Title: Born of Violence
Rating: Mostly T, but will be M in a few chapters.
Summary: "You see, youngling, Sideswipe used to have a twin. A long time ago, during the war. Many of us believe that this peace was born of something that happened to him. His name was Sunstreaker."
Author's Note: Man, the G1 cartoons are so corny it hurts sometimes.
The sedative faded soon and his vocalizer clicked as it rebooted.
"Release me?" Sunstreaker asked. Ratchet did so without a thought, embracing his mate the moment he was free. Sideswipe held them both, and all three were silent for a while as they absorbed each other's presence. Sunstreaker could feel the sparks of his two mates, still full of lingering fear, as they pulsed against his chassis.
He wondered exactly what Prime had told them. It was obvious that they knew he was sparked... they wouldn't have stared at him like that if they had not known. Had they seen the videos Soundwave claimed to have sent? Had he really sent them?
Sunstreaker knew the question on their minds, even if they would never ask it. Finally, it was he who broke the silence.
"I can't terminate it," he whispered softly. Ratchet moved away, just a little, setting himself on the berth as an optical ridge crooked upwards.
"You want to keep it?" the medic asked, his voice both heartbroken and, somehow, hopeful. A sparkling was a sparkling…
"No. It's not that. I have no choice. Soundwave implemented a code that will deactivate me if I try to terminate the sparkling." He said it calmly, stating it like he would the date or time. Ratchet's face never lost its quizzical look.
"What do you mean? How is that even possible? That level of coding can't be edited."
"I don't know. They are going to do this to every Autobot that they capture now. That's what they told me."
"We can worry about that later," Sideswipe interrupted Ratchet, "For now... you're here, with us, and you're alive." Another silence ensued, hanging over them like a thick fog. Ratchet's optics looked over Sunstreaker's torn wiring, his missing plating, his absent leg. A careful hand stroked over his mate, and he leaned in to press a kiss to Sunstreaker's helm. He was not surprised when Sunny pulled away, but it still hurt.
"Please," Sunstreaker said quietly, "Don't. Not yet."
"It wasn't your fault," Ratchet replied, insistent. Sideswipe made a noise of agreement.
"I don't care. I don't want to talk about it."
The surgeon gave up the topic quickly, not wanting to agitate Sunstreaker needlessly. They could have those discussions another time. His hands smoothed over scorched and ruined plating. Then he saw the wiring set that Wheeljack had left in the room earlier.
"Can I rewire you?" he asked. Sideswipe got up immediately to retrieve it, and Sunstreaker nodded.
"Please. The constant shorting is really fucking annoying." Without another word, Ratchet lay Sunstreaker back down and got to work, Sideswipe helping him. It was delicate work and the level of damage was astronomical. Ratchet couldn't remember the last time he had seen someone so injured.
It hurt to fix his mate and it hurt to see Sunstreaker in such obvious discomfort. The Lamborghini had said nothing about his valve, as was to be expected. Ratchet idly wondered if perhaps Hoist, First Aid or Wheeljack had repaired it before Sunstreaker had come to. Probably not, that was delicate equipment also... some of the most sensitive actually, second only to the spark chamber. It would be yet another thing left to him.
Yes, Ratchet, please repair your mate's valve because he was raped so violently that it was destroyed.
Part of him knew, logically, that he was the only one able to do so. And part of him hated his comrades for lacking that knowledge.
The silver twin helped, holding wires and carefully removing Sunstreaker's plating as needed. Sunny had refused sedation and just lay still, no doubt in a great amount of pain. Sideswipe couldn't help but hold his twin's hand, trying to comfort 'Streaker. Or comfort himself. He wasn't exactly sure. He wanted to twin-bond with his brother, reestablish the connection that had degraded while Sunstreaker was gone, but at the same time... He didn't know if he wanted to see his twin's spark and the sparklet that would be attached to it. He knew that Sunstreaker wouldn't want him to see it.
Ratchet worked for a long, long time, and they were not disturbed at all. A small wonder, considering First Aid's anxious nature and Wheeljack's almost parental care for Ratchet.
As his internal chronometer indicated that they had been there for almost a cycle and a half, Sideswipe was only a little surprised when Sunstreaker suddenly reached up and caught Ratchet's wrist in his hand.
"You need to rest," the golden twin said, sitting up and massaging the medic's palm with deft, broad fingers. Ratchet grumbled, but didn't reply, allowing 'Streaker to rub the tension out of his cramped servo.
"You have done more than enough. First Aid can finish the rest."
"I want to finish," Ratchet replied, but didn't deny that he was exhausted. Sideswipe took his other hand and mimicked Sunstreaker's actions. The medic sighed as warm pleasure spread from the sensitive appendages. Not sexual pleasure, but the pleasure of relaxing with loved ones after a long period of hard, critical work.
"Please recharge. And when was the last time you refueled?" Sunstreaker asked. They all knew of Ratchet's tendency to become so stressed that he neglected himself.
Neither of his mates answered him, and then Sideswipe got up and left: presumably to get fuel, because it was obvious that neither of them would want to recharge away from the others. He returned soon with three cubes, giving one each to Ratchet and his brother. Sunstreaker watched the others drain theirs before he drank his own, and then Sideswipe climbed onto the berth with him.
"Recharge, both of you," 'Streaker demanded. It took some shifting, but all three mechs managed to fit onto the medical berth, tangled up in each other. Exhausted from being awake for so long after his repairs, Sunstreaker fell into recharge quickly, unable to help himself.
Sideswipe and Ratchet remained awake, holding him silently. It felt like a miracle to have their mate back, but at the same time... Sideswipe nuzzled his twin anxiously. What was this nonsense, that Sunstreaker couldn't terminate the sparkling? Soundwave was a notoriously excellent coder, but to be able to edit such a base part of a mech's coding? It was impossible. It hadto be impossible. Primus, to raise a sparkling sired by a Decepticon... sired by the commanders, even! It made his tanks churn almost as much as when he had seen the video feeds of Sunstreaker's torture.
He just wanted to recharge, he wanted to rejoice in his twin, his mate, being home. But no, this... this thing growing inside of Sunstreaker's spark prevented him from rest. They could terminate the sparkling after it had ejected... but Sideswipe knew damn well that Ratchet would never go for that. He knew all too well Ratchet's stance on such things. A life was a life.
Ratchet had slipped into recharge quickly, as if all of the anxiety and dread that had clouded his demeanor for the past month and a half was gone. Perhaps it was, Sideswipe considered. Or maybe Ratchet was just so exhausted that he finally broke under the pressure.
Resting his helm against Sunstreaker's shoulder, he let out a heavy vent and forced himself into power down.
Wheeljack and Smokescreen peered over the code on their respective data pads. Sunstreaker lay motionless on the berth, powered down, cables hooked up to the two ports in his helm. Ratchet and Sideswipe were absent solely because of Optimus' order for them to power down for a half-cycle each. Wheeljack felt somewhat bad for scanning 'Streaker's code while his best friend was in forced power-down. At the same time, he knew it had to be done, else Ratchet would be up his aft right now. Not that Wheeljack could blame him.
But that wasn't the main issue on his processor. No, the main issue would be the lines of nonsensical text staring him in the face.
Smokescreen made a noise of frustration, "This... this isn't even code," he spat. "This is gibberish."
"It's encrypted," Wheeljack replied.
"I know that, my mech, but even for encryption it's wonky." The engineer was pulled from his studying to actually look at the other Autobot for a weird moment.
"It's written by Soundwave. What did you expect?" he asked with a little more anger than may have been necessary. Smokescreen shrugged and went quiet. The only hope they had would be breaking the encryption, and Wheeljack didn't need Prowl's statistical capabilities to figure the odds of that happening. Soundwave was probably the best living coder, and his security measures were second to none.
As hopeful as the Lancia wanted to be, he knew that, statistically, they would not decrypt and understand the code in time to terminate Sunstreaker's sparklet. Cybertronian gestation periods were short compared to the amount of time this could take.
"Sunstreaker said that they are going to spark every Autobot they catch now." It was like Smokescreen didn't know how to be quiet. No wonder he and Bluestreak were such good friends. Wheeljack grunted in response, but the racer continued. "We'll never decode and unravel this in time for... for him."
"I know that. Once we figure it out, we can use it if they do get anyone else." Primus, how he hoped that Sunstreaker's would be the only code they had to break. Bearing this would be enough.
He sent a copy to Perceptor via his communications link, knowing that the scientist would be useful in helping them remove the encryption. As he received a ping from Percy in return, he cycled his vents and closed his optics for a moment.
"You okay, 'Jack?" Smokescreen asked, concerned.
"I'm as good as I'm gonna get until we crack this slagged thing."
Sunstreaker watched his mates recharging, the first of them to wake up. He was largely repaired externally, save for some of the worst plating and his missing leg. The missing appendage had been temporarily capped off with a smooth metal plate and he was given the equivalent of a cane to get around. It wasn't physically difficult, but it made him feel off-balanced (in more ways than one) and vulnerable.
He set a hand over his spark and carefully untangled himself from his mates. Silently, he stole out to the sitting room of their quarters. Slowly, he set himself on the couch. His hand still hadn't moved.
A sparklet. Primus and Unicron.
He didn't know if he should be feeling the sparklet yet, or suffering side effects. He hadn't personally known a sparklet or its bearer in the last two thousand years, so it wasn't really required knowledge for him.
Regardless, he had noticed his constant exhaustion upon his return to the base. Recharge lurked constantly in the back of his processor. He could barely stay awake for a full cycle, and rarely did. He idly wondered if it was another part of what Soundwave had implemented in his code. Probably...
Thinking about Soundwave hurt. Not because of memories of the mind-rapes, but because of what Sunstreaker had seen inside the carrier's spark. An empty void, so cold that it felt like his wires were icing over. So cold but so hot in the absolute worst way. There was something wrong with that mech. Sunstreaker had felt a power lurking there that he had never felt when Megatron or Starscream merged him.
He shook his helm and cut that thought off with a kill process, followed by a defrag that hit his mind like a galacton of bricks. He'd found it was the only way to get rid of these troubling thoughts, and even though it caused him to lag badly, figured it was better than dealing with it. It took him two and a half kliks to come back to himself and, already tired again, spun into power down.
It was undeniable; Soundwave was much more sinister than any had ever given him credit.
"Prowl," Jazz said quietly, rubbing close to his mate and kissing the other mech gently.
"Mmm?" the tactician murmured, engrossed in a data pad. He had just come back from a long patrol and was looking over the supply list for the next quartex. Their energon was actually quite plentiful at this time, something that would undoubtedly change soon. Supplies were never steady and they were under strict rations for the majority of the time. Only celebrations and injuries warranted extra rations, and celebrations only rarely.
Perhaps if the Decepticons would stop sabotaging their refining attempts...
Jazz rubbed against his partner tenaciously, "You need to relax. Let me take care of you, Prowler."
"I need to cross-reference this list," Prowl replied, not nearly as irritated as he would have been normally. Sunstreaker's return had left an imprint on many of the Autobots, whether they admitted it or not.
Jazz had noticed the drop in Prowl's usually obsessive demeanor.
"Kiss," he demanded.
The smaller mech whipped the data pad away from Prowl's grasp, and it crashed into the wall with a thunderous clang as Jazz seated himself upon his mate's lap.
"Kiss." He leaned in and nuzzled his face against Prowl's, who responded with a soft peck. Jazz returned it, and then kissed his partner passionately. It was slow and loving, hopeful and adoring.
Ordinarily Prowl would have ordered Jazz away and been angry at the distraction. Jazz physically taking his data pad from him, and then throwing it on top of that, would have otherwise sent him into an absolute fit. Some mechs had deadlines! He completely understood the need for sexual intimacy or affection, but there were special times and places for that. Certainly not in his office... mostly.
Now, however, he encouraged his mate, laying Jazz onto his desk and kissing him senseless. The difference in Prowl's behavior was astonishing, Jazz noted. Very rare was he so passionate and so incensed about physical affection, so ready to cover his mate with kisses and cuddles.
He was gentle with his mate, touches soft and loving. He had never been violent, but it was clear to both mechs that this was beyond mere sex. Both of them moved slow and languid, carefully proclaiming their bond via physical union.
As he held Jazz tightly afterwards, the little black-and-white wrapped securely in his arms, Prowl thanked Primus that it hadn't been Jazz abducted during that fateful battle.
The news of the attack came like a nuclear blast. Within moments, the Beta pack was deployed, with Optimus at the head. Megatron and the Command Trine, as well as plenty of backup, had rushed a summit of governmental leaders and had already killed dozens.
Ratchet's jaw was tight, his denta grinding hard against each other as he waited. Sunstreaker was with Sideswipe, in their quarters, but he had to be here. They had to be ready for casualties.
First Aid was organizing an errant cabinet and Hoist was nowhere to be found. He would come, Ratchet knew. He was probably just setting up his own tools. He had a tendency to take care of their larger soldiers, and often prepared a space in his workshop specifically for them. The med bay got crowded enough as it was.
The doctor watched the monitor displaying the battle o f Optimus' point of view with avid disinterest. He wanted the fight to be over so that he could fix everyone up and go back to the twins.
Hoist entered the med bay, eying Ratchet up carefully. "You ready, doc?" he asked, his tone wary. Ratchet only nodded. "Ratchet, I'm sorry about-" Suddenly the ambulance whirled around and struck Hoist hard.
"Don't say a word about it," he snarled in anger and panic, "Just leave me alone."
Hoist hadn't reacted to the blow, hadn't even moved, and waited calmly until Ratchet had stormed out of the room and into his office. First Aid stared with unabashed horror.
"Well, 'Aid, take heed," he said to the apprentice, "And learn from my mistakes. I just wanted to say that my area is set up in case any big ones take a hit. Last time Skyfire got pretty damaged, and I'm willing to bet that they will gun for him again."
First Aid just stared, and then looked away, returning to his sorting. Hoist got the hint and left. As the apprentice worked, keeping a careful optic on the monitor hanging from the wall, he could head noises coming from Ratchet's office. A rhythmic, repeated banging, like Ratchet was hitting something hard. Though he didn't want to invoke the surgeon's wrath, First Aid couldn't let Ratchet damage himself. Quickly, he rose and went to Ratchet's office door. He expected it to be locked, but it wasn't. The noise continued even as he opened the door.
"Ratchet?" He was appalled at the sight within the room. A shelf full of data pads, each one dedicated to a different Autobot, had been knocked over and then destroyed. The data pads were everywhere, and First Aid carefully avoided stepping on them as Ratchet stopped moving. The head surgeon had been punching the wall violently, half a dozen holes marking his progress. His right hand had crumpled and his left was in the process of acquiring as much damage.
"Ratchet!" the smaller mech grabbed his mentor's hands, preventing him from hurting himself anymore, and he commed Wheeljack.
:Wheeljack, get to med bay quick. Ratchet's-: His comm was cut off as he was literally picked up and thrown across the room. His back slammed against the wall and knocked his sensors out for a moment.
"Ratchet, what the-"
"Shut up! Just shut up and leave me alone! Get out of my office!" Ratchet screamed at the smaller mech, looming over First Aid as if he was going to hit him again. First Aid stumbled to his feet and darted out of the room as quickly as he could, the door slamming shut as he left.
A flash of white and green met his optics and Wheeljack stared at him, opening his mouth to speak.
"Don't go in there," First Aid gasped, "Don't go in there."
"What happened?" the Lancia asked, seeing the dents and scuffs on First Aid's back, marks on his shoulders from where Ratchet had grabbed him.
"Ratchet was hurting himself, I tried to stop him… he threw me," the apprentice explained, rolling his shoulder joints to make sure they weren't damaged, "I… would leave him alone."
Wheeljack shook his head. "No, we can't leave him like that. I know him better than you, First Aid… I'll talk to him."
"Take this in case," First Aid handed the engineer a tranquilizer, "I have never seen him like that." Wheeljack accepted the syringe and looked at it sadly before sub-spacing it.
"Get out of here for now, First Aid. I can't promise that this won't get ugly, and I don't want you to get hurt. Make sure no one comes in until I comm you. If any casualties come in… send them to Hoist. This won't take long," he said quietly. First Aid only nodded and left the medical bay. Wheeljack cycled his vents and set his shoulders. Only once before had he seen Ratchet in this mood, when a newly born sparklet had died in his arms after the attack on Praxus.
This time it would be personal, and Wheeljack didn't know if he had the strength to tide Ratchet's rage. But damn it, he would try. Ratchet was his best friend, after all.
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