Blurr tossed his head, recognizing the voice. He'd never wanted to hear it speak to him again.

His optics flickered online with a burst of static. He saw a face hovering above him, the optics a bright molten red, the plating dark.

He didn't want to look, didn't want to see that face resolve into the smirk he knew he'd see. Instead he turned, only to find that he was bound. Stasis cuffs encircled his wrists.

Worse than that was whatever his captor had done to his legs. They were held fast between thick metal boards, his feet poking out of the bottoms.

Whatever that meant, Blurr was sure it didn't bode well.

"Starscream," he snarled, still struggling, as his optics finally cleared themselves. The Seeker was pacing off to his side, his wings flicking in cruel amusement.

He held things in both hands: a long, thin rod that looked similar to a shockstick in one, and a small datacard in the other.

Starscream stepped closer, dropping the object he carried on the floor in front of Blurr.

Don't look, the Autobot told himself. It's just one of his tricks. Just something to mess with my mind.

But as the object clattered to the floor just beside him, he found his head tilting downward anyway.

The card was nothing, it seemed, but a scrap of metal with a symbol adorning it. It looked old as well, dented and smeared with dirt, one corner rusting. For all that, the Decepticon insignia painted on it remained bold and bright.

"Remember this?" Starscream purred. Blurr tore his optics away, feeling the energon in his tanks roil.

"No -!"

But looking up meant seeing Starscream tap the rod against his now-free hand, grinning with obvious relish at Blurr's protests.

"No? But I remember giving it to you. And making you an offer." His optics flared, bright crimson flame.

He stepped over to the edge of the berth Blurr was bound to, lowering his hand. When he spoke again, his voice was lilting and amused, as though he were teasing a beloved friend. "Which you refused."

Blurr felt the rod against the bottoms of his feet and shuddered. He'd been built for speed, and modified for racing. The modifications had laden his feet with stabilizers he needed to run. Worse yet, they bore an intricate array of sensors he used to detect and react to any irregularities in the ground he ran on.

And as the rod slid along them, back and forth in soothing rhythm, Blurr could feel those sensors flicker to life. It would have felt good, if not for the mech doing it.

"You flattered my ego and fed me a pack of lies," Blurr spat. "You told me I was gifted, and then you and your cronies killed my friend."

"Your friend?" Starscream laughed. "You never had any friends until that meddler Optimus said you did."

The rod froze, lying still against his feet. Blurr vented a heavy sigh and cursed himself inwardly. Surely he didn't miss it! The last thing he wanted was a Decepticon lulling him into some kind of -

"You left everyone else in the dust. And you liked it that way. That's why we wanted you. Why Iwanted you."

He tapped the rod lightly across the bottoms of Blurr's feet. Even that light impact stung, shocking the sensors to life. No one ever touched him there!

His hands clenched and his cooling fans roared. "Damn you - Decepticon -!"

The rod flicked out again, harder this time, searing a line of pain across Blurr's sensors. Blurr's hands twitched again, but he refused to cry out. He wasn't going to give Starscream the satisfaction, if he could help it.

He heard a clicking of wings. Fast, agitated, annoyed. "Admit it. If that young fool hadn't meddled, you'd be a Decepticon today."

Blurr shook his head violently, trying not to think of that meeting. Trying not to remember Starscream's high, rasping voice, sighing out promises -

You are strong, Blurr. You're superior to everyone around you. I represent a group that exists to bring freedom to those like yourself.

"Never!" Blurr roared, half in defiance of his captor and half to drown out the remembered voice ghosting through his processor.

Pain blazed through his circuits as Starscream answered with another blow, snapping the rod hard in a stinging blow right across the stabilizers there.

On its heels, before Blurr could even react, came a third. This one did make him howl, eliciting a buzzing, staticky cry.

Blurr braced himself for another blow, fervently hoping that Starscream hadn't already damaged the fine circuitry there.

I might not be able to run when I get out of this, Blurr realized with a whimper.

Or even walk, if that's what Starscream wants, he thought, his spark whirling in sudden despair. Starscream had praised him for his gifts, no doubt wanting them for his own use. Now that Blurr had rejected him, would he try to take them away?

He froze, hoping locking himself into stillness would protect him when Starscream got tired of playing.

But the blow he dreaded never came. Instead, Starscream was moving the rod against the marks he'd left. The touch set the sensors afire again, this time with a slow burn that almost felt like pleasure.

"No," Blurr whimpered.

He heard the whir of turbines as Starscream leaned over him, curious. "Why, Autobot," the Seeker murmured, "it appears you're enjoying this."

"Go get slagged," Blurr panted.

"No, I don't think I will," Starscream answered with a trilling laugh.

The next thing Blurr knew was a burst of sensation tearing through his circuits, beginning at the bottoms of his feet and jolting every part of him. It was agony, pure and perfect and so intense it blanked Blurr's processor entirely.

Static fuzzed before his optics and he panted, pleading. Blows answered him, aftershocks of electricity. He was damaged, and he knew it. Even though he wasn't standing now, errors flashed through his systems and he felt a sudden bout of vertigo as his stabilizers malfunctioned.

And over it all the burn of the blows, a wild crackle that he hated all the more because of the mech giving it to him.

But then the rod rolled over the places it had hit, and Blurr arched in his bonds and heard his curses becoming moans. This was a lover's touch, secret and intimate, awed by the things it discovered.

Blurr thrashed violently, repeating this is a lie, this is a lie, you hate him, this is a lie, you want to run, when you get out of this, you will run, fast and far, you need to run, in his head and aloud and hidden in his whimpers and screams.

"I wonder," Starscream chuckled, lightly tapping the weals he had made and making his captive shudder violently, "if you're going to overload for me."

"No - never - I won't - you can't - please-"

"Don't you want to?" Starscream coaxed, his tone all the more mocking for its gentleness. "The soles of your feet are so sensitive, and this makes you feel so good-"

Blurr had no words left. A high, monotone whine came from his vocalizer, the sound of a creature in agony. No don't anything anything don't make me please don't make me -

He saw Starscream draw back his hand.

Then everything disappeared in a flare of light and heat, searing his circuits and scouring him clean of all but itself, this moment, this sensation, and he loathed it and called it pain and craved it and called it exaltation -

- and there was only him and it and the one who had given it to him, the peal of scornful laughter drifting into his audio receptors even as his spark seized and his body trembled, wracked with the most horrible pleasure he had ever known.