Ironhide & Beachcomber – Rising with the Desert
After their breakfast together each morning, Ironhide and Beachcomber parted ways to face the day ahead.
Beachcomber would utter a quiet goodbye, and Ironhide would smile and give his farewell in turn, leaving the geologist to wait once more until morning to feel his companionship again. Through the day and night between, they might encounter only briefly, glimpsing one another in the halls, perhaps exchanging a greeting, a mere word or two.
For simple Beachcomber, this would be enough, but between mornings, between encounters, Ironhide would often visit him in his thoughts. Whenever he liked, Beachcomber could switch off his optics and see that powerful, but gentle form, the handsome, rugged features, the soft smile on a rough faceplate.
He found it comforting, as if he could summon Ironhide at will—not only to his mind's eye, but to existence, causing him to take shape before him to protect and care for him. A dreamer by nature, Beachcomber liked the idea that he might be able to do something like that. It made him feel just a little bit safer.
For the most part, the quiet geologist was tasked only to study the Earth and its creatures and environment, in order to help the Autobots better adapt to their surroundings. He had been set to this task by the benevolent and understanding Optimus Prime, who sought to utilize Beachcomber's expertise rather than force him into battle against his wishes. The Prime knew that there was little to be accomplished by misusing his troops, and it helped earn him their devotion.
Beachcomber saw his work as but a small contribution; he rarely entered battle or shouldered a gun, and certainly merely exploring and gathering samples of the terrain couldn't even begin to compare to the kind of work that the other Autobots, even within his own unit, performed. They risked their lives on a daily basis fighting the noble war against the Decepticons, facing impossible odds to protect their own race and alien species- not because they wanted to, but because they were the only ones that could.
Although there was not much he could do on the battlefront, his small contribution was all he could do to help, and he did his job with pride. The knowledge he gathered from his excursions was implemented strategically, and used to upgrade his comrades and create new advantages for them, enabling them to outmaneuver a larger and more powerful enemy and gain the upper hand. So even if he could do little to help them fight, he could at least give something back to those that could.
On this quiet day, he trekked out into the desert, his pace unhurried as he began his latest excursion across the hot white sands. Around him, the world was still. Nothing moved, and no sound was heard. With the sun hanging overhead, the desert was asleep.
Yet when the smallest of breezes blew, the sands got up and flew, shifting as they always would. That was the mark of the unchanging desert; even in its stillest moments, nothing ever truly stayed the same. Even in the ground beneath Beachcomber's peds, there was life, creatures taking shelter from the beating sun.
Beachcomber had many reasons to love the desert, just as he had many reasons to love Ironhide. It was coming to a point where the two were almost interchangeable in the younger mech's mind; they were the protectors that Beachcomber found solace in during the painful times of war, so alike in their ancient ways.
Ever-changing, ever-shifting, but always the same.
Beachcomber knelt, placing a servo on the sands, fingers outstretched. He wondered what it would feel like to touch Ironhide— not just to touch him, but to feel him, to run his servo against the battered metal and warmth of Ironhide's body, his rugged faceplate and rough arms. He wanted to know how it felt to rest on his broad shoulders and chassis, or to feel those full lips on his own— thin even as his own were.
He imagined that Ironhide could be very passionate.
Just as he shared the desert's ferocity and gentle side, its warmth and its life and its harshness, Beachcomber imagined that Ironhide must share the desert's deep passion. It was a guilty fantasy, admittedly, but a secretly cherished one, oft echoed during quiet, solitary reflection. The geologist knew he could never truly have Ironhide for his own, and in a way that knowledge eased the guilt; in his fantasies, he could love that gentle warrior and keep him for his own—things he would never be able to do in real life.
Beachcomber got down on his knees, then spread out on his belly in the sand. He sighed contentedly as he felt its warmth on his plating, bringing back those guilty little daydreams about Ironhide. This, he felt certain, was just part of the way that Ironhide and the desert were alike—both physically and in spirit.
The rest of the day would go on like any other. Beachcomber's life was fairly routine, with little to interrupt or alter the patterns he followed each day. Because he was distanced from the fighting, there was hardly anything that ever could. Earth's natural areas were quiet, with only the shy local wildlife to keep the Minibot company. Truth be told, he'd always enjoyed this way of life, far away from any troubles or cares, from the fighting and the shedding of metal and vital fluids. He was afraid of change, and didn't want to be distanced from his sanctuary.
Maybe he was glad that Ironhide was so untouchable.
Maybe, in a way, Beachcomber was afraid of the rugged, aged mech's boisterous demeanor and the very ferocity he so admired in him. It wasn't that he thought Ironhide would ever hurt him, oh Primus no. But he shared the desert's harsh nature, and in battle became a terrific force against the Decepticons. It was a sight inspiring fear and awe alike, and that was difficult for Beachcomber to really deal with.
He knew that it wasn't something that could ever be turned on him, but his pacifistic and loving nature made him fear it all the same. Why did something that protected others and did so much good have to be capable of such destruction?
It was true that the desert could never truly be tamed, and nor too could Ironhide. The dangerous forces could be ferocious or gentle when they wanted to be, and that stark contrast was a part of what made Beachcomber love them so; it made them what they were. He just wished that their nature of extremes didn't have to include such a violent side.
When all was said and done, he couldn't change the essence of the desert, and he could certainly never ask Ironhide to change. He could only accept the titanic soldier as he was, watching him from a distance in awe and wonderment, and wish in his aching spark that even if he could not tame the beast, he would still have him for his own.
Truly, Beachcomber was not glad at all that Ironhide was so untouchable.
More than anything, he wanted to take the desert for his own, to make it his and bask in its warmth. Though he could not hope to perform such a tremendous feat, he could always dream.
Slowly, the drab blue and gray Autobot stood, brushing sand from his plating. Evening was beginning to grow near. He had been out all day, studying the components of the sand, and come morning, he would return to continue and do it all again.
He transformed, taking on the shape of a small dune buggy, and began the trip home. Chances were, more likely than not, his thoughts would stay on that rusty giant the whole way.