TITLE: "Sleepless"

SERIES: First story in the Divide Series. Sequel to "Rabbits" by Guess, with their permission. You can find that story (NC-17) here: .

GENRE: Slash. Slashity slash slash. Did I mention it's slash?

PAIRING/S: Bob/Megabyte

WORD COUNT:1905

SUMMARY:Megabyte can't sleep, and neither can Bob, for similar reasons. Set a couple of minutes (months) after the events of "Rabbits"br; it helps to read "Rabbits" first, but you can pick up the gist of it from reading this story.

NOTES:Nanosecond = second, millisecond = hour, second = day, minute = month.

It was after midnight, and Megabyte was pacing in his private rooms with a look on his face that would have started his viral binomes edging towards the doors - if any had been present. There were none, of course. This cavernous apartment, decorated in the theme of his own armor colors, was his space and his alone.

Or at least, it was tonight, and had been for every other night of his time here in Mainframe save one. That single night, a couple of minutes ago, was the reason for his pacing when you got right down to it. It was also the reason for his foul temper, which an observer would have deduced not only from his snarl and blazing eyes but also from the way his claws kept sheathing and unsheathing, as if to disembowel a foe.

The Viral Overlord of sector Ghetty Prime, terror of binomes and scourge of Mainframe, was not used to being at the mercy of his own memories.

It all came down to the Guardian, of course - Bob, 452, call him what you will, he was a persistant annoyance that Megabyte could never quite seem to erase. Why, only this second he'd shown up with Dot Matrix and her chattering little brother just in time to meddle in a clockwork-precise plan which should have gained Megabyte access to a tear considerably more stable than the sort that usually popped up in a backwater system like Mainframe. Instead of a portal to the Supercomputer, Megabyte had ended up with yet another heap of wrecked equipment, an attempt at wit from the Guardian, a predictably self-righteous glare from Ms. Matrix, and the sight of their backs as they retreated covered in the glory that should have been his.

He remembered Bob's eyes challenging him, and the desire that face always roused in him to drive his knuckle-spikes straight through it - a desire which, of course, he concealed completely. Each time they met they went through the usual histrionics - Guardian versus virus, and so on and so forth - with genuine feeling. And the feelings were appropriate: do-gooding enthusiasm on Bob's part and cunning malice on his own. All quite straightforward, really. Even stereotypical.

And yet...

And yet every so often, a night like this came along - usually after one of those stereotypical confrontations. A night when he woke suddenly from a sound sleep, his usually cold and razor-sharp mind wrapped in a dreaming memory of warmth: soft blue skin under his hands and teeth, fervent gasps and exclamations of pleasure and urgings to go harder, deeper, faster. Memories of penetrating something that welcomed his infiltration for reasons that had nothing to do with infection.

Viruses were not like sprites; they were much more self-contained and processed energy in different ways. He could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times he'd deactivated his protective cladding in the course of his existence. Yet somehow, in the space of an afternoon and a night, Bob -

No. The Guardian. The Guardian had gotten to Megabyte's real skin, and managed to leave the memory of his touch indelibly engraved there. And since Megabyte could not deny it (you didn't get to be a Viral Overlord by rejecting inconvenient facts), he could at least -

Bob's mouth was doing absolutely wonderous things while Megabyte looked down at him, amused. The boy was a fast learner. "You seem to be acquiring quite a taste for that."

Brown eyes with just a hint of yellow to them opened and glanced up at him, and Bob pulled back long enough to say: "It has a certain something."

He smiled and ran the fingers of one hand into the silver of the Guardian's hair, silently commanding him to resume his task. Gazes still locked, Bob ducked down and ran the tip of his tongue up -

Megabyte stopped in his tracks and clenched his fists. No! He was no longer under the influence of Hexadecimal's lust bomb. He could control these urges.

As it always did in this situation, the additional inescapable fact presented itself that while he had been under the influence of the lust bomb for the span of the afternoon in question, and perhaps, at the outside, for the early part of the evening, he had not been under its influence for the rest of the evening, or during the course of the night while he and the Guardian had merged in every position they could think of. And Bob had proven both quite biddable and surprisingly inventive...

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The passion rioting under his armored shell slowly began to simmer back down again. Good. But he knew that there would be no more sleep this night, and snarled as he mentally cursed both his sister and the worst enemy who had ended up becoming the most satisfying merge-mate he'd ever experienced.

Oh, and flexible. Let's not forget that part.

Blast.

Enough! A wave of his hand opened up a vid window to the throne room, where a viral binome who had clearly been dozing while leaning on his filelocker pike (it was, after all, the wee milliseconds of the morning) stared at Megabyte for a nanosecond, then snapped to attention with gratifying speed. "Yes, my Lord! How may I serve you?"

"Prepare my throne, and call up the files on Project Stormbringer. Oh, and wake Herr Doktor and have him attend me." Megabyte saw no reason to endure his insomnia alone. "I'll be there within the quarter-millisecond."

"At once, my Lord!"

The binome saluted as the vid window blinked closed. Already feeling more satisfied at the prospect of some serious plotting to take his mind off of less convenient things, Megabyte headed for the shower, where a stream of warm energy would polish his armor to an impressive shine. One had to appear at one's best for the troops, after all.

As he stood under the rush of energy and tilted his face up to it, letting it flow back over his crest, Megabyte actually found himself humming a bit of light opera. He smiled, taking a thoroughly evil consolation in the thought that the Guardian might be suffering his own share of lost sleep for similar reasons.

For the fifteenth time that millisecond, Bob shifted onto his other side and tried to get comfortable enough to actually sleep.

Usually after a busy second he slept like an analog as soon as his head hit what passed for his pillow. His apartment was spartan, and the sleeping accomodations equally so: an energy pad which enveloped him in a highly concentrated field to yield a maximum recharge in the shortest period of time. It was austere and efficient, and quite appropriate for a Guardian. Quite unlike some other beds he could think of. Large beds, with comfortable mattresses and thick pillows.

Like a certain bed he'd been thinking about for the last couple of milliseconds... a bed he really, really wanted to be in right now.

Certainly it had been a busy enough second, saving Mainframe from yet another of Megabyte's plots. It had featured the usual playbill: "Smart-ASCII Guardian Thwarts Wicked Virus", with Capable Yet Admiring Girlfriend and Spunky Kid Brother as the supporting cast. And it had ended in the usual way: the Cunning Device smashed, a few explosions, and Megabyte shaking a furious fist at the departing Heroes. Perfectly appropriate for all ages and formats, folks. Good triumphs over Evil, again.

The problem was that there was now another script. A secret script for an adults-only play that might be called a lot of things, but the most obvious title was "Forbidden Passion". The subtext that it added to the main play was only appreciated by two of the participants. And if the Capable Yet Admiring Girlfriend had known that the subtext existed, a third play would immediately have been written: "The Deletion of a Guardian".

Actually, it would be worse than that. Dot wouldn't delete him. But the pain in her eyes would be enough to make Bob wish he was dead, and then she would be gone from his life forever. And if the Guardian Council ever found out...

"And you really believe the integrity of your fellow Guardians is so deep that they'll confess the, shall we say, more torrid details of their social life to their superiors?"

Even the memory of the depth and melodious mocking lilt of Megabyte's voice send a shiver of pure desire through Bob's core.

This can't be happening.

But it was, and it did, every time he and Megabyte crossed paths. Did the virus lie awake at night and battle this same all-consuming need?

Why don't you go and find out? the desire whispered.

Yeah, that would end well: Flying over to the Tor, getting Megabyte on a vid window, and saying One more time, how about it? He didn't know which would be worse - the virus's ringing laughter or a thoughtful look, a raised eyebrow, and a Why don't you come in, Bob...

That thought naturally led to a fast-forward past entering the tower, being led through the halls to Megabyte's rooms, and passing through the massive double doors that bore his symbol. Into the lair of the monster who Bob now knew as more than that. Much more. The thoughts that followed made him groan out loud, flip over onto his back, and sit up in bed. The energy field automatically powered down, leaving him exposed to the cool darkness and staring at the far wall as a chill ran up his spine and settled deep inside his mind.

Dangerous. That pretty much described making love with a virus. He could remember the golden edge of claws running down his sides and the sharpness of silver teeth on his neck. It didn't feel like Memorex - it felt as real as if it was happening this nanosecond.

He tried to think of Dot (as the weight of the virus's body pressed him down into that oh-so-comfortable mattress, as he was pierced and opened by sensation so intense that it was almost intolerable). He tried to remember the warmth of her smile (a heated growl against his shoulder), the touch of her hand (fingers as strong as steel stroking him toward release, again and again and again). He tried to reach her, but the unquiet ghost of unlawful passion lay between them.

If Dot found out, she would hate him. If the Guardian Council found out, he'd probably be stripped of his protocols and keytool. If Hexadecimal or Megabyte decided to use this against him, there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.

But she hadn't. And they didn't. And Hexadecimal was so random that she'd probably forgotten about it already.

And Megabyte?

Go and ask him.

"Uh-uh." He shook his head. "No. Way."

His cladding felt too warm and too tight, but he wasn't about to encourage this state of mind by "taking matters into his own hands", so to speak. With a sigh he shifted his legs over the side of the energy pad. Experience told him that he wouldn't be getting any sleep for at least a few milliseconds. Time to get up, make a pot of Java, and work off the excess energy by trying to get the timing problem fixed on the 262's engine.

Yawning, he wondered how Megabyte's night was going, and hoped that it was better than this.

THE END