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~/Hey it's me. Why are you worried again? You’re drifting away.../~

The avian makes a circle in the air, and lands on his master's lap. The sound of his little claws scraping really gently on Soundwave’s metal thigh is the only irregularity in the, otherwise heavy, but quiet humming of Nemesis' machinery, reaching them from the deep background of the warship’s internals.

Laserbeak tilts his head a bit to the left and to the right as he moves up the leg of his sitting carrier until he is close enough to reach the mask covering Soundwave’s face if he only stretched himself up enough on his little bird legs.

~/You can cheat everyone, but I will always know,/~ the small beak nudges a little on the verge of the commbot’s visor. ~/You will not trick me by not replying./~

Pushed gently out of his thoughtfulness, Soundwave raises his hand to pet the little bird head.

~/I know, I know, why talk if nobody listens... and if they listened, they would not understand anyway, huh?/~ the avian shrugs slightly but gives willingly into the caress, following the carrier’s fingers with delicate movements of his little head, showing content and asking for more.

Silence persists around them, and finally, without a sound of reply, Soundwave’s hand slowly slides down, back to his lap in a tired, resignated movement.

~/You are cruel, you know that?/~ Laserbeak complains and nibbles slightly at his master's fingers that lie now next to him on the bot’s thigh ~/You know I can feel your field, even if you think you have zipped it closed, compressed it and thrashed it into the bin.../~ the little head of Laserbeak pushes itself under Soundwave’s palm forcibly demanding another stroke. The slenderbot looks down at his symbiont and he finally cuddles him gently. The bird spreads a very warm, caring field, even though his words seem full of irritation.

~/Soundwave, Soundwave, you will get me insane one day. I would give a world if you smiled again, even just once.../~

That is a bit of a lie, because Laserbeak has seen Soundwave smile in his sleep, but not consciously, not for real, the way he remembered it happen eons ago, still before the war, even before the revolution… before the whole madness broke out. Now he would, in fact, stand on his head and do some pirouettes or paint himself bright pink with yellow dots, tell all kinds of stupid jokes, or get them both drunk on the highest highgrade, if only it would make Soundwave happy. If it would make his well protected and condensed field smile for a while...

It was not uncommon for Laserbeak to do some preaching to Soundwave who had not been taking care of himself too well ever since the avian had remembered. But recently it has become worse and worse. And since they arrived on Earth, Soundwave has closed himself within his core depths almost completely. His field has became sad and numb, but not really cold. It's been dense, kind of stifling, nothing anyone would want to stick their fingers into. A bit like some sort of a swamp or condensed atmosphere with potentially flammable and explosive substances in large concentration. And it's been, well… so very small, withdrawn. Like a tiny black hole, imploding... As if he really hasn't wanted to release even a little bit of himself to anyone, holding his well-guarded secrets tight.

In the rare moments when Soundwave was not working very hard on board of Nemesis or venturing on missions outside dealing with Megatron’s taskings, Laserbeak saw him sitting alone, hidden from everyone, staring blindly into one undefined point in infinity, thinking something that even Laserbeak could not access.

Soundwave has never been neglecting Laserbeak. He fed him and cared for the avian, he petted him occasionally in warmer moments, he took good care of the bird’s fragile and high-maintenance feather plating, protected and defended him from any harm. But despite the attention and the almost constant coexistence of the two, Laserbeak had a haunting feeling of separation that kept intensifying over time and with the growing of sadness and loneliness that secretly radiated from Soundwave’s withdrawn field more and more.

Laserbeak wondered intensely and quite a lot what nestled in the head of his slenderbot. He understood much of the complexity that was part of Soundwave’s secretive nature, he also knew well that the amount of thinking that his carrier put into his actions and life was inversely proportional to the scarce amount of communication that the mech revealed outside.

Laserbeak hated the way Soundwave believed that he could manage everything on his own, no exception. The mech tended to look at things calmly and analytically, to find solutions that used minimum effort and brought maximum result. He was hardly ever wrong but also much more tired than anyone thought. He was so tired…

Although when it came to practical matters, Soundwave was clearly more effective than anybody that the avian had ever known, it did not make him able to solve his own problems any better. He shoved them under his secret carpet and stepped on them as if they did not exist. And despite all efforts, Laserbeak could do nothing about it. It irked the symbiont in many ways. Not only because he couldn't help Soundwave, but mostly because it felt as if his carrier did not put full trust in him or, even worse, underestimated his level of understanding or engagement... They were together for so long, like a family, like brothers, symbionts connected with one energon system, still Soundwave had his secrets and it kept Laserbeak in an uneasy state of uncertainty if their relationship was even going to last forever…

Hiding his problems, Soundwave caused Laserbeak’s own constant anxiety and a feeling of helplessness. He knew that besides regular work, taskings and missions, Soundwave would hardly ever ask for any help or support, or share anything troubling him for that matter. He would just not release his burdens, even if it was just to Laserbeak himself. But this was only a theoretical and fake relief for the symbiont. Instead, these undefined worries and hidden hardships had a tendency to grow twice as heavy inside the persistent silence, because the bird could feel that there was something wrong, but he did not know what it was, and how to help. It seemed so much worse than just to be faced with the problem itself.

But the real frightening thought hit Laserbeak only recently: Soundwave did not feel too *alive* anymore to him. One night, the avian woke up in the darkness of their small quarters, with a realization that his carrier’s will of life disappeared almost fully from his field. All of a sudden he became conscious what worried him most since months: this will of life, the survival instinct that forms part of all living creatures and blesses them with curiosity for the next day to come, couldn't be felt in Soundwave even when Laserbeak was docking and sharing the same system resources with his carrier.

Cold, unreconciled fear cut through the bird’s small blue spark. What if Soundwave decided to disappear one day? If he just fell asleep and did not wake up again? Or if he left and never came back finding an icy, dark and lonely refuge somewhere far in space, deep underwater or even worse, in the midst of some empty shadowzone? Laserbeak shivered badly and cuddled to sleeping Soundwave’s bent up legs and belly, pressing his little head into a little bit of protoflesh in between the armour seams, where he could feel his carrier’s warmth and the reassuring flow of his energon.

Soundwave… don’t you dare ever leave me... the semi-verbalised anxious feeling on the verge of a thought cradled the bird slowly into a cold, shivery slumber. It eased only after a long, chilly while, when he felt Soundwave’s sleepy hand embracing him lightly and pulling him closer to his warm frame.

Docking was the safest and most dear way of contact with his carrier. If not for docking, Laserbeak was convinced he would have lost Soundwave very long ago, already when first signs of the silent depression started to show. But he was still with him. Communicating or not, maybe just plainly listening to the bird’s monologues through their symbiont bond, the avian could still feel his best friend’s spark pulsing inside his chest, share his blood flow and connect at least partially to his sensory systems.

At nights when the slenderbot was recharging, Laserbeak would wake up sometimes and try silently to ease his carrier’s sadness, seeking to implant a more relaxing and joyful set of thoughts and memories into his system to the extent that he could through the connection they shared. This was a bit of manipulation, but Laserbeak considered himself excused. Especially that in the end, what really seemed to help, was not a manipulation at all. Laserbeak felt into their connection deeply and sincerely. He tried to relay as much warmth as he was able to, stroking his master's chest with his small wings, gently, not to wake him up, but to feed that great amount of affection that he had inside him right into Soundwave’s spark. He cuddled the little head between the plates of his carrier’s chest armour and silently regretted he was so small, just a little symbiont, an animal bot at that… The common circulation warmed them both and finally also cradled Laserbeak to sleep, deactivating his individual subsystems one by one for the much-needed rest.

Some nights when he did not dock, he stayed at his perch until he was sure that Soundwave was sleeping. Then he carefully descended from his heights and cuddled under the wing of his carrier, sticking his head to his neck or even a bit behind the mask, just to feel even the slightest sensations from the warm velvety skin of the bare protoflesh hidden behind it. His little spark pulsed faster and something inside him wished he were a big, humanoid mech instead of a small symbiont deprived of a part of other mechs’ fully-fledged biology, always condemned to dependence and not able to…

The little beak sniffed gently under the mask inhaling the very delicate smell of his carrier’s skin. Sweet, velvety skin soaking in fragile electricity that wanted to be touched and loved. And as much as Laserbeak was attached to Soundwave, he could hardly give the slenderbot what he needed, what he deserved to receive. It thrilled Laserbeak just to even think about having arms wide enough to embrace his warrior carrier in a tender hug, legs strong enough to carry him in his arms and ease that sad tiredness, real mouth to kiss him on the lips hidden behind the mask... and fingers long and gentle enough to dig in deep, deep under the armour plating hiding the secret, almost untouched anatomy that Laserbeak himself simply did not have. The kind of anatomy, whose only purpose was to be touched and caressed, to give warmth and pleasure, to relax the tension and chase the empty missing away… and to increase the will of life, which Laserbeak so anxiously noticed declining, almost disappearing from Soundwave’s field.

Well, he saw it, or even felt it, on a few occasions when Soundwave was asleep and dreaming. Tucked tightly into the big mech’s frame, he witnessed his master’s body heating up and retransforming, changing to accept an unknown lover that did not exist by his side. The bird eyes saw the soft protoflesh and the inner glow revealing from the opening armour plates, the shining of the slenderbot’s beautiful body, just beside him, so close but yet so far out of reach. Once or twice he even ventured to cuddle into this soft nakedness, to feel the throbbing and the pulsing of life that woke up inside Soundwave triggered by an unknown dream or an intimate memory.

In such moments Laserbeak held his breath in silence not to break the amazing harmony or disturb the heated emotions that played music of rainbow lights on the soft black skin of his carrier. He stayed close but careful not to get smashed by the heavy and dreamy robot body turning uneasily in the sleep, not to get wiped off the bed by the long wings reaching out to invisible shadows. Listening to the deep venting and silent moaning, he cleared away a soft drop of fluid leaking from the half-open lips that breathed heavily at him, with no mask on to cover them from the world. He let himself be embraced with an unconscious field of the sleepy love and desire, feeling into the warmth and electricity escaping the carrier's uneasy and, finally alive, frame, until Soundwave passed into a deeper recharge again, still with dismantled armour and open mask.

~/Hey... it’s me…/~ Laserbeak thought partly to himself, partly to Soundwave, as he crawled even closer into the curves of the long-winged sleeping figure ~/I know you would never admit it, but I really, really can understand you/~ he complained silently rubbing against Soundwave’s sleeping uncovered cheek ~/I am here to understand you... I exist to understand you.../~ he sniffed at the slenderbot’s neck and felt into the delicate circuits of his face ~/I’m the only one who listens... even if no one else cares/~ … ~/I do care what you feel/~ … ~/I care what you feel/~

 

So now, sitting on his lap, Laserbeak presses his little head under Soundwave’s tired and defeated hand one more time.

~/Please… I know you are not a machine and you’re not a superhero/~ Laserbeak shakes his feathers as if there was water on them. ~/Soundwave, look at me…/~

Laserbeak’s eyes shine a little too brightly facing the black, glossy, silent mask covering his master's face, tilting his head slightly towards him.

~/I know I am boring and always the same/~ he continues in his truculent manner ~/...and you have to feed me and I can be a nuisance... chirping and squeaking right inside your holy silence all the time/~ the bird's eyes turn even more glossy and shiny under the look from his carrier’s optics hidden deep behind the visor ~/...and I keep ranting about all the same boring shit all over again.../~ their gazes meet in the middle of the space between them and Laserbeak’s eyes take an even stranger colour as Soundwave’s fingers start slowly stroking his helm and back again ~/I cannot help what I am and I’ll always only be your little, everyday, weak and maybe unimportant symbiont.../~ his voice, now somewhat shaky, changes by each word but he does not stop looking intensely into his slenderbot’s eyes.

~/but.../~ …

~/but/~ he gasps for air in an uneasy transmission.

~/but…/~

~/.../~

~/no one will ever love you stronger/~