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Save A Prayer

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Part I - The Start of a Revolution

Heading home was always his favorite part of his travels. Don’t get him wrong, Optimus Prime enjoyed meeting everyone from the other cities and he enjoyed the time spent bonding with his travelling companions. There was, however, simply nothing like seeing the domes of Iacon rise over the landscape and glimmer in the midday sun.

He paused, situated at the crest of a low mountain, and simply admired the view for a few kliks. He watched as some clouds rolled across the horizon behind Iacon’s towers. The sky was a soft blue-green and the clouds a pale yellow. If they were in the southern hemisphere, closer to Kaon and the Sea of Rust, the clouds would be closer to an orange color and the sky closer to a dusky blue, signifying the higher concentration of acid in their weather systems. Optimus’ band of mechs had been traveling along the paved highways that stretched between the cities of Iacon and Tyger Pax in the Northern Hemisphere, everyone able to use their alt modes.

At the sound of an approaching engine, Optimus pulled his focus away from the landscape to see a yellow and black two-wheeler near him and transform. “We must keep moving, Lord Prime,” the sleek bot said as he came to a stop.

Optimus smiled softly at him, before looking back towards the city. “You of all bots, Prowl, I would have expected to enjoy the view a bit more,” he said in response. Prowl followed his gaze and watched the vista for a few moments before shifting his weight with a small hum. “It is stunning,” he started, “but I must remind you that we are still pressed for time. Sentinel Prime will not be happy that we are already behind schedule.”

Optimus softly whirred his vents in a sigh at the mention of Sentinel Prime. With their carrier Ultra Magnus bedridden with an unknown ailment, Sentinel had taken over the role as acting Magnus a few orns ago. Since then, the older brother had simply become more and more controlling. Looking back towards Prowl, Optimus nodded and folded into his alt mode. “Very well,” he agreed, “I suppose we should hurry back.”

Pulling back onto the main stretch of highway, Optimus felt a familiar line of code creep into the back of his processor. What if he could just run away, and not ever return to Iacon? The city was strong, and the people stronger. They didn’t truly need their Prime when they had the Crown Prince Sentinel, did they? He could go explore the planet on his own terms.

As the group began to pass the outlying energon farms, Optimus ended the script with a sigh. Mechs began to gather the closer they got to the gates of the Inner City. As he honked in response to some sparklings, the Prime knew that he while he may not miss the city, he would miss the mechs that inhabit it.

Their journey to the capitol was swift, and soon enough Optimus was walking into the main hall with Prowl behind him. As expected, Sentinel sat at the head of the room wearing a thick blue cloak and bearing the Magnus Hammer. Before his brother took the position, the main hall was more of a room of leisure, where mechs would be able to converse with one another pertaining to political topics. If one needed to see the Magnus specifically, they might find the mech milling about as well. If he was not, there was always the ability to schedule a meeting which would be held in the Council Chamber, or if necessary, the Magnus’ office.

His brother had all but erased the idea of informality within the main hall. Now guards stood along the walls and mechs were encouraged to stay quite a few mechometers away from the Magnus at all times. Optimus supposed it could be due to Sentinel’s strange relationship with hygiene, but deep down he felt it was to make his brother seem even more powerful. It was strange, as the younger Prime took in the strict atmosphere of the Capitol Hall, that the mechs of the Council were absent near-constantly.

“Look who it is,” Sentinel started when Optimus had crossed half of the distance, “My dear younger brother! Back from his vacation to Tyger Pax, is he?” The blue and yellow mech waved off a younger mech, perhaps a page or a courtier, and stood to greet the smaller Prime.

“You know as well as I, brother, that my trip to Tyger Pax was in the interest of the political relations with Iacon,” Optimus clasped his hand over Sentinel’s forearm briefly before letting go. Sentinel whirred his fans in a sort of playful sigh. “Whatever you say, Optimus,” he chuckled.

They began to walk off to one of the many doors splitting from the main hall, towards the Magnus office. Optimus nodded to Prowl in dismissal before following Sentinel and began reciting the events that transpired during his meeting. A quarter of the way through his report, Sentinel held up a servo. Blinking, Optimus stopped and looked towards his brother as he opened the door to the Magnus office.

“I’m sure this is all very important,” Sentinel started as he walked inside the office. Optimus blinked, “Uh- It’s very important, Sentinel, it pertains to-”

Before he could finish, however, Sentinel was continuing, “Yes, yes, I know. It’s about the future of Iacon, and all that jazz, I get it. However, there is more important stuff I would like to talk to you about.” Sentinel activated the holoscreen at his desk, pulling up some files and transferring them to a datapad for Optimus to take.

“You remember my mention of the Kaon Crown Prince visiting while you were away, no doubt?”

Optimus recycled his optics, and looked at the datapad. It held a formal recounting of the meeting, transcribed by what appeared to be Cliffjumper. As the young Prime skimmed the data, he noted that Sentinel had yet to endorse the report. With a sigh Optimus looked back up to his brother, raising an optical ridge, “I- do… Sentinel, what is this about?”

A smile, something sly, spread over Sentinel Prime’s face as he archly looked away from his younger brother. “Well, I do recall you mentioning your interest in being subject to one of those ancient royal courting rituals” - he hadn’t mentioned anything of the sort - “and I figured, hey! This Crown Prince is quite the mech! And he’s forged, how about that? Either way, it turns out that the mech actually fancies you!”

Optimus knew he should probably feel embarrassed by such a proclamation, but for some strange reason his spark curled tight upon itself. Still, the young prime sat silent, and allowed his brother to continue.

“So, after I told him that you were interested in looking for a possible courtship, he immediately agreed!” Sentinel exclaimed, a wide smile across his faceplates. Optimus’ audio fins snapped up to attention, optics widening. “Sentinel-” he began, “you don’t mean to tell me you gave this Crown Prince the ‘go ahead’ to court me - the Prime of Iacon - without my actual permission?!”

The acting Magnus had the gall to look innocently confused, shifting to face his brother properly from across the desk. “You mean to tell me you do not want to court the Crown Prince of Kaon? Our closest ally?” Sentinel must have seen whatever expression crossed Optimus’ faceplate, as he quickly continued “You, my dear brother, want me to go back on my word mere days after telling this prince that ‘I assure you, my dear brother the Younger Prime of Iacon will find this courtship enjoyable and will readily agree’?”

Optimus shut his intake, engine stalling as he took in what his brother had began to imply. It was true, for Sentinel to come back and take everything back before the formal courtship even began would be detrimental for the relationship between Kaon and Iacon. Forcing a large sigh out of his side vents, Optimus brought a servo up to rub at his nasal ridge. “Sentinel,” he began, but was promptly interrupted.

“By the way, he is having his dowry shipped from Kaon as we speak. He had hoped to get it here before your arrival, something about it being recent acquisition by the Kaon Empire… but it won’t be here for a few days.”

The red and blue mech watched his brother for a moment, exasperated, taking in his smug appearance. A groan wormed its way out of his voice box, and the Prime covered his face. “...Fine,” Optimus grumbled, EM field flicking in annoyance, “I will accept the courtship initiation- but I will not accept being bonded - I can’t believe you’ve done this, Sentinel!”

Sentinel simply laughed, sitting down in the chair behind the desk with a smile. He closed a tab that was previously open on the holoscreen, before perking up and looking to his younger brother.

“I almost forgot! Optimus, how would you like to go to the Gladiator match this coming off-cycle? Treat of the Crown Prince of Kaon, of course.”

//

Optimus settled himself down in his seat next to Sentinel, looking out across the arena. The Iacon Sports Amphitheatre was massive, second only in size to the amphitheatre located in Kaon. With tall gleaming arches and an open roof, it was was a sight to behold. Unlike Kaon’s deep maroon sands from the Sea of Rust, Iacon had fresh black sands imported from the Sea of Steel. The black sand was immensely popular given how energon contrasted it so brightly compared to the maroon or gray sands used elsewhere, and written about extensively in any fiction novels about these gladiatorial matches.

The royalty box sat closest to the arena and thousands of fans sat in the rows behind it, cheering as the midday executions came to a close. Optimus never supported the idea of public executions being held in such a grotesque way; Sentinel had imposed it shortly after gaining his new title. However, the younger Prime could do little about it, and it was proving popular with most of the public. Optimus flinched when an insecticon servo ricocheted off the top of their crystal durasteel awning, attention snapping back to the action before him.

The scoreboard screen listed the current fighter as a mech named Hardtop. He was supposedly captured for espionage, though with how Sentinel acts Optimus wondered if he was actually a criminal. Down in the arena, a small gray grounder battled valiantly against a pair of insecticons, and the Prime realized he didn’t recognize the name or the mech at all. As the two insecticons swarmed the fighter and the signal cannon fired, Optimus supposed that wondering was no longer able to do much help.

“Ah, finally!” Sentinel exclaimed, dragging Optimus’ attention away from the sands, “Remember that dowry gift I mentioned when you arrived?” Optimus felt is plating crawl uncomfortably with the tone his brother was using. “I do,” Optimus murmured, and looked back towards the arena where mechs were clearing it out for the third portion of the day’s events, “what does that have to do with you bringing me here, though?” The seat next to the young Prime sat empty, as it was where the Kaon Prince was to sit, but the mech had oddly excused themselves before the end of the executions.

Sentinel smirked in a way that sent a disgusted shiver down Optimus’ spinal strut - nothing good came from that look. The older brother hummed happily, and motioned towards the entrance gates of the arena, where combatants would enter. “Just watch,” he said, patting Optimus’ shoulder.

The crowds had grown silent, anticipation filling the amphitheater as thousands of EM fields washed together. With the way the arena was created, the outside sounds of the city were dampened and near impossible to hear, which only added to the atmosphere. Distantly, Optimus could hear the clicks and clacks of the gears working the elevator, and instinctively tuned up his audio receptors. It was then that the announcer, located somewhere high above the arena, began to introduce the match.

“Now, mechs and femmes of Iacon, you have all waited very patiently for the start of this Orn’s gladiatorial matchups. We here at the Iacon Sports amphitheatre are very thankful for all of your support for every single one of your favorite gladiators so far! But, there is one mech we know who you adore above all the rest!”

Suddenly the audience began to murmur, EM fields filled with joy and anticipatory glee, backed by a small amount of confusion. Movement in the shadows of the tunnel signified a mech’s presence. Sitting on the edge of his seat, Optimus felt his own field prickle under his plating, an odd sensation in his spark telling him that he should not look away, that something very important was about to happen. The announcer continued.

“We here working at the ‘theatre have watched this mech grow, from their first morning matchup, when they did the amazing and defeated the Titanium Tiger single handedly! Then, more recently, when they defeated Half-Track, they took the title that is a game changer in the gladiatorial community! That’s right, you guessed it!! Please welcome our first contestant, our Iacon Sports Amphitheatre Gladiator Champion, Bonecrusher!”

The poor announcer could hardly be heard over the sound of the audience, which had erupted into cheers somewhere within the middle of the speech. ‘Bonecrusher?’ Optimus wondered, turning to look towards Sentinel in confusion. How was this mech in any way related to the Prince of Kaon?

The gladiator in question stepped out from the shadows, a dull and scratched green paint standing out against the black sands and the gray walls of the arena. As the mech lifted a servo, gaining more cheers, the Prime considered him. He was a warframe, though a bit smaller than what has been recorded as average size. Bonecrusher was captured from the Wastes a few stellar cycles ago when he and a group of other savages allegedly attacked an outlying settlement of Iacon, which also happened to have a group of training Elite Guards stationed there. Optimus always wondered whether or not he was a part of the fabled gestalt, given his size.

Sentinel simply huffed at Optimus’ confused expression, and motioned towards the arena again, where the warframe was now moving off to the side to allow for the next contestant to enter. “Not him, you dolt!” Sentinel grumbled, annoyance tangible in his field from the servo still on Optimus’s shoulder, “Just listen!”

“-know a few of you may be asking yourselves, ‘Why in the world is the Iacon Champion opening the gladiatorial matches?’ Well, my mechs, it is because today is a special day, and we have a special fighter for Bonecrusher! He is coming all the way from the Crown Prince of Kaon himself, a most valuable prize recently obtained from the Wastes, gifted to Iacon as a dowry for our beloved Optimus Prime!”

At the mention of his designation, the crowd burst into cheers. Optimus knew he was well liked in Iacon, as he spent as much time as he could amongst the people, but hearing such a reaction still brought energon to his faceplates and warmed his finials. He looked away shyly, though he knew no one could see him through the one-way durasteel.

“Many of you have heard about him from your creators when you were young. Many of you may have had nightmares about this mech! I know I did,”

The announcer paused to give a soft laugh, and much of the crowd quieted to a questioning murmur. The lights flicked on above the gate used for insecticons and predacons, which was positioned next to the main gate, and was a great deal larger. The crowd quieted further, and the low rumble of a powerful engine could be heard echoing from the hallway. Soon, the only sounds in the whole amphitheatre were that of the announcer, and that of the unknown mech. Optimus felt Sentinel watching for his reaction, but given his own spark was whirling furiously in his chassis, the younger brother could hardly care.

“Now, mechs, please know when I say this, that the one you are about to see is no imitation. This is no joke, no hologram, and certainly nothing that should be taken lightly. This mech is highly dangerous, and most certainly a testament to the skill of our soldiers for restraining him with minimal injuries. Because of this dangerous prowess, our very own Sentinel Magnus suggested that we use the rest of the day to be given to this one match. I introduce to you, from the Wastes, from your nightmares, the one and only - Savage War-Lord Megatron!”

At the last line, two guardsmechs pulling chains stepped into the arena, and a powerful flight engine roared in anger. The stadium went silent, and all of the energon in Optimus’ lines turned to ice. All the atmosphere had left his vents and his spark fell through its casing as his optics landed on the large frame of the contestant. The warframe was huge, easily twice the size of the guards, and though the Prime had seen few warframes in his life, he would guess that the mech was also taller than average.

The mech - it felt wrong to call him a savage - had fierce red optics, a large rounded chest, and sharp spiked pauldrons. A spiked helm snapped upwards away from the guards as he was dragged into the light of the arena, optics narrowing as they undoubtedly adjusted to the light. Stasis cuffs shackled his arms behind his back, which were also attached to a stasis collar with some sort of barred muzzle on it, like one would see on raging guard dogs.

“Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed the mechs holding Megatron in the stasis cuffs. Do not worry, he will not be fighting Bonecrusher in them! They are just to get him to and from the arena, because trust me, no one wants to deal with a rampaging warframe!”

The announcers attempt at humor caused a light murmur to pass over the crowd, but otherwise everyone was still laser-focused on the barbarian leader in the middle of the arena. The announcer carried on talking, but Optimus couldn’t focus on the words. Sentinel was chuckling next to him and the Crown Prince returned to take his seat once again, but all the young Prime could do was watch the warlord.

The pewter gray warframe took in the stands of the amphitheatre first, optics spiralling open in what was most likely shock at seeing so many mechs. Bonecrusher shifted his weight and Megatron’s gaze snapped towards his opponent with an audible snarl and a threatening glare. However, the sound soon died off. Optimus saw realization strike the warlord’s faceplates as he suddenly grew stiff and as his optics widened slightly.

The young Prime hurriedly glanced over to the green gladiator and noticed the same reaction - these two mechs obviously knew each other. And, judging by the way the smaller warframe had clamped down his plating and shuffled in anxious fear, Megatron was the real deal. Yet, what caught Optimus’ attention, was the way that the warlord seemed to grow sorrowful for a moment before he turned furious. Perhaps Bonecrusher was apart of his band of barbarians, or whatever they had out in the wastes?

Optimus Prime couldn’t think on it long before the guardmechs moved and went to take off the chains from the warframe’s collar. They were not taking off the stasis cuffs, no doubt those were remote controlled, but Megatron snarled and snapped at them nonetheless. It looked dangerous, and the Prime shifted uncomfortably.

“So,” Sentinel grabbed his attention, “What do you think? Heck of a dowry, right?!”

Optimus looked to his older brother with wide eyes, “What do you mean, ‘what do I think’?! You know I never liked the idea of capturing mechs from the Wastes, let alone making them fight in the arena.” He watched as the guards went back inside one of the gates, it shutting before Megatron could get to them. Optimus was paying little attention to the fact the very mech who gifted him such a dowry was seated right next to him.

“Wait,” Optimus started quietly, still watching the gray mech, “This isn’t a fight to the death… is it?”

His brother only smirked and leaned back in his seat, not caring about the Kaoni Crown Prince’s worried expression that was aimed at him. The announcer concluded his speech, and the countdown begun to sound out. Optimus forced himself to look away from the arena, movements stiff and jerky, and towards his brother. “Sentinel,” his voice box was strangely laced with static, “Is this a fight to the death?”

The acting Magnus looked to Optimus with that wretched smirk, but after seeing that Optimus was not going to give up on this question, huffed in annoyance. The young Prime watched Sentinel as he looked back to the arena nonchalantly and waved his hand dismissively. “The beast is your dowry, Optimus,” Sentinel began, “It will be up to you whether or not you want to put him out of his misery. Then again, with how this is going, I don’t know if it will be the Beast you might have to pardon.”

Optics widening, Optimus’ helm snapped to face forwards. That strange constricted feeling filled his spark once again, and he watched as Bonecrusher courageously charged the warlord. The large silver mech was unarmed, unlike his opponent. Yet, as he brought up a heavily armored forearm to parry the blow, Optimus wondered if he might actually stand a chance.

Megatron was elegant for his size, dancing away from the smaller gladiator as if he were walking down the street. He remained on the defensive, obviously debating whether or not he should fully attack his opponent. The young Prime’s attention was fixed on the battle before him, and soon the concept of time began to fall away. Distantly, he heard his brother speak with the Kaon Crown Prince, something about whether or not the warlord was actually ever going to attack, but Optimus paid no mind.

What felt like Stellar cycles passed, Megatron’s armor showing dents and faint stains of pink as small rivulets of energon began to dribble from his wounds. Sentinel huffed, and motioned to one of the mechs standing off to the side of their seating area. Optimus didn’t hear what his brother had to say, as the Kaoni mech beside him had finally moved to gain the young Prime’s attention, stealing his gaze.

The Prince was a heavy framed grounder, something that may have been close to an armored truck. He was red, with black accent colors, and a steel gray faceplate. Red optics scrutinized Optimus. Though the young Prime was not overly tall, the Crown Prince stood a half a mechometer shorter than him.

“So,” the red mech began, an odd lit to his tone “how are you enjoying the battle? Rather spectacular, isn’t it...”

Optimus spared a glance back at the battle, fully aware that the Crown Prince was ogling his frame, and chose to ignore the insinuation. “Yes,” he began, looking down at his servos shyly, “It is quite the exhibition, ah-” Optimus realized he couldn’t remember the red mech’s name. “Thank you,” he said instead. Luckily, Sentinel could not keep his vocalizer off long enough for a silence to grow.

“Payload,” yes, that was his name! “I took your recommendation into consideration. We should see a change very soon.” Optimus looked towards his brother curiously, “A change?”

The red mech besides the young Prime chuckled. Optimus was keeping his EM field tucked close to his plating, as was customary with Iaconian politics. It apparently was not so in Kaon as he could feel the edges of Payload’s sour field press against his armor. Spinal struts prickling with unease, Optimus set his gaze to his suitor.

The Prince smiled knowingly at Optimus, field proud and smug. “Yes,” he drawled, looking back towards the fight before them, “You see, that collar we have fitted around that barbarian does much more than keep his servos restrained when needed. It has a few, ah, special options that help in providing us some entertainment.”

The Prime watched Payload a moment longer before following his gaze. Bonecrusher was still bravely attacking the silver warframe with what appeared to be all his might. Megatron, on the other hand, seemed to be defending himself against the attack rather easily. The war lord had pulled all of his punches thus far, refusing to hurt his (possible) tribe-member. The situation looked the same as it had when the Prime had first pulled his optics away.

Opening his mouth to voice his confusion, Optimus was unable to even enable his voice box when he saw it. Were the Prime not looking for something out of the ordinary, he may have not noticed. The large silver frame hitched, just for a moment, before Megatron took a small step backwards. Bonecrusher must have seen it, for with a desperate glint of his visor, the green mech fumbled before lunging forward with renewed vigor.

That pause was all that was needed for the warlord. In an astrosecond, the silver mech was driving himself forward into his opponent. Red optics now shone brightly, nearing pink in color. One clawed servo lashed out at Bonecrusher’s weapon, an energy axe, and crushed his black servo. Pulling his arm forward, Megatron smashed the center of his helm into Bonecrusher’s visor, shattering it on impact. The glass shards did not fall apart, apparently possessing some sort of tempering, but the spidering cracks were definitely enough to blind him.

Optimus gasped, servos clenching one another from where they sat upon his lap. Fear lanced through his energon lines as the Prime watched. Megatron had transformed into the monster the mechs of the Inner Cities had heard of; vicious, terrifying, murderous.

A chuckle from his left roused him from the near trance - how many times had that happened today? - and the red and blue mech looked over curiously. Payload had an ominous glint to his optics, an abhorrent smile across his dermas. Optimus frowned, glancing towards Sentinel only to find a sickly amused look directed at himself. The younger Prime shifted uncomfortably, looking between Payload, Sentinel, and the fight before him. Megatron was easily overpowering Bonecrusher now that the mech had lost the ability to clearly see.

“What.. what did you do?” he softly stammered. Megatron punched the green mech hard enough he sailed halfway across the arena, black sand spraying up in his wake. Sentinel chuckled, but it was Payload who ended up responding. “I’ve had a few of my best chemists back in Kaon concoct a special serum. When it's injected, it makes mechs mad, breaking them down to only simple instincts. Its very popular in the pits,” he chuckled, sparing the Prime a glance.

Disgust coiled heavily at the bottom of Optimus’ fuel tanks, drying his glossa and tightening his spark. How could someone do that to a mech, something that had a spark and was conscious? Blue optics flicked back to the fight before him, trying not to purge.

//

Optimus walked silently behind Sentinel and Payload down the darkened hallway. The two mechs conversed openly, EM fields awash with frizzed emotions from their overcharge. After the gladiatorial match, where Megatron was pitted against three other mechas after Bonecrusher was defeated (thankfully not killed), the three of them went to the Capitol building to enjoy some high grade.

Naturally, the Prime refrained from as much engex as his brother, and was thus much more sober than his companions. Payload had openly flirted with Optimus the whole evening. The red mech was growing a bit too close for Optimus’ personal comforts, but after a quick hushed word with his brother, the Prime had been influenced into rolling with it. Cold slithered down his spinal struts as he remembered all the instances, plating flexing in discomfort.

They had ended up in the vivarium under the Amphitheatre due to Sentinel’s insistence. Payload had been gloating about Megatron’s victories when the acting Magnus suggested they go pay the warlord a visit. Such a jest had quickly morphed into the full-blown tour they were now going on.

The vivarium held the vast assortment of mechanimals that the Amphitheatre hosted as contendants. As they walked, Optimus observed Sterling Wolves pacing the bars, yellow optics dim but distinct as their silver pelts reflected the low torchlight. The next cage down an enormous insecticon chittered, maindibles flexing as large optics followed the group’s movements down the hall from the ceiling.

There were guards posted at each entrance to each hall and a pair followed their small group. No mech dared to enter the vivarium - there was nothing of use. The gladiators were housed off-site, transported underground, where they slept in a hotel-like structure a few stories tall. The building was situated between the gallows, the prison, and the police department. Obviously, it was practically crime-free if you ignored any altercations inside the structure walls.

The reason that Optimus was currently following Payload and Sentinel through the vivarium, however, was because the Warlord was deemed too much of a savage to be held among the other fighters. The structure was a maze, nigh impossible to exit quickly by luck, and where they were heading was below the heart of the Amphitheatre.

Four guardsmechs stood at attention at the end of the hall, a pair along each wall. Between them stood an energy shield beyond set of duranium bars blocking the way into a very dark cell. As the mechs drew nearer, the ever-present hum of a flight engine began to grow exponentially louder. A dark mass shifted, chains clinking at the action, and a pair of red optics became visible as they trained on the collection of mechs before the cage.

Optimus watched silently as Sentinel and Payload walked fearlessly up to the bars and spoke among one another, completely fearless of the mech beside them. At request, one of the guards moved and flipped a switch to activate the lights inside the cell. White lights flickered for a moment before powering up fully and exposed the warlord inside. The young prime jolted in surprise at the scene before him.

There, Megatron stood, mere mechameters away from the energy wall. Flight engines rumbled powerfully, the faint vibrations detectable through the floor. His black servos were shackled behind his back, the thick collar attached to the wall behind him. Smaller cables were secured around the warframe’s pedes, elbows, and rotors, securing him to various points of the cell to prohibit a large range of movement. Dents and scratches littered the mech’s frame, places still stained pink from a lack of cleansing. Rough patches were hastily welded where they were needed.

None of these points, however, were what Optimus Prime had chosen to focus on. That which caught his attention was the warlord’s optics, a deep red that were fixed on his own frame, completely bypassing the two mechs before him. Optimus could do nothing but look back, spark whirling in its chamber, frozen in fear.

Except… as the Prime stood, he soon realized that it was not the silver mech’s power that he was afraid of. Those red optics bore into his, sharp and narrowed with obvious animosity. If the energy wall allowed for the penetration of EM fields, Optimus was sure that his vents would be stalled from the sheer anger that Megatron was exuding.

That anger was not the only thing Optimus Prime saw in those red optics. As he stood, blind to the bot around him, the smaller mech realized that Megatron was tired and in pain, but beneath all the careful shielding…there was something more.

The revelation shook the Prime to the core, much more easily than he would have expected. Here was the strongest mech in all of Cybertron, and he was afraid of what was to happen.