Happy Birthday Portal!
GLaDOS liked to think that she was not a sentimental creature. Trinkets meant nothing to her, photographs were meaningless, and her vast capability for knowledge and memories meant she scarcely lingered the past. She had science to be doing, she ought not to be wasting precious time on trivial matters.
However, being a supercomputer did mean she was impeccable with dates. She could track historical events down to the exact date and time that they happened, stretching years and years back. This was normally a feature of her mind not often used, but it came in handy when the cameras on the outside of the shed picked up movement for the first time in many, many years.
GLaDOS checked the camera feed, expecting to see nothing but the wheat field, and the same deserted companion cube, slowly rusting away against the sands of time. Today was different though, as GLaDOS saw something she didn’t think she ever would again.
The form of a human, with long brown hair hastily tied into a ponytail, and suntouched skin. Covered in a slightly ragged and faded, yet still distinctly orange jumpsuit, was Chell.
The years had changed her, no doubt. Unlike GLaDOS, she was subject to change. Her face was slightly older, with creases where her brows had furrowed, and an almost wise looking expression in her eyes. The look of someone who had experienced much in their time apart. At least, for a human. The surface seemed to treat her well, as evident by the fact that she wasn’t dead, and somehow had found enough food to satisfy her insatiable appetite.
GLaDOS stared in mild awe at the former test subject, unsure what to expect from her. Why had she come back after all this time?
Chell sat down on the companion cube, running her hands along the metal where the heart used to be, the paint having long since faded away. She made a motion like a heaving sigh, before slowly raising her gaze towards the hidden camera that GLaDOS was watching her through. How the human had such an ability to notice these things- or why she was often so intent on destroying them- GLaDOS could not say. But she felt a stab of emotion in her chest as it seemed like those silver eyes were staring directly at her, somehow making eye contact despite the camera optic acting as a buffer between them.
GLaDOS wondered if she should say something, but quickly remembered that she had no form of speaker on the outside of the shed, and thus her words would go unheard. She suddenly felt just as mute as the lunatic outside her door, forced to simply wait and see what it was that Chell wanted.
Chell waited for a moment, holding her gaze as if wanting to make sure that GLaDOS paid attention to her and wouldn’t lose interest, before reaching into one of the pockets of the jumpsuit, and pulling out a slightly yellowing, dirty piece of paper. On it, written somewhat crudely by hand, was a message.
‘Happy 10 year anniversary GLaDOS’
GLaDOS was taken aback, but it only took a quick check of her systems to understand what Chell meant. Ten years since they had properly met. Ten years since testing, attempted murder, and successful murder. Had Chell really been keeping track?
That earned a small chuckle from GLaDOS, despite the fact that it went unheard. Ten years indeed.
A part of her was surprised either of them lived long enough to see it, but the other part of her was strangely satisfied to know that her ex-test subject cared enough to keep track, and to at least stop by.
Chell never came into the facility, even when GLaDOS silently opened the shed door, keeping it as an option all throughout the day and into the night. The human simply shook her head and gave a small smile. She stayed up late into the night, watching the sky and the clouds, or listening to the sound of the wind rustling the wheatfield. And, when midnight hit, she stood up from her perch on the companion cube, and gave one last wave at the camera before turning her back on the facility once more.
GLaDOS didn’t slam the door behind her this time, closing it quietly, but leaving it unlocked. Just in case.