My eyes flicker open. I instantly regret opening them as the harsh fluorescents burn my eyes, threatening to blind me. My eyes water and blink rapidly, trying in vain to adjust my vision. A heavy sigh escapes my lips as I oh-so-slowly return to consciousness. I sit up. Well, I try to, at any rate. A starburst of pain rips through my body, sending me sprawling back onto the hospital bed. My side is on fire. I think I pass out again.
The pain has lessened. I grit my teeth and try to sit up again. Another shockwave runs up my chest, but I don't fall again. My feet clench up as they touch the cold floor, and a large shiver runs down my spine. I realize I'm not wearing my jumpsuit, but rather a large, white hospital gown. The Aperture logo is emblazoned on the chest pocket. Seeing the black triangles makes me feel safe.
I stand. My legs quake and threaten to buckle, but I remain standing. I focus on a nearby table, where some folded clothes rest, along with a small mirror. I take a wobbly step towards the table, nearly collapsing as I do so. It's almost as if I've forgotten how to walk.
I stumble over to the table, holding out a hand to steady myself on the lightly-colored wood. I strip off the hospital gown and freeze as I get my first look at my body under the bright lights.
"Jesus." I know I'd gotten pretty beat up during my time in Aperture, but you had to grit your teeth and carry on, unless you wanted to be shot full of holes, or burned to a crisp, or… well, let's just say you had to keep on your toes. Only I hadn't taken into account the accumulation of scars that dated all the way back to my first few Test Chambers. Marks left by shattered glass, by Thermal Discouragement Beams, by grazed bullets, by fire. Then there was the wound in my arm, courtesy of the Mobile Turrets. And of course the bandages wrapped around my sides from when Wheatley had thrown me. My skin was like a map where you could trace all the horrible things that had happened.
I shake the thoughts out of my head. It doesn't matter, I tell myself as I slip on the clothes left for me. Apparently GLaDOS is out of jumpsuits, for I now wear brown cargo pants, a black T-shirt and a white labcoat.
Clad in my new attire, I walk to the door, swaying a little with each step. I'm not used to walking without my Long-Fall Boots.
Two Military Androids are standing guard outside my door. They salute me as I enter the hallway. "The General wishes to see you," one says after I've returned the gesture. "She has instructed us to escort you to Her Chamber as soon as you were able."
I nod. The Androids turn on their heels and begin marching down the halls. I have to jog in order to keep up with them.
I'm breathing heavily when we arrive at Her Chamber. The Androids glance at each other and take up positions at the chamber door. I take a moment to compose myself and walk through the opening.
GLaDOS is waiting for me. The massive supercomputer turns as I enter, and a rush of static fills the chamber as she sighs with relief. "Thank God, you're alright."
I grin up at her, and she chuckles. "Hmm. I've said that before, haven't I? Nevertheless, I am glad you're awake. You were in critical condition when we arrived at the Hospital Wing. We had to work all night on you. Then you went and slept for an entire week. Some of the staff assumed you'd slipped into a coma, but I knew you were just being lazy."
I roll my eyes and look about the chamber. A large cylinder next to the Escape Lift catches my gaze. "Is that..?"
"That is where my Android body is stored when not in use." The light flicker and GLaDOS goes limp. The cylinder opens, white smoke pouring out of the structure. GLaDOS's form appears amid the smoke, which clears after a moment or two.
The Android grins at me. "I must say, I rather enjoy this body. The sense of mobility is quite enjoyable," she says, walking around me. She gazes up at the limp machine above the two of us… her. "My, my. Am I really that intimidating? And beautiful, I might add."
"Let's not forget humble," I say, smirking at GLaDOS.
She rolls her eyes. "I don't recall asking your opinion, Chell. Allow me to admire myself. You certainly have no objection to the concept."
Scoffing, I wander over to the Escape Lift. GLaDOS's eyes are on me as the glass doors slide open. "So what happens now?" I ask.
"That is up to you," she replies, looking away. "There is nothing stopping you from leaving Aperture. If you so wish, you may leave now." She pauses for a moment before continuing. "However, I, along with Orange, Blue, and the Military Androids, have no objections to you… staying."
Our eyes meet. "And here I was sure you would want me to leave."
She shakes her head. "No. In the past, yes, I had wished that you had left. When you did, though… Well, I no longer Want You Gone."
I smile at the Android. "So I'll stay."
And that's a wrap! Before you say anything, YES, I know the ending isn't the best. My Muse and I agreed that this would be hard to do, and hard it certainly was. But, we managed to finish this.
I'd like to thank each and every one of my readers for helping me during this adventure. You guys have encouraged me with your reviews, and you all are the real reason this fic was able to be completed. I'm going to express my gratitude by thanking you all, here and now, in the final Author's Note of Portal Cubed.
Story Alerts (those that added this fic to your Story Alerts): A Guy Named George; Animefanatic5602; ApertureX; Arvata; Assozat; Cder3; chilled blood; Codelyok13; DarkWind13; DiceRox09; DoomReaverX; elfowlgirl; epicdonut2344; EthanTek; FMAlcheholic; GLaDOS2.0; iDOG; Invader Viceroy; IronWolf115; ITman496; Jericho525; Keisanki; Lilypad the Fourth; lordzoabar; MadHighlander; MagicWhiz45; Mellifluousness; MentalLapsus; Moonshadow9992; My Eternal Façade; Noir Detective; Omegakishan; Peebo2206; Purple Spy; Quoth the Raven1111; Rakivia; Roamingmercenary; Ruxas; Smorgesborg; sullyz; swimfeared; Techman2012; TheInvisibleQuestion; Topaz18; Ulster Gold; Wario Roo; and Wizardwolf607
Favorites (those that added this fic to your Favorite Stories): Apathetic Sympathy; Arvata; ASHPoD67; Catflower Queen; cder3; chilled blood; Demonhedgehog; DiceRox09; EthanTek; Eyriegryph; Faustian5; GLaDOS2.0; Invader Viceroy; JinxH; knightwolf57; Korekara; L.L x C.C; Mellifluousness; MuRaSaKi-Rein; naru-chan 92; Nova Cameron; OnyxWraith; phantomdemon2; PyroPotter; Rakivia; Randomness Equals Happiness; Roamingmercenary; Rorschach test; Shimmer-chan; Shodaime Gahokage; Smorgesborg; sullyz; Techman2012; ThatFailGuy; Topaz18; and Wizardwolf607
Reviews (those that reviewed) [In Order of Appearance]: iDOG; Wizardwolf607; Rose Starglen; axel100; knightwolf57; Mellifluousness; sullyz; Topaz18; Redleaf; Riekland; suntan50; Codelyok13; aanon; DarkWind13; DiceRox09; SayWUT; Species Unknown; GLaDOS2.0; Korekara; Glacier; TheInvisibleQuestion; Good chapter; Sgt. Creeper; Smorgesborg; Invader Viceroy; ASHPoD67; Anon; Guest; chilled blood; Assozat; and SupahNyanCat
Wow. That was a lot more than I'd expected. But seriously: Thanks to all of you.
Now, let's skip to the post-credits teaser scene, shall we?
The small city was in ruins. Many of the buildings had crumbled under the pressure put on them by the explosions. Rubble and broken shards of glass filled the streets.
If a passerby were to find the city – perhaps a scavenger, hunting for food, or a loner searching for somewhere to spend the night – they would pay it no heed. They would take one look at the collapsed buildings and turn away, knowing there was nothing to be found beneath the massive piles of debris.
But they would be wrong. If they took the time to traverse the wreckage, making their way to the city's center, they would find an abandoned facility that had somehow survived destruction. If this hypothetical passerby were to enter the facility and climb the many flights of stairs, they would find a large room. That room would contain a body, surrounded by a crimson pool of blood.
Maybe this passerby would take a closer look at the body. The passerby would walk forwards and kneel down, inspecting the corpse, no doubt looking to see if there were any valuable items to be obtained. Perhaps they would see the wireframe glasses that adorned the dead man's face. If the passerby was relatively smart, they would know that the convex lenses could be used to focus the sun's rays to create a fire. So it is not at all inconceivable that this passerby would attempt to take the glasses from the man. If that were to happen, however, they would see one more thing before they died.
They would see the man's cerulean eyes open wide.