A/N: I felt like writing something cute and silly, so I did.
Cliffjumper didn't notice Mirage come into the rec room, caught up as he was in conversation with Brawn and Bumblebee. He became aware of him when he felt the brush of Mirage's field at his shoulder, followed by the brush of fingertips, somewhere between a request for acknowledgement and for permission. He tipped his head unerringly and without pausing to accept the kiss that Mirage dropped on his cheek. That kiss was their only greeting, the beginning and end alike of what they needed to say to each other according the Towers traditions. Cliffjumper didn't need to look to know the expression of satisfaction curling across Mirage's face as he went along on his way to the dispensary.
By the time Cliffjumper had finished his sentence, though, his own expression had taken a decidedly poor turn.
"And here we go," Bumblebee muttered, resigned as Cliffjumper frowned after Mirage.
"Here I was thinking we might get through a day without this," Brawn muttered back, shaking his head with familiar despair.
"Maybe if I took a running head start…" Cliffjumper mused, more to himself than to his friends, as he watched Mirage stand chatting with Jazz at the dispensary. There was no point musing anything to them, he'd realized, as they would only go out of their way to be unhelpful.
Case in point: Bumblebee gave him a look which suggested he had never in his existence been impressed by anything and pointed out, "Mirage isn't that tall."
Brawn, competitive bot that he was, immediately did one better on the unhelpful scale by pointing out, "Yeah, but Cliffjumper can't jump that high."
While Cliffjumper turned a scowl on Brawn's unrepentant grin, Bumblebee cemented his place as the most unhelpful friend ever by not even hiding his laughter. He at least had the grace to look contrite when Cliffjumper gave him a scowl in turn but amusement still danced in his optics.
"Have I told you guys that you're good for nothing?" Cliffjumper asked, slumping in his seat with his arms crossed against the world.
"I wanna say you've mentioned that a time or ten, yeah," Bumblebee said. Whatever guilt he may have felt over this was clearly not enough to keep him from enjoying slurping his drink through the ridiculous curly straw he'd somehow charmed Ratchet into making for him. "I could be wrong, though?"
"Nah, I remember it too," Brawn said. He made a show of thinking it over, tapping his chin. "I wanna say it was right after I reminded him that my boyfriend's taller than me, too, and you never hear me complaining about it."
It was easy enough for Brawn to not complain about his boyfriend being taller than him. What did he have to complain about? He and Perceptor didn't have as much of a height difference as Cliffjumper and Mirage, for one. And Perceptor wasn't typically inclined to greet Brawn with a kiss, for another thing, at least in public. And if they were in the mood for some PDA, it was nothing more than a tug at the waist for Brawn to dip Perceptor back or even sweep him right off his feet to drop in a peck or two of his own, if he wanted.
On the other hand was Cliffjumper, who was neither built with the strength of body to match his strength of conviction nor of a hardy enough spark to be augmented with such strength. An attempt to dip or sweep Mirage would end with both of them on the floor sporting new dents and of course Mirage wouldn't want to kiss or be kissed by him after that. Which meant that Cliffjumper was left with no easy way to balance the proprietary kisses Mirage liked to drop on his cheeks.
"Why don't you just climb up on a chair?" Bumblebee asked, so intent he was on his campaign of unhelpfulness.
Cliffjumper hoped that the sour look he gave Bumblebee conveyed exactly how ridiculous of an idea that was, because he lacked the words. How was climbing on a chair supposed to compare to Mirage swooping down, fingertips covertly stroking at the seams of Cliffjumper's shoulder, lips brushing sweetly over his faceplate like some poetic comparison that Cliffjumper was too embarrassed to come up with even in the privacy of his own mind? Would Mirage even want a kiss from Cliffjumper after he'd clambered up onto a chair? Would he even want to be seen kissing Cliffjumper at all after that?
It was all too easy to imagine– Mirage, aghast at the indignity of it all, stalking out of the common room in a huff, nose in the air. Mirage, arms folded, snubbing Cliffjumper in the hallways. Mirage, uncaring as, according to the traditions of the Towers, his stake on Cliffjumper's fidelity lapsed in the eyes of their teammates. It'd be the end of them and Cliffjumper would carry such a weight of shame that he'd be stooped too low for anyone to drop a kiss on him– not that anyone would want to, he'd have been so effectively shunned– unless they had a shovel handy.
Bumblebee may or may not have gotten the full force of the message. He huffed and demanded, "How is standing on a chair any worse than taking a running head start and jumping at his face?"
"At least if I jumped, it'd have some flair!"
Brawn snorted and said, "Yeah, Mirage's plating would flare out in horror from someone jumping at his face." Hardly were the words out of his mouth that he lost all apparent interest in both of them– Perceptor had just walked in. Brawn half stood in his seat to wave, smile going crooked when Perceptor brightened and waved back.
"Why not run and jump on the chair?" Bumblebee suggested, having apparently developed some sort of fascination for chairs.
Still, Cliffjumper perked up at the suggestion– then just as quickly deflated.
"My luck, the chair would tip over," he grumbled. Balancing his desire to demonstrate with his need to sulk, he tipped his own chair back onto two legs, crooking a knee up against the bottom of the table to keep himself steady..
"Yeah, that sounds like your luck," Bumblebee said, far too cheerful.
Cliffjumper opened his mouth to retort but was cut off by Brawn heaving a sigh unlike any that the universe had known before that moment. Cliffjumper nearly forgot his woes, blown away as they were by the force. The very atmosphere shifted, causing heads to turn in curiosity and battle systems to whirr to life on instinct. The bots scattered at tables nearest to them, who'd paid them no mind for as long as they been sat there, looked upon Brawn with awe. Even Bumblebee looked impressed for the first time since Cliffjumper had seen him that day but didn't look like he himself knew what impression he'd been given. Somewhere, a meteorologist burst into tears and would never know why.
"Alright, you sad sack of bolts," said Brawn, throwing back the last of his drink and wiping the back of his hand across his mouth as he hopped down from his seat. "You're bringing me down and I'm not gonna have it." He pointed at Cliffjumper, who'd opened his mouth this time to protest; it was a gesture to hush and a demand to pay attention in one. "Be ready to make your move– and make it fast. I've got someone waiting."
Bumblebee and Cliffjumper shared a questioning look, then Bumblebee shrugged and they both watched Brawn strut across the common room. He did not, as expected, strut towards the table that Perceptor had claimed in the corner. Perceptor looked just as surprised by this, though he was placated easily enough when Brawn made a gesture at him ("Gimme a minute"). Brawn never paused on his way, a way which was increasingly apparent as one that would take him toward the dispensary– and Jazz and Mirage, still chatting.
As his abandoned companions shared another look, Brawn invited himself into the conversation, more visibly welcomed by Jazz than by Mirage, who he planted himself close beside. Mirage shifted to give him better access to the tap but Brawn didn't even glance at it. He shifted not unlike Mirage had and they were soon as they had been. Mirage narrowed a look down at him, not so much displeased as suspicious. Certain that Brawn was up to something.
Bumblebee gasped, fumbling at Cliffjumper's arm and nearly tipping him out of his unbalanced chair. Cliffjumper started to sputter a protest but swallowed it on reflex when Bumblebee dragged him close and hissed, "Running head start, go!"
His head span a little, in the same way he was a little prone to gun-jumping, as he was rocked and shoved by Bumblebee's exuberance. He floundered as he was yanked out of his seat and given a hardy shove in the direction of the dispensary. But while Cliffjumper might not be one for making plans, he was quick enough to catch onto them (a few notable exceptions notwithstanding). He shot a quick look at Bumblebee, who flapped his hands at him like he was a pigeon to be shooed. Scoffing, Cliffjumper crept off as stealthily as he could– more stealthily than he was ever likely to get credit for– and, after those few sneaky starting steps, took up the distance between himself and Mirage at a run.
It was a testament to how much of a room Brawn's presence took up that neither Jazz nor Mirage noticed Cliffjumper until the last moment. Jazz startled mid-sentence, jaw slacking at the sight of him. It was this that brought Mirage's attention to him and he hardly had any time at all by then to puzzle out Cliffjumper's aim.
Cliffjumper's aim, as it happened, was as true as his conviction. He leaped, hooked a foot on the elbow that Brawn had presented him, stepped up on Brawn's shoulder and then up on Brawn's head for a good extra measure. Unlike what might've been expected from a chair in the event of Cliffjumper's admittedly unsubstantial but nonetheless enthusiastic weight being so thrown upon it, Brawn didn't so much as wobble. He continued to hold steady as Cliffjumper caught his balance between his living step stool and Mirage's shoulder, where his fingertips stroked covertly, if clumsily, at seams. He leaned down– down!– to plant a victorious, proprietary kiss on the cheek Mirage turned to offer him instinctively. By the standard of the Towers traditions he so liked to scoff at, it showed off to anyone who was paying attention– which was everyone in the rec room, given the spectacle– exactly what they were to each other.
When Cliffjumper drew back, hand solid on Mirage's shoulder, it was to find Mirage looking up– up!– at him with sheer exasperation. So sheer was his exasperation that it did nothing to hide the fondness dancing in the light of his optics. He settled a hand on Cliffjumper's hip and, after a moment's consideration, quirked an optic ridge and tilted his head to offer the other cheek as well.
Cliffjumper, beaming and basking in his triumph, was forced to consider that maybe his friends could be helpful after all.