompous self so smoothly you could watch the change on his expression, despite the fact he didn't have much of one to speak of. "I, I was, wasn't I? I mean, I got you out of Her testing track again, didn't I? And I worked out how we were going to stop her from, from using the turrets and the neurotoxin! I, uh, I mean, I sort of worked out the overall plan, and, and you figured out the details. Which, was... really, really brilliant, by the way. I-"

    She'd started writing again, and now turned back with a new note, which cut him off short. If he could have, he'd have swallowed his words, hastily, but instead all he could do was fidget, awkwardly. Honestly, at this point, he sort of wished he could just go hide under a rock whenever the subject got brought up. Once again, looking everywhere but her, the Core stammered, "I-its, I just, I wanted you to know how terrible I felt about, about it afterwards, but, but... no, not really expecting... Um, hoping possibly, but, uh, but honestly, I wouldn't blame you if you, if you couldn't. Though, uh, though, I did almost get lost forever in space, so, uh, so if, if you can't forgive me, I completely understand, but, uh, but... well, revenge w-would be pretty unnecessary at this point. Not, not that I think you're plotting revenge! Or, or anything. Just. Wanted to put that out there. Um. Wheatley: Probably unforgivable, but... but don't, uh, don't need to... avenge yourself, uh, as it were. On him. Meaning me. In, um, in the third person, there. For a moment."

    Augh, sometimes he wished he could just stop talking.
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Chell on Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:12 pm

    Chell had to admit, even after all this time, it never ceased to amaze her just how expressive Wheatley could be. She had been struck by him from the very first moment she laid eyes on him, drained and more than a little disoriented from her possibly decades long sleep - from the way his single iris had contracted when he was scared, to the way his body would sway and bounce in an impressive imitation of human gesture whenever he was feeling especially pleased, or trying to be reassuring. Having spent so long accompanied only by Her faceless, icy taunting voice, he had been comfortingly familiar, warm, even, and maybe that was part of the reason why she'd found herself enjoying his company in the first place. There had simply been nothing hidden there, at least as far as she could see - Wheatley was incapable of it. It hadn't been enough to make her trust, but it had put her at ease, made her feel something almost approaching fondness.

    Watching him now was like watching the expression of a particularly hungry horse after you've dangled a carrot in front of it's face. His entire being seemed to perk up, transitioning so smoothly from hopelessness back to his ever-present optimism and cheer that it very nearly brought a smile to her face. When he recounted all of the things he had accomplished during their time together, she really did smile, both out of amusement and relief, grateful she wouldn't have to chip away at her wording again. It was tired, and very, very faint, but she nodded anyway, hoping he would at least hold on to that, even with what she was about to say next.

    And, truth be told? He was right. For a little robot supposedly designed to come up with the worst possible ideas, he had cooked up some surprisingly good ones. Of course, it was obvious he hadn't thought them all the way through, leaving her to fill in the gaps, but the fact of the matter was that he was capable. Sometimes without even meaning to be. It did bewilder her at times, but in truth, experience had taught her it wasn't entirely unexpected. Aperture had a way of creating things that did the very opposite of what they had intended them to do.

    But, back to the matter at hand. She had presented her new note to him with a more familiar air of seriousness, which he seemed to catch, if the way he fidgeted had anything to say about it. Truth be told, she was about as ready to move on from this as he was, but first, she found it necessary to set her terms. The more doubtful, cynical part of her seemed to have grown steadily less and less pervasive over the course of their conversation, to the point where she now just couldn't shake how genuine he sounded when he talked about how terrible he felt, causing her to relax and adopt a more calm, neutral stare. From Chell's perspective, she once again agreed with him - she had every right not to forgive him if she so desired, and honestly? Her own cold, hard logic stated that giving your friendship with your would-be murderer another go probably wasn't the best of ideas. But then... that wasn't what she was doing here, was she? This wasn't instant forgiveness - as sincere and apologetic as he may have been, that was something she just couldn't give him at this point in time. She had been burned, and it hurt badly enough that it would probably take quite some time to fully heal.

    And yet... despite the hurt, she couldn't just turn him down either. What was there to be gained? A grudge, and perhaps a lifetime of regret and unanswered questions. She would always wonder if things could have been different, just like she had during those particularly quiet nights she'd spent on her own after leaving Aperture, staring up at the endless array of stars above her. His mention of her possibly taking revenge caused her to jerk her head back slightly, for a second almost indignant that he would even suggest such a thing, but then... that was just it, wasn't it? She wasn't the only one who had trust issues here. Wheatley may have been the one to betray her, but, in truth, she had been the one to put him in that position in the first place. Of course, at that point they had kind of run out of options as far as she could see, and she'd had no way of knowing what the outcome of putting him in charge would be, but none of that changed the fact that she'd had a decent hand in what happened too. Possibly more than she'd like to admit. And she'd taken him down, ruthlessly, and left him in space, and even if there hadn't been anything she could have done to help that... hadn't she been on the verge of leaving him behind again just a few hours ago?

    When she really, honestly thought about it, he had just about as much reason not to trust her as she did him.

    The former test subject swallowed thickly and fidgeted, curling forwards to resume her writing. No, she didn't want revenge, and she didn't want a grudge either. Whatever had happened between them back then did still matter to her in the grand scheme of things, but the fact of that matter was that Aperture was gone now. They were both free, and if she had been granted a new start, a second chance, then didn't he deserve the same? To hold on so tightly to that grudge meant also to hold on to that facility and every scar it had inflicted on her, on the both of them. She had so many opportunities here. She was ready to move on, or at the very least try.

    Finally, with that matter cleanly settled in her mind, she finished writing, turning her paper back towards the core. "Good, because I can't grant that to you now. Not yet. But," And there was a 'but.' "I can give you a second chance." Letting him take a moment to process that, Chell very deliberately added on one last line, presenting the finished message to him with a hard, honest stare. "If you're really sorry, then show me that you mean it. And then, maybe - I'll think about it."

    And that was that.
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    Re: Reunion

    Post by Wheatley on Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:21 pm

    The Sphere was not adept at reading human facial expressions, but it wasn't that he didn't notice them. (Mostly.) When he'd brought up revenge, it had gotten a reaction: She'd jerked back a bit, and her expression had gotten frown-y. From what he remembered from past human interactions, frown-y meant bad. You know, negative emotions, unhappy feelings. Whereas smiling meant good things, etc. etc. If there was some subtle distinction between the different kinds of frown-y bad emotions, it was beyond Wheatley's abilities to differentiate them. He could tell she hadn't liked him mentioning revenge, but he had no idea why.

    And so, of course, his mind immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusion. She was plotting revenge and was angry that he suspected it. And he was trapped with her alone in the cave with no way to move and oh no this had all been part of her pl-

    She presented another note, and the first word, Good, brought no reassurance. Because, well, it was true. Wheatley didn't have any reason to trust her. To be perfectly honest, he didn't have any reason to trust anyone. Trust hadn't actually been a big catch phrase bandied about Aperture Science, and if it hadn't actually been programmed into him, distrust was still... ingrained. Not consciously, not even remotely. But the scientists had lied to him all the time, and, when it came right down to it, without his management rail he was just a little ball who was utterly reliant on the good will of others. It was a terrifying and uncertain position to be in, at times. So, it was not so much that he was distrustful, as it simply took a massive amount of trust to put your life entirely into someone else's hands.

    He... wasn't particularly good at doing that.

    So, no. He honestly wasn't conscious of the thought at all, but he didn't trust her. The difference was, he should have. If only he'd trusted her, really trusted her, back in the Facility, then none of it would have happened. Forget not having any reason not to trust her---he had every reason to trust her, back then. And now, if he didn't have any reason to trust her, it was because if he were in her shoes, then he'd never, ever, ever trust him, either. She probably deserved to get revenge.

    Though. Um. Still very much wanted to avoid that.

    Shivering away that little quiver of fear and trepidation that had struck him on that first word, Wheatley struggled to force himself to read the note in its entirety. And once more, just to make sure he'd understood it all. A second chance? The words should have filled him with glee, or relief, and Chell no doubt expected that reaction. But to be honest, the only feeling welling up inside him was dread. He was going to screw it up. He just knew he was.

    But, it was still a second chance. If he'd had hands, Wheatley would have grabbed it with both of them and clung on. When the Sphere slid his gaze back up to her, it was with an uncharacteristically solemn expression. "I will."

    And then, because he was Wheatley, he ruined the moment by continuing. "Can do. Definitely. Yup. Uh. No problem." Trailing off again, he paused for a long moment, gaze distant as if he was lost in thought. And then, coming back to alertness, he glanced side to side as if he was trying to see around behind him, before adding in a conversational tone, "Do you think the rain's stopped?"

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    Re: Reunion

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