[RB] Full Throttle

The polite thing about Primes is that they usually call first. Unless they are feeling mischievous for once, and drop in on you completely unannounced, scaring the living daylights out of you and making you spill your coolant everywhere.

“Well,” High Tide says sourly as he shakes coolant off his fingers and sets the now empty cup aside. “Looks like your team finally got that ground bridge going.”

He pulls a cloth out the bin – nice of the humans to give him this fabric, it’s wonderfully absorbent – and mops up his fingers.

Optimus chuckles softly, in that way he does when he’s in a good mood. “To be fair, it has been working for some time,” he says. He comes further into High Tide’s quarters and snags a cloth for himself.

He stoops to clean the coolant from the floor, and High Tide has to bite down on the urge to tell him Primes shouldn’t be janitors. But that’s the way Optimus has always been. Never one to shirk from what needs to be done just because he’s the one doing it.

Instead, High Tide snorts and wipes coolant from his gears. “You like pretending otherwise for the younglings then.” He waggles a freshly wiped finger at Optimus. “Sneaky Prime.”

Optimus looks up at him, optics shining with mirth. “I prefer to consider it a learning experience.” He rises to his full height and lobs the dirtied cloth into a laundry basket.

He doesn’t miss. Of course.

High Tide shakes his head and laughs. “Sure ya do.” He tosses his own cloth into the basket. It catches on the edge and drapes half on the floor. He holds out his arms. “Get over here, ya scallywag. I’ve missed you.”

Optimus comes into his arms, his embrace one of warmth and fervor, delightfully genuine. “It has only been a few short months,” he says against High Tide’s head.

High Tide scoffs. “Say that again after you’ve spent months in the company of a buncha rookies and their squishies.” He gives Optimus a satisfying squeeze before he steps back, the urge to grope one he can barely resist.

Optimus’ optics twinkle with amusement. He cocks his head. “High Tide.”

He recognizes that admonishing tone. Optimus don’t even have to add extra words to it. Feels like getting shamed by his minder, it does.

“I didn’t say they weren’t good youngsters.” High Tide waggles his finger as he turns to draw himself another cup of coolant, and one for Optimus as well. Knowing his Prime, he ain’t taking care of himself like he should, even with Ratchet nagging. “Just that they can wear on an old mech’s patience is all.”

“I will grant you that much,” Optimus concedes. He accepts the coolant with murmured gratitude, and sips at it, his engine giving a soft rev of delight.

Figures. Someone really needs to look after their Prime properly. Maybe Ratchet needs a lesson in badgering to get through to him.

“Ya got another assignment for me?” High Tide asks before he downs his coolant as quick as possible. He’s got the feeling that heat in Optimus’ optics spells a good night for him. He’s going to need it all.

Optimus hums a negative. “No. You are where you can do the most good.”

“Oh. So this is a social call then?”

Optimus’ lips lift into a smile. “I do occasionally like to visit old friends.”

“Mm hm.” High Tide tips the empty cup into a bin for later washing. He leans a hip against the counter. “You’ll never guess who snuck aboard my ship the other night.”

Optimus sips his coolant before he lowers the cup and swirls the contents around. “Hm,” he says. “Heatwave.”

“Blasted Primes,” High Tide says. It’s impossible to get a jump on them.

Optimus chuckles. “Merely a deduction.” He finishes his coolant and sets it aside, glossa flicking quick-like over his lips.

High Tide effects a grump. He folds his arms. “Then can ya deduct what for?”

Optimus moves closer, and High Tide lets him, just like he lets the hand rest on his shoulder and slide slowly down his arm. “Heatwave is older than his companions,” Optimus muses aloud. “Given the excitement they face on a near daily basis, I can.”

High Tide drops his arms, slides into the sizzling heat of Optimus’ field, his hands finding the strong jut of Optimus’ hips. “It’s not right, what it is,” he says with a huff.

Clever Prime fingers caress down High Tide’s arms, dipping into seams and divots, raising sensation in their wake. “What? My deductions or Heatwave?”

High Tide’s aft hits the counter edge behind him. Odd how he doesn’t remember backing toward it. “Oh, that firebot was a delight,” he says as he finds himself hoisted up onto the edge and a Prime notching himself between High Tide’s thighs. “Hotter than the fires he puts out. I’m talking about you, ya old windbag. A mech oughta be able to tease some mystery.”

The counter creaks and groans under his weight. It’s not meant to carry someone as massive as he is. But it’d be even more of a struggle to get Optimus up here, not that it’s where he wants to be apparently. Seems he wants High Tide right here. And High Tide’s inclined to be wherever his Prime wants him to be.

“Then perhaps you should not be so obvious.” Optimus vents heat across High Tide’s frame, his optics a very bright blue in the dim of High Tide’s quarters.

I’m obvious?” High Tide laughs and hooks his ankles behind Optimus’ thighs, dragging him closer with a clang of metal on metal. “That ain’t my hand on my panel.”

Sure enough, there are talented Prime fingers on his abdominal plating, teasing around the seams of the panel concealing his cord array.

“Hm.” Optimus leans in, nuzzling High Tide’s face. “How did that get there?”

High Tide cycles a ventilation, anticipation coiling an electric heat in his lines, his cords jittering in their sockets. “I wonder.” He licks his lips, spark throbbing a faster beat. “There something you looking for, OP?”

A warm palm splays over High Tide’s panel. “I do believe I’ve found it, if you will be so kind as to open for me.”

“Kind,” High Tide echoes, and snorts, though he does obey, moaning immediately as Optimus’ fingers bury themselves in the tangle of High Tide’s cords. “You know, I got another lesson with the younglings tomorrow.”

“I won’t keep you up long,” Optimus assures him, venting warm and wet against High Tide’s intake, his field a pulsing, fiery thing as it tugs on High Tide’s.

A shiver claws up High Tide’s backstrut. He arches toward Optimus, clutching at him, knowing he won’t be able to do anything more with his hands than hang on for the ride.

“Ya never do,” High Tide agrees, optics dimming, the gentle tug-tug of Optimus’ fingers on his cables making him jerk as static charge leaps out from his frame. “Damn Primes.”

“Is that a complaint?” Both hands are buried in High Tide’s cables now, leaving it up to him to keep a hold on Optimus. Which is good, because that’s all he wants to do right now.

“Just an observation, OP.” High Tide works his intake, his engine clicking over into a higher gear. Primus, he’s going to overload without so much as a connection, he can see it now. “Keep doing that.”

Optimus’ fingers slide through his cables like threading wire, and a light tug makes High Tide jolt. “Did you grumble so much with Heatwave?” His field is a hot breath upon High Tide’s armor, and his seams loosen, allowing as much of it to embrace his cables as possible.

“He’s the one did the grumbling.” High Tide hooks his fingers into Optimus’ shoulders, such large things that they are. “Never heard a mech whine so much about a little pleasure. Has no patience, that one.”

“He will learn. We all do eventually.”

Optimus’ hands abandons him, and High Tide swallows down a whimper of dismay. Because in their absence, he hears the click and whirr of Optimus’ own panel opening, and he can’t help but look down and watch the carefully ordered collection of cables snake their way from Optimus’ array. So many. Thrice as many as High Tide’s point of fact.

The sight of them would probably appall the firebot. He’d been so shocked at High Tide’s dozen or so. To see these two dozen spilling out of Optimus’ chassis might have sent him running for the hills, especially as their ends crackle with charge. They move as if they have a mind of their own, snaking forward, seeking out all the bits High Tide can match.

If Optimus is crackling that much, this is going to be a short ride indeed.

High Tide shivers from head to foot.

“I’m thinkin’ I can relate to him now,” High Tide says as Optimus’ cables twist and tangle with his own, more nuzzling than connecting. “Stop toying with me.”

“I am savoring.” Optimus’ vents sound a little strained now, his field molten as it swallows High Tide whole, making him pulse to the same hot beat. “There is a difference.”

“Savor a little less, consume a lot more.” High Tide groans as a couple cables finally connect, sending a wave of charge through his lines, pleasure sparking hot and fierce through his net.

Optimus’ fingers continue to tug and toy, each little pull on Heatwave’s socket like a taunt, as his cables slither around High Tide’s own. “As always, High Tide, you are the epitome of class and courtship.”

High Tide digs his fingers into Optimus’ armor seams, mostly to brace himself for the storm he knows is coming. Optimus trembles from the effort of holding himself back, easing his charge rather than rushing forward.

There’s always a risk with Primes, that in their haste, they might burn their partner from the inside out.

“This ain’t courting,” High Tide gasps out as three more cables click home, and his entire frame buzzes with the biting charge clawing through their connection. “This is about spilling charge. And right now, I’m demanding everything you got to give.”

“You shall have it, old friend,” Optimus murmurs.

His hands slide to High Tide’s hips, pulls High Tide firmly against him. “Hold on,” Optimus adds.

High Tide moans. He braces himself.

As one, the last six cables slot home, pin to connector, axial to coaxial, plug to port, one after another, click-click-click. Charge surges like a wildfire into High Tide’s lines. His awareness whites out, electric fire bowing his frame. He convulses, caught up in wave after wave of consuming charge, pleasure like a white light bursting behind his optics.

He might have forgotten to ventilate. He certainly doesn’t think. He possibly starts keening, warbling, gasped out sounds of pleasure and need as he claws at Optimus’ shoulders, frame turned inside and out. It’s an onslaught, so much pleasure it’s almost pain.

Armor creaks. He’s bowled over by the flames. Optimus doesn’t so much as ask for High Tide’s charge as he demands it, and High Tide surrenders it all, lets Optimus drink whatever he can. It’s not an exchange of pleasure, it’s a surrender of it, and High Tide drowns.

It’s a wave he can’t bob over, and he’s pulled under, overload falling over him a mere pulse later. He thrashes, dimly hearing the counter creak warningly, even dimmer the sound of Optimus’ gasping his own pleasure, so sweet it makes the overload crest over him again.

And again and again.

His awareness whites out to sweet bursts of charge, bites of it, nibbling on him from the inside out. He’s not sure where one overload ends and another begins. Maybe they aren’t even separate, maybe it’s just one long, never-ending overload.

Ah, High Tide sighs as his engine screams, and he thanks himself for the foresight to drink that coolant, ain’t nothing like being with a Prime.

Then he’s swallowed up by the ecstasy, and thoughts shatter to so much stardust.

~

High Tide onlines in his berth, feeling like he’s gone toe to toe with a combiner and ended up on the wrong end of it. He’s wrung out and dry, exhausted, but his entire frame simmers with the aftermath of one overload too many. It’s the good kind of exhaustion.

It’s dark. But, he realizes belatedly, that’s only because he hasn’t onlined his optics. So he does, and is greeted with the sight of Optimus’ warm smile.

“You’re alive after all,” Optimus teases. He’s sitting on the edge of the berth next to High Tide, looking as fresh as a new weld, shiny and clean.

Meanwhile, High Tide feels like something that got fished out of the gutter.

High Tide cracks a grin. “I’d tell ya to visit more often, but I don’t know how much this old frame can take,” he admits. He pulls himself up, braced against the wall at the head of the berth.

Optimus chuckles. “It’s quite all right, old friend. There are others.” He magics a cube of something and hands it over.

A quick sniff identifies a heady mix of energon and coolant and is that hydraulic fluid? How embarrassing. High Tide must have sprung a leak somewhere. How kind of Optimus not to mention it.

“I’m sure there are,” High Tide grumbles. It’s a tease, however. Optimus is no more his than anyone else’s. He’s a Prime.

Primes belong to no one, and everyone. A fact which surely accounts for some of Ratchet’s grumpiness. It’s hard, loving a Prime. Harder still knowing you can never keep him. Speaking of…

“How is Ratchet holding up these days?” High Tide says pointedly.

“With a cane, to hear him tell it,” Optimus replies with that twinkle in his optic, the rare humor he shows so few.

High Tide barks a laugh. “I’m older than he is, but you’d think he crawled out of the primordial either right after Primus and Unicron themselves.”

Optimus smiles and the curve of it is fond. “He is an old spark, I think. The war has aged him more than any of us.”

“He just needs a few more tumbles is all.” High Tide smirks and sucks down half of the fluid mix Optimus had been so kind to make for him. “And for you to make him a promise.” He gestures to Optimus with his cup. “Mark my words, if there’s any of us that wants to settle, it’s Ratchet.”

“I know.” Sadness flickers into Optimus’ optics. It’s a promise he can’t give Ratchet, and never has there been a more tragic tale than that one.

We won’t even discuss the fizzle that had been Orion Pax and Megatronus.

“Just as you also know you can’t.” High Tide sighs. “It’s a damn shame. He should spend some time with the young’uns. Teach them a thing or two. It’ll do him some good.”

Optimus leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees, his expression turned inward and thoughtful. “I agree. Perhaps you can tell me how best to convince him.”

High Tide finishes off his cup and sets it aside. He’s not even alarmed to find his fingers shaking. It’s going to take him most of the morning to recover from this. “If you can’t do it, I highly doubt I can.”

“I will present the suggestion nonetheless.” Optimus cycles a quiet ventilation and rises, the creaks and groans of his frame suggesting a weariness more fatigue than age.

“Uh oh. I know that tone. You already gotta leave, I take it?” High Tide’s not even offended. If he hadn’t wanted Optimus to charge him up like this, he’d have said no when Optimus first showed up.

Optimus shakes his head, looking sad and grim. “There is never enough time.” He stares into the distance, through one of the portside windows, seeing without seeing.

High Tide swings his legs over the edge of the berth, gets his feet on the ground. Standing up is going to be the challenge. “Ain’t gotta apologize to me, OP. I like your visits no matter how brief they are. It’s always good to see you.”

Optimus turns and offers a hand, helping High Tide stand, no matter how wobbly his knees are. “And you as well, old friend,” he murmurs, his grip on High Tide’s elbow briefly tightening. “I thank you, High Tide, for your diligence and dedication in looking after Rescue Team Alpha. Your guidance has helped them become what they are.”

“It helps that the firebot’s so pretty,” High Tide teases.

Optimus chuckles, his field sliding flush and warm over High Tide’s, ripe with gratitude and affection. “Yes. That as well.”

High Tide claps him on the shoulder and winks. “I’m only teasing. I kinda like it here, truth be told. It’s nice. Not a bad place to spend your time. Peaceful-like, you know?”

“Indeed.” Optimus takes his hand from High Tide’s elbow, but slowly, as though afraid he might have to catch High Tide again.

All’s well. High Tide can stand and he’s proud of himself for it. But there’s something in Optimus’ tone, in his carriage, that worries High Tide.

“You all right, OP?” he asks.

A small sigh whispers through Optimus’ vents. “I am well enough,” he says, his gaze turning distant again. He moves toward the portside window.

High Tide follows, telling his wobbly knees to obey him. “I’m sensing a ‘but’.”

“But the war has reached a tipping point.” Optimus’ hands lock behind his back, his gaze focused on the horizon. “Megatron has drifted more into madness, and I fear we may see the end soon.”

“The end of the war isn’t a bad thing.”

“No, it is not.” Optimus’ shoulders drift down, but his armor draws taut to his frame, as though in response to a dark thought crossing his processor. “Only the manner in which it ends. I do no not know I will always be here to watch over the team, High Tide.”

Fear tiptoes like a cold wind through High Tide’s spark. “Don’t talk like that. Megatron’s not going to outlive you.”

Optimus turns to face him with a small smile. “Ratchet said the same thing once.”

“Of course he did.” Ratchet’s been in love with Optimus. Always has been, as long as High Tide’s known them. “But I see what you’re saying. You don’t worry about the sparklings here. They’ll be fine. I’ll make sure of it.”

“I know you will, old friend. I am grateful for your assistance in this, and I am relieved to know that whatever happens, the team will be looked after.”

Whatever happens. High Tide doesn’t like the ominous nature of that statement.

He shakes his head. “Nothing’s gonna happen, Optimus. We’re gonna win this, Megatron’s gonna end up where he belongs, and we’re all gonna get to go home.”

If they even have a home to return to. High Tide’s seen pictures of what Cybertron looks like now, a desolate wasteland of battlegrounds. It’ll take centuries, millennia even, to fix what has been destroyed, if that’s even possible.

“Primus willing,” Optimus says with a dip of his head and a soft, sad turn of his lips.

“He doesn’t have anything to do with it.” High Tide gently thumps a hand against Optimus’ chassis, where he knows the matrix nestles against his spark, like a parasite. “We’re all making our own fates.”

“Indeed.” Optimus wraps him up in an embrace, and High Tide admits that he sinks into it.

There’s nothing quite like a hug from his Prime. It is simultaneously balm and comfort. It is the soothe to any ache.

“You know if you have need of an old mech in your battles, you need only call,” High Tide says gruffly, into the crook of Optimus’ intake.

“You are where I need you most, old friend,” Optimus says. He pulls back, rests his hands on High Tide’s shoulder, and looks at him with warmth.

There is something in the look High Tide fears. As if this is the last time he’ll see Optimus. But that can’t be true.

“Fine. If you insist. But then I insist ya come visit more often.” High Tide resists the urge to waggle his finger once more. “I need more adult companionship around here.”

Optimus laughs, and for a moment, he sounds light and carefree, as he so rarely is. “I understand.”

He steps back and gives High Tide a look he can only describe as fond. “Until we meet again.” He reaches out and High Tide clasps his hand.

“Sooner rather than later.”

“Indeed.”

Optimus activates his comm and steps back. “Ratchet, I need a return bridge,” he says.

Moments later, said bridge swirls to life against the back wall of High Tide’s quarters. He expects there to be chaos and destruction, but his ship doesn’t so much as wobble on the waves.

Optimus gives him another enigmatic, parting smile, and then he’s gone, swallowed up by the bridge, whisked off to somewhere else on this planet.

Here and gone again, just like a Prime.

High Tide shakes his head and toddles back to his berth, collapsing onto it with a satisfied grunt. He’ll need as much recharge as he can manage before the younglings show up bright and early. They’ll take all the energy he has and then some, especially since he suspects a certain firebot will send his tagalong away ahead of him, and linger for some ‘extra training’.

High Tide hopes he’ll have the charge to spare then. If not, he’ll certainly hear it from Heatwave.

Wonders never cease.

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[RB] Ticket to Ride

It was a quiet, calm night. A thin sheet of clouds streamed over the stars, covering the moon, but the sea was still. It was a good night for relaxing.

Which was why High Tide quite clearly picked out the sound of an approaching engine, the distinct click-click-tsche of a transformation, a muttered curse, and the thump-thump-thunk of someone climbing the ladder to get onto his deck.

As he rose from his chamber, High Tide ran through a quick list of everyone his visitor could possibly be, and came up with only one designation that made sense. Optimus, after all, would’ve called first. Primes were polite like that.

A shadow moved about on his deck, a half-afted attempt to creep around. High Tide snorted quietly and flicked on the flood light, illuminating the deck, and catching the bright red miscreant in his tracks.

“Something tells me I’m only gonna need one guess as to why you’re sneaking aboard my ship at this time of night,” High Tide said. “Because I know it isn’t for more lessons.”

Below, Heatwave froze like a cassetticon caught in a spotlight. He scowled, his default expression, but it didn’t hide the spots of warmth in his cheeks.

“Being stealthy isn’t my area of expertise,” he replied, gathering up that attitude High Tide had come to expect from him.

“No, it isn’t.” High Tide snorted and jumped down, landing on the deck with a loud thump. Good thing Servo was with the Blip. “That team of yours, they’re a good bunch.”

Heatwave’s optics narrowed. “Yeah, but–”

“Bunch of sparklings,” High Tide finished, because the kid had a habit of interrupting. Poor manners, that one.

Heatwave’s scowl deepened. “They’re fully capable–”

“Didn’t say they weren’t competent, hotshot,” High Tide interrupted, because Heatwave needed to be knocked down a little. “Just calling it as I see it.” He had an inkling, after all, of what Heatwave wanted. And it had a lot to do with the obvious maturity gap between Heatwave and his younger teammates.

“None of them are adults yet,” Heatwave admitted on the tail end of a sigh.

Ah. That was what High Tide thought.

He barked a laugh. “Hotshot, you barely count as one if you ask me.”

Heatwave’s hands formed fists, his optics narrowing behind his visor. It must have been a habit for him to keep it up, since he obviously didn’t need it at the moment. “If you’re going to mock me, I’m going to leave.”

High Tide tilted his head, looking Heatwave up and down. “You came here, pretty boy,” he pointed out.

“Yeah. And that was a mistake,” the kid growled. His armor flared and ruffled as though he intended to turn around and storm off, yet his feet stayed planted in place.

Wanted it more than his pride could stand apparently. Interesting.

“That temper of yours is going to get you in a heap of trouble someday,” High Tide drawled as he slipped closer to the Rescue Bot. He couldn’t help but admire the planes and angles of the kid’s frame.

He always did like red. Heatwave was brighter than Optimus, maybe a bit too garish for some optics, but High Tide liked it just fine.

Heatwave tracked him, shoulders straight. “Maybe I like trouble,” he said, in that rough-rumble voice of his.

Tasty.

“Hah.” High Tide was close enough to touch now, so he did, gently taking Heatwave’s chin in his fingers and tilting the bot’s head up. “You don’t have any stowaways, do you?”

That Blip had a habit of ending up places he shouldn’t be, entirely by accident of course, but still. High Tide didn’t want any human surprises.

Heatwave vented loudly, but he thumped his windshield pointedly, making a hollow sound. “I’m empty.”

“Good.” High Tide swept a thumb over Heatwave’s lips before he made himself let the kid go. He turned away, heading for the main door. “Come on inside then. Unless you want to finish storming off in a huff. Your choice, tugboat.”

“Don’t call me that,” Heatwave growled.

Stomp, stomp, stomp.

High Tide smirked. Protest loudly the kid might, but he was still following High Tide, which meant his need was outweighing his pride.

High Tide flicked the switch to douse the floodlight as Heatwave joined him in the lift, and it drew them up a level, toward the room High Tide used as his personal quarters. It had all the trappings of home, it did. Big berth, bigger recharge station, a personal console, shelves filled with datapads and vids, a few trophies, a couch, a table and chairs. Wasn’t a bad place to spend one’s time.

“Berth or couch?” High Tide asked as he flicked on the overhead lights, setting them to a level that wasn’t obnoxious, but would still let him admire his potential berthmate.

Heatwave had paused in the middle of the room, looking around like he hadn’t seen a personal hab before. He blinked. “What?”

“I’m giving you a choice, rookie. Since you look so nervous.”

“I’m not–!” Heatwave cut off mid-sentence and looked away, not that it hid the heat glowing in his face. “It’s your room.” His hands formed loose fists again, as though he struggled to hold himself back.

“Couch it is,” High Tide decided. It wasn’t in him to be cruel, but frag if it wasn’t entertaining to to needle the kid.

He flopped onto the couch, settling into it with a hissing vent of relief. Nothing like good old Cybertronian furniture, built for the average mech’s comfort. Beat sitting around in alt-mode like some human’s pet any orn of the cycle.

Heatwave hadn’t moved. Wouldn’t even look at High Tide, despite him patting the couch with obvious invitation. Still a bit indecisive, eh? High Tide supposed he couldn’t blame the kid. They didn’t get along on the best of days, and High Tide wasn’t so vain to think that Heatwave was here because he actually had some attraction. He just didn’t have many other options.

Though the idea of Heatwave approaching Oppie with this kind of proposal put steam in High Tide’s vents. The two of them together? Now that was a pretty picture.

Ah well. That policebot would probably hit maturity before all the others. Maybe then Heatwave could enjoy the one he actually wanted. Until then, nothing wrong with a little charge-venting between allies.

High Tide leaned back into the couch. “Door’s right behind you, if you’ve changed your mind.”

Heatwave’s visor snapped open and he finally looked at High Tide. “What?” He rolled his shoulders, trying to force calm probably. “Can’t you work up a charge anymore, you old rustbucket?”

High Tide smirked. Ah. There was the fire he recognized. Suited Big Red much better than the uncertainty.

“Get over here, and I’ll show you just what this rustbucket can do,” he offered, patting his lap invitingly.

Heatwave stared at him, a cough spilling from his vents. He seemed frozen in place, that confidence gone back behind a shell of indecision. Like dealing with a skittish dweller, he was.

It occurred to High Tide then, that the kid was, well, a kid. And even though he was mature enough for his interface protocols to be giving him several irritating nudges, maybe he’d never had occasion to do anything with them before the war broke out, and he and his crew ended up drifting in stasis.

He peered at Heatwave, eying Big Red up and down as though he could tell from that alone. “You’ve done this before, right?”

Heatwave scowled, an expression better suiting him. “Of course I have,” he growled, and suddenly seemed capable of movement, though it only managed him a few steps closer to High Tide. In tasting range of his field at least. “It’s just… been awhile.”

“Then lucky for you we’re in the same boat.”

A quick how-do-you-do tumble with Optimus didn’t count. Mechs didn’t interface with Primes. They held on for the ride and tried not to drown in the charge.

High Tide patted his lap again. “Come on.”

“Seriously?” Heatwave’s lip curled.

“Well, I could sit on you if that makes you feel better.” High Tide laughed at the absurd mental image. He had more than a few heads on Heatwave, and he subbed a lot more mass than the firebot, too.

Heatwave scowled. He stomped across the room like it was a punishment, and climbed into High Tide’s lap with all the seduction of a malfunctioning dispenser drone.

“There,” he said as he tucked his knees against the cushions of the couch, his aft planted on High Tide’s thighs. “Happy?”

High Tide couldn’t help chuckling. The kid’s attitude was more endearing than it should be.

He rested his hands on Heatwave’s knees and slid his palms slowly up, careful to keep a pace that wouldn’t alarm the kid. The way Heatwave trembled beneath him, he wondered if the firebot would bolt at any moment.

“I’m about to be,” High Tide replied. “And so are you.” He tilted his head and slid his hands up further, thumbs seeking out the panel concealing Heatwave’s array. “Hm, you aren’t standard issue, are you?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Heatwave said.

Well, he was probably sparked right before the war no doubt. Matured in the thick of it. Got his first post right when Orion Pax became Optimus Prime and Megatron’s rage reached no bounds. He was part of the second, maybe third wave before the batch dried up. High Tide reckoned it meant his team was probably part of the last wave ever sparked on Cybertron.

Adorable.

“Then you want to tell me where your cables are, hot shot?” High Tide asked. “I mean, I could go looking for ‘em, but something tells me you don’t want me randomly rooting around in your undercarriage.”

Heatwave rumbled low in his chassis, but he patted his midsection. His front grill split down the middle, and a panel behind it spiraled open. Cables, connectors, and ports came into view, practically shiny new.

High Tide appreciated the view, and let his fingers do a little exploring. He traced the length of a cable, still stiff and smooth from lack of use. Heatwave shivered, a groan rising in his intake, his chassis arching toward High Tide.

“Look at you,” High Tide rumbled. “Barely touched.”

“So?”

“Wasn’t an insult, kid.”

A flush of heat rushed through High Tide’s frame. Anticipation coiled hotly inside of him. His pelvic armor folded back and down, revealing his own array, and Heatwave’s gaze dropped down to it.

He blinked. And blinked again. “What is all that?” he asked, optics wide and bright.

“Live as long as me, hot shot, and you’ll need a few adapters, too.” High Tide chuckled.

What?”

He wasn’t at all surprised that Heatwave was confused. Compared to the firebot’s two sets of port and connector cables, High Tide’s tangle of nearly a dozen different cables probably seemed obscene. Lewd even. But if a mech wanted to ‘face with all kinds, it took all types of lines and all types of wires and all kinds of conductors.

Point of fact, Optimus alone accounted for half of ‘em.

“The more things change, the more things stay the same,” High Tide said. “Don’t worry. You’ll understand when you’re older.” Or maybe he wouldn’t, if Cybertron’s population was as diminished as Oppie feared. “Let’s see what you got.”

High Tide drew out the thickest of Heatwave’s two cables, and Big Red shivered a bit, his field going flush and warm. So cute.

“Oh, a three-pin coaxial, hmm?” High Tide rubbed the conductor between his fingers, and a spark of charge nipped at his fingertips. “Lucky for you, I’ve got a port to match.”

A shudder ran across Heatwave’s armor. “Are you going to start making sense anytime soon, rustbucket?”

High Tide rifled through his own mass of cables until he found the one that would match Heatwave’s. Ironically, it was as shiny new as Heatwave’s.

“Don’t even think it’s been used yet,” he mused aloud.

Heatwave growled. “Are you done playing around?”

“Aren’t you the impatient one?” High Tide said. He fondled the end of Heatwave’s cable and was rewarded with a bright flare of Heatwave’s optics.

And a rather noisy rev of his engine. “I didn’t come here to be mocked!” His field flared as he shifted, as though intending to get up and stomp out.

High Tide tightened his free hand on Heatwave’s thigh. “Sit down, kid. No one’s mocking you and especially not me.”

He rubbed his thumb over Heatwave’s connector cable, teasing into it to brush over the sensitive pins. Charge nipped at the tip of his finger, and Heatwave squirmed in his lip. A shudder ruffled Heatwave’s armor, his field going liquid.

“As I understand it, you came here because you’ve got an itch needs scratching,” High Tide continued as he caught and held Heatwave’s gaze. “And no one on your team can do it for you.”

The firebot’s intake visibly bobbed. His hands lifted, like he didn’t know where to put them, before he finally clutched at High Tide’s side. He made a strangled noise.

“Now, I’m being nice and volunteering.” High Tide pinched Heatwave’s connector and soaked up the quiet moan that escaped him. “So we’re gonna do it my way. Unless you’ve decided you don’t want it anymore. Understand?”

Heatwave rocked in his lap, scooting closer until there were a scant few meters between their frames. His fingers tickled into High Tide’s seams, holding tight, as he vented heat into the air around them.

“Yeah, yeah. I get it,” Heatwave said, and his glossa flicked across his lips. “Just plug in already. I don’t have all night.”

No doubt he didn’t. The way Griffin Rock found itself in all kinds of messes, Heatwave could be called into action at any moment. And then his human would be wondering where his firebot could have gone in the wee hours of the night.

Too amused to be annoyed, High Tide teased Heatwave’s array with his free hand, fingertips brushing over the other ports and cables. He rubbed Heatwave’s coaxial connector between his fingertips, drawing another shiver from Heatwave. Blue optics kept darkening with desire, Heatwave’s field becoming an unrelenting wave of desperation.

Absolutely intoxicating.

High Tide’s fingers shook as he drew his own cable and connected it to Heatwave’s, pins slotting into place with a quiet click. He groaned as Heatwave’s need bowled him over, storming into his system like a hurricane of acid rain.

Primus, but the kid burned hot. He was aptly named.

Heatwave vented orally, and his shoulders hunched forward. He started to rock against High Tide, his hips following the same rhythm as the eager energy pulses across their connection.

“Slow down, kid.” High Tide held Heatwave’s hips, and all he succeeded in doing was tugging the firebot even closer. “Try and enjoy the ride.”

Heatwave panted, and his fingers dug in deeper, pressing against High Tide’s cables. “Slow later.” He shuddered and a wave of charge crackled over his armor. “Need this now.”

He pawed at High Tide’s chassis, one hand hooking on the top of High Tide’s cockpit as if trying to drag him closer. His thighs dug in on the outside of High Tide’s. The pulsing heat came faster and faster across the cables, flooding High Tide’s systems with an unrelenting assault of desire.

“Alright then, tugboat. Take what you need.”

High Tide growled and tightened his grip, almost enough to dent, if Heatwave weren’t so sturdy. He bundled up the charge, and sent it right back across the line. He grinned with satisfaction as Heatwave roared and his backstrut arched, fingers pulling a skreel across High Tide’s armor.

“More,” Heatwave panted. His vents roared, his lips parted, shutters falling over his optics as they squeezed shut.

His cable yanked on High Tide’s charge like he was desperate for it. Like it was an energon infusion for a starved spark. High Tide fed him more, no frills, no coy teasing, just a surge of charge, pulse after pulse.

Heatwave moaned and hunched forward. “S–sorry,” he growled as his thighs trembled and his cables pulled. “I– hnnnn.”

Cascading fire soared through High Tide’s lines. Heatwave writhed on his lap, making quite the pretty picture as his engine thundered. It was all High Tide could do just to hold on, let the poor kid have his first taste of overload in centuries.

Heatwave hooked his hands on High Tide’s coils, gripping them tight enough that his fingers creaked. He buried his face against High Tide’s canopy, ex-vents fogging up the glass.

“That’s it, kid,” High Tide encouraged, tension gripping his frame as he struggled to keep himself under control. “Take it all.”

Heatwave growled and bucked against him. He slurped on High Tide’s charge like it was the sweetest high grade as electric fire erupted over his armor and crackled through their connection, tasting like an enormous fire storm.

It pulled High Tide over, and he shouted his surprise. He crushed Heatwave against his chest as the pleasure wracked his frame, doubling back into the connection he shared with the firebot. Little zaps of electric heat pulsed through High Tide’s lines, his fans whirring madly to dispel heat.

Heatwave slumped against him, venting loudly, his frame trembling. High Tide stroked down his back, the cable swaying between them, charge lightly crackling over their connection.

Until the kid seemed to get some of his attitude back. He pushed himself off High Tide’s chassis and leaned back, flicking his fingers over High Tide’s chassis with a chime of metal on glass.

“Well, would you look at that,” Heatwave drawled with a smug little smirk that had no business turning High Tide’s internals into a knot of need. “I took you with me.”

“I’m not ashamed to say you did.” High Tide was too old to be embarrassed. He slid a hand over Heatwave’s belly, fingers teasing along the edge of his array panel. “Now how about we do this slow and proper? Unless you got somewhere to be?”

Heatwave responded by sending a slow, steady pulse across their connected cables. “Unless there’s an emergency, I got all night.” He leaned forward, challenge in his optics. “If you think you can keep up.”

High Tide chuckled and dragged his fingers down the length of Heatwave’s cable. “I guess we’ll just have to see.”

It was time to learn this tugboat a thing or two. The kind of lesson High Tide was more than happy to give.

***

[AtLA] Induction

“Have I mentioned how adorable you look in your new uniform?” Ty Lee says in what she probably thinks is a whisper but Sokka is sure that everyone in the dedication room, along with the entire Earth Kingdom, heard her anyway.

He resists the urge to facepalm, folds his hands behind his back, and thinks very mature and responsible thoughts. Thoughts that do not include whispering compliments to his fellow inductee in the middle of their induction ceremony.

“So I noticed how you didn’t come with Suki today…”

Sokka grits his teeth. That is a matter which is still a point of contention for him.

“Does that mean you’re single?”

“No,” Sokka says through a clenched jaw, a low hiss that he hopes goes no further than the two of them. “For your information, we are on a break.”

Ty Lee tilts her head to the side, lips forming into a moue of confusion. “Does that mean you’re free to see other people?”

Sokka wants to shout a definitive negative, but he distinctly remember Suki saying that the point of the break is to see if they would be more interested in someone else.

“Because, you know, I’ll bet Suki is seeing other guys,” Ty Lee says, and with her hands clasped behind her back, she swings her body toward him, her smile bright and sparkling.

He opens his mouth, ready for another snarky retort, when a shadow falls over both young adults. Sokka looks up, reddens, realizing he hasn’t paid the slightest bit of attention to the ceremony. For that matter, neither has Ty Lee.

Sokka looks up at Iroh and grins uneasily. “Umm… yes?” he says, both a statement and a question, hoping that they are all looking at him because they want an answer.

Someone in the background giggles. Sokka’s sure that it was Katara.

Iroh, instead of looking thunderously angry, just grins in that amused way of his and winks at Sokka. “The perfect answer,” he says, and lifts his arms, encouraging everyone to clap.

Sokka breathes a sigh of relief, and for once, not even Ty Lee’s giggling annoys him. In fact, there’s something just a bit charming about that sparkle in her eyes.

Suki, eat your heart out.

[RB] A Study in Focus

It takes all he has to keep from giggling. He can’t seem to get in the proper mindset, despite all the prepwork he’d done beforehand. There’s only so much one can learn from a datapad, you know. Especially the technical manual that Chase had slid into the stack when he thought Blades wouldn’t notice.

Pfft.

Anyway, yes. Blade is having trouble focusing. Because there Heatwave is, paying attention to Blades. Full attention. And he’s not being mean or yelling or telling Blades what he did wrong.

He’s just waiting. Waiting for Blades to take command.

“Um. So.” Blades taps his fingers together. “I guess I should just go ahead and start.”

“Any minute now, yeah, that would be great,” Heatwave replies, a touch of frustration in his voice. Though Blades had to give him credit. He hasn’t gotten growly yet.

“Hey!” Blades plants his hands on his hips. “I’m the one in charge here. Well, I mean, technically you’re in charge, but I’m supposed to be taking care of you and–”

“Blades,” Heatwave interrupts with a gentleness to his voice that Blades rarely gets to hear. “You’re overthinking it. You’re going to do fine.”

His face heats. “Okay.” Blades shutters his optics and cycles a deep ventilation like Boulder taught him.

“Okay,” Blades repeats and looks down at Heatwave. “If you want to stop, just say stop.”

Heatwave nods. “Yes, sir.”

Oh. Oh, Primus.

Blades swallows down another nervous laugh. “And, um, put your hands behind your back. Keep them there.”

Heatwave obeys, his optics following Blades with patience. It’s like he’s become another person, taken on a role. Like an actor in one of Cody’s movies.

Oh. Oh.

And finally, it clicks. Blades understands. He thinks, yes. Yes, I can do this.

“Good,” he says, not Blades the Rescue Bot, but Blades the Dominant whom Heatwave trusts. “Very, very good. Now we can start.”

[TFA] Disciplinary Procedure

“You did really well, you know,” Ratchet said as he stroked his fingers down Bumblebee’s arms, careful to avoid his seams, intending for each motion to be soothing.

Bumblebee’s field flushed with a sort of embarrassed pride. “Oh, um, thanks,” he said, quietly for once. He squirmed a little in Ratchet’s lap. “I didn’t think I would like something like that. How do you even know about it?”

“Cause I’m old,” Ratchet said with a self-deprecating laugh. “Old and rusted. Of course I know everything.”

“Pfft. You’re not that old,” Bumblebee retorted and he pushed back, rubbing his frame against Ratchet’s. “And old’s not a bad thing.”

“Weren’t you just saying last week that I was creaking when I walked?” Ratchet countered with an arched orbital ridge.

“Yeah, but, I didn’t mean it.” Bumblebee squirmed again until he turned on his front, planting his legs to either side of Ratchet’s waist so he was seated in Ratchet’s lap again, only this time facing him. “I was only teasing. I’m all talk. You know that, Ratch.”

He tucked his hands under Bumblebee’s aft, holding the smaller mech in place. “Yeah, I do, brat.” He tilted his helm forward, pressing their forehelms together. “So. You good with what we did?”

Bumblebee’s hands rested on his windshield. They were still trembling a little, an aftereffect of the stimulation Ratchet had given him. Not for the sake of pleasure, but for the sake of control.

“Yeah. Surprisingly.” His gaze wandered away as his faceplate heated in what Sari would tease him about it being a blush. “I, uh, wouldn’t mind doing it again.” His glossa swept over his lips again as he rolled his hips forward. “It actually left me a little hot.”

Ratchet’s orbital ridges rose. “Did it now? That wasn’t my intention, you know.”

Bumblebee shrugged. “Guess I’m kinkier than you thought. And I thought.” He paused and then laughed, though his squirming grew more intense. “Guess I didn’t really learn that control, huh?”

Ratchet chuckled, patting Bumblebee’s aft gently. “No. I’ll have to try something else in the future. See what I’ve got stored in my databanks.”

“Now you’ve got me curious.” Bumblebee purred, his engine giving a rev that was probably loud enough to be heard in the hall. “Curious and excited.” As if to emphasis the latter, he rocked his hips, rubbing his panel against Ratchet’s ventrum.

Ratchet hummed and patted Bumblebee’s aft again. “Maybe just let me hold you for now.”

“Why? So you can send me off to Prowl all revved up?” Bumblebee asked.

“Exactly.” Ratchet grinned, smug. “I get the fun part. He gets the messy one.”

“Figures.” Bumblebee slumped against his frame, still heating up, but at least actively focusing on throttling it back for now.

One of Ratchet’s hands shifted to his backplate, stroking it gently. He sent Prowl a ping, letting him know to come retrieve his disciplined – for lack of a better word – mate.

Or at least, as disciplined as Bumblebee was going to get.

[Bleach] Edge of Heaven

“How does it feel to be home?”

The question is innocent and well-intentioned. Kisuke fights back a snort, a callous snap that Seireitei hasn’t been home for a long time. Jyuushirou doesn’t deserve his vitriol.

“It’s different,” he answers, leaning against the windowsill and looking out, staring up at Soul Society’s blue sky that’s just as blue as that in Karakura’s. “It’s not the same as I remember.” And yet, it hadn’t changed and that makes Kisuke’s insides twist a little.

The captain of the thirteenth division chuckles softly and moves to stand beside Kisuke, brown eyes turned toward the same view. “Even we Shinigami are capable of change.”

And sometimes they are not and pathetically stay the same. But again, this is something that Kisuke keeps to himself. He’s been allowed back and pardoned, never mind the fact that it had never been his fault in the first place. That it was all Aizen’s doing. Seireitei and Chamber 46 don’t like admitting they had been wrong, that they had all been successfully manipulated by Aizen’s machinations.

So here Kisuke is. Back “home.” Except, it doesn’t feel much like home anymore. It’s not welcoming or inviting or comfortable. It makes him long for his shop in Karakura. There’s nothing here for him, not anymore.

“Urahara-kun….” Jyuushirou hesitates, sounding unsure, and if that isn’t a rarity, Kisuke doesn’t know what is.

He turns, lets his lips curl in the semblance of a smile, shifting to lean against the window ledge. “Since when have we reverted to such formalities, Ukitake-taichou?” Kisuke’s not wearing his hat; it’s sitting on Jyuushirou’s desk, and in that moment, Kisuke wishes for the concealment of it. He feels a little hurt, not that he’ll admit it aloud.

The tiniest flinch in Jyuushirou’s expression is smoothed away by a light grin. “I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries. It’s been decades… Kisuke.”

A century, to be more precise, but Kisuke doesn’t want the reminder anymore than Jyuushirou does. There’s less than a foot between them, but the distance feels much wider.

Kisuke inclines his head. “Do you think my attentions so fickle?”

Relief warms Jyuushirou’s gaze. “No. But I wouldn’t blame you if they were.” He lifts a hand, offering it to the shopkeeper. “Welcome home, Kisuke.”

“It’s good to be back,” Kisuke replies, and this time he means it.

[Bleach] Not Quite Emo

He thought about moping. He considered the idea of moping. He actually even tried it, pulling his lips down into a frown and staring disconsolately out into the distance. He supposed in hindsight that might have been what started the rumors. Especially since Abarai-kun had walked past him at that exact instant, automatically assuming the worst.

“Poor Izuru,” they said. “He just wasn’t getting over that bastard Ichimaru’s betrayal.”

Pfft.

Izuru knew better than that. He was glad the creep was gone. But once the rumors had started, he couldn’t get them to stop, and then, people saw what they wanted to see and not what was really there. So they labeled him as depressed and melancholy and all sorts of morose terms that he didn’t really want associated with him but had to accept anyway.

At first, he thought that maybe he ought to mourn. Ichimaru was his captain, after all, and feelings of betrayal didlinger. However, considering how he had been deceived, Izuru was more angry than upset. His captain had made him look like a fool several times over. And even now, Gin was still doing it because everyone thought that poor Izuru was moping.

He supposed, considering Hinamori-chan’s state of pure insanity, that they expected the same from him. Then again, no one thought Hisagi-san had slipped into an endless depression of misery and woe, and Izuru wasn’t nearly as friendly with his former captain as Hisagi-senpai had been.

Well admittedly, there was a part of him that had worshiped the very ground that Ichimaru walked on. The man was amazing, and once upon a time, he had believed in Izuru, believed that the skinny blond with the all-too-innocent eyes might one day become a strong Shinigami. Though even now, Izuru was beginning to doubt that just a little bit. Perhaps Ichimaru was just looking for someone corruptible.

He wondered if it was too cruel of him to vow to become strong enough to kick Ichimaru’s ass the next time they met. To show Ichimaru that he actually wasstrong enough and not just some toy that could be played with and then tossed away.

So no, Izuru was absolutely not moping about the betrayal. He was not locked in his room, wrapped around a pillow and weeping his eyes out. He was not roaming around with a lost look on his face or begging his best friend to show Ichimaru the error of his ways because surely “he’s just confused.”

No, Izuru was glad that the bastard was gone because now he could finally shine. Now, he could come out from his captain’s shadow and prove that he’s more than just a pretty blond with a sword. Now, he could show everyone that their initial thoughts of him were wrong ,and hewas that strong and not even Ichimaru’s betrayal could send him into the deepest pits of depression.

And Izuru planned on showing them soon, too. Right away. Or at least, in a couple of weeks.

He just wanted to milk the unwanted sympathy a little while longer. No one made chocolate-chip brownies or yummy deserts like Kotetsu-fukutaichou, and Matsumoto-san was more willing to part with the good alcohol now that they had a “bond of loneliness.” And Unohana-taichou, who always had the best tea, was now sending him supposedly anonymous care packages. He was rapidly becoming addicted to having lazy days where he didn’t have to do any paperwork thanks to Ise-san. Honestly, he had been getting rather tired of doing it all himself for the last decade or so.

And even his male friends and the men of Seireitei were getting into the act. He had a wonderful new brush set and as many books as he could possibly read thanks to Abarai-kun and Iba-kun, not to mention that they practically waited on him hand and foot. His wardrobe was growing exponentially from all the beautiful kimono Ayasegawa-san insisted on bringing him. And he had never eaten so well with all the food Kyouraku-taichou and Ukitake-taichou sent to him.

No, Izuru was absolutely not torn by Ichimaru’s absence. The third division was a bit brighter now, the windows thrown wide open. He found he could stand a bit straighter and that Wabisuke wasn’t as heavy as he used to be. Izuru thought that maybe he could try smiling again.

But not for a little while yet.

He still wanted those brownies.