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'tis a gator! ([personal profile] ser_pounce_alot) wrote in [community profile] fandomweekly2017-06-10 10:47 pm

[#044] Logs; Touch (ReBoot)

Theme Prompt: [#044] – Personal Bubble
Title: Logs; Touch
Fandom: ReBoot
Rating/Warnings: PG (spoilers through season 3)
Bonus: Yes (maybe?)
Word Count: 980
Summary: AndrAIa watches Enzo's evolution and leaves her fingerprints in its wake.
A/N: Been awhile, community, but I rewatched a lot of ReBoot recently and got inspired. ♥

log 0141: face

It is the first thing to become untouchable, and the thing is, AndrAIa understands. Immediately following the game loss - and the game after that, and after that - Enzo tries to keep his useless eye in the shadow as much as possible. He turns away, shifts his weight, and keeps the right side of his face away from her, but she knows how much it still pains him. She tries to help him when he wakes in the middle of the night from the throb of it, and he won't let her.

It isn't until they reach Barcode, the system with the doctor trained in patch repairs and registry fixes, that either of them can do anything about it, and it's torture listening on the other side of the door as the doctor digs the mutilated mass out of Enzo's skull to replace it with a gold one: his screams reverberate through the hallway.

Later, he lets her run her hand over his brow and cheek, but only her, and only when no one else can see them, and she knows it has suddenly become sacred.

log 0288: arms

Somewhere in between the cycles lost while game-hopping and the long, sleepless nights, Enzo slips out of his lanky teenage awkwardness and becomes something new, something bigger – something meaner. And as his shoulders broaden and slope, the arms he used to have no problem slinging around her shoulder in celebration withdraw.

AndrAIa misses the touch, misses the contact. She misses the feel of her best friend elbowing her side to share a joke, just as much as she misses the jokes themselves. Enzo doesn't laugh much anymore, and he tries to slouch over, as if poor posture could disguise the muscles earned from avoiding defeat and deletion.

It is a long time before he stops freezing every time she touches his bicep, but eventually, she can curl her fingers around it without feeling the muscles seize beneath her palm.

log 0376: stomach

Enzo – Matrix, now, and the distinction seems so horribly clear – is injured in a fight with a User in a particularly brutal game that was far too reminiscent of the loss that set them on the course to begin with, and he's coughing up flecks of blood on his lips as they wait inside the doomed cube for the game to officially end. They'll ride it up as they always do, but the system below will be ravaged, and Matrix isn't faring much better.

There's a gash across his abdomen and AndrAIa has her hands pressed against it to stop the flow of blood just long enough for them to get swept away in the game's departure, and Matrix pushes her hands away, weak but meaningful.

“Stop it,” she says, a terrified, hissing demand, and he just does it again. Her fingers splay across his stomach and she can feel the sharp outlines of the muscles there, defined and hard, and for a moment, just a moment, her breath catches.

AndrAIa went into the games with a boy, but there is a man beneath her palms.

“'ll be fine,” Matrix gets out through clenched teeth, but his strength fails a bit, and he stops protesting. AndrAIa knows the game will whisk away the blood when it disengages. She can't stop herself from letting her fingers trail up the segmented muscles, and she isn't sure which one of them it is that sighs.

log 0410: mouth

Matrix never smiles anymore; oh, and AndrAIa misses the quirky, lopsided smile so much. With each passing system that isn't Mainframe, Matrix sinks deeper and deeper into despair. It's written all over his face – he's giving up and losing hope, and the only expression that seems to stick anymore is a scowl.

It's another half-dying system, offline and shorting out, and Matrix's expression is so thunderous he might as well try to take on the entire Net. It's heartbreaking to watch him break down, and she can't shoulder all his pain, and the only thing she can think to do is pull him close and kiss him.

She's leapt over the invisible barrier between them; Matrix freezes, a gut-wrenching pause, and then pulls back with a jerk to stare at her with his one good eye wide with too many emotions to name. AndrAIa is about to turn on her heels and flee when he moves forward again, hesitant in a way she's never seen before.

“Can you...?” he starts, and she understands. She kisses him again with everything she's got inside her and swallows down his resulting gasp: awed and humbled.

log 0683: body

It has to hurt Dot that Matrix still panics every time she tries to hug him. Her little brother is now towering over her in a wall of muscle and scars, and each time she reaches for him, he snaps back on instinct. AndrAIa can see all the pain in Dot's eyes, but the woman still manages a smile, and that's more than AndrAIa could ever do.

He'll get used to it; AndrAIa knows. She knows it when she curls up around him at night and he lets her wrap her arms around his bulk and he just sighs, relaxing into her touch. He'll learn to trust again, and Dot will be able to hug him, and in the meantime, they're repairing broken hopes one cycle at a time.

“Love you,” he whispers, half-asleep, and AndrAIa kisses the curve of his shoulder. She wonders when it was that her code cleaved to his, when it was that her programming changed to follow him, and kisses him again, on the stubble of his jaw.

For better or for worse, she seems to be the only thing his bubble has widened enough to give access to, and she sinks into his offered warmth and closes her eyes.

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