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That Space Betwixt

Chapter Text

 It was the unluckiest shot that landed Cosmos behind enemy lines.

It was an energy beam from another 'Annihilator'- the third such named weapon in as many years - and he had been sure that he had been too high up in the atmosphere to warrant being struck by the wildly flailing amalgamation of frankly bad engineering and patchwork technology.

He'd been proved wrong, however, as the ray of light stung as it struck him. It froze his sensors and he was proved wrong in a way that brought on a special brand of dread as he careened closer and closer to the battle-scarred land behind enemy lines. 

Impact was nothing, it never was for one of his frame type and sturdiness of construction, but the fact that he couldn't transform back into root mode terrified him.

It would be one thing if he was stuck in his alt mode and could just fly away again but his comms were out, his flight suite was out, and as his optical sensors slowly faded off-line, and with it his consciousness he could already imagine those first moments of awareness in Decepticon 'care'.


When Cosmos next became aware, he felt strange. He was on-edge instantly, sure, and he still couldn't see-and was too afraid to move, but aside from a pressure behind his optics, his frame felt just fine- whole and well even.

It reminded him a little of space, but more so than that, deep space, especially in a thick atmosphere of some far-off plant or a nebula, soupy with gasses and dust and the building blocks of a star. 

The comparison served to soothe him despite not knowing where he was.... where he likely was.

Brawn had once woven a tale for all of the minibots one night about coming online in a Decepticon hold, and the first thing he had realized was that strips of plating over several non-vital, yet particularly sensitive components had been torn- if neatly- from his frame.

He had the scars on his protoform to prove it.

This was not 'several strips of plating' bad, nor bad at all. Maybe he had been recovered before the Decepticreeps could get to him after all. Maybe he was in medbay, and Ratchet or Hoist or even sweet First Aid had cleaned him up and pulled out his dents after the battle.

Maybe he was still out in that field, and it would be any time now that Hoist would be by with his winch to pull him free with the mud, or Skyfire- with big hands and care, would come retrieve him soon. 

He was hopeful, but needed to stay realistic- at least on the deeper levels.

Cosmos allowed himself to drift, allowed that tentative relaxation to wash over him and let his mind wander. He was sure he wasn't in the medbay- but he also couldn't be sure he wasn't. Either way, he needed all the mental fortitude he could get. There was a heaviness on his helm that he couldn't shake and yet, couldn't properly discern yet.

Since he felt particularly spaced out, he allowed his mind to land where it tended to when he felt this way- into a land of impossible ravishing romance.

In the past, he had gone the way of his fellow Autobots for his innocent fantasies.

Smokescreen would press a gentle kiss to the knuckles of his digits or to the side of his helm and his spark would flutter and he'd sigh happily.

One of the other Minibots would decide not to mind his shape so much, and would cuddle close to him- ease some of that lonesomeness he was prone to after a deep-space return trip.

On days he felt particular imaginative, it'd be smooth a golden front liner trying- and easily managing- to woo him.

When his mind fell to fragging though, it always came back a little more..purple-branded than was likely good... or regulation.

It was probably treason.

Probably.

But you couldn't commit treason if you thought about Decepticons fragging the daylights out of you in space.

Or- a singular Decepticon, rather.

As of late as Cosmos had floated about the Earth on patrol or into space for whatever mission, only one Decepticon had been a point of fixation for him.

Cosmos resumed his most recent thread of thought of him, and continued to be unable to decide if he liked that expanse of glass covering his cassette dock or those sinfully long legs better- not to mention those hands, which had to be fine-tuned for work on those same cassettes.

Such digits would wreak havoc with the sensors just under his heat shielding.

And if Soundwave had a mouth under that mask..... Cosmos would have shivered if he could've at that moment. It was just so easy to imagine the things Soundwave could do.

Soundwave was a tall, placid drink of coolant in between an overzealous hand-canon with a penchant for staring yearningly at enemy lines when he thought no one was looking and a decibel-busting Prima Donna whom frankly- he couldn't see what Skyfire saw anything in anymore.

Soundwave of his fantasy land treated him right, but of course he did- in a land of pretend.

Of course, he'd be a liar if he hadn't thought about romance along with the rest in those long hours in space. Soundwave was mysterious though, not so easily parsed for how he might treat a partner like his fellow Autobots were. 

After a few moments of stillness, Cosmos wondered idly if Soundwave was the sort to experiment with alt-mode interfacing.

The heaviness to his mind lifted with a sudden snap, and Cosmos was launched offline once more.


When Cosmos woke up the next time, it was to full feeling in his frame again and industrial light irritating his optics. He managed to straighten up in his.... seat? Why had he recharged in the rec room? It wasn't like him to go on a bender.

....and why in Cybertron's sake was he tied to his chair?

But the spell over his sensors was broken soon enough, and the fuzzy shapes in front of him solidified into one very solid, very scary shape with haste.

Soundwave sat glaring across from him in an extremely dingy room, and as his alarm began to skyrocket into astronomical levels Cosmos resigned to make peace with Primus while he still had the chance.

"Autobot Cosmos: Explain."

If he got the chance. Soundwave sounded irritated.

Cosmos screwed up as much courage as he could muster and yet his voice still came out in a squeak-crackle hybrid.

"I'm not gonna tell you any sensitive information." He sounded pitiful, and Soundwave's visor flashed before he slammed his hands on the rickety table between them and stood. Cosmos jumped in his binding, before shrinking back as much as he possibly could. 

"Negative." He growled, and Cosmos felt his internals clench in fear as he came down from his startle. Purging seemed like it could be in his future. "Autobot Cosmos: Will explain new firewall technique, or else: Face termination."

It took a long few blank moments and the return of the heaviness that felt much like a blow to the helm before the mortification washed over and consumed him.

Cosmos was going to die over his stupid interface fantasies.

He wished desperately that a hole would open up underneath him and swallow him up. Instead, Soundwave took to looming over the table and worst of all, over him. The band of light of his visor dimmed just so, and that incorporeal weight became more pronounced.

"Query: Autobot Jazz trained Autobot Cosmos?"

Cosmos didn't even hear him really, for the pure humiliation that had recently replaced the energon in his lines.

He was an idiot.

If he was suspecting that he was in Decepticon custody- even just an inkling!- he should've been thinking of nothing, not how bad he wanted to clang one of their top officers until the paint peeled off of them both.

...It was probably better that he was going to die, then- as opposed to facing this ongoing humiliation. Cosmos wished he'd spin up his sonic cannon and get it over with. 

The heavy feeling pulled back again, but slowly this time. It still left Cosmos dizzy and disoriented, but awake and aware. Soundwave sat back down in his seat stiffly and slowly.

Cosmos slowly braced himself in turn for the inevitable deactivation and his imagination ran with the image of his body just slumping down in his chair before he was picked apart for secrets and space-ready spare parts.

"Autobot Cosmos: Imaginative."

Cosmos nearly jumped out of his plating again for how lost he had gotten in his gruesome daydream, but now he took pause to analyze Soundwave's tone.

It was his usual monotone, but it was tinged with several tonal flavors Cosmos couldn't readily identify.

Mostly, it sounded tired, as if there was all this stress and buildup to a payoff that wasn't.

A sudden thought occurred to Cosmos, though he tried to quash it swiftly-

"Affirmative. Vocoder: able to be disabled. Inefficient to do so. Temperature inconsequential."

Cosmos felt his faceplates heat and was glad again for his mask. "No- that was... I-I find your voice n-neat. Cool is just... slang... "

But then he realized again Soundwave's words meant for certain that he had seen those daydreams in their full detail, and he wasn't sure how he was going to live this down at home.... if he ever got home.

Once more, Soundwave's speaking brought him out of his head, though the larger mech appeared hesitant at first.

"This, first time to have been complimented in such a manner." His speech still carried the tone, the lilt of his pattern, but seemed... softer somehow.

The two of them stared at each other for a few long moments more before Soundwave stood. He loomed, shadowing Cosmos with his body. The red glow of his visor brightened for a moment before dimming and Cosmos couldn't help but look up at him with some measure of fear in his widen optics.

The last Cosmos remembered of the encounter before the heavy feeling of a focused mind intrusion returned was that rare uncertainty, and the brush of a tentative EM field against his before he fell back into the world of the unconscious.

Chapter Text

 When Cosmos came to again, it was both with a mighty start and the freedom to move his frame again.. and he onlined his optics to glaringly bright orange walls and a pounding in his helm that told the tale of the after-effects of sedation.

A kind blue visor came into view, quite the change from the intense red he almost expected. "Morning, Cosmos!" First Aid chirped, as if it was a sensible hour and not..... whenever it was. He didn't know, his sensor data was still scrambled and so- his chronometer was off.

Cosmos sat up slowly, testing his range of motion and dismissing diagnostic alerts as he went. "How did I get back here?" He was cautious, he couldn't help but be with his latest brush with Decepticons. 

First Aid checked over his monitors as he spoke, adjusting the mediberth for Cosmos as he went.

"A trade, this time." He reported, still in that soft and cheery tone.

"Bucket-head tried for more, like he always does, but the most we handed over was some of our solar stock."

Cosmos laid back on the now elevated backing and laced his fingers together over his chest plating.  "How long was I gone for?" Sensors began to come back online one after the other, but his chronometer remained down, waiting to be synched with a direct plug-in.

"A few days." Aid answered, seeming to be pleased with what readouts he was seeing. " You've been sedated for about a week though. Megatron tried to renege on his word though, and had you pumped full of nasty stuff before sending you back. Guess he doesn't know much about a spacefarer's constitution, huh?"

Cosmos nodded absently, only really half listening to the junior medic's friendly chatter. His communications suite had finally come back online, and there was an unfamiliar frequency among all of the rest. He'd not have noticed it if not for the way his systems slowly were coming about and for a moment he feared the deep-processor hacking one would only really see portrayed in old movies from before the war.

But it didn't seem out of the ordinary, aside from being there.

His messaging center came up next, and somehow Cosmos found it within himself to be surprised at the message sitting there at the top of his queue.

It was a simple series of numbers that had his brain translating on auto, into a cybertronian style standard date, and an Earth standard time. Read backwards, it was coordinates, and an Earth-style date.

He couldn't really... fathom what he was looking at for several long moments, until he realized First Aid was calling his name patiently.

"Cosmos? Cosmos?" Cosmos blinked at him slowly a moment before sitting up straighter.

"Sorry, I think I'm still feeling a touch under-clocked." he answered- It wasn't at all a lie or a falsehood! He felt a little as if he had come out of recharge too early, and was paying for it now.

First Aid patted his shoulder sympathetically. "Not to worry, I'm going to let you rest again in a moment here." He assured, before going back to what he was doing. "You take it easy." First Aid was quick to be in and out of his systems and it suddenly hit him that he'd seen this behavior before out of the medical team, when they suspected something like a hacking had taken place.

He quashed the urge to deny such a thing that hadn't even been spoken of- held down that urge to tell First Aid that no- he had just had a weird encounter with a Decepticon that involved some of his deepest and most forbidden fantasies.

Instead, he looked up at the ceiling and let out a huge vent he didn't know he was holding in before letting recharge take him again.


The next time he woke, he was cleared to leave the medbay. He knew this thanks to a particularly surly Ratchet telling him to 'get the frag out' as he picked shrapnel out of Perceptor's aft. Cosmos didn't ask on that front, he could gather from the sheer rage from their Chief Medical Officer and the uncharacteristic silence from Perceptor that something incredibly stupid had likely occurred in the hours prior. 

So, a little aimless and off the duty roster for another day, Cosmos went on to the rec room to find some fuel. He didn't really need any, as the medical team was pretty good about keeping them fueled, but there was an aspect of comfort and routine to it that Cosmos found soothing.

So, he was sat in the rec sipping on a small portion of fuel when the first ping came in. There was no message attached to it, and Cosmos had sent off the return ping before he could even really think about it.

When he did think about it, he immediately checked the frequency.

It was the unknown one, and a little kernel of apprehension bloomed into his spark. He didn't get pings just because very often and..... And waited a few moments before sending a ping in return, just because.

He got a reply back just as quick as he had given his, and he sat suffused with a strange brand of delight a few moments before finishing his snack and leaving to mill about the Ark.


It was several days later when the time with the coordinates was approaching. He'd realized that first night out of medbay that that first ping had arrived to the second of the message, so if he was going to dredge up the courage to go, he'd have to make his choice in a timely manner.

His answer came simply, as when the time grew nearer, an automated message came in from Teletraan that reminded him to fly for a certain amount of time during his off-duty time.

As an interstellar flyer, he was prone to flight sickness too, but not nearly as bad as his aerial counterparts. To make things simple, they were allotted the same amount of flight time, just to make sure everyone would be at their best.

The time for the coordinates was approaching, and quickly.

He was just reminded to take some flight time.

He was off-duty, and would be for the rest of the night...

He was on his way to the entrance before he could really think on it or the consequences of his actions.

This was something infinitely exciting and Cosmos never got exciting unless it was the bad kind.

He wanted this to be a good exciting, and his transformation sequence felt smoother than usual as he took flight and took to the upper atmosphere in no time flat.

This was a chance for something new and maybe- hopefully- good.

It was a hope he took to the sky and the edge of space and it started to falter as he got closer and closer to the coordinates.

His excitement mounted as he approached and he tried not to let his imagination get away from him on the final approach, tried to keep an open mind on what he'd find upon landing. 

The coordinates brought him to a secluded glade on a mountainside just large enough for him to land in on his pedes if he transformed above it. He did just that, and upon seeing he still had a good fifteen minutes or so before the time came, took a seat on a flat expanse of rock. 

Half that time had elapsed when something caught on his sensors and he lifted his helm only to see the silent visage of Soundwave staring at him from the edge of the trees, his visor glowing dimly in the dark of the night.

Chapter Text

 Cosmos wanted to take to the air and run back to the Ark.

Cosmos wanted a hole to open up underneath him and swallow him whole.

Neither of those things happened, instead: Cosmos froze, blue visor locked to red.

And, humiliatingly, his vocalizer squeaked as he tried to initialize it.

He really should have known, it should've been obvious to him that his inadequate singular existence would be used as a way to set a-

"Correction: Meeting not a trap."

Cosmos only stared as one of the most powerful Decepticons to exist ever stepped gingerly into the moonlight.

"Objective: meet with Autobot Cosmos."

Cosmos continued to stare, and could've sworn Soundwave squirmed.

"I..." He spoke haltingly, and it was the change in pattern that had Cosmos broken from his half-terrified reverie. "Wanted to see you."

Cosmos untensed just a bit, sat up a little straighter as Soundwave slowly approached with his hands up in that universal gesture of placation. 

He seated himself down next to Cosmos with more than an arm's length between them. Cosmos remained on edge, both figuratively and literally and also remained staring at Soundwave.

"No war here. Chance for new objective."

".....Pardon?"

Soundwave appeared to struggle for a moment before venting out a huffy sigh- obviously frustrated with himself. Cosmos drummed his digits on the end of his thigh plating.

Again, he followed his impulse.

"You can just... use your regular patterns, if you like. I don't mind." He didn't mind for a few reasons that were... suspect, but he very firmly concentrated away from those.

Soundwave stared at him again and it made the awkwardness between them more palpable.

"Thank you."

He then reset his vocalizer and spoke again. "Autobot Cosmos: Displayed carnal interest during last encounter. " And didn't that just make Cosmos' faceplating heat up again in mortification. If he felt it, he ignored it. "Fact: thoughts unexpected- but flattering."

"... Fact: Thoughts about Autobot Cosmos frequent after failed interrogation."

A couple of pieces slotted into place in Cosmos' mind. "You're the reason I got out, aren't you?"

Soundwave's body language and the very edge of his extended field felt almost like it'd pass for mirth if he wasn't Soundwave.

"Negative. Autobot Cosmos: Possessed no relevant intelligence. Autobot Cosmos: Very valued as shuttle for Autobot operations."

Cosmos cycled his visor at Soundwave a time or two. "Water is also wet- if you didn't already know it. Also- you can just call me Cosmos. I think I kinda picked up on what you were trying to say before. We don't have to be beholden to our factions right now. Just be... I dunno. Cosmos and Soundwave, outside of the war."

He looked down at his pedes as Soundwave regarded him, and kicked them out a time or two in an obvious fidget.

"Affirmative. Autobot Cosmos designation 'Cosmos'."

The words paired with the matter-of-fact way it was spoken sent Cosmos into a soft, shaking chortling. Soundwave began to look a little taken aback. His chuckles abated to an occasional staticky giggle after a few moments.

"I have to say- I guess I'm glad I came out here. Though this kinda meeting was the last thing I was expecting."

Soundwave appeared to straighten at that, his next words confirmed for Cosmos the delight he had wondered if he was imagining from the language of his posture.

"Request: Subsequent meetings."

Cosmos tilted his helm just so. "Hn, If I didn't know better, I'd have though you were asking me out." He teased gently, chuckling in spite of himself.

But Soundwave wasn't laughing- or whatever passed for it for someone like him. He just gazed at him with a strange light to his visor and Cosmos hunched over a little.

"That... was a joke, it was supposed to be funny."

Soundwave looked down at his unmoving pedes.

"Humor- not found. Current Objective: Cosmos' affection."

Cosmos gaped at him for several long moments.

"You do want to go out with me." He didn't mean to sound as amazed as did- but at the same time he realized there was little to no point to trying to hide it.

Soundwave nodded, glancing back up at him.

"Desired: Something outside of war. "

He seemed to consider for a quick moment.

"Addendum: Something personal, meaningful. Generative."

The next moment stretched into another sort of tension before Soundwave stood up in place suddenly, as if all of the accumulated tension over their limited encounters had snapped all at once.

"Cosmos: Not required to answer now. Time frame: Not ideal-"

Cosmos had reached out to grasp Soundwave's forearm and it caused him to cease speaking.

"No, you know- I don't get much of a chance for spontaneity, or having things for myself either." Cosmos stood beside him. "I think I'd like to give this a try. I don't see why we can't just... dive in to this."

Now it was Soundwave's turn to look shocked, and he stared intently down at Cosmos. Their EM fields reached out in a tentative matter and entwined where they touched, and Cosmos could easily feel the wary hope coming from him.

It made him feel fit to burst of that promise as well, and he let his hand drift from fore-arm to hand, to take it and entwine their digits much like their fields did and squeeze as only a corporeal thing could.

The rest of their time in the glade was spent in their awkward rhythm of conversation, but Soundwave's tentative hope and excitement made Cosmos excited in turn. He felt a little like a build far younger than he was- save for the fact that he had a better idea where he stood with Soundwave than with any relationship before. 

Even if he had embarrassed himself.

"Embarrassment: extraneous.... I am, flattered. Cosmos: Possesses strong mind, position also understood."

Cosmos' mind could easily supply some positions for them, but he pushed that out of his mind completely, since the hour was growing late and he'd have to recharge for his shift the next day.

He wasn't entirely sure anyone would miss him if he were to be late in coming home, but he also didn't want to risk it.

Soundwave tugged at his hand with a touch of amusement and Cosmos warmed, sheepish for how fast he caught on.

"Request: show of parting affection."

Cosmos fell into chuckles, and allowed his face mask to part and fold away. He gifted Soundwave with a wide grin, and tugged on his hand as if it would bring the towering mech down to his level.

"I'd love to give you a kiss, Soundwave."

Soundwave stiffened and stood a little straighter for a moment, before leaning down, his own battle mask disengaging as he went.

They met gazes again, and Soundwave murmured something about privilege as he went before coming in a little closer to slant his exposed mouth over Cosmos'.

It was a quick affair, but as Soundwave withdrew to replace his mask, a warmth lingered on Cosmos' lips and in his spark.

Cosmos flew back to the Ark with his helm in something akin to a cloud and a mind distracted with thoughts of kisses and secrets.

He'd have liked to stay longer but while he wasn't much more than spacecraft shaped cannon fodder, Soundwave was somebody.

Soundwave was somebody and dear Primus Cosmos had agreed to an attempt at a romantic relationship with the third in command of the Decepticons, one of the most fearsome mechanisms this side of Alpha-nine.

After just one meeting and a failed interrogation. 

Perhaps he was actually mis-clocked after all.

But....part of their discussion had been briefly regarding information, what with one being head of intelligence for his faction and the other occasionally a recon asset. Cosmos had been surprised when  Soundwave declared that the war having no place in their fledging relationship meant neither did any intel that could benefit either side.

He would work on his blocking skills for Cosmos' peace of mind as well, he told him, though the strongest of feelings..... and desires would be very difficult to ignore.

Cosmos heated, just as he had in the glade.

Definitely a mis-clock.