September 13, 2011, 2:41 PM
Hot Spot sits in the refectory alone. He leans on the table, a cube of energon between his hands, but he hasn't been able to drink any. Thoughts about why First Aid left Iacon and what happened to his afterwards cycle through his mind. They really aren't good thoughts, and he looks distraught.
Groove quietly makes his way into the refectory, not looking particularly stable in any sense of the word. Streetwise ran off to talk to Tiny for a few breems, leaving him alone, and he isn't really sure how he feels about that. The sight of Hot Spot perks him up a little, and he makes a beeline for his brother.
Hot Spot looks up as Groove approaches. "Hey!" He's pleased to see Groove, but he doesn't manage to smile. He shuffles over, making space for Groove on the bench. "Thirsty?" he says, offering his cube, which obviously hasn't been touched.
Groove shakes his head, taking a seat on the bench next to Hot Spot and pressing as close as physically possible to him. "...Streetwise is here." He says quietly, "We talked a little. He had an idea."
"What kind of idea?" Hot Spot says. He pushes aside his own worry and frustration; Groove is obviously unhappy, and dealing with that is far more important than wallowing in self-pity because Prowl won't let him leave Iacon to join the search. He puts an arm around Groove's shoulders. "Tell me what happened."
Groove stays silent for a few moments, trying to figure out the best way to put this. "...He asked if I could contact Aid. Through whatever connection it is we all have. I didn't even think about that." He answers, dropping his gaze to the floor as he thinks. "...It worked. I don't know if it went both ways, but..."
"Really?" Hot Spot can't work out whether he should be thrilled or horrified by this. In normal circumstances, he'd be happy, but these are far from normal circumstances. "But what?" he prompts.
"...He's hurt. He's hurting and terrified and I don't know how to help him. I... I think I just scared him more trying." Groove says, sounding utterly dejected. He pulls his knees up to his chest, careful not to jostle Hot Spot too much. "I didn't mean to. I just... They're hurting him, Spot."
"Oh scrap no." Hot Spot holds Groove tighter. "Who's they? How badly? Can you get a message to him?" He pushes the cube of energon away; he can't see himself drinking it this cycle.
Groove shakes his head. "I don't know. I-I thought he answered me, but I couldn't really tell, and I don't know if I can do it again." He answers, trying and failing to stop a small shudder at the memory. "He's... He's hurt. I'm not a medic, but I think it's bad. They..." Static overtakes his voice for a second, and he resets his vocalizer before continuing. "I think they took out an optic."
This time Hot Spot is silent. He vents slowly, carefully; he doesn't think he can cope with this, not when he's under security lock and unable to join in the search. When he eventually speaks, his voice is almost too quiet to hear. "I don't understand," he says. "Why would anyone do that?"
"I don't know." Groove says, pressing close to Hot Spot for in an attempt to comfort at least one of them. "I don't know. I'm sorry I didn't get more. I should have..." He trails off for a few moments before shrugging helplessly. "I should have tried harder."
Armour squeals in protest as Hot Spot responds to the gesture and hugs Groove even closer. "I'm sure you tried as hard as you could," he says. "It's amazing you got anything at all. I've been trying, but I haven't got anything. Just this feeling that he isn't where he should be. You did all you could. Did you tell Prowl?"
Groove hesitates for a moment before shaking his head. "I didn't think to tell anyone." He replies, guilt seeping into his tone. "It was only a little bit ago, and I didn't get anything specific... I should have done that. I'm sorry."
"It's OK," Hot Spot says. He composes a quick written message to inform Prowl and sends it to him. "If..." He stops, forces another slow vent through his systems, and tries again. "It's best Prowl knows. We'll get him back." He doesn't sound so sure about that last part.
Groove nods, shifting awkwardly to wrap his arms around Hot Spot's midsection. It's a bit hard, given the way they're sitting and the other's greater size, but he manages. He's almost surprised by how normal this seems, despite barely knowing the mech next to him, but mentally shrugs it off. "We will." He agrees, sounding a great deal more convinced than Spot. "Primus isn't cruel. He wouldn't have brought us all together again just to lose each other."
Hot Spot rests his chin on the top of Groove's head and holds him tight. "Prowl knows what he's doing," he says. Groove's certainty is reassuring, and he wishes he could be as reassuring back. He doesn't want to voice the thought that it could be the Decepticons that took Aid, although he's certainly thinking it.
Groove settles against Hot Spot with a quiet noise, letting his legs drop back down to make it easier. "He'll come back to us." He murmurs, curling his fingers against his brother's armor. He's finally starting to relax, bit by bit, and doesn't bother to resist the urge to offline his optics, just focusing on the quiet humming of Hot Spot's systems. "Missed you guys."
"Missed you too," Hot Spot says. "Do you want to come back to the war room with me? There might be something we can do to help, even if it's just cycling through comm frequencies."
Groove nods, onlining his optics again and reluctantly pulling away from Hot Spot. "I'll tell Streetwise to meet us over there." He pushes himself to his feet, picking up the firetruck's abandoned cube and holding it out for him. "You need to refuel, though. Please?"
Hot Spot looks at the cube. Groove's right. He tries to force a smile, but doesn't quite manage it. He does, however, manage to down the entire cube in one go. It doesn't settle well, but he knows that's because of nerves, as the low fuel warning that he hadn't noticed until now has stopped flashing. "OK," he says. "Let's go."