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Spazz: *sitting huddled under some tree roots and cuddling a Dinobabybundle as she looks out at a muddy, swampy landscape covered with constant dripping rain. Two antennae are sticking up from her head, and most of her attention is on searching for some sign of sentient, technologically able, life.*

Dinobaby: *wet. Bored. Missing Rattrap, and his cradle. Still wrapped up, so he's still quiet* :|

Rattrap: *grumbles as he stalks back to Spazz's root-shelter, the cradle held over his head* Yanno, I always say I love it wet an' rainy, but dis? Dis is too much.

Spazz: *absently* At least it's not cold.

Dinobaby: Nothing? *little scowl*

Rattrap: Dis place is more deserted den th' Jungle Planet. Ain't even primitive ruins 'round here. Nothin' but wet, mud, roots, an' more wet.

Spazz: *stiffens* Maybe there is.

Dinobaby: *looks up*

Rattrap: Ain't nothin'.... *grumbles, crawling into the roots and curling up into a ball*

Spazz: *takes one hand from Dinobaby and shifts it to a jack* Will you listen to this and tell me what they're saying? It's really faint, you can hardly hear it over the rain and the static.

Rattrap: *huffs and takes the jack, plugging it in. He listens quietly for a moment, his brow furrowing* Ehn... my Nebulan ain't dat great, but uh... I think dere's a spaceport somewhere round here.

Spazz: *perks, and he'll be able to hear her focusing on the faint transmissions till she succeeds in locking onto them and registering the exact direction they'll have to go to reach that port* //West by Southwest (thatheadingthere)//

Rattrap: Hopefully dey got someone who cin speak Cybertronian dere...*pulls out the jack and grabs Dinobaby's cradle, slipping out into the rain* We ready?

Dinobaby: *as Spazz comes out from under the roots* Want my bed back.

Spazz: I think we're going to need it, kiddo.

Rattrap: Y'cin have yer bed back when we get someplace dry, brat. *sticks his tongue out and hoists the shell over his head*

Spazz: *looks down at herself and the mud caking on her from her first plunge to the planet's surface* Good thing these cookies aren't water soluble....

Rattrap: Heh, if we're lucky, we'll run inta Honeyfuggle an' jus' buy some more. *snickers, plodding through the swamp along the heading*

Spazz: *puts the scowling chibi onto her back and tightens the straps, then tries to adapt her shape to be as water and mud-able as possible without dumping any cookies* I ain't counting on it.


Meanwhile, in the Nexus



Nightscream: *muffled yell from inside the pipe* Guys! Where'd you go! Help!

Optimus: Relax, Nightscream! We're right here! *pulls himself up on the pipe, peering inside* What's wrong, are there Vehicons?

Nightscream: *sudden startled silence, then* Hey... how'd you get to that end?

Cheetor: *looking around with wide-eyed wonder and surprise, a trace of the youngster who first joined the Axalon crew showing past the toughened warrior and budding leader he's become* Whoa....

Optimus: I... *pauses, looking back to Cheetor and Black Arachnia* I'm not sure. Are you stuck?

Nightscream: *slight rustling* No! I'm staying in here for the fun of it!

Cheetor: *growls at the kid*

Optimus: Down, Cheetor. Nightscream, there's no need to get snippy. We'll have you out of there soon enough. *drops to the ground and looks to Black Arachnia* Do you think you can pull him out with your web?

Black Arachnia: No problem. I just want to know how someone as scrawny as him could get stuck up there. *skitters up into the drainpipe and shoots a strand of webbing onto Nightscream*

Cheetor: Maybe if he transformed? *looks over his shoulder and goes wide-eyed as he sees a bot that looks just like Optimus Prime pass in the distance* Uhhhh, Bigbot....

Optimus: What is it, Cheetor? *turns to the cat, following his gaze* By the Matrix.... What is this place?

Nightscream: *flies out and winds up pasted across Blackarachnia's face* Ooof! Like I say, I don't know. Some kind of spaceport or something.

Cheetor: ...This ain't no spaceport.

Black Arachnia: *screeches and shoves Nightscream off* Ugh, get off me! *rolls onto her stomach and looks around, all eight of her eyes open wide* It's kind of hard to have a spaceport with no spaceships, for one thing.

Nightscream: *picks himself up, totally unfazed by the crash* Well what do you call those? *points up*

Cheetor: Whales.

Optimus: It appears to be... some sort of nexus...

Nightscream: ...Weren't whales water animals?

Cheetor: The ones on Earth were. *looks at Optimus* Nexus?

Optimus: Yes. A crossroads of sorts. *looks around, his eyes glowing white* It's strange... I almost... *takes a few steps forward, in the direction of the Sanctuary* I can feel Primus himself! He's here! This way! *takes off running*

Cheetor: *to the staring Nightscream* Don't just stand there! Go!

Nightscream: *launches into the air and follows Optimus* Going! Sheesh.

Blk Arachnia: Guys, what're you doing? Wait for me! *takes off after them, muttering to herself* Ugh, men. Always leaping headfirst into everything...

Optimus: *charges through the Nexus, leaping over couches and startled residents. He stops before the Sanctuary, eyes still glowing white, and stares up at it in awe* Incredible...

Cheetor: *spins out with surprise as he comes around his leader just in time to see a tall, purple and grey figure step out of the building* Seeker!

Nightscream: *freezes* What-er?

Bob: *startles and meeps and steps back inside faster than he came out*

Optimus: Wait, it's all right! We won't hurt you! *bolts inside after Bob*

Blk Arachnia: *comes up just in time to see Optimus take off again, and groans* This is ridiculous. We'd be better off back on Cybertron trying to bring back Silverbolt.

Nightscream: So go ahead and go kiss up to Thrust. I'm not going after your spark this time.

Cheetor: *just cautiously follows Optimus inside, where the tall bot is standing with one hand on the wall and the other on his chestplate as he looks down at the techno-organic gorilla*

Bob: *intaking deeply and shaking badly as he mutters* Sorry. Give me a moment. Sorry....

Optimus: *gives Bob a reassuring smile* I'm sorry we startled you. We're new to this place, and I thought I sensed Primus here. We weren't expecting to see a Seeker.

Bob: *blinks, his fear turning to startlement* Optimus? Optimus Primal?

Optimus: *blinks, his own expression turning to one of bafflement* Yes, that is my name. How did you know..?

Bob: *settles to his knees so as to not tower over his visitors so much* *quietly* Because I've met another you. He came to my mentor's sanctuary on Cybertron. *calming now as he feels his creator gently offering comfort* I'm Bob, apprentice servant of Primus, how may I help you?

Optimus: Another me? How is that possible? We haven't- *stops shaking his head with a grimace* Perhaps it's best if you tell us a little more about this place. Where are we, exactly and what is this place for?

Bob: This place is the sanctuary of Primus that serves the Sign Nexus, a place where beings from all possible realities can come.

Cheetor: *skeptical, looks at Optimus*

Primus: *very gentle amusement just at the edge of the awareness of those who can feel him*

Optimus: *looks around, startled by the very sudden "appearance" of Primus* Primus... I was right, he is here. *looks up at Bob* How long has this place been here?

Bob: Which place do you mean? *settles onto his skidplate and draws one knee up to rest his arm on, the gesture open and even innocent*

Optimus: This Sanctuary... And the Nexus. I admit, I know very little about Cybertron's sewer system, but I can't believe no one has made mention of either of these places ever before.

Bob: The sanctuary is new. The Nexus... has always been here. But the portals to it aren't always stable. *pauses* Cybertron's sewer system... oh. I think I know why you're here.

Optimus: Rattrap?

Nightscream: This is the place where I saw him, with the little runty bot and the funny looking one. *tosses his hair out of his eyes*

Bob: *shifting his weight in preparation to getting up* Optimus... I think you need to talk to the femme who is in charge of this place. Your friends can wait here for you.

Cheetor: *suspicious and doesn't like that idea*

Optimus: *glances over his shoulder to give Nightscream a quick Look, then nods to Bob* That's fine. I have many questions to ask.

Bob: *nods toward the cupboard as he rises to his feet* On the top shelf of the right hand side of that you'll find fuel. Please help yourselves while you wait. *turns toward the hall, glancing at Optimus to silently ask him to come along*

Optimus: It's been a while since we've had a chance to relax. You all might as well take advantage of this place while you have a chance. *nods to the others, then moves to follow Bob*

Bob: *leads the way to the last door on the right hand side, then knocks very gently on the door frame* Hormah? Are you awake?

Hormah: *sleepy sounding deedlebeeping comes from inside, and then a youthful female voice* Aye. T' boss's after sayin' we got visitors.

Bob: *nods* Optimus is here.

Hormah: *deedle of laughter that rises over what sounds like the purring of a big cat* I kin feel 'im. Let 'im in, b'y.

Bob: *nods to Optimus that he should go into the spartan room which holds only the bed and a huge scythe made of chitin up on one wall*

Optimus: *bows his head to Bob and slowly makes his way into the room. He glances over his surroundings, his eyes finally landing on Hormah... and the black cat curled up with her* Ravage! What are you doing here?

Hormah: *pushes herself up a little so that she's leaning against the wall and looking down at the gorilla-former with weary but twinkling yellow optics* 'E's after gittin' 'is ears scratched, b'y. What's it look like?

Ravage: *barely aware of his surroundings. Purring like thunder*

Optimus: *stares open mouthed at Ravage, then shakes himself and takes a few steps back* I... oh. He's... yes. Yes, he is. *places a hand over his eyes, taking in a deep breath* Forgive me, it's strange to see him again. And... like this. It caught me off guard.

Hormah: *softly* Even old 'Cons sometimes git t' retire in peace, b'y. Primus loves us all, not jes' t' 'Bots 'n Maxis.

Optimus: Yes, of course. Forgive me, I wasn't thinking. This is all so new, I hardly know what to make of it all.

Hormah: *holds out to him the hand that's not scritching Ravage and indicates her bed* Have a seat.

Optimus: I... *bows his head* Thank you. *takes a few steps forward and climbs onto the bed, settling down next to Hormah* Forgive me if I seem rude, but you seem to know who I am, yet I don't even have a name to call you.

Hormah: I's Hormah, first creation 'o Blackout, t'at she gave t' Primus as an offerin'. *shifts a little, exposing the fact that she's got spots on her armor that look chewed away*

Optimus: Hormah? That's... an interesting name. *struggles to hold back a frown. Though he didn't like Decepticons or any of their descendants, it wasn't his place to judge, and Primus had accepted her as an attendant* What, ah... what happened to your armor, may I ask?

Hormah: *gives him a knowing look as she senses what he's feeling* Somet'in' tried its @$#%#@$#@est t' have me fer lunch. *stops scritching Ravage and lifts the old 'Con to kiss him between the ears* Go play wit' Pink in t' rec room, alright, b'y?

Ravage: *blinks and gives Optimus an uncertain look, then turns back to Hormah*

Hormah: *softly* G'wan, b'y. He ain't gonna hurt me none.

Ravage: *rumbles and goes without even giving Optimus a stink eye*

Optimus: *watches him go quietly, his eyebrows raised and a bemused smile tugging at the corner of his lips* I don't think I'd ever see the day a Predacon walked by me without so much as a glower. I find it rather.... refreshing.

Hormah: T'at's my head security mech. He's some worried, but 'e knows not'in' kin happen here. *shifts and sits up a little more*

Optimus: This is a place of Primus. It wouldn't be right to commit an act of violence here. *glances towards the door* I'm not so sure about my crew, but I hope that they understand that this is a place of peace...

Hormah: T'ere's an anti-violence field. *pulls a box out of a drawer on the table by her bed and takes the cover off, then holds it down so that he can see the energon choccy treats inside* Now, yer after havin' questions.

Optimus: I have several on my mind, yes. But my most pressing concern is about a friend of mine. Nightscream said that he saw Rattrap here. Is this true?

Hormah: *waggles the candy box at him* Dunno, b'y. I reads feelin's, not minds.

Optimus: *glances down at the box, confused for a moment* Oh! *shakes his head* No, thank you. I've never really had a taste for sweets. *smiles at her briefly, then sobers back up* What I meant was, is he here? Or at the very least, has he been here lately? He's been missing for a long time now, and I've been very worried about him.

Hormah: *pops a choccy bit in her own mouth and tilts her head a little as she listens to what her master is telling her* Aye, he's ben here. Left t' day Nightscream come 'n seen 'im.

Optimus: *frowns* Why?

Hormah: Proly din't want ye givin' 'im a guilt trip 'n makin' 'im go back. *optics on her sweets*

Optimus: I wouldn't-! *stops, snapping his mouth shut and looking down at his feet* No, I would, but it wouldn't be my intention... I want him to come back. He isn't always the most pleasant Maximal to work with, but his Spark is in the right place, and he's proven himself to be invaluable in a tight spot. The others are young yet, they don't understand why he is the way he is, but I had hopes...

Hormah: *gently, as her fingers pick among the candies* His spark's some broke, Optimus. He's needin' time t' heal 'n git back t' knowin' he ain't no unwanted baggage t' cut loose. He's dead certain t'at nobody back t'ere wants 'im. I's t'inkin' Spazz'd tell 'im different, but he can't hear it right now. Don't t'ink even Dinobot'd be able t' make 'im see. He's needin' time.

Optimus: *bows his head* I understand, but... things have been difficult without him. We're so badly outnumbered, and he has the most experience when it comes to gathering information and electronics. Isn't there something we can do to show him that we believe in him? *pauses, then looks up* Wait, did you say Dinobot? How do you...? I haven't heard that name in... Isn't he dead?

Hormah: *reaches into the drawer and comes back with a flat paper picture of the little chibi sitting on Rattrap's shoulders and gnawing on his head. Looks at it for a moment, and then shows it to Optimus*

Optimus: *takes the picture and stares silently at it, his jaw falling slightly* That... certainly looks like him. But he's so... small.

Hormah: *softly* Primus sends 'em back t'at way sometimes. *shows him another. Rattrap chasing a crawling Dinobaby*

Optimus: I don't think I've seen him this happy since we've returned to Cybertron. *his face falls, though he can't look away from the pictures. He blames himself for Rattrap's unhappiness*

Hormah: *sharply* Stop t'at! It's stunned @##$%#@ slag 'n ye knows it!

Primus: *gently amused comfort*

Optimus: *jumps, jerking his head up with wide eyes* Wh-what?

Hormah: Blamin' yerself fer evert'in'. Ye t'inks yer so slaggin' special t'at t' only one t'at kin @#$#@$#@ up is you?

Optimus: I don't-! If I only tried harder-! I should have been there for him! I should have been able to stop Megatron! I couldn't even protect my own crew!

Hormah: Primus sez ye were flat 'o yer back. *head shake and soft deedling* It weren't Megs as hurt Rat, b'y. T'was t' kid.

Optimus: Nightscream?

Hormah: *nods, and then repeats just a little of what Bob had overheard the little explosives expert say to Spazz the day Nightscream had first found his way into the Nexus* I'm after guessin' t' others weren't stickin' up fer 'im much.

Optimus: *frowns* I have talked to them all about this. I'm disappointed in each and everyone one of them, and they know this. It's just... *sighs and shakes his head* I've never known him to take another's words to spark like this before. We've been rough on him in the past, and he never seemed to be bothered by it too much.

Hormah: He never seen 'imself as bein' helpless afore, neither, b'y.

Optimus: But how could he - oh... Oh, I see. He was trapped in beast mode, and even when he finally mastered it, he was weaponless.

Hormah: *nods* Galvatron sez Rat was after askin' fer ideas on how t' git centered, so he went 'n offered 'im t' Matrix 'o Leadership t' touch.

Optimus: Galvatron? And a Matrix? *shakes his head in disbelief* I find the idea hard to believe, but I could not doubt a servant of Primus. *lets out a quiet little laugh* He touched a Matrx. Unbelievable. He never did say how he managed to transform.

Hormah: *soft deedle of laughter herself* T'at Galvatron's a servant 'o Primus. *sobers then and just looks at him* Ye got anymore questions?

Optimus: *closes his eyes and sucks in a deep breath* Just one... Can Cybertron be saved?

Hormah: *little shiver as Primus' assurance envelopes her* 'Course it can.

Optimus: *nods, and breathes a sigh of relief* Then I shall do all I can to see things through to the end. You will tell Rattrap we miss him, won't you?

Hormah: When I sees 'im agin. When 'e kin hear it. *thinking and listening to her master*

Optimus: Can I ask where he's gone?

Hormah: *slight grin* Anot'er reality. T' find t' last uncorrupted Prime so's t' b'y kin kick t' Fallen's #$#@$#@.

Optimus: *jaw drops* He... the Fallen?!

Hormah: Aye. Don't purdle yerself. T'at part's Diehard's.

Optimus: *shakes his head* I can't believe it... If he still doesn't believe in himself after that, I think I might have to come drag him back to Cybertron myself.

Homah: *plays a little audio clip bit of a Rattrap and Spazz verbal altercation*

Optimus: *smiles as he listens to the clip, chuckling quietly* That sounds more like the rat Rhinox dragged onto my ship just days before take-off. I'm glad to see he's doing well here, though I wish he hadn't had to leave us to find this.

Hormah: Took a bit fer him 'n Spazz t' figger out how t' work t'get'er. I's t'inkin' t'ey got it now. 'N wit' Dinobot along Spazz won't be drivin' Rat up t' wall none. *slightly sad look as she talks about the Sewercon femme*

Optimus: *arches an eyebrow, unable to hold in a grin completely* You don't know Dinobot very well, do you?

Hormah: I works wit' a full size one. T'ough he don't snark like t' lil' bit do. But t' lil' one's some fond 'o cuddlin'. Spazz's kinda feely.

Optimus: There are two Dinobots?

Hormah: Morin t'at, b'y. I jes' works wit' two.

Optimus: More than... *raises his hand to his forehead, shaking his head slowly* Did Megatron go on a cloning spree that I didn't know about?

Hormah: *gives him a very gentle slap in the back of the head*

Optimus: Ow, hey! *rubs the back of his head* What was that for?

Hormah: Bob tol' ye 'bout t' Nexus.

Optimus: He said multidimensional... oh. Oh, I think I see what you mean. So there are millions of universes just like ours, and they all have Dinobots?

Hormah: *pulls a little star out of her drawer, licks it, and sticks it on his hand, her optics dancing as she does so*

Optimus: *stares at the star on his hand for a moment, then bursts out laughing*

Hormah: *deedles mirthfully as Primus' own kindly laughter becomes nearly palpable*

Optimus: Primus! *laughs* Are you sure it was a good idea to let him wander through the multiverse? I mean, I can just see him stopping in as many worlds as he can, collecting up every version of himself out there!

Hormah: *snorts* He's some busy, b'y. *slight wince and blinks* Aye, Boss, I knows. Quitcher fussin'.

Optimus: Boss? Fussing?

Hormah: Primus' gittin' after me fer gittin' too worked up. *shrugs and deedles as she grins in a 'what can I say?' manner.*

Optimus: *laughs quietly* Oh, I see. I suppose I've taken up enough of your time... Thank you so much for looking after Rattrap.

Hormah: *shakes her head* Yer a child 'o Primus too, Op. As much my job t' see t' ye as it is t' see ta t' Rat. I jes' went huntin' like I had my usual charge, 'n purdled out a bit 'cause I's sharin' t'at charge right now.

Optimus: Still, I appreciate what you've done for him. Even though we haven't always seen eye to eye, it pains me to see him suffer.

Hormah: *deedles a soft chuckle* Yer alright, fer a boyscout. Now go gitcherself somet'in' t' eat, 'n t'en ye 'n yer lot take t' room across from me 'n t' one next t' it.

Optimus: Oh no, we couldn't stay! Surely you know the state Cybertron is in! We can't just leave it the way it is. The sooner we get back, the sooner we can stop Megatron and restore the sparks to all the Transformers.

Hormah: *optics narrow* Yer eatin' a good dinner, 'n yer stayin' t' night. Ye wantin' t' argue wit' Primus?

Optimus: *opens his mouth to reply, because yes, he really does want to argue, but promptly closes it again. He knows that's one argument he'll never win* Very well, I'll just let the others know then...

Hormah: *deedles and pat pats him, all smiles again* Good b'y. *why yes, he's a lot older than her.*

Optimus: But only one night! We're leaving first thing in the morning.

Hormah: Oh yeah. How ye fixin' t' go 'bout doin' t'at?

Optimus: We go back the way we came?

Hormah: Maybe. If Primus figgers yer after havin' enough rest. *yes, she knows how they got here* *tilts her head* He sez ye'll be back in time.

Optimus: *frowns* He can't stop us from leaving... can he?

Hormah: *rolls her optics* Listen.

Optimus: *scowls at her, but closes his eyes, listening carefully*

Hormah: *gentle hand on his shoulder, and his senses are suddenly washed with approval, love, reassurance that come clearly despite being wordless. Primus loves his child and is pleased that Optimus is trying hard to do the work he's been given. But Optimus needs a rest. Here in this place it is safe and quiet, and Optimus and his team will go back to the time that they're needed.* *peace and comfort flows* *Optimus doesn't need to worry about Rattrap. Rattrap has taken a wound, yes. But he is strong, and he will heal.* *affection tinged with gentle and wry humor tinge the last sendings*

Optimus: *slumps forward with a sigh, admitting defeat* All right. We'll stay. I just can't keep myself from worrying. There are moments when it feels like everything is falling apart, and there's nothing I can do to stop it.

Primus: *Optimus needs to lay the load down for a little while. Primus knows what's happening.*

Optimus: *is not very good at laying down the load, sadly. But he'll trust in Primus, and stay the night*

Primus: *Gentle amusement and more comfort*

Hormah: *blinks as he pokes her, then raises a brow plate at Optimus*

Optimus: *is behaving much like a cat that's being pet, only without all the purring*

Hormah: *chuckles and squeezes his shoulder* Now go git some pasgetti afore Cheetor 'n t' kid eats it all.

Optimus: *nods and jumps off the bed, but takes his time going back to the main room. Even though he's hungry, he's got a lot to think about yet, and he rather enjoys feeling Primus all around him*

Cheetor: *was leaning against the wall at the opening of the hall, and now he pushes off and holds out a plate full of what looks like spaghetti in tomato sauce, but which smells of energon and minerals, oil and rust. It's a warm and savory smell to Cybertronian senses* *quietly* You hungry, bossbot?

Optimus: *smiles and places a hand on Cheetor's shoulder* Thank you, Cheetor, I appreciate it. It's been a while since we've eaten this well, hasn't it?

Cheetor: *seriously, his suspicion and tendency to challenge soothed by the feel of this place, and the gentle and unassuming nature of their purple and grey host* I've never eaten anything like this stuff. *turns his head and looks into the main room, dropping his voice as he does so* Bob's a Decepticon. He's got the badges on his wing kibble.

Optimus: *chuckles* I take it that you missed seeing Ravage walk out of Hormah's room then?

Cheetor: *stiffens* What?

Optimus: He didn't even glance in my direction. This is the Sanctuary of Primus, Cheetor. All Transformers, whether they are Predacon, Decepticon, Autobot or Maximal, are welcome here. So don't go stirring up trouble because you encounter someone from another faction.

Cheetor: But... our Ravage? The guy that betrayed us to Megatron?

Optimus: Maybe, maybe not. *shrugs* It's hard to say for sure. There are... many worlds just like ours out there. And.. Dinobot is here too.

Cheetor: *and there are those big sad eyes he used to wear when he was younger* He... didn't... die in some realities?

Optimus: It's... possible. There are two here, from my understanding. One is... our Dinobot. But he's not quite the same. *pulls out the pictures of RT and DB that he got from Hormah, showing them to Cheetor* It looks like they're still inseperable, though.

Cheetor: *takes the pictures and stares, his optics going bright* He's so little.

Optimus: And from the sounds of things, a big cuddler too. I'm not sure what happened, but I'm glad that Rattrap's found something that makes him feel like a mech of value once again.

Cheetor: *looks down and away, guilt written large on his face*

Optimus: I still can't believe you treated him like that, Cheetor. He's bailed you out of a very bad situation more than once. I even know about the ones you tried to hide from me. Like the time with Tarantulus? If it wasn't for him, you would have been dead! DEAD, Cheetor! And you know what? There's probably a universe out there where you are, just because no one convinced him to go after you.

Cheetor: *cringes as he hears what he's been telling himself, then turns and darts away down the hall*

Optimus: Cheetor, wait-! *takes a step after him, one hand reaching out, but the cat's gone too quickly* Ah, slag...

Pink: *peeks out of the room at the other end of the hall, and then comes trotting over to see what's going on. Just a little pink and grey Minicon with jet kibble and big blue optics* What's wrong?

Optimus: *sighs, leaning back against the wall. he rubs his hand over his face, then down the back of his neck* Something I'm not sure I'm programmed to deal with.

Pink: Then let somebody who is do it. *sniffs and looks at his pasgetti* Ooooo, you have the runts' version. It's good.

Optimus: I'm not sure there is. *looks down at the pasgetti, surprised. He had forgotten he was still holding it* The runt? *holds the plate up and sniffs at it, humming to himself* Well, it does smell wonderful...

Pink: Yeah, there's a version for the bigger bots too. *beeps and pokes her finger into the sauce at the edge* You should eat it.

Optimus: *snickers, resuming his walk back to the main room* I will, I will! Just let me sit down, okay?

Pink: You'll have to climb the chairs. They're all big bot height. *pauses and looks back down the hall before following him* And don't worry about your friend. The spider lady's watching him talk to Ravage.

Optimus: *shakes his head* She's one of us, and yet she still feels the need to spy on us. *in the main room, he climbs onto a chair and sits down to eat his pasgetti, his eyes roaming around the room* I can't believe Rattrap lives here. I didn't think he had much faith in Primus, for one thing.

Pink: *flies up and sits on the table, then beeps her delight when she finds the small drum the pasgetti came in* He says Primus is a #$#@$@#$@#, and she tried seeing when you were talking to Hormah, too. *headfirst into the drum*

Optimus: *chuckles* He would say that. *scowls and shakes his head* Oh, Black Arachnia... what are we going to do with you?

Pink: *drum tips over and she backs out of it with handfuls of pasgetti* Kick her #@$#@?

Optimus: Unfortunately, I don't think that would work. She may be a skilled fighter, but she's no Dinobot. A show of brute force wouldn't speak to her like it would to him.

Pink: *blinks those big blue optics with surprise and confusion* Brute force?

Optimus: You know... giving her a swift kick in the rear end.

Pink: That's not brute force. Blackout does it all the time. *notices Nightscream as he 'a hah!s happily and backs out of the cupboard with a big cookie in his hands. Squees and drops her pasgetti to zoom over and grab and kiss the startled young Maximal, then flies out through the front door before he's even fully started squawking and flailing*

Nightscream: What the freezing slag???

Optimus: *watches her drop the bat and zoom off, a hand over his mouth to try and stifle a snicker. Alas, it fails, and he falls to the ground, doubled up with laughter*

Bob: *sidesteps Pink after eeking, then comes in and sets down a bundle of blankets and pillows the right size for small bots* Here are some things for you to sleep with. *goes and gets a cloth and cleans up Pink's mess, eating the dropped pasgetti as he does... Cybertronians don't have to worry about dirt or germs*

Optimus: *gets a hold of himself, pushing up off the ground with a wide smile* Thank you, Bob. I can see why Rattrap would rather stay here. There's never a dull moment.

Bob: *small, shy smile* No. It's not as quiet as my home sanctuary.

Optimus: Oh? There are other sanctuaries like this?

Bob: *looks around* Not quite like this. This one seems to have absorbed a lot of Hormah's personality. But my mentor has one back on her own Cybertron, and my former ward has one on the Earth of her reality. Auspex's also deals with Nexus visitors, but Myrrh's is mostly for the Autobots stationed on that Earth.

Optimus: *nods* That makes sense. I find it hard to believe you could manage to find another group of 'bots like the ones we've met here. And knowing the way Rattrap and Dinobot get along, I'm sure they do their own share of trouble making.

Bob: *involuntary shiver as he tries to nod and smile* They covered the silence of Hormah being away. *can in the recycler, everything all wiped up, and then he offers to break up Nightscream's cookie a bit so that he doesn't have to eat it on the floor. Snarked at and rebuffed, he cringes a little and goes to the cupboard to tidy it*

Optimus: Nightscream...

Nightscream: What? Are we going home soon? The atmosphere of this place is starting to get to me. *sideways glance at Bob*

Optimus: *frowns* We're spending the night here. You know, you could stand to tune down the attitude down a little.

Nightscream: Whatever. Where'm I supposedta crash?

Optimus: No, not whatever. You drove Rattrap away with your atittude, and if you're not careful, you'll end up very alone years from now.

Nightscream: *turns and glares up at him* You think I need you bunch of losers? Just because the others listen to you doesn't make you anyone important. You're just a slag smoking emo loser!

Bob: *very still, trying not to interrupt or flee in terror*

Optimus: *pinches the bridge of his nose, mentally counting down from ten* Nightscream, I understand that you're young and that you haven't felt the burden of responsibility, but this is just the sort of thing I mean. You're lucky that no one's gone and hauled off on you yet.

Nightscream: You wanna know where you can cram your 'responsibility'?

Optimus: I'd like to cram some of it into your thick skull!

Nightscream: *raises fists, settles his stance* Go ahead 'n try!

Optimus: *stands with his fists clenched at his sides* No, Nightscream. You lack discipline, but I won't hit you. I'm a bigger mech than that.

Bob: *blinks and looks at Nightscream* *quietly* Driving everyone away won't keep you from feeling loss again.

Nightscream: *expression goes stunned*

Optimus: *nods at Bob* He's right, Nightscream. The more you push, the less people will want to be around you. You'll end up alone and bitter. It's a vicious cycle, but you have to recognize that hate only breeds more hate.

Nightscream: *shakes his head* No! That can't be right. If I don't have anyone, I can't lose anyone!

Bob: Which hurts even more.

Nightscream: You're full of it, you Decepticon slag!

Bob: *just looks down at him, his expression gentle and compassionate*

Optimus: You know, I'm pretty sure Rattrap used to think the same way. *chuckles*

Nightscream: I'm NOT like him! I'm... I'm.... *turns and bolts out the front door*

Bob: I'll go with him. *strides that way*

Optimus: *nods and sighs* Yes... it's amazing how many members of my crew deal with their problems by running away from them.

Blk Arachnia: Well, what do you expect? Mechs like them usually don't like to admit they have a problem. But, from what I've overheard between Cheetor and Ravage, it seems like this time, they're actually running towards the solution.

Optimus: *looks up to the ceiling, surprised to find the spider tucked in a corner with a can of pasgetti* Oh? You think so?

Blk Arachnia: *shrugs, gesturing after Bob and Nightscream* He seems to know what he's talking about, and the kitty cats are doing a little bonding. It's so sweet, it's starting to make me sick.

Optimus: *chuckles quietly* I suppose he feels like he's got Tigatron back in a way.

Blk Arachnia: I don't particularly care, either way. Personally, I'd rather be back on Cybertron, trying to get Silverbolt back. Until then... *drops down, scooping up an armload of blankets* I'm getting some rest. And you should too.

Primus: *sudden feeling of reassurance so strong that the femme will be able to feel it. Everything will wind up alright in the end*

Blk Arachnia: *scowls up at the ceiling* I wasn't worried.

Optimus: *laughs and pats her shoulder* Of course not, Black Arachnia. Have a nice rest.

*The sanctuary falls into relative silence after the femme has left the room, its thick walls keeping away the sounds of the busy Nexus without. Only the faint rise and fall of voices from the bathing room where Ravage is demonstrating to Cheetor as they speak how Transmetal cats can have hot oil baths while techno-organic ones have to settle for the jacuzzi prevents total stillness. But in time those sounds too fall still, and the sanctuary surrounds the first comfortable, peaceful slumber its weary visitors have had in awhile*


((Co-written with slaggin_preds))

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