ad00absurdum: (i write)
Ad Absurdum ([personal profile] ad00absurdum) wrote2016-05-15 09:48 pm

Getting back to creative anatomy, glowing and mangling computer programming *trololo*

Title: Dreamscaping
Author: Ad Absurdum
Fandom: Tron
Genre: slash
Pairing: Alan/Tron
Rating: R
Summary: Alan thinks he's losing his mind.
Timeline: Just before the first film (1982).
Disclaimer: Characters - not mine. No profit made.
A/N: Getting back to writing so my skills - such as they were - are a little rusty. Concrit welcomed.
On a different note: I think I managed to make programming sound so horribly kinky in this, I am a bit ashamed of myself. Only a bit, though.


Alan closed his eyes and tipped his head back, baring his throat to the soft kisses. He loved to be caressed like that - the mouth on his skin gentle and knowing, conscious of every sensitive place on Alan's neck.

"Do you like that?" a voice whispered in Alan's ear, lips kissing his earlobe.

"Y-yes." Alan shivered.

There was a puff of air as his partner chuckled quietly. Alan shivered again - his ears were very sensitive.

"Tell me what you need, Alan_1."

Alan arched with a gasp against the body covering his. He loved that too - being called by his username. He had no idea why and maybe it was strange or kinky, but Alan didn't much care.

"Alan_1," his lover sighed, the tone both needy and full of wonder. "Alan_1."

"Tron." Alan gasped, opening his eyes.


That was Lora.

The moonlight coming through the bedroom window was enough to see Lora's slightly unsure expression and a raised eyebrow.

"I was dreaming." Alan rubbed his hand over his face.

"Yes, I thought as much," Lora said, amused. Then she added, "You were moaning 'Tron'." There was an unspoken question in her tone.

"I... Really?" Alan had no idea what to say.

Lora sighed. "You work too much. How long have you been writing the Tron program?"

"I don't know. A few weeks?" Alan stared at the ceiling, somehow unable to look Lora in the eye. He was rather desperately trying to quell his body's reaction to the dream.

Lora sighed again and patted Alan's pyjama-clad chest. "Come to think of it, maybe I should be grateful I don't dream about oranges."

Alan huffed a laugh at that. "I'm sorry I woke you up. Try to get back to sleep, it's early yet." He stroked Lora's cheek and kissed her forehead.

"Are you sure you're all right?" Lora was looking at him with concern.

"Yeah, I'm sure. Go back to sleep." Alan smiled. Perhaps it wasn't the most convincing smile he'd ever mustered, but it was probably too dark for Lora to see anyway.

"Okay. You too." Lora snuggled up to Alan, tucking her face between his shoulder and a pillow.

Alan turned to stare at the ceiling again. What had his life become?

A few minutes later he too closed his eyes, though, hoping he wouldn't dream again. At least not tonight.

* * *

It all started about two months ago. Alan had just finished a big project - a set of anti-virus programs that Encom would sell to another company - and was beginning to think Encom would benefit from such a program as well. Though maybe a proper firewall would be better. Since that Master Control Program had been installed, the system had more bugs than a bait store.

And as he sat at his terminal, listening to Roy first wondering Why can't I access my own program? again? and then grumbling about the stupid MCP, locked up Ram, because who needs upgrades anyway? in the next cubicle, he decided enough was enough. The Master Control Program got too big. If he didn't know better, Alan would've thought the MCP displayed every sign of artificial intelligence with delusions of grandeur gone evil, but by his own estimation the complexity of algorithms necessary for programs to start thinking for themselves wouldn't be available for another two-three years even with Encom's best equipment. The computing power was simply not enough right now.

But a good security program was just what Encom needed. It could monitor communication with other systems and dogwatch the MCP as well. Maybe the problems Roy and other programmers had was simply because the MCP had some bug itself. It was a hypothesis worth checking.

And so, after a memo to Ed Dillinger, Alan set to work on the new program.

"Okay..." He opened a new file, thinking about the name.

"TRON" he finally typed. The name was short and nicely rolled off his tongue.

"You'll have a mission to accomplish, my little program." Alan chuckled to the computer screen and began writing.

* * *

The work went pretty smooth, the ideas for Tron's frame and functions coming easily to Alan and practically writing themselves. Alan had no objections on that front. It was only his nights - a time which was supposed to be restful, for God's sake - that had him a little worried. Because shortly after he started writing Tron, the dreams (which Alan couldn't understand and could only explain up to a point) began.

First he dreamt about lines and lines of code springing from under his fingertips, spiralling upwards and onwards swirling and pulsing with a gentle blue light. That he could understand. After first such a dream he even chuckled to Lora that he was clearly on his way to becoming the Employee of the Month at Encom - he was even dreaming about his work!

A few nights after that, however, Alan's dreams started getting a little... odd. The lines of code - for all their glowing swirling - began to take shape. A shape of a human body.

The figure was incomplete and kind of blurry, but every day during which Alan worked on Tron, the figure in his dreams became more and more defined and after about three weeks of that, when Alan had the first version of Tron roughly ready, the figure became complete as well. It turned out to be a man - the body was definitely male: flat-chested, with broad shoulders and narrow hips, though also distinctly non-human as it lacked any sort of genitals.

And as he was looking at the man's face, Alan knew he should recognise him, but the features were still indistinct somehow and Alan just couldn't quite place where he'd seen the guy before.

There was, however, a fierce feeling of pride inside Alan's heart when he gazed at the figure. Pride and protectiveness and affection, and when Alan woke up, he was - for the first time since the dreams started - a little uneasy about this one.

He spent half a day staring at his terminal's screen, wondering if he had the beginnings of a God complex or if it was simply that his and Lora's evening entertainment for the past few days - watching every Frankenstein movie ever made - was finally taking its toll on his clearly fragile psyche.

He woke up from his stupor around lunchtime when Roy walking past his cubicle, asked him if he was all right.

"Yeah, fine," Alan replied with a wan smile.

"Oh, good." Roy's face brightened, though it clouded over almost immediately after. "Did you lose access to your programs as well? I think Ram's gone for good." He sighed mournfully. "I swear this stupid MCP is keeping it from me, hiding my program in one of the memory banks like some damned prisoner in a holding cell."

Alan blinked at Roy's mutinous expression and the imagery his words brought.

"No, I can access Tron just fine."

"Oh. Right." Roy smiled a bit awkwardly. "Say, aren't you going to lunch? I have a question about Fortran and I hear you're the expert."

Alan snorted. "Yeah, right."

He grabbed his jacket, though, and headed down to the cafeteria with Roy. He decided his existential crisis would have to wait. He had a job to do now and a program to finish.

About a week later Alan's existential crisis was indeed gone - forgotten in the face of work, work and more work. And Alan's complete bewilderment at the turn his dreams were taking. And it had to be some kind of record now and he was probably a freak of nature or an interesting study case for Freudian psychoanalysts because his dreams never strayed from their subject matter in the slightest and he still dreamt about that same man lying quiet and still and never waking up.

There was also warmth in those dreams. Warmth and contentment and certainty leaving no room for doubt that he loved and was loved in return. And Alan would be the first to say it was perfectly natural - after all he and Lora had a steady loving relationship and Alan couldn't be happier - except he knew, he bloody well knew, the feelings from his dreams were not focussed on Lora at all.

Every night he traced the, by now familiar, body with his hands and everywhere his fingers touched, glowing lines appeared. First torso and arms; Alan took care drawing, with the tip of his finger, a perfect circle in the middle of the man chest. Then his fingers moved over the broad shoulders, down the lightly muscled arms to the hands (which were quite like his own, Alan noted absent-mindedly). Each of Alan's own fingertips left a glowing blue line pulsing with energy in its wake.

Alan grinned. The design looked fantastic.

Throughout those weeks Alan existed almost entirely in his head. His days were filled with working on Tron and his nights filled with working on his mysterious creation. Alan had the feeling he knew who it was - especially because each night the features of the man's face became more defined and more familiar. For the time being, though, Alan still couldn't quite pinpoint where the familiarity was coming from.

And it hadn't clicked until one night after the day Alan deemed Tron ready for testing.

* * *

He sighed with satisfaction as he sat back and watched the program successfully compile. He felt like celebrating, but Lora was out of town on a business trip for Encom. Alan remembered her talking excitedly about new sort of lenses for the laser and how Dillinger gave the green light for the department to buy them.

"I think it'll be a real breakthrough," she'd said then. "We could use the scanned UV beam instead of single-pulse exposure then."

So yeah, Lora wouldn't come back until tomorrow, so Alan just shrugged and decided to celebrate by going home early and having a glass of really good wine with his dinner. Lora would probably tease him about his 'old-man habits', but that was the extent of Alan's celebratory partying. Nothing drastic.

And when he fell asleep that night - by now used to his dreams and perhaps looking forward just a tiny bit to the emotional high they brought - he didn't expect anything drastic to happen either.

Boy, was he wrong.

The dream started as per usual. There was this dark space - the floor giving off a faint blue-grey glow - there was Alan and then there was the figure he so painstakingly worked on, lying on the floor. Alan felt the same as always: overjoyed at the sight, proud and protective and very much... in love.

He knelt by the still figure, looking his fill at the precise architecture he created. The glowing lines covered the whole of the man's body now, the patterns on his back making Alan especially proud - he'd slaved over them for three nights but it was worth it.

The only place not covered by the lines was the inside of the circle on the man's chest. Alan remembered he'd left it like that, but had been unsure why. Now, though, he knew just what he had to do.

He moved closer and with purpose clear in his mind, he straddled the lying figure. He kept his weight on his hands and knees and then - slowly, gently and with utmost affection - lowered his head and placed four kisses in the inside of the circle. A tiny glowing square appeared where his lips touched and Alan smiled, moving his eyes from the newly created lights to the figure's face.

Oh yes, it was very familiar and why hadn't he seen it before?

He stretched up a little and lowering his head again, murmured against the figure's lips "Wake up, Tron". And then he kissed him.

The next second the press of Alan's lips was answered; the mouth beneath his parted, Alan's breath flowing into Tron as the tip of Alan's tongue shyly licked the inside of the program's lower lip.

The caress was tentatively returned, their tongues venturing into each other's mouths and the kisses growing heated before they gentled again to affectionate nuzzling.

When Alan opened his eyes (and when did he close them anyway?) he was met with his mirror image smiling at him in a daze.

"Greetings, Alan_1."

Alan inhaled a great lungful of air and woke up.

He gaped in disbelief into the darkness of the bedroom. Had he just dreamt about putting the moves on his own program? Program, for God's sake?! Who looked just like him?

So not only did he have some weird techno-fetish, he apparently also had a narcissistic streak a mile wide or - and he didn't know what was worse - a twins-fetish. What the hell was wrong with him? Was that how insanity started? But since when insanity made you change your sexual orientation? He might have ignored his strange affection (well, maybe not so strange now), but there had to be something seriously wrong with him if he got off on shoving his tongue into his practically-twin's mouth!

Alan rolled over and groaned into his pillow. What did he ever do to deserve this? The only saving grace was that Lora was away and Alan could have his nervous breakdown unwitnessed and undisturbed.

And - just to make his mortification complete - he was still aroused from the dream.

Alan moaned pitifully, moving his hips a little, rubbing himself against the mattress. This was not happening. This was not happening.

He rolled over onto his back again and took a deep breath. He was not going to jerk off to the thoughts of his twin. Program. Whatever, damn it.

His face set in a scowl, Alan got up, marched into the bathroom, took off his pyjamas and got under the shower. He turned the cold water on full blast and stood there with grim determination, gulping air and shivering until his unruly body forgot about any sort of arousal.

The shower also cleared his thoughts a bit and as Alan crawled back into bed and - teeth still chattering - wrapped himself in a cocoon of blankets, he decided he might have overreacted a bit. After all it was only a dream. Yes, a bizarre dream and he'd been dreaming the build-up to this point for the past month at least, but it was still a dream. He didn't have to put any stock in it if he didn't want to. And he didn't. So that was that.

The comfort was feeble, but Alan would take what he could.

* * *

The next day at work Alan was almost afraid to switch on his terminal. When nothing terrible happened, like Tron suddenly leaping from the monitor or declaring 'I know what you did last night', Alan allowed himself to relax. Yes, now he was definitely overreacting.

He breathed out a self-deprecating laugh, thinking that perhaps after having Tron's code constantly on his mind all those weeks and then staring at this code equally long as he typed, it wasn't that strange he was dreaming about it too. Sure, the dreams took a wildly unexpected turn, but maybe it only meant that Alan had his middle-age crisis a bit earlier than was usual. Or he was turning into a kinky old pervert.

Those things were probably related.

Alan felt his face heat up in quiet embarrassment at the memory of his... perversion. He gritted his teeth, determined not to allow the images to distract him and focussed on typing. There were things to be done, tests to be designed, and Alan would not allow himself to be scared by a pair of soft lips and glowing circuitry.

He paused momentarily, realising that those lines were indeed that; they even looked like the circuits on a computer's motherboard. He really had been dense, but in his defence, he couldn't exactly control his thoughts when he was asleep.

And hopefully, the dreams would stop now. Tron was 'awake' (and Alan's mind skipped neatly over the particulars of the program's 'awakening') so there was no more reason for them to continue really. Right?

Right. No more dreams because Alan couldn't afford any distractions now anyway. Good.

It looked like Alan's mental gymnastics and sheer force of will worked because for a couple of next days everything - including Alan's dreams or lack thereof - was pretty much back to normal. Lora came back from the trip and they celebrated her return with a quiet evening at home and slow thorough love-making (Alan was greatly relieved that apparently his desire and love for Lora remained unchanged despite the onset of his odd cravings).

And then, just when Alan thought everything was back to how it used to be, the dreams returned. So much for trying to make a deal with his brain.

This first one had Alan lovingly - there was no other word for it - stroking more glowing circuits into Tron's skin, while erasing some others. The pattern on Tron's neck and collarbones changed completely and only later - when Alan thought about it the next day - had he realised that the day before the dream he made a major change in one of the sections in Tron's code.

So that was how it was going to be. Alan sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose under his glasses and waiting for Tron to finish recompiling again. He was apparently doomed to erotic dreams about the program every time he rewrote said program. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

With the way he completely changed a subset of commands today, the dreams tonight were sure to get positively indecent. Whoever knew he possessed such an inventive subconsciousness. Alan certainly didn't.

He wondered why such a thing hadn't happened earlier. He'd written tons of programs, why hadn't he dreamt about any of them?

He cast his mind back, but couldn't remember a madness similar to the one he was enduring now. Well, there was one weird dream, back when he was at uni. He'd spent three months slaving over a program for his thesis, working on it days and nights - or so it seemed to him at the time - and one night after he fell asleep at the terminal in the computer lab, he dreamt of a figure standing on a small circular platform, a light shining down on it and making the figure squint as it looked up. The man - Alan was pretty sure it was a man - was dressed in an odd tight-fitting suit with a few glowing lines on it and seemed to be waiting for something, still staring up into the light. Finally, he sat down on the platform, frowning fiercely and muttering 'Bradley_Alan, just where have you gone?'

Alan stared unseeing at the monitor before him. At the time he'd thought nothing of the dream, only chuckling to himself after waking up. But now...

Was that figure a program he'd been working on back then? That seemed... bizarrely possible.

Alan blinked, finally focussing on the monitor: Tron finished compiling, thankfully without any errors. There was a new batch of tests to run on the program, but that could wait till tomorrow.

Alan shut down the terminal and gathered his jacket and car keys, his mind still on the dreams. Maybe other programmers had them too, he wondered, chewing his lip. Maybe they just never spoke about it, but maybe Alan wasn't alone in this?

Well, Alan doubted anyone would ever mention such a thing if the others' dreams were anything like his own. He snorted at the thought, but suddenly the picture of Lora and her program popped into his head. His step faltered for a second and Alan exhaled a breath that caught up in his throat.

He shook his head. What the hell was he thinking of? Clearly his perverted nighttime imaginings were infecting his waking hours and he needed to get a firm hold on the situation, grip it at the root and choke without mercy. So to speak.

He cleared his throat at the decidedly dubious metaphors his mind came up with. His ears were no doubt turning red already.

Alan sighed with resignation as he got into his car. There seemed to be no other way than to just wait and ride out this madness.

* * *

He wasn't wrong in his earlier prediction as to the 'indecency' of his dream. This night saw him entwined with Tron, hands eagerly mapping the program's body while Tron returned the touches just as eagerly. The warmth of Tron's circuits was a blissful sensation against Alan's bare skin and when he looked into Tron's eyes, he beheld a look of such adoration it nearly took his breath away. His heart open, his body cradling Tron, there was no doubt in Alan's mind that he was loved beyond all reason and in turn he loved, loved so much he thought he might explode with the feeling.

And then he did, they did, turning into a supernova, becoming one with each other, light pouring out of them in all directions, flooding the world with love love...

Alan woke up with a quiet gasp and tears sliding from the corners of his eyes to soak into his pillow.

Thankfully Lora was still asleep.

* * *

The next day the process of testing, rewriting, re-testing and more rewriting began for good. Alan was determined to make Tron as perfect as he only knew how and a couple of weeks later (the dreams getting bolder, fingers reaching secret delightful places, mouths kissing, Alan's tongue tasting pure energy running through Tron's circuits while Tron in turn learned the taste of Alan's skin) Alan was pretty sure Tron was ready to be let loose to do what the program was designed to do.

He typed in a few additional commands and watched as the output appeared on the screen. Not bad, not bad. For a non-AI, Tron was an amazingly advanced program, even if Alan did say so himself. He knew full well that true AI was not possible yet, but that didn't stop him from writing into Tron a few curious loops and logical processes. He even left that one part he wasn't entirely certain about - a product of a late-night session at his terminal and being so tired he half-dreamt half-remembered at least a few of Asimov's stories. Or maybe they were Lem's.

He must've dozed a bit then because when his bout of drowsiness passed and he took a good look at what he'd typed, he was faced with a perfect learning sub-routine containing a section the purpose of which was a complete mystery to him.

Well, since the compilation didn't report any errors, Alan left that odd section be. It didn't look dangerous and wasn't slowing the program down, so why the hell not.

Alan's fingers hovered over the keyboard when the telephone on his desk rang.

"Bradley speaking," Alan said absent-mindedly, still staring at the screen.

"Hey there, Mr Bradley."

"Lora." Alan smiled and tucked the receiver between his ear and his shoulder. "To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?"

"Oh, aren't you a charmer, Alan," Lora said with laughter in her voice.

"Does it work?" Alan typed another command, his mind half on the conversation and half on Tron.

"You bet." Lora laughed. "Anyway, it looks like I'll finish earlier today, so I thought we could go out to dinner somewhere?"

Alan hit the Return key and immediately typed another line. "Are you saying you are fed up with take-out dinners on our couch?"

Lora heaved a dramatic sigh. "You see right through me. So? You're gonna be done with work at six?"

"I'll come and fetch you from the laser bay at five, how about that?" Alan finally took his eyes off the screen.

"Mr Bradley, you are a treasure. See you at five, then. Love you, bye."

"Love you too." Alan put down the receiver, glancing back at the monitor.

He almost laughed out loud. He'd been distracted enough to type what he was saying and there it was: 'love you' and a blinking cursor at the end.

Alan shivered slightly as an image from one of his dreams flashed through his mind - gentle lips and an uneven breath at his ear - and he went to delete the line, but before his middle finger reached the Backspace button, his thumb accidentally hit Return.


Alan sighed. Now he'd have to wait until Tron parsed the command, decided he didn't understand it and return with an error message. That could take a little while.

He sat back and grabbed a handful of popcorn from the bowl on the shelf behind him.

After a minute passed, Alan frowned. Nothing ever took that long for Tron to process.

After another minute, Alan was starting to get seriously worried. The output line remained stubbornly empty and even the cursor disappeared. This did not look good.

Just as the three-minute mark passed and Alan was contemplating a more drastic action, namely a reboot, the program finally came back to life.

"Apologies, Alan_1"

Alan exhaled in relief. That was a phrase that usually preceded the message that Tron was unable to either recognise a command (though this happened less and less often) or find the resource he was asked for (and that happened a bit more often that Alan was comfortable with - as if the MCP was regularly locking down access to whole directories).

Alan smiled, amused that Tron had somehow acquired enough sophistication to apologise for being unable to deliver the desired output. What followed, however, wiped the smile from Alan's face in an instant.

"I did not fully understand the concept, but after accessing Encom's knowledge library and language files, I think I understand."

Alan gaped. 'Concept'? 'Think'? 'Understand' ?! Since when Tron used this kind of vocabulary? Since when the program was able to think?

"I love you too, Alan_1."

Alan's heart thudded painfully in his chest and a hot flush raced in a wave over his body. He could almost feel Tron's phantom fingers glide down his spine, press at the end of it, just above...

Alan shuddered and took a deep breath when another line appeared on the screen:

"Tell me what you need, Alan_1."

Alan's breath caught again. It couldn't be...

He shook his head and exhaled unsteadily. He had to keep a clear head. And of course it couldn't be.

He noticed his hands were shaking as he put them on the keyboard, but he typed the words with his usual swiftness and surety. So what if his heart raced and he had goosebumps from the half-remembered touch.

"I have a mission for you. It's object: Master Control Program. I have every faith you will succeed. You will receive further instructions tomorrow."

"Thank you, Alan_1. It will be my pleasure. I will not fail you."

Alan touched the screen, the word 'pleasure' so foreign in this context, so unexpected in daylight and so sweetly seductive. He suddenly wanted to be closer, to bury his fingers in Tron's hair and...

Alan jerked his hand back. There was no escape from the truth - he really was insane.