Description: Fanfictions about Starscream and other seekers usually eroticize their wings to the Pits and back, but I've never seen a Tailgate/Cyclonus fic so much as take note that he's a flyer. Let's remedy that, shall we?
Warnings: Fluff. Slight Wingkink maybe? hahaha idk
Rating: ~E for Everyone~
Continuity: IDW Comics/More Than Meets The Eye
Characters: Cyclonus and Tailgate
No one ever mentions Cyclonus' wings.
In their defense, he's about as far from the stereotype of a flyer as a mech can get. He's no Seeker strutting about with them held perky and aloft, a constant broadcast of their mood, a constant temptation inviting in grounders with a taste for delicacies they've never had. Mounted as they were—so close and low on his shoulders—it seemed that even Cyclonus himself was apt to forget their existence, at least until the moment he needed them to fly.
And it made a kind of sense. For all the benefits they conferred in alt mode, when grounded, what were wings but a weakness? They were too telling for life among Decepticons, at least until Cyclonus schooled their twitchy tendencies as severely as his skull-like scowl—and too sensitive for a world in which the only mech with the authority to touch him used them exclusively as a target upon which to mete out punishment.
Now, though—Cyclonus had no home, served no master, yet nevertheless, the list of 'bots daring enough to lay a servo on him had recently increased by one. Occasionally, in the considerable amount of time he had to himself, Cyclonus caught himself wondering what Galvatron would think of being "replaced" by an antiquated minibot. It might have been enough to make the old jet laugh, if he didn't find the very thought of his former lord so deeply revolting.
Yes, no one ever had much cause to think about Cyclonus' wings—no one but Tailgate.
Tailgate. Simpering, annoying, pathetically naïve. To him, Nova Prime's Golden Age was just yesterday, and that was something Cyclonus couldn't quite abide—an ever-present reminder of the very past he pined for. Always a thorn in his side, always putting his foot in his mouth about things he couldn't possibly understand, and for what? To fit in? Find a sense of belonging? Perhaps it was a good thing he'd been offline for six million years. Going through half of what Cyclonus had would've eaten him alive.
Still… the little pest was certainly persistent. And kind. And had bigger bearings than Cyclonus had originally given him credit for, even if half of that bravery was due to stupidity or sheer cheek. Not every mech is willing to cozy up to a ticking time bomb… and not many diffuse explosives, either.
And Cyclonus wasn't one to deny when he'd come to like a mech, for all their faults.
Or ignore it, when a mech he liked seemed to suffer a spontaneous sputtering of his cooling fans any time their optics met.
Tailgate, of course, suspected nothing, harboring his ill-hidden crush right up until the moment he found himself plucked by the scruff and seated on his suitemate's lap. But despite having somehow wormed his way into the jet's rather inscrutable affections, despite having occasionally been permitted to share a berth over the last few orns, there was one place he was never allowed to touch, not without Cyclonus firmly relocating the offending limb.
Admittedly, Tailgate found that reaction a little strange—er, not that he had ever—not that he was one of those grounders, you know—but, well, the rumors about flyers' wings hadn't changed one bit in six million years, and he didn't see why Cyclonus' would be any different. …Would they?
There was only one way to find out. Problem was, he wasn't quite sure how to get the other mech on board. Polite inquiries about Seeker culture only earned him a neutral stare and the dare-I-say-glib response of, "Why don't you go ask one?" Offers to scrub those hard-to-reach places in the wash racks just resulted in his being firmly scooted out the door, arms whirling akimbo. Cyclonus recharged as lightly as if enemies still lurked around every corner, always woke long before his sleepy suitemate, and often slept slumped with his back to the wall, anyway. There'd be no sneaking up on that, not even if Tailgate changed functions and re-designated himself Mirage.
It wasn't until the evening of one especially taxing day, when he was feeling so worn and weary that this matter of wings was the last thing on his processor, that Tailgate finally got his chance.
Cyclonus was seated cross-legged on the floor in front of their hab-suite window, meditating—a process Tailgate had made a valiant effort to learn, despite his unfortunate tendency to try striking up a conversation only a few cycles in. He was getting better at it every time, though. Really!
Tonight, though? The sight of Cyclonus silhouetted as the stars imperceptibly rolled past was just too, well—too striking to disturb, not even with his customary cheerful greeting. Instead, he crept quietly to the jet's side and took a seat, amateurishly imitating the other's perfect posture. And for once, Cyclonus eventually glanced his way, the first to speak.
"We're never going to find what Rodimus seeks. We're never going to make it back to that planet online." The words were mild, spoken merely as fact, but they still caused Tailgate to reel backwards in shock.
"That's not true!"
"Tch." With that, Cyclonus turned away, about to shut down, turn dismissive. "You don't know what you're—"
"It's not!" Such was the energy of the little bot's conviction that he flew to his feet, visor flashing in a desperation not so distant from panic. It had been a long day for everyone on the Lost Light, and he didn't want to think of that happening to any of them—not his friends, not himself, not Cyclonus. "I mean it! I'll—I'll fight you if you don't believe me!" A few unimpressive jabs to the air only succeeded in reminding himself just how long it had been since he last threw that match-ending right hook.
Luckily for Tailgate, Cyclonus' optics merely widened a hair for a moment—and then the larger mech let out a loud crow of laughter, reaching out to take the minibot by the helm and sit him back down as easily as a cat batting a toy. "No need. I believe that you believe it, at least—even if it is the product of your feckless optimism."
"Cyclonus, I'm being serious…" Tailgate whined, rubbing his faceplates as if worried one had been dented. They hadn't. "Look, I know you say I didn't know you very well, back in Nova Prime's day… and, well, yeah. Fair enough. I think the number of mechs I, uh, 'knew well' could be counted on one servo, before I got dragged into this crazy mess. But I knew enough to know that you're better than this, that—that you cared. I think—I think you cared a lot, about Cybertron, anyway. I think you still do."
"Do you, now." The jet's tone was as unreadable as his expression, though that in and of itself was usually a poor sign.
Doing his best to remain unfazed, Tailgate nodded earnestly. "Uh-huh. Why else would losing it hurt so much?"
After a moment, Cyclonus just snorted, shouldering back to his original position. The message was clear—that particular strain of the conversation, at least, was over. But Tailgate wasn't quite ready to duck away, cowed into a fumbling apology. He didn't even remember to avert his optics.
Cyclonus' sharp features and tendency towards stillness had always lent him a certain statuesque quality, but combine that with chiaroscuro cast from the window and the reverent quality Cyclonus carried into meditation, and the scene became practically sacrosanct. Tailgate had always been a minibot, but in this moment he suddenly felt small, like a worshipper trailing along in the presence of something far greater than himself.
Unicron was unmistakably, irrevocably real, he'd been told—and Rewind's archives had the footage to prove it. Tailgate supposed that meant Primus was, too. Hopefully the Light-Bringer wouldn't mind too much if he reached up and touched the wing of the mech who just then—just now—felt a little like his God.
If Primus disapproved of a bit of heresy here and there, He certainly didn't show it. Cyclonus, on the other servo, snapped back to stare at his believer, optics piercing the little mech where he sat. Tailgate froze, visor flaring anxiously. He was certain that any moment now, Cyclonus would glower, or growl, or pluck that little hand off as if it were no more than a bit of dirt marring his plating. Or, Primus forbid, do worse.
But the jet only vented one deeply put-upon huff and resumed his observation of the stars through the portside portal. "If you're really that curious, you could have just asked."
"Sorry," Tailgate dipped his helm in what he hoped was an appropriate approximation of penitence. Secretly, he was just elated, though he hardly dared to move lest it shatter whatever miracle had compelled Cyclonus into a tolerating mood. "I thought for sure if I asked, you'd say no."
For some time, the jet didn't respond, and Tailgate eventually chanced a cautious caress to the wing beneath his servo, digits tracing up the edge of that relatively delicate plating. It felt as though Cyclonus hadn't permitted himself to relax in vorns— though, with some gentle coaxing, he gradually warmed to his touch, wing lowering a hair into Tailgate's grasp by the time Cyclonus found his voice.
"I have known Decepticons who, upon taking power for themselves, felt entitled to it. As if they could take everything they wanted, through force or deceit, and ask for nothing." He paused before continuing, words gruff, but more confession than rebuke. "You've made it clear you've chosen not to become one of them… so try to act like it, will you?" The words were kindly meant—for Cyclonus, anyway—but they did, at last, get the point properly across. Tailgate nodded, momentarily sober as he pressed his free hand over his spark.
"Got it. No more, uh, not being straightforward with you. I promise." Pleased, and perhaps gaining just the slightest bit greater an understanding of the enigma that was his dour companion, the little bot scooted closer to that broad back—close enough to settle one stubby hand on each wing and resume his little backrub where it had left off. Maybe, just maybe, he felt them shudder slightly in his hands.
It was painfully obvious to Tailgate that he was nothing at all like the kind of mech Cyclonus was used to. What never occurred to him was that that might be precisely why he was wanted.