You want to Leaf me Alone?


Star’s pace slowed down a bit, and he looked up at Ivan after loosening both shoes. Space? Was Ivan seriously trying to ditch him? Then again, he was about to just shoot off into the sky. Ivan wouldn’t ditch him, though.

His date didn’t look very happy, but-they had a nice time earlier. A great time until Wood showed up and tried to politely recruit him like those door-to-door Mormons. Hey, can I interest you in rejoining our family in the name of our great creator Albert Wily? Just the thought of him made him a little more pissed. “Yes.” he finally replied, standing back up and taking his shoes off. This oversensitive baby didn’t want to ruin both their nights.

"I guess I’ll get back to you later, hon." He already felt a tiny bit better when he floated off the ground in a hover. Star even leaned in and gave Ivan a peck on the cheek just because he could do it and because when he hovered, Ivan didn’t seem as ridiculously tall.

"Ah, alright…" Ivan said, trying not to seem too disappointed. Honestly, he thought Star was the one who was wanting to ditch him right now- it wasn’t like the Searchbot had done much tonight aside from make bad decisions. But if Star needed some time to himself to collect his thoughts and cool off after his run-in with Wood, Ivan wasn’t going to get in the way of that with his self-pity.

That and he didn’t particularly want to hang around the alcohol. He was capable of pacing himself, sure, but really, the last thing this situation needed was a drunk catty Ivan. “I’ll see you later then, I suppose.”

leafing Wood behind


Star gave Ivan a pointed look. Like he even dared suggest that. But Ivan had, and Star knew he wasn’t in the right mind to decide that right now in the first place. His opinion of the second line had spiraled down into a trash heap almost single-handedly by Flash himself and there were few he wanted to even attempt talking to.


As frustrated as he was, he was at least level enough to realize there was an activity he could do that would redirect all this heat and make him happier. “No, but I think I could use a drink.” he muttered, bending over and carefully untying his dress shoes one after the other. He needed to be airborne immediately. Star was thankful now that Plantman had eventually given him permission as long as he wasn’t going to be a jerk and mess with people.

Ivan pulled a bit of a face at Star’s look, realising that maybe that hadn’t been the best of things to suggest so soon after it’d happened. Might not have really been a good thing to suggest full stop, but it was a bit late for that now. “Ah, alright…” he said as Star started to untie his shoes, trying not to look too dejected. He wasn’t having much luck with his words tonight, was he. “Do you need me to give you a bit of space, or…?”

leafing Wood behind


Star had to stop and think about that. Yes, he’d thought so before he’d gotten so upset. He looked at the corsage regifted given to him.

>It seemed like it. He freely admitted he didn’t care about what happened to Ring man, but the he did say he cared about me.

Even if Wood’s offer was genuine, Star wasn’t sure he wanted to touch it. He still didn’t think much of the way Flash did things, and if he came back he’d have to get looked at. He couldn’t do all his maintenance himself. There was also the issue of his shoulder joints which hurt quite a bit when he swiveled his arms too far up or too far back. He tried his damnedest to hide that from Ivan so he wouldn’t bother Flash with it in the first place.

Involved? Star was sure Flash wouldn’t cook this up. He already had Star under his boot in the first place. Why would he invite him back in?
Unless he actually wanted something from him.Star couldn’t think of what that something could be, though.

>Just Flash when he said he overreacted.

Wood’s feelings towards Ring weren’t really all that surprising, to be honest - Ivan knew how infamous the police ‘bot was among the seconds. It was the fact that Wood was suddenly inviting Star back into the fortress that was bothering him the most. Try as he might, he just couldn’t figure out whether it was genuine or not.

>Do you think it’d be worth talking to him a bit more in depth at some point? Not now, of course, but later on.

Maybe it was a trick, maybe it was all in earnest. There wasn’t really any way to know for sure, and it wasn’t something Ivan wanted to dwell on while they were trying to enjoy themselves.

>We’ll do something to try to cool you off a bit in the meantime. Is there anything you want to do…?

leafing Wood behind


The further away from Wood he got, the more Star cooled down. He still couldn’t quite think calmly or logically, so his thoughts came out a little scrambled.

>He wanted to help me. He said Flashed overreacted when he kicked me out and he hoped he could get me back in. That I belonged with the rest of my family.

>But he did it. He smiled at me and was so gentle with be, and then he said it like it was nothing. And I got so mad, and he just acted like there wasn’t anything wrong.

>The way he phrased it, there’s no way it wasn’t him. He killed Ring and he was holding my hands.

It’s a good thing Ivan had shown up, too. If Wood kept trying to have this sweet little heart to heart after glossing over Ring’s murder, he honestly would have punched him.

Ivan couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at that. Wood wanting to get Star back into the fortress certainly came as a surprise, especially considering which line he was part of. He hadn’t seemed hostile or anything when the Searchbot had approached them, but… he still wasn’t sure what to think. 

>So do you think he was being genuine?

He had his doubts, but if there was one thing he knew about Wood, it was that he was unpredictable. He’d seen how compassionate he could be first-hand when he’d come to offer Ivan comfort during a breakdown. He’d also seen what sorts of things he’d inflicted on that one city ‘bot in the past. Except now it was almost as though he’d become friends with that ‘bot… though Ivan had no way of knowing if some sort of reprogramming had been involved or not. It just made him wonder if his sudden desire for Star to return to the fortress was some sort of trick.

>Did he mention any of his brothers? They could be involved in some way.




Star saw his chance and gravitated to Ivan’s side as calmly as he could, looping his arm around Ivan’s waist once he was in place next to him. He needed contact, he needed to be pet, and jesus, did he need a drink. Ivan came in near the end of all that, so Star wasn’t sure how much he’d heard or what he made of it, but he’d tell him later when they were out of earshot from Wood. Maybe people in general, actually. He gave Wood a little nod, but didn’t say anything otherwise.

>Thanks, sweetheart.

He really might have dug himself deeper or ruined his shoes when he opted to escape.

Wood gave a sheepish shake of the head and stepped back further, “It’s… The maze is…” He trailed off, knowing the small talk was just a meaningless formality and a way out for the two. Somehow he felt like he’d done more harm than good, though he knew otherwise. This was the right thing to do… wasn’t it?

He locked eyes with Ivan, who knows what he suspected of Wood in this moment. “Ivan,” he muttered, “I’m just trying to set things right.” Whether or not either of them took his words to heart, he didn’t know. This was all he could give. Star would fill him in. There was no more for him to say. Wood bowed his head and let the two move on, left in solitude again.

Great, now Ivan felt guilty. He hadn’t really wanted to upset Wood, but at the end of the day, he was part of the line who seemed to hold the most contempt for Star. Ivan still intended to protect the spacebot despite his protests, so it was without another glance at Wood that he started to head off with Star.

>What did he want with you? 

Ivan sent, hoping it was okay to ask. Wood’s claims that he was trying to “set things right” was both concerning and intriguing him.




By the time Ivan  got there, Star had accepted the corsage and rolled his sleeves up to put it on. He was feeling some other things conflicting with his anger and he hated himself for it. Even the little bit of pride he felt that he hadn’t teared up yet from all this. “I don’t like making promises I can’t keep, so I’m not promising to come back by taking this.”

Wood offered it to him, and wearing it was the most convenient way to transport it. Just-He knew. He knew if he asked why he did it, Wood would just say the same thing. Or it would turn out to be something Ring did. And if he asked Ring, it would be because of his job or because he was trying to protect people too. So he wouldn’t ask. Wood didn’t seem to entirely understand where Star’s motivation that day came from, and he wasn’t going to waste his time becoming more upset and trying to explain it. Hearing both sides of the story and somewhat sympathizing with both was completely awful.

Ivan coming on the scene was a pleasant surprise and took his attention off of Wood some, but not entirely. “Hey, hon. I’m okay.”

>I’m not okay. I want to simultaneously hug him and tear his neck cables out. Get me out of here.

"I understand, Star. It’s your decision to make." Wood added softly before addressing Ivan. "It’s good to see you. Everything’s alright." He offered a bit of a faked smile to his foliage-admiring friend. If the mood had been even a little lighter he probably would have extended his arms to them both, but instead he just tucked his hands into his pockets and shuffled backwards a little to show he meant no harm or intrusion further.

>Er, alright.

With that message fresh in his mind, Ivan couldn’t help but look at Wood a little warily, but he masked it with a small smile. “I’d certainly hope so.” Oh dear, he hoped that hadn’t come across as… too curt. He couldn’t help it; he was just starting to feel a little protective. “Come to give the maze a try, I see? It’s definitely tricky; Star and I are just on our way out.”




Star had been sympathetic and even hopeful until Wood uttered the words I was glad to give him to my brothers. One of the most intense mood whiplashes since his first time being intimate with Tengu man hit him after that. He was currently holding handsies with the person who’d murdered Ring and handed him off to the assholes that decorated him like a christmas tree. And said murderer was trying to ‘make things right.’

And the most cutting thing, was how sincere Wood seemed. Star’s hands shook, and it wasn’t remotely because he was afraid. He needed an out. He had to get away from this guy before he popped him right in his fat friendly face. When Star found words that were mildly unoffensive to express himself, he let them drop from his taut mouth. “I can’t do this.”

He started pulling away, his hands slipping from Wood’s as well. As feel-good as the thought of being welcomed home was, and someone else saying he belonged somewhere-in a family even-he couldn’t appreciate any of it, let alone seriously think on it. “If you’re really sorry for what happened with Ring man, you’re making amends in the wrong order.”

Star was… angry?? Wood didn’t move to grab Star or stop him, he just kind of stood there. It was beyond his comprehension that Star was upset about Wood killing Ring and bringing him home as a memento to hang lights on.

"I’m only sorry for your treatment, cousin. Ring Man-?" Wood shook his head. Was Star suggesting he apologize for stomping Ring’s head in?? It was either that or go down to him in the fight. Not to mention allow the fortress location to be easily traced. "Our home was at stake. Our safety. I protected Father’s and your home, Star. Now all I’m asking is for you to enjoy it." He stepped out of the dead-end. "Please do not be angry. I did as I was told to do. That’s all I can do." No mercy for Ring, no mercy for the humans he’d cut down, though there was absolutely something there for Star. If only for baring his maker’s name.

He stopped in his tracks. Star was basically fuming, after all. Wood didn’t know if he could really calm him down. Trying to talk things out with angry bots usually wasn’t met with much success. He reached into his suit’s front and pulled out a disheveled and slightly wilted near-duplicate of the corsage he was wearing.

"Star, take this. If you change your mind, m- maybe… It can be proof. Until I can speak up for you. It is your right to live under Father’s roof unless he says otherwise himself. I love you, dear cousin. It isn’t fair the way it is."

Ivan had to admit, this maze was… proving a lot more difficult than he’d anticipated. Unfortunately, he was only good at hiding amongst foliage, not identifying whether it was familiar or not. He couldn’t help but wonder how Star was doing. For all he knew, the spacebot could have already made his way through and back. 

…Hm. He guessed it wouldn’t hurt to check up on Star’s whereabouts. It wasn’t like his radar was mapping out the maze’s layout, so it wasn’t exactly cheating; it’d just give him an idea of where he was in relation to him. With a brief (and unnecessary considering his radar was internal) glance around, Ivan gave it a check, and… wait, who was that other figure close by Star? The Searchbot’s brows furrowed a little. It was being identified as DWN 016 - hold on, wasn’t that one of the second gens?? Eyes widening a little, Ivan quickly started to make his way over to where the two figures were.

It took a bit of navigation considering he was in, well, a maze, but soon the unmistakeable figure of Woodman came into view. Wood may have been the more docile (…usually) of the second gens, but seeing him with Star wasn’t exactly helping Ivan’s concerns, especially since the spacebot didn’t seem too happy. He walked up to the two figures rather briskly, clearing his throat (or at least simulating the sound) to announce his presence. 

"Excuse me," he said, trying his best to remain polite. It was partly down to wanting to avoid a confrontation, but also because… well, he hadn’t forgotten about Wood offering him comfort when no one else would, back when he’d had that little breakdown. He glanced between Star and the second gen, soon focusing his gaze on the latter. "Can I help you, Wood…?"

Cake Action


Whoever set up those lights was very careful as to where they put them, and Star could appreciate that. Also they were pretty to just look at. His smile grew at the squeeze his hand received. His first thought was actually the bar when Ivan asked, but they’d just been standing around consuming things and Ivan expressed he didn’t want to drink much. Ivan seemed chipper about the maze. He could give it a shot.

"All right, we can do the maze." Star’s eyes narrowed a bit as he looked over to it. Riiiight. Hedge maze. "But you aren’t allowed to use your skills to go through the walls."  There, that ought to make it fair. Oh wait- "..and I promise I won’t fly."

Oh, good, he seemed up for the idea. After having to stay with Ivan for the past few months, he wouldn’t have been surprised if the spacebot was sick of the sight of bushes.

"Fair enough." he said, chuckling a little to himself. He was adept at hiding amongst foliage, true, but he doubted it was going to give him much of an advantage here. …His in-built radar might, though. 

Either way they were soon arriving at the maze, and after giving another brief squeeze, Ivan let go of Star’s hand. “Alright, let’s see how long it takes us to get through this, heh…”

Cake Action


That was a solid plan Ivan had there. Star would probably even load up a plate to take home later. “I sure hope so.” He chirped.

Star blinked down at Ivan’s hand for a minute. That was an awfully sweet gesture, and Star only hesitated a moment before taking him up on it with a brilliant smile. “Sure, let’s go.”

And with the enthusiasm and pace of a teenager taking advantage of a 50% off sale at whatever store full of overpriced trinkets and clothes they enjoyed, Star pulled Ivan carefully through the crowd. Not before giving a long glance towards an alien at one of the food tables that-was that a bipedal cat? He looked like an itty bitty kitty, and Star only had a minute to lament that just going up and petting a stranger was probably a pretty rude thing to do. Dismissing that, and not really going in to a specific place just yet, he followed the lighting structures above them.

Maybe it was his programmed affinity for the outdoors, but Ivan just couldn’t get over how atmospheric the setting was. He couldn’t help but have a good look around too as he walked, taking in the sights and the guests and- oh, hey, there went Percy, and he was still fully dressed. Well that was a novelty.

"Seen anything that interests you?" he asked, giving Star’s hand an affectionate little squeeze. "I hear there’s a maze here; perhaps we can give it a try." …Actually, on second thought, Star had probably seen enough hedges to last him a lifetime. "Or, well, uh. If you want to, that is."

Cake Action


If he was finished with the desserts… Star looked down at his plate which still held two slices of cake. He could finish those off in about five minutes if he tried. It would be kind of rude to just break out into food-shoving for a few minutes without giving Ivan an answer though. “The second option. It’s pretty neat to scope out a new place.”

"Just give me a minute to eat this." He wasn’t wasting good cake. Especially since he was almost certain the last time he had some was last prom. He dropped grace and some manners for the next few minutes and forked cake into his mouth, only slowing down to chew the minimum amount before swallowing and on the last couple of bites to savor the flavor.

"Ah, alright." Ivan couldn’t help but chuckle a little as Star hurried to finish his desserts. "Don’t worry, we can always come back here later if you want some more. I’m sure there’s enough here to last a good while."

Once Star had finished with his food, Ivan offered his hand for him to take. It seemed recent events here had taken the spacebot’s mind off being upset with him, thankfully. “Would you like to lead the way?”

something something Bushes


Between the two of them Plant was around one hundred percent done. He wanted something else to occupy his time. Or, someone else, rather. Someone he didn’t have to play games around. Someone who didn’t continue to make him feel strange sticky emotions he’d prefer not to have to bother with. “Well fine Jewel go enjoy your time with your date and see if I care!” He pouted, suddenly much more sad than huffy. Plant ignored Top aside from giving him a defeated, quiet look. “I’ll go spend time with mine.” 

Without another word he left, tendrils curling and uncurling and lashing behind him despite his otherwise calm exterior, toward the ponds, sending Percy a message that he’d like to meet him there.

Once arriving, however, he found himself incredibly tired. His energy readings were continuing to plummet thanks to his completely ruined day-night schedule and an improperly calibrated internal battery. Some idle time couldn’t hurt…

When it came to parties, it was usually around this time that Percy would be stumbling around drunkenly in his underwear. So the fact he was only lightly buzzed right now was a pretty big achievement for him! Any other party, then yeah, sure- but this one was special. He didn’t want to ruin Plant’s hard work with drunken antics… or at least not on his own. If his date was up for having a few drinks and getting up to mischief then he’d have no objections, but for now he made his way over to the ponds on his best behaviour.

HEY," he greeted when Plant came into view, giving a small wave as he approached. He couldn’t help but smile a little to himself, glad that he was finally able to spend some time with the nature ‘bot and blissfully unaware of what the other had had to deal with. "HOW HAVE THINGS BEEN GOING?? THIS PLACE IS GREAT; YOU REALLY OUTDID YOURSELF, HEH.

Cake Action


As warm and comfortable as Ivan’s arm was around him, Star couldn’t help but look irritated as he tore his eyes off of Chargeman. Bush freak. Hmph. It didn’t take long for that expression to melt off his face though. If Ivan was just trying to butter him up, he didn’t care. It was working, and he was a moderately butter soaked biscuit.

He felt strange getting wooed by the food table, though. They already had their cake. “Hey, do you wanna walk around somewhere else? You said you wanted to see more of the scenery earlier..”

Unaware of the brief private conversation Star had been having with his brother, Ivan looked a little puzzled by his date’s change of expression. Whatever had been bugging him didn’t seem to last long though, so Ivan just shrugged it off. Maybe he’d just seen someone he didn’t want to see.

"If you’re finished with the desserts, then we can do." he said, giving Star’s shoulder a brief pat before moving his arm back to finish off what was on his plate. "Do you have anywhere in mind, or shall we just see what there is and make a decision as we go…?"

Searching For Cake


Star ate that up. Both figuratively and literally, considering he was still conquering his plate of goodies. He stood there looking at Ivan more fondly, trying to think of a display of affection he could give while holding his plate. Ivan was far too tall to kiss without him leaning down or Star hovering, so the shorter bot settled for pressing his side against Ivan’s and leaning into him a little. “Thanks, hon.”

"You’re welcome." He couldn’t keep the sappy little smile off his face, holding his plate in one hand so he could put an arm around Star’s shoulders in a sort of half-hug. It meant he had to put his dessert eating on hold temporarily, but oh well.

…Hmm. He wondered if he should risk it. A compliment was still a compliment, right? Star didn’t have to know it was in part because of his dessert-related enthusiasm. “You’re, ah… you’re very cute, too.” he said with a light chuckle, gently petting at Star’s shoulder.

Searching For Cake


"That’s a good idea, actually. Maybe I should give him a ping, too." for the first time that night, Star looked over and got a good look at Ivan without his image being ruined by Star’s own bitter feelings. It was nice to see him in something that wasn’t a turtleneck, and the uniform made him look more fetching. Maybe he could pretend Ivan’s voice had fixed itself for the night. The atmosphere seemed to be working against his initial sour mood, anyway.

Star licked his lips and prepared to voice the compliment. He had the feeling the awkwardness he felt would come through in his tone. “ look fetching tonight.”

By this point Ivan was a little more used to compliments, but he still found himself surprised when Star suddenly called him fetching. Mostly because he’d been running under the assumption that Star was still miffed with him. He couldn’t help but smile a little bashfully, genuinely flattered. “Oh, ah… thank you, Star. You’re looking very handsome yourself.” He’d almost said adorable because of the spacebot’s enthusiasm for sweets, but thankfully he managed to restrain himself. 

> Percy, why not come spend some time with me for a while?