|The World's Translated Thus
Author: Abyssal1 PM
Optimus / Starscream AU. - COMPLETE -. Inexplicably drawn to their not-quite-prisoner Starscream, Prime must overcome the limitations of his culture and his past before he can save a dying planet. HARD M - Mature Only. TW - ALLRated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - Optimus Prime & Starscream - Chapters: 44 - Words: 211,507 - Reviews: 131 - Favs: 183 - Follows: 58 - Updated: 05-28-09 - Published: 06-07-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4306479
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
WARNINGS: THIS STORY IS FOR MATURE READERS ONLY. NON-CON, DUB-CON, LANGUAGE, ANGST , VIOLENCE
THE WORLD'S TRANSLATED THUS
In the end it was Prowl who told him, after all the others could not, and Prowl hadn't even said it, only whispered it, and then only in High Autobot, that ancient language of poets and thieves and traitors' confessions.
"Prime, you have to kill him. Take him to the listening station. He won't suspect anything. No-one will see."
No, but they were all expecting something to be done. All of them, from the Autobot soldiers who had come to Earth during the strange fork in their war that had brought them so far, to the ones left behind on Cybertron, trying to rebuild their shattered civilization. All of them.
If Prime was quiet, if he patched into the deepest levels of communication afforded to him as a Cybertronian and a leader among his people, he could even feel the concerns, the constant murmuring through the electromagnetic aether. Something was brewing among the ranks, something approaching mutiny. Not spoken aloud, but certainly there, transferred through hurried glances and brief sparksexual alliances.
More often now, a word percolated to the surface from the cyber-psychic undertow. Sometimes it was change and Decepticon, and other times Prime and compromised.
Nobody tried to hide their suspicions now. That fear. That realization. That there was a conspiracy in the making and Starscream was at the centre of it all.
At first, Prime had almost cuffed Prowl for speaking such an unthinkable thing. The emotion of anger, so alien and organic in his machine-body, had rocked him.
"I won't kill him, Prowl, he's too important to us."
"To us? To you Prime."
Prowl had left Prime alone.
And he was alone, because he'd given himself over to Starscream, come to rely on him for too much. The others might have understood raw physical gratification. They might have forgiven Prime that, especially when they could read in the landscape of Prime's battle-scarred body a lifetime of restraint.
They would not forgive what came after.
Prime stalked the Ark halls like something lost, pretending to inspect his troops and his equipment, but really searching for him. But Prime could not find him, and perhaps he did not want to be found.
Night came, bringing with it the atavistic pain of circadian rhythm. Prime lay on his berth and waited for Starscream to come, and Starscream did not come, and Teletraan One whispered in her Teflon voice, he is with Perceptor tonight.
"What are they speaking of?" asked Prime, wondering why the his chest burnt so. Why his metaskeleton seemed too small for him. Why his joints ached as if they'd been stretched beyond their safe working limits.
I cannot say for certain, as Perceptor has initiated a silence command upon his quarters, the computer murmured, but I decoded three bars of a song: mY cIrcuiT bEars yOuR nAmE . I believe it is an old Autobot sparkbonding routine traditionally sung before two individuals initiate spark..."Stop," Prime said, "stop."
The second time Prowl asked for an audience, he brought more evidence, more witnesses. Prime had not recharged since Prowl's last visit, worn out by the thought of Perceptor and Starscream together. He was injured somewhere, in some profound and important place, but no diagnostic routine could tell him where or what, or how he could heal.
Perhaps there was no healing possible.
Mirage was there, Autobot-blue eyes white-hot with indignation. Wheeljack too, bringing up the rear, looking as if he would rather have been on the other side of the galaxy than here in Prime's quarters, bringing the hard facts of Prime's miscalculation, the proof of his weakness.
He wanted them to leave. He needed to think. He couldn't think with all of them watching, him wanting him to make a decision. Prowl would not let him be.
"Prime, you must see reason. He came here as a prisoner. He allowed himself to be captured. Why is it since he came there has been a cessation of Decepticon activities on Earth since he came? What are they waiting for?"
Prime turned away, tried to affect an air of thought and contemplation. All he could process was the ache that went deeper than the mechanics of his metaskeleton and immersed into his protomass, the nanoparticular plasma-flesh bridging organic and machine.
This is what it feels like to be betrayed."He has seduced you," continued Prowl, "and Primus knows who else..."
The wall creaked as it took Prime's weight.
"...and this campaign of his has brought him secrets no Decepticon should know. He will destroy us."
The wall seemed insubstantial. Perhaps he would fall apart into constituent atoms, pass through it. Perhaps...
"The proof is flimsy, Prowl. I cannot accept it."
But campaigns had been fought on less evidence. What Prowl had brought was shattering, the recorded whispers in Plaintalk Decepticon of a planned takeover, a plot that could go well beyond cajoling words in the night. Starscream had always been a Decepticon. The Autobots had never conquered that cruel and brutal race, never managed to truly erase them. Even with Megatron gone they had survived, massed under their shadow-leader, Megatron's Second.
Prime grimaced, as he remembered a stolen conversation, him saying "Why did Megatron never do away with you outright, Star? You must have represented a terrible threat to him." and Starscream replying casually how Megatron found him useful, he supposed, and needed to keep him close.
So many levels of meaning. All of them false, all of them true.
"Play the recording again, Wheeljack."
Prowl stared at Prime, willing him to make a decision. Starscream's translated voice was little more than metal under strain.
..I don't love Optimus Prime...I much prefer you......and Perceptor (Perceptor!)their traitor speaking back in the same terrible code,
I will see that fool Xaaron and all of them eat their words when they see me as their leader...
...I shall conquer Prime, he shall kneel before me...what is his will be mine...
I will help you, because I love you...we will find supporters. There are those who will align with you, for there are those who have wanted a change. They have admired your strength above all others, if we win their alliance, they will challenge the Elders...you will be victorious...Wheeljack apologized at each static laced, pilfered sound-clip, saying, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry Optimus," and Prime sat as still as a stone. The eavesdropped recordings built up a web of lies, breathtaking in their ingenuity. Their prisoner, who had become Prime's lover, was at this very moment plotting a takeover with Perceptor and Primus knew who else.
"Is Perceptor lost to us?" asked Mirage.
Prowl shook his head. "I don't know. We'll see what decision Prime makes."
He couldn't decide. He was crippled by a memory of a violent pleasure so intense that it was almost profane. So wrong to use another mech's body to generate such feelings, but Prime had been greedy and defenceless, gorging on sensation after a lifetime of confinement and Starscream had said such things to him...
You don't have to be what they say you are. You're more than a Matrix Bearer. You can escape this...All lies.
Prowl kept to his argument. "What have you shared with him? How have you put us all at risk? The Elders back on Cybertron are already debating the possibility of passing the Matrix to another or even..." He could barely speak. "Even taking it away altogether."
Prime turned on his Second, his vocal processors grinding like gears worn down to metal. "I never had sparksex with him, Prowl!"
Sparksex.There. The word was out in the open. He'd used the organic term, made something beautiful, offensive. Silence followed.
Prime let out a grunt of disgust that was more self-loathing than anything else. He had been rendered defenceless by Starscream's presence. He had forgotten that he was a Prime and had pleaded, (begged!) like a spark-child in the first throes of sentience to be allowed access to Starscream's spark. Starscream never allowed Prime that closeness. Not that and yet, he had eagerly opened his armour and let Prime nuzzle the delicate rills and tissues of his protoflesh. Such a strange contradiction.
At the time Prime had deluded himself. Sparksex's not part of Decepticon culture, he'd said to himself. It can hurt, the first time. Starscream just needs to be introduced into the act gently.
Wheeljack's recordings told him more about Starscream's motives than anything else could.
I don't love Optimus Prime...
"Prime..." murmured Wheeljack, in that sad voice of his.
However Mirage managed to do it was a mystery, but he still managed to look respectful and repulsed at once.
Memory-cores kept venting painful images, of Prime stroking the golden swell of a cockpit, the red curve of ramjet openings, Prime insistent, open for me, open for me, please just let me look. If Prime was patient, if Starscream was relaxed enough, his enemy-lover might fold back the armour of his chest and reveal the crimson penumbra of a Decepticon spark, peeking through like the sun on eclipse...
...exotic and terrible, and Prime's spark would hammer and expand at the proximity of a twin energy source so close to his own. Trembling on the furthest edge of control, Prime would try to bring his own spark close, try to whisper away the rust-hued fear in Starscream's optics - fear that you would find out the truth, perhaps, Optimus? Not to touch, but just enough so flashes of information might arc between them. Long drives out across Earth-horizons with the sky like a bowl of blue-black and stars, or sunsets the colour of Starscream's optics, conversations with friends on long disappeared Cybertronian Art, from the circuit patterns of Gilgamech or the vocal harmonies of the Triodiad.
That time had passed now. Starscream had grown tired of their liaison, had gone to Perceptor to gather better intel. He had given Prime a glimpse of some unspeakably wondrous thing, and taken it away.
An unbidden, blasphemous thought: There were times when I was with you, all you had to do was speak it, and I would have laid down my Leadership for you.Prime gasped at the thought. He was vulnerable beyond measure. Now everyone knew.
A firm hand rested on his shoulder. Prowl spoke with a strange, empathetic gentleness. "Will you do what is right? Will you regain the trust of your soldiers, the citizens?"
There was no other choice. He had to recover what he'd lost. Consider Starscream a lesson then, in what could happen if one was not careful. Prime began to shut down his emotion circuits, one by one, so a dead feeling came over him, a numbness, he became less sentient than automated.
"I'll do it," he said. "But give me time. He'll suspect anything out of the ordinary."
Everything became dimmer, then. Colours bled into grey. Edges became hard and sharp.
"And your alliance? Your promise in spark-bond? The Elders need to know your decision."
Prime turned to Mirage. The smaller Autobot was a favourite of the Elders, a Cybertronian Alpha, a mech who could trace his creation line back to Primus and the All-Spark itself. Mirage had waited for this a long time. He had won many people into his coalition, had petitioned the Elders and Senators hard for the privilege of taking Prime's sparkbond promise.
The history of the Prime Consort was stained with massblood and shame. Perhaps under an Alpha Prime descendant, it would be rescued.
"I choose you, Mirage. You and I will be bonded in accordance with Cybertron law."
Mirage bent his head, solemn, but his optics glowed a fierce radium blue. The cyberemones of his victory were so strong they seemed rancid, so obvious a battle he had fought to get to this place. He had faced off stronger, more decorated Autobots to win the right to take Prime to sparkbond. Now, before witnesses, he had achieved his ultimate success.
Sparkbonded to a Prime, he would almost be a Prime himself.