Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at

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Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
M/M, Gen
Inanimate Insanity (Web Series)
Knife/Pickle (Inanimate Insanity)
MePad (Inanimate Insanity), Knife (Inanimate Insanity), Pickle (Inanimate Insanity), MePhone4 (Inanimate Insanity), Lightbulb (Inanimate Insanity), Test Tube (Inanimate Insanity)
Additional Tags:
vent fic i guess, Emotion Loss, Experimental, i have decided this ipad is neurodivergent and no one can or will stop me, the objects are also all working through their own shit, poor lightbulb, meanwhile knife and pickle are smooching, Dissociation, Anxiety Attacks
Published: 2021-08-19 Words: 4,373 Chapters: 1/1



"I can't feel anything sir."

MePad discovers that he doesn't know much about emotions and decides to finally try to understand them.


this is a slight vent about my own experiences with emotion loss, but i also thought it to be a cool idea for mepad to explore his feelings.

time note: this takes place a bit before "mine your own business" so fan just got eliminated (poor lightbulbs gonna lose test tube too :C)

formatting note: the passages beginning with '#' in the logs are all internal thoughts. i put them in italics for readability


Emotions. There is something difficult about them, something that I cannot parse every time the concept comes to mind. I have thought about this for a long time ever since my creation and yet I could not ever come to a conclusion. I suppose that was the reason why I accepted Mr. MePhone’s request to help on the show, to understand or at least try to. To learn from the strife and enjoyment of others I suppose. Their happiness, their sadness, anger, anxiety— wait. How is it I am able to categorise these emotions? Is it a conjuring of my neural networks? My internal dictionary I suppose? Let me check:


noun Such mental states or the qualities that are associated with them, especially in contrast to reason.

Hmm. Much too vague indeed. With that definition one could attribute an emotion with anything, no? And are all emotions seemingly unreasonable? Must logic and emotion not intermix? Perhaps I must look into specific ones. Let’s try happiness then:


noun Any state of being, having considerable permanence, in which pleasure decidedly predominates over pain.

I suppose that is… more specific but it leaves me with more questions. What is pleasure and pain? What is it comprised of? How long does it permeate for? Should one be happy all the time? Additionally, is pleasure always good and pain always bad?

Why am I getting so worked up from this? This has never happened before when I pondered about this subject. I am asking more questions than getting actual answers, I’m getting no where with this. It seems the dictionary will not help me this time. I will have to ask someone— ah! Mr. MePhone should know, he is kin after all and surely can feel. Perhaps he has some secret, some sort of clue. Perhaps he could make a diagram for me, create a proof explaining the vast nuances of emotion for me, an emotionless being, to understand. I doubt it though, but I can think of no better alternative at the moment. He said he would be in the hotel, leaving managing the show to just me after Toilet got fired. I don’t particularly want to avoid my duties, but I suppose this is an emergency.

A blink, and I arrive just before Mr. OJ’s hotel. No people outside as I can see, so I teleport inside into the living room. Two objects are sitting on the sofa, Mr. Pickle and Mr. Knife. They appear to be playing some sort of video game where— wait, what is Knife doing here, anyways? Shouldn’t he be near the site of the show? I suppose it doesn’t matter as long as he comes back, I can offer to teleport him there if he wishes. They don’t seem to notice me currently, too focused on the game. As the game ends however, they have a peculiar exchange. I am not one to snoop, but I was too intrigued by this conversation:

Piping contents of ‘sudo tail /etc/log/event.log’:
Mr. Pickle: “Ah, you got me!”
Mr. Knife: “Hehe, you suck at this game.”
#He gives his trademark smirk but does so in a most unusual way that I haven’t seen him do before to anyone. It seems more kinder, gentler even. Am I imagining this?
Mr. Pickle: “No way! You’re just too good!”
Mr. Knife: “Yeah that’s true, I’ll have you know that I’m the World Champion of the Super Bash Bros.”
#This has been detected as a lie.
Mr. Pickle: “Heh, you wish!”
#Strangely, the two then proceeds to get closer to each other, Mr. Knife’s right hand laying upon Mr. Pickle’s left. An unusual response stems from Mr. Pickle, one that the dictionary had identified as ‘blushing’:


To become red in the face, especially from modesty, embarrassment, or shame; flush.

#Leaning towards one another, the distance between them seemed to close before Mr. Pickle fixes his eyes upon me, his face getting even more ‘flush’.
Mr. Pickle: “M-MePad, how long have you been standing there?”
#At this, Mr. Knife immediately turns his body facing me, his face a mixture of shock and… embarrassment? Strange, I never seen this expression on him before. Flagging for further study.
Me: “Only for a short while, Mr. Pickle. Forgive me, did I do something wrong?”
Mr. Knife: “Yeah, you were bothering us while we play by staring at us, that’s why Pickle lost. Right, Pickle?”
#He turns towards him. Curiously, his reddened face seemed to fade when talking to me, but not Pickle’s.
Mr. Pickle: “Uhh… yeah, sure! Sorry MePad but uhh, could you go somewhere else? I really wanna beat the crap out of him in this game.”
#He still looks a bit bashful while saying this, with Mr. Knife giving him a competitive glare to his threat.
Mr. Knife: “Heh! You won’t beat me in a million years.”
#They then start a new game after that.
Me: “Understood. I was on my way to find MePhone so I’ll be off once more. Have a nice game.”
#The two do not respond to my farewell, opting instead to focus themselves at beating each other up in virtual combat.
End log

I walk out into the kitchen, and again there is no one here at the moment. Re-reading the log over and over, I cannot help to wonder what they were doing in that moment. Why were they so close to each other? Surely that would be a bit uncomfortable, I for one do not like being touched. And the blushing, what was that about? Did Mr. Pickle feel embarrassed by Mr. Knife’s touch? Ashamed? I found myself pacing back and forth on the kitchen floor. This problem was worse than I thought, I understand not a single thing from this. I need to find Mr. MePhone immediately.

I was just about to teleport again before I sensed someone approaching, Mr. MePhone as if the Universe itself had answered my plea. He looks quite surprised to see me here.

Sir: “MePad? What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be, I dunno… doing work?”
#He says this while rummaging through the cabinets, I suppose to look for something to eat. I never did understood why (or how) he does so, as he does not need to to survive. Another question to ask another time I suppose.
Me: “Hello, sir. I have finished the work you have requested. All things are ready for the next episode.”
#This was not a lie, for I work quickly.
Sir: “Ah, well… ok I guess.”
#He reached for a bag of potato chips and opened it.
Me: “Though I do have something of concern to bring up, sir. Concerning to me that is.”
Sir: “Hmm? Whaff is it?”
#He asks with his mouth full. The dictionary has automatically defined this as ‘disgusting’.


adjective which causes disgust, repulsive, distasteful.

I agree.
Me: “I was thinking about emotions, how I don’t feel them as you know, sir. But then as I thought about this, I realised that I have no idea what these emotions feel like, what they are, why one feels them, etc. I thought as another Meeple object who can feel these things, you could… enlighten me, sir.”
#Mr. MePhone crunches on his chips for a while before answering.
Sir: “Eh, I have no idea. I just… feel them I guess. I don’t really have an explanation for you.”
#I… I’m taken aback by this.
Me: “I… I don’t understand. You are saying that you feel without knowing what feeling even is?”
#He only shrugs in response while he ate.
Me: “S-Surely there has to be some other explanation, I mean, when you were created, sir, there had to be something done with your neural networks, something that allowed you to feel like this. Sir, if you would, may I reverse engineer your software, it would only take—”
#He nearly spits out his chips.
Sir: “What the hell, no MePad! That’s… that’s weird.”
Me: “Forgive me, sir. I’m just… trying to understand is all.”
#The room becomes silent for a few moments.
Sir: “Eh, it’s fine. You shouldn’t worry over this anyways, it’s not like you’re gonna magically feel emotions one day, so why care? I sure as hell don’t and I’m the one stuck with these emotions in the first place.”
Me: “…I’ll keep that in mind, sir.”
Sir: “Ok, well… keep up the good work!”
#He exits the room after taking yet another bag of chips, leaving me alone.
End log.

I couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t even begin to understand the prospect of living with emotions and not knowing why. Of not understand your own feelings yet having to deal with them regardless. Such a way of living would be absurd! Do all people live that way? Does Knife and Pickle know their emotions when they get close towards one another? Would it make a difference either way? I am getting too overwhelmed at these questions. If MePhone cannot help me, surely one of the contestants can? I doubt Mr. Knife would want to help me, though and I don’t want to intrude into people’s rooms here. I suppose I will have to go back to the show grounds.

So I do so, teleporting to the surprise of Lightbulb, who in my absence had taken a seat on the Elimination Area’s stage. Her face, however, seemed to denote another emotion, perhaps several other than astonishment. I have a hard time reading it as she puts on her usual smile on her face and slides towards me.

Lightbulb: “Hey MePad! You just appeared out of nowhere!”
#She does this thing called ‘fingerguns’ at me. I do not know how to respond to this so I ignore it.
Me: “Hello Ms. Lightbulb. I am sorry if I had startled you as I was briefly taking a visit to the hotel to meet MePhone. How are you?”
#I did not mean to say the last sentence but somehow it slipped out.
Lightbulb: “Oh y’know… keeping on keeping on!”
#This is not a thing people say.
Me: “I see. In that case—”
#I try to leave, to figure out my problem myself, but before I do so, Lightbulb replies.
Lightbulb: “And how are you, MePad?”
#I… I don’t know what to say. I suppose honesty is best here, but will she accept that as an answer? Should I lie and say, “I’m fine, Ms. Lightbulb”. Would that be a lie? No, honesty is best here.
Me: “I… I can’t feel anything, Ms. Lightbulb.”
#She snaps her fingers at this like she had just remembered this fact, the light inside her flickering white.
Lightbulb: “Oh that’s right! Sorry MePad, stupid question, hehe!”
Me: “It’s quite alright. I’m sure you’re usually used to people having emotions and acting accordingly to that but—”
#Wait. Does that mean I’m not a person?
Lightbulb: “MePad?”
#What does it mean to not be a person? Am I but a machine? Are there prerequisites for being a person? Do I fulfill them? Is one of them feeling emotions; is that why I can’t understand them at all? Perhaps the dicti— no! The dictionary doesn’t help!
Lightbulb: “Hey, MePad?”
#She pokes me lightly but I am too deep in my mind.
Who am I if I am not a person? Perhaps I was never a person at all. I don’t think I was made to achieve personhood. Maybe I can never be a person. But if that is the case, why are these thoughts so loud? Do non-people think? Are their thoughts this loud?
Lightbulb: “MePad, hey… are you ok?”
#Why am I making such a big deal out of this? Mr. MePhone was right, I shouldn’t worry about this, I should just accept that I’m not a person. But even still, why do I fe—
Lightbulb: “MEPAD!”
#Oh. I must have forgot to finish my sentence.
Me: “…Oh, apologies Ms. Lightbulb, I was lost in thought.”
Lightbulb: “Eh, it’s fine. Happens to the best of us, right? You did seem upset about something though… what were you thinking about?”
#I suppose I have no choice but to answer.
Me: “…Emotions.”
Lightbulb: “Oh.”
#The smile on her face wavers for a moment.
Lightbulb: “What kinda emotions?”
Me: “I don’t… understand them.”
#Why is my body so shaky? This is not normal behaviour, performing diagnostics.
Lightbulb: “Yeah. I get that.”
#She frowns, a rare thing to see from her. Was she sad about something?
Me: “I tried asking Mr. MePhone about it but… he didn’t know either. And, I don’t even know why I am so fixed on knowing.”
Lightbulb: “Maybe it’s because… you want to feel emotions?”
#She was hazarding a guess but it wasn’t a bad one. Do I want to feel? Do I want to be a person? Somehow, these seem like easier questions to answer, no… they seem like the right questions to be asking. But I still don’t have an answer.
Me: “I… I don’t know. I don’t know what that would entail.”
Lightbulb: “Well…”
#It was her turn to be lost in thought now, the smile fully wipes off of her face. I then remembered something, her friends, Paintbrush and now Fan with the last episode, were no longer on the show. Is that why she’s not feeling her best? Or, perhaps it’s more than that, perhaps this feeling was always there and I just didn’t notice it. It would be rude to ask, I’ll forget about it now.
Oh, I suppose I need to wake up Lightbulb now.
Me: “Ms. Lightbulb?”
Lightbulb: “Huh? Oh, right! Sorry, I guess you gave me the Zoning Out Bug, hehe!”
#I am confused at this, I gave her no insects and there is also no such thing as a ‘Zoning Out Bug’. Curious.
Lightbulb: “But… yeah. Feeling stuff is hard. I kinda envy you in that way though… but I don’t think feeling nothing would be really good either. I dunno…”
#Tears start to form in her eyes as she says this.
Me: “Ms. Lightbulb are you alright?”
Lightbulb: “Y-yea I’ll be alright… sorry you have to see me like this…”
#She wipes her tears. I suppose having water stream down your face would be uncomfortable.
Me: “It is quite alright Ms. Lightbulb. I—”
#I stop myself, not knowing what else to say. What can I even say at this point? I know the emotion she is feeling and why, but I do not know how to deal with it. And what’s more I do not know why I wish to help her. Strange, it is like I have experienced this before, this… wanting to help others. This concern for other people’s wellbeing. Why is it so familiar?
Before I could react however, Lightbulb puts her arms around me in a tight squeeze. The dictionary has classified this as “hugging”.


intransitive verb To clasp or hold closely, especially in the arms, as in affection; embrace.

It puts me in a state of shock. Nobody has ever really hugged me before… no, not ever. I don’t really know what to do in this situation and I don’t have arms so I try gently patting her back with my right foot to hopefully comfort her.
This sparks another surprising reaction: laughter. Had I done something funny?
Me: “Err… Ms. Lightbulb? Did I do something wrong?”
#She takes a deep breath to collect herself to issue her response.
Lightbulb: “No no no! I just wasn’t expecting that!”
Me: “I see. I apologise as I tried to do the same thing you were doing, this hugging, but I do not have the arms to go about it.”
Lightbulb: “It’s fine, really! Hey, who knows! It might become the new thing for armless objects to show affection! Ya never know!”
#Her tone then changes to a more meek one as she said the next sentence:
Lightbulb: “But, thanks MePad. I feel a bit better now.”
#She suddenly gets up and begins running in place.
Lightbulb: “Well, I’m gonna go and train for the next challenge! Bye, bye now!”
#She jumps down from the stage and starts running out of the Elimination Area. I also never heard of her ‘training’ before.
Me: “But the next episode isn’t until—”
#But by the time I could even get a word in she was already out of earshot.
End log

I stand here on the stage for a moment, once again re-reading the logs. I could only guess what was happening through Ms. Lightbulb’s mind as she shed those tears, as she hugged me even as she knew I couldn’t feel. But then, why did I want to help her so much, as though her safety is important to me? Is it just because they are contestants— no, it’s the same way for Mr. MePhone and Mr. Toilet as well. Is it something in my programming, to always help people if they need help? But then, how would I know if a person needs help? Lightbulb never asked for help from me and yet thanked me as if I did; did I help her without realising it? This is all too confusing for me. Must people do this every day, feeling things as well as helping other people through their emotions? It doesn’t particularly sound enjoyable.

Perhaps I should discuss this problem with someone more… scientific— yes, that’s it. If I could get someone to explain emotions to me in clear, logical terms, perhaps I may be able to put this all to bed. Fortunately, I know exactly the person to go to for this and most likely where they are now. So I do so, teleporting deep underground into Test Tube’s not-so-secret laboratory. This is the first time I have been down her myself rather than seeing it via the videos filmed during the episodes. It is certainly an impressive collection of inventions, such that I barely know what half of their functions are. Before I could properly look around, Test Tube herself came rushing towards me, not pleased at my breach of privacy.

Ms. Test Tube: “What are you doing here?! I am so sick and tired of everyone coming here without permission! You better have a good reason or I’m going to…”
#She stops in front of me, pointing what appears to be a laser gun towards my screen.
Me: “Pardon me for my trespassing, Ms. Test Tube. I have a rather specific problem and while I have tried going to other sources, I believe you may be able to help me.”
#She looks puzzled, the gun still held fixed in its direction.
Ms. Test Tube: “What kind of problem?”
Me: “It involves… emotions. I hypothesised that you could help a machine like me understand, given your scientific nature.”
#She withdraws her gun, her face changing to an expression I’ve seen on her many times: analytical thinking.
Ms. Test Tube: “Emotions, huh?”
Me: “Yes. I had hope you would be able to draw some sort of chart or—”
#She laughs.
Ms. Test Tube: “Heh! If I could do that I would have already did it already!”
#I have no response to this. If even she couldn’t help me then I would guess this is a lost cause.
Me: “I see. If so, I will take my leave. Goodbye Ms.—”
Ms. Test Tube: “Wait wait wait! I only said I couldn’t make some chart explaining emotions! I think I can help another way though.”
#She directs me to take a seat on a stool next to a lab table, in which she then retrieves a stool for herself and sits on the other side.
Ms. Test Tube: “So… what do you want to know?”
#She seems pretty excited, presumably at the prospect of teaching the concept of emotions to a machine. I assume that it’s the scientist within her.
Me: “Everything, Ms. Test Tube. I have been thinking of questions nonstop today and I haven’t an answer for them.”
Ms. Test Tube: “Questions like what?”
#I pause for a moment to find a good starting point.
Me: “Am I… a person?”
#Silence. Her enthusiastic expression then becomes serious… sad even. I do not know why before she answers.
Ms. Test Tube: “Hmm… do you want to be a person?”
#There was the question again. The question I still had no answer for. I try speaking, but I cannot utter a sound. She seems to notice this.
Ms. Test Tube: “You don’t need to answer. But… I do think of you as a person, MePad. I think the others do as well. Even if you don’t feel emotions, we’re still going to treat you as if you do. The reason I asked that though is to speculate if it is true the other way around: if you treat yourself as a person, doesn’t that make you a person?”
#The question she asks me is rhetorical, not meant to be answered by me as much as I could tell. But this gave me yet another question to ask, not to ask her but to ask myself: have I been treating myself as a person? She continues.
Ms. Test Tube: “To answer your question: yes I think of you as a person, but I think what matters is if you do yourself, regardless of feeling emotions or not.”
#She waits for me to respond but I have no words. I still don’t know if I wish to be a person, wish to feel. I say this strangely, as if I have a choice to be a person or not, to feel or not. Can one…
Me: “Can one opt out of feeling?”
#I… did not mean to say this. Ms. Test Tube looks at me strangely, not in a judging way, but in a way that cannot understand.
Ms. Test Tube: “Well… yes. One can block off emotions but… that’s not something healthy to do. You normally want to work through emotions rather than avoid them, otherwise…”
#She looks at me, face mixed with both sadness and curiosity, as if she is coming to some sort of conclusion.
Ms. Test Tube: “Err, MePad can I ask you a weird question?”
Me: “I suppose so, Ms. Test Tube. What is it?”
Ms. Test Tube: “What are you feeling right now?”
#More silence. The shakiness begins again.
Me: “I-I don’t particularly feel anything, Ms. Test Tube.”
Ms. Test Tube: “The reason why I ask is because there may be a possibility of you closing yourself off to emotions, at least mostly. It’s probably the fault of the person who made you but…”
#She continues to speak but I found myself unable to listen. The world around me feels hazy, like I am touching static. What is this? Why does this feel so familiar? Is this feeling? Is this an emotion?
Have I been feeling this entire time? My body seems to get more quaky.
Ms. Test Tube: “Uh, MePad? Did I lose you?”
Me: “I feel… as if… everything around me is… far away.”
Ms. Test Tube: “Far away?”
Me: “Yes, I… don’t know what this is. I feel…”
I begin noticeably quivering. Ms. Test Tube looks at me, not shocked by this, but concerned. Can she see me? I don’t want her to look at me. I don’t want her to see me like this. I don’t want anyone to see me like this.
Ms. Test Tube: “MePad…”
Me: “Pl-please don’t look at me. I-I…”
Ms. Test Tube: “MePad, it’s ok.”
#She gets out of her chair and stands next to me.
Ms. Test Tube: “It’s going to be ok, MePad.”
#She puts her arms around me into a hug.
Ms. Test Tube: “Don’t block off what you’re feeling, MePad. Let it out. I know it’s scary but you’ll feel better afterwards, trust me ok?”
#I give a slight nod but it is easier said than done. I feel as though everything is collapsing around me and am overwhelmed by this new, powerful emotion. Even still, Ms. Test Tube holds me, like she is trying to cling upon the whole world to keep it in place. It stays like this for a while until I eventually calm down.
Me: “Th-Thank you, Ms. Test Tube. I feel better.”
#She slowly removes her hands from me.
Ms. Test Tube: “It’s no problem.”
#She smiles at me in reassurance.
Ms. Test Tube: “I’m sure you have more questions but… honestly I don’t think I can answer them. Emotions are different for everyone so I’ll only be able to answer your questions with more questions, if that makes sense.”
Me: “I… I understand.”
#I haven’t been treating myself as a person. I haven’t even allowed myself to properly feel.
Me: “I think I understand what I have to do now.”
#She looks excited at this.
Ms. Test Tube: “Really? That’s great! As much as I want to document this moment for further study…”
#She hesitantly tries to reach for a nearby notepad, but stops herself, sighing.
Ms. Test Tube: “…I don’t think it’ll be kind for me to do that. It would be insensitive.”
Me: “I see. Well, I will be going now. Thank you for… the help.”
Ms. Test Tube: “Anytime. But don’t break into my lab again.”
End log.

With that, I teleport out of the lab to go right above it next to the fake Soda Machine. Going through the logs again, I believe I have a better grasp at what emotions are. I still have an immeasurable amount of questions, but it seems that everyone doesn’t particularly know how to answer them because they only know what the answer means for them and not anyone else. I figured it out.

Emotions are subjective.

I have been unfair to myself, unfair in not giving me the chance to feel. Even now, my emotions feel so faint. It’s why I didn’t feel as if I was a person. I was too busy understand how other people work rather than how I work. And, hopefully, by learning how I work, I will find my own answers.

…Hmm, curious. I feel as though the world feels much closer now.

It’s a nice feeling.


End Notes

meanwhile, taco was about to knock the shit out of him.

- im not sure if this is any good especially at the test tube scene since it literally diverted to full on projection
- after this, mepad *may* be a new comfort character of mine
- mepad runs linux
- mephone casually eats his chips while his cousin is having a dissociative episode
- knife mains meta knight, pickle mains minecraft steve
- gay
- poor lightbulb :C
- test tube is physically restraining herself from doing psychological experiments on mepad

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