Disclaimer: Transformers © Hasbro
Warnings: Spoilers for "Reunification" in a sense.
Notes: Written for tf_rare_pairing's weekly challenge for May 23rd through May 29th. The prompt in question was Sideswipe/Cliffjumper – "Take me with you or stay with me".
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
A few vorns ago, had he been given the opportunity to go home, Cliffjumper would have wanted to leave immediately. The entire world was backwards here – Autobots capable of crimes that even Megatron would have flinched at? Decepticons who were so close to pacifistic they could make Skyfire look like a warmonger? – and even when he thought he'd found something familiar it turned out to be yet another thing that was warped from what he had known before.
But it had taken so long, so many vorns, before Landquake and Breakaway arrived with the rest of their gestalt. Now, confronted with the opportunity to leave, to accompany Nexus (that was so weird, a gestalt that wasn't a gestalt composed of mechs he'd known and considered at least acquaintances) on the next leg of the journey and possibly get back home, Cliffjumper wasn't sure what to do.
Granted, the battle was still raging outside, with Nexus in the heart of it, but it was only a matter of time before it ended and his friend continued his journey. Cliffjumper most likely only had this one chance to leave... but could he?
"You're thinking awfully hard, CJ," a voice remarked from behind him; the minibot turned his head slightly to see Sideswipe leaning on the doorframe, watching him with a neutral expression. "This whole Nexus thing getting to you?"
"A bit," Cliffjumper admitted, turning his attention back to the viewscreen that was showing the events taking place outside the base. "That, Cyclonus being a double agent for Alpha Trion, Megatron dying and being reformatted... it's a lot to take in at once."
Sideswipe made a faint sound of agreement, moving into the room and standing behind the minibot's chair. "I hear you. And then there's the whole dimensional travel deal," he said casually. Too casually. "You could probably ask to go along with. Maybe find a way back to your crazy world."
Cliffjumper didn't reply. He wasn't sure how to answer when his own thoughts had just been spoken aloud. Instead, he turned his head just enough to catch sight of the larger mech from the corner of his optic. Not that it helped any; Sideswipe's expression remained neutral in spite of his casual wording.
The other mech apparently took his silence as an affirmative. "I guess I can see where you're coming from. I mean, far from home in a place that's just enough like home that the differences are jarring. I'd probably jump at the opportunity to go back if given the chance." He fell silent for a while, long enough for Galvatron to arrive on the battlefield outside the base, before speaking quietly once more. "If you go... I'm coming with."
That got the minibot's attention, his head jerking around as he stared at the frontliner in shock. "What was that?" he asked, knowing he probably sounded stupid but not really able to process it clearly.
"There ain't a whole lot that's keeping me here," Sideswipe said, tilting his head just enough to look at the smaller mech, optics bright with something unrecognizable. "My only family is a brother who'd be fairly content if I dropped offline and save him the trouble of killing me himself, the war is pretty much over except for the Autobots holed up in their own mini-factions, and I wouldn't know what to do with myself unless there was someone around to backtalk at me. Slag, going anywhere but here would be almost like a vacation."
"Sides, you can't just up and leave," Cliffjumper argued, optics narrowing slightly. "Even if the war is close to ending, there's still a pit of a lot to do in order to get things up and running again. There's always gonna be something for you to do here. Running off on a whim isn't—"
"It's not a whim." The minibot didn't even realize his companion had moved until the other's vivid red optics were locked with his only scant inches away. "Do you have any idea how it feels to know that there's literally nothing of interest to keep your attention? To know that there's nobody around who understands how you feel? What it's like to literally be alone among the mechs who just don't understand you? That was every slagging day of life for me until you turned up out of the blue. And suddenly there was someone around who did get it, and somewhere along the way—"
Sideswipe cut himself off abruptly, apparently deciding that words weren't enough to get his point across. The rather sudden kiss, however, made his thoughts perfectly clear. Cliffjumper was frozen for a moment in surprise before returning it, nipping lightly at the larger mech's mouth plating and drawing a low growl for the effort. For a few moments, the battle outside and the possible departure of the minibot were forgotten, lost in the most blatant manner that either mech had to express his emotions.
The frontliner slowly, reluctantly broke the kiss, forehead resting lightly against the minibot's as they both cycled air heavily. "Let me come with you," he said softly, "or stay here with me. Just let me be with you, CJ. Please."
Cliffjumper shuttered his optics and leaned into Sideswipe. He was stunned that he hadn't even noticed what was right in front of him the whole time he'd been here, but now he was seeing it all too clearly. It was amazing how much easier his decision became in light of this new development. Silently, he wrapped his arms around the frontliner's waist and relaxed into the moment. He knew now what to do.
"Well, I'm staying.I am not done serving up evil Optimus some payback!" Not quite the real reason, but close enough. And from Sideswipe's faint snort, he understands it too.
End Note: The dialogue in that last italicized segment comes directly from "Reunification: Part 6" just before Nexus leaves.