The elevator landed as Chell finished her cake. She heard it coming and looked up at it, hardly daring to believe that GLaDOS was actually going to let her go again.
"There," GLaDOS said, and was it Chell, or did she sound bitter? "I suppose you're going to leave now. And that's just fine with me. I hope never to see you again."
Chell stood up. "Thanks for everything, GLaDOS."
"Just go," the computer said. "Live out your short, sad life somewhere far away from here. Don't ever think about me or this facility again."
"Now who's being melodramatic?" Chell asked with a chuckle. GLaDOS's optic narrowed into a glare.
Turning around, Chell began heading for the elevator. When she was about halfway there, she paused and turned back to look at the AI.
"What are you doing?" GLaDOS asked. "I told you to leave. Now."
"I still have the Companion Cube," Chell said.
"Yes, you do. But I fail to see how that is relevant in any way, shape, or form."
Chell shrugged. "I don't know…how do those speakers work?"
"There is a catch along one of the cube's edges. From there, you should be able to determine how to work its inner systems. I assume you are going to attempt to turn valuable Aperture technology into a stereo system or something equally useless. How very typical of you."
Chell smiled. GLaDOS was somehow managing to sound hopeful and sarcastic at the same time. "I was actually thinking I'd try to make it contact you."
"Me?" GLaDOS asked. "What for? You are not ill again, are you? If you are, you may as well just stay here for the time being."
She gave another shrug, and bit down on her bottom lip. "I thought maybe we could talk sometime."
Instead of a sarcastic response, there was nothing but silence.
"GLaDOS?" Chell asked. "I mean, if you don't want to, then—"
"No," the computer interrupted. "I suppose that would be acceptable. Just do not attempt to return to the Enrichment Center. Unless, of course, you fall ill again." She sounded hopeful rather than sarcastic when she said the last sentence, almost as if…
Chell hesitated, then said, "You know, I am feeling kind of dizzy."
"That could be an unintended side effect of the nanobots in your bloodstream, as well as an indicator that they are not working as they should. Perhaps you should return to the infirmary so that I may examine them."
"No, I'm okay for now," Chell said. "But these nanobots, are they something that should be checked up on regularly?"
There was a pause, and then, "Yes. You will need to schedule regular appointments at your local doctor to ensure that they are not malfunctioning."
"I don't know any human doctors equipped to deal with nanobots," she pointed out. "How often is it that I should have them checked on?"
GLaDOS considered that for a brief moment. "Perhaps once every two weeks. No less than once a month. And if you are unable to locate a human doctor to attend to that, I suppose you will have to return to the Enrichment Center after all."
Chell smiled. "Okay. Two weeks it is, then. Just…no more tests, all right?"
GLaDOS looked offended. "Of course not. These visits of yours will be strictly to ensure your health. Nothing more."
"Of course," Chell said, still smiling. She began turning back around, then stopped. "Oh! One more thing."
GLaDOS sighed. "What is it this time?"
"It's Wheatley," Chell said. "I know he's, well, not exactly bright, and he did try to kill us, and he almost destroyed Aperture, and he—"
"I am well aware of what he did," GLaDOS interrupted. "I was there, in case you've forgotten."
"Right," Chell said. "Of course. But anyway, my point is that…well, my point is that he didn't mean to do all that, and he doesn't deserve to have to do the things you make him do. Like sedating me. He only did that because you scared him. It's been six whole months, GLaDOS. Time to forgive and forget?"
"Six months is nothing," the AI snorted. "He is lucky I decided against ten years in the chamber where all the robots scream at you."
Chell frowned. "Please?"
There was a long, tortured sigh before the reply came. "Fine. I will consider granting him forgiveness."
"I guess that's all I can ask for," Chell said.
"Correct. Is there anything else, or will you do as I ask and leave now?"
"Don't worry, I'll go," Chell said, shaking her head. She turned and walked into the elevator. As the door closed behind her, she turned to face GLaDOS as it began moving out of her chamber. "Goodbye! Thank you again. And I'll be back."
GLaDOS did nothing but watch as the elevator left her chamber, and Chell sighed. She had expected…well, what she had expected, she wasn't sure, but it certainly hadn't been to leave without even getting a small farewell out of the computer.
In her chamber, GLaDOS watched the elevator move through a monitor.
"I hope you're happy," she told Caroline. "Your daughter is going to be returning to my facility. Again, and again, and again. For all you know, I may put her through some horribly deadly tests. For science, of course."
As always, there was no response but silence. Probing around, GLaDOS could also feel contentment coming from the portion of her database that Caroline lived in.
"Do you know what doesn't rhyme with contentment? Deletion."
Amusement mixed with the contentment, and GLaDOS sighed. She would never be rid of Caroline, and that infuriated her almost as much as the fact that she knew she would never be able to permanently get rid of Chell.
But since she was sending her away again…
The elevator stopped at the top of the shaft. The door opened to reveal a small radio, one of the ones Chell recognized from testing, but it wasn't playing anything. With a frown, she picked it up, and a song began to play.
"Cara bel, cara mia bella…"
Chell let out a surprised laugh. "This again? You know, I still don't know what these lyrics mean…thank you, though."
"Goodbye, Chell," GLaDOS's voice said through the camera above the door, which swung open to reveal that same field of wheat. Closing her eyes, Chell took a deep breath of summer air. The breeze was blowing, and it was warm out.
Opening her eyes and looking around, she located the camera, then smiled at it as she stepped out of Aperture with the radio under one arm. Instead of the door slamming in her face like it had the last time, the camera turned to watch her as she began making her way through the field and back to the town she considered home. Once she was out of its sight range, the door closed gently behind her.
It was left unlocked.
[A/N: And that's the end. Yay! Thanks to everyone for reading this far. You're all awesome~ (And, on a completely unrelated note, I would be very happy if this fic managed to get a hundred reviews. No, really, completely unrelated…)
Oh look, a SEQUEL! Can be found here: .net/s/7066342/1/The_Same_Will_Never_Happen_to_You ]