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            Sometimes, Bumblebee visits Griffin Rock in secret. Well, more like semi-secret. Someone has to control the spacebridge for him. That duty usually falls to Raf, who knows not to get the scout in trouble.

            At first, it’s really just to check out little matters of interest, the same way he’d met the Rescue Bots while tracking a meteor. Even without Decepticons to wreak havoc, the island seems to attract all manner of emergencies. That little team can handle volcanoes and malfunctioning tech and bizarre weather without interference, but it still piques his curiosity.

            Over time, though, it becomes about seeing one Rescue Bot in particular. Blades is always giddy when he arrives, glomping him the moment he steps out of that glowing spiral of blue and green. It takes the warrior a few visits to get used to the energetic welcome, especially when he’s trying to keep his presence quiet from the human occupants of the Firehouse.

            Blades can’t help himself most of the time. The moment he sees that shiny yellow finish, unbridled happiness surges through his spark. If Bumblebee ever asked him to stop, he would without hesitation (though probably with some shamed aversion of the optics and a nervous cough), but the request never comes.

            In fact, around the tenth time it happens, Bumblebee draws a squeak of delighted surprise from the helicopter by hugging back and twirling him around. Minutes later, a disgruntled Dani steps out of the lift, only for her expression to completely change upon seeing them. She muffles a laugh behind her hand and sings, “Have fun, you two~! Just keep it down, will you?” before heading back to bed.

            Blades’ cheeks are very warm when Bumblebee turns his attention back to him, and he has to wonder if there is some implication to the human’s words he missed. It’s not that he’s completely unfamiliar with innuendo, but he gets the distinct impression that Dani and Blades have discussed something before. He gets no answers that night.

            Most of their visits are spent watching movies and talking softly. The cover of night means less danger of being observed, but they don’t dare do anything too loud, lest they disturb the Burnses.

            Sometimes, they’re alone; sometimes the other Rescue Bots join them. Bumblebee starts to notice that Blades puts more distance between them when the others are around. He’ll cuddle up close and rest his helm on the warrior’s chest when it’s just the two of them, but the moment one of the others walks in on them, he jumps away like dodging fallen debris.

            One night, Chase walks in while reading a datapad, and Bumblebee wraps an arm around Blades’ waist before he can move. Chase doesn’t bat an optic, and the message sinks in: no one minds. From then on, Blades relaxes a lot more.

            Heatwave’s interruptions tend to remain embarrassing, though. He tells stories all about the rescue missions they’ve been on, and he doesn’t leave out mistakes made or whatever scares Blades. He always manages to make the helicopter sound heroic and impressive in the end, though, so eventually that, too, becomes a comfortable part of the scout’s visits.

            Bumblebee, in return, tells them tales from the warfront. The stories are full of relic-hunts and new allies, of wins and losses, and sometimes near-deaths. Each story has his audience on the edge of their seats, and even Heatwave is usually slack-jawed by the end.

            But there are some stories he saves only for Blades’ audials. Sometimes, they’re lighter in tone: things he does with Raf, games played, videos watched, etc. Other times, they’re of insecurities and failures that hurt too much for him to bring up around the others, such as having his T-cog stolen from him.

            On the night he shares that one, Blades just holds him and wordlessly strokes his doorwings until it’s time for him to return to Nevada.

            Bumblebee makes the trips as often as possible. Due to the hectic nature of their schedules, sometimes that means a few weeks can go by without so much as a comm. Blades worries the most during those stretches, but they’re always followed by extra-cuddly nights to make up for it.

            However, after they’ve been seeing each other for a while, it begins to bother the orange ‘Bot that his—uh, could he call him “boyfriend” yet?—friend knows his partner, but he has never met this Raf boy that Bumblebee talks about. He holds it in as long as possible, but it begins to become a physical itch under his dermal plating, and he finally has to blurt the thought out.

            Bumblebee seems more surprised that he hadn’t asked sooner than that he asks at all. He beeps cheerfully at the idea of introducing them. The only question is, “When?” They decide to just comm. each other whenever they have a calm moment and hope for the best.

            Things eventually work out, and Blades waits patiently for the flash of light to signal the other ‘Bot’s arrival. He expects to see the little human following him through, but instead, Bumblebee grabs his hand and tugs him into the open portal.

            His spark throbs with mixed emotion. Part of it’s the hand-holding. Blades still thrills with every little touch he and Bumblebee share, no matter how long they’ve spent together. Part of it’s the sensation of walking through the spacebridge. This is his first time using one, and he never knew what it would be like. It’s a little like his frame is being squeezed lightly on all sides, a little like being tugged outwards and forwards, and a little like walking normally. He’s not sure what he would do without ‘Bee’s hand grounding him. Part of it is the sheer nervousness at the idea of seeing the Autobot’s war base.

            On the other side, he’s stunned by the sheer size of it. The Firehouse is big, but this is huge. He’s so busy staring at his surroundings that he doesn’t notice the other two Cybertronians approaching them until the bigger of the two clears his throat.

            Blades jolts at the sound and hides behind ‘Bee. Peering around the mech’s shoulder, he sees two frames—both marked with Autobot symbols—and relaxes slightly. One has resemblance to what he knows to be Earth’s ambulances, so he assumes that must be what his alt.-mode is. The other is much smaller, blue, and appears to be of Solus’ lineage. The only thing keeping him from calming completely are the cross expressions on both of their faces.

            “Why haven’t you been telling us you were sneaking out?” The ambulance’s voice is stern, and the question comes out like a harsh demand.

            Bumblebee beeps out a litany of hurried explanations, and Blades stammers out his own greetings and apologies over him. Eventually, he catches from ‘Bee that the bigger one is named Ratchet and the smaller is Arcee.

            A small human of around Cody’s size peeks out from between Ratchet’s feet. He looks a little embarrassed as he says, “Sorry, ‘Bee. They saw me at the controls, and I had to tell them.”

            Arcee cuts off the streams of beeps and words before long. They both get an audial-full about emergencies and energon use. Eventually, the warrior and medic are calmed with assurances that the Rescue Bots are helping with the energon situation, too.

            Arcee still seems upset that they weren’t made aware of the rescue team’s existence, and Ratchet doesn’t look very happy, either, even for him. Bumblebee is certain that they’re going to have a talk with Optimus, and then he’ll have to have one, too.

            Raf and Blades seem to hit it off well enough, though, so that’s a plus. It’s always nice to have your best friend and (he’s less afraid to use the word, if only silently) boyfriend get along.

            Optimus is...already aware of his supposed-to-be-clandestine visits. Bumblebee is shocked to learn that at first, but it fades pretty quickly into a resigned, ‘Yeah, should have known,’ kind of thought. The Autobot leader warns them about getting carried away with seeing each other outside of missions, but doesn’t condemn their actions entirely.

            In fact, before Bumblebee escorts Blades back to Griffin Rock, Optimus takes one of their hands and presses them together between his, and says, “You have my blessing. Positive emotion, especially that born in these dark times, is to be cherished.”

            Both of the younger ‘Bots leave with warm cheeks and a fuzzy feeling in their sparks.

            The next time they meet, it’s for a mission, to Blades’ displeasure. To make matters worse, it takes him a lot longer to come to the conclusion that Bumblebee had: best friends and potential mates being friends is a good thing. He eventually comes around to it, with thanks to a much wiser mech.

            And when Blades finally stops eavesdropping on their conversation, Dani gives her blessing in her own way. “If you haven’t kissed him already, you probably should.” The only response she receives is an abashed whir.

            (Just before he leaves to return to Nevada, though, he takes her advice. The result is an adorably flustered helicopter-former with very fluttery rotors.)