Of all things about the Decepticon Communications Officer to catch Shockwave’s attention, his pelvic plating was not what the Guardian of Cybertron had expected. His telepathic abilities and symbiosis with a surprisingly large amount of cassette minicons were more prudent areas of fascination, but ever since Soundwave had gained an Earth-based alternate mode, Shockwave’s interest continually was pulled back to the buttons. He knew that Soundwave pushed them frequently, usually whenever he needed to play back something that one of the seemingly countless minicons he employed had recorded. It never seemed to bother the tape deck, but Shockwave had to wonder what that felt like.
Although, maybe it was normal for him. Maybe it was as mundane to him as firing in gun mode was to Shockwave. Maybe it barely registered as sensation. Obviously when Soundwave was in his alternate mode, mass-displaced or not, it probably didn’t register as anything special. Almost all Cybertronians experienced a shift in sensation after transforming, Shockwave knew that personally he lost almost all of his senses except for his targeting systems and general damage processing in gun mode, so there wasn’t much reason for Soundwave to be much different, even if their alternate modes themselves were widely different. The question was how it felt in root mode, and Shockwave already had ideas as to how to test this… which raised him the problem he was currently presented with.
He had no idea how to ask Soundwave about this. Social interaction was not Shockwave’s strongest suit, partially because of millions of years with little more than drones to converse with, and partially just because he never was particularly good at it. Even with that, he knew it would be a bad idea to just walk up to Soundwave and ask “Can I push the buttons on your pelvis and see what happens? For science.”
Once, he had run a simulation on that scenario before going to recharge. It had ended with two options, and both involved receiving damage. One involved getting hit by Soundwave himself, and the other was getting jumped at a later date by any number of the cassettes, though Rumble and Frenzy were the ones most likely to do so. The twins seemed to be the most independent of Soundwave’s cassettes and were often as protective of Soundwave as they were each other. Not only that, but Shockwave was quickly becoming convinced that Soundwave was well aware of the glances to his paneling that he took from across the room whenever he felt it was safe to do so.
Needless to say, the Decepticon High Command meetings were getting progressively more awkward. Fortunately, Shockwave was not often required to be there in-person. Of course, even when he was attending via commlink there was still the desire to examine Soundwave and that usually lead to someone (Starscream) making a comment about how Shockwave seemed distracted, and maybe the guardianship was beginning to take its toll on Megatron’s… something. Shockwave never actually heard what Starscream intended to call him because either Megatron himself would growl out a ‘that’s enough, Starscream’, or the signal would be lost for a few seconds before coming back at the hands of a slightly smug-looking Soundwave. Why Sounwave seemed intent on ‘protecting’ Shockwave from some of Starscream’s worse comments… he didn’t know. Part of him felt insulted that Soundwave would feel that he needed protection against words … but part of him was also slightly flattered that Soundwave would do that for him. It was an interesting and confusing dichotomy, and Shockwave was not particularly fond of it. Navigating social situations was already needlessly difficult, why did there have to be another layer of confusion on top of something that was already confusing enough. Namely, Soundwave’s buttons.
Was it normal to have absolutely no idea what was going on in Shockwave’s processor? Yes. Was Soundwave happy about not knowing what the scientist was up to? No. But since it was Shockwave he couldn’t get a read on, it didn’t bother Soundwave as much as it likely would’ve if it was someone like Starscream. Shockwave’s loyalty to the Cause had always been steadfast and unwavering, so Soundwave doubted that something traitorous was brewing in Shockwave’s lab on Cybertron but something was definitely amiss about him, and Soundwave was taking it on as a personal project to find out what .
A project which was turning out to be much more difficult than it had any right to be. It wasn’t that Shockwave was avoiding Soundwave, per se, but every time the Communications Officer made an attempt to converse with him Shockwave would either find some form of excuse as to why he would have to leave, awkwardly leave, or hide behind someone larger in an attempt to not be seen. So yes, Shockwave was avoiding him. All Soundwave needed to figure out was why . He didn’t think he had done anything to upset Shockwave, but he still wracked his processor to figure out if there was anything he’d done wrong.
“Shockwave.” Soundwave said, visor flashing slightly when he saw that Shockwave had jolted in surprise when he spoke. Apparently he hadn’t heard him approach. “Soundwave: Has done something wrong? Shockwave: Seems… upset.”
“I- No. I’m fine.” Shockwave replied, taking a few steps back and glancing over Soundwave’s frame for a moment before focusing back on his visor. Of all Cybertronians, Shockwave was the only one Soundwave was incapable of picking up surface thoughts and emotions from (without extended physical contact), although that wasn’t too surprising given his modifications and long isolation on Cybertron. “Thank you for your concern, Soundwave, but I am fine.”
“Shockwave: is positive?” Soundwave asked, reaching out to touch his hand. Their digits brushed for a moment, and Shockwave visibly twitched and pulled his hand away. For a few moments they stared at each other, Soundwave’s helm tilting to one side as they continued to make optic contact before Shockwave cleared his vents and looked away, a flush of energon rising to the fins on either side of his helm and making some excuse about having to go check on something. Frankly, Soundwave didn’t feel the need to press him any further at the moment, and let Shockwave awkwardly shuffle away. At least one thing had been explained by that interaction.
Shockwave liked him. Soundwave absently brushed his digits over his mask as he turned that thought over in his processor a few times. It was certainly unexpected that Shockwave would develop attraction to him, or anyone for that manner. The way he was acting lead Soundwave to believe it was essentially just a crush, but at the same time he was honestly a little flattered that Shockwave’s first crush in what was probably a millenia was him. A slight flush rose to his faceplate before something banged on the inside of his chestplate.
“Quit blushin’, boss!” Rumble shouted.
“Yeah! We’re roasting in here!” Frenzy added, causing Soundwave to laugh quietly before opening his chest and letting the pair out. Ravage didn’t exit his chest, and when Soundwave sent a ping to him out of curiosity he only got the equivalent of a sleeping cat ‘mrrp?’ noise back.
“Rumble, Frenzy: Not to tell Megatron.” Soundwave said, and they both feigned horror at the idea.
“Tell Megs that our boss has a crush on the purple weirdo?” Frenzy asked, putting his hand over his spark in an exaggerated motion.
“We would never dream of it!” Frenzy added, covering his visor with both hands. Soundwave just shook his helm and started walking back into the command center to take his post, acting like he was going to leave the cassettes behind until he heard the telltale clanks of minicon feet hitting the ground. There was a crash and some swearing that sounded like Starscream overlapped with the twins’ laughter and Soundwave had to resist rubbing his faceplate. If the air commander just checked where he was going once in a while, he would stop tripping over minicons and giving Soundwave blackmail material.