You readers have some Dinobots now. And mentions of Spider Lady.

Grimlock had experienced very little in the waking world, especially in the way of emotion. Because of the circumstances of his birth, he was essentially a very young sparkling wrapped up in a very big body. Indeed, although he and the other Dinobots were fast learners—as they had to be, for they were mostly creatures of raw instinct and survival—Grimlock's behavior most often resembled an upset child throwing a temper tantrum. Sometimes Snarl, who followed in his leader's every tribal step, got wrapped up in these tantrums himself, and he and Grimlock would rage across the island together, throwing fire to the sky and roaring their heads off.

Swoop seemed to approach the situations a little more responsibly, and often ended up being the one slapping Grimlock and Snarl on their wrists and reining in control. He was as young as the rest of them, but more than both, appeared to take on a paternal sort of role. In the case of Grimlock, this also doubled as the role of a lover.

So it came as no surprise that two things happened upon Blackarachnia's arrival: Grimlock's first crush, and Swoop's inevitable jealousy.

In the shadow of things, this caused several complications. For one, although Grimlock came to care for Swoop very much, he had a fascination with new things and an attention span that fluctuated on occasion. Blackarachnia was very new, and besides that, very pretty. Grimlock was instantly smitten with her, and so were Swoop and Snarl, swept up in their leader's charisma for the lost half-organic femme. They found her exotic and enticing. It burned and froze their circuits when she "kissed" them, but she always smiled at them and praised them with a cool, purring voice, and she stroked Swoop's crest frequently, and Swoop loved that.

But whenever Blackarachnia imposed on Grimlock, Swoop got territorial and grew conflicted. He allowed the game to go on for as long as he dared, even when Grimlock steadily paid less and less attention to him, devoting himself almost completely to the Spider Lady, because he saw how happy her presence made Grimlock. His Grimlock's happiness was important to Swoop.

It was after the Spider Lady's disappearance that Grimlock's behavior became a problem.

The smitten mech had never experienced emotions like sadness or spark-break until after Blackarachnia left. Grimlock treated her like a Goddess and worshipped her so completely that her leaving the island devastated him, and he tore up the edges of their territory again—not in anger, but in sorrow. Afterwards, he retreated for periods of time into a separate cave all by himself, and he isolated himself from Snarl and Swoop, getting vicious or just generally down-sparked whenever they approached...pining for his Goddess's return all the while.

Snarl, having no leader, couldn't really find his place. He just slept or stared at Grimlock, hoping he'd come to his senses and do something; but the spark-broken T-Rex didn't show signs of improvement. So Snarl idly whittled his life away, practically. Sometimes, he grew frustrated enough to do something destructive, but the enthusiasm died off quickly, due to the Triceratops' rather short attention span and the fact that doing it alone was a lot less fun.

Grimlock paid no attention to the surrounding world anymore. He lay late one evening on the lip of the island's crater, where he could catch a glimpse of the shore where they found the beautiful Spider Lady, sort of hoping she'll get washed ashore again. She was such a wonderful thing, so pretty and so...painful, with those stingers, but so hot. She made Grimlock's insides burn just with a look, a swing of her hips, and the Dinobot leader howled from the pain of the loss.

Mid-cry, Grimlock was interrupted by a familiar sonic screech. Swoop descended gracefully from the skies, with the usual flaunting of his flight capabilities, and transformed fluidly in the air to land beside Grimlock in robot mode. His optics were a bit narrowed, his jaw tightened. He looked hurt; upset.

"What you Swoop want?" Grimlock growled, irritated. "Leave me Grimlock alone and play with stupid Snarl!" He let his head fall back to the ground with a loud thud.

Swoop's faceplates contorted in a deep sneer and a testy hiss steamed out of his vocals, a sound that was alien to him because he had never been so livid as to use it up until now. He had his ball and chain in hand because Grimlock was a fair bit larger and stronger than him; Swoop didn't look forward to using it, he only had the feeling that it might be a good idea to have it on hand.

That being said, his voice trembled with a low subsonic pitch that made the ground shiver under Grimlock's feet. "Me Swoop want you Grimlock stop acting like sparkling," he growled. "You Grimlock stupid one. You Grimlock think Spider Lady only one that matter. Forget about Swoop and Snarl. That hurt both!"

Grimlock's answering roar actually started a small landslide, rattling the brightly colored Autobot ship wedged tightly into the cliff's side.

"Me Grimlock no sparkling!" The T-rex bellowed. "Me Grimlock loved Spider Lady! Now Spider Lady gone, me Grimlock's chest hurts! Me Grimlock want Spider Lady back!" He sniffed. Of course nothing else mattered! He felt so heavy now that the beautiful dark goddess felt pointless to do anything when he couldn't hear that purring voce again and marvel at the curved frame.

Swoop balanced himself marvelously as the landslide threatened to take his slighter body, and at first opportunity, dropped to a crouch and swung his ball and chain. The chain wrapped around Grimlock's lower leg and the chains made dents in the great warrior's armor, locking it there. Swoop gave a sharp jerk to take Grimlock off his feet. It worked; the large Dinobot lost his balance and fell on his aft with a cry, visor starting to blaze—his mourning was interrupted, and he didn't like that. He lashed out with his clawed hand to discipline the flier.

Swoop narrowly dodged most of the swing's weight, although Grimlock's claws did skim sharply along the top of one shoulder, which hurt quite a bit. But he didn't relent. He pulled on the chain as he climbed up onto Grimlock's fallen body, subsonic sneers and hisses ringing in the T-Rex's audios. He reached for one black crevice in Grimlock's shoulder and filched it with his claws, scraping along circuitry and armor seaming, just enough to teeter on that edge between pain and pleasure.

"Did Spider Lady love Grimlock like Swoop love Grimlock?" hissed Swoop in a demanding voice. He twitched his fingers on point. "Did Spider Lady love Grimlock back? Or did Spider Lady use you Grimlock to get what she Spider Lady wanted?" Swoop had played along, but he wasn't that stupid. It took him all of a couple of days to realize that Blackarachnia had ulterior motives; especially when she pleaded and praised them into saving the human that had hurt them in the first place. He hadn't liked the idea at all, and it was in fact when his suspicions had begun to take root; but he'd been blinded by her beauty and her delicate touch upon his crest, and had let the game run far too long.

"But me Grimlock love her!" the T-rex squirmed, trying to dislodge Swoop from him; he didn't like that strange feeling in his shoulder. Besides...when he thought about it, the flier was right. The beautiful Spider Lady was mean; she hurt them, used them, made them put up with the disgusting human creature again; she cuddled the big red car robot and then vanished. But still, Grimlock couldn't care less. All he knew was that he was hurting and wishing she'd come back, despite all the reasons he should have been angry with her. He couldn't be angry.

At this Swoop's touch gradually lessened a bit; hurt swept through his face and his optics flickered sadly. He let go of the ball and chain a bit, leaning in close to Grimlock's face.

"You Grimlock love Spider Lady...more than you Grimlock love me Swoop...?"

That got a reaction. Grimlock stilled, visor flickering. He...hadn't thought about that. How much did he love the Spider Lady, and how much did he love Swoop? Was there a difference between love and love?

Now that he actually thought about it, there was. He loved sunbathing lazily on warm days, but when it rained, he loved to curl up against his comrades. He loved Snarl more than sunbathing. And he loved Swoop even more. It was a warm feeling. Loving the Spider Lady...that was burning. He wanted her attention all the time; he yearned for her touches so much it hurt. With Swoop, it was different. Swoop was always there and Grimlock never needed to ask for anything; or at least the flier didn't need much coaxing.

"Me Grimlock not know," he blurted out finally. "Me Grimlock love Spider Lady. Me Grimlock also love you Swoop. Me Grimlock not sure of difference."

Swoop eased a little more. But he didn't take his claws away from Grimlock's shoulder, continuing to pet and stroke the circuitry and armor at his whim. His voice lowered to a slow purr. "How Spider Lady make you Grimlock feel? How Swoop make you Grimlock feel?" He pointedly drew his claws over Grimlock's shoulder to one of the spikes on his back. "What different when Spider Lady or me Swoop touch you?"

"You Swoop touch me Grimlock more," the leader grumbled. The Dinobots didn't learn how to lie. "You Swoop's touch not hurt. You Swoop come to me Grimlock and just touch and make feel good and overload. Spider Lady's touch burned and froze but...still was good. Me Grimlock not understand."

Swoop cooed a soft trill and ran his claws in light strokes over Grimlock's shoulders and back spikes, over his chest and the deep concaves of armor curved over his broad shoulders beside his head on either side.

"Me Swoop have thought," he murmured. "Me Swoop think Spider Lady put bad stuff in system. She Spider Lady give kiss—bad stuff go in. Bad stuff feel good and make us Dinobots like Spider Lady. Make us Dinobots feel things we not always feel."

"Mmmm..." It was getting hard to think. The flier's slender claws were touching all the right spots and Grimlock hadn't had a good overload ever since the pretty dark creature came to them. " Swoop could be right...but how make bad stuff go away?" If it did go away, would it stop hurting? That was all he wanted.

Swoop shrugged. "Maybe bad stuff never go away. Maybe bad stuff go away by itself." He nuzzled Grimlock's chest and squeezed his back spikes, crooning into his armor. "Me Swoop think all you Grimlock need is reminder."

"You Swoop remind me Grimlock?" The big, powerful leader asked quietly, wrapping his large arms around the flier's slender frame, hesitantly brushing his own claws against the gracefully arching crest. He wanted things to be like before, before the pain...when there were no cold nights.

There was a low noise as Grimlock stroked the Pterosaur's crest and sound purred against the larger 'bot's armor. Swoop pushed his head up to nuzzle Grimlock's hand and scraped his claws over the crevices of armor hooked over the other's shoulders, crowing affectionately. " Swoop remind you Grimlock...remind warm nights and good overloads. Make bad stuff stop hurting."

The promise made Grimlock whine, and his free hand attacked the delicate wings with much enthusiasm, thus encouraging the flier to do more, touch more. Fire killed things and made the car-bots go away quickly...perhaps it'd indeed make the bad stuff go away, the fire of the overload, burning his insides. And besides...yes, the Spider Lady was pretty, but, on a certain way, so was Swoop. Not as curved or delicate, but his firm armor and angled frame made him look like a warrior, and Grimlock liked that.

Upon the more frequent firm caresses to his wings, Swoop gave another low croon and offlined his optics to favor a shudder, drawing his claws and hands out over every sensitive surface on Grimlock's armor. He knew by now exactly where to touch, how to touch—Swoop could make the mighty warrior beneath him a melted pile of oil and energon with a few scrapes and a skim of his claws. He would remind Grimlock of this. He would make him remember that the Spider Lady was not the only one who could make him feel good—and that Swoop could do it better, even. Anything that it would take to bring his Grimlock back from the poison clutches that had recently detached him from the pack. Their tribe was nothing without Grimlock, and Swoop was lonely without him. It was time to fix all of that; to make the balance right again.

And the leader was more than willing to be reminded. His frame shook from the strong sensations and his deep rumbling growls spread out into Swoop's frame as well. It felt so good; better in fact than anything the Spider Lady ever did to him. Grimlock writhed beneath his lover, trying to give just as much pleasure as he was receiving. It felt only fair. Actually, now that he thought back, the Spider Lady never let them touch her; she hissed and stung them when they tried. Swoop was so much nicer in that regard...

The Pterosaur's systems heated up quickly, missing the familiar contact with his tribe leader. The cape of his wings fluttered and twitched at the particularly memorable strokes; every low growl was responded to with a pitched crooning noise. Swoop played with the spikes on Grimlock's armor and mapped the concave shoulder pieces with his hands, claws plucking sensitive circuitry when they reached the black crevices in the warrior's shoulders.

"Yesss...more," he hissed, nuzzling affectionately into Grimlock's neck and where the leader's hand would often press and rub his crest. "You Grimlock touch more. Me Swoop miss Grimlock so much..."

The T-rex knew he should apologize. He indeed neglected his two friends, his tribe...he was not a good leader. However, admitting any weakness was not an option. Instead, his touches turned firmer and the growling of his vents even louder, just like his moans and grunts emitting from his vocalizer. "You Swoop have me Grimlock now," he purred and nuzzled his lover fondly. The overload, that wonderful bright-hot thing, came closer with every stroke and he yearned for it.

Swoop purred/hissed and he grew rougher just as Grimlock did, taking in sharp ventilations on the occasion, though any efforts to cool his systems ended in failure. He rocked forward into Grimlock's chassis, seeking closeness, attentions roughening enough that sparks spat against his claws when they skimmed circuitry and armor.

"Never let others have you Grimlock," Swoop hissed, whining as he neared his peak, system warnings a mere irritating siren at the back of his CPU. "You Grimlock mine, only mine."

Normally, the Dinobot leader would have whacked the flier on the crest for claiming something like that—he was the leader here, he owned everything!—but in that moment, he didn't care. Grimlock's frame tensed and he howled as the telltale blue lightning arched over his frame, signaling an overload. His vents spat steam and his claws left shallow marks on Swoop's armor as the T-rex momentarily lost control over his own strength.

He really missed this.

The hot red light of dawn began to spill over their heated frames as overload hit its peak. The sharp sensation of hollow valleys being dug into his wings was the final catalyst for Swoop to follow in his leader's wake, an elated sonic screech joining Grimlock's mighty roar. Heat exploded through his systems and lightning snapped and crackled over his armor like jagged threads. In the moments that followed, Swoop could only lie against Grimlock's larger form, spent and expelling clouds of steam from his vents, nuzzling the warrior's dark neck and making contented sounds.

Grimlock nuzzled back and his hands caressed the marked wings, as if trying to soothe the pain. "Me Grimlock...feel better," he admitted. "You Swoop did make some bad stuff go away. You Swoop heal me Grimlock." After a little hesitation, he added: "Heal me Grimlock more."

Swoop crooned and a wicked, but sincere sort of smirk split his faceplates, and he nestled into the crook of Grimlock's neck, stroking his armor spikes. "Yesss, me Swoop heal. Heal until Grimlock tired of it..."

He would make up for all of their lost time; every cold night, every bitter sting from the Spider Lady, all the bad memories and conflicts. Swoop would make it all seem like a nightmarish sleep to them. Because Grimlock was his leader, his lover, and he would do anything for him.

Grimlock let out a low, appreciative growl and caressed his lover's head. Then, he lifted his head a bit, pulling Swoop closer and brushed their mouths together. It wasn't quite a kiss—but even so, it was better than those the Spider Lady had given.

Swoop remembered this maneuver from the Spider Lady and from Prowl. He agreed that it was better when it was Grimlock who gave it to him. He couldn't quite "kiss" right here because of his leader's strong jaw, but Swoop was content just to press into it, comforted that it was Grimlock who was giving him these attentions. The sun bathed their warm frames in its fresh morning light, absorbing the heat of cooling passion for the process to repeat itself again.

It was the start of a good recovery.