[TIA] Burning Up

Blurr paced.

He didn’t have anything better to do. He’d been left alone. He’d rested. He’d refueled. He’d internally spun himself in circles, chomping on the problem that was Starscream.

Hours inched by.

So he paced.

Back and forth. Back and forth. Jittery anxiety kept him in motion, but there was nowhere to go. He couldn’t go for a drive because he couldn’t transform. He couldn’t go for a run because his hip couldn’t take his speeds. He couldn’t go spar because he couldn’t stress the joint.

He couldn’t do anything but pace.

And ache.

He again considered the handful of pain patches stuffed into his subspace. He hated the fog that crept over his thoughts when he took one. He hated how it slowed his processing. He hated everything about them.

He would deal with a little pain. What he couldn’t deal with was the overcharge crawling through his lines. He hated to be still. He hated waiting. He hated all of this.

The main door beeped.

Blurr drew to a halt and whipped toward it, his spark pulsing in his chassis. Fight or flight was a constant nagging in the back of his processor. Every sound, every twitch, set his instincts aflame.

The door opened. Starscream swept inside. The door closed behind him, beeping a cheerful triple tone as it locked. The panel glowed a baleful red. If there was one thing Blurr could trust, Starscream would make sure his apartment was secure. Starscream was more paranoid than Red Alert.

Somehow, that didn’t help him relax.

“Welcome back,” Blurr ground out.

Starscream blinked at him. “That sounded like you’d rather I throw myself out the window.”

Blurr’s hands twitched. He forced himself to ventilate. He smiled, but it felt more a grimace. “You’re late.”

Starscream arched an orbital ridge. “Did I miss an appointment I don’t remember making?”

“Frag you.” Blurr threw up his hands and limped out of the main room.

Starscream, and everything about him, made Blurr twitchy. This apartment. That plush berth. The fully-stocked room with Seeker coolant and Racer coolant all nestled together like some kind of happy family, cubes of energon crowded around them in approval.

Starscream followed him. Of course Starscream did.

Blurr avoided the berth at the last minute and started pacing again. Only here in the berthroom, there was less room to do so. His limp became more pronounced as his hip flared fire and screeched at him. He ignored the alerts.

“Blurr,” Starscream said in a condescending tone, one usually reserved for sparklings and misbehaving soldiers. “Is something wrong?” He tilted his helm, optics narrowed in consideration. “Are you out of pain patches?”

Blurr barely kept from snarling at him. “I still have the same handful you put in my hands this morning,” he retorted. “Thank you for that, by the way, doling them out to me like treats. All but patting me on the head and telling me to be good.”

Starscream’s frown deepened.

He lowered himself down to the chair near the desk, though not before Blurr caught his wings twitching. First one, and then the other.

“I thought we were past this,” Starscream said slowly, carefully. “Are you still angry?”

“Of course I am!” He dragged to a halt and whipped a finger in the vague direction of the platform built just outside this tower. “I am not your primus-bedamned puppet, Starscream! Don’t think I don’t know what that act out there was.”

Starscream steepled his fingers together. “Act,” he repeated in a mild tone. “We are allies. They already know we share a berth as well. I fail to see where I overstepped.”

Blurr’s engine snarled. He resisted the urge to stomp his pede like a sparkling. “We’re fragging, not sharing a berth,” he snarled.

“There’s only one in this apartment. We’ll be sharing it eventually,” Starscream remarked.

“Don’t you fragging argue semantics with me.” Blurr’s ventilations whooshed out in a huff. “You know exactly what I mean.”

Starscream lowered his hands and tilted his helm. “I’m afraid I don’t, Blurr. You’re going to have to clarify for me.” His optics narrowed. “And perhaps take a seat. You’ll overstress your joint at this rate, and another surgery will only slow how fast you heal.”

Blurr ground his denta so hard he tasted sparks on his glossa. Starscream’s condescending tone grated in his audials. He balled up his hands into fists, feeling the urge to snarl his irritation and shout to the heavens. The overcharge crawled in his lines, bit at him, like a horde of scraplets beneath his armor.

Starscream didn’t fragging get it. Or maybe he did and this was all some game to him. Maybe this was how he played everyone and Blurr should realize by now that he would always be a pawn and stop thinking he had some kind of edge.

No.

Whatever.

Fine.

Starscream wanted to play it like this? Wanted to treat Blurr like some kind of doll to be posed, some kind of trophy to display?

Fine.

Then Blurr was going to get what he wanted out of it, too. He couldn’t run, couldn’t race, couldn’t fight, couldn’t work. But he could break that berth.

“You know what? Forget it.” Blurr ex-vented loudly, purposefully.

He stormed across the floor. He couldn’t think with the pain and the charge, all knotting inside of him like a restless sparkeater.

Starscream had caused this mess. He was going to help fix it in the only method left to Blurr.

He ignored the twinges in his hips and shoved Starscream’s hands aside, freeing room on the Seeker’s lap for him to plop himself down. He straddled Starscream’s thighs, his valve already leaking around his panel. He gripped Starscream’s face in his hands.

“Wha–”

Blurr cut off Starscream’s stupid question with a kiss. He shoved their mouths together, lips and denta and glossa demanding. He rolled his hips forward purposefully, grinding against Starscream’s belly and hip. Need surged through his systems like an inferno, his valve cycling and his spike pulsing behind his panel.

He was shaking, he knew he was. He needed to move, damn it.

Starscream’s hands found his hips, but they quickly slid up to his waist, cupping just under the edge of his windshield. He pulled back from the kiss, optics round and bright.

“What are you doing?” he asked, but if he was aiming for outraged, he missed the mark.

Blurr rolled his optics. “What’s it look like I’m doing?” he retorted, and pulled Starscream back into another kiss, plunging his glossa into Starscream’s mouth.

He pulled out the tiniest of moans from the Seeker. He ignored the twinges of his hip as he dug his pedes into the floor and ground his frame forward, heat blooming throughout his frame like a flash-fire. His valve pulsed at him, and more lubricant seeped out the edges. Charge danced through his lines, making him jitter.

“I’m your toy, aren’t I?” Blurr growled as he nipped at Starscream’s bottom lip, briefly pressing the dermal layer between his denta. He ground down, aft pressed to Starscream’s upper thigh. “So frag me.”

Starscream’s fingers rippled on his torso. “No, that’s not… I’m not going to–”

Blurr tightened his grip on Starscream’s face and his engine roared. “Yes, you are,” he said, grinding harder, leaving thin streaks of lubricant behind. “I can’t run. Can’t spar. Can’t move.” He was panting, he knew he was. “I need it.”

Starscream looked back at him, his expression unreadable. But there was no hiding the desire in his field. He might be trying to play some kind of noble martyr or some slag, but the panel beneath Blurr’s aft was hot and Starscream’s wings were in a state of constant motion. He wanted Blurr just as much.

“It’s your fault,” Blurr added on a murmur, and he bit Starscream’s lip again, sucking it briefly into his mouth. “So fix it.”

Crimson optics flashed. Starscream’s hands tightened briefly before they slid to Blurr’s aft, hooking around it.

“Fine,” he bit out, and abruptly shoved to his pedes, lifting Blurr with seeming ease.

Blurr tightened his thighs around Starscream’s waist, his processor spinning. It was only four steps to the berth, and he gasped as his back hit the plush surface, having forgotten that he didn’t have his boosters. There was nothing to stop him from sinking into the berth itself.

He shoved his elbows into the berth and clawed his way backward, leaving room for Starscream to join him. His array panels juttered, need yawing through him. He left a streak of lubricant behind and couldn’t be bothered to care. The overcharge was dizzying, but no more so than the look on Starscream’s face as he followed Blurr onto the berth.

He knelt between Blurr’s drawn up knees and a single taloned finger scraped up the cover of Blurr’s array.

“Open,” Starscream demanded.

Was there static in his vocals or was Blurr imagining it?

No. It didn’t matter. His panels snapped open between one sparkbeat and the next, a sigh of relief hissing from his vents. His spike jutted free, already dribbling with pre-fluid. His valve pulsed longing, lubricant dampening the berth beneath his aft. He clenched on nothing and moaned.

Starscream’s finger traced around the edge of his array, touching neither of his components. “Spike or valve?” he asked.

Blurr forced himself to focus on Starscream through the surge of need, his hips pushing into the air. “Huh?” What did it matter?

Starscream’s hands cupped his hips. He curved forward, expression intent.

“Spike,” he purred before sucking the head of Blurr’s spike into his mouth, glossa swirling around the sensor-laden tip.

Blurr moaned and fisted the berth covers. A rattle started at the crest of his spinal strut and worked its way down, pooling into his groin.

Starscream let him slip free with a pop. “Or valve?” he asked, and dipped his helm, glossa extending to lick a long, wet stripe up the center of Blurr’s valve. His lips brushed Blurr’s exterior node before he drew it into his mouth and gave it a deep suckle.

Blurr’s hips bucked. “I don’t care,” he all but whimpered. “Either. Both. Just do something.”

“As you wish,” Starscream murmured, and his mouth returned to Blurr’s spike, sucking him deep in the space of a vent.

Blurr let free a choked sound. He shoved a fist against his mouth, unwilling to let the embarrassing noises free. His engine screeched as his spike was engulfed, the tip rubbing against the back of Starscream’s intake, while a willing glossa sought out and explored every sensitive receptor.

His hips bucked, but Starscream’s hands were there, pinning him gently against the berth. He worked his intake, the flexible protomesh squeezing and rippling around Blurr’s spike. His denta scraped ever so gently around the base of his spike. Blurr groaned around his fist, pleasure sparking through his lines in a flash-fire.

He twitched and trembled in Starscream’s grip, wanting to thrust, to buck, to roll, to move. His plating flared, heat billowing out from beneath it, his engine revving so hard as to vibrate the berth.

Starscream hummed around his spike, and Blurr lost it.

He choked a sound in his intake, tossed his helm back, and overloaded, pulsing wave after wave of transfluid down Starscream’s throat. His heelstruts shoved into the berth, his frame thrashing within Starscream’s grip. His cooling fans spun madly, sucking in desperately cooler air. His spark throbbed.

He was enrobed in pleasure, shattered from the force of it.

Starscream hummed again, softer this time, and lapped at Blurr’s spike as he drew free. He had the audacity to lick his lips as he looked up at Blurr, and pressed a kiss to the tip of Blurr’s spike.

“One,” he murmured.

Blurr, dazed and throbbing with want, couldn’t seem to focus. His entire frame still hummed with overcharge. It’d been building for hours. One measly spike release wasn’t going to cut it.

“What?” he asked.

Starscream didn’t answer. Instead, he lowered himself down, and ex-vented heat over Blurr’s soaking valve. His valve lips throbbed with need, anterior node flickering rapidly. Blurr whined as he tilted his hips toward Starscream’s mouth, and the berthcover tangled around his fingers at the first delicate press of lips to his throbbing nub.

Starscream nuzzled his array, lips caressing the fold of his valve, the plush rim, the throbbing node. His thumb swept around protective lip. His ex-vents stirred the pleasure.

“Stop teasing me!” Blurr demanded.

Starscream’s answer was to press his mouth against Blurr’s valve and slide his glossa inside, curling it to nudge the tip against the cluster of nodes on the inside of Blurr’s rim, near the apex. His nasal ridge bumped Blurr’s anterior nub, sending fire licking through his lines.

He shivered and clutched at the berth. He rolled his hips toward Starscream’s mouth, the sounds of a glossa working over his swollen rim only ramping up his charge. Starscream was slow, methodical, as he licked into Blurr’s valve, nibbled on his lips, and suckled on his anterior node. Each flick of his glossa over Blurr’s nub made his hips jerk.

His ventilations stuttered. The fire in his array built into a slow crescendo. His armor rattled. He lost all sense of focus on anything but the mouth between his thighs, licking him open, licking him to overload.

Charge crackled in his lines, seared through his sensory net. His spark throbbed until he felt like it matched the rhythm of Starscream’s glossa, licking, licking, lapping, suckling. Denta got involved, nipping at Blurr’s nub, pressing it between and bearing down just to the point of pain.

Blurr hissed air through his intake, backstrut bowing as his processor briefly whited out from ecstasy. He shook, moaning, thighs trembling around Starscream’s helm. His hips moved of their own accord, riding the motions of Starscream’s mouth, his calipers twitching restlessly. The need for something to fill him clawed through his array, but the inferno focused around his node built and built.

It was so much. It was too good.

He released the berth and threw his arms over his face, hiding his desperation. He couldn’t let Starscream know how much he needed it, how much he craved it. How he’d do anything so long as Starscream never stopped, so long as he kept suckling on Blurr’s node, sucking on the bottom curve of Blurr’s rim, and lapping at his outer lips and licking inward, licking deep, so deep.

Blurr’s engine roared. Something ignited deep within him, a roar of pleasure that drowned out all else. He bucked in Starscream’s hold as overload snatched him up, shook him senseless, and left him muffling his cries into the concealment of his arms. He twisted and writhed, kept pinned by Starscream’s grip alone, pulsing wave after wave of lubricant from his valve.

Starscream slurped it all, nuzzling Blurr’s array with nothing short of care, until he drew back with a parting kiss. Blurr’s valve throbbed, his calipers click-click-clicking in a restless request for more.

His thighs shook. He moaned piteously, arms sliding away from his face, vision dim and distorted. He felt the berth shift, felt Starscream pull away, and conscious thought abandoned him.

“Two,” Starscream said, distantly, through the static in Blurr’s audials.

He pawed at Starscream, and his backstrut arched as two fingers slid into his valve, finally giving him the sensation he craved. His hips bucked – free now – and his calipers cycled down tightly on the digits. They rippled, trying to urge Starscream’s fingers deeper, and he all but sobbed as a third finger slid in beside them.

They pushed deep, curved and twisted, rubbing against every internal sensor within reach. Blurr’s pedes dug into the berth as he worked his hips, riding the motion of Starscream’s fingers, and another sharp cry escaped him when Starscream’s palm pressed against his exterior node.

He clutched at Starscream’s shoulders, entire frame trembling, pleasure pulsing hard through him. The last vestiges of his second overload screeched from a cycle down and did an about face, surging back toward ecstasy again.

He didn’t realize he was wailing until Starscream’s mouth fell over his, lips and denta and glossa muffling his cries. He gave himself to the kiss, the sweet buzz in his backstrut stripping away his senses. He tasted himself on Starscream’s glossa and writhed beneath Starscream, thighs snapping together, trapping Starscream’s wrist and arm between them.

Starscream had no choice but to frag Blurr with his fingers, palm rubbing a steady pressure on Blurr’s anterior node. Heat blazed in his array, narrowing down to that point of rapture. He panted into the kiss, making needy noises, his optics shuttered tight. His engine roared.

His hips bucked again.

Starscream pushed deep, his middle fingertip just barely brushing Blurr’s ceiling node. Blurr’s helm tossed back, heelstruts slamming into the berth as he shattered again, his spike spurting a second time without touch as his valve spiraled down tight, milking Starscream’s fingers for the receptor nodes he didn’t have.

Sound rushed out. His vents roared. Lubricant soaked his aft, the berth, and still his valve spasmed. Still overload rushed through his lines, crackling out from his substructure in a bright release of charge. His cooling fans whirred madly. His engine reached a high pitch, until he fell back to the berth, limp and sated.

Blurr panted, every vent open, condensation painting his lower half. His thoughts spun, his sensory suites struggling to reboot. He made low noises in his intake, his hands trembling where they gripped Starscream’s shoulders. He shook as Starscream’s fingers gently stroked the inside of his valve, easing him through the last ripples of overload.

He realized, dimly, that Starscream had pressed his face into the side of Blurr’s helm and was nibbling on his upper vents.

Blurr’s hands peeled free of Starscream’s shoulders and gripped Starscream’s helm. He pulled Starscream’s mouth to his, humming into the kiss as it turned slow and savoring, the gentle tangle of glossa together. His thighs eased, freeing Starscream’s hand, which removed itself to rest damply on Blurr’s thigh.

Starscream pulled back from the kiss, his lips slightly curved. “Better?” he asked.

It took Blurr two tries to reboot his vocalizer. “The charge is gone,” he rasped. “So yeah. Better.”

“Good.” Starscream’s hand patted his thigh. His optics were bright, his field warm as it pulsed against Blurr’s own.

Blurr dropped his hands from Starscream’s helm, returning them to Starscream’s shoulders. “What about you?”

“What about me?” Starscream’s hand stroked down Blurr’s thigh, to his knee, before it removed itself. “You need to recharge.”

“But–”

Starscream kissed him again, slow and savoring. A low sound rose in Starscream’s intake, one of pleasure, as he kissed Blurr like a lover might. Soft and sweet.

Well. All right then.

Blurr sighed into the kiss, and refused to admit he was disappointed when Starscream drew back. Instead, he curled onto his side, his good hip, the low throb of satisfaction pulsing through his lines. He had Starscream at his back, and there was something about the warmth of him that was comforting.

Blurr was too pleasure-drunk to pick apart why.

He was a mess. They both were. But Blurr didn’t want to move. Satisfaction hummed in his lines. Except for his hip. It still throbbed. Primus be damned.

“You need a pain patch,” Starscream murmured.

“Don’t want one,” Blurr replied.

Starscream hissed a sigh and then the berth shifted. Fingers enclosed Blurr’s right wrist, two tapping at his medical data port.

“Open,” Starscream demanded.

“No.”

His fingers pressed harder. “Open, Blurr. You won’t get any recharge if you hurt, and your self-repair won’t function properly if you don’t recharge.” There was a beat, a moment where Starscream waited, only for him to add, “Please.”

Damn him.

Blurr pressed his lips together and sent the command. His port cover slid aside, and Starscream was already ready. A flick of his fingertip popped out the expended pain chip, and he slid a new one into place. Within moments, the pain eased and Blurr ex-vented a tension he didn’t realize he carried.

“I hate you,” he grumbled as the fog came with the relief.

Starscream let go of his wrist, his hand moving to rest on Blurr’s hip. “I know. Go to recharge anyway.”

Blurr grumbled subvocally, but the pull of the chip was too strong. That coupled with the multiple overloads, and he drifted off to recharge.

[TIA] Battle for the Sun

“Are you sure?”

Blurr bit back the sigh before it could escape. He wanted to hide behind his hand, but re-paints necessitated that he hold still. Not that this was truly a re-paint. All Jazz managed to do right now was hide the flaws.

Sooner or later, Blurr would need a full-frame strip, paint, and wax. For now, presentable would have to do.

“I need to be on that stage, Jazz,” he replied.

His former commanding officer snorted a ventilation. “That’s not what I asked, Blurr. And ya know it.”

Not fidgeting was the hardest part.

Blurr frowned. “Am I sure about this? About Starscream? Frag, no,” he replied and fought down a twitch as Jazz brushed over a sensitive cable accidentally. “But I have to do something. I’m not letting Obsidian have his way.”

“Ya don’t hafta work with Starscream to stop Obsidian.” Jazz circled around to his front and gave him a critical look, one hand pressed to his chin. “I got connections.”

Blurr’s gaze slid to Jazz. “The same connections you and Starscream discussed?”

“Ah. Forgot ya heard that.” Jazz shrugged, his tires setting off into a spin. “More or less. But yeah. Say th’ word, we’ll drop ole Screamer, and go at this without him.”

Blurr nibbled on his bottom lip. The stench of paint spray made him dizzy, hard to think. It still didn’t change his mind, and he couldn’t even properly explain why.

“We need him,” he said finally, and with an audible sigh. “Like it or not, the Metrotitan spoke to him. And he’s useful.”

Jazz’s grin slid into a smirk. “For a great many things, I’m sure.” He folded his arms under his bumper. “He is pretty good in the berth.”

“That’s not what I meant!” Blurr snapped.

“I know what ya meant. Ya can lower your arms now, by the way.”

Blurr obeyed, rolling his shoulders to ease the cramp holding them had caused. He still wasn’t one-hundred percent, but he refused to sit in the shadows while Starscream held this press conference. He didn’t want Obsidian to think he was scared, or that he’d won.

Frag that.

“What we do in the berth has nothing to do with our political alliance,” Blurr said as he looked down at his frame, using the mirror to check Jazz’s work.

He’d done a good job. Blurr was passable. Not perfect. But hopefully, no one would be so close as to see all the imperfections.

“It doesn’t?” Jazz gasped theatrically, his visor brightening. “Then ya mean ta say that your alliance is political, but the berth fun is all about romance?” He leaned close and peered at Blurr. “Are ya falling for yon sassy Seeker?”

Blurr rolled his optics. “Of course not.” He brushed at a smudge on his arm, but as it did no good, quickly gave up. “It’s release. Stress relief. Something to take the edge off.”

“Sure, sure.” Jazz straightened and looked Blurr up and down. “Well, I’d say yer presentable. And your adoring public waits.” He made a broad gesture, and then bowed at the waist.

“Adoring. Right.” Blurr snorted and turned toward the door, slower than usual. His hip twinged at sudden movements.

He hesitated. A quiver of unease rattled through his spark before he could clamp it down. Standing before a crowd should not induce any anxiety. It had been the entirety of his existence prior to the war. Yet, he hesitated.

Jazz slid in front of him, helm tilted. “All jokes aside,” he said, tone turned serious. “You don’t have to do this.”

Blurr shook his helm. “Yes, I do.”

“No, you don’t.” Jazz folded his arms under his bumper, all amusement gone, and nothing left in his field and expression but Commander Jazz, Spec Ops member. “If you want out, all you have to do is say so. I will get you out.”

Blurr rubbed at his forehelm. “You’re saying that like I’m trapped. Nothing’s keeping me here. I have my reasons.”

Jazz made a non-committal noise. He didn’t budge.

Blurr cycled a ventilation. “I mean it, Jazz. I’m seeing this through.” He dropped his hand and narrowed his optics. “It’s personal now.

“And Starscream has nothing to do with it.”

“Nothing except that he’s as involved as I am,” Blurr said in a firm tone. “Yeah, we share a berth, and yeah, apparently we’re living together now. But that’s it.”

Jazz blew out air in a rush and rolled his shoulders, dropping his hands. “If you say so,” he said, and planted a grin on his face, one that was both cheesy and disingenuous. “Then let’s go. The spotlight calls.”

Somehow, Blurr felt like he’d just lost some kind of game that he never knew he was playing. Nevertheless, he shook his helm and followed after Jazz.

His former Commander was right, at least. The public waited. And so did Starscream.

~

This time, someone had built the stage in an open area just outside of the building Starscream had claimed for himself. It was a stupid idea in Blurr’s opinion. It was as though Starscream intended to provoke Obsidian, calling him out and daring him to attack again.

But Obsidian hadn’t even intended to attack Starscream the first time around.

It was still foolish.

The crowd this time was larger, but also, angrier. They muttered, more than talked among themselves, and their collective fields rasped against Blurr’s own. Spotlights pointed toward the stage, itself lackluster. Blurr expected glitz and glamor, not a bare podium and a solid-grey backdrop.

News crews clustered at the front of the stage, looking like a pack of ravenous pirahnacons, eager for a soundbite to feed their hunger for discourse. At least a hundred mechs crowded the ground behind them, their badges missing or scraped over. A couple dozen more mechs, still with their badges though more discreetly, hung at the back. Of Starscream’s entourage Blurr saw very few, except a handful carefully placed near the stairs leading up to the stage.

Blurr was ushered onstage the moment he was noticed. Jazz vanished from his side, and Blurr never saw him disappear. He assumed Jazz was somewhere in the crowd, keeping an optic out for more bombers.

Blurr ascended to the stage and was more than a little startled when a ragged cheer rose up from one section of the crowd. He cycled his optics and gave a little wave in that direction before the cheer called again.

Odd.

Starscream hovered near the podium, his face blank as he noticed Blurr. He did, however, gesture for Blurr to come closer.

They had argued about this. Quite forcefully.

Starscream wanted Blurr to rest more. He claimed Obsidian might attack again, and Blurr was in no condition to flee for his life.

Blurr, however, refused to be intimidated by a mech who couldn’t even show his face to make threats. He refused to let Obsidian think he’d earned any fear. He would be on this stage, or the press conference wouldn’t happen at all.

He’d interrupt if he had to. Let the newsbots make what they could of that.

In the end, Starscream relented. Round one went to Blurr. He savored his victory because he believed they would be few and far between in the future.

“You’re just in time,” Starscream said with a sharp look up and down Blurr’s frame. “Jazz did a good job.”

Blurr’s lip curled into a vague smile. “Am I presentable enough?”

Starscream tilted his helm. “I didn’t mean to imply that you weren’t.” He held out a hand to Blurr. “Come. You can stand beside me.”

Blurr cycled his optics. “What happened to sidelining me?”

“Someone told me that was a very bad idea. I’m inclined to agree with them.” Starscream grinned his politician grin and winked. “Besides, we’re in public.” He wriggled his fingers pointedly.

Blurr cycled a ventilation and placed his hand in Starscream’s, allowing the Seeker to pull him toward the podium. As Starscream did, the murmuring of the crowd grew into a dull roar. Several spotlights focused on the stage, directing at the podium as Starscream stepped behind it, drawing Blurr next to him.

He released Blurr’s hand and rested both of his own on the edge of the podium. He smiled that big grin, his wings still and settled, as Blurr shifted into a comfortable position next to him. He looked out at the crowd and tried not to get blinded by the attention.

“My fellow Cybertronians, if I could have your attention please,” Starscream said, speaking into a microphone. His voice carried and seemed to surround them, loud enough to quiet the crowd. “It’s time we get started, yes? I don’t want to keep you too long.”

Blurr tried not to fidget. He focused above the crowd’s helms, but his gaze wandered. He couldn’t help nervously looking around him, trying to find signs of discourse, of potential bombers. He still couldn’t find Jazz.

“I know you are all concerned about the attack on Maccadam’s. There have been many rumors circulating about what may have caused it,” Starscream said as he lowered his hand and braced himself on the podium. He actually managed to sound pleasant. “I am here to set the record straight, to reassure, and to make you a promise, but first, I wish to announce that Blurr is alive and well.” He half-turned and gestured toward Blurr with a curved grin. “I know there were many rumors to the contrary.”

Blurr cycled his optics and gave a little wave to the crowd. That same group who had cheered for him earlier made noise again.

“He’s a little battered, and a little bruised, but he remains fully committed to assisting me in serving Cybertron and the mecha who live here,” Starscream said, returning his attention to the podium. “He, like many of us, cannot be cowed by a cowardly act of violence, for that is what it was. An act of domestic terrorism by a shadowed party who wishes to see Cybertron fall.”

Blurr watched the audience. Most of those present looked confused. They exchanged glances. The chatter all but ceased.

Blurr looked for guilty faces. Smug faces. Anyone who might be connected to Obsidian in some way. He had no doubt that Obsidian’s spies lurked out there, waiting for an opportunity, or reporting back to their boss.

“I do not have a name, for coward’s hide behind anonymity,” Starscream continued, his tone turning fierce and insistent. “But I do know this. He seeks to divide us. To turn us against one another, until we tear ourselves apart. He believes that none of us deserve to start again, that Cybertron is not our home.” Starscream narrowed his optics. “He is wrong.”

A ragged cheer rose in pockmarks from the crowd. Members of Starscream’s entourage? Mecha who genuinely supported him? Blurr didn’t know.

“This mech, this terrorist, is only interested in one thing: to divide and conquer. Let us not do him the courtesy of doing his work for him. Let us be united, Cybertronians with one vision, one goal. Let us show him that we are not going to be cowed, that we are not afraid, and that this is our planet, our home.”

More cheers, less ragged this time, rose up. They were loud, agreeing. Some mechs Blurr recognized as patrons to his bar. Others were those he knew had no affection for Starscream, and he didn’t believe for one second that idea had changed.

No, they cheered for a different reason. Because Starscream was right, even if he was, well, Starscream.

Cybertron was their planet. It was their home. They would not be driven away from it in fear, not again. Neither would they bow to another mech who sought to bring upon change with violence and audacity.

Megatron had soured everyone to such actions.

So while these mecha might not like Starscream, they agreed with him.

“I ask that if anyone has any information that may be of use in our search for this coward, please come forward that we may drag him into the light,” Starscream continued, his words more confident and fierce now. “I am putting together a team, a strike force whose sole purpose is to track down this individual and bring him to justice. Volunteers are greatly encouraged. We should all be given the opportunity to defend our home. To strike back against the mech who believes so little of our courage.”

Energy filled the crowd. Starscream certainly understood how to whip them into action, didn’t he? Perhaps he’d learned it from Megatron. If anyone asked what charisma could buy you, one need look no further than the army Megatron had once commanded.

“We are stronger together,” Starscream said with a large smile Blurr never knew he was capable of producing. “I firmly believe that, and I know that you all believe it as well.”

Someone started to clap, perhaps one of Starscream’s supporters. It was enough to get others started, one by one, the agreement picking up in volume. They stomped their pedes. They whistled. They whooped.

Starscream half-turned toward Blurr, grinning and holding out a hand. His fingers wriggled invitingly, as if calling Blurr to his side again.

Blurr cycled a ventilation. He’d brought this upon himself.

He planted a smile on his face and stepped that one pace closer to Starscream, unsurprised when Starscream tugged him up onto the podium, and they shared the narrow space. Starscream hooked an arm around his waist, his hand resting on Blurr’s opposite hip, half-possessive, half-affectionate.

He leaned into Blurr’s side, lips inches from Blurr’s audial. “Do you want to speak?” he asked.

Blurr resisted the urge to cross his arms defensively. “I think you’ve said everything you need to say,” he muttered, hopefully not loud enough to carry. “Why didn’t you name Obsidian?”

“Because they don’t need to know it was a former Decepticon. Factional tension is still too high.” Starscream’s lips came close enough to brush Blurr’s audial, sending a shiver down his spinal strut. “Do you disagree?”

Blurr worked his intake and turned his face closer to Starscream, something incredibly intimate, and he was more than aware of the crowd watching them. “Not in public, I don’t.”

“Mmm.” Starscream squeezed his hip. “I knew you were the right choice,” he purred, and drew away, turning his attention back to the crowd.

He raised his free hand for quiet, and it rippled through those attending. “Are there any questions?” he asked.

“Who’s going to lead your little strike force?” Someone demanded, his voice a loud boom from the back. Blurr could see nothing but a dark shape, a military frame perhaps given the size of it.

“That will be determined by the team itself,” Starscream replied in a pleasant tone. “Though I will offer advice if they feel it is necessary.”

“What about Maccadam’s?” Someone else shouted, this one nearer. Blurr tracked the question to a mech he did recognize as a frequent patron of his bar.

Scrapes and dings marred the mech’s armor, along with scorchmarks and a few temporary static bandages. He must have been there for the attack.

Starscream’s fingers pressed in on Blurr’s hip. “I do believe this question is for you, Zippy,” he said brightly.

He barely kept himself from glaring. Instead, Blurr cycled a ventilation and leaned forward, toward the podium.

“Yes,” he said. “I will locate a suitable location and begin rebuilding as soon as possible. Maccadam’s was my livelihood, and a place where all can come together. I will not let a single act of terrorism dissuade me from rebuilding.”

“Yer not afraid?” Someone else asked, this coming from a mech of purple and yellow accents, only a few rows back from the stage.

Blurr tilted his helm. “Should I be?”

“One might argue that yer alliance with Starscream is to blame for it’s destruction,” the purple-yellow mech replied, his optical band glittering with a deeper intelligence.

Blurr did not recognize this mech. Now, he wished he did. He made a mental note of him as someone to look into. Perhaps Jazz might want to see where he made his berth.

“I suppose you could assume that,” Blurr said with a shrug of his shoulders. “But I’ve also made it a point for Maccadam’s to welcome everyone. Even before Megatron’s return, I allowed mechs of all factions into my bar. Something tells me our mysterious terrorist doesn’t like that too much.”

“You don’t think he’ll strike again?”

Blurr tracked that question further toward the back, to a tall mech with dark plating and a single optic. A victim of Empurata in the past, perhaps.

“I’m not saying he won’t. But I am saying I’m not going to let fear of that stop me.” Blurr tilted his chin, stepping a little out of Starscream’s embrace to show that he stood on his own, with or without a Seeker in his berth. “Before this, I was an Autobot warrior. I was a Wrecker. We have peace now, and I welcome that, but I am not going to let a coward stop me from living.”

“Are you going to volunteer for the strike force?”

“No,” Starscream said, before Blurr could even form words. He leaned around Blurr, smile so very pleasant and reassuring. “At least, not at first. He still has much healing to do, despite being one of the lucky ones.”

Anger roiled within Blurr, though he was careful to keep it concealed. How nice of Starscream to decide for him. What if Blurr wanted to be on that task force? What if he wanted to help look for Obsidian?

What if it wasn’t Starscream’s choice at all? Because it wasn’t.

Now was not the time or the place to bring it up, however.

“Starscream does have a point.” Blurr’s smile was more of a grimace. “I’m not much use with this bum hip of mine.” He patted it and produced a laugh that many a camera had loved back when he’d been a world-class racer. “But I will help in anyway I can.”

Starscream’s field nudged against his in that moment, proud and affectionate. Blurr all but slapped it away with his own.

Not right now.

“I plan to have a memorial for Skybyte and all others who were killed in the attack,” Blurr continued, and took small satisfaction in feeling Starscream startle next to him.

Hah. They hadn’t discussed this. Because Blurr had come up with it all on his own. He could play political games, too.

“I am actually relieved that we live in a time of relative peace and can take the opportunity to do such a thing. Skybyte was a dear friend. He’ll be missed, and I want to honor the legacy he left behind.”

“As do we all,” Starscream added with that politician’s smile. “As soon as we’ve finalized preparations, we’ll let everyone know so that all can attend. Until then, we must all continue as we have, rebuilding, restructuring, and learning to live again. Thank you everyone for your support. Together, we are one.”

Starscream stepped back from the podium and tugged Blurr with him, the look on his face indecipherable now that he no longer faced the crowd.

More questions were thrown their direction, but they were quickly drowned out by rising cheers and clapping. Blurr hated that he didn’t know if it was genuine or part of some elaborate plan of Starscream’s. One could never be sure when it came to the Seeker.

Starscream clasped his hand around Blurr’s, grip firm as though trying to keep him from fleeing, and tugged him to the stage exit. At the last moment, he paused, flashed the crowd a smile and a wave, before continuing on.

Members of Starscream’s entourage were there to keep the crowd at bay as Starscream urged Blurr back toward his apartment tower. There was a quickness to his steps, a twitch in his wings, that suggested anger.

Ask Blurr if he cared. Because he didn’t.

Starscream’s mask didn’t fall until they were in the relative solitude and quiet of the first floor, the main doors locking and shutting behind him. He dropped Blurr’s hand as if it burned him, his wings twitching madly.

“A memorial for Skybyte?”

Blurr arched his orbital ridges. So that was how Starscream wanted to start. Okay then.

“I think it’s appropriate, don’t you?”

“Of course it is.” Starscream whirled, his wings arched high and angry above his shoulders. “And also dangerous. You think Obsidian isn’t going to consider that an invitation to attack?”

Blurr shrugged. “He might. He might not. I wasn’t just lying or performing out there, Starscream.” Unlike some mechs. “I meant what I said. I’m not afraid, and I’m not going to let fear keep me from moving forward.”

He took a stalking step forward and ignored the twinge in his hip. “You spoke pretty words about unity, but unless you actually prove you mean them, they’ll turn on you as quickly as they turned on Bumblebee. They’ll kick you out of your penthouse and Obsidian won’t have to lift another finger.”

“Oh. So this is you being helpful, is it?”

Blurr folded his arms over his chestplate. “Helpful. Useful. Take your pick. I told you I wasn’t going to stand on the sideline. If you can’t handle that, let me know now. I’ll walk away and you can lose your civilian trophy.”

Starscream stared at him. His wings flicked.

Blurr stared back. He’d faced down worse than Starscream before.

“I… appreciate your help,” Starscream finally said, though there was something in his tone that was outright begrudging. “Only, it would be nice next time to not be caught unawares.”

Blurr tilted his helm. “Likewise.”

Starscream snorted a laugh and his wings drifted back downward. Tension eased out of his posture. “Fair enough.” His gaze flicked toward the door, where flashing lights indicated that the very noisy press still waited for their turn to grill Starscream. “Are you really interested in handling them?”

“No.”

“I didn’t think so.” Starscream audibly cycled a ventilation and started toward the door. “You should rest for today. Get off that hip. I’m going to arrange some things. I’ll be back later.”

“Things I need to know about?” Blurr demanded.

“Not unless you’re actually interested in the administrative part of my duties,” Starscream replied with a smirk thrown over his shoulder. “Are you?”

Blurr snorted. “Not in the least.

Starscream chuckled before he vanished out the doors, which closed and locked behind him, leaving Blurr in the dim quiet of the ground floor.

Blurr unfolded his arms and swept a hand over his helm.

“Are you sure you wanna do this?”

If he didn’t, who else would?

[TIA] Fear on Fire

Blurr lurched awake with all the subtlety of a mid-air collision. His spark raced, his ventilations cycled rapidly, and every defensive protocol was screaming for him to get down, take cover, draw his weapon, prepare for war.

Except that the war was over, he was supposed to be safe, and that was all a lie.

And Blurr was… not in his tiny apartment over his bar.

He cycled his optics and looked around him. This was Starscream’s berth. He was in Starscream’s penthouse. He was in Starscream’s berth. He was…

Covered in bandages and nanite patches? What the frag! Blurr stared down at himself, appalled by the state of his frame. Well. That at least explained why he felt like he’d been run over by a triple-changer. There wasn’t a single part of him that didn’t ache. And he felt… lighter? Why did he feel lighter?

His boosters were gone.

Blurr twisted his torso sharply, ignoring a stab of pain, and tried to reach over his shoulders and behind himself. He couldn’t feel them. They just weren’t there. They’d been disengaged from his frame.

What the frag?

Someone had cleaned him, too. It had been half-sparked at best, as they’d left soot in the crannies of his frame and Blurr itched with the sensation of grit in his cables. He needed a shower. But he needed answers, too. He needed–

Blurr pinged his memory. Short-term was a little hazy. Maybe because of the way his processor ached. Short-term loss wasn’t uncommon after a sharp knock to the helm. And he’d been hit by – Blurr squinted – falling debris.

He started to remember.

Heat. Shouting. A moment of panic. And then a whump of something invisible. A blast wave. It knocked him back and out. He hit the side of his bar, or the stage. Something solid enough to rattle him.

There’d been an explosion.

Blurr swung his legs over the side of the berth – Starscream’s berth, his memory core continued to remind him – and gently slid to his pedes. Everything ached, and he couldn’t put his full weight on his right leg. His hip felt like fire, but the idea of just lying around in his berth and waiting for someone to attend to him was highly unappealing.

He paused a moment, dizziness making him sway. Once it passed, he attempted a step, and hissed air through his denta. His hip burned, and only force of effort made him take another step, and then a third. He pretended he was on the battlefield, and if he didn’t move, he wouldn’t live, and that thought carried him two more steps toward the door. A sharp, stabbing throb radiated through his right hip.

He wanted answers. He needed answers. He wasn’t sure if he approved that he’d woken in Starscream’s berth. Why wasn’t he in his own? Why wasn’t he in a medical center? What the frag?

He made it to the door. It opened with a touch, his touch. Starscream had programmed it to respond to his field? When? Why?

No. Don’t worry about that right now. Worry about answers.

Blurr limped out of the berthroom. His audials caught words. Voices. Conversation. He recognized both voices – Starscream and Jazz.

“–a meeting,” Jazz said, his voice edged with static. He sounded tired.

Starscream huffed a ventilation. From his viewpoint, Blurr could only see his back, and his twitching wings. “Yes. I’ll just get on out into the wasteland. Surely no one will see me do such a thing. Has he any idea how absurd that sounds?”

“Oh, he knows. Why do ya think he suggested it?”

Starscream scoffed. He half-turned and paced a step, giving Blurr a brief glimpse of Jazz before he was blocked again. “Fine then. They can continue to rot out there, while what’s left of Cybertron crumbles at Obsidian’s command.” His engine grumbled. “So much for Autobot sentimentality.”

“I didn’t say he said no. Just that he wants ta chat.” Something creaked, Jazz’s joints perhaps. “And I didn’t say it had to be out there.”

Starscream jerked and whipped toward Jazz, wings arching high. “Why are you playing word games with me?”

“Mech, I play games with everyone. Or don’t ya know that by now.” Jazz laughed, but it didn’t sound amused. “Ya want the meeting or not?”

“What kind of meeting?” Blurr asked.

Starscream whipped around, his optics wide. “You’re online,” he said, crossing the floor in three quick steps to seize Blurr by the shoulders. “You should be in a berth. You’re still healing!”

Blurr slapped away his hands and limped around Starscream, making a beeline for the couch in the middle of the room. “I don’t want to be in the berth. I want answers. What meeting?”

He heard, more than saw, Starscream follow after him.

“It doesn’t matter,” Starscream said with an exasperated air. “I’m beginning to suspect it’s not legitimate.”

“Why wouldn’t it be? Cybertron’s my planet, too,” Jazz retorted, his visor flashing. The light behind it shifted to Blurr. “You okay, boss?”

“I hurt,” Blurr said flatly, and dropped down to the couch. “What happened?”

“Obsidian happened,” Starscream said. He opted to stand, his arms folded over his chest turbines. “It was his first move.”

Blurr rubbed at his aching hip, trying not to wince. “My bar?”

Starscream’s gaze met the floor. “Total loss,” he said and rubbed at his faceplate. “There’s nothing left but rubble.”

Primus damn it. He should have never gotten involved with Starscream. He knew it. He just knew this would happen.

“Casualties?” Blurr demanded.

Starscream flinched.

“Lots of injuries,” Jazz answered and scraped a hand over his helm. “Several casualties.” He audibly sighed. “Sorry, boss. One of them’s Skybyte.”

Skybyte.

Blurr’s spark went cold. He cycled a ventilation, but it rattled in his frame. He worked his intake, his hands drawing into fists. He turned his helm toward Starscream, letting nothing of weakness show in his optics.

“Tell me you know where this fragger is,” he demanded.

Starscream lifted his chin. “I wish that I did.”

Blurr shot to his pedes, ignoring the flash-fire of pain that raced across his hip, down his leg, and into his ankle-strut. “You have a network of spies, and an entourage, and a gaggle of loyal followers, and you know nothing?”

Starscream frowned and narrowed his optics to thin slits of crimson. “In case you haven’t noticed, the number of genuine associates I have can be counted on one hand.” He made a gesture with his hand for emphasis, wriggling thin, claw-tipped fingers.

Blurr wobbled on his pedes, but held his ground. He would not do this while seated on his aft. Starscream took too many liberties already. “Then what’s our next move?”

Starscream tilted his helm. “Our?” He folded his arms over his chest again, closing himself off. “I am going to find him,” he said, baring his denta. “Obsidian won’t know what he’s unleashed. He will suffer for what he’s done.”

“And what am I supposed to do in the meantime?” Blurr demanded. He had not missed the fact that Starscream seemed content to leave him out of it. “That bar was everything I had. If anyone is going to take down Obsidian, it’ll be me.”

Starscream unfolded his arms and stalked across the floor toward Blurr. “You are going to find a new place to rebuild,” he said, one forefinger poking at Blurr’s chestplate. “You are going to rest, and recover, and put on a brave face. That is what you are going to do.”

Blurr once again batted Starscream’s hand away, his engine revving with fury. “So you’re going to sideline me,” he spat, his field rising up and batting against the reserved front Starscream put on. “You’re going to put me on a shelf like any other trophy.”

“That is not what I said,” Starscream snapped, his wings hiking upward.

Blurr leaned forward, ignoring the rising pain in his side. “Sure sounded like it to me.”

Starscream stared at him before he pinched his nasal ridge and turned away. “Blurr, I don’t have time for this,” he said, wings spasming. “I have to check on the injured, address the citizens, and somehow find Obsidian in all this mess. I can’t do that and worry about you, too.”

“This is what you call worry?” Blurr resisted the urge to stamp his pede. It was all he could do not to grab Starscream and shake some sense into him. But then, when had that done anyone any good? “I hate to see what you actually caring looks like.”

Someone coughed their vents. It was not Starscream.

Blurr blinked. Starscream went rigid. Both of them turned and found Jazz still seated in his chair, a look of unholy glee on his face.

“I guess this is the part where I leave, right?” he said as he hopped to his pedes, planting his hands his hips. “Being that this is a lover’s spat and has nothing to do with me now.”

Blurr growled.

“It is not a lover’s spat, as you so eloquently put it,” Starscream snapped, his field spiking with irritation. “It is a debate between associates.”

Jazz shrugged. “Potato. Po-ta-toe. I call it like I see it, mechs.” His visor flashed. “My statement stands. I got work to do and it seems like you two don’t need someone eavesdroppin’. So. Off I go.”

Starscream sighed audibly and flicked a hand of dismissal. “By all means, don’t wait for an invitation on my part.”

“Ya gonna be all right, boss?” Jazz asked.

Blurr rubbed at his faceplate, forcing himself not to show the pain spiking through his neural net. Perhaps he really had gotten off the berth too soon.

“Starscream’s nothing I can’t handle,” Blurr said. “I don’t need a nanny-bot.”

“Suit yourself.” Jazz shrugged again, though there was nothing nonchalant in the action. “Ya know how to reach me if anything changes.” He spun on a heelstrut and navigated around his chair, aiming for the door. “Catch ya later, Starscream.”

“If there is any justice in the world, it will be a long time from now,” Starscream muttered.

Jazz’s laughter followed him out, until the door closed and locked behind him. Silence fell, Blurr turning back toward Starscream. There was a screaming pain in his hip, but he refused to acknowledge it.

Starscream sighed audibly. “There, now that he is gone, perhaps we can have a rational conversation about this.” He turned to face Blurr, his expression a mask of emotion. “Though I would prefer it if we could do so while you are resting.”

He started forward, and drew to a halt when Blurr held up a hand.

“No,” he said, and cycled a ventilation. He shook his helm slowly. “Right now, Starscream, I don’t want to hear it.” He turned away from the Seeker, not sure where he wanted to go, only knowing it was away. “You said it yourself that you had work to do. So go do it.”

“And where are you going?” Starscream demanded, petulant.

“Out.”

Blurr headed for the same door Jazz had used, ignoring the twinge in his hip, and the jagged slices of pain that raced down his leg.

“You’re still injured,” Starscream called after him.

“I’ve had worse,” Blurr shot back, slamming his palm against the panel. To his surprise, the door snapped open.

Starscream had keyed his bio-signature into the lock. Blurr blinked, and then shook his helm. No. He didn’t want to think about that now. He just wanted out.

He hurried through the door. If Starscream said something else to him, he didn’t hear it, because the door slid shut behind him. He heard it click and lock, not that Starscream couldn’t open it back up.

Blurr looked around him, torn on which way to go. He couldn’t go back to Maccadams. He couldn’t go back home. It didn’t exist anymore. There was nothing and nowhere for him to go.

He was marked now. Everyone associated him with Starscream. Who would harbor him? Who would offer him a place to stay?

Swindle?

Blurr scoffed aloud. That credit-grubbing thief? Sure, if Blurr promised to sign over half his spark or something equally sinister.

Jazz?

Blurr didn’t know where Jazz made his berth. He didn’t know where Jazz was right now. In fact, Blurr didn’t know much of anything at all. He didn’t know who all was injured. He didn’t know how his usual patrons had fared.

He was pretty damned useless, wasn’t he?

Blurr’s engine raced. His hands formed fists, shaking at his sides. He started walking, or limping more like, because he didn’t know what else to do.

Starscream occupied the penthouse, because of course he did. So Blurr limped into the lift and randomly pressed a button for one of the lower levels. The panel beeped obnoxiously at him.

Growling, Blurr slammed another button. Denied. A third. Denied. A fourth– the panel chimed an affirmative and the doors slid shut. The lift rattled as it started to move.

The ground floor. He could leave. He could walk away from the tower, but where would he go? Out to wander the streets with a bum hip and a rapidly declining level of energon? Out where others had not fared as well in the bombing? Out where he could be easily snatched?

Blurr was not weak. He was not afraid. But he was not stupid either.

The lift donged and deposited him on the first floor. Blurr cycled a ventilation and limped out. He wasn’t going to leave. A sense of self-preservation ensured that. But while the first floor was a disorganized mess, someone had dragged a few benches into one of the corners, arranging them around a low table.

It would do. At this point, Blurr would sit on a boulder. His hip was sending jagged lines of pain up and down his leg. He couldn’t run away from a sparkling at this rate.

The last few steps and Blurr all but dragged his leg behind him. He dropped onto the bench with a sigh of relief, ventilations cycling air faster than was healthy. He groaned and leaned his helm back, offlining his optics.

What a mess. And that was putting it kindly.

He held onto his anger. He clutched it close as the only thing giving him fuel, the only thing keeping him from spiraling. But it slipped through his fingers as though it were made of shadows, like the last pulses of victory before the war struck and took all value out of the races.

Blurr worked his intake. He focused on the pain. It didn’t help.

The war was over. They were supposed to be safe. The war was over, and yet his bar lay in ruins, Skybyte was dead, and safety was an illusion. Just like peace.

His spark squeezed tight. He was in so far over his helm it was not funny. There was nothing hilarious about this. What was he thinking getting involved with Starscream? Why did he think he could hold control over the situation.

He was a fool. A Primus-damned fool. An idiot who lost everything, and became the trophy he’d vowed he wouldn’t allow. He was a pretty thing. A smiling face to hang on Starscream’s arms and wave to the cameras. Side-lined and made useless. Like his bum leg and worse hip.

He had nothing left. Nothing and nowhere to go.

Blurr pressed his palms to his optics and leaned back, cycling ventilation after ventilation. His fans hiccuped.

Primus, but he was a mess.

Something clattered in the darkness.

Blurr leapt to his pedes and whirled around, only for his hip to protest the abrupt motion and buckle beneath him. He yelped and flailed, though there was nothing to grab, nothing to keep him from tumbling to the floor like a clumsy oaf.

Nothing but the bright red arms of a Seeker who was suddenly there, plucking Blurr from his fall as though he’d been in mid-air.

Blurr’s spark pumped from the rush. He looked up into Starscream’s face, empty of expression, and didn’t know whether he wanted to rage or weep. He certainly didn’t feel like expressing gratitude. So he didn’t.

“I told you,” Starscream said quietly as he guided Blurr back to the bench so that he could sit. “You’re still healing. You need to rest.”

“Don’t touch me.” Blurr smacked his hand away, leaning as far from Starscream as he could manage. “This is your fault.”

“Obsidian is the one who blew up your bar,” Starscream said as he sat next to Blurr, within reach, but not so close that they touched.

Blurr glared at him. “To get to you.”

Starscream inclined his helm. “Yes, that is true.” He sighed a ventilation and rubbed two fingers over his forehelm. “For what it is worth, I am sorry.”

“I don’t want your apologies,” Blurr snapped, the anger roiling in him like a dark mass, something that choked his spark. “I want answers. I want to find this fragger and end him. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines like a pretty pet!”

Starscream’s wings flicked. “You are not a pet, or a trophy for that matter. You are a valuable partner in this endeavor. I only meant that you are recovering and are in no condition to face against Obsidian and his ilk. I want you to be–” He cut himself off, shook his helm, and dropped his hand. “You will have an important part to play. I promise.”

Blurr’s optics narrowed. What was Starscream going to say before he stopped? Could he trust Starscream’s intentions here? Or were they empty platitudes to keep him mollified?

He didn’t know. And it bothered him that he didn’t.

“That’s all well and good, but I’m still out of a job, out of a home, and out of any way to be of use to you now.” Blurr snorted and folded his arms over his chassis, clinging to the anger if only to distract himself from the fierce throb in his leg.

Starscream shifted toward him. “You can stay here,” he said, and gestured around him. “I mean, in the penthouse, with me. It’ll be more convenient at any rate.”

Blurr stared at him. “Live here,” he repeated flatly. “With you.”

Starscream shrugged, the gesture anything but nonchalant. “I have the space and it would make working together more convenient.” He gave Blurr a sidelong look. “It’s not as though we haven’t been sharing a berth already.”

“This and that are two different things,” Blurr said, jabbing a finger toward Starscream.

Starscream waved a hand of dismissal. “Either way, it’s all business.” He peered at Blurr before he rose to his pedes and offered Blurr a hand. “Come on. You need a cube of energon, a pain patch, and to get back in the berth.”

Blurr set his jaw. He wanted to decline on principle alone. But frag it all, Starscream was right. He was in no condition to leave, and the pain was only getting worse.

Blurr sighed and accepted Starscream’s hand, which resulted in Starscream hooking an arm around his waist, taking the majority of his weight.

“I want my boosters back,” Blurr said as Starscream helped him limp back toward the berth.

“You can when you are fully repaired,” Starscream replied, a note of irritation in his vocals. “While you are healing, however, your frame can’t take the strain. And this is coming from Flatline, not me.”

The lift dinged as it arrived, and Starscream got them inside, pressing the button for the penthouse without pause. Blurr wanted to ask about the other floors, but filed it away for later. Starscream cooperated for now. Blurr didn’t want to jinx it.

“They were damaged,” Starscream added in a softer tone as the lift started to rise. “You needed a medic more than I needed to try and retrieve them.”

Blurr set his jaw. He didn’t want to think about the explosion, or the damage to his frame, or the sparks that had been lost. All it did was remind him of what had been taken.

“Fine,” he said And left it at that.

They spent the rest of the rise in silence, until the lift deposited them at the top. Starscream half-walked, half-carried Blurr back into his hab-suite, where he ignored both the main room and the refueling room in favor of taking Blurr straight back to the berth.

He was surprisingly gentle as he eased Blurr onto the padded surface. Blurr laid back with a relieved sigh, shifting his weight to take the pressure off his hip. A dull throb set in, his frame sending off waves of heat.

“Here.” Starscream handed over a cube, and when Blurr took it, reached for Blurr’s other hand, tapping two fingers over his wrist port. “Open?”

Blurr hesitated as he braced himself upright with one elbow. Allow Starscream access to his systems?

Starscream arched an orbital ridge. “What do you think I’m going to do through a medical port, Blurr?”

“Pardon me for being cautious.” Blurr seethed as his panel snapped back, allowing Starscream access.

He focused on consuming the energon, and was relieved when Starscream didn’t connect to him personally. Instead, he slotted a pain chip into Blurr’s port reader, and patted Blurr’s wrist.

“That should get started immediately,” Starscream said.

Blurr triggered the panel to close. “Thanks,” he muttered as indeed it began to work, taking away the harshest pangs of agony and dulling them. He sipped at the cube, careful to conceal his grimace.

Medical grade was the absolute worst. He missed his usual energon, sweet and savory, with extra bursts for the busy, racing frame.

Starscream sat on the edge of the berth, his wings twitching behind him. “I am sorry, you know,” he said. “I know that Maccadams was more than just a bar.”

Blurr looked at him from over the rim of the cube. That was almost… honest. For Starscream.

“Yeah, well, I guess it’s not really your fault,” he said.

“Thanks,” Starscream drawled with a roll of his optics. He tilted his helm. “Besides, you can look at this way. Now you can finally replace that countertop with the stain, right?”

Blurr snorted a laugh. “Right.” He finished off the energon and flicked away the cube. “If I ever get to rebuild.”

“You will.”

Blurr gave him a sideways glance. “You sound awfully sure of that.”

“Because I know it will happen.” Starscream rolled his shoulders and slid off the berth. “You rebuilt once. You’ll rebuild again. That’s the thing about you Autobots. You’re damn tenacious.”

Blurr shifted to lay on the berth again, feeling as though gravity tugged him downward. Fatigue returned. “I’m not an Autobot.”

Starscream snorted. “Yes, you are.” He waved a dismissing hand. “Get some rest. A couple more days aberth and you should be back on your own two pedes.” He turned and headed toward the door. “Ping my comm if you need something.”

“Are you volunteering to wait on me?” Blurr arched an orbital ridge.

“Don’t get ahead of yourself.”

Blurr rolled his optics and shifted to get comfortable. The pain had lessened, but his spark continued to quiver. Little tremors ran through his frame, over his armor.

His hands were shaking, he realized.

He didn’t want to be alone right now. He didn’t want to be left here in this room, in the dark and silence, unable to defend himself. He couldn’t fight; he didn’t have his blasters. He couldn’t run, not with a bum leg and no boosters.

He couldn’t do much at all.

Blast it.

The door panel beeped as Starscream put in his code.

“Starscream.”

The Seeker paused in the frame, one hand on the panel. He didn’t say anything, but he did half-turn to look at Blurr.

He would probably hate himself for this in the morning.

“Stay,” Blurr said as he slowly turned on his side, facing the wall. There was enough room left on the berth for a second frame.

After a second’s hesitation, he added, “please,” though it galled him to do so.

The door slid shut with a locking beep. Starscream’s pedesteps returned, but his field preceded him, tentative and offering. Blurr expected to be taunted for his weakness, but all Starscream did was climb onto the berth behind Blurr. He did not lay down, but he sat with his back against the wall at the head of the berth, his right hip and leg pressed against Blurr’s back.

“I’m still mad at you,” Blurr muttered as he offlined his optics and tried to focus on his ventilations. Not that it was necessary. The pain patch must have had a soporific in it, too. Drowsiness dragged him toward recharge.

“I know,” Starscream replied before Blurr felt the first gentle, and tentative touch to his crest.

It was soothing, enough so that it lulled Blurr right into recharge. He thought distantly that his audials picked up Starscream saying something else, but that thought was whisked away with sleep.

[G1] Savor

Jazz didn’t know which was worse: the ring snuggled around the base of his spike, the thick vibrator buzzing merrily in his valve, or the relentless onslaught of Master’s mouth on his exterior node.

Jazz moaned and thrashed in the chains which kept him bound to the berth. He couldn’t lower his arms, couldn’t bring his thighs together, couldn’t do anything but whine as pleasure assaulted him from all directions.

Master pressed Jazz’s nub between his denta, biting hard enough for a jagged lance of pain to radiate beautifully through Jazz’s sensornet.

Jazz’s backstrut arched. “S-s-sir!

Master chuckled, vibrations and heat rolling over the swollen fold of Jazz’s valve, making him quiver.

“Remember, pet. You are not to overload.”

A whine rose in Jazz’s intake. He trembled, his vents wheezing from the effort of holding back. The vibrator continued buzzing, exciting all of his internal nodes.

“Yesssss, s-s-sir.” His vocalizer glitched.

Master’s glossa swept over him, from the caudal lip of his valve, and ending with a flick to his node.

Jazz writhed, his head tossing back in a soundless scream. Fire surged through his frame, an inferno taking residence in his array. He burned and it took all he had to not give in to the overload.

His spike pulsed, throbbing around the ring. Lubricant gushed from his valve, and Master made a humming noise of delight. Of approval.

Master was… Master was happy.

Jazz whimpered. His vents roared. His valve yearned. He wanted Master inside him now.

“Master!”

“Not yet.” Master nuzzled his valve, lips caressing the swollen pleat lovingly. “I intend to savor you all night.”

Jazz sobbed.

But not once did he ask Bluestreak to stop.

[G1] Extended Service

“Mmm, good boy,” Bluestreak praised, twisting the length of the leash around his hand and pulling Jazz tighter against his array.

Jazz moaned, the vibrations buzzing against Bluestreak’s rim. He pushed his glossa deeper, his denta scraping over Bluestreak’s anterior node.

Bluestreak shivered, his thighs tightening around his pet’s helm. “Keep this up and you might earn that overload, pet,” he murmured. One hand smoothed over the top of Jazz’s helm, his thumb playing with a sensory horn.

Jazz’s face was coated in lubricant, his visor smeared with it. Yet, that didn’t stop him from servicing Bluestreak’s valve, his glossa pushing deep, his lips nudging Bluestreak’s exterior nodes.

Jazz said nothing. He knew better to speak without being invited, but another hum of pleasure rose in his intake as he buried his face against Bluestreak’s array again. His field rose in the air, thick with rapture.

“Very good,” Bluestreak murmured, stroking Jazz’s helm again. “Now the main node, pet. I want to feel your denta.”

Jazz shuddered, his armor twitching, before lips and mouth descended on Bluestreak’s nub and started to suck.

Bluestreak’s back arched. His thighs trembled. Bluestreak grinned and leaned back, soaking up the sensation. There was nothing quite like an extended service session.

He shifted his leg, the back of his foot pressing against Jazz’s backstrut, pinning his pet in place. Jazz shuddered, his field lashing with need.

Yep. Nothing like it at all.

[G1] An Enticing Offer

It wasn’t often that Ratchet found himself with a sudden lapful of Jazz. But when there was a party involved, the potential was there.

So when Jazz dropped down into Ratchet’s lap, looped his arms over Ratchet’s shoulders, and scooted so close they shared ventilating space, Ratchet wasn’t surprised.

Except for the part where Jazz was both trembling — minute though it was — and radiating heat like a furnace. His visor was bright, his field open and needy, and he offered Ratchet a lop-sided grin.

“Can I help you?” Ratchet asked, firmly telling his spike to heel, though it leapt eagerly at his panel.

Jazz was very, very attractive. What could he say?

“I hope so.” Jazz laughed playfully — Ratchet knew an act when he saw one — and leaned in closer, his hips rolling until Ratchet could feel the scorching heat of his array.

Jazz’s lips brushed over Ratchet’s audial as he whispered, “Master said to tell you that I’m stuffed full and if you ping him, he’ll give you the key to play, too.”

“Is that so?” Ratchet’s spark thrummed with heat.

He lifted his orbital ridges and looked over Jazz’s shoulder, seeking Bluestreak through the crowd of Autobots having a grand-old time. There the Praxian sniper was, by the goodie table, seemingly deep in conversation with Smokescreen and Sideswipe. Yet, he noticed Ratchet looking, offering both a grin and a wink.

Well, then.

“Yeah.” Jazz squirmed rather enticingly. “He said — nnngh — he said I don’t get to overload unless — ahh — unless I can be good and convincing.” Little breathy ex-vents ghosted over Ratchet’s audial.

Enticing little sneak.

“Mmm. Did he now?” Ratchet feigned disinterest with all the mastery he had over his own frame. “And if you can’t convince me?”

Jazz’s engine whined. He pulled back, glossa sweeping over his lips, wetting them. A telltale dampness dripped onto Ratchet’s thighs.

“He didn’t say,” Jazz said with a groan.

“Didn’t think to ask, did you?” Ratchet grinned with a touch of devilish glee. “Think you’re that irresistible, hm?”

The question was a trap, and Jazz knew it.

He rolled his hips again, rightfully ignoring it. “I can be pretty fun to play with though,” he said.

Ratchet took a dismissive sip of his energon, doing a fine job of pretending to ignore the tasty dish straddling his thighs. “Maybe I’m not in the mood.”

Jazz’s engine whined. His field flared, thick and heavy with need. He twisted to look over his shoulder at Bluestreak, mouth drooped into a moue.

Bluestreak’s orbital ridges lifted. He twirled a finger as though telling Jazz to get back to work, before his attention drifted back to the conversation with his friends.

Jazz moaned in dismay. He sucked on his bottom lip. He leaked a little more, hands clenching where they rested on Ratchet’s shoulder.

“I’ll beg if ya want,” Jazz said, pleading now, his hips rocking and rolling to the beat of the music pouring from the speakers.

If,” Ratchet echoed.

“Ahhngh, you two are Unicron spawn,” Jazz muttered subvocally before he rolled forward, grinding his array against Ratchet’s belly. “Please.”

“Mmm.” Ratchet paused for effect, taking another sip of his high grade. “No.”

Jazz groaned. He cast a dismayed look over his shoulder, and Bluestreak shook his head as if disappointed. His doorwings twitched upward and then drifted slowly down — a silent command.

Jazz sighed and started to scoot back.

Ratchet finished off his high grade and dispersed the cube with a flick of his fingers. His free hand curled around Jazz’s hip, cupping that delightful aft.

“Unless,” he said with a firm tap, “we move this somewhere a bit more private.”

Ratchet looked past Jazz’s shoulder, catching Bluestreak’s gaze. The sniper grinned and tipped his helm. Agreement. As was the ping to Ratchet’s comm.

Invitation extended. Invitation accepted. Perfect.

Jazz’s hips danced. “Never knew you were shy,” he purred, heedless to the conversation going on over his head.

“Hardly.” Ratchet gave Jazz’s aft another pat. “But as much as I’d love to make you lick up this mess you’ve made on me, no one here’s consented to a free show.”

Jazz’s tires wiggled. “F-fair point,” he stammered and rolled his hips again, leaving a streak of lubricant on Ratchet’s thighs. “Let’s go, Ratch. I’m about ta burst.”

Ratchet grinned and bopped Jazz’s nasal ridge. “Ah, ah,” he chastised, letting a low growl infect his vocal tones, one that tended to make all naughty subs weak in the knees.

“Tonight, you’ll call me ‘sir.’”

[IDW] Kings of Wishful Thinking

The hardest part of being in love with Rodimus… was being in love with Rodimus.

Admitting the truth was something Drift didn’t dare do. He treasured their relationship as it currently stood, and he didn’t want to compromise that with awkwardness or that painful uneasy hurt that came along with a gentle rejection. It was easier, in many ways, to keep burying the emotions down deep.

Though Rodimus certainly didn’t make it easy.

He flirted. It was in his nature, he flirted with everyone. Rodimus was a mech filled with jokes and smiles and casual touches and flirtatious touches, and every time his fingers came anywhere in contact with Drift’s armor, Drift’s internals blazed with heat. Only practice, years spent concealing everything he didn’t want others to see, kept the longing from being written in his field and on his face.

But he longed. Primus, did he long.

What made it worse was that it was so hard to tell with Rodimus. Sometimes, Drift was absolutely certain there could never be anything between them.

And other times, Rodimus’ behavior seemed to indicate that maybe he felt the same way, too. Sometimes, he’d look at Drift, and Drift swore there were echoes of the same longing in his optics that Drift carried in his spark.

There were hints, too, in the way Rodimus acted around him. In the jokes, the nonchalant touches, the soft flick of his hand down Drift’s arm, across his back, over his shoulders. He’d rest his hand, sometimes, at the base of Drift’s backstrut. Just accidental, but oh so warm and present. And it felt intimate, as much as an embrace or a nuzzle.

Drift tensed, expecting the hand to slide further down, brush his aft, something. He begged for some kind of sign that Rodimus felt the same way, that he would be interested in pursuing something more between them. But then the hand would slide away, vanish, the moment would pass, and Drift’s armor was left feeling cold.

Rodimus flirted. He flirted with everybody. He had a reputation before the Lost Light even. Everyone knew he was easy, that he hopped in and out of berths as quickly as Jackpot made and lost bets. Drift didn’t want to give in, become another designation for Rodimus to add to some internal list of boasting. He didn’t want to be another story for Rodimus to brag about.

And yet, he was so tempted. Oh, so tempted. Especially when Rodimus was being particularly flirtatious, or he was close enough to touch.

Training him how to use a sword for example. Those were moments always fraught with tension.

The press of their frames together. The heat of Rodimus, always several degrees hotter than other mechs. The way he smelled, like cleanser and spicy wax and stardust. The way he fumbled, and the way Drift had to touch him, to direct his fingers, his pose, the way he held himself.

He would guide Rodimus from behind, his panel inches from Rodimus’ aft, and his fingers itched to touch. To stroke the bright red curves and taste the happily twitching spoiler inches from him.

Or when they would work together on something, clustered around a tiny table, their heads so close, and their shoulders bumping. Rodimus’ soft laughs echoed in his audials, and his field hummed with happiness. His spoiler twitched so cutely, and Drift wanted to kiss him so badly that his mouth watered and his lips tingled.

It was all enough to drive even the sanest of mechs mad. It certainly was enough to send Drift repeatedly retreating back to his habsuite, where he would bury his moans in a pillow and furiously stroke himself to completion, shamefully spilling transfluid into his cupped hand. He ruined many a pillow this way, stuffing it between his thighs and rutting upon it until his throbbing valve soaked the fabric in lubricant, and the charge of his overloads left scorchmarks in the mesh.

The sheer frustration of it all made Drift a chaotic mess, and he knew it. It was all he could do to keep his energy field reined in. Every night spent self-servicing was never enough. His overloads felt shallow. His valve pulsed emptily, no matter how many toys he stuffed into it. His spike spilled weakly, and he yearned. Primus, did he yearn.

In retrospect, the unrequited nature of his feelings might have been what was to blame for his current predicament.

He woke on his berth, and he was ablaze. His entire frame felt as though someone had set him afire. His cables and struts ached. His spark pulsed faster than usual. His array throbbed, his valve slick and leaking, his spike pressing painfully against the panel concealing it. He gasped for ventilations, condensation already starting to gather and a notification helpfully streamed across his HUD.

Heat protocols activated.

Great, just fragging great.

Drift groaned, rolled over on his berth, shoved a pillow under his hips, and treated himself to a dull overload that barely took the edge off. Need still roared through him. His frame felt dipped in a slag pit. He craved the touch of another.

Of course he would go into heat right now. Of course he would.

It was going to be a long, long week.

Heats were no big deal. Usually. But without a partner to help mitigate the unrelenting onslaught of charge, and unwilling to take someone on even casually, Drift was going to be miserable.

Something to look forward to, he supposed.

He hauled his aft out of the berth and wiped himself down quickly, shuddering as the cloth passed over his now sensitive panel. He stripped the cover of the berth, making a mental note to replace it once the heat had run its course. No point in doing so now. Undoubtedly he’d be making quite the mess every day.

Drift shuddered.

He forced himself to attend his duties, to push the arousal down deep and bury it. He wasn’t some interfacing crazed addict. It didn’t matter if he was in heat or not. He could ignore it. He could excuse himself to self-service in a closet if need be. He could control himself and fight it.

After all, he’d been a perfect gentlemen in Rodimus’ presence. He could do this.

Saying so, however, was much harder than doing so.

The first day was easiest. Drift avoided Rodimus at all costs, ridiculously pleased when he could pass command off to Ultra Magnus after having taken it over from Rodimus over the comms. He kept his distance from other mechs. He avoided eye contact. He only excused himself twice to force his frame through a bland overload, and knew he came back to the bridge smelling of ozone.

Luckily, no one on shift was tactless enough to comment.

Drift went back to his habsuite and rubbed out to more overloads, Rodimus’ name on his lips, and a yearning in his spark. Each was more mechanic than the last, filling a need rather than sating one. They left him hungrier. Wetter. Struggling to tuck his pressurized spike back behind his panel when his next shift arrived.

Not even fatigue could stave off the intense need that assaulted his frame. He poured heat, his armor lifted to speed up cooling. His plating rattled. His field was a frazzling whirr around him, and he didn’t fail to notice that no few mechs kept their distance. He must have felt grating to them.

He thought, maybe he should consider asking someone else to help. The discomfort got worse, until all he could think about was interfacing. The taste and scent of another mech’s valve. The feel of a spike. The thick tang of lubricant or transfluid. The press of a warm frame against his.

Drift fidgeted all throughout his shift. He didn’t dare look too closely at any of the crew, because his gaze started to linger. To ogle. He admired Pipes’ sleek curves and Mainframe’s robust frame, and the sway of Sunstreaker’s hips. He imagined what their arrays might look like.

Perhaps Pipes was small, but thick, stroking every one of the nodes embedded in his mesh. Sunstreaker, in contrast, was long, and would pound on Drift’s ceiling node relentlessly, shooting his load up into Drift’s gestational tank.

He thought of others then. Found himself fantasizing about mechs he’d have never considered before. Ultra Magnus was massive, perhaps his spike was as well. He’d spread Drift’s legs wide as he pounded into Drift. Surely Ratchet, alive for millennia and a medic, knew all kinds of tricks and treats. He had those clever fingers, too.

Need yawed inside of him.

When he passed command off to Hound, Drift swore it felt like the energon in his lines were boiling. His spike throbbed behind his panel, doming the metal. Lubricant gathered in his valve, and he wondered if it would soon slick his thighs, too.

“Are you all right?” Hound asked him, field gentle in its concern.

Frag me now. Please.

Drift shook his head. He didn’t let the plea escape his lips, no matter how much he wanted to. Hound smelled so good, and they were of a size. Perfect for kissing. He was bulkier, though. Probably strong enough to press Drift against that wall right there, frag him into it, leave strips of paint in his wake.

“Just tired,” Drift forced out, and offered a wan smile. “Nothing recharge won’t cure.”

Hound squinted at him. “If you say so.” He didn’t look convinced.

Drift spun on a heelstrut and strode away before the other mech could question him further. The longing pulsed in his spark like it would possess him. He pressed his thighs together, fearing that lubricant had slipped free of his panel.

He made a beeline toward his habsuite, resisting the urge to scrub the heel of his palm over his groin. He shuddered, charge crawling out from beneath his armor, and heat wafting out from him. Lubricant pooled in his groin, sloshing against his panel. He swore that his spike dented the locked shutter.

“Whoa, you okay there, Drift?”

Drift spun, narrowly avoiding a collision at the last second. His vents stuttered, his energy field latching on to one so near, within touching distance. It took him several embarrassing seconds for his processor to recognize Smokescreen, the Praxian’s easygoing smile making Drift’s tanks flipflop.

Smokescreen’s panels were pretty. Drift was willing to bet they fluttered in overload. He’d heard Praxian’s had stamina for cycles. He could use a little stamina right now. A lot of it in fact.

“Fine,” he said, and if it came out curt, and a touch raspy, well, he’d apologize later.

Smokescreen arched one orbital ridge. “You sure about that?”

Primus, he smelled good. Drift moved closer, their armor millimeters apart, and heard a thunk as Smokescreen’s backplate hit the corridor wall behind him.

“You on shift?” Drift asked, tilting his head. His valve pulsed longingly, calipers squeezing down on nothing.

“No,” Smokescreen replied, drawing out the vowel. “Was on my way to the rec actually.”

“So you’re not busy,” Drift purred, and ex-vented a burst of heated air against Smokescreen’s armor as he caged the other mech against the wall. Primus, he could already imagine Smokescreen inside of him, spike stroking all of his desperate nodes so perfectly. “Frag me?”

Smokescreen’s optics rounded. “I, uh, don’t think–”

Drift’s engine rumbled. He pressed their chestplates together, shivering as the mere contact sent charge through his lines. “I’m in heat,” he growled softly. “And right now, I could really, really use your spike.”

Smokescreen audibly worked his intake. “Wow,” he said, and slid to the right, ducking up under Drift’s arm to make his escape. “Not that I’m not flattered, because I am, but uh–” His gaze darted left and right. “Gonna have to take a rain check.”

“You said you weren’t busy,” Drift said as he spun toward Smokescreen, his engine revving. He resisted the urge to bare his array here and now in a desperate attempt to convince Smokescreen to accept his offer.

Drift ached.

Smokescreen backed up so quickly, Drift was surprised he didn’t trip on his pedes. “Too busy for this,” he said, making a vague gesture flicking between himself and Drift. “And uh… yeah. Sorry, sir.”

With that, he all but fled, his door wings twitching madly behind him.

Drift tried not to feel insulted.

Luckily, the intense need boiling in his lines meant he only spared himself a few seconds of offense before he spun and returned to the hunt. He needed a spike. He needed a fragging. And he needed it now.

He needed someone. Anyone. He needed a spike or a valve. He needed a mouth, or a hand. Or several spikes. Or several hands. He needed something inside of him, someone over him, someone beneath him.

He needed.

There were always mechs in the training room this time of the cycle, weren’t there? Surely someone in there wanted to work off some steam in the berth rather than on the mat?

Drift’s spark surged and flipped. Yes, that sounded like a mighty fine idea indeed.

He hurried a deck down and three halls over to the massive training room. Honestly, it was a series of training rooms, but everyone tended to gravitate toward the larger space best suited for sparring and hand-to-hand combat.

Perfect.

Drift strolled inside, plating ruffled, heat pouring from his substructure, and his field surging ahead of him with eager invitation. He scanned the interior with hope in his optics, need dripping out from his panels. He hoped he hadn’t left lubricant spots in his wake, and then it occurred to him that he didn’t care. Maybe someone would follow the drops and track him down. Someone willing to frag him into oblivion.

No one was here.

What the frag.

Drift’s mouth nearly dropped. Of all the times for there to be no one training, now was it. There wasn’t even a lone mini-bot in the corner. Frag, at this point, he really would settle for Ultra Magnus if it meant a spike in him.

Ugh.

Drift cycled a ventilation and scraped a hand down his face. The prospect of going back to wandering the hall was unappealing. He couldn’t return to his hab feeling like this. There was always Swerve’s, but wasn’t far gone enough to rely on pouncing on someone inebriated. He still had some self-control.

He had the training room to himself. Might as well make the most of it. Maybe he could practice the arousal away. Maybe he could ignore it if he focused on everything the Circle of Light had attempted to teach him. He drew his swords and slipped into his favorite and most familiar meditation form.

Maybe he could will the need away. It was worth a shot.

~

The second call, this time a touch panicked, came from Smokescreen, a mech not known to panic. Exaggeration, yes. But not the note of hysteria Rodimus could hear in his comm.

Apparently, something was Up with Drift. And since Rodimus had tried pinging Ratchet and received an unfriendly ‘frag off’ in return, it was up to Rodimus to find out why Drift was apparently seething with volcanic heat and making passes at mechs he’d never exchanged two words with before.

Hound, currently on duty on the command deck, said that Drift was in the training room. Which had cleared itself, apparently, prior to Drift’s arrival. He’d also expressed concern about Drift, claiming that something was off.

Rodimus found that a little amusing. And worrisome. Because on top of Drift’s odd behavior toward other mechs on the Lost Light, he’d been avoiding Rodimus as though he had cosmic rust. Well, they did have their moments sometimes.

Drift would look at him, and his optics would be all hot and bright. Rodimus would feel shivers race down his spinal strut. He’d think that maybe there was something there, maybe Drift returned the feelings Rodimus buried in his spark. But then Drift would flee and the moment would be gone, and Rodimus was left floundering.

So.

Time to find some answers.

Rodimus strode toward the training center with purpose in his stride and determination painted onto his face. His spoiler flicked behind him, betraying his agitation. He didn’t know what he was going to find when he got there. He expected all kinds of crazy behavior.

He did not think he’d walk into the main arena and find Drift calmly and collectively going through a series of martial forms. Oh, sure his friend’s armor was a touch flared and even from the distance, Rodimus could hear his fans whirring and clunking. But it wasn’t like Drift’s optics were glowing with murderous intent or looked ready to attack someone.

Why on Cybertron was everyone freaking out?

“There you are!” Rodimus said, interjecting cheer into his vocals, and forcing a big smile on his face. “I’ve been looking everywhere. You can be a hard mech to find, you know. Sure you’ve never been a spy or something?”

Drift whirled toward him, optics a touch wide and bright. “Rodimus!” He sounded both agitated and that was pretty close to a yelp actually. “What are you doing here?”

Rodimus cycled his optics. “Looking for you,” he repeated and planted his hands on his hips. “Duh. What are you doing here?”

Drift’s engine revved. He looked at his swords. “Training.”

“Uh huh.” Rodimus hopped up onto the platform and moved closer to Drift, though he didn’t fail to notice that Drift was subtly backing away. And the mat was wet around Drift, too. Was he leaking? “Why are you doing that?”

“Because it never hurts to practice. Something I wish you would learn,” Drift said with a little laugh, a careful one, Rodimus noticed. He always tried to keep his smiles shallow, so as to hide his denta.

Rodimus narrowed his optics. “No, I mean, why do you keep trying to avoid me?” He gestured toward Drift, who had backed himself against the wall and was now sliding along the length of it, all to keep distance between himself and Rodimus.

“What are you talking about? I just gave you lessons last week,” Drift said as his swords returned to their sheaths. His optics darted about, as if gauging the distance between himself and the door, even though Rodimus stood between them.

Rodimus huffed. “That was last week. I’m talking about right now.” He pointed to the floor between them as he maneuvered to cut Drift off. “And everyone says you’re acting weird, too. Well, weird for you. Is there something wrong? You know you can–”

He stopped, words cutting off short. A whiff of something filtered into his vents, sweet and savory and tangy. It made his engine rev and his spark take notice. It made his interfacing array gave him a ping.

“Wait,” Rodimus said as he stopped within touching distance, though his frame longed to keep surging forward, toward the tantalizing heat and scent now emanating from Drift. “Are you in heat?”

Drift’s hands fisted at his sides, and he looked like he was shaking, his optics growing brighter. “I… I need…” He looked up at Rodimus and swept his glossa over his lips, stumbling a step closer rather than away.

The scent slammed into Rodimus then, a deluge of enticing heat and desire, where before it had only been pale whiffs. Rodimus groaned, his interface array lighting up with fireworks, the longing in his spark turning into a craving need.

Oh, Primus. Drift was in heat.

Rodimus could see it now. The lubricant glittering on his inner thighs, explaining the dampness on the map. The fully flexed plating. The tiny curls of charge dancing out from his substructure.

He could feel the heat wafting off Drift, buffeting his frame. They were so close now. When had they gotten so close?

“Oh, damn, Drift. I’m sorry,” Rodimus babbled, even as his fingers twitched, and he wanted to touch. “Why didn’t you say something? I would’ve– Oy!”

Thump!

Rodimus’ back hit the padded mat, his spoiler twinging at the rough impact. His head spun dizzily as Drift landed on top of him, his hands on Rodimus’ shoulders, his aft firmly planted on Rodimus’ hips and groin. His panel was already open, dripping hot lubricant onto Rodimus’ and he smelled so damn good.

Drift’s engine growled, his face so near to Rodimus’, his field one of desperation and yearning.

“Frag me,” he demanded, engine shifting into a hungry whine. “Please, Roddy.” He ground down, his swollen rim leaving streaks in Rodimus’ armor.

He gripped Drift’s arms, fingers tight, resisting the urge to buck up, and firmly telling his panel to remain shut. “I s-shouldn’t,” Rodimus stammered even as Drift pressed his face into Rodimus’ throat and started ex-venting moist heat over his cables. “You’re not thinking straight.”

Drift panted against his cables. “Thinking fine,” he gritted out, all static laced, his denta grazing Rodimus’ intake and his valve grinding down harder. Rodimus’ panel jittered in place. “Want you to frag me. Now. Hard.”

Rodimus swallowed thickly. His hands slid up and down Drift’s arms, arousal shooting through him like a lightning bolt. “I-is that you saying that? Or the heat?”

Drift’s knees pressed in on his hips. He made a sound, like a whimper. “Does it matter?”

“Yeah, it kinda does.” Rodimus shook, his spike pushing at his panel, making the thin metal dome. Drift was heat and moisture above him, and all he wanted to do was sink into that invitation.

Blast it. Why did he have to choose now to be responsible? He could blame it on the heat. Say that Drift’s scent made him do crazy things. No one would think twice about it.

Drift growled again. His engine revved so hard it vibrated. “Please,” he begged, lubricants soaking Rodimus’ groin. “It hurts.”

Slag.

At this point, it would just be cruel to deny him. Wouldn’t it?

“Rodimus Prime!”

The barking of his name and his almost-title made Rodimus startle and whip his head to the right. Ratchet, because of course it was Ratchet, thundered across the training room floor like a mech on a mission.

“And Drift, you too. Take your hands off each other right this instant!” Ratchet continued in a tone that even Rodimus wanted to leap to obey. “I know for a fact you don’t have a shunt installed, and I’m not having any hatchlings on this quest!”

No shunt?

Rodimus paled as Drift stiffened. He was so not ready to be a caretaker.

Drift whined, a pitiful sound. His hips rocked atop Rodimus’ again, his field thick with need and heat. And then he vanished, plucked from Rodimus’ frame as though he was a misbehaving turbohound, and slung over Ratchet’s shoulder like he weighed nothing.

Rodimus forced himself to his feet, his knees wobbling, and looked down to see Drift’s lubricants streaking his hips and groin. It smelled as delicious Drift did.

“Put me down,” Drift grumbled, ineffectually beating at Ratchet’s back.

“No.” Ratchet’s tone was clipped as he stalked off the mat and stormed toward the door. “You are going to the medbay. You are going to the isolation ward. And you are going to get a calming agent. Understand me?”

Drift went limp atop Ratchet’s shoulder. “Yes, Ratchet,” he muttered, but his limpid gaze stayed focus on Rodimus. There was yearning in it.

Rodimus’ spark clenched. His comm buzzed.

I’ll deal with you later,” Ratchet said.

Rodimus’ shoulders sank. He sighed and scraped a hand over his head. Nothing to do now but clean himself up and wait for the cycle to run its course, he guessed. Talking with Drift would have to wait.

He’d reassure Hound and Smokescreen both as well.

After he’d gone back to his quarters and dealt with some charge of his own.

~

Drift ached. He tried not to squirm on Ratchet’s shoulder, but he was leaking everywhere, he just knew it. He couldn’t get his valve panel to close, and now his spike had joined the party and it was rubbing against Ratchet’s armor, making quite the mess.

It still felt good enough to make Drift shudder. He clenched his hands into fists, pressed them against Ratchet’s back and told himself that he would not overload by humping Ratchet’s shoulder. He wouldn’t.

“Stop squirming,” Ratchet grunted.

Drift huffed. “Can’t.”

Ratchet had an arm hooked around his thighs, keeping him pinned well in place, but every step was jarring and rubbed Drift’s spike against his shoulder. It felt better than it should have, but damn it, Drift needed to overload.

“Try.”

Drift ex-vented and beat his fists upon Ratchet’s back. “I need to be fragged, not relax!” He kicked his feet for good measure, though all they did was flail in the air. His spike throbbed against Ratchet’s shoulder.

“You’ll be fine.”

He heard a ding as the medbay main doors opened, and Ratchet strode inside without hesitation. He did, at least, head straight for the isolation ward, meaning only a few mechs saw Drift being carried about like a misbehaving sparkling.

He sagged and buried his face in Ratchet’s upper back. “I fragged up,” he moaned, the words muffled by Ratchet’s plating. “And now I’m dying.”

He could practically hear Ratchet’s optics roll. “You’re not dying, you idiot. There isn’t a single recorded case of a heat killing a mech.”

“Yeah, because I bet no one’s ever lacked for a partner,” Drift muttered bitterly. His frame began to shake, his spike spilling more pre-fluid against Ratchet’s shoulder. “Am I ugly? Am I unappealing?”

Ratchet sighed audibly. “You certainly don’t shut up, that’s for sure.”

“I’ll be quiet if you frag me,” Drift said, giving his aft a wiggle, though he instantly regretted it as his spike surged with arousal and teetered him straight into pleasure.

Ratchet’s engine growled. “No, thank you.”

Drift’s world turned upside down. He had a moment of freefall before his side impacted a berth, and then he was rolled onto his back, the Great Sword a hot weight against his spinal strut. His head spun dizzily as it took him several seconds to realize that Ratchet had dropped him onto a medberth.

Ratchet’s left shoulder was coated in a mixture of lubricant and prefluid. It was even running down his chestplate.

Drift’s faceplate, audials, and finials all heated. He’d left that mess. How embarrassing.

“You have two hands, take care of your own charge,” Ratchet said, all business, none of it funny. “Get one overload out of the way, and I’ll bring in something to taper off the rest. Got me?”

Drift seeped into the berth. “Here?”

“Not taking your aft anywhere else.”

Drift nibbled on his bottom lip. He looked up at Ratchet, giving him his most pleading stare. “Sure you don’t want to help?”

Ratchet sighed and pinched his nasal ridge. “Kid, you and I both know I’m not the one you want.”

“So? It’s just interfacing.”

“That’s the heat talking, not you.” Ratchet waved dismissively at him and backed toward the door. “Handle that. I’ll be back. And when this is all over, you and our illustrious captain need to sit down and have a little chat. Get me?”

Drift tried and failed not to pout. “Yes, Ratchet.” Arguing with the medic had never done him any good before.

The rest was a foggy haze. Drift dimly remembered Ratchet returning to give him what he claimed was an accelerant, as Drift was in too deep for a retardant or even a reversal. And accelerate it did.

Drift was glad he couldn’t really remember how wanton he’d been. How he’d gasped and pleaded and moaned and whined as he serviced himself over and over again, with his hands and with the toys that mysteriously appeared at his berthside. He was sure he must have gotten up from the berth a couple times to writhe in the washracks, and every time he returned, the berth had been cleaned and the cover changed.

Ratchet was a good mech. Bit of an aft, but a good mech.

It took several days, but the heat abated enough that Drift was finally released of the medbay’s custody. He could still use a ‘face or two and his frame was primed to overload, but he no longer felt like jumping the struts of anyone who crossed his path. He managed to keep his panels closed for several hours in a row. His field reined itself in, and he had all of his mental faculties.

He was still off-duty, however. For the next several days.

Remembering his behavior made Drift’s finials heat. He thought, for the next several days (or maybe centuries, he’d see how long the humiliation lasted), he’d just hide in his habsuite. Not like anyone visited. Surely Rodimus intended to stay well away from him now.

Drift had been, well, he’d been aggressive. Pushy. Demanding. And so wanton. He’d acted like some kind of desperate buymech, begging Rodimus for something Rodimus had never wanted to give.

Ugh.

Yes, better to hide until he could look himself in the mirror again. It should only take another few millennia more this time.

So he did.

He went back to his habsuite. He locked the door. He huddled on the berth and resisted the urge to pull his plush, totally self-indulgent blanket over his helm. He would have poked it with his finials anyway.

Ruined. He’d ruined everything.

And frag it. His frame was heating up again. Ebbing, but not gone, as Ratchet had told him. The heat lingered like a seasonal vent infection, cropping up at the worst times. Like now, when his memory core reminded him of how badly he’d fragged up.

Of how it felt to have Rodimus beneath him. How it felt to grind against Rodimus’ frame, to feel Rodimu’s field so startled and then flattered and then intrigued. How Rodimus’ face had flushed so prettily, and his vents had whooshed, and he’d made that startled noise.

Primus, he was gorgeous. And sexy. Beautiful. Intoxicating. Drift wanted to touch him, kiss him, taste him. He wanted to bury his face between those beautiful thighs and lick Rodimus out. Wanted to hear Rodimus moan and beg him for more. Wanted to feel Rodimus grip his finials, his back, his hips, anything.

Drift groaned and flopped onto his back. His panels snapped open, lubricant spilling out of his valve, soaking his aft and the berth covers. He’d have to change them again, but frag it, he didn’t care right now.

He licked his lips and shoved his hands at his array. He had toys in a chest nearby, but didn’t want to spare the time to grab them. He had fingers. They would do.

Drift scrubbed the heel of his palm over his spikehead, and pinched his anterior node cluster with his other hand. His optical shutters squeezed shut as he groaned, hips bucking into his own hands. Pleasure spooled brightly through him, his array throbbing, the heat returning with a vengeance.

Primus, it felt good. Not perfect. Not mind-blowing. But good enough.

He imagined it was Rodimus’ hands on him instead. Clever gold fingers wrapped around his spike, plunging into his valve, curving just right to stroke that ring of nodes inside his rim. Rodimus’ lips curved into that sexy little smirk of his, one that screamed confidence on the outside, but wavered a little when no one was looking. His optics bright and hungry, appreciative even.

Drift moaned aloud, pleasure skipping through his lines in little bursts. His valve clenched, squeezing out more lubricant.

He imagined Rodimus’ spike plunging into Drift’s valve, igniting his nodes, bringing him to overload after overload. He pretended it was the heat of Rodimus over him, bearing him down, that Rodimus was kissing him, so long and deep.

Drift shuddered. He scrubbed his hands over his array, grinding his palm against his anterior node, desperately chasing overload, his vents roaring.

It was so pathetic. These fantasies were all he had.

Drift whimpered and gnawed on his bottom lip.

But for now, they were good enough.

~

“What? You released him!?”

Ratchet stared at him with narrowed optics. “He’s in heat, Rodimus. Not dying. He’s perfectly fine to sort the rest of it out in the privacy of his habsuite.”

“B-but is that even healthy?” Rodimus demanded, leaning even closer to Ratchet, well aware that he was getting in Ratchet’s personal space.

Something the medic reminded him of with a firm glare and a rev of his engine. Wisely, Rodimus backed down.

Ratchet pinched his nasal ridge. “Rodimus, mechs have been handling their own heat for millennia. It may not be as fun, but I assure you, it’s not dangerous.”

Rodimus gnawed on the inside of his cheek. “You’re sure?”

“Positive.”

Ratchet spun on a heelstrut and strode away from him, exasperation hissing out of his vents. “I released him hours ago. If you’re that concerned, you should check on him.”

What a brilliant idea. Rodimus was ashamed he hadn’t thought of it first. He shouted a ‘thanks’ at Ratchet’s retreating back – receiving a flippant wave in return – and jetted out of the medbay.

He had right to be concerned, didn’t he? Not only was Drift his friend, but also third-in-command. A captain had to know if his crew was healthy, right?

It had nothing to do with the teensy-tiny-raging attraction he had for Drift. Not at all.

Rodimus hurried through the corridors, a pace that was at once familiar. Less than a week ago, he’d tracked down Drift to the training room, where Drift had nearly humped him to overload, his optics glazed with arousal, his frame overcome with heat. Rodimus had never wanted him more.

He wanted him now. Heat or not.

Rodimus shook his head, clearing away the lustful thoughts and replacing them with worry. He was concerned about Drift. That was all it was.

When he arrived, Drift’s door was locked. He didn’t respond to Rodimus’ pings either, and that was worrisome. What if he was unconscious? Who cared what Ratchet said! Maybe Drift was really sick!

Rodimus poked his override into the panel without hesitation. Frag protocol.

The door slid open and Rodimus slid aside, nearly clipping his spoiler on the frame in his haste. “Drift?” There was no answer.

The door hissed back shut, locking automatically behind him. Drift’s quarters were dim, but that wasn’t odd. He seemed to like it when everything was draped in shadows. Like he felt safer or something.

Rodimus.”

Heat crawled up Rodimus’ spike. His optics widened, and he froze as his head swiveled slowly toward the berth, tucked away in an alcove. His vents caught, and Rodimus’ engine revved.

No wonder Drift hadn’t responded to his ping. He was quite obviously… busy.

Rodimus’ mouth went dry.

Drift was on his berth, flat on his back, both of his hands buried between his thighs. His optics were shuttered, his mouth open as he panted orally, his lips slick with lubricant. Condensation dotted his armor, and he was making all of these panting, moaning, whimpering noises. The wet sound of his fingers over his array echoed in Rodimus’ audials.

White fingers were painted in lubricant. It soaked the berth beneath his aft. His field was flush with need, with arousal, and as he moaned again, Rodimus realized it was his name Drift was whimpering. It was his designation that Drift whined as he overloaded, thighs quivering as they clamped around his wrists, his spike so spent that it didn’t even twitch. His engine purred, his field flared, and Rodimus’ own rose up to meet it as if called.

The polite thing to do would have been to spin on a heelstrut and leave. But Rodimus’ feet felt rooted in place. His own designation echoed in his audials. Drift looked so gorgeous, so sexy, and Rodimus couldn’t tear his gaze away.

Drift’s optics slitted open. His head turned Rodimus’ direction, and his glossa swept over his lips. His gaze looked hazy, until it at once brightened, and he stiffened. He froze, fingers still buried in his valve, field turning flush with embarrassment.

“R-Rodimus?”

“I, uh, came to check on you,” Rodimus said, his vocalizer glitching before he rebooted it. He rubbed the back of his head. “Got worried when Ratchet said he released you and then you didn’t answer my comm and…” He trailed off, working his intake. He found himself moving closer, not entirely sure it was a conscious decision. “You… you said my name, Drift.”

Drift’s face turned a rosy hue. His armor clamped down, despite the roar of his cooling fans. “Sorry,” he said, and repeated himself a little quieter. “Sorry, I… I’m just sorry.” He made a frustrated noise and shifted on the berth as if he was trying to get smaller, conceal himself.

“Why are you apologizing? Do you even know how much I–” Rodimus cut himself off, embarrassment tainting his own field. “I mean, never mind. I’m the one who’s sorry. I should just go.” He flung a thumb over his shoulder, pointing to the door behind him.

He should leave. He should spin and leave and do the right thing by walking away. Primus, he didn’t want to. But he’d intruded and he was to blame and… and… and…

“You don’t have to go,” Drift said, his focusing ring spiraling outward. “You could… I mean…” His engine revved with a whine, a shudder passing over his armor. “If you wanted…”

Rodimus worked his intake. He found himself at the edge of the berth and couldn’t for the life of him figure out when he’d closed the distance. His hands were already lifted to touch, his fingers trembling.

“I’m not ready for hatchlings, Drift,” Rodimus said, but his mouth was watering and his spark was throbbing.

Drift’s field flickered with disappointment. It tried to withdraw, but Rodimus’ own clung to it stickily.

“But there are other things we can do,” Rodimus offered, and he licked his lips, his optics tracking down Drift’s frame to his groin and the fingers sticky with lubricant. “That is, I mean, if you want to. With me.”

Drift moaned, his hips rolling into his hands, his feet pushing at the berth cover. “Please,” he said.

Rodimus’ restraint shattered. If he’d even had any to begin with.

“Don’t hate me later, okay?” he said as he climbed onto the berth, crawling between Drift’s beautiful thighs.

Drift didn’t say anything. He just moaned, squirming on the berth as his field surged toward Rodimus with hungry request.

Well. Okay then.

Rodimus swallowed thickly as he was treated to the sight of Drift’s array, and the thick scent of Drift’s lubricant filled his olfactory sensors. Drift was still fingering himself, and his valve was swollen and hot. His biolights flickered madly.

He was so gorgeous.

This might be his only chance, Rodimus thought. He might not get another opportunity to touch Drift. To kiss him. To explore. To make Drift feel good.

He’d better make the most of it.

He rested his hands on Drift’s hips, and Drift shuddered. He moaned, thighs parting further, hips rolling toward Rodimus. More lubricant seeped free. Rodimus swallowed and focused.

He swept his palms inward, skirting Drift’s lower abdominal armor, his fingers tracing seams and kibble, stroking over abdominal vents that had always drawn his optics before. He moved upward, stroking the bottom edge of Drift’s chestplate before his fingers splayed over Drift’s hood, thumbs teasing around Drift’s headlights.

Drift shivered. “What…?”

“It’s all right if I touch, isn’t it?” Rodimus asked, his voice barely above a whisper, his attention stolen by the sight of his hands moving over Drift’s frame.

He dragged his hands down Drift’s arm, plucking at the rubber of Drift’s tires. They were just like his own, but somehow a novelty now that they were on Drift’s frame. Rodimus’ fingers teased into the wheelwells, drawing another moan from Drift.

“Yeah, but… hurry,” Drift said, his thighs trembling, his armor clattering. Charge spilled from his substructure, his optics bright and heated. “I need… I need…” He trailed off.

Rodimus’ spark clenched. “Sorry,” he murmured, his audials burning. Here he was taking his time, and Drift was aching with arousal. Heat was no easy thing to ignore. How dare he make Drift wait any longer?

Rodimus sat back on his heels, dragging his attention back to the main event. He admired what he could see of Drift’s array. Lubricant squelched around Drift’s fingers, and the scent of it was maddening. Rodimus’ mouth watered.

There was nothing wrong with a little taste though. Right? So long as he gave Drift what he needed?

Rodimus’ hands smoothed down Drift’s thighs. “Drift, can I lick you?” he asked as Drift’s thighs fell open to him, nearly baring his array further if not for Drift’s fingers still buried within himself.

Drift’s head fell back against the berth, vents blasting open. “Why?” he asked, but his fingers withdrew, dewy with lubricant.

Rodimus wanted to lick Drift’s fingers clean, and restrained himself, but only just. Maybe Drift wouldn’t like that kind of thing.

“Because I want to,” Rodimus breathed, and he looked up Drift’s frame, catching Drift’s gaze. His optics were still bright, but arousal fizzled around the edges. “I want to make you overload with my mouth. I want to taste you. Can I do it?”

Drift’s hands fell away, fisting in the berth cover, giving Rodimus a full view of the pleats of his swollen valve, and the puffiness of his anterior node cluster. He gnawed on his bottom lip, his engine growling.

“Yes,” Drift groaned, and his hips rolled up and toward Rodimus as if begging him. “I mean, if you really want to, you can.”

Rodimus surged forward, cupping Drift’s hips in his hands, and rubbed his cheek along Drift’s valve rim. Lubricant clung stickily to his face, and Rodimus moaned.

“I do,” he purred before he turned his head, pressing a kiss in greeting to Drift’s pulsing anterior node. He smelled of heat and arousal and delicious things.

Rodimus moaned as he lapped a long, wet stripe up Drift’s valve, tasting Drift’s lubricant for the first time. Tangy and sweet, just like he thought.

He heard Drift’s vents catch. Drift’s anterior node pulsed brighter and faster. More lubricant trickled out of his valve, and Rodimus licked him, from caudal lip to main node, lapping it up. He buried his face in Drift’s valve, sucking on the pleats of his rim, and playing with his node, and tasting every inch of the pretty array on display for him.

Primus, but he loved eating valve. He loved it when his partners moaned and squirmed beneath him. He loved the way their thighs pressed in on his head, and the way their engines revved. He loved barely hearing calipers click internally, and watching the biolights flicker and pulse. He loved the taste of lubricant, the feel of swollen dermal mesh against his lips.

Rodimus moaned as he latched onto Drift’s anterior node and sucked on it, his glossa lashing over the throbbing nub. Drift garbled out something unintelligible, his hips bucking, his hands clamping onto Rodimus’ head. His grip wasn’t hard, it didn’t hurt, but it revved Rodimus’ engine like nothing else.

Rodimus sucked and sucked, his hands sliding down to frame Drift’s valve, thumbs pressing on in the plating surrounding the plump metalmesh. A little pressure and he knew it would press in on the lines in his groin, amping the pleasure.

Drift bucked, his field flaring hotly, lubricant gushing out of his valve. He made a little whining noise, his engine stuttering. He was close to overload. Rodimus could taste the charge in his lubricant, in the air.

He wanted it, wanted Drift’s overload. He buried his face between Drift’s thighs, licking and sucking at the delicate dermal mesh, the glittering exterior nodes, shoving his glossa deep into Drift’s valve and feeling the first arrhythmic flutter of calipers around the tip of his glossa. Rodimus moaned, his engine revving, panels popping open as he ground his spike against the berth.

He went back to Drift’s swollen nub and mouthed it, humming vocally as he did so, letting the vibrations pass over Drift’s node.

Drift’s backstrut arched; his engine roared. His hands tightened in their grip on Rodimus’ head before he finally overloaded, his hips rutting up against Rodimus’ mouth in a desperate bid for more pleasure. Rodimus was more than happy to oblige, soothing Drift through his overload with tiny licks and nuzzles until Drift dropped back to the berth. His fans spun, and his vents roared, and he was audibly panting, his face flush.

Primus, he was gorgeous.

Rodimus told him so. He pressed a kiss to Drift’s valve, licking lubricant from his lips, and forced himself up. He climbed up Drift’s frame, leaving kisses in his wake. On Drift’s belly, his chest, over his Autobot symbol, all while Drift squirmed beneath him.

“You’re beautiful. You’re sexy. I’ve wanted you for so long, and I didn’t even know if I could say it,” Rodimus babbled as he finally found himself face to face with Drift, whose lips were swollen as though he’d been gnawing on them.

The perfect solution, then, was to kiss him. So Rodimus did, pressing his lips to Drift’s, and moaning as Drift kissed him back. Rodimus braced his weight on his hands, but arms wrapped around his chassis, tugging him down, until he blanketed Drift with his frame, his spike nestled against Drift’s puffy, soaked array.

Rodimus rolled his hips, his spike grinding against Drift’s valve lips. The tip of it kept nudging Drift’s anterior node and slipping through his lubricant and poking at the swollen metalmesh, and Primus, did it feel good.

Rodimus’ engine rumbled. He nuzzled Drift’s face. “You want another?” he asked as he rocked his spike against Drift’s valve and shivers drizzled down his backstrut. He was aroused, that was a given, and overload tingled in his circuits.

Drift groaned and clutched at his sides, rolling up to meet Rodimus’ tiny thrusts. “You…”

“I’m not talking about me. I’m talking about giving you another one,” Rodimus said as he nibbled on Drift’s audial. He rocked against Drift’s array again, his spike poking and prodding at Drift’s rim and exterior nodes. “Know what? I think you need another one.”

He shifted his weight to one arm and slid a hand between their frames, his fingers finding Drift’s valve. He pushed two past the rim and rubbed the pad of his thumb over Drift’s anterior node, Drift so slick and open that he slid in effortlessly.

Drift shuddered and clutched at his shoulders. His thighs clamped around Rodimus, hips rolling up toward his hand.

“More,” he growled, fingers digging into Rodimus’ seams. His optics slitted open, bright and sparking with desire. “Again.”

Rodimus nuzzled him before nosing into Drift’s intake, his lips exploring the delicate cables there. “Oh, baby, you don’t even have to ask,” he breathed as he curled his fingers and rubbed hard over internal sensor clusters.

Drift moaned and bucked his hips again. “Spike?”

Rodimus nibbled at his intake, feeling Drift’s energon pulse on his lips. “Maybe just a little.” As long as he didn’t overload while spark-sharing, that was fine, right?

Besides, Drift was whimpering and clutching at him, and shoving his valve against Rodimus’ spike. How could he deny Drift? How could he do anything but take himself in hand and guide his spike to Drift’s valve. He allowed a moment to tease, rubbing the head over and over Drift’s throbbing anterior node.

Drift growled, fingers digging into Rodimus’ seams, enough to pinch. “Stop teasing!”

Rodimus shivered. Drift sounded so sexy like that. All demanding and needy and unf! He sealed his mouth over Drift’s, swallowing a moan, before he angled his hips and thrust into Drift in one long, slow push.

Drift’s muffled moan vibrated against his glossa, even as his backstrut arched and he shuddered, over and over, his valve spasming around Rodimus’ spike. His engine whined, thighs trembling where they clamped against Rodimus’ hips, his calipers trying to tug Rodimus deeper.

Oh, Primus. That was so good.

Rodimus tore his mouth away, burying his face in Drift’s throat, trying not to whine himself as he finally bottomed out. He forced himself to still, his spike throbbing as the head of it notched against the currently closed port to Drift’s gestational tank. Rodimus panted, his spike pulsing with need, as he circled his hips in little motions, grinding the base of his array against Drift’s valve.

Drift moaned and arched up against him, clutching Rodimus close, rolling his hips up so that they rocked together. Little arcs of charge spilled out from his armor, even as it leapt between their arrays, exchanging fast between nodes and receptors.

Rodimus panted, his engine revving louder, hard enough to vibrate their frames. His knees dug into the berth, and it felt good just like this, grinding deep into Drift, applying a steady pressure to his anterior node. He didn’t even want to thrust, just wanted to overload like this, pushing and pushing, his lips on Drift’s throat and Drift’s arms squeezing his chassis.

Drift whimpered, his thighs pressing in, his valve spiraling so tightly that Rodimus could barely move. And then Drift overloaded, trembling so hard beneath Rodimus that his armor clattered and his valve ripple-squeezed around Rodimus’ spike.

He moaned, unable to resist the pull of it, the nipping, hungry charge lapping at his spike nodes. Rodimus’ denta grazed Drift’s intake cables as he overloaded, too. Spurts of his transfluid jetted against Drift’s gestational port and ceiling node, and Drift trembled, shaking through another minor overload.

“Oh, Primus,” Drift breathed, his vocals stripped with static. He was still shaking, his frame clamped around Rodimus’. “Nnnn.”

Rodimus nuzzled Drift’s head with his, his ex-vents coming in sharp, humid bursts. “Was a good one,” he slurred, his spike still clasped in the welcome grip of Drift’s valve, calipers twitching around him. “Wasn’t it?”

Drift squeezed him to the point of armor creaking before he loosened his hold. “Yes,” he said and stole Rodimus’ lips, the kiss hungry and demanding. “More,” he growled against Rodimus’ mouth. “More.”

Rodimus moaned, clutching hard to Drift’s hips. He bit into the kiss, nipping at Drift’s lips, before he pulled back and pressed their foreheads together. Drift’s field was open and needy, a tangle of emotions that surely echoed Rodimus’ own, but easy to pick out was the lust and the desire. Those Rodimus shared.

“I’ll show you more,” he said fiercely. He leaned back, sliding his spike free of Drift’s valve as he did so.

Drift whined and made a grab at him, but Rodimus avoided it. He looked down with frank adoration, Drift’s valve twitching and biolights pulsing and fluids dripping free. Rodimus’ mouth watered.

Another taste before the show began perhaps? He tilted his helm and slid a thumb over Drift’s valve rim, stroking the swollen, plump fold.

Oh, yes. Another taste.

Rodimus dropped down, curved his hands around Drift’s hips, and hiked him up so he could bury his face between Drift’s thighs. He hummed with pleasure as he licked a long, wet path up the middle of Drift’s valve, lapping up lubricant and transfluid alike.

Drift quivered against his glossa. His valve was so warm and wet and pliant. His nodes called for attention, and Rodimus kissed and sucked on each one in turn. He played special attention to Drift’s main anterior cluster, giving it a gentle scrape with his denta, before he moved on to the smaller caudal cluster. This one he suckled on, giving it the attention it rarely received.

Drift moaned, squirming in Rodimus’ grip. His hands pet the top of Rodimus’ head, fingering the decorative finials. He made inarticulate noises, which sounded to Rodimus like pleas for more.

He was more than happy to oblige. He moaned as he shoved his glossa into Drift’s valve, his nasal ridge bumping against Drift’s anterior node as he fragged Drift with his glossa alone. He felt Drift’s calipers quiver.

“Roddy.” Drift whimpering his designation was the sexiest sound in the world. “Need… more.”

Rodimus moaned against Drift’s valve. He gave it several more long licks, savoring the taste, before he forced himself away. He dragged himself to his knees, Drift’s thighs splayed in front of him, hips squirming, his biolights blinking fitfully and his valve so puffy and wet.

It gave Rodimus an idea. He didn’t know if he could hold back if he spiked Drift again, but this… oh, Primus. This was even better.

He stroked his fingers around Drift’s array, thumbs teasing the swollen mesh. “Can I try something?” he asked, his spark throbbing in his chassis. His valve clenched, squeezing out lubricant.

Drift clutched at him, fingers curling around Rodimus’ wrists as though he were going to haul himself at Rodimus. “Anything,” he said, and lust-dimmed optics searched out Rodimus, finally finding him. “Just don’t stop.”

“I’m not going to, I promise.” Rodimus rubbed over Drift’s anterior node cluster again, loving the sweet sound of Drift whimpering for him. “And you’re gonna love this.”

Rodimus licked his lips and forced himself to focus. He kept one hand on Drift’s array, gently petting and stroking the swollen valve. He shifted his weight and moved to straddle Drift’s right thigh, hiking Drift’s left leg around his waist until their valves hovered close together.

Drift pawed at him, until he finally hooked his hands on Rodimus’ hands and grasped tightly. His backstrut arched, engine revving, his face flushing with visible heat. His optics flared.

“Primus, you’re gorgeous,” Rodimus said as he rolled his hips, teasing Drift’s valve with his own, letting the plump metalmesh of their arrays glide together in a gentle lower kiss.

Drift groaned. His grip tightened, enough that Rodimus heard his armor creak. Charge crackled out from beneath white armor in a pretty display of blue fire.

“Am not,” Drift said, vocalizer stuttering. His lips parted, drawing in several gasping vents. He arched his back again, rolling his hips up toward Rodimus. “You–”

“Shh. ‘M not talking about me right now.” Rodimus shook his head. He worked his intake and rocked forward again, until their valves were in firm contact, and he could feel the throb of Drift’s anterior node cluster against his own.

The heat of Drift’s array roared against his. Drift was so wet, so soft. The meeting of their valves was a hot, fiery kiss.

Rodimus shuddered. He curled forward, backstrut tingling, pleasure lighting up his sensornet like a lightning bolt. He held Drift’s thigh against his hips, and had one free hand left to stroke over Drift’s chestplate, tracing the seams of it, especially where it juttered in his desperation.

How much self-control he must have right now to not give in to the desires of his heat. His frame craved a sparking. Rodimus regretted he couldn’t give Drift one.

But there were other ways to play.

“Open up,” Rodimus murmured, barely above a whisper as he kept rolling his hips, kept slipping and sliding his valve against Drift’s, the rasp of soaked protomesh sending wave after wave of pleasure through his frame.

Drift’s optics flickered. “What?”

Rodimus tapped his chestplate. “Open up. I mean, if you want to.” He briefly gnawed on his bottom lip. “You don’t have to but…”

The soft click of a lock disengaging overrode Rodimus’ words. Armor shifted under Rodimus’ hand, sliding aside and tucking away, until the pale light of Drift’s spark peeked through a small gap in his plating. Not enough to allow for a full merge, but enough for Rodimus to appreciate it.

Drift’s field pushed against his, hot and open, desperate and craving. There was tentative apprehension there, too, as if he was asking for Rodimus not to hurt him.

He wouldn’t dare.

“Beautiful,” Rodimus said before he let his free hand dip into the seam, fingers carefully caressing delicate components usually protected by Drift’s armor.

The response was electric.

Drift’s back arched, his ventilations emerging in a sharp burst. He visibly shuddered, a whimper eking out of his vocalizer. His hands gripped Rodimus’ thighs, tugging him as close as possible, their valves fully notched together. Rodimus swore he felt Drift’s sparkbeat through the throbbing of his anterior node cluster.

Rodimus’ own chestplates jittered. He ground his denta and forced them to remain closed, no matter how pretty and inviting Drift’s spark was. No matter how much Drift’s field spoke of yearning, and how wet and yummy his valve felt.

No hatchlings on this quest.

Rodimus ex-vented orally and rolled his hips harder. Every time their anterior nodes touched, static leapt between them, sending wave after wave of heat through his array. Drift’s hands on his thighs were like iron bars, squeezing in arrhythmic bursts, his engine making little whining noises.

Rodimus’ spark throbbed. Drift was so beautiful. He could do this forever, could spend days in this berth, wrapped around Drift.

He wished this would last for more than a night.

Beneath him, Drift shivered. His spark flared, the flickers of light visible in the gap of his chestplate. The armor rattled, opening a touch further, and charge crawled out, nipping at Rodimus’ fingertips. His field flared, wrapping around Rodimus’, pulsing with desire and pleasure both.

Rodimus stroked his fingers down the inner seam of Drift’s chestplate. “Are you close?” he asked.

Drift’s helm jerked in a nod. His engine roared. He licked his lips. “You?”

Rodimus worked his intake again, ventilations coming in sharp, shuddering bursts. His valve contracted rapidly, squeezing down on nothing, the pleats of his rim trembling where they pressed against Drift’s.

“Yeah,” Rodimus murmured. He rolled his hips harder, grinding his valve against Drift’s, feeling their nodes kiss. “Want you to overload first though. Wanna watch you again.”

Drift gnawed on his bottom lip. Rodimus felt his thighs tremble, more charge crawling out from under his armor. “You’re… weird,” he gasped out, and his head pushed back into the berth, baring his intake.

Rodimus’ mouth watered. He wanted to kiss Drift so badly. But he wanted to see Drift overload first.

“Yeah, probably,” he agreed and slid his hand down Drift’s chestplate, over and over, his fingers dipping into the seam to tease at the outer corona of Drift’s spark. Heat throbbed through Rodimus’ lines, his array an inferno of need.

He held back. He meant it. He wanted Drift to come undone first. He wanted to savor this for as long as he could.

He rolled his hips harder, faster, thrusting his valve against Drift’s as though it were his spike, his fingers daring to dip deeper, to play with the secondary corona of Drift’s spark. The response was electric, Drift moaning and arching beneath him, hands scrabbling at Rodimus’ thighs, yanking on him.

His optics squeezed shut, his engine roared. He bucked up hard against Rodimus and then he shattered, whimpering as he overloaded, valve pulsing against Rodimus’ and his spark lighting up like fireworks, visible through the bare crack in his seams.

Primus.

Rodimus dropped Drift’s leg from around his waist and lurched forward, all but tossing himself over Drift’s chassis, his hands pressing into the berth to either side of Drift. His mouth fell over Drift’s sloppily, their lips colliding as did their chestplates. He groaned as he felt the heat of Drift’s spark wash against his chest, and his armor locks juttered again.

It took all Rodimus had not to let them open, even as he kissed Drift, sloppily tangling their glossas together. Drift’s arms wrapped around him, squeezing tight, Drift squirming beneath him, panting into the kiss.

Rodimus rocked against him, his valve scraping along the upper edge of Drift’s pelvic armor, his node rasping against a plating ridge. He felt the heat of Drift’s soaked valve against his upper thigh, and the heavy weight of Drift’s field fell over him.

Rodimus moaned, the pleasure starting at the base of his backstrut and radiating outward. He trembled as the overload throbbed over him, as it sent his armor plates to rattling and his spark surging in his chassis.

He panted against Drift’s lips, the awkward position making him slide off to the side, his forehead pressing to Drift’s shoulder. He trembled as the overload echoes shot through his lines. Drift embraced him still, frame shivering, heat pouring off of him.

Rodimus curled his arms against Drift’s side, hanging on as though he needed something to ground him, and perhaps he did.

The frantic beat of desire in Drift’s field calmed to a low grade simmer. It no longer felt as pressing and desperate as before.

Perhaps his heat had nearly reached its end.

Rodimus grasped for something to say. Effective words. A question. A promise. It all felt flat and pointless to him.

He settled for what he did best.

“Feel better?” Rodimus asked with a little half-grin as he lifted his head and looked into Drift’s optics.

Drift ex-vented a wavering burst. He chuckled, though it was tired. “Yeah,” he said. “Thanks for the help.”

“Anytime.” He meant it, too.

He laid his head back down. He listened to the sounds of Drift’s frame. He wondered if Drift would let him linger like this, just for a little while.

Drift’s arms wrapped around him, moving slow, tentative at first, until the weight of them seemed to hold Rodimus in place. His fingers trailed little patterns on Rodimus’ back plating. One teased at his spoiler joints.

Their frames cooled slowly. Quiet little ticks. Engines cycled down from heavy roars to soft purrs. The heat ebbed. Their lower halves became tacky. They’d need to visit the washracks.

Rodimus was reluctant to move. He feared if he broke the moment, he’d never get it back. He needed to say something. Anything.

He squirmed. “Drift, I–”

“Rodimus, um–”

They’d spoken at the same time. They shut up at the same time, too. Rodimus, despite himself, chuckled. He still couldn’t manage to lift his head.

“You should go first,” he said.

“You’re the captain,” Drift retorted.

“Not in the berth, I’m not!” Rodimus said, and he lifted his head, giving Drift a firm look. “Besides, um, you’re better with words.”

Drift’s finials twitched. “Not really.”

“Well, one of us has to be.” Rodimus rolled his optics and shifted position a little, though rubbing his valve against Drift’s pelvic array sent a low stirring of warmth through him. “I want to say something, but I don’t want to mess it up. I always talk and ruin things, and I don’t want that to happen here.”

He kept his gaze on Drift’s intake and chestplate. It was easier than looking into Drift’s optics. He knew he’d turn into even more of an idiot if he did that.

So he focused on disentangling their frames before the combined fluids got them stuck together, and shifting on the narrow berth, though he craved that close contact again. He just wanted to get wrapped up in Drift’s arms and kind of stay that way.

Drift’s hand wrapped around Rodimus’ arm, the one nearest to him, and gave it a gentle squeeze. Drift hadn’t really moved much; the heat probably took that from him. But there was something in the touch, the pleading way his field pushed at Rodimus’, that made Rodimus drag his gaze to his best friend’s.

Drift was smiling. Soft and gentle. “I like you,” he said, though his vocalizer crackled, and exhaustion ate into his field, he sounded sincere. “A lot. I never said anything because, well, you can probably guess.”

Drift winced. Rodimus did, too.

He sighed and rubbed the back of his head with his free hand. “I got a rep,” Rodimus said. “I know I do. It’s pretty well-earned, too. I just… I dunno.” He shrugged, his spoiler twitching. “Facing’s easy. It’s the rest that’s hard.”

“Different when the spark’s involved.”

“Yeah.” Rodimus nodded and gnawed on his bottom lip. “Scared me, you know? I didn’t know if I could handle that kind of rejection. Was easier not to deal with it.”

Drift nodded.

Rodimus squeezed the back of his neck and cycled a louder ventilation. “I mean, what I’m trying to say is, I like you, too. A lot. Like that.” His faceplate burned. His finials sparked with embarrassment.

It felt so stupid to say it aloud like that. Especially with transfluid and lubricant drying on his pelvic armor, like duh, he liked Drift. Wasn’t it obvious?

Drift squeezed his arm again. His smile widened, showing off those pointed denta of his. “The feeling is mutual,” he said.

Rodimus’ spark fluttered. His spoiler perked up. “So, uh, what does that mean? For us?” He licked his lips and scrubbed his free hand over his thigh. “Do you actually want to try something? You and me?”

Drift’s hand slid down his arm until he could grab Rodimus’ and tangle their fingers together. “Yeah. I mean, if you want to.”

“I do!” Rodimus all but surged forward, and then felt like an idiot for his enthusiasm. He coughed into his hand and stared at the berth above Drift’s head. “Though maybe we should talk when you’re not in heat. Your brain’s soaking in nanites right now, and for all I know, this is just the heat talking.”

“It’s not.”

Rodimus smiled softly. “I believe you. But I kinda want to be sure.” He shifted on the berth, laying down next to Drift and cuddling up to his side. “I’m pretty hot stuff, you know. I don’t want that to sway your real opinion of me.”

Drift burst into laughter as he abruptly rolled over and tucked himself against Rodimus. “You’re also ridiculous,” he said, words muffled as he’d shoved his face into Rodimus’ shoulder. “Good thing I like that about you.”

His spark thumped, warmth cascading through him. Rodimus pressed his forehead to Drift’s head and listened to him ventilate.

“I like a lot of things about you,” he murmured.

Drift tossed an arm over his chassis, resting a hand against Rodimus’ backstrut. “Tell me it the morning.” He squirmed. “In the washracks.”

Rodimus chuckled. “Deal.”

Silence fell between them, warm and comfortable. In many ways, it was probably for the best. Rodimus didn’t want to trip over his own words or say the wrong thing.

He wanted to keep this perfect moment like it was. Tomorrow, it might all be different, if the heat changed Drift’s mind.

So he’d cling onto today for as long as he could. He held it tight, nestled in his spark, even as he drifted into recharge next to his best friend.

~

The next morning dawned with a Crisis, which meant Rodimus had to rush out of Drift’s habsuite with a mumbled apology and hastily swiping at his groin with a damp washrag. He looked a mess and felt a mess, but he was Captain and that meant he couldn’t ignore a Crisis.

Even a mild one. For mild it was.

Honestly, Brainstorm setting parts of his lab on fire did not count as a crisis anymore. Still, Rodimus was obligated to show up and offer a Look of Disappoint (not nearly as effective as Optimus’). By the time they got that sorted – no, he was not building a weapon of mass destruction this time – it was time for Rodimus to start his actual shift.

Talking to Drift would have to wait.

And wait it did.

For four fragging days. Long enough that Ratchet cleared Drift for duty, claiming he was officially out of heat and now fitted with a shunt for future heats. Long enough that Drift had shifts of his own, and trying to get two members of command staff off shift at the same time to have a private moment was a damn near impossible feat.

Four days later found Rodimus dragging his tired aft to his own habsuite. He’d dimly thought about pinging Drift to have that conversation, but part of him was ready to keep putting it off. The fear had set back in, the fear that Drift wouldn’t want him now that the heat was over.

But he rounded the corner of the corridor and found Drift leaning against the wall by his door, arms folded over his chest, head down. Like he was meditating.

Rodimus blinked. “You’re waiting for me?”

Drift lifted his head and smiled. “Figured if I let you know I was here, you might run.”

Rodimus would never admit that he was tempted to do so now. “No, I wouldn’t,” he lied, feigning indignation. He keyed his code into the panel and gestured Drift to follow him. “Come on in. You feeling all right?”

“Cleared by Ratchet, so I must be good enough,” Drift said with a chuckle. “I have a shift in a few hours. Promised Hound I’d split with him.”

“Oh.” Rodimus hoped he didn’t sound too disappointed. This was it then, he supposed. He spun in a circle, trying to block Drift from seeing how messy his hab had gotten.

Or was all the time anyway.

Drift’s field reached out for his, warm and coaxing, and Rodimus was helpless to it. He reached back, indulging.

“Sorry,” Drift said. “We can do more next time.”

Rodimus cycled his optics. “Next time?”

Drift tilted his helm. He looked confused. “I meant what I said, Rodimus. It wasn’t just the heat.” He crossed his arms, shoulders hunching. “I mean, unless you changed your mind.”

“No, I didn’t. I just…” Rodimus broke off, ex-venting a frustrated noise. “Sorry. I’m not any good at this. I don’t know what I’m– never mind. I just… yeah.” He was babbling. Great.

He crossed the floor in two quick strides and reached for Drift, tentatively curling his hands around Drift’s face.

“I want to try this. With you,” Rodimus said earnestly. “And if you’d let me, I’d like to kiss you. Right now, I mean.”

Drift’s answer was to lean in and kiss him, not gently, but fiercely, as if in absolute claim. His lips fell over Rodimus’, his chest pressed to Rodimus’, and his hands grasped Rodimus’ hips. He hummed into the kiss, his field as much an embrace as his arms.

Rodimus’ spark thrummed with warmth.

All the answer he needed. This was real, as real as it got, and Primus, it was terrifying in all the best ways. Like losing the ground beneath his tires, and freefalling into a abyss, waiting for someone to swoop in and save him.

But Rodimus would do it. He would try.

Drift was worth it. And so was happiness.

Worth it all.