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               Soundwave's digit scraped the minuscule latch to the right of his visor. Timidly, in the event of what was to come, he rested his chin over his wrist as the other fell to the chair he sat upon. He crossed one pede over the other in emotional retention. His frame assumed- given that he normally recharged at his work station- that this too was time to power down. He informed his systems to dismiss any oncoming urges for sleep, and to automatically perform diagnostic services for maintenance; 4 weeks of this now, he thought. Perhaps his systems were learning to outsmart the redirected routines.

               After disturbing himself by repositioning his elbow articulator, power flowed steadily back into each limb, allowing him to fondle the glass data pads on the table he lay drooped over. With a feeble rush of melancholy, he realized on how few accounts he had been in his own room for anything other than simply recharging. His helm turned momentarily to pan over the unused space; everything remained in its standard issue packaging, minus the protective sheets.

               However, this was not about him: this was about the other. The time for such foolish feelings ended now. He slid the thick end of the data pad off his thin forefinger, returning his focus to the door.

               A hasty knock at his quarters quashed the silence in his processor and yet no peace of mind was vanquished. Steadily, his lengthy frame gathered itself, raising off the seat like a stretching swan. With no hesitation, the airlock slid across into the wall, gears and latches moving into place. Nobot less than he who was expecting was in the space some footage away.

               A slender eradicon greeted him silently with a nod of his visor, acquiring the uniquely granted permission of the general before him. Briefly, Soundwave scanned the corridor and the ceiling for any prying optics upon his guest's transaction. With nobot or trace thereof accounted for, Soundwave slunk backwards, the only source of light from the hall dissolving into the grave that was the Third Commander's quarters. At the close of the door, the strands of harsh hallway brightness vanished over Soundwave and the vehicon's angular armor, replaced by silky swells of violet luminescence from the general's biolights.

               The buzzing eradicon looked up to him from his measly standing position further into the room as his programming awaited formal orders, his stance awaiting formal reciprocation. The Third in Command came forth to him, gait as steady as when trailing behind the other higher ups, and clutched his counterpart. The vehicon made no sound seeing as Soundwave had yet to, and this was one of the many mannerisms he held onto out of respect and his malleable workmech dignity.

               The vehicon's neck-cables became taut as he stretched up gracefully to receive a nudge on them from Soundwave's glass face. Soundwave rolled part of his shoulder in a brisk twitch, his frame hunching over to bring the soldier as close as possible, accepting their disputable height difference with subjective ease. A warm radiance swirled inside them both as the eradicon's servos finally clasped to the other's waist in an open-servoed, submissive manner. There were times the small mech remembered his true place and how this opportunity to be in the inessential company of a higher officer was highly fortuitous. At times he still felt he was the intimidated drone that existed as a mere husk for allegiance and the slight strength that came in numbers.

               Pulling from the welcomed embrace, Soundwave's visor pinged politely, a mark of inquiry prying for truth on his glass.

               "N-no. I was not followed. I am quite careful. You needn't be so worrisome," the soldier muttered with more genuine concern for Soundwave than himself. The warrior's grip loosened during his answer to which the commanding officer filled in with a tighter grasp on the speaker.

               The intel officer mimicked a small noise, one that he heard several vehicons making earlier as they had gathered. The one before him clicked in response, splitting from his position to take a familiar spot on the couch. Soundwave allowed him the special privilege of doing so, vacating the area to retrieve fuel from the cooling compartment in the back corner.

               With Soundwave taking his time, his guest took his own in taking in the semi-alien surroundings. Something the faceless drone always admired was his guide's admiration for the truth; everything was so absolute when he was around. Nothing altered, nothing twisted. The same was said for his quarters in general, save for a few scribbles that appeared above his berth by the looks of which were... drawings from the Second in Command?

               A solid tap on the table disrupted his wandering processor. Soundwave set down the tray of aligned cubes and two neatly folded cloths. The eradicon's visor lessened its intensity, as did the enamoring lines divvying Soundwave's frame. Within moments, Soundwave had descended upon him.


               The cubes, effervescent bubbles beside the conjoining frames, were forgotten. Patiently, like a jaguar in the pride lands, the blue mech rose up and wrapped himself around the low-ranking drone. The shimmering finishes melded together in unison, both mechs nuzzling close with languid movements of the helm. Lowly inside himself, the stoic mech made a unique wavelength: a pleasant 'mmm' filled with the sound of guttural satisfaction, like one of Starscream's sighs of accomplishment, surrounded with the mesmerizing chime of the lithe mech's recorder. He may have borrowed from others, but what he delivered was a unique boon for the audials of any one mech, or any others fortunate enough to receive its echo.

               Gentle curls of his twig-like digits held the drone below, the purple bot below murmuring adoring phrases to the commanding officer he had been consoling for a while now. Following Starscream's disappearance, Soundwave's scruples had been called into question. Now, that scrawny seeker was wandering alone, far beyond Soundwave or Lord Megatron's jurisdiction. Technically the universe was Lord Megatron’s jurisdiction, but Soundwave- and Starscream apparently- knew better. Of course, that did not halt his master's threats and pleas. No wonder he had yet to return. What exactly had pushed him so far out of bounds that he had not known about? Starscream and Lord Megatron’s history was anything but blurry.

               There was a differing idea of treatment and aid that caused more than a few spats between Lord Megatron and himself; when it came down to it, Soundwave never had any particular say in any of the methods his master employed to retrieve results from his subordinates. Soundwave had done what he could to curb the brunt of Megatron’s ire, but he couldn’t shield Starscream forever. Disobeying a trusted friend made his spark sink, but disobeying a king made his processor short.

               It only took a few microkliks of focusing directly on the subject for him to deduce that the seeker had finally had enough. When they had met, Soundwave could see where things would spiral out of control. In hindsight, he deserved better.

               It made Soundwave’s own spark long for a missed connection in return. For the time being, this... cautious drone was doing his best. Servo-picked from one of the oldest battalions: Soundwave had precise taste.

               Tender caresses circumnavigated the surveillance chief's spinal strut, making the robot writhe graciously. Minute movements drew the two together before the two visors tapped together and remained in close proximity. Without orifices, the two had found ways to bypass average means of communicating affections. Soundwave and the drone were still gratified to have what they did.

               "Valent," Soundwave whispered. More or less, Starscream whispered; the recording came off much gentler than Megatron's malevolent shouts. All the TIC need do was dampen the volume. The long 'A's always made the soldier's wings twitch.

               Startled by the piercing noise in the silence, Valent raised his helm from the warming neck cables he had so invitingly nestled to. The nesting pair stared at one another for some time, the dusk light ducking below the horizon so swiftly that their frames disowned the sun-born gradients and adopted that which emanated from their own biolighting. Soundwave wore a shadowy indigo and left Valent to carry his subtle gray-lilac. Soundwave recalled the drones in the beginning having been tested for color variations, and Valent happened to be one of the few samples from the test tubes before Megatron settled on a shade of violet. One of the few that had survived this long.

               Purring as he went, Valent listed words that came to mind as he normally did around that hour of the night. He began when the fussing squadrons in the halls escalated now that the troops had been released for the day.

               Hushed, he started with: “Adoration.”

               The intel officer raised a still servo to pet the soldier’s jawline.

               "Mm... devotion. Ardor," Valent spoke to the mass against him.

               Said mass crinkled lightly before nuzzling once again, one of the ways to remind Valent of his more than attentive audio receptors. Soundwave held an obsessive interest with human language, be it the words they spoke or the words they expressed. Since it was something he could not fully possess under his oath, Valent and some notable others pondered if that was the main reason for his fixation.

               On more than one occasion, Valent had rummaged dictionaries simply to impress him.

               The eradicon's wings fluttered behind him on the caving upholstery. This week was English, and his processor lagged to adjust. "Hmm... appreciation. Passion. ... Abandon," the younger mech emphasized with unusual sensuality.

               The striking mech above him crooned melodically, pushing his crest down upon Valent's forehelm. No matter the absence of voice, Soundwave could always get his point across.

               Valent took a sip of his beverage, just out of reach until Soundwave’s tendril nudged it close. “Infatuation…?” he said inquiringly.

               Soundwave pushed the cube away. Swatted, was more accurate.

               “Excuse me, commander.” His visor dimmed, “Diverse connotations.”

               The intel officer laid back down, heavier on purpose. Valent tilted his helm away, body stiff as a bridge cable. He was quiet for a few minutes before his servo rose. Soundwave glanced towards his moving limb, optics thirsty for information. And conceded.

               Lettering scrawled his glass: [[Mea culpa.]]

               Valent saw the pixelating font, the light holding his interest until the words unfolded. If he could smile, he would have. “Acknowledged.” The underling shivered his attention away. “It’s ok,” he continued casually.

               Soundwave took his time admiring Valent’s fluctuating sense of power. None were so bold in his presence, and as he read Valent’s armor twitches, he presumed his intentions of taking Megatron up on replacing Starscream was interfering with the drone’s confidence. But nothing had to change unless Soundwave deigned it.

               Valent was setting his empty cube down by the time Soundwave recalled the situation.

               "Recharge," the further reclining mech decided.

               Soundwave’s processing power was fleeting, disappearing in the night as the daylight recently had. The intelligence officer held himself flush to the other, hoping it would leave a physical imprint for him to observe instead of remember. But, Valent was never so forward to leave evidence. Not one to boast like his fellow consociates. Out of sheer kindness and care, he stayed behind to look after Soundwave's less than healthy mental state.

               With Soundwave fidgeting, he continued with "Sleep."

               At home in the physical ardor, the speechless mech coiled until the tenseness of his frame cued Valent's true reason for being present. Without further hesitation, the vehicon's wings tucked down in the same instant he pressed down Soundwave's backplating. The light purple variation coating Valent's body twinkled under the lit lines of his general’s frame. Turning to relieve the slight weight smothering him, the calmed eradicon had found the precise position to flourish in. Valent slid Soundwave to his side, turning to face him in an equal partnership: one yin, and one yang.

               The red visor flickered in acceptance of Soundwave's elegant positioning against the other, making the other mirror him by loving force. The two mechs’ inhalations died down and worked in concert, a slow yet rhythmic gust leaking from each. The frantic pedesteps haunting the halls retreated to their own domains; the Nemesis' only response was its thrumming engines in the lower decks.

               A delicate servo stroked along the general's seams. From the shoulder, downwards to the indent of his waist. "Rest."

               The time to wind down had come. In that moment, and most others, it was imperative to acquire decent recharge. Not for Valent of course, but for whom he served.