Soooo incredibly sorry for the delay! First I couldn't write because of Spring Break, and then I couldn't find my muses so this chapter sat half finished until today. I am so so so incredibly sorry! *bows head in shame*

On the plus side, this chapter does have some more cliffies, some happy times, and some things that hopefully make you wonder what in the hell I'm planning next.

And now, enjoy the chapter!

I want to bond to him. I want to bond to him so much, and it's the only thing that I truly know in this ocean of uncertainty. We are at war. I don't know if I'll survive to see the next day. I don't know if I will be able to keep Megatron satisfied for another solar cycle, and I certainly don't know if Breakdown will be able to do those things as well. It's one big mess of uncertainty, and I don't know what to do with it.

Sighing, Knock Out pulls away from the kiss, leaning against Breakdown's chest. All those thoughts and more race through his head, and it's almost overshadowed by the sense of wariness that comes with being at war for most of your life.

"You okay?" Breakdown asks, a servo running down his back soothingly.

Knock Out nods, leaning against him. "I want to bond to you...I'm not ready yet, but I want to bond to you." The self doubt sneaks back up on him again as he waits for Breakdown's response.

"I do too! ...I've wanted to since we've met," the bruiser admits, tightening his hold on the medic.

The medic blushes, looking up at him. "I've always wanted someone...who wouldn't judge me based on my past. And who wouldn't try to take advantage of me."

"I could never do that to you," Breakdown murmurs, smiling softly at the medic. He could never hurt the mech that had given him a chance, he could never hurt the mech who had stolen his spark. He could never hurt the mech he loved. "You didn't hold my past against me, so why would I hold yours against you?"

Knock Out looked down, blushing slightly. "I...I'm just scared. That one day you'll wake up and realize that this isn't worth it. That you'll figure out that I'm not worth-"

Breakdown grabs a hold of Knock Out's chin and brings his gaze back to his. "Listen to me, and listen well; I would never do that to you. Even with the war and the pressures of working for a tyrant like Megatron and the uncertainty of what will happen with Starscream gone, I would never put that above you. The war doesn't matter to me; survival does. Because survival means that I can love you longer. So please...let me love you?"

Knock Out nods numbly, shocked at Breakdown's words. He honestly hadn't expected Breakdown to be able to speak so eloquently, so honestly and open about what he felt for him. Those words gave him the confidence he needed to continue with his battle within, the same battle he always fought; demons vs. himself.

He wanted to move onto the next, more physical stage of the relationship with Breakdown. He wanted to be able to confidently walk up to him and whisper loving things in his audio. He wanted Breakdown to add his own twist to the words as he whispered back, picking up the medic and walking to their shared berth. He wanted Breakdown to gently lay him down and kiss him, lovingly, passionately, his larger servos roaming his frame and softly teasing exposed wires and nodes. He wanted Breakdown to make love to him, as he had heard some of the humans call it.

And, despite it's origin being of human decent, it was exactly what he wanted to happen. Interfacing was much to impersonal a term, and the other human words for the act were much too vulgar.

No, he knew what he meant when he thought the words, "make love." And he knew that was what he wanted Breakdown to do to him.

The demons, however, thought differently. They wanted to prevent him from having the opportunity to let Breakdown further in. This time, though, Knock Out had ammo. He thought of the way Breakdown had healed him and nursed him back to health after Starscream's rape. He thought of the way that he hadn't pushed anything until Knock Out had initiated it, or had said otherwise that he truly wanted Breakdown to touch him in that way.

He hadn't pushed.

That was mostly enough to shut them up for a few joors at a time, giving Knock Out the feeling of relative peace within his mind and spark. Though nowadays, with all the talk of bonding, his spark seemed to never stop fluttering.

Looking up at the bigger mech, Knock Out softly murmurs, "Breakdown...I love you. And...I want you to make love to me."

Starscream growled under his breath as he waited for the system to spit out the results. He wanted to know exactly what was in the Energon that had made it so thick, what Arachnid intended it for.

He had tried to look for clues, but he wasn't very stealthy when in any element that wasn't the air, and the tunnels were much too extensive for him to search out all by himself. Each day he made a bit more progress, but with each day Arachnid appeared through newer tunnels that she made as she needed them - but when Starscream followed them, all he came to were dead ends. How such a feat was possible, the seeker did not know.

But he did know that Arachnid had a plan that she wasn't sharing, and that both angered and terrified the former SIC. How could she try to rebel against him, after all he had done for her! Dealing with her orders, faking obedience and innocence when they both knew that he knew more than he was letting on, mindlessly allowing himself to stoop below his capabilities and become her minion; he deserved to know what was going on!

His internal rant ended with a low beep from the small green tinted display that he had managed to pull from his subspace. While he was a SIC and former Air Commander of the Energon Seekers, he was also a scientist. And that meant that some of his more...nerdy habits had transferred over. But it was completely useful in this situation; his miniature compound analyzer/microscope was helpful in determining what this Energon had that made it different.

The screen read: 97% Energon, 0.1% Feldspar/Quartz/organic matter, 2.9% other.

Well, well well. He knew something had been added. The collective 97.1% he had no worry for; feldspar, quarts, and organic matter are all found in dirt, which is where the energon crystals came from. It was harmless, merely annoying if it got caught in your joints.

But the other; that was the problem. His entire research, and future actions, depended on what that 2.9% was. As he was instructed at the science academy, what is already known is sometimes completely useless. But one can always use the known as stepping stones to find the unknown.

He selects a menu change, moving the function over to the microscopic scanner. This would show a 3-D image on the screen of how, if at all, a particular substance was molecularity put together.

If he couldn't detect what it was, he was going to analyze the shape. What he finds, aside from the molecular crystals of Energon and compounds that made up dirt, is an arrangement of four cycloalkane rings that all joined together. It was nothing that he had ever experienced in his time at the Academy, but they were on Earth; maybe it was an organic compound?

He crossreferenced his view of the compound on the screen with images throughout the Earthling's internet, and came up with a strange name: steroids.

Arachnid smirked, watching the Insecticons battle for her viewing pleasure. She knew they viewed her as their queen, and she knew that they would do whatever she asked. But she also knew that her warriors were nowhere close to being ready for real battle. They were juveniles, not fully adults yet, with weak armor and small attention spans.

Its a good thing that she had discovered that they, like herself, were part organic in nature. A subspecies of Cybertronians, based on the organic life of planets and worlds nearby. While she took after arachnids, they took after insects. She had heard rumors of Cybertronians who, in the past, had gone after felis catus, canis lupus, and even aves.

And while at times this organic part of her CNA was annoying, and even shameful, she had learned to manipulate it to the best of her ability. Her venom, spinning abilities, and tunneling prowess were all effects of studying her namesake here on Earth.

This also meant that they were susceptible to the same types of diseases - and therefore medicine - as the organics here on Earth.

She smirks as she holds up the vial of clear liquid. It was a good thing she had discovered this handy little growth hormone; hopefully the steroids would push them to develop faster and be ready in time for the battle that was to come. For now, however, she continued slowly drugging them, building them up to become the warriors she needed.

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3 Huntress