[TF] Houses of Cards

“What do you mean Megatron’s missing?”

It was not a shriek, even though it sounded dangerously close to one. Starscream refused to admit that his voice had gone into the higher register.

He stalked toward Reflector who did the smart thing for once and backpedaled. “I mean that no one’s seen him,” the pseudo-combiner said, all three of his components speaking in unison.

“That’s impossible,” Starscream snarled. “Megatron doesn’t just disappear!”

Reflector quivered.

Starscream whirled on a heelstrut and stomped away from him, well aware that every optic in the command center was focused his direction.

Megatron did not just vanish. He didn’t wander away on his own. He was always present, always terrorizing his subordinates or coming up with the next big scheme. And if he did leave, he never did so without one of his loyal lackeys at his side.

Which meant something had not gone to plan. Someone had skipped in line. Someone had done what they were not supposed to do.

“Find him!” Starscream commanded, barking the order to everyone within audial reach. “After all, we can’t defeat the Autobots without him, can we?”

Decepticons scattered, though whether it was because they intended to look busy or were actually interested in obeying, Starscream didn’t care. He had an idea of what might have happened, and didn’t need anyone paying too much attention to him.

Especially Soundwave.

The third in command planted himself down at the communications console, but Laserbeak on his shoulder was staring fixed in Starscream’s direction. Her beady optics didn’t so much as cycle.

Creepy slaggers.

Starscream sneered, his wings hiking upward, and turned his back to the staring cassette. He shoved a Decepticon away from the nearest console and planted his own aft in it. He pretended to run a search while he activated his private comm.

He pinged Onslaught not once, but thrice, in rapid succession. He ground his denta while he waited for an answer, and was not at all surprised when he received none. The Combaticons were logged as off-duty, but on-call. They should have responded.

That they did not made Starscream grind his denta hard enough to taste sparks on his glossa. He logged off, shoved back from the console and shot to his pedes.

“Keep looking!” he snarled when one too many Decepticons paid him attention. He pretended he didn’t notice that Soundwave had gone stiff.

Starscream stormed out of the command center, pinging Onslaught again. Nothing.

Those idiots!

He should have never trusted them.

~

Megatron onlined with a gasp, the sharp buzz-snap of electricity nipping at his circuits and startling him into consciousness. Megatron hissed as pain lanced his sensory net, but he couldn’t discern its origin. Everything around him was a haze.

Where? What?

Megatron tried to online his optics, his visual feed returning distorted, fuzzy images. Blurs of color and flickering light. His audials were much the same, full of static and screeching feedback that worsened the agony in his helm.

He tried to move and felt the tug of something around his wrists. He wasn’t standing; he knew this much. Instead, he was lying down, not on a berth, but on something cold and unforgiving.

Someone was touching him. Multiple someones. Proximity sensors registered the presence of other mechs surrounding him, their fields cut off from his. Or maybe that was the fault of the inhibitor clamped to his back, shutting off his comms, access to his internal weaponry, to his T-cog.

What the frag happened?

A growl built in Megatron’s vocalizer. He rebooted his sensory suites again. The spots of crimson above him clarified. The shapes and colors took form. There were five mechs, the nearest of them planted directly atop Megatron. His visor gleamed. His hands played in Megatron’s seams, fingers coiling around wires, tugging.

Megatron’s backstrut arched toward his attacker without his consent. His fans spun up at the spike of pain-pleasure. His interface array pinged for release, and Megatron ruthlessly denied it.

His vision grew clearer. Five sets of optics. Five frames. Five symbols of his own faction. Four sets of military grade armor, one civilian.

The Combaticons. Megatron’s engine growled. He should have known. What were they doing? And how! The loyalty coding should have prevented them from acting against Megatron in any capacity.

Yet, Vortex was atop him, casually playing under Megatron’s plating. The others were talking, no, they were all talking. Megatron’s audials recognized the murmur of their voices, but not the words. He rebooted them again, speech coming through the static.

“–just kill him!” Swindle exclaimed, throwing up his hands.

“To what end?” Blast Off asked, his emotionless tone one of the easiest to identify, as he loomed over all the others.

“Uh, so we can get rid of him?” Brawl ventured and scratched at his helm. “Isn’t that the point?”

Onslaught folded his arms over his chest. “And cause the entirety of the Decepticon empire to crash down on us?”

“Pfft. They ain’t that loyal,” Vortex argued as his fingers dug deeper into Megatron’s seams, as though trying to yank his chestplates open and get to his spark beneath.

Megatron swallowed down a cry of pain.

“Enough of them are,” Blast Off intoned.

“Then humiliating him will have to suffice,” Onslaught said as he looked down at Megatron, the light behind his visor completely flat. “As he has humiliated us.”

“Yes,” Vortex agreed and Blast Off echoed and even Swindle, the anger in their fields swirling and joining together.

“Won’t he just kill us afterward?” Brawl asked. He cracked his knuckle-joints, the nervous habit one Megatron had always loathed.

Vortex cackled and wriggled his fingers. “Not if he can’t catch us,” he said as he hooked an armor plate and finally yanked it free, tossing it casually over his shoulder. It clattered off into the dim.

Megatron ground his denta, biting back a cry of pain. He glared at them, his vocalizer grinding out static. He tugged again on his cuffs, but they didn’t budge. Which was unsurprising given Vortex’s occupation.

“We will take from you the freedom you stole from us,” Onslaught intoned, looming over Megatron, his optical band glinting darkly. “It is only fair.” One hand landed on Vortex’s shoulder, briefly squeezing. “Vortex, begin.”

The rotary tilted his helm. “Sir, yes, sir,” he drawled.

Fingers plunged into Megatron’s seams, as deftly as though they were sharpened. Megatron’s engine raced. He thrashed beneath Vortex, trying to toss the rotary away and get himself free.

It was a waste of energy. It was pointless. He couldn’t bring himself to stop.

This was a calculated assault. This was intentional. He didn’t know how they had surpassed the loyalty coding, but he would find out.

For now, he refused to give them his fear.

They would not break him.

~

Starscream dialed their comm, each of them in turn, a second time and then a third. Starscream continued to dial as many times as it took, so that the notification pings would be a constant and irritating buzz at the back of Onslaught’s processor.

He had no patience for this.

Starscream paced back and forth in his quarters, his spark flipping and churning in his chassis. This was not how things were meant to be. This was not what he intended.

This was a failure by all counts.

I should not be so surprised, Megatron’s voice whispered at him, lurching from the depths of his subconscious. Because a failure is what you are.

Starscream snarled.

The comm finally connected.

“Starscream,” Onslaught drawled, and he’d patched Starscream into his receiving feed because Starscream picked up ambient noise – the slide of metal on metal, grunts and moans, the slick sounds of lubricant. “I was waiting for your comm.”

Starscream’s wings went rigid. “What have you done, Onslaught?” he demanded, his vocals approaching a shriek, the pitch he and everyone else loathed.

“Is it not obvious? You must be slower than Megatron thought.” Onslaught chuckled, his dark humor a direct insult. “We’ve only done what you’ve asked of us.”

“This was not our agreement!” Now Starscream did shriek. If that eavesdropping drone was listening in, Starscream was ruined.

Vortex laughed in the background.

“You can have him when we’re done with him,” Onslaught replied, his tone so mild that it bordered on dull.

Starscream ground his denta, gritting out a response, “That is not part of the plan,” he snarled.

“What does it matter in the end, Starscream? It’s not like you were going to kill him.”

The comm went dead, cutting off the sound of metal impacting metal and another eerie laugh in the background. Further attempts to contact Onslaught were pointless. Rather than ignore Starscream, he sent all of his pings to a messaging system.

Starscream felt the rage boiling inside of him. He crossed his arms, shuttered his optics, and screamed into the ether.

He should not be so surprised. He should have known better than to trust those idiots. There were many things he should have done.

His armor clamped tightly to his frame. He knew he had to fix this. He couldn’t let things stand as they were. At best, he would suffer another beating. At worse… Starscream did not want to contemplate it.

The idea of bowing, scraping, begging for his life again – it left a sour taste in his mouth. Like curdled energon. Like all the other times he had tried and failed.

Perhaps, however, this could be turned to Starscream’s advantage somehow. If he rescued Megatron, it might earn him enough forgiveness to avoid the worse consequences. There was always the option of killing him as well, but that left an equally sour taste in Starscream’s spark.

Stealing away a damaged Megatron only to offline him in a moment of weakness? That was not how Starscream wanted to gain control of the Decepticons. It would not work besides. Starscream did not have a firm enough grip on any percentage of the Decepticons to ensure he would not have to fight for leadership.

No. When he defeated Megatron, it had to be grand, it had to be public, it had to be witnessed.

This would not do.

Starscream ground his denta and stormed to his weapons locker, digging to the very back for his secondary plan. He’d had enough sense to be prepared for this possibility, though he hadn’t thought the Combaticons would be stupid enough to make a move so soon.

It rankled that he would have to rescue Megatron now, but needs must.

He would not give up all opportunity to take what was his because the Combaticons decided to become suicidal.

Enough was enough.

~

Megatron expected a beating. He could endure pain. He was built to endure pain. And yes, they had given him pain.

Brawl pounded on him, fists leaving dents in Megatron’s plating, impressions of Brawl’s knuckles that would linger.

Vortex played in his cables, his lines, like he was a fine-tuned instrument. Vortex had mastered the art of pain.

Blast Off was precision, targeted strikes, meant to incapacitate, making the cuffs meaningless because Megatron couldn’t move anyway.

Onslaught watched.

Swindle recorded, a look of greedy glee on his face.

How much would his torment go for on the black market, Megatron wondered. He didn’t bother to taunt. He gritted his denta on insults.

He waited for them to grow bored. It would happen eventually. They were careless, like sparklings lashing out because they could. He half-expected more out of Onslaught, a brilliant tactician.

Then again, this had Starscream written all over it. Half-baked plans were his trademark.

“Enough,” Onslaught finally said, holding up a hand.

His minions fell away, though not without a parting shot by Vortex to Megatron’s substructure. His protoform rippled with pain where the energon prod had stung deep. His valve was a raw, aching mess. His mangled spike would no doubt require replacement.

Megatron reminded himself that it was only pain.

Onslaught continued, “There is one among us who has not gotten his opportunity for revenge.”

Megatron rolled his optics and spat up a glob of energon. He’d bitten his glossa more than once. “Have you forgotten how to count? Or is Swindle finally going to do more than observe like the coward he is?”

“So cheeky!” Vortex said with a little giggle. He pushed to his pedes, his rotors wiggling, and he clapped his hands together. “How long do you think that will last?”

Onslaught’s visor burned deeper. His fellow Combaticons clustered around him, looking down at Megatron. Swindle didn’t even have the courtesy to appear offended. His camera had vanished.

“Not long, once he realizes my meaning,” Onslaught replied. He lowered his arms. “Combaticons, it is time to combine.”

Vortex laughed as realization plummeted into Megatron’s spark. He stared in growing horror as the five mechs became one, as Bruticus loomed over him. The combiner’s hand was as large as Megatron alone, and the massive red visor glared down at Megatron.

“You,” Bruticus boomed. “You are the one.”

Megatron thrashed in his bonds, but there was no escape, no way to turn away from the hand that grabbed at him. It picked him up, snapping the chains like paper. Caught in the combiner’s grip, Megatron couldn’t work his way free.

“You hurt Bruticus,” the gestalt rumbled, as dim-witted as ever, but intent in every action. For once, all five of the Combaticons were thinking as one.

Pity it had to be now of all times.

“So Bruticus hurt you.”

Fingers squeezed. Metal shrieked in alarm and then dented. Pain shot through Megatron’s frame. His visual feed went red.

“But Bruticus not kill.”

The pressure eased. Megatron’s coherency slowly returned. He felt himself being lifted. His arms were gripped by a second large hand, pulled over his helm. He onlined his optics – when had he offlined them? – and found himself dangling from Bruticus’ right hand.

“Bruticus humiliate.”

The massive mech’s field slammed into Megatron, and only then did he feel the sadistic glee, the desire to break and bend, to make him suffer.

A finger as thick around as the barrel of his fusion cannon prodded at his lower half. It poked his abdomen, then nudged between his thighs. It rubbed hard against his exposed array, where lubricant, transfluid, and energon mingled.

A cold chill went down Megatron’s backstrut.

“No!” he snarled, trying to twist away, but there was nowhere to go that Bruticus could not reach.

The blunt pressure of an over-large finger landed on his spike, flicking it dismissively. And then it prodded at his valve again, the tip fitting against his rim and pushing inside, straining already abused calipers.

“Yes,” Bruticus intoned.

Megatron twisted his hips away, a gasp escaping his lips. His spark was stuttering; he could see the whirl of it reflected against Bruticus’ armor through the rends in his armor.

He could handle pain. But what Bruticus intended went beyond that.

“You’ll kill me,” Megatron gasped out as the finger pushed its way deeper and a second joined. He heard the creak and crack of metal, felt the pop of one of his hip joints dislocating.

Excruciating, nauseating pain sent white light lights dancing in his visual feed. His ventilations stuttered.

“You’ll wish we had,” Bruticus rumbled and his field crashed over Megatron with all the force of a sonic boom. It rattled against his armor, stole his vents, sent his thoughts spinning into an endless loop.

The fingers pulled free with a sickening squelch. Cold replaced heat. Megatron’s vision fritzed in and out, his audials reading static. His arms ached, shoulders burning. He couldn’t move his left leg.

He heard the distinct shunk of a panel opening. He forced his optics into a reboot, forced himself to look, as the full force of horror fell down on him.

Bruticus had a spike after all, and it was extending from his pelvic plate, easily as big around as Megatron’s thigh and more than half again the length.

It would destroy him.

“Don’t,” Megatron rasped as fluids dripped from his ruined valve and the remains of his spike throbbed in sympathy.

Bruticus laughed, a mocking sound. “The choice, not yours,” he said, and guided Megatron toward the head of his spike, already seeping with pre-fluid, and looking all the more menacing for it.

“Tell us, Megatron, how does it feel?”

~

Starscream did not want to interpret the noises floating to his audials. Or the smell that hit his olfactory sensors. Energon and transfluid and ozone and the stench of scorched metal and fluids.

There was a rumble, the noise of metal impacting against metal, the sick squelch of fluids. There were impossible sounds, broken sounds, noises that made him reluctant to turn the corner.

He expected torture. He expected for Megatron to be alive, but in pieces. He did not expect to burst into the warehouse and find Bruticus crouched over Megatron, a massive spike near-splitting Megatron in two. The Decepticon leader was limp in Bruticus’ hold as the combiner more or less used him as a toy, a means to an overload, without regard for his comfort or safety.

It took all Starscream had not to purge.

That was not the plan!

Defeat him, yes. Take him down, yes. Humiliate him, make him beg, make him realize how pathetic he was… yes, yes, and yes. But this?

No. It was unacceptable. It was so far beyond acceptable that it had crossed the line into abhorrent.

And Starscream had done this. He had freed the Combaticons, made this possible.

Well. Now he was going to undo t.

Bruticus hadn’t noticed him, yet.

Starscream didn’t bother to bark an order. He knew that it would be ignored. Instead, he lifted the blaster he’d brought with him – it didn’t fire bullets, at least, not the conventional kind – and he fired.

The first beam hit Brawl square in whatever formed Bruticus’ knee. It sent him straight into stasis lock, freezing up the limb. Bruticus staggered back and the second shot hit Vortex, causing his grip to fall away from Megatron’s waist.

The combiner let out a low growl of confusion, his helm swinging toward Starscream, but all it took was a third shot to Bruticus’ torso for the combiner to drop. It clattered, falling into its components, and in the process, dislodging Megatron.

Starscream winced as the Decepticon leader tumbled to the ground, falling to a heap. Two more shots took care of Swindle and Blast Off respectively before Starscream felt safe to approach the downed combiner. He didn’t look at Megatron, not until he’d plugged all five of the datasticks into the Combaticons’ cephalic ports to begin the upload.

Their respite from the control programming was over. If Megatron let them live after this, it would never be with any degree of freedom.

Only then did Starscream turn to Megatron, instantly glad that he’d disengaged his chemo-receptors and dialed back his electromagnetic field to a dull hum around his frame. Megatron was barely conscious, his arms still bound by stasis cuffs above his head, perhaps because his shoulders had been dislocated, preventing him from moving them.

His entire frame was riddled with dents and scrapes. Starscream had watched enough interrogations – and spent enough time in Vortex’s care – to recognize the work of an energon whip, an energon prod, and the telltale drip of acid. Plates of armor were missing, the cables beneath damaged and torn.

The worst of it was his interfacing array. Starscream’s tank squeezed as his gaze fell to it, Megatron’s panels unable to close. His spike had been extended, but not for the interest of pleasure, given the way it was crushed and the housing around it dented. His valve was a ruin, the rim torn and sluggishly bleeding, his exterior node was cracked and dark. Both of his hips looked to be dislocated. His bottom half was a mess of dents, energon, lubricant, and transfluid.

None of it was fatal. But unless he had managed to disable his own sensors, consciousness would bring on excruciating pain.

Starscream cycled a ventilation, and nibbled on his bottom lip. He had to get Megatron out of here on his own. The last thing he needed was one of the loyalists to stumble in here. Especially Soundwave.

At least, not until Starscream was out of the line of fire.

He crouched next to Megatron, the rattling whoosh of Megatron’s vents explaining why energon kept spattering onto his armor. If he wasn’t in stasis, he was going to be soon.

Megatron’s optics flickered. Starscream’s own widened.

He was conscious?!

“S-Starscream.” Glitched with static, Megatron’s vocals stuttered into the air. His field rose, weak at first, but gaining in strength until it attacked Starscream.

There was no precision in the agony that boiled over Starscream. It was pure, blunt force. If he hadn’t dampened his own field, it would have been dizzying.

“Once again, I come to your rescue, Master,” Starscream said as he folded his arms over his cockpit. He stared down at his leader.

Megatron’s optics flickered before suddenly brightening, burning with rage. He moved, however awkwardly, but enough to prove he still had some sense of self.

“You… you think I can’t see your hand in this?” Megatron spat at him, a labored attempt at speech, his words striped in static.

Despite it all, guilt rose up in his intake. “I had nothing to do with this,” Starscream retorted. Megatron was in no state to hear of unintended consequences. “But the way I see it, you have two options, my lord.”

Energon bubbled from Megatron’s lips. His optics burned dimly at Starscream. “Spare me your pontificating,” he rasped out, trying again to move, his limbs twitching. More fluid trickled from his valve.

Starscream leaned forward before he caught himself. He hated his own weakness, how he still somehow felt compelled to worry when Megatron was injured.

“Two options,” Starscream repeated, his wings flicking back. “You can wait for Soundwave to come retrieve you, or I can take you out of here myself, somewhere you can recover without half of your soldiers seeing you in such a weakened condition.”

Silence. Megatron’s vents continued to splutter, to spatter the ground around him with fluids. His jaw set. He glared.

Starscream ground his denta. “Quickly, Megatron. Or your frame will make the choice out of here.”

Megatron’s engine growled as he laboriously dragged his arms toward his lap – so, not dislocated after all. He managed to get an elbow beneath him, forcing him half-upright. Each motion was slow, grating, thick with pain.

“Chrono’s ticking, my lord.” Starscream sneered.

“Then get me out of here,” Megatron snarled, every effort to rise to his own pedes proving moot. They would not support his weight and Starscream would have laughed at his predicament, had the injuries been earned in battle. This was something else entirely. “And don’t touch me.”

Starscream’s wings flicked. “I can do one or the other, but not both,” he hissed and rolled his optics. “Make up your mind, dear master.”

Megatron’s engine whined. His ventilations rattled, coughing up energon and other fluids. His field was a vile sickly mess. He glared at Starscream, revulsion and anger pummeling Starscream at all fronts.

Finally, he lifted his bound hands. “Take me out of here,” Megatron seethed. “Now.” He clung to command, perhaps as the only thing keeping him together.

Starscream worked his jaw. “You could ask politely.”

“Or you could do as you’re told!” Megatron’s hands curled into fists. “Are you that much of a coward, to cause this, fail to complete the job, and then fail to fix it? You are a failure in every way.”

Starscream chuffed a ventilation. His engine growled and he stomped forward, grabbing Megatron’s arm and hauling him to his pedes. At once, his leader staggered and slumped against Starscream’s side. A raw mix of energon, lubricant, and transfluid splattered down.

Starscream’s tank churned. The stench of interfacing, of hot metal, made him want to purge.

“And where shall I take you? To the Constructicons, I imagine?” Starscream demanded even as Megatron tilted and landed against his side, dislocated hips preventing him from standing.

He had to sweep Megatron up into his arms – not for the first time he might add – and he pretended he did not notice how much lighter the Decepticon leader felt.

“I will not be seen in this condition by anyone,” Megatron growled. “You will, for once, clean up your own mess, Starscream. And then I will consider not blowing your fool head off.”

“What an inspiring promise.” Starscream sneered and powered on his thrusters, shooting them both into the air.

Megatron’s engine gave a rev of surprise. Starscream didn’t bother to hide his amusement.

“Save your strength, Leader,” Starscream added as they rose higher, toward the drop door in the ceiling. “You’ll need it.”

Mercifully, it shut Megatron up.

~

Starscream had over a dozen boltholes scattered across planet Earth. He had twice as many on Cybertron though whether any of those still existed, he didn’t know.

He couldn’t take Megatron back to the Nemesis. He did not want to use the space bridge and get anywhere within Shockwave’s optic. He opted to use one of his boltholes instead, even if meant abandoning it afterward. There were others.

Megatron slipped into a semi-stasis moments after they left the Combaticons’ warehouse. Which was a relief for Starscream. The rasp of his pained field had been disorienting, and Starscream needed his focus.

He didn’t comm Soundwave until he was safely in his bolthole. He kept the contact brief and uninformative. Megatron was safe with Starscream, but the Combaticons needed to be retrieved and imprisoned. The self-executing, self-wiping data slugs should take care of themselves.

Starscream was no medic, but he’d repaired himself enough to know the basics. He laid Megatron out on a tarp and got to work, crimping and patching torn lines, removing the bonds, and pulling out the worst of the dents. He plugged in to Megatron’s medical port – briefly, any longer made him shudder – and initiated a reboot of his motion circuits. Hopefully that would be enough.

Starscream disconnected quickly and returned to the rest of the physical damage.

His interface panels were gone, unfortunately, but Starscream cleaned around Megatron’s valve as carefully as he was able, noting the tears in the rim. He had no doubt that there were rips in Megatron’s valve lining as well. His spike was mangled and the best Starscream could figure, Megatron would need a replacement. All Starscream could do at this moment was numb the pain with both gel and a pain patch.

He saved relocating Megatron’s hips – and one shoulder it turned out – for last. The latter was nothing; the former grated into place with a screech of metal on metal that echoed in the silence of Starscream’s bolthole.

It also had the unfortunate side effect of rousing Megatron from his twilight stasis.

Damn it.

~

A flash of fresh, sharp agony jolted Megatron back online, his denta grinding down on a cry of pain. His entire frame jolted, optical shutters snapping open, his field sweeping through the room in one quick burst, telling him all that he needed to know.

He wasn’t on the Nemesis, but neither was he still in the warehouse. The Combaticons were gone. The only presence he detected was Starscream’s.

Megatron cycled a ventilation, one that wheezed more than was healthy, and turned his helm. Starscream knelt next to the low-slung berth currently housing Megatron’s supine frame, his face carefully empty of expression, but his armor clamped to his frame, and his wings pressed to his backplate.

If he was afraid, he didn’t show it. He had to know that Megatron blamed him for this, and yet, he was still here.

So he wasn’t a total coward then. Just most of one.

Megatron rebooted his vocalizer, but even so, his first words were wreathed in static. “What was your plan this time?” he asked. “You honestly believed you could trust them to be your obedient lackeys?”

Starscream rose to his pedes, wings twitching. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, whirling on a heelstrut.

He watched Starscream stalk to a nearby crate and rummage through it before producing a large cube of what seemed to be medical grade energon.

“Am I to believe the Combaticons – a purely military team with the exception of Swindle – taught themselves how to alter their own obedience coding without any assistance?” Megatron demanded as Starscream returned.

The Seeker tilted the cube toward Megatron, but he turned his helm away. As if he would trust anything Starscream offered him.

“You can believe whatever you like,” Starscream said crossly and shoved the cube at him again. “You’re low. Drink it.”

“You’re in no position to give me orders!” Megatron snarled, his frame tensing, but try as he might, he could not give himself the command to move. His hip joints had been re-located, but they weren’t responding. The circuits must still be damaged.

Starscream rolled his optics and snatched at Megatron’s helm, forcefully turning it back toward Starscream. Megatron tried to lash out, only to realize at the last moment that his wrists had been tied down, perhaps to prevent him from killing Starscream the moment he onlined.

“Release me!”

“No. Open your mouth,” Starscream insisted, his thumb pressing at Megatron’s bottom lip, a firm pressure that demanded rather than requested.

Megatron clamped his mouth shut, defiant, but Starscream worked the tip of his thumb into it and then pried his mouth open. He was weak, too weak if Starscream could do that with little effort, and the sludgy, bland medical grade trickled into his mouth. He could choose not to swallow and let it flood his vents, but the idea of coughing out energon for the next several hours held no appeal.

He swallowed. There were, he assumed, better ways for Starscream to poison him. Besides, Starscream had a point. His fuel levels were pitiful, which explained in part the fatigue that settled over his entire frame like a leaden weight.

“There,” Starscream said, once he’d upended the entire cube and released Megatron’s jaw. “That could have gone a lot easier if you’d cooperate.”

“With the mech who nearly got me killed?” Megatron snarled, and tugged at the wrist restraints again. “You delude yourself, Starscream.”

The Seeker turned away, but not before Megatron caught the brief flicker of guilt in his expression. “If I wanted to kill you, you’d be dead,” he retorted.

“Your current rate of success suggests that is not the case.” Megatron grimaced, the taste of the medical grade lingering on his glossa. “Release me.”

“No.” The Seeker’s wings hiked upward as he set the empty cube off to the side and returned with a cleaning cloth, damp with solvent.

Despite Megatron trying to lean away from him, he applied said cloth to the spatters of fluid on Megatron’s abdominal armor. Fluid Megatron recognized sourly as a mixture of lubricant and transfluid.

His frame was numb, and the last several hours were hazy, but Megatron knew all he had to do was access his memory core to remember. Not that he wanted to. The echo of agony was enough for him.

Agony. Helplessness. Rage. And in the wake of it all, despair. Because he hadn’t known if the Combaticons – if the mindless Bruticus – would kill him. But worse was the idea of rescue.

Decepticons should not be rescued. They should return on their own power, or not at all.

“Are you attempting to earn forgiveness?” Megatron demanded.

Starscream did not look at him. “Is it working?”

“There are not enough apologies in the world,” Megatron hissed and looked away from his second, trying to distance himself from the soft, almost gentle touches of the cloth to his frame.

It was anathema to him, to his relationship to Starscream, to everything that he stood for. He didn’t know if he preferred it to the assault or not. It felt a different kind of attack, though he couldn’t put words into why.

“Should I have left you do die then?” Starscream’s tone was so mild that it bordered on indifferent.

Megatron ground his denta. “Better that you hadn’t been such a failure in the first place. I’d ask you, again, what you were thinking, but I know you, and I’m quite certain you weren’t.” He turned his helm back toward Starscream, glaring as though he could shoot lasers from his optics. “You are as predictable in your mediocrity as you are in your failure, Starscream.”

Starscream stared back at him, jaw set, his plating clamped so tightly he had to be overheating. “And you, dear master, are as full of compliments as ever.”

“I tend to be less complimentary when a Combiner has taken his entertainment of me,” Megatron hissed, lurching toward Starscream, only to be brought up short by the restraints again. “Especially when it is the fault of the mech who is supposed to be my loyal second in command.”

Starscream gripped the cleaning cloth; it dripped solvent onto Megatron’s plating. “Perhaps if you hadn’t insisted on installing obedience coding and stripping away their autonomy, they wouldn’t have been angry enough to exact vengeance.”

Megatron’s optics narrowed. “It would not have been an issue if you hadn’t been stupid enough to free them of it.”

Starscream drew up as though indignant, his mouth opening in preparation to deliver a scathing retort. His optics flashed.

Nothing emerged.

His mouth closed slowly. He deflated.

“That,” he said carefully, choosing his words with evident precision, “I mean, what happened, that was never my intention.”

“Of course it wasn’t.” Megatron snorted. “That would imply you actually plan that far in advance. You don’t have the taste for torture, Starscream. You’re too soft.”

Starscream worked his jaw. His armor clamped tightly to his frame. “I am far from–”

“Spare me the argument, Starscream. I’m not here to soothe your battered ego. You’re lucky I’m not plotting your demise as we speak,” Megatron interrupted, careful to effect a bored tone.

Starscream retracted his hands, bracing them on the side of the berth near Megatron’s hip. “And why not?”

“It is your fault, but I don’t blame you. That comes dangerously close to giving you credit.” Megatron tilted his helm, managing to look down at the Seeker leaning over him. “Besides, I have no interest in finding someone to replace you right now.”

“This… This doesn’t change anything!” Starscream sputtered.

Megatron rolled his optics. “Of course it doesn’t.” He cycled a ventilation, his gaze wandering to the ceiling. “After this, you will go back to your fruitless attempts to depose me, and I will continue to try and make use of you. Because that is the status quo and I don’t expect it will ever change.”

“I could kill you,” Starscream retorted, but there was little heat behind it. Only exhaustion, perhaps a touch of bitterness.

“You could try.” Megatron looked at him again, searching his spark for what he felt for his second, and finding a maelstrom of conflicting emotions as usual. “And we both know you’ll fail.”

Starscream’s jaw set. His field flickered, finally loosed from his control, but only so that Megatron got a brief taste of his anger, his despair. “I should have let them finish the job,” he hissed, but he reached for the bonds around Megatron’s wrists instead.

Megatron’s lips curled into a smirk. “You and I both know you’d prefer that glory for yourself.”

“Will you kill them?”

The last binding fell free and Megatron pulled himself upright, ignoring the sharp ache at the base of his spinal strut. “No,” he said as he rubbed at his wrists. “There are worse things than death.”

Starscream muttered something, which might have been disagreement, not that it mattered. He was as petulant as a sparkling, his arms crossed over his cockpit and his wings hanging low against his back.

Megatron rubbed his wrists for a second or two more before he lunged, moving faster than Starscream could anticipate. He gripped his second’s face, pulling the squawking Seeker toward him.

“I have not forgiven you.” The abrupt action jarred something loose inside of him, something painfully grating, but Megatron ignored it for now. “Keep that in mind the next time you concoct another plot. Do you understand?” He squeezed, hard enough to hear the metal in Starscream’s face creak alarmingly.

Crimson optics flashed at him. Starscream bared his denta in a snarl, but he neither aimed his null rays at Megatron, nor lashed out at him.

“Yes,” he gritted out.

Megatron leaned closer, until their faces were inches apart. “Yes….?”

Starscream’s optics narrowed. A shiver rippled across his armor. “Yes, Leader,” he forced out, though his engines growled his displeasure.

“Good.” Megatron released him with a push, shoving Starscream back. “Now tell me where we are so we can return to the Nemesis. I need repairs that you are incapable of providing, and the Combaticons are due their punishment.”

He pushed himself to his pedes, ignoring the jags of pain striking through his frame. He did not know if he had ever felt worse, but he did know he wasn’t going to linger here.

Megatron headed toward what he assumed was the exit, earning a confirmation when Starscream fell into step beside him, at his left.

He didn’t mention that Starscream hadn’t evaded punishment either. Megatron simply wanted time to think of something creative.

After all, if he killed Starscream now, then he wouldn’t learn a thing.

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[Bleach] For Your Entertainment

Kisuke fights off a yawn as he steps into the unnatural silence of his shouten. Even the atmosphere is free of lingering reiatsu. Tessai’s off visiting Hachi, and the children remained in Seireitei, getting to know Kusajishi, much to the rest of Seireitei’s vexation.

Kisuke snickers. He wonders how much of the city will be destroyed by the time he sees fit to return tomorrow? And he won’t feel a bit of guilt about it. None at all.

Because tonight… tonight, he will get some peace and quiet, both of which are rare to come. He’ll have the shop all to himself. He could’ve stayed in Seireitei if he wanted. Yoruichi-san had offered him a room, and his exile’s been lifted, but honestly, Karakura has become something like home. He suspects he’ll be spending an equal time in Soul Society and the living world from now on.

Besides, Karakura is where Ichigo is, and frankly, Kisuke’s not ready to cut those ties. In fact, given the chance, he’d love to strengthen them. But the time hasn’t come to push those boundaries yet.

Kisuke bypasses the main rooms – the kitchen, his lab – and heads straight for his bedroom. Tonight is the night for relaxation. Perhaps he’ll even pick up that book he’s been trying to read for half a decade. Other things kept interfering. Things like Aizen’s war and training Ichigo.

He slides open the door and palms the wall, reaching by memory for the light switch. With a flick of his fingers, light floods the room, and Kisuke nearly leaps into the air out of sheer surprise.

Well, speak of the devil…

Perched on Kisuke’s futon as though he belongs, having made himself at home, is none other than Kurosaki Ichigo. He’s leaning up against the wall, one leg drawn up, the other stretched out. A jug of sake is tucked against his side, and one hand toys with a small cup. His expression is unreadable, his reiatsu wound tightly about his body, which explains why Kisuke hadn’t sensed him.

He blinks, sliding completely into the room but wisely leaving the door open behind him.

“Kurosaki-kun?” the blond questions.

He’s unable to keep himself from raking a hungry gaze over his former student. Years have only matured his looks, turning him from a gangly youth to a handsome young man. A very handsome, very desirable man. Who’s currently lounging on his bed.

Kisuke swallows.

“This is a… surprise.”

Gee, understatement of the century there Kisuke.

Ichigo shrugs. He leans to the side and sets his jug on a nearby table, cup soon joining.

“This has been a long time coming.”

Curiosity battles with confusion.

“To what are you referring?” Kisuke asks.

Since really, as much as he racks his brain, he can’t come up with a reason why Ichigo would sneak into his room, only to wait for him to come to bed. And with a bottle of sake at that.

Ichigo rolls his shoulders, shifting so that his legs fall open just a bit. “Don’t play blond with me, Kisuke.”

His voice is a dark purr as his gaze focuses on Kisuke and Kisuke alone. Eyes dark, reiatsu brimming with intent, not dangerous, but focused.

The ex-captain has to fight to shiver. It’s a heady thing, being the focal point of that intent.

“Are we so informal now?”

Rising from the bed, Ichigo crosses the floor on silent feet, his stride better described as a stalk. A lazy stalk, like a hunting beast, a panther or something equally amazing.

“I think we passed formal a long time ago,” Ichigo replies. He approaches with the weight of his reiatsu hanging around him. Not so much oppressive as patently tangible, coaxing Kisuke’s own out to play.

He stops, however, when there’s little more than a foot between them. His expression is yet unreadable. That they’re nearly the same height now becomes all the more apparent.

Kisuke swallows again, licking his lips with a suddenly dry tongue? Is this fear? Far, far from it. He tilts his head to the side, aiming for nonchalance and hitting the target off center.

“My, Kurosaki-kun, have I done something to upset you?”

“Countless things,” Ichigo returns with a low chuckle that dances down Kisuke’s spine and makes heat pool in his groin, makes him throb and ache in ways that he knows he oughtn’t. “But not the one thing I’ve actually wanted.”

Kisuke laughs, arousal curling through him, battling against disbelief and hope. Ichigo can’t really be here, implying these things. But he is! And suddenly, Kisuke’s glad that he’s chosen to linger in Karakura.

“And what would that be?”

Ichigo takes another step forward, completely closing the distance between them, and when had he gotten that close? Close enough for Kisuke to feel the buzzing of reiatsu against his skin, catch the scent of sake and laundry soap and whatever cologne it is that he wears. Close enough for him to touch if he so desired.

Brown eyes are smoldering, and a smirk curves the corner of Ichigo’s lips.

“This,” he says.

And before Kisuke can react, can think to come up with witty repartee, Ichigo is kissing him.

Their mouths lock, a tongue brushing against the seam of Kisuke’s lips, warmly requesting entrance, and he doesn’t deny. He parts his lips, moans as Ichigo’s tongue invades his mouth, and slinks back a step. His back collides with the wall, Ichigo following him, trapping him there. Arms come up, hands bracing on the wall above Kisuke’s shoulders, Ichigo crowding in on him.

Only their lips are touching, but somehow, that makes it all the more arousing. Desire blooms to life inside Kisuke. His heart thuds in his chest, just like in those sappy romance novels; it feels like someone’s turned up the heat in his room. His face is flushed, his clothes are too heavy, and Ichigo’s tongue explores his mouth with talented sweeps. Tangling with Kisuke’s and dragging need from the pit of his belly.

Until Ichigo ends the kiss, pulling back so that mere inches separate them. His breath a is heated wash over Kisuke’s mouth. Ichigo looks at him, his eyes dark and rich with promise.

“Well…” the blond puts in with a weak chuckle that completely betrays his utter loss of composure. “You should’ve said something sooner.”

Ichigo licks his lips. “Any sooner and Isshin would’ve blown a gasket.”

Ah, yes. The tiny matter of age and consent. A neon bright reason as to why Kisuke had yet to make his move. Well, that and the fact he – like everyone else – thought Ichigo in love with Rukia-chan or at least adorable Hime-chan.

“There is that,” Kisuke admits, and his breath hitches as Ichigo shifts his weight, making no effort to hide the leisurely rake of his eyes over Kisuke’s body.

Frankly, the blond’s beginning to wonder if he should fear for his virtue. And Kisuke didn’t even know he had any virtue left.

“Mm hm.” Ichigo hums in his throat, gaze lingering. “You don’t protest then?”

“Protest?” Kisuke snorts pointedly. “I am the furthest from protesting a man can possibly be right now.”

Ichigo’s eyes drop to Kisuke’s groin. One hand falls from the wall and traces the same path, a palm cupping Kisuke without hesitation.

“So I see.”

By the gods…

Kisuke’s head thunks against the wall as he bucks into Ichigo’s grip. Nerves spark with pleasure, and he bites back a moan. His arousal is already throbbing within his pants, eager for the touch of Ichigo’s fingers.

“You … you just rush headfirst into everything, don’t you?” he demands.

Ichigo laughs, the sound echoing in the room. Low and heavy. Intoxicating.

“Works out better that way,” he comments with a squeeze of his fingers that threatens to steal Kisuke’s breath.

He arches again, hands scrabbling for purchase as he fists Ichigo’s shirt with one and grips Ichigo’s hip with the other.

“So you thought you’d just… stroll in here and take what you want?” Kisuke asks, voice little more than a gasp. The idea burns through him of Ichigo indeed bending him over and taking what he wants.

“Why? Do you mind?” the Vizard asks as he leans forward and nuzzles into Kisuke’s throat. His lips are a mere brush over his sensitive flesh, fingers deftly massaging Kisuke’s hardened length.

“Actually, I’m rather partial to it right now,” the ex-captain finds himself admitting. His fingers stroke Ichigo’s hip, sliding under the hem of his shirt and glancing across warm skin.

Ichigo nips at his throat, making Kisuke jerk against him.

“Good,” he says and strangely backs off a pace, dislodging Kisuke’s hold on his hip. “Then you don’t mind if I take the lead.”

Heat surges through Kisuke. “Not one bit,” he manages.

Approval dances in Ichigo’s eyes. He swoops in for another kiss that makes Kisuke moan, twisting his fingers tighter in Ichigo’s shirt; surprise of his soon-to-be-lover’s skill rises in the back of his mind. So much for thinking his former student an untouched prude.

The kiss is all too brief. Ichigo pulls away from it to look Kisuke in the eye, his gaze dark and hungry.

“Clothes,” he growls. “Off.”

Another shiver dances down Kisuke’s spine. “Are you going to return the favor?” he inquires teasingly, hands already raised to strip. He’s all for getting naked as soon as possible.

Ichigo’s answer comes in the form of him tugging off his shirt and throwing it over his shoulder, where it lands somewhere on the floor promptly forgotten. Kisuke’s eyes roam over his bare chest, tracking down to where Ichigo’s jeans hang low on his hips, a noticeable bulge behind the zipper.

“I approve,” he says huskily.

“I’m glad,” Ichigo replies, humor rich in his voice. “But you’re still not naked.”

“Oh, I can remedy that,” Kisuke shoots back and quickly divests himself of every article of clothing he’s currently wearing. Nudity has never been an issue of him, and he has to admit, the way Ichigo’s eyes burn hotter as they leisurely rake his frame makes Kisuke’s arousal triple. “Do you approve?” he purrs.

Ichigo’s tongue drags over his lips. “Yes.” One hand dives into his pocket, pulling out a tube which he then hands over. “Hold onto his for me.”

Kisuke obliges and watches hungrily as Ichigo shimmies out of his jeans – no underwear beneath, how bold! – and the denim pools on the floor. There’s a hint of red to Ichigo’s face, but he still stands straight, lifting one hand to twirl a finger in the air.

“Turn around.”

Kisuke’s heart leaps in his chest. “Giving commands are we?” he asks huskily, already moving to obey.

“I know you like it,” Ichigo retorts, and Kisuke can practically feel the heat radiating off his body as he steps closer. “Hands on the wall.”

A thrill races through Kisuke’s being. There’s something simultaneously erotic and humiliating about being ordered around by his former student, but Kisuke is leaning more toward the former. Or at least the lower parts of him are, demanding his attention as much as he wants Ichigo’s.

He lifts his hands, palms flat against the wall. Ichigo presses up against him from behind, plucking the tube of oil from his fingers.

“I think I like you this way,” Ichigo all but purrs in his ear, hands roaming over a bare body.

Ichigo presses against him, heated chest pressed to Kisuke’s equally heated back, his length nestled against Kisuke’s ass. The blond gnaws on his lower lip, trying to contain his wanton noises.

“Like what?” Kisuke questions, fighting for composure, hoping his voice comes out even.

“Obeying,” Ichigo replies and pinches Kisuke’s right nipple between thumb and forefinger, a sharp pain that makes him cry out.

The Vizard chuckles. “I think it’s a first.”

Kisuke scratches his nails against the wall. “Are you implying that I misbehave?”

“Only when it suits you,” Ichigo retorts and pulls back a pace, a chilly waft of air brushing against Kisuke’s back. Until a hand drags down his spine and pauses at the crest of his backside. “And does this suit you?”

Kisuke does not consider himself someone capable of begging, but he’s quickly approaching that action.

“If you don’t hurry, I’ll have to take matters into my own hands.”

Ichigo’s laugh echoes in the room. “We can’t have that.”

Hands vanish from roaming Kisuke’s body, and the sound of a bottle snapping open fills the room. The blond shivers from anticipation as he glances over his shoulder, watching Ichigo pour oil into his hand and drop the bottle to the floor. Kisuke licks his lips as Ichigo first coats his own arousal and then reaches for him, dragging oil-slick fingers over his skin. The tease.

Ichigo presses closer, heat radiating from his body. “You’re not facing the wall,” he says, his voice low-pitched with desire.

“You and your orders.” Kisuke huffs, but he does as Ichigo bids only because it does suit him and the note of command in Ichigo’s voice is turning him on like nothing else.

Ichigo’s left hand plants itself on the wall next to Kisuke’s left, fingers splayed as he braces himself. He leans forward, fingers of his right hand tickling Kisuke’s skin, teasing him with a more intimate touch soon to come.

And he hasn’t even needed an ounce of instruction. How… interesting.

Kisuke chews on his bottom lip. Breathing ragged as Ichigo traces his cleft, circling his entrance with oil-slick fingers.

“You seem – ah – like you know what you’re doing?” he observes in an attempt to gain control of himself. All while his arousal beads at the tip, one drop falling to the floor.

He can practically hear the smirk in Ichigo’s voice. “No, pervert, I’m not a virgin.”

Ichigo’s fingers quit teasing, finally pushing inside in one smooth, slick thrust. Kisuke gasps, back arching, his hands scraping against the wall.

“It was merely an observation,” he argues.

Ichigo leans over his back, heated chest pressed to Kisuke’s bare back. “No, you’re burning with curiosity, aren’t you?”

Kisuke shivers at the voice in his ear, dark with promise.

“Only–”

He gasps as Ichigo curls his fingers, easily finding that special spot and rubbing it mercilessly.

“–Only if you’re so inclined to share.”

Ichigo adds another finger, one which Kisuke doesn’t really need. But he supposes Ichigo’s only trying to torture him, trying to delay the inevitable.

“Shinji’s a good kisser,” Ichigo murmurs, punctuating his words with a nip to Kisuke’s neck. “Tatsuki has a wicked tongue and talented fingers.” Ichigo’s free hand slides around, grasps Kisuke’s length and gives him a firm stroke. “And Jyuushiro taught me everything I know and then some.”

Kisuke sucks in a shallow breath, only to release it with a groan. His mind has just supplied him with all sorts of naughty ideas. Ones his body begs him to try.

“What’ve I been missing?” he breathes.

Ichigo’s fingers vanish from inside him in the same moment that he releases his hold on Kisuke’s length, leaving him thrusting into empty air. Both hands settle on Kisuke’s hips, Ichigo’s arousal dragging erotically across Kisuke’s skin.

“I’ll show you,” the younger man says huskily and positions himself at Kisuke’s puckered entrance.

Breath caught in his throat, Kisuke’s entire body tingles with anticipation. His fingers curl against the wall again, limbs trembling.

Ichigo’s hips rock forward, and he slides into Kisuke tortuously slow. So that the blond feels him inch by inch, filling him to the brim. Kisuke groans, low-pitched and soft, and Ichigo thrusts into him. His insides clench, and he drops one hand. Curling fingers around his length, squeezing himself mercilessly. Ichigo’s barely begun, and he already feels like he’s going to embarrass himself.

“Ichigo,” he groans, pauses to give himself a moment to compose his words, and then continues. “There’s a time for slow and loving and a time for fast and furious. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you which this is.”

The fingers on his hip gripped tighter. “Oh, I’m sure I can guess,” Ichigo says, and his hips jerk forward, sliding to the last inch inside Kisuke with a dull smack of flesh against flesh. “But don’t say it wasn’t what you asked for.”

A feeling that mixes anticipation and concern winds its way through Kisuke’s belly, but it’s not enough to chase the blistering heat of desire. Or the realization that Kisuke is about to get something he’s only ever fantasized about.

“I can take it,” Kisuke challenges.

Reiatsu swirls in the room as Ichigo’s unusual, if not potent, blend flurries and mixes with Kisuke’s own. The walls rattle around them both as Ichigo withdraws and then thrusts forward quickly. Snapping his hips, slamming inside of Kisuke with a slap of skin on skin. The blond is driven forward, a gasp pushed from his lips, as his palm smacks against the wall in effort to keep himself from smashing his nose against it.

Behind him, Ichigo chuckles without repentance and does it again. A sharp withdraw and an even sharper thrust forward, a slam of his hips that makes Kisuke rise on his toes and fall back again. Makes every motion stand out in stark relief, makes heat and desire swirl into an endless eddy within Kisuke.

“Yessss,” Kisuke hisses through gritted teeth.

Ichigo without fail thrusts into him again and again. Over and over, his fingers flex on Kisuke’s hips with each body-shaking thrust. The older man squeezes his own arousal, but self-restraint fails him. He curls his fingers, strokes his shaft, smearing the copious dribbles of fluid all over himself. He pulses in his own fingers, rock hard. Heat throbs around he and Ichigo, and sweat paints Kisuke’s skin, the temperature in the room skyrocketing.

It’s a chilly, damp autumn evening outside. But Kisuke wouldn’t know it from the heat emanating from Ichigo’s body. From the sweat gathering on his brow.

Once more, Ichigo slams into Kisuke, only this time he pauses, deep inside. He shudders, and leans against Kisuke, pressing their bodies together as he grinds, hips in slow circular motions that make Kisuke’s hair raise. It shouldn’t feel so damn good. But it does, it does. Kisuke all but whimpers, Ichigo’s cock doing a lovely, grinding dance against his prostate.

Ichigo mouths the back of Kisuke’s neck, lips and tongue tracing a hot path over bare flesh and a thin layer of sweat. Teeth nip at the back of his shoulders, barely present, and with increasing pressure. A slight edge of pain that makes Kisuke’s fingers curl against the wall, scraping paint and causing a few flecks to flutter free.

One hand loses its hold on the blond’s hips, sliding around the front of him to tangle with Kisuke’s fingers and curl around his cock. He groans as Ichigo starts to stroke him, in tandem with his own grip, a thumb swiping over his leaking slit as Ichigo squeezes rhythmically. He grinds against Kisuke’s ass a few more times, panting against the back of his neck before he shifts gears once more.

Ichigo pulls out, barely a fraction, and then pushes back in again. Over and over, the sound of skin slapping together fills the room. Each tiny movement sends a blast of heat down Kisuke’s spine, makes the coiling in his belly threaten to snap. Makes his knees wobble and a broken moan fall from his lips.

Ichigo sucks in a breath. “Gonna make you come,” he says in a ragged voice that does little to curb Kisuke’s approaching release. “Wanna feel you come.”

The blond groans, wordless. The sound of Ichigo purring in his ear, promising dirty things, is enough to be his undoing. His back bows as he pushes back into Ichigo’s tiny thrusts, clenching down, heat rippling through him.

He comes with a choked cry, pleasure roaring through him. He erupts in their combined grip, soaking their fingers, splattering his poor, defenseless wall. His body trembles, muscles tightening. Behind him, Ichigo moans in tandem, his pace renewed as he resumes thrusting with increased vigor.

His hips rock forward, back to the unforgiving pace of before, and Kisuke can only groan and hold on as Ichigo shoves into him, chasing after his own release with single-minded determination. A mouth traces a wet, biting path over the back of Kisuke’s shoulders, mouth clamping down and exhaling heatedly over his flesh.

Panting, Kisuke slumps forward, drained of energy, and clings to his grip on the wall to keep from falling. Ichigo’s reiatsu is a frenzy of need around him, and the words “so close, yes, so close” are being panted in Kisuke’s ear. He groans at the sound, cock giving a twitch in their combined grip but little more than that.

Legs wobbling, Kisuke focuses, drawing his reiatsu tightly around himself. Only to suddenly flare it out in a wave of heat and energy. To Ichigo, it must feel like a cascading tingle all over his skin, prodding at every erogenous zone, sending him into fits of pleasure.

Ichigo all but whimpers, slamming into Kisuke with a final thrust before he stills, release flooding through him. His fingers clench down on Kisuke’s hip, certain to leave marks behind, as he locks their bodies together and loses the last of his control.

Ichigo sags, and Kisuke abandons his tedious stance. They slump together to the floor, bodies bathed in sweat. Ichigo slips out of him in the process, but he still nuzzles into Kisuke’s damp hair, pressing a kiss to the crook of his neck and shoulder.

“Nnnn,” he says, ever intelligibly.

Ichigo makes a sound like laughter. “I’ve made you speechless. A first.”

Kisuke reaches back, tangling his fingers in sweat-damp orangish hair. “Relish it now. I can’t guarantee it’ll happen again.”

“Oh really?” Ichigo’s fingers flex where they are entwined with Kisuke’s, a rippling motion against his sated length. “What about right now?”

“What about a bed?” Kisuke shoots back. “Like the one that’s about fifteen feet away?”

Ichigo’s lips wander a path across his shoulder again. Tongue tracing the light impressions of bite marks.

“Old men and their comforts,” he teases.

“I’m not that old,” Kisuke protests and tries to rise to his feet; his muscles protest the movement, and his legs are wobbly. Nevertheless, he does manage it, slumping against the wall once he does. He’s a sticky, sweaty mess, and a bath does sound appealing. But even more so is the thought of stumbling over to his bed with Ichigo and getting sticky all over again.

Ichigo chuckles, rising to his feet as well. “So you say,” he counters and reaches out, dragging a hand down the planes of Kisuke’s chest, stopping just below his belly button. “Care to prove it?”

Kisuke’s breath hitches. “Gods, Ichigo,” he mutters, tongue swiping over his lips. “You’ve gotten brazen all of the sudden.”

Ichigo shrugs, shoulders lifting and dropping. But at last, there’s a hint of a flush to his cheeks and not just one of arousal either.

“Maybe I was tired of acting like a kid.”

“Whatever the reason, I can’t say I’m disappointed,” Kisuke says and finally feels himself standing a bit on solid grin. He manages a cocky smile, more a leer, and lets his gaze rake openly down Ichigo’s body – well-muscled and a perfect shade of bronze. “Though why you chose today to pounce, I do wonder.”

Fingers weave through Kisuke’s own. Ichigo’s not subtly backing toward the bed and tugging the other man along with him.

“A certain someone let it be known that you were coming back today, but everyone else wasn’t. I knew you’d be alone.”

A certain someone? Kisuke shakes his head, affection rising up within him. It could have only been Yoruichi-san, as she is the only one that Kisuke had told. That devious cat. She’s always known of Kisuke’s attraction to his student. She’s always teased him for it as well, but apparently, in the back of her mind, she’d also been plotting.

Kisuke owes her a saucer of cream, he does.

“I see,” the ex-captain muses aloud and lets his gaze roam over Ichigo’s backside, a nicely built backside at that. “Will you be staying then?”

“If you’ll let me.”

Let?

By the gods, Ichigo will be lucky if Kisuke will allow him to leave.

Ichigo reaches the bed. With a tug, he topples them both onto it, and they quickly become a mess of naked limbs and rumpled blankets. Kisuke, much to his delight, executes a move that he learned in the second division and emerges on top, pinning Ichigo beneath him with several flavors of erotic plans building in the back of his mind.

“Oh, I’ll let you,” the blond purrs and drags one finger down the planes of Ichigo’s chest. “So long as we both agree it’s now my turn.”

Ichigo reaches out, catches Kisuke’s hand and drags it toward his mouth. Tongue flicking across the tip of Kisuke’s index finger.

“Whatever you want,” he says, nibbling at a fingertip.

Oh, he should know better than to give Kisuke that much freedom. A wicked smirk curls his lips.

Kisuke has years of fantasies to work through, and he’s about to introduce Ichigo to the first of many.