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"Nope, b'y. Go fish."

Bob blinked at her, then cautiously peeked under the edge of the top card on the pile before picking it up and adding it to his hand.

Hormah grinned at him. "Ye gots a six?"

"Er...." He fanned out his hand to make sure. "No. Sorry. Go fish."

She picked up a card and frowned at it, mentally scolding it for being the six that she'd asked for and now couldn't play. "Yer turn, me son."

The purple and grey Seeker began setting down a pair, but then paused and looked toward the door as he heard the scrape of a foot on the ground outside.

Hormah too looked that way, her music cutting out as she tipped her chair back onto its feet and then stood to go and meet the visitor. "Someone's hurtin'."

"Oh dear..." said Bob softly, putting his cards down and hugging himself as he frowned anxiously.

Hormah deedled at him reassuringly, then walked toward the door, her brow plates drawn together as she analyzed the feelings coming from the stranger and consulted with Primus. Determination, she felt, and a strong dash of revulsion. They were mixed with sadness and a desire to protect someone that they loved and distrusted in equal measure. And from Primus came sadness and the feeling of a pat on the back. He wasn't saying much, which probably meant that she could handle this.

The hybrid femme paused when she saw the bot that stepped over the threshold and read the reality that it came from on the coordinate checker that she'd built into her systems next to her PINpoint. A Sumdac systems drone? No, t'at's the person I's feelin', so t'ey's got a spark....

"May I help you?" she asked gently aloud, the Iaconian accent on her Cybertronian impeccable.

"I need to speak to Auspex," demanded the small robot in a female voice.

Hormah started inwardly as she recognized that voice. Blackarachnia... what's she after wantin'? "I'm sorry. Auspex has stepped out for a few hours. But myself or my brother would be happy to be of assistance."

Blackarachnia scanned the room with the little droid shell's crude optics, then paused to give Bob a stare of surprise. "What are you doing here?"

"That's my brother Bob," said Hormah gently. "He's a servant here."

"But...." Even with the expressionless face, the confusion and suspicion of the Decepticon femme was clear.

"And I'm Hormah."

Blackarachnia forgot about Bob in an instant. "You're the one that helped Optimus, when...."

"When the sparklet was born. Yes. Bob cared for her for awhile." Hormah nodded.

"I want it back."

"Er... sorry?" Hormah tilted her head and deedled inquiringly.

"That little 'bot that came out of my old body. I want it back," insisted Blackarachnia, though inwardly she was cringing with disgust and horror at the thought. "Optimus wants it."

"I'm sorry, that won't be possible," said Hormah apologetically.

"What do you mean? It's mine." The smaller femme's back went rigid with anger.

"She's not here."

"Well then go and get her back!" snapped Blackarachnia.

Hormah shook her head. "Optimus didn't want her to be looked down on because of her origins. She's gone where she belongs."

"She belongs with me! I'm her creator!" Blackarachnia glowered up at Hormah, then turned and took in Bob's apologetic and slightly fearful look before letting out a hiss and turning to storm from the sanctuary.

"Slag, I hates t'is." Hormah deedled and plunked down on her bottom on the floor, then squeaked and beeped laughter as Bob picked her up and gave her a comforting hug. "Ack! T'anks, b'y. Auspex's gonna be some miffed t'at she missed t'is, eh?"