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Wakeful

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To be fair, he shouldn't have been awake. Some bitter restlessness had driven Optimus from his recharge at this ungodly hour of the night (amazing, he reflected, how quickly he and the other Autobots had acclimated to the humans' diurnal activity cycles) and with nothing better to do he'd taken to walking the halls of the Ark - a patrol, he could say, if he were pressed, which few Autobots were willing to do.

It's quiet. Even for nearly four in the morning, there should have been some noise: there was always someone manning the comm station, the security office, the medbay, just in case. But no voices reached Optimus's audials; the only footsteps were his own. Increasingly worried, Optimus quickened his pace to the front of the ship, battle subroutines beginning to come to the forefront of his processor.

And cycled back down again - there was light spilling from the rec room, hushed voices and giggles and the odd electronic noises of human entertainment. On silent feet (the truck could sneak when he wanted to, Optimus thought smugly) he approached the doorway and peeked inside.

Although the Dinobots took up half the room, and all the mechs who were supposed to be on night shift took up the other half, it was to the far smaller individual in the middle of the room to which Optimus's optics were drawn. Daniel, eight years old and almost too big for his beloved fire truck pajamas, was hunched over his console controller, tiny pink tongue sticking out of his mouth as he frantically worked the buttons. Groove, holding the other controller, seemed more bemused than anything at his character's failure to do anything he wanted it to do as Danny once again demonstrated his mastery over the video game he referred to as Budokai.

"Man, if only we could unleash that on the 'Cons," Skydive chuckled, nudging Groove.

"Don't even think it," Red Alert warned, as calm as he ever got. "Carly would have our wires for tinsel. It's enough that she doesn't know Danny's up at this hour."

"It me Grimlock's turn next!" Grimlock reminded.

"Yeah, I know, big guy." Groove put his hands in the air in good-natured surrender as his character's life bar ran out. "Here you go, good luck."

Optimus shook his head slowly as Grimlock greedily clutched the Autobot-sized controller in his Dinobot-sized hands. Am I leading an army, or a pack of sparklings? Yet he couldn't bring himself to be too broken up about this moment of relative peace. His Autobots would be warriors again come sunrise; let them have this night.

Alone among the Autobots, Jazz noticed he was there; his HUD received a ping from his officer. All's well, it read. Optimus smiled, sent a ping of acknowledgement, and moved along.