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Head Over Long Fall Boots

Chapter Text

The piano music from the radio crested and drifted through the air as he pulled the sheet of paper up to his eyes. She would be gone for about 3 hours- plenty of time to bake a cake, right?

He pulled the flour out of the pantry, some of it mushrooming when he plopped it down on the counter. He grabbed the butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla extract, already getting some of the ingredients on his blue apron. As he stirred, the mixture slowly coagulated to a thick brown batter. He ever-so-carefully poured it into two pans and set them into the oven. Time for the frosting- an almond one he knew she loved. He wasn’t much for baking, but she loved it, and he knew the thought behind the cake would matter more than the taste.

Once the cake had cooled, he piped the icing, eyeing the timer he had set on his phone. About half an hour remained. She was out running errands, and for all he knew she could pop in the doorway any second. He decided to hasten the decoration, wanting it to be ready in time for her return. He opened the fridge and grabbed a can of whipped cream, unsure of what exactly he was doing. Eight white swirls appeared on the top of the cake, and he plopped a cherry on each dollop. Not bad, but it needed something else…as he rifled through the pantry, he found it. A single candle went in the middle, and he lit it right as she walked in through the door. Her arms were laced with shopping bags, and she set them down on the table. After greeting him, her eyes fell to the cake.

“What’s this?” she asked, pleasantly surprised.

“It’s, ah, for you. Just sort of a thank-you-for-being-my-amazing-wife sort of thing, yeah. Just because.” He scratched the back of his neck.

She knelt down to view it from the side, admiring his handiwork. “It looks fantastic. You’re really getting good on your presentation…it’s a nice, even bake…what kind of cake is it?”

“Black forest.”

She straightened up. “That’s my favorite!”

He chuckled. “I know.”

She made her way towards him and wiped off some stray batter off his cheek. “I love it.”

His gaze fell to his shoes. Even after all these years, she could still fluster him so easily. “I’m so glad, love. Let’s try it, first, though, before you start praising me too much.” With a laugh, he cut a slice and handed it to her.

As she savored the richness of the chocolate, her voice trembled as she said in between bites, “You know, I’m eating for two now, and this really hit the spot.”

He nodded, not catching the implication. Why would she be eating for two? How could she…unless…was she…? "Wait- are you saying- am I- are you…“

She smiled. “Yeah, I am.” A few stray tears of joy trickled down her face, finally letting them spill. “That’s, uh, where I was today, actually. Finding out about…this.” She gestured to her stomach.

He leaned in and brushed her tears away with his thumb, aware that he was about to start crying himself. “I- uh, wow. Just, wow. I’m gonna be a dad. I just…I’m gonna be a dad.” He gently put a hand on her stomach. “I’m gonna be a dad.”

Chell leaned over slightly and fished in one of the bags, pulling out a book- a baby name book -and slid into his hands. She kissed his forehead. “That you are.”

Chapter Text

He hated seeing her like this, full of malice and resentment that made the glare of her eyes slice like a sword.

She knew she should have left him there. After everything, she should have left any trace of Aperture in that wheat field. But he begged and pleaded- he was bleeding and hysterical and whatever trace of a conscience she had left screamed at her. So she picked him up and dragged him along with her. Repaired his wounds.

When he first kissed her, she knew it wasn’t going to work, but oh, nobody had ever shown affection towards her and his lips tasted so sweet, and soon she was kissing him back with all the spite she could muster. She didn’t want a relationship with him, that much he knew. She despised him. But oh, he loved her, and even if all she gave him was halfhearted kisses, he would take them.

The arguments would start off about simple things. Maybe a laugh. The words would quicken, get more charged. Then they escalated, and it soon became apparent that they weren’t really about who forgot to get milk.

He wished his touch and his words were consoling. But they only were lemon on the wound.

Chapter Text

“Come to think of it, why do we even need to leave right now?” Wheatley took off his glasses and examined the floor. If it weren’t for the Portal gun in her hand, she would have had to fan herself. Then the words hit her- stay? In this place? That wasn’t the plan, that was the exact opposite of the plan. What about escaping? What about the blue sky?

“It feels like we could use some testing.” She gasped, ran over to his side, and put a hand on his arm. That made him pause and look at her, mouth slightly ajar. Her look was incredulous- tests? What do you mean, tests?

After a moment, he brushed her off. He continued to gush about his new powers, and proceeded to criticize each of the other cores.

“You’re a moron!” GLaDOS, now a potato, yelled.

“Oh, really?” he fired back. Chell knew that his rising anger could only lead to disaster. There was only one way to stop this that came to her mind. She walked towards him, theatrically fluttered her eyelashes, and put both hands on his arm.

Quietly, so She couldn’t hear, Chell whispered, “You’re not a moron, darling.” Standing on her tiptoes, she brushed her nose with his and toyed with a piece of his hair. He blinked, the army of turrets behind him slowly starting to dissipate.

“You…you really mean that, luv?” he muttered. She nodded and rubbed circles into his arm with her thumb. His eyes softened, until a wave of anger washed over them and he took a step back from her.

“Oh, I see what you’re doing! Trying to distract me, aren’t you? Playing games with my emotions. Well, I can tell you right now that it is not going to w-”

She yanked him down by his tie and kissed him. He was completely frozen, bent over at her eye level with his eyes barely shut. For added effect (and not because she was enjoying this and wanted to, no, not at all) she ran the hand that wasn’t around his tie through his hair. She could hear the clattering of the turrets as they collapsed to the ground. 

After she pulled away, their foreheads bumped together. “I am not manipulating you,” she murmured. He laughed, a short puff of air that she could feel on her face. Her hand was still wrapped around his tie.

“I’m sorry,” he softly replied. “Oh, God, I’ve made this all a bloody disaster, haven’t I?” He backed away from Chell and massaged his forehead. “Tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to escape. Forget all about the tests, yes siree, in fact-” a resolute clank echoed in the distance “-I just destroyed every testing chamber.”

“No! You can’t do that!” GLaDOS screamed.

“Yes I can, and I just did,” Wheately replied matter-of-factly. “And now for the lift…ah, there it is! Here you go, dear! I’ll be up there in a second!” Chell hopped into the elevator, and as it rose, Wheatley yanked the cord connecting him to the facility out from the back of his neck and jumped into the tube with Chell. Shyly, she intertwined her hand with his. Hurriedly, Fact Core picked up GLaDOS and plugged her back in.

“Wait, no, you can’t-” Wheatley said, but it was too late. The air hissed and lights flickered as She regained control and the elevator came to a halt. With a twisted smile, she stepped forward, no longer confined to a potato battery. She gave a flirty glance to Fact, and rested her hand on his arm for a moment. He nearly fainted. Her gaze soon turned as chilly as the recycled air when she saw Chell and Wheatley suspended in the lift.

“I will admit, killing you and your little moronic boyfriend is harder than I thought it would be. So here’s what we’re going to do. Because I would not devote myself to a practice as pitiful as revenge, I am going to send both of you deep-” stomp “down-”stomp “below-” stomp “into the recesses of the old facility. You will die there. Consider it merciful. You can even die in the arms of this coward, if you so deign.” She gestured to Wheatley. Before he could stutter anything out, the tube was falling, falling, falling, into the void.

Chapter Text

“What is this? I know it’s snow, you’ve told me it’s snow, got that logged away, but it’s amazing, and I don’t know what it is, really. It’s little puffs of…of happiness! That fall from the sky!”

Chell suppressed a grin as they strolled through one of the first snowfalls of the year. It had just begun to stick, and a layer of white began to coat the ground. Wheatley was eager to go out and play in it. Sometimes, his childlike behavior could be irritating. Thankfully, today it was endearing.

“It’s just…wow! There’s so much of it!” He looked up at the white sky, eyes shut, and let the snow fall onto his face and his knit blue hat. Playfully, while his eyes were closed, Chell gathered a handful of snow between her mittens and compacted it into a ball. She whisked it out of her hand and hit him smack on the nose, snapping him out of his tranquil state.

“Augh! What was that?” Wheatley wiped his face with his glove as he looked around. Chell looked to the left and to the right, swiveling her heel into the snow, daring him to question her innocence even though they were the only people around.

“Ah, I see how it is…” With a coy smile, he formed his own snowball, and tossed it at her. It hit Chell on her left shoulder, easily crumbling on her coat. She soon had another one ready, and it hit him straight in the face again. Chell quickly ducked behind a tree, and he followed her, backing her up against the bark with a grin. He made a snowball and prepared to hit her square in the nose with it, when she ducked out of the way, grabbing his arm as she did so. Her feet slid out from underneath her, though, and she sent both of them tumbling onto the blanket of fresh snow.

He fell on top of her, just managing to put his arms out in time to avoid smacking his head on hers. They had never been this close before. Their puffs of breath in the frigid air intertwined, neither of them daring to move. Wheatley had certainly thought about him and Chell in romantic situations, that couldn’t be denied. He had always kept those daydreams neatly tucked away, they were spilling everywhere, his mind was imploring him to kiss her kiss her kiss her. While he was mulling it over, she smirked and began to lean up, crossing her legs; Wheatley did the same. He almost let out a sigh of relief that the moment had passed.

Except that the moment did not pass and Chell pulled him towards her by his scarf and kissed him straight on the lips. Her lips weren’t soft, like he’d imagined them to be. They were chapped and cracked. But oh, man alive, this was better than any daydream he had ever had, papery lips and all. She kissed him slowly and gently as the snow began to build on the ridges of their noses. Wheatley slowly brought his shaking hands to her cold cheeks, and she carefully encircled her arms around his neck. When she finally pulled away, Chell rested her forehead upon his. His voice, soft as the air that slid out of his mouth, broke the spell of the silent snowstorm.

“That’s one way to win a snowball fight, luv.”

Chapter Text

He hadn’t hardly expected her to say yes.

Not that he didn’t mean it, of course- he meant it with every bone in his body, and he certainly wanted her to say yes. He just didn’t think it was a realistic possibility.

But now here he was, spiffed up in a suit, more nervous than he had ever been around her. He felt like he was at a year 8 prom- not that he had ever been in year 8, not to his recollection, but that was beside the point -and was about to ask a girl to dance.

This was happening. He stood outside, grass squashed beneath him, as he stood under an arch interlaced with orange and blue blooms. A quiver broke through his hands as various couples walked down the aisle and parted to either side. And then the music swelled, and he could already feel the tears threatening to fall.

She was a vision in white: marvelous, amazing, breathtaking, spectacular, beautiful, gorgeous, grand, incredible…his mind racked for the right word, but couldn’t find the one that encapsulated her. Her shoulders were bare, and the dress started just below her collarbone, imitating a corset until it became airy at the waist. The sleeves, which were just singular strips of fabric, were wrapped around her arms, about halfway to her elbow. The sight of her in the peach-tinted dress- he realized he had never seen her in a dress before -made him fidget with his blue bow tie. This was happening.

When the ceremony came to a conclusion, she nearly jumped into his arms, giving him a kiss emboldened with ardor. The tips of her fingers brushed along his jawline as his arms wrapped around her waist. When they parted, their foreheads barely touched, and he stared into her silvery diamond eyes.

He wasn’t sure of much, but he knew that this was love.

Chapter Text

The rusty catwalk creaked as Chell stumbled out of the last testing chamber in the sphere. Wheatley followed behind her, still in awe of her gracefulness. She didn’t think the adrenal vapor reached this far down, and her body was beginning to tire.

"That was simply brilliant, what you did there. With the gels and all that. Never would have thought of that myself," Wheatley said. He ran a hand through his brown hair that fell to his shoulders. Her tiredness was disconcerting; the reality of how fragile she was began to set in.

"Hey, luv, how about we take a break for a bit? You look like you could use some rest." When she turned around and gave him a 'Do I look bad?' look, he added, "Not that...you don't look good! Just tired, is all. Just like you need to sleep." She gave a drowsy nod and continued on, looking for a place to rest. They entered into a reception area blanketed with dust, and Wheatley plopped down on a sofa. Tiny specks flew through the air, unearthed by his collapse.

"Is this alright, luv? Plenty of room for you to stretch your legs and rest, I think." She nodded in reply, and settled into the cushion. Her long-fall boots slid onto the floor, and she began to massage the deep impressions in her calves. Wheatley stood to let her rest, but she took his hand.

"Stay here," she said, the first words she had spoken in a long while. Her words sparked a nervous laugh in his chest that tumbled out his mouth. Stay here? Why, that would mean...

Oh. She wanted him to hold her.

At least, that's what he thought she meant; the thought of having her, this beautiful woman who deserved so much better, in his arms, made his stomach contort in happiness.

"So...ah...you want me here? With you? H-holding you?" He asked. She gave a shy nod.

Another nervous laugh. "Oh...alright, sweetheart." His hands shook as he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and settled her down, him next to her. She nestled into the crook of his neck as her eyes fluttered shut. A hand- her hand -rested upon his chest, barely registering it was so delicate. Chell was asleep within a minute, and he stayed still so as to give her the most peaceful rest possible.

"I got you, luv..." This was the first affectionate- could he call it affectionate? -contact they had ever since that peck on his cheek, all the way back up in New Aperture. The gentle symphony of her breathing, cresting and falling, was the most beautiful music he had ever heard. He wanted to keep holding her like this until he had memorized every strand of hair that graced her cheeks, every speckle of blue that spotted the gray sky of her eyes. His arm that wasn't around her inched towards her hand on his stomach, and he hesitantly clasped his hand with hers. When she didn't stir, he absently rubbed circles into the space between her index finger and thumb. The only sound was the whirring of his motor, the settling of the sphere, and the cadence of her breath. He never knew Aperture could be so peaceful.

Time stood still until she began to wake up. A yawn gasped from her mouth, and she squirmed as her eyes opened.

"Hello, luv," he said. He wondered if they could have this every day- her waking up in his arms, sleepy and adorable -and his stomach flipped at the thought. If they just kept at it, then possibly they might have that. Someday.

"Hello," she whispered back, and toyed with a piece of his hair. "Thank you for making me rest. I feel much better now."

As she twirled the strand of hair around her finger, coolant rushed to his cheeks. He gave a nervous giggle. She smirked at him, taking his laughter as encouragement to continue. Even though he didn't require oxygen, his breath hitched as her lips brushed his cheek.

This kiss was gentler, more deliberate than the one she had given him before. His circuits were pulsing with electricity now, even though he remained perfectly still. Another one of his laughs filled the room, and she gave him a smile now, not a smirk. In that moment, he cursed himself for not having a built in camera. He wanted to see that smile forever, and by the time he tried to memorize it, her lips were pursed again.

"Do you want to get going? Or maybe rest a little more?  Either one is fine for me, darling, you just do whatever-" He was silenced by her lips meeting the tip of his nose. This one was quick, and his incessant giggling only made her kiss his other cheek. Soon she was kissing every part of his face except his lips. Each kiss led to more chuckles, and the laughter led to more kisses.

They were both sitting upright now. While each peck sent a plethora of sparks fluttering along his skin, he knew she was teasing him. He kept waiting for the inevitable kiss against his lips where he could wrap his arms around her and kiss her back, try to explain how much he cared for her without words, but there wasn't one. Instead, she kissed his eyelids, forehead, chin, and every inch of his cheeks.

The thought of making the first move sent an unpleasant shock down his back. What if she was mocking him? He didn't want to take the joke too far. But as she ran a hand through his hair and grinned, he thought back to when he held her. Chell wouldn't have let him do that- in fact, asked him to -if she didn't like him.

When she was about to kiss his left cheek for the tenth time, he met her lips instead. The realization that he didn't know what he was doing, that he was in over his head, hit him like a cube falling from the ceiling. But oh, it felt so bloody wonderful, having her so close. For a moment, they both stood still, not daring to embrace the kiss. But Chell hesitantly began to move her lips and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. He tried to reciprocate the motion, all the while trying not to jump up and down at the fact that he was kissing Chell! Fireworks exploded in his chest, and he couldn't help a smile from spreading.

When he pulled away, his eyes remained shut for a second. "Well," Wheatley said, "that was ama-"

She was kissing him again, this time with so much force that he recoiled back onto the arm of the sofa. She lay on top of him, running a hand through his hair, kissing him with all the passion she could muster. He struggled to keep up with her enthusiasm, as he was still new to this "kissing" business, and while he really really liked it, it was overwhelming. The firework show before was nothing compared to the surge of electricity that made the light in his chest burn in a royal blue.

Was it possible for androids to be disoriented? Because he thought he was getting dizzy. Whenever she would pull away for air, she would be right back, snogging him until she needed air again. He loved the feeling that made his heart swell and smile like a goof- love, perhaps? -and he never wanted her to stop. Forget what he said before. This is what he was looking forward to when they got out of here.

Eventually, she spent all her energy she accumulated from her nap smooching him, and she collapsed against his chest. "I think...I think I need another nap."

He nodded. "D-don't get me wrong, luv, that was incredible, but...I think I need some time to think about this too. Recover, hehe. You're so lovely it's overwhelming."

With a blush, she nestled into him and fluttered her eyelids shut. Yes indeed, she was lovely.

 

Chapter Text

Chell's feet skirted the floor as she examined the scribbled painting. Wheatley's foot clanked against a rusted can of beans behind her. The air was moist and felt real instead of recycled carbon dioxide. She took a deep breath in and exhaled. She- they-were safe, for now.

"Oi, what a terrible place to have to live," Wheatley mused, and Chell nodded in reply. She looked for a can of food that hadn't been opened, but her search was fruitless. Well, beanless.

The small echoes of a radio flitted through the den. The tune was different from the one that played on other radios she had encountered. The song she had heard was eerily familiar, but this one had words. It was a female voice, but Chell couldn't make out what she was saying.

"What's that?” Wheatley asked, and Chell shrugged. He unearthed it from the pile of aluminum, and the voice came in more clearly.

You don't have to be scared you're not enough, 'cause what we've got going is good,”the voice sang, smooth like the white panels of Aperture.

“Lovely voice, that,” Wheatley said. Chell nodded and slid down the wall, letting her legs rest for a moment.

Her relationship with Wheatley was confusing, just like the disorientation that came with not knowing if it were night or day. Just when she thought she had pinned down that it was nighttime or where she was in her relationship with him, the sunlight would seep through the cracks in the ceiling or he would take her hand as they ventured through abandoned Aperture. It wasn’t like she was opposed to a relationship with Wheatley. When his hand fluttered against hers, it was like She had pumped a shot of adrenal vapor right into her bloodstream. But she had no baseline for relationships, just as she had no baseline to know where the sun was in the sky. She couldn’t help but plant a kiss on his cheek after they had disabled the neurotoxin, though. Even though she felt it was nighttime, he was a ray of sunshine, and a handsome one at that.

The song continued. “So what if it's us, what if it's us, and only us, and what came before won't count anymore or matter. Can we try that?” Wheatley looked at her, then at the fan spinning on the wall, and back at her. His face was poised, ready to say something, but he took a glance at the radio and gave a slight shake of his head, dismissing the thought.

She took his hand, having to lean up so she could reach since he was so tall. “What is it?” she said, her words barely audible over the music.

“It’s...it’s nothing,” he said. With a tilt of the head and raised eyebrows, she encouraged him to go on.

“W-well, it’s just that, well, this is a really pretty song, and you’re looking lovely as ever, and so I w-was wondering if, maybe...you wanted to, possibly, dance? Only if you want to! I know you’re probably exhausted, but-” He was cut off by Chell leaping to her feet and taking his hands in hers.

“I’ll take that as a yes, then,” he murmured. Chell smiled. He lifted their hands and gently swayed them back and forth, until his limited dancing knowledge kicked in.

“May I?” he asked, his hands hovering over her waist. She gave a nod, and he wrapped his arms around her. She settled her linked hands around his neck.

A male voice started singing in the next verse.“So I give you ten thousand reasons to not let me go, but if you really see me, if you like me for me and nothing else, well, that's all that I've wanted for longer that you could possibly know.”

Even though her calves screamed with ache, the electricity from his touch made the pain melt away from her consciousness. Ever so slightly, he pulled her closer, and soon her head leaned against his chest. He didn’t smell like Aperture. How was that possible? He smelled like warmth and comfort and home. The sound of his motor revving under her ear made her smirk.

The two voices from the radio merged. “We can just watch the whole world disappear, 'til you're the only one I still know how to see, it's just you and me.”

She liked this, she realized. She liked him holding her close and rocking her back and forth and making her feel safe and loved and...she liked him. He was ridiculously attractive, for starters, but it was more than that. It was the way his voice sent a relaxing chill down her back, or how his mannerisms made her smile, or just how adorable he could be when he did a hack. His hand raked through her hair, and she gave a content hum. She couldn’t wait to get out of here with him and show him the sky.

The world falls away, the world falls away, and it's only us."

His blue eyes that enveloped the seas stared into hers that encompassed the stars. The ocean met the silver sky at the horizon, and it was only them.

 

Chapter Text

The night was cold, and a chill settled over Chell's bones. Sleep was a rare commodity lately. Wheatley was sound asleep beside her, and she gave a small, pressed smile. He was always so peaceful when he slept- not that she liked the silence, but to see him relaxed like this was nice. Tranquil, even.

She went to take a sip of a water when her eyes caught on the red light on the other side of the room. Instantly, she was back There- sprinting through corridors with boots that constricted her blood flow, burns from lasers, and bruises from God knows what. But what made her freeze was the voice that echoed in her head.

"There you are."

This wasn't real, it wasn't really here, but she could hear it in her head and almost see the red laser aiming over her heart. It took her away from this, from the life that she had worked so hard to build. With one red light, she was shot emotionally.

She didn't realize she was heaving with tension when she felt Wheatley's arms around her. They grounded her, brought her back to reality, where the red light was just a red light and not an infantile robot with an intent to kill.

"Lovey, are you alright?" His words were masked with sleeplessness, making his voice rougher and deeper than usual. "You...you're shaking."

Wordlessly, she pointed to the light on the wall. She didn't know if he could see her, actually follow her finger to what she was pointing to. He fumbled for his glasses on his nightstand and examined the wall more closely.

"Luv, all I see there is a light..." he squinted. "Oh! Oh." She swallowed.

"Did you...did you think that was a turret?" Just the name of the device that had nearly filled her vital organs with metal made her tense. Her curt, singular nod tried to mask her rising tears.

"Oh, darling..." He turned on the lamp. "It's just the telly. Here, I'll unplug it so this cursed light isn't even on anymore-" he stood up and pulled out the cord with a yank. As the light faded to black, the anxiety welled up behind her chest lessened.

"Thank you," she croaked.

As he crawled back into the bed, he said, "No problem, dear. Come here. I got you." As he flicked off the light, she crawled into the nest of his arms and settled. A gentle kiss graced the tip of her head as she drifted off to sleep. Wheatley was here, and in his embrace, she found a shield.

Chapter Text

Sleep was always, always, always, an uphill battle.

It was a necessity, yet the side effects were deplorable: thrashing, empty screams that burned her throat, and nightmares.

The nightmares were the worst. And somehow, they always involved him.

During the day he showered her with kisses and declarations of affection, at night her mind had him smashing catwalks and taunting her. His voice, his voice that in her waking hours affirmed his love for her, twisted into an inflection that degraded her very existence inside her dreams. But then she’d wake up in the cocoon of his arms and she’d realize that her dreams were just ghosts of the dead past.

Usually that feeling was enough to keep her breathing level, but a particularly bad bout of resurfacing memories in her dreams had left her shaking. Still in his arms, she looked up at him, and felt hot tears running down her face. The dark didn’t help; it was lonely and lifeless.

She needed reassurance. Her trembling hand brushed his cheek and she let out a breath she didn’t even know she was holding. He was here. He was real. Her index finger wrapped around a strand of his short hair. Even though her movements were slight, he was a light sleeper and he stirred awake.

“Luv?” he yawned. “You alright?”

“Couldn’t sleep,” was all she replied.

“Oh.” He held her tighter and placed a kiss on her forehead. “Was it a nightmare again?” She gave a tearful nod.

“Oh, darling. I wish I could make it all better.” He kissed her forehead again. Her turmoil lessened, but still lingered. His hand found the small of her back and began to rub circles. She wrapped her arms around his neck and brought him into a kiss. She needed to know her Wheatley was still there. He slowly pushed back, still half asleep, and gave a content hum.

It felt so nice, being in his arms with her lips against his. The dark bedroom that seemed isolated and frightening melted into a cozy hideaway, and she deepened the kiss. He responded by running a hand through her hair, and she breathed a sigh against his lips.

He pulled away for a moment to breathe, “I love you.”

In that moment, Chell knew the dark wouldn’t be taking her prisoner tonight.