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Days of My Chosen One

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There were times when Galvatron, Leader of the Decepticons, Ruler of Chaar and Emperor of Destruction, wondered if he were becoming just a tiny bit domesticated.

The answer, of course, was a resounding No, and woe betide any who suggested otherwise in his hearing. But as he entered Cybertronian orbital space, he reflected that the mere shadow of him in his war shuttle (Cyclonus in his rarely-claimed superjet mode) would once have sent Cybertron into panic mode, painting the underside of Cyclonus’s hull with surface-to-orbit target locks. Now the pair of them got only one contact, a ping of greeting and a set of landing instructions, just as though they were any other visitors and not the most dangerous beings the galaxy had ever seen.

He bent Cyclonus’s control yoke to follow the directions he was pinged, though, because they got him where he wanted to go: Tower Alpha, of late rebranded as Autobot Headquarters and home (when he wasn’t off saving the galaxy elsewhere) of one Rodimus Prime.

Galvatron dismissed Cyclonus once they were on the landing pad, and his lieutenant - however reluctantly - withdrew. No one stood in his way as he entered the tower proper, wisely; there were certain areas where an attempt to enter would prompt an encounter with Ultra Magnus, which, while amusing in and of itself, would delay him in his current goal. Most of the areas Magnus guarded were of no interest to Galvatron in any case. He suspected the Prime ordered his meddlesome lieutenant to guard them just to keep him occupied. In any case, Galvatron’s track took him in a different direction, down underneath the tower where the Autobots kept their training facilities.

One training room was occupied. The attendant, just as the security teams in orbit and on the ground had, let him through without challenge, only a mild tension that gratified Galvatron - at least someone here had the sense to respect his power! He nodded his approval, as lord to servant, and entered the door said servant opened for him with a supremely confident stride.

And got hit in the face with half a training drone. Roaring in affront, Galvatron tore it away and charged, barely hearing the yelp of surprised protest as he found metal under his fingers and gripped it hard. His charge didn’t halt until the far wall forced it to, crashing him and his victim together amid clattering metal and roaring engines. He snarled, his rival’s name spiced with sparks and energon on his lips; bright optics flared in response. Rodimus Prime fought back.

Cybertron, Iacon, Autobot Headquarters, all of it shrank from Galvatron’s awareness. There was only this moment, this room, the detritus of the useless training drones and Rodimus himself, burning with bright potential under Galvatron’s hands. The young Prime teased him to madness, taunted him when he lost his grip, raged at him when he regained it and in one memorable moment bit down on his wrist hard enough to leave marks. His actual words were lost to Galvatron’s memory, never stored, never saved. The heat of Rodimus’s plating and the pain of his bite, though - those Galvatron treasured.

They found themselves on the floor, Galvatron straddling his rival, gripping his shoulders. A low chuckle rolled through Rodimus’s body. “Well,” he commented with a shameless, fearless grin. “Hello to you too.”

Galvatron growled, the power of speech quite beyond him.

***

“Oh, slag, the meeting!”

Rodimus went from drowsing under Galvatron’s bulk to bolting-upright in a second; Galvatron grumbled a protest, but Rodimus was already struggling out from underneath him. “Primus, look what you did to my finish,” he lamented.

“What I did?” Galvatron was fairly sure he recalled Rodimus being a very active participant in their activities an hour ago; it was hardly fair to blame him for the scrapes and marks on Rodimus’s paint job.

Rodimus seemed to come to the same conclusion; the grin he shot Galvatron was apologetic. “Well, if I’m late, I’m late,” he shrugged, and caught Galvatron’s wrist (the bitten one, and the slight, sudden pain was a pleasant reminder) to tug him into a kiss. “I’ll see you soon, if you’re sticking around, okay?”

Galvatron returned the kiss, but he was scowling: somehow it always seemed Rodimus had something to do, dragging him away from lingering with his lord. The only salve for the insult was that Rodimus seemed truly reluctant. He left slowly, keeping hold of Galvatron’s hand until the last, and when he was gone Galvatron lifted it to examine the faint bite mark left behind.

Then he went out and addressed the training room attendant. “Block off this room for my use,” he ordered. “And bring more training drones.”

The attendant looked wary but willing. “How many?”

Galvatron grinned wolfishly. “All of them.”

***

“You have to let me go, you know.”

Galvatron regarded his enemy - his lover, this past night, and he did not want that to end. “I don’t have to do anything, Rodimus Prime.”

“Fine, you don’t. But you should. If you enjoyed yourself as much as I did.”

That… mollified him, somewhat. He pushed past it, let his natural avarice reassert himself. “I did enjoy myself. Why should I not keep you here and continue to do so?”

Rodimus turned from the window to gaze at him, a weary smile touching his lips. “Let me put it like this.” He spread his hands. “If you let me go… I can come back. As many times as you want.”

Galvatron opened his mouth; Rodimus held up a finger to forestall the obvious question. “But if you cage me,” he said, “I will break free. Sooner or later. A moment’s carelessness, a moment’s distraction, and I’ll be gone.” His smile faded. “And then you will have lost me.”

Galvatron wanted to protest that if he wanted to keep Rodimus caged, he would damned well stay caged, but - he was wary enough now to know that the universe did not always obey his whims, much less beautiful, defiant Primes. Put like that, the idea of Rodimus returning of his own accord held an immense appeal.

Immense, and rather arousing.

“See that you return sooner rather than later.” Galvatron seized Rodimus’s hand and drew him close, basking in the smile that bloomed on the Prime’s face.

***

The war was not, technically, over. There had been no treaties signed, no non-aggression pacts agreed on. Galvatron had no patience for such things; if he said there would be no battle, then there would be no battle, and that was the end of it!

(This also, Magnus had pointed out, left the door open for hostilities to resume in the future. Galvatron had not bothered to deny it. But he had made a point to mention to Rodimus’s ancient security chief a hole in the planet’s orbital defense, just to make it clear how uninterested he was in exploiting it. Kup had sworn at and argued with him in response, which Rodimus assured him was Kup’s way of showing gratitude.

Autobots were odd.)

Still, some part of Galvatron was pleased to see Cybertron thriving under Rodimus’s guardianship. Iacon was no longer dark and near-silent, as it was in those memory banks that gave Galvatron headaches to revisit, but glowed and chattered with life. From his vantage point he could see the spidery scaffolding of building projects underway, and wheel-and-foot traffic flowing through the surrounding streets. There were even a scant handful of fliers overhead, flying in no particular formation - seemingly just for the joy of it.

And it was his Prime who had done all this. Galvatron drank in the sight, as satisfied as if the new Iacon were a jewel in his own crown.

A deeper shadow passed over him; Galvatron did not look up, but tilted his helm in acknowledgement. Cyclonus transformed and landed easily in his accustomed place, at Galvatron’s right shoulder. “My lord,” he greeted.

“Well? Did you find Ultra Magnus?” Galvatron demanded.

“Occupied with diplomatic ventures. He will not be about to oppose you until at least the next on-cycle.”

“Good,” Galvatron purred, though part of him was a bit disappointed. A battle with Ultra Magnus would have been amusing. “What of the community of traitors?”

“Thriving, by all appearances.” Cyclonus’s voice was entirely neutral, giving no indication as to whether he approved or not. “Although the former Decepticons are few, they have established a merchant business in downtown Iacon - highgrade and high-end parts. The foolish Autobots willingly pay inflated prices for their wares.”

“Hn.” An unwilling smirk found its way to Galvatron’s faceplates at that. He would have preferred to reduce the traitors’ business - and the traitors themselves - to cinders, but the promise Rodimus had secured from him included leaving them be. Absent that, he thought he could be content with the thought that they were fleecing Autobots, carrying on the Decepticon legacy in their own way.

“Very well,” he decided, looking over the city below him. “They may continue to live!” Cyclonus inclined his helm in acknowledgement. “I’ll be staying a bit longer than I anticipated. You’re at liberty until I call for you, lieutenant.”

Cyclonus hesitated. “...the Prime, my lord?” Galvatron grunted acknowledgement and Cyclonus’s vents huffed. “Forgive me - Mighty One - but it doesn’t seem proper. To have you awaiting Rodimus’s pleasure, rather than the other way around.”

Galvatron took a swing at him, on principle; Cyclonus didn’t duck away. “I am not awaiting his pleasure!” Cyclonus didn’t even wince, and Galvatron thrust his lieutenant away from himself with an angry hiss of vents. “I am keeping my word!”

“Yes,” Cyclonus answered, straightening again, “Lord Galvatron.”

“Good. Now leave me.” Galvatron turned away, and listened to the subsonic roar of his lieutenant’s engines lifting him off the roof and away.

“Foolish,” he muttered, his displeasure pulling his mouth down. “He knows better than that!”

On impulse, and certainly not because of Cyclonus, he sent a text-only comm to the Prime. //How much longer?//

//Not sure,// came the unsatisfactory reply. //Sorry, things are getting a little complicated here.//

//You make things complicated, Rodimus,// Galvatron shot back.

//Heh, maybe.// By contrast to Galvatron’s snap, Rodimus’s communique came with glyphs of affection and apology attached. //I’ll keep you updated.//

Galvatron sent his acknowledgement, satisfied for now. Below, Iacon bustled on, unknowing of the mighty warlord that loomed over her streets.

***

Cyclonus, despite his foolishness, wasn’t wrong. Rodimus stayed away practically the whole on-cycle, and despite finding his own entertainment in the meantime - the Autobots’ training obstacle course was enough to stretch even his limits once or twice, and the ball pit at the end was weirdly satisfying - Galvatron’s engine was rumbling with want by the time shift-change rolled around. Yet still Rodimus refused to appear, or even to answer his comm summons beyond variations of ‘sorry, still busy’.

At that point, Galvatron was constrained to two options: start shooting things, or go for a flight. He chose the latter.

Cyclonus joined him over the ruin of Darkmount, the highest point on Cybertron and the former headquarters of Megatron. They coupled fiercely in midair, Cyclonus shouting wordless encouragement as Galvatron gripped his wings hard enough to bend them back, and Darkmount was baptized anew as they spilt sparks from their couplings onto its turrets at the moment of mutual climax. Darkmount stood in mute amazement as they flew on.

In the empty engineering districts of Tarn they deigned to land, and shabby, shy Neutrals stared in wonder as Galvatron pinned his lieutenant to the wall of the expo center and took every port that would accept him, which was, of course, all of them.

Back in the air, and what was left of Iacon’s old ally Crystal City lay between them and Iacon, a field of sharp, broken shards that stretched to the horizon. As with Darkmount, Galvatron would not land, but he let them descend close enough that they were surrounded by shattered reflections of themselves as they coupled once more. Galvatron reveled in the chance to see Cyclonus in his passion from all sides at once, the arch of his back and angle of his wings as visible to him as the ecstatic grimace on his face.

Cyclonus was of a similar mind, it seemed. “Beautiful,” he murmured, his lips never losing contact with Galvatron’s jaw. “My lord is all around me. Beautiful.”

Galvatron laughed, his hand stroking roughly down Cyclonus’s antenna and helm. “My lieutenant. First among my servants,” he said. Cyclonus shuddered in his arms, pleasure Galvatron could feel curling through the spacejet’s chassis.

“My lord…” Cyclonus lifted his helm against Galvatron’s hand. “Are you sure I cannot be the one to satisfy you? I alone?”

Galvatron smirked, knowing exactly who Cyclonus was thinking of. “You know the answer to that.”

The jet’s shoulders and gaze both lowered. “Yes. ...forgive me, Mighty One.”

His lips pressed together - against the urge to ask more, Galvatron thought, but he was feeling generous at the moment. “I could be convinced,” Galvatron mused, “to loan him to you.”

And that actually pulled a smile from his lieutenant, a wicked expression that mirrored Galvatron’s own. “So long as you were there to… supervise, I hope.”

He did love it when Cyclonus’s mind flew on the same flight path as his own. His engine turned over at the promise of his lieutenant’s diligence and inventive cruelty being brought to bear on the mech he both hated and wanted, and Cyclonus’s vents hitched as he pressed his face to the thick armor over that rich, rumbling vibration. “Come, Cyclonus,” Galvatron said, rising up and away from Crystal City’s grave. “Surely the Prime awaits us.”

***

He did not.

“It’s the middle of the dormant cycle, Galvatron,” said Ultra Magnus, standing with arms crossed between Galvatron and the hallway leading to the Prime’s habitation suite. “Rodimus Prime has had a long day and he’s sleeping now.”

“He said he would see me!” Galvatron exploded, and Cyclonus quickly interposed himself between Magnus and Galvatron, and Galvatron only allowed it because he was in a generous mood, slaggit.

“Ultra Magnus, your courage is commendable, but you’re standing in a dangerous position,” he said quickly, and very well, that was mollifying. “I urge you to reconsider.”

Magnus’s optics flickered from Galvatron back to Cyclonus. “If your leader was exhausted and needed rest, would you allow another to wake him for any reason?”

“I-” Cyclonus stiffened. “That - is well played.”

His voice descended to a low, reluctant growl even as he said the words, and Galvatron shoved his lieutenant aside with a grunt of exasperation. “Useless lieutenant!”

“Forgive me,” Cyclonus managed, and Ultra Magnus’s vents hissed perceptibly.

“Never mind!” Galvatron grabbed him by the backplate and shoved, herding his lieutenant away before him. “Consider yourself fortunate Rodimus holds you in such high regard, Magnus!” he snapped over his shoulder.

Magnus’s helm dipped briefly. “I do.”

“Hmph.” Galvatron kept shoving until they were both outside. The warmth of anticipation had become the heat of anger, and it only flared hotter when Cyclonus gave him an apologetic, worried glance.

“Enough,” Galvatron growled when it looked like Cyclonus was about to apologize again. “We’ll find some way to occupy ourselves, I’m sure - and make both Prime and Magnus envy us in the process!”

Naturally, Cyclonus was entirely amenable to this plan.

***

Sated as he was, Galvatron hardly noticed Rodimus slipping out of the berth until the lack of warmth registered. Displeased - he’d earned that warmth, slag it - the warlord sat up.

There was nothing to see out the viewport in Galvatron’s quarters: Charr was dust, dust and more dust, yet Rodimus was was leaning on the sill and gazing out onto the barren landscape as though it held more interest than Galvatron himself. Which was both ludicrous and insulting beyond the bearing of it.

“Prime, get back here,” he commanded, shifting onto his side.

“Am I still ‘Prime’ here?” Rodimus wondered. He didn’t sound particularly pleased by the prospect. “Seems contradictory somehow.”

Galvatron snorted. “Were you called something else, you would be precisely as infuriating, I’m sure. Come here, I said.”

Now Rodimus did turn back to him, a crooked grin gracing the planes of his face. “That was weirdly sweet.”

Galvatron had no idea how to respond to that, so he didn’t bother trying. Far better to pull Rodimus back down to him and make him forget such foolishness altogether, up to and including his own name.

***

There was a rhythm to life in Iacon. There were three rotating work shifts and a ‘night’ shift when Iacon’s power plants were cut to twenty percent of their normal output and no one but security staff were expected to be online and working; the streets surged with activity during shift-change and ebbed to a trickle thereafter. The crowds made Galvatron’s plating prickle; in any other city he would have demanded they bow, but here of all places he was bound by his promise to their Prime. He avoided them, repulsor-jumping from roof to roof to see what he wanted to see instead. He’d slept too late, after cavorting with Cyclonus over what had felt like half the city, to catch Rodimus again, and once again found himself at loose ends while he waited for his Prime to end these infernal meetings!

//Prime! I grow impatient!//

//I know, I’m sorry, but I still can’t get away right now.//

//That’s what you said the last time I called you!//

Yet even up here he was not alone, Cyclonus’s occasional flashes of shadow notwithstanding. Iaconians used their roofs productively, for communication arrays or small crystal gardens or various other projects, and more than once Galvatron’s travels took him right through these above-ground havens, startling the hell out of anyone enjoying them at the time. A few fled indoors at the sight of him. A small flock of flight-capable mechs, smaller and more slender than the average Iaconian, were startled skyward when he leapt over the wall into their midst. Those that didn’t run, he made a point to honor with a small acknowledgement: a nod or a word of greeting.

And on a wide expanse of roof near Autobot Headquarters, he encountered Autobots performing a strange, slow dance.

“What is this?” he demanded from the edge of the roof. The orderly formation crumbled into disarray as half the Autobots backed away from him and a few came forward as shields; the mech who’d been leading them shot him an irritated look.

“It’s called a kata,” he explained. “Take a break, guys - seriously, stand down, it’s fine.” He flapped a hand at his - students? Subordinates? - and turned to address Galvatron directly, his hands conspicuously empty and resting on his hips. “You just sightseeing, or looking for Roddy?”

Roddy, these Autobots called their leader, as though he were merely one of them. “These meetings of Prime’s run overlong,” Galvatron explained resentfully, and was surprised when the Autobot laughed.

“Yeah, tell me about it. Makes me glad I’m just a grunt,” he said, and thus rose up a few notches in Galvatron’s estimation. He does know his place after all.

“You are not just a grunt, Sunstreaker,” one of his students protested from across the roof, a half-full tube of coolant in her hand. “You’re a hero of the Earth campaign. Do you think we’d be wobbling around in goofy poses after a grunt?”

“Keep your center of gravity lower and you wouldn’t wobble so much, Arcee,” Sunstreaker shot back.

Arcee scoffed, took another swallow of coolant. She had Galvatron’s attention now, and seemed to sense it: her plating tightened against her back as Galvatron looked her over, trying to place why her form and voice tugged at the ragged edge of his memory-

That was it. “I know you,” Galvatron said, taking a step forward, and this time despite his earlier acceptance of Galvatron’s presence it was Sunstreaker who tensed. “You stole my cannon once. And fired it.”

Arcee’s gaze flicked to him in surprise. Then she grinned. “You weren’t using it at the time. I just borrowed it.”

“Borrowed?” Galvatron repeated, letting half-mocking outrage color his voice.

“I gave it back,” Arcee pointed out. “Good as new. It’s got a little too much of a kick for me anyway - I’ll stick with my photon rifles.”

Galvatron snorted. ‘Gave it back’ was an exaggeration at best, but the admission that Galvatron’s cannon was too powerful for her was enough to mollify him. “Yes, such things are much more suiting for one such as you, Arcee.”

Arcee didn’t falter at Galvatron’s use of her name. She cocked her hip, grinned like a huntress. “All the better to protect my Prime, Galvatron.”

Ah. Galvatron smirked. This was not the first time an Autobot had threatened him for Rodimus Prime’s sake - Ultra Magnus and the ancient Kup had been only the first to do so. And now, it seemed, he could add this diminutive, youthful warrior to that list.

Galvatron approved of courage, even in his enemies. Especially in his enemies. And that his Prime inspired such courage… it pleased him. Very much.

“Well then,” Galvatron addressed them all, though his optics were still resting on the fearless Arcee. “I will leave you to your… poses.”

“Uh, yeah.” Sunstreaker again - Galvatron had all but forgotten about him. “They’ll probably be calling for a recess in the meeting room pretty soon, if you wanna head over there.”

“Indeed.” Galvatron gave them all one last generous nod, and repulsor-boosted away toward Autobot HQ. Even the encounter with Arcee slipped from his mind as he gripped close the promise Sunstreaker had offered him: that Rodimus would soon be emerging, making himself available to Galvatron again.

Perhaps he would pounce his Prime from above, capture him that way. Oh yes.

***

“-and did you see what he did to the training yard?”

Rodimus was trying to take Magnus’s concerns seriously. Galvatron could hear it in the measured pace of his Prime’s voice as he answered, though he couldn’t see either speaker from the rooftop overhang. “I saw. I helped clean it up.”

“He should have cleaned up his own mess.”

Rodimus let his patience slip. “Yeah, we both know how that would play out.” Galvatron smirked to himself. “Under the circumstances I think he’s doing really well. He hasn’t threatened anybody, he hasn’t hurt anybody, he hasn’t even broken anything that wasn’t designed to be broken. He’s practically a model citizen.”

Magnus’s silence was as heavy as lead, a perfect complement to the dubious look he was no doubt giving Rodimus. Galvatron would have found it amusing if he wasn’t fully aware he was wearing a similar dubious look himself, and the discomfort of agreeing with Ultra Magnus on anything was enough to kill the enjoyment.

Him, a model citizen? Just another joule in the energy-flow of Rodimus Prime’s Iacon? Awaiting his pleasure?

“He’s done everything I asked,” Rodimus was saying, his voice quiet and trying too hard to sound reasonable. “So I try not to ask for more than he’s willing or able to give.”

“I noticed you canceled your diplomatic trip to Chaar when you were - unwell,” Magnus answered. Galvatron rumbled in displeasure - he’d been looking forward to that trip, and Rodimus’s cancellation had left him with a painful unmet need.

A scrape of metal over tarmac - Rodimus was shifting his weight diffidently. “Galvatron doesn’t need to deal with me when I’m-” he began, then fell silent as if searching for words.

“Having a bad day?” Magnus offered diplomatically.

“Self-destructive.” Another shift. “I don’t want to deal with me when I’m like that. Galvatron has his own demons to fight, you know? It wouldn’t be fair to vent my own at him, even if he did care about whatever I’m brooding about that week.”

Now that, Galvatron thought as he scowled and stood, that was unfair - unworthy of him, unworthy of Prime, and insulting to boot. Oh, he was going to have his Rodimus’s aft for this! How dare he hold himself back, on top of their duties dragging them apart? He had half a mind to-

-the door shut on their voices, shielding them from Galvatron’s outraged snarl. The impulse to go in after them and demand his satisfaction warred with the impulse to quit Cybertron entirely, return to Chaar and wait for Rodimus to come crawling to him for forgiveness. Indecision kept him rooted to his perch. Galvatron didn’t like it when his impulses dragged him in different directions.

And just what did his Prime mean, ‘self-destructive?’

***

They lay entangled afterwards, their vents roaring as sensor-ghosts chased themselves across the connections between them. Galvatron could feel the echoes of Rodimus’s pain, strut-deep aches harmonizing with the intense but superficial stings of electrowhip damage, and hummed in pride as he traced one of those long, dark marks. The Prime was beautiful like this.

Rodimus stirred under his hand, vents yawning open briefly for cool atmosphere. His face tilted up, his optics lit faintly. His captive lover smiled, faint and weary, and nestled closer to Galvatron’s scuffed and dented plating.

“You’re amazing,” he murmured into Galvatron’s chestplate.

Galvatron chuckled, brushing his lips over Rodimus’s helm. “Yes, I know.” Rodimus purred, an added element of percussion to the music his body was making to Galvatron’s sensors. “I must admit you shocked me, Rodimus Prime. I never imagined you to be one who could embrace pain.”

Rodimus shrugged, winced when the motion made his servos protest. “It’s a recent development, I have to admit.” He grinned, making his just-healing lip-plate split a little. “But now it’s happened I’m kinda - weirdly proud. Like, look how much I can take for you.”

Galvatron’s engine rumbled, mingled lust and affection and perhaps a little of the pride the Prime spoke of. “I assure you, Rodimus - you are my work of art! I won’t be looking away.” Rodimus purred again, ducking his helm down in embarrassed pleasure, and Galvatron laughed as he tipped his Prime’s head up again to claim kisses from that damaged mouth.

***

Voices surged and receded behind the heavy doors of the comm room. Galvatron paced outside it, sure Rodimus could feel the force of his ire even through the walls and telling himself it was only a matter of time before the Prime had to respond. It wasn’t working. Galvatron had never been a fan of patience.

He could just hear Cyclonus disapproving. You are Lord and leader of the Decepticons - he should wait on your convenience, not the other way around! Galvatron swung an impatient hand at the voice and growled when there was no satisfying impact at the end. The Cyclonus in his head, after all, only voiced his own thoughts. I gave my word. The Emperor of Destruction never goes back on his word!

...well, why not?

Because…

Galvatron paused, dentae bared, the corners of his optics shimmering with the strain of remembering. Because he asked me if he could trust me and I said yes.

Such a small thing. Such a fragile chain.

Iacon was Rodimus Prime’s domain. Here his word was law, as Galvatron’s was in his empire - however far that happened to extend. Every time Galvatron came to the city he had endured slights, insults, disrespect, challenges - cascades of them, too many to register - because Rodimus asked him to, because Rodimus offered him something worth the endurance. And now to find that Rodimus was holding back! The Prime didn’t respect him any more than his citizens did!

Images of fire and violence swam before his optics, and Galvatron dug his fingers into the wall as he reached through them, grasped a certain memory and dragged it close -

-Rodimus, his sharpness made sweet in his submission, arching as Galvatron pulled him closer, optics brightening as he looks at Galvatron with something close to reverence-

- and let himself be soothed. Let Rodimus do as he liked. He would have no room to complain when Galvatron claimed him again the instant he stepped out of that meeting room. He would drag every secret the Prime thought he could hide from him; he would make Rodimus remember whom he belonged to.

The door slid open. Galvatron straightened, took a step forward - but it was only an aide, giving him a startled look before hurrying off in the opposite direction.

Oh, to hell with this! Galvatron caught the door before it shut and burst into the room.

Someone spotted him and cried out in alarm; good, that was good, that was right that they should fear him. The aide’s alarm spread through the room in ripples of whispering and wide-optics that washed over Rodimus Prime, seated in the main communications chair in the center of the room facing a glowing screen. He looked up and met Galvatron’s furious optics with concern, but no fear.

“Has something-” was all he got out before Galvatron grabbed his collar fairing and pulled him out of his chair. “Hey, what the slag!”

“Prime.” Galvatron snarled the word, rolling it over his glossa just to the savor the taste of rage soon to be satisfied. “Did you really think you could hide it from me?”

“Galvatron, I can’t even express how not the time this is-”

“What does self-destructive mean?”

He saw Rodimus Prime’s optics flare wide, then narrow. “Outside,” he said quietly.

“Prime-”

“Outside.” Rodimus’s hand closed around Galvatron’s forearm, his grip firm. “Please.”

Galvatron turned immediately, hurrying Rodimus out of the room, paying no attention to the rest of the Autobots or the alien faces on the vidscreen.

Rodimus pulled away as soon as the doors hissed shut behind them. “Galvatron, what the slag,” he said, lifting both hands in a warding gesture.

Galvatron grabbed them and dragged them down. “I asked you a question, Prime,” he growled. “Answer it.”

Rodimus tried to pull away, but Galvatron wasn’t having it. “It’s something I need to deal with on my own,” he said. “You don’t need to worry about it.”

“Who says I’m worried?”

“Fine, you don’t need to bother about it.” Rodimus tried to tug his hands away again. “Can I go back now? Negotiations are at a delicate stage-”

He froze suddenly, optics bright and sightless; Galvatron caught the buzz of comm-chatter but he was no Soundwave, able to pluck signals out of the air. “They did what?” the Prime blurted, and agitation turned to outright panic in his EMF. “Slag-! Galvatron, I need to go, now.”

“Your meeting will keep!” Galvatron barked, and Rodimus actually startled. Galvatron pounced at the sign of weakness, lunging forward against him until Rodimus’s spoiler hit the wall. “I will be ignored no longer, Prime-”

He was so wrapped up in the beginning of what promised to be a good, satisfying rant that he missed Rodimus gathering his strength until he was shoved good and hard away from his Prime. “That wasn’t just a meeting,” Rodimus snapped, optics blazing with fury. “That was a hostage negotiation!”

Autobots. “Why bother negotiating?” Galvatron demanded. “Just attack and take what you want!”

“Thanks to you we’re going to have to,” Rodimus snapped, and Galvatron actually found his mouth closing at the raw fury and fire in his Prime’s face, power gathering to him like (the light of the Matrix) a cloak. “Which is going to take up more of my time to plan and execute, so if this was you trying to get me to pay you more attention, you’ve had the opposite effect. Congratulations.”

Galvatron was not gaping at him. Galvatron did not gape. “You’re starting to sound like Ultra Magnus,” he blurted, then mentally smacked himself like a wayward lieutenant. On what planet is THAT going to get him into berth?

Rodimus, halfway to turning back to the meeting hall, gave him a dry smile. “Ouch,” he said, and disappeared through the doors again. Galvatron blinked after him, circuits aflame with want.

The doors hissed shut. Galvatron gave voice to a growl-roar-shriek of frustration and stomped off to find Cyclonus.

***

If Cyclonus was surprised by the strength of Galvatron’s rage-fueled ardor, he had the sense not to mention it. And he was richly rewarded for his reticence: from the moment Galvatron had stormed onto his rooftop and kissed him hard, the lord’s hands never left his loyal lieutenant’s plating. Cyclonus cried out in gratitude, in adoration, in yearning for more, and Galvatron bore him down with a savage cry of his own, grinding the flier’s wings into the decking below them as he bit the metal under his mouth.

Cyclonus gasped, always so responsive to his Lord’s pleasure, and Galvatron purred his approval as he lifted away to see the marks he’d left in Cyclonus’s mouth and jaw. Cyclonus lit his optics and reached up to him, murmuring praise through a broken mouth, and Galvatron allowed his lieutenant to touch his cheek. Only briefly, before rage surged again and he pinned Cyclonus’s hand down.

Cyclonus’s optics flashed. “My lord-”

“Be silent,” Galvatron hissed, and kissed him roughly, commanding and claiming and Cyclonus couldn’t possibly fail to obey. His lips parted, his legs tangling with his lord’s, he opened every cover panel he had. Jacks and sockets crackled with elevated charge as his exulting spark flooded his body with energy, an offering that Galvatron could taste in the currents running through Cyclonus’s glossa.

Even so he made Cyclonus beg, made him cry out every title Galvatron had, before he would allow either of them to achieve climax. The sudden, violent overflow of energy hurt them both and Galvatron howled in triumph through it. Agony sang, surged, and receded, leaving him gasping and dazed and savoring the painful little aftershocks through his overworked circuitry, and regarding the exhausted body of his lieutenant beneath him with something akin to affection.

“Mighty One,” Cyclonus murmured, optics flickering dim red light.

Languidly, Galvatron sat back, letting Cyclonus up. The spacejet stirred only enough to lean against Galvatron’s leg, vents wide open and roaring for cool air, within reach of Galvatron’s hand. Galvatron took advantage of it, reaching out to stroke Cyclonus’s antenna.

Cyclonus’s optics dimmed as he leaned into the touch. “Mighty One,” he said again. “That was the first time…”

“Mmm?” Galvatron couldn’t think of anything they’d just done that they hadn’t done before.

“...the first time I didn’t fully enjoy my service to you.”

Galvatron paused, taken so fully by surprise that he had no idea how to react. Cyclonus wasn’t meeting his optics, though he was remaining where he was - within reach for Galvatron to punish, if he so chose, which may have been why Galvatron stayed his hand. “Explain,” he ordered. “Are you losing your desire for me?”

“No,” Cyclonus’s reply was prompt with honesty, “I enjoy what you do to me. That will never change, my lord. I only wish - when I am under your hands, I wish you to see me. I was a substitute for your rage at Prime just now, and that is - not right. Not how it should be between us.”

That - hurt, in a way Galvatron didn’t enjoy, but though his dentae ground together he didn’t lash out. He had been enraged at Rodimus. He still was. Sated as he was right now, he could admit it to himself - Cyclonus was telling him nothing he didn’t already know.

“You have never approved of my assignations with the Prime,” he pointed out, still needing to salve his pride. “Perhaps your prejudice clouds your judgement.”

Cyclonus turned a mild glance on him. “Do you need my approval, Lord Galvatron?”

“No!”

Cyclonus nodded, satisfied. “Of course not. And it’s not accurate to say I don’t approve, in any case. Rodimus is unreliable, untrustworthy, and I detest his cavalier attitude towards you - but when you bring him to heel,” he said, and his optics smouldered, “it sets me aflame like little else.”

Galvatron’s circuits pulsed, echoing Cyclonus’s desire. He reached out, drew his fingers down Cyclonus’s chin. “Very well,” he murmured, “let us try again. I swear this time I will see only you.”

Purring, Cyclonus leaned toward him.

***

“Galvatron - Lord, please…”

Galvatron stood over his prize, staring down in blazing triumph: the Autobot Prime, kneeling, fettered, suffering at his word and just for him. Twice now Rodimus had asked for more rather than beg for mercy. Twice he had received exactly what he asked for.

Galvatron had never been so proud.

“What is it you want from me, Rodimus?” he asked, reaching down to tip the Prime’s chin up. Blue optics met red; Rodimus’s body shuddered faintly, his hands flexing where they were bound at the back of his neck.

“Your hand,” he pleaded, “on my helm.”

It was not what Galvatron had expected. Cyclonus’s lash, Scourge’s claws, the stim wand or his own hands: pain, pain like a song of awakening, leaving marks of beauty on Rodimus’s form, all these things he could and would eagerly give, but - a simple touch? But Rodimus shifted closer on his knees, mumbled a plea as he tried to tilt his head down against Galvatron’s hand. His vents hitched, working in a kind of quiet desperation that was somehow more profound than any cry of agony Galvatron had yet wrung from him.

Slowly, Galvatron’s hand unbent. Turned. Placed itself on Rodimus’s helm, and the Prime shuttered his optics and sighed in relief and gratitude.

Galvatron had often known himself to be desired. This was the first time he’d known himself to be needed, and he found he liked the feeling.

***

//Rodimus.// Galvatron maintained his distance, floating on his repulsors high over Iacon, but he was well within sight of the docking bay where Rodimus and his strike team were making his final preparations. //Will you come to me before you go?//

//No time,// came the terse reply. //You’re welcome to come along and lend a hand. Cannon. Whatever.//

Galvatron saw who else was going on the mission - Springer, Ultra Magnus, and Kup, to name three - and flashed a grin he knew his Prime couldn’t see. //Liar.//

//...could I borrow Cyclonus?// Galvatron let his silence speak for him. //Never mind. Will you be here when I get back?//

Galvatron’s growl rumbled the air around him. //And wait on your convenience? I am not your pet monster, Rodimus!//

//I know that!// Far below, the flicker of flame that was Rodimus Prime paused, scanning the sky for him. Galvatron withdrew, unwilling to give Rodimus the glimpse he sought. //I can’t abandon my responsibilities. Even for you.// The bright flame paused when one of his subordinates spoke to him, and turned away from the sky and back to his flagship. //Leave if you want,// the Prime said, and his comm-voice was heavy and bitter. //I’m not making you stay.//

Of all he’d endured for his Prime, that hurt the worst. Galvatron screamed it to the sky - the Iaconians below him froze in shock - and hauled his cannon up and away from its target-lock on the ship’s engine block. //I would tear the worlds for you, Rodimus! I would face all the armies the galaxy could throw at me and emerge victorious for your sake - can you not stir yourself to fight for me?//

//I’m tired, Galvatron.// From this distance Galvatron couldn’t see Rodimus’s face, but the tone of his comm-voice was clear enough - flat and quiet, all the fire and life gone. //My fight is on battlefields you can’t follow me on. I’m trying to be what Cybertron needs me to be, but I can’t do it alone and I can’t do it if I’m constantly maneuvering around you. I need an ally - not another obstacle.//

Galvatron was wrong. That hurt the worst.

//Begone with you then.// he snarled. //Do not look for me. Destroy yourself for all I care!//

Galvatron turned his comm off and fired his thrusters. If Rodimus called after him, he didn’t wish to hear.

***

“Welcome back, your lordship,” Swindle chirped, trotting onto the landing pad as Galvatron disembarked from Cyclonus. “I have the energy projections for the next vorn-”

“Not now, subordinate,” Galvatron snarled, and Cyclonus moved to intercept Swindle as Galvatron stomped into the base with singleminded surliness. He was going to have a long soak, wash Iacon out of his joints, and then maybe he would be in the mood to deal with the administration of Decepticon Headquarters. Until then, Cyclonus could deal with things.

It’s called delegation, Rodimus Prime. You ought to learn it!

The bath was perfect, deep and fragrant with cleansing oils and hot enough to melt steel. Galvatron lost himself in it and did not surface for some time. Cyclonus entered, put a cube of highgrade on the lip of the tub within Galvatron’s reach, puttered about a bit, then exited without a word and only a brief bow in Galvatron’s direction. Galvatron, sunk in hot, sluggish bliss, barely registered his lieutenant’s presence - but by the time he was ready to emerge, he’d drunk the entire cube.

Cleansing oil sluiced from his frame in sheets as Galvatron emerged, shining, perfect, and cleansed of Iacon’s grime. He summoned Cyclonus as he toweled himself off, and his lieutenant readily appeared with polish in hand and a hopeful smile - but Galvatron disallowed his help with all but the places he could not reach, otherwise applying the polish himself with a practiced hand and delighting in it. Galvatron loved his body, and the act of making it shine was one of self-worship.

At last, Galvatron tossed the polishing cloth casually away. “Well, now,” he said, and Cyclonus straightened, going from body servant to Second in Command with that simple change of posture. “What have my Decepticons been up to in my absence?”

The Emperor of the Decepticons was ready to rule.

***

Scourge was at least nominally in charge of the Decepticons in the absence of Galvatron and Cyclonus, but although his ambition outstripped his current position his relief was audible as he gave his report on the unruly bunch of reprobates that served as their army. Galvatron tapped the arm of his throne, only mildly impatient, as Scourge told the tales of minor brawls, paltry thefts, and an increase in dealings with the various transient groups of mercenaries and pirates in the region the Decepticons controlled.

“Fine,” Galvatron announced, “I commend you for not allowing them to burn the base down in my absence.” Scourge’s shoulders descended, too relieved to contemplate whether that was a joke or not. “Now off with you!”

Scourge’s report was followed by Soundwave’s, and it quickly became clear who the real force behind the Decepticons’ relative good behavior was. Soundwave, though his abilities would always make him both a feared figure (advantageous) and a despised one (not as much) among the Decepticons, had suffered a meteoric drop in rank with the death of Megatron and the fall of his army. He was clearly determined to regain it.

“You have done well,” Galvatron told him. “You shall be rewarded.”

Perhaps not with rank. He wasn’t about to go around inviting Megatron’s ghost into his stronghold. But he’d think of something. Perhaps if he asked R-

...no.

“Is that all,” he growled at Cyclonus as Soundwave bowed himself out. “I tire of sorting out other people’s personal problems.”

Cyclonus tried to hide a concerned look. Aloud he only said, “Swindle wishes to give his report on your glorious empire’s financial outlook, my lord.”

“Ah, energon! Send him in.” Galvatron resettled. This was something he could set his dentae to. Fuel was life, fuel was power. He lounged back on his throne as Swindle showed himself in, shuffling a handful of dataslates.

“Ready for those energy projections, your magnificence?” Swindle caroled, offering a graceful and entirely insincere bow. “I’ve got good news and bad news, the former of which I believe outweighs the latter.”

Galvatron gestured magnanimously. “Speak, Swindle, and we shall see.”

Swindle visibly braced himself. Like the bow, it was an insincere display, showing Galvatron what Swindle believed he wanted to see. “The bad news first: two worlds have withdrawn their offer of tribute, and we don’t currently have the firepower to make them reconsider.”

Galvatron showed him what he wanted Swindle to see, a fierce scowl. “I’ll be the judge of that, minion!”

“Er - of course you will! Just a little analysis, one of many voices advising you, your lordship.” Swindle pocketed the dataslate with an air of injured pride. “I mean, I can calculate energy expenditure over a range of warrior-classes as well as anybody, but what do I know.” The disappeared dataslate was replaced by another. “Moving on to the good news: our temporary alliance with the Legion of the Magnetar is soon to bear fruit, and I believe we’re getting the better end of the deal in the bargain.”

Galvatron leaned forward. “Oh?”

Swindle approached closely enough to offer the dataslate to Galvatron with his own hand, rather than give it to Cyclonus to give to Galvatron - the way the Decepticons usually related to their lord. Galvatron took the dataslate from him, turning over in his head what this gesture might mean as he reviewed the document glowing on the screen.

“Their operation is pretty haphazard,” Swindle said offhandedly as Galvatron frowned over the report, “but effective as far as I can tell. Their extortion attempt fell through somehow last cycle so they’re just going straight for aggression to take over that moon they want so much. And the best part is that the Autobots are gonna be absorbing some of the damage - some kinda ambush or something. Anyway, that’s gonna leave the ‘Bots vulnerable for whatever concessions you wanna press for - ulp!”

Galvatron didn’t realize he’d stood until Swindle’s vocalizer clicked shut. Fury howled through him, burning through circuits already strained to the breaking point from stress and power and old plasma damage. His optics blazed. His cannon hummed, death in its throat.

“U-unless,” Swindle gulped, his nervousness entirely unfeigned this time. “That - isn’t the plan? Sorry, I didn’t mean to step on any pedes-”

An unwilling smile. “There is no plan,” Galvatron told him, and gave Swindle just enough time to relax before reaching out and dragging him close by his helm. “I simply won’t stand for anyone laying a hand on Rodimus Prime but me.”

Swindle’s optics went wide, flickering as his quick mind recalculated a whole raft of relational webs. “Uh,” escaped his vocalizer. “Understandable. Completely understandable. Your lordship.”

“Good.” Galvatron let him drop. “Cyclonus, come.”

He strode out, Cyclonus at his heels. Swindle was left blinking at their backs, warbling, “I’ll just - rework those figures then, shall I? ...slaggit.”

***

The Legion of the Magnetar were members of what Galvatron considered a ‘lesser’ mechanical race: machine sapients not from Cybertron, who had neither sparks nor transform sequences. They had spilled into Decepticon territory over the course of their operations against their own homeworld and had subsequently negotiated for leave to continue to do so, after the Decepticons had gleefully demonstrated their superiority in combat. Knowing the Autobots supported the Legion’s opponents, it had pleased Galvatron to support the Legion now and then, considering it simply part of the larger game between himself and the Prime.

It didn’t seem so now. Galvatron pushed himself to fly faster, sailing through the frozen void.

The moon in question was easy to pick out as Galvatron and Cyclonus approached: it was the one with smoke and ionization rising from its thin atmosphere in dark streamers. Closer, and he spotted the Autobot shuttle, and the dark furious specks that were the Autobots. The shuttle shifted, lifted a tapered head on a snakelike neck to orient on the approaching Decepticons. Sky Lynx!

For a moment, shuttle and warlord exchanged target locks. Then Galvatron ruthlessly disengaged his and reestablished it on the Legion fighters that had the Autobots pinned down. Cyclonus followed suit, and between them they cut a ragged hole in the Legion’s front line, forcing them to regroup and taking the pressure off the Autobots. Their cries of confusion and rage were as music to Galvatron as they landed before the Autobots.

“Well!” Kup was the first to hail them, grinning. “Nice of you to drop by. If I’d known you were coming I’d have baked an oilcake.”

“I will take you up on that later, ancient one.” Still an odd mechanism, this one, even for an Autobot, but Kup was important to Rodimus even if the particulars of their relationship eluded him. “Where is Rodimus Prime?”

“Still in the base,” Ultra Magnus volunteered, stepping forward between Kup and Galvatron. “We were separated by their troops while we were getting the hostages out.”

The two of them locked optics. For all the things they could never forgive each other for, they agreed on one point: Rodimus Prime’s life must be preserved. Galvatron hissed through his vents, bracing himself to do at least three very foolish things. “Very well,” he grated. “The hostages?”

“Safely in Sky Lynx’s hold.” Magnus’s owlish optics narrowed. “As my Prime commanded.”

“Then I need not hold back my assault on their stronghold.” Galvatron deliberately turned his back on Ultra Magnus. “Cyclonus! Guard the shuttle.”

“My lord-!”

“I beg your pardon, I need no guarding!”

Galvatron ignored both protests. “I am going after Rodimus.”

Foolish thing number one.

“I’ll go with you,” a calm voice piped up while Cyclonus and Magnus were still wasting time staring at him. Galvatron ignored them both as Arcee stepped forward, rifle slung over her shoulder. “I saw more of the inside of their base than any of the others when we were getting the hostages out. Some of their passages are too small for you to get through easily, but I can pass through them.”

Considering these aliens were two-thirds Galvatron’s size at the largest, Galvatron could believe it. “Can you follow my orders, Autobot?” he asked.

“As long as our goal is the same.” Arcee nodded at the Legion’s compound. “And as long as certain people stop pinging me dammit Springer.” She shot a glare over her shoulder, and Springer - her superior in rank and firepower - stood down with a helpless grimace. “I know what I’m doing.”

Foolish thing number two. “Then follow.”

Arcee grinned at him, and then they were charging, Cyclonus and Magnus’s Autobots providing cover fire as they stormed the Legion compound amid a rain of laserfire. To Galvatron’s surprise, Arcee kept up with him the whole way.

***

//Rodimus. Rodimus! Answer me!//

“He’s not answering his comm,” Galvatron snarled. They’d encountered little resistance in the compound itself, most of the Legion fighters having flooded out to deal with the Autobots, and the few who’d followed them in had been easy kills. Now they were in a seemingly empty base, and though Galvatron could read the flow of battle from the laser scorches on the walls, there was no sign of Rodimus Prime himself.

“He’s not answering my hails either.” Arcee stepped away from him, toward the center of the room. “Let me try something,” she said, and a red visor slipped down over her optics. With the vision augmentor in place, she stared around again, peering through the dingy brown silicate walls with a worried frown.

“Life signs,” she reported, and pointed. The wall she pointed to was as featureless as any others, but it was a direction nevertheless. “One of them is Rodimus Prime. If we get to another room I can triangulate-”

Galvatron leveled his cannon and fired. The weapon that had proven too much for Arcee blasted through the wall like it was made of paper, leaving it crumbled and the way clear. “Or - that,” Arcee gulped as Galvatron stepped forward through the dust and smoke. “That works too.”

Despite Galvatron’s ‘shortest distance between two points is a straight line’ approach, finding the Prime was not easy. He kept moving, and Autobot and Decepticon were in complete agreement that Rodimus’s habitual refusal to stay where you put him was one of his greatest failings. Arcee did her best to keep up with her leader - and as promised, her smaller size was an asset - but the base was mazelike, its walls featureless and useless in navigating, its halls twisting in on themselves like a nightmare. Galvatron roared defiance against it and blasted through wall after wall, and snarled when Arcee assured him we’re getting closer.

“Not close enough!” he snapped.

Arcee’s visor flashed. “There!”

Galvatron fired where she pointed. Through the resultant haze: movement. And laserfire. Arcee held her ground while Galvatron advanced, weathering the stings of the (pitiful!) weapons with a grimace.

“Hold your fire!” someone shouted. “That’s Galvatron!”

You’re damned right it is.

Galvatron recognized the alien that approached him, hands out - the leader of the Legion, a slimy, petty thug with delusions of grandeur. He sneered as the mech spoke, a broad grin painting his alien features. “Lord Galvatron! You’re just in time - we’re about to rid the galaxy of your greatest enemy.”

Arcee cried out as she saw what the leader pointed at - the slumped, smoking form of Rodimus Prime, surrounded by enemies with their weapons drawn. As Galvatron re-aimed, the Prime struggled up on one elbow and lifted his helm. Blue optics, bright with pain, fixed on him, caged in a soot-blackened face.

“Well?” the leader offered. “Care to take the first shot?”

I need an ally, echoed in Galvatron’s helm, suddenly squeezed by the familiar plasma-damage ache. And Look how much I can take for you. And, fainter, can I trust you?

“It’s about time someone did,” Galvatron grinned, and lifted his cannon. Rodimus didn’t flinch as he fired.

The Legion leader was utterly destroyed where he stood, a scream and a smear of half-vaporized metal all that was left behind as the power of the Emperor’s fury faded. The rest of the Legioners turned their weapons on Galvatron, the Prime forgotten. “Betrayed!” howled one of them. “We are betrayed! Legion, to the sanctum! Attend us, brothers-”

Photon rifle slugs perforated him mid-sentence, and he fell in a clatter of useless metal. “Galvatron, I just got a comm from Magnus,” Arcee called, reorienting her rifle on the next closest target. “The Legioners outside have broken off their attack and retreated inside. The Autobots are in pursuit, but-!”

“You’ll never withstand the full might of the Legion of the Magnetar!” howled one of the soldiers. “Make your peace with death! Starting with this one-”

His weapon swung around to Rodimus, but he never had a chance to pull the trigger. Arcee’s shot lanced through his head just before Galvatron burned him down, and they swept the room in opposite directions, taking out each Legioner - except for the farthest one, already falling with three burning holes in his chest.

“I am - not - your damsel in distress,” Rodimus grated, but his outstretched arm was already lowering, triple wrist blasters empty of power.

Galvatron snorted. “See to him,” he ordered Arcee. “I will deal with what is coming.”

“An army, all by yourself?” Arcee demanded, already moving to her Prime’s side.

Galvatron smirked. He could already hear the army coming, a formless roar of running footsteps and voices. Foolish thing number three.

“As I promised, Prime,” Galvatron pronounced, and stepped forward to meet them.

***

“As I promised, Rodimus Prime.” Galvatron gripped the chain and hauled his captive close by it, pressing his heavy crown to Rodimus’s helm. “You are mine.”

“Never,” Rodimus whispered, tilting his head up, nasal ridge pressing sweetly against Galvatron’s chin. “You’ll never tame me.”

“No?” Galvatron laughed in his audial. A moment later Rodimus cried out and arched: Galvatron had brought the stimulation prod back into play, tracing lines of pain over his plating. “Hmm, your engine’s racing for me,” Galvatron pointed out smugly, savoring how Rodimus arched against him. “Are you sure you don’t wish to reconsider your position?”

Rodimus giggled into Galvatron’s throat. “Nothing wrong with my - position.”

“Insolence,” Galvatron accused, mock-infuriated. “You’ll have to be punished.”

“Oh no, anything but that,” Rodimus deadpanned, and that really did torque Galvatron off. He growled richly, dragged Rodimus around and pinned him face-first against the wall by the back of his neck. Rodimus gasped and squirmed, but didn’t truly struggle until Galvatron turned the stim wand up and jammed it hard into the base of his spoiler.

“Galvatron!” escaped Rodimus’s vocalizer on a burst of static. Galvatron pulled the stim wand away and gripped it in his mouth while he dug his fingers into the scorched spot where it had done its work. Pain communicated itself to him through Rodimus’s wildly-flaring electromagnetic field, through the energy- and data-link cables that dangled between them.

“Please,” Rodimus gasped, and Galvatron took the stim wand out of his mouth to laugh gently in his captive’s audial.

“Pleading, Prime? Perhaps I will tame you after all.” Rodimus shuddered in his grip, helpless, desperate, beautiful in his pain. “Please what?”

“Please,” and the blue glow of his optics died against the wall as he dimmed them, “more. Harder. Pin me down harder.”

What a sparkwarming request. “Gladly, my Prime,” Galvatron purred, and knelt behind Rodimus, one knee placed between his legs to keep him right where he was. Rodimus squirmed as Galvatron leaned into him with his full weight, abused chestplate scraping against the wall, and when he discovered how much he couldn’t move, Rodimus hummed in delight.

That hum became a cry when Galvatron used the stim wand on his spoiler again; Galvatron leaned in hard, pressing his chestplate to the contact point so that he could feel it too.

***

This was joy. This was life. This was what he’d been built for, and though he hated Unicron with all his twisted spark Galvatron appreciated what his creator had gotten right. The Legion fell before his cannon, wave after wave of them obliterated and his energy levels never seemed to drop. He reveled in their cries of defiance becoming cries of anguish and horror, laughed as their remains fell at his pedes. By the time Ultra Magnus and his team caught up, it was all but over.

Galvatron was generous, though: he let the Autobots mop up the stragglers. He had more important things to see to.

Arcee had patched Rodimus up as best she could, but no field medic was she, and the Prime needed the attention of a full medstation. He was battered and dented, his field depressed from energy depletion, and when Galvatron approached he could only light one optic to greet him.

“Got knocked out of alignment,” he explained with a shrug, tapping the dented side of his helm as Galvatron took a knee by his side.

“For shame, Prime. They were half your size,” he scolded.

“So’s Arcee,” Rodimus muttered, “and she can kick my aft.”

Galvatron rather suspected the Prime of flattering his subordinate, but chose not to comment. Arcee grinned and nudged her leader gently, and Rodimus took the invitation to lean against her. “Thank you both,” he murmured, single working optic drifting off. “Sorry you had to save my aft.”

Galvatron was reminded, in a rush of heat, that he was angry at Rodimus, and that pitiful excuse for an apology wasn’t going to satisfy him in the slightest. He wasn’t even apologising for the correct transgression! He drew himself up like an offended Magnus and opened his mouth, gearing up for a good solid rant -

-and Rodimus lifted his helm and looked at him, squinting in pain from the damage to his optic, injured and vulnerable and yet - relaxed. There was no way he didn’t feel Galvatron’s anger, yet he was relaxed. Trusting.

Galvatron closed his mouth, terminated a few key power reroutings and gathered the injured Prime into his arms. “You’re more trouble than you’re worth some days,” he scolded as he stood, and Rodimus chuckled and rested his head on Galvatron’s shoulder. “You are forbidden to enter stasis until you are safely with your medic.”

“I’m not that badly hurt,” Rodimus protested, and Galvatron rumbled his engine at him in warning. “...whatever you say, Galvatron.”

“That’s better.”

Galvatron wouldn’t let anyone take Rodimus from his arms, despite Magnus’s protests - he was a car carrier, he pointed out impatiently, carrying injured cars was what he was built for! But Galvatron ignored him completely until the group finally found their way back out of the Legion’s nightmare-maze of a base and back to an increasingly pissy Sky Lynx. Cyclonus, his duty discharged, fell in by Galvatron’s shoulder as they walked up the gangplank. Rodimus grinned at him; Cyclonus shook his head, but a half-smile graced his mouth, and Galvatron purred in anticipation of the two of them making up.

After he’d had his own satisfaction from the Prime, of course.

***

Rodimus was in the medbay enough to have his own suite, with dedicated equipment custom-fitted to attend to the unique needs of a Matrix-reforged body and processor. It was big enough to accommodate at least two visitors in addition to the attendant medic and assistant, and most important, it was blocked off on three sides for privacy and quiet.

“Please don’t keep him up too long,” the Autobots’ diminutive medic requested, meeting him at the partition. “He needs to rest.” Galvatron nodded tightly, already focused on the bright form on the berth, and the medic was wise enough to leave him be after that. Rodimus was watching him calmly, both optics lit up bright.

“So… that mission was pretty awful until you showed up,” Rodimus greeted him with a grin that was half grimace. “I mean, go us that all the hostages got out, but I played ‘shiny gold distraction’ a little too well. I’m in for a lecture from Magnus. And Kup. And probably Sky Lynx.”

Galvatron tilted his head, waiting, and Rodimus got the hint. He carefully scooted over on the berth and patted the vacated side in invitation. “But you come first,” he said.

All of Galvatron’s vents huffed at once. He closed the remaining distance between them in three long strides, claimed the berthside Rodimus had offered and hauled the Prime close, ignoring his yelp as his wounds protested. Chest to chest, crown to crown, fields entwining, Galvatron whispered, “Mine.

“...yeah.” Rodimus sighed as Galvatron’s hand rested warm and heavy on the back of his neck, solidifying the warlord’s claim. “Yeah, yours.”

“Mine. No more of your foolishness.” His point made, Galvatron shifted to lie alongside Rodimus and got comfortable, arm over Rodimus’s shoulders, idly stroking the edge of his spoiler. “Hmh. At least I know you’ll be holding still for a while,” he commented, casting a critical optic over the fresh welds and paintless metal that patched his Prime’s armor.

“Hey, I can lead from the repair berth.” Rodimus tilted his head back against Galvatron’s arm, all unconcern. “Primus knows I spend enough of my time behind a desk.”

Galvatron snorted, amused. “You do need to learn to delegate.”

“Heh, maybe.” Rodimus’s helm drifted, resting lightly on Galvatron’s shoulder. He sighed, slow and even, and Galvatron thought he was entering a healing stasis before he spoke again. “So, when I canceled on you that time…” Galvatron blinked, even his powerful processor scrambling to keep up with the abrupt change in subject. “It was because I’d collapsed from lack of fuel the day before.”

Galvatron scowled. “Aren’t they feeding you properly, Prime?”

“No-! I mean, yes, they are, but-” Rodimus had to reset his vocalizer. “When I get too stressed, I - can’t fuel. It’s just a - thing.”

Self-destructive. Galvatron’s scowl deepened. Rodimus wouldn’t meet his optics, but he kept talking after a moment, twisting his fingers together tightly over the thermal wrap draped across his body.

“Things like that, refusing fuel, refusing medical attention… if it gets really bad I start damaging myself. That’d be enough for Magnus and ‘Aid to keep me home until I get better, but I’m kind of - just a jerk to deal with on top of it all. I mean-” He huffed, rocking a little against Galvatron’s arm. “I know I’m being ridiculous! I just can’t not - push people away. When I’m. ...like that.”

Galvatron didn’t respond for a while, turning that over in his mind, examining it from every angle, comparing it to what he knew of his Rodimus. “Yes,” he mused at last. “I can see how it would be an onerous weakness for a leader. To misplace your self-control, and exist at the mercy of your impulses.”

Rodimus’s helm lifted, but he didn’t answer, and neither did Galvatron. After a moment Rodimus huffed in amusement and lay his helm back down. “Yeah,” he said. “Something like that.”

Galvatron nodded, satisfied. Then he reached over and flicked Rodimus in the forehelm.

“-hey!” Rodimus rocked back, putting a hand to his forehelm protectively. “What the slag was that for?”

“That was for trying to protect me,” Galvatron growled. “Do you think I can be pushed away so easily? That your darkness is a match for mine?”

“Nobody’s darkness is a match for yours,” Rodimus admitted with a muffled laugh. “Jerk.”

“Fool.”

“Slagger.”

“Autobot.”

“Decepticon.” But Rodimus was laughing, tilting his helm back against Galvatron’s shoulder. Galvatron listened as the thrum of the Prime’s powerful engine downshifted, preparing for healing stasis. Good. “Hey,” Rodimus murmured.

“‘Hey,’ what?”

“You fought off an army of terrorists for me.” Rodimus’s tone was disbelieving, faintly awed. “That was wingnuts.

Galvatron smirked. “Well. I am crazy, you know.”

Rodimus spluttered a laugh, rolling to snuggle more firmly into Galvatron’s side and fling an arm over his waist. “Damn right you are,” he agreed, and under the heaviness of fatigue his voice was rich with satisfaction.

***

Autobot Headquarters boasted a series of suites for visiting diplomats, though for the most part Rodimus Prime’s diplomatic work took place off-planet. As a head of state in his own right, Galvatron was acknowledged as having the right to commandeer one of those suites for his own use. Or that was how the Autobot saw it - as far as Galvatron was concerned, what was Rodimus’s was his, what was his was also his, and it was Cyclonus’s job to make the necessary arrangements.

Even he was impressed, however, when Cyclonus managed to secure the topmost suite in Tower Alpha, with a three hundred and sixty degree view of the city, a fully stocked fuel station, a mini medstation, a bath big enough to swim in and a berth that was even larger. “Apparently it was free for once,” Cyclonus explained as Galvatron wandered the room in a delighted daze. “The tower manager was quite insistent.”

“Excellent, Cyclonus.” Galvatron flopped onto the massive berth. “Hah! Now this is fit for an emperor.”

“As you say, my Lord.” Cyclonus moved to join him, only to pause when the door chime rang. Galvatron frowned at the door. “Ah. The other furnishment to this room has arrived,” Cyclonus reported, his features lit by the faintest of smiles. “Shall I show him in, Mighty One?”

Not wanting to admit he had no idea what Cyclonus was talking about, Galvatron waved a hand. “Yes, be quick about it.”

Cyclonus nodded, went to the door, and keyed it open manually. On the other side was Rodimus Prime.

Galvatron sat up slowly, as though pulled by some invisible chain. Rodimus stood where he was, polished to a high gloss and visibly uncertain, until Cyclonus took his elbow and ushered him in. “Hey,” the Prime greeted. “Sorry I’m late. I’m all yours now.” Behind him, the door slid shut again, cutting the three of them off from the world.

Cyclonus’s optics met Galvatron’s; a wordless moment of communication, one invisible to the Prime, passed between them. Cyclonus turned to Rodimus again, and his stern look made Rodimus remember that the spacejet still had hold of his arm. “No more avoiding our Lord, Prime?” Cyclonus asked severely.

Rodimus leaned into his hold, a huff of laughter escaping him. “I wasn’t avoiding him! I honestly was just that busy.” He turned, folding his hand over Cyclonus’s. “But I’ve got a lot of free time coming up, so I can get started making it up to you both.”

One day Cyclonus would stop being surprised when Rodimus responded to his severity with affection. Today was not that day. He swayed slightly, silently twining his fingers with the Prime’s, then took hold of Rodimus’s chin for the first kiss of the night.

It was Rodimus who swayed when Cyclonus let him go. “Very well,” Cyclonus murmured, and pulled away, returning to Galvatron, who hadn’t moved from the berth though his optics were locked onto Rodimus. Galvatron felt his engine upshift as Rodimus met his optics, read the moment when nervousness melted away under the heat of a desire that matched Galvatron’s own.

Rodimus smiled, optics bright with promise. Sank to his knees. Crawled to them, engine purring, optics never leaving Galvatron’s.

“Well, this is a good start,” Galvatron purred, leaning back indolently and smirking as Rodimus reached them and bent to nuzzle Galvatron’s proffered greave. Cyclonus’s vents spun up, no less affected, but he remained still and attentive as Rodimus lifted dim optics to Galvatron’s face. Galvatron purred, reveling in it: Rodimus Prime on hands and knees before him, Cyclonus holding himself back in deference to his lord’s rights. No emperor, he was sure, was ever so rich in power.

“Make-up interface means you’re in command,” Rodimus offered with an anticipatory smile, and Galvatron’s engine raced in response. “But I’m willing to put up a fight if you’d prefer.”

“Oh, no,” Galvatron smirked, reaching down. Rodimus tilted his helm up to receive the blessing of Galvatron’s proprietary caress. “I rather like you down there, my Chosen. It suits you.”

“Didn’t think you’d mind,” Rodimus chuckled, and let Galvatron guide his helm down against his knee. “...I like it too,” he confessed more quietly into the metal.

Galvatron purred, rubbing firm circles over Rodimus’s helm and the back of his neck, feeling him relax and start to nestle against the warlord’s leg. “I know what you like, Rodimus,” he said, just to feel Rodimus shiver. “Get up here so I can give it to you!”

He grasped Rodimus’s spoiler and dragged him up, grinning at the half-stifled cry of pain as he dug his fingers in. Rodimus allowed himself to be slung over Galvatron’s knee, tucking his hands in and his head down against the berth, struggling obligingly when Galvatron pinned him down. “I want…” he begged into the rumpled coverlet.

“You want what? And ask me properly,” Galvatron commanded, reinforcing the order with a painful squeeze to Rodimus’s spoiler.

Rodimus squirmed over Galvatron’s knee, almost burying himself in the coverlet trying to escape his desire. “Please, I want to feel both of you,” he confessed, and at a warning rumble from Galvatron’s engine, added, “...Lord Galvatron.”

“That’s better,” Galvatron purred, squeezing his handful of spoiler again as beside them Cyclonus stirred. An indrawn vent - a shift - a barely perceptible tremble, and no more until Galvatron met his optics and nodded. Only then did Cyclonus sit down next to them, reaching out to take Rodimus’s hand.

“Thank you,” Rodimus murmured, and then Cyclonus started working on those sensitive forearm blasters. “Ah, slag-!”

Galvatron laughed wildly, pinning Rodimus’s thighs between his own as he lifted a hand. “This is only the beginning,” he promised, and struck that tempting aft.

The clash of metal on metal filled the room, punctuating Rodimus’s cries. Galvatron left his mark on Rodimus’s aft, his thighs, spoiler; the Prime squirmed helplessly, clutching the coverlet with his free hand and Cyclonus’s wrist with his trapped one. “Please,” he cried, and his voice broke on the word. “Galvatron- Cyclonus…!”

“It’s no use crying to me, Prime,” Cyclonus told him with a smirk. Rodimus shook his head and tugged at Cyclonus’s wrist - closer. “Oh, very well,” he relented, and shifted close enough that Rodimus could press his helm to Cyclonus’s thigh. Galvatron smacked his aft again experimentally and Rodimus cried out, high and sharp, clinging to Cyclonus with one hand and clinging to Galvatron with the rest of his body.

Inexpressibly beautiful.

Cyclonus had the same thought; he left Rodimus’s forearm alone to stroke over his helm, his cheek, tracing the edge of his jaw. “You’re doing so well,” he murmured. “You’ll be rewarded for this.”

“This - is - my reward,” Rodimus insisted through the repeated impacts. “Just this - being like this - with you two.” Galvatron, pleased, attacked Rodimus’s spoiler, and Rodimus pulled his helm away from Cyclonus’s hand to press his face to the coverlet again, wordlessly crying out for his lord. His hand scrunched the coverlet so tightly that it left permanent creases in the mesh. Galvatron glanced up to Cyclonus, and his lieutenant nodded: Rodimus’s grip had tightened on his wrist as well. He’d had enough, for now.

Rodimus folded easily to his knees at Galvatron’s pedes with only a little guidance, keeping his weight gingerly off his aft. Galvatron chuckled and stroked his Prime’s helm, indulgently letting Rodimus tuck a hand around behind his leg and cling to him. “There, Rodimus,” he purred, letting Rodimus turn his face to Galvatron’s knee guard. “Well done - now, I want your attention.”

Dim blue optics lifted to him. “Yes, lord,” Rodimus murmured into Galvatron’s knee.

Galvatron smirked. Lifting a hand - Rodimus’s optics tracked the motion, alert as a sniper despite his depressed energy levels - the warlord beckoned to Cyclonus. “Give it here,” he commanded, but Cyclonus was already extending his hands, the ordinary foil case balanced reverently on his palms.

Rodimus lifted up on his knees. “Is that-?”

“Down,” Galvatron snapped, and Rodimus sank back quickly, a hiss of soreness escaping him. “That’s better. I can see we’ll have to be exceptionally diligent in your training, won’t we?”

“Training?” Up Rodimus came again, desperately intrigued, and this time Galvatron allowed it, fishing in the foil case to draw out two bright energel treats to show him. “Ooh,” Rodimus grinned, leaning into Galvatron’s leg. “Training with goodies. I like this idea.”

“Training,” Galvatron informed him, “to take fuel on command. Down.” This time he helped Rodimus along, pushing him down with his free hand, and Rodimus stayed down though he was vibrating with eagerness. His optics brightened as Galvatron brought down a goodie within reach of his mouth. “Take it,” Galvatron purred, his engine kicking up in sympathetic reaction to Rodimus’s needy quiver. “Your lord commands.”

Rodimus leaned in, tilting his face down to brush his nasal ridge over Galvatron’s fingertips. “My lord has the best ideas,” he smiled, and placed a barely-there kiss where he’d nuzzled. He teased his way up Galvatron’s palm, inch by agonizing inch, and Galvatron’s engine raced with glory and rage - my Prime knows how to hurt me too.

Lips parted over the energel treat, descended to take it in. Rodimus hummed in pleasure, turning to press his cheek to Galvatron’s palm. As he consumed it slowly, Galvatron took a treat for himself as well, savoring it as he savored his Prime: the bitter, hard shell cracking in his mouth, exposing the sweetness inside.

“How was that?” Rodimus asked, peeking up hopefully against his hand.

In answer, Galvatron curled his hand around Rodimus’s helm and pulled him up, taking a sharp, bruising, delicious kiss from him. “Perfect,” he rumbled against Rodimus’s parted lips.

Training continued. Rodimus took treats from Galvatron’s hand, from his thigh, from the floor at his feet; he begged between mouthfuls for more. Galvatron crushed a treat in his hand to have Rodimus lick him clean, a task he leapt on so quickly his sore plating protested and he moaned a muffled a protest into Galvatron’s gel-slick palm even as he lapped up the sweet fuel like an Empty. Now there was a roleplay for another time.

“Hungry little Autobot, to be so obedient,” Galvatron growled playfully, just to test it, and Rodimus shivered needfully. “Look at you. You’re a bit of a mess, Rodimus.” He wiped at a smear of energel on Rodimus’s cheek.

“I’m a hot mess,” Rodimus smirked, and Galvatron laughed and pulled him up close. His mouthing and nibbling at Rodimus’s cheek may have been more ardent than strictly necessary to clean off the energel, but Galvatron was enjoying Rodimus’s squirming and laughing too much to care. He hauled Rodimus up onto his lap, nipping throat cables and plating as he went, until Rodimus’s laughter dissolved into half-wordless pleas. Grinning, Galvatron rolled them so that he had his Prime pinned to the berth, straddling his hips.

“Mine,” he growled in Rodimus’s audial as Cyclonus moved in with the cuffs. “My enemy, my toy, my prize, my Chosen. Always - always, mine.”

The litany did more to bind the Prime than any chain ever could, although the chains were certainly appreciated by both of them. Rodimus arched under Galvatron, hands flexing, field rippling through Galvatron’s all need-terror-delight. “Please,” he gasped, helm tossed back. “Oh, please…!”

Cyclonus withdrew, leaving Rodimus bound to the berth with his hands over his head. Galvatron stroked exposed plating, gravitating to the twin plates low on Rodimus’s chest that buzzed with charge under the metal. “‘Please,’ what,” he smirked, leaning back to savor the desperate brightness in Rodimus’s optics.

“You know what!” Rodimus howled, kicking his fettered legs. He yelped sharply as Galvatron slapped his side in reproof. “Ah, slag, you’re so cruel,” he moaned.

“And you love it,” Galvatron smirked. “Don’t you, my Prime? Now, try that again, and remember yourself when you address me.”

Rodimus squirmed, pulling helplessly at his bonds. “Lord,” he pleaded.

“Yes?” Galvatron traced patterns over his hatch covers, twin-pointed sigils.

“I want - I need - please, Galvatron-” Rodimus’s frame trembled from effort and restraint, spoiler almost lifting off the berth as he begged with every part of himself. “Just - conquer me!”

“Ah, my Rodimus,” Galvatron laughed, laying his ports bare. “You do please me.”

Open, sparking ports were filled as soon as they were exposed - Cyclonus on one side, Galvatron on the other. Growling with the flood of new data, Galvatron claimed Rodimus’s mouth as the processes of subordinating Rodimus’s systems to his own ran with the swiftness of repeated practice. Cyclonus, who never ceased being Galvatron’s subsystem, made his presence known with subtle tweaks to Rodimus’s sensory suites that left him reeling, utterly defenseless and exposed before their Lord; their intentions merged, their will worked on the needy frame and spark of the beautiful, bound mechanism between them.

Between them, aching/blissful, Rodimus Prime burned.

Their energy crested; Galvatron, a wild laugh bubbling up in him, led the charge, plunging recklessly into the bright fire of overload. Cyclonus was only a moment behind, the wash of his released energy buoying them up; then Rodimus, falling so profoundly that the backwash sent them all tumbling over each other in the heat of their release.

They came back to themselves slowly, untangling bit by bit who was Lord and lieutenant and captive out of the slide of overheated plating and the sting of bite marks. Galvatron found his and Rodimus’s mouths before he had the rest of them sorted out, and spent a little time languidly claiming his territory until his limbs tingled back to life.

“My lord.” Slightly cross-opticked and moving slowly, Cyclonus reached to undo Rodimus’s wrist manacles. Rodimus pulled his arms down with a grateful hum, and Galvatron - not seeing two Cyclonii, thank you very much - flailed out a hand to drag Cyclonus in. Cyclonus went willingly, tucking himself in around Rodimus’s exhausted, overload-drunk frame. “We’ll have a more in-depth training session at a later date,” he murmured, and Rodimus giggled.

“Record it for me,” Galvatron demanded fuzzily.

“Of course, Mighty One.”

Rodimus giggled again and turned to seek a kiss from Cyclonus. This, Cyclonus was happy to grant off his own initiative, and Galvatron purred his approval of the sight and made a mental note to order Cyclonus to incorporate kisses into his training sessions in the future.

Somehow they arranged to sit up, leaning against the headboard. Rodimus listed like a flier in a high wind, humming appreciation of Galvatron’s sturdy shoulder, only to jerk away again when his chestplates swung open a little. Sometime during their interface, Rodimus’s body had surrendered the locks to his spark casing.

Galvatron felt no more than a stinging frission against his plating before Rodimus relatched his chestplate in a simmer of embarrassment. Stinging worse was the reminder of the part of Prime that he couldn’t touch, but Rodimus slipped an anxious hand in his and clung, and Galvatron put it out of his mind: Rodimus was here in his arms, warm and solid and his. Cyclonus settled in on Rodimus’s other side, his field enmeshed with Galvatron’s, and that was as close as Galvatron would come to contentment.

***

Long ago, on a planet on the edge of Decepticon territory, Rodimus kissed Galvatron in the middle of a fight.

Galvatron had been so shocked he lost his grip on Rodimus, who’d danced away laughing as though that had been his aim all along; but Galvatron, sharp desire tingling on his lips, wasn’t so certain, and the uncertainty itched him to near-madness. In the time that followed he swung from one moody extreme to the other: rage, lust, bewilderment, victorious joy; feeling the itchy pressure of memory in his palms and between his thighs, that shining-terrible moment of holding the flickering life of an Autobot in his hands before the Matrix stole it away.

It was Cyclonus who pointed out the obvious: was he not Galvatron? Was he not the most magnificent being in the universe? Of course the Prime desired him! For all Cyclonus sometimes failed him, he’d never lied to him, and he’d never lie about something like that. Therefore, the power was in Galvatron’s hands: all he had to do was decide whether he desired the Autobot Prime right back.

A few battles later, as Rodimus Prime defied him yet again, Galvatron reached his decision.

That didn’t mean it was simple to catch him, of course. No, that would be too easy. It took nearly an orn of photovoltaic-cat-and-glitchmouse across half the galaxy before Rodimus Prime let himself be run to ground, and he made both Decepticons pay for their victory in dents and blaster burns. Yet, the moment came when Rodimus was pinned under Cyclonus’s expert hands, blowing out angry vents as Galvatron approached - and then Rodimus met Galvatron’s optics and grinned, bright and wry and challenging, and Galvatron’s engine raced.

“I have something of yours, Prime,” he announced, and gripped Rodimus’s wrist, leaning in - ah, there it was, that tingle of charge in Rodimus’s field, a match for his own. “Allow me to return it.”

His kiss was nothing like Rodimus’s had been - leisurely instead of swift, demanding rather than teasing - and Rodimus melted. His optics were dim when they finally broke apart, his lips parted, his limbs so slack that Cyclonus barely needed to restrain him any longer.

“Is this what you wanted, Rodimus?” Galvatron asked, smugly sure of the answer.

Rodimus’s helm lifted, optics cycling to focus. “Let me go and I’ll show you what I want,” he said. Uncertainty was starting to creep back into his field, a chill that cooled the desire.

Heat sparked along Galvatron’s plating as if to counteract that chill with sheer furious denial. “Is that,” he asked, lifting his free hand, “truly what you wish of me?” A subtle twist of space and Galvatron’s subspace locker surrendered to him a pair of cuffs, which he dangled teasingly before Rodimus. He saw Rodimus’s optics lock on to them and focus.

“You get one chance,” Galvatron told him, steel and fire in his voice. “Surrender, and we fly this course together… or refuse, and we remain as we have been.” Rodimus tore his optics from the cuffs to focus on Galvatron then; his mouth opened soundlessly, closed again. His field flickered as he fought with himself.

Finally, just as Galvatron’s limited patience was starting to be tested, Rodimus gathered his courage and spoke. “Can I trust you?”

The question brought Galvatron to an abrupt halt; he frowned, turning it this way and that in his mind. Could he… trust? Trust Galvatron? ...was that something he wanted?

Rodimus’s optics slid to the cuffs again, unbidden. Galvatron’s mind raced with possibilities as he slipped the hand holding Rodimus’s wrist up to clasp his hand. “Yes.”

Rodimus smiled, quick and rueful and somehow bashful. Cyclonus released his hold, just enough for Rodimus to extend his arms, offer his wrists for the cuffs.

Galvatron snapped them on with hands that trembled only a little with eagerness, already drinking in the sight before him as he pulled Rodimus so close their plating touched. Rodimus arched slightly with the motion, his sharpness made sweet in his submission, his reverent gaze never leaving Galvatron’s face.

***

Iacon was at its usual level of bustle when Rodimus Prime emerged from Tower Alpha onto the main road. He glanced up at the thrum of powerful engines and smiled to see Galvatron and Cyclonus descending to meet him, already reaching his hands out.

“Were you waiting long?” he asked, as the Unicronians allowed him to take one hand each. “Sorry, that meeting took for-slagging-ever.”

“As the six comm messages from you attest,” Cyclonus pointed out dryly. “Was reciting Earthen poetry over comms truly necessary?”

“Hey, limericks are art,” Rodimus answered, trying for ‘lofty dignity’ and failing utterly. “I’ll be back in time for Sunstreaker’s class next cycle, okay, Arcee?”

Galvatron glanced in the direction Rodimus spoke, and met the calm optics of the Autobot huntress, who’d followed him outside. “You’d better, I’m not covering for you again,” she told her leader tartly, though there was a smile playing at the corner of her mouth. “Galvatron. Cyclonus. See you again.”

Galvatron acknowledged and dismissed her with a nod, then as she transformed and headed off he told Rodimus, “I liked your… limericks.”

“Yeah?” Rodimus smiled, pulling himself close on Galvatron’s arm. “I’m glad. I’ll write you some more next time I’m stuck in a meeting.”

“Hn.” Galvatron smirked. “You really do need to learn to delegate, Prime.”

“I do so delegate! I just can’t get away with dumping everything on Magnus anymore.” Rodimus lifted his helm, gazing into the star-drenched sky. “Oh well. You can’t have everything.”

Galvatron snorted. “Maybe you can’t.”

“Right, ruler of the universe.” Rodimus gave him an irreverent grin. “I keep forgetting.”

Galvatron answered his grin with a smirk, turning to face him fully. “Oh?” he purred. “Perhaps I could find a way to remind you, Prime.”

Their engines raced in tandem; Rodimus tightened his grip a little on Galvatron’s hand. “Yeah, I’m sure you could. But you’d have to catch me first.”

He was running before Galvatron had time to parse that, transforming and throwing himself into the road with a joyful whoop. Galvatron roared in outrage. “Cyclonus!” he ordered, although Cyclonus was already transforming. “After that Autobot!”

“At once, Mighty Galvatron!”

Cyclonus streaked across the sky after the fleeing Rodimus. Without thought or caution, Galvatron flung himself after them, not at all surprised to find himself laughing.

*****OMAKE*****

Subject: Rodimus Prime
Date: .5xxx, xxx/xxx/xxxxxx
Tagged: stress-induced anorexia
Attending Physician: First Aid
Nurse: Swoop

A small but marked improvement has occurred in the treatment of Rodimus Prime’s anxiety-related symptoms. In addition to improved recharge patterns over the last orn, the patient has responded well to the use of solidified fuel treats instead of liquid energon during times when he reports finding it difficult to refuel. Although the patient did request a smack on the aft before he would consume the fuel.

Said smack was duly administered at a force of 35kN, applied to the aft area. Subsequent to this treatment, the patient displayed no further resistance to taking his fuel.