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Safe and Sound

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“Analysis of the canister is in.” Chromedome sat down across from Prowl, pushing the datapad across his desk.

Prowl picked it up, scanning the information. The dark green paint color was specific to the Omega family. Along with his uncle’s insights, they were finally honing in on who the serial killer might be. “We need to pay the Omega family a visit,” Prowl said, setting the data pad down.

Chromedome nodded. “You want me to get Ironhide?”

“You and I can handle the initial interview without him.” Prowl transferred information from the report to his datapad of collected notes on the murders.

“I gotta ask.” Chromedome leaned over the desk. “I still can’t believe you’re an elite. So, what family clan?”

Prowl glanced up, doorwings ticking upward slightly. He’d prefer his status had remained secret, but there was no taking back what he’d admitted to. “The Tractus family.”

Chromedome rubbed his chin. “But your name... it doesn’t sound elite.”

Softly sighing and shaking his head, Prowl picked up his datapad and stood up. “One of my creators was elite, but he bonded for love to an enforcer.”

A look of awe and respect blossomed over Chromedome’s face, which was saying a lot with his visor and mask. “Oh really?”

“If you’re done probing my personal life, I think we should go do our jobs now,” Prowl replied, doorwings flicking upward.

Chromedome got to his feet and nodded. “Let’s go catch a bad guy.”

The Omega property in the old district was expansive. Each member of the family occupied a home on the estate. Prowl led Chromedome toward the central house, intending to speak with the eldest member of the family clan.

"You could fit the whole merchant district inside the walls of this place," Chromedome said with awe in his voice. "Is your place like this?"

Prowl frowned. "I live in an apartment complex two transport stops from the enforcer station."

"Oh. Well, did you grow up in a place like this?" Chromedome asked.

"No. I was raised in the tower apartments." Prowl understood his fellow officer's curiosity, but divulging details of his personal life made him uncomfortable.

"Tower apartments. Those are swanky!" Chromedome replied. "You're really hating me asking you about it, huh?"

Half-turning to look at him, Prowl tried to not look as annoyed as he felt. "As you know, I don’t like talk about my personal life."

"Fair enough," Chromedome replied, holding up his hands. “Just a little processor breaking for me is all.”

They followed the pathway up the front entrance of the main house. Prowl pressed the chime, and after a moment the door opened. A servant answered, looking them each over.

“May I help you?” the servant asked.

Prowl tapped his enforcer shoulder mark. “We’re investigating a series of crimes and would like to speak with the elder of the Omega family.”

The servant frowned. “Disturbing the lord of the house over crimes not committed here? I don’t understand your intent.”

“We’re just following up a lead and he might be able to help us,” Chromedome said.

The servant looked between them, then softly sighed as he stepped back and allowed them inside. He gestured to the small, ornate bench seat in the fourier. “Wait here.”

Prowl sat down, and folded his hands in his lap as the servant disappeared down the adjoining hallway. Chromedome wandered around, examining the ornate wall decor and stopping to stare at a sculpture of an ancient member of the Omega family.

“It’s impolite to not sit,” Prowl said after a long moment.

Chromedome glanced at Prowl. “So? We aren’t here for polite conversation, Prowl.”

“This will go more smoothly if you follow my lead on this,” Prowl replied.

Heaving an annoyed sigh, Chromedome walked over and plopped down beside him on the bench. “Can I ask questions?”

“Of course. Let me open up the conversation, then go ahead and start questioning. In all likelihood, we’ll end up being asked to leave, but if I play into the rules of elite society first we may get some useful information,” Prowl quietly explained.

“Sounds good to me,” Chromedome replied.

The servant returned and frowned at them. “Lord Zeta will see you both now. Follow me.”

They both stood, and followed the servant through the large home. Arriving at a large room with a glass ceiling, Prowl immediately laid optics on the head of the house sitting in an ancient, plush chair.

Standing before him, Prowl bowed his head and tugged on Chromedome’s arm to do the same.

“Lord Zeta, I apologize for the intrusion, but we believe your insights will prove helpful in our investigation,” Prowl said.

Zeta waved his hand. “No need to bow, young mechs.”

Straightening up, Prowl nodded. “Thank you.”

Canting his head, Zeta leaned forward in his chair and scrutinized Prowl for a long moment. “You’re Mobius’ son, Prowl, are you not?”

“Mobius is my uncle, but he raised me after my father, Trefoil, passed away,” Prowl replied.

“I remember that terrible transport wreck. I lost my nephew. I’m sorry for your loss,” Zeta replied.

Prowl spent so much time actively not thinking about his dead parents, that when they were mentioned it always struck a deep nerve. His spark still ached for them now, even after so many years. He shoved his emotions down deep, though. He was here to do his job.

“Thank you,” Prowl quietly replied. “My colleague, Chromedome, and I are here investigating a crime committed in Greater Praxus. We believe a member of your family may have borne witness to the incident, but we don’t know his name. Perhaps you could help us identify him?” Prowl took out his datapad, pulling up the composite image made from Smokescreen’s description, and held it up for Zeta to see.

Zeta’s optics flashed almost imperceptibly, but it was enough to tell Prowl that he recognized the mech.

“I’m not sure. That is our family color, but as you see, we don’t color our chevrons green in that manner,” Zeta replied.

“We think it’s just removeable paint,” Chromedome replied. “Like when mechs go to clubs, they sometimes paint themselves to look good.”

Giving Chromedome a dark look, Zeta sat back in his seat. “I don’t know this mech. Perhaps he’s using our family color to pretend to be an elite in these ‘clubs’ you mention.”

That was a lie. Prowl was sure he knew this mech. “The shape of the chevron is unique to the Omega family. He is most definitely a member. As I said, he is a witness, and we simply want to speak with him.”

Zeta regarded Prowl for a long moment, doorwings slightly shifting behind him. “As I said, I don’t know who that is.”

“You’re lying,” Chromedome replied. “I’ve worked with Prowl long enough to know that ticking your doorwings like that mean you’re hiding something. Who is this? We need to talk to him. It’s important.”

“I shouldn’t even tolerate your presence in my home, you non-Praxian!” Zeta replied, optics flashing with anger. “I was being polite, and now you’re overstepping your bounds.”

“I am a Praxian citizen. And I’m an enforcer, so I think you should show more respect,” Chromedome replied.

Prowl glared at Zeta. If the head of the house of Omega was against non-Praxian builds, it stood to reason someone within the clan was capable of the crimes that had been committed, purifying the Praxus elite by destroying those that dared to date non-Praxian builds.

“You’re a citizen only. You are not a true Praxian,” Zeta replied in a venomous tone.

“Enough,” Prowl said, voice sharp and leaving no room for argument. “You’ve insulted me and my colleague quite enough. All we wanted to do was identify who this may be, but if you refuse to cooperate, then we’ll be back with orders to search each home on this the property.”

“This is private property! You cannot do that!” Zeta’s voice boomed.

“I can and I will.” Prowl spun on his heels with Chromedome following close behind him as they stormed out of the home.

The Omega family was hiding a killer among them, and he wasn’t going to let their money or elite status stop him from finding this mech.

The percentage of fraternal twins who seek a third party mech to become a member of their bond and/or relationship ranges between 80-89% of recorded cases. Many interviews were conducted, attempting to decipher the reasons behind these numbers. It was found that a third partner often offered the deeply bonded pair stability they otherwise indicated was lacking in their relationship. These interviews further reveal that fraternal twins more often than not have complex emotional issues that are never brought to light until a third member joins them.

“Prowl just replied. Said he can go out with us tomorrow,” Sideswipe said, interrupting Sunstreaker’s concentration.

Sunstreaker looked up from the datapad of information he’d been reading and smiled at his brother sitting beside him on the berth. He’d read the files the medic gave them over and over, trying to better understand what was happening. Things between him and Sideswipe were changing, and it was about more than being open about their relationship with one another. He suspected it was centered around Prowl entering their lives.

“After his shift again?” Sunstreaker asked.

“Yup!” Sideswipe put the communicator on the berthside table, and then curled up next to Sunstreaker, resting his head on his shoulder. “How many times have you read that?”

“Lots.” Sunstreaker turned it off, and rested his cheek against Sideswipe’s helm.

“Why do you keep reading it?” Sideswipe asked, voice softer.

“Just looking for answers, I guess.” Sunstreaker sighed and then kissed Sideswipe’s helm horn. “It’s a work night, but is there anything you want to do-”

“‘Face until we’re tired enough to recharge?” Sideswipe interrupted, grabbing the datapad from Sunstreaker’s grasp and tossing it on the berthside table.

“Such a one-track mind,” Sunstreaker replied, laughing and tweaking Sideswipe’s horn.

“Can’t help it. You’re gorgeous.” Sideswipe captured Sunstreaker’s lips in a deep kiss.

Their glossae twinned between their linked mouths, and Sunstreaker was instantly putty in his brother’s hands. Despite the things that had changed, other things remained a constant, this being one of them. Sunstreaker could never refuse his brother’s advances.

The kiss broke, and Sunstreaker gasped, fingers digging into Sideswipe’s plating as he pulled him closer and laid back.

Sideswipe gazed into his optics, love and adoration shining in pools of deep blue. “You remember the first time we, uh, you know…”

Sunstreaker nodded. “I remember.”

“We’d been in that small apartment, trying so hard to be good. To not give into our urges,” Sideswipe mouthed one of Sunstreaker’s headfins.

The tingling sensation in his headfin caused him to shiver and sigh. “We still shared a berth, though. Like I promised you we would.”

“You did keep your promise to me.” Sideswipe flicked his glossa out, sliding it along the slats in Sunstreaker’s headfin, drawing a low moan from him. “But we also still tried to be good like we’d been taught in the group home.” Shifting his weight, Sideswipe straddled Sunstreaker’s hips, and leaned down, touching their noses. “I hardly recharged those first few days. Adult upgrade, fully functioning array burning, aching for you.”

A tingle ran up Sunstreaker’s spinal unit at his brother’s words. He let his fingers trail up his brother’s sides as he stared into his optics, wondering why his brother was telling him this now.

“I’d just lie there, staring at you, and finally I couldn’t stop myself anymore.” Sideswipe sat back on his heels, taking hold of both of Sunstreaker’s hands and pressing them to his own red chestplate. “I reached over and touched your chest.”

Sunstreaker vaguely frowned, trying to figure out what his brother was doing.

Dimming his optics a little, Sideswipe guided one of Sunstreaker’s hands between his legs. “I slid my hand down, cupping your interface cover and that’s when you finally onlined your optics. Remember what you said?”

“Of course,” Sunstreaker replied in a hushed voice. “I said, don’t stop.”

Letting go of Sunstreaker’s hands, Sideswipe nodded. “You always let me have you anyway I want. The feeling of sinking my spike into you,” he paused, dimming his optics. “It’s incredible. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to have you to myself. And so I always take you. Spike you. It’s like that way I make you all mine.”

Suddenly Sunstreaker realized what his brother was implying but not yet asking.

“Things are different now, though.” Sideswipe crawled forward again, hands resting on either side of Sunstreaker’s helm as their gazes locked. “Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I think things with Prowl are going really well. Eventually we’re gonna get further than groping, and thing is–” Sideswipe bit at his lip for a moment. “-I want you to be my first everything.

Sunstreaker wanted to be sure he understood what Sideswipe wasn’t exactly saying. “You’re asking me to spike you?”

Sideswipe nodded, and pressed their forehelms together.

Dimming his optics, Sunstreaker warmly smiled at his brother, fingers drawing circles over the closed cover between his brother’s legs. Being asked like this meant Sideswipe had been thinking about it for some time. “I would be honored,” he quietly replied. “Open up.”

Sideswipe nodded, his interface cover opening at the command. Sunstreaker sank two fingers into the already slicked valve, and watched his brother’s optics darken as he whimpered. Pumping his fingers slowly, he watched his Sideswipe’s brow knit as he whined and started to rock in time with his probing fingers. His brother was a handsome mech, but like this, vulnerable and raw, he was beautiful.

Sunstreaker’s spike pushed against the closed cover, begging to be released. Responding, he let it free, and it stood at attention between them. Sideswipe heard the soft snap of the plating retracting, and looked down between them, smiling. “Well, hello there.”

“Stop being so fragging cute,” Sunstreaker replied, nipping at the corner of his brother’s helm.

Chuckling, Sideswipe took hold of Sunstreaker’s hand, pulling it away from his valve. Angling his hips, he positioned himself over Sunstreaker's spike, and then sank back, letting the spike impale him slowly.

“Holy slaaag,” Sideswipe moaned.

Sunstreaker agreed with his brother’s sentiment, moaning in response. His spike throbbed hotly inside his brother, filling him, taking him. The mesh walls rippled and squeezed his spike. It felt so different than being on the receiving end, but just as incredible.

Having ridden his brother in the past, he patiently waited for Sideswipe's valve to adjust to him. He soon felt the walls loosen their tight grasp incrementally and then wrapped his hands around Sideswipe's aft, gently pulling on him.

Understanding the unspoken request, Sideswipe began to rock his hips, shifting slightly as he tested how best to position himself.

"You got it," Sunstreaker breathed.

Grinning, Sideswipe seemed to settle into a steady rhythm, pistoning his hips.

Sunstreaker dug his fingers into his brother's plating, and groaned. Connecting with his brother this way felt so right. His body sang with pleasure and his spark pulsed with so much love. Guilt still tugged at him but since arriving in Praxus, it's dark hold over Sunstreaker had weakened.

Lifting his own hips to meet his brother’s, he sank deeper; his spike enveloped in a liquid heat that sent shivers up his spinal unit. Sideswipe curled over top of him, whimpering and moaning. Planting his feet on the berth for more leverage, Sunstreaker took over, thrusting into his brother’s grasping valve in a rocking motion.

Sideswipe dug his fingers into Sunstreaker’s shoulders, pressing his face into the crook of his neck and groaning. “Harder… please…” he whined.

Grasping Sideswipe tightly, Sunstreaker increased his speed. His spike sank to the hilt each time he slid in, jarring his brother’s frame slightly with each hard thrust. Lost in the addictive drive to reach that precipice of climax, all his worries fell away, leaving him intensely focused on unlocking that sweet moment of release for them both.

“Primus!” Sideswipe’s whole frame started to shudder, and then he felt the tightening of his valve, which in return pulled a surprised gasp from him.

With only a couple more rolls of his hips, overload blossomed within his array. Spike buried inside his brother, it filled him with hot mech fluid escaping with each jerk it made. Mouth open wide, he groaned his delight in response to the pleasure overtaking his whole frame.

Sagging against the berth, Sunstreaker panted as his cooling fans kicked on. Floating in a lovely post-overload haze, he dimmed his optics, truly appreciating that his brother had offered himself this way. Turning his head, he kissed the top of Sideswipe’s helm.

“Wow,” Sideswipe said, voice airy.

Chuckling, Sunstreaker weakly hugged him. “Yeah, wow.”

Lifting his head up, Sideswipe gazed at Sunstreaker. “You can do that to me anytime you want.”

Sunstreaker tweaked a horn helm, and laughed.

“Seriously.” Sideswipe leaned down, and they kissed. “My first everything. Always,” he said in a softer tone of voice.

“I love you, too,” Sunstreaker replied to Sideswipe’s implied declaration.

Sideswipe nuzzled his cheek. “You up for another round?”

Slapping his brother’s aft, Sunstreaker shook his head. “You’re completely ridiculous. You know that, right?”

With a cocky smile, Sideswipe laughed. “And you can’t resist me.”

“Nope. I can’t,” Sunstreaker happily admitted.

“Any progress on finding the aft that attacked me?” Smokescreen asked.

“Some, yes,” Prowl replied.

His cousin’s plate reconstruction had gone well and he was scheduled for discharge from the medical center later in the week.

Smokescreen canted his head at Prowl. “Shouldn’t you be at the headquarters doing your fancy detective stuff then?”

“I’m waiting for approval of my request to search a suspect’s property. Nothing more I can do for the moment, so I thought I’d stop in and see you,” Prowl replied.

Smokescreen perked up at the news. “You have a suspect?”

Prowl shook his head. “Not exactly. Your composite helped narrow down the possible family clan he belongs to.”

“Clan? So, an elite Praxian did this to me?” Smokescreen frowned. “That’s fragged up.”

“Anyone harming another is ‘fragged up’ in my opinion,” Prowl replied.

“What could have turned this guy into a killer, though?” Smokescreen asked. “And was it someone we went to school with? How messed up would that be?”

Prowl nodded in agreement. “I will know more once we perform the search.”

Smokescreen sighed. “I really hope you catch him.”

“I have no doubt I will. He will be held accountable for all his actions, I promise you that,” Prowl replied.

“So was that why you came by? To see how I was and update me?”

“Essentially.” Prowl smiled a little, remembering how close they’d once been. It was sad to feel so disconnected from his cousin as an adult, but he really didn’t know how to close the distance.

Smokescreen raised an optic ridge at Prowl. “That’s really all you have to tell me?”

Confused, Prowl canted his head. “Yes.”

Laughing, Smokescreen slapped Prowl’s knee. “Uncle Mobius was here yesterday. Guess what he couldn’t wait to tell me about?”

Heat flashed over Prowl’s faceplates, and he ducked his head slightly, immediately realizing what Smokescreen was hinting at. “He told you I’m dating…”

“Dating twins! Yeah he told me. Primus Prowl, that’s awesome!” Smokescreen grinned brightly. “Tell me all about them. I wanna hear every detail!”

Prowl felt that awkward distance fade and he actually smiled a little at his cousin’s keen interest. “I met them at the dance club we went to. And as fate would have it, we crossed paths again. I asked them out and they agreed.”

Smokescreen stared at Prowl, vaguely frowning. “Wow. You’re really bad at details.” Poking Prowl’s leg with a pointed finger, he laughed. “So is it serious, you think? Have you, ah, you know… ‘faced them yet?”

Doorwings lifting, Prowl vehemently shook his head. “Of course not. We’ve only gone out three times.”

“I tend to ‘face on the first date. Gets it all on the table. But since they’re twins, I’m sure you don’t have to worry about poor berth performance or anything if you wait,” Smokescreen replied.

“First date? Smokescreen, you should have more respect for yourself.” Prowl frowned, wondering just how much damage his cousin’s homelife with a pair of unhappy creators had caused.

“I like ‘facing. Nothing wrong with that.” Smokescreen then grinned. “Besides, me and Blaster are getting serious. I was sure this whole incident was going to scare him off, but he’s been so sweet to me. He’s visited me every day, without fail. Brought me enegron treats now and again, too.”

“Really?” Prowl replied, surprised to learn of the budding relationship. “I honestly never imagined you settling on one mech.”

“And I never thought you’d date anyone, let alone twins. I mean, don’t take this the wrong way, Prowl, but you’ve been…” Smokescreen paused, mouth twisting as he took a moment to form the right words. “Closed off for a long time.”

Prowl glanced down at his hands folded in his lap. “I know.”

Smokescreen sat up straighter in his berth, and put his hand over Prowl’s. “We used to play together every day. Even after your parents died, and even when you stopped talking for all those years, you still always played with me. Remember?”

Looking into his cousin’s face, Prowl nodded.

“I get it. I get why you closed yourself off from the world. You can’t stay that way forever, though. My way of recklessly trying everything and getting my spark broken in my search for the one I want to spend my life with might not be best the way to go about things, but I’m trying. I feel like when you became an adult you stopped trying.” Smokescreen squeezed Prowl’s hand. “You deserve to be happy. To find whoever it is that’ll make your spark flutter and go wild.”

Turning his hand to take proper hold of Smokesceeen’s, Prowl softly sighed. “I don’t want to spend my life all alone. However, the idea of letting anyone close terrifies me.”

“You have to take a risk to get a reward sometimes,” Smokescreen replied.

“These twins…” Prowl gazed down at their linked hands. “There is something about them. I don’t quite know why but I let my control slip in their presence, and it scares me,” Prowl quietly explained as he looked back up.

Smokescreen smiled. “Want my advice?”

Prowl paused, but then nodded, somewhat dubious of taking any offered advice from his cousin.

“Let the walls down with them. Give into how they make you feel.” Smokescreen warmly smiled. “You’re risk will pay off.”

“How could you possibly know that?” Prowl asked.

“Because it’s you. If these two are breaching walls already, then not only are you ready for this, but I think something inside you knows these are special mechs,” Smokescreen replied. “And if they end up being jerks, I’ll punch them each in the face for you.”

Prowl chuckled and nodded. "I appreciate your insights and loving threat of violence."

"I know I'm right on this." Smokescreen gently squeezed Prowl's hand. "Trust your spark."

Smokescreen wasn't the first to tell Prowl that. His uncle had mentioned time and time again to follow one's spark to their true love, or in this case loves. Prowl wasn't sure if that was how things worked for him, though. His spark never "fluttered" like he'd been told it would, but there was no denying his intense desire to spend time with the twins. Just seeing the way they both looked at him was enough to make his face plates heat up. He’d never had anyone treat him with such adoration and affection before, and he had to admit he enjoyed it. Maybe he just needed more time to get them to know them. Build more trust and see if his spark did indeed act like everyone said it should, fluttering so he’d know he’d found the ones he could spend his life with.