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2018-12-11 Ripples

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2018-12-11 Ripples
Date 2018/12/11
Location Cassettes and Soundwave's Habsuite
Participants Rodimus, Soundwave
Summary Serious, weighty issues... Can wait.

Peace is settling into something like normal, but it's a complicated, fraught normal, laced with unexpected tensions. Rodimus is mid-rant about one of those tensions, having taken his evening energon to Soundwave's quarters. "--can't have any kind of elections unless people are actually informed well ahead of time, because not actually taking the time to educate people is how we slagging well ended up with Starscream! But some of Megatron's people are pitching fits about it, blah blah, Autobot propaganda, and hello, I'm not even an Autobot." Rodimus thumps his golden-flamed chest. No badge.

He's still pretty much an Autobot.

"Maybe I should just make my point like that: unless we make an effort to bring the Newbuilds up to speed on everything that happened, on the reality of our tiny little mini war for Cybertron, we could just end up with Starscream again. Maybe that'll make them less resistant," Rodimus says, sulking.

Soundwave watches Rodimus move about as he rants from the comfort of his couch. His energon sits on the armrest, hardly touched, and there's moments the light in his visor fuzzes at the edges, attention on something else. But only for a split second! Rodimus has been going on for a while. It's kinda charming. "We need to discuss with Raptorion and Autobot command the history we will tell and come to a consensus on what the truth is. Unfortunately, the truth is always fraught." He glances at Rodimus's chassis. "Neutrals should have a claim as well." Even if he doesn't want to know their historic truth of him.

Leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees, Soundwave sighs. "And I understand why everyone dislikes Starscream but... We cannot rush education. And-" he pauses as if he can't believe he's about to say this- "is Starscream that bad?"

Twisting to look back at Soundwave, Rodimus pauses mid-step, almost stumbling, and then moves back to put his hand to Soundwave's helm: taking his temperature. "Are you feeling okay? Did Starscream brainwash you? I was really hoping the Matrix stopped to add a few brainwashing protections in addition to the armor."

Placing a hand on Rodimus's head as well, Soundwave shoves him back with a small prickle of his so-called Matrix armor. "I don't find that very amusing," he huffs, sitting up straight. "And I am serious. Starscream may lie and cheat and have rather... Large narcissistic tendencies. And annoying. But, in the time of his reign in which a very bare and loose political structure was in place, he has helped to create and keep together the Council of Worlds. He has made sure the people of Cybertron had jobs, energon, and living arrangements. In fact, he is the first leader we have had who has not oppressed his own citizens, attempted genocide, or started a war. I do not particularly like Starscream but I believe Megatron and several Primes prove he is not the worst candidate we could have."

Rodimus grins as Soundwave huffs and straightens. Apparently whether or not Soundwave finds it funny is irrelevant to his own humor. Listening as Soundwave lays out the case for Starscream, he makes a face. "Okay, well -- fine. He hasn't murdered anyone. While in office. That we know of. Yet. But I still wish -- you know, maybe we can push for some kind of like. Transition council. Until after the hearings. When all of the truths are laid out, for everyone. And then we can have elections in the wake of that. Because elections before that? It's just going to be various flavors of propaganda."

"And who will pick the transition council? No one will be satisfied no matter who is chosen. Ousting Starscream while it is still technically his term would be a great violation when he has done nothing wrong- that we can prove. We chose to leave Cybertron, we cannot be angry that we opted out of voting simply because we have decided to come back now," Soundwave says, lifting an upturned hand. His skeletal hand has gained a few servos, some meat on them bones. "I believe it would be best if Starscream had some checks and balances. The Council of Worlds and an official selected among the Autobots, Decepticons, and Neutrals to keep him in line as we educate the masses and reinforce our infrastructure. Possibly and probably reinvent our political system now that Cybertron is habitable again and if the rumors I hear from the Galactic Council are true."

"Every force who has a voice would have a seat: Starscream, as Cybertron's elected representative; the Autobots; Megatron's forces; the Decepticons." Rodimus makes a point of separating those out with different ticks of his fingers: one, Cybertron; two, Autobot; three, Megatron; four, Decepticon. He does not count three and four as one and the same. "Maybe the Council of Worlds has a voice there. And Neutrals, I guess. Good luck getting them to ever agree on anything. Too broad a group to get an easy consensus."

Soundwave grimaces as the Decepticon forces are cleaved in two upon Rodimus's hands. Its an expression unseen except for a few tell-tale neck cables going taut. He doesn't argue with it, though. "That is a fair observation but factions have a tendency to get wrapped up in... Factions. Even Prowl's attempt to disband the faction by removing the symbol is self-involved with factional politics. A neutral or two could help negate that. Is Metalhawk still alive? I heard he was good at this sort of thing."

"Oh, that guy." Rodimus rolls his eyes, but looks thoughtful. "He did manage to pull people together pretty well before we launched. A real pain in our sides -- but that's not such a bad thing." His pacing draws to a pause at Soundwave's side, and he leans in to place his hand against the cables drawn taut in warm pressure. He sees that. Stroking the tension out with the slide of his thumb, Rodimus perches, caught still for just a moment, on the arm of the couch. "I'll draft some recommendations. Or scribble them, really, ask Fritz to help make me sound good."

"You always sound good, you don't need someone else for that. You just require assistance with a bit of polish," Soundwave says, shifting and ducking just so so Rodimus is no longer stroking his neck but the side of his head. He double-checks that Rodimus isn't about to tip his very full cube of energon over. His head leans into the warm hand when he's sure there will will be no mess. "And we are speaking of government and politics-- you should get used to pains in your side," he adds. "I never was one for politics. Government was Ratbat's element." He falls silent, visor dimming.

Although Rodimus wobbles, he doesn't fall. He grins, and readjusts the stroke of his hand as Soundwave directs. He's capable of learning. His brief perch settles, becomes more firm, and his feet -- previously just lightly set on his toes -- flatten. "I'm not a politics guy. You can't make me get used to it."

Soundwave enjoys each brush of Rodimus's fingers to his helm, focusing on the soft scrape-peel the contact sends to his audios. He places an assuring hand on Rodimus's knee- politics are the worst, it affirms- and he vents. "Ratbat is leaving," he tells Rodimus.

"Oh." Rodimus pauses, fingers stilling. "Oh, Soundwave." He shifts, turning his angle toward Soundwave, and pulls him up against his side. "That's -- gotta be some mixed feelings, there. Please tell me he's not getting into politics."

Soundwave laughs a quiet, humorless chuckle that's made even more flat and humorless by his monotone. "I cannot say I will miss him but... I cannot say his presence will not be missed," he tells Rodimus. "He is an opportunist bent on profits- politics is hardly the playing field for that... Currently. I believe Penchant has given him a bit of inspiration. Breaking out of the cassette mold, so to speak."

Twisting to kick his outside foot out past Soundwave, his inner leg tucked at an angle, Rodimus turns further toward him -- and across him. His touch on his helm becomes a coaxing stroke, soothing. "I hope Penchant does well. And -- sorry, I hope Ratbat doesn't."

"Hnn." Soundwave puts an arm around Rodimus to pull him into his lap. He feels bigger than he remembers. Whatever, get over here. "Don't apologize. There is very little love lost... But. Penchant." His jaw clenches. "He really doesn't want to come back does he?"

Rodimus leans away just enough to make a protest of it, without being particularly difficult, before thwacking into place atop Soundwave. He wiggles, dragging his other foot out from beneath him to also kick to the side across the cushions. He leans back against the arm of the couch, and leaves his arm draped around Soundwave's shoulders. He traces the collar of his armor lightly, fingertips sliding back and forth. Grimacing, he says, "He's going back to his colony. After tying up loose ends."

One arm around Rodimus's back, hand loosely holding his biolit side, Soundwave's other servo traces and picks at Rodimus's thigh-high armor. "I'd really rather Penchant not go," he murmurs. "Maybe I can still convince him to stay."

Rodimus leans to set his energon down, more full than not, and then slides up against Soundwave's side. Yes, keep that up. "Why do you want him to stay?"

Soundwave's fingers running along Rodimus's armor apply more pressure with each pass. "Because... Well, because-- I don't want him to go. So he must stay."

Lifting his hand to Soundwave's head, Rodimus turns his face up toward his own. "Soundwave," he says, regretful but firm in his gentle chide. "That's not a good reason."

Soundwave pulls Rodimus in closer. "I know it is not," he says quietly, head falling. "But it doesn't change how I feel. I will miss him... Do you think if I told him I can hold the Matrix, he would stay?" He pauses and then shudders. "Delete that idea. I am already doing so."

"Soundwave." More emphatic now, Rodimus grips him by the jaw as he straightens back and away. No. Bad Soundwave. "Of course you'll miss him. And you should tell him that. But you should tell him that so that he knows how much you care about him, and not to try to -- what, change his mind? Slag, come on. He made his choice. You have to let him, and you have to support him. Even if it's hard. You have to let them all, all of your cassettes."

Soundwave groans, shoulders sagging. "Yeah, I know... I need to support him but--" He goes stiff. "All?" His grip on Rodimus tightens.

"But it's hard, I know." Rodimus rests his hand over Soundwave's tight grip, gentler. "Penchant and Ratbat might not be the last. Maybe not now, maybe not soon, but eventually. You've said it yourself."

"I know I've said it," Soundwave says, grip not gentling. "But it's-- It is too soon. We've barely got peace. We haven't even settled on Cybertron yet. I haven't even had the chance to lay Megatron to rest. They can't just... Go. I didn't just want them around because we were in a war."

"They can," Rodimus says. "They can go whenever they want. Soundwave, it's okay to be sad about it, but you gotta cut this slag out." His sympathy fades to something harder, firm, even as his touch remains light. "You're not serious, are you?"

"I'm not keeping them! They can go, I do not want them to and... I don't want them to." Soundwave releases Rodimus, pulling back to look away. At the far wall filled with pictures.

"How do you do it?" Soundwave asks quietly. "Knowing the crew will most likely split apart. How did you do it with me before?"

It's minute, but Rodimus flinches when Soundwave points out that the crew will split apart, is splitting apart already. "I mean, the honest answer is I fragging ignore it," He starts to say something else, but instead, he laughs -- it's not funny -- and reaches for Soundwave's hand. "With you, I knew that you had to do those things to be happy. And I wanted you to be happy. More than anything else, more than you being with me, I want you to be happy. Maybe that's how I stay here and watch the crew leave, too. They're moving on to better things, and yeah, they take a piece of me with them. But I'm so happy for them, and so proud of what they've accomplished."

Soundwave's hand curls around Rodimus's, holding it firmly rather than tightly. "Are they not happy with me?" He flinches, just a small twinge in his neck. Guilty for being so selfish while Rodimus can be... "I just don't want them to feel alone," he tries to amend. But it's not his cassettes who will be hollow when they leave.

Rodimus lifts Soundwave's hand to his lips and presses a kiss to the back. He gives him a knowing glance, but only says, "They won't be alone. Not really. You'll always be there for them, even if you aren't on the same ship, or even in the same star system."

Soundwave's chassis hums, a little more muted than normal but it still hums. "I don't want to think about that," he says, the yellow of his visor paling at the mention of another star system. Hnn... "And of course I will... I will miss them terribly when they decide it's time for them to go." Maybe not so much Ratbat.

Then Soundwave turns his gaze to Rodimus. "What about you?"

When asked, Rodimus looks at a loss, and helpless to answer. "What about you?" he counters.

Soundwave leans forward and it takes a minute to hear his quiet laugh. "Asked you first."

Rodimus rests his hand over his chest. The Matrix hums below, brighter, louder for the attention that he turns toward it. "I don't know," he admits in a quiet voice. "I'm not--. I don't--." But after all these faltering 'nots', he switches back to, "What are you going to do?"

Soundwave's optics narrow and he wraps his arms around Rodimus. Pulling his hip against his. "Build a better world with you, for one," he says. He pauses. "You're not leaving too, are you?"

“I don’t know how to build. I don’t know where I’d go.” Leaning into Soundwave, turning his face into his throat, Rodimus says, “It was easier when it was just an idea.”

A hand trails up Rodimus's spoiler, fingers ghosting over the shiny scarred metal there, before he palm the back of Rodimus's head. He holds it, him, occasionally stroking his helmet. "Ideas, always easier... But you are more than ideas- you are action. And you are doing it now: writing up drafts and memos. Dealing with the Galactic Council-- building is more than physically constructing." (edited)

The near-touch brings Rodimus to an arch against Soundwave, until his helm presses to his hand. “Ugh. I fit here. I make sense here. I don’t know where I fit there. What about you?”

Soundwave glances down, trying to peak down at Rodimus's back out of curiosity. "I don't know. I've managed to carve out a place for myself. And I am sure I can again... ... We can," he corrects at the end.

Soundwave turns his head, bunting his faceplate into the side of Rodimus's helm. "No matter how long it takes, we can figure out what to do together. If you would... Like to do that, I mean."

The marks left by the Matrix have shifted to the base metal hue of Rodimus’s frame, but not faded. They ripple outward from the center of his spoiler. That’s all there is to see.

Leaning against Soundwave, rubbing his face against Soundwave’s faceplate, Rodimus scrunches his features into a quiet smile. “I’d like that. I just feel like I’m kind of — I can’t do what you can. I don’t think I’m a leader like Optimus, either.” Thank goodness for Soundwave. “What do I do? Go back to playing courier?”

One hand busy petting Rodimus's head, Soundwave uses his other to very carefully trace the outside of one ripple. Gentle, just a tickle of a touch, inquisitive.

"I do not know," Soundwave answers honestly. "Honestly, what do you think I will do? Before the war, the only job I could keep was illegal. And before that? Consistently fired." He butts his head gently against Rodimus's, comfortingly.

Rodimus hisses at the touch, entirely losing track of the thread of the conversation. After a moment, he asks, “What?” He was listening!

Soundwave draws back, hand abandoning the attempts to touch those ripples. "It hurts," he says, guilt flashing in his visor.

Again: “What?” When Rodimus’s eyes clear, he laughs. He wiggles, rolls his hips, and presses close. “It didn’t hurt,” he says with eyes bright.

Soundwave, very suspiciously, squints at Rodimus. His engine begins to growl. "It didn't? So you would enjoy if I... Touched it again?"

“Touch me,” Rodimus says, twisting in his seat to curl closer and bring his arms around Soundwave.

Never mind, serious, weighty issues. Rodimus would like to ignore you now.

Soundwave is weak- WEAK!- to how Rodimus puts his arms around him. "Yes, my Captain," he says oh-so-dutifully, hands dropping to Rodimus's waist. His fingers run over his biolights before trailing up to the edge of his spoiler. A thumb runs along as if testing how sharp the spoiler is. The other teasingly moves in lazy circles along the broad back of Rodimus's spoiler, slowly getting closer to a ripple. Teasing along its edges but never touching... "Oh, and I need to borrow the Matrix soon," Soundwave whispers. And that's when he presses each broad finger firmly into the center of ripples on Rodimus's back.

Rodimus's gaze dims to a thin and narrow brightness; he diverts power away from his optical sensors to focus instead on processing touch. He draws taut in Soundwave's arms: not tense, but alert, vibrantly alert to the stroke of his fingers and the path of his hands. The thrum of his engine low and warm, he wiggles more than once in impatience as he fights the urge to guide Soundwave's hands, or shift to put him where he wants, not where Soundwave wants.

But Rodimus is patient.

Then--.

At the question, Rodimus's eyes light with a renewed brightness as his attention sharply refocuses. "You wha--." The question becomes a broken sound, almost a laugh, as his eyes flare to white. Rodimus hisses out a breath, curling forward and rolling his shoulders to bare the stretch of his shoulders and spoiler. The tips of his spoiler quiver with the snap and break of tension. Words ragged at the edges, he asks -- demands, "You what."

"Borrow the Matrix," Soundwave says, obviously delighted with Rodimus's reaction. It thrills him, gets his engine revving. He leans forward to gently nose against the side of Rodimus's face. His fingers circle around the ripples' center, other hand pinching and fiddling with the tip of Rodimus's spoiler. "For just a day. Is that alright?"

If Soundwave wanted Rodimus distracted while he asked, he is. He can hear how slow the thoughts are to form, and the way they fragment at the pinch. "For a day? Borrow it?" He shifts, turning to press molten against Soundwave, hips canting, armor shifting, as he fits to the angles of his frame like softened metal. "You're not gonna throw it in a trash compactor, are you?"

Soundwave's engine mixed with the hum of his chassis make for a very interesting purr running through his body as Rodimus melts against him. He wraps an arm around Rodimus's middle to hold him steady. "Of course not. I am not... happy with it but you treasure it. I'm not going to throw away something that brings you joy," he assures Rodimus. And with each word, he stroke the scared metal of Rodimus's back, each one getting further from the center. Each one gentling with each touch until it is just a wisp of warmth. "I'll bring it back to you in perfect condition."

The gentling distance of touch brings some clarity to Rodimus's thoughts and words, even as his lips, teeth, and tongue busy themselves with Soundwave's throat, and his thumbs push up the center of Soundwave's body between them to fan across the frosted glass of his dock. "Like it or not," he says, "you have some right to it, by some arguments. Of course you can have it. Why?"

"Don't ruin right now," Soundwave answers as much as states. He removes his faceplate, smile just at the tips of his lips. He kisses the top or Rodimus's head. "Let's talk more later-- we are on break. And..." One of Soundwave's tentacles moves and retrieves something. A box of energon jellies. "I've barely eaten. You still hungry, my Captain?"

Rodimus starts to argue, but then he sneaks a look at the box that Soundwave's pulling over, and he abandons the line of thought to lean over and toward the box. "Fine, you can distract me, but I want you to tell me later," he says. He snags a jelly from the edge -- graceless, but eager, and pops it between his lips. Before Soundwave can think he's just being greedy though, Rodimus rises to press against him, and push him back and down into the back of the couch. He rises above him, and over him, tipping his head back press a kiss to his lips, and let the sweet bleed, hot and sticky, from his lips into Soundwave's mouth.

It's a really inefficient way to fuel.

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