[IDW] Play By Numbers 02

Part II – Lies for the Liars

Starscream felt the moment Rodimus stopped fighting him. The tension vanished from the baby Prime’s frame, and he melted into Starscream’s arms. His valve opened up, accepting Starscream’s spike with greedy cycling of his calipers. He moaned around Starscream’s fingers, sucking on them as surely as if they were a spike.

Starscream’s lips curved. He nibbled at Rodimus’ audials and rocked into Rodimus’ valve, his spike throbbing with pleasure. Rodimus’ valve was utterly delightful, eager and welcoming. It seemed to want nothing more than to drag Starscream’s spike deeper and keep him there. Even better that Rodimus kept pushing his aft backward, into the cradle of Starscream’s pelvis. He writhed against Starscream, his field screaming his lust, his need.

What a treasure Starscream had found in the slums. Or had Rodimus found him? Either way, for the first time in months, Starscream considered himself lucky.

There were many different kinds of power. And the ability to reduce someone like Rodimus to a whimpering, moaning mess of need was one of them. Starscream was proud of himself, proud of the pleasure he stirred in the flame-colored mech.

This was not what he expected when he let Rodimus follow him back into this slum apartment, infested with all manner of being. He expected he would boot the primeling out on his aft once he’d had a tedious, and vaguely satisfying overload.

He’d not expected Rodimus to reveal a deep-seated resentment and frustration, one that Starscream could empathize with all too well.

Starscream now had a vulnerable little Autobot Primeling in his arms, and he wasn’t quite sure what all he intended to do with that. Except, perhaps, make Rodimus moan and writhe, as he made quite the pretty picture when he did.

What an opportunity had fallen into Starscream’s lap.

Well, almost his lap.

Now there was a thought.

Starscream purred against the back of Rodimus’ head, his fingers eclipsed by Rodimus’ warm and willing mouth. The Autobrat sucked like he was made for having a spike in his mouth, and Starscream groaned. He hoped to sink past Rodimus’ lips again tonight. But first…

He drew back on his heelstruts, reluctantly drawing his fingers free of Rodimus’ mouth. The primeling gave a whimper of protest, his lips chasing after Starscream’s retreating fingers. Yes, definitely something of an oral fetish in this one.


Starscream’s damp hand smoothed down Rodimus’ back, briefly flicking over the join of spoiler to his backstrut, before he hooked his fingers over the top of Rodimus’ left spoiler. “Come here.”

Rodimus’ aft pushed back, forcing Starscream’s spike deep. He shivered, rolling his hips, grinding Starscream’s spike against his ceiling node.

“I am here,” he said.

“In my lap, you dolt,” Starscream said as he curved his free arm around Rodimus’ waist, tugging him backward. “You’re going to do some of the work.”

Rodimus grunted, his arms drawing inward, his elbows digging into the cheap berth. He pushed his weight up, and it was enough for Starscream to tug him entirely back, his spike sliding even deeper as Rodimus’ aft rested on his groin, his thighs splayed wide over Starscream’s.

He wobbled, balance unsure, before he abruptly reached up and back, curving his arm around the back of Starscream’s neck. He ex-vented heat, hips rolling, a low groan rattling audibly through his chassis.

“This better, your highness?” he asked as his knees dug into the berth, giving him just enough leverage to roll his hips, riding the length of Starscream’s spike. His valve quivered and clutched, spitting charge at Starscream’s spike as though angry for the delay.

Starscream slid a hand around Rodimus’ slim waist, his fingers seeking out the mech’s overly decorated spike. It was as gaudy as the rest of him, but it throbbed hotly when Starscream gripped it, and pre-fluid dribbled from the tip.

“Much,” Starscream murmured. He nibbled his way to Rodimus’ neck, denta seeking out the charged cables.

The tiniest pressure made Rodimus shiver, made his spoiler twitch where it was pinned against Starscream’s chestplate.

“You aren’t unattractive, baby Prime,” Starscream added as he bit harder on Rodimus’ cables, hard enough to leave the indentation of his denta behind. A mark, something for the Autobot to carry back to his ship and crew.

A gasp rattled out of Rodimus’ intake. “I don’t want compliments. I just want my overload.” His valve rippled around Starscream’s spike, spiraling down tightly, as though trying to keep him pierced.

“Such impatience. You’ll never be like Optimus at this rate,” Starscream said with a dark chuckle.

He squeezed Rodimus’ spike, giving it a long, slow pull. Rodimus arched in his arms, rocking into Starscream’s grip, even as his valve suckled at Starscream’s spike, calipers rippling madly.

“Shut up,” Rodimus snapped. His free hand slapped down over Starscream’s, forcing him into a tighter grip on the primeling’s spike. “No one asked you.”

Primus, but he was a fun one to play with.

Starscream chuckled. He ex-vented a burst of damp heat against Rodimus’ nibbled cables, provoking another shiver. “As you say.”

His hand slid from his grip on Rodimus’ left hip, talons dragging a light pressure over red and gold armor until he found an inset vent. The slats were just thin enough for him to slide a talon between them, teasing the delicate structures beneath.

Rodimus sucked in a sharp ventilation. His backstrut arched, a shudder wracking his entire frame. His spike throbbed harder, more pre-fluid leaking free.

“Oo, did I find a sensitive spot?” Starscream asked, his lips dragging their way back to Rodimus’ audial. He ex-vented hotly, and Rodimus’ field burst with arousal, flashing fire all around Starscream.

He must have.

“You’re an aft,” Rodimus growled, yet he pushed against Starscream, his hips eagerly rocking back and forth between Starscream’s spike and fingers.

Such a contrary primeling.

“Oh, really?” Starscream hummed his amusement, latching onto that as a means to stave off arousal as Rodimus started to wriggle and writhe atop him, heat billowing from his vents. “Perhaps I just let you go then? Leave you empty and aching?”

Rodimus’ hand clamped on the back of Starscream’s neck. “Don’t you dare!”

“Then you should consider being nicer to me.” Starscream’s denta dragged back down to Rodimus’ cables, charge dancing out to meet his glossa. “Or do you not want this overload?”

Rodimus made a sound not unlike a whimper. He shivered, pressing back against Starscream, valve leaking copiously around Starscream’s spike. His thighs were splattered in it; he could feel it slithering into his seams. The scent of arousal was so thick in the room that it drowned out all the other odors: rust and grime alike.

Mm. This was much, much better.

“Stop torturing me!” Rodimus demanded, his vents puffing heat into the room, enough that Starscream’s own internal temperature ticked upward.

“You have no idea what torture truly is, Rodimus,” Starscream growled and he sank his denta into the primeling’s neck cables.

Rodimus’ nearly-shrieked, his back curving as he slammed his aft down, forcing Starscream’s spike so deep it rolled over and against his ceiling node. Charge flickered out from Rodimus’ substructure, lighting up the room. He wriggled in Starscream’s lap, his hand clamping tight on Starscream’s, forcing him to stroke Rodimus faster, and more aggressively.

Liked pain with his interfacing, did he? Starscream had an inkling as to why, given the grief and shame he’d picked up in his field earlier. But whatever. Starscream was not a psychologist. He was not here to fix Rodimus.

Though, if asked, Starscream wasn’t sure he could answer why he was here.

Starscream dug his talons deeper into Rodimus’ chest vents, raking the internal circuitry, as the heat of Rodimus’ arousal flooded his frame. He panted, dragged in air through his vents, hips working and working. He was close. Starscream could taste his charge, his need.

“Give me your overload,” Starscream demanded into Rodimus’ audial as he finally started to thrust, pumping his hips up to the same tune as Rodimus slamming down. Rodimus’ calipers rippled up and down his spike, and it took all Starscream had not to give in to the ecstasy they offered.

“H-hah.” Rodimus’ belligerence stuttered and was all the less believable for it. “You t-think I’m gonna l-listen to y-you?”

Starscream chuckled darkly. “I guess we’ll find out, won’t we?” He squeezed Rodimus’ spike, pinching the tip between his thumb and forefinger.

Rodimus jerked in his arms. He wheezed a ventilation. His valve clamped down, rippling arrhythmically now. It was hungry, grasping at Starscream’s spike as if he was the only relief to be found.

Starscream slid his talons out of Rodimus’ vents and planted his hand flat on Rodimus’ chestplate. He pushed Rodimus backward, pinning Rodimus against his chestplate, and thrust up, charge igniting between their nodes. His lips made short work of Rodimus’ neck cables, licking soothingly over the bites, before he found a section yet to be touched. Begging to be marked.

So he did.

He gripped the base of Rodimus’ spike and gave him a long, hard pull up, even as he sank his denta into Rodimus’ neck cables, until he tasted energon on his lips.

Rodimus seized. His head tossed back, his hips jerking, as he overloaded. His spike spurted, thin streams of transfluid striping the air, as his valve clamped down tight, milking Starscream’s spike for an overload he wasn’t going to give the baby Prime. Not just yet.

Rodimus whined his pleasure, hands clamping on Starscream’s neck and hand as though they were a lifeline. His field flashed out, tangling into the strings of Starscream’s own and giving them a sharp, desperate tug.

Starscream resisted, though it pained him greatly. His spike throbbed desperately, loving the dripping embrace of Rodimus’ valve.

‘Not yet,’ he told himself. ‘Not yet.’

He continued to work Rodimus’ spike, his fingers firm but gentle as they stroked the softening length and teased over the sensitive head. Rodimus squirmed on his lap, making delicious sounds.

“Nnn,” he moaned. His fingers slid to Starscream’s wrist as though trying to tug his hand away from his spike. “Sensitive,” he whimpered.

“I know,” Starscream purred with a nip to Rodimus’ audial. He worked his hips, spike stirring against Rodimus’ throbbing nodes.

Rodimus hissed a ventilation, his backstrut arching. “Then let me go.” He squirmed again, valve cycling around Starscream’s spike and soaking his lap in lubricant. Charge spat intermittently from his nodes, taunting Starscream.

Starscream hummed in his chassis, pretending as though he hadn’t heard. He nibbled on Rodimus’ audial, stroking Rodimus’ spike again, until Rodimus’ fingers pressed in on the back of his neck, and he hissed through his denta.


He chuckled darkly, rolling his hips to grind against Rodimus’ ceiling node. “I told you,” he murmured, mouth traveling down to lick over the marks he left on Rodimus’ intake cables. “You have no idea what torture is.”

Rodimus’ ventilations stuttered. He squirmed, knees digging into the berth. He dropped his hand from the back of Starscream’s neck and tipped his frame forward, trying to wriggle free of Starscream’s lap.

Very well.

Starscream abruptly let him go, and Rodimus tumbled forward, barely catching his upper half with his hands before he faceplanted onto the berth.

“You’re such an aft,” he grumbled.

Starscream grinned as he stroked a hand down Rodimus’ nicely arched back, ending with a pat on the primeling’s aft. “So I’ve been told.”

Rodimus rocked forward, sliding the last few inches off Starscream’s lap – and his spike. He hovered there on hands and knees, a shiver racing across his plating, his swollen valve dripping with lubricant. His biolights pulsed fitfully, his anterior node a plump little angry nub.

Starscream couldn’t resist touching it.

His palm slid down Rodimus’ aft, his fingers drawn toward the inviting valve. He stroked the swollen rim, lubricant slicking his fingers, before he brushed over that blinking nub.

Rodimus hissed a ventilation and arched his backstrut. His spoiler twitched, even as his valve visibly contracted.

“You’re insatiable,” he groaned as he rocked forward, out of Starscream’s immediate reach.

Starscream’s hand wrapped around his spike, both coated in Rodimus’ lubricant. “Well, I haven’t overloaded yet,” he said as he pumped himself, though lightly. He still had plans for his spike and Rodimus’ mouth both.

“Gah.” Rodimus huffed and flopped over onto his back as though it took great effort, his limbs trembling. He lay there, thighs splayed, array on display.

Starscream’s mouth filled with lubricant. There was something inviting about Rodimus, something that demanded he touch.

Damn irresistible Autobots.

“Why not?” Rodimus demanded, and his tone was almost petulant. Shaking fingers slid down his frame, down his chestplate, his abdomen, and made unerringly for his array.

He scrubbed his palm over the tip of his half-pressurized spike before he bracketed his anterior node with two fingers.

“My valve not good enough for you?” Rodimus slid his hand further down and slipped two fingers into his valve, shivering as he stroked them in and out, the yellow glistening with pale lubricant.

Starscream licked his lips. He watched Rodimus’ fingers as he stroked his own spike, squeezing it to stave off the overload hovering around the corner. The taste of Rodimus’ charge had been delicious.

“Good enough,” Starscream replied, his gaze tracking up the length of Rodimus’ frame to the tempting curve of Rodimus’ lips. “But now I want your mouth.”

“Hah.” Rodimus’ fingers abandoned his valve. He dug his elbows into the berth, forcing his torso upright as he tilted his helm. “What makes you think I’m going to let you have it?”

His actions belied his belligerence. His glossa swept over his lips as his optics flashed with heat.

Starscream’s internals tightened with need. He forced himself to release his spike as he moved forward on hands and knees, until he straddled Rodimus’ hips. Only then did he grip his spike again, giving it a long, firm stroke, squeezing free a pearl of pre-fluid.

Rodimus tracked it with his optics, licking his lips again. He worked his intake.

“Because you want it, too,” Starscream challenged, his ventilations quickening. “Don’t you?”

Rodimus pressed his lips together. His hands curled into fists where they pressed against the berth cover. He stared back at Starscream, defiant.

But a spike started to nudge at Starscream’s inner thighs. Rodimus had never fully depressurized, and now he was firm again. If the need yawing in his field was any indication, Starscream was right.

What an addictive feeling.

Someone had an oral fetish, and Starscream was more than happy to satisfy it. And capitalize on it.

“It’s okay,” Starscream murmured silkily. He held Rodimus’ gaze as he stroked his spike and gathered pre-fluid on his fingertips. His spike throbbed, eager to sink into something warm and wet. “You can have it. Because afterward, I’m going to ride this pretty little spike of yours again. Until neither of us can see straight.”

Starscream rolled his hips, catching the head of Rodimus’ spike against his array, feeling the heat of it against his valve rim.

Rodimus visibly shivered. He flopped back to the berth, hands finding their way to Starscream’s thighs. His fingers slipped into seams, holding tight.

“If you tell anyone–”

Starscream interrupted him with a smirk. “Like they’d believe me.” He huffed a laugh and scooted forward ever so slowly, letting his valve leave driblets of lubricant behind on Rodimus’ chestplate.

Starscream felt like he was staking a claim, and maybe he was. He was kind of thinking about keeping Rodimus now. A pretty little prime to call his own.

“They would,” Rodimus muttered, and he sounded bitter about it.

Starscream saved that response and tucked it away for later exploration. There was quite a lot of rancor within the little Prime. He wondered if he could make use of it.

Something to contemplate at a later date however. For now, his spike throbbed, eager to sink into that hot, willing mouth, and Rodimus licked his lips again, quite eager to swallow Starscream down.

“I don’t intend on telling anyway,” Starscream said as he slid several more feet forward, until the head of his spike could brush Rodimus’ lips, painting them in his pre-fluid. “I don’t feel like sharing.”

“Sharing?” Rodimus’ lips moved against his spikehead, glossa flicking over the tip and slurping up the pearl of lubricant. “Are you staking a claim, Seeker?” He lifted his chin, as though purposefully highlighting the nibble marks on his neck.

Starscream curled a hand Rodimus’ head, lifting him that much closer. He directed his spike against Rodimus’ mouth, the heated derma twitching as Rodimus’ ex-vents caressed it.

“I just might,” Starscream said. “Open.”

Rodimus’ hands slid around Starscream’s waist, pressing in against the base of his backstrut. His optics darkened to a cerulean, filling with heat. But he obeyed, lips parting, glossa emerging to lick the length of Starscream’s spike. He made a low sound, one of need and hunger, before he pulled, forcing the first third of Starscream’s spike into his mouth.

They moaned, somehow in unison, Starscream hissing air through his denta. He curved forward, hands hitting the berth, his spike slipping deeper into Rodimus’ mouth. The heat gathering internally roared into a bright blaze, one that narrowed down to the point of pleasure where Rodimus’ glossa stroked over the head of his spike.

Rodimus sucked on him, making little delighted noises. His lips sealed around Starscream’s spike before he tugged on Starscream’s waist, as if urging him deeper.

Well then.

Starscream panted as he shifted his thighs further outward and tilted his hips forward, letting the last few inches sink into Rodimus’ very hot and welcoming mouth. The tip of his spike nudged the back of the primeling’s intake, but all Rodimus did was moan and make a delighted noise. His engine roared, his hands flexing on Starscream’s waist.

Starscream knew it.

He panted as he rocked his lips in small, aborted thrusts. He worked Rodimus’ mouth like one might a valve, and it was as welcoming as one. Lips and glossa were soft and hungry. Denta dragged along a line of tiny sensory nubs, and Starscream’s backstrut shivered.

His spike throbbed harder and faster, dribbling a steady stream of pre-fluid down the back of Rodimus’ intake. Starscream moaned, and very so slowly, released the tight grip he held on his arousal. He let it roar through his frame, rattle over him.

Starscream hung his helm, his optics shuttering. He panted through his intake, fingers clawing at the berthcover, as a coil in the pit of his tanks tightened and tightened. Rodimus moaned around his spike, the vibrations seeming to travel up Starscream’s transfluid channel and into the very center of his array.

Rodimus tugged again, and the base of Starscream’s spike nudged against his nasal ridge. Fully sheathed in Rodimus’ intake, feeling the delicate tubing flex around the head of his spike, and Starscream shattered.

His hips pumped in tiny increments, his spike throbbing as he spurted transfluid down Rodimus’ intake, and Rodimus swallowed every last drop. Rodimus moaned, his field shivering with heat, exploding with need.

Overload throbbed through Starscream’s entire frame. His valve spasmed, cycling down on nothing in delayed need. He worked his hips in the tiniest of circles, lingering in the welcome warmth of Rodimus’ intake, as Rodimus’ glossa fluttered gently around his spike. He almost didn’t want to withdraw, but needs must.

Starscream panted as he shifted back, reluctantly withdrawing his spike from Rodimus’ mouth. Rodimus moaned around it, lips and glossa working Starscream’s sensitive unit until he was finally free.

He shuffled backward on shaking knees, finding his way back to Rodimus’ hips. Starscream planted his hands on Rodimus’ chest as his valve hovered over Rodimus’ firmly pressurized spike.

“That what you wanted?” Rodimus asked as he swept his glossa over his swollen lips, nearly tempting Starscream to kiss him. His hands remained on Starscream’s hips, grip tight and unyielding.

Starscream huffed a laugh. His thighs wobbled beneath him, but he shifted his weight to his knees, enabling him to rock his hips, rubbing his valve up and down the length of Rodimus’ spike. He painted it with his lubricant, feeling Rodimus shiver beneath him.

“You tell me,” Starscream panted as he caught the head of Rodimus’ spike with the rim of his valve. “Did I quench your thirst?”

Rodimus laughed, an honest laugh that seemed to resonate from within his chassis. “That was terrible, Starscream.”

His lips pulled into a crooked grin. He looked down at the primeling, who finally appeared relaxed, all of the tension gone from his frame. Well, non-arousal related tension at any rate.

“Mm, let me make it up to you then,” Starscream said as he rolled his hips again, this time letting Rodimus slip into his valve. He shivered as the head of the primeling’s spike teased the cluster of nodes just within his rim.

The lingering tremors of his previous overload roared back to life, pinging heat and need through his array. His calipers rippled, the first line of them clutching at the head of Rodimus’ spike, trying to pull him deeper.

Rodimus groaned. His backstrut arched, his grip on Starscream’s hips tightening. He braced his feet on the berth and tried to thrust up, but Starscream rose on his knees.

Nope. This was going at his pace. Simply because he loved it when Rodimus got that frustrated look on his face. When his field rippled with need.

“Let me thrust!” He pouted.

“All in due time, baby Prime.” Starscream purred a laugh. He flexed his fingers on Rodimus’ chest, talons leaving little scratches in the bright yellow plating. He could feel the strong thrum of Rodimus’ spark beneath his palms, the frantic beat of it.

Mmm. Now there was an idea.

Starscream circled his hips and sank down further, his valve eagerly swallowing Rodimus’ spike inch by precious inch.

Rodimus’ ventilations hitched. His hands flexed on Starscream’s hips. “You are a tease,” he accused.

Starscream laughed. “You have no idea,” he murmured. He shifted his weight, moving his hands from bracing on Rodimus’ chestplate, to bracing on the berth to either side of Rodimus’ shoulders.

He leaned forward, his lips skimming Rodimus’ chestplate to the nigh invisible seam. “Why don’t you open here, too?”

Rodimus made a strangled noise. “What?”

Starscream’s glossa traced the seam. “Live dangerously, Rodimus,” he murmured, ex-venting hotly. He let his hips sink down ever so slowly, until Rodimus was root-deep in his valve, throbbing hotly.

“I’m not baring my spark to you!” Rodimus huffed, even as his hips rose up, working deep into Starscream’s valve.

Starscream ground down, until the head of Rodimus’ spike graced his ceiling node. He tightened, rippling his calipers up and down the length of the primeling’s spike. “Not even a little?”

A gasp worked its way out of Rodimus’ intake. His optics flashed. “I’ve never bared my spark to anyone. I’m not about to start now.”

Not with you, was the implication here.

Hmm. Fair enough.

“Pity.” Starscream dragged his lips up the length of Rodimus’ chestplate and nosed his way into Rodimus’ intake, inhaling greedily. “Maybe next time then.” He licked over one of the marks of his denta from earlier.

Rodimus made a strangled noise. His hands tightened on Starscream’s hips, pulling him down even as he thrust up. Their armor clanged together, Rodimus’ spike throbbing harder and harder in Starscream’s valve.

Starscream sank down against him, riding the motions of Rodimus’ frame, his valve eagerly clutching at Rodimus’ spike. Charge exchanged rapidly between sensor and receptor nodes, until Starscream’s entire array tingled. He licked and nipped at Rodimus’ intake, feeling every vibration of Rodimus’ vocalizer against his lips.

Rodimus’ field rose up and stroked over his, tangling the edges of their fields together until they pulsed in harmony. Rodimus’ engine growled, vibrating both of their frames, and Rodimus’ grip abruptly shifted, to wrapping around Starscream.

He had only a sparkbeat to contemplate why before Rodimus rolled them, half onto their sides, half onto Starscream’s back. He had to flick his wing to the side at the last second to avoid denting it. Rodimus never ceased thrusting into him, though now the angle had changed, and each thrust pounded against Starscream’s ceiling node and a sensor cluster at the back of his valve.

Starscream moaned, his thighs tightening around Rodimus’ waist as the primeling pressed his forehead to Starscream’s. His optics were bright and wide, desperate. One hand slid down, curving around Starscream’s thigh, pushing his leg back and up, opening him wide.

He thrust harder, hips churning as though desperately seeking pleasure. A low whine rose in his intake, one of intense need.

As if only Starscream had what he wanted.

It felt like power, all in the palm of his hand.

Or, errr, the clutch of his valve.

Either way, Starscream rejoiced in it. He purred his pleasure, curled a hand around the back of Rodimus’ head, and tugged the primeling down into a kiss that was as much denta as it was lips. He bit at Rodimus’ mouth, eagerly devouring Rodimus as his valve hungrily swallowed every desperate thrust.

Pleasure built inside of him, each wave of it crashing one against the other until it was an endless pulse of ecstasy. Rodimus made all of these cute, needy noises. Soft gasps. Desperate whirrs of his vents. Rattles of his cooling fans. He moaned into the kiss, hands tightening where they gripped Starscream, his field a tangled mass of greedy hunger.

Starscream sucked on his bottom lip before plunging his glossa into Rodimus’ mouth, deepening the kiss. The heat of him consumed Starscream, and every plunge of Rodimus’ spike lit up Starscream’s internal nodes like fireworks.

Overload was inevitable.

In the heat of the moment, Starscream wasn’t even sure which of them tumbled over the edge first. Whether it was Rodimus spurting heat against his ceiling node, or Starscream’s valve clamping down like a vise, sensors and receptors exchanging charge so quickly that it felt like a jolt of electricity in their arrays.

All Starscream knew was the pleasure, eclipsing all else. The roar of his fans, the whine in Rodimus’ intake, the frantic, stuttered impact of Rodimus’ hips against his until Rodimus sagged on top of him, panting and squirming.

He pressed their foreheads together, his hips resting in the cradle of Starscream’s thighs. His field wrapped warmly around them both in a kind of relieved embrace. He hummed, deep in his chassis, as he ex-vented puffs of heat against Starscream.

Tremors of pleasure wracked Starscream’s frame. His valve twitched, rippling around Rodimus’ slowly depressurizing spike.

He’d lost count of the number of overloads. He felt languorous. Sated. Satisfied.

“Mmm.” Rodimus rolled his forehead against Starscream’s before brushing his lips over Starscream’s. He then broke into a goofy grin, his optics so very blue.

Starscream narrowed his optics. “What?” He half-tensed, expecting to be teased.

Rodimus’ glossa swept over his lips. “You kissed me.”

“Your point?”

Rodimus brushed their nasal ridges together. “I guess I wormed my way into your spark after all, huh?”

Starscream rolled his optics and his frame both, until he straddled Rodimus once more, with the primeling’s spike still within him. There was a hot, sticky mess between their frames.

“You’re ridiculous,” Starscream said, and as soon as he began to shift back, hands clamped on his thighs, keeping him in place.

“Let me guess,” Starscream drawled as he settled back into place, feeling Rodimus’ depressurizing spike shift within him, “you don’t want me to move yet.”

Color entered Rodimus’ face. He lifted his hands. “Sorry,” he said, almost sheepish.

Starscream waved off the apology. “We all have our quirks,” he said, and lifted one corner of his mouth in a smirk. “Perhaps I’ll indulge you at a later time. For now, I am filthy.” He grimaced and squirmed.

“We both are,” Rodimus retorted.

Starscream slid off of him, feeling fluids coating his thighs and array. Rodimus’ groin was liberally spattered as well. Starscream plopped his aft on the berth, grabbing a corner of the berth cover to wipe up the worst of it.

“I noticed,” he said, trying not to look too close at the soiled berth cover.

Rodimus sat up as well, pulling a cloth from subspace and wiping it over his spattered armor. He was covered in scratches and scrapes, Starscream’s darker crimson leaving fairly obvious marks in his plating.

Definitely claimed.

Starscream looked at him. He grinned. “You got a little something,” he said, touching the corner of his own mouth.

Rodimus’ glossa flicked over his lips, though he had a perfectly workable cloth in his hand. “Did I get it?”

“Yes.” Starscream tried not to grimace and failed miserably. “You’re a weird little Autobot, you know that?”

Rodimus gave the rag one last half-sparked swipe over his frame before he tucked it back into subspace. “I’m weird whether or not I’m an Autobot.”

“Mm. Fair point.”

Starscream sat back, bracing himself against the rusting wall of the rented room. Technically, they’d had their overloads. They should go their separate ways. But Starscream felt oddly reluctant to go.

There was something there, something in the silence, that was both familiar and comforting.

“So,” Rodimus said in a perfunctory tone. He leaned back, tilting his head toward Starscream until Autobot blue optics glowed brightly. “Let’s talk about Megatron.”

Starscream’s spark stuttered. “Excuse me?”

“You barged into my affairs, so I’m barging into yours.”

“Affair?” Starscream jerked back, horror written into his feature. “I was never in Megatron’s berth.”

Rodimus’ orbital ridges lifted. “That is an awful vehement response there, Screamer. You sure about that?”

“Positive,” Starscream hissed, his wings hiking upward, sadly betraying his agitation. “Megatron was many things to me, but lover was never one of them.”

Rodimus tilted his helm, something incisive in those blue optics, that spoke to a deeper intelligence than he often displayed. “But you wanted him to be.”

Starscream’s engine growled, before he sighed and shifted away from Rodimus. “There may have been a time,” he admitted, however begrudgingly. “But any torch I carried was rather quickly extinguished when I realized he had no use for my mind or my ambition.”

Rodimus made a non-committal noise. “Well, not that I can blame you. I mean, there’s a reason he got so many people to follow him. He’s got that, I don’t know, that special something, just like Optimus does.” He paused and his field nudged at Starscream’s own. “I wouldn’t think of less of you, if you know, you had fragged him.”

Starscream rolled his optics. “Yes, because your approval is the only thing that I have ever cared about.”

“I’m just saying.”

“I know what you’re saying.” Starscream huffed. “Stupid Autobots. Did you all have nothing better to do than speculate about the berth habits of your enemies?”

“I wouldn’t know. Well, except for the part that there’s this whole file dedicated to trying to figure out why you and Megatron hated each other so much, yet he never managed to kill you. And vice versa.”

Starscream snorted. “As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, Megatron is impossible to kill.”

“So are you.”

Starscream smirked. “My one claim to fame,” he said airily.

“It must’ve stung, then, when Megatron didn’t have the decency to die.”

He shot Rodimus a narrow-opticked look. “What game are you playing, Autobot?”

Rodimus shrugged though it was far from dismissive. “Hey, you pry into my woes, and I’m going to pry into yours.”

“Just because you had story time doesn’t mean I need to share mine.”

“Maybe. But who else are you going to talk to?”

Starscream’s mouth opened, and closed. The brat had a point. That didn’t mean he had to cooperate, however.

“Just because you’re angry he’s now sharing your quest, that doesn’t give you the right to poke at any open wound,” Starscream said.

“Oh.” Rodimus’ lips curved into a sly smirk. “So it does hurt.”


Starscream rubbed his forehead. “No. I realize now that Megatron dying would have only made him a martyr in the optics of the fools who still believe in him.”

“Fools,” Rodimus echoed.

“Yes, I’m well-aware I used to be one of them,” Starscream hissed. “But I have since learned the error of my ways.”

Rodimus chuckled. “The error of your ways?” he repeated. “I’m not one of those lost mechs out there.” He gestured to the city at large. “You don’t have to give me some pre-planned speech.”

“What? You think you’re owed some kind of honesty just because you’ve fragged me?”

Rodimus tilted his head. “Is that your standard reaction to anyone trying to have a conversation with you? Do you always revert to waspish attack mode?”


Starscream stared at Rodimus. He gritted his denta until he tasted sparks. Rodimus was poking at an open wound, and there wasn’t a roll of static bandage to be found. “What do you want from me?”

“Nothing.” Rodimus shrugged. His gaze wandered away, focusing past Starscream to a rust stain on the wall. “I mean, I could ask you all kinds of things, like exactly why you were gulping down sub-standard engex in a dive bar, but I guess it’s really none of my business.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“Exactly.” The baby Prime audibly cycled a ventilation and scooted to the edge of the berth, dangling his feet over it. “Guess I’ll be on my way. I’d ask for a handful of creds, but I got the feeling this one’s on the house.”

Starscream narrowed his optics. “If you’re trying to imply that I’m treating you like some kind of buymech, I am not amused.”

“Neither am I.” Rodimus looked at him, frowning, his optics so dim as to be grey. “But you are Starscream, and these are the kinds of games you play.”

“I am not everything the rumors make me out to be,” Starscream hissed. His wings snapped back, rigid and quivering.

“Prove it.”

Starscream’s hands curled into fists. He stared at Rodimus, who tilted his chin in challenge, and Starscream realized that he’d been played. How on Cybertron could he have let a primeling Autobot outmaneuver him.

It was unacceptable. But that was exactly what happened.

“I don’t want Megatron dead,” he said at length.

Rodimus tilted his head, his lip curling.

“I want him humiliated,” Starscream elaborated, his ventilations quickening and his spark shrinking into a tight ball. “I want him stripped of his relevance. I want him to be beaten where it matters, in the optics of those who worshiped him. I want everyone to see him for the failure he is.”

“You mean the one everyone expects you to be.”

He shot Rodimus a glare. “I meant what I said.”

Rodimus held up his hands. “Hey, you don’t have to get snappy with me. I get it, okay? I know a little something about people only expecting failure from you.”

Starscream opened his mouth to disagree, only to snap it shut. Because, like it or not, Rodimus was right.

He was a Prime, and not a Prime. He compared himself to Optimus, yes, but only because everyone around him also insisted on doing so. He held himself to an ideal not even Optimus Prime could match and chastised himself for failing to accomplish it. Not that he had any choice otherwise.

It was so easy to fail when even the simplest mistake could be considered a grievous error. When mechs watched your every move, waiting for your efforts to crumple.

“Yes,” Starscream finally said. “I want to stand over Megatron with success on my shoulders so that he can see I am where I was always meant to be despite him.”

“Or because of him.”

“Never that!” Starscream snarled, his wings hitched upward. “Megatron had nothing to do with anything I managed accomplish. He was nothing more than a noose around my neck, and a chain around my wrists.”

Rodimus leaned back on his hands, his expression perfectly neutral. “You sure about that?”

Starscream’s engine growled. His thrusters warmed, preparing to spit fire, though that would have been unwise given the fire hazard of a berth they currently occupied.


“If you say so.” Rodimus shrugged, dismissive, but there was something calculating in his tone, in the way he looked at Starscream. “But you know, mechs don’t put up with the things you did without a reason. We never could figure out if you wanted to kill Megatron, if you were just desperately seeking his approval.”

“Approval?” Starscream’s wings jerked so high that his hinges ached. His vocalizer strayed at the upper end of his vocal range.

He shrieked.

It took all he had not to launch himself at the berth and claw Rodimus’ vocalizer out for even suggesting such a thing.

“I never wanted anything from that idiot, least of all his approval!” Starscream growled, his energy field bursting forward, clawed tips on the furthest tendrils.

Rodimus, however, didn’t so much as flinch. “No one tries that hard to throw success in someone’s face if they weren’t secretly seeking their approval.” He paused, and amended with, “or absolution.”

Starscream drew up straight, his frame going taught. There was self-reflection in Rodimus’ tone. An eerie echo of Starscream’s own.

“You wouldn’t hate him if you didn’t care so much,” Rodimus added lastly and then fell into silence. He stared at Starscream as if daring him to contradict.

Starscream sucked in several ventilations, alarmed to find that they rattled. He performed a systems check, forced himself to cycle back. He made his armor smooth; he loosened his wings. He pulled back into himself, inch by inch, his field retreating.

“It’s complicated,” he finally said, at length.

Rodimus arched an orbital ridge. “That’s a cop out.”

“Yes, well, it’s the truth.” Starscream made a vague gesture. “Emotions. Feelings. Motivations. There’s nothing simple about them. It’s not as easy as saying hate or attraction or admiration or… other things.”

He balked at calling it ‘love’. Starscream was pretty sure he couldn’t identify the emotion if he felt it, but he knew for certain that ‘love’ had nothing to do with how he felt for Megatron. Loathing was inaccurate perhaps, but certainly not ‘love’.


“It was a long war,” Starscream added. “And it’s–”

“–complicated,” Rodimus finished. “Yeah, you said that already.” He rolled his shoulders and ex-vented audibly. “Yeah, I guess I can get that. I mean, I admire Optimus a Pit of a lot but there are times…” He trailed off with a wince. “Yeah. I get complications.”

How easily admiration could turn to resentment, Starscream observed. Except in Rodimus’ case, the worse Optimus had ever done was chastise Rodimus, possibly belittle him.


Starscream sighed to himself.

Sometimes, belittling was all it took. Who was he to discount how much of an effect that could have? With Megatron, belittling and disrespect was only how it started.

They were a lot alike, Starscream realized as he looked at Rodimus. A lot alike and they could truly help one another. Rodimus could do good work here on Cybertron, help bridge the gap that still existed among the three factions, for all that everyone had cast aside their badges.

He was charming, eloquent. Attractive. Starscream wouldn’t mind keeping him.

Megatron had taken his quest. Surely, he needed another.

“Anyway. Guess I’d better go,” Rodimus said with a sigh. He rubbed a hand down his face. “If I’m too late, they might just leave without me. Probably assume I’d abandoned them or something.” He scowled.

The offer died on Starscream’s lips.

“Surely your second would order a delay,” Starscream said as Rodimus hopped down from the berth. He followed the primeling down, hissing as sore cables protested the motion.

Rodimus smiled, but it faltered at the edges. “I’d like to think that, but honestly, I’m not even sure.” The smile faded until it was gone. “I messed up a lot of things. I don’t even know if anyone will be happy I showed up.”

“Then why go?” The question slipped free before he could stop it, and Starscream had to resist the urge to smack himself. He swore that he’d sounded… disappointed.

Rodimus shrugged, though it was far from dismissive. “Because I’m many things, but not a quitter. Because it was my quest to start with. Because I’ll be damned if I leave a crew I’ve failed already in the hands of Megatron.” The last was spoken with a vehemence that Starscream was all too familiar with.

Yes, he and Rodimus were a lot alike indeed.

Starscream unfolded his arms and curved a hand under Rodimus’ chin, pulling the Autobot’s face closer to his. “You are not a failure,” he murmured as he pressed their lips together, giving Rodimus another one of the kisses he so craved.

Rodimus sighed into the kiss, his lips moving against Starscream’s, chaste though it was. “I could argue otherwise.”

Starscream’s free hand groped for Rodimus’, and curled his fingers around Rodimus’ wrist. “I won’t hear a word of it.” He pulled back from the kiss as he pulled Rodimus’ hand toward his face.

He’d plucked the right one apparently, as carved numbers came into view. One-hundred and one over eighty-nine. Starscream wondered if he were to hold an actual election, if his numbers would even be so close.

Mm. No matter.

He held Rodimus’ gaze and grazed his lips over the scored marks.

“You are a work in progress,” Starscream said, and pressed a kiss to the very center of Rodimus’ palm, right over the slash. “You are not a failure.”

Rodimus’ ventilations hitched. His fingers curled inward, stroking Starscream’s cheek before he pulled back, freeing Rodimus’ hand.

“Then neither are you,” Rodimus murmured as he turned his face into Starscream’s gentle grip, pressing a kiss to Starscream’s palm. Only then did he face Starscream again with a little laugh. “Primus help me, but I never thought I’d see the day where I’m actually encouraging you.”

Starscream barked a laugh and released Rodimus’ chin, only to poke the Autobot in the chestplate, right above his badge. “Maybe I’m worming my way into your spark then.”

Rodimus chuckled. “Maybe you are.” He snagged Starscream’s hand and tugged, pulling Starscream into an embrace.

He stiffened, not expecting the hug, until he realized it was not an assault, but a gesture of affection.

Well then.

Starscream relaxed as Rodimus nuzzled the side of his head. The Autobot dragged his lips along the curve of Starscream’s jaw before he pecked his mouth over Starscream’s.

“There. One last kiss for the road,” he said with a smirk.

Starscream snorted. “You are such an odd mech, baby Prime.”

“Right back at you, Screamer. I–” Rodimus broke off, a strange expression on his face.

He stepped back, releasing Starscream, and lifting a hand to his comm. “This is Rodimus. Go ahead.”

He told himself he did not miss the Autobot’s embrace. That Rodimus’ willing warmth was not something he wanted to keep.

Rodimus’ expression darkened further, until it skidded into resignation. “Acknowledged, Magnus. I’ll be there asap.” He dropped his hand and cycled a ventilation. “Well, that’s that.”

Starscream folded his arms over his chestplate. “Don’t expect a tearful goodbye from me.”

“I know better than that.” Rodimus chuckled softly before he gave Starscream a sloppy salute. “Well then, see you around, Starscream. If I survive long enough to make it back to Cybertron again.”

“You will,” Starscream said.

“At least one of us has faith in me.” Rodimus backed toward the door, hitting the panel with an elbow. “Good luck with, you know, all of that.” He made a vague gesture toward Cybertron at large.

Starscream tilted his head. “Given that you’re about to embark on a quest with my former leader, I think you’re the one that’ll need all the luck.”

Rodimus barked a laugh. “Isn’t that the truth though?” He lingered in the doorway, fingers tapping on the jamb as though he wanted to say something else, only to shake his head. Perhaps he thought better of it.

“Take care, Star,” Rodimus said.

And then he was gone before Starscream could say anything else, not that he had the words. Something had been too busy squeezing his spark to provide him a competent means of saying goodbye.

The door rattled shut behind the Autobot.

Starscream audibly ex-vented. He rubbed a hand down his face, his thoughts awhirl.

Primus help him.

He hadn’t wanted to say goodbye.


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