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2017-07-21 Sunbathing

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Sunbathing
Date 2017/07/21
Location Lost Light
Participants Rodimus, Ultra Magnus
Plot Topsy Turvy
Summary Rodimus and Ultra Magnus talk a lil about some stuff. And sunbathe.

Minimus Ambus is not accustomed to a frame that can coil, but this one is essentially designed for it. He is reviewing reports, studying the assessments of personnel, but he is doing so with his wyvern's body curled around the heating element of the computer terminal sunken into the side of the desk, his fuel lines tucked up against the vent. There is no window for sunbathing, but there is heat that he can soak, and there he is, a fluffy green dragon creature more or less using datapads, light pens and office detritus as his personal hoard. Occasionally, he rumbles. He isn't taking notes, because he is not really configured for it, but apparently he has chosen to sacrifice some efficiency for another.

"Hey, Mmmm--" Rodimus breaks in a flat hum. "What are you doing." His tone is the kind of flat that could suggest incredulity, but everything he says is flat, and anyway, the curve of his lips is broad, breaking in a grin.

Minimus lifts his metallic, reptilian head in a kind of sleepy-eyed glower in Rodimus's direction. He says, "Reading." He shifts, sliding against the desk in a serpentine wriggle of Whetstone's frame, and whuffs a little puff of smoke past his nose. It drifts in Rodimus's direction. It is not awesome enough to be a smoke ring, just kind of globrous dark smoke before he begins to slowly, slowly slither away from the heating element. He rumbles, "Whetstone advised about what to do if the fuel lines got cold." He sounds a little disgruntled, but that is not unusual for him.

"You're cold? Seriously? Come--" Rodimus breaks off, remembering awfully suddenly that he can't do anything to warm Minimus, which is ridiculous, since the only reason he needs offer is that Minimus was swapped in the first place. "--on, we'll go outside or something. The hull gets pretty warm up top where it bakes in the sun all day and it's still warm now."

Minimus slithers the rest of the way free of the desk, and reverts to Whetstone's root mode. His gaze flickers a little skeptically over Soundwave's frame. "Whetstone's frame enjoys high temperatures," he says. Absently he begins stacking the datapads and light pens and various other detritus into a much more orderly set of positions around the surface of his desk. "We spoke. I was not able to offer him much useful information about being Minimus Ambus. It occurs to me that it has been a very long time since I spent any significant time or effort on /being/ Minimus Ambus. Not as little as Dominus, perhaps, but." He fails to explain, shrugging his shoulders as he steps away from the desk, though the fleeting glimpse of the thought Rodimus has access to could be an awkward, staggering secret, if only he spent the time dwelling on it. "You want to go outside?"

That non-secret tweaks Rodimus's attention far more than a clear thought, and he has to forcibly reroute himself and say, "Sure. Why not. I haven't spent much time up there, but people used to go out and look at the stars all the time. Chromedome and Rewind practically wore the shape of their frames into the hull. Come on." His hand twitches in an aborted offer as he turns to indicate the door.

Minimus tromps willingly enough towards the door, though he does wonder internally if Rodimus actually really wants to soak in the sun outside or if he is maybe stalling on /something/ for some reason. "I suspect the clouded over nebula is less of a lure for the romantically minded," he says. As if he -- poetry collection and all -- could be excluded from the category.

"I dunno. Some people like it." It's not far from the bridge to a hatch that will take them to a ladder along the side of the ship and up to the top, where the metal -- scorched dark in patches -- soaks up every last drop of clouded light to radiate a persistent heat. Looking very pleased with himself, Rodimus toes the edge of one of the warm patches. "Yeah?"

Having reached the patch of promised heat, Minimus Ambus also toes at it, consideringly. He hesitates for a moment awkwardly on the verge of the heat, and then the shift of his shoulders becomes the whole-body shrug of a transformation. The mechawyvern stretch sliiiides out across the blaze of heat and releases a low hiss of a noise, a pleased sound that rumbles basally from the depths of the frame. His tail curls inward toward his haunches, and he turns his head on the angle of his curving neck to flick a pleased look at Rodimus. Relaxation is not a strong suit of his. It appears that he may be attempting to make the effort. Is it any surprise that Minimus would be kinder to another body than his own, though. "Yes," he says.

"Yeah." Rodimus lies down next to Minimus, clumsy as he settles next to him, to stretch on his back and consider the sky. He is then silent for longer than he has perhaps ever been silent in his life.

Even though these are not the correct bodies to be intimate in, Minimus still inches closer, sliding his head slowly, sloooooooowly over to the brick shoulder, and then resting his draconic chin very gently against it. With the touch comes the flood of thought, inevitably, but it is a warm thing: affectionate, sleepy warmth, mellowed and slowed by the pleasant heat, by the stolen moment, companionable and quiet. It may be that silence, for Rodimus, is a sign of trouble, but Minimus accepts it -- at least for the moment -- as a gift, and willingly shares its worth.

The silence that holds Rodimus loses its chill as he draws warmth from the touch of Minimus's head on his shoulder. He turns his head, pressing his helm against the head that rests there, and allows his vents to loosen so that a sigh escapes with the ventilation of his systems, shedding excess heat. "I can't decide if I like it better when it's so noisy I lose it all in the blur or when it's quiet like this but -- manageable." He breaks the silence, eventually. Inevitably.

Smoke curls loosely from the mechawyvern's snout as Minimus huffs. "I would prefer the quiet." He sounds amused. His body sinks low against the metal, flattening himself against the surface of the ship. "Not a gift I envy. You know, they cleaved open the armor because Whetstone couldn't move it at all."

"Yeah, you would." Rodimus reaches over to poke at the curl of smoke as it rises into the air and dissipates, but he resists the urge to tousle Whetstone's head where it lies on his shoulder, Minimus or not. His knuckles brush briefly across his head and then fall. "That's pretty rude. I bet Soundwave and Quicksight enjoyed that uncomfortable amount."

"Mmm," rumbles Minimus. He is more relaxed now, sinking into the heat and resting his head on Rodimus, glance angled slightly away, than he has been since-- well, probably since the swap. He tilts the muzzle in a stroking slide against Rodimus's cheek as he returns his focus to him. "Perhaps. Soundwave and I ... are not as at odds as we were. Quicksight is difficult to manage."

Slight as it is, Rodimus tenses beneath Minimus. If he weren't so immediately on top of him, it would be easy to miss. He certainly puts effort into dampening it. "Yeah. I thought that me and Soundwave were okay too, but--." He shakes his head, then reaches to brush the bridge of Minimus's nose. He changes subjects: "He wants to have a service for the cassette evil-me killed. You want to look over the thing I put together and make sure I didn't horribly mess up or a miss a 'Prime' or 'Matrix' when I cut it up?"

"Of course I will," Minimus says, but he is not so easily deflected. The wyvern head lifts, the head canting to one side. With the withdrawal, the connection between them is slightly muted, but Rodimus need not be a telepath to guess at that look, even on less familiar features. "Rodimus?" he asks. It is concern that pulls behind his gaze first, though. "What is it?"

Eyes closing behind his visor, Rodimus twists his lips in a rueful expression, then pauses to access the file he wants and send it over to Minimus's address. He must be working on it a lot to be storing it internally rather than on an external datapad. "Just me being stupid, then being stupid about being stupid. Nothing new. I was, uh, looking through Soundwave's files. For Frumble," he adds, too hasty. "And I stuck my nose where I shouldn't -- which was probably all of it in the first place -- and basically deserved what I found." Nothing nice, then. "So what do you think of the outline?"

Minimus seems startled to so immediately have the file to look over. He turns his head, and says, "I see," with a gloomy cast to the words. He wishes very hard that he could offer physical comfort, lacking as he has always been in the verbal kind. "You should really work on that," he says, with almost, almost a shade of humor in his low voice. Then he begins to review the file, flattened against the surface of the ship. He says, "Privacy is important."

"I know. It was dumb. But -- I didn't want to ask him about Frumble. It's already bad enough that I -- did that." Rodimus presses his hand to the dock in his chest. "Anyway, I stopped -- pretty soon." From the sounds of it, eventually might be more accurate, but there's a rawness in the twist of his expression before he smothers it. His voice is quieter, but still flat, as he says, "You know they're monsters, right?"

"I would not object to that categorization," Minimus says, looking up at him, distraction lifting from his careful ordering of Rodimus's eulogy. (He's probably just like ... looking for places to tweak the grammar. He's very predictable.) He shifts, then; and then he is no longer a coiled wyvern, but a seated root mode, Whetstone's legs folding beneath him even as he continues to soak up the heat. "My own encounter with them was one of very casual cruelty, and what has happened ... since... well."

"Did you see anything in them, anything you recognized?" asks Rodimus very, very quietly.

Boy does it take Minimus a long time to answer that. It's pointless. The answer is obviously yes by its very delay. He dwells on the casual cruelty of his other self as a distinction, but-- /but/. Finally he says, "Perhaps I did always aspire to punch myself in the face."

Rodimus pushes Minimus, giving him a shove that's a little over-harsh, then turning -- trying to turn -- onto his side to roll over and face him. It's a little too awkward. He sits up then, matching him seat for seat. "I mean it."

Minimus doesn't say that so does he. Shifting, he scoots closer, so that Whetstone's knees almost touch Soundwave's. Weird. He says, "Yes, I saw myself. Parts of myself. Parts of myself I don't like much." He rests his hand, palm up, across his lap, turned towards Rodimus's. It's an offer, but an unpressing one.

Rodimus is slow to take Minimus's hand: slow in a way that's explained by their bodies, that's explained by the subject. That's explained a lot of ways. But he takes it, although he keeps his touch light, clasped cross-palm rather than lacing their fingers. "His mind felt ... familiar. More comfortable a fit than this body. Halls I knew, rather than something strange. But not quite right, either."

Minimus takes his cue from Rodimus. His gaze he drops, focused upon the cross of their palms. His voice quiet, he says, "That Minimus ... was armored for war. Built to deliver punishment. But he was effective. He and his Rodimus were effective together. A team. I recognized that. It ... resonates."

Rodimus twitches, armor tight against his frame. "Minimus commed him. Checking in. Update on the slaughter. I've watched meteors burn bright enough to blind and still not be as bright as the fire that his voice pulled out of me."

Minimus blinks. It is an evocative image. The poet in him is cut to the quick. He watches Rodimus uncertainly. He says, "Oh?"

Rodimus shakes his head, pressing Minimus's hand hard, even on the edge of desperate, like he can draw a spark with pressure.

Minimus scoots closer, shifting up onto his knees. He rests Whetstone's other hand across Rodimus's now so that he holds it in both of his, looking intently into his face with a full weight behind his gaze. The metaphor does not elude him, but his mind is working on other metaphors. Gravitational pull. No. Tides. The depths and breadths of something oceanic and inevitable. No, perhaps fire /is/ right, but not the searing fire of a meteor, something quieter, sweeter, warmer-- "Why is this bothering you?" he asks finally, a failure of understanding or of empathy that he deeply regrets. Why can't he be better at feelings? "I admit. I am a little intimidated that our worst selves find each other so compelling, but I cannot say that it is-- a tremendous ... shock."

Rodimus turns his head from Minimus, maybe glad for once of the visor that further guards his expression. He studies the stretch of the savannah over the horizon. The downward twist of his lips is subtle, but deeply etched. "He beat me a lot of ways, and not just literally--" Haha, just a little torture joke. "--but I didn't think he'd beat me in...." He trails off, a light static warping the monotone not meant for dramatic pauses. Words are hard. He's taking a moment. "I didn't think I'd fail to ... care about you enough."

"Rodimus." It is not often that reproof comes with a gentling of his voice, but this one does. His hands tighten even as his voice softens. Minimus says, "What--? You have /never/ failed me."

At that, Rodimus looks back, Minimus's words ridiculous enough to pull a smile from him: strained, force showing beneath, and entirely failing to brighten his voice, but a smile. "Minimus, I've been a pretty bad influence on you if you're telling lies that big."

"You know what I meant." Minimus gives him a deeply exasperated look. "You've never failed at /caring/. That is the silliest thing I have ever heard you say."

Rodimus rubs his hand over his face, fingers curling over his mouth and jaw. It's a fragile sort of mask. "I heard him. I felt it. Set Minimus up against everything in this universe and the next, he'll pick Minimus, every time. But if it came down to you or the crew for me--."

"/Rodimus/." Now instead of gentling, Minimus grows sharp. He reaches for Rodimus's hand, snags it by the wrist, yanks it away from his face, and stares directly into his visor with all the stolen fierceness of the wyvern glowering in his eyes. "If it came down to me or the crew /you had better pick the crew/."

A sharp noise -- maybe meant to be a laugh -- warps through Soundwave's vocal synthesizer. He clasps Minimus, wrong bodies or not, with one hand lifted to cup his helm and draw it against his own. The reply eases a sliver of tension from his frame. After a beat, his touch gentles, allowing Minimus to move, and he says, "I'd save both, anyway."

"Of course you would," Minimus says dryly. He bonks his head a little harder against the /borrowed/ helm, and then says, "You are my friend, and you are my commander, and you are my-- you know." So many words for this that lack dignity. He struggles for a moment over many of them and Rodimus can of course hear them all and hear him fussing about how nothing fits. Beloved is closest and yet sounds so serious. "Whatever," he says. "But I don't want, in any of those roles, someone who prefers me to the universe. Rodimus, we need the universe."

"I know." Rodimus's smile curves now again, smaller, deeper, and just a little wicked. HE HEARD ALL OF THAT, MINIMUS. "Maybe you're right. I'm pretty fond of this place. You know, reality."

Minimus smiles with Whetstone's mouth. It is a quiet smile. He is pleased with himself for earning Rodimus's, as though Rodimus smiles are hard to come by. Sometimes feelings do not make any sense. "Caring for your crew more than you care for yourself, for what you want, that ... is what makes you the leader that you are," he says. "Whatever of yourself you found in that other ... guy." He reaches up, touches the side of the cheek that is, in fact, Soundwave's cheek with the brush of his fingertips, and says very seriously, "He doesn't have what you have."

The stillness which overtakes Rodimus now is a gentler thing, even soft. The warmth of the ship soaks up through their bodies like a living thing. "I'm glad we came up here." He probably means 'thank you'.

"Yes." Only now, conscious of their borrowed frames, does Minimus shift back a little, letting his hand fall to the heated metal beneath. His gaze drops. "It was a good idea," he says, voice quiet. Then he looks up again, and sounds a little annoyed and baffled as he admits, "I suppose ... I could get out more."

Reaching for Minimus, Rodimus gives him a light push, urging him back, then stretches out next to him again. "Come on, there's some daylight left. Let's stay here until it cools."

Minimus is careful about stretching himself out back into the soaking heat, resting his weight on his elbows, and then transforming again, back into the shifted beastform of the mechawyvern, which can soak up so much more of the glowing heat beneath. Stretched out, he snakes his neck behind Rodimus's stretched out lean, and once again settles in, chin to his shoulder, not entirely unlike a dragon guarding a very different kind of hoard than the one made of datapads he had earlier. Once, a long time ago, he wrote a poem in which Rodimus was the daylight, and coiling in the pleasant warmth amuses him anew for the association. He says, "No one is going to think to find either of us out here."

Rodimus says, "Good."

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