Title: Deception
Author: kirinsaga
Pairing: Thundercracker/Perceptor. Kind of.
Rated: PG
Summary: Don't believe everything you see.
A/N: Birthday gift for alabasterdemon. Hope you like it!

"You of all people should know appearances can be deceiving."

Thundercracker glared at the mech standing calmly before him. "You could have told me," he growled, his glare intensifying when the Autobot did nothing more than smile in amusement. "All this time-" He broke off and turned away, too upset to speak, almost too upset to stay but now that he knew for sure...

"All this time you believed me dead?" The Autobot stepped closer, placing a hand comfortingly on Thundercracker's arm. Thundercracker was tempted to pull away. "I am sorry for that."

Thundercracker whirled around. "Slag it!" He grabbed the Autobot's shoulders, strong fingers denting the metal. Perceptor winced. "All. This. Time," the Decepticon growled, punctuating each word with a violent shake. "All this time and nothing!"

Perceptor glared and reached up to grab a hold of Thundercracker's wrists, putting pressure on the sensitive wires around the joints. Thundercracker let go with a wince. "I have apologized for that, Thundercracker. Repeatedly." He ignored the dull pain in his shoulders and again placed his hand on the Seeker's arm. "We all have our orders, Thunder," he continued, his tone softening. "I could no more disobey mine that you could yours."

Thundercracker glared straight ahead for a few moments longer, but he recognized the truth of Perceptor's words and was unable to hold onto his anger. Only disappointment, confusion, and relief remained. "Why Perceptor?"

Perceptor stared blankly up at him. "He was... relatively unimportant, but intelligent enough to catch the attention of higher ups." He left it at that, knowing Thundercracker could deduce the rest.

Thundercracker stared at him without seeing, his thoughts far away, many vorns in the past. He frowned. "It was early in the war that you'd left. I thought you had been killed." His voice lowered and agonized optics stared at the smaller mech. "I looked for you. I was so angry..." He trailed off. He didn't blame the mech in front of him, not any more. Maybe not ever. But he had needed someone to blame. He sighed. "Why?" he asked again, not knowing what he was truly asking but trusting the Autobot to answer anyways.

Perceptor shook his head, frowning. "As I said, he was intelligent." He smirked suddenly, tilting his head. "Almost as smart as I am." Thundercracker smiled at that and listened as he continued. "He was also easily manipulated. It was a simple matter to lure him away." Perceptor was still smirking, remembering those long ago orns when he had first received his orders. Those orns had been rather fun, one of his more enjoyable assignments. "He was always wandering off without informing anyone. No one thought anything of it." He laughed quietly, shaking his head. "Not even when he returned."

Thundercracker had listened silently as he carefully studied Perceptor's body, noting all changes that had been made since the last time he had seen this mech. "And the change?" he commented, reaching up to run his fingers down Perceptor's lens barrel. "This is rather more elaborate than the others."

Perceptor hummed at the touch, stepping forward to lean against Thundercracker's chest. "It was necessary for this assignment. It was deeper than my usual jobs. Longer term." He nuzzled Thundercracker, tracing random designs on the Seeker's cockpit. "The hardest to adapt to was my new altmode."

Thundercracker smirked, wrapping his arms around Perceptor's waist. "A microscope," he laughed. "That's partly why it took me so long to recognize you. I'm so used to you being a tank." He grip tightened and he lifted Perceptor from his feet, bringing him up so they could look optic to optic. Thundercracker smiled gently. "It suits you, you know? The microscope."

Perceptor, for the first time that evening, appeared uncertain and he squirmed in discomfort. "I admit that it is rather suiting for a scientist, but it was still difficult to get used to." He turned his head away, uncomfortable, as always, that someone was paying such close attention to his physical appearance. Thundercracker was relieved to see that that had not changed. They were silent for a long moment, Perceptor still being held tightly in Thundercracker's arms, just basking in each other's presence.

It was a long time until the moment was broken but finally Thundercracker carefully lowered Perceptor to the ground and stepped back, keeping his arms around Perceptor's waist. Looking at the mech in his arms, he smirked. "Hard to imagine you as the mild-mannered Autobot," he said, once again studying the Autobot's form.

It was a drastic change, which was no surprise considering how long it had taken Thundercracker to recognize his lost lover. Other than the color scheme, so different from his former bright white and silver, the lens barrel was the largest difference. The rest... it was little changes, but often little changes were all that was needed to make someone completely unrecognizable. He was slightly thinner than he had been and a bit taller, his optics were no longer an intense red but were now a soft blue, and he no longer had the razor sharp blades on his arms that he used to pass off as a mere decoration. But the face... it was the one thing he had never been able to fully disguise. Thundercracker should have recognized him due to that alone, but he had never before seen the Autobot scientist up close. "He must have looked a lot like you," Thundercracker said.

It was more a statement than a question, but Perceptor answered it anyways. "I was told we could have been twins." He smiled, a faraway look in his optics. "I was always being told that, but that time it was true. Even before the change, we looked a lot alike."

Thundercracker shook his head in amazement. "It still amazes me that no one can ever tell the difference," he said, finally releasing Perceptor and stepping back. "How do you always manage it?"

Perceptor shrugged and waved his hand, looking bored suddenly. "It was no difficult task. He kept to himself and was considered a bit eccentric. Any oddities would have been attributed to that."

Thundercracker nodded, having heard of the scientist's reputation when they had gotten word that the Autobots had tried to recruit him. "And the Autobots? How did they not notice that he was different?"

Perceptor smirked, intensely amused. "That's the best part!" He bounced a bit, looking for all the world like an excited sparkling with a new toy. "It was a long process getting everything set up, so we began long before he joined the Autobots. That's why I disappeared so early on."

Thundercracker smiled slowly as he realized what Perceptor was getting at. "They never met him, did they?" Oh, how amusing it would be if the Autobots ever discovered that! "They never met Perceptor, did they, Mimic?"

Mimic smiled broadly up at his bondmate. "Nope! Perceptor was killed an entire vorn before Optimus finally convinced him to join the Autobots." He crossed his arms, his body language changing from that of a gentle Autobot to the subtle arrogance that he had always shown whenever not on assignment. "It's disappointing, really, how easily fooled these Autobots are. I expected this to be more of a challenge."

Thundercracker laughed and shook his head, marveling, as always, at how easily Mimic could switch personas. After a moment though, he remembered why Megatron had sent him out here tonight. Knowing that the Decepticon commander wouldn't appreciate them wasting time like this, his expression sobered. "So what do you have tonight?" he asked, suddenly all business. They could catch up after this was taken care of.

Mimic, sensing the change of mood, unconsciously stood to attention, as he always did when giving these reports. Unsubspacing a data stick, he tossed it to the Seeker. "Information on an Autobot operative," he said simply, staring expectantly up at Thundercracker.

Thundercracker stared briefly at the data stick before subspacing it. He held Mimic's gaze for a long moment, knowing it wasn't his place to ask for details. Finally, though, his curiosity got the best of him. "What so important about this Autobot that he needs to be brought to Megatron's attention?" Megatron didn't usually care about individual Autobots unless they were Prime himself or those close to him. All others were dealt with by lower ranking soldiers. So it was no wonder Thundercracker was confused.

Mimic smirked and leaned closer to Thundercracker, obliging his mate's request for more information. "His name's Punch," he said, looking amused. "And you'll never guess what he's doing right now..."