2018-07-29 Truth and Art
From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Truth and Art|
|Location||Cassettes and Soundwave's Habsuite|
|Summary||Rodimus helps Soundwave hang pictures. And talk other talk of hanging!|
Thanks to Minimus's expediting, Soundwave once again has a habsuite with his cassettes. A habsuite that he's spent a lot of time in recently- mostly during his 'off' shifts. Just as he is now.
Soundwave takes a step back from the wall. And then another step. "Move approximately two inches to the left," he instructs, Buzzsaw adjust with a tilt of his wings. "... Now a third of a foot down." There's a grumble but Buzzsaw sinks in the air, not making a peep without his partner in crime.
Soundwave considers this new arrangement, brows furrowing under his visor. He quietly, and remotely, signals his door to unlock. Buzzsaw grumbles, louder this time, but doesn't move until: "That position, suitable," Soundwave says with a small nod, the photo magnetizing to the wall.
A thoughtful quiet clouds over the bright of Rodimus's thoughts as he approaches. He's about to comm Soundwave when the door clicks unlocked, and surprise registers in a blip of uncertainty. Then -- he comms anyway, a simple, Hey, you got a sec? sent by text with fewer letters and more mispelling of some very basic words.
Soundwave takes a brief moment to contemplate just locking his door after recieving that message. Why. But he doesn't. Instead, his door opens as he hands Buzzsaw another picture. The wall he's facing currently looks like an incomplete puzzle of pictures. Each one has an individual (occasionally morbid- are those fingers?) frames that he's jigsawing together. "Greetings, Rodimus," Soundwave says, looking over with a small wave.
"Hi." Stepping in, Rodimus tilts two fingers to Buzzsaw in a wave and looks to make sure there aren't any other cassettes in need of a hello that he might be ignoring. Gotta be polite! Then his attention returns to Soundwave -- and past him, to the wall. "--Soundwave. Your, uh -- frames?"
There's no other cassette around. At least, not that Rodimus can see. Those cats and bats are sneaky as heck though.
"Frames, not mine. Buzzsaw's," he says, a note of pride in his monotone. That does not explain much at all. The pictures themselves are an ecclectic mix. There's a noticeable amount with awkward cropping that's not enough to clip Megatron completely out of the picture. Most of those have cassettes starring in them. But there's also more recent pictures- Penchant snugged between other cassettes, a few with other crew members, at least one with just Minimus, a few of elephants, and several with Rodimus. And right next to a small picture with vaguely mech-shaped geen blurr, is a larger image of a chubby, nubby bean. Most images give the vibe that most of these were taken without anyone knowing. And there's still more in a stack beside Soundwave, waiting to be put up.
"Creative, well made," Soundwave adds about the frames, making the usually sulky Buzzsaw preen a little in the air. "Rodimus, wish to help?"
As his gaze sweeps over the pictures, Rodimus is briefly distracted by that hint of a swirl, the edge of a cannon, before his gaze moves on to friendlier faces. Seeing Penchant and Minimus draws a smile from him, one that spills wider when he sees the elephants. "Sure," he says, his gaze still searching. He holds out his hand for a picture, but studies the frames with an uneasy distaste. He glances at the preening Buzzsaw and says nothing.
Soundwave hands a picture to Rodimus that, thankfully, has a finger-free frame. This time its made from various triggers welded together. "Thank you. Set it beside the left-most picture of Ravage," he instructs before crossing his arms. Inspecting if that placement will work. "So, Rodimus on off-shift? We can do something more enjoyable once I am finished with this wall."
Rodimus relaxes slightly on finding that the frame is not made of body parts -- then reconsiders, thoughtful, whether or not those couldn't still belong to someone's alt-mode. "Yeah, I wanted to catch you to talk, but this is fine. I mean, mostly fine." He eyes one of the finger-frames again. It's in this state of distraction that he passes by to find the left-most picture of Ravage, then doubles back to consider a shot of a chubby, nubby bean.
Soundwave has Buzzsaw maneuver a little before mag-locking the picture to the wall, flying back over to sit on Soundwave's shoulder. He gives him a little scrictch under his beak. "We can speak as we work. And not to worry. Most of these come from unusable scrap materials medibays throw out," Soundwave assures. "Hmm, Rodimus, that picture does not go there. Approximately five feet to your left. And two up."
Tucking the picture he's been given under his arm, Rodimus stares at the bean already on the wall. It's a lot to take in, what with its too-large feet and too-large spoiler and -- is that a visor? It's a visor. It's absolutely a visor. "That is way stupider than I thought it was. How much do I have to pay you to hide it?"
"Nothing. Because I am not hiding it," Soundwave states. "That picture, one of my favorites. Now, the picture you have... Five over two up." Beat. "Please."
Rodimus aims for about four and a half over and two up, which is the best he can do without moving, because he's staying right here. He isn't reaching out to try to pry it off the wall -- yet. "Favorites? C'mon, look at it!"
"Yes, I have looked over it quite often while setting up the photos. I quite like it. So, no. I will not remove it." Soundwave looks and and considers. "Half a foot back down and half over still, Rodimus. Also, it is necessary you hold it level."
Rodimus's face scrunches in an expression half pleasure and half exasperation. He doesn't look satisfied, but he does at least move to set the picture he is holding where Soundwave wants. He adjusts it just slightly until it looks level. (He's leaning. It's not level.) "Please tell me you have a better one than that somewhere. Less ridiculous."
Soundwave sighs, a tentacle wiggling on over to grasp part of the picture and tilt it even. Better. Then it starts tugging the picture around, waiting to hit that picture perfect spot. "I own numerous video files. I could upload a different photo from one of the frames if you would prefer. But I like this one the most."
"No, I'm helping," Rodimus tells the tentacle as he reaches to lift it from the corner and move instead. "You can tell me where to go." This is definitely super helpful, Rodimus.
All of the questions he came here to ask, all of the things that he wanted to talk about: they hum at the edges of his mind. And then Rodimus ruthlessly pushes them back. "Why that one?"
The tentacle's biolight beat some unknown argument before snapping its claws at Rodimus's fingertips. It's doing a better job, l'eggo!
"Its a little off-center," Soundwave tells Rodimus with a soft exvent. "And that... That one is the most important to me. It is the first frame of the first recording I made after... After realizing you weren't gone. It continues to stir echoes of the emotions that were welling within me-" and, unspoken, everyone else too- "and reminds me to fight overwhelming grief rather than sulk within it." Beat. "And, Rodimus an adorable protoform."
Rodimus shifts, correcting the centering, and looks to the tentacle rather than Soundwave to see if that's better. It's a little silly; they don't actually have minds of their own. ...probably. Better, though?
Rodimus twists to look back at Soundwave proper as he finishes his answer with those last words, making a face at him. (And knocking the picture off-center again.) "Man, that was such a great answer and then you up and ruined it."
Soundwave's head cants. "Rodimus prefers if I currently called you adorable?" he asks, humor hedging his words. The tentacle make a quick adjustment and then activates the mag-lock so the picture is stright before Rodimus can ruin it again. Then it slithers to pinch Rodimus's malleable metal cheek. "Adorable. But, if you would prefer... Rumble and Frenzy did want this picture in particular. Impossible to know why," he says innocently. Yes, just impossible to imagine why.
Startled into a hiccuping, rough laugh, Rodimus rubs at his cheek. He glances after the retreating tentacle. "That's not--. That's really not what I meant." A beat: "Also, I'm so much better than fragging adorable." Another beat: "And also also, you should know to be wary about anything Rumble and Frenzy want."
And then Rodimus kind of deflates, the humor running from him like water to leave him not necessarily diminished, but contained, pared back to a more determined core. "And also not really why I came here, but now I hate to kill the mood."
The tentacle is halfway toward retracting when it stops, instead going the other direction. Back to Rodimus. There, it twists around his wrist before is claws grasp at his hands- larger hands, they don't quite fit right between his fingers. It squeezes.
"You've felt like a dam since you walked in here," Soundwave says softly, still lightly humming from their back and forth. But still just somber enough. "I've been trying not to pry. I'd rather you tell me what you're shouldering back."
"Oh, you too?" Rodimus says in an undertone, more to himself than to Soundwave, on finding that he's outgrown the easy fit of the tentacle's claws in his hand. That small loss carves a hollow beneath the hood of his chest. His fingers close over the end of the tentacle, and then he uses that gentle anchor to pull himself toward Soundwave and away from the wall. His head tilts up, but only slightly. Certainly less.
Rodimus says, "I found out about your indictment catching up on old meeting notes."
Soundwave goes statuesque, the tentacle stilling as well. None of its biolights beat and the earlier hum of systems shushes into background noise. Then the tentacle starts reeling in again, gently tugging at the easier to grasp metal plates of Rodimus's hands.
"I see," Soundwave says. "You read through them quicker than anticipated."
Anger heats Rodimus's frame, but he mutes it to a quiet focus on Soundwave. "Well, you know. I was bored." Even so, the flippancy of his words is lightly edged.
"Mmm... I've been bored recently as well," Sounwave murmurs, gaze focusing behind Rodimus at the picture-covered wall. Then back to Rodimus. "... You're upset," he states, not needing telepathy for that one. His vocalizer fuzzes for another half a minute before clicking off. Unsure of what to say next.
"I am." Rodimus draws his thumb across the side of Soundwave's tentacle, right where the claws spring free to grasp. Even though Rodimus may be upset, the gesture is gentle. He looks patient, as Soundwave searches for a reply, but he also looks as though that is a not unlimited reserve he is drawing on.
"Hnk." Soundwave locks his joints, a small shiver running up his spinal struts. He stills again with a puff from his vents, Rodimus now in front of him. The tentacle has no intention on coiling back under his armor either.
It takes a few minutes, Soundwave flexing his fingers as he tries to find the words. Trying not to fall back on his ability to figure it out. Finally, his vocoder clicks back on. "Is it because of the indictment... Or because you are only finding out now?"
What a funny little noise. It catches Rodimus's attention, as does the shiver. His gaze narrows, and his attention sharpens. Ever so slightly, he leans forward, and he repeats that same sweep of his thumb in an idle test.
"I'm not actually sure," Rodimus says, a conversation entirely at odds with what is going on with his hands. "I guess that's a dumb answer. But it's complicated. Maybe -- yes. Both. Minimus was certainly surprised I didn't know."
Soundwave's visor flickers and although it stays bright red, the light behind it offlines. Briefly. Then snaps back online. "I have been trying to tell you. But the time never seemed right--" His shoulders roll back to kill another shiver. "No. The opportunities came, and I ignored them."
"Tell me now," Rodimus says. His voice is low, and does not carry far, but his tone is firm as steel, and as unwavering as the brightest light. The command is gentle, but it's still a command. "As though this was the first I'd heard of it."
Soundwave puts a hand over Rodimus- no more tentacle stroking, please. He heaves another exvent. "Very well," he says softly. He draws himself up, the sounds of his systems coming to a suspended halt. Holding metaphorical breath.
"Rodimus..." Soundwave begins, the synthesizer warbling at the edges of his words. "I didn't want to tell you this. I'd rather you would never know- But I have asked that I be tried for the part I played in the war."
Rodimus curls his fingers over Soundwave's hand in a quick squeeze. No tentacle stroking. Just -- serious talking. And serious listening, broken by a brief, incredulous laugh. "Soundwave, how the frag could you think I'd never know? What did you think would happen? Don't you understand what you're opening yourself to?"
Soundwave lowers his head a few degrees, chuffing just a little with Rodimus. "I know. It was foolish. But I thought if I could lengthen the time you didn't-- I am not going to deny what I'm guilty of..." He lowers a little more, leaning towards Rodimus with a small step forward. "I don't want you to think less of me," he says softly.
Reaching up for Soundwave's face with his other hand, Rodimus cups the side of his helm. His fingers fan along the side, while his thumb rests against the mask that covers Soundwave's features. His eyes search to find Soundwave's gaze, even behind the visor. "I know who you are.
"And I know what you've done. Not all of it." There are two hundred pages to tell Rodimus that. "But I know -- enough." His thumb sweeps across Soundwave's mask, as gentle as though it were the face beneath. "For a while, I didn't understand how Penchant could possibly have let you remake him, knowing what he did about what you did to the neutrals. Sometimes, I wonder if I like you so much because I know you're not better than me. And I hate the part of me that thinks of it like that, but it's there. I think -- at least you can't think less of me. I'm sorry. I know that's stupid, and messed up, and an awful way to look at it."
Soundwave turns his cheek into Rodimus's palm. He reaches up, quietly, and removes his mask, letting it drop to the ground. Then his fingers press against the back of Rodimus's hand. "There's no one I think of quite as highly as you, Rodimus. Please, don't sell yourself short."
Soundwave's lips purse. "You're gonna hear awful things. And you're going to realize that the Autobots can't even know all of what I done... Will you at least keep in mind that it... All of it- I never enjoyed any of it."
For a moment, Rodimus holds his thumb stiff, as though the mask is still there, before relaxing his hand and bringing his touch to Soundwave's face once the mask is removed. He then brings his fingers forward, curling, so that his knuckles can brush just inside the edge of his helm. "I will remember that," he promises. Then, in a quieter voice, he says, "I'm afraid of what the verdict will be."
"I am too," Soundwave admits, almost inaudible. He's glad Rodimus isn't the telepath as the consequences flash through his head- spark extraction, the Triple Tap, and more. His fingers curl over the edge of Rodimus's hand. "But, I have to do this. I've known since we came back from that alternate timeline. And Minimus, after what I did to that other Rodimus- it was the last push. My life has been me scared and relying on others, following others, to do something about it. This time-- This it is all me." I smiles, faintly, at Rodimus.
The edge of Rodimus's knuckles push up, butting against the bottom edge of Soundwave's visor; his thumb lifts, pushing at the point, then his hands shift to remove it entirely, so that he does not have to try to look past the visor to meet his gaze. He waits until he can see Soundwave, until he can look directly in his eyes, to say, "You know you could die."
Soundwave's optics watch his visor as its taken away but doesn't give it another glance. Matrix blue meets an ember glow. His jaw tightens. "I know," he whispers. He draws in nearer to Rodimus. "I know... But I don't want to preach an ideology I do not live by. I don't want to be who we saw in that awful world- above their own past sins, living free without justice. And, perhaps I can set a precedent on these sorts of things. I hope to." He laughs, humorously. "At least we know it won't be death by Shockwave and then energon flowers. Or fusion cannon."
Rodimus rocks up on his feet, rising to close the last inches between them as he pulls Soundwave's head down to his. He presses his forehead against Soundwave's, and that bright blue fades as he offlines his gaze. His hand falls to the back of Soundwave's helm, resting on his neck, and he squeezes like he can hold him in place and shelter him from any fatal justice. "Frag, Soundwave, I'm not ready to lose you. I'm not even close to ready. I understand why you have to do it. And I hate it, but I'm so proud of you for doing it anyway. Even if I hate it." He rocks back, putting breathing distance between them as his eyes light up once again, blue spilling bright over Soundwave's features as his gaze sweeps across them, memorizing them. It's so rare he gets to see him this unguarded.
Soundwave doesn't care about breathing room, he doesn't need it. So Rodimus draws away and he quickly reaches up to palm the back of Rodimus's head- yes, the speedster is larger, but he's got big hands- to draw him back in. Hope he's ready for a really close look on Soundwave's features. He takes this opportunity to stare deeply into Rodimus's eyes. "I do have to do this. But I do not plan on dying. I lost you, and I know-- I swear to you, you will not lose me."
Still pressing his forehead to Rodimus, still staring at him, the smolder of light in his optics igniting into a bright flame, Soundwave uses his other hand to silently offer a fist.
Rodimus is so focused on Soundwave's gaze, on meeting the intensity of his stare, that it takes a moment for him to register what he's seeing in his peripheral pick ups. When it finally registers -- the silent offer of a fist -- Rodimus laughs. It's a bright but unsteady sound, curling into the warm thrum of his engine. He curls his fingers to form a fist and brings it against Soundwave's hand. From there, however, he takes Soundwave's hand, and laces their fingers together to press their palms together in a lingering hold. "Good," he says. There's a lot that's unanswered in there -- namely, how -- but for now Rodimus is happy to live in that promise. He'll hold Soundwave to it.
And Soundwave is happy to hold Rodimus right now. It looks like he may be content to just stand there for hours, staring. Silent, just together... But its just a few minutes in that his lips part and--
"Now that is a picture," Buzzsaw says, because he's been here the whole time. "I'm going to make a frame for it. Something dark- with red. Intense but also shows the fragility of life!" Oh god, he's the worst.
There's a moment longer, even after Buzzsaw breaks the peace, that Rodimus only grins back at Soundwave. Then: "Fragility of life?" he asks in a tone of outrage. "Does that mean it is going to be made of fingers, too?"
Buzzsaw clucks indignation as he flaps and jumps over to a corner, dragging a box over that clangs and rattles. "Of course not! Those fingers represent the futility of the working class trying to rise through working themselves to the bone when working together to fight the burgouis for a better life is the key to a better life. Tch!" You insult his art!
Soundwave rolls his optics- and Rodimus can see it clear as day- and says in an aside, "He will only get worse as he gets started. Would you like to go somewhere and talk further?" The way he says it insinuates that there will be less talk than some might think.
Rodimus does a minor sort of double-take at Soundwave: grinning sidelong at him by reflex, then checking himself, then grinning more widely after a beat. "Yeah," he says. "That sounds good." However much talking there is. In a louder voice, he says, "Sorry, Buzzsaw, I've never been great at art. That's why I leave it to the artists. I'll just take Soundwave here and we'll leave it to you, huh? It's looking great! Keep it up!" He reaches for Soundwave's arm to drag him out, and leave the cassette to his art.
"With that decal you show so wantonly, I would think not!" Buzzsaw says with a flap of his wings, hopping onto his box to pry it over. "But at least not all your tastes are bad- please leave! But tell Laserbeak to come here if you see him!"
Soundwave chuckles softly and nods, leaving with Rodimus without much fight. Actually, there's no fight at all. He quietly begins to plan in the back of his mind, hand squeezing Rodimus. Soon. Soundwave smiles at Rodimus, the curve of his lips soft, and his nose scrunches just a bit as they go.