[SoF] Tangled Threads

My Sun, 

I love you. 

There I said it. Three little words. Funny how it took me so long to get them out. Yeah, you already knew it, just like I knew it, but the important part is in the saying it. Right? 

It’s too late for them to mean anything, I know. And I’m okay with that. You’re happy with Megatron, and that’s all I could have ever wanted for you. I want you to be happy, to smile, to belong. Even if it’s not with me. 

So I have to go. It’s not because of you, it’s because of me. I have to go because you’re right. I left something out there. And I think if I don’t go back for it, I’m going to regret that even more than never telling you those three words. 

I don’t want to regret anymore. So I have to do this. It’s a matter of–

“How many more times are you going to read that?”

Sunstreaker dimmed the screen of the datapad and tilted it against his chestplate. His gaze slanted to the left, where Megatron’s rumbling vocals had pulled him out of another review of Rodimus’ letter.

“Until I stop feeling guilty,” he murmured as a silver arm slid over him, tugging him into Megatron’s embrace.

Megatron nuzzled against his shoulder, ex-venting a soft sigh. “I believe the purpose of the letter was to assuage your guilt, love.”

“Maybe.” Sunstreaker tipped his head, leaning it against Megatron’s. “I’m starting to wonder if I didn’t say anything, not because I wanted to spare his feelings, but because I was protecting my own.”

“Mmm.” Megatron pressed a kiss to his shoulder armor, his field tangling around Sunstreaker’s firmly. “That may be true. And it may not be. Matters of the spark are never so clear.”

Sunstreaker swallowed a sigh and powered down the datapad, leaning over to rest it on the nightstand. “It doesn’t bother you?”

“I have never doubted your feelings for me.” Megatron’s ventilations evened out as he started a slow-cycle into recharge. “I understand that love has layers, and what we share is different than what you feel for him.”

Sunstreaker let the words wash over him, absorbing their meaning. Megatron did not push, which he was grateful for. He loved that about Megatron, point of fact. That he never became irritated because Sunstreaker was slow to understand the emotional or social implications of things. That he took time to absorb the more abstract aspects of interaction.

Sunstreaker cycled a ventilation. “Sometimes, I wonder if I deserve you,” he murmured, a moment of painful honesty, one he’d never voice where Sideswipe could hear, because he’d already heard Sideswipe’s objections to his own feelings of self-inadequacy.

“Of course you do.” Megatron’s tone was so candid that it rejected argument. “We deserve each other.”

Sometimes, Sunstreaker wondered.

His processor wandered back, to his memory core, to nearly a month prior, when fear had seized his spark and almost sent him into a blind panic. When the force of his feelings, and what they meant, had thundered through his audials, forcing him to confront a truth he’d been burying for years upon years.

It wasn’t the ferocious way Springer had pounded on the door that drew out the terror. It was the look in Springer’s optics as he said one of the worst things Sunstreaker had ever heard. The words washed into his audials and sent a flood of ice through his lines.

“What do you mean he’s missing?” Sunstreaker demanded, voice low and cold, through clenched denta, through control slipping between his fingers.

Sunstreaker did not yell or panic. No matter what anyone said, neither of those reactions emerged from his chassis. It only felt like they did.

“Meaning we can’t find him,” Springer replied, just short of a snarl, his optics narrowed. “Which is the only reason I’m talking to you right now.”

It took all Sunstreaker had not to punch Springer. Though there was still time. He and Rodimus’ batch-brother had never seen optic to optic on much of anything. Springer didn’t approve of Sunstreaker or Sideswipe, not even after they mated the Warchief.

Sunstreaker had no idea why.

No. Scratch that.

He had an inkling.

“I don’t know where he is,” Sunstreaker gritted out, rising to his full height, his armor clamping down tight around his frame. “So why don’t you? Aren’t you his brother?”

Springer’s engine growled. He shoved a fat finger in Sunstreaker’s face. His field surged forward, as aggressive as his tone. “Warchief’s mate or not, I will fight you, so don’t test me.”

“Try me,” Sunstreaker snarled, his hydraulics tensing, his field coiling around him, ready to strike back.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.”

Red armor intercepted them, neatly slotting between Sunstreaker and Springer like he didn’t have a fear in the world. Sideswipe. Of course it was Sideswipe. Probably roused by the same noise that had driven Sunstreaker from his berth and the warm embrace of his mates.

Springer had better hope he hadn’t woken Megatron, too.

“You two can fight over who loves our boy more later, all right? Maybe we should focus on finding him first.” Sideswipe’s back knocked against Sunstreaker’s chassis in warning. He could just imagine the grin on his stupid twin’s face. That easygoing, but warning grin he gave to many a Firebrand thinking they could test the Warchief’s mates.

Springer set his jaw. “That was the plan,” he ground out, but wisely backed off a pace. “He didn’t show up for training, and no one’s seen him since before the storm started.”

“Okay,” Sideswipe said, hands raised still, like he wanted to be a red barrier, like he didn’t want to pound Springer’s stupid face in himself. “When was the last time anyone saw him?”

Sunstreaker kept his mouth shut. Only because his glare said it all, and Sideswipe was right. He cared more about finding Rodimus than he did about teaching Springer a lesson. He could dent the arrogant aft all he wanted after they found Rodimus safe and sound.

“After weapon instruction. Yesterday,” Springer answered, and Sunstreaker heard it like a roar in his audials, a great rushing wind. He knew, immediately, what had happened, just like he knew the guilt echoing in the glyphs of Springer’s answer.

“When he was talking to Silverspire and Torque?” Sunstreaker demanded, already knowing the answer, as the anger started to twist and coil in his internals.

Sideswipe tensed in front of him. “Sunny.”

It was a warning.

“It was a conversation,” Springer said, but his gaze went shifty, and his hydraulics creaked as he adjusted his weight.

It was guilt. Sunstreaker knew it when he saw it. He might be dumb when it came to most social interaction, but Sunstreaker knew the foul stench of guilt.

Sunstreaker’s engine snarled. He spun on a heelstrut and stomped away from both of them, the rage building to a fine froth. Those aft-headed slaggers were taunting Rodimus again, he just knew it.

“That’s not going to help find him!” Springer shouted after him, exasperation thick in his tone, his feet rooted in place like the guilt had sprung glue to keep him there.

Sunstreaker ignored him.

Sideswipe made a noise and chased after him. “What are you doing?” He made a grab for Sunstreaker’s arm, but he twisted out of the way, too quick.

“Getting answers,” Sunstreaker said, the fury thick in his frame, in his intake, boiling out through his lines, drawing his hands into tight fists.

Sideswipe’s engine growled. He balked, his field chased Sunstreaker. He made a sound as if he was going to argue, before he spun on a heel and went stalking back to their quarters. To Megatron, who should still be sleeping.

Good.

Sunstreaker had answers to find. And he knew exactly where to start looking.

Three corridors over, around the curve, and a level down, to the common room where the Firebrands, the newly trained, and the newly hopeful gathered. Times like these, heavy storms on the horizon and roaring overhead, the younger mechs crammed together to play games, chat, wile away the time and burn off restless energy.

Sunstreaker’s prey clustered together in a corner, laughing loudly, crouched as they were over some kind of card game with chore chips as stakes. The common room quieted the moment Sunstreaker was spotted, and a hush followed him as he cut through the crowd with ease. Sometimes, he was glad that his reputation preceded him. Mating the Warchief hadn’t tempered it that much.

His prey spotted him and none of them had the good sense to bolt. Instead, they stared back, like dynadeer in a hunter’s sightline. Questions hovered on the tip of Sunstreaker’s glossa, his engine growling in anticipation.

They started gibbering the moment they saw him. He didn’t even get a chance to pound the truth out of them, which was both frustrating and a relief.

“It’s not our fault,” Silverspire blurted out.

“He’s the idiot who believed us,” Clockwork agreed.

Sunstreaker didn’t raise his voice. He didn’t have to. “Where is he?”

“Probably trying to find the Deathbringer. Like an idiot,” Torque said from half-behind Silverspire’s bulk.

All three cringed behind the table, as if it would protect them from Sunstreaker’s wrath. Clearly, they hadn’t been paying much attention.

“The Deathbringer,” Sunstreaker echoed, and shot them all a scathing glance. “And where would he have gotten an idea like that?” Another ripple raced down his spinal strut. His engine growled.

Torque quailed.

Silverspire squared his shoulders.

But it was Clockwork who spoke. “Not like it’s not a story everyone doesn’t already know,” he babbled, a collection of double-negatives and defiance that petered away into a mumble. “He was desperate and willing to try anything. Can’t blame that on us.”

Could and would.

Sunstreaker set his jaw. He leaned forward; they leaned back much further. Their fields grated against his own, thick with anxiety. Sunstreaker almost snorted aloud. And these were the ones Megatron wanted to accept into the warriors?

Clearly he was being too lenient in his assessments.

“You know that even after accepting the badge, you’re still required to undergo training?” Sunstreaker said, careful to keep his tone as cold and even as ice.

They exchanged glances.

“Yes?” Silverspire ventured.

Sunstreaker smiled.

It was not a kind smile. It had far too much denta, and nothing of humor in his optics. Well, maybe a tad bit of humor. But not the kind that encouraged laughter.

“I will be one of your instructors,” he said and he leaned forward, his field flowing out and over them, caging them in as effectively as energon-laced bars. “And I am neither kind nor forgiving. Remember that.”

He left them with that promise. He spun on a heel and abandoned them to their cowardice. He would point out to Megatron, later, just what he and Wirelight had agreed to bring into their fold. Maybe the three could be salvaged, maybe not.

Liking Rodimus wasn’t a precedence for accepting the warrior’s badge. But being an aft and a bully was not acceptable.

Sunstreaker stalked out of the common room, aware that a pervasive silence settled in his absence. It followed him out, and it wasn’t until he was around the corner that the low murmur of conversation began again, though he was soon too far to pick up anything in particular. No doubt the rumor mill would churn with a fury.

He headed straight for the supply depot, already mentally compiling a list of the things he would need. Travel rations, certainly. Extra, external power packs. A few daggers, easily magnetized to his plating so they wouldn’t get lost in the storm. A thick, sand-resistant tarp to guard against the worst of the grating wind.

There was no guard at the door, and Sunstreaker had a key so he let himself inside. He snatched a travel pack from the hooks and started stuffing things into it, weighing each option carefully. He didn’t want to drag himself down by bringing too much, but he didn’t want to be unprepared either.

It occurred, however briefly, that he was being irrational. Perhaps unreasonable even. But there was a chill in his spark, a clenching squeeze that screeched of guilt. And concern.

Rodimus was his friend. One of his dearest. He was much, much more than that as well, but difficult to put into words, to define. Once, they had been lovers, frag buddies to put it crudely. Sunstreaker cared for Rodimus. Deeply. It wasn’t love, such as was defined by how he felt for Megatron, but it was something of equal worth.

He refused to leave Rodimus to the storm.

“What is this I hear about you terrorizing the Firebrands?”

Sunstreaker didn’t allow himself to stiffen at the voice, one which crept up on him and he should have heard, were he not so intent on his packing. Still, no one was around. They had privacy. He didn’t have to show Megatron the deference he did in public.

“Rodimus is missing,” he said as he shoved another handful of rations into the small pack. He would need to travel light. “And those afts are partially to blame for it.”

“Did they tie him up and throw him into the Barrens?”

Sunstreaker’s armor clamped down, tension coiling in his hydraulics. “Verbal bullying is no better than physical torment. You know that as well as I do.”

“I’m not saying they’re innocent.” Gears creaked and pistons hissed. Megatron moved up beside him, all bulk and presence, his hand falling over Sunstreaker’s, mid-reach to another dagger he could strap to his thigh. “There’s a storm, Sunstreaker.”

“Which is why I have to find him quickly.”

Megatron’s fingers curled around his wrist, tight enough to warn, but not enough to threaten. “You don’t know where he is or how far he’s gotten, and Soundwave tells me there’s a greater electrical interference in this storm. You go out there, and you’ll just get yourself killed.”

Sunstreaker ground his denta. “I have to find him.”

“You’re not responsible for him.”

“I am!” His vents roared as he whipped around to look up at his mate. “If I’d just–” He bit off, unwilling to complete the admission, though Megatron knew it already. He dropped his gaze, staring hard at Megatron’s chestplate. “I should have paid more attention.”

Immediately, he was enfolded in his mate’s arms. Megatron was the only one he let hold him like this, Sideswipe notwithstanding. There was safety here, safety that he could find with no one else. Not even Rodimus, who he loved so dearly.

“It is not your fault,” Megatron murmured, his head tilted against Sunstreaker’s, his hands warm and firm on Sunstreaker’s back.

He clung to Megatron, his rock in the storm of emotion rampaging through his spark. He shuttered his optics. He cycled his vents, alarmed to find them shuddering.

“Say it enough, I might even believe you,” Sunstreaker replied with another shaky vent. He dug his fingers into Megatron’s seams, hooking in, keeping him close. “Did Sideswipe send you?”

Megatron’s engine rumbled. “He was concerned.”

“Tattler.”

The smallest of chuckles rolled out of his mate’s intake. He stroked Sunstreaker’s back again, long and warm sweeps of his palm. “Perhaps. But he was right to be worried.” Megatron’s head pushed harder against his. “As much as you care for Rodimus, I can’t allow you to go after him in this storm. I’ll not lose you.”

His fingers tightened; he heard them creak. His spark shriveled down with the painful truth. “What kind of friend would I be, to leave him out there to die?”

“You don’t know that he will.”

“You’re so certain that death will find me if I go after him.”

Megatron’s silence was confirmation. Another full shudder ripped through Sunstreaker’s frame. He buried his face against Megatron’s chassis, dragged in the scent of him, hot metal and weldfire and plasma energy.

“He’s such an idiot,” Sunstreaker choked out, heat burning like slag behind his optics, and his intake thick and tight.

Megatron’s hands became a lifeline, a point of connection, where they swept steadily up and down his back. “Soundwave estimates the storm will burn itself out in a week, perhaps less if we are lucky. The moment it is safe, I will send out a search party.”

To find something to bury, Sunstreaker assumed. A heavy shudder raked through his armor. He couldn’t get any closer to Megatron, but he tried. His spark ached, and that was when warmth pressed against him from behind, and he knew from the echo, that it was Sideswipe. Who, mercifully, said nothing. Only pressed his forehead to the back of Sunstreaker’s neck and held tight.

Apologies clawed out of his vocalizer and caught in his intake, sticking there. He prayed to a deity he never much gave any credit to, and he hoped.

He hoped that Rodimus remembered what he’d been taught. That the brat had found somewhere to hole up and wait out the storm. That he’d seen it coming and knew what to do.

He hoped and he prayed and wondered if he was fool for bothering with both.

Not long after, and not long enough later, responsibility pried Megatron away from them. He urged both Sunstreaker and Sideswipe to return to their quarters.

Well, urged as in ordered, and Sunstreaker didn’t have the state of mind to disobey. He let Sideswipe drag him back to their room. He let Sideswipe help him disarm all of his extra weaponry, tumbling the daggers and the grenades and the blasters into their weapons bin. He let himself be pulled to one of their chairs, pushed down into it. He accepted the energon Sideswipe handed him.

The need to act coiled like a hungry turbowolf inside of him. Sunstreaker was a warrior, born and bred. Patience was not one of his better virtues. He was not built to wait.

Sideswipe dropped down beside him, lounging on the floor as he was wont to do, his repose lackadaisical but Sunstreaker knew his brother far too well. Sideswipe could spring to action in a moment’s notice. There was wariness in the way he looked at Sunstreaker, like he’d become a type of skittish mechanimal.

Maybe he wasn’t wrong.

Time passed slow, achingly slow, trapped as he was in these rooms, as large as they were. Sideswipe remained his constant companion, offering empty conversation, trying to draw Sunstreaker into some kind of entertainment, a spar or two.

Sunstreaker could only focus on the shriek of the wind, the sound of the ferocious sand as it battered at the defense of their settlement, the gathered noise of their clan, everyone indoors and caged just as he. They were as much nomadic as they were settled, and many of the hunters were eager to get back to their duties.

Sunstreaker started to pace a circuit around their living quarters, a path he could walk in his recharge, so often had he done this. Restless energy did not make for a calm life, especially as he grew more and more agitated. The storm would not abate, and no word had been found from Rodimus.

They wouldn’t, either, not with this storm. Communications were down across the board. They couldn’t even contact the clan nearest to them.

Megatron had all but ordered Sunstreaker stay in their quarters. He didn’t want to risk Sunstreaker looking for Rodimus. In the privacy of their quarters, Sunstreaker could argue. But Megatron had made the proclamation in front of the clan. As Warchief.

Sunstreaker couldn’t disobey.

Or shouldn’t.

His engine growled. He stomped through another circuit, shooting a glance toward the doorway. He felt trapped in here, like a caged mechanimal, a toxicougar who hadn’t fed. He should be out there. Looking. Not pacing around in here like a kept pet.

He needed to be moving. He couldn’t stay in here for the rest of the week. He at least needed to be somewhere else or he’d worry himself into a spark-attack.

Sunstreaker whirled and stomped toward the door.

He was immediately intercepted by Sideswipe. “Where are you going?” his twin asked, with a smile that was far from casual.

Sunstreaker drew up short and narrowed his optics. “Out.”

“Ohhh. I want to go out, too. We should go together.” Sideswipe nodded firmly, as though this was a given and shouldn’t be ignored. He planted his hands on his hips and added a jaunty grin.

Sunstreaker didn’t fail to notice Sideswipe was between him and the door. He hated that, even for a moment, he considered taking Sideswipe down to make his escape. He could do it and had done it. He won two times out of three when he sparred against his brother.

Sunstreaker cocked his head. He folded his arms over his chest. “What? Are you my sitter now?”

Sideswipe’s grin never lost its steam. “Well, someone has to stop you from being an idiot.” He planted his hands on his hips, thrusting his chassis forward, as if it would intimidate.

Sunstreaker snorted. “Well, I’m sorry I’m the only one worried.”

A flinch and Sunstreaker knew he’d scored. The smile wiped itself from Sideswipe’s face, his optics going hard, like energon crystals.

“You think I don’t care?” Sideswipe asked, his voice low and cold and for a fraction of a second, Sunstreaker had an idea of what those strut-less Firebrands had felt. “You think I don’t wanna find him, too? You think I haven’t considered diving out into that storm to bring his sorry aft back here?”

Sunstreaker set his jaw. Even when Sideswipe flung a hand in a seemingly random direction, but one Sunstreaker knew aimed toward the main entrance and main outer gate.

“Do you think I haven’t already considered every route, every possibility, every cave between here and the rumors?” Sideswipe demanded and his farflung hand trembled. “Just because I’m an inch more of a tactician, an inch more realistic to know that there’s nothing I can do more than I’m doing now, that makes me sparkless? How is getting myself killed going to help anyone?”

Silence. Only because Sunstreaker didn’t have a retort that wasn’t petulant or would add fuel to the flame. Each word landed in his audials like a physical strike, as clear and obvious as the pain in Sideswipe’s vocals.

It hadn’t made him feel better, to hurt Sideswipe the same way he hurt. It never did. Yet, Sunstreaker kept doing it anyway. All his life, he’d done this. Sideswipe still forgave him for it. Every time.

Frag if Sunstreaker knew why.

Sunstreaker dropped his gaze. He stared at the floor around Sideswipe’s feet. There were several scrapes in the swept stone here, flecks of paint caught in the scratches: black, gray, bits of red and yellow. They’d tackled each other more than once, sometimes sparring, sometimes for a bit of playful fooling around.

Sideswipe’s feet moved. He came closer.

His voice gentled, as it always did, when Sunstreaker should apologize and didn’t, because here as always, Sideswipe was the better mech.

“Look, I get it okay,” Sideswipe murmured, his field reaching as much as his voice did, and he tapped on his end of the bond, the strings connecting them vibrating until they touched Sunstreaker’s spark, too. “But just… you gotta wait. We all do. And as soon as the storm clears up, we’ll go look. Soundwave’s gonna send out the bird twins. Wrench is gonna contact some old pals of him. We’ll find him. And he’s gonna be fine.”

It was hard to ventilate. It felt like someone had reached into his chassis, put their hands around his pumps, and squeezed.

“He’s in the desert. In the middle of a sandstorm,” Sunstreaker said to the floor. His own pessimism was a knife to the back.

Sideswipe moved even closer, and he didn’t have to offer his arms before Sunstreaker slipped into them, the tremble in his knees radiating up his spinal strut.

“So? He’s a smart kid,” Sideswipe said.

Sunstreaker snorted, his face buried in the crook of his twin’s intake. Their chestplates knocked together, and he could feel the answering pulse of Sideswipe’s spark, even through their layered armor.

“Okay, so he’s a resourceful one at any rate,” Sideswipe corrected, a touch of humor in his voice, his arms enclosing Sunstreaker much as Megatron’s had. “And we trained him. Have a little faith in him.”

Sunstreaker worked his intake. “There’s a line,” he began quietly, “between trusting in someone’s abilities, and fooling oneself to the practicalities.”

“You’ve been spending too much time with Dead End.”

Sunstreaker opted to say nothing. He shuttered his optics and focused on the rhythm of Sideswipe’s vents and the pulse of his twin’s spark. It was an age-old tactic he’d used to center himself, to ground himself when it felt like his emotions were going to swallow him whole. Sideswipe had always been the steady one.

Sideswipe vented and patted Sunstreaker on the back. “You’re such a drama queen,” he murmured, but there was an affectionate cant to his vocals.

“Shut up.”

“Love you, too.”

Sunstreaker could be incredibly dense sometimes. He missed the subtleties of social interaction. Mostly, he didn’t care whether people liked him or not, so long as he had a few close friends. He was painfully unaware of certain things.

But he was not stupid.

He swallowed down the rest of his plans to go after Rodimus. He knew they were all foolish and suicidal besides. He couldn’t help Rodimus by dying. He could do nothing but be patient. He had to wait.

Until the storm ended, Sunstreaker was agitated and unsettled. He made everyone around him miserable, stalking as he did through the halls, snapping at anyone who dared smirk in his direction. Firebrands quickly learned to give him a wide berth, especially those Sunstreaker blamed for Rodimus’ stupid but understandably desperate action.

The hours and minutes crawled by. Days felt as weeks. Sunstreaker spent a lot of time standing just within the front entrance, staring out into a world that was nothing more than swirling sand, roaring wind, and no visibility, even with his advanced sensors. This was one of the worst storms he’d ever seen, and his only consolation was that the more fierce the storm, the quicker it burned out.

It was a little under a week until the storm dulled enough that they could risk sending out search parties. Sunstreaker volunteered for every one. He didn’t know what he’d find. He was afraid of it.

But he also didn’t want to be back at the settlement when they found him. He wanted to be there, to hug Rodimus, and then slap the sense back into the idiot. He didn’t want to wait for answers anymore. He wanted to find them himself.

He was on his way back from another search party, from another sector, another long circle of sweeping sensors with Laserbeak flying overhead, when Megatron pinged him. When the message came crackling across his comm, and sent a surge of relief through his spark.

Rodimus is home.

Three words and the bottom fell out of Sunstreaker’s spark. His knees wobbled. He would have dropped out of sheer relief, if he’d been alone or around mechs he dared show weakness. Instead, he’d barked orders and turned toward home.

He hadn’t wanted to dare believe. He hadn’t wanted to hope. He wondered if it was a dream, that maybe he was in recharge and imagining Rodimus could have somehow survived that storm and come back to them.

It wasn’t until he came over the horizon, until he sped toward the entrance, following the pull of Megatron on his end of the bond, until he saw that red and orange and yellow armor, the familiar jut of a spoiler, that it felt real.

Sunstreaker owed so many apologies. But later, he told himself, as he swept Rodimus up into his arms, his optics hot and burning at the sound of an adorable, and familiar, startled squeak. As Rodimus squirmed in the embrace and chuckled.

To see Sunstreaker, anyone would think that Rodimus was his lover. Certainly his behavior made it seem so, and he knew it did. He’d looked at Megatron, expecting his mate to be angry, disappointed, jealous even. The cold clench of resignation. A sensation of abandonment.

Instead, he’d found understanding. A small smile on Megatron’s lips. Relief as bright in his optics as it was in Sunstreaker’s spark.

That look had been a comfort, a reassurance. Megatron understood. Sunstreaker loved Megatron, in words that he couldn’t express. He’d accepted Megatron’s courtship and mated Megatron, and there was no one he loved like this more.

He loved Rodimus, too. But not the way he loved Megatron. And there were no words for the gratitude that flooded him then, the way he felt when he realized Megatron understood and wasn’t angry.

It had been that moment, Sunstreaker contemplated back in the present, that he’d fallen for Megatron all over again. So while reading Rodimus’ letter made his spark clench, made the guilt settle in, he could turn into Megatron’s arms, pillow his head on Megatron’s chassis, and know that his mate understood.

It was balm to the burn.

“You’re right,” Sunstreaker murmured as he slid a hand around Megatron’s chassis, feeling the quiet thrum of his mate’s purring engine beneath his palm.

Megatron chuckled against his audial, low and deep. “I always am.”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself.”

Another soft laugh tickled Sunstreaker’s audial as Megatron ex-vented soft and warm. “And what if I want to kiss you? Am I allowed that?”

A shiver slipped down Sunstreaker’s spinal strut. “Always,” he murmured, before Megatron’s mouth slid toward his, capturing his lips in a sweet, sultry kiss.

A rush of liquid warmth pulsed through Sunstreaker’s lines. He held on to Megatron, clutching his mate close, and moaned quietly when Megatron shifted to blanket Sunstreaker’s frame with his own. Megatron was larger and heavier, but somehow, held beneath him felt less like being trapped and more like being kept safe.

The kiss deepened, Megatron’s glossa sliding against his, careful and exploratory. The berth dipped beneath Sunstreaker as Megatron braced his weight with an arm, and let the other drag teasing fingers down Sunstreaker’s side. His knees bracketed Sunstreaker’s hips, the warmth and weight of him enclosing Sunstreaker entirely.

He didn’t have to ask for forgiveness, because there was nothing to forgive. That was what he felt in Megatron’s field, which pulsed nothing but comfort and affection at him.

He was lucky, Sunstreaker thought. He was so very lucky.

Megatron’s mouth wandered away, a gentle kiss pressed to the corner of Sunstreaker’s mouth before it followed the curve of his jaw to his audial. He ex-vented a tickling rush into Sunstreaker’s helm vent.

“What else am I allowed?” Megatron murmured in that deep, silken voice of his which never failed to send tremors down Sunstreaker’s spinal strut. “What would you have of me, only one?”

Sunstreaker moaned softly, well aware that Sideswipe still recharged on the berth beside them. “Everything,” he replied in a voice equally hushed.

Megatron chuckled against his audial. “You already have that.” His lips grazed a sultry path into the curve of Sunstreaker’s intake. “You’ll have to be more specific.” Teasing fingers stroked into Sunstreaker’s lateral seams.

A universe of choices then, because there had been nothing Sunstreaker asked for so far, which Megatron had denied him. He had only to whisper, to plea, to demand, and Megatron yielded, with need and affection in his optics.

Sunstreaker’s grip shifted to Megatron’s hips, fingers hooking around seams and pulling him down, as he rolled up and ground against Megatron’s groin. Heat answered him back, searing and hungry.

“Want you inside me,” Sunstreaker panted as the berth creaked and shifted, as he felt the slide of hot armor against his own. His valve ached, cycling into readiness, lubricant already slicking the metalmesh walls and causing his calipers to click restlessly.

Lips burrowed into the hollow of his intake, warm and wet on the sensitive cables. “That I can most certainly do,” Megatron purred, the vibrations of his words sending a thrill up Sunstreaker’s backstrut.

His panels snapped open. Any other time he would have been embarrassed by the need in his frame, but with the appreciative flush in Megatron’s field, and the answering pulse of desire, embarrassment was the furthest from Sunstreaker’s mind.

He swallowed down a moan as Megatron shifted, his mouth sliding down ever so slowly, lips discovering the length of Sunsteaker’s chestplate, over the flat of his abdominal armor, and to the peeping head of Sunstreaker’s spike.

Warmth enclosed the tip, a glossa poking at his transfluid slit. Sunstreaker’s hips all but arched off the berth, were it not for Megatron’s hands cradling them, keeping him pinned. Desire lurched through his frame, pooling southward, sending arousal hot and heavy through his array.

“Not fair,” he hissed subvocally.

A soft chuckle vibrated around the head of his spike. Megatron looked up at him, optics dark with lust and humor, before he let Sunstreaker slip from his mouth.

“All’s fair when it comes to the berth,” he murmured and dipped his head further down, his lips brushing over Sunstreaker’s anterior node.

Fire licked up his backstrut, and Sunstreaker fisted the berth covers, his backstrut curving once more. “This… is not obedience,” he groaned softly, lights dancing in the back of his optics.

Soft ex-vents teased his valve, lips brushing over his swollen rim and a glossa sweeping in to lap up the lubricant trickling free. “Can’t I have a little taste first?” Megatron asked, half-deference, half-plea, fully contrary.

Sunstreaker’s thighs trembled. “You just did,” he said, and hoped it sounded firmer aloud than it did in his head, because he was tempted now. He didn’t know if he wanted Megatron’s spike or his glossa buried between his thighs.

“Ah, but I am ever so greedy,” Megatron said with another long, savoring lick up the length of Sunstreaker’s valve, ending with a suckle to his swollen anterior cluster.

Sunstreaker sucked air through his denta, his valve throbbing. “Megatron,” he moaned, and knew there was no way Sideswipe still recharged, not with all the noise they were making. “Spike me. Now.”

Megatron cradled his hips, pressing a kiss to Sunstreaker’s valve. “As you wish.” He lifted his head, his lips glistening with Sunstreaker’s lubricant.

Sunstreaker almost shoved his head back down, save that his valve was desperate for something to pierce it. Instead, he gripped the berthcovers tighter, thighs trembling with anticipation as Megatron sat back on his heels, spike standing proud and glistening with pre-fluid. His biolights pulsed a slow, steady throb of need, and Sunstreaker’s valve ached.

More lubricant trickled free even as Megatron shifted his position, pulling Sunstreaker’s hips toward him. He leaned forward, blanketing Sunstreaker’s frame with his own. The head of his spike nudged Sunstreaker’s swollen rim, sending a shock of need through his lines.

Sunstreaker canted his hips upward, urging with his frame as well as his field. His valve rippled.

“Spike me,” he demanded again, more forcefully this time. “Now.”

Megatron’s optics glittered at him. “Yes, love.” He rolled his hips forward, spike sliding into Sunstreaker achingly slow, filling him inch by inch, until the thick head brushed Sunstreaker’s ceiling node.

He moaned, head tipping back, a shiver rattling him from head to foot. His thighs trembled where they bracketed Megatron, pressing in, keeping his mate close.

Megatron held himself deep, circled his hips, grinding slow and sweet against Sunstreaker’s ceiling node. Sparks of pleasure danced up and down Sunstreaker’s backstrut. He moaned a little louder, grasping at Megatron, pulling him closer.

“More,” he demanded.

Megatron leaned in, nuzzling Sunstreaker’s face. “All you want,” he promised, and withdrew until only the tip of his spike lingered, before he pushed in again, just as slow and steady.

He started up a pace, long and deep strokes that made Sunstreaker’s nodes sing and charge build hot and heavy in his array. He writhed beneath Megatron, holding his mate tight, gasping out demands for more.

Suddenly, Megatron’s rhythm stuttered. He gasped out a hungry sound, optics flaring, back arching. He pressed deep and shivered.

“Don’t stop!” Sunstreaker demanded, urging Megatron on with a press of his knees, a tightening of his grip.

His brother’s head popped up from behind Megatron, hooking his chin over Megatron’s right shoulder. “Is this a private party or can anyone join?” Sideswipe asked, all mischief and lust, one hand sliding around Megatron’s abdomen and the other nowhere in sight.

Though judging by Megatron’s quickened vents and the flush of heat in Megatron’s face, Sunstreaker could guess where it’d gone.

“Stop it,” he hissed as Megatron throbbed in his valve and shook with evident struggle to restrain himself. “You know he can’t hold back when you do that.”

The slick noise of fingers in lubricant was barely audible over three sets of whirring fans. Megatron shivered again, hips rocking as Sideswipe’s fingers slid into him. Two, maybe three? Sunstreaker couldn’t see, and it didn’t matter.

“I can so,” Megatron grunted, but the way he sagged on top of Sunstreaker as blue fire sparked along his frame argued otherwise.

Sideswipe chuckled and nosed his way into the side of Megatron’s throat, lips and denta marking a hot path. “No, you can’t,” he purred and did something to make Megatron thrust harder into Sunstreaker, grinding against his array and tapping his exterior node.

Sunstreaker moaned. He rocked up against Megatron as his mate started to move again, faster now, sharper thrusts that lit up Sunstreaker’s nodes with ecstasy. Sideswipe looked outright devious as he nibbled on Megatron’s throat, and no doubt fingered him without restraint.

Megatron hunched forward, gasping, his optics dark and heavy. His thrusts became erratic, desperate, grinding hard and deep into Sunstreaker. The base of his array was a heavy pressure on Sunstreaker’s external node, licking fire up and down his backstrut. Sunstreaker groaned, trying to drag Megatron closer, trying to cling to the rising coil of need in his groin.

He was so close. Release was within his grasp. He just needed a little more–

Megatron’s rhythm stuttered. He gasped as he stilled, slamming deep into Sunstreaker, transfluid spurting a hot gush inside Sunstreaker’s valve, washing over his nodes and setting them ablaze. It wasn’t enough, however, and Sunstreaker snarled angrily as Megatron slumped over him, vents whirring and frame trembling.

“I told you!” Sunstreaker seethed as he bucked his hips, trying to get friction, any kind of friction really. Need pulsed in his lines and whirred through his spark. His engine hiccuped from the stalled pleasure.

Sideswipe chuckled and curled an arm around Megatron, pulling him back. “Relax, bro. I always get you taken care of, don’t I?” he asked even as he did something to make Megatron shudder, his optics brightening.

“I would apologize, but I suspect Sideswipe has some plan he intends to follow,” Megatron rasped as his hands slid up Sunstreaker’s legs and curled around his knees, tickling the undersides.

Sunstreaker thumped his fists on the berth. “I don’t care about Sideswipe’s plan. I care about getting off!”

Sideswipe’s hand slid down Megatron’s belly, his fingers curling around their mate’s semi-pressurized spike and giving it a squeeze. “The plans includes that, don’t worry.” He nuzzled into Megatron’s throat and nipped with his denta. “Sun’s got such a pretty spike, doesn’t he? Why don’t you taste it?”

Megatron shivered, his optics half-shuttering as the hot weight of his gaze slid to Sunstreaker’s spike. His glossa swept over his lips.

Sunstreaker slid a hand down his frame and fingered the tip of his spike, which extruded pearls of pre-fluid at a rapid pace. “You owe me,” he said. “Both of you.”

Sideswipe was still going to pay later, no matter how much Sunstreaker would enjoy this now. He hated having his pleasure delayed. Sideswipe was the one with an overload-denial kink, not Sunstreaker.

“Indeed I do,” Megatron murmured. Lust darkened his tone into a heavy syrup that drizzled into Sunstreaker’s audials.

Megatron bent forward, curling his arms around Sunstreaker’s thighs from beneath them, cradling Sunstreaker’s hips with his hands. He rubbed his cheek over Sunstreaker’s spike, his gaze holding Sunstreaker’s as he did so. Half in challenge, half in promise.

A shiver danced up Sunstreaker’s spinal strut. He felt every hot ex-vent over his spike. More pre-fluid trickled free, glistening at the tip. His valve clenched, raw with emptiness.

“You two make such a gorgeous picture,” Sideswipe said as he knelt behind Megatron, one hand on their mate’s back, the other gripping his hip.

Sunstreaker couldn’t see Sideswipe’s spike, but he could imagine where it was. Pressurized and needy, the head of it nudging Megatron’s valve, teasing the plush lips before slowly piercing his rim, gradually filling Megatron. He could tell how deep Sideswipe went by Megatron’s rumbles, increasing in strength and volume.

Megatron ex-vented hot and wet over Sunstreaker’s spike. His cheek rubbed the length of it again.

“Stop teasing,” Sunstreaker growled as he bucked his hips as much as he was capable. “Put me in your mouth!”

The vibrations of Megatron’s laugh rattled along Sunstreaker’s spike. He snarled at his mate, hips rolling up again, only to finally sink into Megatron’s mouth, his spike eclipsed in wet heat. Charge licked up Sunstreaker’s backstrut as the head of his spike teased the back of Megatron’s intake before his mate eased off and focused on the head, slurping at it, his glossa poking at Sunstreaker’s transfluid slit.

“Obedience looks good on you,” Sideswipe purred as he gripped Megatron’s hips and ground against his aft, no doubt sinking deep by the way Megatron groaned around Sunstreaker’s spike, his optics half-shuttering in pleasure.

Sideswipe thrust and rocked Megatron forward, driving the pace of Megatron’s mouth on Sunstreaker’s spike. Wonderful heat and suction, the swipe of a clever glossa and the wet sounds it made as oral lubricant mixed with the pre-fluid seeping from Sunstreaker’s spike.

He groaned louder and reached down, gripping Megatron’s head with both hands, holding him in place so he could thrust gently into his mate’s mouth. Judging by the sound Megatron made, the way his energy field rose up and entangled with Sunstreaker’s, so thick with lust, he enjoyed the directing. Only here, in the berth, did Megatron enjoy being told what to do.

Megatron’s hands tightened on Sunstreaker’s hips, his moans vibrating against Sunstreaker’s spike as his intake rippled around the head of it. Sunstreaker shivered and thrust up into Megatron’s mouth, pleasure rebuilding into a crescendo inside of him, lust like a hot knife and a sizzle through his lines.

“Yesssss,” Sideswipe hissed, his pelvis clanging against Megatron’s aft as he thrust harder and faster, yanking Megatron back onto his spike and shoving him forward again, onto Sunstreaker’s spike, forcing him deeper. Sideswipe’s lust spilled into the room, tangling with Sunstreaker’s and driving his even higher.

Sunstreaker growled and tossed his head back, the spiral of hunger building into a tense knot threatening to boil over. His heels kicked at the berth. Charge raced across his armor, breaking up the dim.

“You close, bro?” Sideswipe asked, his optics the blue fire of lust. “Gonna spill in our mate’s mouth? Fill him up?”

Megatron moaned around Sunstreaker’s spike as if begging for it. His hips pushed back into Sideswipe’s thrusts, his hands squeezed Sunstreaker’s hips to the rhythm.

Sideswipe chuckled darkly. “Think he likes that idea.” He slid his hands over and around Megatron’s aft. “Don’t swallow, Megatron. Not yet at least.”

Oh, Primus.

Sunstreaker choked on a gasp, the implication in Sideswipe’s words shoving him over the edge. He bucked up, ecstasy slamming through his frame, making sparks dance in his optics as he overloaded, transfluid pumping into Megatron’s mouth. He held Megatron’s head firmly, only the dimmest focus keeping him from squeezing too tight.

Megatron moaned around his spike, his optics flaring with desire. His hands gripped Sunstreaker’s hips hard enough to dent, drips of lubricant and transfluid dribbling out of the corners of his mouth.

“Yes,” Sideswipe hissed as he bent over Megatron from behind, slamming into him. “Don’t swallow. Hold it in your mouth. Savor it.”

A shiver wracked Megatron’s frame. He tongued at Sunstreaker’s spike, more mingled fluids dripping from the corner of his mouth.

“Adaptus,” Sideswipe breathed and abruptly leaned back, tugging on the back of Megatron’s collar fairing as he did so.

Sunstreaker groaned, releasing his hold on Megatron and shoving a hand between his thighs, plunging three fingers into his valve. Megatron reared upright, hands flailing before they found a hold on Sunstreaker’s knees. His spike bobbed at the apex of his thighs, streaked with the evidence of his earlier overload.

Sunstreaker ate up the sight of Sideswipe tugging Megatron into a sloppy, wet kiss, Sunstreaker’s transfluid staining their lips and passing between them. Sideswipe’s free hand slid around Megatron’s belly, reaching down to grip his spike firmly. Megatron groaned into the kiss, his hands squeezing Sunstreaker’s knees.

Sunstreaker’s fingers plunged deeper, raking the sensitive nodes on the inside of his valve. Megatron’s aborted spiking left him with a lingering ache. He hissed his pleasure, hips pumping up into his fingers, as he watched his mates move together, sharing a wet and heated kiss, Sideswipe’s hands squeezing and pumping as he shoved hard and deep into Megatron.

Primus, they were gorgeous. And they were his.

Megatron stiffened in Sideswipe’s hold, his sounds of pleasure muffled by the kiss, as he overloaded. His spike spurted, most of it dampening Sideswipe’s fist, but the rest landing on Sunstreaker, hitting the back of his hand where he ground the heel of his palm against his anterior node. The taste of the pleasure in his field, tangled so deeply with Sunstreaker’s own, dragged Sunstreaker over, his valve clamping around his fingers.

He shook, head tossing back, as his valve squeezed rhythmically, lubricant seeping out of his valve to soak the berth beneath his aft. Sunstreaker panted and forced his optics open, not wanting to miss a moment of Sideswipe’s pleasure as he broke away from the kiss, shoved his face into the crook of Megatron’s neck and bit down.

Denta-marks were always a clear sign Sideswipe had succumbed to pleasure. His optics streaked white, his field exploded outward and his hips screeched against Megatron’s aft in a deep grind. His hand smacked against Megatron’s belly, coated in transfluid as it was, and the harsh bite of his denta made Megatron shudder.

Ecstasy left Sideswipe in a rush, abandoning him to the lingering tremors of it. He captured Megatron’s mouth again, though the kiss this time was a softer and sweeter. He gentled his hold and they swayed together, the smallest of smiles curving their lips.

Sunstreaker straightened a leg and swatted them both in the sides. “Hey, where’s my kiss?” he demanded as he drew his fingers free of his valve, three digits glistening with lubricant. “Or do I have to do everything myself?”

Sideswipe ended the kiss with the smirk. “Someone’s feeling a little left out,” he teased as he leaned in and licked the bitemark he left behind. “Now you know how I felt lying there listening to the two of you canoodle.”

“Canoodle.” Megatron rolled his optics. “You are ridiculous, Sideswipe.”

“But you love me anyway, right?”

“Still not getting kissed here,” Sunstreaker reminded them with another kick that barely counted as a kick. The sound it made was little louder than a chime.

Megatron eased out of Sideswipe’s grip and curved forward, back between Sunstreaker’s thighs where he belonged. “My apologies,” he murmured as he crawled up Sunstreaker’s frame, all languid grace like a voltaic cat.

He dropped a kiss on Sunstreaker’s abdomen, his chestplate, his clavicle strut, the curve of his intake.

“Allow me to make it up to you,” Megatron murmured against the curve of Sunstreaker’s jaw before his lips found Sunstreaker’s.

Mmm. Much better.

Sideswipe, however, snorted. “Such a drama queen,” he said, as he shifted his weight and made the berth shift with him. “Can’t stand not to be the center of attention.”

Sunstreaker broke away from the kiss and nuzzled Megatron, making it easier to direct a glare over their mate’s shoulder. “Shut the frag up.”

“Hah. Make me.” Sideswipe patted Megatron’s aft and crawled up the berth beside their intertwined frames, flopping down next to Sunstreaker. “Just for that, you get to sleep in the wet spot.”

Megatron groaned and shifted as well, moving to lay atop Sunstreaker, pillowing his head on Sunstreaker’s chestplate. “Must you two always bicker?”

“It’s part of our charm,” Sideswipe said. “Besides, it stopped him from brooding, didn’t it?”

“I wasn’t brooding,” Sunstreaker retorted as he wrapped his arms around Megatron’s frame, stroking his hands down Megatron’s back.

He actually was lying in the wet spot, but he could tolerate it for a short time if it meant having this. Sure Megatron was heavy and overheating and the width of his frame forced Sunstreaker’s thighs wider than was comfortable. But he’d never say aloud how much he enjoyed cuddling like this.

Sideswipe stretched his arms over his head before folding them behind him. “You were brooding. About Hot Stuff. Because you have a guilt complex larger than this settlement.”

Sunstreaker sighed and shuttered his optics.

“He’s right, you know,” Megatron murmured, his words vibrating against Sunstreaker’s chestplate. “I seem to recall distracting you from reading that datapad over and over again.”

Sunstreaker pressed his lips together and ignored both of them.

Sideswipe rolled over, Sunstreaker felt the berth shift before the warmth of his twin settled against his side. “Kid’s gonna be okay. We taught him well. He’s finally found his happiness.”

“I know that,” Sunstreaker muttered.

“And yet, you’re acting like you just got dumped,” Sideswipe retorted.

“Or a caretaker whose sparkling has left the cradle,” Megatron added.

Sunstreaker growled. “I hate you both.”

They laughed at him. Both of them. His mates who he loved. Afts.

Megatron chuckled and nosed into Sunstreaker’s throat, his lips tracing a path that made shivers dance down Sunstreaker’s spinal strut. “And I love you, Sunbeam.”

Sideswipe cackled.

Sunstreaker groaned. “Great. He’s corrupted you.”

“Eventually, everyone falls for my charms,” Sideswipe said as the berth bounced when he shifted.

Suddenly, a weight bore Sunstreaker down. He grunted, and Megatron did as well. He had only to taste the devilishness in Sideswipe’s field to know what that weight was.

“Get off us!” Sunstreaker growled, trying to shove at the two heavily armored frames making him sink into the berth. “Primus, you’re such a sparkling sometimes!”

Sideswipe chortled. “Who’s king of the mountain now?”

Megatron sighed.

Sunstreaker wished he didn’t love them so much sometimes. Because then he wouldn’t find their behavior charming.

He’d chosen this, he reminded himself. He wanted this happiness, a life shared with his mates. He resolved to enjoy it, forgetting about the datapad on the nightstand.

Rodimus was gone, out living life on his own, seeking his own version of this very annoying, very wonderful romance. That was all Sunstreaker could have wished for him.

Which meant Sunstreaker was now free to do the same.

“I’ll show you who’s king,” Megatron growled as he bucked up, sending Sideswipe tumbling from his back and inevitably, off the berth with a noisy clatter of armor.

“Ow.” Sideswipe’s laughter belied any pain, however.

It was Sunstreaker’s turn to sigh.

They were his mates, and he loved them dearly. And he certainly couldn’t let them have all the fun now could he?

Sunstreaker smirked and tensed his hydraulics to pounce.

After all, there was only one king in this court. And both Sideswipe and Megatron knew frag well it wasn’t either of them.

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