Autbor's Note: Hit a quick bout of inspiration, and I have to write about it.
That's what there was around him. There was a pocket of quiet that refused to be breached by the public. It was a hush, a silence around his metal form, sealing him off from the rest of the room. It was something so very odd to watch and listen to the soft cries of wonder and exultation that escaped the lips of those who walked into the room, wandering in there to slowly approach.
Slowly . . . quietly . . . tenderly. It was as if they knew that he was really there. But of course they wouldn't know. Couldn't know. They had no idea that he had come.
There came a whisper so very soft that one would never understand it had they possessed human, normal hearing. It was one that he had heard so many times before this weekend, one that he still was trying to understand.
They thanked him, this metal creature, but for what?
"Thank you . . . for being there for me."
But he had never been there. He was a childhood fantasy, a toy that was oft-discarded and traded in for a newer piece of plastic and metal. He was an old dream that was left in the wake of brighter, newer, more mature things.
"Thank you for being my hero."
"Thank you for being my father . . . when I didn't have one."
All these voices ran in a hushed tone, each individual's unique tones rising and falling in a song that had but two common words, yet many verses and choruses.
There was a feeling around many of these individuals that oft came from a long night of crying. There was the echoes of true peace that was awaiting them . . . it echoed around the blue paint and the chrome fender. This unique peace rested upon him as if he were the one who supplied it, the one who held it within his metaphorical hands and let it mist down among those who walked around him.
But this peace did not come from him.
It came from those who were able to identify with him, whether he was their brother, uncle . . .
They were taking pictures around him, against him. Some sat upon the steps to his cab, some stood upon them. Some stood beside his grill. Some leaned against his grill. Some just stared at him. Some ran their hands along him from fender to bumper, wanting to take in as much of him as they possibly could. Young ladies in ripped jeans and t-shirts with various insignias actually crouched down to see if he had an engine, giggling at innuendos their friends were saying about their actions. They wanted to see if he was real.
An older man walked up to him, just watching the light play off of the chrome, off of the shimmering paint. His face was lined with many years of character, but the kind eyes of one who had seen many years of hardship, but also many, many smiles. This man then rested his hand upon the grill softly not saying a single thing before being called off for an interview.
The doors closed, the lights turned off.
He was alone.
Everything was quiet.
And Optimus Prime sighed, settling lower upon his chassis, shifting himself minimally to release pressure in a few of his hydraulic systems. He smiled inwardly as he accessed all that he could about the different faces he had seen today. Some were just people off of the street who had no connections with the Transformers recorded. Some were artists for the genre whose work was nothing short of amazing to the Autobot. Some wrote stories that amused him, comforted him in their tenderness and simplicity. Some wrote stories that made him want to know these humans, to know and understand where they were coming from so that he could see what other kinds of writing that they were capable of.
And a few were actors.
Optimus sighed again, this time in contentment and not in weariness. No matter what happened and what went on during this weekend, no matter how many fingerprints were left upon his chrome, or how many times he was stepped on, the Autobot was glad that he had decided to replace the original truck that had been towed in this direction.
He began to wonder what kind of conniptions Ironhide and Ratchet would get into once they realized that he was going to be late to the meeting set up for the next night. And then the leader let himself chuckle a little as he realized that he would rather be here, listening to those who had looked up to them for most of their lives. He didn't need the ego boost. He didn't need them to affirm him. He needed to understand their culture in the wake of the loss of Jazz. Bumblebee was still recovering from the grief that none of the elder bots would show, and was still sheltering himself for the time in California with Sam.
Optimus Prime eagerly awaited the next day of this odd little convention named Botcon. Just before he allowed himself to drift into a recharge cycle, he wondered who he would see on the morrow . . .