Beck felt Tron's hand land on his chest, stopping him from falling on his face. Users. He did not want to be here again, especially not with Tron here.
Tron's low growl cut off his thoughts. "Touch him again and I'll derez you all."
He heard the guard snort. Idiot, he thought. Only fools ignore a threat from Tron of all programs. But then again they didn't know that it was Tron's, if they did they'd be in a very different situation.
"Good luck with that, program."
He felt Tron take a step forward, but the door rezzed before he could do anything. His mentors sharp gaze immediately snapped to him. "You okay?"
"I'm fine," He shrugged off Tron's concern, "They only shoved me."
Tron gave a sharp nod of acknowledgment and began to search the small room they were in.
Beck sighed and sat down on the floor, leaving the bench for Tron. "There's no way out." Users, he hated this place. The mechanic thought closing his eyes. He remembered Cutler sitting beside him, telling him the hope that he brought to him and others. Rilo in the cell next to theirs with programs he had never gotten the chance to know. They had still been in the beta stages of life. Derezzed for sport. His stomach clenched at the thought, it made him nauseous to think they had never gotten the chance to enjoy life. Because of him and his bold ideas of freedom.
"Stop, Beck." He heard a Tron say beside him. "Everything is going to be okay."
Beck raised his head to raise a questioning brow in his direction.
Tron shrugged, "You told me once that this is when you comfort a friend."
He let his head fall back onto the floor. He hadn't thought Tron had actually listened to him. "Do you mean it?" He asked after a beat of silence.
The tension in his shoulders lessened. He didn't know why, but Tron telling him everything was going to be okay, made him feel better. If Tron thought it was going to be okay, then it had to be.
He heard Tron sigh, "Get off the floor Beck."
Beck didn't look at Tron, "It's fine, Tron. You need it more than me."
"Ow!" Beck exclaimed, his head shooting forward when something hit his head. "That hurt!"
"Then stop suggesting that I'm old!"
Beck grinned, "I'm not suggesting it." He laughed, "You're old!"
Tron inwardly smiled, he successfully got Beck to stop brooding. "Keep it up and you'll be too scared to sleep."
The mechanic rolled his eyes and let his head fall back while Tron sat on the bench behind him.
"Go to sleep, Beck." Tron said quietly, "I'll wake you if anything happens."
Beck appeared to do as Tron said, his body was lax as his head laid beside Tron, but his eyes popped open and his body tensed as he looked at the timer outside of their cell.
Tron rose to his feet. "What?" Body tense as he looked around for the threat.
Beck forced himself to relax. If Tron knew what happened, he'd go berserk and damn them all. "Nothing." He lied, a reassuring smile on his face, "I just remembered that Mara's going to be pissed at me."
Tron's eyes narrowed, "Do not lie to me, Beck."
Users, he felt as sick as a virus at having to lie to Tron. "Trust me."
He watched Tron stiffen in the corner of his eye. It was his turn to reassure Tron, "You're going to get out of here, Tron."
He didn't know why Tron stiffened more, he meant what he said. He was going to get Tron out.
Beck stood as the clock struck the new micro. Tesler would be here in mere nanos, prepared to take away the unlucky program deeper into the ship. To have unknown things done to them. Most didn't survive the first round.
Tron winced as the grid screamed to him, Run! Protect the young one! Monster!
Tron yanked Beck behind him. He was not going to let them touch Beck.
"Stop." Beck's breath was warm on his ear, "It's okay, Tron."
Suddenly the walls in front of them disappeared, but no program moved to step out. In fact they seemed terrified to move.
"Programs!" A voice that was the unmistakable voice of Pavel rang throughout the speakers, "Who would like to volunteer today?"
Tron tensed and his fingers itched to draw his disc, as he watched programs back away from the door.
Tron began to turn, but was pushed further into the cell. He was confused, until he saw the cell door rezz shut. And Beck was on the other side.
"I volunteer!" Beck's voice rang throughout the cells, no one ever volunteered. They all knew it was a one way trip.
Tron's shaking fist slammed on the light wall. "Stop!" His voice had begun strong, as if he was giving a command, but by the end it had turned into a shameless plea as he begged like his life was ending. "Stop! Stop. Please, Beck, stop." Tron gasped for air, not caring that his voice was cracking or that he was crying. It didn't matter. All that mattered was that Beck was sacrificing himself and there was nothing that he could do.
Beck struggled to breathe as Tron begged for him to stop. Every word was like a punch to the gut. Tron wasn't ever supposed to sound so scared. Tron wasn't ever supposed to beg. He didn't even beg when he was being tortured. But he was begging now. Like he was in the worst pain he could ever experience. Like his world had come crashing down and he couldn't do anything to fix it.
With clenched eyes and sweaty hands, he forced himself to not look back. It was too risky, he might lose his nerve and try to stay. And that would put Tron at risk. He couldn't lose his resolve. It would cost Tron his life, and that was not an option.
"I'm sorry." With a heavy core that rivaled his mounting fear he stood tall and allowed the guards to cuff him and force him to his knees. He could hear Tron's roar of rage as the guards dragged him out of the cell room. Finally, once he was almost at the door did he look back, his gaze latched onto the last time he'd see his mentor.
Tron collapsed to his knees the moment the doors slid shut behind Beck. Why would he do this?
Tron turned as a voice spoke to him. "I'm sorry for your loss."
Users please no.
The old program dropped onto the bench. It was too much. The grid screaming at him, Beck sacrificing himself, his grief was too much.
Tron sat there as if he was frozen, his eyes never straying from a spot on the floor.
You're going to get out of here, Tron.
"Tron." He blinked as a hand shook him.
He pulled the younger program into a tight embrace, this idiot boy. The embrace didn't last long as Beck hissed in pain and wiggled out of the hold.
"What did they do to you?" Tron's voice was dangerously low, like thunder after lightning struck.
Beck ran his hand through his hair and tilted his head and allowed Tron to fully see his body.
His face was almost completely purple. His right wrist was bent at an unnatural angle and he kept the other arm wrapped around his stomach. He had open wounds on his knuckles, chest and legs.
"They beat you." He stated numbly, beginning to pace. "They beat you."
Beck grimaced and shook his head. "They 'tested' on me."
Tron froze. "...They did what..to you?"
Beck winced at the pure astoundment and unaltered rage in Tron's tone. "They wanted to see how long a healthy program could last against outside pressures. This time it was other programs. Next time-"
"There will be no next time!" Tron snapped. "They aren't ever going to touch you again!"
Beck winced as he shrugged, "So long as I go, they don't send you to the games, and you aren't tested on. So, yeah, I'll go next time. And maybe you can get out when they open the cells."
"And leave you?"
The younger program looked away and that's answer enough.
Tron reached out, careful to avoid Beck's injuries, and placed a hand on Beck's arm. "I'm not going to leave you here. Do you understand? Either we get out together, or we don't get out at all."
Beck peered up at him, "When did you get all sentimental?"
"Sometime after I met you." Tron replied, guiding Beck to the bench. "You've got that effect on programs."
He snorted in response, before he groaned.
Tron gently helped him lay back on to the bench. "Why in Flynn's name did you do this?"
Another groan escaped Beck, "I already told you. To protect you."
"I'm supposed to protect you, not the other way around." Tron told him, hands carefully inspecting the bent wrist.
The mechanic whimpered when Tron touched his stomach, "I'm not sorry." He said softly, weakly batting Tron's hands away.
"Stop." The monitor responded, concern flickered in his eyes. "I need to see how badly you're hurt." Beck grimaced, but stopped fighting Tron.
To say Beck was in bad shape was like saying Clu likes perfection.
Tron had nothing to use to bandage his cuts or slow the bleeding he didn't have anything to check Beck for internal bleeding or a concussion. No ice pack to soothe Beck's bruises. No chamber to heal his wrist.
He had nothing.
Tron looked up from his prodding when Beck took a chest rattling breath. He needed a healing chamber.
Beck's eyes bleary looked up to him, "It hurts."
"I know, I know." Tron soothed, thumb rubbing the back of Beck's neck. "Go to sleep. I'll get us out of here." He paused, "I promise."
Beck nodded, and his hand loosely latched onto Tron's wrist. "Wake me for the next round."
Over my dead cubes. "Sleep, Beck."
Tron looked up from where Beck was asleep in his lap to the countdown. It was almost time. And if Beck thought he was actually going to let him go in there again, he had another thing coming.
Carefully, he slipped out from underneath Beck and knelt down beside him. "I'll come back. I promise." He whispered, voice soft and warm. "Just stay alive. Please."
Tron let his head rest against Beck's forehead. Frown deepening as he feels the heat radiating from it. "If you die-" Tron closed his eyes and took a breath, "-wait for me."
Behind him he hears the cell doors power off. It was time. "See you soon." The monitor stood and walked out of the cell. Only once he was in the room where they beat Beck, did he allow his rage to consume him.
Beck blearily peered towards the door where his mentor was covered in red and orange cubes.
The younger program closed his eyes and nodded. "Can we go home now?"
Tron nodded back, as he bent down to pick Beck up. "Yeah, Beck, we can go home."
Beck ducked his head underneath Tron's as his mentor picked him up. "...you lied to me."
"You were supposed to wake me for the next round."
Tron readjusted his hold on Beck as the younger program curled up closer to his chest when the cold air hit them. "I never agreed to that. In fact, I recall telling you that they'd never touch you again."
Beck shivered, eyes drooping, "I'm sorry."
"Lying to you. I knew you wouldn't have let me go if you had known. I'm sorry."
"Just-" Tron sighed, "It was a noble thing to do, it's something I would have done. Just, please, don't do it again. I thought you were dead, Beck."
Beck doesn't respond, there's not much he can say to that.
Tron awkwardly rezzed a jet before easing Beck into a seat and buckling him up. Right after, Tron sat down and begun the flight towards the hideout.
"Are they going to come for me?"
"No." Tron told him, "I handled it."
Beck doesn't question it. Instead he relaxes as best he can without upsetting his wounds. A hiss escaped his lips when he moved the wrong way.
Tron glanced to him, "Lay on your back," He instructed, "It'll take the pressure of most of your wounds."
It was silent after Beck readjusted himself, save for his labored breaths. Until Tron spoke again. "Thank you, I didn't say it earlier, and I should have."
"W'lcome," Beck mumbles as he drifts into sleep mode.
Tron shook his head fondly, noble idiot. Before focusing on the clear sky around them.