Grayed optics, dull even in ethereal beauty, damaged by the effects of war, kept to the sky, senses unused until he heard the tell-tale crunching of grass beneath heavy limbs coming closer, and closer;
And closer still..
"Didn't expect to see you out here, lad," he said after a moment. Normally, his first instinct would've been to turn upon grabbing the small, white pistol that was holstered at one side. For being wise beyond his years, however, he had come to learn each of their patterns, as deciphered by the way they moved. An easy feat, no doubt, especially when you had an eternity's worth to learn. "Figured you be glorifyin' all that attention for yourself."
Unlike.. Someone else.. The lot of 'em, at that.
"Didn't expect to see you away from the celebration, Kup," the voice returned, a hint of a smile within. "I figured you'd keep Grimlock and those other bozos entertained, rather than have them make a wreck of the energon cubes Cliffjumper worked so hard to stack. Everyone's going haywire to the point Springer is scared," he continued, jealousy cracking at the edge.
Kup would've smiled at this, maybe even laughed, or clean-cut queried his resentment for the triple-changer, but he remained silent still, vigil unbroken. The stars were his savior now instead of the adventures he used to live on, when time didn't know the essence from wrong, to right, and experience was all he knew.
It made his companion uncomfortable, almost bitter when the grayed hand, newly-born, connected with the shoulder of sea green, chiseled and by no means brittle with eons behind. "At least tell me what you think... Old timer," was added, almost as a second thought.
"Shut up, you whippersnapper," Kup snapped, though inside, he drew a sigh of relief. Hot Rod -- no, Rodimus, now -- seemed to still be his usual, carefree self, even if it looked as though his face had surpassed more wisdom than even himself.
That's just the effects of the Matrix, you old pile of bolts, he told himself, hesitating to turn to the new Autobot commander. Ever since their flee from Unicron, when the once-rash mechanism emerged victorious with the Ancients' Symbol, there had been a trickling sensation that followed the old Security Chief all the way to the ship's exit, back to the decimated ruins of Autobase, and a skirmish across the heavens to the rubbish that had once been Autobot City.
The elder slowly turned, merely peeking at the figure behind him. A splash of gray, combined with illuminating prisms of sapphire was all that he could take. All I told him was that I knew he had potential. What kind of response is that for someone who Primus blessed as our leader? Though I think he's off his energon to think for a single second HE ...
Rodimus sighed, gray removed from turquoise, illumination tilted from the debilitating gaze. "I miss him too, Kup.." he finally let on in a whisper, an aria of sorrow that made the elder almost jump in surprise.
"How could he do this to me?" continued in a crescendo of anger: "I thought Optimus promised us that Magnus..."
Magnus. I thought so too. Funny how fate changes. Magnus wouldn't of had those wizened eyes, would he? At least he would'a earned it. That soldier has more worth to him than a boy I've known since his first days off the production line; the same that's been like a son --
He stopped cold in that thought, realization hitting him like an energon wave. In all his life, the breems, the vorns, the term humans often used to recognize family had never once entered his process.
...Like a son... You don't have to have the same parts to be one in the same..
"Kup, I promised everyone that I wouldn't rest until all were one. Do you know how much responsibility that holds?" he continued, uncaring if the old warrior was still listening. Likewise, he too had found solace in the stars, and had abandoned his intent on getting the other Autobot to talk. "You once said that I wouldn't amount to nothing. I'm starting to think you're right."
Kup finally turned to face him, slightly disappointed that the optics, transfigured, had taken a place among the sky. He deserved to be stared at, reprimanded and recoiled by the inherited fire. His mouth opened --
All of that discussion, just 'cause I regarded you as a child-bot. You've done some amazing things in the past, lad, but if your damn attitude would've changed since day one, instead of a near carbon-copy like me, along with inheriting a work-ethic, like Springer's..
-- ..But without sound.
"All I wanted to do was help him, Kup. If I had known that Megatron would've had the advantage, maybe Optimus would still be here.." Rodimus continued, unable to break away from the light, that of which seemed to understand his every move and motive. It seemed nearly impossible to actually look at the elder as well. "I never wanted this to happen. I only.. Only.. Wanted to help him.."
Kup was aghast. The sides of either illumed optics sparkled with the birth of tears, something the elder Autobot never had the chance of witnessing from the former uncouth. The effects of the Matrix, or is this real? he wondered, taking a step towards the reformatted leader. They say commanders aren't supposed to cry, so it must be real. He's still a child inside, after-all..
"The moods of the Sigmas and Primuses out there dictate what's gonna happen, and what's not, lad," the turquoise warrior finally boded, quietly. "Even if there was a way to prevent it, I'm sure it would've happened anyway."
This did much to soothe Rodimus, which he found strange. The old chief's words often floated out of one process, and into the other, as witnessed by both forms and others alike. "You can't help but feel, though, can't you?" he muttered, brushing a fingertip over optic-corners, rhythmically. "If I would've just stayed out of the way.."
Kup could, however, feel his anger rising. Still asking the same, stupid questions, he thought, before replying with: "Lamenting over Prime's not gonna bring him back, nor will it any of the ones we've lost," he replied, crossing his arms over his chest, "so stop it."
"But you said --"
"Forget what I said!" the turquoise officer snapped, sending Rodimus' face back into the sky. "Just to think, a moment ago, I felt as if though I lost someone. I'm still stuck with the big, rash child-bot!" he finished in a snarl, glaring back up into the consoling pit.
The light glinted knowingly. Somewhere up there, both swore later on, it directed their gazes to one another again, tell-tale smiles that made their faces nearly identical, if not understanding.
"Nice to see you haven't changed, Kup," Rodimus chuckled. "You hadn't said a word since Unicron, and I thought --"
"Yeah, yeah. You too, you little punk," the old officer chuckled in response, cutting his words short.
I'll never let you know, lad. Best to keep some things not said, eh? He moved to look at another certain set of lights in the distance behind the new leader. "Guess we should get back before they miss us?"
"It would be a good idea," Rodimus replied, moving forward as the elder did. He couldn't help but look back up into the sky, however, with a silent word of grace, and a passing ray of hope. Optimus could've been up there, somewhere, looking out from what could be the Matrix's window.
I know you've cut out our work; I'll do my best not to fail you, he promised a certain star, which twinkled almost approvingly.
The silence of the night was almost unbearable after that. Relaxed optics seemed to regain former sense, peering down into the face of the one who lived in the world of noted experience.
"Kup, can I.. ask you something?"
"Do you think me being leader will make Arcee actually fall for me?" he asked, breaking out into a laugh, as well as a run, as the elder Autobot chased him back to the city's ruins.
It seemed the light of Alpha Centauri shone brighter that night, reminiscing in its own spot of happiness. Same old punk. Same old codger.
A/N: Pointless post-movie stuff, yes. I guess you could also call it somewhat of an AU. Slight fan perceptions, but sometimes, I wonder..
Disclaimer: Transformers/characters aren't owned by me. Hurray.