Drabbled it this morning. First Portal shot. Like playing with Android/Humanoic!Wheatly.

Should Have Just...

He kept trying to hold her hand.

At first it had been kind of cute because he was obviously scared and didn't know what he should do. But as they'd navigated the inner workings of Aperture, she'd kept shaking him off because it was hard to jump down ten feet of broken catwalks with an android clinging to your hand. But then, of course, she'd have to coax him through all the places he didn't want to go, promising to catch him after that ten foot jump, assuring him that that crawl space was safe, not quite sure who was leading who.

He still kept trying to grab her hand.

It came to a head when they had to pass through Her chamber.

Where Chell was scared and pushing that fear aside, he was terrified out of his little robot mind. He grabbed her arm, clinging to her pathetically, fingers digging too tightly into her skin as she walked into the jungle beyond the door. He kept talking, rambling meaninglessly, his words tangling into a steady stream of white noise in his fear. As they skirted the great chassis-or what was left of it- and the body hidden in dirt and undergrowth, Chell chanced a glance back at him.

His softly glowing blue eyes were wide behind the glasses he probably didn't need, he was trembling, shoulders hunched up to his ears so that the handles looping over his shoulders knocked against his temples. Normally, standing up straight (as straight as he did since he always had a hunched sort of quality about him), he was about six foot something and towered over her. Now he was attempting to hide his gangly tangle of limbs behind her. And failing.

Seeing him cowering, giving into a terror she herself had never had time or energy to give into, she didn't have the heart to force him to let go.

But then he'd realized that She wasn't on, that She hadn't been on for years, and he relaxed, shoulders slumping. But he hadn't let go of her. He'd released his death grip on Chell's arm but his hand dropped down and his long fingers wrapped around her's, her smaller hand almost vanishing into his comically big one.

She shook him off, yanking her hand away and shaking her head at him. His expression was confused and just a little bit hurt and he reached for her hand again.

She frowned, shook her head again, and wrapped her free hand around the Portal Device, pointedly turning her back on him.

After that it was like a babbling rain cloud had decided to follow her around.

But despite his clumsiness, despite his nervous babble, despite the fact that sometimes it seemed like he had no clue where he was going, Chell followed him. And they found the control room, after a few mishaps, and it really seemed like she could finally, finally, get out of that awful, terrible place.

And, of course, that was when things had gone wrong.

He flopped into the control room chair, spinning around happily and commenting about how it was more comfortable than his Official Management Rail Chair. His fingers danced in the air, looking around for the right switch, telling her to do the same in that same, rambling voice, never able to keep his mouth shut.

Chell was never really sure if the control room elevator moving up had been his fault or if it was just something that had happened in response to their searching. Whatever the reason, the elevator had started to moved up, taking them both with them, and flipping ever single switch on the way up. He'd tried to fix it...and only made it worse but she couldn't blame him for trying.

They surfaced back in Her chamber only now things were active. The entire system was rebooting, turning everything back on, fixing the mainframe. Fixing Her. He panicked, voice cracking, hands shaking as he tried his pathetic, override passwords that Chell knew wouldn't make a difference because it would never be that easy.

And once She was awake, once She saw who had woken Her up, it was all over.

Two great claws scooped them up. Chell dropped the Portal Device in her panicked surprise; dangling several feet in the air at the mercy of Her was different than falling fifty feet into a portal to launch across the room.

He was nearly in tears (could androids cry?), shivering and twisting in Her grip, shaking hands pushing against the claw that was wrapped crushingly tight around his middle.

She was talking, guilt tripping, being Her general horrible self, swinging them through the air, running Her restless fingers through Her messy hair as if nothing had happened, talking cooly over his cries. For a while. She didn't seem to have a lot of patience for whining androids. The claw around him tightened and he screamed, his voice cracking into a robotic warble before settling back down into its usual pitch.

"No, no, no!" He was screaming, struggling, trying to free himself, "No, no, I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Nononono-AAAHHHHGGGG!" Another, tighter squeeze and something crunched, the glowing plate across his chest cracked and glass pattered pleasantly across the floor.

He sagged in Her grip but She kept talking, pretending She was ignoring him, smoothing out the wrinkles in Her stained and dusty outfit. The light in his blue eyes flickered, dimmed, and looked to Chell. She stared at him as they hung there, not sure what was going to happen but getting a pretty good idea.

"Help me..." That human quality was still in his voice but now it was coming through a buzz of radio static, broken and fuzzy at the edges, "Help me, please, I don't want to..."

One trembling hand reached out for her, fingers twitching, and without even thinking she reached out in return.

The claw crunched down, there was a burst of sparks, and his arm dropped, dangling limply from Her claw. Then, as if he was nothing but garbage, She tossed his limp frame away into the bushes of the jungle around Her and returned Her attention to the only one She'd had any interest in in the first place.

But Chell still had her hand outstretched, reaching for someone who wasn't there anymore.

She was talking but Chell wasn't listening, not really, not completely. The image of his desperate face, of those fading blue eyes were, were still there on the surface of her vision and she didn't want to blink incase they faded away.

She'd gotten him killed.

And he was just a silly little android, an Aperture device, a personality core construct, so why did it hurt?

She was still trying to figure that out when the claw released her and she dropped down the opening beneath her, sliding through the tube, Her last words following her down the sleek metal.

"You monster."

Maybe, she thought as she shot out of the end of the tunnel and slammed into the hard, burned, metal floor,

Maybe I should have just held his hand.