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.o

The throne broke his fall.

Primus bless it, that thing always broke his fall.

A sliver of sunlight shone through a crack in the metal ceiling. It cast light across two orange optics and a troubled visage. The owner of the troubled face remained on his knees, his pale cheek resting on the seat.

Rough hands lifted him by his narrow waist, spun him around and dropped him unceremoniously to sit. Red and purple tangled in the sun's glow, agitating the moon dust that formed a film on every motionless surface.

"Ungh..."

"What's the matter, Starscream?" a distorted figure bent down to stare into his optics. Full silver-gray lips twitched into a mocking grin, "I thought you wanted to sit there."

Preferably without you here, Megatron, thought Starscream, though he wisely kept his mouth shut.

"Where did you fail this time?"

Grimacing, Starscream avoided his leader's gaze. "I took too long to answer your request for a meeting."

"Five minutes, to be exact." Megatron growled, "I loathe tardiness."

Searing tension dribbled through Starscream's frame like acid on his glossa. He was late because Megatron ordered him to feed the Mini-Cons their rations--and then called him while he was in the middle of it. If he left the task unfinished, he was disciplined. Finishing made him late--and now he was being disciplined for tardiness.

The unfairness of it enraged him.

Megatron straightened to his full height, the shadows of his silver antler-like antennae and dark gray shoulder treads framing Starscream's face like the jaws of an alien beast. Light glinted menacingly off his purple and silver body, and his red optics flared.

It was Megatron's respect that Starscream coveted. He went out of his way--obeyed orders, practiced, focused--trying with all the fire in his Spark to be the perfect soldier. Something always went wrong, or Megatron made something go wrong. Everyone noticed when he failed, nobody said a word to his successes. He was an invisible being whose mistakes revealed him.

Starscream found it a tiring existence. Why was he here? Why did he join this army? Why did he leave his old life? He let his optics lose focus, dreaming consciously of himself in the past, an artist bringing forth a blue figure--an incomplete piece. His image reached one hand towards the stars, but its other arm stretched forward, awkward, empty and purposeless. Freedom was its name. His old self, unfinished, a question life never answered.

What is freedom? Starscream asked himself.

"Don't bother dreaming of that life. You belong to me." Megatron's voice whispered in his audio sensor.

Oh, to see Megatron squirm beneath him...Starscream fantasized about it every day. I'll plug him until he shuts the hell--

"...but you never will." Megatron hissed as if he'd heard Starscream's thoughts. "Isn't that right, my little whore? I decide when I overload."

His silvery lips twisted in a fanged grin. He slammed his knee down between Starscream's legs, spreading them open. Then he pinned Starscream's wrists to the arms of the throne.

Starscream felt his circuits heating up against his will. Megatron bent down and ghosted his lips across Starscream's smooth cheek. When he came to his mouth, he plunged his tongue inside. Oh, Megatron could probably kiss like no other if he did it gently, which of course he never did. Starscream endured the brutal sucking and biting and the smooth tongue scraping against his teeth. Fighting back was pointless. Megatron didn't like that anyway, he liked his toys to be compliant.

Dimming his optics, Starscream relaxed. It hurt less that way. The hands pinning his wrists to the throne moved and dug into his sides like hooks. He didn't dare move other than to plant his elbows so he wouldn't slide down in the seat. Megatron wrapped his fingers around the nose cone between Starscream's legs. Starscream stiffened and moaned hoarsely. The sensors there connected directly to his Spark chamber. From there he could uplink with anyone for sexual pleasure if he so chose--and it was one of Megatron's favorite parts to abuse.

"Your cone is warm today," purred Megatron with mock affection. "Anticipating me?"

Those icy, sharp fingers stroked up and down the cone's length, robbing Starscream of coherent thought. Out of pure instinct he arched into the touch while simultaneously hating his own weakness. He saw Megatron touching his own codpiece with his other hand. Fumbling until it tilted open to expose his most sensitive sensor wires. Starscream felt Megatron's hands lift his aft off the throne. The open chamber slid around his cone. Sharp wires split the end of his cone open at the seam. He grunted and grimaced, painfully conscious of Megatron watching his face.

"I thought you wanted me," Megatron said into Starscream's audio sensors. "You do, don't you?"

"Y-yes--b-but--"

"But nothing!" Megatron cut him off with another savage kiss. At the same time his uplink chamber buzzed from the contact with Starscream's internals. Starscream heard his master purring in pleasure. He loved that purr, he loved that voice and he loved hearing Megatron overload. Being violated seemed worth it just to watch it happen, even if his only contribution was to lie there while Megatron did his thing.

"Ohh, it pains me to do this to you...I wouldn't have to straighten you out if you simply stopped failing me at every turn...what did you do wrong, pet?"

"I--" Starscream flinched, "--was late."

"And why is that?"

"I took too long to hand out rations...but, s-sir! They swamped me! They...unh...hadn't taken any nourishment in almost a week! I--had to hand feed at least six! They're so small, they need energon more frequently than--"

Megatron backhanded him, painfully.

The Seeker turned his head away, grimacing. Arguing did nothing but draw out the torture. He hated himself for the words he extended to placate his leader, "I'm sorry, sir." Sorry that you're such a disgusting excuse of a Decepticon, he added silently. The reply burned around his Spark chamber, an explosion he swallowed along with his pride.

Megatron had him trained so well--he fell for this trap every time. A habit worse than addiction, the destruction of his self confidence.

It was quick as usual. The tugging, zapping and pushing. Megatron's grunting and panting. He lifted Starscream off the throne and slammed him onto the floor, coming down hard on top of him to assert his dominance. Whimpering, Starscream turned his head to the side as his leader's shadow moved above him.

"Mm, yesssss," Megatron licked his lips, "Who is your master?"

"You are." Starscream whispered. His throat ached with the urge to cry. It was an urge he suppressed.

The quiver in Megatron's voice betrayed his nearing overload. "I--can't hear you."

Familiar trembling fluttered through Starscream's cone area. Maybe, just this once, Megatron would let him overload too. He cried out, "YOU ARE!"

"Call my name, pet," he panted. His face began losing its cold composure. Light gleamed off his teeth when his lips twitched away to reveal them.

"Megatron," cooed Starscream. He could feel his body's response turning inward, hot sparks shooting across his circuits. Desperate, he kept chanting his master's name, "Megatron...Megatron...ohh--Megatron!"

Megatron lifted Starscream's shoulders off the floor and slammed him painfully down again. Starscream forced himself not to grunt. At this point any moans would be misconstrued as pleasure. Megatron would beat him for it later. His purpose wasn't to enjoy this--he was just a tool to be used and tossed back into the drawer like a human's vibrator.

So it has always been... Starscream mused to himself. An involuntary wince pinched his face. Megatron looked down at him with shadows and hunger in his eyes, a darkness that wrapped around him like a cloak. Starscream felt consumed by the furious void. Each time his leader took him, it felt like a little more of that vacuum slithered into his Spark. One day he'd be nothing but a husk--a metal shell for his ruthless leader to use as he pleased.

At last Megatron arched his back and released a growling moan. Damn him, why did he have to look and sound so sexy? Starscream felt his leader's overload thrumming through his body. He himself came so close to orgasm. Just three more seconds...he felt the first throbs in his loins--

And Megatron disconnected from him, stumbling over to sit on his throne. Slivers of sunlight shone through cracks in the ceiling. He leaned his head back with a smarmy, satisfied smirk present on his silver face. The sun turned his optics into hellfire behind glass.

Starscream still lay sprawled on his back, cone open, his circuits burning for release.

Megatron watched him and chuckled. "What's the matter, Starscream? You seem...tense...did I forget to finish you again? Tch, tch, tch, how neglectful of me."

Starscream rolled to his knees. He looked up at his leader with hungry eyes. "Muh-Megatron..."

"It's not my fault you're too slow." Megatron reached down and lifted Starscream's chin with one finger, "Take care of it yourself," he threw the Seeker down like refuse, "and make it entertaining this time."

Humiliation made Starscream's face burn. Megatron liked to watch him masturbate. It was an insult to Starscream's pride. Well, it wasn't his fault he was slow to complete an overload! Megatron moved too fast! Starscream never voiced this. The one time he did, he woke up two weeks later in the medical bay and still had no memory of what happened.

Starscream sat up and rubbed a hand down his own red cockpit. Tremors raced up his chassis. He rose to his feet, slowly, and avoided Megatron's gaze. The graceful movements of his hips and body were an echo from the past. He sorely missed those blinding white days where he surrounded himself in ribbons of color and imagination.

Starscream leaned against the wall and imagined his hands were Megatron's. Bending his knees, he dipped and arched his back. He caressed his own lips, his shoulder nozzles and finally slid one finger into his open cone. Ohh, the pleasure, he couldn't resist the faint cry he wrenched from his own throat.

This is so degrading! he thought. But he had to finish himself off or he'd overheat. He found it easier if he pretended Megatron wasn't staring at him. In a moment his body picked up where Megatron left off and the sensation overrode his embarrassment. He plunged two fingers into his cone and sent a charge to his own circuitry. It created a feedback loop that mimicked the vibrations of another Cybertronian. Up and in his digits went, flicking his inner sweet spot. He couldn't resist extending his tongue to taste his own lips as he wobbled on the razor's edge between pleasure and shame.

Such was his life. To only bring himself to overload, never to feel it pressed against another body. His optics spied a dust mote floating near one of the harsh overhead lights. Oh, how he envied that dust and its freedom to roam unnoticed wherever the air blew it.

Freedom--he longed for it. He prayed, begged and hoped. Fate answered with this life, this moment, this instant where his body and mind separated in a swollen fireball of shame.

"Ohhh...oh--OH!" Starscream felt the orgasm rip across his body. He arched his back and lived up to his name. Try as he might he could never stay silent when he climaxed. Usually he disconnected his vocal tract when he masturbated alone. Nobody ever heard his shame. But Megatron got to hear it today. He liked hearing it.

"Ooh...mmh...ahhhh," Starscream felt the loop equalize and his overload trickled away. He slumped to kneel against the wall, his dimmed orange optics gazing into nothingness. Even the dust he saw before had abandoned him.

Megatron sat with his cheek propped on his fist, smirking. Starscream's optics lagged slightly, missing the moment when Megatron got up and approached him.

"I so enjoy watching you dance, my pet," he said, running his tongue over his front teeth to remove an imagined imperfection.

Go fuck yourself, Starscream wanted to say, but again he stayed silent.

Megatron wasn't done tossing out insults yet. No, he still had one left. He planted one foot on Starscream's shoulder, forcing him to sit up against the wall. Then he pulled the cap off the top of his codpiece and pissed old lubricant all over Starscream's face, grunting like it gave him great relief. Like all living things, Cybertronians had bodily wastes to dispose of. Usually they urinated into containers and the used lubricant was filtered and reused.

Starscream sputtered at the bitter, cloudy liquid splashing all over his face. Emptiness opened inside his mind, clawing his consciousness. Megatron was reminding him that he was nothing more than an object. Something to be used, put away and eventually thrown out when it outlived its usefulness. His bottom lip trembled. He secretly blessed the liquid for concealing the mech-fluid tears escaping his optics.

Megatron closed his codpiece and glared, "Are you too pathetic to fight back?"

Not a word passed between Starscream's lips. Why bother with a response? It'd just give Megatron more ammunition to humiliate him.

"You know...this wouldn't be necessary if you stopped making me question your loyalty. You're always falling just short of my expectations." he chuckled, "But what more do I expect? Well?"

"I-I'm sorry, sir!" Starscream choked out over the lump in his throat. He looked up at Megatron and winced under his heated glare. Oh how he wished he had the strength to bury his fist in that mech's face.

"You're sorry all right. A sorry excuse of a warrior."

Starscream's anger boiled, and still he remained mute.

Megatron squatted down to eye level. He didn't touch Starscream--of course he wouldn't, not after he'd covered him in bot urine--and smiled almost gently. A mocking grin full of dagger fangs and faux sympathy. "I know you want my love. Want is all you'll ever do in this life. It's all you deserve, you failure. Now, chin up. Maybe one day you will do something that actually impresses me."

Every single word made Starscream feel like a subatomic particle. The pain in his throat migrated to his optics. He longed to melt through the floor and vanish. Simultaneously, he wished the ceiling would mysteriously collapse and crush Megatron into slag.

Growling, he bravely wiped his face and flicked the fluids across Megatron's feet.

The response was immediate. Starscream never saw the movement--one second he was sitting and the next found him kicked into another wall. Static crackled in his audio sensors. His leader gave his most poisonous glare, a look promising torture and death.

"One of these days...one of these days I will stop caring enough to keep you alive. When that day comes, pray to Primus that I do it quick."

Starscream wisely stayed where he fell as Megatron stomped past him to reach the door. Then, and only then, did he give in and let his tears escape. He thanked the stars he held them in this long. Tears always came easily to Starscream--he just learned how to shut off their outflow valves so they flowed into his coolant system. It soon became habit and after awhile nobody paid any mind to how his lips sometimes quivered after he left Megatron's presence.

He glanced up a few times. It felt like eyes were on him, eyes he couldn't see. This had been happening to him for as long as he could remember--like tasting a shadow or hearing a star flicker--there but not really there. The sensation faded and he hung his head once again.

After he regained control of himself, Starscream got to his feet and walked with purpose past Megatron's throne. He paid no heed to the purple and silver shape of Sideways leaning casually on the wall opposite of the door.

"Starscream."

The Seeker paused without turning.

"Rough day?"

"Go to hell!" growled Starscream. He leaned against the wall, a hand over his face, "Take Megatron with you on the way, too. That would make my life a lot better."

Sideways shifted and his purple optics gained a knowing gleam. "Starscream, hey..."

"What now?" Didn't Sideways see that he wanted to just wallow in his misery for one more minute before he cleaned up?

"Keep your mind open."

"Huh?"

"You'll see."

Without another word, Sideways turned and strolled away.

Snarling, Starscream slipped into his own private quarters. He punched the wall to the left of the door--its metal surface already had dents from constant abuse. Residing within the mangled metal was a lifelike engraving of Megatron's face. Starscream's repeated blows left a diagonal slash across its cheeks and marred its left optic.

Swindle leapt to attention. He'd been resting on a corner of the recharge berth up until then. Starscream gestured for him to go back to sleep and turned away.

"It's nothing, Swindle. I'm okay."

The Mini-Con beeped his concerns. Sometimes it seemed like Swindle was the only one who didn't look at him like walking junk.

Starscream merely shook his head. "I appreciate it, but really, I'm fine."

A shower under the hot spray-wash blasted the nasty waste off his metal skin. He planted his hands on the wall while the cleaning jets descended to spray his lower half clean.

Primus, I hate it when he uses me! Starscream cursed, It's my looks...Cyclonus and Demolishor look like garbage heaps. Megatron has had it in for me for...I can't hardly remember...he said I was so good looking when he first met me. It went to hell from there. I used to be blue, I used to have silver eyes, and he reformatted me. I like red, but I don't like to BE red, and he knew it... He raised his head to study his reflection in the wall. Water beaded on his lean red body and pale cheeks. His teeth gleamed between his thin, curvy lips--what word did Alexis use to describe them? Cute...she said his mouth was cute. Embarrassing!

He put the humans out of his mind. It hurt to think about them.

All these years under Megatron--literally. It weighed on him. Megatron, always taking his fill and leaving him to finish himself. He growled and shut off the water jets, I wish I had a way out of this! It would be so satisfying to make HIM squirm for once!

Starscream watched the water drip off his body. He waited for the silence to hear his cry for liberation.

Then he turned away, cursing his foolishness. He paid no mind to the tingling sensation of invisible fingers wrapping around his head. Just another phantom feeling that came and went most of his life--nothing worth his notice.

...and then it spoke.

Your wish can be granted, Starscream.

The deep, rich monotone glossed over his mind like a flicker of sunlight in an agitated puddle.

"Huh?" Starscream whipped around to his empty room. Water wicked off his frame. His orange optics flickered nervously. "Who said that? Swindle?"

Swindle was recharging again. It couldn't have been him--Swindle didn't talk much at all.

The mysterious voice spoke again: All will be revealed in time. You seek escape, don't you? I can grant it.

"Show yourself!"

Not now, but soon. Follow my instructions and you'll never be his toy again.

Never be Megatron's whore...what did that mean? Escaping him forever, never to see him again?

I can teach you how to turn his game back onto him. I've been watching you. I know what you desire. Liberation--it can be granted. Do you desire it enough to risk everything, Starscream?

It said his name like it knew him.

The corner of Starscream's mouth lifted. Turning the tables on Megatron? To be the one on top, watching him writhe while he used his sexy body as his own pleasure toy...nothing would make Starscream happier! Megatron needed to be knocked down a notch, and putting such an insult on his sexual prowess...genius!

Then...doubt. This could be a ploy by Megatron to test his loyalty.

He wanted to believe that voice. This war had no purpose anymore. If he could leave it behind without worrying about Megatron chasing him down...if he could lift away his shame...if...if...if--

Maybe he was going insane. Maybe this was all a delusion. Maybe he would wake up in a few minutes to find it all just a dream.

Why not indulge this dream a little longer?

"I like how you think..." Starscream looked up, his earlier humiliation smarting for payback, and offered himself to destiny. "Tell me what I have to do."

.o

Three Earth days passed, and Starscream counted every hour in anticipation of meeting the face behind the disembodied voice. It had instructed him to wait for a message telling him when to leave. On the morning of the third day, he woke from recharge with coordinates running through his mind like a mantra. Whoever sent them was a telepath--a very powerful one.

The day started out so well. He located a Mini-Con on a distant Earth island while Demolishor and Cyclonus were off arguing about battle tactics. Megatron sent him alone to retrieve the Mini-Con.

Starscream's mind remained on alert for the silent signal. So much so that he never quite focused on his mission. He ended up outnumbered by Optimus Prime, Hot Shot and their Mini-Cons--and failed to obtain the Mini-Con as a result. A humiliating failure...he dropped it during the firefight and Optimus snatched it up. He dropped it as if the universe conspired to spoil him in the face of victory.

"You traitor!" Hot Shot had snarled as he warped away.

Deadpan, Starscream stood in the dust.

"Starscream..." Optimus extended a hand. Sympathy flashed in his golden optics. Him, all bright red and blue and perfect, willing to give his life for a dying soldier.

And in that moment his perfection set Starscream's teeth on edge. He shoved his wing blade forward an arm's length, putting distance between himself and the Autobot leader. "Don't. I'm not an Autobot. I don't belong with your kind."

"He'll punish you."

Starscream laughed so he wouldn't vomit. "He'll punish me if I don't return with the Mini-Con."

"I'm sorry. I can't hand it over." Optimus said coldly, his sympathy now hidden behind walls of rigid military training. He closed his fist around the glowing green tile. His form dissolved as he warped back to his base.

What I'd give for a tall container of high grade right now, Starscream sneered. He slunk back to the moon base and trudged straight into Megatron's throne room. No point in delaying the inevitable. Without even looking he knew Megatron's eyes were glowing like twin embers.

Starscream tried to empty himself of emotion. He imagined himself so hollow that he'd ring if struck. A walking, talking being with nothing inside to hurt or humiliate.

"You've failed me yet again, Starscream," Megatron hissed, "Care to explain why?"

He didn't dare mention he was distracted by his escape plans. Again, he told himself he was an empty shell, numb and lifeless. It did little to shrink the hot lump on his vocal processor that forced his voice a step higher than normal, "I might have succeeded if you sent someone to cover me!"

From the side, Cyclonus snickered. A growl from Megatron stifled the rude laughter.

"Cyclonus, get out."

"Aw, what'd I--"

"OUT!"

"Geez," the helicopter-bot muttered as he brushed past Starscream. "You're in trouble now."

Starscream flashed a rude Earth gesture at his oh-so-helpful comrade's retreating back. He knew what it meant when Megatron ordered people out of the room.

Megatron rose and swaggered forward, closing the distance between them. There was no point in running, fighting or hiding--it'd just anger him more. Starscream watched his crimson optics coming closer, swirling with disappointment and arousal. They were too beautiful to look away from. He made no sound as a rough hand clamped around his aft and yanked him forward--because empty things were voids, unfeeling--but he couldn't stop the tears. His coolant system ran in overdrive as he wicked the tears from his optics.

"You had better not be crying."

"No, sir," Starscream said, and bit his bottom lip so it wouldn't betray him.

"I certainly hope not. Tears are for the weak."

Starscream forced himself to stop weeping and let Megatron have his way. Pushed against the wall, crushed in more ways than just physically, he stayed silent. He accepted the brutal kisses and painful caresses with the hope that one extra touch might send him over the edge.

"You're quiet today." Megatron whispered.

Starscream slipped his arms around his leader's waist and hid his face. He didn't know whether misguided affection or shame prompted the gesture, but Megatron did not discourage it.

"...too quiet."

Afraid of further humiliation, Starscream made a few soft noises. Sex felt so good, Megatron was great all the way up to the point he pulled away. Lying back pleased Megatron, so Starscream did it when asked. Like a dog, he'd roll over and offer up his cone. At least this gave him worth in some form...albeit the most degrading one he knew.

He refocused on being empty. A shell of nothing. But all that open space just made more room for hate and pain to flow in, filling him like choking black engine sludge.

Megatron overloaded while hissing in Starscream's ear. Starscream felt a grin against his cheek--maybe--oh, he hoped...he was so close...

The other bot withdrew, taking all sensation and hope with him.

Starscream swallowed his pride and finished himself off without being told. The void he wanted to be abandoned him.

"You are a disgrace to the Decepticon race. Time and time again you fail me, why? You can't even grab a Mini-Con without someone holding your hand! I invested so much time in you...time I could have spent reprogramming more worthy warriors."

"S-sir, I--"

"Stop making excuses for your failures. You've betrayed me once--I still smell Autobot fuel on you from that stunt--and now you can't seem to do anything right these days. Consider yourself lucky that I still have use for you..." he closed his codpiece, pointedly, with a loud metallic click. "Even this doesn't keep you in line anymore. I'm running out of patience."

Not a word came from Starscream's lips. Everything Megatron said seeped into his being and melted his innards.

Smirking, Megatron turned and walked back to his throne. He won and he knew it. "Now, pet, you had better shape up. And wipe that pathetic look off your face!"

"Understood..." Starscream's fist clenched. He gritted his teeth, You disgusting slag heap! I wish I could rip you to shreds! I'm tired of this!

Then it was back to his quarters as if nothing happened. Life went on around him, nobody aware of the ugly, invisible marks Megatron left on his mind. He felt like he was screaming in a crowded room and nobody even glanced up to see why.

In his quarters, Starscream looked at a large, black screen mounted on the wall. The left side had buttons in every color imaginable. Once upon a time, his holo-canvas brought him more freedom than ever. Now, it just reminded him of what Megatron took from him. He gazed at it and longed.

Someday, Starscream, the voice whispered, You will be that free again.

Starscream turned. It was instinct to search for the sound even though he knew it only existed in his head.

"Is it time to go?"

Not yet. The Earth-moon system isn't close enough. I will contact you again in seven days.

Starscream nodded and flopped down on his recharge birth. Being told to wait disappointed him--he wanted to see the face behind the voice.

Rest, Starscream. It will all be over soon.

.o

Seven days took forever to pass. Starscream managed not to make a mistake large enough to warrant more of Megatron's "straightening out". He walked on eggshells around his leader, saying the nicest things possible just to dodge his temper.

Megatron assigned him to cleanup duties. Yet another degrading job, but Starscream did it without protest simply because it put the entire base between him and the source of his rage. He could've done without Leader One beeping instructions at him. Taking orders from a Mini-Con whose beeps and trills he didn't even understand...how insulting!

Even worse, this was normally Leader One's job!

Grr...but better this than Megatron in my face.

Starscream had just emptied a month's worth of used lubricant when he heard it:

It is time.

The voice held a seriousness that demanded a timely reaction.

"I'll get ready."

Rations were in order--he didn't know how long he'd be gone and wasn't sure if his new friend carried energon. Better to be prepared than stuck hungry. He waited for Leader One to go back inside. Then he snuck into the base, skirted the security system and slipped into the supply bunker like a living red shadow. Anticipation left his circuits tingling.

"Hey, Starscream!"

Dammit! Starscream tightened his fists. Of all the people in the base, this one was the most likely to tattle and spoil his plans. He cringed inwardly, cursing fate. Just walk on by. Don't ask questions, just grab a rust cookie and get out. Just--

Demolishor's footsteps approached. "What'cha up to?"

Damndamndamndamn! "Nothing you need to be concerned about," Starscream groused at the large orange and yellow Decepticon hovering over his shoulder. He tried to stay calm and look like he was supposed to be there.

"Oh, c'mon--"

He rounded on Demolishor and glared into his mismatched absinthe-green optics. "I'm going away for a while. That's all you need to know."

The tank grinned, "Going...or running off like a sissy?"

Starscream didn't bother giving an answer. Demolishor's glowing eyes flared. He stayed planted in Starscream's path, his expression glib in the gloomy light.

"Take a holo-photo, it'll last longer." Stupid ogre. Starscream slid the last energon packet into a panel on his side. "Don't follow me."

"Starscream--"

"Are you deaf, or just stupid?"

"Hey!" Demolishor's lips pulled off his huge, flat teeth, "You're up to something, aren't you? I knew it!"

"Shut UP!" Starscream's patience wore thinner than a microchip. He reached into Cyclonus' secret energon stash, snagged two cubes and ate them quickly. He didn't actually need to eat right then--but he had a long trip and the extra food offered the energy boost he needed. "Where's Megatron right now?"

Demolishor frowned. Up until then he'd been poised to drag Starscream into the brig. "He's recharging."

Perfect.

"Starscream?"

Would that idiot tank ever give up? For all Starscream knew, his mysterious new friend may not wait around. He had to get out now.

"It's a covert operation, okay? Now get out of my way."

"Hold on...what? You? Covert operation? HA!" Demolishor snorted in laughter. "How come I'm not in on it?"

"Because you're too loud. Now MOVE."

Demolishor moved aside, still laughing his servos off. Starscream felt the other mech's optics on him as he cast himself into the shadows. He ignored it the best he could.Let the idiot stare, he told himself, he doesn't know anything. He's too ugly to understand.

Bitterness welled up in the back of his throat like a stinging poison. He never felt more alone than in that moment. All these years of humiliation with no outlet. His only comfort came from knowing he'd soon make Megatron feel lower than dirt. He'd draw his pride out, piss on it and stomp it into the ground! Megatron might kill him for it. His life could end seconds after his triumph. But at least he'd die with the last word, the last laugh, the last victory.

Resolved, Starscream sprinted down the corridor and punched the coordinates into the warp gate. Sideways walked in just before he finished the entry.

"You know, you could get in big trouble for unauthorized warps," purred the purple mech.

Damn! "I was just--"

"Relax." Sideways' eyes tilted in a smarmy, mouth-less smile. "The warp gate is going to have an unfortunate glitch and fail to log your coordinates."

Starscream could've kissed him. He grinned wickedly instead and hopped up onto the warp pad. Sometimes Sideways annoyed him...but the slimy mech had his uses.

Facing forward, Starscream watched a hologram showing stars drop like a curtain across the warp pad. The anticipatory tingle in his fingertips urged his hands into fists. Sideways seemed to take forever.

The gate activated.

Sideways gave a mock salute.

Starscream uttered a silent prayer as his body slowly pixilated its way into the unknown.

.o

The journey took Starscream through a series of small gate stations strung in the emptiness like stair steps. The last gate dropped him off barely a hundred miles shy of his destination. He transformed and crossed it in a mere hour.

Starscream found himself several thousand miles above the ecliptic plane. Far enough that the sun was just another lonely star floating in space, the cosmic center around which nine other worlds twirled like colored baubles.

But where was his mysterious companion?

"Okay! I'm here! Hello?"

Starscream unfolded into his bot mode. Hello? Is anyone there? Light from the sun barely reached this far. It took him a moment to register the glorious river of stars marking the galactic hub. Starscream gazed at them for a moment, admiring them...and then he remembered his reason for being here.

No one appeared.

He'd been stood up.

It had been too good to be true. Now he had to slink back to the moon and lose another piece of himself.

"Great...I knew it! I've been tricked! I'm dead...I'm dead..."

Rage clouded his senses so completely that he paid no attention to the results of his latest sensor sweep until the massive object was almost upon him.

Far too late to react or escape.

Shit...

A force gripped Starscream like the phantom hand around his head. He gave a startled cry and struggled against the invisible grasp. Stupid! You should've--

The Seeker hurtled backwards like metal to a magnet. Then he was turned completely around to face a colossal, glowing round maw framed by two menacing pincers. He put a hand up to shield his eyes and better see his attacker. The jagged "mouth" filled his entire visual field.

"What the...?" It's HUGE!

A familiar voice replied, I'm the one who called you here, Starscream.

"Wh-who...what...are you?" Starscream asked, wide-eyed.

I...am Unicron.

"Unicron..." he twitched, trying to force down the nervousness threatening his self-control. "Nice--" Then he remembered his military training and straightened himself out, "Requesting permission to board your vessel."

Unicron chuckled, the sound humorless. No, wait there. I'll come out.

With that, the force holding Starscream pushed him back at least half a mile. Horror choked his intakes when he realized the scale of this thing. It had to be Jupiter-sized!

You may want to back up some more.

What? Starscream turned just as the silver ring system he failed to notice before snapped free of its bindings. The loose ends whipped up without warning. He dove upwards, barely avoiding a collision.

Dread tangled his fuel tanks. He had to be hallucinating...

The gigantic maw closed and the entire front of the sphere split apart like wings, revealing black and gold machinery. Everything happened in slow motion. Starscream saw arms and legs unfold--his perspective of them was skewed by his close proximity. He saw hands bigger than ships spread open. He saw the edge of one shoulder sliding into position, the other lost far in the distance. He saw a head as large as a moon flip up into view, red optics flickering online to stare back at him. Lastly, the horns decorating the helm rotated upwards and locked into place.

It was a Transformer so large that his optics were crimson oceans in the darkness.

Starscream just stared open mouthed at this tremendous being before him. He clearly saw his reflection in Unicron's left eye.

Unicron, with his golden armor, his metal beard and the black marks over his eyes and cheeks--his broad chest, his massive wing array, the way his abs glowed red and his...hands...he looked like a savage god!

"Oh...my...y-you're big," Starscream gulped. He would've sank to his knees if he had a floor under him. The scale of Unicron's size defied logic. He didn't know whether to be terrified or enamored.

Unicron smirked--his lips full and pointed, a broad canyon etched into his visage slowly rearranging itself--and it caused one optic to squint. A flash of hunger flickered behind the red glass. The same darkness existed within Megatron, yet in Unicron it was different--a controlled storm ready to strike when he willed it. His hand came up under Starscream, giving him a surface to stand on. It was a continent upon itself, the lazily curled fingers like silver mountains marking a metal horizon.

Starscream had become the dust mote he envied.

The hand moved up until he found himself leveled between Unicron's optics. He bit his bottom lip, wary of the fingers looming behind him. Just one tap from them would crush him like an ant.

Finally, Starscream couldn't take the silence anymore. He spat out the first words that came to mind. "So, um...I don't see how this lesson plan is going to work. It's a bit of a size difference."

Massive optics squinted into red slits. Hmph!

Starscream winced inwardly. ...I'm slagged.

Unicron's optics flared, blinding him.

...I'm going to die!

He waited for the fingers to come down. He waited for lasers to rip him apart. He waited to be swallowed whole and melted in acid. He waited...

The light dimmed until it no longer dazzled Starscream's optics. His logic circuits did a double take.

Unicron stood a head taller than him--the same height as Megatron. The silver hemispheres that split apart when he transformed were missing, leaving just the whip-like wing array glistening behind his shoulders. His optics shone like human blood splattered on ice. He crossed his thick arms, shifted his weight to one leg and tipped his head slightly in a way that exposed the side of his black throat. Not once did he take his gaze off Starscream. "Is it an issue now?"

Starscream gasped, "What the!"

"I'm a god. The dark god, the Chaos-bringer, galactic grim reaper...the list goes on." Unicron made a sweeping gesture. "I was created by Primus' antithesis. I can do anything I want. You're still standing in my hand, Starscream, I've just altered your perception of me so I appear smaller. I can manipulate my environment as I see fit." He looked up and their surroundings morphed into a silver room. No windows, a closed door, and only dimly lit by white neon lights running along the walls. Lingering in the corners was same cold numbness Starscream always felt around the moon base. It was like a prison cell. "Understand?"

I'm messing around with a god! What am I getting into? I...oh... he looked again at Unicron's face. Most of his paneling had smoothed away, turning his face into flawless reflective mercury. He looked so perfect. Too perfect.

Unicron turned his head side to side a bit, arching a black eyebrow. Light moved across his seemingly fluid skin like a caress. He rubbed a finger over his own cheek, showing that his face was solid. Starscream's eyes followed that finger, watching it move down and away. He suddenly wanted that hand to touch him. He longed to wrap it around himself and disappear into the joints.

"Does this size appeal more to you?" asked Unicron.

"Um..."

You wanted out, Unicron's voice said into Starscream's mind. He reached out and touched Starscream's bottom lip with his thumb in a manner that held many promises. Even his hands were flawless--not a single scratch, dent or imperfection anywhere. I am your way out. Listen to me and I will teach you everything you need to know.

Unicron's thumb slid to the side. He applied just enough pressure to flatten the lip without damaging it. Then he shifted his attention upwards, repeating the gesture across the top lip. It didn't hurt, but Starscream cringed instinctively and fought the urge to step back. He let his eyes wander to the magnificent silver wing array extending from Unicron's back. The digits moved like hair blowing in a gentle breeze and shimmered in the eerie lighting.

Unicron seemed to take the universe and wrap it around himself. Starscream, being part of the universe, felt himself being pulled in.

"How do you like to be touched?"

"Um..." Starscream's mind struggled to glom onto a coherent thought. The thumb on his lips drove him mad. Had he fallen into someone else's fantasy? "I-I don't know..."

Actually, he found it disconcerting to have a mech he barely knew asking such a personal question. Megatron did the same thing...and that led down an ugly path. But if he was honest with himself, he really didn't know how he liked to be touched. He had never been touched by anyone besides Megatron--and Megatron only engaged in foreplay for his own enjoyment.

Ashamed, Starscream turned his head. Through the corner of his eye he saw Unicron's lips. Their stillness amazed him. Lips were dynamic, moving things that often reacted involuntarily to individual emotions, yet Unicron's mouth never changed. His whole face was an indifferent mask with eyes that regarded him coolly. But his mouth, set in such relaxed apathy as light and shadow shifted around it, became a fascinating mystery.

I wonder if gods get horny...

Motion at last. The left side of Unicron's lips twitched into a mirthless smirk that distorted half a shadow. Both parted, flashing fangs that put Megatron's to shame, and the darkness that dared reside there was swallowed whole, "We most definitely do."

Starscream gasped. How dare Unicron butt into his thoughts!

"Stop reading my mind!"

"Stop thinking so loud."

"Grr!"

"You're so high strung. That is what allows Megatron to manipulate you, Starscream. You give away too much. Anger, sadness, shame..." Unicron walked slowly around Starscream as he spoke, his rich, smoky voice never rising or falling. "Everything shows on your face. You broadcast."

Starscream stood there, his entire body tense. Occasionally, Unicron brushed his fingers across his armor. Unicron's hands were big and dexterous, arousing tingles under Starscream's metal skin. Still, Starscream couldn't stop envisioning a sudden fist in the mouth. He began to tense even more in anticipation. Especially when Unicron halted in front of him and whipped around to stare into his optics.

"Look at yourself. You're tense." He leaned forward and smelled Starscream's throat. "I can smell your fear."

The tension in Starscream reached a fever pitch. God or no god, he didn't like Unicron stringing him out like this! At least with Megatron he could tell when a blow was coming. Unicron's movements hinted at nothing.

"If you're going to make a fuck toy of me, just get it over with already! Otherwise just let me--"

A sudden, powerful kiss cut his voice off. Liquid, warm, gliding, it reached to the center of him faster than a shot of high grade energon. Starscream felt his knees wobble and give out. He gripped Unicron's chest for balance as his innards twisted in a mix of pleasure and fear.

The dark god's kiss was brutal, but not painful. Compared to him, Megatron kissed like a Sparkling!

It wasn't until Unicron moved away that Starscream realized he forgot to kiss back. But it was so overpowering...it had robbed him of all coherent thought. He licked his lips, trying to figure out the odd, dusty taste lingering on his mouth.

"You have so much unresolved sexual tension," Unicron said against Starscream's lips, "Being forced to finish alone..." another kiss, "it must wear on you."

Starscream felt himself heating up inside. Fear dampened his full enjoyment of the moment. Any second now he expected Unicron to bite his lips off his face. He gulped, "S-so?"

Unicron eased him to the floor. It was cushion like. Was it always that way, or did it just change when they laid down? Starscream's head spun, he wasn't even sure this was real.

"That tension needs to disappear if you're ever going to learn anything, Starscream," said Unicron in a new, purring tone. He kept saying Starscream's name as if it tasted good on his tongue. It made Starscream feel like a person instead of an object.

"But why...me? There's a million other people in my situation."

"Why not you?" Unicron countered.

"Maybe it's not worth my time."

That thumb on his lips again, breaking his mental walls. Starscream stared into Unicron's suddenly-close optics. They offered nothing but his own reflection.

"If it wasn't, I wouldn't be here talking to you. I'm tired of Megatron thinking he's a god among mortals."

"So why don't you just crush him?"

That wonderful finger slithered down Starscream's cockpit, down his stomach and twirled around the tip of his cone. "Because you need the vindication."

Starscream found himself wrapped in Unicron's wing array. Hunger for something more than energon flashed through his body. Need, aching, built up over the years, exploded through his neural net. It was an arousal so potent that he nearly shut down from the tension.

"Do you want me to continue, Starscream?"

A choice? Unicron offered him a choice?

With no idea where this moment would lead, Starscream whispered, "Keep going..."

The tip of one wing digit popped his cone open and slipped up inside, filling the part of him that ached. Unicron stimulated him externally with his finger while the wing digit slowly built up a charge.

"You like that," Unicron said, "It's okay to like it, Starscream."

Time as Starscream knew it ceased. Reality for him became a tingle threading through his body until even his teeth felt the buzz.

"Oh!" moaned Starscream, his back arching involuntarily. And then...fear. Never before had he been allowed to enjoy such wonderful stimulation. Touch often meant pain. This wasn't painful. His mind and body reeled for purchase on reality--but he couldn't penetrate Unicron's illusion or his own doubts.

He flailed, batted the wing array away from his body and scooted backwards out of Unicron's reach.

"I-I'm sorry..." Starscream hugged his knees to his chest, angry with himself. "I-I just--need a minute."

"I understand."

Just like that. No anger or annoyance.

Starscream faced forward and settled his hands on his knees. Why was he panicking? He highly doubted Megatron would come leaping out of a shadow and drag him back to the moon.

Squashing the illogical thought let him relax. Easing himself to lie back again, he looked up at his golden companion, "I think I'm ready now."

I deserve this. I have a right to feel what he wants to give me.

Unicron bent down and Starscream melted into his firm kiss. Firm...not painful. Starscream stuck his tongue out and explored inside Unicron's mouth. The planet eater had teeth harder than any material known. And his lips...oh...much softer than they looked. His dusty taste turned out to be soil--how strange that it wasn't at all unpleasant.

"Why?" Starscream breathed.

"Why what?" Unicron pressed two array digits into Starscream's wing nozzles. Another resumed its stimulation of his cone. The last one wrapped around his narrow waist.

"Why...ooh...are we--here?"

"Interesting question. For now, let's say 'fate.'"

"Unh...ohh!" Starscream whimpered, his orange optics flickering. He arched against Unicron's chest, clutching at his armor. His mouth seemed locked open as he gasped and floundered in a sea of sensation. He struggled to stay afloat in the chaotic water, terrified that sharks waited for the fateful moment he gave in and sank.

"Let yourself feel it," Unicron whispered into his ear. He turned up his voltage, sending sparks across Starscream's body. Pleasant burning built between his legs and flared towards his cockpit. "This is not wrong, Starscream. Your body is meant to feel this."

The buildup made Starscream shake uncontrollably. Unicron plunged his tongue into his open mouth. Starscream's hands ended up wrapped around Unicron's horns. He hung on for dear life. He was spiraling to the point of no return. To a happy place where stars and moons collided in blasts of rainbow colors and the only sensation he knew was the itchy vibration passing through his neural system.

This was always the moment Megatron cut everything off.

Unicron didn't stop.

"Feel it," he said, and increased the voltage. "There is no shame."

Something inside Starscream opened its eyes. It sat up, shaking off a pile of chains binding it to the floor, and roared.

He answered it.

"Oh-OH! More volts! AH!"

Unicron complied without question.

Starscream sank further into himself. There were no sharks...just pleasure, wonderful, aching, all-encompassing pleasure. His internals contracted so violently that one of his lubricant tubes ruptured. Mech fluid spurted from his cone. He spread his legs and stopped thinking, his mind lost in a sensation that almost hurt.

He didn't know when Unicron cradled his shaking body to his chest. He didn't know when his overload actually ended. Hell, he didn't even know when the wing array withdrew from his body. He had no tension left in him. He might as well be rubber now.

"Uh...unh..." he panted, trembling. Smoke rose from his joints where the circuits nearly overheated. "Wait--what about you?"

"This was about you, Starscream. Now relax and recharge. We have a lot of work to do." Unicron placed an energon cube on Starscream's tongue. It tasted sweet, but food from a god was supposed to be amazing. Starscream swallowed it without question. The cube had been barely larger than his fingertip, yet contained energon so pure that his energy gauges jumped to full capacity.

I gave myself to a god, he realized, the drunken stupor of over energizing relaxing him further as he gazed up at Unicron's smooth metal face. And then he fed me...is this a dream?

Unicron's optics flickered. You aren't dreaming.

"So...I'm not going to wake up back in the moon base?"

"No," whispered the dark god, "You will wake up to the beginning of your rebirth."

Starscream couldn't find a sarcastic reply. He was too exhausted and satisfied to fight. Letting his optics go dim, he slipped into his recharge cycle. His metaphorical self floated on its back in a now-calm ocean whose current carried him towards a pleasant, yet still uncertain future.