The invitation startled him.

Especially given who it was coming from. Breakdown was just about the most skittish Decepticon he'd ever met.

And so much smaller than he was. He was careful when disciplining Breakdown. Small and scared meant someone bigger and stronger could do lots of damage, quick.

Or he tried to be. When he remembered to, anyway.

That wasn't often.

His engine revved and he clenched a massive fist. He was supposed to be a leader. His team was supposed to be Megatron's finest, the great new weapon in his arsenal, an unstoppable force that could crush the Autobots on their home turf. Instead they were a crew of insubordinate or scared or bored or completely slagging insane malfunctions.

He glared at the wall in front of him. A moment later, his fist connected with it, leaving a broad, deep dent. It wasn't fair. None of it was fair.

They were his team, of course, and anyone who wanted to rip them apart would have to go through him first. He was Motormaster, King of the Road.

Or he would be, someday, when everything stopped going wrong and he'd finally twisted the greatest of his leader's enemies into smoking scrap and laid it at his lord's feet.

Nothing would get by him. Ever.

But damned if he didn't sometimes wonder whether that just meant he'd end up slagging the scrapheaps on his team himself someday.

And then there was - this. From Breakdown. A short, recorded little message that was half-stuttered anyway.

Motormaster punched the wall again. Was it loyalty or lust that had a perpetually nervous little failure saying things like - that?

And, a little voice in his processor rumbled, could you even do that if you wanted to?

A spark-merge wouldn't hurt the little guy. Might mess up a bit of his plating getting in there. Motormaster's spark was bigger, the energy more diffuse, and taking it in might melt a bit of Breakdown's spark casing. All that wouldn't be too bad, not really.

But only if Motormaster didn't do anything else.

And that - how could you, with someone right in front of you and his chassis under your frame and his plating under your hands - it just - what was he supposed to do, refuse to dent it like some prissy little Autobot?

His engine revved again, even louder this time. Somebody like Megatron wouldn't be thinking like this. Somebody like Megatron would just take what he wanted. Somebody like Megatron would think he was a damn fool for hesitating.

But if he took the little guy to berth, somehow it seemed - wrong - to bust him up like he'd done something stupid when he was at least pretending to be loyal.

Motormaster had a problem, a problem with his entire team, and he wasn't gonna fix it if the nervous one came out of an interface all banged up and whimpering about it.

But Breakdown knows you, the little voice said. He was built right with you.

Maybe he wouldn't be frightened after all.