Summary: AU of after the epilogue for Portal 2. Wheatley has had ten years alone in space with the Space Core. He makes a miraculous return to Earth and aims to apologize to Chell for what he did. Upon arrival and re-entry, he is severely damaged and must be taken back to Aperture to be properly repaired. The problem: is Chell willing to forgive him? It's ChellxWheatley, starts off one-sided but develops more later on.
A/N: It was all a dream! No seriously, it was. I just developed it a bit more into this little story that, hopefully, some people will enjoy. For the record, the AU part of this is That the Black Mesa incident never happened. Sorry, but I don't know enough about Half Life to make it fit nor do I have any ideas on how to fit the Combine conflict in a ChellxWheatley story. The POVs are going to switch around depending upon the chapter so this is going to be my first multichapter first person story. Pretty cool, huh? But it'll start off with a third person prologue in 3...2…1…
Wheatley sighed for maybe the millionth time since he was abandoned in the void of space. The Space Core hadn't actually been any quieter since their "launch", still shouting out "We're in SPACE!" like a hyperactive four-year old. Oddly enough, Wheatley's internal clock still worked, alerting him that nearly a decade had passed since his corruption. He shuddered at the memory.
His intentions hadn't been to keep that lady there. Something had just...happened when he was in complete control of the facility. Even though he couldn't sleep, Wheatley would occasionally get little "nightmares" about the ordeal, memories that would resurface making him feel guiltier and guiltier. If a robot could cry, he most certainly would.
That particular year had been a hard one for him. So many stray little meteors had collided with his frame, sending jolts of unwanted pain coursing through his system. Sure, they weren't particularly large, but they still hurt like Hell.
After a while, Wheatley had begun to wonder if this "God" person he had quoted so long ago had punished him for his actions. Maybe that human concept known as "Karma" was indeed out to get him. He could barely see the Earth anymore due to his cracked optic. What scientific idiots would allow a robot to actually feel pain, discomfort, and the harsh coldness of space? What cruel creature would do that?
A small shiver ran through his system once again. How did this not phase the Space Core in the slightest? Then again, he was pondering the inner workings of a core MADE to love everything and anything space-related.
"We're in SPACE!" it shouted gleefully for probably the trillionth time. Then again, that was the largest understatement of the year.
"I know that; just keep it to yourself for a while, would you? Honestly, you for company out here is the last thing I wanted. Then again, I didn't really want to make that lady Chell run through all those ridiculous testing tracks. I don't know what got into me! I mean, it was like something took over my system and told me exactly what to do and how to act!" Wheatley explained; his voice not as clear as it had been. Years of disuse and abuse had done its toll.
"Oh, just forget it. You never bother to listen to me. No, nobody's ever bothered to listen to me! Well, except for Chell when I was guiding her to freedom. I wonder how she's doing. GLaDOS might have let her go free, but maybe not. That Caroline person sure seemed interesting; I'd have loved to meet her. I wonder if she liked cake, it would explain so much and yet, so little."
"Mm, that's nice. But SPACE is nicer!"
"You really don't have an artificial brain, do you?"
"I'll take that as a no." Wheatley's voice hitched for a minute, going into a synthetic "coughing" fit. "I should really stop talking."
"I'm gonna sing the SPACE song now! SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE, SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE SPACE..."
"Would you SHUT UP?"
"...SPACE, SPACE SPACIE SPACIE SPACIE SPACE..."
"Oh, silence is only reminding me of Chell. My biggest regret has to be not apologizing to her. She was so nice and smart, and I ruined whatever bonds of friendship I had with her. If I could do it all over again, I'd never, never, ever let her plug me in. Maybe that way, we could have escaped together and then I could have told her that I..." he broke off again into another "coughing" fit. He hadn't rambled on anything in a while, and now he remembered why, but he just couldn't stop talking aloud this time around.
"With so much time on my own-"
"SPACIE SPACIE SPACIE SPACE!"
"-I definitely know how I feel about her. I want to apologize so badly, to have her forgive me for my misguided and rash actions. I want her to know...I love her. Oh no, you see? That sounded both cheesy and cliché! How can I even tell her how I feel if I can't take myself seriously? I mean really, would she actually believe THAT if she heard it from anyone? This is pathetic. I deserve everything I got." Wheatley finished, shaking his rotating optic, allowing it to be half-closed. Besides, the upper "lid" was malfunctioning too. Everything about him was a huge mathematical error! Why did he have to be built? It just wasn't fair! He could never see the one he cared for ever again all because of his stupid mistake!
"I bet she doesn't even remember me. I bet she has a boyfriend and they're on a date right now, talking about whatever humans like to talk about. Even if someone mentioned anything about Aperture, GLaDOS or Cave would come to mind, not me. If GLaDOS did ask her, 'Do you remember Wheatley?' she'd just shake her head or maybe say, 'Who now?' She must have forgotten about me by now. So much can happen in ten years. Well, at least it can for humans." A small alarm within his system blared, warning him not to continue his monologue aloud. Wheatley sighed again.
"If I could have one wish granted, it would be this: return to Earth and apologize to Chell. That's all I want. Oh, and maybe enough time to confess, but that's it. If I die after that, I'll be more than happy. Simple enough."
"SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, the end!" the Space Core shouted gleefully now that its "SPACE Song" was completely. "Ooooh, what's that?"
For once, slightly interested, Wheatley swiveled his optic around until he noticed a...a rocket headed...RIGHT TOWARDS HIM! Wow, that Space Core actually had noticed something of interest and not a floating particle or a harmful meteor.
Through some quick calculations, Wheatley managed to recognize that the rocket was returning to Earth. With its line of travel, it would barely miss a collision with him, but allow him to hook one of his handles onto its side panel.
"Um...Space Core, would you like to go back to Earth?" Wheatley asked. His nature inclined him to ask, although he could predict the answer easily.
"Noooooooooooooo!" it whined, "I wanna staaaaayyyyy!"
"Alright, alright, that's perfectly fine. I'm going to go back to Earth and hope I don't get destroyed from re-entry!" Wait a minute...re-entry! Could his frame handle it? Could he handle it? Well, he was made to withstand up to 4000 degrees Kelvin. Strangely enough, the song of the same name was surprisingly catchy. He'd heard it once while riding on his rail around the facility and he heard it on one of those old "radio" things. Some were also playing another catchy tune without words, but his instinct told him that it had had words at one point in time. Maybe it was-oh, he didn't have time for this!
The rocket grew closer and closer, leaving Wheatley a few more seconds to mull it over. An opportunity like this had never crossed his path, so this must be his one an only chance. It was either get his circuits fried upon re-entry with a 1 out of 100 chance of survival or spend the rest of his artificial life with the Space Core.
"Well, better to try than to not try at all." Wheatley remarked a bit bitterly. As the rocket zoomed by, he quickly managed to latch a handle onto the spacecraft. This was it, he was finally heading back to Earth. He swiveled his eye piece back to the Space Core, who was gleefully "waving" at him with a handle.
"At least someone's happy out here." And for the first time in years, Wheatley felt that strange sense known as exhilaration. He was going to see Chell again…and maybe give Her a piece of his mind. Well, one achievement at a time. For now, he was perfectly fine with a confession and an apology.
A/N: I'm not sure how well that actually came out and I realize that someone else is doing a similar story. I'm sorry to that author if anything in this story is similar to anything you have planned. Just PM me for a heads up, I'd rather not be recognized as an uncreative bum with no life aside from stealing people's inner workings. IZ fans, you should have caught the reference. If not, I am ashamed at you/you should be ashamed at yourself for not catching it. 'Kay, that was a bit too harsh…it just kind of slipped…oh, forget it.