Disclaimer: do not own Transformers.
Summary: G1, Dystopian AU, "Other Side of the Mirror" oneshot. An Autobot slave and a human pet talk amidst the soft rattling of chains.
Note: Duae's armour is based off of the armour of Raging Raven of Metal Gear Solid 4's Beauty and the Beast unit. So…potential spoilers, I suppose.
Other Side of the Mirror: Promise
Near the centre of the White City, inside one of the building complexes, a Decepticon seeker and an Autobot flier walked into a room, the Decepticon leading, and the Autobot following listlessly. The room was empty, save for a desk in a corner and a cage that dangled from the ceiling.
"My Duae is better now, but she is still feeling poorly," Glasshard said, shackling the flier to the desk by the chains on her wrists. Having made sure that the flier was secured, she walked over to the little white cage, locked and chained to the ceiling and dangling to about waist-level. Glasshard bent and peered in between the bars, smirking slightly. The flier, on her knees now behind her, said nothing, but merely stared at the floor.
"When she awakens, make sure that she drinks her water," Glasshard continued, still looking into the cage. "She must rest as much as possible, and recover speedily. I already miss the sound of her sweet singing." The flier still said nothing, but gave a small nod. Glasshard turned to look at her. "Behave while I am away, my Una," she said indulgently, "and I'll bring you back something nice."
Another nod. Glasshard did not seem perturbed or angered by the continual silence; indeed, she looked very pleased. She passed Una on the way out, placing a hand on top of her head. Una flinched, expecting to be hit. Glasshard's smirk widened. "That's my good Una," she crooned, and then left the room. The door slid shut, and Una heard Glasshard locking the door from the outside.
She waited until she could no longer hear Glasshard's footsteps. And then she got up stiffly. Her chains rattled at her movement, but she ignored the sound and instead approached the cage, sitting down cross-legged so that she and Duae would be at eyelevel.
The cage was locked, and the key was with Glasshard. Straw lined the bottom of the cage. A food bowl and water bowl lay filled and untouched. A small mirror, cracked and dusty, clung to one side. The human was sitting atop the bird-swing of the cage, her arms wrapped around one chain of the swing to keep from falling. She was dressed in bright armour of metallic yellow and blue. Flexible metal wings were attached to her back, part of which consisted of a jet-pack, enabling flight for Glasshard's amusement.
Her armour was still on, as was expected—Glasshard hadn't tolerated Duae removing the armour for years now, not even when she was asleep. Una herself hadn't seen Duae's actual face for…for a very long time.
"Duae?" she asked. The human did not stir. "Duae, wake up." A slight movement, just a twitch of her fingers…but it was something. "Duae!"
Slowly, very slowly, Duae's face turned to look at her. "Are you alright? She didn't hurt you badly, did she?" Duae did not react; she just looked at Una, her posture completely blank, and her hold loosening on the swing. She looked lifeless, as though she were ready to flop down onto the cage floor.
Quickly, Una calculated how long Duae was left alone with only Glasshard for company. Something had gone wrong with her implants, and Glasshard had put her in isolation. No doubt she hadn't left the poor human alone for more than a breem, not in that state. Una herself had already been at the receiving end of Glasshard's "nursing." It had been…two weeks, human time; plenty of time for Glasshard to do incredible damage.
"Duae, please don't let her have broken you."
An agonizing pause, and then Duae gave a sharp shake of her head, as though shaking away sleep. "Una?" she asked with difficulty. "Is that you?"
"Yes," Una answered, relieved. "Don't do that to me! I thought that—"
"Sorry," Duae said, her voice still hoarse. She shook her head once more and clutched to the swing when her balance was threatened by the movement. Her voice was soft, and it occasionally cracked. "Can't really think straight. I thought you were a hallucination."
Her gaze fell to the water bowl. "It's drugged, isn't it?" Duae asked.
"Yeah," Una answered. "She wants you to rest—to recover your voice."
Duae laughed. "So she's looking out for the interest of her little songbird?" she asked sardonically.
"If you can hold out for a couple more hours, I think I can get you some clean water," Una offered. "We can get rid of this junk."
"No," Duae said, shaking her head slowly. "She'll find out—and then we'll both be in trouble," Duae said, and even though Una couldn't see Duae's eyes because of that mask, she knew that the human was looking at the massive chains that snaked around her wrists.
"So…you thought I was broken?" she asked lightly, swinging backwards and forwards.
"Well, you did take a really long time to answer," Una said, smiling. "Even longer than usual."
"Hey! I resent that!" There was a pause, and nothing but the soft rattling of Una's chains and the soft creaking of Duae's swing could be heard. "Don't you remember our promise, Una? I won't break if you won't, right?"
"Yes…yes of course."
"Do you remember when we first made it?"
"Yes…Glasshard had just bought you…"
"Two weeks, I think," Duae said. "I was ready to crack."
"I think…I think I already was 'cracked,' as you put it. I was kind of going through life on standby, just waiting for my spark to fade."
"I started talking to you just to keep myself sane, even though I thought you were a drone."
"The first thing I asked you was about the colour of earth skies. You were so surprised," Una said, half chuckling.
"Yeah. I didn't know that you were listening to whatever I was rambling about. Even I didn't listen to myself."
"I think you answered that the sky was green."
"Ugh. Don't remind me. I was half out of my mind."
"It was a little like this, wasn't it?" Una said, gesturing to the room around them. Her chains rattled, but neither Una nor Duae paid any attention. "Glasshard off on a business trip…and just you and me. That's when we made our promise." There was a pause. "I missed you," Una said.
"I missed you, too," Duae answered, her swing now almost still, merely swaying back and forth slightly.
"We will be free one day," Una said. "You of that cage and I of these chains. And that day, you and I will fly, side by side, kissing the sun and stars and clouds. We'll fly high and far, and we may never come back down."
Duae was silent as she pictured it. Then, she gave a short laugh. "No, Una," she said. "If—When. When we become free of our cages, you'll cast off your chains and I'll cast off this armour. You'll fly, and I'll run with you—run until my legs won't carry me. And then I'll collapse in some field, panting and just staring up at the stars, and you'll fly around me in circles, pestering me to keep going."
"That sounds good too," Una said amiably. "But you don't want to fly outside of here? It's all I dream of."
"No. Your wings are yours—but these," she said, gesturing to the metal wings attached her, "are merely more chains. But," Duae added, "if you offer me a ride, I'll join you."
"Is that a promise?"
The two friends were like that for a long while, talking about nothing, everything, and sometimes not talking at all. It wasn't often that they could be with one another like this, and they made every instant count.
But even such fragile happiness in the White City never lasted. They heard soft footsteps, and knew that Glasshard was coming. Duae leaped down to the cage floor, staggered a bit because of the bulkiness of her armour, picked up the drugged water bowl, and drank it quickly, before Glasshard came in.
Una placed a hand against the cage, and Duae placed her small hand against her massive one. They could hear Glasshard unlocking the door.
"I won't break if you won't. Promise?"
Author note: If anyone is curious about the name choice: Una means "one" and Duae means "two" in Latin. So, basically, the two characters in this oneshot are called "One" and "Two." It's actually more revealing of Glasshard's character than theirs.