“…And that’s the plan to get Bumblebee to stay at the Academy full-time when he comes to visit tomorrow!” Blades said with a flourish, gesturing once again to a map of Griffin Rock, pinned haphazardly to the wall of his quarters and absolutely slathered in sticky notes, looking to Cody for a reaction.
Blade’s map included the site of every daring adventure Rescue Team Sigma-17 had gone on (that Bumblebee hadn’t accompanied them for). A variety of other dangerous locations were also noted, and Blades seemed a little too hopeful something bad would happen at one of them during the tour… not that there was any way said tour could really be completed in a day; it had taken the copter-bot all afternoon just to explain it. Cody smiled, concerned but amused. “I thought Bumblebee already agreed to teach full time?”
Blades straightened up and stammered. “W-Well, I mean, technically yes, but I need to show him just how exciting Griffin Rock is so he doesn’t even think of changing his mind!”
Cody leaned forward in his seat on Blades’ berth. “But what happened to all of the things you said you wanted to do with him when you had time? You never got to sing karaoke together, or play video games, or just… take a walk and catch up without some disaster cutting you o-“
“ Booooring. ” Blades waved his hand dramatically. “I told you I wanted to do those things years ago¸ Cody! You were like… half your height!” He crossed his arms and took a dignified stance. “I’ll have you know you’re not the only one who has matured since then.”
“Uh huh. ”
It only took Cody staring his old friend down for a moment for Blades to sink on his pedes. “…And, well… Bumblebee is a war hero now. I mean, he already was, and of course even before that he was my hero , but now he’s saved Earth and Cybertron twice ! Which means his tour has to be twice as impressive! I still can’t believe he’s going to be coming here to teach with us when he could be signing autographs or going on late-night talk shows, or… or…”
Blades’ started pacing. Once again, Cody knew, Blades was overthinking things, but saying that would just make him overthink more . He frowned and tried to choose his words carefully. “It just doesn’t seem like you included much time to be yourself and spend time with your friend. ”
( And obvious crush , Cody thought, but he wasn’t going to open that can of worms when Blades already looked like a single additional atom of anxiety could make him shatter like glass. Now was not the time to meddle.)
“Whaaaaat, of course I did! I’ll be giving him the tour and being my whole, extremely cool and heroic self the entire time!” Blades looked at the map again, perplexed. “Was something in my pitch not clear? Do I need to go over it again?”
“N-No!” Cody shot up from his seat with placating hands. “No, I got it the first time, buddy, and I just remembered I have… a thing. In a place. Somewhere el-”
Cody was saved from thinking up an elaborate excuse by a knock at the door.
“Blades? You in there?”
It was Bumblebee.
Blades squeaked and looked at the wall clock. 6:30! Bumblebee arrived half an hour ago and he wasn’t there to welcome him! The medic scrambled to the door of his room, Cody all but forgotten, smashing the button to slide open the door. “B-Bumblebee! You’re here!”
“Is everything okay? Figured you’d be outside when I-”
“When you got here! Right! I meant to be and then I just…” Blades put his hands on his helm in a panic. “I am so sorry, I-!”
Bumblebee stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Blades, cutting his flailing friend off and chuckling. “Easy, pal. I was just worried is all.”
“… Oh ,” Blades responded meekly. Bumblebee pat him on the back and Blades sunk into the reunion hug, returning the embrace with a tight, long squeeze before backing away. “Yeah, I was…uh…” He rubbed the back of his helm sheepishly.
Cody smirked. “Blades was just telling me about the elaborate tour he was going to take you on, all over Griffin Rock, just the two of you.”
(Okay, maybe now was the time to meddle just a little bit .)
Blades’ fans clicked on and he glanced at Cody with equal parts betrayal and flusterment before turning his attention to the map that had looked brilliant up until the moment Bumblebee entered the room and now looked like the rambling mess of a crazed fanbot. But Bumblebee had seen it, no turning back now. “Right! Exactly!” Blades scrambled over to the map and gestured to it. “There’s so many places I wanted to show you and so many stories I haven’t told you yet! I figured tonight you’d get settled in, and then tomorrow we could start at Old Canyon Road. One time, Jerry was transporting a truck full of chattering teeth and uranium, and…”
Bumblebee stared at the map with a flat expression and drooped optics.
“…You don’t look excited.” Blades frowned.
“Oh, uh, it looks awesome Blades,” he said with a forced smile, “and we should totally go check all of these things out, but…” Bumblebee chose his words carefully – Blades had clearly put a lot of effort into this, no matter how casual he tried to act about it now. As it was, he felt bad for not putting on a face for his friends’ sake sooner. “Was the plan to do all of this in one day? ”
Bumblebee smiled, amused, much like Cody had before. “Maybe a little.” The helicopter sighed and his shoulders slumped. “Hey,” Bumblebee put a hand on Blades’ shoulder. “I’m not shooting it down or anything, but what’s the rush? I’m here full time now, remember?”
“I know , but…” Blades looked away from Bumblebee, to Cody, who coaxed him to keep going. “Bumblebee, you’ve gone on so many amazing adventures and saves worlds and I’ve just… I can fit nearly everything I’ve done on this map. I just thought if I didn’t show you how exciting life with us can be right away, you might change your mind and go find something cooler to do.”
Bumblebee stared at Blades for a moment. He always knew Blades looked up to him, but how long had he been feeling this down on himself? “Blades,” Bumblebee closed the distance between them, smiling softly. “I didn’t agree to teach at the Academy because I thought every day would be some big adventure. Heck, if I’m honest, I’m kind of glad that I can finally relax a little, you know? Even Optimus has been taking it a little easier.”
Blades blinked at the idea of Optimus relaxing, momentarily distracted by the strange mental image of the idolized titan chilling out with a data pad in an oil bath with a cup of high-grade. In a less serious discussion, he wouldn’t have been able to keep a straight face, but they could talk about that later.
“None of us wanted to be fighting a war forever,” Bumblebee continued. “Besides, Griffin Rock is a nice place and all, but I didn’t come here for the island…”
Bumblebee took Blades’ hand in his with a gentle squeeze, and Blades’ optics instantly locked onto his incredibly soft ones.
“…I came here to spend more time with the people I care about.”
Blades almost fainted right then and there, because when did the bot he admired more than anybody else come to care so strongly about him in return? “O-Oh… In that case… maybe tomorrow we could take a walk and catch up…?”
Blades stared at their hands for a moment, and found himself emboldened to interlace their fingers, but once he had he didn’t have the nerve to look up at Bumblebee’s reaction.
(Cody smiled and quietly made his exit while the two bots were focused on each other. Now was definitely the time to meddle.)
But, after a moment that felt like an eternity, Bumblebee bent down into Blades’ field of vision, smiling.
“Why not now? You can’t tell me you don’t know a great place to watch the sunset around here. Then after, maybe we could finally get around to that karaoke session you always talk about?”
And with the way Bumblebee looked at him, the way he said that – his hushed voice and piercing optics - it almost sounded they were discussing a date.
Or maybe Blades’ imagination was getting away from him. Either way, he knew his answer.
“That sounds perfect.”