"What am I?"
Not who, but what.
"A doll. I made you."
You ingest this news with an impassive face, though since it is made of sheet metal, the blonde man supposes that it would be hard for you to properly emote. You lift a hand to inspect it. It is meticulously crafted, as would be inspected from one of the top engineers around. It would almost be able to pass for a real human hand, if not for the obvious artificial joints used to craft together your fingers and knuckles. Now another question comes.
"Why did you make me?"
He doesn't answer.
He doesn't answer because he just can't bring himself to tell you he did not mean to bring you to life.
"Who are you?" you now ask, taking in the features of your apparent creator.
There is a slight tint of pink to his pale cheeks, which offsets his somewhat somber expression. He glances at you with piercing blue eyes, this mechanical miracle, and he knows that he owes you as best an explanation as he can offer, under these strange circumstances.
"Ludwig. Ludwig Beilschmidt."
"Ludwig," you repeat softly, testing, tasting it. "What am I called?"
He sighs. Ludwig wants to tell you to stop asking so many questions; he's having trouble processing that one of his inventions is talking to him. But he knows it's an unreasonable thing to ask- it's only natural for a creature in your situation to have questions, to wish for an explanation, but he doesn't know how long he can keep responding. It surprises him to note that he doesn't wish to not be able to answer- he has this irrational thought that he doesn't want to disappoint you. He wonders if this is how a parent must feel, when their child gets old enough to realize that adults do not, in fact, have all the answers.
Glancing at your eyes, which, despite merely being made of colored glass, blink at him and he swears that he sees hope, naked and raw, on your face. A name suddenly pops to mind as he stares at you, and without thinking he blurts it out.
"That's my name?"
You immediately pounce on this. For someone who has only been alive for a very short time, you're very on the ball. You think about this new name, although it doesn't ring with the same special allure that Ludwig's held. You nod, once, a gesture you make automatically.
Despite himself, Ludwig snorts, a little amused. The way you speak is peculiar- almost otherworldly- despite being an automated doll that abruptly came to life.
"Who else lives here?" you inquire now, planting your palms flat on the workbench and slowly pushing yourself into a standing position.
You test your legs in a way reminiscent of a newborn deer, the first steps halting and uncertain before instinct takes over. Your knee joints squeak very slightly as you experimentally bend your legs, walking on tiptoes like a ballerina.
"No one," Ludwig says shortly, a pang deep in his chest. "I live alone."
Now you focus on him totally, feeling suddenly uncertain. You can see that the topic of his apparent solitude hurts him, although it's hard to tell if his living situation is self-imposed or not of his own doing. You have no idea how you can understand Ludwig's pain, but you are learning to ride on the instincts you have seemingly been 'born' with.
"Is that why you made me?" you ask, a little more softly than before.
The silence between you stretches on and on, and it doesn't appear as though Ludwig is going to answer. You, after a moment's pause, decide to try rephrasing the question. It is not your wish to cause your creator pain, simply to gain and understanding. But already, you are beginning to understand that people are more complicated than they first seem. But since Ludwig is responsible for bringing you to life, you want to alleviate his obvious pain.
"Are you lonely?"
Ludwig glances at you, thinking back to before, when you were merely a collection of materials that he had soldiered together. Being as talented in his field as he is, Ludwig got commissions from all over. You are- were- his latest project.
But Ludwig made the vital choice of giving you a heart.
He even recalled thinking, at the time, that the oil on his hands- thick, black and shiny- as he pushed the ticking, artificial heart into your open chest, that it looked a little bit like blood.
Because your commissioner had specified he wanted you to look as human as possible, a giant cog sticking out of your back would have looked unseemly. Winding the cog would have made you walk, but also been too obviously robotic for the client's tastes. Ludwig had been thinking of experimenting with a heart instead- winding up a heard and then closing the chest again was an option, but as soon as he fitted the device in and finished bolting the chest shut, you opened your eyes, very much like a newborn baby. He had been alarmed and wary, at first, but here the two of you are, in a matter of hours conversing and getting to the matters of the heart. How fitting.
"Yes," he chokes out, unexpectedly overtaken by this simple, disarming question, "I suppose...I suppose I am."
Cocking your head, you lips curve into a little half-moon smile. You reach out, fingers gently brushing Ludwig's arm.
"Then, I will stay with you," you pronounce, as if it as easy as that.
Ludwig chuckles a little. He has been so starved for company recently that he has quite forgotten what it's like being around someone who isn't quite so jaded. Of course, you have no reason to be, not yet. In this grease-stained workshop, things probably seem simple enough.
"Ja, that sounds nice," he says softly, a small but sincere smile on his lips.
As he stands and beckons, leading you out of the workshop, your eyes already darting about his house, alight with curiosity, he wonders what an earth he's going to tell his client.