Well? What the hell are you waiting for?
And suddenly just like that he’s moving, moving faster than he’s ever moved in his life, muscles obeying commands he never gave them, and there’re two objects like bladed rings in his hands, edges glowing the delicate red-white of metal that’s no more than a few degrees from turning molten and beginning to drip.
He strikes her, and she shatters like glass.
Then it's over and he simply stands there, strange weapons still in hand and humming, staring dumbly down at the pile of gleaming fragments. In his mind he’s screaming, over and over again he’s screaming her name, but he hears nothing but that grinding, grating flickering noise as a strong arm wraps around him from behind…
Rinzler is glitching.
He must be. There's been some kind of skip in his processes; he tries to run back through the last few hundred frames of memory, but they're warped and fragmented. What had he been doing? A local area scan tells him he's in the Undercity, and he can see the remains of a derezzed Program at his feet, glimmering weakly as the last of its residual energy fades. He'd been hunting, then...but hunting who?
> [Yori. That was Yori.]
> [...designation "Yori" unknown. Who is Yori?]
> [Yori no oh no this isn't happening no no no YORI--]
Except it's not Yori. It can't be. Yori is behind him, her arm wrapped around his chest, circuits burning warm against his own. He can hear her whispering to him through the static of corrupted data. [...you're alright, shh, wake up, it's okay...]
"Well done, Rinzler," purrs the voice from behind him, and Yori's voice shatters, the way she shattered under his discs. "My Rinzler."
A picosecond's hitch in Rinzler's growl is all the warning Clu gets.
He manages to snap his head back just barely in time to avoid decapitation as Rinzler suddenly twists within his hold, the blazing edge of his left-hand disc carving a sparking gash along Clu's cheekbone. He plants his foot into Rinzler's thigh and kicks him away as hard as he can, but he still has only a split second to draw his own disc before Rinzler is on him again, the blows coming hard and fast and nearly feral in their intensity.
It's all Clu can do to keep up. He's bigger, more powerfully built than Rinzler, but Rinzler is much, much faster, and the fury of his assault isn't letting up. Clu had almost forgotten what it's like to have all that power and speed and skill pointed at him, and he feels his own rage starting to bubble to the surface. Rinzler is his, dammit, his. Never in a hundred cycles had he expected this kind of reaction, this fracturing of his perfect, painstaking programming, and irrationally he wishes that Yori were alive again so he could tear her apart himself.
He drops low beneath a wide swing, attempting to sweep Rinzler's legs out from under him, but Rinzler simply sidesteps neatly and then drops on him like a stone, bringing one disc hammering down at him in a move that Clu remembers all too well. He throws himself to the side and Rinzler's disc crashes into the floor, embedding itself there and kicking up sparks. Rinzler yanks it free. It only takes a fraction of a second, but it's enough for Clu to scramble to his feet and before Rinzler can turn again Clu is halfway behind him, slamming an open-handed palm strike into the empty disc port on Rinzler's back.
It's a dirty blow, but it does the trick. Rinzler utters a strangled, distorted cry and falls forward, one disc skidding off across the slick floor. Clu immediately drops a knee into the small of his back, pinning him, and twists his other arm up and away from his body until he releases his grip on the second disc.
"Enough," Clu hisses, laying his free hand flat on Rinzler's disc port in order to access his code directly and force a hard shutdown. Rinzler's struggles immediately still and he goes limp, circuits dimming from flames to cinders.
His last thought, before shutdown takes him, is Yori's name.
When Rinzler comes back online he's lying on his side, on Clu's oversized bed. The Admin is siting beside him, Rinzler's reintegrated disc in his lap, one hand sorting delicately through the code projecting from it while the other cards absently through Rinzler's hair.
His memory is glitched. Why had he shut down?
A cursory self-scan reveals no serious injuries, but his back aches miserably, and he can see the fading, glimmering remains of a disc gouge just beneath Clu's left eye. Something must have gone wrong...had he failed to protect Clu, somehow? His brow furrows in confusion and he tries again to pull up the memory files of the mission they must surely have been on.
Rinzler's stuttering rumble intensifies in frustration and Clu glances over at him, smiling lazily. "Relax," Clu drawls. "The mission was a success. There was...a little glitch, but you're fine now. Everything's just fine."
That's all he needs. He shifts closer to his Admin, closing his eyes, broken growl dropping once again to a low, steady hum.
"My Rinzler," Clu whispers, and Rinzler curls against him in response.