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Megatronus stomped heavily on the servo holding the sword, its fire now extinguished, the blade discoloured from its own former heat as it sank halfway into the rust-coloured sand, melting some of it into glass around it. The broken black digits gave up the handle in a crunch of plating and a gush of bright blue energon and the ever-thirsty sand eagerly soaked that up as well, along with what they’ve spilled into it so far. The small, pained groan was lost in the roar of the crowd but the gladiator felt torn plating go limp under his servos. Megatronus pushed the suddenly slumping, slack frame away from him and it clattered to the ground in a shower of sparks, broken splinters and energon spraying from torn lines, its scratched, smeared colours already starting to fade. The roar strengthened until it was a storm around them, around him, exulting, cheering, demanding and celebrating its bloody circus.

Megatronus leaned down, after the former opponent, now just a pile of broken parts and tore off the helm with little effort. A new fountain of energon sprayed from neck tubes and the torso convulsed its last movements in its existence. Somewhere, deep among the torn metal and mangled internals a spark flashed weakly and guttered out unnoticed. Severed cables twisted and whipped in the hot air with their last charge undelivered to its destination forever. Megatronus straightened up, kicked the jerking pile away and lifted the helm high in his right servo, its brightly pulsing lifeenergon flowing down on his silver arm, painting its silver into a bluish purple with drops and splatters. His other servo lifted the mace, smeared with the same energon, its wicked points sporting bits of torn armour and pieces of cabling still, belonging not long ago to another gladiator, one even larger than him, wielding a fearsome energon sword than now half-hid in the energon-soaked sands it melted. He showed them up to the hungry crowd and shook them, his own roar of exulting victory surpassing the crowd’s loud excitement for a klik.

The tankformer had been a serious opponent and Megatronus made no mistake of underestimating him. They fought long and hard to the absolute delight and shrieking encouragement of the packed arena, enflaming the crowd to rarely seen heights with their clash that was as much skills and cunning as it was brute strength and pure determination. He bore the signs of it on his own torn shoulder guards that were mangled by vicious, sharpened tank treads, on his limping left leg where the flaming sword stabbed through the knee, destroying and melting the mechanism at the same time… and on his face where the very point of that sword carved a scar that nearly took out his left optic and cut open his energon-drenched fangs to snarl at the world. But he matched skill with better skill, strength with even more strength, vicious determination and cunning; and he broke the energon sword with his mace, wrestled it from a weakening grip, beat his opponent into mangled metal – in the end proving to be the better of them in a fair, open and honest fight.

The roar of the crowd was nearly deafening in the bowl of the great Arena, its waves reverberating between the ancient walls, making them tremble as its thousands of voices started to chant his designation.

“Me-gat-ro-nus!” – accompanied by rhythmic stomping of pedes on ringing metallic decking and the clapping of thousands of servos.

“Megatro-NUS!” – higher, more… desperate tones screaming his designation in a tone telling him distinctly what they would like to do with him.

“Megatronus!” – the slightly calmer ones, who won credits on him betting and praised him for it.

“MEGATRONUS!” – an occasional younger voice rang high that he hated – energon sport should not be a youngling’s hobby, a brutal fighter who tore off helms should not be their hero.

And all over, across, below and above the wordless screeches, yells, hisses, occasional booos from the losers of betting, the fans of his opponents… a normal orn in the Arena after a big fight that left nomech unmoved or untouched.

He turned around and shook the mace without an effort, making its massive weight look like a feather, giving the crowd what it wanted for a breem more, making them forget their small lives, their pitiful problems, their everyorn troubles… making them shout and clap mindlessly in energon-lust, in a false feel of strength, a victory that was not theirs, but while it lasted they could feel it as their own. Making them each feel big and important and able to look down on his strength, his power, his fight - his kill. Many gladiators could kill. Many of them could kill fast or efficiently. But the Arena didn’t want fast and efficient kills. The crowds wanted the smell of an energon-bath, the sound of torn metal, the gladiators taunting each other, their growls, shouts and that dreadful final gurgle as life was dragged out of them by force while they resisted it kicking and screaming. They wanted to identify with the killer, with his power and skill – and they wanted to immerse themselves into the madness of the fight, where one mechanism slowly wrecked another who might be a friend or even a lover… for no better reason than their enjoyment. And in the end they wanted to go to their pitiful homes with the satisfaction of the mindless entertainment giving them the basest, most visceral pleasures and the satisfaction of looking down on the powerful beasts providing it.

Megatron gave them all that and something more – his own charisma, his darkly burning inner fire that came across the distance, the deep-set smoldering optics set within the shadow of his helm, the burnished silver of his crude, strong armour. He made them feel alive – and he despised them for not living their own lives, for wanting the cheap thrill of another killing for them. He never said so, he was never asked about his opinion, he was just a gladiator, a brute beast whose only skill lie in killing or maiming others. And he played the part in the Arena to the hilt. He theatrically threw the twisted grey helm with its dark optics sockets into the nearest seating area, where excited, snarling and yelling mechs wrangled for it to take home a piece as souvenir. Megatronus scowled, but it barely showed on his scarred, energon smeared faceplates. The wound throbbed deeply and promised a permanent scar to adorn him, reminding him of the tankformer for an eternity. Few could claim that over the vorns he grew to be the best gladiator, few could even wound him, much less leave their mark permanently on him. It deserved a note, a tiny piece of dedicated memory bit to mark his passing.

But in a way, the scar was inconsequential, the other wounds similarly so. They were the marks of his trade, strategic importance only while the fight lasted, the pain they brought was something he learned to live with, ignore it and step over. The Arena medic would weld him together like he did a thousand times before and that was the end of it really. Megatronus made one more turn with the mace, picked up the half-buried energon sword from the sand, noted the slightly lowering noise levels that signalled the coming end of the crowd’s enthusiasm – and lurched towards the exit gate on a crunching, burning, agonizing knee and the help of the mace, ingloriously used now as a walking aid. Clench would be satisfied this orn, the Arena’s packed audience was enthralled enough to buy, buy and buy, be it gory souvenirs, high-grade energon, goey treats or lewd companions; and when business was good, the Arena owner was in a good mood and tried to cheat a bit less on Megatronus’s share.

Many gladiators fought in the Arena to claw their way out of sickening debts, giving their only thing that remained to them, their lives for the unscrupulous credit-lenders’ profits; many fought for their lives as convicted prisoners for various grave sins, near slaves whose life was worth very little even in this place where all lives worth less than outside it – and a few like Megatronus fought because they decided to do, because it was their job and profession and delight; and they could cut a deal with the Arena-owner to entertain the crowds for a fixed sum or a share of the profit. They were the back strut of the Arena business, the main stars of the energon-soaked entertainment industry – but at the same time outcasts from society that, on the surface condemned their murderous profession with a false, lying moralising façade while encouraging, fuelling and enjoying it secretly at the same time.

“Good fight, Megatronus!”

“Great bout! That sword was something, ehh?”

“Well fought, Megs!”

As he left the Arena floor with its energon-drenched sand, hot, smoky air trembling with the thundering noise, as the reinforced gates shut the din behind him, Megatron was greeted by individual voices praising him, the other gladiators, fellow fighters nodding him on the dark underbelly of the Arena, slapping carefully on his shoulders or arm, going about their own business on the endless corridors connecting the myriad of rooms and chambers where they lived, trained, fought and bickered. It was their life and since it had everything they needed, few left it for any reason.

“He lasted for nearly a joor! Good one, that Kaonite.”

“Yeah, too bad he didn’t survive.”

“Will you keep his sword? I might be interested buying it off of you…”

Megatron growled some answers to a few congratulations and shook off others – he was not a talkative mech even under the best circumstances and his wounds were really starting to annoy him this time. Especially as the mechs suddenly thickened around him, the corridor becoming full and he had to push them aside to move, careful so his damaged knee wouldn’t collapse under him. Respecting him, as most of the Arena fighters were, they weren’t above exploiting it if he showed a weakness. He was currently on the top of the food-chain and staying there for a fairly long time, but there were always many who aspired to that same spot. He jabbed the end of the mace into some inattentive, dark purple plating to open up his way and smirked at the growl answering it. Another snarl made him turn to his right where the other purple and green mech glowered at him, breaking off the optic contact as Megatronus hefted the mace towards him and flashed energon-coated fangs. The dark, milling throng of mechs thinned around him a little, opening up to let him through…

“Megatronus!”

The light, airy and happy tone was completely out of place there. It flew overhead on easy wings, floated around like a gossamer ribbon, cut a bright and smiling swath into the dark and growling din of the corridor. Many a gladiator around twitched nervously at hearing it, others sighed annoyed or snarled discontent, but the way opened up further between Megatronus and the owner of the voice. Megatronus couldn’t help but smile hearing it, his dark mood lifting like a cloud and dispersing like fog at the first touch of the sun. The small, brightly coloured figure standing fearlessly among the predominantly dark an burly gladiators was as light and cheery as his voice. Sparkling white stood there, adorned with cheerful red and brilliant blue, all scratchless and freshly waxed, marking him an outsider among the fighters – and standing shorter than the smallest of the gladiators opening up the way for him like he had any sort of authority there… which he didn’t, and Megatronus once more, the thousandth time felt amazed how he could just stand there with a dignity so untouchable and effortlessly commanding, like he was Primus himself, though he was noone special. Except for him, of course.

“Ohh… your knee!”

Megatronus suddenly wanted to make a step backwards.

“No… it’s nothing! No need to… ORION!”

But he was too late and he should have known better anyway. The small mech, blue helm with bobbing antennae barely reaching up to his chest armour’s lower edge, hurried closer, brought his contagious, cheery happiness with him, dispersed the muttering crowd of hardened gladiators in a klik, lifted his mood and blue servos, almost smaller than his digits reached for him.

“It’s not necess… ary!!!”

Megatronus’s normally deep tone cracked for a nanoklik in the middle of the word, because Orion arrived to him smiling and in a strange way viciously happy, his arms unceremoniously reached around him – it still, after so many times boggled the gladiator’s processor how he did it – swept him off his pedes and with the tiniest grunts to show the strain he must have felt, hefted the comparatively huge mech into his arms.

“ORION…!”

Megatronus refrained from facepalming partly because he was still holding a sword and his own mace in his servos – but mostly because he should have known that it was going to happen. It has in fact happened quite a few times before and Orion gave not a single, fleeting damn at what the other gladiators thought of it. A few quiet snickers told him the new ones, who hasn’t yet seen this happening, but mostly the other gladiators just gave them enough space to move towards the medical center of the Arena. Orion… had his own, very special and completely processor-boggling kind of… aura, or charisma that came from his absolute lack of fear among the most brutal gladiators that each towered over him and massed far more… but learned long ago that while Orion Pax was an utterly peaceful archivist who would not harm a cyberfly; but he was also inexplicably and qeerly stronger than many of them.

“I can’t let you walk on that knee, Megatronus.”

And he was bafflingly oblivious of the effect too, that it made. It literally scared away vicious fighters and brutal thugs who otherwise wouldn’t even think twice before crushing him in their servos or underpede. Or die trying, as Megatronus would definitely not let them do anything of the like.

“Well, if you must…”

Megatronus carefully didn’t look at any of the dispersing gladiators. It was mortifying at the first time and that feeling barely diminished with time and by the others learning that it wasn’t a weakness per se… if anything, it was a show of Orion’s strength. But he could never say no to Orion… not while meaning it. The small archivist was quietly and cheerfully asserting himself from the first time they met, in a way that left the hardened gladiator baffled and wondering what the Pit has just happened and how. But in a strange way it felt good too, somehow right. The way his smaller lover hefted him in his arms, held him as he walked on the emptying corridor, the way he smiled so warmly and his blue optics shone with concern, care and… love. By rights he should have felt as ridiculous as they must have looked for others. By rights, he should be embarrassed and uncomfortable. After all, Orion had the strength to carry him, but it didn’t mean he had the stature for it too. The size difference alone should have made it nearly impossible for Orion to lift and carry him this way, large pedes sticking way out to one side, pointy, though now a bit torn shoulder guards to the other, cannon arm hanging awkwardly nearly to the floor…

“That was completely amazing, Megatronus!”

Orion enthused loudly, visibly unencumbered by the sheer weight he carried in his arms. It was barely his blue helm and twinkling optics that showed over Megatronus’s silvery frame that he held with meticulous care, mindful of the injuries he had from the fight.

“That move at the end… wow! I mean, I’ve seen you train, but that was a brilliant trick!”

He continued chatting while walking down the corridor, Megatron contributing his usual sparse comments to his cheerful observations, trying not to shift his weight much, lest Orion would drop him. Not that it ever happened before, he reflected inwardly, another proof of Orion’s magical abilities, but he never stopped feeling that he might one orn. He barely noticed the way they were going, the largely empty corridor that led to the medical center while his optics were drawn to Orion’s smiling blue ones, lost in their blue depths, in the shining love…

… until he was gently deposited onto a berth and heard the medic, Hook’s clearing of his vocalizer from close up and he had to delete an absolutely stupid little smile from his thankfully energon-covered, cut lipplates, hoping that the medic didn’t see it. Gentle blue servos pried the mace from his grip and Megatronus let it go, let him take it like he would not have allowed to anymech else – but Orion was different, he could take a his weapon from him and be trusted with it. A small stroke of a blue servo, a gentle touch on his helm, just avoiding the still throbbing wound, the first visible flash of worry and discomfort in his blue optics…. And Orion stood back exactly one step, letting the medic work, but staying as close as permitted, his cheerful talk keeping his attention from the gory details of wounds being reopened, cleaned, welded, of mangled parts being yanked out and exchanged, of dents pounded out, his small, blue servo tightening almost imperceptibly at every harsh action of the medic.

He was a peaceful, civilian mech, Megatronus knew, who never even tried to learn harming another mech for any reason. But Orion cared, even if it wasn’t their kind of caring, it wasn’t the aggressive, revenging care of the gladiators, it didn’t promise violence for the brutal efficiency that the medic displayed, disregarding the pain his actions caused. Megatronus knew that those blue servos didn’t tighten into fists to hit or harm the mech. He had to keep them from gently stroking away the pain, from pushing the medic aside and soothe every weld, every scar, every painful throb on the gladiator’s frame. When Hook was finished and gruffly dismissed him with a barely there warning not to overstress the welds too soon and Megatronus stood up from the medical berth, Orion shifted closer and almost trembled…

“There’s no need for that now, Orion!”

He actually managed to look disappointed, but Megatronus was adamant.

“I can walk.”

Orion nodded, smile faltering only for a nanoklik before it returned with a wicked edge and Megatronus lifted a brow plate, suddenly a tiny bit worried. The red-blue mech shifted closer, beside him as he started to walk out of the medical center and one small blue servo sneaked around his waist, settling possessively onto his aft. Megatronus nearly hopped a step as he felt the minuscule weight of it and the sudden, flaring heat that had no physical reason to exist radiating from the point of contact.

“Orion!”

“What?”

Absolutely, utterly, unbelievably innocent smile greeted his glance down and Megatronus sighed.

“You’re incorrigible.”

Orion laughed out loud, the warm, pleasant sound of his open, honest laughter echoed through his plating and warmed its way into his spark. Heat was suddenly born in it, spreading through his frame and Megatronus sped up his walk towards his quarters deep in the underbelly of the Arena. Orion kept up easily, even though he had to hop two steps for every one Megatronus took, keeping his servo on his aft and he kept up the cheerful talk too, relating his own day in the Archives, the small goings-on of the world over their helms that the gladiator saw so rarely, the politics and events of Cybertron… and Megatron drank it in all, from the smallest detail of obscure Council-rulings till the cadence of Orion’s words that he used to relate them… until they reached his door and went through it, and Orion’s voice suddenly dipped into a purr, his bright optics darkened and small servos suddenly became insistent, demanding, pushing the laughing, squirming and suddenly too hot Megatronus towards his berth.

He didn’t protest one tiny bit. Megatronus let Orion become demanding and pushy and backed up towards the berth with a faint smile on his thin lips. It wasn’t a long way, not with his rooms being almost too small for his frame, but by the time he sat back on the edge of the berth, Orion’s servos roamed all over his plating, seeking out the fresh welds, petting them gently, letting his worry and care show at last… and Megatronus, who would otherwise never let a single mech mother-hen him this way – or any way really – enjoyed the attention, the worry, the loving care. It just… felt right to let Orion do whatever he decided to do. It was all fine to let him gently push Megatronus backwards and draw his slighter frame over him.

“Megatronus…”

He would have gladly exchanged a million of enthusiastic screams of his designation for just one whispered by Orion as their glances held each other.

“Orion…”

He whispered it back breathless as the small, gentle lips kissed away the last of the throbbing pain from the facial scar he would carry now until eternity.

“Let me see you… let me see them.”

Megatronus leaned his helm into the questing servos and let the hidden clasps unlatch. Small but strong servos lifted the heavy helm away, letting his fancy sensory panels unfold and tremble as the digits ever-so carefully petted them. He moaned into the sensations unashamedly – the panels were extremely sensitive and Orion knew how to touch them to make him become hot fast.

“My Megatronus…”

He didn’t protest. He wasn’t any mech’s possession, he was a free mech and proud of it and no other ever dared to claim him so.

But Orion Pax, his tiny archivist, this light, cheerful, optimistic and inexplicably strong mech was different. When it was him claiming and taking him, Megatronus felt freer than any time in his functioning. It was right and it was different. The slight weight over him that he could throw off any time he wished – but he never, ever wanted to. The possessive servos roaming over his frame that he could break any time – but he wouldn’t dream of doing so. The kisses raining on him, the slow strokes of a hot interface panel rubbing on him… he wanted it all. He was the star gladiator, he could have dominated any mech he wanted to – but he gladly and without a single protesting thought submitted to his smaller lover, to his beloved Orion.

“Orion… please!”

It was a plea he wouldn’t utter to anymech else. It was a trust he would give to him and him alone – ever. And Orion took it as it was intended and treasured it for the greatest gift that it was.

“I’ve got you… my gladiator. My great warrior. My fearless fighter.”

Servos drew a burning track now wherever they went on his frame. Small digits found tiny cracks in his armour, seams that would be weaknesses in the arena, but brought infinite pleasure in the berth. Megatronus spread his legs wider and Orion pushed happily between them, stroking his too hot panel that he couldn’t keep closed any more even if he tried.

“The strongest of them all – and all hot and undone under me…”

Orion’s voice was playing havoc with his processor and spark even while his servos were doing the same with his frame. One of the facts of their size difference was that no matter the determination and Orion’s strength, they couldn’t kiss and interface at the same time. It was just plain impossible. But it left Orion free to talk… and talk he did. Megatronus loved his words whatever he said, however dirty things he whispered that made him wonder how the seemingly naïve archivist learned them. It was all hot as Pit.

“Good, you do so well, my lovely gladiator… you’re so wet already, so needy…”

“Want you…!”

And he was. His valve was weeping lubricants as the small digits fondled the rim, spread the folds, dipping inside, his spike stood quivering as a hot mouth closed around it and a tiny glossa teased the slit. Megatronus groaned and wanted to urge Orion, but the words seemed to have deserted him in the hot flush of pleasure. Instead he bucked up, wanting more than the teasing. His servos moved on their own, fondling the blue helm at his crotch, playing with the sensitive antennae until Orion too moaned around him, the sound nearly undoing him as it trembled through his spike, into his frame and shot straight into his spark.

“ORION!!!”

Orion lifted his helm, half-lidded, darkly burning blue optics glancing up to him and he chuckled.

“It’s… okay… I got you…”

He wasn’t much more coherent than Megatronus. Just a little, moving up on the larger frame, servos shining with his lubricant sliding up on silver plates and he felt the familiar spike nudge his folds.

“Yes….”

Megatronus hissed as the spike thrust in with a decisive stroke. It didn’t hurt of course – his valve had cycled down the first time they interfaced, reforming its pliant walls snugly around the generous spike Orion had – but it would never hurt him, never be too much still. Not with the always careful preparation that Orion did, with the lubricants he produced and the way they fit to each other so well, despite the apparent size difference.

“You’re so beautiful like this… and all mine…”

Orion sank into his valve fully, his words garbled, barely understandable with his own charge distorting his vocals, but Megatronus couldn’t care less about the words. His calipers tightened around the invading length and he rolled into the trusts and soon their gasped words sank into charged moans and pleasured groans. Orion’s pelvic plates clanged on his as he thrust in completely, straining to sink ever deeper, ever faster, ever stronger, held him down with small, but strong servos… Megatronus could take it all, loved to take it all, loved to feel the amazing strength of his smaller lover that dominated him so completely and so pleasurably. Their charge grew as they moved, friction making them so hot it felt melting in their armour, it felt a miniature star grew between their joined frames and swallowed them whole… and the moment of release was a supernova-burst, Orion roaring wordlessly as he shot his lava-hot release into him and Megatronus followed him into the melting pot in a klik, back bowing from the berth, the moment so incredibly amazing he was gladly lost in it.

Then he slumped back to the berth panting, servos so far clawing into the berth padding now sluggishly leaning up to protectively curl around his smaller lover, Orion being completely out of it now, strutlessly sprawled on him, their interface arrays nearly fused by the heat… but it was still all right, they were still all right, just a breem or two while his vents could draw enough fresh air to stop gasping and his processor to stop ringing… Megatronus hugged Orion to his frame, keeping him there as he slowly relaxed, the exertion of the fight, the healing and finally the interface adding up and proving too much even for his nearly endless stamina and he sank into recharge.