Hello there, kids. This is hopefully another interesting co-written piece, this time between me and an RL friend, kirak. Kujazlilmage was kind enough to beta this for me; luvz ya, girl. Then, rageai corrected the beta'd version. Also, it is important to mention that the whole story was inspired by Ladena's wonderful PWP series. Since Effing Fiction dot Net does not support links or about 80 percent of the non-alphanumeric characters a writer could need, you'll have to go to DA, get into ANYBODY's gallery, then in the address bar, change the user's name to Ladena. You'll find her.

This chapter is short, and the next is only a bit longer, but I wanted to go easy on my readers... I know not all of them like to read looooong texts.

"We kept him mostly intact, as you have requested, Lord Megatron." Shockwave's mostly emotionless but pleasant voice was a delight to hear—it always meant one was on Cybertron, the home planet, the crown jewel of the upcoming Decepticon Empire. The lieutenant was in charge of the local forces while Megatron battled with the Autobots on Earth.

They approached the cells; most of them empty, as they usually made quick work on the captives, but one of them contained a young mech. According to their information sources, he was one of Ultra Magnus' rebellious officers, Hot Rod. Shockwave punched the code into the keypad next to the reinforced door and it slid open, revealing a small cell and a lean frame chained to the wall.

Hot Rod was a beautiful piece of chassis. He had characteristic, ostentatious Autobot colors, deep crimson and burning yellow and orange. He was slender but strong; like a sleek cybercat or an exotic bird from an organic planet. His nucleotide-blue optics burned with defiance still, despite the numerous cracks and dents on his plating.

"Good." Megatron allowed himself to look at the prisoner for a long time, noting the beauty and strength. It was rare to capture one of the officers—and it was even rarer when the Autobots' rescue mission failed. He stepped inside the cell, slowly and deliberately making his way to Hot Rod. The chains lifted the Autobot's form, but Megatron was still taller, wider, and stronger. Yet, there was no mindless fear or respect in the blue optics. It irked Megatron and made him even more determined to change it.

"Your so-called friends have abandoned you," he said to Hot Rod. "Your commander has given up, and you live on only because of my mercy." The words wouldn't do much, but even the smallest cracks in the prisoner's core were enough for now.

Hot Rod turned his head a little. "I don't need your mercy." Of course, he knew Megatron was right. Ultra Magnus wouldn't risk breaking into the Decepticon Citadel. He was a good commander, but he was strict; each and every soldier knew his own worth, and it was considerably less than those casualties their rescue would cost. Naturally, the Autobots always tried to retrieve lost comrades, but everybody knew that Magnus would not risk more lives than necessary. Hot Rod was replaceable.

He knew that; and despite the tough facade, and the determined looks, he was afraid. The Cons had already beaten him; they wouldn't stop until his receptors shut off from the agony; and then, they'd leave him to bleed to death. Or worse, throw him into the smelting pit.

Lifting his hand, Megatron caught Hot Rod's chin. It was all too easy, with the other chained and incapable of fighting back. "You don't need my mercy?" he asked. "Then let's see how well you fare without it, shall we?" His voice was full of dark promises. "When you've had enough, and you change your mind, all you need to do is beg. Beg for the mercy you refused to have because of foolish pride...and you shall receive it." Moving his fingers, he caressed the Autobot's face before stepping back.

A shiver ran down the colorful body and blue optics widened for a moment; Hot Rod was young. He was assembled during the war—he knew little of intimacy, caresses or anything more.. Autobots, though not foreign to gentleness, kept such affairs in private. Megatron's fingers brushed against a few receptors which were never used before; it made the Autobot confused. But he was a hotheaded thing, firm in his belief that he'd be able to stand his ground until he was terminated.

"We'll see about that!" he snapped.

The defiant answer brought forth a pleased smile. Megatron had been counting on it; now all he had to do was sit back and enjoy the show. He retreated another step before turning on his heel and leaving the cell and its occupant alone. The door closed behind him with a bang, sealing the cell in darkness and jamming fields.

He turned to Shockwave. "Leave him alone for the next cycle. After that, let's give him some attention...but no permanent damage." It would take time to make Hot Rod beg, but they had eons to amuse themselves.

The lieutenant nodded. "Yes, Lord Megatron."


Two months. Two Earth months—sixty-one solar rotations—that was all it took for the youngster to break. Either both Shockwave and his soldiers were exceptionally good, or the captive was weaker than Megatron first thought; but the next time the purple lieutenant called and made his report, he announced that Hot Rod had finally given up.

Megatron debated leaving him there for another day just to show he could; but he had promised to be merciful when begged to be. He finished listening to the other reports and made some decisions about the next action against Ultra Magnus before he made his way back to the cells and Hot Rod. He hadn't met the prisoner since that day two months ago, though sometimes he had linked his receptors to the surveillance systems and watched.

Opening the door, he stopped at the doorway. The paintjob was barely recognizable: there were open cracks and dents, some panels of the amour were broken, and a few cables sparkled in the open air, dried energon around their broken ends. The Autobot was still beautiful this broken.

"Well, well, well. I heard you wanted to tell me something."

Hot Rod was trembling. The pain, the internal abuse from the interrogations and the other horrors he'd been subjected to having taken a heavy toll on him. When he offlined his optics in a vain attempt to recharge, he still saw the Cons manhandling him; and in a few of those nightmarish visions, he even enjoyed it. Not every method the enemy used to break him was filled with liquid plasma and claws and teeth: the dried energon, somewhat dull and paler in color than the other fluids which stained his chassis, bore testament to that on the young officer's pelvis and thighs...as well as his faceplates.

He slowly raised his head, once-bright optics now dull and hazy. At first, no words came from the abused vocalizer; just a few sparkling clicks and whirrs. Then the formerly smooth voice, now laced with rough static, broke forth. "K-kill...me...p-p...please...!"

"No." Megatron stepped inside and walked to the prisoner. He reached out to caress the abused face, keeping his touch light and non-threatening.

"Tell me, do you want the pain to end? Do you want me to help you?" It was merely a formality to ask the questions when the answer was an obvious 'yes'. But Megatron wanted to do things exactly as he had planned, and that required the Autobot to ask and plead.

"Y-yes!" the choked answer came. "I th-thought I'd...be able to bear it...but I..." the blue optics went offline, "I c-can't...take it anymore!" He was drained, violated to the core. His processors were so scrambled, it hurt to think. Talking hurt, standing hurt, existing hurt, and Hot Rod had reached his limits. He just wanted this to end, one way or another.

The admission of hurt, of suffering, soothed something dark in Megatron's spark. He repeated the caress before he traced Hot Rod's face, careful of the broken bits.

"I regret that you had to go through this," he lied in a warm voice. "You won't be harmed any longer." He paused, waiting for the optics to flare up again. He allowed himself a dark smirk. "Just don't make me punish you."

The crimson head leaned into the touch. It was so warm, so gentle...so different after all the abuse. Who would have thought Megatron was capable of such gentleness...? "I-I...won't," the young mech whispered; he was ready to promise anything to make the abuse end.

"Good." Megatron caressed him one last time before pulling away. "I must leave now."

He had to be careful now. Too much, and Hot Rod would regain his sense of perspective and defiance; too little and he would be irreversibly broken, only good for dismantling for spare parts. What he wanted was neither, but something so much more. A loyal officer, someone who served him because there was no other possibility for him: someone to trust. Not that he didn't have trust in his Decepticons; but they were all prone to betrayal, to exploit real and imagined weaknesses.

There was a whine behind him; obviously, the youngling was scared he'd be left alone and simply terminated later.

Megatron stopped and turned to face his prisoner. "What is it?" he asked lightly, and went back, leaning in close enough to press his own mouth against Hot Rod's in a light touch. "Tell me what you want."

Mech systems occasionally demanded an overload; but being war's child, Hot Rod never even came close to one. The gentle touch, those shining silver-white lips brushing against his made his vents sputter and he instinctively pressed a tiny bit closer. "I...I just...please don't let them hurt me again!" His voice was barely audible. He wasn't properly fed either, and he could feel his systems powering down. "I don't...want to d-die! Please...please...!"

The begging made this the sweetest victory Megatron had achieved in a good while. "I won't let them hurt you," he promised, and with a final soft stroke, he left the cell.

He gave out the new orders regarding the captured mech after the door closed, isolating Hot Rod from everything once more. Tomorrow he would bring some energon, the leader of the Decepticons decided. The Autobot looked like he could use some, and he had promised to end the physical torture.

Of course, not everybody was pleased by the orders. Shockwave, though he might not have understood his Lord's logic, didn't ask questions—this made him a very valuable officer. On the other hand, Starscream glitched his spark out …until he was properly put in his place, as usual.