Blurr woke alone, which was surprising in itself. He expected Starscream to still be thoroughly entangled with him, as exhausted as the Seeker’s field had been last night. But then, they hadn’t really discussed their schedules either.
Perhaps Starscream had a lot of work to catch up on. He had been in that regen tank for three weeks after all.
Blurr heaved himself out of the berth, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck. It was early yet, earlier than he was used to, but as of late, early was the way to go. Between construction and interviews, Blurr’s days were full. Though it helped that he didn’t divide his time also watching over Starscream.
He headed out of the berthroom and straight to the storage room, his tank gurgling with hunger. That was where he found Starscream, sipping on the energon Blurr had left for him the night before, one hip cocked against the counter. He was staring out the small, narrow window, but his wings twitched and he turned as Blurr came inside.
“Morning,” he said. His lips curved in a soft smile, but there was something in his optics that did not suggest it was a good one.
“Recharge okay?” Blurr asked.
“As well as can be expected,” Starscream said with a one-shoulder lift. He half-swiveled, grabbing a cube from behind him. “This is for you.”
“Thanks.” Blurr took it with one hand and leaned in for a kiss with the other, relieved when Starscream’s lips met his in welcome. He nuzzled their nasal ridges. “Nightmares?”
Starscream made a non-committal noise. He hooked his free arm around Blurr’s waist and pulled him in closer, pressing their forehelms together. “Busy day?”
“Don’t we both?” Blurr chuckled and kissed Starscream again. Honestly, he couldn’t get enough, even if Starscream’s lips carried the faint aftertaste of medical grade.
All the sweetener in the universe couldn’t make that glop more palatable.
Blurr returned the embrace, flattening his palm against Starscream’s backstrut. It was kind of nice to start the morning like this: soft and quiet and contemplative, sharing energon as if they were just two mechs with a normal, domestic life.
“What’s on your agenda?” Blurr asked as he forced himself to put in enough distance so he could drink his energon.
Starscream sipped at his nearly-finished cube. “Meetings. Especially with my new council.” He made a displeased face, his field shivering with disapproval. “You?”
“More interviews. I’ve got enough entertainment, but I’m still struggling to find bartenders I think I can trust,” Blurr replied. He downed half his cube in one go. “Especially since Swindle keeps sending me mechs I’m pretty sure are his spies.”
Starscream’s engine growled. “Swindle,” he repeated, and his lips curved downward. “I do not like that mech.”
“Join the club.” Blurr finished off the rest of his cube and set the empty container on the counter, freeing up his other hand so that he could wrap both arms around Starscream.
He didn’t know why, but he couldn’t get enough of holding Starscream right now. Of touching him, kissing him, feeling his warmth. Like an addiction that sought to be satisfied, or an obsession, only Blurr didn’t know which was worse.
“You’re very cuddly this morning,” Starscream observed. He finished off his own cube and set it down behind him. Both arms draped over Blurr’s shoulders, his fingers toying with Blurr’s booster connectors. “That’s not a complaint by the way.”
Blurr cycled a ventilation. He nosed into Starscream’s intake. “I watched Wheeljack carry you away when I thought you were dead, and then I watched you float in that regeneration tank for two weeks. Sorry if I just want to remind myself you’re alive.”
He sounded angry. He hadn’t meant to. But he also hadn’t expected the truth to emerge so readily.
Wanting and needing someone was a weakness. And here he was laying it out for Starscream.
“Well, maybe I want that reassurance, too,” Starscream said. He tugged Blurr closer, their chestplates coming into contact before his mouth slanted over Blurr’s, warm and coaxing.
Blurr hummed into the kiss, his lips moving against Starscream’s, savoring and memorizing. His optics shuddered as he gave himself to the kiss, soaking in the feel of Starscream in his arms, mouth against his, and now glossa too, wet and warm and still tasting faintly of medical grade.
Starscream’s engine purred. His frame undulated against Blurr’s, plating heating. The kiss turned deeper, more urgent, as Starscream’s fingers pressed into Blurr’s seams and teased the cables beneath.
Blurr groaned, breaking off the kiss to nibble into Starscream’s intake. “I’m pretty sure Wheeljack said no interfacing.”
Starscream chuckled and Blurr felt the vibrations against his lips. “I’m not asking you to take me hard and fast against this countertop,” he said, only to pause as his engine growled and his field pulsed desire. “But there’s an idea…”
“No.” Blurr pressed a kiss to the hollow of Starscream’s intake and dragged his mouth back up. “Too risky.”
Starscream purred. “As much as I adore how much of a nanny-bot you’ve turned into, I think I can judge for myself what I’m capable of.” He shifted his weight and curled a leg around one of Blurr’s, his calf armor rubbing the back of Blurr’s knee. “But if it makes you more comfortable, we can always move this to a berth.” His hips rolled, rubbing against Blurr’s.
He had to fight back a groan. Starscream’s field was warm and sticky, thick with need and desire. He smelled delicious, like he’d gone through the washracks as soon as he’d onlined, and while Blurr hated missing out on the opportunity to help Star wash, he loved a freshly scrubbed Starscream. All smooth, shiny plating and irresistible to touch.
Blurr hummed and dragged his mouth back to Starscream’s. He kissed the Seeker, his glossa plunging into Starscream’s mouth as he pressed Starscream back, pinning him against the counter.
Starscream rolled up against him, slow and languid, their armor sliding together in a wonderful susurrus of sound. His field throbbed against Blurr’s, thick with affection and desire, as much an embrace as his arms. Starscream’s fingers toyed with Blurr’s booster mounts, making little bursts of charge dance up his spinal strut.
Blurr purred into the kiss, nipping at Starscream’s lips before diving in with glossa once again. His fingers tracked up toward the base of Starscream’s wings, tweaking the hinges, as arousal stirred a path within him.
Perhaps taking Starscream against this counter wasn’t the best of ideas, but Primus he wanted to do so.
The front door chimed. Blurr groaned and rested his forehelm on Starscream’s shoulder. “And that would be Jazz with my list of new interviewees.”
Starscream’s field shimmered with amusement. “Doesn’t he know it’s too early for you to be functioning?”
“I think he had the thought of waking me up,” Blurr muttered and lifted his helm. “Though it’s probably a good thing. I still don’t think taking you hard and fast against this counter is a good idea.”
Starscream shivered, his wings fluttering. “Making bad decisions is the epitome of my existence though,” he said.
Blurr chuckled and grazed his lips over Starscream’s. “Am I one of those bad decisions?”
“I ask myself that everyday,” Starscream said dryly. He licked Blurr’s lips playfully as the front door buzzed again. “If you don’t answer it, he’ll just hack it.”
Blurr hummed a laugh. “Not anymore. I may have borrowed a little something from Ravage.”
Starscream’s optics widened. “You devious Racer, you.” He brushed his nasal ridge over Blurr’s. “No more unexpected visits from Jazz?” He arched an orbital ridge.
“Or Rattrap,” Blurr said smugly. He’d paid an arm, a leg, and a booster for it, and he now owed Ravage – and Soundwave by proxy – a favor. But it was worth it.
They needed some privacy, damn it.
“Primus, I love you,” Starscream said and sealed his mouth over Blurr’s, making a little needy noise in his intake as he tightened his embrace.
Blurr moaned into the kiss, leaning hard on Starscream again. The arousal throbbing in his lines didn’t want to ease. He rolled his hips, grinding hard against Starscream, wanting so badly to be within Starscream.
The door buzzed again, and this time, didn’t let up. It was as though Jazz leaned on the call button, because of course he did. Any second now, and he’d start simultaneously pinging Blurr’s comm.
Blurr reluctantly broke off the kiss. “I’m going to kill him,” he muttered as he reluctantly peeled himself away from Starscream.
His Seeker laughed. “Didn’t we just have this discussion last night?”
“Maybe I mean it this time,” Blurr retorted.
“Mmm. Well, I’m in no condition to take another bullet, so maybe save the attempted maiming for a day when I can help.” Starscream followed him out of energon storage and into the main room. “Maybe between the two of us we can put a dent in him.”
Sad, but true.
Blurr slammed his palm on the door access just as Jazz started to ping his comm. Mercifully, both irritating noises ceased as the door slid open, and Jazz danced inside with a big grin on his face, and no clue that they’d been contemplating his demise.
“Good morning,” he said brightly. “Glad to see you’re up, boss. Ready to get back to work? I have a whole new list for you.” His gaze slid to Starscream and that grin only widened, to something sly and needling. “Starbaby, you’re looking lovely today!”
Starscream folded his arms over his cockpit. “I thought I told you to stop calling me that.”
“I didn’t think ya meant it.” Jazz winked.
Blurr ground his denta. “Don’t we have work to do?”
“That we do.” Jazz spun on a heelstrut back toward the doorway. “I’ll wait by the lift so you can say a proper goodbye.”
Blurr waited until Jazz walked out the door before he loosed the vent he’d been holding. He liked Jazz. Honestly, he did. But he couldn’t stand how close Jazz and Starscream were. He hated that there was a whole history there he didn’t know about.
And Jazz could be downright insufferable sometimes.
Starscream rolled his optics. “Maybe I’ll kill him first,” he grumbled. His wings flicked, first one and then the other, clear signs of agitation.
“We still need him,” Blurr said with a sigh. He went to Starscream, pulling him in for a kiss. “I have a full day, and I’m sure you do, too. Meet me back here later? I’ll give you a tour and then we can share evening energon.”
Starscream nodded. “If the council meeting runs late, I’ll comm you.”
“A real comm and not a message left on a datapad?” Blurr asked with a raised orbital ridge.
“Yes. A real comm.” Starscream’s lips curved, though the smile cracked around the edges. “I won’t be doing that again.”
“Good.” Blurr kissed him again, savoring it, and fighting down the arousal still simmering in his lines. Primus but he’d rather stay here in the berth with Starscream all day then be out there working.
Starscream ended the kiss by brushing his lips over Blurr’s. “Now you better leave before he starts harassing us again.”
Blurr huffed a laugh. But damn if Starscream wasn’t right. So he pulled himself away from his partner, and backed toward the door.
“See you later.”
“It’s a date.”
Warm, fuzzy feelings bubbled in Blurr’s spark as the door to their suite closed behind him, locking with a tri-tone chime. Jazz waited for him at the elevator, tapping a pede impatiently.
Blurr had kept the security to their suite alone, and allowed both Rattrap and Jazz access to the lift itself. Bar patrons, however, would be denied as to prevent any unwanted visitors. Wheeljack had access as well.
“Had to get in one last snuggle?” Jazz asked.
“You know how it is,” Blurr said as he joined Jazz in the lift and leaned against the side. “Given your past with him.”
The door slid shut. Jazz leaned against the side opposite of Blurr, his helm tilted. “Yer not gonna let that go, are ya?”
“Maybe I don’t like mysteries.”
“Or mebbe yer just jealous.” Jazz’s smile started to grate on Blurr’s patience. “Ya ain’t got nothin’ to worry about. It wasn’t like that.”
“Yeah, I keep hearing that, but the air sizzles between you two,” Blurr pointed out. His insides jittered with concern. He knew he couldn’t compete with Jazz. He didn’t even want to try.
Jazz folded his arm under his bumper. “Mm, well, like does call to like, ‘nd all. But like I said, it ain’t like that. Me and Star, we don’t get on that way. He’s fun to play with, but not the kind I keep.”
Keep. Blurr repeated the term, but only to himself. Anger crept in, on Starscream’s behalf.
“For the record, you’d have been lucky if he let you have him,” Blurr bit out, his field flashing with irritation.
Jazz’s orbital ridges crawled upward. “Is that so? Well, which one is it, boss. Are ya mad I didn’t wanna keep him? Or mad cause I’m still makin’ a play?”
The lift beeped as it stopped on the ground floor, the door sliding open to allow them to exit. Blurr chewed on Jazz’s question as he stepped off, well aware that his behavior was contradictory, but how else could he react? Both Starscream and Jazz played mysterious when it came to their past, and they had an easy camaraderie that Blurr envied.
The first floor of his bar was awash with activity. Mechs he’d hired to help with the renovation scurried around, attending to their tasks. Soon, he’d be near enough for the final touches: decorating, stocking, and training.
Blurr made a beeline for the primary bar in the center. It formed a circle and his intention was to have two main bartenders, each in charge of a half-circle. One side of the bar had a stage for live performances. The other side was meant for a DJ. The upstairs lounge was for patrons looking for a quieter, more intimate experience.
It was the bar he’d always dreamed of having. A part of him still struggled to believe it was becoming reality.
“You’re first interview is already here, by the way,” Jazz said, cutting into the tense silence between them. “One of the construction mechs let me know.”
“Who is it?”
“Autobot. Name of Bluestreak. He’s a good egg.”
Egg? No, never mind. Sometimes, Jazz was obtuse on purpose. He delighted in confusing otherwise. It was all mental games.
Blurr slid behind the bar, with Jazz beside him, and passed through the swinging door into the narrow hallway. A mech stood beside his door, peering intently at a datapad clutched in his hands. He was grey and red and had a chevron like most mechs from Praxus. He wasn’t at all familiar to Blurr, but he did bear an Autobot badge.
“Bluestreak, I presume?” Blurr said as he edged past the mech and keyed his code into the access panel. “Come on in. Sorry I’m late.”
“It’s okay. I’m actually early.” Bluestreak grinned at him, his datapad vanishing into subspace. “I figured that the first impression is the most important part, right? I mean, that’s what my caretakers always said.”
Blurr chuckled. “That is generally the better idea, yes. Go ahead and have a seat. You know my bar manager, right?” He slid behind his desk, dropping down into his very comfortable, very nice chair.
Jazz had followed them in, but he kept looking at Bluestreak like he’d never seen the Autobot before. There was a strange expression on his face, one Blurr couldn’t identify.
“I do. Hi, Jazz!” Bluestreak said brightly, his optics lighting up. “Good to see you again.”
Jazz paused and tilted his helm. “Yeah, uh, good to see ya, too, Bluestreak.” He coughed a vent. “Did you re-frame?”
Bluestreak looked over both of his shoulders. “Oh, my sensory panels. Yeah. I did. Figured it was time for a change.” He shrugged and sat down in the seat Blurr offered him. “Wanted to be different. Look different. That kind of thing.”
“Ah. Well, it’s good. I mean, it’s a good look for ya.” Jazz coughed again, and of all things, his visor flashed. “Good luck with your interview.”
Jazz tipped his helm toward Blurr and then he vanished. Like into the shadows and everything, so quickly Blurr was half-wondering if he’d been there at all.
That was… well, that was odd.
“He’s so nice,” Bluestreak said in a thoughtful tone. “Almost hard to believe he’s the scourge of the Decepticons, but that’s how it is, I guess. Everybody’s got two sides to ‘em. But you’d know that, wouldn’t you, sir?”
Blurr blinked. “You don’t have to call me ‘sir’,” he said, and shifted his weight. “And what do you mean?”
“You’re dating Starscream, aren’t you?” Bluestreak asked, all big blue optics and complete innocence in his expression. “He’s more than what people think of him, right? I mean, he can’t just be mean and vindictive and a traitor. That’s just the surface. What he shows people.” His lips curled in a soft smile. “Jazz is like that, too, I’ll bet.”
Blurr tilted his helm. “Except Jazz is charming on the surface.”
“Makes you wonder what he’s like underneath, doesn’t it?”
Well, that was surprisingly insightful for someone who had first appeared to be all naivete and sunshine. Blurr cycled his optics again.
“Oh, I’m sorry, that was off-topic,” Bluestreak said, and ducked his head as if abashed. He even rubbed the back of his neck, his shoulder armor twitching as though he missed the weight of his sensory panels. “What did you want to ask me?”
Honestly, that right there? Was really all Blurr needed to know. If Bluestreak could look beyond the layers of Starscream, could imagine there were more to Jazz, then he was perfect for the job, no matter what else his experience.
Blurr coughed a ventilation and leaned forward. He tapped his fingers across the datapad. “Nothing. That’s all I needed. You’re hired.”
Bluestreak’s optics rounded even further. He leaned forward, a big smile on his lips. “Really? I’m hired? But–”
“You’ll learn,” Blurr said, and found himself smiling, too. “Mixing engex can be taught. It’s just formulas and a pretty smile, and you’ve got the last one down.”
Bluestreak’s cheeks pinked, but he nodded. “I’ll study hard, I promise. And thank you! Wow, I can’t believe it. I kind of figured this was a lost cause, you know. I’m not really good at anything but killing people and I’m pretty sure you don’t have any use for that, and I don’t have any other experience.”
Oh, right. Bluestreak was a sniper.
Blurr chose to ignore that little aside in the middle of the stream of babble. At least Bluestreak would be able to charm the patrons. Customers liked a bartender who would chat with them. And with Bluestreak’s obvious empathy, he’d be a good listener, too.
“The war’s over,” Blurr said. “And we’re all struggling to figure out what that means for us. If working in my bar is what you want to try, then I’m happy to hire you.”
Bluestreak wriggled in his chair, his field bursting with an infectious glee. “Thank you so much, sir! I mean, um, Blurr. Thank you, Blurr.” He paused and looked crestfallen a bit. “But does that mean I have to get rid of this?” He pointed to the Autobot badge on his chassis.
Blurr shook his helm. “No. You can keep it, just be aware that Maccadam’s will serve all factions regardless and some may not like the idea of taking engex from an Autobot. If that happens, just call for someone else. Or me. Preferably me.”
“Okay.” The tension eased out of Bluestreak. “It’s not that I’m against Decepticons or Neutrals or neither, I just, you know. It’s still kind of a part of me. I’d feel weird without it. The Autobots’re the only family I have left.”
That Blurr could understand.
He nodded. “When can you start?”
“Whenever you need me!” Bluestreak beamed again.
Primus, he was adorable. How did a sweet mech like this survive the war? How did he become a sniper? It was so hard to connect the two.
“Tomorrow too soon?” Blurr asked as he made several notations on his datapad, adding Bluestreak to the schedule and moving a few things around to accommodate training him first.
Granted New Maccadam’s was a couple weeks away from opening, but still, it never hurt to have all his bases covered. He was up to his crest in debt right now, even with the creds they’d ‘acquired’ in Obsidian’s base. He needed the grand opening to go as smooth as transsteel.
“I’ll be here.” Bluestreak’s shoulder armor wriggled again. He lurched out of his chair, leaning across the table, his hand thrust toward Blurr. “Thank you so much. You have no idea how much this means to me.”
Actually, Blurr was starting to buy a clue.
He shook Bluestreak’s hand. “You’re very welcome. See you in the morning.”
“Yes, sir! I mean, Blurr.” Bluestreak beamed and then spun on a heelstrut, all but bouncing out of Blurr’s office. He seemed to leave bursts of sunshine and rainbow in his wake, taking the heavy weight of dread out of Blurr’s office.
Blurr shook his helm, keyed Bluestreak into the schedule, and pinged Jazz. He had two more interviews for the day before he could call it quits, pay one last visit to the construction overseer, and then meet with Starscream for the promised tour. He had a dinner date he didn’t want to miss.
“You rang?” Jazz’s helm popped into view, disembodied as the rest of his frame wasn’t visible.
Blurr arched an orbital ridge. “What are you doing? Get in here.”
Jazz straightened and eased inside as though in the middle of a minefield. “Just making sure ya weren’t otherwise occupied.”
Blurr squinted at him. “And why would I be? I’m interviewing people to work in my bar, not for a new berthmate.”
“Right. Of course.” Jazz bounced on his heelstruts. “Guess I should send the next one in then? We’re still out of luck?”
“Yes, send the next one in. I still have one open position.”
“Gotcha.” Jazz spun around only to pause. He looked over his shoulder. “Wait. One?”
“I hired Bluestreak.” Why was Jazz acting so weird? Blurr peered at him again. “Is that a problem?”
“No, of course not.” Jazz chuckled and of all things, it sounded nervous. Jazz did not do nervous. “I’ll just grab the next one. Back soon!”
And then Jazz was gone, leaving Blurr to stare after him in confusion. He frowned, optics narrowing, fingers rapping on the desktop. He doubted asking Jazz would get him anywhere. But maybe Starscream would have some insight.
He’d have to ask later.
First up, he had this interviewee. He had work to do. Then he could meet up with his partner.
He had a date he didn’t want to miss.