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Title: Nevertheless (I'm in Love With You)

PCs: Exodus, Panacea

Location: Ibex

Date: 06 February 2015

Summary: Exodus and Panacea meet up at a local dive in Ibex to share a drink and perhaps something more...


++ Ibex ++

Nestled to the right of the Magnanese Mountain range and occupying a wide, flat plain, the city of Ibex is host to a major portion of Cybertron's  transportation centers. Used in ancient times to launch the long lost Ark-1, Ibex is still home to the Central Spaceport, which runs shuttles  from Cybertron to some of its orbital stations and satellites, such as the Messatine mining station, the lunar penitentury of Garrus-1. Transportation hubs and development centers have sprung up all around the space port, along with long stretches of test roads and airfields, where bleeding-edge vehicle designs are researched and developed.                              

The primary colors of the area are white, silver and pale blue, with dull gray roads and black and yellow hazard stripes interdispersed among working areas. Hangars, spaceports, bullet-shaped buildings and domes are the primary forms of archtecture. The Velocitronian Embassy is naturally located here, close to the Speedia - the planet's most expansive and famous racetrack, home to the Ibex Cup competition. The Ibex Center for Athletic Medicine is here, where speeder frames are maintained, honed and developed, pit crews are trained, and specialized fuel types are developed. Cybertron's most elite club, The Circle, is located a short distance away from the Speedia.                                                           

Though the planetary races have been cancelled and space travel restrained, enterprizing (or bold) individuals have managed to gain access to locked down facilities, taking advantage of the empty tracks and abandoned crew stations for illegal races and illegal upgrading.                           

                          

While she didn't exactly put up a huge sign saying where she had gone, Panacea didn't disappear without a word either. Anyone who was really looking for her wouldn't have too much trouble finding her. Especially if they had her frequency and just, you know, asked. Either way, Exodus has probably learned that she's in Ibex now.

The green opticked miner is wandering the streets of Ibex, looking for a local dive but also hoping to run into Pan--word is out on the town that she's switched jobs and is now working in Ibex, and he wonders what kind of job she would be working in a place as high caste as Ibex. The city practically screams fast cars and freedom, and Panacea doesn't really strike him as that type of fem. His cool colored gaze sweeps the street calmly as he moseys along, minding his own business.

Panacea isn't that kind of femme; she really isn't. But she /is/ a femme that would rather keep her head. That's neither here nor there. Exodus doesn't exactly 'run into' Panacea. However, here amongst the speeders and higher caste, he probably sticks out like a sore thumb, and so it doesn't take long for /her/ to spot /him/. Shifting course, she heads towards the gentle giant of a miner.

Exodus beams when he sees the fem, and immediately starts walking towards her. "Hey," he says in his usual guttural tone of voice, "heard you moved." He gives her a wistful smile. "Missed seeing you around," he says, rubbing his helm. "How've you been? And.. do you like your new job?"

"It has it's ups and downs," Panacea says. "Though, according to a lot of people, I'd be considered a sell-out. These are troubled times though, so hopefully I won't be judged too harshly." She smiles brightly at Exodus. "One of the ups is I don't have to worry about being mugged for a flower as much," she notes. Some middle and high castes might find that guttural tone irritating, but to her it's a comfortable sound, though now, there is also sadness mixed with that comfort.

Exodus laughs, and looks very pleased. "That's good to hear." His brow ridges raise in surprise. "You.. still have it?" He chuckles a little again and drops his gaze, the lights on his face going pale slightly in embarrassment. "I'm surprised. But don't worry, I don't think you're a sell-out, sometimes you have to do what's best for you." He smiles at her. "Let's go for a drink. I'll treat you."

"Maybe I should be treating you," Panacea says with a smile. "After all, I'm making a fair bit more shanix here." Still, she won't press the issue. "And yes, I still have it, though it's in my new place right now. I don't typically wear it to work."

The lights on Exodus' face go even paler and he stops walking. "Really...? " He looks her in the optics. "Pan, that's so sweet of you." He gives her a warm smile. "I thought you would have gotten rid of it by now or that it would have long died already."

"I keep it in a clear stasis box and only take it out now and then." Another reason she just doesn't wear it to work. "People are too quick to discard things on Cybertron. I already told you I know how rare they are." For a moment she looks around. "I haven't had much chance to check out the bars around here to be honest," she admits.

"..." Exodus is staring fondly at her and doesn't respond right away. "You're so kind," he says softly, his optics dimming a little. Then he pauses, having totally missed what she'd said about the bars. "Uh, sorry? I didn't catch what you just said," he says, rubbing his helm bashfully.

"Oh," Exodus says, "sorry about that.. I was just thinking," he says, averting his gaze in a shy manner. "Well, it's alright.." He glances over towards the sound of bluesy tunes coming out of a decent looking joint across the street. "How about over there?" He smiles at her.

"It seems as good a place as any to try," Panacea says. "After all, whether we like it or not, at least we'll KNOW, right?" Returning the smile she starts to move towards the indicated place. "So, how have you been the last little while?" she asks conversationally.

Exodus smiles at her, and looks like he kind of reeeeeaaally wants to reach for her hand, but refrains. He walks towards the joint, and gives her a small smile in return. "As good as I could have been without you around," he says sweetly. "C'mon." He motions with his helm towards the dive, and with that, goes inside, hoping she'll follow.

Panacea does, indeed, follow. After all, what's not to like about the miner. He's sweet, humble, and so far she hasn't seen in him that violence tendency that is SO common among their people. In other words, he doesn't set off that darkness inside of her. So she's in a pretty good mood as she enters the establishment.

Exodus ushers her to a seat close to the stage of the joint--the place has a round the clock open mike, and currently, a lithe looking mech is playing a small instrument akin to an accordion. The green opticked miner pulls out a chair for her politely before sitting down himself. "So.. tell me about your job," he says to Panacea.

Sitting down smoothly, Panacea folds her hands on the table in front of her. "Well, I'm working for the IAA now," she says. "Seems there's been a bit of a shortage of medics around with the political situation being so...explosive." She frowns briefly, for talk of war always makes the femme unhappy. "It's Blurr's doing for the most part," she says, though she doesn't go into great detail on the matter yet.

"Are you happy working there?" he asks her, and looks concerned when she frowns. "Blurr..?" He looks more worried upon hearing that. "I see. Well, I hope everything's treating you alright," he says, looking at her compassionately. "How to the others feel about you working for them?"

"I haven't had any problems so far," Panacea says. "I was happier working with miners, but with all the chaos in Kaon, this might be better. At least now I won't be pressed into working the Forge." She shudders. Working in a battle arena would make her go mad; she knows it. "But I didn't leave for the better pay, or even for the safety. I left because they're giving me the opportunity to increase my knowledge so I can help people better," she says brightly.

"Good, " Exodus says, "I'm glad. I hope this experience is an enlightening one for you," he says, waving the bartender over. "I'll take whatever's on the house," he says, and glances over at Pan, "and whatever she wants." He gives her a small smile. "Hey~ Do you like music?" he suddenly asks.

"Depends on the kind of music," Panacea says with a little smile. "And when I'm listening to it. Quiet music is better when I'm working or reading." Neither of which she is doing right now. To the bartender she just asks for the same as Exodus; she's not much of a drinker unless it's social, so she doesn't have strong preferences there.

He doesn't actually respond to her comment, he just stands up and gives her a little smile, walking over to the stage which has now been vacated by he previous musician. Situating himself comfortably on the stool on the stage, he opens his subspace compartment and produces that same stringed instrument he'd played before for Whirl and Blast Off. 

 He raises the microphone to a suitable height for someone of his stature and with a smile, addresses the crowd in the joint. "This one here is for the thoughtful and ever so kind, Panacea." He winks at the fem. Then he starts singing, his voice deep and soulful, and the lyrics are as follows: 

 Maybe I'm right and maybe I'm wrong, Well maybe I'm weak and maybe I'm strong. But nevertheless I'm in love with you. Now maybe I'll win and maybe I'll lose, Well, maybe I'm in for crying the blues. But nevertheless I'm in love with you.~

Count 'musical' among Exodus' good points. Panacea looks quite flattered at this point; she's not some hard-edged warrior of a femme that is nearly impossible to impress. Optics lowered, she keeps listening to the song that he has dedicated to her. How nice.

After the song ends, he gets up and takes his seat next to her again, subspacing his stringed instrument carefully. He looks over at her, trying to make optic contact with her though she's averting her gaze. "Well.. what did you think of it?" Exodus asks.

"I think that if the functionist council ever lightened up you could make yourself a singer instead," Panacea says. Maybe that's flattering him a bit, but she's also not a trained musician or a musical critic, so it's her unprofessional opinion. "I bet you do that to win all the girls," she says lightly, meaning it to be a tease rather than a mean statement.

Exodus laughs, shaking his helm. "They won't, and I doubt I'd make enough to pay my rent," he says, "but thank you, as always, you could turn the hardest of sparks soft with your sweet words," he says, giving her a small smile. Then when she makes a comment about him winning girls, his lights on his faceplates grow pale again and he lets out a low chuckle. "Actually, I've never won over any girls, or sang to any one girl in particular. You're the first. I guess I never met anyone who was as worth it as much as you are.”

For a moment Panacea seems lost in thought. She wishes she /could/ turn the hardest of sparks, but so far she hasn't had much luck. But then she gets more compliments and she looks a little embarrassed, but mostly pleased. "Well, if you had tried like this, you probably would have succeeded then," she says. "Still, you don't know me all that well yet; maybe I'm not worth as much as you think." No, she's not fishing for more compliments. He really DOESN'T know everything about her.

Surprisingly, he doesn't disagree with her. "We all have our flaws, dark sides, and deep secrets," he says slowly, "but I don't think that makes anyone, least of all, you, any less lovable. In fact, I think it makes you even more beautiful," he murmurs, "I'd never be drawn to someone who's perfect, what's the use of that? To make mistakes is mortal, living and learning makes life more valuable." 

 "I never tried because I didn't want to. Until now," he says, with a little smile, and he pats her shoulder gently.

Panacea doesn't disallow the contact. In fact, she leans into it. "I suppose I can't argue that," she says with the faintest of smiles. "What makes people different is how much they let their dark sides rule them, how much they let it bleed into their cycle to cycle existence. Too many people around here indulge in that darkness; it's why Cybertron is so broken." She lets her smile grow. "But you, you always seem so calm.”

A wide grin slowly spreads across his features, and he gives her shoulder a light squeeze before he removes his hand. "I suppose you're right, but I think it's less of letting their dark side rule than it is just them not focusing on the good," Exodus says, "you can embrace your flaws without dwelling on them in an unhealthy fashion." 

 He laughs. "I try.”

"Well, there are differences between a person's flaws and their dark side," Panacea says thoughtfully. "I have been told many times that it is a foolish dream to hope for peace, that we are a violent race and will never be anything more. Yet every time I've seen you, you disprove that. It's very...comforting," she says.

"Sure," Exodus says, "but a dark side could certainly be a flaw. And we must fight battles to try to remediate our flaws--we may not ever completely overcome them, for then the war would be over, but some battles will be won and some will be lost. And that's just something we all have to come to terms with." The miner's face lights pale again. "Thank you," he says, "I don't know what to say. You never fail to amaze me with the things you say." He reaches for her hand.

Panacea slides the hand forward, shortening the distance between them. With her inner turmoil that she hides, even from herself at times, it's nice to spend time with someone who balances her out, centers her. Whirl could tell Exodus about Panacea's other side, but it's unlikely the mech ever will. For now, however, it is submerged deep in her mind. Now is time to enjoy the moment.

Exodus takes her hand and pulls her closer. He leans towards her, his green optics staring deep into Panacea's and instinctively, his other hand reaches forward and tilts her chin upward gently. He moves even closer, his face nearing hers. But he's hesitating, his emerald optics full of uncertainty, as if he's about to break his gaze and pull away.

There is no resistance, though Panacea looks a little uncertain herself. For most of her life she was the 'little sister' of the group, cared for, coddled a bit, but not really seen as an object of affection to be pursued and won. There's a slight trembling as she waits on the verge of the moment.

Exodus draws even nearer. His lips are almost brushing hers, and he's caressing her helm softly. But still, he's hesitating. They're close, so close... And then he averts his optics and breaks their gaze. Air rushes out of his ventilation shafts in a heavy sigh and the wind of it will pass gently over Panacea. He draws back and stands up. "I...." He looks away. "I had an absolutely fantastic time. But I should go." He turns to leave, his expression regretful.

Panacea doesn't know the reason for the sudden pull away. If she's hurt, she buries the feeling fast enough so that it barely grazes her mind; she'll sort it out later and she thinks it just might make the mech uncomfortable. "It was lovely," she says softly. "I hope to see you again soon," she adds, stressing the last word slightly. To soften the impact of his withdrawal, she blows him a kiss airily from her fingertips. "Be safe."

"I will," Exodus says, as he heads for the exit of the joint, but pauses in the doorway to stare longingly back at her with a small but sad smile. "Next time." I'll actually kiss you. 


 And then he departs.

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