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2017-07-17 Grief

From Transformers: Lost and Found

2017-07-17 Grief
Date 2017/07/17
Location Lost Light - Science and Medical - Medibay
Participants Rodimus, Soundwave
Plot Topsy Turvy
Summary Losing someone is hard- even if that someone is not your someone.

It's almost a footnote, really, on the report of one of the recent clashes with the !Lost Lighters, but one of the !cassettes was killed, and their body returned to the Lost Light.

(Added details include that he had been killed while connected to Rodimus and that he was returned mangled, shoved into his tape dock, having been killed by having Soundwave's decepticon badge forced down his intake until he bled out. R I P.)

As soon as the autopsy's concluded and the badge ... extracted, one of the medics emerges to give Rodimus -- sitting with Frumble as Knock Out gives him a check-up; it's all Decepticons over here, no Autobots allowed -- the autopsy report. Rodimus ... files the autopsy report. Soundwave's probably getting a copy from the medics now, anyway. But he does send him a comm letting him know that !Squawktalk's body is in medical, arranged with as much dignity as possible, and ask what he wants to do.

This comm comes with a lot of very abbreviated words, some of which are translatable only due to the fact that Rodimus has used them in other messages, but form or not, the substance is there.

Soundwave was aware something had happened. Something bad. He had yet to obtain the details but he knew enough that he made sure to stay close to medibay. He's trying not to think about it, busying himself with other reports he's gotten behind on and walking around. Talking to others. He's sure he unnerved a Jackpot-in-Siren's-body but its hard to tell. Its all so quiet but it had yet to feel quite so harrowing as when he finally recieves a copy of the report.

Soundwave manages to not trip once as he runs to medibay. He's there before Rodimus's (horrendous) comm is even half a minute past sent. He doesn't have to ask or look around. He doesn't have his outlier ability but his spark just knows an he listens to it- it sounds so much louder in this frame, beating against his audios while the pulse of this fuel pump seems to slow to a stop. He keeps his optics on the ground as he approaches, unable to bring himself to look yet.

Soundwave stands there a while, spoiler hiked up and angled back as if poised to help him run away. But he is still and silent, expression stony. Time stretches and the unnaturalness of the posture to Rodimus's body becomes more pronounced- it really isn't meant to be still like this. Inevitably, when the immobility begins to become worrisome, Soundwave looks up.

His face breaks, spoiler drooping as he looks at the broken, little !cassette. Its different from the Squawktalk he knows but its still... It's still Squawktalk. Soundwave's engine whines and he lifts a hand, but hesitates. A pained sound manages to eek itself out of his vocalizer as his servos hover but he doesn't touch.

When he sees his own body slide past in the medical bay, Rodimus disentangles himself from the Decepticons, leaving a promise that he'll be back with Knock Out and Frumble both. !Squawktalk has been left behind a curtain drawn to shield the tangled twins from the death of their friend, and it's behind that curtain that Rodimus passes to join Soundwave. He tenses as he first spots Soundwave, still frozen and still, with a parting of his lips that could be any one of a dozen expressions, his eyes veiled to hide it behind the visor. It's not like Soundwave's looking, anyway.

The awful stillness carves a space for itself, setting up terribly fearsome warning signs and a barbed wire fence. Rodimus heeds the warning until the point Soundwave's features break, and he moves closer: a tall and solid presence, which is still not something he's quite used to, but not a looming one. Not this time.

Borrowed outlier ability or not, there are impulses hard-wired into Rodimus's spark that a little (giant) change of frame aren't going to stop: he reaches for Soundwave, placing his hand on his arm as much to offer comfort as to encourage him to close the reach. It's okay. He has the right. He has permission. He has whatever he is looking for. "I'm sorry," he monotones.

It already sounds like he's alone but with seeing !Squawtalk, it feels like it too. Everyone else might as well be invisible as Soundwave's servo holds steady just hovering there. The wash of pain and grief is still trying to be damned up in his mind. Any attempts at continuing to reign in some smidgen of emotional control is lost when Rodimus touches him. He startles, vents suddenly heaving as all his efforts come crashing down and flood his mind.

Soundwave, in the same motion of his jump, clambors onto the berth to collect !Squawktalk into his arms- he avian is so much bigger in this frame but still so familiar- before twisting and lashing out with a kick to Rodimus without full comprehension of who he's striking out at. Scrambling back, he presses his fallen spoiler to the wall an holds the !cassette tightly. Normally he'd just sit there and hold them. But in this frame, he's able to curl up tightly around the small frame. And he does just that, like he's trying to protect the tiny avian. His vents gasp as he trembles a little.

This is a nightmare for Soundwave and heavy guilt quickly permeates his being. He was out enjoying himself and this happened. He shouldn't have let this happen. He could have stopped this.

The door of Rodimus's tape dock has been broken and repaired like 15 times in the last week. Why not make it 16. WHY NOT.

Rodimus staggers back at the kick, or maybe at the grief that pours from Soundwave's mind like a river that has burst its banks, overrunning in flood. Everything that passes across his features goes unseen with Soundwave locked in his grief. He keeps his hands to himself, but waves off the helpful peek of one of the Autobot medics that comes to make sure everything's already. He moves to subtly block the way, granting Soundwave a measure more privacy, and stands there as stiff and as still as -- well, Soundwave might be.

Sounwave stays curled up for a long time, spark aching instead of his head for once. He'd nearly lost a cassette during the war- and even after. But he hadn't actually lost one. It was like something had torn a part of him away, leaving him feeling raw and hollow.

Rodimus will have to stand there a while, ticking by that just can't be portrayed with words. For Soundwave, it feels like an eternity.

With shallow and shakey ventilations, he finally lifts his helm to look at Rodimus. He's incapable of shedding any tears but the look on his faceplates might reflect such an emotion powerful enough to almost make someone see them. Soundwave presses !Squawktalk closer, as if he can put him safetly into a dock that isn't there. Glassy, blue optics take in his own frame and repairs, spoiler quivering. "Rodimus..." His voice really has not business being hoarse, but it sputters fizzing static anyways. "Tell me what happened." Reports are one thing but he wants to hear it.

Having committed to being here, Rodimus remains through the long and honestly kind of awkward (for him) silence. He doesn't know what to say. He doesn't know if him being here is worse than him not being here. There's a bitterness to the downward turn of his lips, and his body language -- such as it is -- is stiff. Guarded. But his expression softens as he studies Soundwave, as he looks at everything that paints itself across his features to shout his feelings to the world. Voice flat and lips hard in shared grief, he says, "He killed him. Isn't that enough?"

Soundwave doesn't look away from Rodimus, jaw setting at the dismissal. "No," he says firmling. Information is what he thrives on. He doesn't go in half way. He needs to know what happened. He has to know what he wasn't there to shield the cassette from while he watched the stars with Cosmos. This shouldn't have happened, this isn't right. "Tell me," he repeats firmly, an almost desperate plea on the edge of his words.

Rodimus passes his hand over his face. His fingers slide past the visor to hook at his jaw, curled over his mouth as it curves down. It's subtle, but he's tense enough to twitch as he stills a rattle of his armor, killing a shudder before it's any more obvious. He passes it in a roll of his shoulders, looking away, and brings one hand to touch his dock. "He just." He gestures, waving his hand a little horribly, evocative of the slash of the a weapon. "Cut everything in him up and let him bleed out." His response is clipped, or maybe that's just how he talks.

One of Soundwave's servos curls into a tight fist. There was time to save him and he wasn't there. Or even here when back-up was called for from the Lost Light. He curls up tighter, pulling up his spikey knees up. "Was it long?" he continues to ask, gaze shifting from Rodimus down to the limp, cold frame against him. And completely ignorant with how these questions or this entire happening is affecting Rodimus.

Faltering even in monotone, Rodimus admits, "I don't -- know." There's a slight pause, then he says, "No," more firmly.

Some tension is released from Soundwave's frame. He can't confirm it as truth but he trusts Rodimus to accept his answer as truth. He gently rubs a thumb against !Squawktalk's frame, not relinquishing him yet. Not letting go. "He like talking. Excellent mimicry. He loved language," Soundwave says softly, no synthesizer to flatten his sadness.

He vents again, dowsing a ripple of heat before it can roll over his shoulders. The guilt is heavy on his mind- his, fault, his fault, his fault, he was enjoying himself and they were suffering, his fault- but the heat of anger is growing. Soundwave is trying to make sure it doesn't physically manifest. !Squawktalk's body doesn't need any more marks. "He will pay. I will make him suffer for this." I will fill my records with his screams, is thought very loudly.

"He had a pretty good impression of me. Him," Rodimus corrects. "He didn't appreciate it." He smiles, a touch too rictus to be anything like comforting, and he discards it a moment later. His aspect is exceptionally flat, and he continues to hold himself stiffly. Extra bricky. "He wasn't alone, though. And his last thoughts were defiant. He'll answer for what he's done. All of them. But -- it's not your fault, Soundwave. It's really not."

Soundwave's lips quirk up in a small smile before the corners are dragged back down as if by a weights. "Of course he did," he says, almost rocking the cassette in his arms. "Mockery, his favorite." He speaks like this is his Squawktalk and not another's.

But any sense of bitter happiness vanishes. Guilt and anger mixing over his face as his jaw clenches. "I wasn't here, Rodimus. I had left. I should have been here to reciever your call for back up. I should have been there to prevent this. I should have been here when you both were retrieved. I am a Commander, I should not have left..." Clearly the whole 'don't blame yourself' isn't going work here. "It's my duty to protect them and I have failed."

"Well, you were't here," Rodimus says, "and I'm glad you weren't there." He weights the last word with a pause, where he's unable to inflect in tone. There's another slight twitch as he draws straighter. "You aren't their commander; they aren't your cassettes. Your duties are here, with your own cassettes." His words are flat and relentless. "Responsibility for this lies with the one who did it."

"They are!" Soundwave argues heatedly. "They are not the same but they are mine, and I should have-" His face twists, hands both becoming fists. "I should have killed him. I didn't and he did this." He pauses and then slowly moves to uncurl himself from around !Squawktalk. He takes care not to move too quickly, to alteast give the illusion that the avian might be recharging. Its a comforting if not bitter thought. "I'm going to find him and make sure I do not repeat my mistake."

Rodimus grimaces and folds his arms over his chest, wrapped tight. "While I'm sure you would enjoy that," he says, as flat and level as a salt plain, "he's not their only monster. He might not even be the worst. We can start planning ways to extract the rest of the cassettes. The Decepticons."

Soundwave moves to sit on the edge of the berth, finally moving the !cassette to lay against the berth once more. He makes sure he's in a comfortable position at least. "Of course," he says, looking at !Squawktalk with thoughts of vengeance still on his mind. He took out !Rodimus once, he's more than sure he can do that again and then some. "All of them. But as long as the Autobots are out there, they will not be safe- neither will we. Even when we defeat Unicron, they will still be here. We sould try eliminating the threat."

"Right, sure," Rodimus says, all flat casual. "But let's start by saving people before we move on to revenge, okay? There are a lot of people that they can and will hurt before you get whatever it is that you're looking for."

Soundwave doesn't vocally agree with Rodimus, just silently agrees... And then even silentlier thinks about revenge. Because even though their counterparts seem to be quite the match, surely he will be to handle them enough to dole out justice.

Soundwave's gaze lingers on the avian a moment longer before lifting to Rodimus. His brows pinch together, lips a fine line. "Rodimus... I- Query?"

His arms locked in a fold across his body, which he continues to hold Soundwave-still, Rodimus looks back at Soundwave. Whatever his brows do goes unseen behind the visor, but the slight downward curve has never quite left his lips. "Yeah?"

Soundwave hesitates, his rage subsiding enough to let just the grief manifest some more. The anger will be back but he can't muster up the strength to retain it for now. "I have never been to a funeral. I do not know... I require your assisstance. I know there are many different rites but I only need one... Squawktalk deserves a proper peace."

Mouth soft, losing its hard set, Rodimus exhales in a vent that shivers through his entire body before cycling out. His gaze offlines, visor briefly dimming, before he nods. "Of course. You have it, Soundwave. Whatever you need, it's yours." His hands slip from their fold in a gesture, as if to pour himself out through his hands, then tuck back in again. "I owe you that much," he says, lower as he looks to the side and thinks. "Drift can make sure it's all right and proper. He knows what the Decepticon traditions are."

Soundwave nods, dropping his hands to his lap. "Thank you." He means it. He didn't see funerals for those in Rodion. He didn't host any during the war for the Cons who's lives were taken- did the Decepticons have traditions? He never did much, too busy, too cold to those outside his own circle. At most, he'd transmit post-mortem accodlades to anyone within their surviving unit, if any survived. This is new. And it hurts. "... And thank you, for being here."

Soundwave scrutinizes the view of his body for a moment longer, taking in the repairs. "Where is my badge?"

Slightly, Rodimus shakes his head, but his body language gives little away. Besides, Soundwave sucks at body language. "Yeah," he says, which is basically 'you're welcome'. "Of course." At the question, he hesitates, then gestures at the medical cart past the curtain where the energon-stained tools of the autopsy linger. As well a Decepticon badge, soaked in energon that has dried to a gummy tack.

Soundwave looks that direction Rodimus indicates. He almost hops off to go and retrieve it. Almost. A quick glance at the !cassette and he stays. He'll retrieve the badge later. He nods in acknowledgement, but for now he wishes to stay here. "Rodimus, looks to be healing well."

Rodimus makes a sharp noise as his vocal synthesizer strains to hit the right note of that bark of laughter. "Ah -- yeah." He shrugs, the motion compressed and stiff. "Sorry about the mess. Welds'll be sanded down and repaint soon. By the time Perceptor gets this fixed, it'll be like it never happened."

Soundwave isn't overly attached to his appearance. So the welds and marred paintjob don't bother him. As long as he's functioning, he will be alright... ... And he might be a little attached to the faceplate and visor. "Perceptor?" He's not a medic.

Holding up two fingers, Rodimus ticks them between them: a tip of his hand at Soundwave and one back at himself, tapping the glass of his dock. "He's working on the switch. Don't worry, you'll get this back in good shape."

Oh, that's what Rodimus meant. Soundwave vents heavily, tiredly. As much as a burden that it is, he quite misses his outlier ability. Its a part of who he is. And now he doesn't have it. And its made life harder- he had never actually considered that before. "Of course," he says like he knew. "I will enjoy tearing Rodimus apart with my own hands, once this situation is rectified." Beat. "Not you, obviously."

Soundwave sighs, spoiler starting to droop again. After the initial crash, the sadness comes rolling in in waves. Coming and receding and he's unsure how long that will last. "I am going to stay here a while," he informs the Captain.

Rodimus smiles in a curve that's really more of a line with two corners at the edges, and tense, besides. Watching Soundwave -- reading all those tells that looks so funny from this side -- he breathes out in another sighing ventilation. "Sure. Of course. Magnus can reassign your duties. I know you probably want me out of here, but do you want me to grab any energon or anything for you?"

"Not necessary, I have some energon in subspace." Soundwave draws in before shifting over, closer to !Squawktalk. "Some alone time, appreciated."

"Right." On that, Rodimus steps out, stopping to ask the staff to give Soundwave the time he needs before checking in with Magnus on reassigning duties. Soundwave gets his alone time, and a reprieve from any new comms or notifications, while Rodimus is banished back into the company of the other Decepticons -- Frumble, Knock Out -- to go finish out that check-up he ditched.

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