A/N: Not so much a follow on chapter, as an extension of that premise. Having one of those days where everything's going wrong and I've decided I'm THE worst RP player in the history of humankind. :C So...let's go back to writing, shall we?
Oh fan-fraggin'-tastic, Barricade thought. Another glamorous mission in the life of the lowly. It was raining, hard, and the shuch-shuch of his windshield wipers were like a counterpoint of irritation, the way humans would drum their fingers on a surface. The rain was hard, almost like hail, peppering his light armor with a hundred pinpricks of contact. He tried to convince himself it was getting him clean, washing off a few thousand miles of grit and road dirt. Water spun from his tires into the wheelwells, slicking his brakepads, spraying muck to his undercarriage. His tires nearly slipped in the deep pools of water, because, of course, slaggin' humans had to have this thing for flat roads and not proper gridded surfaces.
He called up the coordinates, his screen bright against the dull grey of the day outside. Right. Almost there. If only Sideways remembered the slightest bit of military discipline, bearing, basic common sense…. He snorted. This was Sideways we were talking about.
The coordinates took him to the back of a ratty looking strip mall. Splinters of glass that had once been a sign proclaiming "Pretty Nails" crunched under his tires as he slowed, scanning the area for Sideways. The windows stared at him, goggle-eyed and blank. He rounded the corner, the battered brick chipped from fender strikes, toward the back of the building. Yet another small, ratty loading dock. How they had to meet in this planet, hiding, cowering, meeting only in ugly places, waste places.
Sideways sat—not even in his vehicle form, which set Barricade off immediately—his back to the common approach, rain sheeting down his body, dripping from the doorwings, runneling in channels down the mounts. Barricade seethed. If he were the enemy, he could kill the fraggin' courier before Sideways could so much as bat his cute little optics. He shoved forward, unfolding himself as he launched, catching Sideways at the shoulders, the doorwings slamming forward against the mech's head, their mountings wrenching in their sockets. Little lesson for you, Sideways, he thought, as he tumbled over, throwing his legs down to catch his own fall. Watch your own fraggin' back, at the very least.
Sideways squealed, his weight rocking forward under the assault.
"I could have killed you!" Barricade snarled, coming up to his feet, his talons curled into attack claws.
Sideways scrambled on the pavement, his hands grabbing for something on the pavement, some yellow and black…thing.
Barricade lunged down, snatching it up.
"Give it back!" Sideways cried out, rushing at Barricade, his feet splashing great crowns of water.
'It' was a human's plastic replica of a construction excavator. Barricade felt a thrum in his systems—the toy bore an uncanny resemblance to Demolishor's Earth alt mode. He rounded on the courier. "This?" he brandished it in Sideways's face, "Explain this!"
"It, uhh, come on. Give it back! I'm not hurting anyone with it." Water ran down his facial spires.
The thrum across Barricade's systems seemed to build to a combustion. "This is weakness. This leaves you open for the enemy." He shook the toy, the long shovel flapping wildly, slapping against his wrist tire.
"You're going to break it!"
Damn straight, Barricade thought. He threw the toy on the ground, gritting his denta with satisfaction as the plastic cracked. The broken rubber treads slapped limply over the pavement, casting droplets of water across the puddle surface. "It is a toy. IT is not real. YOU are acting like an idiot." He lunged in hooking his talons under the bumper of Sideways's chassis, hauling the face close to his. "You listen to me, and you pay some fragging attention this time. You're not the only one who has lost someone in this slaggin' war. You didn't even LOSE him. He's up in slaggin' regen right now and you're acting like a sparkling." He stepped forward, crunching the ruined toy under his footplate.
Sideways's optics glistened with optical lens lubricant. Rainwater splashed in the more viscous surface, turning the red optics into luminous, quivering pools. "He—he won't remember me." Barricade shook him, his arm servos whining with the load. A light courier, Sideways's center of gravity was way too high to be effective in combat. His hands clutched awkwardly, trying to get purchase on the white panels of Barricade's upper arms for balance.
"So what?! He won't remember you. SO FRAGGING WHAT?" He thought of Frenzy, and the memory burst across his systems like a bomb—Frenzy's last contact with him, an ugly red blast of pain and fear and agony and a plea for help that Barricade could not meet. In his last moments, Frenzy had reached to him, and he had…been unable to help, unable to do anything other than feel across the symb-link, try to let the little hacker know that he was not alone.
"Is it about him, or is it about YOU?!"
"I-I…," Sideways stuttered as Barricade thrust him away. He staggered back on his feet, only kept upright by his native agility.
Barricade threw up his hands, water glossing off his wet wrist tires in the diffuse light. "I," he mocked. "There's the answer."
Sideways squatted down, trying to pick some salvageable parts from the crushed toy, his doorwings shivering with emotion. He held up a part of the broken shovel, letting the rain wash it clean. "Mine," he breathed. "Mine." He looked up at Barricade. "I had something. For once. I had…something. And he won't remember it. And you broke it."
Barricade snarled, grabbing the back of Sideways's helm roughly, shoving his face down, a handspan over the shivering puddle. "Look at yourself, if you want. You want to wallow in self pity, do it right and stop blaming everyone else. Stop seeking comfort in a slaggin' TOY. LOOK at yourself. You see? Would Demolishor want to see you like this? Even if he were dead, is this the tribute you think he'd want?"
Sideways trembled. Barricade could see his optics try to focus anywhere but himself, anywhere but his own optics. "I'm sorry," he breathed. Not to Barricade. Not even to himself. To the phantom of what he lost. To his own selfishness. His own misunderstanding. His own tangled up grief.
The plastic shovel fell from his fingers, filling up, slowly, with the rain.