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As Honor Dictates

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In the end, as disloyal as it was to think so, Dreadwing decided with an heavy Spark that everything was really Lord Megatron’s fault.

Potentially Soundwave’s too; if he hadn’t managed to capture the Autobot and drag him back to the Nemesis… Not that the outcome was a surprise. Soundwave was among the strongest Decepticons still online, perhaps even THE strongest after Megatron himself. He was efficient in everything he did, a proven, experienced warrior, and his opponent had been… a rookie fighter who could still be easily labelled as a Youngling.

If he had felt more charitable, Dreadwing would have pitied the young mech. His pity, however, was more turned inward those solar cycles, and for very good reasons.

Lord Megatron had been very pleased by the capture, and even more so by the smooth extraction of the Omega Key from the young mech’s chassis and learning what the ultimate purpose of the Keys was. His pleasure had only been slightly marred by their captive’s attempt at causing a self-controlled system crash to stop them from learning where the Autobots’ base was.

A bold stunt, and one Dreadwing could privately respect. If he had been captured himself, he knew he would have done the same thing to preserve his faction’s secrets.

Soundwave and Knock Out’s timely intervention had stopped the Autobot’s plan from succeeding, or at least partially. Even if they had been fast, all matters related to the location of the Autobot base had been erased from young Smokescreen’s memory bank or utterly corrupted, rendering the use of the Cortical Patch tedious and unviable.

A small ‘victory’ which had made the Autobot smirk and taunt them, albeit briefly. His smirk had quickly disappeared when Knock Out had respectfully demanded to their liege what they were to do with the prisoner now they couldn’t gain anything useful from him anymore.

For a moment, Lord Megatron had hummed and Dreadwing had been bracing himself for his Lord to just take out a weapon and shot the bound Autobot where he stood.

But then Lord Megatron’s optics had fallen on Dreadwing, stoic and silent and waiting for orders as he watched the Autobot with some curiosity, wondering who could have entrusted someone so young and inexperienced with the safety of a Relic as important as an Omega Key. Were the Autobots really so desperate? Or was the kid actually a better fighter than he appeared? He certainly didn’t look like much…

“Dreadwing.”

Lord Megatron’s voice had cut through his musing and made him look at his leader, whose optics kept moving between the captive Autobot and the flyer.

And then he had smiled.

Dreadwing could remember his exact words. “Despite your recent failures, Dreadwing, your services have proved invaluable – unlike those of others. You largely deserve a reward. I can’t help but notice you have spent long amounts of time on your lonesome. Surely you must thirst for… company? No, do not deny it. It is your lucky day; I’ve decided to give you a gift. A gift you’ll be certain to enjoy… thoroughly.”

And thus Dreadwing, too stunned to protest, had ended with his arms full of trussed up Autobot, just as stunned by this turn of event as Dreadwing himself felt. The Autobot Smokescreen was now his to do as he wished. His personal slave, generously granted by Lord Megatron for his excellent services.

Dreadwing should have said something then. Said that he found the idea of keeping a slave abhorrent, dishonorable and unworthy of the Decepticon cause. They had risen against a corrupt system which had made all those born into the lower Casts slaves in all but name; the idea that Decepticons, that Megatron himself could and would condone the enslavement of their enemies was unnerving and shocking on a fundamental level. It made Dreadwing wonder just how much the mechs he had fought with side by side for so long had changed since the last time he had seen them.

If the choice had been given to him, Dreadwing would have preferred to give the young Autobot a quick, clean and relatively painless death. Death was better than slavery, in his opinion (and potentially the Autobot’s too, given the look of horror and despair that had crossed his face when he had been pushed in Dreadwing’s reluctantly waiting hands). Sadly, it wasn’t an option; Lord Megatron hadn’t technically forbidden Dreadwing from killing his new… slave… but Dreadwing also knew that doing away with a gift given by his Lord in person would be heavily frowned upon. Megatron seldomly showed himself so generous as to give a personal reward to one of his soldiers, especially since they had to leave the dead husk that Cybertron had become. To receive one was an honor, which Dreadwing was painfully aware of.

So… no killing the Autobot, as much as keeping a slave chaffed at Dreadwing’s pride and convictions.

It left the Seeker in a conundrum; what else could he do with the Autobot?

Oh, he knew what Megatron had hinted at; Thirst for company? Ah! If it wasn’t an invitation to take a lover or rather, to sate any base needs he had on the Autobot, Dreadwing didn’t know what it was! Even if Megatron hadn’t said anything, Knock Out’s knowing smirks and the wandering optics of various Vehicons and Insecticons as Dreadwing dragged his new slave behind to lock him up in his quarters would have clued him in on what everybody expected him to do with the youngster.

It was sickening. How could they think he would stoop so low as to force himself on an enemy soldier? And a Youngling at that? Pit, the Autobot was so naïve he hadn’t even seemed to get the darker implications of Lord Megatron’s speech or understand why everyone chuckled when watching him in Dreadwing’s clutches.

Perhaps it was just as well.

In the end, rather than tie him to his berth like anyone else would have expected, Dreadwing had found a free spot on his wall, installed a couple of reinforced rings, brought in several chains, then hooked up the Autobot by his restraints at two good feet above the floor, turning him into a live, strange wall decoration. From the flustered, bewildered look on the Autobot’s face, he hadn’t expected it but for Dreadwing, it was perfect. Not only did it keep the Youngling out of his way, letting him hang like that gave him little leeway to try and struggle against his bonds. The chains would easily rattle anytime he tried, warning Dreadwing if anything was afoot. It wasn’t an ideal solution, but it was the only one the flyer felt comfortable using at the moment.

So… no sudden death, no forced interfacing and no torture. That last point, Dreadwing strongly balked at. Oh, don’t misunderstand him; in any other circumstances, he wouldn’t have hesitated. They were at war, after all, and Dreadwing had never hesitated to dirty his hands for the good of the Decepticon cause. He had killed, yes. He had tortured captives in order to get information – but that was the whole point: information. Any harm he had caused was for a purpose.

Torturing a helpless, bound Youngling for no other purpose than a twisted idea of fun… Dreadwing found it unpalatable. It just stood against everything he believed in. Mind you, there were solar cycles where the young Autobot made it very, very hard not to snap and make him temporarily set his beliefs asides.

The kid. Just. Wouldn’t. Shut up.

It was only taunts and jeers which were obviously fueled by fear, but they were annoying all the same. When Dreadwing finished a shift, he wanted to be able to relax, forget for one moment about duty, meditate and perhaps have a discreet prayer for the Spark of his departed Twin. Constant babbling from a bored and fearful Youngling who didn’t know when it was best to hold his glossa was not something he wanted to deal with on a regular basis.

Still, Dreadwing took it in stride. He never really listened what the Autobot said, though he kept an audio out in case useful information slipped past young Smokescreen’s lips – one never knew after all. And when it became too much to handle and he wanted some real quiet to recharge, well… gags were useful little things.

Even if the look Knock Out had given him when he had barged in the Medbay to ask where he could find one (he was in charge of supplies, after all; if someone had to know, it was him!) very disturbing, albeit not as much as the medic’s comment on how much fun Dreadwing must have been having with his slave while he passed him a ball gag and another… device Dreadwing had promptly discarded and hidden away in a drawer, cheeks burning as he did so.

Did Knock Out really think he was that kind of mech?

Sometimes, he wondered if his comrades truly knew him at all, or the reverse.

But Knock Out was free to imagine what he wanted, Dreadwing reminded himself. It was of no consequence to him.

The gag asides, in order to get the quiet he truly wished, there was also the addition of light sedatives in the energon cube Dreadwing regularly fed Smokescreen. The Youngling often complained about quality (which, admittedly, was fair; it wasn’t good energon by any stretch of the imagination, but it was the same mix as the one consumed by the Vehicon, so it was consumable and sufficient for powering one’s systems) but at least he didn’t try to bite Dreadwing anymore when the Seeker handfed him.

Freeing the Youngling’s hands had quickly appeared as an unnecessary security risk and it was just as easy to press a cube to his lips and let him drink what he needed. It hadn’t gone quite that easily at first; pride, shame, panic, reluctance, defiance had made Smokescreen try to lash out in whatever way he could, usually biting or headbutting Dreadwing’s hand. If he didn’t want to torture the Autobot in cold energon, the Seeker had however no problem slapping him silly for the offense, nor had he any qualm over depriving him of fuel until the Youngling was more receptive to being handfed.

Starvation was not a pleasant experience for anybot, but Dreadwing suspected it was even worse for a young mech like Smokescreen, who didn’t look or act like someone who had lacked basic fuel for a single day of his life. It was admittedly a surprise, given the energon shortage on Cybertron by the time he must have been brought online and the gradual fallback of the Autobots in front of the Decepticon might, but Dreadwing was certain of his guess.

It would explain why the prisoner had caved in so fast when fuel was withdrew from him.

The most Smokescreen had lasted without refueling before cracking and begging for scraps was a half decacycle. After that, he had become a lot more manageable. Still noisy as the Pit, but less likely to pull a ‘surprise attack’ on Dreadwing.

Sometimes, he even muttered ‘thank you’ without being prompted.

Mayhap the gravity his situation was gradually sinking in, and the Youngling was realizing that for all the discomfort he was in, it could have been a lot worse for him?

… One could always dream. The Youngling didn’t struck Dreadwing as particularly smart. Young mechs rarely were around his age, too busy chasing glory to take the time to slow down and just think.

Whatever.

What mattered was that the Autobot had mellowed enough to make his presence, if not welcome, then at least tolerated. Dreadwing was starting to get used to his new, strange wall decoration.

Or at least he did until the squirming began.

Smokescreen fidgeting was nothing new; even if he had no chance of getting out of his bonds, no mech could stand to stay utterly still all day long. It would be maddening. Mindful of this and because it would have been torture otherwise (for the Autobot AND for him once the younger mech started losing it), Dreadwing had left a little leeway in the chains just so the younger mech could shift a bit. Not enough to do anything useful, but just enough to let the Autobot roll his shoulders or swing his hips.

After a few annoying first days, several slaps that Dreadwing felt had been utterly deserved and the realization that antagonizing the mech who kept feeding him wouldn’t make his captivity any easier, Smokescreen had taken to stay as unmoving and relatively silent as possible (for him) when Dreadwing was in his quarters. In return, Dreadwing gave him a little more energon or lowered the dose of sedative in his fuel. Goodwill had to come from both sides, after all.

But goodwill seemed to have taken a nosedive in the last two days, much to Dreadwing’s annoyance.

It had started innocuously enough, when Smokescreen had fallen uncharacteristically silent. Dreadwing had paid it little attention at first. Given how the Youngling chatted away, he was bound to run out of subjects to rant about. Or perhaps he was getting depressed, the length of his captivity finally running through his processor that any rescue by his fellow Autobots was unlikely to happen now. Whatever the reason, it hadn’t been Dreadwing’s primary concern. Sympathy for the Youngling’s situation didn’t change the fact he was an Autobot, an enemy.

All he had seen was that for once, he didn’t need to drug Smokescreen in order to recharge soundly.

Then, in the middle of the night, the squirming had begun. Lightly, at first, and Dreadwing had thought maybe the Autobot had trouble falling into recharge and was going through an unrest fit and he had let it slide, convinced it wouldn’t happen again.

The squirming had continued when he had left for his shift. Then when he had come back for his downtime. And it wasn’t the light squirming from before, no. It was a full-time body jerk, sometimes accompanied by a quiet whimper that set Dreadwing’s processor on edge.

Annoyed, Dreadwing had taken on himself to put in a slightly higher dose of sedative than usual in the cube he fed his captive, wondering if perhaps the regular use hadn’t taken its toll on the Autobot’s systems and rendered him addicted. If so, it would be problematic, but nothing unmanageable.

The sedative had done nothing.

Or rather, it had made the Autobot fall asleep as normal, but it hadn’t put a end to the Autobot’s squirming. Dreadwing had passed part of his night watching the hanging body of his prisoner twitch in his sleep, as if he was a puppet jerking through the motions of an unknown puppeteer.

And when the Autobot had finally regained conscience, the quiet whimpers he tried to keep to himself had started to turn into low, regular moans.

“Will you cut it already?!” the Seeker had finally snapped, irritated as he walked over the bound form on his wall and grabbed Smokescreen’s chin to force the younger mech to look at him. “What did I tell you already about keeping quiet? Hum?” He gave the other mech a light shake, but Smokescreen didn’t seem to register him. He kept rubbing his thighs together, looking increasingly uncomfortable and… in pain? That was new. “Autobot? What is going on?” Dreadwing inquired sharply.

The other mech kept avoiding his gaze, biting his lips to stop himself from making more noises only to systematically lose the battle after a moment. His optics were dim and, Dreadwing realized with a frown, the Autobot’s systems were also running hot.
Suddenly, it sounded less like a deliberate attempt at annoying him and more like an ailment.

Great. Just what he needed. A sick captive to take care of. He could only hope it was a standard virus resulting from a bad defrag and not something contagious.

Shoulders sagging a bit, releasing his grip on Smokescreen’s chin, Dreadwing lowered his voice. “What’s wrong? You have nothing to gain in hiding what plagues you from me. Maybe I can help you,” he tried to cajole the younger mech. Smokescreen just keened and shook his head weakly, obviously unwilling to share what was troubling him.

Eh. Dreadwing hadn’t truly expected him to; prisoners had usually nothing to gain in revealing weaknesses. As a gift from Lord Megatron to him, though, this one Autobot had little to fear; Dreadwing was duty-bound to care for him, not that the other mech would appreciate it.

Sighing, he activated his scanners. They were not as attuned as a medic’s owns, but they’d hopefully give him an idea of where to search for the source of the Youngling’s discomfort before he called Knock Out over to check him out in depth. Perhaps there would be no need to call Knock Out at all, even; perhaps what troubled the Autobot was bad fuel not being properly processed by his systems, or perhaps stiffness due to his constant immobilization. If so, massaging his joints might be sufficient to sooth him. Given the way he was rubbing his thighs together, perhaps the problem came from his legs and hips joints.

Gently, he lifted his hands and grabbed the Autobot’s thighs, gently parting them asides despite Smokescreen’s cry of distress.

And that’s when his completed scans pinged at him, indicating that the heat spreading through the Autobot’s circuits was originating and pooling at the apex of the Autobot’s thighs, just behind his modesty panel. Not only that, but his scans were revealing a change in the quality of the air in the room. A change of quality due to the addition of a musky-like scent, so faint yet Dreadwing hadn’t even noticed it.

Dreadwing barely acknowledged it, though.

All his attention was focused on Smokescreen’s inner thighs – or rather, on the stains setting them apart had just revealed. Unmoved by the Autobot’s distressed sounds, his optics moved to the younger mech’s codpiece. The panel hiding away his intimate parts was still closed due to Smokescreen’s sheer force of will, something Dreadwing felt dimly impressed by.

However, even if he had kept it closed, a thick, viscous blueish liquid had still started to slip past the edges of the panels, dripping on the formerly pristine plating.

Lubricant. Copious amounts of lubricant.

If you added the systems running hot and the faint musk scent…

By the Thirteens, Dreadwing realized in a jolt, releasing Smokescreen’s legs and taking a step back to stare at his captive in horror while Smokescreen started to sob in earnest.

The Autobot wasn’t sick, no. It was worse than that.

He was in Heat.

*-*-*-*-*-*

Nobody knew exactly when the Heats had appeared or why, their true origins lost to the mists of time. Theories abounded about it: spontaneous coding mutation, curse placed on them by a techno-organic species in order to humiliate and control them, accidental integration in their systems while trying to mimic alien species to better hide among them,…

Everyone had their own favorite.

Dreadwing couldn’t care less about the why; all he saw were the results.

And currently, the results were a young, sobbing Autobot hanging helplessly on his wall while he furiously debated what he should do with him.

Of all the rotten…!

Taking a deep breath, Dreadwing tried to calm down. “When has your Heat cycle started?” he asked grumpily to the Autobot. Stupid, prideful Youngling; as embarrassing as it was to be caught by the enemy while in Heat, if he had told Dreadwing it was coming, the flyer would have… Well, he wasn’t sure what he would have done, but a forewarning would have been nice.

The Autobot didn’t answer, just seemed to choke on a sob as his vents stalled briefly and Dreadwing frowned. “Well? When?” he snapped, unnerved. Something… something wasn’t right here, he realized faintly.

“… am not,” the Autobot groaned, twisting in his bonds, shaking his head and making Dreadwing raise an optic ridge. Seriously?

“Denying the fact won’t…” he started, only for the Autobot to interrupt him.

“I’M NOT!!!” he shouted before groaning, rubbing his thighs together again. The lubricant stains had started to enlarge. “I… it’s you! It’s all your fault! You… uuuuh… you put some… something into my fuel! Oh yeah, I know about… about it!” he accused. “’m not… not stupid. And now I’m… So hot… You… your fault! Getting the kick you wanted?” he groaned, looking to Dreadwing with an expression of desperate confusion that felt like a stab to the Spark.

Unless it was his words.

“I,” Dreadwing said slowly, wondering if he should feel incensed over the baseless accusation or letting it slide, “did no such thing, Autobot. While I won’t deny giving you sedatives, I have never nor will ever slip a captive aphrodisiacs. I swear it on my honor.”
“’Con honor,” Smokescreen tried to snort, but it was lost in a sob as his body jerked. “Aaaaah! Make it stop, please, make it stop…”

Dreadwing sighed, pinching the bridge of his olfactive sensor. “I told you, it’s an Heat cycle. Perfectly natural. Now, if you would just tell me since when it has started and how long it lasted for you the last time, maybe I can calculate how long it will last this time and… Autobot?” he asked suddenly, a dark suspicion dawning on him when he saw the way Smokescreen’s optics widened in terror. “There… was a last time, wasn’t there?”

Smokescreen keened and Dreadwing’s Spark sunk. “Please,” he asked, tried to not sound like he was begging and thinking he was doing a very poor job at it. “Please, tell me you already went through a few Heat cycles before.” Because Dreadwing often called the Autobot a Youngling in his mind, but that was because he knew he was a lot older than him and that Smokescreen was still a rookie when it came to fighting.

But now… the word Youngling might have carried a lot more weight than he had ever suspected.

The prisoner just shook. “… can’t be a Heat cycle, can’t be, can’t have it happening here, medic swore it wouldn’t happen until I was older,” he repeated in denial under his breath between two little gasps as he rubbed his thighs together. His panel snapped open and he cried. “No, no, no!”

Dreadwing’s shoulders sagged. There came the confirmation he had been dreading. “By the Thirteens. It’s your first Heat, isn’t it?” he whispered softly, reaching for the Youngling and pressing his shoulder with as much gentleness as he could while purposely looking away from the open panel. It just made Smokescreen cry louder and in earnest.

Primus, that was…

Turning away, Dreadwing walked to his berth and sat, hard, processors overworking as he tried to make sense of the situation and what the Pit he was supposed to do now?!

Dealing with a captive with a Heat cycle would have been bad enough in itself, but Dreadwing would have found a way to, well, make it bearable for the Autobot. Mechs who didn’t want to take lovers during Heat cycles were a thing, after all. Provided you let them have toys to get the right kind of stimulation and made sure they stayed correctly fueled, they could deal with it on their own just fine. Dreadwing didn’t have the, ah, ‘appropriate material’ himself, but surely there were ways to find it on the Nemesis?

But it wasn’t just a normal Heat the Autobot was having.

It was his First Heat.

And that… that changed things. A lot.

While Heat cycles were a part of everyday life on Cybertron, there was still a lot of cultural settling about them, particularly when it came to the first one. For many city-states, the first Heat cycle tended to mark the beginning of full ‘adulthood’. In Iacon or Praxus, one wasn’t considered a full citizen and able to vote or to engage in politics until that first Heat had come and gone. In Nyon, they organized races specially for the young mechs who had gone through their first Heat, with special prizes at the end, the biggest of it being energon for one vorn, paid and supplied by the city itself.

In the very religious Kalis, a mech who had gone through his first Heat was supposed to fast and give offering to the Temple to thank Primus and the Primes for the ‘gift’ of becoming a life-builder. In Vaporex, family units and friends celebrated the end of the first Heat with a traditional feast of thirteen dishes.

In Vos, where Dreadwing and his twin Skyquake had been brought online, mechs adorned themselves with ceremonial markings for festivals. One of the most popular was a stripe of color added for each Heat a mech had undergone, while stripes of another color or design marked the number of times those Heat had resulted in new lives.

As a young mech, Dreadwing had been durably impressed by the markings the Head Elder of Vos, a femme as old as dirt, wore on All Spark Day. Chatting excitedly with Skyquake, they had counted no less than 157 markings for Heat on her plating, two thirds of which had resulted in Carrying a Newspark. By the time she had died, long before the War started, she had added 7 and 2 new set of markings to her ceremonial decorations.

She had been the one to paint Dreadwing and Skyquake’s first Heat marking, he remembered dimly, using the ordinary red paint rather than the glittering one which would have indicated a conception on the first Heat.

Dreadwing swallowed. Frag. Conception. He… he couldn’t think about it right now. Pushing it away from his mind, he tried to focus on easier points… and found there wasn’t any.

Wherever you lived and whatever you believed in, there was no denying a first Heat was special and that the experience could shape up your entire life.

It was special in itself, period. Errand strands of coding trying to sort themselves out, CPU working fast to make space for newer protocols, sensory input going hayward due to hyper sensibility, emotional protocols messed up,… No matter how much you had been coached beforehand on what you were going to experience, it was always a time of fright, confusion or emotional overload.

That was why first Heats needed to be handled with utmost care, usually by close friends, mechs vetted by the city-states’ officials or, by default in some corners of Cybertron, by medics. If the Youngling had been with his team, then it was most likely Prime’s doctor who would have handled Smokescreen’s Heat. He had never met Ratchet face to face, but he had heard of his reputation; cranky, sarcastic, but one of the greatest medical genius of Cybertron and devoted to his patients and his duties. Yes, he would have been an ideal choice for taking care of a young mech’s first Heat.

Or… perhaps the Prime himself?

Oh yes, Dreadwing could picture it vividly. Stern but thoughtful and caring Optimus Prime, gently carrying his subordinate to his berth and making him love gently, murmuring reassurances and praises the whole time as he brought the young mech to overload again and again…

Dreadwing swallowed again, this time shifting position slightly, a jolt of heat going through his systems.

Yes, Prime would have shown much care. A care an Autobot trapped in Decepticons’ hands would be hard pressed to receive.

For a moment, Dreadwing floundered.

Maybe… Maybe it wasn’t impossible? Maybe he could ask if someone was willing to…
Then his shoulders slumped.

His first reflex had been to think of Lord Megatron. It was well-known their Lord had handled many first Heats himself in his time and it had always been a great honor for young Decepticons to gain access to his berth. But… as much as it pained Dreadwing to admit it, it was doubtful his Lord would show half the care he showed his own young troopers for an Autobot. Worse than that, his Master had gained a cruel streak with time that wouldn’t bode well for the Youngling.

Knock Out, then? As a medic, he would have been the obvious next choice. Medics were supposed to be neutral in those matters, weren’t they? But Dreadwing remembered a little too well Knock Out’s optics when he had handed him the gag and the other ‘device’, the way he had hinted it’d be fun go use on the hapless Autobot… It suggested things about Knock Out’s berth preferences that Dreadwing was uncomfortable with. No, he was not the best bet to take care of a first Heat.

Soundwave? Dreadwing would trust him more than he trusted Knock Out, that much was certain, but… No. Just, no. Even if Soundwave was willing to be careful for an Autobot, he was hardly the sort of warm, comforting mech a Youngling would need to reassure him through the process of a first Heat. With another Decepticon, perhaps, but with an Autobot? It wouldn’t work.

If Breakdown had still been alive, he would probably have been the best bet. Amiable enough outside of battle, good listener and comforting for the troops under his orders, Dreadwing was certain he wouldn’t have abused the Youngling.

So… that left… who, exactly? One of the Vehicons? Dreadwing didn’t know them enough to guess at what they’d do. And he wouldn’t subject an Autobot in Heat to an Insecticon! No. No, there was definitely no one Dreadwing could trust for taking care of such a delicate matter.

Besides, the Autobot was Megatron’s personal gift to Dreadwing; he couldn’t hand him off or throw him away without suffering his Lord’s disapproval and anger.

It left Dreadwing with very few options.

Part of him was tempted to let the Youngling go through this first Heat on his own. To just unchain him, perhaps lock him a closet and wash his hands of the whole matter. Surely, since he was a soldier and supposedly underwent training with the Elite Guard, the Autobot could handle it?

Except, Dreadwing thought grimly, that a first Heat could last a long while if left unchecked, and that fingers were hardly enough to sate the urges it brought. Not to mention it did nothing for the confusion, the fear, the need for companionship that a Heat heightened to the extreme.

Having to handle a first Heat on your own… it was akin to torture.

And Dreadwing didn’t want to lower himself to torture a helpless kid.

He sighed, his whole frame wilting as he gave Smokescreen’s bound form a sad look. The Autobot hadn’t stopped sobbing and Dreadwing could taste his EM field from it, reeking from misery and fright. Did the kid even know what was happening to him? How the deeper mechanics of a Heat worked? That if he thought he was helpless now, it could grow worse once his higher functions shut down as he sought pleasure?

What a mess, he sighed internally before looking at the Youngling like never before.

He had always found him young-looking but the helplessness made it worse. Smokescreen’s paintjob was full of little nips and scratches, some of which he had probably received upon his capture. His doorwings and chevrons marked him as having ties to Praxus, either through being onlined there or having at least one Creator originating from the city-state, if he had been Carried and not come from the Well of Sparks. He had regular traits and an admittedly pretty face… for a Grounder, that’s it.

Dreadwing’s own tastes in lovers went to fellow flyers, so the situation wasn’t ideal but… Well, Smokescreen was still a pretty thing and he needed help and Dreadwing was the only one who could do something and not make it a traumatic experience (at least, not on purpose).

“At least he has doorwings,” he mumbled under his breath. It was better than nothing. Hopefully they’d be just as sensitive as real wings; it would definitely help if he had to… touch them.

Decision taken, he rose.

He had a task to undergo, and he would make sure to do it with the utmost care and dedication. Honor, after all, wouldn’t demand any less.

*-*-*-*-*-*

He moved slowly, as to not frighten the Autobot further. He shouldn’t have bothered, for all the attention the Autobot granted him; too caught up in the throes of rising pleasure and pain from not being able to do anything to sate himself, he seemed to have gone blind and deaf to the rest of the world.

It wasn’t good. The Autobot was losing himself. Soon, he probably wouldn’t be coherent enough to protest or consent to anything. Dreadwing needed to move fast.

Smokescreen whimpered as he felt lubricant slide down past the rim of his valve. Primus, why was it happening to him? It took Dreadwing gently lifting his chin to make the Autobot realize he had come back near him and he flinched. “G… get away!”

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that,” Dreadwing softly replied, as he would have done to calm a wary pet drone. With his thumb, he rubbed small circles on the Autobot’s cheek, making Smokescreen moan softly and lean into his hand. “You’re in Heat; I can’t idly stand by.”

“N… nooo, it’s…”

“It’s a Heat,” Dreadwing repeated softly. “You know it is. It’s getting harder to concentrate, isn’t it? You’re burning from the inside and you’re craving touch, any kind of touch. But more than anything, you want something or someone to fill you up. To slide their fingers there,” he poked briefly just above Smokescreen’s open panel, making him shudder, “to caress you. You want something thick to push past your defenses. You want… to be fragged to calm the lust inside you.”

At the poke, Smokescreen jerked, hips moving forward. It was but a brief touch, but to his feverish frame, it was maddening and he wanted more. He moved despite himself, trying to bring his frame closer to Dreadwing’s. The word caress made him tremble. And when Dreadwing said fragged… he almost overloaded on the spot.

He made a shameful noise while Dreadwing hummed.

“It’s alright. What you’re feeling is perfectly normal. Embarrassing, certainly, but normal. Keep it in mind.” He kept stroking Smokescreen’s cheek, which came both as a comfort and a source of unease and humiliation. Why… why was it doing that? What did he want with him, exactly?

… Stupid question. Even through the haze that seemed to cloud his processors, Smokescreen just knew.

“… I don’t want,” he whimpered even as he trembled in desire when one of Dreadwing’s finger came to press over his lips.

“Right now you say so and if things were different, I would have honored your vows. But you’ll change your mind soon. Nobody ever resisted the pull of a first Heat.” He sighed discreetly. “You’re free to not believe me, Autobot, but I’m sincerely sorry it comes down to this. You’re going to need someone to assist you through your Heat, and for better or worse, I’m the only one who can on this ship.”

“Please…” Smokescreen begged. For what, exactly? For Dreadwing to stop talking and assist him already? To find a way and release him, send him back to the Autobots so he wouldn’t have to endure the humiliation of having a Decepticon between his legs? He wasn’t certain himself.

“Hush,” Dreadwing murmured again. One of his hands moved to go pet one of Smokescreen’s doorwings, and the Youngling came undone. His frame seized as a charge rattled his body. He overloaded with a loud shout before sagging in his bonds, valve cycling madly on nothing. It was wrong, so wrong, he needed… Something was supposed to be inside him… And at this point, it didn’t matter what.

“Much more sensitive than I thought,” the Decepticon mumbled, hand moving away from the doorwing. “Autobot… Smokescreen,” he corrected himself, taking the Autobot’s face in both hands to force him to look at him. We don’t have much time before us. I need you to answer my questions and to do it truthfully while you’re still coherent enough. Can you do that?”

Smokescreen looked at him with dim optics and made a vague nod.

“Good lad.” He vented deeply. “Now… Are you still sealed?”

Despite his hazy processor, Smokescreen made a sound of horror. What… No! No, he couldn’t answer that, it was private, it was…

“Are you still sealed?” Dreadwing repeated. “It’s important. I won’t judge, I promise.” He needed to know, though. He needed to know if he needed to be extra careful when he’d take the Autobot, or if he could allow himself to go a little faster. First Heat didn’t meant first time interfacing, after all. Many Younglings fooled around with each other, since interfacing protocols came online long before a Heat hit.

He could feel Smokescreen’s cheeks burning as he answered weakly. “No… no seal,” he whispered.

A weight lifted from Dreadwing’s shoulders. That was something at least. “Good, good. The next one is more important: do you have a Bolt in place?”

It was Dreadwing’s biggest worry: accidentally Spark up the Youngling during the Heat.

Granted, not all Heats ended with conception of a Sparkling, but the risk was non-negligible, for it was the main purpose the Heat served. Heats happened because your coding had decided your Spark and frame were at their peak in term of health and strength, which meant you were in prime condition for your Forge or gestation chamber, or whatever you preferred to call it, to handle the construction and long bearing of a new life – and your coding wanted to boost your chances.

But what your coding wanted and what YOU wanted were two different things.

That was why many mechs had Bolts installed in their gestation chamber to disrupt the coalescence of nanites and put a end to the Carrying process before it even had a chance to happen. Dreadwing and Skyquake had theirs installed the moment their interface protocols had come online, neither of them holding any fondness for the idea of Carrying an offspring.

It used to be standard in many city-states before the war, to control the population growth. But ever since the war had started and Cybertron had started to be evacuated, who knew if the practice still held?

So when Smokescreen nodded another, bigger weight lifted from Dreadwing’s Spark.

“Ye… yeah. Got one. Alpha Trion… insisted. Said we all needed one,” Smokescreen mumbled.

“All?” Dreadwing asked, raising an optic ridge.

“Other guards… at the archives,” Smokescreen tried to explain. “Stormshot, Strongarm,… Jolt, Flareup… Kenzan… Same age as me? Or about… about so? Cameo… Cameo had her Heat… and Alpha Trion said… better make sure… no incident.” It came out by bits and pieces, but Dreadwing understood and nodded.

“It was very wise of him,” he commented while committing the names to memory. Maybe it could be useful later. Satisfied, he nodded to himself. No seal and a Bolt; it really simplified matters. “Let’s bring you to the berth, hmm?”

With slow, careful gestures, he probed the chains and unhooked them while supporting Smokescreen’s shivering frame with his free arm. First the legs, which came swinging free, then the waist and the shoulders, until he was free. The Autobot tumbled forward, half-curling as he did so, and hide his face in the crook of Dreadwing’s shoulder. Behind him, the wall remained stained with lubricant. Gently, the flyer pressed on the cuffs’ locking mechanism, releasing the Autobot’s bounds hands.

Immediately, Smokescreen’s fingers tried to reach for his open panel, but Dreadwing’s snatched them. “Ah, ah, no,” he tutted, lifting the Autobot up and throwing him on his shoulder despite Smokescreen’s cry of protest.

“No… please, let me…” the doorwinged mech moaned, twisting and turning and trying to touch himself, but Dreadwing held him well and his joints were too stiff from his long immobilization to allow him much movement.

“In a moment,” Dreadwing promised. “We’ll be better on the berth for it, though,” he said as he deposited the Autobot on the slab, where Smokescreen immediately rolled with a groan of pleasure. He turned away and walked over a set of drawers, which he rummaged through until he found what he searched. With a grunt of triumph, he lifted the small pot of artificial lubricant out of its hiding place. Just because he didn’t use toys himself didn’t need he wasn’t prepared for when the urge for released hit him as well, after all. It was probably unnecessary, given how much lubricant the Autobot was producing on his own, but one never knew. Besides, just because the Autobot was more than ready to be fragged didn’t mean Dreadwing himself was aroused just yet.

Smokescreen’s mind was far away from those material concerns, however. He was too busy enjoying the soft surface of the berth.

So soft! So comfy! It felt marvelous against his doorwings. And better than all, now he could spread his legs and have full range to stuff his valve with his fingers and try to get the ache and itch away! Trembling fingers reached for the apex of his thighs, probing slowly. Smokescreen keened as he found the folds of his valve and his anterior node swollen, gasping as he slide his thumb over it. It sent tiny jolts of pleasure up and down his frame and he gritted his dental plates, trying not to let more embarrassing sounds escape him. Further probes revealed that not only his valve lips were swollen, but that they were incredibly slick, completely coated with the lubricant which kept escaping his valve.

One finger pressed against the rim and started to slide inside, only for his valve to cycle down on it, hard, and he cried out in surprise, pleasure and distress. It… so fast… good… not enough… more, please more… His CPU was bombarded with different messages which he could hardly make sense of. His valve cycled open again, and Smokescreen tried to push his finger further, deeper, trying to reach one of the itchy spots he could feel just up. But his finger felt short and he keened again, this time in frustration. Desperately, he tried to do it again, this time slipping a second finger inside himself. It went easily and the larger stretch of his walls felt good, but it wasn’t enough. Not enough, not enough, not enough…

Standing at the further end of the berth, Dreadwing watched the Autobot pleasure himself with increasing arousal. Smokescreen still wasn’t his favorite frame when it came to lovers, but the way his doorwings twitched, caught between the mattress and the back of their owner, was lovely. With his legs so widely parted and his interface array on full display, it was easier now to pick the scent of the Autobot’s Heat musk and Dreadwing’s own systems were reacting to it as well, encouraging him to help the needy mech pleasuring himself on his berth.

His wings twitched while he unhurriedly let his own panel open and released his spike while opening the pot of lubricant and setting it asides. Taking his rod in hand, he firmly gave it a few strokes, optics fully on Smokescreen’s hands and array. The Youngling was making a valiant effort at getting release, but it was obvious it wasn’t working. The first, tactile induced overload he had just experienced before, even if it had been involuntary, had primed his systems for something more serious.

Smokescreen thrashed around in frustration and Dreadwing almost chuckled. Almost. It wouldn’t have been kind for the young mech. “May I be of some assistance?” he offered, moving so he could kneel between the Autobot’s parted legs.

Smokescreen raised feverish optics toward him, their light bright but pale as he took in the larger mech’s appearance. His CPU and Spark surged as he took in those large shoulders, that broad frame that could weight down on him and press him into the mattress… but then his optics fell on Dreadwing’s spike and his Spark and CPU had two different reactions, which could only be resumed by ‘YES!’ and ‘NO!’

He scrambled a bit backward, making a frightened noise while the hand he had let slip out of his valve tried to reach for the bigger mech and grab his wrist to bring him closer.

Amused, Dreadwing chuckled and moved closer, taking the lubricant strained hand in his own and lowering them to rest together on Smokescreen’s array while with the other, he searched for Smokescreen’s other hand, intertwining their fingers together and pining it to the mattress next to Smokescreen’s face. “There is no need to be so scared. I won’t hurt you,” he promised. “In fact, I’m going to make it really good for you.” He leaned forward and kissed Smokescreen on the forehelm. Then he let his lips components slip further down, first kissing an optic ridge, then the other. Then the cheekbone. The olfactive sensor. The cheeks. The neck. He petered the entire Autobot’s face with kisses but never tried for the lips themselves, preferring for the Youngling to let him know by himself if it was okay.

At the same time as he did so, his and Smokescren’s joined hands moved together to caress the soaked, swollen folds between his legs, slowly, carefully, Dreadwing controlling the pace to not rush things before he felt certain the Autobot was relaxed enough. Just because his frame was more than willing didn’t meant his CPU was fully ready for it. The Autobot was still coherent enough to have wanted to get away from him, after all.

Smokescreen felt lost. The soft press of lips on him felt marvelous, the kisses gentle and brief. The hand between his thighs seemed content with just stroking and the one holding his own to the mattress gave little bits of pressure here and there. It was agreeable… perfect. His valve throbbed desperately and his frame kept running hotter and hotter. He wanted more. He knew he wanted more. But it wasn’t right, it wasn’t right…

Two fingers started probing as his valve opening, sliding past his folds and pressing against the rim but without going further. One of his owns… and one of Dreadwing’s, jointed together, and Smokescreen lost it. Surging forward with a needy sound, he kisses Dreadwing. “More. More, please!” He claimed his lips with his own, crushing the lips components before the Decepticon leaned back.

“Of course,” the Seeker replied, optics glinting, bending forward to kiss the Autobot again, this time letting his glossa slide in Smokescreen’s open mouth. The soft sound the Autobot made was fully worth it. He let it last a moment before going back to petering his face and neck with more kisses. As he thought he would, Smokescreen followed his lead, kissing him everywhere in turn.

As they traded kisses, Dreadwing guided Smokescreen’s first finger inside the Autobot’s soaked valve. Smokescreen shuddered under him at the invasion, shifting his hips and moving his legs, bending them at the knee while letting them fall further open. When Dreadwing nudged him to add his second finger, he groaned. Then the groan evolved into a full time choke when Dreadwing pressed one of his own fingers inside, alongside Smokescreen’s own.

He could feel the supple walls part under the three invaders and he smiled softly for himself. He gently curled his finger while Smokescreen used his to scissor himself further open. Without surprise, the passage was still narrow, but Dreadwing didn’t think it’d be a problem, not with how hot and very wet and slick it also was. His spike would slide inside without difficulties. But, just to be certain… Carefully, he inserted his second fingers inside the valve. Smokescreen’s hips jerked violently but whatever sound he tried to make was promptly silenced by the crushing weight of Dreadwing’s lips on his own and his glossa sliding inside the oral cavity.

Four fingers. It was more than enough, Dreadwing decided, adopting the same scissoring movement as Smokescreen’s own fingers. He was careful not to make them too broad, however; his digits were comparatively larger than the Autobot’s and he didn’t want to make it painful.

He could feel the flux of fluids sliding down and past his fingers while he teased the younger mech open. The Autobot’s other hand gripped his for dear life and he kicked while turning his head away, escaping Dreadwing demanding kiss to cry out.
A second overload wasn’t far, the flyer mentally asserted. For a moment, he debated bringing it forward manually, just keeping on fingering the Autobot’s valve until he came.

However, his spike was starting to twitch in need; he had abandoned for too long already. The musk of the Heat was now drowning his vents, increasing his arousal.

Better to make something about it now, then, Dreadwing decided as he gently let his fingers slide out of Smokescreen’s valve and prompted the Autobot to retire his owns. He obeyed, but with ill grace, moaning all the while, only mollified when, releasing his other hand, Dreadwing grabbed his wrist and brought it to his mouth. With ease born from practice, he let his glossa dart over the lubricant coated digits of the Autobot before guiding them into his mouth and sucking on them. With his own lubricant coated hand, he grabbed his spike and resumed his earlier strokes, spreading the sticky fluid over his length. It would help to ease himself in just right.

Letting go of the Autobot’s fingers in his mouth, he allowed Smokescreen to kiss him again while he guided his spike to the wet, quivering opening. Gently, he pressed the tip against the swollen folds… and was promptly reward by a shout of denial.

“NO! No, no, noooo,” Smokescreen whimpered.

It had been so good so far! Dreadwing’s fingers had felt wonderful, and he had liked the kisses, and then that glossa over his fingers… His Spark hummed in contentment while his frame rattle had calmed down. But now there was something hard pressing against his valve, something big and while his frame wanted, oh yes, wanted it so badly, he had still enough processor power to realize…

Dreadwing stopped himself, stunned. What could have been the problem?

“Smokescreen? What…?”

“Ple… please, don’t… don’t put it inside… can’t… I haven’t…” the younger mech babbled, looking at him desperately.

A dark suspicion seized Dreadwing’s mind. “Smokescreen? You did say you were unsealed, didn’t you?” True, he hadn’t felt anything when sliding his digits inside, but some seals were located higher than others, depending on your frame type, and Dreadwing had never been with a Praxian type before.

Had the Youngling lied to him? Was he still a virgin? He fought down a wave of annoyance and anger over being potentially lied at; had he been in the Autobot’s situation, would he have confessed to have no experience either, not knowing how his admission would be used? It stung, however, to have the Youngling think his promise not to hurt him might be worthless.
Smokescreen wouldn’t look at him. “Smokescreen? Tell me,” he prompted again, more forcefully than he wanted, but it was a grave question and it needed to be done.

“… don’t have a seal, is true,” the Autobot mumbled. “But… never taken a spike,” he admitted, cheeks flushed in shame. “We… the Bolts had just been installed… Triage said… might take a moment for full integration. We wanted… He already had his Heat… didn’t know how long until mine, Triage was making the calculations… And we wanted…” He paused, taking deep vents to cool and calm himself while Dreadwing waited, petting his chevron as he did so. “Only… only fingers… mouth, a bit… And… and…” There he clearly hesitated before mumbling. “… took my aft port instead.”

Dreadwing nodded slowly and stopped petting the Autobot’s chevron, understanding at once. Two Younglings near their Heat or just past it, wanting mutual release but not daring to go all the way by fear or Sparking each other up… it made a frightful amount of sense. Oh, without having been in Heat himself, there would have been no chance of Smokescreen getting Sparked up – but outliers had always existed, and it was true newly installed Bolts needed a couple of solar cycles to be fully efficient.

Fingering and oral, however, were perfectly safe. So was using an exhaust port if you really wanted to bury your spike somewhere, since it wasn’t connected to the Forge.

Smokescreen and whoever he had laid with had been smart, as much as it galled Dreadwing to say – and as much an inconvenience at is was now. He had truly hoped that the Autobot had some serious experience but finally, it wasn’t as clear cut as he had hoped.

True, Smokescreen wasn’t technically a virgin… but his experience with valve interfacing was still close to zero. Now he understood why the valve passage was so narrow despite the walls easily stretching; having never taken in anything as large as a spike, real or false, Smokescreen had no pre-set routines to help extend them further.

Frag.

Dreadwing sighed. Well, finally, that artificial lubricant was going to be good for something. But first…

“You did well, Smokescreen. It was very responsible of you both,” he praised the Autobot, earning himself a disbelieving but hopeful gaze that reminded him of a turbo-puppy.

“You… you think?”

“Yes,” Dreadwing said firmly, and he sincerely thought so. He wished some Decepticons he had known had been half as responsible themselves. It would have made his life easier. “You were right to be careful. I am just… sorry that mine will be the first spike you take,” he added after a moment of silence. “You need it,” he added again as Smokescreen made a small sound of deny, fright and arousal mixed. “Your body wants it. Refusing will only cause you pain. Remember what I told you earlier? Everything you’re experiencing is normal. There is no shame to have,” he cajoled. “I won’t hurt you. I’ll do everything to make sure you only feel pleasure.”

“… you’re a Decepticon,” Smokescreen whimpered, hips rolling. His valve felt too empty and he felt too hot and he wanted it to be over, please let it be over soon. If he got spiked by Dreadwing, would it disappear faster? That was what was supposed to happen in a Heat, no? You got spiked and you got better.

“And you’re an Autobot,” Dreadwing acknowledged. “However, an old mentor of mine always repeated a saying: ‘A berth should never be turned into a battlefield’. And I have always done my best to honor those words. Here,” he said, pressing a hand to Smokescreen’s chest, just over his faction symbol, feeling his Spark pulse underneath, “we’re just two mechs. You’re in Heat and I swore to myself I would help. You may not trust me and I understand. But in this very moment? The outside world doesn’t exist; it’s just you and me and taking care of you.”

Smokescreen couldn’t help it; he cried. It was silly, really, and in other circumstances he probably would have slapped himself silly for this show of weakness. But Dreadwing seemed so earnest and his frame was still burning and he just wanted to be touched and held down and reassured and Dreadwing was there and he hadn’t judged him and his fingers had felt good, his kisses had felt good…

And his spike would probably feel extra good. Smokescreen’s valve gave another throb, one so intense it was painful.

“Please,” he whispered in a husky tone. “Please… before I…”

Dreadwing nodded stiffly. It was probably the best he would get and he knew it. “It’s going to be alright,” he murmured, pushing Smokescreen’s frame flat on the berth and arranging his hands to they would rest on either side of his helm. “You’ll see. Now, just stay in this position for a bit, I’ll be right back to you,” he advised before turning his attention away from the Autobot and reaching for the open pot of lubricant.

It was probably excessive precaution, the Seeker mused briefly as he dug several digits in and coated them with the lukewarm substance. Given how wet and eagerly quivering the Autobot’s valve was, even if he tried to bury himself in without further preparation, he’d slide inside easily. Smokescreen wouldn’t push him away now.

But he wanted the Autobot to have a good experience, slag it, and taking steps to make his first time slicker would do a lot to sooth the Youngling’s nerves. Unhurriedly, he stroked his spike with the lubricant-covered digits, adding to the Youngling’s own while looking at Smokescreen’s face as he did so. Cheeks burning, the Autobot kept looking between his own face and his spike, swallowing and making small noises of want and need. There was still apprehension in those blue optics but there was also a healthy amount of desire. Already he had risen on his elbows to better look at Dreadwing’s rod, his vents becoming shorter and louder as he kept watching the flyer prepare himself for him.

“Like what you see?” he couldn’t resist teasing with a smirk, amused despite himself. He knew it was the Heat and he knew it was because his resistances were caving in his quick succession, but there was still something ego-stocking when a mech looked at you like that. The Autobot just swallowed without replying, literally hypnotized by the slight bobbing move Dreadwing was giving his spike. He licked his lips at one moment, looking hungry; perhaps he’d have to make some plans for oral later, Dreadwing thought dryly.

“In me?” Smokescreen asked, close to begging, and Dreadwing nodded.

“Yes,” he said, judging there was enough lubricant on his spike by now. He gave a final stroke to the head of his spike with a tremor of pleasure. Primus, he hoped he’d be able to make it last. “In you.” He shifted and gently took the hips of the Autobot, making him bend his knees while lifting his aft to bring him closer to his waiting spike, lining it up with Smokescreen wide open’s valve. He let the tip push against the wet folds, just shy of entering and looked at Smokescreen in the optics. “Ready?”

A tiny nod answered him and Dreadwing pushed forward. Smokescreen whimpered, hips arching as the tip of Dreadwing’s rod passed the first ring of calipers and sunk into him slowly, steadily. He would have buckled without the firm grip that the flyer kept on his hips. His hands shot up and pawed at the Decepticon’s chest.

To Dreadwing, it looked like the younger mech couldn’t decide wherever he wanted to grab at him to find leverage and brace himself or push him away. He paid it no mind, however, completely focused on sinking farther, deeper in Smokescreen’s valve, groaning as he did so. Frag, so tight! But despite that, it was even easier than he had expected and he mentally thanked his foresight in using his own brand of lubricant atop the Autobot’s owns. Smokescreen kept trembling and keening under him as he progressed inch by inch insides the narrow passage, his doorwings fluttering and beating the mattress soundly under him. Dreadwing could feel the walls stretching around his length, rippling before they tightened whenever Smokescreen tensed. He made tender shushing noises to calm him.

“You’re doing so good, kid. Relax, now, relax. That’s a good lad,” he murmured, briefly releasing one of Smokescreen’s hips to cup his cheek and leaned forward to kiss him. The Autobot returned the kiss with desperation while making a final, decisive grab on the flyer’s shoulders. His legs kicked desperately. “Put them around my waist,” Dreadwing instructed in a low voice. “Yes, like that. Don’t grip too tightly, not yet. Yes, just like that. Relax, relax,” he repeated, though it was becoming uncertain wherever the Autobot even heard it. Smokescreen’s optics had gone even paler and brighter and he kept panting and moaning and trying to rock his hips to impale himself further on Dreadwing’s spike.

“No, no, wait,” Dreadwing muttered, keeping his hold firm as he continued pushing slowly. Smokescreen let out a needy moan and gripped the flyer’s shoulders harder. “Just a little longer, yes?”

He kept repeating it until he felt he was buried to the hilt in the Autobot’s valve then stopped moving, venting hard. Slag, but it really was a tight fit! Not the tightest Dreadwing had ever had by far but the tightest he had in a long while. He stayed immobile for a while until he felt Smokescreen starting to loosen his hold on him.

“… feels…” he murmured, looking lost. It was so… so… different? He felt… full, in ways he had never experienced before. It was slightly uncomfortable, but then Dreadwing rolled his hips just a little and the tip of his spike brushed just again the right spot and he cried out, jerking violently while his valve squeezed the hard length inside him.

Dreadwing hissed before kissing him on the forehead. “Hush,” he said, nuzzling the Autobot’s neck. Good thing he had an iron self-control when it came to interfacing. “Feels good, doesn’t it? It’s going to feel even better when I start moving – but you need to relax a little more if you want me to, alright?”

Smokescreen nodded weakly and tried to do as Dreadwing instructed. It wasn’t easy, though; his body wanted nothing more than to move, to feel more of that hard, thick rod deeper, when it would keep brushing against sensitive, hard to reach nodes clusters that were just begging to be stimulated…

Well, he didn’t think the Autobot would be able to loosen further, the flyer noted after Smokescreen failed to heed his instructions, but he hadn’t really expected him to. By now, the Youngling was acting on pure need. But since Smokescreen wasn’t showing any discomfort, Dreadwing supposed it was alright to just go ahead and start moving in earnest.

And he did just that.

He started slow, with just a few rolls of his hips that made Smokescreen whimper and stiffen and grip Dreadwing’s shoulders so hard he looked like he wanted to bent the metal. The Seeker kept nuzzling the Autobot’s neck as he started to move more earnestly, withdrawing slightly to better push back inside. Just a bit at first, then a whole inch, then two, until he was almost entirely out before he plunged back into the Autobot’s tantalizing valve, which kept rippling around his spike with each thrust.

“Ah… aaah… aaaaah, mmmh… Dread… Drrr… Dreadwing,” Smokescreen panted hard. Dreadwing just groaned in answer, not trusting himself to speak right now. He kept a steady rhythm, neither too slow nor too fast, intending on making the moment last. The Autobot, however, seemed to have other ideas. “Oooooh! Ple… please! Ah… faster… faster, please,” the Autobot breathed harshly, wiggling his aft and moving to kiss Dreadwing with ardor.

It made Dreadwing’s turbines revv, hard, as he returned the kiss just as passionately. “If that’s what you want,” he replied. He wouldn’t have minded taking more time himself but it wasn’t about him, was it? It was all about the Autobot and making sure his Heat went fine and comfortably, making sure things were good for him.

At least he wasn’t afraid anymore, he thought with amusement as he picked up a faster, harder pace, shifting his hold on Smokescreen’s hips to allow him to change position and lie flatter on the berth, pinning his doorwings as he did so. He could feel Smokescreen’s smaller, lighter frame literally bounce on and off his spike with each thrust while the Autobot cried out in pleasure and kept calling his name in a begging tone between two moans.

It wasn’t long before Smokescreen overloaded, coming with a loud shout. His whole frame was overcome with tremors and his valve squeezed Dreadwing’s spike in a vice-like hold. It didn’t suffice to make the Decepticon overload, though; his systems were not nearly half as primed and oversensitive as Smokescreen’s, allowing him to last longer.

Still, he stopped thrusting and gritted his dental plates while Smokescreen’s charge dispersed and the Youngling’s frame sagged against his.

If only one overload could be enough to satisfy a Heat, the flyer thought wistfully as Smokescreen groaned and turned his head to look at him. His expression was more relaxed than before but his optics were still pale and bright and, Dreadwing noted, hazier than before. The musk emanating from the Autobot’s valve was also more pronounced. Those were two telltale signs that the Autobot’s Heat was just progressing to the next level. Now he had tasted a proper overload, his frame would crave more until it was sated and he could fall in recharge.

And upon waking from recharge… Well, it would either lead to another intense craving for interfacing or, hopefully, to a lull in the process during which the mech in Heat was more coherent and able to resist the urge to spread his legs.

Either way, Dreadwing’s services would still be needed for a while.

“More?” Smokescreen asked in a small voice, passing his arms around Dreadwing’s neck.

The flyer pressed his forehead against the Praxian, just under his chevron. “Of course,” he promised.

Then he started to move and thrust his hips again.

*-*-*-*-*-*

In the end, it took three more overloads from the Autobot and two from Dreadwing before the Youngling fell into recharge, momentarily sated and utterly spent. For a young mech like Smokescreen, five overloads in a row were hard on the frame. It was on par with the requirements of a Heat, though, so Dreadwing wasn’t worried. If anything, he was content with himself for managing to last this long as well. Heats being what they were, it wasn’t rare for the afflicted mech to need the help of several partners if he could.

Deadwing had always handled that with Skyquake before…

A pang of longing, bitterness and regret filled his Spark before he could stop it.

Moments like that, his twin’s absence was agony and not for the first time, he silently cursed the Autobots for offlining his brother.

It made the fact he had just finished fragging one of them all the more ironic, but life was full of such moments, he supposed. And, admittedly, this one ‘bot had only come to Earth recently and had nothing to do with Skyquake’s demise, so it was easier to swallow.

Dreadwing had eased himself out of Smokescreen’s frame carefully, mindful of not waking him or causing him further discomfort; for all he had been careful, he was under no illusion the Youngling wouldn’t feel sore once he woke up.

Arranging the Autobot’s lax body so he’d lie on his side, he had summarily wiped the mess of lubricant and transfluid between his thighs and the younger mech’s with a couple of rags he always kept in his subspace. It hadn’t been sufficient to erase all traces, but Dreadwing had been too tired to care by then. There would be plenty of time to get properly cleaned once he had caught some well-needed rest.

Smokescreen had barely reacted during the operation, only weakly mewling when the rag had been rubbed against his array proper before tossing and turning, rearranging his limbs so he had an arm under his head, acting like a makeshift pillow, and the other tucked against his frame before sighing in contentment and falling into deeper recharge.

Dreadwing had watched him sleep for a moment before shrugging and installing himself behind the Autobot, mindful of not touching the other mech’s doorwings and passing an arm around his waist to hold him close.

Maybe he should have, for safety’s sake, bound the Youngling back somewhat. He was still an enemy, a prisoner, and one couldn’t know for sure what he would do if he woke up before Dreadwing did. He still had his T-Cog and so access to his weapons if he managed to overcome the blocks Knock Out had installed at Megatron’s order, but Dreadwing felt confident Smokescreen wouldn’t attack him. Not while his Heat lasted at any rate. Besides, the door of his quarters was on doubly encrypted locks, so it wasn’t as if the Youngling could try to flee.

Satisfied, the flyer let himself fall in recharge as well.

It was the slight, minutes tremors in the Autobot’s doorwings which dragged him out of it some time later. According to his chronometer, which he consulted quickly, two megacycles only had passed. Were the Youngling’s systems already primed for more interfacing? If so, his Heat was truly an intense one.

But no, it wasn’t that, the Seeker realized after opening his vents a little wider and ‘tasting’ the air. The musk of the Heat, while still present, was fainter than it had been when Smokescreen had been at the peak of his interfacing frenzy, proving his frame was still recuperating and that he was definitely in a lull period. Then… what? Bad memory flux replay, perhaps? Was the Autobot reacting to something he saw in his dreams?

No, Dreadwing realized after listening carefully and earning a quiet, muffled so. A purposely muffled sob, the kind of which a mech made when he didn’t want to wake their roommates. Having had to recharge in barracks and share quarters with shaken troopers who had come close to return to the Well but didn’t want to show weakness in front of their pairs, Dreadwing was well-acquainted with the sound.

The Autobot was awake.

Dreadwing had to give it to him, the Youngling was really discreet. Without the incontrollable twitch of his doorwings or a few sobs a little louder than the others, the flyer probably wouldn’t have noticed. The Autobot kept his EM field close and tucked over himself, limiting what could be felt of him, and he hadn’t tried to move Dreadwing’s arm or change position at all, which would have assuredly woken the flyer.

Slowly, he curled his arm a bit more around the other mech’s waist. The Youngling’s plating tightened around his protoform but he made no move to turn around. Not wanting to face Dreadwing, then, which the flyer could understand.

“You should recharge while you still can,” he said quietly. One of Smokescreen’s doorwings gave a strong flutter, almost hitting Dreadwing in the face and he frowned. He didn’t think it was intentional, but it was annoying and spoke of a deeper discomfort than the Autobot let shown. “Are you in pain?” he asked, concerned.

The Autobot didn’t verbally answer at first, just shook his head minutely. His doorwings moved a little faster and Dreadwing let him hold on the other mech loosen, shifting just a bit so he was lying a few inches further. He didn’t know what was wrong, but he had the feeling crowding the Autobot too much wouldn’t help.

Sure enough, those small doorwings slowed their beat and Dreadwing sighed.

“Will you tell me what’s bothering you? I won’t mock you for it, you know, nor do I plan to use it against you.” Smokescreen just hummed in a noncommittal way. “I can guess at what is gnawing on your processors,” the Seeker continued, unbothered by the silence. He had expected it. “Now you’re thinking clearer, you’re feeling ashamed of your reactions, aren’t you? But as I told you, it was…”

Perfectly normal, yes, you said it,” Smokescreen finally muttered aloud, shoulders tense before he seemed to deflate. “I still interfaced with a Decepticon. I can’t believe I… And it’s going to happen again, isn’t it? Because my Heat isn’t over and I’m still a prisoner and I can’t escape you and… Oh frag, I interfaced with a Decepticon and it felt good! Eck, it was probably the best frag I ever had in my function and my CPU keeps pinging me for more,” the Youngling chuckled, but it wasn’t a nice sound. It sounded like he was close to breaking. “What kind of traitor does that make me?”

Carefully, Dreadwing removed his arm from around Smokescreen’s waist and went to put it between the younger mech’s doorwings. It was a comforting gesture for young Seekers and all types of flying models; hopefully it would hold the same significance to a grounder with doorwings. “I’d hardly call you a traitor for something that was – and still is – beyond your control,” he said slowly, choosing which parts of the Youngling’s rant to address first (or only; there were things he preferred to let lie). “The ill-timing of your Heat is hardly anyone’s fault and certainly not yours. As for craving more…” he trailed off, trying to find the right words to speak about the situation. “It is still your Heat speaking,” he finally concluded. “Be assured you won’t find the same desire once it’s over and done.”

“Yeah? And what about you?” the Youngling drawled and curled further on himself. Dreadwing removed his hand as if it had been burned. “I’m not totally stupid, you know. I hadn’t really understood at first but… Megatron… he gave me to you because he thought you’d want to do that to me. To fuck me, like the humans say.”

“… my Lord may have hinted I may appreciate you in that regard, yes,” the flyer replied stiffly, rising on his elbow. He had just checked the word ‘fuck’ through the open connection he had established with the humans’ international web and he didn’t like the definition at all; it was so… so vulgar! It made want to grind his dental plates, but he refrained. Perhaps he shouldn’t have admitted it, but the Youngling needed the truth. “Be assured, however, that had you not gone into Heat, I would never have touched you.”

“Sure,” the Autobot chuckled mirthlessly, voice flat.

“Youngling… Smokescreen,” he corrected himself. “Do you think I would have let you hang on my wall for such a long time if I had wanted anything from you? It would have been easier to bind you to the berth from the first day if that had been the case,” he pointed out with more irritation than he should have shown.

“… who knows what you Decepticons think?” the doorwinged mech replied after a moment of silence. He didn’t sound aggressive. Just… defeated.

“What do Autobots think?” Dreadwing replied in turn. “You may not trust me, Autobot, which I can understand. But if I promise I won’t touch in an inappropriate way once the matter of your Heat is resolved, then be aware you can trust me.” He paused. “You’re really not my type.”

That earned him a brief, sharp laugh. “Yeah? Can’t say you’re mine either!” The Autobot uncurled and turned to lie on his back, staring at the ceiling, legs parted. He made no attempt to look in Dreadwing’s directions, which wasn’t surprising. “… you didn’t bind me,” he said after a moment.

“It seemed unnecessary at this point,” Dreadwing admitted casually. “I couldn’t picture you trying to leave this room anyway, not with the throes of Heat still going on. I think you’re smart enough to know what would happen if you had a strong episode in the corridors.”

The Autobot shuddered. “Oh, yeah, vividly.” Could anyone say ‘gang-raped by Vehicons’ very fast? At least in Dreadwing’s quarters, he only had to deal with the big Seeker. “… would I have infected them? Started their own Heats?”

Dreadwing snorted. “I take you read those badly written, pseudo-romance novels higher Casts members were fond of? Do not take anything of what they said seriously; they always got most things about Heats wrong. One can’t ‘pull’ another mech in Heat. But a mech in Heat do emit a scent that makes any partner he finds more receptive to, ah, put his spike out,” he said delicately.

“How come they were so wrong?” Blue optics quickly darted in Dreadwing’s direction before focusing again on the ceiling. “I mean, they must have gone through Heat themselves, no?”

“Titillating and catering to the public, I’d say,” the flyer replied. “That, and most higher Casts mechs didn’t have to deal with Heats nearly as much as middle and lower Casts. They, unlike the rest of the population, had the funds and means to artificially regulate their Heats. I suppose misinformation abounded.”

Smokescreen hummed thoughtfully, nibbling on his lower lip. He looked like he wanted to say something but couldn’t gather the courage to. Dreadwing stayed silent, letting him ponder. “… I can’t close my panel,” Smokescreen finally said with some hesitation, crossing his legs to hide his array as best as he could – not that Dreadwing was looking at it at all to being with.

"Ah,” the Seeker nodded. “It is normal; a side effect of the Heat,” he explained. “It doesn’t happen every time, but it is known to be a frequent problem.” He hesitated. “… do you wish for something to cover yourself in the meanwhile? I may have enough linen to fashion you a loincloth.”

Now Smokescreen turned, watching him with wary optics. “Why… why are you so… so damn helpful?” he asked. He looked bewildered and frustrated at the same time, like he didn’t know if he should thank Dreadwing or punch and curse him. Which, well, was fair enough, Dreadwing thought with some dark amusement.

“Because I swore to myself I would help make the experience pleasant for you,” the flyer replied easily. “And I always keep my promises, Autobot, even if you don’t believe me.”

“Well, I don’t know if you have noticed, but Decepticons? That’s not a very engaging name for trust,” the Youngling replied in a fake light tone.

“I suppose it does not sound like it, no,” Dreadwing replied with the utmost serious, which seemed to take the Youngling aback. Good; keeping him distracted and chatty left him no time to waddle in self-misery and start getting afraid again. “So, do you wish for me to arrange something?”

“… Perhaps later? I… it doesn’t… seem necessary… right now,” he hesitated, shifting in a sitting position and peering at his thighs with a dejected air. The stains Dreadwing hadn’t cleaned had dried by now and were flaking. Smokescreen briefly scratched one. “Primus, I feel filthy. Do you… do you have access to a washrack? Per chance?” He sounded both cautious and hopeful.

“No,” the flyer shook his head as he sat as well, making the Youngling deflate. “There is no private washracks on this ship asides of Lord Megatron’s quarters. I shower with the rest of the troops. But I won’t take the risk to take you there; I trust you understand why?” The Youngling grimaced. “I can, however, arrange to bring you solvents and sponges,” Dreadwing allowed. “It may not be as relaxing but it’s all I can offer you.”

“That… that’s alright. Just being clean would be neat,” the Youngling assured him. “Now?” he asked hopefully.

Dreadwing raised an optic ridge. “Now, Youngling, I have every intention to catch all the rest I can before my next shift. If you want solvents, you’ll have to wait until then.”

The Youngling’s doorwings dropped in dismay, but he nodded in acceptance. Obviously, he hadn’t really expected his request to be answered. Dreadwing looked at him carefully. “I meant what I said earlier,” he said slowly. “You should recharge while you still can. Neither of us can predict how long that lull in your Heat will last. You should try and recover your strengths.”

“I can’t recharge,” Smokescreen admitted, lowering his gaze. “My tank feels empty and I…” he hesitated, looking away. “… too much on my CPU.”

“I will make sure to pick extra rations when I get out,” Dreadwing promised, silently cursing himself for not having thought about it already; of course the Youngling needed fuel. “As for your mind, I can only imagine…” Dreadwing started, only for Smokescreen to cut him short with a dry, bitter laugh.

“Can you? It’s not even the Heat – or rather, it’s not just the Heat. It’s.. it’s fragging everything!” the Youngling choked on laugher, taking his head in his hands, shoulders rattling and doorwings quivering in turn. “I messed up… I messed up so bad! I mean, look at me!” He gestured at himself briefly before hiding his face again, curling on himself so his elbows rested on his laps.

“Bad enough that I got myself captured a first time in Iacon, even if I managed to get away in the end, but now I’m on Earth? I keep fragging things up. I broke the whole secrecy thing with the humans, couldn’t even secure…” he trailed off, shaking his head before wiping away fluid which had gathered at the corners of his optics under Dreadwing’s silent stare. “Then the whole Omega Key thing; if I had even suspected it was hiding in my chassis…! I wouldn’t have pulled half the stuff I did if I had known,” he chuckled bitterly. “Or left the base in a huff like I did. I probably would never have left it in the first place if I had known I had that Key in me. Would have kept it safe that way. Primus, can you believe I was stupid enough to deactivate my comm link when I left? Sure, I was upset but that’s no excuse. I couldn’t even call for help when tall, dark and mean got the drop on me and beat me around senseless until I lost consciousness. Then of slagging course my first Heat has to have the worse timing possible in the universe, and here I am.” His doorwings quivered again. “How much more pathetic can I be?”

Dreadwing vented in and out slowly for several kliks, processing what the Youngling had just said. There were things he wasn’t telling and others Dreadwing hadn’t been aware of and it didn’t paint a pretty pictures. But there were a few things he was certain of either way.

“You are young; you may fight well, but you’re still inexperienced, and like all young mechs, you have optics bigger than your fuel tank and arrogance over the skills you have gained thus far. Of course you messed up. But it’s through messing up a rookie like you learns to become a better soldier,” he advised calmly. Unsaid went the fact that most of the time, a rookie’s mistake ended up with said rookie’s deactivation and that Smokescreen was very lucky to still be alive. “Leaving your base without a mean to call backup was indeed very stupid,” he continued, watching the younger mech flinch.

“However,” and his voice became softer, “staying hidden on the Autobot base would have changed nothing to your situation. Lord Megatron had sent Soundwave after you and no one escape Soundwave. You would have been found out at any time you’d have left your base, even for recon or to hang out with those humans you lot seems fond of. Or perhaps Soundwave would have located that base of yours while searching for you and the rest of your team would have been destroyed in the ensuing battle. You little stunt may have very saved their lives.” Though it didn’t save his.

“As for your Heat, well,” and there Dreadwing smiled ruefully, “you and I both agree that the timing could have been better, but that’s a Heat for you. I know you would have preferred to pass it in the arm of another Autobot, perhaps your medic or Prime…”

Smokescreen looked up from his hands with horror. “With Ratchet or… ?” Had it seriously not crossed his mind? Oh, right; given how much his CPU had been clouded by lust, the Youngling had been in no place to think on ‘what if’, Dreadwing realized. “Okay, now that’s so weird. I can’t imagine either of them…” he trailed off, shaking his head with wide optics – and a hint of heat on his cheeks. Eh. Someone may have thought of a vivid picture, the flyer thought with amusement.

It was tempting to tease the Autobot, but it would probably be in poor taste at this point.

The doorwinged mech sighed and shifted to go back to lie down, turning his back again to Dreadwing. He didn’t look any happier or calmer but perhaps having spoken about what weighted on his Spark would allow him to relax enough to return to recharge? Dreadwing certainly wanted to go back to it himself; imitating the Youngling, he went back to lie on his side. He hesitated for a moment before surrounding the younger mech’s waist with his arm again.

Smokescreen tensed at first but soon enough his frame relaxed. The acceptance was welcome, but perhaps a little too easy and suspicious. Granted, maybe the Autobot was truly just that tired, even if he didn’t want to admit it.

Smokescreen’s venting started to slow down. On the path of recharge, then. Good; it meant Dreadwing could follow without risk. As he shuttered his optics, he was surprised when the Autobot spoke.

“Look, I dunno how you’ll take it but… I guess there are worse Decepticons to pass my Heat with. So… thank?”

It was mumbled and said in such a low tone Dreadwing had almost missed it.

For a moment, his Spark floundered. Well… that was an unexpected admission. But not an unwelcome one, far from it.

At least it meant he was doing something right despite the messy situation they were both stuck in.

“… you’re welcome,” he answered in the same tone before letting recharge take him.

*-*-*-*-*-*

The regretful thing about helping his… slave… through his Heat was that Dreadwing couldn’t take time off to stay with him.

Perhaps, had circumstances been different, had Dreadwing still had a full streak of victories to his name, had they not been at such a pivotal point of the war, he could have requested it from Lord Megatron. Perhaps. His Liege could be a harsh taskmaster, but he could also be fair and generous with his loyal mechs.

But not currently.

Ever since they had claimed the Omega Key hidden in young Smokescreen’s body and discovered its ultimate purpose, Megatron (and by extension the whole crew of the Nemesis) had become obsessed in finding the others as soon as possible. It was understandable; a chance at last to restore Cybertron to its former glory, in the Decepticons’ name? Of course they couldn’t let it pass by. They needed to find the Autobot base and recover the other Keys as soon as possible and so, all hands were needed on deck.

The hunt was on. They were to find the Autobots, storm their base and get the Keys – and leave a series of offline frames in their wake if possible.

Dreadwing had carefully avoided any mention of it in Smokescreen’s vicinity; Heat or no Heat, the Youngling wouldn’t have reacted well to the news and the flyer didn’t want to cause undue stress – or at least, more than the current situation warranted.
He was doing him a mercy, he kept repeating to himself.

That said, the hunt for the Relics was going poorly. The Autobots had decided to be smart for once and had no showed any sign of life in the last decacycle, not even on radio signals. The Nemesis’ sensors couldn’t track any energon signal which didn’t belong to a Decepticon or an exploitable or already exploited energon mine. Soundwave kept browsing the human Internet and all communication channels he could think of to try and locate them. Dreadwing was frequently sent on Air Patrols to try and see if he could find anything from the sky. Knock Out himself was being sent on ground patrols as well when he could be spared from the Medbay, where he was apparently working on other projects (and playing with the Phase Shifter taken from Smokescreen while he was at it).

And for all their efforts… there was nothing to show.

Megatron, understandingly, was furious and short-tempered.

Now was not a good time to ask for a favor, Dreadwing had quickly summarized. Besides… if Dreadwing asked to take time off, he would be asked why, and revealing to everyone their Autobot prisoner was in Heat bothered him.

It was probably stupid. No, it was insane, but… As much as he trusted his Liege, the flyer had started to develop the dark suspicion Smokescreen’s Heat would either be used against him for twisted entertainment… or to try and lure the remaining Autobots in a trap.

After all, if they started molesting his soldier on tape and broadcasted it on unprotected frequencies, it was a given the noble, self-sacrificing Optimus Prime would try and save him despite the odds.

The mere idea of letting the young mech in his care be assaulted like made Dreadwing’s tank flipflop uneasily, and he had squashed it hard the moment it came to him. He, however, hadn’t been able to fully erase it from his memory core and in the end decided to keep quiet and continue obey orders. If there was hesitation in him when he transformed and left the ship for patrolling, he didn’t show it outwardly. After all, so long the Autobot stayed in his quarters and quiet, it wasn’t as if anything could happen to him, right?

Or so he had kept repeating to himself all the way through patrol and back to the Nemesis.

Dreadwing had done as he had promised and brought back solvents and sponges once his shift had been over and done with (and if he had cut it short whereas he usually found reasons to linger, well, it was his business, no matter how many curious glances the Vehicons had thrown his way).

They, however, had yet to see any use so far, for the moment he was back to his quarters, he had been tackled down by a very amorous, needy Autobot.

Well. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, honestly. When he had woken up, Smokescreen had still been in deep recharge himself. He hadn’t stirred through Dreadwing leaving the room a first time to go retrieve a ration of energon he had left next to the berth for the moment the Youngling would wake up. After some internal debate, Dreadwing had left without even chaining one of his feet to the berth; the Autobot was aware enough of what could happen to him if he left the room – and, by security, Dreadwing had added two more layers of coding to lock the door behind him to insure no one would ever get in or out.

The flyer had guessed the Autobot would be most likely back in the throes of Heat by the time he could come back to him and he had been right. He just hadn’t anticipated by how much. Dreadwing had barely made it into the room that the Youngling was pressing against him and pawning at his panel while moaning. If he had to judge by the generous amount of lubricant on his digits and the inside of his thighs, then his captive’s Heat protocols must have kicked in again the moment he had woken up and the Youngling had dealt with it as much as he could – which, apparently, had been far from enough.

That brought him to his current position: standing at the foot of his berth, just behind a quivering, down on all four Smokescreen who had raised his aft just at the right height for Dreadwing to access his valve and was currently busy hiding his face in his arms. It would probably have been easier to just push him flat on the berth and make him love again, Dreadwing briefly mused as he carefully pushed his spike in the wet, eager valve of the Autobot, but well… Dreadwing liked variety too, and the Autobot didn’t seem to have any preference when it came to be fragged so long he was. Or at least he wasn’t in any state to talk about them. Perhaps Dreadwing ought to ask what his limits and preferences were the next time he was cognizant enough; anything that could make the Youngling comfortable would be welcome, he was certain.

Taking the Autobot by behind felt right, however. Not only did it allows Dreadwing easy access to the younger mech’s anterior node if he wanted to stroke it (which he did, prompting an overload from Smokescreen once he started to play with it in earnest, pinching it between two fingers before stroking it broadly with his thumb), it also permitted him to reach and pet Smokescreen’s doorwings, which seemed to greatly please the Autobot if he had to judge by the fluttering of said doorwings and the little mewling sound he kept making, even when Dreadwing wasn’t pushing in and out of his valve.

They weren’t, Dreadwing noted as he traced patterns over them with his fingers and his palms by intermittence, as sensitive as Seekers’ wings. On a fellow flyer model, the soft touches he practiced would have gotten a much stronger reaction, especially if the blocks they used while following combat protocols were removed and the systems correctly primed. By comparison, Smokescreen’s reactions, while amusing and arousing to witness and hear, were very mild. That said, it was clear that like all Praxian-type shells, his doorwings still packed a lot of receptors, many of which were working at twice their normal power and range. No wonder that Smokescreen had overloaded from simple touch when the charge he had built from the beginning of his Heat; as a grounder, his systems weren’t used or built to deal with such a high sensitivity setting.

Smokescreen still wasn't the type of mech he would have taken to berth for a frag if circumstances had been different but there was no denying that playing with those doorwings was enjoyable. Briefly, Dreadwing wondered if Skyquake would have loved it too. Most likely, he decided; his departed brother had always been very tactile-oriented when they were in private and when they had taken a lover to berth together (something which had gotten rarer and rarer as they aged and started developing different tastes and preferences as well as asserting their own personality and independence from each other), Skyquake had usually been the one to play with their wings while Dreadwing had played with... other things. Usually their spike; unlike a few other mechs he had met, Dreadwing had never minded spreading his legs and receiving pleasure rather than take it. It was a pity the Autobot couldn't extend his own spike so long his Heat protocols were running so strong; there were so many things he could have done with it to bring the Youngling to the brink of ecstasy. And with any luck, perhaps he could have gone for a ride.

Hmm, riding an Autobot... He had never done that before and he wondered if he'd enjoy it. The Youngling was smaller than him so Dreadwing wasn't expecting the size of his rod to be extraordinary, but the flyer could adjust the parameters of his array to tightened his caliper rings so a small spike would be a fine, snug fit inside him...

Slag. He shouldn't think of things like that; not only was it borderline treasonous, he also wasn't here for that!

He was only doing it for the Youngling, the flyer reminded himself. Dreadwing's thumb pressed against the Autobot's anterior node; Smokescreen keened and stiffened as he overloaded, valve spasming in quick succession around Dreadwing's rod and with a grunt, the Seeker overloaded as well, grabbing the younger mech's hips to keep steady as he felt transfluid shoot out of his spike and flooding the tight hole he was buried in. Smokescreen's valve clenched hard, as if it was trying to squeeze all the fluids it could out of him -- which was probably accurate, he thought ruefully as he released his grip on the Autobot's hips; Smokescreen's coding and frame wanted him to build a Sparkling and to do so, they needed a lot of nanites.

That, and excess energy to leach from the mech in Heat's Spark.

Unlike what pseudo-romantic and badly researched pornographic novels back on Cybertron let you believe, you didn't necessarily need to Spark-merge to create a newspark. True, the act greatly facilitated the formation of a new life, as the energy released from the merge lingered a long while. However, most people never really stopped to think long and hard as to why Cybertronians called their youngest members Sparklings. Little Sparks. It was self-telling. People kept thinking of Sparks as fully developed things, like those that came of the Well of Sparks, but in a born, unfurled Sparkling? It was barely a sliver of Spark, one just strong enough to power the tiny frame it inhabited. And you didn't need that much to create a sliver. Just enough gathered energy in your Spark chamber -- energy that abounded during Heat thank to the number of overloads your frame went through.

Now, Dreadwing wasn't a doctor; while he knew a few interesting tidbits about Sparks, a natural consequence of having grown up with a twin and asking questions about it and what it meant for them, he was hardly an expert on the subject. He would have been hard to pressed to explain how the exact process happened in details or if the beginning of a frame conception triggered the Spark energy-gathering or if it was the presence of this tiny, potential Spark which triggered the coalescence of the nanites in the Forge. He just knew the two were intrinsically linked and that the Heat provided the best (and sometimes, for some frametypes, the only) conditions needed to their successfulness. And he had honestly no idea what factored in the final shape of the Sparkling's protocol and the kind of altmode limitations they'd have or if they'd belong to a specific frame-type.

Good thing the Autobot had a Bolt in place to stop conception from happening, the flyer thought as he withdrew. At least it was one thing neither of them had to worry about.

"Mmmh," the Autobot moaned, wiggling his aft in a tantalizing manner. Dreadwing resisted the urge to slap it but couldn't help but cup it with one hand. Smokescreen immediately leaned into his touch, purring.

"Still not sated, I take?" the Decepticon asked dryly, expecting no verbal answer. Sure enough, Smokescreen only moaned again as he let his hand stroke the aft so willingly put on display. How many time had the younger mech overloaded by now? Dreadwing wasn't certain anymore. More than three, that was certain; at least one on the floor, where the Autobot had managed to knock over Dreadwing on his return and where the Seeker had resigned himself to make love to the Autobot a first time to calm him down before moving him to the berth for more comfort, at least once from simple field manipulation and caresses in the right places, notably those trembling doorwings, two from interfacing on the berth including the one right now... And there might have been more during Dreadwing's absence, provided the Autobot had been able to bring himself so far on his lonesome. Dreadwing hadn't matched him overload for overload but he too had come several times and there was no denying it was starting to take its toll on his own frame. "You are truly insatiable," he smiled briefly despite himself before grunting when Smokescreen rolled his hips and let his aft bump against Dreadwing still half-raised spike. "Careful now," he advised, moving to sit on the berth. He couldn't stay up anymore, his knee joints were starting to protest. The moment he was settle, he suddenly found himself with a lapful of aroused Autobot who threw his arms around his neck and leaned against him with all his weight, making Dreadwing huff.

"Yes, yes, I know what you want, don't worry, I'll be right down to that in a moment," he reassured the other mech, passing his arms around his waist.

"Please," Smokescreen begged, rolling his hips against and rubbing his chestplates against Dreadwing.

The Seeker raised both optic ridges. On one hand, Smokescreen speaking was a good sign; he hadn't managed a word out since Dreadwing's return, only moans, groans and grunts. The return of speech was a sure sign his Heat was abating again -- though Dreadwing didn't dare to hope it was soon over. Two waves were nothing; a first Heat rarely counted less than three waves of intense lust, with four being the acknowledged average and outliers having been recorded with six to seven waves themselves. Still, actual words were good. On the other hand, though, this clanking of chest hinted at something Dreadwing wasn't ready to give -- and he was certain that if the Autobot was more in control of himself, he would also balk at the very idea.

"No Spark-merge, Youngling," he said gruffly and firmly.

Even without the risk of accidently Sparking up your partner, the act of sharing Spark was not as lighthearted as a frag. It spoke of an incredible level of intimacy and trust between the participants, for they shared their very essence, one of three things that made them true Cybertronians. Even with the lack of inhibitions that accompanied a Heat, a responsible 'bot shouldn't -- wouldn't -- casually accept to open his Chamber, no matter how much the mech in Heat pressed. Spark-sharing should be reserved to true lovers, for members of a same cadre, for siblings wanting to deepen their Quantum Bond (a practice Skyquake and Dreadwing had regularly indulged in until Skyquake received his orders to leave Cybertron and one of the reasons Dreadwing had been able to sense his brother passing from so far away) -- or wanting to create one, period. The risk of forging such a bond with the Autobot would have been negligible while his brother had still been alive, for all members already present in a bond needed to share Spark with a newcomer to greet him in the fold, but now that Skyquake was dead and the bond between them broken, the risk was exponential.

In the flyer's casing, his Spark gave a painful twinge he purposely ignored. It wasn't the first time and it wasn't the last. The edges of the broken bonds had had the time to dull during his trek to Earth. He didn't need to replace Skyquake -- had no conscious desire to replace Skyquake. Whatever his Spark felt, the phantom pain of losing half of himself, would eventually fade away. He just needed to be patient. He didn't need a pliable, temporarily mind-addled Youngling in his Spark, he firmly told himself, no matter what the dying leftovers of the Quantum Bond might be hinting at.

Smokescreen whined. "Please?" he asked again, kissing Dreadwing's chest and roaming his hands over it, as if searching for the seams that would manually allow him to open it. Dreadwing caught them both in one hand and shook his head.

"No," he repeated firmly, though he tried to convey patience and calm. It wasn't the Autobot's fault, he kept repeating to himself. It was just an unfortunate consequence of two bad situations meeting. "Trust me, you do not want to share Spark with a Decepticon. You'll thank me later," he said dryly while Smokescreen kept rubbing against him. "Let's see if I can find a way to take your mind of my Spark, hmm?"

Allowing one of Smokescreen’s hands to slip out of his hold, he let the Youngling put it against his chest again before leaning forward and kissing him. Smokescreen melted into the kiss easily, soft, pliable lips parting to make way for Dreadwing’s glossa. Even as he deepened the kiss, the flyer took the Autobot’s hand in his and guided it between his thighs until the Youngling was touching his spike. It was still covered in a mix of spent transfluid and lubricant but Smokescreen’s optics flashed as he wrapped his hand around it without breaking the kiss and started pumping.

Dreadwing groaned, back arching despite himself; he could already feel his spike stiffening again, springs and gears and energon lines humming alongside as it rose back to full hardness. Damn if the Autobot didn’t have a good grip; that at least seemed to be one aspect of interfacing with which he had experience. His hand tightened around the Youngling’s but for the most part, he was happy to let him set the pace and do as he wished.

His distraction was working well; busy as he was getting Dreadwing’s spike back into working order, the Autobot had lost interest for Dreadwing’s chestplates, which was just fine with him.

“Hmm, good,” he murmured, bringing the hand he was still holding to his lips to kiss it. Smokescreen let his head rest against the crook of his neck, looking content to stay like that – or at least he was until a certain point. Soon enough he was moving again, straddling Dreadwing’s thighs and trying to line up his valve with the Decepticon’s spike.

Chuckling, Dreadwing put his hands on his hips to steady him and guide him downward. Still slick with the remains of their previous couplings, his spike easily slide down past the wet folds and the stretched calipers. “Not too fast,” the flyer advises, tightening his grip on the Autobot’s hips to stop him from impaling himself all the way in one go. “You’re going to hurt yourself if you do.”

“Don’t care,” Smokescreen muttered, putting his hands on Dreadwing’s shoulders. “I want it so bad…”

“So you say now, but when you’re back to your full sense, you’d curse yourself for having been so foolhardy and me for not stopping you,” the flyer replied. That said, he let Smokescreen sink further on his length, though he still controlled the descent.

The Youngling keened, hands keeping a desperate grip on Dreadwing’s shoulders. If Dreadwing had to guess, the penetration angle was taking him by surprise – that, and he had probably poked at a sensors cluster already. He let the Youngling adjust and stop trembling before letting slide down the rest of the way, up until his spike was fully buried in the younger mech, shoulders sagging as he felt the constrictive heat of that scorching hot valve tighten around him. “Uuuuh… oh slag,” he groaned when Smokescreen immediately set himself to move, lifting himself up just one inch before crouching back down with a cry. “Eag… eager for the ride, aren’t you?”

“And you… you aren’t?” the Youngling taunted back in a breathy voice, sounding a lot more cognizant than before. He smirked briefly in a cocky way before it broke off and he moaned, rolling his hips back and forth before trying to lift up again.

Dreadwing didn’t verbally answer but gave a nod, conceding the points. Keeping his hands steady, he helped Smokescreen lift himself the best he could without adding too much pressure and kept an iron-clad control on his impulse to thrust his own hips upward. Let the Youngling control the rhythm and the pace as he wished, he thought; he was only going to provide help to keep him steady and well.

If Smokescreen was surprised by Dreadwing’s ‘passivity’, he certainly didn’t show it. In short order, he was gliding up and down the Decepticon’s rod, slowly at first, then faster. One moment he was barely lifting himself and the next he was gliding upward until Dreadwing’s spike was barely still in in before sinking back down. He kept alternating, frame and doorwings trembling as he bite his lips to not cry out with every move.

Dreadwing himself kept grunting and groaning, feeling each bounce on his spike and desperately clinging to his self-control. It was becoming easier as the scent of the Autobot’s musk dispersed and grew fainter but it was still difficult. Smokescreen wasn’t trying to tease him, of course, but the absence of a steady pace was maddening.

Or at least it was until the Autobot’s venting grew louder and he started to bounce harder and faster as the charge in his circuits grew. His face contorted as he neared overload, mouth opening in a silent scream as he rose a last time and let himself sink back with a massive shudder while energy cracked around and inside him, overloading at last.

Grunting, Dreadwing grasped the Autobot’s hips tighter and continued to move him up and down his spike in spite of the way Smokescreen’s valve spasmed erratically around him. It only took him half a dozen thrusts upward before he reached his peak as well and spilled his transfluid deep inside the Autobot, finally releasing his iron grasp as he felt back flat on the berth, Smokescreen falling over him, exhausted and boneless as well.

They stayed like a that for a long while, Smokescreen slightly curled up and hiding his face against Dreadwing’s shoulder while the Decepticon stared at the ceiling wordlessly, his CPU reorganizing itself after the hard overload which had just scrambled his systems.

“Well… that was intense,” he finally said, moving his head to look at the Youngling and only realizing then that they were still linked together through their array. “Oh. Allow me…” he murmured, hands reaching to guide Smokescreen off his spike, which was thankfully easy and fast. Smokescreen just curled more against his side. “How do you feel?” He asked awkwardly.

The Youngling rolled a shoulder. “… Not bad, I guess. Doesn’t feel like I need more for now.”

Dreadwing nodded; he had guessed as much when the musk had started to clear. It meant the second wave of the Heat was over and done and they could rest properly – and hopefully keep things from becoming more awkward in the meanwhile.
Smokescreen uncurled and turned to lie on his back. “’m tired,” he admitted after a moment of silence.

“Understandable,” Dreadwing noted ruefully. “Your energon reserves must have dropped severely by now. Wait a klik,” he murmured, digging into his subspace pockets to take out the two sealed cubes of energon he had stored there for post-coital snacks – something he had felt would be necessary and once again, he had been right. “Drink up,” he said, offering one of the cubes to the Youngling who grabbed at it like he would have to a lifeline, optics shining in gratefulness. “And once you’re done, I’ll clean you up.” He eyed the mess of spilled fluids between their legs and winced. “We both really need it, I’m afraid.”

*-*-*-*-*-*

Smokescreen felt confused, and it wasn’t just because of his Heat – though it certainly didn’t help.

Dreadwing and by extension, his attitude, made no sense to him.

Like… the mech had genuinely tried to kill him and Bulkhead by blowing them up – and in Smokescreen’s opinion, it had been totally overkill, using so many bombs. Sure, Bulkhead was a former Wrecker and Smokescreen was a (rookie) Elite Guard trainee, but come on! He was a Megatron crony through and through and he had taken Smokescreen in as slave… at least officially.

But Smokescreen hadn’t been made to do any slavish-y thing like he would have expected. Asides of hanging him on a wall like a bad decoration, Dreadwing had done nothing to harm or humiliate him like Smokescreen would have expected – and Smokescreen had tried to push him to it by babbling non-stop. It had been stupid, sure, but… well, he just hadn’t been able to believe a ‘Con wouldn’t hurt his prisoner.

But Dreadwing had done nothing, asides of a couple slaps when Smokescreen had been very mouthy or when he had bite him. The whole handfeeding thing had been disturbing – still was, too, even if he had sort of grown used to it – so Smokescreen thought he had a pretty good excuse. But, he had to admit, so did Dreadwing, and he could have done so much worse than backhanding him. Smokescreen might have been young but he had heard of what happened to captured ‘bots in Decepticons hands; with the other trainees, they had exchanged hushed conversations over rumors on energon whips and energon probs, energy blades and drugs.

Every solar cycle, he had wondered if Dreadwing would drop the honorable act and just… hurt Smokescreen.

But he hadn’t, as amazing as it was, and Smokescreen had started to tenuously believe that maybe it was how his captivity would last all long until he was rescued – even if a rescue was more and more unlikely as solar cycles went by. Not that Smokescreen didn’t understand why; he had just messed up big time and, while the other Autobots probably didn’t mean to leave him a ‘Con prisoner, they had to protect the Keys in their possessions. They were too precious to be lost or traded for a simple warrior. If he had to be sacrificed, well… Smokescreen was ready to accept it. Pit, he’d be proud to die if it meant his comrades were safe!

That was why he had tried to crash his memory banks; if the Decepticons couldn’t access the files, then the rest of the team would be alright. It hadn’t quite worked because that creeper Soundwave was good at hacking and stopping system crashes, apparently, and Knock Out had been able to stabilize him fast, but Smokescreen had still managed to delete all files relating to the base’s location. Sure, it left him in a bind if he tried to escape, but you couldn’t win it all.

Being left to hang on a wall really wasn’t much in the grand scheme of things.

And then Smokescreen’s Heat had started, and Dreadwing had showed himself to be… nice?

It would have been so much easier, Smokescreen mused as he stared at the ceiling without moving, if he had been an evil bastard like, oh, about all the other Decepticons Smokescreen had met so far?

But Dreadwing wasn’t like that, much to his puzzlement.

Getting in Heat while captured by the enemy was probably the most nightmarish thing an Autobot could imagine happening to him (or at least Smokescreen supposed so; his nightmares had often involved Scraplets rather than Decepticons). By all logics, Smokescreen should have ended used, abused and humiliated. He should have been passed around from one ‘Con to the next as they took their pleasure and he was unable to resist them – worse, he would have eagerly greeted them between his legs.

And instead, Dreadwing had unbound him and took his time to try and sooth Smokescreen’s nerves before making him love with a gentleness the young Autobot would have never expected to come from a Decepticon. Dreadwing had ensured all the way he wouldn’t put Smokescreen in any discomfort (asides of the normal soreness one felt after a long frag session, that’s it), had fed him and even now, he was cleaning away the remain of their, uh, ‘activities’ from Smokescreen’s thighs and pelvic plating.

He was being gentle about it, too; rubbing small circles, using hot water, telling Smokescreen exactly what he was going to do or when he was going to touch him… and asked him if it was okay every time. Which it was, because Smokescreen was in no mood to protest, his CPU all fuzzy from the last couple of overloads and eager to shut down and recharge.

It was so weird, a Decepticon being so polite and so… so moral!

He… he hadn’t taken Smokescreen’s Spark.

The Youngling didn’t have the words to describe how it made him feel. There were so many emotions flowing through him whenever he tried to think about this part of the whole mess. Embarrassment and shame for having solicited the Decepticon in the first place. Horror at the idea he had asked for something so intimate from a perfect stranger and worse, a mech who had every reason to snuff said Spark on a battlefield. Relief Dreadwing hadn’t even considered the offer. Puzzlement over the fact he had firmly refused. Gratitude that Dreadwing had refused. Perhaps a twinge of disappointment Dreadwing had refused after all, because…

Frag, he didn’t know what he felt anymore. So he just settled on being thankful that from all the Decepticons Megatron could decide to hand him to, he had chosen Dreadwing. He had the feeling the crazy Doc or the silent, creepy Communication Officer wouldn’t have been half as nice.

Pit, Smokescreen had met mechs on his own side who weren’t half as moral as Dreadwing: they, he felt, wouldn’t have show an ounce of Dreadwing’s care and patience they had found themselves with a Decepticon in Heat in their care.

Which made Smokescreen really wonder… why was he a Decepticon, exactly?

“And done,” Dreadwing announced, startling Smokescreen. Wow, already? Though… yep, according to Smokescreen’s chronometer, more time had passed than he had realized. He felt… relaxed. And very, very clean. Dreadwing had really gone out of his way to clean him up, including digging into whatever seams he could reach.

He didn’t dare to move, but his optics still followed Dreadwing as the flyer moved around the berth, putting the sponges and the soiled clothes he had used in a trashcan before coming back to sit on the edge of the berth. Their gazes crossed and Dreadwing’s face expression softened. Silly as it was, Smokescreen felt his cheeks heat up.

“You should recharge now. Even with the energon, I doubt you’ll feel rested until you do.,” he said.

Smokescreen hummed. Oh, he knew Dreadwing was right but despite how heavy his frame felt, he didn’t want to slip in recharge just yet. He rolled to the side, making more place for the Seeker to come lie on the berth next to him, but Dreadwing didn’t take the hint.

“Not recharging yourself?” he asked awkwardly.

“Unlike you, Autobot, I’m needed elsewhere,” the flyer shook his head before making a face. “And I really need a washrack trip.”

“’m going to feel jealous,” Smokescreen replied, raising himself on an elbow and looking at his still open array in dismay. It still refused to close. No way he went prancing through the ship like that. A good, proper wash would have felt divine. “… thank you, by the way,” he added hesitantly.

Dreadwing raised an optic ridge. “Whatever for?”

“The cleaning,” Smokescreen said. “You, uh, you weren’t forced. To do it yourself, I mean,” he mumbled. Smokescreen could have done it himself but for some reason… he hadn’t minded at all when the bigger mech had decided to do it. Perhaps because he knew, both consciously and unconsciously, that Dreadwing wouldn’t harm him? He hesitated, biting his lips. “And thank you for… you know,” he tapped his chest, feeling his whole face burn with the unspoken admission. “Not doing that to me. I had asked, after all, so you could have…”

Dreadwing harrumphed, his wings twitching briefly. “Youngling, such serious a demand from a mech in Heat should never be acted upon without the clear cut consent of the mech in Heat – a consent they can’t give while so deep in the throes of lust. You have nothing to thank me for. Any decent mech would have done the same.”

That, Smokescreen wasn’t so sure, but he nodded hesitantly, looking at Dreadwing with a frown. “And if I, uh, gave you permission to do it the next time I’m… ‘lusty’… again right now, while I’m better? Would you?”

Now both of the blue mech’s optic ridges rose. “Are you actually giving me that permission, Youngling?”

“No! Of course not!” Smokescreen blurted out, mortified. “I just wanted to know… argh, forget it,” he groaned, throwing an arm over his face to hide his optics.

The Decepticon chuckled briefly. It send a tremor of… something down Smokescreen’s spinal strut. “No need to be ashamed for being curious, Youngling. To answer your question…” he started before trailing off, briefly licking his lips and looking thoughtful. “No, I wouldn’t,” he finished. “Even if you are cognizant at the moment and able to make informed choices, you’re still my prisoner. Interfacing with you because you are in Heat is one thing; Spark-merging with you due to say Heat is another. There is a line here I won’t cross. Does it satisfy you?”

Smokescreen’s nodded slowly, feeling a like a weight he didn’t know he carried had lifted from his shoulders. “Yeah, yeah it does.” His frame started to relax and he flopped back on the berth with a sigh of relief. He stared at the ceiling again. “… you’re not a bad mech. For a Decepticon, I mean.”

“I think I’ll take it as a compliment,” the flyer replied dryly, reaching and patting smokescreen’s shoulder twice. “Sleep, Autobot, and recover your strengths. You’re Heat is far from being over, after all.”

Smokescreen hummed, shuttering his optics.

Such a weird mech, he thought as he let his body power down. But at least he was trustworthy.

For a Decepticon.

*-*-*-*-*-*

In the end, the Autobot’s Heat ended up being shorter than Dreadwing had first supposed.

It became obvious to him, halfway through it, that the third wave of lust would be the last. Despite four being the average number according to studies, Dreadwing knew. Even at the strongest of the wave, Smokescreen was still talking and coherent. Not only that, but the musky scent he emitted had thinned. It was still present, of course, but a lot less potent than before. Dreadwing had lived through enough Heats (his owns, his brother’s and those of the various mechs they had shared a berth with) to recognize the signs for what they were.

On one hand, it was a relief. While making love to the Autobot had been far from an hassle, it was still a duty he was accomplishing just for the sake of the Youngling. He never would have done without that ill-timed Heat cycle, he kept repeating himself as he thrusted into the younger mech’s willing body.

On the other hand… he felt a certain measure of disappointment. Don’t get him wrong, he had no intention to, say, turn the Youngling free thank to a new feeling of kinship or pity. But the fact remained that he was finding great pleasure in his self-imposed task and that, perhaps, he was developing a bit of a soft spot for the Youngling who clung to his frame while he continued to make him love.

“Ah… ah… oh, har… harder please,” the Youngling panted. “Uuuh, Dr… Dreadwing, please… oooooooh!”

The Youngling thrashed and Dreadwing tightened his hold on the younger mech’s ankles, grunting as he picked up a faster pace. He was standing at the foot of the berth again, the Youngling’s aft dangling a bit over it while he held Smokescreen’s legs high and parted by the ankles, leaving the Youngling’s array completely exposed. It wasn’t his favorite position, but Smokescreen had asked for it clearly albeit feverishly and Dreadwing had bowed to his demands.

It was (one of) their last times and the least he could do was to try and honor the request(s) of his partner. The Youngling was very vocal when he had more of his head, he noted with amusement even as his arousal grew with each plea for ‘more please’ and ‘so good!’; he wasn’t above basking in the compliments of a satisfied lover, it seemed.

Skyquake would have loved it too, he thought briefly before shuttering his optics and giving a few, final thrusts that sent the Youngling over the edge with a yell of ecstasy, himself coming a few kliks later when his spike was squeezed, hard, by the tightening of his lover’s valve. Smokescreen’s hands dug into the mattress as his valve spasmed and he shook his head weakly.

Dreadwing, panting, reached for him and cupped his cheek, making the Youngling look at him. Smokescreen has a small, tired smile on his face as he leaned into the touch, looking content even if exhausted. He took note of the expression and committed it to his memory banks. After today, it was doubtful he would ever see it again (unless the Youngling entered another cycle and Dreadwing was once again the one to share his berth, but he ruthlessly dismissed the idea).

Soft, naïve Autobot, he kept repeating mentally to himself. It was a miracle he had made it so far in the war. And honestly? Call him soft too, but… Dreadwing was starting to be glad the Youngling was a captive. At least it meant he wouldn’t have to offline him in the midst of a battle… or unless Lord Megatron decided to order his death, in which case he’d be honor-bound to obey (which hopefully would never happen, because Dreadwing was starting to wonder if he would actually do it if ordered, something which had never happened to him before).

At least as a captive, a slave, he was safe, Dreadwing rationalized as he let himself lie on the Autobot, shifting just enough so he wouldn’t be completely pinned down by his weight but still partly immobilized. Smokescreen didn’t seem to mind the slightest, however, immediately starting to cuddle and curl against his frame.

“Thank you,” he said quietly. “I… it was fantastic,” he said after a moment, looking embarrassed at the admission.

“You’re most welcome,” the flyer replied. “Are you still craving another overload?”

Smokescreen kept silent for a moment, optic ridges furrowed. “I… I don’t know? My systems are still tingling but not like…” he trailed off, swallowing. “Oh. You mean… is it over?” he sounded unsure and a bit lost, not that Dreadwing couldn’t sympathize. The situation was going to be very awkward for a while, he feared. “You had said there’d be, like, four waves?”

“Most likely, yes, it is over,” the Decepticon nodded. “And I never pretended there’d be four waves; I just said it was what most mechs experienced; that doesn’t mean everyone does. In your case, it seems three were sufficient. Which is a good thing,” he stressed out. “Your systems may need a last overload to completely reset themselves but that’s it. I’m sure if you check your HUD, you’ll see that the Heat warnings labels will have disappeared.”

“Oh. Just like that?” Smokescreen asked, blinking and looking away, perhaps checking the queue of messages his systems sent him like Dreadwing had suggested. “That seems… anticlimactic.”

“It can be,” Dreadwing allowed. “I know novels like to describe the end of Heats dramatically, but surely you didn’t think you’d be knocked out by a last, powerful overload and wake up with a fluttering Spark and the intimate knowledge it was over?” It did happen, of course, but not nearly as much as literature seemed to imply.

The Youngling chuckled sheepishly. “Well, when you put it like that… Though you did knock me unconscious with an overload!”

“Not quite,” the flyer replied, smirking. “You slip into recharge because you were sated after that overload – which, I remind you was, the last in a long series.”

“Oh, right,” the Youngling sighed. “So… what’s going to happen now?” he asked hesitantly.

Dreadwing shuttered his optics. What indeed? It pained him since the Youngling was being obedient but he didn’t have much choices given the circumstances. “Now… I will have to tie you up again.”

Underneath him, the Youngling stiffened before sagging. “Yeah, I thought you’d say that,” he admitted and Dreadwing grunted. Brash and cocky as he was, the Autobot wasn’t an idiot either. “… Do you really have to?”

“Could I trust you not to try and escape if I didn’t?” the Decepticon asked instead.

Smokescreen looked away. “I think we both know the answer to that question, right?”

Yes, they did, Dreadwing thought wryly. Captive, after all; it was Smokescreen’s duty to try and escape and return to his faction. And that was why, even if he had been inclined to, Dreadwing couldn’t let him roam freely in his quarters anymore. Without the Heat to keep him in check, who knew what the young ‘bot would get up to?

“Are you… are you going to do it now?” the younger mech asked, doorwings trembling.

“… it’s probably best if I do,” Dreadwing admitted, rolling to move away from Smokescreen. He kept a wary optic on him and tensed, wondering if he would have to tackle the Autobot during a dash for freedom, but Smokescreen just sat and swallowed, looking down at his hands in a defeated posture. Dreadwing’s face softened. “You know it won’t hurt.”

He held out a hand, which the Autobot looked up to stare at.

“Doesn’t make it any less unpleasant,” the Autobot mumbled, accepting the offering hand. He was dragged to his feet without a word and let himself be guided to the wall, but flinched at took a step back at the sight of the restrain. “Can’t we find, I dunno, another solution?”

“It is currently the only one I can offer you,” Dreadwing said sternly. Which wasn’t quite true; he could have let Smokescreen chained to his berth, where the young Autobot could have wallowed in relative comfort. However… Dreadwing wasn’t certain he could resist to the temptation if the younger mech stayed in such close proximity while he recharged.

It might have been a duty first and foremost but Dreadwing’s frame had accustomed itself to the Youngling’s company, the twinge of desire brought out by the musk of the Heat. Awkward and naïve as he was, the Youngling could always find a way to exploit it, and Dreadwing refused to picture himself telling his Lord he had been seduced into letting his personally gifted slave get away.

Once they had won the war, those restrains wouldn’t be necessary anymore, he told himself. Once they revived Cybertron and could move back home, he’d make different arrangement. Bigger quarters, so he could put the Youngling under lock and key, perhaps.

The Autobot shuttered his optics. “Let’s get it done with, then.”

If his voice trembled, Dreadwing didn’t comment on it. Instead, he reached for the cuffs and chains. He’d give the Youngling credit, Smokescreen didn’t say anything and didn’t try to fight as the operation went down. He flinched a lot, true, and he sometimes whimpered, but he still stayed docile as Dreadwing hung him up.

Once the Youngling was hanging in the air and it was time to secure his legs, the flyer took a step back before blinking. “You haven’t closed your panel,” he said, wanting to kick himself for not noticing earlier – though to be honest, he had had bigger concerns.

“Yeah, about that… it won’t let me,” Smokescreen mumbled. “I got a message about ‘energy release needed for system restart’. You… I think I need…” he trailed off, not wanting to complete his sentence, but Dreadwing understood all the same.

“I see,” he murmured, letting his own panel open back and his spike emerges. He felt spent already but since it was needed… “Good thing I hadn’t finished tying your legs, then,” he commented as idly as he could as he took Smokescreen’s hips and grinded against the other mech’s array.

Smokescreen whimpered. “Yeah… guess so,” he replied, tying his legs around Dreadwing’s waist. His valve was still slick, ready for penetration and he looked at Dreadwing with a mix of embarrassment and resignation. “One last time then?”

“One last time,” Dreadwing acknowledged, rubbing his spike against the folds, spreading the lubricant and other fluids still straining them over his spike before tilting his hips to align it with the Autobot’s valve. “I want you to know…” he started only to cut himself off with a hiss as Smokescreen, despite his bound state, managed to twist and lower himself on the tip of Dreadwing’s spike.

“Please,” the Youngling begged. “Just… frag me so we’re done.”

“… Right,” Dreadwing sighed. Too much awkwardness that neither of them wanted or knew how to deal with. “I’ll make it good,” he swore instead, starting to thrust upward.

“I know,” Smokescreen moaned as he felt Dreadwing’s spike progress inside him.

After that, they didn’t talk anymore. Dreadwing grunted and panted, systems protesting against the extra effort, but he still fragged Smokescreen. He was as gentle as he had been in their previous couplings and did his best to ignore the rattling of the chains. Smokescreen panted and moaned in turn, optics shuttered and legs gripping Dreadwing’s waist for dear life.

When they both overloaded, Dreadwing slumped forward, catching himself by putting his hands on the wall on either side of Smokescreen’s bound frame while the Autobot dropped his hold, legs hanging while his frame seemed to dance under the impulse of his last overload.

Dreadwing still said nothing as he cleaned Smokescreen’s frame one last time before chaining the Autobot’s legs, returning Smokescreen to his original role of wall decoration. Smokescreen still said nothing as he started to test his bonds like he had done hundreds of times before, searching for an inexistent weakness in the links.

The only words they exchanged was when Dreadwing got ready to head for his next shift. As he was readying to pass the door, the Autobot spoke, startling him.

“Dreadwing… Thank you.”

The flyer looked over his shoulders; the Autobot was staring at him, optics sad.

His wings flickered. “You were welcome,” he replied, and closed the door behind him.

*-*-*-*-*-*

The moment he transformed and set his pedes on the Nemesis, Dreadwing knew something was wrong. Call it a hunch, one largely helped by the group of mourning Vehicons standing on the open bridge and shaking their heads in dismay while looking at the ground far, far below.

Or the fact that, on his way to the command bridge to report to Lord Megatron, he found Knock Out stuck in a wall.

“How?” he asked in disbelief, optic ridges raised high. He knew the Doctor had kept the Phase Shifter confiscated on the Autobot, but Knock Out wasn’t a stupid mech. The very idea he could have made a mistake with the device and got himself stuck or that it could have failed and left him in that state was laughable.

“Your Autobot pet, what else?” Knock Out snarled and Dreadwing startled.

“The Youngling? But how…?” Then his optics narrowed. “What were you doing in my quarters?!” he hissed threateningly, regretting that so much of Knock Out’s body was stuck in this wall. Right now, he wanted nothing more than to lift the doctor by the throat and shake him. Dreadwing’s quarters were private and no one was allowed in there without invitation.

Especially not when there was a helpless mech inside.

“Oh, hold your high Equinoids, I never went to your quarters,” Knock Out sniffed, though one could see he was nervous by the way his optics darted right and left. “Soundwave delivered your pet to the Medbay; if you want to be angry at someone, please aim it at him.”

“Soundwave?” Dreadwing blinked uncomprehendingly. “Why?” Soundwave’s presence in his quarters would haven’t been welcome either but he at least trusted the Communication Officer not to get into his things. The fact he went and retrieved Smokescreen without informing Dreadwing or asking for his approval when the Autobot was supposed to be his could only mean one thing. “What did Lord Megatron want with the Autobot?”

Knock Out rolled his optics. “The location of the Autobot base, what else? I had been thinking and working on ways of getting back the files your pet had corrupted and I thought I had found a solution. Lord Megatron approved, Soundwave dropped a bound package and I tried to use the cortical psychic patch. Except it didn’t go as planned, as you can see. What can I say? That mech got very agile digits.” He wiggled his fingers for good measure.

“Quite,” Dreadwing replied, mentally swearing. Lord Megatron had to be furious. He needed to find him. And… “Where is the Autobot now?”

“Escaped the ship and probably back in his little friends’ clutches, since it’s been hours now,” the medic replied, sounding bitter. “Oh, and before you ask, he didn’t just take off for part unknown; he stole the Keys we had in our possession while doing so. So if you were hoping to recapture him and punish him for his stunt, I’m afraid you’re a bit late to the party.”

Dreadwing grunted before turning away, annoyed and furious. Lord Megatron’s rage would be increased tenfold. It was probably just as well Smokescreen had managed to get away; their Lord wouldn’t have been in a forgiving mood.

“Oh, hey! You’re not going to leave me here like that, are you?” Knock Out called.

Dreadwing just looked at him over his shoulder. “Doctor, if you are still in this wall after hours have passed since my ‘pet’s escape’, then it means Lord Megatron didn’t give any order to bring you out of this wall. And I am not one to defy the wishes of my Liege,” he finished. If he sounded vindicated, well, it had nothing to do with irritation at hearing Smokescreen be called his ‘pet Autobot’. The Youngling was no pet.

Knock Out called after him again but Dreadwing paid it no mind. Walking, he passed in front of his quarters. Hesitantly, he opened the door. Sure enough, the wall on which Smokescreen had previously been tied up was now blank asides from the chains and rings still sealed in it. He didn’t know what he had hoped, really; that all of it was just a joke played at his expense?

Smokescreen was free… and back with the other Autobots.

For an instant, Dreadwing shuttered his optics and sighed. Perhaps… perhaps it was just as well. He was back with his friends and safe – or at least relatively so… for now. Lord Megatron would want to get the Omega Keys back, after all, and when they did, who knew what would happen to Smokescreen?

A pity, he thought to himself as he let the door close and he took off to the command bridge. The Youngling would have been safer remaining his prisoner. But it couldn’t be helped; it had always been clear Smokescreen would try to escape and a part of Dreadwing was grudgingly impressed that he had found a way, given he was a grounder and the Nemesis flew quite high.

He would probably cross path with the Youngling again and sooner rather than later. What Dreadwing wondered was…

Would he truly be able to fight him with his all when it happened?

*-*-*-*-*-*

Freedom tasted pretty sweet.

In a way, Smokescreen still couldn’t believe it had worked. If Knock Out hadn’t wore the Phase Shifter on his wrist like that… and jumping from the Nemesis in flight! He could have died dozens of times over!

But he hadn’t and now he was back where he belonged, and he was overjoyed of being so. Eck, everyone was overjoyed to get him back. They had cheered and sounded impressed when Smokescreen had recounted the tale of his escape – though Ratchet had screeched when he had told the part about trying to create a self-induced system crash to erase his memory banks before the ‘Cons could track the base.

Only Optimus’ hand on the medic’s shoulder had stopped him from throwing himself at Smokescreen to… Uh, Smokescreen wasn’t certain. He was fairly sure Ratchet wouldn’t try to kill him but for the rest… The Pit had no fury like a ticked off medic, veterans used to joke. Watching Ratchet seethe, Smokescreen finally got it.

That said…

Sure, he smiled and joke around with the rest of the team and he accepted Bulkhead’s big, crushing hug that lifted him from the ground and he high-fived Bumblebee and he smirked cockily at Arcee, who smirked back and patted his shoulders, but Smokescreen was still nervous.

Then again, who wouldn’t be when Optimus Prime’s personal medic and the CMO of the whole Autobot Forces was staring down at you and letting you know in no uncertain terms that you were going to follow him for a whole checkup. And Optimus Prime, their leader, stood at the medic’s elbow and just nodded and agreed with him.

“It’s not really…” Smokescreen started to say, because he wasn’t hurt, seriously, he had been relatively well-treated, he spotted no obvious injuries… and he really, really didn’t want to let the medic or worse, Optimus Prime know what had happened to him on the Nemesis.

But that was probably too much to ask for, he realized when Ratchet whipped on him and grabbed him by his chevron to drag him behind him under the good-natured laughs of the other Autobots. “Hey, cool it, Doc! I’m coming, I’m coming,” he assured him.
“Of course you are,” Ratchet grumbled. “I’m serious, Smokescreen. Just because you don’t seem to suffer from a physical ailment doesn’t mean you’re fine,” he lectured. “The Decepticons could have done a number of things to you without your knowledge.”

“It is also customary to get a full checkup whenever one return from a dangerous mission – or from capture,” Optimus said seriously as he followed them. Wow, did he think Smokescreen was going to pull a runner or something?

… Okay, yes, he might have briefly contemplated the idea. But he wouldn’t!

And he couldn’t hide the truth of what he had gone through either, he realized with a heavy Spark. Ratchet at least needed to knowledge for his medical files.

“… Doc, it’s just going to be you and me in the Bay, right?” Smokescreen asked uncertainly. If he could just keep things private…

Ratchet stopped walking abruptly and released his chevron, turning on his heels to look at Smokescreen with surprise. “Of course. I’m not in the habit of doing public examinations or divulgating a patient medical history and secrets to everyone. Why…? Smokescreen? Is there something you want to tell me?” he asked suspiciously – but there was also clear worry in his optics and he looked like he was one klik away from taking out all his medical devices and scan Smokescreen to an inch of plating.

Smokescreen shuffled, glancing nervously at Optimus. “I… I prefer to just talk with you, Doc. I’m sorry, Optimus, Sir, but…” Oh Primus, it was so embarrassing.

“Do not be sorry, soldier,” Optimus replied gently, putting a hand on his shoulder. “If you do not want to share a medical issue with anyone but Ratchet, it is perfectly within your rights. Ratchet can deal with any problem that you’re experiencing. You’re in good hands.” Did he sound worried? No, Smokescreen didn’t think so. Concerned, perhaps, but not worried. Smokescreen nodded slowly then followed Ratchet deeper into the base.

Optimus followed them, but stayed at the Medbay door after patting Smokescreen’s shoulder again.

Did they suspect already what he was going to say to Ratchet?

Perhaps… perhaps it’d make things easier if they did, Smokescreen mused, shoulders sagging as Ratchet ushered him in.

Their Medbay was nothing like the Nemesis’. The Decepticons had a fully equipped one; Ratchet worked with a mismatch of devices he had build himself up from human technology and some of his own surviving medical equipment that had endured the trek to Earth. But even if it was underequipped, he felt better in here than on the Nemesis. More light, for one – and the Doc wasn’t going to try and terrify him with a saw either. Maybe. Hopefully.

Ratchet waved him to the medical berth, in true a slab of metal he had recut to fit his needs, and Smokescreen sat gingerly on the edge, hands in his laps as Ratchet moved around to grab different devices.

“Alright kid, lie down. I’m going to hook you up and check out your coding line by line if necessary but if the Decepticons left a virus in you or a tracking device, we’ll soon be fixed.”

Smokescreen blinked. “Wait, what? You think they…?”

Ratchet harrumphed. “You were in captivity for a while, Smokescreen,” he said quietly. “They could have used any moment your recharged in your cell to…”

“I wasn’t in a cell at any point, Doc,” Smokescreen retorted, then winced when Ratchet’s attention seemed to increase tenfold.

“Not in a cell? Then where did they keep you? In the Medbay? If so, that might be worse, Smokescreen!”

“No, no, I wasn’t…! Doc, it’s…” he swallowed. Then, as if a switch had ben turn on, the floodgates opened. “I really don’t know how to say it. It’s… it’s not something I wanted to share but I don’t have a choice and it’s embarrassing and I know it wasn’t my fault but it still happened and I couldn’t say ‘no’, it hurt too much and I swear he was gentle and didn’t hurt me, really he didn’t, but it was still awkward and he still chained me up again once it was over and…”

He was babbling. He knew he was babbling but he couldn’t stop himself. Ratchet was listening to him with gradually raised optic ridges and an expression of suspicious to surprise then dawning horror as he dropped all his devices on a table near the berth and slowly walked to Smokescreen.

“Smokescreen… Youngling,” he tried, opening and closing his mouth several times, clearly at loss for words. “What happened? Did someone…? Do…” he swallowed. “… do I need to prepare a… a rape kit?” Smokescreen just stared and Ratchet felt his tank flipflop. Dear Primus, he really, really hoped he was wrong. He didn’t have to use one of those in years and he had sincerely hoped he’d never have to again, but from what he had gathered from Smokescreen’s incoherent babbling…

Smokescreen just shook his head, thinking. Had he been raped? No, not really; sure, his processors had been addled, his sense of consent shoot to the Pit and back, but Dreadwing had not taken more liberties than anyone else would have in their situation. If anything, he had even taken less. “I don’t think you can call that… No, no I didn’t,” Smokescreen said quietly. “But I… I still interfaced.” There, he had said it. Or part of it anyway.

Ratchet stared, long and hard. What…? Oh no, he thought as it downed on him. Oh no, no, no. “Kid, tell me.”

“… I went in Heat on the Nemesis,” Smokescreen admitted after venting several times to calm down. The admission was as painful and shameful as he had thought it would, but he needed to say it. “It was my first Heat, too,” he added, staring at his hands, still neatly folded in his laps.

Ratchet hide his face in his hand. “Oh, sweet Primus have mercy…”

Of all the possible things he had imagined to have happened to Smokescreen in the hands of the Decepticon, this one hadn’t even been on his list. A Heat… a first Heat?

His optics widened exponentially. “Wait, how old are you exactly? No, never mind that! Who did…? What did they do to you? Does it hurt anywhere? Who do I need to sic Optimus on so he tears their head off?” he snarled. Oh, that sounded tempting! “OPTIMUS!!!” he shouted, their leader immediately appearing, looking worried. “I need you to hunt down…!”

Smokescreen flinched. “Please, don’t?” he asked weakly. “He… he didn’t hurt me, you know. He made sure I was alright, that I wasn’t sore when it was done. He cleaned me, fed me… He refused to touch my Spark,” he added, voice betraying the slight awe he still felt about it.

Optimus’ optics narrowed as he listened. “Ratchet?” he asked sharply, Spark throbbing hard. If someone had forced himself on one of his mechs…

“Smokescreen went on his first Heat on the Nemesis,” Ratchet stated simply. And sure, perhaps he shouldn’t have shared the knowledge so freely, because Smokescreen was a patient and probably hadn’t wanted it divulgated like that, but if they had a potential rapist on their hands, Ratchet wanted him taken off the equation and he wanted it done yesterday! He had spent too much time patching victims together, both physically and mentally, to accept to do it once more.

Only, Smokescreen was making it sound like he had stumbled on the one gentlemech out of a bad bunch of rotten Sparks, which was hard to swallow. He was strongly suspecting foul play of some sort. Because the chances someone had had an Autobot on his first Heat in his hands and not done the unthinkable…

Optimus stiffened. That was… yes, he understood why Ratchet was angry. He himself felt rage mount in his Spark at the thought someone could have done anything to one of his mechs while he was at his most vulnerable.

But Smokescreen looked up at him, and the Autobot leader deflated. Smokescreen looked sad and confused, but not hurt nor terrified like he should have if someone had hurt him so intimately. That said, it didn’t meant the Youngling was alright. Slowly, making sure not to start the younger mech, he sat on the berth next to him. “Please, Smokescreen. Tell us more.” He shut up Ratchet’s potential objections with a glare.

Smokescreen nodded and, after taking a deep breath, slowly started his tale. Waking up on the Nemesis. Trying to self-crash only to fail, but still managing to delete the important files (“That was very stupid by the way, Smokescreen. You’re lucky to still be alive! And I’m going to go through all your files to make sure they’re in order, understood?!). Getting ‘gifted’ by Megatron to Dreadwing as a recompense for his loyalty. Being left to hang on a wall because apparently the Decepticon couldn’t be bothered with him. And then… the itching. The heat gathering in his circuits and at the apex of his thighs. The inability to touch himself and seek relief. The confusing over what was happening to him.

And Dreadwing.

The questions about his absence of seal and his Bolt. The gentleness he kept showing when making him love, not just fragging and using him like a two-credits whore (“Language! Where did you even hear that?!”). The refusal to take Smokescreen’s Spark. The asking for his preferences. The loincloth he had fashioned for Smokescreen to wear (“I didn’t use it long because the third wave started, but it’s the thought that counted, right?”). Then the end of the Heat. Dreadwing tying him up again.

And finally, his escape.

Through all this, Optimus had moved his hand from Smokescreen’s shoulder to his back, right between the doorwings – just like Dreadwing had done, funny. Him and Ratchet traded many glances. The medic’s anger had deflated, but he was still unhappy as he coughed in the awkward silence which followed Smokescreen’s confession.

“Well… it certainly could have been worse,” he reluctantly acknowledged. Now he understood why Smokescreen didn’t want to call what had happened a rape. It technically hadn’t been, at least no more than a Heat spent in dubious company. The level of consent and the power imbalance were still highly skewed, however and he made note to have long, long talks with Smokescreen later, once he had polished his mental healthcare protocols. “You were… lucky.” Primus knew what Megatron would have done with a young mech on his first Heat…

“Indeed,” Optimus murmured, stroking Smokescreen’s back. “Dreadwing has always been an honorable mech. While I regret you had to go through this, Smokescreen, it at least warms my Spark to know Dreadwing’s sense of integrity saw you safe and that he treated you well.”

“I just don’t understand how he can be a Decepticon,” Smokescreen confessed. “He’s not like them at all.”

“There are many types of Decepticons, Smokescreen,” Optimus said gravely, “ranging from total monsters to affable and loyal mechs like Dreadwing, just like there are many types of Autobots. This war started with strong convictions on both side; Dreadwing and his departed brother Skyquake’s were aligned with the vision Megatron defended, and so they followed him and in Dreadwing’s case, still do.”

“Even with all the things the Decepticons did?” Smokescreen asked.

“Even so,” Optimus nodded. “But all mechs have a point of rupture and who knows, perhaps someday Dreadwing will hit his.”

“As fascinating as this conversation is,” Ratchet cut in, “I still need to examine you, Smokescreen. Optimus, if you would be so kind as to get out?”

“Why would you…? Oh,” Smokescreen felt like kicking himself and his cheeks burned. “You, uh, you need to check me… down there, don’t you?”

Ratchet nodded curtly. “I have to,” he explained as Optimus rose and left after promising he would ‘be back later’. He didn’t go far, however; Ratchet could still hear him walk in the hallway. “It is standard for mechs who have finished a Heat. I know it may bother you and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but I really must,” he added with sympathy.

Smokescreen just nodded. He knew that; Triage had told them all about it when they had dared to ask him a few questions on Heat. You needed to check if there was any internal damage from the amount of interfacing in such a short time and sometimes, well, you could check if the Forge was closed and at work through careful peering even before you scanned a mech.

“I trust you, Ratchet,” he said sincerely as he shifted and lied down on the slab, bending his legs at the knees and parting them open while baring his valve.

“You had checks before?” Ratchet inquired as he grabbed disinfectant and lube and cleaned then coated his fingers.

“Yeah, once. Triage all manually checked us to see what, uh, what size he needed for the Bolts,” Smokescreen replied, thinking back about those tense days. It had been weird and he hadn’t liked his valve getting poked and probed like that and it had even been worse when Triage had inserted the speculum.

Ratchet utterly stilled. “Did he, now?” he asked in a strange voice that made Smokescreen look at him in alarm. The medic looked… definitely weird. There was a light in optics Smokescreen didn’t like at all. “What did he do exactly? Do you remember?”

Smokescreen tried to remember. “Well… he called us one by one to the Medbay and had us… you know?” He made a vague gesture. “He said that since we all had different sizes and there also was different size of Bolts, he needed to make sure what would go best for each of us. We all had a manual exam, then he said he was going to prepare everything for the surgeries?”

Ratchet grabbed a scanner, looking agitated. “He didn’t manually insert them through your valve, then? He opted for surgical integration?”

Smokescreen blinked. “You can insert them through the valve?” That was new to him.

“Yes,” Ratchet replied with a clipped tone. “It’s the less invasive way, although it’s not really comfortable and some frametypes just don’t have the dilatation range necessary for the process. Yours, however, is in the right parameters. He should have at least proposed it to you.”

“Perhaps he didn’t want to bother with different methods? I mean, we were near a dozen mechs and femmes in the same age range and without a Bolt already,” Smokescreen proposed. Triage hadn’t been a very warm mech, always brisk and professional, even if he didn’t mind answering questions.

“Maybe,” Ratchet replied evenly, turning on the scanner, but he looked preoccupied. “Do you remember anything else he said or did?”

“Uh, that we should avoid interfacing for a few decacycles because the Bolts needed time to be perfectly integrated in our frames?” Smokescreen offered after a moment of reflection. “But that’s normal, right?” Or at least that’s what Smokescreen had gathered. Had Triage be mistaken or something?

Suddenly worried, Smokescreen looked up at Ratchet with wide optics. “Ratchet? Ratchet, what’s wrong?”

Ratchet didn’t answer. He was too busy staring at the scanner in his hand and at the results it gave him with growing disbelief, anger and horror.

Then he started cursing so loudly Optimus peeked his head back in with a startle and Smokescreen felt his Spark sink.

Oh, he had the feeling he wasn’t going to like it at all…

*-*-*-*-*-*

Epilogue

Dreadwing still couldn’t believe he was doing that. That he was handing one of Cybertron’s Relic to the Autobots.

That he was betraying Lord Megatron and the Cause which he had loyally served for eons. But…

“Why?” Optimus Prime asked sternly.

… They had betrayed him first, he reminded himself, gritting his dental plates.

The cortical psychic patch practiced on Starscream had been an optic-opener, and NOT in a good way. It had taken all his patience and all his will not to bodily throw himself at the Seeker and yank his head off his shoulders with his bare hands for what he had done to Skyquake.

It had been bad enough to know his brother was dead and that Autobots had killed him; that, he could rationalize if not accept. But to learn that Starscream, one of his own allies, had desecrated his brother’s body?! It made his tank churn.

Perhaps, perhaps he could have let it go if Skyquake’s reanimated form had been put to rest. Better for him to be destroyed… killed a second time… than to let his walking corpse roam around; a mockery of the proud warrior he had been in life. If Dreadwing had been able to, he would have done it himself; making sure his brother’s Spark and frame could rest in peace was the least he could have done. But Skyquake’s frame had disappeared, trapped in some sort of pocket dimension, where he remained unreachable.

Skyquake was a reanimated, shambling corpse… and Lord Megatron had let the responsible return to the fold!!!!!

Of all the possible betrayals, it was probably the worse Dreadwing could have ever felt.

He looked steadily ahead, staring in the Prime’s optics. “A shadow of disgrace has been cast upon the Decepticons.” He breathed. “It is a cause I no longer wish to be part of.” Not if it meant he had to live side to side with Starscream. Not if it meant Starscream’s atrocity was only a repeat of something Lord Megatron had done himself and had planned to do on a larger scale. Not if it meant Dreadwing himself had to condone the reanimation, the defilement of more warriors.

What had the war made of them, he pondered with distress, that the defiling of bodies had become acceptable? True, medics sometimes had to pick up parts on offlined frames to keep other patients alive, and bombs had sometimes been placed on corpses as part of booby traps, but it wasn’t… It was nothing next to the horror of reanimating a frame without Spark.

To see his twin move through Starscream’s memory, nothing like himself, a monster seeking to kill and maim and devour…

He was going to kill him, Dreadwing thought, ready to leave even as he looked over the various warriors Prime had brought with him. For some reason, they were all glaring at him in a harder way than their suspicions warranted. The one they called Arcee, Bulkhead, the silent scout Bumblebee… and Smokescreen, who had yet to say a word and was looking between him and the Prime nervously and had already lowered his weapons.

He looked well, Dreadwing noted inwardly, and he felt briefly glad for that. Seeing what could happen to their own troops…

Optimus Prime spoke and Dreadwing focused on him again. “Then I appeal to you again. Join us and help end this conflict once and for all.”

Dreadwing smiled joylessly for a moment. Was the Prime serious? “Betraying my kind is not the same as accepting yours,” he replied. For even if he was disillusioned with his own side, it didn’t mean he trusted the Autobots more all a sudden. They had energon on their hands too, even if they hadn’t sunk to the same level of atrocities as the Decepticons.

He didn’t care much anymore for either side, anyway. All Dreadwing had on his mind right now was to avenge Skyquake and take down the one who had turned him into an abomination. He wanted Starscream’s head on a pike. He wanted to sink his claws in his chest and tear out his Spark chamber. He wanted to see his broken, offline frame at his pedes. And once it happened… he would gladly accept any punition his Lord decided fit, both for Starscream’s death and for daring to give the Autobot the Forge of Solus Prime.

His life was forfeit already one way or another, he thought mirthlessly, turning away and taking a step.

“W… wait!” Smokescreen called out and Dreadwing paused, glancing over his shoulder. The young mech looked clearly distressed, which was unexpected. Was he truly so affected to see Dreadwing go? Sentimental little fool, he thought, but there was an hint of fondness in the statement.

“Smokescreen…” Optimus Prime started even as the other Autobots all talked at once.

“Kid, you can’t expect him to…”

“You don’t need…!”

“BEEEEP!”

“Smokescreen,” Optimus tried again, silencing everyone with a look. “Do you wish to talk to him?”

The Youngling shifted uneasily from pede to pede. “I… I must, Sir. He… he has to know. It concerns him too. You… you know what Ratchet said. And, well, perhaps it’d make him change his mind?”

Dreadwing harrumphed. “Whatever you want to tell me, Youngling, it won’t make me want to be an Autobot.”

Smokescreen swallowed, walking toward him despite the other members of his team trying to stop him. He shook his arm out of Bulkhead’s hand as it was nothing. “It’s not about being an Autobot. I don’t care if you decide to be one or not. Just… just don’t go just yet?” he pleaded.

So close, Dreadwing could feel the distress in his EM field and he found it puzzling. “I can’t stay. My place…”

“Your place isn’t to go and get yourself killed,” the doorwinged mech said tartly, flinching when Dreadwing glared at him. “Well, it’s true! You just handed us the Forge; Megatron won’t forgive you that and you know it! He… he’s going to kill you,” he said more quietly.

Was it the source of the Youngling’s distress? Knowing Dreadwing was almost certainly walking to his death? He never had thought he had made such an impression. “Mayhap he will, or mayhap he won’t,” the Seeker replied simply. “You shouldn’t worry for me. I can…”

Smokescreen shook his head frantically. “No, you don’t understand, I…” His shoulders slumped. “I need to tell you something… something very important.” He glanced behind him at the rest of the Autobots. Prime looked understanding and gave Smokescreen a nod and Dreadwing a pointed look, but the rest were glaring daggers at Dreadwing as if blaming him for something. Curious. Unless… had Smokescreen told them? He wouldn’t have been able to hide it from the Autobot medic and Prime would have had to be told, but the rest of them?

Either Smokescreen had talked too much or someone had been sneaking. Either way, he glared back at the Autobots. What would they have wanted him to do, let the Youngling suffer through his Heat? He would have liked to see them in such a position, see if they were still clinging to whatever high morals made them judge Dreadwing.

He gave the Youngling a stern look. “If this is about your Heat…” he started, wanting to say that he understood if Smokescreen still had mixed feelings or was confused but that it would fade in time and…

“I’m Carrying!” Smokescreen blurted out, cringing as Dreadwing utterly froze, feeling like he had just been thunderstruck. Behind the Youngling, the other Autobots grumbled unhappily and kept glaring at Dreadwing, but they weren’t surprised by the statement. They had already known, his CPU helpfully provided, and they had known who was the responsible.

“I’m sorry,” Smokescreen continued, looking distressed. “I’m really sorry, I know it’s unexpected, Pit, it was unexpected for me too, but I thought you really needed to know and…”

Dreadwing wasn’t listening. The words ‘I’m Carrying were looping in his CPU, focusing all his attention. “… How?” he finally croaked. He didn’t bother asking if he was the Sire; he already knew he was. “You told me you had a Bolt?!” he added accusatorily. Had the Autobot lied to him about that? He hadn’t been perfectly honest about his seal – well, no, he had been, just not on how he had lost it – after all. Or had there been a malfunction? Battle damages were known to mess with systems…

Smokescreen raised his arms in defense. He looked unnerved. “I did! Or at least I was supposed to,” he corrected himself bitterly, doorwings flapping briefly in anger. “Triage said he had installed it. I went to surgery and woke up and I was supposed to be set. But when Ratchet scanned me, he found no trace of a Bolt at all. And the surgery I went through…” He breathed in. “We… We have theorized that it might have been Alpha Trion’s idea. He needed a way to get the last Key out of Iacon and, well… the launch bases were already taken or destroyed and there wasn’t many alternatives. So… he needed a mobile hiding place, yeah?” He paused, clenching his fists. “If we’re right, then… Triage never installed Bolts on any of the Cadets under his care. Instead, it seems he has… enlarged a cavity in my chassis to better hide the Key without it affecting my transformation sequence. And he probably did the same to every one of us. So when the moment came, Alpha Trion just had to grab the nearest of us and…” he wiggled his fingers, laughing bitterly. “It wasn’t even because I was the most competent; I guess I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Dreadwing stared, repeated the words in his processors then once the realization sunk in, he started to swear. Loudly. And in every Cybertronian dialect he knew and could think of. Smokescreen had said many of his fellow Cadets were his age or near, which meant they were all potentially going to reach their first Heat in short order and they didn’t have any protection to stop them from getting Sparked up, when they all thought they did! It was vile and dangerous and despicable and the potential consequences were horrifying.

Smokescreen just chuckled joylessly. “Yeah, Ratchet had the same reaction. He had some very nasty words about Triage and endangering patients. I think he’s planning murder, dismembering, getting all of Triage’s patients in his care for a checkup and getting Triage expulsed from the Medical Corps, not necessarily in this order.”

“If he needs help, he only has to ask,” Dreadwing grumbled, wings twitching.

“Already offered, take a number and get in line,” Bulkhead bellowed and Dreadwing gave a nod of acknowledgement. Good to know the Autobots and him were thinking along the same lines.

He looked at Smokescreen, optics drawn to his abdomen. Their species didn’t show as much as organics and it was still far too soon for any outward sign of a Carrying cycle to manifest, but… there really was something hidden and growing in that Reproductive chamber, wasn’t there?

“Do you… do you intend to keep it?” he asked, voice strangled. The Autobot was perfectly free to request an aborting code. It would even be safer for him, considering the circumstances. He was still young and he was fighting on the same planet as Megatron, who wouldn’t sway his hand because his opponent was shielding a new life.

A Sparkling. A Sparkling he had helped make. Oh Primus…

Smokescreen shuffled. “… Yes, yes, I do,” he said quietly. “I, uh, I talked about it with Ratchet and Optimus and well, they said it was down to me, that they wouldn’t force me to anything and I… I want that Sparkling, I guess,” he finished quietly. “We’re not very numerous anymore and a Sparkling… it’s a good thing. I don’t know if I can raise it alone, though,” he looked up at Dreadwing, who balked.

“Are you asking me….?” Surely, he was mistaken; surely, the Autobot couldn’t mean he wanted Dreadwing to help him raise a Sparkling, even if it was his?

“You certainly know more than me about Sparklings and how to raise them,” Smokescreen pointed out. “And as weird as it sounds, I just know you’d be a good parent.”

“I’ve no intention of Bonding you and form a familial unit, Youngling, if that’s what you wish,” Dreadwing warned, Spark throbbing. “We’re not in a novel; mechs who shared a Heat are under no obligation to Bond and live happily ever after raising a brood of offsprings.”

“Then don’t and just stay neutral,” Smokescreen shrugged as if it was that easy. “It’s not like I want it either, you know? I know perfectly well real life isn’t like in those stories I read. You’re… You’re not the mech of my dreams,” Smokescreen swallowed, “and I don’t know how I really feel about you, but… the Sparkling is yours too and it’s only normal you’d be involved in his education. Besides…”

He paused, and the next words felt like a punch to the guts for Dreadwing.

“Ratchet thinks it’s going to be a Seeker.”

Dreadwing’s vents stalled. He was aware of the Autobots watching him curiously as he came closer to Smokescreen and despite his resolution, put a hand over his abdomen. Smokescreen let him, even leaning into his touch. “Wh… You’re sure?” he asked stupidly.

Smokescreen shrugged helplessly. “Ratchet is, at any rate. The Spark is me alone but since you were the only contributor, the, hum, the nanites inside me all carry the same type of coding and since I’m a doorwinged mech myself, the chances for wings are as high as 85%. It may not be a high-altitude type flyer like you,” he added in a rush, “but for Ratchet, they’re definitely going to have a flight-able frame.”

The Youngling swallowed. “I’ve no idea how to raise a flyer! I mean, I’m not sure how I’d raise a ground-bound Sparkling either, but what’s going to happen when their turbines and thrusters will come online and he starts flying around? I’ll never be able to grab him and keep him safe or instruct him on how to use them safely! What if he crashes and I can catch him? What if he flies head first in the walls because I can’t teach him how to slow down or turn or whatever?” He rambled, looking more and more distressed. “That Sparkling is going to need someone who can teach him all that. Someone like you.”

Smokescreen wasn’t quite finished. While Dreadwing was reeling, he added the final blow.

“Ratchet also said there might be two of them, too,” Smokescreen admitted softly, putting a hand over Dreadwing’s own and pressing it further on his abdomen.

“… What?” Dreadwing croaked – it felt like déjà vu.

“Ratchet checked me earlier; he said the coalescence of the nanites is weird, that it’s too big a mass already for that stage of development. And the lingering energy in my Spark is at too strong a level. It’s either the sign it’s going to be a pretty big Sparkling… or that the mass is going to split to form two frames. Given you, uh, are a twin, he said Twins was the most likely outcome.”

Dreadwing couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. He just stared at Smokescreen, feeling numb.

Twins. Twin Sparklings. Twin Seekers Sparklings.

Just like him and Skyquake. With a ground-bound Creator who was clearly too immature to take care of both and who not only knew it but also admitted it.

Primus, it had to be a nightmare, he thought distantly. It couldn’t be happening to him. But… it was, he realized with a jerk, shaking his head to try and clear his thoughts.

What… what he supposed to do now?

He needed to avenge Skyquake. It was his duty, both as a brother and a true, honorable warrior. Starscream needed to pay for what he had done, for the desecration of his brother. But… he couldn’t just leave and let Smokescreen alone while he Carried his Sparklings. Even if he had Sired on Cybertron before the war, he would never have left a Carrier to fend on their own. It just wasn’t done.

Skyquake would have been disgusted with him if he had. Those were his brother’s nephews or nieces in Smokescreen’s Reproduction chamber; Skyquake would have been elated – and very caustic about his brother landing himself in such a situation, he was certain.

Dreadwing hesitated. Vengeance or life?

If he died, he was going to leave a legacy behind.

If he died, he’d never have a chance to teach a new generation of Seekers about honor and the joys of flying.

He tried to imagine, briefly, two mini-him or two mini-Skyquake, peering at him with big, curious optics and his Spark faltered.

Smokescreen took a step back and caught Dreadwing’s hand, the one that had been pressed on his abdomen and was still feeling the warmth of the active systems under the plating, in his owns and looked up at him with pleading optics.

“Please?” he asked softly, gently tugging Dreadwing toward him, toward the Autobots.

And, swallowing, wondering if it was the right choice… Dreadwing let him.

There would, he decided as the Autobots lowered their weapons and welcomed him with weariness and caution, always be time to kill Starscream later.

For now, he had a most important duty to fulfill.

And he intended to do it to the fullest.

End