It's been at least three days. He'd been left for dead after just barely making it to this world. The start of integration destroyed everything for many clicks around. His home, he can't return to it unless he wants to be trapped again - permanently.

Three User days, so much longer on the grid. Time to think about everything he's done. He's unsure of the time he entered the User world. But he's sure of three mornings waking up to the shockingly bright light trying to stream into the room, prying around the edges of the closed curtains. Three times of waking up with her next to him, her hands on the places where his wounds are inexplicably gone. Each time she wakes up more tired and grouchy than the last, but determined to heal and care for him.

Why is she putting herself through this? Why would she, as best he could determine, sacrifice her energy to heal him - a complete stranger and alien in her world? He'd seen callus disregard for programs who needed medical attention from his Creator. Why would this User bother with a program?

He never wanted to be indebted to a User. But she is healing him and he'd needed it desperately. And the egotistical side of him won't turn down the chance to be served by her. Though, what will she ask of him in return?

He ponders this as he lays on his back on her futon bed/couch in her cramped and sparse quarters. Her hand rests on his chest and the last of his wounds gone, her head is tucked up on his shoulder, her jet black hair spread out over his arm and pillow, her deep brown eyes closed, her golden skinned round face so peaceful, and her breathing shallow as she dreams - still deep in sleep mode. Waking up, with someone who chooses to be by his side, is something he could get used to. It's been so many cycles since anyone voluntarily slept next to him. She couldn't possibly love him, she doesn't know him. And if she did, there'd be no way she could. But he doesn't want to push her away yet. He's got to make this last as long as possible.

She'd poured out her heart while she thought he was in sleep mode. It took a bit for him to process her accent. He wasn't able to process the other language she spoke in. But in English she told him of her last boyfriend - who'd been so bad for her, of her doubts, of her daydream to get away from it all, and anything else that came to her mind. A selfless soul. Is she one of a kind? Are there more like her? Those questions plague him, and he shoves them aside.

For the first time since she found him, he has his strength back and he's not one to pass up an opportunity. He strokes her hair lightly - uncovering her face and tucking her silky hair behind her ear, wanting to see her reaction. Memories of the last time he did that to an ISO when he was on the grid pop into his mind. Quorra's rejection wasn't unexpected, but it still stung. The moment at hand is what he chooses to focus on - this User that still doesn't know his name and yet took him in. This User - an angelic mystery to him. He kisses the top of her head and puts his hand on hers on his chest.

Snuggling into his shoulder, she smiles contentedly before his touch really registers. Her eyes snap open with a gasp and she bolts up. "Y…You're awake," she stutters.

He gives her a bemused half smile. "My we're observant this morning," his teasing, sarcastic reply and squeeze of her hand lessens her tension dramatically.

"You must be feeling better..." She starts to get out of bed.

"Two for two." He won't relinquish her hand and pulls her fingers to his lips.

"L…l...let go," a shiver runs down her spine and she tugs at her hand. Knowing what he likely wants and scared he'll just take like all the others.

His grip loosens, but he doesn't let go entirely and his pained look cuts her as his kiss brushes down to her finger tips. His ice blue eyed gaze doesn't waver as his mouth lingers there.

If he'd not let her be able to pull back her hand she'd have fought him tooth and nail. But this? Why? It makes her reconsider. "You don't seem to be the bad boy type…"

That makes him look away, but he wraps his other hand around hers and in a hushed voice, full of regret, "I am. And it caused me to lose everything I had - and almost cost me my life. You, in your innocence took me in, and cared for me. Brought me back from deresolution. So far, you haven't asked for a thing in return. I'm a little afraid of when you do."

Biting her lip and tilting her head slightly for a moment before she comments, "I don't expect anything in return. Did you think I would ask too much?"

He lets go of her hand and turns his back to her, setting his feet on the floor. "No...that I won't be good enough." When he gets up to go, he steps hesitantly forward and stops. As he takes the next decisive step, she impulsively grabs his wrist. A barely audible, "Don't go..." escapes her.

"You don't even know what I am...or what I've done."

"I want to know you. I've done things I wish I hadn't too. So, stay." Still hanging on, she blocks his path. "My abuela, she has the sight. She said I would find you." As she puts her hand to his cheek, he leans into it and closes his eyes. Unlike other Users in his life, she is a reason to stay.


Author's note - I keep wanting to write a "bad boy" Clu story. But I can't shake wanting to make him otherwise. Update - There was a bit of confusion as to who has taken care of Clu - since I never gave her a name. I didn't see a need to reveal a name for her. She's not Quorra. I updated the story with a bit more detail - that I hope clears that up. Quorra would never trust Clu.

Playlist while I wrote this

Stay with Me - Sam Smith

I remember - Deadmau5