A/N - Alright, I'm insane. I just finished one of these, and here I go again. The prompt list is over on my LJ, link in my profile, if anyone wants to join in on the mayhem.

Prompt: With Breakdown. 'The tables have turned.'

Claimed by: _wilderness_

x-x-x

Vortex came to with the feeling that something was wrong.

He was laying on his side, scrunched up against something hard, with one arm pinned underneath him. His head and chest felt... rattled..., like he'd been caught by the shockwave from Onslaught's cannon, or standing too close when a missile hit. And he had no idea where he was or how he'd got there.

Trippy, he thought, onlining his optics and sitting up.

Or at least, he tried to. Something was obscuring his vision, and the moment he tried to move, he realized that he wasn't just laying on his arm, they were bound behind him.

"Yup, definitely something wrong," he muttered out loud.

"I told you to leave me alone," a voice said out of the darkness, sounding agitated.

"...Breakdown?" Vortex's head turned toward the noise. Well, that explained the rattled feeling and the unconsciousness. "Buddy! Wanna let me out?"

"No."

"Aw, come on, be a palhere." Vortex shifted, levering himself into a sitting position. His voice went silky, almost pleasant but with a threatening undertone that usually had Breakdown cowering. "Let me go, and I won't hold a grudge. All in good fun, right?"

"No." The refusal was short.

"What?" Vortex asked, honestly surprised by the refusal.

"No, I'm not going to let you out," Breakdown snapped. "You're not my 'buddy,' you're not my friend, you torment me and push me-"

"He-ey, that's all just friendly teasing..." Vortex was starting to feel nervous himself. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. He did the harassment and the tying up, not Breakdown! "I didn't mean anything by it, buddy..."

"Stop calling me that!" Breakdown was getting more agitated.

"It was a good joke, buddy, but I think it's time to let me out," Vortex said, feeling more comfortable the more upset Breakdown got. This was more familiar ground! "After all, it doesn't matter what you do to me now... what matters is what happens when I get loose."

Silence met his threat.

"You won't be getting out," Breakdown said quietly, sounding almost eerily calm. "I'm tired of you, watching me, following me, poking at me..." His engine hitched. "So I'm going to take care of the problem," he continued after a moment. "Don't bother trying to radio for help, I've already disabled it. Of course, they might know if I killed you, so you're going to stay right here, where I always know where you are."

A cold feeling was building Vortex's fuel lines. "Wait, you're leaving me here?"

"Yes, yes I am," Breakdown said, a strange note entering his voice. Vortex could swear he almost sounded relieved.

The beginnings of panic made his fuel pump clench. He'd spent enough time locked in a drawer on Cybertron, he wasn't going to spend the rest of his existence locked in some dump on a backward planet!

Vortex tried to heave himself to his feet, only to find that his rotors had been secured to a bar behind him. He landed back on his aft, swearing at Breakdown.

Breakdown seemed unimpressed by the display, footsteps echoing on the floor as he walked away.

There was a creak of a door opening, then a pause. "Goodbye, Vortex."

"Hello, Breakdown," cut in another voice.

"S-swindle..." Breakdown stammered.

"Swindle?" Vortex asked hopefully, turning towards the new voice.

Swindle ignored him. "Would you like to explain what you're doing with my team mate, Breakdown?"

"Nothing..." Breakdown started "I, uh, was just leaving..."

"Yes, you were. And if I catch you trying to screw with my team again, I'm going to shove my gyroblaster up your tailpipe, disable your motor functions, and weld you to a pedestal as the newest statue in Times Square for everyone to gawk at. Got me?"

"Y-yeah," Breakdown squeaked.

"Get out of my sight," Swindle growled. Breakdown scrambled through the door with a clatter.

"Gee, Stumpy, I didn't know you cared so much!" Vortex relaxed in his bonds, grinning behind his battlemask in Swindle's vague direction.

"I'm not sure why I bother," Swindle growled. "You brought this one on yourself, you know that?"

"Who, me?" Vortex asked in mock innocence, relief making him almost giddy.

"Yes, you! How far do you think you can push everyone until someone like Breakdown snaps and offs you in your sleep?"

"Pssh, he wouldn't really have done anything," Vortex insisted, happily ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

"He- you know what? I've had it with you. You can stay here until Ons figures out what the frag happened to you, for all I care." There was a metallic clang as Swindle slammed the door open and stomped out.

"Hey, Swindle, don't be like that- Swindle? Swindle! Come back here and let me out! SWINDLE!"