From Transformers: Lost and Found
|Location||Lost Light - Command: Rodimus's Office|
|Summary||So hard to tell what's an original or a reissue anymore.|
Anxious of the result of the command meeting, Rodimus met Soundwave on return, hovered trying to get details, was met with a resistance he let lie, and made plans to get it out of Prowl, instead. It was a quiet evening, and it ends with Soundwave not quite making it back out of Rodimus's quarters to return to his own.
It's in the drowsy hours of lighter recharge that Rodimus wakes first: rare, and evidence that even with his efficiency, yesterday was truly draining for Soundwave. Rodimus has taken to sleeping on his stomach, wedged at an awkward angle, even as the outright pain from the marks on his back and spoiler assembly begins to shift to a gentler sensitivity as it heals. It's still enough that he unconsciously resists putting the pressure and weight of his frame on the healing metal as he sleeps.
This means that when his eyes online, one leg hooked over Soundwave's, he's angled in prime position to study the angles of Soundwave's frame with a lazy sweep of his gaze -- one that startles into a bolt of shock as he slaps Soundwave's deck, then sits up to look at his shoulders, and try -- less subtly than he thinks -- to pry up the edges of Soundwave's frame to roll him just enough to peek beneath.
Soundwave's optics snap online, visor lighting up, and he jerks awake. For the first few precious seconds, his onboard weapons whine online and his armor clamps down- instincts of war not even a resurrection can erase. But just as quick as he is to warm himself of combat, he cools upon the sight of Rodimus. Its a view becoming more common in his waking hours.
Soundwave falls back against the berth, an arm covering his face. Hrrgh. "Rodimus..." he rumbles and definitely doesn't whine. Now he'll never get back to sleep with how quick his spark is beating now. He sighs, lifting an arm just enough to let some dim, yellow light escape. "Did not sleep well? Nightmare?"
"You don't have your badge," Rodimus says, letting Soundwave's shoulder drop so that he can flatten his hand across the badgeless glass of his deck. "How long have you not had your badge?" He seems inordinately disoriented by this.
"Oh." Soundwave's arm falls back over over his face. Seeing as Rodimus didn't wake in distress, he goes back to mourning his own lost sleep. It takes several minutes before Rodimus gets his answer. He's lucky the silence didn't last longer. "Since my fight with Megatron," he mutters quietly.
Rodimus almost asks a half-dozen things. Pressed as close to Soundwave as he is, the thoughts are amplified by proximity: did he take it; it's because you died; it's because it melted away along with all the rest of your frame. He doesn't say any of it. Instead, his hand flattens, pressing more firmly down on the glass. "Restored so much, but not that."
Soundwave growls. Or, more accurately, his engine does- and its amplified by the hollow of his chassis. The glass beneath Rodimus's hand vibrates just a bit, best felt at his fingertips. "No. I suppose it wasn't important enough," he says through clenched teeth. "It made my spark casing whole- might as well have been attempting to erase it completely from me."
"The Matrix wouldn't erase that," Rodimus says, reaching for Soundwave's face to turn it toward his own, and gently stroke at the tension that clenches his teeth. Shh. SHH. "It not a matter of important or not. It's something you wore on your frame -- of your frame, but not part of it."
Soundwave turns his head away, glaring at the far wall. "I wore it because it was a part of me. And it was a part of me because I wanted to be part of it. It was just another decision it made for me," he says. "It did what it wanted with no regards to- to me."
Rodimus is not awake enough for this. He rolls away, shifts, and sits up, legs tucked back and toward the side of the berth, rather than leaving one slung across Soundwave mid-cuddle. He rests a hand on the berth, leaning, and watches Soundwave glare at the wall. "Would you rather be dead?"
Soundwave's glare turns into a scowl. Stubbornly, he keeps looking at the wall without getting up. "Just because it helped save my life, I am to be grateful for changing me in whatever way it saw fit?" he grumbles. "I can't even hold all my cassettes anymore. Maximum capacity changed to two. Its hardly just my badge that was taken without my permission."
"It saved you because I asked it to, because I needed it to." Rodimus isn't guilty for his part in this: he's angry, defensive. He's preparing himself, bracing himself for Soundwave's anger. "It rebuilt you because it had to. It rebuilt you so that next time, you won't die quite so fast. Or haven't you noticed why you've changed?"
"And that's what I'm afraid of!" Soundwave shoves himself up, taller than rod even while sitting. Though, not as much as he once did. "I-- I don't remember anything between Megatron shooting and... And waking up. I reacted but since then, I've been thinking. What if... What if I'm not Soundwave?" He looks down at his hands, both of them curling into fists. "I could just be some copy it brought back because you wanted me back."
Rodimus doesn't actually have a handy response for that. He says, "Don't be ridiculous," and then sits there and stares at Soundwave as the horror -- and the plausibility -- of it sinks in.
Soundwave turns his back to Rodimus, legs sliding off the berth. His feet land flat on the ground with a heavy thud. "When you die, your spark rejoins the AllSpark- Vector Sigma. It either joins to become as One or is reborn. But I-- Why would there be nothing." He looks at his hand being rebuilt, flexing his skeletal fingers. "I spent time with the Matrix- it could know enough to make a convincing facsimile. It would do anything for you, Rodimus. It would do this."
After a long moment spent watching Soundwave, Rodimus shifts to sit behind him. He reaches for Soundwave's hip, and draws in against him to lean against his back. As warm and familiar as Rodimus's frame is, this does bring the Matrix closer as well, where it rests -- quiet, unknowable -- beneath the hood of his chest. "It could," he says, the words quiet. "It didn't."
Soundwave almost moves away from Rodimus's touch but not even he can do so completely. He gives and leans back into Rodimus and his warmth. He offlines his optics. "We don't know that," he whispers back.
That moment when Soundwave tenses, on the edge of moving away, is awful. It hollows out a quiet uncertainty in Rodimus, and it only just begins to fill as Soundwave leans back against him. He brings his arm under Soundwave's and around him, and dips his head to press his lips to the back of his neck and bury his nose into the joint between armor and cables. "What would make you believe that?"
Soundwave swallows guilt as Rodimus kisses him. Because what if-- He cycles a deep vent. To try and steady the shake of his hands. "I don't know... I don't know. How do you begin to find an answer for this? "
Turning his head, Rodimus rests his cheek against Soundwave's shoulder, angling all the point bits of his helm -- and there are a lot -- to the side. He reaches for Soundwave, and curls his fingers over and through his hand. "You should talk to Ravage. No one has known you as long as he has. Even the Matrix couldn't sneak a fake you past his nose."
"Perhaps," Soundwave murmurs. His grip on Rodimus's hand tightens suddenly and his visor online's dimmly. He looks to Rodimus, weary and wary. "And what do I do if... If I am..."
Burying his nose against Soundwave's neck again and avoiding his gaze, Rodimus says -- mutters, mumbles, "I don't know. You're not. You're not, Soundwave, no more than I was."
"But if I am." Soundwave pauses, neck cables all tensing. "Where would that leave me- leave us. And... And your circumstances were different."
There's a thin noise of distress from Rodimus: not his voccalizer, but his engine, his circuits, all of it whispering a strain that he doesn't dare let slip in his voice. To anyone else, it would be inaudible. But this is Soundwave -- or, if it isn't, he at least has Soundwave's abilities. It's as clear as if Rodimus actually gave voice to the sound he swallows. "You are. Because otherwise you're telling me that the only reason we slept together, the only reason I wake up with you next to me, is because this isn't you. Because really, Soundwave -- my Soundwave -- would never be here, and what I hold now is nothing but a selfish wish. And that you're dead. You're you, because I don't think I could bear it if you're not, and I know that's all so selfish."
Soundwave shifts, turning just enough to partially face Rodimus, to press his forehead to his. His hold on Rodimus's hands changes and his fingers slot between his. It's easier than it once was. "Maybe it is selfish but I want this to be real too. I want ... This, you, this future. But if it's not me, I can't be okay with this. I'd be like the me that tried to replace me- I won't do that to someone." He sighs, tension releasing from his frame.
Soundwave gently nuzzles the side of Rodimus's cheek. "There's times when the doubt is worst than others but it's always there. Not knowing definitively is the worst, though."
Rodimus makes a small, aborted move to slant his lips over Soundwave's in a kiss, but he pulls back, leaving it as no more than a brush to his cheek. Gently, he untangles himself: he draws out of his lean, he unlaces his fingers, and he pulls back until they sit side by side, chaste and platonic and perfectly ... correct. "Okay. Okay, let's go -- find out. Ratchet has your spark signature on file. Frag knows you've gotten messed up enough that they have it in incredible detail. We can compare it. You can talk to Ravage. It's not a mystery you can't solve. This is a question you can answer." And until then, he's clearly intending to keep his hands to himself: weirded out and obscurely guilty.
Soundwave reaches to fill the gap Rodimus makes but he realizes what he's doing and... He pulls back as well, drawing inward. Maybe he is fake but... He hates the distance all the same. "Right, of course. That- we can do that." He glances to Rodimus.
"Do you recall being dead?" Soundwave asks.
Rodimus shudders against a cold that’s never far. He looks to the side but leans away, and wraps his arms around himself. “Not really. I remember dying. I remember the cold. You mentioned Vector Sigma, the AllSpark but I don’t remember that either. I remember — a quiet, I guess. An awful quiet.” After a slight pause, he laughs. It’s a little uneasy. “I wouldn’t have thought you’d believe in all that.” But Matrixwave might.
Soundwave watches Rodimus, shoulders falling to a slant. He wants to reach out and hold him... He crosses his arms to resist the temptation. It makes the prongs of his feet curl and tanks sink. "I remember heat. And burning. Then..." He shakes his head and sighs. "I have faith. I've always had it... At least, I think I did." Doubt is funny like that- easy to get and hard to disspell.
Burying his face in his hands, Rodimus laughs: a single shake of his shoulders that twists lower in his chest. “Did you?”
Soundwave's gaze lowers, this time from shame. "I don't think I could have done what I did without faith." He chuckles a flat spat of static. "I've been told I talk about it more when I've had a few drinks. It's part of why I don't drink much."
Dropping his hands, Rodimus sounds sharp as he says, “I should know that.” The angle of his frustration too easily misunderstood, he nudges Soundwave with his foot. “I blame myself for not knowing that. Maybe after you talk to Ravage, Ratchet — Chimera, even. She’d know your spark. Maybe then we can drink to you. And talk.”
"Yeah..." Soundwave hesitates before standing. "It's not your fault," he adds. "I don't expect you to know everything about me. Especially not something I... Keep closely guarded. You shouldn't blame yourself."
“I just— I don’t know,” Rodimus says, faltering. “I hope you’re you. I hope I didn’t know that about you. I hope I can spend four million years finding out new things about you, not fighting you. But—“
Soundwave is quick, stealing Rodimus's hand into a class with both of his. Holding tight enough that the skeletal structure of the one bites a little into the orange metal of his servo. He brings it to his chest and keeps it there. "Shh... No matter what-- I love you whether I'm here or... Not." Beat. "I'm scared too. Come with me? Until I can be sure."
“Yeah.” Wiggling his fingers — not free, but into a clasp with Soundwave’s — Rodimus adds, “Might as well get up. I’m definitely not going to be able to sleep.” He smiles, but it’s forced — and looking at Soundwave, he gives in to an impulse he thinks he shouldn’t. He reaches to pull him into a warm and lingering kiss. Then, just slightly pulling back, he says, “I love you. I know you’re you. I do.”
Despite the situation, despite how he might not be him, Soundwave's chassis hums and hums loudly. It's radiant heat can be lightly felt with an added static tingle thanks to his rearranged circuits. Three words have quite the impact. "I do too. Hope I'm me, I mean- and love! Love you too." His hands tighten. "Ready to go? Need anything to eat?"
"Nah. I don't know if I could keep it down." Rodimus draws back to bump Soundwave's forehead with his own and then turns to stand. He uses Soundwave's hold on his hand to pull him after. "Come on, sweetspark. Whoever you are. Let's get moving."