Notes: "Incendium" is Latin for "burning", which ties in perfectly with the theme for this drabble. I originally had plans to expand this into a multi-chaptered story, featuring Sam returning to the Grid and discovering Tron and helping him to heal, however after some thought I decided to make this a simple one-shot, as there are already so many Tron-redemption fics out there, I wanted to put my own unique spin on the 'Tron survives falling into the Sea' theme.
I hope you all enjoy the drabble, and feedback/reviews are very much appreciated, as I put quite some time and effort into this piece! Reviews help inspire me to continue writing and sharing my stories with the world. :)
(Disclaimer: I do not own Tron: Legacy, or any affiliated material.)
The Sea burns.
It burns with a searing cold that etches its way deep into his circuits, lighting each delicate sensor with an icy fire that seems to utterly consume him, waves lapping hungrily at his legs as he lies there motionless on the gritty sand, half-frozen and soaked to the core, eyelashes rimmed with droplets from the Sea.
The Sea is hurting him. Rejecting him, rejecting the virus that crawls through his systems like a parasite, slowly corrupting him, twisting him, destroying him like Clu did, because Clu put this virus in him, and this virus is killing him, and if he doesn't get it out, he'll die here on the sand with nobody to help him, and…
The virus twists, burning deeper into his skin, the Sea following with an angry vengeance, seeking to purge the impurity that taints its waters; and he screams, a high-pitched keen he barely recognizes as his own.
He doesn't want to die.
need to get up
Flynn can help him. Flynn can heal him, Flynn can destroy the virus that's slowly killing him; Flynn can save him…
need to find Flynn
Fingers curl, pale flesh exposed where lines of glowing red-orange code crumble away, gloves now only partially-there; fragments of digital fabric clinging to his skin as he digs his naked fingers deep into the wet sand beneath him and pulls, heaving himself fully onto the rocky shore and away from the merciless grasp of the Sea.
Something inside his mind flickers, whispers his name. A presence, one that is dark and dangerous and powerful, a presence that has Clu etched deep into every strand and line of its code, a presence he knows he should hate for what it is.
And he tries. But as he lies there trembling on the sand, shaking in exhaustion and pain as the icy numbness slowly begins to seep from his limbs, water and shattered pixels dripping from the battered remains of his lightsuit and soaking into the sand beneath him...he simply cannot find the strength to do so.
/Flynn is dead/
The presence murmurs. And he doesn't want to believe it. He tries to force it back down into the recesses of his mind, tries to shut it out as angry denial races through him. He tells himself the presence is lying, tells himself it's just another filthy trick to destroy him, to tear down what little strength remains within him.
He won't accept that the presence might just, for once, be telling the truth; as he struggles to stand on shaking legs, clawing at the rocks with desperate hands, pulling himself to his feet only to fall to his knees again; blue-white circuits flickering weakly in the darkness as he fights what he knows is a losing battle.
He won't accept what he already knew the moment he sunk below the waters, knowing even then that he had failed to protect. He can't accept, for to do so would mean accepting his failure. Would mean accepting that Flynn is gone, and he alone is the one to blame.
The presence murmurs again, repeats what he already knows no matter how hard he tries to deny it, and from deep within him rises a wild, untamed grief; a mourning cry for the friend he has failed to save, for the death he has failed to prevent.
He has failed, and he is alone, save for the presence that lurks within the darkness of his mind as an ever-present testament as to how far he has fallen.
And when the Sea rises to meet him once more, he welcomes it with open arms, curling on the sand and closing steel-blue eyes against the scalding tears that fall and mingle with the burning water, feeling the life within his body slowly ebb away with the waves.
He has failed.
And for his failure, he will burn.