I wanted to do something silly.


Contents Under Pressure


Humans, Wheatley decided did some very, very odd things.

Like grow hair and then shave it off for no apparent reason, they changed their clothes all the time, and they crammed themselves into little metal boxes on wheels to go places. Cars, he knew they were called, and he did not like them.

It was like being trapped in a death machine and, if he could get away with it, he wouldn't get in one. But if Chell wanted to go someplace and she wanted him to come and she was getting in the car then he sure as hell better get in it too. He'd learned the hard way that Chell rarely took no for an answer. Still, he'd managed to compromise by refusing to sit up front with her and taking up almost all of the back seat. And he did not wear a seatbelt.

"That's like tying yourself down for a sacrifice!" He'd told her when she'd protested this behavior, "I'm not going to strap myself down into a metal death machine, thanks very much!" And he stubbornly refused to be moved on the subject. In the end, she'd let him have it. It was one of the few battles he'd actually won.

Aside from his victory with the seatbelt and refusing to be washed (android, hello, water was a big no-no), Wheatley generally listened to Chell. Oh, they argued and even though she only said about three words when he would rant for hours, she usually came out the victor. It might have had something to do with that furiously intent look she could give him. He'd tried to mimic it once. It hadn't gone over well.

The seatbelt argument had been their latest and had happened almost three months ago. There weren't a lot of car rides, for which Wheatley was grateful. Being stuck in that metal box gave him the heebie-jeebies.

Unfortunately, supply runs were necessary and when he needed parts replaced, he had to go with her. This was one of those times.

It had rained the night before and the dirt roads were more mud pits than anything else. When Chell steered the car down the road, great splashes of brown-ish water were thrown up the sides of the car and Wheatley was tossed all over the backseat as they jostled their way along. More than once he hit head. When they reached smoother roads, he caught Chell giving him an 'I told you so' look in the mirror and scowled at her.

The run took up most of the day. Finding the part Wheatley needed to stop his left wrist from clicking and sticking was difficult and when they finally returned to the car, both of them were tired. But the car was a disaster. It hadn't been the prettiest thing before but now it was coated in chunks of mud and splattered with crusty streaks of dirt and water. Chell frowned at it, dumped their purchases in the front seat and climbed in. Wheatley ducked into the back and settled into his usual position; back against one door, legs stretched out across the leathery seats. Chell smirked at him and started the engine with a roaring cough. It whined for a moment and then settled down and she steered it around and out of the parking lot.

"Oi, hey, luv, where you going?" Wheatley peered out the windows, frowning a little, "This isn't the way home. Where are we going?"

"For a wash." Chell answered, not looking at him.

"W-wash! Hey, no, we agreed no washing! There would be no washing, I made that perfectly clear and it's not like I'm that dirty anyway. Can't exactly stink up the place, can I, no, not me, can't sweat or—or any of that sort of thing. Android, aren't I? And—and, I know I mentioned this, androids and water do not mix, definitely do not, and that's why we agreed no washing—."

"The car."

"What?"

"We're washing the car." She said and turned said vehicle towards a long boxy structure off the side of the road. She rolled the window down, leaned out, and pressed a button on the screen outside the building. It hummed and played a pleasant tune. Then a voice told them to move the car forward and put it in neutral.

Wheatley watched with a shred of trepidation as Chell let go of the steering wheel and sat back in the seat. The car kept moving though, pulled into the box building by some sort of invisible force. Maybe it was an invisible excursion funnel.

He was about to ask her what was making the car move when the first blast of water sprayed across the windows.

Wheatley let out a yelp of terror and threw himself forward, tangling in his legs and nearly falling off the seat. He pressed himself against the opposite car door until he realized that that one was being sprayed with water too. With another girlish cry he ducked into the middle of the car seat, knees drawn up his chest, arms over his head, blue eyes darting back and forth between the windows. Chell hid a smile behind her hand and pretended she hadn't noticed.

He was a little bit better about the soap. It was a rainbow of colors across the windows and he actually uncurled to press his face against the glass and look at it. Chell would have to wipe the Wheatley marks off the insides of her windows later. She smiled, watching him in the review mirror as he followed the streaks of bubbly color down the sides of the windows.

Then the water came again and he was back in the middle of seat, screaming like a small child, "No, okay, joke over! You can turn the water off! Lady, hey, Chell, Chell! Please, come on, water, turn it off!"

"It can't hurt you." She promised, twisting around in the front seat to look at him. He had his arms wrapped over his head and his feet up on the seat so that his chin was on his knees. It was almost comical, really.

He opened his mouth to reply to her but a loud, muffled thump from the front of the car made him look up. A squeak of terror escaped and him and he pressed himself against the back of the seat, eyes wide. Chell looked around and saw long, heavy strips of cloth thumping and dragging themselves across the surface of the vehicle, spreading around soap and water. They covered the car, dimming the inside into a dull gloom. She turned back around to explain that it was nothing to worry about but Wheatley had vanished.

"Wheatley?"

It was only by luck that she happened to look down and saw that he'd wedged himself between the back seat and the front seats, his arms still curled over his head. He was honest to God scared. Feeling a little bad about laughing at his terror, Chell leaned down and pressed a hand against his shoulder.

A softly glowing blue eye shielded behind smeared up glasses appeared between the folds of long, gangly arms and stared at her. Chell put on her best reassuring smile and rubbed his broad and pointy shoulder in a comforting manner. Slowly, ever so slowly, he uncurled and gingerly climbed back onto the seat, though he remained in the middle. His long fingers were curled tightly around the edge of the seat, his legs were still on the floor but tense and bunched with the knees pressed together, and he kept glancing at the windows as if they suddenly might vanish and flood the entire car with water.

Chell, for her part, patted his knee once and then turned back to face the front again. He jumped when the spinning wipers went by, flapping and thudding against the car, and he'd tried to curl in on himself again when the last sprays of water came down but he stayed on his seat so that was something.

He'd just started to relax, believing it was finally over, when they came underneath the blow driers.

Wheatley let out an almighty shriek when the roar of the high-powered wind thundered against the car and jumped and flailed about so much that he hit his head on the ceiling. He clutched at his messy blondish hair with one hand and used the other to pull himself halfway into the front seat. But his look of worrying terror was quickly replaced with a somewhat hurt scowl when he saw Chell laughing. It wasn't a hard laugh but it was enough and he sulkily pulled away to the back seat and wouldn't speak to her until they'd gotten back to the house.

On the other hand, he started wearing his seatbelt after that.