From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Location||Cyclonus and Tailgate's Habsuite|
|Summary||Tailgate awakes with nightmares.|
Between the flight from Prion, and the culmination of an investigation soon after, Tailgate has been scarce from the habusuite. It feels like when he does have downtime, it is brief. There is more footwork than he knew when it comes to arrests and making them stick-- but this one will. Tailgate makes sure of it. When he is finally able to go completely off of the clock, it is at an odd hour, and one that finds the habusuite once more empty when he returns to it. The minibot passes out on his slab, and for a time things are as they should be.
At least, until the feverish fuel of dreams start in on him. First it's something small-- nerves edging in on his subconscious. The nerves soon turn into images and sound, memories and imagination coalescing into a dream of dripping energon, mnemosurgery, and struggling against a gleeful voice that has Tailgate's physical form, even in a powered down state, flinching and murmuring in a still heat that sits at his core. No, stay away from his head. You can't have him--
Cyclonus is not asleep. He returned after Tailgate was already recharging, but he has been spending his time studying through new files -- or old files, rather -- until the minibot's distressed murmuring whispers in the air. He lifts his head, visor furrowed, expression dark. He watches him for a moment and then rises to his feet to cover the distance between them in slow strides. Setting a hand on the minibot's shoulder, he says quietly, "Tailgate."
Tailgate's vocalizers static a little in his haze, his optics remaining dark through another panicked little utterance. It's not just Clipper-- his brush with Tarn and the rest lingers behind it, and for a moment it seems that the touch to his shoulder may draw his resting mind away from it. No-- it's Tesarus, tearing him from Clipper's needles in a spray of fluid, pushing him down, down, blades in his face-- Tailgate doesn't outright scream often, but right now he does. His terror is real, at least to him.
"Tailgate!" Cyclonus's grip firms from a careful touch to a firm curl of his fingers around both shoulders. He hesitates before he goes so far as to shake him, a flash of uncertainly crossing his crimson eyes. "Tailgate, /wake up/."
Tailgate, Tailgate, did you know you're delicious? He fights against the grip of the Decepticon in his dream, and in life in transfers to another shout of terror and some significant flailing slaps. "Don't! No! Please!
Cyclonus hauls Tailgate up from the slab and crushes him to his chestplate, arms wrapping tight around him and compressing him into stillness. "Tailgate, wake up," he says again, quieter.
Any slaps that the larger bot gets are weak and ineffective. As gravity shifts and his systems move to compensate, Tailgate's panic turns into a moment of resignation as his limbs are stilled-- this is it, there are teeth everywhere-- wait, no--
Tailgate's gyroscopic feed jars him awake, his visor flickering blue light against Cyclonus' purple plating. It takes him a moment longer to realize where he is. He's still here, in his suite. And-- "Cyclonus...?" Tailgate lets out a small sound of groggy confusion when he says the name.
It's not until the minibot says his name that Cyclonus's grip eases even a little. Still holding Tailgate up in his arms, he nevertheless vents a sigh. "Yes," he says, his voice a low rumble that vibrates across the contact of their frames. "You were having a nightmare. You wouldn't wake up."
Mnh. Tailgate listens before he speaks, the dim downturn of his visor clear. When the calming pressure of arms settles his gears, Tailgate dares rest the side of his head on the broad chest he's held up against. "Oh."
"Sorry." For what he assumes is waking Cyclonus from his own downcycle.
Cyclonus makes a sharp, dismissive noise to Tailgate's apology and finally sets his feet carefully onto the recharge slab. "You were very -- distressed," he says.
Tailgate knows that sound. He's not sure what it intends half the time, but it's familiar. Alright, then. Okay. Tailgate presses his heels into the slab as he's set down, looking up and at Cyclonus' face. "Yeah. I--" Tailgate shivers as he goes back to the images of his dreamscape. "Clipper." He offers as a first explanation, voice quiet. "And the guy-- the one with the saws--" Tailgate's words quicken nervously as he makes a circlular gesture around his guts.
"I remember him," Cyclonus says, focus sharp on Tailgate's face. It's possible he doesn't remember the name, either. "Clipper is in the brig. You arrested him." After a beat, he adds, "Without backup." This is super comforting right.
Tailgate's hands knuckle into fists, loosely attempting to calm his limbs. The last thing has him turning his head in a moment of shame-- yeah. He knows it. It was a bad idea. He knows that now. "I thought I could handle it." Tailgate's response is even smaller.
"It is never your job to handle anything on your own," Cyclonus says, and perhaps there's a snap of annoyance in the dark gravel of his voice.
"I was just--" Being an idiot. Tailgate stammers when he senses the grain behind Cyclonus' voice. "I had to catch him and I felt like I could do anything." A lot of courage but also the speech of inexperience-- many the downfall of a wannabe hero begins like this.
"You can't." Cyclonus's voice is sharp as a knife. "Do not be an idiot, Tailgate. No one can do anything. You were put in command for your /judgment/, not to entertain rash heroics."
Tailgate //is// an idiot. He knows it. He nearly got his brain turned into jelly trying to prove himself. The idea just takes him back to facing down Clipper and his still-wet needles. He gives an involuntary shudder. If he were more like their noble captain, he could always say that he 'caught the bad guy anyway, what does it matter?'. The thought does flit through his mind. "My judgment gets mocked all the same, though. I wanted to--" It's a selfish admission, but he is this far:
"Do it for me, too. I was so stupid. Now all I can think about is his laugh, and the surgery, and--" Tailgate lifts his hands to the sides of his head as if he could squeeze them out.
Cyclonus quiets his criticism. Instead, he reaches to take Tailgate's hands in his where they try to squeeze out the memories. "Tailgate," he says. "Do you remember the song?"
"He just-- had his hand in there--" Tailgate murmurs further on Clipper and Atomizer, and then his hands are covered by the larger ones. They twitch, unsettled in the grip. "What? Yeah, of course I do." Besides being a song, it is a quietly treasured memory, despite the tone of that day. Of course he keeps it close.
"Good." Cyclonus's grip on Tailgate's hands is careful more than it is gentle. "Sing it with me." He waits for Tailgate to start, but he is ready if he does; there is nothing attractive about his singing voice, but it's a steady, sure sound.
The memory is a close one, and one that surely echoes calm. It wasn't bad dreams, but lies-- so it's only a twee different. Tailgate's knuckles loosen still, and he takes the cue well. He's still a bit woozy from his nightmares, but he remembers the words even if his beginning is a little weak. Okay.
Cyclonus takes him carefully through the song until it's clear that Tailgate has at least calmed from the nightmares still lingering in his mind. He's not shy about correct verbiage or pronunciation, but he does so with a steadiness that supports. It may take a few times through the song before they're both satisfied, but at least things will be calmer.