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Karma

Chapter Text

Perfect, it had been so perfect. 

The Autobot’s had won and Sentinel Prime decreed that all the surviving Decepticons be sold off as slaves to the highest bidder.  Flashwing had planned on buying one, a very specific one.  Finally, he and Skywarp would be together and no one, especially that Pit spawned Starscream, could do anything about it! 

Then, that morning, he was visited by some officers.  They had a warrant for his arrest.  Flashwing remembered the confusion, all the questions spinning in his processer on why this was happening.  He recalled being tempted to fight, to flee, but knew that would just make things worse for him.  It had to be a mistake that would be cleared up once he was in front of a judge! 

Only it wasn’t a mistake.  Not at all.  Somehow, his former superiors found out about a little deal attempt.  That time when he offered Megatron encryption codes for Skywarp.  The Warlord had refused, saying it would make things ‘too easy’. 

Damn fool.  If he had accepted, it would be the Autobots in the slave pits, not them! 

And he wouldn’t be in a cell right beside them.  Stripped of all his possessions.  A slave collar around his neck.  T-Cog disabled.  All he could do was sit on this berth that was not an appropriate size for a seeker and await whatever fate was in store for him. 

Unfortunately, he had very limited knowledge of what happened to slaves.  He had heard rumors about sex slave brothels and sadism pits, but those were public venues.  What private owners did?  Limited only by the imagination…. 

…and he didn’t relish the idea of finding out for himself. 

Flashwing had considered attempting to tamper with the collar.  However, the location of the release mechanism made that next to impossible.  He would need two mirrors to even see it and there was always the risk of the device having a ‘kill mode’ in the event of tampering.  Not to mention there were too many guards and cameras here. 

No, it was better to find out where he was going to be sold to first.  Plan his escape then.  He should be able to figure out how to reenable his T-Cog on his own with the education he has.  Probably would need to either steal or engineer his own medical tools for that purpose.  As to where to go?  He’ll figure that out once he has more information. 

“S613,” a gruff voice spoke from outside of his cell.  “Move to the back of your cell and face the wall.” 

Flashwing scowled at the guard, not moving from his seat.  “That is not my name,” he retorted. 

Almost immediately, a strong shock coursed through his body.  Flashwing stiffened and cried out, falling to his knees once it had passed.  It didn’t even last a nano, but it had felt like a whole klik. 

“You will respond to whatever name we give you, slave,” the mech growled.  “On your feet and move to the back of the cell!  Facing the wall!” 

Flashwing hissed, but complied this time, but slowly, just to spite him.  Once there, he heard the cell door open and two bots walk in.  His hands were grabbed and cuffed behind his back before he was roughly lead out of the cell. 

He wanted to ask where they were taking him but held his glossa.  At best, they wouldn’t answer.  Worse, he’d get another shock for daring to ask a question.  Instead, he took the opportunity to glance into the other cells as they passed them. 

It was a surprisingly mixed bag of attitudes.  Some had hardened expressions, other’s looked terrified.  Yet others were curled up in a corner, looking already like they had lost all hope.  He didn’t see any he recognized, let alone Skywarp.  Then again, the command trine was likely being kept in an even higher security sector.  He wondered what methods they used to keep Skywarp from just teleporting out? 

Not his concern right now: that was information he can find out later.  After he escaped this unjust situation he was in.  For now, he had to wait and see where he would end up. 

He would quickly discover just how badly stacked the deck was against him….

Chapter Text

The room they take him to was immediately familiar:  medbay.  It was here they forcefully purged his subspace and put on the collar.  What were they going to do this time?  Couldn’t be an exam, as they gave them that the first day he was here. 

His cuffs were removed before he was roughly placed on the medical berth and strapped down.  Flashwing made a token attempt at testing the restraints before affixing the medic with a defiant glare.  Said medic was ignoring him, more focused on the contents of the datapad he was holding.  A quick glance around the room, at least as much as he could see from his position, revealed to him that aside from the medic and his two guards, there was an intelligence officer present.  He recognized him, and he groaned with exasperation. 

Of all bots…why him? 

“Oh you remember me!” the mech beamed, a wide grin on his face.  “So glad to see that!” 

“Flatwheel…,” Flashwing growled, rolling his optics. 

The small blue and yellow grounder approached him, then knelt down and folded his arms onto the berth.  “Whodathunk you’d wind up on the slab, eh?  Flashy?” he was saying with a taunting tone.  “Should’ve behaved yourself and not gone off trying to make deals with the Cons….” 

“Is there a reason for your presence?” Flashwing snarled, flinching when the mech started to poke him absently.  “Or did you forget already?”  It would not be surprising if the absentminded fool did forget why he was here.  It was a running joke in Spec Ops…. 

“Oh, I remember,” Flatwheel replied, his tone surprisingly stern.  The mech stood up and folded his arms across his chest.  “Screaming Pain.” 

Flashwing’s optics widened slightly.  Of course, Spec Ops would be after his special.  They had repeatedly asked for the formula during his time there as an interrogator, but he had denied them each time.  “You already know the answer to that,” he snorted.  “And with the war won, why would you even still need it?” 

“Just because the war is over doesn’t mean interrogation is no longer needed,” Flatwheel replied.  “Ya see, we haven’t caught all the known Cons yet…and there may be sympathizers that don’t wear their shield.” 

“Sounds like you are out to squash any dissenting opinions of the current status quo,” Flashwing commented with a scoff.  “How unAutobot of you….”  He received a mild shock for that comment, making him yelp. 

“It’s not just for interrogation,” Flatwheel stated.  “Certain parties have discovered, both through examination of the records of its past use and testing of the vials confiscated from your subspace, it has benefits in the medical field as well.” 

Flashwing quirked a brow, slightly surprised by this. 

“The records told us that despite the amount of pain caused, it did not cause permanent damage to the sensor net,” the agent elaborated.  “This is of great importance when it comes to treating certain ailments.  And, surprisingly, the antidote to it has shown promise as an effective pain killer on its own with no addictive qualities!”  Flatwheel leaned in close.  “Really, Flashy…you missed your true calling!  You would have been in a much better place if you had become a medical scientist….” 

“I’ll be sure to put that on my resume…,” Flashwing scoffed sarcastically.  “If you think that will make me willing to just fork over the formula, you are mistaken.” 

Flatwheel had an expression of disappointment as he straightened up once more.  “I was hoping to appeal to what good in you there was, but, clearly, I was mistaken in thinking you had any goodness in you.  You only care for yourself.”  He looked over at the medic.  “Looks like we’ll have to do this the hard way.” 

The medic, whom had only glanced at them occasionally this whole time, finally became animated.  Flashwing watched as he walked around, practically with a spring in his step, somewhere behind him and heard some kind of device being wheeled closer to the berth. 

“You think you’ll find it in my datacore? HA!” Flashwing grinned at them broadly.  “You’re wasting your time!”  Once he had memorized the formula he had purged it from there long ago…. 

“Oh, we have already considered the possibility it won’t be there,” Flatwheel stated flatly.  “Thanks to Shockwave, of all bots, we have access to a tech that allows us to search the memories in your very spark.” 

There was only one thing he could be possibly talking about. 

The Cordial Psychic Patch. 

He was quite certain his faceplate was white as he struggled, a panicked whine escaping from his vocalizer.  “That was declared illegal tech!” he reminded them as the medic handed Flatwheel one end of the dreaded device. 

“Sentinel Prime has authorized it’s use,” Flatwheel corrected him as he plugged the device into the back of his head.  “After all, who cares of if a few scummy Con’s get their neural net fried?”  The grounder gave him a sadistic grin.  “I am going to enjoy this….” 

“No…no…no!”  Flashwing struggled with all his might, trying to break free.  It wasn’t just the thought of someone going into his head that scared him, but what they would no doubt find!  If they discover his origins, he was dead for sure! 

One of the guards had to hold his head still so the medic could plug the other end in.  When it was activated, he found himself sucked into his own mind.  Flatwheel was waiting for him there, smirking at him deviously…..

Chapter Text

He had heard that resisting the CPP required a strong will.  Control over their own thoughts.  He thought he had that.  After all, he was trained to resist the ‘advice’ and ‘treatment’ from the representatives of the ruling society. 

But that was resisting spoken words. 

This. 

This…was a whole different level.  He had to essentially fight his own mind.  Try to keep it quiet and still. 

Flashwing found his ability in that area to be sorely lacking.  All Flatwheel had to do was talk and his mind reacted.  Playing relevant memories around them as if they were in a movie theater!  No matter how hard he tried to control what was shown to agent, he could not.  Thus, it was only a matter of time before Flatwheel got not just the formula to Screaming Pain and confirmation of all the bad things he had done, but where he came from. 

From the smirk on the agent’s face, Flashwing knew he would not only be suffering due to his own sins, but the sins of his already dead kin.  There were too many still alive that remembered the Quintesson occupation and would remember that his kin sided with the tentacled freaks during the Wrath War…. 

“I got what I needed,” Flatwheel stated after the session finally ended.  “Certain parties will be very interested in this information.  I’ll leave a copy of my findings for your assessors as well.” 

Death would be the preferable fate at this point, if he couldn’t find a way to escape.  However, he doubted the new rulers of Cybertron would let him off that easy.  Sentinel in particular may take a special interest in him now, a thought that was terrifying. 

No one opposed Sentinel…not even Optimus Prime.  And he had heard he was a mech of particularly sadistic tastes. 

Or was he getting him confused with other mechs?  Primus, his processor ached.  All he wanted to do was curl up on his pathetic excuse for a berth and sleep….

Chapter Text

Flashwing had hoped they would return him to his cell.  Give him a chance to clear up his somewhat scrambled processor after the CPP session.  Instead, he was taken to a large room that was mostly bare, save for a series of restraints aligned in the center.  He was secured to one set of these, his arms and legs now spread wide.  He felt like he was on offer. 

It would turn out that was pretty much the case. 

Shortly after the guards had left, a three bots walked in.  They immediately surrounded him and started looking over every inch of his frame.  Flashwing quickly figured out what they were doing. 

They were assessing his ‘value’ on the slave market. 

“Strong build for an interdictor-class seeker,” one of the muttered.  “Similar to one of the command trine seekers we assessed a couple cycles ago.” 

The command trine…they must mean Thundercracker.  Did that mean they also saw Skywarp? 

“Indeed, but this frame is far more exotic in overall appearance,” other commented.  “Sentinel may be interested in this one.” 

“Not sure, considering this one’s history,” the third bot retorted.  “This one is both a shield traitor and race traitor.” 

“I was not part of tha’!” Flashwing snapped, subconsciously slipping into his tribes’ accent.  “Not all of us agreed with siding with them!”  Flatwheel saw this in his memories, but he either didn’t pass that on, or these bots didn’t care.  From the looks on their faces, it was the latter…. 

“Exotic accent as well,” the first one remarked, making a note on a datapad.  “Certain private buyers may be interested in this.” 

“If he still has it once he’s finished going through the public market,” the third remarked with a smirk. 

Scrap, that means they intend to sell him to places like that brothel or the sadist pit.  Neither would increase his likelihood of escaping on his own. 

“I heard his tribe believe in ‘body over processor’,” the second chuckled and he felt him run a finger lightly down one of his wings. 

Flashwing yelped as the sensation immediately sent a tingle down his spinal strut.  He felt the beginnings of warmth start to pool in his array. 

“Don’t touch me!” he growled, warningly, flattening his wings. 

“So he’d probably be best suited for the brothel first?” the first mech cooed, ignoring his protest as he cupped his modesty panel.  Flashwing hissed in response as he tried to move away from the unwanted touch, but the limited mobility he had made that futile.  “I wonder if he still has his seal?”  With a leer, the mech started rubbing the panel, that warm feeling increasing in response. 

“Let’s find out.”  One of them plugged into his medical port and nanos later, his modesty panel snapped open against his will.  The other mech’s fingers were now caressing his bare array and Flashwing shivered with revulsion as he started to play with the folds of his valve. 

“Stop tha’!” he cried, desperately trying to move away from him.  “That’s only for one mech!  My Chosen!  Not you!” 

All three mechs laughed.  “You no longer have a choice, slave,” one of them cooed as the one molesting him stuck his finger into his valve, probing and searching.  “Where you are likely to go, you will be fragged by many.” 

The very thought of being forced to ‘spread himself around’ to multiple bots sickened him.  Such bots were always considered next to worthless in his tribe.  With no sense of self-respect or modesty.  To be brought down that low against his will…. 

He struggled anew, but he could not get away.  Especially once one of the other mechs pressed up against him from behind, limiting his range of movement further.  It allowed the molesting mech to continue probing his valve with little issue. 

“No seal, but I can tell this valve hasn’t been used much,” the molesting mech announced, finally pulling his finger out.  “In fact, it seemed almost…desperate for some action!”  He held up his finger, showing the copious amount of lubricant upon it. 

Flashwing felt ashamed his body would betray his Chosen so easily. 

“I’m tempted to do a test drive of that valve then,” the one behind him purred in a lustful tone.  He felt that mech’s hands start stroking the sides of his waist, before running down to his array. 

“Why not?” the molester cooed.  “After all, we are assessors.  We need to assess the goods!” 

No….  Flashwing heard the rear mech chuckle and felt him pull his aft backwards and up.  He tried to pull back, but he had no leverage to do so.  “Please don’t!” he begged. 

“Oh, that makes me hot!” the mech behind him remarked as he heard his modesty panel open. 

Nanos later he felt a decent sized spike being plunged into his unprepared valve….

Chapter Text

They each had a turn with him.  Had their way with him, before declaring their ‘assessment’ finished and telling the guards they could take him back to his cell.  Flashwing was trembling from the experience, all too aware of the mix of lubricant and transfluid running down his legs.  As the guards undid the restraints, he could only stare at the ground, his processor in turmoil. 

He was just trying to win over his Chosen.  To convince Skywarp they were meant to be.  Was that so wrong?  Now he has been ravaged and defiled, taken as if he was a Kaonian whore.  There was nothing he could do to stop it and now no respectable bot would look twice at him, despite it being out of his control. 

His body had betrayed him.  That was all he could think about as he was lead back toward his cell.  It was supposed to know best.  To know who the right bot was for him.  The one that he would bond and sire many sparklings with.  But yet…it had responded so easily to those mech’s touches.  Filling him with lust and confusion. 

Was it because it had been so long since he was in Skywarp’s company?  Did his body now reject Skywarp and was seeking another to replace him? 

He didn’t know…and he had no one to go to for advice.  Even if there was, it wasn’t like he could currently leave to talk to them. 

“Those guys really worked him good,” he barely comprehended one of the guards commenting.  “Think we should swing by the wash racks and hose him down first?” 

A wash would be nice…but it would only wash way the visible signs of what happened…. 

“Nah, considerin’ they didn’t even let him close his panel?”  the other guard replied.  “Be a good sign to everyone on where he’s going!” 

A sex slave.  A future, not so long ago, he had never even considered to see himself as.  Was that all he good for now? 

“Perhaps during our next break we should ‘sample the goods’ ourselves?” the first guard suggested.  “Give him the practice.” 

Conditioning. That’s what this was.  They were conditioning him to a new role.  What the ruling society wanted him to be. 

What his tribe always trained him to resist.  The ruling society was wrong.  Always wrong. 

“Sounds like a plan,” the second guard agreed as they arrived at his cell.  They opened the door and forced him in, then shoved him against the far wall before taking off the shackles. 

No.  He will resist.  He must resist. 

“See you soon!” one of them said as they left the cell, closing the door behind them. 

Flashwing turned around and scowled at the door.  They think they could take him so easily like the others? 

You may have taken my belongings and my dignity…but I still have my mind!  

The guard’s lust will be their undoing….

Chapter Text

By the time they came back a couple of breems later, he was ready.  Flashwing went to and faced the back wall as he was told, keeping his wings low and flat.  He made sure to add a fearful ‘quiver’ to the wings, to further lower their guard. 

“Aw, lookit that?” one of them taunted as he heard them open the door.  “All nice and timid now.” 

That’s what you think…. He looked over his shoulder at them, giving them a wide opticked, fearful expression. 

“Oh don’t ya worry,” the other one cooed as they approached him.  “We’ll be gentle….” 

“Put your hands on the wall and stick out your aft for us,” the first one commanded. 

He didn’t move.  Unseen by them due to his wings blocking their view, his hands were curling, preparing. 

“I said, show us your hands!” the guard demanded. 

“OK,” Flashwing calmly replied meekly.  Then, his expression hardened.  He spun around and slashed that guard across the face with the barbed talons on one hand.  The guard screamed in delicious agony as Flashwing kicked the other guard before he could activate the collar. 

It activated anyway. 

Flashwing screamed as the powerful shock rendered him completely unable to do anything else.  Aside from collapsing to the floor. 

“Stupid slave!”  the guard he kicked taunted.  “Those collars are designed to go off on their own when it detects aggression!” 

Flashwing coughed as he struggled to get up, cursing himself for not considering that possibility.  What upward progress he had made, was stopped when that guard planted a foot on his back, forcing him back to the floor. 

“Bah, the timing is off on that one,” the guard he scratched grumbled as his hands were cuffed behind his back.  “Should’ve went off before he scratched my face!” 

“Your face needed some detailin’ anyway,” the other guard teased as he was forced to his feet.  “Too plain!” 

“Frag you!” 

“Nah, frag him instead.”  To his horror, the mech forced him to lean back, causing him to spread his legs in an effort to keep his balance.  “It’s what we are here for, after all!” 

‘Scarface’ had a twisted leering grin on his face.  “We were going to give it to you easy, S613,” he purred deviously.  “Now, I think you are in for a rough time!” 

No!  Not again!  He tried to kick the approaching mech, but his leg was caught. 

“Afterward, we’ll let management know that collar needs some tweakin’,” the guard holding him commented.  “Maybe recommend doing something about those claws of his.” 

“I know some bots prefer seekers keep them for aesthetic reasons,” ‘Scarface’ commented as he lifted up his other leg.  The mech’s panel was open and a spike Flashwing was quite certain was bigger than the last ones pressurized.  “Maybe they’ll make an exception with this one.” 

Flashwing struggled, trying to get out of their grip.  He couldn’t before that spike was thrust into his mostly dry valve. 

His screams could be heard throughout the cell block.

Chapter Text

Once more his body had betrayed him. 

The only lubrication he had when they started on him was whatever transfluid was left from before.  However, his body had quickly ‘corrected’ that, responding to the penetration by producing the needed lubrication.  Turning what started out as pain into pleasure he didn’t want. 

He even overloaded this time, which the guards gleefully taunted him about. 

‘You really enjoy this!’ one of them had said.  ‘What a slutty seeker you are!’  the other commented as he overloaded all over his chassis. 

Those comments and more kept echoing in his processor as they half-dragged him to the washracks.  They took their time of it as well, making sure everyone they passed saw what they did to him, slave and guard alike.  There were even a few catcalls, adding to his humiliation and shame. 

Once at the washracks, they hosed him down with ice cold solvent.  No doubt to torture him more than to ensure he was no longer charged.  From the sadistic grins on their faces as they watched him squirm under the cold solvent, he was correct in that guess.  It left him shivering, his core temperature having been lowered to almost dangerous levels. 

The trip back to his cell was quicker, the bastards not even allowing him to dry off.  He was forced into his cell dripping wet, the temperature of his ‘room’ barely at a comfortable level. It would take about a breem to dry. 

Worse, was that while he was clean of the ‘evidence’, this cell was not.

There were drying drops and small puddles of transfluid and lubricant all over the floor.  Plus, there was the lingering smell of arousal in the air.  The smell will fade, but those puddles will dry and remain for some time.  He doubted they even clean these cells after slaves are sold. 

Back during his days as an interrogator for Spec Ops, they rarely cleaned up the ‘evidence’ of previous sessions.  Intimidation and demoralization reasons.  It was disgusting, but effective. 

Effective as a reminder of what was done to him…and will continue to be done to him…. 

He had to escape, but he no longer had any idea how….

Chapter Text

It has been a couple of cycles since the guards ravaged him.  During that time, Flashwing heard the other slaves in his place come and go.  More times then he’d like, he heard the echoes of fellow slaves screaming from the medbay.  He had no idea what was being done to them, nor did he want to know.  What he did know was that a number of slaves were taken out and never brought back.  He had no idea if they were sold, or…deactivated. 

He, thankfully, was left alone.  The only bot that came to his cell was the caretaker, whom gave the ‘residents’ their pitiful energon rations for the day.  He hadn’t even caught a glimpse of those two guards.  Perhaps they were disciplined for abusing him? 

“Hey, facescratcher!”  a familiar voice called to him from the door.  

Flashwing uncurled enough on his berth to look and confirm it was, indeed, ‘Scarface’ in front of his cell.  His frame involuntarily shuddered. 

At least he was referred to as something other than a number…. 

“Against the wall, S613,” the mech demanded. 

Well, it was nice while it lasted. 

With a sigh, Flashwing got up and did as he was told, wondering what they were going to do to him this time. 

“Turn around, hands on the wall.” He heard his buddy command. 

No way he was going to get a hit in this time it seems.  Not that it mattered.  He’d have to knock out both of them with one blow, maybe two, then hope to Primus he recovered from the shock fast enough.  Low chances. 

After he assumed the required position, he heard them open the door…. 

…then close it behind them. 

Zero chance. 

Flashwing didn’t even bother struggling as they cuffed his hands behind his back.  He was then led out, Flashwing noticing a third guard just outside.  Definitely zero chance. 

He was led to the medbay, where he was quickly restrained in a sitting position.  Then the medic removed the collar and replaced it with a new one.  Fighting back at all was out of the question now. 

However, it quickly became clear he was not done here yet.  Instead of being released from his restraints to be taken back to his cell, he was simply adjusted so he was laying down on the berth, then the berth was tilted upright.  Flashwing looked at the medic, both confused and fearful of what was in store for him next. 

The medic had his back to him, fiddling with some kind of device. “Had fun cobbling this together,” the mech said, chuckling.  “Considering you’re a ‘special’ case, Sentinel saw fit to request that everyone knew what you were.” 

He turned around then, the device in his hand now clearly visible.  It was, as he said, cobbled together, but it’s designed function was clear.  A branding device. 

And the symbol it was currently set to melt into his chassis was his old tribal symbol. 

Flashwing’s optics widened as he pressed himself against the berth, trying to get as far away from that thing as possible.  It was no use.  There was nowhere he could go. 

“Only fitting no?” the medic cooed as he approached him, business end of the device red-hot.  “The symbol of a tribe of traitors being used to mark traitors to Cybertron.” 

He tried not to scream as the device was pressed against his left breast plate. 

It was futile….

Chapter Text

Flashwing lay curled on his berth, whimpering.  His chest hurt, really fragging hurt.  He was quite certain many of the sensors in that area were destroyed, but the ones at the edges of his new ‘brand’ were more than making up for their absence.  

He was told that was how his tribe marked members for much of their history.  Now having felt it for himself, he was certain his early kin were crazy.   What sane bot would have this done to them willingly?  Thank Primus he never ‘earned’ the right to wear the symbol prior to the Wrath War! 

Not that it mattered.  Since he had it now

Flashwing was just grateful the mad medic didn’t go through with the idea of putting one on a wing as well.  Bad enough it was on his chest, the new impression now filled with black paint.  It made the new mark really stand out against his silver and yellow primary colors.  He was certain there was a way to cover this up, but he had to escape and find someone willing to do it.  

Neither was likely right now, the former looking impossible. 

“Well, aren’t ya a lucky slave.” 

Lucky…that is a matter of opinion in this case….  He looked over at his shoulder at the guard with a mix of distain and trepidation.  Oh, it was ‘Scarface’ again.  What did he want this time?  

“You know the drill by now, S613. Up against the wall, facing it.” 

With a sigh he complied and shortly after he was cuffed and being lead out the cell. 

“Thought we’d have one buyer for your aft,” ‘Scarface’s’ partner was commenting as he was lead down the hall.  “Turned out we have three potential buyers.” 

“Yeah,” ‘Scarface’ chuckled.  “Didn’t think someone from that group would show up.” 

“I heard they had a real beef with his type.  That’s probably why.” 

A shudder coursed through his frame.  There was only one group they could be possibly be talking about: the group that was largely responsible for his tribe’s extinction.  They were likely here to see if they could finish what they started, though they were probably not intending to make his end quick. 

He got confirmation of his suspicions when he was brought to the auction room.  Two of the mechs already present he didn’t recognize.  The third…while he didn’t know this mech, the specialized symbol on their chest left him with no doubt.   That bot was glaring at him, arms folded across their chest. 

Flashwing was shoved onto the stage and secured to a set of foot shackles there.  Once the guards had backed away, the potential buyers were given permission to approach him for inspection.  The two unknown mechs did so, but the other stayed put.  Instead, the mech kicked back in his seat, a smirk now on his face. 

“Just like I thought,” one of the other mechs muttered.  “There’s no way he’d last long in your place.” 

“Please!” the other mech countered.  “I have seeker similar to this one already.  He’s holding up!” 

From the comments, Flashwing guessed the first one was from the bordello, the other was likely from the sadism place. 

“That one doesn’t have the reputation this one does!” the bordello rep was countering.  “Once word got out, he’d probably wouldn’t last a cycle!” 

“You seriously believe I’d let everyone on Cybertron have at him on the first day?  You think I’m an idiot?” 

“Boys, boys…,” the third mech cooed.  “I do believe ya already had this argument.  How about lettin’ ya money do the arguin’ now?” 

The two mechs glared at each other and returned to their seats.  At this point the auctioneer cleared his vocalizer. 

“As this is an impromptu auction, you already know the details on this particular item,” the mech stated.  “Due to the rep of a special interest group being present and to make things more interesting, I’d like to give that rep the opportunity to set the opening bid.” 

The bordello and sadism reps looked nervous.  Who knows how high this mech would set the starting bid? 

“Sure thin’,” the mech responded with a grin, before going dead serious.  “One cred.” 

Everyone looked at him with boggled expressions. 

“Just one cred?” the auctioneer asked, looking flabbergasted.  “Are you sure?” 

“Yep!” the mech stood.  “’Cause that’s all that bastard is worth.” 

Now the auctioneer looked a bit angry.  “So you came here to waste our time?” 

“Ya did say you wanted to make things more interestin’,” the mech countered with a smirk. 

“Get out of here!” the auctioneer snapped.  “If one of you lot come here again it better be serious next time!” 

“Oh trust me, this was serious business,” the mech countered with a smirk as he stood up. “Not my fault ya are too slow to catch what I’m doin’.” 

As the mech left, the auctioneer grumbling about time wasters, Flashwing felt even lower than he thought he would. 

Unlike the rest of the bot’s present, he caught what that mech was doing.  By bidding only one cred, he was telling him just how much they thought of him.  That he had sank so low that not even his greatest enemies wanted anything to do with him.  This act was all to mock him, to rub that fact into his face.  A purely psychological move. 

In a way he was relieved, as he meant he wouldn’t be put through the most painful death those bots could think of.  It was only a small comfort though, as it dawned on him that they wanted his suffering to last as long as possible….

Chapter Text

There were only two bidders now and Flashwing wasn’t sure which one he had a preference to win. 

The bordello he knew would force him to take on many partners a day, further diminishing his worth and dignity.  That one would no doubt destroy his mind with shame and humiliation.  On the other side, the sadism pit would ravage his whole body through pain and torture.  It would leave him too damaged physically to try to escape. 

With the opening bid essentially invalidated, the auctioneer set, what Flashwing assumed to be, a standard opening bid.  The bidding war after was intense, both bidding mechs nearly shouting over the auctioneer as he confirmed the current bid.  It quickly got to the point the auctioneer just stopped talking until the two slowed down enough to get in a word.  Flashwing noted the mech had to keep track of the current bid by quickly jotting it down on a datapad.  He barely was able to keep up himself. 

Amusingly, the two bidders apparently lost track themselves in their rush to outbid the other. 

“Current bid is at 10,666,” the auctioneer announced, sounding a bit annoyed. “Last bid was from the bordello.” 

“Then I raise twenty!” the sadism rep called. 

“I raise twenty!” the other called before the auctioneer could confirm. 

“Oh, not again….” Flashwing heard the poor auctioneer mutter as those two started up again. 

“Well…you did want it to be interesting,” Flashwing commented with a shrug.  The mech just glared at him. 

Eventually the two bidders calmed down again, each likely approaching the limit they are allowed to spend on him.  The bid was at 15,701…and the sadist just raised by 50.  From the smug look on his face, he was hoping this put the bid out of the bordello’s price range. 

“Humph,” the bordello bot scoffed.  “I raise 250.” 

The sadist bot nearly fell out of his seat. 

“Current bid is at 16,001 for the bordello,” the auctioneer announced.  “Going once….” 

The sadist shifted with uncertainty. 

“Going twice.” 

A smug grin was forming on the bordello bot as the sadist hung his head in defeat. 

“Sold to the bordello for 16,001 creds!” The auctioneer slammed the gavel, the sound signifying the sealing of his fate in his audios. 

“Don’t worry, I’m sure my boss will sell him to you on a discount once we are done with him!” the winning bot called out as the loser left in a huff.  He then approached the stage and addressed the auctioneer.  “Take him to the medbay first, there is a…modification…my boss requested to be done before I take him to his new home.” 

Modification?  Dozens of possibilities went through his processor as the guards released his foot restraints.  None of them good. 

“Of course, sir,” the auctioneer acknowledged, nodding toward the guards in confirmation.  “Whatever you need, I’m certain our medical staff can arrange.  What is it you require?” 

Flashwing didn’t get to hear his new owner’s response, leaving what was to be further done to him a mystery for the moment. 

He was not looking forward to finding out the hard way….

Chapter Text

For the fourth time, he was led into the medbay, where that sadistic medic was working on a different slave.  Said slave was crying and screaming as the medic was doing something to the poor mech’s valve. 

“Be with you in a moment!”  the bot said, way too cheerfully.  “Just need to finish resealing this one!” 

Resealing?  If that was what he thought it was, just what was the purpose if it?  It wasn’t like putting a seal back in would restore one’s virginity.  Perhaps this one’s new owner has a seal breaking kink?  Even then, it would be only a onetime thing, so he still saw it as rather pointless.  Still, Flashwing found himself squirming, pressing his legs as close together as his frame allowed as he was forced to watch. 

After what felt like a breem, the medic finished, the poor slave forced up to his feet by his guard escort.  The mech was limping, energon trickling down his legs, as he was led away. 

“So, what are you in here for this time?” the medic cooed as he cleaned off the medical berth. 

“He’s been sold to the bordello,” one of his escorts, ‘Scarface’, replied.  “His new owner wants a modification done.” 

“Hmm,” the medic looked almost disappointed.  “So it won’t be a resealing.” 

Thank Primus….  Flashwing felt a small bit of relief. 

“Coding adjustment?  Make him more willing?” 

Flashwing stiffened:  he hadn’t considered that.  To have one’s own personality, the very essence of who they were…changed…altered…against their will?  It was abhorrent…sickening!  Terrifying!  A faint whimper escaped his vocalizer, bringing a smirk of amusement to the medic. 

“No,” the auctioneer stated as he joined them in the room.  “Customer wants to make him a little more ‘safe’ for their clients.  He wants the barbed tips of his claws removed.” 

The medic had a broad grin and ‘Scarface’ started laughing.  Flashwing felt his spark sink into his tank: he had little doubt they wouldn’t bother using anesthetic.  Not from what he had heard in the past and actually witnessed a few kliks ago. 

“I can do that, easy,” the medic beamed before adjusting the berth so that it had ‘arm rests’ sticking out on both sides.  “Now, are you going to be a good little slave during this?” 

Frag that. 

The moment the cuffs were removed, Flashwing attempted to bolt.  Futile, as the guards insured they were holding his arms, but he certainly gave it his all.  Until the collar went off, forcing him to go limp for a few nanos.  Which was long enough for the medic to inject something into his lines. 

He had hoped it was anesthetic, but when he found he couldn’t control his limbs, it was clear it wasn’t.  It was some kind of paralyzing agent, one that only affected his limbs, leaving him both conscious and with all his senses.   A medical induced waking coma. 

Flashwing could do nothing as they lifted him onto the berth and strapped him down.  Likely in case the drug wore off too soon.  They even turned his head to one side, so he could watch what was happening.  The medic was now examining one of his claws, a thoughtful expression on his face before he turned away.  When he turned back around, he had a saw in his hands. 

The device whirled to life…and started cutting into his finger near the tip.  Flashwing couldn’t even scream, couldn’t look away, only take it.   They even moved his head, so he could continue ‘watching’ when they started on the other hand. 

He blacked out before that hand was finished….

Chapter Text

Pain was the first thing he was aware of as he came too.  Flashwing whimpered softly as he onlined his optics, finding himself in an unfamiliar place.  With some effort he pushed himself upright into a sitting position, his hands flaring with pain as he did so.  After a quick look around, he determined he was in the back of a transport vehicle.  He was thankfully alone.  Perhaps they thought he would be unconscious for the deration of the trip to his new ‘home’. 

Not that it mattered. 

Flashwing looked at his hands, which were cuffed to the front for once.  That sadistic medic had cuff off more than he really needed to.  Some fingers had about a fourth of the distal phalanx removed and he could tell on a couple of them the finger strut itself was damaged, making those fingers particularly painful. 

In place of where his claws once where, a simple, flat plate was welded on.  It left his finger’s looking stumpy, almost grounder-like.  What points they still had due to the angle of the cut would be useless in a fight.  Not that he could fight right now:  if he so much as flexed the tips of his fingers he felt pain.  He could only hope the pain will lessen as his ‘modified’ fingers healed. 

It was going to be hard getting used to them as is. 

He felt the transport come to a stop a few kliks later.  Shortly thereafter, the doors of the cargo hold opened.  Flashwing grimaced at the sudden bright light. 

“Well, looks like sleepy head is awake!” the voice of the mech that won him called out.  “Are going come out willingly, or will we need to drag you out by the wings?” 

Flashwing winced at the very prospect before sighing.  He didn’t want any more pain today, so he managed to get to his feet and step out of the transport on his own.  Flashwing only caught a glimpse of his new surroundings before his arms were grabbed by two burly mechs.  He was then guided through what was apparently a small loading dock and storehouse before entering the actual ‘business’. 

As he was led down a hallway, he noted a number of doors.  From almost all of them, Flashwing could hear someone inside.  Some moaning, some sobbing.  A couple of screams.  Eventually, they reached a room that had actual windows to look through. 

Well, more like, the entire front wall was, what he assumed to be, a sheet of glass, though he doubted it was easily broken.  Even the door was made of it, affording no sense of privacy for those ‘assigned’ to this room.  Especially with a row of seats lined against the wall on the opposite side. 

As his current luck would have it, this was his new room.  Once he was shoved inside, he took a quick look around. 

There was berth in one corner that as adorned with various restraints.  There were more restraints on the far wall and set hanging from the ceiling.  He also saw a small washrack…which also had a few restraints.  Was he really bought by the bordello? 

That was what he saw from a quick glance as he was attached to the ceiling restraints.  There wasn’t much slack to the chain on these, only allowing him to bring his hands down to the level of his face.  From here he finally spotted what was likely his actual berth:  a simple, thin cushion thrown against the glass wall.  He noted there was a short chain and shackle attached to the wall there as well. 

“I’m glad those other two mechs didn’t screw up our plans for the day,” his buyer was saying, the mech lightly dragging a finger under his chin.  “We have a number of bots that wanted get a crack at you first thing…and I foresee you being very popular for a while.” With a chuckle, the bot turned and started to walk out.  “You will meet your first customer shortly….” 

Wait, they weren’t going to give him a chance to ‘settle in’ first? 

How foolish of him to think he would catch a break in this cruel new world…

Chapter Text

His first customer was here, a slightly larger than average mech. 

“So I get the pleasure of ‘breaking you in’,” the mech commented with a devious smirk.  “This will be fun.” 

“Don’t touch me,” Flashwing hissed, rattling his wings as he tried to move away. His restraints kept him from moving very far, unfortunately. 

“Do you not know where you are?” the mech laughed as he got right up against him and grabbed his chin.  “This is a whore house.  You are a sex slave now.” 

Of course he knew that, he wasn’t processor defunct, after all.  “I still do not want this,” he growled, kicking out at him. 

The mech easily dodged and laughed even harder as he slipped behind him. He then snaked a hand around his body and down to his array to start playing with his valve.  Flashwing squirmed and tried to move away from the unwanted touch, but the mech’s other arm was now wrapped around his chest, securing him in place.  Already, he could feel his body start to react.  The lubricant start to flow, preparing his valve for interfacing. 

Why…why did he get aroused so easily!? 

“You have no choice here, slave,” the mech was purring in his audio.  “Besides…I heard your kind don’t even believe in the idea of verbal consent to begin with.” 

Yes…that was true.  A stance he was seriously reconsidering after what he had been put through thus far.  Not that it would help him here…. 

“Wow…what a slut,” the bot cooed as he showed him his lubricant coated fingers.  “All wet already….”  

Flashwing could feel the beginnings of tears form in his optics at the sight.  He tore his optics away, crashing them closed with shame.  Then he felt the mech smear the fluid on his cheek, making him shiver with revulsion. 

A familiar click was heard as the mech’s panel opened.  Flashwing felt a sense of déjà vu as his rear was forced back and up.  He could feel the mech’s spike start rubbing against the folds of his valve.  His Pit spawned valve was already clenching, trying to pull that spike in. 

“I know the guy that you will see next, by the way…and he’s a lot bigger than me,” the mech commented as he felt the spike start to slip inside.  He whined pathetically as his valve so eagerly accepted the appendage.  “So you should be thanking me for getting you nice and loose and lubed up for him!” 

Flashwing wasn’t feeling particularly thankful right now….

Chapter Text

Once his first ‘customer’ was done with him, the guards gave him a quick rinse off before forcing him onto the berth.  Flashwing struggled as they tied him down on his back, his legs folded up and spread uncomfortably wide.  He could barely move and could only pant in near panic as his second customer came in. 

Oh Primus…a miner class.  He had heard tales of their girth in a certain department...and he prayed it was just that…a tale…and that his first customer was lying.  If it was true…no…he didn’t want to think about that.  Flashwing would rather be in ignorance of what a ‘too big’ spike could do to a valve for just a bit longer. 

As for the mech, he was studying his valve with studious expression.  After a klik, he reached down and inserted a finger into his valve.  Flashwing squirmed at the intrusion, but that was all he could do.  “Please don’t…,” he whimpered. 

There was a deep, gruff chuckle.  “What?  Sore already?” the mech taunted.  “Ya do feel ra’her tight dispute mah friend having a go ah you already.”  Another chuckle as another finger was slipped in.  “He not as big as he ‘ink he is.” 

Flashwing could feel his valve clench at the digits as they worked it.  Part of it was surely due to the sheer terror he felt, aside from his valve having it’s own mind on the situation. 

“Ah prefer my seekers tight anyways,” the mech was purring as a third finger was put in.  “Tried out ‘is pretty black and purple one.  Really eager guy: liked riding mah spike.  He was ta loose for me.” 

Black and purple…Skywarp!?  Was his precious Skywarp in this horrid place!?  And he was liking it!?  Flashwing’s optics widened as he felt his tank roil at the very thought his Chosen wanted to be used like this.  Oh if only he had succeeded in convincing him back in the Golden Age…. 

“Ya feel just right, but ah’m considerate, you know?” the mech continued to talk, apparently too focused on his valve to notice his shock.  “Ah try ta prepare ‘em best ah can before taking ‘e plunge.  But it helps if ‘ey meet me half way ‘oh, ya know?” 

“…Half-way?”  Flashwing muttered, a tremor in his voice.  He was not entirely sure what he meant by that. 

The miner finally looked at him, a smirk on his face as he pulled his fingers out of his valve.  They were dripping with lubricant.  “Ya will need ta relax as ah go in,” he told him.  “Else ya will be in a world of hurt.” 

The mech’s modesty panel slid away, and a massive spike pressurized.  Flashwing felt his optics go so wide he was certain they were about to fall out of their settings.  That damn spike was as thick as his forearm...and it had knobs! 

“To-too big…too big!”  he cried struggling against his restraints. 

“Nah, ya can handle it.  Took plenty of seekers ‘bout your size,” the mech told him as he positioned himself.  “Like ah said, relax and ya’ll be fine.  I don’t say ‘is just for your sake either…but for ‘ose ya’ll see afta me.”  

He was jerking his thumb behind him, toward the glass wall.  Flashwing dared to take a look and he saw every seat that was out there had either a bot sitting in it, or in front of it.  How many of them were there to take advantage of him…or just paid to watch him suffer?  The thought of being forced to ‘service’ all of them made him nauseous. 

“Afta all.” His attention was drawn back to his current customer.  The mech had his spike tip at the entrance to his valve, which was already attempting to clench at it.  Damn thing!  “It would be rude of me ta ruin ya before ‘ey got a chance ta frag a traitor….” 

Oh how very considerate of him! 

Flashwing was tempted to clench down so he did ruin him, however, he quickly changed his mind.  He already knew they would likely sell him to the sadist place after they were done with him.  That place…would ruin more than just his valve and he’d rather stay intact for as long as possible.  At least…physically. 

So he swallowed his pride and what was left of his dignity and forced himself to relax.  With clenched denta and a whimpering cry, that spike went in…. 

…and he could hear his ‘audience’ cheering….

Chapter Text

Primus…his valve hurt. 

After around ten customers, he was finally given a break.  Well, once the guards had their turn with him before giving him a thorough rise off.  Only then was he shackled to the restraints by the thin cushion that was his actual berth and his ‘break time’ started. 

It was hard to get comfortable enough to take full advantage of this break.  The restraints limited what positions he could be in and the berth itself was so thin he may as well be on the floor.  His aching valve certainly didn’t help matters. 

And like before, his body seemed to lavish in the attention.  Overloading a few times during his ‘shift’.  Was this body even his anymore?  It felt like a stranger to him now. 

‘Listen to your body, it knows best’.  That was the mantra he was always told when he still lived among his kin:  the body was more important than the processor.  If it needed something, he was to provide it.  That’s why he hunted Skywarp for so long…it had wanted him…. 

Flashwing’s thoughts went back to what he had learned about said seeker.  To think Skywarp apparently was enjoying this kind of treatment?  Perhaps his poor Chosen was subjected to that ‘coding modification’ the Pound medic alluded to.  Then again, Skywarp was one that liked to ‘fool around’ even before they had first met, from what he was told.  Not exactly loyal bondmate material.  Why did his spark ever desire him? 

Did it matter now?  He was worthless himself now in that regard…and not exactly by choice. 

Or was it?  He did make a lot of choices the ‘Great Society’ frowned upon.  Everything he did, was in accordance to his tribes’ traditions and teachings. 

What a wonderful life he wound up in for it. 

Flashwing vented a sigh, wondering what he could have done to prevent this fate he found himself in.  One thing immediately sprang to mind:  his attempt to trade authorization codes for Skywarp.  If he had resisted the temptation then…. 

Well…there was no way to go back and stop himself now.  All he could do at present was endure and maybe…’maybe’…figure out how to escape.  For now, he should get what rest he could, as he had no idea how long this ‘break’ will last.  So he curled up, getting as comfortable as he could before closing his optics. 

A couple of klik’s later there was a loud ‘thunk’ right behind him. 

Flashwing jolted upright and looked behind him.  Walking by the glass was a guard and a customer.  He could hear laughter, leading him to suspect the hit on the glass was no accident.  Hoping he was wrong, he settled down again and once more attempted to go into recharge. 

Another bang on the glass startled him out of it after what felt like only a couple more kliks.  He looked up to see the same guard smirking at him.  Flashwing flipped him a rude gesture, to which the guard just laughed before walking off. 

Chained to a wall.  Berth so thin it was useless.  Glass without soundproofing…. 

Recharge was going to be elusive….

Chapter Text

Flashwing had lost count of how long he had been in this place, each cycle blurring into the last.  He had been taken in so many different ways, he had lost count of that as well.  Not just with his valve either.  The first time he was taken up the waste port was both revolting and degrading…and painful.  It had never even crossed his processor that there were bots that liked that kind of thing!  

He had also lost count on how many ‘partners’ he had been forced to take.  Admittedly that wasn’t difficult.  After all, he had no control here.  Not over when he ate.  Or when he slept or washed.  Certainly not over his choice of sex partners!  

The only saving grace was that, gradually, his customer count dropped.  Flashwing had his regulars though, such as ‘Considerate Miner’.  He had enough of those to keep him busy for some time. 

Eventually, his regulars started to stop coming as frequently.  Some, like ‘Considerate Miner’, stopped coming at all.  He almost ‘missed’ that one…as he was rather polite compared to most of his ‘customers’.  Guess he had become too ‘loose’ for him. 

“He’s losing his appeal…,” someone was saying, drawing his attention.  Flashwing had grown used to the noise beyond the glass and had learned to ignore it.  This, however, already sounded like a conversation he should pay attention to.  Sounded like the guard he had mentally dubbed ‘Blueface’. 

“Doesn’t help he’s not reacting like he did at the start,” another bot commented.  Which was this again? Oh yeah, ‘Redhands’. 

“Nah, he stopped reacting fairly quickly,” ‘Blueface’ corrected. 

That was true.  He had quickly learned that no matter how much he had begged or cried, they wouldn’t have stopped.  So why bother?  He had grown rather numb to it all, to be honest. 

“Hmm, true,” his fellow guard agreed.  “I think it’s also the appeal of fragging a traitor has faded. Those after the thrill of it had already gotten their fill.” 

Flashwing was grateful for the extended breaks because of it.  He’s gotten more recharge then he had in…scrap, he forgot. 

“I know there are a number of them that wouldn’t want to ‘dirty their spike’ on this guy anyway,” ‘Blueface’ remarked.  “Think it’s time to sell him off?” 

“Nah, I think we can squeeze more out of him before that,” ‘Redhands’ replied.  “Just need to change things up a bit…make him appealing to a different demographic.” 

Not surprising.  After all, he was nothing but a tool, a possession to abuse, over and over again.  Still, at those words Flashwing bothered to look over his shoulder at them through the glass.  Wondering just what kind of humiliation they were going to come up with next. 

“What, by ‘rewarding’ him with drugs like we do with some of the other slaves?” 

Flashwing’s optics widened.  Was that how they got Skywarp to do this kind of work so willingly? 

“Nah, the prob with the stuff we use now is that it kind of needs the coding mods to really be effective,” ‘Redhands’ countered.  “Plus, there’s the problem with our current ones developing a tolerance to the stuff.  We had to sell off one of our popular seekers due to it, remember?” 

Popular seeker…could they be talking about…. 

“Oh yeah, Skywarp,” ‘Blueface’ confirmed.  “The Prime himself bought that one if I heard right?” 

Wait…what!?  Which one!?  Flashwing prayed it was Optimus and not Sentinel.  He strained his audios, hoping to hear more details. 

“Yep, you heard right.  Rumor has it he has a whole flock of seeker slaves.” 

On the one hand, he was glad Skywarp was no longer in this place.  However, being owned by a Prime could be so much worse!  He was fairly certain Sentinel was bad news for slaves, since he started this whole slave trade thing to begin with.  Optimus…he had no idea:  he only knew about how he acted during the war to go by. 

“Lucky bastard, but then again, he is a Prime,” ‘Blueface muttered.  “So what to do with this guy….” 

“I know someone that may be able to help ‘spice’ things up with him,” ‘Redhands’ commented.  

“Oh really?  Do tell.” 

“He’s a scientist that has been experimenting with different drugs on slaves and ‘willing’ volunteers,” ‘Redhands’ elaborated with smirk.  “Surely, he has something to make this guy more exciting!” 

He didn’t like the sound of that.  As someone that majored in chemistry and biology himself, he already knew a number of compounds that had long lasting negative effects on a frame.  Some of those effects were rather crippling, if not painful.  Knowing his current ‘status’, they likely wouldn’t care if they caused such damage. 

“It will have to be cleared through the boss first,” ‘Blueface’ reminded him. 

“I know, but first I’ll talk to the guy, to see if he does have anything,” ‘Redhands’ told him.  “Be better if the guy can some here to ‘show’ rather than tell, no?” 

“Good idea!” 

The two bots left and once they were out of sight, Flashwing felt a shudder go through his frame. 

He prayed to Primus this ‘friend’ of theirs didn’t have anything they could use on him….

Chapter Text

His ‘customer’ count has really dropped.  To the point where he was getting bored.  A bot can only recharge for so long and even the most intelligent bots can run out of things to think about.  No other word about this supposed ‘friend’ of ‘Redhands’ either.  Perhaps Primus had heard his prayers? 

The door to his room opened, but Flashwing didn’t even bother to look up.  Didn’t resist as he was disconnected from the chain near his berth and taken to the hanging ones in the center of the room. 

“Got a special guest today, traitor!” the guard chuckled after securing him.  “Be interesting to see what he does with you!” 

Special guest?  Who?  Primus, he hoped it wasn’t Sentinel!  Then again, Sentinel didn’t sound like the type to use the services of a place like this.  One never knew though. 

A short time later, three bots walked in.  Two he didn’t recognize, which wasn’t surprising, but the third.... 

…was ‘Redhands’, the mech that had been talking about a special ‘friend’. 

Scrap. 

“So this is the one, eh?” one of the unfamiliar faces remarked. 

“Indeed,” the other confirmed.  “He no longer has the draw he used to.  I was getting ready to sell him off when I was told about your…services.” 

Ah, so that one must be the one in charge of this place.  Not that such knowledge would do him any good at present.  A part of him wanted to move away from this ‘scientist’, whom was drawing closer to him, but what good would that do him? 

“Thus you are hoping I can…spice things up…get a few more creds out of him before that,” the scientist asked, a smirk on his face. 

“That is correct.” 

“You are in luck!  I may have just the thing.”  The bot pulled out a syringe and a vial from his subspace.  “I recently finished…internal testing…on this formula and was hoping for the opportunity to do a field test.” 

“What does it do?” the boss asked, looking intrigued. 

“Why tell, when I can show?”  The scientist looked him over, appearing to make some mental calculations before preparing the syringe with some of whatever Pit spawned concoction was in that vial. 

Flashwing hissed, now moving away from them as far as he could, which wasn’t much.  ‘Redhands’ found this amusing. 

“That’s the most animated he’s been in joors!”  he was laughing as he moved behind him.  “Where do you intend to stick him?” 

“For this, I prefer a line in the inner thigh,” the scientist replied.  “Allows the ‘first phase’ to take effect quicker.” 

There was a noise of acknowledgement before Flashwing felt ‘Redhands’ grab one of his legs and lift it off the ground.  He immediately attempted to pull his leg out of that grip, but the bot had positioned both himself and his leg so he had no leverage.  One was foot hooked around his free one so he couldn’t kick, his aft practically sitting on the bot’s hip as a result. 

He could do nothing as the scientist approached and knelt down in front of him.  Found a line, then inserted the syringe into it….

Chapter Text

It didn’t take even a klik after the contents of the syringe was emptied into his lines that he started to feel the effects. 

Flashwing felt a rapid increase in arousal.  His array heated up.  Valve started oozing lubricant.  There was no one touching him…and he was certainly not thinking any lude thoughts.  It was all due to the drug he was given. 

And the heat was starting to spread through his whole frame. 

“I’m not seeing how this will increase his customer count,” the bordello boss commented, looking a bit disappointed. 

“Other than making it easier for customers to frag him right away,” ‘Redhands’, whom had since rejoined them, remarked. 

“Ah, a bit more patience is needed,” the scientist advised.  “Phase two should be starting to take affect now.” 

Flashwing was piecing together what this drug was.  Some kind of sexual stimulant, that much was obvious.  However, from how fast his whole frame was heating up, it appeared to be designed to simulate the heat cycle.  If he was right…that meant…. 

Oh no…. 

He panted, both due to the heat and near overwhelming arousal that was starting to flood his processor.  His logical, civilized side knew it was the drug doing this, but the primal side… 

Didn’t give a frag. 

The bots in front of him were looking really good to him right now. 

“Ugh…no…,” he whined, forcing himself to look away, closing his optics. 

What visual he didn’t see though, was replaced by the raunchy images produced by his own processor.  His body trembled as he tried to reign in his thoughts, to get control back.  Just as he thought he was starting win, he heard a click. 

Optics snapped open and they immediately landed upon the scientist’s now bare array, a rather impressive spike now on display. 

He wanted it. 

Wait…no I don’t!  Now though, even his processor was betraying him. 

Yes he did.  He very much did

He tried to look away but could not as the bot approached him once more, that spike bobbing and twitching, holding his attention like a siren song.  Was…was he starting to drool? 

“Do you want this?” He was asked. 

Flashwing so badly to say ‘no’, but by then his processor was so foggy with lust, he couldn’t think straight.  He felt his body move forward, trying to seat itself upon that spike, but the scientist was just out of reach.  A small whine of frustration escaped from his vocalizer, his valve clenching with need. 

“Now that is interesting,” someone said, he wasn’t sure who.  Didn’t matter.  “Obviously more than a simple aphrodisiac.” 

“Oh no,” the bot in front of him chuckled.  Will he get in reach already?  He needed that spike in him!  “This is designed to mimic the heat cycle, only without the risk of getting sparked.” 

“Does it last just as long?” 

“Sadly no.  Depending on the frame and the dose, this can last between one and five breems.”  The bot reached up to his face and stroked it.  Flashwing leaned into and rubbed against it, hungry for any kind of intimate touch.  “Since this is a demonstration, he will be like this for roughly a breem.” 

“And it only took about five kliks to take full effect,” someone mused.  “But how do we know he is not just acting?  His file states he is a known manipulator and actor.” 

A smirk played the bot’s face.  “Time for the next stage of the demonstration!”  He then walked over to the ‘business’ berth and lay down upon it.  Flashwing whined at the lost of touch, tried to follow him, but the chain was too short.  “Release him.” 

“Are you sure?” One of the other bot’s sounded skeptical. 

“Do it,” the other commanded.  “The collar will subdue him if he tries anything violent, remember?” 

“Of course.”  A different bot was now approaching him.  Flashwing started rubbing up against him as he detached the restraints.  Once his hands were free, he grabbed the bot and kissed him.  His hands started roaming his frame.  “Whoa…scrap….” 

“Direct him this way!” the bot on the berth chuckled. 

He almost didn’t need to.  The voice alone got Flashwing’s attention.  Upon seeing an already ready spike, he just needed a little push in that direction.  He practically ran for it, where he licked it a couple of times before climbing onto the berth fully. 

Shortly after he was riding that spike enthusiastically….

Chapter Text

Flashwing didn’t think he could have felt even more violated than he had previously.  Before, he at least he had the compacity to say no, to beg them to stop if he wanted to.  This drug they used on him…stripped him of even that!  Robbed him of what little control he had.  Made him so happy and eager to get fragged, repeatedly, until it wore off. 

Worse of all, he remembered every moment.  Not even given the blessing of ignorance from a high-grade styled blackout.  Flashwing thought he had felt filthy before.  Now…he felt like he was dragged through the thickest, foulest sludge from an industrial waste pit.  No simple shower will remove that feeling. 

It was far worse than what he had ever done to Skywarp.  Beyond simple ‘optic for an optic’. 

Flashwing whimpered as he lay curled up the best he could on his ‘resting’ berth.  Shivered when another trail of lubricant and transfluid snaked around his thigh.  They didn’t even wash him off this time, just chained him back to this wall.  The thought they weren’t done with him yet made him shudder. 

Nearby, the scientist and the boss bot were discussing the successful ‘demonstration’.  They were speaking in lowered voices, so he could only catch pieces of the conversation…. 

“…called ‘Lust’…to sell legally…more testing…,” the scientists was saying. 

“…more test subjects…allow you…slaves in our establishment,” he caught the boss bot comment. 

No…no…no…he did not wish this on anyone else! 

“…reasonable…!” The scientist looked rather excited.  “…wider testing pool…negative side effects…slaves…permanently damaged.” 

But it’s not like he had a choice in the matter if they are used as lab rats…none of them did. 

He couldn’t make out anything of what was said next, but it was obvious.  The boss bot was inviting the scientist to his office, so they could discuss the finer details of this new arrangement. 

Flashwing almost asked ‘Redhands’, whom was last to leave, if he could get a wash.  Ultimately, he kept his intake shut. 

After all, since when did they care about what he wanted?

Chapter Text

A couple of cycles later Flashwing was moved into a new room.  Two rooms, technically.  The main room was full of pillows and other comfortable furnishings.  It also had drawers and cabinets full of various lubricants, toys and restraints.  In short, it was an orgy room. 

A plus was that there was no glass-walls.  Which meant no passers-by watching his continued humiliation.  However, it was only a small comfort, as he wasn’t allowed to actually rest in the ‘comfortable’ room.  No, his berth was in what may as well have been a closet: the berth itself was the same type of thin cushion he had in the last room.  It didn’t even have a door!  There were also restraints here for his ‘rest and recovery’ time, just like the last room.  At the very least, he had more privacy than he was allowed before.  Another small comfort. 

He didn’t get to enjoy it very long, however, as a couple of guards walked in, one of them holding a syringe.  Flashwing didn’t need to guess what was in that thing. 

“No!” he cried, curling up and hissing.  Flashwing didn’t want to lose control of his processor again.  A horrifying experience he did not want repeated. 

But since when he did have a choice in the matter?  One guard grabbed him by the legs and pulled him out as far as his restraints would allow.  He then sat on one of them while lifting the other, so the other guard could inject that drug into the line on his inner thigh. 

Primus, it was already affecting him.  That tingling, hot feeling already in his array as both guards backed off, one of them leaving.  This must be a stronger dose than then the one the scientist gave him during the demonstration.  Already he felt himself start to lose control over his processor. 

He whined and grunted as he writhed, trying to resist.  If anything, it just made him lose control faster.  After only a couple more kliks, Flashwing was panting and whining, trying to reach the remaining guard.  Desperate, to be touched, to be caressed. 

To be fragged through the floor. 

Finally, the bot approached and knelt beside him.  Flashwing whimpered and start rubbing against him with his leg.  Chuckling, the bot reached down and inserted a finger into his now very wet valve.  His valve clenched around the digit as he trusted upward desperately, trying to get some friction. 

“Yep, you’re ready,” the bot commented as he reached over and undid his restraints. Flashwing tried to grab the bot, to pull him into a kiss, but he was secured by strong hands, keeping him away. 

“Please…please frag me!” he pleaded as he was directed into the main room.  “I want you!” 

“Oh don’t worry,” the bot was chuckling.  “You’ll get the fragging you want!” 

There was a click of a door opening, drawing his attention.  He squealed in excitement as five bots walked in, all looking at him in a way that made him even hotter. 

“All yours boys!” the bot holding him said, releasing him.  “Ya got just under two breems before the drug wears off.” 

There was a chorus of clicks as five modesty panels slid away and five various, but impressive, spikes pressurized.  He didn’t know which one he wanted more!  

As the guard left, the five newcomers surrounded him.  One forced him to his hands and knees and started pummeling his valve from behind.  Another lifted his head and shoved his spike into his intake.  He wasn’t sure what the other three were doing, as his attention kept switching between the spike in his valve on the one in his intake. 

Oh…he how the valve one grabbed onto his wings….it made him overload so hard….

Chapter Text

Those bots had taken him in so many ways.  From behind.  Riding on top.  Against the wall.  Even had a spike in both his valve and aft port, while sucking on a third at a couple of points. 

He had revealed in all of it. 

At least…until the drug wore off. 

Now he was filled with disgust and shame.  Somehow, he felt even lower than the deepest darkest pit.  Like he was covered with the thickest, grossest slime in existence. 

Sure, he was washed off after, but no amount of scrubbing would erase that feeling.  No amount of gargling with solvent removed the taste of spike and transfluid in his intake.  To think he so happily swallowed that stuff!  That it was sitting in his tank right now made him feel sick. 

Flashwing curled up on his thin cushion, wanting to vomit.  Then he did.  He did the best he could to ensure he didn’t any of the stuff on his berth.  This cushion may be a poor berth, but it was his berth…if he could avoid having to recharge in his own bile, he would do so.  By some miracle, he managed to get most of the resulting mess on the floor. 

Now though, the faint scent of bile now permeating his tiny space.  It was strong enough to make him retch again. 

And again, and again.  Until his tank ached and he was shaking from the exertion. 

Exhausted from both the vomiting and the orgy he was ‘technically’ forced into, he somehow slipped into recharge….

Chapter Text

At least once a cycle from that day on, he would be drugged up with ‘Lust’ and let loose in the main room.  On average there were three customers.  A couple of times there were ten or more, which required a ‘five breem dose’ of that slagging drug.  A fair number of times a brave, single spark had him all to themselves for a breem.  

In those cases, most of the time the customer ran out of ‘juice’ before the drug wore off.  Having to spend the remaining time without anyone to frag him was maddening.  Self-serving didn’t provide enough relief and it was a toss up whether the guards would help ‘finish him off’ or just watch him writhe with need. 

Either way, it was usually a relief when the drug wore off, especially if he got a wash after.  The down side was that he usually got sick afterward, especially after sessions that involved blowjobs.  Throwing up the transfluid he swallowed, usually, but sometimes energon as well.  That happened if he had a ‘session’ shortly after he received his daily energon rations.  Not exactly a good thing when he got barely enough to function normally as is. 

At the very least, he was certain this wasn’t a side effect of the drug itself.  More of a result of his own revulsion of what was done to him.  Eventually, as cycles turned to joors, he just…got used to it…and he stopped throwing up so much afterward.  There was no choice but to grow numb to it, as there was no sign of his customer count decreasing.  

Unfortunately, due to the daily consistent use of ‘Lust’, he developed a complication.  Lately, at random times and without logical reason, his array would start tingling and pulsating.  A couple of times he overloaded spontaneously during these ‘occurrences’.  

As much as he wanted the medic to check him to confirm his suspicion ‘Lust’ was the cause, he kept his mouth shut.  With the kind of place this was…they would be thrilled at the prospect of bot that was constantly aroused for no reason.  So he did his best to make it go away himself. 

The problem was that it required multiple overloads to do so.  Self-servicing, he found, was not very efficient for this, though being partly restrained was likely a factor in that.  This meant he needed those orgies to get rid of it…. 

...which meant he needed ‘Lust’ to be able to get through it. 

Primus must really hate him….

Chapter Text

It was getting worse.  That constant sense of arousal rarely went away now, no matter how many times he overloaded.  It had gotten intense enough that it was starting to disrupt his recharge cycle.  During those times he had no choice but to masturbate, hoping that one overload would make it away, at least for a little while. 

He hated self-servicing, however, as there was always the risk of someone walking in on him.  Flashwing knew getting caught in the act would just ‘affirm’ their beliefs that he was nothing but a whore.  Not that he was anything more than that to them now. 

When it finally was sated, or, very rarely, went away on it’s own, Flashwing got into the habit of not moving.  Out of fear that the slightest stimulation would start it up again.  In a futile attempt to buy himself just a bit more time of sanity. 

As this problem was starting to drive him mad…. 

Then, one day, he snapped. 

At first, Flashwing just thrashed in his little room.  Slammed himself against the wall, hoping the pain would distract him. 

It wasn’t enough. 

No, he had to cut this problem at the source. 

He looked down at his valve, that hated thing that has betrayed him.  It had to go away. 

They may have cut off his claws, but he still had some edges on his blunted fingers that should be sharp enough….

Chapter Text

It hurt. 

Hurt so much, but he didn’t stop.  The pain was nothing compared to that unwanted tingling…pulsing feeling!  He wasn’t going to stop until it was gone.  Not even the warning shocks from the collar stopped him from pursuing his goal.  Flashwing ignored that…and the occasional stabs of pain from his declawed fingers. 

He kept scraping and cutting at the mesh of his valve.  Energon coated his hands, his array, thighs and a pool of it was starting to spread and stain his berth.  It was working.  The more sensors he damaged, the less tingling he felt…the less he felt of anything down there.  He kept going, going deeper and deeper. 

There was a lot of energon now pooled between his legs now.  He still kept going. Going as deep as he could, even contorting himself so he could get his fingers in as far as they could go.  The deeper sensors took longer to deal with, but eventually he got them too. 

Finally.  Relief. 

Flashwing lay back on his berth, hands slipping down to his sides.  His valve felt swollen from the damage, but that was all he could feel from it.  No pain, no unwanted arousal.  Just blissful nothing.   

Primus…he felt so tired…drained.  It was worth it though.  For the first time in forever…he smiled.  He was happy

“Holy Primus….” 

Oh…someone came in?  Flashwing weakly turned his head to regard the bot.  The bot was staring at him, mouth agape.  The syringe full of Lust he had in his hand slipped from his fingers and clattered on the floor. 

Odd…he didn’t remember this guard being so dark. 

Wait…no…the whole room was going dark….

Chapter Text

He must have blacked out, gone into recharge, something…as when he opened his optics he realized he was in a different place.  Too big…too bright.  After a quick glance around, he spotted various medical equipment and there was an energon IV attached to one arm. 

Medical bay.  In house or did they transport him to one?  Likely in house, considering the type of business this was.  Regardless, he was strapped down to the berth. 

There was the sensation of…pulling…tugging…between his legs.  Looking that way, he saw a medic was examining his valve.  Why didn’t he feel anything there? 

Oh wait…now he remembered.  He did a bit of…self-surgery…. 

“Well?” a familiar voice asked.  Flashwing looked to see the bordello boss standing close by, arms folded across his chest. 

“I must say, I am impressed…,” the medic replied, straightening up.  “The slagger somehow completely shredded his valve, destroying all the sensors.  The valve component will require complete replacement if he is to ever have sensation again.” 

That was great news!  No chance of that slagging feeling coming back!  Beside himself, he started grinning. 

The boss looked livid.  “How was he allowed to do this?  The collar should have stopped him from hurting himself!” 

“It according to the collar’s logs…it did administer warning shocks,” the medic replied. 

“It should have been a full shock!” 

At this the medic shrugged.  “It’s possible it got his actions confused with normal self-pleasure.” 

He felt so happy he started to giggle. This resulted in both bots looking at him with annoyed expressions. 

“What is so funny, slave?” the boss demanded. 

“I did it…It’s gone…,” Flashwing replied.  “That constant tingling…pulsing feeling is gone!”  He giggled a bit more, thoroughly pleased with himself. 

“What the frag is he talking about?” the boss asked. 

The medic was quiet for a moment.  “You were constantly aroused?” he asked. 

“Yes!” Flashwing cried, a bit of distress slipping into his tone.  “Rarely went away, no matter how many overloads I had!  When it did go away…it always came back!“  He whimpered.  “It…it was driving me mad….” 

Realization lit up in the medic’s optics.  “Persistent Array Arousal Disorder.” 

“Pfft…,” the boss scoffed.  “Sounds like something that would have been useful here.  Side effect of the Lust?” 

“A good possibility.  I’ll let our supplier know.  What did you want to do with him in the meantime?” 

The boss stared at him for a long time before sighing.  “With his valve wrecked he is useless to us.  Send him back to the Pound.” 

Flashwing stiffened a bit at those words.  He was fairly certain a couple of guards over there wouldn’t care if his valve was wrecked or not.  

“Weren’t you going to sell him to the sadism bots after we were done with him?” 

At this the bot smirked.  “You have a point…and since he seems to enjoy pain he should do well there.  I’ll give them a call….” 

Oh no.  Flashwing squirmed in his restraints, his feeling of happiness disappearing like pests when the light turns on.  Yes, he admittedly developed a slight masochist fetish a very long time ago, but he was no sadist

However, like always in this new world, he had no say….

Chapter Text

He had hoped the other place wasn’t still interested in him.  Unfortunately, they very much were.  A couple of cycles later, he was transferred to his new ‘home’. 

The presence of this place was very different from the bordello.  His previous ‘home’ had a constant feeling of lust and sex.  This place…pure pain and misery.  The occasional scream he heard only reinforced it. 

“From what we were told, this one shredded his own valve,” one of the guards commented.  “That’s going to lower the appeal….” 

“Pfft, with this guy’s rep, many will get off just beating him,” the other guard countered, then he added with a smirk. “’Sides, he still has his port, no?” 

Flashwing’s optics widened at this.  He really hoped no one would do so.  It had always been painful when he was taken there back at the bordello…. 

“Hmm, you have a point!” the first guard was laughing as they entered the area where the holding cells were located. 

It reeked of energon and other fluids.  From what little he could see inside the cells, the bots inside looked miserable.  Many looked like they had been whipped and beaten so many times they barely had any paint left.  Most cells, from what he could see, had more than one bot in it. 

Eventually, he was shoved into one of those cells and locked in. 

Sighing, he gave his new ‘room’ a quick look over.  There were dried pools of energon, oil and other fluids on the floor.  Some even on the walls.  No berth, just a cold, dirty floor to recharge on. 

He was already preferring the bordello…frag…he’d prefer the Pound over this. 

Flashwing jumped when a deep chuckle echoed through the small room, followed by a staticky voice…. 

“Oh…it’s you….

Chapter Text

Flashwing turned to see a pathetic looking mech huddled in the corner that he somehow hadn’t noticed before.  They were looking at him with but a single red optic, the other damaged beyond repair, with a mix of hate and glee.  From the grin on their face, the bot had lost his processor. 

“How ironic you wind up in a place like this,” the mech cooed, chuckling a bit more. 

“Do I know you?”  Flashwing queried, squinting at him.  This mech was so badly scarred up it was pretty much impossible to identify him. 

“You….”  He was pointing a shaky finger at him, his expression changing from amusement to anger.  “You started this time of pain for me!” 

Flashwing tilted his head in confusion.  Was he one of the Con’s he had interrogated during the war? 

“You and your Pit spawned ‘Screaming Pain’!”  The bot was shakily rising to his feet now. 

Yep, had to be someone he had interrogated if he knew about that.  Couldn’t remember who this guy could be though:  he had interrogated so many back then…. 

“I told you I knew nothing!”  the bot screamed, taking a step toward him.  Flashwing took a subconscious step back.  “But you didn’t believe me!” 

“Of course not,” Flashwing replied with a sneer.  “You are a Decepticon…you deceive.” 

The mech’s face was now twisted in fury.  “It was not my fault our cause was twisted!  That blasted Megatron-“  He stopped short, his remaining optic now fixated on a spot on his chest.  As the bot then descended into a fit of maniacal laughter, Flashwing realized he was looking at the brand.  “Oh!  That explains it!  You’re one of them!”  He broke into a coughing fit. 

Great…of all roommates he had to be put in with, it had to not only be one he once interrogated, but one that knew about his tribe.  “I didn’t agree with everything they did,” Flashwing muttered defensively, one hand moving up to cover the symbol. 

“Like I care!” the mech growled, his voice sounding even raspier.  “After all, you didn’t care if I didn’t agree with everything my faction did!  No….”  He stepped closer.  Flashwing couldn’t back up any further due to the wall now against his back.  “No, your kind was worse…wanting to processor wash everyone into your way of thinking and living!  You were worse than the Old Senate and their caste system!” 

He had no counter to that.  It was true.  His tribe believed it was the best way to unify their species, to stop the endless conflicts of the time.  If only the mad chief hadn’t struck that deal with the Quintessons…decided to try to defend them when the rebellion started.  Perhaps…his people would have changed their ways, so he wouldn’t be alone.  And he wouldn’t be stuck in this cycle of pain and humiliation. 

“You will get what is coming to you.”  He started to laugh again.  “You probably have a line out the door of bots waiting to crack a whip against those lovely wings of yours!  Pity I won’t get to watch your writhe and beg for mercy!”  He went into a harder coughing fit, this time flecks of energon started spattering on the floor and his frame. 

That wasn’t a good sign. 

“You need to calm down,” Flashwing told him.  “Your intake systems….” 

“Like you care!” the bot snapped, a bit of energon now dribbling down the corner of his mouth.  Flashwing could see his whole frame was trembling.  He was on his last legs.  “If I deactivate…I’ll do so smiling, as I will know that you will suffer as I did!” 

The coughing fit that followed forced him to sit down.  Flashwing could only watch helplessly as he continued to cough, energon coming out thicker now.  It was starting to pool on the floor. 

He needed a medic, but do they even care in this place?  Frag, why did he care?  This mech certainly didn’t care if he perished here or not.  If their positions were switched, he had little doubt this mech wouldn’t even bother trying to help him. 

But should that really be the road he followed?  To continue to follow?

Chapter Text

His roommate was still coughing when the guards came and took him for his first ‘session’.  He was taken into a room which reeked heavily of spilt energon, oil and ozone.  There, his arms were secured by wires hanging from the ceiling, spreading them out.  Knowing what was coming, Flashwing folded his wings together, partly out of fear, mostly to try to protect them. 

“Oh no you don’t,” one of the guards growled.  His collar was set off, making him shriek and briefly go limp.  This allowed them to easily spread his wings apart and secure them in place with more wires.  Unfortunately, the curved spikes on the tips of his wings gave them very easy secure points for that purpose. 

The guards left then, but not before one of them unlocked and opened a large cabinet that was against the wall in front of him.  Inside, Flashwing would see many different tools of torture.  Many he was familiar with using himself, once.  Now they were going to be used on him…. 

After a klik the door behind him opened.  Flashwing tensed as his ‘customer’ circled around him, inspecting his new ‘toy’.  “Hmm, not as broad winged as the one I used to play with,” he commented as he retrieved one of the whips from the cabinet.  The one that had barbed hooks as well as an electric charge.  “So, I may have to be more precise with my strikes…or not.” The mech chuckled.  “Either way…you are going to scream for me…traitor.” 

The bot turned the whip on and moved behind him, the crackling noise filling his audios. Nanos later, the first of many lashes hit his wings…. 

…and he screamed.

Chapter Text

His wings…they felt like they were shredded to pieces.  Flashwing hadn’t wanted to look back to confirm this as he was led, shaking and leaking, back to his cell.  Only once back inside did he carefully reach back to feel for them. 

He felt both relief and horror.  They were still there, but the once smooth surface was mired by wounds.  In such a dirty, filthy place such as this, the chances of those wounds getting infected was high.  Wing rot was high on the probability list as well. 

Flashwing carefully sat down, wincing from the few other wounds that affected his aft and back.  Carefully positioning himself so those wounds did not have contact with the walls or floor.  Not easy, considering the location of a couple of them.  He knew eventually it would be impossible to avoid contamination, if it wasn’t already.  After all, it was doubtful they cleaned those tools between sessions. 

He looked over at his roommate, a bit surprised he hadn’t made any comments.  His optics widened with a bit of concern to see the mech slumped over.  Only the faintest of whirling form his intake fans indicated he was even still alive. 

The bot could just be recharging.  But…from how he sounded earlier?  He worried this could be his last rest. 

Why should I care?  Flashwing stared at the bot, listening to the fans.  They sounded steady, at least. 

For so much of his life, he was told care about ‘tribe first’, then himself.  Non-tribe members were only cared about if they could bring a benefit to the tribe or himself.  This bot had no benefit to bring to him.  Dead bots were dumped into the canyon that bordered their camps. 

His roommate was a dead mech walking.  It was only a matter of time before his systems completely shut down.  It may even happen today, as he watched. 

But why did he feel bad about this?  Why did he feel pity?  Sad that this mech, that he didn’t really know, that he had dwelt pain to himself, had to die in a place like this? 

What was wrong with him?

Chapter Text

Somehow, despite the pain.  Despite the mental turmoil he was in, Flashwing had gone into recharge.  It was not a peaceful recharge, however.  His dreams were a mix of his past and representations of his own fears and doubts. 

A buzzing, rattling sound woke him from his fitful recharge.  At first, he was annoyed:  who or what could be making so much racket at a time like this?  It took a few nanos for his optics to boot up and adjust, but when he saw the source, his expression turned into concern. 

It was his roommate. 

The bot was on his back, his intake fans sputtering and grinding from effort.  Flashwing quietly crept closer and put cautiously placed a hand on the mech’s chassis.  He drew it back quickly. 

He was hot.  Way too hot.  That and the noise meant his cooling systems were failing.  This mech was going to die, if something wasn’t done quickly. 

But what can he do?  Call for the guards?  Would they even care?  If he did nothing, this bot’s death would be on his hands. 

Wouldn’t it?  He could see them blaming him for this mech’s demise.  After all, he was a filthy traitor that cared for no one but himself. 

No.  He was done with being blamed, punished for something he didn’t do.  The kidnapping and rape of Skywarp he rightly bore the blame for…as was attempting to strike a deal with the Cons during the War.  But he had no part in defending the Quintessons. 

And he wanted no part in being blamed for this bot’s death. 

“Guards!” he cried as he ran for the door, gripping the bars.  “I need a medic!” 

A snorting laugh was heard down the hall.  “No medic for you, traitor,” someone said. 

“Not for me you fool!”  Flashwing snapped.  “He’s overheating!”  Frag, he wished he remembered his name…. 

There was a distant scrapping sound, accompanied by an annoyed groan.  “This better not be some ploy of yours!”  A few nanos’ passed as the guard came closer.  “What the frag is that sound?” 

“That is the sound of someone’s intake system about to cease functioning!”  Flashwing growled as the guard reached their cell. 

The guard studied the downed bot for a few nanos, before keying his comms.  “Get the medic here, one of our assets sounds like it’s about to go kaput.”  

A short time later, they took the bot away, leaving Flaswhing alone. 

And wondering if he did the right thing.

Chapter Text

His roommate wasn’t brought back after they had taken him away that night.  Flashwing didn’t know if it was because the bot died, or if was considered too fragged up to continue ‘working’ here.  Regardless, he was alone in this cell. 

Odd, he found he missed the company.  While the bot hadn’t been friendly toward him, he hadn’t abused him physically like the staff…or the customers.  Though perhaps he would have if had the ability to. 

No one liked him after all.  Not only due to what had actually done, but his associations.  Even if this barbaric slave trade was abolished, he would likely be stuck in prison for the rest of his functioning.  Or exiled.  Maybe executed.  He wasn’t sure what outcome would be better.  Maybe death…as at least he wouldn’t have to suffer the rest of his life alone and hated.  Perhaps, eventually, Primus would see fit to have him reborn in some way, to try again. 

If his spark wasn’t sent straight to Unicron instead. 

That would just be his luck.

Chapter Text

His wings were no longer yellow, silver and black.  Just…grey, with a few scattered patches of those colors between wounds and the few scars that had managed to form so far.  They constantly hurt and moving them at all brought him fresh waves of agony.  The pain never seemed to fade completely. 

No one cared. 

He heard the caretakers offering medical supplies to the other slaves.  Flashwing had hoped he would be offered as well.  He never was…and when he asked, he was flat out refused. 

He was left to suffer. 

Then one day things escalated to a new level. 

His customer today was a slender femme.  She had him kneeling in front of a table, his arms and hands strapped down on top of it.  His fingers were even strapped down to keep them from curling.  The femme was inspecting them with interest. 

“Declawed, eh?” she asked.  “Did it hurt?”  When he didn’t answer fast enough she shocked him with a prod. 

“Yes!” Flashwing gasped once he was able. 

“How much?” 

“Like the Pit….”  He almost admitted that he passed out during the procedure.  Frag, he may have said too much as is. 

“Hmm.”  She was staring at his hands, a smirk forming on her face.  “Looks like they cut too much off on some of them…must still hurt.” 

They did.  It was something he learned to live with at the bordello.  He wasn’t about to confirm her observation, however. 

It wouldn’t matter.  The femme started zapping each finger with the prod, gauging his response.  Despite his efforts, he could not prevent himself from reacting more intensely to the still painful ones.  At this, her smirk became a broad grin. 

“Let’s see how much you can take before you pass out,” she purred as she picked up a hammer. 

He did indeed pass out eventually, after she had gone from tapping to full smashing.  Another time he would be proud of his pain threshold, but in this case, it was a curse. 

When he had come too, he was back in his cell.  By some miracle, his hands still worked, but he nearly passed out again when he flexed his fingers.  This made grabbing hold of his daily ration of energon very difficult.  By some miracle he didn’t spill too much of it. 

A part of him considered refusing the energon.  Let himself starve to deactivation.  Yet another part of him guessed they wouldn’t allow him to go that easily.  Likely force feed him, so they can make him suffer even more. 

The ultimate freedom would be denied to him.

Chapter Text

It was no longer about pleasure.  He was getting bots now that used him to vent their frustrations.  Using him as a proxy to act out revenge on Cons that took away friends and lovers during the war.  

His wings were twisted.  Limbs dislocated, sometimes broken.  It was a miracle he could still move at all after some sessions.  At least the medic would see him after those, if only to pop his limbs back into place, set the broken struts and stop any life-threatening leaks.  After those, he was only given to customers that wanted to whip or shock him for a few cycles, to ensure the broken struts had some chance to heal.  Some rebroke anyway…and they seemed to hurt even more the second…third…time around. 

Today he had a repeat customer.  Last time, the mech had left after trying out everything the room offered on him but wasn’t satisfied.  From the smirk on his face today, the bot had an idea. 

“Got something special for you taday, traitor,” the mech purred as he pulled out a bottle from his subspace.  Said bottle had its label defaced. “Had ta sneak it in, as I doubt they would let me in if they knew I had it.”  He held it up in front of his face.  “Bet a stupid seeker like you don’t know what this is.” 

That’s what he thought.  Flashwing had majored in both chemistry and biology, thus was already piecing together what it could be. 

Considering the type of place he was in, it wasn’t something harmless.  While the bottle was mostly opaque, it was translucent enough for him to see that the liquid within was colorless.  The bottle was clearly not made of metal or glass either, so that left it being likely made with a type of plastic.  That really narrowed it down.  The remaining clue was the bot’s own comment on ‘sneaking it in’.  That told him it was not only likely very dangerous, but rather common. 

He got confirmation when the mech took off the lid and he got a whiff of the fumes. 

“Guards!” Flashwing screamed, his optics wide.  “He’s got hydrofluoric acid!” 

The bot looked at him stunned, shocked that he was able to identify it.  What surprised Flashwing was that the guards actually reacted.  Granted, the guards likely didn’t know what hydrofluoric acid was, other then it was an acid.  It was enough. 

They burst into the room and grabbed the bot.  Thankfully, the bottle wasn’t even half-full, so it wasn’t being spilled everywhere from the ensuing struggle. 

“No!” the bot cried as the guards both fought to get the bottle out of his and drag him out of the room.  “He deserves this!”  The struggle was behind him now, the guards nearly had him out the door. 

Then he felt something wet hit his right primary wing.  The bastard must have managed to throw some of it on him and the pain seemed to crawl as the acid ate through the mesh of his wing, destroying the tactical sensors as it went.  Flashwing cried in pain, fighting to stay conscious.  There was no guarantee the staff of this place would know how to neutralize the acid…. 

“Scrap, it’s on him…,” he heard a guard groan.  “How do we….” 

“Water!”  Flashwing cried through clenched denta.  “Rinse the affected area with lots of water for five kliks to dilute the potency!  After that, your medic better have calcium gluconate or carbonate to neutralize of the rest!” 

Fortunately for him, they had plenty of water and the medic did have a source of calcium to fully neutralize the acid still in his wounds.  Unfortunately, the damage to his wing was extensive enough that it couldn’t be repaired.  All the medic could…would…do, was to amputate it down just past the point of damage.  It left him with only roughly a third of his right primary wing…resulting him in being unbalanced. 

They didn’t care:  they just shoved him back into his cell.  To await his next customer.

Chapter Text

Today a customer stopped his torture short for some reason.  Apparently, he saw something on a wing that freaked him out and refused to touch him further.  It meant he got to see the medic again, not that he did much for him. 

“Hmm…looks like wing rot,” the medic muttered after a quick exam. 

Flashwing wasn’t surprised.  Between his treatment and the overall conditions here, it would have been only a matter of time.  It was actually more surprising it took this long for something like this to set in. 

“Wing Rot?”  One of the guards echoed. “Is that like Mesh Rot?” 

“In that it causes decay of the frame, yes.  But the similarities end there,” the medic grumbled.  “It’s not contagious, but it has no cure, only the removal of affected area will prevent it’s spread.” 

“His appeal will drop if we remove his last major wing,” the guard pointed out. 

“If it is not, the Rot will eventually spread to his torso and kill him,” the medic countered.  “Dead slaves have no appeal.” 

And so, his last major wing was amputated, rendering him completely flightless.  Not that he could fly with only one wing to begin with.  Or that he would ever be allowed to fly in this cruel world, for that matter.  Flashwing had forgotten how the wind felt blowing over his chassis. 

Frag…he had forgotten what the sky looked like.

Chapter Text

Flashwing could no longer eat properly. 

A couple cycles ago, a customer had punched him in the face so hard that it not only cracked his right optic but fractured his jaw.  It was a bad break as well, which normally would have required surgery to fix.  However, the medic just welded the pieces back together half-afted, which quickly failed after his next customer.  Now his jaw hung down limply and off to one side.  

On top of that, his hands were nearly useless due to repeated ‘focused’ attention by certain customers.  He could no longer reliably hold the energon cube without spilling it.  Before, he could at least get it up to his mouth and use his mouth to stabilize it so he could drink.  Now…with a broken jaw, that was impossible. 

He was forced to put it on the floor…and lap it up with his glossa like an animal. 

The first time, the caretaker laughed at him long and hard, only adding to his humiliation.  He was sure the mech was taking pictures to share with the rest of the staff on top of it.  Probably end up on the datanet to be shared worldwide…. 

Every feeding session after that, he usually had two or more guards watching…and laughing…along with the caretaker. 

Why…why did he let himself keep going?  Why did he keep fighting to live? 

Is this all there was to his life?  Is this his sole purpose? 

Was there any mercy…any pity…left in this world?

Chapter Text

His body finally hit it’s limit. 

Flashwing didn’t have the strength, nor energy, to move anymore.  Between all the beatings and insufficient energon intake due to his broken jaw, his body couldn’t keep up.  His owners recognized this, but instead of fixing him up fully, they just sent him back to the Pound. 

There, they decided upon a cruel game.  They would fill his tank with energon but give him no more afterward.  It meant that if no one decided to buy him, they would allow him to starve to death.  His last meal.  It wasn’t long before he overhead the guards placing bets on how long he’d last. 

In a way, he was relieved: he finally had a chance to catch a break.  After all that he had been put through, the Pit of Unicron would be a vacation.  All he had to do was wait for the end.  Starvation wasn’t the best kind of death to wish for, but at least it was death. 

Yes, he was still in terrible pain, but now he knew it would soon go away.  All he had to do was be as unattractive to potential buyers as possible.  As messed up and weak as he was, that wasn’t difficult, as the potential buyers he caught glimpses of wanted bots that were in better functioning shape.  He certainly didn’t fit that bill. 

So he lay on the floor of his cell, in too much pain to move, but not wanting to either.  Patiently waiting for his time to run out. 

Regrets…he had many.  He understood now the pain and terror he put Skywarp through, having suffered it himself.  Understood why his tribe was so reviled and hated.  They had deserved to get wiped out.

Now if only he had realized this eons…Eras…sooner.  He wondered what his life would have been like.  Perhaps he would have found his calling as a medical scientist as Flatwheel had said.  

What a missed opportunity. 

Forgive me…. 

He vented a sigh.  From how his body felt, he was certain he only had a cycle or two left.  Just a bit longer…. 

“What about this one?”  a soft-spoken voice asked.  Couldn’t be for him, surely.  Please let it not be for him. 

“That one?”  Oh, sounded like ‘Scarface’.  Flashwing wondered if those scratches he gave him healed properly, but he didn’t bother to try to look.  “Not sure what you’d want him for.  He’s pretty much a dead mech.  Fact, we got a pool going on how much longer he lasts.  Got a hundred on that he kicks it tomorrow.” 

Oh no…

“His designation?” the stranger asked, curiosity in his tone. 

‘Scarface’ scoffed.  “Mechs like him don’t deserve their designations.  Not with what him and his kind did and tried to do.  If ya really must know though, it’s Flashwing.” 

The stranger was making a thoughtful noise.  “The traitor, eh?” 

“So, you know about him?” 

“Who hasn’t by now?” 

“Point.” A brief pause.  “Still think you’d be better off with one of the other’s on offer.  He’s so messed up he’d probably offline before you get him home.” 

“Actually, he would be perfect for my needs,” the other bot replied, his tone distressingly even.  “As for getting him home, I’m sure if I paid a bit extra your medic would ensue he would at least make into my lab.” 

No please….  With some effort, Flashwing lifted his head up to look at his potential buyer.  As weak as he was, his vision was blurry.  All he could make out was a med-sized bot, pale-yellow and blue in color.  As for frame type, all he was certain of was that this bot was not a seeker. 

“Seriously?” ‘Scarface scoffed.  “A lot of the boys will be disappointed, ya know?  However, we are not about to turn down an offer, even if we doubt you’ll get your creds worth outta him.” 

“Some things have a value that is uncountable in creds,” the other mech commented, shrugging. 

“Bah, whatever.  I’ll take ya to the Boss to discuss his price.” 

As the two bots left, Flashwing choked a sob in despair.  He banged his head against the floor, tears rimming his optics.  It was too much to ask for that whatever this bot planned for him would give him the death he badly wanted.  That he mentioned a lab, meant he was in for being experimented on.  That these Autobot’s didn’t do Shockwave level of unethical experimentation was too much to ask for in this day and age. 

If he wasn’t so weak, he would find some way to kill himself here and now. 

How much longer must he suffer?  From how things were, it seemed not even Unicron wanted his spark. 

All of existence clearly hated him. 

And no number of ‘I’m sorry’ would be enough to change that.

Chapter Text

Fate had cursed him.  He was bought and the Pound Medic gave him enough energon to survive the journey.  Doomed to suffer even more.  Even with the additional energon, Flashwing could barely move as he was carried into his new ‘home’.  If not due to the lack of energy, but because of the pain and how fragged up his body was. 

The smell confirmed it was indeed some kind of laboratory he was taken into.  He could smell the various chemicals for both medical and general chemistry.  His audios picked up the hums, clicks and beeps of various equipment. 

What sort of torture was he in for here? 

“Rustshift,” his new owner called out.  “I need a table, please.” 

“You’re gonna make a mess, aren’t you, Berylstar?”  a rough sounding mech commented.  Flashwing attempted to see who the second mech was, but he was looking primarily out of his damaged right optic.  All he could see was a fuzzy mass of…reddish brown and electric blue? 

There was a bit of a pause.  Flashwing turned his attention back to his new owner.  At least at this distance, he could make out what frame type he was.  He was a flyer, helo type and from what details he caught, his rotors were split and arranged in a way that resembled duel shoulder capes. 

The mech was looking down at him, golden optics narrowed in thought. 

“Depends on what I find,” Berylstar finally replied, looking up.  “I’ll make it up to you, either way.” 

“Of course,” Rustshift remarked, his tone one of understanding. 

There was the sound of someone transforming.  Nano’s later, Flashwing felt himself being laid upon a surprisingly warm surface.  Berylstar then started attaching various leads to him, including an energon IV. 

“’ese…,” Flashiwng begged, struggling to speak.  “’eh ‘e I…I’e ‘uffered euff….” 

He was expecting him to say that he hadn’t suffered enough.  That death was too good for him.  Surprisingly, Berylstar had an expression of sympathy.  Briefly.  Then it was replaced by one of determination. 

“I am sorry,” Berylstar commented as he felt a jack being slipped into his medical port.  “I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to die just yet….” 

Flashwing vented a shuttering sigh, tears leaking from his optics.  He felt the familiar sensation of being put into medical stasis starting to take hold. 

Perhaps…despite Berylstar’s words…he will never come out of it….

Chapter Text

Flashwing stirred, a fog slowly dissipating from his senses.  The first thing he noticed was a lack of pain. There also was a sensation something soft all around him, soft and warm.  Whatever it was, it was thick enough to nearly fool him into thinking he was floating, but he could faintly feel a hard surface underneath.

This…didn’t seem right.  No one gave him such comfort before, at least not freely .  The last time he had to such a thing was in the early days of the more intimate period of his relationship with Skywarp.  Before he frightened the other seeker off with his possessiveness and ideology back then.

How he wished he could go back and slap himself in the face.  No meant no. Skywarp had every right to refuse him and cut off ties….

So, was he dead?  In some kind of limbo?  He didn’t think the afterlife would feel so comfortable after what he had done and been through.

As his systems finished booting up, he noticed there was something wrong with his body.

He couldn’t move his jaw at all.  Yes, it was broken, but before he was able to move it somewhat .  He reached up to feel it…

…only to find out he had no hands.

With a cry of alarm, he sat up in shock.  When he did so, he discovered a few more things.

One, he had been loosely wrapped in a thick, soft micro-mesh blanket.  Second, his damaged optic was apparently fixed. Lastly, he suddenly felt very exposed and bare.  He quickly discovered why….

All his armor plating was gone.

Chapter Text

Flashwing was naked.  His sensitive protoform exposed for all to oogle over and he lacked the hands to cover his bared array with.  What sort of sick twisted game did his new owner have in store for him? He really didn’t want to find out.

Quivering, both due to anxiety and from the slight chill, Flashwing glanced around the room, taking in his new surroundings fully.  Wondering what other horrors were in store for him. He was in what appeared to be a normal guestroom, though it didn’t have much in the way of furniture aside from the berth.  There were two doors: one he knew had to lead to the rest of the residence…lab…wherever he was. The other…a washroom perhaps?

This confused him.

On the one hand, he was in a normal room, on a comfortable berth.  He was in no pain and his optic was fixed. Yet on the other, he was missing his hands and armor plating.  Plus, he couldn’t move his jaw at all.

Conflicting details on how he understood this world to work now.

Cautiously and carefully, he got to his feet, feeling a bit chilled without his armor.  Since he currently lacked hands, he couldn’t easily keep that blanket on him. Not that he wasn’t used to being a bit cold these days.  The cells of the Pound and the sadist place weren’t exactly kept at a comfortable temperature.

He approached one door and attempted to open it.  Considering there wasn’t even the slightest of movement from it, he safely assumed it was locked.  He felt…relieved. It was another detail that aligned with the ‘norms’ of this cruel world he now lived in.  However, it still didn’t resolve the other oddities….

Flashwing moved to the other door, jumping slightly when it automatically opened, revealing a washroom.  With some hesitation, he walked in, half expecting the shock collar to go off for passing a forbidden threshold.  When no shock came, he took the opportunity to check himself in the washroom mirror.

He looked surprisingly better than what he thought he would.  Though, perhaps that was only because his armor was missing. He could see some fresh welds on a few spots on his protoform and, to his distress, he noticed that his wings were missing completely now.  Even his minor ones were removed. With all of his armor and wings gone, the only real signs of his previous treatment were on his head.

There had been a large crack that had passed over his right optic, which was now sealed by a weld.  His jaw and part of his head was covered by a brace, which completely immobilized said jaw. Sticking out of his intake was a feeding tube.  Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, that fragging shock collar was still around his neck.

More conflicting details.  It certainly didn’t sound like repairing him was his new owner’s intent when he bought him!  Though he supposed some repairs to ensure he was useful were in order.  But just what did his owner want with him?

Then he heard the other door open….

Chapter Text

He was trapped.  Well, OK, he would still be trapped if he was in the other room but he at least he would have had more room to try to avoid whatever what was in store for him.  But no, as luck would have it, his new owner decided to check on him when he was in the much smaller washroom. All he could do was back into the washrack stall and await the evitable.  Sure enough, the washroom door opened, but it wasn’t the helo frame, Berylstar if he recalled correctly, that bought him.

Instead, it was a rust and electric blue colored bot.  However, he couldn’t tell what frame type he was. He had lots of kibble, but it seemed random and none of it pointed at any single frame type.

“Thought I heard you moving about,” the bot stated.  From the voice, this had to be the other bot he somewhat saw when he was first brought ‘home’.  The mech appeared to be checking some internal calculations. “Hmm…it would appear my prediction on how fast you would come out of stasis was the correct one.  He owes me ten creds.” The odd bot looked amused.

So they were taking bets on how soon my new form of torture will start.  These Autobot’s were sick!

“In case you didn’t hear before, I’m Rustshift,” the mech informed him, placing a hand on his chest.  “Berylstar’s assistant.”

An assistant of pain….  He pressed himself as far into the corner of the washrack as he could.

Rustshift was frowning.  “I don’t know what was done to you by your previous owners, but I can assure you that you won’t have the same treatment here.”

Oh I’m sure.  I already know you plan on doing experiments on me!  He wanted no part of it…hasn’t he suffered enough?  Tears of fear and despair started to rim his optics.  “’eve ‘e ah’own!’” he managed to cry through the feeding tube.

Rustshift looked a bit taken back, uncertain on how to respond.  “It’s OK,“ he began, stepping closer and reaching toward him. “We won’t-“

He saw an opening and he took it.  With a distressed cry, Flashwing bolted, managing to slip pass the bot.  He made it out of the washroom, then dashed for the exit. It was locked of course, how foolish of him to assume they would be so reckless.

“Hey…c-calm down!”  Rustshift was calling after him.  Looking back, he could see the bot approaching him again, one hand up.

Flashwing hissed, both in warning and distress.  Would have rattled his wings if he had any. Then he bolted pass him again, looking for a place to hide.

The berth.  It looked like there was just enough clearance.  He scrambled underneath it, thankful that he had no wings right now.  Flashwing went in as far as he could, pressing himself against the far wall.

It was a foolish and pointless act, the logical part of his processor told him.  After all, Rustshift could just move the bed to get to him. He didn’t care though, as, for however brief the moment, he felt safe.  With no sense of pride and dignity left after all he had been through, he started to sob….

Chapter Text

Flashwing woke up some time later, having cried himself into recharge.  Oddly, he was in the same place as he was before:  under the berth.  The berth hadn’t been moved, nor had he been dragged out.  He was just left where he was.  Flashiwng couldn’t hear anyone else in the room, but he did see a couple of cubes of energon on the floor 

Two cubes?  He was never given more than one before.  Warily, he crawled out from under the berth, looking and listening for signs of either of his owners.  Confirming he was alone, he took the chance to inspect the cubes.  Both cubes had protrusions that looked like they would enable him to pick them up despite lacking hands.  They were both open as well.  How considerate. 

And suspicious. 

Flashwing scrutinized the contents of the cubes themselves.  From the color it looked like medical-grade, which made sense considering how mal-nourished he likely was.  He could see flecks of various minerals floating with-in them.  Supplements perhaps…. 

…Or sedatives. 

He glanced at the door:  he could almost see either of them waiting just outside.  Waiting for him to take the bait.  Idiots, he was no fool!  If his last stint at the Pound was any indication, he can last a while on low fuel. 

They can take these clearly laced cubes and shove them up their afts!

Chapter Text

Flashwing’s his tank ached with hunger, but he easily ignored it.  After being half-starved for Primus knows how long, this was nothing new.  No matter how much his tank rumbled and complained, he was not going to consume that energon.  Instead, he just sat on the floor, leaning against the berth, staring at the two cubes in contempt. 

Futile effort, he knew.  Once he got too weak to move again they’ll just force feed him anyway, so they can do their experiments.  However, the longer he can delay that fate, the better.  He was rather enjoying not being raped or beaten on regular basis, even if he was bored.  Boredom was preferable over torture.  He did manage to manipulate the blanket so it was over him, keeping away some of the chill. 

Eventually, the door opened.  Flashwing tensed as he looked up, seeing it was Rustshift again.  He was carrying a couple more cubes. 

“Oh, you didn’t drink what I left you before?” he asked, sounding surprised.  “Surely you are hungry….” 

Flashwing scowled at him, then pushed both cubes further away from himself in a show of defiance. 

Rustshift was sighing in exasperation. “Come on now, you need the energon…and the supplements we put in it.” 

He snorted and folded his arms. 

“Ugh…you are acting like a sparkling,” Rustshift groaned as set the two fresh cubes down in front of him.  “I thought you were more cultured than that, Flashwing.” 

He blinked in surprise.  No one had referred to him by his designation since this hell started, save for when Berylstar asked the guard for it.  This was a trick, an attempt to soften him up, gain his trust so they could break it horribly.  He was sure of it.  So, he hissed lowly in response. 

Rustshift was sighing, rubbing his face as he sat down on the floor in front of him.  Once more he seemed uncertain on how to respond.  Then, after a klik, he seemed to get an idea.   “Ah, perhaps you would be more comfortable with one of your own?” he asked. 

Flashwing raised an optic ridge.  As far as he knew, all seekers were enslaved due to their allegiance to the Decepticons.  Did this mean they had another slave?  A seeker one perhaps? 

Then the plates on the mech started shifting and moving.  Flashwing’s optics widened as Rustshift’s kibble and overall frame became less random and more refined.  Within nanos, Rustshift was a seeker frame, though he still had his original color scheme. 

Now Flashwing knew why he couldn’t identify his frame type.  This bot was a shifter!  A Cybertronian that could mimic any bot in both appearance and voice.  If he seriously thought that would earn him trust points…. 

“Better?” the mech was asking. 

In response, Flashwing let out a muffled snarl of disgust before crawling back under the berth. 

“Guess not….”  He heard the mech mutter, sighing with disappointment. 

From his viewpoint, he saw shifter pick up the two older cubes and start walking out. 

“Please refuel,” he was saying, his tone almost pleading.  “We’d rather not have to resort to force feeding you….” 

Flashwing just glared in his general direction.

Chapter Text

Flashwing opted to just stay under the berth for now on.  Two more ‘feeding cycles’ came and went, Rustshift both times tried to talk him out from underneath.  He ignored him completely. 

It was puzzling on why the shifter didn’t just move the berth to get to him.  Nor did he once attempt to reach under and drag him out.  The berth wasn’t secured to the floor or wall, nor was it so large that he couldn’t be reached. 

Puzzling, but he didn’t let it lower his guard.  For all he knew this was all part of the game.  A game he wanted no part of.  So he stubbornly remained where he was, his energon levels getting dangerously close to critical.  A cycle, at most, before he’ll be force fed… 

…and he intended to enjoy every nano of pain free existence before then. 

He heard the door open and this time he saw two pairs of feet walk in.  Looked like Berylstar finally decided to join in on the effort to get him to play their game.  Flashwing tensed, waiting to see if they would actually do anything this time aside from talk.  For a brief moment, he saw Rustshift’s face as he knelt down to check his location. 

“Yep, still under the berth,” the shifter grumbled as he rose back to his feet. 

“I was afraid of this,” Berylstar’s softer voice commented with a sigh.  “He doesn’t trust anyone.” 

No shit. 

“What should we do?” Rustshift was asking, his tone one of concern.  “I could move the berth but….” 

“No, it would be better if he comes out on his own,” Berylstar replied. 

Ha ha, fat chance.  He didn’t care of they heard his verbal scoff. 

“Can we really afford to wait until he stops being so stubborn?” Rustshift queried.  “By now his energon levels….” 

“Don’t worry, Rusty, I took this into consideration and I believe I have a solution.” 

“Ugh…I’ve asked you not to call me that…,” the shifter grumbled. 

Flashwing assumed the berth was going to be moved, despite Berylstar’s statement, so he braced himself to run.  Perhaps the door will be unlocked this time and he can find a new place to hide.  Probably not, considering his luck.  Frag, he was surprised his luck has lasted this long in this place. 

Instead of a moved berth, however, something was placed on the floor in clear line of sight. 

No way…can’t be…. 

Flashwing felt his intake start to fill with lubricant and his tank rumbled with need. 

How the frag did this mech get sky drops!?

Chapter Text

Sky drops…a very rare plant these cycles.  Their sweet, energon rich fruit made them highly coveted, but they were difficult to find, let alone reach, due to their preferable habitats of canyons walls and steep mountains.  Even harder to find now, due to development and the recent war…. 

Flashwing was fortunate to have been created at a time when Sky drops were still easier to find.  He remembered the first time he got to eat one, so long ago when he was still a sparkling.  It was pleasant memory from a more innocent time, before the harsh reality of the world stripped him of it.  And it had been stripped that very day, for that was day their camp was attacked by a long time enemy. 

His carrier, a seeker of high standing in the tribe, was killed during that attack.  Thus, something that was so sweet, also carried despair.  Yet he still craved them, as they helped him remember his carrier, whom had fought so fiercely to protect him that day.  Despite how they also signaled the point in his life when things started to go to slag.  How would his life be different if his carrier had survived? 

He would never know the answer, same with the answers to so many other questions.  Useless questions to even ask, as the past could not be changed.  The mistakes of his kin and of his own, could not be undone. 

Flashwing crawled closer to get a better look at the softly glowing sky-blue berries, which were sitting in a swallow bowl a few feet away from the berth.  They were smaller than normal, he noticed, but they were the correct color for ripeness.  He speculated these were domestically grown:  getting the delicate fronds of the plant to grow at all was very difficult.  Getting them to fruit was considered a miracle. 

This mech must have spent fortune to get this small amount…. 

But why offer them to a lowly slave?  Was this only bait to get him to come out?  Why go through the expense when they could just move the berth and grab him? 

The conflicting details made his processor ache.  The repair job, the comfortable accommodations and the jaw brace suggested they wanted to help him.  His missing hands and armor told him otherwise.  They haven’t forced to do anything, yet he was locked in this room and still had the slave collar.  Now they were offering him sweets? 

What was going on?  What did they want with him?  Was this a cruel game?  Or was Primus finally giving him a break? 

A sickening realization dawned on him:  he won’t find out either way if he stayed under this berth.  With a defeated sigh, he started to crawl out. 

If this was indeed a cruel game, he vowed to find a way to deactivate himself.

Chapter Text

Flashwing was expecting to be grabbed the moment he had started crawling out. 

He wasn’t. 

After crawling out all the way, he sat in a kneeling position.  He didn’t reach for the sky drops:  he knew better than to be so bold.  Besides, he didn’t have the hands to do so anyway.  Instead, he looked up at his owners, his frame trembling with anticipation and fear on what they intended to do. 

“Huh…surprised that worked,” Rustshift was muttering, rubbing the back of his head. 

Berylstar was chuckling, a soft smile on his face, before he went down to one knee in front of him.  “Good to see you finally join us, Flashwing,” he stated. 

Again, with the calling him by his actual name.  What is up with these two?  Do they not know that slaves don’t deserve their designations?  Especially a slave like him…. 

From the frown on his face, Berylstar must have seen his confused expression, not that it was hard to miss.  Flashwing flinched, drawing a way a bit when the helo reached over and cupped one side of his face.  A comforting gesture that was so alien to him now that he no longer knew how to interpret it. 

“I know not what horrors you have been put through, though I have a good guess from the condition you were in,” Berylstar commented softly.  “But do I know you are likely confused on your current state…and while my words may mean nothing to you, I can assure you the reason is to improve your situation.” 

Flashwing jerked his head away from his hand, then looked down at where his own hands should be before sharply looking back up at him.  He raised his handless arms up, his brow furrowed in confusion and a bit of anger. 

“How ‘iph phith an e’phrov’ent!?” he demanded, before shrinking away in terror.  Fearing their reaction at his outburst.  Neither of them had done anything to him yet but acting out like that would surely result in them dropping their ‘nice’ facade. 

“Your armor and hands were a source of constant pain and require extensive repairs, especially your hands,” Berylstar explained, but with no hint of anger in his tone.  “Keeping you in stasis, or on heavy pain killers, for an extended period of time would have been too risky due to the physical state you were in.  So, we decided removing them was the safer and more efficient option.” 

“Even then, we nearly lost you,” Rustshift added with a sigh. 

“Indeed,” Berystar confirmed.  “I was unable to finish all of the repairs to your protoform as a result.”  He gestured toward the brace on his jaw.  “Such as your jaw.  I am hoping you will allow me to finish.” 

What the frag…allow?  Does he not know what he is talking to?  It was almost like he was treating him like…like…. 

An equal. 

Did. Not. Compute! 

He asked the one burning question on his processor. “’at ‘oo you in’end ‘o do ‘ith ‘e?” 

As he watched, Berylstar reached down and picked up one of the energon cubes he had been ignoring.  “Right now, I simply wish to restore you to full physical health,” he replied with a soft smile.  “To succeed in that, however, you need to do your part and keep yourself fueled.” 

“’Oo I really ‘eserve tha’?”  Flashwing grumbled, casting his gaze to the floor.  “I have ‘one so ‘uch ‘rong….” 

“And you have already been punished for those wrongs…overly so,” Berylstar told him.  Flashwing felt his chin be gently gripped and lifted up so he was looking at him.  “You have a brilliant mind, Flashwing.  One I feel with the proper guidance can accomplish a lot of good things.  A chance I offer, to start anew, to atone and build a new life for yourself.” 

The hand left his chin and the one holding the cube came forward. It was within easy reach, all he had to do was lower his head to get the feeding tube inside. 

Flashwing stared at it, uncertain.  What kind of life could he live now?  Branded a traitor to all and a slave, he had no freedom save for what his owners gave him.  Even if these two gave him as much freedom as they could without drawing the ire of those less sympathetic, he would still shackled to his past. 

However…. 

The temptation of having something even close to a normal life again was great.  A life without further pain and humiliation…a chance to prove he was no longer like his kin. 

A chance to be reborn. 

As he started to drink the cube, he prayed to Primus with all his spark that this wasn’t some cruel ploy….

Chapter Text

As Flashwing drank, he could taste all the additives they had put into the energon.  He took his time, attempting to identify each one.  So far, he didn’t detect anything suspicious, just mineral supplements.  There was still another cube however, so that bit of hope he was feeling was still very small. 

Once he was done with that cube, Berylstar put it down and picked up one of the Sky Drop berries.  Flashwing’s optics widened in anticipation, though he wondered just how he was going to eat them.  The berries were just big enough to where they wouldn’t fit in the feeding tube and even if they weren’t, he wouldn’t be able to chew them. 

As he watched, Berylstar unsubspaced a small knife.  The sight of it made him shrink away, fearing the worst.  Instead of using it on him, thankfully, the helo used it to cut open the berry.  Now fairly certain he knew what Berylstar intended to do, Flashwing tilted his head up.  He still expected that knife to cut into his bare protoform even as the helo carefully tipped the berry’s juices into the feeding tube.  Only it didn’t. 

The sweetness that hit his glossa was almost nauseating:  if he hadn’t drunk a cube beforehand, he probably would have gotten sick.  So long had it been since he had consumed one of these!  It tasted just as he remembered, though he missed the crunchiness of the outer shell.  That, couldn’t be helped. 

Flashwing savored the few nanos the sweet juice was in his mouth, closing his optics briefly as he did so, before swallowing.  When he opened his optics again, Berystar had another ready for him.  As he accepted the second, a warning thought flashed in his processor:  this all could be part of a conditioning process.  However, at that moment, he didn’t care. 

After a third berry, Berylstar held up the second cube instead of another berry.  Flashwing whined faintly, staring rest of the Sky Drops longingly.  That whine became louder when Rustshift picked up the bowl and left the room. 

“Come now, Flashwing,” Berylstar chided, though he was smiling.  “You should know eating too many of those at once is not good for you.” 

Yeah, that was true…but he didn’t care!  Flashwing glared at the door Rustshift went through. 

“You also know how hard it is to get those these days,” Berylstar reminded him.  “So we need to make them last.  Besides, wouldn’t it be better to eat them like they should be eaten?”  He was tilting his head, a teasing smile on his face. 

Primus dammit…he had a point.  This was also clearly bribery

Still…so far this was so much better than his previous ‘homes’. 

So he drank that next cube without further hesitation.  Afterward, he was encouraged to rest.  Berylstar even helped him wrap that soft blanket around himself after climbing back onto berth.  With a fuller tank again, Flashwing went into recharge fairly quickly. 

That small bit of hope in his spark growing….

Chapter Text

Next day, it was just Rustshift that came into his room.  Flashwing was still apprehensive, both due to that lingering uncertainty of their intention and, well…Rustshift was a shifter.  So far though, the bot had treated him gently, if perhaps overly so for a bot of his status. 

“Come,” the shifter was saying after he had finished his cubes.  “Let me give you a tour of our home.” 

It was a rather ordinary home, with a mix of fancy and humble furnishings. This hinted that Berylstar was of respectable standing.  At least, what he believed passed for ‘respect’ in this day and age.  That suspicion increased when he was taken into the lab, which, now that he was able to get a clear look around, looked to be a converted storage room.  Small, but well equipped, but it curiously was missing an examination table. 

Berylstar was there, working on what looked like a piece of his missing armor.  Flashwing couldn’t quite make out which piece it was from this angle.  The helo turned toward both of them with a smile. 

“Welcome to our lab, Flashwing,” he stated, arms wide.  “I am hoping you can help us accomplish many great things.” 

Knew it!  Flashwing hissed and started to back away, but Rustshift grabbed his arm.  The grip wasn’t strong, but it was enough to remind him that he was not in control here.  He froze instinctively. 

“Easy now, it’s not what you are thinking,” the shifter told him, before looking toward Berylstar with an accusing look. 

“My apologies,” the helo sighed, rubbing his face.  “I got a bit ahead of myself.  We won’t do anything to you without your consent, Flashwing.” 

He scoffed in disbelief, folding his arms. 

“Flashwing.” Berylstar’s tone was almost pleading.  “Not everyone in this society agrees with how the losers of the war are being treated.” 

He supposed that wasn’t too surprising.  It’s virtually impossible for everyone to agree on something, after all.  However, the helo was very wrong on one thing.  “I ‘as ‘ot on the ‘osing side…,” he corrected them. 

“We know,” Berylstar admitted.  “But slavery is reprehensible and goes against the very thing so many fought and died for.”  There was a disappointed sigh.  “Unfortunately, Sentinel and his supporters gained too much power and influence while Optimus was away.  He had little choice but to allow it….” 

This…was news to him.  Flashwing had assumed Optimus was all for this, showing how much the horrors of war had broken him.  Guess the battle worn Prime still had some morals.  This information did not affect how he was treated, however. 

“An’ ‘hat of ‘e?” he asked.  “I a’ph a ‘rai’or….” 

“Even you did not deserve this,” Berylstar insisted.  “At worst, you would have been executed for what you’ve done, but more likely you would have spent the rest of your functioning in a high security prison.  From what I’ve learned, you already spent over an era in such a prison for other crimes, correct?” 

He flinched, beside himself as he looked away in shame.  That had been a rather boring, several millennia sitting in a cell, with only the semi-regular visits from a psychiatrist as company.  Those visits were an attempt to ‘cure’ him of his obsession over Skywarp.  Attempts he had effortlessly brushed off due to his own training from his tribe. 

Oh if only he had let the psychiatrist’s words sink in then…. 

“Prowl had told me that recruiting you into Spec Ops was the biggest miscalculation of his life.” 

Yes, it was.  He should have been left to rot in that cell. 

“’y ‘uy ‘e ‘en?” Flashwing asked.  “Any sane ‘ot ‘ould have ‘ef ‘e ‘o ‘ie.” 

“Because you saved my life.”

Chapter Text

Flashwing blinked at him in confusion.  He saved his life?  That couldn’t be.  He was fairly certain the day Berylstar bought him was the first time he had ever seen him. 

“How?  ‘En?” he asked. 

In answer, Berylstar took off a piece of his chest armor, revealing distinct welding scars on the shoulder of his protoform.  Not recent, but not old either.  Flashwing tilted his head, his processor running overtime as he tried to piece it together.  He wasn’t a medic, however, so the clue presented wasn’t quite enough. 

“Toidysis,” Berylstar finally stated.   

Oh.  Flashwing shuddered at that name.  It was a nasty virus.  One that gradually paralyzed the victim until it killed them.  It took an intense stimulation of the neural and sensor nets to kill it, but many treatments did just as much harm as the virus itself…. 

“Got it while assisting in the evaluation of some war-torn ruins almost two years ago,” Berylstar elaborated.  “As you can see, it nearly killed me.  Only a newly discovered treatment prevented it from reaching my spark chamber.” 

Newly discovered treatment.  Flatwheel’s words came back to him then.  About how ‘Screaming Pain’ was effective for certain treatments.  Was that what he was referring too? 

“As a medical scientist, I wanted to thank the one that created the treatment,” Berylstar continued as he put the armor piece back on.  “However, the medics that treated me didn’t know who it was.  After some digging and calling in some favors, I was able to uncover that someone from Spec Ops provided the formula.  But that was where the trail went cold….” 

“More like hit a steel wall,” Rustshift grumbled.  “Spec Ops refused to reveal the name of the agent that had developed it.  Had to use covert methods to discover your identity.  Ugh...I think some of my plating still aches due to the bar fight I was used in….” 

Flashwing quirked an optic ridge. 

“I was disguised as a table…,” the shifter elaborated with a sigh.  “I got used as ‘improvised weaponry’.” 

Ouch, that sounded humiliating.  A clear downside to being able to transform into non-vehicle objects in a volatile location.  “You ‘ere ‘at ‘isperate ‘o find ‘e?” Flashwing commented. 

“I wanted to give credit where it was due,” Berylstar replied.  “I didn’t care if you were considered a traitor.” 

“So you ‘ought ‘e…’o ‘ank ‘e?” 

“More than that.  I am hoping you could become another assistant.  Aid me in finding cures and treatments for other ailments that affect our people.” 

“I…’on’t ‘ow….”  Flashwing lowered his head.  “’e ‘ings I created...I ‘id so ‘o harm, ‘ot help.” 

“That may have been your intention then, but it doesn’t have to be now.”  Berylstar was giving him a smile.  “We can discuss this further once I fix your jaw.”  He leaned forward a bit.  “If you want me to.” 

To be able to eat and speak properly again?  He very much wanted that.  There was a sense of surrealness about this whole situation, however.  A too good to be true thing.  Was Primus really smiling upon him?  Giving him a chance to atone? 

Or was this one big elaborate ruse?  To give him a sense of hope, only to crush it later. 

Looking now, Berylstar’s right arm looked...newer...than the left.  Like he had to have the whole arm replaced.  Could not do the same for a whole torso, however.  No, from what he understood and remembered from biology, that had to be repaired piece by piece.  Such as neural net wiring.  Thus he doubted Berylstar was lying about suffering from toidysis at some point. 

If that part of his motivation was true then…. 

A dream, a ruse, or reality, Flashwing decided to test his luck. 

So he nodded.

Chapter Text

Flashwing watched the helo’s reaction carefully, looking for any signs of malicious intent.  There was none, only a soft pleasant smile spreading across Berylstar’s face. 

“Excellent!” Berylstar was saying, clapping his hands together.  “Give me a few minutes to set up the equipment and we’ll start. 

“Will you be needing a table again?” Rustshift asked. 

“I will know once I do a new scan of his mandible assembly,” Berylstar replied as he dug out a scanner.  “If that crack I saw in the right hinge joint is still prominent….”  He turned and walked toward him, his next statement addressing him directly.  “I may need to put you in medical stasis so I can safely repair it.” 

“Hmm...and your little ‘food strike’ stunt likely didn’t help your self-repair systems any,” Rustshift muttered. 

Flashwing huffed and rolled his optics.  “Could you really ‘ame ‘e?” he grumbled, folding his arms. 

“From what we know of your history, no,” Berylstar admitted as he started the scan, the light passing over his head a few times.  “I am more surprised you started to trust us so soon.” 

“‘rust...no,” Flashwing countered.  “Giving a ‘ance...yes.” 

“Fair enough.”  He was silent a moment while he checked the scan results.  “Crack is still there, but it looks like your self repair did fix some it.  I’ll have to do a visual inspection once I remove your lower mandible assembly to confirm its integrity.” 

“I remember you expressing doubt you’ll be able to fix some of him,” Rustshift commented. 

“Indeed,” Berylstar confirmed.  “However, Ratchet already said he and his Constructicon assistants will gladly assist in his restoration if needed.” 

That was interesting information.  Ratchet was Optimus Prime’s head medic...and he has the Constructicons? And they are his assistants, despite being slaves? 

Did this mean he had some hope they were being truthful with the rest of their claims?

Chapter Text

Flashwing shifted, partly due to anxiety, but also due to the conflicting thoughts in his processor.  One part still worried this was still a ruse, a rather elaborate one, but still a ruse.  The other was starting to grasp and cling at the increasing likelihood he had finally had a change in luck.  That a chance to atone for his sins was right in front of him. 

With that, came a desire to learn more about his two owners.  He was hesitant to outright ask for their personal history, however.  So he opted for a more indirect way. 

“Are you ‘art of ‘eam ‘rime?” he asked, taking into his consideration their earlier mention of the famous team that ended the war. 

“Part?  No, not directly at least,” Berylstar had replied as he set up a few devices for the upcoming procedure.  “During the war, I was more neutral aligned.  My work in medical science was shared with both sides equally.  Naturally, some, like Sentinel, wanted me tossed in with the Cons because of that, but Optimus was able to convince Sentinel that being neutral wasn’t a crime. I owe him much for that intervention.” 

Interesting.  It made sense that Sentinel would go after him for that.  Neutrals and shield switchers weren’t exactly trusted due to uncertain motives.   

“‘y help ‘oth sides?” he asked.  “You couldn’t settle on one?” 

“Science, by its nature, is a neutral thing,” Berylstar explained.  “It has no allegiance to anyone.  Plus, I hate needless suffering, even if I disagree with the ideology of the one suffering.  During a long conflict, we tend to forget the other side are living, sentient beings like we are.  We lose our sense of empathy and humility.  It can be understandably hard to help those that likely had taken away friends and family from you, but...to not take the opportunity to show mercy...empathy...we risk becoming just as much the monster as we make the enemy out to be.” 

Empathy.  Was that what he was feeling when he decided to help the Con that was dying?  He never learned his fate.  If he survived, who knows what hell he was being put through now.  Flashwing hoped he got a decent Master, like he apparently has. 

“I...understand…,” he finally commented.  Then he looked over at Rustshift, now curious on his status and allegiances.  Shifters, from what he understood, were either imprisoned or executed for their role in aiding the Decepticons.  Their abilities made it too risky to just enslave them like normal bots.  That Rustshift was standing here, clearly a free bot, was an enigma.  “’hat of him?”  he asked, gesturing toward the shifter.  “I a’eh surprised he is a free ‘mech, considering….” 

“I’m not a ‘normal’ shifter,” Rustshift replied with some distaste.  “I’m actually an outcast from my own kind.” 

Well now...that was definitely not what he was expecting to hear….

Chapter Text

If he capable of it at that moment, Flashwing’s mouth would have been hanging open in shock.  Rustshift was an outcast?  That certainly helps to explain why he was a free mech, but he couldn’t help but wonder why? 

“’y?  ‘idn’t ‘at ‘o ‘ork ‘ith the Con’s?” he asked, making a guess. 

“I was an outcast long before the war, Flashwing,” Rustshift explained ruefully.  “As to why?  I’ll show you.” 

As he watched, the shifter transformed into many forms in quick session.  He went through a quite variety of shapes:  various frame types and a few pieces of furniture.  Rather impressive, but there was one thing in common between all of them. 

His color scheme. 

No matter what shape he took, the shifter always had the rust and electric blue color scheme. 

That was…a serious flaw. 

“I was mocked and humiliated for my inability to change my color palette,” Rustshfit stated bitterly, returning to his ‘default’ form.  “What good is a shifter that cannot match what they are mimicking perfectly?  Even other frame types made fun of me…so I had isolated myself in the Rust Sea, where my abilities were not completely useless.  Learned to survive in that wasteland by self-teaching myself engineering.  Built quite a home for myself there….”  He was smiling, clearly proud of his accomplishments. 

“We meet when I found his home during an exploration and field research trip,” Berylstar added.  “If I recall, he was rather wary of me at first, much like you were.” 

“I found it hard to trust anyone after what I went through, but he eventually won me over...in more ways than one.”  Rustshift had an almost goofy grin on his face.  “I became his assistant...and more.” 

Flashwing looked between them, noting the sudden...fond expression they were giving each other.  One would have to be an idiot to not catch on and he certainly wasn’t one.  “You are ‘onded?” he asked. 

“Alas no,” Berylstar replied with a sigh.  “The war kicked off before we could and with how chaotic war can be, we both decided to hold off.  Then, when the war ended we still held off...due to worries over the fallout of the war’s end.  After that...it was my toidysis infection….” 

That...was rather sad.  To want to commit to the one you loved, but also wanted to spare them the pain of feeling your death during such an uncertain period.  “And now?” he prompted. 

“We’ve been considering, but when we finally tracked you down we felt it would have been rude to be in ‘newly bonded honeymoon mode’ while restoring you.” 

“The political climate has also been...questionable as of late,” Rustshift added.  “There are rumors that Team Prime may be up to something and Sentinel is not happy about it.” 

OK, he understood before, but now this was just getting pathetic.  “Excuses…,” he scoffed, folding his arms once more.  “Sounds ‘ore like your ‘oth afraid to com’it.  If you really loved each other, all ‘hat ‘ouldn’t have ‘attered!  You’ll ‘ever ‘ecome ‘hole if you keep getting cold sparks!” 

They were both looking at him now, mouths agape and optics wide.  Flashwing realized what he had done and started to cower, suspecting he may have just ruined what good he had going for himself. 

He should have kept his fragging mouth shut….

Chapter Text

He screwed up, Flashwing was sure of it.  How dare he question how his owner’s reasoning for holding off.  Now he will be punished.  Perhaps they’ll be so disgusted with him they’ll just sell him back to the Pound, with nothing but his protoform and a partly repaired jaw.  Oh he was certain some other Bot would get turned on by his current state… 

No...no he had to fix this somehow.  The chances of him getting a decent owner again…. 

“I’ah sorry!” he blurted out, falling to his knees.  “I shouldn’t have questioned you ‘aster!  ‘orgive ‘e!”  He cast his gaze to the floor in shame.  “I ‘as ‘rong….” 

Please don’t send me back to the Pound!  Tears started to rim his optics as his body quaked with emotion. 

“Flashwing….”   

Berylstar’s voice was unexpectedly quiet, yet in a way that was more terrifying.  Flashwing tensed and crushed his optics closed, bracing himself for whatever punishment they planned to inflict upon him.  A frightened sob croaked in his intake. 

Something touched the side of his face.  Flashwing flinched, but did not pull away, knowing resisting punishment was futile.  He whimpered pitifully, tears falling freely now, as he felt another touch on his left shoulder.   

This was going to be a horrible punishment….

Chapter Text

“You are right,” Berystar was saying, his tone still quiet. 

He certainly was.  Flashwing was a bad slave, speaking badly about his Masters. 

“We were afraid....” 

Yes, he is afraid.  Terrified, actually. 

Wait. 

We? 

Flashwing took a moment to run that through his processor again.  He misheard, surely? 

“Fear of the unknown kept us from committing,” Berylstar continued.  “Ironic...for as scientists and engineers...it is the unknown that is supposed to drive us.” 

No, he didn’t mishear!  He opened his optics and looked up at Berylstar.  The helo was kneeling in front of him, one hand gently cupped against the side of his face.  His expression was a mix of regret and sorrow. 

Master...wasn’t angry? 

“Do not be afraid to speak your mind, Flashwing,” Rustshift’s voice added from his left.  “Your opinion is just as valuable as our own.” 

Flashwing trembled, optics wide, tears stopping.  This…this was too much.  His processor had to reboot.  Surely this was a dream! 

But no, when his processor was fully up again, Berylstar was still in the same position, a soft, reassuring smile on his face.  He risked a glance up at the shifter, but he too bore the same expression.  Flashwing forced himself to take in several deep intakes. 

This was real.  This was real! 

He started wailing, tears flowing anew in joy and relief.  His past self would have likely smacked him for such an undignified and shameful display, but he didn’t care.  He felt Berylstar pull him close and into an embrace, into a warmth he hadn’t felt since his carrier still lived.  Flashwing curled up against him willingly as he continued to sob, soaking up the welcoming warmth greedily. 

Behind him, Flashwing wing heard Rustshift kneel down close.  Then he felt his arms go around both him and Berystar.  He was nice and warm too. 

“It’s alright,” Berylstar was whispering in his audio.  “You are safe now….” 

After all he had been through, all the pain and humiliation…Primus has finally smiled upon him.

Chapter Text

It took Flashwing a while to calm down, but his new owners…no…friends…were patient.  

“Feel better?” Berylstar was asking once they had all separated from the ‘group hug’. 

“’uch,” Flashwing admitted, reaching up to wipe away the tears, only to get a harsh remainder he had no hands.  He looked at his stumps with distain. 

“You will get your hands back,” Berylstar told him.  “One way or the other.  For now…let’s finish the repairs on your jaw, shall we?” 

Flashwing nodded as they all stood.  The shifter, he noted, was already walking toward the center of the room. There, he transformed into an operating table. 

Oh…so that was what he was put on the first day he was here.  He found that a bit awkward knowing that now.  Even more so when he was directed to sit upon it…him. 

“This will likely be uncomfortable,” Berylstar warned.  “But try to stay still while I detach your lower mandible assembly.” 

He nodded in acknowledgement and the helo began.  Starting by removing the brace.  Flashwing couldn’t help but flinch a bit when the cooler air hit the now exposed metal, but otherwise stayed still as Berylstar worked.  After a moment, his lower jaw assembly was pulled away. 

It was so surreal, seeing his lower jaw being held in the helo’s hands and not feeling it…well…where it should be!  He watched him examine the body part, especially the attachment points, peeling away the softer facial mesh as needed so he had a clearer look.  Then he put the part on a smaller table and pulled out a few tools. 

“Some tweaking and further repairs needed,” he told him as he got to work.  

Not knowing how long that will take, Flashwing felt the need to distract himself somehow.  He looked down at Rustshift, a question popping up in his processor.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t exactly talk right now…unless. 

Ugh…with some distaste he switched to the Basic language protocols. 

:Rustshift?: he asked, hating the beeps, boops and whirls that made up this language.  :Are you able to talk like that?: 

:I am,: the shifter replied, apparently stuck using Basic himself while in this type of form.  That it appeared to make him vibrate slightly under his aft just felt weird.  :Something wrong?: 

:No…I….:  How to ask this without sounding offensive?  :Do you really mind being…used…like this?: 

:I’m used to it.:  It felt like he would have shrugged if he was capable of it. 

:So you don’t like this.: 

:I didn’t say that.: 

:No, but it was implied.:  Flashwing would have given him a cheeky grin if he was able. 

:Alright…you got me.:  There was an impression of a sigh from the shifter.  :I generally don’t like it, especially when out in public.  No control over what is done to me when I can’t risk revealing myself.: 

:Like what happened at the bar?: 

There was a definite shudder underneath him.  :Yeah…,: Rustshift admitted.  :I don’t mind it when it’s Beryl though.  If he makes a mess on me we…um…:  The surface underneath him seemed to go hot.  :Let’s just say he always makes it up to me.: 

Bashful type eh?  Flashwing found that amusing.  :Got a kink in that regard?: he teased. 

:What!?:  He could have sworn he felt a slight jump.  :No no no!  Not like that!:  Flashwing heard Berylstar chuckling.  :Shut up, Beryl!  I still have my audios you know!: 

“Obviously,” Berylstar commented, a hint of amusement in his tone. 

:Ugh….: 

Flashwing chuckled the best he could in his own amusement before asking.  :Surely it’s a kink…why else would you be used as an operating table when you are clearly well off enough to afford a proper one?: 

It was meant to be a bit of fun ribbing.  However, the mood in the room drastically changed.  Berylstar paused in his repairs, what he could see of his expression becoming pained, angry even.  Rustshift’s surface seemed to ‘chill’. 

Frag…did he screw this up for real this time?  He felt himself start to tense. 

“We can afford one,” Berylstar replied softly after a long tense moment.  “But if I am ever caught with one…I’ll be put in jail.”

Chapter Text

Flashwing furrowed his brows as he attempted to fully understand the new information he just heard.  Why would simply being in possession of an operating table get him in trouble? 

“I technically shouldn’t be doing more than simple mesh repairs on you…or anyone for that matter,” Berystar elaborated, his tone bitter.  “My certifications were stripped.” 

He felt the energon in his lines still for a moment.  :Sentinel?: he guessed, taking into consideration what he was told before. 

“As a condition for my continued freedom,” Berylstar confirmed sadly.  “Sentinel wouldn’t let that I ‘aided the enemy’ fully slide.” 

:His projects have been hampered significantly because of it,: Rustshift added.  :Any improvements to medical procedures or new ones, have to be ‘handed off’ to a ‘certified’ medic for testing.: 

“It’s frustrating to not witness how well the tests go firsthand,” Berylstar grumbled, folding his arms.  “I ask Ratchet when I can, as he gives very detailed reports.  Not always possible.” 

:And I am certain Ratchet isn’t the type to take credit for your work,: Flashwing commented. 

Berylstar nodded in confirmation.  “That said, being able to work on any bot again for more extensive work is refreshing,” he admitted. 

:Wouldn’t working on me get you into trouble?:  Flashwing asked, his brows creasing with worry. 

“I am counting on the likelihood they don’t care I am performing ‘illegal’ operations on a slave.” 

He twitched in discomfort at that.  :Still risky…,: he countered.  :Sentinel may still consider that breaking his law and use that as justification to imprison you both.: 

“We are well aware,” Berylstar confirmed with a sigh.  “Regardless of the risk, we are committed to restoring you the best we can.” 

So they were willing to risk their own freedom to put him back together, to give him a place of safety.  Despite what he had done.  :Thank you,: he told them, honestly grateful. 

Berylstar had smiled and nodded in response, before returning to his work.  Silence dominated the room once more and this time Flashwing didn’t feel like striking up a conversation.  A question persisted in his processor:  how much did they really know about his history?  They knew him as a traitor, yes, but did they know why? 

Did they know about his tribe and what they did and tried to do?  Or his former obsession with trying to claim Skywarp as his bondmate?  Would that knowledge taint their goodwill toward him? 

Flashwing decided it was safer to not say anything on either matter. 

“Done with this part,” Berylstar announced.  “Need to inspect the attachment points on your protoform now, Flashwing.  If you could lay down for me, please.” 

He nodded and did as he was requested.  Despite knowing for certain he wasn’t going to be harmed intentionally by the helo, he still tensed when Berylstar started touching him. Inspecting and testing each point of attachment.  He flinched hard, yelping in Basic when Berylstar touched the right jaw hinge. 

“Sorry,” the helo told him apologetically. “Some places are still deformed, and that hinge is, indeed, still in need of manual repair.  To ensure you are comfortable for this, I’d like to put you in stasis.  Is that alright?” 

Flashwing nodded in acknowledgement and seconds later he felt a jack being plugged into his medical port; the beginnings of stasis starting to take hold.  As he slipped into stasis, he caught pieces of conversation between his two owners. 

:Did…feel…?:  Rustshift was saying. 

“…did…,” Berylstar replied.  “…strong…?” 

:Yes….mean?: 

Then he heard no more….

Chapter Text

It felt good to have a functioning jaw again. 

“Everything feel alright?” Berylstar was asking as he was putting tools away. 

Flashwing opened and rotated his jaw, testing every motion for any flaws or pain.  Other than a slight ache from where Berylstar did the welding there was nothing.  “Yes, thank you,” he responded as he slipped off the ta-Rustshift.  “So nice to be able to speak properly again….” 

“And eat properly,” Rustshift added after reverting back to his default mode. 

“Oooh, yes…speaking of which….” He looked at Berylstar hopefully. 

The helo laughed.  “Sky drops will have to wait a few more days, Flashwing,” he told him.  “To give the repairs a chance to fully take, I wouldn’t try biting anything too hard.” 

Flashwing cut loose a dramatic sigh, folded his arms and pouted, earning him another laugh. 

“Acting like a sparkling again, I see,” Rustshift teased, to which Flashwing gave him a snobbish huff. 

“That aside,” Berylstar stated, drawing his attention.  “The repairs to your protoform are complete, save for a few things.  Your hands and primary wings for instance, and….”  The helo appeared to be unsure how to word this.  Flashwing had a good guess on what he was referring to, however. 

“My array, specifically my valve,” he sighed.  “To be honest…I am not sure I want that repaired.” 

“I…did notice it was quite ravaged,” Berylstar commented, sympathy in his tone.  “I dread to think what happened to cause that damage and the memories associated with it.” 

Flashwing shifted uncomfortably.  “That damage was self-inflicted,” he informed them softly.  After seeing both mech’s optics briefly widen in shock, he opted to elaborate.  “When simply raping a traitor wasn’t enough to draw in customers, the bordello I was owed by at the time decided to change things up.  They did so by using a new drug called ‘Lust’…which simulated the heat cycle.” 

“Oh Primus…I’ve heard about that stuff,” Berylstar breathed.  “Only recently became ‘publicly’ available from what I’ve heard.” 

“Well…they used slaves like me as field test subjects for that scrap,” Flashwing grumbled bitterly.  “I don’t know how the other slaves reacted to it, but I know it eventually gave me Persistent Array Arousal Disorder.  Drove me to the point of destroying my own valve to get rid of it.” 

Berylstar was nodding in understanding.  “You fear having your valve repaired would herald it’s return.”  Flashwing nodded stiffly, a tremble passing through his frame at the memory.  “Very well, I will not touch your valve until you are ready.” 

“Thank you….” 

“Instead I’ll do what I can for your hands, though I fear I may have to ‘hand’ them over to Ratchet.” 

“Oh, Beryl!” Rustshift groaned, Flashwing rolling his optics with him.  “That was horrible!” 

Berylstar was just snickering.

Chapter Text

Flashwing swiped the surface of the datapad, soaking up the knowledge it contained eagerly.  Granted, much of it was stuff he already knew, but it was good to have a chance to refresh his processor on such subjects. Amazing how much can be changed or discovered during the time he was tortured. 

A length of time he discovered was just under three years, thanks to his restored chronometer.  Such short a time for a species such as themselves, but it had felt like an eternity.  Regardless, that time of pain was now over. 

It had been a couple of days since his jaw was repaired.  In that time, Berystar restored his modesty panel, giving him some of his dignity back.  He also had his two minor wings returned: to have any of his wings again was a relief.  A seeker wasn’t a seeker without wings! 

He was told the rest of his armor should be easily restored.  The problem areas were, predictably, his primary wings and hands.  For both, Berylstar unfortunately determined he wouldn’t be able to restore either.  In fact, the helo was currently out to visit Ratchet with their mangled remains.  With Ratchet’s reputation and a herd of Constructicon assistants, Flashwing had little doubt they will succeed in restoring those parts.  For the time being, Rustshift had ‘whipped up’ some attachments for his stubs so he could handle objects more easily.  Such as the datapad he was currently using.  

Regarding the shifter, Flashwing was slowly becoming more comfortable around him.  Rustshift, he found, was actually a bit shy and reserved.  Tended to start stuttering when anxious.  Likely traits that developed due to his treatment for his disability.  He was indeed a decent engineer from what he witnessed thus far, though Flashwing had noticed something about the shifter’s skill.  Something rather odd, yet in a way, funny. 

Rustshift’s ‘thrown together’ or ‘jerry rigged’ inventions seemed to work almost flawlessly.  However, more carefully planned out devices, rarely worked at all.  Even things with instructions!  Like the device he was fighting with now, which was some kind of converter?  It was both hilarious and sad.  He’d help him but…while he did minor engineering, Flashwing could tell this current project was out of his league. 

There was a loud sizzling pop and a yelp that made Flashwing wince.  This was followed by a defeated sigh as the shifter practically threw down his tools. “Are you alright?” Flashwing asked. 

“Yeah,” the shifter grumbled.  “Gonna have to call in assistance on this one.” 

“Beryl doesn’t help you?” 

“Last time Beryl tried to help me with this kind of stuff we had to rebuild the lab.” 

Ouch. 

“So, I have a friend of ours help me out.” 

As Rustshift activated his comms, Flashwing wondered who this friend was.  Another neutral he assumed. 

“Hey, Jack, how are you?” Rustshift spoke in a chipper tone. 

Jack?  Something about that name sent a spike of fear through his frame.  Why? 

“Pfft…have I become that predictable?” the shifter continued, a faint smirk on his face.  “One of these days I swear I’ll call you about not needing help with something!” 

Heh, from what I’ve seen so far, that may be a while. Flashwing chuckled softly to himself and focused on his datapad, tuning out the conversation. 

He wasn’t able to tune out the last part, however. 

“Alright, Wheeljack, see you soon.” 

Flashwing felt his frame go cold. 

Please…Primus…let this not be the Wrecker…. 

Unfortunately, Flashwing was fairly certain there was only one bot in existence with that name….

Chapter Text

What should he do?  Thanks to the one that showed up at the auction, he was certain all Wrecker’s knew who he was by name and appearance.  There was a chance his current mostly armorless appearance would throw him off but…he wasn’t about to count on his luck there. 

Perhaps he should stay in his room?  That was the best option, but if Rustshift mentions him by name, the Wrecker may hunt him down.  His room would be a death trap in that case.  Should he ask Rustshift not to mention him then? 

That…may raise red flags in the shifter’s processor though.  Force him to reveal the sordid past he’d rather keep buried.  Yet, it appeared he may need to reveal it soon anyway, as it sounded like Wheeljack was a regular visitor.  Perhaps, it would be best to just get it over with? 

Provided the Wrecker didn’t kill him on sight…. 

“Flash, you alright?”  Rustshift’s voice made him jump, an undignified squawk emitting from his vocalizer as the datapad slipped from his grip.  “Whoa, sorry, didn’t mean to startle you….” The Shifter looked apologetic.  “What’s wrong?” 

Flashwing froze, briefly uncertain on what to do at first.  Confirmation…get confirmation first.  “This…friend of yours…,” he began hesitantly.  “Is that…the Wrecker?” 

“Oh you heard of him?” Rustshfit asked, his tone curious. 

Who fragging HASN’T!?  There wasn’t a member of his tribe that didn’t know about that one!  From what he heard; he wasn’t exactly unknown beyond his tribe either.  Flashwing slowly nodded in answer to his question. 

“You don’t need to worry about him,” Rustshift stated reassuringly.  “He’s a nice mech once you get to know him, though he can get a little rough and snarky at times.” 

“Eh heh heh…so long as you don’t get on his bad side….,” Flashwing muttered before he could stop himself. 

Now the shifter looked concerned.  “Flashwing?” 

He sighed.  No way to get around this it seemed.  “Let’s just say…if he sees me…I am pretty much a dead mech.” 

A frown now.  “Why?”  

Before he could answer, the front door intercom buzzed.

Chapter Text

Panic froze him in place at that sound.  He was here already!?  No, no, surely not.  Rustshift just got off the comm with him! 

“I’ll go check that,” Rustshift was saying as he moved toward the front door.  “Uh…stay in your room for now, I guess?”

Flashwing nodded in agreement.  He followed him out of the lab, but only until they reached the living room.  Flashwing made a quick turn into his room and partly closed the door so he could hear clearly.  Seconds later, he heard Rustshift greeting someone. 

“Hello, can I help you?”  The shifter sounded polite, yet slightly confused. 

Flashwing breathed a sigh of relief:  it wasn’t Wheeljack.

 “Is this Berylstar’s residence?”  the bot at the door replied.  He couldn’t quite make out the voice clearly, but it sounded rather familiar. 

“It is, but Beryl is out on an errand at present,” Rustshift replied.  “I do not know when he will return.” 

“That is fine, his presence is not needed for this.”  There was a certain smugness in that tone that made Flashwing’s mesh crawl.  “May I come on?” 

“What is your purpose here?  We have delicate experiments in progress and any disturbance may disrupt our findings.”  There was tension in the shifter’s tone. 

“Please…I know Sentinel Prime striped Beryl’s certifications…he can’t be working on anything too complex.”  Again, smug and Flashwing thought he caught a growl from Rustshift.  “As for my purpose…a personal thing really.  A ‘check-up’ on an old colleague of mine….” 

Flashwing froze, the energon in his lines going cold.  Now he knew why that voice sounded familiar.  This bot was here for him, there was no other explanation. 

But what else could Flatwheel possibly want him for? 

There was faint, barely heard hiss of Rustshit intaking in surprise as the shifter caught on.  “How did you-?” he started to ask. 

“Please…that helo kept asking for the identity of the one that provided that formula…then I recently find out that very bot was bought by him,” Flatwheel replied, a note of distaste in his tone.  “I’m here to ensure my old ‘friend’ is being treated the way he should be treated.” 

“What we do with our property is none of your concern,” Rustshift retorted flatly.  “Unless you have warrant to search our home, I must ask you to leave.” 

“Spec Ops don’t operate under the same rules as the Enforcers…shifter,” Flatwheel countered, a dangerous note in his tone.  

Scrap.  This could be very bad.  Where Flatwheel stood in current political climate was uncertain, though he did come off as someone that didn’t mind Sentinel’s ‘methods’.  With his position in Spec Ops, he could easily fabricate something to get his owners arrested, or otherwise force them to give him up. 

And put him back into the cycle of hell he had only just escaped from. 

“So…,” Flatwheel continued after a tense few nanos.  “You have a choice, shifter.  Either let me in now and check on him…or I can use…other methods.” 

Before Rustshift could respond a new, slightly deep and accented voice spoke up. 

“Hey Rusty, this spook botherin’ ya?” 

Flashwing felt his spark stop briefly:  there was no question on who that was….

Chapter Text

Flashwing somehow heard a noise of distaste from the agent over the panic ‘screaming’ in his processor.  During his time with them, he learned Spec Ops in general didn’t like Wreckers.  Undisciplined, impulsive, rude, unwashed savages…many considered them to be.  Really, the only Spec Ops agent Flashwing found was ‘cool’ with them was Jazz.  Why that was, he didn’t know. 

To be fair, Flashwing didn’t like Wreckers either, but for other reasons.  Reasons that were steeped in a past he’d rather move away from but knew he couldn’t escape completely.  Not so long as there were bots that remembered what his tribe did…and Wreckers had a long memory…. 

“What are you doing here, Wrecker?” Flatwheel was saying, clear annoyance in his tone. 

“Ah, I was stoppin’ by to help Rusty out with somethin’,” Wheeljack was saying.  “Feelin’ a bit disappointed to see a spook harassin’ him.  I would think Jazz would be quite upset to hear one of his agent’s actin’ like one of Sentinel’s paid lap dogs…no?” 

Oh…burn.  He had to give the Wrecker respect points on that one. 

He heard a growl from Flatwheel.  “That’s a strong accusation from you, Wrecker…,” the agent snarled. 

“Just callin’ it as I see it,” Wheeljack countered with a casual air.  “If ya don’t want to be accused of somethin’…don’t act the part.” 

That growl got louder, which was followed by a long, low sigh.  “Very well…but I bet you won’t be so…understanding once you learn what your friends have….” 

There was a moment of silence as Flatwheel apparently left before Rustshift spoke.  “Thanks, Jackie,” the shifter was saying. 

“Bah, don’t mention it.  With few exceptions I don’t like spooks,” the Wrecker grumbled.  From the sounds he was hearing, Rustshift had let him in.  “Arrogant, high-and-mighty, know-it-alls….” 

Yeah, Flashwing definitely got that impression himself.  Though he acted very much in that manner back then…. 

“So what was the deal there, Rusty?”  Wheeljack was asking. 

“Remember when I mentioned we were looking for the one that invented that cure?”  Rustshift asked and after there was a confirmation noise from the Wrecker, he continued.  “We found him…not in a good state either.  He had been thrown in with the Cons for treason.” 

Scrap…be careful Rust!  Flashwing felt himself tense, preparing for the worse. 

“Considerin’ that fake Prime tried to do the same with Beryl, I’m not surprised,” Wheeljack commented softly.  “A lot of good bots got mixed up in that…like Drift.” 

Drift…wasn’t he once Deadlock?  A Con?  Scrap…what does Sentinel have?  A ‘once-a-Con-always-a-Con’ mentality?  Still, that he had been considered a ‘traitor’ was apparently not enough to enrage the Wrecker.  So long as he didn’t see him…. 

“Is it possible for me to see him?” the Wrecker asked.  “I’d like to thank ‘em myself.” 

Oh no…. 

“Uh…not a good idea,” Rustshift replied.  “He’s was quite traumatized from what he was put through.  Took some time to get him to trust us…and a new face so soon may cause him to revert.” 

“Ah, fair enough.  You would know that psychological scrap better than me by miles.”  

Flashwing let out the intake he didn’t realize he was holding. 

“Heh, Beryl would know lightyears more than me in that regard,” Rustshift stated with a chuckle. 

There was a deep chuckle from the Wrecker. “So where’s the project you are tryin’ to blow up the house with?” he queried. 

“Aw come on, Jackie,” Rustshift replied, his tone full of mock hurt.  “That was once and only because Beryl tried to help!  ‘Sides…aren’t you the one that likes to blow things up?” 

There was a dismissive snort as the pair walked by his room.  Flashwing stiffened, praying the Wrecker didn’t get curious about the partly open door he was hiding behind.  “Only things I blow up are things I want to blow up, ya know that, Rusty!” Wheeljack replied. 

“Please, Bulkhead told me of the few…’miscalculations’ you’ve had.”  After a pause there was a. ‘Don’t call me ‘Rusty’.’ 

“Hah!  Those were ‘happy’ accidents that occurred when blowin’ up Con assets!  Was it really a bad thin’ to have the explosion wind up bigger than it should?” 

“Well, some would mention a thing called ‘collateral damage’….” 

Any retort to that went unheard as the two mechs entered the lab, the protective blast door sealing behind them.  Flashwing breathed a sigh of relief as he walked over to his berth and sat down.  So far, so good.  Not knowing how long the Wrecker would be here, Flashwing opted to try to take a nap….

Chapter Text

His processor wouldn’t settle.  It brought up details that may still spell the end of his easy life.  Flatwheel was a worry, for he had no doubt he will try again to ‘check’ on him.  As a Spec Ops agent, he had the tools to do many things to royally frag them over. 

Of more immediate concern though was Wheeljack.  Right now, the bulk of his armor was in that lab were the Wrecker was at, some of it laid out on a work bench.  While his color scheme alone wouldn’t be a cause for worry, some of his armor pieces were a bit…unique. 

Particularly his chest plate…. 

…which had the brand on it. 

And Flashwing couldn’t remember right off if that was one of the ones Berylstar was working on at present.  If it was and Wheeljack saw it, the Wrecker will no doubt demand answers from Rustshift.  Provided…Wheeljack didn’t hunt him down without doing so first.  Even if his luck holds out on that front, his owners will want answers on why the Wrecker will want to kill him.  

That, at this point, he couldn’t escape.  If the fact he tried to deal with the Cons while on under the employ of the Special Operations didn’t turn them against him…. 

…the details on what his tribe did just might. 

And they were taking a while.  Or was that just his paranoia making time pass much slower than it really was?  Either way it didn’t help is growing unease.  The longer Wheeljack was here, the more likely he’ll notice that armor.  Flashwing could now feel an ache in his tank, but he wasn’t sure if that was due to his anxiety or hunger.  After checking his chronometer, he discovered it was about time for him to refuel. 

He should refuel, but he just knew…knew the moment he stepped out of his room Wheeljack will emerge from the lab.  Then again, with how his tank was rolling, he probably wouldn’t be able to keep energon down right now anyway.  So he stayed put, that dull ache slowly getting worse.  Flashwing came to the realization he needed something to distract himself with. 

Scrap, he had left his datapad in the lab…and so were all the other datapads of interest to him.  That was obviously no-go zone for him right now.  He needed something else.  Yet he couldn’t think of anything else.  At least not anything that didn’t require proper hands or wasn’t in the lab. 

Looks like he was stuck suffering until Wheeljack left…. 

The door then opened all the way. 

Flashwing briefly froze, a squawk of terror getting caught in his vocalizer.  He relaxed immediately when he saw it was just Rustshift.  The shifter was holding his datapad in one hand and a cube of energon in the other. 

“That was an interesting sound you made,” Rustshift commented with a smirk as he handed him the items. 

“Hush,” Flashwing grumbled as he accepted the items gratefully.  “You would have made a similar sound if you thought death incarnate just opened your door.”  After a pause he asked.  “Has he left yet?” 

“Not yet.  While he helped me figure out the problem with the converter, he opted to check a few other projects I have going on.  To ‘save on trips’ he said,” Rustshift replied as he folded his arms.  “I’m still curious on why you think he’ll kill you.” 

Flashwing let loose a long forlorn sigh.  “Best to wait until Beryl comes back, so I don’t have to tell it twice.” 

“Fair enough.” 

“Hey, Rusty,” a familiar and rather unwelcome voice called out.  “Mind explainin’ this?” 

Flashwing froze, the datapad and energon cube slipping out of his grip.  The cube hit his thigh, then spilled across his lap and onto the berth.  He didn’t really notice, as his optics were glued to the Wrecker in the doorway. 

Wheeljack was holding up his chest piece, that damning brand clear as day.  The Wrecker’s face was one of concern and curiosity. Until he saw him. 

Then his face twisted into fury….

Chapter Text

Flashwing couldn’t move.  Could only sit there frozen, staring at the face of Wheeljack, whom was glaring at him with such hate.  All he could hope for was that the Wrecker still had some sense not to try to destroy someone’s else’s property. 

Those hopes were dashed when Wheeljack suddenly charged at him, an almost feral growl emitting from his vocalizer as the damning chest panel dropped to floor with a thud.  He didn’t quite catch if Rustshift was shoved or jumped out of the way.  Too focused was he on white demon that was rapidly closing on him.  Flashwing started to screech, scrambling back in a futile attempt to stay out of reach. 

His screech became a strangled wheeze after Wheeljack seized him by the throat. The room then seemed to spin, followed by the wind being knocked out of him as he was slammed onto the floor, pain flaring up on his back as his minor wings were forced into an unnatural position.  His view of the ceiling was quickly replaced by the Wrecker’s face:  his plating was puffed out, making him look even more frightening than he already was. 

“Wheeljack what are you doing!?”  Rustshift was crying.  “Stop!” 

“What does it look, like I am doin’?” the Wrecker growled, not taking his optics off him.  “When I saw that brand…I was hopin’ ya had it for a project on armor restoration.”  The hand around his throat started to squeeze.  “To think ya actually had this slagger here….” 

There was nothing Flashwing could do.  To fight back would only piss the Wrecker off more and set off the slave collar.  “Ple-eeze…,” he managed to wheeze out.  “I regret everything I’ve done…!” 

Wheeljack was rolling his optics.  “Sure ya do…after ya been caught and are gettin’ the punishment ya deserved….” 

“Jackie…,” Rustshift started to counter, his voice tight with anxiety.  “He is the one that invented the treatment that cured Berylstar….” 

Flashwing glanced in Rustshfit’s direction.  The shifter’s plating was tight against his protoform and was trembling.  He looked like he didn’t know how exactly to stop this.  Rather surprising he hadn’t started stuttering yet. 

“And I bet that ‘treatment’ was originally intended for somethin’ else,” Wheeljack growled disbelievingly. 

“He did admit as such,” Rustshift confirmed quietly.  “And I admit we do not know everything about his history.  We wanted him to tell us on his own terms.  Please let him go, your actions will not aid in his rehabilitation….” 

“Rehabilitation!?” Wheeljack actually did let him go at that, but only so he could stand and get into Rustshift’s face.  Well...kind of:  the Wrecker only came up to the shifter’s chest.  Still, Flashwing took the opportunity get some distance from the Wrecker, only to back himself into a corner.  Logically, he should have ran out the door. Or would that have just made things worse in Wheeljack’s optics?  His processor was racing too much to think clearly…. 

“Bots like him don’t deserve a second chance!”  Wheeljack was yelling. 

“That’s not what Optimus believes,” Rustshift countered calmly.  “As a member of-“ 

“I am not one of his people,” Wheeljack growled.  “I helped them yes…but I am not a part of that team.  I’m not afraid to do what it takes, to use more permanent solutions to certain problems.” 

“So you approve of Sentinel’s methods for punishing the enemy?” 

The Wrecker recoiled, his puffed-up plating retracting a bit.  “I didn’t say that.”  There was disgust in his tone.  So the Wrecker wasn’t completely without morals then. 

“Hmm…I misspoke then.”  Rustshift rubbed his chin.  “Admittedly your ‘solutions’ would be considered more merciful than what Sentinel arranged.  There are things worse than death….” 

“Debatable.” 

“Is it?”  Rustshift countered.  “You think being constantly raped, drugged and beaten…conditioned to think you are nothing but an object to be used and abused as other’s please…is not worse than death?” 

There was a shudder in the Wrecker’s frame.  “Yeah well,” Wheeljack’s tone was strained.  “It’s not like his type are above torture….” 

“We never did wha’ was done to me!” Flashwing blurted out, slipping into his tribal accent.  “You know tha’ yourself, Wheeljack!” 

There was a twitch in the Wrecker’s frame as he slowly looked back at him, a steely, hateful look on his face.  Rustshfit was also looking him, optics slightly wide and mouth a bit open. 

Scrap…shouldn’t have said that…and in that way….

Chapter Text

Flashwing knew he fragged up. 

There was no hiding it now.  He will have no choice but to reveal everything.  His good life was over, for there was no way his owners will be forgiving of his sins. 

Wheeljack had turned toward him fully and was slowly stalking toward him.  “Oh, ya think keepin’ someone isolated, blindfolded, tied up and half-starved is better?”  the Wrecker sneered.  “And I know you slaggers weren’t above molestin’ people either!” 

“No!  I don’t!”  Flashwing cried, curling himself into a ball, but keeping his optics on the Wrecker.  “None of wha’ my people did was good, I understand tha’ now!” 

“Do you?”  Wheeljack grabbed him by the arm and forced him to his knees.  Flashwing didn’t dare resist.  “Or are ya lyin’ through your denta, waitin’ for an opportunity to start playin’ your mind games with your owners.” 

“No! Never!”  Flashwing insisted, frantically shaking his head.  “I have no desire to go back to tha’ kind of life….” 

“Hold on…,” Rustshift was saying, apparently finally getting his wits about him.  “I feel like am I missing some very important context here….” 

Wheeljack was now looking toward the shifter, emitting a huff of annoyance.  “First off…do ya know what that insignia even means?” 

“I…know Sentinel designated as the symbol for traitors to the Autobot cause,” Rustshift replied hesitantly.  

A snort.   “And why did he choose that one?” 

“Uh….” Rustshift was clearly stumped. 

“It’s the insignia of the Sirens,” Wheeljack replied bluntly.  “The tribe that sided with the Quintessons during the War of Wrath.  And guess who is a member?” 

He felt the Wrecker jerk on his arm to make it more obvious who he was referring to.  Flashiwng winced at the brief stab of pain as he looked toward the ground in shame, not wanting to see Rustshift’s reaction….

Chapter Text

Flashwing just hung limp in the Wrecker’s grip, all sense of hope lost.  Tears welled up in his optics as he mourned for the brief good life he had. 

“Flashwing?  Is it really true?”  Rustshift’s tone was tinged with disbelief and doubt. 

He wanted to say it wasn’t, spin a lie.  But that was what Wheeljack was expecting wasn’t it?  It’s what a good Siren would do.  Flashwing wasn’t a ‘good Siren’…not anymore.  He’ll tell the truth, even if it meant his doom. 

“Yes…,” he replied softly.  “I wasn’t jus’ any member either…I was creation of two high-ranking members.” 

He felt Wheeljack grab him by the chin and force him to look at him.  The Wrecker was scrutinizing his face, before recognition was seen in his optics and he let him go.  “Thought ya reminded me of someone,” he muttered with distaste.  “Had to be the spawn of him, didn’t you?” 

“Don’t speak ill of my carrier…,” Flashwing muttered without thinking.  Sire always did say he took a lot of his appearance from his carrier…. 

His head was seized again and wrenched up toward Wheeljack’s face.  He looked furious.  “I speak ill of him if I want!  That slagger caused me so much pain!” 

“And you caused me so much grief when you killed him!” Flashwing snapped back.  “Tha’ day my carrier didn’t jus’ die, but wha’ love my Sire had for me did as well!”  All the bad sparklinghood memories started flooding back.  “I was ignored!  Seen as bad omen!  I had to fight for wha’ scraps of respec’ and approval I could get!  There were days I wished you had stolen me away with res’ of sparklings you took tha’ day!  Perhaps my life wouldn’t have been such scrap if you had!” 

Wheeljack had let him go completely this time, a look of shock on his face.  Flashwing wasn’t sure what part of what he had said surprised him, but did it matter? 

“Hold on…you were kidnapping sparklings, Jackie?” Rustshift queried, both his tone and expression one of disbelief and disappointment. 

“Kidnapping?  No,” Wheeljack growled.  “We were rescuing the ones that they kidnapped in a desperate attempt to boost their numbers.” 

“Wha’?”  Flashwing stared at the Wrecker as he searched his faint memories of that time for confirmation.  So long ago…and he was so young then.  He thought he remembered being the only sparkling…then he suddenly had a lot of playmates…then, after his carrier died, he was alone again.  Was that really true?  Memories were not exactly perfect after all. 

Wheeljack, thankfully, recognized this, for he didn’t chastise him for not knowing this. In fact, his expression seemed to soften, like he remembered something.  “So you were born in that Pit-spawned tribe,” he grumbled dejectedly.  “Ya didn’t know any better.”  His expression hardened.  “But that doesn’t excuse what you did in their name.” 

Flashwing’s own expression hardened.  “I did many things in their name…but defending Quintessons was not one of them.”  He will not take the blame for something he didn’t do! 

“Bullscrap!” Wheeljack had snapped.  Not surprising he wouldn’t believe it. 

“After his bondmate’s death, our Chief wen’ mad!” Flashwing informed him.  “While we agreed with making deal with those tricksters, we only did so to give us chance to restore our numbers.  He however, became enthralled…forgot his faith with Primus and started worshipping them!  So when rebellion started, Mad Chief wanted us to defend them…defend his new gods!  Many of us refused and lef’, splitting tribe into two factions!” 

Wheeljack was blinking at him in disbelief.  “Ya expect me to believe a bunch of ya grew a spark and changed your ways?” 

Flashwing snorted and shook his head.  “Not as much as we should have,” he admitted, finally dropping the accent.  “We knew the Mad Chief’s actions would turn the whole planet against us if the rebellion succeeded.  So we stopped wearing our insignia and speaking our accent when we were beyond our own walls.” 

The Wrecker had his arms folded, his expression a bit doubtful.  “Ya were still processor washing bots though, I bet.” 

“Yes…,” Flashwing admitted.  “Though we largely limited it to those that were to be a member’s Chosen…bondmate.” 

“Well, that explains why it took so long to find the last of your holes for extermination,” Wheeljack sneered.  “Though I wonder how you managed to avoid getting wiped out with the rest of them.” 

“Simple…I was in jail,” Flashwing replied bluntly.  “I was on my pilgrimage to find my Chosen…only my body chose poorly and I failed.” 

The Wrecker looked amused now.  “Lust wanted someone too high up power chain for you to handle or somethin’?” 

“Skywarp.” 

Wheeljack blinked at him, clearly shocked.  Then he burst out laughing.  “Ya tried to convince a member of a command trine!?” he got out between laughs.  “And Starscream’s Command trine at that!?  No wonder ya failed!” 

Yes…no wonder indeed.  He had been a fool, but he was going by what his body was telling him.  Lust…that was what Wheeljack called it.  Flashwing now understood just how fleeting lust could be…it wasn’t lasting, and it only brought misery. 

“What’s going on here?”  Berylstar’s voice came from the doorway. 

Flashwing sighed with resignation.  Now it was time for Berylstar to find out the full extent of his sins….

Chapter Text

Since his room was a bit crowded with four mechs in it, they opted to relocate into the living room.  Flashwing sat in a corner while Rustshift and Wheeljack filled Berylstar in on what happened thus far.  So far, it seemed the helo was more disturbed about Flatwheel’s actions than anything else. 

“I’ll send a message to Jazz about him,” Berylstar sighed.  “Perhaps CC Prowl as well.  Regardless of who we have and his history, that is inappropriate behavior from one their ranks.” 

“Considerin’ a good bulk of the Enforcer caste have gone corrupt, I wouldn’t be surprised if Flatwheel wasn’t the only spook agent that went rogue as well,” Wheeljack grumbled.  “Though I am not clear on why he is so ‘interested’ in him.” 

“Flatwheel and I have a…history,” Flashwing offered softly.  “So am hoping his acts are more personal than…political.” 

“What did ya do to get his ire?”  For once the Wrecker’s tone wasn’t hostile toward him, just curious. 

“While I was working for Spec Ops as an interrogator, he seemed infatuated with me…kept following me around, acting like quite the fanboy,” Flashwing explained.  “I honestly hated him…as he kept getting in my way.  Turned out…it was all an act, a very convincing one that he only dropped once I was put in the slave pit with the Cons.  He showed up to get a special formula from me.  One I developed for use in interrogation:  Screaming Pain.” 

“That’s the formula that cured Berylstar?” Rustshift asked. 

He nodded.  “It was originally designed to chemically induce pain on a subject…the pain level increasing over a few days before finally tapering off,” he elaborated.  “Most bots couldn’t withstand it for more than a day before I had to administer the antidote.  Either due to their frames starting to crash or they mentally snapped and essentually sold their sparks to me.” 

“Primus…I didn’t think Prowl and co would allow that level of cruelty….,” Wheeljack stated, optics wide before his expression hardened.  “Ya enjoyed every minute of that…didn’t ya?” 

Flashwing looked away.  “Then…yes.  Now?”  He sighed.  “I am conflicted.  A part of me knows I was doing my part for the war…the other…recognizes I was only doing so for my own benefit…and that part makes me uncomfortable now.” 

“Why?  Just because you now went through what your kind put so many through?” 

“Essentially.  And I’d argue that what was done to me was worse, but I suppose that is a matter of perspective and individual experience.  I can say this:  I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone.” 

The Wrecker made a doubtful noise.  “You’re sayin’ the right things, but I’m still not convinced you are being legit on this ‘reformed’ business.” 

“Is that due to Wrecker stubbornness…or your personal grudge against anyone that bears that insignia?” 

Wheeljack was giving him a look.  “Perhaps a bit of both.” 

“And perhaps it is time you both explained what this grudge…feud…is all about,” Berylstar spoke up.  “From the beginning.”

Chapter Text

From the beginning, Berylstar had said.  Well, for them to understand fully, they needed to know what the Siren’s stood for. 

“The Sirens were originally formed during the Cataclysm,” Flashwing started.  “We had discovered that bonding with another strengthened both and thus we decreed everyone should have a bondmate, otherwise we are not ‘whole’.” 

He went on to explain how they believed everyone had a true bondmate out there for them.  That killing someone potentially robbed someone of that bondmate, thus killing was not allowed.  The unfortunate fact that when someone lost their bondmate, they were considered only ‘half’ of what they once were…and not allowed to bond again.  He also mentioned they listened to their instinct, their bodies, over anything else when making decisions, especially when it came to choosing a bondmate. 

“Though we chose to remain isolated, we were aware of much of the conflict and strife that plagued the planet back then,“ Flashwing continued.  “We felt that putting everyone under our banner would stop that.  Naturally not everyone agreed…thus that resulted in our…recruitment efforts and the ‘convincing’ methods Wheeljack told you about before.” 

“So at your core, you did not have ‘bad’ intentions,” Berylstar mused. 

“I believe the saying ‘the road to the Pit is paved with good intentions’ fits amply,” Flashwing grumbled, Wheeljack silently nodding.  “I see now how much like a cult we had become.  We started becoming more extreme in our methods of ‘convincing’, using methods that would be considered outright torture by greater society.  Those that escaped we hunted down and brought back for ‘reconvincing’.  Members that had the wrong ‘opinions’ were put through the same…and I suspect the worst offenders were…removed via loopholes in our ‘no killing’ policy.” 

“Considerin’ how ruthless your carrier could be?  Not surprised…,” Wheeljack commented, to which Flashwing flinched, but otherwise did not comment on that. 

“When it came to acquiring our ‘Chosen’…it could be…objectively…be even worse…,” Flashwing admitted softly.  “Those of us on our pilgrimage…would use any means necessary to obtain our Chosen.  Including…arranging the death of someone that had something we needed, or was otherwise ‘in the way’, to accomplish it.” 

Shadedash…you deserved better than what I had happen to you….  He was only thinking of himself then…on how that mech’s Spec Ops equipment would aid him in obtaining Skywarp.  So close…but he still failed…. 

.…Just like his Sire claimed he would. 

“So I see why the Wrecker’s would take issue with your tribe,” Berylstar stated.  “How did they learn of it?” 

“That is where I come in,” Wheeljack spoke up, the Wrecker then recounted how he was looking for a new home when he was approached by his tribe and when he tried to refuse, they captured him and attempted to ‘convince’ him otherwise.  It was only through help on the inside that he was able to escape:  one of the ‘traitors’ was known to him, but Flashwing had no idea their own medic back then had a hand in it. 

“I found and joined the Wreckers after that,” Wheeljack was saying.  “Told them everythin’ I knew about the Sirens.  When we prevented them from kidnappin’ a trio of bots on a pilgrimage to Iacon, those slaggers decided they wanted to attempt to absorb all of us.” 

What followed was quite a tale of sieges, trickery and, if he was honest, rather brilliant tactics on the Wrecker’s part.  Even after their tactician, Ebonscream, ended up being captured, the Wrecker’s had still been able to mount a rather effective rescue.  

“Some of us wanted to wipe them out even then, but Ebonscream wanted to give them a chance to change, to see their errors of their ways,” Wheeljack continued.  “Every skirmish with them he gave them the option of leavin’.  Many did…but many others were too far gone.  One way or the other, we were succeedin’ in reducin’ them to practically nothin’.  They were gettin’ desperate enough to kidnap sparklings from the arms of their carriers…which we naturally had to respond to.” 

“And that was the day you killed Flashwing’s carrier….?” Berylstar queried. 

Wheeljack was sighing a hint of regret on his face.  “It was supposed to be a non-lethal op, but things got outta hand,” he confessed.  “His carrier got particularly aggressive and I was…forced to kill him to save Ebony’s life.  Nearly lost my own head when his bondmate retaliated.  I was out for three days….”  The Wrecker looked his way.  “I think that’s the only reason you weren’t taken with the rest of the sparklings,” he stated.  “Ebony didn’t want to risk anymore casualties….” 

Flashwing nodded in acceptance.  Hearing this tale from a Wrecker’s perspective really added weight to his own realizations about his tribe.  Isolationists, ruthless and unwilling to compromise their stances for the most part.  If only…they had grown wise enough to cut out the bad parts and left in the good…. 

“Anyway,” Wheeljack continued.  “The only reason they weren’t wiped out sooner was because of those slaggin’ squids.” 

“The Quintessons?” Berylstar queried, to which both he and Wheeljack nodded.  “This goes into what was mentioned before, about how the Sirens became traitors to all of Cybertron?” 

“Yes,” Flashwing confirmed.  “Out of desperation, our Chief approached them for help.  In return for ‘aiding’ them in enforcement and certain ‘projects’ they forced the Wreckers to stop their hostilities.” 

“We were given a choice,” Wheeljack growled.  “Cease our campaign and to be ‘given’ the ‘gift of the T-Cog’, or continue and be considered outcasts, vigilantes.  Bots that would be hunted down and imprisoned or worse….” 

“Not much of a choice,” Rustshift muttered. 

“More like no choice at all….,” Wheeljack growled.  “And the Siren’s took full advantage of this alliance they had….” 

“We did…,” Flashwing admitted softly.  “Due to our arrangement…we had our ‘pick’ of new ‘initiates’…and the Quintessons even taught us new ‘techniques’ for the ‘convincing’ process.” 

“Do I even want to know?”  Wheeljack looked understandably worried…and disturbed. 

“No…you don’t….”  Flashwing shuddered.  Even back then, he found the thought of forcefully altering someone’s mind via technology to be disturbing.  “You already know what happened when the Quintesson’s treachery was unveiled.” 

Berylstar nodded.  “And thus we are where we are now,” he sighed.  “The question is, what now?” 

What now indeed.  From the look on Wheeljack’s face, Flashwing knew the Wrecker expected things to not go his way.  Neither did he. 

Both Berylstar and Rustshift were in deep thought and likely talking to each other on a private channel.  Flashwing knew whatever they decided would determine his fate.  With a soft sigh he slouched in his seat, resigned for whatever that fate was.  He recognized his owners were in a difficult position.  Side with him, they could lose their friendship with Wheeljack and likely every other Wrecker:  with the dicy political stance they were in, they couldn’t afford to lose allies.  On the other hand, they knew what his life was like prior to coming into their hands…and what it would likely be after.  Berylstar had mentioned before he hated needless suffering, so this had to be especially difficult for him. 

Several long moments passed, silence dominating the space around them.  Wheeljack had started shifting, looking anxious, eager even.  The Wrecker seemed so certain on what the outcome was going to be. 

Finally, Berylstar let out a long sigh. A decision made. 

“He has suffered enough,” came the answer, Rustshift nodding in agreement. 

“WHAT!?” came the predictable response from Wheeljack.

Chapter Text

Wheeljack looked furious.  His plating was flared out, arms and legs spread and partly bent as he glared in shock at Berylstar.  “Are ya kiddin’ me!?” he as crying.  

Flashwing was honestly surprised himself.  They were really willing to earn all the Wrecker’s ire over him? 

“Sending him back to the Pound, into the arms of another cruel Master, will not undo what he has done,” Berylstar countered, not backing down from the angry Wrecker.  “How much more will he have to endure before you think he had ‘paid his dues’?” 

“No Siren would suffer to live I had any say in the matter!” Wheejack’s voice was crackling with rage. 

“Is that Ebonscream would want?”  There was no harshness in the helo’s tone, only a calm curiosity. 

The Wrecker recoiled, taking a step back as his stance relaxed.  A look of pain crossed his face as he looked away.  Briefly.  “You forget,” he countered, glaring back at him with a mix of distain and sorrow.  “Ebonscream disappeared a long time ago…and with him…our desire to show mercy to ones such as him.” 

“But do you not still care about the values he once taught you?” Berylstar countered.  “Isn’t that why you still carry his sabers with you?” 

Wheeljack grunted but did not respond, only looked away, a pained look on his face.  His hands were clenching and unclenching, a debate clearly going on in his head.  When he finally looked back, he looked determined, but there was a hint of doubt as he stated.  “Our motto was ‘protect the little bot’.  Protect those that cannot defend themselves.  Is he really worth protectin’?” 

“He is wearing a slave collar,” Berylstar reminded him flatly.  “He is unable to protect himself even if he wanted to.  I am fairly certain he would be against slavery, would he not?  Slaves would be one’s to protect and set free?” 

There was snarl as Wheeljack sharply turned away.  His whole frame was tense and shaking, hands folded tightly into fists.  “Fine,” he growled through what sounded like clenched denta.  “Do what ya want with the fragger.”  He looked over his shoulder.  “But I warn ya…I will be keepin’ watch.  His kind love to manipulate bots…and if I see any sign…any that he’s turnin’ you two into new Sirens….”  

The threat was left unfinished, but it was obvious what he was meaning:  his life would be forfeit.  Wheeljack glared at him once more before storming to the front door and leaving.

Chapter Text

“Beryl…w-we may have just made some very dangerous enemies…,” Rustshift stated anxiously.  Flashwing had to agree with him.  One Wrecker was dangerous as is…but getting all of them torqued off?  

“It will depend on how much of an impact my words truly had,” Beryltstar countered.  “We’ll know for sure in three days….” 

“Huh?” That seemed to be a rather specific timetable. 

“Since he didn’t act on impulse right away, Wheeljack tends to take three days before calming down enough to really think about what happened,” Rustshift explained.  “He usually doesn’t talk to anyone before then.” 

Lovely.  So they have three days before they may have a whole bunch of Wrecker’s knocking on their door…wanting to rip him to pieces…. 

“Flash, are you hurt?” Berylstar asked, drawing his processor from thinking about his future doom.  The helo looked concerned, his optics looking over his frame. 

“He did rough you up a bit…,” Rustshift sighed. 

“My…minors ache a bit from being slammed onto the floor….,” Flashwing admitted as he rose to his feet. 

“I’ll give you a once over to ensure nothing was seriously damaged,” Berylstar offered. 

Should he really bother, since he will likely wind more than bruised if Wheeljack decided to end him anyway?  He still nodded anyway and followed the helo into the lab.  After a few moments, Rustshift joined them, handing him a new cube.  Flashwing sipped the cube gingerly while the examination continued. 

“Hmm, looks like the hydraulics on the minors were slightly overextended, but nothing too serious,” Berylstar announced when he was done.  “Should heal on its own, just avoid recharging on your back or putting any heavy pressure on them.” 

Flashwing nodded:  he preferred to recharge on his side or belly anyway. 

“By the way, Ratchet told me it will take a bit of time to restore your hands and wings,”  the helo commented.  “Your wings, naturally, will need to be rebuilt from scratch, but it appears it will be the same for your hands.” 

“I am not surprised, considering…,” Flashwing sighed.  There was always a point where replacement was more efficient than repair. 

“He wanted me to ask you if there were anything ‘special’ about either he should know about.  Exact wing dimensions are needed as well.” 

“There was,” Flashwing admitted.  “My claws were barbed and both tips of my wings were long and curved, like a crescent blade.  However….”  He looked at his stumps, imagining his old hands.  “Both of those were kind of…’signatures’ of my old life…my old identity, and I feel it would be best if I went with something different.” 

“A good idea,” Berylstar agreed.  “What did you have in mind?” 

“Basic seeker claws for my hands for one,” he replied, no point in being fancy on those.  “As for my wings…I’ll draw something up….um…” He looked between them.  “Some assistance needed…of course.” 

“Of course,” Berylstar said with a soft smile and a nod, Rustshift doing the same. 

After a bit of brainstorming, Flashwing opted for a simpler wingtip design, but same overall wing shape and color pattern.  Berylstar told him he would send this information to Ratchet right away so there would be as little delay as possible. 

He just hoped he lived long enough to enjoy the results….

Chapter Text

With the physical checkup and special order made, it was time for a wash.  The energon he spilled on himself had long dried, becoming tacky and sticky down there.  Very uncomfortable and…icky. 

Flashwing quickly discovered, however, that while the attachments enabled him to do a general wash, they were unable to reach into the nooks and crannies of his frame.  That wouldn’t do!  What was left of his seeker pride demanded full cleanliness!  So with a bit of embarrassment, he asked for assistance.  It was Berystar that answered the request. 

The moment the helo entered the stall with him though, he started feeling anxious.  It got worse when Berylstar touched him, his processor suddenly filling with memories of his time at the bordello and even the Pound.  Washracks…he was almost always raped there by the guards…then sprayed with ice cold solvent. 

No…this won’t be like then!  He tried to fight it, to push the memories away, but they were stronger than his will. 

“Flash?”  Berylstar was asking, concern in his tone.  The helo was just about to start scrubbing his thighs, thighs which were now trembling. 

His body was responding to the situation, expecting the same treatment as before.  He had no feeling in his valve, but he could tell he was getting aroused from the heat building in his modesty panel.  And with it, the distress and fear of being forcefully taken. 

Memories overwhelmed him now.  The clean washrack of his room replaced by the ones at the bordello.  Beside him was a leering guard, one filthy hand already on his frame, ready to roam…to touch him in ways he didn’t want. 

“P-please don’t…,” he whimpered.  A useless plea…as they did what they wanted anyway. 

Suddenly the touch went away, the guard backing up.  Why?  It’s not like they ever got into trouble for ‘using the goods’ themselves…. 

“Flashwing…it’s alright…,” the guard was saying.  “I won’t touch you unless you want me to…” 

His name…they never used his name.  Nor would they talk like that in general.  What was…. 

The imagery of the bordello went away, replaced by reality.  The guard disappeared, replaced by Berylstar, whom was looking at him with concern and sympathy.  Flashwing felt both relief and guilt. 

“I’m s-sorry,” he sobbed, sinking to the floor, tears leaking from his optics.  “I…I asked for your help but…but…I-I could only see…feel…what happened before…I had no control….” 

“I know…,” Berylstar stated softly, kneeling beside him.  “Do not feel ashamed over what just happened, Flashwing.”  A hand reached up and stroked his face.  “You’ve been through a lot of trauma…and it’s normal to experience flashbacks when certain conditions are met.  Time, therapy and patience, will be required to lessen their impact on day to day life.  We will do the best we can to provide that.” 

“Until I get my hands back…this may be a common occurrence…,” Flashwing sighed dejectedly, leaning against him. 

“Hmm, I think I know a work around in this case,” Berylstar commented as he encouraged him to stand up.  “Come, I think a bath instead of a shower may prove less traumatizing.  We have a tub in our washroom.” 

Flashwing wasn’t so sure about that….

Chapter Text

Flashwing gave himself a quick dry off before following the helo to his room, albeit a bit hesitantly.  That flashback was still fresh on his mind and he wasn’t so certain a bath wouldn’t trigger another one.  He hadn’t used a bathtub since…sparklinghood…now that he thought about it.  So perhaps this wouldn’t trigger such a memory…at least of that kind.  

He had only a quick glance into his owner’s berthroom before, and, if he was honest with himself, felt a little disappointed seeing in full now.  The room was rather ordinary, no sign of any kinky habits here.  Unless the ‘supplies’ were kept in storage until needed.  

Why do I keep thinking they have some kind of kink?  He shook his head, mentally scolding himself for thinking such things. 

Then he saw the washroom. 

By the AllSpark…that tub was huge!  An average sized bot could almost swim in it!  A minicon definitely could! 

“Why such a huge tub?” Flashwing asked before he could stop himself.  Perhaps Rustshift uses it to practice using aquatic forms? 

“Ah….” There was a mix of fondness and a slight embarrassment in Berylstar’s tone.  “We like taking baths together…though sometimes….”  He cleared his vocalizer.  “Nevermind…give me a moment to get it ready.” 

So they did have a kink!  Flashwing’s processor was already going into the gutter. Throwing up images of those two in that thing, covered in suds, caressing and…. 

No no no! Stop it!  He shook his head.  Getting charged up was not a good idea right now!  Frag, he was still slightly charged from before, to increase it would put him in a very awkward situation. 

Since his valve was wrecked and spike deactivated, he couldn’t self-pleasure every easily.  Well, technically he couldn’t at all since he had no hands.  He would have to have another do it for him…. 

No.  Frag no!  That’s too embarrassing!  He would never ask his owners to do such a thing for him! 

“Flash?”  He jumped at Berylstar’s voice.  “It’s ready.  Go ahead and step in.” 

“I…OK,” Flashwing stammered, fighting to keep himself from blushing.  At least the charge he was gone now…. 

“Are you alright?” 

“I-I’m fine!” he said quickly as he stepped closer to the tub, Berylstar giving him a soft smile in response.  Last thing he wanted was for the helo to have any hint of what he had just been thinking about!   He had no idea if they would be offended, or worse, by that knowledge. 

With a sigh, Flashwing looked into the tub, seeing his broken reflection upon the rippling surface of the solvent within.  He found himself transfixed by its rippling surface and his broken reflection…. 

“Flash?” 

Flashwing jumped, making a startled cry.  “S-Sorry…,” he stammered.  “I….”  He swallowed, feeling embarrassed.  “I guess I was fascinated by how my own reflection looked…at how the surface is unstable, so easily disturbed…scattering…breaking…the image upon it.  A rather perfect match for my life….” 

Berylstar was making a thoughtful noise.  “There’s no such thing as perfection,” he began.  “All things have flaws, imperfections.  That includes our own lives.  Many lives become dirtied, warped…broken…by the events we experience.  However….”  He gently pulled him away from the tub slightly.  “If given enough time and patience…”  The helo gestured toward the surface:  he noticed it was gradually stilling, the reflection becoming less distorted and broken until it was a near perfect mirror image.  “Even the most broken life can be put back together again.” 

Flashwing could only stare in awed stunned silence….

Chapter Text

It took a moment for Flashwing to get his processor working enough to formulate a response. 

“Y-you really think there is such hope for me?” he finally was able to asked. 

“There is hope for everyone,” Berylstar replied.  “You just need to know where to look for it.”  That smile was on his face again.  “But you need to have just as much faith in yourself as we do in you.” 

Flashwing looked away, uncertain.  Faith in himself?  That had been largely chased out of him by years of put downs, rejections and the torture he most recently endured.  There was a hope there…he could feel it.  A desire to change his fate, to have that better life where he is wanted and loved. 

“Come on,” Berylstar was saying, a gentle hand lightly pushing against his back.  Encouraging him to get in.  “Before the solvent gets cold.” 

He really had delayed this longer than he should have, hadn’t he?  With a sigh he carefully stepped in, Berylstar providing a steadying hand.  The solvent was just the right temperature, just hot enough for it to be relaxing, but not burning.  Being immersed like this was odd at first, then it became somewhat…familiar.  A soothing feeling similar to how it felt when he was being embraced by both Rustshift and Berylstar. 

No…deeper…further than that.  Something primal even…like… 

…being his carrier’s gestational chamber. 

Flashwing missed his carrier so much!  If he hadn’t been killed…his life would have been so much better! 

Right? 

He wasn’t so sure now, after hearing things from Wheeljack’s perspective.  It was heavily implied his carrier was a horrible, devious and cruel mech.  Someone he recognized he had become in his own way, a mech he wanted to leave buried in the past where it belonged. 

Flashwing jumped, then tensed slightly when he felt a hand upon his back.  Looking, he saw it was just Berylstar, preparing to start scrubbing his back.  The helo was smiling at him reassuringly, silently asking for permission.  Flashwing nodded, giving permission to proceed. 

He was still tense as he felt Berystar start running the scrubber over his back.  His touch was firm, but gentle without that slow, unwanted intimate caress he had gotten so used to receiving in the past.  He started to relax, his feeling of safety increasing. 

When the helo reached his more intimate places on his chassis, he was quick, but thorough.  Showing his professionalism as a former practitioner of medicine.  By the time Berylstar was finished, Flashwing was fully relaxed, a light purr emitting from his vocalizer. 

Perhaps too relaxed.  He was actually half-way into recharge as Berylstar drained the tub.  He barely comprehended being lifted out and dried.  The next thing he was aware of, he was back in his own berth, Berylstar wishing him a good night. 

Well now…he certain wouldn’t mind a repeat of that experience….

Chapter Text

It’s been two days since the incident with Wheeljack.  Between the unknown of what the Wrecker will ultimately do and Flatwheel’s threat, Flashwing hadn’t been able to relax much.  He should be making the most of what time he may have left, but all his processor kept wanting to do was imagine the many horrible ways he may be about to die. 

Berylstar had noticed how tense he had been.  Today he had him helping him revise a chemical formula after restoring his upper arm armor: yesterday he got his forearm armor back.  It was a welcome distraction, even if he was still a little rusty on the subject matter.  Perhaps being washed again in the tub would be a better distraction, but he didn’t want to impose…. 

“It’s about time to refuel,” Berylstar was saying after a few hours had passed.  “Why don’t you grab yourself a cube.  I’ll join you in a moment after cleaning up.” 

Flashwing nodded and left the lab. He paused in shock to see all the furniture had been shoved to the sides of the room.  The only thing in the middle was a rust and electric blue colored chair:  Rustshift.  What was the shifter up to?  Practicing or something?  Shrugging his shoulders, he continued walking toward the kitchen. 

:Oh Berrryyyyl!: Rustshift suddenly cooed in Basic.  “Up for something new?” 

Flashwing stopped and glanced his way.  Did he not have his visual feeds in that form or something?  Were his audio receptors glitching?  The helo had a heavier step than he did by far…. 

:Flash’s crack about a kink got me thinking!:  Rustshift continued, clearly oblivious on who he was talking to. 

Oh no.  This can’t be going the way he thought it was.  Flashwing was about to say something when a rather impressive spike suddenly ‘shifted’ into the seat portion of the chair.  Whatever he was going to say died in his intake. 

Damn…that’s….  No, no…Rustshift belonged to Berylstar…he will not think like that!  It was bad enough he kept imagining those two ‘together’ on his own.  Especially after Berylstar implied on what they got up to in that tub of theirs…. 

:No?  Perhaps too big for a first try?  How about this?:  The spike’s gerth became smaller, but ringed with bumps.  :Or how about really getting ‘screwed’?:  It was now curling in a spiral shape as a rather childish giggle was emitted.  :As you know, I have a vibration function!:  A faint buzz could be heard as the spike started…vibrating. 

Dear sweet Primus he can change the shape of his spike at will!?  Flashwing shouldn’t have been surprised…Rustshift was a shifter after all.  Yet, still, his jaw was hanging open in shock…and his processor was swimming with- 

No!  Stop that!  He shook his head and forced himself to look away. 

Another giggle.  :Did I make you go all speechless, my love?: Rustshift was purring. 

“Not at all, my dear,” Berylstar spoke up behind him.  

Flashwing nearly jumped out of what armor he had as he spun around to see the helo standing there, arms folded across his chest with an amused smirk on his face. 

“Unfortunately, I find this concept to be a bit creepy…,” Berystar confessed with a sigh and shake of his head. 

:Awww…..:  Rustshift sounded rather disappointed.  The spike stopped vibrating and seemed to deflate a bit. 

“Don’t be disappointed,” Berylstar cooed.  “Flashwing seemed to enjoy your little ‘show’.” 

There was silence for a several seconds as he felt his face go hot. 

:Flashwing’s in here?: Rustshift hesitantly asked. 

“He is…you mistook him for me.”  The helo was chuckling, a bemused smirk on his face as Flashwing’s blush deepened.  “You really should ‘check your targets’ before engaging.”  That smirk was now a full-on grin. 

Silence reigned for a few more seconds as it sunk in.  Then the shifter transformed back into default mode so quickly he fell on his aft.  “Oh Primus!  I’m so sorry!” he cried, his face nearly as blue as the blue on his color scheme, a mortified expression on his face. 

That look on his face…. 

Flashwing couldn’t stop himself: he started laughing.  Laughed so hard his abdomen started to ache, tears streaking down his cheeks.  Berylstar was looking on with a happy amused smile on his face, while Rustshift looked rather horrified and embarrassed. 

“Why…why so s-sorry!?”  Flashwing managed to gulp out between laughs.  “I…I not good looking enough for you?”  He had to sit down.  Oh Primus, his sides ached! 

“N-no…quite the contrary…,” Rustshift muttered shyly. 

Huh…what?  It took a moment for that to sink in and what giggle fit he was still in ceased.  “What did you just-?” he started to ask before he was interrupted by rough knock on the door….

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“Who could that be?” Flashwing muttered as they all looked at the door, Rustshift scrambling to his feet.  Sounded too high to be Wheeljack, but who’s to say it wasn’t a different Wrecker?  Then again, it hadn’t been three days yet…. 

“Scrap…it’s about that time,” Berylstar muttered grimly.  “Flash, kneel by the…um….”  He was looking toward where the couch used to be.  “By the entrance to our room.  Keep your gaze low and don’t speak unless spoken to, alright?”  A pause, then he added.  “Oh, you’ll need to open your modesty panel as well.” 

Flashwing swallowed dryly as he complied.  Definitely not Wreckers as he doubted they would even bother giving him such instructions if it was them.  He didn’t have much time to ponder on what was going on before one of them opened the door. 

“Inspector,” Berylstar greeted with a hint of distain.  “Is it that time again so soon?” 

An inspector?  Oh.  Realization clicked in his head.  They were no doubt sent by Sentinel to ensure Berylstar wasn’t breaking his rules. 

“Perhaps not soon enough,” a stuck-up sounding femme replied.  Flashwing had to resist the temptation to look up at the newcomer and keep his gaze affixed to the floor.  “What is going on here?” 

“Ah, do forgive the mess!  We were just rearranging the living room,” Rustshift explained quickly.  “Always a good idea to change things up a bit!” 

“I see….”  She sounded unimpressed.  “Let’s get this over with, then, shall we?” 

From the limited field of view he was currently allowed, he could just see the inspector start exploring the house.  Checking each room and every nook and cranny for illegal equipment.  It didn’t take long for her to notice him. 

“I was not informed that you had purchased a slave,” she commented, a hint of surprise in her tone.  He barely suppressed a flinch when she stopped in front of him, knelt down, reached out and lifted up his chin.  She was the ugliest looking femme he had ever seen!  All blocky and huge, face looking like it was chewed on by a scraplet and a neon green and orange paint scheme.  

“Oh…it’s him….”  She had an expression of distaste as she looked toward his owners.  “Why would you buy this one?” 

“Since I am forbidden to conduct experiments on physical ailments, I decided to focus the mental,” Berylstar explained.  “You could say I decided to start with a particularly challenging case right off.” 

The Inspector looked displeased.  “You are stretching the limits of what you are allowed, Berylstar,” she stated flatly as she let him go and stood to face the helo. 

“I am well aware of my…limitations, Inspector,” Berylstar countered, Flashwing hearing a slight hardened edge to his tone.  “Mental treatments do not often require operations.” 

There was a snort of disappointment.  “Point taken.  What became of his armor?” 

“It was badly damaged by his previous owners,” Berylstar responded honestly.  “I am gradually having it repaired by my colleagues when they have the time and resources available.” 

A disapproving noise.  “Why bother with one such as him?” 

“A slave that cannot work is useless,” Berylstar stated flatly.  “Which he cannot in his current state, aside from looking ‘pretty’.” 

A snort.  “Very well…but so long as the brand is not removed:  Sentinel had that given to him for a reason.” 

“We are restoring only what is needed,” the helo said reassuringly. 

There was a huff, though Flashwing couldn’t tell if that was of disapproval or acceptance.  “Let us continue…I’ve wasted enough time as is.”

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Flashwing could only kneel in place, acting completely submissive, while the Inspector went into each room.  There was some questioning from the femme when she searched his room, but Berylstar was able to convince her that he was only allowed to use it when he was being especially good.  After that, she and Berylstar disappeared into the lab. 

“Does this happen often?”  Flashwing asked Rustshift once the blast door was closed behind them. 

“Once every few months, between one and three months on average,” Rustshift replied with a sigh.  “She’s actually bit ‘late’ this time.  Trying to catch us off guard, I suspect.  I worry her visits will become more frequent now that she knows you’re here.” 

Flashwing sighed himself.  “At the very least, that she didn’t know I was here suggests that Flatwheel wasn’t spreading his knowledge about my new owners around to ‘certain’ parties.” 

“At least her department,” Rustshift agreed.  “However, looks like that brand will be staying now:  we had originally planned to get rid of it….” 

“Can’t be helped…unless we think of a way to trick such parties in that regard.” 

“Something to processorstorm with Beryl later on then,” Rustshfit mused with a nod. 

A moment of silence passed between them.  “Hey…Rust…,” Flashwing started to ask softly.  “What you said about me earlier…did you mean that?” 

“You mean about you looking good?”  A nod.  “I did.” 

Flashwing looked at the shifter in disbelief.  “How could you possibly find me attractive?” He was missing most of his armor for Pit’s sake!  Unless the shifter did have a protoform fetish…. 

“There is more to a bot than one’s appearance,” Rustshfit answered with a smile as he knelt beside him. 

“But the things I’ve done…,” he countered, hardly able to believe what he is hearing.

“Oh Flash… it is not who you were that matters to me, it is who you are now and will become in the future.”  A hand reached out and stroked his cheek.  “There is a beautiful mech inside of you that is only just starting to show hints of itself.  One we both wish to see more of and thrive.” 

Flashwing leaned against that hand, tears welling up in his optics.  Even after all they had learned about him, they still wished to help him.  Perhaps a hint of more than that?  Is this want it felt like to be fully accepted no matter what his flaws were? 

He didn’t know how to feel about this…. 

The tender moment was ruined when the lab door opened.  Rustshift suddenly grabbed him by the back of the head and forced it toward the floor. 

“I told you not to move!” the shifter was growling at him. 

Flashwing was briefly shocked and confused, but quickly caught on.  “Ah!  Forgive me, Master!” he cried. 

“You’ll be sleeping on the floor tonight!”  Flashwing gave his best pathetic sorrowful whine in response. 

“Some training still required, I see,” the Inspector was muttering as she and Berylstar headed for the front door. 

“As I mentioned before, I chose a challenging case,” Berylstar commented.  

The Inspector snorted.  “I will visit again soon,” she stated as she was let out. 

Once they were certain she was gone, Rustshift let Flashwing up and pulled him into a hug, muttering apologies in his audio.  Berylstar joined him and he was now surrounded by their comforting warmth. 

That warmth, however, was dimmed by the reminder that while he was seen as an equal by his owners…. 

…to everyone else he was just a slave.

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Once more he found himself having trouble focusing. 

Flashwing set the datapad down and sighed, one arm reaching up to rub his face.  He stopped himself just before he would have poked an optic out with the attachment.  After staring at the thing for a few seconds, he dropped it down to his lap and breathed out another sigh. 

The feel of a hand on his shoulder made him jump slightly.  He looked up to see Berylstar looking down at him, a concerned look on his face.  “What’s on your processor?” he asked.  “You’ve been moping about since the inspection.” 

“The events of yesterday…were a bitter reminder of my place in life,” Flashwing replied simply as the helo sat down beside him on the couch.  “How I am nothing beyond these walls…and sometimes even within them…because of this.”  He poked at the slave collar. 

“I would take that off you if I could,” Berylstar admitted with a sigh.  “However, they are designed to release an ‘emergency beacon’ in the event of tampering or sudden deactivation.  The slave masters would know immediately and come running.” 

“Well that makes me feel a lot better…,” Flashwing grumbled sarcastically.  “Granted, even if you could…everyone and their grandsire knows my name and face by now.  I’d have to completely change my looks and identity to even have a chance at freedom….” 

“Perhaps, someday you won’t need to go to such an extreme,” Berylstar stated softly.  “You already know there are those that do not like the current status quo.  There are other ‘masters’ that treat their ‘slaves’ with the kindness and respect they deserve.” 

“But there are just as many that treat their slaves like trash,” Flashwing reminded him bitterly.  “Just because they can….” 

“Sadly, there will always be bots like that,” the helo admitted with a sad sigh.  “And until Optimus is able to take his rightful place, there’s not much mechs like us can do about them.” 

“And that may take a while…Sentinel has such a stranglehold….” 

“But the tighter he squeezes…the more bots will awaken to reality and start to fight back.” 

“You think another war may start?”  Flashwing asked with some concern. 

“I don’t think our population…or Cybertron…can handle another war so soon and I believe Optimus knows this,” Berylstar countered.  “I think a coup is more likely.  It is still too early to tell, however, and Rust and I are kept out of the loop for obvious reasons.” 

Flashwing nodded in understanding.  That hideous looking inspector femme would no doubt tell Sentinel of anything suspicious happening here.  Especially now that they knew these two had him, a known traitor. 

“Yet, knowing the risks, you still wish to help me….” 

“It’s the right thing to do.”  Berylstar had reached over and started rubbing the back of his head.  “For more than one reason.”  

So there was more to this than out of the kindness of their sparks?  Curious.

Chapter Text

They were both silent for a few moments.  Berylstar was in deep thought, his hand no longer rubbing the back of his head.  Much to Flashwing’s disappointment. 

Flashwing, himself, wondering about what else would drive these two to take such risks with him.  Well, Rustshift did admit to being attracted to him, but surely that was just him, right?  Surely Berylstar wasn’t as well…. 

“By the way, Rustshift told me you spoke with an accent that one day…,” Berylstar spoke up, snapping him out of his train of thought. 

His accent?  Oh yeah…he did.  Stress and fear had resulted in that slip into it then.  He slowly nodded in conformation. 

“Can I hear it?” 

He looked at him, uncertain.  Rustshift had already heard plenty of it during the encounter with Wheeljack, so it’s only fair?  “For obvious reasons,” he stated slipping into it.  His voice no longer sounding oily but melodic instead.  “I don’t like speaking it.  It has so many negative associations with it now…tha’ it would be death sentence if spoken in front of wrong people.” 

“A shame….”  Berylstar was stroking his cheek now, Flashwing leaning into it on reflex, his optics drifting half-closed. “It’s a beautiful accent.” 

“Certain parties would disagree with you…,” he sighed. 

“Still, I would like to hear it more often…when those ‘certain parties’ are not present of course.”  There was an almost cheeky grin on his face. 

“Perhaps I could do so…if you tell me wha’ other reason you are helping me besides out of kindness of your sparks.” This was technically bribery, a slight slip into old habits, but just once shouldn’t hurt…right? 

The helo was chuckling.  “A more recent realization, to be honest,” Berylstar replied.  “Have you noticed how warm we are to you?” 

“I have,” Flashwing admitted.  “But I didn’t think it meant anything significant….” 

“It does, actually, and it’s the reason Rust and I still haven’t bonded.”  The helo paused for a moment, as if ensuring he worded this right.  “That warmth is a sign of high spark compatibility.”

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Flashwing could only stare.  Surely, he misheard.  Him?  Compatible with them both!?  That wasn’t supposed to be possible! 

Right? 

“Granted, that particular sign is also a symptom for other, less benign conditions,” Berylstar admitted, no doubt seeing his look of disbelief.  “Cerulean Fever, for example.  So we confirmed our suspicions by performing a spark scan on you while you were in stasis that one day.” 

“Th-tha’…goes against everything my tribe told me about bonding…,” Flashwing managed, his processor still feeling like it was spinning.  “We believed we were only meant for one other, but you are saying I may have two intended mates!?” 

“Your tribe’s beliefs formed during a time when everyone was rather ignorant on many things,” Berylstar explained.  “As society…and knowledge…grew and developed, we learn new things and such beliefs change and adjust, though some stubbornly cling to the old beliefs.  The Sirens were clearly one of the latter.” 

“And I was stubborn in tha’ regard as well,” Flashwing agreed with a slight nod.  “I knew already tha’ bots not par’ of our tribe liked to ‘spread their sparks around’…which I found disgusting…abhorrent, unnatural even.  Part of me still finds idea…uncomfortable….” 

“I understand.”  Berylstar’s hand was now on his shoulder.  “Especially now that we both know the particulars of your history.  While we are excited at the prospect of having a third, we both understand that it will be some time before you are ready for such a leap, so we are not going to pressure or force you into it.  It is fully your choice.” 

“I’m fairly certain bonding with slave is illegal to begin with,” Flashwing muttered.  “Why ever would you wan’ to bond with someone like me, compatible or not?” 

“Because we both see something in you we like very much.  A beauty that is only beginning to shine through.” 

It was the same thing Rustshift had told him, only in a different way. 

Still, it brought him to tears and Berylstar hugged him while he let them flow.

Chapter Text

Flashwing had a lot to think about lately.  Different…conflicting things.  Some of which he was still having a hard time grasping fully.  Currently, he was laying back on his berth, mulling over all of it, trying to sort it out.  Not much else he could do, as he was alone.  After restoring his thigh armor, the two told him they were going out for a bit.  To do what, he didn’t know. 

Berylstar and Rustshift…they wanted to bond with him?  They barely knew him!  How foolish were they to desire something like that so soon. 

But…didn’t he try the same with Skywarp?  Who was he to talk?  These two at least appeared to be giving him the space to work it out if he wanted to or not on his own.  They also implied that they would back off he if he said ‘no’.  But would they really?  He was a slave, after all.  This whole thing could be a part of some twisted sexual fantasy of theirs. 

Though, neither had shown any indication that this was the case.  They both came off as rather genuine in their intentions.  He wasn’t sure how he felt about it overall.  Grateful for certain, but can, should, that turn into something more?  A bond was not something that should be taken lightly:  that, at least, was something his own tribe agreed with greater society on.  It was something he will have to carefully consider as time passed:  he didn’t want to try to rush things like he tried to do with Skywarp. 

Hanging like a damn blade over that though was unknowns Flatwheel and Wheeljack.  Wheeljack, at least, was a known, familiar threat.  Though that none of them had heard from the Wrecker in nearly a week now was slightly worrying. 

Flatwheel?  His intention to get Screaming Pain from him seemed good willed, even if his methods of obtaining it were not.  Yet, that he kept track of what was going on with him, watching him suffer...why?  For what purpose? 

It couldn’t be just because he tried to basically damn the whole Autobot faction by offering up their codes to Megatron.  Could it?  Was Flatwheel’s infatuation with him really just an act, or was he really attracted to him?  Only for that attraction to turn into bitterness and hatred deep enough to try to ensure he always suffered? 

He didn’t know…and he wished he hadn’t been so ‘stuck up’ and actually got to know the grounder better at the time:  he may have a better idea on what Flatwheel would do.  Perhaps he kept shoving Flatwheel away, due to being so used to being shoved away, put down and rejected himself.  By his Sire, his tribe…Skywarp.  

To be accepted so fully by these Berylstar and Rustshift despite everything felt so…alien. 

A rumble in his tank told him it was time to refuel.  He got up and started to head for the kitchen to get some energon.  As he walked through the living room, he noticed the front door seemed slightly open. 

Odd…he was certain his owners had closed and locked it when they left.  Did they return home and he just didn’t notice?  No, they always announced they came back…. 

It had just dawned on him on what it likely meant when his collar suddenly went off.  With a scream, Flashwing fell to the floor, convulsing in pain.  After several long seconds, the shocks finally stopped and a familiar blue and yellow grounder decloaked in front of him. 

“Leaving a slave unattended…and unsecured…,” Flatwheel was purring.  Flashwing was just able to look up to see the Spec Ops agent had a collar control device in one hand.  “I’m very sure that is against Sentinel’s rules….”

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Flashwing was helpless and alone, with no idea on how long it would be until his owners returned.  He was at Flatwheel’s mercy until either they came home, or the agent got bored of whatever he intending to do.  From that grin on his face, and the fact that he was shocked for no reason, he could tell Flatwheel wasn’t here for ‘pleasantries’, at least of the kind he would enjoy…. 

“Wh-why are you here?” Flashwing managed to gasp once the pain had faded enough.  The first response was another shock, forcing him to cry out in pain once more. 

“Tsk…these two don’t know how to train a slave do they?” Flatwheel sighed with disappointment.  “You don’t speak unless spoken to!” 

Flashwing just snarled at him, earning him another shock. 

“So many breeches in slave protocol!” Flatwheel grumbled with distain, nudging him onto his side with a foot.  “A room to yourself?  With a comfortable berth?  Do they actually believe you deserve such privileges?” 

“That’s for them to decide, not-!”  He clenched his jaw shut to keep himself from screaming again as the collar was set off once more. 

“What did I say about talking?”  The agent sneered.  “And look…you have your modesty panel closed!  That’s against the rules too!  Though…I may ‘forgive’ that if you opened it right now….” 

“Frag you….” 

He was expecting another shock, but it didn’t come.  Instead, Flatwheel was looking him over with a leering grin. 

Oh no…. 

“I must say, Flashy…your appearance has greatly improved since I saw you last,” Flatwheel was saying, kneeling now.  “I think it could be improved more though….” 

“Don’t you dare touch me!” Flashwing hissed, attempting to scramble away.  Flatwheel halted his progress by placing a foot upon his back. 

“Oh look, I’m touching you…what are you going to do about it?”  the grounder asked with giggle.  Then he laughed as he added.  “Oh, that’s right…you can’t do anything!” 

The weight on his back increased as Flatwheel leaned down and showed him something.  “Do you remember this?” Flatwheel asked.  

Flashwing’s optics widened in shock and horror.  It was an armor carving tool; one he had used himself as an interrogator many times.  What the rogue agent intended to do with it was all too clear.  “No! Please!” he begged.  There wasn’t much armor on him to begin with! 

“Ah, now that’s more like it…,” Flatwheel cooed, but then he felt the tip of that tool start pressing against one of his minor wings.  “But you didn’t call me ‘Master’….”

Chapter Text

Flashwing trembled and shook as Flatwheel cut deeply into his minor wing.  Tears of pain and despair streamed down his face, but he refused to scream.  No, he would not give that mad bot that satisfaction!  Nor would he call him ‘Master’ like he demanded. 

“So stubborn…,” Flatwheel was remarking as he scored another deep cut.  “So resistant to knowing your place….” 

To be completely subservient, his will to think and make his own choices completely gone?  No thank you!  Been there, done that! 

“When you first joined us…,” Flatwheel started to ramble.  “I could tell no one wanted you around…that no one trusted you.  Not even Prowl, not fully anyway.  So I tried to be your friend…” 

Flashwing hadn’t wanted to be close to anyone then.  Not in the genuine sense anyway.  Anyone he had dealt with was just a means to an end.  Someone to use and manipulate to get what he wanted…. 

“But you clearly hated me…wanted nothing to do with me…”  There was a soft ‘thunk’ as a piece of his minor wing hit the floor.  Flashwing lamented over how much Berylstar was going to need to repair him after this.  Provided he was still online by the time either Flatwheel ‘finished’ or his owners came home…. 

Your chipper attitude was nauseating!  He wanted to say, but he didn’t trust himself to not scream instead as the mech started carving up the other minor wing.

 “Yet I still tried!  Even managed to convince Prowl to give you higher access to our systems, just to prove my worth to you….” 

Yeah…he remembered that.  It was just what he wanted back then…. 

“And how did you repay my kindness?”  Flashwing was roughly kicked onto his back, feeling a flash of pain from his damaged minors.  “You went and tried to trade off our codes to the Cons!”  The tool was jabbed into his modesty panel and he barely managed to suppress the scream into something that sounded more like a growl.  “You selfish unappreciative piece of scraplet meal!” 

“Perhaps if you had taken the hint from the start,” he growled out through clenched denta.  “That wouldn’t have happened!” 

“Oh but I couldn’t do that…,” Flatwheel replied with a sigh.  “You of all bots should know that…” 

He quirked an optic ridge.  What was he…. 

Flatwheel smirked at him.  “You really couldn’t tell…could you?” he taunted.  “Of course…you were in jail for such a long time before Prowl put you on probation…and our rules of no contact on top of that….” 

No…it couldn’t be.  His optics started to widen in shock.  He was lying…he had to be! There was no way! 

That smirk turned into a grin.  When he spoke again, it was in a very familiar accent, confirming his suspicions….

Chapter Text

“I was only sparkling when you left on pilgrimage, Flashwing,” Flathwheel stated, now speaking in the Siren accent. “You were in jail when I started mine. Long did I search, using my role in Spec Ops to aid me…but no one made my body sing for them. Until I saw you.”

So everything he did then was because he had been ‘Chosen’ by him!? Flashwing felt his tank churn in disgust in response.

“I didn’t know you were one of us then…still didn’t know until I used CPP on you,” Flatwheel confessed. “I understood then why you rejected me: your body had chosen another.”

“Then why are you….” Why…why was he being so sore over this?

“Cursed offspring,” the Siren stated flatly. “Your Sire repeatedly complained about you while you gone. Kep’ saying if you hadn’t been created, his mate would still be alive. Saying how useless you were…tha’ you were afront to their lineage. So reviled were you…tha’ no one spoke of you by your name. All because actions you toke before you left…actions tha’ ultimately resulted in our doom.”

Flashwing shook his head. “It was the Mad Chief’s decision to try to protect those squids during the rebellion that turned all of society against us!”

Flatwheel grabbed him by the throat hard enough to where he was starting to see spots in his vision. “Perhaps more of us would have survived if you hadn’t decided to eliminate wha’ moral compass Wre’ger’s had!”

There was only one bot Flatwheel could be talking about…and he was wrong about that. Had to be!

“I didn’t touch Ebonscream!” Flashwing choked out. “I didn’t kill anyone…directly or otherwise, until I was on my pilgrimage!”

“So incompetent…,” Flatwheel sneered. “Your Sire told me tha' when you sent squids after traitor…they snapped up Ebonscream with them!”

“Wha….” Oh Primus…he hadn’t thought of that. Ebonscream was a frequent contact for the traitor….

“Without him, Wre’gers had no one to hold back their savagery!” Flatwheel snapped. “With him, we had chance at mercy…but because of you, there was none.”

“How was I supposed to know he was the only-erk!” His protest was cut short when Flatwheel squeezed his throat harder.

“Ignorance is no excuse,” Flatwheel growled, reaching down to grip the armor carving tool. “I could have saved you from life of pain and suffering, but after what I learned…I am ashamed my body even wanted you!” He pressed on the tool, forcing the blade to sink into his panel down to the hilt. Flashwing squirmed from both the pain and the decreased energon flow to his processor.

“Now I see you not only have comfortable life, despite being slave,” Flatwheel continued, finally letting go of his neck. “But is has become apparent you no longer consider yourself Siren…You know wha’ we do to deserters!”

“And what? Torture me…try to convince me I’m wrong?” Flashwing spat, once the rush of energon back into his head stopped causing the room to spin. “I’ve been through the Pit and back…and with it I’ve seen how wrong the Sirens were! There is nothing you can do to me that will convince me to return to the Siren way! I would rather be deactivated!”

Flatwheel looked shocked, dumbfounded even at his declaration. Then his face twisted into fury as he yanked out tool out, Flashwing yelping in pain. “Cursed offspring indeed…,” he growled as he raised the tool. “I think…our dead brethren will understand if I break our ‘no direct killing’ rule….”

So this is how it will end. Killed by one of his own. No…he was not a Siren. Perhaps he never truly was one, not with how he was regarded by them.

Flashwing mentally thanked Rustshfit and Berylstar for their kindness and apologized for how short time they hand together. He would not look away or close his optics: he would meet his death staring at it in the optics in defiance! Flatwheel had a sadistic grin on his face as that tool started a rapid descent toward his face….

Chapter Text

There was a flash of white, the sound of metal slamming into metal, followed by a crash.  Flatwheel was gone, the armor carving tool landing beside him with a thud.  In his place, straddling over him like a cybercat protecting their cubs, was a familiar mech.  It wasn’t either of his owners, however…. 

Wheeljack!?  Flashwing’s intake hung open in shock.  Why was the Wrecker here?  Why did he save him? He was even more shocked when Wheeljack helped him to his feet, then shoved him behind him.  What was going on? 

“Wh-who dares!” He heard Flatwheel cough, his accent gone.  Flashwing looked to see the Siren getting to his feet, the wall behind him having a noticeable dent in it.  When he locked optics with Wheeljack, his expression became a disgusted scowl.  “Wrecker…this is none of your concern!” 

Wheeljack straightened up a bit, a rather unimpressed expression on his face.  “I occasionally let my friends borrow some of my equipment…so ya could say I have an interest in ensuring none of their ‘property’ is damaged or stolen.  Saw the door was open…thought I’d check to see there wasn’t some lowlife burglar goin’ through the place,” he stated causally.  “That said, last I heard…you don’t have permission to be here, spook.” 

Suddenly the Wrecker dashed forward, grabbed Flatwheel by the chestplate, then slammed him onto the floor.  “Or should I say ’Siren’?”  Those words were spoken with such venom and hate that it sent a chill down Flashwing’s strut. 

Flatwheel’s optics widened and his face went pale, the implications all too clear to them both.  By leaving the door open, it enabled Wheeljack to overhear enough of the debate to know Flatwheel’s true allegiances.  As a result, the Wrecker decided to intervene:  Flashwing doubted he would have bothered otherwise. 

Flashwing so badly wanted to make a snide comment about the change of fortune, but he held his glossa.  He had no idea why Wheeljack came to visit in the first place.  For all he knew, the Wrecker may have decided to kill him and, for the moment, recognized Flatwheel as the bigger priority. 

From his position, Flashwing saw Flatwheel pull something small out of his subspace.  Before he could shout a warning, the Siren had stabbed it into Wheeljack’s side.  The Wrecker didn’t even flinch. 

“Pfft…did ya really think that pinprick would phase me,” Wheeljack scoffed, reaching for one of his swords.  “Ya need something bigger than-.”  A cry of pain emitted from the Wrecker’s vocalizer as he doubled over, optics wide. 

Oh no….  Whatever Flatwheel hit him with, it had quickly turned the tide.   Unfortunately, Flashwing could only watch helplessly as Flatwheel took advantage.  The Siren backhanded the Wrecker, enough to disorient and push him back.  Back enough for Flatwheel to bring up a leg and kick him in the chest, hard enough to knock the Wrecker onto his aft.  Fortunately for them both, Flatwheel was more interested in escaping, for he then bolted out the still open door. 

Flashwing stared out that open door for several seconds, still in a bit of shock over what just happened.  Flatwheel’s true allegiances…Wheeljack saving him.  Just when he thought he understood this new world, something like this happens to upend that understanding. 

“Fraggin’ cheatin’ coward!”  Wheeljack was growling behind him.  Realizing the situation was not over yet, Flashwing looked toward him, seeing the Wrecker on one hand and knee, his other hand grasping the side Flatwheel stabbed him in.  “What did he do to me?” 

With some hesitation, Flashwing approached the injured Wrecker and knelt down beside him.  He coaxed his hand away from the injury so he could inspect it.  Flatwheel had stabbed him with a syringe.  Flashwing had Wheeljack carefully pull it so he could try to identify the contents. 

There was some fluid left in it, a very familiar, clear yellow fluid.  Flashwing felt his spark sink a bit when recognized that Wheeljack’s symptoms, and how quick they began, matched his first thought on what this was.  

“I fear…,” he began grimly.  “He injected you with Screaming Pain.”

Chapter Text

Why did Flatwheel have a dose of Screaming Pain on him? 

Easy answer…he intended to use it on me.  The thought of being subjected to his own invention wasn’t pleasant. 

“Great…wonderful,” Wheeljack was muttering, his voice stained.  The Wrecker didn’t sound happy:  Flashwing wouldn’t be either if he was in his place.  “How long did ya say this scrap lasted?” 

“It can vary, as it depends on the dose and size of the bot,” Flashwing replied, studying the syringe again.  “Taking both into consideration in your case, I’d say three days for it to peak before starting to fade.” 

“Scrap…thought I had a good tolerance for pain,” Wheeljack grunted.  “But, Pit…this stuff is making me question that….”  He took a deep intake.  “Ya did say there was an antidote, right?” 

“There is, but Flatwheel didn’t think to leave it with us,” Flashwing sighed.  “Naturally, I know how to create it, but.…” He looked at the attachments he had for hands.  “I don’t think it’s a good idea to work with dangerous chemicals using these…Not to mention I’m not sure Beryl would have everything I need….” 

“Well…we can at least see about the latter, right?” Wheeljack was on his feet again and heading for the lab.  “If they don’t…I can comm them and ask them to make a stop at ‘Chemists R’ Us’ on the way home….” 

That as a good idea.  Would save on time.  “You’re awfully calm considering you’ve been injected with what is basically pure pain…,” Flashwing commented after taking a moment to close the front door before he following him. 

The Wrecker snorted.  “Ya think runnin’ around screamin’ in a panic would be better?” he retorted disposing the syringe in the appropriate waste bin after they entered the lab.  “I’d have to turn in my ‘tough bot’ card if I started doin’ that….” 

“Point.” 

After a quick inventory, Flashwing determined there was ‘just’ enough supplies to make one dose worth of both ‘parts’ of the mix.  Wheeljack gave Berylstar a quick comm to give them a heads up on what was going on:  the helo stated they would be home as soon as they can to assist.  Proving both how tough and stubborn a Wrecker was, Wheeljack opted to not just sit on his aft waiting.  He insisted on getting the project started while he was still able to focus.  Flashwing agreed:  the sooner they finish this, the less time the Wrecker would have to suffer. 

“Ya know…I may not be a master chemist here…or a medic,” Wheeljack was commenting he carefully poured two components into a flask.  “But this seems like a lot for a single dose….” 

“That is because we are making ‘Screaming Pain’ along with the antidote,” Flashwing stated softly as he arranged the rest of the needed materials the best he could. 

“What…Why are we making the ‘painful’ part with this?” Wheeljack asked, Flashwing catching a hint of suspicion in his tone. 

“Because one cannot be created without the other,” Flashwing quickly told him.  “I’ve tried to replicate both individually several times without success.” 

“That’s unfortunate…,” Wheeljack grumbled, but thankfully accepted his answer.  “Just how did you come up with this anyway?” 

“Since I was an interrogator, I was always coming up with new ways to make my subjects talk,” Flashwing explained.  “I got the idea of making something that can inflict pain but leave no marks.  There’s something about not being able to ‘see’ what caused the pain that makes it far more intimidating and frightening.” 

“Yeah…I can agree on that…,” Wheeljack muttered. 

“Since I majored in both chemistry and biology,” Flashwing continued.  “I figured I could make a drug that could accomplish this.  After a lot of trial and error…I succeeded.”  He still felt a lot of pride that accomplishment, though that pride was tempered a bit by regret. Regret that was, in turn, dimmed by the knowledge Screaming Pain had some positive uses to it.  “Had my share of…messes during the process,” he admitted.  “Even a couple of explosions.” 

“Pulled a Beryl?”  There was a knowing smirk on the Wrecker’s face. 

“Even masters of their craft can make rookie mistakes….” Flashwing sighed, a hint of shame in his tone. 

“True that…I had my own slip ups…and I deal with explosives.”  There was a noticeable shudder in the Wrecker’s frame, but it was unclear if that was due to the pain he was in or from remembering a particularly nasty incident. 

“Hmm…and those kinds of mistakes tend to cost limbs…if not lives….” 

“Oh yeah, but thankfully, Primus blessed me with extra dense armor.”  With one hand he knocked on his chest plating. 

He was so tempted make a comment about that but opted to bite his glossa so not to ruin the good will Wheeljack was currently showing him.  With his luck, the Wrecker was likely only being nice because he knew how to cure him.  Or, perhaps, because he exposed a Siren that was more of a threat.  Either way, he intended to enjoy this nice Wheeljack while it lasted. 

A wave of lightheadedness hit him then, forcing him to place a stump on the table to steady himself. 

“Hey, you OK?” Wheeljack asked. 

“I’ll be fine,” Flashwing insisted.  “Just all the excitement and the fact I hadn’t refueled this evening yet….” 

“Oh, well, ya may want to grab a cube real quick then,” Wheeljack advised.  “Can’t have ya blackin’ out on me in the middle, ya know?” 

A good idea.  He can’t instruct Wheeljack if he can’t focus himself.  Just as he reached the lab door though, he heard Wheeljack moan in pain.  When he turned around, he saw the Wrecker was on his knees….

Chapter Text

“Wheeljack!”  Flashwing cried as rushed over to him. 

“I’m fine!” the Wrecker groaned, releasing his grip on the vials he was holding so Flashwing could secure them properly.  “Just…damn scrap kicked it up a notch…definitely beyond what I can handle.  I...I’m afraid I won’t be able to continue workin’ like this….” 

“It’s alright,” Flashwing assured him, feeling a bit worried about how quickly this was progressing.  Could it be because it was injected into his body cavity and not into a line like it normally was?  “We did what we could…just…hold on.  I’m sure Beryl and Rusty are nearly here….” 

“I hope so…Primus…,” Wheeljack panted as he sat on the floor, his optics crushed closed.  “Is there anythin’ that can take the edge off this?” 

“No…pain patches and other ‘normal’ methods of pain reduction are ineffective,” Flashwing answered regrettably. 

“Lovely…,” Wheeljack muttered through gritted denta.  “Ya really made a winner with this scrap…didn’t ya?” 

“Yeah…I did….”  He looked away briefly in shame. 

“There…wasn’t any time sensitive steps in this process, I hope….”  The Wrecker’s optics were squeezed shut in clear pain. 

“Not until the very end, thankfully.” 

Wheeljack nodded as leaned against the wall, intaking deeply.  Flashwing watched him carefully, looking for signs of his systems starting to crash.  He didn’t think a Wrecker would start to fail so quickly, but, if he had heard correctly, Wheeljack was among the oldest Cybertronians still kicking.  Age could very well play a role in how long he’ll last…. 

“We’re here!”  Berylstar announced as he and Rustshift ran into the lab.  “What do we need to do?” 

Oh, thank Primus.

Chapter Text

After he giving Wheeljack a quick once over and attaching a few monitoring cables to him, Berylstar took over the task of making the formula.  Rustshift kept watch over him, even shifting into a chair for the Wrecker to relax in.  They both had looked at him with concern, no doubt seeing the damage Flatwheel inflicted on him, but Flashwing waved them off, citing it was more important to get this formula created. 

A little over a half-hour later, they had a vial full of opaque orange fluid. 

“What now?” Berylstar was asking. 

Flashwing blinked, then shook his head to clear his fuzzy head.  Why did he feel so tired and lightheaded?  Right…he never did get that cube, did he?  They were nearly done, best to push on and finish.  Wheeljack was stable, but that could change at any moment. 

“One drop of this…,” he stated, pushing the appropriate chemical forward.  “It will cause the solution separate into the two parts.  However, they will quickly start to recombine and if they do…the whole thing will become useless.  You will need to transfer one part into a new vessel quickly once the separation is complete: you will know it is time when both sides are completely clear.” 

Berylstar nodded and first poured the solution into a buret, setting a clean vial underneath it.  Then he added the drop of the one separating agent and in seconds, the solution separated into two distinct parts.  Yellow on top, red on the bottom.  Once both halves were of clear composition, Flashwing indicated it was time to drain.  Berylstar turned the stopcock and the red half started draining into the vial below.  Once the all the red part was drained, he turned it again to stop the flow. 

“Minimal waste…very good,” Flashwing stated, pleased.  “The red part is the antidote.  Inject that into Wheeljack.” 

“How much?” Berylstar asked, already grabbing a syringe. 

“All of it.” 

While Berylstar was administering the antidote, Flashwing found himself needing to lean against the wall.  He really should get that cube now...Wheeljack will be alright…the antidote acts as quickly as it’s more painful half. 

Shaking…why was he shaking?  He looked down at his trembling legs… 

…to see a small pool of energon at his feet. 

With more dripping down from the wound in his modesty panel…. 

“Beryl…,” he managed to squeak out as the world started to spin.… 

…then went black.

Chapter Text

So many bad noises.  Screams and painful cries.  It had frightened him, so he had cried for his carrier.  

Someone came, but it was not carrier.  Was tall and slender like carrier, but black.  That was wrong!  Carrier is silver and yellow!  He hissed and tried to get away.  Not-carrier grabbed him, he cried in panic.  

A screech of fury.  A flash of silver and yellow.  Carrier was here!  He made not-carrier drop him.  He fled and hid, watched as carrier fought not-carrier.  Carrier had not-carrier pinned.  

Another came, white short bot.  He hit carrier.  Carrier fell, stopped moving.   

A bellow. Sire was here.  He hit white short bot.  White short bot fell.  Not-carrier cried out.  More bots come, they take not-carrier and white short bot away. Sire chase after.  

Bad, scary noises go away.  He comes out and nuzzles carrier.  Carrier not move.  

Why carrier so still?  Why is blue sticky stuff all over him?  Why carrier going so cold…. 

-- 

He doesn’t see carrier anymore.  He cries for him but he never comes.  Sire, he’s there, but he doesn’t come.  Only looks at him with pain.  If he looks at him at all.  

Did he do something wrong?  Does Sire not love him anymore?  

--  

Another long scouting trip.  Why always him?  Why always alone?  Was his Sire trying to get him killed?  

Flashwing felt more and more that was the case.  Sire did keep blaming him for Carrier’s death.  Blaming him for a lot of things, really.  No one seemed to like him in tribe.  Why?  He was just a sparkling then!  How could it be his fault!?  

Voices ahead.  Flashwing crouched down, folding down his wings so they didn’t give him away.  He was able to sneak up on the speakers without being noticed.  And Sire says he can’t do anything right!  

His optics widen when he sees the speakers.  One was a Wrecker, a high ranking one.  The other…was one of their own!  The tribesmen was talking about the tribe, things the Wrecker had no business knowing!  

Treason!  He had to let the tribe know!  

No…they won’t believe him.  He had to do this himself!  Ah!  He can go to their Quintesson allies!  Tell them, arrange for the traitor’s capture.  

Sire will surely be proud of him then!

--  

Flashwing cried out as his Sire struck him.  He had just told him what he had accomplished.  But Sire wasn’t happy at all!  Flashwing found himself on his hands and knees, gasping in pain.  

“Arrogant fool!”  Sire was bellowing.  “You do not take action on your own!”  

“I felt action had to be taken quickly, Sire!” Flashwing explained.  “Before traitor caused more damage!”  

“You forget Wre’gers cannot move against us thanks to Quintessons!” Sire growled, grabbing him by the neck and lifting him up effortlessly.  “You action cost us healer.”  

“But would such healer really be trustworthy with our wounded?”  he gasped.  

“Tha’ is not for worthless mech like ‘you’ to decide!”   

He was thrown hard to the floor, Flashwing feeling a wing dislocate from the impact.  A wailing cry escaped his vocalizer from the pain.  

“Pathetic…,” his Sire sneered.  “You’ll never amount to anything…”

Chapter Text

Flashwing whimpered as the painful memories finally ceased.  Some element of control returning to his processor. 

I just want to be accepted.  I just want to be loved.  But I keep messing up…hurting other’s that didn’t need to be hurt.  Making everyone hate me as a result. 

No…not everyone.  Berylstar…Rustshift…they didn’t hate him.  By some miracle, he found himself in the hands of two mechs that looked past all his flaws.  Both innate and learned. 

But so many others did hate him.  Could he ever be truly happy and safe with threats on all sides?  

Would it even be worth trying? 

A voice.  Someone was trying to talk to him.  He fluttered his optics open and was greeted by Rustshift’s face.  He was quickly joined by Berylstar:  they both looked relieved, smiles on their faces. 

Flashwing blinked a few times, trying to discern where he was.  He wasn’t in Berylstar’s lab...or even his house for that matter.  No…this was too clean…clinical.  He became aware of the faint beeping of monitoring equipment, finally noticing the leads attached to his chassis, one being an energon drip. 

Medbay.  He was in a proper medbay. 

“Weh-ell, about time he decided to wake up,” a new voice remarked.  A white and red bot now entering his field of view. 

He’d have to be processor defunct to not know who that was.  Never thought he’d end up in the infamous Ratchet’s care….

Chapter Text

“Welcome back, Flash,” Berylstar was saying. 

“What…exactly had been wrong with me?” Flashwing moaned, sitting up and rubbing his head.  “I didn’t think such a small wound would cause that….” 

“Short answer:  you blacked out due to energon loss,” Ratchet replied. “Long answer:  the wound on your modesty panel continued into your valve canal, a secondary line was severed.  The energon pooled up in both your valve canal and gestation chamber, until it had no place to go but out the entry wound.”  The infamous medic folded his arms.  “I questioned how you didn’t realize this before that point, but then I saw the state of your valve….” 

Flashwing flinched at that.  “I did feel lightheaded before…but I had assumed that was due to needing to refuel,” he muttered.  “Having no feeling there…proved to be a big downside in this case….” 

“Yes, indeed.  You were fortunate they were able to stabilize and get you here quickly,” Ratchet commented.  “As an additional upside, I get to examine you for myself to see if you have any additional critical repairs to be made.” 

“Doubting my work, Ratchet?” Berylstar asked with a mock offended sniff and folding his arms. 

Ratchet was rolling his optics.  “Always a good idea to have another pair of optics on things, you know that!” 

“Yeah but sometimes that ‘other pair of optics’ can be too Pit-damned paranoid!”  Wheeljack voice called out.  Flashwing looked across the room and saw the Wrecker was on a berth himself, a few monitoring cables attached to his chassis.  To say he looked annoyed was putting it mildly…but it least he didn’t appear to be in anymore pain.  Good, that meant the antidote worked…. 

“Considering you were injected with two experimental drugs within a short time frame,” Ratchet countered.  “The risk of an adverse reaction is too great, so you are staying put!  And you, Beryl….” He was now glaring at the helo.  “You should have known better!” 

“Ratchet the drugs used on Wheeljack were the exact same ones you used on me to cure my toidisys,” Berylstar pointed out. 

“You were at the Allspark’s door when we both decided to risk it!” Ratchet retorted, not missing a beat.  “And if you recall, I kept you in observation for some time afterward.” 

“Yes, but in my case, it was far more understandable,” Berylstar countered.  “Wheeljack is a healthy mech….” 

“Aside from a case of ‘I-like-blowing-things-up-iss’,” Rustshift muttered with a snicker, Flashwing giggling with him. 

“I heard that….” Wheeljack grumbled with a sigh and an optic roll. 

Ratchet snorted, but Flashwing wasn’t sure if that was in amusement or something else. “Testing is still being done on those drugs.  Thus it would be irresponsible of me to not take precautions.  Just how did you get the formula for it anyway, Beryl?  Seeing it is not out for distribution.” 

“Simple,” Flashwing finally spoke up.  “He had the creator of said formula present:  me.” The medic was now looking at him in shock and disbelief.  “I had created it for interrogation purposes during my time in Spec Ops,” he elaborated.  “How it was made was not something I would have willingly shared back then.  However, in the early days of my enslavement, the CPP was used on me to seize it by force.  Not only so they could use it to find Con sympathizers, but to test it for potentially more beneficial uses.  I was honestly shocked when I learned that it did.  Though….” He lowered his gaze.  “I was a different mech then….” 

Ratchet had a thoughtful, if slightly confused expression.  “Why were you made a slave if you were in Spec Ops? 

Flashwing winced, not really wanting to spill all his sins before him.  He’d rather not end up with a wrench in his spark chamber.  “Terrible choices made…ones severe enough for Sentinel to consider me no better than a Con,” he replied simply.  Flashwing hoped that satisfied him. 

Ratchet, thankfully, nodded in acceptance.  “Well, since that is settled….“ 

“Hey, does that mean you’ll unhook me, Doc?” Wheeljack asked hopefully, starting to get up. 

“Nep nep nep!”  Ratchet scolded, wagging a finger at him.  “In fact, I do believe you are well overdue for a full physical!  Hook!”  As the Wrecker’s expression turned to horror, said Constructicon poked his head in.  “I have a patient that is in dire need of a full examination.  I have my hands full with this one, so could you and your gesult take care of it?” 

There was a nod, the suddenly a whole swarm of Constructicons came into the examination room.  Scrap…Flashwing thought there were only six of them!  Wheeljack was spewing curses left and right as they descended upon him.  Thought he heard a ‘you did this on purpose’ in there at some point. 

From the smirk on Ratchet’s face…he totally did.

Chapter Text

“Other than a few lingering signs of malnutrition, which should clear up fully in a few more days, you’re in good health,” Ratchet commented once he had finished, taking the leads off his chassis.  “However, I will caution you that your flight mechanisms are in need recalibration and other adjustments.” 

“It’s not like I will be flying again….,” Flashwing sighed as he slipped off the examination table. 

“I wouldn’t give up on the possibility so easily,” the infamous medic countered.  “Keeping those systems in shape now will lower the rehabilitation time for when flight is allowed again.” 

He seemed so certain he would be allowed to fly again someday.  Did the medic know something he did not?  Likely, since he was only a slave. 

“Also,” the medic drew his attention again.  “Your valve.”  Flashwing twitched involuntarily.  “Are you looking to have that restored?” 

“Not at this time…,” Flashwing replied quickly.  If ever…. 

Ratchet was nodding in acknowledgement.  “Let me know if you change your mind.  Any questions?” 

“How long until my new hands and wings are ready?”  At the very least, he’d like to be able to hold and manipulate things properly again. 

“Your wings are nearly ready,” Ratchet replied.  “A day or two, at most.  Unfortunately, it will be a bit longer for your new hands.” 

Flashwing nodded, understanding. 

“Sir,” Hook was saying, handing the medic a datapad.  “Wheeljack’s exam results.”  Flashwing looked over at the Wrecker:  from the murderous look on Wheeljack’s face, he opted not to make a witty remark. 

Ratchet’s optics were scanning the datapad, then narrowed dangerously.  “Wheeljack…what did I tell you about those supplements!?”  He was now glaring at the Wrecker. 

“Frag ‘em!”  Wheeljack growled, folding his arms.  “They taste nasty….” 

“Says the mech that downs Primus knows what at Maccadam’s!” 

“That stuff actually tastes good!” 

“I question your sense of taste!” 

“I question yours!” 

“Oh, shut up and kiss already,” Rustshift committed.  He yelped as he had to quickly duck a wrench that was thrown his way.  Flashwing couldn’t help but snicker a bit…. 

“You will take your supplements or Primus help me…,” Ratchet was continuing. 

“Or what?” Wheeljack snarled defiantly.  “You’re not my PCP!” 

At this Ratchet developed a devilish grin.  “No, but I am good friends with the mech that is,” he stated.  “You don’t want me to get Hammercircuit or his bondmate, Gearbolt, on you, do you?” 

That this Wheeljack’s ‘tough bot’ attitude melted away.  He even seemed to pale.  “Alright, alright!” he cried lifting his hands in surrender.  “I’ll take those nasty supplements!” 

“Good.”  Ratchet was grinning triumphantly. 

“Who are they?” Flashwing asked quietly while Wheeljack was finally unhooked from the monitoring equipment. 

“Wrecker medics,” Berylstar replied with a smirk.  “And one of them likes throwing scalpels instead of wrenches….” 

Oh…well now…Flashwing completely understood why Wheeljack was so intimidated.  

Ratchet was freaking terrifying as is…and he wasn’t even a Wrecker…. 

Actual Wrecker medics?  That’s just plain nightmare fuel….

Chapter Text

Flashwing was glad to be home and gratefully collapsed on the couch. 

“Well that was an adventure…,” Wheeljack muttered., the Wrecker having followed them home rather than to go back to his own place for some reason. 

“Visiting Ratchet always is,” Rustshift snickered as he sat on the couch himself.  Flashwing cuddled up to him, soaking in that comforting warmth after such a trying day.  The shifter started rubbing his arm in response. 

“True dat….”  The Wrecker was now pouring himself to some hi-grade he swiped from a cabinet. 

“Don’t forget your supplements!”  He was flipped off in response, prompting the shifter to giggle. 

“To be fair, supplements wouldn’t go well with hi-grade anyway,” Berylstar remarked with a smirk as he joined them on the couch, then he became serious.  “Not that we are ungrateful, Wheeljack, but why were you here tonight?” 

“I was serious about the ‘keepin’ an optic on ya’ thin’,” Wheeljack replied after taking a large gulp of hi-grade.  “Wasn’t expectin’ to learn about another Siren still kickin’ about.  Pity the slagger had to cheat to get away…would’ve had a nice head to mount on a stake if he hadn’t.” 

Flashwing’s felt a shudder pass through his frame.  “You had every opportunity to do the same to me,” he remarked quietly.  “Yet you didn’t….” 

Wheeljack, in the midst of taking another drink, was looking at him with an unreadable expression.  “I had no reason to,” he replied once he was able.  “Ya had every opportunity…every reason…to kiss up to that Siren, but ya didn’t.  You could say that you saying you’d rather die than to be accepted back into their fold had an impact.” 

That’s right…he did say that just before Flatwheel was going to kill him…before he even knew Wheeljack was there.  “Then…you believe me now?” he asked, not wanting to lower his guard completely just yet. 

The Wrecker was nodding.  “However…,” Wheeljack stated ominously.  “I know all too well how bad habits can be hard to break…if you start to slip….” 

“I’d rather die than to return to those ways,” Flashwing proclaimed.  “I meant what I said then.” 

“Maybe not kill you, but smack sense back into ya.”  Wheeljack had a smirk on his face. 

“I may need it from time to time…,” he admitted softly, looking away. 

“Don’t worry, you got me and Beryl as well to keep you on track,” Rustshift was saying rubbing his head.  Berylstar was nodding in agreement.  Flashiwng smiled in relief, even purring faintly.  

“Anyway, Flatwheel is gonna need a good hidin’ spot if he wants to keep himself among the livin’,” Wheeljack was saying as he poured another cube.  “Once I inform the rest of the gang about him?  His days are numbered….” 

Flashwing grimly nodded in acceptance.  He didn’t like the fact that Flatwheel’s life was forfeit, but he wasn’t sure if that was due to what little sympathy he had left for his own or having learned to value all life beyond his own.  Despite his misgivings, he knew Flatwheel was too dangerous to allow to keep running free. 

“We’ll inform Jazz and Prowl about this development as well,” Berylstar was saying.  “Team Prime has enough problems on their hands and it’s best they are forewarned about a potential backstabber….” 

“I’ll give ‘em a poke myself as well,” Wheeljack agreed.  “Prowl likely already knows about the Sirens, but no harm in givin’ him a ‘refresher’.” 

Knowledge…very important thing, especially these days.  Something was nagging at him, something potentially important. 

Oh…OH! 

This…has the potential to screw up the good will he had developed with Wheeljack but…. 

“Wheeljack, how much of our…conversation…did you overhear?”  Flashwing asked, unable to keep the nervousness out of his tone.  He hoped the Wrecker had overheard this…. 

Wheeljack took a moment to reply.  “Roughly when he was sayin’ he was ashamed his body wanted you,” he replied.  “Why?”  He had a concerned expression on his face. 

Scrap, he didn’t hear this than.  He swallowed with anxiety as he thought of the best way to say this.  “Thanks to Flatwheel…,” he began.  “I…I think I know what happened to Ebonscream….” 

There was crash when the cube slipped out of Wheeljack’s hand and hit the floor….

Chapter Text

In a blink of an optic, Wheeljack was right in front of him, leaning in close.  The Wrecker’s expression one of desperation and hope.  “What do ya know?” the Wrecker asked, his tone slightly staticky from barely contained emotion. 

So far…he wasn’t angry.  Yet. 

“First…I must ask that…you remember I was a different mech then…,” Flashwing replied quietly. 

“What do you mean?”  There was a hint of anger in this tone this time as he straightened up, hands now at his side, frame a bit tense.  Expected…and he expected him to get even angrier in a moment.  He braced himself for the ‘explosion’. 

Flashwing straightened up in his seat, away from Rustshift’s comforting touch.  “While on a scouting trip, I discovered one of our own was feeding a member of your group information.  A traitor,” he explained, briefly looking away. 

There was a noticeable twitch in the Wrecker’s frame.  He knew who he was referring to.  “So ya told your superiors about it….” Wheeljack’s voice was tight, clearly already suspecting what happened. 

“Not immediately,” Flashwing admitted.  “I wasn’t well liked in the tribe, so I was desperate for acceptance…approval…especially from my Sire.  I had the bright idea to go to the Quintessons myself to have them ‘take care of it’.”  He sighed and looked away for a moment.  “My decision to ‘overstep’ my authority was not appreciated…and unbeknownst to me then…Ebonscream was ‘snapped up’ along with the traitor.  Or so Flatwheel has claimed….” 

“So…isn’t intentional….” Berylstar was saying. 

“Does it matter if it was intentional or otherwise at this point?” Flashwing countered softly.  “If I had learned this detail back then…I likely would have celebrated it.  I would not have understood, or likely cared, about the long-term consequences of my actions back then….”  He didn’t take his optics off of the Wrecker, waiting for a lot of shouting and cursing at the very least. 

Wheeljack was trembling, his optics shut, jaw tight and fists clenched.  He couldn’t tell if he was fighting back rage, sorrow or something else.  It was a couple of minutes before the Wrecker finally opened his optics, a hint of tears in them as he sharply turned away. 

“So…there’s a chance…,” Wheeljack was saying, his tone a mix of emotions.  

“Um…a chance at what?” Rustshift asked, sounding confused. 

“That he can still be found…,” the Wrecker clarified, before starting for the door.  Flashwing blinked in surprise:  Wheeljack wasn’t going to yell at him?  Just walk away after dropping something like that on him? 

“Wheeljack…,” Berylstar was protesting, rising from his seat.  “The chances of him being still alive after all this time….” 

“Not to mention what Quintessons tended to do with their ‘test subjects’…,” Rustshfit added, shuddering. 

“I know that,” Wheeljack countered stiffly.  “But if I can even find a piece of him to lay to rest….” He has paused in his stride, looking back over toward them, the tears too clear now.  “I’ll finally have closure….” 

Oh Primus…Ebonscream must have meant a lot more to him than he realized.  Yet he still was making no move to punish him for his crime! 

“Wheeljack!”  Berylstar was starting for him.  “You know the High Council…and Sentinel…decreed all those labs to be off limits due to how dangerous they were!” 

Flashwing remembered hearing about that.  Quintesson’s loved their booby traps to not only keep subjects in…but unwanted visitors out.  Many members of various investigation teams suffered heavy casualties attempting to document what the labs contained…including any possible bots still held within. 

There was a smirk on the Wrecker’s face.  “I already know a bit about those traps,” he stated. Then his expression became a scowl.  “Besides I…we…don’t give a Pit on what ‘decrees’ that False Prime has made….” 

Before they could protest any further, Wheeljack was out the door, shutting it behind him. 

That…went a lot better for him than he thought it would.  If Wheeljack had been Steelstone…he shuddered at the thought.  Once the shock started to wear off, he realized the dangerous consequences of Wheeljack’s plan. 

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for them to go poking around where they shouldn’t…,” he stated grimly.  “Not in this day and age….” 

“I agree….” Rustshift sighed.  “Should we warn Team Prime?  They may be able to talk sense into him.” 

“Wheeljack and the rest of the Wreckers are their own separate entity, Rusty…,” Berylstar reminded him.  “They are known for going vigilante as well.  If Team Prime got involved, it would only put them at greater risk.” 

“So all we can do is leave them to it…,” Rustshift commented, to which Berylstar nodded.  “Primus…this has the potential to go badly….” 

Flashwing had to agree.

Chapter Text

Flashwing read the paragraph on the pad for the third time before finally giving up and putting it aside with a heavy sigh.  The events of last night where still heavy on his processor and likely the only reason he got any recharge at all was due to exhaustion.  He doubted he’d be able to recharge tonight, however. 

Flatwheel a Siren.  Wheeljack accepting him, but now likely on a fool’s errand.  One that may draw Sentinel’s ire…if not cause the Wrecker’s demise. 

“Flash, are you alright?” Berylstar asked. 

“I’m just…uncertain if telling Wheeljack what I did was a good thing…,” he admitted softly.  “We can’t really afford to lose powerful allies over something that happened so long ago….” 

“Ebonscream’s disappearance has long weighed on Wheeljack,” Berylstar informed him, joining him on the couch.  “When someone close to you disappears like he did…it can be very hard to let go…to move on.  The questions that don’t have answers are a persistent itch at the back of your processor.  And the longer those questions are unanswered…the less likely they ever will be.  What you told him, was likely the first definite clue he had received in eons….” 

“If what I was told was really true…,” Flashwing grumbled.  “There’s a chance Flatwheel…or even my Sire who he claimed told him first…twisted or exaggerated details.” 

“From how you explained the events that led up to it, I find myself doubting it,” Berystar stated with a shrug.  “From what I’ve been told, the Quintessons liked grabbing random bots that were ‘loitering’ after hours in seedier parts or even beyond city limits…as part of ‘Crime Suppression’.  No one realized the truth behind those disappearances until after a few victims managed to escape and brought it to the High Council’s attention.” 

Ah yes, the ‘Nightfire testimony’.  That mech’s efforts served as the chisel to crack open the shield of lies and deceit the Quintessons had erected.  Lighting the fuse that would result in the War of Wrath. 

And ultimately bring his tribe’s sins to full light, which resulted in their extermination.  Well, near extermination, if Flatwheel was any indication.  It did bring a disturbing question:  if Flatwheel was able to keep his true allegiances secret for so long…could other Sirens have done the same?  Or was Flatwheel’s own survival due to his position in Spec Ops? 

If there were more Sirens out there…he had a sinking feeling they were using Sentinel’s ‘policies’ for their own benefit.  If not working directly for Sentinel himself!  If that was true…a part of him wanted to see the look on Sentinel’s face if that ever got out…. 

Perhaps that was something to discuss with Wheeljack…if they ever saw him again.  Speaking of which, there was a nagging question about him…. 

“Wheeljack and Ebonscream…,” he began.  “Where they really…?”  This was likely too personal, he realized.  Information his owners may not know. 

“They were close, I can confirm that much,” Rustshift’s voice replied from the kitchen.  A moment later the shifter was on the couch with them.  “Very close, actually.  I couldn’t tell you if they were bonded, however.” 

“Well…that doesn’t make me feel any better…,” Flashwing sighed.  “Knowing I caused the likely death of his lover….” 

“But you gave him hope of finding closure at long last,” Berylstar reminded him.  “Hope is a very precious and powerful thing, Flashwing.  Do not underestimate it’s significance.” 

“But is it really a good idea for him to be looking for someone that is no doubt a corpse when there are many that are still alive out there still suffering?” 

At this Berylstar sighed deeply. 

“While I agree with your sentiment…I am afraid only Wheeljack can answer that in this case….” 

“We can only hope the other Wreckers talk some sense into him,” Rustshift agreed.  “But that may be a foolish hope, as Ebonscream was beloved by them all…” 

So he may have sent all of the Wreckers on a deadly fool’s errand. 

Great…just great.  Why is it that whenever he tries to do something good, it comes back and punches him in the face?

Chapter Text

Flashwing spent the next two days keeping himself busy.  Reviewing chemistry notes, helping Berylstar refine formulas, mostly.  He did attempt help Rustshfit with one of his projects, but only to wound up getting zapped for his efforts when the thing overloaded.  Primus, he still felt the tingle of that shock hours later!  He supposed it was better than causing an explosion. 

Unfortunately, the inability to adequately help Rustshift only reminded him that he may have just permanently robbed them of a friend.  Yes, it’s only been two days, but that they’ve heard nothing from Wheeljack or any Wrecker weighed on him.  Berylstar had tried to reassure him that Wreckers were fully capable of handling themselves and that chances were, any traps in those labs were likely deactivated by now due to lack of power. 

It helped a little, but Flashwing was worried about what would happen when Sentinel inevitably found out about the Wrecker’s activities.  There was no telling how Sentinel would react to that, but Flashwing knew the Wreckers would not be take being arrested for trespassing on restricted areas laying down.  No, they would fight…. 

…and bring worse charges upon themselves. 

I may have succeeded in accomplishing the one thing the ‘old me’ would have desired…. Flashwing sighed and just stopped himself short of attempting to rub his face.  The ‘old’ him had an itching desire to eliminate the Wreckers, to avenge his kin.  Even went as far as to ‘alter’ intelligence reports to them so they would suffer greater casualties on the battlefield.  That…he ultimately got in trouble for with Prowl, which led to him having to leave Spec Ops. 

Primus…that was something else that was probably best Wheeljack never learned…. 

“Hey Flash,” Berylstar’s voice called from the living room.  “I got a present for you!” 

Present?  More skydrops, perhaps?  Despite trying to make them last, he had devoured that last batch rather quickly.  Mouth already watering at the thought, he quickly left his room, where he ended feeling both disappointed and elated! 

There were no skydrops, but Berylstar was holding two new shiny primary wings!

Chapter Text

Flashwing squealed with delight as he bounced up to Berylstar.  The helo chuckled with amusement as he churred and rubbed against him in appreciation. 

“If you react like this when getting new wings, I wonder what you’ll do when you get your hands back?” Berylstar asked, a smirk on his face. 

“Oh probably a bunch of things only a mech with proper hands can do,” Flashwing purred. 

“Oh is that all?” Berylstar had a twinkle in his optic.  “Guess we’ll have to see then, eh?  Come, let’s go to the lab so I can attach these.” 

Flashwing practically ran into the lab, Berylstar following him in a few seconds later, with Rustshift joining them.  There, the shifter changed into a low table for him to sit on, which Flashiwng did.  It still felt…odd…knowing he was sitting on a fellow Cybertronian! 

It was hard to stay still as Berylstar worked due to the anticipation of having wings again.  Even more so after the first wing was successfully attached, and the corresponding systems status notifications changed from all red X’s to a mix of green check marks and ‘disabled’ signs.  He was tempted to move it around, test it out, but Berylstar told him not yet.  So he continued to stay still as best he could. 

Eventually, after what felt like…forever…the second wing was attached.  Berylstar barely got the word he could stand up out of his mouth before Flashwing jumped up. 

…only to lose his balance and sit right back down again with a surprised squawk. 

“Your center of gravity has changed,” Berylstar informed him with a chuckle as he helped him back up, Rustshift returning to default mode after.  “You’ll need a few moments to adjust to it.” 

Of course, he should have realized this.  He remembered how his sense of balance was off for a brief time when he had lost his wings.  So it only made sense he would experience the same when he got them back.  With Berylstar and Rustshift helping to steady him, carefully walked around, getting used to having wings again.  Learning…remembering…how to use them to make fine tune adjustments for his balance like a cybercat did with it’s tail once more. 

He also had to get used to all the new information he was once again receiving from the highly sensitive sensor network in said wings.  A processor ache threatened to form until he remembered how to prioritize the information flow and how to adjust it as needed.  Oh Primus, if he truly ever got to fly again, he knew he’ll have a new adjustment period for that as well.  It will be like his first flight all over again…. 

Once all the internal self-calibrations were over with, Berylstar had him move his wings about in various ways.  Testing the hydraulics and other systems for flaws.  Not surprisingly, there were a few things that needed adjustments.  Some components had gone stiff from lack of use, for instance, so Berylstar set about making those repairs. 

They went through several rounds of this, to ensure they got all the kinks out.

Chapter Text

Having wings again was a wonderful distraction!  Flashwing had spent the rest of that day further getting used to them again.  He hopped around and ran, ensuring his balance was solid.  Flashwing would do cartwheels if he could!  But alas, those required hands.  Which he should be getting back soon!  He chirped and churred in excitement at the very thought. 

Berylstar and Rustshift had watched his antics with broad smiles on their faces.  They had kept watch over him, providing aid as needed.  Eventually, adjustments were no longer needed, and he was just enjoying himself, the pair watching. 

Or at least he thought so.  At some point, after night had fallen, he noticed neither of his owners were present.  Where did they go?  More out of curiosity than anything, he checked around the house.  They weren’t in the lab and they weren’t in kitchen.  Surely, they would have told him if they were heading out?  No…one of them always stayed home now thanks to Flatwheel’s intrusion. 

That left their room, the door to which was cracked open.  Curiosity getting the better of him, he peeked through the crack…. 

Ah, there they were, in the berth and they were…. 

Oh….

Chapter Text

Flashwing’s optics were wide, his intake hanging open.  Without thinking, he nudged the door open a bit more.  He had to be sure…to know he was saying what he thought he saw. 

His optics weren’t playing tricks on him. 

Berylstar and Rustshift were kissing and petting each other.  Those pets getting lower and lower, toward their respective arrays.  Eventually, Rustshift pushed Berylstar down onto his back, the helo’s panel clicking open. 

He should look away…go back into room, but he couldn’t.  Flashwing could only watch, transfixed as Rustshift reached down and started playing with the helo’s valve, a healthy amount of lubricant already coating his fingers. Berylstar was making soft moaning sounds in response. 

“What size do you want today, my love?” the shifter was purring. 

“Big…and curled…,” Berylstar replied in a moan.  “But no teasing this time!” 

“Ah…impatient today…very well.”  The shifter chuckled and his own panel transformed away and a… 

Oh Primus…that spike…. 

Flashwing forced himself to step back and away from the scene just as that lovely spike entered the helo’s valve.  Feeling that pooling heat of arousal at his own panel.  The sounds of their lovemaking still reached his audios and they did not help quell the images already forming in his head.  Images of them doing as they are now…but with him among them. 

No! He can’t!  He wasn’t worthy of that!  Barely suppressing a distressed whine, he ran to his room and into the washroom.  There, he turned the shower on cold….

Chapter Text

It won’t go away. 

Flashwing must have stood under that cold spray for an hour until he was forced to step out and warm up.  Primus no…that PAAD was back!  It had to be!  With a whimper he buried himself in his covers, unable to even self-service to bring himself some relief. 

All the while those naughty thoughts and images of him and owners persisted, not helping his situation any! 

A part of him wanted to go to them, to let them know what was going on, but he had no way of knowing how long their ‘activities’ tended to last.  Frag, for all he knew, they may have already fragged themselves into recharge for the night! 

An image of the pair curled together, covered in sticky fluids with happy, satisfied smiles on their faces appeared in his processor…. 

With a squawk he forced it out, but not before that persistent heat seemed to grow more intense.  He whined and curled upon himself even more before starting to sob. 

Why?  Why did his body hate him so much? 

“Flash?  Are you alright?” 

Oh Primus…no…not now! 

Flashwing poked his head out from under the covers to regard Berylstar, his optics wide in distress. 

His brow creased with concern, Berylstar approached him and knelt by his berth.  “What’s wrong?  Did you hurt a wing?” 

“I wish it was that…,” Flashwing whimpered, looking away, his face flush with embarrassment.  “The PAAD is back….” 

The helo recoiled a bit in surprise.  “Are you sure?” he asked. 

“I stood in a cold shower for nearly an hour or so and it won’t go away…,” Flashwing whined. 

Berylstar was in thought for a moment.  “Would it alright if inspected your array?” 

He flushed even harder at the thought of him being so close…touching…his array.  Thoughts of Berylstar doing to him what he witnessed Rustshift doing to the helo now filled his processor.  That heat got even worse now… 

“D-don’t think that’s a good idea!”  he whined, pressing his legs closed.  “J-just the thought of it…makes it worse!” 

Berylstar was tilting his head, looking mildly confused.  “That’s not how PAAD usually ‘works’,” he stated.  “What were you doing when it started?” 

His world seemed to stop as he was sure his face was now permanently blue from all the energon rushing to it.  He wanted to lie…but that wouldn’t help him in the end would it? 

“I…,” he began with a heavy sigh.  “I was…watching you two…um….”  He looked away, unable to finish the sentence. 

It was thankfully enough for Berylstar to piece it together. 

“Oh.”

Chapter Text

Flashwing watched as a blush formed on the helo’s face and shifted a bit uncomfortably.  Guess he didn’t like being watched doing the deed?  Or was it a turn on?  Hard to tell.  Still, Flashwing found it rather…cute. 

Then the cuteness went away as Berylstar cleared his vocalizer and pulled himself together.  “I don’t think this is PAAD, Flash,” he stated.  “I think this is just normal arousal.” 

“You seem so certain about that,” Flashwing grumbled.  “I told you I spent an hour enduring cold solvent!” 

“Subjecting yourself to cold doesn’t always eliminate arousal,” the helo informed him.  “Especially if source of that arousal is rather strong….” 

Strong…he did keep thinking about those two.  And imagining himself being…. 

Oh Primus…he did this to himself! 

“I…I have such a dirty processor…,” Flashwing mumbled as he sat up.  “And after what I’ve been put through…I never thought I could feel normal arousal again….” 

“It means you are healing, both mentally and physically,” Berylstar told him, stroking his cheek.  “Primus…I can feel how charged you are….” 

“…And I have no means to relieve it myself…,” Flashwing sighed, looking away once more. 

Berylstar cupped his chin on thought.  “I could assist you, if you wish,” he offered. 

“I-I couldn’t possibly ask that of you!” Flashwing cried.  “You’ve done so much for me already!” 

“Flash, I’m sure you already know that an unrelieved charge eventually becomes rather painful,” Berylstar reminded him.  “I don’t want to see you go through that…and I’m sure you rather not either.” 

He…had a point.  Flashwing could already feel the first hints of that charge turning into pain.  “Alright…,” he whispered.

Chapter Text

Flashwing repositioned himself so Berylstar could join him on the berth.  His frame was trembling, both from the charge and a bit of fear.  He knew Berylstar wouldn’t hurt him, but the memories of the multitude of bots that have done so during the act were not so easily forgotten.  Body or mind. 

“Shh…it’s alright,” Berylstar commented soothingly as he coaxed him to turn his back toward him.  “Try to relax….”  Flashwing felt his hand start to caress the sensitive edges of his wings. 

He groaned with a mix of shock and pleasure, that charge spiking, his body starting to tremble even harder.  It had been so long since his wings were played with like this.  At the bordello, those bots were rough with their touches, caring more about their own pleasure, so this was a welcome change.  One that thankfully didn’t trigger any nasty memories. 

Berylstar was continuing his caresses, mostly on his wings as he whispered words of encouragement and reassurance in his audio.  It was working, he could feel his frame start to relax, the tension being replaced by increased arousal. One of the helo’s hands eventually moved down to his array, which snapped open on reflex, revealing a very wet valve.  His sensors may be wrecked…but the lubrication ducts there were still fully functional.   

Oh how he wished he could feel the touches there!  At best, he could feel a bit of pressure and of course that ever persistent heat.  Thankfully, Berylstar quickly remembered his limitations and instead focused on his spike housing, the soft caresses eliciting soft moans from him.  The charge was building and building…but then it just…stopped. 

Flashwing had this happen many times before at the bordello, due to his ‘clients’ caring more for themselves.  He hadn’t cared too much then, as he had hated being taken…used…, but now?  It was Primus damned frustrating!  He needed something else…something to tip him over the edge…. 

“B-Beryl…,” he gasped.  “Th-this…is not going to be enough….” 

“Hmm…I feared as much,” Berylstar agreed.  “A moment, I have a solution.” 

Seconds later, he felt a jack being inserted into his medical port.  What was he…. 

There was a click in his array.  He looked down and to his shock he saw his own spike pressurizing for the first time in…too long….

Chapter Text

“Wha-what did you do?” Flashwing stammered as he watched his own spike bob and weave slightly.  Oh Primus…the feel of just the air upon it once more felt so good…. 

“Obvious, don’t you think?”  Berylstar stated smugly as one hand hovered teasingly under the appendage.  “And my…what a crime has been committed.  Such a shame for a fine specimen like this to be kept locked away….” 

“H-how can this be impressive?” Flashwing questioned with a faint whimper, both flattered and embarrassed by the compliment.  “Your mate can change his spike to anything he wants!” 

“Not exactly…,” Berylstar corrected.  “He is still limited by mass.  He can’t make his spike the size of a convoy class frame could sport, for instance….” 

He looked at him, a ridge raised.  “Had one of those before?” 

“No…but there was one such mech that had problems having his spike ‘stand at attention’ in the showers at the academy…,” Berylstar replied wistfully.  “But we can ‘discuss’ dirty academy experiences another time.  May I?” 

He felt briefly confused.  One part, the Siren raised bot was asking ‘why is he asking when your body is already showing consent?’.  The other, the slave, was screaming ‘I’m a slave!  There’s no need to ask! Just take!’ 

How frightening similar both mindsets were.  Both discounted, if not flat out ignored, the desires of the mind, the person themselves. Reduced their being, their worth, to that an object.  A thing that could be thrown away and replaced on a whim. 

No longer did he want to feel that way.  And that Berylstar asked was proof the helo didn’t want him to either.  He was continuing to treat him like a person.  Flashwing really appreciated that…. 

Still, the act of giving verbal consent was foreign to him.  It took a moment for the word to actually escape his lips.  “Y-yes….” 

He looked back down at his spike just in time to see the helo’s hand lightly brush against the underside of it.  Flashwing moaned, arching his back as his charge level finally climbed most more.  The helo made a soft ‘hmm’ sound and did not immediately start stroking more.  Flashwing whined and pressed against him, silently begging him not to tease. 

A soft amused chuckle, then the stroking continued.  Odd, the strokes were not even, slightly jerky actually.  That wasn’t normal. 

Oh that’s right…he had forgotten about that.  Primus…was that why this felt so good?  He didn’t think- 

Flashwing breathed a loud gasp when his charged surged by a good amount.  His body was now trembling, writhing. He was nearly there!  Pressing back against Berystar, he reached back to wrap his arms around the helo’s neck, the best he could at least.  Just a little more!  He started thrusting his hips into Berylstar’s hand. 

That did it.  Flashwing keened as he overloaded, not caring he may be waking up the whole block.  That was glorious, messy and, most importantly, wanted release and he felt immersive relief when the charge went away. 

Berylstar was right…it was normal arousal, not PAAD. Perhaps there was still hope for a normal sex life for him.  For now, he was content to curl against the helo as the afterglow washed over him.  

“Th-thank you…,” Flashwing muttered, his head resting on the helo’s shoulder.  He could feel the first stages of recharge starting to take hold as Berylstar rubbed his back. 

“You’re welcome,”  Berylstar was telling him warmly, a smile on his face.  “If you ever need help with this sort of thing again just-“  His processor swimming with the afterglow and increasing grogginess, Flashwing could only comprehend that the helo had stopped both talking and rubbing his back. 

He had no comprehension that he had just kissed the helo on the cheek, before nestling his head into the crook of Berylstar’s neck, then let recharge overtake him completely….

Chapter Text

He’s had plenty of good recharge’s as of late, but this one...he couldn’t think of a good word for it.  Fulfilling, perhaps?  Flashwing felt something akin of immense relief.  Something important had happened, but his still booting up processor couldn’t recall what.  Why did he feel disappointed when he realized he was alone in the berth? 

Oh.  OH! 

Flashwing sat up in a jolt as what happened last night came back to him in a rush.  He remembered now…what happened between him and Berystar.  Oh Primus…how embarrassing!  His cheeks started to heat up as he checked himself. 

No sign of any transfluid:  Berylstar must have wiped him off after he went into afterglow induced recharge.  The thought of the helo rubbing him down started to…. 

No no no…let’s not have a repeat of that!  Flashwing knocked himself in the head with a stump, banishing the perverted thoughts that had started to form.  That was…just a onetime thing…. 

Was it?  Some part of him deep inside he could feel a yearning for more.  Small right now, but he had a feeling it would grow.  He wasn’t sure if he should let it…despite knowing what his owners hoped for him.  Flashwing knew if he had another ‘situation’ like last night, they would be all too happy to help him again.  He wasn’t sure if he actually wanted that.  He hated being a burden, but neither of his owners seemed to mind. 

A rumble in his tank told him he needed to refuel.  With a sigh, he got out of his berth and headed for the kitchen.  He could hear his owner’s chatting within as he approached. 

“…really?”  Rustshift was saying, sounding rather curious. 

“First, unless this was a fluke, it appears he is healing rather well from his trauma,” Berylstar was explaining.  By this point, Flashwing at the threshold.  He quickly figured out that they were discussing what happened last night. 

“Second, and you may be a bit jealous of this one, Rust,” Berystar was continuing, but paused, as if trying to find the right words for it.  The light smirk on his face suggested he was pausing on purpose to rile his partner up. 

“Come on…don’t leave me in suspense!” Rustshift was whining, slumping his shoulders dramatically. 

Flashwing sighed faintly, having a feeling on what the helo was holding back on.  With those medic’s hands, he would of course notice that kind of detail!  “That my spike his lightly covered in micro-barbs?” he replied for him. 

Rustshift jumped, his plating rearranging into random shapes.  Berylstar was chuckling with amusement at his reaction.  Flashwing found that rather amusing himself:  perhaps he should try startling him again sometime? 

Chapter Text

“Oh…morning, Flash!”  Rustshift greeted as he put his plating back in order.  “Recharge well?” 

“Very,” Flashwing replied as he fetched himself a cube.  “And really, Beryl…already telling him about last night?”  He felt the heat of embarrassment start to creep back again as he sat down at the table. 

“We both heard your cry last night,” Berylstar countered with a shrug.  “Rust would have gone, but he had…exhausted himself.” 

Rustshift flushed and folded his arms as he muttered.  “Not my fault you tend to make me do all the ‘work’….”  He stiffened.  “Ah…sorry that was a bit too ‘suggestive’ wasn’t it?” 

“Doesn’t matter…he saw us anyway.” 

“Wait…wait…what!?”  The shifter looked mortified now. 

Half of him wanted to hide under the table, but the other have wanted to tease.  The latter won out.  “Oh…so you’re the opposite of Beryl, then, Rusty?” Flashwing stated with a smirk.  “He likes to be watched…but you don’t?” 

Berylstar was making a choking sound, while Rustshift stiffened in horror, both their faces were blue.  Flashwing’s smirk widened into a satisfied grin. 

“You…were able to discern that much?” Berylstar asked. 

“Of course: I was an interrogator for Spec Ops, after all,” Flashwing stated smugly before taking a sip of his energon.  “And I must apologize, Beryl.  I would have warned you about the barbs, but I wasn’t exactly in the right frame of mind….” 

The helo waved a hand dismissively.  “It wasn’t painful.  In fact, it was rather pleasant,” he countered.  “I can only imagine how that felt in more…appropriate places.” 

Flashwing’s processor immediately went there.  An image of him straddling Berylstar, getting ready to plunge his spike into his valve.  He coughed and shook his head to rid himself of it.  “Well…to be honest…I have yet to test them out on anyone…as I had the modification done after I had joined Spec Ops.” 

“Well if you need a volunteer…,” Rustshift started to say, winking suggestively. 

“Rusty!” Berylstar chided as Flashwing blushed. 

“Come on, Beryl!” the shifter whined.  “You rarely spike me!  My valve is hungry for a good spiking!” 

“Oh Primus…TMI…,” Flashwing groaned, his head hitting the table as he fought to keep the resulting images out of his processor.  Rustshift made a gruff snort of disappointment, while Berylstar made a nervous sounding laugh.  Odd, why would he be uncomfortable? 

Then a loud banging on the door got all their attention….

Chapter Text

“Oh…that doesn’t sound good…,” Rustshift muttered as they all rose to their feet.  Flashwing quickly gulped down the rest of his energon, having a bad feeling. 

“It does not…,” Berylstar agreed as they headed for the living room before adding quietly.  “Flashwing, assume the position beside the couch….” 

Flashwing nodded, knowing what he was referring to.  It could be the Inspector again, though the knock didn’t sound at all the same.  Perhaps a colleague of hers decided to do a random visit?  Regardless, he knelt down by the couch as he was told, opening his panel and lowing his wings into a submissive posture.  Primus…why did he have to be wet down there now?  That’s going to give their unknown visitor the wrong idea. 

He could just see Rustshift off to his side as he heard Berylstar open the door.  “Gentlemechs, can I help you?” he heard the helo ask with a hint of concern in his tone. 

“Search warrant,” a gruff sounding mech replied. 

“Oh….”  Berylstar sounded rather surprised as he let them in.  The two Enforcers immediately started looking through the house.  “What are you searching for, if I may ask?” he asked. 

“Cannot say,” came the response.  “Whose room is this?”  Sounded like that one was at his room. 

“Ah, a guest room,” Rustshift replied.  “We had a visitor last night that had to leave first thing.  One of the Wreckers.” 

A snort.  “Those guys?” the other Enforcer growled.  “There’s been word they’ve been snooping around in places they shouldn’t.” 

“Doomsiren,” the first Enforcer chided warningly.  “Not what we are here for.” 

“Right, right…sorry, Voltspin.” 

So Wheeljack did have at least a number of Wreckers looking in Quint labs…and they have already been noticed.  It would be only a matter of time before Sentinel decided to react to that.  Primus…what has he done?

Chapter Text

Flashwing fought to keep down his anxiety and guilt as the Enforcers continued to make a mess of the place.  He knew his wings were quivering, which caught the optic of one of the Enforcers. 

“Looks like your slave can’t keep still,” one of them, Voltspin, stated. 

“We recently had his wings restored,” Berylstar explained.  “He’s still learning to control them again.” 

“A fixer upper, eh?  I’d never have the patience for that.”  A brief pause.  “This is a rather heavy looking door, what is behind it?” 

“My laboratory,” Berylstar answered.  “I assume you need to search it as well?” 

“Our warrant is for the whole house.”  The Enforcer replied softly, as if he was reluctant to go in there. 

“I do not currently have any potentially dangerous projects in the works,” Berylstar assured him as Flashwing heard him open the door. 

“I hope not.  Doom, continue the search on this side.” 

“Right, Volt.”  Doomsiren replied, just before the blast door closed once more. There were a few moments of relative silence as the remaining Enforcer searched the kitchen.  Rustshift did not move from Flashwing’s side, for which the seeker was grateful for. 

“Your pet is a rather exotic looking, isn’t he?” the Enforcer commented as he returned to the living room.  “Or would be…if he had all his armor….” 

“Fixer upper, like your partner stated,” Rustshift commented curtly. 

“A bit too…brightly colored…for my tastes, to be honest,” Doomsiren commented, lifting up his chin.  Flashwing did his best to keep an impassive expression on his face as he got his first good look at a rather average looking Enforcer.  “Prefer darker ones…like the seeker a few friends of mine managed to win at an auction.  Damn lucky of them to win such a well-trained sex slave!  I’m hoping they let me have a go sometime…such a pretty black and purple mech….” 

He couldn’t help but widen his optics at this information.   

“Oh…someone you may know?” the Enforcer asked, an amused smirk on his face.  “Former lover, perhaps?”  Flashwing wasn’t sure he should respond as Doomsiren glanced down.  “I can see you are wet…” A chuckle and smirk.  “You seekers are all such sluts….” 

No…no we are not!  He wanted to protest, but kept his intake shut.  Fortunately, the Enforcer done tone taunting him and had gone into the Master berthroom to continue searching.  Leaving Flashwing to mull over this new information….

Chapter Text

Flashwing’s processor was spinning.  While he was relieved to hear Skywarp was no longer in a Prime’s hands, that he left a Prime’s ownership at all suggested it hadn’t been Optimus.  That meant it was Sentinel.  Oh Primus…what did that poor seeker have to suffer through by his hands?  

The Enforcer mentioned he was a well-trained sex slave.  That, on its own, wasn’t too surprising, as Skywarp was in the same bordello as he had been.  If anything, Sentinel ‘refined’ that ‘training’ further.  Skywarp’s coding had to be so fragged by now it would take a lot of time to get him back to normal.  It may even take a miracle.  Nothing he could do about it but hope these ‘friends’ of Doomsiren’s were decent owners…. 

“A whole lotta nothing,” Doomsiren was muttering as the Enforcer returned to the living room.  “Huh…Volt’s taking a while in there…your partner better not be doing anything funny….”  There was a slight hardened edge to his tone. 

“Beryl likely advised him to be careful,” Rustshfit replied casually.  “We do have various chemicals in there…and if you know anything about chemistry, you’d know that accidently knocking over the wrong ones can be…explosive….” 

Flashwing flinched beside himself, remembering a few incidents of his own like that.  He was lucky they were very small explosions.  Others weren’t so lucky:  he heard Jetfire lost half his wings due to an accident, though in that case it was caused by a lab partner that refused to follow cleanliness procedures.  Poor bot was now OCD about keeping his lab spotless.  After something like that, he didn’t blame him. 

“And with that blastdoor…we likely wouldn’t hear if anything did go ‘boom’,” the Enforcer was grumbling. 

“Directly…no,” Rustshift replied.  “We have an alarm system set up in case something bad happens.  Sends a notification to both of us and a few friends.  I haven’t received one yet.” 

The Enforcer made a thoughtful noise.  Then he could see his feet in front of him again.  “So what are your plans for this guy once he’s fixed up?” 

“We are still deliberating on that,” the shifter answered.  “There’s still a lot of work to be done physically…and mentally.” 

“Seems pretty placid right now.”  He felt the mech run a hand down a wing.  Flashwing flinched hard and growled in displeasure as he moved the wing away from the touch.  He didn’t want anyone but his owners to touch him like that!  “I will touch you if I want, slave!” Doomsiren snapped, seizing the wing this time.  The grip was hard and painful on the sensitive appendage, just like how many of his ‘customers’ handled him at the bordello.  Flashwing could feel a flashback starting to surface…. 

Before it could take full hold, however, there was a transformation sound beside him, and the Enforcer suddenly jumped back with a startled yelp, releasing his grip in the process.  “But only if the owners permit it,” the voice of Sentinel growled.  Flashwing froze at that voice for several seconds before he remembered what Rustshift was capable of. 

“Fragging shifter!”  Doomsiren snarled, clearly unhappy.  “Why aren’t you dead or imprisoned like the rest of your kind?” 

“If you had checked the files like you should have before we came here, Doom,” Voltspin sighed as he and Berylstar returned.  “You would already know he was pardoned by Sentinel himself.”  There was a brief pause as Flashwing heard the other Enforcer walk stiffly up to Rustshift.  “And you…pardoned or not…do not use our Lord Prime’s image!” 

There was a faint snort as he heard Rustshift transform back into default form.  “My apologies,” he stated.  “I felt the need to remind your colleague not to touch someone’s property without permission.” 

“You are under a search warrant…,” Doomsiren reminded him. 

“This slave is not the object of our search,” Voltspin countered.  “No bots, even slaves, are to be touched unless they try to interfere.  Did the slave try to interfere?” 

“No….”  Doomsiren sounded defeated. 

“We will talk about this further after debriefing,” Voltspin stated as he headed for the front door.  “Come, we are done here.” 

Once both Enforcers were gone, Berylstar knelt beside him and whispered in his audio.  “Care to assist us in cleaning up?” he asked.  “With your…prior experience…you’d know what to look for….” 

What was he….oh.  Right. 

They needed to check for bugs.

Chapter Text

The Enforcers had left quite a mess, so it took some time to clean up.  Still lacking hands, Flashwing couldn’t help much in that department.  Searching for bugs, however, he could assist with.  While he didn’t work in surveillance back then, he was still trained on how to plant and retrieve such devices.  Enforcer units wouldn’t have the access to the same quality of bugs a Spec Ops agent, but the procedures regarding them were roughly the same.  

He silently pointed out each possible location for a bug to have been planted.  Under tables, on top of bookshelves, and so on.  They didn’t find anything in the living room, which was odd as that was one of the preferred locations.  Nor did anything turn up in the master berthroom.  The lab was clear as well:  surely that would have been a prime spot!  Anxiety turned to confusion as it turned out the whole house was bug free. 

“So what was the purpose of their search?” Flashwing questioned as they sat around the kitchen table, having a quick refuel. 

“If I had to guess, it is likely a new tactic by that Inspector,” Rustshift grumbled as he stared into his cube, swirling it’s contents absently. 

“Possible, but something doesn’t seem right,” Berystar admitted, resting his head on a hand.  “While they were thorough…they also did things rather…half-afted.” 

“I noticed that too,” Rustshift commented.  “It’s like they didn’t care if they found anything or not.” 

Flashwing hadn’t noticed since he wasn’t ‘allowed’ to watch the Enforcers due to his ‘status’.  He sat up straight as he processed this new information, mulling it over.  The Enforcers being ‘half-afted’ about their job could mean a number of things: incompetence and laziness being two of them and Doomsiren did come off as being like that.  It was possible was still considered a ‘rookie’ as well. 

Voltspin on the other hand, was clearly more experienced and professional, though he wasn’t very ‘into’ this task.  That was most evident due to his reaction on going into a laboratory, though that could just mean he just hated laboratories.  Still seemed off though.  Almost like sending those two here was an…. 

Afterthought. 

Flashwing straightened up when it hit him.  “I think this whole thing was a ruse…a distraction,” he stated. 

“What makes you say that?” Berylstar asked, looking interested. 

“You are both associated with Team Prime…and the Wreckers,” Flashwing explained.  “Those mechs mentioned that they knew the Wreckers were up to something…and we already know Sentinel suspects Team Prime may be planning something as well.  Perhaps…Sentinel discovered something…and finally acted.” 

“That…doesn’t sound good…,”  Rustshift grumbled, his plating twitching. 

Berylstar was frowning.  “So they sent those two here to ‘cover all their bases’, so to speak.” 

Flashwing nodded, then elaborated further.  “In both Specs Ops and Enforcement, when we have a high value target with multiple possible locations, we hit them all at once.  It’s resource heavy, but it’s effective to ensure one, others don’t warn the target and two, lessen the chances of the target escaping.” 

“Scrap…if you are right, there’s no point in giving either group a shout out,” Rustshift sighed. 

“Not necessa-,” Berylstar started to counter when a loud knock on their door interrupted him. 

Fearing it may be a ‘round two’, or worse, Flashwing again gulped down his energon quickly before resuming his position by the couch.  This time Berylstar stayed by his side while Rustshift answered the door. 

“Well now, Jackie wasn’t kidding when he said you kids had that slagger’s progeny here…,” a gruffy rough voice grumbled before the shifter could speak a greeting. 

Flashwing risked looking up to see a teal colored older bot letting himself in. 

Frag…it was one of the senior Wreckers. 

Kup.

Chapter Text

Flashwing stared at Kup, the wizened Wrecker staring right back, uncertain how he should be feeling right now.  Fear?  Relief?  Dread?  Hope?  He knew Wheeljack was fine with him now, but he couldn’t speak for the other Wreckers.  What was Kup doing here? 

“You’re the one that told Jackie what really happened to Ebs,” Kup finally stated, a hardened edge to his tone.  “Put him on what some of us call a ‘fools errand’.” 

He flinched and looked away.  “And by doing so…I put you all in danger,” he admitted.  “Sentinel already knows you are ‘poking around in places you shouldn’t….” 

“Bah…figures,” Kup scoffed, a hand rubbing his face.  “Jackie and ‘subtle’ just don’t mesh…especially with Bulkhead in tow.  I swear those two would get noticed in a dark room, equipped with sound dampeners and Quintesson grade cloaking devices….” 

Ouch. 

“Sounds about right…,” Rustshift chuckled. 

“But that’s not why I’m here,” the senior Wrecker commented.  “Though I appreciate the warning:  I’ll smack that fool when I get back to camp.”  He paused, long enough to glance around the place. “Get any ‘surprise visitors’ recently?” 

“We did, actually,” Berylstar replied.  “We just finished sweeping the place for bugs, though we didn’t find any.” 

The Wrecker nodded.  “Team Prime was hit…hard, from the sound of things.” 

Oh no….  Being right in this case was not a good thing.  “Who or what were they after?” he asked hesitantly. 

“They are still picking up the pieces,” Kup replied with a helpless shrug.  “So I don’t know much.  What I do know is that Prime…advised…us to go underground for a while, stay lower than we usually do.  This has shaken them; I can tell that much.” 

“Anything we can help with?” Berylstar asked, but Kup was already shaking his head. 

“Considering your own ‘reputation’ with Sentinel?  It would be too risky for you to get more involved,” the Wrecker stated.  “Especially since you have him.”  Kup gestured toward him. 

“Oh to be able to go back in time and undo the mistakes I have made…,” Flashwing sighed dejectedly.  

“Don’t we all, kid?”  Kup was looking at him with a bit of sympathy.  “Thanks for exposing that other Siren by the way.” 

“There’s a chance there may be more out there,” Flashwing warned.  “If my lack of knowledge of Flatwheel’s…membership…is any indication.” 

“I’ll pass that on, but right now we need to focus on what we do know,” Kup stated.  “No sense risking more unwanted attention by going on a hunt for boogiebots that may not exist.” 

Flashwing nodded, understanding his point.  Too much was at risk right now, especially with Sentinel’s glaring optics watching them all closely…..

Chapter Text

Things were not looking good for Team Prime.  That’s what Flashwing and his owners were told anyway, a few days later.  They found out Jazz, Ironhide and two slaves, Dreadbolt and Barricade, were taken in and interrogated by Enforcement.  According to them, they were looking for a slave by the name of Blackout, and the Autobot Crosshairs.  Crosshairs, last they heard, was still unaccounted for. 

This didn’t sit well with Flashwing.  It hinted that Crosshairs was the target of the raids, but he didn’t understand why that would be so.  His status as a slave and the ‘arm’s length’ relationship his owners had with Team Prime left him with little information to work with to confirm or disprove his theory.  He wanted so badly to help, to be a part of the fight, but that was just not feasible. 

One good thing was that his armor was nearly completely restored now:  just his hands and chest piece were left.  The chest piece was saved for last to give them time to work out a solution regarding the brand.  Earlier Berylstar had mentioned he finally had an idea and was currently out getting supplies.  Rustshift had asked him earlier to check his sketch of the Siren insignia for accuracy.  What for, he wasn’t completely sure, but he had some ideas. 

As for his hands, word was only a day or two before they were ready.  Perhaps, once he had them back, he would be more useful in general.  For now, all he could do was read and think.  He was reading the news right now, rather biased news but sometimes a grain of useful information can be found within.  Cross referencing with other sources was always important in this regard. 

He heard a groan from the direction of the laboratory.  Looking back, he saw Rustshift staggering out of it, looking flushed, his plating slightly puffed out.  Concerned he put down the newspad and started to approach him. 

“Do-don’t…,” Rustshift warned, holding up a hand.  “I…I don’t want to…ugh….” 

“Rust…what is wrong?” Flashwing asked pausing in his approach as his brows furrowed with worry.  “Did you catch something?” 

The shifter was shaking his head.  “N-not an illness…per say…but definitely…contagious…in a sense…,” he huffed, making a visible effort not to look at him.  “Fragging thing is early….” 

Click.  The sound of the shifter’s modesty panel opening was in tune to Flashwing realizing what was going on. 

Rustshift had gone into heat….

Chapter Text

Flashwing forced himself to avert his optics away from that dripping wet valve that was now on display, taking a few steps back in the process.  Memories of his time being under the influence of Lust floated up to the surface of his processor.  Of wanting to be fragged by everything that had a spike. 

And his own spike was recently reenabled.  His reproductive protocols may still be disabled in general, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be affected by another’s heat pheromones!  Rustshift had already implied he didn’t want him to be ‘ensnared’ by it.  Odd, considering the shifter had previously hinted at wanting to be spiked by him. 

Then again…heat pheromones…and heat in general…tend to make the prospect of ‘consent’ a rather questionable affair.  He recalled in some jurisdictions, taking someone in heat without previously arranged consent was considered rape.  Sirens, of course…were the opposite:  being in heat was clear consent to them.  His own time dealing with Lust effectively cured him of that belief. 

“Did…you contact Beryl?” Flashwing asked, uncertain what he should do. 

Rustshift looked at him, those optics roving his body for a moment before he looked away.  “Just did…had to…leave a message.  Must be in dead zone or…something,” the shifter panted in response.  “He’s…gonna freak….” 

“Why?”  Scrap, the pheromones must be affecting him.  It was becoming harder to not stare.  To not come closer…. 

“We-we…have to plan ahead for things like this…,” Rustshift explained as he slowly moved toward the master berthroom.  “My heats…are intense…and he…hates spiking….” 

So Berylstar was definitely a valve only mech then.  Explains the ‘compliant’ the shifter had about having to ‘do all the work’.  Flashwing found himself wondering if the helo had a bad experience, or it was simply a preference. 

And how his spike would feel slipping into that… 

No!  Flashwing grimaced, crushing his optics closed.  He took a deep intake to try to clear his head. 

Only to practically taste the heat pheromones.  He opened his optics to see the shifter closer than he had before.  Oh scrap…to get to his room, Rustshift had to pass closer to him.  Close enough to feel the heat coming off his frame. 

And he could feel the heat in his array building.  A pressure behind his spike cover growing.  Oh no.

Chapter Text

Flashwing knew he should go to his room, lock to door and dose himself in cold solvent before things escalated even further.  Yet, he was unable to move from his spot, Rustshfit now looking at him with a mix of lust and regret.  His own processor spinning with desire, both from the pheromones and his own fantasies.  

Fantasies that had been growing more frequent and…raunchy.  Especially after that night Berylstar helped him achieve his first consensual overload in years.  He had largely been able to keep them check, keeping himself from needing to get another…hand job.  Right now though…. 

He wanted to frag Rustshift into the ground. 

No…  Flashwing somehow forced himself to look away, turn his back on the shifter. 

“Flash….”  Rustshift’s voice was husky, a hint of remorse within it.  “I…I don’t want to ask this…of you…but I may not have a choice….” 

“Wh-what do you mean?”  Stupid question.  Flashwing was well aware of how deadly heats can be for some bots.  Rustshift had already admitted that his heats were intense…. 

“We…don’t know when Beryl will get home…,” Rustshift sighed.  “I…I may need your help to…take the edge off…until he does….” 

Primus…he was afraid of that.  Flashwing had to suppress a groan when his spike oh so clearly told him ‘let me out’. 

“Please…help me.” 

He looked back him.  Rustshift was by his berthroom door, leaning against the wall.  Both legs had a line of lubricant starting to run down them.  Primus…that looked so…. 

“You are sure?”  Flashwing asked, slowly turning back toward him.  He had to be sure: he didn’t want to do what had happened to him so many times…. 

“Yes, Flashwing…,” Rustshift breathed, such a longing sexy smile now on his face. 

It was too much.  With a click, his panel opened….

Chapter Text

Flashwing approached Rustshift slowly, his wings slightly low and back, hips swaying a bit.  His now pressurized spike swayed along with his hips, bobbing with each foot fall.  Rustshift was enthralled by the display, the shifter’s optics particularly interested in his spike.

“Beryl was right…,” Rustshift breathed huskily when he finally reached him.  “It was a crime to lock that away….”

Being so close, fully enveloped in heat pheromones and warmth was intoxicating.  It was getting hard to stay focused and not just take the shifter against the wall.  No, if he was going to do this…he wanted to do this properly. 

“Then…let’s see how many charges I can rack up while it’s on ‘probation’…,” Flashwing commented slyly, coaxing him into the berthroom.  They didn’t get too far in before Rustshift scooped him up into a needy, breathtaking kiss.

Flashwing briefly lost himself in that kiss…and that overwhelming heat that was emitting from the shifter’s frame.  It was something he had never experienced before, not in a true sense at least.  Skywarp had never felt like this, not even that one time the teleporter had been in heat.  In the back of his processor, he rationalized that it had to do with that compatibility thing Berylstar told him about.  Not that such information mattered, at least right now.

After several long shearing seconds he was able to break away from the kiss and coax Rustshift onto the berth.  There the shifter pulled him on top and into another deep kiss.  All the while, Flashwing could feel his hands play with his wings and stroke his sides.   A pity he couldn’t return the favor, at least in that way. 

Once he was free from the kiss once more, he did what he could with his mouth and glossa.  Nipping at neck cables, licking along the many seams of the shifter’s plating.  Rustshfit moaned his appreciation, the shifter now grinding his array against his.  Whispers of ‘please, please, please’ in his audio.

Well, no since in delaying the ‘main course’ any longer.

Flashwing lifted himself up so he could position himself properly.  He felt a desire to lay back down, to have full body contact and be enveloped in that intoxicating warmth again.  That desire went away the moment he slipped his spike into that wet, pulsing valve….

Chapter Text

A surge shot through him, a sort of mini-overload, traveling from his array and up his spinel strut.  Flashwing moaned loudly, half-collapsing onto Rustshift as shifter gasped in turn.  Primus, he didn’t remember spiking someone feeling like this.

Rustshift was begging, pleading for him to continue, his hips pressing against his own eagerly.  More on instinct than conscious will, Flashwing started thrusting.  The barbs of his spike lightly catching on inner folds and sensors of the shifter’s valve, while also stimulating his own sensors.  He hadn’t expected this modification to provide this much extra stimulation:  he wasn’t going to last long…

…especially once Rustshift started lifting his hips in tandem with his thrusts.  Sending them both over the edge with duel keens of ecstasy.  Oh…Rustshift’s plating rippled when he overloaded…how incredibly fascinating!

Once the surge was over, he collapsed fully onto his partner, the overload briefly sapping his ability to control his body.  He panted, trying to catch his breath as he became all too aware that Rustshift’s body had yet to cool down and nor has his spike depressurized.  Figures Rustshift was one of those that needed more than one overload to calm it down.

Flashwing could feel the shifter’s hands wrap around him and once more he was pulled into a kiss.  He gladly melted into it, their glossa dancing with one another’s.  Rustshift was grinding against his array already, hungry for more.

“Give me a minute…,” Flashwing breathed.  “N-not used to doing the work anymore….”

There was a chuckle, then Rustshift pushed him off, his spike slipping out in the process.  Then he was coaxed onto his back and to his shock, the shifter took position over him. His valve was hovering inches above his twitching spike, dripping with a mix of lubricant and transfluid.  It was a rather obscene…yet rather intriguing…sight.

“Don’t worry…,” the shifter announced slyly. “I can do the ‘work’ this round.”

“I…O-Ok….,”  Flashwing managed to say once what was about to happen fully set in.  This was not a position he had been in before, at least when it came to doing the spiking.  In the past, he had always been in the more dominant position, so this was new territory for him.  In both an intimidating and intriguing way.

Rustshift teasingly stayed in that hovering position for what felt like several minutes before lowering himself onto his spike.  Once more he felt that glorious warmth sheathing his spike.  When the shifter started to ride him, any fears he had about this arrangement were banished, replaced by pure pleasure.

He wanted to grab those hips and have some influence on how fast and hard he rode him.  No hands though, at least…not yet.  Perhaps soon…very soon.  For now, he contented himself with thrusting upward, doing his best to match Rustshift’s pace.  Soon enough they were both crying out in release once more.

This time, Flashwing was the one that initiated the post-overload kiss. 

Chapter Text

Rustshift didn’t feel as hot now, but he could tell the heat wasn’t over.  He started to mentally prepare himself for at least one more round.

“Flash…,” Rustshift breathed once the kiss ended, the shifter rolling onto his side.  “Thank you…I think I should be OK until Beryl comes home….”

He felt an odd kick of disappointment.  “Y-you are sure?” he asked, not quite feeling ready to separate from him.

“I did ask only to take the edge off,” the shifter reminded him with a reassuring smile.  “Besides…this is usually the only time I can get him to spike me…don’t want to waste that opportunity, no?”

That…didn’t really sit right with him.  “Why force someone that clearly doesn’t like it when you have someone right here that is willing?”

At this, Rustshift looked away.  “I…it’s not like that,” he stated softly.  “He…”  A heavy sigh.  “It’s not my place to tell…I can tell you that he was once a lot more willing once…”

It still didn’t feel right, but Flashwing felt he was starting to get idea why.  “Alright,” he sighed, giving one last nuzzle before getting up out of the berth.  “If you change your mind…or it looks like Beryl won’t make it…call me.”

“I will…thank you.”

Flashwing stepped out of the berthroom and started heading for his own, intending to take a quick cold shower to dull the lingering arousal.  Halfway there the front door opened and a rather frantic Berylstar came running in.  “Flash…where is…,” the helo started to ask.

He answered by pointing at their berthroom.  “It’s been calmed somewhat,” he told him.

“H-how…” Berylstar started to ask, but then looked mortified when he guested the answer.  “Oh Flash…I’m sorry.”

Flashwing shook his head.  “Full consent was given by both parties beforehand,” he assured him.  “Go on…he’s waiting for you.”

“R-right…thank you….”  Berylstar seemed to shudder as he started for the room.  Was he really terrified of this?

“Beryl…,” Flashwing called out.  “If you are uncomfortable…I am willing to finish the job….”

There was twitch in the helo’s frame.  When he looked toward him, Flashwing could see a hint of shame, but determination on his face.  “I appreciate the offer, Flash…but it is not needed.  I know and understand why he does this….” 

Without further explanation, Berylstar entered the room, closing the door behind him.  Leaving Flashwing feeling both curious on what the full story was…and admittedly a bit rejected….

Chapter Text

Flashwing had expected them to be finished by the time he was done with this ‘cool off’ shower, but no.  The door was still closed when he checked, and he resisted the temptation to try to listen through it, instead going to the kitchen.  With how his processor was regarding those two, he’d end up needing to take another shower.

Then again, with what he recently learned, he may be too disturbed to be get aroused.

Berylstar didn’t like doing the spiking…seemed terrified of the deed, actually.  That was sad on its own but knowing Rustshfit uses his heat cycle to force him do to it anyway...disturbing.  Some kind of sick kink?

Yet, it apparently wasn’t always that way?  The shifter had implied that much and Berylstar’s statement supported it.  What happened to change the dynamic of their sex life in such a way?  An accident?  A lingering side effect of being infected with tiodisys?

Speculation only helped ease his discomfort somewhat.  Without knowing the full story, he wasn’t sure he wanted to get that close to Rustshift again, at least.  It really put a damper on just how enjoyable interfacing with the shifter had been….

He heard a door open and he looked up to see Berylstar come into view.  When the helo spotted him, he quickly joined him.  “It’s over,” he announced, the relief clear in his tone.  “He’s resting now.”

“What about you?” Flashwing asked.  “You were obviously uncomfortable about the whole affair.”  Berylstar didn’t answer immediately, the helo looking away, so he pressed on.  “Beryl…with what I was put through, I find myself uncomfortable knowing you are being forced into something…heat or no heat….”

A long forlorn sigh was breathed out.  “I know…,” Berylstar admitted.  “But it’s necessary.”

“No, it is not!”  Flashwing growled, slipping into his tribe accent as his wings snapped forward.  “If you don’t like spiking you Primus damned shouldn’t be forced to do it!”

Berylstar visibly recoiled at the force of his words.  “You are mistaken,” he countered softly. 

“How, in Pit, am I mistaken!?”

Another sigh as the helo sat down and took a moment to collect his thoughts.  “I actually liked spiking my mate…,” he began.  “But…a few years ago…there was an…accident….”

Flashwing’s wings lowered a bit as this sunk in.  He nodded for the helo to continue.

“Rust and I always had a rather…rambunctious sex life,” Berylstar continued.  “And I was slightly jealous of Rust’s ability to adjust his spike on the fly.  So we liked to experiment with different gadgets and such so I could stimulate his valve in as varied of ways as he could mine.”

Oh no…  Flashwing could already guess where this was going.  “One of those gadgets….” 

“Shattered in the middle of the act…,” the helo confirmed with a shudder.

Chapter Text

Flashwing subconsciously crossed his legs and squirmed as he felt sympathy pain in both areas of his array.  Yes, even in his torn-up valve.  The very idea of a sex toy failing in such a way was horrifying!

“My spike…and his valve were badly damaged…,” Berylstar elaborated, visibly shuddering.  “Both of us endured hours of surgery to have all the pieces removed and respective parts repaired.  Rust…he could be put into stasis…but for me….”

A hard shudder passed through his frame.  “You had to stay awake and…keep it at attention…,” he uttered grimly, Berylstar nodding in confirmation.  “I’m guessing it wasn’t Ratchet that did the Op….”  Surely, the legendary medic would have known a way to allow Berylstar to be in stasis for that. 

Berylstar nodded once more with a forlorn sigh.  “For obvious reasons, the experience resulted in a fear of interfacing…especially for me.  We are both attending therapy to try to work past it…but it wasn’t until I went into heat that true progress was finally made.”

“When you discovered you can receive without bringing up the traumatic memories…,” Flashwing stated, starting to understand.  “Resulting in the current primary arrangement of him spiking you most of the time…”

Berylstar nodded.  “We got some of our confidence back that way…but so far, it hasn’t worked, not fully, for the reverse.”  A shuddering sigh.  “Using my spike…is terrifying.  I am too careful…too slow…too afraid something may shatter again.  I know it’s illogical, even silly, especially since we haven’t used any toys since that…incident.”  He put his head in his hands.  “But every time I even consider it…my processor flashes back to that day…that pain I experienced….”  A long breath was let out before he looked up at him again.  “Still, I’d like to think I was improving…that is until….”

“You fell ill with toidisys…setting you back,” Flashwing guessed, receiving a nod of confirmation.  He felt a rush a guilt.  “Primus, Beryl…I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have assumed Rust was being…abusive….”

Berylstar was shaking his head. “It was a reasonable assumption to make, Flashwing,” he told him.  “Especially considering your own experiences.  That said.”  The helo was looking at him now with a mix of relief and hope.  “I have noticed how quickly you seem to be recovering from your own trauma, Flashwing…and…we had hoped you could…assist us with our own.”

Considering how he was compatible with them both…and his recent…intimate…experiences on top of this new information?  He found himself not surprised at all they were hoping for this.  Still, Flashwing felt his wings go back and down, for there was one thing that was missing that was rather important for that.

“But I had already told Ratchet I wasn’t interested in having my valve restored…,” he reminded him.  There was also the issue of whether he would able to actually handle being spiked again in any capacity, but one thing at a time!

“A decision we understood your reasoning behind,” Berylstar stated.  “You are still healing yourself and it would have been selfish of us to make such a request of you before you were ready.

“Still…having a third party would help you…and perhaps it would help me with my own…,” Flashwing breathed a sigh.  “I did say ‘not at this time’ that day…so I can change my mind.  I just…need to seriously think things over first….”

“I understand, Flashwing.”  Berylstar stated, placing a hand over one forearm, a soft sweet smile on his face.  “Take the time you need….”

Chapter Text

Flashwing wanted to help.  At least to repay them for their kindness and willingness to give him a chance.  Plus he had really joined interfacing with Rustshfit and he found himself curious if the shifter felt that good when not in heat.  Wondered how Berylstar felt.  That lead to wondering how it would feel to be spiked by either of them.  To have that question answered though, he needed a fully functioning valve again….

But that lead to the issue of whether the PAAD would come back once his valve was restored.  On top of that, is whether or not the memories, the trauma of his valve being forcefully taken would be a hinderance.  It likely would, if that incident in the shower was any indication.

He breathed a depressed sigh as he lay on his berth.  Chances were, he would be completely useless when it came to valve interfacing.  So why even bother?

Yet, he felt a desire to be whole again.  To defeat the demons his time under cruel masters infected him with.  He can’t be truly whole, if he just avoided the issue with his valve, can he?

One thing at a time….

Dealing with the possibly of the PAAD coming back should be considered first.  Perhaps he should talk to Ratchet the next time they see him, which should be anytime now.  That mech is a legend in his profession, surely he would have some experience on dealing with PAAD.  Perhaps he knew how to cure it, or at least knew of better means of cooping with it?  It was worth a shot.

After all, no point in restoring his valve if the PAAD came back with a vengeance…

“Flash,” Rustshift called to him from the doorway.  “Can you come to the lab?”

He nodded and got off the berth, following the shifter into the lab.  There Berylstar was polishing up the last piece of his armor:  his chest plate.

“Ah, finally finished it?” Flashwing commented.

“Indeed!” Berylstar stated excitedly, looking pleased with himself. “Next time we see Ratchet you won’t be half-naked!”

Flashwing chuckled, lifting his arms up so the helo could attach the armor piece.  It felt odd to have armor over the protective panels of his spark chamber again, but it was also a relief.  Light armor over such a vulnerable part of himself was better than none.

He looked down once Berylstar had stepped away. It looked just as it once did, but with one difference.  In the place of where the brand used to be, was a decent sized indentation.  He looked up at the helo in question.

In answer, Berylstar held up a black Siren insignia, then placed it into the indentation.  It snapped into place with an obvious magnetic pull.  “Oh…clever,” Flashwing admitted, impressed.  “This way it can be removed when we are at home.”

“And you’ll be able to do so yourself after today,” Rustshift reminded him.  “Ratchet called us this morning to let us know your new hands are ready.”

Flashwing squeed with joy at this news.

Chapter Text

The trip to the clinic was mostly uneventful, mostly thanks to Rustshift transporting them part of the way there.  Unfortunately, he told them he couldn’t take them all the way there this time.  This was both due to their visit not being emergency this time around and being in the middle of the day.  This meant they had to stop a few blocks away and walk the rest of the way, in the midst of the general public. 

It also meant Flashwing had to have his panel open.  Doing so in the house had been embarrassing enough…this was a whole other level!  Almost every bot either sneered at him or looked at him lustfully.  A few laughed and jeered as they walked by.  A couple were confused by the insignia on his chest, which Berylstar or Rustshift had to, regretfully, explain what it meant.

A rather degrading experience overall that did not help his confidence any.  He sighed with relief when they arrived at Ratchet’s clinic.  Flashwing noticed his owners relaxing a bit as well:  they hadn’t enjoyed ‘parading’ him through the streets either. 

Shortly after, they were in Ratchet’s examination room.  There was definitely something different about the medic.  While the medic still carried himself with confidence and authority, Flashwing could see the worry in his optics.  The recent raids on their number and what it may mean was heavy on his processor.  Even his Constructicon assistants were a bit tense.

“We heard about what happened,” Berylstar stated softly as Ratchet did a final inspection of the new hands.  “We had a…run in…ourselves.”

“Not surprising,” Ratchet huffed as he started the attachment process for the first hand.  “Did they leave any ‘presents’?”

“Not in our case, surprisingly,” the helo replied.  “We came to the conclusion we were more of an afterthought than an actual target.”

“Lucky you…,” the medic growled.  “Found one in almost every room.  Clear violation of patient privacy!”

“Like he would care about that?” Flashwing grumbled.  Ratchet muttered something about ‘he’ only caring about his own desires in response.

“Any word on the missing?” Rustshift asked, to which Ratchet shook his head. 

“We are looking, but it is slow going due to all the optics on us now,” Ratchet sighed, the worry very evident on the medic’s face.

Several minutes passed in silence after that, no one wanting to talk more on that subject.  In that time, Ratchet finished attaching the first hand and had him flex and rotate it. After making a few needed tweaks, the medic started on the other hand.  Again, in silence.

A silence Flashwing felt the need to dispel with something.  “Ratchet…,” he called out softly, remembering what he had planned to talk to the medic about.  Flashwing felt a bit nervous about it, as he somewhat dreaded the answer he may get.   “I…I take it you have handled Persistent Array Arousal Disorder cases before?”

“I have dwelt with a number of such cases,” Ratchet replied, not looking up from his work.  “Why?”

Flashwing swallowed the lump in his intake.  “Because I had it…and I ‘cured’ myself by…wrecking my own valve.”  The medic was looking at him directly now in interest.  “I-I am thinking of having my valve restored now…but I…I am afraid it will come back if I do.”

The medic nodded in understanding, a thoughtful expression on his face.  “Do you know what caused it in your case, or at least when it started?”

“A drug called ‘Lust’,” Flashwing replied.  “Though it was experimental at the time.

Ratchet’s optics lit up in recognition. “You may be in luck then….”

Chapter Text

Flashwing straightened up in his seat, earning him a ‘stay still’ from the medic.  “What do you mean?” he asked, barely able to contain his excitement.  Beside him, Berylstar and Rustshift were both looking curious.

“Normally, PAAD is very rare.  However, I’ve had a rash of cases since that ‘Lust’ scrap was put on the legal market,” Ratchet grumbled as he finished attaching the second hand.  Frustratingly, he had him test the hand out first before elaborating further.

“PAAD is notoriously difficult to treat,” Ratchet stated as he did some tweaks.  “Mainly because the causes are many and difficult to pin down.  Naturally, not all causes are treatable.”

Bastard medic was dragging this out on purpose…he was sure of it.  “I’m sensing a ‘but’ here…,” Berylstar commented.

Ratchet chuckled a bit in amusement.  “But it turned out ‘Lust’ caused cases are the easiest to treat,” he announced.  “It was more difficult to get the patient to admit to using the drug in the first place.”

“Really?” Flashwing couldn’t believe his audios.  “Wh-what is needed to treat it?”

“Time,” Ratchet stated simply.  “In those patient’s cases, and likely yours, the cause is due to a buildup of an artificial hormone our bodies have difficulty flushing out naturally.  When was the last time you were given ‘Lust’?”

“Uh….” Flashwing had to really think on that.  His chronometer hadn’t been active during his ‘hell owners’, so it was difficult to gauge.  “Hard to say.  All I know for certain was that I was in ‘hell’ for almost three years before Berylstar bought me.  The bordello, my first ‘owner’, I am fairly certain I was at the longest and I was given that drug during latter period of that time.”

“So likely at least year since then?”

“Sounds about right.”

“You should be clear.  However, since you were used to ‘test’ the drug, it would be a good idea to run a test for traces of that hormone.”

“Please do so,” Flashwing told him.  “If I don’t have to worry about PAAD anymore, it will give me another reason to have my valve restored.”

Ratchet nodded and took a moment to draw a sample of his energon.  He handed it off to Hook, telling him what to test it for, before returning to making fine tune adjustments to his hands.  It was an anxious and slightly painful wait for the results.  Ratchet not only continued to have him test the new hands movement, but he also tested the tactile sensors.

He had him run his fingers over various surfaces, which was fine.  What was not fine was when the medic tested the pain part of it.  Flashwing nearly swiped Ratchet’s face off at one point, earning him a shock from the collar. 

Once all the ‘official’ testing was done, Flashwing ‘tested’ his new hands on his owners.  Using them to finally get a proper ‘feel’ for their frames.  He kept his ‘explorations’ in appropriate areas, though he couldn’t help but grope both their afts at one point.  They both jumped in shock, Berylstar laughing, while Rustshift’s face turned nearly as blue as the blue on his color scheme. 

“Behave yourself, you raschel,” Berylstar playfully chided, grabbing him in a half-hold, half-hug.  Flashwing churred, fluttering his wings as he licked the helo on the face in response, prompting another laugh.

“Well, at least he is happy,” Ratchet commented with a chuckle.

That happiness was replaced with a hit of anxiety when Hook finally returned with the results.

Chapter Text

Flashwing’s frame tensed up slightly as he Ratchet read the results.  After a moment, the medic looked up at them.  “Were either of you in heat recently?” he asked, a hint of concern in his tone.

Rustshift flinched and nodded.  “Couple days ago…it hit early this time…,” the shifter muttered bashfully.  “Flash helped relieve some of it….”

Ratchet nodded in acceptance, looking relieved.  “That explains the trace amounts of the hormone in his system,” he explained.

Natural hormone,” Hook added.  “I had to run an additional test to confirm.”

“Which means, you should be in the clear,” Ratchet stated, folding his arms.  “Does this information help with your decision?”

“It eases my concerns for the physical aspect of it,” Flashwing confirmed, Berylstar releasing him.  “The psychological part though….”  A shudder passed through his frame.

“You already know neither of us will force you into anything you are not ready for, Flash,” Berylstar reminded him.  “And we will help you the best we can to work through it.”

Flashwing nodded in acknowledgement as he rubbed his arms, his wings trembling a bit as they lowered.  So easy to just say no…and not deal with it at all.  But that would mean every bot that had assaulted him, used him as their plaything, saw him nothing more than a living sex toy had won.

Not so long ago, he was willing to give up.  To die.  End his suffering in the most permanent way possible.  Thanks to these two though, he was finding…and found…the will to fight again.  He will not give up…he will face his demons.  Confident he can defeat them with Rustshfit and Berylstar’s help.

He took a deep intake to calm his nerves before looking at Ratchet straight in the optics.  “Please restore my valve.”

Chapter Text

With followed after was a rather…detailed examination of his valve, which Flashwing found to be rather uncomfortable.  Ratchet was a professional though and despite his gruffy demeanor, he was patient and understanding.  When he was done with the exam, he told him it was possible to simply repair his valve, despite what the bordello medic had claimed.  However, it would be more efficient to simply replace it.

“How so?” Flashwing asked, curious.

“As you know, valves contain dozens upon dozens of sensors,” Ratchet explained.  “If we were to take the same surface size of various frame areas, only the hands and, in the case of seekers, wings, would have more.  Such small delicate components are taxing to repair and replace…and you….” The medic poked him in the forehead.  “Managed to severely damage or destroy each and every one in your valve…which means it would take hours, if not a couple of days of work.”

“I was…rather desperate then…,” Flashwing muttered sheepishly.

“Is your recommendation also related to…recent events?”  Berylstar asked, concern in his tone.

At this Ratchet sighed deeply, a look of regret briefly passing over his face.  “Yes,” he replied bluntly.  “As much as I hate to admit it, what happened has spooked us.  We are considering accelerating certain plans…and if so…I may not have the time to assist you much longer.”

“That sounds very serious…,” the helo breathed.  “What are these plans?”

“I’ve said too much as is,” Ratchet stated, waving a hand.  “Now, regarding your valve.”  He was looking right at him.  “I should able to acquire a new one with your specifications within a week.  I’ll call Beryl either way.”  Flashwing nodded in acceptance.

“Understood,” Berylstar stated.  “Thank you, Ratchet.”

“Anytime….”

Chapter Text

The medic saw them out and they made the trip back home in silence.  Only once had they close the door behind them did someone speak.

“We appreciate you making such a decision, Flash,” Rustshift commented.  “We’re proud of you.”  Berylstar was nodding in agreement.

“Don’t thank me yet…,” Flashwing sighed as he plopped onto the cough.  “There’s…a good chance I may be…unable to….”  A hard shudder passed through his frame.  Already, one of the many memories of his valve being forcibly ravaged threatened to overwhelm him.  He took several intakes to calm himself, his owners now sitting on either side of him, rubbing his back and whispering words of encouragement and reassurance.

“Yeah…,” Flashwing grumbled dejectedly once the moment had passed.

Berylstar was looking thoughtful.  “Then it is likely a good thing we made certain arrangements as a result of that home invasion….”

“What…sort of ‘arrangements’,” Flashwing asked, raising a brow.

“That night when we both were out?  We were in a session with our therapist,” Rustshift explained.  “Due to that event, we arranged to have future sessions here at home.”

“Our first home session is in a couple of days,” Berylstar added with a smile.  “And we would like for you to join us for it.”

Flashwing immediately bulked at the idea of joining a therapy session.  “No thank you…,” he grumbled, getting off the couch and starting to head for his room.

“Huh?”  Berylstar sounded confused.  “I thought you wanted help getting past your trauma, Flash?”

“I do,” Flashwing growled in his Siren accent.  “But I will not be processor washed by tool of ‘Great Society’ to ensure I conform to their ideals….”

A couple of seconds of silence passed before Berylstar stated with concern.  “Flash…you’re thinking like a Siren.”