AN: this story contains a birth scene that, while not actually graphic, may offend some people. (Yes, there are people that get offended by natural birth, go figure.) This is you're only warning to turn back now.
She felt like a Peeping Tom.
She felt like a fly on the wall.
She felt like she should just turn her camera off and delete the scene before her, but she couldn't look away. What was happening in front of her hidden lens was all together both frightening, awe inspiring, disgusting, and yet beautiful at the same time. It was exciting to be a hidden witness to such a life changing moment, and she got a sort of thrill in just the knowledge of it. Especially when this moment effected her favourite former test subject.
She had almost missed this very chance. It was an early summer evening, the skies were already painted orange as the sun set, and the surrounding air was hot and humid. GLaDOS could see the sweat on the young woman's nude body as she rocked back and forth. Quietly, the super computer assessed the young woman from her hiding place within Chell's beloved Companion Cube. They were in a house, she assumed a second floor bedroom, where there was merely an old futon mattress with blankets, and sheets all along the floor. GLaDOS knew the location. It was the old abandoned township where a lot of the scientists and their families used to live before she, and later the Combine, had killed them all. Chell was on the mattress, sitting on her knees and leaning slightly forward, her hands on the ground for support. She was rocking back and forth in discomfort. Her body was more tanned and some ways leaner than what GLaDOS remembered. The only great change was her swollen belly. Chell, in the year she was gone, had become pregnant and was now deep in labour and, unbeknownst to the former Test subject, GLaDOS was watching her.
She hadn't meant to honestly. When she had received a signal that Aperture tech was within the vicinity of 100 miles she instantly knew what it was, or rather who. She tried to ignore it, hoping that it would go away, that she would go away, that she was merely passing through but the signal had paused and didn't seem to be getting any closer. This sparked her curiosity and worry, after all, she had her own family to protect. Her precious little killers. GLaDOS didn't need that dangerous monster back in her facility before her little kill machines were ready, so she patched into the camera system within the companion cube. It was a system she installed to protect herself and Aperture from that human… and maybe just to observe her, just a little though. The omnipotent A.I just didn't expect to be observing this.
The human gave a soft moan in pain. GLaDOS had always wondered if she could make sound. She could never get Chell to talk back or cry out in pain, yet here she was, undergoing something completely natural to humans and was openly showing her discomfort. The poor thing. Idly GLaDOS wondered were the human's mate was. If Chell had gotten pregnant then surely the mate had to be nearby. Humans never missed the birth of their offspring and GLaDOS knew for a fact that Chell had found a pack of humans earlier in the year.
She scanned around the area, he didn't seem to be within the room. She stretched out her systems to tap into the aging security cameras on the streets of the long forgotten town. They were bare. It was now clear that Chell had come there alone with nothing more than her companion cube, her mate no where to be seen or perhaps he was none existent. GLaDOS didn't care to think on that fact. Her former test subject was foolish. She had left the safety of her human pack to birth elsewhere. Privacy over protection. Why? What a fool.
That's when GLaDOS realized something. If she wanted to she could interfere. She could recapture Chell and allow her to birth in perfect comfort and safety of the facility. However GLaDOS was not dumb either. Interfering could easily cause more harm than good. She needed to weigh her options. If she interfered, if she spoke up now, and sent Orange and Blue to get her or even help her, then she would undoubtedly fight back, wanting to keep her freedom. It would cause her to run and give her undo stress and it would harm both Chell and the baby. And then, even if she was recaptured there was an even greater chance of her trying to kill the A.I again and destroy Aperture. It was settled. She couldn't interfere. She wouldn't no matter how strong the urge got. She made a point that the only way she would was if Chell and the baby's immediate life were in danger. Then and only then would she dispatch Orange and Blue.
Another gasp brought GLaDOS out of thought and back to watching the girl. Chell's facial expressions were strained, her body curving outward slowly she she held onto a breath. She was pushing. The woman released her breath and relaxed her body. She moved to lean to the side, giving a soft whimper when another contraction hit. She moved to bare down and push again but it was short lived so Chell adjusted to lying down on her side in her makeshift nest, the setting sun illuminated the woman's body. GLaDOS could easily see the fatigue, strain, and wear present all over her form. She could also see the healing scars from her former days of testing. GLaDOS would only admit now, but for a human, one of various ethnicity, essentially a mutt, Chell was pretty. Even more so now in the glow of child birth, but she wouldn't compliment her further. She wondered internally, seeing the other amounts of wear and strain on her body, if Chell was taking care of herself properly. She was alive so that was a good indication, and she was far from sick. She had even managed to hook up with a human male somewhere along her journeys only to end up in her current state, but was the wear on her body from her freedom or from the pregnancy? GLaDOS made note that she would have to study that further.
She looked at her former test subject, her eyes were closed and her breaths soft but shallow. She was sleeping, exhausted so far by the labour and midnight heat. GLaDOS turned her sights away from the test subject and focused herself back into her main chamber. She knew three little ones of her own that should be asleep as well. Her gaze turned to a large nest with three fully grown crows inside. They were huddled together already fast asleep. GLaDOS dimmed the lighting in her chamber.
"Good night my little ones" she cooed then turned her attention back to the test subject.
She spent all night watching the human woman. GLaDOS observed as she'd wake up periodically from either discomfort or contractions, adjust her position and go back to sleep. She had even tried pushing several times when the pain was particularly unbearable but nothing happened. GLaDOS chuckled with a shake of her head as the former test subject moved to get comfortable once more. That girl was not going to get much sleep tonight. Still, the spying A.I could only watch and wait with baited breath. She knew that this was something that, without her meddling, would only happen in good time, and only when the baby was good and damn ready to come out. Not when Chell or GLaDOS wanted it to.
It was like that the whole night through and GLaDOS was severely weighing her options again about recapture, still her logic about not wanting to DIE won out every time. She thought about sending Orange and Blue out to assist. It was clear now that the woman was in distress, restless and just utterly exhausted. GLaDOS made up her mind. Orange and Blue it was then. She prepared to send the signal to the reassembly machines when a sharp cry from Chell caught her attention and froze her in her tracks. GLaDOS focused on the camera within the cube.
It was happening.
The A.I observed the soon-to-be-mother's breathing change from short, sharp breaths to deep long ones, and her body move into all fours, an then sit on her knees with her legs apart. Yes this was finally it, the moment. GLaDOS then swore that her camera seemed a whole lot closer to Chell suddenly, and she was partly right. Chell had moved again, this time to get back on her knees and lean against the cube. Now GLaDOS had an absolutely clear view of everything! Oh if her test subject only knew… she'd probably die of embarrassment. GLaDOS almost wanted to laugh out loud.
She activated her recording equipment. While the A.I was familiar with the human birth process, she had never seen or witnessed it live, and now, here was her former test subject, graciously giving her a live demonstration with the best seat in the house! GLaDOS fell silent in her thoughts, the only thing she could hear now was Chell's whimpers and the early morning birds from outside her little hideaway. A mixture of blood and clear liquids came from the body, GLaDOS knew this to be a sign of the water breaking. She could hear Chell's heavy breaths as she pushed, her whimpers gradually increasing as the pain did, but then they were bitten back as if Chell remembered that she was doing this in utter privacy, and wanted to remain hidden. Still, she let her whimpers escape and GLaDOS's optic widened as slowly but surely a tiny head began to emerge from the mother's body.
GLaDOS felt her entire chassis freeze at the sight, and she was sure that her circuits stopped working for just a nanosecond as an unidentified feeling ran through her, but whatever it was, it was warm and pleasant. She continued to watch as one of the mother's hand reached down and tenderly touch the child's head that peeked out from her body.
What a moment.
GLaDOS noted that Chell was starting to help herself. The woman barred down and as it's tiny shoulders and arms started to emerge, and Chell was helping guide it with her free hand.
'Self sufficient' was all the came to GLaDOS's mind about the woman and she supposed then that all her worry about recapture and assistance had been for not.
Finally, with one last heave, the baby fully slipped from its mother, down into the sopping blankets and sheets below, and started to wail for all it was worth. GLaDOS was only able to catch a brief glimpse but it was a girl. She watched as the mother moved immediately to bring the little infant up into her arms, it's body still covered in afterbirth, but that didn't seem to phase her. GLaDOS looked to Chell's face and was taken aback by just the sheer ammount of emotion she was showing. The human's eyes, normally cold and hard, were warm and smiling, yes her eyes were smiling, and the amount of love and pride that seemed to glow from her was immeasurable. She was smiling a full toothed smile with tears starting to streak down her face. GLaDOS could honestly say she had never seen such an expression on a human, let along her former test subject, but there was no doubt in her mind that it was real.
The test subject moved away from the spot of the birth and laid down with the whining infant cuddled in her arms. She threw a few blankets over them, and she used a spare sheet to wipe away at some of the infant's skin to clean it, before falling into a restful snooze. GLaDOS simply looked at them for a moment then spoke to herself.
GLaDOS continued to watch over the pair as the dog days of summer passed on by. Chell barley left her little hideaway, and when she did it was only to use the washroom or find food, and each time she left the baby in the room alone. When she'd go to find food, she'd wrap it in blankets and then, as if to hide it - which she probably was, she'd gently place a few more blankets over top of it, to cover the infant from sight, and leave the house. It was always at those times that GLaDOS was on high alert. Not for the fear of Chell coming back to Aperture, but for the fear that she would abandon the baby or something wild might attack it. It was those times that she had Blue and Orange ready to go at a split second's moment. Thankfully that never did happen and GLaDOS always watched as Chell never strayed far from the little house at all. 'Still,' GLaDOS reasoned with herself, 'better safe than sorry.'
Chell and her child stayed there for weeks, every day GLaDOS would turn on the camera and observe new behaviour within her former test subject that she found utterly fascinating. This little infant had magically transformed this dangerous mute lunatic into a caring and protective mother figure that would hum and cradle it to sleep. It really was quiet the change, and while GLaDOS thought the change was a good one, she wouldn't consider recapture now by a long shot. GLaDOS was smart, she knew better than to get in the middle of a lunatic and her offspring. The comparison could easily rival that of a mother grizzly protecting its cub. Actually, if GLaDOS had to put money on who would win in a death match between the two, her money was on the Lunatic.
Finally, one particular morning, when the leaves were starting to change colour and fall, GLaDOS turned on her camera only to find Chell and the baby gone. The room in which they had hibernated in during the warm summer months was now cleaned up, all signs of their living there, gone. The only thing that remained was the cube. Chell had left it behind. GLaDOS turned on the feed to the township security cameras but could not find a single trace of the human and her child.
They were gone.
Nodding to herself, GLaDOS turned off the feed for the final time and sighed. She then looked up at the ceiling and spoke aloud to her long gone subject.
"Since I know you don't have a mother of your own, allow me to do the honours in wishing you the following. You put me though a lot of trouble and anxiety, you brat! You made me worry and panic, you made me infuriated beyond belief. You killed me once and tried to do it again, and I'm sure if I had hair it would all be grey right now! So from one mother to another I hope, to whatever god above that is listening to me, that that child turns out to be EXACTLY like YOU. A dangerous little lunatic that gives you hell!" she proclaimed with a full hardy laugh. It was only fitting.
AN: So I actually had an alternate ending where GlaDOS does interfere. If you wanna read it, say so in your review and I'll post it. If not, the just plain review. I always love them!