What's Worth Protecting: TFP Soundwave knew better than to act on impulse, but doesn't always listen to his own advice. In saving the human's life, Soundwave dramatically alters his own. Xeno slashfic

Rating: M for language and sexual situations.

Warnings: XENO. Mech/human slash

A/N: Gettin' a bit weird here... but the idea just wouldn't leave me alone. No flames, plz. I already know I'm weird.

oooooooooooooooooo

His heart pounded with excitement. This is it! He had him for sure, this time, he was certain. After years of doing battle weekly, one measly triumph would surely be his. He could see no way around it. Rafael Esquivel grinned, thrilled.

"Hey- Hey Bee!" He gasped, hands trembling as he reached once more for the keyboard of his laptop. "I think I got 'em!"
He stared raptly at the screen, waiting. Bumblebee shuffled up to peer over his friend's shoulder, beeping excitedly.

Then, all at once, Raf's face fell, and he threw his hands up.

"Awwww! Damn it!"

Across the screen of his laptop read a single word:
Checkmate.

"Aww, maan!" He groaned, rubbing his face in frustration. "I thought for sure!"

Bumblebee let out a long series of beeps, and one final, staticy squawk that made Raf cringe. He chuckled despite the profanity.

"Some day, Beeā€¦ I'll get him." Bumblebee let out another series of plaintive noises, walking off in exasperation. Raf heaved a sigh, closing out of the game and heading for the communal chat room that hosted the online chess matches. He couldn't help but smile just a little bit as he contacted his opponent.

AutoRacr: You just enjoy giving me that itty bitty hope I'll win before you plaster me, don't you? He wrote, already well knowing the answer. This was a very, very old game. It took almost no time for his opponent to respond.

OnlySilence Wrote: Of course. You loose so elegantly, after all.

Raf only smiled at the familiar taunt.

AutoRacr: I wonder if you'll do so well when you loose!

OnlySilence Wrote: Outcome is impossible. Raf shook his head. Typical.

AutoRacr: Nothing's impossible. Good game. With that, he signed out. It had been a good game. One of the best of recent.

Rafael still didn't quite know what had possessed him to challenge Soundwave to the first round, years ago. Something between wanting a rematch with the talented hacker, and needing to call out the mech's ruse. The player "OnlySilence" had been undefeated for over a decade at the war game, too many of his methods, and even, despite having never heard the mech's voice, his style of communication, absolutely screamed Soundwave, and one night, Raf had blatantly called him out on the message boards with "Autobot Racer Raf challenges Soundwave to a rematch."

He had not been disappointed, though he had been completely, and utterly beaten.

It hadn't stopped him from posting the message again exactly one week later, and again had been duly obliged.

Since that first online chess match between Rafael and Soundwave there had been nearly 600 matches, one nearly every Tuesday night. It was no secret. In fact, in a certain way, it was a tiny aid to the Autobots.

"Ratch, he's not online." Raf said, somewhat glumly. Ratchet stiffened.

"You're sure?" He pressed. Raf waited a few more minutes, watching the screen. Over time, the fierce rivalry he shared with Soundwave had turned almost into a tenuous sort of, dare he think it, friendship. On the battlefront, they would always be enemies. When one was trying to hack the other's system, or block the other out, they were fierce competitors. On line, under the mask of anonymity, they had chosen to exploit their differences for the sake of fun. Soundwave had once admitted to life on the Nemesis being exceptionally boring, save for the occasional attempted coup or raid. Soundwave was like clockwork, and kept Megatron's ship running as such.
He also kept his dates with equal reliability and precision.

"Yea, he's seven minutes late," Raf said at last.

It was for this reason that the Autobots had discovered Soundwave's occasional no-shows for Raf's games to be a timely warning for attack. Ratchet nodded.

"I'm calling Optimus."