Crack in the Pavement

Chapter 30

This fic is coming to a close. Just a few more chapters. And on to the sequel.

Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers; I'm just prostituting it for my amusement.

Summary: Megatron uses Ironhide to get his revenge on Prime. Multiple minor side pairings, see list in fic.

Warning: Graphic rape. Torture. M/M robot slash consensual as well as NON-CON

Pairings: Non-con Megatron/ Ironhide, Con Optimus/ Ironhide. Established Jazz/ Prowl, Twins/ Ratchet, Mirage/ Cliffjumper

The battle had been lost. It wasn't a devastating loss, and really it had been more of a skirmish than a true battle. All three members of the Command Trine were scraped and dented but apart from that they were undamaged. They did more damage to themselves when they squabbled, or in the case of Skywarp and Thundercracker, interfaced too roughly. Far worse was received when Megatron deemed it necessary to punish them. Broken arm struts, crumbled wings, those were the hallmarks of Megatron's brand of discipline.

Starscream would bang the dents out of their armour once they had refueled. They would buff, polish and touch up their marred paint. Given the pleasure that Skywarp and Thundercracker took in polishing each other's frames, Starscream would likely need to tend to himself. It was fine by him. He wasn't in a Trine with them for pleasure, or physical affection; he was in it strictly for survival purposes. This was the spark of how "wrong" their Trine was. Trines were meant to be a trio of mates, bonded mates, who flew together, lived, fought and deactivated together. Skywarp and Thundercracker were bonded, and Starscream had no doubt that neither would be willing to survive the other, but Starscream was only their ally, their leader. And none of the three had any desire to change that.

"Ironhide wasn't in the battle," Thundercracker noted as they walked down the halls of the Nemesis, heading to Starscream's lab.

"You're right," Starscream replied. He narrowed and dimmed his optics, an expression of disdain. "Megatron didn't even try today. Without the object of his obsession, he probably didn't see any reason to waste his time."

"Renewing out energon stores shouldn't be a waste," Thundercracker grumbled. If their rations were cut lower, the Seekers wouldn't even have the strength to fly before too long.

"Megatron has his own, near limitless stores," Starscream sniffed. "It doesn't concern him. Not right now."

"That's great for him," Thunderscracker replied.

"How many months has it been?" Skywarp asked., his tone high with curiosity and excitement.

"Since?" Starscream asked, irritation in his voice. Half the time he had no idea what was going on in Skywarp's processor.

"I think Ironhide's entered the third stage," Skywarp replied. "That medic would never let him into battle this close to separation."

"Separation?" A voice behind them made all three Seekers freeze.

"Skywarp you idiot!" Starscream hissed. He turned to see Scrapper, the leader of the Constructicons.

"Third stage," Scrapper muttered to himself as he watched the Trine. Realization dawned on his faceplates, and he turned quickly, running down the side corridor, and out of Starscream's reach.

"Frag you!" Starscream swore. He raged at Skywarp as he shook his subordinate by the shoulders. "Now you've slagged us all!"

"'Warp," Thunderscracked vented, and rubbed his optic ridge. Disbelief and fear mixed in his optics. "Think before you speak!"

"Oops," Skywarp replied. "Starscream will fix it."

"Thank you for your vote of confidence," Starscream snapped. Skywarp didn't expect Starscream to fix anything. He expected Starscream to take the beating in hopes that Megatron's temper would cool before his processor wandered to the remaining members of Starscream's Trine. Loyalty did not overrule self-preservation amongst the Command Trine. They managed to make it so far as Starscream's lab before Megatron roared over Starscream's comm, demanding his presence in the throne room/ command deck. Starscream looked scornfully at his Trine and ordered: "don't you dare 'face in here. And don't you dare leave until I come back!"

If he came back. Starscream felt his spark constrict with fear. He tried to school his expression even as his wings stretched out and stiffened high on his back. It was an unconscious attempt to make himself seem bigger. The fact was, Seeker frames were fairly small, and they were definitely lightly built. There was only so much damage they could take. Megatron had always held back when meeting out his punishments for Starscream's treachery. But Megatron had been sane, saner the last time he had called Starscream to the throne room for disciplinary purposes. Starscream had no illusions; Megatron was not sane now. Pride was the very spark of Starscream's being, beyond everything else. It was pride that made him stand tall, wings flared, as he walked purposefully into Megatron's lair. Fear made him want to shrivel, to run, to hide. But even when Starscream cowered he had pride. If this was his end, he would look at it in the optics.

"You have been keeping secrets from me Starscream," Megatron growled in a low voice that promised pain. The room was dark and Starscream's optics strained to find Megatron. He held his shoulder struts hunch. No. Stand tall, slag you!

"Don't I always, Lord Megatron?" Starscream countered, haughtiness mixed with fear. He turned his helm to the side, looking and listening for his master. A shrill cry escaped his vocalizer as Megatron's big black hand reached out and caught hold of his right wing, lifting Starscream off his peds by the delicate appendage. It took every ounce of pride in Starscream's spark not to quiver and plead for mercy. Pride would surrender to fear soon enough, sadly it always did, but not yet.

"Yes," Megatron replied. The word drawn out into a long hiss. He raised his arm, holding Starscream up high so he could look the smaller flier dead in the optics. "So treacherous... Tell me, Starscream, what should stop me from tearing your pathetic quivering spark from your gaudy chassis."

"The sparklet is the Prime's," Starscream declared, before he could stop himself. Gaudy? How dare he! Vanity and pride, those were the sparks of Starscream's being. "Why else would he carry it? If you want to shred Optimus' spark, snatch the sparkling when its separated. Hook would botch the separation procedure and neither the rusty old mech nor the sparkling would survive the experience."

"Hmm," Megatron hummed, his optics stared into Starscream's as he seemed to consider what the Seeker had suggested. Starscream suppressed the violent urge to look away. Had he said to much?

"An interesting prospect," Megatron growled. "That would still leave me requiring a proper heir."

"I fail to see what that has to do with me," Starscream replied. Fear made his glossa loose. It shouldn't have, but it always did. He did not like where this conversation was going. Dread filled his spark, and made his fuel tank twist painfully.

"Just how did your pathetic Trine discover Ironhide was carrying?" Megatron asked. His voice was smoother now, but still very deep. Dangerous.

"Seekers know," Starscream replied. Did no one know the original purposes of the Seekers? "It's built into our core programming."

"Interesting," Megatron said, seeming to mull over this knew knowledge. Did he believe Starscream? Did he ever? The glint in Megatron's optics changed and he gave Starscream and deep, penetrating. There was no desire there, but much cruelty. "Perhaps I should take my heirs from your worthless spark."

"No!" Starscream wailed, quite undignified and thrashed free of Megatron's firm grip. He landed on his peds and danced out of Megatron's reach, twisting and turning around Megatron as the former gladiator attempted to catch hold of him by any component within his reach. It was a perverse sort of dance. Anyone looking from the outside in would see the grace in Starscream's controlled, yet frantic movements. They would see how they clashed with Megatron's brutish but calculated attacks. Megatron nearly cornered Starscream before he was able to twist away again. Clearly, Megatron was not going to give up. But there was one thing that Starscream had not tried yet, telling the truth.

"Unless you want to carry your own heirs, you don't want my spark," Starscream exclaimed. His wing ached, almost surely dislocated. He could dance around Megatron for only so much longer. The Tyrant would lose patience, and just shoot him. "Seekers don't carry. They spark."

"Why should I believe you?" Megatron asked, chuckling darkly. "You would do anything to protect your spark from me."

"Because it's true," Starscream replied, sharply. He was doing everything he could to defend his spark, wasn't that obvious? Merging with Megatron was unthinkable. Even if it would never result in Starscream carrying. "On Cybertron, Trines always kept housemechs to carry their sparklets. This isn't exactly uncommon knowledge!"

"Get out of my sight!" Megatron growled, suspicion flashed in his dark red optics, but so did leeriness. He was not going to risk getting sparked himself. Starscream made good his escape. There was no chance Starscream was going to stick around and wait for Megatron to realize that he hadn't beaten him to a pulp.

If Starscream appeared rushed as he bolted to the safety of his lab, he didn't care. That was far too close for comfort. Megatron had never looked at his frame that way. Starscream was not his type. The Seeker knew this for a fact from the "lovers" Megatron had taken now and then before they had crashed on this mud pit. They were always large, strong frames. Ironhide was his type to perfection. His spark spun too quickly, too violently in its casing. It had only merged with one other spark, and it would never merge with any other spark again. The pain would be far more than Starscream could bear. He practically through himself through the door to his private sanctuary. When he stumbled, the door nearly scrapping his damaged wing as it slid shut, Starscream was surprised to find black and blue arms reach out and catch him. No one spoke as Starscream found his peds. Pride made him want to jerk away, to stand up straight and to rage at Thundercracker for having the audacity to think that Starscream needed to be caught. But it would have been pointless. Thundercracker knew just as well as Starscream that Starscream needed his trinemates, and at this present moment, Starscream didn't have the will or energy to pretend otherwise.

"He dislocated your wing," Thundercracker said as Starscream found his centre of balance. Of course his gimped wing threw him off.

"I hadn't noticed," Starscream hissed. Fear had kept the pain from his sensitive, and very vital appendage at bay during his confrontation with Megatron. As the fear diminished, the pain grew. Starscream stiffened, and straightened in surprise as Thundercracker took hold his wrists and held them tight. He looked straight into the faceplates of the lighter coloured his lip plates parting as he prepared to demand just to know just what Thundercracker thought he was doing. The words were lost in his vocalizer as another pair of servos grasped hold of Starscream's dislocated wing and snapped it back into place. Starscream screamed, loud enough to make his vocalizer crack. Thundercracker let go of Starscream's wrists and rubbed his servos over his own audials.

"I think I might be deaf," Thundercracker complained. He got no pity from Starscream.

"Give your audials a second to reset," Skywarp said as he stepped from behind Starscream.

"What?" Thundercracker asked. His faceplates showed his confusion, and then his annoyance. "'Screamer shorted out my audials!"

"Don't call me that," Starscream snapped, though it did little good. Not only could Thundercracker not hear him, evident by his trinemates expression, but Thundercracker had been calling him by that name since Starscream had first met him. He was never going to stop. Irritating pest.

"Poor TC," Skywarp crooned, petting Thundercracker's helm. Given the annoyed look Skywarp received from Thundercracker, Skywarp must have repeated the sentiment over their bond.

Starscream tested his wing, flexing it to and fro. Discomfort lingered but his self-repair systems would take care of that it due time. He didn't want to take up sign language to communicate with Thundercracker, anymore than he wanted to communicate solely through the Trine-comm so Starscream rummaged through his tools, and returned to his trinemates. With the small wand, Starscream forcibly reset Thundercrack's audials.

"Ow!" Thundercracker yelped. He shook his helm. He furrowed his brow ridges and then offered Starscream a half smile. "Thanks."

"How your audials can be sensitive, Thundercracker, I don't know," Starscream replied. He replaced the tool before uncovering his private stash of cubes, pilfered from Megatron's own reserves, and handed out the fuel to his trinemates. Thundercracker had been right about one thing, the Nemesis' fuel reserves were low, dangerously low even for the Decepticons who were used to periods of starvation. If the rations were cut, the fliers would be grounded. All the fliers except Starscream's own Trine. Starscream would never let them be cut off from the air.

"What did Megatron want?" Thundercracker asked. He showed great restraint, sipping his cube rather than guzzling it. Starscream took note of this. He had missed how close to starving his trinemates had become in the last weeks. It was a careless oversight. They were his trine, and as their leader it was Starscream's responsibility to keep them healthy. Without them flying in formation with him, Starscream would be as good as crippled. Seekers always flew with one or both trinemates in battle, never alone. As much as it irritated Starscream to risk draining his stockpile, Starscream accepted that he would have to supply Thundercracker and Skywarp with a cube each from his stash every day until the new rations were lifted. Not that he was going to telling them that just yet. There was no sense it letting them no he actually cared for them, even if it was just as brothers.

"He wanted my spark," Starscream replied. His trinemates choked on their energon, and Starscream smiled darkly as his sipped his own cube.

"You didn't give it to him... Right?!" Skywarp exclaimed. He looked disgusted and horrified at the thought. Thundercracker looked pensive, and concerned.

"Of course not!" Starscream replied, peevishly. "I told him Seekers don't get sparked."

"He believed you?" Thundercracker asked, visibly relieved. "That's a first."

"Of course he believe me, I was telling the truth," Starscream replied with a haughty sneer. "I'm sure he will confirm what I've said with a peek in the archives. But he wasn't about to risk carrying his own heirs by not checking first."

"Megatron's no carrier," Skywarp commented. "He'd make an awful housemech."

"Thank you for that image, 'Warp," Thundercracker vented as he wrinkled his faceplates with disgust.

"I'll make it better," Skywarp promised, a lecherous smile forming on his faceplates.

"Not in my lab, out!" Starscream ordered. Thundercracker quickly drained his remaining cube, and he bolted from the lab.

"Yes!" Skywarp cheered as he ran after his mate. "He wants to play chase."

"On second thought," Starscream vented to himself. "With reduced rations maybe they wouldn't want to 'face so much."

"Can we talk, 'Raj?" Cliffjumper asked as he joined his made at the otherwise empty table along the right side of the room. The common room was largely empty. Bumblebee was playing some sort of video game with Brawn as their mutual friends cheered on behind them. At a table to the far left of the room, the Twins were sitting, more like cuddling, Ratchet as the three of them refuelled. As usual, Cliffjumper's friends were pointedly ignoring Mirage. Well, maybe not Bumblebee, and maybe not Windcharger. Those two tended to just get really caught up in the games, and Mirage would never think about asking to join them. His next step towards the table was tentative. How he hated feeling tentative.

"Of course," Mirage replied, he offered Cliffjumper a cube, which Cliffjumper gladly accepted.

"Were to you see yourself in the future?" Cliffjumper asked in an uncharacteristically quiet voice. He was unable to look up at Mirage's perfect faceplates.. "After the war."

"I'm not sure," Mirage replied truthfully. "With you, I hope."

"With me?" Cliffjumper asked, his spark fluttered with nervous pleasure as he looked into Mirage's warm and loving optics.

"Of course," Mirage replied. His servo reached over and cupped Cliffjumper's cheekplate in a rare public display of affection. They had danced at Ratchet and the Twins' bonding party but so often Mirage still insisted on holding back in public. "I wouldn't want to be with anyone else."

"I was just wondering," Cliffjumper said. He felt anxiety return to his spark. "You know I want to bond..."

"I want to bond with you too," Mirage replied. He pulled Cliffjumper closer to him with a guilty expression on his faceplates. "I love you Cliffjumper. Please never doubt that."

"But, and I know there's a but, I keep hearing it," Cliffjumper vented. This was were they always disagreed. "My friends, my slagging, afthelm friends."

"Wouldn't you want them there?" Mirage asked. "Wouldn't you want them there to see you bond? I know you would elope, if I ever agreed. But I also know you would want a celebration, and you would always regret not having your friends there. I don't want you to regret anything."

"You softsparked fragger," Cliffjumper growled, he took a deep intake and vented again. "I hate you sometimes."

"Cliffjumper," Mirage vented, guilt appeared on his faceplates. Cliffjumper took a perverse amount of hope from that expression. Did Mirage finally see how much Cliffjumper wanted this? Friends or not? Celebration or not. Mirage settled all of Cliffjumper's doubts as he suggested: "We could pick a date."

"Really?" Cliffjumper asked, smiling, squirming slightly. He wanted to climb onto Mirage's lap and kiss him senseless.

"Yes," Mirage chuckled, and he drew Cliffjumper onto his lap, exactly where he know Cliffjumper wanted to be. Wonderful, clever fragger. "Bumblebee and I are friendly enough, thanks to our shared assignments in the Ops. In between now, and whatever date we choose, I'll do whatever I can to improve my relationships with your friends.

"Thank you!" Cliffjumper cheered and his spark soared. He wrapped his arms around Mirage's neck and kissed him. "Thank you, thank you. I love you so much."

"I love you too," Mirage replied, and he wrapped his arms around Cliffjumper's chassis, holding Cliffjumper to him. "When we're finally at peace, I want a family with you. A future with you. But for now, a bond would be a very good place to start."

No! Gears felt the rage within him threaten to boil over. He wanted to tear off Mirage's servo for touching Cliffjumper, and his faceplates for kissing him. Mirage was throwing it in his faceplates! Mocking him! Flashing his possession of Cliffjumper in Gears' faceplates, in front of all the minibots. Not even pretending to be subtle or private. No! Cliffjumper was supposed to be his! How was Cliffjumper ever going to see that if he bonded with that Towers mech? No! No! No! It would not happen. Gears would make Cliffjumper see. He had to!

He was so focused on the storm of anger and the need to possess Cliffjumper that engulfed his spark and his processor that Gears didn't see Brawn watching him, momentarily distracted from his game. Brawn frowned. The impotent anger on Gears faceplates as he watched Cliffjumper with Mirage, made the other minibot's frown deepen.

"Head in the game, Brawn!" Bumblebee scolded, not looking to see what had distracted Brawn. "Or are you letting me win?"

"Never!" Brawn promised, his focus once again on the game.

End Chapter 30

AN: Are you getting excited to "see" the sparkling? He's coming soon. Just a few more chapters to go.