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Comfort Conditioning

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As soon as the door clicked closed behind Hook, Megatron closed the distance between himself and the berth.  Starscream rose to sit up and looked up at the warlord’s optics, which looked concerned, hesitant, and even… vulnerable.

Megatron pushed his lips against Starscream’s, perhaps rougher than he’d intended.  Starscream made a noise of approval and placed his servos on Megatron’s abdominal plating, seeking to explore the warlord in a way he was never permitted before.  They lost themselves for a moment in the relief that they were both alive, and that the kiss they had shared earlier was not something they had imagined.

Then Megatron then pulled back with dimmed optics and whirring fans.

Megatron’s halting servo came up to brush Starscream’s cheek and the seeker leaned into it, dimming his optics a little.  They stared at each other for a few moments, as the territory was new and untested.  A threshold had been crossed, and they knew now that there was no going back.

“I need you to understand something,” the gunformer said.  “I have desired you from the moment I met you,” he said, holding his digit to the seeker’s lips when he attempted to say something in reply.  “But you frustrated me,” he said.  “In the arena, when I was frustrated, I beat things.  In the mines, when I was frustrated, I hit the rocks harder.  When you embarrassed me with your biting intellect, superior attitude, and scathing insight, I hit you,” Megatron said. 

“I thought I had lost all chance of you,” the gunformer admitted, moving his thumb to brush across the seeker’s lips.  “I should have lost all chance.  I know that.”

Starscream’s mouthplate developed into a wry smile.  It was the same smile that Starscream gave when he knew he was right and Megatron had refused to admit it.

“What?” the warlord asked with minor annoyance. 

Starscream gave the warlord a knowing look.  “I knew you were just terrible at communicating, you aft.”

Megatron’s optics narrowed slightly at the tease.  The seeker looking up at him was relaxed, calm, and even smug.  Megatron shook his helm in confusion.

“I have kept you out of stasis for the past decacycle, delighting in your suffering because it made you need me,” Megatron said, his vocalizer hoarse.  “I had finally found a way to be close to you, but I almost lost you as a result,” he said.  Megatron’s other servo came up and held the other side of Starscream’s helm. 

“Yet now is the time you finally return my affections.  I don’t understand, Starscream.”  The warlord was towering over him, holding his helm in his servos in a way that felt both demanding and reverent.  Starscream felt his spark skip a beat.

But then he repeated the words Megatron had just said in his mind.

Starscream’s smile began to fade.  “Your… affections,” he said quietly.  “To be clear, what affections are you talking about?”

Megatron hesitated.  “I indulge you far more than anyone else in the army.  I allow you to operate in autonomy even if it means you would undermine and attempt to usurp me.  I keep you as my second-in-command-”

Starscream snorted. 

Megatron’s servos twitched with the familiar bite of fury when Starscream interrupted him.  The seeker of course had felt it, and his optics were dancing merrily at the conflict in Megatron’s processor.  The warlord exvented in a huff as he allowed his servos to drop from holding the seeker’s helm.  “Even when I was blatant with you, told you I was flirting, you were angry with me.”

“You also forced me to seek comfort from you as you have already mentioned,” Starscream rejoined, his trademark smirk back.  “I was allowed to be angry with you, and I am still allowed,” he said, delighting a little in the odd look of regret on the warlord’s faceplate.  Starscream then looked more thoughtful.  “But.  In that particular case, I thought that you knew of my… interest in you and were mocking me for it.”

Megatron appeared to process this formation slowly, his optics gliding over the plating of the seeker staring up at him.  “How could you possibly be interested in me?”

Starscream sighed.  “We’ve previously discussed my desires.  You have what I want.  Why shouldn’t I find it attractive?”

“Do you hold yourself in such little regard-”

Starscream rolled his optics, reached up to Megatron’s collar plating and pulled down gently.  Starscream still did not have his strength back, but Megatron allowed himself to be pulled down.  The seeker held his collar there, bringing Megatron’s faceplate close to his own.  “Why are you questioning me?  You said you wanted me, and I’m saying you can have me.  This does not have to be a philosophical argument.”

Megatron exvented.  “Then perhaps your processor is more damaged then we thought-”

Starscream snarled and pulled the warlord into another kiss, this time not withholding the fanged denta and bruising force he was capable of.  Megatron was lost for only a moment more before remembering how his lips and servos worked, and he enveloped the seeker’s mouth with his own. 

Starscream felt heady in the kiss as reached up to put his servos along the lines of Megatron’s jaw, pulling him closer. He smelled of salt and smoke.  Megatron was similarly tracing the transformation seams on Starscream’s chest, causing the seeker to shiver at the touch.  Starscream ran his glossa over Megatron’s lip before biting gently and pulling away.

The seeker stared at his Lord that was so lost and so unsure.  So unlike himself.  Starscream delighted in seeing him off-balance like this.  But he decided to try and help him understand more.

“I remembered what it was like for us to listen to each other,” the seeker said quietly.  “To be synchronized in our plans.  To be of the same mind.  I miss that.  I can’t promise you I will be completely subservient to you, but I will grant you respect that you deserve.  That I’ve been withholding.”

Megatron nuzzled his nose against Starscream’s cheek.  “I think I might actually believe you this time,” he said lowly, his mouth turning into a smile.  “And I will keep believing you and listening to you.”

Starscream ran his thumb against Megatron’s cheek, but then felt exhausted.  He lay back down in the berth as the warlord watched him carefully.  “How is your processor?” Megatron asked.  Then a beat.  “We should have let Hook evaluate you first.”

Starscream laughed.  “Probably.”  He ran some initial diagnostic tests, and the results were... maybe a little alarming.  His face must have betrayed his unease because Megatron also was looking at him with concern.

He did a sweep over all of his systems and then his spark almost stopped in his chest.

He couldn’t feel his wings.  His navigational array was completely offline.  His flight systems and sensors were not responding.

His claustrophobia was gone, but he would not be able to fly. 

Panic was lancing across his back where his wings should be.  He craned his neck to his side and actually hoped that they were not there but there they were.  Immobile.  Lifeless.  He could not reach them.

Starscream gave Megatron an anguished look and felt fluid well in his optics.  Megatron put a servo on the seeker’s arm.  “What’s wrong?”

Starscream was stifling a sob.  “I can’t feel my wings...” he said quietly. 

Megatron reluctantly removed his servo and stormed out of the operating room, as Starscream collapsed in on himself, silently crying.


Hook looked over the readouts from Starscream systems on a datapad, biting his thumb digit.  Scrapper too was helping sort through the mess of Starscream’s processor, but it had quickly dawned on them that this was beyond their ability.

The only one on the planet that could potentially help was Ratchet.

Hook had always had a begrudging respect for the Autobot medic.  It was with some small pangs of jealousy that Hook thought the medic likely had every piece of equipment he had ever asked for, plenty of medical supplies, and training that gave him confidence and poise in his medical bay as he fixed the Autobots from whatever happened to them.  But still, the Autobots took more from the Decepticons than gave back, so Hook didn’t always have a problem with this dichotomy.

Megatron was hovering, but it seemed his primary function right now was trying to comfort the seeker.  Again, Hook had seen some strange things in his time as the Decepticon “medic” but this… thing between them was a whole new level of odd.  And even odder was that Starscream wanted the warlord there.

Well, Hook had always suspected this was a thing, so maybe he shouldn’t be surprised.  But then… what about Soundwave?

These officers and their panels.  Primus.

Hook looked up and met Starscream’s listless optics.  “We can’t fix this,” he said finally.  There was a palpable silence in the room that followed this admission.  “While I’m intimately aware of seeker systems and repairing flight systems, this is a processor issue and I’m afraid I’ll do more harm than good.”

“Suggestions,” Megatron demanded.

Hook nodded.  “Option one, forced stasis until we can get to Shockwave who is more aware of processor connections than I, though I can’t guarantee the problems won’t compound while Starscream is unconscious.  Option two, I make a best guess based on the sleeping seekers we have, but the potential for long-term damage is high.  Option three… we get help.”

“Help?” Starscream repeated, showing the first sign of animation since Hook had come back into the room.

Hook locked optics with Megatron.  “The Autobot medic would know how to fix this.”

Starscream groaned laying his helm back, his servos coming to his faceplate.  “I’m not letting him in my processor,” the seeker said irritably.

Megatron was staring at Hook, contemplating his words.  “What is our timeline?”

Scrapper took some of the attention off of Hook.  “Starscream will rapidly decline in processing power since so much of his neural network is tied to his flight systems.  I don’t think we have more than a decacycle.”

Starscream grimaced and just crumpled in on himself.

Megatron looked to the second-in-command with a frown.  They shared a look and Megatron softened in his gaze which only made the seeker sink lower.

“Thank you Hook, I will take this under advisement,” he finally said.  Hook and Scrapper nodded and left quietly.