A/N - Thanks and blame to BitterEloquence for the help and motivation. XD
Slingshot stopped, leaning heavily against the wall. This is a stupid idea... The Aerials had been serving a rotation on Cybertron for months, and had jumped at the chance to return to Earth for leave. Or most of them had - Slingshot was just dragged along for the ride. At least, that was what he kept telling himself.
Blades probably didn't even think about him once since he'd been gone... I don't care about him. I don't. He doesn't matter to me.
And yet, there he was, spending his leave lurking in the corridor, trying to work up the courage to walk up to Blades' door.
He's probably not even there. I should just go, before I make more of an ass of myself.
But he didn't move.
It had been obvious to the others that something was wrong the day they left Earth. They'd expected Silverbolt to be irritable, being forced to leave Hot Spot behind because of one of his teammates, and they even expected Slingshot to be defensive over the whole issue
They hadn't expected Slingshot to be depressed over it.
"Isn't he supposed to be happy about not having to deal with Blades?" Fireflight asked finally, watching as Slingshot slunk off after his shift for the third night in a row.
"He likes Cybertron. He's always going on about how we should come back here," Air Raid murmured back. "Is he really that upset that 'Bolt's mad?" They didn't bother following their brother. They knew where he was going – to sit in one of the big windows on the top floor and stare moodily at the sky.
"I think there's more going on than he's let on," Skydive offered, standing next to them. "I think this is more than just Slingshot sulking over Silverbolt being angry. He looks..." He stopped, shaking his head.
"What?" Fireflight asked curiously.
Skydive hesitated. "I... I was going to say that he almost looks... sad."
Blades, you're an idiot. It's been what, a few weeks? Frag, if Slingshot could see you now...
"Come on, Blades!" Streetwise tried, following his brother. "It'll be fun! You used to love going out with us! What happened?"
Slingshot left. Blades didn't dare say it out loud. And he's never coming back. It was stupid, he knew, but he couldn't help but feel that if he admitted it out loud, it'd be real.
"You've been a foul mood all week. What gives?" Streetwise persisted.
Blades finally stopped, turning to glare at his gestalt-mate. "Go. Away."
"Sheesh. Someone woke up on the wrong side of the berth," Streetwise muttered. "I'd almost think you were upset about the Aerial's leaving..."
Something in Blades snapped. "Yes. Slingshot and I have been carrying on an illicit affair for months, and I'm madly in love with his tailfins," he growled.
Streetwise froze for a split second, the laughed. "Oh, that's a good one! For a second there I almost believed you. Except it's so utterly ridiculous," he added hastily as Blades glared.
"Yeah. It is," Blades muttered, turning and walking away.
For a long moment, Streetwise stared after him. There was something in his brother's posture... but the idea of Blades and Slingshot doing anything but try to murder each other was just so far fetched...
Shaking his head, Streetwise put it out of his mind. Blades would come around. He always did.
Blades paced his room, irritated with himself but unable to sit still.
The Aerials were back. Not permanently, but back on leave. Air Raid had already dragged Streetwise off, and Hot Spot had hurried off to meet Silverbolt.
You're being an idiot, Blades. It's been months. He probably hasn't even thought about you; why would he come running back to you? You're the obsessed idiot, not him.
He'd thought that time would make it hurt less, but it didn't.
Should have just told him.
He still could – Slingshot had come back with the rest of his team. Hot Spot had even pulled Blades aside to warn him to behave himself.
If only he knew...
Slingshot wasn't going to come to him, but he could hunt the Harrier down, and...
And what, Blades? Watch him laugh, and skip off to spread the story around? If I don't ask, he can't tell me no. It's not like there's a chance, anyway. If he cared, he would have shown up by now. Venting air in a heavy sigh, Blades slumped down on his berth. The jets would be gone in a few days to serve out the rest of their rotation, and everything would go back to normal. And he could go back to pretending it didn't hurt.
He had almost slipped into recharge when the door chime sounded. At first, he ignored it, intent on wallowing in peace – or at least solitude. He forced himself to roll off the bed at the second chime, slapping the door panel. "What-" He froze, staring at the white Harrier standing on the other side.
Slingshot shifted uncomfortably. For a brief moment, Blades could swear he saw uncertainty and vulnerability in the Harrier's optics. Then it was gone, masked by an all-too-familiar challenging expression.
"Well?" Slingshot demanded roughly.
Blades grabbed him by an arm, yanking him into the room. "Took you long enough," he growled, pulling the Aerialbot close. His hands slid down Slingshot's sides to brush against his wings. For a moment, Slingshot didn't move, and Blades thought that maybe he'd overstepped, but then arms were wrapping around him, clinging tightly.
Taking a beat to gather his courage, Blades turned his head to nuzzle Slingshot's neck. "I missed you," he whispered. I love you, I can't stand to be away from you, I never want to leave you... he thought desperately, unable to get the words out.
It was the longest moment in Blades' life.
"Me too," Slingshot murmured back, and somehow Blades knew he'd heard more than Blades had spoken aloud.