Your name is Aradia Megido and you have emotions. That probably sounds weird, but it’s a new thing for you. You’ve been dead for so long you can’t remember what feelings are, really. You’re kind of concerned you can’t control them. And there he is, Equius, standing there looking concerned and vaguely mischievous. You feel something come over you. Gratitude, perhaps?
And then you realize robots shouldn’t have feelings. Damn it, you’re getting slow. Of course robots shouldn’t have feelings they’re tin cans; no more alive than dead people.
So if all of that is true… what the devil has that bastard done to you?
“What the devil have you done to me, you bastard?” You turn to look at him, wishing you’d said something slightly more menacing than that. But you live and learn, right?
Your argument is now invalid.
“W-what do you mean, Aradia?” He’s starting to sweat, but you’re pretty sure he does that 99 percent of the time anyways.
“I mean… just what have you done to me? I’m… feeling.” It comes out so disgusted.
“Well… is that necessarily a bad thing?” He shuffles his feet a little and coughs awkwardly a few times. You can’t understand how you’re making him so nervous. He could destroy you in a matter of seconds but here you were and he was… cowering.
“Well…” Looking at him you kind of don’t want to yell at him, but then that emotion surges over you again.
You think he’s made you fall in love.
This makes you so angry; you just want to get rid of all the emotions. Make it all stop. After this long of not feeling everything hurts on the inside, and you just want to go back to the nothingness.
You claw at your chest, tearing at the metal, a sickly blue seeping out from inside of you, running down your body and pooling on the floor. You grab onto a pumping muscle and tear it out, blue spraying about and staining your metal. You crush it and turn to see the pain and shock on his face, the very image of heartbreak and fear. You scream at him, extending your arms and grabbing him by his shirt. His face is sweaty and scared, he trembles in fear. You shake him, automatic and electric anger flowing through you. You can’t believe he would do this to you.
You get this feeling, a feeling of dominance and a feeling of need. You kiss him. You shut your glowing red eyes and you kiss him, and you can hear one of his teeth break against your blue metal lips. He whimpers, you can hear his pain, feel his struggles. A surprised soft grunt and he sweats more and more. You swear that if you get any closer to him one of those beads of sweat will give you malfunctions and rust your insides.
Finally you pull apart, panting. You’re both covered in blue, it’s all over your hands and body. It’s hard to think of it as blood, considering the fact you haven’t had it circulating through you for so long, and when you did you’re confident it was red. Equius looks at you, his chest heaving, sweating so much its disgusting, but that doesn’t stop you from wanting to touch his face, to hold him close to you.
“I… I’m so sorry.” You stare at your hands and the hole in your chest. “I’m so sorry.”
All he does is stare at you, a line of blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. After a moment he picks up a few scrap pieces of metal off the ground and starts tinkering with them, which you take as an invitation to leave. You’ve almost left when you feel a hand around your wrist. It makes you jump, but it’s just Equius.
“It’s okay.”He tells you.
You pull away from him and leave, but you don’t go far. The hole in your chest and your unexplained love for Equius stops you from leaving, so you just curl up under a work table and wish you could die again. You wish for the feelings to stop, for everything to stop. You never really appreciated how good you had it when you were dead. And now it’s too late.
There are countless voices in your head, voices of all the other Aradiabots from the past, present and future. Or, you guess just the future. You think you’re the first Aradiabot, but you really can’t be sure. Who knows how many versions of you are roaming the skies right now?
The voices rise and fall, but they never stop. If you could actually feel physically you would be clutching your head in pain, moaning for it to stop. But instead it was just driving you crazy; you couldn’t concentrate on anything but the voices. You’re pretty sure time was passing, but you couldn’t tell if it had been a few minutes or a few hours.
You thought you’d wanted to live but now you’d give anything to die again, but you’d already ripped out your own heart. You don’t think there’s much else you can do.
Finally one voice stands out from the others. “Hello?” It’s so cold and clear. You never knew your own voice could sound like that.
“Make it stop.” You whisper, but there’s no response. So you just think it.
“Make it stop.” It bounces around in your head, cutting through all of the random buzzing.
“Make what stop?” The voice replies. It sounds wary. You don’t think it understands either.
“Everything.” You think again. That really is what you want, for everything to stop.
“Who are you?”
“Aradiabot. Can you make it all stop? The feelings?” You’re getting your hopes up, but you can’t help it.
“That’s impossible, I’m Aradiabot. I’m currently the only Aradiabot. The one with Equius… oh.” The voice trailed off. “Are you with Equius?”
“Yes.” You don’t understand what she means by she’s currently the only Aradiabot. “Why, who are you with?”
You can’t believe it. Why does she get to spend time with Sollux? You’re sure it wouldn’t be so hard if you got to spend time with Sollux. “What did you mean by ‘the one with Equius’?”
“The Aradiabot with Equius self-destructed.”
“What?” You think about that poor Aradiabot before you. Obviously she didn’t have the nerves to stay alive. But then again, you really didn’t either.
“They self-destructed. And he hasn’t made a new one.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? Obviously he made me, I mean… oh.” You forgot about all the weird time stuff going on. You forgot you were talking to an Aradiabot from the future.
She’s talking about you.
“But… I’m not going to self-destruct. I can’t just do that.”
“I could help you.” The voice seems darker now, with a hint of determination and… joy behind it. She would love to make you self-destruct. Why are you doing this to yourself?
“What do you mean you could help me?”
“I mean, I could make everything stop. The pain, the love, the emotions, your heart.” She was whispering now, and despite what she was saying it was so promising, the emptiness.
“How.” You asked, just out of curiosity, of course. “Not like that’s ever going to happen, but how.”
“I can do it, just tell me when you want me to.” Her voice was so smooth…
“Now, I can’t stand it anymore. Make it stop, please.” You surprise yourself by saying it, by the determination in your voice.
“Are you sure?” She let out a soft laugh. There was no other sound in your head now, just her voice and her promise.
“Yes.” You think it ever so softly, party wishing she couldn’t hear it.
“Ok then, Aradiabot.” You can almost feel her breath brushing past your metal cheek, like she’s leaning in close to tell you a secret. “Self-destruct.”
And then there was a bright, blinding light and a loud bang, but you didn’t care. You couldn’t feel anything, and it felt great. You realized that thought didn’t really make sense but there’s no other way to describe it. It’s like a huge weight was being lifted off of your shoulders. Everything was thrown out of proportion, time slowed down. But that’s what happens when you’re timeless. And then Equius was there, looking at the smoking remains of your mechanical body. He reached out to touch them but shied back from the heat.
“Aradia?” He whispered. “What…?” Then he sees you, and you see the hurt on his face. You can’t help wondering if you were being selfish. Now you wish you hadn’t been so hasty, you hadn’t just blown yourself up as soon as it was offered. You hadn’t been alive that long, it could have been great. But it’s too late now. It’s always too late.
It was too late to be dead again, and now it’s too late to live.
You float towards him, wishing you could feel sorry. It wasn’t fair; death wasn’t what you needed it to be right now. It was only an escape from emotion, but you needed an escape from everything.
You reach out to touch his face, but your hand can’t touch him. You give him an apologetic look. “It wasn’t worth it.” Your voice no longer has expression. It isn’t that cool, clear, metallic sound ringing around in your head anymore. It’s just a voice. “It’s not your fault; I couldn’t see how perfect I was until now. I was just being selfish and ungrateful. Thank you, Equius.”
“Thank you for doing this for me.” You try to smile, but it’s so empty. And then you go back to doing what you’ve done for a very, very long time. You go back to being dead. You go back to not worrying. You watch, you observe the choices others make and wonder if you would have done the same thing. You like watching, as long as you aren’t being watched. You like the nothing, and the nothing likes you.
And the nothingness welcomed you back like an old friend.