[TIA] Swallow My Bullet

Blurr onlined slowly, aching and overheated. It was early, judging by his chronometer. His processor was a muddled mess, his tanks pinging him for energon and coolant both. His optics unshuttered, blurry vision slowly informing him that he was in Starscream’s penthouse and berthroom.

And the weight on top of him, fully wrapped around his frame, was Starscream himself. The slight pinch of talons in his seams, brushing the cables beneath, was further proof. Starscream tended to attach himself like a burr in recharge, and this time was no exception.

Blurr couldn’t even fault him for it.

The guilt returned, seeping into his spark, as Blurr fully onlined. The throb in his hip became a dull, nauseating ache. He’d overextended last night. But he deserved that.

Blurr looked down. Starscream lay on top of him, his helm pillowed on Blurr’s shoulder, one arm extended over Blurr’s chestplate, and claws hooked in the seams of his opposite shoulder. He had a leg thrown over Blurr’s lower half as he blanketed most of Blurr’s frame with his own.

He ventilated evenly, energy field quiescent. Calm.

If someone had told Blurr, weeks ago, that he’d one day wake in Starscream’s berth and find himself looking at Starscream with something approaching affection, Blurr would have told them that they needed their processor examined.

Now… now it was true.

Blurr cycled a soft ventilation and stroked a hand down Starscream’s back, careful to avoid his wings as that was more likely to startle Starscream online. The very fact that he knew that should have been telling.

Starscream stirred, his helm nuzzling Blurr’s shoulder. He made a low humming noise in his intake before he lifted his helm, optics spiraling in and out before they focused on Blurr.

“Good morning,” Blurr said, in what he hoped was a neutral tone.

Crimson optics brightened by narrow degrees. “Is it?” Starscream asked, his vocals still heavy with the static of a frame slowly surging to coherency.

Blurr cycled a ventilation. “I deserved that,” he admitted. “We need to talk.” Because last night hadn’t been much talking after a certain point. And while their berth chemistry was obviously not an issue, they couldn’t work together on that alone.

Starscream’s claws retracted in a snap. His armor slicked down tightly to his frame. “Yes, we do,” he said, and shifted back, pulling himself from Blurr’s embrace, his field withdrawing the same.

Blurr winced as their tangled energies parted, and his own field sought to cling to Starscream’s. Apparently, his processor might not have understood it, but his spark and field, had. Because both wanted to keep Starscream near.

Blurr shifted as Starscream pulled away, and pain lanced down his leg, radiating from his injured hip. He hissed before he could stop himself.

“Dammit.”

“You overexerted yourself,” Starscream observed as he slid off the berth, wings shifting behind him, as they often did post-recharge. “You need a pain patch.”

“I don’t–”

“You need a pain patch,” Starscream said firmly. His expression was neutral, closed off, and it sent a chill through Blurr’s spark.

His apology had not been enough. Of course it wasn’t. He’d hurt Starscream. What did he expect?

Blurr sighed and dragged his aching frame upright, bracing his back against the wall. “Fine.”

“I’ll make it the lowest grade possible,” Starscream said as he moved to his desk and started rummaging in the drawers. “You’ll still hurt, but it won’t be as bad and you won’t have that processor fog you despise.”

Blurr cycled a ventilation. “Thank you.”

Starscream plucked a small box out of a drawer and returned to the berth. He sat on the edge of it and reached for Blurr’s nearest arm, prompting him to open his medical port. The very fact Blurr felt comfortable exposing it to Starscream should have been a clue for him. One he should have picked up weeks ago.

Starscream slid in the new chip, and tucked the tiny box of assorted chips under the berth.

“I mean it,” Blurr said as he took his arm back and tension eased out of his frame with the flood of receptor numbing. “Thank you.”

Starscream shrugged. “I broke it. I’m responsible for fixing it.”

Blurr shook his helm. “Obsidian did this,” he said, patting his hip. “And you’ve gone above and beyond what anyone would expect. Why didn’t you just leave me in the medcenter?”

Starscream gave him an askance look. “You know why.”

“Right.” Blurr briefly gnawed on his bottom lip. He plucked at the berth cover.

Starscream cycled a ventilation. “Whatever you might think of me, I didn’t plan this. I didn’t want it. I wanted a political partner who would offer me credibility and a means to connect with my people. I didn’t want… this.” He gestured between them.

“And what is this?” Blurr asked.

“A complication,” Starscream bit out. His armor smoothed over his protoform again, his wings pressed against his back. “A distraction. A weakness.”

“Relationships often are.”

“We don’t have a relationship,” Starscream retorted. He rolled his optics and folded his arms over his cockpit. “We have a mess, glued together with transfluid and pride.”

Well, that kind of stung. No matter how much it was true.

Blurr plucked harder at the berth covers, finding a loose string and tugging on it. “Do you want one?”

Starscream cycled his optics. “What?”

Blurr shifted his weight and lifted his gaze. “I like you, and apparently you like me, and we’re both lying if we say otherwise. So let’s stop pretending we’re only business partners, and start acting like we’re something more.”

“You do realize who I am, don’t you?” Starscream demanded, and there was a hint of something in his tone.

Blurr scraped a hand down his face. “Yes, I do.” He cycled a ventilation, and threw his pride out the window. “Look, I know I fragged up. I overreacted. I jumped to conclusions. I said things I shouldn’t have. And I’m sorry about that.”

“I know you are. You said it multiple times last night,” Starscream said, and he unfolded his arms with a sigh. “But you are also right. I was a Decepticon. I did do terrible things. I did lie to you, however much it was a lie of omission. And just because things are different now, doesn’t mean that I’m not guilty of everything else.”

“Are you lying to me now?”

Starscream cycled his optics. He shifted his weight by a fraction. “I…”

“About something that I need to know, not something that you’re allowed to keep private,” Blurr clarified, because sometimes, there were self-truths you weren’t ready to reveal to others.

Starscream slid off the berth. The agitation was back in his field, his wings twitching before he managed to still them. He turned away from Blurr, shoulders hunching, arms crossing again.

His silence spoke volumes.

“Starscream?”

“You know what, frag that,” Starscream finally said, though it was with a low hiss that was somewhat alarming. “You already know the worst of me, so what does it matter anymore.” He half-turned, so that Blurr could only see the shadows of his face. “I killed Metalhawk.”

Blurr went cold. “… What?”

“I saw an opportunity and I took it,” Starscream snapped, his wings vibrating, his energy field so gone as to be dead. “I needed the people of this city to unite. I needed them to stop fighting. I needed to give them incentive to do so. Metalhawk was the sacrifice for that cause.”

Starscream whirled, his hands dropping from his chassis to spread wide as though he were offering himself, the expression on his face one Blurr had never seen before. “Metalhawk was my friend, or so he claimed, and I killed him. There. Are you happy? Now there are no lies.”

Blurr’s mouth moved, but he couldn’t find any words. He felt… numb, for lack of a better word. Starscream stood there, halfway hysterical, claiming that he’d killed Metalhawk, and not Turmoil as he’d claimed, and Blurr didn’t know how he was supposed to react to that.

Because that was the Starscream Blurr feared. The one he remembered of the Decepticons, who had slaughtered the Senate, and led countless attacks against the Autobots.

That Starscream clashed with the one Blurr had slowly come to know. The one who startled when presented with kindness, who saved Wheeljack, and who had cared for Blurr on his own.

Blurr worked his jaw.

Last night, Starscream had given him an out. He supposed that offer still stood. Not that it hadn’t always been present. He only needed to say he was done. Blurr was sure Starscream would let him walk away. He was sure of that much. He trusted Starscream wouldn’t murder him to keep the secret hidden.

He trusted Starscream that much, and it was frightening.

“Well,” Starscream said, his engine revving into a higher pitch. “Say something.”

“Do you regret it?” Blurr asked, because the alternative wasn’t much better.

Starscream reared back. “Do I – excuse me – do I regret it?”

Blurr shifted his weight, moving to get off the berth, because like frag was he going to have this conversation on his aft. “You said you killed him to solidify your political position, or at least I’m assuming that. So do you regret it?”

Starscream stared at him, looking every bit as though he was caught in the middle of a debate between flight or fight. “No,” he said, though it wasn’t as firm as it should have been. “I don’t. I did what I had to do.”

Blurr’s legs wobbled, but he managed to stay upright, though he braced his good hip against the edge of the berth. “Are you going to kill me?”

“No!”

Now that sounded a lot more firm.

“Why not?” Blurr folded his arms over his chestplate, his spark pounding within its chamber. This was quite possibly the stupidest thing he’d ever done. “Kill me. Blame it on Obsidian. It would make for some good incentive.”

Color bleached out of Starscream’s face, his optics dulling. “If I was going to do that, I would have never dug you out of that debris.”

“But you did.”

“Because I still needed you,” Starscream spat.

Blurr shook his helm. “I thought you weren’t going to lie to me.”

Starscream’s hands closed into shaking fists. His optics widened, ex-vents coming in sharp bursts, agitation writ into his field.

Blurr knew that look. It was one of a cornered mechanimal, injured and left with nowhere to run. For a moment, Blurr felt guilty.

He’d started this. It was his fault.

But Starscream had given him plenty of outs. He’d never lied about who he was. Blurr had always known, had come into this thinking he was some kind of hero, one who could temper Starscream, or at least stop him from doing something terrible.

Right now, the monster was beneath their pedes. He lurked in the underlevels, setting bombs because he could, sowing fear and dissension into those trying to start over on Cybertron.

Starscream wasn’t a good mech.

None of them were anymore.

Blurr pushed himself forward, away from the berth, ignoring the twinge in his hip. The pain was a dull ache, tolerable, and he managed not to limp as he approached Starscream.

He expected Starscream to run away, avoid him. A part of him feared that Starscream might attack, as wounded mechanimals were wont to do. But Starscream didn’t. He watched Blurr’s approach warily, his ventilations ragged and sharp.

“You saved Wheeljack, and you saved me,” Blurr said, keeping his gaze on Starscream as he did so, forcing Starscream to look at him. “You can tell me it was for personal gain all you want, because yes that is true, but you can’t sit there and lie and tell me that’s all it was.”

They were inches apart, close enough Blurr could feel the biting snap of Starscream’s energy field, the way it thrashed like a caged thing. They were too near for Starscream to conceal it completely, and the disbelief and dread in it were hard to ignore.

“Tell me I’m the one lying,” Blurr said.

Starscream shook his helm. “You’re not,” he said, his vocals striped with static, a small shiver coursing over his armor. “But I still killed Metalhawk.”

“Yeah. I heard you the first time.”

“Then why aren’t you running?” Starscream demanded, through denta clenched and a quiver in his wings. “Why aren’t you screaming for the media, for anyone who will listen? You have the power, right now, to end me.”

Blurr tilted his helm, lips pulling into a slight smile. “I know. Terrifying, isn’t it?” One more step and they shared ventilating air. “Right now, you could kill me. I know you’re armed. You could save yourself, and all you have to do is shoot me. Right here.” He patted his chestplate, so thin, barely a protection. “But you haven’t. Why is that?”

“I don’t want to,” Starscream said, though it was barely above a whisper, so pained was it.

“And I don’t want to run,” Blurr added. He loudly cycled a ventilation. “For better or worse, you’re the leader Cybertron needs right now. And on a more personal note, you’re the mech I want in my berth, too.”

Starscream’s optics widened. His mouth opened, as though he intended to speak, but words escaped him. Instead, he reached for Blurr, and Blurr didn’t even have the instinctive need to retreat. He didn’t so much as flinch as Starscream cupped his face and drew him in for a kiss, a fierce one, all lips and denta.

Blurr moaned into the kiss as their frames collided. He gripped Starscream, hands curving around the Seeker’s frame, holding them close. Starscream’s glossa plunged into his mouth, deepening the kiss, as though laying claim. His field wrapped around them both, pulsing with need.

Primus help him, but Blurr didn’t want to walk away from Starscream. The Seeker had nestled under his plating, and close to his spark.

Starscream had just confessed to murder, and all Blurr wanted to do was pin him down to the berth and frag him into stasis. Because in the same breath, Starscream admitted that his self-proclaimed selfishness had a blind spot, and it was Blurr.

How could he walk away from something that intoxicating?

He couldn’t.

Starscream was danger and desire wrapped in a pretty package, and Blurr felt breathless as he gave in to that risk. He was overcharged on the power it offered him. He was dizzy in the wake of the pleasure, in the biting kisses Starscream bestowed on him and the heat of the Seeker’s armor.

Starscream’s engine purred, in counterpoint to the heated rumble of Blurr’s own. The kiss deepened, lust infecting their fields.

“You are going to be the end of me,” Starscream said against Blurr’s lips, his thumbs sweeping a gentle pattern over Blurr’s cheek, much as Blurr had the night before.

“I could say the same for you,” Blurr said, his hands tightening on Starscream’s waist, anything to keep them close.

Starscream chuckled, though it was a dark and dangerous sound. “You really want to do this?”

“Try a relationship with you?” Blurr asked and it was his turn to free a soft laugh. “It won’t be the worst decision I’ve ever made.”

“Pretty close though?”

Blurr pressed a kiss to the curve of Starscream’s jaw, trying to resist the urge to back the Seeker toward the berth and stay in it for the rest of the day. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Starscream’s thumbs swept over his cheek again. “I’ll take that as a challenge.” Humor thrummed through his field.

Blurr chuckled. “If you say so.” He bit at Starscream’s lower lip before forcing himself to draw back. “What now?”

Starscream’s glossa flicked over his lips. “Now we sit down, refuel, and figure out what we’re going to do about Obsidian and Strika.”

“Together?” Blurr asked, unable to hide the suspicion in his tone. He almost felt guilty for it, until he saw the smile on Starscream’s lips – warm and genuine.

“Yes,” Starscream replied. “Together.”

He kissed Blurr again, soft and sweet, their lips moving together, and fields pulsing in sync. Blurr’s optics flickered. He melted into the kiss. It was startlingly easy to do.

As it turned out, agreeing to be with Starscream wasn’t the hardest decision he’d ever had to make.

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