Title: Payback's a Glitch

Author: SBX

Series: The "There Is" Series

Characters: Barricade, Frenzy, mention of Megatron, Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Ratchet, Goldbug, and Bumblebee

Pairings: None

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: strong Cybertronian swearing

Disclaimer: No character used in this story belongs to me.

Summary: Frenzy needs to start making an effort to not piss Barricade off.

A/N: This is the last of the prompt fics until chapter five of CCL is finished, which I've already started. With any luck, it'll be finished by Sunday at the latest. Until then, enjoy this glimpse into the beginning of Barricade and Frenzy's very complicated relationship. :D Oh, and the prompt was Frenzy/Barricade/grudge.

It shouldn't have been so easy for the runt to get under his plating, but ever since Frenzy's utterly disgusting suggestion that the twins were kept as pets, Barricade hadn't been able to stand the little mech.

And the little slagger, sensing this, seemed to go out of his way to agitate the problem further whenever he visited the Capitol to check on Goldbug and Bumblebee. It started out small at first. Insults, teasing, goading. Nothing he couldn't handle. Vorns of dealing with Younglings had taught him to be patient with immaturity of that caliber. Pranks on the other hand…

Pranks are designed to humiliate for the enjoyment of others. Some see pranks as mostly harmless, but Barricade has seen more than enough younglings traumatized for many vorns, some whose self-confidence was shattered for life, just because of one thoughtless, heartless prank. He didn't tolerate them at all. Anybody caught pulling a prank in the youngling centers were put in solitary, sometimes for orns.

And of course Frenzy, being the smart fragger that he was, managed to find out about this little fact and used it to his advantage. Nothing made Barricade lose his temper faster than a prank; especially one played on one of his younglings. It was a perfect way to get back at him for the beating he had given the minibot.

When Bumblebee's favorite toy, a soft toy resembling an alien quadruped, had mysteriously disappeared, the adults chalked it up to misplacement and it would turn up within an orn or so. It did turn up, but the circumstances had left Bumblebee in hysterics for joors. The little youngling found the toy hanging from the ceiling in his and Goldbug's shared room by a cord around its neck. The implications of this act were not lost on anyone.

Every one of the twins' caretakers were furious, though only Megatron and Ironhide were vocal about it. Optimus Prime started a discreet investigation, but was waylaid by Barricade, who had recognized the act for what it was. "I've seen this before in the centers. It's a prank designed to induce fear, not a true threat of violence. Let me handle it," he advised. And reluctantly, they did.

After joors of tracking the Pit-fragged minibot, Barricade finally managed to pin Frenzy down. Literally. Frenzy shrieked and chattered in indignation before the larger mech bellowed, "Silence!"

And silent he was, cowering before the usually calm and composed security director. Finally having the minibot's full attention, Barricade spoke in a calm quiet voice that was in a way more menacing than any shout.

"We seem to have a problem here, Frenzy. You don't like me and I don't like you. No, don't interrupt," he snapped the last part out sharply as Frenzy made a sound of protest. "You seem intent on expressing this dislike very openly, and I don't care about that so long as it's only focused on me. You can do whatever you want to me, but if you ever, ever target any of my younglings again, not even Ratchet will be able to put you together again. Do we understand each other?"

Frenzy nodded fervently. Barricade gazed at the minibot, searching his face for any sign of a lie. Finding no obvious deception, the security director dropped his personal plague unceremoniously and stalked off down the hall without another word.

Frenzy stared after the larger mech long after he had disappeared around a corner. Finally, he murmured to himself, "But I do like you."