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When Words Fail

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When Swerve found him, it had been by complete chance, a one-off late night wander about the ship that was meant to be a trip to a storage room to drink himself silly and forget his life's woes for a while in a haze of overcharge and his own misery.

He had the cube out- something cheap, sweet and home-brewed- when he realized he wasn't alone. He let out the briefest undignified squawk before he could help himself and he froze in place as a mass shifted in the dark room. Very suddenly, he found himself face to face with another mech.

It took him an astrosecond, but he realized it wasn't just any mech.  Of all the mecha he could've stumbled upon on a night where he was low, it had been Optimus Prime himself that he had come across.

It was Optimus Prime and he looked....Upset?  His helm had been in his hands. His optics looked weary and... and Oh Primus he was looking right at Swerve. He was looking right at him and looked suspicious and Swerve's mouth ran right away without his brain module behind it.

"Ah... Uh.. Are you okay?" The suspicion turned to confusion but Swerve's mouth kept going, and he padded closer, offering the highgrade he had gotten for himself. "Because you don't seem okay... I Uh... If you want to talk about it, or just talk in general! But...It can be pretty hard to live here you know, sooo.. yeah..."

Optimus' gaze softened and after a moment of deliberation, he took the offered cube. Swerve's mouth clicked shut, and left his arm awkwardly hanging in place for a moment, watching as Optimus' battle mask retracted back with a soft click. He took a small sip of the cube, and stared down into it for a moment.

"Thank you Swerve." His voice was that same tone he used talking to anyone; softened for their close quarters, and for a moment Swerve thought he had assessed wrongly. "But I do not wish to burden you with the frivolity of my issues of confidence and failings." Optimus might've thought that would drive Swerve off, might've thought that like many a bot, the threat of a Prime's issues would send them running to the figurative hills. But Swerve- the stocky little minibot's expression shifted into a sad little smile. He made his way to him with halting, half-sure steps... that surely made their way to Optimus' side.

Swerve hauled himself up onto the crate where Optimus sat, his pedes didn't reach the ground, where Optimus' knees bent high on his perch. He left a respectable distance between them, where even their EM fields wouldn't mesh without intent behind it. "You know, my nickname in my academy days was 'Shut the hell up.'" It's said with such casual regard that Optimus couldn't help but look at him dubiously, unsure of where he would go with this line of thought.

And then, he opened himself. In a quiet tone- friendly and personable, like how he spoke to his customers- he spoke about himself.

He spoke about himself and Optimus could feel his spark constricting in its chamber. In that quieter version of his personable voice- a now very obviously fake brightness to overlay the slag- he recounted an abridged version of his life.

Partway through, Optimus realized what he was up to.

It was the start of an exchange. It was the start of a possible exchange, and this little Autobot that Optimus knew only by name and quick-talking reputation was opening up to him. Trying, in a roundabout way, to help him.

Swerve's body language said more than his actual tone did, as he regaled Optimus with event after event that had him flat on his tires, so to speak. While his tone remained carefree, light, personable, His shoulders had him just hunched in on himself just that little bit. His digits laced together and apart over and over in a fidgety pattern, and his legs swung below his knees just a bit in that same pattern. His gaze remained locked to some spot on the floor in front of them.

The minibot was uncomfortable and had probably come in  to do the same thing that Optimus was, and instead he found a bot in need and was trying to help out.

The gesture warmed Optimus' spark, and he took another sip of the potent highgrade. For a bot his size, finishing it would be easy, and produce a pleasant overcharge. A bot Swerve's size though... A small worry wormed into Optimus' processor, and he realized how he could help in turn.

When Swerve finished, he put on a bland fake smile and turned his gaze towards Prime's general direction, though he couldn't look at him directly. "So you see, OP, we a-"

"Communing with the matrix was very unpleasant.... It hurt." He cut him off ever so gently with that closely held fact. Swerve's words cut off, he gaped up at him with his visor bright. Optimus felt a touch of trepidation, and wondered for a moment if it was the wrong thing to say, if he had just perhaps should have just accepted the comforting roll as was expected of him. ".... That was the first time I felt like I had failed, and I had just become Prime."

When he has learned Rodimus' ecstatic communion with the relic, his mood had instantly plummeted, but he schooled himself into that practiced roll of the wartime politician, and schooled himself though to when he could be by himself and digest the bad feelings. It was an old hurt made new, and the raw feeling of being Orion Pax freshly made Prime fell back on his shoulders in full force.

He brought himself back to the present in full, and spoke again. "Life was a lot simpler being Orion Pax the enforcer, the soldier. I felt right leading my station. I could lead a squad. But a whole people?" He paused in his musing when the sensation of a small hand rested on his arm.

"I might be a bit biased, Prime, but I thought you did pretty well." If the room had been illuminated, Swerve's Autobrand would be bright and shiny visible against his pelvic armor with the way he had changed positions to listen to him. Optimus cycled his optics at him in a slow blink, and after a silent microklik he let out a few soft chuckles.

"Yes, I suppose you would be." Swerve beamed at him in turn.

Optimus felt just a bit of the planetoid-sized weight lift from his shoulders. He decided that this wasn't such a bad idea after all.

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The pair ended up talking into the night, and Optimus found himself sharing more and more in small amounts. It was partially in some effort to match the depth of Swerve's confessions, and some part the desperate need to let out the bottled inadequacies that even many of his sparse, spread out or flat out dead confidants couldn't hear. He entertained the idea of going to Rung on more than one occasion, but even there he would be seeing him as a him in his position.

This way, just two mechs sitting by themselves talking about their issues and insecurities, it was just like any sort of non-event that could take place anywhere. They finished the cube of highgrade between them, Optimus making sure to take more than his equal share by silent design.

Swerve didn't seem to mind.

It made him feel frighteningly normal - frightening only due to the millennia since he last felt that way.

It felt good.

By the time the conversation had run it's natural course, it had gotten late. Optimus did feel a little better for the conversation, but at the same time there was a sheepishness that crawled up his backstrut. He hadn't acted very becoming to his station. His battlemask clicked it's way back into place.

At the same time, he was unable to ignore the golden opportunity before him, and he asked Swerve if it was alright with him him if they had another of these....sessions. The minibot had looked up at him with genuine surprise, and Optimus understood that the surprise was from a long life of rejections. He had probably been anticipating a hard push back into his solitude. He didn't yet see the beneficial connection for what it could be, and the guilty thought that Swerve would benefit socially being seen with him wormed it's way to his forethoughts.

Swerve wrung his hands, but hazarded a wary grin. "Sure, Boss. Same time, same place?" Optimus allowed himself a frown behind his mask, the arrangement he wanted was in no way one he wanted the smaller mech to feel obligated to take part in.

He knelt down on one knee to better be at his level. "Only if you wouldn't find further conversation too burdensome, Swerve." It was one quarter cheap tactic to get what he wanted, three quarters sincerity. Swerve's visor brightened.

"No! I-I mean no, I want to. It'll be..." He searched for the word. "It'll be... good."

Optimus' gaze softened. "Alright then. Same time, same place." He got to his pedes. "Recharge well, Swerve." with a little wave, he left the minibot behind for his own quarters

Swerve did not recharge well. In fact, he barely recharged at all.

His processor was over-clocked with thought thread after thought thread about his encounter with the Prime. He hadn't had that sort of personal conversation with anyone before, and there he had gone and shown his sparklight to Optimus Prime of all mecha.

And Optimus Prime had done so back.

Optimus slagging, unmaker damned Prime had confidence issues. Swerve snorted up at his ceiling at the incredulity of such a connection between the two of them. It was on a different scale of course, with Optimus Prime being one of the most important bots alive, and Swerve being.... Swerve.

Swerve: Halfway decent metallurgist and mediocre bartender extraordinaire.

Certainly not worthy of the attention of a Prime. Swerve removed his visor to rub at his optics as a nuisance thought obnoxiously popped back up again. He deleted it, and then let out an annoyed vent as it popped back up again.

Okay, so he hadn't expected Optimus fraggin' Prime to be cute of all descriptors. During one of his tales, Optimus had come to a very obviously difficult thing to share because his voice cracked.His voice had cracked and it was silent between them for mere moments before he reset his vocalizer in a soft static clear as he turned his face away.It had been so slagging cute,and Swerve felt his spark spin faster in it's casing, and then the thrice-damned thread had popped up.

He ruthlessly silenced it back in the present with a set of nasty counter thoughts: 'Optimus Prime is a mech way out of my league. '

'Optimus Prime would allow any of his troops to speak candidly to him.'

It didn't go away.

'The others would be relentless if they found out I had this crush.'

Still there. It countered with Who didn't have an attraction to Optimus Prime?

'I can't even keep a roommate, let alone try a lover.'

'I am so stupidly desperate for attention that I can just fall for anyone who gives me a klik and speaks kindly to me.' There it went, and the thread went blessedly silent.

With the chance to make a new kind of friend, to have a confidant all his own and to be one in turn... Swerve wouldn't allow his fool spark to mess this up for him, not ever again. 

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The next week dragged by, painful as bare rims on a bumpy road and nearly as loudly. Rodimus declared some sort of celebration partway through, for some reason about progress or another, and so Swerve found his establishment swamped by not only his usual patrons, but the command staff too.

Mandatory fun, Rodimus called it.

And he was having fun, at least.

Megatron, Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus all looked much like they didn't want to be there, but were staying with various levels of dutiful pleasantry and ire.

Swerve was a mess, mentally. He had been unprepared for the emotional and physical strain partying brought, and half the time his bartenders were out on the floor with the command staff and regulars. Thank Primus Ultra Magnus had been there to prevent the more overcharged from holding down Ten to feed him highgrade.

But beyond that, he had spent the few days prior beating his helm against the wall trying to think through that dangerously intimate encounter.

He had begun thinking of it as a one off to soothe his frazzled logic circuits, and had nearly convinced himself it had been some sort of feverish recharge fluctuation when the day of the party happened, and from across the bar, Optimus had inclined his helm at him in the briefest of nods.  They made optic contact and he smiled behind his mask before turning his attention back to whomever was speaking to him.

Swerve cursed to himself as he accidentally overflowed the drink he was preparing.

He was so slagged.

On the flip side, Optimus felt more relaxed than he had in a long time. His place aboard the Lost Light still grated on him, but it had from the start. He had skills beyond that of command and administration, but he still ended up in some nebulous leadership role alongside Rodimus and Megatron, and wasn't that strange, if not disconcerting at times.

His Autobots still looked up to him, and he couldn't help but think of them as such. As his. Even ragtag, tired and questing for ancient guidance that may not actually be there,  they still managed to do their best at upholding Autobot ways.

Well, most of them.

Distracted and perhaps struggling he was, Optimus was no fool. He was old hat by now at the machinations around the title thrust upon him.

Even down to little Swerve, and Optimus would be lying to himself if he said he wasn't looking forwards to their next meeting together.

He could give again to one of his mecha, and that bot would give back to him in turn.

Very simply, it was quid pro quo, even if the mech in question wasn't likely to understand what he was giving his Prime in turn.

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When it came time to meet again, Optimus made his way back to their designated storage room. He had no idea Swerve was already there, working himself into a tizzy. The minibot nearly startled out of his plating when Optimus made his way inside.

Prime halted in his movement as he took in the look of his smaller companion, reached out his field in a tentative, questioning brush.

Instantly, Swerve straightened up and drew his field in close, but that didn't deter the larger mech from coming in and taking his perch. He'd not allow any awkwardness if he could help it. Not with the need clearly present in Swerve's tells.

"What's bothering you?" He did his level best to make his voice sound friendly and concerned, gentle enough for the soft, peer to peer intimacy of the situation.

The time between this session and the last had affirmed for Optimus that he wanted Swerve for a friend and confidant.

His often calamitous optimism had served him well in this case, and despite Swerve's self deprecating, fatalistic attitude about his own reputation and habits, not a word of the information he had spilled had disseminated among the Autobots of the Lost Light.

And, he had not said anything in turn, not that he would have... Even though he was more than sure the small mech would benefit from sessions with Rung.

Swerve looked at him with an expression that plainly said he didn't want to spill what was plaguing his processor, but as he cleared his intakes Optimus was tentatively sure that Swerve had approached similar conclusion that he did.

"I... Ah... A-Are you sure you wanna be doing this whole talking thing?" Swerve clasped and unclasped his hands together, he'd look up to Optimus' face, but wouldn't meet his gaze. A thought ran through Prime's mind, that perhaps Swerve was having second thoughts. What he could teek of Swerve's field told a story of turmoil and desperation.

He laid a hand on Swerve's, the other to one of the tires that made up his shoulders. Swerve nearly jumped out of his plating at the contact - unexpected on his end for certain. Optimus, determined more than ever to help, kept the contact steady and pushed his sincerity into the press of his EM field. "Please." He said, with a pointed incline of his helm, a request to go on.

Swerve was sure his spark would spin right out of it's casing. It was one thing to interact with Optimus on the one-off level they had prior, but having an intensity Swerve had only seen in person on battlefields from afar or during stirring speeches directed solely at him was... compelling.

"N-no, I mean.. do you really want to do this talking thing? With me? " Ah- understanding slotted into place in Prime's mind. Keeping in mind that his presence could be overwhelming, he resisted the urge to take that small servo firmly in hand. Instead he just opted for the slightest- hopefully comforting- squeeze of that tire.

It was likely too much to hope that the small bot hadn't taken the time between their last meeting and this one agonizing over this one small thing, that wasn't so small to Swerve, of course, and then by extension, it could very well be inflated into a Prime-sized issue in that certain brand of a painful sort of lonesomeness.

Swerve obviously wanted to do this, no matter how bland and restricted he tried to force his field to be. Desperation and agony still seeped through it in poisonous little wisps, and Optimus picked up on everything like a thoroughbred turbohound.

The question still needed to be asked, however, and it rang true in Optimus' mind even as a part of him resisted in asking.

" I do... with you. Will it be to much for you?" The sheer force of the care coming from the big mech proved too much for Swerve to handle and he crumpled in on himself just that little bit towards his Prime, and Optimus took the chance to lay his hand on Swerve's other shoulder and pull him cautiously closer into an awkward one-armed hug. The minibot froze for just a split second before melting into the embrace with a quake to his plating and a palpable gratitude.

Optimus held him there and enjoyed the sensation of the the smaller frame against his own.

It dawned on him slowly as Swerve's systems eventually cycled down into a doze- that perhaps there were additional benefits to this new association- not only staring him in the face, but as of yet to be discovered entirely.

They needn't declare grievances and speak to pains every meeting, perhaps the pure sort of kindness contained in an embrace without expectation or motivation would prove just at cathartic.

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From there, life aboard the Lost Light proceeded to become more bizarre for Swerve, should someone ask him-- though no one did, nor would. 

His meetings with the frelling Prime of their entire race- became more frequent and less clandestine as time marched on.

Optimus would come to the bar to see him and chat for a few minutes.

Optimus would come to the medlab on those rare shifts Swerve found himself there and after a bantering back-and-forth with Ratchet for a few minutes, he'd appear and lay his hand on Swerve's cowl as he asked him what he was concocting today.

When they ran into each other in the halls, they'd greet each other, and Optimus never failed to be warm and inviting and ask him how his day was going.

He knew very well how confused his crew mates were about what must seem like a very sudden camaraderie, Slag, he'd be suspicious if the situation was flipped and Optimus Prime started spending more than polite time with the likes of someone like him. He was worthy of suspicion now. 

He wasn't worth it.

So the little intrusive voice sang to a a different tune, one of his own creation.

Still, he soaked up the attention as if he was starved for it, and Optimus was happy to give it to him.

He was happy to get it and absorbed it freely.

Stinging little whispers began to flow in those most public of spaces and Swerve picked them up in that unobtrusive way he always had before, where no one realized that he was hearing them. 

Optimus Prime's first visit to Swerve's habsuite was with no real fanfare, save for Swerve's nervous chatter and Optimus' warm rumbling replies as he tried to explain the plot of Luke Cage to him without giving him spoilers. 

"Are you skeptical? That sounds like skepticism. Listen, I know you're not one for bloodshed, I mean- who of any of us are anymore?" He let out a something akin to a nervous giggle. "But you'll like this, you'll like Luke Cage, I promise. He's- He reminds me of you, actually!" 

That focused Optimus' attention, and that moment of surprise on his bare faceplate morphed into a small, affectionate smile and a twinkle in his optic. 

"By all means, put it on then. You have my full attention, no need to sorry." 

Swerve felt his plating heat in a blush and mentally kicked himself for it before putting the show on and settling on in next to the big mech, wondering if he could get away with getting in close at the tense bits.

Truthfully, he felt lucky to have felt some sense of normalcy to this arrangement and new development- Optimus had been happy to come spend some time with him, and they'd agreed to making good use of Swerve's dubious netflix subscription- after the minibot had explained to him the intricacies of universal wifi use and dragged out most of his snack stash.

So, two episodes of Luke Cage and then two episodes of the extremely relaxing Earth-fauna based show at Prime's request- and then rinse and repeat.

After four episodes of Luke Cage and three and a half of Planet Earth, Swerve caught motion out of the corner of his optic.

Optimus' helm had tilted down in recharge.

For a moment, Swerve was enraptured.

And- he was touched.

For another moment Swerve found himself choked up, unable to handle himself and the situation.

He knew very well from his time drafting chemical cocktails as a function his metallurgy that rest and relaxation were a a coveted commodity among the Autobots, especially those in command.

 Here Optimus fragging Prime was, sleeping in front of him- next to him, helm inclined like when was motioning down towards where Swerve was sitting, lips parted just that littlest bit.

Swerve was on his feet before he really realized it; even standing he was shorter than Optimus' slumping sit. He had a servo flung over his abdominal grille, his exposed expression was slack with relaxation and divulged a former youthfulness of a far bygone era.

Swerve suppressed the keen that threatened to rise up from his vocalizer, for how hard his spark pulsed in such strong affection for the mech before him.

It took all of nothing for him to lean up on his pedes and press his lips to Optimus' for just a fraction of an astrosecond. 

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 When Optimus awoke later, it was more with a slow boot rather than a start. Such was rare for him, so used to memory fluxes fueled by his soldier's spark making his attempt at rest rather futile. 

He sat up slowly, gentling himself and being cautious as his memory tried to catch up with him... and a sizable blanket fell from his frame. 

He puzzled at it for a moment, it was just large enough to cover his windshield and part of his abdominal grille but for a smaller bot... 

Optimus sat up a little straighter, as his memory and awareness caught up to him all at once. There were the TV shows and the snacks and Swerve- He swiveled in place as much as his torso would allow him, and his spark melted just that bit.  

He'd fallen asleep, yes, and Swerve had covered him in his slumber... and then Swerve had gone and went to the trouble to make him comfortable, before taking recharge himself. It was an adorable, comical sight to see the little mech curled up like he was, almost as if he was on the verge of transforming. 

For just a few moments, Optimus watched him. It was with a quiet sort of reverence that he realized that he'd been curled up towards him, likely leeching off the heat of Optimus' sizable frame. 

His spark gave an affectionate pulse, and he quickly quelled an urge to pet over Swerve's cowl. 

The blanket was back in his hand before he really even completed the relevant thought-thread, and was gently tucking the fabric around Swerve in the same time. 

He found himself in a strange sort of limbo, sitting there with this sweet sad comrade- no- this friend in front of him bundled up in such a ridiculously random article that Optimus could count on one hand that the rest of the crew might have something similar- and... and.... 

He didn't know how to feel. 

That wasnt a new feeling- the not-knowing, so it was comforting, but it was perfectly clear he was feeling something deeper than anticipated.

Articulating it would be another matter entirely.


Several hours later, Swerve woke to the wee hours of the next day-cycle and an empty room. 

He couldn't mind too much, especially finding himself warm and rested and wrapped in the blanket he'd tried his best to cover Optimus with. 

He especially was okay with the scent of the big mech surrounding him as to permeate his very core, and it was with no little effort that he had his hands running up and down his chassis. 

He pretended that the touch to his interface paneling wasn't his own. Blue digits, broad and strong as opposed to short and stumpy caressed him in a gentle, almost playful manner in his fantasy, matching up with a hidden side of Optimus Prime Swerve had experienced with the bot in his time alone with him. He let out a pleased hum at the imagery, as his other hand trailed up to match strokes on his chestplate.

Fantasy Optimus revved in appreciation of Swerve, eager for him, and his outer modesty panel snapped open. He would've been embarrassed were this the real thing, with how just the carnal thought of Optimus had his spike cover spiraled open, pinging for the permission to pressurize that he held back. A trickle of lubricant met his fingers at the rim of his valve, and an anticipatory shudder ran over his plating.

In his mind, a broad digit that would have made it's way down his seams, tested the plush metallic flesh of his valve rim before sinking into the slick heat of him. Optimus' digit would be gentle as it filled him, stroking shallow nodes at first before pressing in slow strokes back and forth. Swerve could overload from just that thought, but he'd have to indulge some other time in that particular fantasy.

He was sure he'd never see it in real life, but the image of Optimus opening up his chest plates, past where the matrix could be held seeped into his mind. His mind conjured Optimus over him, tracing his chestplates with gentle digits, a silent request to join with him in an act just a step away from the most intimate way one could join with another.

Swerve's chestplates unlocked, and he was surprised they didn't fly open in their transformation with his level of arousal. His desire was spark-deep, and the first stroke of the outer corona of his spark almost had him undone. Charge crackled over his plating, jumping from gap to gap and fritzing the edges of his vision.

The Optimus of his fantasy looked at him with awe, a playful sort of lust took over his expression, and sensation lit up Swerve's entire sensornet as he traced the edge of his spark casing. A little denial would help him last a little longer, and he imagined his smaller spark reaching to join with Optimus'. Another soft brush, deeper into his casing and the accidental brush of his knuckles into the outermost edge of his spark energy slammed him right into overload. His vision whited out as pleasure suspended on energy coursed through his very awareness in waves, and washed him right to the darkness of unconsciousness.

When he came back to, his chassis was still letting off soft cooling pings. He stretched out slow, took a moment to let his processors re-align and let him shut his chestplates back up before he sat up to survey his frame. His spike- wide and a bit squat like the rest of him, had pressurized some time during his spark stimulation without his conscious permission. He was a little embarrassed by the dried transfluid streaking his abdomen, and was quick to quell the gentle washes of guilt licking up at the bottom of his spark.

He couldn't get the feeling of Optimus' slack lips from his mind from the kiss he had given him in that quiet, unknowing moment alone. The angelic image of his expression in sleep was long in taking it from Swerve in turn.