Optimus tried not to be put off by Smokescreen’s fanboy nature. He wasn’t anything short of a celebrity, and he had, at a time, been used to stares and flocking admirers. But his time on Earth had been wonderful with his team, where while he was their leader, he was one of them. Just another soldier. He’d never been egotistical enough to enjoy the attention he received, it was more overwhelming than he wanted, but with Team Prime, he wasn’t a celebrity, he wasn’t a god, he was just him.
Ratchet was a wonderful part of that. His medic, and long time lover, hadn’t changed the way he treated him when he became a Prime. When he was with him, there was no pressure, no stares, no expectations. He could just be himself, for the most part. His relationship with Ratchet was kept between them for many reasons. Many out there didn’t think it was right for Optimus to be with someone that worked for him, putting it simply. He didn’t want anyone to think that Ratchet received his position as CMO because he was sleeping with his leader.
It also steered them clear of awkwardness in their small base. They had a good thing going on.
And then Smokescreen came, and suddenly, he was a celebrity again. Optimus tried hard to enjoy the young mech’s company, but it was… difficult. He always had a pair of optics staring at him. Smokescreen had taken to following him around for most of the day. When he woke up every morning, Smokescreen was at his door when he opened it, holding an energon cube for him. It was sweet, but Optimus wished he would stop. It made it harder to sneak around with Ratchet.
He was sprawled out on his back in his berth, massaging his temple, running over ways he could ease Smokescreen off in his head, when the door opened. He didn’t need to look up; only one mech would just walk into his room. The berth creaked as more weight came down on it, and Optimus smiled as Ratchet seated himself on top of him. A servo brushed his cheek.
“Poor thing,” Ratchet murmured. “So stressed.”
Optimus opened his optics and looked up at him. The medic smiled down at him, cupping his jaw. He bent down, catching his lips gently. Optimus’ arms draped around him, kissing him right back. “I had hoped you’d come.” Optimus mumbled against his mouth. “Berth is too cold without you.”
“You have a heater. You just like the opportunity to grope me.” Ratchet accused, and Optimus paused; he had been sneaking one servo down to his medic’s aft. “So what’s got you tired this time?” Ratchet straightened back up. Optimus’ arms stayed around his waist.
“Smokescreen’s exhausting.” Optimus let his helm fall back, and he stared at the ceiling. “I’ve been treated like a normal person for years, I suppose I became used to it.”
“He’ll adjust. Maybe faster if I catch him over the head with a wrench.” His medic spoke softer than he would anywhere else; he couldn’t be heard by anyone passing by. “Do you need me to bash him for you?”
A small grin ghosted over Optimus’ lips. “Don’t you dare.”
“Just a suggestion.” Ratchet waved a servo. “Try telling him off. It’s good that he respects you, but he doesn’t need to treat you like a god. Tell him that.” He slipped off of Optimus’ lap and tucked in beside him, nestling his helm against Optimus’ chest.
The Prime nodded. “I think I will.” He pressed a kiss to Ratchet’s helm. “Thank you.”
“Mm, now go to sleep, the bags under your eyes are so big you’ll trip over them.”
Waking up with Ratchet was always pleasant. The routine was to kiss and cuddle until the last minute, and Optimus always treasured every second of it. Ratchet liked to wake him up by peppering his face with kisses and hugging him tightly, and it was easily the best part of his day.
“Good morning, Old Friend,” he rasped, not opening his optics. His vocalizer was rebooting.
“Are you ever going to stop calling me that?” Ratchet was gripping his collar and tugging him close. “We’re much more than friends.”
Optimus opened his eyes and looked at him, smiling. “Perhaps I will, when you let me call you my mate.” He caught Ratchet’s lips before he could respond; not that he was going to, he was wearing a look of surprise.
“Is that a proposal?” The medic questioned when they parted.
“No. I have plans.” Optimus’ spark melted at the smile Ratchet gave him. “Dancing, flowers, a ring…”
“Optimus, you can skip all that, you know that I’ll say yes.” Ratchet pressed their foreheads together. “It’s time to get up.” He sighed when an alarm went off. Hesitantly, they parted and climbed off of the berth. Ratchet stretched, yawning. “I’ll get energon.” He made for the door.
It was too late. The door was open, and Ratchet had locked eyes with a young face. Smokescreen froze, the energon cube in his hand clattering to the ground. His mouth had dropped open. A squeak of alarm left Ratchet, and he slammed the door shut. Optimus crossed the room to him. “Wasn’t the best way to handle that,” Ratchet mumbled as Optimus opened the door again.
“U-Uh, I’m sorry,” Smokescreen was staring at his servos, where his digits were twiddling. “I didn’t think… Wow, I’m just… Sorry.” He slowly looked back up to meet Optimus’ optics. “Are you guys…”
“Come in.” Optimus said urgently, moving aside to let him into the room. He sat Smokescreen down at the edge of the berth, and stood before him, arms crossed. Ratchet slipped out to get the energon, his cheeks a pale blue.
“Sir, I didn’t mean it, but…” Smokescreen seemed embarrassed, but curious. “Is that… Allowed?”
The Prime frowned. Of course Smokescreen would be well versed in the social and political rules surrounding his role. “It isn’t advised.” He said shortly. “That is the reason we have kept it private.”
Smokescreen’s optics widened. “But… what if you got caught? What would Alpha Trion say, what would the senate-”
“Smokescreen.” Optimus interrupted. He was sure back in the day, the senate would’ve blown a fuse, but Alpha Trion had welcomed their relationship. “I understand the expectations laid out for Primes. But I assure you, my position has nothing to do with Ratchet. We have known each other for a long time, and... Are willing to take the sacrifices.” He closed his optics for a moment. “Being with him has not affected my leadership, either. The expectations surrounding Primes have been long outdated. I’ve dedicated myself to a life of selflessness, but there is one thing that I must allow myself to have.” He let his arms unfold, sighing. “Smokescreen, I don’t expect you to keep my secrets for me, but I would appreciate it if you didn’t say anything to anyone, and leave Ratchet and I alone.”
Smokescreen quickly answered, “Uh, yeah, no problem. I’m… really sorry, and I think that it’s… cool that you’re blowing off the rules.” He smiled nervously.
Ratchet entered again with two cubes. “While you’re never telling anyone about this and forgetting that it ever happened, you can start treating Optimus like a living, breathing mech.” Optimus winced at his medic’s directness. “Here, he’s not a god. He’s just one of us.”
“Sure, yeah,” the young mech nodded.
“Now get out of here. Clean up the mess you made.” There wasn’t much bite in Ratchet’s voice, and there was the ghost of a smile on his lips. Smokescreen smiled again and quickly brushed past them.
“Breathe easier, Love.” Ratchet handed him a cube, engines rumbling in affection.
Optimus took it. “I think I will.”