* * *
"Except for the bam! pow! wings, he's a pretty sweet kablam! piece of skidplate."
Long used to Warpath's sudden changes in conversational direction away from him, Powerglide just shrugged. "You're just saying that because he's got a tank-mode."
"And what a zowie! tank-mode!" Warpath pumped his fist lewdly.
Seaspray almost snorted in his energon. "Don't let Ironhide or Ratchet catch you talking like that. I heard they really reamed the Aerialbots out for crushing on the Deceptijets."
"Now why'd they want to knock something so groovy?" Beachcomber's optics flickered gently as he dipped his fingers into his energon cube and licked the droplets off. He hardly seemed aware of the glances he was drawing from Seaspray.
The four minibots sat in a corner of the lounge on the downshift, enjoying the dim lights and company. Powerglide had a patrol as soon as dawn hit, same as Seapsray. The little A-10 had met up with Beachcomber when the dune buggy was on his way back from a patrol, so he wasn't surprised Beachcomber was nodding off. Warpath had come along when invited, though Powerglide had no idea what he'd been up to before.
"Maybe they want a piece of tailfin for themselves." Powerglide waggled his wings suggestively.
"Ironhide? Chasing a two-bit pair of wings when he's been mooning after Prime for so long?" Seaspray burbled into his energon. "I know you're both red, Powerglide, but he's not an extension of you."
Warpath laughed and slapped his knee. "Blam! Right in the kisser!"
"I don't have a kisser!" Powerglide snapped.
All four of them started laughing then, Seaspray practically bent double while Warpath pounded on the table. Beachcomber chuckled softly, then suddenly pointed one glistening finger at Powerglide's face. "Astoria."
"She kissed you."
Seaspray started snickering again.
"He's got you pow! there!"
"Warpath, buddy, shouldn't you be defending my honor or soemthing?" Powerglide finished his energon cube and tucked his primary intake tube back into his side. The cube faded from view.
"Well..." The tank's optics glittered. "Sure, Powerglide, I'll kapow! keep you from tumbling any of the zowie! Aerialbots. Except Silverbolt."
"Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," Beachcomber murmurred.
"Hey, hey, hey! That kind of honor don't need preserving!" Powerglide's optics flared, and he leaned forward, one elbow resting on the table. "'Sides, as the ace of the air, I am the perfect 'bot to show them some out-of-combat maneuvers."
Seaspray snorted eloquently, the burble in his voice adding to the whole aural experience. "Starscream is more likely to tweak their tailfins."
"Starscream? Pfeh! Ain't I the Casanova of us minibots?" Powerglide wondered how many of them would even get the reference, and if he'd been drinking too much in the first place to make it.
Seaspray started laughing again, Beachcomber had laid his head down on the table and was watching them dreamily, and Warpath just covered his optics with one hand. "No, Powerglide, you're wham! not."
"Do we even have a Casanova?" Beachcomber asked.
The other three Autobots paused and turned to look at each other, then Seaspray shrugged. "Cliffjumper?"
"He said Casanova, not hyper-aggressive fruitcake," Powerglide jibed.
"He got Mirage, didn't he?"
"Yeah, and you saw how that worked out."
"None of us zam! do that stuff. We're not like the kablam! bigbots." Warpath rumbled. Under the edge of the table, he curled one arm across his abdomen. Powerglide was pretty sure he was the only one who noticed.
Seaspray nodded, then looked sharply at Beachcomber as the dune buggy's optics dimmed abrubtly. "Fell asleep." He wrapped an arm around Beachcomber's shoulders and coaxed him to his feet. "I'll get him to his berth."
Powerglide nodded and snagged Beachcomber's almost-drained energon cube. "See you on patrol."
Warpath waved as the two of them shuffled out and sat companionably with Powerglide for a few minutes while they finished off their energon. Then he stood up creakingly, one arm still pressed across his abdomen. "Help me back to pow! medbay, will ya?"
"What'd you do to yourself?" Powerglide slid off his stool and offered his arm to Warpath.
Warpath hooked his arm around one of Powerglide's wings and sagged against the other minibot. He was heavy, but not as heavy as he could be - he was at least mostly supporting himself right now. "Got in a tangle with kablam! Vortex and Brawl earlier."
"And if you're supposed to be in medbay right now, what're you doing out drinking? Ratchet's gonna kill you!"
"Ratchet's defragging. Figured you'd shazam! want the company. Didn't know you'd met up with baff! pow! Seaspray and Beachcomber."
Powerglide chuckled. "You big lug. We're not green recruits anymore. I don't need you with me every time we do something social. No one's gonna look at us funny for being war-build."
Warpath shrugged. "So?"
"Right. Now pick your feet up, and away we go!"