Warning: This fic contains SLASH, so don't read if you aren't into that. But anybody into OptimusxMegatron is welcome to come on in! This story is a sequel to Walls. It had to be done…it just had to. Armada universe, as usual.
I suggest you bring tissues. Also, e-cookies for anyone who knows what movie inspired the last scene of this story!
Under These Beltane Stars
"In this world we've created-
in this place that we live-
in the blink of an eye, babe, the darkness slips in.
Love lights the world,
unites the lovers for eternity…"
- Vanessa Williams and Brian McKnight, "Love Is"
It started as an ordinary day that would end in destiny.
"…I saw it fall. Blurr, as usual, wasn't any help…"
Optimus Prime only half-listened to Hot Shot telling him and Red Alert an amusing anecdote about his cadet years. It was Beltane today-and Beltane poured ice into the hole Megatron's death left in his life. Megatron freed his emotions. Now those emotions haunted him. His friends dragged him out on missions every Beltane to keep his mind occupied, but that only worked for so long.
Decepticon Scientists had discovered a great energon source on a distant gas giant's moon. Cybertron's population had boomed since the war ended a thousand years ago-and resources were beginning to run low. Many worlds offered their assistance by establishing trade treaties. Especially Earth-which had an abundance of energon resources. However, this newly discovered moon was huge, and its rocks met the molecular specifications for the purest conversion ever recorded. It could feed all of Cybertron for at least three million years.
The group of three-Optimus, Red Alert and Hot Shot, flew together in a small cargo vessel. It had a small cockpit, compartments with recharge berths and a cargo hold in the back. Its engines were mounted on wings under the cockpit for better maneuverability.
Hot Shot wanted to fly this mission. Optimus almost kicked him out an airlock when the eager Autobot nearly crashed into Unicron. Granted, Unicron appeared from a different direction every Beltane-but he always parked in the same place. The dark god would have shot them down if they pulled that on any other day.
Optimus let Hot Shot off with a harsh warning to NEVER do that again.
"You listening, Optimus?"
"Of course." Because he knew this story backwards and inside out, so he could always pretend to listen.
The years following Megatron's death initially brought Optimus a new sense of purpose. He never realized their love story would bring both factions together. He wanted to share it so much that he took up a teaching position in the history department. He even taught Cybertronian history on Earth for a few decades. "Professor Prime" was a title he never got used to.
Eventually, he wrote a book chronicling the entire war-all of it true-and every single person on Cybertron owned a copy. The book spread like wildfire to other worlds. Optimus' words had such power that other planets at war took heed and stopped fighting.
But to Optimus, the glory had faded. All he saw now was Megatron's absence in his life. There were so many things he never got to share with him-the success of their story being one of them. Though, in retrospect, peacetimes would have made Megatron ache the same way the war made Optimus cringe.
"…so I landed on my aft, splattered in energon. Broke my exhaust vent."
"That's nice." Optimus leaned back and chuckled at Hot Shot's story. It wasn't really that funny to him, but Hot Shot was trying hard to cheer him up. He couldn't fake amusement without his face plate, so he smiled just to be polite.
Still, it was Beltane, and he couldn't make the others understand that he wanted to lose himself in memories.
"Well," Megatron grinned and licked his left upper fang like a feline. His teeth gleamed in the eerie light of the alley. It was the sexiest thing Optimus ever saw him do in all the time he'd known him. He leaned over, nearly nose to nose, and said the five words that sealed their fate, "what are you waiting for?"
"I remember that," Red Alert groaned from his seat in the back of the shuttle. His red visor flickered in the low lighting. "You limped into my office and whined about it until I cleaned you up. Blurr took holo-photos as blackmail."
"I know…I still owe him an aft kicking."
Red Alert sighed, letting his hand slap down on the control panel.
Fingertips tapped Optimus' bottom lip, causing him to smile. He shifted his attention back to Megatron. "Ready?"
Megatron scratched his cheek and smiled, looking less like a dangerous military leader and more like someone who never fired a shot in his life. "My, my, aren't we eager?"
The yellow Autobot growled. "Whoever is tapping, stop it."
Which, of course, made Red Alert rap his fingers loudly on his metal seat. Hot Shot hated noises like that. Optimus grinned and drummed on the control panel.
"Grr…" Hot Shot covered his audio sensors, "stop it!"
Optimus and Red Alert laughed.
Another tap from somewhere. Probably Hot Shot trying to prove how annoying it was. Optimus ignored it.
"What are you hiding behind that foolish thing?"
Optimus shifted uncomfortably, "I don't look…military…without my plate."
"Don't lie. You use it to hide how you feel."
And Hot Shot and Red Alert continued their banter:
"By the way, Hot Shot, Blurr did show that hologram around."
"I didn't say I helped him. I'm just saying I saw the image. And I had to stick my fingers up your vent to repair the damage. Of course-you were offline for that part."
"You posed. You slag pile, you posed!"
Snickering, thinly veiled behind a fake grunt. "I most certainly did NOT."
Optimus was glad when their attention moved away from him. His optics lost focus as he stared at his reflection in the front window. He didn't feel so naked without his face plate anymore.
"Let me see you," said Megatron, now more insistent.
Optimus trembled and leaned down into the light. His face plate had been a wall between him and the world for millennia. It let him hide his emotions. Without it, he felt naked and exposed. Megatron would see everything.
The tears in Megatron's eyes skittered down his cheeks. The awe on his face was evident. Optimus felt cold fingers brush his cheek and trace his full lips. He made no move to stop them.
"Oh…it's-better-than I imagined…"
He gazed ahead at the asteroid field between the shuttle and the blue super giant star housing their destination. Hot Shot insisted it was faster to go through it than fly around. Optimus warned him that the asteroids were dense and moved fast, but the boy insisted he could manage. He'd tuned the collision sensors himself before they all left on this mission.
Optimus didn't think when he said the next three words. They just spilled out in a rush of emotion between kisses.
"I love you."
He still remembered how Megatron's eyes welled over when he told him he loved him. Megatron responded by calling his name. In ancient Cybertronian-equivalent to Latin on Earth-the word optimus was an extremely formal term for "my beloved". The difference between someone's name and the word was the tone in which the speaker used it. Megatron didn't just say Optimus' name. He pronounced each syllable. He'd called him his beloved. Only bond-mates called each other that.
Megatron's newly-discovered feelings ran that deep. He was smiling when he died. Smiling, happy, knowing how loved he was.
"Optimus? Cybertron to Optimus!"
He jumped, startled. "Huh? Hot Shot, did you say something?"
"Tch, yeah, but you're miles away." Hot Shot now had both hands on the control sticks. He'd shut off the autopilot and taken manual control of the vessel. "I'm just asking if you heard that noise?"
Optimus heard a click, like metal shifting under heat.
"Stop tapping, Red Alert!"
Red Alert held out both hands, his lips pressed in a tight line. "Hot Shot, it's not me. I mean it."
Then, suddenly, something flew into the front windows. It left a tiny crater behind as it passed right through the cockpit and exited inches from Red Alert's head.
Hot Shot yanked on the controls. "Slag it! Micro meteors!"
"They're too small for the sensors!" cried Red Alert. "We have to get out of this asteroid belt!"
Optimus shook himself into command mode. "Hot Shot, follow these coordinates!"
His fingers danced over the keyboard as he plotted the best course to safety. The computer calculated a zig-zag path where the larger asteroids would block the shower of micro meteors.
Hot Shot jerked the ship up over a large, jagged asteroid.
"I can do this! I'm going to clear the field!"
Another click and Optimus felt a rumble under his chair. Heat spread beneath his feet. Icy coils of terror wrapped around his chest. He was trapped in that second. Neither Hot Shot nor Red Alert knew what Optimus knew. How strange that this jumble of seconds seemed so normal, no different from the ones before-save that at this particular moment he knew his immediate fate and could do nothing about it. Everything he'd learned as a soldier screamed at him to run, to take cover and-irrationally-to escape the ship, but there wasn't even time to unbuckle his safety harness.
"Megatron…" Optimus whispered.
Then pain tore him asunder.
It's never good when Red Alert sounds scared.
Hot Shot forces calm like a good soldier. "I'm going to seal off the cockpit. Can you get him on the table?"
Optimus wonders why he isn't dead. He smells smoke and his legs are numb. His internal fuel pump lurches. He begins to heave-now he regrets all those rust sticks and low-octane energon drinks he had before heading out here.
"He's projectile vomiting!" Red Alert shouts.
Even Optimus is fascinated by how far the purple and brown mix flies out of his mouth. Like a fire hose. It still tastes just like it did going down, especially the gritty rust. Oh, that stings.
Hands pull him away from a melted panel and lift him onto his metal berth. He feels components dangling loosely out of his back. That is the moment pain slams into him like hammers pounding his sensory nodes. His systems are crashing. He vomits again all over Red Alert's chest. This time it's oil.
"Crap," Red Alert pushes a hand into Optimus' chest. "Sorry, Optimus. I can't risk off lining you. I'm going to disconnect your fuel pump so you stop vomiting. Okay?"
"Do…what you must…" he says. He just now remembers he has a mouth and a voice.
Red Alert's emergency surgery breaks even Optimus' stoic soldier's demeanor. Optimus screams. It isn't really pain…it should be, and his sensory nodes react like it's pain…but he is somehow disconnected from it. He ejects more internal fluids and screams again. Vomit, scream, vomit, scream, until finally he's emptied out and the pump is removed from his body. But how did Red Alert gain access to it so easily?
Then Optimus sees his reflection on the wall. He still has both arms, but just below his waist is jagged, melted metal. His legs are gone. Gone.
Oh…no wonder I can't feel them.
He wonders, dazedly, if his insides look as bad as his outsides. Judging by all the red lights blinking in his processors, he's right. He is glad to be numb when he sees Red Alert reaching into his torn torso to clamp his shredded coolant lines. For each bleeder he clamps, another starts somewhere else. Soon there are no clamps left and fluids continue to drip out all over the table.
"Primus, Optimus…" Red Alert places his hand on Optimus' cheek. A soothing gesture, "I'll do what I can. Are you in pain?"
Optimus shakes his head. He is still in shock and can't feel pain.
Hot Shot's body blocks the grisly view. He's burned and one arm hangs limp at his side, but he's okay. Optimus glances at Red Alert. The medic's only injury is a crack in his visor and a blackened dent in his left side.
Hot Shot breaks down. He falls on his knees by the table and Optimus feels him take his hand. "Optimus! It's my fault…I didn't listen! You said not to fly in the asteroid belt…"
"Hot Shot, shhh," Optimus tries to soothe him. Though Hot Shot is full grown now by Cybertronian standards, he'll always be young in Optimus' eyes. Optimus rubs Hot Shot's fingers with his thumb. "There was no way of knowing about those micro meteors. We're in uncharted space."
Red Alert whispers something to Hot Shot that causes the boy's face to fall. Optimus knows what he's saying because his own systems are flashing alerts.
Optimus is afraid. He doesn't know why, but he doesn't want to be alone. "Red Alert, no heroic measures."
The medic gasps, "Are you sure?"
"You'll only buy a few hours. You two need to save yourselves. So-salvage what you can from my body and use those parts to patch the remaining engine."
He sees Hot Shot place a hand over his mouth.
"This is no time to be squeamish!" Tears well in Optimus' eyes despite his commanding tone. He taps the panel on his chest and it flips open, exposing his Matrix of Leadership. Its glow reflects off Hot Shot's blue optics. Optimus grasps the Matrix and offers it up to Hot Shot. "This…belongs to you now…Shotimus Prime."
His hand fails just as the new Shotimus Prime reaches out. The boy scrambles to catch the falling Matrix. He stands again and tearfully places it in his chest. The power brings him to his knees. Light washes over his body, reformatting him into a leader. His features are more distinct, sharper, less childish. A look of open-mouthed wonder crosses his new face. The knowledge passed across the ages shines like stars in his eyes. He stands again, panting. Primus is telling him to rise.
"Now, Shotimus, I leave you in charge…Ungh!" pain cuts him off. He grimaces as he's rolled onto his back again.
Red Alert's comforting hand cups Optimus' cheek. "Optimus." He kneels where he can be seen. Being a doctor, he has to keep his emotions in check, but the struggle is obvious in his quivering lips. "It's been an honor serving you. You are an Autobot who can only be succeeded, never replaced."
"Thank you, Red Alert. I couldn't have had a better medic on my team."
Red Alert bites his lip and looks away.
Shotimus sobs. He's trying to control himself and can't. Optimus is a paternal figure to him-now he's leaving him. He has to survive on his own now. Shotimus regains control of himself. He stands up and offers a slow salute that makes Optimus want to smile.
"This isn't so bad," Optimus sighs. He keeps petting Shotimus' fingers with his thumb, "I'll see Megatron again. I've been wanting to talk to him for so long."
Shotimus squeezes his hand. "Optimus…"
Then Optimus feels colder than he's ever felt in his life. He half expects to find frost swirls appearing on his burnt armor, but he knows it's his imagination. His vision goes dark and his arms flail with convulsions. Red Alert shouts an order that Optimus doesn't understand-his ability to recognize speech has failed. He has two people with him and he still feels more alone than ever before.
It's right in his audio sensor, purring, echoing, moving through him. Arms wrap around him from behind until he feels utterly safe. He knows those arms.
"The transition is the hardest part. Your mind can't grasp the fact that it's able to exist outside a body. Blame your logic circuits for that."
"Yes," Megatron kisses his audio sensor. He is so sensual, his presence is like a fog seeping into Optimus' body.
"Why is it so dark?" he asks. It irritates him that he can't see the face of his love.
Megatron replies into the other ear, "Your central processor failed. It won't be long."
"Was it like this for you?"
"Hm, no. I felt cold like you do now. It wasn't too terrible once you put your arms around me. I felt that last kiss for hours…maybe centuries. That was some goodbye kiss, Optimus."
The back of Optimus' throat aches. How he's missed that wonderful, deep voice and those strong hands. He reaches up-how he can move he doesn't know-and his fingers contact the curve of Megatron's face. "I missed you."
"I can tell." Fingers interlock with his hand, holding it tightly. Then he feels Megatron lean over and kiss his mouth. A slow, undulating upside down kiss that makes him forget the coldness. He doesn't notice when the cold makes him go numb. Those round lips smile briefly. "Just relax, Optimus."
He relaxes with a sigh.
Suddenly, a strange tone. Optimus is ripped into bright light and confusion. He is both tiny and immense at the same time, and so incredibly light. Below him, a body, tattered and torn. Hot Shot…Shotimus…is holding its gray hand to his pale cheek, sobbing. The body's head lolls sideways and the optics slowly go dark.
And from out of sight, Red Alert's voice emerges. It is clear, perfect and shaking in sadness…why can he understand him again?
"Time of death-oh seven-twenty nine."
Optimus watches Shotimus close the panel on his body's chest. Red Alert bends and kisses his cheek. They almost shared a Beltane many centuries ago-Optimus called it off at the last minute-so it wasn't surprising that his friend would say goodbye this way. Optimus is glad Red Alert only kisses his cheek. The only person he wants kissing his mouth is Megatron. Red Alert respects that.
"Goodbye, Optimus," says Red Alert.
Shotimus wipes at his face and echoes the statement. He adds, "A moment of silence for him."
For a full moment, neither speak or move.
Red Alert bites his lip and reaches into his tool compartment. "You know what he said. Shotimus…I can do this if you don't want to watch."
The younger mech is still in shock. "No. I'll help. I can cry later."
Optimus can only stare at his body. The face is peaceful, but sad, not smiling like Megatron was. He looks around for his beloved Decepticon and can't find him anywhere.
"Not yet, Optimus." Megatron chuckles like the whole situation is amusing. "Wait for it…this is the fun part."
Optimus looks down as Red Alert and Shotimus dismantle his body. Neither is gentle and the process looks utterly barbaric. They pause at the gold Spark chamber. Then, nodding, they set it aside and go back to work. In a few minutes all that remains of Optimus' body is parts piled up according to their function.
"Okay," Red Alert clasps his hands to control their shaking, "It's enough to patch the remaining engine. We'll make it home." He looks up-unknowingly at Optimus, and whispers, "Thanks, Optimus."
"So sentimental," Megatron whispers in Optimus' ear, "Even in death you're taking care of your men."
"Consider it my last act as their commanding officer." Optimus quips. It hurts to know he'll never talk to his friends again, and he feels guilty that he didn't get to say a better goodbye.
"You've done enough, Optimus," Megatron tells him gently. "You've done enough."
He feels a pull. Darkness closes in, slowly, like tar dripping down the walls. All he feels is the touch of Megatron's lips on his cheek.
He senses the soft lips fading away. Then he begins to see things in the darkness. Zeroes and ones fly past him. First they are green, then they take on more colors. His mind is breaking down. The numbers degrade into fractal patterns on infinite zoom. He's moving through them so fast that he can't even admire the lovely colors. After a moment he experiences extreme euphoria that rivals the most intense sexual overload. He arches into it and cries out. It lasts so long, how long he doesn't know, and it tapers off a little at a time. Now he is completely relaxed.
"Dying is the ultimate orgasm, Optimus," Megatron purrs from far away. "Was it intense?"
The former Autobot leader swallows hard and doesn't reply. Dead. He's dead. What if something wrenches Megatron away? He reaches out in the stillness, terrified. He doesn't expect to be scared like this. A great unknown stretches out and presses down upon him. It is bigger than the known universe and it is everywhere, flashing at him in every spectrum.
"Don't leave me. Megatron…don't leave me…"
"Optimus," Megatron's body presses against his back, so warm and familiar. Even his smell is present, the scent of hot metal and oil. "I never did."
Optimus melts into memories.
Prime. He was a Prime now.
Two thousand years of training, schooling, studying and simulations brought him to this point. His Sparkling days were over.
Optimus gazed down at the glistening Matrix of Leadership being placed in his chest. He felt it react with his Spark, forever changing him. The transformation brought him to his knees. He barely heard the crowd around him cheering for their new leader.
"Arise, Optimus Prime," Primus whispered.
A command from Primus himself couldn't go ignored. Optimus pushed himself painfully to his feet. All of Cybertron City exploded into celebration around him. Streamers, whistles and fireworks, and it wasn't even Beltane!
He worked hard to reach this status. Scavenger, his imposing teacher, stood at his side as he approached the podium. It was purposely set up so the setting sun shone on him like a spotlight, making him glisten like the city's silver spires.
"Hello," he began a bit shyly.
"Optimus! You're a leader now!" Scavenger hissed, "Stop this coyness!"
Oh, right…Optimus cleared his vocal processor and started again, stronger. "My name is Optimus Prime. I'm taking over as leader of the Autobots. I vow to lead by example, my command will be fair and everyone under my command will be a valuable asset in the fight against the Decepticons. Are you with me?"
The crowd cheered.
He turned to Scavenger, who gave him a thumbs up.
The blast came from nowhere. Optimus landed on his back in a trench, rocks slapping against his face plate and chest. He regained his wits to a large cannon filling half his view.
"So…you are the new Prime," said a deep, silky voice. The cannon moved and a foot planted itself on his chest, pinning him. "Tell me your designation, boy."
Optimus followed the green-armored leg up to a silver torso, then up again to purple armor and a surprisingly young, unsmiling face. The sun shone behind him, glowing between the angled antennae curving upwards from the sides of his head like spires.
A Decepticon! Optimus shrieked mentally. His first fight as a Prime and he was about to get slaughtered. Shameful!
His gold optics met the piercing red ones that traced him like lasers. That was what captured him first-those optics. They were forbidden fruit glowing with danger and hunger.
"Designation!" the Decepticon said again. He was losing patience fast.
"Optimus Prime," said Optimus with more confidence than he felt.
"Optimus Prime…" repeated the Decepticon. How strange that Optimus liked hearing him say his name. He said it like it tasted delicious. "Allow me to introduce myself." Then, smirking, he put a hand to his chest and bowed mockingly. "I am Megatron, leader of the Decepticons."
Megatron? That was his enemy?
The foot pinning Optimus down moved off. He sat up, confused. Why was Megatron letting him live?
"I'm not going to kill you today, Optimus Prime." He said, yanking Optimus to his feet by his chest plates. They were nose to nose…or would be if Optimus didn't wear a mask. "I'll wait until you're a worthy opponent for that. It's more fun that way. Let's make it a game, shall we?"
"If that's how you want it-I'll play."
Megatron pinned him to the rock wall with his body and leaned forward, whispering directly into Optimus' audio sensor, "Excellent. I look forward to it. Don't disappoint me."
The sudden contact did something to Optimus. Then the voice whispered in his ear and he started to tingle all over. If he wasn't still a virgin then, he would have recognized what was about to happen next.
Megatron shoved him harder against the wall, still talking in that mind-melting low tone, "One day, Prime, we will fight. Just you and me."
He panted, wondering why his Spark chamber felt hot all of a sudden. "Why not now?"
A low chuckle, right in his ear, "You couldn't handle me right now. You didn't even see me coming." Another chuckle, even closer, "I want our fight to be glorious. Not some flash in the night. I want you to match me blow for blow. I don't want to go in knowing I'll win."
Optimus felt the tingle in his sensors become a searing pleasure. He stiffened with a muffled cry, his head slamming back against the rocks. Primus, he was experiencing his first overload at the worst possible time! He tried to put the blinding white sensation out of his mind and stared straight into Megatron's optics.
"Oh, my, that made you mad, didn't it? So mad that you're speechless. I think I like you, Optimus Prime."
"Pleasure's-all-mine," Optimus groaned, still in the throes of his secret orgasm. He almost laughed at how literally he meant it, and his foe had no idea what he just did! It took forever for the overload to taper off. Optimus tasted energon on his bottom lip-he'd bitten clean through it.
"Until that day comes…I'm just going to toy with you. It's a game. Now, do me a favor and try not to get killed. I'd be terribly disappointed if my plaything disappeared."
"Don't flatter yourself."
Megatron let go and moved away. His next action stole Optimus away forever.
"Optimus! Hey, why so glum on Beltane? Sheesh, I can see it through the mask."
Optimus winced and tried to shrink into the metal booth. He wasn't drinking anything, but he still didn't like it when people he knew saw him in the bar. "It's nothing, Red Alert."
"You forget that I've been your medic since you came online. You can't fool me."
"Fine," grumbled Optimus. He let the words come out in a rush, "I think I'm in love, and it's someone I can't have."
There. He said it.
It didn't help that Megatron was slumped over the bar thirty paces away. He'd over-energized himself into stasis. Some comedian had painted a crude sexual term regarding exhaust port penetration across his back.
Optimus couldn't stop staring at his rival's unconscious face. Two hundred years of battle allowed him to memorize that visage. He didn't want to-it just happened. Running into Megatron on the battlefield was one thing. He didn't have to think. He just fought, letting the thrill of their fight push all but his battle tactics away from his mind.
Red Alert placed a hand on Optimus' shoulder, speaking gently, "That's the hardest love of all." Then he scooted sideways and stood up. "Let's go celebrate. You and me. I'll help you forget this mystery bot for tonight."
Reluctant at first…Optimus had always hoped his first time would be with someone he loved…but Red Alert was right. He needed to forget, and over-energizing like Megatron wasn't the way to do it.
As they stepped outside, Optimus paused to watch Primus and Unicron kiss in the sky. He heard people in the bar laughing at Megatron. It made him angry.
"Red Alert-you should go on ahead to the plaza. I'm-I'm sorry…it's not that you're unattractive. I kind of lost my mood. I-forgot something…" oh, those were lame excuses and Optimus knew it.
Naturally, he saw Red Alert sag, but he nodded his head in resignation. Optimus sighed; he hated hurting his friend's feelings like that.
He marched back inside and chased the gathering crowd away from Megatron. They weren't too keen on having their little party broken up. It upset Optimus that they'd take advantage of a fallen Decepticon who couldn't defend his pride. After the bar cleared, he wiped the vulgarities off Megatron's back with the rag he found sitting on the bar. Luckily it was only water paint and easy to clean away.
"Mm…more energon…" Megatron groaned, "it's not quiet enough…"
"I think you've had enough," said Optimus. He looked over when the tall, gold bartender appeared. "Do you know where he's staying?"
"Unit six-seven-seven alpha. Right around the corner. I run the unit as well as the bar." the tender smirked, "He's been here all day."
Nodding, Optimus slipped Megatron's arm over his shoulder and stood up, bearing the Decepticon's full weight with a grunt. Megatron made an ineffective attempt to shove Optimus away. All he did was nearly send himself crashing to the floor.
"Come on," Optimus led Megatron out the door and into the night. Megatron stopped to look up at Primus and Unicron. The sight of them appeared to pain him. His eyes overflowed and his lips quivered. Then, suddenly, he wept. In front of a rundown bar, drunk and barely able to stand, Megatron sobbed like he just lost his entire world. He shoved Optimus away so hard that he fell on his backside. Stunned, Optimus sat where he fell, watching this supposed warlord stagger forward, collapse in a mud puddle and cry in the middle of the street.
"Megatron?" Optimus crawled to his side. His Spark ached for the bot-obviously he was working through something terrible. "Hey, what happened? Are you hurt?"
"Yes," came the whispered reply. He laughed and sobbed at the same time. "And nothing can repair it. Isn't that funny?"
"Yeah, ha, ha, it's funny. Come on, you're sitting in mud."
Megatron stopped crying, literally, like a switch flipped. He picked his head up and looked straight into Optimus' optics. "Oh…I know you. You're that little Prime fellow. Optimal…Optical…"
Sighing, Optimus helped Megatron up again. Mud coated him from the waist down, making him look like he spent the night in the gutter. It was truly sad…pathetic even, but Optimus didn't want to associate that word with the grand Decepticon leader. He glanced up and found Megatron staring down into his eyes. It was a look he'd never seen before and didn't know how to interpret. His optics were almost soft, a mere ember compared to blazing fire.
"You're so young," Megatron whispered.
"Two thousand." Optimus replied.
"Older than you look. You're my age." Megatron cycled a sigh and pulled himself out of Optimus' grasp. "I think I can manage from here."
Because he was genuinely concerned, Optimus followed Megatron from a distance to make sure he got into his moon base unit. His Spark ached. He almost knocked on the door, but fear forced him away. Not even Beltane could bridge the wall between them as rivals.
Then it all slips away like a dream. Optimus is in the dark again.
"That was my moment," whispers Megatron. Was he there the whole time?
"When you helped me out of the mud and looked up at me-I fell." Megatron speaks into his ear, "I fell hard."
"Mmhmm…you weren't the only one with feelings, Optimus. Like you, I just learned how to hide them behind a mask of my own. Hate can blot out anything if you feel it strongly enough. All I had to do was convince myself to hate you. It worked-most of the time."
Optimus feels hands slip around his waist and melts into them, "Why then?"
It's silent for ages. Then his answer comes softly: "You-didn't mock me. You…cared. I was your rival and you still cared about me. You could have left me in the bar with that disgusting word on my back. But you didn't. You risked yourself to protect my dignity. No one ever showed me compassion like that before. I never forgot it, Optimus."
The former Autobot leader doesn't know what to say.
"That Beltane…when you came to me as the Shadow-bot…" Megatron's voice softens. He almost sounds shy. "…I kept fantasizing that it was you."
Optimus realizes what Megatron is telling him. Their love wasn't as one-sided as he originally thought. They both hid it so well from each other. The irony of the whole situation doesn't escape Optimus. He lets his head fall in his hands and laughs. Soon he's completely overcome, guffawing so hard he has to lean on Megatron or he'll fall.
"Oh-Primus…we've been so stupid! We could have ended our fight there in the mud!"
"You're right. But I think we were both set in our ways." Megatron laughs with him, in his ear, that fantastic low-pitched chuckle that does crazy things to Optimus' circuitry. "And I-overloaded you-right when we met. Why didn't you tell me? I thought you were fuming. Did I really cause your first overload?"
"Um…" Heat spreads into Optimus' cheeks. "Yeah."
Megatron snickers, "Autobots are hopeless romantics."
A tingle leaps down Optimus' body. He can't believe he's bantering with Megatron. They're spending a moment together as friends…as lovers.
More memories flash by like shooting stars. Memories of Earth, the humans he met, the Mini-Cons, that wonderful Beltane…they build and boil and overflow until it's all a jumble that turns the darkness white.
And suddenly, Optimus is in the alley on Cyber two. He doesn't recall how he got here because he's always been standing here, waiting. For what, he doesn't know. But he remembers…everything. The love, the hate, the red eyes and the purple hands…
Distant sounds from the city reach his ears. Up in the sky, Unicron and Primus kiss passionately, their hungry hands seeking purchase on each others' bodies.
Optimus passes the bar and slips into the alley. He recognizes where he is now, and he knows exactly which way to go.
Megatron leans casually against a wall with his arms crossed. His armor is polished to a high shine. The green and purple parts glimmer like chrome. Optimus can see his own red and blue reflection on Megatron's body.
In the name of all that is holy, Megatron looks more amazing than he ever has before. There is no pain in his eyes. He doesn't seethe with self-hatred. Surrounding him now is the innocence he lost so long ago.
Megatron slowly lowers his head. Their optics meet.
Optimus is healed inside. All the pain of losing him, all the loneliness, all those tears and all those angry years are wiped away by that simple expression.
"You're late," says Megatron.
Optimus' intakes choke. He walks up to Megatron, takes his face between his hands and stares at him. His chest and throat ache for all the years…years that don't matter anymore because they're together again. He can touch, see, hold and love him.
And Megatron just looks at him with one optic ridge quirked. "Oh, for Primus' sake…" He slaps Optimus' hands away, snarling, "Optimus, you are so sentimental! It's disgusting and I demand that you stop it!"
Then he grabs Optimus' face and kisses him hard.
Optimus finds himself completely wrapped in how much Megatron missed him. He moans as his lover's smooth tongue writes their names on the roof of his mouth. Megatron pulls back, pecks his lips and holds him close. Optimus weeps on his chest. This time Megatron doesn't rebuke him for it. He's smiling, but there is no mistaking the glistening streaks on his gray cheeks.
"It's all right now," he whispers, "It's all right."
"Right being the key word," says Optimus as he regains his composure. He doesn't know why he broke down. He is just so moved by that smile. More so than any other time. He feels Megatron's hands trace the curve of his face, trailing flames in its wake. Optimus pins Megatron to the wall the way he himself was pinned when they met.
"I love you," he whispers into Megatron's audio sensor. He has no fear of saying it now. There is nothing to keep him from saying it. He will never take those three words for granted again. So he says it again to set himself free of all his walls, and he doesn't care if it's sentimental, foolish or silly. "I love you."
"Optimus," Megatron gasps. It sounds exactly like it did with his last breath. His voice trembles, both powerful and fragile with need. "Touch me, damn you. It's been far too long."
Megatron's armor is hot under Optimus' hands. He's already sparking. His eyes glow with lust and a million other emotions. He claws at Optimus' back, trying to pull him closer. Optimus' mouth is all over Megatron's throat, tasting, probing, devouring. He drops down on his knees and opens the codpiece. Megatron moans merely from seeing where this is going. His hips thrust forward and he presses his hands to the top of his head.
Optimus tastes him for the first time in centuries, and it's just like he remembers. The solder, the heat, the wiring and the metal. It almost burns his tongue. He holds onto Megatron's aft to pull him tighter against his mouth and attacks his sweet spot. Sparks tickle his lips and tongue, telling him how much his lover wants him.
"Yes!" snarls Megatron, his optics blazing. His hands grasp the back of Optimus' head. He can't even close his mouth, he's so highly aroused. It doesn't take Optimus long to bring moans from those lips. He watches Megatron arch his back as he overloads hard enough for lightning to spark off his antler-like antennae.
When it is over, Megatron sags against the wall. Optimus finds himself pulled to his feet and laid down on the nearby cargo crate. Was it always there? He doesn't care-all he knows is Megatron's lips are making their way between his legs. The first touch of his lover's tongue makes him cry out to the copulating gods in sky. He is sparking so hard it hurts. Whatever Megatron is doing down there drives Optimus insane with lust. He's holding onto Megatron's antennae, arching and grunting, his golden optics like twin suns. He feels his overload coming.
Megatron pauses. "Say my name like you did as the Shadow-bot."
Optimus teeters on the edge, barely able to see anything besides static. His body sizzles and his mind spins. "M-Megatron…unh…please…Megatron…"
Grinning, Megatron lowers his mouth and Optimus is lost in electric bliss. Centuries of sexual tension are blasted away from him by the person of his greatest desire. It feels even better than the Beltane they shared before because now there are no secrets, no lies and no deception.
He regains himself to Megatron's arms around him and the feel of his intakes cycling air against his audio sensor. Once upon a time, he held Megatron this way. Now Megatron is holding him and he couldn't be happier if he tried.
"My beloved," Megatron whispers in his audio sensor. From him that means more than a mere I love you.
Perhaps Optimus could feel happier after all.
He smiles, "Yes?"
"Bond with me. Here. Now. Fate has pulled us apart enough."
Looking up, Optimus sees dead seriousness in Megatron's red optics. It dawns on him that he can recreate the Beltane they had centuries ago-only this time without the paint and lies. He nods, cupping Megatron's cheek. "No barriers this time."
"No. This time, it's just us." Megatron sits up on his knees and holds his palms out in the traditional Bonding position. Then he smirks with an amused twinkle in his optics. "Let's be like gods tonight."
Optimus can't avoid a smile at the reference. He gets up on his knees and takes Megatron's hands, interlocking their fingers. Their Spark chambers open simultaneously and shed blue-white light. Optimus follows Megatron's gaze to the sky. Primus and Unicron are floating in exactly the same pose. The look on Megatron's face is stunning…he isn't worried, angry or in any emotional pain.
They move chest to chest. First contact is painful, it always is, but it is the last time either will ever feel pain again. At first it silent. All Optimus hears is their Sparks crackling. He frees his hands and leans fully against Megatron, cupping the back of his head. Megatron wraps one arm around Optimus' waist and uses his free hand to touch his cheek.
Megatron's memories flow into Optimus. He learns he was right about how Megatron was born except for one thing…Megatron literally came into consciousness fighting. His body was acting on its own until his Spark gave it sentience. Optimus sees it as waking up into a nightmare. Megatron's first moments were terrifying. And the Decepticon never questioned that programming until the Beltane where Optimus helped him out of the mud. From then on he was aware of being trapped in his programming with no choice but to act how he was wired to act.
Optimus looks into Megatron's eyes and feels that moment again-them standing in the mud. He sees himself looking up and something in his circuits snaps to life. It is an emotion so powerful it staggers him, but he doesn't know how to respond to it. So he buries it behind walls of hate that last millions of years.
And this, Megatron says through their forming link, is my love for you.
Then he overloads, slowly, pressing tight against Optimus for support. The light he gives off is blue-white, piercing, and it cuts through the darkness.
Overcome, Optimus leans forward and softly kisses him. He takes the love he's feeling and returns his own. His Spark merges completely with Megatron's in the same instant Primus and Unicron complete their joining. He loses himself in the pleasure, the roiling, endless swirl of the past and the future and all of time.
"Optimus," Megatron whispers, his optics burning with that passionate look from ages ago, "I vow my Spark to you under these Beltane stars."
"In the sight of Unicron and Primus," Optimus leans forward, pecks his beloved's mouth and smiles, letting their foreheads touch, "we are one."
Now all walls are blasted away. Obliterated completely in a blinding flash. Mixed within are shadows of the past-barely remembered pain and hatred that dissolve like evaporating clouds.
Optimus does not notice his body fading, nor does he sense the alley disappearing.
"I love you," Optimus whispers, and Megatron mouths the words back to him. Then their lips meet and the holy glow finally consumes them. The light contracts to a pinpoint and explodes.
Slowly, Primus and Unicron reach down and draw the wayward Spark to eye level. They hold it between their hands, studying it. The Spark stays bright for several seconds, then dims to a more normal level.
"What happened?" Unicron asks, squinting at the Spark. A reflection of it dances through the dark god's red eyes as it floats like a firefly near his face. "Explain this. Did you do it?"
"I didn't make that one. Optimus Prime and Megatron…they did this."
The annoyance fades from Unicron's hard features. "You mean they-"
"Yes." Primus cradles the Spark in his palms, smiles and looks up, his eyes full of tears. "Their love gave birth."
Somewhere in a dark void, a voice whispers:
The reply doesn't come for billions of years. Time enough for stars and galaxies to form in the blackness. The light caresses the dark, wrapping around it and holding it close. To them, the space between the first voice and the second is one Spark-beat, for they are still and forever one.