Title: Love Will Kill

Author: SBX

Characters: Barricade, Sunstreaker, Bumblebee, others

Pairings: Sunstreaker/Barricade, Sunstreaker/Bumblebee/Barricade, mention of Sunstreaker/Blaster, implied Sunstreaker/Barricade/Sideswipe

Rating: R? just to be safe

Warnings: Angst out the frickin wazoo, gore, character death, dub con?

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

Summary: Love can be a dangerous when your lover can't separate it from obsession.

A/N: Shitshitshit! This thing kicked my ass and then some. At first it didn't want to be written, then it didn't want to end. And there is, in fact, very little Sunstreaker/Bumblebee/Barricade. There is, however, quite a bit Sunstreaker/Barricade fluff and angst. Sunstreaker frickin looses it, so be warned. This story is kind of an AU of my fanfic series "There is." So I borrowed a lot of concepts about the characters from that. Um, I really hope the prompter likes this.

The scenario was: "What if" Sunstreaker had chosen to go with the Decepticons rather than the Autobots?

Requested pairing: Sunstreaker/Bumblebee/Barricade

ooooo

Barricade got this distinctly odd feeling of wariness as he saw Bumblebee run to greet him with ill concealed excitement. When the brightly colored youngling was excited, it was usually at the expense of one individual and the amusement of everybody else.

Blaster shifted in nervousness as he sensed his friend's sudden tension. After knowing each other their whole lives he has come to trust the smaller mech's instincts, and a tense Barricade meant something was about to happen.

Bumblebee skidded to a stop before them gracelessly, just barely avoiding colliding with the two adults. "Barricade!" the youngling chirped, vibrating with energy.

Blaster had to bite back an amused chuckle as his friend gave the kid a suspicious look and he replied, "Yes, Bumblebee?"

"There's somebody you just have to meet!" Bumblebee grabbed the larger mech by the hand and proceeded to pull him back in the direction the small youngling had just come from.

Barricade carefully pried himself away from Bumblebee's grasp and shook his head firmly. "No, Bumblebee. Blaster and I have to get back to the Center or we'll be late for a meeting with Elita-1. Some other time."

"But, but he might be gone before you come back. I heard that once he really gets started on a project he works really fast," Bumblebee whined, trying to make his optics look bigger. The trick always got him what he wanted in the past.

Barricade stared him down, completely immune to the youngling's charms. Unfortunately, Blaster wasn't.

"You know, 'Cade. We're not in that much of a hurry. We could probably spare a few breems," the communications expert hedged, knowing full well he was probably undermining his friend's authority.

Barricade glared at him for his intervention then glanced at the hopeful youngling and sighed. He knew when he was fighting a losing battle. It was time to regroup.

Bumblebee chirped in triumph and grabbed Barricade by the hand again. This meeting was going to lead to good things, he could feel it.

ooooo

Yellow was the first thing that really registered with Barricade once he saw the mech that Bumblebee was so excited about. Not the bright, cheerful yellow like the youngling that was practically bouncing in place. No, it was a richer, golden yellow. It made the mech stand out in the crowd he was in, forced everyone to notice his sleek frame and handsome features that were obviously kept in very good condition.

Barricade hated him already. Nothing irritated him more than vanity.

Blaster, however, seemed to have no such negative feelings. "Sunny? Hey, Sunny!" he called, showing a familiarity with the golden mech that annoyed his smaller friend. Where could he have met such a flamboyantly colored creature?

'Sunny's' head snapped around upon hearing the rather ridiculous name called out and he glared. "Blaster, you slag-head, what have I told you about calling me that?" he grumbled.

Blaster just smiled in the face of the golden mech's half sparked hostility. "Yeah, yeah, what ever you say, Sunshine. Say, what brings you to the Capitol?"

"Commission from the government. I'm painting a mural in the Council's meeting chambers. Sideswipe managed to arrange it with the help of Smokescreen. How that gambling-addicted glitch has a connection with Council-mech Mirage I'll never understand, nor do I particularly want to," the golden mech explained airily. Then he glanced at Barricade almost absentmindedly.

Barricade tensed as the complete stranger apparently decided he liked what he saw and approached him. The odd smile on the mech's face made the security director feel strange, and that feeling made all of his instincts scream in alarm. This mech could be dangerous for him.

"Really, Blaster, it's quite rude to not introduce me to your friend after Bumblebee evidently went through so much trouble to bring him to meet me," the golden gently scolded the communications expert. Blaster arched on optic ridge at his friend's behavior, but good-naturedly played along.

"Sunny, m'mech, you are quite right. I completely forgot my manners. My bro would be ashamed of me," Blaster gushed in mock embarrassment. Bumblebee was giggling off to the side somewhere. Barricade just wanted to go home.

"Sunstreaker, meet Barricade, my best friend and brother in all but spark. Barricade, meet Sunstreaker, a one night stand that doesn't seem to want to leave me the frag alone." Well, that had all the grace of an overcharged Seeker. Now Barricade was embarrassed. He did not want to know about his friend's liaisons.

Sunstreaker gave the Blaster a vehement look. "Excuse me? We were already friends before that, and if I recall correctly you're the one who wanted to do it again while sober. You even suggested Sideswipe join in." He then smiled at the smaller mech who was listening with growing mortification. "Don't believe a word he says about me. Blaster likes to make me out to be worse than I really am."

Blaster rolled his optics at the golden mech's blatant attempts at flirting. "Give it a rest, Sunny. 'Cade is already taken." Sunstreaker gave him a curious look at this claim. The red bot grinned knowingly as he glanced slyly at the poor minibot watching the exchange with growing bemusement. "He's totally bonded to his job."

Sunstreaker laughed at that. "Ah, one of those types. Well, I know how to deal with a serious mech." He gave Barricade a playful leer. "I hear minibots make excellent lovers, so much passion compacted into such a small frame. Want to find out if that's true?"

Barricade abruptly turned away to hide the heating of his faceplates. "That is quite enough," he snapped and started marching for the exit. "I'd say it's been a pleasure meeting you, but I'd be lying. Goodbye, and have a nice life."

Blaster hastily stuttered an apology to the stunned artist and chased after his retreating friend. "Barricade, what the frag was that? We were just joking around," he called as he caught up.

Barricade glared at him. "That was me losing my patience with that arrogant fragger," the minibot snarled. "If I ever see him again it'll be far too soon."

ooooo

Barricade had thought he'd seen the last of the annoying gold mech after that orn, but either fate or Elita-1 were plotting against him, forcing him into contact with the new bane of his existence. He strongly suspected it was Elita-1, as she seemed to find far too much amusement in him trying to avoid his golden stalker.

Not three orns after their rather horrible first meeting Barricade found Sunstreaker and another, who could only be his brother Sideswipe, playing with some of the younglings in the Center's recreation room as they discussed something with the plotting femme herself.

The only thing that kept him from shooting all three of them on sight was the fact that it would scare the younglings.

He found out later that Elita had arranged to have for the artist to take some time out of his busy schedule once every seven orns to give art lessons to the younglings at the Center. the security director had to admit, it was a good idea. The younglings would benefit from learning to express their creativity in a positive way and the artist himself would get some good PR. It was a win/win situation.

Well, everybody won but Barricade, who still couldn't stand the outrageous flirting that the golden mech still dished out for Primus and everybody to see. The behavior got mixed reactions out of everybody.

Blaster and Sideswipe had decided to watch the show with varying degrees of amusement. The femmes Barricade worked with, Primus bless and damn them, thought it was sweet that Sunstreaker 'cared' enough to chase the minibot. Moonracer in particular always believed that Barricade was lonely without a partner and plotted ways to get him alone with the golden mech. And Barricade couldn't bring himself to be angry with her for that because she really thought she was helping him.

The most puzzling reaction was that of Blaster's brother, Soundwave. The large mech was a quiet, gentle individual and always treated those around him with the utmost care, especially his younger brother and the small mech he had adopted as a surrogate sibling. All of that went out the window when either of the twins were visiting the Center at the same time as he was.

Soundwave regarded the twins with carefully concealed suspicion and hostility and didn't want either of them anywhere near Barricade at any time or distance. The security director figured that thanks to his telepathy the larger mech could sense something dangerous in the red and gold bots and that only fueled Barricade's own paranoia.

Matters continued like this for over a vorn. It was really only a matter of time before things came to a head.

ooooo

Sunstreaker watched Barricade from a distance as he interacted with the younglings and sparklings around him and desperately wished for his paints. Barricade would never be considered beautiful, but like this in his element, surrounded by the beings he would die to protect, the smaller bot was extremely attractive. The joy of life that showed in his optics drew the artist in and he wanted to capture that life, to preserve it forever.

Barricade glanced at him and glared before turning away again, embarrassed with the intensity of the golden artist's regard. Sunstreaker smiled as a new but familiar feeling mixed with the aesthetic appreciation. Suddenly he wanted more than ever to touch and to claim that life for himself. And he always got what he wanted.

Beside him, Sideswipe shifted uneasily as he sensed his brother's change in mood. It was unnerving, the attention that Sunstreaker was paying to this individual that they hardly knew. Sure, Blaster swore up and down that Barricade was a good mech and the minibot had done nothing to refute that, but then the musician's judgment could easily be hindered by the friendship that he and Barricade shared and ill intentions could be hidden with practice.

On top of all of that was genuine concern for Barricade himself. If Sunstreaker's attraction was reciprocated then that could lead to problems for everyone down the road. Sideswipe highly doubted that the security director who had never left the youngling centers for more than a few orns had any experience in intimacy, let alone the complications that come with being involved with a twin.

Twins inevitably shared everything, including lovers. Sideswipe hoped Barricade realized this before he got in too deep, because thanks to the bond they shared the red twin was starting to feel some of the attraction that his golden brother projected in waves.

ooooo

Barricade was slowly coming to the vague awareness that Lockdown had drugged him. How he'd gotten himself into a position in which he could be drugged eluded the minibot at the moment, but then it probably wasn't all that important now anyway. What was important with the fact that the low life was feeling him up in the most unpleasant way.

If he could get his arms to cooperate he'd slug the fragger in the jaw, but the drugs made any coordination impossible and he was slowly losing the will to fight back to the haze that was settling over his processor.

The sound of someone banging on the door of whatever room he was being held captive in as that someone yelled angrily registered slowly in Barricade's processor and it took entirely too long for him to recognize the voice as Sideswipe's friend, Swindle.

More voices joined Swindle's on the other side of the door and Barricade has just given into the drug-induced stasis that was calling to him as a sonic boom crumpled the door like tin foil.

ooooo

Barricade found Sunstreaker moodily staring at a blank canvas. He just watched the artist for a while really taking in everything about him for once.

Barricade had always taken Sunstreaker for face value. He saw the golden mech as arrogant, vain, lewd, and cavalier and figured there was nothing else to him. He now knew better.

It had been shocking to find out from Soundwave and Blaster that Sunstreaker had nearly ripped Lockdown apart when he saw what the bounty hunter was doing to Barricade. And thanks to some pulled strings with Iacon's police force Barricade had seen the evidence for himself.

Seeing the image captures of Lockdown's mangled, but still living frame had merely confirmed what the security director had believed since Soundwave had first shown his distrust of the golden mech. Sunstreaker was dangerous. Barricade had simply underestimated how much so.

Careful questioning of Sideswipe shed some light on the subject. A glitch in Sunstreaker's processor amplified certain emotions to dangerous extremes when Sunstreaker was under stress. Anger was one of those emotions. When Sunstreaker felt anger, the glitch turned it into uncontrollable rage.

"Why would he feel angry for my sake anyway?" Barricade had asked. Sideswipe had given him a tired, amused smile. "Because love is one of the other emotions that get amplified, and I'm sorry to say that Sunstreaker has slowly come to love you."

It was difficult to believe that Sunstreaker was capable of caring for anybody but himself and his brother, but the evidence of just how far the artist would go to protect him was taking up space on a data pad in Barricade's subspace. Now all he had to do was figure out what to do with this new information.

Sunstreaker was staring at him now. Barricade gazed back, feeling unusually calm. He no longer felt that the artist was a danger to him.

"How'd you get in here?" Sunstreaker asked, wary of the security director's presence in his studio. Barricade never sought him out of his own free will.

The minibot came closer and noted that he was just a little bit taller than the golden mech when he was sitting. It made this easier to be almost optic-to-optic. "Blaster said you saved me."

Sunstreaker looked away, his expression turning unreadable. "Soundwave was the one who got the door open," he clarified, his tone neutral. Barricade shook his head at the gold mech's stubbornness.

"Soundwave got the door open, but you were the one who prevented Lockdown from slicing my main energon line," he stated as he approached his savior. "You also beat the living slag out of him. I'd ask why, but I'd already talked to your brother about that and I'm pretty sure I know the reason. So I'm only going to ask this once: what the frag do you want from me?"

Sunstreaker tensed at the demand, annoyance flashing across his features. "I'd think that was obvious, I've only been chasing you for the past vorn."

Barricade narrowed his optics and marched right up to the utterly infuriating mech who had been the bane of his existence since the orn they met. He got right up into Sunstreaker's face and snarled, "I know the original reason you chased me you arrogant aft head. But if that was the only reason you would have given up long before now. I want to hear your reason now or I swear by all that I hold sacred in this world I'll have you banned from the Centers permanently. You won't see another youngling for as long as you live and you won't see me."

Sunstreaker looked Barricade directly in the optics and knew that he was completely serious. He looked away, sighing in defeat. "Fine, if you must know, I…I like you. I might even love you, I don't know. All I know is that I get the same feeling when your not nearby that I get when Sides isn't. Like the world just doesn't feel right and everything is off kilter. I…miss you when I don't get to see you."

Barricade shuttered his optics, unease once again tying his processor into knots. He had the truth and the answer confirmed what he already knew, but this still didn't help him figure out what to do with it.

A hand hesitantly cupping the side of his head startled and his optic on lined again to Sunstreaker's pleading optics. "Please, we don't have to do anything, just let me be near you," he begged, all dignity thrown to the window.

Barricade felt his spark twist strangely at the sight. It wasn't right for the self-assured artist to look so uncertain and lost, and Barricade found himself nodding his assent before he really had a chance to think about it.

Sunstreaker smiled gratefully and gently drew the nervous minibot into a loose embrace, stroking his back soothingly. Barricade was tense for a few astroseconds before letting himself relax. This was…nice.

After a few breems of innocent, comforting touches Sunstreaker got braver. A hand strayed a little lower, fingers stroking sensitive wires and Barricade allowed it. He was tired of fighting the golden mech on the issue and if he was completely honest with himself he couldn't think of a single solid reason for why he had been fighting it for so long. After all, these sensations weren't unpleasant.

One of Sunstreaker's hands found a particularly sensitive bundle of circuits and the minibot arched his back and moaned in pleasure as the golden mech hungrily watched the very alluring sight.

No, not unpleasant at all.

ooooo

Soundwave watched from a distance and quietly disapproved. Sunstreaker had an unstable processor and unstable emotions and that made him dangerous. The damage dealt to Lockdown was the very tip of the problem. There was even more darkness lurking under the golden mech's cavalier attitude.

Soundwave kept that to himself, though. Barricade believed he was perfectly capable of handling and understanding his new lover and any interference would be reacted to negatively. As much as he wanted to protect his surrogate brother, there was just some things the security director would have to find out for himself.

For now Sunstreaker made Barricade content, maybe even happy. For that reason Soundwave would let it go temporarily, no matter how much his better judgment told him otherwise.

ooooo

Barricade once again found himself watching Sunstreaker in his studio sitting at a canvas. This was beginning to become a pattern. The only difference this time was the artist was actually painting something now.

Barricade silently crept up behind his lover and peered over his shoulder. He regretted his curiosity immediately when he saw just what Sunstreaker had painted. He saw himself pinned between the twins as they ravished him.

And there was no better word for it. The sheer passion that was apparent in the painting sent strange feelings through Barricade. Shock and embarrassment were at the forefront and the most familiar. Lurking behind them was the still uncomfortable feeling of arousal. No matter how many times and no matter how pleasurable the act, interfacing with Sunstreaker still brought a sense on unease with it.

Barricade sometimes felt that if he wasn't careful he could lose all of himself to the golden mech who was steadily worming his way into every aspect of his life. He'd already made dozens of small, insignificant compromises for his lover. What the minibot was about to do was a very big one, and maybe Sunstreaker was a bit selfish for expecting it, but Barricade had already made up his mind to do it.

The minibot wrapped his arms around his lover from behind, thankful that the larger mech was seated which put them on more even ground. Sunstreaker tensed at the unexpected contact.

He want tight as a drum once he realized whose arms he was in and started stuttering out an explanation for the painting.

Sunstreaker want silent as his lover nuzzled the back of his neck cables. This was it, now or never. "So," Barricade purred, "still up for that threesome?"

Sunstreaker choked and it took a moment for Barricade to realize that his lover was trying not to laugh at him. That slaggin' son of a glitch!

The minibot huffed and made to storm off when Sunstreaker gently grabbed his arm and pulled him around so they were facing each other. If Barricade had the proper facial features that lent themselves to pouting he would have done so. Instead he settled for giving his grinning lover a sullen glare.

"'Cade, you just made my day, but I'm going to have to decline," Sunstreaker chuckled as he reached up to stroke Barricade's facial plates.

Barricade's expression turned confused and embarrassed. "But it was your idea, dumb aft," he snapped, hiding the hurt of rejection with his customary ire.

Sunstreaker gave him a sad smile. "I know, but I don't want to force you into something you don't really want and if sharing you with Sideswipe makes you that uncomfortable then I won't do it."

"But you were so upset before and now you're just going to let it go? You don't give up that easily," Barricade said, eyeing his lover suspiciously. Sunstreaker pulled him foreward and the minibot reluctantly allowed the golden mech to pull him into his lap.

"The thing is I'm afraid of losing you," Sunstreaker murmured as he hugged his lover close. "I don't want to scare you off by demanding what you can't give. If I have to keep you to myself to keep you at all I'll do it."

Barricade gave a tiny smile as he laid his had on the bigger mech's shoulder. "That's good to know."

It was a nice, quiet moment between them. It was Barricade's favorite part of the relationship, when they were just together with nothing to complicate the moment. And of course Sunstreaker would find a way to ruin it.

"Besides, if I shared you with Sides, then he'd have to share his lover with me if he gets one and you don't seem like the sharing sort," he stated cheekily.

Barricade rolled his optics and gave Sunstreaker a good thumb on the side of the head. He snickered as his vain lover complained, citing scratched paint as a very good reason to be gentle with him. The minibot thumped him again for good measure before putting his hands to work distracting his lover from any thoughts of scuffed paint jobs.

These moments were okay too.

ooooo

"Sunstreaker to Sideswipe, copy."

"Sunny? Oh Primus, Sunny! You're okay! When I heard that you and Barricade were in Praxus when the 'Cons bombed it I thought you guys were goners but you're okay! Or at least I assume you're both okay. Barricade's all right, ain't he? Blaster's been really worried too you know and he can't get a hold of Soundwave and…"

"Sideswipe! Will you mute it? I'm okay, Barricade's okay, Soundwave's okay, we're all okay!"

"Soundwave is with you two? Glad to hear it. Listen, you guys need to get back to Iacon right away. The place has gone straight to the Pit while you were gone, everybody's in a panic over Praxus and trying to figure what happens next. The Prime is trying to keep things calm and it ain't working and the Autobots have started a recruitment drive and I'm thinking they could use a few good mechs like us to pull their afts out of the smelter and…"

"Sides, stop. Just stop. I can't."

"Can't? Can't what? Sunny, what's wrong?"

"Sideswipe, Soundwave joined the Decepticons and Barricade followed him and…and I'm following 'Cade."

"What? Bro, I don't understand."

"I've joined the Decepticons. I just commed you to let you know."

"You what?! Why?!"

"Because I belong with Barricade. I need to be with him."

"You belong with me too! How could you do this?! How could you separate us like this?!"

"You could always join up with me, Sides."

"The Decepticons are murderers, Sunstreaker. I wouldn't join them if I had a gun to my head."

"…If that's the way you feel, then this is good bye. Love you, bro."

"Sunny, wait, listen-!"

transmission cut

ooooo

Sideswipe watched in sickened horror as his own brother tore Cliffjumper to pieces. While the red Autobot hadn't exactly been fond of his patrol partner and the little glitch was a pain in the aft, he certainly didn't deserve such a gruesome fate.

Sideswipe tore his gaze away from the sight and turned his attention to the mech holding him at gunpoint. Barricade had certainly bulked up and gotten pointier since they'd last seen each other. The mech the Autobot had once had so much respect for was gone, leaving behind a living weapon.

Sideswipe felt an unusual mix of emotions when confronted with this mech. On one hand he hated Barricade for taking his brother away from him but in the same token he felt sorry for the mech. He was trapped by his own loyalty to Soundwave and forced into a cause he probably didn't believe in.

A triumphant cry from Sunstreaker brought his attention back to the slaughter and Sideswipe watched in morbid fascination fished the spark casing from the lifeless body of Cliffjumper. Sideswipe almost purged his tank when his brother licked up some of the energon covering the casing. Barricade didn't look any happier to see the sight.

Sunstreaker glanced up and grinned once he'd realized that he had an audience. "Hey bro," he called jubilantly and in a blur of motion he was on his feet and Sideswipe got a good look at his energon stained form.

Bulkier and pointier seemed a theme for Decepticon upgrades. Sideswipe spotted several hidden blades that made him arc an optic ridge. The placement exactly mirrored the ones hidden in his own armor. But the one thing that didn't change was the golden yellow color of his armor. Some things just never changed.

Sunstreaker sauntered over and wrapped his stunned brother in a tight hug. "Sides, long time no see. You don't visit, you don't com me. I come to see you myself and I find you letting some pint size glitch picking on you. But don't worry, bro, I remedied the situation. He'll never bother you again."

Sunstreaker pulled back and grinned in appreciation. "You know, Sides, that color of energon looks really good on you," he purred as he stroked an energon soaked hand down his brother's faceplates.

Sideswipe blanched when he realized that Sunstreaker was getting Cliffjumper's energon all over him. He opened his mouth to protest and squawked in alarm as his brother pushed to two fingers into it and rubbed them across his glossa, coating it with the energon.

Sunstreaker asked if he liked it as Sideswipe recognized the bittersweet taste of processed energon and this time the Autobot really did purge his tank. As he knelt on the ground emptying the contents of his tank Sideswipe realized that his brother was stroking his back soothingly, the way he use to when Sideswipe got overcharged and nearly got energon poisoning.

Sideswipe couldn't take it anymore. This, this thing that tore mechs apart and happily tasted their vital fluids wasn't his brother and he wanted nothing to do with it.

With a cry of anguish Sideswipe pushed Sunstreaker away and scrambled back, trying to put some distance between them again. Barricade didn't stop him, having watched the whole deplorable sight, but helpless in the face of his lover's obvious mental instability. Guilt played a big part too, guilt for being partially responsible for the current state of things.

Sunstreaker frowned at the rejection and reached across the bond he shared with his brother to find out what the problem was.

Sideswipe felt the sudden intrusion into his processor and spark and angrily shoved it back, slamming a wall across the bond and blocking the golden mech completely. It hurt like the Pit, but Sunstreaker had dug his own grave and he wouldn't be dragging his brother down with him.

Sunstreaker howled in shock and pain as he fell to his knees, clutching at the spot over his spark. He gazed at Sideswipe in betrayal. "B-brother?" he pleaded, reaching out imploringly.

Sideswipe choked as tears finally started to fall in tiny drops of optic fluid. He shook his head in denial. "No, not your brother, not anymore," he croaked and ran, as fast as he could, leaving the golden mech to scream after him as his smaller lover tried calm him down.

ooooo

Soundwave was hooked up to the Decepticon computer system again. Barricade hated it because he became even more emotionally detached every time he unplugged himself.

The minibot approached his long time friend with trepidation. Every other attempt at communicating with the telepath when he was like this had been unsuccessful but Barricade had something important to say and it couldn't wait.

"Soundwave?"

No response, but that didn't mean anything. Soundwave heard and saw everything.

"Hey, Soundwave, I saw Blaster in the last battle."

Still nothing. Barricade was getting desperate for some sort of response.

"Look, he was hurt, pretty badly too if I'm any judge."

Not even a twitch. Barricade was getting angry.

"Look, your little brother could be dying or dead right now! Don't you care at all?!"

Nothing and Barricade let out a strangled, rage filled scream as he stormed out.

Things didn't get any better when he got back to the room he shared with Sunstreaker. He found his lover right where he'd left him, bent over some scrap pieces of metal. The golden mech looked up as he entered and smiled gently. "Hey," he called softly, sounding perfectly calm.

It was a relief to see his lover in a normal mood so he smiled back as he took a seat beside him. Sunstreaker was content to fiddle with the metal for a while and Barricade let himself relax. Quiet moments like this were becoming increasingly rare.

Barricade had nearly fallen into recharge when Sunstreaker nudged him. "Yes, Sunstreaker?" He murmured patiently. It didn't pay to lose one's temper with the unstable mech anymore. He got violent, no matter who was involved.

"'Cade, where's Sideswipe?" Sunstreaker asked innocently. Barricade was wide awake instantly and staring at his lover with wide optics, speechless. Sunstreaker continued, paying no attention to the minibot's growing unease. "Did he go to Praxus to talk business with Smokescreen and Swindle again? Will he be home soon?"

Barricade felt a deep despair as he realized that his lover had fallen into delusion. For lack of a better idea, he simply nodded. Sunstreaker seemed satisfied with that and went back to his scraps.

Barricade never wanted to cry more in his life.
ooooo

Barricade saw the gleam in Sunstreaker's optics as he spotted the little yellow Autobot racing across the desert and cringed. He knew that look and knew that they were about to acquire a new playmate.

The black and white mech felt vaguely sick as he recognized Bumblebee in his Earth alt mode. Sunstreaker didn't realize who he was now contemplating, not that it would change anything. Sunstreaker's sanity was so frayed and ragged that on his worst days he barely recognized his own lover. It was doubtful that the gold mech would even care if he knew it was the young mech who had once played as his assistant during his commissioned work at the Iacon Capitol Building.

Barricade could remember clearly the youngling the Bumblebee once was. While he could engage the young mech in battle, he didn't think he would be able to touch the smaller bot in such an intimate way, let alone let his lover sink his interface cable into that young body.

His desires were irrelevant though. Sunstreaker always had and always would get what he wanted, no matter what or who it was.

ooooo

Bumblebee knew that somehow, somewhere this could all traced back to him. If only he hadn't been such a meddling little brat. If only he hadn't introduced Barricade and Sunstreaker. If only, if only.

It hurt his processor to think about all the possibilities, but it didn't hurt more than seeing the elegant artist that Sunstreaker had once been reduced to a crazed, savage monster. It didn't hurt more than seeing Barricade surrendering to his lover's every insane, sick desire, or Sideswipe's near dead optics, or Blaster's half-sparked smiles.

Bumblebee thought and thought about all the different possibilities as Sunstreaker pumped into him again and again, attempting to distract himself from the horrible pleasure/pain that threatened to pull him into the chaos that ruled the Decepticon's world. The soothing comfort that Barricade transmitted through the data port he had plugged himself into helped a great deal. Bumblebee felt grateful for the protective instincts that the Decepticons couldn't quite stomp out of the former security director.

Sunstreaker roared as he reached overload, the resulting energy release traveling into Bumblebee and then Barricade, pulling them both down into the heat and blinding light of complete loose of control.

Bumblebee woke up from the recharge he'd fallen into and watched the two unconscious mechs that were still plugged into him. He saw how Barricade almost looked happy again and Sunstreaker didn't look like he was one wrong word from slaughtering everyone in a room, and vowed he'd find a way to fix this.

It was, after all, his mistake to fix.

ooooo

It was raining. That was the first thing Barricade registered as he regained consciousness. The feeling of the water falling on his armor was soothing and he dreaded regaining his other senses and having to face what had forced him offline to begin with.

He regained the use of his optics next and there was Soundwave gazing down at him in ill concealed concern and Barricade was vaguely surprised to find that his head was in the communication officer's lap. Soundwave hadn't shown this level of care for him in so long…

Suddenly his audios came online and he wished they hadn't. A cacophony of voices shouting sent a sharp pain through Barricade's sensory network and he curled up away from the noise and further into Soundwave's lap. He didn't care how pathetic and weak he looked. He was just so tired physically, mentally, and emotionally and he just wanted it all to go away.

Soundwave stroked a gentle hand down his spinal array, humming softly and the pain was gone, leaving the shock trooper feeling pleasantly numb. With his brother's help, and yes he still considered Soundwave his brother no matter what had happened, he managed to sit up and face what all the commotion was about.

It was a surreal sight to behold, and as he suspected his beautiful, deranged lover was at the very center of the tableau. Autobot and Decepticon alike had their weapons sighted on the gold warrior as he savagely fought the grips of Starscream, Thundercracker, and the Prime himself.

Off to the side were the Autobot medics Ratchet and First Aid as they worked on a patient. The yellow paint that was still visible under the energon coating the chassis of the little mech was Barricade's only clue that the shredded form was Bumblebee.

Memory suddenly surged into the forefront of his processors. A battle, Bumblebee and Sunstreaker exchanging fire and words, and Sunstreaker's sudden inexplicable rage. He tried to tear the mini bot apart with his bare hands and Barricade had foolishly interfered to save their young lover. Sunstreaker in his fury had backhanded him with such force that he had off lined immediately.

Barricade wanted to be somewhere else so badly right now, away from Sunstreaker's insane ravings, away from Bumblebee's mangled body, even away from the gentle understanding of Soundwave as he tried to comfort his distraught younger brother. He wanted to be alone with nothing and nobody and no sound, sight, or feeling. He wanted to feel none of the sickening despair that came with realizing that the one Autobot that stood directly between Sunstreaker and his intended victim was Blaster.

Something or someone was about to give, and it wouldn't be pretty when it did.

Then Sunstreaker was loose with a flick of the blade in his wrist and a pained howl from Thundercracker. He more than lived up to his name, being nothing more than a blur of gold as he raced past alarmed and too slow Autobots and Decepticons.

Blaster had his gun ready and it was apparent that Sunstreaker would have to go through him to reach Bumblebee and Barricade felt Soundwave shudder with fear as he realized that was going to be the case.

Barricade watched with dumb shock as his lover got nearer and knew with grim certainty that there was really nothing anybody could do to stop Sunstreaker while in a berserker state.

And then there was another blur of red and black suddenly between Sunstreaker and his victims and the two collide with the sickening sound of a blade piercing straight through armor and into the spark casing as the golden warrior came to a stop.

Complete silence settled over everybody present as they all realized what had happened. There stood Sideswipe, calmly staring into his brother's optics as the rage left his face and complete lucidity slowly returning for the first time in what felt like forever.

"B-brother," the gold twin stuttered in horror as he realized what he'd just done. He'd murdered his own brother. Sideswipe smiled sadly at him and pulled his brother closer, forcing the blade deeper with a pained grunt. Sunstreaker let out an anguished wail and attempted to pull away but his brother only held tighter, shushing him.

Barricade knew the exact moment Sideswipe lowered the blocks on his side of the bond. Sunstreaker's legs gave out on him, dragging the two of them to the ground as he moaned in pain and intense relief as he felt his other half for the first time in vorns.

"Oh, oh, brother, brotherbrotherbrother," the golden warrior sobbed brokenly and Barricade's spark seized at seeing his lover at his weakest. Sideswipe merely held on, murmuring words of comfort and apologies and promises that they would never be apart again right up to the point when his spark finally guttered out and he was dead.

Sunstreaker was not far behind him and with his passing Barricade felt…nothing. No sadness, no relief, just a wonderful sense of numbness as the source of his greatest pleasure, happiness, and misery left him. Later he would feel sadness for the loss, and relief that Sunstreaker had finally found release from his own pain.

Now however he simply leaned against Soundwave as they waited for Blaster to slowly make his way over to them. The Autobot communications officer collapsed on Barricade's other side and immediately pulled them both into a hug. He trembled from the close call with Sunstreaker and from the spark breaking last minute reunion of the twins.

Soundwave hummed a simple, subsonic tune and Blaster joined in. It was a song from their youth and the familiar, gentle vibrations were enough to lull Barricade's already exhausted systems into recharge and the nothingness he craved.