The final chapter, the final part of which was written for Phoenix13… Of course, with a warning for mechslash.
My sparkling, who started out as a bare sliver of light that had to cling close to my own spark to survive, who grew into a being that could fit into my hands and wanted to be sung to before recharge, who now stands with his first kill at his feet and his weapons trained on Megatron as his second, sags at my command. I'm running, unashamed of the desperation in my strides and only aware of Ironhide's feet pounding alongside mine from the close crackle in our bond. Ratchet, Prowl and Bumblebee are several strides behind us, giving me space.
Megatron seems to realise that space is a good thing to have at the moment, taking the opportunity of Tempest's averted stare to move backwards and closer to Soundway. Starscream watches him like a hawk, one hand still reaching out to my son. "About slagging time you got here, Prime."
Still meeting my optics, Tempest waits for me to reach him before he ducks his head. The lyrical sound of my name as his Sire in Cybertronian comes like a balm. "You want me to do this. It's the only way he'll leave me alone."
My chassis aches from my parts grinding against each other. "I don't want you to do this. You weren't born to kill, or to stop our war."
His armour flexes just like Ironhide's does when he's frustrated. "Then why am I here?"
"That's for you to figure out," Starscream snaps, glancing back over his shoulder. "Slag it, Tempest, you've only been online four months."
Ironhide shifts with the weight of his cannons, though some slither of control is stilling his trigger. I can feel how he feels as a stale violent heat through our bond. It's taking a lot of restraint for him to be this calm. "You've taken your first spark, Pest. Shown that you're more than capable of doing so."
I look to the other creator of our sparkling. "Is this what you wanted for him, Megatron? Because he'll keep going if you don't leave him in peace."
He hesitates and then his face twists into a smile like the one he gave as he put Tempest's spark into my chassis. "We could make another one, Prime. One each."
I've pulled out my gun without thinking to, but Tempest gets a shot off first. Clearly Ironhide didn't show any restraint when outfitting his new body. Megatron stumbles back a step, shock thick on his features and only increasing when he's charged into. They roll, a fast blur of grey and silver pounding into each other across the sand. As suddenly as it starts, however, it's over, simply because Soundwave and I have stepped in and dragged both mechs back.
Tempest has a sizeable tear across the back of his cannon, Megatron's chassis has been gouged, though he doesn't seem inclined to continue fighting. I suspect that as his creator he cannot actually hurt Tempest except in self defense. I lower my weapon. "Leave, Megatron, and give this up."
Soundwave tips his head to Megatron, releasing his arms. "Optimus Prime's suggestion is efficient. Probability of Tempest joining Decepticons: marginal. Predicted losses for attempting to force realignment: substantial."
I can't see his optics but I feel something warm pass over me from the stoic mech, buzzing sideways to Ironhide. We both shift a little but still as Soundwave speaks again. "New sparkling created between Optimus Prime and Megatron impossible due to spark bond. Suggested course of action: retreat."
Ironhide's vents grunt with his smirk. "There you go, Megahead. From the mouth of your own soldier."
Megatron looks between us with a silent growl twisting his mouth, finally settling on Tempest. "This isn't over. We'll meet again, mechling."
His cannon remains extended. "I'm counting on it."
A stillness falls across us, a stalemate as to who will walk away first. To my surprise it's Barricade who turns away, stalking back in the direction of the Nemesis with his weapons cycling back into place. Megatron sneers again before finally moving, Soundwave falling into an accompanying pace immediately afterwards.
Thundercracker and Skywarp remain, retracting their own weapons after a nod from Starscream and turning their gaze to me. Evidently they've followed Starscream to join the Autobots, though whether it's out of allegiance to their aerial commander or my son I cannot tell. I hope for the former. My priority is Tempest, though. "Are you alright?"
He cannot look at me, frozen in place. "I'm sorry, Sire."
I close the space between us and rest a hand on his shoulder, drawing his gaze up. "No you're not."
A thin smile, the red glow of his optics dimming. "No, I'm not. But I should be."
"You were defending yourself. Discouraging Megatron from coming for you again."
"Discouraging," Ironhide mutters from the side, scuffing his foot. I send an admonishing pulse through the bond as Ratchet shoves past him, moving to examine the welds Starscream has placed where his weapons and radio had been torn off.
A glance about confirms that Megatron is still moving back to his ship, and a moving shadow to the North looks distinctly like Brawl in his alt mode heading back as well. This isn't the environment to sort all this out, even with a shaky sort of ceasefire in place.
I squeeze Tempest's shoulder, offering a smile to tell him that it's alright. That I understand what he's done. "We'll return to the Base and talk it through. Don't fear my feelings for your actions today. I'm only glad that you're safe and coming home with us."
Tempest nods though his systems are still slurred, the gash across his cannon sparking slowly. He's losing energon, but not enough to mind. His foot shifts to gently nudge at Blackout's motionless chassis. "What do we do with him?"
As I anticipate, Ironhide moves past us and flexes his hands over the body, optics narrowing in a scrutinizing sweep above a broad grin. "Remove his Gatling cannon and missile launchers for a start. Can never have enough of those."
Tempest rolls his optics as I do mine, a chittered laugh seeping quietly from his speakers. It lets me recognise him again as my sparkling. Prowl comes to our sides and lays a hand on our shoulders, brow arched. "Come on, let's leave the weaponry whore to his scavenging. I for one could use a few cubes of High Grade… And I think Tempest could as well."
"Old enough to take down a Con, old enough for a cube of High Grade," Ironhide grunts from Blackout's shoulder, his hands prying apart metal plates.
"I'd agree," Starscream adds, sliding his hands onto his hips and giving me a very smug look.
My sparkling grins and rubs the back of his neck. I can't help but smile, knocking Tempest's arm. "One Cube. I don't care what you've been doing – you're still a youngling."
In the Medbay, Ironhide had surprised Starscream by offering to help the Seeker reattach his weapons and was now sat beside him on a berth, working on an arm laid across his lap. Ratchet was the best when it came to the business of repairs, but for installing and calibrating weapon systems, Ironhide was the mech to go to. Starscream watched him work, noting the little tricks that came through experience and confidence with the complicated circuitry and finding himself with a new admiration.
Prowl was laid back on the neighbouring berth, killing time reading a report whilst he waited for Ratchet to finish with Tempest. Optimus was stood against his sparkling's berth, a hand cupping the back of his head as it rested against his spark chamber. In a display of his age, Tempest had turned out to be a bit scared of medical procedures. His Sire's presence was the only thing keeping him still under Ratchet's welding arc on his back.
Conversation had been quiet and infrequent despite Optimus's best efforts to take Tempest's mind off of the repair. "You could have your own quarters now if you like. I think you're a bit too large for your old berth in mine."
Tempest shook his head against the red chassis, optics dim. "I don't want to recharge on my own."
Optimus hummed, shifting his fingers against his son's helm. "Then stay with me for a while. It's what would have happened if we hadn't had to…"
"Yeah, I know," Tempest murmured, shuttering his optics. After a moment he shifted back to look up at the tall mech, freezing at Ratchet's stern click to keep still. "But you and Ironhide are just bonded and I think you need the space more than I need to be there. I'm not reliant on you enough to justify it."
Once again, Optimus marvelled at the intelligence of his sparkling that far outreached his age. "If you're certain. What is it you'd want to do instead?"
Tempest's gaze flickered past his shoulder to look over Prowl's relaxed form. "I was wondering about staying with Starscream. If he doesn't mind. I think all the Seekers are going to end up with rooms in shared quarters anyway."
"And you'd like to be close to kindred sparks, I understand. I'm sure he'd be more than happy with that arrangement if you asked." In fact Optimus was entirely certain that Starscream would allow it. He was very fond and protective of the mech, and the opportunity to keep watch over him like that wasn't one he'd see pass. That and the pair had more than a few things in common.
Something cracked beneath Ratchet's welder and Tempest jerked, stiffening when the medic braced a hand on his shoulder to rub the solder smooth with his thumb. Optimus touched a thumb to the mech's jaw to get his attention. "Your alt form suits you."
Despite his obvious discomfort, Tempest smiled. "I wasn't too sure until I got into the air. And then it was just... I can see why Starscream volunteers for the long range patrols."
"You'll not be doing any of those for a good long time," Optimus told him flatly in a tone that broached no objection. "You're not a soldier yet."
Tempest frowned, tipping his head. "Sire, I'm in an adult body and -"
"And yet are still preciously young," Optimus cut in with a smile. He straightened. "As your Sire and Prime, therefore, I'm ordering you to spend as much recreational time as Bumblebee and the other Bots can spare enjoying yourself. I took away your innocence to keep you safe, put you in a body designed to fight. I will not take away your childhood."
The smaller mech's optics arced with a smile. "Thanks, Sire."
Ratchet unshuttered the welding cover from his optics and tapped Tempest's newly repaired back. "All sorted, mechling, now shoo. I've got Prowl's leg to retune, Ironhide's work on Starscream to cavil and two new Seekers who need a service."
As Tempest slid off the berth and fell into step beside his Sire, Optimus uttered in a voice quiet enough to elude Ratchet's hearing, "And they'd probably appreciate knowing about that in advance. If Starscream's anything to judge by they've likely got a few things in their chassis that they wont want Ratchet knowing about."
It was out of sheer habit that Optimus could navigate the length of the base reading reports and stacking the new ones handed to him on the move under his arm. At this hour there wasn't much traffic in the corridors, with the general daily duties done for the day, the sentries in place and the rec room crowded with anyone who wasn't getting an early recharge.
Starscream's first Seeker report from scouting for rogue Decepticons was incredibly thorough and written in an elegant diagonal slant. By contrast, the Twins had submitted their supply report half-illustrated with a few scribbled blocks that may have been casual attempts at words. At least the numbers were legible. Submitting equipment and supply tallies was the only thing aside from fighting that he had them do. Impatience aside, they could count, and the tedious job did need to be done weekly.
Blurr's report was… going to take some time to decipher. Turning it sideways with narrowed optics, Optimus reached to thumb in the door code for his quarters but found it opening before he made contact. Stepping inside with Blurr's report now upside down and making some sense for it, the mech only looked up when he realised that the lights were off. Indeed, when the door closed he was left in perfect darkness aside from the blue glow of his optics.
"All the pigeons back and nested?"
Ironhide's voice suggested casualness but the fact that his systems were operating in stealth mode implied something else.
Optimus smiled and rolled his optics as the reports were suddenly slid away from him and made as invisible as the dark mech. He could have turned on his night vision, but that would have spoiled the game. "Tempest and Starscream have joined in the racing game tournament in the rec room. Captain Lennox has managed to source a projector for the occasion. Skywarp and Thundercracker have been caught for their service."
A deep chuckle. "They did well. Not many Bots could evade Ratchet for a whole week." There was a close whisper of movement near where Optimus remained by the door. "Turn off yer optics."
Optimus did as he was bid. "Interesting mood you're in this evening."
"Prowl and I had a few cubes."
The Commander tutted and shook his head. "And here I thought you'd spent the evening slaving over a target drone."
Soft, unseen touches on his shoulders, schluchting down his arms as gently as a metal stroke could be stilled his processor. Sighing into the caress, Optimus reached up and stepped forward to find his sparkmate's body in the dark. To his surprise, a firm hand landed on his grill and bodily pushed him back against the sealed door.
"Keep 'em closed."
Optimus arched a brow, relaxing his arms at his sides again. "-Very- interesting mood."
"You know, I've been thinking about this leadership slag."
I can't keep something of an incredulous tone out of my voice despite how his hands are moving. "'Leadership slag'?"
"Yeah." His foot presses between my own, nudging sideways. Spreading my legs slightly brings us closer to an equal optic level. "All this role modelling you do. Setting a good example despite Megatron handing you a metric tonne of reasons for offlining him without a second thought. Being totally composed even when your sparkling's missing. Being in control all the time even though most of the Bots under your command are insane or heading that way. And I thought-" A thick arm braced across my collarstruts pushes me back hard enough that the door squeaks, "How much fun would it be, if you –weren't-?"
Deft fingers slide up my antenna, an underhanded move of his that he usually saves until last. I flex against the wall, my vents tripping over themselves as he rolls his fingers about the sensitive protrusions. "'Hide…"
"Shut up." The command comes as a growl, so serious that if it were in any other situation I'd have laughed at it. Instead I clamp my mouth shut, entirely at his mercy. It's evidenced at the short groan that slips from me when his hands leave my helm, leaving me painfully isolated in the dark until the touch returns on my wrists.
Spreading his fingers across mine, he presses my hands to the wall. "Keep 'em there."
It an entirely alien position to be in – stimulated and frozen under someone else's order. Anxious in both senses of the word, I tip back my head and await the command of his next whim. His hot mouth is suddenly on my throat, cycling warm and charged air through my neck struts and around the cabling beneath. With his chassis pressing against mine, his hands slide about my sides, skirt with a teasing pressure over my chest and rest about my neck. Picking out my neural lines from the bundles, he rolls them with alternating pressure between his fingers, his engine sending a humming vibration through me.
When he pinches I buck, helpless to do anything but, and slip when my hydraulics falter as he pinches with one hand and slides the other about my finial. My hands twitch, wanting to touch him, feed this pleasure back to him, but I force them to remain flat.
He senses my restraint and chuckles against my jaw, nipping at me as a reward. "Yer doing good, lad." High Grade has always made his loping accent rougher, and it heats my spark even more to hear it now. "Thought you'd be a mischief an' I'd have ta strap ya down."
My chassis begins to unclick at the thought, though I keep the plates together. I've no idea what he's got planned. "It's a possibility," I suggest, rolling my head to one side as his mouth moves to the juncture of my shoulder. It's pitted with scars now and some parts grind when they move.
He familiarises himself with the newest defects, speaking into my plates. "No this is 'xactly how I want ya." Across the bond, his spark whispers to mine with dark, hot promises that taste of diesel. "Standing while I take my time with ya."
His mouth moves away as his pistons hiss, hands sliding down my sides and hips, scooping back on my thighs and touching at the insides of my knees. It's completely different and a little strange, my confusion over this new development mixing in with mounting desire and impatience to leave my CPU whirling. A plate I wasn't consciously aware of at the base of my thighs slides down, and I feel his blunt thumbs slip inside. Pressure, and then the plates of my chassis twitch, tingling. A hard stroke and they shunt apart, electrified and making my hands shake against the door.
"Bot Reflexology," he murmurs at the edge of my hearing, cutting off my wonderings of how he's doing that. "I did some readin'. Turns out there're a few ways I can pull yer wires."
Another wave of searing current flows up from my legs, curling about my grill before circling my spark chamber and making my plates try to open wider. I moan and gasp simultaneously, seeing dark static. "You could have just asked."
"More fun this way."
His fingers slide upwards to follow the main neural lines and I find that I can't disagree with that statement. With Ironhide's pelvis rocking into mine, my spark throbs at the proximity of his and shrouds itself in wave upon wave of sinuous electrical current that pulses outwards into my system. Finally I hear him groan with me, feeling ripples across our bond. My hands twitch again, wanting nothing more than to pull him flush to me.
"Feelin' much in charge right now?" he breathes, sounding vaguely smug.
My vents sigh a laugh, hands clenching from the force of will it's taking me to keep them there. "Not in the slightest." It peels off into a moan as he touches his closed chassis towards my open one, my spark reaching out and slipping tendrils across his plates. "Tease."
"Damn right," he replies from the pit of his voice, a hard edge now appearing. He nips harder at my throat and nuzzles my jaw, his chassis rocking over my spark chamber and making me stutter cries. "I'm decidin' what happens when, 'cause I think ya like it. Like havin' me take the decisions away from ya. Telling what yer gonna do next."
It's become borderline torture, and the micron of my processor that's still coherent wonders how he's still keeping his plates shut. "And what's that?"
Another hard press. My fingers tear deep gouges in the door and I grip the crumpled metal. He answers against my finial. "Yer gonna overload. Again, and again, until I reckon you can't take it no more."
My groan turns into words only with great concentration. "What about you?"
"Yeah, aint that something to wonder about until I'm through makin' ya see Primus?" His hands touch my spark chamber. I see white.
He holds me up through my first overload. Holds me down on the floor for the second, a few feet from the door in the general direction of our berth. I was barely conscious for the third – we could have been anywhere. The fourth I remember him screaming through, hands gripping my wrists hard enough to leave dents as the bond shunted our mutual overload charge between each other. We offlined with our fans running at full capacity, waking again a long time later still tangled about each other on the berth.
He'd hooked his legs about mine in restraint after grasping my wrists, and I shift inside this liberating entrapment as my systems come back online. A muzzy purr against my chassis, vibrating through my over-sensitised spark chamber hard enough to make me hiss.
Ironhide props himself up enough to look at me. "I hurt ya?"
I shake my head, bending my hands to touch my fingers to his arms. "No. That was just quite intense."
He grins, optics bright. "Glad you enjoyed it." Settling back against my chassis, he lets go of my wrists to allow me to bring my arms about him. After a minute he chuckles. "Damn glad Tempest ain't living here right now."
I laugh with him, stroking my hands across his back. We fall into silence again, neither of us tired enough to slip into recharge but sluggish enough in our systems not to be inclined to move.
Ironhide slides his hand down my chest, cupping a point between my grill and my spark chamber. "Do you want another one? A sparkling, I mean."
I frown, wondering where that question came from. "I don't know," I reply softly, though grant it some thought. Despite the circumstances behind his birth and everything else that's come about over the last few months, Tempest has been one of the best things to ever happen to me. I didn't know I could feel such pride and love for something so small, and find myself wondering what it would be like to raise a sparkling that came from a sparkbond.
"If we did decide to make one, you'd be carrying it. I don't want to imagine what any little hellion from your spark would do to my internals."
He snorts and I can imagine him rolling his optics. "Yeah right. Like you didn't enjoy carrying Tempest for the most part. Bearing life."
My sparkmate pushes himself up again, gazing down at me with a smirk. "A wise leader knows when to take the advice of his subordinates when they know better than him."
I slip a hand into the piping on his side, making him curl with a laugh. "A wise leader doesn't take any advice given just after a processor-blowing overload."
He keeps chuckling after I've stopped teasing my hand across his side, shifting to loom over me with darkening optics. "'Processor-blowing', eh? I'll bet you've got a few circuits left in there for me to fry."
"You're welcome to find them." Tightening my legs about his, I reach up to answer against his mouth. "You always did like a challenge."
Thank you so much for reading - I'd love to hear if you enjoyed this, and any other thoughts you may have. Please leave a little review, and don't forget to check out the follow up: 'Family Matters.'