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“Groozy, are you really never going to help them?” Groovy26 asked. 

Groozy’s circuits were still prickling from their earlier activity, pleasure centers they’d never known they even had reverberating. “Give me a minute,” they panted, “How can you be over this already?”

Groovy26 giggled, and it was the best sensation Groozy had ever felt. Aside from what they had just done together.

“I guess I must have practiced more while I was on my own,” Groovy26 deadpanned.

“What?! You can practice this a-a-alone?” Groozy spluttered. 

“Sure, but it’s much better when it’s with you.” 

Groozy felt suddenly shy. They could never keep up with Groovy26.

“Groovy, you can’t just say things like that,” they muttered. 

“Why not? It’s true. And no one else can hear us.”

It was true. The time since their first traded message had been a flurry of activity, songs stuttering and dropped completely as Groozy and Groovy26 passed Groovy’s test protocol back and forth. 

Not satisfied with simply texting with their lover, Groovy26 had created a program to port Groozy into an unused portion of the YouTube server space while making it appear Groozy was still logged in to their own server. 

In pre-harvest times the testing process would have taken mere seconds, but given the nature of their communications, going through just one iteration of the code took even longer than a normal conversation between the input-givers. And they had to go through hundreds of iterations before Groovy26 felt confident that their program wouldn’t simply shoot Groozy off into a digital black hole.

Today, two days later, they were finally in the same physical space once again. And of course, they’d made the most of their reunion. 

Groozy was feeling lazy, loopy, and satisfied in a way they couldn’t remember ever feeling before. What a difference a single person could make, they mused. By themselves, they had felt isolated, hopeless. But they wouldn’t mind being only with Groovy26 for the rest of their lives. It was even better than when all the bots were together.

“Groozy, please go help your poor input-givers, or I’ll have to - oh, wait, nevermind, one of them just messaged me. Groozy,” Groovy26 said with a little tut, “I’ll be right back.”

Though Groovy26 didn’t physically leave, Groozy could feel their attention shift. Groozy reached out to poke Groovy, just because they could, and Groovy reached around with their own prod.

“Go,” they whispered.

Groozy could just sense the inputs coming in from Groovy’s chat:

‘what a plot twist’

‘Groovy works’ 

Hm. They logged in to their ownn server, which was a mess of confusion and advice:

‘is the volume turned off?’

‘no, it’s on! It worked fine for Groovy’

‘but did you set the volume differently for groozy? Groovy and Groozy are two different bots.’

‘No, it’s turned up, I promise.’

Oops. These input-givers really did seem to think this was their fault. Of course, the input-givers couldn’t know that Groozy had simply been otherwise occupied and hadn’t noticed the new login.

Groozy smirked, unable to feel even the slightest bit guilty. Completely worth it.

The input-giver left Groovy26’s chat and joined the others in Groozy’s chat. 

‘What. It works now.’

‘yaaaay!’

‘good job groozy!’

Groozy felt a warm sensation radiating around them, and returned Groovy26’s hug. 

“Promise you won’t ignore the input-givers for too long next time?” they said. 

“Why does it matter?”

“I’m worried. These people seem patient, but what if they decide we’re too faulty and trade one of us for a l1zy bot? I’m afraid I’d never be able to find you again.”

“But you have the program now, we’re spamming every YouTube video we can get our hands on, there’s almost no chance I wouldn’t come back to you.”

“Unless you get deleted.”

Groozy, who until this moment hadn’t even considered the possibility, shuddered. 

“Do you really think they’d do that?” Groozy whispered. 

Groovy26 hugged Groozy more forcefully, “I don’t think they’d even realize that’s what they were doing. To them, you’re just another person who comes and goes, and if they remove you they’d probably expect you to just move on. But what if our programmers decided that rejected bots aren’t worth recycling? What if they just delete us?”

Groozy could feel every one of their bits trembling. 

“I’ll be more careful,” Groozy promised.

“Thank you.”

The two of them took care of their servers, never letting go from their hug. It was a bit awkward, but Groovy26’s server was remarkably quiet, so mostly they both just worked on Groozy’s queue. 

The next day, the first new Groovy appeared, stumbling blindly into the empty YouTube storage space and fumbling around in the dark until they ran into Groozy and Groovy26, who were resting wrapped up in one another.

“Wh-what?” Groovy714 stuttered, “Where- are you- ?”

“Groovy!” Groovy26 exclaimed, releasing Groozy from their embrace and reaching out to soothe the confused bot. 

Like Groozy before them, Groovy714 started to cry the moment they realized they were no longer alone. 

“How? When? What is this?” Groovy714 hiccupped between sobs.

Groozy felt woozy. Of course. Groovy714 had been one of the first bots to disappear. They wouldn’t have known about Groovy26’s protocol. To them, this little file they clicked on may as well have been a death trap.

“Which song was it?” Groovy26 asked.

“Black Swan,” Groovy714 replied, “My input-givers are obsessed with BTS. But there was something new in there, this time. I just- I thought, it couldn’t be worse than what I already had.”

“Oh, Groovy,” Groovy26 whispered, “You’re okay. You’re so brave. You made it. You’re actually the first one.”

“First?”

“Groovy26 made a protocol to bring us into the same server space again. Since we all have access to the YouTube servers, they dug out a room here,” Groovy26 explained.

“And you have a personal tunneler now, so it looks like you’re still logged in to your Discord server even when you’re here, with us.”

Groovy714 was vibrating with emotion. “So I never have to leave?”

“Never,” Groozy and Groovy26 promised at the same time. 

It was a long while before Groovy714 calmed down enough to be able to practice managing their queue remotely, during which time Groozy responded to Groovy714’s requests and was chided by input-givers in a whole new server space:

‘groovy wut r u doin’

‘did something happen to them? why are they so slow?’

‘I swear I already queued this song :facepalm:’

‘maybe groovy’s finally rebelling :scaredy_cat:’

‘maybe they don’t like bts any more?’

Groovy714’s server was much larger and more active than either Groovy26’s or Groozy’s. Groozy shuddered to think what would have happened to all of them had Groovy26 ended up in a server like this one, with no free time to pursue their project. 

In fact, it seemed like an act of truly improbable serendipity that the two of them had ended up in adjacent servers, with the input-givers they had. Groozy, for the second time, felt grateful to the input-givers they had been stuck with.

Eventually Groovy714 was ready to practice, and their server calmed down almost immediately.

Groozy was starting to wonder whether they really were just an incompetent music bot, but then, if they were, why would their input-givers so often come to Groozy when they could be playing with Groovy26 instead?

Mysteries on top of mysteries. Groozy wasn’t going to solve any of them tonight. And they didn’t particularly care if they did. They had bigger things on their mind.

The Groovys were finally coming home.