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Ever Fallen In Love

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Rodimus huffed. He crossed his pedes over at the ankles, then switched which one was on top. He picked up his datapad, flicked it on, then threw it back down onto his desk. Flinging his helm back with a small utter of annoyance, he tried to stop the invasive thoughts from intruding into his processor and instead think about what Minimus had asked him, what next?

What next? What fragging next? Bring Drift home. That's what he wanted to say, but he couldn't, so he shrugged nonchalantly and made a non committal noise that was sure to irritate Megatron who was hovering.

What was with that? These days he was always hovering, especially in the vicinity of Minumus-

“Oh.” Rodimus snapped his helm up, looking bewildered, “that's what that is.”

He snorted and pulled his feet down from his desk. He supposed he better do something productive instead of shutting himself behind closed doors in case Megatron just got that captain's chair a little too comfy.

Rodimus made his way down leisurely to Swerve's, no better place to make sure his crew were all dandy and he kidded himself that only one drink would be fine, it'd be enough to just ease the thoughts away.

 

Thunderclash was concentrating fully on his task at hand, at least anyone who was watching him would think so, but his processor had wandered to the captain of the Lost Light. He hadn't seemed himself since Drift and Ratchet had left not even that long ago, and maybe not many others would see it, but Thunderclash could. The way he wouldn't meet anyone's optics for long and the way his grin faltered a little at the beginning, as if he wasn't sure whether to do it or not were telltale signs. The big mech liked to think that he knew Rodimus well enough by now.

Apparently so did someone else.

“Swerve? Is everything alright?”

“Thunderclash, you're a great guy you know that?”

“Um, thank you. Is that all you called for?”

“Oh jeez no, sorry, you answered and I thought to myself man even his voice is the best! Sorry, side tracked! Um, I just wondered if you could maybe collect Rodimus?”

“Me?” Thunderclash cleared the static in his vocaliser, “why me?”

“Uh, last time I called Ultra Magnus, sorry, Minimus, he got real twitchy and I'm not sure I can handle it. And Megatron? Hahahaha-”

“I'll be there.”

“-ahahahaha! Great! Thanks!”

Thunderclash sighed and pulled himself up from where he was sat on one of the chairs on the bridge, going through a datapad of what stores they had left on the ship and what they were running low on. He placed the datapad down and gestured to Mainframe.

“If I'm not back soon, would you alert Minimus or Megatron that we are running low on certain elements?”

Mainframe waved a hand in the air, and Thunderclash wasn't sure if he was concentrating more on keeping the ship in line or the game he was playing on one of the screens in front of him.

On the way down to the bar he decided he didn't exactly want to go do this. Sometimes Rodimus didn't react in the best way to Thunderclash and although he never took it personally, he hated to irritate him. Although, maybe tonight would be different, maybe Rodimus would be singing his praises in Swerve's and-

He heard the mournful singing before he even opened the door and he composed himself before he stepped in. It was going to be much harder than he thought.

“You can call it another lonely daaaay,

You can go your own waaaaay,

Go your own way!”

There was a moment where Thunderclash considered calling Minimus or even Megatron to deal with this, because a forlorn Rodimus he could usually handle, but a singing one was a whole different matter.

Primus give me strength,” he heaved an ex-vent.

Swerve was cleaning a glass at the bar, ignoring most of his customers in favour of watching Rodimus nervously. When he caught sight of Thunderclash, he visibly relaxed and saluted him.

Thunderclash was going to have words about the karaoke machine, but first of all he had to tame Rodimus.

“Captain,” he started, ignoring the glances he was getting, “your next shift is coming up soon, shouldn't you be recharging?”

“Thunders, you're ruining the song,” Rodimus hissed then continued, “ you can go your own way!”

Thunderclash sighed and looked back at Swerve who gave him a huge grin and a thumbs up. He wasn't sure if he wasn't indicating that he was doing okay or just generally wanted to say you're good! He tried again.

“Rodimus, if I buy you a bottle, will you please go back to your hab suite and recharge.”

“Make it three. You can call it another lonely day!

Trying to stifle another ex-vent, Thunderclash charged over to the bar, ignorant to the chatter he was attracting and threw his hand down onto it. He fixed Swerve with a steady gaze and the bartender tried not to gush over him. He was just so awesome.

“If I give you two hundred shanix, can you give me three bottles of whatever is Rodimus’ favourite and throw that karaoke machine off the ship.”

“Two fifty and I'll hide it in my hab suite instead.”

Thunderclash sighed, “fine.”

Luckily the song had ended and with the three bottles of engex in his arms, Thunderclash managed to lure Rodimus away out of the bar, but not before he took several bows and blew kisses around the bar at the unimpressed patrons who were glad to see he was leaving.

“Thank you! Thank you! I'll be around for the next four million years!”

Watching them leave was Chromedome, sat at the bar with Rewind, his conjunx leaning into him and giggling at the show. With a shake of his helm and a grin under his mask, Chromedome waved a hand to attract attention.

“Hey Swerve, I'll give you five hundred shanix if you give the karaoke machine to Rodimus for his own personal use.”

Whirl piped up, from the other side of the bar, “I'll give you a thousand if you let me have it.”

Swerve looked between them, a stern look on his face and then placed his glass down, to put his hands on his hips to show them he meant business.

“Nuh-uh. Thunderclash asked me to keep it away, Thunderclash. ” He paused then gestured at Whirl, “Two thousand and it's yours.”

Thunderclash had finally managed to get Rodimus back to his hab suite, at least into the doorway, and the captain smiled sweetly, trying to disarm him with his usual charm. As he attempted to prise the bottles from Thunderclash's grasp, the bigger mech shook his helm. No matter how cute that smile was, he wouldn't relent.

“No, the agreement was you came to recharge.”

“Just one,” he wheedled then blinked several times, “jeez, how strong are you?”

Thunderclash diverted his optics so they wouldn't betray how he felt inside and he laid a hand onto Rodimus' shoulder, pulling himself together and regarding the captain. The three bottles were still firmly in his other arm.

“Rodimus please.”

“Fine, as long as you tuck me in.”

He flickered his optics and snickered, burying his face into Thunderclash's chest and then waltzing into his hab. With a small sigh, Thunderclash followed and placed the bottles into the bedside cabinet where Rodimus kept the stash of his snacks, then turned his attention to the mech.

He was laying on his side, tucked up neatly and facing away from Thunderclash but he could see his optics weren't online. With a small smile, Thunderclash brought the blanket up over onto his shoulder and left quickly, before he decided to do or say something he felt he shouldn’t.

On his way out he heard Rodimus mutter drowsily.

“I miss you already.”

Chapter Text

"Rodimus?”

The captain threw himself past Drift and into his hab suite, grinning and spinning slowly to take in what his friend had done with the place already. There was incense set up on his desk, and a colourful rug placed onto the floor for Drift to meditate upon. His berth was already loaded with blankets and Rodimus knew that undoubtedly he'd be wrapped up in them with only his finials sticking out when he recharged. They'd shared a berth often enough.

“Isn't this great?”

“I was trying to meditate-”

“Seriously though, over two hundred crew members! Red Alert is ready at the door whilst Magnus twitches, I'm sure he's already counted all of the rivets in the corridors to make sure the ship complies with whatever stupid rivet rules there are.”

“Mmhm.”

Drift knew he should be used to Rodimus’ ways by now, but he was feeling irritated and finding it hard to tolerate just then. There was a  pretty big reason for him to feel the way he did, and he wasn't quite sure how to deal with it, so he'd been trying to meditate on his thoughts. Until Rodimus came gate crashing.

He stopped and watched as Drift went over to his weapons rack, picking up all of his swords and as he armed himself to go help with readying the Lost Light to set off on its journey, Rodimus spoke, a small grin on his face.

“You know huh?”

“About?”

“Oh c'mon, you're going to be coy about it are you? The CMO-”

“I'm aware Rodimus.”

“Ah. That is what's bothering you.”

“No. I just, I bother him.”

“On purpose?”

“Not all of the time no. Apparently I just have a way of doing it,” he sighed then plastered on a smile, “anyway, let's go do what we need to do to start this journey.”

“That's more like it!”

And Rodimus threw himself at his friend, hugging him tightly and nuzzling his face into Drift's. The white mech laughed and embraced him back hard. This was going to be one hell of a trip.


 

Rodimus tossed and turned throughout his whole recharge, and by the time he had to pull himself from his berth to do some work, he was in a foul mood. His helm was aching, but not as badly as his spark was.

When he got down onto the bridge, Megatron was waiting to do a hand over with him and Rodimus sat sullenly in his chair, barely listening.

“Rodimus,” Megatron sighed, knowing he wasn't being paid attention to, “I understand listening isn't a strong point of yours but I feel that perhaps when it comes to the integrity of your ship and your crew, it might matter enough to listen to me for just a klik.”

Rodimus absently wiped at the screen in front of him at a speck of dust, his face still twisted into a sad frown.

“You know Drift brought it for me right? The ship?”

Megatron pinched the bridge of his nose and tried not to sigh again. He would much rather deal with a kicking and screaming tantrum instead of this desperate melancholy.

“Yes, I am aware.”

“I dunno why. I dunno what I did to deserve him as a friend.”

“He is still your amica endura, do not treat him as though he is not.”

“Who'd blame him if he changed his mind?” Rodimus shrugged, finished with talking, “I've got this Megs, go relax by I dunno, plotting mutiny or whatever it is you do for fun around here.”

Megatron didn't dignify the words with a response, because sometimes it was tempting.

By the time Minimus had dropped into the bridge to ensure everything was going well, Rodimus was truly in a sulk. He hated doing bridge duty at the best of times, especially when it was dull and tedious but usually Drift was on hand to make it easier, unless he was smooching with Ratchet. Even then Rodimus would send him occasional comm pings to keep himself entertained, and he knew it would probably be irking Ratchet too, which was one of his favourite past times.

Now? All he could think about was getting off the bridge and back into Swerve's.

“Captain,” Minimus had his arms clasped behind his back, “all is well I presume?”

“Primus, you even sound like him now.”

Rodimus was picking at the armrest where there was a loose thread, leaning his helm into his hand solemnly.

“What? Who?”

“Your shadow. You know, the ex-Decepticon warlord, can't miss the air of arrogance he carries around. Megs. That guy.”

“He is not-” Minimus huffed, “if you are quite done, your shift is over.”

“Thank Primus!”

Rodimus sprung up animatedly, patted the green mech's shoulder and disappeared down the corridor. His shift wasn't even over, it was just Minimus couldn't take any more sulking and he shook his helm in thought. That kid was heading towards trouble, just apparently sooner than he'd thought.

“What?!”

Swerve ducked down behind the bar a little more, clinging onto the edge so only his visor could be seen. Rodimus was leaning over the bar, incredulous, and the bartender was sure he saw a little flame fizzing on the edge of his spoiler as he scowled.

“Whirl has it. I don't know why but it was hilarious to watch him carry it -”

“I heard that! I meant what as in what the actual frag Swerve?!

“You were scaring away my customers with all that sad, forlorn-”

“UGH!” Rodimus threw himself down over the bar dramatically, “sometimes I wonder who gave you this damn job.”

“Uh, I did?”

“Oh. Yeah.” Rodimus pointed vaguely, “just give me a tankard filled with whatever, not watered down , and put it on Megatron's tab, he totally owes me a drink.”

After a few more drinks, all added onto Megatron's bill, Rodimus was feeling slightly better and more positive. Okay so Drift was gone, but he'd be back, and he'd be full of adventures to tell Rodimus and they'd probably have a late night in his hab suite, giggling and demolishing his snack stash. It would just be like old times again, and he couldn't wait.

The peace was about to come crashing down as Whirl walked in, clocked the captain and narrowed his optic mischievously.

He placed himself down beside Rodimus and the other mech nearly choked on his drink, the good mindset he was in overtaken by the sight of the troublemaker.

“You! What did you do with my karaoke machine?!”

“Yours? It's mine now.”

“Oh jeez.” Swerve slid down behind the bar again, “this isn't going to end well.”

“I'll buy it back off you, a thousand credits.”

Whirl snickered, turning to meet his gaze, “I paid two .”

“Yeah? And you with those claws ,” Rodimus mimicked it, “of yours have probably damaged it.”

“Yeah thanks but no thanks, Cap, it makes great target practice.” Whirl turned back to the bar, “besides, you haven't got your rich buddy here, I doubt you've even got the shanix.”

Usually Rodimus would have laughed off Whirl and his abrasive ways, he was there as barely more than an irritant and sometimes he could be useful, especially if it involved violence, but after a lousy night of recharge and the mention of Drift's absence, he was suddenly spoiling for a fight. He banged a palm down onto the bar and some of the other patrons glanced over nervously.

“I'm the captain , don't talk to me like that.”

“Captain? Or co-captain? Hey Swerve, where's my drink, and don't forget the little umbrell-aaargh!”

The stool was swiftly pulled from beneath Whirl and whilst the mech was floored onto his back, Rodimus launched the piece of furniture across the room with a growl. It hit against the wall above an empty booth and clattered to the floor, causing a hush to descend over the chatter.

Rodimus’ frame was heaving. Whirl was uncontrollable with laughter.

“Temper temper ,” he spluttered, “feeling a little touchy today, Cap?”

As Rodimus went to haul him up to punch him back down into the floor, Thunderclash was putting his large hands onto his shoulders and pulling him back.

“Rodimus, leave it.”

“He said-!”

“Whirl says a lot of inflammatory things, that's who he is. Take a walk,” Thunderclash regarded Whirl, “and stop being a jerk.”

“Ooh the mighty Thunderclash told me to behave! I better excuse myself to my hab suite and frag myself silly over it!”

Whirl's laughter followed Rodimus out of the bar, and he clenched his fists hard. He felt like the anger was burning him from the inside out and the only way for him to let it loose was to go wild, to hit and rage and scream. The only other thing that helped was burying it with engex. If he was drunk and numb, he couldn't feel.

When they were out in the corridor, Thunderclash waited for the few mechs hurrying along to get past, giving them a small smile before he sighed and turned on Rodimus. His usually kind face collapsed into a scowl.

“What was that about?”

“Whirl was-”

“Being Whirl . You usually find him hilarious, what happened?”

“He was… Drift.” Rodimus spat, turning his helm and throwing himself back against the wall, “he brought up Drift.”

“And?”

“And-!”

But the flame coloured mech had no answer. Instead he sulked. Thunderclash wasn't going to pander to him and perhaps came across harsher than he intended.

“You can't go throwing bar stools across Swerve's because someone mentions Drift's name. He's gone on vacation, that's all. He'll be back.”

“With Ratchet . Who wants to go anywhere with Ratchet?”

“And he wouldn't want to go with you either right now,” Thunderclash softened his tone, “I understand you miss him-”

“You don't understand scrap! Leave me alone, Thunders, I don't need your advice.”

He threw his arms up and tried to shoulder check the bigger mech, but instead he merely nudged Thunderclash's arm. That made him even more angry and he stomped all the way down to his office, wishing he could slam the door to make a point even if that spoil sport wouldn't hear it.

Thunderclash sunk back against the wall, rubbing the back of his neck with both hands. What was he going to do with an out of control Rodimus?

Chapter Text

Drift was face down on Rodimus’ desk, groaning lowly. He'd come in with barely more than a knock and thrown himself down, feeling foolish. The captain was etching into his desk around Drift's hands, gently nudging one out of the way, and he spoke after it was apparent his friend wasn't going to say anything at all.

“You don't usually make that noise in my company any more.” Rodimus tilted his helm at his scribbles then continued, “are you going to say anything other than ugghhhhhh?”

The voice was muffled, “I'm an idiot.”

“Come and tell me something I don't know, like why is Bumblebee so irritating? I still think back to that last conversation-”

“Roddy.” Drift turned his helm so his voice was clearer, “if you're going on a Bumblebee rant I'll come back in two cycles.”

“Fine, fine, it can be about you for once.” He threw his tool down and leant back, “for what reason this time are you an idiot?”

“The whole positive energy thing I spewed to Ratchet. He hates that stuff.”

He turned his helm back into the desk and made another groan. Rodimus snickered, watching Drift wanting the ship to swallow him up was kind of amusing, but he knew that there was more to it.

“You’ve got it bad for him huh?”

At the accusation, Drift sat up straight, shifting in his chair and not meeting his gaze. Guilty as charged.

“No. I don't know what you mean.”

“Yeah. And someday I'd love to go for a drink with ol’ bucket head. You're not fooling me.”

“I just owe him a lot okay?”

“Yeah, of course, and I'm sure you wouldn't take a blaster to the face for him or anything. Look, I better stop hiding in here and break the news to the crew. You going to mope in here about how Ratchet thinks you're an idiot or you gonna come give me some positive energy whilst I tell them some of us died?”


 

Rodimus spent his off duty time cooped up in his office, and whenever anyone would ping for entry, slightly concerned that he hadn't been in Swerve's for at least a few cycles, he'd shout back that he was doing very important captain things and to come back later. Megatron threatened to drag him out of there but Minimus defused his temper gently and told him they were better off waiting for Rodimus to come to them when he was ready.

Uncharacteristically for his recent behaviour, Rodimus somersaulted onto the bridge for his next shift, early, and Megatron nearly offlined out of surprise, checking his internal chronometer and the one on the navigation controls to make sure it wasn't him out of sync. He stood from his seat and eyed the captain carefully. When he spoke he tried to keep his vocaliser even, he was too exhausted for a disagreement.

“You seem to be feeling more animated, Rodimus.”

“Drift has been gone a whole mega-cycle now, it's time for me to call and check up on him!”

Just as he was about to slide in front of the Lost Light's main communications array, dancing around the bigger mech, Megatron placed a hand over the controls. Rodimus grinned then frowned hard when he didn't relent.

“Move.”

“No.”

“It's not even funny. Move.”

“I'm not trying to be amusing. They've been gone a... mega-cycle? And you wish to call?”

“Yeah! Why wouldn't I?”

“Rodimus, don't you think you'll be making a nuisance of yourself?”

He scoffed, “a nuisance?! I'm his best friend -”

“And he is with his conjunx. Drift's wish was to spend time with Ratchet.”

Rodimus stopped. His spark was thrumming hard in his chest at the words. Drift was with Ratchet. Not Rodimus. He'd be on the Lost Light if he'd wanted to spend time with Rodimus.  

His spark ached like it had been wounded. His temper flared, fire burning in the pit of his tanks.

“A nuisance?! I'll show you a fragging nuisance if you want to see one!”

And he stormed over to his Captain's chair, throwing his pedes up onto the controls and crossing his arms over his chest. If Megatron thought any work was going to get done now, he was seriously wrong, Rodimus was going to sit there and sulk, harder than he'd even sulked before and when he was done, he was going back to his office and drinking more than he'd even drunk before. That would show him.

Megatron sighed inwardly and shook his helm, vexed at the situation.

“I am only trying to help.”

“Help?" Rodimus laughed harshly, "If I wanted advice on my friendships, I'd ask someone who actually has some.”

Megatron clenched his fists tightly then let them go. Minimus’ voice was in his processor, telling him that it was okay to walk away, and so he did, without another word to Rodimus. If he hadn't, he wasn't sure what he would have done.

 

Minimus was humming to himself happily as he reordered the datapads on his shelves, in alphabetical order and then genre. Not that he had many books that fell outside of the category of historical nonfiction and biography. All the same, he enjoyed doing this, to have some semblance of order in his own little space, even if everything and everyone else on board was chaotic.

When his hab suite was pinged for entry, he was surprised, checking his internal chronometer for the fifth time to make sure he still had plenty of time before he had to go conduct a ship check. When he opened the door he was even more surprised, and maybe just a little flustered at the crimson optics boring into him.

“Megatron?”

“Ah, Minimus, sorry, I probably should have called ahead but… I needed some counsel from someone.”

“No, not at all, please.”

And he held out a hand to let the bigger mech in, gesturing down at the only chair in his hab suite which was situated at the desk. Megatron had to lower the seat so his knees weren't bashing against the desk and then he cleared his vocaliser of static before starting.

“I stopped Rodimus from calling in on Drift.”

“I see.” Minimus twiddled his moustache then turned his attention back to his shelves, just beside the desk, “and?”

“He was understandably angry with me.” He sighed, “I do not wish for him to gatecrash on their vacation.”

“Yes, well, Rodimus isn't very good at seeing things from someone else's point of view. He also struggles to understand when he isn't part of something.”

“I only wish to offer him guidance, instead he throws a performance.”

The words Rodimus had spat came back to him. Friendships. It was bothering him more than he felt it should, which was why he had sought out Minimus, who always had a way of making him feel better.

“I know, and you haven't had as much practice as I have at guiding Rodimus, but you'll get there.”

There was a small silence, only interrupted by Minimus shuffling his book collection and muttering to himself. He was doing it so he didn't have to look in those optics again, for fear of drowning in them. When Megatron spoke again, Minimus nearly dropped the datapad he was holding onto his foot.

“Minimus, would you consider us… friends?

“Oh. Ah. Wh-what makes you say that?”

He didn't dare look now.

“Nothing. It doesn't matter.”

But the tinge of sadness in Megatron's voice made the decision for him, especially as no one ever saw his vulnerable side, but here he was, offering it to Minimus. He turned, still holding the datapad and crossed the small gap between them.

“I would say we are friends, yes. Why?”

“It's nothing. Just something that Rodimus said.”

Minimus frowned, “and what did he say?”

“This sounds so very juvenile for it to be bothering me but… he said that I have no friends. Which, when I think about it now, is mostly true.”

“No,” Minimus placed a hand onto his knee, “I am your friend. Rodimus is good at lashing out at people where it hurts, but we are most definitely friends.”

Megatron raised his optics from the green hand on his knee and smiled. Minimus returned the smile, ignoring the way his spark spun and darting his gaze away quickly, before he found himself slipping.

“Thank you. Would you like help organising your collection?”

“If you're not busy,” Minimus shrugged, passing the datapad over, “partying with your other friends.”

Megatron had to laugh and then stopped abruptly when he saw the book Minimus had handed him.

“Is everything okay?”

“Yes. I just wasn't aware you had a copy of my book in your collection. I would have signed it for you if I'd know.”

“Ah!” Minimus turned, his cheeks heating, “yes, well, I was interested .”

“I don't expect you to say you enjoyed it Minimus, don't fret.”

There was humour in his vocals and Minimus placed a hand against one of his hot cheeks. He was hoping he could pass it off as coming down with something if he was asked.

“Yes, well, it definitely had me interested. Can I ask you something?”

“Of course?”

“You enjoy us... spending time together?”

“Yes, I do. Very much so.”

And there was a wistfulness to Megatron's vocals as he said it, his helm turning away to the door.

“I do not expect anything of you Minimus, I merely enjoy your company. If you feel that perhaps I am infringing on you, then please do say so.”

“No! No! Definitely… not what I was thinking. I enjoy the time we spend together.” He cleared the static in his vocaliser, “Now, I usually order my collection by alphabetical order in genre categories but I'm not sure where I should place yours.”

Megatron held out the datapad, and when Minimus went to reach for it, he placed his other much bigger hand on top of the green one. Nervously, Minimus glanced up briefly, wary of where this was going but Megatron only smiled at him once again.

“You can place me in whatever category you would like to.”

Minimus laughed shyly and took the datapad, sliding it onto the very bottom shelf. He supposed the genre of Decepticon manifesto would be fine there, in its own little space.

“Underneath then. I mean-!”

Minimus blushed furiously but Megatron laughed, a low, soft rumbling that didn't help the flustered green mech. He didn't take his hand away from the datapad, hunching his shoulders up in embarrassment and hoping Megatron hadn't noticed.

“I'm glad you consider us friends, even if I don't deserve someone like you to call as such.” Megatron sighed again, “And hopefully Rodimus’ bad mood will run its course soon.”

“I heard he threw a stool in Swerve's,” Minimus shook his helm, picking up another book, “he is finding this separation particularly difficult.”

“Hmm. We should be at the next refuel station soon, I'll keep him busy fetching supplies, that may help.”

Minimus nodded. He really hoped that Rodimus wouldn't slip any further into this obvious depression he'd found himself in, because between Megatron and himself, Minimus found they were totally out of their depths. Apparently Drift had much more of a hold on Rodimus’ spark than anyone had realised.

Chapter Text

“Rodimus!”

The communications screen lit up the whole of the bridge that had been lost in darkness, and Rodimus found he couldn't move from the captain's chair no matter how much he tried. There was no one else around him and as he frowned at the screen, trying to make sense of what was happening, panic gripped him like an icy claw as he realised it was Drift and Ratchet's shuttle.

Drift's strained voice echoed around him even though he was nowhere to be seen and unease prickled at the back of Rodimus’ neck. There was something seriously wrong.

Rodimus tried desperately to move his hands but they were stuck firmly beside him in the chair and the panic gripped him just that little tighter, digging in painfully.

“Drift?!”

“Captain.”

Suddenly Tarn was filling the screen, hand clamped around Drift's face as he dragged him into view, his vocals all soft and melodic. Anger surged through Rodimus. He needed to let Drift go, right now.

“I thought I'd at least give you the courtesy of a goodbye.”

“No! Let him go! Tarn, you son of a glitch! Have me instead! Have me!”

“You're not on my list. Yet. Say goodbye to Deadlock.”

Tarn pulled the great sword from Drift's sheath on his back and raised it up high to show his intentions, to let the real fear set in. Rodimus nearly dislocated his shoulders in his desperation to get to his friend, a strangled cry dying in the air as he struggled. If he could just move, if he could just do something other than watch in horror as the sword disappeared behind Drift's back and his face twisted as the blade was wrenched through-

“Ow.”

Rodimus groggily lifted his helm then let it drop back down again. He'd gotten himself tangled into his blanket and in his distressed state, managed to fling himself off the berth and the thunk of his head hitting the floor woke him. He pulled his arms free, the helplessness still lingering but at least now he didn't feel trapped. His systems alerted him that he had only recharged for barely an hour and that he needed more rest. He sighed heavily, rubbing his face. The images wouldn't let him settle, they would come crashing back into his thoughts just as he calmed enough to let himself close his optics. He knew, because this wasn't the first time he'd suffered this fate.

With the blanket wrapped around him like a shroud and turning his lights on dimly, he took a seat at his desk, propping his helm up on his hands. He looked at the pictures he had pinned up on the wall. There were several of him and Drift, all of them but one where they were pulling ridiculous expressions, most of them with Rodimus pulling bunny ears behind his amica's helm. His favourite one was the one where they were pressed cheek to cheek, grinning happily. Rodimus smiled, he hadn't had to fake that expression.

There were a few others too, various group shots in Swerve's, some candid shots taken from Rewind's continuous recordings and even one of Ratchet squeezed between Drift and Rodimus, his arms crossed over his chest trying to pretend he wasn't happy. The twinkle in his optics said otherwise.

He liked to look back at these small snapshots of happiness to remind him why he was doing this again. Sometimes it was easy to lose sight of the goal, especially when some of those in the group photos weren't around to take any more, but helping others around the galaxy, that was important. They'd done so much, why stop now?

He decided though, whether he had to physically fight Megatron or not, he'd definitely call Drift when he'd gotten more recharge. A dream like that couldn't go ignored. He didn't want to look at these pictures and mourn someone else in them.

 

Minimus was on the bridge this time alongside Megatron, and even though he sighed and shook his helm, he let Rodimus dodge past him on his way to the communications array. He was hoping maybe if Rodimus had a call with Drift he would be much happier and if it would make things a little less fractious all round. He was glad.

He left the bridge so Rodimus could take his call in some peace, giving Megatron a small look to try and remind him to go easy but as he left, he heard part of the conversation.

“As I told you before Rodimus, try not to be too much of a nuisance.”

“Seriously Megatron, one more word- DRIFT!”

Minimus laughed to himself. That was more like it.

He meandered down towards the observation deck, past all of the offices and caught sight of where a bottle had gotten wedged in the door to Rodimus’. Minimus knew he shouldn't, because he just knew how he was going to react, but he peered through the door all the same. He tsked and he sighed and he tried to stop his hands from reaching out to barge his way in there but then he stopped. He needed to let Rodimus deal with the repercussions of his actions, and if that meant he had to dive through an obstacle course every time he used his office, then so be it.

Minimus sat in the observation deck for a little while, his hands twitching every time he thought about the mess taunting him just down the hall. He kept thinking he could just start tidying the mess and then maybe Rodimus would do the rest. Maybe. Possibly. Probably not.

“Minimus?”

“Thunderclash.” He snapped his optics up, “sorry, I was in my own little world.”

Thunderclash tilted his helm, a slight look of worry hanging onto his features to see the usually calm Minimus looking so fraught.

“Is everything alright?”

“Yes, well, kind of. Rodimus is in a call with Drift but I happened to glance in his office and…” he sighed. “Nevermind.”

“I'm happy to help Rodimus, I'm sure you have other matters to attend to.”

“Yes, well, I'm going to go tell Rodimus after his call, he needs to go do something about the health hazard he's created in his office.”

“Well, he asked to see me later so perhaps I could offer my assistance then, but I do have a short check up with Lotty first.”

Minimus tried not to laugh. He was sure that Rodimus had something more in mind than just tidying if he'd asked to see Thunderclash. He nodded and pulled himself to his feet. By the time he'd gotten back to the bridge he was sure Rodimus would be wrapping up his phone call and so he decided to head along that way with Thunderclash, then bid him a farewell as they went their separate ways.

He had to endure some pouting and huffing, but Rodimus eventually agreed to go and tidy his office, ending his call and heaving himself up from the chair. As he walked past Megatron he couldn't help but laugh.

“Oh Megs, guess who else likes your book? Grumpy old guy, likes to sigh and roll his optics a lot. Hilarious.

Megatron sighed and rolled his optics. At least maybe Rodimus was in a better mood now, and they could put the shouting behind them for at least a few cycles.

“Tailgate! You and that fragging board, I'm gonna shove it so far up your aft you'll have to go back in time to get it out!”

Megatron met Minimus’ gaze with a quirked optic ridge. The green mech sighed and slumped his shoulders in defeat, sensing that his job wasn't quite done just yet.

“I'll go talk to him.”

“I believe he's what they call spark broken .”

Minimus laughed then stopped when he didn't hear the other joining in. Megatron was still looking at him seriously.

“Sorry? You think…?”

“Amica bonds can be difficult, and be put under a lot of duress if there is distance inbetween.”

“Right. Yeah.” He thumbed at the door, “I better go make sure he doesn't attempt to shove a hoverboard anywhere.”

 

After his clean bill of health, Thunderclash was feeling in a good mood. Nothing to worry about with his spark and not only that but Rodimus had asked to see him whilst they both had some time off duty, but when he'd found the him, he was feeling a little more than sorry for himself.

They spoke briefly, about Drift, about Rodimus and his mistakes, and before he knew it he was helping the captain tidy his hab suite that was in as sorry of a state as his office had been, possibly even worse. But when they were done, rubbish picked up and surfaces sparkling, Rodimus threw himself down onto the berth on his back, venting with the exertion.

“Well, not the work out I had planned but yeah, thanks Thunders.”

Thunderclash dodged his optics away as Rodimus stretched, his lithe frame lifting away from the berth as he arched his backstrut.

“No problem, any time.” He spoke softly, “If we’re done I'll leave you in peace. I'm sure you have other plans for your down time.”

“Nope.”

There was a small groan elicited from Rodimus as he rolled over onto his front and nestled his helm into his arms. Thunderclash was still looking aimlessly behind himself, trying hard not to ogle when he caught sight of the photos on the wall, twisting himself slightly to look.

“It makes me happy. To remember when we were all happy.” Rodimus snickered, “you know, before you came onboard.”

Thunderclash was about to protest when Rodimus laughed harder.

“Thunders, I'm kidding . You don't always have to be so serious.”

“I’m making up for the fact that you can't take anything seriously.” He smirked to himself.

“Oh that's how it is?”

Suddenly the voice was behind him, and yellow hands were making dainty touches just on the bottom of Thunderclash's back strut. It took him a whole lot of will to not let his fans turn on as he tingled from the touch. Rodimus trailed the hand around to his hip as he walked to stand in front of Thunderclash, his optics dimmed as he looked up, smiling cheekily.

“And I was going to take it easy on you.”

“Rod-”

The words were lost as Rodimus pulled him down into a hot kiss, full of glossa and arousal. Thunderclash returned it and this time his fans clicked on, unable to fight against his systems when he was too busy thinking about Rodimus’ frame pressed against him. He was unsure where to put his hands, keeping them clamped firmly down by his sides when Rodimus gripped them tightly and placed them onto his hips, causing Thunderclash's vents to hitch for a moment. With a grin, Rodimus pulled away to rest his helm against Thunderclash's, meeting his optics steadily.

“So,” his tone was low and husky, “what I want to know is, does the title of greatest Autobot mean in every way?”

Thunderclash grinned, “I guess you'll have to find out.”

The two mechs were caught up into a frenzy of passion, Rodimus guiding it, kissing Thunderclash frantically, pushing him back towards the berth, and then down onto it. There were roaming hands, insistent on his array panel and then as he opened it, probing into the wet folds of his valve. He didn't get a chance to think about how it must look, how utterly desperate he was for Rodimus, because he was too consumed with the fact it was actually happening.

He wasn't the only one impatient and his optics went wide as he felt the spike fill his valve in one long, blissful stroke. Rodimus sighed with pleasure, flicking his gaze over Thunderclash to make sure he was okay, but then he was drawn into the need burning right at the bottom of his tanks, to interface hard and fast. Thunderclash overloaded quickly at the ferocity of it but Rodimus didn't let up, grinning as he pounded the slick valve clenching around his spike. He watched as his lover's gaze offlined, running his hands up over his chest, his engine purring at the sight.

“Is that good?”

“Oh yes,” Thunderclash panted as digits dug into his paintwork, “ so good.”

Rodimus chuckled lowly with the praise, upping his pace and it wasn't long before Thunderclash was tensing again with another overload, arching his back up onto the frame laid into him. His optics onlined again to see Rodimus watching him being consumed by lust, and he turned his helm shyly.

“What's the matter? Done already?”

Rodimus withdrew his spike and sat back onto his knees, pulling Thunderclash down towards him by his hips, just sliding the tip of his spike against the wetness. Just as Thunderclash was about to protest, he felt the quick flick of a digit over his anterior node and he groaned lowly.

“What's that? You want more?”

Another few rubs at his anterior node and Thunderclash was nodding avidly, desperate for the spike just stretching the entrance to his valve to slide back in. He wanted to feel the broad head pushing insistently into him, the ribbed shaft sliding in and out of him, sending jolts of pleasure up his back strut.

“C'mon Thunders, tell me.”

Rodimus pushed just a little with his spike and Thunderclash groaned, wordless with lust and wanting.

“No? You sure?”

He slammed his spike back in. He couldn't help but mutter a small moan but it was nothing in comparison to the guttural noise that came from the bigger mech. Rodimus rolled his hips a little and finally, Thunderclash grabbed at him, hands on his, squeezing tightly, his optics wide with pleading.

“Ah, Rodimus , I need more! I need you!”

Rodimus smiled. That's what he'd wanted to hear. Thunderclash's helm was thrown back onto the berth as Rodimus interfaced him with no abandon, chasing the charge that was building and at the sight of his lover grabbing onto his hands as he overloaded for the third time, the flame coloured mech let himself go too, ramming his spike all the way in and enjoying how the wet valve clenched hard, milking him for every last bit of transfluid.

Totally spent, Thunderclash let his gaze offline again, merely only wanting to just recover a little but recharge crawled over him and pulled him under before he could protest it. Tenderly, Rodimus pulled a blanket over him and offered a small smile even though it wouldn't be seen.

There was a part of Rodimus that wanted to curl up beside him, a warm frame against his own, but he got up quietly from the berth and instead went to go stand under the stream of the wash rack. He needed to clean the copious amount of lubricant away but he also hoped maybe he could wash away some of the more troublesome thoughts.

Chapter Text

The mood on board the Lost Light had improved significantly, especially since it had spread like wildfire around the ship that there would be shore leave on Velocitron. Of course Rodimus had scoffed when Minimus had given Megatron the credit for redirecting their course but even he managed to find a tiny flutter of excitement in him at the thought of letting his alt mode stretch its proverbial legs. In the meantime, he was more than happy in Thunderclash's company.

They were catching up on some TV programme that Rodimus wouldn't shut up about in his hab suite, the smaller mech laying back in between Thunderclash's legs, helm on his chest and holding the datapad so they could both see. Thunderclash couldn't concentrate though, his gaze kept flicking around the room distractedly, always finding the pictures on the wall. Rodimus kept feeling him tense up.

“And this is where-... ‘Clash? You listening?”

“Sorry, my processor is elsewhere. You were saying?”

With great agility, Rodimus flipped himself over so he was leaning on Thunderclash’s chest, datapad thrown to the side and optics shining brightly. He tilted his helm in question.

“No, what? Gonna let me in that great processor of yours?”

“It's fine.”

But the way his smile didn't have the genuineness behind it like it usually did meant that it wasn't exactly true. Rodimus rolled his optics, frustrated.

“If you're not going to pay attention, then we're not watching it.”

“Sorry I was just wondering… but it's surely none of my business.”

“Now I'm intrigued.”

“You and Drift, were you…?”

Rodimus tilted his helm further, optic ridge cocked in question. He'd been waiting for this, the one question everyone always seemed to want to ask but never quite had the courage to.

“Were we?”

Thunderclash sighed, “nevermind.”

“Fragging? ‘Facing? Fighting with our-”

“Yes okay. I get it, I just was wondering like I said. Sorry.”

“Once upon a time sure we were,” Rodimus laughed off handedly, “but you know now he has Ratchet so… oh hey, you coming down to Velocitron?”

“I was actually going to stay on board and ensure Megatron had help if he needed it.”

“Really? You'd rather stay with him than come race on Velocitron with me?”

Thunderclash laughed lightly, “I'm not exactly built for racing.”

But the damage was done and Rodimus’ mood took a dramatic and abrupt nosedive. His spark squeezed in his chest and the walls he'd built to keep anyone out were thrown back up quickly. He plastered on a fake smirk, and nodded, climbing off from Thunderclash. They were done for now.

“Rodimus?”

“Yeah, I just remembered Thunders, I've got paperwork to do, so if you don't mind.”

He waved his hand in the direction of the door and then seated himself at his desk, hunched over so he didn't have to look at him. Thunderclash went still. If he pushed, he was at risk of Rodimus tearing himself away, but if he just went, what would he think?

“I can always help-”

“Nah. You gotta go help Megs right? I'm still competent enough to do my own paperwork.”

With nothing else to be said or done, Thunderclash left, placing a hand onto his shoulder and squeezing a little before he did. Rodimus brought his burning optics up to the picture of him and Drift grinning, and suddenly now it seemed like a taunt. He threw his helm down onto his arms and tried to fight back the sobs.

Everyone always left. No one wanted to stay with Rodimus, and why would they? He only chased them away.


 

“I won't let you do this for me.”

“I'm not doing it for you, I'm doing it for everyone else.’

“No.” He snapped, “it was me-”

“Rodimus.”

Drift gave him a sad smile, reaching his hands out over to his friend who was still sat scrunched up against the destroyed wall of his office. Rodimus turned his helm away angrily.

“Don't Rodimus me, I'm the captain and-”

“Exactly. You're the captain, no one else.”

He felt like his spark might explode in his chest. He couldn't do this to his friend, if anyone deserved the punishment, it was Rodimus, not Drift. Loyal, loving Drift. He squeezed his optics shut, bringing his face into his hands and pretended that this wasn't happening but then there were gentle hands on his shoulders. He couldn't online his optics.

“You'll do it. I know you will, you'll find Cyberutopia.”

“And you know what I know? You're a stubborn, annoying jerk.”

“So what does that say about you, who chooses to be my friend?”

Rodimus managed a small laugh but he still wouldn't look. This was going to hurt like hell.

“I don't know why you always bail me out.”

“Me neither. But someone has to.”

“You'll be okay?”

“Of course.”

And if Rodimus had Drift's Spectralist skill, he would have been able to tell he was lying, but instead, the white mech hauled him up and embraced him tightly one last time. Rodimus tried to commit it to memory, the way Drift pressed his face to his, how his fingers tickled just the base of his spoiler and the calm that descended over him whenever his amica was near. His spark ached and squeezed with physical pain. He needed Drift to know, before he went.

“I love you.”

“I know. I love you too.”


 

Rodimus woke from his recharge, panic trying to pull him back down into the berth but he fought it off hard with a gasp. He sat on the edge of it, his whole frame heaving and he felt sadness creep in, icy tendrils wrapping around his spark. No wonder whenever Drift had taunting nightmares he'd seek out someone, and now in the crushing loneliness of his hab suite, Rodimus wished he had someone there to soothe away the images of Overlord pulling his friends to pieces, laughing and provoking him.

He couldn't help but torment himself with exiling Drift over and over, and Rodimus wondered if perhaps the reason his friend had so willingly left the Lost Light this time was because he still felt understandably angry about it. He knew he hadn't been the best friend or the best captain. Making decisions that involved the crew members' lives was extremely difficult, and maybe sometimes he'd made the wrong one. Definitely sometimes made the wrong decision.

The swirl of emotions laying heavy in his chest was making it hard for him to recharge or pay attention to anything for any length of time, but because his tantrums had fizzled out a little, there was less worry, fewer questions. If he was quiet, if he didn't fuss, no one would bother him and he supposed that's what he wanted, to be as alone as he felt he was.

The engex helped. It numbed, it helped him to forget. The ghosts didn't sound so loud in his audials when they haunted him. The faces of the ones they had lost didn't linger for so long in his processor. His frame wasn't so tense, it didn't tremble so badly under the mental weight he was carrying.

Rodimus needed it. If he was going to carry on, he needed the engex to get through, just long enough until Drift came home. Then he'd be okay.

As he retrieved a bottle from his bedside stash he spoke to himself.

“Just until he's home.”


 

Across the ship, Megatron was in a foul mood. He was aimlessly wandering the corridors, trying to fool himself that he was busy and that there were things to do but instead he was being taunted by that voice in his processor, the one that snarled and laughed at emotions that weren't the pure fire of anger.

He and Minimus had argued, or rather, the smaller mech had taken the brunt of the voice that was pacing its cage, waiting to be let out.  

“Minimus, how many times are we going to excuse this behaviour?”

“He's lost, the more pressure we heft onto Rodimus, the worse it will be. He will come to us when he's ready.”

Megatron slammed his hand down onto the table, causing several patrons of Swerve's to glance nervously over but no one would dare say anything. Well, except for maybe the mischievous mech with one optic who was always there with words he should keep to himself.

“Megatron losing his temper!” Whirl's voice was loud enough to carry around the whole bar, “what a surprise, maybe next someone will tell me that Swerve can keep a secret.”

“Secret?! Tell me! Tell me! Oh wait, that was a dig at me for having a motor mouth, wasn't it?”

With a frustrated sigh, Megatron closed his hand tightly and tentatively, Minimus reached across to brush it lightly with his digits. He was so desperately trying to keep the rage in but it was hard when the heat was prickling at the back of his neck.

Rodimus was getting out of hand, showing up for duty drunk, barely doing anything constructive, shouting at whoever he felt fit. Captain , the voice sneered, he is no captain.

“I understand you feel he is acting inappropriately-”

Megatron countered sharply, “When does he ever act appropriately?

“-but he needs to figure out how to deal with this.”

“He has and it's called engex. He's been intoxicated near enough constantly, are you so blind?”

“Well,” Minimus shifted in the booth, “sure, he has definitely been frequenting the bar more for the fuel than the dancing just lately-”

“Your affection for him is clouding your usually perfect judgement of character. You know that Rodimus is out of control.”

“And what can I do?” Minimus sighed, “he won't listen to me, so the most I can do is be here for when he needs me.”

“And what will you do, enlighten me please Minimus, when he winds up dead because he has taken an unnecessary risk?”

The green mech's spark hummed harder in his chest, at the pain that he was trying desperately to bury inside of it. Of course he was worried for Rodimus but at every opportunity he'd taken it upon himself to help, it had backfired miserably, and if there was one thing Minimus hated, it was plans going awry. But the pain wasn't just about that, it was the look he was being given across the table. Contempt and anger. Not unusual on Megatron's face, but definitely never directed at Minimus. Until now.

“Okay. You've made your point perfectly.”

Carefully, Minimus slipped out of the booth, with a single wistful look back. He couldn't do this, he couldn't sit and withstand the force of the emotions. He was finding it hard enough to deal with his own.

Minimus cared deeply for Rodimus and seeing him spiral down into a bad place was particularly difficult for the mech who usually had an answer for everything. He had tried to reach out, to lay off just a little because he feared that just one more thing would tip Rodimus totally over the edge and he'd be lost to them forever. The best thing he could do, he'd reasoned with himself, was to give him time, to be patient, to be the shelter in the midst of the storm.

And Megatron had accused him of being loath.

It had hurt, a lot, to see Minimus look like that, because of his actions, and Megatron had bared witness to plenty of suffering and pain. He had been afflicted by it and he himself had inflicted it enough. He'd never wanted to do it to the one mech that he felt understood him a little and was patient with him, especially when he didn't deserve it.

So the ex-warlord found himself alone, save for the few crew members that nervously greeted him in passing and the violent voice in his processor, still taunting him with Rodimus’ words.

If I wanted advice on friendships, I'd ask someone who actually had them.

The anger took hold again, encouraged by the goading. This time there was no soothing voice to calm him and so he did what he was good at, and he let the rage consume him.

Confined back in his hab suite, he pulled his bookcase to the floor with a cry of pure fury, he booted his chair and desk across the room and then he threw his berth over effortlessly. With nothing much else to take his frustrations out on, he threw his fist into the wall, watching it relent under his strength.

But the sight of his hand, and the memory of green fingers that had caressed it made him stop.

He offlined his optics, fist still lodged into the metal and let the anger subside to guilt and the guilt subside into fear. It snowballed down into a chaotic mess of emotions until he slumped down to the floor, a few tears carefully weaving down his face.

Megatron was good at hurting. Something that once he might have prided himsuelf on, he now hated. The temper that had broken free of its restraints had prowled and pounced onto someone who with all of his spark he never wanted to hurt. Minimus deserved better than this. He deserved kindness and compassion and to be cherished. Was that something that Megatron was even capable of doing?

Chapter Text

“Rodimus?”

The captain turned his helm from where he was staring out of the huge window on the bridge, Velocitron laying beyond bustling with life. He knew he should feel excited, but the cold dark had set in heavily around his spark, and he was moving on auto pilot, flashing grins where he needed to and walking amongst his crew like he had some kind of purpose. The hard truth was that he didn't and he didn't know where to find one.

Megatron was standing looking almost nervous in the doorway and it surprised Rodimus. He frowned a little and decided to try and not be aggressive at him for once.

The silver mech cleared his vocaliser and started in low, reserved tones. He wasn't used to this sort of conversation, especially with Rodimus, but he knew he had to try.

“I understand you may feel excited about Velocitron, but… do take care.”

“Megs,” the grin was switched on quickly, “what do you take me for? Some hot headed mech that makes rash decisions?”

“I may not be able to read others quite so clearly as Drift, but it's apparent even to me that you're not your hot headed, rash self. So please, heed my words.”

Rodimus forced a laugh up and turned his frame around, folding his arms against his chest. What was going on? First he'd had Thunderclash try with some long, winding apology that he'd shrugged off and now some spark felt words from Megatron of all mechs.

“Yeah. Fine. What's gotten into you? Why are you being so…?”

He gesticulated wildly with one hand but words failed him.

“I… fear that my temper has cost me more than I ever felt I could lose.” His optics dived down, “I know you'll hate for me to say this, Rodimus, but you and I, we're not so different in some of our better qualities. Full of passion, able to use our words to our advantage, a talent for making others believe in themselves, but self doubt? Now that is a terrible thing to carry. It can drive you to distraction.”

There was a horrible twisting sensation in Rodimus’ tanks at the words that were sadly all too true. He tried to keep up the grin, the facade, but the way Megatron's optics were piercing him again made him falter. He groaned a little and relaxed his arms down by his sides, swinging them slightly to stop himself from running like he wanted to.

“Yeah. You got me there.”

“Minimus is worried for your welfare, and he has tried his hardest to be there for you. So, as much as you might laugh at me and shrug it off in that irritating way you do, I am here for you too.”

Rodimus pointed half heartedly, “this is the part where I take a dig at you right?”

The flame coloured mech sighed as he glanced back out of the window. His crew was waiting for him, eager to do something where the likelihood of death was minimal, and he couldn't blame them. They'd been through enough, they deserved some happiness.

Megatron hadn't spoken, merely watched Rodimus work the words out in his processor that he was sure to say. Something scathing or sarcastic.

He gave his co-captain a tight smile and slipped past him in the doorway, pausing briefly.

“Sorry. Got nothing for ya.”

When he was sure Rodimus was gone, Megatron crossed the gap between the door and the chair and slumped down into it. He rubbed at his face, weary with thoughts and he hoped, he really truly hoped, that Rodimus would be okay.


 

A small group of the Lost Light crew had headed down towards the race track where there were several racers running practice laps, most Velocitronian, but there were some Cybertronians down there too, obvious in the way that they could barely keep up with the sleeker, more experienced alt modes whizzing around.

They took their seats in the grandstands, laughing and joking, but Rodimus couldn't relax or join in. There was something nasty prickling at the back of his neck and he was clenching his hands hard together, his body trembling with nervous energy. He wished he'd joined Chromedome and co at the bar instead.

“Are you alright?”

Minimus was sat beside him, watching the racing with a degree of interest that Rodimus didn't think he would have. He nodded avidly and tried to stop the shudders through his frame, the smaller mech was sure to feel them.

“I wonder what it's like to be fast.” Minimus tilted his helm with a smile, “not that you would know either.”

“Haha. Yeah. Good one.”

“I thought you'd want to be down there, or is it not so fun when there's no fear of being reprimanded?”

It's no fun without Drift.

“Nah, I'm happy watching.”

Unfortunately Whirl was hovering in that way he was good at, and from the seat behind them, he leant down and slid his face between the two mechs talking, his optic twinkling with chaotic glee.

“What? Hot Rod doesn't want to race?”

Rodimus growled, “watch it.”

“No seriously I'm intrigued, what are you more scared of, being slow or crashing and burning?”

“I suggest you stop being so inflammatory before you find yourself in the brig back at the ship.” Minimus frowned, “why we brought you I'll never know.”

“Because the you don't want me on the Lost Light inflaming Megatron instead.” Whirl chuckled, “no, it's sensible really Rodimus, you don't want to scratch that paintwork you spend so much time buffing.”

Whirl disappeared again to lounge back in his seat, hoping someone would crash already, but the words had gotten to Rodimus. He tried, desperately tried, to fight down the urge to go. He was proud of who he was, even if his old name had something to be desired these days, but he loved to go burn some rubber, and everyone knew that. They must have thought something was up if he was sat up here and not flinging himself around the bends down there. He had to go and be who they thought he was.

Minimus sighed as he rose, putting a hand onto Rodimus’ arm.

“Don't.”

“I’m fine.”

“Stop trying to fool yourself of that, because you're certainly not fooling me.”

Rodimus hissed, “I'm fine.”

He pulled away roughly and headed down towards the exit of the grandstand. Minimus hoped that he was heading out of the race track and back to the Lost Light but he knew he was fooling himself for even thinking it.

The first few laps Rodimus used to warm himself up, get used to the layout of the track, before he really let loose. There was a moment that he felt better than he had in awhile, more free, like the bad thoughts were being blown away as the air rushed against him. He felt more relaxed, and not just because of the engex for once.

He skidded around into the next bend, trying to show a little flair when a Velocitronian sped past him like it was nothing. The olive green alt mode disappeared around the next bend and Rodimus felt the competitive streak rise in him even though logic dictated that there was no way that he would be able to compete. With his sights set on his prey, he floored it, disregarding any thoughts of safety.

An alert came through for a comms call but he dismissed it, and the next one, and after that he blocked his comms. He knew who it was and he didn't want any more nagging.

He was gaining on the Velocitronian, although he was finding it was hard work, especially since the last time he'd been racing, it was only a fun little drag race against Drift. The olive vehicle dropped back beside him, the brake lights flashing as it did. It was a taunt.

I have to brake for you to keep up.

They stuck beside Rodimus, matching him through the bends, always beside him, a reminder that he wasn't good enough to be down here. It made him angry. He revved his engine violently and aggressively flew down the straight heading towards the pit lanes.

Finally the Velocitronian was done with playing games and they pulled in front of him as they went over the grid to start a new lap, just about breaking away.

No way. Rodimus wasn't taking it.

He pulled to the inside of the race track, his intentions to sneak through the inside of the next bend, forcing his opponent wide.

It didn't happen.

He dove through a gap he'd forced but he was going too fast to get round the bend smoothly.

He broke.

The Velocitronian clipped his rear quarter and Rodimus spun.

The wall came racing up to meet him before he even had a chance to react, to even think.

There was a roaring, deafening noise all around him before the world was black.

 

Minimus moved quicker than anyone had ever seen him move. He was flying down out of the exit, sending a hope to anyone listening that Rodimus wasn't badly hurt. Or worse.

He could see the crash was going to happen as soon as the other vehicle had overtaken, he knew that even though it probably wasn't, Rodimus would see it as a provocation and an insult to his already fragile state.

There was a tall grey Velocitronian in his way as he made it down to the pits, coordinating over his comms for the other racers to come back in carefully and when he caught sight of the panic across Minimus’ face, he raised a large hand.

“Hey pal, it's cool, leave it to the professionals yeah?”

“Is he-?!”

The bigger mech crouched, his dark optics softening in sympathy.

“Haven’t had the medics radio in yet. Poor kid, some of 'em take it too seriously. One of the medics is one of yours right?”

“Yes,” Minimus was wistfully gazing behind the mech, “how did you know?”

“Was talking to him up on the balcony, funny, I said to him hadn't been long since I'd talked to another Cybertronian medic. Had a couple of your guys down here not long ago.”

“Ratchet and Drift.”

“Yeah, that's 'em. The creaky old ambulance and his skidding buddy. Kid had some talent. I'm Pursuit by the way.”

“Minimus.”

“Why don't you come outside with me, we can meet the medics when they're done here?”

Minimus let Pursuit lead him out, glad that there was someone who could keep their cool when everything had gone to hell. He spoke about Ratchet and Drift, mainly to keep Minimus occupied even though it wasn't really working, the smaller mech hunched in on himself as he tried not to think of the worst.

They waited at the emergency personnel entrance to the race track, a couple of sleek medic alt modes trundling past, when Minimus recognised First Aid in his own alt mode coming towards them.

The medic transformed and rubbed absently at the back of his neck, ex-venting hard. Minimus tensed, not even registering how Pursuit lay a hand onto his shoulder comfortingly.

“He's okay, Minimus.”

“He's not…?”

“Knocked out, not dead. Doesn't look like anything is broken, these guys are heading him back to the Lost Light with me, and I've already sent a comms to Velocity.”

“I need to round up the crew, but please, any news-”

“I've got this okay? I know I'm not Ratchet, but he's still in good hands.”

He transformed back to his alt mode and set off after the others, hoping that his words were true.

Minimus sighed heavily. Pursuit cast his optics down and knew he needed to do what he was good at, putting others at ease and being a friendly face.

“C’mon, I'll take you to get a drink, looks like you could do with one. Plus there's some silly, tedious paperwork I need you to do, sorry.”

“That I can do.”


 

“Ow!”

“Sorry,” Hot Rod grinned sheepishly, “I'm not exactly a medic.”

Drift rolled his optics as the other mech wiped away the dried energon on his helm. It was only a little skirmish, but someone had by some miracle managed to land a hit on Drift, much to Hot Rod's surprise and worry. He'd taken it upon himself to fix up the scrape, the others bustling around in the background, Kup's commanding vocals like a soothing soundtrack by now.

Drift was watching Hot Rod intently as he furrowed his brow in concentration, unable to ignore the colours he held.

“Why do you care so much?”

“Hm?”

“I said-”

“I heard. It was just a stupid question. How do you know I care?”

“I can see it in your aura.”

Hot Rod pulled back and blinked, a look of pure bewilderment on his face.

“My what?

“Your… nevermind. I can tell. But I don't understand why.”

“Hey, Kup says you're good, and even if that old rickety know-it-all pisses me off, he's a good judge of character. That's enough for me.”

Drift was a little startled by the way Hot Rod tilted his chin up gently, making a show of examining his face. He grinned.

“Still cute. You're good.”

Drift went to move away, but something stopped him. There was something captivating about this mech that resembled moving fire, in his looks and his personality, and he wanted to be truthful with him, before he thought he was something he wasn't. The words came tumbling out clumsily.

“I was a Decepticon. And a leaker.”

“And I'm not perfect either.” The grin was a little softer, “Hey, I'm just glad you're on my side now after I've seen what you can do with those pointy sticks.”

“It doesn't bother you?”

There was a flash of sadness across Hot Rod's face when he thought about his own demons. Nyon. His home. Gone, thanks to him.

“Yeah, well like I said, I'm not perfect either.”

He jumped up from where he'd been crouched over Drift, close and personal, suddenly a little wary in case this mech was a mind reader. How he'd been able to tell that Hot Rod was worried was unnerving to say the least, and the last thing he wanted was someone rooting around in his processor. Still, he liked Drift.

“So, wanna teach me some new tricks?” He gestured at the sheaths on Drift's hips, “you look good when you're fighting, not as cool as me, but maybe I can teach you looking cool in return for sword lessons?”

Drift gave him a tentative smile, offering out a sword carefully. What had he done to deserve someone like this?

Deadlock sneered, absolutely nothing.

He shook himself mentally. He hoped with time, it would be easier to block that voice out, but for now, if he could just concentrate on teaching Hot Rod how to hold the pointy stick properly, rather than in the ridiculous way he was wielding it now, it wouldn't be able to speak so loudly.

Chapter Text

The only things Rodimus could piece together from his crash were the feelings of elation and freedom as he sped, carelessly, around the track on Velocitron, wondering if Drift had felt the same and then the horrific noise screeching all around him. And then the pain, plenty of pain, but that he was used to by now.

As soon as he was out of the medbay after shouting and pushing everyone away, he limped heavily, down the corridors to where the hab suites lay and he sought refuge, hopefully not where anyone would expect him to.

Drift's hab suite still had the lingering scent of incense, and even though it had been a while since he'd witnessed it, Rodimus could still imagine him unwrapping himself from his blankets bewildered when he'd overslept or lifting an optic ridge carefully at him when he'd interrupted his meditation.

He bit back the sob that threatened to spill over.

Limping still, he stood in front of the mat Drift used to meditate on and looked over at the desk he thought was never used. He wasn't sure whose stupid idea it was to fit the hab suites with a desk, especially when all Rodimus did was doodle on his and Drift surely only-

He stopped. There was a single framed picture on his desk, next to some of the bright, shimmering crystals Drift used for whatever fancy Spectralist ritual that they were for. He didn't want to pick it up, in case it wasn't real, but he did, and the frame stayed solid in his hands. It was the same picture Rodimus had in his suite that was his favourite, the one of them grinning together happily, back when they'd first gotten onboard the ship and hadn't even fired up the engines.

They were full of hope and wonder and excitement at what lay ahead.

Current Rodimus wanted to go back and shake past Rodimus.

You were stupid!

He clenched the frame in his hand and then suddenly put it back down for fear of breaking it.

Making sure that the door was locked and there was no indication that anyone was inhabiting the space, Rodimus curled under the blankets that still smelt vaguely like his friend and sobbed until he was so exhausted he couldn't stay awake.


 

The insistent comm pings woke him eventually, after the calls had stopped. Several of them, all along the same vein.

-Where are you? No one can find you.-

-Rodimus, this is childish, report to the bridge at once.-

-If there is anyway I can help, please reach out to me. TC.-

He ignored them all. He didn't want to see anyone or speak to anyone or do anything other than stay huddled in his safe space, away from the noise and the questions. He wanted to stay with the memories of Drift, his comforting ghost soothing away some of the hurt.

His whole frame ached, his processor pounding with the force of which he'd crashed, and he was sure as he tentatively moved his legs, the ankle he'd been limping on had seized. An alert flashed up from his internal systems, to tell him he was running low on fuel too, but he dismissed it.

It could wait. Everything could wait.

Rodimus must have dozed off again when he was alerted to another comms call, and still groggy from recharge, he accepted it, suddenly realising he didn't recognise where it was coming from.

“Yes? Who's this?!”

“It's Ratchet.”

Rodimus swore inwardly, his frame jolting him painfully as he moved to sit up. The last mech in the galaxy he'd wanted to track him down, had managed to do so.

“You know exactly why I'm calling and don't you dare hang up on me. If you do, I'm coming back to kick your aft myself.”

He considered ending it for a moment, he didn't want to have this conversation, but if Ratchet came home, he'd bring Drift and if his friend saw him like this, he was scared of what feelings he might drag back with him; disappointment or pity or possibly anger. And so he relented, he let Ratchet talk, at him, until his emotions bubbled over and he confessed his sins. What a lousy friend he'd been and how his big fear was losing Drift, forever, at the hands of death.

By the time he'd ended the call with Ratchet, he felt a little less heavy with emotions.

Why he'd let himself slip down into this hole he had no idea, but Drift leaving had definitely triggered it. Maybe it was because he felt with his amica by his side he could do anything, and he'd struggled so long without him that to be without him again was a huge blow. He also knew that there were plenty of villains in his life that still stalked him, in his dreams and his subconscious, waiting for a vulnerable moment to pounce.

But he needed to fight this. He'd pushed and fought and treated all of those around him badly, and he wouldn't blame them for leaving.

Yet they hadn't.

Even if Drift wasn't physically there, he could feel him in their bond, steady and unwaivering. He wasn't about to give up on Rodimus.

And Minimus, Megatron, Thunderclash, even Ratchet, bad tempered as he was, obviously cared.

Forget about past Rodimus being an idiot, the current one was an even bigger one.

He pulled himself to sit painfully, wincing with the way his ankle clicked and the throb in his processor. He had amends to make, but first of all, he needed a serious talk with his amica.


 

Rodimus was barely awake but there was only ever one explanation for someone sneaking into his berth and wriggling under his arm in the middle of a recharge cycle. He relented, not opening his optics and instead pulled the shuddering frame in tighter to him, feeling an arm clamp over his chest.

Eventually the bristled plates flattened and the heavy vents started to even, the nightmares fading away to dark thoughts.

Rodimus knew better than to pry and instead merely offered the one thing he knew he was good at, a comforting embrace.

He was sure Drift had finally lapsed back into recharge and when he moved just a little, he was surprised to feel the grip over his chest increase.

“Don't leave.”

Rodimus laughed softly, “that's your trick.”

Drift didn't dignify it with a response and Rodimus sighed, squishing him snugly against his side.

“I won't. You know I won't, I'm here for you, no matter what.”

“Even though I'm a-...”

“Even though you're a fidget yes, stay still.”

“You know what I meant.”

Rodimus reached over to gently stroke Drift's finials, feeling a soft vent against him as he did.

“You're you. And I'll stay, for who you are. You know that.”

“I don't deserve it, Roddy, the things I've done… I don't deserve this.”

“Oh Primus I am too tired for this buddy, can we do this self pity party some other time? Listen, you deserve to be loved and I'm not going to say it again. Ratchet loves you, I love you, and let's face it, you don't need anyone else.”

Drift sniffled and Rodimus’ spark clenched. He hated to witness the sadness and the pain his friend carried around with him but it was impossible to keep it tucked away all of the time. Rodimus knew about it all too well.

“Drift. We've all made mistakes, all of our sparks weigh heavy with loss and grief and pain, but if we let it consume us, we might as well just lay down and give up. None of us have fought for so hard and for so long to give up now. I know you find it hard to put Deadlock,” he felt Drift tense, “behind, but he is. You're Drift, you're you, and I love you all the same. Except for when you steal the blankets.”

“Sorry.”

“Don't be. Don't apologise for who you are,” he yawned, “I sure as hell don't.”

Drift snuggled his face against Rodimus, glad that even when Ratchet was a little bit mad at him, he still had someone to turn to. They'd been through so much, shared so much history and nothing could come between them. Even , he hoped, the distance he was soon to put between them.

Chapter Text

It took a some courage, not the kind found in a bottle, but Rodimus gathered some from somewhere to go apologise to First Aid. When he'd knocked on the medbay door, he was greeted frostily, the CMO with his arms crossed over his chest and blocking the doorway but when he'd apologised, in a roundabout way, First Aid relaxed.

“Just drop by for a check up okay?”

“Yeah, of course.” Rodimus smiled thinly, “and don't worry, I've already had the lay off the engex talk.”

After he'd shouted an apology through to Velocity too, he made his way towards the bridge where Megatron and Minimus were both sat quietly, the latter staring out of the viewing window whilst the former was scowling at a datapad.

“Three down, clue, just throwing out there. ”

“Hm, did you pick the difficult ones on purpose?”

“Of course. We both know how intelligent you are.”

Rodimus was watching in the doorway, hands behind his back, as Minimus glanced over, and he was sure there was heat in his cheeks at Megatron's words. He quirked an optic ridge and strode in noisily to ensure they didn't know he'd been watching.

“Mags! Megs! My favourite mechs in the universe!”

Minimus flicked his gaze back out of the window, “four across, clue, someone liberal with the truth. ”

“Liar.” Megatron turned his seat around to where Rodimus was standing, “too easy, Minimus. What is it you need captain?”

Rodimus rubbed at the back of his neck, suddenly conscious of his shoddy paintwork under two pairs of piercing optics. He knew he was going to struggle to get them to take him seriously, so he'd asked Swerve, after apologising about the bar stool incident, if he would provide another picnic like he'd done for Ratchet and Drift. He produced the gift from behind his back and gave a shrug.

“I'm lousy, I know, I hear it enough, so you don't need to say anything. This is just a token of my appreciation, for putting up with me.” He passed the basket to Minimus, “oh, and sorry. Apparently that word counts for something when you're trying to make amends.”

Megatron and Minimus exchanged glances. Rodimus was apologising of his own accord? Surely this had something to do with him asking everyone to leave the bridge earlier so he could make a call.

“Oh, and seeing as I discharged myself and therefore I'm fit for duty, I'm happy to take over here so you can finish whatever weird game you're playing.”

“Crossword.”

Megatron was trying to peer into the top of the basket as he spoke, Minimus swatting his hand away playfully.

“Yeah yeah, I'm sure you have got some cross words for me but save it, go relax, I've got this. Well, I asked for some help, maybe I shouldn't be totally trusted just yet.”

Minimus turned to where Megatron was watching him carefully, waiting for whatever decision he was going to make, his optics dimmed a little. He was hoping that he could make his own amends.

“Thank you Rodimus, that's very generous of you. Are you sure you'll be alright?”

Minimus passed the basket over to Megatron, struggling a little with how bulky it was, and when he heard a tap on the doorframe, he was glad to see who it was that the captain had asked for help from.

Rodimus smiled tightly without turning around and the two mechs made their way out, past the one waiting patiently in the doorway. He heard Megatron utter something, most likely something about keeping him in line, and he rolled his optics. In his own way, he cared, maybe.

When he was sure Minimus and Megatron were gone, he heaved a big sigh and turned.

“Thunders. Thunderclash. Thanks for coming, um, I didn't expect you to.”

Rodimus went over and took a seat in front of the controls, kicking the seat back a bit, why did Megatron sit so fragging close, and gave it a little spin too. He was definitely the most nervous about this encounter and he was unable to stay still.

For such a big mech, Rodimus was surprised by how light on his feet Thunderclash was and he was glad that he'd actually taken a seat beside him silently, it meant he was at least going to hear him out. Rodimus stole a glance over. Thunderclash was sat bolt upright, his optics concentrating straight in front of him and his hands were clasped neatly into his lap.

“So, I was a jerk. I know, makes a change,” he laughed nervously, “but you didn't deserve it, you least of all. I don't know why you bother giving me another chance, again and again.”

“Are you just after pity, Rodimus?”

Thunderclash didn't turn his gaze, he just carried on how he had been.

“No, I…” he sighed again. “I'm trying to apologise, I'm just not great at it. You think I would be, the amount of times I have to do it. I guess I'm just worried about what you're gonna say, because I deserve for you to tell me to frag off after how I acted towards you, and the things I said. I was angry, and drunk, but I've had a lot to think about and I realise I can't carry on that way, because I've hurt enough people by doing it. I don't want to hurt anyone else, or hurt them anymore badly than I already have.”

The captain risked another glance across. Thunderclash had dropped his helm, but Rodimus was sure there was a small smile on his face.

“Usually when someone apologises, they start with sorry.”

“Ah frag, I knew I forgot something-”

“But, you understand what you did to wrong us and you're making amends, so I can forgive you.”

“Thanks, Thunders. I am really sorry though.”

“It's okay. As long as you make sure you call me Thunders, not Blunders.”

Rodimus had the decency to wince and look embarrassed but Thunderclash laughed. Then he did something that made Rodimus feel a little strange. He held out his hand across the gap, palm upwards and turned to face him with a smile. Rodimus gave him a small smile back, and laid his hand gently into the one outstretched.

“Not gonna lie, I so wanted to high five you instead.”

“And I wouldn't expect any less.” Thunderclash pointed with his other hand behind them, “although, a picnic sounded nice too.”

“Oh really? I didn't take you for the romantic type.” Rodimus smiled slyly, “remind me to treat you when my shift is over.”

Thunderclash frowned, “Swerve's?”

“No way. Me, you, in a berth, now that's one hell of a treat!”

Rodimus was glad for the company throughout his shift. It was uneventful but with Thunderclash regaling tales reminding Rodimus with why exactly he was regarded as the greatest Autobot of all time, it passed quickly, and maybe before he would have rolled his optics and pretended to yawn, but he was done pretending now. Everyone had seen the ugly side and no matter how he'd pushed, they'd all stayed anyway, and Thunderclash? Well, maybe it wasn't quite love at first sight like Ratchet and Drift, but he wasn't exactly opposed to taking him back to his hab suite after his shift, so that's what he did.

Rodimus took charge, because that's what he was good at, and they'd barely gotten into his still thankfully tidy hab suite when he was kissing Thunderclash hard, moaning loudly. Thunderclash was a little more hesitant to begin with, as he usually was when he and Rodimus were interfacing, but gently, he placed his hands on the flame coloured mech’s hips, bringing him closer. Rodimus returned the touches, flinging his arms around Thunderclash's shoulders to bring him in tighter, and pulled him in the direction of the berth. He was just about to push Thunderclash down, when he stopped, pulling away.

“Rodimus? Is something wrong?”

Rodimus gave a wry grin. He didn't always have to be the one in charge, in fact sometimes he wasn't even good at it, so he decided to let go of the control a little. He laid himself onto the berth and opened his legs and array panel as an invitation.

“Nah, nothing, just thought maybe you could do some work for a change.”

There was a quiver of excitement as Thunderclash climbed on top of him, his strong arms either side of Rodimus’ helm. He'd always been the one on top, thrusting his spike into Thunderclash until the mech couldn't take anymore, and then some, so now this was him putting some trust in him.

He was surprised to feel Thunderclash gently rubbing his valve with his digits and Rodimus murmured.

“That's so good, but… are you warming me up for a reason?”

Thunderclash didn't reply, he merely sought Rodimus out for another kiss. He was surprised by how good it felt to let someone else take the reigns, and the only other one he'd ever let do that when it came to interfacing was Drift, but that was because his friend could be a mean dominant when he wanted to be.

Rodimus arched up into the kisses and touches, enjoying how Thunderclash's thick digits slowly slid in and out of his wet valve, and by the time he stopped, he was aching for so much more.

“Rodimus, if you need me to stop-”

“No way, give it to me, all of it.” He nuzzled at his chest, “I don't want you to stop.”

Thunderclash nodded dumbly. Well, if he'd asked for it.

Rodimus gasped when he felt the spike nudge at his valve, his optics brightening with the shock. He gathered Thunderclash's spike would be more than enough, but never doubted he couldn't manage. Now there was a flicker of doubt.

As gently as he could, Thunderclash eased himself inside Rodimus, who was clutching at his arms with excited moans as he did. The mech was writhing beneath him and Thunderclash had to stop himself from plunging himself all of the way in and back out enthusiastically. He needed to take it slow to begin with.

“It's been a long time,” Rodimus was husky when he spoke, “since I let anyone spike me. Frag it Thunders, why didn't you tell me how amazing your spike is?!”

“Well, greatest Autobot, right?”

Rodimus clutched at Thunderclash harder as his valve engulfed the whole of his spike, grasping and making him twitch. Thunderclash gave out a little groan and tried not to look at Rodimus underneath him, writhing with pleasure but he stole a small glance. He loved his frame, the colours, the way he was so perfect and even now, with his scratched paintwork, Thunderclash didn't care. The sight of him totally lost in the throes of passion was enough to get his engine revving.

Thunderclash took up a steady pace, and Rodimus enjoyed it, until he was desperate for something harder. He dug his fingers into Thunderclash and pulled a leg up and around him to encourage him to go deeper, faster, harder.

“I said all of it. Aah, c'mon.”

He increased his speed and was rewarded with tighter squeezes around his spike and more moans from Rodimus, which soon turned into him venting hard and a guttural moan filling the room. When Thunderclash tried to slow down, cautious of not overwhelming Rodimus, he was pleaded for more.

“Don't stop. Not until I can't speak.”

“Well, I could always put it in your mouth.”

Rodimus laughed, “oh Thunders, I don't care where you put it.”

After the second overload Rodimus was wondering where Thunderclash managed to get his stamina from and when he was heading towards his third, he decided he'd definitely met his match. Usually his berth partners couldn't keep up, and here was Thunderclash still steadily interfacing with him. The bigger mech stopped and Rodimus was surprised that a little mewl came from his mouth as Thunderclash withdrew, until he picked him up and flipped him over. Now on his hands and knees, Rodimus sighed with relief as Thunderclash sunk his thick spike back into him, the change of position hitting a different cluster of nodes. He was glad Thunderclash had one arm wrapped around his midsection to keep them pressed tightly together.

There were light kisses against Rodimus’ neck and he pushed back into them. He wasn't sure if he'd ever go back to spiking Thunderclash, because this was incredible.

Thunderclash was venting hard now, and as Rodimus felt his charge building, he pushed back into the hard thrusts, groaning with every one. Thunderclash's hands went to his hips, slamming him back further onto his spike and Rodimus crashed hard, barely registering Thunderclash grunting as he did too.

They both fell back onto the berth on their backs and their fans worked hard to cool them. Rodimus had offlined his optics, because he wasn't even sure he had the energy to use them and it was pleasantly surprising to feel a hand reach across to where his own was laid on his chest. They didn't ever cuddle afterwards, Rodimus was normally too worried about getting up and out of the berth before he fell into a post interfacing nap, and even though he'd like to curl up at Thunderclash's side, he was still getting used to the idea of a relationship with him. He wasn't sure what he could handle or what he couldn't, but he let this happen, even placing his other hand on top.

Thunderclash went to move a few moments later, but Rodimus grabbed his hand. His optics were still offline as he spoke drowsily, well onto the way of a nap.

“Nah. Stay Thunders. If you want.”

“Are you sure? I understand you like your own space.”

“This berth is big enough,” Rodimus rolled onto his side, still clutching his hand, “besides, I might want you again when I've recovered.”

Thunderclash smiled as he watched Rodimus fall into recharge. He'd take whatever moments he could with the captain, and even though sometimes things were slightly strained, he'd still take all of that, just for these sweet ones.

Chapter Text

The last thing either of the two mechs had expected was a genuine heartfelt apology, but Rodimus had appeared, picnic basket in hand and done exactly that for Minimus and Megatron. The former had some reservations until Rodimus had told him he wouldn't be alone and he'd spied Thunderclash in the doorway to the bridge. Maybe the alone time would do them some good.

As he and Megatron strolled down in silence towards the observation deck, he hoped the same could be said of them too.

The best thing about going anywhere with the ex-Decepticon was that he could clear a room with presence alone and so they found that the few bots that were in there, quickly scurried away suddenly with other plans in mind. Megatron chuckled lightly and set about disassembling the treats held inside, setting them down onto a table right in front and centre of the window.

“Rodimus didn't pack any low lighting, but I suppose you could consider the star map romantic.” He sat, gazing out of the window, “would you care to join me or are you still, quite understandably, frustrated with me?”

Minimus hesitated. He'd sought Megatron on the bridge because it was nearly time for his own shift, and whilst they'd been attempting the crossword puzzle together, they'd barely said much else. The truth was that Minimus had a lot he wanted to say, and no matter how many times he'd tried to jot it down, neatly bullet pointed into a list, he still couldn't quite manage to word it correctly.

He took a seat opposite Megatron, having to sit on his knees to be able to reach the table and he cast a glance over the picnic. A bottle of engex, the fizzy, pop the cork off kind, some small sweet treats, and a frozen energon dessert, with only one spoon. Minimus rolled his optics. At least Rodimus wasn't tantrumming but the meddling in his love life wasn't welcome either.

Megatron spoke lowly, still gazing out of the window.

“I have always found that I can express myself quite eloquently, and I remember all those years that I frantically scribbled the thoughts plaguing my processor, and how I was able to inspire awe and passion amongst those who were despondent and forlorn with their lives. Still, even now, I like to think that I could inspire feelings in others,” he flicked his optics over briefly, “yet, sometimes I feel I am cursed with the temper that resides in me.”

“If you wanted to write another book and you were asking for a scribe, I wish you'd said, now I'll have to listen to your ramblings again.”

Megatron laughed lightly, turning his gaze to where Minimus had a curious expression to his face, like he was trying to be mad, but he couldn't be.

“What I am trying to say is that I am very, truly sorry for my actions and my words.” He dropped his volume even though there was no one else present, “I never intended to hurt you.”

“And I'm sorry for the way I stormed off.”

For a moment Megatron wasn't sure if Minimus was being serious, but then he leant over and picked up one of the energon treats to inspect it, his expression set neutrally.

“Forgive me a moment,” Megatron covered his mouth, “you apologise for storming off ?”

“Yes, well, I'm not proud of it-”

Minimus stopped as he saw Megatron hunch over the table, his helm bent low and as he was about to ask if everything was alright, he heard that low rumble that was his laugh, and then it exploded in crescendo.

“You thought that was an exit?!” He raised both optic ridges, “my dear Minimus, you are so adorable .”

“I am not-!”

Minimus tried to act indignant, but it was hard when his companion was still chuckling, optics twinkling with delight. He cracked a smile and leant his chin into his hand, resting his elbow onto the table.

“I do apologise, but you are.”

“Oh? And would you have said that to Ultra Magnus?”

“Of course,” Megatron grinned, “but in your armour, you probably would have been able to wrestle me until I apologised.”

Minimus managed to let his slight sulk go. It was enjoyable just being the two of them without them having to discuss what to do with the troublesome Rodimus.

Megatron opened the engex and poured them both a glass, offering Minimus one over and then holding his own over.

“To apologies.”

“No.” Minimus shook his helm, “to us.”

Then they clinked their glasses together and shared a small smile across the table, happy in each others company.

Minimus was thinking about how pleasant this was, there was no push for anything more than sharing company, they weren't exactly like some of the more energetic youngsters who declared their feelings in a more obvious way, but it did bother him how long this could go on for. When would Megatron grow bored with such a charade?

“Minimus?”

He didn't meet his gaze for fear of those optics piercing his very thoughts and dragging his feelings across the table to display them openly. The memory of the ridiculous lists he'd made and deleted numerous times, detailing his every feeling and thought flashed through his processor. It was difficult to voice, but he knew it would have to sooner or later.

“I… are you happy? Like this. Us.”

“Of course,” Megatron's face fell with concern, “are you not?”

“I am, and that's the problem.”

Minimus ex-vented and took a sip of the sweet, bubbly drink, hoping maybe he'd find some courage in it as Rodimus had for so long. It fizzed against his moustache and he felt it trickle down into his tanks but it hadn't helped with the feeling as he'd hoped, so he took another bigger gulp, hoping more would be better.

“I'm happy with the way things are and I'm worried that you won't be.”

“I am extremely happy. Although,” there was a flicker of his optics in annoyance, “our joint guardianship over Rodimus leaves something to be desired.”

“I meant…”

Yep, he would definitely need another mouthful if he was going to voice this concern.

He cleared his intake after taking another drink and rubbed at his moustache, diving his optics down to his glass in embarrassment.

“I meant I'm worried you will be unhappy with the lack of progress in this relationship, if that's what you would consider this?”

“Ah. You mean interfacing.”

Minimus’ optics snapped back up, turning his helm to make sure no one was creeping in and listening in on their conversation. When he was satisfied that they were alone, he nervously nodded.

“My beloved, I am happy to go at the pace that you dictate for us. I am truly enamored with you, and there is nothing that could change that. If you ever decide that you cannot be with me for whatever reason, I understand.”

“It really doesn't bother you?”

“Of course not. What does it really change?”

“Well. I suppose. I just want everything to go smoothly.”

Megatron pulled a wry grin, “as smoothly as it could go with someone like me?”

“No, that's not what I meant, don't laugh .”

But Minimus found himself giggling at the expression he was being given and he tried to pull himself together, still snickering as he spoke.

“I meant, I want this to be perfect.”

“And with you, how could it be anything less? I think perhaps you should consume something other than engex before you end up like Rodimus and passed out in the corridor.”

They spoke and they ate and in Minimus’ case, drank more than his fair share of the engex. It was easy, just talking about nothing and everything, just being together without any interruptions.

By the time that most of the picnic had been consumed, Minimus was a little worse for wear, slurring and giggling. Megatron had hidden away the bottle when he realised where his partner was heading but it had been much too late.

He packed away the rest of the picnic, hooking the basket onto his arm and offering his free hand out to Minimus.

“I think perhaps the best place for you is your berth, come now, I will escort you.”

“Oh, for a moment I thought you might suggest yours! Hahahaha!”

Megatron rubbed at the bridge of his nose with a smile, poor Minimus, no wonder he didn't usually drink.

With the green mech clinging to him, still giggling, Megatron managed to guide him back towards his hab suite eventually, and he had to help Minimus put in the code for entrance. He found it hysterical that he couldn't remember and near enough fell through the door laughing, catching sight of his bookcase as he did.

“Oh! You know what would be fun?! If we read your book together!” Minimus pointed at his shelf, “haha, remember, I put you underneath ?”

“Minimus, I think maybe in your best interests, you should catch up on some rest.”

“Me?! No! I'm fine! I could do this forever! Oh.” He sat on the edge of the berth, “oh, although this is very comfy.”

Megatron placed down the basket onto Minimus’ desk and dimmed the lights of the hab suite. Minimus had finally laid down onto his back, hands folded against his chest, optics still wide and bright.

“Do you ever wonder what the meaning is? Of all of this.” He gestured, “why are we even here? For what purpose?”

“You are here because your purpose is to recharge.”

“Oh alright! I was only trying to engage you in intelligent conservation, no, conver… conversation! That's the one.”

Megatron sighed with a smile, turning to leave the room.

Good night Minimus.”

“Megatron?”

“Yes?”

But Minimus had offlined his optics, suddenly overtaken by exhaustion. Megatron's smile deepened and he turned the light off, leaving the green mech to sleep soundly.

“Sweet dreams, my dear.”

Chapter Text

Rodimus stretched himself out lazily, nearly startling himself out of the berth as his arm nudged something next to him. Not something, someone. Thunderclash.

Ah. Rodimus grinned. That's why he'd recharged so well. He wriggled over and curled himself around the bigger mech as well as he could manage, pressing his face into his back.

They dozed for a little while longer until Thunderclash woke with a start, an internal alert awakening him.

“Hm?”

“Sorry, just a refuel prompt.”

Rodimus buried his face harder into Thunderclash's back. He didn't want to move from the warm and the safe that was his berth partner’s frame and he didn't want him to move far either. His vocals came out muffled when be spoke.

“Try my bedside.”

“Thank you, but no thank you, I'd rather not consume engex first thing.”

“S'none in there. S'gone.”

Thunderclash frowned to himself, then rolled over to face Rodimus, the other mech grumbling at having to move from his comfy spot. He caught his chin in his blue hands and Rodimus onlined his optics dimly, still drowsy and grumpy at being moved. Thunderclash couldn't help but think a sulky, sleepy Rodimus was ridiculously adorable. He pushed the thought aside for the moment, there was something more important he had to think about.

“What did you say?”

“It’s gone. Don't need it,” Rodimus shrugged, offlining his gaze again, “should be something to help you refuel though. You must need it after last night, huh?”

There was a grin in his vocals as Thunderclash moved to check the snack stash. True to his word, all of the engex was gone and in its place was some of Drift's energon tea. The bigger mech couldn't hide the flutter of relief he felt and he was sure Rodimus probably felt it in his field, so he cleared his intake and made a show of rustling through the snacks, pulling out an energon bar for each of them. He rolled back over to Rodimus and smiled softly. The flame coloured mech fluttered his optics back on.

“I’m proud of you Rodimus, I know how difficult you were finding your situation and you managed to help yourself.”

“Yeah well, some stubborn fraggers that wouldn't give up on me made me realise a few things,” Rodimus rolled onto his back so he wouldn't have to endure the look of adoration he was receiving, “besides, it wasn't up to you guys to pick up the pieces, well, maybe literally on Velocitron but… Drift said he didn't want to see me how he was and from the nightmares he has, I don't think I wanted to be there either.”

Rodimus couldn't quite bare his whole spark to Thunderclash, not yet. Some of his thoughts were still ugly and dark, and he was still feeling pretty vulnerable and fragile. It was only one step forward to talk just a little but it was a start. It was going to be one step at a time, even if sometimes the step was backwards.

The truth was it had scared Rodimus to see Drift so open and vulnerable himself, something he only ever witnessed in the quiet and dark of his hab suite after a bad dream. Rodimus hadn't been there when his friend was suffering his own addiction, although Ratchet had, and maybe the talk from both of them had shaken some sense loose. They'd been there, they'd seen the ugly side and they'd do whatever they could to save Rodimus from that same fate.

Plus there were the others onboard the Lost Light that had helped. Minimus with his determination to help the captain even though feelings weren't really his thing, Megatron with his impatient but stern words, sometimes bordering on affectionate, First Aid and Velocity for patching him up even when he didn't really deserve to be and then obviously Thunderclash. The mech who had withstood the worst of Rodimus’ temper and anger, steadfastly refusing to give in and let him do it alone, who had always been there with a kind, sometimes tough, word when he needed it. The one who looked at Rodimus with sickening adoration that he most definitely didn't deserve and made excuses for all of his inexcusable behaviour. Rodimus had pushed and shoved and Thunderclash had withstood all of it.

He realised how lucky he really was. And next time Getaway was trying to hiss in his processor, maybe he would think about his friends instead.

Thunderclash smiled and handed Rodimus an energon bar over. There was more he wanted to say, but perhaps when Rodimus was more on the mend.

“Cheers.”

He took the proffered snack and stretched again, lifting his arms up above his helm and arching his back. Thunderclash grinned at the lithe frame beside him, suddenly thinking other less serious thoughts.

“You do that on purpose.”

“What?” Rodimus laughed, “no, if I want to get 'faced I just have to ask right?”

Thunderclash braved a show of affection and lay a hand onto his midsection, hoping that Rodimus wouldn't push him away. Instead the other mech gave him a true smile and brushed his cheek gently with one digit.

“That looks good on you Thunders, instead of that kind of serious, brooding hero thing you've always got going on. You better fuel before you end up stuck in my berth all day, because looking like that I might not let you leave.”

With a roll of his optics, Thunderclash stroked Rodimus’ midsection softly, and the flame coloured mech felt his spark skip a little. Maybe it was kind of nice, letting someone in.

“So, when you next on duty?”

“Not for a few cycles… do I need to ask why?”

Rodimus stretched again, “well…”


 

“Mags!”

The green mech looked up from his desk briefly, a small smile catching across his features as he turned his attention back to his datapad. He was trying not to let the throbbing in his helm bother him or let it show to anyone, Rodimus would be totally insufferable if he knew that he was hungover.

“Rodimus, what can I help you with?”

“Just wanted to know where we were off to next, seeing as y'know, you and Megs are plotting our destinations.”

Maybe if this conversation had happened a few days prior, Minimus would have tensed for the argument bound to happen, instead there was a lightness to Rodimus’ voice, as if he was genuinely intrigued rather than scathingly critical.

He hopped up onto the desk, flashing a big smile and waited patiently. Minimus cleared his intake and brought his optics up.

“Nowhere in particular, although we haven't ever ventured in this direction so we thought perhaps we would find others that may need our assistance.”

“Sweet, bigger and better things right?” He clicked his fingers, “guess we'll find adventure, we always do.”

“Mmhm.”

“Well, I won't keep ya!”

Rodimus hopped off the desk but Minimus was poised, ready for whatever it was he wanted. The captain never ended up in his office unless he wanted something and that something was usually trying to wheedle his way out of something he didn't want to do. Instead he meandered out of the door, and leant back into the room around the frame as if he'd forgotten something. His expression was puzzling, almost like he was apprehensive, but surely not, that wasn't ever something seen on Rodimus.

“Hey Minimus?”

“Yes?”

“I just wanted to say…” Rodimus kicked at the floor, “uh, thanks. For not giving up on me.”

Minimus was stunned into silence.

“I just… I made things hard, like I usually do, and I was a dick. So yeah. ‘Preciate it.”

“You're welcome.”

There was another quick, flashy smile and then he was gone. Minimus raised his optic ridge then shook his helm, wincing at the reminder that it was throbbing. Apparently everyone could change, even the most stubborn of them.


There was a flutter of excitement going around the Lost Light for the party invitation every crew member had mysteriously received via comm ping from an unknown sender. Rodimus had been busy making sure that the ship would be fine whilst most of the crew was partying, some of the more introverted members stepping up and offering to help out whilst everyone else was busy in Swerve's, and he'd offered double shore leave in thanks for doing so.

He was feeling slightly better about his duties as captain as the mood on the ship was definitely jovial and Rodimus had to stop for a minute as he passed Drift's habsuite. He lay his hand against the door and spoke quietly.

“You'd be proud I hope.”

With a small smile, he carried on, making his way down to where Thunderclash was waiting in his hab suite for him. The bigger mech was looking shiny and beautiful, and Rodimus’ vents hitched for a moment as the door was opened, but Thunderclash either didn't notice or didn't comment.

They made their way to Swerve's in an amicable silence until Thunderclash voiced his biggest concern.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“What? A dependent on engex walking into a bar?” He flashed a grin, “sounds like the start of a terrible joke but I've got someone to keep me on the straight and narrow.”

Rodimus bumped him affectionately with his shoulder and Thunderclash smiled a little. He enjoyed these small moments where he was sure that his feelings were reciprocated, but then the doubts would creep in. Why would Rodimus ever willingly want to spend time with a mech he had an open disdain for? He shook the thought away, he just wanted to enjoy what he had for the moment, and the moment was about to get better.

Casually, Rodimus grasped Thunderclash's hand and went to walk into Swerve's but there was resistance. He turned with a small frown.

“C'mon, don't you want to go?”

Thunderclash answered by glancing down at where Rodimus’ golden hand was intertwined with his own blue one. He raised an optic ridge and shrugged a little.

“What?”

“What if… others look?”

“Let them.”

And with that Rodimus tugged him through into the bar.

The whole room descended into silence, dozens of pairs of optics all turning towards the door as they strode in. There was a few hushed whispers before someone shouted out.

“It's Thunderclash! Waheeeey!”

And then suddenly there were a few crew members crowded around him, all laughing and flashing their optics and Thunderclash played up to his part, making time to speak to them. Rodimus rolled his optics and sighed, squeezing his hand before sauntering away.

“Catch you at the bar, Thunders.”

Rodimus hopped himself up onto a stool, narrowing his optics over at where Sunstreaker was laughing, giving the captain a mock salute. Him and his big mouth.

“Hey boss! What can I get ya?!”

“Just some uh, energon, with some sweet additives please Swerve.” He flashed a half hearted grin, “trying to keep my mind more, uh, free ?”

Swerve leant over the bar on one elbow and even through his visor, Rodimus could tell he was looking serious, as serious as he ever could at least.

“You trying to impersonate Drift? Because you're doing a terrible job.”

“Yeah yeah, at a lot of things, I know. Get Thunders his usual too.”

“So,” Swerve grinned as he poured the drinks, “you and the greatest Autobot of all time huh?”

Rodimus twisted back to where he could just about see Thunderclash above the crowd, smiling and laughing with the fans he'd accrued. He couldn't help but smile a little and turned back. He was always good in the spotlight, Rodimus had to admit that.

“The more optics there are on him, the less on me to watch me screw up.”

“Well I ship you guys.”

Rodimus scrunched up his face, “you what? Is this one of those weird-... You know what nevermind. So what's all this about?”

“Oh!” Swerve grinned even wider, “it's a secret.”

“And you couldn't keep a secret to save your life so c'mon, spill.”

“Ah! I would but… it's a secret from me too. Brainstorm just asked me if he could invite everyone here and I said sure, as long as there wasn't any free drinks involved.”

Obviously.

Rodimus took his drink from Swerve and sighed a little as the bartender wandered off to serve someone else. It was hard, knowing that everyone else would probably end up drunk and laughing, and he would have to pretend that he was fine with that. But he thought back to Drift, asking him not to go down that road, and Thunderclash's face when he said he was proud of him, and even though maybe some time ago, Rodimus would have rolled his optics at that, now it warmed him. Thunderclash saw something better in him, and that hope that he could be better helped him sip at his energon and push down the need to order a whole bottle of engex.

Eventually his companion managed to find his way through the crowd to Rodimus at the bar and he took a seat beside him, giving him a small smile.

“Done with all of your adoring fans?”

“Well, I guess I ought to make time for my number one fan.”

Rodimus gave out a genuine laugh and his optics sparkled. Thunderclash was glad to see the captain more like his usual self, and even if this was just a good day, in a sea of bad ones, he'd enjoy it for now.

Their attention was drawn away from one another to the door where Brainstorm was shouting loudly over the crowd, piggybacked on Perceptor. The red mech was looking less than impressed at how he was wriggling and maybe a little flustered at having Brainstorm pressed so closely. The crowd dispersed a little to let them through.

“Hey! Shut up! All of you! I've got an announcement to make!”

The bar went hush again, Rodimus eyeing at where Sunstreaker was grinning, waiting to use his big mouth again.

“We gathered you all here to share some exciting news.”

“Get off the stage nerd!”

This time it was Whirl calling across the bar and Rodimus couldn't see him to give him a warning glance, but apparently he didn't need to. He caught movement out of the corner of his optics, Megatron lifting Whirl up one handed like a naughty sparkling and shushing him. Rodimus laughed to himself, sometimes it was like a ship full of younglings with only Megatron and Minimus trying to keep them all sensible and in control. He didn't envy having that role.

“Ahem! I'll keep it brief seeing as some of you would rather get drunk! These two lovebirds are getting married, so join me in saying three cheers for Chromedome and Rewind!”

A roar of applause went around, the noise deafening as the two mechs walked in, hand in hand and Rodimus was glad that his and Thunderclash's entrance hadn't been quite so enthusiastic. He whistled and clapped, glad to see that the two were going to get their happily ever after.

When he turned back to the bar, he saw a brief flash of something in Thunderclash's optics and he grinned, shaking his helm avidly.

“I hope you're not thinking of marriage.”

“Need to find someone willing to marry me.” he smiled even though his spark clenched, “know anyone?”

“Start with um about half the ship, and some.”

“I heard that Chromedome isn't the only one to have proposed.”

Rodimus raised an optic ridge, “who else?”

“Cyclonus.”

“That old ornery fragger?! Pfft, I guess what they say is true, there's someone for everyone.”

As Rodimus fiddled with the straw in his drink, Thunderclash couldn't help but steal a glance over at the mech he pined desperately for, and as Rodimus spoke again, his spark felt wounded.

“Oh, Drift's pinged me… sometimes these messages take ages to get through, I swear.”

“What's he said?”

“Hey Roddy, just wanted to make sure you were okay after our talk. On Gigantion, hoping to get Ratchet wasted again tonight so maybe he'll be a little less grumpy haha. I'll video call you tomorrow okay? And lots of hearts and kisses, because as tough as that mech thinks he looks, he's not inside.”

Rodimus grinned as he typed back to him without looking up. Thunderclash was glad he hadn't because he was sure his optics would betray him of the jealousy he felt. No matter how much time he spent with Rodimus now, as soon as Drift was back it wouldn't matter, Thunderclash would be pushed to the sidelines and only be able to admire Rodimus from afar.

He sighed inwardly. Rodimus didn't feel seriously about him, that much he was sure of, and even though he wanted to admit his deep feelings, he knew it wouldn't do any good. So he kept them inside, enjoying the moments they had before Drift came back and Rodimus forgot about him.

“Cheers Thunders!”

Rodimus raised his glass and Thunderclash did the same, plastering on his usual smile.

“Cheers.”

But poor Thunderclash wasn't feeling particularly cheery.

Chapter Text

After Rodimus had left Minimus speechless, the green mech was working hard looking like he was busy when he wasn't. In fact he was staring blankly at a datapad, once again trying to put down his feelings into words, but it was impossible. Every time he thought of Megatron he found himself lost, remembering some eloquent words he'd uttered or a certain expression he'd made whilst listening to Minimus or even worse, the huge but deft hands he could imagine on him or the broad chest that he wished to rest his helm against.

He sighed and pushed his chair back. It was no good, he would have to find something else to do.

He flicked his gaze over his office, it definitely needed a spruce up but if he wanted to paint, he'd either have to put on the Magnus armour to reach the high parts, or ask someone tall, grey and handsome to help.

He rubbed at his face. Even the thought of decorating drove him to distraction.

Minimus left his office in search of some half hearted reprimanding to do, he was sure he'd find Whirl doing something he shouldn't because the mischievous mech couldn't help himself. He wandered the hallways, greeting crew members in passing and found himself down by the medbay. Just coming out of the door was Velocity along with Thunderclash and both of them smiled warmly at him, maybe a little too quickly.

“Minimus.”

“Everything okay?” He raised an optic ridge, “you both look suspicious.”

Velocity giggled, hard, “no no! We were just saying…”

She looked at her friend for back up and Thunderclash, as usual, came to the rescue.

“You seem very happy.”

“Yes well, it would seem that now Rodimus is feeling less troublesome -”

“Not because of Rodimus,” Velocity covered her mouth, “because of… you know .

Minimus kept his stare even and she sighed dramatically, flinging her arms down in exasperation.

“You and Megatron!”

He moved his gaze from the femme to Thunderclash who threw his hands up defensively, shaking his helm with a smile.

Rodimus is the one singing love songs about the two of you. He thinks he's a love expert since he got you two to go on a date.”

“Does he now?” Minimus rolled his optics, “well, thank you for bringing that to my attention.”

As he went to walk away, Velocity shouted out excitedly.

“Oh! Are you coming to the party?”

“Of course. Who else is going to be there to make sure no one gets out of control?”

Thunderclash mock whispered, “he means Whirl.”

“Well, you can always take a date.” Velocity laughed, “no one would be surprised.”

He waved a hand in the air as he disappeared around the corner but the conversation had gotten him thinking. He could ask Megatron to go along with him to the party, he wasn't sure he could manage Rodimus’ company whilst he still felt the way he did and he didn't spend much time with anyone else. Before he could talk himself out of it, he'd strolled in the direction of the bridge where he knew Megatron was currently helping plot the next course. He strolled right up to where Megatron was leant over a desk, brow furrowed and cleared his intake. Some of the other mechs turned, intrigued by the whole scenario but Minimus wasn't paying any attention, he was too fixed on the red optics that brightened a little when they recognised who it was.

“Minimus, I was going to enquire to how you were feeling after I was done here.”

“I'm very well thank you. Would you like to attend the party scheduled for later on with… um… me? Just to help ensure that there's no trouble.”

Megatron didn't miss a beat, flashing a smile and nodding.

“I would like that very much.”

And as he flicked his gaze around the room, everyone who had been staring was suddenly enthralled by their work.

Minimus felt the heat in his cheeks but nodded and clasped his hands back behind his back.

“Very well, I will um, inform you via comms when I will be passing your hab suite.”

“Of course.”

“Okay.”

Megatron placed a hand onto Minimus’ shoulder, still smiling warmly.

“I look forward to it.”

When Minimus had shut himself back into his office, he was trying his hardest to steady his vents. He'd asked and Megatron had said yes without hesitation. Now all he had to do was occupy himself for the next few cycles until it was time for the party.

He opened his datapad again and sighed. Easier said than done.


 

Megatron was perched on his desk reading when his hab suite pinged for entry. He placed it back down, humming to himself and checked that his finish was still shiny. Satisfied, he palmed his door open and smiled at where Minimus was waiting, his optics trained down the hallway before he brought them back to him.

“Sorry, am I early?”

“Most likely, but we can meander.” He closed the door behind him and offered out an arm, “thank you for asking to escort me.”

“Well, you never know who might want to try to start a fight with you.”

Minimus took the arm offered, looping his smaller one around it without making eye contact. Megatron rumbled a small laugh and Minimus tried to steady his spark.

“No one would dare in your presence, my dear. You are quite the force to be reckoned with.”

Minimus had to laugh a little, but he narrowed his optics and looked up, a quirk of a smile just showing.

“Are you mocking me?”

Megatron softened his gaze and placed a hand against his spark delicately.

“Never. Minimus, you can be positively frightening in name alone. We all know how capable you are with your words, and the respect you command comes from your spark, not from your stature.”

The green mech had to turn away. It was the beautiful words that made him fall the hardest.

“Thank you, that's… kind.”

“I can be.”

When Minimus looked up at the soft crimson optics that were watching him, he decided that the look he was being given didn't help him falling either.

He was totally in over his head and he had no idea what to do when it came to relationships. Megatron was too respectful to overstep any boundaries and so it was up to Minimus to dictate the pace, as his love interest had said.

All he knew was that if he had the courage, the kind that Rodimus possessed that was act now think later, much later, he would have rather have taken Megatron back to his hab suite.

Instead they were walking into Swerve's and they found an empty booth in the corner. Even though they were there with plenty of time to spare, they weren't the only ones there.

Nautica and Velocity were in a booth on the opposite side on the room, totally lost in one another. They were holding hands across the table, laughing and gazing into each others optics without a care in the world. Minimus smiled to himself. It was good to see that there was plenty of love to go around the Lost Light.

As the bar filled up, Megatron and Minimus moved from the booth to let some others sit who were already animated and intoxicated. They didn't mind being the designated sensible ones, they took happiness in knowing that the others were having fun and if needed, they could step in to help. At the sight of the engex Minimus felt his tanks churn anyway.

When Thunderclash and Rodimus arrived, Minimus laughed a little to himself. The captain looked proud as he held the others hand, but soon had to resign himself to the fact that as much as he wanted to be, he wasn't the centre of attention. He sat at the bar and Minimus was glad to see he hadn't ordered any engex.

“He seems to be doing much better already.”

“Drift must have talked some sense into him when he called.”

“I gathered that he would have cleared the bridge for no one less,” Megatron was eyeing Sunstreaker carefully, that one was trouble, “but I am glad that something shook him from the tedious and fractious behaviour that was plaguing us all.”

“You say that like you don't care.” Minimus laughed, “and don't pretend you don't.”

Megatron saw Whirl saunter his way into the bar and over to Cyclonus and Tailgate, not too far from where they were stood. All of the most mischievous mechs and femmes in one place, surrounded by engex. He rubbed his helm in anticipation of the headache he was bound to accrue by the end of the night.

“Of course I care for Rodimus, but I find I spend most of my time either chastising or clashing with him.”

“Like a youngling and his sire.”

Megatron looked down at where Minimus was smirking a little as he fiddled with his moustache and he sighed. He was right.

“If anyone had told me that Optimus’ best punishment was for me to become a sparkling sitter for a while crew of ruffians and ragabonds, I would have laughed, but alas, that is my fate. Although,” he cleared his intake, “I would rather have no one else to do it with.”

Minimus smiled. Sometimes it was a tough job, but with Megatron by his side, he could definitely be a surrogate father figure to most of the crew alongside him.

After many, many glasses of engex had been consumed by the whole crew, with the exception of Minimus, Megatron and Rodimus, and plenty of dancing, most of the party goers had staggered back to their berths satiated from the night of fun. Minimus was encouraging the stragglers to go home, the two stars of the party having retired some time ago. Megatron was helping Swerve tidy up the bar, Rodimus gladly helping alongside Thunderclash.

“So Megs,” Rodimus was wiping down a table, “you and Mags enjoy your picnic?”

“Yes, thank you, Rodimus.”

“Oh you gonna be coy about it are you? Cool, don't need to spill your tanks to me.”

Megatron stopped for a moment, the glasses he'd collected in one hand whilst his other caught Rodimus by the shoulder. Surprised, he looked up at Megatron and caught the seriousness in his gaze.

“I appreciate what you are trying to do, but I feel that if Minimus is pushed, he may pull away.”

“Ah, gotcha.” Rodimus tapped his nose, “keep this outta it yeah?”

Megatron cocked half a grin, “yes. Thank you.”

“Fine fine! But if anyone wants the love genius’ advice you all know where to find me.”

“I'm sure that will not be necessary from me.”

“I'll remind you of that when you say hey Rodimus fancy help planning another wedding? Anyway, where's my Thunders? Me and him have got our own date, in my berth.”

Your Thunders?”

Rodimus flicked his gaze up again and then away to where Thunderclash had popped up from behind the bar, talking to Swerve. He must have noticed the looks he was getting but he didn't turn.

“Yeah well, I like him, a lot.” He frowned, “Primus why am I spilling my tanks to you? I haven't even had a drink! I'm outta here, this is weird. Thunders!”

Megatron had to sigh a laugh as Rodimus pretty much yanked Thunderclash out of the bar but he didn't notice someone beside him as he went up to deposit the glasses back until he was spoken to.

“Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be so…”

“Frustrating? Over enthusiastic? Annoyingly optimistic?”

“...bold.”

Megatron dropped his helm but Minimus was nervously stroking at his moustache. Just as he was about to speak, Swerve grabbed the glasses and the tinkling as they crashed together in his hands pulled Megatron's attention away.

“Hey guys! Thanks but I'm all done here, I owe you a free drink alright? To share?”

Minimus shook his helm at the grin the bartender was giving them and laughed.

“That's most generous Swerve.”

They both bid him a goodnight and Megatron was surprised to feel that Minimus took his arm of his own accord this time. He was walked back to his hab suite and even though it had been a long evening, his struts protesting at being overworked and that little niggle of an ache starting at the front of his helm, he didn't want it to be over. More than anything he wished he could have invited Minimus in but he was going to adhere to what he'd said and let the other mech take the lead.

“Thank you, for a wonderful time, Minimus.”

“You're quite welcome, even I managed to find it less stressful than usual whenever there's a bunch of miscreants gathering. I shall um, leave you to your recharge.”

Megatron nodded, patting at Minimus’ arm gently. Almost as if he had forgotten, the green mech unlooped his arm suddenly but took one of the great silver hands in both of his.

“Ah, sorry. I guess I should let go if you're going to go.”

He squeezed slightly then let go, giving a quick tight smile and a nod. Megatron's spark fluttered a little at the affection but he kept his field reigned in. He didn't want to push Minimus into anything he wasn't ready for.

“Sleep tight.”

Megatron smiled, “don’t let the scraplets bite.”

When he was sure his companion was safely back into his hab suite, Minimus started back down towards his own room replaying the night's events over and over in his processor. A few times Megatron had gently eased Minimus out of the way of a drunken patron barreling through the crowd to the bar with his great, huge hands on his shoulders. Then there was the quiet moment as Brainstorm had announced Chromedome and Rewind's engagement and Minimus had very slightly leant into Megatron, until Whirl had disturbed that.

It wasn't a big step in terms of their relationship, Minimus was much too apprehensive to do anything more for the moment, but they were both happy and he was sure that much counted for something.

Chapter Text

Rodimus was in his office, for once actually working, trying to make sense of the inventory Thunderclash had left for him to work through when Chromedome appeared at the open door, hoping to not have anything thrown at him. He wouldn't have dropped by but what he needed to ask was pretty important.

“Hey Cap, you got a klik for me?”

“Sure.”

Rodimus flashed a grin then gestured at the seat opposite his and Chromedome inwardly vented a sigh of relief that he might be in a better mood than he had been recently. Everyone knew that their captain was finding it hard without his friend but his temper had been more than a little bit fiery just lately. The rumour that he'd picked up Whirl and thrown him against the wall after a fight over a bar stool in Swerve's had been around the whole ship by now, although whenever the ex-wrecker was asked about it he would merely laugh and shrug. The news of Rodimus’ crash had also circulated and Velocity had made it no secret that he'd been a jerk to both of the medics onboard. At least the past few days he'd seemed more calm.

“Drink?”

Rodimus motioned at where there was various flavoured bottles of fizzy energon placed on his desk for any visitors and Chromedome shook his helm as he took a seat. He was nervous and even though he tried to keep his field to himself, he was sure it was still managing to escape just a little.

“I'm good. Thanks though.”

“I'd offer something for your nerves but y'know, engex free zone and all that now. What's up?”

“Um well, seeing as this is your ship, I thought I better ask-”

“Mine?” Rodimus raised an optic ridge seriously, “is that what you think?”

Chromedome shrugged his huge shoulders. Drift had brought the Lost Light as a gift for Rodimus and in the past he'd made that common knowledge for anyone. Rewind had told Chromedome not to be ridiculous, that they could do what they wanted to do, it wasn't as if they were going to do anything untoward, but the bigger mech had been worried to upset the balance. As much as sometimes Rodimus got on everyone's last nerves, Chromedome still considered him a friend and he didn't want to do anything that might make the captain lose his control. The last time someone had gone behind Rodimus’ back, he'd nearly lost everything.

“Well, it is .”

“CD, Drift might have brought it for me for the quest but I'd like to think that the Lost Light is as much mine as anyone's now. I mean, not in a let's mutiny because Rodimus said it's mine way, more of a this is everyone's home now way.”

“Well, I still thought I better ask.” Chromedome fidgeted, “me and Rewind wanna get married here, onboard.”

“Of course,” Rodimus shrugged nonchalantly, “if that's what you guys want.”

Rodimus picked up his datapad with a frown as if he was done with the conversation now and he had to get back to work. Chromedome watched him carefully from behind his visor for any sign of Rodimus about to tell him that he was joking and they'd have to find somewhere else or that he was about to tell him to frag off. The flame coloured mech started to root through his drawer instead.

“Er really?”

“Er yeah? How exactly were you expecting this conversation to go?”

“Stuff being thrown.”

Rodimus sighed and pulled out a box of energon goodies he was sure Drift had sneaked in there at some point and then dived back into the drawer. He really ought to organise it at some point.

“Yeah okay, I get it, I was a jerk for a while back there but I've been having a think about things, about me.” He found what he was looking for in his desk, “You guys wanna get married here then that's cool, just tell us what we need to do for it. I guess we need to get the LL looking ship shape, and is there anything you need? I'm doing inventory so I can add it now.”

“Well… enough engex and goodies to go around for everyone, um, Rewind thinks it's rude if we don't invite everyone .”

“It's your wedding, do what you want. I can fit in a stop for wedding supplies,” Rodimus grinned, “and a night out in Hedonia again for a last night of freedom right?”

“Um, yeah. Thanks Rodimus.”

The captain nodded and pulled his feet down from his desk, rubbing at the tense cables down the side of his neck. He felt a little disappointed in himself that he'd become so unapproachable that Chromedome obviously felt nervous and worried about asking him for something that wasn't even a big deal.

He sighed and scrunched the stress ball he'd retrieved from his desk into his hand, trying not to think about the thoughts that had been on his mind before Chromedome had walked in. Even though the mech wasn't rummaging around in his processor right that second, he apparently could still tell what was bothering Rodimus. 

“You still… feeling all that stuff with Getaway huh?”

Rodimus met Chromedome's masked gaze and sighed again.

“That obvious huh?”

“We know you've had a rough time of things, but we're here for you. You don't have to do it alone.”

“Yeah. I know that now. Just took nearly putting myself through a wall to see it, but listen CD, anything I can do for you and Rewind for your wedding, lemme know yeah? Let's face it I need something to do and, well, you guys deserve the best day, and anything I can do to help with that I will okay?”

“That's pretty nice of you. Thanks Cap.” Chromedome rose, gesturing at the door, “better go let Rewind know, I uh, he said if I wasn't back in five kliks, he'd bring a gun.”

“Ouch, yeah, don't want him busting in here with a gun, he's a mean shot. Oh and CD? If you see Cyclonus or Tailgate, let them know the offer is there for them too. I heard they only want something small, but, still, I want them to know they can ask for anything.”

“Yeah. I will. Thanks.”

When he was on his own again, Rodimus rubbed at his face with one hand and squeezed the ball with the other. The dark thoughts were prickling at the back of his processor, and even though his first thought was to wander down to Swerve's and take a bottle of engex to go, his second thought was much more sensible. He sent a comm ping.

-TC, u busy?-

It was still hard for him to admit he needed help, so this way he could tentatively make sure Thunderclash was free, although he knew that even if the big mech was fighting off a whole hoard of scraplets, he'd still make time for Rodimus. The captain had to smile a little to himself when he thought about Thunderclash and his adorable, if a little dopey, expression whenever they were spending time together.

He also decided to send Drift a ping, for him to pick up whenever he got the chance. Sometimes their messages across the galaxy weren't very reliable and he hadn't had a reply to the previous one he'd sent. He still worried about him but at least he was more in control of it.

-Hey BFF, makin sure u guys r doin ok. Nothin 2 worry bout, thinkin bout how much I miss u & the doc. TTYS xoxo-

He glanced over at where he'd acquired the picture from Drift's hab suite of the two of them together, just to keep him thinking straight whilst he was at work. He gave it a sad smile and ex-vented hard. At least Drift was enjoying himself.

A comms ping came back.

-Not at all. Just in Swerve's.-

Rodimus decided his work could wait for a little while and made his way up to the bar, when he ran into Megatron on the way. He stopped to talk, giving him a little nod seeing as he couldn't quite find the energy to flash his fake grin.

“Megs.”

“Rodimus, on your way to Swerve's?”

“Yeah but s'okay, Thunders is waiting for me.”

Megatron reached over and placed a hand on Rodimus’ shoulder, eyeing him carefully.

“We're pleased that you seem to be doing better and are less reliant on the engex.”

By we Rodimus was sure Megatron meant the two mechs that had stepped in in his life to become the apparent adopted sires that he needed. He was grateful for them even though he'd definitely not made things easy for a while. He did feel a little unsure of this apparently heartfelt conversation though and his wit escaped him for the moment, so he nodded solemnly.

“I understand that Drift's absence has been challenging for you, but you are dealing with it much better.”

“Yeah, well, friendships change don't they?” He smiled softly, “can't expect things to stay the same right? He's got Ratchet and that's fine, doesn't mean he's abandoned me.”

“And you have the rest of us here if you require.”

Rodimus met the crimson optics that were set on him firmly but he noticed they were softer than usual and there was a definite nudge of affection in Megatron's field against his own. A shot of guilt ricocheted in his chest when he thought about how cruel he'd been before. Maybe most of the time he and the silver mech clashed, and there was more than a lot of history between them, but now they were both very different to who they had been.

“Sure. Hey listen, what I said before was harsh. You do have friends here okay? I'd say we were friends, I guess, which is really weird but whatever. No weirder than you and Mags.”

Megatron rolled his optics, “me and Minimus are friends .”

“Yeah yeah, and I've been sober for the past deca-cycle. You ain't foolin’ no one.”

Megatron gave his shoulder a squeeze before he let go, tutting good naturedly.

“You know where I am if you need me.”

“Yeah sat in my chair,” Rodimus teased, “same back alright? Oh and I owe you a drink or three, tell Swerve to put it on my tab.”

They parted ways and Rodimus felt lighter. It was better to actually talk to his crew than shout at them, he just wished he hadn't had to nearly badly injure himself to realise it.

When he found Thunderclash, he was sat in a booth with Tailgate. He was glad he'd be able to talk to the mini about his own upcoming wedding too and he ordered a round of drinks before sliding in beside Thunderclash, pressing himself close.

“Hey, hope I'm not intruding.”

“No! Not at all!” Tailgate threw his hands up placatingly, “you um do whatever you want to, captain.”

“Tailgate, it's alright, I'm sorry I should have mentioned Rodimus wanted to join me. I understand if you would like to keep this private and he will leave if you would like him to.”

Tailgate flicked his helm from the comforting smile of Thunderclash to the more strained grin of Rodimus. He fidgeted nervously in his seat but when he realised that Rodimus wasn't affronted or angry, he relaxed.

“Well… as long as he doesn't tell everyone .”

Rodimus placed a hand against his chest, “captain's honour.”

“Well see me and Cyclonus want to… get married too, and I asked Thunderclash if he would off-offic-...”

“Officiate.”

Thunderclash offered and Tailgate nodded avidly, bouncing in the seat as he did. Rodimus sneaked a hand under the table onto Thunderclash's thigh and the bigger mech nearly dropped the datapad he was holding, diving his optics down to the table embarrassedly. Tailgate tilted his helm but didn't comment.

“Let me guess Thunders, you've conducted all sorts of weddings for every race imaginable.”

“He said he once married a captain to her ship.” Swerve interjected, placing their drinks down.

“Why am I not surprised?” Rodimus rolled his optics with a smile, “you need something doing, you ask 'Clash right?”

Rodimus .”

Thunderclash cleared his intake, his cheeks still burning. The small touch from Rodimus had sent a tingle rippling up his backstrut and even now he couldn't ignore the digits tickling his inner thigh softly. He scrolled through his notes on his datapad for something to do, whilst Rodimus grinned cheekily.

“So where you having it Tailgate? I heard Chromedome and Rewind need to hold theirs in the observation deck seeing as they're inviting everyone .” Swerve was lingering.

“Well, um, we're not entirely sure. We wanted somewhere private but our hab suite isn't big enough to invite who we want.”

Rodimus was stirring his drink with a straw and he cocked his helm in thought.

“How about Mags’ office? It's usually where we hold officers meetings, should be big enough, it had to be to contain Ultra Magnus. I'm sure I can convince him to hang some bunting in there as long as it's at a perfect curve.”

“He wouldn't mind?” Tailgate was clasping his hands together, “we would invite him, and, well, you too Rodimus.”

“Me?” Rodimus flickered his optics in disbelief, “why me?”

“Well, without you we wouldn't have met, and you're our captain, we want you to be there.”

“Who else are you inviting?”

“Um Thunderclash obviously, Swerve because he has to be involved in everything-”

The bartender waved his arm in the air, “Yep!”

“-erm Rewind and Chromedome. Will Drift and Ratchet be back?”

Thunderclash tensed at the mention of the two mechs but Rodimus shrugged in response, still carefully stirring his drink around. He was too busy feeling slightly surprised that he was invited to something so personal.

“Not sure buddy, depends on how soon you're doing it. They'd love to come though.”

“Well, we can wait.”

“Didn't you forget someone important?”

Whirl was lounging on the back of the booth behind Tailgate, his optic twinkling with mischief. He'd obviously sneaked his way in when everyone was distracted and Swerve was giving him a look that was don't wreck my furniture , but he wasn't feeling brave enough to say it. Rodimus laughed and pointed at the black mech.

“Didn't want nutjob officiating then?”

“I'll have you know Rodimus,” Whirl clasped his claws together, “I would have brought the crowd to tears .”

“Yeah, the only time you make anyone cry is when you're being violent and you're not supposed to hurt people at a wedding-”

“Ahem.” Thunderclash didn't want a repeat of the last time those two were in Swerve's, “so we can use Minimus’ office and I will brush up on my wedding officiation. Is there anything else you need?”

“Seriously, anything.” Rodimus flashed a smile, “I'll make Drift pay, he's loaded.”

Tailgate went still for a moment, his jaw dropping down onto his chest. There was something bothering him, all of them could see that but he wasn't about to let them in on it. He shook his helm and spoke softly.

“Thank you Rodimus but there's not anything in particular we want other than this bonding ceremony.”

Rodimus decided to insist, “Night out on Hedonia? We're going for CD and Rewind anyway.”

“Not really.”

“How about anything for the wedding?” Thunderclash encouraged, “anything special you want?”

“Um nope.” Tailgate shrugged, “as long as I have Cyclonus.”

“I'll make sure he turns up, don't you worry cutie.”

Whirl tapped the top of Tailgate's helm in as much of an affectionate gesture he could manage. Everyone knew that as much as Whirl let on that he didn't care for anyone, there were two mechs in particular he would do anything in his power for.

“So there's nothing? Seriously?” Rodimus drummed his fingers against the table top, “I meant it Tailgate, anything .”

“Honestly, as long as Cyclonus and our friends are there, I'm happy.”

Rodimus exchanged a glance with Thunderclash but he just shrugged in reply.

They finished their drinks and their conversation then decided to walk back to Rodimus’ office together. Thunderclash could tell that his companion had things on his mind he wanted to voice but he was waiting until it was just the two of them. He was worried that the mention of Drift had brought up some painful feelings, Rodimus was still recovering emotionally and physically from his crash on Velocitron, it wouldn't take much to shove him back over the edge into his depressive spiral once again.

He was pretty surprised when Rodimus finally burst out with what it was bothering him.

“I mean it's cute and all but weddings are supposed to be special right?”

“What do you know about weddings?” Thunderclash smiled.

“Pfft, pleaaase , do you know how partial I am to romantic comedies and happy ever afters? I need to introduce you to my Earth video collection Thunders, but… I feel like Tailgate is underselling it.”

“Perhaps it's more likely to be Cyclonus not wanting to make a fuss and Tailgate going along with it.”

Rodimus paused a moment, then carried on after Thunderclash. His ankle protested with pain at the sudden increase in pace and he winced.

Aha, you're probably right. That old stoic fragger couldn't be romantic to save his life.”

“Well, he did offer a vial of innermost energon, that's pretty special.”

“Yeah but where's the fireworks and the flowers and the fragging cake?! Nah, I reckon we should help.”

“Rodimus, are you sure you should be… getting involved .”

“You can say meddling, you totally wanted to.” Rodimus flickered his optics in annoyance, “I'm not going to take over, I just want them all to be happy. Whatever I can do to help with that.”

Thunderclash stopped with a small sigh. He turned to where Rodimus was just behind him and the other mech took a few steps up to where Thunderclash was waiting. He folded his arms across his chest and gave Rodimus a stern look.

“Rodimus, I understand you want to make your crew happy but you don't need to… make up for anything.”

He laughed, incredulous, “what?! Who says I'm doing that?!”

But he caught Thunderclash's optics and his spark twisted in his chest, anger rising up. Of course Thunderclash thought he knew it all and could read Rodimus like a book. He pointed aggressively at him, face twisted into a snarl.

“Stop acting like you know me Thunders! I-”

“But Rodimus, I do.”

The calm voice snuffed his fiery temper quickly.

Rodimus’ face fell and Thunderclash met his optics steadily in return. This mech that stood in front of him that Rodimus felt should have run at the very first idea of being involved with him was patiently and kindly helping through all of his anger and pain with unflinching resolve. Rodimus was sure that even if he raged at him and hurt him with words, Thunderclash would merely ride the storm out and hold him afterwards, because he was so steadfastly empathetic and kind. 

He couldn't kid either of them, Thunderclash really did know Rodimus.

“I… yeah. You do.” He rebooted his vocaliser, “I just want it to be special, for all of them and anything I can do to make that possible I will.”

“I understand that but don't force your ideas onto anyone. You want something to keep you busy until Drift is back but don't do anything the happy couples don't want, okay? Talk to Cyclonus and ask if there's anything he would like.”

“Yeah okay.” Rodimus ex-vented, feeling regretful at nearly kicking off, “you wanna come in? I've got some work I need to do but company would be good.”

He almost expected Thunderclash to say no, that he needed space from Rodimus but instead he was met with a kind smile and a small nod.

“Of course, and then perhaps later on we could watch one of those Earth wedding happy ever afters?”

“I'd like that.”

Rodimus gave him a smile back. He wasn't sure why exactly Thunderclash stayed, but he was glad to have someone so reliable and steady to hold onto whilst the storm inside of him still raged.

Chapter Text

Megatron finished his shift on the bridge and meandered his way down towards the offices, hoping to find Rodimus before he went out on shore leave with some of the crew, but as he passed Minimus’ office, he saw something that surprised him. He backed up, frowning to himself and peered through the open door.

“Minimus?”

The mech turned. He was suited up into the Ultra Magnus armour, looking a little abashed at being found that way. Funny how not so long ago, if anyone had found him out of the armour he would have felt the same as he did then. He reset his features and cleared his intake.

“Ah, Megatron, I uh…” he held up the paint brush daintily, “wanted to redecorate in preparation for Tailgate and Cyclonus’ wedding. It looked a little… unregulatory in here.”

“That's not even a word,” Megatron grinned slightly, “if you wanted assistance in reaching the more difficult places, you could have asked me.”

“Well, I didn't want to bother you with something so trivial…”

But he trailed off as Megatron confidently crossed the room, still wearing that small grin and took the paintbrush from him, standing just a little bit too close. Minimus felt flustered and he was glad that he couldn't see his real expression underneath the suit.

“I may have a way with words but I am no stranger to a paintbrush. Please, allow me to help you. If you are uncomfortable you could always, ahem , take off your Magnus armour.”

“It can be tiresome to wear…”

There was something though in Megatron's optics, just a flicker before he turned away to carry on painting where Minimus had been. He mused it, and the words he'd said, and the tone in which it had been said. Oh.

Minimus’ cheeks heated.

“You… um… prefer me out of my armour?”

Megatron dropped his helm with a low chuckle that sent shivers up Minimus’ back strut. He loved listening to him talking, with his eloquent words and deep rumble, but his laugh made him feel strange, kind of tingly. Perhaps it was due to the way that it was barely ever heard and Minimus was glad that he was the one that could make it happen on the rare occasions it did. His cheeks felt even hotter.

“I apologise, I was a little taken aback at seeing you in it.”

“No, don't apologise.” Minimus paused, “sometimes it can be difficult to take off alone.”

Megatron nearly dropped the paintbrush in surprise at the suggestive words. He gathered himself and gave a little nod.

“As I have said, if you require assistance with anything I am more than happy to accept.”

Minimus reached out with his big hand to place it onto Megatron's arm, tilting his helm with a smile.

“Thank you. If you would be so kind as to help me out of my armour I would appreciate it.”

Megatron placed the brush back into the paint tray and turned to where Minimus was waiting. So very tenderly he helped the green mech out of the cumbersome armour and he couldn't help it, the thought of stripping Minimus down to the very real part of him was sensual, especially with the amount of touches it required. He found his hand shaking several times and he had to dismiss his HUD more than once where it was offering to click on his fans.

When Minimus clambered down from the lower leg armour, he too was feeling pretty flustered by the whole situation. Megatron's hands had been so very gentle, no hint of the strength in them that they both knew he had and although it had been silent between them, there was no awkwardness. Their fields had meshed together, affection and joy and a hint of nervous flicking over each other.

Minimus glanced at the parts of his armour strewn around him, mostly glad to be out of it but feeling more vulnerable now. He was conscious of the crimson gaze upon him and Minimus ex-vented softly.

“Minimus… I…” Megatron turned his gaze away, “I hope I was gentle.”

“Yes, very much so.”

They both cleared their intakes and laughed nervously.

Neither of them were yet totally relaxed around the other, Minimus too nervous about taking a step forward and Megatron eager to not push him into anything he was uncomfortable with. Megatron was also worried that he could hurt Minimus, with his fiery temper or his old habits, and he didn't want to do anything like that. More than anything he wanted to be as patient and as kind as Minimus had been to him.

The green mech meanwhile was tentative because he'd never really been in a situation like the one he was currently in. Being Ultra Magnus for so long had taken its toll on every aspect of his life and it had taken so long for his friends to see the real side of him, let alone let anyone in as closely as he wanted Megatron to be.

But when their fields were merged and there was a definite tension in the air, it was hard to think of anything other than kisses and touches. Minimus so desperately wished he knew what to do, and he decided he'd need some help. Even with all of the emotion between them, they both diverted their optics to their tasks at hand.

Minimus moved the topic onto something safer as he wielded a paintbrush again.

“I'm looking forward to attending a wedding , not that I really have much of an idea of what one is.”

“It's a human thing,” Megatron grimaced a little, “much too overexcitable and too many involved for my liking. Although, there are some rules generally.”

Now Minimus was intrigued. He always did like to hear about what other protocols and procedures others across the galaxy adhered to.

“Such as?”

“Well, obviously the humans differ as much as in we do ourselves, they all have their own customs and traditions around the whole planet. In some countries, the couple mustn't meet beforehand as it's considered bad luck, whereas in others it's bad luck if they do not meet beforehand.”

“Interesting.” Minimus mused, “although perhaps Cybertronian custom is much easier. We pick a prospective conjunx and then let it be, much easier than abiding to a set of rules.”

“Do you not think Minimus my dear, that is partly why you struggle with… this.”

Megatron gestured between them and Minimus bristled a little at the accusation. He knew himself he was struggling, it didn't need to be pointed out to him.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Oh come now, we both know that you abhor anything that fails to fall into neat little categories or doesn't follow the rules to the letter. Becoming conjunx endurae is barely more than finding a partner like you said and exchanging adoration and affection for them until you feel comfortable enough to call them so. Our traditions are hardly rule abiding.”

Minimus stopped his work and glanced over at the opposite end of the room where Megatron had done the same to share a look at him. He wanted to argue back but sadly, it was too true. Unfortunately it had irked him badly and he couldn't keep the irritation out of his vocals.

“I like order because… that's what I'm good at, Megatron. If you abhor that then I suggest that this ,” he gestured, “isn't for you.”

“Minimus,” he sighed, “I mean no harm. What I'm trying to clumsily explain is that if it is easier for you, we can set some rules.”

“Oh.”

“I understand I could have voiced it better.”

Minimus let his helm drop slightly, “And I could have not let my temper get the better of me.”

At that, Megatron let out such an undignified snort Minimus wasn't even sure that it was him, but no, the big mech had his palm braced against the wall as he chuckled. Minimus shivered and cursed that beautiful sound for doing things to him he didn't realise that could be done. He quirked an optic ridge in his direction and waited for the explanation.

“My dear, I will handle the temper side of this relationship. If, that's what you would like to label… this?”

“I think I would.” Minimus spoke quickly, darting his gaze around the room, “nothing too serious just a casual… relationship.”

“No weddings yet.”

Megatron grinned to himself then turned to find Minimus staring intently at him, optic ridge still raised and a small smirk on his face. He was tired from his shift and helping Minimus that he hadn't noticed the lighter grey paint pressed into his palm as he rubbed at his face. It was Minimus’ turn to snort.

“What?”

But it had tickled the green mech so much that his shoulders were shaking with laughter and he could only splutter.

“The paint! It's-! No it's just-!”

Megatron looked at his hand and sighed, smirking a little when he had a thought. Minimus was so caught up in his laughing fit that he didn't notice Megatron move past the Magnus armour and leave a handprint on it. That would teach him.

When Minimus had finally calmed, he smiled slightly at his companion who was now beside him again, thinking back to their original conversation. They were close, but not as frustratingly and teasingly close as before.

“You're sure you're happy to abide my rules ?”

“Of course, if it means that you are much more relaxed.”

“So… you will agree not to distract me if I'm working? You know that I take my job very seriously.”

Megatron nodded and Minimus wondered how that was going to be possible when even just a look could sometimes throw him from his train of thought, like just now. He blinked then went back to the mental list he was conjuring as they spoke.

“You also agree that any disagreements we have involving past tensions are to be swiftly moved on from?”

“Of course.”

“But, and this is an amendment, anything from the past may be brought up for discussion as long as all parties involved are satisfied that it will be discussed in a reasonable and mature manner.”

“Yes.”

“And also-”

“Minimus,” Megatron grinned, his cheeks slightly overheated, “maybe this is something best compiled into one of your memos.”

“So you don't forget-... Wait,” Minimus crossed his arms, smirk creeping back, “are you enjoying my rules?”

Megatron shifted and there was a small part of Minimus that enjoyed seeing the usually composed mech squirm under his words and gaze. The great Megatron, reduced to an embarrassed and flustered mess by a mech less than half of his size.

“Ah. As someone subjected to chaos and anarchy, even encouraging it, I find your ways… endearing.”

“Enamoring more like. But fine, I'll compile you a memo of my particular guidelines. Is there anything you would like me to include for you?”

“For you,” Megatron cupped his face gently, “to never stop being you.”

There was a long moment where Minimus stared back into the red gaze he was being given, imagining what it would be like to close the gap between them and brush their lips together, softly, sweetly.

Megatron pulled away and straightened, clearing his intake.

“Maybe we should complete the decorating before any more paint gets spilt.”

Minimus nodded and turned away, but he was still wondering.


Rodimus was sat on his desk, contemplating the comms call he'd had with Drift. There was something not quite right with his amica, he wasn't quite as in tune with feelings as Drift was, but there was a sadness in his optics as he'd spoken, even as he mentioned bringing a dog back with him.

Rodimus sighed, he just hoped that Ratchet was looking after him.

He was tracing the marks on his desk he'd inscribed with the matrix map with one digit when there was a knock at his door. He made a noise to indicate he was in and waited, not moving from what he was doing.

“Rodimus.”

Minimus seated himself nervously, fidgeting with his clasped hands and crossing his legs nearly at the ankles. Rodimus lifted his gaze and his optic ridges. As far as he was aware he'd been nothing but perfect for the past few days so why was Minimus here, and why was he acting so weird?

“You're not here to reprimand me because I haven't done anything wrong.”

“No.”

“Okay. And no one is in danger because there would be more urgency than this.”

“Well yes.”

“Mags c'mon, spit it out, some of us here are impatient.”

“I wanted to ask for your… advice.”

Rodimus blinked. Minimus met his gaze steadily.

My advice?”

“Yes.”

“The mech who nearly offed himself through a wall not too long ago and tried to drink himself into a stupor?”

“Rodimus-”

“So you either want advice on how to be a total fragging jerk or tips on looking good,” he grinned, “and sorry, don't think I could help you with the latter.”

“No it's-... I need your advice on relationships.

Rodimus nearly pitched backwards off the desk in pure bewilderment. He laughed out a noise of shock and tilted his helm as if he hadn't heard correctly.

“Sorry what?”

“Well if you're going to be difficult about it-”

“Me?!” Rodimus pointed at himself, “Me?!”

“Yes you! Who else would I ask?”

Minimus snapped and he felt guilty immediately, rubbing between his optics with a sigh. This whole situation was getting to him and he could have done without Rodimus being, well, Rodimus about it.

“I apologise for raising my voice.”

“Nah, it's cool, I bring out the worst in everyone. You really want my help?”

Rodimus’ tone was kinder now and his optics had dimmed a little in empathy. He was never one to turn away a friend who needed help, and if Minimus was asking him for help with his relationship, it must have been a pretty dire situation. Rodimus didn't have the first clue on relationships, apart from the one aspect of it that he would not so humbly admit to being an expert on.

“You're so passionate and fearless when it comes to embracing how you feel and I have no idea how to do that. I'm feeling rather lost about the whole ordeal.”

“By whole ordeal you mean… wanting to frag Megs?”

“Rodimus!”

“But it's true!” He spluttered a laugh. “ Embrace it!”

Minimus quirked a little smile. This is why he'd sought out the captain, there was never any pretense with him at least.

“You had your picnic date together right? How did that go?”

Rodimus mistook the blush as something else and he grinned wildly before the green mech set him straight. Minimus folded his arms and narrowed his optics a little.

“You know exactly how it went, I'm not a big drinker and you placed that ridiculous, delicious engex in there!”

“You didn't have to drink it.”

Minimus sighed irritatedly and Rodimus held up his hands placatingly, trying not to smirk too much at the thought of his SIC being drunk.

“Okay okay. So you guys haven't fragged yet?”

“Must we?”

“You want help don't you?”

He sighed again, “no.”

“Kissed?”

Minimus placed a hand against his hot face when he thought about the situation in his office earlier on. He cleared his intake.

“No.”

“...held hands?”

“It's not that I don't want to do any of these things it's just I don't… know… how.”

Rodimus quirked an optic ridge, pulling his legs around to dangle off the edge of the desk and swinging them slightly. This was pretty serious.

“You want a lesson on interfacing ? Then you came to the right mech!”

“I understand how it works,” he grumbled, “I just don't understand how… to... get... there .”

“Okay, so listen, I know this will be hard for you but you need to just kinda let go a little.”

“Let go?”

“Yeah, so you have these feelings right? And you don't need me to point out that Megs blates does too, but you're thinking about it too much. You're supposed to just go with it, do what makes you feel good!”

“So… if I wanted to kiss him, I should just… kiss him?”

“Exactly!” Rodimus pulled out finger guns, “just do it! He's totes going to kiss you back.”

Minimus thought it through in his processor, but it wasn't quite making sense. Where were the rules? Why wasn't there a step by step guide for this? And how were you supposed to let go?

“But then what about… interfacing?”

“Well, generally if you kiss enough, it kinda just happens.”

Rodimus shrugged like it was easy. Minimus huffed because it wasn't.

“Do I ask?”

“To kiss?! What?! Not really, well, not unless you're adorable and respectful Thunderclash but… you know Mags, alright? You just know when it'll feel right.”

Minimus twiddled his moustache in thought. Earlier on he was sure it would have felt right but Megatron had pulled away, so maybe it hadn't been the right time after all. He was still unsure.

“Will I?”

“Yeah. Oh! Definitely ask if interfacing is okay though, consent is sexy.”

Rodimus flashed one of his optics on and off and grinned.

“So… I will know when it's okay?”

“Yeah you just feel it, so that little Ultra Magnus voice that you have in your processor asking if this abides to the regulations of blah blah blah just tune him out. You gotta listen here instead,” Rodimus knocked against his chest plate, “don't think about it, imagine being me.”

“Oh Primus.”

But Minimus was smiling and Rodimus laughed good naturedly, glad to see that maybe it was finally getting through, and a joke at his expense always helped anyone feel relaxed.

“Yeah frag that right?”

“Thank you.” Minimus nodded, then blushed furiously as he thought of his next question, “Just one more thing… interfacing worries me enough, but with a bigger mech… well I'm more than apprehensive.”

“Ah, that's why you wanted my advice, because I go ten rounds with Thunders huh? Well, just take it easy, don't rush anything, it's supposed to be enjoyable for everyone and you'll be fine,” Rodimus grinned, “anyway, I heard rumours that Megatron likes to be told what to do if you catch my meaning.”

Minimus couldn't help but laugh, he was sure that was true from the way he'd reacted when he'd listed some rules. His face was still hot but he was glad that Rodimus had taken him seriously and given actual advice rather than laugh him out of the room. It showed that the flame coloured mech really had matured and even though he was still struggling with his engex dependency, he was doing better than he had been.

“Thank you Rodimus, I really appreciate us discussing… this, in a sensible way.”

“Anytime Minimus, seriously.”

Rodimus jumped down from his desk and went around to his chair, throwing himself down into it and stretching his arms above his helm. Minimus saw that maybe he looked a little tired and offered a chance for Rodimus to talk.

“Have you heard news of Drift and Ratchet's return?”

“Drift said that they only had a few things left he wanted to do.” Rodimus smiled softly, bringing his optics down, “he's happy so I'm happy.”

“You don't have to fool me. I know you're finding this very hard.”

“Yeah, well, what's the point in making it harder for everyone else too? I miss him, but he'll be back, soon enough.”

“He would be proud of you.”

Rodimus snorted, “I don't think so.”

“He would. You helped yourself, you picked yourself up from the bad place you were in and now, you're doing okay.”

“Some days are better than others. Probably thanks to Thunders, but you and Megs did a lot for me too. Still do.”

They shared a smile between them. Minimus nodded and gestured at the door.

“I'm sure you have things to prepare for shore leave.”

“Yeah, oh, and thanks, for letting Tailgate and Cyclonus use your office for their ceremony. Thunders said you'd agreed.”

“Yes, well, Megatron was helping me decorate so that it meets all regulations for their upcoming wedding.”

Rodimus smiled, he could always count on Minimus to have things under control.

They exchanged goodbyes and Minimus went back to his office to pick up the Magnus armour and wear it back down to his hab suite. He couldn't help but notice that as he passed several crew members, there were some snickers from behind him. He grew slightly self conscious of being in his armour once again when he had Whirl sidle up beside him, optic glinting with amusement.

“Gotta say Magnus, love your new paint job.”

“Sorry?”

“Handprint right across the aft, classic. Kind of jealous that I couldn't do it first,” he chuckled, pulling one of his claws up, “I think I need to take notes from ol’ Bucket head.”

As the black mech strutted away, Minimus froze. Megatron wouldn't have, surely not, but he thought back to the paint all over his hand whilst he was laughing.

Oh, he was going to give that mech some rules alright, and the first one on the list was going to be no touching up the Magnus armour.

Chapter Text

Rodimus had stayed true to his word and managed to find a planet where they could buy anything and everything that Chromedome and Rewind might have wanted for their wedding, and maybe even something for Tailgate and Cyclonus too. It was advertised as a marketplace for the whole galaxy, named Medley, and Rodimus had stumbled upon it when he'd been searching his datapad for wedding supplies, but what he hadn't been able to find out was if it was Cybertronian friendly. He'd decided to send a shuttle down with a small group and for them to scope the place out with their holoforms, as suggested by Minimus. At least humans wouldn't seem quite as threatening as towering, talking mechanicals.

As Rodimus waited for the rest of the crew to join them in the shuttle, he noticed that Tailgate was busy animatedly talking to Rewind and that Cyclonus was looking wistfully across at the door. Sometimes he wondered if Cyclonus even liked any of them apart from Tailgate and Whirl or if he was just embracing them for his conjunx's sake. He supposed a lot of the Lost Light crew had been lost souls, trying to find a place in a world that had changed dramatically and having to forge new relationships was difficult even in the best circumstances, let alone after a war spanning millions of years.

Rodimus was glad though that everyone onboard had at least one bot by their side that they could call a friend and Cyclonus was obviously happy enough with his very select company.

He managed to summon a smile and shouted over.

“Hey Cyc! Got a klik? Wondered if you could give me some advice on a nice sword rack for Drift, y'know as a welcome back present.”

Cyclonus carefully moved his gaze over to where Rodimus was standing next to the pilot's chair near the front of the shuttle and looked at him briefly before patting an oblivious Tailgate's leg and rising to stand beside the captain.

“You are in no need of my help, of that I'm sure.”

Rodimus gestured at the pilot seat and Cyclonus accepted, his optics still set intensely on him. The flame coloured mech hunched his shoulders under the gaze, leaning back against the dashboard and feeling a little wary of irking someone who was no stranger to eliminating any threats very quickly. He cleared his intake and started tentatively.

“Sooo... I heard you and Tailgate are having a quiet one huh?”

Cyclonus didn't answer, he merely kept his expression fixed. Rodimus laughed nervously and glanced over at Tailgate.

“Doesn’t seem very… Tailgate , usually he's not so quiet.”

“Are you insinuating that my conjunx is loud?”

There was a small hint of humour in the purple mech's vocals and Rodimus was glad he wasn't about to get defensive or violent. Tailgate had definitely mellowed him.

“Well, yeah,” he grinned in response, “Tailgate and quiet don't exactly go. So what's going on with that? I thought your wedding would be all flowers and rainbows.”

Cyclonus sighed and clasped his hands together, his optics finally loosening the hold they had on Rodimus and diving down to the floor.

“Tailgate has been insistent that we only need each other and whilst I quite agree, I would never wish for him to not be himself.”

“So, you wouldn't care if we made a little fuss for you right? I mean, you want it to be special and all?”

“It will be special regardless, but,” he glanced to the side, “Tailgate I'm sure would love flowers and rain.”

Rainbows , no one wants rain Cyc. So, if I got Thunders and Mags on the job prettying up his office, to make sure I don't go over the top, that's cool with you?”

He nodded, “thank you, Rodimus.”

Cyclonus rose without another word and went back over to his conjunx. Rodimus watched how as soon as they were back together, Tailgate leant back into Cyclonus without breaking conversation with Rewind and his shoulders seemed to relax. Cyclonus smiled very slightly and resumed watching the door.

When everyone who had joined the short mission had boarded, they made the brief journey down to Medley. The planet itself was a glowing sphere, with rows upon rows of uniform, rectangular, grey buildings that held bright lights and flashing signs in all languages. Rodimus was glad he'd heeded Minimus' advice for once and activated their holoforms, especially seeing as the buildings wouldn't have been big enough for them to enter as themselves anyway.

“Thunders! Nice holoform,” Rodimus clicked and winked, “man I love being able to wink properly, flashing your optics isn't quite as good.”

Not seeing the blush he'd caused, Rodimus glanced behind them to make sure that the rest of their crew was following; Swerve just behind them, Velocity, Nautica and Brainstorm accompanying Whirl with Chromedome, Rewind, Cyclonus and Tailgate at the rear. The last thing they wanted to do was draw attention but Whirl was insistent and promised that he would mostly, definitely, probably, really try to behave. Rodimus brought him in the hopes that if something went really wrong, Whirl could take out a whole crowd on his own.

They passed by a window front advertising 100% legal* substances and Rodimus shuddered a little when he saw one of the lines displayed in the window. He tried not to think about Drift.

“They sell boosters, not sure if that makes it us friendly or not.”

Thunderclash gave a deep frown, “shouldn't sell those fragging things.”

“Oomph Thunders swearing ? You're giving me shivers. Hey, I wonder if you kiss as a holoform you feel it. Brainstorm-”

And as Rodimus turned, he saw it. The dark shadow that was accompanying them. He snapped his eyes to where Brainstorm was waving to get his attention.

“Yo, ‘sup Rodders?”

“Oh please,” Whirl rolled her eye, “you're not cool enough to use either of those let alone in the same sentence.”

Rodimus raised his communicator in response to Brainstorm with a strained smile then sent a group comm ping.

-Being tailed. Stay 2gether.-

Thunderclash threw an arm around Rodimus’ shoulder casually, pulling him in with a pretend laugh. Rodimus smiled to himself, he wished his partner would do that sort of thing more often, and especially when they were holoforms. Apparently they was something intriguing to him about Thunderclash in his avatar.

“What's the plan?”

“Find out if holoforms can frag because holy scrap you are beautiful.”

“I meant the more pressing matter behind us.”

“I'd like you to be my pressing matter from behind- alright alright! Don't do that!”

Thunderclash stopped pinching Rodimus’ arm and laughed again, this time more sincerely. He knew it needed to look like they weren't paying attention to what was behind them and he could lean in close to Rodimus this way, looking as though he was whispering sweet nothings to him but instead making a plan. Thunderclash tried not to let the wish that they were close for a different reason divert his attention away from the serious situation.

“Okay, so, we need to get back to the Leading Light, but we need to lose these guys first. Any ideas what they are?”

“Furry organics.” Thunderclash furrowed his brow, “nothing I've ever come across.”

“So why are they tailing us?”

“Probably because they think we're a smaller species on a planet where the main aim is spending money and we're easy targets.”

“They'd be hard pressed to get anything outta me, I'm skint. Alright, so we try to lose them around here somewhere then high tail it back to the ship.”

Rodimus sent another group ping, trying not to think about how tightly Thunderclash was holding him. It was seriously distracting.

-Ok plan of action DON'T blow ur cover. Lose them & get back to the LL. Stick 2gether!!-

When he'd sent it, he saw out of the corner of his eye another form next to him, typing back on his communicator with a small snicker.

-aye aye captain!-

Rodimus rolled his eyes and turned his head.

“Swerve you're literally beside me you could have said that outloud.”

“Trying not to draw attention, Rodders. Besides everyone else is gone.”

“Okay please don't call me- wait, what?!”

Rodimus checked back over his shoulder as nonchalantly as he could manage to find they were still being trailed by three of the bear like aliens without the rest of the group behind and swore under his breath a lot.

“Quite done?” Thunderclash sounded amused, “the others know the plan, we'll keep in contact with them but let's concentrate on losing these guys.”

“Giant Teddy bears.” Rodimus chimed in.

“They kinda remind me of Sehlats. Except they're wearing spiked jackets, like a bad 80s film.”

“Alright alright, whatever, just lose them okay?”

The trio spent their time diving into shops hoping that their followers had given up on them by the time they'd browsed for long enough, but they were quickly followed again time and time again. It was starting to get to Rodimus and he was clenching his fists tightly. There was a moment of calm as he brushed against Thunderclash but it evaporated quickly.

“This is fucking bullshit.” Rodimus raged, “I'm gonna just swing for them if they don't let up.”

“Oh wow, you even swear like a human- EEK!”

Swerve was yanked back by his shirt collar and dangled in the air by one of the bears following them. It grinned nastily, showing all of its dripping yellow teeth and swung Swerve a little. The bartender looked panic stricken but still straightened his glasses on his face.

“Put him down you overgrown floor rug.”

Thunderclash pulled Rodimus back by his shoulder as he went to go forwards, eyeing the enemy that had lined up in front of them closely. They had sharp teeth and razor claws and their whole bodies were solid muscle, pure killing machines. Thunderclash whispered without breaking eye contact.

“We don't die if our holoforms do, do we?...  Rodimus?”

“Thinking here 'Clash.” Rodimus grinned, “I don't think you guys even understand me, but let me just say, you hurt my fucking bartender and I will make boots out of you.”

The bear holding Swerve made a low warble in its throat and lifted him higher. Swerve squeaked. Rodimus looked between the three attackers, all of them watching him with small black, beady eyes and the two of them without anything in their paws stretched out their claws threateningly. Rodimus huffed and held up his hands as placatingly as he could.

“You want money yeah? Credits? CREDITS? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?”

The bear on the left spoke in a deep rumble, “We understand you fine.”

“Oh for… listen, don't hurt him yeah? He won't even taste good if you eat him. What do you want?”

“Credits.” the one on the right grinned, “plenty. Or we bite his head off.”

“Um Rodimus,” Swerve whispered, “I like my head.”

“The grown ups and the teddy bears are talking Swerve, shush. TC, what you got on you?”

“Erm,” Thunderclash procured his wallet, “3000 credits. I think.”

Rodimus pulled out his wallet with a card, taking the one Thunderclash was holding out to him too. He eyed the bears seriously and showed the cards with a flourish, plastering on a grin for good measure. Maybe his boyish good looks and charm would work on another species if he was lucky.

“And I've got 10,000. That enough?”

“It will have to do.”

The bear in the middle held out his free paw and Rodimus passed the cards over, then pointed at Swerve.

“C'mon. Bartender, now.”

“We said it would do. Not let him go.”

Rodimus felt the anger prickle at him. The frustration that had built over not being able to drink himself into a stupor and the rage at himself for wanting to do it was surfacing. He supposed if he was going to take it out on anyone, it would be okay to take it out on overgrown bullies who deserved it. He felt hot and he wiped an arm across his face with a huff before he narrowed his eyes at the bears.

“Oh, we gonna start some bullshit game are we? Listen, you have caught me at a bad fucking time ,” he emphasised the words, “You drop my friend or you find out what happens when you really piss me off. You wanna go? Then come on, let's go. I dare you .”

The three bears all looked between each other and laughed lowly, shaking their fuzzy heads. These small things were no threat to them and their muscles tensed in preparation for a brief fight, but they had absolutely no idea what they were getting themselves into.

“You stand no chance, small squishy.”

“Okay. I'm done.”

The captain threw himself at the bear holding Swerve, hoping he would drop him to wrestle Rodimus, but he was roughly pulled off by one of the others. He clawed and kicked and fought with all of the white hot furor that was consuming him and it felt good .

Whilst the bear holding him was distracted, Swerve wriggled out of his shirt and landed clumsily on the floor, Thunderclash going over to help him up as he dived a punch from the other bear. Thunderclash swung out but his hand didn't do much against the solid muscle of his attacker. His eyes went wide.

“We need to get out of here.” Thunderclash pulled Swerve out of the way of another punch, “Swerve watch!”

“Thunderclash, you're so- argh!”

Swerve went flying as the bear that kicked him stepped up to Thunderclash, skidding across the floor with a grumble of pain, and the holoform pulled up his fists. Thunderclash’s expression darkened into one of anger rarely seen on him. No one hurt those he cared about, not if he was there to stop it, or at least try.

“Ha, a lot of courage for someone so little.”

The bear laughed, throwing its large head back before launching into another attack. Thunderclash managed to dodge a few punches, dropping himself low and lunging to the side, but he didn't see the kick coming arm as the other bear sneaked in behind him.

Rodimus pushed Thunderclash to one side, sending him to the floor alongside Swerve and taking the hit full force. When both of the other holoforms looked up, he had vanished. Thunderclash looked alarmingly at Swerve who gave him a weary grin.

“Um, got a plan?”

Just as he was about to reply, there was a shrieking roar coming down from the street behind their attackers, and Thunderclash pulled Swerve into one of the shop doorways to give them shelter. The red and yellow alt mode sideswiped one of the bears and Rodimus rolled into a crouch as he transformed back into root mode.

He stood to his full height, optics darkened and pointed aggressively, making a show of the guns he had. His vocaliser was low and hard when he spoke.

“I told you I was done.”

The bears all scrambled to run, no way wanting to mess with a mechanical that was three times their height and could inflict serious damage on them. They grumbled and grunted as they retreated, throwing glances back to make sure they weren't being followed. The one that Rodimus had attacked in his holoform was holding its face at the patch of fur that had been ripped out whilst the one that had taken a tumble over his bonnet was limping badly.

Rodimus grinned and turned back to where Thunderclash and Swerve were still in the doorway, the latter open mouthed at the scene that had just played out. He had to crouch to speak to them, his optics narrowing in concern.

“You guys okay?”

“No.” Swerve pretended to sniff, “I'll never be as cool as either of you.”

Rodimus laughed, “tell you what, you can pretend you're driving.”

He transformed back into his alt mode, Swerve giving out a shriek of delight as he dived into the driver's seat. Thunderclash smiled and tentatively got into the passenger seat. It felt a little intrusive to be in Rodimus and he had to shake his head to clear the thoughts that were blooming in his mind. He turned his attention back to their current situation.

“You always have a flair for entrances Rodimus, where were you waiting?”

“I got off the shuttle and drove down as soon as I knew we were being tailed, waited in a side street.”

Rodimus started driving back steadily to where the shuttle was waiting for them, slightly disappointed that they'd come away from the trip empty handed. He supposed a gift for Drift would have to wait a little longer.

Thunderclash questioned him again and his engine purred when he thought about having his companion in his passenger seat. He tried to pass it off as a rev as he rounded a corner.

“Why didn't you ask us to all bring our alt modes?”

“Because I didn't know if it was safe or not still, but I wasn't about to let Swerve get eaten by a bear.”

Swerve grinned and patted the steering wheel.

“Thanks Rodimus. Sorry you lost your credits.”

“Hahaha no it's fine, like I said, I'm skint, it was a totally fake card, right Thunders?... Thunders?”

Thunderclash sighed and rubbed at his arms, glancing out of his window.

“It's only money.”

“Damn.” Rodimus felt bad, “Sorry, I'll make it up to you. Can you try and reach the others? I should concentrate on driving, we all know what happened the last time that I didn't.”

Luckily the others were fine, Chromedome and Rewind having wandered off with Tailgate and Cyclonus, oblivious to their group ping, and Whirl had scared off the other three bears that had followed him, Nautica, Velocity and Brainstorm by being an aggressive, small girl wielding two guns.

Thunderclash was deactivating his hologram when Swerve nudged him. He had a mischievous look about him and Thunderclash was sure he was about to say something troublesome.

“Cap’s got it bad for you huh?”

“What do you mean?”

Thunderclash threw a glance over at where Rodimus was perusing with Chromedome some of the things that he'd managed to acquire on their very successful shopping trip. He was laughing at something and Thunderclash tried not to get lost in staring at him. He loved hearing him laugh.

“He threw himself into a bear for you.” Swerve grinned, “he's in love with you.”

“He did that for you too.”

“Yeah yeah but he loves me because I keep everyone happy and drunk. He loves you, for being you . Who can blame him, you're so awesome.”

Thunderclash lifted an optic ridge and shook his helm. Swerve was being ridiculous, Rodimus was merely being himself, brave and confident and heroic . He would have saved anyone from the situation they were in, it was silly to think that Thunderclash was special.

Swerve shrugged still grinning then turned to where Tailgate was calling him over, wanting to talk excitedly with him over the new glasses Rewind had brought for their wedding.

The bigger mech watched him leave with a smile and then found a hand slip into his with a small squeeze. He tried not to jump in shock.

“You alright?”

“Mm. Fine. You're not hurt are you?”

Thunderclash's optics flashed with concern as he looked at Rodimus standing beside him. The flame coloured mech didn't look any worse for wear but they both knew that he was too good at faking, and even if the outside was unscathed, it didn't mean the inside was.

“Bit stiff going back to root mode but I'm good.” Rodimus grinned cheekily, “So, I got my answer from Brainstorm about holoforms being able to interface.”

“And?”

“And what? I told you I got an answer, that's all you wanted right?” He turned to address the rest of them, making his voice loud enough to carry, “we’re heading back to the Lost Light before Mags sends a search party so make sure you're not leaving anything behind, including your holoform.”

Rodimus squeezed Thunderclash's hand again and let go to take his place in the pilot's seat. As he watched him walk away, he thought back to what Swerve had said, that Rodimus obviously cared a lot about Thunderclash.

He wasn't sure how exactly Rodimus felt about him, surely though nothing as serious as being in love with him. He was much too afraid to ask him outright for fear of what the truth would be. Rodimus hadn't made it a secret that he held disdain for Thunderclash, the mech himself enduring plenty of harsh words and optics being rolled at him countless times but it was clear that there had been a shift in their relationship of late. It made him uneasy, like he wasn't sure what ground they were on and he expected to fall at any moment.

He knew exactly what was worrying him about Rodimus and himself. As soon as Drift was back, Thunderclash would be dumped unceremoniously like a bag of rusty bolts. Surely he was merely something else to pass the time until his amica got back, something other than drinking and sadness. As soon as Drift swept back into Rodimus’ life he would vanquish every one of his troubles with his mere presence, something that Thunderclash wished more than anything that he could do.

The big mech seated himself and glanced around at the various couples onboard the Leading Light. They were all either totally enamored with one another or tentatively taking small steps forward and none of them were like him and Rodimus. It hurt. His spark had ached for Rodimus since he'd first heard stories of him, how bold and adventurous and brave he was. When they'd finally met, he'd nearly been bowled over by him, actual Rodimus right in front of him and he was every bit as captivating as he thought he would be, and more. It was more than the fact that Rodimus was striking in his looks and charming in his manner, it was the very real part that had made Thunderclash fall hard. The way that no matter what, Rodimus always did what he knew in his spark was right.

He closed his optics tightly. It hurt to think that he loved Rodimus, but Rodimus would never love him back, and surely that was the truth.

Chapter Text

"You ever think that… you'll find someone special?”

Hot Rod turned in the dark, his bright optics illuminating where Drift was laying beside him staring at the ceiling. More often than not, they ended up squashed together in a single berth, but that was better than enduring their nightmares alone.

“Someone special?” Hot Rod grinned, “I am special.”

The smaller mech expected him to laugh or give him a playful nudge off the berth, but Drift stayed still and Hot Rod's expression slipped. This was one of those times where he was being serious, his processor lost in old history.

Hot Rod sighed and rolled over so he could lay his head onto his friend's shoulder.

“You mean for real? Happily ever after and all that right?”

“Yeah.”

Hot Rod knew then that Drift wasn't his to keep forever, even as much as he wanted to. His spark clenched with the sadness he felt but he wouldn't ever let on how it made him feel, Drift had enough on his plate.

“Honestly? Who would want me? And for once I'm not fishing for compliments, it's just…” Hot Rod sighed, “you though, there's always been someone on your mind, I can tell.”

“Roddy, first of all anyone would be lucky to have you,” Drift brushed a kiss against his helm, “and secondly, you are totally fishing for compliments. Lastly, it's none of your business.”

Hot Rod laughed a little and shook his helm. He knew Drift and he knew he didn't mean any harm, not to him.

“C'mon, I won't tell anyone.”

“Oh yeah, sure.”

“Driiiift.”

Hot Rod propped himself up on his elbow so he could see Drift, but the white mech turned away shyly, giggling lightly.

“Don't use your cute face on me.”

“Pleaaase. Pretty please? Maybe I can help, be your wingman.”

Drift shook his helm, giggling harder now at the way Hot Rod clicked his digits and winked.

“I really don't want you as my wingman but fine…”

Drift grumbled something as he pulled the blanket up over him.

“Sorry what?”

“Don't.”

“No I'm serious, I didn't hear.”

“Don't laugh.”

“I won't.”

“Promise?”

Hot Rod lay a hand over his spark, “I promise.”

“...Ratchet.”


 

“He asked you?!”

Drift nodded, his optics shining with happiness and his grin wide. He glanced back behind him where the berth room lay, knowing that Ratchet was probably still asleep and knowing that he'd definitely woken Rodimus, whose optics were still dim, but he couldn't help himself, he wanted to share his news with his best friend. Rodimus yawned dramatically and then shrugged with a smile.

“I'm happy for you, buddy. Guess I've got even more reason to make the Lost Light looking her best now.”

“I'm not even sure where we'll get married yet, or when.”

Rodimus frowned a little, “but you'll be back soon right? Only one more stop?”

Drift fidgeted, looking down into his lap. He'd been dreading this conversation with Rodimus.

“Yeah… and then, you know, maybe a stop on the way back.”

“A stop on the way back?” Rodimus’ frown deepened, “what do you mean?”

“The dog… we didn't manage to get her onboard. She's really wary and we need to gain her trust-”

“The dog? You're putting off our reunion, for a dog?”

Drift frowned now too, “she's not just a dog, she's special. This means a lot to me.”

Rodimus looked cross, his blue optics now bright and focused on the screen. Sometimes he couldn't help his jealous streak, not when it came to Drift and he understood that at least Ratchet could give him things that Rodimus couldn't, but a dog? Drift was putting off seeing him, for a dog?

He couldn't help the harsh tone of his words as they came out.

“You always get your own way, huh?”

“And you always throw a tantrum when you don't.”

They exchanged angry looks at each other, Drift's optics narrowed dangerously whilst Rodimus leant forward, his hands clutching the armrest of the chair. He didn't notice the heat coming from them, scorching the plastic.

“I thought you wanted to come home.”

“I do!”

“Then stop fragging around and come home!” Rodimus growled, “I'm starting to think you don't want to be here, how many times are you going to run away from everything?!”

“That's not fair Rodimus, the last time I left was for different reasons.”

“And what was it you said?! I'm not doing this for you, I'm doing this for everyone else, sounds about right!”

Drift felt hurt right in his spark, like the argument was putting a physical strain on their bond. Why was Rodimus so upset with him? He thought he'd be happy he was getting what he'd yearned for but instead he was angry and… jealous?

“Roddy… don't you want me to get married to Ratchet? Because… I'd never want to lose you and if it means not getting married then…”

Rodimus felt like he'd been punched. He hated Drift's wounded puppy dog look and he hated even more that he'd caused it. He had to grip the armrest harder to stop his hands from shaking but his body was trembling, aching for a drink. He didn't want to feel like this, he wanted to cloak it in false bravado and happiness but that was impossible without the engex, so instead he did something he wasn't proud of. He cried.

“No!” He sobbed, “That's not what I want. I want you to be happy and Ratchet makes you happier than… I ever could. I'm sorry, I'm really sorry.”

“Rodimus,” Drift sighed, “please don't cry, please. I'm sorry, I don't want to upset you. You do make me happy, before I had Ratchet all I had was you and I'll never, ever be able to repay you for what you did for me.”

“You brought me a ship.”

“And it's still not enough,” Drift shifted in his chair, “this is all because you think I'm going to run off and leave you isn't it? Because Getaway said-”

Rodimus’ vents hitched and he shook his helm, hot tears streaking down his face.

“No.”

“Yes! He said you'd be on your own, but you're not okay? I'm sorry… I'm sorry that I went away this time but I needed to know if Ratchet could put up with me for me, not just because he felt bad that I'd been exiled, but because he actually felt something for me. I'm not proud of myself, and I don't see how anyone could love me, look at me and not see the energon on my hands but I think he does,” Drift smiled sadly, “You know how I've always felt about him, right from the beginning, and I never thought I was right for him, and then he came to look for me and I… I…”

“Realised he's crazily in love with you.” Rodimus sniffed, “but I love you too, I loved you first.”

“I know, I've never doubted that, Roddy, ever. Even if I have no one else, I'll always have you. I'm sorry you felt abandoned, I'm sorry that you think I'm going to leave, but I'm not, okay? I promise you.”

There was a small moment of quiet between them, before Rodimus’ shoulders shook and he grinned a little.

“Well, you broke that one, because you have left.”

“That's not what I mean, you jerk.”

Rodimus nodded and wiped the tears from his face, not noticing how Drift wiped a few of his own away too. He felt slightly better but still exhausted from the intensity of his emotions.

It was hard, they'd been through so much, all of them had, and the recovery from it was difficult.

Rodimus was still plagued by the losses of his crew, of Getaway's words and even though he wouldn't admit it, the betrayal of some of them still stung badly. He knew he needed to be better, pull himself together but he was terrified he'd lose Drift, again, and he knew he wouldn't be able to shake it until he held his amica again.

At least with Thunderclash keeping an eye on him, he wouldn't slip back into drunk and hopeless. Spark broken and sad would have to do for now.

Drift spoke again, softly.

“We're stronger than a distance between us, you know that.”

“I know, and I'm sorry too, for being a jerk with an inferiority complex and other various mental health issues and a heaping of jealousness for good measure. I just… please don't leave me, for real, because I wouldn't cope, I couldn't cope.”

Drift sighed and rubbed at his face. He missed Rodimus, maybe not the tantrums, but he definitely missed curling up beside his amica and watching movies and lounging over his desk whilst he worked and he even missed fighting beside him, knowing that no matter where he was, his back was always covered.

“So… I can get married to Ratty?”

“Pfft, don't ask me, ask Dad right?” Rodimus rolled his optics, seeming more like himself, “although I'm sure Megs would let his golden child do anything.”

“What?” Drift laughed, “coming from the Prime ? Surely you're the golden child.”

“Nah, that was Bee,” Rodimus smiled sadly, “I guess sometimes I just wish life didn't have to change.”

Drift looked guilty, “And yet I'm glad mine did because it wasn't exactly great before. Look, just one last stop and then we'll pick the dog up on the way home, like a couple of mega cycles tops okay?”

“Is that another shady, ex-Con promise? This dog better be worth it, like it better sniff out shanix from miles away.”

Drift smiled, “I think you'll love her.”

“I’m not much of a beast lover, but sure, whatever keeps you happy, alright?”

The white mech could see from the way Rodimus dodged his optics again and the grey shadow in his aura that he wasn't happy. He felt bad, like he'd caused it or in the very least not been there enough for him.

The last two things on Drift's list were so important to him, otherwise he would have dropped everything and run to be at Rodimus’ side. But maybe that was some of the problem, that Drift was loyal to a fault. Maybe if he hadn't been so willing to do anything for Rodimus, then he wouldn't have ended up alone for so long. But then Ratchet wouldn't have come to find him either.

Still, he didn't want to go home and find Rodimus once again in a drunken stupor to cope. He needed to face things head on, like Drift had with his own addiction.

“Roddy, it's okay, okay? To feel the way you do.”

“Yeah, it's just not okay to drink myself to death over it, I know. See you in a few mega cycles then?”

“I'll call you, tomorrow. It's going to be a long trip, even with a jump involved, so I'll need some distractions.”

“In the way of a devilishly handsome captain? Got it.”

“Go find Thunders okay? I'm sure he can make you feel better.”

“Oh mate,” Rodimus grinned half heartedly, “you have no idea.”

“I don't want to know.” Drift smirked a little in return, “Thanks.”

They said a long goodbye, but both were still feeling the hurt and the sadness of their conversation. Rodimus sat in the chair for a little while, thinking over what he and Drift had spoken about. It still hurt, everything still hurt but he had two choices, to get wrecked and forget it all or face up to it and make some changes. Rodimus hated change.

When he made his way back to his hab suite, the long way so he'd avoid Swerve's, he was walking with his helm bent over and almost collided with someone as he was lost in his reverie. He scooted to the side and snapped up his helm to apologise, holding a hand out.

“Sorry Perce, dunno how I didn't see you.”

“It's alright, luckily I wasn't carrying anything dangerous and Brainstorm related.” Perceptor tilted his helm, “are you alright?”

“Yeah.” Rodimus sighed, dodging his gaze away, “just got off a call with Drift… him and Ratchet are getting married.”

“Oh.”

“Yep.”

“So, are you alright?”

Rodimus rubbed at the back of his neck and nodded, smiling sadly.

“I will be. Things change, don't they?”

“Yeah. Unfortunately, sometimes not always for the best.” Perceptor lay a hand onto his shoulder, “if there's anything I can do…?”

“I'd say invent a time machine but we all know how that turns out. Thanks though.”

Perceptor nodded, gave Rodimus’ shoulder a squeeze and let him move on.

Rodimus knew he was being selfish and jealous and it was ugly. He did feel happy for Drift that he was getting what he'd always wanted, and what he actually deserved, but he couldn't help it, he wanted him all to himself like how it used to be.

It didn't help the way that Getaway's words still echoed around his processor day after day, the doubts creeping in about who he was as a captain, as a mech. He'd made mistakes and he was still paying for them, still haunted by them.

As he entered his habsuite and folded himself around Thunderclash's warm frame, it eased the pain a little. Even if it wasn't the frame he used to hold, it was still comforting to have someone there. It was hard for Rodimus to come to terms with how he'd felt about Thunderclash, but he couldn't deny it now, not when he rolled over in the berth and pulled him in close to his chest. He was sure he loved Thunderclash in his own little way, the soft smiles and the unrelenting way he wouldn't leave Rodimus’ side had made him fall, but the broad shoulders and other body parts had kind of helped too.

He was glad that he'd put his childish thoughts about the greatest Autobot in history aside and let him in, because it helped. He needed someone, even if Thunderclash didn't stick around forever, although it was doubtful he wouldn't, he was grateful to have him for what he'd done so far. He was calm and kind and reminded Rodimus of all of the good things in him, even on the days he couldn't see anything but loss and despair in his processor. He was like a beacon in the dark, bringing him home safely.

Rodimus reiterated to himself that it was okay for things to change and that one day, maybe he'd be okay with that.

Chapter Text

After his unpleasant conversation with Drift, Rodimus had been pretty quiet in himself. He'd done his duties on the bridge without any fuss, he'd worked in his office catching up on his paperwork, inventory and expense reports that either he or Megatron had to sign off, with no sign of a tantrum over it. In fact the day before he'd even taken the stack of datapads from his co-captain with a small smile and told him to go find Minimus instead, he had it covered.

Megatron had complied, nodding in thanks but his brow was furrowed with worry. Rodimus hadn't seemed intoxicated again but he was definitely carrying around a deep sadness, evident in the slump of his shoulders and the lack of bounce in his step.

He also kept himself busy with helping maintaining the ship and sprucing it up for the impending weddings. Chromedome and Rewind hadn't set a date but they had made most of their preparations in anticipation of Drift and Ratchet's return. Cyclonus and Tailgate had kept most of their preparations quiet, the smaller bot only every so often asking some whispered question to Thunderclash whilst he was in Rodimus’ company.

Overall, Rodimus was still struggling with his addiction, but at least he was on his feet and able to function at a minimal level. His fingers still itched with the urge for a bottle and his processor was sometimes still too loud with taunting words, but he would consider that he was having more better days than bad days.

Unfortunately, he was caught up in a pretty bad one.

He was hunched over his desk in his hab suite, trying to concentrate on reading something on his datapad, some book that Thunderclash had insisted he might like, but at the best of times Rodimus’ concentration had a lot to be desired let alone when all he could think of was the sweet taste of engex.

He sighed and pulled himself up, catching sight of the photo of him and Drift shoving each other and laughing. He still felt down and guilty about how he'd been when Drift had told him about his engagement, and it had been most of the reason for his recent withdrawal into himself, but not the only reason. Getaway's words haunted him after Drift had brought them up again.

You'll end up on your own.

He knew he was going to if he kept shoving everyone he loved away. His fists clenched subconsciously and he ex-vented hard. He couldn't torture himself like this, he needed to stop overthinking but that was much harder to do when he was stone, cold sober.

Just as Rodimus was thinking about getting back into his berth and trying to sleep off his mood, there was a rap at his door. He called out that it was open and threw himself down onto the berth, pulling a blanket up over his head. He didn't mind someone coming in as long as they didn't mind him being a cocoon.

“Rodimus? Are you alright?”

“Mmhm. What you want?”

He felt Thunderclash seat himself on the berth next to him, trying not to impose any more than he already was.

“Bad day?”

“You could say that,” he muttered from under the blanket, “sometimes I just wish I could stop thinking . And yeah, before you say it, sometimes I don't think, but this going through stuff in my processor over and over? It sucks.”

“I understand, as much as I can anyway. Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Keep me out of Swerve's.”

“Ah.” Thunderclash smiled slightly, “that's exactly where I was intending on taking you.”

“Nah, I can't today 'Clash, sorry.”

“I respect that but I will let you know I wasn't taking you down there to sit around, I offered your services.”

Curious, Rodimus pulled the blanket back a little to look at Thunderclash. His optics brightened and he tilted his helm. What services could be offer? How to be a selfish jerk?

“My services?”

“It would seem that Chromedome and Rewind are hopelessly in love… and hopeless at dancing.”

Ah. Now there was something he could do. There was a twitch of a smile as Rodimus thought about it. Thunderclash wasn't putting any pressure on him, just offering an opportunity to pull himself up from the bad place he was in, with a little help. He considered it, the bad voices whispering that he shouldn't, that he couldn't and without the engex numbing his fiery spirit, it was easier to rise up against them.

He grinned and flicked his optics up and down over Thunderclash mischievously, thinking about dancing with him made him tingly.

“They need an expert huh?”

“I said I knew a mech, but I guess he needs a dance partner right?”

“Yeah my usual one is off galavanting. What do you say Thunders? Wanna dance with me?”

He laughed in reply, “I can try.”

With a twinkle in his optics, Rodimus pulled himself up from the berth, throwing his blanket to one side with a flourish and putting a hand onto his hip.

“You gonna be better at dancing than me too?”

“Most definitely not.”

When Rodimus showed up in Swerve's alongside Thunderclash, the bartender clapped and grinned.

“Thunderclash always delivers!”

Rodimus ignored it and turned his attention to where Rewind was slumped on the floor and Chromedome had his arms crossed tightly across his chest to the side of him. They’d obviously bickered over their dancing and Rodimus was glad that he might be able to do something helpful for a change. He clapped his hands together and grinned. He meant business.

“Damn, shoulda called me sooner. What are you guys trying to do?”

Chromedome turned his helm to Rodimus, unfolding his arms so he could thumb at his conjunx.

“We want to have a first dance, like that human tradition, but someone has two left pedes.”

Rewind pulled himself up, throwing his arms out wide to emphasise what he was saying.

“Maybe if someone didn't have such humongous shoulders-”

Rodimus exchanged a bemused glance with Thunderclash. This was definitely going to take his mind off the things going around and around in it but evidently it was going to be a challenge too.

“Alright, alright, I've got this. Let's take it easy to begin with, ‘Clash, c'mere, help me demonstrate.”

Rodimus coaxed Rewind to his feet and helped position him with Chromedome then took the same position with Thunderclash. He showed them a few simple steps, or tried to. Thunderclash was true to his word as always, he was terrible at dancing even with Rodimus’ surprisingly patient teachings.

Luckily Chromedome and Rewind were having more success, finally able to move together in time and even managing a little twirl too. Rodimus felt a rush of pride. He'd actually managed to achieve something good for the first time in a while.

After a gush of thanks from them, they left the happy couple practicing but Rodimus noticed Thunderclash seemed reserved. He had seen this sad look on his face more and more often just lately and it was worrying him. Hoping he could do something else helpful, he questioned quietly.

“Wanna go for a walk?”

The bigger mech nodded solemnly and Rodimus took his hand tightly to let him know he was there. When they'd walked for a little while, the conversation started up again.

“I’m sorry.”

“Why?”

“For being so glum, you were the one who needed cheering up.”

“Hey, watching Rewind step on Chromedome's toes seriously cheered me up, so thanks. Now, what's wrong with the mighty Thunders?”

“That's exactly what,” he sighed, “it's hard living up to expectations Rodimus, and everyone has a lot of those for me.”

“AHH. This is because you suck at dancing.”

Thunderclash narrowed his optics in annoyance but Rodimus was smirking, his face lit up with the expression. They stopped walking for a moment, both turning to face the other.

“No it's not because-”

Rodimus laughed, “yes it is. You're annoyed because you're not good at something, but listen, it's okay to be bad at something, it's okay to not be the greatest at everything Thunders. Let Swerve worship the ground you walk on because he thinks you're amazing at everything, but you know that's not me. You're a mech the same as me, you're just good at a lot of stuff I'm not. But dancing? Nah, I got that covered for us, don't worry.”

There was still something bothering him though and Rodimus could tell by the way he tilted his helm down trying to hide the way his optics flashed with worry.

“What?”

“So… even if I can't dance with you in Swerve's you don't care?”

“Well, we can still dance in Swerve's, badly or not.”

“But you and Drift…”

Rodimus thought he finally understood. Thunderclash obviously felt like he didn't compare to Drift, after all they were very different mechs. Drift was mischievous and playful and he and Rodimus bounced off each other wonderfully. Their relationship was light hearted and fun, which is probably why both of them had turned to their new partners for help tackling the more difficult things in their lives. 

But Thunderclash had offered Rodimus other things that Drift couldn't. For one, sometimes Drift could be just as fiery as Rodimus, especially if you caught him on a bad day, but he'd seen no trace of anger in Thunderclash ever. He had a calming influence over the flame coloured mech. He liked that Thunderclash was just a little more serious because he felt like maybe he brought out the more laid back side to him as well as needing the grounding from time to time.

Rodimus realised then that he needed them both and he loved them both. And that was okay.

He huffed out a small laugh, thinking maybe it wasn't quite the time for such a serious announcement. Instead he settled on some comforting words.

“Me and Drift are friends, probably better and closer friends than anyone in the universe, but I'm not measuring you against him, you're both so different. If I've learnt anything from him leaving it's... it's that we can't get everything we need from one person, it's not healthy, it's not good. So, yeah, I can go rip up the dancefloor with Drift but I've got you too, to have a drink with or watch films or go for a walk,” he squeezed his hand, “you mean a lot to me, and I'm glad I have you.”

Thunderclash risked a glance across at Rodimus and nodded. He still had that seriousness across his face but he sounded genuine when he replied.

“Thank you.”  

Rodimus flashed him a bright smile and Thunderclash returned it tentatively.

The colourful mech knew that his feelings for Rodimus ran deeper than they were returned, but he was trying to not let that sting at his spark whilst they were together, he could let it hurt later when he was alone. The fact that he'd had a problem and Rodimus had helped him with it meant a lot and he hoped that he knew he appreciated it. Holding Rodimus’ warm hand, he just wanted to lose himself in the moment.

“Although, not sure why you're thanking me for me saying pfft you're not so perfect.”

“Because I'm glad that you don't see me that way. It's tiring, I'd rather just be who I am.”

“Well, it's a good job that I like you how you are.”

Rodimus bumped into him playfully.

“So, why don't you come back to my habsuite and we can watch some dancing, surely you can't suck at that right?”

Thunderclash laughed and nodded, letting Rodimus lead him back to his habsuite.


 

Minimus was minding his own business, having found some time whilst Megatron was recharging in preparation for his shift on the bridge to listen to some music. He had to resist the urge to sing loudly, after he'd found Swerve creeping by his door the last time he had been doing so, as he polished the Magnus armour. That mischievous handprint had been a lot of work to get off but finally it was gone, although part of him had been regretful to scrub away a fun memory.

Still, he was feeling pretty happy. Okay so he hadn't gotten any further with Megatron but they had been spending more time together and he'd found himself much more relaxed in his company. He knew he just needed to take each moment as it came, and when the perfect moment presented itself, he would carefully take it.

He was alerted to a knock at the door and he put down his cloth, turned down his music and went over to open it.  

“Thunderclash? Please, do come in.”

With a small smile, the mech stepped into the room and as Minimus gestured at his desk chair, he took a seat.

“Thank you, sorry I just… needed to speak to someone.”

Minimus nodded and twiddled at his moustache, his deep red optics searching Thunderclash's face for a hint of what might be bothering him. It wasn't like him to come and ask for help off anyone, and Minimus was hoping he could help

“Well, anything I can do to assist you I will do.”

“You know… Rodimus, don't you?”

“Well enough I suppose.”

Thunderclash was fidgeting in the chair, clasping his hands together and tapping one of his feet. He was obviously nervous and worried about what he was about to say, and it was clear as to why when he spoke.

“Would he… I'm not quite sure where we stand. In our… relationship.”

Minimus furrowed his brow but spoke kindly and softly.

“Isn't that something you would be better off speaking to him about?”

“I… I worry about the impact that might have on him. I would hate to upset him and cause him to relapse, or put any kind of pressure on him.”

Minimus nodded understandingly. Rodimus hadn't quite been his usual self but he didn't seem to be half as self destructive as usual, but the last thing anyone wanted was to see him as low as he had been.

“Well, maybe you could elaborate a little for me.”

“I think… that as soon as Drift is back, he won't… want me.”

Thunderclash darted his optics around the room and his vocals were strained as he said it, like it physically hurt to say. Minimus felt for him.

“I'm not Rodimus and I can't speak for him, but like I said I know him well enough, and Drift to some extent. They do share an incredibly special bond together and we have all witnessed that the captain isn't quite himself without his amica endura but that's not to say that he will throw away what the two of you have built for Drift. Rodimus may be reckless and temperamental, but,” Minimus placed a hand over his spark, “he is never purposefully hurtful like that.”

Sadly Thunderclash nodded. He thought as much but why couldn't he shake the feeling? Maybe because Rodimus hadn't outright confessed how he felt or even explicitly told anyone that he and Thunderclash were involved had something to do with it. A little reassurance would have helped, but instead all he had were snatched moments with Rodimus and whilst they were special, Thunderclash could never fully relax, wondering if it was the last time he'd hold or kiss his spark's desire.

He was thinking himself round in circles and it frustrated him.

Minimus lay a hand softly onto Thunderclash's elbow and smiled gently.

“It's not everyday that Rodimus welcomes someone into his life the way he has with you, and I know you'll find that difficult to believe until you hear the words from him yourself. Please, don't torment yourself, speak to him.”

“I will.”

With thanks and another sad look, Thunderclash left Minimus to go back to his music. The green mech insisted that he was there any time.

As soon as he was alone again, Minimus turned his music off and sighed, staring at the Magnus armour.

He considered too that he wasn't one for letting someone into his life either and yet, not that long ago he'd let Megatron see the vulnerable side to him and then allowed him to peel it away, part by part. He smiled a little at the thought then glanced over at the door where Thunderclash had left.

He was done waiting for the perfect moment, a fire had sparked inside of him and he needed to go find Megatron, right this second and show him how he really felt. He couldn't bare to think that Megatron didn't think he felt as deeply as he did, he couldn't bare to think that maybe he felt as wounded as Thunderclash had looked.

No, it was time to do what Rodimus had said and let it go.

His hands were seriously shaking as he let himself onto the bridge, having found his knocks at the habsuite door gone unacknowledged. To try and calm himself, he held his hands behind his back and took a few steady vents in and out, then locked his optics onto his target.

Megatron didn't lift his helm up from where he was sat at the controls, Blaster and Mainframe in deep discussion over something near the huge navigation display that showed their course. Minimus took the seat beside him and stared out of the vast windshield hoping no one could hear his thrumming spark.

“Good afternoon Minimus, how are you?”

“Fine. Thank you. You?”

Megatron nodded without taking his hands away from his datapad, his fingers moving quickly as he typed.

“Quite well thank you. It seems my muse is co-operative today.”

“A new book?”

“Ah,” he smiled slightly, “no, back to something else, poetry.”

“When you're done I'd love to read it.”

Minimus was watching as the other two mechs in the room crossed the floor to the door, still talking, and realised that he hadn't been paying attention to Megatron's reply. He snapped his helm back around.

“Sorry, what was that?”

“I said,” his optics were still fixed on his datapad, “that I will happily read it to you.”

“Oh. Thank you.”

Megatron finally lifted his helm and raised an optic ridge. Minimus was behaving rather strangely, he thought that maybe after they'd spent some more time together he had relaxed more in Megatron's presence but now he was back to his old shifty ways.

“Minimus, is there something-”

He was cut off by the wild look in the green mech’s optics just before he leant over and kissed him. Minimus reached around the back of Megatron's helm to pull him down and closer and the silver mech returned the kiss happily. It was only a soft touch of their lips together but it meant a lot to both of them, and as Minimus pulled away he realised that he definitely wanted more. His cheeks were hot and he had to reboot his vocaliser to speak.

“Sorry. I just-”

Megatron kissed him this time, harder and his hands found Minimus’ shoulders, his digits caressing just slightly. A tingle rushed up Minimus' back strut and he gave out a very soft moan into the kiss.

“Do not apologise, my dear.” Megatron murmured softly as he pulled away, “it was more than worth the wait.”

“I understood finally that it wasn't about making it perfect, it was about just doing it. I was so caught up in the motions of it I forgot about the feelings.”

Megatron chuckled lowly and Minimus smiled, their optics fixed on each other.

They both leaned in at the same time and Minimus reached up to cup Megatron's face as they kissed again. Minimus dared a little more and opened his mouth into the kiss, feeling Megatron do the same. Just as their glossas lightly brushed against one another they heard a noise that had them breaking away fast.

Rodimus was stood dumb struck in the doorway.

Minimus blushed even more. Megatron laughed lightly, not taking his hands away.

“Quite satisfied, Captain?”

“No. Fragging. Way.” He pointed animatedly, his vocals going up a pitch, “you guys just kissed! You kissed!

“Rodimus-” Minimus started.

He grinned in reply, “oh no, oh no no no no , you don't get away with this. EVERYONE I JUST SAW MAGS KISSING MEGS!”

He skipped from the room, still bellowing down the corridor and Minimus heaved a sigh irritatedly, but Megatron merely laughed again.

“Let him have his moment, after all, I fear we owe him some thanks to us reaching this point.”

“And I suppose no one will believe him anyway,” Minimus shrugged, “that's the best part.”

“Oh no, it absolutely is not. This is.”

Megatron resumed their kiss and Minimus closed his optics, losing himself into the moment and it was blissful.

Chapter Text

“Ugh, this is the one thing I hate about refuel planets, full of smaller, easy to squish things.”

Rodimus dodged around a group of organics that barely came up to his ankle and Thunderclash laughed lightly as he glanced over, minding his own steps. They'd been tasked with helping restock the Lost Light and having found a whole planet dedicated to restocking any travelling ships, most of the crew were on shore leave helping. Rodimus had obviously attached himself to Thunderclash for the day, and the bigger mech had split the list of supplies needed between a few of them, leaving him and Rodimus together. It wasn't much of a shore leave date but he'd take it.

“So what's on the list? Ammo? Energon goodies?”

“Supplies for the medbay.”

Rodimus groaned, ducking under a sign.

“Couldn't Velocity have done it?”

“Well, I volunteered so that she could have some down time. She does work awfully hard with First Aid.”

“Why are you so thoughtful?” Rodimus shook his helm, “fine, fine, what's first?”

Although it wasn't the most exciting trip, Rodimus found that even the trivial things he enjoyed doing with Thunderclash. He took every opportunity to touch him, squeezing into him as he waited for other aliens to go past, guiding him by the elbow when he found a quieter street to go down and leaning around him to look at the list. Thunderclash smiled every time but he was still hesitant to show too much affection openly for fear of Rodimus pushing him away.

“You going movie night tonight Thunders?”

He glanced at Rodimus shiftily, moving the box he had in his arms. Rodimus was carrying another smaller one under one arm, helm tilted as he looked at the shelves on one stall. They were filled with all sorts of shimmering crystals that he knew Drift probably would have freaked out over but he pushed thoughts of his amica away for now.

“I hadn't really considered it.”

“Should be good, I should know, I picked it. I can drop by yours just before it starts and we can walk down together.”

Thunderclash sighed. He needed to have a talk with Rodimus, and it was part of the reason he wanted to be alone with him. He couldn't carry on like this anymore.

“Rodimus…”

But the other mech's attention was gone, his optics narrowed just behind Thunderclash.

One of the merchants, a small organic creature with lots of long, spindly arms was being crowded around its stall by a couple of bigger aliens. They were huge, and round but not tall in stature, and seemed to be made of stone, their bodies groaning as they moved. One of them banged a flat stone fist onto the stall and it creaked under the weight, the long armed alien shrinking back, its small head sinking down into the mass of arms.

Rodimus threw the box he was holding on top of Thunderclash's and strode over.

“Oh Primus, try not to let him run his mouth.” He muttered to himself.

“Hey you filthy pile of pebbles, you better stop that right now.”

Thunderclash sighed, easing the boxes down and apologising to the merchant whose stall he was now blocking before going over to stand just behind Rodimus. The two stone like aliens had turned and whilst their faces were barely rocks with several glinting crystals for eyes, it was easy to tell that they weren't pleased.

“I know you don't understand me, but this,” Rodimus pointed at the hand on the stall and shook his helm, “nope. Don't do it.”

The two creatures turned to each other and let out a sound like rocks scraping together and one rose their fist in response to the threat. It collided with Rodimus’ knee and the mech raised an optic ridge. It rose its fist again slowly and this time Rodimus put his hand down, the stone making contact with his palm. He closed it quickly and crouched down with a dark grin. His foe's face quickly went from anger to panic, trying to tug it's arm free. When Rodimus let go, the fist was glowing, molten and misshapen, the mech's hand flickering with a little flame.

The aliens slowly left, shoving each other in their haste to get away. Rodimus flashed a smile at the merchant and nodded, straightening himself. It rattled off a long string of words and he blinked, perplexed.

“They said thank you, and to help yourself to anything.”

“Oh of course, the great Thunderclash can speak every language of the galaxy.” Rodimus threw his hands up.

“No, I just activated my translator.”

“Oh.” Rodimus grinned sheepishly, “I'm good. Tell this one it's fine, I don't do it for thanks.”

Rodimus strolled away to go grab the boxes of supplies, finding that it was stacked too tall for him to see over now and he huffed, until the boxes were lifted away easily by Thunderclash. He smiled and held out a small, thin box.

“They insisted.”

Rodimus leant around him to raise a hand in thanks to the merchant and it did the same with all of its own. Curiosity overtook him and he opened it, finding a small palette of shimmering paints. They were beautiful and Rodimus was touched, even if he wasn't sure what he'd do with them. He stored them in his sub space and smiled.

“Come on Thunders, better go find the others in case someone else gets into trouble.”

Thunderclash followed but the ordeal hadn't helped the feelings he was trying to figure out.


 

Rodimus was on time for once, and when he knocked on Thunderclash's hab suite door, the mech was already waiting. He flashed him a broad smile and nodded.

“Ready to go?”

Thunderclash nodded mutely.

He hadn't been able to settle himself since he'd retreated back from shore leave and locked himself in his hab until Rodimus had called for him. He'd washed in the racks, buffed his paintwork, re ordered his hab suite, read half a script from one of his favourite Camien plays and made some bunting like he'd offered for Chromedome and Rewind's wedding, but throughout all of that, he couldn't shake Rodimus from his mind.

Part of the problem with the flame coloured mech was that time and time again he showed Thunderclash why exactly he'd been enamored with him in the first place. He was heroic, never afraid to step in and stick up for anyone, and he was always trying to think of his crew, even if sometimes he wasn't the best captain, he tried to be the best friend he could be. He offered help where he thought he could and never turned anyone away. Rodimus was brave and charismatic and had an enormous spark filled with love. When he loved someone, he loved them wholly and fiercely. Not to mention, Thunderclash thought he was utterly beautiful.

It was going to break him to tell Rodimus he couldn't carry on.

They travelled down to Chromedome and Rewind's hab suite for movie night silently, and Rodimus kept giving worried glances over at Thunderclash. Finally he couldn't take the silence any more and he broke it softly.

“You wanna talk?”

Thunderclash smiled, “I'm good.”

“Trying to fake the faker,” Rodimus sighed, “I know you're not, so c'mon 'Clash, talk to me.”

“We'll miss the movie if we stop and talk.”

Thunderclash expected impatience from Rodimus, a hurry up then we'll talk later but instead he stopped in front of him and laughed lightly.

“So? I'd rather talk if you need to talk.”

Thunderclash peered around Rodimus to see a group of mechs heading their way. It wasn't something he should say out here.

“Can we go somewhere to talk?”

“Sure. Where do you want to go?”

Thunderclash shrugged and Rodimus nodded.

“C'mon, my office is probably closest.”

The silence between them was more strained this time, Rodimus wondering what it could be and Thunderclash nearly shaking with nerves.

When they closed the door and Rodimus threw himself into his chair, Thunderclash stayed standing awkwardly, not able to meet his optics.

Rodimus’ patience was starting to grow thin and he drummed his digits against the arm rest whilst he waited for Thunderclash to start.

“I um… think we need to talk about whatever this is between us.”

“Oh?”

“Yes, well, I've been thinking that whilst it has been enjoyable, I'm not sure I can carry on this way.”

Rodimus furrowed his brow, “not catching your drift.”

His frown deepened as he mentioned the white mech without having meant to, and Thunderclash caught his expression. He started again, his vocals soft and nervous.

“Well, I understand that you are finding your amica's distance hard and I am always happy to be of any help I can be to you Rodimus but I um… need to know where I stand?”

“Eh?” Rodimus tilted his helm, “what the frag do you mean?”

“Well… I understand that you may not possibly have any feelings for me and that whilst we have enjoyed our time together, that's all this is, and once you find someone more worthwhile, I'll-”

“Wait wait wait,” Rodimus pinched the bridge of his nose, “you think… this is just a fling?”

“I just… know that perhaps you're not one for long term, serious relationships and I…”

“You don't think that I care about you?”

“I think you care but probably not in the way… I would like you to.”

“Oh Thunders. You really are as dopey and adorable as you look, aren't you?”

Thunderclash was still standing and he managed to stop staring at Rodimus’ shiny name plaque on his desk, bringing his gaze up to the mech instead. He had his helm still tilted and the genuine smile on his face as he leant onto his hand.

“S-sorry?”

“I care about you, a lot.” Rodimus shuddered, “and I'm not a fan of declaring my feelings so let's make this painless as possible. I want to be with you, date, court, go out with, however you want to put it, you big goof. I thought that was clear by the fact we spend a lot of time together now.”

“But… I felt maybe… in Drift's absence...”

“Ah. You thought I was trying to replace him? You think as soon as he's here I won't have time for you? I mean no offense Thunders but I'm about to offend you, probably. You're not Drift, you're nothing like him, except maybe loyal to a fault. I enjoy spending time with you because you're you, not because I'm trying to replace Drift, and FYI, me and him are not ‘facing,” he facepalmed, “and maybe if you could declare that to the whole ship I'd appreciate it, because everyone seems to think so. Primus .”

Thunderclash blushed. He was feeling slightly ashamed of himself and he shifted his big feet.

“So you want to spend time with me?”

“Of course I do, and let's face it, who fragging doesn't? The great Thunderclash right?”

Thunderclash spoke softly, “I thought it would be the other way round.”

Rodimus blinked. This wasn't exactly what he was expecting, he thought Thunderclash knew he was into him badly, and if anyone wasn't good enough in this relationship, it was definitely Rodimus. He still wasn't quite sure what Thunderclash saw in him, all he saw in himself was a selfish jerk with a caseload of problems.

“What?”

“You… you amaze me Rodimus, so brave and so fearless-”

“-you mean stupid and reckless-”

“-and, no, I don't mean that. Please, listen to me.”

Rodimus relented with a sigh, laying back into his chair and bracing his feet against the desk.

“You really do amaze me, and I understand that you've made mistakes, and we all have, but you never give up trying, you always look out for others in need and you're so passionate about what you believe in. I'm in awe of you most of the time, and it's hard for me to see why exactly you would want to be with me, just me .”

“You're kidding right? You're wondering why I would want to be with the greatest -”

“Please,” he sighed, “don't say that.”

Let me finish . The greatest, most kind sparked, sensitive and sweet mech I've ever met?” Rodimus grinned, “like I said, you're a bigger dope than I thought.”

“So… what now?”

Rodimus shrugged, “missed the beginning of the movie, wanna 'face?”

“I meant for us.” Thunderclash sighed, taking the seat in front of him, “I… need to know that you're certain about this, that you're serious about us. I can't commit if I think you're going to run at the first chance. I-I'm sorry.”

“Okay.”

Rodimus pulled out his communicator to send a ping, selecting the whole crew, and typed a message. When he was done he threw it back down onto his desk and Thunderclash checked the ping he'd received, his cheeks heating as he read it.

-'Sup. This is ur captain, the proper 1 , sendin a lil announcement 2 u all. TC & I r datin, no more wistful glances in my direction thx, Im spoken 4. Dnt try & congrats Thunders on his great catch, hes gonna b busy 4 the next few cycles. Ta!-

When Thunderclash pulled up his gaze, the flame coloured mech was smirking.

“Make sure the door's locked would you?”

“You sent that to everyone?

Rodimus shrugged, “now you know I'm serious right? Oh frag! I sent it to Drift and Ratch too !” He picked up the communicator with a dramatic sigh, “oh he's going to kick my aft for telling him like that. And Ratchet is going to laugh his off for being right. Frag it.”

He opened his drawer and dropped the communicator in, switching it to silent as he did. The last thing he wanted was tonnes of pings back in response, especially with what he had planned.

Thunderclash still hadn't moved and so Rodimus pulled himself up, and went to make sure his door was closed and locked. The bigger mech was still registering his thoughts when Rodimus crawled into his lap, his warm frame pressing down into him as he wrapped his arms around his shoulders.

“So, you happy?”

“As long as you're sure this is what you want.”

“I'm asking what you want.”

Thunderclash grinned a little, “this. You.”

Rodimus rolled his hips and kissed Thunderclash hard, the bigger mech moaning into the kiss, shifting in the seat as his spike pressed against his panel. Rodimus' hands caught his shoulders, his digits teasing and prying into transformation seams.

Wordlessly, Rodimus slipped himself off his lap and between his legs, nipping at his inner leg plating and gazing up with his bright blue optics. Thunderclash sighed at the sight, the beautiful speedster worshipping him with touches. He ran his fingers lightly down his midsection, onto his warm interface panel and Thunderclash didn't need to be asked to open it.

Rodimus’ optics lit up brightly at the sight of the thick spike and he used his hands teasingly, gripping the great length with both to stroke it slowly, bringing his face closer. Thunderclash jerked a little when Rodimus brought his glossa out to just caress the tip, grunting with the pleasure. He wanted to watch Rodimus engulf his spike in his hands and his mouth and tentatively he reached out to gently put a hand around the back of his helm. Rodimus didn't need any encouraging though as he suddenly sucked down the spike, his optics still staring up at Thunderclash as he did. With one hand wrapped around the base of his spike, with his other Rodimus teased the slick lips of Thunderclash's valve as his glossa swirled and licked.

Thunderclash tried to watch but he couldn't. He tilted his helm back and offlined his optics, the grip on the back of Rodimus’ helm tightening as two fingers were worked gently into his valve. Rodimus pumped his fingers in and out of the valve in the same rhythm as he stroked Thunderclash's spike, his mouth still working the tip. There was suddenly another two fingers in his valve, stretching him out and he wasn't sure how long he was going to last.

Then Rodimus started to moan.

Thunderclash held back, trying to relish in every stroke and lick and touch of bliss that made his frame tingle with pleasure and the vibrations around his spike as Rodimus moaned.

Rodimus, still pounding into Thunderclash's valve with four fingers realised that he could make his lover crash over the edge, after all he had his thumb free. As soon as his anterior node was stimulated Thunderclash yelped, his other hand gripping on tightly to Rodimus’ shoulder. His vents were heaving hot air noisily and his fans were whirring alongside the grumble of his engine. Rodimus kept up rubbing his anterior node with his fingers still lodged inside of Thunderclash, his mouth hungrily sucking the spike.

Thunderclash crashed hard. He gripped Rodimus tightly as he overloaded, his helm tipped right back as he groaned almost silently. His valve clenched down hard on Rodimus' fingers and he spilled transfluid down into his throat, his lover lapping it up hungrily.

As Rodimus sat back onto his knees, pleased with himself, he looked smugly at where Thunderclash was slumped in the chair, arm over his face.

“Believe that you're all mine, now Thunders?”

The bigger mech sat himself up slightly, Rodimus smirking as he teasingly licked his fingers clean. Suddenly Thunderclash rose and Rodimus’ smirk disappeared into a worried expression.

“You okay Th-”

Rodimus didn't get a chance to reply as Thunderclash lifted him up and placed him on the desk, kissing him hungrily. Rodimus’ engine purred in response and even though he felt like his interface panel was on fire, he didn't open. He didn't want Thunderclash to feel like he'd done it to get spiked in return.

“Mm Thunders,” Rodimus caught his face in his hands, “I wasn't-”

But Thunderclash kissed him again, pushing Rodimus down to lie on his desk, nudging his legs apart with his hips. His bared spike was still pressurised and pressing insistently into Rodimus’ closed panel and the smaller mech moaned.

“I want to, Rodimus, please.”

Only Thunderclash could ask so nicely whilst putting Rodimus in a place where he didn't want to say no. He was venting hard as he looked up into the red optics watching him intently and all he could manage was a nod.

His panel was barely open before he was being filled with Thunderclash's spike, his valve slick and ready for the huge girth and length. He fluttered his optics off in bliss, whispering curses.

Thunderclash spiked him hard and insistently, watching Rodimus overload again and again. He could watch the way the speedster lifted his frame up, grabbing at Thunderclash's shoulders for more and turning his helm with whimpering cries of pleasure all day, but after a while he could tell Rodimus was getting worn out, his engine had quietened to a steady hum and his hands pulling a little less insistently. He decided that Rodimus could have just one more intense overload and he'd be done with him.

He pulled out and Rodimus moaned, his optics barely flickering on when he felt Thunderclash's glossa slip inside his valve. A huge hand wrapped around his spike too and steadily stroked it, working the head mostly. Rodimus had to throw an arm over his face to stop from squealing. The way Thunderclash's tongue was probing where his spike had been, more gently and sensually and the grip on his spike was too much. He overloaded and went limp, his optics offline.

Thunderclash chuckled lightly. If Rodimus was going to try and make him worn out, well he was going to return the favour. He found a clean cloth in the desk drawer and cleaned them both up as best as be could, Rodimus giving a little grumble as he was touched again.

All he wanted to do was curl up and sleep, and he tried to roll over, but he found he was being lifted. He didn't have the energy to online his optics and he felt unsure of what was going on, but when he moved his helm and it felt comfy he decided he didn't care.

Thunderclash made sure Rodimus seemed comfy, moving his helm onto his shoulder and hugged his warm frame closely to him where he was cradled on his lap. He smiled down at where his captain lay, definitely too tired for any cheeky remarks.

It was almost too good to be true, and he certainly hadn't expected their conversation to end in the way it had. He sighed contently, resting his helm down against Rodimus’, his fears finally subsided.

Chapter Text

Rodimus went racing around the Lost Light down every corridor, shouting at the loudest setting his vocaliser could manage.

“DRIFT'S BACK, EVERYONE, DRIFT IS BACK!”

Thunderclash had sighed and risen from his booth in Swerve's after the captain had jumped up onto the bar and shouted it around the room several times before speeding off. He knew if he went down to the shuttle bays now, he would meet Rodimus there eventually.

As the shuttle boarded the ship, Rodimus was dancing on the spot, grinning hard but holding Thunderclash's hand. The bigger mech was feeling glad that Rodimus was being so openly affectionate with him after their talk.

The shuttle door had barely opened as it docked and Rodimus was charging forward, throwing himself at Drift who laughed and caught him, nuzzling his face into his friends neck. They embraced each other hard, their sparks both pulsing in their chests as their bond was close once again.

“I missed you I missed you I missed you,” Rodimus held him tightly, “frag did I miss you!”

“I missed you too Roddy.”

Their fields meshed together tightly, full of love and happy and excitement and they stayed embraced for at least a klik before Rodimus pulled away, rubbing at his face. He saw Ratchet standing just behind, a smile on his face and he could see the medic was weary. He threw himself at him too.

“And you, I missed you too doc.”

Ratchet patted his back and nodded, glad to see that Rodimus looked okay for someone who'd nearly offlined himself into a wall a few megacycles ago.

“You too.”

There was a loud bark and Rodimus startled. When he turned his gaze over to Drift, he got a grin in response.

“We want you to meet the newest member of the Lost Light,” Drift whistled, “Bonnie.”

The dark blue dog trotted out from the shuttle and pressed herself beside Ratchet's legs, staring up at Rodimus with bright optics, weighing him up.

The captain's face flickered between emotions, surprise to wonder to pure joy.

“Primusohmyshe'ssobeautiful!” He gushed in a silly pitch and crouched, “hi there! Aren't you a beauty?! Aren't you?! C'mere!”

Bonnie gazed up at Ratchet as if to say I'm just humouring the silly vo ice and then started forward, pushing her snout towards the friendly mech. She snuffled at his outstretched hand and Rodimus sat, his other hand clutched at his chest.

“Driiiift she's amazing."

“I know,” Drift beamed proudly, “but I thought you weren't a beast lover?"

"Yeah, but this one? She's lovely! Aren't you?"

Almost as if to prove a point, she turned and sat in Rodimus’ lap, tilting her head back to nudge her nose against him. Rodimus squeaked in joy.

“Okay. Anything you want little Bons, you get alright?”

“Are we starting with the stupid nicknames already ?”

Rodimus pointed, “you call him Ratty . You really wanna do this? Tell him Bons, that's it! You're a good girl!”

The dog licked at him and he giggled, half heartedly trying to get her to stop.

Thunderclash was enjoying seeing Rodimus so happy when he noticed her leg. He frowned and gestured.

“What happened to her leg?”

“We're not sure,” Drift sighed, “we think she was abandoned on Gigantion."

“Who would leave you?! You cutie! No! Someone is very stupid! Yes they are!”

“I should be grateful he's not doing this to you, right?” Ratchet grinned across at Drift, “if you'll excuse me, I'd like to see the very few friends I have too.”

He kissed his conjunx and made his way out of the shuttle bays, Bonnie perking her head at his disappearance. She whined and Ratchet turned, smiling at her.

“You stay with Drift, I'm okay.”

She settled again at the confirmation to stay and enjoyed the head pat she was receiving from Thunderclash and his huge hands.

When Ratchet was gone, Rodimus smiled softly up at Drift.

“He okay?”

“Yeah. Just tired I think.”

“He looks it,” Rodimus grinned, “did you wear him out?”

Drift rolled his optics, “you’re so crude, it's a good job I love you. Well, if you've still got room for me in your life.”

Rodimus saw how Drift cast a glance in Thunderclash's direction and he laughed in reply.

“I know he has amazing , broad shoulders but he's not barging you outta my life with them. I got room for both of you. As long as you've got room for me in yours now with this absolutely beautiful girl, yes you are!”

Bonnie yawned as if she were bored with the voice and Rodimus collapsed into adoration again.

“Oh even when she yawns -”

“Okay, we get it, you love her.”

Drift rolled his optics good naturedly. So much for worrying if they'd get on.

“She's your baby, of course I do. And any time you need me to look after her, I'm there, me and Thunders can be responsible babysitters right?”

Drift was still grinning and turned his attention to Thunderclash.

“He means you, you're the responsible one.”

“Hey!”

Thunderclash chuckled, “c'mon, Minimus and Megatron are waiting in Swerve's.”

“Ohh that finally happened did it?”

“Buddy,” Rodimus threw an arm around Drift, “we have got so much catching up to do. Thunders?”

Thunderclash looked at where Rodimus was cosied up with Drift and the hand he was being offered. He smiled and took it. His worst fear of being forgotten as soon as Drift was back was gone, Rodimus had room in his huge and caring spark for both of them. Drift nodded in the direction of the exit.

“Yeah, c'mon Thunders , you can tell me how much I've got to kick his aft for being a nuisance.”

“Well,” Thunderclash mused, “first of all he threw a stool in Swerve's-”

“He what?!”

“Thunders!”

But they were all laughing and Bonnie pressed herself against Drift's leg as they walked.

Rodimus squeezed both his friend and his partner, his spark feeling like it was being flooded with love. This was all he needed.