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When Tron finally returns to his apartment in the city after a long day of ensuring that the other security programs under his command are doing their job, he is surprised to find someone already in it. Sprawled on a couch overlooking the city skyline, Kevin Flynn raises a glass full of some purple-coloured liquid at him.

“Long day?”

“No longer than usual. How did you get in here?” The moment it leaves his mouth Tron realises what a stupid question it was. “Ignore that. Why are you here?”

“I’ve got a few schematics for the Grid that I have to go over with you,” Flynn waves a small disk in his hand and tosses it towards Tron, who snatches it out of the air. “Thought I might catch ya a little earlier, guess I was wrong.”

“I’m always happy to see you, Flynn.” Thumbing a button on the disk, Tron brings up a display of code that glows white in the permanent semi-darkness. “This looks interesting.”

“Just a few mods I thought of to make the system more secure. Nothing that can’t wait though.” Flynn points at another beaker of liquid on a table nearby. “Have a drink with me, buddy. I haven’t seen you for… how many cycles is it now?”

“Too many,” Tron says, smiling. He puts the disk down, takes the beaker gratefully and seats himself next to Flynn. “This is good, Flynn. But I hope you didn’t damage the door protocol when you got in. I wrote it myself a few cycles ago and it’s the closest I’ll ever get to impregnable here.”

Flynn grins, shakes his head. “Naah. Although I might I have changed a few things in the apartment to mess with you a bit.”

Tron whips his head around to survey the space around him. Curiously, nothing looks different. All the bare essentials of his apartment are still in the same places he left them when he went out.

“Got ya.” Flynn’s grin is infectious this time and Tron rolls his eyes as he sips a bit more of his drink. It slides down his throat easily and warmth blooms in his chest. He figures it must be a close match to the beer Flynn likes to tell him about, back in the world of the Users. “God, you look exactly like Alan when you do that. Freaks me out every time, man.”

“How is my User?”

“The same, as usual. Telling me that I need to pay attention to the running of my own company, helping me avoid World War Three with the board. Generally making my life hell by running it for me.” Flynn drains his glass and sets it down. “But I need him out there as much as I need you in here, Tron. You’re like two halves of the same coin, only Alan keeps wearing these godawful glasses all the damn time.”

There is a silence as Tron runs through several subroutines in his mind, wondering what the proper response would be. Gratitude? Puzzled acceptance? Blushing denial? (That one is rejected after a nanosecond’s thought.)

“Anyway.” Flynn’s voice is serious now. “I’ve gotta be straight with you; this isn’t just me bringing over booze and a couple of new security plans. But you probably figured that out.”

Tron has had a few cycles to adapt to the roundabout ways of User speech, so he sits quietly, sipping at his drink, already knowing what the Creator of this world has to say. Waiting is the hardest part of the whole ordeal. Flynn sighs, lays a hand on Tron’s arm.

“You know what I’m asking, Tron.”

Tron nods, unhappily. “But I don’t like it, Flynn. There must be some other way.”

“There isn’t.” This time Flynn sounds tired, as if the weight of creating several generations of programs is finally taking its toll. “Come on, man. I need you to do this for me, and you know I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t need it. It’s all this shit going on; in here with Clu and his obsession with the ISOs and the gridbugs, out there with the company and then Jordan… I really need your help. Just one more time, Tron. I promise.”

“I don’t like hurting you.” Tron says, through gritted teeth. “But I suppose it’s better that I do it than anyone else around here.” He doesn’t like to think of what other possible options there could be.

“You know I’ll make it up to you.” Flynn moves his hand up to grasp the back of Tron’s head in a friendly manner. “Don’t I always make it worth your while, huh? And you know I can take what you dish out.”

Several vivid memories spring to Tron’s mind, and the circuitry on his armoured suit glows brightly for a few nanoseconds before he regains control of himself. He shakes his head and pulls a face, which Flynn correctly interprets as acquiescence.

“Thanks, man.” He says, following Tron to the master control panel for the apartment. “I really owe you one.”

“You won’t ever owe me anything, Kevin Flynn.” Tron replies, accessing the controls so that Flynn can add another layer of security to the already formidable protocols. “Though I wish you would try and find an alternative form of catharsis.”

“There isn’t one, OK?” Flynn pushes the panel back into the wall wearily. “C’mon. Let’s just do this.”

After removing their identity discs and placing them in a secure safe that Flynn conjures out of the ground, Tron makes him sit on a bed that springs out of a side panel. The window display dims and the ambient light level drops, as if in anticipation of what is about to happen.

“I hate this part,” Tron says, flatly, before he reaches down and slaps Kevin Flynn as hard as he dares.

Flynn’s head rocks backwards and he doesn’t make any sound, apart from a low groan that reverberates in the small space between them. His hands shoot out and fingers dig into the armoured material covering Tron’s thighs, holding him in place. Tron hits him again, noting the raised colour in Flynn’s cheeks, trying to monitor the damage he is doing. Another blow almost sends Flynn flying backwards onto the pristine white bedsheets, but Tron holds him steady. Several more slaps follow in quick succession, Tron trying to make sure the impact is as light as possible and Flynn urging him on with moans that border on the obscene.

Fuck yeah,” he mutters, after Tron hits him with a particularly hard strike. He does fall back onto the sheets this time and the smile on his face is so satisfied that Tron finds it hard to believe that such satisfaction could come from being attacked with such violence. “One more? Last one, I swear to God, Tron. I feel so fucking good!”

And something deep inside Tron, some directive that is horrified at this self-destructive yearning, snaps. He pulls Flynn up by his jacket’s lapels and slaps him even harder. And Flynn does not come to his senses, but turns and grabs Tron’s hand on the backswing.

“Do you want to know what it feels like when you hit me?” He asks, his eyes alight with excitement. Without waiting for an answer he presses the palm of Tron’s gloved hand, watches as the black armour melts away. Tron draws in a breath, and it seems like centuries pass before Flynn presses a hot kiss to the revealed skin. It feels as though his circuits are bursting with fire and he barely has time to register the hungry look in Flynn’s eyes before he is dragged down on to the bed, Flynn’s fingers tangling in his hair, pulling their mouths together.

Flynn kisses like a dying man, all needy moans and greedy, questing tongue. The first few times they had done this, he’d taught Tron by feel, kissing him until Tron was impatient with want and incapable of logical function. It was amusing to him (although not to Tron) to send Tron almost catatonic with pleasure but no idea of how to reciprocate. But then Tron has always been a quick learner. He has learnt that kissing a trail down Kevin Flynn’s neck produces the most intoxicating sounds, knows that Flynn will groan and curse if he rips away the flimsy garments he wears and presses kisses to the exposed flesh there. He has also learnt that the pain of having to hurt Flynn is almost negated by the experience of having Flynn’s hands on him, melting away suit and armour to reveal his skin, glowing with faint circuit trails that blaze in the dim light.

“Miss me?” Flynn asks, before rolling on top of Tron. He kisses Tron, then runs his hands over Tron’s body, generating waves of pleasure so intense that the world around Tron melts away and all his conscious thought is fixed on the sensations that Flynn is producing. He would like to reply, to say how much he’s thought of this (though programs should not allow such distractions to obstruct them from carrying out their function), but he can’t. He is dimly aware of Flynn’s murmured obscenities, telling him how wanton he looks with his hips arching off the bed like this, how he wishes Tron could see himself like this, begging for release.

A strangled oath escapes Tron’s lips, something he learnt from the lowlifes that hang out at the End of Line bar. Something that decent programs shouldn’t know.

“Swearing, are we? What a busy program you’ve been, Tron. But I’m a nice guy so I’ll let that one pass.”

That little jibe makes Tron snarl in frustration. He reaches out and manages to land a slap on Flynn’s already flushed cheek. The smile fades from Flynn’s face and Tron is a little apprehensive until he realises that Flynn is actually feeling as desperate as he is. Flynn’s hand finds the back of Tron’s neck again, draws him in for another kiss and they begin to rock against each other, Flynn’s fingers transmitting wave after wave of pleasure through Tron’s skin, and Tron’s hand stroking Flynn’s cock with all the skill he has mastered over the several cycles that they’ve been lovers.

It can’t last long. Flynn mewls against Tron’s mouth, thrusts into his hand with a desperation that excites Tron almost unbearably. To have a User finding such pleasure through his efforts makes him feel almost light-headed. Then Flynn is pressing both hands against him and he finds himself almost howling with the sensations running through Flynn’s fingers, into his body. Tron hears Flynn’s guttural moan, knows that the end is almost at hand and on some kind of impulse, takes his hand off Flynn’s cock and slaps him again. It is enough and Flynn comes with a low moan of satisfaction, jerking against Tron’s body. His fingers stroke Tron’s hips slowly, deliberately, and Tron almost bursts apart with the sensation it transmits, his mouth open as the world is momentarily enveloped in a haze of white light.

They are still for a moment, and then Flynn rolls off, looking sated and smug.

“Told you I’d make it worth your while, didn’t I?”

Tron rolls his eyes and almost slaps Flynn again, just to get that satisfied smile off his face. But part of him knows that he is responsible for Flynn’s smile and relaxed demeanour.

Not to mention a whole lot of bruises and a fantastic orgasm, if a program can be allowed to take credit for a few things.

They lie together for a long time, Flynn wanting to make up for the many cycles he’s been away, and Tron all too happy to accept his apologies, though he privately thinks that there is nothing to apologise for. He does not complain, however, when Flynn is so eager to demonstrate his remorse.

There is trouble brewing, he can feel it, but it is a vague sense of an unknowable future, and with Flynn around, Tron is happy to forget the troubles of the Grid for as long as the User wishes. The lights of the city wink back at them as he explores the contours of Flynn’s body, alive with a myriad of possibility.