[CtE] Challenge Accepted

Of all the things Starscream imagined for his future, trying to give a report on their current budget while the leader of the Decepticons played footsie with him under the table was not something he ever expected. Especially given that said leader was Grimlock.

Worse that Grimlock was completely at ease. To look at him from the outside, no one would know that he kept tapping Starscream’s foot with his own. He looked, of all things, completely engrossed in the numbers Starscream kept rattling off. He didn’t seem to notice Starscream’s wings twitching or his vents sputtering.

Skywarp sure did. He wouldn’t stop giggling. No matter how many glares Starscream tossed in his direction.

And predictably, no matter how many pings Starscream sent to Grimlock’s comm, complete with hissed demands for him to cease the puerile behavior at once, it did not stop. Grimlock continued to tease him, to nudge the tip of his pede against the curve of Starscream’s thruster, the gleam of his visor staring straight through to Starscream’s spark.

He tried not to shiver.

He failed.

Skywarp snickered behind his hand.

Gritting his denta, Starscream spat out the last of the data, not that anyone was listening to finances of all things, and slammed the datapad down. It gave an audible crack. Starscream fixed his leader with a stare that sent most smart mecha running for the hills.

Grimlock only straightened, loudly cycling his vocalizer. “In other words, we are capable of purchasing anything we find ourselves needing.”

“Yes,” Starscream gritted out.

“You could have said that in less words,” Skywarp pointed out.

Starscream cut his optics at his trinemate. “The last time I did that, someone complained that we weren’t being transparent about the direction of our expenses.”

Scrape. Scrape.

The foot traveled a bit further. Starscream’s left wing twitched. He moved his foot away. Ha. That ought to show him. Could they have a little decorum here in the meeting room, please and thank you?

Cyclonus was giving them both a look again. That dour look that suggested his delicate sensibilities were being offended.

Grimlock leaned against the table, bracing his head against his fist. “Weren’t there other items on our agenda?”

Cyclonus cut them both a hard glance and lifted his datapad. “There is the small matter of–”

“I think we can take a break, don’t you?” Skywarp chirped and very not sneakily winked at Starscream. “We’ve been here for hours.”

“Twenty minutes,” Cyclonus corrected in what would have been a petulant tone for anyone else. Clearly, he was beyond the point of patience for their shenanigans.

Grimlock’s gaze caught Starscream’s across the table. “A break would be acceptable, don’t you think, my second?”

“Will it help you focus?” Starscream demanded, narrowing his optics.

Skywarp started cackling again. Unhelpful brat.

Cyclonus huffed a vent and got to his feet, gathering up his pile of datapads. He was the only one of them who was keen on doing any work around here apparently. “Will ten minutes be enough?” he asked.

“Twenty,” Grimlock said with another long look.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Starscream drawled as he leaned back in his chair. “Can’t remember a time I needed twenty minutes for a break with you before.”

Grimlock’s visor flashed.

Skywarp almost fell out of his seat. “Oh, man. Thundercracker is going to be slagged that he missed this.”

Grimlock straightened, rising to his feet. “Now would be a good time to vacate the room, Skywarp.”

“Sir, yes, sir.” Skywarp mock-saluted and was gone in a fwip of displaced air, just moments before Cyclonus vanished out the door with a parting huff.

Silence filled the room. Well, silence if one didn’t count the sound of Starscream’s spinning fans and that occasional click he kept meaning to keep getting looked at. He stared at Grimlock, smirking, as Grimlock stared back at him.

Starscream folded his arms over his cockpit, arching an orbital ridge. “So,” he said. “Footsie?”

“Are you telling me you minded?”

“Cyclonus did.”

Grimlock pushed off the table, stalking slowly around it, Starscream’s optics watching the steady progression.

“I wasn’t asking about Cyclonus,” Grimlock said, or purred rather.

Starscream pretended the sound of it didn’t send a sharp snap of charge down his spinal strut. “You aren’t worried he’ll walk away?” He admired the sharpness of his talons instead, watching how they gleamed in the overhead lights.

“And join the Neutrals?” Grimlock snorted a ventilation. “Hardly. He’d be more likely to skip off to Optimus, but he’s not going to do that either.”

Grimlock was close enough now that their fields could come into sizzling contact. There was heat there. Desire, too. It still surprised Starscream how genuine it was.

“You sound so sure.” Starscream tilted his helm, looking up at Grimlock and refusing to be intimidated by the size of him. “Might be he surprises you.”

“Mmm. Doubt it.” Grimlock leaned against the table, caging Starscream in. One hand lifted, coming within an inch of touching the edge of Starscream’s wing. “But I’m not really interested in talking about Cyclonus right now.”

Starscream’s vents hitched. He covered it up with a snort. “Yeah. I can guess what it is you’re thinking right now.”

Grimlock chuckled and then there it was, contact. His fingertip grazed the very edge of Starscream’s wing, sending a jolt through him. Grimlock leaned closer, ex-vents puffing over Starscream’s frame.

“With what I have in mind, they’ll be lucky if twenty minutes is long enough,” Grimlock murmured, his field stroking along the edges of Starscream’s like a physical touch.

“I love how you just assume I’m going to go along with it,” Starscream retorted, ignoring the heat that wound through his lines, pooling southward. A low throb settled in his valve, the walls lubricating entirely without his permission.

“No assumptions here.” Grimlock’s finger dragged inward, following the line of his wing right down to his spinal strut and the sensitive hinge. “I just haven’t asked properly yet.”

“I’m not hearing any requests,” Starscream said.

Grimlock’s vocalizer hummed. “I was thinking about dropping down to one knee, but I thought that might be a little formal.”

Starscream’s face filled with heat, despite all attempts to hold himself back, remembering well the last time Grimlock had done such a thing. “You spent too long on Earth,” he muttered.

Grimlock outright laughed. “And yet, you don’t hate it at all, do you?”

Starscream refused to answer that question. Instead, he unfolded his arms and pushed to his feet, the hand on his hinge sliding down to the base of his backstrut. “Keep this up and your twenty minutes will be up far too soon.”

Grimlock’s free hand captured Starscream’s nearest one and drew it upward, pressing his mouthplate to Starscream’s knuckles. “Then maybe you should stop stalling and let me get you on that table.”

Starscream narrowed his optics. “And just how long have you been fantasizing about this?”

“Long enough.” Grimlock’s visor deepened in hue as his hand stroked the base of Starscream’s spinal strut. “May I?”

It was always in the asking. Starscream curled his fingers around Grimlock’s, two of them stroking the flat of Grimlock’s facemask. “If I’m not screaming by the end, you’ll owe me.”

Grimlock hummed in his intake. “Challenge accepted.” His field buzzed against Starscream’s, dripping with desire. “Think that table is sturdy enough?”

Despite himself, Starscream laughed. “If I told you I knew that it was, what would you say?”

“That depends on whether or not I want to know how you know.”

Grimlock lowered Starscream’s hand and guided him around until his back was toward the table, his aft pressed against the edge.

“It’s a funny story now,” Starscream said with a shrug. “Not so much then. I was never able to look Dirge in the optic after that.”

Grimlock made a disgruntled noise. “Thanks for the mental image.”

Starscream grinned, the curve of his lips wicked. “I could make it worse by telling you the dance partner.”

A large knee worked between his as Grimlock drew them closer together. “Or you could not.”

Starscream smirked. “Spoilsport.”

One of Grimlock’s hands rested on his hips, fingers flexing, thumb sliding into a transformation seam to stroke over the cables beneath. Starscream shivered, more heat gathering behind his panel. He braced his hands on the table behind him, fully prepared to hitch himself onto it.

Cause he wanted this, damn it.

Of all the things that had happened in this secondary meeting room, this was one Starscream could say with certainty he desired.

“You can call me that if you want,” Grimlock said as his free hand rose, fingers tracing the curve of Starscream’s lips. “I’d just rather my focus be on you, not on something else.”
Starscream’s vents hitched. That wasn’t fair. How did he always know the right thing to say? What in the world had his Autobot parents been teaching him!?

“You are an utter sap.” Starscream flicked his glossa catching the tip of Grimlock’s thumb with it. “But fortunately for you, I don’t mind.”


Starscream froze. Grimlock did as well.

“It’s been twenty minutes!” Skywarp chirped from the other side of the room as they both turned their heads to see Starscream’s trinemate bouncing on his heels.

Until now, Starscream had not known Skywarp could look so smug. That expression was usually reserved for Thundercracker.

Starscream worked his jaw, considering and tossing a half dozen responses, none of them polite, and all of them not at all decent, before he settled on, “You could have used the door.”

Skywarp cycled his optics. “But where’s the fun in that?” His wings fluttered as he grinned at them. “By the way, Cyclonus is out there in the hall,” he added, pointing a thumb over his shoulder. “Want I should tell him to wait, or…?”

Starscream shuttered his optics and prayed for patience he knew he didn’t normally possess. It took that long for him to realize that Grimlock was making some odd noises, his frame shaking slightly. Was he… laughing?

Starscream’s optics snapped back open. He stared at his partner, whose gaze had shifted away from both Seekers, his visor bright.

“This isn’t funny!” Starscream snapped as he wriggled his way out of Grimlock’s hold, despite the firm grip on his hip. His lines were still tingling, frag it.

“I kind of think it is,” Skywarp said.

Grimlock shook his helm and shadowed his visor with one hand. He waved dismissively. “Tell Cyclonus he can come back. We’ll behave.”

We?” Starscream repeated, offended. “I wasn’t the one playing games under the table.”

“Did I ever tell you how cute you two are?” Skywarp asked, his wings flicking like mad.

Starscream vowed that this was the absolute last time he’d let Skywarp sub in for Thundercracker. Sunstorm, yes. But Skywarp, no. Absolutely not.

“Will you just go get Cyclonus?” Starscream hissed.

“Fine.” Skywarp huffed and spun on a heelstrut. “Who knew a little static charge would make you so touchy. Geez.”

If it was possible for a door to open and shut sulkily, this one did as Skywarp left.

Starscream huffed. He ignored the lick of charge that snapped out from under his plating. Nothing he could do about it now.

This was all Grimlock’s fault. Why didn’t he look perturbed?

Starscream dropped back down into his chair, glaring at his leader-slash-partner. “Never again,” he said.

How could Grimlock smirk without a mask? “We’ll see,” he said as he gingerly lowered himself back into his own chair.

The door opened, admitting a very bouncy Skywarp and a dour-faced Cyclonus. The latter looked at both Starscream and Grimlock suspiciously. His plating ruffled as though he could sense the static charge in the room, and it bothered him.

“Are you certain you wish to continue the meeting?” Cyclonus asked, hovering near his chair but not taking it yet.

“Yes,” Grimlock said before Starscream could get a word out.


They only had to get through the list of prisoner petitions, reconstruction overview, and the new revisions to the charter. Starscream could certainly wait that long.

That didn’t mean he wasn’t going to punish Skywarp for it later though.


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