Over-exposure to RENT and mint cookies have lead to this. And it's, uh…weird, angsty and BW. I'm getting back to Armada right after this, I swear…((shuffles)) Dinobot/Megatron slash, with possibly a smidgen of D/R towards the end, if you tilt your head and squint.

Disclaimer: I don't own BW. (Hands up all who thought I did. What, no one? Darn.) In character? I doubt it. And I'm pretty sure they do the blue-glowy-electricity thing after less than an hour, but cannon is being fed feet-first into a shredder here anyway, so…

Don't Look Down

The light was a heartbeat.

Maximal rooms were too damned small. That had been his first conclusion upon arriving. He was taller than the average Predacon as it was, and, whilst hehad neversuffered claustrophobia, being shut in nagged at him. It was bad enough that most of the doors were so low that he had to remember to duck upon entering a room if he didn't want a well-deserved headache. But what was the point of a ceiling that he was in danger of injuring himself upon if, for some reason, he decided to jump four inches from the ground?

Like most things Maximalian, Dinobot didn't understand it.

The light was a heartbeat.

He lay in darkness watching it. It was a pinpoint of optic-red, staring at him through the layers of darkness and quiet.

He wondered what Megatron would have made of Maximal doors, and couldn't decide.

There was an electric cackle.

He listened.

Thirteen seconds later, he rolled over and slipped into recharge, forgetting the walls and the light.


Darkness again. Staring up at a too-low ceiling, surrounded by walls too close together, the light was an open pathway to salvation and an accusing finger.

Three seconds later, it went out. Then there was the electric crackle of an ancient com-link being activated, and a rich, cultured voice spoke out in the dark.

"Pick up."

He turned over to stare at it listlessly. A part of him that had been a Decepticon long before it had been a Predacon or a Maximal, considered shooting it, if only out of a practical desire to get a decent night's recharge. A part of him that was neither Maximal, Predacon nor Decepticon, voted against it.

There was a soft, half-irritated sigh.

"Come back."

When the silence remained undisturbed for another ten seconds, the private signal was cut. The light flashed on once, signaling the end of a message relayed, and then disappeared again.

For a while, he stared at nothing, neither thought nor misery crossing his face.


The next morning, he took the transmitter and threw it in a lake. Placing it in the scrap-disposal unit would have been simpler, but the thought of watching it being vaporized made him feel like screaming.

Optic-red followed him and observed his every movement with growing curiosity.


Later. Sitting outside, on top of the base, legs drawn up to his chin, staring at the horizon and not seeing anything. The sky was overcast, dull and grey and heavy. Thunder occasionally roared, but far away.

It felt like being in a box. Lightning crackled down through the cracks in the sky, looking far closer than the all-threatening thunder said it was. For once, he was off patrol. He should have been training, or loudly protesting with Optimus the point of allowing Rattrap's existence to continue. Predacon mentality felt worried by the lack of activity, and argued for going back inside and finding something to do. Preferably something that didn't involve thinking. Instead, he sat, and looked, and listened.

From back inside the base, he could hear the sounds of footsteps, movement, Optimus Primal's voice loud in argument with Rattrap. It would be warmer in there, the cold of the Winter evening subdued with generated heat. He didn't move.

If the sound of things breaking was a colour, he decided, it would be red.

He shut his optics off. Lightning should be red.

A particularly loud roar sounded from the grey sky, and he growled quietly in response, then shivered. Suddenly feeling far too exposed, he stood and went inside.


And later.

It was an old com-link. He remembered designing the pair of them himself, ensuring that very little about either betrayed its true nature. Megatron had approved, saying that such nondescript vehicles of communication would prove useful. For a while, they had. Until Megatron had made a point of designing a better pair, even less likely to be noticed or remarked upon by the Maximal authorities.

He'd carried his around his him anyway, out of some die-hard spark of rebellion, and Megatron had laughed, saying that he was as incorrigible as he was insufferable. Then they'd kissed, and the matter was swiftly forgotten.

Still. The important point was that neither Rattrap nor any of the Maximals had been able to realize what it the transmitter really was. He was safe.

Had they realized, of course, it would have been a more than adequate to incriminate him as a traitor. Rattrap, he was certain, would have leapt at the opportunity. Especially after needing half an hour in the CR chamber to avoid permanent mainframe damage.

He'd returned to the interior of the base, once again filled with the nervous-energy need to do something. Generated heat had hit him, warm and uncomforting. Idle plans to head for the control room were deterred by the appearance of the rat. The rat, whose optics were twinkling with mischief, and who's grin would have scared killer whales.

Andthe vermin hadasked him if he'd forgotten anything, and he'd growled in response, wanting nothing more than to far away from that mischievous twinkle. And then he'd chuckled, and repeated the question, and he'd snarled, "No", and he'd said that he thought maybe he had and then the transmitter had appeared from behind his back, still gleaming with lake water.

He'd become aware of moving three seconds after Rattrap slammed into the wall.

And, because his mind had flipped onto autopilot, and because he liked to believe that he was a practical creature at heart, he'd moved quickly to the corner where the transmitter had fallen. Picked it up. Checked that it was still working, even as some distant part of himself wondered whether the vermin was actually still alive. Went to his quarters and waited for Primal to knock.

He'd kept one of the transmitters with him out of habit, even after they'd escaped from Cybertron in a stolen starship. By chance, he'd had one on him when he had, at long last, lost his patience, and matters-all matters-had come to an abrupt, violent conclusion. One that hurt a little more than it should have, because it had left him feeling utterly unsurprised.

And when the world had slowed down and he'd found himself, that night, staring up at a Maximal ceiling in a too-small room, he'd reached into subspace and found it and looked at it for a while. He was a creature of habit, so he'd kept it. It was nice to have something to cling to in a world that had broken, even if it was painful to look at…

He should have just vaporized the damned thing, he thought. It occurred to him to wonder why Rattrap had plunged into freezing water just for something to annoy him about, but he didn't give the matter much thought.

Accusations and lectures echoed in his head. Primal had, predictably, not been pleased, and had inflicted upon them both a forty-minute tongue-lashing and the threat of solitary confinement-Rattrap after he was done healing and Dinobot before. Idly, the ex-Predacon wondered if Primal was really capable of making good on such a threat. He doubted it.

He remembered the rat's look of sullen resentment as insincere apologies were demanded and given. He remembered hearing one from his own lips and marveling at how far he'd fallen.

Released at last, he stood now in his quarters, staring at the wall. It was grey. There were cracks in it.

A cool, ungainly hand rose up and touched his forehead. His head felt like a pressure cooker.

He thought about the high-rising towers of Iacon, bright and burning against the sunlight. He thought of optics, and plans drawn up with murmured laughter and gleaming hope, and kisses.

He thought of lies, snapped, and ran.

Technically, both of them were confined to base. If anyone noticed him slipping passed the security cameras as only he knew how, they didn't try to stop him.

The Earth evening-air was cool and smelt lush with rain and plants he imagined Primal would know the names of. He didn't. He didn't care to.

He ran.


It was clearer out here. What clouds there had been didn't care to grace the territory of the damned.

It was late, and the sky was shifting red. Every pebble and stone in the rocky terrain glowed the colour of anger, and optics, and broken things.

When he crumbled to a halt and to his knees, he could see the Darkside glittering in the distance, still perhaps a mile away. Another quart-mile closer and they'd detect him, without doubt. This was Predacon territory, and it was stupid to be here, and it was dangerous, and Optimus Primal would have had lectures in store to raise heaven if he'd known. And he didn't care.

Drenched in the violent sunset, the outer walls of the stolen ship looked like a beacon.

His fuel-pump beat wildly, and his gasps for breath sounded choked. He found he couldn't look away. The base blazed in his eyes, ruby-red. Optics locked, separated by a terrain of rock and ash, he stared and let the silence wash over him like a wave.


After a while-how long he wasn't able to say- he heard the sound of approaching footsteps. He didn't move. Those footsteps were unique and familiar.

"Thought I'd never find you."

No response.

"What the slag're you doin' here, anyway?"

No response.

Rattrap sighed, and sat down next to him.

"Y'know", he said after a few minutes of silence had passed, "if ya didn't want me to touch it, you could've just said so."

He wouldn't have replied to Primal then, but Rattrap wasn't Primal.

"I know." It was as close to an apology as he could get.

"I mean, ya could've just said" and here his voice became a snarling, surprisingly good imitation; "'Cheese-breath, I do not want you touching that.' Tha's all ya needed to say."

"I know."

"What was that thing, anyway?"

"…Nothing important." The worst part was that it didn't even feel like a lie.

Silence sloshed back in. Neither one said 'sorry', because both were aware that lying was something best reserved for friends and lovers. Rattrap glanced up at the stars and thought about Cybertron. Dinobot stared straight ahead, and thought about arguments, and optics, and the nature of lightning. Both thought about how strange it was that what didn't surprise you could hurt so much more than what did.

Rattrap spoke without looking up from the pebbles he was busy shifting around with one finger.

"Think we shoul' go back now?"

Dinobot stared down at him for the first time. Gold paint on the side of the smaller mech's head gleamed brighter than normal, showing where he had connected with the base wall. He nodded.

"Yes. The Predacons may detect us at any moment", he replied, plainly ignoring the fact that they hadn't for the past hour.

As if to offer agreement to the decision, sapphire lines began crackling around them, over-exposure to the planet taking its toll. Both winced and transformed.

Rattrap chose not to count the number of times Dinobot looked back. They slipped back in past the security cameras as only, it turned out, the vermin knew how to as well.


Darkness again. Staring up at a too-low ceiling, surrounded by walls too close together, the light was an open pathway to salvation and an accusing finger.

Three seconds later, it went out. Then there was the electric crackle of an ancient com-link being activated, so ancient it was no longer recognized by the base's signal scanners, and slipped by them completely unnoticed. For the three hundred and sixty-fifth time since the crash, the com-link was activated.

He stared at the cracks in the ceiling and thought of kisses, and towers against the sun, and of arguments. A rich, cultured voice spoke, echoing dead memories off the walls

"Come back."

"No", he muttered, shut his optics off and rolled over.

Ten seconds later, the light went out.