Chell and Wheatley: Goodbye My Only Friend

A week was really all they needed to change their lives forever. Within that week, everything changed but not for better or worse. Since the old facility had been blown up by Cave's combustible lemon project, Chell was out of work for a while. At least, until Stephen and Erik came back and got her a technician position in a different Black Mesa branch, that was indeed run by Black Mesa, monitored by the watchful eye of CEO Gordon Freeman.

With such a job, Wheatley could, and would, go with her to work every day and have the ability to move around fairly freely. The workers had helped install a management rail so he could maneuver around a large part of the facility. On the first day of work, Chell had introduced everyone in her department to Wheatley. All of them had taken a liking to the little British core and immediately set to work on creating backup pieces and somehow convinced others to help out by creating a backup personality program for him. Wheatley had been a bit taken aback by their kindness and how willing everyone was to keep him around. Deep down, Chell hoped that they'd never have to use any of the spare parts or programs for Wheatley.

A month after getting the job, Chell decided to move closer to the facility for both work and to get farther away from Aperture Science. Knowing the maniac AI wasn't that far away from her was unsettling, hence the move. Wheatley had full-heartedly agreed with the move, but seemed a bit nervous being so far away from the only place he'd ever known.

In the new house, Chell managed to install yet another rail system for Wheatley. Visitors were always surprised by the robot's mannerisms, sometimes a bit skeptical, but adjusted with time. However, some people never came back. Wheatley was slightly hurt by it, but Chell was grateful that one less surveyor would come to her house.

It goes without saying that Wheatley found himself in trouble more than once…or twice. But unlike at Aperture, people were there to cover for him. It wasn't really his entire fault for whatever happened; he always had the unlucky position of always being around mischief.

Even so, Wheatley did manage to cause a mishap at least once a week. Mostly minor ones, like spilling someone's coffee, but nobody really gave him grief about it. While he did make a few enemies, most of the workers were friendly with him.

So, minus the talking eyeball robot, Chell's life resumed "normalcy." At least, as normal as her life could ever be after everything that'd happened. She was finally getting comfortable with her new lifestyle, until Wheatley made a huge mistake.

It was a bit past midnight when Wheatley decided to talk to Chell. He knew it wasn't a good time to talk, but he couldn't get the thoughts out of his processor. Besides, Chell was an insomniac anyway, she'd be awake. Once he was sure Chell was indeed awake, he began.

"Chell, I know it's late to be asking this sort of thing, but after everything that's happened, do you think we could ever be more than friends? I mean, I like you…a lot, but do you? You know, like me? I won't be offended if you say no, I'll just be rather upset and withdrawn for a while, but nothing too major. So, what do you think?" His large blue optic bore down upon her, as if pleading her to say yes.

Why the hell he was asking this at midnight Chell would never find out, but she didn't want to answer the question. It was just downright awkward, especially the timing. She tried to express her thoughts through actions, but Wheatley didn't seem to be getting the point. With a grunt, she just opted for rolling on her side, back facing the personality core.

"Um…ok…sorry to bother you." Wheatley nearly whispered as he left the room. Once out of Chell's range of hearing, he began berating himself for doing something so stupid.

After that experience, things got a bit awkward. Nevertheless, six months in, Chell still brought Wheatley to work with her. The personality core couldn't place it, but he felt as though Chell was treating him differently. She had definitely been ignoring him and began avoiding conversations with him. However, he just wrote it off as female humans being female humans.

Within that sixth month, Wheatley had taken it upon himself to gazing out the window. He had never really felt it before, the longing to go outside and walk amongst the humans. Sure, they were "smelly humans," but the Earth was so amazing and overwhelming. Yet, he knew he was dreaming the impossible and accepted his fate centuries before. Then again, when he had accepted it, he hadn't been near any windows. Lazily, his optic swiveled about, surveying human after human.

'That one looks…old…' Wheatley thought as he watched a woman with gray hair pass by. 'I wonder if she has any family. Oh, that's stupid to think about, of course she does. Humans…they don't realize how lucky they are…

The core let out a small sigh before turning his attention to (what the humans call) the "bus stop."

Woman, girl, dog, woman, man, old man, very angry looking boy, woman, strangely familiar man, cat, suitcase-wait…

Wheatley's optic widened in fear and shock. That "strangely familiar man" was completely familiar to him. This was the man who plagued Wheatley's processor with nightmares. For there, across the street from the Black Mesa facility was a centuries old scientist who should have been long dead. He was a scientist by the name of Rick, womanizing fool and "adventure" extraordinaire.

A/N: Yes, this is the end. Our story comes to a close with one blank page. Embrace that page as your own, an extension if you will. Now, I leave you to your own imaginations, to your laughter, and to your tears. It's been fun. Don't come back. Besides, the sequel will be posted tonight. It's time for a new story.