As Swerve moves out of Kup's reach, Kup withdraws the hand. Then he turns, checks the area, and decides to settle down next to one of the trees, setting his back to it. The ground is still damp enough that it's unpleasant, but there's no danger of sinking in before morning.
"Oh, sure, at first," Kup admits, almost casually in the face of Swerve's accusation. Then he sobers and looks right at Swerve. "Then I realized you were actually hurt, and it stopped being funny. S'happens sometimes."
He quirks a smile, just barely visible in the gathering darkness. "Who knows? Maybe years down the road, you'll look back and think it was funny, too."
Swerve's scowl turns into a flat-out dirty look and his hands ball into fists.
"Not likely," he mutters. There are things that amuse him. Falling on his face isn't one of them. "And I'm not hurt, smelt it all. I just told you nothing's broken!" Nothing bent, dented, cracked, or torn either. Just a dull ache that's fading quickly, overwhelmed by frustration and anger. He finally gets to his feet and takes a few steps, moving just far enough to be free of the mud, then firmly sits down right where he is, his back to Kup. Stupid Primus-fragged planet.
He shuts off his headlamps and just glares out at the nothingness of plants and mud and water, annoyed with everything and the idle of his engine saying so.
That unexpected and unasked-for apology earns an almost involuntary flinch from Swerve. He doesn't get it; just because he doesn't think falling on his face is funny, Kup feels bad about it? It isn't like it's the first time somebody thought Swerve taking a hit was entertaining… but that's racing. It's as much for the crowds as it is for the participants. It's like Swerve can't get angry – can't be angry – around here any more without someone feeling lousy about it. But he's always angry. He's never not been angry; he's just less angry sometimes.
"I didn't ask you t' be sorry," Swerve says at length, voice low and sullen, optics fixed on the mud a few inches from his feet while his fans start to spin up. It torques him off that Kup can't just stick with being amused. "Just because I don't think it's funny."
"Did I ask if you asked?" Kup answers without so much as opening his optics. Crimony.
"I ain't young enough or foolish enough to think that bit of me that finds it funny when bad things happen to other folks is going to go away anytime soon, but I do like to think I'm decent enough that when the 'other folks' is decent types themselves, I'm allowed to not like that that bit's there," he explains. The only thing that moves, however, is his mouth. From the rest of his body, one would think he was offline.
"You don't gotta accept the apology, but it's out there whether you want it or not." Then, finally, movement. Kup's lips quirk into a smirk. "But I imagine that just pisses you off more."
"And so what if it does?!" Swerve demands furiously as he whirls around to face Kup, optics brightening, engine revving, tires spinning in anger. He rises halfway, balanced on one knee with a hand steadying him. He points at the oldtimer with his free hand and if he was just a little madder, he'd be pointing his gun instead. "So what if it torques everything the wrong way and grinds my gears? That funny, too?!" That's the idea taking hold in Swerve's processors at any rate, that this is some kind of game to Kup and he's just seeing how far he can push until seals burst and heatsinks start melting.
Trying to figure out if that's the truth or not – and failing at finding an answer – just adds to the workload and the heat, but Swerve's already too far gone to care. The crash, the hellish tangle of plants and water and dirt, having to walk through it, the inability to drive anywhere, and getting jerked around by the only company he's got are piling up far too quickly.
Kup finally opens the lid-covers of his optics and fixes Swerve with an irate glare. "Only in a 'everything torques you the wrong way and there ain't nothing I can do about that, and I got the choice of laughing and snappin' back, so I might as well laugh.' But you know, we're getting to the point where the other option's startin' to look real good here," he answers, his tone starting faintly annoyed, but ending in almost a growl.
"So why don't you sit your skidplate back down, cool off, and catch some defrag before you ain't the only torqued off mechanoid here, huh?"
And then the lids of his optics snap closed once more.
Swerve visibly, violently spasms at that threat – sounds like a threat to him – and lurches to his feet. He can't think straight; his fans abruptly hit a screaming pitch, the familiar blue flash of an overheat warning obscures his vision for a split-second and that's all it takes for his cannon to drop into his hand and for the racer to take aim.
He locks up before he can call for a Cyber Key, face twisted in rage and confusion, optics too bright. The longer he stands there staring down his still-unarmed weapon at Kup, the louder the alarm shrieks at him and he wants to shut it up. He wants so much to take out his frustrations on the old slagger, to shut him up. Wants to make the smoke-spewing Autobot hurt. Can't smash him. That won't work. Shoot him instead. Blast him right in that smug face.
He doesn't even feel how badly he's trembling. He hears it, hears plating and bolts rattling under the strain of trying to run the command and getting nowhere; he blinks and looks at his arm. He can't stop shaking.
I can't– "Frag it!" he spits, jaw clenched. He can't fire. He can't just shoot Kup. It's wrong, all wrong. It's cheap and low and he isn't like this.
Kup once more unshutters his optics as he hears Swerve spring up, and he frowns at Swerve as the other stands over him - frowns, but does nothing else. Then, after Swerve swears, he gives a heavy sigh and stands up. Then he approaches Swerve and, ignoring the weapon still pointed at him, gently, very gently, places his hands on his shoulders. Then, just as gently, he sweeps his right foot across Swerve's legs, a move that would knock the racer off his feet, were Kup not still holding him up by his shoulders.
Finally, with Swerve's legs out of the way, he carefully, taking mind not to injure the other Autobot, sets Swerve down against the nearest tree. Then, without a word, Kup settles down next to him, using the same tree as support as well, re-shutters his optics, and once more attempts to initiate a defragmentation cycle.
OOC: All handling of Swerve done with player permission.
Swerve honestly expects Kup to belt him a good one. Maybe put his face through the back of his head. He even braces for the punch he's sure is coming and figures he's earned when Kup grabs him and he can't make himself move.
The ground drops out from under him and he finds himself firmly set down instead, gun still in hand and head intact. All with a bafflingly light hand, like the other Autobot was worried about breaking him. His back stiffens and he turns in a slow, jerky movement to glare at Kup, jaw grinding and ventilation screaming.
He's – he's going easy on me! Swerve's scowl darkens and he lifts his weapon again to bash Kup over the head with it. It doesn't make any sense! He can't figure it out!
He can't follow through, either. Again. As much as he wants to hurt the oldtimer, as furious as he is, head pounding, lines running hot and thin, entire body drawn taut, he can't do it. He wants it so badly it hurts to not take that swing, but he can't bring himself to do it. There's no reason to do it. A few months ago, he didn't need any reasons. He must be going soft around all these straight-racing gearheads. He curses at the thought and, since he can't make himself hit Kup, he slings his weapon off to one side with every ounce of strength he has; it crashes against another tree and he slumps forward, slamming his fist into the wet dirt and just sitting there like that, cycling air and still shaking.
The large, slime-covered creature delivers a powerful blow against Kup with one of its four webbed 'arms', gurgle-growling angrily at both the Autobots. The hit throws him into the air, and he lands and his rear in the swamps, thick, black water splashing around him as he hits. However, despite the force, the creature doesn't seem to have damaged Kup much - the scrapes on his chest seem very shallow indeed.
"I'm all right," Kup grumbles, feeling around in the dark water for his acid rifle. "Damn thing just caught me off guard, is all. Kind of reminds me of this time on Scroniron Six, really..."
Oh, dear! If something isn't done now, not only will Swerve have an angry swamp beasty to deal with, but also a story from Kup!
"It's always something with you, isn't it?!" Swerve shouts back as he ducks another of those pinwheeling arms, trying to circle without tripping over something he can't see in the water. Maybe Kup will be too busy answering his question to keep on with another stupid anecdote.
As for the crazy animal aiming to smash them, this thing came out of nowhere and came out swinging. Maybe they're on its turf or something. Not that Swerve really cares whether or not it's angry about that; they don't have much of a choice in the matter. He pivots hard, kicking up a fan of water as he scrambles in the mud. He can't get traction enough to complete the turn cleanly, but he does a pretty good job of getting the beast's attention. It turns toward him with a wet, furious noise.
"Scum-suckin' pile of sludge!" he snarls at it in turn. That the animal's too stupid to be fazed just irritates him more.
"Damn straight it is!" Kup snaps back. "You know how many folks are around that've seen a fraction what I've seen, been a fraction where I've been, done a fraction what I've done?" he growls as his hand closes around his musket. Then he pauses, and goes on, "Well, me neither, but it ain't many!"
The beastie is perfectly happy to turn its attention on the noisy little car causing water fans, and twists, gurgle-rowling before jumping after Swerve, arm tentacles grasping. Kup, meanwhile, takes the opportunity to shoot the thing in the back. The acid seeps into the creature's outer hide, causing it to throw its head back and blargle in pain - and distracting it from its attempts to get better acquainted with Swerve.
What is it with Kup and reminding everyone how much he gets around? It's like he only has a handful of scrap to talk about, so he runs it all into the rails and–
…Oh, frag him and his slagging stories. It isn't the same with me! Swerve scowls and curses at the reminder. Like it's my fault we don't have spaceships back home. "Am I supposed to care how many smoke-blowin' old clunkers like you are still tickin' around out there?" demands the racer as he draws his own weapon, then bellows for a Cyber Key. He doesn't care if he ends up cooking the thing attacking them so long as he stops it.
It's entirely possible that Kup feels the need to remind people of his vast experience so regularly because as old as he is, it's difficult to not start to feel a bit worried, on some level, that one's day really is done, and it's important to remind others (or maybe just himself) that he's still useful to have around, damn it!
Not that Kup would admit to all this, as it would call for thinking about things he'd rather not think about.
"You're the one who brought it up!" Kup protests at Swerve's complaint. This is patently not true, but as far as Kup is concerned, Swerve said something that made Kup want to say what he did, and therefore Swerve brought it up.
Under the double blasts of the acid rifle and Swerve's blaster, the creature's fight or flight instinct kicks over from fight to flight. It roars, screeches, once more in pain and then turns, scurrying off at a hurried pace. Kup, who had been lining up for another shot, blinks.
"Hnh. And here I was figuring it would take another three shots, at least, to get it to do that."