[IDW] A Steady Hand

Drama. Queen.

Ironhide thought he’d met the epitome of the title when he’d spent those years with Sunstreaker, even as wracked with guilt as the kid was. But watching Starscream pace back and forth in the conference room, snarling and gesticulating wildly as he ranted, Ironhide thought Sunstreaker could learn a lesson or two.

Or three.

Worse was Starscream’s field. A nauseating maelstrom of agitation, outrage, and unmitigated exhaustion. No wonder he was a mess. Did he recharge? Refuel? Or was he surviving merely on spite and concentrated engex?

Ironhide hadn’t seen a mech wound this tight since Chromedome rejected Prowl and took off on the Lost Light with Rewind.


At least Starscream didn’t have a penchant for flipping tables, otherwise this one here would already be in pieces.

Ironhide’s head ached just sitting here. In the ranting, he thought he might could make out a few choice phrases, most of them directed at Cybertron’s general populace, though the council and the various colonies were getting their fair share of rage, too.

Did Starscream even realize he wasn’t alone? Or did he assume Ironhide left with all the others? Had he not even checked?

Oh, and there he went again, hissing angrily at the empty space on his right, wings rigid and trembling, plating drawn tight, energy field a sickening spiral of self-loathing. Wonderful.

Honestly, Starscream might not’ve been the leader everyone particularly wanted, but he was the one they had. He had the potential to do a halfway decent job of it, too, if he gave himself half a chance. That was, if the stress didn’t get him first.

Cybertron couldn’t afford a leader who was off his rocker. They’d had enough of that already. And since no one else was up for the job of making sure their lord or president or whatever Starscream called himself was sane enough to handle it, Ironhide supposed he’d take one for the team.

Well. He supposed there were more difficult challenges. Though at the moment, he couldn’t think of a single one.

Ironhide propped his head against his knuckles. He coughed loudly, putting in an engine rev for good measure.

“Yer gonna snap a neural line if ya keep this up, yer highness.”

Starscream cut off mid-rant and whipped around, his pretty face flushed with outrage as his wings went high and tight.

“What are you still doing here?” he screeched, hands fisted at his sides, wing tips quivering and his optics flashing.

“Watching a plane crash in slow motion apparently.”

Starscream’s field boiled, shifting the full force straight at Ironhide, thoroughly expressing his indignation. Well, at least he was directing it outward now.

“Seriously,” Ironhide continued, because he’d already died once, what did he have to lose? “Ya ever thought about takin’ a deep breath and not workin’ overtime?”

Starscream gaped at him as though he couldn’t believe his audials before he shook his head. “Sometimes, I’m not sure what language you’re speaking in,” he huffed. “And no. I’m the–” And here Ironhide braced himself for the long title he knew was coming “–High Chancellor of the Refulgent Cybertronian Dynasty, Emperor Perpetua and Defender of the Realm. I don’t have time for nonsense.”

And there it was. Primus, such a mouthful. How could he get all out in a single ventilation anyway?

Anyway. Nonsense, huh?

Maybe that was part of whatever was crammed up Starscream’s thruster. Mechs weren’t naturally this obstinate.

Not even Prowl, Primus bless the poor kid. He needed someone to look after him, too. Someone who wasn’t already conjunxed up to someone else. Prowl never could stop hungering after things that stopped being his ages ago. Had a classic case of wanting things he couldn’t have, that way he could rant and rave at the universe when he didn’t get it, and blame people not himself.

Come to think of it, Starscream was a bit like that, too. And as history had proven, neither of them had really benefited from a punch to the face.

As fun and needed as they might have felt at the time.

Ironhide tipped his head. “Should think about makin’ some time,” he pointed out, because Starscream was the focus here, not Prowl, though the parallels were there. Ironhide wanted to smack himself for not noticing it before. “Yer drivin’ yerself crazy, and it’s embarrassin’ to watch.”

Starscream’s face colored. “I’m fine!” he insisted, just short of a hiss.

Ironhide snoted and leaned back in his chair, folding his arms behind his head. “And I’m Omega’s second cousin twice removed.”

There Starscream went, gaping again. “I… what?” He looked at Ironhide as though he were a particularly convoluted scientific equation.

Ironhide shook his head. “You ain’t even fine. Ya need ta relax before you crash and take us all with you.” Pits, even Prime had relaxed every once in awhile, though it had taken some dragging to get him out of the office, where he was convinced some teensy bit of data held the clue to getting through Megatron’s thick helm.

Starscream shook himself as though gathering back his wits. “Is that concern I detect?”

“And a dose of self-preservation.” Ironhide smirked, affecting a lazy sprawl in his chair. “C’mon. Surely a self-serving mech like yourself has a few vices. Hot oil bath, mebbe. Fancy music and a good novel. Playin’ tag with missiles. Tugging on the tail of a tiger. Something.”

Starscream folded his arms over his cockpit and cocked his hip. “If I did, I certainly wouldn’t share them with you.”

“Fair enough.” Ironhide shrugged, played into nonchalance. “But if I might offer some advice–”

“Oh, like you haven’t already.”

“–take some time off tonight,” Ironhide finished, ignoring the snide aside. He’d spent years alongside Sunstreaker for Primus’ sake. Snark was par for the course. “Do whatever it is ya do to relax. Because right now, yer kinda… manic.”

Starscream worked his jaw. “Manic.”

“Manic,” Ironhide confirmed. “And yeah, mebbe it ain’t none of my business, but the council isn’t goin’ ta get any easier to handle if ya start fallin’ apart, and frankly, I don’t wanna see whatever might try to claw its way into yer place.”

Starscream stared at him for a minute longer before his lips slowly curled into a smirk that Ironhide knew all too well. “That is concern I’m hearing.” He dropped his arms and circled the table, one hand dragging along the smooth surface in an audible slide. “Why, Ironhide, I didn’t know you cared.”

Ironhide might have tensed. He wasn’t afraid of Starscream, per se, but he suddenly got the distinct feeling he was being stalked, despite seeing the Seeker strutting toward him in plain view. There was something rather predatory about the look in Starscream’s optics, and Ironhide wasn’t sure he was prepared to deal with that.

But then, like he’d noticed, wasn’t anyone else stepping up to the plate. Sometimes, ya just had to mech up and take yer licks.

“It’s one of my shortcomings, I ‘spose,” Ironhide drawled. “Can’t help but look after my leaders.”

“And now you’re actually acknowledging me? Will wonders never cease.” That was nearly a purr, if you asked Ironhide, and he didn’t even know Starscream could purr.

He shrugged again, not failing to notice that Starscream’s field had turned from a chaotic mess, to a syrupy pulse. “I ain’t the type to stick my head in the sand just ‘cause something’s happened I don’t particularly agree with. Gotta roll with the punches or find myself on the mat.”

Starscream scrubbed a hand down his face. “You and your charming idioms. You spent far too much time on Earth, Ironhide.”

“Well, I was also dead fer awhile. These things happen.”

Starscream stared at him before slipping into a rolling chuckle. “Yes, they do,” he said, amusement rich in his vocals. He was close enough now that Ironhide could smell the sweet richness of his wax.

Mech shined himself up as much as Sunstreaker did. Vain drama queens, the both of them. No wonder they got on. Or well, did. Probably not so much now that Starscream was half to blame for Sunstreaker’s treasonous act. Not that Ironhide could blame Sunny.

Wasn’t right, what those humans did. Not right at all, and downright creepy. Just thinking about it made him shiver, and not in a good way. Still wasn’t good, that Sunstreaker betrayed him, but Ironhide could understand it.

“But you know, Ironhide, I think you’re right,” Starscream continued with a purr that was actually intriguing. “I do think I need to relax. Take a load off, as you might say.”

Ironhide smirked. “Damn straight, I’m right.”Maybe he felt a touch too smug, but it was a rare thing to hear Starscream admit anything like that. “Wow, Screamer, didn’t think you actually had the capability to be reasona– what the frag are you doing?”

“There’s really only one way for me to properly relax,” the Seeker stated as he swung himself into Ironhide’s lap, straddling him as though he belonged there, his frame outright warm and silken where his armor slid over Ironhide’s. “I’ve found that several overloads do the trick just fine.”

Ironhide tried not to splutter, but it was hard when one found themselves with a sudden lapful of Seeker, especially one as armed, dangerous, and mercurial as Starscream. “Then find yerself a facin’ partner!”

“Oh, but I did,” Starscream purred and draped his arms over Ironhide’s shoulders, hips rolling in a sinuous wave that Jazz would’ve envied. “After all, here you are, so very worried about my mental state, and here I am, suddenly swayed by your charm.”

Despite himself, Ironhide’s hands found their way to the smooth plating of Starscream’s thighs, curling around the polished white of them. “I ain’t playin’ games, Seeker.”

“Mm, neither am I.” Clever fingers crept into the seams around his shoulders, teasing the thick cables beneath. “You’re the one concerned about my stress level. So I think you should be the one to do something about it.” Starscream’s lips curved in a smirk, his optics glittering.

Ironhide snorted. “Right. I’d break a delicate thing like you, and then there ya’d be, gloating to everyone about the brutish Autobots.”

Starscream’s thighs pressed in against Ironhide’s hips, and he leaned back, effortlessly grinding his interfacing panel against Ironhide’s abdomen. “But factions don’t matter anymore, remember? Besides, I’m a lot sturdier than I look.”

Ironhide’s hands seemed to have a mind of their own, sliding upward as they did, until he cupped Starscream’s hips and swept his thumbs in toward Starscream’s interfacing array, which felt warm to the touch. Well, at least Starscream wasn’t faking his interest. That was some genuine arousal there, and in his field, too.

“Well, maybe I just ain’t interested,” Ironhide retorted, because like frag he was going to be so easily swayed by a pretty face. Even if it was accompanied by some glossy wings begging for a firm grip.

Starscream barked a laugh that wasn’t at all unpleasant. His thighs pressed in, locking in place almost, as his fingers found new cables to manipulate, sending little trills of pleasure right into Ironhide’s sensory net. “Then whose hands are on my hips, hm?”

“Someone who’s clearly lost his processor,” Ironhide declared and leaned in, inhaling deeply, dragging in Starscream’s scent – sweet polish, ozone, and the tang of thruster burn. His hands slid up, cupping Starscream’s waist, thumbs sweeping the bottom edge of his turbines. “Because this is definitely a bad idea.”

Starscream hummed with amusement. “The bad ideas are always the best ones,” he purred, and Ironhide heard the click of an interfacing panel sliding aside. Starscream’s hands drifted down, resting on Ironhide’s arms, where his fingers twirled at the rims of his tires. “So do I have your attention?”

Ironhide snorted. “Ya already know how pretty ya are. Don’t go fishin’ for compliments.” Hands inched up just a bit further, until he found the bottom edge of Starscream’s wings, giving them a pinch that was just enough to make Starscream shiver and arch toward him. “Though ya do look mighty fine when ya do that.”

“Touch me more, and I’ll put on an even better show.” Starscream’s glossa swept over his lips, and he vented heated bursts. “Show me what you got, Autobot. All this tension isn’t good for relaxing.”

Ironhide rolled his optics. “Needy Seeker.”

“Rusty aft grounder,” Starscream retorted, but it was with a laugh that belied the insult. He rolled his hips, and Ironhide felt the smear of hot lubricant against his panel. “Come on. I don’t have all night. Less bantering, more fragging.”

Ironhide curved his hands around, thumbs stroking the slats of Starscream’s front turbines, and was rewarded with a full-frame shudder. Starscream’s field slid over his, hungry and sizzling. Experimentally, Ironhide gave the turbines a little flick, set them to lazily spinning, and Starscream moaned, chassis arching toward him.

Fingers curled hard against his tires, like claws as they dug in against the pliable rubber. Starscream huffed and licked his lips.

“I thought you were worried about breaking me,” he said, thrusters kicking against the floor as he worked his hips, scraping his array over Ironhide’s groin armor. “Is my big, bad Chief of Security really just a mesh cloth inside?”

Ironhide chuckled. “Yer tryin’ to goad me.” He leaned in closer, nosing his way to Starscream’s intake, where shiny cables demanded to be tasted. “It ain’t gonna work.”

“Are you sure? I can be quite… provocative.” Starscream’s tone was as sly as his hands, which flattened over Ironhide’s windshield, fingers scraping the clear transsteel.

Fire drizzled through Ironhide’s lines. His array pinged him, reporting a need to relieve pressure, and demanding he take advantage of the wet heat so very near. He groaned and decided there wasn’t a point in denying himself. Starscream couldn’t get any clearer about what he wanted.

Still… Best not to let him realize just how appealing he was. Mech like him had a big enough ego as it was.

“And I’m still gonna move at my own pace,” Ironhide said, giving a nip to those shiny cables and feeling Starscream moan against his lips.

He leaned forward as Starscream leaned back, not that there was anywhere to go with the table right behind him. Starscream’s back hit the table edge right below his wings, leaving him trapped and at Ironhide’s mercy.

Right where Ironhide wanted him.

He finally freed his spike, groaning as it pressurized and slid against the tempting slick of Starscream’s valve, brushing over swollen lips and getting smeared with sticky lubricant. Starscream’s valve rim fluttered against his spikehead in a wordless invitation.

“Yes,” Starscream hissed, sounding triumphant. His thrusters scraped the floor as he ground against Ironhide, rolling his valve over Ironhide’s spike and liberally slicking it with lubricant. “It’s about time.”

Ironhide purred a laugh. “Yer a little hedonist, ain’t ya?” he asked as he fingered Starscream’s chest turbines, delighted by the way they spun beneath his touch. The raised hubs intrigued him as well, and he brushed the pad of his thumbs over them.

Starscream’s quickly drawn vent was telling. As was the way his chassis arched and his hands dug into Ironhide’s seams, fingers hooking around his armor plate and trying to tug him closer.

“And you’re a tease,” Starscream huffed, his fingers sinking in until his talons left little pinpricks on Ironhide’s substructure.

He arched an orbital ridge. “Oh, am I?” Ironhide challenged and nabbed those turbine hubs between thumb and forefinger, giving them a pinch.

Starscream legitimately squeaked, his field flushing with heat as his face darkened. He shuddered, head to foot, and ground down hard against Ironhide’s spike, damp valve rim leaving a wet swath along the crown of it.

Ironhide felt an unholy glee rattle up and down his spinal strut. “Like that, did ya?” he asked, and fondled those turbine hubs thoroughly, giving them a pinch and a roll and a squeeze and a stroke.

Starscream’s wings absolutely fluttered, and he gasped as he arched toward Ironhide, his hips making urgent little rocks. His fingers dug in, claws snapping out, pinching Ironhide’s cables, but a little pain was nothing more than spice, and Ironhide’s engine growled.

“You definitely did,” Ironhide growled with another sharp pinch to Starscream’s turbine hub.

Starscream tossed his head back and moaned, thighs trembling on Ironhide’s lap, his hands curling around Ironhide’s wrist. Not to stop him, no, but to keep him in place, his vents sputtering and his fans roaring.

“You are a fragging tease!” Starscream seethed, his optics bright with hunger, lips pulled back in a fanged snarl. “Frag me already!”

“I intend ta,” Ironhide purred, his own vocals dipping into a darker register as heat spun through his lines, and his spike throbbed, frotting over and over the welcoming slick of Starscream’s valve. “Until ya live up to yer namesake.”

Starscream’s optics flashed. “Prove it!”

With. Pleasure.

Ironhide reluctantly abandoned his ardent attention on Starscream’s turbines, much to the Seeker’s hissing displeasure, his talons pricking beneath armor plates around his wrists.

“Calm yer jets,” Ironhide growled as his hands slid to the Seeker’s waist and then his hips, gripping them firmly.

Starscream hissed and bucked, Ironhide’s spikehead nudging against his valve rim before popping free again. They both shuddered, and urgency tugged at Ironhide’s lines. He dragged in a deep ventilation and held Starscream’s gaze.

“Ya tell me ta stop, ya hear?” he said, low and deep, even as his frame thrummed and his vents staggered and the urge to thrust clawed at him.

Starscream snarled. “You’d have to start for me to tell you stop, Autobot!” He writhed in Ironhide’s grip, wings fluttering, as he ex-vented bursts of volcanic heat downward. “Frag me you rusty old heap! Do it!”

Ironhide tightened his hold on Starscream’s hips, lifted and thrust upward, sinking into Starscream’s valve in one deep push. Starscream’s backstrut arched, a sharp keen leaving his intake, as he threw his head back. His valve rippled around Ironhide’s spike, calipers squeezing to draw him deeper, and Ironhide shivered.

Hot. Tight. And nips of charge snapping at his sensor nodes. Primus, Starscream felt good.

Pleasure pulsed in Ironhide’s lines. Starscream writhed in his lap, hips squirming, vents billowing, his face dark with pleasure, little gasps and cries spilling from his lips. Sexier than he had right to be, truth be told.

Ironhide growled and bent forward, optics focused on those gleaming turbines. He wanted to hear more of those keens, to make Starscream whimper for him. His hands tightened on Starscream’s hips, hauling the Seeker in close, until the nearest turbine was in reach.

Ironhide licked his lips and dove in, glossa flicking over the turbine spoke, making it lazily spin. Starscream nearly shrieked, his hands gripping Ironhide’s arm tires as he slammed his hips down, valve spiraling tight on Ironhide’s spike.

That was a good reaction. Let’s go double for another, yes?

Ironhide ex-vented hot and wet, then aimed for that shiny turbine hub, all peaked and pointed, like a pair of sensor clusters on Starscream’s chassis. He drew one into his mouth, flicked his glossa over it, pressed it between his denta.

The response was electric.

Starscream surged, his chassis pushing toward Ironhide’s mouth, his frame a sinuous wave of need. His engine roared, his field a volcanic blast of need.

Ironhide didn’t so much as thrust into Starscream, as the Seeker rode him, thrusters scraping against the floor, hips rolling as he fragged himself on Ironhide’s spike. His valve squeezed and clutched, hot and crackling as he chased his pleasure eagerly.

He growled and bent Starscream back, mercilessly assaulting those turbines with his lips and glossa and denta. He licked and sucked and nibbled and bit, while Starscream shrieked and writhed in increasingly frantic motions. One clawed hand clutched at the back of his head, holding him in place, as he sank down for a deep and heavy grind, overload sweeping through him in a heavy pulse.

Ironhide shuddered as Starscream’s valve spiraled tight, and his calipers rippled up and down around Ironhide’s spike in milking waves. His thighs clamped against Ironhide’s hips, and he tossed his head back with a wail, shoving Ironhide’s mouth against his turbine.

Which was mighty fine as Ironhide laved it with attention, paying special attention to that little hub which demanded he suckle on it.

Talons dug into his right arm tire, even as the other pricked at the back of his head. Starscream made a litany of hungry noises, his hips surging and falling, riding hard on Ironhide’s spike, his frame surging quickly back toward ecstasy. His valve squeezed and released, lubricant squelching between them, as charge crackled out from his substructure, filling the room with the scent of ozone.

Ironhide glanced up the length of the Seeker’s frame, over the rise of his cockpit, and saw Starscream flush with lust, his optics half-shuttered and burning like embers, his lips dragged between fanged teeth. His wings twitched before he tossed his head back, completely surrendering to the pleasure, not a trace of his earlier agitation to be found.

Mission. Accomplished.

And then Starscream’s hand was pressing his head again, as he made all of these urgent noises, which shot straight to Ironhide’s groin and made his spike pulse with need. He groaned around his mouthful of turbine, heat running rampant through his frame. His fingers flexed and squeezed around Starscream’s hips until he gentled his hold, slid his hands up and played with Starscream’s wing mounts.

Starscream keened and slammed down against him, frame tripping into another overload, one stronger than the first if the charge lighting up his frame was any indication. His valve clamped down, tight and hot, charge biting at Ironhide’s spike, the flexing of his calipers dragging along every throbbing node.

Ironhide growled around Starscream’s turbine hub, overload slamming into his frame as he bucked up into Starscream, transfluid spurting from his spike. Every cable went tense, his armor flared, and pleasured spiraled high and tight until it burst again, sending shards of ecstasy across his sensory net.

It lingered, making him shiver, until Starscream growled and abruptly tugged Ironhide’s head away from his turbine with a following hiss.

Ironhide chuckled and grinned up at him, licking his lips. “Sensitive?” he asked as swept a hand over the one turbine he hadn’t paid fair attention to. Next time maybe.

Starscream all but squeaked again and grabbed Ironhide’s wrist with his other hand, pulling it away from the lazily spinning turbine. “Yes. Obviously,” he said, with a roll of his optics. He even leaned back against the table as though trying to take temptation out of reach.

“But such fun until then,” Ironhide purred with a smirk. He did drop his hands to the relative safety of Starscream’s hips however.

He still tingled all over, and his spike nestled snug and comfortable in Starscream’s welcoming valve. He wouldn’t mind a second (or third) round, point of fact, and wondered if the lazy satisfaction in Starscream’s field meant he was done, or resting for a second go.

Starscream’s elbows braced on the table behind him, his wings lightly fluttering. “Fun indeed,” he drawled. “You were appropriately adequate, my dear Chief of Security.”

“Adequate.” Ironhide echoed the adjective and snorted. “Two overloads out of you, screamin’ ones I might add, and all I get is ‘adequate.’ Ya ain’t hard to please, are ya?”

Starscream’s lips curled and his armor shifted and resettled around his protoform, the whir of his cooling fans sending puffs of heat down against Ironhide’s frame.

“They’ll do,” he said with a tilt of his chin upward, and a casual examination of one of his fingertips. “I certainly feel more relaxed.”

“Well, so long as you’re appropriately satisfied, yer highness,” Ironhide drawled and rolled his optics.

He squeezed Starscream’s waist, shifting the Seeker back a few inches, enough that he could slip free of Starscream’s valve and retract his spike, however reluctantly. It had grown quite fond of the snug heat of Starscream’s valve.

“Think mebbe ye’ll be less of an aft from now on?”

Starscream arched a single orbital ridge. “From now on? Just how magical do you think your spike is?” He laughed, and there was something rather cute about the genuine, uninhibited sound. “Oh, that’ll keep me pleasant for a day or two.”

Ironhide snorted. “I ain’t trompin’ up to yer high tower to service ya on demand. Ya better see about findin’ someone a bit more permanent.”

“Oh, I do. He’s merely… mmm, off-planet at the moment.” Starscream smirked at him, dragging his gaze back toward Ironhide, full of self-satisfaction as he arched his backstrut, the overhead lights catching a gleam off his cockpit. “But you’ll do as a substitute until he returns.”

Megatron? Ironhide wanted to ask but feared a claw to the face if he dared, and while that wouldn’t permanently incapacitate him, it wasn’t much fun either. Besides, it wasn’t really any of his business who Starscream clanged, was it? So long as everyone involved was having a good time.

“Glad to know I’m good enough for that.” Ironhide rolled his optics. “So ye’ll just let me know whenever ya wanna borrow my spike, is that it?”

Starscream chuckled and slid one hand down the front of his own frame, fingers slipping over the wet, sticky rim of his valve before they withdrew, and his panel closed. “This isn’t all my lubricant, Autobot,” he pointed out, holding up his damp fingers and giving them a wiggle. “You enjoyed yourself.”

“Never said I didn’t.” Ironhide shrugged and lifted his thighs, jostling the Seeker in his lap and forcing Starscream to shift his weight to stay balanced. “Just wanted to make sure we’re clear.”

“As crystal. I’ve no interest in claiming you.” Starscream’s other hand, the one not sticky with mingled fluids, rested on Ironhide’s windshield, rapping a nonsense rhythm. “Though I am absolutely delighted to discover that you are far more fun than I gave you credit.”

Great. Starscream might not have claimed him, but Ironhide had the feeling he was still owned.

“Thanks,” Ironhide drawled. “I think.”

He gripped Starscream’s hips and effortlessly lifted the Seeker, planting his aft on the table’s edge, so that he had enough room to stand. His thighs and groin were a mess of fluids he’d have to rinse off, or try to wipe off in vain, but maybe he oughta walk out of here strutting.

He dropped his hands to either side of Starscream’s frame, planting them on the table, and he leaned close to the Seeker, their noses nearly touching.

“Anythin’ else I can do for ya, yer majesty?”

Starscream smirked and tossed his head, wings giving a flutter behind him. “That’ll do, peasant.”

Ironhide snorted and pushed back. “You’re welcome,” he said, and stretched his arms over his head, easing a crick in his shoulder. “Now I gotta trainin’ session ta oversee, and yer aft is gonna have a wash and a recharge, right?”

“Sir, yes, sir,” Starscream drawled, effecting a lazy recline on the table’s edge. “Whatever you say.” His amusement tickled at Ironhide’s sensor array.

Contrary Seekers.

Ironhide shook his head and departed, not missing the fact that Starscream loosed a self-satisfied sound as he hopped down from the table. Arms stretched over his head, wings drifting downward, armor less clamped and field singing sweetly.

Mission accomplished.

Oh, it’d take a lot more than a single ‘face to tame that one, Ironhide thought. But he eventually got Optimus to follow his lead when it mattered, and he’d sometimes managed to get Prowl to take a breather even though they rarely saw optic to optic on most things, and Red Alert would let him take over the helm for a rest, and he’d often left Jazz a sated, snoring heap in a berth.

In time, Ironhide suspected he could get under the plating of this one, too. Leaders needed looking after, he’d learned. Someone to keep their sanity together. And since no one else was up for the task, Ironhide stepped up to bat. Hardly a trial, at any rate.

He kinda liked this fragile not-quite-peace, and he wanted it to stick around. Even if it meant cozying up to Starscream, who wasn’t half-bad so long as you didn’t insult him and let him keep full control of the situation. Kind of fun to spar with actually.

Frag yeah.

This was going to be a Pit of a lot of fun.