"Not so big now, huh?" Sam wheezed out a laugh. "Not without your discs, you aren't."

Rinzler didn't reply. But then he didn't really seem like he was big on the whole 'words' thing anyway. He did hit him again though, and discs or not, the program had a mean left hook. Guy had some pretty mean knees too. And his right fist was none too friendly either. Sam was beginning to think Rinzler wasn't much of a nice guy at all.

Still, when Sam crumpled forward, the program supported him – and that was nice, wasn't it – the way Rinzler let him slide down his chest till he was on his knees. The program even took a step back, preserving some modicum of personal space so Sam could further wallow in his self pity – or whatever was the appropriate emotional response to getting your ass kicked by a computer program. Nonetheless, the few extra extra inches of privacy were appreciated.

Sam took the opportunity to plant his palms on the ground and take a shaky, thin breath. He was starting to regret dropping those Capoeira classes because God, did he feel out of shape. But then this was the usual reaction to getting punched in the solar plexus wasn't it? Probably. You know what? Let's just say it was and forget about it. Sam didn't really care to repeat the experiment.

It was lucky then that Rinzler chose to kick him to the ground instead. Scrambling to push himself up, he felt Rinzler's foot heavy on the back of his neck. Sam didn't argue and lowered himself back down. What did he have to lose, right? The blood thing had worked. Well, it had gotten Rinzler to put his weapons away, so there was that. That had to count for something, didn't it? Maybe playing along would help further? Somehow? At least he wasn't dead yet. Must've been doing something right.

There was a thump as something black hit the ground near his head and Sam flinched away. Rinzler's foot didn't let him go far, but when the next black thing hit the ground Sam was able to angle his body just enough to notice Rinzler shedding pieces of armour. The pressure on his neck increased, and Sam went back to staring at the arena floor. Rinzler was down to his leg guards now, and two thumps later, he didn't even have those left.

But okay, okay; don't panic. That was an important rule. This development was fine. A lack of armour meant a lack of discs, and that was definitely a good thing.

Well, maybe not if the program wanted to strangle him or finish beating him to death. But he didn't need to lose the plastic-styrofoam-whatevers that made up their apparently useless armour to do that. Seriously, with what he'd seen of the games, their armour was beyond pointless.

The minute Sam felt Rinzler's foot removed, the feeling was replaced by hands on his sides prying his back piece off and tossing it away carelessly. But that was fine. Totally cool. Made sense even. If Rinzler was ditching his armour and discs, then it was only fair he lost his too. Except for the part where it probably didn't even matter because Rinzler was some kind of hell beast incarnated into the tiny body of a champion prizefighting... whatever he was. Probably Solitaire all hopped up on steroids or something.

And with the program this close, his creepy purr was even louder. So when Rinzler's hands went to roll him over, Sam obliged before it turned into another kick. You know, for a guy who didn't talk, Rinzler was pretty effective at communicating with his feet.

Sam's chest piece was pulled off next and he couldn't have said he was terribly surprised at that. But when Rinzler moved to the armour over his legs, he sat up a little out of instinct. "I can do that too, if you want." Because really, this whole disassembling thing didn't look that hard.

Of course Rinzler ignored him. And again, Sam couldn't say he was all that surprised. He did feel pretty stupid wearing only the dark black bodysuit, but Rinzler didn't seem to care. Maybe it had something to do with the glowing bits? Rinzler certainly had less than anyone he's seen so far. Maybe the guy found bright lights offensive?

Well if he did, he was stuck in the wrong computer, because as far as Sam could tell, he was in what hell would have looked like if it was a contemporary furniture trade show crossed with an Ikea that regularly hosted raves.

Rinzler settled over him, straddling his legs. Heart drumming against his ribs, Sam forced his voice as even as it would go. "So I guess this means you aren't going to buy me a drink first, huh?"

Rinzler palmed Sam's helmet in response and the thing disintegrated from around his head, letting it fall an inch, knocking his skull against the ground.

"Okay, no more jokes then," Sam said, feeling increasingly like he was talking to himself.

Rinzler's hands were on him next — really on him this time — palms running up from his hips to his shoulders almost like they were following the circuits that had been on his armour.

Sam had to try one more time. "Listen, buddy, I get that you're, uh, upset, but there's always going to be more guys for you to, uh... You were going to win by the way, but this isn't the–" his voice cut out when Rinzler sat up on his knees and the fabric of his one-piece pajama set started to slowly pixelate away, leaving him naked, inch by inch.

"Yeah, okay. I can do this."

If that was how this worked here, sure. Fine. He could deal. Flattening one hand over Rinzler's chest, and the other tentatively on his side, Sam willed the the cloth to disappear. It worked, but maybe that was all Rinzler; impossible to tell. Either way, the fabric started to dissolve into pixely nothingness under his palms.

His heart was still jack-hammering away in his chest and Sam was half sure he was going to pass out. But he was proud of how his hands barely trembled as he let them run over Rinzler's torso the way the program's hands were roaming over his.

Very carefully Sam did not think about how or why this was a program's first reaction to finding out he was a 'User.' That was just... He didn't even want to know, man. He wasn't even going there.

But he didn't have to think, not for this. He'd been through this fumble enough times that most of it was automatic by now. And under Rinzler's ministrations, the lack of zippers was a problem for about all of ten seconds. As Rinzler's uniform pulled away it revealed a complicated pattern of intricate lines apparently tattooed into the program's skin. Sam knew he didn't have any of those, but he couldn't help looking down at himself anyway. Oh and what d'you know, surprise, surprise; Rinzler was better at this undressing thing too. Where Sam had removed most of the front of Rinzler's suit, his own body was bare save for a patch he could feel under one shoulder blade and what modesty his boxers left him.

"You work fast," he muttered despite himself, instantly regretting it. Wincing, Sam waited for the retribution that came with flaunting the fact that one of them had functional vocal chords.

But Rinzler didn't hit him. Instead, he lowered himself over Sam's body, laying the two of them chest to chest.

The first thing Sam thought was that Rinzler was far lighter than he had any right to be. The second thought was more an observation on how disturbing it was to see his own face reflected back at him through Rinzler's helmet. He looked like he was going to be sick and that wasn't something he wanted to stare at for however long this was going to take.

"You gonna leave that on?"

It was creepy and killed anything that even approached a mood, but Rinzler didn't seem to want to part with it. Nor did he apparently deem it necessary to dissolve the rest of his uniform. Looked like patchy clothing was fine by him then. It certainly didn't stop Rinzler from undulating against him, the node of every exposed circuit feeling like a little static shock where it came into contact with Sam's skin. Sam squirmed as Rinzler moved against him again, rubbing their chests together with a rolling motion. He could feel Rinzler's skin warming against his, and he wasn't sure if that was thanks to the circuitry or just the transfer of body heat. Either way, Sam was starting to feel uncomfortably hot and lightheaded.

Running a hand over Rinzler's gloved fingers scattered the fabric as Sam slid it up, over the program's arm until he was holding his shoulder.

"Not like this," Sam murmured, still reaching for some alternative besides the inevitable. Before he could even finish the thought, Rinzler was hugging him, arms wrapped around his body, sandwiching him between the cold surface of that stupid arena floor and Rinzler's warm, warm lines of circuitry.

His vision was going blurry, like his retinas couldn't hold onto what they were seeing. Even the air seemed to be shifting in place around Rinzler's body. Sam blinked, trying to wrestle his vision back under control. It didn't work. He was pretty sure those lines hadn't always been that magenta colour either — not that it changed anything — not when Rinzler was apparently intent on frotting him to death.

The program slid against him again and his circuits were sparking now, releasing little bits of energy that Sam could actually feel. All the while Rinzler's fingers dug into the skin of his back, and through the helmet, Sam could hear Rinzler gasp. It was crazy; he couldn't even describe it. Somehow Sam was sure he was feeling some fraction of what the program writhing above him was. Then came a hard pulse of energy that rocked through hm, making Sam twitch and instinctively grasp at the program's shoulders. In response, Rinzler only held him tighter, and when the next pulse hit, Sam's world shattered as he lost his already tenuous grip on consciousness.

He didn't know when it was that he came to, whether it was minutes, seconds, or hours later, but opening his eyes he found himself still caught between Rinzler and the ground, being held as he was rutted against. At this point the program's actions were no longer fluid but distinctly desperate, and more of Rinzler's skin was also showing in long patches around his thighs and legs. He was making this weird stuttering noise too, like his original purr was getting stuck on something. Sam knew enough about people to recognize the signs of someone close to the edge, and if Rinzler's increase in brightness was anything to go by, the program was about to go supernova. The lines running over his body were nearly blindingly white, hot on contact.

Sam groaned. He hurt all over. Of course, going by the beating he'd received earlier, and maybe mix in with the tumble he'd taken off the top of Encom – and God didn't that seem like eons ago – he could understand where the soreness was coming from.

Except maybe his brain was being a little slow to catch on to things. For some reasons his chest felt too hot and numb all at once. Yeah, it felt kind of good, but as soon as he picked up on the sensation he was able to focus on it and dread came rushing in on its heels.

This was no longer a good feeling.

Whenever Rinzler's circuits touched him, Sam felt like he was touching the coils on an oven. Every time Rinzler dragged his body over his skin, Sam could feel it pull and crack. Simply put, Rinzler was burning him; leaving red and black welts all over his exposed flesh.

Sam tried to push the program away, tried to say anything, but the minute he opened his mouth Rinzler had a hand squeezing over his throat. Obviously the program wasn't as out of it as Sam had thought. But it was getting harder and harder to think past the pain and those stray unwanted jolts of sensation that still sparked unbidden and sporadic.

Desperate, Sam tried again to make a noise. He managed a weak gargle before his skin started to smoke. Awareness gathered around him like a knife, and it was that moment that he came back to himself enough to notice the smell. And God, it smelt like charcoal. He fucking smelt like charcoal. That barbecue scent on the breeze? Yeah, that was him. Sam didn't even bother trying to stifle the quarter of a sob that squeezed past Rinzler's fingers and out his throat. And the entire time Rinzler just kept grinding into him, fist in his hair, helmet pressed against his cheek.

The program was laughing as Sam moaned. There was blood between them, making them slip against each other, and blood staining the top of Sam's shorts, and the smell of blood cooking. Worse, laid over top of it all was the damn sound loop of Rinzler's continuous laughter.

And the last thing Sam remembered – the very last thing he managed to hold on to – was the thought that that laugh was familiar.

And then his senses burnt out.







Prompt fill for: afaeriegirl


And If my show not tell is rusty; what we're seeing here is a grab at normalcy, an effort to cope and downplay. These efforts get kinda frustrated toward the end there.

What would I do for some concrit?
Let me ask you a related question: What is your deepest, darkest desire?