Hello! I am writing this to break my writer's block! Which has been a beast! Sorry to those of you waiting for a prompt fill! *cough* Jamiwami *cough*

PS- I am holding a portal fic competition! I am going to try to make this an annual thing. If you see a story that you would like entered, let me know. The voters will be the readers. The top three winners will each get a steam game from me. So get out there and get writing! :)


"Really now. Haven't you slept enough in one lifetime?"

Her eyes snapped open at the sound and almost immediately squinted shut again in regret. That bright, cold light was merciless on her now apparent headache.

Half curling on her side, she clutched her pounding skull and let out a soft whimper. She could feel the crisp starchy sheets that tangled themselves around her as she rolled into a protective ball against the intrusiveness of it all.

"I know you can hear me. And I'm not amused. Assuming the fetal position against an 80 watt bulb does nothing to impress me. In fact, it only embarrasses me. If you had any social grace you would feel ashamed too. So. Get. Up."

She hefted the pillow that she was currently nuzzled into and promptly dropped it back down over her head. Ever so quick to offer it's opinion, the voice called out, slightly muffled by the flat cushion that was now adorning the suffering woman's head.

"As much as I would love to see you smother yourself with that brick of a pillow, we have business to attend to, and things to discuss. Neither of which I will be doing with you if you continue to rot in that bed. Besides, that is not something that you should be doing right now, it will only hurt more later. I am not going to leave you alone this time. Now, for the last time. Get. Up."

Annoyance combined with the general irritability that came along with migraines drove her to push beyond the comforting darkness of her 'helmet' and confront the owner of that taunting voice, ready to dispense with some choice 'advice' of her own.

...And promptly found that no one was in the room.

How peculiar.

She could have sworn that someone was just talking to her. In fact, it had even sounded like they were right next to her.

Her eyes traced the perimeter of what looked to be a hospital room. Well, it would have been a hospital room. If not for the fact that she was the only bed in the entire room. Everything else was just sterile white tiles in a well lit room. Not even a window was in sight. Everything was just empty and devoid of life.

She noted with increasing anxiety that there wasn't even a door for her to try and get out through.

But...the place couldn't have been empty...

Where was the woman that was bossing her around moments ago?

And thinking about it, there was only one other place that she still hadn't checked yet.

Somewhat regretfully, she slipped her legs out from her warm cocoon of stiff bleached blankets and turned to plant them solidly on the cold tiles of the floor. Slowly easing herself off of the sturdy mattress of the infirmary bed, she pushed herself up (and my god was she stiff... and sore!) and shakily stood.

Unsteadily, she tottered forward a few testing steps. Then, turning around she carefully bent down to her hands and knees and peered underneath the bed.

Nope.

No one was there.

So where the hell was the voi-

"Are you quite done?"

That voice seemed to come from everywhere all at once. She couldn't pinpoint its source.

"Why are you looking around? What are you afraid that you lost a few pounds or something? Don't worry. You didn't lose any of the-"

"Where are you hiding!"

"...What?"

"You heard me! Where are you hiding? You're not in this room, that's for damn sure. Come out and show yourself!"

"...What on earth, are you talking about?"

She cast her eyes wildly around the room, looking for a weapon, a shield, anything, to try and defend herself with. The only thing she found lying near the bed was a small bag of a clear fluid hanging from a pole. Her eyes followed the line that was dangling off of the baggie to its very end where she found a needle laying in the air. Its end was colored in what looked to be fresh blood. Slowly, she looked down at her own hands, realizing that her left hand had a fresh bandage wrapped on it. Peeling it back she looked at the wound.

One tiny puncture mark dotted with a bright red dot.

Paranoia kicking in, she hurried over to the bag, stumbling over her own weak legs more than once in the process, looking at the labeling in an attempt to discern what exactly she had been injected with.

"Its only fluids. You were...asleep for quite awhile."

Sharply looking up, eyes darting around the room for a lack of something to focus her ire on, she barked, "What kind of fluids? Why was I asleep? How long?"

"A simple saline solution. To keep you hydrated," the voice echoed coolly.

"How do I know it was only that!"

"I know its hard for you, but maybe if you try reading the label, you can get better information."

Curling her lips into a frustrated snarl, she snatched the bag off of its perch and scanned the label.

It innocently read back in big bold letters Saline, along with many other chemical names that she could hardly even pronounce.

"I must say that I thought that we were past all of this by now. Are you trying to break my heart again? Because honestly, right now I'm a little hurt by all of this."

"...Again?"

"Yes. While my feelings are not as primitive as yours are, I can attempt to describe what I am going through on a broken down level such as your own."

"...Where am I?"

The tiny room got so deadly quiet that she found herself holding her own breath in anticipation. Anticipation for what, well...she didn't quite know. It was silent for such a long awkward stretch that she started to grit her teeth in discomfort.

"...There is a camera in the top left corner of the room in the direction you are facing. Walk to it."

She jumped slightly when the voice finally spoke up again, and it took a moment for her to regain her composure. Glancing up at the aforementioned spot, she found that indeed, there was a camera. And from the looks of it, it had been tracking her every movement since she had gotten out of that damn bed.

Cautiously she made her way over to it. Her stiff limbs aching in protest at her wandering.

"Look up directly into the lens. Do not look away until I say otherwise."

"Why? What are you looking fo-"

"DO- as I say."

Well. That tone brokered no argument.

Standing directly underneath the dull red glow of the camera, she complied with the voice's orders and stared unwaveringly into its depths.

"Hmmm...pupils are not dilating. Focusing seems normal. Awareness seems slow. Well, we can rule out a concussion...Look to your right please."

She complied, turning her head, and fighting a sudden wave of nausea that roiled through her.

Her discomfort must have shown on her face, because the voice keenly took note of her reaction.

"Feels symptoms approaching motion sickness when moving field of vision. Wound appears to be healing nicely. So that's not the issue."

Wound?

Frantically her hands flew up to her scalp, and yep, there it was. A long thin line of what felt to be stitches traced a line from the nape of her neck and curled almost around to her temple. It should have hurt. Instead, she realized as her fingers felt the fine bristles of her partially shaved hairline, she didn't feel a thing.

Eerily fast, the voice picked up on her confusion.

"I used a localized opioid to treat the area. If I didn't, then you would currently be screaming in agony at what you are doing right now."

Tracing the tiny knots that were stitched into her skin, she felt her being start to close in on itself. Like a flower, folding in its petals to protect itself from the cold.

There was so much that she didn't understand. And this voice, this disembodied voice, sounded like it wasn't going to offer much help. In fact, it rather seemed like it was going to only complicate things.

"You know, I am rather shocked by this whole outcome. I mean, you handled being hit by the explosion from that moron's bombs much, much better than this. Although, that too required surgery. So I guess you can say that this is the third time that I've spared your life. Which is three more times than you can claim. Actually, considering that you've tried to kill me twice, and let that idiot put me into a potato, I think that we can both agree that my efforts are now doubled in value as compared to yours. You monster."

She tried to voice her confusion, she really did.

But...

This was just too overwhelming. It was too much, too much for right now.

She lost her words.

She could not find the will to speak. Not now...

"...What? It was only a joke. No need to get sensitive about it."

She started to pant, looking for a breath that was suddenly hard to find.

"...You look pale. Are you alright?"

Her fingertips felt numb. Her heart was racing. She heard a roaring in her ears.

Distantly she heard the voice saying something...but the words were lost to her.

"Chell? Chell. Listen to me. You need to calm down. You are going to have a panic attack if you do not calm down. Chell. Chell! Calm down!"

Too absorbed in the way that her body was starting to refuse to respond to her, the irony that now the voice seemed to be panicking was lost on her.

The roaring was deafening. Black was beginning to edge in on the corners of her vision. But she reached out within herself, and found her last vestige of strength: a thin vein, born of pure force of will. It was with this stubbornness that she clung to her fading consciousness.

Sinking to her knees, she focused on taking deep slow breaths.

Eventually the roar died down to a slow steady beat, as she began to relax. Her heart was no longer thudding against her chest, threatening to burst from her rib cage. Her pulse had cooled down to one approaching normal.

She heard the soft murmurings of the voice, whispering reassurances that she was ok now. That she was safe.

Peeling open eyes that she hadn't realized that she had closed, she jerked violently at the sight of the ring of large metal arms that had appeared from between the now flipped up floor panels and now had surrounded her. Ready to catch her if she had given in, and passed out.

Exhausted, but not willing to give in just yet, she picked herself up once more to a standing position.

Weakly, she pressed through the ring of arms, which slithered back to their places underneath panels and tiles. She limped over to the dull ruby lenses of the camera and licking her cracked lips, gave it a penetrating stare.

"Who are you?"

She never knew that dead silence could be so loud.

"Who...Who am I?"

She heard a small, unintentional gasp escape from the voice before it was violently stamped out with a crackle of static.

"...You don't..."

"...You..."

"...You don't remember do you?"

She could see her own look of despair, reflected in the glass of the camera's lens.

"...You don't remember a thing...do you?"

The voice seemed to be rather intrigued by her dilemma... even a bit...excited. But now, having had the rage and confusion bled dry from her, the only thing she had left to feel was a deep sense of frustration...and oddly enough, nostalgia. As though some of these blank spots in her head had been there before...

Numbly, she shook her head.

"Oh...Ha...Well then...This is going to be ...good..."