Actions

Work Header

Tron and the Tiny Dinosaur

Chapter Text

Sam glanced over at the Security monitor by his side and frowned deeply. Tron was sitting, crouched on the building beside Sam. They were watching over the recreation of the End of Line club. It didn’t seem very important, really, but enough Programs had voiced their opinion about bringing it back, so Sam volunteered to oversee the reconstruction of it. Tron had offered to come with Sam, but it seemed the Program had been more antsy to leave the presence of the oldest Users he knew than anything else. He hadn’t spoken the entire time. His body language fairly screamed anxiety and mistrust.

Tron didn’t trust himself, that much was clear to Sam. Whenever Sam, Kevin, and Alan went anywhere on the Grid, Tron would insist that the recently re-written Anon would come with them for protection.

“But Tron, we have you,” Kevin had assured the first time it happened. Tron’s eyes had grown hard and cold at the statement, a purr resonating deep in his code. It made everyone draw back a bit...

“No. You have Anon,” Tron had hissed before walking away. Tron had ended up joining them that day, but it was clear he didn’t consider himself proper protection. It had hurt Sam to see. The Program that fought for the Users doubting his ability to follow his directive. It became painfully clear that Sam had to do something. But what... That was the problem....

Sam looked over at Tron again before looking back at the slowly reconstructing Club. He had an idea.

“Come on, Man. Let’s head back over to the Gamma Sector. I want to work on something.”

Tron didn’t speak beyond a nod as the two got up and left.

 

“Hey Alan,” Sam called as he ran over to the two programmers, an object hidden behind his back. They were rebuilding the old I/O tower that had fallen out of use after Clu’s coup. Programs didn’t usually need to speak with Flynn on the other side of the screen... but now that Alan and Sam were also present on the Grid, it seemed wise to rebuild it.

“What’s up, Sam?” Alan asked as he gently pushed the datapad that Kevin was shoving in front of him away from his face. Kevin frowned at Alan before pocketing the datapad and looking over at his Son again, a patient smile no his face.

Sam grinned as he presented the object he’d been hiding to his Father and Father-figure, “Ta-da! Tron’s therapy project!”

Kevin raised his eyebrow, “Sam, that’s a stuffed animal....”

“And a small one, at that,” Alan observed with a smirk, “Wanna help us out here, Sam?”

“It’s Sheldon, the Tiny Dinosaur!” Sam declared, “He’s gonna be Tron’s practice for getting back into the swing of his purpose on the Grid.

Alan pursed his lips, “You want to give Tron a pocket-sized companion to practice protecting, so he can build confidence in his ability again... Okay,” The Programmer suddenly smiled, “I think I get it.”

Sam smiled at Alan before looking to his father, “I’m gonna give him to Tron so Tron can carry him around and protect him. Since he’s an inanimate object, he’s not gonna try to run away from Tron or get into trouble, so he should be easy to protect. Just a little confidence booster, you know?”

Flynn looked skeptical, but seemed to be pondering the idea. He was nodding to himself, his gaze focused upward. Then he looked back at Sam and bit his lip, “And... what if, by no fault of Tron... something happens to this Sheldon?” Flynn motioned to the tiny green plush with a slightly concerned expression. Sam smiled.

“Already thought of it. Sheldon’s got a little protective barrier around him whenever a threat approaches. Watch!” Sam withdrew his identity disk and activated it. The whirring, circular weapon was slowly lowered towards the innocent looking creature, but before Sheldon could face any harm, a thick blue protective barrier sprang up from him. The Identity Disc collided harmlessly with the barrier.

“There! See? It’s perfect!”

Alan, to his credit, relented rather quickly. Kevin took a bit more assuring, but he too ultimately agreed that it was worth a shot. It was Tron that was the most difficult to convince.

“Sam, why in User’s name would I carry around this inanimate object?” Tron glowered at Sam as the User offered Sheldon to him.

“Because he’s cute?” Tron’s glare grew a hundred times harder and Sam could feel himself shrink under the baleful gaze, “Come on, Tron.... It would just be a little training exercise.... To see how you handle protecting this little guy.”

Tron scoffed, “Why would I protect a thing that doesn’t need protecting? I could leave him in my quarters in the Sigma Sector and he’d be perfectly safe.”

“Not the name of the Game, Tron. Sheldon has to go everywhere with you. That’s part of the requirement. Anywhere you go, Sheldon goes,” Sam smiled at his own ingenuity. Yes, he was growing more and more confident that this was an excellent idea.

“And why should I even take this Sheldon?” Tron offered the tiny Dinosaur the stink eye as Sam cuddled the soft plush.

“Because he’s a gift, Tron, and I’m giving him to you,” Sam answered evenly, “Isn’t there some sort of Program-User agreement that when a User gives a Program a gift, they can’t refuse?”

Tron turned and began to walk away, obviously done with the conversation.

“Fine, then I guess Sheldon doesn’t get a home. Sorry, little guy...” Sam looked poutingly down at the tiny stuffed animal and tried to hide his glee. Unfortunately, manipulating Tron was terribly easy, and Sam had him right where he wanted him, “And Alan was so excited about the idea...” Sam smiled to himself as he tossed the stuffed animal away with a shrug.

Suddenly, Tron spun around, ran forward, caught the stuffed animal in midair, and clutched the creature to his chest. He then turned and gave Sam a bitter look, “Alan_1.... He approved of this idea?” Tron grumbled. Sam smiled and nodded, and Tron let out a bitter sigh of defeat...

“Fine..... I’ll take the inanimate stuffed being with me...”

“That’s the spirit!”

Chapter Text

Shaddox glanced up from his datapad to see a familiar Program approaching him, holding something rather tenderly in his weapon-hand. “Greetings, Program,” Shaddox murmured with a small smile as Tron sat down on the ground beside him. It had been an odd habit of Tron’s as of late. For some reason, the Program was always sitting wherever he was. “Here to make sure the system is secure?”

Tron glared at one of his oldest friend and shook his head, “No, I’m just here to get an update for Flynn and Alan_1. What is the progress of the reconstruction of the Data-Exchange tower?” Tron asked as he set the small, green creature down on his lap. Shaddox knelt down to examine it. The thing was rather round in shape, with a brown thing on top of it. No legs..... Unless those anomalies in anotherwise smooth stomach constituted legs...

“Gift from Flynn?” Shaddox inquired as he stood up pulled up the progress on the Data-Exchange tower. Tron hummed softly.

“Sam,” He corrected, “He said it would be good practice.”

Shaddox raised his eyebrow, “By protecting this....”

“Dinosaur,” Tron supplied. At Shaddox’s inquiring glance, Tron shrugged. he didn’t now what a Dinosaur was either, “I figure it’s better to go along with the situation rather than fight it anymore than I already have. Flynns are very stubborn Users,” Tron admitted.

Shaddox nodded gravely, “Wise words, my friend..”

Tron nodded slowly, then glanced back up at Shaddox, “The updated status on the Data-Exchange tower?”

Shaddox nodded as he went to work pulling up the information on his datapad. Tron looked back down at Sheldon and examined him thoughtfully while Shaddox typed away. Finally, the Datapad was presented to Tron.

“.....Shaddox. This is incorrect. I believe you pulled up the previous update to the tower.... There should be more progress than this...” Tron murmured softly as he sat up. Shaddox didn’t miss the way Tron still held diligently onto Sheldon as he stood and stared at the datapad, “I don’t understand...”

Shaddox sighed deeply, “I’m sorry, Tron. I don’t know what to tell you. Between outbreaks of Clu sympathizers in my sector and the push to improve living conditions for other Programs, I haven’t had any time to work on the Tower.”

“But it looks fully constructed!” Tron protested, “Why is it only at 35%?”

“Because it’s only the building that’s constructed, Tron. It’s standing, but it won’t serve any purpose. Flynn wants to store zettabytes of information in the Tower, and right now, I don’t even know if I it has the space to store a backup of you. I’m trying my best,” Shaddox shook his head, “But I’m afraid I can only do so much. I’m sorry, Tron... I really am. But there’s nothing I can do....”

Tron could hear the panic and pain in his friend’s nearly inscrutable voice. Shaddox hated to disappoint more than anything in the world.... and Tron knew he’d said rather the wrong thing.... He also knew he was at least partially to blame for this. If he felt more capable, the Clu sympathizers would not be Shaddox’s problem. As it was, most of the Grid was relying on Anon and little else. Tron knew there was little he could do, though... Not if he wanted to keep his friends safe.

“I’ll speak with Flynn,” Tron said gently, “We’ll work it out, Shaddox. It’s alright... I understand how difficult this construction is,” Tron grasped Shaddox’s shoulder and squeezed gently before offering Sheldon up to his friend, “Here. Hold him for a minute. I’ll be right back.”

Shaddox allowed Sheldon to be deposited in his hand before Tron turned and walked a bit away. Shaddox couldn’t tell who Tron was talking to, but judging by his body language, it was probably Alan_1, all stiffed shoulders but nervous head positioning. Shaddox then looked down at the creature in his hand.

Sheldon was staring up at him, his eyes a bit lopsided, the picture of innocence. Shaddox looked him over then nodded slowly, a small smile on his face. He liked Sam’s idea. This would be good for Tron. Small, innocent, easy to attach a personality to. Tron must have already felt a sense of devotion to the tiny thing if he’d expressly asked Shadow to hold him, rather than just “take him”. It was a simple thing, but Tron’s meaning could always be read through the precision in his speech. He chose his words very carefully.

When Tron returned, he had a small, faint smile on his face, “Alan_1 and Kevin Flynn will be joining you during their next milicycle on the Grid to aid in the reconstruction of the Data-Exchange Tower. After I explained the situation, they decided to place its construction at Priority 1. They will be escorted to your sector the next time the Portal opens,” Tron assured. He then held out his hand, and Shaddox carefully deposited Sheldon back in Tron’s hand. The Program let out a happy little purr.

“Thank you, Tron, that I appreciate your assistance. I will be the sure my time spent in the Users presence will be for maximized effectiveness in the construction of the building,” Shaddox assured as he reached out and pat Sheldon on the head. Tron’s smile twitched into a grin at the small display of affection to his charge.

“Anon will be monitoring this Sector as well, so as to ensure no Clu Sympathizers tamper with the situation as well,” Tron offered as he turned to leave. Shaddox hummed quietly.

“And you? Will you be there?”

Tron glanced over at Shaddox, and the Utilities Program knew he was crossing a line with the Security Monitor, but he did not waver under the hard gaze.

“I will be present. I usually shadow the Users during their time on the Grid,” Tron said slowly.

“To protect them?” Shaddox inquired. A low, rumbling purr broke through the otherwise calm of the surrounding area. Shaddox kept his expression neutral as Tron approached.

“I am not the same Program I once was, Shaddox. Make no mistake. I want to fulfill my Directive. I just can’t,” Tron bit out, as if each word was a disgusting flavor he wanted to rid his mouth of, “It’s not that easy...”

“Why can’t it be?” Shaddox whispered, “You beat Clu’s repurposing, Tron.... You aren’t Rinzler... Why can’t you just... go back?”

“Because back then, I didn’t remember slaughtering the innocent Programs I swore myself to protect...... I didn’t remember the time I wasn’t able to Protect the Users. Because they didn’t happen. I can’t go back, because that Tron was without Rinzler’s memories..... and make no mistake, Shaddox. I remember everything...” Tron whispered. Shaddox glanced down. Tron was petting Sheldon frantically, as if somehow, touching the plush toy was assuring him in some way. The fight left Tron’s body in an instant and he let out a rather, huffing sigh...

“I want to go back,” Tron whispered, “More than anything, I want to go back.... But then something happens. Someone says something, or they raise their Identity Disc, and I... I’m back there,” Tron croaked, looking around but not seeing anything around him, “I’m back to the Grid’s Enforcer, and I want to ensure the Perfection of the Grid, and the person is disrupting the Perfection and God, I want to derezz them, but I’m not Rinzler!” Tron cried out. Sheldon suddenly fell from his grip, but before he could land on the ground, Tron grabbed him and held him close, “I’m not.... I’m not Rinzler, but god, there are times when I don’t remember that.”

Shaddox held out a hesitant hand. He hadn’t expected to push Tron so far.... To have Tron share so much. But he understood. More than anything, he could understand his friend’s pain, and fear, and loss....

Tron glanced up at the touch on his shoulder. Shaddox then drew him in for a very User-ish hug.

“I’m sorry, my friend,” Shaddox whispered, “I cannot say I know what it’s like... But.... I am sorry.”

Tron nodded slowly as he leaned into the hug, Sheldon still held tightly to his side...

“I should get back,” Tron said quickly as he broke away, “It’s a long drive back to the Alpha Sector...”

Shaddox smiled thinly and nodded, “Take care, my friend.”

Tron nodded as he removed his light cycle baton, placed Sheldon in its carrier, and then rezzed his lightcycle, “Until next time, Shaddox.”

“Until next time, Tron.”

Shaddox watched Tron leave with a smile that disguised a very deep rooted pain that coursed through his code.

“I hope you can help him, Sam Flynn....”

Chapter Text

“Greetings Program! You don’t need to look so lost, you know, they’re gonna come back!”

“Sam!” Tron spun around to look at the young User, his eyes widening in horror, “The portal just closed! You missed it! Stay here! I’ll contact Alan from the I/O tower!” Tron turned to run, but Sam grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him back before Tron could sprint away.

“Easy, Tron, hold your horses... It’s fine, Man,” Sam smiled and slowly removed his hand from around Tron’s wrist, “They know. I’m spending the day here until they get back tomorrow.”

Tron shook his head furiously, “An unnecessary, incalculable risk! Absolutely not, Sam Flynn, you are returning to the User World immediately,” Tron ordered sharply. Sam held up his hands quickly in surrender. He knew something was niggling at Tron for the Program to react so sharply. He wanted to know what...

“Don’t worry, Tron, it’s just the next few cycles. Dad and Alan are gonna be sleeping in the Arcade tonight in case anything happens, and they’ll be back before you know it and the Portal will be open again. Everything will be fine,” Sam assured with a casual smile. Tron looked as if he was ready to derezz him, “Tron.... I want you to tell me... Why are you worried about this,” Sam asked gently, “What is upsetting you the most about my presence without the Portal being here.”

“Because Last time the Portal closed and a User was inside, he was gone for 20 User Years! The last time the Portal closed, a son lost his father. The last time the Portal closed, the Grid lost its User! The last time the Portal closed, I failed!” Tron shouted, “I am notifying Alan_1 of your return and to reactivate the Portal immediately.”

When Tron turned and walked away, Sam didn’t stop him. He didn’t know how to respond. Tron wasn’t wrong, not completely anyways. Yes, all those things had happened, but it hadn’t been his fault...

“You’re holding Sheldon...”

Tron stilled. Sam smiled weakly.

“I’m... I’m glad. Thanks Tron.... I appreciate that you’re taking this exercise so seriously...” Sam murmured softly. Tron let out a body-deep sigh, his shoulders and head dropping in defeat.

“Believe it or not, Sam Flynn, I don’t like that I don’t trust myself,” Tron muttered, “It’s not something I relish in or want to continue. I know I have to get over it, I do,” Tron assured, more to himself than Sam. Regardless, Sam walked over and put a comforting hand on the Program’s shoulder.

Sheldon was lifted to face level, and Tron examined him curiously, “I know it’s important... To understand one’s limits. Quorra has spoken to me quite often about things like removing one’s self from the equation and accepting that one cannot control every aspect of their life.... That sometimes it’s better to still your hand and wait for the opponent to move first. I want to get better, Sam Flynn. I want to be Tron, the Hero of the Grid again. But how can I be, when I know that I am so relevant in its fall?”

Sam smiled sadly and took pity on Tron’s existential loop. If he kept at it, the Program would surely fall into some sort of Lockdown. He appreciated Tron’s openness, but knew he had to get his thoughts away from such deep, depresisng matters.

“Hey, I don’t want to ruin the party.... Look, if something bad happens, I’ll leave for the Portal ASAP, okay? But until then, what were you planning on doing? I’ll tag along. Won’t be any disruption, I promise,” Sam assured with a grin. He reached out to pat Sheldon on the head and got a firm slap on the hand in response.

“No touch,” Tron warned, “But alright..... I was going back to my quarters to recharge for a bit....”

“Perfect!” Sam grinned, “I’ll code up another bed and it will be a regular slumber party!”

Tron rolled his eyes, but Sam didn’t miss the small smile he was rewarded with, “I don’t know what a slumber party is.. but I seem to recall Flynn referencing them a lot in the past.... Alright. Come on, let’s go back,” Tron rezzed his lightcycle, and Sam didn’t miss the way Sheldon was clutched protectively close to Tron’s chest on the cycle. Sam also had to admit his admiration for a Program that could maneuver his light cycle one handed.

 

Sam wasn’t sure what to expect of Tron’s apartment when they got there, but it certainly wasn’t what this. Sam had always imagined Tron to be a rather unsentimental Program with ideas of order overwhelming thoughts of decoration and homeliness.

Perhaps he had been thinking too much of Clu, though.

When Sam entered the apartment, he was surprised to see how warm and cozy it was. A soft, plush looking couch, very reminiscent to the one in Flynn’s Arcade. Low to the ground, easy to fall into, and easy to fall asleep in. Pictures also scattered the apartment. One from the old system, of a group of Programs Sam didn’t recognize, all standing together and smiling.

“The day I was reassigned to the Grid,” Tron had murmured as he moved around the apartment, apparently getting something to drink, “I don’t know if Flynn merely copied me over or if I was actually removed from the system itself,” Tron admitted quietly, “I never wanted to ask... You know.”

 

Sam did know. Programs were used to being copied and recalled, easy to save and reinstate at their previous point of function... But duplicating a Program. It was uncomfortable to think about. Especially if you were the duplicate.

“What if you’re the original, and Alan made a copy to keep on ENCOM?” Sam offered as he moved over to the next photo. Tron shrugged.

“It doesn’t matter. In the end, I was still taken away from the system I was created for.”

Sam swore he could hear the slightest, most insignificant note of bitterness in Tron’s voice.... But he didn’t want to jump into those waters just yet. Tron and Kevin had enough issues as it was, and Sam didn’t want to make it any more tense.

The next Photo was on the Grid. Young Kevin, Clu, Shaddox, and Tron, all standing for the photo and smiling. Kevin was doing something, which suggested to Sam that he was somehow taking the picture while posing for it. He wasn’t even sure how these photos existed anyways.

“I suggested Flynn City,” Tron whispered, terribly close to Sam now. Sam could feel the warm breath of the Program on his neck, crawling along the circuits near his shoulder, “Clu suggested Tron city. It was three against one,” Tron smiled faintly, “For all he did to me, I don’t blame this part of Clu. The one in this photo. It’s easy to look at him and separate him from the one that corrupted my code.” Tron broke out into a sad smile, “He was my closest friend...”

Sam wanted to reach out and touch him, to offer some sympathy and support, but Tron quickly shook his head and walked back to the kitchen, “Energy?” He called after him. Sam shrugged.

“Whatever you got. It all tastes weird anyways,” Sam cackled at Tron’s derisive snort, “Come on, man! You gotta admit it’s all refined, weird blue kool-aid crap!”

Tron shook his head, “No taste. You have no idea how good Energy feels until you’ve had it straight from the source. I’ll find a spring for you in the Outlands one time. You’ll see,” Tron smirked as he sat down on the couch to take a sip from his long, blue glass. Then, Sam noticed Sheldon.

The tiny dinosaur was sitting in what Sam could only describe as a beanie. Because he was fairly certain that’s what it was. A beanie. A black beanie with a weird looking blue scarf sticking out of it. Sheldon seemed safely curled up in his tiny hat-bed.... Sam grinned.

“He looks cozy~!”

“I had to improvise a shelter for Sheldon. I attempted to place him in my bed the first night, but when I awoke, I found he had somehow made his way rather far into my covers.... I didn’t want to risk kicking him, or worse, knocking him to the floor,” Tron shrugged, “So he sleeps in this head-covering clothing by my bed.”

Sam smiled and nodded. He was so proud of Tron for taking his exercise so seriously.... Of course, there was some part of it that told Sam this might not just be the exercise talking. Sam seemed to recall a story his father had told him one time about Tron being given a Bit during he Beta tests of the Grid. By the next time his father had gone in, Tron had named the Bit, built a little exercise pathway throughout his apartment, and had even gone so far as to build the Bit a feeding device for the Bit while Tron was away...

Sam decided he would have to keep researching to draw any further conclusions...

“So, what’s with all the house decorating, Tron? From what I’ve seen of Programs, they aren’t the type to collect photos or statues or keep phosphorescent plants in their homes,” Sam asked as he sat down beside Tron. The program was laying sprawled out, rather relaxed in the familiar setting. It relieved Sam to know there was a time when Tron would, apparently, relax..

“Flynn, mostly,” Tron admitted, “Sometimes he’d work on a big project, and to help the thoughts flow, he’d create things that were familiar to him. He’d want to destroy them after, but I was always so fascinated.... I would ask to keep them and he’d explain them to me.”

Sam smiled. That explained the bicycle, the plants, the coffee maker, the coffee table’s statue, the light fixtures, and the incredibly out of place Clock. But there was something that pulled on Sam’s mind.

“And why is it so.... colorful?” Sam asked. At this, Tron seemed to hesitate, so Sam looked around a bit. It was true, Tron’s apartment was certianly not the standard black, blue, and white of the Grid. Instead, it was lit with reds and teals, pinks and purples. Strange designs that reminded Sam of a peacock or an ornate plant marked themselves on certain walls... Sam glanced over at Tron, “Dad?”

“No...” Tron shook his head as he laid back and stared up at the ceiling, “Yori.”

At this, Sam stilled. Tron rarely, if ever spoke of Lora Baines’ old digitizing Program. Yori was a taboo subject, even amongst Alan and Flynn. Sam had noticed her absence in the picture of Tron leaving the ENCOM system.... He didn’t want to press.

“You don’t have to tell me, Man,” Sam assured with a light laugh, hoping to dispel the suddenly somber mood, “Don’t mind me. I was just asking questions.”

Tron shook his head as he sat up again, “No, it’s alright,” Tron smiled a bit wryly, “Yori’s apartment, back on the ENCOM system,” Tron chuckled softly, “It was decorated very similar to this. Same colors, different room shape but close enough on the designs. I guess that apartment always felt the most like home to me...”

Sam smiled gently and nodded, “I can see that,” he murmured. The two lapsed into silence for a bit, only the hum of things Sam couldn’t see echoing in the background. He was so tired, part of him was worried he’d pass out on the couch. It was becoming a more and more likely possibility with each passing minute...

Just as Sam was ready to nod off, Tron suddenly took and pulled Sam onto his feet. The User yelped in surprise at the sudden movement, but quickly steadied himself. Tron then picked up the beanie with Sheldon inside and smiled.

“Come on. It’s time we both get some recharge,” Tron murmured as he led the way to his bedroom. Sam hummed tiredly. Ah yes. Just a bit more coding before he could sleep... Sweet... blissful sleep...

Tron had more photos and knickknacks in his bedroom, but Sam chose to ignore them in favor of staring longingly at Tron’s bed. It just looked so comfy! More comfy than anything he could code into existence....

Tron must have seen his expression because the Program chuckled beside him, “Get in, Sam Flynn. It’s a big bed. If you have no quarrel with the thought, I’d rather we just share the space for the rest time.”

Sam laughed tiredly, “Man, I’d usually offer some token argument, but right now, I really don’t care. That sounds perfect.” Sam derezzed his clothes down to his light suit before crawling into bed. Tron regarded him with a rather amused expression before setting down Sheldon and then making a spinning motion at Sam.

“Hm?” Sam blinked tiredly.

“Turn around, Sam,” Tron huffed. Sam rolled his eyes before turning away from Tron, “I’m not exactly getting indecent, but I don’t like people seeing my light suit...”

Sam blinked, “Wait a minute, I thought your light suit was,” He turned around to protest, then bit his lip in surprise at what he saw.

Tron. In what could only be described as Siren White. His thick, Grid blue-white circuits were gone. In their place were spanning blue tendrils of circuitry, delicate and unique in a way that told Sam that Tron had been constructed with the utmost thought and care. The light suit was skin-tight and completely without any real function. Except maybe comfort in rest.

“S-sorry!” Sam stammered out as he spun around and shut his eyes tight. He felt as if he’d just spied upon something he definitely wasn’t supposed to. He heard an amused snort before the mattress dipped down and someone was turning him over.

“It’s fine, Sam,” Tron assured, “Like I said, it’s nothing to be terribly embarrassed or shy about. I’m just a bit private with whom I show my ENCOM circuitry to.”

Sam nodded slowly, “Of course.... ENCOM circuits... like those designs in your living room.”

Tron smiled and nodded, “Thin circuitry. Not sure why Flynn’s Grid has such thick ones, but.... Perhaps I’m a bit biased, but I like the ENCOM ones better...”

Sam laughed to cover up a furious blush that was forming on his cheeks, “Well... for what it’s worth?” I prefer them too...”

“Good recharge, Sam. I hope the bed is comfortable.”

Sam chuckled, “You’re kidding right? Compared to my couch... Nah, Tron... This place is amazing.”

Sam didn’t receive a reply, and when he glanced over at his companion, he could already see the dim glow of circuitry that told that Tron was already deep in recharge.

Chapter Text

When Sam awoke, it was to a very shaking, rumbling purr, broken out by croaking, growling coughs. At first, Sam couldn’t imagine why on earth Marvin was growling like that, but then he remembered that he never went home that night... He forced his eyes open and glanced over.

Inches from his face, Tron was staring at Sam like he was ready to kill him. He was purring loudly, looking terribly hateful.. Then Sam realized he could hear a loud, alarm-like noise coming from nearby.

“Turn it off....” Tron hissed, “Turn it off turn it off turn it off!”

Sam quickly rolled over out of bed and flailed for the source of the nose. When he found it, a strange circular shaped thing that was chirping loudly, he quickly derezzed it beneath his finger tips before rolling over and closing his eyes again. Tron was still purring in agitation.

“He needs to leave,” Tron hissed under his breath as he rolled over. Sam blinked slowly, not sure who Tron was referring to...

“Um... Do you want me to go, Tron?” Sam asked gently, “I can leave if you need me to. I don’t want to-”

“No,” Tron snapped, as he spun around to glare at Sam, his eyes weren’t really focusing, “Flynn. He’s still in the apartment, he needs to leave,” Tron growled, “He’s waiting for me but I just need to recharge.”

Sam frowned deeply. Tron’s eyes were focused, but they looked slightly glazed. His circuitry was flickering in and out... Was Tron.... disoriented? Was he still asleep?

“Tron, man.... Just close your eyes,” Sam assured gently, “Go back to sleep, man. Grid can wait...”

Tron hummed quietly as he rolled over and closed his eyes without another word. Sam watched Tron’s circuits go dim once more, and fell back into recharge. Sam nodded slowly, then he laid back and sighed. That had been a rather odd morning. Definitely not the way he’d intended to wake up. He rolled over and closed his eyes again.

No, this wasn’t going to be Sam’s morning. He’d give it a bit longer and make his morning in a few hours...

When Sam awoke again, a few hours later, Tron seemed far more stable, although no less ready to get out of bed.

“If User Gridbugs are allowed to sleep for seventeen cycles then awaken just to scream, then so can I,” Tron growled when Sam suggested getting out of bed.

“Dude, are you referring to cicadas?” Sam grumbled as he crawled out of the warm sheets and onto the floor. He then slowly picked himself up and began dressing in his clothes once more, “They are literally the most useless things in the User world. Probably would have been number one on Clu’s hitlist. Now come on! Get out of bed, Security Monitor! We got stuff to do!”

“You got stuff to do. I want to recharge,” Tron huffed as he rolled over and threw the blanket over his head. Sam shook his head and sighed. He’d never really expected Tron to be the type to never want to get out of bed, although now that he considered it, it did make sense. Tron rarely got recharge, which was probably because he knew he didn’t like leaving his bed...

Sam couldn’t blame him. When he was allowed to, he’d sleep in until 1 in the afternoon, at least.

“Come on, man! I agreed I’d help Shaddox with that Data-Exchange Tower! Get out of bed, Tron!” Sam groaned, “What will Alan say when he comes back to the Grid and you spent the entire time sleeping?”

“Good for Tron, I’m glad he’s taking care of himself,” Tron intoned in a very Alan-like voice. Sam shook his head and sighed.

“I didn’t want to do this to you, Tron... but you forced my hand.”

Tron yelped as Sam tackled the lump on the bed that was Tron. The program immediately began to wriggle under the covers, pushing part of the blankets underneath him. Sam took the advantage and grabbed the edges of the blankets and pulled them up, leaving Tron stuck in between, fussing like an irate cat.

“Release me immediately, Sam Flynn!” Tron ordered as he kicked out. Sam smirked as he held up the blankets, feeling more than a little proud of his ingenuity.

“I don’t think so, Program~! I’m not letting you go until I’m out of this room!” Sam announced as he tried to pick up the blanket. Tron was, of course, incredibly heavy, but Sam didn’t feel too terrible about pulling the blankets to the ground and dragging Tron along the floor. An arm snuck out from the confines and grabbed Sheldon before Tron could be completely removed from the vicinity, but Sam didn’t comment.

Probably best to keep Sheldon in Tron’s hands. It might make him more agreeable.

“Okay, man! I’m setting down the blankets... but I’m locking the doors the moment I set those blankets down alright?”

“This is my apartment! You can’t lock me out of my own bedroom!”

“Don’t worry,” Sam smirked, “It’ll only be for an hour. Alright... Here we go..”

If Sam ever felt like Tron was less of a Program and more like a dangerous pet cat that he was constantly playing a deadly game with, now would definitely be that time.. Sam dropped the blankets, put a timed lock on the bedroom doors, and promptly fled the immediate vicinity of Tron the blanket-burrito.

For a moment, the lump of blankets was still.... Then they went flying as Tron stood up, looking positively furious.

“I have the ability and the friends to make it look like an accident,” Tron growled warningly. Sam laughed as he stepped out of the apartment with Tron behind him. Tron wasn’t purring and no discs were at his throat. He was fine~!

“Sure thing, man! Name the time and the place and I’ll be there,” He snorted as he pat Tron on the back, “Alright, first things first, we’re going to the bar!”

Tron offered Sam a bleary, withering glare, “Why?”

“Energy, Tron. That recharge might have helped your body, but it did nothing for your attitude. I know how you get with Energy, and I’d rather deal with giddy Tron rather than sourpuss Tron,” Sam chuckled as they keyed in the bottom floor and got on the elevator. Tron snorted.

“I am not a....sourpuss...” He mumbled to himself as he crossed his arms and held Sheldon a bit closer to his chest. Sam smiled. He knew that getting a rise out of Tron was probably not the wisest thing to do in the morning, but more than one of Tron’s flailing punches had made contact while he was in the blanket, and Sam wasn’t ready to forgive him just yet...