What was simply supposed to be a little trip to a small colony became the worst experience Optimus had in his young life.
The Decepticons, a party thought to be a relic of the past, had attacked the city he was staying at and devastated every corner he was able to get a glimpse of during his escape. With him were his two bodyguards and friends, Ironhide and Prowl, as well as his mentor and teacher Ultra Magnus.
While his friends were both skilled fighters, they were just about the same age as himself and had no idea how to react during a raid like this, so it was up to Ultra Magnus to take charge and lead them all to their ship in one piece.
A plan Optimus was hardly on board with.
“Magnus, please!- What about the town and all its residents!” He tried to free himself from the strong grip Ultra Magnus held his wrist in and failed.
Ultra Magnus didn’t slow down in the least when he told Optimus: “Prime, we cannot do anything for them right now! The town has its defence systems, they have to deal with it themselves!”
“Those are not enough, we have to help!”
“We have to get you to safety!” Ironhide shouted behind him, before ducking down and shoving Optimus down with him to dodge concrete being hurled their way.
“Prime, are you alright?” He heard Prowl say in-between coughs from the dust that surrounded them all. Physically he was alright, but his spark was not. It wasn’t fair to him that he was supposed to be a priority while all the citizens were killed around him.
“Prime!” Ultra Magnus yelled after he didn’t react or move for a while, “There is nothing for either of us to do! If you want to help anyone at all after this, you need to live!”
With a heavy spark, Optimus got to his feet again and let himself to brought to the safety of their ship, where the crew was already waiting and preparing for take-off.
Once they reached it, Ironhide and Prowl flanked both his sides while they ran to the ship’s entrance. Once they got inside the ship, Optimus noticed that Ultra Magnus, whom he thought was flanking his behind, was still on the ground outside, looking towards the sky at the Decepticon ships shooting at the city.
“Ultra Magnus, hurry up!” Ironhide shouted beside him and he was quick to do the same: “Magnus, what are you doing!”
Ultra Magnus didn’t move, however, instead, he just looked back and shouted back: “Ironhide, Prowl! Get Optimus Prime away from here! Don’t go to Cybertron, bring him somewhere else! I will make sure Megatron won’t follow!”
Optimus knew this was a Decepticon raid, but the infamous leader and devil of Cybertron himself…?
“Magnus, you can’t stay!” Optimus wanted to get out of the ship, grab Ultra Magnus by the shoulder and drag him inside- No way was he leaving his trusted mentor here to die at the hands of the most terrifying monster any transformer could think off…!
He tried, but Ironhide and Prowl held him back, following Ultra Magnus’ damned orders. That didn’t stop Optimus from struggling though.
“Come here! Magnus, please!” The door to the entrance was already starting to close and Ultra Magnus didn’t move.
“Optimus,” Ultra Magnus answered, voice loud and firm, “Don’t worry. I’ll be back.”
Whatever Optimus had wished to shout and cry back at him, got lost in his throat as the door closed in front of him.
The ship was taking off and finally, both Ironhide and Prowl let go of him, making him fall forward. When one of them helped him get up on his feet again, he hurled towards the entrance and punched it out of sheer desperation.
“No, no, no!”
From the little window next to him he couldn’t even see Ultra Magnus anymore, only the bright red of the fires and the pitch black of the smoke mixed as if he was staring at a painting in which those two colours were splashed together.
A horrific and spark breaking image that would forever haunt his processor.
And in that picture, they had just left Ultra Magnus.
“Prime, please-!”, he heard Prowl say besides him, trying to pry him away from the entrance. “You heard Ultra Magnus, he’ll be back.”
“How can you say that!” Optimus whipped around to face his two friends who looked like the worst traitors in his optics right now, “The entire city is being destroyed by the Decepticons! And Megatron is leading them!”
His voice cracked at the end and he fell to his knees, tears streaming down his face.
Megatron, he just left one of the mechs closest to him at the mercy of Megatron.
The mech who was known for his tyranny, his ruthlessness and unforgivable evil. Taker of countless lives, a monster from nightmares.
And Ultra Magnus would be faced with that monster and lose his life just to protect his.
Ultra Magnus had realised who was leading the Decepticon raid from the flagship he saw - the Darksyde.
The ship he saw being thrown into the dimension portal all those years ago to put an end to Megatron’s tyranny and war.
Ultra Magnus hadn’t planned on staying behind, but knowing just who was there to lead the enemy forces, it was clear to him that staying would give the young Prime the best chances of getting away.
After all, on their ship, he could do nothing to help, but just the slightest chance of distracting the enemies on the ground was worth taking this highly stupid risk.
Megatron wouldn’t kill him, he was sure of that.
And his surety about that was not disappointed in the least.
After blasting and fighting his way towards the Darksyde, trying to get every last Decepticons attention on him, yelling towards the ship for Megatron to come out and fight him, Ultra Magnus, he just needed to shoot at the Darksyde’s weak points and try to fight and disable as many enemy soldiers as possible. Soon Megatron himself would show up he thought to himself, show up and deal with him himself.
Well, what happened was that Ultra Magnus was hit on the back of his helm and lost consciousness, but he had woke up alive all the same.
In no other place than the by now rundown dining room of the Darksyde.
His helm was pounding as he sat himself up and looked around himself to figure out where he was - he instantly recognised the golden walls with red ornaments printed on them, as well as the long table with a fancy cube of rich energon placed before him.
And at the end of the table opposite of him was sitting the fragger himself, Megatron. And he looked as much the beautiful fragger as he ever was. As far as Ultra Magnus cared to remember.
Shiny grey armour with red accents, bulky frame, Buckethead, all rounded up by that infuriatingly handsome grin.
Before either of them even said anything Ultra Magnus grabbed the offered cube of Energon, hoping it was 50% high grade mixed with 50% poison.
“Oh, Magnus,” Ultra Magnus gritted his teeth at the sound of Megatron’s voice, “so thirsty, did you miss me that much?”
Ultra Magnus quickly gulped down the last drops of the damned tasty energon before hurling the cube in Megatron’s direction. “Not really.”
Without ever letting his grin falter, Megatron caught the cube with one hand: “Why thank you for drinking it all before throwing it at me, we haven’t gotten around getting a good cleaning staff yet.” Megatron told him before cracking the cube himself and throwing the shards away. “You wouldn’t know where in this small town you can hire mechs for that kind of job?”
“No, I haven’t been here for long.”
“No time for sightseeing, I guess? Too busy keeping the new Prime alive?” Even though Megatron was still smiling, his last sentence was filled with venom and hatred. Whether it was directed at the young Prime or Ultra Magnus, he couldn’t tell. Probably both.
“Exactly, Megatron. And if I might add,” Ultra Magnus cursed himself for getting caught up in old habits so fast, “I did a fantastic job at that.”
Megatron narrowed his optics at him: “Oh, of course, you did. If it weren’t for your good work, I wouldn’t be here talking to you.”
“Listen, is getting under my derma all you want to do here?” Ultra Magnus said, propping his helm on his right servo and tipping his digits with the other in a dramatic display of impatience, “Because that got old ages ago.”
“Oh, of course not!” Megatron exclaimed with a booming voice and an expression that could almost be called innocent.
With a hard slam on the table that startled Ultra Magnus, Megatron heaved himself on top of the table and sat there with crossed legs.
Now that Ultra Magnus saw his whole frame, he could make out the changes Megatron went through in his banishment more clearly - Instead of tank treads, he had wings on his back now. Or at least he assumed they were wings, he couldn’t tell in Megatron’s untransformed state. His frame was also riddled with new scars that weren’t there before, but for a lot of them, Ultra Magnus could remember deep and fresh wounds instead.
For example, one big and deep one that he remembered causing himself, beginning at Megatron’s throat and going all the way to the top of his chest plates. A scar Megatron was putting on display by leaning forward and tilting his helm to his right side.
“I wanted to see you as well! I knew the new Prime was in that town, but I have to honestly admit that while I was aware that you’d be there as well, I didn’t expect you to pull that stunt.”
Megatron got on his feet with one swift move and stood in the perfect soldier posture - one that Ultra Magnus’ soldiers couldn’t perform, not even if they were moulded into it - and shouted to the roof with a voice Ultra Magnus couldn’t believe belonged to him: “Megatron you fiend of all that is holy, come down here and fight me in honourable battle so that your evil may be extinguished!”
“I said nothing like that and I don’t sound like that either, fool!” Ultra Magnus shouted back, trying to sound angry while hiding his grin behind his servo. He cursed himself yet again for allowing Megatron to get on his nerves like that. And especially for finding Megatron’s amazing acting talents as amusing as he did in the past.
“You sounded like that to me,” Megatron said while sitting back down- No, while lying down on his front, ankles crossed, face close to Ultra Magnus and holding his helm in one servo, “but I just have to know my dear; what made you so certain that I would let you live?”
Ultra Magnus had to admit, Megatron being this close to him did make him a little nervous, especially since the last time they were this close was in battle. The glow of Megatron’s crimson optics was the same as back then, shining with a deadly intensity. However, just like back then, it wasn’t enough for Ultra Magnus to ever think Megatron would seriously think of killing him.
“You mean besides the fact that I am pretty much alive right now?”
“Yes, besides that,” Megatron said, sounding impatient. “For all that you know, I could have decided to kill you on the spot.” Megatron moved his upper body so that his helm rested on both servos, digits entwined. “One does not simply spend eternity in another dimension and come out the same as before. My love for you could have faded long ago.”
Love. He just had to say that word, didn’t he? Ultra Magnus would have liked to keep pretending that it wasn’t Love what kept them in each other’s sights again and again.
“Listen close, Megatron,” Ultra Magnus leaned closer to Megatron so that their noses were almost touching. “Banishment in that dimension could never make you forget me.”
Megatron’s optics lit up and he grinned wide enough to show teeth. “Oh? And why is that?”
“None of your Decepticons have a spike as good as mine.”
Ultra Magnus had to pull back from Megatron’s sudden reaction- He slammed his head against the table while yelling “Primus- dammit!” Before quickly propping himself up again on his elbows and continuing with: “Ultra Magnus, for frag’s sake, you can’t say slag like that with a straight face!” Megatron’s shock turned to hysterical laughter and he turned around to lie on his back, servo on his face and stomach.
Ultra Magnus himself just leaned back in his seat, mortified about his crude words, hiding his face in both servos.
What did he do to deserve being stuck with Megatron again? One moment he was just doing his job and the next he was back in the past, having to deal with that lunatic of a boyfriend.
And murder-crazed tyrant. Ultra Magnus shouldn’t forget that part.
Before Ultra Magnus could attempt to be serious, Megatron had already calmed down: “Ah, damn. This wouldn’t so funny if it wasn’t true.”
“Whatever. How did you escape?”
Megatron was sitting again, elbow on his knee, helm on his servo, stupid grin on his face: “Oh what does that matter? We both know that no prison can contain me forever. Sometimes I wish for death, just do prove that I could escape from that as well.”
“What a tempting thought.” Ultra Magnus said with his arms crossed and glaring at Megatron.
Megatron held his arms up in an over-dramatic display of surrender. “Oh no, Magnus! How terrifying!” Before quickly resuming his previous pose: “But completely unimpressive. Do you think I would just let you sit here un-restrained if I thought you would kill me?”
With narrowed optics and gritted teeth, Ultra Magnus asked: “And what made you so sure of that?”
Before answering, Megatron got closer to Ultra Magnus, resting his feet on the armrests of Ultra Magnus’ chair. Looking up - as to not have optic contact with Megatron’s fragging panels - Ultra Magnus couldn’t help but feel just a little chill creep down his spine from the menacing aura surrounding Megatron: “Because you are Ultra Magnus. And you will never change.”
Leaning down Megatron added in a quiet and yet far more dangerous tone: “No matter what I do. Or what I did.”
Ultra Magnus hated this. Hated that deep down he knew that Megatron was right. Megatron could never forget him, but neither could Ultra Magnus forget Megatron.
However, Ultra Magnus would not simply falter like that from just that little intimidation play.
“You just had to make me feel like a fool by giving a serious answer, didn’t you?”
Megatron pushed his upper frame back again away from Ultra Magnus face and shrugged his shoulders with his arms held wide apart. “Hm, yes, pretty much.”
“I like you too!”
Sighing, Ultra Magnus tried to get back to his previous train of thoughts: “So, what is your plan this time? Same as always? Kill the Prime and take back your place as ruler of Cybertron?”
“Well duh, what else?”
“And do you got any plans with me, or can I just see this as an unplanned vacation?”
Megatron gave off a sigh himself, facepalming in his usual dramatic fashion: “Primus, Magnus, remember when I was in charge and you didn’t have to be kidnapped to get some days off?”
“Can you even call it having days off when I still spent them with my boss?”
“Since your optics were transfixed with my valve and not with endless reports, I’d say yes.”
Ultra Magnus mentally slapped himself for asking that question.
“Would you answer my previous question too?”
“Ah, yeah!” Finally, Megatron got his crotch out of Ultra Magnus’ line of sight and got off the table, pacing around Ultra Magnus as he stated: “As I said before dear, I didn’t expect to capture you today, so I need to figure something out first.”
When he was right behind Ultra Magnus, he put his servos on Ultra Magnus’ shoulder stacks: “Until then, how about I do you a favour? For old times sake!”
Ultra Magnus looked up at him: “A favour?”
“Yes. You can ask for anything! Except being let go of course.”
“Hm…” Ultra Magnus looked down again. A favour did sound nice and he trusted Megatron enough to stick true to his word.
Looking up again, he said: “There is a special frequency between me and the young Prime that cannot be traced back.” Megatron’s grin fell at the mention of Optimus, but thankfully let Ultra Magnus continue: “I would like to send him a message to let him know that I am fine and well-”
“-What kind of message? An interface tape?”
“No, I was thinking of a text- shut up! ”
Megatron laughed of course, like the idiot he was, and called someone on his comm. link: “Soundwave, come here.”
After the call, he turned down to look at Ultra Magnus again: “Just a text? A video sounds far nicer, don’t you think?”
Ultra Magnus frowned: “Oh, would you let me take one alone?”
“Of course not, silly. I’ll take one showing your undamaged and pretty frame.”
Ultra Magnus just groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. Still, Megatron did allow him to contact Optimus, so he couldn’t complain.
He had to think back at Optimus’ cries and horrified expression. How Ironhide and Prowl had to pull him back into the ship.
Sure, Ultra Magnus knew that Megatron wouldn’t harm him, but Optimus knew nothing about Megatron and especially nothing about his and Ultra Magnus’ relationship.
Optimus had such a pure and kind spark and Ultra Magnus couldn’t bear the thought of that young mech suffering from guilt and dread about his well-being.
The door opened and Soundwave entered. If he held any grudge against Ultra Magnus, he didn’t show it.
“Soundwave, I need a camera.” Without warning, Megatron pulled the chair Ultra Magnus was sitting on and turned it around in Soundwave’s direction. And before Ultra Magnus could say anything, Megatron had already put a stasis collar around his throat, immobilizing him from his neck downwards.
“Apologies, Magnus, but I cannot risk you sending any secret messages with your servos or digits. Or with your optics.” Something cold was pressed on his optics and locked there via magnets.
“Also you may not speak unless I allow it, got it? Or I won’t send the video.”
“Wait!”, Ultra Magnus said quickly, “Can I at least tell him to not send anything back and to delete the frequency?”
Thanks to the nature of the frequency, Ultra Magnus was certain that Soundwave couldn’t locate Optimus with just that, but keeping a frequency open would only be a risk.
“What are you, his sparkling sitter? Can’t the mighty Prime come to this conclusion himself?”
“He’s young and in shock! And so are his soldiers.”
“I don’t know Magnus, just the fact that I even let you send a message alone is a lot, so-”
“If you let me I’ll interface with you.”
Megatron chocked down on his words and whispered into Ultra Magnus’ audials in a hysterical tone: “Not in front of Soundwave!”
Ultra Magnus whispered back in shock: “I meant after we take the video!”
“ What! ” Megatron couldn’t keep his voice down this time: “That’s not what I meant- I meant don’t say that in front of him!”
Ultra Magnus was suddenly really grateful for the blindfold, that way he didn’t have to see Soundwave.
“Anyway,” Ultra Magnus tried again, ignoring his embarrassment: “ Deal? ”
Ultra Magnus could hear Megatron gritting his teeth. And he could also feel the heat generating from his frame getting up a few degrees.
“Fine. But I will take charge.”
“Whatever.” Ultra Magnus didn’t want to take charge anyway, this was his vacation after all.
“We are ready, Soundwave, and action!”
If Ultra Magnus remembered it correctly, then Soundwave’s visor had a little red dot glowing when he was recording. Not that he could see that now, instead he just felt Megatron grabbing him by the shoulder and pushing him into his side.
“Well, hello there, my new Prime!” Megatron began his speech in just the most obnoxious tone ever, “On his request, I just wanted to show you your sweet bodyguard being alive and well!” Megatron gently shook Ultra Magnus, “You are alive and well, aren’t you, Magnus?”
Ultra Magnus took this as permission to speak: “Yes, I am.”
“Wonderful!” Megatron continued, “So, nothing to worry about. And don’t fear, I don’t plan on harming him at all. You should however-,” Megatron’s tone became dangerous and it even gave Ultra Magnus chills, “fear for your own life, my dear...Prime…? Magnus, what was his name again?”
Ultra Magnus almost didn’t catch the question from how fast Megatron’s tone changed again. “Uh, Optimus, his name is Optimus.”
“Optimus Prime!” Megatron went straight back into his menacing tone, “I swear to you right now that when we meet face to face, mine will be the last face you will get to see!”
Evil tyrant, Ultra Magnus remembered again. And he just agreed to interface with him, why was he so stupid?
“And now, one last word from my guest.” Megatron shook him again and Ultra Magnus remembered why he agreed to interface with him in the first place: “Optimus! Don’t respond to this and delete our frequency!”
He wanted to say more. Something like Don’t worry about me or Stay strong, but Megatron didn’t let him. The moment he finished his sentence, Megatron slapped his servo on his mouth and said: “That would be all! Bye-bye Optimus, can’t wait to rip the matrix out of your chest!”
A moment after that Megatron removed his servo from Ultra Magnus face. Ultra Magnus thought too late about biting him.
“And cut! That wasn’t so bad, ey, Magnus?”
Oh, he wanted to insult him but remembered again that Megatron didn’t have to send the video, this was just a favour, not a promise. So he just murmured: “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome!” Megatron removed the blindfold and stasis collar and called Soundwave to come over. “Now, just give Soundwave that frequency and we are done here.”
Soundwave was as silent and stoic as ever when Ultra Magnus gave him the number, not letting any emotion he could harbour for him out. On his visor, Ultra Magnus could see that he was sending the message and after a few seconds he turned to Megatron and simply said: “Sent.”
“Thank you.” Ultra Magnus said quickly before Megatron could send him away. Soundwave looked at him again and just nodded wordlessly.
“Good job, Soundwave, you can go now.”
Soundwave bowed to Megatron and left as quickly as he came.
“So,” Megatron said after a small moment of silence, “about that interface.”
Great shit you pushed yourself into, Magnus.
“Listen, if you don’t want to interface, you don’t have to.”
Ultra Magnus looked up at Megatron in surprise: “Really?”
“Yes, really, what do you take me as? A Tyrant? Yes. A tyrant who takes advantage of the mech he loves? No.”
Love, he said it again. After everything they went through in the past, all their battles, betrayals and all the times they came close to killing each other, Megatron still loved him.
“I...love you too, still. But I don’t like you.”
Megatron chuckled. A real chuckle, not a played one. He kneeled next to Ultra Magnus’ chair, so he didn’t loom over him for once. “So, do you want a room or a cell?”
For the first time since he woke up here, he felt somewhat at ease. Megatron was on his way to destroy and kill and Ultra Magnus would do anything he could to stop him, the same play over and over again. At this point, he wondered if it was necessary to keep up any farce or uphold any morals.
They would never truly be together again and just like how they never changed, that fact would never change as well.
“To be honest, Megatron, I am not against interfacing.”