"Anything look familiar?" Firestar asked as they paused outside a door. Red Alert gave the security pad a suspicious look. Were they going to try to get him to enter his security codes in such an obvious trick? But Firestar didn't even hesitate, rapidly typing in a code. She motioned him forward, stepping over the threshold.
"No one will bother you in here," she said, smiling at him. "These are your quarters - well, you shared them, but they're just yours for now until you feel better."
Red Alert immediately resolved to sweep the room for bugs as soon as she left. He glanced around, finding the room utterly unfamiliar. It was large enough to be officer's quarters, and for the most part, relatively neat and clean. Neatly stacked datapads on the desk next to a multi-monitored computer setup, cleaning supplies and spare weapon parts lined up on shelves next to several cubes of energon. The only things out of place were a few half- dismantled pieces of equipment on the table and a stray datapad on the berth. The quarters could almost be his - except most of the parts on the shelf didn't fit his weapons and the equipment on the table wasn't anything that he would use. No doubt belonging to these supposed 'roommates' of his, nevermind the lack of additional berths.
"Well, I suppose you have everything you need right here," she said, smiling sadly. "Washracks are through there, and there's a console over there if you want to go over anything in the computer systems."
And there it was. If he accessed - or tried to access- the systems, they'd simply have a keystroke logger tracking every code he entered. Red Alert almost snorted out loud. They wouldn't catch him like that.
"Whose is this?" Red Alert said shortly, staring down at a half-dismantled ejection nozzle.
Firestar looked faintly uncomfortable. "Well, that could take some explaining," she hedged.
"Whose?" Red Alert demanded.
"Inferno's," Firestar said, blowing air in a sigh.
Red Alert twitched. "That... truck... from the medbay?"
"Yes," she said. "He and you have been well, together, for a long-"
"What?!" It came out more like a squeak than a yell. "I am not- I have no idea who this mech is! Why-"
"Red-" Firestar started.
"No! I don't know him, I don't know you, and I would thank you to stop with this ridiculous charade!" He broke off, intakes hissing in agitation.
Firestar waited a beat. "Are you done? Red, I know this is hard for you, but we're nottrying to trick you. We're your friends-"
"And who exactly is 'we'?" he interrupted.
"All the Autobots stationed on Earth," she said earnestly. "Especially Inferno and I."
Red Alert looked up from the nozzle assembly to favor her with another suspicious look. "And where exactly do youfit into this?"
Firestar covered her face with a hand. "Oh Primus this is awkward. Red, you and Inferno and I..." she trailed off, shifting her weight. "Look, I didn't want you to feel uncomfortable, so I wasn't going to mention this, but the three of us, we were... well, an item." Her engine coughed. "Together, Red."
Red Alert stared at her blankly. "Get out."
She sighed. "Alright, but if you need anything at all, comm me, or anyone, okay?" She hesitated, then produced a datapad, quickly typing something on it before setting it on the table. "Here's my comm frequency, and Ratchet's - that's the medic you saw when you woke up - and a few others you might want." She smiled sadly at him. "And the door code, since I figure you're gonna want to change it soon as I leave."
He'd made note of the door code when she entered it to unlock the door, but he nodded anyway.
Firestar paused in the doorway. "It's going to be okay, Red," she said softly, then left him alone in the strange room.
"Hey," Smokescreen said, leaning against the doorjam to Inferno and Firestar's temporary quarters. "How are you two holding up."
Inferno looked up and grimaced. "Ain't sure," he admitted quietly. "It ain't easy."
Firestar sighed, letting her head rest against Inferno's shoulder. "He really doesn't remember us at all," she said, voice small. She'd kept her emotions on a short rein in front of Red Alert, but with Red tucked away in his quarters, she'd dropped the facade.
"He will," Inferno said, sounding more like he was trying to convince himself than her. "We just gotta give him time."
Firestar's frame shuttered under Inferno's arm. "What if he never does?" she asked, sounding like the words were painful to even think, much less say. "What if he never remembers any of it?"
Smokescreen sighed, for once at lost for words. "I don't know, Firestar. All we can do is wait, and hope."
Firestar looked down at her hands, then back up at Smokescreen. "You were always his friend, Smokescreen. You've been talking to Ratchet, right? How... how likely is it that he'll recover his memories?"
Smokescreen couldn't meet her pleading look. "Ratchet says..." He had to stop, clearing his vocalizer. "Ratchet says that the chances are low, but that doesn't mean we should give up."
Inferno's arm tightened around her. "If... if he don't remember, we'll just have to start over," Inferno said. "We'll all just... start over. Get to know him again, let him get to know us from the start."
"That's really all we can do," Smokescreen said quietly.