Megatron knew the others thought he was crazy for keeping Starscream around. He was obnoxious, arrogant, loud, conniving and disloyal. If there was ever an un-popularity contest, Starscream would win it.

But to Megatron, he was just about perfect.

Megatron was aware of just how demanding his standards were, and how few could meet them. In fact, only one ever had. Everyone else fell short, or broke down under the pressure.

But not Starscream. Despite all the accusation, the punishments, the stress, Starscream stayed Starscream. He was the prefect match to Megatron. He was fiery and cold, arrogant and unsure, everything the Lord Commander could need in a second – in a partner.

One moment Megatron would be reveling in the challenge and sheer nerve of him, and the next, relishing the sight of his arrogant second shivering on his knees. He was passionate when Megatron was cautious and calm when Megatron raged. A sharp sarcastic comment had shown Megatron where his plans were weakest many a time, even as a stinging strike told him when he dropped his guard. Starscream forced him to be alert, to stay sharp and to think fast. He needed that.

And when things went bad, the Air Commander was a convenient scapegoat and punching bag.

Disloyal – heh. Anyone who took the abuse Starscream did on a regular basis and stayed so steadfastly by his side was more than merely loyal.

Starscream was abrasive and rough and insane and sensual and so dam beautiful

He was everything Megatron needed.

Starscream glided into the command center, his wings glowing like fire in the dim lights, and a sour expression on his face.

He looked like a fiery spirit of vengeance, Megatron thought, watching his second stalk across the floor through slit optics.

Of course, the illusion was shattered soon as Starscream opened his mouth.

"What kind of idiot are you, oh mighty Leader?" Starscream grated out, his voice a choked, grating snarl far out of keeping with his elegant frame. It sounds like someone is stabbing him in the throat, Megatron mused. Of course, that was almost the truth – Starscream had lost his light, lilting tenor to a piece of shrapnel that had nearly taken his life in addition to his voice.

Such a waste that would have been, Megatron though fondly. Outwardly, he was glaring down at his subordinate with disdain. "What are you going on about now, Starscream?"

Megatron watched Starscream as he ranted, pacing and gesturing in quick fluid movements. Everything he did was like that – he even flew like it, all speed and finesse, where Megatron was strength and brute force.

He kept his face impassive as he listened with a half an audio, refusing to let his thoughts show.

As much as he hated to admit it, Starscream had some good points. After all, he hadn't promoted Starscream purely for his good looks, despite the general opinion among the troops. The Air Commander had a natural grasp of strategy concerning anything with wings. He was brilliant in the air and in a command center.

Megatron would never admit that to him, though.

"Convince me," he said when Starscream finally ran out of derogatory terms to apply to his commander's planning skills. Megatron leaned back in his chair and waited.

Starscream stood stock still, seeming to just now realize they were alone on the command deck.

Then he smirked and strode up to Megatron without a hint of hesitation. He placed a hand on either arm rest, leaning over Megatron until they were almost touching.

"And how exactly would you have me do that?" Starscream asked in a horse whisper. Megatron suppressed a shiver.

"I'm sure you'll think of something," Megatron replied, his voice surprisingly steady.

Starscream leaned forward with a smirk and proceeded to demonstrate the other reason Megatron kept him around…