A/N: I don't think I've written Half Life fictions before, but it's simply too awesome a series to pass up. I need to do at least a one-shot.

Dabbling with Death

"So, Gordon," Alyx spoke in an easy, conversational tone. "Maybe you can explain this one thing I've never understood about you."

Gordon did not reply, merely squeezed off a few more rounds at the Combine running in the door.

"See," Alyx continued, firing a shot or two herself. "You always do pretty much exactly what you're told." She stopped to reload a second. "That's not bad, I can understand that. You're something of a soldier, you do what you're supposed to."

She thought she saw something of a frown on his face, but continued all the same. "But you do it with this crazy kind of abandon. You run into danger like it's not even there." She gave a disbelieving laugh as the Combine in the doorway staggered, clutched at his throat, and fell. "And people even expect you to! It's like: 'Hey Gordon, the Combine are here, run down this passage to the zombie-infested town.'; 'Hey Gordon, we lost two of our best scientists and they're being held in an impregnable prison camp with all sorts of nightmarish contraptions, could you go get them?' 'Hey, Gordon, there's a couple Stalkers running around out there, could you take care of them?'; 'Hey, Gordon, the Citadel is going to explode, but we need more time, so could you run into there and set the clock back a bit?'"

"That was your idea." Gordon pointed out quietly.

"Okay, yeah, bad example." Nodding, Alyx knelt and picked a rifle from the floor. "But we didn't have much of a choice, and you went with it all the same. I mean, it's not so bad for them and all the others. They think you're a hero, that your suit makes you invincible, all that stuff. But I've seen you, you nearly got beat down by those CP's the first time you came here.'

Again, there was something of a wince on his face, but she had no time to comment, as another wave of Elites came around the corner. The next few moments were a whirlwind of gunfire and grenades.

"So," she said, as they stepped forward over the bodies of the soldiers. "What's the deal? We might think you're a hero, but I don't think you do. And I'm guessing you know you're not invincible."

"It's a little hard to ignore."

"Right." Alyx nodded. "But you always do. You always forget that you're not this absolute juggernaut, and you run right in like death can't touch you."

"This from the lady who fights Antlions for a hobby and tests prototype teleporters." Gordon pushed his glasses up his nose.

Alyx gave him a little punch, rolling her eyes. "Quit it. Anyway, I'm not the one who ran right into a fully occupied Citadel to try and rescue two has-beens like my Dad and me. You're dodging the question. What's up with you that you run around like that?"

There was a moment's silence. They jogged along the hallway and stopped at the corner. Just around, they could hear the garble of radios. Gordon looked over at her and nodded. She picked out a grenade and tossed it around.

The radios suddenly fell silent.


Gordon turned the corner, peered into the smoke, then looked over at her and nodded. They picked their way through the haze, over the blackened bodies, and made it over to the door. Alyx pulled out her EMP device and was starting to hack into the door network when Gordon answered.

"You of all people," He said, leaning against the wall with a sigh, "should know that after the twentieth time you stare death in the face, it stops looking so scary."

Alyx hadn't actually expected Gordon to answer her question (He rarely replied to anything she said.), so she was rather surprised, but she smiled and nodded. But Gordon wasn't done.

"And," He said, staring off into space in a very distracted manner. "I really don't think he's going to let me die until I've done everything he needs me for." He popped a few more rounds into the shotgun.

That statement was simply too strange to let go. Alyx turned to study the lanky scientist. "Who's 'he'?"

Gordon started, as if surprised from thought, then shrugged. "How should I know?"

Alyx stared at him, completely uncomprehending. "But… Okay, fine. But then how are you so sure about your death? I mean, if you don't even…"

Gordon shrugged, pushed off of the wall, and leveled his shotgun at the door. "Cause if that wasn't the case, I'd have been dead twice already now."

Further comment was interrupted by the manhacks that came streaming through the suddenly open door.

A/N: Please Review!