Scars and Souvenirs
For once, he wanted to go somewhere no one would recognize him. Where no one knew his name or his face or the reasons behind the number on his palm.
Sunstreaker had recommended this place. He said the patrons here were always so drunk that they didn’t know their own names much less anyone else’s. It was the perfect place for anonymity and luckily, it was still standing after Shockwave’s attempt to do whatever it was he was trying to do.
Even now, Rodimus didn’t understand it.
The whole building’s foundation was crooked. It did not look safe. It reeked of decay and desperation. Rodimus was certain two of the unconscious piles of metal out front might have been mechs. Their current faction didn’t even matter given their condition.
The place was perfect.
Rodimus squared his shoulders and walked inside. No one looked up. No one acknowledged him. No one looked familiar.
Except, Rodimus realized with a sigh of frustration, for the dark red Seeker at the bar. Of all the places in all the ruins of New Iacon, he had to find the decrepit oilhouse where Starscream had come to sulk.
He almost whirled on a heelstrut and walked right back out. But if Starscream could drink here in relative anonymity, so could he. That was worth sticking around for. Might as well get this over with.
Rodimus strode up to the bar and climbed onto the empty stool to Starscream’s right. He ignored the unfriendly waves radiating from the Seeker. He’d endured worse.
“So what’s good here?” he asked.
Starscream visibly stiffened. His shoulders hunched. His head turned toward Rodimus as though he couldn’t believe his audials.
“What,” he said through gritted denta, “are you doing here?”
Rodimus signaled for the bartender’s attention. “Getting a drink, same as you.” The dirty mech limped over. “Can I have a Toxic Turnover?”
Starscream snorted a ventilation. “You want something that fancy you should have gone elsewhere.”
“No, thanks. This place is better.”
A glass slid across the counter in front of Rodimus. The sickly green color was not the right shade for his engex, but it would do. Rodimus took a sip that burned on the way down.
He sucked down the rest as fast as possible so as not to taste it. The sludge oozed its way to his tank, and sat in there like a lead weight.
“Wow,” Starscream said. He smirked as he looked at Rodimus. “I take it the infamous Rodimus-not-a-Prime is having a bad day?”
Rodimus slanted Starscream a look “You’re here, too.”
“That I am.” Starscream signaled for another drink and angled toward Rodimus. “Care to tell me why?”
Rodimus snorted. “Like I know what’s going on in your head.”
Another cup of engex was nudged toward him. Rodimus didn’t even hesitate to suck it down, though he was quick about it. This stuff was awful.
“I was actually talking about you, but I recognize a diversionary tactic when I see one.” Starscream sipped at his own engex. “So what’s your poison then? Overcharge? Meaningless frag? Illegal stimulants that would make your second in command lose his mind?”
Rodimus stared at him. “None of the above.”
“That’s a shame,” Starscream purred. “It looks like Rodimus took all the hot out of Hot Rod.”
Rodimus’ mouth fell open. “That’s not– what are you even– how overcharged are you?”
“Just enough not to care anymore.” Starscream finished off his drink and smacked his lips. “So. Wanna frag?”
Rodimus blinked. “Are you serious?”
Starscream gave him a long, lingering look. “If you’re anything like your reputation, yes. I want cheap and meaningless, and it seems you’ve got that to offer.”
The implication stung more than Rodimus thought it would. He’d never been particularly ashamed of most of his past, but combined with mistakes he’d made as of late, it painted his entire life in a very unfavorable light. He didn’t need Starscream insinuating he was some kind of easy lay, on top of being a failed leader.
Rodimus flinched. “Wow. With that ringing endorsement, how can I resist, Screamer?”
Crimson optics flashed. “Do not call me that.”
“After you called me an easy lay, I’ll call you whatever I want.”
“So it’s not true?”
“Oh, it’s true.” A little more than he was comfortable with. But that’s what happened when you went seeking approval from others and used your frame as currency. “Doesn’t mean I want to hear it from you.”
Starscream snorted again. “Whatever you say.” He slid off his stool, stretching his arms over his head. “Enjoy your engex.”
“And where are you doing?”
“To find someone interested in what you turned down.”
Rodimus sighed and went after him. It wasn’t the distraction he intended to find, but it was better than sitting here in this dingy bar. “Wait.”
“For a pity frag? No thanks.”
He caught up with Starscream just outside the door.
“I don’t do pity frags.” He crossed his arms, giving the Seeker his most contrary look.
Starscream stared back. His wings twitched.
“All right,” Starscream said with a slow denta-baring grin. “Your place or mine?”
Neither, as it turned out.
Starscream’s room had been destroyed when the metrotitans fought. And Rodimus wasn’t going to bring Starscream aboard the Lost Light. His crew barely tolerated him as of late, much less the former Decepticon Air Commander.
The room they found was dirty and in shambles, but it had a berth, and Rodimus wasn’t planning on sleeping. He wanted overloads and to lose himself in them. He wanted something he dare not name because Rung would have all kinds of words to say about it. Perhaps even unfriendly ones.
Rodimus knew he deserved every last one of them.
“You didn’t come here to brood, did you?”
Rodimus planted his hands on his hips. “Are you planning on snarking at me all night?”
“Do you not know who you’ve invited to berth?” Starscream arched an orbital ridge.
Rodimus’ optics narrowed. “I’m starting to think it would be better if you didn’t talk.”
Starscream lounged on the berth as though it were a throne and not a flimsy piece of metal probably infested with rustmites. One hand lazily stroked his interface panel like the shameless creature he was.
Rodimus knew shameless. He was the epitome of it. But Starscream was giving him a run for his shanix.
“Can I make the same request of you?” Starscream asked, his fingers working circular patterns over his panel. “Moans and screams are acceptable, of course.”
Rodimus rolled his optics. “Don’t you think highly of yourself,” he muttered.
Nonetheless, he was drawn to the berth and the hypnotic motions of Starscream’s fingers. Once he looked past the snark and smirk, Starscream was a sexy aft Seeker. He was sleek, larger than Rodimus, and with a frame built for battle. That he wore it all with a lazy grace added to the allure. And those wings! Rodimus wanted to get his mouth on those wings and if he was lucky, Starscream’s denta on his spoiler.
“Comes with the territory. Besides, you’re one to talk.” Starscream shivered as he rubbed hard on his panel and then crooked a finger at Rodimus. “Get up here before I finish this myself.”
Rodmus smirked. “You should have plenty of experience with that.”
“Ha! And how many of your crew know a bit too much about their captain?”
Right for the intake. That was Starscream in a gearbox.
Rodimus pulled himself onto the berth and crawled over Starscream on hands and knees.
“Point,” he conceded and Primus, he was getting hot just looking down at Starscream. “You got a preference, Seeker, or should I just ‘wing’ it?”
“And the flyer puns begin.” Starscream’s optics rolled. He reached down, hand stroking Rodimus’ increasingly hot panel. “Let’s see if your spike is worth anything first. Unless you’ve got an aversion I need to know about.”
Rodimus’ fingers scraped the berth cover. “None.” He concentrated, triggering his spike panel to cycle open. “Haven’t met I kink I don’t like yet.”
Starscream’s talon tip nudged in the housing, teasing the head of his spike. Rodimus shivered and rocked his hips down toward the single digit. It traced the head again, briefly toying with his transfluid slit, and Rodimus’ backstrut tingled.
“We’ll see about that,” Starscream purred. One hand curled around Rodimus’ head, pulling him down so Starscream could nip at his audial. “All you have to do is say ‘no’.”
Rodimus groaned. “Not gonna happen.” His spike emerged into Starscream’s waiting grip.
The pad of the Seeker’s thumb rubbed against the head. The tip of his talon teased the transfluid channel slit again. Rodimus’ backstrut arched, and he drew in a sharp vent. Lust hit him like a rifle shot. He turned his head to grab Starscream’s lips, but the Seeker was too fast.
“No kissing?” Rodimus asked with a pout that wasn’t entirely feigned.
“You haven’t earned it yet.” Starscream’s hand slid down his spike, grip perfectly firm.
Rodimus shivered. He shifted his weight to one bent arm and thrust a hand between their frames. He found Starscream’s panel and rubbed it the way he’d seen Starscream do earlier. A low rumble rose from Starscream’s engine, panel snapping aside to allow Rodimus’ fingers to plunge into his valve.
Starscream was already dripping, his valve clutching at Rodimus’ two fingers. His field flared with arousal as he discovered Starscream’s anterior node and pinched it.
“Eager are we?” Rodimus purred.
Dripping heat swallowed his fingers. He felt the rippling clench of calipers against his knuckles. Rodimus’ spike throbbed, eager to slide into the welcoming damp of Starscream’s valve.
Starscream gave him a raspy chuckle. “Don’t flatter yourself, Rodimus.” He shifted and Rodimus found himself with a leg wrapped around his waist, tugging him down.
Starscream’s fingers pulled his spike toward that waiting valve. Rodimus hastily moved his own out of the way, but he couldn’t let an opportunity slide. He brought them to his mouth for a taste, sucking his fingers clean.
Hmm. Not bad.
Rodimus gripped Starscream’s hip with his still damp hand. The head of his spike nudged at Starscream’s rim. Charge crackled between them.
“Ah, this is gonna be good,” Rodimus moaned.
He leaned down for a kiss, remembered Starscream’s earlier evasion, and tucked his face against Starscream’s intake instead. This was nice, too. Starscream smelled of heat and polish. Rodimus nibbled on his intake cables. He got a good taste as his spike slid into that grasping heat.
Primus that was good.
Rodimus sighed a ventilation when he felt Starscream shiver beneath him. The Seeker’s valve spiraled down on his spike as Rodimus pushed deeper, making for some nice friction. Rodimus kneaded Starscream’s hip. His spike throbbed, incrementally pushing deeper to savor each inch.
“Faster!” Starscream snapped, his heel smacking against the back of Rodimus’ thigh. “This is a frag, not a dance.”
Rodimus nipped his intake in retaliation. “Maybe I just like the way you feel on my spike.”
“And maybe I’ll just take what I want!” Starscream clutched at his shoulder, talons scraping curls of paint.
Battle scars. Rodimus planned to brag about them later. And then he realized he didn’t have anyone to brag to and faltered.
Easy enough to climb back up. He had an armful of sexy Seeker.
“Wait your turn,” Rodimus panted.
Rodimus’ world went topsy-turvy. His back smacked against the berth, spoiler chiming a sharp sting. He hissed in short-lived pain before the weight of a Seeker landed on top of him. Starscream’s hands planted on his ventrum, his valve sinking back down on Rodimus’ spike in one fell swoop.
Rodimus gasped. His hips juttered up as he clamped his hands on Starscream’s thighs. He struggled to plant his feet on the berth. Starscream rolled his hips with gleeful abandon, valve rippling around Rodimus’ spike. His fingers scraped at Rodimus’ ventrum, the rasp of metal on metal unexpectedly arousing.
“You really have no patience,” Rodimus panted. It was starting to feel like he was little more than a vehicle for Starscream’s pleasure. Not that he was opposed just… unexpected.
“You laid the challenge. I answered.” Starscream smirked and flicked his glossa over his lips.
Rodimus’ mouth filled with lubricant. He liked kissing. And Starscream was not cooperating.
“Fine,” he bit out and slid his hands up, thumbs seeking where their frames joined. More importantly, he sought Starscream’s nub and knew he’d found it when crimson wings shuddered.
“We’ll see who wins,” Rodimus declared and pinched Starsccream’s anterior node.
He earned a small gasp. Starscream leaned forward, weight bearing down, his valve greedily sucking Rodimus’ spike.
It was… amazing, Rodimus was forced to admit. He so rarely used his spike because valve overloads were better and his lack of use showed. Charge gathered along his length and heat built within his array faster than he was willing to admit to himself.
Starscream’s valve nodes lined perfectly with his spike receptors, pleasure lighting Rodimus’ sensory net like fireworks. He thrust up into Starscream as eagerly as the Seeker slammed down on top of him.
Fast. Fierce. Rough.
Everything, apparently, Starscream wanted.
Starscream shifted again. He tilted forward, braced his weight on his knees, and found Rodimus’ spoiler. His hands stroked the length of it. His fingers found the tips.
Rodmus moaned. His ventilations stuttered.
Starscream pinched the sharp-angled tip.
Lust shot like a lightning bolt. Rodimus bucked into Starscream as he overloaded with a shout, some mangled glyph that was in no way translatable. His fans spun madly as he spurted into Starscream’s valve.
Rippling calipers worked him thoroughly, drawing out the last throbs of release. Rodimus whined, his hands kneading at Starscream’s thighs. That was the fastest he’d overloaded in ages.
“Done already?” Starscream harrumphed, upper lip curled with disdain. “I shouldn’t be so surprised.”
Rodimus curled his hands around Starscream’s thighs. “I’m just getting started,” he insisted. “So come here.”
Starscream looked confused. His hands wavered on Rodimus’ spoiler.
“You can’t tell me you’ve never had someone lick you out,” Rodimus scoffed. “Come on. Up here.” He tugged again.
“You…” Starscream huffed. “Autobots.”
Somehow, it always sounded like a curseword when Starscream said it. Or muttered it, rather. But at least he cooperated. He clambered over Rodimus until his dripping array hovered over Rodimus’ mouth. He smelled his own release and the heat of Starscream’s arousal and Rodimus moaned.
“Better,” he said and he curled his arms under Starscream’s thighs, tilted the Seeker forward, and lapped a wet stripe up the center of Starscream’s valve.
Starscream’s vents hitched. His valve clenched. Lubricant splattered Rodimus’ face. The scent of it flooded his olfactory sensors. Rodimus purred. He dove in, sucking at Starscream’s valve, a mix of transfluid and lubricant spilling into his mouth. Starscream was dripping and messy and Rodimus loved it.
He sought Starscream’s nub and gave it a tentative nibble. Starscream bucked, grinding down. His node throbbed.
“A-adequate,” Starscream panted. His hips danced.
Rodimus rolled his optics and returned his attention to the glittering biolights around the rim of Starscream’s valve. They demanded to be tasted and so Rodimus obliged. He traced them with his glossa, caressed them with his lips, and scraped them with his denta.
Starscream outright moaned and one hand grasped at his head, shoving Rodimus’ face closer. He ground down, somewhat rude, but given the rapid pulse of Starscream’s biolights, Rodimus gathered it was a good thing.
He tightened his grip on Starscream’s thighs and pulled, at the same time shoving his glossa deep into Starscream’s valve. He moaned, letting the vibrations carry against Starscream’s nodes. Starscream shuddered as charge licked from his array. His grip tightened on Rodimus’ head.
He was close. Rodimus could taste it. So he lapped at Starscream’s valve and suckled his anterior node with vigor.
Starscream danced and shrieked as he overloaded. He ground down hard, lubricant flooding Rodimus’ mouth and drenching his face. His own charge returned with a vengeance, roaring through his system in a blaze of heat. He was courteous enough to enjoy Starscream through the tremors of overload however. Because now his own valve was aching and he needed something within him asap.
“Well Autobot,” Starscream panted, shifting his weight back to his knees, “that’s certainly a better use for your glossa.”
Rodimus rolled his optics. “Happy to serve, your majesty.” His face felt sticky, highlighting the sensuous winding of heat throughout his frame. “Now get off me.”
Starscream smirked. But instead of clambering off, he shimmied down Rodimus’ frame, working himself between Rodimus’ thighs.
“Or I could get you off,” Starscream purred, and he lazily dragged his glossa up the length of Rodimus’ partially stiffened spike.
His backstrut arched off the berth as he gripped the covers. Rodimus groaned, tingles spreading outward from his spike.
“Whatever,” he panted and fisted the berth cover, or what was left of it. “Just do something.”
“Impatient brat,” Starscream said with a laugh. He ex-vented down on Rodimus’ spike, the wash of damp heat making Rodimus’ spike twitch.
He moaned again and shouted when Starscream’s mouth finally closed around the head of his spike, the Seeker’s glossa flicking at his transfluid slit.
“Ah!” Rodimus gasped, backstrut arching as Starscream took him deeper, inch by inch, slowly swallowing him down. “Yes, frag it! Just like that.”
Starscream’s glossa laved his entire length, up and down. He pulled back, swirled his glossa around the tip, and then slurped over it again. The sounds were wet and messy and ridiculously lewd. It was music to Rodimus’ audials.
The cheap berth cover tore under Rodimus’ grip. His thighs trembled as he pushed his legs further apart and canted his hips upward. He rocked into Starscream’s mouth. He looked down, saw those lips wrapped around his spike, and a shock of lust bolted through his frame.
Fingers tickled at his valve, circling the rim of it first before two plunged inside. They curved just right, rubbing hard at the first line of nodes. Rodimus shuddered.
“Right there,” he moaned. “Harder, Starscream.” His feet dug into the berth. His spoiler pushed against the padding, adding to the torment. “Frag, yes.”
Starscream chuckled around his spike and swallowed him deep again. He flexed his intake against the head of Rodimus’ spike. His optics rolled back as a shudder wracked his frame. Jolts of ecstasy shot through his lines and scorching heat danced down his backstrut. Lubricant dribbled out of his valve as Starscream’s fingers continued to wreak havoc on his sensors.
Rodimus rocked upward, but Starscream kept moving with him, preventing Rodimus from thrusting any deeper into the Seeker’s mouth. It was a special kind of torture and it only made him pant harder.
“Okay, okay,” Rodimus groaned, and no, it wasn’t a whine. “Just frag me already, won’t you?” He clenched down on Starscream’s fingers, giving Starscream his steamiest berth look. He had it on good authority that it made him irresistible.
Starscream nipped at the tip of his spike, and Rodimus’ aft rose off the berth in shock. It wasn’t pain, not quite, but it was another jolt to the system. He shuddered, pre-fluid leaking free, and Starscream drew back, though one of his thumbs rubbed a long circle around Rodimus’ external node.
“Turn over,” he said.
Rodimus looked down at the Seeker between his legs, whose mouth was not where Rodimus expected it to be. Who was talking when he should have been putting his glossa to good use on Rodimus’ spike. Whose thumb continued to make steady circles on Rodimus’ node, his hips rising and falling to the rhythm of Starscream’s touch.
“What?” Rodimus demanded. “Why?”
Starscream smirked and flicked his glossa over his lips. “Because you might brag too much for my taste, but you do have a nice aft.”
Rodimus squinted. “…. Thanks?” He honestly wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or not, but whatever.
If turning over on his knees meant Starscream would frag him then fine. It wasn’t like he was opposed to taking it from behind. The right angle and Starscream would pound all over his ceiling node.
Starscream rubbed over his anterior nub again, prompting another wash of lubricant from his valve. Rodimus ex-vented noisily and loosened his grip on the berth.
“Tease,” he accused as he laboriously turned over, narrowly missing kicking Starscream in the head. The Seeker dodged at the last second, however.
Rodimus arranged himself for his comfort, on his knees and elbows, his nice aft pointed toward Starscream. His spoiler twitched with sensation as cool air brushed over his exposed components. Surely Starscream couldn’t ignore this display, right?
Rodimus grinned and shifted his weight to one elbow. He reached down with his right hand, ignored his straining spike for the moment, and flicked his anterior node. His calipers twitched with pleasure.
His grin widened, ventilations quickening, as he continued further. He pushed his fingers into his valve and then spread them, holding himself open. He felt lubricant trickle free, over his fingers and down into his wrist. He knew that, like this, Starscream couldn’t help but look at his flickering biolights.
“Take me,” Rodimus purred, giving his aft a purposeful twitch. “If you think you can.”
Starscream chuckled. The berth wobbled as he rose up, the heat of his panel aiming toward Rodimus’ valve.
“A challenge then?” he said.
“A dare,” Rodimus retorted.
Rodimus jerked as Starscream’s palm skittered over his aft. The sudden slap both shocked and aroused, and Rodimus moaned. His dripping fingers slid free of his valve, rubbing over his anterior node with greater pressure. Charge skittered through his valve, turning his lines molten with need.
“Knew you were a kinky fragger,” Starscream observed and he smacked his palm on Rodimus’ aft again, even as his other hand gripped Rodimus’ hip.
He rocked forward, rubbing himself against the back of Rodimus’ thighs. His spike slid through the wetness clinging to Rodimus’ valve folds, teasing him without actually entering him.
Rodimus’ engine whined. “Yeah, and I’m gonna get myself off if you don’t hurry up,” he panted, two fingers taking his anterior nub and pinching it. His hips jerked forward.
Starscream dragged him back, the tip of his spike nudging against Rodimus’ valve. Rodimus moaned out of sheer anticipation, his calipers rippling. He pinched harder at his node, hard enough to sting, the flash of pain the perfect counterpoint to Starscream suddenly plunging into him, lighting up his inner nodes all at once.
Rodimus shoved his face into the berth and howled. He dropped his hand from his array and gripped at the cover, panting air through his mouth as Starscream set up a brutal pace. He shoved in and out of Rodimus’ valve as though trying to frag him through the rusty berth.
Oh, Primus. Yes. This was what he wanted. What he needed. A punishing pace that left him with nothing, not even air to intake. Rodimus snarled, biting at the stained cloth, his fingers fisting it as Starscream plunged into him, again and again, his array chiming at Rodimus’ aft.
Starscream was saying something. Or muttering. Rodimus didn’t know. He wasn’t paying attention to whatever vain thing he said. Starscream’s voice was a buzz in his audials compared to the rasp of his spike in and out and in and out of Rodimus’ valve. His grip on Rodimus’ hips tightened, talons prickling at his cables, and the deepest thrust struck hard at Rodimus’ ceiling node.
He thanked Primus that the berth swallowed his shriek of pleasure. His knees dug into the ratty mattress, tearing new furrows, as he shoved his aft back at Starscream and every resultant thrust pounded at his ceiling node.
Rodimus’ spoiler quivered. All he could taste was the gross berth, the stained cloth sticking to his glossa. It didn’t matter though. None of it mattered. Because pleasure spiked through his entire frame in a rushing wave, it was an onslaught of heat and need and it swallowed Rodimus whole. His entire frame was caught up in it as it picked him up and tossed him overboard.
He whited out, something, he didn’t know. Overload stripped him raw, made his vocalizer spit static. He convulsed beneath Starscream, spike spitting transfluid even as his valve cinched down tight enough to trap Starscream inside of him, the Seeker’s flared spike caught on his calipers. He felt it then, the wash of Starscream’s release over his over-sensitive nodes and Rodimus moaned as a second, smaller overload swallowed him whole.
Frag, frag, frag, frag.
Rodimus’ cooling fans snapped to life as his vents wheezed. There was a hand on the back of his head, not pushing, but trying to turn his head.
“Mrrrrr,” he managed as he turned his head, panting from his oral cavity as his vents rattled. Languid heat seeped through his frame, and Starscream was still inside of him.
No. Starscream was also draped over him, his weight very welcome. Rodimus loved it when his partners covered him, when he was pressed beneath their weight. He squeezed down on Starscream’s spike, trying to keep the softening unit in his valve. He didn’t want to feel empty so soon.
“Are you alive, Autobot?” Starscream purred into his audial as Rodimus gradually unclenched his hands from the covers.
He forced his optical shutters open, the room around them a dim blur. “I’m not dead yet,” Rodimus managed with a burst of static. He wiggled his aft. “Was good.”
“Must’ve been. Given the way you screeched.” Starscream huffed a ventilation and the weight on Rodimus’ back started to withdraw.
“Wait!” Rodimus all but shouted, working one hand free and flailing it blindly behind himself to grab at Starscream. “Don’t, um, don’t move.”
Starscream froze for the space of a sparkbeat before his warmth returned to Rodimus’ back, and remained there as Rodimus slowly but carefully lowered himself flat on the berth. He lay on his ventrum, Starscream draped on top of him, spike still snug in his valve.
“You’re a weird one,” Starscream said as their legs tangled together and Starscream folded his arms against Rodimus’ spoiler.
“Hah. Speak for yourself,” Rodimus retorted, but his vocals were muffled by the bedding.
He counted his ventilations and the beats between them. The rapid beating of his spark slowed to a normal pace, too. He was hot, burning up, and Starscream was equally so. But Rodimus didn’t want him to go. This was comfortable, comforting.
Even if it wasn’t real.
Rodimus shoved those thoughts down deep. He shifted beneath Starscream, stretching out his arms before tucking one underneath his head. He could recharge like this if he wanted.
He shouldn’t feel so safe with Starscream at his back. But he supposed if Starscream wanted to shove an energon blade into it, he would have done so by now.
Starscream’s spike twitched in his valve, still half-pressurized. He probably liked this, too, despite his waspish behavior. Hah. Rodimus wasn’t surprised.
Starscream’s fingers stroked down the length of his arm before they cupped Rodimus’ outstretched hand. His thumb rubbed over Rodimus’ palm and only then did Rodimus know what he’d seen because Starscream’s thumb traced the sharp lines and curves of the numbers etched into his palm.
“Nothing,” Rodimus said as he tried to curl his fingers into a fist and tuck his hand away from Starscream.
The Seeker’s grip was relentless, however. “101 over 89,” Starscream read aloud, his tone neutral. “Mechs don’t carve numbers into their hands without good reason, Rodimus-not-a-Prime. Is this what sent you sulking into that bar?”
“I wasn’t sulking!”
Starscream snorted. “Mmm. Tell me another one.” His grip tightened around Rodimus’ hand as pressed his lips to Rodimus’ audial, his vocals sultry rather than annoying. “What are you running from, Captain?”
Rodimus shifted from hot to cold so fast it left his processor spinning. Starscream’s grip was relentless. It kept him from pulling his shame out of sight.
He thought he was coming to grips with it. He’d thought he’d find some solace or comfort in Optimus’ advice. He’d gained neither. If anything, he’d found that his unshakeable faith in a mech he once aspired to become had become just as rattled as his faith in himself.
“I wonder,” Starscream said as his thumb ran over the carved numbers in a gentle touch that sent a shiver down Rodimus’ spinal strut. “Does it have anything to do with a certain Phase Sixer?”
Rodimus jolted. “How do you know about that?”
Starscream chuckled. “I have my sources.” He shifted his hips, and his spike slid out of Rodimus’ valve, leaving him horribly empty. “And it seems I’ve hit the mark. So. You made a mistake, out of arrogance I imagine, and then you made another mistake, out of fear. And then you just kept making those mistakes, didn’t you?”
Rodimus squirmed out from under Starscream, ripping his hand free. “It’s none of your business,” he snapped, his valve snapping shut. He cradled both hands close to his chestplate. “And you’re one to talk about arrogance.”
“Ah, but we’re not talking about me. We’re talking about you.” Starscream’s vocals continued to sound amused. “Whyever would you let Prowl manipulate you like that?”
Rodimus cast a glare over his shoulder, his rage ticking upward at the sight of Starscream’s smirk. “The same reason you let Prowl manipulate you,” he snapped because yeah, he had his sources, too.
Crimson optics flashed, but Starscream must have learned some self-control because he didn’t rise to the bait. “Extenuating circumstances,” he said, and propped his head up with a hand, bending his arm beneath it. “Let’s talk about you and Overlord and… Drift, was it? The one you let take the fall?”
Rodimus ground his denta so hard that he heard the metal shriek. “I’m not talking about this with you.”
“Why not?” A light touch landed on his backstrut, between his spoiler halves, and dragged halfway down. “Oh, believe me, baby Prime. If there’s anyone who understands the fault that lies in arrogance, it’s me. Do you think I would mock you?”
“You’re Starscream,” Rodimus muttered.
The Seeker laughed. “I feel like I’m supposed to be insulted by that.” The tip of one talon scratched at Rodimus’ backplate seams, and it was oddly soothing. “I am what I am. And you are what you are, eating yourself up with your own guilt, all the while pretending it doesn’t bother you. But it’s not just Overlord, is it?” Starscream chuckled again. “You Autobots and your guilt complexes. This feeds into a deeper guilt, doesn’t it?”
Primus damn it. How did Starscream read him so well?
Rodimus scooted forward, just out of reach of Starscream, his legs dangling over the edge of the berth. “And I suppose Decepticons don’t feel guilty?”
“Not about the things that were necessary, no.” Starscream’s field reached for him, now that his hands couldn’t, and it poked and prodded at all the weak sections of Rodimus’ own. “I don’t have time for guilt. I don’t have time to let it consume me. Else I’d never accomplish anything.”
Rodimus snorted. “That’s because you’re a selfish slagger.”
“Mm. And I own it.” He couldn’t see it, but he knew Starscream was smirking. Every drawl of the Seeker’s tone dripped with self-satisfaction.
Starscream scootched closer, near enough that he could poke Rodimus right between the two halves of his spoiler. “Maybe you should think about doing that, too.”
Rodimus whirled and smacked his hand away. “No. That’s not who I am.”
Starscream arched an orbital ridge. “That so? Then why don’t you tell me who you are, Rodimus-not-a-Prime.” He lowered his chin and his gaze, staring pointedly at Rodimus’ hand.
He sighed and let his shoulders sag. He scraped his hand down his face. He never thought he’d see the day when he had something in common with Starscream, but right now, here he was and there Starscream was, and sadly, Starscream was right. He was probably the only one who would understand. Not because of guilt, as Rodimus doubted Starscream even knew what that felt like. But Starscream had a history of making bad choices. And yet, somehow, he kept managing to pick himself back up, smirk in place.
Rodimus dragged his feet back onto the berth and leaned up against the wall, ignoring the flakes of rust that rained down on him. He drew one knee up, resting his arm atop it. He tilted his head back, closed his optics. If he didn’t have to look at Starscream, maybe that would be easier.
“Yes, it has to do with Overlord,” he admitted, and oh, didn’t that hurt. “Yes, I let Prowl twist me around into thinking it was a good idea. I let Drift convince me to let him take the blame. I’ve lost at least ten percent of my crew since I started this quest, and that’s probably a conservative estimate.”
That hurt more.
He did know the names. He knew each and every designation. He pretended he didn’t, but they were scored inside his memory core. He took them out sometimes, especially at night, when he was lying in bed thinking about all the awesome things he would accomplish, only to realize he was getting in his own way.
He knew who had died. He didn’t know, of those mechs still on life support in the medbay, who he would be adding to the list. He didn’t know who he would get killed in the future.
He didn’t know if he knew how to make the right decisions anymore.
Rodimus onlined his optics and looked at his palm. He traced the curves and lines of each number with the thumb of his other hand.
“I held a vote. To see if the crew still wanted me as their captain. At the time, I thought it was the humble thing to do. But Optimus was right. As he always is.” His ventilations stuttered, and it took a moment to get them back in tune. “I never once thought I’d lose, but here the numbers are.” He lifted his hand, showing Starscream, the edge of his mouth curving into a wan smile, a pale shade of his usual grin. “Damn near lost, didn’t I?”
“You still won.”
“Almost didn’t though. It was a near-thing. Almost half the crew wanted me to resign. Half. And I know that many aren’t gonna stay behind when we leave again.”
Starscream made a non-committal noise. “Optimus isn’t always right. He just thinks he is,” he said, and pushed himself upright, rolling his shoulders. “That holier-than-thou attitude that he has, it’s one of the reasons the war lasted as long as it did. The both of them, refusing to bend, maybe he should take a good, hard look at himself for once. As if him becoming Orion Pax was any less selfish than you asking for a vote.”
Rodimus blinked. “He did it to calm tensions.”
“That’s what he told you,” Starscream said and he smirked, effecting a long, casual stretch. “And it half-worked like he hoped it would. But really, all he was doing was running away from his own legacy. From blind hero-worshippers like you. At least Megatron had the bolts to own his actions.”
Rodimus stared at the Seeker. “I never thought I’d see the day where you complimented Megatron.”
Starscream shrugged and leaned back on his hands. “It’s complicated. And you’re avoiding the topic.” He tilted his head, lips curving. “You’re not sulking out of guilt. You’re sulking out of hurt, too. Because you asked the great Optimus Prime for advice, he cut the rug out from under you, and then insult upon insult, instilled my former leader as captain of your quest. Aren’t you glad he came back when he did?”
Rodimus ground his denta. “You’re twisting my words.”
“I don’t have to, baby Prime.” Starscream laughed, bearing his denta in a sharp grin. “It’s written all over your face. And I thought I was twisted. That’s some dark resentment you’re brewing there.” He extended a leg, tapping Rodimus in the thigh with the tip of a thruster. “Believe me. I know resentment.”
“I don’t resent Optimus!” Rodimus growled, wriggling away from Starscream.
“You don’t?” Starscream watched his retreat with a grin and thinly veiled amusement. “You’re not doing a good job of convincing me otherwise.”
Rodimus huffed a ventilation. He flopped on his side, away from Starscream, only remembering at the last second to flick his spoiler out of the way. The last thing he needed to do was hurt himself in a fit of pique.
“Why are we talking?” he demanded. “Didn’t we come here to frag?”
Starscream dragged a finger down his backstrut, making him shiver. “You are really good at convincing yourself about the things you think you don’t need, aren’t you?” he asked.
The berth shifted as he leaned closer, ex-venting warm and damp on the back of Rodimus’ neck. Starscream’s hand worked lower, until it cupped Rodimus’ aft.
“So what about the things you think you do need.” Starscream purred. His talons scraped a long line against Rodimus’ aft, drawing up curls of paint. “Does this count, Rodimus-not-a-Prime?”
Rodimus shivered. The scrape felt like an itch he couldn’t scratch. It sent his lines to twitching. But the weight of Starscream’s hand, the lingering warmth so near to his back, it made him crave all over again the sweet oblivion of release.
He pushed his aft back toward Starscream, his valve twitching as arousal returned with a vengeance. He was already wet and open and horribly empty.
“Maybe it is,” Rodimus said and tilted forward, just enough that his valve was presented to Starscream. His spike repressurized, the head of it rubbing against the berth cover. “You gonna ignore this offer, Screamer? Am I gonna have to go elsewhere to get what I need?”
Starscream’s hand wandered from Rodimus’ aft to his valve. The tips of his talons traced the rim of it before two pushed inside. Rodimus moaned, working his intake.
“Very well,” Starscream murmured. His fingers twisted and curled, sweeping over every internal node within reach.
Rodimus’ valve tingled. His calipers fluttered restlessly. He rocked back, urging Starscream to go deeper, or at least frag him.
“The coward’s way out it is,” Starscream continued before his fingers retreated from Rodimus’ valve, leaving him with that horribly abandoned feeling again.
Rodimus hissed. He shoved his hand against the berth, trying to roll over, but Starscream was there, blanketing him from behind, throwing a leg over his hips. Starscream’s spike nudged at his valve, even as Starscream tossed his arm over Rodimus’ torso, his lubricant damp fingers pressing to Rodimus’ lips.
“Suck,” Starscream commanded as his spikehead teased the rim of Rodimus’ valve, playing in the lubricants making a steady escape from within.
Rodimus opened his mouth without thinking and Starscream pushed his fingers inside. Rodimus sucked on them greedily, his glossa lashing over the sharp talons, cleaning them of every drop of his own lubricant. Starscream wouldn’t kiss him, so this was the next best thing.
Rodimus moaned as Starscream’s fingers stroked his glossa. He gripped the berth with his free hand, rocking back against Starscream, demanding that Starscream take him, slide into his valve, and frag him senseless.
He didn’t want to think anymore. He didn’t want to talk about Optimus or the vote or Overlord or anything that mattered.
He just wanted to be Hot Rod again. The reckless rookie who didn’t care about anything but the next great high.
Starscream obliged. He growled as he shoved against Rodimus’ back, as his spike bobbed against Rodimus’ rim before sliding inside. His fingers pushed deeper, stroking the back of Rodimus’ glossa, and all Rodimus did was suck them. He pretended they were a spike, and he lavished them with love.
He heard Starscream’s ventilations hitch. He felt the rumble of Starscream’s engine against his back, his spoiler.
“You are a menace,” Starscream said as he rocked into Rodimus, his spike stroking every node with perfect precision.
Rodimus rolled back onto his spike, trying to get Starscream deeper. But this angle only allowed for shallow penetration. For something slow and sweet. It felt good, but it wasn’t what Rodimus needed.
He sucked harder on Starscream’s fingers before talking around them. “Come on, frag me already,” he demanded, knowing that the words were muffled, but his desire should be obvious.
“Isn’t that what I’m doing?” Starscream asked as he pushed into Rodimus even slower, spike stirring every sensor node and making Rodimus itch with pleasure.
He moaned, denta clamping down on Starscream’s fingers, not enough to harm, but enough to leave marks behind.
“We can’t always get what we want,” Starscream purred into Rodimus’ audial, his glossa tickling against it. He rolled himself deep and held himself there, circling his hips, his spikehead rubbing against Rodimus’ ceiling node.
A low keen rose in Rodimus’ intake. His head tilted back toward Starscream’s. He clawed at the berth as oral lubricant dribbled out the corners of his mouth.
Fine. If this was how Starscream wanted to play it, then Rodimus would go along with it for now.
His chance would come. All he’d need do was seize it.