Hazards
By Nan00k

I have no idea where this came from, other than an overwhelming need for some Hound/Mirage in my life. Basically, just a random little one-shot. O: This is so odd for me! I've never written this pairing before, so I apologize if I got anything wrong.

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Warnings: slash (relationship between two asexual robots who are seen as males), unsettling military concepts/philosophy, sappiness
Disclaimer
: Transformers © Hasbro.


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He woke up to the sensation of gentle hands touching his face. Hound was lucky enough to share a room with his bondmate, so the idea of being woken so lovingly from recharge wasn't unusual. It was even welcome.

What wasn't entirely welcome was the fact Hound couldn't remember ever going into recharge. In fact, the latest memory file to resurface in his cortex as he onlined his optics was apparently an entire joor earlier during his afternoon shift with Bluestreak. It was nighttime now according to his chronometer, so regardless of whom his berth partner, missing twelve hours of memory was rather alarming.

"…I am so sorry," someone was whispering. The hands on his face became a little desperate. "Darling, are you awake? I'm sorry. Please."

"Mirage?" Hound asked, feeling like Ironhide had just punched him between the optics. There weren't any physical injuries to his armor that his HUD was registering. Mirage was clearly upset over something and—

And…

Hound shuttered his optics, reoriented his vestibular gyroscopes, and unshuttered his optic lens in order to make out the image in front of him. It was Mirage leaning over him, on their berth. The despair on the spy's face was startling all on its own, but Hound was more shaken by the appearance of the special ops mech at all.

"Mirage, what are you doing here?" he asked.

He tried to come up with a reason for the spy to be in their room, let alone the Ark, considering the fact Mirage was still supposed to be away on a mission with Bumblebee. Sure, they had been supposed to come back that night—and it was night now—but Hound didn't remember anything from that afternoon or evening. When had Mirage come back? Hound couldn't have just—slept through that.

Mirage almost ignored him. He instead focused on running his slim fingers down Hound's face and helm. His optics were full of worry and there was something almost apologetic to his touches, as if he had been the reason Hound's processors felt so disorientated.

Hound pushed against their bond carefully and flinched physically at the stinging sensation of a block solidly denying him access to Mirage's spark. The spy had always blocked the bond during his missions, but he was home now, safe. There was no need for it.

"I'm sorry," Mirage said again, a whine somewhere in back of his elegant voice. It was absurd. Mirage didn't get this upset, even when arguing. Something was wrong.

"What happened?" Hound asked. He brought his hands up and tried to grab Mirage's, but the spy was quicker and captured Hound's first.

"It's my fault," Mirage said. "I hope you can forgive me, Hound. I hadn't meant for this to happen."

Hound wasn't sure if he should have felt nervous or irritated at that point. "For what?" he demanded, this time sitting up, pushing Mirage back.

Mirage's pained optics narrowed even more. "I had no choice," he said. It was the closest the Towermech had ever come to blurting something out like Bluestreak might; Hound was too surprised by the rush of words to react properly. "I was so glad to be back and be with you again, I let the bond open, and I didn't even think to segment my mission report with the right firewalls. You didn't realize and you were exposed to the transcript."

At first, that made no sense at all. But then Hound remembered who exactly his bondmate was. Mirage was special ops—a spy, the best spy the Autobots had. Hound often used his own skills to assist Jazz's division in their missions, but mechs like Jazz and Mirage were of a different level of intelligence gathering than just a tracker. They handled all of the dirty secrets or intel their army encountered, both of Autobot and Decepticon origins. Hound knew enough, however, to know what Mirage was talking about.

Transcript. Of Mirage's mission statement. As in, the mission Mirage had just come back from.

"I…" Hound began, stunned. "I saw it?"

Oh.

Oh, Primus.

"I'm so sorry," Mirage said, again desperate. He touched his forehead to Hound's. "I had no choice but to activate the safeguard routines. The information has obviously been passed onto my superiors, but I was foolish, and did not archive it immediately upon reaching our quarters."

"Wait… slow down," Hound said, still trying to keep up with what he was gradually realizing. If he had seen the transcript of a top-secret mission, that made no sense as to why he didn't remember it now. Or anything in the last eight Earth hours.

But then, it did make sense, in a way, because this wasn't just any mech Hound was dealing with. Mirage was his bondmate, his lover, his best friend… but they both had their roles in this army. Hound knew just what he was getting into bonding with Mirage after they finally acknowledged eons of affection when they awoke on Earth all those years ago. Mirage was Special Ops and that had a whole new level of work hazards attached to it that might make less prepared bondmates cringe.

"So… you wiped my memory of it?" Hound asked, stunned. "The transcript, I mean."

Mirage grimaced. "I…" He inclined his helm, guilt wafting off his frame even without a bond to prove it existed. "It is… standard. All mechs in Special Ops must have some sort of emergency cortex trigger virus in the event of an information breach."

Like enemy invasive tactics, like a technopath, or a probe. Hound could understand that. He was more surprised by the idea that their bond could actually activate the trigger. This was a little startling, to say the least.

"It is not usual for a mech in Special Ops to have a bondmate to deal with when returning from missions," Mirage continued. "Generally in the case of one such as myself having a partner, the transcript can be archived and kept segmented away from interfacing levels." He gestured at their chests weakly. "Our bond, obviously, does not pay much heed to levels of security clearance. It is my fault for not adding more safeguards."

It did make sense. Hound wasn't an officer, so he couldn't just be given easy access to classified data. Jazz and Prowl were luckier in that way, being both bonded and top-level officers. They wouldn't have to worry about such security measures.

The sight of Mirage, who was generally so reserved with his feelings even over the bond, being openly remorseful made Hound feel just as guilty.

"Mirage… it's okay," he said. He placed a hand over Mirage's chestplates and smiled, trying to make light of the situation. "Really, I get it. I just… wow. That was quick."

Mirage's grimace did not fade. "Yes," he said, almost bitter. "I did not intend for it to take you offline for such a length of time. The virus has run its course, however, so don't worry about lasting affects. We'll have Ratchet inspect you later, regardless."

"How long was I out?" Hound asked, curious. He had lost about a joor of time, but that didn't mean much. He could have been out under an hour and the emergency overwrite could have taken out that whole joor's worth of data extra, just in case.

"About a quarter of a joor," Mirage answered.

Hound laughed. "Yikes." He shrugged and clasped his hands around Mirage's, trying to be a comfort now. "Well, could be worse."

There was a pause as Mirage seemed to withdraw emotionally. After that moment, the silver spy looked up cautiously at his green mate. "…You are not angry?" he asked. The way he spoke, one would think he was expecting a vicious backlash.

Even though he was still surprised over the whole ordeal, Hound was certainly not angry with Mirage, not in the least. "I'm just glad I'm not gonna get you in trouble for this," he said. He hesitated, the thought finally striking him. "…I'm not, right?"

That would be the last thing Hound wanted to do to his lover, who was probably going to internalize this for weeks, as he did with every slight he considered serious (such as the time he had missed his and Hound's anniversary for a mission and spent a good two months apologizing in his own, silent ways). Surely, their superiors would all understand this was just a brief slip of security and it had been handled… right?

Mirage sighed quietly. "I had to inform Jazz of the situation naturally, but Ratchet will be clearing you tomorrow morning to be sure the knowledge of the transcript's data is truly gone."

It could have been worse, certainly. Hound watched Mirage carefully and realized his mate was still upset over everything. "Sorry," the tracker offered, now embarrassed. He was glad he didn't remember the actual moment he slipped past Mirage's temporary shields; their initial mutual panic over it must have been difficult for Mirage to deal with even now.

"For what?" Mirage asked, startled.

"Causing so much trouble," Hound replied. "If I had given you more time to archive the file, it probably wouldn't have gotten through the bond. I mean, this never happened before, obviously."

Mirage shook his helm firmly in denial. "It was my fault, as I have said. I was overly eager to come back to you. I ignored protocol and now it's affecting you directly," he said heatedly. "I am so sorry, my dear."

It would have been easy to begrudge the immense secrecy Mirage was bound to. Sure, the missions had to be protected. They were soldiers, after all. But they were also bondmates, not to mention the idea of Mirage having to alter his own mate's memory was… unsettling.

But Hound didn't begrudge anyone, let alone Mirage. There was no way he could. Ever.

"It's part of you," he said at last. He traced his finger along Mirage's strong, beautiful jawline and smiled. "I want to be yours in every aspect, and you mine. I understand that we gotta have barriers though, for the sake of your job."

"It is immensely unfair," Mirage said quietly. It was. But so was war. It wasn't going to get any fairer any time soon.

"It's part of the job," Hound offered. He shrugged again. "And I don't mind. As long as you don't always keep the bond off."

Mirage touched his own chestplates, probably subconsciously. "…Right," he murmured. Almost like a faint whisper, Hound felt a faint tendril of Mirage brush against his spark. It made him smile even more.

"It's good to see you, Mirage," he said, meaning it so very strongly. He touched his helm to Mirage's, reveling in his love's presence.

The tenseness in Mirage's frame eased just a little. "And you, Hound," he replied quietly. He embraced the tracker with unapologetic hands, which made Hound smile even more.

It was all worth it, in the end, and Hound accepted it.

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The End.