Title: Serious Bro Talk
Date: 06 June 2015
Summary: Hot Rod and Deadlock are two bros that discuss serious stuff.
Leaving Megatron, Ruiner, and three fresh corpses behind, Hot Rod breaks out into the Decepticon controlled stronghold and looks around with a sudden, bewildered sense of being surrounded. In enemy territory.
So he calls Dr-- Deadlock. It's a quick comm, a simple, << Hey, Deadlock. I need to talk to you. >> and then he transforms to start driving. This gets him a) farther away from Megatron and b) closer to Deadlock, so it's a win-win all around.
Deadlock was just about to set out on a good old fashioned Autobot hunt (hey, he needs to make sure those filthy Autobots get registered right?) when he receives Hot Rod's message. As devoted as he is to Megatron and his orders, Deadlock always manages to find an excuse to take some time off for his robobrother from another robomother and so he sends Hot Rod his coordinates so they can meet up.
It doesn't take long and soon Hot Rod will find Deadlock, standing tall and pointing his rifle at various things while making exploding noises.
Zipping up in a flash of red and yellow flame, Hot Rod transforms back to root mode to walk the last steps up to Deadlock. Concern and tension melt from his shoulders, loosening their sharp lines and softening his features into a smile. It's a look that quickly grows to a grin as he draws up next to him. "So pointing things and making noises -- that's how you keep sharp, huh? Grad Decepticon cause everything you hoped and dreamed?" The question's asked as if he means for it to be a light tone, but his gaze is steady, his smile fades, and his tone falls with unusual and uncharacteristic weight.
As soon as he hears that familiar voice, Deadlock lowers his rifle and turns around to face the source. He matches Hot Rod's grin with one of his own. "Keeping sharp? Naw, this is just for fun." He points off into the distance at a far off building with a finger. "Hey, think I could hit that from here? I think I could."
While Hot Rod's grin fades at the mention of Decepticons and their cause, Deadlock's only grows. He slings his rifle over his shoulder and takes on a tall, almost proud, posture. "Even better! Joining the Decepticons was the best thing that ever happened to me! I'm getting clean, I'm finally getting the respect I deserve, and the best part? I'm on the ground floor for something amazing." He gestures to the world around them. "Look at it! Cybertron is changing for the better and it's.. it's just great. Don't you agree?"
Following the gesture to the far off building -- occupied building? eh, who cares. -- Hot Rod immediately says, "Bet you can't. Bet you /totally/ miss."
But his heart's not really in it. With every widening of Deadlock's grin, Hot Rod's fades. He can't share the pride. He looks wary. "Look, I'm glad you're getting clean -- I am. And that other people are starting to realize how great you are, too. But what if the change isn't all for the better? What if it's being built on top out -- out of -- the bodies of people who deserved more? I just saw Megatron kill three prisoners without trial. He just -- killed them. Because they worked for the Council. And -- some other things. I'm not saying they weren't bad! They were! But he just killed them, Deadlock!"
Deadlock takes that challenge and immediately sets his rifle against his shoulder, pulling the trigger and sending a shot sailing through the air. If you squint real hard you can see one of the building's windows shatter. Deadlock gives Hot Rod the smuggest look his can possibly muster.
Finally that slag-eating grin starts to fade as Hot Rod shares his worries and tells his story of what he just witnessed Megatron do to his most recent prisoners. He slings his weapon back over his shoulder and regards his friend with a frown. "I'm not really seeing the problem here. So Megatron didn't give them a trial. So what? The outcome would've been the same anyway, wouldn't it? This way no one's time is wasted." He looks back out towards that building, this time spotting the owner of the window he just shot out. The poor guy doesn't look too happy and that makes Deadlock chuckle a bit.
"Those guys worked for the Council. The Council was probably the most evil thing I have ever heard of and anyone willing to be associated with them deserves whatever they get," Deadlock says, turning to look at Hot Rod again. "The same goes for the Senate and the Primes. Megatron, and the Decepticons.. what we do, the people we kill, it's all for the greater good. It's for a better future for everyone! You think we could've just 'talked it out' with the Senate? With the Council? With /Zeta?/"
Hot Rod can't even share Deadlock's smugness, or tease back, or anything. How terrible! He's too caught up in everything else, and he barely even glances to see that he made the shot. (Which was a great shot. A+.)
"Not seeing -- how can you not see the problem? What if they weren't guilty? What if -- what if they were coerced? Or threatened?" Hot Rod throws his hands in the air and says, "What next? Anyone Megatron points to, they die? He almost shot me, Deadlock! I really think he would've if I stayed in there!"
Taking a breath and steadying himself, Hot Rod says, "And how can something be good be built out of evil? It's not right. The Council, the Primes, the Senate -- yeah, they were bad. But you can't make a greater good out of bad, Deadlock!"
Deadlock only frowns harder at the part about Megatron almost shooting Hot Rod in the face. Okay, he didn't explicity mention it was going to be in the face, but Deadlock assumes it was because.. well, come on, wouldn't you?
"Well, I mean.. you're kinda putting him in a difficult position. You're a great guy, Hot Rod. I know that, and so does Megatron. You could really benefit the Decepticon cause, you have everything we could ever want in a soldier." Except for that whole 'killing people is wrong' thing. "But you insist on resisting, never taking up the badge for a better Cybertron. And yeah, the Council and the others were bad but they were bad for all the wrong reasons! They killed people too, sure, but who who were they doing it for? Themselves. Themselves and their selfish desires. At least Megatron has the planet's wellbeing in mind."
"I /am/ taking up the badge for a better Cybertron!" Hot Rod exists. He doesn't exactly stamp his foot -- not /quite/ -- but he's sure close. "That's all I've ever wanted! I'm just not willing to climb over the corpses of captives to get there! If they're bad, shouldn't we be better than them?" Grasping Deadlock by the shoulder, Hot Rod moves to stand facing him. He gives his shoulder a little shake. "If what we're doing isn't making us the best we can be, maybe what we're doing isn't right."
If it was anyone else grabbing at him, Deadlock's fist would already be grinding into their face. Not Hot Rod though, Hot Rod is a special exception to the rule. Still, the shaking of his shoulder only serves to make him frown harder. "And what do YOU suggest we do instead? What would YOU do if you were in Megatron's position? Give everyone trials? Let them be judged by a jury of their peers, peers with only their best interests in mind? Or would you just lock them up in jail forever?"
Now it's Deadlock's turn to make grabby hands, gripping one of Hot Rod's shoulders tightly. "I know you don't agree with it, I know you don't think highly of the Decepticons, but what are you going to do? You can't stay out of this much longer, you'll have to make a decision to either join with us, or stand against us."
Hot Rod is an exception to EVERY rule. Ever. Everywhere. "Yes! I'd give them trials! Justice can't come from one person's whims! That's not justice! It's that kind of aut-- autoc-- tyranny," he chooses, being much simpler to say, "--that Decepticons rose to fight! Now they're /enacting/ it?"
Quietly, losing the urgent edge of his words, Hot Rod says, "I can't stand with that kind of thing, Deadlock. I won't condone it. As long as the Decepticons do that--." He breaks off with a shake of his head.
This conversation is not the conversation Deadlock was hoping to have with Hot Rod and it's only getting worse the longer it goes on. He tosses his rifle unceremoniously to the ground and reaches out with both hands to grab Hot Rod's face and look him directly into the optics.
"Hot Rod.. you're my best friend, I love you as if you were my kin." Words Deadlock would never dare utter to anyone else, again proving Hot Rod to be an exception to yet another rule. "I don't want to see you die over this. I don't want to identify your body in a pile of corpses. Join the Decepticons. Please. Before it's too late."
Tipping his head, Hot Rod gently (carefully) bumps the crest of his helm against Deadlock's in a headbutt that carries more affection than aggression. It's not a very fierce attack at all. He closes his eyes. After a moment, he shakes his head.
Hot Rod reaches up to take Deadlock's hands and lift them away so that he can step back. "I /can't/." He squeezes and then release Deadlock's hands. "Not while Megatron is killing helpless prisoners. Not when Autobots are being forced to register. Not when Megatron is making the /same mistakes/. We have a chance to do things right, Deadlock! We--." He breaks off, focusing in on those last words somewhat belatedly. "/Too late/? It shouldn't even come to that! Can't you see that's just a sign of what a mistake this is?"
Deadlock lets out a quiet sigh, offlining his optics and enjoying this moment between them. He relishes in the closeness and the comfort of his friend, doing his best not to think about how this may be the last time they get to just enjoy each other's company like this. For now, Deadlock allows himself to lose himself in the moment, fingers curling against Hot Rod's face.
It's only when Hot Rod pulls his hands away and steps back that Deadlock snaps back to reality. He opens his mouth like he wants to say something, maybe try and convince Hot Rod to set aside his moral and ethical standards, but it never happens. Not until Hot Rod comments on the 'too late' part of his earlier pleading, of course.
"It shouldn't, but it has come to that! That's just the way things have to be! I'm sorry, I really am, but you're putting me in a very difficult spot with this. Do you know what I'm supposed to do to people like you? What I'm going to have to do to /you/ if you keep pulling this neutral thing or, Primus forbid, join the Autobots?"
It's all too brief a peace.
"I'm not going to join the Autobots!" says Hot Rod, like that is the most RIDICULOUS thing that Deadlock could possibly say. He even laughs. What a crazy idea. It's a short laugh: it's thin, and rings a little hollow, but he doesn't have to force it. The smile lingers as he studies Deadlock, although it twists into a pained hook.
"If that's really the way it is, that's even more of a reason I can't be part of it," says Hot Rod in a quiet voice. "I'm not trying to put you in any kind of spot. All I'm asking -- all I'll ever ask -- is that you do what your spark tells you is right."
Hot Rod's insistence that he has no plans to join the Autobot helps put Deadlock's mind at ease. Kind of. There's still a lot of worry and disappointment, but at least he wont have to force Hot Rod to register at gunpoint, right?
"I'll do what I can," he says, forcing a grin. "But you have to promise me to stay out of trouble." Deadlock knows this is impossible but he figures it's worth a try anyway.
With all of that serious talk out of the way, Deadlock picks his rifle back up and shoves it into Hot Rod's arms. "Think you can shoot out that window over there?" he asks, pointing towards that far off building again. "Because I don't think you can."
Thank goodness there's no risk of Hot Rod the Autobot. That'd be awkward.
"Wow, I'm /definitely/ not promising that." Hot Rod's only too happy to shed the tension with a laugh. "For one thing, that sounds /tremendously boring/." That's the only thing. There are no other things.
Hot Rod's grin brightens as he takes the gun from Deadlock's hands and shifts it (somewhat awkwardly) into place. "You bet I can. Watch a /true master/ at work."
Inevitably, he misses.
Just as inevitably, Hot Rod insists they try again, with stunts and dares that get stupider and stupider each time. It's better than worrying about anything as silly as factional loyalty, anyway. Besides, it'll all work out. Right?