Jazz woke first, and smiled as his visor dimly lit. He’d spent the night sandwiched between Bluestreak and Mirage in their large berth. Mirage didn’t like to recharge alone, and Jazz didn’t mind having him here once he and Bluestreak had finished having some “alone time”. In fact, he liked how nice it felt to be surrounded by comforting warmth on both sides.
After his evening with Bluestreak, he was feeling more like himself again. Though, a part of him felt unsure about having confessed his feelings about falling for him. He gazed at Bluestreak’s offlined face currently snuggled against his shoulder, knowing there was no escaping that warm spark flutter he felt around him. Who knew a relationship would ever happen to him, let alone one blossoming with a timer attached to their encounters.
Stretching his neck, he pressed a feather-light kiss to the dark red chevron adorning Bluestreak’s helm.
A dark grey hand pressed over his chest, and Jazz snapped his attention to Mirage.
“Quite a thrum your spark is making,” Mirage whispered, raising an optic ridge.
“He makes me happy,” Jazz whispered back.
Mirage withdrew his hand and smiled. “That’s a wonderful thing.”
“Be more wonderful in a different world, but I’ll take what I can get,” Jazz quietly replied.
Optics dimming, Mirage nodded.
Suddenly the intercom sounded. “Mirage, Bluestreak, and guest Jazz, I have a meeting to attend. Soundwave will be here for Jazz in two hours.”
Bluestreak groaned and flopped an arm over Jazz’s middle. “I fragging hate that intercom,” he whined.
Mirage chuckled. “Not a morning mech, hm, Blue?”
Dimly lighting his optics, Bluestreak glanced at Mirage then Jazz and grinned. “Both my favorite mechs in my berth. Okay, now shut up. I need more recharge.” He snuggled against Jazz and offlined his optics again.
Jazz snickered and kissed Bluestreak’s helm. Mirage smiled and cuddled up closer to Jazz before letting his optics flicker off. Jazz relaxed, relenting to the desire of the mech that had a firm hold on his spark, drifting off for a little more rest.
It was a different world in the main tower. Everything here was so clean and pristine, unlike the dank lobby and halls of the apartments Vortex lived in. Sunstreaker and Smokescreen stood together in the lift, watching the numbers on the floor counter climb. How far up did Thundercracker live, anyway?
The seeker glanced over his shoulder at them, staring for a moment. “You’ll need a medic,” he said, locking gazes with Sunstreaker’s cracked optics.
He quickly dropped his gaze downward. “Yes, master,” Sunstreaker reflexively replied. He felt Smokescreen’s grasp tighten around his arm.
The lift finally stopped, they disembarked and followed Thundercracker down the long corridor to a large door. He waved his hand over the keypadless lock, and the door slid open. Inside, Thundercracker pointed to a very nice-looking small couch in the entryway. “Have a seat.”
They obeyed and sat down. Thundercracker frowned as he walked down a hallway and disappeared.
“This place looks big,” Smokescreen said, pointing to another hallway that went off in another direction.
“Holy slag, Sunny! Smokescreen!” Jazz's familiar voice said.
They glanced over, both equally shocked to see not one, but three of their comrades walking in front of Thundercracker.
“Mirage? Blue? Jazz?” Smokescreen let go of his hold on Sunstreaker’s arm and bolted from the small couch, leaping into a group hug with the three mechs.
Sunstreaker didn’t move, though.
After the initial round of hugs, Jazz sauntered over and smiled at Sunstreaker. “Didn’t get yourself killed, I see.”
“Not for lack of trying,” Sunstreaker replied.
“Sunny’s looked after me,” Smokescreen said, still tangled in an embrace with Bluestreak.
Jazz glanced over at him and smiled.
The door chimed, and Thundercracker waved his hand over the pad. On the other side stood Soundwave and the medic, Tremorwave.
“Lookie who I rode in the lift with,” Tremorwave said, walking in with his tool kit and setting it down next to Sunstreaker’s feet to riffle through it.
Soundwave and Thundercracker nodded hello to one another.
“Vortex’s Autobots obtained already?” Soundwave asked, looking at the small gathering.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Thundercracker replied. “I don’t have the space for them, here, though. And Megatron will start demanding more of my attention if he finds out I bought that particular one.” He jerked his head in Sunstreaker’s direction.
Sunstreaker frowned at the seeker. “What the frag does that mean? You bought us and you don’t even want us? What kind of sick game are you playing at?” He started to stand up, but Tremorwave grabbed his wrist, and tugged him back down.
“Chill out, Sunshine. TC’s one of the good guys, here,” Jazz said.
“Him, Soundwave and Shockwave are working to rescue abused Autobots when possible,” Mirage added.
“Affirmative. Plans for you and your comrade’s retrieval have been underway,” Soundwave intoned.
Thundercracker walked over, holding Sunstreaker’s gaze. “You have a lot of fire left in you. That’s good. You'll need that when the time comes to fight again. But don’t so be quick to judge things you don’t understand.”
“Right, whatever. Says the mech who watches Megatron frag slaves for entertainment,” Sunstreaker spat back. “I sure hope you and your stupid trine liked getting an optic full of my array.”
Thundercracker narrowed his optics and flicked his wings. “Listen carefully. I do not enjoy anything that tyrant does. And who do you think provided his entertainment before there were slaves? Hm? My trine was certainly a favorite, and any commanding officer could be put in the very same position you were in. We are working to stop him, so be grateful I didn’t let you and Vortex get caught. Otherwise you’d be both be in a smelting pool to be reused for pouring metal slabs.”
Sunstreaker felt all his comrade’s optics on him and sullenly frowned as he looked down at the floor.
“Jazz, it is time to return with me,” Soundwave said, breaking the moment of uncomfortable silence that followed Thundercracker’s remarks.
Bluestreak's doorwings lowered and he pulled Jazz into a hug. “See you soon."
“Definitely,” Jazz replied. They shared a quick kiss, then let go of each other. Jazz moved to Soundwave's side.
“Tremorwave, take Sunstreaker and Smokescreen via your shuttle to Shockwave’s compound once repairs are done. I will alert him you will be coming,” Soundwave said.
“Please,” Thundercracker added on Soundwave’s behalf with a small smile.
“Sure thing,” Tremorwave replied as he mixed up a clear compound in a small container.
“We aren’t staying here?” Smokescreen asked, doorwings drooping.
“Due to proximity to Lord Megatron and Commander Starscream, safety cannot be ensured within the Tower,” Soundwave replied.
“You guys will have it pretty good out there. There’s more Autobots and Prowl’s in charge,” Jazz said, smiling.
“Prowl?” Smokescreen looked surprised, but in a good way. “Frag, I thought he was dead.”
“Hard to keep a mech like Prowl down,” Jazz replied.
Soundwave then turned and walked a few paces to the door, gesturing for Jazz to follow. Jazz didn’t hesitate to react, falling in step with his master. Thundercracker opened the door and they nodded goodbye to one another.
“Offline your optics and stay still for me, hm?” Tremorwave said, holding a tool that had a dab of the clear gunk he’d been mixing on the end.
Sunstreaker did as he was told, and let his optics flicker off. He stiffened when he felt familiar warmth as his side, and fingers take hold of his hand. He guessed it was Smokescreen, and squeezed the hand in his grasp.
The clear gel-like substance coated his optic glass. It was cold and felt really weird to have the tool push it into the cracked surface. Once the medic was done with one optic, he moved the second one, and Sunstreaker grimaced at the odd sensation being repeated.
“All done,” Tremorwave announced. “You can online them. It will take about a day to fully cure, so no poking your optics. Not that you’d do that, but you know what I mean.”
Sunstreaker onlined them, and saw it was in fact Smokescreen holding his hand. He gave him a half-sparked smile, and then focused on the floor again, remaining silent. Being handed off from owner to owner, and watching Jazz be so obedient to Soundwave didn’t sit well with him. Plus that little factoid slipped in that they were going to be owned by Shockwave next didn’t help ease his mind much either. He was tired of this slagheap of a life he was trapped in. Being smelted down actually sounded pretty good...
“These other injuries will heal on their own. Nothing a little care to his plating with wax and a dent remover won’t cure,” Tremorwave announced after looking Sunstreaker over carefully. He then shoved the items he’d taken out back in his tool box and slammed the top closed. “Alright then, let’s get you two over to the compound.”
Smokescreen got up, pulling Sunstreaker by the hand to do the same. With a sigh, he reluctantly got to his feet.
“Are we going to see you again?” Smokescreen asked. “Jazz can visit, so can we do that, too?”
“We aren’t allowed out of the apartment, and I don’t think you’ll be allowed off the compound, either,” Bluestreak replied.
Thundercracker frowned a little. “I have considered taking them to the compound to visit, but as of now they are safest here. What happened to Sunstreaker may happen to one of them if Lord Megatron is made more aware of their presence.”
Sunstreaker caught the dual looks of surprise Mirage and Bluestreak gave him.
“Until things progress, you may not see one another for a while,” Thundercracker explained.
Smokescreen let go of Sunstreaker pulled Bluestreak and Mirage into another hug. Bluestreak gestured to Sunstreaker to come join them, but he looked away. He didn’t want any part of their mushy goodbye. Smokescreen let go and looked back over at Sunstreaker. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he’ll be alright,” he said to the other two.
“Well, let’s get going, shall we?” Tremorwave said, clapping his hands before picking up his tool box. “I have another appointment to get to.”
Smokescreen returned to Sunstreaker’s side, smiling up at him.
The irony of Smokescreen of all mechs offering to look out for him might have been amusing if not also a sad statement on their mental states after being used as drugged out pleasure drones and then tortured by Vortex day in and day out. What he truly hoped for his abused Praxian friend was that he’d be happier at this new place with Prowl in charge. And if so, then Sunstreaker could snuff out his spark and be done with this mess of a so-called life once and for all.
Everyone had settled in the lounge for the evening. Ironhide and Ironfist played an old card game found in the junk pile, and Prowl sat pressed against Sideswipe’s side on the couch while his lover watched some old show and he read through some intell on a datapad Shockwave had given him earlier in the day.
The intercom unexpectedly came on. “Prowl, please come to the front of the compound,” Shockwave’s voice ordered.
Three sets of optics turned to him.
“What does he want?” Sideswipe asked.
“I have no idea.” Prowl turned off the datapad and set it down on the nearby table. “I’ll go find out.” He kissed Sideswipe on the cheek, and then got to his feet and quietly left the habitation area.
After breaking down in Sideswipe’s arms the night before, he felt closer than ever to him. His beautiful red warrior ha become a ray of light in this otherwise dark world that Prowl could hold fast to when he felt weak. It felt good to have someone to care about and who cared so much for him.
Reaching the front, Prowl’s optics brightened at the sight of Sunstreaker and Smokescreen.
“Holy slag, it really is you, Prowl!” Smokescreen looked delighted.
“As you can see, they’ve been liberated ahead of schedule,” Shockwave said as Prowl approached.
Smokescreen pulled Prowl into a hug. “I see that,” Prowl replied, returning the affectionate greeting and patting his fellow Praxian on the back. He looked at Sunstreaker, noticing his face and chest were dented and scraped. “Good to see you, Sunstreaker.”
Sunstreaker frowned and nodded.
“Prowl will take you both to the habitation area of the compound.” Shockwave gestured to the hallway Prowl had just come down.
“You have a dent remover?” Smokescreen asked, letting go of Prowl.
Prowl nodded. “In the washracks, yes.”
“Maybe we can finish fixing Sunny up, then,” Smokescreen said, shooting a smile at Sunstreaker.
“Don’t worry about me,” Sunstreaker quietly replied.
Which of course only made Prowl worry. “Let’s get you two settled in.” He gestured for them to follow. “Goodnight,” he said looking at Shockwave.
“Rest well,” Shockwave replied.
Smokescreen took hold of Sunstreaker’s hand and pulled on him to follow Prowl. Partway down the long, winding hallway, Smokescreen tweaked one of Prowl’s doorwings from behind. “So you don’t call Shockwave ‘master’ or anything?”
Prowl playfully bat at Smokescreen’s hand with his doorwing. “No. The only title you would ever apply to him would be ‘sir’. We’re basically operating under a loose military structure with him at the top,” Prowl explained.
“Shockwave’s our leader? That’s not fragged up or anything,” Sunstreaker muttered.
“Actually, I’m your leader. He just oversees us to keep us safe here,” Prowl replied, glancing at Sunstreaker over his shoulder.
Sunstreaker dropped his gaze and frowned.
“Huh. So what’s the deal then? Are we prisoners here?” Smokescreen asked.
“Not exactly. We have freedom within these walls. And we’re assisting Shockwave to build up resources for overthrowing Megatron,” Prowl explained.
They reached the double doors to the habitation area which slid open when Prowl got close enough. He led the two newest additions inside and they were met with surprised looks.
“Smokescreen, Sunstreaker, this will be your home now,” Prowl said.
Ironfist, Ironhide and Sideswipe all got to their feet to greet them. Prowl stood aside to let them mingle together. Ironfist was friendly as usual, introducing himself with vigorous handshakes. Ironhide stood to the side, nodding hellos to them, and Sideswipe… he was standing still, staring at Sunstreaker. The sullen, dark expression on Sunstreaker’s face shifted to distress as he stared back at Sideswipe.
After a tense moment, Sideswipe took a tentative step closer, and half-smiled. “Still alive, huh?”
Sunstreaker looked Sideswipe’s frame up and down, focus pausing at the scars on his chestplate. He reached out, fingertips touching one of the scars. “And so are you.”
Prowl felt a flare of jealousy in his spark as he watched them. Why was Sunstreaker touching Sideswipe like that? Those were the scars Prowl kissed and touched. Sideswipe was his to care for, and the one that cared for him. He dimmed his optics and grimaced, unsure why he was having such an extreme reaction to the scene unfolding before him. It wasn’t like him to jump to conclusions without proof or facts.
Sunstreaker’s fingers moved to another scar. “What happened?”
“Cut to ribbons by my boosthead owner, Wildrider,” Sideswipe replied as he poked at a dent in Sunstreaker’s upper chestplate. “You?”
“Beaten by Vortex after humiliating him in front of Megatron,” Sunstreaker replied, fingers lingering on Sideswipe as he stepped a little closer.
“So there’s lots of rooms to pick from,” Ironfist said to Smokescreen.
“Which four are already taken?” Smokescreen asked.
“Three,” Prowl said. “Three are taken, the rest are available.”
“Oh yeah, Prowl and Sides are sharing a room,” Ironfist said, rubbing the back of his helm and chuckling.
Sunstreaker snapped his hand away from Sideswipe and glanced at Prowl. Holding the gaze for a moment, Prowl hoped he’d made the point obvious enough. Sunstreaker looked back down at the floor, and took a step back. Sideswipe frowned and suddenly looked uncomfortable.
“How about you guys pick your rooms? I’ll make plaques to put on the doors tomorrow,” Ironfist said, oblivious to the tension.
Ironhide shook his head as he cast a sharp look at Prowl. “Think I’ll take a pass through the ‘racks while y’all sort things out.”
Prowl’s doorwings lowered. He was no leader. Not really. And he knew he was acting petty, but he’d never had someone like Sideswipe in his life before. Up until this moment, he never imagined losing him to someone else.
Ironfist dragged Smokescreen down the hallway to where the rooms were. Sunstreaker was quick to follow them.
“This is the one they share, this one is mine, and this one is Ironhide’s,” Ironfist said, explaining to the newcomers.
Sunstreaker walked into the next open room and went inside, shutting the door.
“Sunny?” Smokescreen asked, lightly tapping the door before opening it and letting himself in.
Sideswipe looked at Prowl, mouth opening then snapping back shut.
Ironfist wandered back out, looking confused. “I dunno what just happened, but they’re both in the one room now. Was it me? Was I being too chatty?”
“It wasn’t you,” Sideswipe said. “Sunny is just… difficult.”
“I wasn’t aware you knew one another so well,” Prowl said, treading carefully. “You were mostly stationed apart during the fighting.”
“Yeah, ‘cause I asked for us to be.” Sideswipe sighed. “Think this is a conversation we should have in private, Prowl. No offense, Ironfist.”
Ironfist shrugged his shoulders. “No worries. I can poke at some projects in my room–”
Prowl put a hand on his shoulder, and squeezed. “Ironhide will be back out shortly. We’ll go to our room. Stay out here. Don’t let us interrupt your evening.”
Ironfist nodded and watched Prowl and Sideswipe retreat to their room. He sighed, then returned to the abandoned card game at the table. He picked his cards up, and began to organize his hand.
“Didn’t peek at my cards, did ya?” Ironhide said walking out from the washrack area.
Ironfist smiled behind his mask. “No way. I don’t cheat!”
Ironhide was trailing water off his not quite dried frame as he sat back down across from Ironfist and picked up his cards. “They all cleared out pretty fast.”
“Something happened. I dunno what, though,” Ironfist replied, gazing at the entrance to the rooms. “Sunstreaker suddenly went into an empty room, and Smokescreen went in after him, then Sides and Prowl got all weird and said they needed to talk, and disappeared, too. I must be really boring!” he said, joking.
“Not at all,” Ironhide replied. “Just the past comin’ up and biting them all in the aft when they least expected it.”
Ironfist gazed at Ironhide. “Will things be okay, you think?”
“As soon as Prowl gets his head out of his aft and lets those two sort out things, then yeah. it’ll simmer down,” Ironhide replied, setting a card down on the table.
“Which two?” Ironfist asked.
Ironhide warmly smiled. “Sides and Sunny.” He gazed fondly at Ironfist. “You remind me so much of ‘Jack it’s a little eerie sometimes. The semi-cluelessness, and that sweet-spark wantin’ the best for others...”
Ironfist’s face flushed with heat at the compliment. “I’ve never been too good at interpersonal stuff, but I try.” Ironfist nervously chuckled. “I wonder what happened to Wheeljack,” he said, placing his next card down on the table. “I miss how we used to talk about technical specs for hours. I could use his help in the lab, too.”
“He’s safe, I hope,” Ironhide quietly replied.
Ironfist’s gaze snapped up. “You know what happened to him?”
“He left on a ship that was supposed to be our salvation. Don't think they made it or if they did, they aren't coming back,” Ironhide said, sadness overtaking his features.
“Salvation?" Ironfist asked, optics bright.
“They took the matrix with 'em. They were gonna figure out how to use it. Come back and save us all,” Ironhide dimmed his optics, his war etched face suddenly looking worn and tired.
“They left before that final battle?” Ironfist asked.
“Yep.” Ironhide sadly frowned. “Sorta hope they're alive, but it's been so long now. I've pretty much lost any hope of being freed. Not that it matters much at this point. I'm a used up husk, not worth much to anyone at this point.”
“Ironhide…” Ironfist reached across the table, and gave the back of his hand a squeeze. “If it helps, I’m really glad you’re here.” Ever since Ironhide had ventured out and they talked that first night, he’d stopped feeling quite so isolated here.
Setting his cards down, Ironhide sandwiched the teal-colored hand between his own black ones. “Believe me, it helps to hear that more than you know.”
“I’m not leaving,” Smokescreen said, sitting at the foot of the berth Sunstreaker had curled up on.
“It’s a wasted effort, you know,” Sunstreaker said, his spark aching for his brother. “I’m not worth it. Just be happy here and forget about me.”
Heaving a sigh, Smokescreen crawled over and spooned against Sunstreaker’s back. “I’m not gonna just forget about you. Primus, Sunny, we survived Vortex together. You were the first mech to be good to me in so long. Why are you all the sudden acting so strange? Was it what happened? The things you mentioned to Thundercracker about being exposed in front of him...is that what’s getting to you?”
Desensitized from his time with Vortex meant that being watched and used earlier hadn’t really bothered him that much, which was disturbing but not unexpected. Seeing Sideswipe after all this time is what had thrown him for a loop. No, it was more than that, it was seeing Sideswipe was already with someone and knowing there was no going back to what they once were that was upsetting him. He clenched his teeth and shivered from the burning pain in his spark. It hurt so much… “When I kissed you goodbye earlier, you were turned on by it,” Sunstreaker said more as a statement of fact than a question.
“Maybe, a little.” Smokescreen snaked an arm around Sunstreaker’s middle. “Why does that matter?”
Sunstreaker shifted, lying on his back and gazing at Smokescreen. More than anything he wanted the ache to stop. “Would you still want to ‘face with me now that we’re not being forced to?”
Pushing up onto an elbow, Smokescreen looked vaguely confused. “Hadn’t thought about it, but sure. If that’s what you wanted.”
What he wanted was to rip his stupid spark out of his chest, but in lieu of that, a distraction would hopefully help. He gently pulled Smokescreen down into a kiss. Doorwings flaring, Smokescreen happily submitted to him and deepened it. Their glossae tangled together between their linked mouths, and Sunstreaker’s whole body hummed with arousal. Whether it was just the training Vortex had put him through, or desperation to feel something other than loss of his idealized love, Sunstreaker was turned on in an instant.
Smokescreen broke the kiss with a soft gasp, his optics darkened as he crawled over Sunstreaker, straddling his hips and grinding their interface covers together.
Pushing a hand between Smokescreen’s legs, he cupped the heated cover. “Open up for me?”
Placing his hands on Sunstreaker’s chest, he lifted his hips up and the cover snapped back. Sunstreaker sank two fingers into the already wet, heated valve, aware he was taking advantage of Smokescreen’s desire to please, but he selfishly didn’t care. Dazed by lust and his crushed spark, he opened his own array cover and rubbed his spike over the dewy entrance before tucking the head just inside the rim.
“You have the most perfect spike.” Smokescreen sighed as lowered himself down over it.
Sunstreaker’s hands rested on his hips, and he moaned. “You have a hot, tight valve,” he replied.
Smokescreen leaned over and captured his lips in another searing kiss that ended with a playful nip of his lower lip. “You like how I feel around you?” he asked, gyrating his pelvic unit with Sunstreaker buried inside him.
“Frag, yes,” Sunstreaker groaned, spike surging inside his friend.
They moved together easily thanks to all their practice. Smokescreen rode his spike, moaning wantonly. Sunstreaker eventually tugged him down against his chest and then rolled them over, mindful of the doorwings as he did. He then began to thrust hard and fast into the now familiar valve. The shiver of Smokescreen’s body beneath him and the hot heat he slid into over and over felt incredible.
Reaching a fevered pitch, Smokescreen writhed and whimpered, and his body was jarred with each of Sunstreaker’s hard thrusts. “Oh Primus,” Smokescreen breathed. His hands grasped the top edge Sunstreaker’s already dented chest plate as he rolled his head back and cried out, overloading.
Sunstreaker bit down on the exposed part of Smokescreen’s neck below his collar, and continued to impale him, chasing down his own overload.
“Sunny.” Smokescreen said his name in a reverent tone, as he lifted his legs up and hooked his feet around his lower back. “I’m totally going to come twice…”.
At the new angle, Sunstreaker slid to the hilt, completely filling that valve over and over until he felt the shuddering of a second overload claim Smokescreen. The tightness of that grasping valve the second time was enough to send Sunstreaker over the edge, too. He surged forward, spike buried deep and jerking with each rush of fluid escaping as he roared and shivered at the sensation of release.
As it finally passed, Sunstreaker sank down over Smokescreen, dazed and thoroughly exhausted. He felt fingers gently pet one of his helm fins, and offlined his optics.
“You get some rest,” Smokescreen said, voice warm and hushed.
Sunstreaker responded the gentle command, and let go of this fragged up reality, giving into the tempting darkness of recharge.