Chapter 9

As it turned out Cliffjumper never got the chance to get back to his quarters. Shortly after he had exited the shaft, Blaster had contacted Jazz again and – a little hesitantly – reported that another shaft had shut down. Cliffjumper had groaned in annoyance when they set out to repair another ventilation system.

And, infuriating, after that, the third broke down. All without a real reason. Blaster began to grow annoyed, Jazz rather confused, and Cliffjumper was just ticked off.

Before the red minibot would even touch the third ventilation shaft, he had Blaster cut any and all kinds of connections the ventilation system had with the Ark, doing it from the main computer where the communication expert was monitoring the situation.

It seemed to work, whatever had been wrong, and while Blaster was discussing with Jazz, Cliffjumper stalked back through the hallways of the Ark towards his quarters. Today had truly been an annoying day for the red minibot. Not only had he fought Bumblebee, he had lost and afterwards had become a simple repairbot. Dammit.

And not only that, Cliffjumper thought as he left his quarters shortly after having arrived there, he now had to go back to the medical bay to face the little yellow annoyance. At least he would get his arms reattached, but it didn't seem like enough sunshine to brighten his day.

The doors to the medical bay swished open to reveal it fairly empty, only with Bumblebee sitting on a berth – apparently feeling better – and First Aid tinkering with the severed red arm.

"So, First Aid," Cliffjumper began as he walked in, completely ignoring the yellow minibot. And the medic jumped slightly in surprise. "An arm, was it?" he continued to grumble, indicating with one hand to his missing shoulder part. First Aid simply nodded, his expression masked by visor and facemask, and he waved at an empty berth – intentionally at one far away from where Bumblebee sat watching.

"Please," the medic in training calmly said, picking up the arm, careful of the wires sticking out and waited for the red Autobot to get seated, which he soon did.

An uncomfortable silence seemed to stretch as First Aid worked on reattaching wires and cables, repairing the joint. Once or twice Cliffjumper would wince, and Aid would mumble a quick apology before continuing. Bumblebee was staring both at the berth he sat on and shortly towards his red counterpart, looking like he wanted to say something, but not knowing what. First Aid, on the other hand, didn't seem to mind the silence.

It continued for a while until Cliffjumper gave a sharp 'Ouch!' and got his other arm back. And tried to prove it by nearly knocking First Aid on his aft in reflex to the sudden pain. Which left a less then happy medic, even with the limited expression you could read.

Cliffjumper stretched his arm, flexing his hand to a fist and back again, enjoying the feel of it and how it made him seem less helpless. Not that he was ever helpless, of course, but the fact that Bumblebee had sort of defeated him made him feel helpless enough for it to be a bother.

"Stay there," First Aid told him, rubbing the arm where the minibot had accidentally dented the alloy slightly. "There's still some final adjustments that need to be done. I just have to get the spare parts. Nothing major…" the medic continued in a mumble to himself as he left the main room of the medical bay.

Leaving Cliffjumper alone with Bumblebee.

Cliffjumper didn't look up, still studying his repaired arm, jabbing into the air once or twice to check it. It felt fine; he couldn't see any reason for anymore repairs. But of course, he had learned all too well that if he didn't listen to First Aid, he didn't listen to Ratchet and that was just paying the ticket right to the Pit.

"Cliffjumper…"

The red minibot looked up, glaring to Bumblebee who now sat on the edge of his own berth, looking at the floor in a typical apologizing manner. Cliffjumper had really expected that apology from the yellow Autobot, but it was a fact that he didn't want it.

"I'm sorry about… uh…" Bumblebee waved shortly in the direction of Cliffjumper's chest, making the 'bot look down. Oh, the dent from the fight, he had forgotten all about that.

But that was not the point. "Don't… say you're sorry," the red counterpart growled, jumping off the berth and stalking over to the other one. "I won't listen to your stupid apologies."

Bumblebee looked slightly taken aback at that, bringing one hand up as if to protect himself from an attack. Not that Cliffjumper could blame him for that, he felt like he could easily attack the yellow one.

"What do you think you're doing, trying to apologize after that fight?" Cliffjumper said, waving his now present hand angrily, but pausing in question.

Bumblebee nodded meekly. Which caused Cliffjumper to groan in annoyance. He really was trying to apologize.

"Why in the Pit would you apologize for winning a fight?" Cliffjumper said in annoyance, because he honestly felt it was stupid. Bumblebee had won, which he had seemed rather happy about when he was ill, and therefore there was absolutely no reason to say he was sorry to Cliffjumper; it wasn't even bad damage, but Bumblebee made it sound like he was devastated about doing something like that. "You wouldn't apologize to a Decepticon if you won, you shouldn't apologize to an Autobot either."

Bumblebee hesitated, not answering. And it just fueled Cliffjumper's anger. The red one grabbed the yellow one's black stabilizing servo, and promptly pulled, forcing Bumblebee off the berth to land on his aft with a yelp.

"What the Pit is wrong with you?" Cliffjumper yelled, jabbing a finger against Bumblebee's chassis to emphasis his point. Bumblebee didn't answer; he just looked at the floor where he now sat.

"This is war, Primusdammit!" the red warrior continued. "How can you go around and act so damned… innocent! Why do you still hesitate on killing? They're Decepticons, our mortal enemies!"

Cliffjumper was growing frustrated. He didn't understand how Bumblebee could keep being so happy, cheerful and innocent when not one of them knew whether they would live to see the next day. Or how he could keep up the smiling attitude when they constantly had to fight and kill, fight and kill, even fight their own sometimes. How Bumblebee could keep joking when the mech next to them could be a traitor, a Decepticon in disguise just waiting to end the war and make them all slaves? How could he, what was the secret? It was so damned frustrating! "How can you keep being the young one when you fight like the rest of us, kill like the rest of us?" The yelling seemed to grow in strength, arms being thrown out to make points and emphasis his opinions. "You even cried, you dolt!"

Bumblebee flinched at that, apparently not something he was all that proud of. "I… I had a virus…" he defended weakly.

"Virus, my aft," Cliffjumper simply growled down to the minibot. "A virus doesn't make you cry in the midst of battle just because of a wounded comrade. That was all you, Bumblebee. Crying, of all things useless."

"But…"

"No! I'm tired of trying to look through you!" he cut 'Bee off. "Why can't you just show yourself, dammit! No one can be this innocent and happy all the time!"

Cliffjumper stopped yelling, almost expecting Bumblebee to try and defend himself again, give a reason for that attitude that seemed to annoy the red minibot greatly. But the yellow one didn't say anything, still seated on the floor, legs crossed. He just looked on the floor in front of him, from time to time glancing up at Cliffjumper timidly. Almost as if he was… ashamed.

"Garh, for Primus sake!" Cliffjumper threw up his hands in frustration. "I'm beginning to believe that the first and only time I really saw you was when you had the virus! Why are you hiding, Bumblebee? How can you not be obvious angry or annoyed? Why aren't you pissed off sometimes? Or are you really just a… a…" He searched for a word, optics on his hands as if he tried to grab the word he couldn't find.

"A wimp?" Bumblebee offered weakly.

"What?"

"Wimp… it's a human word…" he smiled shortly, though it fell away as Cliffjumper glared.

"Then yes, you're a wimp!" the red one said, having quickly run the name through his processor and memory banks of the human language. A wimp… a timid person, a coward… a weakling. The fact that Bumblebee was surely hiding his real self, being all good and friendly manners, was enough to convince Cliffjumper that it was what the yellow one truly was.

That they had lost their own word for this in the war was honestly a little concerning. One just couldn't afford to be a 'wimp' anymore.

Cliffjumper growled something inaudible as he turned on his heel, forgetting all about his last repairs as he left the medical bay with heavy, angered steps.

Leaving a very unhappy Bumblebee on the floor.


A/N: Yeah, so, this time I would like to think that I have a perfectly good reason for leaving you hanging. It's called school. And the fact that I'm trying to FINISH Blood Brothers *grins*

Yes, you heard right, I'm trying hard to write every chapter. Because this spring break, when I was in Rome, I wrote the whole script to the story. And I now know how many chapters it has. Let's just say there's a long way still. But hey, I've finished chapter 10, 11 and in the middle of 12 now, so it's well underway.

But but but, one word for you guys. Finals. This year was my last in high school/college thing (dunno what it is called compared to American school system…) and I have seven exams spread over one – ONE – month. Only four left… *dies*

My intention was to finish the whole fanfic before posting it, but I decided to post chapter nine because Aerinsol – a wonderful reader and commenter on DeviantArt – had her birthday. So I posted it on DA, and thought I just as well could post it here. So enjoy, and go say a late happy birthday to her =D

R&R and peace out, dudes and dudettes!