The Long Road Home

Chapter 3

In which the Twins are reunited with their brother and it is not a spark-felt moment.

Thanks to all of you who are following this fic and her sister fic the Road Less Travelled By. I love waking up to reviews,

favourited stories, story follows, etc in my inbox. Please enjoy the update.

Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers; I'm just prostituting it for my amusement.

Summary: Ratchet falls for the Twins when they are gladiators enslaved to the Tarn's arena. Even as they become Autobots it's an uphill battle for these three lovers as not even the Twins' own brother, Red Alert, believes they can be trusted. (Runs concurrently-ish with The Road Less Travelled By)

Warning: war, M/M robots

Pairings: Twins/Ratchet, Jazz/Prowl, Optimus/Ironhide

Klik: One minute, 1.2 kliks

Breem: 8.3 minutes, 9-ish kliks

Joor: One Hour, not giving it a specific length, suffice it to say that Cybertron does not share the same orbit or rotation as Earth, an hour, a day would be different lengths from ours

Mega-cycle: One Day, 93 hours/ joors

Orn: One Week, 13 mega-cycles

Quartex: One Month, 4 orns

Stellar Cycle: One Year, 7.5 quartexes

Vorn: Length of Sparklinghood and Younglinghood: 83 stellar cycles.

Walking through the halls of the Palace of the Prime could be something of a religious experience for many Cybertronians. The vaulted ceilings towered above near all frame types. Works from the greatest artists of the Golden Age dotted the walls in each corridor the visiting mech passed through. He paid no mind to the ceiling, no mind to the artwork and no mind to the guards. Fins on the sides of his helm flickered with light as he walked.

Wheeljack was not here for the Prime; he was here for Ratchet.

With his guard escort following close behind, the inventor arrived at the med-wing of the great palace quickly enough. He had more sense when it came to Ratchet than many; he knocked. The doors slid apart within a klik, revealing Ratchet.

"Your a side for sore optics, 'Jack," Ratchet proclaimed. Turning to the guards he said: "you lot can stay at the door if you like but you aren't coming inside and getting under ped. Come on in 'Jack, we've work to do."

The guards were more or less gotten used to Ratchet's quirks. He was dismissive of most protocols. Any mech visiting the Palace would normally go through several rigorous security checks but the medic was not prepared to wait a quartex for his friend to be granted admittance. His temper was never going to be enough for an officer to override protocols but before any scene could have been made, Ironhide had vouched for the inventor and the word of the Prime's Guard carried considerable power over the palace guards.

Wheeljack's escorts were not put off by the dismissal either. They knew well enough that the medic was right. How well could he hope to work if he had a room full of untrained frames in his way? Caustic or not, the guards largely liked Ratchet. Since taking the position, the Prime's Own Medic had commanded each and every guard to grace his med-berths and he had repaired nagging damage that they otherwise never found the time to have repaired. He had treated them as individuals. When two of their number had been critically damaged by a would be assassin he had repaired them, taking as much time on their frames as he would have on the Prime's. No guard would forget his care and they would all guard him as carefully as they did Optimus Prime.

"I brought the 'cogs," Wheeljack announced after the doors shut behind him. "I don't understand why you couldn't just reacquisition them from Autobot supplies."

"The senate and their lackeys amongst the Autobot officers don't want the a pair of gladiators loose in Iacon," Ratchet explained. "They want to keep them crippled."

"Will you get heat from the Prime for snubbing the proper channels?" The inventor asked. His helm fins flashed worriedly.

"Doubt it," the medic replied, shrugging his shoulders. "And I'll give him the side of my wrench if he does try and give me grief. They're victims of a corrupt city-state, amongst everything else. And the senate wants to victimize them that much more. Not slagging happening."

"Okay then," Wheeljack said, knowing better than to argue with Ratchet when he was so keyed up. Beside's that, Ratchet was right. Then again, he usually was. "Introduce me to your projects."

"Follow me," Ratchet rumbled. The fact that he didn't argue that they were projects was only a surer sign that Wheeljack had read him right. For whatever reason, the medic had latched onto these patients and Primus help any mech or femme that tried to interfere.

"Twins, my friend's here," Ratchet announced as he opened the door to one of the private repair suites. At first, Wheeljack thought to warning was to keep the gladiators from entering into a defensive mode. When he stepped into the room, Wheeljack realized that the warning was much more for his own sake. The mech pair had no armour to speak of. At Ratchet's exclamation, they had half-aftedly covered themselves in warming blankets.

"I'm Wheeljack," the inventor said, his helm fins lighting up, as always, as he spoke. The expressions on the pairs' faceplates was nearly identical. Pedatory as first glance., at second glance Wheeljack could see that the power behind the great focus with which they eyed him was more out of curiosity and wariness that aggression. The brother to the right had audial horns and seemed more curious that wary. His brother, who had a titch of yellow in his audial fins was more wary that curious.

"He's going to help me install your T-cogs," the medic explained. That was interesting. The moment Ratchet spoke, both Twins had optics and audials for no one but him. "And you are going to help him design yourselves new armour."

"He doesn't get a say," the finned twin proclaimed. "I'm not going to be stuck with a tacky glitch."

"You wound me, Sunbeam," the horned twin teased, earning himself a hard shove. He fell gracelessly off the med-berth.

"Enough," Ratchet grumbled, with little heat. "Separate med-berths. Considering you received your upgrades with out cogs I'm probably going to have to shift some components around in your frames. You're going to come online a bit sore but nothing too dramatic."

"Since Sunny evicted me already..." The second brother hopped on to the empty med-berth, taking the care to secure his blanket around his hips. When both mechs had laid themselves out on their respective berths, thin cables came up from the edge of each berth, plugging in to medical ports at the base of their helms. Neither flinched, how often had they experienced this since they had come under Ratchet's care? Shockwave had owned their debts, according to Ratchet... What horrors had they experienced on his tables?

"Entering stasis... now," Ratchet announced. Two sets of bright blue optics went black, the protective shutters following over them as well. "Okay 'Jackie, let's get to work."

As Ratchet had warned, there was no natural space for the T-cogs in either protoform. It horrified Wheeljack on a primitive level. They had never been meant to be free, had never been free. There were signs of Ratchet's recent repairs throughout both protoforms. The signs would fade away completely as their self-repairs worked over the quartexes but as Wheeljack assisted in installing the T-cog he had fabricated in the jokester twin's frame, he saw Ratchet's signature everywhere, even around their spark casings. Wheeljack had to suppress a shiver of horror.

"How much of all this was damage from the Arena and how much was Shockwave?" Wheeljack asked after several silent breems. Shockwave had spent time in the Academy early in his own time tenure there. He had been banned from both the Academy proper and Crystal City itself shortly after Wheeljack had completed his first vorn of studies. The Lord of the Towers had brought mech, not yet a Lord, up on many charges, including illegal experimentation on Cybertronians, crypt robbing and so much more. Though Wheeljack had never worked with the cyclops, he found evidence of his depravity in the lower labs. It had been Wheeljack who had alerted the Academy council to his activities.

"Most is the Arena," Ratchet replied without looking up. He knew what Wheeljack had seen. Though he had not made the connection between the psychopath from the Academy to the Lord. The name he had used back at the Academy had been different. "It seems like he did most of his work in the early vorns of their imprisonment. He did something recent, some experiment on their sparks but they haven't let me see."

"Primus Almighty," the inventor swore. "They're young things. How could anyone torture anyone let alone mechs barely more than younglings?"

"I don't know," the medic replied, gruffly. His frame stiffened and his field pulled inward. Wheeljack could only guess that it was a reaction to the horror.

Wheeljack would never approve of Ratchet's dalliance with the handsome brothers. They were younglings in his optics and the inventor would be scandalized to learn that the much older Ratchet had taken them into his berth. Bitterly, Ratchet reconciled himself with the knowledge that at least for now, there was no one he could tell of his relationship. How long would they tolerate being kept as a dirty secret? Possibly as long as Ratchet was prepared to keep the relationship a secret. Slagging Primus it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair to them and Ratchet didn't think it was all that fair to him.

Was it the price he had to pay for being a coward? At least it wasn't only himself he was afraid for this time. The fall out for the Twins, should their relationship come out, could well be worse than that for Ratchet. They wanted to be Autobots, they wanted to fight back against those that had enslaved them for vorns. Autobot command, save for Optimus himself, wanted nothing to do with the pair. If they could make even the slightest case of impropriety against the Twins, they would never be allowed to enlist.

This time, Ratchet was not going to make any final decision himself. He would ask the Twins, together they would decide if they would be open or if they would be secretive... if they would be at all. Losing them after so brief an affair was far more terrifying than Ratchet might have expect except he had come to terms with the fact that he was helm over ped in love with the fraggers.

Even as he felt smothered by the knowledge that those he cared for most would never approve of his lovers, Ratchet let himself relax and he fondly watched Sunstreaker huddle with Wheeljack, Sideswipe cast aside, as they designed the Twins' armour. Sideswipe caught his optics and offered him a crooked smile. Ratchet couldn't help but smile back. It was the lightest sparked either had seen Sunstreaker since they had all arrived in Iacon.

"Will you at least let me see?" Sideswipe whined. "I'm supposed to wear it, aren't I?"

"Mechling," Sunstreaker replied. But he did tilt the tablet so Sideswipe could see the design he and Wheeljack had put together. The specific colour-code for his red was written on the tablet. He would not just wear red, it would be his red.

"I like it," the red twin proclaimed after a brief silence.

"Of course you do," his twin replied. "Now mine."

Ratchet chuckled. Who would have thought that design would be Sunstreaker's element. He seemed to be lost in the process. Their armour had been largely identical back at the Arena, save for the colours. When Sunstreaker and Wheeljack were done, the designs were similar but not the same. They would have their individuality. Though they shared a spark and so many characteristics, these were two mechs, not one and the individual touches were important.

"I've got some work space in the city, I should have the armour within the orn," Wheeljack announced.

"Thanks 'Jackie," Ratchet replied. "I'll walk you out."

Done with Wheeljack, Sunstreaker slid off the med-berth he'd been occupying and joined his twin. They weren't quite shoulder to shoulder but their frames were close enough that their fields had no doubt knit together. Ratchet wondered if they would always need to be so close or if in time they would find more independence. Certainly, they were endearing as they were but at the same time they were crippled. They couldn't, or at least shouldn't, forever cling together like newly separated turbo-kits.

"You've installed T-cogs?" Optimus asked, mildly incredulous.

"Since Autobot supply seemed to have some serious sort of shortage, I arranged for a friend to manufacture a pair," Ratchet replied. His voice and his field oozed satisfaction. "Their armour will be finished fabrication in a few mega-cycles.

"How dare you do this behind the Prime's back!" Lord Torrent of Tyger Pax exclaimed. "There are proper channels for such things!"

"The proper channels were a bit slow," the medic replied, coolly. "Think of it this way. Now these most costly repairs won't come out of the Autobot budget."

"You..." the Lord snarled.

"Enough," Prowl, Second in Command of the Autobot Army ordered. However much the senate and the Army officer may have enjoyed yelling instead of speaking, Prowl had no patience for it. "These survivors of Tarn's destruction have been in Iacon for two quartexes. I am curious as to why requisition forms for these parts have never made it to my desk."

No one spoke. Ratchet's field flared with outrage. He had guessed that Prowl would have had no part in the delays, this only confirmed it. Next to his, the Prime's field was considerably more quiet, but it clearly voiced Optimus displeasure with his senators and officers.

"I see," Prowl said, after a tense silence. I will be going back through the quartexes of data to discover where this failure in communication lies."

After this, the meeting of senators and officers was largely subdued . No doubt many of them at little inconsistencies in their data entry that Prowl was no doubt going to find and every last one of them would hear of it. Even Jazz seemed a bit put off. Then again, the Meister did not enjoy paperwork.

There were no representatives from either Tarn nor Vos. Shockwave, widely rumoured to have survived was believed to have thrown his lot in with the former High Lord Protector, and after the senate had refused to authorize any hunt for the missing Lord of Tarn, the representative of Vos, a former secretary to the deceased Wing Lords, had washed his servos of them all.

The Seekers would have vengeance. Perhaps not this quartex or even this vorn, but they would avenge their fallen Lords.

When the senators had gone, and only the Autobot officers remained, Red Alert, Security Director for Iacon and the Palace proper spoke. What he said, nearly stopped Ratchet's spark.

"You made a mistake, Ratchet."

"Excuse me?" Ratchet asked. The paranoid security director wasn't fidgeting, he wasn't twitching. He was so still it was actually frightening. Red Alert was rarely still.

"Sunstreaker and Sideswipe cannot be trusted," the director went on. "Once they are mobile there is no telling the damage they will do. And they will do damage."

"How could you know?" The medic asked. Every other 'Bot in the room was silent. Inferno didn't speak up to quiet his charges paranoia.

"They are my brothers," Red Alert explained. "They sold their frames to Shockwave just before their mech upgrades. They didn't want to be nobodies in the gutters. They preferred to be murders."

"The debts against them were insurmountable!" Ratchet argued. "There's no way they could have brought it on themselves!"

"Whatever debts they incurred, I've no doubt that they earned them," the director countered. "They never ceased to cause trouble in our younglinghood homes. We remained in centres instead of private families because they never ceased to fight, to vandalize. They were called the Twin Terrors."

"You don't know what happened to them," the scandalized medic snapped. "No one can ask for what happened to them. No one can earn it! Whatever brought them to the arena it wasn't a choice. It couldn't have been."

"So they have you fooled, Ratchet," Red Alert replied as he stood to leave. "When you are forced to recognize the truth, don't feel too foolish. They can be charming."

Red Alert left, leaving the remaining officers in a stunned silence. He left Ratchet standing, shaking with rage, barely able to stop himself from going after the Security Director and stomping the slag out of him. Inferno remained behind, only for a moment.

"Do you have anything to add, Inferno?" Optimus asked, taking in care to keep his voice and field neutral.

"They were always fightin'," the firefighter replied. "They never let me close. Don't know if they ever would have but by the time I started volunteering at the centre they wouldn't let any mechs or femmes near'm. But... They seemed protective of Red. Seemed to care for'm. Red was hurt when they left... He could be projecting but... Like I said... They were always fightin' someone. The other parties weren't always willin'."

"Thank you, Inferno," the Prime replied and the firefighter left the room. The remaining officers turned to look at Ratchet.

"They didn't ask for this," Ratchet repeated. "I am telling you that they didn't. They didn't want it. They didn't want to be gladiators. They didn't want to spent every mega-cycle of their mech-hoods in the Pit."

"Ratch..." Ironhide tried to speak but was cut off by a vicious Ratchet.

"Slag off, 'Hide. I don't need to be protected from they. They don't want to hurt me. They don't want to hurt any 'Bot here and they won't unless you get them riled up. Frag you. You haven't even spoken to them, give them a chance!"

Ratchet didn't wait to be dismissed, he stormed from the meeting room. His field lashing out at anyone near him, black with fury. How dare he! How dare their own brother write them off as monster! How could their own brother say they deserved the agony they had endured! They must never hear of it. It would kill them to hear that they were cast as monsters by their own kin.

Unfortunately for the Twins, Ratchet was not the first mech to reach the med-wing. He found Inferno, standing in the primary treatment bay, blocking his way to the Twins' private treatment room. Ratchet surged forward, to go around the far taller mech but Inferno caught hold of his shoulders and held him firm.

"He needs to do this," Inferno said. There may have been a hint of sympathy or regret in his voice and his field but Ratchet ignored it. He struck Inferno with the first wrench he grasped from his subspace. When the great mech didn't let him go, Ratchet struck him again and again. The firefighter didn't resist, it wasn't as though Ratchet was doing him any real harm. His temper never dissipated but the medic did still when he heard Red Alert speaking.

"You will find that though Ratchet had fallen under your charms, the bulk of the Autobots will not be so blind," Red Alert said. "You will not get away with the chaos and violence you were so fond of as younglings here. I will not allow it, and neither will Prowl."

Though he couldn't hear what they said, Ratchet knew the Twins were beseeching their brother, likely trying to explain, trying to get Red Alert to understand but the Security Director cut them off.

"Don't think for one instant that I care what you have to say," he admonished them. "And do not think that you will get away with whatever game you have planned for Ratchet. The Autobots care more for their medic than they care for most anyone else. And no one will care about your sob story if you so much as harm a wire in his frame."

"Bastard," Ratchet swore, seething in Inferno's hold. The far bigger mech turned amount later and Ratchet saw Red Alert.

"You may put him down," Red Alert declared. "I'm done here."

"Sorry, Ratchet," Inferno murmured.

"Don't either of you ever come back to my med-wing," the medic hissed. He flared his field out so that both mechs could feel the force of his promise. "Or I will take you apart. I don't care how badly you' damaged. There are other medics and they will see to your miserable frames."

Red Alert shrugged dismissively; Inferno flinched. They walked passed Ratchet and out of the med-wing. The moment they were gone, he ran for the treatment room.

"Don't," Sunstreaker said, his voice was a low, harsh rasp. He and Sideswipe clung to each other in the corner of the room, on the floor. "There's nothing you can say."

"Our own brother hates us!" Sideswipe exclaimed, static clung to every word. Both brothers had tears welling in their optics. "It was for nothing! It was all for nothing!"

"I don't know how but I'll make it okay," Ratchet promised, his spark broke at the sight of them. They had almost fused together, as if they would fall apart if so much as a digit wasn't in contact with the other's frame. "Come with me. Come with me to the berth."

Ratchet let them by the servo, walking backwards so that his optics never left their grief-stricken faceplates. They left their warming blankets behind as Ratchet let them into his office and onto the conjoined cots. The very moment he lay down, the Twins were all over him. It was not that they were kissing him, or touching him in anyway that would lead to interface. No, it was more that like they clung to each other, they clung to him.

They were drowning in grief and he was their owning lifeline.

"Talk to me," Ratchet pleaded. "Tell me what happened. Tell me how you came to the Arena."

"You know Red," Sunstreaker spoke in little more than a whisper. "His glitch was getting so bad the youngling centre couldn't handle him anymore. Or they didn't want to anymore. It wasn't like he caused any real trouble. That was us, me'n Sides. Mostly Sides."

"Heh," Sideswipe laughed hollowly. "Not that he's wrong. Red would lock himself up, locking up the sparklings when mechs and femmes were coming to look at adopting a foundling. Say they hadn't past inspection, or something. The centre was full, they wanted to get rid of sparklings, they didn't want Red hoarding them."

"But he was getting worse," the yellow twin continued. "He started seeing danger and doom everywhere. He started suspecting us, thinking we'd been replaced with doppelgangers. We'd stopped them from sending him to an institution for stellar-cycles. We managed him, got him to calm down but it wasn't working anymore."

"We knew that if they took him to an institution they would wipe him," the red twin added. "He wouldn't be Red anymore. He wouldn't be our brother and it wasn't right. Sunstreaker and me fought off the first doctors that tried to take him. We fought of the pair of guards next. They didn't expect we could fight so well but of course we could. The youngling centre kept us on the street most days to fend for ourselves so we'd learned to fight to keep what energon we got for ourselves and to keep the pimps, prostibots and everyone else off too."

"So Shockwave came," Sunstreaker said. "He wanted to use Red, Red's talent. Tarn needed, always needed more security, the wall were never enough. Red can integrate into any network, any system and pretty much become one with it. They'd tried to have him to it, to test it but once his glitch worked itself up, he'd locked everything down and it took five mechs to detach him."

"He made us a deal," Sideswipe explained. "He said he would have Red Alert treated, not reprogrammed, if we paid for it by fighting for him in the Arena. We were just orns from our final upgrades and then we'd be on the streets. We wouldn't be allowed in the centre and we wouldn't be allowed to take Red. There'd be no more protecting him."

"We took the deal," the yellow twin added. "We didn't get a chance to say good-bye or to explain. The moment we signed the tablet, we belonged to Shockwave and he took us away. We never saw Red, never knew if Shockwave actually fulfilled his side of the contract. Not until today."

"And it was for nothing!" The red twin wailed, tears falling now. "Red hates us! Despises us! He wouldn't even let us talk!"

"It wasn't totally for nothing," Ratchet soothed. Picking over his words so as not to wound the mechs further. "He did receive treatment. Red Alert was in and out of institutions, doing to precise job Shockwave wanted until his glitch got in the way once more. Operatives for Sentinel Prime took him from Tarn, without Shockwave's consent, to use him for the same ends. It caused a very traumatic relapse and he was nearly reprogrammed here in Iacon. But Prowl's brother, Smokescreen rescued him, treated him and while he's never going to be glitch free, he functions. Inferno stabilizes him."

"At least he's Red," Sunstreaker whispered, tears falling from his optic too. He buried his faceplates in Ratchet's neck. His frame quivered as he spoke. If he believed the words, they weren't providing much of a comfort.

"Don't ever hate us," Sideswipe begged. "Please. Please don't ever hate us."

"I won't, no matter what, I never could," the medic promised. He kissed both helms. "I love you. I love you both."

"We love you too," the Twins spoke together. Spark-deep exhaustion took over and their frames began dropping into recharge. Before they fell offline completely, they whispered: "never leave us."

"I won't," Ratchet promised the sleeping mechs. He would stand with these beautiful, broken mechs, even if all the Autobot forces stood against them.

Ratchet's fit of temper had hurt Ironhide more than the red guard was letting on. Optimus said nothing as they sat in his office. He wasn't working anymore. The datapads in front of him at long been signed off on. But the Prime made no move to, or to seek other work. Ironhide needed time to collect himself and Optimus was more than happy to give it to him. It wasn't as though Optimus himself was not troubled, because he was. Were there really two ticking time bombs laying in wait in the med-wing? The prospect was unthinkable. They were not just a potential threat to the Autobot cause but to Ratchet himself and Optimus had long since come to see the medic as a friend.

"I'm gonna have to keep an optic on'm" Ironhide said have a long, moody silence. "Red's Red. Fact is he could have more'n a lil younglinghood baggage. But I can't risk Ratchet."

"Should they still wish to enlist, I am going to accept them," Optimus proclaimed. "This way they will be under many careful optics. They will be trained and monitored."

"Yeah, good," the guard sighed. "I hope he's right. I hope they aren't a bad pair. For Ratch more than anything."

"As do I," the Prime said. "Come here, Ironhide."

Optimus held out his arms and beckoned Ironhide to sit in his arms, on his lap. Cautiously, the guard stood and stepped towards the Prime. They were never together, not like this, outside of the berthroom. But Optimus was offering him something he needed, something he wanted and though he was cautious, Ironhide climbed onto his lap and leaned into his wide chassis, sighing as long red arms surrounded him.

Soft kisses fell over Ironhide's helm, covering his faceplates and soothing his well hidden distress. The stark anger in Ratchet's field had been striking and final. Without words, the medic, Ironhide's oldest and closest friend, had written him off. Even if Ironhide wasn't weeping or bemoaning the situation, he was certainly hurting, and as his lover, Optimus would do all he could to comfort him.

Ironhide spent multiple breems absorbing the comfort. After a time, he reached his arms around Optimus' neck, seeking out his lipplates for a kiss. Optimus was happy to indulge him. He let Ironhide drive the intensity and the depth of their kiss. It was all for him. The contract and all it entailed was a universe away. His servos glided down the smaller mech's back plating stopping to kneed the grey plating of his lower back.

"Love me?" Ironhide asked as he broke away. He wasn't asking if Optimus did love him, he was asking for interface.

"Anything you want," Optimus said. He tilted his helm and kissed kiss lovers neck. "Anything you need."

"Thank you," his red guard murmured, optics shut, absorbing the pleasure.

He had to chuckle at that. It was not hardship to make love to Ironhide. This was his lover in his arms. His powerful, rugged and wounded lover. Ironhide was well versed at taking a hit from a fist, or from a blaster but a hit to the spark, with field and words from a friend? The weapons specialist was far less versed in that. A mech as loyal as Ironhide generally earned that much more loyalty.

Optimus didn't believe Ratchet truly meant to cut Ironhide off. He didn't doubt that it would be sometime yet before Ratchet became less defensive and more trusting. In time the medic would seek Ironhide out and apologize for reacting so harshly against him but Ratchet had a powerful temper and it didn't cool quickly.

Though he was irritated with Ratchet for acting as he did, Optimus did recognize that Ratchet was under enormous strain and that Red Alert's revelation and accusations had set him off. Ironhide was an innocent bystander. If he didn't believe Ratchet would come to his senses, Optimus would already be seeking him out, seeking to bring some sense to the medic but the Prime knew well enough that this would likely cause more hurt that it would heal so, for now, he would leave Ratchet be.

As he kissed down Ironhide's neck cables, Optimus raised Ironhide up by his aft so he could reach his lover's chestplating. He kissed, mouthed and otherwise worshipped the plating over Ironhide's spark. The sounds escaping his lover were soft and the reverberated through the smaller mech's frame.

"Optimus..." Ironhide groaned as he clutched his larger lover's helm.

Kissing his way back up and claiming Ironhide's mouthplates once more, Optimus leaned forward, taking Ironhide with him and with one arm, brushed the datapads aside. Now he lay Ironhide back on the desk. The guard lifted himself up, leaning back on his elbows. He gave Optimus a cocksure smirk.

"We ain't done this before," Ironhide said; he slowly spread is legs to make room for Optimus between them. In doing so, he revealed that his interface panel had retract, along with the covers to his spike and valve, leaving them bare for the Prime's inspection.

"It's about time that we did," Optimus replied. "You are a tease when you want to be."

"I'm a tart when I wanna be," the guard teased back.

"My tart," the Prime replied. "You are irresistible."

Ironhide had spread himself out like an offering on Primus' altar. He was a delicious offering and Optimus was happy to partake. Kneeling on the floor before Ironhide, the Prime ran his servo's along his lover's open thighs, taking the time to admire pressurizing spike and the damp valve in front of him. In a few breems, Optimus would have that valve oozing lubricants and charge crackling over the spike as it re-pressurized

Wasting no more time, the Prime leaned forward and latched his mouth over Ironhide's pressurizing spike. He ran his glossa over the sensitive head before licking down the shaft. As the spike pressurized, Optimus hummed around the length, dragging his glossa from root to tip. Ironhide shuddered, his hips twisting and bucking. Optimus pinned Ironhide's hips down as he continued the slow, near torturous fellatio.

"Primus, Optimus yer killin' me," Ironhide swore. Seconds later he was overloading.

"I happen to know that you are far harder to kill," Optimus replied, licking his lips of the transfluids there.

"Cheeky fragger," the guard laughed. His voice was tinged with static from the charge still dissipating from his overload.

"You bring out the worst in me," the Prime admitted. Really, Ironhide brought out the best as well. At the moment, he was bringing out the lech, and that was quite alright in Optimus' processor.

A trail of valve lubricants pooled under Ironhide's aft as it leaked from his valve. He looked debased. Holding Ironhide's legs farther apart, Optimus latched his mouthplates around that dripping valve and sucked. Ironhide howled. Though it was the first touch to his valve, in this instant, the sensors were primed and all the more sensitive. Lubricants were soon all but gushing from his valve into Optimus' waiting mouth. As his lover writhed beneath him, Optimus buried his face between his quaking thighs, licking, sucking and otherwise devouring him.

He drove his glossa into Ironhide's quivering valve. Savouring every contraction of his lovers valve, every spark from the sensor his glossa teased to full sensitivity, Optimus poured himself into his wanton labours. Under his glossa, Ironhide screamed as he overloaded, a second gush of transfluid erupted from his still re-pressurizing spike.

Optimus sat back, wiping the lubricants from his faceplates. Ironhide lay limp, splayed out on the desk. Electricity crackled over his frames as his plating steamed with heat and his vents flared open. The roar of his engine and the revving of his fans filled the office. Perhaps some of the best music Optimus had ever heard in this space. It was a handsome sight and the Prime sat back in his chair and savoured the sight of his debauched lover's frame.

When Ironhide regathered his wits and propped himself up on his arms again, Optimus had a cube of mild high grade waiting for him. He took it with a crooked smirk. His intakes were still panting as he drained the cube. Once his system began to metabolize the fuel, Ironhide sat up fully on the desk. Taking a moment to look down at himself, Ironhide laughed at the state of his frame.

"I'm a mess," he exclaimed before looking up at Optimus. "Ya looked a bit too put together for my likin'."

"We could change that," Optimus said. "If you have energy left."

"Mmm," Ironhide hummed. "Oh yeah, fill me."

"So depraved," the Prime rumbled appreciatively. His own panel slid back and long, thick spike extended to its full girth before he'd dragged Ironhide off his desk and back into his lap. A second later, Optimus was guiding his smaller lover down, spearing his delicious valve and spreading it wide.

"Sweet Primus, y're so big," the red guard groaned as he was filled. "Always stretch me so good."

"You're scorching," Optimus murmured. "And tight. Always tight. Perfect."

It was perfect. Ironhide's valve clung to his spike even as he drew his smaller lover down until his spike was completely enveloped. Optimus had to use every bit of his considerable restraint to keep from pounding up and away into Ironhide's sweet heat. His lover shifted minutely under the Prime's servos, his valve fluttering as it adjusted to the great length that impaled it.

The Prime was well endowed. Orion Pax had been of common build but when he had been rebuilt, changed, to make his frame fitting to receive the Matrix, certain components, most all of them really, had been replaced or upgraded. His spike was nothing like the one he'd reached his mechhood with. It was considerably larger than even his large frame would suggest. Three sensor ridges adorned his turgid length, one one each side, and one on the bottom and they dug into his smaller lover's valve lining, stimulating its sensors cluster within. Ironhide moaned, his forehelm dragging against Optimus' shoulder as he watch that great ridged spike stretch him open.

"You like it, don't you?" Optimus asked in a deep voice. "You like to see your valve rim stretch thin."

"Oh yeah," Ironhide replied. He clenched his valve down around Optimus earning himself a quiet curse.

"You're testing my restraint," the Prime hissed between clenched denta.

"That was the point," his guard replied, repeating the action. "Hurry up and frag me!"

"As you wish," Optimus said. He reached his large blue servos under his lover's grey aft, lifting him nearly completely off his spike before dropping him back down.

"Primus!" Ironhide shrieked with surprise and ecstasy. The Prime repeated the motion again and again, sometimes guiding Ironhide down slowly and some times allowing gravity to drag him down all at once. His lover quaked around him, crying out as his valve was filled so completely with every bounce.

The expression on Ironhide's faceplates was that of rapture. Optimus fixated on his lover faceplates as he bounced the smaller mech on his lap. Electricity crackled between their frames, their plating was molten hot. Overload was fast approaching both mechs.

"Optimus! Oh" Ironhide screamed as he overloaded yet a third time.

Charge exploded over his frame. His valve clenched powerfully down around Optimus and his larger lover bit back and oath as he held Ironhide's hips in strong servos, pinning him to his lab as he thrust up hard, a half dozen more times before he too overloaded with a great shout. The currents of their overloads crackled together and exploded and they overloaded again together.

Several minutes passed before either mech moved. Optimus lay back, strutless in his chair, as Ironhide remained draped over his lap, his helm resting against the Prime's shoulder and his lover's depressurized spike still buried in his valve. The larger mech nuzzled his tired lover's helm with great affection.

"I don't think I can walk after that," Ironhide chuckled, his optics dim, barely online.

"You won't need to," Optimus replied with a chuckle of his own. "The rest of the palace will be in their berths before long. We'll remain here until you've found your struts."

They could not have known that they'd had an audience. Mega-cycles before a palace servant had left a near microscopic trinket behind by order of a cabal of senators. By the time Optimus and Ironhide were making their way to the Prime's personal chambers, the cabal was gathering together to discuss the illicit recording.

"It's outrageous," one senator exclaimed with a snarl. There were no names in the cabal, all the senators were disguised. Only the leader knew all the members. And he was quite confident that he was never going to be caught. The speaker was not the leader. No, the senator that had put the cabal together was sitting silently, smouldering with indignant rage.

"That it is," another senator replied. "The guard is there to serve the Prime, not to be served!"

"Who is to blame here, the guard or the Prime?" Yet another conspirator asked. "Optimus Prime is a softsparked leader.

"The Prime owes it to Primus and Cybertron to have more restraint but we can to nothing for him," the leader said after a time. "We have no power to remove the Matrix. It alone chooses the Prime."

"What are we to do then?" The third conspirator asked. "We cannot just let this abide! For Primus' sake they could bond! Optimus Prime could take this gutter trash as his Conjunx Endura... As his Consort!"

"It will not happen," the leader swore. "We may not be able to rid ourselves of Optimus Primus with much ease but it is not so difficult to get rid of one guard."

Joor passed and Ratchet remained online and alert, even as the Twins recharged, curled into his frame. There was no question that their relationship would be a secret now and it had less than nothing to do with Ratchet's own reputation. If anyone learned of it, they would immediately accuse the Twins of taking advantage, of seduction, of some crime just so that they could toss the mechs away, punish them for something that wasn't in anyway a crime. Ratchet would never allow it to happen.

A frustrated vent escaped him. He'd been unfair to Ironhide but there was no apologizing, no making a mends, not now. Ratchet had created a fissure between them that would have to remain. Before anything else, Ironhide was loyal to Optimus. There was no trusting him, not with something so perilous as the Twins' well being. It was distressing, to cut himself off from his oldest friend but until Ratchet could prove to Ironhide, to everyone, that the Twins were safe, not harmless but safe, the friendship that had followed them through the worst mega-cycles of their functions would have to be broken. Guilt gnawed at Ratchet's spark yet again but he could suffer this guilt. It would be worth it; it would have to be.

Sunstreaker stirred against him, then Sideswipe did as well. Ratchet cast off his dark thoughts and focused on his lovers. It was the red twin who perked up completely first. He sat up and looked down at the medic, dragging a digit over the white and red mech's chassis. Sensing his brother's thoughts, Sunstreaker was soon sitting up as well. Like his brother, Sunstreaker was compelled to touch and stroked the tips of his digits along the side of Ratchet's faceplates.

"What's bothering you?" Sideswipe asked. "When we're recharging, it felt like you had lost something, someone."

"It's Ironhide," Ratchet admitted, venting. "I can't trust him, not with you lot. Red Alert has made the Prime nervous and Ironhide lives for him so... I can't trust him."

"Sorry," the red twin replied, meekly. A moment later he perked up, grinning with confidence, he said: "we'll just have to prove it to the Prime, to everyone, that we're not what Red says. We'll prove it and everything'll be good."

"Do you really think you can do that?" The medic asked quietly.

"Sure we can," Sunstreaker said, shrugging off Ratchet's doubts. "So long as Sideswipe can keep himself in line."

"Jerk," Sideswipe grumbled with false temper. "Everything will be okay, Ratch. Sunny and me made it through the arena and you made it out of the swamps. We can do anything."

"Thank you," Ratchet sighed. He reached up and caressed both their faceplates. "I love you both so much."

"We know," Sunstreaker said. "We love you too."

They curled back down over him. Every touch was twinned. Both twins kissed his cheekplates, his neck, his shoulder plates. Each touched his chassis, running reverent servos along his chassis, along his abdomen plating. Ratchet touched too, cupping their helms, stroking his digits along their helms, down their backplates.

After a few breem, the Twins separated, Sideswipe kissed back up Ratchet's chassis and before kissing him soundly. Ratchet moaned and his red lover took full advantage, plunging his glossa between Ratchet's parted lipplates. They kiss feverishly. Sideswipe claimed Ratchet's right servo with his own left servo and pinned it above the white mech's helm. He massaged circles into that sensitive red palm. The simple gesture lit Ratchet's frame one fire.

The red twin drank his resulting cries as thought they were the finest highgrade, cupping Ratchet's helm with his free servo, ensuring Ratchet couldn't break the kiss, not that he wanted to. In kliks, he had that much more to moan and to cry for.

Sunstreaker was between his shifting legs. His glossa licked along the edges of Ratchet's panel and it slid open in an instant. Ratchet wriggled his aft and tilted his hips, beckoning Sunstreaker's attention to his valve. Frag, he was being needy. They ought to have teased him but Primus bless them, they seemed to appreciate his depravity. The yellow twin lapped at the rim of Ratchet's already wet valve, his engine rolled over and he groaned into Ratchet's valve as he tasted the first drips of lubricants. A keen, only silence by the kiss, escaped Ratchet as Sunstreaker's groan vibrated through his valve.

Ratchet's free servo snapped to the back of Sunstreaker's helm, trapping the yellow twin's devilish mouth where it was. The gesture was not off putting to Sunstreaker, who alternated plunging his tongue into Ratchet's needy valve and lapping away the rush of lubricants.

Bolts of electricity wracked his frame as Ratchet overloaded under their talented glossa and servos. Sideswipe broke the kiss and allowed the medic to use his secondary vents to try and cool his scorching systems. His systems couldn't hope to cool as Sunstreaker pressed his digits inside Ratchet, twisting about inside and testing his readiness.

"Just frag me already!" Ratchet demanded as he arched his hips into Sunstreaker's servo.

They had the audacity to laugh. Ratchet grumbled without heat. The brother's sat up and together the they manhandled Ratchet up between them. He balanced himself on Sunstreaker's shoulders as they steered him down to their thick spikes. Sideswipe held his and his Twin's spikes together as Ratchet's valve brushed their tips. A shudder of expectation went through Ratchet. Slowly, he sank down, slowly his valve rim stretched apart to welcome the rigid girths inside.

He was more than wet enough. The rim of his valve burned just a little from the stretch but it was neither enough to worry him, nor enough to take away from the pleasure. Still, he panted and moaned low as his valve rim stretch to capacity and his lining was drawn tight as his valve casing spread out as far as it could. If they filled him anymore, Ratchet was sure he would burst.

They stopped there, filling him as much as they could with their twinned girths. Unexpectedly, they moved. No, they didn't move in him, but they did move. Sideswipe slowly laid back, Sunstreaker followed him down, with Ratchet pinned between them. Ratchet lay flat on his on Sideswipe's bare chassis.

The red twin took Ratchet's servos and brought them underneath the medics own knees. He covered Ratchet's servos with his own and together they held Ratchet's thighs wide apart. Everyone arranged to their liking, the Twins started to move. It was really Sunstreaker who moved them, though Sideswipe did rock his hips in time with his brother's inward thrusts.

Ratchet dug his digits into his on leg cables and moaned endlessly. The brother's rocked in him, sometimes Sunstreaker would withdraw and plunge back in. As charge ran over and between each frame, their passion-filled keens and cries were nearly in audible under the roar of three engines and the revving of three sets of fans.

"Don't stop," Ratchet cried. "So, close. Harder. Yes. Harder!"

Sunstreaker gripped the edge of Ratchet's windshield and cracked his hip plates into Ratchet's pelvic plating with greater force. His brother twisted his own hips in time with him. Ratchet wailed as he overloaded. As his valve clamped down around the two spikes within it, the Twins overloaded as well, filling him passed capacity with their transfluids.

Sunstreaker regained control of his frame first, withdrawing his discharged spike and collapsing next to his brother. In a few kliks, Sideswipe rolled over, taking Ratchet with him, before he two withdrew his spike. Their combined fluids spilled from Ratchet's valve, making a mess of the berth but none of the three could find it in them to care.

End Chapter 3

AN: So... That was quick, for me at least. A bit shorter but you got it faster so... Yeah. I wrote this in one day. Sometimes when the muse strikes, it'll really strikes.

I almost didn't give you the Twins/Ratchet smut but I thought you deserved it.

Don't hate Red too much. The mech's been through the Pit himself. A more detailed telling of his history will be found in The Road Less Travelled By, but not for a while yet.