This isn't happening.

The thought has been repeating itself in Clu's mind ever since Flynn's lightcycle first began to yaw and wobble as they drove back from the Sea, skipping and stuttering over and over in an endless loop as his User veers and finally crashes, voxels splashing against the rocks. He clings to it like a mantra as he pulls his bike to a shrieking halt and rushes to Flynn's side.

This isn't happening.

The User—his User, his Creator—is screaming and writhing, and as badly as Clu wants to believe it's only from injuries sustained in the crash, he knows what's really causing it. He can see the black slime on Flynn's hands and clothes spreading, crawling, disintegrating fabric, eating into his flesh.

This isn't happening.

He hadn't even flinched when Flynn had waded into the contaminated water. Flynn was a User, and he hadn't created the virus to harm Users. Only to prevent the Sea from spawning more ISOs—practically viroid in their own right, as far as Clu was concerned—and of course any ISO stupid enough to touch the water would probably meet a rather unpleasant end. He'd been so careful, dammit, unwilling to accept anything less than perfection in his engineering before he'd released it into the Sea.

This isn't happening.

He drops to his knees at Flynn's side, tearing at the remains of his clothing, trying to get the contaminated fabric off of his User's body, but it's too late. The virus is flowing up his neck with liquid, undisciplined speed, across his face, into his eyes.

"No…NO!"

Flynn screams again, a distorted, accusing howl, and Clu stumbles back, his face a mask of horror. Flynn actually seems to be melting now, swirling flashes of yellow-green light twisting through the black like the sheen on an oil spill, and Clu can't look anymore.

This isn't happening.

Finally the screams die down into choked gurgles, and then silence altogether. Clu remains frozen on his knees, back turned, shaking so hard he fears he'll shake himself apart if it doesn't stop soon. Surely Flynn isn't dead. He can't be. Clu would never have created something that could concievably harm his creator. This is a waking nightmare, brought on by the stress of trying to hold the Grid together and watching Flynn crash. When he turns, Flynn will be there, scraped and banged up and possibly unconscious, but otherwise perfectly whole and alive. If he could just get himself to turn…

Razor-sharp claws suddenly close around Clu's calf, piercing and burning, and Clu screams.

This isn't happening.