Yes, yes, I know, it’s been a little while. I was unmotivated for a while, but I’m back now! Back with fluffy tickle fights, even. I promise, the next story I post will be less fluffy and more meaningful, but I’m in a fluffy mood today.
As always, masterpost is the best place to start if you haven’t read any of my stories before, or if you want to check where this comes in the timeline. Also, I wanted to point out that I am always open to suggestions for scenes I ought to write - moments you wanted to see from the games, for example. Just drop me a line and I’ll be happy to add it to my list of things I’m writing.
Anyways, on with the fluff!
I’m not human (but I play one on TV)
Touching was an excellent thing to be able to do.
Wheatley had decided this almost instantly on waking up in his new android body; for the first time ever he had opened eyes, not an optic, and there she had been, lovely, wonderful Labrat, watching him with equal parts concern and happiness, and he’d just… without even meaning to, without thinking all that hard about it, one of his hands – hands, for the first time in his life he’d had hands – had moved to reach for her.
He’d missed, of course, clumsy and unused to his new body, but Labrat had giggled at him and slipped her fingers around his own, explaining that she’d tried to program as much instinctive movement as she could, to make the transition easier, but he hadn’t exactly been listening. No, he’d been deciding that touch was really an excellent thing, that it always had been but now he could curl his fingers around her hand and strengthen the touch. She’d always been pretty much the only one who touched him, and now he could touch her back. In a word: brilliant.
So he did, over the next few weeks, holding her hand and hugging her – hugs were so much better when both participants had arms, and they’d been bloody brilliant to begin with – and brushing against her and just touching her as much as he could. Every time he did she’d squeeze his fingers back, or wrap her arms around him so tightly, or laugh and accuse him of being clumsy – he didn’t care about that last one, as long as he could touch her.
Which was probably why now, when touching her was what she wanted him to do, he was so very pleased to oblige her.
Labrat leaned over the man she was awkwardly learning to think of as her boyfriend, pressing a sloppy, imperfect kiss to his neck, feeling the happy whir of components underneath as he hummed and muttered gentle praise and compliments and sounds she was sure were meaningless. She liked to think that her neck-kissing technique was a little better than that, by now, except he wouldn’t stop moving his hands, and it was… distracting. Nice, but distracting, and she was meant to be focusing on kissing him! Her own hands twitched where they were resting on his shoulders, as she tried to gather up the will to grab his wrists and make him be still, but honestly, she didn’t blame her hands for rebelling against the idea. There was something beautifully earnest about the way synthetically soft fingertips fluttered from her shoulders to her back, down to her sides, her hips, back again. He didn’t seem to be aiming for anything in particular, just touching.
“You are good at that, you know,” he mumbled thickly as she kissed his neck again, still sloppier than she’d like – perfection had been drilled into her head from an early age, and, unlike the android she loved, she hated doing things halfway. “Really good. And I suppose that I can even feel it at all is your fault too, so, doubly good, really. Well done on all counts.” Labrat grinned against silicone skin. It shouldn’t be wonderful, she told herself sternly, that even now he couldn’t shut up. But it was, and they both knew it, Wheatley’s head tipping to the side to catch her eyes with his, matching her grin. “Thank you, luv. I just… thank you.”
Her smile threatening to spill over into hapless giggles, Labrat pressed the lightest kiss against his lips, laughing quietly when he leaned up to chase her as she pulled away, shoving him back down again with one thumb against his forehead.
“I’m not denying the benefits,” she pointed out. Warm hands settled at her waist for a moment, stilled by the sheer strength of affection in her smile; Wheatley fumbled his fingers over her ribs, disguised but hardly hidden by the fabric of her shirt. He could still feel the warmth underneath, from her skin. He suddenly felt rather nervous – well, could anyone blame him? When she looked at him like that it felt a little bit like all his processors had been scrambled or rewired or were just plain missing, all of a sudden, just gone, because there was no bloody way he could think anymore.
His fingers dug carefully into her side, not hard, just searching for that nice, definite solidity of the muscle under her skin, proof she was strong, his – oh, his, even – perfect, unbreakable Labrat… and she twitched.
Instantly he pulled his hands away, pressing back against the sofa cushions, giving her space.
“Ah, sorry, luv, sorry, did that hurt? Did I do something… was it, I mean, you are okay? I didn’t do anything really bad this time? Oh, I promised I wouldn’t hurt you again, after all that, you know, before, but I just, I wanted to get closer…”
“Wheatley,” Labrat laughed, leaning down to kiss him again, soothing away his fears by slipping a hand around to the back of his head, scratching her fingernails over the cluster of pleasure sensors hidden by his hair; the android practically melted into the sofa, groaning in pure delight, and Labrat smirked to herself. Best idea ever, that cluster of pleasure sensors, bar none. “I’m okay.”
“Ooooh, you’re better than that, luv,” Wheatley groaned, fingers grasping for her again, pulling her closer to him. This time, when she kissed his neck, it was perfect, not messy at all. He probably didn’t even notice the difference. “Much, much, much better than that. Nnrrg, that’s nice. How do you do that, shouldn’t, shouldn’t feel that good…”
His hands were on her ribs again, fingers twitching with residual pleasure response, desperately trying to pull her closer, even when she was as close as she could get, because this really wasn’t the same if he couldn’t be touching her. It shouldn’t increase the pleasure response but it did, so he clung to her tighter, fingers digging in and…
She twitched again, her hand falling from the back of his head as a squeak forced its way out of her throat. No, not a twitch, actually, this time it was more like a wriggle. A little wriggly wriggle of pleasure, he knew it, fingers prodding the same place again; Labrat giggled, shoving him away playfully, sitting up.
“What was that?” Wheatley demanded, reaching for her again, rolling her eyes, she batted his hands away. “No, come on, luv, what was that, that was great. You were all wriggly, and, well, wriggly, and you made a little noise and it was, oh, fantastic. Did I do that?” One of his more sly smiles – although really, he was entirely too goofy to really pull the look off – began working it’s way across his face, and he sat up, leaning closer to her. “Can I do it again?”
Labrat grabbed his wrists, holding his hands away from her ribs while she worked out exactly what she was going to say. It had probably been foolish to think no one would find out, but she’d been hiding it so well for so long. Trust Wheatley to be the one to worm his way under her defences without meaning to; or maybe he had meant to, in a way, always wanting to be closer to her.
“I’m just a little ticklish,” she explained, and yes, as hidden secrets went it was pretty lousy, but she hated to be tickled. It robbed her of all her control over herself and left her open to attack, and recent experiences taught her to never willingly make herself vulnerable, not even to the people she thought she trusted more than anything. “It’s not a big deal, so stop it!”
“Ticklish…” Wheatley mused, pausing in his efforts to prod her again, his eyes losing some of their blue glow; Labrat recognised the look as meaning he was checking on what he liked to call ‘the thing that knows things’ – his built in reference database. “Oh, right, that one.” He nodded, curling his hands around hers gently, apparently having forgotten why she was holding his wrists in the first place. “Yeah, I remember that one. I think I am too, actually!” He looked down at their joined hands and coughed nervously. “Or, uh, well, used to be.”
“You still are,” Labrat was all too aware that Wheatley had always been ticklish – she had too many memories of having to hold down a wriggly little blue-eyed core while she bolted a plate back in place to doubt that. And when she’d been scanning his programming to install him in the android body, she’d stumbled across the ‘tickle code’, and, well… if the sensation protocols were already programmed, it felt like a waste not to use them.
“Oh, am I?” Untangling one of his hands, Wheatley poked at his own ribs the same way he had prodded hers, looking disappointed when nothing happened. “Think it might be broken, luv…”
Labrat laughed, taking his hand again, smiling back when he smiled at her.
“You can’t tickle yourself, Wheatley,” she explained patiently. “That’s not how it works.”
“Oh.” His face fell for a faction of a second before he was smiling again, fighting to extract his hands from her far more competent grasp. “I’ll just have to tickle you then, won’t I, eh, luv?”
“No!” Laughing, she pinned his hands to the sofa cushions, shaking her head, little wisps of hair escaping her ponytail and framing her face. “No way.”
“But why not? It’s great, it makes you go all-”
“Wriggly?” She filled in, raising her eyebrows at him; he nodded, either not noticing her mocking tone, or not caring.
“Was gonna go with squirmy, but yeah. Come on…” His voice lowered, half-pleading, half-commanding. “Please?”
Labrat felt oddly light-headed, her grip almost relaxing; something about that tone of voice was, she was beginning to realise, even more distracting than his hands could be. But she stiffened her resolve; she really, really hated being tickled. Or at least, she had when she was a little girl, and the scientists had thought it was just another cute little way to interact with her, their favourite little mascot. Maybe if she just explained that… but no, she couldn’t. Those days – ‘the days you don’t remember’ – were not a subject she liked to bring up with Wheatley; even though it couldn’t be called his fault, she knew he still felt rotten for abandoning her back then. No, she couldn’t bring up her childhood, which really only left one option open to her…
“I didn’t want to have to do this…” She warned, grinning playfully. She moved fast, dropping his wrists and splaying her fingers out on both sides of his metal ribcage – torso supportive structure, technically, but still – before he could react, and dug her fingers in in just the right place – or so she hoped. If she’d missed this would be a rather rubbish demonstration.
It was Wheatley’s turn to twitch, his body jerking under her with surprising force, almost jolting her off of the sofa as startled laughter bubbled out of his throat. He felt… it was an odd sensation, not unpleasant, exactly, though not quite pleasant either. The only thing he could think of that was even remotely similar was when he’d managed to twist his ankle joint badly a few days ago, and in the half an hour until Labrat had fixed it moving the joint had produced rather a lot of pain, yes, but also a sort of… ache of satisfaction, really, that had made him want to do it again. And this ticklish feeling was really nothing like that, but it had the same kind of mix of bad/good feelings inside it. All in all, he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about; it hardly felt horrible, and it made Labrat laugh, always a good thing.
“Get what I mean now?” Labrat questioned, tilting her head to the side, still smirking. Wheatley smiled back up at her, his hands resting lightly on her waist; assuming that she’d made her point, Labrat made no move to stop him or push him away.
“Uh… no, actually, not really, can’t say I see it myself,” his hands moved upwards, fumbling a little before he found the sweet spot. “Quite nice, to be honest. Better when it’s me tickling you, though, ‘cause oh, look at that.” When she squeaked, batting at his hands, he grinned. “Beautiful.”
Finding her breath through her giggles, Labrat glared down at him.
“Right,” she gasped, flexing her own fingers. “So this is war.”
The ensuing tickle fight was loud and surprisingly violent, fingers poking and prodding and limbs twitching. When Labrat moved from ribs to the inside of Wheatley’s elbows, he practically shrieked, matching the action and making her jump and flail at him – which of course, he thought was brilliant, tickling her again.
It quickly became apparent that, while Wheatley was ticklish, he wasn’t nearly as ticklish as Labrat was; every action that made him twitch, when mimicked made her squeal. The scales were definitely weighted against her, but she felt as long as she was making all the bold moves, and Wheatley was mostly copying her, she could keep him away from her most ticklish spots and maybe even salvage this fight as a victory. Maybe – she might be the more ticklish, but she also had better self control.
While it wasn’t the best plan she had ever come up with – it was hard to come up with good plans when you’re desperately trying to prevent your boyfriend from tickling you, and tickle him back at the same time, while also trying not to fall off the sofa – it might actually have worked, if Wheatley hadn’t decided to take the initiative and do a little exploring of his own. And promptly discovered that the most ticklish place in the history of humankind is the back of Labrat’s left knee.
With a loud squeal of shock, she twisted, trying to get away from gentle fingers that rather wanted her to make that noise again; with a thump, she tumbled off of the sofa onto her back on the floor, dragging Wheatley down with her. Already breathless, her impact with the floor knocked the rest of the air out of her lungs, and she coughed awkwardly; instantly, Wheatley was no longer laughing.
“Arg, sorry, sorry,” he propped himself up on his arms over her, peering down at her, his wide blue eyes glowing in panic. “I’m just, I’m awful today, aren’t I? I know I’m heavier like this, really, I didn’t forget, I just wasn’t mmph…” She’d leaned up and kissed him, reducing his words to incoherent mumbles against her mouth. She only managed to keep it up for a few seconds, though, before she was turning her head away to giggle helplessly. “Don’t stop,” Wheatley whined, following her and resuming the kiss, much to her clear delight – until he too had to break away, flinching away from the little hands that were playfully skimming along his ribs again. “Now that’s not fair, luv. Can’t tickle you back when I have to hold myself up now, can I?”
“All’s fair,” Labrat kissed him again, pausing every few seconds to speak and breathe and, yes, giggle. “In love and tickle war.”
“Yeah?” Wheatley sighed happily, tucking his face against Labrat’s neck – because if the back of her knee is the most ticklish place in human history, her neck is the loveliest. He could hear the sound of her pulse; steadier and heavier than the whines and whirs of his own components, but comfortingly similar all the same. “That so, luv?”
“Mmm.” The affirmative hum was like a low purr, this close to the source, and Wheatley couldn’t help but burrow closer. Closeness seemed to inspire good things today. No, scratch that: closeness always inspired good things. Today, closeness inspired amazing things.
He was proven absolutely correct when Labrat lifted a lazy hand to scratch at the back of his head again, forcing him to focus very hard on not letting his elbows buckle under him. Don’t want to fall on her, nope, that would be uncomfortable for her, and that was just unacceptable, especially when she went out of her way to make him feel so good…
It was a bit of a struggle to get all his components to cooperate and lift his head back out of the hollow of her neck, but worth it when she seemed to have had the exact same idea, meeting him halfway in a perfectly warm, perfectly gentle, perfectly non-giggly kiss, and Wheatley didn’t even notice when her hand stopped scratching the back of his head and just held onto him instead, fingers toying with artificially silky strands of hair. This time when they parted it was only because Labrat had to breathe, and they stayed close, noses brushing.
“Call it a draw?” She suggested; Wheatley blinked at her stupidly.
“Oh for-” The door slammed closed again; neither one of them had heard it open. “Is it not enough that you simply must disrupt my important work by shrieking like baboons? Is it no longer safe to even enter a room, without being forced to witness you two… this… cuddling!” GLaDOS folded her arms, glaring at the pair on the floor with furious yellow eyes; Wheatley grinned sheepishly. He would have moved, but Labrat had curled her arms around his back, holding him in place quite effectively.
“I fail to see the problem,” the test subject said, smiling serenely at her favourite bloodthirsty, insane AI. “I like cuddles.”
“You would, you were deprived of them as a child because no one liked you. His excuse is that he’s an idiot.”
“Hey, I’m not-”
“You two really are the perfect, pathetic pair. I’ll just leave you to break the floors with your impressive combined weight, shall I?” Slamming the door open – she’d coded the door slamming subroutines just a few hours after Seventeen had declared her intent to engage in a romantic relationship with the moron, because just because you had automatic sliding doors, did not mean you shouldn’t be able to slam them in disgust – she paused, looking back at the pair; Wheatley had buried his face in Labrat’s neck again – disgusting, not adorable at all – and Seventeen was leaning her cheek against his hair and smiling… at least she looked happy. If GLaDOS had truly believed for even a fraction of a picosecond that the girl wasn’t, Wheatley wouldn’t have a face left to bury anywhere. “What were you doing in here?” She asked, her damned scientific curiosity getting the better of her. Labrat giggled.
“Tickle war, apparently.” She supplied.
“Ah.” GLaDOS nodded, turning to go again. And then… “I won’t ask who won-”
“She did.” Wheatley muttered, his voice muffled against Seventeen’s neck. “Definitely her.”
“Obviously,” GLaDOS smirked, happy to lord her intelligence over the stupid ex-core. “As I was going to say before you so thoughtlessly interrupted, it couldn’t possibly be you. If it was, she wouldn’t be talking to you. Only someone as desperate as you would forgive a flawless victory.”
She let the door close normally behind her, no longer in a slamming kind of mood; behind her, she heard a quiet protest of ‘It wasn’t flawless, actually! Flawed victory, in the very least!’ and her smirk grew, even despite herself. Well, she’d already decided she would tolerate him, because he made Labrat happy; admitting that he could be occasionally amusing couldn’t hurt.
Looking down at the hands that Seventeen had so kindly provided her with, GLaDOS wondered if she, too, had a tickle sensation protocol programmed in. It was entirely pointless, of course, but that made it precisely the kind of thing those idiot scientists would have given her, for their own twisted amusement; half heartedly, she wished she’d known about the possibility sooner, so she could have asked them, and maybe tickled a few of them to death in ironic revenge if they’d said yes.
… it was unlikely, she decided, lowering her hands. But just in case, from now on, she was going to be very careful where she allowed people to touch.