Three mechs lay in a tangle of legs and arms and wings, slow to return to the here-and-now. Hands stroked over unfamiliar armor on cherished frames. The unfamiliar angles were all too clear a reminder of what was to come for the three of them when the day cycle of Cybertron broke across their side of the planet. Tones of love, worry and loss hummed along one thread of the bond they shared. Reassurance – and a nearly equal weight of loss – came from the other two, along with a steady pulse of knowledge that this was for the best underlying one of the three threads.
"I wish you didn't have to go, Storm. Are we sure this is how this has to be? One of the lovers questioned, trying to burrow in so close that her armor melded with that of the others.
"It's the only way that is likely to succeed, in our favor."
"But surely we can be together! I don't want us split up."
"You won't be alone." Quiet Starfall reminded her. "And none of us will ever be truly be parted from us. Not with the bond we share."
"But it won't be the same! And they're saying it'll become a war before anything can really change." Still Thundersquall protested, fingers working their way into her mates' armor. "Who knows how long it will really be before we can be together again? With the way that Megatron is going about things, it could be megavorns before it's over!
"I don't think it will last that long, Thunder. Even with the number of frame-kin and heavy labor types rallying to his call, things will hopefully calm down once he gets what he wants."
"But you don't know."
"Be still, Thunder. Please. We only really have this one night left together, and I don't want us to waste it by focusing on the 'mights' or the 'what ifs'. I want to hold you both close to me. Let us share these last few orns together, and figure out modifications to the plan once we see how it is moving. After all-"
"No plan survives the first confrontation." His mates chimed with him.
For a moment Thundersquall's optics were mutinous, but she caved quickly at the looks she got. "I still don't like it."
"We know, Thunder. I don't think any of us actually do." Stormwind shook his head, agreeing with Starfall's declaration before his lip-plates quirked in a slightly impish smirk.
"You do have to admit, at least that the new armor and colors are perfect for our Starfall. Even if they are darker than his originals."
Thunder laughed, accepting the change of topic. "And those wings, all splayed out and so much bigger than before." Under the suddenly hungry looks, Star shivered in delight, though his grin was nearly a match for their own as he preened.
"And I'll have you know that I can fly better than all of my instructors combined."
"Of course you can. You wouldn't be our Star if you were just a collection of powerful thrusters, wings and beautiful optics."
Storm's hungry look had only grown sharper as he listed their mate's most attractive phyusical features, but before he could act on that desire, Starfall's systems bleeped a request – demand, really – for a full defrag that would finish the integration of his new systems. Only a moment later, Storm's systems demanded the same. Looking mildly put out – and ignoring her own system's demands – Thunder pulled both her mates closer."
"I don't want this night to end, I really don't." She sighed air through her vents before shifting to lie more comfortably along Star's side. "I'll cherish this moment until we can be together again."
Both of her mates hummed in agreement as their systems cycled down; morning would come too soon.
As the sound of early day-shift filtered through an open window, Starfall stretched the tension out of still-stiff welds and wires. Thunder offered him a cube of energon, the last they had in this place that had been home. Starfall set the cube on the counter and knelt to pull the femme into his arms.
"Shh, beloved... this will all be over sooner than you think."
Subdued, Thunder leaned into the embrace, tracing the purple line along one wing edge.
"Promise me you'll be safe?"
Star hesitated, not wanting to lie but knowing he wouldn't be able to keep such a promise.
Storm walked over to his two mates and pulled them close. "Promise us you'll be careful, then." Starfall nodded, spending those last precious moments together before he stood to hand out the energon once more. "Only so long as you promise the same."
Both shorter mecha nodded, downed their energon, and stepped apart.
"I love you both. Please, please, for the love of Primus below, take care of each other. And I'll do my best to get into Megatron's closest circle, so that you can get what you need." With a last, soft caress for each of his mates, he stepped towards the entry way and finally let his greatest upgrade have full access to his processor. As his mates watched, his optics dimmed and then re-lit a fierce ruby, though little of the brilliant mech they'd loved showed in this mech's optics. The demands of the parallel processors necessary to run the new device pulled nearly all of his focus from the outside world into calculating nexus points, vectors and energy readings, leaving him to look like he was slow – of the idiot variety.
"Be safe, Skywarp." Thunder whispered, just before the renamed mech disappeared with a rush of displaced air.
Stormwind turned towards his other mate as the ache of a closed – not severed, but sealed off – bond swelled in his spark. He caught Thunder as she swayed and nearly fell, and pulled her close. "He'll be all right, bright spark." He stroked a hand between the bulkier armor of her own upgrade set, and nuzzled her helm.
Finally, reluctantly, he pulled away slowly and let his gaze rove over her black and white form. "I need to go now. And you need to go meet with the Prime's head tactician. Remember, I'll only be a thought away." He pressed his fore-helm to the brilliant red and gold of her chevron, before stepping away and resetting his vocalizer to sound younger, before fire-walling away a portion of his own processors, especially the tactical nodes he was going to regret losing.
Thunder flinched slightly as he spoke to her again; it wasn't right for him to sound so much younger than she was.
"We'll be together again soon, my beautiful Prowl."
She let her optics focus on the floor for a moment. As hard as Starfall's leaving had been, this was harder. They'd searched for their third together for vorns, as closely bound as any incomplete trine could be. Still, this had to be done, and hadn't it been as much her idea as theirs?
As he stepped back, she brought her own upgrades online, the empathy boards the last to be walled off when her tactical computer took near complete control of her main processing trees.
She – he, now, for all anyone would know – straightened and stood more stiffly, posture painfully correct. With one last brief touch to her mate's chest-plates, she let Prowl take over completely.
"Do your best with Praxus, Bluestreak. Relocate as many of the non-combatants as you can before Megatron takes an interest in the Autobot-alligned city."
"I will, Prowl. And I'll join you as soon as you can."
Prowl nodded sharply, spun around in a precise military about face, and strode out the door, computer already focused on his upcoming task.
Stormwing, now Bluestreak, touched his own chest-plates, where he could still faintly feel both of his mates, before policing the apartment for any identifier of who had once lived there. Check complete, he strode out of what had once been a happy home and into his new life, ready to start all over as a new mech.