2018-05-18 Need Anything?

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2018-05-18 Need Anything?
Date 2018/05/18
Location Lost Light - Science and Medical - Science Labs
Participants Bulkhead, Fortress Maximus
Summary Fort Max tries to check in on Bulkhead after all that's happened.

Immediately upon leaving Tempo, after running diagnostics and reporting his findings (hard to do with shaky hands and blurry optics, but he managed), Bulkhead retreated home. Not to his habsuite, but to their - his - lab. He'd locked the door, shut off his comms, and hasn't been heard from since.

He's still presumably in there. The door is certainly still locked, and while comms remain unanswered Bulkhead hasn't been seen. What he's doing is anyone's guess.

As soon as Fortress Maximus got the news about certain fatalities in particular, he gave the troops the best 'thank you' speech he could manage at the time, washed up, holed up in his own, empty, room, and stared at the bed across from him.

Then he messaged Fritz.

Then he thought of someone else who might need a talk. And talking to someone else, who is no doubt going through a lot worse, might (selfishly) help him. At the very least, he has to do something, That room is so empty and cold.

So he stands at the door of the lab, giving it a knock. "Bulkhead?"

As Fritz was still busy with dealing with the logistics of these deaths, there was a good chunk of time before he would be able to join Max. The perfect amount to visit someone else.

For a long moment, there isn't a response to the knock; long enough that one may think Bulkhead isn't in there after all. But eventually his voice comes through the door: "Did you need something, Max?"

"I..." Slag, what did he think he was going to say? What could Fort Max possibly say in the enormity of what just happened? "I was wondering if..." No dramatic speeches. Curb that. Not the time. "If you were..." Of course he's not okay! There's no way he's going to be okay. Stop asking. "If you needed anything," he finally answers, feeling weak. "Even just...energon or something. Just checking in."

In the lab, Bulkhead sets down the data pad he'd been studying and scrubs the heel of a hand over one gently leaking optic. A very large part of him wants to say no. Instead, after another long pause, he calls out, "I could use some energon. If you've got extra. Don't have to go out of your way."

"Ah, of course." Fort Max brought some with him just in case, and pulls a cube out of his subspace. It's been chilled. "Should I just..." The doors are closed still. "Should I just leave it here for you?"

This time the pause isn't as long, and the door slides back as Bulkhead appears in it. "You can come in," he says, stepping aside to allow that. His optics are nearing a pale blue now, and none of the gore he'd worn into the firing has been cleaned off. He clearly hasn't slept. And yet, he asks, "How are you holding up?"

Max tries not to stare at poor Bulkhead, who hasn't even had tiem to clean himself off or recharge. Though it's hard to blame him. "I' well as can be expected," he says quietly as he offers Bulkhead the energon, stepping into the lab. He didn't lose as much as some did, not even close. "Guess after all this time, I'm still not used to..." He trails off. "Bulkhead. What about you?"

"You never really do get used to it," Bulkhead says mildly, nodding in thanks for the energon as he takes the cube and sips it. He'd like to chug it, but he won't, not with Max here.

The question has Bulkhead pausing, slightly turned away from Max. After a moment he echoes, "As well as can be expected," before moving deeper into the lab.

Where in Wheeljack's day it had been messy, and with them both it had been neater yet still cluttered, now it's already beginning to take on the appearance of a disaster zone. Several unfinished projects have been moved to the edges of the room to make way for piles of parts and circuit boards and datapads and all sorts of other things.

"....Of course." What a stupid question, Max chides himself. "Bulkhead, are you sure you don't-you're not going to take some time off? I'm sure Perceptor would approve a request, especially after all the hard work you've done and-and what happened." There's a pleading note to his voice, some of the old tug from that simulation kicking in. Some small part is frightened. 'Dad is upset.'

"I don't need any time off." It comes out sharper than he meant to, and Bulkhead stops, then sighs. "I don't need any time off," he repeats more gently. "I've got too much work to do, anyway." He looks blearily out over the lab, then drains his energon and sets the empty cube on a worktable amidst everything else. "I appreciate the energon, Max. And the visit."

'Yes you do,' Max wants to argue furtively. Bulkhead needs to stop and sleep and allow himself to get through this, because Max has been there. He's tried closing it all off and trucking along and it just burns inside. It's just poisonous. But instead...

"I understand," he says, lowering his helm. "Just, if you need anything. You know where to find me."

Bulkhead nods, still turned away from him. "Thanks again, Max. If I need anything I'll let you know." He's already closing off again, retreating back into that shell, turning back to his work. "But I've got a lot to do, if you don't mind...?"

"Right. Yes. Of course." Fort Max turns away slowly and walks out, stopping once to look over his shoulder. But the words never come. So he leaves, covering his face.

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