Disclaimer: Own nothing at all. Not Antauri or Mandarin or any other character used.

Theme: 5 Seeking Solace

Warnings: None

Characters Used: Antauri, Mandarin

Time: Pre-show. Mandarin has just told the team of his idea to rule Shugazoom.

Terminology: SIC (Second In Command). Second (Short hand for Second In Command). CO (Commanding Officer).

Length: 724 Words

Inspirational Song: None

Title: Meditation

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Mandarin slowed his breathing, letting reality slip from his grasp as his intake systems drowsily began to quieten. The soft air caressed his systems lovingly as he took up the meditation pose. The world around him just seemed to…stop. Gone was the bickering of his team mates and gone was the gentle tapping of the rain falling onto the metal of the super robot. Everything was gone. Mandarin turned off his optical sensors and blocked his audio receptors' pick-ups. All that was left was to allow his processor to slip into its pre-recharge state, just barely online, to maximize his concentration for meditation.

Now came the part Mandarin always found hardest. Clearing his processor of the day's thoughts, feelings and memories. The little flame of ire at the back of his processor demanded to be addressed . Surely they could see the advantage of them themselves ruling over Shugazoom after all, all those miserable humans had done was run the city into the ground.

Mandarin's processor dragged up the harsh words Sprx had barked at him in rejection of his offer. It hurt him a little to know his team had so openly distrusted him. Did they not hold any faith to his actions? He submitted to the raw pain of rejection, that cruel mistress wrapping her hate around his soul.

Mandarin's conscience hung on the balance of meditation in a battle of will before he felt a soft mental pulse, hesitantly pressing against his senses, seeking an invitation to join him.

"I should have known you would be the one to come and find me Antauri." For his part Antauri said nothing but instead came to sit beside the orange monkey, taking up the meditation position.

"I suppose they are afraid of me now?" The statement was twisted into a question. Olive optics gazed into the eyes of his companion before speaking in a soft tone.

"Do they have a reason to be?" Mandarin lulled the question around his processor slowly and purposefully.

"No." A pause. "No they do not."

"Then I trust you. As my commanding officer and my closest friend." Mandarin onlined his optics to look at the SIC. Was Antauri really allowing himself to be lied to so easily? His Second was floating stiffly but he was managing to look relaxed, his whole body a delicate enigma.

"You do not seem concerned I just proposed we take over your beloved city" Pushing the boundaries, Mandarin was waiting for the crack; a wall could only be pushed so far before it crumbled and fell. His optics squinted in suspicion as he watched for any sign his Second could be giving off. Even Antauri could be read like a book, if one knew what to look out for.

"Am I not concerned because I know you. If you were serious you would have done it without our help and dammed the consequences."

"What if you do not know me as well as you think?"

"Then more the fool on me."

"What are you really doing here Antauri? I know you did not come here to meditate. You hold yourself tensely, a sign you are not even trying to either." Antauri onlined his optics and a rare smile graced his countenance.

"I am simply seeking solace, and how better to do it then in the presence of a companion?"

"If you simply wished to talk you should have asked."

Mandarin still couldn't get the fleeting feeling of being analysed by his Second from his mind but then he supposed Antauri should be wary, it was only a matter of time before he swung his SIC's mindset. They should all be scared. Antauri wasn't sure when he'd first seen his commanding officer's soul start to rot, but he knew it was irreversible.

It was only a matter of time before one pushed the other over the invisible boundary line, lying to each other would only get them so far.