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Title: Belonging 5/6
Rating: M/NC-17, Slash
Universe: Transformers: Animated
Pairing: Megatron/Optimus Prime
Author's Note: Spoilers for A Bridge Too Close, follows an alternate ending into a new continuity. Just one more part remains. =3
So many thank yous go to lady_oneiros, who continues to beta my nonsense even when she is miserable and sick and needs cuddles more than pr0nz. All the rest of my thank yous go to all of you who have followed this fic from the beginning and to all of you who have left me such encouraging feedback. ♥

Part V

Iacon's layout had a certain lethal symmetry in all its structures. During the Great Wars, the Decepticons had taken that advantage to all its extremes, and in the aftermath of the fighting, Ultra Magnus had done his best to prevent the capital city's construction from ever again contributing to enemy strategy. Vested traditionalism had interfered, however, and most of the alterations remained superficial only; they were a lattice over the foundations of square corners and endless parallelisms. In the end, the program had fallen prey to bureaucratic squabbles, and the Council had eventually called a permanently temporary moratorium on the recreation of old Iacon.

The Decepticons had benefited from such bureaucracy before; they would benefit from it again.

“Tear it down,” Megatron said.

Demolisher clunked forward and hooked his hands into the edge of the manufactured barrier. The massive Decepticon shared a number of aspects with Bulkhead's model, both in form and function, and watching him exert all his strength according to Megatron's demands made Optimus shift uneasily from foot to foot. His hands pulled the stasis cuffs taut between his wrists. The barrier began to give under Demolisher's power, the metal ripping from the bolts at one edge and then peeling slowly back like so much shearing fabric. Shadow spilled outward from the revealed tunnel. Optimus had ventured into Cybertron's labyrinthine underbelly a few times during his years at the Academy, but no creature had entered these sealed tunnels in vorns, and the ragged entrance in front of them seemed to suck in the planet's thin atmosphere like a gasping breath.

A revolving light from one of the nearby towers swung along the corroded metal of the wall above their heads. For an instant, blue light caught the edges of Megatron's shoulders and swept the edges of his helm. Then the glow slid away, leaving only the dim illumination of hydrogen lamps and red optics.

This was one of Cybertron's dark vorns. With no sun of its own, their world wandered through the galaxy on an unsteady orbit, manufacturing its own light when no other source made itself available. After having adjusted to the diurnal rhythm of Earth, Optimus felt an eeriness in this cosmological darkness—a night with no promise of a following day.

“This is the best of all possible entrances, Excellency,” Shockwave murmured, disrupting the silence that had fallen over their peculiar coterie. The intelligence officer's antennae shifted minutely instant by instant, monitoring more broadcast frequencies than Optimus could imagine.

Even receiving such frequencies would be impossible at the moment. Megatron had ordered Optimus' communication systems blocked, and Shockwave had carried out the task with subtly fierce glee.

Shockwave was unquestionably the best of the few intelligence specialists that Optimus had ever met; the spy had left himself a well-concealed but incredibly sturdy back door into the Iaconian security system. The data blip of their entrance would be immediately joined by the backlog of recursive programming generated in the cycle-to-cycle running of Cybertron's vast infrastructure. Buried in junk data, their distinctive signatures could temporarily disappear. With characteristically blunt efficiency, Megatron intended to be in too deep for extraction by the time security alerts became unavoidable. Beyond that point...he intended to be unstoppable in every way that mattered.

Optimus had no idea at all how to prevent that eventuality. But he had no intention of surrendering to it, either.

“It is appropriately unguarded and otherwise disreputable,” Megatron noted with grim distaste, activating the sparse lights of his alternate mode to illuminate the passageway. “Rippersnapper, Ratbat.” He jerked his head toward the entrance they had made. “Proceed. Dispatch any lingering security outposts.”

“There should be none, Lord.” Shockwave flattened his antennae for just a moment in displeasure, but dared make no further protest.

Megatron favored him with an unpleasant smile. “In that case, you may go next.”

They made a ramshackle group: lithe Rippersnapper and fluttering Ratbat first into the tunnel and needing no extra illumination, followed by careful Shockwave and lumbering Demolisher with all their vehicular lights engaged. Optimus heard the low click and grind of separating components as Megatron brought forth one of his swords. For a moment, Optimus sensed nothing else, before Megatron turned on him and slipped that blade up against Optimus' back, dragging them uncomfortably close together. Chest to chest, Optimus felt the sudden thrum of their bonded sparks.

“Stay close,” Megatron growled against Optimus' audio receptor.

Behind his battlemask, Optimus clenched his dental plates and barely kept himself from twisting away. “I'd say you have more important things to worry about than me.”

“On the contrary.” Megatron passed the sword from one hand to the other and shoved Optimus toward the tunnel entrance, hard enough to make him stumble. “We mean a great deal to each other.”

Catching himself after a momentary struggle, Optimus straightened and glared at Megatron over one shoulder. “I'd think that I meant a lot to you as a hostage.”

Megatron snorted and strode toward him, forcing Optimus to raise his chin to hold that crimson gaze. “I hardly think the Autobot army has altered its priorities enough to value an individual over the most sacred of all its symbols.” One of Megatron's hands curled around the connection between the stasis cuffs, propelling Optimus forward ahead of him. “Unless I am much mistaken.”

Optimus kept silent, not at all prepared to argue or believe otherwise.

“Follow us in,” Megatron muttered to Octane, the last of their number. The triplechanger consistently shifted his visage—as Blitzwing was wont to do—but in weird contrast, all three of his faces wore the same expression of casual cruelty. His plating bristled, increasing his size by a quarter again with all his outwardly adjusting weaponry.

Megatron made no attempt to disguise their forced entrance. Optimus hoped against all his logic programming that some routine patrol would discover the broken barrier, but he wasn't foolish enough to rely on miracles. According to all of Shockwave's intercepted transmissions , the Autobots had routed the Decepticons to the edges of the galaxy. The Elite Guard had no reason to suspect an attack from within Iacon itself. Even the shuttle that had brought them to the planet surface was hidden well; Optimus should have known that Megatron would take the only thing of real value from Lockdown's ship.

Cloaking technology remained hard to come by, even for Decepticons.

Uneasy in the darkness, Optimus activated his headlights. To his vague surprise, Megatron had shifted the sword to cross in front of them both, the blade mere finger-widths from Optimus' chest plates. The adjustment seemed equally defensive and offensive, maybe even instinctively protective. Plainly, Megatron placed little trust in any of his soldiers—especially when darkness made vulnerability unavoidable.

Cybertron hummed and clicked and groaned through the surrounding shadows. When he paused for a moment to rest his foot against a massive cable snaking its way across the floor, Optimus felt a weighted vibration in all his servos, like a pressure too vast and a rhythm too deep to comprehend. He felt as if he touched not just something living, but something sentient and serene, and he hurried onward before Megatron could give him another unceremonious shove.

The deeper they moved into the tunnel, the more one aspect of that vibration increased. It became something tangible, heating the atmosphere and trembling the tunnel walls.

“Lord Megatron,” said Shockwave from some distance ahead. “I have lost contact with all broadcasting frequencies. Diagnostics indicate that the energy fields from the generators above this tunnel are interfering with communications.”

Megatron paused. Optimus felt the tiniest hitch of alarm skip through the bond between them before looping back into Megatron again. “Are the Autobots aware of our presence?”

“No.” Shockwave spoke with certainty, but Optimus sensed hesitation in the pause before the word.

“Then we continue.”

A thrill trembled through Optimus' systems, and he did his level best to keep his flicker of hope to himself. He understood the significance of their position: with transmissions disrupted, he had a narrow window of opportunity in which Iaconian security might be alerted to their presence...without Shockwave discovering the fact as well. It might prove worthless. He still meant to grab at any pitiful chance that presented itself.

Optimus tripped. No simple stumble, either, but a full-frame sprawl that pulled Megatron along with him. With a snarl, the Decepticon twisted just enough to keep his weight from falling across Optimus' back, and the tunnel rang with the impact of metal on alloys and an excess of Decepticon cursing.

“Must you prove me wrong in the very instant that you begin to show a glimmer of competence?” Megatron growled.

Optimus scowled back at him with an excellent show of fabricated humiliation. “Apparently.”

Megatron shoved Optimus aside with one foot, untangling them from each other and pushing back upright. For a moment more, Optimus kept still, until he felt something cold and slippery spreading outward underneath him, making a small but spreading puddle. Coolant, maybe, or some sort of liquid fuel. Careful not to think too closely about anything, he let Megatron wrench him back to his feet. Megatron gave him a long, sharp look, and Optimus thought so fiercely about hating his bondmate that Megatron simply snorted and propelled him forward again.

“Watch your step more diligently,” Megatron snapped. “Or I give you my solemn oath that I will weld you to the wall and return for you only once my mood improves.”

Optimus raised his chin a bit and said nothing. Sealed for so long, these tunnels hadn't even the luxury of infrared security recorders. Even so, they would be wired to one monitoring system or another, the cables and components within them set to trigger warnings in case of failure or damage.

The tunnel went on and on in darkness. The vibration around them grew unpleasantly intense, became excruciating for endless cycles, then finally began to lessen by fractional amounts. Checking his internal chronometer, Optimus wondered just how much time Megatron had alloted for what was essentially a smash and grab operation. He sensed the familiar acidity of Megatron's impatience through the bond, but it remained just a rough edge on an enforced calm. Any mech who had spent fifty Earth years as nothing but a disembodied head could likely call on a certain measure of patience when he chose.

“Communications reestablished,” Shockwave announced at length. “No incidents reported on major channels.”

Their tunnel finally joined another. They took a left turn, with Shockwave consulting image maps downloaded during his tenure as Longarm Prime. More and more often, the tunnels began to branch, and Optimus could keep track of their movements only by actively engaging his navigational systems. His lack of working communications prevented simpler position readings.

Eventually, the tunnels began to widen, and visibility improved with the increasing presence of low-energy lamps at each intersection. They were entering traveled ground, but thus far, Shockwave's route had kept them clear of security checks. Making another turn, they cut through a narrow side passage and emerged into a passageway with uniform, smooth-edged walls.

Megatron moved with all the grace and purpose of someone who knew his surroundings well.

“Were these the halls you used to walk?” Optimus said in a careful undertone, and he had his answer when Megatron's fingers tightened around his bound wrists.

Something unspeakable rose dark and sharp out of Megatron's half of the bond. “What do you suppose?” the Decepticon hissed, and he flung Optimus several steps ahead, only barely missing Shockwave's back in the process. “Shut up. And walk.”

Despite the danger, Optimus was sorely tempted to look inside—Megatron's memories of this place churned so close to the surface of his thoughts, and with just a very gentle push, his recollections could become their recollections. Optimus denied the impulse, nevertheless. Megatron could show him answers to plenty of questions he would rather not ask.

They came to the end of the passageway. Ahead, the shadows melted away under the brilliance of hydrogen lamps reflecting off walls of polished chrome. Megatron adjusted all his weaponry, outwardly calm, but Optimus felt anticipation and unease swirl through his systems in a phantom shudder. “Disrupt the localized security imaging feeds,” Megatron ordered Shockwave.

Dipping his head in acknowledgment, the intelligence officer produced a deceptively simple device of black metal. Optimus recognized the basic construction from his earliest classes at the Academy. After a brief examination, Ratbat removed a panel from the wall and revealed a tangle of wires. Shockwave dug his fingers into the mess, pulling two wires free and immediately plugging the device into both ports. It was a signal disrupter—little more than an annoying distraction on the battlefield, where it emitted a pulse that interfered with visual transmissions and made tactical coordination frustrating. Pinned to a single data stream, however, it had the peculiar tendency to make a visual feed loop over and over on itself.

If the surrounding halls had been empty when the device was engaged, they would continue to appear empty on security monitors until the disrupter was removed.

A cycle or more of tense silence passed. The halls remained eerily quiet. Optimus knew where they had emerged—somewhere in the lower stories of the Temple to Primus, the octagonal structure at the precise center of Iacon. He had never entered the halls of this place—no one did, save senators and security personnel—because Ultra Magnus had sealed it from the public in the aftermath of Prime Nova's assassination. Optimus had glimpsed the interior from old data reels, nevertheless. During his Academy days, the presence of the Matrix in this building had been an open secret.

“No security alerts, Excellency,” Shockwave reported.

“Proceed.” Megatron caught Optimus by his bound wrists again, pushing him out in front. They led the others, and Megatron moved with the surety of long intimacy with these passageways. Through the bond, Optimus felt a flood of bittersweet recognition and a surge of lust that had nothing to do with sensuality.

His own dread mixed unpleasantly with Megatron's vicious excitement as they neared two massive doors edged by double octagonal columns. Everything shone polished silver, reflections doubled back on them from each geometric plane. Above the door panels hung a pointed arch, its shining surface disrupted by a scrolling set of symbols.

Megatron's transferred impatience was unbearable. “Open it.”

With a nod, Shockwave stepped up to the keypad set into one column. He tried a series of codes, and after each, the security panel rewarded him with a dismissive buzz. “Lord Megatron,” the intelligence officer admitted at reluctant length, “All my codes have been locked by Autobot counterintelligence.” His single optic regarded Optimus with its usual baleful glare, as if holding him personally responsible.

“Perhaps we can deduce what simplistic phrase the Autobot commander might use as a passcode,” Megatron sneered. Regarding the keypad, he narrowed his optics for a moment or two before his mouth curled. He entered eleven swift key strokes and earned a negative buzz from the panel. Nine strokes had the same effect. Frowning, he paused for another full cycle—long enough that even Shockwave flicked one antenna in growing apprehension. Megatron tapped a fingertip against the panel edge in a rhythmic beat, and with an uneasy jolt, Optimus recognized the shared music of their joined sparks.

Thirteen decisive keystrokes followed. The scrolling pattern along the archway flashed gold.

Megatron made a disdainful grunt of amusement. “All your Autobot kind lack imagination,” he said. As the doors parted, he pushed Optimus through into a dazzling riot of light.

Vast and intensely bright, the Temple core stretched out around them, hydrogen illumination reflecting off every gleaming wall. Massive, slick plates of pure platinum made a floor surface so smooth that Optimus shifted his wheels downward to the bases of his feet for better traction. Paired columns and sharp arches, identical to the entrance's ornamentation, ringed the room as ceiling supports and obscured its center. Even so, Optimus sensed a far brighter light source in that direction.

“Here, true Primes are made,” Megatron said, pushing Optimus ahead with each step, moving so inexorably that Optimus lost his footing more than once and slid along the panels of the floor. “And broken.”

“Let go of me,” Optimus growled. He twisted out of Megatron's grasp, ignoring the wrenching of his wrist hydraulics against the cuffs. Backing away, he moved through one of the arches, then nearly tripped over the unexpected dais at the room's center.

Megatron followed him with leisurely, predatory strides. “And what could you possibly intend to do?”

Twisting his head to glance over one shoulder, Optimus glimpsed the relic of Primus suspended atop a metallic pedestal. The Matrix was a golden lacework of light, with an energy more powerful than any spark shining at its center like a contained star. He had no time for awe, but the sight touched something profound within him, nevertheless. “I don't intend to let you do this.” Hopeless, maybe, to put himself physically between Megatron and the pedestal, but Optimus had only himself as a weapon.

Megatron narrowed his optics and stepped closer, close enough that Optimus felt the heat of systems running too fast, too hard, too frantic. “Testing my patience would not be wise,” the lord of all Decepticons said. He swept Optimus aside with one careless arm and stepped onto the dais.

Struggling back around, Optimus struck his shoulder against the center of Megatron's back, with predictably little effect. Megatron still twisted around with a snarl and caught Optimus by the metal slats below his chest plates, dragging him across the floor, gathering the necessary momentum to hurl him out of the way—then pausing as footsteps rang distantly against platinum plates.

“Block outgoing communication lines,” Megatron ordered. He shoved Optimus behind him, sword at the ready, raising his other arm to point the fusion cannon. “Lock down all entrances and exits to this room.”

Several tense seconds followed before Shockwave raised his head. “My liege, it is done. But several Autobots have already entered the Matrix chamber.”

“Several do not worry me.” Megatron leveled the gun and fired.

Something—someone—cried out in pain and one of the columns between the dais and the main doors disintegrated in a wave of flame. The two columns behind the first began to tilt sideways, their foundations compromised, but something white striped with black blurred between them before they fell. The blur transformed, resolving itself into Jazz, weapons drawn. Sentinel's vehicle mode crunched the columns beneath its wheels before he transformed as well, his shield already flaring blue. With a groaning shift of gears and servos, Ultra Magnus rolled up between them and assumed his natural form, his hammer gripped in one raised hand.

Then something sleek and black spun through the wreckage and transformed into Prowl, and Bulkhead's massive alt shouldered through another archway, and Optimus felt his world slide ever-so-much-more-slightly off-kilter. Ratchet appeared and transformed, sirens blaring for a moment and jarring the chamber with echoes. Bumblebee flipped into his robot mode, face shields raised and stingers glowing.

Optimus wondered vaguely if massive levels of stress could cause processor glitches or sensory hallucinations.

“Ultra Magnus.” Megatron widened his optics, becoming the picture of false surprise, and then the line of his mouth flattened sharply again. “I must say, I expected a rather more spectacular welcome.”

The Autobot commander took two steps forward. Strange that Optimus had thought him so massive—so unreachably powerful—during long vorns with the Guard. Faced by Megatron, Ultra Magnus looked something like a glitchmouse defending itself against a turbofox. “Surrender now, Megatron,” Ultra Magnus said. “The Great Wars are done. Your time is long ended.” Something unpleasant, almost emotional, settled across the line of his mouth. “Stop trying to take what is ours by right.”

Megatron curved his mouth into a bladed smile. “Do not be any more of a fool than you can help.”

Octane fired twin missiles from his shoulder mountings, and the archway above Jazz and Sentinel exploded into jutting fragments and melting shrapnel. The two Guardsmen barely flung themselves out of the path of destruction. Through the ringing in his audio receptors, Optimus heard Ultra Magnus shouting orders, trying to call for reinforcements and discovering the block on all the communication lines. Despite an unimaginable disadvantage in terms of numbers, resources and terrain, Megatron had succeeded in transforming the center of Cybertron into a Decepticon trap.

The Autobots scattered, taking desperate cover behind the columns when Octane fired two more missiles. Courageous as usual, Bulkhead stepped forward to intercept one with his wrecking ball, and the force of the resulting explosion drove even Octane backward several steps. The triplechanger flinched and hunched his shoulders, trying to protect the expanse of his wings.

Heavy smoke issued from the cooling edges of the broken columns. Switching his optical input to infrared, Optimus saw Demolisher lurching forward toward Bulkhead, one of those enormous hands knocking a blinded Ratchet out of the way. Optimus called out a warning, but Demolisher moved with brutal quickness when he had a goal in sight. In the clearing smoke, he and Bulkhead grappled back and forth, fighting primarily with shifts of weight and the echoing collisions of fists.

Cylindrical limbs twisted out of the smoke, and Optimus glimpsed a flash of yellow as Bumblebee sped from column to column, back and forth, avoiding each of Shockwave's strikes.

“Bumblebee!” Optimus shouted, pathetically grateful that he could offer information, if little else. “Shockwave is blocking the communication lines!”

“Prime!” The scout whirled to a halt behind a column near the dais, his optics wide and bright and reassuringly blue. “We'll get you ou—” One of Shockwave's reaching limbs hooked like a claw around Bumblebee's neck, dragging him across the floor, through an archway and narrowly between Demolisher and Bulkhead's struggling frames.

Megatron swept forward to engage Ultra Magnus, double blades flashing golden-edged reflections as they clashed against either side of the electrostatic hammer, aiming to break the handle in two. Before that ferocity, the Autobot commander fell back one step, then another, and Optimus watched with a sense of surreality, remembering the flaws in his own form and seeing them echoed to lesser extents in Ultra Magnus' movements. Several paces away, Jazz and Sentinel fought Octane together, clashing against the powerful surge of the triplechanger's shielding and dodging his array of mounted weaponry. They were struggling to reach their commander and set upon Megatron from three simultaneous sides.

On the other edge of the chamber, Prowl ducked between the nimble swipes of Ratbat and Rippersnapper, his cyberninja stars burying themselves in the walls, the floor, one of Demolisher's thighs. The massive Decepticon roared, digging into his own exoskeletal plating with both hands, and Bulkhead took the opportunity to send him flying backward, feet over helm into the nearest gleaming column. A pulse from Ratchet's magnetic generators kept the Decepticon immobilized until Bulkhead removed Demolisher from the battle with a well-placed wrecking ball.

Optimus hissed with an upwelling of sudden and vicious pride in all that his team could do—even without the benefit of enhanced training by the Elite Guard.

“Prime!” Prowl slipped between Ratbat and Rippersnapper and transformed with a flip and screech of tires gaining traction on platinum. He streaked toward Optimus and rounded Demolisher's downed frame in a flash of blackened gold. Knowing what Prowl intended, Optimus sank to one knee for better balance and stretched the stasis cuffs taut between his wrists, ready for the strike that would separate them.

Despite all of Prowl's acceleration, Megatron drove Ultra Magnus ten paces backwards against a column and twisted to intercept the cyberninja with the side of the cannon barrel. Prowl cried out and shuddered back into robot mode before impacting the far wall. He crumpled to the floor, and his fingers clenched against the plating, but he plainly could not rise again.

With a tangled sound, Optimus took two steps in Prowl's direction before Megatron shoved him sideways over the dais. He couldn't catch himself, so he hit the floor chest plates first and shouted in brief but wrenching pain. Megatron's correlating snarl echoed from wall to wall.

Optimus flickered his optics back online in time to watch Shockwave skid across his line of sight. Bumblebee followed, his stingers snapping little jolts of electricity, and though the little scout had his own battlemask raised, Optimus took courage from the expression of focused ferocity he could so easily imagine behind it. Beyond the dais, Jazz had placed himself between Ratbat and Prowl. Rippersnapper lay in scattered pieces across the floor. Bulkhead had joined Sentinel's struggle against Octane, and Ratchet was putting all his power into averting Megatron's blades with magnetic shields.

Curling onto one side and then forcing himself back onto his feet, Optimus considered a very limited array of options. They needed his assistance, and he could do little with both hands bound behind him.

He backed up a step, twisting his head from side to side and wishing for a route to one of Prowl's discarded stars. His cuffed wrists met the edge of the pedestal, and the Matrix fluctuated its energy against the tips of his fingers, buzzing with a low and entirely physical vibration.

Optimus lifted his head and thought about frequencies.

When he and Megatron had fallen through the space bridge together, the overloading portal had damaged the frequency of the stasis cuffs enough to deactivate them. This pair was not active—Megatron had needed him mobile, of course—but a powerful frequency might be enough to disable the locking mechanisms.

Pulling the thin atmosphere through his intakes, Optimus clenched his fingers around the pedestal edge and flexed his cuffed wrists into the outer aura of the Matrix's astonishing energy. He hoped this wouldn't count as felony sacrilege, especially since his vocalizer was whispering binary prayers.

Prowl had regained his feet. He and Jazz sent Ratbat crashing to the floor in a double-direction slash. Together they moved like a single shadow toward the broken columns where Sentinel was losing ground to Octane. No Autobot could stand alone against a triplechanger for long.

Against Optimus' wrists, the audible buzz of energy from the Matrix changed pitch as tension built. The cuffs snapped open. Optimus shook them off and twisted around to draw his borrowed ax, halting when a high, metallic screech filled the room. By one of the columns, Bumblebee had caught Shockwave from the back, and his stingers had melted both the double agent's antennae. Garbled audio feedback filled the chamber for several agonizing moments, and then static jittered off into silence.

“Communication barrier's down!” shouted Jazz, diving beneath one of Octane's wings and leaving long tears down the plating. “Calling backup on all channels!”

Sentinel didn't quite avoid Octane's fist, and he went down in a clatter of armor and shield. “Tell them to make it snappy,” he growled.

A bare instant passed before the lights overhead began to strobe. “Elite, Advance and Base Guardsmen report. Intruder alert. Intruder alert,” sounded from a thousand communication speakers in Cybertronian Basic.

The remaining Decepticon soldiers hesitated. Megatron did not. “Enough,” he snarled, discarding one sword and using that hand to rip the hammer from Ultra Magnus' grip. He struck Ultra Magnus across the chest—a staggering blow with the commander's own weapon. The literal aftershocks sent forks of lightning rippling outward over the floor and threw Ultra Magnus into the nearest wall. Optimus felt the sympathetic sting of electrical feedback in the components of his right arm, and he dropped the ax on reflex.

With a shout of fury, Ratchet surged forward before Optimus could cry out a protest. Megatron's second swing caught the medic along the shoulder and the helm, shattering the unbroken half of Ratchet's chevron and sending him crashing to the floor.

Optimus stumbled forward two steps and reached out a beseeching hand. “Stop.”

Megatron turned on him, pain and fury and uncontrollable frustration pushing at Optimus through the strands of the bond. “I have had enough of this nonsense,” the lord of all Decepticons growled, flinging the hammer away so that it embedded itself in the wall above Sentinel's head. “I am done with waiting and I am taking what is mine!”

“No.” Optimus backed up, placed himself between the pedestal and his unintentional bondmate. He had no useful weaponry, but he still had the satisfaction of seeing Megatron hesitate in light of their connection to each other. “I'm not giving it to you.”

Megatron bared his razored dental plates. His desperation battered against Optimus' determination. “I was not asking your permission,” he hissed, low and clear warning bristling through every word.

Optimus leaned against the pedestal and tried to push it backward; the thing was welded to the floor and refused to shift. Megatron edged around him, a predator circling his prey in ever-shrinking spirals. Intakes heaving, Optimus placed his hands on either edge of the pedestal and felt the energy of the Matrix flutter against the plating of his chest. The light of it flickered and brightened, casting surreal reflections over Megatron's features—Optimus glimpsed golden spires, the dead Earth, Prime Nova etched in fire.

“This isn't meant for you,” Optimus said.

Megatron's face contorted, and he grabbed for the Matrix with both hands.

Still smaller, still capable of being quicker, Optimus caught his fingers into the golden framework and pulled the Matrix into both arms. Megatron snarled, and Optimus cried out as light flared upward from his fingertips, gathered at the center of his chest, and infused all his connectors with living brilliance.

His spark knew this rhythm. His spark beat to this music and had done so since his creation.

He didn't open his chest plates; he didn't take it into himself. Instead, the Matrix folded him around itself in a fundamental adjustment of mass and space and beating spark. All Optimus' components wrenched and then shifted at once, a sensation so like an original protoform transformation that he almost chirped in recognition before giving out a static sob of pain. Everything pulled tight and blazing hot, metal shredding and melting and merging again, and even when he had nothing left to give, he felt himself stretch and pull and surrender down to the surging energy of his spark.

Once upon a vorn, he had felt another consciousness join inextricably to his own. This time, the rhythm that merged with the beat of his spark surrounded him fully and shone through all his strands like liquid, living light. It consumed him—it subsumed him—and it dragged him deep below the surface of superficial self.

It transformed, it destroyed, it spoke, it sang...

And it hurt. Mercy of Primus, but it hurt, an unbearable agony of hope and promise, a torment of blissful reawakening to all the possibilities of a vast and expanding universe. He screamed, and the voices of four billion stellar cycles of shared existence cried out as one.

Thoroughly in flux, he grasped for the deepest parts of himself, and all his uneven edges snagged into the strands of the bond. That most comforting of all his connections pulled taut and straining at its center, but it held fast and true like the seamless links of an indestructible chain. It anchored him to who he had been, and it set limitations on who he would be.

The final minute shifts of transformation slid along his flanks in ripples of silvery pain. His vents sputtered and heaved, and all the proper mechanisms settled into place—fuel circulated through his lines and coolant rushed through his cabling. His body was unfamiliar, but it was his in all the essential ways, and the steady pulse of his spark ran through his systems like holy strength and divine harmony. In the silence between sparkbeats, the Matrix spoke to him in the ancient music of Primus.

Arise, Optimus Prime

He did. Or at the very least, he straightened and stood on groaning servos, and then he activated his optics on a changed world.

The Megatron that stood before Optimus seemed small and strange, somehow reduced by the power that sent its shuddering rhythm through Optimus' chest. Drawn by force of habit and bonded hunger, Optimus reached out but paused, staring at his own extended hand. Of course. He recalled Megatron's words from a recent and troubled past. The model had adjusted to suit the artifact; the Matrix had rendered him suitable. Little wonder Megatron seemed so changed, when they were now almost of a height, and all of the strength gathering in and flowing through Optimus' limbs was truly a part of his altered frame.

I feel the same, he thought, and realized that was less than the absolute truth. He was fundamentally changed. He was nevertheless himself.

Letting his hand fall, he looked at Megatron again. Astonishing. He had felt honest fear in Megatron once before, during the original connecting of their sparks, but he had never once expected to witness the sort of complete terror that now twisted Megatron's faceplates and writhed through the bond.

Optimus spoke on base programming—subroutines that offered comfort. “It's all right.”

Sharp flickers of pain crossed the bond in the moment before Megatron leaped at him. The Decepticon shoved aside the pedestal between them and it shattered, embedding pointed fragments into Optimus' joints, shocking all of Optimus' systems. In the next instant, Megatron hit him with all of that incredible strength, and the impact of frame against frame jarred Optimus free of his sentimentality and sent him crashing backwards onto the floor.

Looming over him, Megatron punched Optimus twice across the jaw, strikes that would previously have sent him directly into stasis. Now they strained the connectors and pulled at the components, but did little damage.

They still hurt like rust-routed slag, even so, and Optimus grabbed for Megatron's wrists just as the Decepticon clawed his hands at Optimus' chest plates. They flipped over twice, rolling off the dais with a sickening crunch and a screech of metal. Optimus gave a last struggling kick off the warping platinum and ended up on top.

Megatron thrashed and snarled beneath him, spewing venom and fury and unfamiliar terror through the bond. Restraining him pushed the boundaries of Optimus' strength, but Optimus could restrain him, nevertheless.

“Do you think I would submit to you?” Megatron shouted, even as Optimus pushed one of his bondmate's arms flat against the floor and struggled to get a hand around the wrist of the other. “Never! I will never submit to you, never again!” Megatron's dental plates flashed; he tried to bite at Optimus' neck. Something feral and desperate writhed in the shadows behind Megatron's optics. Fingers catching at the plating of Optimus' back, the Decepticon tore at wiring and broke siren lights with a shattering of glass.

Optimus cried out, grabbing for that hand and pressing Megatron under his weight. “Calm down,” he hissed, flooding the bond with something plaintive and at least partially serene. “Calm down!”

Undiluted fury lashed through their bond, all of it directed at Optimus as the placeholder for someone and something else entirely. Optimus suffered through a pang of wretched regret—even a shadow of intimate but exterior remorse through the murmur of the voices within him—for all that the Matrix had once meant to Megatron.

But Optimus was more than the shadow of that past, and he was more than the sum of their connection.

“I apologize,” he said, just before bringing back his arm and punching Megatron with enough brute force to render the Decepticon immediately offline.

The feedback of pain, anguish, and fear made him sway as he pushed away from Megatron's still frame and struggled back to the dais on hands and knee joints. Everything hurt, and he felt slow and stupid, processors reeling. He stumbled over the edge of the dais and sat down hard, metal scraping metal with a shriek, the sound echoing through the archways as he kept very, very still for a long cycle or so.

With Megatron offline, distant presences began to intrude once more. The others were here: the arriving Guards, the subdued Decepticons, the Elite Guard and Ultra Magnus...and his own team. He expected a rush, and some small and frightened part of him wanted to be surrounded by the jostling and chattering of the mechs who knew him best. Instead, the chamber filled with a terrible silence. It went on and on, unbearable, until Optimus made a soft, wordless sound and lowered his battlemask to press a hand over his aching jaw.

Ratchet edged a step forward, and Bulkhead spoke into the echoes that followed. “Prime?”

“He's Prime, a'right,” Jazz murmured with an undercurrent of awe.

Sentinel was bent over Megatron, fastening stasis cuffs around the Decepticon's wrists, and he shook his head. “No,” he snapped.

Ultra Magnus raised a hand, and silence settled over the chamber again as he stepped forward and came to a halt directly in front of Optimus. The Autobot commander was favoring one foot, and Optimus glanced down to see the double slash of Megatron's blades across deep blue plating. “Optimus Prime,” Ultra Magnus said, and Optimus thought he recognized that tone of solemnity overlaying disappointment. That tone had told him gently once that the Elite Guard had no further need of his talents, that he was being reassigned to a less traditional command position, and that he could thank his own convictions for derailing his career. But now, Ultra Magnus knelt before him—a little stiffly, given injury and relative age—and Optimus wondered what else he had misunderstood. “Optimus Prime,” Ultra Magnus said, his face tilted upward with a terrifying expression of wonder and fear that did not suit his features at all.

“Get up,” Optimus murmured. Denials would be pointless, but he could still offer protests. “Don't.”

Prowl took a step just forward of the others, and a shuddery tension lined the angles of his body in the moment before he, too, knelt. Jazz followed suit with easy deference. Bulkhead was never graceful, but he was incredibly obedient to deep feeling, and the floor trembled when he knelt as well. Even Bumblebee, ever defiant of authority, went to his knees, and Optimus made a soft sound of pained negation.

The hush that fell over them all was thick with expectation. Optimus struggled with the weight of the atmosphere and fought to say the words that would so utterly end their misplaced adulation.

“The rest of you can bow all you want,” Ratchet interrupted, moving uneasily from foot to foot before starting toward Optimus with all the practicality that characterized the medic's personality programming. “Maybe he's not so much a mech like the rest of us anymore, but any Cybertronian deserves a full medical examination after a trauma. Step aside.”

Ultra Magnus frowned, but he stood carefully again, nevertheless. “I hardly think I would term the Autobot Matrix a trauma.”

“You didn't have yerself transformed around it, either,” Ratchet muttered, arranging himself in front of Optimus and bringing all of his scanning systems online with a series of flexing clicks and adjusting whirs. So close, Optimus could sense the uneasiness that Ratchet was otherwise hiding, and he suppressed a flinch as the medic's fingers trembled away from touching the newly broadened plating of his chest. Ratchet pulled away just enough to rest his hands on his own knee joints, pulling Cybertron's familiar atmosphere into his vents and then expelling it with a sigh. He spoke softly enough for Optimus alone. “Going to let me have a look?”

For just a moment, Optimus shuttered his optics and struggled for real calm. The many voices of the Matrix spoke to him in a mixture of low consideration and sharper impatience. He activated his optics again and said, “I trust you,” and he meant it.

Opening his chest plates for anyone but Megatron proved surprisingly difficult, nevertheless. Perhaps his frame remained stiff after its restructuring, or perhaps the Matrix resisted even a casual, noninvasive examination, but in any case, Optimus had to bypass his own security systems to force three levels of plating apart. He had possessed no third level of interior defense, before the Matrix had reformatted him. Apparently a Prime required better armoring than did any other mech.

Narrowing his optics against the glow, Optimus stared down into his own chest, shaken by the way the Matrix wrapped around his spark like a powerful lattice of light. It had its own energy signature—distinct from but connected to his own—and with both his power sources exposed, the effect was dizzying. Like any indoctrinated Autobot, Ratchet automatically averted his gaze. The medic murmured something indistinguishable under the hum of the Matrix before letting his scanner slide into place over one optic lens.

Ratchet kept his examination brief. He swept over the changed components of Optimus' frame, noting the significant changes in a quiet undertone. The connections between the Matrix and Optimus' own systems gave the medic a moment's pause, but he neither touched anything nor made any hint toward complications. Finally, he settled back and reassimilated all of his medical equipment.

“You're all right,” he said, shaking his head as if he could hardly believe the fact. “Hurting anywhere?”

Optimus managed a bitter sort of smile. “Everywhere.”

Resting a hand on Optimus' shoulder, Ratchet returned the semi-smile with a grim curve of his own lip components. “Can't say I'm certain, of course, but the physical pain should fade. If it doesn't...we'll figure what's best to do about it.”

“All right.” Optimus let out a sigh like air brakes engaging, a metallic whistling in the sound. He wanted to close his chest plating again, was ready to do it when Ultra Magnus spoke.

“If you are unhurt, we must take you immediately to the Tower.” Concern suited Ultra Magnus poorly; the Autobot commander was made for military pragmatism. “You must present yourself to the Council.” He paused, visibly out of step, and Optimus knew that the full ramifications of this had not yet become clear to anyone. “This will change...a great deal.”

The Matrix whispered. Balance.

“Then let's melt this monster down for slag,” Sentinel said, drawing back his foot and aiming a vicious kick into Megatron's side. The plating dented.

Optimus flinched from foot to helm and back again, hands fisting as he did his best to remember that throwing an Elite Guard officer through a wall would be neither diplomatic nor particularly wise. He recognized his reaction as the far extremes of physical and emotional protest—a revolt of his base programming and his spark as one. Both were wired toward self-protection above all, and Megatron...

Megatron was inescapably a part of his self.

“Don't touch him,” Optimus growled, his voice rumbling with a feral quality that he barely recognized. Ultra Magnus recoiled in shock; Sentinel actually flinched backward a step from Megatron's frame.

Ratchet held his position, but he rested a newly small hand against Optimus' knee. “Prime.”

Stricken by that first touch, Optimus subsided. His spark went briefly arrhythmic, seeking its pattern from Megatron's intrinsic beat and then steadying again with a tremble of relief. Ratchet kept his optics focused on the Matrix and Optimus' spark within it, and his grip tightened.

Optimus trembled faintly, his voice raw but lacking the implied threat. “Just...don't touch him.”

For several nanokliks, Sentinel stared at him in bewilderment, and then the Guardsman's optics narrowed in characteristic suspicion. “I knew it. I knew we had to watch for you. You traitor—the way you talked to this monster—what you did to the Allspark—”

“Sentinel Pr...Sentinel,” Ultra Magnus interjected, directing all his stern disapproval at his subordinate. “Such accusations cannot be made in haste.”

Sentinel fairly quivered with boiling emotion, his hands balled into fists. “Commander—we can't possibly trust him, no matter what he says he is—when he sits there defending Megatron—”

Ultra Magnus gripped Sentinel's shoulders in both hands, quelling him. “I trust there is a justifiable reason,” he murmured, optics turned toward Optimus.

All their optics turned on him. Stricken, Optimus searched for words that wouldn't be so blunt as the simple truth, but he felt wracked with exhaustion and simply stupid with lingering pain. He opened his mouth and his vocal processors seized, forcing a mechanical cough.

“Because they're sparkbound,” Ratchet sighed with neither tact nor grace. Optimus appreciated him anyway, because he pressed his fingers against nodes in Optimus' neck and stopped the seizing. He rested those fingers against Optimus' chest plates next, and eased them closed. The chamber dulled as the refracted light of the Matrix disappeared. “Isn't that right?” Ratchet spoke gently, and Optimus nodded in silence.

The silence continued in equal parts shock and distress. Whatever this would mean, Optimus found himself surprisingly relieved to have the truth exposed. He could bear disgust more easily than the terrible uncertainty of secrets.

“Jazz,” Ultra Magnus said softly at length. “Clear this room of unnecessary personnel and prisoners. I hardly think we need an audience.”

For just an instant, Jazz looked as though he might protest. Then he did as ordered.

A low, grating sound filled the room as Bulkhead ground his jaw mechanisms together and crushed his massive hands over his own audio receptors. “He hurt you. That slag-sucking, wrong-bolted, glitch-sparking spawn of a—”

Bumblebee pressed a slender hand over his mouth. “Primus, boss-bot—”

Optimus kept shaking his head, tried raising a hand for silence as Ultra Magnus had done, and finally winced and stood to his full height, making good use of the resonance of his voice. “Hush.” Astonishingly, they did. “No. I mean yes, he hurt me, but the two of us...” He raised his mask, set his jaw, and tried again. “It wasn't...intentional.”

“It had better not've been,” Ratchet growled, magnetic fields flaring violet along the projected prongs of his weaponry.

“It was accidental.” Grateful for the barrier of his mask, Optimus kept his voice as even as he possibly could. He had not expected even this much acceptance, and he was loathe to lose it. “Neither of us planned it. Neither of us wanted it.”

Ratchet lowered his gaze, folding away his weaponry. “You're not to blame, Prime.”

“Is it true?” said Prowl. “That killing one half of a bonded pair...”

“It is true,” Ultra Magnus said.

Ratchet narrowed his optics at Sentinel. “Only a complete malfunction would believe that anyone wanted a bonding like that.”

Something tightened and pulled hard, deep in Optimus' chest, and he heard the Matrix murmur a soothing note. Now that he had their full attention, he no longer wanted it, and he sank back down to the dais with a suppressed sigh.

He settled his optics on Ratchet. “How did you come to be here?” he asked.

Ultra Magnus answered, instead. “The Decepticons damaged a major routing cable while passing through the tunnels below Iacon. Repair drones reported a breach in the entryway barriers, and we sent a squad to investigate. With a little looking in the right directions, we found their shuttle as well—one of our intelligence operatives shares that cloaking technology.” The Autobot commander lowered himself to the floor with obvious care, stretching his legs out in front of him. Optimus had never glimpsed Ultra Magnus in so casual a pose, and the effect was startling. “Squads went into the tunnels, but tracking through that maze remains impractically difficult.” Ultra Magnus glanced sideways at Optimus. “I confess that I thought only of protecting what mattered most to us all. Megatron has always desired absolute power above all else.”

“We were lucky the crankshaft tripped over something so important down there,” Sentinel spat. “Security on Iacon has needed tightening for vorns, sir, just as I've said—”

Jazz, returning from his assigned mission, dug an elbow joint into Sentinel's side. “Now ain't the time.”

“I'm only grateful it worked as well as it did,” Optimus murmured. “But that wasn't what I was asking.” He looked to each soldier of his team in turn. “How did you come to be here?” he repeated. “On Cybertron, instead of on Earth?”

Prowl curved his lip components in just a hint of a smile. “I hope you did not think we would leave you in space.”

“We were gonna look for you,” Bulkhead added. “We just weren't sure how to do that, exactly, without a ship...or any coordinates...”

Sinking down onto the floor as well, Prowl crossed his legs and rested his hands against his wheel rims, his body seeming unrecognizably frail. Deep scratches ran left to right across his chassis, and something had dented one of his hip joints. “Jazz has connections to the Elite squad in Special Ops. Apparently, information trickled through that Megatron and an Autobot prisoner had run especially afoul of a neutral bounty hunter.” Behind Prowl's visor, the light of his optics slid away to one side, no longer meeting Optimus' gaze. “I might have made a call. On a certain frequency that I...still possessed.”

He sounded vaguely ashamed of himself. “I'm sorry that you had to do that,” Optimus said.

That same flicker of a smile. “It was worthwhile.”

“So we had coordinates, but no ship,” Bumblebee rapidly broke in, plainly anxious to spare Prowl any further humiliation. “Obviously a little problem. So we...well, Omega Supreme went through the space bridge—which was really heroic of him, seriously—but which pretty much broke it all to scrap. So we kinda redesigned it. And then we used it to come to Cybertron.” Bumblebee's optics flickered to Ultra Magnus. “Maybe without official permission.”

Sentinel glowered. Jazz grinned. Ultra Magnus arched an optic ridge, but Optimus thought he detected a little amusement in the commander's expression.

Something eluded Optimus' full understanding, nevertheless. Their team repaired bridge damage and restored old components. They never constructed things from scratch. Even Bulkhead had improved upon Megatron's edifices. “You rebuilt the space bridge,” he said. All of them noticeably looked away—Prowl at his own hands, Bulkhead at the floor, Bumblebee at a pile of shrapnel, and even Ratchet at the ceiling. “Maybe you'd like to tell me how you did that?” Maybe he did not really want to know.

The silence lasted for a moment or two before Ratchet broke it, reluctance plain in his voice. “Prime... Well, the thing is... Did you know that Starscream used to be a scientist? Err, before the Wars, that was.”

Flickering his optics, Optimus considered that statement. He had known certain aspects of Starscream's past, but that knowledge was Megatron's—transferred only by proxy, in those unguarded moments when they opened completely to each other. In any case, he had trouble imagining what the distant past had to do with Megatron's failed space bridge, or the repair of it.


Optimus shuttered his optics fully and buried his face in his hands again. “Ratchet. Tell me you didn't do what I know you did.”

Prowl made an uncomfortable sound and said, “It was the only way we could find.”

“What exactly did you promise him in return?”

“His body,” Ratchet replied, bluntly weary and essentially unapologetic. “We gave him his body back, and he helped us rebuild the space bridge.”

Optimus raised his head, his voice a little less steady than he might have liked. “Ratchet, Starscream is going to get his clones, use the space bridge, kill Megatron, become leader of the Decepticons, and start the Wars all over again!”

“Oh, he might've thought of doing that,” Bulkhead interrupted, oddly tranquil. “Until the part where I programmed the space bridge to blow up after we went through it. He did try to kill us just beforehand, but he didn't have much luck at it.”

“Since we put his head on backwards,” Bumblebee grinned.

Caught between exasperation and a powerful, moving pride, Optimus could only shake his head and smile.

“Haven't been on Cybertron more than a few orns,” Ratchet said. He rested a hand against Optimus' shoulder. “We were going to get better help, find a ship at least. Lucky coincidence that we all ended up in the same place, at the same time.”

Optimus pressed a hand to his chest, shuttering his optics. “I'm not sure that I believe in coincidences, anymore.”

“Communication with known criminals, fraternization with proven enemies, unauthorized space bridge building and use...” Ultra Magnus shook his head, then winced and lifted a hand to the cracked plating of his chest. “I hardly know what to do with all of you.”

Concerned, Optimus pushed off the dais with both hands and successfully stood again. He felt far more steady on his feet this time, and he knew intimately that Megatron's descent into full stasis lock would not last much longer. “Everyone needs repair. We'll take care of that first, and then you can decide about the rest.”

“My decisions are now secondary,” Ultra Magnus murmured.

Optimus would much rather no one say such things. Even so, he had learned the value of accepting all possible advantages, and with this rank came no inconsiderable amount of practical privilege. Drawn to Megatron's still frame, Optimus went to one knee beside him, hesitating over touching him. Even the simplest movements of a Prime would carry new and unpredictable levels of connotation.

Making a willful choice, Optimus pressed a hand over the center of Megatron's chest. The spark beneath the plating thrummed powerfully beneath his fingers.

“What do you want done?” Magnus spoke gently.

Optimus had no answers, as of yet. “Put him somewhere safe,” he said at length, once his own spark's rhythm had steadied. “And make certain that none of the Decepticons come to any further harm.”

(To be concluded.)



( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)

Ohgeez, I was just O_O at Megatron's reaction. And honestly, with some suspicion in my mind...I can't /blame/ him. I'm more than interested in seeing the final chapter. 8O
Jan. 6th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
Haaa. Restraint and patience, thy name is never Megatron.

Of course, given that poor Optimus has just taken what he most wanted for himself and become what he most hated...I can't entirely blame him, either.
Jan. 6th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
His most pathetic of foes (if I recall the line correctly) becoming the epitome of what he hates/wants most...yeah! Can't blame him either.

As soon as you brought up the Matrix, it seemed pretty obvious (to me at least) that Optimus was going to end up being affected by it; however, you handled it in a most wonderful way. <3

Any chance of an ETA on part 6? ;)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 6th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)
This reaction is my favorite because it has the most a's. XD
Jan. 6th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
YES! I've been waiting for a Matrix!TFA:Optimus FOREVER! Oh, thank you thank you thank you!

I love this story so very much, and I'm so happy that you've updated so soon. :DDD It's going in a wonderful direction so far, and I can't wait to see how Optimus is going to handle being the greatest thing since bot-pr0n. And poor Megsy. He'll get over it.

Great job, and can't wait for more! :)
Jan. 6th, 2009 06:31 am (UTC)
There really does need to be more Matrix!TFA:Optimus.

And bwahaha, the greatest thing since bot-pr0n indeed.
Jan. 6th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
*falls over from major epicness!*

This chapter just totally rocked my socks off! Not only to have this major battle scene going on, but you have Optimus get the Matrix and get the old gang together (with such a interesting story there). I also love Sentinel reaction at the end with Megatron and Optimus XD Priceless!
Jan. 6th, 2009 06:42 am (UTC)
I tend to picture Sentinel's life from this moment on as being composed alternately of two thoughts: "That's not FAIR!" and "EWWW that's disgusting!" XD
Jan. 6th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)

this was brilliant!
Jan. 6th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
Eee, sparkles. *rolls in them*
Jan. 6th, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
So many wonderful things happened in this chapter, I'm incoherent - where to start! Ack!

OK, Optimus becoming Teh Prime is the best thing ever, and UM's reaction was freaking me out and making me squee all both at once. Holy smokes. Loved Optimus' "tripping" and setting off the repair drones; that was a really good idea. Megatron's reaction to the Matrix becoming part of Optimus was fantastic - so exciting to read!
And Sentinel kicking Megatron and Optimus' reaction was so good. Ratchet made me laugh. Primus, he doesn't pull any punches, does he?
I was also thrilled to see Optimus' team show up, it made the story even better.
I can hardly wait for the last chapter, ZOMG.

tl;dr Fabulous job. Great read. Waiting impatiently.
Jan. 6th, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
I was feeling a decided lack of Ratchet in this story, but writing this part made it all better. Ratchet makes things all better, in his graceless and unapologetically matter-of-fact way. ^_^
Jan. 6th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, Ratchet is totally wonderful, and I ♥ him in this chapter, since he cuts straight to the spark of the matter, bless his crotchety plating.
Jan. 6th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
YESSSS, now if only the real TFA series would get along with this idea. Optimus, leader for once, leader for all! XD

(plus the smut between him and Meg is the best)
Jan. 6th, 2009 07:56 am (UTC)
Yay, I was waiting for this moment to happen. And I'm glad to see that despite whatever doubts Optimus had in his abilities, the rest of his team cares about him and believes in him.

Dang, I can't get the image of Starscream with his head on backwards out of my mind, lol! XD
Jan. 6th, 2009 08:27 am (UTC)
Eeeee yay!

I love Ratchet's complete disregard for propriety or any of this respect nonsense, he just goes and does his job like a sensible medic. And you wrote the battle scene very well, most people can't do that without getting confusing.
Jan. 6th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
I just loved this chapter...so exciting! What a nasty shock for Megatron! I can't wait to see how Optimus possessing the Matrix will change their relationship.

I also love Ratchet in this...so practical and down-to-earth. I love people like that in real life too.

This story is just brilliant; one of the best I've read, EVER.
Jan. 11th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
I'm so unspeakably honored that you like it so much. ^___^
Jan. 7th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
See icon. So. Much. Love.

I have no idea where to begin. I am still so envious of the way you write battle scenes. The tension draws you right in. Everything is so fluid and well paced. I'm in awe.

Also, as other have said, Ratchet is pure love - but Magnus was written so excellently as well. You captured his voice so well. His weariness and awe. Wonderful, wonderful.

Matrix!Prime is such an immense squee. While readers did likely figure that much of a development out, you managed to still make the moment exciting and intensely powerful nonetheless. Megatron's reaction... my Lord. That gives shivers. Likewise, Optimus' reaction to Sentinel hurting Megatron was also so striking. Everything is so poignant. It just makes me ache for the final installment - yet I don't want this to end either. *whibbles at* Brilliant, as always.
Jan. 11th, 2009 12:40 am (UTC)
I'm always thrilled to hear that the battle scenes work, because they take me forever to write, I swear. x_X;

You know, I really have a strange fondness for TF:A Magnus. He seems misguided, but he's still so weary and wise that I can't help a surge of sympathy for him every time he appears on screen. He looks like he's counting every orn toward retirement, ha.

Poor Megatron and poor Optimus. Optimus, especially--all his victories are bittersweet.
Jan. 9th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
I think I agree you could foresee the Matrix accepting Optimus. But how you wrote it - the metaphors and images felt so true, it was amazing to read. And you just had to feel for Megatron. Maybe even the feeling of seemingly loosing his bondmate by him becoming what he fears most played a role... He said himself they both are completely compatible, after all.

The team is finally back together. I loved all their action and interaction (I laughed at their "Starscrem head" stunt XD): Prowl calling out for Optimus and trying to free him showed how much closer they have both grown to each other since their rough start - Prowl brought even himself to call Lockdown for Optimus. But...
>>That same flicker of a smile. “It was worthwhile.”<< Absolutely lovely. ^-^

The same caring and even protectiveness for him showed when Bulkhead and Ratchet reacted to the idea of Megatron having forced himself on Optimus. And the conversation where they told how they came to Cybertron just because they were looking for him made it just more lovely.
>>Prowl curved his lip components in just a hint of a smile. “I hope you did not think we would leave you in space.”<< (One of the best lines EVER.) And it doesn't matter he has become the Prime (although they kneel before him), they accept him as a normal bot and want the best for him.
Hehe, still Ratchet being all business was somewhat even more awesome, especially because in reality, he felt himself he wasn't worth to touch him. I wonder why you mentioned that the connection of the Matrix and Op's Spark made him pause - is there something unusual, or was it only because Ratchet has never seen anything like this?

I hope this review isn't too long, I just find this chapter absolutely awesome and if that's the case, I tend to write very detailed. I would be glad if you answered, even just about a part of it.
Jan. 11th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
I wish that Optimus' receiving of the Matrix hadn't been such a foregone conclusion, but I was at a bit of a loss. I didn't want Megatron taking him to Cybertron with no foreshadowing whatsoever, but the moment the Matrix is mentioned anywhere near Optimus, even in this continuity... Well, I just hope no one felt as if I were smacking them repeatedly over the head with the idea, heh. I was particularly sorry for Megatron in this part, and I'm glad that came through so well.

As for Ratchet's reaction, I was operating under the assumption that he had never before examined a Prime, and he hesitates over those connections because they're entirely unfamiliar. He was a Field Tech during his Thrill of the Hunt flashback in the midst of the Wars, so I doubted he would have been of rank to have known Prime Nova personally.

I could never object to a long review! ♥ I'm just glad that you're enjoying it that much. ^__^
Jan. 10th, 2009 11:43 am (UTC)
Eee! New part! *reads*

Great climactic battle here -- Optimus's inner turmoil comes through so very clearly here, and meshes well with the physical action. I can't do action very well, so I admire well done action. :)

So Optimus Prime really is Prime. The shadows in Megs's eyes after Optimus takes on the Matrix -- that kind of broke my heart a little because of what it all meant. I'm looking forward to the last part to see what happens next with the changes.
Jan. 12th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
Loved this story. I can't wait for the final chapter. Something this good needs a finale, though it will be bittersweet for all the readers. I actually enjoyed the build up to the actual fight. Plenty of suspense, since I figured the Space Crew would show up, and that Optimus would get the Matrix. Still, such glorious interaction and emotions, with all those wonderful adjectives you use.

So, Question: Who snapped, "No." when Sentinel was placing cuffs on Megatron? It seemed at first that Optimus would want Megatron out of stasis-inducing cuffs, but then I thought, well, maybe Sentinel is in denial *coughJEALOUScough* about Optimus' AWESOME promotion.

By the by, you could dish out some epilogues and side stories once this epic is done.
Jan. 13th, 2009 05:46 am (UTC)
Re: Question
It was Sentinel, indeed, and you have his reaction exactly right. Not in denial not at all.

As for epilogues and side stories...I may not have a choice in the matter. Megatron is terrifyingly loud. ^_^;
Jan. 14th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
Re: Question
That's exciting to hear, I've enjoyed this story so much it's hard to believe it's only 6 chapters. I love how Optimus manages to keep rebelling against Megatron despite effectively being the submissive one between the two. 'Course, you can't help but feel sorry for Megatron here as well.

I do love Sentinel's reaction, too. What I'd give to see an animated version, just to get his expression....
Jan. 16th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!! I cant wait to see what happens next!
Feb. 7th, 2009 10:19 am (UTC)
I LOVE this fic! Sorry for taking so long to reply. I just can't help but wonder though...

What phrases did Megatron enter in order to get into chamber with the Matrix in it? I figured that the last one he entered that let him in was "'Til All Are One", but what about the first two? I think the second one was "Cybertron", but I couldn't figure out what the first one might be. So could you please tell me?
Feb. 11th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
Aww, Optimus is so smart. XD So THAT'S what he tripped over... I THOUGHT he did it on purpose.

Anyway... DELICIOUS STORY. I can't wait for the last chapter!
Feb. 12th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Liek Wow.
Whoa, Optimus changed? Now that's a surprise. It would be even more of a surprise if Optimus had the Matrix only temporarily and it was going to be given to Bumblebee when he was ready! Now that would make me fall over and laugh,"Bumblebee? TALL!? WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!" Aren't I horrible to the little Bumbler?
Feb. 19th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
This was glorious to read, for all that I am not a fan of Optimus/Megatron nor do I have much knowledge of TF:A. I'll be eagerly awaiting the finale. Loved it!
Feb. 19th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
From one writer to another, this fic is absolute brilliance. I love how you're able to capture character, without going far enough to mangle said characters.

Kudos to you for wonderful yumfic.

Jealous Sentinel is Jealous
Nov. 29th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)

Jul. 22nd, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
*claps and dances around with glee* marvelous! I love the way you wrote the team, Sentinel's reaction. Ultra Magnus, the transformation of Optimus into true Prime, all of it! Oh, what will happen next? Eee I don't have to wait *rushes on to next chapter*
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