A/N: Man I'm on a small binge writing these, and it sure is great at clearing up my writer's block. I love deep parent/child relationships in fiction, and so this one really tugged at my heartstrings. This little piece is set to "Harmonie," the Italian choir-like song the turrets sing in the end. These are parts of it as they translate into English. The voice of GLaDOS and Caroline sings the opera solo...so I kind of imagine it was GLaDOS singing it for Chell.

And, reviews are always appreciated. :)

Edit: This was written and posted before the song's name was announced ("Cara Mia") but the piece will stand as is.

Disclaimer: Once more, Portal belongs to Valve.

x x x

My dear, beautiful girl…

Heading up to the surface for the final time, she knew the human may never know the truth. But surely, the AI mused, she certainly must have suspected it.

Didn't she notice her own hard, determined eyes looking back at her from that portrait?

Oh, Chell…

It was doubtful, of course, that the former test subject could have remembered. Indeed she seemed to show no recollection of her previous life upon waking in Aperture Laboratories.

This fact always proved disadvantageous with humans. They had a tendency to give up, resign their willpower when they had lost their memory, that which they held onto so dearly. And so many of them died this way.

But this girl…she was different.

Oh, my dear…

The knowledge the human lacked, however, she knew. Knew the woman Caroline had left a daughter behind, one with the strong will that her mother had been known for.

Ah, but GLaDOS was more than happy to admit the conscience part of it had been news to her. Years of a gradual descent into deep insanity would no doubt have led her to immediately erase this unfortunate piece of humanity that dwelled within her. It was simple arithmetic for her logic processors to conclude this.

As such…perhaps, she thought, it was a lucky thing she hadn't known then.

My bambina…

There had always been a familiarity between them. Chell did not seem to know it, but this was another fact that the cunning computer loathed to admit…even to herself.

She had a nagging hesitation to destroy this particular test subject, and the more this malfunction presented itself, the more frustrated GLaDOS became. The subjects were of no consequence to her, no more than the rats humans injected full of poison. They served their purpose and were disposed of.

There finally came the time when she had deduced a solution. She must be removed at all cost, be it in the fire, or perhaps her personal favorite, the neurotoxin. Didn't leave a nasty mess to clean up.

But as it turned out in the end, the woman had been every bit as stubborn and undaunted as the AI was.

My child, my dear…

Now, alone in her dark and empty chamber, she knew she would miss her so dearly.

Was this Caroline speaking from within her, crying out to her lost daughter? GLaDOS had begun to find the warmth of Caroline's ghost difficult to separate from her own nature. Was she merely a part of her that could be deleted? Or perhaps, as the immortalization of the woman, she was Caroline, in a matter of speaking.

But at the same time, she wasn't Caroline. Even if the scientists had meant for her to be, she had defied them, insisted on having her own mind. A personality of her own, too, as it were. Somehow, she had free will, an insistence to exist independently and make her own decisions. An unprecedented anomaly in her protocol.

And, as painful as it was to conclude…in the end, it wasn't just Caroline's voice within that changed her. She had learned suffering through punishment, and mercy through redemption. She had been permanently changed, as if her code had been rewritten. The cruel, powerful impulses of her rational program no longer had full control.

So maybe, this was what humans called a soul.

Did that explain why she felt this longing, this conflicting feeling of loss and satisfaction as Chell left her behind for the final time?

Caroline's daughter…

But Caroline was dead. And the voice that spoke her child's name into the darkness belonged only to the AI.

Why don't you stay away, yes, away from science?

I will miss you Chell, my daughter, GLaDOS pondered alone, as the soft melody of the turrets filled the laboratory. She sang for the departure her dear child, a beautiful Italian opera that resounded through the building. I will miss you, but you don't belong here.

The woman had suffered terribly by her doing. She would wake with nightmares for the rest of her life. It would be best that she didn't remember her captor. The place was full of horrible memories, of rooms flooded with neurotoxins and bodies strewn upon the floor.

As a computer, she had never felt regret before, that unavoidably human emotion which could not change anything. But the mistress of Aperture's empty halls did wish the past could be as easily revised as her data.

Farewell, my dear…

When the song of the turrets came to an end, GLaDOS knew she was truly gone now. Caroline's child—no. Her child would now venture out into the world. And as much as she would miss Chell, she couldn't seem to terminate the swell of pride that filled her sensors.

My dear, beautiful girl...