Her eyes were wide, glimmering, and false.

Made of glass, perhaps. Stripes of dye creasing a warm brown, color number D-152 in the inventors cabinet, next to a gallon of ammonia and a handful of screws. Lenses like glitter... They weren't authentic, their shine wasn't real. Neither was her smile, but she had no reason to, anyway.

No reason at all.

"That dress is nice," he offered, trying so hard to lift her spirits. "That color is flattering on you."

"White. The absence of all color in art, and the presence of all color in science. Symbolic of virginity in some cultures -" Her head turned toward him, gears clicking in her neck, twirling beneath her skin, but she still looked so real. How could she possibly be otherwise? "Would that make me a sex toy?"

He let out a chuckle, only it wasn't a laugh at all. "I... I suppose it would."

Now she grinned a look that would have set off every lie detector in the county. "No, no it wouldn't." The way her arms slopped off her knees and between her legs, the contrivance of her head against her palm, wistful as a child tracking the clouds ... She could have passed for a person, gaze blank and without actual feeling. "Because people don't fall in love with sex toys."

Maybe even a pretty one.

"He loves you?" Suppose she was programmed to detect disappointment, that humming, mournful song in his throat, but would she even notice with the myriad of thoughts crowding her head? Not thoughts, impulses. Electrical impulses. She touches a piece of fabric and she can feel that it's soft from the trickle of sensations and messengers sending the data to her brain... No, not brain, either. Processing unit.

Maybe humans aren't that different from machines, after all.

"I know that he loves me, he tells me every day," Imagine the voice at the end of a disconnected line, being unable to fidget or pace about the room, or even bite her lip in anxiety. "He just hasn't come back yet."

He decided not to tell her about the young woman her creator met last Christmas, and how they held hands together as he changed his name, left the state, and told her to wait there until their wedding night, because he would most certainly be back. There will be champagne, love. And flowers and gifts.... My family will adore you, and we can finally be happy...

Two weeks of solitude brought cobwebs to those tiger striped, brown eyes, chest nut curls falling limp around her shoulders, the lace in her dress eaten by moths. Her battery would die soon - and the inventor was counting on it. He would lie waste to the invention he'd toiled for months on, all because he found a new knickknack. A blonde one. A person who could actually feel, and had a soul that could go to heaven, de facto blood filling her veins. I love you sweetheart, just wait here for me....

"Good-bye," she whispered, volume slightly quieter now. "You know that I will wait forever."

And she would.

The thrumming of heart strings replaced by the turning of machinery. Bolts holding her together, chips storing information, mathematical calculations resulting in words. Languages... Unwritten effigies... And the story of the girl who was artificial, therefore could not feel a thing, the coldness of the basement stairs just arithmetic, another fleck of information saved. Just how he had wanted it when he'd crafted her from steel bars, frantically searching for what would make her skin the most supple. The most soft. The most human.

The most real.

She was so devastatingly perfect, obsessed over until the point of pure, feminine beauty. She was what every man wanted, yet no one wanted her. A snowflake melting out of season. She was... She was...

It didn't matter what she was.

"I know you will..." The words slipped into the air like the rustle of flesh against a satin sheet. Unknowingly, his palm stretched towards her, sympathy and heart ache for this unearthly creature conquering every impulse he had ever known. Trapped within the patience of mechanical eyes.

"You're not allowed to touch me that way!" she jerked back, and so did he, the world of glass surrounding him shattered. "Only my maker is."

"I know," another whisper. Just a sound. Just a human. Just a machine. "I'm sorry."

"... But friends hold hands," she continued, mind conferring the data. It was all whirring together. This had never happened before - a flicker here, a flash there, a few scrambled letters rolling across her sight and rushing into blackness. Should she be worried? Should she be frightened? "So I suppose..." She looked towards him and kept her face expression calm. "... It would be all right."

He smiled as he curled his fingers around her clasp, and only grinned more when she, that robotic girl who was programmed only to love and be loved by one person, returned the gesture.

"That was easy."

"Actions are always easy."

"You look tired."

"I can't sleep until he kisses me goodnight."

Such unbelievably delicate skin is hard to come by. Gloves of silk, wrapped in his own masculine digits, and nothing ever felt so perfect. That wedding dress must have looked so dazzling on her when she'd sewn it, before the dust fell upon her shoulders as she didn't even blink the days away, waiting. Always waiting. Waiting as the clock ticked forever onward into some abyss. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

This masterpiece would never be his own.

Now for dizziness. It crept into the edges of her mind as he saw her flicker slightly, watched her spin crinkle towards the floor, then pick itself up again, realigning those beautiful, unreal eyes towards the stair case in anticipation. Footsteps that would never enter. Embraces that would never be received. Kisses... Never to be had.

She was frightened, somewhere beneath those springs and gears.

"Are you having trouble?"

Machines can't feel afraid. Computers don't have emotions. If he were there, he could explain it all, he could wrap her in his arms and turn a knob in her back, pull a lever on her leg, and make her universally better. She was a sweet, innocent, completely artificial woman designed only with one purpose, with one desire: To love and be loved by him. Annabell-Lee with metal behind her eyes...A clock work bride with a breaking heart.

And he was the only one who knew how to fix it.

"I don't understand. This doesn't usually happen. The world seems to be a few shades darker."

Machines can't feel afraid. Can't feel afraid. Afraid not feel machines can't not feel afraid not machines feel...

"Your battery is running down." Believe the lie and swallow the bait, hook and sinker. Just trust him, he who is not your craftsman, and drift into a blissful nonexistence. "I'll tell him to recharge you when he returns." He caught that look of slight worriment on her face, though it was very likely she did not feel a thing, that he had imagined the whole expression. Automatons don't have feelings; but then why did she wait... "You don't need to worry. Friends comfort each other, you've done nothing wrong."

It was unease. If she could feel love, then why not pain? Why not hurt? What was stopping her from lilting from each emotional plane, hurtling herself between extremes, or crying when she was upset? Why did she look so hopelessly disparaged as they sat in the dim, cellar lighting, and why did it make him want to hold her and never let go?

He kissed her forehead.

She smiled.

"... And you'll make a wonderful wife."


A/N: Another one shot, written at 2 in the morning, on a straight up diet of candy corn and burgers. Alllll riiiiight.