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Starting Again

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Morning came slowly to him as his systems booted up. It was late in the morning, but Thundercracker didn't really care. There wasn't anything to care about any more. He slowly allowed his optics to flicker open, his line of sight had him gazing out the large window in the room. He stretched out across the berth, his joints creaking as he did so, as he took in the view of the city, now bright and sunny with the new day. His arm settled across the other side of the berth. Surprisingly it was empty. He was alone.

Pulling himself up and stretching his back some more he look around the room once again. Like the outer room it was really barren for it's size. The desk and bookcase on the opposite wall had fewer things stored on it than his own appeared to. He found himself wondering how long the Autobot had been living in this space. Had he already been living here when the decision to force them to cohabitate was made, or was this a new setting for him also? He at least knew more about the place than Thundercracker did.

Thundercracker stood and moved around the berth. He paused for a moment and fingered the drawer where he had stashed his photo crystals last night. Anger and sadness swirled within him again and he pushed himself away from the desk and to the door. In the main room the vid screen on the opposite wall was on, though instead of any drama or news program, it was a spiral of colors, a calm classical melody flowed from it's speakers.

"Good morning," Ultra Magnus said softly from where he stood in the kitchen area of the apartment, "I'm heating up some energon. Would you like some?" he offered as he poured a cube of blue steaming liquid. Frowning, Thundercracker made his way to the counter, and accepted the warm liquid. He took a small sip of the fluid. It was bland, nearly flavorless, he groaned to himself as he turned and leaned his back against the counter, the only place to sit was the old sofa. He grimaced. He hated the idea of fueling on such a piece of furniture. Why didn’t they have a dining set? Or at least stools to sit on at the counter.

"I was thinking we should probably go out today, get some more furnishings for the apartment." Ultra Magnus spoke as he sipped from his own cube on the other side of the counter, resting most of his weight on his elbows on the flat surface. "The counsel gave us a good amount of credits to help get us set up. And I'm afraid with my focus divided to other things I never took the time to get this space livable once the war ended and they set me up here."

So he had been living here on his own for a while. Thundercracker popped an eyebrow at the thought. The war had been 'over' for several decacycles, *this* was all the mech had put into it? He downed the remains of his cube and set it on the counter. "Fine." he huffed with a small shrug, "This place could be a lot better, with the right furnishings, I suppose." The Autobot nodded in his peripheral. He picked up Thundercrackers discarded cube and rinsed it clean before drying it and putting it away into one of the cabinets.

“It is late enough that many places should be open. Would you like to go out now, or wait until later?”

“May as well get it out of the way.” Thundercracker grumbled as he pushed himself away from the counter and moved around it to stand in the entrance way.

Ultra Magnus cleared his throat uncomfortably as he moved into the same space. “Are you familiar with the protocols in place for when we are in public together?”

Pushing the door console harder than he should have, Thundercracker gruffly answered as the door swished open, “ Yes. I am familiar with the *protocols* for being in public. As dumb and ludicrous as I think they are.”

He basically stomped his way down the hall and to the elevator. He knew the rules the council had put into place. They had sent a rather lengthy data pack outlining all the things that were expected of the couples in the course of their “budding relationship”. Half the things had made his tanks churn when he had read and reread over the chapters. A small relief was that there was some time until any serious things came into play. The thought of them however, made his tanks churn once again.

The ride down to the main floor was uncomfortable at best. Ultra Magnus standing awkwardly in the back corner, and Thundercracker growing more and more frustrated as more and more bots joined them in the elevator and he was forced to stand closer and closer to his forced partner within the confined space. He was able to feel the other mechs discomfort and apprehension as he was pushed closer, into the space of the large mechs tightly held EM field.

When he was finally relieved of the confined space, Thundercracker quickly made his way outside, sucking in a vent of fresh air, trying to get his frame to relax even a little bit. Ultra Magnus had no issue keeping up with him, and appeared content to hover to the side while Thundercracker attempted to pull himself together.

“So,” Thundercracker started, realizing he had no idea where they might go seeing as he was going to be chained to the ground when around Ultra Magnus, “ any idea where any good stores are?” He asked coolly. Secretly he hoped the other knew some places that would not require them to take any of the buses or trains. Thundercracker did not enjoy confined spaces, and even more so when there were so many other mechs to bump into. When it was easy for any random perverted grounder to cop a feel of his wings. He shivered at the thought. Sadly, it had happened to many times during the war. Then, he had no shame in kicking the slag out of the offending mech. Now, that the war was over, that probably wasn't the favored way of resolving that issue.

“There are a number of good shops nearby if you don’t mind a decent walk.” Ultra Magnus stated as he looked down the street. Turning back to Thundercracker he smiled slightly. “One of the benefits of where the council chose to locate us is that it is in close proximity of many shops, restaurants, and other businesses. Though I haven’t explored much myself. It seems a … *charming* area to live.”

“Whatever you say.” Thundercracker mumbled. Ultra Magnus’s face fell somberly. Thundercracker sighed, suddenly finding the sidewalk under his feet very interesting. “Just lead the way. Please.” he ground out.

“Of course.” said Ultra Magnus. His voice much lower now. “How about we head towards, downtown. That area should have much of what we are looking for.” He held a large white hand out to Thundercracker.

Thundercracker managed to suppress a whine. Damn, the council. Damn this whole situation. Wearily he slid his hand into the others. Damn their protocols, and the expectations for couples to hold hands in public.