the robot girl.
robots can't feel anything, but people can.
93-line, Jiyeon/iu; 2,016 words.
→ kacts fill for firequakes.
robots can't feel anything, but people can.
93-line, Jiyeon/iu; 2,016 words.
→ kacts fill for firequakes.
Jiyeon finds a flyer in a magazine for a prototype of a robot that can be anything you want it to be. It’s a cheaply made flyer, with the regular copy paper, and the colors are faded because of it, but it says: Go to Make-A-Wish-dot-com and make your own ideal friend for free.
Jiyeon doesn’t want to believe it, but just out of curiosity she takes it home with her, because she’s always wanted a robot as a friend.
Later, she sits at an internet café with Sunyoung, staring at the website – which looks almost like a grocery shopping site except with perfect body types and personalities on sale instead of fruit.
“This is all real?” Sunyoung asks, holding a fruit drink in her hand and her legs crossed in the next seat over. She has a hand on Jiyeon’s arm and it feels warm.
Jiyeon is punching in the order coupon that came with the flyer. “Probably not,” she says and presses the next button on the order form. “Select your prototype’s gender.”
“Wow, they can even be genderless!” Sunyoung exclaims. Jiyeon laughs and selects ‘female’ because if the robot comes out as a man, she thinks it’d be kind of awkward. She clicks to the next button, and it comes out as a long order form for all kinds of different body shapes, even down to the shape of the eye and how long her eyelashes should be. They squabble over a few for a while, but after a while they decide they should just take turns instead.
“Short hair would be cute,” Sunyoung says, holding the mouse, “but her face looks more mature with long hair.” She clicks back and forth between the two for a while before she settles on long.
“She needs to have a big smile,” Jiyeon laughs, “and a big laugh, of course.”
“She has to be able to sing too,” Sunyoung says, “better than me.”
“Your singing is really awesome, though.” Jiyeon says, digging her elbow into Sunyoung’s side. Sunyoung just shakes her head and elbows her back, an embarrassed smile rising to her face.
“She should be mature, but still has to be able to have fun,” Jiyeon states when they get to the personality section. “She has to get along with us well or we won’t be able to be good friends.”
By the time they’re at the last page of options, Sunyoung’s drink is gone and the food Jiyeon ordered has long since vanished. “Alright, last one.”
They both stare at the final image on the screen that shows the friend that they just created. “Wow,” Sunyoung breathes. “I this is real, she’ll be perfect.”
“The perfect friend,” Jiyeon says, and laughs, pinching Sunyoung. “I already have the perfect friend.”
“Oh hey look,” Sunyoung points at the bottom of the screen. “It says she’ll be ‘delivered tomorrow morning’.” She looks up at Jiyeon with a grin. “Sleepover?”
Jiyeon clicks out of the screen, still doubting that this will even exist. “Sleepover.” Disappointments were always better with friends.
They stay up half the night just whispering about what if’s before they finally drift off to sleep, both crowded in Jiyeon’s bed and curling together under the blankets and they sleep until they’re disturbed by the doorbell at six in the morning.
They take one look at each other and run to the door, tripping over themselves in excitement. Jiyeon can taste it in her mouth as her fingers stumble over the locks. She pulls open the door and they both gasp.
“Hello, nice to meet you, I’m IU!”
It’s a girl. Or rather, the girl that they just spent the last afternoon creating. Sunyoung lets out a breath and Jiyeon remembers to breath too, staring at the girl with wide eyes. She’s wearing the school uniform of both of their school and smiling at them. She has a backpack on her back and she’s holding a square box.
“H-hi,” Sunyoung says, and they both step back a bit to let her enter. She does, taking off her shoes diligently. Jiyeon stares at her in wonder. The only way she can tell that she’s not human is that she sometimes gives inhuman jerks as she moves.
“She’s perfect,” Jiyeon whispers, and IU giggles when she puts a hand to her cheek. The cheek feels soft, like baby skin. Jiyeon jerks her hand back in surprise.
“No I’m not,” her laugh is loud and boisterous, and it cuts off with a snort. “You guys made me, right?” She grinned. “Let’s be good friends,” she sticks out her hand and they take it one after the other.
Sunyoung starts to quiz her. “What’s your favorite thing to do?”
“I like to sing,” IU says, “but I also like a lot of other stuff.” She walks towards the kitchen and puts the box down. They both follow her. “Here are some goodwill brownies for after school.” She turns to them and claps her hand together. “Time to go to school,” she says and pushes them towards the bedroom to get ready. “Let’s go, let’s go.”
It’s raining outside when they get ready for school. IU pulls an umbrella out of her bag and they walk together, arms brushing together as raindrops fall against the thick plastic with dull pricks of sound.
“We need to find you a new name,” Sunyoung mentions suddenly, breaking the awkward silence. There are so many things that Jiyeon wants to ask a robot that she just doesn’t know where to start.
“You’re right,” she says, staring at IU for a long moment. IU stares back. “How about Jieun?”
“Oh, I like that.” Sunyoung nods, and so does IU.
“It’s just a few letters off your name,” the robot giggles, and it’s so realistic that Jiyeon can only wonder if she’s really a robot at all.
“Great, your name is Jieun then.” IU sounded too much like a robot name, anyways.
Sunyoung is in a different class from Jiyeon, and before class they took bets on whose class Jieun would end up being placed in. Jiyeon sits back in satisfaction when the robot introduces herself as “Jieun, seventeen years old.”
“I’ve never been to school before,” she confessed as she slid into the empty seat next to Jiyeon. She almost snorts, because obviously she’d only been made that morning.
Jiyeon sat forward on her hand watching as the robot brings out her textbooks. “Hey, you can help me with homework, right?”
“Of course,” Jieun grinned, and Jiyeon sat back in her chair again. Perfect.
Jieun does all of their homework when she gets home. Sunyoung can’t stay the night again because she needs to go home, so she leaves Jieun and Jiyeon alone with sagging shoulders.
After Jiyeon pulls out the spare cot in her room, she calls her mom to let her know that she’ll be having a friend over and her mom lets her know that she wont be home for three days anyways, so she’ll have to make her own food.
Jieun makes it for her, because “great cook” is definitely one of the special qualities Jiyeon wrote down. She makes the best sangyupsal she’s ever had, and afterwards, they sit on the couch together.
Jieun rests her hand on Jiyeon’s bare knee and idly rolls her finger over the skin. “Does this feel good?” She asks, and when she looks at her, Jiyeon can see the way her eyes look almost dull.
“Very good,” Jiyeon says, resting her head on the back of the couch. “Can’t you feel it?”
Jieun laughs, “I can’t, I’m just a robot.”
“Oh, right.” Jiyeon looks away, out the window. She’d forgotten it, in that brief moment. “What’s it like?”
“It’s cold,” Jieun says with a smile that doesn’t reach her robot-eyes. “I can’t feel what I’m supposed to feel.”
“That’s awful,” Jiyeon comments, dropping her hand to Jieun’s and squeezing. “Don’t worry, I’ll always be your friend anyway.” She smiled until the robot smiled back.
“Thank you,” Jieun said, standing up. “I need to go charge.” She moves to the bedroom and plugs herself in by using a plug in that comes right out of her neck and connects to the wall.
Jiyeon wakes up in the middle of the night to the bed shifting heavily to one side. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you up,” Jieun whispers.
Jiyeon moves her hand to the back of her neck and pulls it away at how hot it is. “It’s okay – are you charged?”
“Yep! All the way.” Jiyeon can see her white teeth when she grins, even with it being as dark as it is.
Jiyeon closes her eyes and drifts back off to sleep, but she’s not sure what she feels when Jieun’s arm brushes hers. Something sparks inside of her like someone struck her like flint and steel and lit something. She pushes it down and buries her head further into her pillow until she falls asleep.
She wakes up to breakfast, and together they walk to school, arms brushing together – every time they brush, her cheeks grow a little more red. “It’s nice today,” she says awkwardly, and it’s weird to be as awkward as she’s felt these last few days.
“It’s approximately 21 degrees Celcius.” Jieun nods, and wipes a bit of sweat off of Jiyeon’s brow. Jiyeon jerks back in surprise and has to look away at Jieun’s confused expression. Fake expression.
At school, they run into Sunyoung and Jinki together. Jinki gives them both a sweet smile before tugging on Sunyoung’s braids and running off towards the senior hall. Sunyoung stares after him with love in her eyes, and suddenly Jiyeon starts to understand what she might be feeling for Jieun.
Jiyeon tries to avoid Jieun as much as she can, but it’s pretty hard to do so when she sits right next to her and is contracted to her forever. She’s daydreaming in the hallway as she brings a stack of papers to the teacher’s lounge, and she wonders how they’d ever have a relationship when she’s the only one that grows older and the only one that feels anything.
She stops when she hears someone singing with the most fantastic voice she’s ever heard. She peaks her head into the choir room and feels her breath be taken away. Jieun is sitting at the piano, fingers running along the keys. Her quirky little freezing motion moves with the beat and makes it look natural. But the voice is anything but robotic – it’s all-human. No robot can sing the way that she is, with so much soul.
Jiyeon’s stepped inside the choir room before she can stop herself, and she sets the case of papers down on the teachers desk and goes up the steps one by one, until she’s at the top of the hall, right next to her. Jieun doesn’t make any sort of motion to show that she even knows that she’s here.
She’s never been a thinker. The homework that she asked Jieun to do for her happened to be the best grade she’s had in the whole year and it wasn’t even her work. Jiyeon’s much better at actions than she is at thinking – PE is her best subject, even better than drama class.
So when she leans forward and places a kiss on Jieun’s cheek, she shouldn’t be surprised when Jieun’s voice falters immediately and breaks the spell. She looks up at Jiyeon through her bangs and Jiyeon gives her a little half-smile.
“I’m a robot,” Jieun says, biting her cheek, it's hard and reminds her of what she really is.
“I know.” Jiyeon sits down beside her on the piano bench. “You’re my robot, though.” She leans forward again, and this time Jieun meets her. She tastes like freshly crushed berries and oil, but that’s okay, she doesn’t mind it at all. It’s okay to like a robot because she doesn't even know how long she’ll be around anyway. It’s all about spontaneity anyways, isn’t that what life is supposed to be about?