Chapter 2

An Eye For An Eye

Shadow Striker stared at her last comm. link conversation with Soundwave. They had promised to meet up for drinks at Maccadam’s but Soundwave hadn’t shown. Perceptor poured more into her glass, then left to the back.

A short message was pulled up on her display, mocking her. It was the last message her amica had sent her.

Feeling unwell. Postpone meeting until further notice.

Soundwave didn’t get sick. He was stubborn to a fault. He would rather go on with half his processor rusted away than admit he was malfunctioning which could only mean one thing…

There was something very, very wrong.

Despite popular belief, Soundwave vastly preferred peace. He enjoyed parties, frequenting the now Autobot Grimlock’s famed soirees. He blasted music whenever he could and shared the experience with many others. And any transformer—Autobot, Decepticon, or otherwise—could attest to his love of dancing. No, given the chance, Soundwave would choose peace.

This was all apparently a more difficult concept to swallow than choosing to believe one of Megatron’s most vocal proponents was a warmonger. At least, for anyone who never spoke to him.

That didn’t mean he was opposed to fighting. He was notorious for sparring with people whenever he was bored. Shadow Striker was a good partner. Shockwave complained too often. Starscream had a sonic scream he only liked using on Optimus Prime for some reason so that was no fun. Most other Decepticons avoided Soundwave, which meant a simple fight was a rare treat and a hot commodity.

Then he met Hot Rod.

Well. It would be better phrased if he said they officially met because their planet was being invaded. There was no doubt they had seen each other before; you don’t fight a millennia-long war with what are essentially immortals without knowing a majority of your enemies. And that wasn’t even counting his flashy paint job. Despite this, Hot Rod was unassuming. Soundwave would have gone so far as to say he didn’t think the Autobot commander could hurt a Monsterbot.

Now, Soundwave could also admit that he was a bit petty to the point of obnoxiousness. It was an easy way to fall into as a Decepticon commander. So, of course, he ordered Clobber to kill Hot Rod. Why? Because Hot Rod had bothered Soundwave. His Autobot pride and his obsession with leadership but his odd fear of leading annoyed Soundwave.

It should have been simple enough to kill Hot Rod. Clobber was… efficient. She followed orders to the letter if she knew her target by name. (Soundwave found she didn’t do well with direction and started giving her designations after her first mission failed all those vorns ago.) Of course, perhaps as retribution for his mean attitude, his plans would backfire. Not only did Clobber fail to deactivate Hot Rod, the stupid Autobot saved Soundwave after his own comrades tried to leave him for scrap.

What kind of transformer saves their enemy?

A lousy strategist.

A failure of a leader.

A wannabe Optimus Prime.

Which is all to say that he was surprised when Hot Rod punched him for interrogating the Bailiff. Surprised, yes, and he would later reluctantly admit to himself that he was happy that Hot Rod tried to fight him. Maybe Hot Rod wasn’t this perfect Autobot desperate to be like his commanding officer. Soundwave’s processor had an absolute field day with that information.

Suddenly it was easier to relax during the invasion despite the numerous threats to their lives. Finally, there was someone Soundwave felt actually wanted to make a change. Sure, Hot Rod wasn’t as homicidal as Megatron, but he made up for his lack of a violent streak by always being ready to pick a fight. Hot Rod wasn’t afraid to get his servos dirty. Soundwave could appreciate that.

So perhaps Soundwave let loose around Hot Rod. He might have even let the Autobot know information that only Shadow Striker, Laserbeak, and Shockwave knew. Maybe—just maybe—Soundwave… cared about Hot Rod.

Ugh. No. Nope. No way.

Soundwave queued a note to his taskbar to remind himself to wipe that thought from his processor. He groaned into his berth as he realigned himself with his current predicament.

Hot Rod had nearly ruined him.

The worst part about it? Soundwave wasn’t even mad.

Well… Of course, he was mad. But it wasn’t the same spark-burning, fuel tank turning rage he associated with betrayal or when he was wronged. It felt… odd. As if someone had reached deep inside his spark chamber and pulled something out. The loss of which made it impossible to function.

A ping! alerted him to yet another comm. from Shadow Striker. He dismissed the notification. He wasn’t in the mood to deal with her. She would just bite his helm off for holing himself away from the rest of Cybertron. Then, once she knew what happened, she would threaten to shoot Hot Rod’s off.

It had been a week since Hot Rod confronted him on the street. Soundwave could still feel his servo, warm and unfamiliar, with its steady grip. Underneath the tarp he used, Soundwave’s fuel tank gave a sudden lurch. He sighed. There wasn’t much energon left in his habsuite. Soon he would need to leave to get more.

Distracted by his plight, Soundwave almost missed the pounding on his front door. He didn’t want to get out of his berth anyway. If someone truly wanted access to his habsuite, they would find a way. Sure enough, there was a moment of silence before the door opened and closed. Light steps petered their way into his berthroom.

“Shadow Striker,” Soundwave said. It was quiet, muffled into his pillow, but he was sure she heard. She knew his tone.

Seemingly disregarding it, Shadow Striker pushed Soundwave until she had enough room to lay down beside him. He could hear her spark spinning at a smooth, even speed, a calming hum to his audial receptors. Her E.M. field wasn’t as irritated as he imagined it would be.

“I could feel your field from the hall,” Shadow Striker answered without prompting. “It was like my joints were rubbed raw.” She slung her arm over his side and pressed his audial against her chassis, tucking her chin atop his helm.

A hug from Shadow Striker wasn’t a common occurrence, even for Soundwave who was the closest transformer to her. There was no denying, though, that it felt nice. He slowly released his inhibitors and sunk into the embrace, allowing her presence to outpower the other stimuli threatening his calm.

They spent quite some time like that, stuck in an embrace. Soundwave appreciated the lull. It gave him time to stop the wild trains of thought his processor had been taking since the incident.

However, they both knew the silence wouldn’t last. Sure enough, Shadow Striker coughed awkwardly and Soundwave knew she was building herself up to speak.


Soundwave pressed his faceplate against her chassis in a firmer gesture.

“I know you don’t want to talk about it, but you did kind of disappear for a week. So what gives?”

Soundwave remained silent for a few kliks before he crumbled as Shadow Striker started rubbing his helm in a calming gesture. “An Autobot knows about my disability.”

To give her some credit, Shadow Striker didn’t immediately stop petting him. She asked him in a smooth voice, “Who knows?”

“The Autobot Hot Rod.” Shadow Striker’s servo stopped on the crest of his helm but she made no other movements so Soundwave continued. He explained what had happened. Hot Rod approaching him, his confusion, how he attacked Hot Rod, what Hot Rod, in turn, said to him. By the time he finished, his fuel tank felt as if it had done at least a dozen somersaults. Still, his amica didn’t speak. “Are you—?”

And that’s when Shadow Striker started swearing.

The whole ordeal lasted an hour or two. Soundwave stopped keeping track of the time after the seventh threat on Hot Rod’s life. He at least had to applaud Shadow Striker for her creativity. It had been quite some time since he’s been able to hear the truly gruesome details of an assassination, considering where Megatron was now.

When Shadow Striker attempted to leave his habsuite, though, Soundwave called out to her. “Don’t.”

“Don’t?” Her voice pitched higher in incredulity. “He could’ve hurt you, Soundwave! I swear when I find him, they won’t even be able to identify his gaudy husk.”

Soundwave reached out towards Shadow Striker, but, since she kept moving around in a huff, he was unable to grab onto her. “I’m not mad at him.”

I am!”

Soundwave finally managed to grab Shadow Striker’s servo. Her frame’s temperature readings were high—higher than they had been since the peace treaty was signed. She only ran so warm when she was furious. He knew it was better not to interfere with her rampage but, even so, that same awful feeling from before was piercing his spark like one of Bludgeon’s swords. (Awful sparring accident. Never pulled something like that again.)

“Shadow Striker—”

“Give me one good reason I shouldn’t shove my blaster so far down his intake, he pulls the trigger.”

“I,” Soundwave paused, trying to come with something—anything!—that could stop her. He thought of why he himself didn’t want Hot Rod deactivated for what the Autobot had done. The only thing that came to mind was his aching spark, his queasy fuel tank, and—



Soundwave attempted to speak but only static came out. He had to reset his vocalizer two times before he managed to get out, “I like him.”

Shadow Striker scoffed at him. “I said a good reason.”

“I’m serious!”

“So am I.”

Soundwave groaned in exasperation. This was getting them nowhere. His amica seemed hellbent on violently deactivating Hot Rod which seemed to be the last thing his spark wanted. He cursed his fickle processor for causing such indecision. Soundwave was straightforward, unorthodox to the point of obnoxiousness, and he didn’t hesitate. But Hot Rod apparently rewrote his entire programming. And he wasn’t even mad! That fact alone made him more furious than anything Hot Rod did. Ugh.

“Scrap this!” Shadow Striker broke free from Soundwave’s grip. Her pedesteps were getting further and further away from him until he heard the exit code being pounded into the keypad. “When I’m through with him, he’ll be bent so out of shape his intake will kiss his—”

The door opened with a swoosh and Shadow Striker abruptly stopped speaking.


Hot Rod.

There was no doubt that it was him standing there at the door. Soundwave could recognize the stupid cadence of his voice, even with what little was said. It was Hot Rod in his doorway.

Hot Rod whose life was actively being threatened by Shadow Striker. Hot Rod who Soundwave only recently realized that he might have feelings for.

Primus must really hate him.

The post I made that inspired this fic.

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