A/N: This fell out of my pen after a particularly trying on-call, one evening, when every time I tried to go home... something else would appear, JUST to heckle me. Okay, so this doesn't bear much resemblance to that, BUT THE THOUGHT IS WHAT COUNTS.
I could apologise for the shameless, Sue-ly fluff, but I won't. ^_^ I had to suffer it, sooo I guess you can just all join in my pain? It could be worse; Warp actually wanted me to elaborate on the "alternate uses for the fluff" but I've banned him from talking to me about that for a while.
"Study is overrated"
So… Quayside is improving, but the overall rates are only going down slowly. Pulsar chewed thoughtfully on the end of her stylus, studying the little board of figures. Which means the crime is just… moving to different areas? Which areas? And that means-
A big dark abstract shape blotted out the light from the stand-alone lamp in front of where she sat.
"Come on, budge up, Squeaks." A familiar voice instructed. "I wanna park my aft."
Pulsar glared up at her visitor, but obediently moved up. "It's not like we've got a dearth of seating, Skywarp."
"Yeah, but they're all empty." Skywarp dropped his bulk onto the couch with enough wilful abandon to make all the cushions (and an alarmed policebot) bounce dramatically. "This is the only one you're sat on."
"That makes a difference?"
"Well, duh. I can't molest you from way over there."
She gave him an elbow in the midsection as he got himself comfortable. "I'm trying to study, if you hadn't noticed."
"Yeah, I know." He made a face and rubbed his flank, where the bike had left a new little silvery paint transfer. "Study is overrated." He sprawled out dramatically, almost knocking her clean off the couch with his wings.
"Like you'd know." Pulsar recovered her poise without too much loss of dignity, and propped herself on an elbow. "When have you ever studied, in your entire life?"
"Pssh. To quote my former fellow Con? Sentiment: unchanged." He flicked her antennae, and added, airily; "I studied at the university of life."
Pulsar couldn't help the little bark of laughter that escaped her vocaliser. "You failed that too, huh?"
"Oh, ha." He jabbed stiffened fingers at her midsection, and snerked as she twisted out of reach. "I might not be as brainy as Screamer, but at least I can use what I know, Smart-Aft. What are you reading, anyway?"
Before she could answer, a large purple hand dropped into her field of view and carefully manoeuvred the databoard so its owner could see the screen. Pulsar made a point to sigh exaggeratedly, but let him scrutinise the display. "I thought you weren't interested."
"You shouldn't confuse being nosey with genuine interest. I just wanna look." He peered more closely. "I mean, it could be some juicy gossip I can bribe Whisper with." He wrinkled his nose, disappointedly. "Ugh. Crime stats." He relinquished his hold on it. "What are you reading that for?"
"Well, I might not want to be a patrol sergeant for the rest of my life." She tried to concentrate on the words on the screen again, using her stylus to append notes to the section she wanted to research further. "I'm just… keeping my options open. Professional development, and what have you – not that you'd know much about that."
"Pssh. Please forgive me for not wanting to be some geeky little Autodork."
Pulsar stuck out her tongue and countered with; "You just know you wouldn't be able to cope with all the brainwork, Skydork."
Blissful quiet reigned for maybe half a breem. Skywarp hooked his thrusters up on the low table in front and took refuge in a flask of multiple-filtered energon, looking like he was perhaps going to attempt to go dormant and get some recharge, and Pulsar decided it was probably safe to tuck herself more comfortably against him and get back to her reading-
A sharp, not-quite-painful tweak on the tip of the longest of her antennae made her jump. "Skywarp," she scolded, automatically. "Quit that."
"What?" He sounded genuinely hurt at the accusation. "What makes you think that was me?"
"Because it usually is you."
He muttered something incomprehensible into his flask, but settled back down.
After a second or two, where she began to think maybe it was just a system spike and she had in fact imagined it (and prooobably should feel bad for yelling at him), there came another – slightly less hard, but for slightly longer, accompanied by a very subtle almost-purr from the languid Seeker.
Two and two came together to make four. "…are you biting my aerials, Skywarp?"
"Tch! No," he snorted, as though it were the most ludicrous thing he'd heard all orn, then added; "I'm nibbling them."
Slightly blindsided, all she could do for a full second or two was stare at the far wall. At last, her voice decided to return. "All right, allow me to rephrase that. Why are you nibbling my aerials?"
He gave another of those funny why-are-you-asking-silly-questions sort of chuckles. "Because they're there?" A beat of silence passed, for dramatic effect, and when he spoke again, his voice was a little louder, a little closer. "And they're near my mouth?" Another little silence. "And I'm bored?" This time, his lips had got close enough that she could actually feel them stirring the air as he spoke, softly, right next to her audio; "you'd enjoy it if you weren't, ah..." Pause, little snerk. "...'studying'."
The small femme pursed her lips, irritably, and shot him a sidelong glare. "Well I'm not playing your game, you useless fragger." It took considerable effort, but she successfully ignored the thoughtful strum of his fingers down her right sensory array, staring hard at her datapad. "It wouldn't kill you to wait for me to finish what I'm doing, for once."
"And where's the fun in that? C'mon, your name isn't Screamer, you can work at work. This is like, 'evening off'."
She could feel the subtle movement of warm air from his cranial vents as he leaned closer. "Can't you find someone else to heckle, for once?"
"Nah." His other hand came to rest carefully over the alarm blinker on the other side of her head. "Maybe I should do some study too. Like... how many alternate uses can we find for that fluff you keep insisting on wearing." He vented chilly air over her scarf and made the ends flutter.
She rolled her eyes, tolerating his manhandling with an increasing impatience. One more breem, and I'll sock him in the faceplates. "I will use my siren on you if you don't stop being a pest, and putting your hands over my audios won't help you in the slightest."
"Oh, pssh." He tightened his grasp a little and forced her to roll her head forwards.
"I swear, if you don't frag off, I-...ahh-" The protests building in her vocaliser died in a helpless little gurgle of pleasure as he carefully kissed the nape of her neck. The chilly trace of energon left on his lips made the sensors laminated into her armour tingle, and electrifying feedback shot straight down her main motor complex, like a chrome-plated icicle. Her fingers convulsed open, involuntarily, casting her stylus to the floor, where it rolled somewhere inaccessible under one of the other chairs. "P-primus-..."
"Sorry, I didn't catch that." His smirk was so obvious, it was almost audible.
She croaked something wordless, unable to divert the processing power to her vocaliser. "S-so-... study what...?" she managed, at last.
"Energy efficiency." His voice descended into a murmur, his lips almost touching her audios. "You've got a full tank, right? How about I see how many times I can get you to overload before you need to refuel." He applied his denta to the side of her throat, carefully drew them across the soft grey elastomeric surface, mouthing his way down to her shoulder. "Then I can, ah, 'audit' my findings later, to see if your energy handling's improved any."
"You're such a glitch," she scolded, helplessly, unable to keep from trembling. There was absolutely no way she was going to hide her stuttering fans and purring engine from him now.
"I know. And I'm gonna keep being a glitch until you put that pad away, Dorkface." One big hand closed on both her wrists, casually, and the other carefully plucked the polycarbonate from her unresisting fingers.
OK, she conceded, finally giving up any effort to keep working in the face of insurmountable odds. Maybe studying was overrated…