Black Blurr // Immortal Sonata in the Key of Black
chapter 6: Shackles
Bumblebee's optics snapped online.
He lied on his back, arms at his sides—completely still, afraid to move. The room was unfamiliar to him; foreign, but well-kept and carefully decorated. Nothing was out of place, and all of the furnishings and ornaments stood a clear indication of its owner's status. A small banner on the wall displayed the Elite Guard sigil against a field of navy blue. Whatever this room was, it belonged to someone important.
Bumblebee tilted his head slightly as he tried to get a better look around. Though his surroundings were strange—even rather intimidating—there was a certain sense of reassurance and stability that came from both the cushy berth, and the atmosphere of the room around him. He felt warmer and more comfortable just snuggling by himself under these covers than he had felt in a long time; as if, somehow, the fear, anxiety, and grief that had been dogging him couldn't reach him in this place. It almost felt like the Elite Guard itself might come protect him from anything that might try to get him here.
…Admittedly, that still didn't make him any less afraid of knocking over and breaking something in this rather nice and important-looking room.
With small yellow fingers, he gripped the covers and pulled them even closer against himself, curling his body into a semi-circle.
There were a lot of things he didn't understand about this; when and how he'd gotten here, who occupied this room, and why he might've chosen to bring him here. Whatever remained of the naturally brash and curious boy's crushed spirit wanted to get up and start investigating, but the crestfallen part of him that was perfectly happy where he was seemed determined to fight that curiosity to the end.
So Bumblebee lied there, examining the room with his optics, confused and curious.
It was then that there came a soft chime, and the door slid open. Startled, Bumblebee gripped the blanket and tensed for a fight he didn't really figure he'd win, no matter who was coming in.
"Oh. You're awake." The intruder had a gruff, commanding voice, and one all too familiar. "How do you feel… Bumblebee, right?"
The youth leaned up to look at the towering blue mech standing by the door. The intruder looked back down at him with cold, piercing optics that froze him in place like daggers of ice. Though often the subject of ridicule, Sentinel Prime had an overwhelming presence. He wasn't the second in command for nothing.
Numbly, Bumblebee nodded. "Y-yeah. Bumblebee. I'm… Uh, I'm okay."
Sentinel cleared his throat—a bit awkwardly, not that Bumblebee could've noticed. "Would you like something to eat?"
"Uh, yeah. --Please. Sir." Bumblebee added quickly.
"I'll send somebody up here." Sentinel said, his expression still just as stern as ever. "So, what were you doing in the great hall, soldier?"
"I guess I must've fallen asleep." Bumblebee answered tentatively. "I was… marveling at the statues."
"The statues? Why?"
Bumblebee squirmed. He didn't like where this line of questioning was determined to take him, and really, there didn't seem to be any way of getting out of it. Worse still, his wit hadn't been nearly so sharp since they'd gone away.
"I dunno. I just like them." Not smooth.
"Did you know those two bots well?" Sentinel asked. He tapped his rather large chin. "I know Prowl was on your team. And as I recall, Blurr mentioned something about you in his report."
Bumblebee bit down on his lip, and his body started to quiver. Beneath the cover, he pulled his knees up against his chassis.
Sentinel looked down at him, surprised by the small yellow bot's reaction.
"Uh, I take it you were pretty close to them, then." He said, scratching the back of his neck. He was lacking enough in tact and humility; apologizing was an impossible feat. "I didn't mean to hit a nerve like that." Well, that was about the best he could do.
Bumblebee was uncharacteristically quiet. He said nothing, didn't even acknowledge that Sentinel had said anything. This frustrated the Prime, who had a gruff, cold, aggressive nature, but who still cared enough about the people around him to want to do something to make up for his tactless words.
Finding nothing, the Prime decided to go with the simplest route. He cleared his throat before speaking up in a voice just as unapologetically commanding as ever. "But disregard that. I will permit you to stay here as long as you need. Consider it my thanks for your assistance back on Earth."
Bumblebee regarded him quietly for a moment before mumbling, "I don't understand."
"Understand what?" Sentinel asked evenly, lifting an optic ridge.
"What are you talking about? Where am I, how'd I get here?"
"Ah. That." Sentinel grunted. He scratched absently at his chin. "I brought you up here to my personal quarters after I found you. Figured I, uh, owed you that much. Like I said. You're to stay here and recuperate, eat—but don't get a crumb on my berth!—and then get out. Understood?"
Bumblebee looked at the Prime in confusion. What was he getting at? Wasn't this the medics' job? Was he trying to be nice or mean?
"I still don't get it." Bumblebee said. "Why are you doing this for me? I mean, shouldn't ya have taken me on down to the med-bay or somethin'?"
Sentinel snorted. "No. I decided I was going to get you back on your stabilizing servos personally, and that's what I'm gonna do. When I set my mind on something, it gets done, my way, on my time."
Bumblebee blinked, his optics giving a quiet electronic chirp. It was hard for him to understand Sentinel Prime's way of thinking, or at least the contradictory words coming from his mouth. He couldn't understand why Sentinel Prime was helping him, seeing as his only answer had been 'because he was going to help'.
The aggressive Prime had made up his mind, and that's all the youth knew.
Given his current situation, in spite of confusion and curiosity, that reasoning would have to be good enough for him, at least for now. He had no room to argue with much-needed care and food, or with his angry former teacher. Whatever Sentinel's reasons, Bumblebee—sobered both by tragedy and his own near-death experience—decided for once to be quiet and take the most sensible path.
Satisfied with the silence, Sentinel gave a nod, turned, and walked from the room.
"Someone will be by shortly to bring you your food," he called back.
Bumblebee sighed. Being as young as he was, it was hard to even fully grasp his situation. He was naïve, and the very picture of energy and freedom and cockiness. The thought that time could be cut short, that lives might somehow be brought to an end, had never occurred to him. That last battle between his Autobot comrades, and the impossibly powerful Decepticon enemy, had come on so fast and so hard, and the damage it caused was overwhelming to Bumblebee. Prowl hadn't been the only one to die there, and each loss struck Bumblebee to the core. Even those human civilians that had been injured or killed—if Bumblebee hadn't known them, it didn't matter, each one hurt and disturbed him just as much.
What was worse, that stupid All-Spark calling all its pieces together… What if Wreck-Gar was dead? They hadn't been able to find him, after all. And Starscream and those clones of his? Even if they were 'cons, it was better to see them imprisoned than as even more casualties in this pointless conflict. After arriving home, shaken and scared, to be told that Blurr had been killed… Bumblebee didn't think he could possibly take any more dying.
The fighting was over. It was time for the dying to be over too. He couldn't take it anymore, he just couldn't take it.
Bumblebee pulled the covers up over his head, grinding his dental plating. He hoped Sentinel's subordinate would get up here soon. It was just too quiet.
It was too quiet down here, even if it did mean that he wouldn't have to go through anymore testing, poking, and prodding, at least for now.
Blurr stretched, his almost serpentine body arching gracefully towards the ceiling. He enjoyed having time by himself, simply because it meant that he didn't have to act as plaything to Master Perceptor and the Nameless.
He would almost go so far as to say he could do whatever he wanted, but that really wasn't true. After all, he was still stuck down here in this locked-off laboratory, with nothing to occupy him but his simple toys, a stack of datapads, the same old educational holos, and his own ability to run circles around the enclosed space.
Blurr eyed the door with contempt as he came up from his stretch. If that damn thing would just open, he could be free. If Master Perceptor's promises that he would someday be allowed out of those doors to 'fulfill his purpose' would ever come to pass, he would probably just use that blinding speed of his to take off and never come back. He relished the idea of freedom, and the fact that these walls were all he'd known since his activation only helped spur him on. There was nothing he could ever want more than to be loosed to see the world he'd forgotten first-hand, to use these legs and run to the farthest corners of Cybertron, to find his Yellow and learn both who he was, and who Blurr had been in his past life.
There was nothing to fill the space or the quiet in the lab. He wondered what it might be like to have some company down here that didn't want to study or educate him.
Idly, he wondered what Yellow might be doing right now. Was he happy? Was he waiting for him to come back? He couldn't stand the idea that Yellow wouldn't want him back, or that he might've forgotten him altogether. Just as he loved the idea of the strange mech and his existence, he loved the idea that, whatever their relationship, Yellow was still thinking about him from time to time, and once he found him, they would be able to pick up right where they'd left off.
It helped fortify his resolve, and give him something to work towards. If he could get out there to explore the world of his past life, he could find Yellow and his life would come together, given meaning and solidarity. From there, he would see where he was destined to go next.
Then, with a quiet click, the door opened, interrupting his thoughts.
Blurr's head snapped up, his body tense and at attention. He had closed the distance between him and that door before the intruder could utter a sound.
"Hey, are you being awake?"
"Shh… He isn't looking awake to me, brother. Maybe, we should be letting him sleep?"
"Sentinel Prime-Sir said not to be waking him. What do I do with this, brother?"
"Set it down, he will seeing it when he get up."
"Good idea. Let's go, brother."