1. So I think this pretty much sums everything up.

    It’s been really great you guys. I want to thank all of you for your enthusiasm for this series - I started this whole thing out as a one-shot that I had no intention of making into a story, and the last year or so has been one crazy ride. 

    Thank you all for taking such an interest in what I wrote and for sticking through, some of you since “Drink” was posted all by its lonesome! And through the seventeen title/description changes on FFN GEE TIB. 

    Special thanks to my friend Chris and FFN user Assozat, for prompting the writing of After Aperture: Return. 

    EXTRA special thanks to FFN user 0-Moonwind and Mermaid for the great reviews and for being my dumping grounds for unused headcanon and general writing issues. 

    But now that, after thirty five years, Chell and Wheatley are the last two people on Earth again, and have all the time in the world, I think it’s time to give them some privacy. 

    Love,

    Tib

     
  2. Chapter Ten - The End

    It was dark out, though it was still early in the evening. Angry rain clouds covered the sky, poised to break open at any moment. Wheatley was worried for two reasons, both of which concerned Chell. The most immediate issue on his mind was that she was still outside, only partially under the canopy of the woods that backed their home. Years ago he would not have been so concerned, so long as the oncoming storm was not accompanied by thunder and lightening. But those days were over, replaced by synthetic flesh and wires. He found himself outside, then, trying to coax her in. She spent so much of her time at home outside, now that she was back. He couldn’t say he minded; it was nice to lay with her in the grass, but he had a good sense of self preservation and when being outside was dangerous. She seemed to lack that, and that was the first thing that worried him.

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  3. Chapter Nine - The Escape

    The pain subsided in increments after he was ejected from the receptacle, face down on the cold tile of the chamber floor. It took him considerable effort to move, but he willed himself to stand, knowing that lying there on the floor would invariably get him killed.

    As he got to his feet, rather shakily, he looked up and saw the white curve of Her core hanging lifelessly in the Chassis, Her data still being transferred.

    Wheatley stood, his head swimming with the after effects of the Chassis.

    He ran, stumbling over his own feet in a half-drunken manner, unable to see where he was going, as everything was more or less of a white blur, hands stretched out before him as a guide. Her chamber lock opened with a loud, hydraulic hiss, depositing him back into the cold hallway. All it would take was one service hallway and he would be back on the catwalks that circled the testing tracks.

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  4. Chapter Eight - The Run

    His concentration on the door cut short, He immediately opened a visual link to the chamber. “Chell?” His hard drive whirred erratically in his chest, his CPU running at mach speed trying to keep up with the thousands of horrible potentials that the Chassis presented him with. She was crippled, out of reach, stuck there; she was mangled beyond repair and he hadn’t the slightest idea how to build her a new android body; she’d fallen in the line of fire and any second now, the turret was going to spot her again and open fire and then she’d be dead

    She was there, she was safe. She must have pitched forward at the last second to avoid the bullets of the turret who was nestled comfortably in a recess just in front of the door, dodging out of the way, staggering to a stop and catching her balance on—

    Her eyes were wide, every muscle in her body taut, as the button depressed under her fingers.

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  5. The Transfer

    It was awful, to see Her hanging there in the middle of the room, staring down at them like an angry Goddess looking down on the people She was going to thoroughly smite. “The lunatic and the moron.” Wheatley shuffled uneasily. “To be honest, I’m surprised that you got this far. Thanks to her, no doubt. Because, let’s face it: you’re useless.” Her optic flickered between the two, casually roaming over them to come to a rest on their hands: he grasped her tightly, her fingers almost lax between his. “Except, apparently, for managing to corrupt flawless military androids. Congratulations.” A slow, hollow clap echoed through the chamber. “Quite the achievement, to ruin everything you touch. Moron.”

    Wheatley cringed, hunching his shoulders and shrinking back from Her, from that word and the way She said it, as if it were the simplest, most obvious observation in the world. Moron.

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  6. Chapter 6 - The Journey

    “Gah, I’m sorry! That wasn’t supposed to happen! Are you okay?” He ripped the wire from his port and rushed to help her up, taking her hand and lifting her from the ground as gingerly as he could because, frankly, that looked like it hurt worse than the bullet wound…

    His eyes traveled down her side, searching for the wound to make sure he didn’t hurt her. She nodded quickly before checking for herself.

    The hole was gone.

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  7. Chapter Five - The Connection

    He bit down hard on the synthetic skin of his knuckle, leaving little indentations behind, waiting for the tell tale “Sleep mode activated” or “Naptime” that told him it was relatively safe for him to dart out and retrieve her.

    He could also hear Her. “For an advanced military android, you’re really disappointing. The object of the test is to not get shot, in case you needed clarification. Which you didn’t. Really, you can’t do any better than this? Pathetic. I know I didn’t make any error, in your construction. It must be you.”

    Wheatley’s breathing picked up, he bared his teeth in a grimace and moved the panel, darting into the room and leaned over, the wires in his neck straining at the unusual position. He was afraid that they were going to pop right out. Then he’d have to plug himself back in before they got out of there. He couldn’t afford to waste time, not with Her on their heels, watching everything he was doing right now. Quickly, carefully, he slid his arm under the crook of her knees, the other arm supporting her back as he rushed her out of the chamber. The panels slid shut too late he had already slipped back into the inner workings. A part of him was giddy with the realization that his completely insane impulse-driven rough sketch of a plan had worked. They were nearly free. The other part of him, the part of him that was far more rational and very aware of the immediate danger they were in, was terrified out of its wits. He preferred to focus on the giddy-beyond-belief part of him. That side offered some semblance of hope for the situation.

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  8. Chapter Four - The Platform

    The debris caused by the concrete collision settled, leaving him in a cloud of dust on the floor. As things came to a rest, the sound of his hard-drive and fans whirring in overtime became substantially louder, prominent as their noise filled the hallway, a reassurance that he was still alive for the moment..

    No fatal blow came.

    The walls remained mercifully stationary. His limbs relaxed and he looked up to the lone flickering light bulb that was mounted into the ceiling. Behind him, the smashed panels were coming apart again, reverting into their snake-in-the-grass position and looking impeccably like walls again. He could barely hear Her voice, and maybe that was all the worse, low and threatening as it was, dripping with poison and pure hate.

    “Where did you go?” She asked softly, “I know you’re there. I can feel you.”

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  9. Chapter Three - The Killswitch

    He landed on the cold, concrete floor with a thud, the paneling snapping shut at his heels, momentarily catching the springs of the boots and dragging him upwards. He managed to kick himself free and hit the floor, chest first. He stood, shaking off the impact and observing his surroundings.

    Now what? The hallway was almost completely barren. A single door adjourned the wall at the opposite end of the strip.

    Some part of him screamed that it was a trap. She was good at those. But what other option did he have? He had to find Chell, and sitting in the lonely hallway and twiddling his thumbs wouldn’t help. He moved towards it, bracing himself for the worst.

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  10. Chapter Two - The Nightmare

    He retraced his steps from all those years ago; his grief-driven trek to Hell’s gates and back. The ground felt foreign under the shell of the long fall boots, but there was no mistaking the path. The looming sense of dread alone was enough to reassure him that he was going in the right direction. Last time he’d come this way, he’d had a part of her with him, reassurance that no matter what happened in that place, everything would be okay.

    This time, she was there, but the promise was gone.

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