Male Is As Male Does

Authors Note: I've noticed other authors mentioning and saying thanks to their reviewers in their authors note, and since I can't keep up with replying to all you generous peoples, that's what I'll do too! LOL Thank you to these reviewers for leaving comments on chapter 17 -Falling Right Side Up, Anasazi Darkmoon, Dragonball-Gal, TFSTARFIRE, Black Oracle, Miss CHSparkles, Plenoptic, fantasyaddict101, steelcrash, BoredTech, dglsprincess105, Jovianokamigirl, GrimlockX4, Elita One, and Jacqueline Faber.

OH! And to all you adults out there (only over 18, please, as it is a mature fic) I'd love it if you can drop by and read the fic 'Elita's Wish'by ElitasLove. It really is BRILLIANT, and I love it to bits. If you're an Optimus and Elita fan, you'll be grabbing it with both hands and never letting go. Trust me.

Chapter 18

Operations hangar, NEST, Diego Garcia, early morning....

Optimus Prime stood patiently. He was fond of General Morshower. The man could be rough with his orders, he was literal and didn't mind interjecting slang and informal words into his on-duty conversations, but he was a good and caring Leader. If something was utter shit, he said so. If something was brilliant, he said that too, in his dry humorous way. Like himself, the General was intensely interested in the welfare and morale of his soldiers. He was a commander who refused to toe the line when it came down to choosing between kissing higher level aft to make himself look good or doing something that benefited those under his command. His men always came first, his own aft be damned. He was in the army for the protection of America and being on the side of the good guys. Government bullshit didn't rate on his radar.

"So..." Morshower leaned his hands on the railing, slinging his thick but proud physique between his arms and eyeballing the huge mech. "Am I correct in saying that there will shortly be a baby Autobot loose on base?"

Optimus and Morshower were alone in the cavernous building. Prime had volunteered to inform the General of the situation with Chromia, including the mortifying titbit that it was unknown which mech – himself or Ironhide – was the doer of the deed, in exchange for Major Lennox being the one to inform Ironhide that he was now under strict orders to keep his interface and spark to himself. The man hadn't flinched at finding out that two males were teaming up with one female. Optimus had helpfully pointed out in a roundabout way that it was NOT at the same time. Different nights. Optimus guessed that while humans had short life spans, the intelligent older ones like Morshower had seen many things – believable and unbelievable - in their lives too.

In order for Morshower to fully understand what was going on, it had been essential to inform the human man about Cybertronian anatomy and physiology as well. A few more eyelid blinks than were strictly necessary had been the only outward sign that Morshower was in any way shocked.

The Autobot Commander nodded politely, "Yes. Chromia has been removed from the duty roster, and depending on how healthy and well-behaved the sparkling is, she may not be re-instated for many Earth months."

"Hmmm. I can understand that. My grandson gives my daughter one hell of a time, and he's only two years old."

Optimus was watching the General cautiously for signs of CPU overload. He'd been calm and clinical about being informed that the aliens on his base had intimate relations just like humans did, using much the same anatomical equipment and such relations between Prime, Ironhide, and Chromia had resulted in a teeny complication. An alien baby.

"Well. If you agree, I'd like to keep this quiet and just between us for the time being. Meaning, those of us who already know and can be trusted." Morshower straightened his shirt across his chest. "I don't see the point in getting the Government heavies into an uproar, and yet more men like our much loved Galloway-"

Optimus openly chuckled at that.

"-being sent our way to stick their thorny noses into things that don't involve them." Morshower was giving him a look from under his downward slanting eyebrows that meant, 'of course you agree with me, don't you?'.

"Agreed. Neither myself nor my team look forward to yet more rules and invasive scrutinisation that has nothing to do with protecting Earth and her inhabitants." Optimus was focused on Morshower, but he was also aware of a situation developing outside on the tarmac involving Major Lennox breathing far too hard and letting loose many vulgar expletives. Unfortunately, the General was soon to be made aware of such a situation also.

Ironhide let forth a roar of anger that caused every loose item in the hangar to rattle alarmingly.

General Morshower's eyes widened. He knew who that was. The big scary black bot with the weapons fetish that was prone to making his own decisions about the way orders were carried out. When Optimus shook his head slightly, the man relaxed. He had learnt to trust Prime's judgement. The tall alien was many thousands of years older than he was, and his ability to command and lead his army was on the same level as that of a heavenly being.


Optimus refused to glance over his shoulder, but via his multiple sensors he was aware of Will running for his life at top speed past the Operations hangar door, the man's thick combat boots flashing through the air at a speed Optimus was sure they hadn't been designed for. He slowly folded his thick arms over his wide chest and vented air through his outtakes. His optics tracked the interested eyes of Morshower, who had a much better vantage point than he did since Prime had his back to the action. The General's gaze went from left to right, following his favourite soldier. Then his eyes zipped back to the beginning and veered at a faster speed to watch Ironhide thunder past on two legs after his prey. Everything in the building rattled and shook from the black mechs heavy steps.

"Will he..." Morshower asked hesitantly.

"Kill him? No." Prime frowned, casually shifting his weight on hips from one side to the other so his armor glinted under the ceiling lights, "I think..."

An armored Jeep with a machine gun on top raced past, a determined Sergeant Epps at the wheel. Black man with the muscle and getaway car to the rescue. Optimus smiled. A retrieval mission was underway. A small explosion and a human scream made him immediately open a comlink to Ratchet. He knew straight away that Lennox wasn't injured or dead because he was recording his vital signs remotely, as he did with every human he was involved in missions with.

::Are you monitoring this?::

Ratchet came straight back. ::What else is there to do for entertainment on this island from the pit? Of course I am. I have also broken open a new packet of band-aids in anticipation of what Sam refers to as 'boo-boos'..::

Prime smiled, ::Good decision.::

Morshower was about to say something when his attention was taken away yet again by the Jeep Epps had commandeered careering past the hangar with Lennox in the passenger seat pounding his fist on the dashboard and yelling, "GOGOGO~!"

Epps had his foot jammed to the floor on the accelerator and he wasn't stopping for nobody, shouting, "Man, I'm goin'! I'M GOIN'! But this ain't a Ferrari!"

Optimus admired the way Ironhide threw himself into the air mid-stride and transformed so quickly in a blur of parts that his wheels hit the ground and bore him away with a roar of his massive engine before Morshower could exclaim, "What the hell is going on?!"

"Do you want the long and dirty version or the short legal version?" Optimus quipped, untangling his arms and rolling his wide shoulders.

"Uh... I, uh... oh heck with it, give me all the gory details. It can't be any worse than hearing that you have a manhood the size of my motorbike," the General answered, a slow and sneaky grin spreading over his craggy face.

Prime lifted an optic ridge, smirking, pleased that they were getting along so well, "Indeed. Shall we size up this 'motorbike' and see who is the bigger mech?"

Morshower guffawed at the same time as Ratchet came pounding at a moderate jog past the hangar door, following all the commotion and calling, "Don't forget the band-aids, Ironhide! They help stop arterial bleeders from severed limbs!"

The throaty roar of a muscle car engine and the scream of slick racing wheels over the top of the chaos Ironhide was causing made Optimus pause and look thoughtful. He took two long strides to the open building doors, leaned on the door frame and peeked outside. He nodded to himself. He stepped back just as the bright yellow form of his scout Bumblebee came running inside past his sticky-beaking Commander. In each hand he held one of his human charges, Mikaela and Sam. Both of them appeared shocked and confused. Bumblebee slid to a stop on his two wide feet and spun around in a crouch behind Optimus Prime, carefully dumping his humans behind Prime's very long legs while he transformed his arm cannon and activated all of his defence systems. Sam stood looking bewildered where he'd been planted by Bee and Mikaela just sighed and started to inspect her nails.

Prime vented air and muttered to himself. He propped one hand on his hip while he rapped Bumblebee on the head with his fist. "Bumblebee."

The crouching Camaro irritatedly swatted away Prime's hand, let forth an annoyed chirp, and kept his attention on the craziness outside being caused by a rampaging Ironhide. More small explosions that sounded like firecrackers echoed around the base. More high-pitched human screams came forth.

"Bumblebee!" Prime reached down and gripped Bee by the edge of his armor behind his neck, lifting the smaller mech up onto the tips of his pointed feet. Morshower's eyes widened at the display of casual strength by the big robot. Bumblebee squealed in surprise and swung back and forth in Prime's powerful grip with wide optics. "Bumblebee, what on Cybertron are you doing?!"

"That's what I'd like to know!" Sam spoke, waving his arms, "Why is Ironhide acting like a nutcase and trying to run over Lennox and Epps?!"

Optimus blinked down at the boy, "Just one microsecond Sam." He glanced over at Morshower, "General? Please excuse me if I talk to Bumblebee for a moment in our native language, it will make things faster and easier."

Morshower waved a hand, not bothered, "Sure."

Optimus dropped Bumblebee to his feet and immediately began emitting an ear-splitting monologue of shrills, clicks and whistles. Bumblebee's optic ridges went further and further up his forehead as Optimus went on. In the silence after Prime had ceased his speech Bumblebee stayed stock still – then he began shaking. Laughter in both recorded audio form and Cybertronian clicks poured forth from him. He leaned forwards onto Optimus Prime's immense bulk and trembled with mirth.

Optimus made a show of rolling his optics in their casings while Bee was pressed against his lower chest and laughing his head off, and reverted to English, "Yes, I did have one tiny hope that Ironhide would react the same way but as we already know-" Prime's sentence was interrupted by more bangs and roars from a very upset Ironhide, "-he has once again taken the offensive option and is hoping to fix things with explosions and death threats."

A very loud shriek that sounded like a woman - but Optimus knew to be Major Lennox - had Morshower, Sam, and Mikaela looking horrified.

The Autobot Commander relaxed, "Do not worry, Ironhide is all noise and blunder when it comes to his friends. He may be angry but he will not hurt anyone."

A VERY loud explosion and a roar from Ironhide had all the occupants of the hangar staring at Optimus like he was insane.

For the next few minutes, Ironhide, Epps and Lennox played a laughable but deadly version of 'dodgem derby' around the base, weaving, ducking and racing their way around like they were competing in some kind of a deformed alien Grand Prix. Another human shout (Optimus easily identified it as Sergeant Epps) with a much more inhuman scream (Lennox, Prime thought wryly) was accompanied by the screech of metal being abused. Ah. Ironhide had caught his little friends. Optimus glanced back at the General. The human Commander was staring out the door and leaning sideways over the platform railing with a stunned 'WTF' expression on his face.

"He... he... Ironhide just tore the roof off my Jeep!" Morshower said in disbelief. He pointed an accusing finger at Optimus Prime, saying firmly, "THAT is coming out of your account, those things are expensive."

Prime sighed, looking down at the floor and shaking his head sorrowfully, "I thought as much." He'd have to back out of all those auctions on eBay he was bidding on. Slag it. He needed a pay rise. The American military didn't pay that well.

Ironhide's heavy footsteps rattled the metal fabrication that made up the hangars walls. He came stomping into the operations room with Major Lennox held by his ankles swinging in front of him. Epps was jogging along at his heels and trying to negotiate the safe return of his best friend. Optimus turned himself sideways to keep a carrful optic on everyone in the hangar.

"Did you authorise this," Ironhide gave Lennox a mild shake; Will yelled and flailed; "to tell me to keep my hands off my Mia?"

"Someone had to tell you to!" Lennox yelled, pointing at Ironhide with a pissed expression. His violently red face was detracting from his attempt to appear intimidating, as was his shirt hanging half over his head where it had come out of his pants. "And put me down, you freaking idiot! You can't do this to me!" Will struggled to pull himself upright by grabbing bits of Ironhide's wrist.

Morshower peered closely at Will's underwear where they had been exposed by his shirt. "Lennox, what kind of salary are you on to be able to afford Calvin Klein boxers?"

Ironhide ignored the human NEST Commander and growled, glaring at Will, "Quiet, rodent. Optimus? Answer me!"

"I did indeed authorise Major Lennox to tell you that interfacing or spark merging with Chromia was forbidden. Now please put down Lennox," Optimus moved his own head partially upside down so he could get a better look at Will, the man looked like his head was going to burst, "or at least hold him the right way up." Prime straightened himself, "And if it makes you feel any less hostile, I have applied the same order to myself. The femmes are off-limits to any of us until Ratchet has some way of guaranteeing that no more sparkling surprises will be the result of our intimate relations with them."

Sam made a choked noise while Mikaela snickered. The girl had already been briefed by Ratchet on the orders that were to be given to Ironhide. She knew what was going on. Bumblebee giggled madly - Ironhide made a memo with himself to get revenge on the little bot later.

Ironhide's expression changed from 'I'm-gonna-kill-you', to 'Oh, really?'. He smirked. "Is that right? No femme gropage for you either?" With one abrupt movement he cupped his free hand under Will, uprighted him, and dumped him on his shoulder. Lennox steadied himself and looked as if he didn't think this new position was any better. He hung onto Ironhide's protruding head armor and blinked a lot while waiting for his vision and head to return to normal. His balance was totally shot after being dangled upside down for far longer than was necessary. Now he was Ironhide's parrot instead of a chew toy. Great. The Weapons Specialist crossed his arms and glared at Optimus, "I'll believe that when I start hearing noises coming from your quarters at night and no femme is in there with you."

Epps covered his face with his hands, muttering, "Oh man, I did not want to know that..."

Optimus Prime flared his armor and flashed his optics at Ironhide, rumbling strongly, "If you think I'm going to give you any help or guidance in how to self-overload yourself you have another thing coming."

General Morshower straightened himself up with as much dignity as he could muster and began briskly climbing down from the gangway, "I believe this meeting is over. Way over."

Once order had been restored, Chromia herself came quietly rolling on her single wheel over to the operations hangar. She transformed her wheel into her two split legs and stopped by the door to observe Optimus. His broad back was to her and his attention was on an encrypted uplink to the American President. She took the time to position herself in a semi-concealed position in the shadow of the doorway and watch him without interference.

He really was such a regal and awe-inspiring male. He carried his power and authority so easily. Her optics rolled over the swell of his heavy armor covering his underlying protoform and his big body, taking note of his sheer maleness and the awesome strength that lay within him. His chest was so thick and broad, carrying the weight of his wide strong shoulders, yet it narrowed down beautifully into his trim and taut waist. His legs were the longest she'd seen on any mech. His thighs were enough to make any femme groan with desperation to get her hands on them. Even his hands were well-formed and just-right. She placed her hand over the middle of her chest and looked down at herself. If this sparkling had been sired by him, if this life she now carried within her reproductive chamber turned out to be his, she would be proud and honored to be the female responsible for half of it. She would. Even though deep within her spark she knew it was Ironhide that she wished to share her life with, she would be equally happy if her sparkling had been produced by Optimus.

She lifted her head and was surprised to see Prime cocking his head over his shoulder at her, his cheekplate and jaw highlighted by the ceiling lights. He smiled briefly at her, his optics brightening happily. She returned his smile with one of her own. With a quick flash of his optical sensors, he returned his attention to the President. Chromia transformed her legs into a single wheel once more and left to find Ironhide. He would be easier to talk to now that he'd gotten all the slag out of his system. Much easier.

Two Earth months later...

Optimus Prime relaxed his backplates against the wall above his berth, keeping one long leg stretched out in front of him to support the small mass of Chromia who was lying curled up across his lap with her head snuggled on his hip plate. He stared down at the strong-sparked female who was keeping him company. The femme that may or may not be carrying his sparkling. It was all so strange yet wondrous to him to think of a new life being carefully nurtured and coaxed along within Chromia's chest, the result of him or Ironhide sharing their life force with her. He liked to think that it wasn't only Chromia lying in his lap but a tiny new life as well. He had two life essences cuddling into his armor. By every Cybertronian standard that existed, the femme should not be bearing a sparkling from them. But she was. By all the rules, it shouldn't have happened. But that was in the past...

Chromia had been alternating her recharge nights between him and Ironhide for the past few weeks. It was an awkward situation. He had protested when she had declared that she would be spending equal time with him and Ironhide and there would be no favouritism. It had been obvious to Optimus that Chromia's real love was all Ironhide's way. He didn't want Chromia feeling as if she had to continue to foster his attentions because she might be carrying his sparkling and not Ironhide's. Chromia had replied loudly and firmly that she loved both of them equally, the only difference was the type of love, and would both he and Ironhide please shut up about who would be doing what. This was her decision, not theirs.

With Ironhide smirking at the kiss-my-aft attitude displayed by his warrior femme and Optimus looking embarrassed, Chromia had marched over to the bigger mech and used whatever hand hold on his body she could get to pull the tall Autobot Commander down to her height. Then she had soundly and intimately kissed the life out of him while he was bent over at nearly forty-five degrees. When she was finished she left Optimus standing with a dazed expression on his faceplates and did exactly the same with Ironhide – the only difference being that Ironhide had tried to get more than just a kiss with his hands wandering her body and had ended up being walloped in the jaw for his trouble. Since Ironhide considered that to be foreplay, he wasn't offended.

Optimus had stoically accepted the no interfacing or merging rule enforced by Ratchet. Ironhide had been more grumpy and tetchy about it. Obviously. But the one morning when Optimus had caught Ironhide leaving his room after spending the night with Chromia, he'd seen the black mech with a broad and satisfied smirk on his faceplates – proof that Ironhide could live for a short time without sheathing his interface within a females valve or splitting his chestplates to merge his spark with hers.

The Autobot Leader hadn't been so badly off either. On the nights when Chromia was absent from his recharge berth, he'd satisfied himself the way most males did when they were alone. And the nights when Chromia was visiting? Prime decided that femmes could be a lot more inventive with their hands and mouths than most mechs gave them credit for...

Chromia had been very accommodating of both of them during her period of sparkling carrying, sharing her experiences with them and making sure they were happy too. The day when both Optimus and Ironhide had returned from a brief overseas mission covered in mud, sludge, and Primus-knows-what other crap, rolling off the plane and transforming into their bipedal modes with organic bits dripping off their soiled bodies, they had both been more concerned about Chromia's welfare than cleaning themselves off and getting refuelled. The human soldiers had quietly grinned and nudged each other over the sight of the two big mechs holding Chromia between them – one imposing male either side of her petite form, Chromia with her feet off the ground - and reassuring her and themselves about each others health.

Optimus, Ironhide and Chromia were a strange threesome, but they made it work.

"Ugh... slag it..."

Prime's attention was drawn back to the present and femme lying in his lap. "Chromia?" His hand cradled the back of her head. "Everything alright?"

The femme paused for a moment, then grimaced, the growing pain in her chest making her curl her body up into a ball on Prime's waist and thighs. "Slag it," she hissed, pressing a hand to her chest and shaking. "I think this sparkling wants out."

Optimus felt his air intakes shudder to a halt in shock. "What... n-no, it's too early, it can't be. It shouldn't be! Ratchet said-"

Chromia hissed, "And what do you know about spark-carrying, Prime? Tell that to the little one!" She grunted in pain and fought against her instincts that wanted her to open her chestplates and split her reproduction chamber to release her sparkling. It shouldn't be coming now. It couldn't come out. It couldn't! "Get me to Ratchet. Now, preferably," she demanded, and slapped her hand several times on his armored midsection for emphasis when Optimus was too overwhelmed to react, "Now, now, NOWWW!"