Human to Machine and Back Again, Part 1
Summary: Short drabbles for the Wheatley x Chell pairing. Ten per chapter. Human Wheatley, non-human, AU, canon, anything goes.
AN: Here's an idea. Let's do a whole ton of drabbles! However, I'll need a little help from anyone who reads this and enjoys it: send me prompts and ideas you would like me to try writing. They can be as specific or as vague as you want. Thanks for your help (in advance), and I hope you like the stories!
Wheatley looked over at Chell. She sat five feet from him with… a package of some sort? His optic zoomed in on said package, noting it was chocolate.
He scanned his memory banks and pulled up the file he'd retained on the sweet confection: "A sweet treat humans consume. Derived from the Cacao Tree, it is commonly mixed with sugar and milk before consumption." That… told him far less than he'd hoped for.
All he noticed was a calm, content look on Chell's face as she consumed the contents of the newly found box. He watched as she took another small morsel from the container, took some black wrapper thing off of it, and plopped it into her mouth. Apparently this chocolate stuff was powerful, since she seemed happy during the middle of another test GLaDOS placed before her. He never had seen a person remotely happy during any test, let alone smiling contentedly.
Wheatley internally wished he could make her that happy.
Wheatley had been human for only two weeks. GLaDOS had decided to do so, removing his immortality—the perfect torture for that bumbling personality sphere. He protested it immensely at first ("Don't do that to me, you bloody monster!"), but realized it was nothing more than a form of retribution. By this point, he'd finally begun to accept his fate. She deposited he and Chell outside the facility and left them to live and die while she'd remain alive forever.
Chell took him to a nearby town, and began to establish herself by getting a job as a waitress at a local diner. She had to teach him everything: how to eat (not to bad, but certain foods he refused to touch after trying them the first time), how to bathe (the most embarrassing thing Chell could imagine to that point), and how to use a fork, spoon and…
She was in the next room when she heard the accented yelp, and rushed in only to find Wheatley had tried consuming the leftover chicken breasts from the previous evening and cut his hand with a steak knife.
She saw the red blood begin to drip from the wound as he held one hand in the other, and the quizzical, painful look from his face worried her. Rushing over to the kitchen counter, she grabbed a bunch of paper towels, grabbed his hand and began applying pressure to the wound.
"Will I be alright?" Wheatley weakly questioned.
Chell removed the paper toweling from the wound a couple of minutes later, to assess the damages. The cut barely sliced through all of the skin layers. Just a bit of gauze padding would completely stop the now weak flow of blood from the wound.
She looked up at him with a smile on her face before saying, "You'll be fine, Wheatley. It isn't deep." Her face turned a tad more stern, "Be careful with sharp objects. You're lucky this isn't that bad, otherwise you'd need stitches."
"That's good, isn't it, love?"
"Yes, it is. Let me go get the first aid kit."
She reminded herself that she needed to still be at his side almost all of the time. Somehow, she was fine with that thought.
The idea of having hands was bloody awesome.
Wheatley gained this idea just by watching everything Chell did with them. She could pick up and eat from cans of food (something those sme—humans needed to do). She could open doors using the doorknob or a keypad (something he could do simply by hacking—although he wouldn't say it was his best skill). She could also pick him (and weighted companion cubes too) up. Now that was something he wasn't capable of at all.
When thinking about it, doors would open to him that he couldn't even conceive at this moment. He'd be able to feel pain (not that he wanted to), feel hot and cold (what did cold even feel like?), and maybe get to touch her hand and determine whether it really was as soft as it looked…
When he saw her do these types of things that required hands, he wanted more and more to experience those things—to become human. Such things were impossible, he sadly thought. Were such desires that of a human as well? Was he closer than he thought?
Oh well. But if he had hands, he could hold and use Chell's portal device. That would be pretty bloody cool too.
Wheatley followed Chell on his Management Rail as she led him through the "behind the scenes" of Aperture Science. Together, they would stop GLaDOS and free Chell from a lifetime of unwanted grueling tests. He looked at her face as he rolled forward, observing the sheer determination present in her expression.
He would get her out. He'd bet his artificial life on it.
As they rounded the corner, Chell turned around, facing him with her beautiful grey eyes, and lightly smiled. He felt some sort of simulated reaction trigger within his circuitry, something he'd hope to appreciate in the future. He'd finally found his best friend, and loved every second of it. Nothing could even come close to changing that fact.
Chell and Wheatley met at work three and a half years prior. They reside in different departments: Chell works in the computer development department, while Wheatley is a part of the biology department. Although their workfields have little in common and likely wouldn't see much of one another, they met by bumping into each other—literally—when Wheatley was late for a meeting (at least what he perceived to be late, he was actually fifteen minutes early).
Today was a special day: Chell's 25th birthday. Wheatley, knowing Chell for as long as he did, knew what to get her, but he simultaneously worried his gift was too fancy or not enough.
When you're the best friend, what do you get for someone?
That morning before he arrived at Chell's desk, he continuously contemplated his gift: too much, too little, how would she react, would she even like it…
"Wheatley!" Chell greeted with a large smile on her face.
"Oh, hello Chell, how's your day been so far?" Wheatley began to mumble… he hadn't realized he was that close to her desk. Had he walked through some of those silly interdimensional portal things her department was developing on the way here?
"Hey, what's wrong? You don't seem quite like yourself." She began.
"No, no, I'm fine… I just… here. Happy birthday." He brought the gift from behind his back unceremoniously, with a small goofy smile on his face.
Chell was stunned. "Wheatley! You didn't have to get me anything! …but thanks! Thank you!" She immediately took the small package and wrapped her arms around his lean torso. He could tell he was blushing…
"Do you… do you want to open it? Do you have time?"
"Of course. This portal project can wait a couple of minutes." She replied before removing the cover off of the small black box, finding a small pair of silver and pearl earring studs. Her jaw opened in disbelief. "They're—they're beautiful! You didn't have to get me something this nice! Thank you!" She then reached over and kissed his cheek. "I love them. I'll see you after work, alright?" She said before grabbing some papers and walking away from her desk.
Did she happen to notice his face turn flaming red? Did he have the same effect on her that she does on him?
He hoped to find out after work.
They arrived at their destination after ten minutes of driving: the beach. Chell decided to vacation in San Diego, a place of incredibly hot temperatures (which Wheatley couldn't sense outside of a built-in thermometer) and gorgeous beaches (electronic devices such as himself don't work well with water). Despite attempting to have her change the destination based on what he knew, she purchased the plane tickets anyway and booked the hotel room.
She picked him up from the passenger seat and placed him in a special device that strapped him to her back. After they walked through the sand, she set him on a towel, giving him a chance to look around at the scenery.
Wheatley's optic scanned the beach. It was completely deserted outside of both of them, and he was located fifteen feet from the water's edge. That fact momentarily scared him until Chell reassured him he couldn't possibly get wet at this distance. That calmed him slightly, but the fact remained it was still water.
"Chell, um… what exactly are we doing here? You know I'm not human like you, and would fry like chips if I touch that ocean over there… I certainly don't want that, and—"
"Relax. I'm not going anywhere. You're going to be fine, I just didn't want to leave you at the hotel room all morning." Chell calmly replied as she walked toward the water.
Now here was something he hadn't noticed before. She wore far less than he'd ever seen her wear (he was certain he'd have remembered if she'd worn less in front of him): a bikini. It was aqua, with two tied straps behind her neck. She splashed her feet in the ocean's waves, turned and looked back at him. She smiled and waved right in his direction. His internal temperature raised a few degrees. If he was human, he'd probably have a bright red face from blushing too much since she was absolutely beautiful…
…Bloody hell, he wished he was human far more now than ever.
7. Thunder / Lightning
Chell and Wheatley both took off of work the same week, so they could go on a vacation together to Upper Michigan. The massive, dense forests and quiet streams were absolutely beautiful this time of year as they drove Wheatley's tiny Honda Civic down the dirt roads. However, during their stay, they ended up with a few poor-weather days with harsh thunderstorms. One day, Chell was tired of staying in the hotel during one such storm. Despite Wheatley's protests, she dragged him to the car and they drove off.
"Where exactly are we going, love?" He turned and asked her innocently.
"You'll see when we get there." She replied with a large smile on her face.
Not long afterward, they arrived at the pier. The parking lot was on the dock, allowing the car to overlook Lake Michigan facing Wisconsin. The deep grey, cloudy sky was difficult to see through the windshield, Wheatley noted, with the large raindrops pelting the glass.
After a moment, Chell told him to look through the sunroof. Within moments, a flash of lightning arced overhead, causing Wheatley to jump. He jumped again just a couple of seconds later once the thunder boomed.
"W—Wow! That was something else! You mean to say we came out here just to watch the storm?" Wheatley asked, dumbfounded.
"Exactly. Just enjoy what you see."
"Oh, I will, love…" He quietly spoke in her ear before cupping her cheek and kissing her.
If either of them would have looked up at that moment, a massive lightning bolt, resembling a tree's entangled roots, shot across the sky. The sound of the thunder which resulted caused Wheatley to jump once again.
Wheatley's mental image of Chell was always that of a determined, unwavering, tough woman. He'd seen aspects of it fade briefly from time to time, but nothing quite like this.
He'd gotten a call at work from her today, but he couldn't even distinguish half of what she said. She was absolutely frantic and panicking, so Wheatley figured he'd take the remainder of his work with him, head home, and see what had her so upset.
The moment he opened the door, he heard the stomping of footsteps followed by Chell barreling toward him and latching on. Her hands secured themselves around his lean torso, grasping at the material of his white labcoat. He looked down, noting the red around her eyes and the clear, salty liquid leaking out the corners…
Oh no… Chell…
"My mom… she called today and… and… dad, he…" Wheatley watched as her small frame broke down, wracked by huge sobs that he didn't know how to stop or calm. What was he supposed to do?
"Don't… don't say anything right now. Just… let me… let me hold you."
"Chell, what happened?—" He tried.
"I don't want to talk about it right now!" She immediately lashed back with, glaring up at him with her swollen eyes. "You've never lost a family member, hell, all of your grandparents are still alive over in England right now! You don't get it! You can't! You… can't…" Her speech calmed down into sobs once again.
"I'm here, love." He quietly supplied. She grabbed him tighter (if possible), and hoped to God things would get better from here.
Chell liked to hum to herself.
Any time she was deep within her thoughts, a small tune would arise from her vocal cords. For some reason, it must help with her concentration, Wheatley mused. This particular song always starts off at a low-pitched hum, later leading into a louder crescendo of sound before she would cease humming for the time being.
Wheatley found it soothing within Aperture Science, a facility full of increasingly difficult death traps. More importantly, his circuits were soothed simply through listening to her beautiful voice in such situations. If only she was a tad more talkative, he'd listen to her voice all day long.
Wheatley had never liked his ears. Every time he looked into his desk mirror at work, he shied away. They stuck slightly outward from his head, but he felt as though they were as noticeable as Dumbo's. He even tried to hide them behind his straw-colored hair by growing it out longer than his father had ever considered acceptable.
Chell thought his ears were adorable. She was aware he tried to hide their outward angle under his constantly disheveled hair, but he tried to hide that fact from her. She found out one afternoon after giving his hair a trim he deemed "far too short around the ears." He didn't explicitly say it, but she knew. He was always insecure ever since he was a young child, since he was what he considered the "different one."
She didn't care, she just loved him for who he was. Everyone has flaws they wish they could overlook.