Rodimus picked at the rust scars on the bare protoform of his arm absently. He missed the burgundy armour he usually wore there- especially the familiar weight of the exhaust pipes. His arms felt too light like this- stripped all the way down, bare. He keeps knocking things over, forgetting to calibrate his movements and overcompensating. The dull grey colour makes him uncomfortable- it looks far too similar to the pig-metal grey of a corpse and he can't bear to stare at it, focusing instead on the dull orange-red stains creeping from the corners of his joints, rubbing out the rusted bits and trying fruitlessly to keep the infected areas clean.
Red Alert assured him that he was going to be fine- that the Cosmic Rust had progressed to an uncurable, but treatable stage. Rodimus wasn't a doctor, but he got the basic gist of the treatment plan. They were taking him apart, slowly, one piece at a time, and replacing each rusted out, useless piece of scrap metal that he was built out of and swapping it with clean, clinical, high-performance plastic polymers. A time consuming and expensive procedure he had his doubts he would have been entitled to if he weren't a Prime.
He was going to be far less durable, but at least he wouldn't rust. No one would tell him what they planned to do about the parts they couldn't replace- his brain, his spark chamber. His t-cog.
Rodimus pulled his fingers out of his elbow joint with a pointed sigh and turned back to inspecting the window, far above the city. Everything inside was all white chrome walls and datapads, but at least outside, it was a nice day. Past noon, now, the sun glinting off the metal structures outside and the busy crowds at street level. Watching the streets made his t-cog turn and his engine rumble enviously. There was no way he could transform into anything stripped down like this. He felt naked. He felt uncomfortable. He felt diseased, and, by Primus, what he wouldn't give to go for a drive right now.
The door opened.
He was lost for a moment, staring at a doctor he recognized as First Aid- who was certainly not his doctor, no, not that he hadn't wanted to be. As if Rodimus would ever trust anyone over one of his own teammates. Red Alert was plenty qualified and more than willing. She had guilt complexes she liked to pretend she didn't- and Rodimus knew being able to fix him meant a lot to her, and knowing things like that without saying them was part of being a leader.
First Aid was not his doctor, and shouldn't have much business in the Prime ward. He was the only injured Prime, currently. Behind First Aid came a nurse Rodimus didn't recognize, wheeling in an unconscious blue mech on a rolling slab. Rodimus lost interest in the window and cocked his head to the side, trying to raise an optic ridge, before he realized those were missing, stripped away with the rest of him.
"It's Blurr Prime," First Aid said curtly, and Rodimus immediately sat straighter, "Hey! No, sit back down. You're not allowed out of bed until we can replace your legs. They'll crumble if you put to much pressure on them."
Rodimus sat back, frustrated, "Blurr? He's dead! I went to his funeral!"
"I know you did. I had to do the paperwork for your little medical excursion," First Aid moved to some machinery at the berthside with a light shrug, "They found him in the incinerator. He's had a full spark transplant. So, as of right now, nah. He's alive. He just looks a little different."
He leaned back on one hand and leaned of again immediately when he heard a shifting noise within he didn't like, "The incinerator?"
"He wasn't burned," First Aid said, standing back up and stepping away to input something into the datapad at the end of the berth, "his whole chassis was crushed. Protoform destroyed and all. Total loss."
Rodimus stared past him towards the still blue mech as First Aid finished, and left, closing the door behind him. A full spark transplant. That was an option? And they were keeping him here, replacing him, one part at a time. Fantastic.
Rodimus was farly certain it was actually the quiet sounds of Blurr shifting that had first woken him, because he was already awake when Blurr started screaming. He'd pushed himself back, startled, servos clawing at his back for his (missing) energon bow defensively. The room was swarmed in nurses within nanokliks.
He pushed himself, shakily, up, and watched Blurr lash out desperately at the nurses, screaming and thrashing. He clocked one in the head with a well aimed kick of his left pede, sending him stumbling straight into the wall behind him. It took all four nurses to hold down his limbs, even as he kept shrieking in a voice that seemed eerily slow for someone Rodimus knew to be an overclocker.
"Blurr!" He said, loudly, "Blurr, it's me. Rodimus."
Blurr's head darted towards him, chassis heaving, vents flared and pulling in air as his optics darted wildly around his faceplate- his grey, death-like protoform faceplate, "R-rodimus Prime, s-sir?"
Rodimus nodded, shifting his weight on his elbow again, "It's okay. You're in Fortress Maximus. Everything is fine."
Blurr's eyes darted back to the doctors, and his arms, though they continued to tremble, violently, stopped trying to wrench themselves out of the nurse's grasps. His head darted back towards him and his optics lowered dangerously, "Rodimus Prime, sir! While in extended cover on the planet Earth I intercepted a Decepticon radio transmission between Megatron and a Decepticon spy within our very ranks, sir! After a careful analysis of the transmitted footage I had ruled out any possibility of the traitor being the escaped convict and Autobot traitor Wasp, and traveled back to Cybertron as hastily as I was able to alert my superior, Longarm Prime, to the true traitor's identity, whom I believed I would be able to identify by vocal patterns after a detailed cross reference with the Autobot database! Upon relaying this information, Longarm Prime attacked me and tried to k- attacked me, sir, and thus I have deduced he is the Decepticon traitor who sent Megatron the original transmission!"
Rodimus stared at him. He hadn't known Blurr well- he was a field agent who was known for spending thousands of stellar cycles at a time undercover, tracking down spies. Rodimus knew him by reputation, but that was all. He had, however, heard Blurr speak, and hearing his voice come from his new body so slowly was strange and surreal. It was definitely Blurr- he spoke the same way, but this body obviously wasn't overclocking like the one that had been destroyed, and wasn't able to speak at his usual speed.
Blurr didn't seem to have noticed yet.
"Shockwave is in prison," he said, bluntly.
Blurr blinked at him, "Eh?"
"Longarm was Shockwave. He put Ultra Magnus in a coma, but Megatron and Shockwave are both in prison now."
Blurr stared at him, optics searching, optical ridges crinkling upward in concern, searching for something in Rodimus' faceplate, and he went totally slack, collapsing back on the berth with a grunt and a sigh.
The nurses finally released him, even though his chassis was still heaving. Blurr moaned lowly, shivering servos moving upward before collapsing back at his sides.
“You haven’t established all your system connections, yet- there’s a lot of nerve clusters that aren’t attached to anything, so you really shouldn’t be able to move too much,” First Aid supplied, slipping smoothly into the room, “But you should regain full motor control eventually. You’ve got an entirely new body now, and it needs some serious recovery time to reestablish itself.”
Blurr shuttered his optics and huffed, long and dismal and Rodimus felt he should look away.
“Longarm Prime is in prison?” Blurr said, and Rodimus looked back up. Blurr hadn’t unshuttered his optics.
“Yeah,” he said, simply, and Blurr grit his denta, before he went slack and still.
“Is he- um, alright?” Rodimus probed, concerned.
“He’s fine. He just slipped back into recharge, is all. New body doesn’t know how to hold a charge very long yet. He’s going to be recharging a lot for now.” First Aid continued to touch dials and data streams Rodimus didn’t come close to understanding. Eventually he turned back to the viz screen, scrolling through dreary social programs and political propaganda that set his denta on edge. Sentinel Magnus. What a joke.
After some time, the medics all left, leaving him alone with his new unconscious roommate. He waited for him to wake up for a little while, half because he was starved for company after too many lunar cycles in the same room and half out of professional courtesy, but inevitably he fished the viz screen remote from the drawer besides his berth and turned it on. He was letting himself get distracted by a particularly trite daytime drama about an Autobot ship floating in the far reaches of space when he heard a rustling again across the room, just as the sun dipped below the Cybertronian horizon.
He looked over to see Blurr shift slightly before his optics came online suddenly and his engine gave a whine, vents flaring.
“Hey! Hey, Blurr, it’s fine,” he said, loudly. Blurr’s optics darted over to him, again, and even though his servos clenched at his sides and his vents continued to flare, his optics dimmed some, and he tried to push himself up, failed, and fell back against the berth.
“Rodimus, sir- could you maybe, perhaps, if it’s really not too much trouble open the window just over there? I can’t quite get myself out of this berth and I feel like I’m suffocating in here.”
Rodimus nodded, and leaned towards the window. It was just within his reach, though his arms squealed as he heaved it up and open. When he turned back around, Blurr’s vents had shuttered half closed again, and he seemed a lot calmer.
“You don’t need to call me sir, you know,” Rodimus said, “I don’t outrank you anymore.”
Blurr looked at him tiredly, “What are you talking about? Of course you do. Unless you’ve been demoted, sir, but I was under the impression that the title of Prime was a lifelong title and you had to keep it even if you were demoted so even if you've been demoted, you’re still a Prime, sir, and kind of outrank me by merit.”
“Well- you know how sometimes if you get killed in battle they promote you up the ranks post mortem?”
Blurr narrowed his optics at him, “He didn’t.”
“Blurr Prime doesn’t really roll off the glossae, does it?”
“Blurrimus Prime?” Rodimus suggested, and Blurr shot him a look that could have turned his electronic paint white- if he’d had any paint left. His expression faltered, and he tried to push himself up again, with the same results as the first time.
“What happened to you, si- Rodimus Prime? You look like the absolute pit if you don’t much mind my saying so.”
Rodimus moved his arms behind him self consciously, then thought better of it and folded them across his chest. His tiny, flat, pig-metal grey chest. “Cosmic Rust.”
Blurr’s optics widened and he looked nervously towards the door.
“Not contagious,” Rodimus continued with a sigh, “It’s all quarantined to my own systems. You’re fine.”
Blurr still looked uncomfortable.
“So what happened to you? Specifically, I mean,” Rodimus asked, and he wasn’t prepared for the full body shudder that went through the speedster.
“I- there was-” Blurr stammered, before he shuttered his optics and steeled himself, “During a battle with Megatron in the Decepticon base of operations on Earth, I was displaced by an undirected space bridge to the far reaches of the galaxy. I propelled myself through space using debris and made my way back to Cybertron to warn the Elite Guard about the Decepticon spy, when Longa- when the Decepticon Shockwave attacked me. The extended period in space without fuel and with a prolongedly overheated processor left my logic circuits lagging, and I fled down a corridor. The walls began shutting, and I-” his servos clenched back at his sides again, “was crushed between two of them. That’s the last thing I remember.”
“First Aid said they found you in the incinerator.”
“I can only make the assumption that he attempted to dispose of my remains via incineration, unaware that I still functioned and that the incinerator was, apparently, not lit.”
“You don’t need to be so formal. Again, we’re the same rank now. This isn’t a report,” Rodimus said, his optics drifting down to a new rust burn on the outside seam of his thigh, picking at the orange flakes absently.
“Yes, I do.”
It was oddly succinct for Blurr, and he did not continue.
Rodimus went back to his program, trying to distract himself from the burning itches in his joints, begging him to scrape them clean. Blurr slipped back into recharge shortly after one of the main characters was banished from the crew (to his disappointment, they had been his favourite), and Rodimus wondered if this was unusual behavior for Blurr, or if there was reason for concern. He could send a comm to one of his friends, but he wasn’t certain Blurr actually had friends.
The only person he had ever seen him speak to was Longarm, and- well.
He left his comm offline.
Again, Rodimus was yanked out of recharge by shuffling and clattering. He yanked himself up, booting his optics. Blurr had spilled out of his berth and was trying to right himself, limbs quaking under him.
"Window- Window- Rodimus-" He gasped, vents flared again. Rodimus hesitated, wanting to help Blurr up, but his legs were still missing, so he leaned to the window and struggled it open instead. Blurr let himself lie back down on the floor, gasping.
"Blurr?" Rodimus asked, servo moving towards the emergency button on the nightstand.
"No- No- fine, I'm fine, it's fine, I need only a klik just give me a klik Rodimus, just one or two, okay, I'm fine, it's fine everything is fine I just need the air and the walls to stop moving I only need a klik, Rodimus-" He trailed off, panting, and Rodimus dropped his servo back down. After a few more kliks than one or two, Blurr wasn't really panting anymore, and he put both servos on the edge of the berth, trying to pull himself up. His pedes didn't seem to be responding at all, though, and his elbows were shaking with only the effort of holding onto the berth, and Rodimus was starting to move towards the button again.
Blurr finally dropped both arms and purged his tanks on the floor, snarling out and angry noise, and Rodimus called the nurse.
"What if I need to walk?"
"You couldn't walk now, Rodimus Prime."
"Well, I know you said I shouldn't walk, but I mean, in an emergency. Like a Decepticon attack, or a fire."
"Sir, if you put your full weight on these legs they would break immediately."
"...Ah. I guess I can't miss them too much, then," Rodimus said, shifting uncomfortably as Red Alert began disconnecting his right leg at the hip.
"Hold still, sir," She said, pushing him back down against the berth. He sighed, staring at the ceiling.
"Window-" Blurr gasped, jerking out of recharge.
"It's open," Rodimus said, shuttering his optics and trying to ignore the strangeness of his leg being delicately removed from his body. Blurr gasped a few more times, like he'd just pulled himself out of a nightmare, before Rodimus heard shuffling from where he was laying, and a clatter, before Blurr swore.
"Slag. The remote- I had wanted to watch the news- Um, I'm so very sorry, all my apologies, but, what was your name again? Red Alarm? Could you maybe please help me? I can't reach that far-"
Rodimus unshuttered his optics as he felt Red Alert's servos leave him, and she bent down to pick the remote up from the floor, switching on the viz screen to the news. It was all Sentinel's propaganda, and Rodimus dropped his head back and dimmed his optics all the way.
He turned off his audials when Setinel began preening about what effort he'd gone through to defeat Megatron. Right. Optimus had been by three times to check on him since he'd been admitted, and Sentinel had sent a comm to congratulate him on his heroic sacrifice towards a Sentinel led Cybertron and the Worthy Autobot Cause.
Rodimus had always liked Optimus better, anyway, even before he'd been injured. He knew whose story he was buying.
He turned his optics back on when Red Alert touched his arm. She gestured at Blurr, who appeared to be talking animatedly, and Rodimus pulled his audials back online.
"-have to answer to that afthole? I mean look at him, absolutely would you just look at the way he's standing up there preening in that stupid hat that makes his oversized chin look small I mean really why is he wearing that thing? That's not a required part of the uniform as far as I was informed and as an intelligence agent I am fairly well informed. You know he's not even been by to tell me he promoted me in person yet at all? I'd venture as far as to say he doesn't even care I'm alive! I would bet money he's hoping no one has informed me of my new status yet so that I can't use it against him, the smug pig."
Rodimus frowned at him, "What's a pig?"
Blurr rolled his optics, "A pig is a sentient organic life form native to the planet Earth to which I have been stationed for some cycles now. It's small, and round and a light reddish- I mean pinkish- colour, but sometimes blackish or brownish or dark reddish and sometimes whiteish too, and it has little hooves and a flat nose and it is unable to sweat like most organic creatures on Earth to keep its systems from overheating and it must roll around in the filth and mud and muck to keep itself cool and on Earth it is generally referred to as a filthy and dissatisfying animal. Which is why I am referring to Sentinel as one."
Rodimus couldn't stifle his laugh.
Red Alet could, though, and he stopped laughing when she disconnected the last of his nerve endings and pulled the leg away. He grit his denta, the crawling feeling of his phantom limb sending shudders up his spinal strut. She started on the next one, and he clenched his fists against the berth.
"Speaking of Earth, though, have you seen Optimus Prime? The last time I saw him and his ragtag team of maintenance bots they were fighting Megatron and while they can be a bit abrasive I am against the idea of any of them being offline. I am aware that
Megatron was defeated leaving me to conclude someone has defeated him and I have my very serious and weighted doubts that person was Sentinel Magnus, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was Optimus Prime."
Rodimus sighed, grateful for the distraction, "Him and his team were a part of it, yeah. He comes by sometimes. Said most of his team made it out alright- but we sent off Prowl's body during the reclaimation celebration. He made the big sacrifice at the end to repower the Allspark."
Blurr nodded solemnly, if quickly, "I didn't know him too terribly well but, yes, I would have liked to have been present for his ceremony. It's quite unfortunate that I missed it. Honestly I'm grateful to be here at all, but still, it is difficult not to regret these things you know."
"I'll comm his team and let them know you're online. See if they wanna come visit."
"Thank you, si- Rodimus Prime, that would be much appreciated. I haven't calibrated my comm unit yet- or, well, any of me, actually."
"Rodimus is fine."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Rodimus. Just Rodimus, is fine," Rodimus said, and the second leg came off. He slammed one servo against the berth without even thinking, shuttering his optics, and released the vent he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
Rodimus unshuttered his optics and looked at Blurr, who was smiling at him. After a moment and a heavy exvent, he smiled back.
"REMOVE IT?" Rodimus shrieked, and for the first time, he was glad he didn't have any arms, because the urge to hit something was rising in his chassis, hot and dry.
"We managed to quarantine your processor, but we didn't get to your T-cog in time. If we don't take it out, the infection will spread."
"You can't take my t-cog! I'm hardly a Cybertronian without it!"
"You won't be anything if we leave it in, Rodimus Prime, sir. We need to remove it. I'm not saying we won't ever be able to replace it- we'll just need a suitable uninfected donor."
"Something we might never find."
"Would you rather die, sir?"
Rodimus's head hit the berth with a satisfying thunk that jarred his processor in precisely the unpleasant way he wanted. He shuttered his optics.
"Ask me later," he hissed, crossing his ankles and wishing he had arms again. There was a pause, and the chair Red Alert had been on scuffled against the floor. Footsteps. The door. His own hissing vents.
"You don't want to die."
He unshuttered his optics to look at Blurr, who wasn't looking at him. He was rolled onto his side, the same position he'd been in before Red Alert had come in- a position he had assumed meant Blurr was in recharge.
"No. I don't," Rodimus said, tersely.
"Just do it, then. You are quite aware that don't have any other viable options."
Rodimus huffed, turning towards the wall, but he commed Red Alert to come back, anyway.
Eight lunar cycles of bedrest and surgeries and Red Alert assured him he was fit to go home. Not to go back to work, but to go back to his habitation block, anyway. To walk across the street and pick up his own breakfast rations.
He didn't like it. He still felt too light- in a way he couldn't calibrate himself to. He moved too quickly, limbs jerking awkwardly around him. He felt young and gangly all over again- not that he wasn't already young, and gangly, but still. His colours were all wrong- far too bright now. He missed the dull maroon his chassis had once been, but his regular paint wasn't going to stick to the high polymer plastics without chipping and flaking all over the place.
Just the hike across the street to get his rations was exhausting after so much bedrest.
It was, however, sitting cross legged on the floor, staring at his unadorned habblock interior, that Rodimus realized he did not have a personal life. He had a very impressive work life- he had status, and power and even the nickname "The Chosen One," which he hadn't actually started. Not that anyone believed that.
He considered buying a viz screen. It certainly wouldn't hurt his steadily accumulating funds. He decided against the idea. Too tempting.
His comm rang in his audials, a high priority hail from Blurr he answered immediately, "Blurr?" He asked, wavering to his pedes unsteadily.
"Window," Blurr said.
"Window. Window. Rodimus, window. Please window now now now."
Rodimus was already moving. He was out an altmode, but he opened an emergency comm and requested a pickup, authorized by his status and clearance levels, executed by the close mid-level guard member who responded. The drive to the hospital wasn't a long one, but it was longer than he would have liked to be twiddling his thumbs while someone else did the work. The drive, the elevator, the pace his own shuddering limbs made him stumble at-
The door to their room had moved seven and a half feet down the hall. It was crowded by not doctors, but elite guardsmen. Armed ones. The first ones to spot him slide aside, parting like a wave, and Rodimus tried to stand straighter.
"What's going on?" He asked the blue and black one closest to the door. The mech shrugged, spoiler twitching behind him.
"Sir. Blurr Prime became- alarmed, earlier. He took the doctor hostage."
"First Aid?" The mech nodded. Rodimus grit his denta, "Surely he doesn't have a weapon."
The mech shifted, and gestured with his own blaster towards the door, "He's running pretty hot. Keeps yelling about Longarm Prime, sir, and he's got a standard issue blaster. The integrated kind."
"Well- I mean, he's moving pretty fast. We were going to shoot him, but-"
"You were going to shoot him!?"
"-but I don't think we could hit him. He's overclocking."
Rodimus took in a quick vent, "Move."
"Sir, it isn't-"
He pushed the door open, gently, "Blurr?"
Immediately, he saw the problem. In his absence, the hospital staff had consolodated the room down from a double size to a single- and the window was gone. Blurr was in the corner, blaster pointed at him, his other arm wrapped around First Aid's neckstruts.
"Get out of here, Rodimus. I want Shockwave, not you. I know at least one of them is a spy, I know it Rodimus I know, I've heard them talking and whispering in the hall, they think I'm crazy, Rodimus, I heard them say so but I know they're plotting to save Shockwave and he needs to pay and he needs to pay now before he hurts anyone else, Rodimus- I heard them whispering-"
"He's in prison, Blurr," Rodimus said, stepping forward, "You don't need to worry about him. And you don't need to worry about them, either." Blurr was practically vibrating, vents flared, chassis heaving, optics darting between him and the door and the blaster in his servo.
"Do you know exactly what it is I do, Rodimus? Do you know what it is my actual job is? I catch Decepticon spies that have infiltrated the Autobot ranks," he was definitely overclocking, spilling out heat into the room, his words were spilling out one after the other almost too fast for Rodimus to catch. Almost. "Longarm Prime was my direct superior. I reported to him on a daily basis while I was on Cybertron. Even while I was on extended off-planet missions I still spoke to and with him regularly and never once in any of the many cycles of loyal service to the Autobot Cause I knew him did it even briefly occur to me he might be the traitorous Decepticon spy he apparently was. I can't trust my own perception, Rodimus, if Longarm was the spy, anyone could be a Decepticon spy. Him," he said, pressing the muzzle of the blaster to First Aid's helm, who whined, "Them," he said, gesturing towards the door, "You!" he said, pointing it back at Rodimus.
"I'm not a Decepticon, Blurr. They tried to kill me, too, remember? I lost my T-cog. If I was a Decepticon, I wouldn't be a very good one, would I?" Blurr seemed to falter, but his chassis continuted to heave. Rodimus stepped forward again, but the blaster stayed trained on him.
"We can't trust anyone anymore, Rodimus. Anyone could be a sleeper agent and would not even be aware of their status as a Decepticon sleeper agent. I could be a Decepticon-" he gasped suddenly, and the muzzle dropped with his optics, startled. Rodimus stepped forward again.
"Blurr. The war is over. Shockwave is in prison. Megatron is in prison. The Decepticons are done with. For real, this time. You are not a sleeper agent."
Blurr's servos were starting to quiver with the strain. He'd been able to stay awake for at least a decent amount of time when Rodimus had vacated the room, and even stand a little, but he was definitely pushing it now.
"I could be, I could be Rodimus, I could be and you wouldn't even know and I wouldn't even know. We could all be Decepticon sleeper agents and not even know it, and this room is too small, like the walls are coming closer and closer and closer again and and and and I won't do it again, Rodimus, I won't let you-"
Rodimus put a hand on the blaster, and took it. Blurr let him, back pressed flush against the wall. His arm dropped from First Aid, who skittered away to the far side of the room towards the door. Blurr slumped against the wall and slid to the floor.
"You're overclocking," Rodimus said, simply.
"I had to think faster. There was too much information to process and I had to be faster than them."
"You know your systems can't handle this yet. You need to stop before you melt your processor."
"I can't. I can't stay here slow. You don't know what it's like Rodimus, everything else is so much faster now, I can't possibly keep up I can't even process everything happening until it's over, I can't stay here anymore, Rodimus, I need to get out-"
"You can stay in my block tonight, alright? You're not on life support anymore. You need to fix your clock speed, and we'll come up with a new plan tomorrow, okay? You're a Prime, Blurr, they can't order you to stay here."
Blurr faltered, optics studying him, before he nodded, shuttering his optics and opening his BIOS. Rodimus waited patiently until he unshuttered his optics and let out a heavy exvent. Rodimus turned back to the door to wave off the waiting guardsmen.
All the tension and panic seemed to wash right out of his blue friend when they stepped outside. He opened his vents, took in the cool, fresh air, his shoulder sagged in a relaxed way, and he leaned on the cane his new physician had made him take without looking embarrassed. Rodimus was relieved, but not surprised.
Rodimus's habblock was on military grounds- in one of the nicer areas. By the time they actually made it to the third floor, Blurr had had to click on his cooling fans (apologizing profusely and assuring him seven times he was just overheating from the overclock) and Rodimus was leaning on the wall. Far too exciting a day for anyone as injured still as they were. He had to put in the key for his habblock twice, he was so tired.
He didn't have an extra berth in his habblock, but he did have a couch, and Blurr was relatively small, so Rodimus didn't think it would be a problem- though he could always just have one delivered if it really was a problem.
"Do you- you have a garage?" Blurr asked, "Or just- or is it just this?" Rodimus just blinked at him blearily, and Blurr went on, "I'd rather recharge in my altmode- they won't let me do it in the hospital, but-"
Rodimus leaned against the couch and shoved it roughly against the wall. He flipped the table he never used back into the wall, and it left just enough room for a standard sized altmode. Blurr softened further.
"Thanks- I know it's a little ridiculous, I do, it's just, I've been doing it so long, you know, undercover, I hate recharging in my root mode, you know, it just feels unnatural and I guess that would seem a bit silly to you, I bet you never even use your altmode, do you, being in space so much I bet you never even need it so I know it seems silly, but-"
Rodimus moved to the window on the far wall without really thinking, twisting the electric lock open off and opening it. He turned back to Blurr and waited patiently for him to continue, but he had stopped speaking and was waching him intently. Rodimus waited, again, uncertainly, but the silence became awkward.
He pointed down the hall to his berthroom, "Well, then, I'm go-"
"Can I kiss you?"
Rodimus dropped his arm, startled, "Wha?"
"Can I kiss you?" Blurr repeated.
"Kiss me? Why would you want to kiss me?" He said, too startled by the notion Blurr would want to kiss him, all smelly plastics and rusted faceplate pig-metal, to decide how to answer.
"I- um. It's really time for me to hit the berth-" he stammered, backing away. Blurr followed him with his optics until Rodimus vanished behind the door of his berthroom, and it was several kliks before he heard the telltale sound of a transformation noise from the other room. He cursed at himself internally until he hit recharge.
When he peaked his optics around the corner the next morning, Blurr was gone. Rodimus had nearly panicked- Blurr was an undercover agent and he didn't wear a homing beacon- but then he remembered Blurr was in a new chassis, and after opening the medical datapacket he'd taken with him from the hospital, he pulled his new locator signal up on his GPS. He was only thirty yards away, outside. Rodimus looked out the window, cursing to himself. The sun was out, its light shimmering off of the smooth chrome racetrack behind his apartment block. It was the main reason he had picked this apartment block- it was the closest to the track. Something useless to him now, unfortunately.
He keyed the door open and leaned on the railing more than he would have liked until he reached the ground floor and turned the corner to the track's main gate.
Blurr was sitting cross legged on the starting line, leaning back against the ground. Even from here Rodimus could hear his fans going.
"Are those just always on with you?" He asked, trotting up. Blurr rolled over himself twice he was so startled, before he looked up at Rodimus from his knees, panting.
"What? No. Only after I run. Or, uh. When. You know."
Rodimus laughed, "I'm pulling your leg. Don't be so self conscious. Here-" He clicked his own fans on. He wasn't overheating, but it was fairly warm out, and it wasn't going to hurt. Blurr relaxed somewhat, pulling himself to his feet.
"I've had my speed mod for as long as I can remember, you know, I've really always had it actually ever since I was young, even before I was in the guard, I was a racer."
Rodimus nodded, "I always wanted to be a racer- but I joined the guard first, and then, well, you know. Things just kind of happened."
"The track's been empty since dawn, I should know, I've been out here since dawn and no one has come out here since I got here. Wanna race now?"
Rodimus blinked, "Right now?"
Blurr started running.
Rodimus was stumbling over himself trying to catch up. He immediately hated how quiet his plating was- his armour clacked together with dull plastic thuds instead of high pitched metal clangs. He felt light, but he felt like there wasn't enough force behind his pedes to actually generate any motion, and his internals ached around the empty hole where his T-cog was supposed to be- he ducked his head, focusing on the familiar feel of the track beneath him and the rush of wind past his audials (not nearly as loud as he was used to, though). He felt his plating warming up around his core and his systems pinged him about the danger. He filed it away as unimportant and pushed on, but the second ping was more urgent, and he came trotting to a halt, panting. He was glad he'd already kicked on his fans because the burn was unpleasant- especially now that his body could actually potentially melt on him.
He looked around for Blurr, and found him about twenty feet back, doubled over a pool of purged energon. His tanks turned in sympathy and he stumbled back to him, dropping to his knees.
"Hey- Blur, are you-?"
Blurr waved him away, yanking his shoulders out of Rodimus' servos and wiping the dribbling energon from the corners of his mouth with the back of one servo and a cough. He sat back on his pedes, averting his optics towards the ground, "I hate this body. Absolutely despise it. It won't do any of the things I need it to do and then it punishes me for trying."
Blurr sputtered again, wiping more energon from his chin, even as it gummed up in the side of his helm. Rodimus leaned in, rubbing at it with the slimmer ends of his fingers, trying to get it out of the seams.
"Well- I think, I think that- your new body is... is-" Rodimus wasn't entirely certain what to say. He was always the picture of confidence- in boot camp, in the Academy, in the guard, as a leader. He projected self-confidence wherever he went, but he wasn't even a full thousand stellar cycles yet and there were times- like standing in front of a space bridge, covered in a rapidly spreading and fatal disease or here, right now, with one hand on Blurr's energon stained cheek, that he was unsure, and afraid and small inside his plating, and he leaned forward before he could lose his nerve, pushing their lip plates together. He almost expected him to pull away, to change his mind when it actually came down to touching him- grey metal lips with rust stains in the corners of his mouth, but he pushed into it, mouth tasting like energon and condensation. Both their fans were roaring and Rodimus felt like he should be embarrassed, but he wasn't. The moment was perfect.
For just a brief moment in time, he wasn't corpse-grey under the fake too-bright reds of his plastic armour, he wasn't rusting and he wasn't a monoformer and Sentinel wasn't a looming threat and he wasn't small and in over his head. For a moment, and only one moment, everything was perfect.