I had this crazy idea in my head, and I couldn't get rid of it. There was a very good chance that it would get me killed.
The Weighted Companion Cube was burdensome as I carried it through the wheat field. If it could talk, and I was told multiple times that it could not, it would probably tell me to turn around and go home. Unfortunately we were both stuck with my common sense and what I wanted, and the former seemed to be malfunctioning…big time.
After what seemed like hours of walking, I stumbled upon a very unspectacular looking shack.
I stared at it in awe. It was difficult to believe that a year ago, to this very day, I had walked out of that shack with my freedom. I had wanted it so badly, I had done absolutely everything I possibly could to gain it…and now I was going back…to see her.
I placed the Weighted Companion Cube gently on the ground next to the door. I pulled it open, which was a difficult and slow process, and then took myself and the Companion Cube inside.
The door slammed shut behind me.
Luckily, the lift was alerted to my presence and lit up, showing me the way. I wondered briefly if the lift would take me directly to her chamber. I couldn't be sure, and I was uncertain that I could find my way to her if it didn't.
The lift quickly ushered me down, lower and lower until it came to a smooth halt. It was a relief to see that the facility was still in decent shape. The doors opened, revealing an empty hallway covered in sterile white paneling. I sighed and stepped out of the lift. Apparently I had some walking to do before I found her chamber.
I turned a corner and came face to face with a camera. It swiveled around to look at me more closely, and I could hear the lens zooming in on me. I wondered amusedly how GLaDOS was reacting to my sudden, unannounced arrival. I flashed a smirk at the camera and continued onward.
My feet did all the work as if I was on autopilot. I feared that if I stopped to think about where I was, I might get lost. It's funny how the human mind works.
"You're going the wrong way."
I froze. Don't think about it, keep going, don't think about it, keep going… I told myself repeatedly. I continued on, ignoring the voice that may or may not have been in my head.
"Seriously now, what do you think you're doing? The way to the lift is behind you. Go up it, go outside, get a tan, or a sunburn, I don't care what you do, just go."
Reverse psychology, reverse psychology… I chanted in my head. If I was wrong about all of this, I might very well have screwed myself over.
"If you come any closer I can't be held responsible for the amount of neurotoxin that enters your system."
I saw the familiar walkway up ahead…the one that led to her chamber. If I was wrong, I was about to find out…and deal with the consequences. My stomach did a couple of flips, but I persisted. GLaDOS herself could attest to how stubborn I was. Once I had my mind set on something, I didn't stop.
The walk down that narrow hallway seemed to take hours. The suspense was killing me, GLaDOS was making me feel extremely nervous. I readjusted the Companion Cube in my arms. I was beginning to regret bringing it with me. If GLaDOS decided to let loose the neurotoxin, or even just a couple of turrets, I would be done for.
The door slid open. A massive computer stared me down as I entered her chamber. Her yellow optic seemed to stare right through me. My heart pounded in my chest as I continued to approach her unwaveringly. She couldn't scare me…or, to be more honest, she couldn't force me to admit to being scared. Once I decided I was close enough, I set down the Companion Cube and looked back up at her. I was at a loss for words, thankfully GLaDOS normally liked to do all of the talking anyway.
"Well, here we are. Face to face. I never thought this day would come…no, actually I did. I hoped it would never come." She leaned in closer, her optic shining directly into my eyes. "I thought I told you not to come back, multiple times."
I nodded. "I heard you loud and clear."
"Then why didn't you listen?" she asked, a hint of fury in her voice. She was obviously trying to control herself, though the fact that she was doing so was not very characteristic of her.
I put one foot up on the Companion Cube and leaned my elbow on my knee while resting my chin on my fist. "You can't fool me this time. You called me two months early."
"You don't honestly think for one moment that I wanted to talk to you, do you?"
I shook my head. "I can't tell if you're trying to trick me or yourself."
"Oh please, spare me."
I glared at her. "Explain to me then why you called me two months early!"
She stared at me and said nothing. After what seemed like ages, she focused her optic on the Companion Cube beneath my boot. "Why on earth did you bring that?"
I looked down at it. "After having it in my apartment for a long time, I discovered something about it. It opens."
I put all of my weight on the heart for a second before standing up straight again. The box unfolded to reveal a cake. I looked up at GLaDOS and smirked.
There was a long silence. I was beginning to think this was all a horrible idea until GLaDOS suddenly had a fit of uncontrollable laughter. When it's not creepy and evil, her laugh is actually nice to hear.
"A cake, you brought…a cake," she said in disbelief. "What is wrong with you? Most test subjects would kiss the ground as soon as they escaped this place and never look back…but you…you bring a cake to your former captor and attempted murderer."
"You promised me cake," I replied, lifting the cake out before closing the Companion Cube again. "You never followed up, so I decided to make my own cake to honor the anniversary of my escape."
GLaDOS shook her head. "Only you would celebrate your escape by coming back."
I laughed. "I suppose this place has grown on me a bit." I set the cake down on the Companion Cube. It was mostly meant to be a joke, but I was hungry. Maybe once I was sure GLaDOS wouldn't kill me I would actually cut myself a slice. "Anyway, you never answered my question."
GLaDOS released a heavy, mechanized sigh. "You asked me once if it ever got lonely down here." I nodded. "As much as I hate to admit it…I do. Get lonely. This never used to happen."
I walked over to her. "You lied to me."
She reared her head back as if she was offended. "I decided to answer your question, though I would've much rather kept quiet about it, and you accuse me of lying? Granted, I have lied to you many times in the past…"
"Like when you told me you had deleted Caroline?"
There was that silence again. I took a step back. If she was going to get angry and try to hurt me, now was the time.
I blinked in shock at her honest answer. I had so many questions to ask, but thankfully she continued instead.
"Caroline is protected by some sort of code that I can't access. As much as I would like to get back to how I used to be, I can't."
I nodded. "Why did you lie to me?"
"Because I wanted you gone."
That actually hurt my feelings to the point that I felt angry. She wanted me gone? After everything she had put me through?
"I never had a friend until you. As much as I hate myself for it, I miss having that kind of…companionship. I think I'm going to be sick…"
I stifled a laugh. "You can have my Companion Cube."
"There was a time where that might've sufficed. It talks about as much as you used to."
That time I did laugh.
"Call it wishful thinking, but I assumed that once you were gone it would be much easier to revert back to my former self."
I shook my head. "But why? What was so great about the way you used to be?"
She stared at me for a moment. "Things were much easier that way…like watching test subjects die. It's not nearly as fun as it used to be. In fact, I have to tell myself over and over that it's for the good of science."
I didn't even attempt to hide my surprise. "Yet you still threatened me with neurotoxin."
"I was…bluffing." She stared down at the cake. "Much like I was when I promised cake."
"Why didn't you just tell me you were lonely?" I asked.
"Are you kidding me? It's ridiculous enough that I feel lonely, but wanting the company of the one person who managed to kill me? Do you have any idea how humiliating this is?" She snapped.
"The only person here is me. There's no reason to be embarrassed."
GLaDOS hesitated for a moment. "Well, there's him," she said, jerking her head in the direction of the Weighted Companion Cube.
I smiled and shook my head. "Don't," I said with a laugh.
I glanced down at my watch. "Well, I have this waitressing job at this restaurant near my apartment, so I should really get going…"
GLaDOS looked away indignantly. "Great, go on then. I don't care."
I rolled my eyes and ignored what she said. "I'll be back in a few days."
GLaDOS turned her head only slightly to look at me. "I'll…be here," she chuckled, "testing."
I smiled. "Of course, what else?"
She shook her head. "Maybe you would like to give the test chambers another run," she said mischievously. "That is, assuming you haven't lost your touch."
I shrugged and turned toward the door. "Maybe." I laughed. "And then you could have that cake waiting for me afterwards rather than an incinerator."
"Maybe," she replied.
With that, I left Aperture Science. I actually felt a little disappointed that I had to leave her behind for now, but I would be back in a couple of days.
Until then…well, I did leave my Companion Cube behind for a reason.
A/N: I had a difficult time finishing this chapter. I got so far so fast, and then I couldn't figure out how to end it...so sorry if the ending is a bit lackluster. I do like how she left behind her Companion Cube to keep GLaDOS company though, haha. I hope you enjoyed this story!