From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Location||Lost Light - Science and Medical - Wheeljack's Laboratory|
|Summary||Bulkhead gets a little carried away in trying to keep Wheeljack out of danger.|
Wheeljack's lab is a masterpiece of controlled chaos. Shelves, stacked haphazardly with completed projects and curios, line the walls. The workbenches in the center are covered with the guts of machines in various stages of completeness, and all of the furniture is solidly built and looks ready to withstand whatever might be thrown, dropped, or spilled on it.
It's great to be back on the Lost Light.
Post-rescue from the derelict, Wheeljack and the others had been immediately shuffled off to the Medibay, for additional refueling and checking over their injuries, under the watchful optics of the rescue team. Wheeljack was comparatively lucky, his only injuries small gashes from the needles that the creature's body put off. The medibay staff had dismissed him after only a few quick patches, unlike some of the others, so he'd made his way, Bulkhead at his heels, back to his habsuite to rest.
Now, he's made his way back to his lab, where he's throwing his attention into his projects. It's almost entirely back to normal, and if he's got the lights up to full brightness, then well, it's because he needs to see, right? He's just beginning to get out the parts he needs when a knock from the door distracts him. "Come on in!" he calls. He's got a good idea of who this will be.
Bulkhead followed Wheeljack and the rest to the medibay, where he'd stayed until Wheeljack was allowed to leave. And then he'd followed Wheeljack to the latter's hab, where he'd, well, maybe stood outside for a cycle or two. Just in case. He couldn't shake the feeling that if he left Wheeljack's side, the scientist would get hurt again, or go missing, or something else Bulk wouldn't be there to save him from. He knew he was being ridiculous, he just. He couldn't help it. Especially after some of the things he'd overheard in the medibay, as the away team tried to explain what exactly had caused their injuries.
Bulk had finally left for his own habsuite, needing recharge himself, even if when it did come it was in fits and starts. The paranoid panic he'd been experiencing ever since the away team's disappearance in the first place apparently was loathe to leave him, despite them being back. But he was exhausted enough that he slept in without meaning to, and upon waking, hurried to, of course, Wheeljack's lab.
At least Bulkhead knocks instead of doing something ludicrous like breaking the door down. He's gonna try and act like he's not still feeling the effects of an entire week of anxiety. "Hey, Jackie," he says back as he walks in. "How you feelin'?"
Wheeljack looks up at the sound of Bulkhead's voice, his fins already lighting up. "Hi, Bulk," he says, leaving his work for the moment to come around his workbench and meet Bulkhead by the door. "I'm..." It's not a long pause, but it's there, significant enough to notice, as Wheeljack takes a moment to honestly inventory himself. "I'm doing all right," he answers finally, his fins glimmering with a faint Jack-smile. "Nice to be back, though."
Yup, the pause is definitely noticed. Bulkhead moves to Wheeljack's side, resting a servo on the smaller mech's shoulder. His optics scrunch as he scrutinizes his friend. "Yeah, I can only imagine, after what ya've been through." He's trying not to hover too much, he's just...failing. "Are you, though?" he asks, radiating concern. "Are you alright?" Ya just went through some shit, Jackie, he'll understand if you're not! And of course be there to help, which is why the hand remains where it is. The gesture might also serve as an anchor for Bulk, a way to know that yes, Wheeljack's really here.
"I'm a little shaken," Wheeljack admits. He reaches up to pat Bulkhead's hand on his shoulder, though he doesn't pull away from the contact. "I wasn't a Wrecker or anything, but I've been around the Autobots for a lot of the war, y'know? This isn't the first time I've seen the results of it. Or even the first time I've dealt with some weird science gone wrong." He shrugs, fins dimming slightly. "Guess I just wasn't as prepared for it as I thought I'd be, now that the war's over."
Wheeljack is silent for another few moments before he shakes his helm, looking up to meet Bulkhead's worried expression with cheer of his own. "But we're back, and the whole thing is taken care of, so I'm sure it'll pass," he says, brightly.
Oh yeah, the Wreckers. They sure had seen some shit in their time, hadn't they? Bulkhead's lip quirks in a small smile at the nod to him being part of that team. He wonders what they do, now, without a war, without an enemy to be thrown at. He hates that the only former member aboard is Whirl, of all people. "I am glad ta have ya back," Bulkhead says, when Wheeljack's finished. "The past week was..." And here's his own loaded pause. It's probably pretty obvious how the past week has been for him, so he won't elaborate, and instead moves on. "Heh, lemme tell ya what I learned from bein' a Wrecker, Jackie. You always think you've seen the worst, the most haunting, the most horrible. And then life surprises ya again." There's a little squeeze of Wheeljack's shoulder. "You can think yer prepared for anything until it actually happens, an' then ya realize, you'll never really be prepared."
"Cheerful lesson," Wheeljack says wryly. He finally ducks away from Bulkhead's hand on his shoulder, but he doesn't go far. Rather, he ducks under Bulkhead's arm to wrap an arm around him in a sideways hug. He's not able to get his arm all the way around Bulkhead, considering the size difference between them, but it leaves him snugly against Bulkhead's side. It's hug time again, only this time Bulkhead isn't the one to initiate it. Wheeljack saw how wired Bulkhead was when the Rodpod finally caught up with the derelict, and although he'd been somewhat distracted at the time by his own relief at being found, he can see that it left Bulkhead just as twitchy as him.
Bulkhead can't help but wince at that. Ouch. "Sorry, Jackie, I was just--" He cuts himself off when Wheeljack moves away, a split second worry that frag I've made it all worse crossing his processor, until Wheeljack moves in for a side hug. Bulkhead relaxes, his own arm wrapping around Wheeljack in return, a relieved smile crossing his faceplates. He wasn't about to admit it when Wheeljack had been through so much and Bulk had been through nothing but his own worries, but he really needed this. He hugs Jackie against his side, thinking that the scientist absolutely needs this, too, so hey, they're helping each other out.
"Hope I didn't bring ya down even more!" Bulkhead says after a klik, trying to bring up the mood. Getting a hug he didn't initiate helps a lot, on his end.
"It's okay," Wheeljack says, bringing up his free hand to pat Bulkhead on the chassis. "You're not wrong," he adds, quiet and slightly solemn. "It's just the kind of thing that I didn't want to have to expect, with the war over. It's not that I figured all the evidence of the war would suddenly just disappear, or that the animosity would go away just like that. It's more..." he shrugs. "Maybe it's just that the gap in my memory made it worse," he says finally. "It's one thing to go in expecting something bad, and another to wake up in the middle of it."
But that's really not helping to lighten the mood, is it? Wheeljack sighs a slow stream of air out of his vents, and shakes his helm again. "But like I said, I'll be all right. We both will."
Bulkhead nods as he listens. Yeah, waking up in a hostile, horror-movie situation like that without remembering how you got there can't be fun. As he listens, oops, Bulk's shifting, kneeling, and drawing Wheeljack into a two-armed hug. It follows the same pattern every hug he's given the scientist after their reunion did, hold careful, not too tight. "'Course we'll be alright," Bulk says, nuzzling into Wheeljack's shoulder. "Like ya said, whatever did this is dead, right? So we don't gotta worry about it anymore." Bulkhead leans back, then, giving Wheeljack a bit of space (considering the plan he's got in mind won't allow much for the scientist in the next few days) and grins, giving a quiet chuckle. "Just make sure ya bring me along next time, yeah? Yer not allowed ta have all the fun yourself!" It doesn't matter that his tone is strained. Ignore that. Let him lighten things up.
There's reflecting on things, and then there's dwelling on them. So far, it's been reflecting, and talking with Bulk about everything has helped, but Wheeljack can feel that they're teetering on the edge of agonizing over things, and so he's perfectly willing to go along with Bulkhead's tremulous attempt to lighten the mood. "Nope, nothing to worry about," he says, reaching up to pat Bulkhead's shoulder, then returning the hug, just as gently. "I'll be sure to bring you along the next time I go check out an abandoned ship," he chuckles as Bulkhead leans back.
"Or when ya go off and do anything," Bulkhead teases, lifting one servo to gently boop Wheeljack's faceplate with a digit, where his nasal ridge is hidden. "Seems like every time I turn my back ya get yerself in trouble!" Already the atmosphere between them is shifting to something better. Bulkhead's plating has begun relaxing from the tight clench it's been in for, oh, several days now. He releases Wheeljack, and then stands. "But don't worry, I gotta plan to keep ya from continuin' that trend." Out comes the magna belt from his subspace, which is quickly snapped onto his waist. And then, before Wheeljack can get a word in, the scientist will be lifted, turned, and held against Bulkhead's chassis. Clink. Magnetizing of the bae is complete.
"Hey, it's not every time!" Wheeljack protests. And Bulkhead isn't always gone when it happens, either! He was there for Velocitron, for example. Besides, statistically Wheeljack spends most of his time in his lab, where he's (relatively) safe. He's distracted from further protest by the tap against his faceplate, though, and by Bulkhead pulling away. He's just about to ask what exactly Bulk thinks will prevent it when he sees Bulkhead put out the belt. The magnet belt.
"Wait, Bulkhead, what are you-- ack!" Wheeljack flails as he's moved around effortlessly. He jolts as the clunk of the magnets activating echoes through his frame, the little winglets on his back twitching as he tries to twist and catch a glimpse of Bulkhead's face. "This is your plan?"
Sure, Bulkhead had been on Velocitron too, but he hadn't been there when Wheeljack got hurt. Which was the problem! Hence his solution. With Wheeljack stuck in his (baby chest carrier) magnetized position, Bulkhead would always be there. ....For the next few days, anyway, he wasn't going to keep Wheeljack hostage like this forever. Even if the thought had crossed his processor.
"Pretty much every time," he says, once the deed is done, once Wheeljack is firmly attached to his chassis. "Yes, this is my plan." Smart Voice activated. He runs a soothing hand down Wheeljack's arm, kind of doubting that this is actually a good plan (not for the first time) and yet too determined to set Jackie down. His voice is quiet, possibly bringing back the Drama, as he explains: "I won't let you be in danger when I'm not around to help. Not again. I'm sorry."
"Do you have to do that by sticking me to your chassis?" The hand on Wheeljack's arm slows his squirming, but it doesn't stop him completely. His feet aren't touching the ground! And he can't even get a look at Bulkhead's faceplates. He's had Ratchet threaten to magnetize him to a medibay berth (and occasionally follow through) on occasions after his more egregious injuries, but that's different, isn't it? "I'm not going anywhere for the next few days anyway!" Wheeljack tries to say. It's too bad he's facing away from Bulkhead, because his helm fins are putting on quite the lightshow at the moment. "And isn't this a bit inconvenient?"
Bulkhead keeps up the stroking of Wheeljack's arm, even while he fights back his regret over this. "It's the only thing I came up with," he confesses, as Jackie squirms ineffectively against him. The magna belt is very strong, you can't fight your way out of it, Wheeljack. If Wheeljack was able to look at Bulk, he'd see the sad, but determined, expression that's currently dominating his faceplates.
"It won't be inconvenient for you," Bulkhead insists. Wheeljack may be facing away but those fin lights still work in two directions and. Bulk winces, even as he continues. "I'll take you here, to wherever you need to go, it doesn't matter."
"Not even a leash?" Wheeljack asks, only half joking. He's still twisting his helm to try and get a view of Bulkhead's faceplates. From the tone of Bulkhead's voice, and the hand on Wheeljack's arm, he's realizing more and more that no matter how Bulkhead might try to hide it, he's not okay. Maybe he was even more worried about Wheeljack's disappearance than Wheeljack was to disappear.
It's not something that's going to go unnoted. Wheeljack certainly is going to bring it up at some point later. But for now, with his back still magnetized against Bulkhead's chest, he doubts either of them is in the proper place for that discussion. If it's that important to Bulkhead, he can humor him for now. Wheeljack finally stops wriggling. "I'm going to need to walk eventually," he warns, but he's still relaxed. "But if you're that determined... c'mon, you can help me with this project."
That does get a chuckle out of Bulkhead, even if it's a tight one. "You'd work your way out of a leash," he half-jokes back, with the implication that he miiiight have considered that option. Thankfully, despite the impulse to do so, he doesn't nuzzle down against Wheeljack's fin. This is enough for Jackie to take in as is, he's sure.
Bulkhead relaxes somewhat, too, when Wheeljack does, even as he keeps up the petting. "Okay." He'll let you walk around, of course, he'll just...follow. "Sure, whatever you need." He is that determined, Jackie. He's gonna feel like scrap about doing this to you for a while but at least he's got you in his sight. That overcomes the 'this is not a great thing to do'.
The conversation isn't over, not by a long shot, but arguing with Bulkhead when he's clearly still nervous isn't going to work, so Wheeljack is willing to put it out of his head for now. He can deal with a little indignity for the sake of letting Bulkhead calm down and settle into the realization that Wheeljack's not going to disappear before his optics or something. With any luck, working on a project together right now will begin to prove to Bulkhead that it's not so convenient to go about things with a mech magnetized to his front. Wheeljack shakes his helm, then turns his attention to the rest of his lab. "Right. Okay. So the project right now is a set of limb enhancers. The designs are over there," he points, "and I've started gathering the materials over there. Once we've got those together, we can get started..."