Chromedome was so engrossed in the energon sample he was cataloguing that he had to ask Prowl to repeat what he’d just said… and then to repeat it again, because no matter how hard Chromedome concentrated, the words refused to budge from the nonsensical order in which he’d first thought he’d heard them: “Your new paintjob makes you look much more authoritative.”
“Um. I suppose?” Chromedome ventured, not sure whether that was meant to be a compliment, a subtle dig at his old (and, presumably, much less authoritative) paintjob, or a simple statement of fact, since Prowl’s placid blue gaze was giving nothing away.
Prowl flashed a tight-lipped little smile, and added, “I’m sure many mecha find it quite… arresting,” and okay, Chromedome was definitely losing his mind, because the way Prowl’s voice had dipped low on that last word made it sound like a pun and a come-on in one disturbing package, and Chromedome would bet a month’s salary that Prowl was incapable of either of those things, never mind both at once.
After a moment’s furious thought, Chromedome narrowed his visor and said acidly, “If you’re trying to hint that you think we should have made an arrest in this case by now, then you can fill out the damned warrant forms yourself, because every instinct I have is telling me that chronosmith is innocent –” and then he tossed the sample in the air – Prowl gasped reproachfully – caught it, and went to take it for analysis.
Once Chromedome was gone, Prowl pulled up a top secret spreadsheet on his HUD, unlocked its triple encryption, and crossed off “compliments”, “affirmative teasing”, and “puns” from the list of Potential Tactics (Primary Phase – Operation: Chromedome), noting ruefully that he’d soon be down to shouting his feelings through a megaphone, hiring a skywriter, or turning up in Chromedome’s berth unannounced in a slinky coat of polish, and one of the officers in the riot squad had already borrowed his megaphone.
This is beautiful and perfect. Thank you!