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2018-11-01 Exospection

From Transformers: Lost and Found

2018-11-01 Exospection
Date 2018/11/01
Location Cassettes and Soundwave's Habsuite
Participants Rodimus, Soundwave
Summary The reward for a long day of introspection.

Free of medibay, Rodimus takes a little time before crashing Soundwave. He checks his messages, then buffs the scorches from his finish, then checks his messages again to find that Soundwave's regular pattern of pleas for freedom has ... trailed off. It's silent. Rodimus pings Soundwave back: a tease, a Don't tell me you gave up, and then surveys the ruin of his berth before grimacing, placing an order for repair, and rolling out and down to Soundwave's quarters.

He could override quarantine and lock both, but Rodimus does neither: he asks nicely, at the door, with a temporary release of quarantine and a, << "Hey, can I come in?" >> to Soundwave.

Soundwave's ping back to Rodimus doesn't come immediately. It doesn't even come close to Rodimus's ping. Its a very late, very quick, and only comes when Rodimus's path is clearly determined to be Soundwave's habsuite. A rushed assurance in a haphazard attempt to get the captain to waver from his current course. It doesn't work.

It's with only minor reluctance- if a door could be reluctant- that the door opens for Rodimus. Soundwave's habsuite is neat and tidy, no cassettes anywhere to be seen, with the only exception being the pair of antlers in the middle of the floor. Those remain stubbornly untouched. The picture wall at the far end of the room has been rearranged- which Rodimus only notices because he helped arrange it in the first place- and there's plenty of other examples of busy work a workaholic trapped in a room might do. Said workaholic is not busy, however. Soundwave is laying on his- now twice-dented- berth, lying flat with his dim visor riveted to the ceiling. "Greetings," he rumbles.

"So why're you still in here and not out there?" Rodimus asks as he makes his way around the antlers on the floor with a certain amount of care. He makes a little face. But only a little one. He's trying to keep in mind the way that distaste might translate for the Eukarians. He glances over the picture wall, trying to see if there's any message to be decoded from the reordering -- anyone pushed to the bottom or the sides, out of favor? where's his picture? -- and then zeroes in on Soundwave.

Sitting next to Soundwave on the berth, Rodimus reaches down to run his palms over the dents. "Hi." He's a glow of warmth at Soundwave's side, but no longer the incandescent danger he was days -- hours -- ago.

The pictures on the wall don't reveal any clues. There's a high chance Soundwave took them all down to reorder them like a puzzle with all the same pieces that go in entirely new places. You know. For fun.

Soundwave's head turns to look up at Rodimus where he sits. If Rodimus is all warm, then Soundwave is more than a little chilly- sitting very still and not doing anything can do that to a robot. "How are you feeling?" he asks, sidestepping any questions about himself to get at something much more important. "And I apologize I could not stop by again to deliver you further energon jellies. You seemed to like those."

"I liked eating them more," Rodimus says, which might not make much sense until you consider just how they were delivered. He grins at Soundwave. He straightens away from the dents on the berth and turns to face him more fully. He brings his hand up to draws his knuckles up Soundwave's side from his hip to the bottom edge of his deck, which he lightly begins to trace with his fingertips. "I'm feeling better. Moving's good. Restless, still. Lot of energy to burn, now that I'm not -- you know -- burning. You?"

Soundwave's chassis vibrates a small, quiet hum as his frame begins to thaw. Not even his mood can completely keep back how pleased he is to see Rodimus healthy. And to be able to touch him again. "I am perfectly fine- even more so now that you are better. Soundwave, very healthy. Never si-ick!" He snaps up into a proper sitting position, plating shivering. Not that he's ticklish, but Rodimus might have hit a spot. Not a ticklish spot just a... Sensitive one.

"Hnf..." Soundwave runs a hand down his face, propping himself up with his other arm. "But if you need assistance burning off that excess of energy, I have heard Prowl-" he definitly grates out the name- "has a few missions planned relatively soon. Retrieving Tempo, I believe."

It's been a while since Rodimus's eyes flared so brightly without it being fever-induced, but watching Soundwave snap upright, listening to his voccalizer hiccup: it catches his attention. Slowly, Rodimus grins.

Rodimus pushes his hand to Soundwave's far shoulder to push him back down again and bare that sensitive patch of plating. He doesn't immediately go back for it, mind you. That would be too obvious. Instead, he drags his knuckles lightly along the edges, mapping the points which make Soundwave shiver without making him startle upright. "Good. I'll talk to him about where I can be useful on that, then. I told him I wanted Tempo a while ago and all of this -- everything -- kept interrupting. He talk to you about it?"

Soundwave's visor narrows at Rodimus as he's pushed back down. He does his best to ignore the touches around the sensitive- NOT ticklish- area, but he can't completely stop involuntary shoulder twitches. They twitch more the closer Rodimus's fingers get to the seam between plating and deck. "Perhaps that's what he wanted to do originally but we barely touched on the subject... But I'll be helping with the Infiltration team. What ar you-- Rodimus."

Rodimus stills his hand against Soundwave's side, and press his palm flat to the armor. As much as he's teased the metal, now that simple, warm touch soothes. Calms. "What? I missed being able to touch you. Want me to stop? I was thinking about getting on the recon too. I want to see it with my own eyes. Is that selfish?"

Soundwave vents softly, putting a hand over Rodimus's as he stops tickling. (Not that he's ticklish. Never.) "I missed you too," he says, despite the probably constant contact they could have had with each other any time over comms. "But maybe you can touch me somewhere else- I have a few places in mind... And I don't believe wanting to see Cybertron is selfish. It's..." A troubled look crosses his face, seen only as a glint of red in his visor. "It's not what I had expected."

"Fine. But I'll be back." Rodimus removes his hand and leans down, pressing a kiss to Soundwave's side where armor meets deck. He'll be back!! "Oh yeah? Where were you thinking?" Because he has ideas.

He shifts, drawing away to move his hands back across Soundwave's armor in strokes meant to soothe rather than stimulate. "I keep thinking about it. About what you saw. We've been away from Cybertron for so long. I want to be there."

Soundwave's chassis hums a might bit louder as he lays there and indulges in Rodimus's company and attention. But it comes to a jarring, sudden halt when asked that. "I think-- I mean, I would like... I don't know. It was a line from a movie the cassettes were watching. I thought it sounded 'smooth.'" You can hear the air quotes he doesn't make. Looking back at the ceiling- deck now feeling warm to the touch with some embarassment he'll never admit to- he continues, "And Cybertron is... Its not free. Its not just. But the newsparks there don't know any better. And the veterans have too much fear to act out. Its controlled and- and it is thriving. Its not like the Cybertron was saw Megatron in charge of before."

Rodimus ducks his head to try to hide his grin, but Soundwave can feel it in the brightness of Rodimus's song pressed too close to avoid hearing. He looks up again, then shifts in a long pull of his frame as he moves closer to look down at Soundwave. He braces his hand by Soundwave's helm next to his shoulder, and leans down over him. "Well, if you don't have any ideas, why don't I try a few of my ideas, and you can tell me how you like them, okay?"

He's not in a rush to get started, though: now, right now, Rodimus just brings his hand up to catch Soundwave's and lift it, fingers lacing together, as he holds Soundwave's hand over his head. "It might seem peaceful for now, but it won't stay peaceful. And there's unrest, beneath the surface." Which they have heavily encouraged and fomented.

Soundwave stares up at Rodimus, fingers curling with his and tightening the grasp. He doesn't verbally answer, too caught up in the smile hovering over his face that he hasn't seen in a while. So he just nods. Yeah, sure, okay, sounds good to him! "I wouldn't call it peaceful. It sounded... Submissive- dormant? It tasted as if a calm before a storm." Beat. "Did I make it sound as if it were peaceful?" he asks quietly, hushed worry lining every word.

Rodimus's head tilts as he maps the concern in Soundwave's voice. He drags his thumb across the side of Soundwave's hand. "That bothers you. The idea that you might have made it sound peaceful. You said it was controlled, and thriving. That's a kind of peace. It's been a long time since Cybertron has been any kind of thriving. Why's it bother you?"

"If there's oppression, then there isn't peace," Soundwave says with rushed conviction, as if he can stamp out his own doubts of what he said. Why he said it. "Its not- I don't want you thinking I support what's happening. Or approve. But what if a part of me does and I cannot tell?"

Rodimus is quiet in the face of Soundwave's urgency, the rushed words and the questions. He moves closer, one leg drawn up on the berth to press warm against Soundwave's side as he leans over him. Rodimus's gaze traces the lines of visor and mask before returning to meet Soundwave's gaze. "Okay, so what if you do? What's that mean? What's it change?"

"I don't know... Prowl doesn't trust me. I don't think I can trust myself. I could be more compromised than we think- which means I shouldn't go down to Cybertron. I shouldn't be an officer of the fleet. This-- you-- Maybe everything changes because I can't tell where my thoughts end and whatever remains of him begin." Soundwave's shoulders fall at an angle, hand squeezing Rodimus's ever tighter. "Thoughts are insidious like that. They can change everything."

There are a lot of better ways to handle this than what Rodimus decides on, which is: "Do you trust me? Let me in." His other hand drifts down Soundwave's side to rest over the ports of his friendacles, where they spool into his sides. "Let's go for a walk. What you can't see, maybe I can."

Soundwave looks wary as a tentacle slides out, happy to immediately intertwine with Rodimus's fingers. It wiggles a little. "Are you sure?" he asks, his enthusiasm not matching the friendacle's. "How can we find something when we are not sure what we're looking for?"

Eyyy. Rodimus tangles his fingers through and around the friendacle, and slides his thumb through the clasps at the end. He looks back at Soundwave. "I'm sure I mean it when I offer. I'm not sure it will give you any answers to your questions. You might always ask those questions. You might never get an answer to them."

The tentacle snaps at and tugs on Rodimus's thumb. What a fun game! Soundwave is definitely not sharing the sentiment. He looks more annoyed at the concept of never finding answers than he does at the aspect of having to always somewhat doubt himself. Finding information is his thing, he'll not let himself get in the way of finding out about himself! "Okay... Okay, but maybe lay down before you plug in. I'd rather you not go back to medibay because you split your head open by falling over."

"Just so you know, I had pictured this visit going very differently, and getting my hands on some very different parts of you," Rodimus says as he curls his fingers through Soundwave's, where he clasps his hand, and over his friendacle, where it tugs his thumb. Then he nudges Soundwave's side and says, "Scoot over," as he waits not very long for Soundwave to make room. In fact, he doesn't wait. He immediately stretches out next to Soundwave, facing him, with his leg hooked over Soundwave's as he squeak-scrape-bumps his way into finding room, even if that room is half on top of Soundwave.

Soundwave has half a mind to not move at all. Guess Rodimus will just have to lay on top of him! But he does move over a little bit, possibly bumping and jarring Rodimus more than is normal. Then his arms slide around that red hot frame to hold him close. "As did I-- but I assure you, I won't be letting you slip out of our previous agreement of trying out your ideas." Cycling a deep vent with Rodimus in his arms, he says, "Okay, whenever you're ready, Hot Flame."

Rodimus just barely begins to prickle with irritation at the words, Hot-- before he registers the 'Flame' and not the 'Rod'. Grinning, he settles back in against Soundwave's side. Acceptable. "That's cute," he says, tapping his fingers on the glass of Soundwave's dock. Then: "I'm ready."

Soundwave butts his helm against Rodimus's gently before settling, visor offlining. The tentacle in Rodimus's grasp goes as limp as its able, the end cycling open so it can properly link up with Rodimus- whenever he's ready to direct it to a connection.

And when he does, he awakens somewhere strangely familiar yet... different. Rodimus spent quite a bit of time in Soundwave's head, but now it's Soundwave's head without it being attacked by a second mind. Its a sprawling city with touches of hotels and rusty, dusty streets that may not have been there before but are now solidly integrated. Rodimus stands in the city's center: a park with statues erected within. Save for two, they're all visible- he can even see his own!- even if some are crumbled. One of the unseen is under a tarp and the other is... It's hard to see, glitching out of sight whenever you try to look at it. The buildings closest to the center look very Lost Light-ish with touches of what was once the pinnacle of Kaon's downtown- but there's a few barbs that just from the buildings and several are touched by fog- one in particular is completely obscured by the cloud of indecipherable data. Perhaps the most foreign of all is how streams cut through the streets of the never-ending cityscape, originating at a burbling fountain in the very center of the park.

"You never got to see that," Soundwave remarks to Rodimus. Suddenly just... There, next to him. He looks perfectly pristine in his mind.

"Hi there," Rodimus says, reaching for Soundwave as he appears next to him. He's solidly in the frame that Soundwave's grown to know at least 95% of the time; there's only an uncertain blunting of his teeth every so often, the shadow of a red smudge, that hints at any uncertainty in his self-image. "Okay, so. This definitely looks different." His gaze sweeps across the space. "Or maybe I don't remember it all. Where do you want to start? Tell me about the fountain, maybe."

Soundwave takes Rodimus's hand, fingers squeezing his, before guiding him towards the fountain. The closer they get, the louder the burbling. No, not burbling. A cacophony- of voices and thoughts and sounds. "It is different. It's like moving into a new living space- its home but not exactly like your last residence. This-" he gestures to the fountain- "Is something you've encountered just not... Like this, exactly. My previous processor had been attacked or damaged in ways this one hasn't, so my mental barrier had to be different. I prefer this one, though. But maybe... Don't touch the water. Unless you want a headache." Inside someone else's head- wait, how does that even work.

When told not to touch, Rodimus resists -- until Soundwave makes it an 'unless you want a headache', at which point he tilts his helm at Soundwave like he should know better, and then kneels. "This isn't going to hurt you if I touch it, is it?"

Soundwave's head cants in thought. His shrug is more like a shoulder roll back into straight edge position. "I would not know. No one has ever tried before. But I recall that you did not enjoy hearing voices in my head the last time."

Rodimus, who looks like he was ready to plunge his arm in up to the shoulder, instead moderates it to a lightly trailing finger across the surface of the stream. Once that element of potentially harming Soundwave is added, his level of care goes drastically higher. But he accompanies it with a teasing, "Then I'll be gentle."

"Its not your gentleness I am concerned with," Soundwave says without intervening, just watching until Rodimus has his fill.

As Rodimus breaks the seemingly calm surface, he can just barely feel the tug of the current beneath. The water is far more dangerous than it appears, ready to drag him off with a riptide current of soundbytes-- if he had stuck his whole arm in. His finger catches in the hidden current but its not strong enough to drag him in, but it allows some of the sound to escape. Its rather muted, all things considered, just the closest surface noises now audible to him. Sparks beating- his spark beating, and Soundwave's- the sounds of idle frames, the buzz of currents that feed into the lights, the steps of whoever is walking in the hab next to them, the bass noise of the Lost Light's engines, and... The Matrix's hum. Just a few of those sounds are tagged with any emotion in particular, which rise and swim through Rodimus as the other noises continue on their way down the stream.

Rodimus's fingers twitch and curl, like he's tempted to try to find a particularly flow in the stream to latch on to it and pull it up to investigate. That's impossible, of course -- or, anyway, it's well beyond his talents. He shifts, rising again. "It's not so bad, like that. You think this barrier is working better for you?"

"You barely touched it," Soundwave teases lightly, reaching out to take Rodimus and gently pull him away. Its not something to play with, really. "It works well enough. It will have times of flooding but its manageable. Where else should we look?" He looks around his own mind and frowns- the frown coming across much easier in this mindscape than in reality. Its his mind, his frown can almost be felt. "I'll admit, when I look out, I just see... Myself. It is not easy to find what should not be. But you've seen it before. What do you think?"

Rodimus starts close, though his eyes continue on to the horizon, as he draws Soundwave forward to circle the statues in the park. "You've had that one hidden for a while, but that's new," he says, gesturing at the glitched figure that flickers into-out-of existence every time he tries to catch a glimpse. "What's that about?"

Soundwave looks to the figure and it seems to slide out of view with every attempt to look at it. Hrmph. "Yes, that's... Annoying," he says. While it glitches for Rodimus, he simply is unable to view it. "It's like Ravage, for me. With all his attention deflectors, if he doesn't want to be looked at, you just can't seem to look." He HARUMPHS further annoyance. "Everyone here is important for one reason or another. Are you able to make out a name at the base of the statue?"

There's a sense of bracing, of rolling up one's sleeves, as Rodimus faces the evasive figure. "Huh." He moves forward, looking for the base of the statue and the nameplate. What he can make out with his eyes he then follows with his fingers, committing the glyphs to memory. It's enough to trouble him. It's like ice water. He then moves to map the shape of the figure: literally, visibly, it is as though he is tracing its contours, the size and shape of it, while he searches in the lines of code for a timeframe to assign it to, and contextual file pointers that it once directed to.

Soundwave gruffs growing annoyance- at himself- and instead of continuing to try and see something he cannot hope to, he concentrates on Rodimus. Watching him work. And Rodimus's work pays off. Soundwave cannot retrieve the file because its not here but his spark knew enough to spit out some sort of ghostly afterimage into his new mind, one that Rodimus can pull at just enough to see some glyphs that say 'M Am' and tease the time stamp out into his hands. Its from nearly a year and a half ago, around the time Soundwave and others had been taken.

"Can you read it?" Soundwave asks. "Who is it?"

Rodimus -- hesitates. Then, turning to Soundwave, he makes a face, and wipes his arms against his frame like he's trying to clean off some sort of organic sludge stuck to them. Quietly -- apologetically -- he says, "I think it's Minimus Ambus. Their Minimus."

"Oh," Soundwave says, voice quiet and flat. A small tremble shakes the city under foot, like a little earthquake. "I wonder how long its been hiding here." He doesn't have to wonder though, not really. He turns away from the glitching, void statue, crossing his arms over his front. Then uncrossing them. And then recrossing them. He doesn't know what to do with his arms. "Maybe we can go look for something else."

Rodimus reaches to take Soundwave's hands in his, giving him something to do with his arms as he pulls him along behind him. And away from that statue. He drops Soundwave's hand to reach and take a peek under the tarp, checking to make sure there are no traps underneath, and says, "I'd tell you to try not to think about it, but I'm pretty sure you are trying not to think about it about as hard as you can."

"It only makes me think about it more," Soundwave agrees, holding Rodimus's hand and determined not to let this one go. Rodimus does provide quite a distraction, though. "Maybe we shouldn't look at that one either--" Too later. Rodimus can see Megatron under the tarp. He's got his cannon and he's got his fists and... He's got a face unlike he's ever seen it before. Something softer, optics determined but not burning, and his smile one without malice or ego. He practically looks like a different mech on that alone. Whether its an accurate portrayal on who he once was or four million years of devoted loyalty that shaped that face, its difficult to say. Soundwave pulls at Rodimus to let the tarp be.

For just a moment, Rodimus is unnerved. Then, his hand curls, bunching the tarp in the clench of his fist. "Soundwave, pretending this isn't here hasn't made it go away. Throwing a sheet over it all just means you aren't really examining it. Means you let your memories gentle, smooth over the imperfections." He doesn't mean to say it, but it's impossible to avoid adding, "--of a few genocides," here in Soundwave's mind.

Another tremor makes its way across the city, this one stronger than the last. "I'm not pretending anything. I'm not ignoring him or what he's done- what I've done. I'm not ignoring that- please tell me you don't actually think I'm pretending what we did was... Was something that can be smoothed over," Soundwave says as he gives Rodimus another tug, another attempt to pull him away.

Rodimus plants his feet against the tug on his arm to draw Soundwave toward him, instead. It's an illusionary effort, will set against will backed by skill backed by the fact that it's Soundwave's mind they are in. He could probably get Rodimus off his feet. But still: he tries to hold his ground, and pull Soundwave toward him. "Why is it covered?" he asks, even as he reaches to wrap his arms around Soundwave, and let the tarp drape back in place.

Its how Rodimus lets the tarp go and reaches for him that keeps Soundwave from pulling away. It would be easy to overpower Rodimus. But its easier to step forward into his arms. "I don't know anymore. At first it was so it hurt less. His betrayal, mine. But now, I'm trying to distance myself for-- When Prowl came by, he had a lot to say about Megatron. Execution. That's what he focused on in particular. And I didn't- how he looked at me when I disagreed. Hnn, what kind of monster wouldn't be okay with that punishment for the rightfully accused."

As Soundwave steps forward, Rodimus slides his hand up his back in an encouraging stroke. Good. This is better. "Ah, Prowl." Good ol' Prowl. "I think that's ironic. That's irony, right? Minimus would know. Why did you disagree?"

Soundwave laughs a short "Ha," into Rodimus at the mention of irony. It lightens some things but doesn't cheer him up any. "Because of four million years of instinct. Because it would make him a martyr. Because-- The answer gets less and less easy to come up with but I still don't feel different on the matter." His head taps Rodimus's as it bows forward. "He and I aren't that different. Maybe it scares me."

Rodimus's fingers curl into Soundwave in a fierce clasp that shows just a prickling touch of Chimera-ish talon. "You are a world apart. If you think I'd jack my processor into Megatron's head and trust him to see me back out again, you're crazy." Just to start. Rodimus lifts his hand to Soundwave's head, cupping the side of his helm.

"Yes, you've done awful things," Rodimus says, utterly sober. "I wasn't sure if I'd be able to see you past them, for a while. But a lot of us have a blood debt to repay. I think it scares all of us. Maybe it's easier for Prowl to say that Megatron has to die, because then at least someone dies for everything we've done. I don't know that it would help anything. And you're not wrong about it making him a martyr."

Then, quietly, Rodimus says -- totally not convincing himself! -- "Sometimes it's enough to ask yourself why you feel something, without being able to dig all the way down to the base of it. At least you're asking."

Another small laugh, a little warmer this time even if it does have a little break in it. "It is scary. Before your proposal for restorative justice, I was very scared. I'm sure you noticed." That's a joke. Maybe. "Its still... Worrisome but in a different way. I'm not entirely ready for it, even with everything I will be confessing drafted up." Soundwave's shoulders rise and fall with a deep intake that cycles through him and puffs some fake air in Rodimus's direction. "Honestly, a part of me is just tired of killing. Maybe that's part of why. Selfish..." Beat. Them, softly, "Do you... want Megaton executed?"

Rodimus doesn't try to lie to Soundwave, standing before him, inside his own mind: "Part of me does. I wouldn't have to wonder what his next plan is. I wouldn't have to worry that he'll entice you back. I wouldn't have to wait for the next move in his never-ending game to destroy our species. But killing him splits Cybertron in half, just as much as the Quints did ten million years ago. He'll forever be a martyr. It won't end our war. It'll make it an endless war."

Soundwave turns his head a little to look at Rodimus. Like his frown earlier, his little smile can be felt too. "Entice me back? Rodimus, doesn't believe himself to be enticing enough?" It's a tease, but only because the rest of the answer soothes him. He can life with only a part of Rodimus wants Megatron back. "... What does the Matrix want to do with Megatron?" he asks, even more coyly than before.

Having started down the path of honesty, Rodimus sticks to it, even in the face of danger. His nose wrinkles, and he laughs, but while his voice is light, his confession of, "No, not really," isn't.

Rodimus considers the question, his expression growing slightly distracted as he reaches inward to test the question against the Matrix. He looks distracted, first, then surprised -- then surprise grows into a knotted sort of sense of almost argument. He's busy, one sec.

Soundwave's smile sloooooowly turns down. "Very funny, Rodimus," he says with a soft nudge. As Rodimus's distraction is pulled out further, he gets antsy. "I regret my question," is what he says but what echoes through his mind is the sentiment that 'If that thing doesn't cut it out, I'm gonna tear it out myself l.'

Shh, whispers the space around Soundwave. No, you won't.

"It doesn't want him dead," Rodimus says a long moment after, his tone winding and thoughtful as he comes back to himself, back to Soundwave. Even his figure, which had thinned and grown almost translucent, gains more presence. "The Matrix. Vector Sigma. They are too much of life to want death. There's even a hope -- a wish, maybe -- that he could be changed. But they want him off Cybertron. Where he can't threaten the newly sparked."

Soundwave is 100% ready to throw down with the matrix. The idea of punching it weighs heavily on his mind, so much so that the fantasy plays out on a billboard behind him. But Rodimus doesn't fade away, much to Soundwave's relief. He holds onto him tightly.

"Well, assure them we will get him off planet. And that I will be displeased if they do that with you again. Hnf... I wonder what we'd even do with Megatron off planet." Soundwave sighs. "But I think I'd rather stop talking about him right now."

Rodimus laughs, reaching up to soothe Soundwave with a light stroke of his hand down the back of his neck as his arms come to rest on his shoulder. "Don't sulk. I'm here, aren't I? The Matrix might pull me away for a moment, but I'll always come back to you."

Looking past the statue to the rest of the cityscape of Soundwave's mind, Rodimus asks, "Do you want to go check out those foggy buildings next, then?" He drops the subject of Megatron, without another word wasted on him.

Soundwave huffs. He's not sulking! He just is being grumpy and growly. "Good," he says, bunting his faceplate against the side of Rodimus's audio. Then he shakes his head. "No. Another time. I believe I'm done with introspection as well- especially considering a promised exospection I'm owed." He nudges him.

Rodimus throws his head back and laughs. "Oh, slag me, that pun was terrible! Soundwave! Exospection, are you serious?" He brings his hand forward to cup it against Soundwave's jaw and thumb at his mask. He taps the metal over Soundwave's mouth with his thumb in a knock-knock. "Well, I guess I did promise."

Soundwave's glance around his mind is unseen. "Yes. Pun." That's what that was. A joke. Totally. But his anxiety is soothed immediately. His mask vanishes- just ceases to exist with a knock. He smiles. "Can't break a promise," he agrees. "Ready for disconnection?"

"Ready," Rodimus confirms, leaning in to press a kiss to Soundwave's lips as soon as they are revealed. His eyes close, and he packages a memory to leave it behind of this very moment: a memento that Soundwave is uniquely suited for sharing and unpacking. This time, as every time, there's a quiet, fierce joy when Soundwave lets Rodimus past the very real armor of his mask or visor; a protectiveness, an urge to defend and shelter the vulnerability that he shows; a liquid heat, ignite in the first moments his eyes trace the curve of the bared smile. He leaves that for Soundwave as a present, traded as easily as the kiss.

The gift is received and received well, evidenced by the sudden surge from Soundwave as he awakes first. He turns, rolls, and holds Rodimus, his tentacles now both out and swarming the red mech, just wrapping around him. For the first time in his life, he's a little too overenthusiastic and they both fall off the berth. Facemask already gone, he noses Rodimus's cheek. "Thank you," he breathes, hands running over Rodimus's hood. "You should put the room back on quarantine."

Rodimus thwumps to the ground with a crackle of laughter that rips from his voccoder. He takes a moment to do just that, and then slides his hand down Soundwave's frame as he moves to slide over him. "Done. Now, let's get started on that exospection, huh?" His grin is cocky as he rises, studying Soundwave like a challenge. "Let's see, where to start--."

He'll figure something out.

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