Author's Note:

Okay. Fraternizing has been reported for sexual content by an irascible spitfire. In order to keep it posted, I have edited out all of the smut scenes, but I do not think you can enjoy the full impact of Fraternizing WITHOUT those scenes because a heavy line of the plot is based off Nightstalker's sexual abuse (spoiler alert, btw).

So, if you are going to read this and there is a scene I say has been cut, feel free to PM me for another site to read it at. :)

Nightstalker glanced over at Starscream's back when the entire energon reserve exploded, diminishing to mere ruins by Vehicon folly. His wings perked, tensing.

"The energon," he seethed to himself. "It's worthless to me now."

Nightstalker crossed her slim arms, her own wings twitching restlessly as she stood on the gangway to the mother computer. This would set Starscream into a surly mood. She muffled a sigh. She hated to be around him at this point. She could go sneak off somewhere else . . . She wasn't actually needed in the command center, after all. Still, Nightstalker held back just for the sake of seeing this Autobot. It had been many long years since she had had a chance to get her claws on one, and today could turn out to be an exception.

She was a low class seeker, not heavily armored with metal-piercing weapons or anything that caused major amounts of damage. Nightstalker was no one's brawler, and she was never put out on the front lines. She held a position of a more . . . delicate matter, that being one of torture. She had briefly studied under Arachnid's lead for several millennia as an assistant . . . also, to replace said mentor if she was offlined or deserted, the latter of which happened.

Her name derived from her ebony armor, blackened like crusting lava. Her optics glowed stunning orange, a trade-off from the classic Decepticon red she despised. Nightstalker was of light build, classic clawed Decepticon hands, and kneecaps rounded smooth with sparse heels only about half the height of Starscream's. She held no missiles to her name, only a light machine gun in her alt mode that resided as a pop-out hand-held from her back, and a curved blade that came free of her left arm that initially looked much more menacing than she could possibly wield it.

Nightstalker was not voluptuously gifted with provocative curves, but had only sparkbearing hips and enough of an aft and rounded chest piece that designated her female. She was of sleek make, a sinister-looking tool with a wide assortment of torture tools ranging from welders, precision cutting knives, whips, barbed-wire chains, a gifted portion of some of Arachnid's unique venom, and her own personal favorite and what she specialized in, a toxic lava to melt through metal. They say that she chose her optics as blazing orange to reflect her favorite tool of her trade—and they would be correct in every way.

Still, weapons of torture weren't the only things she had installed to her. Her welder could alternately be used for healing as well. More than once she had stabilized a transformer for the Decepticons, diagnosed a bot with her scanners, or used an EMP burst to knock someone out. She knew the light extremities of keeping a bot alive, but it was for the purpose of keeping them alive longer to torture them more. She was no experienced femme in the art of medical skills, something that Knockout loved to tease her about.

She was used primarily for torture, rarely medical, but Nightstalker prided herself a little with her growing skills in hacking, infiltration, data theft, and all amounts of sabotage of vital systems. She would periodically try her hand against Soundwave because it was the quickest way to learn—could she possibly get past the NEMISIS's security systems and him to place a harmless virus that would make things run slower? Then, how long could she keep it there until Soundwave removed it with the silent deeming of her to "try again." She was curious to know that he didn't particularly care of her futile hacking skills into the NEMESIS—particularly because she didn't do anything major—and Nightstalker found that it was a good way to get some practice in. After all, with a job like torture, Nightstalker had searched for a good hobby, and needling at Soundwave every now and then was her choice.

Nightstalker turned her face towards the two Vehicons that dragged in a vaguely red Autobot coated in the dust and burns of the explosion. Hm . . . Nightstalker assessed his damages to be quite extensive, though with a few stabilizing welds he'd be ready for the torture chamber. Nightstalker stood to the side as he looked up with the typical blue optics of Autobots.

"Scream," he managed to say. "It's been a while."

She started a little on the inside. She hadn't expected him to have such a nice voice. Nightstalker brushed it off quickly, just as she had done with any other time. Sure, there had been times a handsome Autobot had been brought in chains to her dark chambers, but each had screamed their vocal processors thin and died by her hand. A nice voice was nothing new, and all Nightstalker had to do was to keep herself distant and as sinister as possible. Besides, none of them ever had anything nice to say to a Decepticon in the least.

He coughed several times, little spits of energon flying from his lips. Nightstalker frowned, silently adding to her list of wounds his internal bleeding. That would have to stop before any torture. "So," he asked Starscream. "Where's your master?"

Starscream's eyes flared in anger. "Never mind him!" he snarled. Nightstalker's gaze jumped to Starscream's frenzied optics. He was furious—he was bound to do something rash, and it was proved true when he lifted his hand. "I am my own master!"

"Starscream, wait!" Nightstalker found herself reaching out to grab his wrist, surprised she had managed to stop him as he turned a hissing sneer at her. He snarled in fury, slapping Nightstalker across the face. She felt her metal hinge up in defense.

"Do not ever dare question my authority again you worthless glitch!" he shouted down at her. Teardown wiped her face of emotion and zeroed in on his warped face.

"Just one moment for a suggestion, my Lord," Nightstalker said, pointedly ignoring the curious eyes of the Autobot looking up at her. She kept herself carefully professional as she said, "Why kill him? He may have given some lip, but we have an Autobot captive, and we know of Optimus Prime's fatal soft streak towards his soldiers. He is nearly willing to do anything to protect his fellow followers, correct?" Starscream was still livid, but his quaking was ceasing as he peered at her. "Yes," he grumbled darkly, eyes narrowing. "Do go on."

Nightstalker shifted, not knowing exactly what she was doing or why she was doing it. "Well, we've got ourselves the perfect hostage." The red Autobot narrowed his eyes at her too, unsure what to make of her. "He's a great bargaining chip. My functions are very limited to the torture chamber, and I'm sure I can coax useful information from him, maybe such thing as the Autobot base. There's a lot to be done with a captive, so there's no need to waste it by killing him . . . yet."

Starscream made a thoughtful sound in his vocal processor, turning his red optics from Nightstalker to the red Autobot. Nightstalker kept her gaze away from that of the captive and instead fixated it on the wall.

After a long moment, Starscream barked, "Very well! Nightstalker, you're in charge of his torture until I find the most profitable way to use him." He waved a hand, turning from them. "Now get out of my sight."

Nightstalker just nodded and sent a Vehicon to fetch the closest stasis cuffs. She waved off the other Vehicon, taking the captive herself. She hauled him to his feet and forced his arms behind him, making him twitch slightly in pain before he managed to walk himself.

It was a good long walk to the designated torture chambers that had long been empty, and it was going to be much longer since the Autobot could barely keep his feet after such a beating. He shivered beneath Nightstalker's touch. The Vehicon eventually came back with the stasis cuffs, so Nightstalker fitted them to the Autobot and sent the Vehicon away. They proceeded their long walk.

After going through many twisting hallways, he finally spoke again, gracing Nightstalker with his curiously nice voice. "I don't see how you Decepticons keep all these hallways straight . . ."

Nightstalker hesitated. It would be so easy to respond. But, would they consider it fraternizing with the enemy if she made light small talk with him?

Before she could properly think it through, he gave another weak laugh. They were leaving a small trail of energon down the hall. "Nothing to say? Or afraid to fraternize with the enemy?"

Slag he was good at that. "I'm not afraid," Nightstalker said immediately to him, giving his arms a warning twist.

His shoulders tensed up at the strain she put on him, but he remained just as cocky as usual. "Well, nice to hear my captor saying something." He momentarily coughed up more energon. "I was beginning to think you'd lost the functioning in your vocal processor."

Nightstalker twisted his arms harder, managing to make him audibly grit his teeth. "You ought to be grateful I saved your life," she snarled quietly at him.

He gave the bark of a sarcastic laugh. "Grateful? I've went from a painless death to the torture chamber. Why should I, of all bots, be beholden to you?"

Nightstalker chose not to answer, wondering why she had even brought it up. Why she had even considered the option in the first place, and why she had even decided to actually follow through with it.

They were quiet for some time, the Autobot momentarily wrapped up in anger at his situation and Nightstalker for reasons she couldn't place. What HAD possessed her to save his aft? She knew it wasn't really for information, or even as a bargaining chip, but it wasn't anything deep either. It was just . . . nothing. Perhaps the voice. Was that it? She scowled in frustration to herself. It wasn't even that. She blamed it on herself. That had been the most small talk she had made with any Autobot prisoner.

Finally, after some time of silence, he said a bit wryly, "Then I supposed it'd be too much to hope that you're an Autobot agent undercover as a Decepticon?"

Nightstalker bit back a tired sigh and instead forced a cold scoff. "Now you're just desperate." He didn't respond. "And anyone in their right mind on this ship, Autobot agent or not, knows that Soundwave sees and hears everything on this ship. If you think you've got a secret, he knows it."

"I'd say that's an invasion of privacy," he muttered back.

Nightstalker shrugged as she pushed him into an elevator. She hit the button for the bottom. "Easy to say," she said without a problem. "Most consider him as dead as a computer, so they don't really care that much except for the fact that he passes on anything essential to Megatron."

Nightstalker found herself irrevocably tongue-tied again. Why was she wasting her breath? Besides that, she wasn't being as . . . cruel, as she normally was. Why force a scoff when it should be something easy and relished? Nightstalker forced away her troubled thoughts, accounting it for the many centuries without having a prisoner to torture. She must have grown soft. This will be a good way to toughen back up.

The elevator door whizzed open to the rank and dark hallways of the torture chambers. Lighting was always dim on the Decepticon mother ship, but minimal lights were spared for deep in these parts. It was utterly silent in these parts save for the Autobots staggering steps and Nightstalker's steady steps. These parts weren't cleaned either. Faint traces of spilled energon could still rot in their nasal sensors and the all around ominous feeling was enough to make a bot's plating crawl.

It didn't really matter what room she brought him into. She stopped at the fourth on the right and entered the standard code for the door before shoving the Autobot through.

She attached him to the electrical chains that would hold him steady. They magnetized to the stasis cuffs, lifting his arms automatically and bringing his body to hover above the ground, feet just dragging if he every truly gained enough strength to stand on his own. Then, Nightstalker attached the same stasis cuffs to his feet to hold him still—she had had one too many smart-aft prisoners who liked to use their legs to attack her.

"So," she was surprised to hear him ask, "why Decepticons?"

Nightstalker turned her orange eyes up to him. She arched an eyebrow. "Why Autobots?"

The red bot seemed taken aback that she had even asked. Without waiting for his reply, Nightstalker prepped her EMP burst and held it up to the Autobot's helm. She briefly knocked him out. Working quickly, she dismantled his chest plates and quickly inspected his insides, finding the trauma centered in his wiring and carefully mending his internal bleeding. With several welds to keep his energon from dripping, Nightstalker had finished her few repairs to him. Sending her own personal set of nanites through him, Nightstalker offlined his weapons, turned off his homing signals, and all other necessities. She scrambled his frequencies to keep him from onlining everything when he woke back up.

Leaving the room, Nightstalker closed the door behind her and changed the code from the standard to one of the ones she had retained for millennia. According to her scans, he would wake sometime this evening. His torture would begin then.