[One Wish] One and Only

There’s always a moment of panic right before Sunstreaker opens the door, when he fears what he’ll find on the other side.

His vents hitch, a shudder runs through his armor, and his fingers tremble. Cold sluices through his lines and rattles through his spark.

Please, he begs. Let this not be another nightmare.

Then he opens the door, Prowl smiles at him, and the panic passes. Sunstreaker finds he can ex-vent again, though his spark starts up with that silly double-pulse it always does when Prowl reaches for him. You’d think after years of this, things would be different.

It’s not.

They’re better.

“Are you ready?” Prowl asks.

“Always,” Sunstreaker says and takes Prowl’s hand, still marveling that he can do so. That this Prowl is his Dent who was his Prowl. Because Prowl loves him so much that even when he didn’t know who Sunstreaker was, he still knew.

Sunstreaker worries that he’s too happy. That if he smiles any harder, his face will crack and all the darkness will come seeping out. It’ll swallow him whole, and he’ll wake up, gasping all over again, groping across a cold berth for a warm frame that was never there.

He shivers at the mental image.

“Are you all right?” Prowl asks as he presses the call button for the lift. The apartment Sunstreaker and Sideswipe share is only a few floors shy of the penthouse.

Sunstreaker still marvels that he has a window, one that he can look out on the art district of Iacon, and see half of the city stretched in front of him. He can look down on other mechs scurrying in the streets below, and he can look up at lofty towers with flight mechs flitting around them.

Iacon shines like a gem, in the sunlight and the streetlight. It’s not a perfect city, not by any means. But it’s a far cry from the Urayan Wastes.

Sunstreaker smiles, and it’s genuine. The last trebles of unease are gone. The warmth and weight of Prowl’s hand in his are too solid for them to be anything but real.

“Just thinking,” he says as he leans in, bumping shoulders with the Praxian. “Long day for you?”

“No longer than usual, though I did depart shift early. My commander all but shoved me out the door.” Prowl squeezes his hand, and his field nudges at Sunstreaker’s, thick with warmth and affection. “Apparently, they are still amused and delighted by the fact I have finally found someone to spend time with.”

Sunstreaker’s cheeks heat. “It’s been years.”

“Novelties are novelties. What can I say?”

The lift arrives, empty of other passengers, and they step inside, with Prowl selecting the second-lowest level. Apparently they are to take a transport to their destination, wherever it may be, rather than drive.

Prowl had been oddly mysterious about this outing. But then, he often is when it comes to introducing Sunstreaker to something in Iacon. Sunstreaker is far from worried. Everything new Prowl has shown him has been an experience Sunstreaker wants to repeat. Whatever it is, he trusts Prowl.

“Still, has nothing else interesting happened?”

Prowl’s smile darkened around the edges. “The incidences across all of Cybertron are increasing. Kaon is progressively suffering from unrest. And that resistance group is growing in numbers. But they are darker things that no one wishes to linger on.”

“Oh.” Sunstreaker nibbles on his bottom lip. He’s heard of it all. How can he not when it dominates the news clips every evening, and makes headlines on the datanet.

“Such things have no place with us tonight, however,” Prowl says with another squeeze to Sunstreaker’s hand, this time as the lift dings and deposits them on the second floor. “Tonight we need only focus on one another.”

“Isn’t that, I dunno, selfish?

Prowl tows him toward the ticket booth, purchases two, and together they join the small crowd of mechs waiting for the transport to arrive. Judging by the schedule, they would not wait long.

“To some, perhaps. But we can’t allow ourselves to stop living when something threatens us.” Prowl turns to face Sunstreaker, perhaps heedless to the stares they are getting. For all that he is only holding Sunstreaker’s hand, others are staring as though they are engaged in public interfacing. “Otherwise we give in to despair.”

Sunstreaker supposes Prowl is right. He still isn’t sure he understands, and makes a mental note to ask Sideswipe later. When his twin isn’t sulking, that is. He and Jazz have had another row, Sunstreaker has no idea what about this time, and aren’t speaking to one another.

Sunstreaker is quite sure Sideswipe is to blame. Again. The stubborn brat. Sunstreaker has never seen someone fight against their own happiness as fiercely as Sideswipe is. It’s as if he enjoys being miserable.

“To that end, I have invited my lovely partner out for the evening, during which we will enjoy a walk through the Epicenter, purchase some of his favorite sweets, and attend the Festival of Lights,” Prowl continues as he pulls Sunstreaker’s hand up toward his mouth, his lips brushing over Sunstreaker’s knuckles. “That is, so long as you are not opposed.”

Sunstreaker works his intake, fighting back a shiver of warmth, though it’s already pooling in his belly and his tank. “I’m not,” he says. “Opposed, I mean. It sounds like fun.”

“Good.”

The transport arrives then, tooting a cheerful chime of warning. Prowl lowers Sunstreaker’s hand, though he keeps their fingers knitted together, as if a public claim that they are together. Sunstreaker’s cheeks heat, though he doesn’t extract his hand from Prowl’s.

He’s proud of his Enforcer lover. In Iacon, Prowl is quite the prize. He’s tall and stately and gorgeous, and the way he seems to only have optics for Sunstreaker is intoxicating. He doesn’t notice the appreciative stares people send his way. He doesn’t notice the way the ticket collector ogles his aft.

Sunstreaker tries not to look smug. He waffles between being embarrassed by the attention, and wanting to preen. He doesn’t mind the envious looks. It’s the hateful ones that make him uneasy. The ones that look as though they want to storm across the transport car, physically separate Prowl and Sunstreaker, and berate him for daring to date above his station.

Those make Sunstreaker edge closer to Prowl, frame angled to keep them in his sights, unwilling to turn his back and make himself vulnerable.

The transport honks another cheerful string of sounds to let them know it is soon to depart. Sunstreaker’s free hand grabs a dangling loop to help keep his balance as the transport lurches into motion.

The first time he’d taken a public transport, he’d been overwhelmed by it all. The press of people, moving not under his own power, the streets of Iacon blurring by, faster than he can track. Now, he feels like he’s been doing it all his life. How quickly he adapted.

“Your next gallery show is in a few weeks, is it not?” Prowl asks, just loud enough to be heard over the rattle-rumble of the transport.

Sunstreaker cycles a ventilation. “Don’t remind me.”

“Why?”

“I’m nervous enough as it is.”

Next, Prowl says. It’s only the second, after the first Sunstreaker attended, as a small guest artist to another larger, more better known designation. Memories of the event still make him twitch sometimes. There he’d been, tucked in a corner, barely able to ventilate as stranger upon stranger came and peered at his art as if judging his spark just by looking at it.

Sunstreaker can’t remember a time he’d felt like fleeing with so little threat to give him reason to do so.

“Why? As I recall, your first did very well.”

Sunstreaker works his intake. “I don’t like crowds,” he says, by way of explanation, though that is only part of it.

He’d sold all his pieces. He’s been told that it’s almost unheard of for a beginning artist to be so high in demand. But Sunstreaker couldn’t shake the feeling he still didn’t belong in a gallery.

“Have you prepared for it?”

Sunstreaker nods, his fingers feeling chilled where they wrapped around the loop. “I have one or two more canvases I need to finish, but other than that, yeah. I’m as ready as I can be.”

Prowl squeezes his hand and leans in closer, head tilted toward Sunstreaker’s. “Will Sideswipe accompany you again?”

And therein lay the worst of the anxiety. “No,” Sunstreaker admits, and he feels his face heat.

He’s told Sideswipe to stop treating him like a sparkling, and their last argument had Sideswipe throwing his hands into the air and saying ‘fine.’ And in the end, he’d said that if Sunstreaker is grown enough to take care of himself, then he didn’t need a sitter at his gallery openings.

Sunstreaker had been too proud to say that wasn’t what he meant.

“Ah.”

A single word encompassing a wealth of understanding.

Embarrassment tints Sunstreaker’s field. “There are a lot of people,” he mumbles, ducking his helm. “And I can’t read them all. They’re really aggressive, and I’m not supposed to hit them, but some of them wouldn’t back off until Sides got them to.” And what’s worse, this gallery is twice the size of the other one.

Sunstreaker had been personally invited, by a well-known artist who had been at his first gallery opening, albeit as visitor and not showcase.

“Shall I come then?”

Prowl had, sadly, missed Sunstreaker’s first opening. He’d been working overtime, unable to escape from the Prime’s clutches, and he’d sent his apologies along with more gifts than Sunstreaker could reasonably need.

“Only if you want to,” Sunstreaker says.

“Then I will.” Prowl squeezes his hand again.

The transport slows to a stop, announcing their arrival at the Epicenter.

They join the crowd of mechs disembarking, most of whom turn in a steady stream toward the shopping district. It’s a wonderful evening, Luna 1 shining brightly above them, as streetlights hum as they mark the way.

Sunstreaker can already hear the vendors, shouting their wares and their sales and trying to coax passing mechs into visiting their booths. The air is thick with the scent of sweet treats and savory nibbles and dozens of energon stands, all with their own specialties. Lanterns rise up above the walkways like little floating lights, marking the paths and giving proof to the name of the festival.

Prowl’s hand stays linked with his, and Sunstreaker is grateful for it. The crowds here are thick and noisy, and while getting lost isn’t a problem, getting bumped around by strangers is. Most don’t care two creds about the other mechs around them, and politeness seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Sunstreaker has to remind himself, again and again, that Iacon is civilized and he can’t go around punching mechs out of his way. That if someone shoulder-checks him, he shouldn’t turn it into a brawl.

Luckily, Prowl steers them off the main avenue, to the smaller side streets, still populated by vendors, but less crowded. The vendors here are more specialized, less commercial and more privatized. Mechs like Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, who make their items by hand, and are unique for it.

He and Prowl take their time, wandering from stall to stall in no set pattern, with credchips freely spilling from Prowl’s fingers on anything Sunstreaker looks at least twice at. Sunstreaker is more cautious with his creds, a lifetime of frugality hard to forget.

“You don’t have to buy me everything,” Sunstreaker grumbles as another box of rare and unusual paint colors is tumbled into his hands. “You’re spoiling me.”

“I know,” Prowl says, his smile soft and indulgent. If anything, he looks happy to throw his creds around. “But I enjoy making you happy, and I enjoy supporting mechs whose entire livelihood is dependent upon these booths. It is the least I can do.”

Fair enough, Sunstreaker supposes.

They continue on, until they are laden down with bags, and Sunstreaker’s tanks are stuffed full of sweet treats and candies and delicate sips of high grade and engex. He did manage to find a few things for Sideswipe, who’s been feeling a tad neglected as of late.

Ha. Serves him right. It’s payback for all the times he left Sunstreaker alone while he went carousing around Uraya with whatever temporary berthmate he’d picked up that evening. And then later, apparently, Ricochet.

Sunstreaker wants to spend every moment he can with Prowl. He wants to make up for lost time; he wants to soak in happiness when they’ve spent so much of their functioning struggling. Prowl is so very busy, and there have been weeks where Sunstreaker has only spoken with him across a vidcomm or exchanged texts. On top of that, Sunstreaker has his own studies to keep him occupied, as he slowly forges his way into the art world.

Is it so wrong that he wants to snatch every opportunity he has?

They break free of the crowd, finally through the main shopping thoroughfare, and enter the statuary maze. Though maze is a generous term. The walls are hip height to a mech of Prowl’s stature, meaning the average minibot can barely see over them. But twisting, turning paths lead the wanderer to various artistic creations, ranging from metal-twisted statues to those carved of stone and other materials.

Sunstreaker pauses to admire each of them. Right now, he only paints, but he’s dabbled in sculpting before, to little success. The wireworks, however, are of particular interest to him, especially if he can incorporate Praxian crystal. He’s been debating designing something for Prowl, something to remind him of his homestate.

Prowl lets him linger as long as he wishes, never once urging Sunstreaker to hurry. He stands there, comments if something appeals to him, and his field lightly presses against Sunstreaker’s. Every casual touch is one of affection and subtle claim, and Sunstreaker’s spark spins faster and brighter.

“Someday, something of yours will be on display in a venue as popular and enduring as this,” Prowl says.

Sunstreaker’s face heats. “I think I’m a long way from that, if ever.”

“You would be surprised.” Prowl’s thumb sweeps over the back of his hand where their fingers are linked. “You have talent, Sunstreaker. You have determination. What you lack is confidence, and that, love, will come with time.”

Love. Sunstreaker’s spark throbs. There’s a certain flush of warmth, of giddiness, that strikes him every time Prowl addresses him as such.

Sunstreaker flushes. He finds himself smiling before he can help it.

Prowl’s pace gradually slows until he eases them to a pause beside the largest of the mercury fountains, the soft patter of the liquid metal as it falls back into the pool nearly drowning out the murmur of conversation from other mechs loitering nearby. It’s a pretty thing, aesthetic despite it’s lack of function, and carefully aimed lights glitter a multitude of colors over the droplets.

Prowl sets their purchases on the bench beside them. Here in Iacon, they don’t have to worry about thieves snatching things out of their hands.

Sometimes, Sunstreaker still finds it hard to realize that he’s no longer in Uraya. That things are different now.

“It’s pretty,” Sunstreaker observes as Prowl’s fingers entangle with his own. There’s a rhythm to the fountain’s noise, almost like a song.

“It is nothing compared to you.”

The heat isn’t going to leave his cheeks, is it? “You’re full of compliments tonight,” Sunstreaker says, his vocalizer crackling around the edges, betraying his embarrassment.

He’s still not used to Prowl’s blunt honesty either. He doesn’t know that he’ll ever grow accustomed to the genuine compliments.

“Because you deserve them.” Prowl draws Sunstreaker’s hand toward his mouth, lips grazing over his knuckles. “And so much more.” He lowers Sunstreaker’s hand and presses it against his own chestplate, holding it in place.

Beneath his fingertips, Sunstreaker can feel the steady thrum of Prowl’s spark, though it seems to be pulsing an arrhythmic beat. Sunstreaker works his intake.

“I dunno. If I get any happier, the universe might explode,” Sunstreaker replies, though it’s something of an inside joke between he and his twin.

The times they sit together on the futon in the main room, shoulder to shoulder, watching a film on their vidscreen, consuming energon without concern, feeling safe in their apartment tower, with security downstairs. When Sideswipe tilts his head against Sunstreaker’s and smiles so softly, the tension easing out of his frame.

‘I’m happy,’ he says, sometimes, and he says it with that same hesitant tone, shoulders hunched, optics cast skyward as if expecting the stars to fall because he dared crack a smile.

‘Even if Jazz does drive me crazy,’ he always amends.

Sunstreaker snorts a laugh at him. Jazz, he thinks, keeps Sides on the tips of his feet, which is a good thing, because Sides is too arrogant for his own good. Sunstreaker tells him so all the time.

Prowl chuckles, dragging Sunstreaker out of his memories. “It is still my hope that there will come a time when you no longer fear the future.”

“I wouldn’t call it a fear,” Sunstreaker hedges, but then Prowl’s hand rests on his chestplate, gentle and warm, right over his central seam, where layers of armor protect Sunstreaker’s spark below.

Sunstreaker’s ventilations hitch. There is something in the gentle touch that suggests he should be paying attention. “Prowl?”

“I love you,” Prowl says as he catches Sunstreaker’s gaze with his own. “I do not know a moment where I am happier than when I am with you.”

There’s a lump in his intake, and the heat in his face doubles intensely. Some of the dots start to collect, and anxiety wars with joy.

“Prowl, what are you…” The words catch on the lump and die. Sunstreaker starts to shake, shock coursing through his entire frame. He wants to deactivate his audials just in case he’s wrong, in the same way he wants to turn up the gain on the off-chance he’s right.

“I love you,” Prowl repeats, forging onward, because he is afraid of nothing. “And if you’ll allow me, I wish to spend my life you. Spark and spark.”

Sunstreaker’s optics widen. “Y-you mean…?”

Prowl’s hand tightens around his. “Yes, I am asking you to be my conjunx,” he says. “If you’ll have me.”

If.

If he says.

A sharp, sudden tremble races through Sunstreaker’s frame, emotions tumbling through his circuits like spilled bolts. Sights and sounds sharpen, the sharp rapport of the fountain, the low murmur of mechs conversing around them, the bright lights, the glow of Prowl’s optics, the feel of Prowl’s spark beneath his fingers.

He sees again, the nightmare, waking to find his berth empty, no one on the other side of the door, an aching loneliness, a consuming sense of abandonment. He thinks, truly, that no one is allowed this much happiness.

He never thought. Not once.

He’s…

“Sunstreaker?” Prowl leans close to him, concerned.

“I’m– I’m a guttermech,” Sunstreaker croaks, so afraid of the nightmare, he can’t stand it. He doesn’t dare blink. What if that’s enough to end this dream? “I’m– and you…”

He can’t complete a sentence. He can’t talk over the lump in his intake, the condensation slicking his frame, the frantic stammer of his spark.

Prowl’s hand slides from his chestplate to cup his face. His thumb makes a light sweep over Sunstreaker’s cheek, so warm. He smiles, that soft, quiet smile Sunstreaker often clung to in the dark hours after Prowl vanished.

“You are Sunstreaker,” he says. “And I love who you are. There is nothing else that matters.”

Sunstreaker’s knees wobble. “You mean it.”

“Yes, I do.”

No hesitation. Not an ounce of it in his field, in his voice.

There’s a dream here and all Sunstreaker has to do is reach for it. “I…”

“Sunstreaker?”

He wants to keep it. He wants it more than anything.

“I love you, too,” Sunstreaker says, finally and his fingers curl against Prowl’s chestplate, yellow scrapes against black.

Please, Primus, don’t wake me. Let me stay here.

“I want to be yours,” he adds, all in a rush, before he loses his nerve and the static eclipses his words. “I want you to be mine. I want… I want it all.”

Prowl’s field floods against his, heat and affection and longing and relief, and then Prowl’s mouth closes over his, lips sealing together. Sunstreaker all but sobs into the kiss. His spark feels as though it will implode.

He feels caught up in one of Sideswipe’s stupid datanovels. The ones which always end with a happily ever after. He can hardly believe it, is very afraid to, but Prowl’s kiss is a reassurance and so is the warmth of his frame. Sunstreaker’s free hand clutches at Prowl’s side, holds onto him.

Sunstreaker wants to believe it.

He doesn’t want to let go.

Prowl’s lips slide away, his forehead pressing to Sunstreaker’s. His ex-vents tickle Sunstreaker’s face.

“I would have you here and now, if it wasn’t against the law,” he murmurs, his thumb sweeping over and over Sunstreaker’s cheek.

Sunstreaker makes a sound, he doesn’t dare call a whimper. “Let’s go home.”

Prowl kisses him again, fierce and triumphant, and Sunstreaker melts into it.

This time, there is no gradual meander, no wait for a public magna-car. Prowl summons a private transport, a sentient one, and hands over a credchip that makes Sunstreaker hiccup. They tumble into the backseat like a couple of over-eager younglings, and off they go.

Their driver weaves in and out of traffic as though someone is chasing him, and Sunstreaker is happy for the haste. He can’t bring himself to let go. His hands are magnetically attracted to Prowl’s frame, and his lips, too.

Prowl wants to talk.

Sunstreaker would rather drown in his kisses. His spark feels fit to burst and already Sideswipe is pinging him, trying to figure out why Sunstreaker’s broadcasting noisily across their bond.

Sunstreaker ignores him.

Prowl still tastes of the sour-sweet candies he favors, cadmium-dusted rust sticks with a gooey center, like a sparkling seeking out treasure. His mouth is warm and inviting, his field pliant and open, and Prowl groans as if pained when he has to pull away from Sunstreaker’s mouth.

“Soon,” he murmurs, his optics bright and warm, his field as much an embrace as the press of their frames. “I opted for my apartment. Is that–”

“–Fine. Perfect.” Sunstreaker’s spark throbs as the transport rumbles around them, their driver politely not commenting on the wildness of their fields, and the emotions therein. “I don’t wanna tell Sides yet. I just…”

Want to keep this to himself for now. Have proof-positive in his hand that it’s real. Wants to online tomorrow and know it’s not a dream before he lets himself soak in the giddiness. Before Sideswipe’s realism tries to punch holes in his excitement.

“I understand.” Prowl’s thumb brushes over the slats of his head vents and Sunstreaker shivers. His fingers scrape Prowl’s chestplate again, yellow on black, leaving marks for his co-workers to spy come the morrow. “Besides, it would be rude to throw our good fortune in their face.”

Sunstreaker snorts a laugh.

And then they are home, to the spiraling tower housing Prowl’s apartment. They tumble out of the transport, and Prowl doesn’t bother to retrieve his credchip, leaving it instead as a tip for their driver. He honks appreciatively at them before he zooms off.

Prowl tugs Sunstreaker toward a private lift, so no one can see them pressed together, lips locked, and vents stuttering. The lift climbs slowly to the top, nearly the penthouse, transsteel sides looking out on shining Iacon, the Festival of Lights glittering in the distance. The fireworks have started, and Sunstreaker’s not even sad he missed them.

Prowl’s apartment is almost the penthouse, but not quite. He’s claimed he doesn’t need as much space as the penthouse offered, though Primus knows he can afford it. Prowl’s rich. Stupid rich. His caretakers had been wealthy, and he’d invested his inheritance smartly, and he works because he wants to, not because he has to. Yet, he never looks down on those without. He’s a fragging contradiction.

Sometimes, Sunstreaker is uncomfortable in his apartment. Surrounded by all the elaborate decorations and delicate furniture and fancy objects and gadgets he’s never seen, Sunstreaker feels uneasy. Like he doesn’t belong.

Tonight, however, is not one of those times. He barely notices the crystal chandeliers, and the enormous entertainment center, and the motion-activated lights. He only has optics for the berthroom, bags of purchases left in the entryway behind them.

Charge crackles out from beneath his armor, his engine purring.

“I love you,” Sunstreaker says against Prowl’s lips, over and over. It becomes a mumbled litany, and Prowl responds each time with a kiss and a stroke of his field, growing warmer and more urgent.

Sunstreaker’s drowning again, and he doesn’t care about surfacing for air.

Lights pop on around them, only to quickly dim again. They stumble to the berthroom, the berth big enough for two, and the bank of windows peering down at glittering Iacon. From up here, the ground looks very far away, and with it, anything resembling a problem.

Prowl sweeps him up when Sunstreaker trips over his own feet and carries him the last few paces. He lays Sunstreaker on the berth as though he’s something precious, something breakable, and Sunstreaker starts to shake all over again. He clutches at Prowl, trying to drag him closer, even as their lips meet again.

Prowl follows him onto the berth, a blanket of heat and affection and refuge. Sunstreaker holds his head, keeping their mouths pressed together, his optics shuttering. He makes another desperate sound and Prowl matches it with one that reassures, a hum and a purr all at once.

“Shh,” he says, and nuzzles Sunstreaker’s face, his hands tickling over Sunstreaker’s frame, exploring seams and sensors he’s already mapped. “I’m right here.”

Such a simple thing.

“Prove it,” Sunstreaker says.

“I intend to.” Prowl draws back, kneeling as he is between Sunstreaker’s knees, his thighs bracketing Prowl’s. His sensory panels arch behind him, beautiful and vibrant.

Prowl looks down at Sunstreaker, and his optics shine nothing but love.

“I’m going to kiss you again,” he murmurs as his hands rest on Sunstreaker’s knees and slide gently down his thighs, toward his hips. “And then I am going to taste your intake, followed by your clavicular strut, and then your windshield.” His hands continue a path opposite his words, trickling up Sunstreaker’s hips and sides. “I will go further still, until I am faced with your hood and your central seam.”

Sunstreaker trembles, Prowl’s words wrapping around him and lifting him up. They drizzle into his audials, and sweep through his sensory circuits, and float around and around in his processor, until he feels like the world is spinning.

Prowl’s fingers glide inward, over his abdominal armor, and then up, tracing the bottom edge of his chestplate. “And then, if I am lucky, you will show me your spark so I can give it the love it deserves,” he murmurs, hands sliding upward, thumbs lightly dragging along Sunstreaker’s central seam. “Will that suffice?”

Sunstreaker’s spark throbs hard enough to ache. “Yes,” he whispers even as his chesplates jutter, threatening to snap open, spill his sparklight into Prowl’s hands without any restraint whatsoever. Static lurches through his lines, his vents billowing excess heat.

Prowl purrs, hands sliding back down, until they brace his weight on the berth to either side of Sunstreaker’s chassis. “Good,” he says, and kisses Sunstreaker again.

Sunstreaker moans because he knows what is coming next. He already knows the heat of that pleasure, the static-burn of spark-contact. It’s all he can do to keep his spark concealed as Prowl follows through with his promise. As his lips leave a soft, tingling path slowly downward.

Sunstreaker shakes, already on the cusp of overload, charge spilling out from beneath his armor and echoing off Prowl’s plating. He gasps when his chestplates part of their own accord, just a fraction, but the noise audible nonetheless. There’s a moment, a treble of fear, and it cools Sunstreaker’s enthusiasm by several degrees.

Only Sideswipe has seen his spark before now. He hadn’t expected to feel so vulnerable, so bare. And Sunstreaker reacts on instinct, throwing a hand over his parted chestplates, though rays of sparklight peek through his fingers, reflecting on Prowl’s bumper. His other hand grasps at Prowl’s arm, closing around it above Prowl’s elbow.

“I don’t– I can’t– I’m not–” Sunstreaker stutters and growls, angry with himself for his inability to articulate the sudden wave of emotions and fears crowding at his spark.

“It’s all right.” Prowl shifts his weight, rests his hand over Sunstreaker’s, hiding away more of his sparklight. “I only meant to get acquainted. We will bond another night.”

Sunstreaker works his intake. “I want to,” he whispers, his hand trembling under Prowl’s. “I just…”

“Our entire relationship has been a collection of firsts for you,” Prowl says with that keen understanding he always seems to have. “This is yet another of them. Say the word, Sunstreaker, and we will stop.”

He shakes his head. Stopping is the last thing he wants. He aches for it, yearns to feel Prowl’s touch near his spark, for the physical manifestation of Prowl’s love for him.

Prowl starts to move back, and Sunstreaker squeezes his hand. “Don’t want to stop,” he manages out, through a mouthful of static and gasping vents. His fingers curl right around around Prowl’s hand, and he slides his hand away, slowly revealing his spark. “I just…”

“I understand.” Prowl leans over him, his lips brushing over Sunstreaker’s.

The kiss is gentle, sweet, exploring like it is the first time all over again. Sunstreaker sighs into it, even as his spark surges forward, eager where his processor still shouts at him to watch for the morning.

He refuses to be mastered by his fears. He wants this, he does. And if he must, he will reach out and seize it.

Sunstreaker moans into the kiss, his glossa tangling with Prowl’s, the heat of his partner’s frame and field surrounding him, so dizzying.

Prowl’s lips wander away, pressing to the corner of his mouth, across his cheek, and then down into his intake. Sunstreaker tips his head back, and shivers as Prowl ex-vents against his cables, tickling the sensitive structure with heat.

Both hands clutch at Prowl now, backstrut arched, urging his chassis toward Prowl. He can see his spark flickering excitedly, reflecting against Prowl’s armor, and then, in Prowl’s optics. He leans back for a moment, staring at Sunstreaker’s spark with nothing short of appreciation, before his mouth descends.

Sunstreaker whimpers as lips and glossa explore the edges of his spark chambers, barely tasting the most outward corona of his spark energy. It’s like an electric shock straight to his center, and pleasure throbs through his lines. His entire sensornet hums.

Prowl murmurs something, but Sunstreaker can’t make it out through the rushing in his audials. Awareness narrows down to a pinpoint, a focus on the gentle touch of Prowl’s mouth to his spark chamber, the brush of his field against Sunstreaker’s spark. He’s careful, reverent, loving.

Sunstreaker trembles, the last of his apprehension crumbling under a wave of Prowl’s affection for him. Overload flashes through his frame like a thousand tiny fireworks. Sunstreaker moans as his spark dances and the pleasure strips him of every thought, save one.

Prowl’s lips close over his, the kiss gentle and tasting of hot metal, of ozone. His fingers stroke Sunstreaker’s seam, even as his armor automatically starts to close.

“Lovely,” Prowl says against his lips. “Your designation suits you.”

Sunstreaker’s face flushes. He brushes his lips over Prowl’s, energized by the pleasure suffusing his frame. Anxiety, what anxiety? There’s nothing in his spark but delight and joy right now.

“It’s my turn then?”

Prowl smiles. “If you wish.”

“I do.” Sunstreaker sits up and Prowl moves back to give him room. “Switch places with me?”

“Gladly.”

Another hot meeting of their mouths gives way to the two of them shuffling around the berth, as awkward as two mechs with random bits of kibble can be. Sunstreaker chuckles softly, unable to resist touching as Prowl mutters a curse and eases onto his back, flicking his sensory panels into a comfortable position at the last second.

Charge blooms beneath Prowl’s armor, evidence of his own unsated charge. Yet, he’s ever patient as Sunstreaker straddles his hips and makes himself comfortable. Prowl’s hands find Sunstreaker’s thighs, palms warm as they smooth up the length of them before he’s cupping Sunstreaker’s hips.

Sunstreaker shivers and flattens his hands on Prowl’s belly, fingers tickling his visible abdominal cables, hiding in the shadow of his bumper. Prowl’s ventilations hitch, his glossa sweeping over his lips. His field presses against Sunstreaker’s, yielding willingly, but there’s a hesitation in it as well.

So. Prowl is anxious, too. Somehow, that’s reassuring to Sunstreaker.

He leans down, presses a kiss to Prowl’s chestplate, just below his Enforcer badge. “Will you open for me?”

Prowl’s fingers tickle into his hip seams, teasing the cables beneath. “I have… been modified,” he says, and there’s a hint of a blush to his field. “Since Uraya.”

Sunstreaker nods. “More armor?”

“And locks,” Prowl confirms. “I apologize, but my chestplates will no longer part unconsciously. Please don’t consider it a failure on your part.”

“And here I was thinking you didn’t want me,” Sunstreaker teases. He brushes his lips over Prowl’s central seam, ex-venting into it. “It’s fine. And it doesn’t answer my question anyway. I asked if you would open for me.”

He leans back, rests his hands on Prowl’s bumper, and slides his thumbs down the length of Prowl’s central seam. He had noticed a bit of a change to Prowl’s frame, but considered it a consequence of needing a near-full reframe after Starscream had mutilated him so.

He doesn’t blame Prowl for wanting more security. If anything, perhaps Sunstreaker should consider more of his own. He’s painfully unprotected.

Prowl shivers, his optics darkening in hue. His backstrut curves, and there’s the tiniest of clicks, multiple ones, before his bumper splits down the middle and swings parallel to his chassis. There’s another layer of armor here, and this one needs to split as well, beneath it a third layer which spirals open. The whorls of metal carry the gleam of the newly-forged, but behind it, Prowl’s spark pulses beautifully.

“Thank you,” Sunstreaker murmurs and sweeps his hands inward, gently teasing the edges of each armor plate, as Prowl moans softly. “Sensitive?”

“Yes.” Prowl shifts beneath him, restless, more charge spilling from beneath his armor. His ventilations quicken and his spark reflects it, pulsing faster and faster. “When did you become a tease?”

Sunstreaker chuckles. “Always have been.”

He shifts his weight, leans forward, pressing a kiss to the bottom-most edge of Prowl’s spark chamber. A muffled whimper greets him, and he dares drag his mouth further up, until he can taste the spark-charge on his lips. Prowl’s fingers dig into his hip seams, holding tight. Sunstreaker can feel them trembling, and Prowl, too. His field is hot and heavy, wrapping around Sunstreaker.

“You’re close?”

“Unbearably so,” Prowl murmurs, backstrut curving again, nudging his spark closer to Sunstreaker’s.

“Mm.” Sunstreaker leaves a parting kiss at the lower edge of Prowl’s spark chamber again before he leans back, his hands sliding up to Prowl’s shoulder. “Sit up for me?”

Prowl cycles his optics, but he obeys, both of them shifting about until Sunstreaker is resting on his lap, Prowl’s arms wrapped around his chassis. His knees bracket Prowl’s hips. Sunstreaker slides his arms over Prowl’s shoulder, feeling the gentle warmth of Prowl’s spark wafting against his own chestplate.

He shivers and sweeps his glossa over his lips.

“Better?” Prowl asks.

“Almost.” Sunstreaker steals Prowl’s lips for a kiss, a distraction as he lets his own chestplates part, his spark eagerly revealing itself this time. It leaps toward the warmth Prowl’s offers, though there is a moment of confusion.

Not Sideswipe, it pulses. Not Sideswipe?

No, not Sideswipe, Sunstreaker thinks. Simply the only mech outside of his twin who has ever professed to care for him, and then proceeded to prove it.

Sunstreaker’s spark throbs warmly.

He ends the gentle kiss. Prowl, he notices, is trembling beneath him, as if their roles have been reversed, and now Prowl is the one who needs reassurance and guidance. Both of which Sunstreaker is more than happy to provide.

“I love you,” Sunstreaker murmurs as he presses their foreheads together, the furthest edges of their spark energies starting to mingle, sending rays of pleasure down his spinal strut. “I’m going to be your conjunx.”

Prowl’s hands tremble around his chassis, pressing in on his backstrut. “Yes, and I am going to be yours.”

A low moan slips free of Sunstreaker’s mouth. He tightens his arms over Prowl’s shoulders, brings their chests closer together, the secondary spark corona mingling together, sharing heat and charge.

There are only surface impressions here, the overwhelming bloom of Prowl’s love for him, an indescribable happiness that has to be felt rather than told. But the touch of Prowl’s spark to his is electric, and Sunstreaker moans again, a tremble racing up his backstrut and down again.

He pulls Prowl closer, as close as he can manage, hips rolling, the metal of their armor sliding together in a whisper of contact. The outermost edges of their sparks knit, the secondary layer meeting in little kisses of charge, until the energies of their sparks start to pulse in tandem, sending wave after wave of bliss throughout Sunstreaker’s frame.

He ex-vents a shuddery cycle, a clear sense of Prowl surrounding him. Loyal and determined, stubborn and kind, uncompromising and fierce, guardian and fighter. He briefly wonders what sense Prowl gets from him, but it’s gone and swept away with another burst of charged pleasure, searing through his lines.

Sunstreaker gasps. The merges with Sideswipe, for spark stability, never feel like this. They are warm and soothing, like slipping into an oil bath. But this, even as shallow as it is, feels like electric fire in his lines, loving touches to every one of his sensor nexuses. It makes him shake, like he’s going to rattle right out of his armor, and he’s holding Prowl so tightly he can hear their armor creaking.

If sharing feels like this, will he even survive spark merging?

The very thought makes Sunstreaker moan, his backstrut bowing, overload picking him up and tossing him into surrender. He clutches Prowl, rattling inside and out, as a blaze of heat pulses through his sensornet, flares through his spark, snatching at Prowl’s and dragging him along.

Prowl’s mouth claims his in a desperate kiss, and Sunstreaker returns it, his spark flaring and dancing, pulsing to the same beat as Prowl’s. His frame becomes a thing of motion, pushing and sliding against Prowl’s, charge crackling out and lighting up his armor, extending the overload until he feels like he’s drowning in it. The force of it leaves Sunstreaker weak and shaky in the aftermath, collapsing forward against Prowl, panting for ventilations.

Their sparks part, until only the furthest coronas are barely touching, like a soft caress. Sunstreaker sucks in several gulping ventilations, his forehead pressed to Prowl’s shoulder. He’s still shaking, and it’s the good kind of shaky. He feels like he could recharge soundly for once, without the threat of memory purges.

Prowl’s hands stroke down his back as he leans his head against Sunstreaker’s. “Thank you,” he murmurs.

Sunstreaker struggles to stir. “For what?” he mumbles, seeking coherency somewhere in the echoes of the overload. It’s left him almost giddy.

“For that gift.”

His chestplates start to close, slowly as if reluctant, and the last of their spark energy separates. “Feels like I got one, too,” Sunstreaker says. He hums low in his intake, nuzzling Prowl’s shoulder. “Wanna lay down now, I think.”

Prowl hums a laugh. “Indeed. I did not know a mere spark-share could be so exhausting.” He leans back, putting some space between them, which allows his own chestplates to seal, all three layers of them.

“Though I think to call that mere does it a disservice,” Prowl adds and a shiver visibly runs through his armor.

“It was pretty good.” Sunstreaker leans forward, lips leaving a trail of kisses along the curve of Prowl’s jaw. Their cooling fans rattle and purr, struggling to dispel the heat they’ve generated.

Prowl’s fingers tease along his backstrut. “Only ‘pretty good’?”

“Hush, you. Sound like your brother.” Sunstreaker shifts his weight and forces himself to withdraw from Prowl’s embrace, if only because he does want to lay down. His limbs feel as useful as rubber tubing, and there’s a heavy ache of satisfaction in his lines.

He stretches out across the berth, on his back, and is not surprised when Prowl covers him soon after like a blanket, their legs tangled. Prowl’s bumper notches against Sunstreaker’s chestplate, his sensory panels lying flat against his back, as he embraces Sunstreaker’s chassis.

Like brother, like brother, Sunstreaker thinks, amused. He’s often caught Sideswipe and Jazz snuggling like this, Jazz always on top of Sideswipe like a particularly clingy blanket.

“Do I now?” Prowl asks.

“You two are as different as the colors you share, but you’re the same, too,” Sunstreaker replies with a little laugh. “Except you try and pretend you’re not vain, whereas Jazz flaunts it.” Campily, granted, but flaunts it nonetheless. Jazz enjoys fishing for compliments.

Prowl chuckles. “I will concede to that.” His engine rumbles in tune with Sunstreaker’s, a soothing sound. “Though you are one to talk.”

Sunstreaker snorts a laugh. “Never said otherwise.” He strokes a hand down Prowl’s backstrut, between his sensory panels. “Thank you for asking.”

Prowl’s weight shifts on top of him, until their optics can meet. His expression is soft right now, open, where so often it is carefully schooled for the sake of others. Prowl is in a position of authority, and a certain neutrality is expected for that. But here, in this berth with Sunstreaker, he can be himself, and Sunstreaker thoroughly respects that gift.

“One day we will merge,” Prowl murmurs as he leans up, his lips brushing over Sunstreaker’s in a near-kiss. His ex-vents make for soft bursts of heat. “And I will know all of you, and you, all of me.” He shifts back, resting his head on Sunstreaker’s chestplate, over his central seam.

Sunstreaker trembles. “You might not like what you find.” He doesn’t let his processor wander to the darkness, not here in this sweet and soft place. Prowl knows, of course, of all the gladiator work Sunstreaker has done, the mechs he has incidentally killed as a matter of survival.

He doesn’t quite know, however, how different Sunstreaker is when caught up in the battlelust. He has yet to see Sunstreaker in the grips of survival, denta bared, energon staining his fingers. He’s professed that his memories of his time as Dent are not as clear as they ought, and the most recent of them the haziest. He doesn’t know how thoroughly Sunstreaker had offlined Starscream.

Sunstreaker fears the sight and knowledge might change Prowl’s opinion of him. Prove him for the guttermech he was born, the sort Prowl would have never taken home to his caretakers, Primus protect their sparks.

“I love you,” Prowl says, repeats, his hands stroking up and down Sunstreaker’s sides. “And if there is one thing of which I am certain, that will not change.”

Sunstreaker’s intake bobs. He squeezes his optics shut.

“Nor am I the innocent you think I am. Perhaps it is you who will be appalled by the truths in my spark,” Prowl adds.

Sunstreaker shakes his helm minutely. “Impossible.”

“Well, then. Is it so hard to believe I feel the same way about you?”

Sunstreaker pets the leading edges of Prowl’s sensory panels. “Curse you and your logic.”

Prowl chuckles and noses further into Sunstreaker’s intake. “You are not the first to say that.”

“You do realize that you’ll know Sideswipe, too?” Sunstreaker rebuts with a huff. Not that he’s trying to dissuade Prowl or anything, but a little warning can’t hurt. Sideswipe’s a certain kind of special, honestly.

Sunstreaker loves his brother. He truly does. But they do have their differences.

“A small price to pay.” Prowl ex-vents audibly and his weight settles more firmly over Sunstreaker’s, his field as much an embrace as his arms.

“You say that now, but you haven’t been in his head,” Sunstreaker mumbles, but there’s no heat to it.

He shutters his optics, matches his ventilations to Prowl’s, and lets the soft sweetness of the moment snatch him up. The berthroom is quiet around them, with only the faint glow of Iacon outside the tinted window to break up the dark. That and their biolights.

He’s happy, Sunstreaker realizes. There’s joy in his spark, in his frame. His field is wrapped around Prowl’s, knitting firmly together, and he’s safe and sound. Prowl is a blanket of love and safety, and Sunstreaker need only reach across his connection to Sideswipe to know his twin is annoyed, but equally safe and content.

“Prowl?”

“Hm?”

“I’m happy,” he says, and it’s so quiet. He’s afraid if he says it too loudly, something will come along and snatch it away.

Prowl’s embrace tightens. “As am I.”

His reply is equally soft, equally careful. In this, they are not so different. Starscream’s machinations had left scars on them both.

But here, they are happy. Here, they are safe and content.

For now, it’s a dream, a wish, made reality, and Sunstreaker intends to hold on to it tightly this time. This dream is his to protect, and he’ll fight to do so.

No matter what.

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