Title: Intermission
Pairing: Thundercracker/Skywarp (Egomaniac!clone/Coward!clone)
Rating: M
Warnings: Spoilers for Transwarped; dub-con (come on, it's Skywarp); cuffs and a little violence.
Notes: The premise was basically "the stranded clones are left alone after Blurr's escape, and Skywarp is cuffed"; then some plot and fluff snuck into it, and... it got long. (I also made some little things up that will surely be disproved by canon.)


The blue seeker landed much less gracefully than he'd have liked, barely suppressing an indignant squawk as he crashed in a boulder with his whole weight, painfully crushing his right shoulder plate and wing.

Frustrated and worked up from the fruitless pursuit, wingtips shaking in annoyance, (the small Autobot had dared outrun him, and he wasn't even a flier. Oh, he'd crush him once he got his claws on him again, he would!) he rose to his feet and ran a check on his systems, absently glancing around for his companion.

His scowl cleared slightly when his checks gave him acceptable results; no lasting damage, although his self-repairs could take a few joors to put him in condition to fly again.

And more importantly, nobody had witnessed his unfortunate landing. Especially not his purple fellow, although, he reminded himself, his opinion counted less than nothing.

Said black and violet jet was laying face-first in the dirt, still handcuffed and squirming weakly, partially in a useless attempt to get out of the restraints and partially because of the instinctive urge to crawl away from the commotion.

Thundercracker stomped over to his side and rudely nudged him with one foot. "Stop slithering like a scraplet. The paralysis should have worn off by now."

With a tiny yelp of surprise, the other looked up and, after a short hesitation that had Thundercracker seething, faticously struggled to get on his knees; everything from his posture to his optics, flitting everywhere but towards his companion's face, spoke of fright and confusion, but he seemed vaguely relieved to see him back.

"S-sorry," he twittered. Although they shared the same voice, the egomaniac thought with a grimace, their tones couldn't sound more different.

"T-Thundercracker, you're damaged," the cuffed jet timidly observed, pointing at his mangled shoulder armour, "how did that happen?"
From his wingmate's twitching optic ridge it was all too obvious that it was a dramatically wrong thing to say, but strong survival instinct apparently did not help when it came to keeping one's mouth shut. "Did the Autobot-"

Thundercracker instantly snapped at the insinuation. "Ridiculous! This is just collateral damage. Space debris. That's it."

For his nonchalant dismissal of the injury, he earned a tiny, but unmistakably awed nod. Pathetic, the admiration the useless clone had for him, although perfectly justified.

"So did you k-kill..." the purple clone made a jerky gesture with his bound hands, pointing towards where the Elite Guard and Thundercracker had taken off earlier.

"Of course not! My aim was to capture the Autobot." he huffed, waving one claw in annoyance, "someone with my excellent foresight wouldn't so quickly dispose of a possible hostage." He irritably paced back and forth, hands folded behind his back and wings still twitching lightly.

"He...got away?" The kneeling mech's question sounded completely honest, even a little bewildered. He was the first to acknowledge (and fear, and admire, and envy) Thundercracker's prowess in battle, and the fact that he'd returned angry and visibly disappointed had thrown him for a loop. TC was the strongest, or so he said (and unlike Ramjet or Sunstorm, he had some credibility in his view); the small Autobot might have been scarily fast, but there was no way he could have escaped the ruthless flier in his own element. ...right?

The blue seeker didn't need to be reminded of the recent blow to his dignity; "He ran into the sky," he snapped, looming over the other. "But we can track his energy signature with ease whenever we want," he added as an afterthought, crossing his arms and puffing out his chest a little, "as I brilliantly realized before continuing a useless pursuit."

"B-but" the other timidly interjected, as if forcing himself to try to make a point even if he knew it wasn't a smart idea, "what if he comes back to get us with reinforcements?" He was usually very much afraid of bringing up objections, but what if TC, in his overflowing self-confidence, got himself -both of them- offlined?

"They would not deploy a force during such times of rumored turmoil just to hunt down the two of us. The Autobots are not aware of how much of a threat I am." His temper flared, but he stubbornly tacked on a smug reassurance "And even if they did come, I'd be more than enough to take care of them all by myself."

"Then..." the purple jet hazarded to look up, nervously rubbing his hands together; "what do we do now? I wonder... what happened to the others? D-did M-megatron-"

Thundercracker sneered in distaste. "Who cares? Without my presence in battle they were most likely wiped out; nothing more than what they deserved."

The cowardly clone pouted miserably, but didn't talk back.

"So" Thundercracker continued, gesturing widely as he spoke, "from now on I take command; it's painfully obvious I'm the one most fit for leadership among the two of us; you will follow my orders without objections."

"Yes, but-"

"Without objections" he repeated, tone low and dangerous, "or I'll leave you right here, stranded on this piece of planetary dirt, destined to offline in the cold, most likely out of starvation." He smirked lightly. "Or, who knows, the Autobots could find you and use you as a lab specimen."

The look of pure horror on the poor clone's face told him his threat had been more than effective.

"N-no" he whined, hiding his face in his hands, "I'm afraid of outer space. And of Autobots. 'And I have an irrational fear of being left alone', his shaking, sobbing frame clearly added.

Thundercracker gave him a critical look-over, frowning at his one-day-old, formerly-pristine paintjob carelessly scratched and still encrusted with concrete in some places.

What an utterly pathetic sight.

There was no doubt the cowardly jet, despite his potential theoretically identical to Thundercracker's (a remarkably disturbing thought on its own ), wouldn't last one cycle alone. Swiftly offlined at best, or begging the Autobots to spare him and take him prisoner at worst.

Despite how demeaning any link between them could be, constant reminder of their less-than-respectable origins, (both clones of a loser), Thundercracker knew better than to waste a chance.

He could act like he could take on the world all by himself, but most of all he prided himself in his intelligence. For some unfathomable reason, the purple clone had skills he did not possess, and although such abilities were definitely wasted on such a weak spark, they'd be much more valuable if someone such as himself could indirectly put them to good use.

"In my magnanimity," he declared, a wide elegant swipe of his arms emphasizing his words, "I have decided to take you with me. We'll be deploying shortly to hunt down that blasted Elite Guard."

"You mean we're not going..." the word 'home' stuck in the purple jet's vocalizer "-back?"

Slowly, after a calculated, frightening pause, Thundercracker narrowed his optics and glared.

"Why would we?"

His unexpected monotone should have warned the frightened clone not to answer at all, but he seemed to have some pressing urge to voice what was agitating him, wise choice or not. It had to be quite the pressing matter to the poor seeker for him to speak up even in front of a glare that'd usually have him curling on himself in a corner.

"Well... we could go back to Earth a-and pick up the pieces, find the others, a-and I'm sure even Starscream would agree it's safer to regroup on the Moon, perhaps, and rethink the whole deal... I mean, he probably managed to escape even if they lost a-and I'm sure he'd take us in again. After all, we... belong with- well, to Starscream... D-don't we?" he offered, babbling in a tiny voice, confidence running out fast.

The blow came so quickly he barely had time to screech. His timid objection apparently had set Thundercracker off in the worst way, and he was swiftly backhanded by his fellow clone, without restraining an ounce of his strength.

He fell on his aft and immediately brought his arms up to cover his head, trembling so hard his ailerons were clicking.

"Let me set this straight for your slow processor, glitch." Thundercracker loomed over him, features darkened and wingtips twitching in barely restrained anger.
"We have no obligations towards our irresponsible creator. You may wish to cling to him because he's the least 'scary' individual you got to know in your ridiculously short existence, but I will not be forced to serve under another."

He stepped closer, claws raised as if to strike him again, and as his shadow fell over his form, the purple seeker whimpered and scrambled to back away, turbines clumsily scraping against the soil.
"Your weakness disgusts me. Are you afraid of finally getting out of the tyrant's grasp? Did your cage feel that safe?" he underlined every word with thick disdain, finally crouching right in front of him.

"N-n-...don't hurt me..."

The pathetic plea drew an irritated sigh out of Thundercracker, somehow halting his momentum.
He leaned forward, the cowardly clone immediately drawing his knees to his chest and shrinking away.

"If you so need to belong to someone" he hissed, plain distaste in his voice, "there's much better candidates than our failure of a creator, fool."
The implied offer probably rang too benevolent to his audios, because he added a snappy coda; "Even though you're barely worthy of my time and pity."

And in saying so he laid a clawed hand on his cockpit, clenching his fingers just enough to make the glass squeal, and the black jet with it.

Just as abruptly, he stood up and turned his back on him, stalking towards a boulder and adjusting himself in a stiff half-laying position against it.

"Now, recharge."

Still sprawled on the ground, the other tilted his head in confusion, but didn't dare saying a word.

"We will rest for a short while to replenish our energies" Thundercracker condescendingly explained, deliberately not mentioning his shoulder and wing in sore need of self-repairs. "So make yourself comfortable. It's an order."

"But I'm still-" the other lifted his cuffed hands meaningfully, but the blue jet had already offlined his optics.

"And be silent when I want to recharge."

Sighing lightly, the purple clone sat there where he was and meekly started picking pieces of concrete out of his joints.

Thundercracker onlined slowly, allowing his system to run thorough checks once again; something was off, but not exactly threatening.

With gleeful satisfaction, he realized his self repairs had finished ahead of time, restoring him to perfect functionality. Not that he'd expected any less from his body.

Then, optics lighting up, he noticed the change of atmosphere that had disturbed him in recharge; something his own size, cold but functioning, was propped against his undamaged shoulder.
His processor faltered for a click in pure disbelief. How dare he-...

The purple jet, deep in recharge and clicking softly every now and then, had crawled to his side and leaned against him, bound hands between his own legs and knees drawn up to his chassis, a completely idiotic expression on his scrunched up faceplates.

How he managed to look frightened and jittery even in recharge, not even Thundercracker's superior intellect could grasp.

For a moment, he felt outraged that the other had considered him less scary than sitting alone, and had gotten closer on his own volition; that in itself was disconcerting, but upon thoughtful consideration, he figured there could be benefits from gaining his unconditional trust.

Or submission. Either or both worked just fine for him.

He thwapped the recharging clone on the back of his head, definitely more harshly than it'd have been necessary to wake him, and glared hard at him.

Optics flickering online in a startled blink, the black seeker yelped and barely regained his bearings in time not to slam his face against the ground again.

"Wake up and get off me, glitch head." Thundercracker's voice was as snappy as ever, but for some unspeakable reason, it came out less threatening than he wanted.

...still more than enough to make the other jolt and tear himself away, scrambling to his knees and nervously tweaking his hands, all the while glancing from side to side as if looking for an escape route.

"I-I was cold," he squeaked in explanation, face crooked in a lopsided smile that, more than apologetic, looked like a fear-induced-paralysis had gripped his faceplates.

"Mechs don't feel cold."


"Seekers don't feel cold." Thundercracker leaned back against the boulder and crossed his legs, sparing him a disdainful side-glance.

In truth, while he sat in place twiddling his thumbs and picking at rubble, keeping his optics on Thundercracker to make sure he was still recharging, the coward had been snapped out of his quiet vigil by a small meteor shower that had colored the sky and made him fumble in alarm.
Fearing an attack, a long-distance ray, an explosion, or the end of the world, he'd clung to the closest functioning thing grasping for a vague semblance of security.
And then he'd stayed, because when he was offline Thundercracker wasn't that threatening, and the soft hum of his systems was almost (almost) comforting in the dark silence of space.

The purple clone sank a little in his shoulders under the inquisitive glare, not daring to explain himself because the truth was just as pathetic as the farfetched lie he'd come up with.

"S-sorry, it didn't mean anything, I'm sorry it made you mad, I won't do it again, TC." he mumbled, too late realizing that, in his frantic chattering, he'd slipped. Horribly.

He froze on the spot, immediately noting Thundercracker's frame stiffening at the nickname, and (as he did at least a dozen times every solar cycle, if his single cycle of online life was anything to go by) wished he'd never been built.
He'd so get scrapped.

The slip had been just an accident, brought forth by his drowsy processor and his instinctive panic at the smallest thing; he knew how much the other valued his dignity though, and knew he wouldn't like it one bit.

When, during their flight towards Earth, Thundercracker had informed the other clones of his chosen name, and demanded they'd use it with due respect, reactions had been various.
While two of their siblings, in different tones, said that of course they'd remember it with great pleasure, the orange jet adding something sugary about 'the sheer power it exuded'. Starscream had snorted dismissively, the femme clone had shrugged with a 'whatever' and the cowardly clone had said nothing (not that anyone expected him to).
Between himself, though, he'd mulled it over. He liked the sound of it, but it was a little intimidating. Coupled with Thundercracker's overbearing personality, it made him definitely too scary for his liking.
It wouldn't be said that the cowardly little clone wasn't resourceful, when it came to ways to escape something frightening (reality included).
Reassuring himself that nobody would know, he had started thinking of the blue jet by the shortened, somewhat childish nickname, 'TC'. Much less scary than his full designation.

It'd worked, so far. But now he was completely, utterly busted, Thundercracker's angry, outraged optics stabbing into him; shrinking on himself, he tried to crawl away to apologize again from a safe distance, but his wingmate recovered quickly, and snagged him by the chin with a deep scowl.

"Why, you..." he began in a cutting hiss.

"Ahh! Sorry!" His victim waited, shaking in his grasp.


"I'm sorry, I'm-"

"You need a name, I can't keep calling you 'worthless scraplet'. It's taxing."

Was that a hint of amusement in TC- Thundercracker's voice? But he wasn't smiling. He never did.

Uncertain, the purple clone squeaked out a "n-name?", hands clenching nervously in their restraints, optics flitting over the other's face, so scarily close he almost feared a headbutt.

True enough, he didn't have a name: Starscream simply labelled them with numbers (in the hundreds, which made him wonder in horror what had happened to the previous prototypes).
While Thundercracker's first order of business upon gaining consciousness for the first time had been thinking up a 'glorious' designation,(or rather the third, after proclaiming his genius and berating the purple jet for his cowardice), his scaredy fellow hadn't really dared picking a name for himself, just in case their creator already had chosen one and got mad at him. He had kept quiet, and nobody had cared to ask.


"W-what?" his head jerked up in surprise.

"I'll call you that. You can thank me now."

"B-but... that name..."

"-is too god for someone like you? Maybe. But don't question my choices." Thundercracker shook him by the chin.

With a tiny 'eep', Skywarp nodded fervently in his hold.

Despite how scared he was of the punishment his companion could dish out at any moment, a weak, tiny smile made his lips twitch.
Thundercracker had considered him worthy of a name. He'd chosen it himself. He would... call him by that name.

A minute but unmistakable shudder, for once not of fear, ran down his spine strut.

"T-thank you, T-Thundercracker."
He restrained himself from calling him 'TC' again, because the blue jet's reaction had been enough to discourage him, but did his best to show gratitude, lowering his gaze submissively, weak smile still in place. Some minor fear nagged at the back of his processor though. And if he was right...

"Where... where does that name come from? N-not that I don't like it!" He quickly waved his bound hands, causing Thundercracker to let go of his face. "I like it very much! I do, so please don't think for an astrosecond that I-"

Thundercracker grinned knowingly, and oil froze in Skywarp's ducts, effectively silencing his stammering. TC never smiled, this was definitely a bad turn of events. Very very bad.

"You should know. Don't insult my genius by playing dumb." An icy glare. "No matter how natural it may be for your inferior processor."

"I-I-I absolutely... is it a...a joke because of that time I glitched in mid-air and crashed? I don't see how..."

"Shut up!"

Skywarp yelped and scrambled back a few feet, hands held protectively in front of him.
"It doesn't matter! You don't have to explain, I like the name as is! Honestly! D-don't punch me..."

Indeed, Thundercracker had raised his arm, but instead of lashing out he clawed down on Skywarp's wing, gripping its edge; the poor jet shrieked, more in fright than in actual pain (the sting was mild, compared to the full blow he'd received earlier).

"N-no, please, y-you know I dent way too easily! N-not my wing!"

Thundercracker shook him lightly by the appendage, claws clenching in warning.
"Silence, glitch head. You have an ability I crave. Why it was wasted on you, I don't know, but you will wield it according to my orders and it'll get us out of here."

Skywarp didn't have the guts to speak, but gave him the huge, round optics of one who absolutely, sincerely didn't know what he was talking about, and couldhepleaseletgoofhiswing.
That didn't sit well with the blue jet, irritation immediately flaring up in his optics; he hadn't planned on Skywarp denying altogether, especially not when they'd be alone.

"I've seen you, Skywarp" he hissed, looming over him. "To dodge that shot, when Starscream snapped at us and Ramjet said he knew how to use nullrays. You suddenly weren't there any more, and reappeared on the other side of the room. And the air where you should have been was crackling."

Skywarp stared, horrified. "That was... I-I don't know what that was! I r-really don't.."
But the other wasn't listening, crouching in front of the frightened clone and digging his claw tips in the tender expanse of his wing, going on with a deadly half-sneer.

"So what was it? Did that fool Starscream experiment on your flight protocols and screw something up?" The more his emphasis grew, the softer his voice turned, crackling with barely implied menace.

"Did he install a rudimental transwarp device and then give up on you ever being able to use it right?"
Skywarp grit his dental plates and shook his head, low whines escaping his vocalizer. He didn't know, he didn't know.

"Or did your fragment-" Thundercracker poked one finger against his comrade's cockpit, scratching the glass with a grating squeak. "Pick up on your disgustingly coward nature upon giving you life, and granted you the ultimate escape device?"

A throb of heat ran through Skywarp's core, along with mad fear.
"I have nothing of the sort!" he struggled to get the words out, hands clenching uselessly in their restraints. "I-I am absolutely powerless, I don't know what you're talking about... so p-please let me go!" he tugged weakly to take his wing out of the other's grasp, but only got a firmer grip in return, his companion's claws sinking in the outer plating and pain sending his receptors ablaze.

"There is only one reason I didn't hit Ramjet when he lied to me," Thundercracker observed conversationally, "and that's because he wasn't even worth the effort of punching him."
So... Skywarp was?
As scary as it sounded, and as much as he feared violence, being singled out among his siblings -for whatever reason- by TC himself poked at something deep concealed in his artificial spark. The long hidden, never developed speckle of pride a coward had no use for.

"I" he trembled powerfully, "I don't know how it works. I can't control it." Thundercracker would understand. He would appreciate his admission, wouldn't he?

The triumphal grin on the blue jet's face instantly choked that tiny, hopeful thought.

"You are a teleporter. I was right, as expected."

Skywarp freaked out. "I'm not! I'm-!"

"You admitted it yourself." Thundercracker lowered his face to glare at him, one inch from his nose component.

Skywarp's engines were rumbling uneasily, his limbs shaking. He wanted to run away. He was more terrified that he'd ever been, not even when Starscream had sent them against Megatron, not when the Autobots were shooting at him.
"P-please" he whimpered, trying to pull back and wincing when TC's claws on his wing prevented him. "It's not an ability, it's a glitch! I can't use it-!"

Thundercracker snarled and narrowed his optics. "You lack the willpower to wield it correctly, but I have enough for both. Just do what I say and get a slagging grip."

Skywarp shivered and whimpered, a flow of hiccupping jumbled words, pleading and pleading not to make him do it, teleporting was so frightening, it'd only happened once when he'd been scared out of the blue, and what if it went wrong and they got lost or or or separated-

Thundercracker slapped him sharply, completely unfazed, and the cold sting interrupted Skywarp's tirade; bringing both shaky hands up to his cheek, he realized with perfect clarity that TC would not change his mind. It was a lost cause.

After a tense instant of absolute stillness, he shrieked a desperate "No!" and pushed Thundercracker away, forcefully tearing his wing out of his companion's grasp in a frenzied terror, Thundercracker's claws leaving long scratches into it.

Scrambling on his hands and knees, he tried to put some distance between them, processor on loop and unable to think anything other than "must get away' (warping was scarier, scarier than anything), only to be mercilessly grabbed from behind and pushed in on the ground.

Thundercracker was right there, and his vents were heaving. In fury or surprise, Skywarp couldn't tell, so he assumed the worst, squirming and wailing to get him off of his back and begging not to be offlined; they wrestled briefly, pure fear moving Skywarp and making him put up some semblance of resistance, a strangled screech leaving him when the other pressed him down with his whole weight, their cockpits grinding together with a sickening squeak.

It was just a matter of seconds before the coward gave up, face pressed into the dirt and arms painfully crumpled beneath him.

Hissing, the blue jet grabbed his cuffed hands, getting him on his knees with a rough pull and trapping him against himself, one arm locked around his midsection. Skywarp wailed and arched, trying to shake him off, but Thundercracker didn't budge, pressed heavily against his back, close enough to talk in his audios with a strangely static, roughened voice.

"Why are you trying to get away from me?"

Skywarp sobbed hard, knowing no explanation would hold, and weakly tried to wrench his hands free, body heating and shuddering in the panic rush.

"...Why, when you were the one clinging to me just earlier?" Thundercracker's voice, as malicious and angry as it sounded, had a weird strain to it.

With the tiny part of his processor not yet overridden by fear, Skywarp realized he wasn't the only one affected by the struggle; Thundercracker's vents were whirring as fast as his own, the soft rumble of his systems vibrating through his plating from where he was so tightly pressed against his back.

"I-" he squawked, trying to string together a complete sentence "-I don't want to warp, nngh- will get us offlined- can't do it..."

A dry chuckle rumbled against the side of his helmet.
"That is fear talking," TC's hand traced the top of his cockpit with mock gentleness, semi-bent claws scratching it softly, as if soothing a wounded Earth animal.
"But I know your core twitches with energy every time a transwarp signal is close. I know it fluttered like mad when the space bridge activated."

Skywarp's wings quivered, a low whine surging in his vocalizer. He had no idea of what the closeness was doing to him, other than exponentially increase his fear and kick his body heat up a notch or two, but Thundercracker, at least on an instinctual level, realized, and decided to push further.

"Wouldn't you want the confidence to warp to your spark's content?"
One hand crawled down Skywarp's side, tracing a hip seam, firmly stroking his thigh; the purple jet's leg trembled, and he weakly tried to shift away from the touch, with no result.

"Or" Thundercracker hissed, anger rising right along with his tone "is your spark too weak to even wish for anything that isn't hiding in a hole" he underlined the point by reaching for his crotch plate and digging painfully into his hip joint, "like the last of Autotobot grunts?"
Skywarp gave a shrill cry, trying to close his legs and push himself forward, away from the uncomfortably intimate, prodding touches.

"I bet that's it" the egomaniac snapped, voice charged with irritation and a tinge of breathlessness.
The hand playing on Skywarp's cockpit turned vicious, claws tearing at the invisible seam where his canopy parted, scraping at it without regard and applying force until the glass shrieked, causing its owner to jolt and whine pathetically.
"Ahh--! T-T-Thundercracker d-don't break it pl-please!"
The other paid him no heed, digging his claw in until Skywarp, terrified by the sound of cracking glass, let his cockpit open with a choked cry, bracing himself on the ground on unsteady, cuffed hands.

Thundercracker just leaned on him with his entire weight, blindly grasping at the insides of his canopy, claws roughly forcing seams. "Worthless" he rasped, "useless spark", stabbing his claws between protective platings and forcefully pushing them aside.

Skywarp howled in shock, and desperately tried to pull himself out of his grasp, a broken streak of pleas for mercy going completely unheard, his whole body thrumming with tension.

Under the searching, invading hand, the innermost plating finally gave away, and Skywarp's spark throbbed, exposed to the cold, creating a pool of dim light on the ground below him.
Warnings lit up on his screens, but the inner surge of terror was immensely stronger than any open-chamber alert.

"N--n-not my-" his gasp was more out of fear than anything, knowing to be completely vulnerable to Thundercracker's prying servo and not daring to move one inch, afraid he'd squeeze his spark into nothingness.

"What use do you even have for it?" With a static grunt, the blue seeker dipped his fingers in the flickering corona, his other hand gripping Skywarp's hip painfully.
The black clone arched as if thunderstruck, back and wings bumping clumsily against Thundercracker's chassis, his core immediately sizzling at the intrusion and an awkward bolt of heat spiraling through his innards.

"I should just-" the egomaniac's hand clenched a little, making Skywarp's entire body jolt with a terrified wail. "N-noooo! D-don't-ah! Don't offline meeeee-!"

Oh, it was too easy. Drunk in sheer power, caging that shivering wreck of a coward under his own body, he literally held his life in his hand, wrist-deep in his spark chamber.
Optics wide in euphoria, he growled in Skywarp's neck and bit down on a wing, taking in the heat coming in waves off the shaking black body.
Slowly, slyly, he moved his fingers impossibly soft on Skywarp's spark, listening to the peaks and gasps intermitting his wailing to know exactly where to touch.

Skywarp had stopped processing coherent thought, unable to receive anything but basic signals about his climbing temperature, his systems glitching, and the frightening bursts of pleasure threatening to melt his core.
He didn't know why Thundercracker was doing this to him, or what this was (other than a death threat), or why there seemed to be a growing, electric ache in his entire body, thrumming at the same rhythm of his spark, pulsing madly against Thundercracker's claws.
But he felt it surge and snap, and suddenly he was stiffening against the other's chassis, letting out a high-pitched mewl, a sound he'd never made before, his entire frame crackling with energy from head to turbines as a minute but bright wave of light washed over him.

He slumped forward, his arms and knees no longer able to support their combined weight; his inner plating snapped shut on its own before Thundercracker could fully take his hand away, earning a flinch from the stoic seeker; he yanked his hand out, causing them both to grunt in pain, although Skywarp's protest was barely audible, utterly drained and temporarily seizing up as he was.
The blue jet let him collapse in a heap, critically observing his offended fingers. A drop or two of oil were leaking from them.

He flipped the black clone, earning a weak whimper as Skywarp tried to reboot his systems enough to sit without falling to the side.
"I didn't terminate you," Thundercracker pointed out, vents still heaving harshly, "so I expect you to show some gratitude."

"Ah- An-..." Skywarp was about to croak out a meek agreement, but he found two oil-smeared fingers pushed in his mouth and almost choked on them.
"Messy scraplet." Thundercracker rumbled, and the tone was nearly not as biting as the words.

A click later, the blue seeker was standing tall over him, nudging his bound hands with one foot. "Hands in the air," he ordered, voice tinted with static; Skywarp squirmed, uneasy, and shakily brought his arms over his head.

The subsequent shot exploding right between his wrists almost made him jump out of his armor, the short-distance blast being, for once, truly dangerous enough to warrant his frightened reaction; he only realized he could now freely hide his face in his arms after having done so, curling up protectively around himself.

"Get up," Thundercracker's tone was sorely impatient, and when he gripped his arm to drag him towards the boulder they'd recharged against, Skywarp noted how hot his plating was. Just like his own a bit earlier, if not more.

He was unceremoniously thrown to sit on the ground, and lifted inquisitive, scared optics on his fellow. "W-what are you...?"

Thundercracker shot him a heated glare, kneeling between his legs and swatting them apart. "What does it look like, dimwit?"

Skywarp stared, optics bright and worried, because he had no idea of what it looked like, at all.

The blue jet let out an exasperated growl, wings hiking up in frustration. "I'm not done", he said matter of factly, stamping his hand on the black jet's cockpit.
"B-b-but Thunder-eek!" Skywarp squealed, trying to cover his fuselage with his newly freed hands, only to have them roughly shoved aside.

"Open up." The blue seeker's digits rapped on the slightly cracked glass, no violence necessary to perfectly convey the unspoken 'or else'.
Optics huge, clearly terrified by the prospect of having to expose himself again, Skywarp sobbed and did as he was told, fearing this time the other would smash his canopy for good.

Glass sliding aside with a minute creak, he revealed his inner plating, sparkchamber still sealed shut, curling up a little on himself and hoping that'd be enough, fervently wishing not to have to go through that humiliating groping again (no matter how shockingly pleasurable the consequent release had been).

Thundercracker just stared for a click, not sure of how to deal with the strong, magnetic-like pull yanking at his spark and cabling, electricity buzzing softly in his audios; he trusted his superior intellect would help him figure out. Besides, he'd felt something that clued him in while groping the insides of Skywarp's cockpit just earlier.

Systems rumbling softly, he leaned forward and started tracing the seams and creases, inch by inch, trying to find again what he'd inadvertently brushed before.
Skywarp tensed and squeaked, knees inadvertently digging in his companion's sides while he tried to shrink on himself even more. "T-Thunder-cracker...?" It tickled a little, and it didn't hurt, but at any moment he feared the blue jet could just claw at his insides again.

The firm, exploring fingers didn't force anything out of place this time though, and the surprisingly painless, intimate touch, coupled with the feedback warmth from Thundercracker's remarkably heated frame, had him squirming and shuddering and squeaking in something not entirely related to fear.

"Stay still!" The blue seeker growled in his face, making him yelp and freeze for a second, but his annoyance was clearly not directed at Skywarp himself.

There was a deeply frustrated frown on his heated faceplates, claws mercilessly rummaging in the insides of Skywarp's cockpit. Their creator hadn't shared memories of this kind with them, nor they had any experience of their own to learn from, having onlined one solar cycle earlier, but... they were perfect replicas of the original Starscream, at least in body, so he had to have given them a-

-ah. There it was.

With a grunt of triumph, he unraveled a long, thin cable from the side of Skywarp's chest cavity, more roughly than the poor clone would have liked, and glared at its plug.
Next to the cable's base there was a small port that would probably have fit it; he traced one claw over it, and Skywarp arched off the ground with a shocked gasp.
It didn't take a genius of his caliber to draw the right conclusions...

He yanked his own cockpit open and confidently dug into it, his feral grin widening upon finding an identical cable; in a single, swift move, he pulled it out and plugged it into Skywarp's cockpit with a satisfying click, electricity immediately sizzling around the point of connection.
The black jet cried out, hands shooting up to cling to Thundercracker's arms with sudden force; amidst the garrulous streak of half-moans and broken words flowing from his vocalizer, he sobbed something resembling a "TC, please", even if neither knew nor cared for what he was pleading for.

In another situation, Thundercracker would have snarled at the nickname and slapped his hands away, but now he was too engrossed in the weird, unsettling, pleasurable feeling of being drawn towards Skywarp through that flimsy connection, electricity pulsing in time with his spark and travelling through the cable in irregular waves.

Skywarp beneath him writhed and moaned in earnest, and a tinge of pride swelled up in Thundercracker's spark; the purple clone was always vocal when it came to whining and crying, but this crooning was definitely not in fright.

"Oooooooh TC-!" he crowed, claws grasping at his arms, shoulder plates and wings, trembling and scratching lightly, "T-too much!"
And even if his words were mindless and tinted with static pleasure, he was right. Somehow, the exchange was unbalanced, and with Thundercracker pouring his energy into him without an outlet, he'd probably overload his circuits in seconds if he didn't burn something first.

Struck by intuition, the blue seeker gripped Skywarp's neglected cable, yanking it out a little more (earning a surprised cry from him), and blindly reached for his own cockpit, finding ports exactly where Skywarp had them and swiftly plugging him into one.
The reaction was immediate: with everything clicking into place, a sense of vertigo gripped his spark, as if free-falling in the connection, and they both cried out at the sudden rush of energy flooding freely through the loop, shaking them up to the wingtips.

Skywarp's words were completely lost in screechy moans, optics snapping online, brighter than they'd ever been, his legs tightening around Thundercracker's sides, ripples of electricity shaking him like a leaf. He circled TC's neck in a frantic grip, fiercely holding onto him, and all the other could do to maintain a sense of dominance was to hold him as well, encircling his chassis in an even tighter hold.

Overloading, Skywarp arched off the ground and clung to him for dear life, scraping against his chassis with enough friction to create sparkles.
They both collapsed to the ground, still tangled, and even if, upon rebooting, the first things he was aware of were the shaky arms latched around his neck, Thundercracker allowed him to stay, for the breem or so he pretended to be offline, one arm still draped around his midsection.

Soon, too soon a timid voice ruined his afterglow.
"That was scary."

Thundercracker onlined a single optic, crankily, not wanting to move yet.

"B-but in the end it was ok!" Skywarp added jumpily, claws ticking nervously against his companion's chest.

The only response was a dark scowl. "Ok" wasn't what Thundercracker wanted to hear in regard to his brilliant deduction on the mechanics of interfacing.

"W-why are you angry? I ..."

"From now on," Thundercracker interrupted, voice raspy but commanding, "you'll stop saying things are scary before even trying them."

Skywarp fidgeted, dread filling him again; it was obvious that the previous topic of discussion was back on the table. "B-but..."

"There is no reason to be afraid," TC's voice took on a gruff tone, and Skywarp almost reeled back when his companion's claws circled the back of his helmet not to crush, but to stroke lightly. "Not when I am around."

Too surprised to reply, the purple jet just stared, torn between shrinking away from the touch and, despite himself, leaning into it, but all too quickly the clawed hand was clutching the back of his head roughly, tilting it upwards, all reluctant gentleness gone.

"So try to make yourself useful or I won't hesitate to drop you like a dead weight."

Skywarp shuddered, a feeble squeak leaving his vocalizer. "No! P-please."

Thundercracker smirked at that. The poor glitch was the one who could actually leave him right there and warp away, but the ridiculous fear ingrained in his processor blinded him to his own potential.
All the better to secure himself an obedient, useful subject, he gleefully told himself.

He kneed Skywarp in the hip to move him and rose to his feet, fastidiously dusting himself off. "Now, get us off this planet."


"Of course, you dolt."

Skywarp trembled, optics glued to the ground, and a horrible, tense moment went by with neither of them saying anything, one too busy wrapping his shivering arms around himself, the other frowning in deep thought.

"Skywarp," the blue seeker addressed him evenly, forcing himself not to let any disdain slip in his tone. "I trust you can do this."

Coming from him, it completely silenced any protest. Skywarp stood weakly, his legs still unsteady. Thundercracker's threat to abandon him was scary, but his praise roused something entirely different inside of him.

"W-w...where to?"

Thundercracker smirked. "Track that Elite Guard's energy signature. It'll lead us to their HQ, assuming that's where the glitch is now."

Skywarp drew a long, deep intake of air while walking up to his companion, then looked at him for a click, sensing his impatience, and countered with a tiny, apologetic smile of his own.

"Y-you'll have to hold my servo, then."


Oh, TC, you want to make him co-dependant but will SO end up emotionally involved instead. (Not that he'll ever admit it.)

(Oneshot until/unless inspiration strikes again.)