Of all the blunders Tap-Out had made in his life, only one left a lasting scar on him.
When he chalked it down, it had all started when he had been too rough in the Cyber-Ninja Dojo and was suspended from it for 100 stellar cycles. At first he thought he could make the most of it by getting himself a job. What with being suspended, he could only opt for a job ranging from Security Guard for an Elite Guardsman or Academy Student, or he could work on a dirty old cargo ship. Space Bridges were off-limits, since you needed to be 'able to work in a team' in order to even be slightly considered for the job. Tap-Out was definitely not good working in a team. So instead he became a Security Guard for an Academy student. That was his second mistake.
His third mistake was falling in love with her.
When he thought about it, love and romance were stupid concepts that had no place within the culture with the Autobots or the Decepticons. Pits, any general Cybertronian, be they Pirate or Decepticon or Autobot or even a freaking hermit and his kid, for all he cared. They all had no reason to fall in love with each other in any way. There was no place in such a war-torn culture for compassion or affection of any kind. Nope, not at all.
But when he thought about it even more, his previous statement made absolutely no sense. He slammed his head onto the counter in front of him, anger seething through his chassis. He tried to find someone to blame his anger on. Maybe the femme who he had fallen in love with. But no, that only led back to the fact that he had been the one to break up with her. Hard. And not by just walking up to her and telling her 'I'm breaking up with you'. No, he did it the only way he knew how. By running away and never looking back.
He cringed to think of what might have happened to her on that planet. Why had he been so stupid!? He had ran away and left her to fend for herself in the middle of a hostile jungle setting. And what had he done to help? He ran straight for the ship and locked himself away in his quarters, wondering what was taking the ship so long to fly away from this blasted planet and leave everything that had fallen behind… well, behind. At the time, he didn't know whether he should feel guilt or fear or relief at this prospect. Leaving her behind on that planet without so much as an 'I love you' to keep her going.
The rest of the memory he had deleted from his Memory core. He could remember why; he didn't want that soup of emotions to overtake him again. Emotions sucked. They made you overeager for your own death or afraid of a lamppost or miserable because you had said the word 'no' to a random stranger who asked you if they could take a bite of your Energon. It was times like these when he started wondering if he should follow that one dude in the Ministry of Science's example and try to delete his emotions entirely.
Maybe it was okay that he wasn't with her anymore. From what he remembered of her, she wasn't exactly the most independent femme in the world. She never used her built-in stingers (Tap-Out had his removed due to self-esteem problems at the time) and she always wanted to trust before mistrusting something. Even a giant monster that could break her in half. She always had some sort of secret rule to her behavior that she would never immediately assume something is hostile. Even on organic planets like Archa Seven, with all those giant spiders. Glyph had reasoned that, as long as you didn't get close to their eggs, they were friendly and loyal. And she (like she usually was) was right.
That was something he had observed through the other relationships he had found. Rarely did he find a romantic couple of a mech and a femme where they weren't stark opposites. Maybe it was some sort of glitch in the mech's reasoning; they always wanted to become sparkmates (or maybe even consorts) with someone who was nothing like them. He wasn't entirely sure that made sense, but perhaps it was like two halves of a whole or something. In order to make one greatly rounded-out person, you needed two opposite views of something. It was a very useful trait for anybot to have. Perhaps that was why he, Tap-Out, the grouchy and overprotective mech from the battle-heavy Cyber-Ninja Corps, had fallen in love with her, the sweet and compassionate femme from the section of the Autobot Academy that dealt with codes and other computer hoo-ha.
Of course, she was still alive. That fact alone brought both turmoil and relief through his circuits. He always saw Glyph somewhere along the streets, always looking happy and optimistic, like she was a descendent of a star or something. He saw her every day, sometimes because he had subconsciously looked for her. He saw her going from her dorms in the Housing Building to the Autobot Academy to a restaurant and back. Though he was half-certain there was one other place she would go to in her daily life, but he had yet to find it. But even so, he always made sure that she didn't see him.
"Would that be considered stalking?"
Slag. Did he just say that out loud? Tap-Out found himself yet again in a situation where he didn't know what he should do. He found himself at a loss for words, and merely stared at the blue Autobot sitting next to him. Maybe if he stared long enough, the blue Autobot wouldn't inquire any further and leave him alone. He was only half right. The blue Autobot didn't inquire any further, but instead of turning away, he stared right back. At least he thought he did; he couldn't tell with that big visor he had.
"…Can I help you?"
"Yeah, man! Have ya seen anyone 'round that's green and pointy?"
Their conversation ended quite abruptly, and on a note that he wasn't entirely sure he liked. But the blue Autobot still did not look away. It was making him even more uncomfortable than he had been five cycles ago.
"Stop staring at me!" he finally bellowed.
"Woah, sorry dude. What, somethin', like, crawl up yer tailpipe and die er something?"
"Why do you wanna know?"
That took Tap-Out off guard. Did this guy just ask him what he just said? And it wasn't what Tap-Out said; it seemed like the guy didn't even know what he said.
Again, Tap-Out did not know how to respond to this.
"…Are you feeling okay?"
"Well, not really, man. See, I kinda lost somebot. Have ya seen anyone 'round that's, like, green and pointy?"
"Didn't you just ask that?"
"That thing! About the green and pointy bot that you lost!"
"Oh, you mean Cosmos? You know 'im? Great! Can you, like, help me find him? He's always runnin' off to Spark knows where."
At this moment, Tap-Out felt like running away. He felt like running away from this weirdo of a mech that he had little to no business with other than meeting him less than 3 cycles ago in Maccadam's Old Oil House. He didn't even remember why he was here in the first place. Maybe he should just leave.
"Hey, can I, like, ask you something, dude?"
"Ugh… fine, but make it quick. I've got somewhere to be." The last statement wasn't entirely true, but he'd do anything to get away from this brain-dead excuse for an Autobot.
"Can we be friends?"
Tap-Out started getting angry. If he had to answer these guy's questions, then he'd never be able to be this guy's friend. Not to mention the prospect had just sprung up from relative nowhere and slammed him in the face. He didn't much care for questions like that. He hated it when unexpected things blew up in his face; which, for whatever reason, always happened to him.
"Why do you want to be friends with me?"
"Ionno. I guess I just, like, wanna be friends with e'ryone I meet. Y'know?"
"Ah well. No harm in askin'."
That's when something crawled into Tap-Out's thoughts. Something he didn't expect. A realization. He tried to think for a bit, grasping the concept in his head as best he could. He had no idea how, but this stoic, mindless 'bot sitting next to him just gave him the realization of a lifetime. He immediately thanked the Autobot for his help in figuring this out for him, and starkly ran off.
He walked down the streets with more resolve and purpose than he had ever felt in his life. More than he felt with her, by her side, helping her out with whatever it is she needed help with. In fact, he thought that half of the reason he felt so clear-headed was because it had included her. Granted, he had an enormous knot in his fuel tank, his emotions messing with his head and almost tugging at him to leave this alone. But he had to do it.
There she was. He could recognize her anywhere, even with her common Chassis type. She always had that aloof sense of being, like she knew who she was and she wasn't going to let anyone put her down for anything. He hoped that meant it would be easier. He hoped that meant she would forgive him and accept his proposal. He heaved in a big intake of oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere, trying to fill in the empty space within his fuel tank that was apparently being used as a ping-pong table at the moment. He made sure no one stopped him in these last few mechanometers to her, which for some reason felt like a thousand hics with each step he took. But he was determined.
He had a friend to make.