Goodbye Aperture @antirepurp
Beauty in Dirt

A golden field of wheat, spreading as far as the eye could see. Even the horizon didn’t offer a moment’s rest with a comforting sight of the woods. The only sign of life was the sound of birds; though where they were residing at was anyone’s guess.

Wheatley slowly opened his eye, only to shut it immediately from the brightness.

The last thing he recalled was being on the moon. That woman holding on to him like her life depended on it. GLaDOS yelling something. Before he blacked out. And now he didn’t know where he was.

He opened his eye again.

“Ah, blimey, what is that light?” he muttered out loud, trying to adjust to the unnatural brightness. He didn’t get an answer, and instead something took hold of one of his handles and turned him around.

“Hey hey hey what is going on?!” Wheatley exclaimed, blinking a few times before he started getting used to the light and could see the person standing in front of him.

It was the woman.

“Oh, hey, it’s you!” the core laughed joyously, happy to see his friend. That is, before he was reminded of the reality of his previous behavior.

“O-oh, I mean, look, I- I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, ah, you know, I-I just - it was the chassis, it made me do those things! I’m still the good old Wheatley, I’m- I’m not like HER, I’d would never, I...”

Wheatley sighed.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I... I honestly am. I wish I could take it all back, I...”

The woman tapped him gently. Wheatley looked up.

“Wh- wait, I was in the middle of apologizing here! For hurting your feelings! And your body, allegedly, and I-”

He stopped his rambling.

The woman was signing something.

{{I forgive you.}}

Wheatley sat on the ground for a moment, silent. He didn’t know he knew sign language, and that was the least of his confusion at the moment.

“I... T-thank you,” he stuttered. “Thank you so, so much, I...”

The woman tapped him again. He looked up.

A name.

“Chell,” Wheatley mumbled out loud again. “Is that your name?”

The woman nodded, smiling a bit.

Wheatley snorted, prompting Chell to raise her eyebrow. The core chuckled for a moment.

“S-sorry, that’s just. Not at all what I was expecting, honestly,” he sighed. “Chell. What a name.”

Chell rolled her eyes and stood up. She picked up Wheatley from his handles, and moved him on top of a charred up, weighted companion cube sitting a few meters to the right.

“Ow, ow, careful with those!” Wheatley shouted out. “You did a number on them, you know that? You’re stronger than you look, I’ll give you that.”

Chell tapped the core again to get his attention.

{{I’ll be right back.}}

She took a look around the field before beginning to walk towards a direction.

“H-hey, where are you going? Don’t just leave me here! I could die! O-or birds might make a nest on me or something! Are you even listening? Come back!” Wheatley yelled out to no avail. It’s not like he didn’t know what Chell was like - once she was set on a goal she would complete it no matter what - but one would’ve thought she wouldn’t just leave a friend behind like that. Where was she going anyway?

“For God’s sake...” Wheatley exhaled.

So he was alone again.

He finally took a proper look at his surroundings.

The golden field of wheat and the deep blue sky spread across his vision, bringing his racing thoughts finally to a halt.

Of course Wheatley knew that the sky was blue. Of course he knew what wheat was. He wasn’t a moron. But never had he seen any of it for himself. The sky was so very alive. Clouds were sauntering across it with no rush to get anywhere, just like the test subjects leaving their relaxation chambers back in the day. The wheat swung idly in the wind, quite hypnotically actually. And there was nothing but it for as long as he could see.

There were very few things Wheatley truly and honestly admired about humans - most of them were kind of smelly, stupid, and ungrateful after all - but at that moment he wished for nothing more than the ability to walk into the field, to feel the breeze of the wind and the crops scratching his skin. To just walk, and walk, to never stop nor to turn back.

“...turn back, turn back-” Reality hit Wheatley again. This wasn’t Aperture. This was the real world. That’s why the sky was here. That’s why there was a breeze, the field, the-

Wheatley looked up, and had to squint his eye. The sun. That was, honest to goodness, the real sun. This was real sunlight, not something GLaDOS would simulate to mess with the test subjects’ senses.

Wheatley blinked.

She had really done it. Wheatley didn’t know how, but Chell had managed to escape. With him. They had gotten out. And this was the real world. And it was beautiful.

Footsteps rustled in the grass. Wheatley had an idea who it was, but couldn’t turn around to take a look at them.

“Is that you? You’re finally back?” he asked. His suspicions were confirmed as Chell picked him up again, and placed him down on the ground.

“Why didn’t you tell me we made it? I mean, this is wonderful! Brilliant! We’re finally out of there!” Wheatley laughed. Chell smiled. She was focused on seemingly tying something to the companion cube, but Wheatley couldn’t get a good look at what she was doing.

“I honestly can’t believe it,” the core sighed. “After all that time. After all we went through. We finally got out. And there’s real sunlight! And birds! Can you hear them? I swear they’re everywhere. It’s just wonderful! Absolutely wonderful!”

Chell nodded. She had finished fiddling with the cube, and took a look at her handiwork. She then went on to pick up Wheatley, not from his handles this time around.

“Wait, what are you doing?” the core asked. Chell placed him onto the cube, took the last of her rope, and started to tie Wheatley onto the cube.

“Oh, right, you don’t have the portal gun anymore, do you? Can’t carry me like you used to,” he thought out loud. Chell nodded. Wheatley looked up again, and finally took note of the rusty and flimsy shed the two of them were located in front of. How he hadn’t noticed it before was a mystery even to him.

“Wait, what’s that? A shed? In the middle of nowhere?” he wondered out loud. Chell stopped what she was doing for a second.

{{We came from there.}}

“We did? Wait, you mean, the facility is there? In the shed?”

{{Underground.}}

Chell nodded, tied around another knot or two, and stood up. Both the cube and Wheatley were secured.

She picked them up, and threw them on her back like a backpack.

“Oi oi, careful now! I’ve noticed I have a tendency to break!” Wheatley shouted out. Chell chuckled in response, and started trekking ahead towards the horizon of wheat.

For a moment Wheatley was mesmerized again.

He hadn’t ever heard Chell’s laugh, either.

1. Beauty in Dirt 1260 0 0 2. Outskirts 1798 0 0 3. Unknown 832 0 0 4. Apology 859 0 0 5. Retry 660 0 0 6. The Bike 1102 0 0 7. Aperture Instant Messaging System 1044 0 0 8. Aperture Science Patented Personality Core 1484 0 0 9. Self 471 0 0