viceindustrious: (Tron)
[personal profile] viceindustrious
Title: Performance Degradation
Fandom: Tron
Pairing: Rinzler/Ram
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine, just playing.
Summary: Castor recovers Ram and arranges a little reunion.
Word count: 1050
Notes: Dedicated to [ profile] scrapbullet, who I promised fic to an age ago but let myself be defeated by writer's block. This is very much inspired by her own wonderful fic, her enthusiasm for these movies and a certain program in particular. I hope it was worth the wait, lamb! 

The light from Ram's circuitry bends bright across the curve of Rinzler's helmet. Dazzling in reflection, skating the black, polished mirror that hides his face. Cyan flashes whiter flashes whiter, luminescent electrical fever, lightning arcing in the bow of Ram's back. Rinzler is washed in the glow but the illusion is superficial, nothing permeates and when Ram fades to a dull, pulsing purple, the colour is lost in the deeper darkness of Rinzler's body.

Nothing is eternally lost in the system and Castor has more than a little talent, more resourcefulness and knowledge of the grid's secrets than his humble origins should rightly allow (though if all the stories told of the MCP are true, then even basic code contains within it the language for greatness) and he has his pleasures and his predilections too. 
Playing with Clu is an awful lot of fun. Small acts of rebellion against their much beloved leader, all well within the realm of plausible deniability of course. 

Clu likes to have his lethal pet at his beck and call, but nothing, nothing is eternally lost in the system and some things cannot be erased from the memory of a program either. So when Castor recovers Ram, plucking the scattered remnants of his data from places where the gridbugs swarm and bringing him back to resolution, he simply has to see what a reintroduction to his old friend will do for Rinzler. 

Poor Clu, he must have put so much effort into reprogramming Tron, brute forcing his way past all those encrypted security protocols, cycles upon cycles upon cycles, trying to erase the unsavoury data without destroying his functionality altogether, rebuilding Tron without mutating him into something insane, or worse, imperfect.

And even after all that work and all that time, he couldn't erase the recollection of Ram or the hidden processes that whir once more to life as soon as Rinzler catches sight of him.

Newrezzed Ram, who looks so very fledgling, all large, confused eyes and tentative movements. Though there's a baseline of grace, even in the way he stumbles from his knees to his feet. A basic, lithe flexibility in his code. Castor hasn't attempted to update him, he created this room instead, a safe space for Ram's surprisingly alluring simplicity. Taken onto the grid proper, he imagines Ram would crash almost at once.

That fragility is alluring too, few programs now are so easily broken. Castor enjoys novelty. He half wishes he hadn't brought Rinzler here at all, he would like to play with this one himself and everything about Rinzler tells him that if he moved an inch to join the two of them he would be ducking an identity disc before he could even process it.

Rinzler has Ram up against the wall, purring like he's overheating, a fast vibrato that falls in pitch as he rubs himself against Ram, trying desperately, futilely, to interface. The connection initiates and Ram moans and throws his head back, flushing violet again, his hips bucking. His fingers are sliding over the slick shell of Rinzler's visor, his eyebrows furrowed, lip caught between his teeth.

The baleful, orange glare of Rinzler's sparse circuitry flickers into a blur of pale yellow, his signal jittering as he nuzzles into the crook of Ram's neck. Ram's arms wrap around him, his legs too. They cling to each other as though magnetized.

Between his wanton, needy little gasps of pleasure, Ram is mouthing queries, trying to gain recognition after the fact, who and what and where as he writhes against the strange program forcing this overload upon him. He isn't, Castor realizes, forward compatible and though his algorithms are already in motion to complete the process, they have no concept that it is not the Tron they know who executed this command.

Ram is too caught up latching on to the binary he recognizes, a sudden, dazzling, innocent smile breaks across his face as his eyes open wide and he touches the four spots of colour at Rinzler's neck; hooks his ankles together behind Rinzler's waist.

But Rinzler is a different creature and they are not compatible and already, Castor can see the connection start to stutter and drop. Ram screws his eyes up tight as a surge of something intense racks his body, his circuitry blazing unhealthily, then darkening with such sudden, glitching quickness it makes Castor wince in sympathy despite himself. Rinzler growls and glows brighter, Ram makes a keening, high wail and tightens his grip, his head thrashing back and forth against the wall.

Please, turns to, no, stop, and those sweet, unguarded groans signalling for more turn to cries of pain. Rinzler is still trying to force Ram's source code to comply, uprooting embedded instructions, tearing through data, sending signal after signal which bursts over Ram's circuitry in beautiful, awful, geometrical flashes.

A fatal exception error is about to occur, should have occurred already but every time he's about to close down, Rinzler forces the cycle to run again, grinding against Ram, keeping him pinned. Ram's fingers curl against Rinzler's back, held closer still by the tug of the current flooding into him. His teeth are bared, a white flash of agony in the brindled flush of his face. His neck is arched at an impossible angle. He spasms in Rinzler's grip.

"Tron!" Ram cries.

Rinzler's head jerks back. Ram is panting, chest heaving. The process halts. Castor can see it in the way Ram slumps back against the wall, twitching, his chin falling against his collar. Rinzler is trembling, almost imperceptibly and there's a noise, the suggestion of a noise, a rumble so low and deep that it's almost beyond Castor's sense except in the way his hair feels like it's lifting from a static charge.

Rinzler's circuitry dims slightly, he falls silent and still for the barest fraction of a cycle and then the orange flares bright and steady once more. He drops Ram to the floor, turns on his heel and marches out of the room.

Ram is bent over, kneeling, legs spread wide and his palms pressed flat to the ground between them. His darling little helmet is pulsing heliotrope. Castor crosses the room and lifts it from his head. Ram looks up at him, startled and fearful and so, so young. Castor smiles and strokes his hand through Ram's soft mess of curls.

"Don't worry, cherub," he says. "We'll take care of you now."
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January 2012

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