Okay, people. Warning: mech/mech plug n' play, a.k.a. intimacy between androgynous but male-"pronoun'd" 'bots. Initial dubcon, but definitely still not noncon.

"I come out of a grave to tell you this; I come out of a grave
to quench the kiss that flames upon your forehead with a glow."
--"Luke Havergal," E.A. Robinson

Chapter 9: Quench

Enraged, Megatron fired at the Autobots infiltrating his base. Soundwave and Dirge had joined him in the command center, each concentrating his weapons on their enemies. However, Mirage, Jazz, Bumblebee, Seaspray, and Bluestreak had taken cover behind a computer bank.

"Slaggit," Megatron growled, piercing the computer with a shot from his cannon. Collateral damage could not be contained.

Bluestreak dodged the blast, then took aim, firing at the Nemesis' central computer. Jazz whooped as smoke filled the air.

"You will die for this!" Megatron fired at Bluestreak again, knowing the gunner had destroyed their work on the power plant's designs. Mirage jerked this companion aside, saving him.

"I want reinforcements!" Megatron's temper flared dangerously, but before Soundwave could deploy his cassettes, Starscream and his trine swept through the doorway.

Megatron opened his mouth to yell "finish them," but the words never left his vocalizer. Starscream marched into the room, optics narrowed into a crimson glow, null rays pointed at his enemies, and a smirk on his lips. His wings were perked, held with obvious pride, and he didn't bother to take cover. He fired with chilling precision, not even flinching at the blast that hit his left arm, and caught Bumblebee and Jazz in the chest. Without pausing he continued to stalk forward, firing at the remaining Autobots, an unholy glee uplifting the corners of his mouth, and all Megatron could see was the predator. Starscream was the hammerhead shark, gracefully diving into the helpless fish, snapping fins and backbones, bloodying the water, and striking without mercy.

To his shock, Megatron felt his core body temperature jump several degrees. The irritating traitor in Starscream was completely suppressed, leaving only the cold commander who had ordered his Seeker classmates into the sky millions of stellar cycles earlier. Sleek, elegant, and deadly.

"Come to steal back the plans?" Starscream sneered at the Autobots. "Or simply destroy them? Your sickening 'heroism' is pathetic. We have been stronger than you since the beginning, and all your useless fighting and flailing will only prolong your deaths." He fired at Bluestreak, who ducked into a forward roll, then at Mirage, who chose that moment to vanish. Apparently unaffected by their temporary escape, he concentrated his firepower on Seaspray.

Dirge, Thundercracker, and Skywarp had all grown motionless, simply staring at Starscream and apparently remembering why he was the SIC in the first place. Megatron started to yell at them, to make them focus on the fight at hand, only to notice Soundwave. The telepath stood completely rigid, his hand suspended over the buttons on his chest. He seemed too shocked to remember to summon his cassettes, and his gaze was pinned on the air commander. Seeing this, Megatron realized that Starscream's behavior was not an act, not mere bravado. The Seeker's emotions and state of mind had taken Soundwave aback so severely that he seemed unable to process it.

Pushing aside his observations, Megatron resumed his previous train of thought. "Kill them!" He opened fire again, a wide spread meant to catch Mirage. Bluestreak had targeted his cannon, however, and lived up to his reputation as a sharpshooter by nearly blasting the cannon off his arm. Megatron growled, readjusting his weapon, only to be rocked as a blast tore through the ship's hull. Mirage appeared the instant his rocket-dart rifle fired, but it was too late: water began gushing into the room.

"Emergency shields!" Megatron yelled, attempting to stop the Autobots' escape. However, Seaspray grabbed Jazz, and Mirage grabbed Bumblebee. Without hesitation, the 'bots forced their way out of the opening, Bluestreak covering their escape. Since the ocean was pouring into his command center, Megatron diverted his attention to saving their computers, only to find himself beaten to the controls.

"Emergency shield activated," Starscream reported calmly from the main console. "Initiating emergency drains." The whirl of engines filled the room as the water was siphoned away; a blue forcefield covered the hull breech. Starscream glanced over his shoulder and met Megatron's gaze. "We have enough control left to fire our missiles, but the targeting computer is down. Do you wish for me to upon fire upon them before they are out of range?"

Megatron considered the information. "Negative. Without the targeting computer, we run the risk of hitting the periphery of our own base."

"Acknowledged." Starscream returned his attention to the console. "Computer banks four, seven, nine, and thirteen are damaged, and four looks like it will have to be completely replaced. Initiating self-repair systems on seven, nine, and thirteen."

Even as Starscream finished his report, Ramjet and Thrust ran into the room, apparently having detected the trouble spot, only to stop and stare at the SIC. Megatron realized that all five Seekers were now gaping at their air commander, and Soundwave was still frozen in place.

::Megatron to Soundwave.:: He opened his comm. link, deciding it was best to not draw attention to his third-in-command's status.

A pause. ::Yes, Lord Megatron?::

::You're acting strangely. Report.:: Megatron kept his gaze on Starscream, watching as he flipped through various controls, activating or deactivating systems with quick, precise movements.

::Starscream has completely disassociated,:: Soundwave replied, sounding puzzled. ::However, his higher cerebral functions are at maximum efficiency. Suggestion: ground him before his logic circuits deteriorate. Time to total personality dysfunction: five joors or less.::

::Acknowledged.:: Megatron wasn't sure what Soundwave meant by "disassociated," but he still cut the connection and began issuing orders. "Ramjet, Thrust, and Dirge-deploy and track the Autobots. Destroy them before they can return to their base. Soundwave, call the Constructicons and begin work on the damaged computer banks. Thundercracker and Skywarp, verify that all the water has been drained from the ship and check for additional signs of damage."

A chorus of "affirmative," "acknowledged," and "yes, sir" filled the air as the six mechs snapped out of their stupors and set to work.

Starscream turned from the main console. "A systems check verifies that the power plant specs were destroyed in the attack. I assume Soundwave kept a backup in his own databanks, however."

"Affirmative," Soundwave replied.

Megatron nodded. "Indeed. It's a setback, but not a loss. Starscream, come with me."

"Yes, leader." Just a trace of sarcasm flitted through Starscream's voice, enough to make him sound like himself but not enough to suggest insubordination.

For the second time that day, Megatron led Starscream to his quarters. However, this time Starscream followed him willingly. Megatron found his entire body burning, not just his fingertips. Sometime in the passing millennia, he had forced himself to forget just what kind of effect Starscream had on him when the Seeker was performing at optimal capacity. At the same time, his change in attitude was both intriguing and troublesome, if Soundwave were to be believed. Megatron knew he had only a few joors to "fix" his SIC, and as his fingers itched to touch those sleek wings, he found he wanted to win this particular battle more than ever.


As they rode in the turbolift, Starscream ignored the pain in his left arm. After all, one expected to experience pain while in the Pit, and the wound was minor. "It's unusual for the Autobots to act so quickly," he commented, pondering the infiltration. "Prime's usually so overcautious and afraid of getting his mechs killed." He chuckled, imagining horror flashing through Optimus Prime's optics. "I can almost see his reaction if the Coneheads manage to at least finish off Jazz and Bumblebee."

Megatron gazed at him, not replying for once, a look of curiosity lifting one optic ridge. Starscream decided that in the Pit or this parallel universe - whichever it was that he was in - Megatron wasn't going to act quite the same.

"At any rate," Starscream continued, relaxing into the surreal atmosphere around him, "as soon as the computer banks are repaired, Soundwave can begin his analysis again. They may have cost us some time, but in the end, they really gained nothing."

"True. And you, in particular, performed . . . efficiently," Megatron replied as the lift doors opened. He walked toward his quarters, and Starscream followed, rather liking this alternate Megatron. He seemed less like a slagger, and to Starscream's way of thinking, even if Megatron turned on him and attacked, it really wouldn't matter. He was already dead, after all.

Megatron punched in the access code for his door, and Starscream followed him into the room, wandering over to the window banks. Outside, two sharks darted through the water, seeming to dance. Starscream frowned, tensing as he thought a fight would begin and feeling strange pity for the smaller shark. However, after a klik of weaving around one another, the sharks simply brushed against each other and streaked away, side-by-side.

"They didn't fight," Starscream observed quietly. "But they always fight, don't they? An endless battle over territory and dominance."

Megatron had joined him at the windows. "The longer we've been here, the more I've noticed differences. Apparently not all breeds of shark are solitary hunters."

Starscream felt surprised his leader had bothered to notice. "Really? Then they were actually socializing?"

"It may have even been a courtship ritual," Megatron replied, turning his glowing, crimson gaze upon him.

Disturbed by the innuendo, Starscream walked away and stood on the far side of the desk. Suddenly this alternate Megatron was reminding him too much of the real one. "So what did you wish to discuss?"

Megatron walked over to his desk as well, resting both fists on the surface and leaning forward. "Our little ruse."

Starscream's spark pulsed, sending an electrical wave of fear through his limbs. His wings twitched. "R-ruse?" As his discomfort level rose, Starscream found that this parallel universe was beginning to seem less and less surreal. Thundercracker's and Skywarp's words rushed through his processor, urging him to find the answer to his question, to locate the truth the only way he could: systems synchronization. And that meant-

"How many millions of stellar cycles did we barely miss each other in the hallway?" Megatron asked, walking around his desk. "It has occurred to me that we've maintained our little ruse for quite a long time."

"W-what?" Starscream backed toward the door, nervous. What exactly was Megatron saying? No, he thought. I'm not dead or in a parallel universe. This is real. Those touches, this panic, this confusion . . . it's all real! He felt his carefully constructed denial crumbling.

"Shall we cease this charade? As I said earlier, I don't like to dance." Megatron kept approaching, his red optics shining brightly with desire.

Starscream realized his intentions at once. The slagger really means to follow through with this! His panic intensified, battling with his need to know the truth. The terror won, and he ran to the door, which he found locked. Maybe if he blasted it . . .

He raised his arm to fire, but he heard rushing footsteps behind him. Megatron grabbed him from behind, wrapping his arms around him and pinning his arms to his sides.

"Where are you going, my little coward?" The words lacked their usual disdain.


Starscream didn't have the chance to get more terrified. Gentle lips brushed his audio receptor, then kissed a trail down his neck. He froze in shock, not expecting such tenderness, and Megatron took advantage by nipping the cords at the base of his neck. Starscream moaned faintly, feeling the electronic field around his body fluctuate. But he still assumed Megatron saw him as a toy and, not wanting that truth thrown in his face, he struggled to escape.

"Why are you trying to run?" Again, the words weren't derisive, but Megatron still kept him pinned with ease.

To his ultimate horror, Starscream felt coolant pooling in his eyes. He'd humiliated himself many times to save his life and to live to have revenge another orn, but he'd never let Megatron see him cry, so he forcefully repressed the tears. "Don't mock me," he ground out, his voice raspier than usual. "If you hate me this much, just shoot me in the spark and be done with it."

He was released abruptly, only to feel strong hands on his shoulders, spinning him around and pressing him to the door. Megatron captured his wrists and pinned them to the door as well.

"Mock you?" Megatron's optics narrowed, but the red glow lacked its usual hate. "Use that scientific training of yours, my little fool. Am I mocking you?" He leaned down and pressed his lips against Starscream's in a passion-filled kiss.

Starscream responded against his will, instantly returning the passion, and in that moment he realized Megatron's energy field was fluctuating as wildly as his own. When Megatron pulled away and met his gaze, Starscream struggled to find words. "But . . . you've always despised me. You wouldn't listen to a word I said, you called me a coward and a fool, you rejected my company, you -"

Megatron silenced the protests with another kiss, nipping lightly at his bottom lip. When he pulled back again, it was only by a few millimeters, causing his lips to brush against Starscream's as he replied. "You always questioned my orders, you demanded more than your fair share of my attention, and you thought you were special, somehow better than all the others."

A nova of pain erupted in Starscream's spark, and he jerked his face away, staring to the side. I wanted to be special, he admitted to himself, although he'd never tell Megatron. But I'm not! You don't see me as anything but your personal punching bag.

At this action, Megatron simply kissed and nipped his neck instead. "I can't be what you need me to be, and you can't be what I want you to be," he whispered between nips.

Starscream's intakes hitched in a sound reminiscent of a sob. By far this was the worst torture Megatron had ever dreamt up. "Don't," was all he could say.

Megatron took Starscream's chin in his fingers and forced him to face him. "So do we spend the rest of eternity trying to conquer each other?"

Starscream merely stared at him, unable to reply.

"It's pointless," Megatron continued, rubbing his thumb against Starscream's jaw. "For you and you alone I will call a truce. Stop fighting me. You are already mine."

"No!" Starscream pushed against the hands and body that pinned him. He refused to be Megatron's toy, even if it cost him his life. "I'm not some plaything for you to use and then cast away."

"At what point did I indicate this would be a one-night stand, my little fool?" Megatron asked, a smile tugging at one corner of his lips.

"You are already mine."

Starscream tried to collect his scattered thoughts. "But you said-"

"The truth for once?" Megatron interrupted, leaning in to kiss the crook of his neck. "You have been mine since the moment you met me. Did it never occur to you that such a thing isn't necessarily bad?"

"Not bad?" Starscream continued to struggle against the hands holding him, but in his mind, he saw the image of Megatron protecting him on the battlefield. Protecting him like his trine would, mimicking their almost tribal possessiveness of each other, their call to brotherhood. Was it possible that . . .?

"You are already mine."

A nameless emotion, the piece of some long-lost puzzle, clicked into place within Starscream's spark, and his memory banks showed him the odd, pleased smile Megatron had given him the entire evening after he had graduated from the War Academy. Over the high-grade energon and raucous laughter of his sudden, new "family," Starscream had felt a silent gaze watching him. The same gaze that had followed him during his initial placement tests, the gaze that had given him permission to speak to his leader when the rest of the recruits wouldn't even look Megatron in the face. All this time, had Megatron actually . . .?

Starscream felt some of his fear ease, and he suspected his facial expression must have betrayed him, because when Megatron kissed him again, he seemed to pour all his passion into him. Overcome, Starscream sagged against the door, but only for a klik. Then he was meeting the kiss with equal passion, moaning as Megatron began exploring his mouth. Starscream thrashed against him again, but this time for a very different reason: he wanted to wrap his arms around Megatron. As though sensing the change, he released his wrists.

With desperate desire, Starscream wrapped one arm around his shoulders and the other around his neck, pushing into the kiss. In response, Megatron enveloped his waist with one arm and pulled him closer. Then he lifted one hand and caressed the edge of Starscream's wing, pulling a gasp from him. Apparently pleased with this reaction, he continued the caress, running his palm in slow circles across the entire length of the wing - the bonding ritual.

"You are already mine."

Realizing his leader understood the ritual, Starscream rested his head on Megatron's shoulder as he moaned and arched into the touch. Had he known Megatron was capable of such things, he wouldn't have tried to run away, but it had seemed impossible, even unthinkable. Now, though, a smooth hand stroked his wing tip and traced his wing's edge, affirming the action Megatron had already taken on the battlefield. "Truce," Starscream finally whispered, agreeing to the terms.

With a soft growl of pleasure, Megatron ran his arms under Starscream's aft and picked him up, forcing him to wrap his legs around his waist to keep his balance. He carried Starscream to his berth and laid him on his back, settling between his legs. "Yes," he said, running one hand over the dome of his cockpit. "This is as it should be."

Starscream's answer was nothing more than a moan as he arched into the touch again. His coolant system whirled into high gear, trying to keep his circuits from overheating as Megatron's hands traced his cockpit and his lips traveled across his wing's edge, sucking on the sensitive metal. Starscream shuddered, but determined to return the teasing, he ran his hands around Megatron's neck, caressing just below his helm and then rubbing down his back. Smiling to himself, Starscream found the seam of Megatron's shoulder joints and dipped in his fingers, stimulating the wiring there.

Megatron moaned against Starscream's wing, the sound deep and throaty, and ran his hands under his wings, finding the corresponding joints. Starscream shouted in pleasure as he fingered the sensitive wiring, and he arched his back, pressing their bodies together.

"More," Starscream gasped, catching Megatron's mouth with his.

With a faint moan, Megatron ran his hand down the length of Starscream's body, stopping just below the cockpit, where his interface chamber was. With one finger, he circled the panel, lightly tracing it, causing Starscream to whimper and press his hips against his hand. Finally, the chamber triggered open, revealing the coiled wire and port there.

"M-Megatron," Starscream whispered, but he didn't get the chance to speak further. He yelled out as Megatron teased the chamber with his finger, stroking the coiled wire and rubbing the port.

"Here is the Seeker I remember meeting," Megatron whispered into his audio receptor. "The one whose wings reflected streaks of starlight."

Shocked by the compliment, Starscream didn't react to the sound of Megatron's interface panel sliding open. He stared at the mech he'd hated for millennia. "You mean that from the beginning you thought-"

Megatron simply smiled and plugged himself into Starscream's port, sending a blast of raw electricity through his circuits. Unprepared for the rush of heat, Starscream screamed in pleasure. Pulling him back into his arms, Megatron slid his hands under his wings and shoulders, holding him tightly and nipping a cable in his neck.

A second burst of energy raced through Starscream, causing him to thrust his hips upward, and he cried out as warnings of imminent overload flashed through his processor. Under the current of desire, however, he sensed Megatron's presence: his strength, his determination, his arousal, and another emotion - one as powerful as his passion but not understood by Megatron himself.

Starscream understood it, though, and in that instant he knew his trine had been right. Euphoric, he crushed Megatron to him, kissing him relentlessly. Megatron responded by sending a tidal wave of energy through him, flashing heat through his entire system and causing him to arch and moan.

Megatron stilled momentarily and ran his hand over Starscream's cockpit. "Do you admit you're mine?"

The words simultaneously rang through their connection, but Starscream was too delirious to respond. He moaned as Megatron unlatched his cockpit and removed the dome, allowing cool air to rush across his overheated systems.

Megatron caressed the seam in the cockpit. "Do you admit you're mine?" he repeated. "If you want this from me, I will brook no betrayals. You will give yourself to me."

Starscream shivered at the intimate touch, and after a moment, his processor caught up with the words. "You want to . . .?" His surprise was so extreme he couldn't finish the sentence. He'd never imagined Megatron would go this far.

"I will seal your fate to mine," Megatron said, his burning gaze steady. "You will be unable to betray me ever again. Those are the terms of my truce."

"Only if you honor the oath of the Seekers' bonding ritual," Starscream replied, and connected to Megatron as he was, he listened closely to the data stream passing between them, knowing he could read his mind.

I will not abuse what is tied to my own fate, Megatron thought, although his verbal reply was a simple "I will." However, more than those words was the undercurrent buried deep within his processor, running like static below the surface: You are special.

Both overwhelmed and reassured, Starscream relaxed against the berth. "I'm yours," he whispered, willing now - and only now - to extend some genuine trust to him.

The answering wave of passion nearly overloaded him. Megatron coaxed Starscream's spark casing open, and Starscream reached up to open his lover's as well. A pulsing red sphere of energy met his gaze, and he smiled at Megatron as he lowered himself onto him.

"Megatron . . ."

"Mine," he hissed, kissing him furiously.

The sparks moved as though they possessed a will of their own and lifted from their casings, merging into one another. Through the interfacing cable and the sparks crashed wave upon wave of electricity, causing them to clutch each other and moan. Their very essences pulsed together, their senses of self washing away as their systems throbbed. And then, with a scream of pleasure, Starscream overloaded and crashed, jerking Megatron's with him.

As one they collapsed, both knocked unconscious.


Megatron watched the peaceful face of his Seeker as he recharged. Absently, he stroked Starscream's cockpit, having closed his chest and returned the dome to its rightful place. Even with his bonded in recharge, Megatron could feel a faint current passing between them, like a reassurance their sparks still hummed with life. He knew that the bond would strengthen over time, causing the risk that if one died, the other would be killed from the backlash.

Although he believed he was strong enough to survive should Starscream die, Megatron still had not meant to go so far. In fact, spark-bonding hadn't been on his mind. However, once his system had synched with Starscream's and he'd seen and felt all his turbulent emotions and thoughts, he had finally understood what Starscream wanted from him. What was more, he had seen a way to have what he wanted: Starscream loyal and by his side, forever stabilized as the efficient, cruel predator. With that thought had come a strange emotion he didn't understand, something unrelated to conquest or domination. But even without understanding it, he'd acted on it.

He did not regret the decision.

"Even in this, you will make me live up to the Decepticon name," Megatron said to the recharging form. Although he had told Starscream they couldn't fulfill each other's needs and desires, as his processor slowly analyzed and stored all the information that had passed between them, he realized his words might not be true. At the time, he had simply wanted to take what he had always secretly wanted without looking weak. Now, though . . .

Well, Megatron admitted to himself, he never let anyone take from him what he considered his, and he always protected his assets. Adding a sentient being into that equation had staggering implications, but he was unwilling to back down from the challenge.

Starscream stirred faintly, and Megatron stopped caressing his cockpit. After a moment's hesitation, however, he saw no logical reason to hide his actions, so he resumed, enjoying the feel of the smooth glass beneath his hand.

With a flash of brightening optics, Starscream awakened. He seemed dazed momentarily, then looked at Megatron and smiled. "Sorry. I don't normally stay in recharge so long after -"

Megatron put one finger on his lips, silencing him. An odd, jealous surge raced through his systems. "Don't tell me. You are mine now, and that is all I wish to hear about."

Starscream licked his finger, causing him to jerk slightly from both the shock and the pleasant sensation. "Slagger!" He laughed. "You and your compulsive need to conquer! I said I'm not a plaything to be possessed, you know."

Growling, Megatron started to rebuke him, but at the teasing wave rippling through their bond, he lost his anger. "I see you're going to remain a terrible pain in the aft."

"It's my job to keep you on track," Starscream replied, grinning. "Someone has to keep your massive ego in check."

Megatron rested his hand on Starscream's chest, over where his spark was housed. He didn't realize at first that he was leaning closer to his lips. "Do you think so, my little fool? Well, regardless, you're still mine."

"You don't know it yet, but you're mine as well," Starscream replied, amusement flowing through their bond.

Megatron started to argue, but their lips met. A mere astrosecond, and he was lost in the kiss.

Perhaps some inconveniences were worth their pain, Megatron mused as warmth flooded his circuits.


Skywarp raced into the mess hall, scanned the room, and located his target. "Hey, Soundwave!"

The navy and white mech jumped faintly, like a cornered criminal. His cassettes surrounded him at their table, each with his morning energon ration, and they looked up as the Seeker raced across the room.

"You know something, don't you?" Skywarp asked, flopping into a free chair. "I know you have to know, so don't claim you don't!"

Thundercracker had followed his bondmate into the room and sighed as he worked his way to the table in question. "Don't push it," he said.

"Don't be silly!" Skywarp propped his elbows on the table and leaned toward Soundwave in a conspiratorial manner. "Spill it. Our industrious leaders are nowhere to be found. The time has come to pay up, right?"

Thundercracker sighed again and sat by his bondmate. "'Warp, the whole room's staring."

Skywarp grinned at the crowd of curious first-shift mechs: Coneheads, Constructicons, and Cassettes alike stared at him, glee evident in their optics. He turned his grin upon Soundwave. "Spill it. Even us non-telepaths could see it coming."

"Request: impractical. Energon: scarce," the communications officer intoned.

Skywarp was not discouraged. "Come on! Even if we can't make good on all our bets, you know you'll come out ahead. If they finally got over themselves and did the deed, your bet was closest. And after it took us so long to get Shockwave to even place a bet, don't you at least want to see the 'look' on his 'face' when he finds out you beat him by a whole vorn?"

Rumble and Frenzy began cackling and poked their boss in the arm.

"Go ahead!" Rumble nearly dropped his energon in his excitement. "Tell 'em, boss!"

Frenzy was laughing too hard to form a coherent sentence. "Shockwave - shocked - priceless!"

A faint sound emanated from the normally stoic mech. "Megatron learns: we all die."

Skywarp waved one hand through the air. "No one's gonna tell. We don't want to hear Starscream's tantrum any more than we want to get our heads blasted off by Megatron's slaggin' fusion cannon."

Soundwave paused, then replied. "Time: nine joors and sixteen kliks ago."

"Yes!" Skywarp jumped to his feet so quickly his chair toppled over. "I'm second only to Soundwave! Pay up you slaggers!"

A chorus of groans passed through the room.

"I don't think I can calculate my losses with my own processor," Thundercracker said, smacking his face into his hands.

"Is that fair?" Hook asked. "Some of us were in stasis lock for four million years and others weren't. Since they were offline for so long, doesn't that affect the bet?"

"I'm gonna party, party, party!" Ramjet sang, his wings twitching with joy.

Dirge slammed his head into his table. "I'm doomed."

"Pay up!" Skywarp yelled again over the ruckus.

Rumble and Frenzy were bouncing at their creator's side. "You are gonna share your winnings with us, right?" Rumble asked.

Skywarp turned to face the impassive mech again. "Yeah, Soundwave. It's almost not fair since you're a telepath."

"Opinion: fed up with waiting. Assessment: it was about time," Soundwave replied.

"I second that!" Skywarp said, and the entire mess hall erupted into shouts of laughter.

Postscript: The bet at the end was inspired by Crimson Starlight's "Hiding the Obvious."

Thank you for all the reviews and faves! You guys have been totally awesome, so much love! And to Lady Prime and Cleargold: thanks for the beta. I appreciate your help.

Yes, this story really needs a sequel since there are still many, many things to work out in Megs and Screamer's complex relationship. I plan to write one, but I have some other story ideas to move through first. Just hang in there with me, okay?