Wheatley sat beside Chell’s pillow as he watched her drift off. Even though they were no longer hiding in cubbies in Aperture he still liked to keep a lookout while she slept; he liked the feeling that he was protecting her, that he was useful…
He looked around the room, yup everything was normal. He looked back at her, she was fully asleep now, peaceful and safe, and that gave him a pang of guilt and sadness.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, his voice heavy, “that I wasn’t always there to protect you. In the end it was me you needed protecting from.” His optic looked down, sitting stiller than it usually did. “I know you forgave me for all that though, I just don’t know…” he looked back up “why.”
Her shallow breathing gave no answer but something about it was calming.
His bottom plate moved up into a smile. “Thank you, love.” He pulled his handles in to roll towards her, closing his eye. He immediately realized his mistake when she was startled awake and sat up to rub her head. “I’m sorry,” he lowered his handle to stop from rolling anymore.
She looked at him annoyed.
“I was just trying to kiss you goodnight.”
She stopped mid-motion to stare at him shocked. “You wanted to kiss me?”
His light shrunk. He knew he’d surprised her if she was actually using her voice. Her gaze didn’t let up and was getting unbearable, he glanced around nervous. “I, I don’t know, it just seemed the right thing to do at the time. “I was just thinking about how you forgave me after everything I’ve done which seems pretty impossible and, and how with you I don’t feel as useless as I did back there but I guess I still am, especially when I smack you in the head.” He tried a laugh but stopped when he looked back at her.
She looked even more confused than before.
He moved his optic away but couldn’t help watching her out of his peripheral vision.
She laid back down and closed her eyes but she didn’t look as peaceful anymore.
Looking away he lowered the top plate over his eye, mad at himself.
Turning onto her back she stared at the ceiling for a minute. “Wheatley…” she sounded troubled. She turned her head to look at him as he looked back at her scared. “I always needed you, and I still do,” she looked sad, like she was trying to say more.
“Why? You got your freedom without me.”
“Yes but…” she paused, choosing her words carefully, “I didn’t want it.”
“Will you just talk to me?” he got exasperated, narrowing the plates over his eye. “You’re not speaking clearly; unless you mean to say that without me you didn’t even want to be free, which is even more ridiculous than everything else you’ve, um, not said.”
Her lips pulled into a smile, a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
Slowly the plates parted. “…isn’t it?” he asked confused.
She dove her head forward to kiss him next to his eye before laying back down with her back to him.
He stared at her more shocked and confused than before, unable to process what he just learned. For the first time Wheatley was completely speechless, but he found as his plates moved up into a smile, that for the first time he was OK with that.