Author's Note:

Well, computer crashed. I lost 3 massively amazing chapters of Fraternizing, so I'm working on re-piecing them together again. Anyways, enjoy this. ^^


Song Nightstalker sings is: "Gotta Get Me Some" by Nickelback

Song Nightstakler dances to is: "Off With Your Head" by Mz Ann Thropik

"Arcee, Cliffjumper, you two are the best choices to navigate through such a densely populated area."

Cliffjumper rocked on his heels. Say what? He was getting paired with Arcee? Well, he usually was, but . . . this time it was different, he . . . didn't want to be paired with Arcee. He didn't want to go looking for a relic. They still had a bead on the NEMESIS. He had a tiny seeker to fetch.

"Optimus," Jack told him, "New York has more than 8 million people. The odds of being spotted by at least one of them is pretty high. Even if they are headed underground."

Arcee looked at him, but judging by the look on her face, she had an idea. "Where are you going with this?"

"You're gonna need a face man. Someone who can speak on their behalf. A human who can run interference if their cover gets blown."

Miko jumped up, liking this idea, but irritated that Jack was getting all the shine lately. "Well I've actually been in subway stations," she tried. "I grew up in a major metropolis, unlike Mr. I've-Never-Been-Outside-Of-Jasper-Nevada."

"I have been to Cybertron," Jack mentioned. It only seemed to make Miko madder.

"Cybertron doesn't have subways!" She paused. "Does it?"

So Miko and Jack were going with Arcee and Cliffjumper. Before he could be forced to go with her, Cliffjumper piped up, "Optimus, I want to rescue Nightstalker."

Everything seemed to pause. "What?"

Cliffjumper tried to ignore Arcee's flat response, and Optimus seemed to do the same. "Cliffjumper," he stated, "I had planned to send Bumblebee onto the NEMESIS. He has been there several times before, and is familiar with its halls. As our scout, he is best equipped to sneak in. Is there a reason you wish to do this?"

Cliffjumper paused. Ah, he hadn't thought that far ahead . . . How to win the Prime to his side . . . He didn't have enough time to think it through. Instead, he just opened his mouth as he always did.

"I've got the spirit."

Oh yeah, that helped. Bumblebee got all hot under his collar too, bursting, *I've got spirit too!* because he wanted to save Nightstalker too.

Cliffjumper couldn't help but scowl some and rub the back of his neck. "Look, Bee, you don't know . . . Look, I just . . . I—"

"You like her, don't you."

Cliffjumper blinked up at Arcee whose glare was black. He took a step back. Scrap she was mad!

"I, uh . . . I—What?"

She scowled, servos clenching into fists. "You like her!" she snapped. "You always have, haven't you? That's why you didn't care if she had tortured you, because you fragging liked her all this time! I bet you even think you love her, don't you?"

His jaw popped open. "Wh-What? A-Arcee, c'mon, you don't actually think—"

"I don't have to think anything!" she interrupted angrily, coiled up for the strike. "I can see it written all over your face! And the way you talk about her! The way you are around her—" Arcee spat a rare curse under her breath. "Primus, I was a fool to keep believing . . . Well, it's clear that whatever I thought we had—it's nonexistent! Fine, you want her? Go get her! I'll stay out of your way! Bee, let's go!"

Bumblebee transformed down immediately because he knew better than to argue with her when she got herself into a lather like this. Optimus even let it go because he knew if he tried to force it the original way the infighting between Arcee and Cliffjumper would compromise the mission. Instead, Cliffjumper looked on as the kids got in their respective rides.

"I'll bring her back, Bee! I swear! I won't come back without her!"

And to Arcee? He didn't say anything. He wasn't sure if it would have done any good anyway.

So, after losing sight of Dreadwing, Nightstalker stomped angrily down the halls of the NEMESIS. Great, that was just great! Well, actually it was great, but Primus slag them all to Pit this was so—COMPLICATED! Knockout was secretly her half-brother and had patched up her spark break that Fli-Ni left her with. Dreadwing was her step father, Fli-Ni's father. Dreadwing left her mother because she changed Fli-Ni's helm because she didn't want to be associated with the war and Dreadwing was a ranking general. Therefore, Fli-Ni's helm no longer bore the resemblance of his father and Ampere disgraced Dreadwing by being ashamed of the helm. Dreadwing left.

Then, there was a blank. Nightstalker still didn't know who her father was, how he became associated with Ampere, and how she came to be. Obviously her father had to have loved her mother to bond with her. Did that mean her mom had broken the bond with Dreadwing to bond with someone else? It was impossible to have a child without being bonded to the mech . . .

Nightstalker groaned, pressing the heels of her palms to her head. This was all too confusing. And she STILL didn't know her father or who killed Fli-Ni.

Instead, as she traipsed around her old stomping grounds, Nightstalker bypassed some Vehicons and—ew, Insecticons!—and contemplated what to do next. She had . . . down time, and she didn't know what to do with it. Usually she'd just kill time letting Cliffjumper chat in her ear or a video game competition with—



"Oh my Primus what am I doing?"

Nightstalker halted in the middle of the halls, kicking herself a million times over. Here she was, perfectly happy walking around the Decepticon halls, and if Bumblebee saw her, he'd have a spark attack!

But what was she SUPPOSED to do? She had ties with the Decepticons too! A half-formed SPARK BOND tie with a half brother to be even more certain! But then she had a brother in Bumblebee, and her ties with the Autobots were stronger all around . . . But . . .

Nightstalker growled through her dentures. And then this thing with Megatron. She cared for him, yes, but . . . she just wanted to get this thing straight. Ratchet's words echoed in her processor:

Rape is rape. Whether he forcefully committed this act by brutality or by rank.

It was definitely rape by rank. She couldn't have weaseled out of it if she had tried. Megatron would have gotten what he wanted anyways. But, it hadn't hurt, and she had enjoyed it. She always did. And after those first couple times where she wasn't sure, she liked interfacing with him! So there was nothing wrong with this.

. . . Right?

Nightstalker sighed and stuffed it all away. She wasn't getting anywhere brooding like this—literally. Nightstalker started walking again, deciding that she'd just take things one step at a time.

And, when she walked into Megatron's berth room and found him there, she decided to start on step one—

Which just so happened to be squeal his name and run across the room and glomp him. But hey, it was impulse!

Letting go and looking up at him, she grinned. "Megatron, it's been too long! How have things been going around here? I heard Dreadwing was the new second in command. But I guess anyone is a step up from Starscream." Then, she noticed the pole she hadn't danced on in over three years. She grinned, and with a laugh danced up to the pole and jumped into an easy twirl. She stopped herself with her back to Megatron and bent over into a backbend, letting her legs point straight up and it gave Megatron the perfect view of her chest.

However, when she faced upside down he wore a smile. When she faced right side up, he wore a frown.

Her smile faded too, and her brows puckered. "What's wrong?" She flipped back up easily, swinging around the pole slightly as she came to face him.

Megatron put his servos back on his hips. Finally, his lips screwed up some, and he shook his head. "You're a distraction I can't afford to have at the moment."

Nightstalker grinned then. "Oh yeah?" She pulled herself up the pole and swung around easily, cajoling, "But I've practiced! I've got a new dance for you! You'll like the song. It's nice and heavy with guitar." She winked as she played with some easy tricks, not really doing anything particularly hard or acrobatic as she sang, "'God almighty! Look at that body! Flickers like a sticker on a new Ferrari! She's a scene from a Baywatch rerun! Hotter than a barrel on a squeezed machine gun!' Did you know Knockout always wanted to get me to drop my wings and be a Ferrari?" Nightstalker opened her legs wide, holding onto the pole with nothing but her hands and forearms as she mock flashed Megatron. Gah, this would be a lot easier without her armor on . . .

His optics flickered, hazy red. He finally grunted. "The wings look better," he said as if he had actually seen her with a Ferrari alt mode.

Nightstalker rolled her optics and flipped so both legs were pointing diagonally up, and she bend her top knee over the other leg, anchoring herself on the pole. She bent into another backbend, lips twisting into a grin. "You sure you don't want to stay and play?" His optics drew over her, but his lack of response troubled Nightstalker. She flipped down, twirling slightly and landing lightly on her peds, and she cocked her head, coming towards him. "What is it?"

"I should be the one asking that," he said back. Nightstalker felt her optics widen. Megatron rolled his optics then. "You don't think I know you so well?" he taunted her lightly. Nightstalker blushed, fluttering her wings. His servo snapped out, grasping the tip of her wing. "Hm, yes, something's bothering you. You're blotting it out with fun which, while quite tempting, is not prudent for the moment." He arched a brow at her, and Nightstalker dipped her head guiltily. "So let it be off your chest now, and you can work yourself into a lather for tonight. I have work planned for today."

Nightstalker bit her lip. She hesitated, wings fanning steadily with worry. "Um . . ."

"That's a poor way to start anything to say," Megatron said lightly. He shook his head. "Be out with it, Nightstalker. Confidently."

Confidence. Yeah, confidence, she could do that . . . if Megatron wasn't so big. Primus slag him to Pit, he was quite the intimidator. "Well, you remember our first interface?"


Ha, so point blank! Nightstalker blushed some and finally worked out of her tight articulators, "Well, I'm not sure if it was rape or not."

There! It was out! See now, was that so hard? Megatron still, and Nightstalker looked up at him. He'd drawn in tight to himself, studying her intently with a still impassiveness that was just pure eerie. "Rape?" he repeated.

Her wings fanned a little more. Had she made him mad? Primus, of course she had made him mad by accusing him of that! But, she couldn't take it back now . . . "I just wanted to clarify," she murmured nervously. "I mean . . . I didn't come willingly to you, I had to come because, well, I couldn't say no to you, now could I?" When he didn't say anything, she added, "So I mean, technically it's rape . . . but I mean, I don't hold it against you, I liked it, so it couldn't be that bad . . ."

"You think it was rape?"

Nightstalker flicked at the hard tone of his voice. She blinked up almost fearfully when he took a deliberate step towards her, but the door suddenly whizzed open and saved her.

Dreadwing stood there, optics flickering between them impassively. "My Lord Megatron," he said, "we are ready."

Ready? Ready for what? Megatron looked down on Nightstalker, something brewing behind his optics. "We will finish this conversation when the missions are complete," he stated with no room for argument. Nightstalker's optics popped as both mechs disappeared, both without so much as a second glance at her.

He—After I—And he was—Gah, both of them!

With a frustrated groan, Nightstalker threw herself down on Megatron's berth. Great. This was just turning out great. Why did everything that happened around her have to be so complicated?

She laid there for a while, contemplating everything that had happened so far, but eventually had to capitulate to the thought that she was going to be stuck here a while. Soundwave had probably been ordered to keep an eye on her. What to do, what to do . . .

Her optics pulled back up to the pole.

Well, I've got nothing better to do . . .

Nightstalker stripped off her armor, blasted the thumping music on high, and played with her tricks.

It was . . . kinda eerie how quiet the NEMESIS was.

Cliffjumper was afraid to check every room of the ship, and actually, the first place he was scampered down to was the torture chambers and the halls outside of there. It was creepy, and he was thankful when he didn't find her there. In fact, he didn't find her in the rooms around the hall either—he found a couple Vehicons that he had to scrap really quick before they sounded the alarm, but otherwise couldn't find her.

In fact, he was certain that he should have been spotted by Soundwave by now. Wait, how many generals did Megatron have now that he was down by Screamer and the spider bug? That left Dreadwing, Knockout, and Soundwave . . . He bet the Insecticons had a general. Did he send all of them out? But no, that wouldn't make sense to send Soundwave out. He was the communications! Wouldn't Soundwave stay behind and Megatron head out to fetch a relic himself? Or did he see the "fetching" as beneath him and just sent out his cronies?

Either way, Cliffjumper was just glad he wasn't spotted.

He checked the medical labs and didn't find anyone. He checked several room, nearly getting caught with some, and he was seriously considering whisper-calling Nightstalker's name when he heard it at the brow of the ship—music.

Music? He broke into a run down the hall. He highly doubted the Decepticons listened to music. That HAD to be her! He entered the room, fists at the ready in case he found any Decepticons, but he instead met a dim room with a berth, and . . . and . . .

"Fall down a rabbit hole

Or just climb through a looking glass?"

He straightened, optics pinning to Nightstalker as the music rolled around him. The guitar picked a haunting melody, and the heavy drum split the silence with muted thumps and distorted piano chords. Nightstalker had stripped of all her armor, nothing but black protoform with glowing orange as a throaty voice sang softly,

"You get taller and taller and taller . . .

You get smaller and smaller and smaller . . ."

Nightstalker didn't notice him as he ogled like he had lost his very processor—and, he very well might have. She was like an unearthly being as she twisted around the pole like it was a lover, caressing both it and herself with her hands. So high up, Cliffjumper's neck craned back to see her as her servos grabbed the pole firmly, and she twirled around with legs stretched straight and peds pointed; her neck arched back as she spun effortlessly around the pole, surreal with smooth movements like liquid. One leg joined the other, but her spin did not falter, and then she bent both legs, let go of the pole as she twisted upright. The fluid motions captivated Cliffjumper as he blinked up in awe at this talent he hadn't known she had.

"The Cheshire Cat with his evil grin says

Remember who you are . . ."

She seemed . . . lost, in a way. His optics drew over her slowly, fixating on her pinched brows and closed optics. Her lips parted, and she caught a thigh against the pole, arching backwards until the tip of her helm nearly touched the toes of her peds. Then, she grabbed the pole with both hands, twisting into a lazy spiral that drew Cliffjumper's optics with her body, amazed and aroused at the display of strength, flexibility, and endurance.

"The Mad Hatter and his cups of tea

And the Raven and the writing desk"

Her hips undulated towards the pole, and her pelvic region grazed the heated metal. A muted groan left Cliffjumper's lips, but it was swallowed up by the seductive music.

"Nothing makes sense anyway

It doesn't make sense anyway"

Her body flowed without a hitch, slighting and spinning. Then, her calves and hands gripped the pole, pulling her deliberately upwards to the top. Once there, she spun, curling into the fetal position, wings nearly hitting the ceiling. Only her thighs gripped the pole, and the sudden change from confident seduction to this made him want to reach out and touch her.

The spin never stopped as she uncurled, legs straightening out and arms flourishing as she lifted her head, still twirling with nothing but her thighs. She twisted around the pole, stretching and reaching out, body perpendicular with the pole.

"Oh Alice, Oh Alice, Oh Alice

You're falling down a rabbit hole!"

Cliffjumper's gaze was captivated. The way she moved with such grace and beauty was . . . astonishing. The only time he had seen her like this was after she had flown, that flush in her cheeks, the confident lift of her chin—this was the Nightstalker she, for some unsaid reason, would hide, this femme of strength and beauty. Here, in the confines of the Decepticon warship and enemies, she found solace by liberating herself with athletic acrobatics, climbing and spinning and body inversions using her limbs to grip, and the intimate caress of the pole opened her core.

"Do you play croquet?

The Queen of hearts booms over you

When you beat them at their own game"

And then, it hit Cliffjumper—

She was naked, and he was gawking.

He tried to peel his glossia from the top of his mouth. When he spoke her name, it was nothing but a rasp as he tried to catch her attention. Oblivious, Nightstalker locked one ankle around the pole and swung her other leg into a vertical split, valve brushing the length of metal. Another helplessly aroused and low groan fell from his vocals.

"It's in the bloody cards

Off with your head"

But Primus could damn him to the Pit if watching her was like watching art embodied into one alluring body, twisting and undulating with the ease of life, never stopping, never worried, just simple beauty and power. Her face, for once, was peaceful as she held the pole in both hands, spread both legs, and flipped herself upside down. The open glimpse of her valve in the quick movement was nearly Cliffjumper's undoing, and Nightstalker locked one knee around the pole to hold herself while the other stretched behind her. Her servos came out in a flourish, and she wore a smile though her eyes were closed. He couldn't imagine what she was envisioning.

"Off with your head

Off with your head

Off with your head!"

By this time, the song was fading away, and Cliffjumper's hoarse whispers of, "N-Nightstalker! Nightstalker!" were becoming audible. She was still upside down, one leg hooked around the pole and back bent around it, wings folded just so. Her other leg was pulled down at what seemed to be an awkward angle as her arm pulled that leg, and it opened her valve to the world in a provocative pose. Her optics opened, and lusty orange and tempted blue collided.

In this moment, with locked optics, Cliffjumper would never be sure what intimacies passed between them.


Her surprised shriek was sure to be heard from one end of the Decepticon warship to the other. If that didn't blow their cover, nothing could. Cliffjumper yelped, closed his optics and covered his eyes on top of that, embarrassed that he had been staring at her so openly. He heard her feet hit the ground.

"Cliffjumper! What are you DOING here!"

"I—I'm . . ." Suddenly, the situation was funny to him, and he laughed slightly. "I'm, uh, rescuing you."

"R—What, are you crazy? How did you get on the ship! Hasn't Soundwave seen you? How—How did YOU manage to sneak around the ship!"

Cliffjumper felt himself laughing harder, and he struggled to tone it down since he was supposed to be, well . . . undercover. "I, um . . . I'm not sure. Waltzing around since there was barely anyone out and about, caught a couple times so I had to break some necks, looking for you, and uh . . . Yeah, so we're here."

He heard her scoff impatiently. "You can take your hands away, Cliff, I'm covered."

"Already?" he burst. His optics opened to look before he could stop himself, but—dang! She was already dressed in that quick a time? That had to be record time . . .

"And I repeat, how did you get here? What in the—I mean, CLIFFJUMPER! What are you doing here?"

"Rescuing you!" he repeated. "Ratchet bridged me here! Their shields still aren't up, so we tracked them easily. And you—last we saw you, you were running headlong into a swarm of Insecticons for Primus knows what reason and we never hear nor see from you again! What were YOU doing? I mean, seriously? We didn't know if you had died!"

Nightstalker jumped forward to him, bursting, "Shush! The 'Cons are going to hear you from miles away like that!"

He arched a brow. "Oh, like they couldn't hear your music?" he burst in an undertone. "Or you screaming MY name!"

"Please," she muttered, "coming from this room they don't worry about my screams . . ."


A hot blush covered her cheeks. "Nothing!"

Cliffjumper dropped his face into his palm, groaning again at what that implied. "Look, Nights, I'm just trying to get you out of here. Or do you not want to get rescued?"

"Well—I . . . Um . . . What?"

He gave a vague gesture to the pole. "Well, you looked . . ." He faltered in his words. Sexy? No, Primus, get your head outta the gutter . . . "You looked pretty happy up there," he finally managed. "Well, you didn't act like a prisoner. So I was just making sure you really wanted to go back, y'know?"

Nightstalker blinked at him. "Really?"

He frowned. "Well . . . Yeah. It's your choice."

This time it was Nightstalker's turn to sputter. "B-But . . . You aren't WORRIED that I'm with Decepticons?"

Cliffjumper rubbed the back of his helm, giving a nervous shrug. "Well, yeah I'm worried, but . . . I don't know, I'm assuming you've got ties with them, you've lived with them all your life . . . I just don't know what you want."

Nightstalker felt her optics pop. What did she want? Primus, not even she knew that. There were still so many unanswered questions too, and for some reason she felt that only Dreadwing had them . . . But no, even he admitted he didn't know who her father was, and he didn't know who killed Fli-Ni. So what left was there? Only Knockout since Dreadwing seemed to despise her . . . And now she wasn't sure where she stood with Megatron . . .

She groaned, pressing a hand over her face. "All right, let's get out of here."

Cliffjumper broke into a wide grin, letting go of a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "All right! C'mon, I'll have Ratchet bridge us out!"

He pulled her hand, and Nightstalker followed, sending one last glance to the berth in Megatron's room, wondering if she was doing the right thing. They rounded the corner out of Megatron's room, and they both froze.

"Cliff!" Nightstalker hissed at him, "I thought you were on the lookout!"

"Oh, and you couldn't have taken a second glance around cause you know I'm like this?" he burst right back.

"I don't think it matters who didn't look," a dark voice cut in. Both Autobots looked up into furious red optics. Megatron gritted his dentures. "All I know, is you both had better start running. NOW."