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"It's all so much bigger than any one of us alone."

That was what I was thinking in the middle of the AO3 first birthday party. I was feeling the love. All over me people were holding champagne glasses. Some had in fact downed more than one glass and were on their way from tipsy to decidedly wasted. I didn't have the heart to disapprove, though. It was a party, and everyone was having fun.

Besides, I had an ulterior motive for wishing people to be less than observant. I was on a mission. I walked out of the room nonchalantly, which was a clear sign that I was up to something. Luckily no one was looking.

In a side room, the AO3 servers were ticking on. I went to them and stared at them in fascination. I had heard of them so much, but I'd never seen them. A warm feeling spread low in my belly. I was finally with them.

I went closer to them and touched the metal casing. A shiver passed through me as I stroked the warm metal. It felt good to touch it, and I was getting short of breath.

I knew I shouldn't be doing this. I knew I shouldn't be here at all. "What would Allison say if she knew about this?" I asked myself. I had tremendous respect for her, and I had lied to her when I had told her I was going to the loo when I was actually coming here. I didn't fancy her ever finding out.

I didn't get my wish. The door behind me opened, and I snatched my hand off the servers and turned around. It was Allison. I felt ashamed to have been caught in such a compromising situation. I blushed and lowered my head. Allison didn't seem the least bit fazed, though. She walked to me and crouched next to me.

"They're beautiful, aren't they?" she said in a low voice.

I wasn't capable of speech at that moment, so I merely nodded. This was my idol there, right next to me, looking at our servers. The moment was magical. No wonder I was speechless.

"Sometimes I swear they are alive," Allison continued, gazing at the servers.

I found my voice. "Yes, I can feel it. It's as if they know that we love them."

We fell silent. Time seemed to stop in the darkness of the room as we stared at the servers. As one, Allison and I extended our hands and stroked the servers.

The servers purred.