[IDW] A Sticky Wicket

High school is supposed to be the best years of your life.

Clearly, the people who say this only remember their high-school years through rose-colored glasses. Because Josie can’t think of a single moment of high school she actually enjoyed. Except, perhaps, Chemistry.

For Josie, high school is more like the worst days of her life, and with final testing around the corner and college looming on the horizon, and her stupid car breaking down, well, this is officially the worst day ever.

An opinion she solidifies when a storm washes in out of nowhere, full of wind and lightning and odd-colored clouds, and some kind of swirling vortex appears in the air above her.

‘Why me,’ she wonders mere seconds before it vacuums her up and swallows her whole, sending her tumbling into an endless, starry abyss.

Just great.

She lands hard enough to rattle her senses, but not knock her out. She hits a chilly metal surface feeling like a ragdoll, her limbs flopping in all directions, and cries out when her ankle twists beneath her, shooting pain up her left leg.

Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Dizzy, Josie forces her hands beneath her and manages to get to her feet, albeit resting most of her weight on her right leg. She dusts off her knees as her spinning head finally stops.

God, what hit her? Or more like, what did she hit?

She rubs at her eyes as the noise of something humming, whirring, clicking and whooshing fills the air around her. Odd sounds. She drops her hands and looks up.

Josie shrieks.

There are five towering metallic things – robots, she tells herself – standing over her, looking down at her like she’s some new thing they should squish. Well, okay, one of the really big ones is kind of cowering behind the tiniest one.

They are an eye-hurting clash of bright colors and bright eyes – blue, she dimly notes.

One of them, the one who doesn’t have any eyes by the way, opens his mouth and makes this weird whirring-click noise. Another one, who has a bright red symbol attached to his face, reaches for Josie.

Fuck that.

There’s a gap. A small one, but so is she.

Twisted ankle or not, she’s out of here.

She lurches forward, hissing as putting weight on her ankle sends jagged bursts of pain up her leg. It won’t kill her though, and these things possibly will so she pushes through the pain and hobble-runs toward the really big ones. There’s a space between their legs and massive feet, and freedom just beyond it.

She’s small and hopefully quick and maybe they’ll get too tangled up in each other to even see her.

Maybe.

The hand misses her. She feels the whoosh of air against her back, but she knows it’s going to come back around again. She dives between the two feet, wriggles forward, and squeezes out from between the two huge robots. There’s some kind of huge computer console in front of her, and there’s all kinds of dark space beneath and around it.

Hiding isn’t better than running, but it’s better than nothing.

Josie limp-runs toward it as the ground starts rumbling, and the robots start making those weird chitter-click noises again. She finds the safety of the desk just as one of their shadows fall over her.

She scrambles and slides her body under one of the console legs. There’s a narrow space here, the kind a mouse would fit in were it human-sized, but Josie laughs a little wildly to herself. She’s the mouse now.

She drags her twisted ankle behind her and keeps moving forward, until she’s tucked against the wall and beneath the console. It looks like it’s bolted to the floor, thank god. They can’t just lift it away from her.

Panting, Josie crouches in the darkness. Her body is covered in sweat. Her heart’s pounding a mile a minute. The floor is rumbling now as they move around. She can see their feet and hear each loud thud.

How did she get here? How can she get home? Why is she unlucky? And ow, her ankle hurts.

One of them kneels down. It’s the smallest one, she thinks, because then a head presses to the ground and she can see one blue optic peering under into her hiding space. It speaks a buzz of static and sound at her, despite not having a visible mouth, before a slim hand tries to wriggle beneath the console.

“Leave me alone!” Josie shouts and squeezes herself as far back as she possibly can. Her back presses to cold, humming metal.

The hand doesn’t come anywhere close, but it’s still enough to make her heart thump harder.

The face doesn’t have any expression to it, but the eye flickers. The face vanishes until all Josie can see are feet. She hears them talking again, or at least that’s what she assumes all the chitter-clicking is.

“We apologize.”

Her eyes round. That’s English.

One of them kneels down again. A hand comes into view, knuckles against the floor and palm upward.

“We assumed you would speak Galactic Standard,” says the voice. A really pleasant voice actually. Kind of soothing. The fingers wriggle gently. “You must be frightened. Please. Come out. We will not hurt you.”

Josie sucks in a breath. Does she dare believe them? “How do I know I can trust you?” she yells, her voice sounding tinny in the small space.

The fingers go still.

“Oh, well, you don’t,” the voice says diplomatically. Each word has a little humming noise that comes with it. “But I promise we mean you no harm. It appears you may be injured. We only wish to help.”

Josie chews on her bottom lip.

She can’t hide under the console forever. They speak English, so that has to be some kind of good sign, right? And they hadn’t immediately stepped on her. They were probably just as surprised by her arrival as she was.

“Where am I?” she demands.

“You are in our clinic,” another voices answers, this one softer and sweeter. “We are the Decepticon Justice Division, and it is our creed to care for any who need our help, especially the Decepticons on our List.”

Clinics are good. Right?

Josie twists her fingers together.

“Okay, I’ll come out,” she says. “But don’t try to grab me.”

The hand vanishes immediately. The floor rumbles, and she can tell they are taking several steps back.

“As you wish,” the first voice says.

Josie hopes she isn’t making a terrible mistake. She inches back out from the console, dragging her throbbing ankle behind her. She pulls herself to her feet once she’s out, but keeps her back pressed to the console. Maybe she can duck back under it faster than they can grab her, if she needs to.

She squints in the bright light. There are only four of them now. The biggest one, with the cross-mark on his face, is gone.

“Who are you?” Josie asks. “And where is this clinic? How did I get here? What are you?”

The smallest one chuckles. “Many questions, it has.”

“Wouldn’t you, Vos?” The big one with the bright-red face says as he rests a hand on Vos’ shoulder. “I am Tarn, the leader of the group you see here.” He squeezes Vos’ shoulder. “This is Vos, and to my left is Helex.” His free hand gestures to Vos’ right. “This is Kaon.”

Kaon nods and straightens his shoulders. “We are currently in the Oberon sector, orbiting the planet Raetaen,” he says, identifying himself as the soft and sweet voice. He had been been the one offering her his hand, too. “As for how you arrived here… that is a question we were hoping you could answer.”

“D-does the honored g-guest need a b-blanket?”

The meek, almost hesitant voice burbles up from out of nowhere. Josie blinks and peers to her left, down a long and brightly lit hallway. The biggest one from earlier is peeking out from around the corner. All she can see is his head and massive shoulders.

“Good question, Tesarus!” Tarn says with a broad gesture before he looks down at Josie. “Might we offer you a blanket?”

“Or perhaps a bath?” the other, very large one asks. Helex, if Josie remembers correctly. He’s very eager as he leans forward, a pair of small hands clasped together as his large ones rest on his hips.

His torso sloshes. Sloshes. Does he have a washing machine for a stomach?

“Hungry, it must be.”

“I’m not an ‘it’,” Josie says, her thoughts spinning so quickly. “I’m Josie. A ‘she’. I’m a human from the planet Earth.”

Aliens, her mind shrieks at her. Somehow, she’s on a spaceship with aliens. Robot aliens. Either she’s dreaming or something really, really weird is going on.

“I have heard of this planet,” Kaon says as he folds his arms over his chest. He nods solemnly. “It is far, but not unreachable.”

“The b-blanket?” Tesarus asks again.

Josie sways on her feet. “I could use a blanket,” she says. If only because Tesarus sounds so pitiful. He’s kind of cute, the way he hides all the way down there, as if she, a little human, can hurt him.

“Yes, Tesarus. Bring our guest, Josie, a blanket,” Tarn says. His hand slips from Vos’ shoulder, and he performs a fancy bow toward her. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Josie. We are currently attending to a fatigued member of the Decepticons right now, but as soon as we have finished our duty to him, we would be happy to escort you home.”

“Injured, she is,” Vos points out. One long, spindly fingers gestures to her feet. How he knows that, she has no idea.

“Needs a bath,” Helex says and wriggles around, making his stomach visibly slosh. And maybe he does have a washing machine in there, but it doesn’t look like it’s filled with water.

Kaon raises a hand. “Tarn, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but my databanks inform me that humans are a delicate species. You mustn’t use your voice to calm her.” He points a finger toward Helex. “They cannot have oil baths.” The finger then moves toward Vos. “Do not offer her your face. It would likely kill her. As would the goodies you are thinking of offering her.”

The floor rumbles. Josie grasps the edge of the desk to keep from toppling over. Tesarus has returned, with what has to be the biggest stack of cloth Josie has ever seen.

“I b-brought the b-blankets,” he says quietly, and then inches to stand behind Vos, offering them to Josie from over Vos’ head.

“Poison, goodies are,” Vos says. “Disappointing, that is. Feed her, how do we?”

“This is most troublesome,” Kaon says and folds his arms again. “We are within shuttle range of Space Station 5701, however. Perhaps there are supplies that will allow us to better care for an organic guest.”

Tarn nods. “Yes. Very good.” He claps his hands together. “Kaon, you and Tesarus will take the shuttle and see if we can find our guest something to make her stay more comfortable until we can get her home.”

“A sssspace ssstation?” Tesarus says, and the metal of his body starts clattering. His eyes get really bright. The blankets tremble in his hands.

Kaon half-turns and rests a hand on Tesarus’ arm. “You’ll be fine, Tes. You’ll be with me.”

“No bath?” Helex says and his shoulders sink. His little hands droop to his sides.

“Not yet, at any rate,” Kaon says.

“See her, Nickel needs to,” Vos says with a little huff. He’s still pointing to Josie’s foot. “Injury, she has.”

“Yes, yes, indeed.” Tarn folds himself down to one knee, not that it makes him much smaller in Josie’s opinion. “Is this satisfactory, Josie? Will you allow us to care for you until such time as we can see you safely home?”

He offers a hand to her, knuckles against the floor, palm open. He doesn’t have a face, but his eyes are very big and blue behind his weird mask. His voice seems earnest. And they do seem like they are actually interested in taking care of her.

Josie takes a deep breath before she nods. “Yes, please,” she says and takes a wobbly step forward, hissing as pain lances through her ankle. “And yes, I’m hurt. Though it’s only a twisted ankle, I think.” One class in CPR training does not make her a nurse.

“Excellent!” Tarn’s eyes got brighter, and his voice more excited. “Would you allow us to carry you to our doctor?”

As he asks, Vos kneels down close to her and offers his cupped hands to her. His thumb is within arm’s reach, and when she grabs it for stability, she’s surprised by how warm he feels. There’s a low buzz on her hand as well. He feels, well, he feels alive. And she supposes they are.

“Gentle, I will be,” Vos says as Josie limps into his hands and carefully seats herself into his palm. “Promise, I do.”

“I believe you,” she says and manages to smile. “And yes, thank you. A doctor would be nice. And thank you for wanting to take me home and for being nice and not squishing me.” That last one is really important to her.

Tarn stands up and gestures to his chest. “We are caretakers, not villains,” he says. “And you are most welcome. Now Vos will take you to see Nickel, Kaon and Tesarus will find supplies to better care for you, and Helex will help me try and figure out how you got here. Please, rest and relax. We will see you home.”

“Thank you,” Josie says.

Helex jitters as if excited. “And then you can have a bath later!” he says, in a not-quiet-at-all whisper.

Despite herself, Josie laughs. She clings to Vos’ thumb for balance as he stands as well, and it’s a bit disorienting to be this high up. But it feels better, too, cause she’s less staring up at them, and feeling so small.

“Like Nickel, you will,” Vos says to her. “She is a she, too.”

“I look forward to meeting her,” Josie replies. Which is very true.

What a weird, scary, and interesting day. Part of her almost doesn’t want to go home. She’s curious about her strange rescuers. And honestly, it’s not everyday someone gets a ride on a spaceship with real-life aliens!

At least, she’s safe. That’s the best part.

“Thank you,” Josie says, again. Because politeness is important.

“You, our honored guest, are most welcome,” Tarn says.

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[Crown the Empire] Salvage Epilogue

Recovery was not an immediate process, no matter how much Optimus wished it would be so.

He recharged with Soundwave more often than not, but even the comfort of Soundwave’s familiar field and warmth was not enough to chase away the echoes of Megatron’s touch.

Sometimes, Optimus startled awake and all he wanted was distance and space. He wanted to be alone. He didn’t want to be touched, no matter how welcome.

Soundwave offered, again, to remove the memories. Optimus refused. He didn’t want the easy way out. He wanted to face his fears and move on, not worry about dealing with them later.

Soundwave did not ask again, he only offered a promise. If Optimus changed his mind, Soundwave would help him in an instant.

He offered space when Optimus desired it. He hovered in the periphery, with energon or casual conversation if it was wanted, and he returned when Optimus reached for him. If he was bothered by the constant push-pull, Soundwave didn’t show it.

It was months before they moved beyond kissing. Before Optimus could trust himself further than heated mouths, clumsy touches, and deep, lingering kisses which left him hot and wanting.

Soundwave spent a lot of time in the washracks. If he complained, Optimus did not hear it. Instead, he was patient. He waited. He never pushed, never presumed.

If anything, he excused himself sometimes before Optimus was ready to call things to an end. Once, his panel had popped without his permission and never had Optimus seen Soundwave so embarrassed and apologetic.

To see him standing there, spike erect, and backing away as though the very sight of it would harm Optimus, had been so amusing he could do nothing but laugh. Laugh so genuinely it broke through the tension of the moment.

Well, the worried tension.

The rest Soundwave had to handle in the washracks. He never complained, not even once. He would simply leave with a nod to Optimus if requested. Or he would climb into the berth beside Optimus, hold out his arms, and wait for Optimus to climb into them. Which Optimus would do with gratitude and affection.

It was easy to fall into Soundwave’s arms. Easy to grow more and more attached to him. Soundwave’s quiet dignity, his dedication, his gentle spark, all of it called to Optimus’ own. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t seen it sooner.

He trusted Soundwave more than he ever thought he could. Which often brought them back around the bend to here and now, to this rapidly familiar course of events.

Gentle kisses turned to heat and passion. Hands that never roamed any further than they were allowed. Tangled legs and hot ex-vents. Lips brushing over his, the soft rumble of desire. Feeling aroused and hesitant all at once. Believing Soundwave wouldn’t hurt him, but still questioning his own trust. Unable to decide if he wanted to stop, or if he couldn’t bear to do so.

And always, always, the soft statement popped up.

“Activities should cease,” Soundwave murmured, drawing back from the kiss only so far as to lean his forehelm against Optimus’ own.

Optimus rumbled appreciation of his own. He drew in a deep intake, and ventured down a different route. Nothing would ever change if he kept rolling down the same road.

“Actually,” he said. “If you’re not opposed, they could continue…?” Optimus suggested, his spark thumping and his frame flush with heat.

Soundwave’s visor brightened, his grip briefly tightening on Optimus before it loosened once more. “If Optimus wishes,” he said, but the yearning in his voice was painfully clear.

Optimus licked his lips. “I do,” he murmured, and slanted his mouth over Soundwave’s again, their glossas instantly meeting in a sizzle of need.

He ex-vented into the kiss, their frames sliding together. His thighs tightened around Soundwave’s waist as he pressed their chestplates against one another. Soundwave’s grip on his hips tightened, keeping him in place, his armor vibrating. Need yawed in Soundwave’s field, yet he kept himself held back.

He would always wait for Optimus.

Affection throbbed through Optimus’ spark. He gentled the kisses, turning them into brief presses of lips together, and reached for Soundwave’s right hand. He tugged it away from his hip, guided it to his groin, and deliberately placed it over his array panel. There, invitation extended, one Soundwave accepted as his fingers carefully traced Optimus’ seams.

Optimus shivered, little bursts of need peppering through his array with each brush of Soundwave’s fingers. Arousal tightened in his abdomen in a slow curl of heat. He moaned against Soundwave’s lips, his hips rocking urgently toward his lover’s touch. His cover spiraled open without waiting for Optimus’ command, freeing his spike to jut upward.

Soundwave, however, made no move toward it. He seemed content to gently tease Optimus, stroking around his array, his hips, his pelvis. Dipping into seams and caressing cables, his fingers drawing lines of charge in their wake.

It was as frustrating as it was reassuring.

Optimus fumbled for Soundwave’s hand again and boldly placed it directly upon his spike, shivering as warm fingers encircled his throbbing length. Optimus worked his intake, his cooling fans rattling to life, as Soundwave rubbed his palm over the sensitive head before stroking down the shaft.

Tingles spread outward in a dizzying wave of pleasure. Optimus’ hips bucked as he surrendered to the sensation, as he let the ecstasy build in his array. He focused only on the press of Soundwave’s hand, the flick of his fingers, the gentle squeeze. His spike throbbed to the beat of his spark. Pleasure lit through his frame like lightning.

Optimus broke away from the kiss to pant against Soundwave’s intake. His hands tightened on Soundwave’s shoulders, his hips rolling into Soundwave’s slick grip. A rattle started in his pedes and raced up his frame, zipping charge in its wake, until it reached his groin and rushed out through his spike, dragging his overload with it.

Optimus’ shoulders hunched as his spike spurted, pleasure zapping up and down his spinal strut, and his spike dribbling transfluid over Soundwave’s fingers. His entire frame trembled as his vents roared, his sensory inputs rolling with static.

The shaking increased in earnest. Optimus loosed a sound, he wasn’t sure he could call it a moan, and pressed himself into Soundwave’s ventrum. His tanks clenched, a tide of nausea seeping up from his core.

This… this was both unwelcome and unexpected.

Soundwave’s hand slid from his hip to his backstrut, stroking up and down the length of it gently. His hold on Optimus’ spike eased until it vanished, his hand resting on Optimus’ thigh instead.

“Optimus well?” Soundwave asked, their proximity and physical contact no doubt keying him into the unease that wiggled into the edge of Optimus’ spark.

Optimus cycled a ventilation. “Yes,” he said. It was only partially a lie. “I apologize. I just…” Need a moment. Need to get his processor on straight. Need to stand firm against the onslaught of unwelcome memories and banish them back to the darkness.

“Space desired?”

Optimus shook his helm and offlined his optics, in-venting Soundwave’s increasingly familiar scent. “No. This, as we are, is fine.”

Soundwave’s hand stroked down his back again and again, soft and repeated strokes Optimus could time down to the second. The rhythm was calming. He started matching his vents to it, his spark gradually calming as he did so.

The nausea went away, chased by the warmth Soundwave’s frame offered. No, not just warmth. Heat. Over-heating.

Optimus’ unshuttered his optics and eased out of the close embrace. Charge danced just under the surface of Soundwave’s armor. His fans were lowkey humming. Arousal leaked from his field in tiny reveals.

Oh.

Optimus nearly smacked himself in the face. He’d kept Soundwave from departing to the washrack earlier. No wonder he shook from repressing his own arousal. Yet, he didn’t so much as twitch or push Optimus away.

Optimus cycled a ventilation. “Thank you,” he murmured, leaning up to press a kiss to Soundwave’s chin.

The other mech tilted his helm down, catching Optimus’ mouth. Their lips brushed, Soundwave’s ex-vents a warm caress over Optimus’ frame.

“You are welcome,” Soundwave said, his damp fingers stroking over Optimus’ thigh, closer to his knee than his array however.

Optimus hummed in his intake and kissed Soundwave again, feeling the other mech’s lips tremble against his. More charge crackled out from beneath Soundwave’s plating. He was clearly beyond the point where he could will his arousal away.

Optimus stroked the back of his knuckles over Soundwave’s cheek. “Shall I return the favor?” he asked as he dropped his free hand, fingers ghosting over Soundwave’s dock before they ventured lower.

“Exchange of pleasure is not required unless Optimus ready,” Soundwave replied, his hand capturing Optimus’ before he managed to find Soundwave’s panel. “Want Optimus’ true desire. Not repayment.”

Optimus’ engine purred. He curled his hand around Soundwave’s helm and pulled him into another kiss, their lips sealing together and their glossas tangling. It wasn’t obligation he felt, but a desire to return the pleasure Soundwave offered. Nevertheless, he was grateful Soundwave had denied him.

He wasn’t sure he was as ready as he wanted to be.

Soundwave rumbled at him and drew back from the kiss, briefly brushing their nasal ridges together. “Reciprocation not required,” he said, a note of humor in his voice. “But release of charge still necessary.”

Optimus chuckled and slid back, putting some space between their frames. “I will take my leave then.” Rather than force Soundwave into the washrack for the umpteenth time, Optimus would excuse himself to it.

“Only if Optimus wants.”

Optimus paused where he’d slid to the edge of the berth, curling his knees beneath him. “You would let me watch?” He had to admit, the idea appealed to him.

“Affirmative.” Soundwave shifted, leaning his back against the wall, his legs stretched across the berth in front of him. One hand had already dropped to his panel, his fingers stroking the domed metal.

Optimus’ lips curved into a smile. “Then I’d like to stay,” he said, and shifted so that he sat more or less perpendicular to Soundwave, close enough their frames touched, and he felt a part of it, but not so close he felt obligated to participate.

Not that Soundwave seemed to mind either way.

Soundwave rubbed the heel of his palm against his array, eliciting a firm pressure Optimus would not have expected. His ventilations quickened; his panel popped almost immediately. His spike pressurized into view, dark blue and banded in spirals of pale white and soft red. Transfluid already beaded at the tip as sky blue biolights blinked in fitful succession.

Soundwave’s fingers flirted briefly over his valve, offering Optimus only tantalizing peeks, before they wrapped around his spike, now coated in his own lubricants. Optimus’ vents quickened as Soundwave firmly gripped his spike, giving it a long, thick pull that had Soundwave’s engine racing and his hips pumping upward.

Soundwave’s field spilled heat and desire into the room. His optical band darkened, his lips parting as some of his ventilations diverted orally. He stroked himself in long pulls, fisting his spike and squeezing out pearls of pre-fluid with each upward pull.

Optimus couldn’t tear his gaze away. His mouth went dry. “Do you… do you think of me?” he asked, briefly lifting his gaze to Soundwave’s.

“Always,” Soundwave replied. His vents huffed another low whoosh of air. His hips rolled into his fist, his engine rumbling into a higher pitch. His glossa swept over his lips, more pre-fluid dribbling from the tip of his spike.

Heat dared return to Optimus’ own frame. He found himself creeping closer without conscious thought, drawn to the sight of Soundwave working his spike, dark blue armor glistening beneath lubricant. His motions became faster, his helm dipping as he panted.

Soundwave’s field blasted, filling the room with his need. His free hand gripped the berthcovers, tangling in the fabric. He pumped himself harder and harder, the slick sounds of lubricant overshadowed by the roar of his engine.

Optimus’ breaths caught in his intake. He pressed against Soundwave’s side, felt the other mech vibrating against him.

“Are you thinking of me now?” Optimus asked, barely above a whisper, enraptured by Soundwave caught in his own pleasure.

A low groan rattled in Soundwave’s chassis. “Yes,” he bit out, and gnawed on his bottom lip, the dermal plating growing swollen and plump.

Optimus groaned and closed the distance between them, sealing his lips over Soundwave’s. The other mech panted into his mouth, denta and lips claiming Optimus’ with bright hunger. Soundwave shook beneath him, but no more so when Optimus dared reach between their frames and flirt his fingers over the head of Soundwave’s spike.

It might as well have been a lightning strike. Soundwave’s backstrut bowed, his hips jerked, and his spike spurted. He overloaded with a low, sexy sound, stripes of transfluid erupting from his spike. Soundwave’s entire frame shook as his hips lazily pumped into his fist, milking his spike of every drop of transfluid.

Optimus drew in a shaky ventilation and rested his helm on Soundwave’s shoulder. His hand rested on Soundwave’s thigh, leaving a sticky imprint behind. His own system hummed with a soft heat, not quite full arousal, but not revulsion either. That had been unexpectedly arousing.

Soundwave shifted a little. “Apologies,” he murmured, as though embarrassed he had overloaded so quickly.

“What for? I’m unbelievably flattered.” Optimus grinned and pressed a kiss to the corner of Soundwave’s mouth. “Better than the washrack?”

A laugh rattled out of Soundwave’s chassis. “Yes.” He leaned down, pressing his forehelm to Optimus’. “Thank you.”

“Mmm.” Optimus’ engine purred. “My pleasure.”

He could do this, he realized. He didn’t have to hold himself back.
Two steps forward, one step back.

He managed to be somewhat intimate with Soundwave without needing to run away and hide. But the night purges returned. Vivid imaginings and lies, telling him he’d never escaped, Megatron wasn’t dead, and it was all a dream fabricated by a spark clinging to hope.

Soundwave and Starscream had failed; Megatron had tortured and killed them both, ripped out their sparks in front of their agonized cassettes and trinemates. He’d caught Jazz, and hadn’t been merciful. He’d raped and tortured him, all in front of Optimus, and then ripped open his chassis and tore out his spark, all while Optimus thrashed in chains he could not break.

‘M sorry, boss bot…

Jazz’s voice echoed in his helm.

He onlined shaking, spark hammering, field wild. He shoved Soundwave away from him, the other mech too large, too hot, too present.

“Optimus–”

“I’m fine,” he lied, but couldn’t speak the truth, couldn’t voice it. He couldn’t even be certain what the truth was, save that he certainly wasn’t fine, and it wasn’t Soundwave’s fault.

Optimus pushed himself off the berth, away from Soundwave, his legs wobbly, his knees even more so. He felt the urge to move, to go. It didn’t matter where. He just wanted to know that he could.

He touched his wrists, his intake, his chestplate. Felt the locks, the lack of chains and collar. There was nothing inhibiting him. His code worked on the door. It slid open and then shut again when he didn’t leave.

He paced a circle around the room. It wasn’t Megatron’s. It was very much his. This was his console. This was his window. It looked out on Polyhex, not Iacon.

In the reflection of the window, Optimus saw it. His panels were open. His spikehead barely peeped into view, but the biolights around his valve lightly flickered. The barest sheen of lubricant decorated his thighs. His engine revved weakly.

Optimus’ hands formed fists. One of them rapped against the window, barely enough to make a sound. There was no arousal in his system, but he was ready anyway.

Such was the power of a nightmare. One that grew in strength, trying to convince him he’d been telling himself a lie.

It was early. Perhaps not too early. He pinged Jazz anyway. His third would understand.

“Optimus?” Jazz’s reply sounded sleepy, a bit dazed. “Is somethin’ wrong? Somethin’ happen?”

Optimus bowed his helm. “No. I apologize for waking you. I only…” Wanted to know you were all right. Wanted to know that I could. Wanted to know I wasn’t dreaming.

“It’s okay, boss.” Jazz sounded more alert now, and somehow even managed chipper. “I’m fine. We’re fine. All’s fine. Old Buckethead’s dead, and you should be snugglin’ with Soundwave right now. That sound right?”

Optimus didn’t know how Jazz always knew. But he was grateful for it in that moment.

“Yes, it does. Thank you, Jazz.”

“Anytime, OP.”

The comm went silent, but not before Jazz transmitted a digital hug and an emoticon the likes of which Laserbeak favored. Not even Optimus’ subconscious could have produced that.

Calmer, Optimus focused on ventilating, one intake after another. He counted his sparkpulses as they slowed from panic to calm. He listened to the sounds of his own frame, no longer labored or struggling. His repaired windshield glinted in the window.

This was reality. Not that nightmare.

And slowly, slowly, the panic eased.

Optimus cycled his optics, performed a systems check, and unclenched. He half-turned, aware that Soundwave was still here, though the other mech had been wise enough not to move.

He stood near the berth, his attention on Optimus, but making no sudden movements. He tilted his helm in question, but did not speak.

“I apologize,” Optimus said, and winced when it came out striped in static.

Soundwave shook his helm. “Apologies unnecessary.” One hand rose slowly, and tapped his forehelm. “I saw.”

Two words.

Chill raced down Optimus’ backstrut. His gaze fell, shoulders hunching. “I see.”

“It was unintentional,” Soundwave rushed to say. “Physical contact and unconscious trust left both open. I apologize.”

Optimus worked his intake, feeling as though a lump had taken up residence. “We’re both sorry,” he said, and offered Soundwave a smile, only to realize that his battlemask had activated in the midst of his fear.

He couldn’t bring himself to retract it. The mask, too, was evidence that he was safe, and no longer in Megatron’s clutches.

“Preference for solitude?” Soundwave asked. He still hadn’t moved, as though he feared it would set Optimus off in some manner.

Perhaps he was right.

“No,” he answered, and then shook his helm. “I mean…” He trailed off. He didn’t know what he wanted.

He yearned for the comfort Soundwave offered. He didn’t want to be touched, however. He wanted to be alone, but knew he would be lost in his thoughts if he did so.

“I am sorry,” Optimus said again, his tone bleak, his gaze dropping.

“Apology unnecessary,” Soundwave said quietly. He took a step, an unexpectedly silent one, toward the door. “Moment needed? I will retrieve coolant. Then re-evaluate.”

Coolant?

Oh. Optimus’ temperature had skyrocketed. He hadn’t noticed in all the other pains. Yet, Soundwave had.

His spark squeezed.

“Yes, thank you. That sounds nice,” Optimus said, managing to lift his helm. He couldn’t smile, not behind the protection of his mask, but he hoped that his gratitude was in his field.

Soundwave dipped his helm, and excused himself from the room. In the silence of his absence, Optimus cycled a ventilation. He stood there several seconds more before he moved toward the berth on shaky legs. He sat down on the edge and scraped a hand down his face.

He hated this. He hated the weakness, the uncertainty, the crawling fear. There was no reason to be afraid, to panic. Megatron was dead. He was safe. All he wanted was to feel safe, to allow himself to be comforted by the mech who would be his lover.

Yet, he could not even have that. Megatron and his tortures lingered at the back of Optimus’ subconscious like a rust infection that had settled in all the way through his frame.

The door opened as Soundwave returned, still moving slow and careful. He carried with him a decanter of coolant, which Optimus gratefully accepted.

“Thank you,” he said, and was ashamed when he had to turn away from Soundwave so he could open his mask to sip at it. He should not feel so unsafe.

“You are welcome.” Soundwave lingered, not too close, not too far. “Optimus wishes for solitude?”

Optimus shook his helm. “No. I don’t want to be alone, but I don’t… I don’t want to share a berth either.” He cycled a ventilation. “I apologize. I know very well that I sound contrary and irrational.”

“Only to some. Suggestion offered?”

“Of course.”

Soundwave moved closer, slowly, as though waiting for Optimus to protest. He gestured to the berth. “I will sit. You can recline. Sound fair?”

“That doesn’t sound like you will get a restful recharge,” Optimus said, frowning behind his mask. He tucked the container of coolant into his subspace. “Neither does it sound fair.”

Soundwave’s field reached out, tentatively, for Optimus’ own. “Positions have been worse. More worried for Optimus’ comfort.”

His spark thrummed with warmth. “All right,” Optimus said. “Let us try.”

You would have thought he’d offered Soundwave the world, the way his lover lit up with delight. Soundwave’s field became soft and warm, like the caress of a blanket. Yet, he still moved cautiously, telegraphing his motions as he pulled himself onto the berth, and braced his back against the wall, his legs stretched out in front of him. There was still plenty of room left for Optimus.

He privately thanked Jazz for his foresight in acquiring Optimus a larger berth.

Soundwave patted the thigh nearest to Optimus. “Invitation extended,” he said, holding out a hand to Optimus.

There was no urgency in his motions. He looked as though he were willing to wait for Optimus until morning came, if he needed. That, in itself, was enough to convince Optimus.

He pulled himself fully onto the berth and got into position. He lay there, stiff as a board, his head pillowed on Soundwave’s thigh, his frame stretched across the berth. Soundwave was warm beneath him, a gentle thrum coursing through his frame. Nevertheless, he sent the command for the lights to dim.

“May I touch you?” Soundwave asked, his vocals softer, as though trying not to startle.

Optimus cycled a ventilation. “Yes,” he said, aloud, though there was a part of him that immediately tensed at the idea. Surely Soundwave didn’t mean intimately.

But no. Soundwave’s hand rested on the crown of his helm, a barely tangible touch that was none the less warm and soothing.

“Optimus must recharge,” he murmured, his fingers stroking a gentle pattern over the curve of Optimus’ helm. “Rest necessary for recovery.”

“So I’ve been told,” Optimus said. He cycled several ventilations, tried to focus on them and the pulses of his spark. He didn’t want to admit he feared what he would see when he shuttered his optics.

“Optimus must rest,” Soundwave repeated, a murmur again, but instead of falling into silence, what rose after was a sound.

It wasn’t quite a song. Optimus couldn’t call it that as it didn’t seem to come from Soundwave’s vocalizer. But neither did it come from his speakers. It seemed to emerge from his frame, as though he were manipulating some of his internal systems to produce the sound. It wasn’t a noise, but had a lyrical quality, one without words.

It was beautiful. It seemed to match the pulse of Optimus’ spark, and as it slowed, so did his spark rate. Until the tension that left his cables taut and his plating clamped, eased out of him with each passing ventilation.

“Often soothed cassettes like this,” Soundwave said as his fingers stroked gentle patterns around Optimus’ helm and audials, though careful to avoid his sensitive antennae. “The humans would call it a lullaby.”

“It is very nice,” Optimus murmured, his optics seeming to shutter of their own accord. He felt his ventilations even out.

Soundwave hummed deep in his chassis. “Rest now,” he said.

Optimus made a noise of agreement. He focused on the sound, the lullaby as it were, and let it lull him right back to recharge.

He had no more nightmares that night.

~

They tried again.

Or to say, Optimus tried again. He set forth with a determination he hadn’t felt in months. He refused to let Megatron be a noose around his intake.

Post-shift, he invited Soundwave back to his hab-suite. Soundwave always waited for an invitation. Once inside, he walked right up to the former Decepticon and gently tapped his cassette dock.

“Out,” Optimus said, with perhaps more force than he intended. “We are going to need some privacy.”

Soundwave’s field went flush with heat. His armor rippled. “Understood,” he said. “Buzzsaw. Laserbeak, eject.”

His dock popped, the two avian cassettes emerging immediately with playful chirps at each other. Buzzsaw booped Soundwave on the helm affectionately, but Laserbeak came and booped Optimus, her field buzzing with affection.

“There’s energon crush in the dispensary,” Optimus offered, lifting a hand to tickle a finger under her chin. “Help yourselves.”

Laserbeak sent him an emoticon and nipped at his fingertips. Her and Buzzsaw squawked at each other before taking off for the dispensary.

“Optimus spoils Laserbeak,” Soundwave said, amused.

“Sometimes, people deserve to be spoiled,” Optimus said, and stepped closer to Soundwave, well into his personal space. He cupped Soundwave’s jaw with one hand, gently rubbing his thumb over Soundwave’s mask. “Open for me?”

“Of course.” Soundwave’s mask split down the middle and slid back into his helm.

Optimus smiled and closed the distance between them, pressing their mouths together for a soft kiss that quickly became less than chaste. He flicked his glossa against Soundwave’s lips, requesting entrance, and hummed when Soundwave relented.

His thumb swept over Soundwave’s cheek as he deepened the kiss, tangling his glossa with Soundwave’s own. Soundwave had recently consumed energon, a perpetually sweet blend that he favored. The flavor of it lingered on his glossa.

Optimus’ frame hummed.

This… this was all right.

He eased out of the kiss, brushing only their lips together. “Thank you,” Optimus murmured, his optics half-shuttering.

“I am the one who should be grateful,” Soundwave replied gently. He cupped Optimus’ face as well, and Optimus turned his helm into the gentle touch.

He wanted to focus on this, and only this.

“What would Optimus like?” Soundwave then asked, his lips all but mesmerizing as they moved.

Optimus flushed. “I did not get that far,” he admitted, and worked his intake. “I do not know. I only know that I do not want to be ruled by my fears.”

Soundwave leaned down, pressing their forehelms together. His warm ex-vents gently ghosted over Optimus’ faceplate. “Optimus trusts Soundwave?”

“Yes.” Optimus surprised himself with how much he actually meant it. There were a thousand reasons he should not trust Soundwave, and yet he did. He trusted that Soundwave would not hurt him or intentionally bring him harm.

A ripple passed over Soundwave’s armor, one of utter delight. “Then will Optimus allow Soundwave to try and bring him pleasure?”

Optimus shivered. A surge of heat rippled down his spinal strut as his spark throbbed and his processor conjured several helpful images – most of which starred his past Autobot lovers, but a good many now starring Soundwave though they had actually done very little yet. Optimus did, however, have an active imagination.

“Yes,” he said, and embarrassed himself with how needy he sounded. “You may.”

Soundwave’s engine rumbled. His thumb stroked over Optimus’ cheek. “Prefer to sit or stand?”

“Stand.” He didn’t even have to think about it. He didn’t think too hard about why that was.

“Very well.” Soundwave pressed a kiss to Optimus’ forehelm and then dragged his lips slowly down, over the just of Optimus’ nasal ridge, before capturing Optimus’ mouth with his own.

The kiss was soft, so soft. His lips brushed over Optimus’ in a slow and steady sweep. His ex-vents were warm flutters over Optimus’ dermal plating. His glossa traced the seam of Optimus’ lips but never ventured within, because then his mouth moved on.

Over the curve of Optimus’ jaw, to the sensitive curve of his audial, and further still, to the delicate cables of his intake. Optimus shivered as Soundwave kissed him there, ex-vents tickling at the protoform beneath the web of thick cables. Optimus worked his intake, felt Soundwave’s mouth bob over his cables, and shivered again.

His hand slid from Soundwave’s helm to his shoulder. His fingers twitched and flexed in their loose grip.

Soundwave flirted with his intake for several more seconds before he moved on again, and only then did Optimus realize he was slowly kneeling. His hands ghosted over Optimus’ shoulders, down his arms, then to his sides, fingers dragging a light burr of charge over Optimus’ ventral armor.

Optimus licked his lips, feeling almost breathless as he watched Soundwave descend, his lips caressing seams as he knelt. He ex-vented more damp heat into Optimus’ grill until finally he was on his knees, pressing a small kiss to Optimus’ ventrum.

Optimus sucked in a sharp intake. He watched, enraptured, as Soundwave’s mouth descended further. He placed a kiss to Optimus’ interface array, his hands gently cradling Optimus’ hips. His thumbs swept soft patterns over Optimus’ plating as his lips explored the seam of Optimus’ panel. His glossa emerged then, licking a line around and around Optimus’ array.

Optimus shivered, heat pooling southward, dragging all of his attention to that point of pleasure where Soundwave seemed content to caress him for no other reason than to bring him pleasure.

Soundwave tilted his helm and looked up at Optimus. “You will open for me?” he asked.

Optimus’ hands trembled. He couldn’t bring himself to speak, so he sent the command to manually trigger his panel open. It slid aside, both inner covers spiraling open to reveal his interface components.

The head of his spike peeped into view, even as he felt a rush of cool air caress the rim of his valve. The tiniest trickle of lubricant had gathered, barely a minimum, but then Soundwave ex-vented damp heat, and Optimus’ valve clenched. He shivered, knees wobbling.

“Thank you,” Soundwave murmured, his lips barely an inch from the head of Optimus’ spike.

“I think I should be thanking you,” Optimus forced out, static in his vocals, his ventilations increasing.

Soundwave huffed a laugh. His lips moved closer, until he pressed a kiss to the tip of Optimus’ spike. Optimus swallowed down a moan. Such a simple act should not feel so electrifying, yet it sent a surge of need up his spinal strut. Even more so when Soundwave drew the head of Optimus’ spike into his mouth and licked it.

Optimus’ hips jerked forward, his spike thickening quickly. Soundwave hummed in his intake, lips and glossa working patterns of pleasure over Optimus’ spike. He kissed and licked it as though it were an energon candy of his favorite flavor. He pressed another kiss to the tip, sending another hot wave of want through Optimus frame.

Though it was nothing compared to the shock of need that attacked him when Soundwave moved further still. When his lips pressed to Optimus’ outer node, and his glossa flicked across it. Optimus’ hips danced, a low groan escaping him before he could stop it.

Optimus shifted, legs pushing further apart, hips canting toward the wet heat of Soundwave’s mouth. A glossa swept over his rim, tracing the entirety of it, flirting with the swelling fold. His anterior node pulsed, his valve cycling faster, until the first bead of lubricant welled at the rim.

Optimus cycled a ventilation, his knees wobbling. He worked his intake, his array aching from want. It was the sweetest torture.

And then Soundwave had the audacity to stop. He pulled away and looked up at Optimus, his lips glossy from lubricant.

“Optimus wishes me to stop?” he asked as his thumbs swept caressing patterns over Optimus’ hip and groin.

“I am the furthest from wanting you to stop,” Optimus replied.

Soundwave hummed an approving note. “Then I will continue,” he said, and slid his hands around Optimus’ thighs, tugging him closer and burying his face in Optimus’ array.

A sharp cry escaped Optimus’ lips. He pressed his hand over his mouth to cover the embarrassing noises, even as his helm tilted back. Soundwave latched onto his exterior node and sucked on it, his heated ex-vents caressing the twitching rim of Optimus’ valve.

His glossa swept deep and consuming into Optimus’ valve. He slurped up trickles of lubricant, kissed Optimus’ rim, and lovingly laved every node within reach of his glossa.

Optimus lost control of a whimper and it eked free. His optics shuttered as he shivered. His spike fully pressurized, proud and eager, pre-fluid beading at the tip. His knees wobbled.

“S-Soundwave,” Optimus tried, but it fell away in a garble of static as denta gently scraped over his anterior node again.

His engine roared, cooling fans whirring.

His hand groped for and found Soundwave’s helm. He patted the crest of it, even as he managed to call for Soundwave through another wave of static.

The warmth of Soundwave’s mouth instantly vanished. “You want me to stop?” he asked, his visor bright and warm.

Optimus shook his helm. “I need to sit. Or I’m going to fall.”

“Understood,” Soundwave said, and there was almost a wicked gleam in his visor as he stood and leaned in close, pressing their forehelms together once more. “Berth or chair?”

It was hard to think with the pleasure simmering in his lines, with his spike bumping against Soundwave’s frame and leaving streaks behind. With the scent of his own arousal emanating from Soundwave’s lips.

“Berth,” Optimus managed to get out, his processor swimming in pleasure and warmth. “Berth is fine.”

Soundwave’s chassis rumbled. His lips moved down, descending over Optimus, and he groaned into the kiss. He tasted himself in Soundwave’s mouth, and it tasted like trust, like freely given pleasure.

Optimus moaned and clutched at Soundwave, his knees wobbling again. He felt Soundwave’s hands on his waist, his hips, and then his thighs. Soundwave’s fingers flexed before Optimus felt himself lifted, hoisted upward.

He startled, scrambling for a hold, but it wasn’t needed. For Soundwave took three steps before they were at the berth, and then he lowered Optimus to it, his back cradled in the plush surface. Soundwave leaned over him, firmly nestled between Optimus’ thighs, yet he hadn’t so much as popped his panel.

He kissed Optimus, still as slow and leisurely as before, their mouths exchanging heat and damp. Optimus moaned, his arms winding around Soundwave’s neck and shoulders, holding him close. Soundwave’s frame hummed with suppressed charge, yet nothing in his actions suggested urgency.

Not even when he ended the kiss to mouth his way back down Optimus’ frame. He lowered himself to his knees, cradled Optimus’ hips with his hands, and set upon Optimus’ array as though Optimus’ pleasure was the only thing that mattered.

Optimus bucked toward his mouth, heat rolling outward in steady waves from the focal point of his array. Soundwave took Optimus’ spike into his mouth, and swallowed him to the base, glossa stroking paths of pleasure. He slid his hands to Optimus’ thighs, urged them over his shoulders, and sucked Optimus deep.

Coherency vanished.

Optimus had no attention for anything but the hot pleasure Soundwave evoked in him. The sweep of a talented glossa. The gentle scrape of denta. The flirting caress of lips. His spike pulsed, hot and full, throbbing in the embrace of Soundwave’s mouth. His valve clenched and clenched, lubricant soaking his aft, dribbling down the side of his berth.

He might have babbled Soundwave’s name. He couldn’t be sure. Not through the rush of noise in his audials, or the rapid beat of his spark. Not when Soundwave’s mouth abandoned his spike, and he buried his face in Optimus’ valve. His glossa plunged inside, his nasal ridge rubbing on Optimus’ anterior node.

He whimpered, hips bucking against Soundwave’s mouth. His thighs tensing and trembling. His hands clutched restlessly at the berth, twisting in the covers, his hips rolling against Soundwave’s mouth over and over.

Pleasure twisted within him, folding in and over itself. His engine raced. His vents roared. Everything narrowed down to a single point, to the press of Soundwave’s mouth, the flick of his glossa, the brush of his lips. Optimus’ anterior node throbbed, his valve squeezed down, and then Soundwave hummed. He hummed, and the vibrations coursed over Optimus’ array.

Optimus shattered.

His helm tossed back as he bucked up hard. He heard something rip, vaguely, as he came undone, overload tossing him back in waves of pleasure. His backstrut arched. His spike spurted, his valve spasmed, and charge lit along his lines like a flash fire.

He twitched and tossed within Soundwave’s grip and ever gentling oral caresses, until he fell back planet-side, vents whirring and frame rattling. He panted for ventilations, his hands gripping the covers unbearably tight – the torn covers. He had to force his sensory suites into a reset, his optics powering back on with a flicker.

Soundwave still cradled his lower half, though he’d moved on to pressing gentle kisses up and down the inside of Optimus’ thighs.

Optimus cycled a ventilation and forced his optics back online. His entire frame thrummed with satisfaction, his processor oddly quiet, his spark softly twirling. He waited for the panic to set in, but there was nothing. Yet.

Only time would tell.

He had to reset his vocalizer twice before he could make it function. He unwound his fingers from the torn berth covers and forced his elbows beneath him, propping up his chassis so he could look down his frame at Soundwave.

He’d had both a spike and valve overload somehow, he noticed. Transfluid striped his belly, and Soundwave’s face was damp from Optimus’ lubricant. Yet, he didn’t seem bothered by it.

“Optimus well?” Soundwave asked.

“More than,” Optimus said with a soft smile. “Thank you, Soundwave.”

Soundwave’s glossa flicked over his lips. He pressed one last kiss to Optimus’ inner thigh and then pushed himself to his pedes. He leaned over the berth and Optimus, hands braced to either side of Optimus’ shoulders.

“You are welcome,” he said, his field stroking over Optimus’ in a delicate caress. “Optimus is gorgeous in pleasure.”

Heat stole into Optimus’ face. He did not know why the compliment left him so embarrassed.

“Thank you,” he said as their faces came close together, nasal ridges brushing. He shifted his weight, cupped the back of Soundwave’s helm, and pulled him in for another soft kiss.

He tasted himself once more, and a shudder rippled down his spinal strut. It helped ground him in reality somehow, reminding him where he was and who he was with.

Soundwave purred against his mouth, shifting his weight so that he could curve one hand around Optimus’ chassis, his fingers pressing against the line of Optimus’ back strut.

“It was my pleasure,” Soundwave murmured against his lips. “I adore you.”

“I’m beginning to understand that,” Optimus replied. He rubbed their nasal ridges together. “I do not know how well I can return the favor, but I could try, if you’d like.”

Soundwave rumbled a laugh. “That is not necessary.” He drew back and gestured to himself, splatters of transfluid on his own groin paneling. “Optimus is very inspiring.”

Heat flushed Optimus’ face to the tip of his antennae. “Oh. I see.”

Soundwave chuckled and brushed their nasal ridges together again. “Patience is Soundwave’s strong suit,” he murmured. “More concerned with Optimus’ comfort.”

Optimus’ lips curved. His fingers stroked the back of Soundwave’s helm. “What did I do to deserve you?” he wondered aloud.

Soundwave brushed their lips together and murmured, “Feeling mutual.”

~

“You’re pushing yourself too fast.”

That was how Ratchet chose to greet him when Optimus showed up for his weekly appointment. There was no getting out of it. His recharge and refuel issues were clearly documented and until Ratchet was absolutely certain Optimus was in no danger of collapsing again, these weekly appointments were unavoidable.

“Have you been nosing about in my personal life again?” Optimus asked as he hoisted himself onto the berth.

Ratchet came at him with a double-handed approach of a scanner clutched in each hand. “I don’t have to. These scanners tell me everything I need to know.” He peered at Optimus, his expression half one of accusation. “This is not a race, Optimus.”

“No, it is not,” Optimus agreed. “But that does not negate the fact I am not pushing myself fast enough. One does not grow from remaining stagnant and safe.”

Ratchet’s frown deepened, worsening the lines in his faceplate. “There is such a thing as over-exertion.”

“No. I refuse to let Megatron continue to rule my thoughts and actions,” Optimus insisted as the wash of the scans made his armor itch. “I am the master of my thoughts and my spark, not the horrors he inflicted upon me.”

Ratchet sighed and set the scanners aside. “Optimus, it is not a failure to take time. Recovery is not an instant process. And it’s not just Megatron’s actions you are dealing with, but also the effect of thousands and thousands of years of civil war.”

Optimus pressed his lips together. His spark quivered. Ratchet, he knew, had a point. But Optimus did not want to agree. He hated cowering in the shadow Megatron had left over him.

Ratchet sighed again and scrubbed at his chevron. “You know, I haven’t even been intimate with Wheeljack yet, and I’ve known and trusted him a lot longer than you have Soundwave. You need to give both of yourselves time.”

“It is unfair to demand such a thing.” Optimus shifted his weight on the berth, recalling the great care Soundwave showed him, care Optimus seemed incapable of returning. “Soundwave deserves better than me.”

“Soundwave deserves to choose for himself,” Ratchet said. “Besides, he’s getting the support he needs. It’s time you do that, too.”

Optimus tilted his helm. “What do you mean?”

Ratchet dropped his hands and picked up a nearby datapad as it beeped at him. His gaze dropped to the screen, no doubt data on Optimus’ systems.

“It was Wheeljack’s idea,” Ratchet explained. “He started a support group, sort of a question and answer thing, for mechs supporting partners who’ve gone through trauma. Soundwave’s attended a few times, I know.”

Some of the tension eased out of Optimus’ frame. “I did not know such a thing existed. Or that Soundwave would even attend.”

“We all need support in different ways,” Ratchet said, his stylus flicking across the screen before he stowed the datapad once more. “If you need someone to talk to, someone who was there with you, I’m always here for you.”

Optimus’ helm dipped, a smile curving his lips. “I know you are, old friend.” He held out a hand, a part of him thrilled when Ratchet accepted it.

Sometimes, he could not move past the horrors Megatron forced him to inflict on Ratchet. Nor the knowledge of what Ratchet had suffered. But a part of him healed a bit more every time Ratchet reached back for him without hesitation.

“Please take your time, Optimus,” Ratchet said, giving his hand a squeeze. “It’ll be worth the wait.”

“I know.” Optimus offered his medic a reassuring smile. “I will do my best to try.”

~

Ratchet wasn’t wrong, in any case. Optimus was well aware he needed to apply some brakes. Only it was difficult to do so when Soundwave was intoxicatingly easy to kiss and hold.

When he wanted, so much, to see Soundwave come undone beneath him.

When he had Soundwave to himself, with no cassettes about, no matters of state to handle, no emergencies. Nothing but the quiet of Optimus’ habsuite, a soft song playing through his console, a shared tray of energon gummies, and Soundwave looking at Optimus as though he were the most precious thing in the world.

Times like these, the last thing on Optimus’ mind was patience.

Soundwave was all too willing to guide Optimus toward another processor-blowing, strut-shattering overload. His hands were ever cautious, ever waiting for permission. His focus was on Optimus alone.

Not this time.

Optimus was the one who guided Soundwave down to the berth, who held his weight over Soundwave’s frame and covered him in sweet, savory kisses. He tasted and nibbled Soundwave’s intake. He pressed a kiss over Soundwave’s dock and his newly emplaced Autobot badge. His fingers stroked patterns over transformation seams and armor gaps, wriggling into them so that he could caress the heated cables beneath.

“Optimus…?”

“It is my turn,” he said, lifting his gaze toward Soundwave, who had lifted his hands as though he wanted to touch, but wasn’t sure he was welcome. “I do not know if I will be capable of as much pleasure as you have given me, but I will try.”

Soundwave’s visor dimmed at him. “Effort appreciated but not required.”

“It is not a requirement,” Optimus retorted, and nudged his way between Soundwave’s legs. He sat back on his heelstruts, his hands stroking down the length of Soundwave’s thigh. “I wish to offer you pleasure. Do you not want it?”

Soundwave’s engine revved. Charge leapt out from beneath his plating, betraying the need that surely yawed in his spark.

“Desire present,” Soundwave said, his armor visibly juttering. “Only never wish to cause Optimus discomfort.”

“Good.” Optimus rested his palm over Soundwave’s array and rubbed a slow circle over the heated metal. “Then you will allow me to show you how I feel about you now?”

A moan rose in Soundwave’s intake, rattling through his chassis. His glossa flicked over his lips, vents rattling to life. “Affirmative.”

Optimus’ spark thrummed with affection. “Feel free to let me know if you wish for me to stop,” he said as Soundwave’s panel slid aside beneath his fingertips, an eager spike jutting into his hand.

Soundwave groaned, his helm falling back against the berth. Optimus took that as confirmation and gripped Soundwave’s spike, forming a fist around the length of it. Soundwave was already fully pressurized, his spike throbbing and leaking profusely. Had he been holding back from the moment they fell into berth together?

No, Optimus realized. Soundwave had been holding back from the moment he realized he had a chance to court Optimus.

It was so charming as to be adorable. Optimus wished he could bring himself to offer Soundwave oral pleasure, but the very thought of doing so at the moment made something within him go cold.

Perhaps another time then. There was such a thing, after all, as moving too fast.

He did, however, have two very capable hands. One of which was stroking Soundwave slowly and surely. The other sought to explore Soundwave’s valve, which Optimus had only gotten a glimpse of before. This time, he paid it more attention.

His fingers rubbed over the damp opening, tracing the swollen rim. Soundwave’s biolights were a very pale blue, and they pulsed fitfully as Optimus familiarized himself with Soundwave’s equipment. He had not one anterior node, but a cluster of smaller ones arranged at the apex of his valve, and another one at the base of it.

“You favor being on top of your partner, do you not?” Optimus asked as he flirted with each of the nodes in turn, his own breathing quickening at the sight of Soundwave rolling his hips, his valve pulsing needfully.

Soundwave cycled his vocalizer loudly. He nodded before reaching up and gripping the head of the berth as though preventing himself from grabbing at Optimus. Any other time, Optimus would have invited him to grab whatever he wanted.

“How fortunate,” Optimus murmured as he finally let his fingers slide into Soundwave’s valve, his intakes catching as rippling calipers clutched at his fingertips. “I would enjoy seeing you move atop me.”

Soundwave groaned, his valve clamping down tight. His visor flickered as he rocked his hips toward Optimus’ hands, his spike pulsing another dribble of pre-fluid.

“Optimus teasing.”

He chuckled. “Yes, that may be true. I promise, Soundwave. There will be a time when every moment I spend in the berth is not wasted fighting my internal demons.” He curled his fingers, rubbing them along the top of Soundwave’s valve, and dragging along a line of sensors in the process. “You will see then what I can do for you.”

Soundwave’s engine roared. His knees bent, pedes shoving down against the berth as he lifted his hips, pushing them harder toward Optimus’ hands.

“Though it seems what I am capable of now is good enough,” Optimus observed, unable to tear his gaze away from Soundwave, wracked with pleasure.

His faceplate darkened in hue. He sucked on his bottom lip, worrying it between his denta. His armor flared, heat rising up, and little flickers of charge dancing out. The berth creaked where he gripped it. Biolights flashed in intermittent bursts. His valve all but soaked Optimus’ hand, and his spike was solid steel. Given the way he trembled, Optimus was surprised that he hadn’t overloaded yet.

That was when it occurred to him.

Optimus worked his intake and tilted his helm. “Are you holding back, Soundwave?”

A thin whine rose from Soundwave’s chassis. He ex-vented loudly, a burst of nearly boiling heated air.

“Affirmative,” he said, the words laced with static.

Optimus cycled his optics. “Why on Earth would you– No. Never mind.” He shook his helm and gave Soundwave a firm look. “I want you to overload for me,” he said instead, putting a firmness in his tone, perhaps even a command. “I want to see your pleasure, and feel it in my field. I want to see you undone.”

Each word seemed to unlock something. As he spoke, Soundwave shifted on the berth. His backstrut arched, his thighs trembling as they tilted inward. His engine roared loud enough to rattle some of the items in Optimus’ quarters.

“Soundwave,” Optimus said, capturing his attention and his gaze. He held his lover’s visor, enraptured by the pleasure bleeding in Soundwave’s field. “Overload.”

And he did.

Optimus’ internals clenched, his low-grade arousal shooting into the atmosphere as Soundwave’s back bowed, and he overloaded. His spike spurted in Optimus’ fist, and his valve spiraled down so tight that Optimus wondered if he’d get his fingers back. Heat poured off Soundwave in waves as he loosed a sound that punched straight to Optimus’ array.

Soundwave collapsed against the berth, panting for ventilations, his fans whirring, his frame limp. He still gripped the head of the berth as though it were a lifeline, his visor dim.

The desperate clamp of his valve eased, and Optimus was able to withdraw his fingers, though not without a few twitches on Soundwave’s part.

Primus, he was hot. Optimus’ spark throbbed, and all he wanted to do was climb up Soundwave’s frame and press their mouths together. And so he did. He reacted on personal desire, stretched across Soundwave’s frame, and sloppily slanted his lips over Soundwave’s.

Soundwave responded immediately, his arms coming down to wrap around Optimus’ torso, his glossa joining the fun. His thighs cradled Optimus’ lower half, Optimus’ array panel rubbing on the mess left on Soundwave’s groin.

Soundwave groaned, deepening the kiss, need so thick in his field. His hands stroked patterns on Optimus’ backstrut, drawing lines in the charge dancing over his armor. His engine rumbled, vibrating through Optimus’ frame.

Optimus broke off the kiss, pressing his forehelm to Soundwave’s, his own body aching with need. He offlined his optics, trying to cycle his ventilations, beat down the arousal. This was about Soundwave, not himself.

And then Soundwave dared roll his hips, grinding his equipment against Optimus’ closed array, leaving streaks of transfluid and lubricant over the heated panel.

“Optimus is welcome,” he invited, arousal still thick in his vocals and heavy in his field. His spike began to pressurize again; Optimus could feel the jut of it against his abdominal armor.

The temptation was intoxicating.

Optimus’ entire frame trembled. Heat peppered his lines like blasterfire, need clawing within him. He couldn’t think about anything but the desperate clasp of Soundwave’s valve, the way Soundwave moved beneath him, eager and willing and hungry.

Primus, he was already worked up, and he’d done nothing but offer Soundwave pleasure. Watch his lover writhe beneath him, surrender to ecstasy.

A broken sound of need escaped Optimus before he could whisk it away. His hips rolled of their own accord, frotting against Soundwave’s equipment, the heat rising between them. The air was thick with the scent of overload, heated metal, and all the while, Soundwave thrummed beneath him, patient but ready.

Soundwave’s knees pressed in at his hips. “Invitation extended,” he said, his vocals striping toward static.

Optimus worked his intake, and gasped as his control faltered, as his panels snicked aside, freeing his spike. It pressurized immediately, greeting Soundwave’s spike with a delightful rub of dermal metal on dermal metal. Optimus groaned, his shoulders hunching, pleasure lancing through him like a lightning strike to the cortex.

“Are you certain?” he asked, because Optimus could not be the only one who demanded outright consent and free desire.

Soundwave moaned and bucked up against him. His visor flashed a deeper hue of need. “Yes,” he said. “Please.”

Optimus shuddered. Heat flooded his frame in a flash-fire. His spike throbbed, dripping pre-fluid. He had no more excuses to offer, because there was only this now, this moment.

He thanked Primus that the height difference between them was negligible. It took no effort to capture Soundwave’s lips with his own, even as he thrust against Soundwave. He never expected their first coupling would be like this, frantic and hungry, the desperate motion of two frames moving together.

He couldn’t find Soundwave’s valve, not without breaking away from the desperate merge of their mouths together. It didn’t matter. The thrust and rub of their spikes together was enough. Soundwave was slick and sticky from his earlier overloads, and Optimus was aroused enough that his spike dribbled pre-fluid.

Each push and pull, rock and thrust, sent a barrage of charge up and down Optimus’ spinal strut. He panted against Soundwave’s mouth, and Soundwave bucked up against him, metal screeching on metal. He swore he could feel the pulse of Soundwave’s spark where their chestplates pressed together. Charge leapt from Soundwave’s frame into his, sending his arousal rocketing skyward.

Optimus broke away from the kiss and buried his face in Soundwave’s intake. He cried out an unintelligible sound, the overload taking him over before he could begin to hold back. His spike spurted even as his hips continued to rock and grind against Soundwave’s. Pleasure streaked through his lines faster than he could track, and he shook in Soundwave’s arms, vents running full bore.

Soundwave moaned, clamped his thighs around Optimus’ waist. His own hips continued to pump, as though he hovered on the edge of overload. Optimus nosed into his intake, kissing and licking at his cables, before taking the largest between his lips and giving it a gentle bite with his denta.

Soundwave bucked beneath him and he, too, overloaded, his spike spurting between their frames. Their groins were a sticky mess, but Optimus couldn’t care, not with Soundwave humming and rocking beneath him, his frame trembling with release. Optimus’ fans roared, vibrating them both.

He sagged on top of Soundwave, panting for a ventilation, surrendering himself to Soundwave’s embrace and the warm press of Soundwave’s field. He waited for the panic to set in, but felt only content, even as he burrowed his face against Soundwave’s chestplate. He listened to Soundwave’s sparkbeat, rapid in the wake of his overload. Soundwave’s hands pet down his back, long and gentle strokes.

Optimus lay there, listening to their systems cycle down, registering as the overheat slowly seeped from their frames, though it lingered between them. He focused on the slowing of Soundwave’s sparkrate and his own. He had forgotten what it felt like, the comforting aftermath of intimacy with another, to press together, frame to frame, after sharing pleasure.

He’d forgotten that it could be a good thing.

“Optimus online?”

Soundwave’s gentle question didn’t even startle him.

Optimus chuckled. “Yes. I am still awake.” He dragged his hand from the berth to rest it on Soundwave’s shoulder. “I am savoring.”

Soundwave shifted a little beneath him, knees falling away from their desperate clamp on Optimus’ hips. “I enjoy this, too.”

“I’m glad.” Optimus lifted his helm, shifting enough that he could press a kiss to Soundwave’s chin. “Thank you.”

Soundwave stroked a hand down his backstrut. “Gratitude extended also.” His frame hummed, a soothing sound. “Only before recharge, visit to washrack necessary.”

Optimus laughed despite himself and folded his arms beneath him, balancing his chin on his hands and over Soundwave’s dock. “Are you saying we made a mess?”

Soundwave’s lips curves. “Affirmative.”

“Then we should get cleaned up.” Optimus pushed himself upright, and slid off Soundwave to the left, toward the berth edge. “Together.”

Soundwave pulled upright, looking down at the mess coating his lower half. “Help will be needed,” he said.

Optimus laughed and eased off the berth, holding out a hand in invitation to Soundwave. “Allow me to assist you then.”

Soundwave accepted his hand with a soft smile and together, they stumbled into Optimus’ private washrack. His legs still wobbled a little, satisfaction making him feel warm and sated. Even more so when the solvent sputtered to life, spattering down on their frames. Optimus felt he could recharge right now, as content as he felt in this moment.

Soundwave grabbed the scrubber before Optimus could, which meant Optimus got to stand still and relax as Soundwave gently wiped him clean. The soft strokes of both scrubber and cloth worked out the last of the tension that managed to cling to Optimus’ cables and struts.

He purred, optics shuttering in relaxation.

“Optimus is all right?” Soundwave asked.

Optimus waited to answer. His spark was calm. Fear didn’t loiter in the wings, waiting to swallow him whole. He didn’t know what the night would bring, but for now, he felt fine. He didn’t even have a lingering sense of unease.

He was, well, he was content.

“Yes,” Optimus replied with a small smile. “I think I will be. With time.”

He realized, too, that it wasn’t even a lie.

[IDW] Quadrangles

Starscream should have known letting Blurr and Knock Out have the controls was the wrong choice. When those two got into it, there was little which could distract them. Not even the sight of their very attractive partners speared on the same double-ended toy.

“Are they ever going to stop arguing about it?” Rodimus demanded as a sharp gasp escaped his lips. His plating shivered, loosening to allow heat to escape from his substructure.

Starscream snuck a glance at their respective partners, who fumbled the control between them, gesturing angrily at the different buttons on it. “Probably by the time we’re done using this,” he said.

Rodimus chuckled and tightened his grip on Starscream’s shoulders, rolling his hips into a deeper thrust. Starscream shivered as the double-ended spike worked against his ceiling node, grinding hard on the sensitive nub.

They didn’t need the remote after all. The ridges and knobs and whorls on the spike were enough for both of them. Whatever other tricks this toy had buried in its circuitry, maybe they’d never know.

“We’re going to finish without them. Again,” Rodimus commented with another stolen glance.

“Their loss,” Starscream said. Only to twitch. That was a decidedly different sensation. “Do you feel that?”

Rodimus barked a laugh. “If you mean the spike then allow me to say ‘duh’.”

Starscream rolled his optics. “No, you brat. It’s hotter.”

He braced himself for the inevitable ‘of course I am,’ but for once, Rodimus surprised him. The baby Prime paused, concentrating, and then his optics brightened.

“I think you’re right.” He stared down between their bodies. “Huh. Now it’s getting cold.”

Indeed it was. Starscream looked at their respective partners curiously. Blurr had a firm grip of the remote, but Knock Out’s finger jabbed at the buttons on it in no particular order.

“Well, I guess we figured out what it does,” Rodimus said with a crooked grin.

“Too bad they’ll never stop arguing long enough to realize it.” Starscream chuckled.

Rodimus started moving again, jostling the end of the spike within Starscream. “Good thing we don’t need either of them to have fun, right?”

“You’re damn right about that.”

Let them argue until the end of the night. It wasn’t Starscream’s fault if they missed the show. And what a show it was.

[SG] Make Us Whole II

Sideswipe onlines with a jolt. An explicable static shock of pleasure ripples down his spinal strut and pools in his groin.

His vents quicken. His optics flicker online.

He’s still in the medbay.

The pleasure lingers, distant, but present. Perhaps it is an echo of a dream, a memory of a better time. He ignores it for the moment and tugs on his limbs. Unsurprisingly, he remains bound, though with simple clasps as opposed to posts through his joints.

He’s surrounded by silence.

Sideswipe turns his helm to the left and right, but he can’t find either his insane twin or the maniac medic lurking in the shadows. He doesn’t think for an instant that they aren’t watching.

He gasps as another surge of static creeps down his lines. His spark quivers, and only then does he realize his chestplates have been closed. It should be a relief, but it’s not. His spark should ache, but it doesn’t.

What have they done to him?

No. Worry about that later. Worry about escaping now. Megatron promised. Sideswipe has to believe him.

Something rattles in the distance. He jerks his gaze toward the right, but the spotlight on his medical berth makes it too bright. He hopes it’s not the stray turbofox that Ratchet used to keep. For funsies.

Sideswipe works his intake. He grits his denta. Focus. Focus.

Pleasure. Again. His entire lower half trembles. He hears a click and knows that his panel has just opened itself. He supposes he should be lucky they let him keep it. Not that it matters, because here he is now, spike and valve both exposed. Leaking, if the mild scent filling the air is any indication.

His sensornet hums at him. It feels like someone has stroked their fingers over every erogenous zone on his frame.

“Are you enjoying my gift?”

Sideswipe lurches to the left, away from the voice suddenly appearing in his audial, whispering to him. It’s Ratchet, of course it’s Ratchet. It’s always Ratchet.

“You can take it back,” he snarls, helm whipping toward the maniac. “Whatever it is.”

“He’s so damn ungrateful,” Sunstreaker says, from wherever that bastard is hiding in the shadows. “After all the trouble we’ve gone through.”

Ratchet grins. “That’s because he hasn’t been trained yet. But don’t worry I’m working on it.”

Pain.

Sideswipe arches off the berth, his backstrut forming an arc, as every ounce of pleasure vanishes in the wake of the scorching agony that strips his lines. His visual feed goes white with static, and his mouth opens in a soundless scream.

It vanishes as quickly as it came upon him, and Sideswipe collapses against the berth, ventilating harshly. Ratchet hadn’t touched him; he would have seen it!

The berth abruptly shifts beneath him, hovering between vertical and horizontal, so that he’s not quite upright, but not quite laying down either. His frame wants to slide downward, but the shackles keep him pinned.

It’s disorienting, especially since he can now see Sunstreaker. Or at least the amber glow of Sunstreaker’s optics, circling around the periphery of the overhead light, like some kind of deranged predacon.

“What… have you done to me?” Sideswipe asks, his vocals laced with static. His cooling fans clatter, struggling to cool down his frame.

“Hit him again, Ratchet,” Sunstreaker hisses, and there’s glee buried in there. “I don’t think he understood you the first time.”

“Now, now, Sunstreaker. This is something that requires delicacy. Patience. You don’t want to push him too soon. Remember what happened last time?”

Sunstreaker hovers on the edge, between the dark and the light, his matte paint refusing to reflect a bit of light. “He left,” he snarls. “He left us.”

“That’s right.” Ratchet’s hand rests on Sideswipe’s helm and his plating crawls at the subtle weight of it. “He did. And I promised you, didn’t I? That won’t ever happen again.”

“Get your hand off me!” Sideswipe snaps, trying to tilt his helm away, but Ratchet’s fingers dig in, hard enough to stress the metal.

“No,” Ratchet says. And leaves it at that.

The pleasure starts then, slowly and delicately, as though someone is caressing his inner thighs, stroking around the rim of his valve. It’s a gentle wave through his frame, upward and right into the core of his spark.

Sideswipe’s ventilations quicken. He’s shaking, and he knows it’s just an after-effect of the pain. He doesn’t know what they’re doing to him. He can’t see any equipment. This is like nothing they’ve ever effected before.

Ratchet leans closer, his lips brushing Sideswipe’s left audial. “You’re wondering what I’ve done, aren’t you? You’re trying to figure it out. You’re watching Sunstreaker. Do you want me to tell you, Sideswipe?”

It has to be a trap.

He grinds his denta so hard he hears the metal squeal. He turns as far from Ratchet as he can, and squeezes his optical shutters closed.

Lips graze to the sensitive cables at the side of his intake. While revulsion claws stickily at his spark, another wave of heat suffuses his frame. His spike starts to throb, pressurizing into view with a slick sound. His engine revs.

“He’s not paying attention, Ratchet,” Sunstreaker says. “He’s not even looking.”

“Well, we can’t have that,” Ratchet murmurs, his thumb sweeping over Sideswipe’s left sensory horn.

His optical shutters snap open, and Sideswipe cringes at the sudden shift. What..? He hadn’t done that! He hadn’t–

No.

“Ahhh,” Ratchet purrs. “Judging by that spike in your field, you are finally beginning to understand. I knew you weren’t a complete idiot.”

Sunstreaker is closer now. He’s at least stepped into the light, illuminating the maroon and dark grey of his paint. But he’s still pacing, while his gaze stays focused on Sideswipe, on his chestplate.

“You see, Sideswipe,” Ratchet continues as the pleasure grows stronger, into a throbbing, needy heat that makes his spike drip and his valve cycle with need. “There is no part of you that I don’t own. There is nothing that you can call yours anymore. You can’t escape, because I won’t let you, and that is my promise to you.”

Denta nibble at Sideswipe’s cables, a touch that might have been welcome once upon a time.

“Unlike Megatron,” Ratchet says as the pleasure rises and rises, until Sideswipe can hear his own armor clattering from the force of it, “I keep my promises.”

The keen builds in his vocalizer before he can stop it. Worse that he doesn’t know if it’s his own. Worse that he can’t tell if he could stop it if he even tried to.

“Can I see him now?” Sunstreaker asks, moving closer, every step he takes jittery and uncoordinated. His field pours over Sideswipe, ripe with need, desperation. “You’ll open him for me, won’t you, Ratchet?”

“No,” Sideswipe pants as his hips start to move, rocking into the ghostly touches that are driving him faster and faster toward overload.

Ratchet chuckles. “Funny thing that,” he says as he strokes Sideswipe’s helm. “You don’t really have a say anymore.” He backs off, though his hand remains where it is.

The berth lurches again, turning Sideswipe completely upright. He sags down, the cuffs digging into his joints, and he knows he should feel pain, but he doesn’t.

Sunstreaker’s close now. So close that Sideswipe can feel his ex-vents. His gaze is boring into Sideswipe’s own.

“I get him first, right?” Sunstreaker says as his glossa sweeps over his lips, his optics flicking to Ratchet erratically before returning to Sideswipe. “I’ve been waiting the longest.”

“Of course you do, Sunstreaker. I keep my promises,” Ratchet purrs, his free hand sliding down Sideswipe’s front to palm his spike, rolling the head of it with his fingertips. “Come a little closer, sweetspark. You can’t enjoy him from that far away.”

Sunstreaker’s hands lift and hover. “He’s not open yet,” he says, optics wide and bright, the need in his field a yawing hole that tries to suck Sideswipe in.

Sideswipe’s chestplates twitch. He looks down in growing horror as they start to split of their own accord, bearing his spark to Sunstreaker’s hungry gaze. It seems to be a magnet, drawing Sunstreaker closer, until mere inches separate them. Sunstreaker’s hands land on Sideswipe’s hips, talons pricking past his seams, against his cables.

“I’ve missed you,” Sunstreaker whispers as he rubs their cheeks together, a happy sigh leaving his vents. “I didn’t want you to leave. Why did you have to leave?”

“Sunny…” Sideswipe looks at his brother, the mech he feels he ought to love. “Please, don’t do this.”

“But I missed you.” Sunstreaker nuzzles against him and brushes their lips together. “Didn’t you miss me, too?”

His spark cycles faster, fear eclipsing whatever pleasure Ratchet has forced on him.

“I missed you,” Sideswipe says, and who cares if it’s a lie? In his current state, Sunstreaker can’t tell the difference. “So you don’t have to do this. We can be together without… this. Right?” He tilts his helm forward, tries to capture Sunstreaker’s lips in a gentle kiss.

Surely there’s something left of the brother Sunstreaker used to be in there?

Sunstreaker’s hands flex on his hips. He’s close enough now that his closed chestplate bumps against Sideswipe’s open one. Their kiss is soft, tentative. Sunstreaker’s idling engine is a soothing thrum against his frame.

“It can be the way it was. You and me,” Sideswipe murmurs, their lips brushing as he speaks. “Together.”

Sunstreaker makes a little moan of need in his intake. “Sides..”

“You’ll trust him not to leave, Sunstreaker?” Ratchet asks, and his voice shatters the moment. It’s a dark drawl, a chastisement.

Sunstreaker’s ventilations hitch. His moan shifts from pleasure to agony, the pain of a broken spark. “Noooo,” he says. “No. Sideswipe can’t leave.”

“He will. If you let him have his way,” Ratchet says, and his hand tightens around Sideswipe, both his helm, and his spike. A flash of pain cuts through the pleasure, not enough to send him reeling, but enough to startle. “Do you want that, Sunstreaker?”

Claws prick at Sideswipe’s cables. Sunstreaker nicks a line, and Sideswipe feels the slow trickle of energon inside his armor.

“No,” Sunstreaker breathes, and his denta nip at Sideswipe’s lips, pointed denta scraping
over the sensitive dermal layer.

“Then you know what you have to do,” Ratchet growls.

“I do,” Sunstreaker hisses, and Sideswipe hears the heavier click of Sunstreaker’s chestplates opening — three layers instead of two because Sunny has always been more paranoid.

He feels the waft of Sunstreaker’s spark energy against his own. Sideswipe moans and turns his face away, unable to look. He hates that he wants it as much as he wants to run away. Because he’d lied, and he’d told the truth.

He’d missed Sunstreaker. He’d missed his brother. Not the abomination in front of him, but the way things used to be. And his spark? It certainly remembers Sunstreaker. It has no compunction, the way it reaches for Sunstreaker.

Especially when Sunstreaker closes the last micrometers between them and their chestplates notch together, like puzzle pieces, the same way they’d been born.

There’s no escaping it now.

Their sparks knit together, two lovers reunited. And it feels good, of course it feels good. Sideswipe knows that even if Ratchet hadn’t been poking at his systems, it would feel good.

It’s a pleasure that takes over his entire frame. He can hear Sunstreaker moaning, his ventilations getting quicker and quicker. Ratchet’s hand is still on Sideswipe’s spike, squeezing, and then Sunstreaker’s spike is free, too. He’s rutting against Sideswipe, rolling his hips. He presses his face into Sideswipe’s neck and he’s muttering words that sound like static.

Sideswipe stares into the shadows, at the unclear shapes of Ratchet’s medical equipment cum torture devices. He’s seeing without seeing.

It’s too late, he knows, as his spark succumbs to the pull of Sunstreaker’s. It had taken him ages to get over walking away from his brother the first time. This one taste sets him back even further. Even without Ratchet’s puppet-mastering.

It’s far too late.

Sideswipe sobs as Sunstreaker murmurs happily, and glee swells in his brother’s spark. As their energies knit and dance together, and Sunstreaker’s relieved joy pulls them both into an overload, frame and spark both.

He feels Sunstreaker splatter wetly against his abdomen. He feels himself pulse in Ratchet’s grip, though it’s more a dribble.

He’s shaking again. He can’t seem to stop. It doesn’t matter anymore.

“Very nice,” Ratchet says, his fingers massaging Sideswipe’s softening spike before he wipes them on Sideswipe’s thigh. “You two always make such a pretty picture.”

“Mmm.” Sunstreaker presses a kiss to the curve of Sideswipe’s jaw. “You won’t leave now, right?” he asks, dripping a trail of kisses down to the apex of Sideswipe’s open chestplate.

Sideswipe swallows thickly. “Right,” he says, a single word laced with static. His spark feels raw and tender, scored from the inside and out.

Sunstreaker looks up and Sideswipe can feel his relief, his excitement. He hears Sunstreaker’s chestplates click closed, but Sideswipe himself doesn’t have that luxury.

He doesn’t resist when Sunstreaker surfaces for a kiss on the lips, something sweet and absurdly gentle. He tells himself to enjoy it, because surely it’s better than what is coming next.

“Now, now, Sunstreaker,” Ratchet says as he comes around the side of the berth. “You’ve had your turn and what did I tell you about sharing?”

“I’m sorry, Ratchet,” Sunstreaker murmurs and he steps aside, lingering near Sideswipe’s right. “But I can watch, right?”

“Of course you may.” Ratchet grins, and there’s nothing of sanity in his optics. He grabs Sideswipe’s chin with his left hand, forcing Sideswipe to look at him. He can smell his own spill on Ratchet’s fingers. “This, after all, is going to be a learning experience. Isn’t it, Sideswipe?”

“Frag you!” he snarls, fixing Ratchet with the most hateful glare he has in his arsenal. He’s not beaten, not just yet.

Ratchet chuckles and leans in close. “Oh, I intend to do just that,” he says. “And you’re going to enjoy every minute of it.”

Judging by the pleasure already winding through his frame all over again, Sideswipe knows that Ratchet is right.

He doesn’t have a choice.

[SG] Make Us Whole I

He onlines in a med bay with the thick stench of scorched wires and metal sharp on his glossa. His audials ring. His optics are full of static. His head aches.

This is not Knock Out’s medbay. It is dank and dim, and while the surgical instruments nearby gleam, they look as though they are derived from Sideswipe’s worst nightmare.

No. Oh, Primus, no.

He knows where he is.

Sideswipe thrashes. The gurney rattles, but doesn’t budge. He’s lashed down.

No, he’s bolted, he realizes with greater alarm. Through his wrists and ankles and elbows and knees. There’s no pain because those sensors have been blocked.

It’s not a mercy. It’s because they want to see his agony in person.

No!

He’s supposed to be free! He escaped! He’s supposed to be safe! Megatron promised!

Sideswipe panics. Fear rises in his intake like ill-processed energon. He tastes it on the back of his glossa. His spark flares, lighting up the dim.

His spark. He can see his spark!

They’ve jimmied his chestplate open until only the transsteel of his inner-most casing remains closed. They intend to finish what they started when Sideswipe first made his mistake.

This time, there’s no one to save him.

A door swooshes open. Sideswipe freezes. There are two sets of footprints. Sideswipe doesn’t have to look to know who they are. His nightmares have come back to life.

“Look who’s finally back,” Sunstreaker purrs as fingers trail over his sensory horns before Sideswipe can even see the perpetrator.

“And just in time to make us whole,” Ratchet agrees as another touch rests over Sideswipe’s barely guarded spark. “The ungrateful wretch.”

“Please,” Sideswipe begs as he forces his optics into a reboot and his vision clarifies, letting him see Ratchet looking over him, grinning. “Don’t do this.” He can see his spark flickering with distress.

“Awww, he’s nervous,” Sunstreaker croons.

“Don’t worry. That’s a perfectly normal reaction,” Ratchet chuckles as he lays his hand flat over Sideswipe’s spark. “All mechs get cold sparks before they bond, right?”

“But there’s no reason to be anxious, brother,” Sunstreaker purrs in his audial. “You’re back where you belong. With us.” His lips slide over Sideswipe’s cheek, a gross parody of affection.

Sideswipe offlines his optics. He doesn’t want to see what’s coming.

He bites back a sob. Nothing and no one.

Primus save him.