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2018-06-04 Megatron's Exes

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Megatron's Exes
Date 2018/06/04
Location Command -- Incident Room
Participants Soundwave
NPCs Starscream
Scene GM Tez
Summary Their ex sucks.

After the disaster that was the gala, Soundwave returned to the Lost Light with Prowl's urging. And there he's remained-physically, in body, at least.

He left. He left his office, his habsuite, his home for the last few years. Left the very painful remainders that plagued his daily life aboard the Lost Light. What a disaster of a decision that was. He can't return to the office or habsuite- they aren't his now. The Bridge is restricted to the Lost Light crew, of which he is not anymore. He left. He left.

Soundwave sits in the Incident Room, here only because Prowl placed him here some while ago. Probably to keep him out of the way. But he could be kicked out at a moment's notice. He's well aware that his presence on this vessel is in a very precarious position- allowed until someone decides to boot him off. He wouldn't blame them if they did. He stares at his hands, visor dim and shoulder bowed. Silent. Alone.

A very, very familiar and very, very, very grating presence rasps against Soundwave's senses as Starscream plows through the ship's order like an icebreaker through the sea. He has little regard for what is before him, and leaves it to those in his path to get out of his way or shatter on the sharp bow of his mood. The authority he carries is real -- was real, was earned, truly, through fair election. How much value it has now, his planet stolen from beneath him, is a question he fights tooth and claw to purge from the minds of those around him.

When Starscream finds Soundwave -- poor Soundwave! -- he's in a foul mood, his authority checked by Ignition's unwavering control and command of the Lost Light. He's been afforded guest quarters, of course, and the very best, with Ignition taking housing elsewhere, but the ship is cramped with refugees who fled Cybertron, and all of them look to Starscream and ask: why.

Starscream, of course, looks to Soundwave and asks, "How can you possibly dare show your face--" He sneers the word 'face', the 'such as it is' left subtext. "--after that disaster?"

Its a testament to how often the two of them worked together when Soundwave doesn't flinch at Starscream bursts in. He draws inward, bringing his hands close to his chassis. Where his fingertips can brush against the sharp, purple badge there.

Soundwave looks up to Starscream without lifting his head. Weary optics can almost be seen beyond the thick glass of his visor, looking over all of Starscream's bristly angles before they slide back down. This time, they settle on the ground. "I didn't know..." he says quietly, the single note of his tone dulling whatever misery tries to sneak into his voice.

Starscream awards that the laugh it deserves. "Very convincing, Soundwave. 'I didn't know.' You certainly seem to be able to overlook quite a lot of Megatron's excesses, don't you? You were always very good at not hearing his madness when he went after me." He straightens, proud and martyred victim.

Soundwave sits there, still. But there's no doubt that Starscream's words make impact. Compared to the blaster marks on his armor, they're invisible. But they scorch and score worse than any physical bullet. "I didn't... Overlook anything Megatron did." He shifts, turning away from Starscream. "I just excused it. And I excused it until I accepted it- then I could just let it happen, without a qualm."

There's a faint shivering clatter of Starscream's armor. It would be below the level of anyone else's hearing, but Soundwave is not anyone else. He is Soundwave.

Fear maybe, anxiety, definitely tension, of some sort, maybe even the start of bristling anger: Starscream passes through it all, lightning fast. Notoriously volatile as he is, there remains a degree of survivor's calculation. Always a survivor. "You have excused and accepted quite a lot to suddenly refuse to swallow more. But then, I suppose you had a front row seat to the price of disagreement, didn't you?"

It's clear from the way he speaks that Starscream has begun to frame the narrative of his own volatile relationship with Megatron -- their arguments, the fights -- as being due to Starscream attempting to act as some sort of moral figure. He might even actually believe that.

"He always listened to me," Soundwave says, looking over his shoulder at Starscream. He can hear the edge Starscream perches on but he's just so used to it. And what does he have to lose if the mech snaps. "But he-- I do not understand what is different. We were close; I gave it all to him, he confided in me. We weren't like you and him. I never deserved his distrust, his wrath. You asked for it- how could he call you traitor and continue to have accepted you but not me?"

Soundwave's fingers curl, raking against the glass of his chassis. Then his hands fall to his side and he looks away again. "No. No... ... ... I'm sorry."

The shiver becomes a sudden snap as Starscream's wings brace, almost on the edge of flight. "Deserved?" he snaps, his voice cutting. "I deserved nothing of his treatment." He lashes out, gripping Soundwave's helm with a clawed face at his jaw to turn it so that he can study his face. "Look at me. Look at me and tell me you truly believe that I deserved Megatron's treatment, so that I know just how blind you still are."

Soundwave's engine growls, briefly, as his head is twisted back around and held there. He tugs his head weakly. His engine falls silent and... His gaze falls, unable to look at Starscream. "No. I'm sorry," he repeats. The cables at his neck tighten with a clench of his jaw.

"It's my fault," Soundwave says lowly, synthesizer crackling just a little. "I brought you to him. I allowed him to go too far..." His optics flit up. "And you. I am sorry, Starscream."

Despite everything -- the martyrdom he wears as surely as he wore that cape crown; the victim's air he polishes to as fine a shine as his paint -- it still carves a fresh wound in Starscream, already bleeding, to hear Soundwave acknowledge the truth of it and apologize.

His hand drops, as though the touch of Soundwave's frame scalds him, and his hand trembles as he clasps his hands to steady them behind his back. He steps back -- sits, suddenly, as though his knees are weak and their supports have been cut.

Starscream -- Starscream -- is silent.

Without Starscream's hand there for support, Soundwave's head sinks. Another failure on his part. He sits there in silence with Starscream, wilted. A crumbling wall.

"Do you remember first meeting him? When we were all together for the first time. We were taken, immediately, by him. And that was it for us. We can't get away and we can't change him..." Soundwave's vents cycle, a sad, slow sound. "We were right. So where did we go so wrong?"

Starscream tries to some anger several times in the silence that follows, as Soundwave wilts into a crumbling wall. He gets close to it several times, but the spark never quite ignites. Then -- "I got away," he says, sharp almost to viciousness. "You might still be tangled up in whatever threads he sunk in you, but I got away. That's my planet he's ruining. Not his. It was never his. It was ours, the Decepticons, but it was never his. Something he forgets."

Starscream doesn't fall but Soundwave continues to sink lower. "I doesn't forget... He doesn't even acknowledge that it could be anything but his. He truly believes this is for the best. We won't be able to change his mind. It'll be another war. Or worse."

Soundwave draws his hands in again, curling them against himself. "I've seen the world he brings, Starscream. And I left cassettes down there."

"If he wants a war, he'll get one." Starscream's smile is all teeth. "He's a relic who struggles to make himself feel important. The world's moved past him, and I'm happy to show him that. It's not his world to bring. It does not belong to him. If you need help retrieving the cassettes, you'll have it."

"They shouldn't have been there to begin with," Soundwave says, voice rimmed with regret. But he can't change it. It is just how things are, he has to deal with all his mistakes. "But thank you... Be careful, Starscream. He's more relevant than you think. And undermining him risks undermining the Decepticons."

"You're wrong." Scorn returns to Starscream's gaze with quicksilver speed. "That's his mistake, and one you can't keep letting him make for you. Megatron is not and never has been the Decepticons or the Decepticon movement. He rose with the tide, he rode it, but he is not the wave."

"No," Soundwave says with a small shake of his head. "Megatron embodied the Decepticons. I could hear it so clearly." He vents. "The Decepticons were needed. How he is now-- What he is now... I know he's not what he was. But I think it may be impossible to seperate the two anymore."

Starscream's gaze falls to the side of Soundwave's face and then tracks back. "It's amazing what you could hear so clearly and what you chose not to hear at all."

Soundwave's shoulders bunch, hands clasping together. He doesn't say anything immediately. His head just sinks lower. In a hushed voice, he practically murmurs, "No. I... I heard everything."

Starscream sneers extra hard to see if Soundwave can hear that.

Soundwave flinches and then turns away, giving Starscream a great view of his broad back.

"Cower, then. Stand by while others do the work: rescue those still trapped, save Cybertron." Starscream straightens, shoulders back, cockpit pushed forward. Just in case there was any doubt about who is saving Cybertron. "That's always been your greatest strength."

Soundwave remains silent for a long stretch of time. As if he's considering arguing with Starscream or agreeing with him. Finally: "I will be retrieving my cassettes. As soon as I am able."

"I'm sure you will," Starscream says, condescending as only he manages. Read: he doesn't think Soundwave will ever be able.

Soundwave doesn't move. "... I'm sure you're busy," he says flatly back.

Starscream says, “Yes, I am.” He’s particularly self-important about it too. And then he’s gone, leaving Soundwave to his own thoughts. Alone.

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