[MTMTE] Professional Courtesy

Every action has a meaning. Every word has a secret message. Every smile, every laugh, every coy glance, flirtatious wink and furious scowl…

Actions are roadmaps of behavioral origins. And once you know how to read the legend, it’s impossible to get lost. And impossible to forget.

Smokescreen knows it’s creepy. He knows that moment of realization when a casual conversation turns guarded. When a friend treats you like an enemy because everything has meaning.

He picked the Lost Light because no one on the roster knows who he used to be. Or if they do – like Ultra Magnus – they keep their silence. Or, like Rung, recognize his reasons.

Rung, however, takes pride where Smokescreen stays in the shadows. Then again, Rung has the unique ability to be forgotten. Smokescreen is a mech trained to be remembered.

Having Rung around is a relief, admittedly. Smokescreen can be himself around the therapist like he can no one else. They share a professional courtesy and sometimes, it’s almost a game. To see who has the better mask.

Rung usually wins. Smokescreen thinks it’s because the glasses give him an edge. That and Rung’s been around for so long he has more life experience to draw from.

He always takes his victories in stride, but Smokescreen can read the pride behind his humble bow. There’s a wicked humor within Rung, one that few give him credit for, but one Smokescreen enjoys witnessing.

He’s a clever mech, and a strong one, and Smokescreen often wonders what it would have been like to watch he and Froid, in their heyday, debate the finer points of psychotherapy.

Still… there’s a reason Smokescreen knocks on Rung’s habsuite door once a week, and it’s not just to play the game.

It’s because Rung understands. And for Smokescreen, there’s nothing more valuable than the welcome in Rung’s field and the genuine smile on his face.

His nimble fingers and creative toys? Those are just a charming bonus. One Smokescreen enjoys quite thoroughly when he’s lashed down to Rung’s berth and begging for mercy, with that cultured smirk directed toward him. Unguarded blue optics shimmer at him in promise.

“I won’t break you,” Rung purrs. “At least, not any more than you want me to.”

Better that Smokescreen can trust him. More, even, than he can trust himself.

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