“’Ello!” the voice was chipper, so happy to see her.
Chell stared at the core lying on the ground, completely stunned. How did he get there? Why wasn’t he in space? And why of all the places on earth was he in front of her door?
He moved a plate over his broken optic to give her a smile. “Amazing isn’t it? After all this time I can still find you when we get separated.” He waited a moment but she was as silent as ever. “Right… So you’re probably wondering what happened, I will tell you everything but first,” he glanced around at the dirt he rested in “could you pick me up?”
She continued to stare, her heart quickening with the feeling that she needed to run while her muscles froze in shock.
“…I would like to be picked up please. …You know what it’s fine, I’ve been sitting here all morning, what’s another… however long you plan to leave me here?”
She found it hard to listen to him through the memories flashing through her head.
He moved his optic around nervously. “I do need to talk to you though. I never meant to… do that… and I really am sorry about what happened.” He paused to look at her still shocked face. “So can we be friends again?”
Those words had cut through her racing thoughts, those she heard as clear as the sunny sky above her and they made her glare. How could he expect forgiveness? How could he ask to be friends again when she could no longer remember being friends in the first place? How could she forgive him when he was nothing but a sad memory to her?
“I’m just going to take the silence as yes.”
Anger and stubbornness boiled up inside her overcoming both her fear and shock. She turned and stomped away, slamming her door behind her.
“Oh…” his upper plate drooped over his eye, “so no then.” He closed his eye.
A bird screeched from above.
He looked up and shook, his light darkening.
Chell sat with her back against her door, her knees pulled up where she could cry into them. Her anger had fizzled away as soon as she was alone and she learned that had been masking her true feelings all along.
After she’d cried her eyes dry she looked up to wipe the tears from her face. Above hers knees she saw her companion cube sitting in the middle of the room. She’d thrown it in the fire and still got it back. She remembered how it’d hurt her to throw it away and how it’d healed her to be able to make amends.
It struck her that maybe she was Wheatley’s companion cube; that he just needed to make amends after throwing her to the fire. And if a monster like her had been given a second chance why shouldn’t he?
She rose to her feet, this was going to be hard but she had to do it. She ran back outside and felt something inside crumble. She stared down at the ring in the dirt where Wheatley had just been; but the place was empty, and so was she.
“Ow!” Wheatley yelled as the bird kept pecking at him.
It found where the casing was open on his side and reached in.
“No don’t! That’s a vital wire!” he shook as much as he could as it began to pull the wire.
A rock flew through the leaves, sailing above them.
A bird let go of Wheatley and looked down, flying to another branch as it cawed out warnings below.
Another rock flew, hitting Wheatley and knocking him out of the nest. “Ow!” Dust flew up around him as he hit the ground. He looked down at the dirt he laid in before closing his eye. As footsteps neared him he opened it again and looked up.
Chell came into view in front of the sun.
His eye widened. “You found me!”
She kneeled down and tilted him so he wouldn’t be lying on his side.
“But… why?” He stared at her as she looked down, looking hurt. “I thought…”
She pulled a paper out of her pocket, unfolded it and held it up. “I’m sorry and I forgive you.”
He made a smile as best he could.
His happiness made Chell even sadder, she wasn’t even sure if what she’d told him was true and that made her feel guilty.
“What changed your mind?”
She looked to him surprised. She hunted her pockets for a pen and wrote on the back of the paper. “Because I’m your companion cube.”
The lower plate that made the smile sunk as he stared at the paper for too long. “Oh… um I didn’t realize,” he sounded really nervous. “Look I’m really flattered but I don’t think it would work.”
She looked completely lost.
“Oh what have I done?” he asked worriedly. “It was the accent wasn’t it? Everyone falls for it.”
Her eyes slowly widened as she realized what he was talking about. Without warning she burst out laughing.
He looked around before laughing nervously as well.
She stopped and gaped, clasping her hand over her mouth. She laughed, after all this time unable to speak or scream she finally found out she could laugh. She looked back down at Wheatley and just stared for a moment. Her eyes watered, her lips curled up and she found herself giving him a forgiving smile.
He looked a little scared.
She looked amused and wrote on the paper “That’s not what I meant.”
“Oh… Right, can we just pretend then that what you said made perfect sense to me? Let’s go again. A companion cube, wow! That explains everything!”
She laughed again.
He glanced around. “Could you pick me up?”
She grabbed his handles and hefted him up as she rose. She held him against her side as she walked away through the small hills of dirt and dried grass.
“I never told you how I got out of space did I? Well there was this satellite just floating there so I decided to hack it.” He rambled on as they disappeared behind the hills.
Her own mind started to ramble though she tried to focus on what he was saying. Despite the heavy core in her arm something inside felt lighter. Forgiveness doesn’t come easy but she was so glad she’d given it a try.