2016-10-14 Wait What?

From Transformers: Lost and Found

2016-10-14 Wait What?
Date 2016/10/13
Location Space
Participants Red Alert, Inferno
Summary Red Alert realizes Inferno is into him


There is a lot of it. The endless reach of the vast nothingness that the Lost Light travels through stretches out in all directions. Inviting are the twinkle of distance stars, each promising their own tales and adventures should you be brave enough to venture to them. To get there, however, a vessel would be required; perhaps the one you now stand on.

The outside of the Lost Light is just as impressive as the inside. The sleek paneling that comprises the hull is widest at the wings, of course, and narrowest at the bridge. A segmented visor denotes that, easily denoted in the design as the four main thrusters at the rear of the craft. The blocky, flat silver-gray surfaces that make up the majority of the Lost Light is broken up by the spiney crimson section at the center of the ship.

All is quiet here on the outside, an ideal location for quiet moments of personal or shared reflection.

Red Alert has been looking forward to this day for months now. He and Inferno have planned, and scheduled, and then rescheduled whenever something came up--and something always comes up on this ship. Days of waiting have turned into weeks. Weeks of waiting have turned into months. And, frankly, Red Alert could have let it turn into years had he not forcefully sat down with his schedule, boxed off a few days for Inferno, and for once not let anything else get in the way.

Sometimes there are things more important than work.

Instead of taking his tours today it's someone else's turn at the grindstone, while instead Red sits down and loving packs his picnic. He is definitely not humming tunelessly while doing so: he'll deny it to his deathbed and erase all the recordings. But he is definitely in high spirits as he piles the box high with goodies from Rung and beverages from Swerve--hey, it pays to know the right mechs.

Inferno hasn't arrived yet as Red secures his magnaclamps and steps out on the hull, but for once that isn't in Red's design--it's too impractical to bug the outside of the ship, and not just because he's beginning to trust Inferno. (He'll also deny that.) So instead Red finds a comfortable little outcropping and sits down to wait, watching the undulating metal surface of the planet below and the myraid space stations dotted around it.

So maybe there had been a reason that Inferno had found it nigh impossible to recharge earlier. Maybe there had been a reason he'd restlessly prowled the ship, knowing yet hoping otherwise, that he'd run into Red Alert on a late night patrol. And this was it, the picnic on the hull, the reason that despite having walked around even more after his chance meeting with Gearstrip and Frisk he still hadn't been able to fall back asleep. He dozed, instead, running scenario after scenario through his processor of what might transpire. Unlike what Red Alert might imagine before such an event, Inferno's fantasies were all positive. He may not have slept but the dozing helped, somewhat.

So 'Ferno isn't too exhausted when he signs out the magna clamps he'd need, when he brings his own goodies for their - their date. How he wants to think of it like that, even if he's not sure Red does. He's got a cloth filled with deliciously flavored energon cubes, all sealed off with little pop tops that the curly straws he's included will be pushed into. There's some snacks too, and a special gift, because apparently Starstruck isn't the only one who enjoys bringing things to those he cares about.

Once he's prepared Inferno is out onto the hull, looking around for Red Alert. "<< I'm here, >>" he says through the comms, in case Red Alert hasn't arrived yet, but before there's a response he spots the security bot. Red hadn't gone far, thankfully. A fond smile crosses his face as Inferno makes his way over, settling down beside Red Alert. "<< Hey. Nice view, huh? >>"

Inferno. The sight of him makes something in Red Alert's chest flutter. He coughs to try and rid himself of it. He'd better not be coming down with something, especially not after he'd already taken time off for this date. Er. Visit. In any case, Red Alert can't do much but stare at Inferno as he suddenly feels torn, like he has so much he wants to say to Inferno, and yet doesn't know what to say at the same time.

"<< Hello, >>" he starts. Always a good place to start. "<< Yes. It's...certainly unique. I wonder why it keeps changing shape like that. >>" He frowns at himself. What a useless thing to say. It's not like Inferno knows either. Instead he tries again, with a different tactic this time. "<< I see you also brought some energon. We've got an awful lot. We might have too much for just two of us now. >>"

"<< I like it. Keeps ya guessin'. >>" Inferno glances over at Red Alert with a crooked grin. Red's not the only one who's feeling the fluttering. 'Ferno knows what's causing it, though. Then he notices what Red Alert's brought, and he chuckles, the sound a crackle over their private, shared comm line. "<< Guess I shoulda known you'd be prepared and left the energon behind. >>" Inferno looks back out toward the colony as he hesitates, the gift he's brought feeling heavy in the cloth he's wrapped everything in. Will Red Alert like it? Will he think it's stupid? 'Ferno doesn't know. He carefully unwraps the bundle anyway.

"<< Brought ya this. >>" Inferno extracts an ornate, golden-and-green, rounded box that sits on four golden legs. It might've caught his eye at a recent off-ship stop, because shiny. It was what was inside that made him buy it, and he shows this by carefully lifting the hinged top of the object, revealing what's inside. The slowly spinning figure is completely alien, an organic of shifting blues and dark greens, but its pose is graceful, its figure beautiful. The music that would have played if not for Space is sent in a file packet along their comm connection along with the purpose of why the packet is being sent. The song is soothing, a gentle lullaby, one Inferno thought Red might appreciate. His grin turns bashful as he closes the lid of the music box and holds it out.

"<< 'S nice ta see ya. How've ya been? Sorry I was too busy to come out here earlier, >>" Inferno says almost immediately after presenting the gift, as if he can sweep the whole thing under the rug by changing the subject.

Red Alert looks surprised as Inferno pulls out the item, and being not overly fond of surprises he subtly leans away, feeling hesitant. But when Inferno cracks it open the feeling settles. Boxes aren't so scary once you know what's inside. He reaches for it when Inferno hands it over and immediately opens it again and watches the figure turn slowly in the starlight. It's beautiful on its own, but his favourite part is the song Inferno sent: soft and soothing, exactly the kind of music he can not only tolerate, but somewhat enjoy. Quietly Red Alert plots where to put it in his habsuite that is both safe, but easily accessible. Can Wheeljack build a small forcefield, maybe? He resolves to ask him. But for now he tucks it carefully away, a smile on his face.

"<< Thank you. I like it a lot. >>" He lets them move with the change of topic though, not having anything to present to Inferno in return other than the treats he had packed. Next time, he mentally promises.

"<< I've been well. I have a funny story to tell, actually. But first I want to know how you are. >>" It's an awkward turn of phrase, but Red Alert means it genuinely.

<FS3> Inferno rolls Obliviousness: Success. (2 1 5 5 8 3)

Red Alert's shying away is mostly missed, even if Inferno feels a faint sense of 'something isn't right'. It quickly passes when Red Alert not only accepts the music box but smiles, and Inferno's own frame settles, the nervous flickering along his circuits easing. "<< Welcome. >>" 'Ferno returns to the gift giving just enough to offer that. He's a little distracted by the dreamy feeling of having pleased Red with something that could have so easily been seen as frivolous, useless, stupid.

Inferno shrugs, his usual demeanor returning now that he's given Red Alert the music box. "<< Been alright. The usual. Mostly busy. >>" He leans back on one servo, optics trained on the space before them, partially so he can steal glances at Red Alert out of the corner of his view without making it obvious. "<< What's the story? Now I'm curious. >>"

"<< Ah, >>" Red Alert feels a little embarrassed to tell it, but at the same time he's been dying to share it with Inferno. At least it's better than his other embarrassing story about when he got magnetized to his roommate. That one could just flounder in obscurity for all eternity. "<< You know I don't like going to Swerve's, right? We have a history. >>" He grimaces, remembering, but then shakes his head and continues on. "<< Anyway, I thought Mirage's new place might be better for us to, um, spend some time together. So I went to scout it out. It turned out they were having something called a LARP. >>" He tilts his head. "<< Have you ever heard of anything like that?>>"

The mention of Swerve has Inferno's digits curling against the hull, plating tightening in the most subtle way he can manage, oh frag he can't have heard about that already can he? And as the story continues he relaxes. Almost like he'd never tensed at all. He doesn't say a word in response to that, either, knowing that if he did he'd give himself away, only affording a nod. It makes it easier that Red Alert's reasoning for trying out Mirage's new lounge is for them to be there together, and the way Inferno's spark burns joyously in his chassis chases away any negativity.

"<< LARP...nah, can't say I have. What's it involve? >>" 'Ferno shifts just a little bit closer to Red as he asks, popping the small cap on one of the energon cubes he'd brought, quickly stuffing a straw into the opening, and offering it to Red Alert while he did. Pay attention to the snack, Red, not to how his servo was trying to move within distance of lacing a pinky with yours without you noticing.

"<< Thank you, >>" Red Alert says, quickly taking the offering and unfortunately not giving Inferno a chance to touch his hand. Better luck next time, buddy. "<< Apparently it's some kind of game where you dress up and act out a story. I didn't quite understand the plot, but there was a colony that was being attacked by a dragon creature and we had to save the day. You'd think people get enough of that in their daily lives on this ship, but everyone seemed to quite enjoy it. I uh, >>" Red went a little pink around the nose, "<< Ended up getting dragged into it by Rung and Starstruck. >>"

"<< Welcome, >>" is repeated. Inferno listens to the story, propping himself up with the inching servo, until it comes just close enough that he could touch Red Alert. But he doesn't, his nerve failing at the last second. His optics narrow just slightly while he tries to puzzle out why anyone would want to do that. Why pretend you're facing danger when you could do it for real? Didn't make any sense, to 'Ferno. The names Red gave were met with a smile, or, really, Rung's was. He likes his therapist. Starstruck, though, he knew only from being in the same department, unaware that the Decepticon was the same one Blaster had referenced once before. "<< Did you have fun? >>" Inferno asks, looking to Red Alert again. He's quite a bit closer, with all that inching.

"<< I-- >>" Red Alert finds that he suddenly has to tilt his helm up a bit more to meet Inferno's optics. Was he always this close? The rest of his face catches on blush. "<< It was interesting. I enjoyed coming up with silly magical powers with Rung. That was fun. >>" He wonders if Inferno will think that's a bit foolish, but it's too late now. Red covers his anxiety by bringing the straw to his face and taking a long sip.

Inferno remembers the last time he saw Red Alert blush, and at the time, he'd had to turn away. He finds it in himself to stay where he is, now, arm nearly brushing against Red's. His smile lingers, even as it turns softer, the glow of his blue optics warm as he regards Red Alert. "<< I'm sorry I missed it, >>" Inferno says, truthfully. He may not understand, but if Red liked it, surely he would've, too. "<< I haven't been able ta get down ta Raj's new lounge, which is a shame...I hear it's gorgeous. >>" The idea that Red Alert wants them to go together, once again, brightens his mood. "<< Guess you'll have ta show me around. >>" And even over the comms, the tone of his words is warm, welcoming.

Red Alert nearly chokes on his energon as Inferno suggests they go to Visages together. It's not that he doesn't want to, just... Mirage has a way of showing up for his most mortifying moments. If they go to Visages together, will the curse continue? Still, Inferno has a way of working around his awkwardness, so perhaps it will be alright. "<< That sounds like a reasonable suggestion, >>" is the closest thing he'll come to expressing approval.

Speaking of...

"<< I brought this by the way. One of Swerve's non-engex recipes. It's not bad, >>" he offers, pulling a drink out of his box of goodies. It's already got a straw sticking out of it as Red had to test it for poisons first. He can't put it above Swerve to find it funny to put something in his drink. Then again, he can't put it above anyone. "<< There's only one but I already sampled it, so you can have it. >>"

<FS3> Inferno rolls Heroics: Good Success. (4 8 2 6 5 8 8 1 2)

Inferno hasn't heard of Mirage's treatment of Red Alert, which is, obviously, considering the way he'd handled what he'd heard of Swerve's, a good thing. Even if the odds for him doing something bad were less likely, as he knew Mirage better than Swerve, and liked the mech. For the most part. He could be a bit of a snoot snoot at times. " << Alright. Then maybe our next d--the next time we've got time to spare, we can meet up in Visage's. >>" He'd managed to say the d word to Red Alert, once. After all this time, he's not yet ready to do it again.

"<< Oh? >>" Inferno glances down at the cube Red Alert produces. It's more of a bluish color, probably reflecting some of the other flavors and additives that were included in the recipe. He thinks about Red having already drank from this cube. He thinks about Red's lips touching the end of that straw. "<< Heh, then it must be good. >>" And instead of taking the cube, Inferno leans down, close to Red Alert, to take the end of the straw into his mouth and drink. Red Alert is right - it isn't bad at all. He takes a longer sip than is really necessary before he pulls back and gives an innocent grin. "<< I like it! Thanks, Red. >>"

<FS3> Red_Alert rolls Investigation: Good Success. (8 1 1 4 4 8 8 5 6)

Red Alert's optics flicker. It's weird that Inferno stumbled back on his words. A small glitch, or...

Red Alert recalls a recording, one he's watched many times, when Inferno accidentally said something he didn't mean. (Or so he had convinced himself at the time. Now he's not so sure.)

As Inferno leans forward and sips the drink in Red Alert's hands, all the pieces start to fall together. The closeness. The odd remarks. The gift. Red Alert freezes as Inferno pulls back a bit and smiles at him. He may have drawn back but he's still so close, much closer than Red Alert remembers him being at the start of their picnic. His face so close makes it hard to think.

"<< Inferno... >>" Red Alert's voice is quiet across the comms, and he stares down at the drink in his hands. "<< Is this a date? >>"

They're having a picnic together under the stars. Most mechs would call this romantic. Perhaps he was stupid not to realize it sooner.

Inferno is relaxing into the mood of their picnic, happy to be so close to Red Alert, happy to share this moment with him. Even if it's as friends - as he told Beachcomber, he just wants to be close to Red. Friendship was not lesser than the feelings Inferno was experiencing, and even if he had to shift said feelings into the particular area, he can. Because he cares about Red. And he's content in what they're doing now, even if it's not what he'd like it to be, because he doesn't know and doesn't want to risk it, evidenced by how he'd cut that word off very quickly when he'd just tried to say it. He's prepared to exchange more small talk, to possibly lapse into silence.

He's not prepared for that.

If Red Alert freezes, Inferno becomes a statue. If sound could travel through space there would be an audible series of clunks as his plating smacks against his protoform, his optics sticking on a random point amongst the stars and staying there. He tries to take a careful in-and-out vent, to relax, to pretend like he hasn't been nearly scared out of his plating at the question. He thinks of lying. And then he...doesn't.

"<< I'd like it to be. >>" 'Ferno's voice is just as quiet. He's moved, creating more distance between them, pulling his servos into his lap. "<< But if ya don't, that's okay. >>"

This is the first time Red Alert has seen Inferno look so panicked. He wants to take the words back immediately. He makes a choked little sound, lost to the vacuum of space, and he backs up too, almost right off the end of their makeshift seat. He thinks about leaving, escaping like he did the first time he met Inferno (the first time that counted) but Inferno speaks at last and Red fights down his own fears to listen.

Inferno...wants to.

He has no idea how to react to that. His spark feels too tight for his plating. He wants to speak to Rung immediately. He wants a quiet place and a patient ear to listen to him explain the situation, to talk it over, to offer suggestions. He doesn't want to be sitting right in front of Inferno, right now, with the poor mech hanging on his answer.

He needs to stall for time.

"<< I. I'll have to think about it. Sorry. >>" He doesn't know why he's apologizing. He's well within his right to say so. But perhaps he's just sorry that he's put them both through this situation with his question. It would be better to not know, and continue going on these almost-dates with his almost-friend. Or, his actual friend, but almost-botfriend. He doesn't know. "<< Do you want to keep eating, or should we go? >>"

<FS3> Inferno rolls Comforting: Great Success. (1 2 8 6 8 7 3 4 8)

Inferno doesn't hear the sound, obviously, but out of the corner of his optic he sees how Red Alert moves away. He doesn't know the thoughts behind the movement, doesn't know that Red Alert may actually be interested. What he does know is that Red Alert needs some time, even before he receives the comm. Though he keeps the distance, Inferno turns another smile toward Red Alert.

"<< It's okay. >>" Another repetition. Inferno pushes down how his own spark is cracking in order to reassure Red. As long as they can stay friends, that's what matters! "<< I like hangin' out with ya no matter what, Red. >>" The rest of the bundle he's brought is handed over, his expression remaining kind, helpful, friendly. "<< I should get goin'. Thanks fer comin' out here with me. Maybe I'll see ya at Visage's. >>" He stands, the magna clamps on his pedes keeping him firmly glued to the hull, even if, in that moment, he'd kind of like to float away. How fitting, that they'd only exchanged one energon goodie each. He carefully makes his way back onto the ship without another word. He miiiiight need some time to decompress.

How strange that Red thought of the time in the gym, because now it has turned into the opposite. He stares at the goodies Inferno has pressed into his hands, then down at the ones he packed earlier. He'd been happy, then. He'd been--despite their being no evidence of such activity--humming to himself. With care he had packed each carefully acquired treat into the box, his favourites, and things he wanted to share with Inferno. He didn't want to take them back to his habsuite and eat them all alone.

"<<Inferno, wait!>>" He is up in an instant and dashing after Inferno as quickly as he can in the magnaclamps, nearly tripping over his own wheels in the process.

Inferno has already re entered the ship, stopping to remove the magna clamps from his own pedes, when Red Alert's comm is finally processed. And so he waits. And so a second later as Red joins him, the smile comes back, as he stays where he is to find out what he's missed.

"What's up?"

Red Alert stumbles as he re-enters the ship, falling into Inferno as gravity reclaims him once more. "Ah, sorry..." He picks himself up off Inferno and stares up at him. "You waited for me." He's stunned a moment, charmed even, but then he shakes himself out of it and hands over the box of goodies he packed. "Here. You gave me yours so you can have mine." He realizes he's making it sound too much like a business transaction, so he adds "I want you to have it. And, um, you can tell me which ones are your favourites." He's blushing again. He can't seem to help it around Inferno.

He really should call Rung. There's a lot to talk about.

Inferno's arms are automatic, seeming to move on their own as they come up to catch Red Alert, to hold him temporarily. Only temporarily, of course, and they quickly drop. He's done enough damage today, he doesn't want to upset Red further. Though...why did the mech ask him to wait at all? Surely Red Alert wants to be out of the awkwardness Inferno has put between them as soon as possible.

"'Course I did," 'Ferno says, once the (mutual) shock passes. He meant what he said and he said what he meant - they were friends, even if Inferno might want something else. His shock comes back when the box is pushed toward him to take.

"Aw, Red." Inferno's blushing a bit himself, as his faceplates shift into a touched, and pleased, smile. "Sure. I'll letcha know." Maybe there's hope after all? 'Ferno can't decide if he should hold onto it or not. He broke his own careful approach and he'd wondered if he had ruined everything, but if Red was giving him these, then he must at least still consider Inferno a friend. Or something close. Right?

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