When he woke up, it was total and complete. Straight from darkness, nothingness, to a very solid something. Sitting up suddenly, perhaps "solid" wasn't the way to describe it. Something was soft beneath him, which confused him all the more.
It took a quick glance around to realize that there was no doubt in his mind as to where he was, recognizing the white panels around him as Flynn's safehouse, but the how part wasn't forthcoming. He'd broken free of Clu's programming, then fallen into darkness. Cold, endless, alone. Prepared to surrender to such an existence. (He didn't belong here. Not after... no.)
But there were glimpses of other things. Little glitches in his recall memory at first, then more. He remembered arms (arms?) and being... lifted... Carried. He remembered a soothing voice, but not what it said. Something important, something that got him to go into sleep mode willfully...
"It's alright. I've got you."
Shaking his head, he looked around. The safehouse would seem to be occupied only by him, everything that Clu had knocked asunder having been placed back in order. Feeling a distinct urge to do anything but remain exactly where he was, waiting for something to happen, he lifted shakily. There was no logic to it, no explanation for his desire to inspect this place, to look around and take note of things he hadn't been able to before. He recognized bits above the fireplace, felt a certain kind of lament at a large, empty space that had once housed the most impressive lightcycle to have ever been designed. Looking through the books, something in him both smiled and felt a bitter agony as he remembered all of them being transported to the Grid. He hadn't really understood it then, but he'd read some of them, flipped through others...
There was one book with a worn cover that stuck out further than the rest. Curious, he pulled it from the shelf--then simply placed it aside rather than looking for a title. Behind the book, as though hastily hidden, was something odd. A tiny humanoid form which looked achingly familiar, though its left arm had been snapped off completely, left to rest beside it. He wondered for a moment if it had been forgotten. Reaching for the figure and it's broken piece with tentative fingers, he felt immediately dizzy, glitched and unwell. It took some effort to stumble back to the "bed", half-falling into a kneeling position as he simply looked at the figure again. Emotion welled up in him, grasped his chest as he recognized it.
The sound of the lift registered, but it was not enough to draw his focus. Even the footsteps behind him, quiet and hesitant as they were, didn't draw his gaze away. The voice had his full attention, however.
"Rinzler?" Flynn breathed, chest aching.
There was a long pause, a moment of hesitation before that helmet finally folded away to reveal familiar brown hair. "No." The rough voice responded, simply, still not looking back.
"Tron." There was relief in that voice, though just as much aching as the program felt.
He remained perfectly still as Flynn walked around so that they could face one another--but Tron was staring down at something in his hand. As if he could sense the User's question, he held the object up. "What..?" There wasn't even a proper question that could come forth, too many things to ask about.
Flynn smiled, but it looked tired. Sad. "That was Sam's old toy."
Toy. He was partially aware of the concept, but that wasn't a suitable explanation. "It... looks like..."
"You. Yeah. That's because it is."
He couldn't look directly at that face. Couldn't make contact with those eyes. He simply stared at the figure in his hand again, turning it around... and finding a switch at its back. Curious, he pressed it, almost dropping the toy when it lit up. "I don't understand."
Taking a deep breath, Kevin sat cross-legged right where he was, hand against the floor for a moment to get a pillow to rez beneath him. "I spent a lot of nights away from my son. Working at Encom, coming here... but Sam, good kid that he was, worried about me being lonely. Can you believe it?" He laughed quietly, the sound just a little forced. "That action figure, that toy... that was something I made for him. I used to tell him stories about Tron, the hero, defender of the Users. You were his hero, too."
That made the program feel even more out of place, suddenly. Turning the toy over again, seeing it lit up and in that context, only hurt.
Flynn didn't wait for more questions. "I kept it with me because... well, it's all I had." He admitted quietly, wringing his hands slightly in an uncharacteristic show of nervousness, anguish. "To remind me of Sam, of Alan... of you... It wouldn't let me forget the mistakes I made. Sort of... kept me connected with what was important, even after I'd lost them all."
Tron still wasn't sure that he understood entirely. "A reminder. The symbol of a memory."
"That's right. Sentimental."
"It's broken." The program pointed out softly, eyes still on the toy.
It took Kevin a moment to compose himself enough to keep his voice steady. "Yeah... It was in my pocket during the coup, so..."
"Everything was broken." Tron finished quietly.
"No." Flynn stated with more vehemence than he meant to. "At least... not completely. Some things can't be repaired, that much is true. But I saw my son again. Quorra's safe, free. And here you are." The silence that followed was just a bit tense. "I'm not sure if our friendship can be fixed."
The program continued to stare down at the toy for a long moment, then silently held the broken-off arm, studying it before looking back at where it had snapped from. "It can be repaired." He stated, purposely vague.
"I hope so, buddy." Kevin tried not to let the effect of the words show, changing the subject for both of their sakes. "Sam's gonna be pretty upset when he finds out I've had this for all these years."
"You kept it safe for him." Tron corrected. "You believed you would see him again."
"Yeah." Flynn agreed, voice barely a whisper. He couldn't help but acknowledge the fact that Tron hadn't looked at him once. "I'll do everything in my power to fix what's broken. To make up for every one of my mistakes, Tron. I'll pay with what's left of my life, if I have to."
Finally, those blue-grey eyes flashed up to regard the User. To regard... an old friend. "No one worthy of your life would ask for it, Flynn."
Kevin gaped for a long time before he smiled. "That is true. But it's offered, anyway. Some people--some programs--have always been worthy of it."
Tron watched him for a long time, expression revealing nothing. "And the other programs?"
"Deserve a dedicated User who will be here rebuilding the Grid." Kevin answered with conviction.
The program's eyes turned to the figure in his hand again, switching the lights back off... but there was a soft smile on his lips. "Yes." He stated softly, almost unable to be heard. Placing the toy on the floor beside the bed, Tron just silently held his hand out, afraid to speak, afraid to admit...
But that was fine. They had time to work through things, to... fix everything. Hell, to make it better than it had been before. Smiling, Flynn accepted that hand, crawling into bed beside the program. It was certainly different than it had been, Tron taking to the task of arranging them so that he could have a protective arm over Flynn to keep him close. "Maybe I should try to make superglue in the morning."
"Oh, it's... a User thing."
"Ah." Tron responded with a touch of humor, settling in. A few minutes later, he was already in sleep mode, purring with a steady certainty.
Yeah, that was new, alright. It was a relaxing sound, though, something quite perfect to fall asleep to.