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Contritus

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“What were you thinking?!”

“I wasn’t.”

Louder!

Rodimus shuddered at the finger thrust in his face. “I wasn’t thinking.”

Megatron withdraw his hand, a look of disgust on his face plates. “Because you’re an infantile, sorry excuse for a captain.”

When the ex-Warlord turned his back on Rodimus, the smaller bot released a held exvent. He soon realized his mistake. Without pause, Megatron spun, hand outstretched to connect with Rodimus’ cheek. Well used to such treatment, the red mech stopped himself from releasing a squeak of surprised pain as his helm spun to the side.

Megatron squared his shoulders and flicked his hand, as if touching the prime had contaminated him. “You’ll do better next time.”

“Yes, sir.”

The silver mech gave Rodimus a last considering look before exiting the room. The speedster was careful to keep his attention on the floor until the other bot had gone.

Once alone, he commed Drift. :Drift, I-:

Rodimus had to stop for fear of loosing control. Drift couldn’t know what was happening to him, it would only get the white speedster hurt or worse. There was already tension between Megatron and Drift, considering the past they shared-

:-imus? Roddy, you there?:

Rodimus struggled to reset his vocalizer and spat some energon from a nicked lip plate onto the floor. “Don’t think I’m gonna make it to spar today. S-sorry.:

A brief pause on Drift’s end almost caused Rodimus’ lines to freeze with fear. Did Drift know? After all, the knight knew a lot about meditating and stuff. What if he could sense what was really doing on, or what if Drift decided to just show up? The fear began to overwhelm Rodimus until Drift spoke again. :Uh, okay. You good? Maybe I could-:

:No! No, it’s cool. Go have fun with, Ratch, yeah? Or as much fun as he can have, anyways. Whatever you two get up to anyway-:

:Alright, Roddy. Hey, you and Megs have a fun night in, okay?:

:Yeah, you bet.:

The moment that the comm. closed, Rodimus collapsed onto his berthroom floor. Sobs racked his scuffed frame. He didn’t have the energy to fix any of the damage at the moment. Briefly, the red mech considered calling Ratchet and putting himself at the mercy of the medic’s sworn confidentiality, but somehow Rodimus knew that letting a single other bot know would only make Megatron’s punishment’s worse and harder to see.

Who would believe him anyway? Megatron doted on him in public. The far bigger mech held his hand, hugged him close, brushed his mouth across Rodimus’ in feigned affection. The ex-Decepticon had miraculous control over his field, easily manipulating it into a collage of happiness and praise whenever he was around Rodimus with others. The façade fell apart when it was just the two of them together.

It hadn’t always been like this. At first, Megatron had been like a magnet or a flame, drawing Rodimus in with his charisma and quiet resolve. The silver mech had captured the young prime, had owned him in both processor and in chassis within no time at all. Rodimus had willingly succumbed to the other’s affections, always believing nimself to be too immature and unworthy to ever be loved. But Megatorn had seemed to look past it all, choosing Rodimus to douse with his attentions.

Sure, Megatron had chastised Rodimus for his impulsivity. The red mech knew that he could be brash at times. He welcomed the reminders at first, seeing them as things he could work on. He wanted to be worthy of his future conjunx and Rodimus was determined that Megatron’s leadership would guide him in such a way so that Rodimus would be molded into a mech that Optimus would be proud of.

He wanted the attention. He wanted them to be proud of him. Optimus, Megatron, Drift, the whole crew! Rodimus had thought that Megatron could help him become that mech, someone that they could all depend on and look up to.

Then, the accusations fell, starting with Megatron insisting that Rodimus and Drift were more than friends. Even as Rodimus denied it repeatedly, Megatron refused to believe him, driving Rodimus to the point of actively avoiding his amica endura. It had nearly ruining his relationship with Drift.

Drift hadn’t understood why Rodimus became distant and withdrawn. He assumed that Rodimus simply wanted more time with Megatron. After all, the knight had been the same way upon bonding with Ratchet when they both returned to the Lost Light.

No, Rodimus couldn’t tell Ratchet. He thought of Rung, but reminded himself that Rung and Megatron got along, often sharing poems and other old-man stuff. Who could he trust? How could he escape?

Rodimus sank to the floor, cradling his heavily damaged arm as he did. They all looked up to Megatron, even with the ex-Warlord’s terrible past of seemingly endless murder and destruction. The crew didn’t believe in Rodimus, didn’t see him as a serious leader of their ship. Who would? He was sobbing on his floor after receiving a few bruises! What kind of leader did that?

“He’s right,” the prime whispered to the empty room. He allowed himself to slump to the floor and he closed his optics. Megatron was right. He would never be the leader that his crew needed. He couldn’t even keep them safe, couldn’t guarantee their safety aboard his ship.

The image of a bot, taller than even Megatron, passed before Rodimus’ processor. His spark swirled in his chest at the thought of the towering blue mech with the deep, serene voice. Yes, Ultra Magnus was collected and steady, a natural leader. Rodimus, smiled, but it was quickly dashed away when he felt one of his cracked lip plates open anew and wash his mouth with freshly-spilled energon.

The prime raked his sore glossa across his dentas and spat the energon onto the floor. Ultra Magnus could probably be trusted. In fact, Rodimus knew that the former Enforcer wouldn’t stand for the violence that occurred between the ship’s captains. Maybe he should tell-

Another wave of helplessness washed over Rodimus at the thought of admitting what Megatron was doing to him to the blue mech. He couldn’t ever tell Ultra Magnus.

Lately, the young prime’s thoughts had wondered toward the former Enforcer, but Rodimus knew that he didn’t have a chance with him. Ultra Magnus was a stickler for rules and regulation, he would never allow such a power-imbalanced relationship. All the same, Rodimus couldn’t shake the feelings he was developing for his second-in-command.

Rodimus knew he’d never be able to tell Ultra Magnus. Megatron would surely kill his co-captain before Rodimus got the chance to tell anyone. Besides, admitting both his abuse and his affections to Ultra Magnus would be fruitless. Megatron was right. Rodimus was not good enough to be cared for and he deserved everything that Megatron had given him.

“Stupid, stupid, stupid-“

Joints creaking and armor shaking, Rodimus hauled himself to his peds and made his way to the berth. Later on, Megatron would return. The silver mech wouldn’t be happy to find Rodimus’ energon smeared across the berth, but the prime couldn’t force himself to care. The punishment would be swift at least.

Rodimus nestled his battered face down into the bedding. Perhaps Megatron would deactivate him next time. As his healing nanites fought to fix the least severe of his injuries, he found that he truly didn’t care anymore.