cyus: (Merlin)
[personal profile] cyus
Title: Proxy
Characters/Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Rating: PG
Length: 1900 words
Summary: Merlin performs the final systems check for Day Zero. With the culmination of the revolution only a few hours away, Arthur is ready.
Notes: Originally written for [livejournal.com profile] kinkme_merlin here. Beta'd by [livejournal.com profile] misswinterhill.

The leaves were turning. Winter would be knocking on his door soon, bringing the cold and snow for the next few months to come. The money for insulation of his shack had gone into the silicon chips and titanium drives. He had the gleaming technology of the new age, and the wind to keep him company as he gloved up and hacked his little soul out in the dead of the night.

"I'll be frying your arse," Merlin muttered to himself as he typed the string of code, switched windows, and typed In into the chat box field. Gwaine gave him a virtual thumbs up. Leon added code in real time as Merlin was watching. The others were logging in one by one, cracking their way through the final walls before the big fat Zero of tomorrow.

Merlin hadn't seen sleep in days, and his world existed in patterns of code.

Starting the countdown, popped up on the screen, Lancelot calling them to arms.

Merlin cursed as his typing got frantic and he pulled the experimental strings into the right window. They looked like they should work and this was the moment that instinct better be paying off big style.

Last phase, Merlin typed, then switched windows again, moving in and in and in until the final wall cracked and Camelot's megacorp symbol turned a slow circle on his screen.

Switch servers in 3, in 6, in 9, in 12, Leon wrote, and Merlin waited for his mark and switched on the nine. The logo was still turning, jump successful for all of them.

Breaking it in 10, Lancelot typed.

Merlin's heart beat in his throat, fingers clammy, and it was the wrong moment to wish for warm tea or a nice bottle of champs.

Merlin watched the small clock tick down in the corner of his screen. And five and four and three and two and one. Knights Of The Roundtable imprinted itself on every page of the mega corp slash secret service sites, the gleaming sword crossing the dragon, the stylized late twentieth century graffiti tag signing it underneath.

Corruption successful, Merlin typed then punched the air and did the world's smallest victory dance amidst plastic casing, cables and titanium drives. They were better, faster and more powerful than the mega corps and they were bringing it, sealing down the closed market bullshittery with vigilante effort.

Good work, Leon wrote. Weaving magic again, Merlin.

"Tsk a dum-yah, owning the burnt ground with a hammer, making love to techtrick banners, freezing up, digging out, shizzling the drizzle until you're fucked out," Merlin rapped in low monotone under his breath as he settled back on his chair, head nodding in time to the beat as he cleaned up, switched servers twice more and copied codes between windows. "Mark the zero, mark the spot, X owns your shit when your shit's corrupt. Day Zero's dawn, we'll ride in form, Knights to the Table, laying our lives down. Swearing fealty, promising trust, Knights to the Table, our heads bowed to this."

Signing off, he typed, excitement making his fingers shake. Countdown's on. He wiped the drive of everything and only then felt the draft again that dragged in the cold under the door.

A message popped up on the second computer still connected through a few base ports. Twenty-four hours, it said, sent by an IP.

Merlin's fingers stroked over the keyboard in a flutter, but he went with Y and shut down Leon's worries with the same surety he did his network for the next few hours, going blind against retaliation from the corp.

Merlin swivelled with the chair. "Day Zero's dawn, we'll ride in form," Merlin began to whisper in rhythmic beat. "Knights to the Table, laying our lives down. Swearing fealty, promising trust, Knights to the Table, our heads bowed to this."

He stopped the movement of the chair with a drag of his trainers across the floor.

A last glance at the computers, then he stood and crossed the room slowly. He knelt to the metal lump and clicked a few switches, connected a few last safety cables and leaned across to drag his work box closer. He plugged his laptop into the closed-circuit with a few cables and powered everything up. The cold seeped into his knees as he typed on the keyboard, entering the first codes.

"Merlin," sounded from the speaker of both Merlin's laptop and the metal lump.

Merlin looked across, then immediately averted his eyes. "Sire," he said, feeling the smile play across his face as he nodded, then turned back to the laptop. "Don't worry about..." Merlin gestured vaguely to the connections between laptop and lump. "It's-"

"You're plugged into my crotch, Merlin," the speakers thundered.

"Convenient access?" Merlin quipped and turned the laptop speakers off as he continued to type. He scooted backwards until he leaned against the wall, arse pressed to the bare cement, laptop on his knees.

"I fail to see the humour."

Merlin glanced up again, and Lumpy, as Merlin had nicknamed him -- even though he went by King Arthur because they were all hopeless romantics leading a modern day revolution --, sat up too, creaking a bit in the metal joints.

"You would," Merlin said with a wry smile and a catch in his throat that existed entirely as an extension of the pathetic romantic notions. "Feeling good?"

"Feeling, distinctly, little," Arthur replied as he stood, anthropomorphized to the max, cables trailing from his crotch (without any of the really cool mods) to Merlin's laptop. "You changed this," he pointed a thumb at his breastplate. The sword crossing the dragon and their tag stood in stark gold on red on Arthur's chest.

Merlin modified the last specs in the software, the last few fixes where troubleshooting had thrown up leaks and bleeds that shouldn't be there, but in effect he was busying himself with something just to keep his fingers working and his mind turned off.

"We did it today," he said to Arthur, to make conversation with a few metal plates and harddrives that pretended at intelligence. "We're... there," he said, as he looked up Arthur's length standing in front of him. "Tomorrow you'll be crowned ruler of Albion."

"No database entry for...," Arthur began until Merlin rolled his eyes. Arthur sucked balls at intelligence but he did fine with humour occasionally.

"We'll make them all bow to you," Merlin continued. He opened a new window and pulled up the apps, made Arthur blink and made Arthur purse his lips for a kiss, and ran the routines. Merlin watched Arthur as he typed the commands, then ceased, fingers stilling on the keyboard.

He reached out and traced his fingers over Arthur's foot, following the crudely cut metal plating to his ankle and knee, then rubbed his thumb around the cables plugged into his crotch plate. They'd all had need of the dirty jokes when constructing Lumpity Lump.

"I hope they'll like you," Merlin said as if it mattered.

"I am Change," Arthur said, as if cued, speaking with his tongue half extended until Merlin ended that routine with a laugh, unnoticed by the big lump of a little stupid.

The world outside had fallen silent. Curfew had been called hours ago and no one would be out until hours from then. Only the sizzle of electricity above Merlin's shack crackled into the dead silence of little life.

Arthur stood tall. "I'll serve those who choose to stand with me, for a new dawn and the beginning of better times," he said into the silence.

"Swearing fealty, promising trust, Knights to the Table, our heads bowed to this," Merlin murmured and bowed his head, choking on his stupid corrosive tears when Arthur's hand carded through his hair, sharp edges scratching at his scalp.

Camelot Corp had no Plan B, no alternative to making way when they'd march into the city come morning and take over HQ, culminating years into that.

"Sit?" Merlin said with scratchy throat as he scooted to the side and Arthur navigated the mess of cables and plunked himself against the wall next to Merlin with a screech of metal. "You just fucking scratched your paintjob," Merlin said as he bent Arthur forward to check his arse, then let him settle back. "Wanker."

Arthur ignored him and leaned forward to touch his toes, running through the independent protocols that Merlin only received feedback for but didn't control. Arthur's fingers played around the plugs on his crotch, making to pull, until Merlin's hand settled over his, stilling him.

The protocol ran, signaling upper harddrive activity for Arthur, named "Brain" for convenience, but he didn't move, only stared at Merlin's fingers with high-def camera lenses.

"We took them down tonight," Merlin said again, forcing his voice to sound a little less unsure and wondering but he gave up when it only choked out strangely. "Breathed the fire of destruction."

"To the K, the I, the L and GHARRAH, sliding your systems into the low bar, swords sheathed we stand, swords out we fight, destruction for peace, represent: the Knights," Arthur intoned in an attempt at rhythmic.

Merlin laughed, then dropped his head back to the wall and slowly slid closer to Arthur until he felt Arthur's shoulder under his cheek, cool and calm against his overheated skin.

"Should it feel like something more?" Merlin asked into the silence and the steady scroll of brain activity on the laptop on his knees. "It's triumph, we'll take it all back. Everything they've..." he trailed off, then turned his face to Arthur's shoulder, pressing a kiss to unfeeling metal. "You'll do good," he said.

"I am King Arthur," Arthur replied, turning all arguments to dust, and Merlin granted him the chuckle. "I am yours," Arthur continued, working on protocol, but it made Merlin's chest tight anyway.

Lumpy wasn't Arthur, and he was only a hack not some sorcerer from the legends, but Merlin pushed closer to the bits of metal he half controlled, half didn't and which said stupid shit most-

"I want a feast!"

-of the time. He didn't want to look outside to see how far they'd come to the big Zero and he didn't want to get up to check the message informing him of the countdown's progress.

"It's the final checks, you know," Merlin said. "Then I'll, well,..." he looked at Arthur and traced his fingers over the breastplate and the hard features of his face. "Then I'll bow to you like the rest of them. You better not fuck up and malfunction mid-ceremony. I'd never live it down."

Arthur said nothing, only fixed Merlin with bright blue lenses, and then he pursed his lips, and Merlin laughed and gave him that kiss, tasting metal and little else.

"Idiot," Arthur said.

Merlin smiled. The insults register had been one of his own ideas. They'd come in handy when ruling big style.

Merlin pushed the laptop off his knees and straddled Arthur's hips, crushing plugs underneath his weight. "I- you have everything I-" Merlin started and gestured to his computers and the hardware and the sheer amount of code steadily trickling across the screens. "I hope it's enough, I've got nothing else," Merlin said, shrugging, hands on Arthur's hips. "It's on you, now," he whispered.

He stole another kiss, and this time, he thought there was love somewhere among the metallic taste. There they were again with the pathetic romantic notions.

"I am King Arthur, I am yours," Arthur said into the first moments of dawn, and it filled Merlin's chest to bursting with pride.
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