2018-1-05 Dumb Ball

From Transformers: Lost and Found

Dumb Ball
Date 2018/01/05
Location Habsuites - Wheeljack and Bulkhead's Habsuite
Participants Breakdown, Bulkhead
Summary This is the last person Bulkhead expected to get a present from.

Breakdown has weighed the options in terms of stalking Bulkhead and none of them have appealed to him. Lurking around the science deck like an asshole bears too many risks of being SPOTTED lurking around the science deck like an asshole. Ambushing him in public suggests a similar risk of being SPOTTED being cordial to him in public and honestly Breakdown isn't sure how he feels about that. Coming to his habsuite carries a commensurate risk of Wheeljack, which can of course be diminished by trying to look up his schedule, but honestly, how much time does he want to spend--

Anyway, he's chosen otion C, and now he stands, bulky and surly with one hand shoved behind his back clutching a smallish object sheathed in bright paper foil, and pounds on the door in best police style. THUMP THUMP THUMP.

In a rare turn of events, Bulkhead's in his habsuite rather than Wheeljack's lab. He's collecting empty datapads from his desk to use in transferring data and what he's got of the blueprints he's been working on, so that he can pass the information to Wheeljack and Nightshade. It's a quick errand, one he expects to finish up shortly and return to the lab soon to keep going; he's not expecting any visitors, so the very loud banging on his door has him jumping, plating boofing out in surprise. Who could that be...?

"Come in?" Bulkhead calls, voice a mixture of curiosity and confusion as he pings the door to open. Hopefully this won't take too long, he's got work to do!

"Frag," Breakdown says when the door slides open. He looks beadily through the doorway with his one eye and then sidles awkwardly past the threshhold. "I was kinda hopin' you weren't gonna be here, and I could go, aw scrap he's gone well never mind."

Bulkhead is sliding those datapads into his subspace when that familiar voice hits his audials, and he jerks into a straight-backed stance, squinting at his 'visitor'. "Did you need something?" he asks, more stonily than he intended to. He's trying to remember how their last interaction went, and if he has a reason to be mad about it. Irritable seems like a good middle ground. "Is this about that chemical theft? Did they not solve that yet?"

"Oh, no, I figured that one out ages ago," Breakdown says with a sniff. "You gotta get up real early in the mornin' to get past Lost Light security, especially when you're the sole witness to the fraggin' crime." He tinks the fingertips of his free hand down the line of his jaw, narrowing his gaze at Bulkhead in a way that /is/ cranky, but in a vague, undirected way. Then he SIGHS, exaggeratedly, and shoves the package at him. It is round. It is wrapped in shiny foil paper. In order to show willing, Breakdown has found a bright red ribbon to tie around it. Because he is a little confused, it is a bright red ribbon made out of shiny red tape.

"Right," Bulkhead says slowly. "Then what--?" He doesn't get to finish his question, interrupted by the package that appears in Breakdown's hands. A package wrapped in foil and topped with a...bow? No. Wait a minute. "This is for me?" He points at it, an optic ridge rising in disbelief. "For--are you my secret Santa." He glances around, then back at Breakdown, waiting for the punch line. What's the joke. You must be kidding.

"Would you just take it. I promised Starstruck I would do the damned thing." Breakdown bristles in complaint. "It's not going to bite you. I followed the rules!"

Bulkhead drags a hand over his face. "Out of everyone who signed up for this, it had to be you," he grumbles, partially to himself, before snatching the present. "Fine! Frag, why didn't you go ask for somebody else when you found out? Sounds like you're friends with the mech running it." As he complains he carefully opens the gift, possibly thinking that it might very well end up biting him.

It's a baseball!

Sort of.

Bulkhead is holding a ball more or less designed for someone of his size to hold it. It is made of rubber, rather than the traditional baseball materials. It has however been dunked in white paint and someone has carefully painted red stitches on it in a baseball-like pattern. It's not a perfect representation, because Breakdown did not actually understand that the stitches were /stitches/ and not random /lines/.

But stylistically, it looks like it is at least supposed to be a baseball.

"That would /obviously/ have been cheatin'," Breakdown grumps. His hands frame at his hips, probably because his chest is too big to fold his arms across, and states, "I ain't a cheater. You play a dumb game, you play by the dumb rules. Frag, Bulkhead."

It's a ball, that much is obvious. It takes Bulkhead a moment to figure out what all the lines painted over it are supposed to be, and when he does he can only continue staring at it before he finally drags his gaze up to Breakdown, disbelief etched into his features.

"So you got me...a joke," he says slowly. Bulk hasn't put the ball down, though, or thrown it away, or chucked it at Breakdown's face, or any of a dozen other options that flicker through his mind. No, he's still holding it, fingers curled around the rubber surface. "Look, I know the dog thing last year was--awkward, but I'd thought we'd both agreed to forget it happened?" He's lying - he knows he tried to start working things out after that - but. It's a ball!!!

"What." Breakdown looks at Bulkhead in visible bafflement. "What does that have to do with anythin'?" he demands righteously. "It's an Earth thing! You have an Earth pet! That's an Earth ball!" He points at it insistently. "Earth squishies throw those and hit them with a stick! I saw a picture."

"You saw a picture," Bulkhead repeats, voice dripping with disbelief. A bit of amusement is creeping in, too, with Breakdown's clear bewilderment at his first accusation. "So you made me...a baseball." He squeezes it, noting again the rubber it's made out of. Baseballs are not supposed to be this elastic. "...Okay. Sure. Thanks." Another pause. "How many times do I have to tell you, she's not a pet."

<FS3> Breakdown rolls Patience: Success. (8 5)

"Fine, whatever, she ain't a pet." Breakdown checks himself visibly to make this admission rather than bristling and snapping at Bulkhead in visible cranky. He stares at him beadily with his single eye, hunting for signs that this is about to become a fight even though he was totally trying to do a nice thing. "I figured you'd like an Earth thing. I couldn't give you a science thing. You've got a billion science things and I don't even know what any of them are."

<FS3> Bulkhead rolls Compassion: Good Success. (4 5 2 4 1 7 2 8 5)

Bulkhead is this close to snapping back, plating floofing like an angry dog's, but. Instead he takes a deep vent, cycles his optics. "That was...thoughtful of you, Breakdown," he says at last. "You really would've gotten me a science thing?" He can't help the small, lopsided smile. "It was. Nice of you, to even consider. Can't say I'm not surprised."

"I mean /of course/ I would," Breakdown says with a glower at him. He shuffles half a step backward, clanking heavily on the floor. "That's your /thing/. You have a calculator made out of beads. Hrrrmph."

"Oh come on, you don't have any reason to, to care anymore. So what if it's my thing? You don't have to pay attention." Neither does Bulkhead. He could just accept this and move on. "You could've just thrown anything at me. That's what I would've expected."

Breakdown looks affronted! Then... Breakdown stops and looks confused. He stands there for a moment without saying anything. Then he says, "What."

Bulkhead shifts, pulling the baseball closer to himself, squinting as he peers back at Breakdown. "'What' what?"

"Wouldn't even have occurred to me not to do it proper," Breakdown says. He scowls. "I do what I say I do. Scrap, Bulkhead. Are you tellin' me you woulda just fragged around if our positions were reversed?" he demands, visibly annoyed all over again.

"Of course not!" Bulkhead snaps automatically. "I wouldn't've--hnnn. I'm not sure I'd've been able to get you anything. I don't even know what you like anymore."

Breakdown gives Bulkhead a long look, and then goes, "Hrrrmph," again, rumbling basally as he turns around to stump back towards Bulkhead's door in an obvious sulk. "Fine. Merry fraggin' whatever."

"Wha--hey, HEY!" Bulkhead stumps after him, reaching with his free hand to snag an arm or kibble. "Don't just storm out of here like I did something wrong! I said thanks! It's a thoughtful gift, afthole!" He sounds so grateful.

Breakdown bristles under Bulkhead's touch, his jaw squaring as he turns to glower at him with his single eye. "Scrap," he says. "/I/ figured it out. Sorta. You would've dumb some boneheaded thing just like me. It ain't that hard to be /nice/." (Or is it. He's not doing it very well right now.)

Bulkhead just gives him a Look. Isn't it. "And you can say you'd be happy with some bottle of lager? Or a, a stronger shield, a--" He stops, tilts his head, crosses his arms. "A more stylish eyepatch." Translation: an eyepatch with some kind of secondary purpose or tool. Bulk doesn't have style either.

"I'm sure if you put some thought into whatever it was I'd like it fine," Breakdown gruffs at him. "Who doesn't like gettin' a fraggin' present, Bulkhead? Even if it's dumb. Like a dumb ball." He looks somewhere between sheepish and annoyed like he can't quite decide what he's doing with himself, and grumps, "Anyways, I gave you your thing, nobody said we had to have a fraggin' tea party about it."

"It's not a dumb ball," Bulkhead says quietly. "Though maybe you could've stood to look at more than one picture." His tone is light, almost...teasing. "No, they didn't. But...I meant it. Thank you, Breakdown."

"You're welcome," Breakdown says with some sham at dignity, failing to rise to the bait beyond the slight crinkle of his brow. He shakes his head slightly, and chuffs, and then turns to shuffle out of the room. At least he's not visibly sulking anymore.

Bulkhead watches him go, thoroughly distracted from his original task now. When that shuffling form is out of sight his gaze turns back to the ball in his hand, and he tosses it toward the ceiling, easily catches it out of the air. The rubber squeaks as it rubs against the plating of his fingers, and soon disappears into his subpsace.

It is a terrible baseball. But not a bad present.

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