"First Aid says they're going to be fine." Hot Spot said insistently. "Come on, you're just underfoot here. He'll comm when you can go see them."
Silverbolt rubbed his optics tiredly. "I still can't believe they did that. Thank Primus- and I can't believe I'm saying this- for Sunstreaker. If he hadn't been there-"
"He was there, and they're home now. Fireflight and Dive will be out this afternoon, Air Raid's stable, and maybe being grounded while they refabricate his scoops will teach Slingshot to think for once. Come on." Hot Spot took hold of Silverbolt's hand and towed the other mech out of the tiny waiting room at the entrance to the medical bay. It was midshift, and the corridors were mostly empty, although Hot Spot smiled and waved at Blaster as they passed him.
"This isn't the recc room." Silverbolt said as they turned the corner into the hallway that led to the Protecotobots' shared quarters.
Hot Spot shrugged. "I didn't think you'd want to put up with everyone. Don't worry, Blades is covering your patrol for this afternoon with Powerglide- Prowl shortened the route - and Groove pointedly commed to let me know that he and Streetwise were going to the range. Groove never goes to the range." He smiled at Silverbolt. "So it's just us."
Silverbolt made himself comfortable on the sofa while Hot Spot retrieved two cubes of energon from Groove's room. They glowed a pale blueish green rather than the usual pink, but it wasn't a type of high grade that he'd seen before.
"Not actually high grade, it's a mix Groove has been playing with." Hot Spot correctly interpreted Silverbolt's expression. "I know you're going to have to pick up their shift later; relax, Air Commander." He handed one cube to Silverbolt and sat down next to him on the lounge.
Silverbolt sighed as he accepted the cube. Hot Spot wrapped an arm around his shoulders, slowly enough to give Silverbolt a chance to pull away if he wanted. He didn't. The sofa was soft enough to allow his wings to sink comfortably into the back, and Hot Spot's EM field was sympathetic, reassuring, and affectionate, washing over his sensornet in a way that felt good, almost good enough to let him ignore the numbness that came from having half his brothers offlined in stasis while the medics worked on them.
"How the slag am I supposed to do this, Spot? I thought they were doing better! Flight's been on time for his patrols, Slingshot hasn't gotten in a fight in three orns, and Air Raid's only prank in the last month was on Sideswipe." Silverbolt asked after it became evident that Hot Spot was content to allow him to decide where things would go.
Hot Spot's engine rumbled, a comforting purr. "I can't tell you that, Bolt- I wish I could, I want to help. My guys make it easy, though. I mean- I can just tell you something trite, like be a leader and they'll go with you, but your guys- well, they're not like mine." He stroked one of Silverbolt's winglets comfortingly. "You're a good leader, Bolt. Don't let them convince you you're not."
Silverbolt forced himself to relax, slowly leaning into Hot Spot's support. The fire truck wrapped an arm around him, they were alone, no one would see if he accepted it. His fans spun up as he half turned to bury his head in Hot SPot's shoulder, wrapping an arm around the other mech. "What kind of leader lets his unit decide to randomly torment a Decepticon for no good reason?" He tried to keep the despair out of his voice, not very successfully.
"Grimlock, for one. Heck, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe do it in basically every battle. Brawn. Gears, that one time last month when Wildrider was taunting him. Have you talked to Prime about it?" Hot Spot hugged him closer.
"I don't want him to think I can't handle it." Silverbolt said.
"Bolt, if this is how 'handling it' makes you feel, you're going to stress yourself into sparkfailure before you're a vorn." Hot Spot tried to make a joke out of it, but his EM field betrayed how worried he was about his fellow commander. "Prime won't hold it against you, you know he won't."
Silverbolt sighed, leaned against Spot for another moment, and slowly sat up. Hot Spot let go of him, reluctantly. "I know he won't, Spot. But I still feel like I'm letting him down."
"You should talk to him." Spot urged. "You'll feel better, and I bet he'll have some good advice for you. Or, if you won't talk to him, talk to someone."
"I'm talking to you, aren't I?" Silverbolt leaned in again to lean his forehead against Hot Spot's, smiling slightly. Hot Spot smiled back, but refused to be diverted.
"Yes, but I mean someone with more command experience than me. I'm the youngest officer in the Autobot Army, Bolt, I don't know how to help. We're not supposed to know how to do this stuff off the bat, they're supposed to teach us command."
"You're not going to leave me alone until I do, are you?" Silverbolt asked wryly. Bolt gave one of his slow, sweet grins, rubbing his hands gently over Silverbolt's wings.
"I can sic Aid on you if you'd rather, and he can use the turbopuppy optics."
"Pit, no. I'll do it." Silverbolt sighed and turned to flop against the back of the sofa with a groan. "But later."
"Later." Spot agreed with a nod. "Drink that, and we'll find something mindless to do until Aid has an update for us."