A tray of dirtied dishware dropped onto the counter above Sunstreaker’s head with enough noise to ensure that Sunstreaker paid the carrier attention.
“Ugh. He’s back again,” Sideswipe muttered, a sneer in his voice.
Sunstreaker bit back a sigh. He didn’t bother to look at his twin, who was no doubt griping about one of his many post-affair lovers. Instead, Sunstreaker focused his attention on arranging the treat display to maximum benefit.
“Who? Recoil?” Sunstreaker snorted a laugh. “That’s what you get for making promises you’re not gonna keep.” As Sideswipe was so fond of doing.
‘I’ll comm ya later!’ he always said, and then never did, mostly so they would get so angry with him, he didn’t have to worry about them contacting him later. Attachments were dangerous, he said. He didn’t want them. Just a bit of fun now and again. It wasn’t his fault mechs kept deciding they wanted more.
“I didn’t promise Recoil anything,” Sideswipe retorted, his field screeching offense where it pawed at Sunstreaker’s, as if demanding he agree and offer comfort and attention. “But, no. Not him. That white mech. The Elite.”
Sunstreaker rose from his crouch and closed the cabinet doors with a little snick of magnetized metal colliding. He searched the dining tables, but didn’t have to look far. The Elite mech always picked the same table.
He’d been in here often enough, Sunstreaker recognized him. Most of their customers were regulars, true, but none of them stood out as much as this mech. He was pretty, Sunstreaker had to admit. Sturdy and polished, poised like others weren’t around here. He stood out as a result, which made him doubly easy to find.
Sunstreaker honestly didn’t know what Sideswipe’s objections to the mech were. Sure he wasn’t Sides’ type, but he was clean, and if he was Elite, he didn’t plan on sticking around. That meant he was available and not interested in getting clingy.
Completely Sideswipe’s type actually.
“If you don’t want to frag him, just say so,” Sunstreaker said with a roll of his optics. Honestly, his twin’s romantic and/or sexual entanglements were exasperating.
“I would, if it was me he had his sights on.”
Sunstreaker blinked. “What?”
Sideswipe sighed and dragged a hand down his face. “Are you seriously telling me that you haven’t noticed he can’t take his optics off you?”
Sunstreaker’s gaze wandered to the Elite mech, but he wasn’t paying Sideswipe or Sunstreaker any attention. One hand held a datapad, which seemed to captivate his interest, while the other blindly directed energon goodies to his mouth for a nibble.
“No, he doesn’t,” Sunstreaker said with a frown.
“Primus, you’re thick sometimes.” Sideswipe groaned and leaned closer, though he didn’t lower his voice at all. “Yes, he does. Want I should throw him out then?”
Sunstreaker reared back. “What for? He hasn’t done anything.”
“So?” Sideswipe shrugged, and looked a bit gleeful as he scratched at his chin. “It’s obvious he wants to. That’s reason enough for me.”
Sunstreaker rolled his optics yet again. Sometimes, Sideswipe’s overprotectiveness bordered on the absurd. And it was irritating.
“I think you’re just looking for a fight, Sides.” He glanced around the display area and counter, but couldn’t see anything else that needed doing. “I’m going to go sketch.” He slipped out from behind the counter, making it a point not to look in the Elite’s direction.
He wasn’t bothered. He didn’t care. Not one bit.
“Set your timer!” Sideswipe called after him.
Sunstreaker ignored him. Yes, he damn well knew to set his timer. He didn’t need his twin nannying him.
He scuttled off to his art room, but curiosity overcame him. He paused in the doorway, glancing over his shoulder at the Elite mech once more. Steady, blue optics looked up at him, and it felt like a bolt to Sunstreaker’s spark.
Heat stole into his cheeks, and Sunstreaker ducked into his art room, feeling more than a little shaky. No way was Sideswipe right. Or maybe he was and the Elite was just looking for a cheap frag. Well, joke’s on him. Sunstreaker wasn’t for sale. Not now, not ever.
Sunstreaker plopped down in his chair in front of his canvas, rolling his limbs to get himself in the mood. He tossed back the covering and peered at his most recent work. Half-finished, it was, and he felt if he was diligent today, he could complete it.
But the more he stared at it, but the more he felt – not contempt, but disinterest. The itch, the burn to work on it wasn’t there.
It wasn’t often he felt restless like this. He did, however, know better than to work on yesterday’s project in this state. So he pulled it from the easel and set it aside, careful to drape a covering over it to protect the expensive canvas.
He pulled an old canvas from the stack. One where he’d made an attempt at something on one side, but after loathing it the next day, had scribbled all over it. He couldn’t justify tossing the expensive plexifilm out, however, so he kept it for scrap drawings.
Sometimes, what he needed was to draw a series of slag sketches before his creativity would unlock. So that’s what he did. Nothing important. Nothing he’d worry about selling. Nothing he’d let himself judge or critique.
He just… drew.
It wasn’t until he’d covered half the plexifilm in messy circles and squares and sharp, jutting lines that he realized he was being watched. That wasn’t unusual. Their customers often stopped and peered in, and most of the time, it didn’t bother Sunstreaker. Sides kept away the obnoxious ones, and only let the truly interested observe.
This time, however, Sunstreaker’s plating tingled. Peripheral vision identified the observer, and despite Sideswipe’s insistence, he was still surprised that it was the Elite mech.
“Looking for something?” Sunstreaker asked, just short of a scowl on his lips. If Sideswipe was right about the mech watching him, he was probably right about what the mech wanted.
“You, as a matter of fact.” The mech’s voice was as pleasant as Sunstreaker remembered, with none of the smarmy notes of the usual customers who thought their creds meant they were owed more than the energon and treats they purchased.
Sunstreaker swiveled about in his stool, clutching his brush. “Why?”
The Elite hovered in the doorway, his hands behind his back. “I fear I may have made a terrible first impression. I wish to rectify that.”
Clever mech. Sunstreaker snorted. “That doesn’t answer my question.”
Sensory panels arched and went rigid. “I wish to get to know you,” he said smoothly, the corners of his lips curving into the smallest of smiles. Condescendingly perhaps.
Did he think Sunstreaker so desperate for attention that he’d swoon at a little conversation? Pah.
“I’m not for sale.” Sunstreaker whipped back toward his canvas and focused so hard on it, he glared.
There was a beat. A ventilation hitch, and then, “Beg pardon?”
Sunstreaker’s armor drew tight. A little politeness would not be enough to sway him either, no matter how handsome the mech or how enticing his voice.
“You’ll find an easier frag elsewhere,” Sunstreaker said, careful to keep his tone icy. “Twice more if you have creds to spare.”
“I’m busy, mech,” Sunstreaker snapped, giving the Elite a sidelong glare. “Go find someone else.”
“I–” The Elite cut himself off and continued with, “Very well.” Sunstreaker heard the distinct click-hiss of a mech shifting his weight, the Elite finally buying a clue. “My name, by the way, is Prowl.”
Sunstreaker snorted. “Don’t care.”
“Then I apologize for disturbing you.”
‘Prowl’ took his leave as silently as he’d arrived, and Sunstreaker was left alone with his own thoughts, more than a little surprised it had been so easy. Usually the hungry ones were far more insistent, until Sunstreaker had to growl at them and flash a little blade.
Pah. Whatever. So long as he was gone.
Sunstreaker returned his attention back to his canvas.