After tying the last knot, Starscream sank back on his heel-thrusters, inspecting his handiwork. "Comfy?"
Skyfire cast a glance down the length of his bound frame. "Am I supposed to be?"
He was on his back, holding his knees to his chest. A set of grappling cables bound his wrists to the backs of his knees, and the hooks at the end of each cable were snagged into his pectoral slats. Starscream gave one of the cables a firm tug, exerting pressure on the sensitive slat and making Skyfire groan.
"No insolence, please," he said. "Just answer the question."
"Not… particularly," Skyfire admitted with a pained smile. "Not that I'd ask you to change anything."
His tone was light, but Starscream didn't like the clench of his jaw. Sure enough, when he probed their bond he found an area of blankness, like a sparkling's picture-puzzle with a piece missing. Skyfire was hiding something. Well, slag to that.
"Red dwarf," Starscream said, yanking the quick-release knots. The bindings dropped away, and Skyfire's optics flew wide with surprise.
"What?" Skyfire asked, sitting up.
"You're lying. Don't think I can't tell. Even if you weren't clenching your jaw as if you were trying to bite through a titanium girder, I can sense it through the bond. So, out with it! Where am I hurting you?"
"It's nothing," Skyfire replied. "My hips just get stiff if I've been in the same position for a while. They're usually sore when I wake from recharge, but it fades once I'm up and moving." He paused. "Are you seriously lecturing me about hiding pain?"
Starscream shoved him on his back. "We're in a scene," he snapped, leaning over him. "If you want this, I require honesty. So: do you?"
"Want this?" Skyfire licked his lips as an image of the two of them entwined in the Decepticon brig filtered through the bond. "Frag yes."
"Well, that's encouraging." Starscream let his hands drift over Skyfire's midriff, pressing here and there as he searched for hidden paths of tension. He paused at Skyfire's hips. "If we are doing this, then I'm specifying a new rule: no bravery." Off Skyfire's questioning look, Starscream released his hips and leaned over him again. "I want screams or a safeword. None of this." He pulled his features into what he hoped was a credible imitation of Skyfire's 'brave' face. "Got that?"
Skyfire nodded. "No bravery. Got it."
"Outstanding." Starscream slung a leg over him, grinding his stiff codpiece against Skyfire's hip. "Begging and pleading are also acceptable. In fact," he nipped Skyfire's neck, "I encourage them."
Skyfire shuddered. "Yes… oh, please…"
Starscream silenced him with a kiss. "Patience." He knelt between Skyfire's thighs, ghosting his palms over his chest. He paused at the hooks, checking to make sure they weren't digging into anything sensitive, then resumed his downward journey. His hands came to rest on the two scarlet Ls that flanked Skyfire's codpiece. "Tell me if this hurts," he said as he shifted his weight forward, pressing Skyfire's hips into the berth-pad.
Skyfire caught his vents. "Y… no," he replied harshly. "It's… no, don't stop," he added as Starscream withdrew the pressure. "More. Please."
"Pleading already?" Starscream hummed as he rocked forward, testing Skyfire's range of motion. When he found the edges of resistance, he began to work into them with a slow, rhythmic press and release. "Breathe with me," he ordered. "Exvent when I rock up, intake when I come down."
Skyfire nodded. "Huh—how'd you learn to do this?" he asked, matching Starscream's ventilations.
"War," Starscream replied, bringing more of his body-weight into the movement as they found their rhythm. "If you damage the same area often enough, you start getting creative." The throbbing imprint of Megaton's hand at the back of his neck served as a reminder that that wasn't quite true, but it was close to the truth as he cared to get.
"Whoever taught you, I owe them."
Starscream managed a curt nod. "Tell me how this feels," he said, dragging his thumbs along the seam between Skyfire's waist and his pelvis.
"That's… oh, that is good." Skyfire arched his midriff, offering greater access. "Around the sides, too."
"Like this?" Starscream asked, burrowing his thumbs into the gaps where Skyfire's pelvic array met his fuselage.
"Yes… oh, frag." Skyfire's ventilations deepened into groans as the stiffness began to melt. "What I meant," he added softly, "is that I'm glad someone was there to take care of you when I couldn't be."
"You're not even jealous?"
"No. If it was someone you fragged, I'm glad there was more to the relationship than just sex."
So much more, Starscream thought. A bitter taste rose in his throat as he recalled his most recent encounter with Megatron, who knew all his weaknesses and had wrung a confession from him with the merest, gentlest of touches.
"Just sex?" Starscream echoed, focusing on his task to avoid Skyfire's gaze. "You make it sound like that would be a bad thing."
"Hunhn…not at all," Skyfire said, visibly struggling to form words. "Sex has its own kind of… ah!" He broke off as Starscream curled his hand over his codpiece and squeezed, dragging out a helpless moan. "Its own kind of magic," he finished raggedly.
"I don't believe in magic," Starscream replied—a fact of which he was ever more certain, given his recent fever-dream encounter with a dragon and a supposed wizard. While that had obviously been a side-effect of energon deprivation, he had to admit there was something about the way Skyfire's body was opening to his touch that seemed, for lack of a better word, miraculous. If there was any true magic in the universe, this had to be it.
"I believe in this," he whispered, and Skyfire responded with a tremulous sigh.
Starscream worked without hurry, making his way around Skyfire's hips and upper thighs. When he finally arrived at the juncture where Skyfire's thighs met his groin, Skyfire's knees rose as if by instinct. Starscream took hold of them and rocked upward in a slow, rhythmic wave, testing for areas of tension. There were none. Skyfire's hips moved effortlessly now, the joints gliding smoothly in their sockets. "I did this to you last night," he said, voicing a worry that had been nagging him. "Did it hurt then?"
"No. I'd been moving around all day, and…" Skyfire paused, his half-shuttered gaze sweeping meaningfully down the length of Starscream's frame, "I was already warmed up."
"And would you say you're warmed up now?"
Skyfire's mouth curled in a lazy smile. "I would, but feel free to run your own tests."
"I might have to." Starscream leaned up to take his mouth, scraping his fangs over the full bottom lip. Skyfire opened with a sigh, a quiver running the length of his frame as his long thighs wrapped around Starscream and pulled him close. Their glossae met in a playful duel, and Starscream was seized by the urge to just take Skyfire, here and now. But that wasn't what either of them needed. He released Skyfire's mouth and rocked back to kneel between his legs.
"Hips in the air," he ordered. When Skyfire obeyed, Starscream slipped a roll-pillow beneath them. This tilted Skyfire's hips upward, which served the dual purpose of making the binding position more comfortable while exposing Skyfire's crotch for Starscream's viewing pleasure. Among other pleasures, of course.
"Grab the backs of your knees."
Skyfire did, drawing his knees nearly to his shoulders.
"No need to show off," Starscream added, catching hold of them and drawing them back up so that Skyfire's thighs were at a ninety-degree angle to his torso. "This will do nicely," he said, gliding a hand down the inner surface of a gleaming thigh to probe the edges of Skyfire's valve panel. Skyfire made a soft, breathy sound, and Starscream smiled appreciatively when his fingers encountered slick dew.
"Preliminary tests show promising results," he said, holding up his wet fingers for Skyfire to see. "And I must say, you make quite a sight like this with your pedes in the air, all wet and…" He drew his hand up to curl possessively over Skyfire's codpiece. "Yes, and hard, too." He squeezed the shielded length, relishing the lush heat and delicious tightness beneath his palm. "Well done. And you remembered our rule: panels stay closed until otherwise instructed."
A shiver raced through Skyfire's frame. "How could I forget?" His voice was low, breathy and… young. So achingly young, as if their long separation had never happened, and he sounded so undone, already. Keeping him balanced on his edge would be the purest of pleasures. Starscream took up one of the grappling cables. He ran it through his hands, enjoying its sinuous weight in his palms and the way the hooks glittered in the uncertain light. He'd used these cables in battle from time to time, the most recent occasion being when he and his trine had stolen the human-built Ninja robot, Nightbird, but that wasn't the use for which he'd originally forged them. He'd made them for this.
Starscream checked the hook to make sure its sharp points were in no danger of damaging Skyfire's pectoral slats, then drew the cable tight. Skyfire gasped, his chest rising in a pretty arch as he tried to relieve the sudden pressure. Starscream eased the tension just enough for him to relax again, then wrapped the cable around Skyfire's opposing wrist and knee.
He repeated the same process on the other side, connecting each of Skyfire's hooked pectorals to the opposite knee, so the dark cables formed a dramatic 'X' across his pale midriff. Starscream then looped a cable under each of Skyfire's pedes and wound them back up to his knees. This created stirrups, which would provide additional support for Skyfire's legs. Starscream moved Skyfire's knees back and forth, testing the tension. Once he was satisfied, he finished the bindings with the same quick-release knots he'd used earlier.
"Just look at you." Starscream slung a leg over Skyfire's chest, using his knees to pry Skyfire's upper arms away from his sides. This put pressure on Skyfire's bound wrists, forcing his legs wider apart. "All tied down, open for anything I might decide to do. And I could do anything." He rocked his hips against the crossed cables and pulling them tight. "You do know that, don't you?"
Skyfire groaned, his optics blazing a shade whiter. "I do." His voice was a rough whisper, and Starscream didn't miss how his fevered gaze traveled the length of him, settling at his groin as he added, "I am at your mercy."
"How unfortunate for you," Starscream said, letting his hands drift over Skyfire's chest. He cupped the hooks, enjoying their pinprick sharpness against his palms. "As I'm sure you're aware, we Decepticons aren't known for mercy."
He dipped his thumbs between Skyfire's pectoral slats to stroke the sensitive inner surfaces, making him shiver, then rolled his hips back, yanking the hooks tight. Skyfire threw his head back, his cry collapsing into breathy whimpers as Starscream continued stroking his pectorals in time with the grind of his hips.
"Maybe it's time I introduced you to more of our ways. The finer points of protocol, you might say."
"Finer… points?" Skyfire's tone was rough.
"Indeed," Starscream said as he continued his slow gyrations. "Perhaps you could remind me of what we've established so far."
"You… don't submit," Skyfire rasped. "You take the p-penetrative role in s-sex, and your valve is—ah! Off limits."
"Very good," Starscream said, easing off the cables. "Anything else?"
Skyfire's brow-ridges drew into a frown as he visibly struggled to recall the information. "A higher-ranking officer c-can accept oral servicing to his spike by a lower-ranking one," he said at last, "or he can touch the valve of a lower-ranking officer, but not the other way."
"Excellent! You were paying attention when we talked about this. But now for something we haven't covered." Starscream rose, abandoning the cables, and draped a leg over Skyfire's face. "Kiss me, thrall!"
Skyfire tensed. For a moment, Starscream wondered if he'd gone too far by using one of Dirge's favored terms of abuse, but then a pulse of hope, mingled with desire, filtering through their bond. "This is… allowed?" Skyfire's tone was that of a starving mech trying to decide if a proffered energon cube was actually real.
Starscream smirked. "I gave you an order, didn't I?"
Starscream pressed his shielded crotch against Skyfire's mouth. "As your superior officer, I command you to clean my panels! And they'd better sparkle, or there will be consequences."
Not that Starscream had thought of any consequences just yet, but he doubted he'd need any. He didn't. Skyfire made a small, hungry sound as he turned his head to the side, his lips grazing Starscream's inner thigh.
"Your scent," he whispered, scattering kisses. "So good, so…" His next words were lost in a hum of pleasure as his lips made contact with Starscream's valve panel. "You're so wet. I'm really allowed taste you?"
Starscream grasped Skyfire by his sensor-horns and ground his crotch into his face. "Lick it up, lackey! Suck it like the slave you are."
Skyfire quivered beneath him, and Starscream stifled a groan as a warm, slick glossa traced the edges of his panel, obediently licking up his juices.
"Make sure you get it all," he ordered—and then, in a lower voice, added, "You didn't imagine this would be protocol, did you?"
"Hnnn…no," came the muffled reply. "H…how?"
"You mean, how is it protocol?"
Skyfire's affirmative was a gust of warm air between Starscream's thighs.
"It's—hunh!—humiliating," Starscream managed, his voice abandoning him as hot, delicious tingles spread throughout his lower frame, "for a sub-subordinate to do this for a superior officer."
Skyfire paused. "I'm supposed to find this humiliating?"
"Y…yes! If you can manage that?"
"Hmnnn… I'll do my best," Skyfire murmured, resuming his licks and kisses. "This's… yes. Terribly degrading."
"Ex…cellent. Yes, I'm—glad you're t-taking the proper attitu—ah! Oh, Sky…"
Skyfire growled, sending vibrations pulsing through Starscream's array. It was almost too much, and Starscream had to fight a nearly overwhelming desire to unshield himself. It would be so easy to give in, to throw protocol to the wind and ride Skyfire's mouth to the brink of oblivion. Perhaps by morning, he'd forget all about it. Or perhaps he wouldn't.
The unseen hand at the back of his neck tightened. Go on, Megatron's voice whispered. Show us what you're really made of.
"No!" Starscream levered himself off Skyfire's face, then realized, belatedly, that he'd spoken aloud. "No more for you," he amended, brushing a thumb across Skyfire's glistening mouth. "I think you're enjoying your punishment far too much."
"Guilty," Skyfire murmured, kissing his thumb.
Starscream squelched a desperate urge to kiss him, and returned, instead, to straddling his chest. As he sank his weight back on the cables, it occurred to him that he wasn't traversing Skyfire's edges so much as his own.
"Feel how heavy I am?" he asked, dipping his hips in a slow grind.
Skyfire nodded, biting his lips.
"That's the weight of military-grade armor reinforcements. Every Decepticon has them. Your Auto-buddies probably do, too. You should ask."
Skyfire opened his mouth as if to say something, but Starscream clamped a hand over it.
"No words," he ordered. "Just feel."
Skyfire subsided with a whimper and Starscream continued to roll his hips, making the cables—and Skyfire—groan. He wasn't terribly heavy, of course. No flier could afford to be, but he was heavier than Skyfire would remember. He maintained his rhythm with care, watching every flicker of expression on Skyfire's face. Every time he ground back, his own pectorals tightened as if they, too, bore the imprint of the hooks. It was a dull, sweet ache that carved a path of flame straight to his groin, hardening his spike to a new, painful tightness within its housing.
"I mentioned some new toys," Starscream said after a while. "Would you like to see some of them?"