Author's Notes: First draft of this was started over a year ago and has since been completely rewritten, ignored, reworked, neglected, and only recently finished. In all honesty, I had no idea where this story wanted to go until the very end. Hopefully reading it won't turn out to be a waste of time.
For warnings, there aren't really any, except for excessive robot drunkenness. But I won't apologize for Happy Drunk Megatron. It is totally canon. At least, he seemed rather cheery to me in that episode where the Decepticons got wasted.
Disclaimer: Transformers belongs to not me. Which is why somebody has to shoot me for writing so much fan fiction for it.
If there was any doubt of his comrades' idiocy before, it was banished now as Starscream watched the entire Decepticon fleet stumble drunkenly around the rec room.
To their credit, they had done well at the raid that morning. That was why they had enough high-grade to overcharge on. Starscream prided himself (and his seekers) to be the primary reason for the raid's success, and for once, he wasn't far off. But that did not mean he would indulge in anything stronger than low-grade.
To be fair, overcharging was becoming a more appealing idea with every passing breem. Then, rather being forced to bear witness to his fellow Decepticons' stupidity, he would be a part of it.
That was the idea he wasn't too fond of. There were many things he would rather keep secret, and he didn't want to risk spilling his circuitry just because he had had one too many to drink. Not that anyone was likely to remember anything he would say, drunk as they were, but there was no sense in taking the risk.
He had already taken that risk once—foolish, he knew, but it was the first time in a long time they had even had the prospect of enough energon after rationing for so long, and everyone had consumed far more high-grade than was recommendable. Then the Autobots had attacked them while they were down, which just went to show that getting overcharged is a pastime for idiots.
So, he sat in the Nemesis's rec room, trying to tune out the drunken bantering around him… particularly Skywarp's rather off-key singing.
"Ooh, I love the way you—love the way you love me. There's nowhere else I'd rather be," Skywarp cooed. Then promptly fell flat on his aft. The two mechs sitting on either side of him, Thundercracker and Blitzwing, laughed and pointed. Starscream turned away, grumbling to himself as the laughter went on behind him. Slaggers wouldn't laugh this much if they were sober.
At least the singing stopped. Where on earth did he hear that song, anyway? he wondered, glaring into his cube of energon. Last I checked, listening to human music wasn't part of a soldier's duty.
As soon as the thought passed through his circuitry, Skywarp started up another song—this one concerning how he was "not a girl, not yet a woman."
Starscream buried his face in his hands. Primus, why why why was he cursed with such idiotic wingmates? And he swore to the Pit, whoever taught him those songs—
Oh, that's right. The human radio Rumble stole a few weeks back.
Fragging Primus, he was going to confiscate that radio and throw it in a slagging volcano. Not that it would help his current situation any, but at least it would prevent his subordinate from learning any more human trash.
Starscream turned back to his cube of energon and tried to tune out everyone else in the room. He was in a lousy mood—a sharp contrast to the euphoria he had felt earlier that day as he maneuvered around the Autobots' lasers and landed a clean, devastating shot on one of their higher-ups.
So, what happened? It was quite simple: once again, his contributions were completely disregarded by the leader of the Decepticons. Not that he needed Megatron's approval. He did not need anyone's approval. But was it too much to ask to be recognized for one's merits?
Well, speak of the devil.
"Megatron. How… delightful to see you," Starscream said, false sweetness dripping in his tone as Megatron sat in the stool next to him.
Megatron chuckled. "You're never delightful to see me."
"You heard what I said."
Starscream blinked at his leader before turning back to his drink, one hand rubbing his face. "Yes, I'm afraid I did."
Megatron leaned in and nodded, emphasizing each syllable with a jab of his index finger on the table. "Egg-ZAKT-ully."
Starscream resisted the urge to groan. Even his slagging leader was wasted. At least he did not have to bother with aft-kissery tonight. Anything he said, sugary or otherwise, would be forgotten by tomorrow morning.
He leaned back on his stool and bestowed a sneer upon his leader. "I'm so glad someone is amused by my lack of 'delightful,' as you so eloquently put it. I, on the other hand, would much rather finish my energon and get the slag out of here before I have to suffer another breem of your army's collective stupidity."
"Don't leave on my account. Surely you'd like to stay and…." His optics dimmed as he tried to think up the proper words. They brightened with remembrance: "Yes! Drink some energon with your fellow Dishe… Decepticons. You know, like the good ol' days…."
Starscream's lips twisted in disgust. "If all you intend to do, O mighty leader, is mumble about the 'good old days' and stumble drunkenly over polysyllabic words, I think I'll pass." He downed the last of his cube and stood up.
Normally, he would try to avoid speaking so rudely to Megatron's face, but a funny thing happened when the tyrant became overcharged. It was ironic, really, considering how violent the gunformer was when sober—but he made a surprisingly happy drunk. As long as you did not physically attack him, it was nigh impossible to anger a drunken Megatron. It was the only time Starscream could insult him to his face with absolutely no consequences.
Oddly, not as enjoyable as it sounded. There was no fun in mocking someone who just laughed it off like it was the funniest joke he had ever heard. And Megatron laughed a lot when he was overcharged.
"Now, Starscream, don't leave just yet," he said as he grabbed the other's arm and pulled him back onto the stool. Starscream complied—not that he had much of a choice: all of the high-grade in the galaxy could not rob Megatron of his strength.
He shot his leader a glare. "And what, pray tell, is so pressing that it can't wait until tomorrow?"
"I just wanted to talk. We never talk anymore." Megatron threw an arm around his shoulder vents and leaned heavily on the smaller mech, who clutched the table's edge to maintain his balance. He snarled and tried to get away, but the slagger was just too heavy.
"Talk about what?" he snapped, shifting to make as little contact with the gunformer as possible.
Megatron laughed and leaned a little more onto the seeker, completely reversing the smaller mech's efforts. "You know, I really don't say this often enough, but you and the other—um—your seeker-mechs… eh… what was the word again?"
"Yes, the extent of your vocabulary when you're overcharged never ceases to amaze me, either. Can I go now?"
"Right!" He slammed a palm on the table. Starscream's grip faltered, but Megatron shifted his weight again, this time away from him. Starscream almost relaxed—would have, if the slagger didn't still have his arm around his shoulder vents.
"You and your wingmechs—you did good during the raid. Really kicked those Autoslagess… ers… res… their tailpipes this morning."
Starscream snorted. Yes, compliment now; he need only wait a moment for the following insult. He played along, anyway. "My audio receptors must be glitching. Who are you and what have you done with Megatron?"
"I drowned him in high-grade." The statement hung in the air for only a moment before Megatron burst into laughter. He leaned his weight against Starscream again while his free hand grabbed hold of the other's shoulder in an attempt to maintain his balance. Starscream's grip on the table tightened again; he shifted to better brace himself against the larger mech. If Megatron kept this up, he would make both of them fall off their stools. Stupid, stupid, stupid slagger….
"That's funny," Megatron said as his laughter died into drunken chuckles. "But really though, I don't always give you the—the credit you… um… disherve."
"Yeah, ya know… dish-sherve."
"Dish—you mean 'deserve'?"
Megatron chuckled. "Yesss, that. You know what I mean."
He was about to throw back a retort but stopped as his leader's words sunk in. "Wait, did you just admit you never give me the credit I deserve?"
Megatron looked at Starscream and tapped one of his pectoral vents. "Is there a—an echo in here? 'Cause I could have sh—sworn I already said that." He laughed again, and so missed the expression on his lieutenant's face.
Starscream's optics flickered, for once at a loss for words. Usually this was the part Megatron ranted on about his utter incompetence, and that any success he had was simply a fluke on his part, or the result of someone else's hard work.
"Megatron," he said, a barely-there note of concern lowering his voice, "exactly how many cubes have you had to drink?"
He waved the question off. "You're a—a good fighter. You're also a sneaky son of a glitch, always tryin'a backstab me, but I don't mind so much. I wouldn't have made you my Second if you weren't as power-hungry as a proper Decepticon ought to be."
Starscream snorted. "Well, obviously, but that doesn't answer my question. Exactly how much high-grade have you had?"
He shrugged and drew away from Starscream, pulling another cube out of subspace. "Wasn't counting," he said, lifting it towards his mouth.
Starscream snatched the cube from his hand before it reached its destination. "Stop that! If you are willing to compliment me, of all mechs, you have clearly had enough energon to short out every circuit in that smelted pile of silicon you call a cranial unit and then some!"
Megatron was not listening. He stared at his empty hand, a confused frown on his face. Then he realized his lieutenant had been talking and turned to look at the seeker—and saw the energon cube in his hand. "Are you gonna eat that?" he said.
Starscream was unable to think up a coherent reply. He had grabbed an energon cube out of his leader's fragging hands and the slagger didn't even realize it!
Already, Starscream's logic center began working out this new development. For once, he did not have to do anything to get rid of Megatron; the mech was doing fine on his own. He need only offer a little encouragement—return the energon cube, for starters, and just continue putting a cube in the other's hand each time it was empty. Heh—he probably didn't even have to do that. Just walk away and let Megatron do it himself.
Not that any amount of energon could kill him, exactly. High-grade gave you all the energy of three regular cubes, but it was still only energy. Transformers did not become "inebriated" as a human thought of it, but one's fuel tank could only hold so much reserve energon, so any excess ran amuck elsewhere in one's systems.
How it "ran amuck" depended on how much unneeded energon you had. If one did not have too much, it simply hyper activated a mech's circuitry. This stage was usually referred to as "charged," because that was what it felt like: you were on a sugar high and you had energy to burn. It was not harmful, but it often resulted in behavioral changes. Thus, Megatron the Happy Drunk.
Continued energon consumption propelled you into the next stage— "overcharged." The circuits, already buzzing with excess energy, started shorting out. Self-repair systems were usually able to take care of this kind of damage during recharge, but until then, it meant a temporary inability to process information correctly and a notable loss of motor control.
More energon after this point was where it started to get dangerous, though the body expelled the excess energy by whatever means necessary before enough built up to deactivate a mech. Usually this was done by purging one's tank, but if the energy was already processed, the inhibitor circuits shut down and the body would proceed to burn off the extra energy the old-fashioned way: fight or make love.
Until the body began dealing with the energy, however, it could cause serious damage to internal circuitry—damage that needed the attention of a medic. That was why the last stage was (rather predictably, Starscream thought) known as "dangerously overcharged."
Which was not necessarily a bad thing for Starscream, as far as he was concerned. He could easily finish off the glitch-head once and for all while he was like this. He had to use caution, of course, because if Megatron was not as overcharged as he thought… well, it would not be pretty. He may have been a happy drunk, but he had still been a fighter for over a hundred thousand vorns, and any physical attack would activate his battle computer and direct him to beat the slag out of the nearest mech as a reflex. And, of course, the more energy used up in fighting, the more sober he got, which would not be good for Starscream's well-being.
Of course, a complimentary Megatron was also an uncoordinated Megatron. He doubted if he could shoot Optimus Prime point-blank if the Matrix-bearer stood still and helped him keep his fusion cannon steadily aimed his chest.
Not that such a thing would ever happen. But it was amusing to picture anyway, especially because it ended in Megatron missing and Prime whapping the inebriated leader over the head in reprimand. Starscream chuckled at the image.
"Eh? What's so funny?"
Starscream jumped slightly, and then scowled at his leader. "Nothing."
"Fine, don't tell me… but will you give me that or not?" he said, pointing at the energon cube the Second still held. He squinted at it. "It's high-grade, so it's not like you're going to have it. I haven't seen you drink the more potent stuff since…." His optics flickered momentarily. "Hm. Since you became my Second."
Starscream's scowl deepened. "Whether or not I drink any high-grade is none of your business, mighty Megatron."
"Well, 'cept that once, but that was the only time shin… since I promoted you."
Starscream considered the benefits of chucking the cube at his leader's bucket-shaped helm. "You should be grateful I do not fumble about like the rest of the overcharged idiots you hired for an army," he growled instead, turning away.
"Hmm." Megatron leaned his head against Starscream's shoulder vent. He did not notice the disgust displayed on the other's face—although, to be fair, if he had, he probably would not have cared in his current state. "You used to drink high-grade with all the rest of us. Not all the time, but regularly enough. Y'know, back before I made you my Second. Why'd that change?"
Starscream's lip curled in contempt. "Why do you ask? Do you really want to know, or are you just bored?"
Megatron chuckled. "Both."
"Then go bother someone else. I have better things to do than answer your inane questions."
"Come on, Starscream," he said, poking the seeker's cockpit. "What's the harm in… in confidating in an old friend?"
"Since when were we ever friends, Megatron?" he snarled, slapping the other's hand away.
He realized his mistake an astrosecond too late.
Megatron snatched the hand and yanked hard; Starscream screeched as one of his shoulder cables nearly snapped at the sudden movement. Megatron twisted his arm behind his back while the arm that had been resting around his shoulders pulled back and captured his shoulder vent in a vicious grip. The gunformer began to push him forward onto the table, but there was a distinct lack of force behind it—Starscream saw his opportunity and thrust backwards into Megatron to throw him off balance, but Megatron's grip was a lot more solid than he gave him credit for.
The next thing he knew, he was on his back, and lying on something that was most certainly not the floor. One of his wrists was still in Megatron's grasp, while Megatron's arm had slipped from his shoulder vent to loosely wrap around his neck.
Despite the cringingly intimate position, it had the positive effect of making Megatron forget that he was about to beat him to a pulp. As for the negative effect—well, suffice to say, Starscream was suddenly glad everyone was too overcharged to notice their little scuffle. Had anyone been sober and chanced to glance in their direction, both their reputations would be completely incinerated.
But no sense in risking someone actually was sober.
"Get off me!" he shrieked, shoving the other's arm away and rolling off his chest. Even as he got up to his knees, though, he could not pull away completely. Megatron still had a firm grip on his wrist.
Megatron just stared at his lieutenant with confused optics. "But… you were on me," he said.
Starscream sneered. "Whatever. Just let go!" He tugged at his captured wrist.
His captor looked at him, his expression confused and almost—wounded. Starscream just glared.
Finally, Megatron let go. Starscream hastily pulled away, getting to his feet and checking to make sure no one had noticed the exchange. As it turned out, the rec room was a lot emptier than he remembered: two of the Constructicons were laughing drunkenly to one another in a corner, and Ramjet was passed out on a recharging Thrust. Odd. Since when had everyone else left?
Nearby raucous laughter caught his attention. He turned and looked towards the other side of the room, where mechs were crowded around some spectacle or other. Starscream wondered what it might be—when he heard Skywarp's distinct off-key singing, as well as the bumbling, half-shouted lyrics of another mech.
Dear sweet Primus, they were having a karaoke competition!
Megatron sat up slowly, still looking rather dazed. Starscream spared him a glance.
"Hear that, Megatron?" he said, jerking a chin towards the crowd of mechs. "That's the sound of the Decepticon's future."
Megatron looked blearily at the crowd, still on hands and knees. Just as he did, they both caught the words: "I'm a genie in a booottuuuul, y'gotta rub me the right waaaaaay!" Megatron chuckled; Starscream dropped his face in his hands.
"Sounds like music to me," Megatron said, slowly getting to his feet, using the table for balance.
Starscream shot him a scornful glare. "To you, I'm sure it would." And without another word, he spun on his heel and headed towards the door.
A ringing clang made him stop. Reluctantly, he turned around.
Apparently, Megatron's attempt to stand had ended with him falling flat on his face.
Starscream told himself to just leave. It was not his concern. Megatron got himself overcharged, and he ought to suffer the consequences for it. And frankly, anything he got, he deserved: he was a miserable, hateful slagger who never listened to anyone, even when it was in his best interest. He constantly pushed his Second around, led his army on missions anyone with a functioning processor could see would end in failure, ignored his own lieutenant's advice—honestly, why make him his Second-in-Command if he had no intention of listening to him?—and he never gave him any credit, not even the slightest acknowledgement for his accomplishments… except tonight. But that did not count. Megatron only said it because he was overcharged.
Yet even as the argument raged within his processor, he found his feet moving back towards his leader. Miserable slagger that he was, it was no fun overthrowing someone who could not even walk back to his quarters. And if he used this as blackmail later, then all the better for him.
"Come on, Megatron," he said as he knelt by his leader and grabbed an arm. "Let's get you to your quarters."
After a breem of stumbling and tugging and telling Megatron to keep the frag still, the two were finally on their way through the corridors. Megatron leaned heavily on Starscream, one arm slung around red shoulder vents, while Starscream did his best not to buckle beneath the other's weight, one blue hand slipped around a silver waist. It wasn't too bad, really: as long as he kept their momentum going, Starscream could support the larger mech without falling over.
"You know, you never answered my question."
Starscream shot his leader a glare. He could ignore the remark… but being overcharged made the tyrant no less stubborn. "And what question is that?" he asked.
"Why you never drink high-grade anymore."
Starscream almost paused—a good thing he did not, as it surely would have sent them both to the floor—but it was a surprising question. Was Megatron still on about that?
Finally, he settled on an answer: "Because I see little logic in depending on my subordinates to drag me to my quarters if I get too overcharged to see straight."
Megatron laughed and tapped Starscream's cockpit. "So says the subordinate dragging his leader to his quarters." He laughed harder, leaning more of his weight on the smaller mech.
Too much. Starscream stumbled, his feet tripping sideways under the weight, trying to find balance—he ended up slamming against the corridor wall, Megatron still pressed against his side. He glared up at the bigger mech. There had to be a better way to do this.
"Can't you at least try to stand on your own two feet?"
Megatron chuckled. "I am standing on my own two feet."
Starscream growled. "I meant—oh, never mind. Let's just get moving again." He tried to push off the corridor wall, hoping it would give him the momentum he needed to carry Megatron the rest of the way back to his quarters. But Megatron, unprepared for the sudden movement, tried to pull back. The conflict of forces sent both of them off balance, and for the second time in the same cycle, Starscream found himself on the floor with his drunken leader. Only this time, he was on the bottom.
His lips pulled back in a snarl. "Megatron…."
Megatron looked down at him, then up and around, and then back at his lieutenant. And he just stared.
Starscream squirmed, uncomfortable with the drunken mech's sudden scrutiny. He tried his best to glare. "What?"
The bigger mech simply cracked a grin. "You're falling down an awful lot today. Are you sure you're not overcharged?"
Starscream grit his teeth. "It's your fault! Why the frag are you so heavy?"
Megatron gave him a flat look. "Well, Starscream, not everyone can be a lightweight like you." Then he started laughing.
Starscream was just about fed up with this. "What?! What is it now? What is it that you find so utterly hilarious?"
He tapped the seeker's cockpit, still chuckling. "I'll bet that's it. You don't drink high-grade because you're such a lightweight. You're scared someone'll try to knock you off."
Starscream sputtered and started shoving at the warlord's chest. "That—is the most—most—completely, utterly ridiculous thing you have said yet! Now get—the frag—off—of—me!"
Megatron looked down at his lieutenant, and Starscream froze mid-shove, a chill creeping down his spine at the sudden stillness in those red optics. Megatron leaned in, his entire manner dead serious.
"Not until," he said, enunciating clearly, "you tell me."
Starscream barely dared to move. "T-tell you?" He could not be bothered to think up a better response. His processor was too busy trying to figure out what was going on. Megatron was still overcharged… wasn't he? Surely their little spat from before had not been enough to burn away the mech's excess energy. But how else would he suddenly lose the slur that had been plaguing his vocalizer all night? And what had happened to Megatron the Happy Drunk?
But then the corner of the overlord's lips twitched, and he collapsed against Starscream in helpless laughter as if he had just told the funniest joke in Cybertronian history. Starscream grunted at the sudden weight, but even as he scrabbled at his leader's chest and growled for him to get the frag off, an intense relief washed through him. Of course Megatron was overcharged. Megatron would never allow himself to be seen like this if he was in full control of his senses. The momentary lapse into seriousness and unslurred speech was not even a lapse. Commander Slagface thought it all a terribly funny joke to fake sobriety, even if he could only keep up the act for a few astroseconds.
After much struggling and grumbled swearing, Starscream finally managed to get the gunformer to roll off his cockpit, in part because he was still chuckling himself silly. He glared at the back of his leader's silver helm, wondering if it would just be easier to shoot the slagger and hope his null rays would keep him immobilized long enough to forget he wanted to kill his lieutenant.
In the end, he simply shoved at his leaders legs, pulling his own out from underneath them. "If you absolutely must know, my liege," Starscream groused, "I do have my reasons for laying off the high-grade."
Megatron's laughter had died down enough by now that he looked at his lieutenant, curious. "Oh? You're telling me now, after all that dodging?"
Starscream snorted and sat up, leaning back against the wall. "I'm getting somewhat bored of hearing the exact same question spewed out of your vocalizer over and over. We both know how persistent you can be."
Megatron smirked. "This coming from a mech who tries to terminate me on a regular basis."
A corner of the seeker's lips twitched. "Hm. I suppose. Not that it matters, of course. I hardly think you will be able to remember anything I've said come tomorrow. Slag, I doubt you'd even be able to recall who dragged you away from the rec room."
"I've already forgotten. Wasn't it Drag Strip or someone?"
Starscream's optics snapped towards his leader, but he just couldn't hold the glare when he saw Megatron lying flat on his back, fingers laced and set neatly on his chest, neck half-twisted to turn his face towards his lieutenant. Starscream wasn't sure if he should cringe or laugh out loud. He opted instead to move his gaze down the corridor, deciding it was the safest choice, and turned the words over in his processor.
He shrugged. "It's simple, really. Inebriation leads to a loose tongue. There are some things, my dear Megatron, I would rather keep secret."
"Hm? Like what?"
"Various… peculiarities, let's say, that might make me susceptible to blackmail."
"Hm. Precludiarities. Interesting… word choice."
Starscream snorted. "I won't even try to repeat your stumbled repetition. But I'm sure you get the idea."
He snapped his gaze towards his leader. "It's not a weakness," he hissed. He turned away again. "Just… something I'd rather not get out."
His mouth twisted in annoyance, but he didn't look back at Megatron. "What, 'hmm'? Everyone has secrets. Something they'd rather keep quiet. Even you do, I'd wager."
"Did," he repeated. "Got rid of my secrets when I started the Decepticons." He rolled over and slouched against the wall, next to the seeker. "Can't keep secrets when you know you'll be the most targeted mech on Cybertron."
Starscream frowned thoughtfully before glancing at the warlord. "How do you just 'get rid' of a secret?"
Megatron lifted his cannon arm up off the ground, his other hand moving to support it. He raised it until the barrel pointed at the opposite wall, his optics narrowed in concentration. Starscream dared a look at his leader's expression. For once, it was not angry or calculating or malicious, or even drunkenly content, but inscrutable, buried in memories best left uncovered.
Megatron's voice broke through his thoughts—"Easy," he murmured, optics trained at some imagined target beyond the walls of the Nemesis. "You shoot 'em."
His arms dropped to his sides, and silence fell upon the two mechs. There was a long pause.
Starscream chuckled suddenly, shoulder vents shaking. Megatron looked at him, curious. "Easy for you to say with that cannon of yours." He smirked at his leader, holding up his null rays by way of explanation. "I shoot my secrets, and it's only a matter of time before they recover from the paralysis."
Megatron chuckled, too, and before long he was doubled over in laughter, which Starscream figured was just as well, because he certainly couldn't have his leader getting sober now.
"Come on, Megatron," he said, wrapping one of the warlord's arms around his shoulder vents. "Let's try this again, shall we?"
After much struggling and stumbling down the halls of the Nemesis, they finally reached the gunformer's quarters. After forgetting the sequence once and mistyping the second time, Megatron managed to input the correct code into the keypad and the door slid open. Starscream hauled him through the doorway and helped him onto his berth… and, once more underestimating the warlord's grip on him, ended up collapsing onto the berth with him.
He pulled a long-suffering sigh through his vents before glowering at his leader. "As much fun as all this has been, I rather doubt you will be happy to see me in your berth tomorrow morning, so if you don't mind…."
Megatron made no response, except possibly to shuffle farther back into the berth, bringing Starscream with him. The seeker craned his neck to get a better look at Megatron's face. His optics were off.
The slagger had fallen into stasis.
He tugged experimentally at one arm and found, to his relief, that the gunformer was not gripping him, at least. He pulled himself out of the embrace and managed make it to the door without incident, but something compelled him to linger. He glanced back at Megatron to find him still cupping the space where the seeker had been, as if accustomed to holding someone as he slept.
"For what it's worth, Megatron," he murmured, "you are, perhaps, stronger than me—in this one respect, at least." He hesitated a moment longer, as if about to say something more. Instead he shook his head and walked away, the door sliding shut behind him.