Arcee wound up in one of the meditation rooms, as anger was not the proper way to release her emotions, not with all that was riding on Chromia choosing peace. To go to the range felt like hypocrisy when she had wound up begging Chromia to let the past go enough to focus on making a new life among the self-exiled Autobots. She could have found Jolt, or even taken time with Prime himself, but there were too many data tracks to process right now for the addition of someone else's thoughts.
She settled in the center of the artificial crystals, their facets shining mutely with inner lights, and sent a command to the media array to bring up her favorite music and light program, noting the array responded to the communication with more personality than usual. That keyed the briefing she'd received en route from Wheeljack, and she surveyed all the details of this mech called Metroplex to distract her, temporarily, from Chromia.
"Sorry I'm not the best of company, Metroplex," she said, once she had it in place. "You don't mind if I settle in and just… process?"
"Of course not, Arcee. It is good to make your acquaintance, and should you require anything, please feel free to ask." The rich voice was even deeper in resonance than Prime's, Arcee noted. She rather liked the pitch, and the entire room felt cozier with his animus around her. It seemed to fit her needs exactly, and she gave herself over to the process of analyzing her talk with Chromia, knowing on the base level that she was well-kept and protected in here.
Chromia watched the mech in the cell with her, noting the differences in the lines of the frame, in the way the energies flowed, and most of all in the restraint being shown. Ironhide had never been one for great thought or pause in emotional meetings. Logic dictated that this being, despite the name and similarities, was not the Ironhide she had known and loved and fought with so long ago.
It hit her harder than knowing 'Hide had been destroyed, harder than having Arcee come close and not be able to feel her vibrancy along the silent cohort bonds. Only the loss of Elita One, at this point, was tearing at her spark with more daggers than knowing this being in front of her was not her Ironhide at his core.
For his part, Ironhide was struggling. He did not have the memory basis for this, and yet his spark was actively aching to be near her and not feel any resonance answering him. He had not felt this torn since he started thinking of Prowl without even knowing the mech's designation or place inside his cohort.
"They tell me you call yourself 'Ironhide'," Chromia answered in the frostiest tone she could muster to cover her pain and loss. It was her way.
It struck Ironhide like a fusion cannon blast. "I amIronhide."
The tone sparked anger, and anger was one of those emotions Ironhide had to reluctantly admit was his forte. He could brood, he could laugh, he could do any of the various emotions, but he excelled at anger. It was a testimony to so many vorns of existence with so little beyond battle and loss, Sideswipe had told him, being one to share that near-blinding rage that was considered to be a far more Decepticon trait.
"Now you listen here, you sharply-cornered rust bucket!" Ironhide thundered at her. "You don't get to come in here and pick apart the life I've managed to claw back together anymore than we get to question you being who you say you are! Show a little bit of processor power and use your own experience to look at the fact that if a mech slags off and gets a second chance, it's not going to be one-hundred percent perfect to your slagging memories!"
Chromia's optics flared wide as her fields grew aggressively agitated… and then she started to laugh, deep and rich as Ironhide fumed. "Maybe I did misspeak, because that was a tirade worthy of my brother-in-arms," she said once the laughter passed. "Yet…" She strode closer, hand coming up to cover where his spark pulsed in his chestplates, a grimace settling on her faceplates. "You're as empty to me as she was!"
Ironhide had heard Will use the frame 'lump in his throat' during strong emotions. It was an interesting phrase, but for a Cybertronian, the normal phrase was a 'stutter in my spark', and that was far more adequate to what Ironhide felt as his spark reached and met nothingness. He shifted slowly, his arms coming down to fold around Chromia, and when she made no protest, he folded her closer to himself.
"I don't remember in my processor, Chromia. But my spark does. And I can't let you keep hurting, anymore than I can let you break what my Prime's trying to build. So we're just going to have to work on both sides of it, to help you." Ironhide looked down into her features, as her arms shifted to settle as much around him as she could, the comfort of their squeeze reminding him that she was just as strong as he was, possibly more so.
"What if I can't let go of this burning hatred in my spark?" she asked him. "What if the war is all I am now?"
Ironhide shook his helm. "If you know me at all, you know the answer already, Chromia."
She nodded, then rested her helm on his chest, optics shuttering. Better for him to end it than for it to fall on her creation to take the life from her at last. He would make it as painless as possible, and the very lack of memories would help him see the mercy, rather than lingering on a need to save her, or so she hoped as they moved to sit together.