It was their own fault, letting themselves be tricked like that. Megatron's sweet words became sour lies; the humiliation was unbearable. Of course, that wasn't the worst of it.
Grimlock had felt a slight betrayal at the prospect of his creators adding two new Dinobots to the family without asking for his opinion. He already had to keep tabs on stupid Sludge and violent Slag, now he had to watch loner Snarl and inquisitive Swoop. The Minibots and the twins had found it just so slagging funny that big, bad Grimlock was playing the responsible big brother.
Ratchet hadn't found having to piece all five Autobots back together though. Not one bit.
To be honest, he was surprised Ratchet wasn't angrier than he was! He and Wheeljack had literally ran to meet the five of them when they returned that day, Ratchet cursing them for being so gullible and Wheeljack fussing over Swoop and Snarl's wounds.
Oh yes; they'd battled with their new little brothers. And, embarrassingly, they'd had their afts handed to them. He was incredibly thankful only Optimus had been present to see their defeat (other than the Decepticons, but their opinion didn't matter). They'd all been patched up, then the three of them were sent to their quarters.
Ratchet and Wheeljack had actually grounded the three eldest Dinobots.
"You aren't permitted to go outside of quarters for any reason other than fetching energon rations or emptying your fuel tanks. And no energon goodies!," Ratchet hadn't shouted, because that would've made Sludge panic, and no good ever came from a panicking Sludge. The medic had spoken his words firmly and sternly. Grimlock had a feeling even a great leader like Optimus Prime wouldn't argue with that voice.
The tyrannosaurus lumbered down the hallway as quietly as possible, heading for the energon dispenser on the other side of the ARK. He rubbed his forehead tiredly, and why wouldn't he at two o'clock in the morning? He'd been going for energon when those loud mouthed Minibots weren't around to fuel his temper, and to avoid meeting Optimus Prime or Prowl along the way. That would just be awkward. He'd have to face them eventually, but Grimlock could slagging well try not to!
In general, his plan was to live out the rest of his life in his room, fight Decepticons when Wheeljack or Ratchet came for him and sneak to the energon dispenser every night to avoid all social contact and public humiliation for as long as he lived. He knew this plan probably wouldn't work, as most of his strategies never did, but he was willing to give it a shot.
It immediately fell short when he heard the most timid of squawks from around the corner he'd just passed.
He took a step backwards to see around the corner and looked down. His optic band was met by sky blue optics staring up at him nervously, Swoop bracing himself against the wall, wings tilted downwards. The two Dinobots had a staring contest there in the dark, until Grimlock sighed and turned his entire body to face the little mech, leaning against the wall on one arm. "What you doing up so late?," He asked lowly so not to wake anyone residing in the rooms down that particular hallway.
"G-going to energon dispenser. B-but me Swoop n-no can find in d-dark!," Swoop stage whispered, optics darting between the floor and optic contact with Grimlock.
"Why?," The tyrannosaurus raised an optic ridge; as far as he could tell, Swoop was very obedient. After Ratchet had patched him up after that first battle, the pteranodon had insisted on staying in the med-bay and help their creators with fixing his brothers. The medic had called him "good boy" multiple times, and even patted his helm as praise.
Ratchet never patted Grimlock when he behaved himself or saved someone.
"Me Swoop hungry... nasty car twins take me Swoop's energon ration!," The little bot whimpered, settling for staring at his pedes. Grimlock suddenly felt a strange emotion swelling in his chest; he didn't know what it was, but it closely resembled the anger he felt when a Decepticon hurt one of his creators on the battle field. But the feeling wasn't as intense as that, so maybe it wasn't the same thing.
"Why you no tell him momma-Ratchet?," None of the Dinobots would admit to calling their creators momma and daddy, but they'd picked it up while watching the cartoons Carly would put on for them when she needed quiet for homework.
"Me Swoop no want to bother momma or daddy... no tell Snarl because him Snarl will start hurting other Autobots, and me Swoop no could find you Grimlock."
Grimlock's brow furrowed; why would Swoop look for him in the first place? He'd attempted to kill the pteranodon and the stegosaurus when they first met, so it made sense to Grimlock for Swoop to hate him. But the mention of the fact that Swoop had looked for Grimlock made that feeling intensify.
Swoop had needed him, and he wasn't there because he was cowering in his room like a Sparkling.
He mentally growled and kicked himself. What had he been thinking? He couldn't run away from the fact that he had two more little brothers to look after! And it was no secret that most of the lower ranking soldiers on the ARK thought the Dinobots to be nothing more than glorified training drones. Glorified, malfunctioning training drones.
Swoop flinched when Grimlock reached out his hand, then looked at the offered appendage. "Come. Me Grimlock bring Swoop to energon dispenser. And if twins ever bother you Swoop again, come straight to me Grimlock in rec room!"
"What if you Grimlock not there?"
"Then me Grimlock probably asleep, but you Swoop still must come to me Grimlock!," Swoop stared up at him for a moment, but Grimlock's impressive lack of empathy left him clueless to what emotions was written over the pteranodon's face.
"Me Swoop thought you Grimlock no like Swoop or Snarl."
"You Swoop and him Snarl Dinobots. Dinobots stick together no matter what, and me Grimlock always look after other Dinobots. You Swoop understand?," Swoop still stared, then a smile cracked his face and he placed his fragile looking servo in Grimlock's behemoth palm.
He carefully closed his digits around the smaller appendage then quietly lead Swoop to the energon dispenser. "Grimlock?"
"Me Swoop sorry we kick you other Dinobots' butts."
So I was looking through old files, as you do sometimes, and I found a couple of little gems stashed away. Will be reading them back to myself, possibly uploading a few, and maybe getting more inspiration. In the meantime; enjoy this small ficlet. I think it's cute.