Chapter 1: The Confession
"You're so nice and understanding," Windblade said quietly. "Thank you."
"I'm a bartender," Blurr said, trying not to preen at her comment. "Wouldn't stay in business long if I couldn't handle bots pouring out their sparks to me."
"Still," said Windblade, staring into her glass. "It's nice having someone to talk to who doesn't know the situation already. You're not going to tell me that really, Quicksilver is a very nice girl, I must have misunderstood, or something like that. You're good for talking to. You don't judge me, or try to give me advice on something that happened a thousand years ago. You just listen and sympathize. And you're handsome," she added, almost as an afterthought, looking up and into his eyes. "I don't think I've mentioned that, but it helps."
Blurr stared at her. He'd privately admitted to his attraction to Windblade shortly after Chromia's attempted hijacking of Metroplex, and even to the romantic feelings that had come soon after, but he'd never imagined the pretty Camien would share his feelings. "Well, you're pretty good-looking yourself," he said lightly. "Not like you'd have a problem finding handsome Cybertronians to talk to, if that's what you want."
"But you're nice and handsome and I trust you," Windblade said. "You have a nice personality, too." She downed the last of her drink.
Blurr almost laughed, but realized Windblade might take it the wrong way. "Thank you," he said instead. Belatedly, it hit him that Windblade had been moving closer to him throughout the conversation, and she was now leaning in as if she intended to kiss him. His last thought before her lips met his was that it was a good thing that they were the last people left in the bar.
She was warm against him, and tasted like the sweet engex she'd been drinking. They stayed like that for a little while, until Windblade moved a bit and the reality of what he was doing hit Blurr.
It wasn't the first time an intoxicated patron had kissed Blurr, but it was the first time he'd really wanted to reciprocate. Windblade was nice, and pretty, and optimistic and cheerful in a way that made him want to be more happy himself.
But she was drunk, and letting her keep kissing him would be wrong. He gently pushed Windblade away.
"I'm going to call Chromia to come get you," Blurr said.
"But I want to stay with you," Windblade protested, her hands coming up to cling to his forearms.
"Not tonight, okay?" Blurr improvised. "We can talk in the morning," after you've sobered up, "and you can stay with me until Chromia gets here."
Windblade nodded. "Okay," she said, still clinging to him.
"You, uh, need to let go of me," Blurr said. "So I can call Chromia."
"I don't want to," Windblade retorted.
With a little struggling, Blurr managed to get one hand free to call Chromia. "Hi! It's Blurr," he began, careful to keep his speech slow enough to be comprehensible to Windblade's bodyguard. "I have Windblade at the bar with me."
On the other end of the comm line, Chromia sighed in relief. "Thank Primus. I was wondering where she'd gone. How drunk is she?"
Windblade chose that moment to lean into Blurr hard. He let out an oof! "Windblade, get off me!"
"But I love you," she whined.
"I love you too, Windblade, but you have to get off me," Blurr said a bit desperately.
"Fine," she muttered, sitting up.
"That bad, huh?" Chromia said from the other end of the comm line. "I am finished with whatever’s wrong with Metroplex," she hissed, apparently to herself. "This is ridiculous. Filter issues should not cause her this much stress."
Blurr stayed quiet, since he didn't have anything to contribute. "I'll be there in fifteen minutes, anyway," Chromia said more loudly. "Will you be okay until then?"
Blurr looked down at Windblade, who was snuggling happily into his shoulder. "Yeah, I think so. I think she's trying to go to sleep."
The sound of Chromia transforming came across the comm line. "Probably. She does that. I'll be there soon," she said as her engine revved.
"Okay," Blurr said, then realized she'd already cut the connection. Windblade mumbled something happily into his shoulder. It sounded like another "I love you". Blurr wrapped an arm around her waist to help keep her still, letting her relax even more; within minutes, she was asleep.
Blurr considered for the time until Chromia arrived. Chromia hadn't seemed surprised to her Windblade declare her love for him, so either Chromia already knew or Windblade said such things normally when she was intoxicated. Usually Chromia stayed with Windblade at one of the back tables and handled all the interactions when the Cityspeaker was in this kind of mood. But this time, Chromia apparently hadn't even known where Windblade was. That was interesting.
He'd considered the idea from a variety of different angles by the time Chromia got there. Maybe Chromia had something to do with Windblade's problem. Maybe Chromia had been busy with something that couldn't be interrupted even for Windblade, although Blurr was hard-pressed to imagine what that might be. Maybe Windblade hadn't wanted Chromia to know where she was for some other reason. So she could be alone with you, part of his mind suggested, although he rejected it. Windblade was brave enough to outright tell someone she liked them, surely.
Chromia came in the door still bleeding off momentum from her trip there, and steadied herself against a chair as she slid to a stop. She did a brief double take at the sight of Windblade and Blurr apparently cuddling, but quickly recovered and walked over to where they were. "Hey, Windblade," she whispered, shaking her ward's shoulder. "Wake up."
Windblade shifted and mumbled something ending in "-mia". Chromia nodded decisively, wrapped an arm around her, and pulled her to her feet. Windblade stumbled a bit, but Chromia managed to keep her on her feet. "Okay, let's get you home," Chromia muttered.
"Do you need any help?" Blurr asked as they struggled towards the door.
Chromia paused. "Yeah, that might be good," she said. "We're not too far away, so it shouldn't take too long. You live back here somewhere, right?"
"Yeah, above the bar," Blurr said, sliding an arm around Windblade from the other side. "Easier that way."
"Makes sense," Chromia said. The three of them walked carefully out the door and were on their way down the street when Chromia broke the silence. "She's serious about that, you know."
"Being in love with me?" Blurr asked, although he already suspected the answer.
"Yeah," Chromia said. "Has been for a while, actually. Not quite since the whole Metroplex incident, but close.” She glanced down at the ground. “It's fine if you don't reciprocate, but please let her down gently. She's had a rough time lately."
"You don't need to worry about that," Blurr said quietly.
“Thank Solus,” Chromia said. “So it’s mutual, then?”
“That’s good. In that case, just… be good to her, okay? I’m not going to tell you to never hurt her, because I have been in relationships and they involve getting hurt sometimes, just.. be as good to her as you can. My job is to protect her by whatever means necessary.” Chromia looked up suddenly. “Oh, hey, we’re here. You can head back now, it’s just a little bit more and we’re on the first floor.”
“Okay,” Blurr said, ducking away from Windblade. “I’ll probably see you two tomorrow, then?”
“Almost certainly,” Chromia said. “I’m going to tell her about what happened at the bar, at least what I heard, but not about this.” She gestured with her free arm. “You’re going to have to do that yourself.”
“Fair enough,” Blurr said. “Tomorrow, then?”
He waved at Chromia with a great deal more confidence than he felt, and turned to go.
Windblade appeared at the bar with Chromia early the next evening. She was slightly dusty, but otherwise in much better shape than she had been last night. She briefly smiled and waved at Blurr before Chromia pulled her over to one of the back tables and sat her down.
They spent the rest of the evening there. A slew of bots from all walks of life stopped by, mostly to talk to Windblade briefly. Chromia simply sat quietly, occasionally coming up to the bar to order another round of drinks.
As the night wore on, bots began to drift away, back to their homes and their own berths. Blurr had just finished wiping down the bar when Windblade approached him, looking distinctly uncomfortable and with Chromia hovering over her shoulder.
“About last night,” she began. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Blurr said reassuringly. “I’ve seen it all before.”
“Yes,” Windblade said, “but as a Cityspeaker and Cybertronian representative on the World council, I should be…” She hunched in on herself a bit. “Above such things.”
“Everyone needs some downtime sometimes,” Blurr said softly. “Even if you are all those things, taking the night off doesn’t make you a bad person.”
“Yes, but the way I acted towards you was inexcusably inappropriate, even for an average Cybertronian. I’m sorry.” Windblade was staring intently at the ground. Behind her, Chromia gestured encouragingly at Blurr.
“I, um. Didn’t mind that much, actually,” Blurr managed. Chromia rolled her eyes and gestured more enthusiastically. On the other side of the bar, the Tankors stared at the scene before them in confusion and amusement.
Windblade’s eyes widened. “So you…” The unfinished sentence was full of hope. Chromia smiled encouragingly.
The silence dragged out for an awkward few seconds. “You’re nice and pretty and I like you too,” Blurr blurted out suddenly.
Windblade blinked. Chromia gave him a passionate thumbs-up. Then Windblade smiled and stepped forward to kiss Blurr.
She was warm, and tasted like the sweet engex she’d been drinking. Blurr lost himself in the kiss until the sound of scattered applause made him and Windblade look up simultaneously.
The bar’s remaining patrons, most of whom were thoroughly drunk, were applauding haphazardly. Chromia shrugged and smiled. “Keep going!” someone shouted. Windblade and Blurr stepped away from each other, smiling dazedly.
“Everyone out,” Blurr called, to a chorus of laughter, “except Windblade. Bar’s closed. You can stay too, Chromia,” he added quietly.
“I’m just going to stay at one of the back tables,” Chromia replied. “Give you two some time alone together to talk.”
“Thank you,” Windblade said, smiling at Chromia.
“It’s my job to protect you, Cityspeaker, not to intrude on your personal life. Besides,” Chromia added with a smile, “I’m pretty sure Blurr’s trustworthy by now.”
“Thank you,” Blurr said dryly.
“Come find me when you’re ready to leave,” Chromia told Windblade, walking towards one of the tables near the door. The last of the customers had departed by now, leaving Windblade and Blurr alone.
“So,” Windblade said. There was an awkward silence for a few moments.
“About last night,” Blurr said. “You said you liked me because you liked talking to me. I was ‘understanding’, I think it was? And I had a nice personality, and I was handsome.”
“Yes,” Windblade said. “Why?”
“I was wondering how much of that was true and how much was the engex talking,” Blurr managed to say.
Windblade’s gaze shifted to the ground. “Pretty much all of it’s true. Chromia’s nice, and she does her best, but she’s a warrior. She thinks of interpersonal interactions as battles to be won. You… don’t.”
“No,” Blurr agreed. “I don’t.”
“So,” Windblade said, looking up with a hesitant smile, “why me?”
“You’re nice, and pretty,” Blurr said, “and you’re… happy. Being around you makes me want to be a better person.”
“That sounds nice,” Windblade said softly. “Thank you.” The artificial light streaming through the window made her shine, and Blurr was hit by the sudden urge to kiss her. So he did.
Windblade responded enthusiastically, and they kept going for several minutes, until Chromia clearing her intakes caught their attention. “I’m happy for you guys, but it’s getting late. Windblade, if you want to stay the night, that’s fine, but I’m spending tonight in my own berth. Are you coming with me, or staying here?”
“I’ll come with you,” Windblade said quickly, separating from Blurr. “Tomorrow, then?” she added, speaking to Blurr.
“Yeah,” he said, smiling. “Tomorrow.”
The next night, as promised, she was back at Maccadam’s. Chromia was accompanying her again, but this time they were right at the bar, and Windblade kept smiling whenever Blurr managed to make eye contact with her. It was a busy night, so Blurr wasn’t able to linger and talk to them, but he did manage to get enough time with them to set up another late night after the bar closed.
This time, as Blurr shepherded patrons out, Chromia and Windblade had a quick, mostly whispered conversation. As he finished and turned to walk back to them, Windblade looked up. “Blurr?” she called.
“Would you mind if I spent the night here? I’d… like some time alone with you, now that we’re together.”
“No, that’s fine,” he said, smiling uncontrollably.
“In that case,” Chromia said to Windblade, “I’m leaving. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
"Are you going to be okay?" Windblade asked.
"No offense, Cityspeaker, but I'm a lot better at fighting than you are. I can handle anything out there, trust me," Chromia said.
"Fair enough," Windblade said.
With a smile, Chromia vanished into the night, leaving Blurr and Windblade alone together. "So," he said. "What now?"
Windblade sighed, staring down at the floor. "I'm sorry, but I'm going to be really busy dealing with Metroplex and Starscream for the next few days. Maybe longer. Tonight's going to be our last night together for a while."
“Okay,” Blurr said, leaning over to touch her arm. “What do you want to do?”
She smiled and took his hand. “Come over here and I’ll show you.”
Chapter 2: The Finding
The next morning, Blurr was awakened by the sunlight streaming in through the window. For a few minutes, he stayed where he was, just watching Windblade recharge. In the faint morning light, which left the colors of everything muted, her Cityspeaker markings almost seemed to merge with the rest of her facial plating; usually her eyes brought their color out more sharply, but the blue of her optic glass was nowhere near as bright without the light of her eyes behind it. Blurr reached up to touch her face, running the tip of one finger along the edge of an optic socket.
Then the shrill sound of an incoming comm call pierced the air. Windblade pushed herself back, falling off the berth and shoving Blurr into the wall, and landed with a yelp.
“Hi, Chromia,” she began. “Yes, I’m fine. No, you just startled me. I’m fine, really.” Sorry, she mouthed at Blurr.
“It’s okay,” he whispered back.
“I’m still here, yes. I’ll be over at Metroplex in a few minutes. Thank you. Bye!” Windblade spoke faster as the call progressed, ending at a speed that would have been nearly incomprehensible for anyone except Blurr.
“I take it you need to leave, then?” Blurr asked, twisting to face her.
“Yeah. Apparently Starscream wants to talk about something to do with Metroplex right now. I'm sorry," she said, noticeably slower than before but still fast.
"It's okay," he said. "Are you going to be back tonight?"
"I'll try, but I can't promise anything. Starscream sounds like he's pretty unhappy. I'll try to comm you if I can't make it, though." She left with a smile.
"So how was last night?" Chromia asked lightly as Windblade walked into Metroplex's head module.
Windblade smiled. "It was nice," she said quietly, walking over to the console and beginning to prepare everything for the day's work.
Chromia smiled before switching to a more serious expression. "You're not going to get to see him for at least a few days, with the way the schedule's looking. You have a meeting with Starscream in two hours, and according to Rattrap he's not happy about this, although it does sound like he knows it's not your fault."
Windblade sighed. “That’s better than it could have been. Thank you, Chromia.”
“You’re welcome, Cityspeaker,” Chromia said as a dark blue Seeker Windblade recognized as part of Metroplex’s maintenance team walked in.
“Can I talk to you, Cityspeaker?” the maintenance bot asked shyly. “Alone?” he added after a moment.
“Of course,” Windblade said, standing up. “There’s a meeting room down the hall that should be empty for the next few hours - I’ll be back before the meeting, Chromia.”
Chromia looked like she was going to object briefly, then sighed. "Okay. Scream if anything happens."
"What did you want to talk to me about?" Windblade asked the maintenance bot as she closed the door. "Also, if you don't mind me asking, what's your name? Of course I understand if you don't want to tell me, but I promise I'll do the best I can to keep anyone from finding out."
"My name is Pulsar," he said, staring down at the table. “I help maintain Metroplex, mostly getting up into the sections that it’s hard for grounders to reach.” He looked up at her suddenly. "I think I saw something that might be related to the problems Metroplex has been having a few weeks ago," he blurted out quickly.
Windblade blinked once, then nodded calmly. "Okay. Thank you for coming to tell me."
"I was leaving work a bit later than I usually do," Pulsar said. "It was already starting to get dark outside, so I'm not entirely certain about some of the details, but I know I saw a bot holding what looked like one of those nutrigel packs - you might not be familiar with them, we used them during the war as sort of supplements to regular energon when we couldn't get the minerals that were supposed to be in it, they were mostly for sparklings - except it was glowing. Nutrigel doesn't glow, it's just clear. So they dumped it out onto the ground and just transformed and drove away. It stopped glowing when it hit the ground, and it didn't look weird, so I just left it alone. I assumed it was some sort of weird nutrigel variant that they wanted to get rid of. But this was right next to the filter that started having problems first. I figured you might think this was helpful to know for some reason? I probably shouldn't have said anything. I know you're really busy. I'm sorry for wasting your time."
"Don't be," Windblade said. "This is actually very useful information. Do you remember what color they were, or what their altmode looked like?" Mentally, she was already composing a message for Wheeljack to see if he could tell her something more about the poison. He'd been able to figure out what the mystery substance did, but information about what it looked like could only be helpful in figuring out what it was.
"Kind of yellow-orange," Pulsar said, "and... I don't know. Kind of like one of those Earth sports cars? But not. More streamlined. Floating, too - he wasn't touching the ground, once he transformed. Bright blue eyes. I remember because he glared at me after he saw me looking at him. I figured it was because he just didn't like me." He gestured towards his own eyes, which were a vivid scarlet.
"You remember where you were, right?" Windblade asked, calling up a map of Metroplex on the table screen. "Do you remember which way this bot went?"
Pulsar tapped at the screen until he'd managed to zoom in on a specific point far from the rest of the city, as close to the outskirts of Iacon as you could get and still be inside Metroplex. "I was here," he said, pointing to an exit from Metroplex, "and I was facing this way, so he must have gone... that way." He drew an arrow pointing out to the plains surrounding the city.
“Thank you,” Windblade said sincerely. “You’ve been very helpful.”
He smiled awkwardly. "Really?"
"Absolutely," Windblade said. "How much of this information can I give to others? I won't use your name at all if I can avoid it, but I can't promise Starscream won't want to talk to you himself. But your information could be vital to finding the poisoner."
"Really?" Pulsar repeated. He stared down at the table. “I don’t want to talk to Lord Starscream unless I have to. I served under him in the war for a while, and he was scary. My squadron never had to deal with him directly, but we heard stories.”
“I’ll do everything I can,” Windblade promised. She didn’t expect it to be a serious problem; for all Starscream claimed to mistrust her skills, he actually believed in her much more than he let slip. His pride simply wouldn’t let him admit it.
Windblade, Chromia said over commlink, Starscream’s here early and he wants to talk now.
“Just a moment, please,” she said to Pulsar. Thank you for telling me. Tell him I’m busy right now but I’ll be there in a few minutes.
Chromia sent a wordless affirmation back.
“If that’s everything, I need to go now,” Windblade said. “If you think of anything else you’ve forgotten to tell me, come find me or Chromia; she’ll know where I am. Again, thank you for the information. I know it doesn’t seem very helpful to you, but it’s likely to be invaluable to the investigation.”
Pulsar nodded. “Okay. Um, should I just leave now, or…?” He trailed off.
“One of the guards will show you out,” Windblade said. “I’ll come back to Metroplex’s control center with you.”
“Thank you, Cityspeaker,” Pulsar said, standing and following her out.
Windblade started hearing Starscream, apparently arguing with Chromia, several rooms away; cycling her vents hard, she braced herself.
“What is Windblade possibly doing that is more important than this?” Starscream snapped.
“I can’t tell you that,” Chromia said, apparently not for the first time, from her tone. “When she gets back, she can - oh, thank Solus. She’s here. Ask her yourself.”
Starscream turned to glare at Windblade. "There you are, Cityspeaker," he said, with an exaggerated tone of annoyance. "Perhaps you're ready for our meeting now?"
"Of course, Lord Starscream," she said politely. "I was busy dealing with a Cybertronian who wanted to speak to me. I'm sure you can understand." As Starscream opened his mouth to reply, she settled in for another hours-long semi-productive passive-aggressive argument.
Blurr got a quick comm message that night - I'm sorry, I need to deal with Metroplex and Starscream right now, I'll be there tomorrow night. To be honest, he'd kind of expected it. The problem with Metroplex had been all over the news that night. It’d turned out to be energon filtration issues causing trouble with the Metrotitan's spark, or so it seemed until they'd found that the energon had traces of a corrosive poison in it. There’d been no official government statement, but the newsbots suspected foul play, and really, there were no good reasons for there to be powerful corrosives inside Metroplex’s body.
The Iacon Communication Service’s morning news the next day had an interview with Starscream, talking about what they’d found and what was happening now. “The oxidizing agent we found traces of is being analyzed now to determine what exactly it is,” he explained to a brightly smiling Circuit. “We have some additional information gathered from an informant who would prefer to remain anonymous which is proving helpful.”
“How much damage, exactly, did the toxin do to Metroplex?” Circuit asked, in a tone that Blurr couldn’t help but feel was inappropriately chirpy for the subject matter.
“It’s damaged some of his filters, especially those around his spark chamber, and some of his conduits - again, especially the ones around his spark chamber. Cityspeaker Windblade is working with Metroplex to find as many of the damaged areas as possible now. But we found the problem quickly, and he’s expected to recover fully with no difficulty. We’re also working on tracing the origins of the poison, but it doesn’t seem that it’s still being introduced into the system.”
“Thank you for the interview, Lord Starscream,” Circuit said, turning the video off. “There you have it, everyone,” he continued, turning to the camera. “We tried to get a comment from Cityspeaker Windblade, but Chromia says she’s too busy right now to focus on anything other than Metroplex. We’ll update you as soon as anything worth being updated on happens. Circuit out.”
Blurr started composing a message to Windblade. After a while, he finally settled on the shortest one he could think of, marked as non-urgent as possible - How are you doing? - and sent it before he could decide against it.
He didn’t expect a response for a while, but one arrived only an hour later. It was just as non-urgent as his own, according to the labeling, but he read it immediately anyway. Tired. Busy. Hoping I can come see you tonight. it read.
That sounds good. Blurr paused for a moment before sending it, then impulsively added Love you. He sent the message before he had time to change his mind about the addition.
There was a pause of almost a minute before she replied. Love you too.
Windblade spent the next few days unsuccessfully trying to track down the bot Pulsar had seen. Starscream suggested early on that Pulsar himself might be their perpetrator, which had to be duly considered and rejected as an idea; beyond that, their search was unsuccessful.
Finally, she found a night that wasn’t occupied by dealing with Starscream or the enforcers or someone else to go visit Blurr. They’d been talking over commlinks whenever they could, but that didn’t substitute for a real conversation, and she was looking forward to getting to see him again.
She arrived not long before closing time, and waited quietly until the last patrons had departed before Blurr came over to talk to her. “Hi,” he said quietly. “It’s been a while.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I’ve been busy,” Windblade said. “You’ve probably seen the news reports. I know Circuit’s been doing them.”
Blurr sighed. “Yes. Someone’s poisoning Metroplex, and you’re not sure if your one source is reliable. That’s basically all I know, though.”
“That’s because it’s what we have,” Windblade said. “A maintenance bot who thinks he saw the poisoning came to talk to me, and we have a description of who he saw, but it’s not very detailed - just color and altmode.”
"Those can still be useful, though. What did you say this bot apparently looked like?" Blurr asked.
"According to the maintenance bot, yellow-orange, with an altmode that looked like a floating Earth sports car. Blue eyes, so probably an Autobot. Other than that, he didn't have anything. And I’m sure that describes a lot of bots."
Blurr tilted his head to the side. "Actually, not so many. The antigrav thing is your main giveaway - maybe it's different on Camien, but that's rare here. The only bots with antigrav cars for vehicle modes picked them up off-world and never switched back. I can only think of two bots who could fit that description, and I'd say I know most of the bots in Iacon."
"What are their names?" Windblade asked urgently.
"One was named Sunbreak and the other was Lightstreak. I think Sunbreak was one of Starscream's guards, and I'm not sure what Lightstreak did. Maybe some sort of construction work?" Blurr thought for a moment. "Between those two, I’d guess you’re looking for Lightstreak. He had issues with the entire idea of contacting the colony worlds - thought we could handle all our own problems and the colonies were just going to cause us more of them. I don’t remember Sunbreak having any real opinion on it.”
Windblade nodded. “Thank you. I’ll probably mention this to Starscream tomorrow - unless you mind.”
“No, that’s fine,” Blurr said. “I want this guy caught too.”
Windblade smiled tiredly. “Now that’s dealt with, can you come over here?" she asked. "Today was kind of rough and I want a hug from my boyfriend."
Blurr obliged, stamping down the thrill of hearing her call him her boyfriend. Not that he hadn't known that that was what he was, but she hadn't actually said it before. It sent a happy tingle down his spinal strut. He wrapped his arms around her gently, and she relaxed slowly into them.
"That feels nice. You're so warm," Windblade said, snuggling further into his arms.
"Racer frame,” Blurr explained. “I'm supposed to vent heat easily."
"Makes sense. I'm supposed to retain it. Caminus isn't that warm, and the atmosphere gets really cold." Windblade paused. “This is really nice. Thank you.”
"You're my girlfriend," Blurr said softly. "It's my job."
“Well, yes, but it’s still really nice having someone to cuddle like this. It’s… been a while.”
“Did you have someone back on Caminus?” Blurr asked. From what he’d managed to pick up from overhearing Windblade and Chromia talking to other bots, and asking them questions about Caminus himself, everyone on Caminus was expected to have an amica endura, but not so much a conjunx. Romantic relationships weren't exactly frowned on, of course, but they weren't viewed as mandatory in the same way.
“No,” Windblade admitted quietly. “Not for a while. Back when I was learning to be a Cityspeaker, I had something going on with one of the other trainees, but that was a long time ago." She snuggled into his neck.
“I haven’t ever really been in a relationship with someone,” Blurr said softly. “Back when I was a racer, I slept with a lot of people, but I never had an actual relationship with any of them. It was fun and I don’t regret it, but after that there was the war and I had more important problems, and I’ve never actually dated anyone. I don’t know what I’m doing any more than you do.”
“This is a good way to start,” Windblade said. “I like the way this feels.” She kissed him again, slow and gentle, and that cut off all conversation for a few minutes.
They talked and kissed intermittently for the next hour or so. Finally, they both grew tired, and the question of where they were going to sleep came up.
“Where do you want to sleep?” Blurr asked, somewhat awkwardly. “I can reconfigure my berth so both of us will fit, or one of us can take the couch, or something else.”
Windblade smiled, just as awkwardly. “Your berth sounds fine.”
It took Blurr a few minutes to adjust the settings on his berth to get it big enough to hold both him and Windblade. Once he managed it, they both slid into the berth together, facing towards each other but several inches apart.
After a long few minutes of working out where everyone's limbs were going to go, Windblade pushed herself into Blurr’s arms, snuggling against him. He wrapped an arm around her gently, and they fell asleep that way.
Chapter 3: The End
Twelve hours later, she was arguing with Starscream again. “No, I know just as much as you do, Starscream. I’m not hiding anything; I’ve told you everything the maintenance bot said, and who Blurr thought. He didn’t seem to be hiding anything, either.”
“How would you know?” Starscream snapped. “You Camiens are trusting to a fault.”
“Being on Cybertron has developed my skills in that area,” Windblade said sweetly. Beside her, a flicker of a smile crossed Chromia’s face.
Starscream glared at her. "I want to speak to him myself."
"As long as he agrees to it," Windblade said, "although I want to be in the room."
"Fine," Starscream said. "What's his name?"
"First," Windblade said, "I need you to assure me that you won't try to pressure him into meeting with you alone. He said he was frightened of you; I intend to respect that."
Starscream sighed. "All right, Windblade. Whatever you want. Now, what's his name?"
"Pulsar," Windblade said.
"Rattrap, find me the maintenance bot Pulsar," Starscream ordered. Windblade suddenly realized that she hadn't even noticed Starscream's lackey had returned from checking up on Lightstreak and Sunbreak. "And tell him that as soon as he's off-shift, Windblade and I want to talk to him. Make it clear that he's not in trouble," he said, with a glance at Windblade.
“Yes, boss,” Rattrap said, already departing, presumably to find Pulsar and retrieve him. Internally, Windblade sighed.
The conversation (interrogation, essentially) was singularly unproductive. Pulsar was far too terrified of Starscream to give them any information beyond what he’d already told Windblade, and Starscream’s obvious frustration at this only made the problem worse. After several wasted hours, Starscream gave up and sent him home.
Windblade walked into the bar that night looking almost as exhausted as she’d been after the first incident with Starscream, but brightened up immediately upon seeing Blurr. He managed to flash a smile at her before turning back to Swindle. She and Chromia found a place at one of the tables, and she was immediately set upon by other patrons interested in news or gossip about Metroplex’s condition.
Windblade didn’t give all that much information other than what Starscream had revealed earlier in the day - the poison wasn’t going to be fatal, but its origin was as yet mostly unknown. Metroplex apparently might know something, but the Titan’s mind was a cacophony of random snippets of poetry, status updates, thought fragments, and attempts to talk to Windblade when she was nearby. It was hard to get any information out of him, especially when she had as little idea of where to look as she did for this. They had another lead, but it was tenuous.
Blurr couldn't help listening in, out of a desire to hear more about what was happening to Metroplex just as much as a desire to listen to Windblade talk. “We’re trying, but Metroplex can’t tell us very much. His mind has been badly damaged for a long time, and he’s having a hard time communicating information, even to me.”
“Can’t you just do the processor-merge thing with him?” one of the Tankors asked.
“Sort of,” Windblade said, putting down her drink to focus on the conversation. “Merging doesn’t actually make Metroplex’s mind more ordered, it would just mean I’d have an easier time looking at the information if I could figure out where it was. At the moment, we’re not even sure Metroplex knows anything about what happened. We have some information from another source that may help, but Metroplex would still be the best source if we could talk to him properly. He knows what goes on inside his body, he just has a hard time expressing it." She picked her engex back up and took another sip.
"Okay, that's enough," Chromia said. "She's here for a drink, not to answer your questions."
The other Tankor opened his mouth to say something, but Chromia glared at him and he shut it. The crowd dispersed fairly quickly after that.
Windblade apologized to Blurr, but explained that she was going to leave at closing time tonight and spend the night alone. He understood even if he wasn't thrilled about it; she told him she'd make it up to him later, once they'd caught this person.
That time came early next morning. Windblade woke up when a comm message hit her. It was from Starscream, marked high-urgency, and very short: We have him. Get over here now.
She arrived to see a golden bot with bright blue eyes, almost exactly identical to Pulsar’s description, in handcuffs and glaring alternately at Starscream and the guards standing around him. “You were right, his name is Lightstreak,” Starscream told her coolly. “He tried to do the same thing again this morning, but your friend’s information led us to him before he actually dumped the corrosive. We found it in his subspace.”
Windblade nodded slowly, staring at Lightstreak. He noticed and switched to glaring at her. “Frag you, Camien,” he snapped.
Windblade ignored him. “What are you planning to do with him now?” she asked Starscream.
Starscream shrugged casually. “He’ll be tried for terrorism and sent to prison. I expect he'll be there for a very long time."
"May I speak to him?" Windblade asked.
"I don't see why not," Starscream said reluctantly. "You understand, of course, that the guards will have to stay here."
"You can all stay, I don't care," Windblade said. She turned to Lightstreak. "Why did you do it?" she asked.
"It was for the good of Cybertron," Lightstreak spat. "I don't expect you to understand."
"What do you mean by that?" Windblade asked.
"I needed to take down that space bridge. Nothing good is going to come of contacting the colony worlds. We're doing fine on our own. We don't need help - from Caminus or any of the other colonies - and accepting it will only cause trouble."
Windblade nodded slowly. "Thank you for explaining."
Lightstreak laughed bitterly. "You're welcome, Camien."
Windblade watched as Starscream's guards led him away. No doubt the trial would end exactly as Starscream had predicted - they had multiple witnesses and an admission of guilt. Lightstreak's diatribe stuck in her mind, though. He'd felt strongly enough about this to attempt murder; how many other bots felt the same way? What could she do to change their minds? What if they were right?
That night, looking for a way to forget her troubles, she wound up at Maccadam's. It was a busy night, but most bots avoided her, probably because she was in a dark corner staring quietly into the depths of her engex. Finally, as the bar began to empty out, Blurr made his way over to talk to her. "How are you doing?" he said quietly. "I heard about Lightstreak getting arrested, but... you look like somebody ran over your cyberkitten."
“It’s something he said, after he was caught. I keep thinking about it,” Windblade said. “Wondering if maybe he had a point.”
Blurr glanced back at the few bots still in the bar before sitting down next to her. “I don’t know what exactly he said,” Blurr told her quietly. “But I can guess, and I’m pretty sure it’s wrong. Maybe we don’t need the colony planets, but we don’t need a lot of things that are still good to have.” He paused. “If the colony planets had never tried to make contact with us, I would never have met you.”
Windblade smiled. “Yes.”
It took another few hours for Blurr to finish with his work, but Windblade was willing to wait. The urgent problem of the person trying to murder Metroplex, at least, was resolved. Her other problems could wait until the next morning.
Finally, later that night, they fell onto his berth together. It took a moment for them to sort out the tangled mess of limbs and get ready to connect, but they'd both been warmed up by the making out earlier, so it didn't take much to get the protective paneling over their interface ports to slide back.
"Ready?" Windblade whispered.
"Oh Primus, yes," Blurr hissed.
Her connector sank home into Blurr’s port, and all at once he could feel a surge of glorious sensation - what Windblade was feeling now, he realized. Her firewalls kept him out of her memory until she chose to let him in, but even now he could feel everything she could. With an inarticulate whimper, she grabbed his cable and slid it into her port almost roughly enough to cause pain, then dropped her firewalls as he dropped his.
Distantly, Blurr could still feel himself, but his body was overwhelmed by the feelings of Windblade’s memories - the brilliant lights of Camien, the freedom of true flight, the strange multi-layered thought process of her mind while merging with a citybot. Noticing him touching on the merged mind, Windblade sent a series of mental sensations from her training as a Cityspeaker over - learning to interact with another mind, to be consumed by it but still separate, to understand the thought processes of a Metrotitan.
That was followed by a flurry of new memory suggestions over their connection, mostly of flights on Camien. Blurr suggested his memories of training and racing, with the euphoric sensation of victory occasionally thrown in for variety, and of the unique weather and environment of Earth. For some time, they lay there, bouncing memories and sensations back and forth at higher speeds, choosing more intense ones to send to each other, building their charge higher.
Blurr was the first to overload, at the memory of Windblade’s very first successful flight; Windblade followed soon after, driven over the edge by Blurr’s own overload and an amalgam of several race memories. Electricity discharged violently from both of them, crackling through the room before dissipating into the air.
They lay together in silence on his berth for a few minutes, listening to the clicks and pings of their frames cooling and the whir of fans working as hard as they could. Outside, Iacon was as quiet as it ever got; it was very late, or possibly very early, depending on your perspective. Windblade nuzzled into Blurr’s shoulder, humming quietly to herself.
Blurr wrapped his arms around her gently. He was already starting to feel tired in the aftermath of interfacing with her, and she seemed to be feeling the same. They fell into recharge like that, wrapped around each other. Metroplex and Iacon were safe for now, and they could rest.