AN: This is a story I wrote for the portalkink meme. Please read the warnings before proceeding to make sure this doesn't squick you!
Warnings: dub-con, forced orgasms, sexual pleasure as coercion, GlaDOs being nasty
If any of those things aren't your cup of tea, you might wanna steer clear of this fic! If you don't mind them, then I hope you enjoy it! :]
The Art of Diplomacy
What had gotten them out was a leap of faith.
Chell had stepped into another crudely hashed-together test chamber, and while she had been undergoing her customary investigation of the room, she had noticed, through the ragged gash that ran the length of the floor, a walkway beneath them.
There were no surfaces to portal onto, but if she timed it right, she could drop down onto it. It would be risky, and there was no guarantee the walkway was firm enough to hold her, but if she was going to get through to the power-mad AI that had once been her partner in crime she would need to do it quickly. Wheatley was growing more and more irrational as they completed more test chambers.
GLaDOS, ever intuitive, seemed to have noticed her pause. "What are you-oh. Down there?"
Chell pretended to peer closely at the button display across the room and nodded slightly.
"That's quite a jump, but it's a chance to get under his radar. Hmmm." There was a pause from the potato stuck to the end of her gun, "Let's do it. What have we got to lose?"
Chell took a deep breath. Had she retained the ability to speak, she might have told GLaDOS exactly what she had to lose, but at the top of that list was surely her life, and staying here and continuing to do these tests would eventually result in the forfeit of such, anyway. So she took one step towards the other end of the room-she could feel the intensity of the sphere watching her through the monitor-and without warning turned and flung herself down the fissure.
"What-WHAT, NO, NO COME BACK!" Wheatley's voice was instantly desperate. Chell could barely hear it over the rush of air and the pounding of her own heart in her ears as she hung momentarily in space, and then with a body-shaking jolt she landed on the walkway, which squealed alarmingly in protest.
"Run, run run!" GLaDOS urged, and Chell did just that, springing towards a junction where the walkway met the wall even as it tilted crazily sideways under her feet. She leaped again, ramming her shoulder into the wall, just as the weak section of walkway twisted itself into a sharp downwards angle. It didn't break, but there would have been no way she would have scaled it had she not just jumped clear.
Chell began to move forward at a brisk pace. There was only one direction for her to go, and that was along the walkway. Wheatley continued to plead with her, his voice echoing hollowly from far-away speakers, but determinedly, Chell ignored his every entreaty. Eventually GLaDOS spoke up again. "I think I know where we are. And if I do, we're in luck. There should be a doorway ahead."
There was. Chell stepped through, and into a new network of labyrinthine walkways and side passages. "Perfect! This could be just what we need to get the upper hand. If it's still working." GLaDOS began to direct her, and Chell obediently followed. After about fifteen minutes of utter confusion, they came to a door that was hanging off its hinges. Chell ducked inside.
There was an impressive array at the end of the room comprised mainly of sleek LCD screens, snarls of thick insulated wiring, and a profusion of bewildering interfaces. As Chell stepped toward it doubtfully, GLaDOS began to explain. "This is a backup control room, for scientists to interface directly with the central mainframe. That, under normal circumstances, would be me. We won't be able to control him from here, but we might be able to convince him."
Chell stepped up, and at GLaDOS's request, held the portal gun out so that GLaDOS could get a good look at the entire contraption. It crouched like a beast before them, hungrily awaiting input. Chell noticed that one screen was displaying the hub room where she had left Wheatley. He was frantically swiveling between screens, calling for her.
It upset her a bit. She had grown fond of her erratic companion. Chell had not been terribly surprised when, during her first round of trials at this facility, GLaDOS had turned on her. There had been an undercurrent of menace from the soft-spoken computer since the very beginning. Wheatley was different. All he wanted was the same thing she wanted, which was to be free. They'd done a lot together, and now he was rapidly becoming something dangerous.
She wanted to reason with him, but she didn't know where to begin. She couldn't even speak to him, and he obviously wasn't in his most rational frame of mind. Chell was intelligent, resourceful, and when she needed to be, ruthless, but she also had a great capacity for forgiveness in her. She'd forgiven GLaDOS. She could easily forgive Wheatley, if only she could first ensure that he wasn't a danger to her.
"Okay. Got it. This is going to be fun. See that display over there? That'll give us control over his punishment/reward protocols. I think if we dig deep enough we might be able to disable, or at least deaden, the test-requirement impulses, but we'd need to distract him first. Follow my lead."
Chell carefully removed the portal gun so that she could type at GLaDOS's direction. It unnerved her to be without it, but right now speed was their best defense. If Wheatley sensed they were infiltrating his system, he would know where they were.
"Okay," GLaDOS had dropped her voice to a near-whisper sometime during the procedure, which led Chell to believe that she had opened some sort of communication channel at some point, "I can't override them completely, but I think I've lowered the frequency of test-compliance pings. He'll be a little more willing to listen. If it worked. Now for the fun part-turn the gun so that I can see the screen with him on it. I want to watch this. Good, thank you. Now just press the red button on the touch screen."
Chell hesitated one moment. She didn't like just how into this GLaDOS seemed. It probably meant something bad was about to happen. She complied, though, and surely enough, on the screen, the mainframe's enormous chassis suddenly seized up in obvious pain. Wheatley screamed, and GlaDOS laughed.
"Arrgh! You did that, I know you did that! Why did you do that? That really hurt, you know!"
GLaDOS spoke up. "I am in control now. Push it again. Go on." Chell hesitated, and GLaDOS went on, "Why won't-you know what? Never mind. I think we've made our point."
"So that's it, then? You've completely turned on me, haven't you?" There was a hint of desperation in Wheatley's voice. "You know what? I should have seen this coming. I should have seen the signs. You were always so quiet, silently ju-"
"She's always quiet! She can't speak!"
"And you never caught me, you know. I risked my life for you! Twice! And when I ask you to do a little testing, which is all I've asked, you turn on me. Typical. Typical human."
Chell was shaking her head mutely, but Wheatley couldn't see her. Frantically, her attention darted from screen to screen, trying to find some way to communicate with him. GLaDOS seemed to be able to tell what she was doing. "It's a trap-he's trying to get us to show him where we are-"
"Of course I'm trying to find out where you are! You're hurting me! Why wouldn't I try to find you when you do that? And you call me the moron?"
"Because you are!"
This quickly degenerated into a healthy bit of bickering. More accurately, it was a bunch of mental blundering on Wheatley's part and a barrage of clever zingers from GLaDOS. Chell rubbed the bridge of her nose. She didn't want to hurt Wheatley again, and she wasn't entirely certain that GLaDOS's idea, which was apparently to intimidate him into surrender, was going to work. He was in control here. Subterfuge might work, but open intimidation? No.
Chell paused and looked back to the touch screen display. Right next to the red button was a green one. She stepped back over to it while GLaDOS and Wheatley continued to argue. She hesitated only one moment before she pushed against the green button display.
At this point Wheatley was quite upset, his voice shrill and cracking. "I don't see where you get off lecturing me, when you tri-urk-" Chell looked to the display as his voice cut off. His new chassis had rigidly bent up against itself, and his iris-shutters were wide. He was shaking. Chell took her hand off the button. It took him a moment to recover. "Wh… what was…"
"Did you just-?" GLaDOS began to ask at the same time.
Chell answered them by pressing the green display again.
"What… h-how are you… ohhh-"
"Do you know what you're doing to him?"
Chell nodded in satisfaction. She kept her fingers pressed against the touch-screen, and as long as she did, Wheatley continued to jerkily writhe in her viewscreen. She pulled her fingers away and Wheatley hung limp, the frame of his enormous new body drooping at uneven angles and his core-sphere nearly scraping the bottom of the chamber.
Chell was a problem-solver. Finding a way to get through to Wheatley wasn't the same as solving one of GLaDOS's puzzles, but the basic concept was simple enough. Wheatley's loyalty had transferred to the system. He was driven by a compulsion and a reward. Chell couldn't do anything about the compulsion except weaken it, but she could offer him the reward. And if her reward was better than was the system's built-in protocols were giving him, maybe that would lend weight to her argument, as it were.
"I think I know what you're trying to do," GLaDOS piped up, "and as crazy as it sounds, it might work. But would you mind turning the gun so that I can't see?"
Chell grinned, obliging her. By now Wheatley had recovered enough of his facilities to respond. Slowly the enormous chassis regained its tension, raising up off the floor and curving towards the ceiling. Without warning, one of the viewscreens in the control room flickered and displayed the images she'd seen on the monitors in the test chambers-Wheatley's face.
"Found you." He sounded breathless. It was a little odd, considering that he didn't need to breathe, but his speech patterns had been taken from a human. Chell supposed it counted anyway. She raised an eyebrow, meeting Wheatley's unblinking stare, and, holding his electric gaze, deliberately reached over and pushed against the touch screen again.
Instantly the iris-shutters descended, turning the blue glare into a thin strip of light. "I don't think you're… supposed… nngh…"
Chell shrugged. GLaDOS had a little more to say on the matter. "For the record, I don't think she knew that she would hurt you when she pressed the red button. That was my idea. This part is hers. And definitely not mine."
Chell removed her fingertips once again, but let her hand hover over the screen. Wheatley dropped out of sight on the monitor, likely too weak to hold himself up again. However this simulated pleasure worked, it apparently took a lot of power out of him. Perhaps, though, it was her blatant abuse of the system that was responsible for the drain.
"Apparently he isn't building up a resistance to this," GLaDOS observed quietly, wisely choosing to speak when Wheatley wasn't entirely able to listen, "Because that reaction was obviously at least as strong as the first test chamber's. It makes sense, I guess-this control panel was for the human scientists. And if they wanted to hurt or reward us, they'd want it to be absolute. Keep it up."
"Okay, okay, you've made your point. You've… actually I'm going to be honest with you, I'm not entirely certain what point it is you're trying to make here-"
At this Chell took her hand away from the screen and crossed her arms, giving Wheatley a look that mingled skepticism with reproach.
"Oh, you're mad at me." The sphere appeared in the screen again. He honestly sounded as if the idea had just occurred to him. "That's a funny way you have of showing you're mad. Is it a human thing?"
Chell's frown deepened.
"You know what, sorry, sorry, wrong time for that kind of question. Look, can this wait until a few more… a few more…"
He would have continued, but as he prattled on, Chell leaned back and brought her fingers up to the touch screen display. They weren't quite on the green button, but instead were rubbing the slick surface of the screen just below it, just outside of the pressure-sensitive range. Wheatley watched the back and forth motion closely. "Okay. You have my attention."
Chell gave a half-smile and rewarded him with a quick slip of her fingers. The movement was so sudden that it almost looked like an accident. Wheatley jerked on the screen. "Wh-what is it you want?"
Chell's satisfied expression immediately flipped. She grimaced and spread her arms in a gesture of overwhelming frustration.
"We want you to put me back in control of this facility!" GLaDOS demanded as indignantly as a potato could. "You're going to destroy it and us!"
"I told you I have everything under control!"
Chell shook her head emphatically and pointed accusingly at the sphere's image on the monitor before her.
When GLaDOS spoke, it sounded as if every word were being propelled from her tiny speaker by the sheer force of her contempt. "Wheatley, I wanted to hurt you until you gave in. Chell is giving you a chance that you shouldn't even have. She wants to… help you." She spat the last two words out as if it caused her physical pain to do so. "Why, I don't know, but she helped me, so I sort of have to honor her wishes."
Wheatley paused, and Chell nodded. For a moment she thought she was going to get through to him. "Look, I said I have everything under-"
Chell sighed and reached back, once against pushing her fingers against the display. Once again she cut Wheatley off, and the rogue AI's chassis shuddered as he moaned, whatever coherence he had possessed lost. Chell pulled her fingers away abruptly.
"That-" Once again Wheatley sounded inexplicably breathless, but there was a bewilderment to his voice that actually tugged at Chell's heart. "That's so good-it was never like that-how…"
GLaDOS chose that moment of mental weakness to strike. "Wheatley, I know you're enjoying being in control, but subservience has its own rewards. You could never do this on your own. She is doing it. And she is doing it because she wants to. If you blow this facility up like a moron, she won't be around to do things like this anymore. And clearly you enjoy it."
Wheatley said nothing. Chell decided to even the odds a bit by letting her fingers ghost over the surface of the touch-screen, just barely touching. Apparently pressure counted, because she saw him shiver and jerk ever so slightly, his iris-shutters sliding slowly down over his single glowing optic. She kept him hovering just on the edge.
"I know you don't trust me, but she does, so that should be enough for you. Let me fix this, and this is your reward. No testing required. But in order for me to do this, you have to clear a path to your core."
"I don't-" He was struggling. Whatever hold the system had on him, whatever imperatives it was trying to instill in him were being interrupted by Chell's direct interference. That was a failsafe of the system, a last-ditch bid to keep humans in control. GLaDOS had been able to work through the last scientists' frantic punishments, but she was made of sterner stuff than Wheatley.
She was giving him more bliss than it ever could on its own. Chell took her fingers away to give him one more moment of clarity. If this didn't work…
She felt a rumble around her and immediately lunged for the portal gun. Wheatley said nothing. The thin whine of servos filled the air, and, out of one of the observation windows built into the control room (that now looked out over an abyss) Chell saw a row of platforms being raised and locked into place. She turned back to the monitor.
The sphere looked somehow tired and resigned. "You're… you're clear."
Chell smiled and began to replace the gun. "I don't entirely trust him. We need to be on the lookout. And… a little insurance wouldn't hurt." Chell glanced down to GLaDOS, who was whispering again. Wheatley didn't seem to hear her. "Abusing that button sucks up power. If you keep at it, he'll be too drained to move, much less stop us. So…"
Chell paused and looked back to the screen that displayed Wheatley's… lair, for lack of a better word. The chassis that had formerly belonged to the potato on her gun did look like it was sagging more than before.
She shrugged. Might as well. She set the gun down within arm's reach, just in case. Wheatley watched her. "Aren't you-ahh!" Chell's fingers were in place again, rubbing slow circles over the reward portion of the touch screen. "You know, you really should stop cutting me-you… you should…" Chell pressed down a bit harder and was rewarded be another jerk from the snarl of technology on screen. "Y-you should… keep doing that…"
So she did. Chell watched as Wheatley jerked and shuddered under the strain of the powerful sensations. GLaDOS remained tactfully silent, but seemed to somehow radiate an air of general distaste for the proceedings. Chell drew her fingers back, and Wheatley sagged. "Okay. Okay, I think-I think that's enough, I'm feeling a bit-"
Chell pressed her advantage, which was to say, she pressed against the screen. Wheatley's words turned into a strangled yelp. "That's-it's too much, I can't-I think I'm going t-to… you have to stop, please-"
She pulled her fingers away again, giving him just enough time to gather his faculties before she robbed him of them again. Wheatley gave an inarticulate moan. By now the chassis was half on the ground, cables draped languorously over the rubble-strewn floor, the lights in the sphere display flickering slightly. "I… I…"
"You know, I take it back. I want to see this." Chell looked to GLaDOS with a cocked brow and her old nemesis hurriedly clarified, "Not because he's enjoying it, but because-well, he's helpless. He sort of deserves it." Chell looked even more skeptical. "I… never mind."
There was a grinding sound and Chell looked to the screen. Wheatley's entire monstrous chassis was shuddering weakly, most of it draped on the ground like some sort of jointed, half-armored serpent of cable and steel. The mechanism securing him to the ceiling was fully extended and somewhat strained-looking. He had gone utterly limp. Softly, so softly she thought she might have imagined it, she heard his voice. "Don't stop."
Chell obliged him, keeping her fingers there for a few more moments before tentatively pulling them away. He didn't react. When she pushed again, he barely twitched and gave a weak, static-filled moan. She nodded, apparently satisfied, and after a few more moments, once again withdrew.
Wheatley didn't move. He was currently wallowing in one hell of an afterglow. Chell picked up the gun and exited the room, moving with an air of purpose down the walkway provided. "You know," GLaDOS said as they hurriedly made their way to the central hub, "I didn't even think of doing anything like that. That was devious. You really are a terrible person."
Chell skidded to a halt and gave the potato an incredulous look.
"I mean that in the nicest possible way. Come on, let's get this over with. I kind of had my heart set on killing him, you know."
Chell shook her head emphatically.
"Fine. But he's your problem once he's removed. Not mine."