Arctos: Filters – Episode 3 (Parts 3 & 4)

Jay let go of his wrist, but just stared at him as Bruce backed a couple paces away. “There’s something you’re not telling me.”

“I can’t explain it right now, Jay, I just can’t.”

“You sure as fucking hell can–there’s someone else, ain’t there? What, you had to come back and compare, is that it? Am I just some joke to you, something you can dip in and out of whenever you like? I fucking love you, you fucking pig! I never fucking stopped loving you, and I know you love this too, I know you love me, you love what I can give you that no one else can, but don’t fucking stand there and try and sell me some pigshit line like that.”

“Jay, you just have to believe me.”

“Then ya gotta give me somethin’ to believe. Out with it–just fucking say it already.”

He owed him an explanation. He owed him much, much more than that, but at the very least, he owed him the full story. Whether he believed him or not…well, he couldn’t do anything about that, he supposed. “Fine. Fine, I’ll…try and tell you what happened, what I remember. But you have to believe me. I can…show you proof, but later, once I tell you what happened.”

So they sat down on the porch, and over the next half hour or so, Bruce told Jay what had happened since he’d downloaded the filters app on his phone–or at least, as much as he could recall, since after two resets to reality, things were a bit…muddied. He could recall the broad sweeps at least, how unhappy he had been, how being a pig had felt so much…easier, so much simpler, and how he’d wanted someone who understood that…and so, he’d created Jay. In fantasies at first, but then, the night before, he had…done something he couldn’t easily take back.

“Look…you aren’t supposed to exist, and neither should I. I made both of us, kind of, but it’s more complicated than that. I never asked you, and I’m so fucking sorry, it was so fucking twisted of me to do that, and I…I can fix it, I can contact the company, see if there’s something I can do–”

“Just…show me the program. I wanna see how this thing works.”

Bruce pulled up the program, found a basic filter to give himself an earring, used it, but Jay couldn’t see the difference, and just glowed at Bruce in annoyance. Puzzled, the pig poked around in the settings, and say that he could add others capable of seeing the changes–otherwise, everyone other than him never noticed a thing, even if it changed in front of them. He added Jay to the approved list, used the filter again on his other ear, and Jay just looked at him, amazed.

“Fuck–it’s just…there.”

“Fully healed too, like it’s always been there,” Bruce said, and removed both filters, the gold studs disappearing as easily as they had arrived, “and gone just as easily…usually. What I did to us…that’s more permanent. A lot more permanent, but I can fix it, I know I can, I just need some time, and some space, and…and do you understand?” he asked, pleaded almost, with Jay.

The farmer just looked at him, and at the phone in his lap, silent for a moment. “I don’t think there’s anything to fix.”

“Jay, you can’t…we can’t stay like this.”

Jay looked like he wanted to say something, but held back–not something he was used to doing, and then looked up at the sun in the sky. “I’ve wasted too much time on this shit, I have work I have to get done.”

“How the–it doesn’t fucking matter, Jay! None of this is even real.”

“It’s real to me. Besides, I need some time to think, but before you go off and do anything reckless, and make shit even worse, give me your phone, and your keys.”

“What?”

“I’m not going anywhere, and neither are you, not until we figure out what we’re gonna do about this. You can help if you want, with the work, or you can wait in the house. We’ll talk about it after dinner.”

“No, I’m not staying here another moment, I just want to go, I want to be normal again, I don’t want to deal with this shit!”

Jay just chuckled at that, and held out his dirty palm. “Give ‘em up, come on.”

That cocky tone always rubbed Bruce the wrong way, like Jay knew what Bruce was going to do before he’d even made up his mind. “How…do I know you won’t do anything to me with it?”

“Have I ever–ever–done something to you, without you saying yes first? I thought you knew me better than that.”

Jay was right about that…but he felt uneasy anyway, getting stuck out here with Jay…again. Still, he did it, passing him his keys and his phone. After all, he was right, in a way. All Bruce had done so far was make a mess of things–maybe with Jay’s help, maybe if he’d just talked to him about this to begin with, talked to whoever Jay had been, none of this would have happened at all.

“Good–now, you wanna help, or wait here? I’m running behind after that story of yours, and I think you owe me a bit of work, for breakfast.” That last bit was tacked on a bit later, implying that Bruce definitely owed him for more than that, and Bruce was happy to help. The thought of sitting around the house, just thinking about what was going to happen next, made him feel a bit sick. Better to be useful at least.

The work went much faster between the two of them. Bruce had always enjoyed the farm work here, it felt so much more fulfilling than anything he’d had to do back in the city, when he could find someone willing to hire him at all. There weren’t many pigs like him around, and most of them…well, they survived, but thriving was harder. Here, everything had always seemed to come so easily to him–at least, when Jay wasn’t busy trying to force him to try some new, stranger idea of his that had occurred to him. After a couple of hours reminiscing to himself, he realized that none of these things had actually happened–all of these memories were lies. After that, he mostly felt uneasy. They finished on time, thankfully, and headed back to the house where Jay set to work making dinner for them both, and Bruce was left waiting. He tried to broach the topic of his phone and keys more than once, but Jay just told him to wait until after they’d eaten. So they ate–another massive meal, just like breakfast, but while Bruce was happy to stuff himself, there was none of the playful banter from that morning. Jay just ate his own portion, not speaking, obviously still thinking about everything.

When dinner finished, they cleared and cleaned up the kitchen, and then Bruce insisted that they talk–and that Jay give him back his phone and his keys. Jay nodded, and handed them back, before showing Bruce into the parlor, and there, he finally spoke about it.

“What were you going to do, when you left here? What was your bright idea exactly?” Jay asked him.

“I just wanted to fix this. I wanted to try and make us who we were before this, before I went and messed everything up like I did. It wasn’t fair, and it was fucking cruel to do this to someone, to just turn him into someone he…he never had a choice.”

“Yeah, that’s true–he didn’t get a choice. But he’s gone now, and I’m here, and so I get a say in this now, don’t I? And you know what I think? I don’t think there’s anything here to fucking fix. I like my life. I like who I am, and I’m not about to let you get rid of me just because you did something shitty to someone else.”

“That person was you though! I know you don’t remember it, but you’re the same.”

“Nah, we ain’t the same. I don’t know anything about him, I only know about myself. So, you wanna fix something? You can fix yourself, if you want, but you don’t get to change me, not unless I say so.”

Bruce didn’t really know how to reply to that, and so he just sat quietly, thinking about it, about what he did.

“But I do have one demand–not one I can enforce, exactly, but I think you fucking owe me, for all of this shit you did. If you really think we’re the same person, then he should get a chance, right? Well, here’s my wager. I want one day with that program, and you. Tomorrow, here. I get one day, and I get to do whatever the hell I want to do to you, I can show you exactly who you should be. Who you want to be, but are too afraid to face. I get one day, and then you get to decide if you want to stay. Hell, you know what? If you don’t want to stay, I’ll let you try and change me back. I’ll let you talk to that other fellow, see what he wants. You want a normal life? Then fine, you can take it. Cause in all honesty, I don’t…fuck, I love you, you fucking pig, and I…I get fuckin’ lonely around here, and nothing has been as good since you left. So give me one day. One day, and if it isn’t the best day of your life…then I don’t really want to be here anyway, I don’t think. How does that sound to you? We got a deal?”

There it was again, that cocky fucking voice, that little smile. The fucker knew he wouldn’t turn him down, because in all honesty, the thought had already occurred to him, thinking about what Jay might…do to him, if he had the filters, and whether he’d…want it to happen or not. It also would give him a chance to put everything right, or at least, close to right, if…if he decided he didn’t want it, in the end. “Alright, it’s a deal.”

“Then I suppose you need to give me that phone, and those keys, back then, don’t ya?”

Bruce got up, and handed the phone back over to Jay, feeling his heart beat quicker as he did, his cock springing up against the front of his pants, and while he hoped Jay hadn’t seen in, when the farmer brushed his hand against it, he knew he’d been found out.

“For someone so adamant that this isn’t what you want, why are you so hard all of a sudden, piggy?”

His mouth was too dry to answer, and part of him wanted Jay to fuck him right here, do whatever he wanted to with the program to him, just…just make him happy, in the end, but that didn’t happen. Jay opened up the app and started poking around in it, and Jay just sat back down, watching him. “So, what are you going to do with it tomorrow?”

“Still not sure yet. Gotta see what kind of options there are. Why don’t you go up to bed? You’ll see what I have in mind when you wake up in the morning.”

Bruce thought about pressing him, seeing if he would give him an idea of what he had in mind at least, but if he knew Jay…Jay had been thinking about this a whole lot longer that Bruce had, and he already knew exactly what he was going to do to him. Given how Bruce tended to react to Jay’s suggestions, it was probably for the best that he not tell him what he had in mind either. In any case…it was just for one day, right? There wasn’t anything he could do to him, really, that would last longer than that–well, now that he had the phone, he supposed he could…but consent was always something that mattered to Jay. He wanted Bruce to want this. He wanted him to believe that Jay knew best…and yeah, Bruce had always wondered if, maybe, Jay was right. If he was pig first, and man second, and not…the other way around. He tossed and turned in the bed upstairs, alone, but eventually the exhaustion from the farm work earlier got the better of him, and he drifted off. Not too long after that, around midnight, Jay let himself in, phone in hand. He would show Bruce what he needed–he’d show him more than that. He’d show Bruce who he was, really, on the inside, who he needed him to be. He just didn’t know that Jay knew better than he did–but after tomorrow, he’d understand. Bruce would understand perfectly.

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