He hates when she lies to him.

He loathes it, every second of it, when she leans against him and murmurs the most blatant fibs. It disgusts him, to think how pathetic he must actually appear to her, while she has to keep hissing these falsities through her teeth. He thinks how it has to burn her up inside, every time she says this tripe. It certainly eats him up to listen.

He wants to scream at her, to tell her to stop mocking him, stop pitying him, stop thinking he deserves less than reality because he's too stupid to understand, too weak to handle it, too worthless and pathetic and cowardly to face it.

But he never does. Whenever the urge arises, the thought of forcing the truth out of her, the chance to stop the lies, he never follows through. He lets her keep lying. Because he is that weak, and he is that pathetic, and he is that cowardly. Because if she stops, he'll never hear them again. The selfish need to hear those lies overwhelms everything else, and even if they're nothing more than tall tales, some absurd fantasy conjured up, he likes to hear them, and try and imagine what it must feel like for them to be real.

Every time she does it, each and every time, he looks away. He can't bear it, the thought of looking into her face and seeing the pity and disappointment in her eyes, shining through the charade she keeps up just to keep him happy.

Once or twice, he manages to get as far as asking "Why?" Why does she even bother, he means, why should she care, why can't she go find someone better than him who doesn't need coddling. Then she looks at him funny, and he perks up, "Well, I know why, obvious, isn't it, just like to hear you say it, give a good background, plenty of examples, can't say something like that without really going into detail, go on then." And she just smiles and goes quiet beside him, and he can practically hear her resentment curdling inside.

At one point, she catches him laughing—she'd gone too far, completely beyond the realm of believability. There had been some real whoppers before, but this had simply been too much, and he gave a humorless tut. That gets a strange look, and he's quick to follow it up with a proper chuckle, all cheer and good nature, flippant as you please. She asks him what's funny. "Oh—you know—laying it on a tad thick there, not that I mind, of course, bit silly though, isn't it."

She frowns at him, and he regrets every word, and a million better things to have said fly through his mind, and he tries again, "I mean, listen to me, really, sort of absurd when you think about it, really shouldn't listen to my opinion on the matter anyway, what do I know, and I'm sure you didn't mean it like that anyway, just having a bit of fun and all," And now she's looking at him hard, eyes piercing so he know he has to look away or he'll see the truth.

"I wasn't joking," she says.

And in the scramble of thoughts that occupy his brain, he can't stop himself from choking out another wry little laugh. And then he shrinks in on himself because now he's gone and done it, he prepares himself for the angry words or the hard hand or worse yet the cold silence of her walking away.

Her hand rests on him. "Look at me." He looks at her navel. "Look at me." Her neck. "Wheatley." Finally, miserably, he meets her eyes.

For several long seconds she looks into him, searching, before she repeats the lie. "You're the most important thing in my life."

He wants to flinch away, but her hand holds him there, and something hardens in how she's looking at him. A furrow of the brow, a spark in the eyes, and he sees the echo of an expression she used to wear so often. He looks away, and gives a little laugh. "Well, sure, you say that, but—"

"Wheatley." He cringes, looks back. "Every day, you're here for me. You're my constant. You're all I have." He makes a small choking noise, and again tries to break the gaze, but her hold on him shifts, pulls him back to those painfully sincere eyes. She keeps looking right into him, and it hurts, the way it cuts straight into him, and he waits for it to break, to snap, for her to crumble under the weight of the lies.

She's smiling. He's not. This time, when he looks away, she lets him, and he begins muttering vaguely grateful things that primarily composed themselves of "if you say so" and "bit of an exaggeration" and "wouldn't put it that way." She gives him another small pat, and breaks the contact, and he feels a release, a lift of weight as she finally backs away and leaves him alone and away from the lies. Too much, that was too much.

Maybe she's done with the lies now, he thinks. Maybe that was the last of them, and he'll never get to hear those fairy tales again. One last, big, show-stopping finale, and reality can come crashing in.

But then there comes the second time, and she does that again. She makes him face her, and won't let him look away from her as she feeds him lies with a straight face, eyes never once wavering. He hates it far worse than before, it makes him feel sick and scared and resentful.

The third time, he tries to put an end to it. He tells her to stop, now, assures her he doesn't need this, doesn't want this, she doesn't have to do this and he'd really be better off if she didn't, but she doesn't listen. She keeps lying, and she keeps looking at him.

The fourth time, he doesn't resist, but his mind races the whole time, trying to block out her words with thought. He can't figure out what she's getting out of this. While she's forcing him to watch her, he wracks his brain, struggling to comprehend why she'd want this, what possibly she could think this would do for her. There's nothing. She has nothing to gain from this. There's no benefit to these lies.

The fifth time, a thought breaks the surface. The smallest, barest inkling of an idea, of why she might say these… things. It's impossible, terrifying, it couldn't possibly be, and he shuts down, refuses to look at her, and screams for her to stop it, stop talking, he hates her, he just wants her to stop lying and for her to leave him alone. She waits for him to stop. He can see there's a gleam in her eye.

And then she begins again.