Forced to accept that he couldn't lock in Bumblebee within the base anymore Optimus Prime allowed him to leave and see a bit from what was left of this world's beauties, but only heavily guarded and to areas he considered somewhat save, but the war continued nevertheless for three long vorns.

By the time Optimus Prime decided his little charge had been outside long enough for that particular orn – they sometimes let the youngling play in front of their headquarter under the watchful optics of the guards – he found Hot Rod and Blurr arguing, but as soon as they noticed him, they grew silent.

"Did you just mentioned high-grade?" he asked frowning deeply.

"High-grade? Whomentionedhigh-grade? Ididn't, Roddydidn't, nobodymentionedhigh-grade, sir!"

So it had been about high-grade. Optimus sighted. It was always the same with these young mechs. How often would he have to repeat himself about high-grade within Bumblebee's reach? When they had decided to raise the little one by themselves everyone had agreed on the terms and it wasn't as if they were new to these rules. There already had been a similar situation when the others had been younglings, Hot Rod and Blurr among them. Granted, they hadn't been as young as Bumblebee when they came to them, but still young enough to keept the potent liquid well out of their reach. Speaking of younglings ...

"Where is Bumblebee?"

The blank faceplates of the two younger mechs and their hastening searching attempts told Prime everything he needed to know, but to his processor's luck he didn't needed to really panic.

"He's with me."

"Megatron!"

"The one and only" replied the silver-grey mech with an almost humored tone. The Autobots twitched to aim at him, but noticed the little yellow and black figure on his shoulder just in time.

"Guess you want the little rascal back, hu?" he continued and carefully sat Bumblebee down, but the little one made no attempts to leave his side. "Asked quite a few holes in my processors. Curious as ever, but he has grown, hasn't he?"

"I have" said Bumblebee proud. "And I'm going to grow even more."

"Of course. Now go inside, will you?"

The youngling blinked surprised at Optimus, who didn't dare to let Megatron out of his optics.

"Why? It was just getting funny ... You're not going to fight again, are you?" he asked, audible unwell at the imagination. He had disliked the war from the moment learned about it and had been quite happy that for a while now things had started to become more peacefully, at least to a certain degree.

"Nah, just have to do some talking between adults" the Decepticon of all mechs said calmly, but at least from his point of view also honestly. "Would just bore you out of your chassis."

"Oh, I see. Okay, I'll be with Sunny and Sides then."

"They're still on patrol, but Jazz and 'Hide are in the common room."

"Sounds good, too. Bye Megs."

He gave the surprised Decepticon a hug – due to his high he actually only hugged his left leg, but it was the thought that counted – and also squeezed Optimus before he went into the base waving his goodbye.

"Bye bye."

They waited until Bumblebee was well out of sight, then Megatron's expression changed.

"You disappoint me. I really expected you to guard your base and especially your youngling better than that. You and your "we raise him as neutral as possible so no one can complain" policy, Prime. It should have been your damn duty to at least teach him not to go away with strangers. Good thing it was only me around. Can you imagining just how often the little one could have been kidnapped already and against common believe am I not the worst thing that could have happened to him around here."

Left aside that being dressed down by the enemy was somewhat worse than what Optimus was probably going to do with them, Hot Rod and Blurr were surprised that the Decepticon lord seemed to really mean every word, while Prime on the other hand was more surprised that he had expected just this. Megatron was worried about Bumblebee and criticizing their way of raising him and he really . wasn't . surprised . at . all.

"What do you really want?"

"Like I said: do some talking between adults, which includes only you and me, so either this two wanna-be-grown-ups leave or we do, Prime."

The Autobot leader had his problems not to just follow Megatron, since he couldn't really believe this to be a trap. True enough, the Decepticon had tricked him a quite few times with different things during the war, but still ...

::Don't test my patience, Optimus. I'm even unarmed, so could we just get through with this?::

Optimus had to suppress a shudder. There it was, that familiarity he felt since they had shared a com. link for the first time. It was nothing special, just a mere every day private com. link, only that he shared it with his sworn enemy and also only on very rare occasions, but oh he couldn't deny how nice Megatron's voice felt. It always had been easy to his audios – well, except of course for the times he only received insults – but that was nothing compared to this.

"You two stay here and don't dare to neglect your task again. We're talking about this later."

"But Prime ... "

"I said we're talking about this later!" he ordered and went away. Megatron seemed just a bit too amused when he followed.

"It's always fun to see you order your people around, strange to a certain point, but fun" the Decepticon said as soon as they were out of hearing range.

"Just spill it: what do you want."

"Truce."

This time Optimus was really caught off guard. He turned around.

"Come again?"

"I'm asking for a truce, or to be exactly: I put forward the conclusion of a temporary, eventually expanded to a permanently ceasefire between you, the Autobots, and us, the Decepticons. I'm not only here in my position as leader but also as a represent of my people and as far as I'm informed no one on my side wants to continue a pointless war. Maybe that will change again with time, but that's how it is right now."

Optimus seated himself unbelievingly on a pile of wreckage next to him. That was ... unexpected and far too good to be true, wasn't it?

"Do I need to repeat it again?"

"No, I think I got it."

"But you don't believe it." Megatron sight and sat down next to his (ex-) archenemy.

"Ah, slag it. I barley believe it myself. Anyway. I just wanted to tell you before we arrange an official meeting. I know you're not one of the most spontaneous mechs ever created."

"Says the one who can't handle unexpected resistance."

The Decepticon snored amused. "Are you complaining?"

"Not really. But what do you mean with "official meeting"? What is this, if not that?"

"Vacation."

Optimus Prime felt like laughing, but it didn't sound like a joke.

"I am quite serious. I grant myself a free orn from time to time and I must admit I really enjoyed this one so far. The discussion I had with the little one was very inspiring."

"Most would describe it as irritating. How did you find us anyway?"

"Oh please, you underestimate my abilities. I've known about this particular base of yours for ages."

Optimus' state couldn't be de described as shocked anymore, he almost fell down in sheer terror.

"But" Megatron added. "I also knew that it was less a base than an orphanage half the time, so I just decided not to share the information with anyone. By the way, it was very entertaining to watch you trying to take care of those rascals anyway. You should thank me nonetheless; it wasn't easy to keep my men away from them."

The Autobot continued to just stare and the silver-grey mech guessed he had finally managed to blow Prime's circuits and announced his own departing.

"You have three orns to prepare yourself for the negotiations."

::And give Bee a hug from me.::

True to his word the Decepticon left after the other had managed a small and irritated "thanks" out of his vocals.

'Primus, I need a drink' Optimus thought by himself, when he finally managed to get his CPU to work straight again, and rose to head back. 'Where does Prowl store the confessed high-grade again? Ah, well, the twins should ... blast. I shouldn't encourage them or Ratchet is going to make one of his many threats true. I don't think anyone would follow a trash compactor.'

"Prime? Are you alright, sir?"

Focusing his surroundings again Optimus Prime found himself already in front of the base.

"Hm? ... O, yes, I'm fine. Anything happened?"

"Sides and Sunny are back, but that's all."

"Where are they now?"

"Probablyintheirroom. Theylookedtired, butIwonderwhy, ifnothinghappened."

"Good, good. That's all I wanted to know. Now go back to your task" the Autobot leader ordered before Blurr could say anything else and went in. He already had crossed half the base, when he remembered he had actually wanted to at least scroll the two for their behaviour earlier, but he didn't felt like going back now and Megatron had already said everything, so he just stopped by at Prowls office and left him in charge before heading for his own room, but not without getting told by his second in command to do that or face one of Ratchet's lectures about how important it was to recharge – ironic, considering the medic himself, as well as their SIC were just as terrible workaholics as he was.

In situations like this Optimus was really grateful that none of his men, especially Prowl, seemed very eager to take over his position as Prime. Sometimes he wasn't too sure he would be able to defend his position against them should they ever decide he wasn't fit to lead anymore. They knew him just too well, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

Closing the door Optimus to his office sighted and sat down at his desk, making a note about Megatron wanting an official meeting in three orns to create truce – not, that there was any chance he could ever forget about that, but it was the best way to realise that it was actually true and that he would still believe it tomorrow. Then he just stared at the wall and thought about what just happened.

"Orphanage" had Megatron called this place and he was right. Primus knew, he was right.

Optimus clearly remembered the orn Ratchet came back from his "patrol" – actually he had just gone AWOL to test one of Wheeljack's not exploding inventions – with a mainly red bundle under his arm, which turned out to be a youngling designated First Aid. The medic had found him by chance and refused to leave the helpless heap of sorrow behind. It was a bit surprising since at that time the not yet CMO hadn't been one of the most charitable bots that time, not to mention his dislike of others in general – why he had become medic in the first place had been a paradox to everyone – but his exact words had been "I will go where the little one goes and there is nothing you can do about that. And I swear: if you dare to send the little one away, Primus may help you after the next Decepticon attack, because I definitely won't!" and the way he said it had left no doubt he meant every word, even if the guilt of not helping would have destroyed him afterwards.

He had not been Prime for long that time, but he had been against the very idea of keeping a youngling in a military base, but hearing Ratchet's threat he considered it wiser to decide above the heads of his subordinates and allow First Aid to stay. Losing their most capable medic – not to mention Wheeljack and Perceptor, too, since they instantly sided with Ratchet – would definitely have been worse than having arguments with the rest of his men.

Luckily First Aid was a very serious and calm, sometimes maybe even too calm, character, and proved Optimus' decision right, when he started to study healing out of his own will and turned out to be a natural. By now he wondered how Ratchet ever managed to run the med bay without the younger one, given the war and especially Wheeljack's habit to blow himself and his lab up every few orns.

When six vorns later Hot Rod and his younger sister Arcee suddenly stood on their doorstep – when he thought about it: how had they found them anyway? – they had been much easier to integrate into the team. Hot Rod had already been past his 11th vorn and thus almost old enough to start training and he was also willing to do so, under the condition of course his sister was also allowed to stay. There hasn't been many objected against that, but when speed-talker Blurr, who was about the same age as Hot Rod, came to them, too, the arguments started anew.

Optimus couldn't blame his men. Having three more or less vivid younglings to take care of was far more complicated than calm and reasonable First Aid. Thank Primus Ironhide's bondmate, Chromia, had not so long before joined them – they had never mentioned in public why she hadn't earlier or were she had been – and decided to take all three of them under her care ... and then the twins and Bluestreak happened.

That had been quite something. They had caught Bluestreak trying to steal energon out of their storages. The twins had gone berserker in attempt to "safe their little buddy". It had been an amusing sight, but Primus, they didn't needed to teach them much about fighting when they were older.

In this case he had not only needed to win over his fellow Autobots but also the younglings and by the look of it he never really got them under control. Although they were by now considered adults – by age at least; he didn't dare judge their mental state – they still accepted only four mechs as authorities: Jazz and Prowl, Ratchet and himself. How exactly his second and third in command had gained their positions in this matter was unknown to him, like many thing relating to the twins. Siblings were a common thing, but even Kup had only heard some faint rumours about the possibility of something like twins.

It obviously was, but they gained no wisdom from it. They seemed to share a spark, literally, and thus also a very deep mental and emotional connection. Was one hurt the other didn't actually fell the same pain, but suffered no less. Granted, it was similar with siblings, but – and they learned to be very grateful for that at times – nothing near alike. A few vorns before Bumblebee came to them Sunstreaker had been damaged worse than ever before. For a while it had looked as if he wouldn't make it nor would his brother, although Sideswipe had been almost unharmed. Ratchet could only explain it with their unique bond: that one was literally unable to life without the other, but the only ones who would maybe have been able to solve the mystery had been their creators of the twins and not even the twins knew who and where they were.

Sideswipe had only said they wouldn't want it any other way, but expressed their will to live on together in the same sentence and did his best to help Ratchet and First Aid repairing his twin brother since he seemed to know exactly what was damaged. It would probably have been the same if it would have been the other way round, but he could have really lived on happily without knowing this in the first place.

It was also unknown to Optimus how to fit Bluestreak into that picture. They weren't relatives, but called each other "brothers" nonetheless and he seemed to function like a downer on the twins. Considering this the Autobot leader liked to think about this matter the same way he did about Wheeljack's inventiveness: as long as it kept them sane and going he would only complain when someone else was endangered.

Anyway. Those three had been most the troublesome of their charges and unfortunately the elder bots had probably also made the most mistakes in rising them, but at least every single one of the in total seven orphans they had taken in had been old enough to express their needs and understand what they were told in return, even if they didn't like it. Bumblebee on the other hand had been a whole new dimension, but Prime had to admit that this one time he hadn't acted in his position as Prime – to be honest neither had he the other times before, but he had at least tried to – but only as the Autobot Optimus, who wanted to take care of that little sparkling himself and he got quite some encouragement, especially from the aforementioned seven youngsters – Sideswipe had formulated it in agreement with the others as a "dept to pay" – but also from their adopted caretakers, even when they had voiced their unwillingness before.

There hadn't been any further arguments about that matter afterwards.

Optimus remembered the following vorns had been like the Pit doubled and served with a disgusting dressing, but when the door to his room hissed open and a very sleepy Bumblebee padded in, pulling a blanket – luckily it was commonly known, that younglings had problems to regulate their body temperature and became cold very fast, so they hadn't need to make that experience themselves – in behind him and Optimus out of his memories, it suddenly tasted like sweetest oil and energon truffles.

"Prime, you're back? What did Uncle Megs say?"

The older mech swallowed the question about how Bumblebee came to call Megatron of all bots "Uncle Megs" – childish or not, he was so going to rub the Decepticon's nose in this – and picked the small form up, smiling calmly behind his mask. The youngling sensed the mimic nonetheless and smiled back.

"He sends you a hug."

"Oh. I thought you needed to talk some adult stuff."

"We had, but that certainly didn't stop him. Now come on. It's been a long orn and we both need some recharge" Optimus said, evading the topic. Left aside a part of him still believed to come online any moment and discover it all to be a dream the whole truce thing seemed a bit too complicated to explain right now.

"We? Like me and you? No more work?" Bumblebee asked surprised and for a short moment wide-awake. It didn't happen very often anymore that he was able to go into recharge together with his favourite caretaker.

"Yes, no more work. And it's you and me."

"That's what I said."

Optimus had neither the energy left to explain the little one that he actually referred to the rules of politeness, nor the heart when he laid down, his little charge clicking happily and curling together on his chest, almost completely disappearing under his blanked, but then he came to the surface again and tapped impatient against the mask on the other's face.

"Down."

Sighing the lager Autobot pulled the trigger and let his mask vanish.

"Why do you wear that thing anyway?"

Optimus hesitated. How was he supposed to illustrate for little innocent Bumblebee that it was for a similar reason why Jazz wore his visor, Wheeljack his mask – Soundwave both to complete the line – and why Prowl was so focused on rules and Ratchet so grumpy most of time. It was their way to deal with the war and especially with the things they had to do in battle and afterwards or had witnessed.

"Guess it's something about being a leader and looking like one" he finally answered, only mentioning another reason. He wasn't a good liar, never had been, but that didn't mean he was also unable to just conceal the one or the other fact.

The youngling frowned. "I don't think I understand that."

"Me neither."

Bumblebee giggled and laid his head back down, right above Prime's spark chamber. The steady beat always calmed his unsettled mind.

"Prime? When you see Megs before I do, give him a hug from me, will you? He looks like he could need one."

The Autobot leader smiled warmly and intensified the embrace by a small degree, still feeling the old fear to harm the little life accidentally, although it had been proven on very different occasions that sparkling and younglings were a lot more robust that they looked like. Seeing their tendency to get into the most unlikely situation it actually made sense.

"I will" he promised to the already recharging youngling and powered his optics down. There was hard work ahead he really didn't want to face without a nice and long recharge.

XXXX

The tension between the opposite parties was not only visible, but almost solid, too, and an awkward silence laid above the scene.

It was the Decepticon leader who (again) made the first step, but his counterpart wasn't far behind and met him halfway.

"Optimus Prime" Megatron greeted a grin in his voice, but his faceplates serious due to the historic event.

"Lord Megatron" the Autobot leader replied dutiful and took the offered hand. The tension lighted, but only to come back again with full force.

They couldn't just shake hands and everything was fine. If life would be that easy, the war would have been probably settled long time ago.

At this point Rumble decided, that adults were far too complicated and just started to walk to his leader, the optics of his creator constantly on his back and his siblings on his heels. They were mainly just curious about what he planned to, except for Ravage, who took her role as oldest of the Cassetticons very serious and as such was ready to literally jump in and drag the others back should things escalate – and she was sure this would happen, especially when her brother led them past the invisible line between Megatron and Optimus and headed straight for the bulky red Autobot, behind who's legs that youngling of the Autobots partly hid.

In no time Ironhide had his guns out and aimed at the Cassettes, already loading his plasma canons. Soundwave's answer was immediately, aiming at the weapon specialist in return.

"Stop it, 'Hide" Chromia shouted before anyone else could react and went between her bonded and the Cassetticons.

"But ..." Ironhide tried to complain and pointed in a less aggressive motion at Soundwave, who didn't even thought about lowering his own gun, but Blaster pointed out, that it still was the weapon specialist who threatened Soundwave's offspring, not the other way around.

Luckily Ironhide didn't see the communicator's own hand switching near his gun, but Blaster was unsure himself at whom he would aim and shoot if he had to.

"He is right" Optimus agreed, fearing for the young peace. "I'm really grateful you take protecting Bumblebee so serious, but I'm sure they meant no harm. Please, put your guns down, old friend."

Ironhide growled, but did as he was told. Prime sight relieved when Chromia stepped back between her mate and Blaster, who also relaxed again, like many others on both sides. Only Soundwave hesitated, believing his creations still in danger, but a gesture from Megatron calmed him enough to put away his weaponry, too.

"Am I now allowed to have a chat with the little guy?" Rumble asked in order to prevent accidently restarting the war again.

"You're one to talk" Bumblebee complained, still at Ironhide's legs, but now in front of them.

"We're about the same high."

"Maybe, but we are older" Frenzy grinned eyeing this yellow, black ... curiosity. He had never seen a real youngling before – not, that he considered his brethren, himself or the Cassettobots anything less, but they were different. They would never fully grow up, neither in body nor mind, and would always need their respective creators in order to survive, but real younglings didn't.

"So ... you're designated Bumblebee? Strange name."

"State your own designation before you make fun of other's" Bumblebee replied, leaving no doubt he liked his name, and made the twins and Jazz proud their little charge had learned a few things from them, while everyone else, especially Prowl and Ratchet, began to worry about the same thing.

Optimus and Megatron watched with growing amusement how the young ones introduced themselves to each other and also included Blaster's cassettes. Bumblebee trying to explain the Cassetticons how to play a game of tack surely was the highlight.

"So if I catch Frenzy, he is not allowed to catch me, but he can catch you and everyone else, right?" asked Rumble, who had been "tacked" during the explanation.

"Exactly."

"Oh, well, then I guess it's your turn now, bro`" the second oldest Cassetticon said, clapping Frenzy's back. The younglings jumped in different directions and were well out of reach when the blue Cassette understood he was meant to chase them. His colourful swearing made the Autobot twins applaud and various other people warn everyone in general to watch their language, while Megatron and Optimus used the confusion caused by the laughing and screaming younglings everywhere to secretly escape the scene. Well, not completely secretly of course. Megatron made sure at least two of his men saw him leaving, while Optimus left Prowl over com. in charge.

"Never thought I would see something like this. It ... it feels good, peace and such, it really feels good."

"But?"

Megatron made a questioning noise, turning from the corner from which he had observed their fractions – for the most part they were standing somewhat peacefully side by side and watched the little ones, while some even tried to talk with their counterparts – to face Optimus, who leaned against the building which covered them from being seen by anyone else.

"There is always a "but" when someone talks so highly about something he never experienced before. So what is it in this case?"

The comparably soft laughter went right down to Optimus' core. Something inside him wanted to scream "do it again", but the stronger part wanted an answer first and made him stay calm.

"You got me there" the Decepticon admitted. "But I don't know how long it will stay like this."

Optimus didn't even seem to be angry, although he had all rights to be. Three orns had he hoped for peace, befriended with the idea to soon be able to put aside the majority of his worries only to have them revived again, but he really wasn't angry; the look in his optics rather only told about disappointment and sadness.

"Then why did you suggest the truce it in the first place? Do you even have the slightest idea of what you're doing to them?"

"I can imagine" Megatron said before the other one could get all worked up about it and leaned against the wall so the opposite side from the Autobot. "But I didn't mean the war would continue. The truce was my suggestion and I meant it, but you need to understand our position, too, Prime: no matter what happens, we will always be Decepticons. It's part of our nature to fight. We dislike war, especially a meaningless war, the same way you do, but we just don't do peaceful."

Optimus' optics widened.

"I ..."

"You thought this is just a well set up trap and any moment the war is going to break lose again" the Decepticon finished frowning. "I'm well aware I don't leave the best impression most of time, but do you really think that lowly of me?"

Optimus shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

"I'm sorry. It seems even I am not resistant against prejudice."

"Neither am I. Actually did I believe you would be naïve enough to show up completely unarmed and actually did consider for a moment to set up a trap, but I assure you it would have been a harmless one only to scare you a bit. Good luck I decided against it, eh?"

"Good luck we decided against coming here unarmed ... yesterday ... late at night ... as a last minute call."

Both leaders looked at each other and burst out in laughter, honest and amused laughter. It was just too silly: who would have thought this meeting to be only a success because of half true prejudices?

Suddenly Megatron went silent and rose, looking intensively at Optimus. The Autobot leader backed away, finding himself again against the wall he had leaned on before, but this time Megatron was above him, preventing escape with his arms at both sides of Optimus' head – not that he thought about leaving soon. In fact, with Megatron's faceplate so near he wouldn't need to do more than shift to touch it, he couldn't even muster a clear thought at all. Everything he could do was taking in the details of Megatron's face, the ... really handsome features; tin lips, pressed together in concentration, a sleight frown dimming the bright red optics, which were close up not even half as evil as he expected them to be, and Optimus wondered what emotions they mirrored right now, but the Decepticon lord didn't bother to look at him directly. He was too busy searching something on Optimus' antenna with his left hand, while he supported his own weight with the right arm, giving the Autobot a hard time not to shudder.

"What are you doing?"

"Searching. I want to see what you hide behind this mask. I have wondered about that one for a while now" Megatron mumbled, then shifted his weight onto the left arm, fumbling around at Optimus' right antenna, making him almost moan. It had been far too long since anyone with considerable age had ...

::Need some help?:: he , not trusting his vocalizer anymore.

::Can do that on my own:: Megatron replied, fighting for his self-control. The closeness was almost too much for his own mind, but by all means it had to be possible to remove this damned mask. He just wanted to see the features belonging to this intoxicating voice; what had he done to be denied that wish?

Ah, well, he knew quite a few reasons actually, but didn't want to think about them right now, left aside that Optimus wasn't less guiltless. Still, he was known to be more patient than the silver war-lord, but this time it obviously wore extremely thin. By moving in the first place he surprised Megatron enough to capture his optics with his own gaze and slowly, very slowly raised his own hand to guide Megatron's to the right spot.

At first the Decepticon was surprised that the mask really vanished, then he froze stunned. He had expected much, starting with the mask actually being Prime's face, to something better left unseen, but no one had prepared him for that. He knew mechs hiding scars or emotions (or both on this matter) behind battle-masks, but it never occurred to him someone would voluntary hide such beautiful features, and, Primus, these soft lips, curved into a shy smile ... tempting.

If there wasn't an explosion or something alike within the next astroseconds he wouldn't be able take any responsibility for his doing anymore.

Prime's hand left his only to grab his head and close the space between them in a fast motion, crushing their lips in a passionate kiss.

"Less thinking, more acting" he recommended, gasping for air to support his vents. He didn't know what hit him, nor did he care, but judging from Megatron's response the Decepticon didn't mind either, pressing them together again, ravaging Optimus' mouth, savouring the taste of high-grade the red and blue mech must have had before coming here and a mix of oil and metal, which had to be Prime's own flavour. Then he went down the others jaw line to his neck and sucked on the wires Optimus exposed willingly, while clenching to Megatron as if his life depended on that. It had indeed been far too long.

"Tell me: just how long ..."

"I was lost the orn you stood before me, little 'Bee in your arms, asking me if I would mind if you take care of him" Megatron interrupted. "I swear by all that is holy, you looked so damn cute and yet so strong ... I could have jumped you right then and there!"

"What took you so long?" Prime wanted to know, claiming the lips of his soon to be lover again while his fingers found their way to sensitive wires under the Decepticon's amour.

"I want to see you standing in front of a Decepticon army, explaining them you want truce with their enemies to shag their leader senseless."

Optimus was almost too aroused by now to realise the last sentence, but only almost.

"Is that all" he asked, pressing the other away. "All that only to get me laid?"

"Of course not. And by the way, this is only half of what I did. Well, not me in person, but I ordered it. Do we really have to talk about this right now?"

"Well, yes. I prefer to know to just what I agree to here."

Megatron growled, but released Optimus, bringing some space between them. He had never been patience, but he did realise that he had only two options to get what he want: the first one was to force Optimus, but that would destroy everything he had build up over the last three vorns, or rather sevens, but only during the last half he had know just want he wanted. The fine line of trust would be capped with a single wrong word or action, so his only true option was to let Optimus have his way.

"Fine. What do I have to do to convince you that I have honest intentions?"

"Would there still be truce even if I refuse you?"

"Since we're already this far: yes. I already told you twice we don't like this war either. But it would complicate things."

"Would you start a new war because of any sort of disagreement between just you and me?"

"What the ... no! Just what is it you really fear, Prime?" he asked, getting nearer again. True enough, he wasn't an expert on such matters, but he knew when someone was stalling or hiding something from him.

"Oh excuse me that I don't want to stand on opposite sides with my bonded in just another war, not to mention fight against him."

Megatron's optics flickered in surprise.

"Holy Primus, Optimus. Bonding?! Aren't you skipping a few steps there?"

Optimus wanted to reply something, but was on a loss for words. Instead his cooling vents jumped to life louder than before, increasing his embracement even more.

Megatron shook his head in amusement.

"How about this: we return to where we were before and discuss the bonding thing in ... let's say a vorn or two from now on? We'll have to meet more often anyway in order to make the contract work. I could tread you to some fine high-grade I stored for celebration."

"You mean, like, in your base?" the Autobot replied doubtfully. The thought to get to know the location of the Decepticon base was ... thrilling, to say the least, especially considering that Megatron already knew theirs, but after growing up with war and mistrust the fact that entering the Decepticon base meant to never leave it again in one piece, left aside alive, couldn't just be ignored; not even lust could do that ... but strangely enough Megatron's words could.

"Or in yours, or somewhere neutral; I don't really care about that part as long as you'll be there and we can have some ... private time."

These words and the seducing smile did their part and when the Decepticon came at Optimus again he didn't resist anymore.

XX

One could blame it on the long time they both had denied themselves any attention of this kind, but nonetheless was Megatron a circuit blowing lover and a very considering one, too – rough to a certain point, but very aware of the needs of his partner – no matter what everyone else thought and what Megatron wanted them to think. Optimus was the living prove ... only that he couldn't tell anyone. Not that he wanted to share; it would be better anyway to keep the whole thing secret for a while, but, Primus, they had to repeat that and if the other's expression was anything to go by he wasn't alone with that judgement.

"We'll need to go back soon."

"We are leaders, we can do whatever we want" the Decepticon replied, already nibbling at Prime's antenna again, offering a third round and almost making the other mech giggle like he hadn't since he started his military training.

"Sooner or later they will wonder what we are doing and search for us" he tried to reason already starting to forget why under the sweet caressing.

"I would prefer later."

::Sir?::

Prime sighed, remembering why again, and freed himself from Megatron's embrace.

::Reading, Prowl. Something happened?::

::Negative, sir, but if possible I suggest we retreat. Bumblebee needs to recharge and to be honest most of us are tired.::

::Alright, I'm on my way. Prime out.::

"Duty calling?" Megatron guessed more than asked.

"Like you said: we are leaders; we could do whatever we want to, but we can't because everyone else depends on us to make the right decisions to everyone's benefit, even if it means to put our own needs aside."

At first the Decepticon had wanted to inform Optimus that he didn't need to be reminded how to make his job, but the last sentence made him swallow that comment and frown instead, sensing the Autobot's thought to wander paths he surely didn't like.

"What do you mean with that?" he asked unable to ban all worry out of his voice and attitude.

"I don't believe in an all around happy ending!" the red and blue mech said after short hesitation, making the other frown deepen in confusion. Sadness was written all over Optimus' faceplates and was that fear in his optics? But what could Prime still be afraid of? The war was over, his precious friends – not to mention the youngling – were safer than ever before in their whole life and Starscream had found a rich energy-source. Megatron himself wouldn't have minded to steal it from an alien culture, but since he had been sure Optimus would never accept that, he had given the seeker detailed orders and for once Starscream had proven his worth and found a planet with nothing "sentinel" living on it, but enough available energy to supply Cybertron for many vorns. And the last two joors had definitely been the icing on the cage and not only for him that much was sure. Everything was just perfectly fine.

Everything ... all around happy ending ...

That was when finally all of Megatron's alarms kick in, screaming out Optimus' intentions. Prime wanted to sacrifice his own current happiness in order to guarantee that of everyone else. By all that was holy, when had the other found the time to make that decision and, more importantly, how was he supposed to change his mind again? After all was also his own possible future with his prey – no, not pray, not anymore. Not prey, but sweet, caring Optimus – at danger.

"Happy ending?" he asked with punctuated doubt, but also strength, proving the confident he had in his next words while he laid his hand on Prime's shoulders. "How can this be an end? This is barley the end of the war – we can't even be sure death is the end – so it's a beginning and you can't even call it happy. If you haven't noticed so far: this planet resembles a very sloppy run junkyard and we don't know how many survivors are left between the debris. When we have cities again with people living in it, which we can supply with energon on a regular base, than we can talk about "good conditions" and would still be far away from "happy", not to mention it will take vorns until then and even if there is not yet a real relationship between you and me I definitely won't let you back out of it just because you are afraid. We will manage this together, as equal partners or more if you wish so, so do everyone a favour and forget about that idea instantly or ... or I'll tell Bumblebee."

Megatron's reasoning – not to mention the open, if very desperate treat – was so completely logical and yet so touching Optimus just couldn't find a single argument against it. By all means, he was sure not even Prowl would have been able to say something against this, and he wouldn't have wanted him to when Megatron kissed him sweet and almost innocent, belying his proved experience.

The Autobot smiled, continued even when the other found the trigger near his antenna and the mask hid most of his face again.

"Let's go, Prime. There is a whole new future waiting for us to create."

Optimus nodded and if he would have known about Megatron's thoughts he would have wondered just who had caught whom.

END