Author's Note: Here's an interesting fact; I don't normally write this sort of thing that will end up pairing in a slash sort of situation. In fact, I have often found it rather...eh... unrealistic. But then again, fanfictions aren't meant to be so. No reasons really, I've just never approved. However, I've decided to try it anyway, as a test, in a sense. Now, while I won't tell you what it is, feel free to put whatever sort of review you want. In fact, go all out. This is going to be a rather interesting test. A personal one for my own results, really. Think of it as me testing you, my dear readers. Since I haven't been playing Portal 1 and 2 for a long time, if you see something out of sorts, I would be okay with a correction.
Also, I should mention that it will begin centered on the second game, just on a different take. You'll see. Also, with some changes that will definitely make it AU.
"Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate, Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving."
"Love is a chance. Hate is a curse. Forgiveness is a blessing. Trust is a gift."
"Congratulations. Was it worth it?"
"This isn't brave. It's murder..."
The sound echoed in the back of her head.
When she dreamed, she saw flashes of fragmented memories, broken bits of her life that all ticked by slowly, allowing her a chance to see them from a secondary perspective. How her life was wasted on Aperture... Before it led up to HER destruction. And still, through the dark haze of sleep, she could hear the plaintive sounds, the pleas laced through the mechanical howls of the supercomputer who had tried to take her life.
They had called her the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System.
Of course, Chell could have slept longer, but knew she would have to wake sooner than she wanted to.
Once she opened her eyes, she focused herself on the room. A simple area with dull blue walls, a few painting and overturned chairs. There was a closet too cracked slightly ajar, but nothing inside. Chell didn't recall ever coming here.
A flash of memory passed her mind; a violet-eyed core with arms that carried her from the ruins of GLaDOS' destroyed body.
"Good morning. You have been in suspension for -nine nine nine nine nine...nine ni..." a male announcer suddenly addressed, causing Chell to glance upwards, "This courtesy call is to inform you that all test subjects should vacate the Enrichment Center immediately. Any test subject not emerging from suspension at this time will be assumed to have exercised his or her right to remain in extended relaxation, for the duration of the destruction of this facility."
Chell felt a fleeting thought pass her, thinking the message may have been a trick, but the sound of knocking distracted her toward a door.
"Hello? Anyone in there?"
Whoever it was, the voice was English in accent.
Chell furrowed her brow and reached toward the edge of the bed, struggling to rise. Her legs felt weak and she almost stumbled over, but instinctively grabbed the wall to stop herself. The knocks became a little more insistent as did the voice.
"Helloooo? Are you going to open the door any time soon? It's urgent!"
Chell made a face, displeased with the urgency; she had been sleeping for God knew how long and whoever this was, didn't seem to comprehend that too well. How did they expect her to move fast in her condition?
Shakily, she reached for the doorknob and pulled the door open, greeted by a large metal sphere with a blue optic. It let out a yell of surprise and Chell almost fell backwards had it not been for the door holding her up.
"AH! Oh. My. God. You look terribl - " the sphere said, in the English voice. He quickly corrected himself. "...ummm...good. Looking good, actually." He moved into the room, positioned on a management rail and Chell managed to find herself with the strength to back away from him. "Are you okay? Are you - Don't answer that. I'm absolutely sure you're fine. There's plenty of time for you to recover. Just take it slow."
Chell took a spot at the edge of the bed, studying the sphere with confusion.
"I'm Wheatley," he said, disappearing into a panel in the ceiling. "Oh. By the way, You MIGHT want to hang onto to something. Word of advice, up to you."
Before Chell could even consider what he meant by that, the entire room began to shake violently, throwing her from the bed. She held onto the wall as tightly as she could, enduring the tremors before they finally stopped and Wheatley emerged from the ceiling.
"Most test subjects do experience some cognitive deterioration after a few months in suspension," he said, almost entirely too cheerful for her to really fathom. "Now you've been under for...quite a lot longer, and it's not out of the question that you might have a very minor case of serious brain damage."
Chell gave him a startled look.
"But don't be alarmed, alright?" Wheatley continued, correcting himself when he noticed her concern. "Although, if you do feel alarm, try to hold onto that feeling because that is the proper reaction to being told you have brain damage." He paused and stared at her, almost like a human would if they encountered a completely stupid person. "Do you understand what I'm saying? At all? Does any of this make any sense? Just tell me, 'Yes'. YES. YEEEEESSSS."
Chell glared at him.
"Say 'Apple'. 'Aaaapple'," Wheatley tried again, "Simple word. 'Apple'. Just say 'Apple'. Classic. Very simple." When he noticed he received no reaction, he simply shook his entire body and disappeared back into the ceiling. "Okay, you know what? That's close enough. Just hold tight."
Chell had no choice because the room started shaking again.
That sphere certainly talked a lot.
After taking them out of the room and through a wall he considered "manually overriding" to make into a means of escape, Chell had no other option but to seek out a Portal gun on the other side. Luckily, the Party Escort Bot hadn't removed her Long Fall Boots, which made landing much easier. Wheatley wasn't much help to her, but he did guide her through the old testing chambers of the facility, which had been long overgrown with plants.
How long was I really out for? she wondered.
"Oi! Oi! Up here!"
Chell stopped in front of a blocked passage and looked up in time to see Wheatley hanging overhead. "Good! Good to see you in one piece there!" he said, "Okay, listen, let me lay something on you here. It's pretty heavy. They told me NEVER NEVER EVER to disengage myself from my Management Rail. Or I would DIE. But we're out of options here. So...get ready to catch me, alright, on the off chance that I'm not dead the moment I pop off this thing."
Chell nodded her head. She didn't see what good that would do, but he had done well for her so far.
Wheatley inhaled like a human, preparing himself. "On three. Ready? One...Two...THREE!" He quickly backed up, his optic pupil shrunk in fright. "That's high. It's TOO high, isn't it, really, that - Alright, going on three just gives you too much time to think about it. Let's, uh, go on one this time. Okay, ready? ONE - " He yelped as he fell from the rail and Chell jumped to avoid being crushed. "Catchmecatchmecatchmecatchme catchme - OW."
She stared down at him, partially amused.
"OW..." Wheatley groaned. He laughed with glee. "I. Am. Not. Dead! I'm not dead!"
Chell smiled a bit and shook her head.
"I can't move, though. That's the problem now. Can you pick me up, do you think?" Wheatley asked.
Chell picked him up with the Portal Gun and he spun through the gravity beams with delight. "Oh! Brilliant, thank you, great." He flicked a bit to one side. "Plug me into that stick on the wall over there. Yeah? And I'll show you something. You'll be impressed by this."
The wall opened up and revealed a docking station specifically for a core of his size. Chell approached it and placed him inside, watching as he was locked into it tightly. Wheatley chuckled nervously and looked up at her.
"Ummmm. Yeah, I can't do it if you're watching." He laughed weakly when she arched a brow at him. "Seriously, I'm not joking. Could you just turn around for a second? I can't do it if you're watching. If you...just turn around?"
Chell rolled her eyes and put one hand on her hip. Was he joking?
"Okay. Listen. I can't do it with you watching. I know it seems pathetic, given what we've been through. But just turn around. Please?" Wheatley pleaded.
Chell looked up with a skeptical exhale and turned her back on the sphere.
After a few beeps and clicks, the wall beside her opened, revealing a passageway. Wheatley laughed triumphantly. "BAM! Secret panel! That I opened. While your back was turned." he announced, "Pick me up. Let's get out of here."
Chell picked him up with the Portal Device and they started down a dark passage. "Look at this! No rail to tell us where to go! OH, this is brilliant!" Wheatley cried, "We can go where ever we want!" Then, he rotated himself to look around as they stepped through a steel doorway. "Hold on, though, where are we going? Seriously. Hang on, let me just get my bearings. Hm. Just follow the rail, actually."
"Probably ought to bring you up to speed on something right now. In order to escape, we're going to have to go through HER chamber."
An image of GLaDOS' yellow eye staring down at her flashed through Chell's mind. She stared down at Wheatley and noticed that his optic iris was smaller now. She stared at the door they had to go through and took a step forward, but Wheatley's frightened voice stopped her again.
"If you want to just call it quits, we could just sit here. Forever. That's an option. Option A: Sit here. Do nothing. Option B: Go through there, and if she's alive, she'll almost certainly kill us. So. If you've got any reservations whatsoever about this plan, now would be the time to voice them."
Chell inhaled softly and stepped through the door.
"Okay, I'm gonna lay my cards on the table: I don't wanna do it. I don't want to go in there. Don't...Don't go in there - " Wheatley stammered, as they stepped into the ruined chamber. He looked around frantically and sighed. "She's off. She's off! Panic over! She's off. All fine! On we go."
The chamber itself was mostly destroyed, exposed to the elements of water, slime and plants and the white pieces of GLaDOS' massive chassis littered around them. Broken wires were lying in a tangled heap like hundreds of snakes. Chell had to step over a few pieces and stopped at the central AI's core. The eye was black and there were no spiteful, homicidal things spouting from her. She really looked dead.
"What a nasty piece of work she was, honestly. Like a proper maniac," Wheatley mused, "You know who ended up, do you know who ended up taking her down in the end? You're not going to believe this. A human."
Chell made a pained expression. Well, it was good that he didn't know.
"I know! I know, I wouldn't have believed it either!" Wheatley said, misinterpreting her expression as disbelief. "Apparently this human escaped and nobody's seen him since. Then there was a sort of long chunk of time where absolutely nothing happened and then there's us escaping now. So that's pretty much the whole story, you're up to speed!"
Chell wandered around the AI's chassis and spotted a passageway. It required a lot of jumping to descend into the main breaker room, with Wheatley narrating most of her efforts. It wouldn't have been a problem if he would simply shut up for much longer than a second.
"This is the main breaker room!" he announced, once they entered a small room filled with colorful breaker switches.
Chell looked up and almost fell backwards as she tried to see every little detail of the room. The breakers seemed to go on forever.
"Look for a switch that says ESCAPE POD. Alright? Don't touch ANYTHING else," Wheatley instructed. "Don't even LOOK at anything else, just - well, obviously you've got to look at everything else to find ESCAPE POD, but as soon as you've looked at something and it doesn't say ESCAPE POD, look at something else, look at the next thing. Alright? But don't touch anything else or look at any - well, look at other things, but don't...you understand."
Chell gave him a long-suffering grimace.
Wheatley leaned back a bit on the gravity beams. "Can you see it anywhere? I can't see it anywhere. Uh. Tell you what, plug me in and I'll turn the lights on."
Chell shrugged her shoulders and noticed another place for him to be plugged into. While Wheatley worked on the switches, the male announcer's voice filled the air again. "Accepted...begin transfer sequence."
Chell frowned and looked back at Wheatley, wondering just what sort of "hacking" he was doing this time. He looked just as confused as she did. "Transfer sequence?" he snapped, "No! I don't want that! What the bloody hell is he talking abou - AH! Lights!"
The lights in the room flashed on, but the sight of GLaDOS' yellow eye filled her mind again and she rubbed her head. Wheatley didn't catch the distressed look on her face and sounded ever so cheerful. "Oh! Look at that!" he said, "Lights! 'Let there be light.' I was quoting God."
Chell gave him a funny look, but it turned to unease when the announcer continued. "Backup data download complete. Awaiting power-up sequence."
Wheatley continued hacking while Chell attempted to understand what the announcer was saying. When the platform began to move upwards, pushing the breakers back up, it suddenly occurred to her what was going on and her eyes widened. She shook her head rapidly at Wheatley and he wasn't paying any mind to her expressions, continuing to go through the machine frantically as it ascended faster and faster.
"Uh oh," he stammered, "Okay don't panic! All right? Stop panicking! I can still stop this. Ahh. Oh there's a password. It's fine. I'll just hack it. Not a problem...umm..."
They ascended into GLaDOS' ruined chamber, only to find that the chassis was ensnared in wires and metal arms, performing some sort of maddeningly rapid task of repairing something. Much to Chell's disbelief and horror, she backed away, only to come in contact with a white wall behind her. Wheatley had failed to notice what was doing on and continued to try and hack the system, but he was only making it worse.
"Nope. Okay. A...A...A...A...A...C." he mumbled. A loud buzzer noise made him groan in frustration. "No. Wait, did I do B? Do you have a pen? Start writing these down."
Chell could only stare at the black mass of wires. She squinted and noticed they were actually made of metal liquid, shimmering as something moved within them. She couldn't help but lean forward to get a closer look.
A hand emerged from the mass, a five-fingered hand of white. Then, a set of yellow eyes flashed on.
Chell was struck at what followed; a feminine shape of pure white fell from the mass onto hands and knees, connected at the back by cables that led up to the ceiling. It looked like a tall, pure white woman with short white hair, but was not natural in the ways of anything human.
Wheatley was silent for a change as soon as he followed Chell's gaze, catching what it was that she stared at.
The woman slowly rose on long, shaking legs, breathing in that same voice that had belonged to the murderous supercomputer Chell had destroyed once before. She seemed to shake somewhat and struggle to right herself, lifting her face to regard the two watchers.
Her eyes looked sunken and black, but those pupils were yellow, like the single optic of the AI. She was all white except for a black stripe that trailed down her neck and ended where her collarbone might have been if she had one. She was also quite tall and shapely - an image befitting the Queen of Aperture herself.
Those eyes were the frightening part of her. They actually looked much more frightening then when she had a single optic.
GLaDOS regarded her new form with a peculiar look of wonder and confusion that disappeared quickly as soon as she locked gazes with the two. Her eyes fell on Chell and the human woman felt herself literally stripped by that powerful stare. And a GLaDOS with a face meant she had expressions. And if looks could kill, Chell would have died a thousand lifetimes.
"Oh...it's you..." GLaDOS' voice sounded mechanical all the same, even when spoke through those artificial lips.
Wheatley trembled a bit. "You KNOW her?" he gasped, looking up at Chell.
GLaDOS smiled and looked at Chell with an uncomfortable sense of pleasure mixed with hatred. "It's been a long time." When she walked through the pool of water at her feet, she didn't even flinch. "How have you been?"
Chell tensed when she realized that GLaDOS was getting closer. "I've been really busy being dead," she continued, in an airy, almost languid drawl. She stopped in front of Chell and brought that face close to hers, those yellow eyes burning with all the intensity of her loathing. "You know, after you MURDERED ME."
Wheatley cried out in shock. "You did WHAT?" he exclaimed.
GLaDOS really learned to have this new body work well for her as she moved and expressed like she was born into it. A metal claw descended from the ceiling and seized Chell around the waist before she could think to run. Wheatley was picked up in the same manner and he frantically shook his little eye in fright. GLaDOS studied him with a mildly annoyed look on her pale features before the claw tightened further on him, shutting him up.
"Yes, I know we both said a lot of things that you're going to regret, but I think we can put our differences behind us," she said, glancing up at Chell with a cruel smile on her face. "After all, it's all in the name of science...you monster."
Chell watched as Wheatley was ultimately crushed by the claws and tossed aside into the grass. GLaDOS sauntered toward a monitor, her hips moving back and forth in a perfect human motion. "I will say, though, that since you went to all the trouble of waking me up, you must really, really love to test. I love it too. There's just one small thing we need to take care of first."
Before Chell realized what was happening, she was being lowered into a tube and into darkness once more.
GLaDOS spent the time of Chell's testing repairing the damages done to her chamber.
She also uncovered the files used when the transfer to this...peculiar new form took place. Apparently, it had been an upgrade android model that was assigned to be used for Cave Johnson and the little core must have accidentally accessed it by a stroke of dumb luck. Perhaps this particular feminine design was meant for her in the future. It was an interesting concept, really and it did allow much more movement in her chamber. Not that she really needed it.
She stared down at her new hands and waved them around a bit. How strange it felt having these things. How did humans ever operate them?
Well, she had plenty of time to learn while running her little test subject raw for the rest of her life. And even further when GLaDOS took up reanimating the dead, continuing the cycle over and over again.
A smirk touched the AI's face when she thought of the wonderful possibilities for science her little monster could achieve. Whether she liked it or not.
Chell was worried about Wheatley.
She didn't know why, but the silence that followed throughout the test chambers was maddening. It wasn't until she finished TEST CHAMBER 12 that Wheatley's voice filled the air from above. She stared up toward an office window in disbelief and noticed that he was hanging on a management rail, perfectly fine.
"I'm okay!" he exclaimed, "It's me! I'm okay!"
Chell heaved a relieved sigh and smiled up at him.
"You'll never believe what happened! There I was, just lying there, you thought I was done for, but - " he began.
Chell shook her head and brought a finger to her lips. Wheatley stopped talking long enough to stare at her quizzically, watching as she gestured quickly to a chubby white camera at the next test chamber door. He understood and nodded his whole body.
"Right!" he whispered, getting the hint. "Okay, look, the point is, we're gonna break out of here! Very soon, I promise, I promise! I just have to figure out how. To break us out of here." Then, he made a panicked noise and ducked out of sight. "Remember: you never saw me! Never saw me!"
Chell watched the window with a look of dismay. So much for escape.
"This next test involves turrets. You remember them, right?" GLaDOS addressed her over the speakers, "They're the pale spherical things that are full of bullets. Oh wait. That's you in five seconds. Good luck."
Chell glared up at the camera watching her, but moved on. The Sentry Turrets in the next test chamber were placed specifically in her line of advancement. She easily took care of them with simple portals placed along walls and floors. It wasn't until she dropped on top of one from the ceiling that GLaDOS' voice filled the speakers again.
"Hm...I'm going through the list of test subjects in cryogenic storage and I've managed to find two with your last name," she said, "A man and a woman. So that's interesting. It's a small world, isn't it?"
Chell clenched her fists, shaking with anger, but refused to let GLaDOS get to her. After all, it had to be wrong.
It was a lie. GLaDOS always lied.
How cruel could she really be?
"Excuse me, you're squishing me."
The high vocals of the turret she had stepped on distracted Chell long enough to look down at it. She lifted her foot from the turret and continued on. The elevator took her further into the next chamber, but she was shocked when all the lights suddenly went out.
Apparently, so was GLaDOS.
"What's going on? Who turned off the lights?" she queried over the speakers.
Wheatley's voice had never been more of a relief to hear next. "Hey, buddy!"
Chell turned and found Wheatley hovering on his management rail beyond a secret passage. Chell grinned and wandered through the door, onto a catwalk. "Come on, come on, come on!" he yelled, "Keep moving! Just keep moving! Run, for goodness sake!"
She fled down the catwalk with Wheatley leading the way, yelling orders and assuring her that he had plans to stop GLaDOS. Though Chell was skeptical, she had no other choice but to follow his lead through the chaos of the facility as GLaDOS made every attempt to catch her. She barely made it to a lift while the walls nearly closed themselves onto her. Wheatley seemed just as stunned by this action and they watched the catwalk as it was crushed behind them.
"Wow, she's bloody steamed at us, isn't she?" he said, laughing weakly. He looked down at her. "I'll meet you on the other side. Be careful, yeah?"
Chell was a bit shaken by what almost happened, but she nodded her head and Wheatley disappeared overhead. She spent the lift ride slumping down and taking some time to stop her heart from pounding out of her chest.
It's going to be a long time before I get out of here...
Extra - I was partially inspired by Guavi's GLaDOS design, but I think Makani's was the best. Oh yeah, definitely the best. I'm also sending love Vaniterra and Pandora-Writing's way. Because my God...