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Dream of Life- Escapism

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“Do not use until you’re off the roof,” Soundwave intoned as he placed a small round object in Jazz’s hand.

Jazz looked the object over, noting a safety latch which he’d only need to flick aside with his thumb before squeezing the entire device to send the remote signal out. If all went according to plan, it would detonate the explosives hidden all around the top level of the tower and hopefully take out Megatron in the process.

“Time is short,” Shockwave said after a moment. “We need to go.”

Jazz looked up and nodded. “Right.” He wished he had access to his subspace pocket, but in lieu of that he did have several hidden compartments built into his plating. He turned his arm and popped open one such compartment open where he stowed the detonator. Looking back up at Soundwave, Jazz flashed a charming smile. “Better give me a good luck kiss.”

Cupping his face, Soundwave parted his mask and gave him quite a nice, long kiss goodbye. “Be careful,” he said as he pulled away and the mask snapped back shut.

“I promise I’ll return to you. One way or another,” Jazz assured him.

Goodbyes exchanged, Jazz reluctantly made his way toward the shuttle with Shockwave. Prowl was already waiting on board, and as soon as they stepped on the door closed. Jazz gazed out the porthole at Soundwave left on the tarmac, and sadly frowned. I’ll be back. I always keep my promises.

The flight to the tower apartments was short. As they started to descend, Prowl turned in his seat and looked at Jazz. “We cannot stay, but if something goes wrong, have Thundercracker contact Shockwave.”

“Will do,” Jazz replied as he wrapped the little toy Ironfist gave him over his hand.

The shuttle touched down, and Jazz initiated the invisibility cloak. He shimmered out of view as the door lowered.

“Good luck,” Prowl said as Jazz hopped off.

“See you guys in a bit,” Jazz said confidently before setting off across the roof.

Reaching a large ventilation shaft opening, Jazz removed the covering grate and then sat on the edge peering down inside. It was too dark to see anything and being invisible like this, his headlights wouldn’t work. According to the plans it went down for twenty meters then made a ninety degree turn.

“Now or never,” he murmured to himself. He swung his legs over and let go of the edge, falling down the shaft. He landed with a thud on his feet where the turn began, and winced at the noise he’d made. Stilling, he hoped no one heard him. He listened for any indication of being caught, but all was silent save the hum of the air being circulated through the shaft.

Gathering his courage, he quietly crawled down the shaft taking the path he’d memorized from the building plans toward the main berthroom. A sound he’d heard once before echoed into the shaft and a small rise of anxiety caused him to freeze.

“You belong to me, you worthless, ungrateful glitch!” Megatron’s voice boomed.

“Yes, yes, my lord!” Starscream screeched in reply.

To the right there was a grate, and he could see between the slats into Megatron’s washrack area. He had Starscream pinned front-first to the wall as he pounded him hard with that massive spike of his.

Jazz shook his head, resisting the urge to purge as memories of what he’d done and witnessed here before surged forward in his mind. He could break down or freak out later when he was back in Soundwave’s arms. Right now he needed to fulfil his mission. He shoved hard at the unwanted memories, and after a moment regained control of himself, moving forward again and leaving the scene in the washrack behind.

Two more twists in the shaft and he was peering out another grate into the main berthroom. Thundercracker was lying on the berth on his front, and Skywarp was overtop of him, very obviously spiking him. Jazz frowned, unsure what he should do.

“Frag, you feel so good,” Skywarp nipped at Thundercracker’s neck, picking up his pace. “Missed your... valve… I’m gonna–” Skywarp stiffened, driving deep into Thundercracker as he moaned.

Thundercracker barely had his optics lit. He was staring off at nothing, clearly disengaged from what was happening. He looked so broken and Jazz’s spark ached at the sight.

Skywarp didn’t move off Thundercracker, he just sagged over him and nuzzled the back of his neck. “You wanna spike me?” Skywarp asked.

“Sure,” Thundercracker replied in a flat tone.

Rolling off Thundercracker, Skywarp laid back and parted his legs.

Weakly pushing himself up, Thundercracker winced. “I need fuel first.”

“Okay, I’ll get myself all worked up for ya,” Skywarp replied with a dark smile as he sank a couple fingers into his valve.

Thundercracker slid off the berth and went into the next room.

Scrambling as quietly as possible, Jazz crawled down the shaft to the next grate. Thundercracker was alone, drinking a glass of energon.

“TC!” Jazz said in a hushed voice from the grate.

Stilling, Thundercracker’s optics brightened. He slowly looked around the room.

“Up here! TC, it’s me, Jazz,” he said, disengaging the cloak so his visor would be visible through the slats of the grate.

“Jazz?” Thundercracker whispered as he walked over.

“Here to get you out,” Jazz whispered back.

“Are you insane? You can’t get me out of here. You’re going to get yourself killed. Or worse!” Thundercracker hissed at him.

“I’m probably insane, but that’s aside from the point. I have the detonation device to blow this top level sky high,” Jazz replied.

“TC! Where are you? Don’t leave me hanging,” Skywarp whined from the berthroom.

Thundercracker glanced at the doorway, then back up at the grate. “Blow it up with me in it.”

“Can’t. I got no ride back. You’re my ride, and I promised Sounders I was coming back,” Jazz replied.

Darkly glaring at Jazz, Thundercracker flicked his wings. “Let me pound that aft into stasis, and then we’ll go.”

“‘Kay,” Jazz replied.

Thundercracker downed the rest of his energon and tossed the glass into the sink before returning to the berthroom. Jazz crawled backward until he was able to see into the berthroom again.

Skywarp writhed beneath Thundercracker as he ‘faced him hard and fast. Jazz frowned, realizing he’d meant ‘interface’ not literally pound the fragger. He sighed softly as he waited. He really didn’t want to watch, but he also needed to keep an eye on things.

“Oh frag,” Skywarp groaned, legs lifting as he hooked his ankles together over Thundercracker’s lower back.

Thundercracker grabbed both of Skywarp’s wrists, one in each hand, pinning them to the berth as he thrust hard enough to jar Skywarp beneath him.

“Tee ceeee,” Skywarp whined. “Such a hard spike…”

Jazz dimmed his visor a little, hoping they’d be done soon. Aside from the discomfort of watching, he was worried Megatron and Starscream might finish with one another and return.

“You enjoy it hm?” Thundercracker asked, nipping at Skywarp’s lower lip.

“Frag, yes!” Skywarp cried out.

“Splitting you open with it over and over?” Thundercracker slowed his thrusts, slamming into Skywarp with sharp snaps of his hips.

“Yes, TC!” Skywarp whimpered. “Fill me up! Please!”

“That's what you want?” Thundercracker taunted as he came to a stop.

Skywarp was panting hard, rocking his hips to try and ‘face himself on the spike buried in him. “Yes, that’s what I want. Please!”

“Overload first,” Thundercracker commanded.

Thundercracker didn’t move, letting Skywarp continue to rock under him. Skywarp writhed and gyrated his hips, grinding against Thundercracker until he suddenly arched his chest and strained against the hold his wrists were in as he cried out.

Once his body stopped shuddering, Thundercracker resumed, thrusting hard and fast again until he roared and overloaded, too. Skywarp shuddered yet again, whimpering.

“So good,” Skywarp crooned as his entire frame went slack.

Thundercracker un-mounted, letting go of Skywarp’s wrists. He sat back on his heels and grabbed a wayward cloth on the berth, quickly wiping himself clean.

Jazz then noticed Skywarp’s optics flicker off. Thundercracker had literally ‘faced Skywarp hard enough he’d offlined into a light recharge. When Thundercracker got off the berth, he walked into the next room with the energon dispenser. Jazz crawled forward and reached the grate right as Thundercracker lifted it off.

“Thanks,” Jazz said as he dropped down into the room.

Up close, Jazz could smell burnt ozone from overloading, and see Thundercracker’s usually pristine plating was covered in dents.

“Thank me when we actually get out of here. The elevator to the roof is clear across the apartment. And we have to walk past the washrack to get there,” Thundercracker said in a hushed voice.

“Good thing I have this then,” Jazz replied as he initiated the invisibility cloak.

Thundercracker’s optics brightened. “Okay, that helps…” He then frowned. “I still need to get past without being noticed.”

“Tell ‘em you wanna stretch your wings?” Jazz offered.

“For the record, I think this is a terrible plan. You all should have left me here and blown it up anyway,” Thundercracker said with a flick of his wings.

“Like they’d do that to you. Besides, Mirage is a shadow of himself without you. Now get your head in the game and let’s get outta here,” Jazz said.

He’d hoped mentioning Mirage would be a motivator, but Thundercracker looked miserable instead. “I’m only doing this because you’ve left me no choice.” With that, he strode out.

Jazz followed, unseen. They walked through the berthroom, and neared the washrack with it’s open doorway. Starscream’s audio piercing cries echoed loudly as Thundercracker walked right past, not breaking his stride. Megatron and Starscream were so busy they didn’t even see him. This was going really well. Jazz hoped they’d be able to get out of here without incident. The elevator came into view as they rounded a corridor. They were only feet from the exit when Skywarp suddenly warped in front of Thundercracker.

“Where are you going?” Skywarp asked, almost looking offended Thundercracker left him.

“I just–” Thundercracker frowned. “I need to fly. We’ve been cooped up in here for days now. I need an hour or so of air time.”

“Oh, that’s all? I thought you were sick of me.” Skywarp flexed his wings. “I’ll go with you then. I could use a nice wing stretch myself,” he replied, smiling brightly.

Jazz grimaced. This was not going to work with the mission plan. He quickly looked around the area near the elevator for something he could use as a weapon, but there wasn’t anything.

“Then let’s go for a nice long flight,” Thundercracker replied, gesturing to the elevator.

Skywarp bounded over and pressed the button. The doors opened and they all entered. Jazz stayed plastered against the wall, trying to think of a way out of this. He had no weapon on him, though, and Skywarp was almost twice his size.

“You know, this trine was once a point of pride for me,” Thundercracker said.

“Once? It’s not now? Look at us. We’re the top fliers. Megatron chooses us over everyone else to trust and be with him. I’d say we’ve got a pretty sweet deal, all things considered,” Skywarp replied.

“You would think that,” Thundercracker replied.

Frag, no. Don’t… Jazz had a sinking feeling Thundercracker was going to do something stupid out of anger.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were mad at me. What’s the deal, TC?” Skywarp asked.

The elevator stopped and Thundercracker moved swiftly, one hand grabbing with a vice-like grip at the tip of Skywarp’s wing and bending it.

Skywarp yelped in pain and dropped to his knees just as the doors to the elevator opened. “TC! What the frag was that for?” he cried out.

“I should make you suck me off right here, you worthless piece of scrap,” Thundercracker replied, applying more crippling pressure to the sensitive appendage. “Get off now.”

Knowing that last order was for him, Jazz got off the elevator.

“What the frag, TC!” Skywarp was shaking from the pain he was in.

“I’m not some berth toy to be used as your discretion. I was an elite member of Vosian society. Someone who would have strengthened the power of my family had I been partnered off as intended. But I rebelled. Joined this trine in hopes of creating a different life for myself. Instead I was subjugated, mistreated, and forced to do things I despised for survival. I thought that maybe I had my life back when the war ended, but no. It was stripped away all over again.” Thundercracker stooped down and put his free hand around Skywarp’s neck squeezing it. “I should rupture your main fuel line to your processor. A slow agonizing death, like the one you doled out to that poor Autobot, Inferno. That was his name, by the way. Not that you care.”

Every moment that passed was another moment they might be discovered, and Jazz finally couldn’t stand by another moment. “Enough, TC! Knock his lights out and let’s get outta here!”

Skywarp looked over, his optics wildly trying to focus. “Who the frag was that?” he choked out.

“Lucky for you, I don’t want to kill anymore unless I have to. And I have a prior commitment.” Thundercracker wrenched the wing tip in his grasp and Skywarp yowled in pain as he crumpled to the floor of the elevator. Thundercracker pressed the down button and stepped out.

“You’re a traitor!” Skywarp gasped as the door closed.

Jazz touched Thundercracker’s arm. “Let’s go!”

“I would carry you if I could see you,” Thundercracker commented.

Disengaging the cloak, he shimmered back into view. Thundercracker wrapped an arm around his waist, holding him firmly against his body. Heat was radiating from Thundercracker’s frame. More than normal. “You’re autorepair is straining,” Jazz commented.

“My body has been used non-stop for days. It’s got a lot of healing to work on,” Thundercracker replied with dim optics as he initiated his heel jets.

Jazz opened his hidden compartment in his arm and took out the detonator. “Let’s clear the roof, then I’ll set it off.”

“So Soundwave really did plant all the explosives?” Thundercracker asked as he lifted them up from the roof.

“Sure did,” Jazz said, flicking the safety off and squeezing the device.

Below them a series of loud booms were followed by fire and debris being ejected in a large scale set of explosions. Thundercracker took off, and Jazz dropped the detonator in favor of clinging to his ride back. The air whipped around them, and Jazz buried his face in Thundercracker’s chest. He liked doing thrilling things, but he was no flier. This kind of airborne experience was a bit much, even for him.

Suddenly their straight trajectory veered sharply. He turned his head to see Skywarp giving chase. “How did he?” his voice was mostly lost to the roar of the wind, but Thundercracker must’ve heard him.

“He can warp,” Thundercracker replied, banking sharply another direction.

“I’m gonna purge,” Jazz winced, his fuel tank unhappily gurgling at the sloshing around.

Thundercracker then came to a stop mid-air.

Skywarp held out both his arm cannons, aiming them in their direction. “You betrayed us!”

“Wait! Please!” Thundercracker turned his body, shielding Jazz as best he could.

“Betrayer!” Skywarp shouted, firing on them.

The next thing Jazz knew they were falling out of the sky. He clung to Thundercracker, and could see droplets of energon and pieces of his plating trailing them as they fell back toward the ground.

“Sounders…” Jazz said, his spark aching that might not be able to keep his promise.

“Emergency message sent,” Thundercracker rasped.

The ground came up fast, and Jazz was suddenly thrown sideways out of Thundercracker’s grasp moments before impact. The change in direction lessened the blow when he finally hit the ground. He cratered through an unstable section of an old road bridge, landing in a pile of debris. He heard Thundercracker come down not too far from where he was with a thunderous crash.

Overhead, Skywarp was circling, looking for them. Luckily they’d crashed in an old section of Iacon where there were several criss-crossing road bridges and buildings that obscured them from his view. Despite all the damages he had, Jazz forced himself to his feet and stumbled over broken pieces of metal and rubble to get to Thundercracker.

He was careful not to let his movement be seen, but Thundercracker had left a fairly large opening over him. As soon as Skywarp located it, they were done for. He found Thundercracker in very bad shape, lying on his back in a pile of debris.

“Hey, TC.” Jazz knelt down next to him. “You still with me?”

Thundercracker’s optics dimly lit. “Sort-of,” he replied, voice filled with static.

“Why didn’t you fire on him?” Jazz asked, looking at Thundercracker’s arm cannons.

“Tired of...k-killing,” Thundercracker replied.

“Well, he’s gonna kill us unless we do something here,” Jazz replied. “If I aim your arm up, can you shoot?”

“Y-yes,” Thundercracker said, weakly lifting one arm.

Jazz scooted over, and hugged the arm to his chest as he peered up at the circling seeker overhead.

“Aim for his w-wing. Only way–” Thundercracker’s voice cut out with a burst of static.

“Right, the wing. Then he won’t warp down here, right?” Jazz pressed his face against Thundercracker’s arm, staring down it as he tried to aim as carefully as possible. They really only had one shot at stopping their pursuer, because once the shot was taken Skywarp could easily warp to them after learning their location. “Fire!”

Thundercracker’s arm cannon charged up and blasted. In the distance Jazz saw the blast miss Skywarp.

“Frag!” Jazz quickly lined up Thundercracker’s arm again. “Fire again!”

Another blast was belted from the arm cannon, this time a plume of smoke curled up from Skywarp. Jazz didn’t take his optics off him, watching until Skywarp fell out of the sky a decent distance away.

Suddenly the arm in his grasp became heavy. “Whoa, TC?” He let go and looked over to see the seeker had offlined. He quickly bent down and pressed his audio to the cockpit, listening for the thrum of a spark. “Spark still pulsing, that’s good.” He sat back up and frowned at Thundercracker. “Look, you can’t die. Mirage’ll never forgive me if you do. So hang in there, ‘kay?”

He sighed and looked around at the decayed and destroyed area they were in. Hopefully that emergency message would reach Shockwave before Skywarp reached them on foot.

The shuttle set down, and Prowl followed Shockwave off. After pressing the buzzer, they stood side-by-side waiting.

The slat in the door slid open and a pair of gold optics peered out at them. “Frag off! I don’t want anything to do with your fugitive afts.” The slat slid back shut.

“Apparently my involvement in Soundwave’s extrication has been made known,” Shockwave commented.

Prowl frowned and pounded on the door. “Tremorwave! You think you’re safe here? You’ve been helping us! Now let us in so we can talk!”

The slat opened again. “What part of ‘frag off’ don’t you get?”

Scowling, Prowl stared into Tremorwave’s optics. “You think you’ll somehow skate by?”

“Moreover, if I have to threaten you with revealing the cover-up for Deadlock and his slave’s escape, then I will,” Shockwave added.

Huffing, the slat the closed and the door opened.

They walked inside and Tremorwave stalked off. “I was busy, so whatever you gotta say, start talking!”

Prowl followed the upset medic with Shockwave behind him. They wandered through the various rooms of junk until they reached his main medical treatment room. To Prowl’s surprise, First Aid was there, sorting through some items on a table.

“First Aid?” Prowl said, hoping if he couldn’t convince Tremorwave to come, then perhaps First Aid would.

Glancing up, First Aid’s visor brightened. “Hey, Prowl.”

“I had no idea you were alive,” Prowl replied. “You weren’t at the final battle…”

“I know.” First Aid shrank in on himself a little. “I was done fighting. I tried to hide in the tunnels, and–”

“I found his offlined frame and brought him back to life,” Tremorwave interrupted as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Now, what do you two want with me?”

“We need a medical staff,” Prowl replied.

Tremorwave frowned. “That’s nice. What’s that got to do with me?”

“We want you to run the medical facility onboard the hidden starship beneath my compound,” Shockwave replied.

“You have a starship? How big is it?” First Aid asked.

“It can carry up to two-hundred passengers comfortably,” Shockwave replied.

“No,” Tremorwave replied.

“I don’t understand your reluctance to help us. To help yourself. We are going to overthrow Megatron. Restore freedom to the enslaved. These are things I know you believe in, so why won’t you join us?” Prowl asked.

“Wanna know why?” Tremorwave plopped down at his computer console and brought up a window with a ‘most wanted’ information bulletin. It listed Shockwave and Soundwave as co-conspirators in a plot to overtake the new government. “This has been sent to every mech planetside. Megatron wants your head, and I don’t want anything to do with that. I haven’t survived this long by helping the losing side. Anyway you slice it, a ragtag group of formerly abused Autobots, small army of drones and you two running the show is no match for the might of the Decepticon army.”

“What’s that?” First Aid asked. “That weird red light wasn’t on before, was it?”

“Hm?” Tremorwave clicked on a red lightningbolt icon on his console. A window opened in the middle of the screen that said ‘D-R-I-F-T’ in large glyphs over a password entry prompt. “Holy slag…” His fingers flew over the keyboard and a video began to play.

A mech Prowl didn’t recognize smiled into the camera.

“Hey Tremor. It’s me, I know I look a little different. I sorta almost bit it, and as luck would have it, got my aft saved by these ancient Cybertronians that left at the start of the war. They’re part of something called the Circle of Light.” The mech on screen shrugged a shoulder. “Anyway, me and Percy are doing good.” He turned away from the screen for a moment “Hey, come say hello.”

Perceptor’s face leaned into view. “Greetings, Tremorwave.” He then ducked back off screen.

“Perceptor is alive…” Prowl whispered in awe.

The mech on screen flashed a grin. “Percy’s busy building this weapon thing out of that relic. Oh, yeah, we did find the ship of wayward Autobots that escaped. They landed in this throwback to the golden age place, too. Turns out one of the Autobots can use that matrix thing pretty well. Like it’s tuned to his frame or spark, or I dunno. Percy explained it, but I don’t really get it.” The mech sighed. “Primus, I have so much I want to tell you, but I’ll try to give you the short version. Basically, when we first got here the Cybertronians here wanted nothing to do with fighting. After an incident with a slave trading ship that left someone very important to all of us dead, they changed their minds. Well, their leader did, and now they’re gonna help us make a stand and take back Cybertron. So pack your stuff up, Tremor. We’re coming. We’ve mobilized an army of ancient warriors who are ready to fight. No more Megatron and no more war after this. So get someplace safe and don’t die, or I’ll kick your aft. Got it?” The mech half-smiled. “We’re about two weeks out, so see your sorry aft soon.” The screen then went blank.

“Who was that?” First Aid asked.

“Deadlock.” Tremorwave heaved a sigh and rubbed the back of his helm. “Alright. I’m on your side.” He looked back at Prowl and Shockwave. “I need to get a few things together, then we’ll head over to the compound.”

Prowl raised an optic ridge. “You always choose which ever side looks like it will win?”

“Pretty much. I’m still alive, aren’t I?” Tremorwave replied with a grin.

“We’ll be very happy to have you on our side, Tremorwave,” Shockwave replied. Suddenly his optic brightened, then dimmed. “Something has gone wrong, Prowl. I just had an emergency ping signal from Thundercracker.”

“What happened?” Prowl asked, dread curling in his spark.

“It’s unclear. I have a last known location, but that’s all. He’s not answering my pings.” Shockwave placed a hand on Prowl’s shoulder. “Stay here and go back with Tremorwave to the compound in his shuttle.”

“I should go with you and help search for them,” Prowl replied, worried for his best friend’s safety as well as Thundercracker’s.

“If something should happen to me, they still need a leader, Prowl. And that’s your first priority,” Shockwave replied.

That’s right, he was effectively in charge. “Please bring them both back,” Prowl replied with a frown.

“I will do my best not disappoint you,” Shockwave replied, warmth coloring his tone.  

Shockwave then bowed farewell, and quickly left. Prowl stared at the doorway he’d exited through, concerned for all of them. While an incoming army certainly helped sure up their position for overthrowing Megatron, his main priority was getting his “ragtag” crew in the best shape he could. Being together in one place would give them the most strength, which is why losing either Jazz or Thundercracker would be a huge blow for those back at the compound.

“You okay, Prowl?” First Aid asked.

He nodded. “Let’s get what items you’d like to take and get going,” Prowl replied.

Just like it’d been when they were living in Thundercracker’s apartment, Bluestreak, Mirage and Bumblebee chose a room onboard the hidden starship with a large enough berth for all of them. Mirage had generally been a mess since they arrived, but as hour upon hour collected and Jazz hadn’t returned from his mission with Thundercracker, he was soon on the verge of a meltdown. Ironfist located some sedatives in the medbay and Mirage voluntarily let himself be dosed.

Passed out in the middle of the berth, Bluestreak was on one side of Mirage and Bumblebee on the other. They were passing a datapad back and forth, each one writing a few lines of a fantasy story they’d come up with. It passed the time, and was a nice distraction, too.

Bluestreak never really knew Bumblebee before all this. He knew of him, and saw him in passing, but the more time they spent together, the more he became quite attached to his newest friend. He knew part of it was seeking comfort for himself after what happened with Jazz, but it went beyond just that. They shared a lot of similar interests, and Bumblebee always had such great stories to share from happier times. Bluestreak genuinely smiled around him, and often forgot about his hurt when they hung out together.

Putting on his finest cloak, he left his home to search for the mech that knew in his spark he wanted at his side always.

Bluestreak smiled at Bumblebee’s sentence, and wrote the next line.

After days of searching, he entered an old tavern on the edge of the energon fields. It was filled with locals who mined the fields and in the corner, he spied his long lost friend.

He passed the datapad back over, and looked at Mirage still recharging, curled up in a tense ball. Even his face was creased with worry despite not even being awake. Waiting was always so hard, and Mirage had been through Pit already. Bluestreak gently pet Mirage’s arm, worried for him.

Bumblebee handed the datapad back. “I wish we could do something more,” he said in a hushed voice.

“Just have to wait and be here for him,” Bluestreak replied, taking the datapad.

“I didn’t expect you to come looking for me,” Jetwing said as Lightwind walked up.

“Of course I’d look for you. You mean the world to me,” Lightwind replied. “May I sit?” Jetwing nodded, and Lightwind sat down beside him. “Why did you leave?”

Taking a moment to consider what to write next, Bluestreak bit at his lower lip.

“Primus, you’re adorable sometimes,” Bumblebee said, grinning at him.

Bluestreak laughed a little at that. “Yeah, right.

“I left because you don’t need me anymore,” Jetwing replied. Lightwind looked surprised. “I still need you. You’re my best friend.”

He handed the datapad back to Bumblebee. With a somewhat mischievous grin, Bumblebee began to type a longer than usual addition.

“Now who’s being cute and nefarious at the same time?” Bluestreak teased.

Bumblebee proudly handed back the datapad once he finished. “Read and find out.”

Raising an optic ridge, Bluestreak took hold of it.

“The truth is, I left because I wanted to be more than your best friend. I wanted a life with you. And you didn’t seem to want the same thing. I’m in love with you,” Jetwing replied. Dumbstruck, Lightwind gazed at him with a whole new view. “I think, no, I know, I love you, too.” Jetwing felt hopeful for the first time in so long. “Come back with me to my modest home? We can talk more there.”

“Bee!” Bluestreak chided in a hushed voice. “I didn’t know we were writing a romance.”

“Why not?” Bumblebee asked.

“Well, it’s just,” Bluestreak looked back at the datapad. “These characters are kinda like you and me. Aren’t they?”

Bumblebee smiled brightly. “Yeah, I know.”

Attention snapping back over, Bluestreak stared at Bumblebee. “Wait, are you saying–”

“Yeah, I like you, Blue.” Bumblebee pushed to sit up. “But, I know you might not feel the same, and it’s alright if you don’t.”

Also sitting up, Bluestreak gazed at Bumblebee. “I never thought about it. I was too wrapped up in what happened to me with Jazz, I guess.”

Bumblebee sadly smiled at him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to make things weird. I was trying to wait to woo you when I looked a little less broken.” He touched one of his cracked helm horns. “Look, I’m a lot older than I seem, and if you’re not interested, that’s really okay. Just, you know, be honest.”

Gazing at Bumblebee, Bluestreak shyly smiled. “It’s funny, the times I forget about what happened are when I’m around you. Life seems almost normal when it's just us. I haven't had anyone in my life I felt this comfortable with in a long time. Not since before Praxus fell anyway.” He nervously fingered the datapad and re-read the passage Bumblebee wrote. He then typed a response.

Lightwind leaned over the table, and their lips met. Jetwing had dreamed of kissing his best friend, but never dared to think it might really happen. He was so happy, he was sure his spark might burst.

“Here,” Bluestreak said, handing the datapad back.

Bumblebee slowly took it, seeming unsure. He then read the added text and looked at Bluestreak with bright hopeful optics. “Blue? That means–”

Leaning over Mirage, Bluestreak cupped his face with one hand and their mouths met. They shared a lovely soft-mouthed kiss that left Bluestreak's spark pulsing faster. Pulling back, he grinned at the dazed look on Bumblebee’s face.

“Not at all what I thought I’d see when I came to,” Mirage said in a groggy voice.

They both jumped apart, looking at him.

“We were just, um…” Bluestreak looked to Bumblebee for an answer.

“I saw what you two were just doing,” Mirage replied with a small smirk. “Never thought Blue was going to figure it out, though.”

“He didn’t. I kinda let it slip,” Bumblebee replied.

“On purpose?” Mirage prompted.

“Wait, you knew?” Bluestreak asked, looking at Mirage.

“You’re as kind as you are clueless, Blue. Besides, you were still so hung up on Jazz,” Mirage replied. “Speaking of which–” his optics dimmed. “Any word?”

"Nothing yet. Not from Jazz or Prowl," Bluestreak replied.

Mirage curled in on himself and sighed. "How long have I been out?"

"Only a couple hours," Bumblebee replied, gently rubbing Mirage’s back. "Someone should be back soon. I'm sure we'll have news any time now."

The intercom suddenly buzzed to life.

"All those able, please meet me at the cargo level. We have some supplies to load onboard for medbay and I need as many hands as are available," Prowl's voice said.

"Prowl's back." Bluestreak scooted off the berth and without thinking stooped down for Bumblebee to hitch a ride on his back.

"He said he needs help not a hindrance," Bumblebee said, poking Bluestreak's back.

"Don't be like that. Come on," Bluestreak replied.

Mirage pushed himself off the berth and stood, hugging his arms around his middle. "We aren't leaving you here alone and I want answers."

Relenting, Bumblebee moved over and then wrapped his arms around Bluestreak's shoulders. He leaned in close and whispered into his audio. "My handsome companion."

Heat flashed over Bluestreak's faceplates and his doorwings lifted upward as he stood with Bumblebee on his back. "You trying to make my face overheat?"

"That's not the only thing I want to get all heated up," Bumblebee murmured, hugging himself to Bluestreak.

"Bee!" Bluestreak squeezed Bumblebee's legs in his grasp, shyly smiling.

Bumblebee chuckled and nuzzled the back of Bluestreak's helm. “You really are adorable.”

Mirage shook his head at them. “Let's go see what Prowl has to say.”

Bluestreak caught a hint of a smile as Mirage turned and strode toward the door.