Fandom: Transformers (G1 cartoon)
Pairing: Mirage/Starscream, Megatron/Starscream, implied others
Warnings: Slash, graphic sex, violence (sexual and non), dubious consent, robot smexxin' :)
Summary: One Decepticon defector + one daring Autobot spy = the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the Decepticons' stronghold; that is, as long as Mirage can convince the Decepticon second-in-command that he's the real deal. But it turns out that Starscream may have known the bot Mirage is impersonating a lot more intimately than anyone realised. And it looks like the mission may force Mirage to confront a few of his own secrets...
Notes: This first appeared in The Book of Smutty Days, the zine for the UK slash con Connotations. Since the con brings together fans of all stripes, I tried to pitch the story so that people who weren't familiar with the Transformers universe could still grasp the premise pretty quickly. So, if you're not a Transformers fan, feel free to give it a whirl (and if you are a Transformers fan, hopefully it will still stand up!).
A huge, HUGE thank you to Liz for taking on the truly heroic task of betaing this - and on short notice, too. Her suggestions and encouragement made this story what it is. Any remaining errors are my own.
The Ark (Autobot HQ)
The Autobot security officers had interrogated Thundercracker for days after his capture – although, to be honest, “interrogated” was the wrong word. The brash Decepticon jet had been far from reluctant to talk. The security officers had had a short but pointed conversation with Optimus Prime beforehand, in which the Autobot commander had made clear that, no, torture was still an unacceptable tactic, even just a little bit of torture, even just for a minute or two, even if “we pinky-swear that we’ll stop before he gets hurt… well, very hurt.” However, it turned out to be a moot point – no sooner had the Autobot officers entered his cell than it had become apparent that nothing less than nuclear Armageddon would shut Thundercracker up. It seemed that his frustrations with his leader, Megatron, had been building up for years, and the only thing he’d needed was an audience. From patrol schedules (“Putting me on twenty-four-hour shifts just because I spiked his fuel for a prank, I mean, come on, it was funny,”) to battle plans (“We’d have creamed you guys that time if Mega-twat hadn’t left the right flank wide open, the way he always does,”) and weapons caches (“I think Megatron sneaks in there at night and fondles the giga-cannon. Honestly, he’s messed up,”), every secret the Autobots could have hoped to learn came flooding out. And to his captors’ astonishment, Thundercracker’s information proved accurate time and again. For the first time in the years since the two warring factions had landed on Earth, it looked as though the scales had tipped distinctly in the Autobots’ favour.
The plan was rather neat, in its way. The Autobots weren’t prepared to waste intelligence as valuable as Thundercracker’s on a single assault. Instead, they’d devised a computer programme that could, with luck, remain undetected in the Decepticons’ main systems indefinitely. The programme would generate errors, which would crop up at random in everything from the duty roster to the targeting computers, while at the same time, it would feed all the data from Megatron’s systems back to the Autobots in a continual stream. Every error would look like an individual glitch, but ultimately, Megatron would be unable to trust his computer systems if they told him that on Earth, rain was wet.
Thundercracker’s information could get them into the Decepticon base, and contained almost everything they needed to upload the programme. There was just one tiny fly in the lubricant – the authorisation code for the main computer. It was changed daily, and only given out to high-ranking Decepticon officers – in person.
Fortunately, Optimus Prime had a plan for that, too.
The Prime stepped into the brig. The electric containment fields bathed the room in an eerie blue light, which gilded the edges of Thundercracker’s elegant wings…
… Thundercracker, who was standing outside his cell.
Without faltering, Optimus walked up to his apparently escaping prisoner and murmured, “The illusion is remarkable.”
Mirage smiled ruefully, an expression quite unlike Thundercracker’s usual cocky grin. “You say that, and yet you spotted me instantly.”
“Well, seeing him didn’t hurt.” Optimus gestured towards the cell, where the real Thundercracker lay recharging, as if he didn’t have a care in the world. “But if we let him out and stood him next to you, I doubt that I’d be able to pick out the imposter. Although you shouldn’t have tested the disguise by strolling into the command centre this afternoon. You could have gotten yourself killed by your own comrades, Mirage.”
“It seemed like an effective test. Besides, getting shot would have been gentler than what the ’Cons will do to me, if they see through the illusion.” Mirage’s smile took most of the sting out of the words, but Optimus still looked grave as he reached out to grip the Autobot spy’s shoulder.
“We’re all counting on you.”
Mirage raised one brow ridge and looked pointedly around the otherwise empty room. The implication was obvious; the entire Ark knew that he was leaving on a dangerous mission in the morning, and yet no one seemed inclined to invite him to the mess for a drink, or track him down to say goodbye.
“All of us,” Optimus said firmly. “Me, most of all.”
Mirage’s expression softened as he looked up at his commander. “Thank you, sir. You know that I’d rather get scrapped than –”
“I know.” Optimus’s mouth was concealed beneath his battle mask, but something about the way the metal stretched and creased at the corners of his optics suggested a smile. “And you’ve never let me down yet.” He rubbed his thumb over Mirage’s shoulder axle, then withdrew his hand and turned to look at Thundercracker in his cell. The Autobot commander’s exhaust fans whirred and sighed. “Just remember – in and out as quickly as possible. And Mirage?”
"Stay away from Starscream as much as you can without it becoming suspicious. Remember, Thundercracker is one of his wingmates; if anyone’s going to notice the difference, it’ll be Starscream.”
Mirage nodded grimly. Attracting any undue attention from the Decepticon second-in-command would most likely mean an early, and spectacular, end to his mission. “I understand, sir.”
He expected the Prime to leave, but Optimus lingered, staring at Thundercracker’s prone body as if it formed a hieroglyph he was trying to read. The blue wash of light from the containment field made the metal of his face look brittle and pale, but only seemed to deepen the blue of his optics.
“I have no doubt that you’ll come back to us safe and sound, Mirage. But in the event that something does happen to you, if there are any messages –”
Abruptly Thundercracker – the one standing next to Optimus – shivered slightly, and the shiver became a blur, a trembling of his outline, until the image of the jet cracked and peeled back like the skin of a fruit, gradually baring the lean, blue-and-white form of Mirage underneath.
“Are you certain? You wouldn’t like to leave a note for any of your comrades?”
“No – I mean, thank you, Prime. I appreciate the offer. But…” He trailed off. “No message is necessary.”
Optimus did turn to look at him then, and something in his gaze made Mirage draw himself up. But the Prime only nodded, brushed his hand over Mirage’s arm briefly, and left him there.
Mirage stood watching Thundercracker in recharge, tracing once again everything he’d already memorised – the careless, gregarious sprawl of Thundercracker’s body, the way that, even in sleep, he expanded to fill the space around him. It was a good cover. The sheer size of Thundercracker’s presence would give Mirage plenty of room to hide.
He concentrated, and the holographic skin slowly unfurled over his body again. Thundercracker in the cell stirred, but if he did wake for a second, the image of his own face looking in at him from beyond the containment field must have convinced him that he was only dreaming.
The Nemesis (Decepticon HQ)
Staying out of Starscream’s way had proven easier than Mirage had imagined.
At first, he’d been worried. The Decepticon second-in-command had been present when the disguised Mirage had dragged himself in the front entrance of the Nemesis, and had spun an elaborate story about being wounded in an Autobot ambush and lying in the desert for days. The partially healed wounds he’d added to the holographic Thundercracker “costume” were remarkably realistic, and Mirage had topped it off by collapsing quite (if he did say so himself) spectacularly, right at Starscream’s feet.
Starscream had stared at him so intensely that Mirage’s engines had almost stalled, and for a terrifying moment, he’d been sure that the Decepticon must suspect…
And then Starscream had nudged him slightly with his toe, snorted, and declared, “Well, if you think I’m going to waste my time repairing you, you careless twit, you have more gears loose than I imagined.” And that had been that.
Mirage had lingered in Thundercracker’s quarters for the better part of a day, long enough to make it convincing that his own internal repair systems had taken care of most of the damage. Then he’d emerged and had begun, carefully, to explore the Nemesis, gathering as much information as he could while he waited for the next day’s briefing session, and the code he would need to infiltrate the computer.
But even with Starscream mostly absent, the operation was tricky. Staying in character was a helpful discipline, but it required intense concentration. The worst part was the holographic wings. Like the rest of his disguise, the wings would register as real enough if anyone touched them – thank Primus for the brilliant (if a-few-diodes-short-of-a-transistor) Autobot inventors and their tactile holograms – but Mirage couldn’t feel the wings. The number of times he’d banged them going through a door, or had remembered to react just in time when someone had idly run a finger over his wing strut –
Mirage’s train of thought came to a screaming halt as he found his back slammed into the wall, his arms pinned, and greedy fingertips scraped across his chassis.
“You didn’t seriously think you were getting away that easily, did you?” purred a voice in his audio receptor.
Okay, the wings were only the second worst part.
It wasn’t as if he’d been entirely unprepared for it. After all, for as long as Mirage could remember, the younger Autobot soldiers had loved to swap stories about the ’Cons and their dark perversions – this is what they do to each other; this is what they’ll do to you if they catch you… However, Mirage had dismissed most of it as a mix of propaganda and fevered imaginations.
Since setting foot on the Nemesis, he was beginning to think that the imaginations in question hadn’t been fevered enough.
Mirage squirmed in the Decepticon’s grip, which only seemed to elicit a low chuckle.
“Come on, Thundercracker. You’ve been gone for days; you can’t tell me that you haven’t missed this.” The mech’s hand slid over Mirage’s abdomen, then slipped between his legs to cup his interface panel. “Let’s have a little fun.”
It wasn’t even as if this was the first time today. Mirage had been groped on his way to the wash racks, and at least two mechs had propositioned him just in the corridor outside his quarters. He found himself reluctantly impressed by Thundercracker’s apparent popularity.
Not that his experience was unique. Everywhere he went on the Nemesis, Mirage seemed to catch glimpses of shapes in the shadows, the dim light picking out the edges of twined bodies. And even that was nothing compared to the noises that sometimes filtered through the bulkheads – moans, shrieks, the obscene clang of metal on metal.
It was… disconcerting, in ways that he didn’t entirely want to admit. But here, trapped against the wall, with those strong fingers tracing seams and wires that had gone so long untouched, Mirage was finding it difficult to ignore the treacherous heat building up in his frame.
He arched his back, pushing into the touch, and let a soft sigh escape his vents. Just to stay in character, he told himself. Then he favoured the Decepticon with Thundercracker’s most winning smile. “Not gonna be much fun for me – I’m still pretty dinged up from that battle. Come find me in a couple of days.”
“Mmmm, you look just fine to me. In fact –” The ’Con bit down gently on Mirage’s shoulder, and Mirage bucked – “I can’t remember the last time I saw someone who needed a good frag so badly.” The hand between Mirage’s legs was lightly rubbing his interface panel now, teasing him. “Go on, open up your panel for me. You know you want to.” The Decepticon’s voice dropped to a low growl. “Let’s see if we can’t put a few more dings in you…”
“If you two are quite finished?”
The Decepticon holding Mirage suddenly pulled his hands back as if he’d been scalded, and turned to the source of the voice. “Commander Starscream! I’m sorry, we were just –”
Starscream stepped forward, his arms folded. “If I needed your opinion, you waste of fuel, I’d just bash my head on a rock until I was capable of thinking down to your level. Thundercracker?” Beckoning Mirage with an impatient jerk of his head, Starscream strode off down the corridor. With a sense of dread twisting his fuel lines, Mirage ran after him, silently rehearsing every last detail he’d gleaned from Thundercracker.
As soon as they turned a corner, Starscream turned and cocked a brow ridge at Mirage. “Oh, sure, I can see how severely wounded you were, TC.”
“Haven’t you ever heard the saying, ‘A frag is as good as a rest’?” Mirage grinned. “Anyway, what’s up, Screamer?”
“Megatron’s bumped the briefing up a few hours. He wants to see us now, so that he’s got time to go inspect the armoury afterwards.”
“Fondling the giga-cannon again?” Mirage ventured. To his surprise, Starscream actually laughed.
“You know our glorious leader.” Stealing a sidelong glance at Mirage, Starscream added thoughtfully, “You actually do look better. That gash across your thigh is almost gone.”
Mirage blinked for a second, startled that Starscream had managed to get such a thorough look at the fake wounds in such a brief time. “Yeah, I feel better.”
Starscream nodded curtly, and keyed open the heavy double doors in front of them. Mirage dropped behind him, flanking him as if they were flying in battle formation.
The doors slid apart, and Mirage found himself forcing his engines to cycle normally. It was no easy task, given that they suddenly wanted to rev as if he were racing in the Monaco Grand Prix.
The most powerful Decepticons he’d ever faced on the battlefield were all arrayed in front of him, staring him down. And at the centre of the room, the dark, imposing bulk of Megatron stood, his red optics gleaming.
“Hail, Lord Megatron,” Starscream declared, gracefully crossing the room to take up his position beside the Decepticon leader. Mirage echoed the greeting, and, with a flourish of his fake wings, turned to lounge against a computer console. The other Decepticons focused their attention on Megatron.
“Now that we’re all finally assembled,” Megatron drawled, “first, the daily access code.” He looked intensely at each of his officers in turn. When he came to Mirage, the spy returned his gaze without flinching – and felt a private .comm channel open up, transmitting the code directly into his processor.
A stab of triumph went through him.
“And now, my loyal Decepticons, it is my privilege to announce that our day is at hand. You will soon witness the final destruction of the Autobots!” The officers cheered dutifully, Mirage joining in. Only Starscream remained silent, watching his leader closely.
“Observe.” Megatron waved his hand, and a 3D schematic sprang to life, hovering over the broad table in the centre of the room. The other Decepticons clustered around, jostling for a better view. “I recently recovered this artefact from our homeworld, at great personal risk. It is an ancient weapon of tremendous power – more than enough to reduce the entire Autobot army to scrap!”
“Congratulations, Lord Megatron.” Starscream’s voice was achingly sweet. “We are so fortunate that you’ve discovered this technology for us – only a few million years after the Autobots discarded it as obsolete!”
Mirage noticed that the officers, who had been murmuring among themselves, went quiet and unobtrusively shuffled a few steps further back.
“It is because this technology has been forgotten that it is valuable to us, Starscream,” Megatron gritted out. “The Autobots will not be expecting it.”
That’s what you think, Mirage reflected, scanning and recording the schematic in his data files.
“Oh, I see! How could I have doubted your wisdom?” There was a flash of steel underneath the honeyed tone now. Starscream was standing with his hands on his hips, wings flared out, inches away from Megatron. The second-in-command’s smile was like a knife blade. “In fact, why don’t we embrace an even more ancient technology, and just throw rocks at them? The Autobots really won’t be expecting th–”
Megatron’s fist smashed into Starscream’s jaw, sending him sprawling. Before Starscream could recover, Megatron was on him, hauling up by the neck and holding him in midair, choking and kicking.
“You forget your place,” Megatron hissed.
Mirage stole a glance at the expressionless faces around him. Not one of the Decepticons reacted to the scene in front of them – but not one of them dared look away, either.
“Lord – M-m-m –”
“Hmmm? Something you wanted to say, Starscream?” Megatron smirked and pulled his struggling second-in-command closer.
“Lord Megatron –” Starscream’s voice was little more than a fragile rasp. “Please…”
With a sneer, Megatron turned and threw him down on the table. The schematic flickered around Starscream, tracing the contours of his face in sickly green light.
“Does anyone else have any suggestions?”
The assembled mechs shook their heads adamantly. Megatron glared at them all. “Then we will reassemble in twenty-four hours, at which point you will see a full demonstration of this weapon’s power. And who knows?” He leered down at Starscream, who was clutching the edges of the table, trying to get to his feet; Megatron reached out and ran a hand down Starscream’s back, in what could only be described as a caress. “I may just decide to test it out on a live target…”
Starscream curled his body around, enough to look Megatron straight in the optic. The venom in the second-in-command’s expression sent a chill through Mirage.
“Decepticons, dismissed,” Megatron murmured.
Mirage couldn’t quite keep himself from casting a glance back as he left the room. For a second, his optics met Starscream’s; then the door shut behind him.
Mirage straightened up and closed the computer access port, rapidly keying in one last code that would erase any lingering traces of his presence. Done. The programme was installed; now the only thing that remained was to get out, preferably without anyone knowing he’d ever been there. He would maintain the disguise until he was well outside the perimeter of the Nemesis, and then –
A private .comm message pinged in Mirage’s processor.
He mentally opened the .comm channel. <Yeah?>
<Thundercracker, report to my quarters. Now.>
<Aww, Starscream, can’t it wait?> Mirage poured as much charm as he could into Thundercracker’s voice. <Gimme half an hour, and I’ll be there on the dot, I promise.>
<Not a chance. Get your aft down here in thirty seconds, or else.>
Mirage cut the .comm, and leaned his head against the wall. Calculations of speed and distance raced through his mind; no, the risk was too great that Starscream would come looking for him before he could clear the perimeter. Better to go and see what his – he turned the strange word over in his mind – wingmate needed.
Humans had a saying about this kind of situation, Mirage mused to himself as he headed towards Starscream’s quarters. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Something about a den, and lions.
“Well, what d’ya want, Screamer?” Mirage drawled, trying to slow the audible whirr of his engines.
Starscream, who was sprawled in his desk chair, studying a handheld info pad, didn’t bother to turn around, but simply raised his hand and gestured Mirage forward. Mirage went, reluctantly. For some reason, Starscream’s languid pose didn’t quite ring true; there was a palpable tension in his arms, and in the way he held his wings.
Up close, Mirage could just make out the deep paint scuffs and faint dents along Starscream’s chest and abdomen, from where Megatron had thrown him face-first onto the desk. Each one had been painstakingly filled in with polish, but it didn’t entirely cover them up.
“Okay, seriously, Starscream, what is it?”
“On your knees.” When Mirage stood gaping for a second too long, Starscream finally glanced up, a dangerous light in his red optics. “I don’t think I need to tell you again, do I?”
“No, you don’t…” Mirage thought for a moment as he gracefully sank to his knees, then improvised, “… Commander.”
Starscream idly kicked him in the wing. Mirage remembered to wince just in time.
“Not good enough! Have you forgotten? Try again.”
This time, Mirage didn’t need to remember to wince, as Starscream lurched forward and dug his fingers painfully into the seam in Mirage’s chest, where the cockpit of his car mode joined the rest of his body. “I’m in no mood to tolerate your stupidity, Thundercracker. Try. Again.”
Mirage’s optics widened as his processor spun desperately. It was a gamble, but then, so was every second he failed to answer, so… “Lord Starscream.”
The Decepticon instantly relaxed, smiling slowly as he let go of Mirage’s seam and trailed his hand up, cradling Mirage’s cheek. “That’s right. I was beginning to think you couldn’t remember our rules, TC.”
Mirage turned his optics off for a second as Starscream’s fingers reached his lips. Damn you, Thundercracker. You never mentioned this.
“But it’s coming back to you now, isn’t it?”
Mirage nodded hastily. “Yes, Lord Starscream.”
Starscream’s fingers traced the edges of his mouth, the action bizarrely gentle. Mirage parted his lips and licked a passing fingertip, flickering his gaze dutifully up at Starscream as he did it. The light from Starscream’s optics was half-dimmed, and he lolled back in his chair, his engines humming softly, as Mirage started to suck on his fingers, one by one.
You’re fine, Mirage. You can get through this, especially if he keeps guiding you. Just pay close attention to his reactions – and as a bonus, that’ll help keep your mind off what you’re actually do–
The sound ripped through Mirage’s systems like a static charge.
His gasp was muffled by Starscream’s thumb in his mouth, but the Decepticon must have felt it; Starscream leaned in closer, deliberately sliding two fingers from the other hand between Mirage’s lips, while he stroked the Autobot’s face with fingers still wet from Mirage’s mouth.
“I’d forgotten how much you like doing that,” Starscream sighed, finally pulling his hands away, dragging his thumb across Mirage’s lower lip as he went. “But then, you always were good with your mouth, TC."
“Thank you, my lord.” Mirage bowed his head and fought a traitorous sense of disappointment. Part of him wanted to strain after Starscream’s fingers, to take them back into his mouth and see if he could wring those gorgeous little sounds out of Starscream again…
Primus, what is wrong with me? Has it really been this long since anyone…
Starscream’s fingers were suddenly curled under his chin, forcing his head up. The Decepticon’s gaze was hot.
“Now, tell me what you want, Thundercracker.”
“I want to please you, my lord –” Mirage broke off as Starscream’s hand shifting with lightning speed from Mirage’s chin to grip his neck.
“Is that all you have? If I wanted simpering nothings, I could have picked one of the lower ranks to frag.”
The hold around Mirage’s throat wasn’t actually tight, but the way Starscream’s fingertips managed to worm into his neck cables and stroke over sensory nodes Mirage hadn’t even known he had made it very difficult to think. “I want – I want…” Mirage remembered his position, on his knees in front of a seated Starscream, and made an educated guess. “…to suck your cord.”
“Oh, that can be arranged.” Starscream sounded smug. “What else?”
“I want you to come in my mouth. I want to taste your transfluid, Lord Starscream.” The grip on his throat was softening, becoming an outright caress, and it made Mirage bolder. “I want to run my hands over every inch of your chassis, and feel your engines rev under my touch. I want you to moan for me.” Mirage was in full flow now, surprising himself with how much of what he was saying was true. “I want to lick your wings –”
Starscream actually shivered at that.
Sensing an opportunity, Mirage leaned in towards those elegant wings, only for Starscream’s arm to bar his path. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Lord Starscream, I – I thought…”
“Back off. I haven’t decided yet whether you’re worthy of getting what you want.” Starscream tilted his head. “Beg me.”
Mirage took a moment to arrange himself, splaying his knees apart, biting his lip, letting his hands dangle in front of him (wrist-to-wrist, as if he were cuffed; from the way Starscream’s air intakes hitched, the visual was not unaffecting). “Please, Lord Starscream."
“Please what, TC?”
“Please let me touch your wings. Please. I want to, so much.”
Starscream’s optics were growing languorous and hazy as he gazed down at Mirage. Mirage felt a small surge of triumph, a faint echo of the moment when Megatron had transmitted the code to him. Primus help him, but it felt good to be looked at like that. He arched his back, revelling in it –
– and remembered abruptly that he was still in disguise. Starscream was casting that hopelessly aroused look at Thundercracker, not at Mirage.
For Primus’s sake, pull yourself together, Mirage. Do what you need to do to get out of here – that’s what matters.
Mirage went down on all fours, leaning in close and venting heavily, so that Starscream could feel the hot gust of air over the sensitive surface of his wings. “Lord Starscream, I beg you – just let me touch your wings and I’ll do anything, anything…”
Starscream muttered something, just below Mirage’s range of hearing – it sounded like it could have been, “Hold you to that,” but Mirage couldn’t be sure. The Decepticon waved a hand expansively. “Then proceed.”
Mirage brushed an achingly light kiss over Starscream’s wing. The metal here felt so strange – it was delicate and yielding, almost more like an organic skin than a proper metallic surface. He could feel Starscream tremble under the heat of his mouth, and, smirking, ran his tongue along the length of the Decepticon’s wing strut, eliciting a soft whimper.
“Don’t stop.” Starscream was writhing, pushing closer to Mirage’s mouth. There was a ragged tear at the base of the wing, Mirage realised. It hadn’t been there that morning; a souvenir of what Megatron had done after he’d dismissed the others from the room, perhaps. Some perverse instinct made Mirage press his tongue into the gash. Starscream clawed at the armrests of his chair and whined.
Those sounds were going to make Mirage come undone. He tried to concentrate, but he could feel the heat pooling behind his interface panel; his cord was half-pressurised, straining uncomfortably against the panel, and his port was getting slick. Time to end this, before he really did forget himself.
Mirage hovered over Starscream’s panel. “Lord Starscream…”
“Wha– Oh, yes, Primus yes, do it.” There was a soft click, and the panel retracted, allowing Starscream’s cord to pressurise with a hiss. Mirage took it in his mouth, swiping his tongue sloppily over the head. Thundercracker would be a little rough, he guessed. He raked his hands over Starscream’s thighs, then clutched at his hips, his waist, pulling the unresisting Decepticon closer. One of Mirage’s fingers found Starscream’s port, and slipped just inside; when that didn’t get the Autobot smacked, he added a second finger, pumping them in and out with agonising slowness.
It would have been so easy for Mirage to switch his optics off, to let the sensations carry him, but losing track of their surroundings only got spies killed. And that was why Mirage’s optics were trained relentlessly on Starscream, even as Starscream shivered and cried out one final time, his body arching as if he were in flight.
“Oh, TC.” The whisper, and the lazy brush of Starscream’s fingers over his lower lip, finally did make Mirage break his gaze.
Starscream dragged him up and onto his lap, turning him so that Mirage’s back rested against Starscream’s overheated frame. The arm that he slung casually around Mirage’s chest felt better than it had any right to.
“See? I told you I’d remember the rules.” Mirage took a moment to preen silently over his performance. “Not bad, eh, Screamer?”
“Mmmmmm. Not bad at all. You’re quite a talented little slut, aren’t you… Autobot?”
Mirage froze. That arm around him suddenly felt a lot less protective. There was a tiny prickle of pressure at his temple; out of the corner of his optic, he could see just enough to confirm that Starscream was pointing a null ray at his head.
“What – what are you talking about? I – Screamer, it’s me, I –”
“Don’t. I’ve decided not to melt you into slag – not yet – but that decision can always be revoked.” Starscream’s body was snuggled close to Mirage’s, spooning him almost as a lover would. It made Mirage shudder. “The real Thundercracker is in some Autobot holding cell, I take it?”
Mirage said nothing.
“Oh, now, don’t be such a sore loser.” Starscream snickered. “I’m sure it was fun for you while it lasted, wasn’t it? And you were trying so very, very hard. But there’s a bond between wingmates, Autobot. The moment I laid optics on you, I knew you weren’t Thundercracker.”
Mirage felt sick, as if all his systems were trying to purge at once.
“That said, I’m glad I played along.” The tip of the null ray stroked over Mirage’s cheek and jaw, tauntingly. “Thundercracker has never been so deliciously compliant for me.”
“Oh, really?” Mirage matched Starscream’s poison-sweet tone, even as the spy’s gaze darted, scouring the room for a weapon, a heavy object… something. Primus, there was nothing within reach. “Because he was awfully compliant for us.” As Mirage said it, he could hear Thundercracker’s brash tone slipping away, reverting to Mirage’s own liquid, cultured voice. “In fact, your wingmate sold you out. So where, exactly, is that exalted bond now?”
Starscream stiffened beneath him, and shoved Mirage off his lap, levelling the null ray at him. Mirage caught himself and stood at bay, meeting the Decepticon’s murderous glare.
Slowly, Starscream lowered the weapon.
“You’re lucky you’re still of use to me alive. Now, run back to your little Autobot friends.”
Mirage gaped. “You’re letting me go?”
“Try and keep up. Why do you think I gave you enough time to get whatever information you needed? Not just for the pleasure of watching you squirm, though you do squirm adorably. I don’t know what you were after, and I don’t want to know – I’d rather keep a little deniability – but whatever it was, I wish Optimus Prime good luck using it.”
“But why would you want to help…?” Mirage trailed off as he thought for a moment. Suddenly, he vented sharply.
“Clever little Autobot,” Starscream whispered. “I knew you’d get there in the end.”
“You think that if we win a solid victory, it will be enough to split your ranks, turn some of the Decepticons against Megatron. And then, if you can harness that discontent…”
“… I’ll become leader.” Starscream’s voice drew the word out slightly, as if he liked the taste of it.
“And when Megatron finds out I was here?”
“He won’t. ‘Thundercracker’ will go out on patrol in an hour, and when he doesn’t return, we’ll have to assume that his still-wounded condition got him captured or scrapped by the Autobots.”
Mirage nodded, his processor spinning. Any way he turned it, he couldn’t see what Starscream had to gain by letting him go, unless Starscream really was telling the truth – and either way, the programme was loose in the Decepticons’ computer banks now, all but impossible to trace or dig out. The mission was a success. Mirage hadn’t necessarily counted on coming out of this alive, but he wasn’t going to turn down a perfectly good escape if one was presented to him.
One odd detail struck him. “Why in an hour? Why not now?”
“Ah, yes…” Starscream rose and stalked over to him. “That. Well, I thought that we could put the time to good use.” He lifted a hand and trailed two fingers over Mirage’s still-hot chassis. “You were more fun than I bargained on, Autobot. Want to play again?”
Mirage jerked away. “Are you insane?”
“Awww, and I was hoping you’d play willingly this time. After all, if you like –” Starscream reached up and popped open a hatch in his chest, revealing a slender cable and a socket – “we could up the stakes.”
Mirage stared. Plugging into your partner – connecting directly to their systems – gave you limited access to their thoughts, meaning that you felt what they felt. It was sex at an entirely different level, a level that was said to be addictive.
A level no one had ever offered Mirage before.
After a moment, he folded his arms. “Do you seriously think that I’d let you inside my processor like that? You’re just hoping that you can root out some information about the Autobots. Why would I ever agree to that?”
“Because you’d have control over what I see of your mind, and what I don’t?” Starscream unwound a length of cable, and flirtatiously dragged it up Mirage’s arm. “Because when you had my cord in your mouth, your engines were running so hot I thought you’d explode? Because you still haven’t come, and you’re desperate for it?” He licked the base of Mirage’s neck, tongue dragging lewdly over the sensors there; Mirage bit his lip. “Because you’ll have the same chance to get into my head that I’ll have to wander around yours?”
That brought Mirage up short. It was true – if he could get even a glimpse inside Starscream’s mind… Every instinct was screaming at him not to give up the wealth of potential information.
He took one last look at Starscream’s smirk. You don’t really think I’ll be able control where you go in my mind. You’re suggesting this because you’re counting on being stronger than I am. Well, take your best shot. Mirage smiled. “All right.
“Ah-ah.” Starscream pulled away. “Not while you still look like Thundercracker. It’s just unsettling now.”
Mirage tilted his head back, and the hologram sloughed away.
“Better.” Starscream broke out in a broad grin. “Much better.”
Mirage had to admit that Starscream was good. The Decepticon seemed fascinated by Mirage’s sleek racecar body, now that he could see it, lavishing as much attention on the Autobot’s wheels and spoilers as Mirage had on Starscream’s wings. Before he knew it, Mirage was sitting up, his panel open, groaning as Starscream slowly lowered himself onto Mirage’s erect cord.
Starscream sighed happily, beginning to rock up and down.
“Whenever you’re ready,” Mirage said pointedly, flipping open the socket housing in his own chest.
“Relax, Mirage,” Starscream whispered. “I promise, you’re going to enjoy this.”
He wrapped one arm around Mirage, the other hand dangling his plug right above Mirage’s socket. Mirage let out a soft whimper of surprise as Starscream abruptly leaned down and kissed him, and at that moment –
– the plug slides in, and the connection is made.
It is the strangest sensation; Mirage can feel himself, the solidity of the ground, the weight of Starscream moving above him, and yet at the same time, he can feel himself as Starscream, with Mirage’s cord pushing inside him. It is dizzying to try and look at the room around them; not only can he see it from two directions at once, but every inch of the room is overlaid with other images – Starscream’s memories of everything that has happened here, Mirage’s memories of Starscream.
<Now what?> Mirage asks, and when the response comes, it is both in Starscream’s voice and his own.
Mirage strokes his hand over Starscream’s waist, and shudders as the sensation runs through him as well. And with it come all the remembered touches, falling thickly, splattering and vanishing like rain on his windshield – everyone who’s ever caressed him, them, like this. Most of the memories are Starscream’s, Mirage thinks, although it’s difficult to tell them apart.
That is, until Starscream gives a mental push, and it’s as if one of the raindrop-memories widens into an ocean, swallowing them both.
Starscream’s room is still around them, but its colours are muted, its shape abstract, as if it is only a schematic laid over a more vivid scene – Mirage, lying in his quarters on the Ark. One hand is on his cord, the other is desperately tracing circles up and down his thighs, over his hips, trying to pretend that it’s a lover’s hand on his neglected frame. He feels cold, realising that Starscream is seeing this as well.
<Poor little Mirage,> Starscream singsongs in his head, pushing further and further back in Mirage’s memories, like some Earth animal scenting blood. <So untouched, no friends… No wonder you were so eager for me.>
Mirage groans, clawing at Starscream’s body as if he’s scrabbling for purchase inside his own mind. He scrapes one hand over a sensitive wing; the distraction works, because Starscream keens, and the memory shifts around them –
He is Starscream. He is in a writhing heap with the rest of his wingmates; his wings are being petted, licked, teased until they feel like they’re on fire. Thundercracker is straddling his lap, laughing, kissing him – “Come on, give it up for me, Screamer –”
Thundercracker. Their joined mind races along, neither of them directing it now, and Starscream is Mirage is standing outside Thundercracker’s cell, looking down at him. Mirage feels himself strangely doubled, like a dual-exposed picture, or a hologram skin overlaying a real body – but what is him and what is Starscream, and which one of them is real, he can no longer tell. One of him is numb, studying the captured enemy minutely. The other is staring at his wingmate with a mix of relief and rage – and, despite the rage, a protective terror.
<Slagging Autobots, what did they do to you –>
The one of him that he dimly recognises as Mirage recoils. <We haven’t hurt him. We won’t.>
In the rapidly-receding physical world, Mirage’s arms wrapped hard around Starscream’s body.
The warmth of the embrace builds as it cycles between them, triggering another memory – Optimus Prime, brushing his thumb over Mirage’s shoulder, smiling with just the corners of his optics. Mirage can feel Starscream somewhere under his skin, stirring.
<What’s this? Got a bit of a thing for our leader, have we? Oh, now that is interesting…>
<Is it?> Mirage feels a flash of anger and uses it to push back. <What about your leader, then, what about –>
A new memory rushes up at them fast, and all around them, there is screaming.
At first, Mirage thinks it’s his own voice, Starscream’s voice, but it’s even higher, purer – the shriek of metal on metal. Pain scorches through his left wing. Primus, he’s going to pass out – but no, frag, no, can’t let that happen. Can’t.
Red optics swarming closer to him, through the fog of pain. That familiar, gravelly voice purring in his ear, “Starscream. Not ready to beg yet?” Broad fingers close around his throat, lifting him; Mirage twists and flails. “Good.”
The impact with the wall jars him, the sharp shock almost a welcome distraction from the screaming pain in his shredded wing. One of Megatron’s hands is still fisted around his neck; the other slides lazily down his body, twisting metal, snapping stray wires. And just when the torture gets to be too much, Megatron’s touch softens, caressing his underling’s scratched and broken body. Mirage desperately tries to squirm away from that touch, unwilling arousal flooding his circuits.
“You worthless, incompetent bit of scrap.” Megatron’s voice is inches from his audio. “You’re lucky I like you like this. Lucky that you can at least scream for me like some pretty, filthy little pleasurebot, because you’re no use to me as a warrior.”
Mirage can feel the snarl, more bestial than sentient, rising in his throat. Megatron laughs, and the laugh is somewhere above Mirage, around him, everywhere, enveloping and smothering him.
A lashing kick to the torso sends Megatron staggering away, and Mirage can lurch to his feet – the reprieve is only seconds long, but this time, he’s ready, and when Megatron comes roaring at him, he springs to meet him. Then they’re entangled, too close for weapons, tearing at the living metal of each other’s bodies. There is a dark hunger here that Mirage has never felt before.
He shrieks as a fuel line ruptures, bleeding hot down his arm and spattering onto his chest. And now Mirage is on his back, Megatron on top of him, that unhinged, mocking laughter loud in his audios again.
But – this laughter is his own.
“Come on, mighty Megatron,” he hears Starscream’s voice coo. “Look at you – so desperate, so hard for me, you’re trembling like some pathetic weakling. You need me."
Megatron’s blunt fingers swipe over Mirage’s chest, then, with a calculated roughness, smear still-warm fuel oil over his lips. Somewhere, deep down, Mirage’s mind recoils, but the horror is detached; his body, Starscream’s body, is moaning at the taste, arching up, sucking Megatron’s fingers clean. And then there is the rough touch at his interface panel, tearing it open and oh, Primus, Megatron is filling him; cord buried in Mirage’s port, hand shoved into his eager mouth, huge frame eclipsing Mirage’s slender body, everywhere –
Mirage bites down. Megatron roars.
And it’s that – the taste of Megatron’s fuel mingling with his own, the note of panicked pain in his leader’s voice – that does it, more than the cord pounding into him. It pushes Mirage over the edge, and as his orgasm rips through him, he is Starscream, being taken on the floor of the Decepticon command chamber – and at the same time, he is Mirage, inside Starscream, inside Mirage, tighter and tighter circles until something –
Mirage came to flat on his back. Starscream had one hand wrapped around his throat; the Decepticon’s expression was half feral, but dazed, as if Mirage wasn’t really what he was seeing.
Mirage lay very still, as Starscream drew in a shuddering intake of air, then another. After a moment, he turned off his optics and unplugged himself from Mirage. There was a quick surge of loss as the connection broke, and then Starscream rolled to his feet, closing his panel and turning away.
“Don’t you dare slagging pity me, Autobot.” The words were a low snarl.
Mirage tilted his head, considering. “No, I don’t.” He remembered watching Megatron attacking Starscream in the briefing room, seeing the ravages of it afterwards. “If anything, I… think that I may understand, now.”
“I highly doubt it,” Starscream replied, starting to sound a bit more like himself. “At any rate, your hour is up. Get out of here."
Mirage nodded, even though Starscream wasn’t looking, and re-established the hologram of Thundercracker around himself. Glancing down at it, he paused. “Starscream.” Mirage watched Starscream’s body snap to rigid attention without turning around. “If… that is, if you want me to pass on any message to Thundercracker…”
Starscream’s wings wilted slightly, drawing in around himself. “No. No message is necessary.”
<Mirage to Optimus Prime. Mission completed. En route to base.>
Mirage sped along the canyon, the hot sun gleaming off his paintwork, the Ark almost in sight.
<Optimus Prime, acknowledging. It’s good to hear your voice, Mirage.>
<Thank you, sir. Mirage out.> After a moment’s thought, Mirage clicked the channel back open. <Oh, and… it’s good to hear yours, too.>