#: drabbles 1-10
Author: Lucifer Rosemaunt
Fandom: Tron: Legacy
Summary: 20in20, part 1. Round 3 challenge, first ten of twenty on the list. These are the given themes
Warning(s): some het
Word Count: around 3,500
Rating: ranges, but mostly K+
A/N: This is really my first foray into this particular fandom, and I've only ever watched the movie so sorry for inconsistencies. D:
Story note: There's twenty drabbles total, but it's split into three parts. Here's the first part obviously. Oh and prompts… I usually only ever vaguely use them.
I'm fairly certain that there is to be voting of some sort going on from April 21-25, 2012 on the lj comm site: tron20in20. livejournal. com. There's more fic there, which is reason enough to visit IMHO.
Sam knows something's up before he even has a chance to turn off his motorcycle. Quorra's doing a rather poor job of hiding behind the sofa, hugging Marvin to her even as she peeks up over the edge. She's grinning – the same grin she always has when she's done something that: one, she's proud of and two, that Sam is certain not to like.
But it's not her that Sam's focusing on, instead, it's Tron. Or at least who he's sure has to be Tron but he's never seen the program in anything other than denim and leather – not that he's complaining – but who is now wearing a tuxedo. He's standing stock still, hands behind his back, and his jaw is clenched, a clear indication that he's not comfortable with this get-up either.
"Uh," Sam starts because Quorra's schemes often take more explaining than they really should. "Tron?" He can never seem to follow her thought processes, and it seems that this occasion is not an exception.
Tron clears his throat, but it isn't until he glances at the couch and Quorra motions at him that he presents a bouquet of roses from behind him. Sam looks from the security program to the ISO and catches the tail end of a thumbs-up sign before she ducks back down to hide.
Sam feels laughter building within him and he forcibly shoves the urge away because things are finally falling into place – the slew of rom-coms that have been queued on his Netflix, the new white tablecloth on their table, and what looks to be the remnants of what had once been a candle on it, even Tron's clothes to Quorra's unhealthy glee in all of this. But he can't laugh because, well, because he really wants to see where this is all going to go.
Sam's not sure quite what he expected when he returned to the grid from a week-long absence. Things had finally calmed down at Encom, but that really translated to Sam getting more responsibilities and losing precious evenings during which time he would've spent on the grid trying to help rebuild what had been destroyed since the Reintegration – at least that word no longer hurt to think though.
He wasn't expecting any parades or fanfare; after all, it had become something of a common sight to see the beacon of light that represented his return appearing in the sky. Sam had made sure of that, made sure that he wouldn't repeat history and let either world down. What he had expected though, was at least Tron to come to greet him instead of having to make his way to the edge of the city after tracking him down himself.
Sam would only ever grudgingly admit that the program he'd coded to fight off the grid bugs and to make Tron's job simpler had been for the precise reason of reducing the amount of time that the security program had reason to run off to protect the city. Grid bugs were usually the worst in terms of timing.
Upon arriving at Tron's coordinates though, he realized he'd simply exchanged one problem for a bigger and more pressing one. Grid bugs, he'd happily deal with, but the new program sidled up beside Tron, heads close together as they spoke, actually made him snap the light cycle baton together loudly enough that they both looked up.
Warnings: hinted het
Tron wonders why no one else seems to see it. Quorra has been preoccupied; he knows this because even though she's returned to the Grid to help with the reconstruction, most of her attention is still on what's outside of it. The world beyond the Grid, the world of the Users has taken hold of her. She talks of sunrises, animals, and sparkling oceans at length while he tries to ignore the flashbacks of the horrible pressure, the submersion, the experience he has with the grid's own 'sparkling ocean.' Despite her preoccupation, Tron thinks she should still notice it.
Alan-1 is just as preoccupied, although it's the reverse in his case. He's been taken with the Grid in a way that's almost frighteningly reminiscent of Kevin Flynn. The way he talks of rebuilding and of the 'miracles' that the ISOs are. Of course, Sam has been the one to use that particular word first and Alan-1 is enthusiastic albeit a bit more subdued in his excitement, perhaps, less far-reaching in his hopes, in his expectations. He simply marvels at the miracle. Still, he is consumed with it, with bringing the Sea of Simulation back to its former glory.
At those times, he can't help but think of Yori, of how she was left behind. How, everyone and everything was left behind, and even in this new home, this new world that Kevin had brought him to, how he'd spent the past hundred millicycles buried somewhere beneath lines, codes of programming, behind bars trapped and alone while Rinzler had free reign.
He can see the same isolation in Sam at times, recognizes it all too well between the easy smiles and bravado. There are motions of pushing through days, making it through another cycle without understanding how, without thinking of anything but a goal, a destination. Sam is surrounded by hundreds of programs, looking to him for salvation, but still, he holds himself apart.
Tron isn't equipped to confront him about it, is not sure how to even really begin; so, he shadows the User, makes sure he is never alone on the Grid, is never in danger. But, he fears the only thing he truly can do is make sure he doesn't fail.
The first time Tron goes back to the arena as the champion, Sam's wholly against it. Even though their discs only now stun and no one's been derezzed in the millicycles that the games have been reinstated, his stomach still clenches in fear when Tron enters, a surprise to everyone but Sam, and the roar of the crowd becomes deafening. It's not as though he doesn't trust him to defeat every other challenger he comes upon and it's always a pleasure to see the security program fight.
He doesn't quite figure out why exactly he's against it; he forgets every single time he watches the way Tron moves so easily, instincts and body both honed to action, the way the suit clings to his form, sleek lines. How he reads every move of his opponent, a give and take, is not even so much a deadly dance as a cat playing with a mouse.
And it's a thing to see, a thing everyone comes to see, if Sam thinks about it. He barely manages to tear his gaze away from Tron to look at the others, staring, eyes too appreciative, too attentive. And Sam's suddenly all too aware of why he'd rather prefer Tron to keep to his security duties, arena games exempting.
Tron moves his hand through the pool of blood that's quickly forming, fascinated with the way it feels thicker than he'd expected. He's never seen this much and though he's certain that can only mean bad things, he only stares at it not quite seeing it. Not sure to believe it. Sam's scrambled off the roof and is at his side faster and far more hastily than Tron's comfortable with, but it's not like he can say anything considering his situation. The younger Flynn is babbling; Tron realizes belatedly when he reaches up to touch his face. It takes him a moment to even hear the words.
"You're not allowed to go like this." Sam doesn't know where to put his hands. They flit from stroking the hair from his face, to his dislocated shoulder, and to the puncture on his side because he'd had the misfortune of falling on the fence. "No. You've… you've survived worse…"
On the grid, he doesn't finish. Tron hears it anyway, but they're not on the grid right now.
After Sam parks his hybrid compact car and pulls out his suit jacket from behind the driver's seat, he's forced to walk around to retrieve his briefcase from the passenger side. He pauses a moment after shutting the door to make sure he hasn't smudged the window. He clicks the alarm and walks on the stone pathway to the front door, grabbing the mail on the way.
He opens the door to the newly renovated tract house: one-story, two bedrooms, a rather tiny kitchen – but neither of them cooks so it hardly matters; only Quorra ever complains about its size - a spacious living-cum-dining room, and an office. Dropping his things by the closet, he lets his coat as well as his briefcase haphazardly fall onto the loafers he's toed off. It's Friday and he can let the dry cleaner worry about those wrinkles.
It's quiet, but Sam makes a pit stop to the kitchen to grab a beer before heading straight to the office. He doesn't even think twice about the fact that he's left one office at Encom just to head directly towards another at home. He downs half the beer before he even turns on the computer and finishes the other half before it's fully booted.
He tosses the can into the waste bin, while typing in several commands with his free hand. He hits enter with a flourish and in the time it takes for the laser to power up, he finally takes a moment to look around. It's not really his office even though most of his junk has somehow migrated here from clothes to books, and somehow in the five years that have passed since he'd returned from his first trip to the Grid, he's become a pack rat. He snorts. He has somehow managed to fill an entire house of belongings. He's garaged his motorcycle on work days and when it rains – in fact, he's hardly used it in the past week if he thinks about it. It isn't quite the same anymore when there isn't another rider right beside him anticipating his every motion. The car had been practical and earth conscious.
The hum of the laser gives a slight warning before it goes off, and Sam always likes to pretend that he sees the world pixelate before his eyes when really all that happens is an odd pressure that feels like taking off in an airplane before he's suddenly on the grid. He inhales deeply, like it's the first breath of fresh air that he's had all day, and maybe it is because it's only now that he's able to finally really breathe again.
"Welcome home," a familiar voice says.
And Sam isn't even surprised at the sudden voice. Tron's always right there when he arrives.
"Do you not worry for him?" Quorra plops down onto the sofa beside Tron.
He doesn't turn to her, instead turns his focus towards the bathroom door, where Sam has just gone to shower. "Is he in danger?"
She stops him from getting up, a hand on his shoulder that he could easily shrug off but doesn't because she does this snort-giggle that he's just barely starting to get used to. He's certain it's a sign of amusement and not worry. In fact, he's barely getting used to a lot of things here in the User world. He supposes that's why Sam was reluctant to leave him alone in the room by himself, but it's his third trip here and there wouldn't be a repeat of the stove-top incident.
"No, not that." She waves off his concern just as easily as she leans forward into his personal space, an action that makes him tense, but he forces himself to remain still. She whispers, "Sam's acting odd."
"Has he contracted a virus of some sort?" Tron knows that Users are more susceptible to them than programs are here off the grid.
"No, no, no." She sits lost in thought for a moment and Tron's familiar with that particular look; it's the one where one of them is trying to explain something to him in terms he'll understand. He doesn't particularly like that look; it's mere presence irritating. "He's jumpy, like every time we try to go towards the bedroom, he always intercepts us. Like he's hiding something."
"Sam Flynn said that it was his personal space." Just as he finishes saying 'personal space,' Quorra has hauled him off the sofa and towards the bedroom.
"This is something else. I heard Alan…"
"Alan-1?" Tron echoes immediately.
"Yes, Alan-1 was saying something about how Sam seems like he's high strung, that he may be overdoing it on the caffeine. That he might as well be on speed with how he's been attacking work and the Grid." Tron stops them both from entering the room. He is certain that Sam doesn't want them in that room.
Quorra only tugs on him harder even though it does nothing to move either of them. Finally giving up, she adds, "And I went online to do research about this speed that he spoke of, and it is a detrimental drug that affects the system. It makes a User jittery and energetic when he should really be resting."
Skeptical throughout the entire exchange, Tron only starts to really listen to Quorra upon hearing this. He is a little more inclined to believe what she has to say now. On the Grid, Sam rarely sleeps despite the fact that Tron knows Users need rest at more proper intervals. And here, Quorra always relays how Alan-1 always complains that Sam never sleeps enough either.
"And you believe he is hiding this… speed?" he hesitates on the last word.
"Why else would he be against us going in here?"
Tron releases his hold on Quorra, who stumbles forward. He doesn't even notice the glare directed at him as he opens the door carefully, half his attention on the bathroom to make sure Sam isn't going to catch them.
"What does this speed look like?" He asks when they're both fully in the room and nothing seems amiss. The sheets are balled up at the foot of the bed. Articles of clothing is scattered around, and one of the dresser drawers is open. Quorra heads directly for it, and Tron forgets his question when he becomes distracted by the photos on the far wall. There are photos of Kevin and Alan-1, of Yori, and of Sam and Quorra. He's distracted by the one of a young Sam when he hears a little squeak from Quorra that has him turn.
"Quorra!" Sam yells, towel haphazardly slung around his waist, water still dripping from his hair. He lunges towards the dresser where she has rifled through his things. His foot catches on a shirt before he gets too far and he stumbles. Tron catches him before he hits the floor.
"Are you all right?"
Sam looks up at him, speechless for a long moment. He is certain that he could remain staring at Tron's face given the fact that they are closer than he should be comfortable being given the fact that he is now completely naked in his arms, towel lost somewhere in his fall, but Quorra makes another unintelligible sound while holding a figurine of Tron up triumphantly.
Sam looked between Tron and Alan, hands clenched into fists by his sides. He'd never really thought about the similarities between them until now. For some reason, he had only ever thought of Alan as he looked now, older, tired… disappointed. Maybe it was just the current shared expression. The disappointment and worry were all too familiar and it was just disturbing and more than a little frustrating to see the exact expression on Tron's face.
He didn't know why he was so worked up right now. It definitely wasn't the first time that Alan had given him a lecture, and he'd long since stopped caring about them in high school, had told him to leave the lectures for Jet. He had actually lost count of the times that Alan had disapprovingly told him to stop jumping off buildings, breaking the law, or putting his life in danger.
"That was an unnecessary risk," Tron stated.
And Sam's throat constricted at that. His face flushed and though he wanted to scream obscenities at him, the words simply wouldn't come out. It wasn't like he could yell you're not my father like he normally yelled at Alan because that wasn't what this was about. So, instead he made for the exit. Tron moved to intercept him but Alan stopped him with a hand.
Sam only heard Alan start to say, "This is just how he is. You don't…" He slammed the door behind him before he could hear the rest of the statement. He was so angry that he had trouble putting on his helmet and fumbled with the key badly enough that it fell to the floor. Crouched down to pick it up, he leaned his head on the side of his bike.
"Next time," Tron's voice startled him and he almost lost his balance. The security program held a hand out and there was a long pregnant pause before Sam reluctantly took it to stand up.
"Just don't." Sam was ready to start ignoring him again, throwing a leg over the bike. An exit was always the best choice; so he started when Tron straddled the bike behind him.
"What are you doing?" he asked even though it was obvious. Before, Alan had often made chase when he tried to run, but he'd never succeeded.
"I am coming with you," Tron stated as fact, one that Sam really didn't know how to contest. And, after Tron let his hands settle around Sam's waist, he didn't know if he wanted to. "Next time and the time after that, I am going to be with you."
Between thoughts of angry disbelief that Tron had been crazy enough to protect him from that disc by sacrificing his own body and the gut churning fear that what he'd done with his identity disc wasn't going to be enough, Sam simply tried to will his healing, hoping that his supposed User power extended to bringing programs back from the brink of deresolution. He simply couldn't lose him, not now, not after everything. It wasn't as though he wasn't familiar with his coding – he knew it better than even Alan himself; it was just that there had been so much damage that simply removing the corrupted lines hadn't been a possibility. He'd been forced to write some new code as well and he wasn't sure how much that would actually work. But Tron hadn't derezzed; his body held on the brink of destruction.
Held, like a half downloaded picture, all pixilated and unfinished, half alive. Half dead. He knew the others were looking at him worriedly because there hadn't been a change when he'd reattached Tron's identity disc, hadn't been a change in the millicycle that passed, but he wasn't gone just yet and Sam refused to believe that Tron was going to give up. So when his body seemed to solidify right before his eyes, Sam let out a small cry, not sure what to do with himself. Quorra came running followed closely by Junior and Alan.
He hesitated to touch Tron just yet, but when the security program began to struggle to sit up, he immediately helped him, half-sitting on the bed.
Tron slowly opened his eyes and looked at Sam before examining each one of them before returning his focus on Alan. "Alan-1?"
Alan nodded slowly, even as he directed a wide grin at Sam.
"You were…" Alan started, but Tron continued, "Who are these people?"
Stopping suddenly, Alan glanced at Sam, who was openly staring at Tron, who had steadily been trying to extract himself from his grasp. Eyes narrowed in suspicion and as Sam feared, Tron asked him directly, "Who are you?"
Sam knows it's supposed to be like this. He's certain of it. I mean with all the stories that his father once told him, it just makes sense and nothing in his life has ever felt this right. Tron's supposed to be by his side. They're supposed to be a team. He's dreamt of it since he'd been just a kid, and what a great team they make. Nothing and no one can stand in their way.
As if on cue, that consistent purr, the one that rises to a rumble when he's close enough approaches. And there's the slight difference, the discrepancy that's chased away by Tron's hand on his back. He doesn't remember that purr in his father's stories, dim though they have become. Sam's certain that Tron should speak more, could speak more without it being an effort, but those thoughts, too, are chased away by a body thrumming with energy that sidles up against him, their bodies pressed tightly together. The glow of their circuits mix, red and orange, but before the consequent thought can form about the color of his circuits in his father's story, Tron – no, Rinzler hands him a data packet that contains CLU's next order and everything falls away to his fixed programming.
End first drabble set
A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Fic Review: Wow, being out of practice in terms of writing makes words difficult. DX No really though, word choice-age has gone down the drain and I can't even get my thoughts to go the way I want them to.