Chell desperately wanted to take the radio with her. After fiddling with the buttons a bit she had managed to get it to play the same song over and over again. It was so soothing to have the music playing for her as she solved the chamber. However, the emancipation grill would hear nothing of it and as she stepped through the radio dissolved in her hand. The song was cut abruptly short and the only sound she had now was GLaDOS' condescending voice.
But it didn't matter what GLaDOS was saying. Chell felt a new found confidence as she stepped into the elevator. She had eaten well; even though they were cold she had greedily devoured both cans of beans that had been left at her side. The few moments of sleep had been refreshing as well. More than any of it though, it was knowing now for certain that she wasn't alone.
GLaDOS was going on about how fat Chell had gotten during her time in suspension. Chell let the words bounce off her as usual, it wasn't worth getting upset over, she knew this well by now. Chell moved mechanically through the next two chambers. Testing had never been a problem for her, no matter how hard things got she would never give up. Even the new Aerial Faith Plates didn't trip her up as much as GLaDOS seemed to think they would. She would indeed soar through the air without a care in the world. Honestly, she enjoyed it.
Chamber Six was advanced Aerial Faith Plates. Flying through the chamber with only acid to land on if she messed up was a bit more stressful than the previous test. However, Chell stepped bravely onto the launch pad and let the plate do its work. As she turned the corner she found herself flying toward two angular panels. Thinking fast, she managed to get two portals in place just in time, successfully launching her through to the other side. She felt moderately proud of this achievement as she walked to the red button that would release the cube to her. With her hand just over the button, however, Chell noticed movement in the viewing room on the other side of the chamber. It was a funny angle, with the window almost out of sight, but she was sure there was someone moving behind the glass.
Chamber Six contained one of his favorite dens. In a cozy spot overlooking the entire puzzle he could easily watch Chell work her way through without being noticed. Leaning against the window pane he watched her fly past. In one portal and out the other, across the chamber on her first try. He couldn't help but smile. She was so good at this. GLaDOS' voice filled the chamber room, "Oh, sorry. I'm still cleaning out the test chambers. So sometimes there's still trash in them. Standing around. Smelling, and being useless." He rolled his eyes, he couldn't imagine that Chell took anything GLaDOS said seriously but it still irritated him to hear her go on and on- CRASH!
Doug was blown back into the wall of pipes behind him as the window shattered. Pulling himself to his feet he quickly tried to orient himself. The trash was in the room with him, and a bright blue portal shone in the wall just across from the window.
Chell will be in his den at any moment! shrieked Cube.
Swinging Cube onto his back he ran to the door. It didn't have a knob but Doug knew how to pry it open. Just in time he was out of sight. He could hear Chell land softly on the ground where only moments before he had been.
Her heart skipped a beat and her stomach did an odd flip. He had been here. His signature painting on the wall, his cans of beans. But where had he gone? There was a flat door against the wall but she couldn't find a way to get it open. Eventually she gave up trying. An overwhelming sadness bloomed inside of her. She was never going to meet him. For whatever reason he would always run from her. Maybe he was working for GLaDOS in some way. Keeping tabs on her in ways she couldn't. It didn't make sense though. Why would he feed her? Why paint those pictures? Dropping her portal gun she put her face into her hands. Maybe there was no man at all, just old paintings and a desperate longing for human companionship. She had been imagining everything, it was just too good to be true. Chell slid down the door, resigning herself to this fate. Always testing. It was all she knew and it was all she would ever know.
A/N: Okay, I hope it's clear what test chambers these scenes are taking place in. I am using all the real chambers and real Rat Man Dens from the game. Obviously this story is AU and it will get more so as it goes on but the locations will stay more-or-less the same, hopefully that'll make it easier to follow.