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First Contact

Chapter Text

The moment Kaon had set his eyes (or lack there of) on the newly discovered sentient species in the news, he had felt a surge of unbridled excitement. He had to have one. They were so little, so soft looking and utterly adorable. He had immediately pooled his Shanix together and paid a mech to retrieve one from Earth, along with the necessary materials they would need to survive comfortably. Collect them as delicately as possible, he had emphasized.

Now, he was humming elatedly as he finally received a clear box resembling a miniature hab suite, complete with tiny furniture and most importantly, a recharging organic. While he was disappointed that they weren’t awake, as they had seemed a very lively species in his research, he was content to merely watch them for the time being. …Or not. Curiosity getting the better of him, he gingerly reached into the enclosure and stroked their arm. Their reaction was instantaneous, they immediately jerked upright with a loud squawk and tumbled off their berth. He froze, retracting his hand and peering uncertainly through the glass-like material.

“Ow! Who shocked me?” the human complained grouchily as they sat up.

“My apologies, that wasn’t my intention.” He replied guiltily, the Tesla coils on his shoulders sparking sheepishly. “My name is Kaon, and I’m very pleased to meet you.”

Instead of introducing themselves like he had expected though, they merely gaped upon catching sight of him before hurriedly rolling under their berth to avoid further shocks. They were clearly distressed he concluded, which in turn caused him to feel a measure of consternation. They were supposed to be best friends after all, he had even planned out all the activities they could do together that day.

“It’s alright, I’m not going to hurt you.” He crooned, slowly tilting the miniature berth onto one side and using his other servo to scoop up the cowering organic. “I’m afraid I was very excited earlier and failed to regulate my electricity levels, it won’t happen again.” He assured as he held them to his chassis and gently stroked them.

They didn’t respond and appeared to be playing dead, since their vitals indicated that they were still conscious. Oh well, he was a patient mech and decided to give them a tour of his hab suite. He would have jolted them a little since it was rude to die in the middle of a conversation but he wanted them to like him.

“I’ve installed human walkways and ladders in this room so that you can get around.” He said happily, holding them close to show them the contraptions. He was delighted to notice them peeking from beneath their eyelids.

“I would prefer you to remain within my hab suite though, unless I’m with you. It’s very dangerous outside, you understand?” he explained earnestly, before proceeding to the window overlooking the skyway. “But you only have to ask me for something, and I’ll try to provide.” He continued dotingly as they promptly popped up in his servo.

“Thank you Kaon, I want to go home please.” they requested, relief painting their features as they peered up at him with those bright, hopeful optics.

Disappointment welled up in his spark, it’s as he feared, the human didn’t want to stay with him. Still, this wasn’t unfeasible…he supposed he just needed to persuade them a little. In time, they would see that their place was here.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources to send you back to Earth right now. I spent most of my savings rescuing you from the mech that kidnapped you off your planet.” He lied easily, giving them a sympathetic pat.

“Oh. Is a flight to Earth from here very expensive?” they responded unhappily as their shoulders sagged. “Well, thanks for looking out for me anyway, I’m (Name).”

“Of course.” He said sweetly, spirits soaring now that they were accepting of him. “I’ll always do my best to make sure you’re comfortable.” He promised as his favourite organic gave him a gentle smile that spread warmth straight to his spark.

Chapter Text

Surprisingly, after the shock wore off, life slipped into a somewhat comfortable routine for you. While you had heard about Cybertronians on the news back on Earth, it was a whole other matter being dropped into a mandatory exchange program. Nonetheless, while Kaon left for work you tried to learn their language, watching clips of Cybertronian TV which had been subtitled for your benefit or reading translated texts. Exploring their culture and biology peaked your interest and consumed your days. Kaon spoke to you in English of course, but unlike him you couldn’t download a language pack straight into your brain. You had also gathered up various items you found in your room to try and sell on the Cybertronian internet and help raise funds for your return trip, but Kaon had shut that down relatively quickly.

“All those planes we see on the skyway are mechs?” you asked incredulously, pointing out the window as he nodded in response. “Does that mean you can transform into one? Could you take me flying?”

“No, sadly I’m not a flight frame. Grounders like me can usually transform into a land-based vehicles. But my own alternate mode is an elec—it’s a chair.” He explained patiently and you detected a shade of sullenness, as if he was expecting you to pass some silent judgement. Poor guy, you thought. In a world of planes and cars, being a piece of furniture seemed like the result of rolling a 1 in Dungeons and Dragons.

“Well, I think that’s cool. It’s unique, plus you have those awesome Tesla coils so no one else is even close to your level.” you encouraged as the two of you started on your respective dinners. It was rather strange how he liked to have you sit on his lap or shoulder when you were together, but you weren’t going to begrudge him such a little thing after all the trouble he had gone through for you.

“You’re just the sweetest, you know that?” he said fondly, reaching out to caress you as he was wont to do. That was another thing that you found weird but it wasn’t intolerable so again, you let it slide. After all, you could wriggle free when you’d had enough and perhaps giant robots were just very tactile. You wouldn’t know, he was the first you had met.

“So, can I see your alt-mode?” you enquired curiously as he smiled indulgently down at you.

“I’d rather not. Instead, why don’t I show you the city tomorrow?” he suggested and you readily agreed. He must be self-conscious about his alt-mode, you thought sympathetically. You hoped you could help reassure him about that, since he was supportive through your homesickness. So much so that sometimes, you fleetingly doubted his sincerity.

The next night, he presented you a suit of armour that looked like it came straight out of a science fiction movie when he got home. It made you look like a bizarre mini-bot but Kaon insisted that it was for your protection and in case air filtration was needed. You suspected it would also help you not attract unwanted attention.

“I hope this wasn’t expensive, how are we on the Earth travel fee by the way?” you asked as you donned the suit.

“It wasn’t much, and in any case the Earth expense is a long term goal. This armour is needed for the short term.” He assured you, putting his hand out for you to climb up on. Setting you on his shoulder, the two of you left his habsuite.

The city streets sprawled out ahead of you, impossibly large despite your perch being so far from the ground. It was a surreal experience, like children’s book about tiny people and faeries living alongside humans. But in it’s own way, it was beautiful and marvellous. Spires that seemed to reach the sky itself rose around you, twin moons illuminated the night sky which was lit by planes darting like shooting stars. Kaon explained various landmarks as you passed them, smiling at your innocent wonder. He seemed intent on climbing higher and higher, eventually arriving at the roof of a now quiet library.

“You can see most of the city from here,” he said, turning 360 degrees to give you a complete view. “It’s about the highest a mech can get without a flight frame.” He added hesitantly.

“It’s perfect.” You assured, drinking in the sight and sounds.

“The atmosphere should be safe for you to breathe here, if you want to take off your helmet.” He informed you, noticeably happier at your response.

You did as he suggested, settling back in his hands that cradled you. Despite the abundance of lights, it was still pretty difficult to make out a lot of the specific buildings at night. You had to squint at a lot of the things Kaon pointed out, unable to pick out defining details. Still, you knew Kaon hardly got free time during the day and appreciated him planning at least a night outing. Besides, at least the stars shone brightly now, so foreign yet so familiar.

“Oh hey! Look it’s Taurus, the constellation! I’m surprised we’re able to see it from here. What do you guys call it?”

“I don’t know, I’m sure it has a scientific name but I’ve never really had a reason to stargaze before. Humans are fond of the activity though, right?” He replied with a shrug, looking at you more than the sky you noticed.

“Well, on Earth we like to make little predictions based on when we were born and certain stars. Some people believe they provide insight into our current lives. It’s just for fun of course, not many take it seriously. I’m no astrology master, but I do remember the Greek myth about Taurus. Supposedly, some deity tricked Europa into trusting him by pretending to be a gentle bull. Then when she got too close, he kidnapped her to some remote island and revealed himself, proclaiming love, showering her with gifts and what not. Sources differ on whether said love was reciprocated, but that’s the story on why there’s a bull in the sky.” You finished with flourish, glancing at him to see if he liked the tale.

You expected him to laugh, or at least nod so you were surprised to see him sitting very stiffly instead, whereas a moment ago he had been relaxed and calm. Was the story that bad? You supposed Greek myths could be rather weird, but hardly more incredible than 20-foot tall robots who could transform into vehicles. If you were to hazard a guess at his emotions, you would say he was unnerved. Perhaps you had stumbled into some Cybertronian faux pas unknowingly.

“Yeah…our ancient myths can be a pretty messed up sometimes but they’re told just for entertainment. Kidnapping is very frowned upon in modern human society.” You say to break the silence, which had been starting to become uncomfortable.

“…I see, they certainly are interesting…thank you for sharing.” he responded deliberately, shaking his head. “Anyway, it’s late. You must be getting tired, let’s head back now, hm?” he said suddenly, returning to his usual gentle demeanor.

“…I want you to know I don’t hold any hard feelings towards Cybertronians, Kaon. I mean, like people they are capable of both good and evil. The mech who kidnapped me acted wrongly, but then there are always those like you who chose to help.”

He didn’t reply, merely made a non-committal sound of agreement before standing up. You made a mental note that Kaon was not fond of Greek mythology, apparently.

Chapter Text

“You did what?”

(Name) at least had the grace to look somewhat sheepish, although that certainly wasn’t the issue right now. The little organic put down their basket of supplies and rocked on the balls of their feet uncertainly. Primus, they shouldn’t be allowed to be that cute…he couldn’t even stay indignant at them.

“I didn’t think it would be such a big deal. It’s a very common activity on Earth, everyone does it like…fortnightly.” They attempted to explain factually, actually looking rather bewildered at his response.

“To inanimate cars, not Cybertronians! (Name), you can’t open a human car wash here, it’s dangerous! What if you get robbed or injured or…kidnapped!” he objected vehemently, refusing to budge on this topic.

“Well, to be fair I’m not opening a car wash. I just put out an ad online to see if there would be any interest and this guy said they would be keen. I thought it would be a quick and clean way to put away some cash for my travel fee.” The human continued to reason in an even tone.

“Absolutely not, this is absurd. How did you even write an ad? Ugh…not the point, you’re not cleaning some random dirty mech.” he replied flatly, quite aware of the double meaning in his word choice.

“Relax Kaon, I’m practically a professional car washer. I used to wash my car like…some weekends. I just put the ad up in English, since I figured you mechs were the ones who could download the language pack straight into your brains. If they’re really bad, I’ll just hose them down with water first. They’re even providing the water!”

“No.”

“Look, I asked for their details so if they try anything funny, the robot police will be onto them. Besides, we’re meeting at a public place during the day. Also…uh I already received the payment so I kind of have to go through with this. I confirmed I would and all.”

Kaon’s Tesla coils glowered unhappily, as he managed to glare at his human without optics. He had linked a side account to his main one so that (Name) could make some purchases as they needed, not so that they could start a business. This was ridiculous, couldn’t they see how risky meeting an unknown mech in some random location was? Even if they were reported missing, humans hardly had the same rights as mechs under Cybetronian law. Their sentience and intelligence classification was currently "unrecognized", which was a fancy way of saying that the government was still running studies and trying to decide. He exhaled through his vents, only to find his organic compiling their materials at the door. Not that they could open it, but the message was clear.

“Fine.” He ground out, hating to concede like this but simultaneously unable to deny (Name) anything. “Listen, I will go with you to meet this mech to make sure you’re safe but this is a one-off arrangement only. I also want you to promise not to talk to them about the kidnapping business, okay? I don’t want them getting any ideas.” he said, scooping the human up so that they could talk at optic(less) level.

Herein lied Kaon’s true fears, that interacting with this stranger would reveal too much information to his precious organic. A little tip off here, a little contradiction there and he was all too aware that lovely, trusting (Name) would start questioning their situation. He doubted that anyone would try anything right in front of him, but he was profoundly protective over his human, after all they were so small and practically devoid of any self-defence mechanisms. He supposed it wouldn’t be fair to ask him to be able to fight something 20 times his height either but he digressed.

“Thanks Kaon, I appreciate it. I just wanted to contribute a little for once…Anyway, it’s tomorrow during the day, since it’s the Cybetronian weekend as I understand?”

“Yeah…not really what I imagined doing on my time off.” He muttered, still somewhat salty about the whole arrangement.

His human merely gave him a sympathetic pat before hopping off his hand and back to their hab suite, tossing a cheerful goodnight over their shoulder before disappearing inside. He huffed before stalking over to his own berth where he continued sulking. Maybe he had wanted a car wash too…or a chair wash more accurately. But he didn’t want to reveal that his alt-mode was literally a Cybertronian torture device quite yet. No, he wasn’t jealous of that random mech! Okay…maybe a little. Frag it all…he’d better recharge, he’d need as much energy as he could get for tomorrow after all…

“Good morning, Kaon!” (Name) trilled from his bedside table all too soon the next day as he continued resolutely staring at the ceiling.

“Come on, you already promised! It’ll be fine, you’ll see.” They cajoled as he persisted in pretending to be asleep. Taste of their own medicine, he thought unapologetically. “Kaaaaaonnnn. Wake up, we’re going to be late!”

Still no reaction.

“Help, I’m falling!”

He shot up so fast he got whiplash. His servo was already cupped near the table in preparation to catch a sneaky organic who was definitely not falling. Instead, (Name) was making exaggerated flailing motions near the edge while balancing on one pede.

“Stop that. One day you’re actually going to tumble off the table.” He snapped as they desisted with a laugh.

No longer able to feign sleep, he got up and unenthusiastically began shuffling around his hab suite, pestered by his human as they tried to help him get ready.

“Alright you, let’s get this over with.”

Chapter Text

Skids couldn’t help the excited fluttering from his door wings as he waited impatiently at the corner of the park. An actual human! Here on Cybertron no less, he had so many questions. How did they get here? Where were they staying? Did every human come programmed with car washing knowledge? What did they think of Cybertronians?

At ten cliks past their agreed meeting time, he felt his excitement wane as doubt began to set in. Had his correspondence all been a prank to scam him out of 8 Shanix? After all, it was optimal time of capitalise on all the Earth hype. He couldn’t help but feel severely disappointed if this was the case, after all those car washing videos he’d watched. Curse those shameless mechs with too much time on their hands…

“Hello, are you Skids?” a voice asked politely in the Earth language English.

He spun around, optics landing on a rather disgruntled red mech and what looked like the littlest mini-bot he had ever seen. The mini-bot took off their helmet, wherein Skids could see it really was a human.

“Why you’re adorable!” he blurted out, as the other mech visibly twitched in annoyance, shielding the small organic from view with his servos.

“I don’t like him, seems like creep. Let’s go.” The Cybertronian with them said warily, already half turning to walk away.

“Wait! Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude. I’m Skids, as you already know and I’m delighted to meet you!” he introduced quickly, taking half a step forward to follow them.

“I’m (Name), and this is Kaon.” The human responded, clambering up onto the other mech’s shoulder so they could talk face to face. “Sorry we’re late, my friend here was sleeping in.”

“No problem! How did you two meet, anyway?” he asked curiously, edging forward a little to observe them more closely.

“We’re part of a Cybertronian-human exchange program to improve interspecies relationships.” Kaon responded swiftly, carefully setting the little organic on the ground. “Now, why don’t we get started?”

Skids was a little startled by his curt attitude, honestly what kinds of mechs were they allowing into such a delicate operation like interplanetary diplomacy? Especially with a newly discovered species too. Nonetheless, he deposited a few tanks of water on the ground before stepping back and folding into his alt-mode.

“Where can I join this program?” he queried eagerly, he couldn’t wait to get his own home-stay human as well.

“Applications are closed already until they see how well this one goes.” Kaon responded drily, settling down nearby as the human shucked off their suit.

“Oh.” He couldn’t keep the disappointment out of his voice, how had he even missed such an opportunity? He’d been stalking anything Earth related the second the planet had been discovered.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get another chance soon.” (Name) assured as they hosed him down gently before beginning to wash him.

“Ah…I hope so.”

Mmmmm…it felt nice, cool sudsy water running down his exterior while a smooth sponge rubbed soothing circles over his hood, windscreen, roof, hubcaps…The human had such soft hands as well, pleasantly warm and nimble enough to reach the tiniest details on his alt-mode. His engine rumbled contently as he distantly heard Kaon scoff. With some embarrassment, he realized that he had lost track of the conversation quite a while back in his relaxed state. He sputtered a sheepish little cough.

“Sorry.” He apologized quickly, trying to pick up cues on what was being said.

“Oh don’t mind him, he’s just crabby because I forced him to chaperone me here.” The human said with a laugh as Kaon continued throwing them dark looks from under the tree.

“If you need transport, I’d be more than happy to fetch you somewhere!” he offered brightly, keen for more time with the fascinating little organic.

“No way, keep your servos to yourself.” Interjected Kaon abruptly, his Tesla coils actually emitting sparks in agitation.

“Thanks for the offer, but we should be fine. Unless you’ve got a ticket to Earth lying around anywhere hah!” they joked as they finished towelling off the water.

“You know what? I’d love to visit Earth! I’d have to sort some stuff out first of course but I don’t see why you couldn’t come along.” He replied easily, who wouldn’t want to visit a whole planet full of cute car washing aliens…He’d already had the idea in the back of his processor for a while, now he might be able to get a guide to show him around too!

“Really? That’s great! Kaon, did you hear that? Skids has funds for an Earth trip!” (Name) exclaimed enthusiastically, beaming up at him with bright optics as he reverted to his root mode.

They ran over to Kaon, who had a look of frozen panic on his features for a split second before they were smoothed over. Wait, weren’t they part of an exchange program? Why would the human want to return early then, unless there wasn’t a pre-set end date?

“I don’t know if we can impose on Skids like this, and in any case I don’t want you travelling alone with him anywhere for safety reasons. We’d need to plan this out over the next few cycles as well at earliest.” Kaon told the human lightly, completely at odds with the cold and confrontational tone he had used with Skids.

"I’ll send over my contact details so we can sort this trip out.” Skids proposed, pushing a data file through to the other mech.

“Thanks, Skids!” the human chirped happily, as an unknown mech passed by with some furry creature on a leash. “Whoa what’s that? Wait…is this a pet park!?” The human asked suddenly.

Hearing the alarm in their voice, Kaon immediately darted forward and gathered them up to his chassis protectively.

“You’re stressing (Name) out.” he accused harshly, biolights and Tesla coils flickering with clear irritation just shy of a threat display.

Skids shuttered his optics in response, but still didn’t see any sense in not telling the human where they were. He could hear noises of complaint from somewhere within Kaon’s cupped servos, but the other mech seemed reluctant to let them continue their conversation. Instead, he seemed to be murmuring soothing words to the organic and periodically patting them.

“Well, it is a pet park, but that’s not to say that we consider humans pets since your species is sentient. It was just a convenient public location with a Class 7 atmosphere, it had the requisite pressure and air composition for organics like you to breathe safely. Of course I'd say most areas of the city are safe for human respiratory systems, but it was just a precaution.” Skids explained objectively as (Name) finally managed to escape Kaon’s clutches and flopped back onto the ground.

“I see...” They replied, although it was evident that they were still troubled nonetheless. “Haha, just reminded me of a scene from an Earth movie I saw once. This chimpanzee who has been living with humans sees a dog on a leash and starts questioning his life…”

He flinched as Kaon’s field flared with sudden resentment towards him, his barely concealed anger and underlying fear confusing Skids. While he’d hardly been friendly earlier, he was almost downright hostile now.

“Let’s go, this mech is full of nonsense, insulting you by making us meet at this pet park.” growled Kaon aggressively, once again grabbing the human along with the various other items they had brought along.

“Oh, I’m not offended, I was just surprised that’s all. I mean Skids just clarified why.” (Name) said but the other mech was already strolling purposefully towards the exit. “Okay, well bye then! We’ll be in touch!”

“Uh, see you soon!” Skids called after them, as the strange duo headed off.

Upon returning to his hab suite, Skids immediately pulled up his data screen and began typing away furiously:

Comment on (Name)’s Car Wash:
“Fantastic service! Human hands are very soft so there’s no need to worry about scratching, they also use some nice cloths and cool water. Was able to clean very small details even minibots probably couldn’t reach! The only complaint I have is that that this mech with them was really grouchy, it kind of took away from the experience. It’s hard to relax when some stranger is hard-core glaring at you. Anyway, 9/10, arranging my flight to Earth for more as I type!”

Chapter Text

How dare he…

How dare that disgusting waste of space of a mech try and steal (Name) away from him. They were his human, that wretch needed to back off and get his own. He’d kill him. Electrocute the life right out of his spark, the fragger. He’d deserve it. Yet…(Name) looked so elated at the prospect of returning to Earth he almost wanted them to go. Him and (Name) of course, no Skids. But even that thought was cursed, because it had been Skids who provided an avenue of escape in (Name)’s eyes. They had shone with joy because of Skids, not him. He growled in annoyance, fuming despite outwardly appearing calm.

Okay, first up was damage control. While he’d been filtering the Internet content he provided (Name) so that they were kept in the dark about matters that might tip them off, he’d have to personally intercept all communications between his human and Skids. Then, craft responses appropriately. He’d have to monitor what they were posting as well. As much as he wanted to murder that awful blue mech, it wasn’t something he could easily do without getting arrested. At least, not alone.

“Can I ask you something, Kaon?”

He inclined his head in (Name)’s direction to show that he was listening, but inwardly he felt his spark clench. He knew allowing them to go through with the car wash deal had been a mistake, but he'd been too soft. That careless piece of scrap Skids had ruined everything. He’d make him pay, see how he liked it when someone destroyed the only small sliver of happiness he had. Well, crossing mechs off the List had made him happy too but it was different, more a thrill. Somewhere in the back of his processor, he was aware that he was being unreasonable but he ignored it.

“…are you blind? Most of the mechs I’ve seen have these lights where human eyes would be but you don’t.”

“What? Um…yes I guess you could say that, I don’t have optics but I can “see” by echolocation.” He revealed, somewhat startled by (Name)’s question. He had been expecting worse.

“Ohhh…is that why you’re so tactile? Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just that humans usually don’t touch that much between friends.” His human replied with an empathetic nod. “Also, uh…are you okay? I mean you were acting pretty…pissed towards Skids before.” They asked hesitantly, glancing at him from the corner of their optic.

“I’m fine (Name), it’s just that he seems very untrustworthy, looks like he’s trouble and I don’t want you getting tangled up with his issues.” Kaon responded with a sigh, voice laced with concern. Skids might not have problems now but he was about to if he could help it.

“He seemed pretty genuine to me...” mused (Name) with a frown as Kaon felt a flash of irritation. Not at his human of course, never at them.

“Cybertronians have these fields that other mechs can read, humans seem to have much weaker versions of these. Anyway, Skids’ field made me really uncomfortable, he didn’t seem well-intentioned at all.” persuaded Kaon earnestly. “Why don’t you let me run a background check on him, then we’ll see if he’s suitable?”

“Hm, okay that sounds fair. Do they have public records up like that?” (Name) questioned as they reached his hab suite.

“Yes, in Cybertronian of course. I’ll try and have it done by the next cycle for you.”

“Thanks, no rush! I can’t wait to get back to Earth, if we manage to save up enough I’d love to show to show you around.” they said cheerfully. “Oh! Let me show you something I learned.” They said, standing up on his hand and clearing their throat.

“Kaon!”

For a moment (Name) merely beamed at him before he realized what they’d done. They had said his name, in Cybertronian. Sure, some of it had been off, but organic vocalisers weren’t designed for his language.

“H-How did you…who taught you that?” he asked, stunned.

“I’ve been trying to learn Cybertronian since I got here, then I figured it would be great if I could say your name. Did I get it right? It’s my first word!” they replied brightly.

His spark twisted with emotion. (Name), his sweet, dear human cared about him enough to learn his name in Cybertronian. They were looking at him so affectionately, so trustingly that his processor blanked for a nanoclick. Did they have any idea how happy they made him? Just knowing that they would be there for him with a hot cube of energon after work made his spark soar. Yet in exchange for all this, he was deceiving and trapping them here against their will. He could let them go…he could send them back to Earth himself (not with Skids, never with anyone but him) but then it would all be over. All the contentment he had found would drain away like water down a ravine. This was disregarding their hopelessly short lifespans…No, no not yet. They could stay longer, one day he would tell them but until then, he was going to bask in their warmth. He pulled them close to his spark.

“You said it perfectly.”

Chapter Text

Disappointingly, in the following cycles you heard from Skids that there had been some complications. He was very sorry but it looked like the trip had be delayed and you wouldn’t be able to tag along. Kaon had also discovered that he had a bad criminal record with organic species, which was something you felt like he would have checked beforehand given his overprotective ways but okay. You’d been moping about the next few days as a result despite Kaon’s attempts at comforting you.

It scared you sometimes how much he adored you, how he would bundle you up in his hands and tell you how much you meant to him. How he would lavish you with trinkets and luxuries, claiming that they didn’t cost much even as you protested and reminded him about saving up for your Earth trip. You had asked about his work and friends before, but he had always seemed to change the subject before you realized he hadn’t given you an answer. Honestly, you suspected he didn’t have much of a social life but you didn’t want to be rude.

“Don’t you get lonely, Kaon? You never talk about your friends or family, or are Cybertronians content with solitude?” You had asked him one day.

“We don’t have family in the human sense of the word…and I’m not lonely anymore, we’re friends after all.” He replied after a second of hesitation.

But what about before I got here? What about when I leave? You didn’t voice that aloud, given that he was already gathering you up to his chassis in what you recognised was one of his clingier moments. Meeting Skids had let you know that not all mechs acted like Kaon, in fact you’d go so far as to say that most mechs didn’t. His hostility towards Skids had also been a bit abnormal, given that he was nothing but adoring towards you. Something was going on, that much was certain but exactly what you didn’t know. It put you on edge since he seemed to genuinely care about you. At times you got the uncomfortable vibe that his devotion was one bestowed to pets rather than friends though, and you had yet to think of a way to bring that up tactfully. Another possibility was that he was just dealing with some work issues.

Regardless, today he was taking you to the Cybertronian equivalent of the beach to cheer you up after the whole Skids thing fell through. You were intent on enjoying yourself so that his efforts would not be in vain at least, you didn’t want to stress him out more. It’d also be an opportunity to observe other mechs and maybe try and get a better idea of your situation.

“It’s so peaceful!” you exclaimed upon arrival, taking in the crashing waves and golden sand. “Do you often come here?”

“I used to when I had time off, but not recently.” He replied wistfully.

You thanked him when he unfurled a blanket and a little food basket he’d been storing in his chest compartment.

“I’m going to take a look around.” You said before wandering off and leaving him to peruse information on his tablet.

It was nice, looking at him from this distance, Kaon seemed calmer and more content, away from the bustle of the city. You continued scouring the beach for interesting rocks and seashells you could collect as souvenirs. It was a fairly secluded place, you noted, so no mech watching for you. Eventually you tired, and returned to hide on your blanket in the shade Kaon provided, singing cheerily to yourself.

Say it’s only a paper moon,
Sailing over a cardboard sea

“That’s a nice Earth song.” He commented, stroking your hair as you sorted the goodies you’d gathered.

“Mhm, fairly old but a classic in my heart at least. What does Cybertronian music sound like?”

Something like distress flickered across his face before he buried whatever thought had surfaced.

“Nothing so nice as yours.” He responded quietly.

“Kaon!” A voice suddenly called as a bulky little bot sidled into view. The rest of her speech was in Cybertronian you couldn’t understand.

Kaon’s coils flared, as he instinctively pulled you close. You recognised this maneurver as one that usually preceded you being stuffed into his subspace. He replied respectfully to the other mech, standing up to face her. She frowned upon catching sight of you but seemed to settle for ignoring your existence. Kaon relaxed as the conversation continued, although he still didn’t let you go. They seemed to exchange some data before the teal mini-bot trundled away.

“Who was that?”

“Nickel, she and I used to be in this…club together.” He deflected vaguely.

“What was the club called, what did you guys do?” you replied curiously, noticing that he was pausing for a long time between sentences.

“It’s called the DJD and we were…a literature club, we met to talk about Megatron’s writings, listen to music, things like that.” He said in an off-hand tone.

“Did you have many friends there? Why’d you leave?” You prodded, not wanting to push yet interested in the details of his enigmatic life.

“Well…they refused to help my turbofox when he was in danger, so he died as a result.” Kaon explained tentatively. “Tarn, he just didn’t care. He nearly took my head off for even suggesting we go after The Pet. I had to look for him myself and when I found him, it was too late.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” You apologized sincerely, as he smiled sadly and assured you that it was fine.

So he had been hanging around a rough crowd by the sounds of it, Kaon rarely used hyperbole...some literature club. Thus you came to the terrifying prospect that he was lying to your face on a regular basis. Also The Pet? When was this you wondered, shortly before you came into his life? Disturbingly, your mind conjured up the image of a replacement goldfish.

“Finish that song you were singing?” he prompted hopefully.

“Of course.”

But it wouldn’t be make-believe,
If you believed in me.