Thundercracker was always watching junk on the TV box, and not even the good kind, like rock n' roll musicians trashing their own instruments or fleshlings firing guns and blowing each other up. Instead he'd flick through all that interesting stuff until he found something boring.
Boring like humans sat around talking to each other, or hugging, or making jokes that made no sense.
Today was no different.
Skywarp sat beside him, cheek propped up against his fist, half-asleep as Thundercracker leant ever closer to the screen, optics bright and focused. On TV everything was red and green and cold looking. There were trees indoors and everyone was giving each other colourful packages.
"I wish we had a holiday." Thundercracker said mournfully.
Skywarp decided not to interrupt by saying international Decepticon Day was a perfectly valid holiday for fear of Thundercracker getting annoyed with him and passive aggressively rewinding the tape because he'd 'missed a good bit'.
Instead he shut his mouth and watched.
A long haired female fleshling in a red dress was making an awful lot of unnecessary eye contact with a male in an ugly looking sweater. They looked up, and above them in the doorway was a piece of foliage hanging from the door frame.
For some reason it made them laugh. They came together in a kiss. The camera zoomed in and the music reached it's crescendo.
Thundercracker wiped something away from his optic.
"What? " Skywarp asked, confused.
Thundercracker glared at him and picked up the remote, "You're ruining my favourite part."
Skywarp scowled, watching as he rewound it.
Further research (watching hours and hours of TV with Thundercracker) taught him a lot about festive traditions, most of it useless stuff about spreading good will, eating a lot, and a fat man breaking and entering, but also the binding social contract of overhanging mistletoe.
"What happens if they don't kiss?" He asked Thundercracker.
With an annoyed noise Thundercracker paused the tv again. "I don't know-"
"Something bad?" Skywarp didn't want too many people getting hurt. "Or does it make them kiss?"
"Why?" Thundercracker gave him an exhausted look. "You're not going to try and assault Megatron again, are you?"
Skywarp felt his cheeks ignite. "What? No! Of course I- why would you think I wanted to- and kissing's for Autobots and losers anyway-!"
"Just remember what happened last time with that bow and arrow," Thundercracker shook his helm. "You're lucky Starscream covered for you. It took Hook an hour to get that arrow head out of Megatron's a-"
"-That was a misunderstanding!" Skywarp crossed his arms defensively. "I think arrow tip was supposed to be heart-shaped and pink or something..."
"Skywarp," Thundercracker's tone gentled. He laid a warm servo on his shoulder, reassuring and grounding. "I think if you just talked to Megatron, you'd realise you didn't have to do all these ridiculous-"
"Talk!" Skywarp laughed, standing up. "Where am I supposed to fit in the small talk? Before he starts his screaming match with Starscream or after?"
"Are you sure this is mistletoe?" Skywarp peered at the little bunch of green leaves on the tip of his digit. It looked really... small. Megatron might not even notice it.
"For the last time, yes," Starscream scowled, but with the welding googles he was wearing it lost some of it's effect. "And don't lose it. It's the only sample I have-"
"So you won't make it bigger?"
Starscream paused. After a moment he lifted his goggles and stared at him with those intense (slightly unhinged) optics of his, long and hard.
"...Are you planning on shooting anyone with weaponry again?" He finally asked.
Skywarp fought back a blush. "No!"
Starscream held out his servo, "Alright. How big?"
"Big enough to see when you're under it, but not so big that Megatron sees it before and uses it as target practice."
Starscream's optics crossed in sheer exasperation. "You can do better, you know that, don't you?"
"What, than Megatron?" Skywarp let his optics flutter shut as he thought of a weathered, scowling face and big strong arms.
"No way," he sighed.
Skywarp hung up his appropriately sized mistletoe and waited under it. He'd chosen one of the less frequented security corridors. It saw little traffic, which assured an element of privacy, and he knew Megatron used it.
(He knew Megatron used it because he'd stalked him a few times to make sure.)
He might have a long boring wait ahead of him, but he'd been trained to endure, and he'd waited far longer for much less than an opportunity to kiss Megatron.
Excitement buzzed through his frame just thinking about it.
Since he had the time, he decided to rehearse what he was going to say. Casual and confident? "Hi, sir, oh look, mistletoe, how'd that get there?" Or professional and cool? "Careful, Lord Megatron, you're under the mistletoe~"
He flittered between the two, all the while knowing it would probably be neither. There was a reason why everyone around here thought he was an idiot, after all.
He hoped Megatron didn't...
Megatron wouldn't want an idiot. He'd want someone to talk to. Someone smart like Soundwave, or Starscream- though probably not as obnoxious and rude. He'd probably want to talk about intellectual stuff, so he'd studied, prepared. He'd read all of Megatron's work, including Towards Peace, and he'd even studied some history, looked at Starscream's files and notes.
He just wanted to impress him.
He checked his chrono. Time was ticking by and still no Megatron.
He could wait though.
He was used to waiting for Megatron to notice him.
Thundercracker was dozing, listening to the gentle invents of Starscream in the next berth over, smiling to himself when he heard him mutter angrily at an imaginary dream-foe.
Skywarp still wasn't back yet, and part of Thundercracker wanted to hail him, to check up on him, but considering Skywarp's pans for the evening he was likely too busy to answer, and wouldn't appreciate a pinging interruption from a meddling trine-mate.
But then Skywarp returned.
He trudged in through the door, not even bothering to teleport. His wings so low and limp they could have dragging across the floor.
Thundercracker sat up, spark-sinking, "Skywarp-?"
"Shut up." Skywarp muttered. "Mind your own business. I'm going to recharge."
Thundercracker watched him flop face down to his berth on top of the insulation sheets, unmoving. On the floor beside the berth he'd dropped the mistletoe. It was crumpled and broken from where he'd clenched it in his fist.
In the following silence, Starscream stirred with a groggy, "What're you arguing 'bout?"
Thundercracker raised his chin to be sure Skywarp had fallen into recharge.
"Can you do me a favour?" He whispered.
Starscream cracked one glaring optic open, "No."
"You get to harass Megatron?"
Starscream sat upright, suddenly awake. "I'm in."
Someone yanked on his wing.
"Up." Starscream demanded, "I have role call to take and paper work to finish so this needs to be quick."
Starscream was mercilessly pulling him upright and out of the berth by his most sensitive aileron. Skywarp stumbled to comply before his optics were even focused properly. The blue blob waiting at the end of his berth must have been Thundercracker.
"What's happened? Are we being attacked?!"
"No." Starscream snarled, and snatched the crumpled mistletoe he'd left on the floor up.
Skywarp was about to apologise- he'd known it was Starscream's only sample- but he was being tugged from the room before he could.
"Wait," he stumbled to keep up, realising where they were heading. The bridge. "I need a solvent shower. I'm covered in dust! If Megatron's there-"
"I'm sure he won't mind." Starscream said nastily.
Skywarp blinked, then realised with a horrible surge of panic what they had planned. "No!" He gasped, looking to Thundercracker for help.
Thundercracker pushed him onwards though, helping Starscream. They were in cahoots!
"Don't. Be. A. Coward!" Starscream snarled, yanking him harshly, rounding the corner to the bridge's main entrance. "Thundercracker-"
Thundercracker moved around ahead and jumped to slap the mistletoe right over the doorway to the main bridge. Skywarp tried to prise away the death-grip Starscream had on his servo.
"It was a dumb idea, Starscream, I don't want to-"
Starscream slapped the security panel and opened the main doors. Skywarp's mouth snapped shut with a panicked noise. Inside, Megatron's towering frame turned from his monitor screen to glare at the early morning commotion.
"Hey!" Starscream yelled at him, creating a sharp unpleasant echo through the empty room.
Skywarp optics widened in indignant horror. "Don't talk to him like-!"
"Shut up." Starscream muttered, then shouted again at Megatron. "I told you to stop putting me on the early shifts!"
Megatron turned to face them fully now, glare more pronounced. Skywarp tried to disappear against the doorframe, wanting nothing to do with Starscream and his bad attitude. It probably didn't matter though- Megatron wouldn't even notice him...
"The shift patterns are fair-" Megatron began with the exhausted drone of a mech you knew it was far too early for Starscream-related nonsense.
"Then why don't I see you on the early shifts!" Starscream argued back.
Megatron began stamping his way towards them, strides fast and angry and terrifying. Part of Skywarp wanted to hide behind Starscream.
"This is an early shift, you ungrateful-"
Before Megatron could reach Starscream and presumably strangle him for insubordination, Starscream took a swift step back and swung Skywarp around in front of him. Megatron came up short, blinking in surprise at the sudden change of seekers.
Skywarp had barely strung a stuttering apology together before Thundercracker stuck his helm around the doorway and announced, with the worst 'surprised' acting Skywarp had ever heard-
Megatron looked up.
And Starscream gave Skywarp one big shove forward. Skywarp brought his servos up to catch himself against Megatron's chest and they collided with a grunt and clumsy clang. Megatron looked down at him, frown softening with confusion.
"What is mistle-?"
Skywarp rose onto the tips of his pedes and kissed him mid sentence.
His spark drummed in his chest, pulsing fast, too fast for how slow time seemed to move. Megatron's lips were soft and unresponsive, and Skywarp thought he was going to break apart into a thousand pieces if they separated and he was just steered aside.
Megatron's helm tilted ever so slightly, his nose brushing Skywarp's cheek. It wasn't much, as far as Thundercracker's Hallmark Christmas movie kisses went, but it was- it was everything to Skywarp. From the lingering pressure of lips on lips to the gentle exhale of breath when they finally parted.
Skywarp settled back onto his pedes and let his optics flutter online.
And Megatron was looking at him, optics focused and bright and looking at him.
"Skywarp," he murmured, and his voice held a richness Skywarp had never heard anyone use for him before.
He wanted to flash Megatron a dazzling smile, maybe wink coyly, but he felt frozen, struck and too petrified to break the moment with typical Skywarp-ness.
Megatron dipped his helm. As though to kiss him again, or perhaps say something intimate. Skywarp lifted his chin eagerly-
When fragging Starscream grabbed him by the back of the wing and yanked him back, causing Megatron to stumble into air.
"No more early shifts!" Starscream shouted at Megatron, already wrestling Skywarp down the corridor.
"Starscream!" Skywarp snarled, but couldn't summon any true heat for how distracted he was at the sight of Megatron watching him leave, staring after him with a struck, wistful expression. "You couldn't have let me enjoy it?"
"Take it easy, Warp." Thundercracker nudged his side playfully. "It's called 'playing hard to get'."
"That never works-"
They'd barely rounded the corner when his comm pinged. He looked down and saw Megatron's frequency as the sender. His private frequency.
If Thundercracker and Starscream hadn't been jostling him along and holding him up, he might have fallen face down on the floor.