[Crown the Empire] Reign 17

To say that he’d practically danced out of the command center would be an absolute lie, and Grimlock would defend himself until the day his spark grayed. Yes, he’d been eager to get off-shift and see what ruin Starscream and Ratchet had left in his absence. No, he hadn’t pranced out of the command center.

He’d ignored the smirk in Krok’s optics, and made his escape. He headed straight for Starscream’s habsuite, simultaneously worried and elated. When he arrived, it was ominously silent behind the door, yet he let himself inside anyway.

The main lights were dimmed, only bright enough to highlight the furniture. Biolights on the futon indicated the presence of a single mech, as did the dim illumination of a lighted datapad.

Grimlock gave a long, pointed look around him. “Where is everyone?” He’d expected chaos. Where was the noise?

Ratchet rose from the futon, his datapad vanishing into subspace as he stretched his arms over his helm. “Your Intended is recharging as he should be. Your brothers are in Dinobot Central – cute name by the way – with Wheeljack. I intend to join them.”

Grimlock ignored the disappointment swamping his spark. He’d looked forward to being around everyone he considered his family.

“Oh, I see.” He hoped he didn’t sound as disappointed as he felt. “How is Starscream?”

Ratchet waved a dismissing hand. “Snappish. Irritated. Cutting. In other words, he’s absolutely fine.”

Well, at least they hadn’t killed each other.

Grimlock inclined his helm.”Thank you for looking after him.”

“It’s what I do.” Ratchet smiled softly. “He still needs to be on berth rest. So he’s in no condition to–”

“Ratchet, I do have some restraint,” Grimlock said, cutting off his creator before he could finish that sentence and embarrass the both of them. “I’ll check on him and then crash on the futon.”

Ratchet folded his arms and grinned. “You had better. Don’t think I won’t come back in here and drag you out by your audials, if I have to. I’ve interrupted worse.”

Could this conversation get any worse?

Grimlock rubbed at his forehelm. “Isn’t it time for you to recharge? Old mechs need more of it after all.”

Ratchet whapped the back of his hand against Grimlock’s shoulder. “Don’t you start.” His hand came back, gently this time, resting on the crook of Grimlock’s arm. “Swoop wanted to talk to you, so come see him when you online.”

“Yes, Mama.”

“Don’t you start that either.” Ratchet grinned at him, though it was lopsided. He gave Grimlock’s arm a squeeze. “I’m proud of you, kid. Just thought you should know.”

Grimlock turned, leaned down, and briefly pressed his forehelm to Ratchet’s chevron. “I know. Now get out of here. You know Wheeljack doesn’t recharge well if you’re not next to him.”

“He is a bit of a cuddler.” Ratchet pulled free, his field nudging Grimlock’s with affection. “Recharge well, kid.”

“You, too.”

Ratchet left, and Grimlock was free to make his way back to Starscream’s berthroom as quietly as he was capable. He couldn’t help but lumber unfortunately, though he did his best not to stomp around.

The door to Starscream’s berth was open, surprisingly, but inside it was dim, with nothing but muted running lights and Starscream’s bio lights. Starscream lay on his front, helm turned away from the door, but as Grimlock stood in the doorway, he stirred.

“About time you got here,” he said, voice wreathed in static, as though he’d only been dozing rather than recharging. “I had to entertain that mess you call a family for hours.”

Grimlock chuckled and stepped further inside, picking his way across the floor. “I’m sure you provided ample entertainment.” He sat on the edge of the berth, angling his frame toward Starscream, even as the Seeker, pushed himself upright, one hand rubbing over his optics.

“Mmm.” Starscream made a noncommittal noise. “Anything important happen?”

“You’re not on duty for another week, Star.”

Wings flicked, first one and then the other. “Your point?”

Grimlock shifted, lifting one hand to curl around the edge of a twitching wing. “No, nothing important happened. Unless you count that Optimus asked me to approve a petition to arrest Metalhawk.”

“It’s about time.” Starscream’s wing pushed into his touch, letting his fingers slide along the edge. His field pulsed fatigue and warmth both, his optics dimming. “Shut the door and come to berth. Your creator insists I need more rest, and I actually believe him.”

Grimlock snorted a laugh and pushed to his pedes. He closed the door and locked it – Starscream could never sleep with a door open – and returned to the berth.

“I was told to leave you in peace,” he said as he eased onto the berth, unsurprised when Starscream all but clambered on top of him, curling against chest. He rested one arm around the Seeker, spark throbbing at the feel of static bandages and temp plating.

“Recharging with me is peaceful,” Starscream retorted. His engine thrummed softly, vibrating against Grimlock’s armor. “I didn’t ask you to ‘face me, Mama’s boy.”

Grimlock chuckled. “I know.” He stroked a hand down Starscream’s back, careful to avoid the sensitive wing hinges. “How are you feeling?”

Starscream made a non-committal noise, his frame relaxing as he rested his helm on Grimlock’s chestplate. “I’ll be better once I can get back to work. Inaction is torture.”

It was Grimlock’s turn to hum noncommittally. He listened to the sound of Starscream’s vents, not labored, but even and calming. He tracked the steady pulse of Starscream’s spark. He felt the even hum of Starscream’s engine. Wings ceased flicking, resting against Starscream’s back.

Grimlock’s hand stroked down Starscream’s back once more, and then rested on the base of it. He offlined his visor and listened to his Intended cycle back toward recharge. He would guard Starscream’s sleep before he would allow himself his own.


Grimlock onlined to an annoying ping in his comm suite, one that refused to be ignored. He groaned and tried to roll over, but a warm weight on his chest prevented him from doing so.

He onlined his visor, registered that the ping came from Cyclonus, and looked down the length of his frame. Starscream lay sprawled on top of him, deep in recharge, his face relaxed and his wings calm. Grimlock had an arm over Starscream, draped loosely across his waist.

Primus, but he was beautiful.

Grimlock shifted Cyclonus’ ping to a temporary queue, telling him to wait a moment, and stroked his hand down Starscream’s back.


“Nnn.” Starscream stirred, but just barely. He nuzzled Grimlock’s chestplate, helm turning from one side to the other.

Grimlock’s spark squeezed a little tighter. “Star, wake up. I need to get up.”

Starscream’s fingers twitched, talons emerging to lock into his seams. “Can’t. Recharging,” he said, more lucid this time.

“Yes, but I have to work.”

“Ugh.” Starscream lifted his helm, optics dim as he peered at Grimlock. “You owe me more time than this.”

Grimlock gently stroked his backstrut. “Duty calls, Star.”

His Intended heaved a great sigh and disengaged his claws, sliding off of Grimlock’s frame and onto the berth, as Grimlock shifted to make room for him. It took all of his self-control to force himself off the berth and away from the warm weight that was Starscream. If he had a choice, he’d linger here all day.

“What’s on the docket today?” Starscream asked as he wriggled about to make himself comfortable.

Grimlock almost forgot to answer the question, as he was paying too much attention to Starscream’s aft. “Ratchet said Swoop wanted to tell me something,” he said, and tapped his comm. “And I’ve Cyclonus pinging me.”

Starscream laughed into pillow. “If Swoop’s not in Dinobot Central, then he’s with my trinemates,” he said.

“What? Why?”

Starscream shrugged, but it was far from dismissive. “They fly together a lot.”

“Do they.” It wasn’t a question. Grimlock suspected there was more going on here than he knew. However, he’d find out soon enough.

He leaned forward and brushed the back of his hand over Starscream’s visible cheek. “Rest well. I’ll be back tonight.”

Starscrea’s optics had already shuttered. “You’d better,” he murmured, the very picture of relaxation.

Every inch of Grimlock wanted to stay. He forced himself to spin on a heelstrut and head for the door. He had responsibilities. He was leader. He could not cuddle his Intended for the remainder of the day.

In the hallway, Grimlock finally answered Cyclonus’ ping, if only to distract himself from leaving Starscream behind. “Yes? What is it?”

“Shockwave wants an audience,” his third in command replied, somehow managing not to sound irritated at the wait. “His repeated requests have become bothersome.”

Grimlock had purposefully put Shockwave off as long as possible. He didn’t want to give in to any of the scientist’s demands, but he did have some honor. Shockwave did deserve some leniency for saving Starscream’s life. He might even prove to be of use in the future. He only had to be tempered. Never freed, but definitely watched.

“I’ll speak with him now,” Grimlock replied, adjusting course for the brig instead. “Is there anything else?”

“Nothing that can’t wait.”

“Understood. Thank you, Cyclonus.”

“Yes, sir.”

The comm went silent.

Less than ten minutes later, Grimlock strode into the brig, nodding a greeting to Cyclonus’ third-in-command, a hulking rotary by the name of Blackout. One who didn’t look at all the worse for wear given that Starscream had bludgeoned him to unconsciousness, stole his blaster, and escaped the medbay.

Grimlock sincerely hoped Blackout wasn’t the sort to hold a grudge. He still intended to encourage Starscream to apologize as soon as possible.

“Shockwave’s already in Interrogation One, sir,” Blackout rumbled at him, looking down at Grimlock with four optics that blinked in succession. “Cyclonus called ahead.”

“Thank you, Blackout,” Grimlock replied. He remained steadily delighted that he’d made an excellent choice in picking Cyclonus as his third.

Grimlock paused at the window before entering the room, looking in on the purple scientist. Shockwave sat in a chair, neither of his arms shackled, though he remained unarmed. He stared forward, his single optic focused on the door. He did not fidget, or look around him.

As cold as ice, that one. Without an ounce of humility or humanity in him.

Time to get this over with.

Grimlock keyed his code into the panel and stepped into the room. The door slid shut behind him, locking with a definitive click. Not that he expected Shockwave to try and escape.

“Grimlock.” Shockwave tilted his helm in greeting. “How kind of you to finally respond to my numerous requests.”

“I’ve been busy.” He pulled out a chair, the legs screeching across the floor. “There are matters far more important than you.”

Shockwave made a vague gesture with the one hand. “As a matter of course,” he agreed, charitably. “However, there is the matter of a promise that was made. I wish to receive what I am owed. And as I am told you are a mech of your word, I do expect to receive it.”

Grimlock leaned against the table, threading his fingers together and bracing his elbows against the edge. “What do you want?”

“Freedom, but I know that will not be given to me without some caveats,” Shockwave said, his helm tilting by a fraction. “All I wish is to continue my research. I have no interest in politics, or leadership. The science is all that matters.”

“Caveats,” Grimlock repeated, and tried not to let his disdain for Shockwave show.

He might have failed. He didn’t much care.

“You will submit what you intend to research for approval,” Grimlock began. He’d put some thought into this, but not much. “You will be supervised at all times by someone who actually knows what you are trying to accomplish. All supply requests will go through your supervisor and me. You will not have free reign. You will bunk in the brig, and released at times determined by myself or my command team.”

Shockwave shifted in his chair. “You give me no leeway.”

“You deserve none,” Grimlock retorted coldly. “You saved Starscream’s spark, and for that I am grateful. But I’ve not forgotten what you did to Swoop or First Aid. And while I hold no love for the Twins, your treatment of them is reprehensible. I know there were others, Autobots who didn’t live long enough to see freedom.”

Shockwave’s optic brightened. “Sacrifices must be made for progress. It is universal law.”

Grimlock’s tanks churned. “Not anymore.” He narrowed his visor at Shockwave. “Those are my terms.”

“Who will be my supervisor?”

Grimlock barely kept himself from laughing. “That is a very good question. If you can find someone who is willing to do so, I must approve of them.”

Shockwave’s optic narrowed. His field flickered, the first sign of irritation. “You are making this unnecessarily difficult.”

“You are in the brig for a reason, Shockwave,” Grimlock retorted and leaned back in his chair, giving the scientist a hard stare. “I must do what is necessary to protect my Decepticons and the terms of the treaty. If you don’t like the terms, then you can stay in your cell.”

Shockwave ex-vented noisily. “How am I to find a capable supervisor?”

Grimlock rose to his pedes, bracing his hands on the table and leaning forward. “Draft requests. I’ll make sure that Cyclonus’ mechs deliver them to the proper recipients.” He doubted anyone would agree, but he’d let Shockwave try.

“Am I restricted to Decepticons?”

“If you believe an Autobot or a Neutral would be willing to take responsibility for you, you are more than welcome to try,” Grimlock replied.

“Very well.” Shockwave’s tone was tight, his armor even more so. “Then I accept the terms of my release. For now.”

Grimlock pushed off the table. “Good for you.” He turned around and strode to the door. “Blackout will be in to return you to your cell. Have a good evening, Shockwave.”

“And to you, Lord Grimlock.”

The door shut and locked behind him. Only then did Grimlock cycle a long ventilation, letting his field burst with disgust, his armor shivering. It took all he had not to leap across the table and rip out Shockwave’s spark.

Shockwave deserved no mercy. And yet, he would receive it. Because Grimlock was better than Shockwave ever could be.

Swoop was worth more than that.

And speaking of Swoop….

Grimlock spun on a heelstrut and started down the corridor. Time to find his youngest brother, he supposed. After he sent a quick comm to Cyclonus to inform him of Shockwave’s deal.


Skywarp was in heaven, or the closest thing to it at any rate. The only thing that could have made this better were if Thundercracker were fully repaired, or they were in mid-air, flying to their spark’s content.

Still, happiness abounded.

He was currently snuggled between his two lovers, Thundercracker at his left and Swoop at his right, both of them radiating heat that kept Skywarp at a soothing, pleasant temperature. Thundercracker was hotter, given that his frame still worked to self-repair, but Swoop cuddled closer.

Yep. Perfect.

“I can hear you grinning, you know,” Thundercracker murmured without unshuttering an optic. “You should be recharging.”

Skywarp tried not to wriggle and disturb Swoop as well. “Don’t wanna,” he said, turning his helm toward his trinemate. “Feeling better?”

“Sore. Achy.” Thundercracker shifted, making the berthcovers rustle. “Damn Starscream.” The curse was a common mix of affection and exasperation.

Skywarp patted the nearest part of Thundercracker he could reach – an upper thigh. “He didn’t yell. That’s a good thing.”

Thundercracker made a noncommittal noise. “That depends on your point of view, I suppose.” One arm shifted, his hand moving to lay on Skywarp’s abdomen, just below his nose cone. “I’m off shift for another two days at least.”

“I know. I have to take all the ones you can’t,” Skywarp grumbled. Well, that was kind of inaccurate. Sunstorm took most of Thundercracker’s command shifts. It was all the other, boring things that Skywarp had to take. Like supervising the construction crews.

Thundercracker chuckled as he stroked Skywarp’s ventrum, slow and steady motions Skywarp could not help but respond to. The times Thundercracker eagerly came to him, with charge in his lines and heat in his spark, were the best times ever. Skywarp didn’t mind the odd relationship he had with Thundercracker.

Well, odd to anyone on the outside looking it. To Skywarp, it was perfectly normal. Thundercracker’s systems just spun a different way than everyone else’s. It didn’t make Skywarp love him any less. And then they added Swoop to the mix, and all that did was add flavor to their relationship.

Skywarp’s engine purred. He shifted on the berth, abdomen lightly pushing into Thundercracker’s fingertips. He hoped they would venture lower, lower, perhaps ghost over his interface panel and explore there, too.

Oh, Primus how he hoped.

Skywarp’s optics dimmed as he let himself enjoy the sensation. “Someone’s feeling frisky,” he murmured. Heat pulsed through his lines, his focus on the path of those gentle fingers.

The berth shifted as Thundercracker leaned close before Skywarp felt the brush of lips over the curve of his jaw. “It happens,” he murmured.

Skywarp shivered. His fingers shook where they rested on Thundercracker’s thigh, not yet daring to move in either direction. He didn’t want to shatter the moment.

He felt another hand, this time on his right hip. It could not possibly have been Thundercracker’s, even though it did slide unerringly inward, toward the growing heat of Skywarp’s panel.

He brightened his optics and turned his helm, looking directly into Swoop’s mischievous gaze.

“Me Swoop want to play, too,” the Dinobot said, one finger sliding along a seam, nudging at the cable bundles beneath.

Skywarp’s arm had been pinned under Swoop, yet he never felt the Dinobot move. Sometimes, Swoop could be rather sneaky.

“Then consider yourself invited,” Skywarp replied with a grin, only to gasp and arch as Thundercracker’s hand joined Swoop’s, two sets of fingers tracing slow circles around Skywarp’s interface array. “I’m a lucky, lucky mech.”

Swoop chuckled and nuzzled into Skywarp’s intake, his lips and denta nipping a path of pleasure over his cables. His fingers were the first to find Skywarp’s panel, rubbing the heel of his hand over it.

Skywarp bucked up against Swoop, until Thundercracker pushed him back down with a firm hand on Skywarp’s hip.

“Oh, no,” he groaned, his hand tightening around Thundercracker’s thigh while the other stroked Swoop’s backplate. “You’re both going to torture me now. What did I do to deserve that?”

Thundercracker rumbled at him, his lips wandering to Skywarp’s audial and giving it a nuzzle. “Because it is such fun.”


Skywarp moaned and licked his lips. Pressed between the two of them? Driven toward ecstasy with both of his lovers? This really was heaven.

“Try and hold back,” Thundercracker murmured. His hand joined Swoop’s once more, stroking around and over Skywarp’s panel, tracing the seams of it.

“Ask for the impossible why don’t you,” Skywarp grumbled. His optics lit again, and he looked down, spark skipping at the sight of two pairs of gray hands, one darker than the other.

Another shiver danced down his spinal strut. His field reached out, and sizzled where it made contact with Thundercracker and Swoop’s.

Swoop laughed and shifted, throwing one of his legs over the nearest of Skywarp’s, his hips rolling so that he rubbed his array against Skywarp’s hip. The soft scrape of metal on metal sent vibrations through Skywarp’s armor.

“Me Swoop like you like this,” he said, denta leaving playful nips on Skywarp’s intake before moving down to his chest vents. “Make you Skywarp scream.”

“He does get rather loud,” Thundercracker agreed, his vocals rich with amusement. “Noisy, too.”

“Me like him Skywarp noisy,” Swoop said.

“Mmm. Me, too.” Thundercracker’s mouth moved back to Skywarp’s jaw, getting closer and closer to his lips.

Skywarp made a strangled sound. “Am I just supposed to lie here and take this?” he demanded, his pedes pushing at the berth as he rocked his hips, panel pinging him for release.

“Yes,” his lovers said, in tandem, almost as though they’d planned it.

Skywarp snickered. “Well then, carry on.” Like frag he was going to protest. Lie back and get inundated with pleasure? Sign him right up!

A loud chime, however, chose that moment to ring through his and Thundercracker’s hab-suite. Skywarp cycled his optics and looked at his trinemate.


“Ignore it,” Thundercracker said as his heel rubbed hard against Skywarp’s panel, exciting the head of his spike beneath. “If it’s that important, they’ll ping us.”

Swoop ex-vented warm air into Skywarp’s vents. “Yep. Me Swoop say ignore, too.”

“Fine by me.” Skywarp licked his lips and bucked his hips again. “Can I open my panel now?” he asked as his plating juttered, and he sent another override.

The door chimed again. Longer this time, as though whoever looked for them had held down the call button.

Skywarp thumped his helm against the pillow. Thundercracker sighed and pressed his forehelm to Skywarp’s shoulder. Swoop laughed as he buried his face against Skywarp’s cockpit.

“Wanna bet it’s Starscream?” Skywarp groaned as the chime sounded again.

“He’s supposed to be on berth rest,” Thundercracker said.

“Yeah, well, so are you, and yet here you are, groping me,” Skywarp retorted with a laugh. He patted his lovers and made motions to get up. “Better answer it. He’ll sulk if we don’t.”

Swoop snickered, but was the first to pull up and off the berth, finding it easiest to extract himself. “Me Swoop get it.”

Skywarp grinned. “You’re a good mech, Swoop. Don’t let anyone tell you different.” He winked. “Hurry back.”

Swoop’s winglets gave a little flutter as he winked in return. “Don’t start without me Swoop,” he replied, and eased out of the berthroom.

Thundercracker moved closer in Swoop’s absence, all but laying on Skywarp’s side. His mouth wandered back toward Skywarp’s jaw, his ex-vents tickling at Skywarp’s intake.

“That’s not waiting,” Skywarp said.

Thundercracker’s field stroked his, warm and thick with arousal. “There’s enough of you to go around,” he said, and dragged his mouth to Skywarp’s.

Their lips met, first a bare brush, and then a deeper kiss. Skywarp moaned into it, their glossas touching, Thundercracker’s mouth warm and soft against his. The rare moments when Thundercracker had the urge to be intimate, to interface, those were some of the best moments of Skywarp’s functioning. He felt so lucky then, as though he were being given a precious gift.

“Mmm.” Skywarp hummed into the kiss. “I hope Star goes away quick. I want to continue this.”

“If we’re lucky, Swoop will scare him off,” Thundercracker agreed, nuzzling their nasal ridges together.

“It’ll take a lot more than my brother to scare me off.”

That was not Starscream’s voice. Neither was it Swoop’s.

Skywarp went still, even as Thundercracker broke away from the kiss. Both of them looked toward the door, where none other than Lord Grimlock darkened the doorway. He loomed larger than usual, his visor a baleful gold.

“Lord Grimlock,” Thundercracker greeted, finding his manners and his poise long before Skywarp could. “Is there something we can help you with?”

Skywarp eased away from Thundercracker, if only so he felt less like he was caught with his panels open in front of his creator, or something equally humiliating. He felt the weight of Grimlock’s gaze on them, measuring and assessing, and didn’t know Grimlock well enough to guess what he found.

“You can tell me your intentions,” Grimlock said, his arms folded over his chestplate.

Thundercracker sighed and rubbed his faceplate. “We already had this conversation with your creators and Starscream both.”

“And now you’re going to have it with me.”

Skywarp thumped back against the berth, his hands covering his face. Primus, this was getting irritating. He’d never met a mech more protected in his entire functioning. “Since when do three consensual mechs need permission to date each other?”

“Since you decided the third mech was going to be my brother,” Lord Grimlock said, his tone oddly even for all that he loomed in the doorway as a very large, very unmoving threat.

“Shouldn’t it be his choice?” Thundercracker asked.

Lord Grimlock cycled a ventilation. “I never said it wasn’t. I can’t stop him from seeing you, and I won’t. But I can make things very difficult if this is some kind of game to you. Especially since you never answered my question.”

Skywarp forced himself to sit up, his wings twitching restlessly. “Like we told your overprotective creators: this isn’t a game. I don’t know what this is, but I’m serious about it. Until someone decides they want out, I’m in.”

“I am not one to share the particulars of my private life,” Thundercracker added, moving to sit up next to Skywarp. “But I feel the same as Skywarp. To force a definition on something might place us in a position that none of us are ready for. Our current arrangement seems to work as it is.”

Grimlock stared at them. It was unnerving to be under the force of that stare. Skywarp didn’t know how Starscream could stand to berth him. Grimlock was every definition of the word intense.

Swoop, by contrast, was sunshine and light, humor and affection. He was charming and adorable, funny and smart. Skywarp still couldn’t believe he was dumb enough to think ill of Swoop. Or that Swoop was gracious enough to forgive him for it.

“You Grimlock stop it!”

Grimlock jerked forward, stumbling into the room, as Swoop pushed him inside. The flying Dinobot scowled, his lips curled with disapproval.

“Be nice,” Swoop added as huffed his ventilations and stared up at his eldest brother. “Me Swoop choose them. Me Swoop want them. My choice, not yours.”

Grimlock huffed and stared down at Swoop. “Me Grimlock know that,” he growled, armor fluffing. Swoop still didn’t back down. “But me Grimlock protect you Swoop. Always. That my job.”

Swoop’s winglets flicked. He threw himself at Grimlock, wrapping his arms around the larger Dinobot’s frame in a tight embrace.

“Me Swoop know,” he said. “And me Swoop happy. But you Grimlock need to not worry. Take care of yourself. And him Starscream.” Swoop laughed softly. “Me Swoop fine.”

Grimlock cycled a ventilation and returned the hold, his hands patting Swoop’s back. “You Swoop grow too fast.”


Skywarp’s spark warmed. They were pretty adorable. They reminded him of his hatchmates, forever and a war ago. Geez, but he hadn’t thought about them in ages. All of them were dead now, like so many other Cybertronians.

“Are you done interrogating us?” Thundercracker asked, doing a remarkable job to hide the annoyance in his tone, though not his field. “We were kind of in the middle of something.”

“TC!” Skywarp hissed and whapped his trinemate in the shoulder. “Don’t say that in front of him.”

“Why not? It’s true.” Thundercracker shrugged.

Grimlock all but glared from his visor.

Swoop laughed and eased out of his brother’s embrace. “Him Thunder, right. We busy. So go.” He pushed Grimlock toward the door and made shooing motions. “Go back to him Starscream. Go.”

“Fine. But me Grimlock watching,” he rumbled with a glance over his shoulder.

Swoop gave him another push, and out Grimlock went, seeing himself to the main door. Skywarp heard it swish open and lock behind their leader, and the minute it did so, Swoop launched himself at the berth, tackling Skywarp back into it.

“We were busy, yes?” Swoop said as he nudged a knee between Skywarp’s thighs, one hand reaching for Thundercracker.

Just like that, Grimlock’s unfortunate visit and threat were forgotten. There was nothing but joy, acceptance, and desire in Swoop’s field. He would stand against his brother for them.

Warmth fluttered into Skywarp’s spark.

Skywarp chuckled and wrapped a leg around the Dinobot’s waist, bucking up against him. “Very.” He slanted a look at Thundercracker. “Still going to join us?”

Thundercracker accepted Swoop’s hand and let himself be pulled closer to where they were entwined on the berth. “Yes. Though I think I’ll watch for round one.” He visibly squeezed Swoop’s hand. “You both put on a good show.”

Swoop laughed. “Fine by me.”

Skywarp beamed. Yep. Pinned between his two lovers. He couldn’t imagine anywhere else he’d rather be.


Starscream absolutely was not lonely. He was, however, bored out of his processor. Grimlock hadn’t lingered long before he’d had to leave for one of many numerous tasks. Thundercracker and Skywarp weren’t answering their comms.

Sunstorm had only given him a clipped reply of, “I have been informed you are on medical leave, Commander. I am not allowed to give you any information yet.” Then he’d had the audacity to end the comm.

Starscream was left with nothing to do but read datapads, watch mindless entertainment on the vidscreen, or recharge. None of it sounded appealing.

Of course, he could have ignored both Knock Out’s and Ratchet’s medical advice, and roamed the entirety of New Iacon as he pleased. There was no rule that said he had to obey them. But after getting up and pacing around his habsuite twice, fatigue settled in, and he conceded defeat.

He took the downtime for what it was and tried to enjoy it. He dozed. He consumed unhealthy amounts of energon and rust sticks someone had kindly left for him – he suspected Grimlock. He consumed datapads of fictional novels he’d been meaning to read for ages, and didn’t finish a single one of them.

They were no longer as interesting as he thought they might be. Sparkling tales seemed even much more that in the wake of the war. Scientific journals were nonsense, gibberish lost to the classes he never managed to take. Romance novels paled in comparison to his own weird, yet satisfying love life.

The datapads weren’t a complete waste of his time, just most of one.

So he would never admit to leaping with delight, spark thumping excitedly, when he heard someone input the code to his quarters. Very few mechs had access to his private suite, and of those, only one would come by without a prior invitation extended.

Instead, Starscream buried his face in the book he wasn’t reading, and pretended complete disinterest as the door opened, and Grimlock let himself inside.

“Have you even moved since I left?” Grimlock asked, amusement rich in his vocals.

Starscream made a show of powering down the datapad and stowing it. “Yes. Of course I have.” He peered up at his Intended. “Anything interesting happen?” He hoped if he asked it enough, Grimlock would share with him, medical orders be damned.

“Nothing of consequence.”

Starscream narrowed his optics. “I don’t believe you.”

“And I don’t think you need to get excited over nothing when you’re still recovering,” Grimlock retorted, his voice smug. One hand rifled around in his subspace, only to produce a box, which he then handed to Starscream.

“What is it?” he asked, suspicious. “A bribe?”

“A gift.” Grimlock eased onto the futon beside Starscream, taking up nearly twice the room, and leaving their frames pressed together. “We are courting after all.”

Starscream’s grip tightened around the box. “Indeed we are.” Given all that had happened as of late, he’d, well, not forgotten. But he’d definitely not given it much attention.

He plucked at the ribbon, untying the lopsided bow, and lifted off the lid. Inside were an assortment of energon candies in various flavors and colors. Some were dusted with flavored metal shavings. Others were drizzled in some kind of oil.

“Where did you get these?” Starscream asked, even as his mouth filled with oral lubricant, and his tank clenched eagerly.

“Swindle has a surprisingly far reach, for all that we are out of touch with the rest of the universe,” Grimlock said. He sounded proud of himself. “I won’t tell you what they cost me.”

Starscream worked his intake, selecting a bright yellow goodie with a dusting of what looked to be sweet rust. “If it’s Swindle, I don’t want to know,” he murmured, before he popped the candy into his mouth, the sour-sweet flavor bursting over his glossa.

His engine rumbled with pleasure. He hadn’t tasted delights such as these in decades. He’d forgotten how good energon could taste.

“You like?” Grimlock asked. He draped an arm across the back of the futon, his fingers toying with the tip of Starscream’s furthest wing.

Starscream licked his lips and plucked another from the box. “Is it not obvious?” He popped the goodie into his mouth, this one syrupy sweet and drizzled with oil.

If he wasn’t careful, he’d sit and eat the whole box. So he leaned forward and set it on the nearby table, out of reach.

Grimlock chuckled. “I hate to assume.” He stroked the edge of Starscream’s wing, his field reaching out and brushing Starscream’s own. “How do you feel?”

“Well enough to get back to work,” Starscream said, only partially a lie.

“I think your medic would disagree with you.”

Starscream snorted and licked his lips, cleaning the last trace of the goodie from them. He had to resist the urge to reach for the box again, instead settling into Grimlock’s side. The Decepticon leader radiated heat like a furnace, but there was something comforting about it.

He listened to Grimlock’s engine purr. A happy, sated sound. He felt lulled by the steady strokes of his wings. Lulled, and more than a little aroused. Heat lazily pulsed into his lines, his circuits. He squirmed on the futon, wriggling closer to Grimlock.

He would never admit aloud how much he had missed Grimlock in his lover’s absence.

His wing pushed into Grimlock’s hand, and he shivered when another light stroke sent a tingle of pleasure through his frame.

Grimlock softly chuckled. “I don’t think that’s medically advisable,” he murmured.

“There’s nothing wrong with a little touching,” Starscream said with a sniff. He tried not to squirm, but Grimlock’s strokes were perfect. He’d gotten used to a certain amount of pleasure, damn it.

“A little?” Grimlock hummed, his hand leaving Starscream’s swing to stroke down his side, tickling at his ventral seams. “Should I stop then?”

Starscream leaned closer to him. “Don’t you dare,” he growled.

“Well, in that case….”

The futon shifted, Grimlock’s hand vanished, and Starscream had a moment to be outraged before he felt himself lifted right off the futon and placed on Grimlock’s lap. Sometimes, he forgot how much larger and stronger Grimlock could be. And yet, he never felt unsafe around his new leader. Not like he had around Megatron.

Perhaps because Grimlock had never raised a hand to him. Had only ever treated him carefully.

Now, he sat with his back to Grimlock’s chestplate, his wings tucked between them, his thighs hooked over Grimlock’s. Hands rested on his hips, though one was already pushing inward, petting over his warm interface panels.

Starscream shivered, leaning back into Grimlock’s embrace. “This is better,” he murmured, hips pushing toward Grimlock’s hand.

Grimlock laughed quietly, his frame radiating heat against Starscream’s. “I will have to be careful,” he murmured as he stroked circles around Starscream’s panel. “Open for me?”

It was always in the asking.

Starscream’s spark bloomed with heat as he sent the command, letting his protective panel transform away. The head of his spike peeped into view, his valve twitching as cool air whisked over exposed components.

Starscream clamped his hands on Grimlock’s arms, his optics shuttering as he let himself indulge in sensation. Grimlock’s fingers worked gentle magic as they stroked over his array, softly rubbing the head of his spike until it fully pressurized into Grimlock’s fist. Grimlock’s other hand rested on Starscream’s thigh.

“Mmm.” Grimlock’s helm nuzzled against his, mouthplate brushing the back of Starscream’s helm. “Next time, I should do this in front of a mirror. So I can watch your face.”

A shiver worked its way up Starscream’s backstrut. He cycled a ventilation and unshuttered his optics, looking down to watch Grimlock’s fingers stroke over his spike. It looked so small in the Dinobot’s grip, but something about the size difference sent another wave of heat through him.

“Just my face?” he asked.

“All of you,” Grimlock corrected, and gave Starscream’s spike a squeeze. “You are beautiful, especially in pleasure. There’s little I like more than seeing you come apart in my hands.”


Warmth throbbed through Starscream. He groaned, his hips rolling up into Grimlock’s fist. His hands clenched tightly around Grimlock’s arms, though not enough to dent the reinforced armor.

His helm tilted back, laying on Grimlock’s shoulder, his wings trapped between their frames. “And here I thought you didn’t like my spike,” Starscream gasped out as charge rattled through his lines.

More pre-fluid gathered at the tip of his channel, moistening the way for Grimlock’s fingers. His valve seeped, fluttering wildly on nothing.

At least until Grimlock’s other hand slid from his thigh, his large fingers tracing the rim of Starscream’s valve.

Starscream groaned, pleasure peppering up and down in his backstrut in waves. His vents roared.

“I like it just fine,” Grimlock rumbled, his vocalizations a deep purr in Starscream’s audial. “And as soon as you’re fully recovered, I’d like to feel it within me.”

Lust crashed over Starscream. His valve rippled as two fingers pushed into it, curling and stroking the inner nodes. His spike throbbed in Grimlock’s grip.

He shivered, his processor filling the blanks as he imagined pushing into a valve he had yet to see. For all that Grimlock had driven him crazy with pleasure, from his spike alone, Starscream figured Grimlock didn’t care for his valve at all.

“Don’t mock me,” Starscream said.

Grimlock’s helm pressed to his, his ex-vents ghosting over the back of Starscream’s neck. “I would never,” he rumbled, and squeezed Starscream’s spike as he thrust two fingers deep.

Starscream’s back arched, his vents caught on a gasp. Charge flickered through his lines, his spark pounding. He moaned, static lining his vocals, and panted air through his intake.

“You have no idea how often I have wondered how you’d feel inside of me,” Grimlock continued, his hands working Starscream’s array faster, and with determination.

His frame shifted beneath Starscream, hips moving in tune to Starscream’s rocks, as he pushed his spike into Grimlock’s fist and clenched around Grimlock’s fingers.

Starscream gnawed on his bottom lip. “You lie.”

“I do not.” Grimlock growled, the vibrations rattling through Starscream’s frame. “You have a beautiful spike. My only regret is that I do not have a mouth to properly taste it.”

Starsream groaned, his processor spinning. Pleasure stole his thoughts, his computing abilities. He rhythmically clenched Grimlock’s arms, rolling his hips faster and faster into Grimlock’s talented hands.

Grimlock’s fingers plunged deeper, and Starscream cycled down tight on them, his nodes aching with need. He shook in Grimlock’s hold, panting desperately.

“It’s nothing special,” Starscream gasped out, his optics dimming as he focused on the pleasure and nothing else.

“I would beg to differ.” Grimlock squeezed and stroked him, each motion feeling as though he savored it. “I enjoy how it feels in my hand. I imagine it in my valve, exciting my nodes, and I imagine you bringing me pleasure, and that is more than enough for me.”

Starscream whimpered. Grimlock’s words were intoxicating. They sounded genuine, as though he meant every compliment, and Starscream fed on the praise. He felt overcharged on it.

Pleasure swelled over and through him.

“Soon, my Intended,” Grimlock purred, his voice rumbling through Starscream’s entire frame. “Until then, let me feel your pleasure.”

Overload dragged him, stripping him raw. Starscream all but shrieked as his spike spurted, and his valve clamped down, trapping Grimlock’s fingers within him. His engine red-lined, vents roaring, pleasure flooding his frame, and charge erupting from beneath his armor.

It seemed to carry into infinity, until Starscream dropped down again, sagging in Grimlock’s lap. He panted for cool air, even as Grimlock’s hand still gently worked his depressurizing spike, and his fingers rested in Starscream’s valve.

“Nnnn,” Starscream moaned, his processor spinning.

Grimlock rumbled approval. “That sounded like a good one.” His fingers twitched within Starscream’s valve. “Want another?”

“Like that? It might kill me.” Starscream forced his optical shutters back open, only belatedly realizing he’d squeezed them shut.

Grimlock chuckled and nuzzled his helm. “You may have a point there.” His fingers gently withdrew from Starscream’s valve, and his damp hand rested on Starscream’s thigh. “We have pushed it enough already.”

“Mmm.” Lazy satisfaction coiled in Starscream’s lines. Even the gentle strokes of Grimlock’s fingers over his exposed equipment was nothing more than a light buzz of pleasure. “Thank you.”

“It was my pleasure.” Grimlock patted his thigh, engine rumbling and making Starscream’s frame hum. “Eventually, I will court you properly.”

Starscream shifted about on his lap. “I’d say this is a pretty good start. Though if you want to keep impressing me, you can carry me into the washracks and help me get clean.” He smirked, expecting an immediate rebuttal.

He did not expect Grimlock to stand, easily shifting Starscream from his lap to an embarrassing bridal carry. Starscream squawked, his arms flailing.

“What are you doing?” he demanded, hands scrabbling at Grimlock’s chestplate.

Grimlock looked down at him, visor glowing with amusement. “Taking you to the washracks. What else?”

Starscream cycled his optics, feeling heat steal into his faceplate. “I didn’t expect you to actually do it.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” Grimlock sounded genuinely confused, even as he adjusted Starscream’s weight and headed toward his private washrack.

Starscream didn’t have a good answer for that. So he opted not to give one. Instead, he focused on the warmth growing in his spark, warmth that had nothing to do with his most recent overload, and everything to do with the way Grimlock treated him.

Like he was important. Like he mattered. Like he was valued. Worthy.

Starscream worked his intake. He should not be touched by such a simple thing, and yet he was. He tried to imagine any of his past lovers taking care of him, and it was a laughable idea. And no, he didn’t count Megatron in that list.

Megatron wasn’t one of his lovers. Megatron was a disaster. A grievous mistake.

Grimlock was Megatron’s complete opposite in every way.


He cycled a ventilation and shook his helm. “Sorry, thoughts wandered.” He offered Grimlock a crooked grin. “Make sure you get my wing hinges, my lord. They could always use a good scrub.”

Grimlock chuckled, his hands squeezing where they cradled Starscream so carefully. “Whatever you want, my Intended.”

Starscream’s spark squeezed again.

My Intended.

More and more, he was loving the sound of it.


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