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You are Safe Now

Chapter Text

A time long past…..

                The crowd was wild for death tonight. Every gladiator could sense it as they sat beneath the stadium, the Pits of Kaon, awaiting their call to challenge fate. Some cowered at the chance, begging their masters at the gates, pleading with them that they were worth more alive, some empty sparks merely sat quietly, resolute in any path that night may take them, and some, some reveled in it….

                The scent of spilt energon and smoke greeted the silver gladiator as he strode forth into the ring, helm held high. The arena’s lights danced off of the mech’s numerous dents and scars that his plates displayed. The crowd’s reaction upon seeing this gladiator was immediate, the cries at first distorted, and enraged with energon lust, melted together finally to produce the large mech’s designation.

                “MEGATRONUS, MEGATRONUS!!” Over, and over they called to him, Megatronus, the mighty gladiator that could not only destroy any mech he came across, but was the voice of the fallen, the forgotten, the wretched, and poor mechs lost within the bowels of the Pit. He was their hero, their savior, their voice. They worshipped this mech, whom came from nothing as they did, that rose up, and inspired them all. No one could ignore this giant of a mech, not even a simple archivist from Iacon whose caste was far higher than those surrounding him, as he too watched the silver hero stand defiantly within the center of the arena.

                The silver gladiator’s opponents emerged from the southernmost gates, five in total tonight. They varied in height and frame type, yet at least three were equal to Megatronus’s height or larger Orion Pax noted nervously. He had never wanted to watch one of his friend’s matches, but Megatronus insisted that were he to join the revolution, he should personally witness what he was fighting for. Thus young Orion sat pensively in one of the arena’s best seats, and grimly watched as his friend prepared to battle his five opponents.

                Megatronus spared a quick glance to where he knew Orion sat, the smaller mech looked downright lost, optics wide but blazing bright with courage, and smiled his special smile he reserved for only the red and blue mech. He was certain he saw a blush break out over the other’s faceplates just before he turned toward back towards tonight’s challengers.

                Already the five had spread out along the outskirts of the oval arena, the three largest evenly spaced as the smaller two skirted back and forth between them. Megatronus’s smile grew eerily larger, transforming into the wicked sneer he was famous for. The crowd went wild at the sight, knowing, and suddenly the silver mech pushed hard off his pedes sending himself soaring across the sand, right towards the center most mech.

                The poor mech, though large and probably strong, could only gape at the smaller gladiator’s speed when he felt the cool bite of steel within his spark chamber. He tried to scream, but only fresh energon gurgled past the large mech’s lips. As he fell numbly he realized the other mech had moved on to his next victim. By the time he had fallen, a greying husk, Megatronus had already dispatched one of the smaller mechs.

                Orion stood paralyzed as he watched Megatronus preform only what could be called a “dance of death” before him. Once he had felled the middle giant, Megatronus had quickly sprung off the energon soaked sand, spinning as he leapt through the air towards one of the smaller mechs. Once again surprise washed across his newest victim’s faceplates as Megatronus’s blade sliced cleanly through the smaller gladiator’s chasis, causing his upper half to fall neatly to the sands below them, and spewing his life force across many eager fans in the front row.

                Orion’s tanks rolled uneasily at the sight before him. Disgusted by the way the audience howled, dripping in the smaller mech’s energon, and Megatronus’s dance was far from over.

 As the other opponents had watched the two gladiators be dispatched in a span of moments they began to change their tactics. The two larger gladiators, one dark blue, the other deep purple charged at the smaller silver mech. Their blades held high, their roars deafening, they sped towards the Pit’s champion, who spun delicately and waited for them to come in range.

                The purple mech was first to reach the seemingly ‘at ease’ silver. His roar shook the seats within the arena as he brought his far larger blade down hoping to cleave the smaller mech in half, only to watch, almost in slow motion, as Megatronus deftly stepped to the side, forcing the monster-like gladiator to strive to catch himself as he stumbled with his built up momentum, placing his helm conveniently right beneath the other’s dripping blade. The purple mech’s helm turned just enough to watch as the silver mech’s blade came ringing down towards his optics, slicing the top half of his helm clean off. The purple mech twitched as his broken processor tried to relay messages to its other half, finally resulting in total failure as his neural network collapsed from within.

                Once more Orion recoiled from the sight as he watched the purple mech’s spark flutter and go out as Megatronus rose to meet the oncoming blue challenger.

                The blue had ceased his blind charge as he witnessed the purple’s demise, slowing his steps, he warily paced around Megatronus. As the two mechs circled one another, Megatronus’s vents were heavy, but controlled, his fans hardly noticeable over the roar of the crowd.  The blue mech’s optics slid away from silver for only a moment before he grinned evilly and lunged forward. So focused on the blue mech, Megatronus didn’t realize the second smaller gladiator had crept his way around the arena and was now directly behind him, blade ready and gleaming.

Chapter Text

    “Megatronus! Behind you!”  A familiar voice called from the stands as Megatronus’s blade connected with the blue mech’s before him, just to feel the sharp rip of a blade skitter across the back of his left leg, cutting deep into the sensitive cables and fuel lines there, forcing him down to a knee while trying to stave off he bigger mech before him. Encouraged by the sight of energon, the blue mech held fast, pressing his blade down with more force trying to force it deep into the silver mech’s neck cables. Megatronus grunted deeply, his denta grinding together as he pushed against the other mech’s blade. Out of the corner of his optic, Megatronus spied the smaller mech slinking forward; probably preparing to thrust his blade right through his back into his unprotected spark chamber. He growled, coiling his pistons tight just as the smaller mech got close enough behind him, the blue mech before him pressing even deeper down, and invented deeply.

    Many warriors have told tales of their near death experiences. Some have said they saw the light of Primus, others see their existence laid out before them, and even more have spoken of how time seems to slow, blur. For Megatronus it was always as if everything became blindingly clear, precise, and logical. Perhaps time seemed to slow as well, but it didn’t matter, as long as he knew the steps to follow, the dance would be complete and he would be the last to still function once it was all over. This time was no different and, as the two blades inched closer, threatening to drown him in his own fluids, Megatronus nimbly finished his dance as the whole arena watched.

    Releasing his coiled pistons Megatronus pushed backwards hard, using both his stored energy, and that of the blue mech, to propel him towards the smaller mech behind him. As he did he curved his back strut allowing both of his enemies’ blades to spark across his chest plates cutting cleanly, but not deep, until they found purchase buried deep within the two mechs above him. As his momentum carried him, the silver gladiator swung his good leg out catching the blue mech’s, effectively swiping his pedes out from beneath him. Megatronus kept his momentum flowing, rolling with the direction of his good leg, bringing up his torso and blade above the still stunned smaller gladiator.

    The small mech’s optics bulged as he watched the blade descend right across his neck cables, his still seeing helm slammed into the sand beneath him, optics staying online just long enough to watch Kaon’s champion pivot slightly, changing the angle of his sword to bring it up to cleave the blue gladiator’s helm from his shoulders as well. The two disembodied helms stared at one another in those last moments shock in each optic, until they finally succumbed to energon loss.

    The crowd ROARED! Wounded, covered in multiple mech’s energon, Megatronus forced himself to stand. He raised his dripping blade high above his helm and roared along with the crowd, his fans whirling within him, vents frantically trying to keep up. With his signature sneer he called out loudly, “I STILL FUNCTION!”

    Smiling besides the pain Megatronus turned looking for one mech in particular, yet as he scanned where the smaller mech once stood, he found only strangers, adoring fans who were trying to climb down to the Pit itself. For a moment Megatronus felt his spark shrink, had he scared young Orion into leaving, had he been trampled? As his spark continued to grow smaller his thoughts were interrupted by a servo on his shoulder. Looking behind him he discovered Soundwave standing quietly. The other gladiator gestured to his chest plates briefly and then to the northern gate.

    “Yes, let’s move,” murmured Megatronus glumly as he started his way to the gate. Though he walked gingerly, he would not allow the crowd to see him limp. Thus it was by the time they exited thru the gate, his vents were heaving heavily, his denta tight together as the adrenalin of battle, and loss of energon began to wane on him.

    “Hook, Soundwave, wake him for me?”  Megatronus forced out, and then watched as the smaller blue mech nodded and wove his way through the crowds of gladiators below the Pits, disappearing into the streets outside in search for the medic.

    The Champion of Kaon nodded, and grasped servos with fellow gladiators as he made his way to the streets yet as he approached the street his energy seemed to plummet drastically. Stumbling on his injured leg slightly, he grasped out to hold a wall beside him when he heard that beautiful, familiar voice once more.

    Optics narrowing, the silver mech forced himself forward once more as he heard that voice rise, it sounded frustrated, and perhaps angry?  Orion, angry?

    As he cleared the door to the street he couldn’t help the utter shock from falling across his faceplate. There stood little Orion, back straight, shoulders squared, and helm lifted high, facing off against two of the arena’s guards. The two guards outweighed the smaller mech vastly, and stood at least two helms taller than Orion, yet still he faced them, blue optics blazing with that incredible righteous fury that Megatron himself was hypnotized by, his voice raised, but not quite yelling, demanding to be let in. What made it all the more spectacular was that the guards weren’t even slightly laughing, they were hunched over, optics narrowed, servos on their respective weapons…. They see him as a threat.

    Megatronus stood for another moment, optics going back, and forth between mechs in front of him before he could hold himself back no more, he burst out laughing. Not just a sensible chuckle, or appreciative snort, no he broke down into the plate splitting, vents hitching, optics leaking, painful laughter that was so loud it scared the frag out of all the mechs around him with it’s volume.

    Gladiators, guards, and of course little Orion, all turned at once to see the Champion of Kaon holding his plates together, roaring in laughter. The nearby gladiators started to laugh as well, realizing what Megatronus was on about, the guards did not, and Orion merely glared disappointedly at all of them as he rushed past the two sheepish looking mechs to Megatronus’s side.

    Gasping through his vents, Meatronus finally got his laughing under control, wiping the coolant from his optics. “Gods Orion, I need you around more often,  you know that.” He peered down at the smaller red and blue mech, only to receive a disgruntled roll of his optics in return, well that, and a small private smile.

    The silver mech, turned still chuckling to himself as he looked up at the frowning guards. “He is with me, and welcomed down there regardless of my presence or not understand?” by the end of his words, his tone had dipped dangerously low, and both mechs merely nodded, and turned away.

    “As magnificently entertaining as this has been,” started Orion as he glared once more at the retreating guards, “We should really get you to a medic Megatronus.”

    It was the change of pitch within Orion’s voice that forced the injured gladiator to peer back down at the smaller mech. Red optics met blue and Megatronus’s fans stuttered for a moment as he marveled at what he saw within them. Innocence, hope, open curiosity, certainly unflinching bravery, but what the silver mech found most stunning of all, was the look of pure concern, and fear that trembled on the edges of those cerulean optics, not because of Megatronus, as he was accustomed, but FOR him.

    Time swayed slowly around the odd pair as they seemed to attempt to comprehend the other’s being within each other’s optics.

    “A mech could get lost in your optics Orion,” Megatronus said deeply, appreciating as a light blush formed once more upon the smaller mech’s faceplates, before he turned his helm from the gladiator’s resilient gaze.

    Megatronus leaned closer to turn the red and blue mech’s helm back towards him when suddenly his optics filled with static, and he felt his large frame lurch forward as the world fell away for a moment.

    He was caught quickly by two smaller servos, and as his audials began to ring and shut down he heard that beautifully familiar voice call out to him.

    “I have got you Megatronus, I have you. You are safe now,”  with that he heard a grunt as the world fell away, and somehow he felt like he was floating?

Chapter Text

As Megatronus slowly came back online, his processor ached, and his HUD displayed desperately low fuel. Blinking away the static from recharge, he scanned his surroundings to find himself in Hook’s makeshift med bay. How did I arrive here? Megatronus wondered as he pushed himself into a sitting position on the creaking berth beneath him.

Stretching his aching cables, the silver mech checked his internal systems over to check damage reports. Hook, as always did a decent job in patching him up. He tilted his leg slightly examining the fresh weld there. Not pretty, it would scar, but such was the life of a gladiator.

He slipped to the side of the berth, placing his pedes on the cracked floor below, gingerly testing his leg. When he was satisfied he wouldn’t immediately fall on his aft if he put weight on it, he stood and walked towards where he knew Hook’s ‘office’ lay. As he picked his way thru the other berths, and patients, Megatronus took in the state of the building around him.

Before recently, there had never been a building specifically for medical care in Kaon. Sure, there had been a few medics scattered along with the rest of the lost souls down here, but most of them were here because they weren’t welcomed anywhere else on Cybertron. At best they may have ended up here by having been caught stealing pain capsules to feed their own addiction, at worst, they enjoyed pulling their patients apart far more than they should have. Thus the citizens of Kaon grew to mistrust the idea of bringing themselves to any medic if injured, so there was no need for a building, especially one filled with insane doctors.

As diseases and death tolls grew Megatronus took the problem into his own servos through his writings. He described the desperate situation in Kaon, and their equally desperate need for a medic. He wrote of the injustice the sick, or injured mechs of Kaon suffered as they lay dying in the streets, their crumbling frames infecting even more mechs as the lay unattended to, left to fester, and rot. He called on any mech with medical knowledge to aid them, to find it within their sparks to be a hero to a dying city.

Nothing came from the plea for some time, Megatronus almost giving up hope until one day some soft-sparked, anonymous medic from Iacon wrote back. The mech apparently had a free clinic in the poorer district there, and wrote he could spare his, then apprentice, Hook, to Kaon. Armed with a halfway decent medic, they had finally had a reason to build a clinic. Fellow gladiators, and many civilians came together the day Hook arrived, and began the construction of this run down, leaking med bay.

Megatronus felt his lip plates curve into a slight smile recalling that day. Though the work had been arduous, and finding decent building materials near impossible, they still succeeded, and even if Hook was a bit, glitchy, at times, he did his work well, especially considering what little supplies he had to work with.

Finally making his way to the small broken door way to Hook’s room, Megatronus ducked down and entered the office to find Hook deep in recharge across his disheveled desk.

Megatronus smiled once more, as his spark went out to the mech. With him being the only capable medic around Kaon, time to recharge was luxury he didn’t get often.

Optics narrowed in thought, Megatronus turned to leave the exhausted mech to his rest when his helm caught top of the lower door frame with a loud clang.

“WASSSA MATTER!? Who, fire, I need…!” Hook startled awake. His flailing frame and servos successfully cleared his desktop of the dozens of old datapads that had been piled there, as well as sent the smaller mech flying sideways out of his rickety chair. He landed hard on the metal flooring, the remaining datapads followed suit plunking down on the fallen medics helm almost comically.

If Megatronus hadn’t felt so awful for being the cause of his panic, he would have laughed. “Primus, Hook, are you alright?” the silver mech strode forward extending his servo to the confused medic.

“Huh? Oh, Megatronus,” a smile formed on the smaller bot’s faceplates as he grasped  the larger servo before him and pulled himself from the pile of pads. Suddenly the medic’s optic looked down surveying the mess around him and began to mutter to himself  about how he had too much stuff, and why did he need this much stuff, and…

“Ah, Hook?”

At the gladiator’s voice Hook turned once more to him and smiled. “Yes, yes Megatronus. Good to see your aft out of berth.” The smaller mech’s optics turned serious as he examined the bot in front of him intensely. They followed the welding on his patient’s chest plates first, mumbling and nodding to himself, then moved behind the gladiator and abruptly demanded, “Bend over!”

Rolling his optics Megatron turned his helm, looking behind him at Hook. “Is that entirely necessary Hook?”

“Who is the medic here mech, bend over!”

Inventing dejectedly, Megatronus bent over placing his servos on the broken desk as Hook once again examined his welding, mumbling some more.

“Alright you are good, don’t push it for a while though, you will rip right through all my hard work,” Hook’s voice rose higher as he moved to the front of the silver gladiator. “Five opponents, you glitch, I have never met a mech more excited to return to the All Spark. I am surprised you ended up with as little damage as you did. Energon loss not included, oh!” Hook suddenly shuffled forward to some crates near his desk. Swiping some empty cubes aside he reached in and grabbed one that was full of low grade energon. “Here, drink. Your tank must be near shutdown.”

Megatronus nodded his thanks; his tanks were indeed burning with lack of fuel. Lifting the cube to his dermas he swallowed the entire contents in one go. His tanks rumbled in appreciation as he contemplated the battle from the night before.

“I had hoped because of the added.. flair, the winnings would bring me closer to paying off my debt with Gearwrench.  Though, given that it wasn’t much a fight, I doubt the winnings will be enough to stay properly fueled.” The silver gladiator seemed to deflate a bit after that. He put his cube down neatly amongst the vast pile of them, and then bent to start picking up the spilled datapads around his pedes, silent.

Hook’s glare softened a bit before he too turned, and joined in picking up the mess of datapads around them.

“I heard it was over pretty quick.  What do they expect when two of the fighters are dying with EnSic. That should be on their helms, not yours Champ.”

Though Megatronus nodded he didn’t reply. It was true that two of his opponents last night had been ready, if not willing, to die. The two he had dispatched first had been suffering from Energon Sickness or EnSic, for some time, one of the more recent dieses to slither its way into Kaon’s population. Its cause was still unknown, though many speculated it originated from the overwhelming number of decaying frames that lay decomposing in the streets that every mech walked down every day. The two gladiators last night, being the warriors they were, both came to him begging to go out with honor, and what better way than fighting the Champion of Kaon. Megatronus hadn’t the spark to refuse. Anything was better than having your spark go out slowly, painfully, on the streets, where the other lost sparks would merely walk over your rotting frame like it was garbage. At least if they died in the arena, they would keep their honor, and get a proper burial.

“I had thought,” Hook started again, pulling the silver mech from his dark thoughts, “That it may have had something to do with the handsome young mech that brought you in last night.” Hook finished  while his optics glowed playfully loading another stack of pads onto his already creaking, overburdened desk.

Megatronus smiled in relief as the tension that had been building in the room vanished instantly.

“Yeah, imagine my surprise when none other than  Orion of Iacon showed up on my door rubble carrying the great Champion of Kaon like two newly bonded bots.”

Megatronus straightened so quickly his pile datapads flew out of his servos flying beyond his right shoulder and crashed into the wall behind him.

“Oh, slag, sorry bout.., but, he, what? He WHAT!? He carried me? Like a, a ,what, wait I don’t remember..I,” his vocalizer seemed to seize as in his processor’s optic he could see little Orion cradling his larger frame as he strolled through the streets of Kaon  passing all manner of  Kaon’s citizens to Hook’s med bay. As his processor decided to add to his embarrassment, it also created a version where Orion hummed a tune as he did so. Megatronus's servos slammed into his faceplates, as he groaned loudly. I will never live that down.

Hook bursting out laughing, “Don’t fret Champ it wasn’t as bad as you are clearly making it.” The medic chuckled some more as Megatronus’s optic glared at him from above his claw tips.

“No he looked pretty concerned, and determined. I wouldn’t have gotten in his way what with that look in his optics. I give him credit, you are no lightweight. Kid carried you the whole way. You should be impressed, I know Soundwave and I were.”

The gladiator lowered his servos, and tilted his helm seemingly considering Hook’s appreciation of the archivist. The medic wasn’t wrong, not only would carrying a mech his size that distance be a grueling task for any mech, but most wouldn’t even bother to try. Megatronus couldn’t help but smile as he found his appreciation of Orion growing greater with each vorn he knew him, suddenly a realization stuck him.

“You know Orion, Hook?”

The medic cocked his optical ridge amused, “Of course Champ. He is friends with Ratchet, my old tutor. You know, the mech that owns that free clinic in Dead End. Orion is the reason I am here. Well and you, and Ratchet too. Though I am pretty sure Ratchet was more than happy to send me off, he is as snappy as a razor snake. I ever tell you of the day he swore he’d beat me so hard with his wrench I would be reprocessed externally, he…” Hook paused his rambling as he realized Megatronus was staring down at his own servos, optics wide and wondering.

“Champ, you alright? Got a processor glitch or something? I made a new tool for that if ya give me just a moment. It’s just great, cuts through even the toughest protoform in just…”

“He never told me.” The gladiator whispered to himself.

Hook paused his rambling once more, and merely hummed, trying not to look slightly disappointed at not being able to dig into the bigger mech’s helm, “No surprise there really. Orion isn’t one for gloating, just a decent spark in an indecent universe.”

Megatronus nodded his helm once more quietly, and turned picking up the datapads he had flung, and placed them neatly along with the others.

His processor full with all the information Hook had relayed, the silver mech straightened preparing to leave.

“Oh, Megatronus,” Hook called out as he reached the dilapidated door way. “Soundwave wanted to meet up with you at Switches’ place once you were up and around. Orion said he'd be by there later too. And uh, Soundwave said when he came here last night to find me, he mentioned he had a tail. Seems the Senate might be taking your actions more seriously than before,” Hook paused organizing the datapads before he pointedly brought his optics up to the younger mech's. “Be careful stirring that fire Champ. I know you gotta do it, just, be careful.”

“Thanks Hook, for everything,” he said nodding gravely as he turned and walked out into the streets of Kaon.  Once outside he shook his helm slightly, attempting to clear it before he started to make his way towards where Soundwave was waiting for him. As he passed the window to Hook’s office he could have sworn he heard a loud crash, followed by Hook’s voice producing a string of curses that could make even the hardiest gladiators blanch.

Chapter Text

Two bots hunkered down in a dirty tavern on the outskirts of Kaon. Their long hooded cloaks hid most of their features, allowing only their faceplates to be visible in the dim light of the dilapidated building. Were they anywhere but Kaon, they would have caused some optical ridges to rise, not only because of the ragged and suspicious looking garb, but for their enormous frame types, yet as it was, not one mech glanced twice at the shady companions.

The smaller of the two spoke first. “What do you bring me?”

The larger mech picked up his cube of high-grade downing it in one gulp before answering. “Pffft, what isn’t there to bring you? There have been more speeches, writings, followers; mech seems to be earning himself an army. A poor, starving, and desperate one, but an army nonetheless, and a desperate army is even more dangerous. When you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, that is a powerful motivator. Your mechs up top had better keep your slag together because this mech knows how to inspire the masses, and he does it fragging well. It’s impressive.”

The bigger mech motioned to the bar for another cube of high-grade not caring for the cost as his glaring companion was paying the bill.

“Spare me your personal opinions Vice. I need details, numbers, locations, core intelligence of the inner circle.” The smaller mech’s voice had lowered to a dangerously vicious tone.

Vice grunted as his second cube was placed before him,  and waited for the serving mech to saunter off before turning back to the smaller mech, his optics sharp and equally dangerous.

“My fragging opinions are what have made me so fragging good at what I do Ratbat. Do yourself a favor and listen to um’. As for the intel, I will send the estimates I have gathered later, but they’re just estimates mind you,” Vise slapped back the energon and continued “This mech is damn near untouchable except in the arena..”

“Then let’s take him down there!” Ratbat interrupted, but quickly, albeit begrudgingly, quieted after receiving a condescending glare from the other’s optics.

“You think no one has thought of that you aft, pfft, and you’re a senator.” Vice continued on, ignoring the other mech’s growl. “He went against five Gladiators last night, granted two of um had that street sickness, but the other three were superbly trained, seasoned fighters. Fight was over before it started. No, you need to destroy this mech from the inside, his plating is too fragging tough.”

Ratbat leaned forward at that, “You sound like you have something in mind.”

Vice nodded contemplatively, “I do, but not something ya can rush. Gotta wait this out; let it develop a bit more before I move on it.”

“We don’t have time Vice! I have some of the most influential members of the senate watching this. I need you to take care of this usurper now!”

Vice glared at the sleazy senator before him. “I know what I am doing Ratbat. Don’t force me to clarify that again, I hate repeating myself. If I jump on this too fast not only will I compromise all that I have built around this mech, but he wouldn’t end up broken, just more enraged. And that,” Vice smiled knowingly at the fuming senator, “is one thing you defiantly couldn’t handle. I assure you of that.”

Ratbat clenched his denta together so hard he was surprised he hadn’t heard a crack yet. “Fine Vice, play your game, for now. I warn you though, if this results in failure, it will not be me you need to answer to, but Proteus and I assure you, he is not nearly as forgiving as I am.”

The bigger mech scoffed at that, “If I fail I know exactly who I will be answering to and that mech, ha, he makes Proteus look like an angry sparkling swatting cyber- flies.”

Chapter Text

By the time Megatronus had made it to Switches’ place it was near midday and his spark weighed heavy and thoughtful within his spark chamber. As always, walking through the streets during the day led to many distractions for the Champion of Kaon. He was regularly stopped by inspired citizen’s wanting to give him thanks, or to tell him stories from their solar-cycles long past. He would always make sure to stop and give them a moment of his time, and why wouldn’t he? This was what he was fighting for, these forgotten sparks, looked upon by the rest of Cybertron like filth, less than basic machines, slaves to care for the dirty/ hard jobs no sensible mech would ever go near. Megatronus imagined most of the higher caste civilians didn’t even know where their energon and basic materials came from. He suspected that they wouldn’t much care anyways, and the evidence of that lay all around him. 

There were other distractions that kept him that were far less joyful. He had made a promise to himself long ago, that if he were to find a corpse when he was out, he would bring it to one of the many smelting stations around the city, and these days, he found it hard to anything but. Already today he had brought six to varying smelters, it wasn’t the best solution to the city’s overwhelming problem with the dead, but at least it got them off the streets. The job took even more time because he would never take more than one at a time. He refused to load them up like sacks of iron, instead he made sure to carefully pick up each of the sparkless frames and cradle them till they reached their final resting place with respect. Whether they had passed to the All Spark because of sickness, addiction, fights, he carried each of them equally. Clearing the frames always left his spark heavy, but at least today there had been no sparklings.

As he made his way to the small bar’s door Megatronus invented deeply. Six more sparks lost to this broken system. He grit his denta as he moved forward, pushing the creaking door inward.

Switches’ place was a hole in the wall bar, one of the many in Kaon. Not surprising as many of Kaon’s citizens had ample reasons, and want, to drink themselves into oblivion, that is if they could afford it.

As Megatronus entered he had to adjust his optics as the inside of the bar was far darker than the streets outside. It was already crowded inside no surprise, as Kaon never rested.  There were always plenty of mechs that worked thru the night, many having double shifts, more often than not.

“Megatronus!” a loud booming voice broke through the crowd and suddenly all helms were turned toward the large mech.

Many of the patrons immediately rushed over to him grasping servos, patting him on the shoulders until the mech that had started this assault finally pushed thru the crowd and smiled up at the younger gladiator.

“Prevaricator, always good to see you still functioning.” Megatronus smiled back at the fellow gladiator grasping his servo.

“Huh, I ain’t going down that easy! Not till I get to take on the Champion of Kaon, and don’t insult me by using my full designation. To my friend’s is it just Tor.”

Megatronus laughed lightly at that, gripping the other mech’s servo tighter, “I will keep that in mind Tor, your designation is a mouthful anyways. Maybe I should shorten mine to Megatron, Megatronus is no walk in the sands either.” Together the mech’s laughed, and Megatronus felt his previously aching spark start to ease.

Tor’s voice lowered slightly as he brought his helm closer to the silver mech’s. “Soundwave is below waiting for us.”

Megatronus nodded, his smile disappearing, and his optics narrowing, focused. “Yes, I need to speak to him urgently, let’s go.”

Together the two mechs made their way through the crowd within the bar to a small unassuming door at the southernmost part of the building. The two gladiators ducked under the doorway as they entered a small hallway. Once the door closed, a string of flickering lights came on, their sensors having been trigged as the door closed to reveal a steep staircase that led deep below ground.

“Shall we?” asked Tor as he swung a servo before him inviting the younger gladiator to go before him.

Megatronus nodded eyes sharp and focused, as he descended into the darkness beneath Kaon.

As Kaon was originally only a mining community, the city was riddled with underground passages and tunnels. Some were so intricate that some curious mechs had gotten lost among them and were never heard from again, well, that was the story on the street anyways.

The passages they were traversing now were very well known to Megatronus, for at one point in his spark-life he had worked on these very passageways. Long before he had become Megatronus, Champion of Kaon, he was merely D-16, a proper designation for a proper machine. Megatronus felt his servos clench as he recalled his life before the ring.

 If the citizens above ground in Kaon were lost, the ones below were the ‘forgotten’ and it was within that twisted world  that his path to becoming the Champion of Kaon had begun.

 Abandoned as a sparkling, as so many were, even now, Megatronus had begged for scraps, living in the tunnels of lower Kaon. Back then few mechs had ever traveled below ground, beyond the slavers, and that was how Megatronus started to finally crawl his way out of its darkness.

As was usual those days, he had been curled up along one of the underground’s winding,  filthy ‘streets’, servos stretched before him begging for just a few stones of unrefined energon, when his wrists were caught by a monster of a mech that studied his shivering, starving frame before throwing him into a container filled with equally filthy, starving sparklings. From there he was given his first designation, D-16 and put to work within the mines. There he worked hard, harder than many of his fellow miners for no other reason than he liked having fuel and would do anything to keep from the starving existence of the tunnels. His work ethic however, caused him to become more and more alienated by his fellow miners until one day, when they decided to do something about it. That was the day they quickly discovered he fought harder than he mined. The fight ended up being a grace from Primus though, because his master had an optic for talent and immediately sold him, for a hefty price, to the slaver he was now owned by Gearwrench, a gladiatorial slave owner.

Though still a slave, becoming a gladiator was the best thing that ever happened to him. He had far more freedoms (even more so these days), received pay enough to refuel regularly (though most of it went to his pay off his master’s buyer’s fee) and he was also able to choose a new designation for himself. Perhaps a bit arrogant of him to choose Megatronus, but after everything he had been through, he felt he could identify with the Fallen’s anger, and lastly, and most importantly he was brought above ground for the first time in his existence.

 He had heard stories of the sky while underground, but the day he stepped out of the elevator from below and stared into its magnificence, he knew he would never again see something as beautiful as the sky.

Megatronus smirked at the thought as he walked through the familiar caverns around him. Perhaps I have found one thing as beautiful.

The mech’s long trek finally came to an end as the tunnel they had been following ended abruptly at a poorly maintained overseer’s building. The construct was once where miner’s owners used to convene to discuss routes and trades as their slaves mined the land around them. It was wonderfully hidden, had plenty of space, and was to become the command center of their entire rebellion though, for now, it was mostly empty. They had just moved here from a much smaller hut on the surface. With the rising concerns of the senate, and increased need of privacy, Megatronus had led them here. 

Megatronus knew Soundwave was constantly surveying the area, and as they drew closer his assumptions were confirmed as Soundwave met them at the door.

“Lord Megatronus,” Soundwaves peculiar voice greeted him formally.

“Soundwave, enough of that, I am fine with merely my designation.” Megatronus smiled at the smaller mech as he walked into the building when he heard Soundwave answer. “Yes Lord Megatronus.”

The command center wasn’t terribly spectacular, a large table with broken chairs and a few datapads. Most of the work they did was with their words, thus far, as the core of Megatronus’s group were poor gladiators they didn’t have the credits to buy any supplies anyways. 

The room was empty except the three mechs, though in total his core had five members, Soundwave, Tor, Grindor, Revit, and most recently, little Orion.

Today wasn’t an official meeting so as the mech’s shuffled in Megatronus leaned heavily against the large table inventing slowly. Between the still healing welds, and the stress the dead frames had placed on his limbs, and spark, Megatronus found himself tired but, he had some things to sort out.

“Soundwave, a tail?” the larger gladiator asked finally.

“Affirmative. War frame. Unknown caste.”

Tor looked between the younger mechs concern clear of his faceplates.

“Where did you notice him?” the silver bot continued.

“Pits, Northern civilian gate,” Soundwave tilted his head as turned his hidden optics towards Megatronus. “Did not hide.”

Megatronus hummed at that, his optics dropping to the metal floor beneath him in concentration. “A warning then. He must be fairly confident to follow out in the open.”

“Or stupid,” Tor interjected.

Megatronus shook his helm, “I don’t think so. Soundwave, you find any intel on a war frame spy on the net?”

“Negative.”

Megatronus nodded his helm, his optics narrowed, his processor buzzing. “We need to keep a better optic out, see if we can’t find him again. I looked over my shoulders the entire way here.  Be careful, and stay alert. Did you let Grindor, and Revit know?”

Soundwave nodded.

“What about your pretty librarian? His bright frame sure sticks out round Kaon, I know I noticed his shiny little aft.”  Tor asked, his voice seemed to purr slightly.

Megatronus paused at that, his processor tugged at something he couldn’t quite put his digits on about the way Tor had addressed Orion. With Hook, his friendly teasing of Orion had felt welcomed, warm and endearing, with Tor it felt…wrong, predatory.

“You speak of Orion I imagine? I will let you know Tor, within this group we shall respect one another as equals. I suggest you remember that.” By the time Megatronus was finished speaking he realized, surprisingly, that he was now standing at his full intimidating height and had moved very close to the now wide optic mech. He also noticed Soundwave was far closer to the other mech as well, shoulders seemingly at rest, but Megatronus knew better.

“I, I meant no offense Megatronus. I apologize, I was just kiddin. I like the litt.. er, Orion, and just think one of us should keep a better optic on im’ is all. He does seem a bit soft round the edges and Kaon ain’t no playground.”

Megatronus backed away realizing that Tor was right though tactless, and probably just keeping a good optic out for Orion. Orion did stick out terribly in Kaon, bright blue optics, shimmering unmarred plates, any mech would have to be blind to not notice him or how handsome he was.  

 Megatronus also had to admit that Orion could be a bit naïve, more than a bit, perhaps Tor was just being protective of the archivist.

Suddenly Soundwave lifted his helm, and moved to the door and, speak of the Fallen, who but Orion Pax was standing there, arms full with large boxes and his smile bright as ever. Megatronus felt his spark jump at the sight.

“I apologize for being late, but just wait till you see what I brought!” Orion’s smile grew wider, his optics blazing their startling blue and Megatronus realized he had indeed found something more beautiful than the sky.

Chapter Text

“Thank you Soundwave,” Orion grunted out as Soundwave opened the door further for the red and blue mech. He then moved to place the boxes on the table behind a widely grinning Megatronus who suddenly jumped forward and easily plucked two of the heavy boxes from Orion’s arms.

“Here, let me help you,” he said quickly.

Orion flashed an appreciative smile at the larger mech,” Thank you, could you place them on the table? Oh, hello Tor! There are some more boxes outside could you please grab a few?”

Tor smiled an equally charming smile as he bowed to the red and blue mech then made his way to the boxes outside of command center with Soundwave.

Megatronus frowned inquisitively as he and Orion placed the boxes down and went to retrieve more from the tunnel outside, the pile he found made his optics grow wide with shock.

“Orion, there must be near 30 boxes here, how the frag did you get them all the way down here?” Megatronus gaped.

Orion laughed, its twinkling sound echoing off the tunnel’s walls. “Good optic, there should be 28, unless I lost a few in transit. I took the road through Spire Peak to get them here.” Seeing every mech’s, but Soundwave’s , wide optics Orion waved a servo dismissively. “It isn’t as bad as some say, only a few dents and scratches.”

Megatronus studied the other mech as they pulled more of the boxes in noting that Orion did indeed have many cuts littered all over his plating, some deep enough to produce energon.

“Eh, Orion, how the frag you carry all this?” asked Tor sounding just as impressed as Megatronus felt.

“Huh? Oh my alt form is a load bearing grounder. I chose it to help in the archives, most of my coworkers choose flight alts to reach up to the higher shelves, and move around faster but since I am so tall, comparably to them, I figured I would do the heavy lifting. Kind of wish I chose a flight alt though I would love to fly, wonder what...,” Orion became quiet as he realized the mechs around him had stopped walking, and each seemed exceptionally tense all of a sudden, it was then he realized what he had been rambling about. Instantly his faceplates glowed bright blue, and his optics fell to the ground.

“I am, I apologize. I meant no offense.” Orion silently chastised himself for slipping like that. With the caste system, no mech under caste 1 was allowed a t-cog, and any of those that may have had a higher caste that fell to the uncasted, the undesirables, had their t-cog removed from their frames. The mechs around him had always been slaves thus had never been given the opportunity for an alt-mode.

There was silence for a moment before Megatronus placed the boxes he had been holding down, Orion doing the same tried to hurry out to grab some more but the silver mech caught his wrist gently before he could escape.

Orion’s optics stared pointedly at the ground as Megatronus lifted his helm with his servos.

“Orion look at me.”

Slowly Orion’s optics rose to look into the silver mech’s and Megatronus once again felt himself falling into to them.

“Never, ever be ashamed of who you are, or what you can do, even if others can’t, understand? Especially if others can’t.” Megatronus smiled at the smaller mech softly, his special smile. “I am proud of you, for you. All of you. You should be as well.”

Orion just stood there. Megatronus’s digits softly holding his helm, his optics burning into his own, a fire of pride, for him!? The smaller mech’s spark fluttered wildly in his chassis, and he found he wanted to stay in this moment as long as Primus would permit.

“I, thank you Megatronus,” he whispered.

The gladiator’s spark shuttered at the whisper. Primus, this mech has a hold on me so tight and he doesn’t even realize.

“Ahem, if you two are done there, Soundwave and I finished the job without you,” Tor’s call to them broke the spell quickly as Orion pulled back first and he smiled an apologetic smile at the older mech, who flashed his own dazzling smile in turn as he followed Orion over to the large table now covered with the large metal boxes.

“What is all of this Orion?” Megatronus asked gesturing before him. Orion simply smiled broadly.

“Open them up!” His optics wide and brilliant, he took the cover off the first box. Megatronus leaned over him to find the box was filled with dozens of cubes of a dark blue liquid.

“Orion,” the silver mech gasped and he pulled one of cubes out with a shaking servo, “Is this energon?”

Orion smile grew larger, “Yes!”

Tor and Soundwave took a cube each as well, peering at peculiarly dark color of the liquid inside. “Is this high-grade?” Tor asked opening the cube smelling the liquid inside.

Orion laughed lightly, “No, mid-grade, not trying to get everyone overcharged. It is far more nutritious than low. In some of the other boxes there are different flavors too. I like the mineral based kind myself, it’s the purple. Go on try it, let me know what you think.”

Tor immediately tossed his cube back, and contented grin on his faceplates. “I ain’t had midgrade since, I don’t even remember! Oh my tanks feel fuller than they ever have Orion! You truly were sent from Primus himself!” Tor laughed then as Orion blushed slightly at the complement. Megatronus peered between the two mechs, before putting his cube back. His optics followed the lines of boxes before them.

“Are these all energon?” He asked turning his optics back to Orion who was frowning slightly, looking down at Megatronus’s discarded cube.

“Huh, oh no,” his smile returned, though smaller, as he moved down the line of boxes.  His optics and servos intently started scanning the labels placed along each of boxes’ sides, arranging them into neat piles as he went.  Megatronus couldn’t help but smile as he watched Orion fall into his archivist mind set.

As he worked at it Soundwave sat quietly studying some datapads, and Tor began opening some of the boxes already filed into the correct piles, Megatronus followed suit and opened one of the boxes closest to him. His optics grew wider.

Inside there were dozens of lightly used datapads, all of them in far better shape than any he had seen in Kaon.

“Primus, Orion!”

Tor’s voice made the silver mech look up to see Tor holding an acid cloak, though probably used, it looked in near perfect condition. Megatronus knew of only a few mech’s that could afford the luxury of any mechmesh garments, much less those of an acid cloaks quality. Most mechs merely dealt the burn of the acid rains, or hid from them.

“There! Now they are all organized,” Orion smiled a bit wider, apparently satisfied with his work.

“How, how did you get all of this Orion?” Megatronus gasped, but Orion merely shrugged.

“Different means, the cloaks were easy to gather, many of the higher caste get new ones every season, so they either throw them out, or donate. I have a friend I contacted that helped me get these, she runs a community center in Dead end, I asked her awhile back to put as many as she could spare aside for me. The datapads came from the archives, we always need newer versions so instead of smelting the old, I have been collecting any I could get my servos on. Figured they could be good for us, Hook, and help many of the citizens learn to read. I know many have expressed to me how they wish they could read your writings. The other boxes have some thermo-blankets, newer medical supplies and tools, and..” Orion’s smile took over his entire faceplate as he happily walked to the last pile of boxes, opened one and pulled out some brightly painted trinket, “toys!”

He nearly squeaked as he wound the small object and placed it on the table. All of the giant mechs gathered round, even Soundwave had strode over curious, to watch the little thing come to life and start beeping and rolling all over the place before bumping into one of the boxes and falling over.

Orion laughed amazed at the open wonder in all of the gladiators’ optics. “The toys I collected from Ratchet oddly enough, a medic friend of mine. He told me playing is a good way for sparklings to develop servo/optic coordination, build processors, and social skills. He has made it a habit to have a store of them for some of his younger patients.”

The three gladiators seemed to merely gape at the overfilled table of treasures before them.

“Orion, this, this must have taken forever to acquire,” Megatronus started, his vocalizer glitching slightly.

Modest as ever, the smaller mech merely shrugged, “Little over a vorn of collecting, I had help though, so it wasn’t too hard. Not all of us in Iacon are sparkless,” though the last part came out quietly, his derma were stilled pulled into a soft smile.

“Energon?” asked Soundwave, as he knelt near the fallen toy, poking it with his long digits.

“Oh,” Orion said shyly, “I had a decent amount in savings for a while, and I just figured, what better way to spend it?”

All the other mech’s helms turned to the suddenly timid looking bot.

Soundwave spoke first, ”Thank you Orion.”

Tor smiled as he moved over to the red and blue mech, suddenly pulling him into a tight hug, Orion’s optics wide with surprise. “Thank ya indeed Orion,” laughed as Tor placed the smaller mech down, his optics filled with appreciation. “You a mech truly sent from Primus himself.”

Orion shrugged again, and his optics rose to look up at the oddly silent silver gladiator.

Megatronus wasn’t smiling; his face plates looked stern, angry even, as his optics followed along the seemingly endless treasures.

“Excuse me,” was all the larger mech said as he abruptly turned and walked out of the command center.

Orion’s spark dropped nearly into his tanks as he stared after the retreating mech. What had he done wrong? Was it the energon? Did Megatronus think he was gloating by buying so much? Primus, he hadn’t meant that he..

“Don’t fret sweetspark.” Tor’s voice tore him from his wild thoughts. “He probably just needs a klik to process all this.” Tapping his chin plates thoughtfully, Tor made his way to one of the energon filled boxes and pulled two purple cubes out, handing them to the still reeling Orion.

“He’s probably gone up on top of Switches’, there’s a nice spot on the roof he likes to sit and think. Why don’tcha take him some fuel?”

Orion looked at the energon in his servos nodding slightly as he moved his pedes, slowly following after Megatronus.

Tor watched him go, his optics calculating.

Chapter Text

Megatronus was indeed sitting upon Switches’ roof though his helm was not tilted towards his beloved sky, it hung heavy and thoughtful as he stared at the broken slats beneath his pedes.

Suddenly he heard a grunt, and the shifting of gears of another mech behind him. Tensing Megatronus stood in his battle stance waiting, just to see Orion’s blue helm lift over the edge of the roof; a sheepish grin on his faceplates as he struggled to pull himself up.

Megatronus smiled slightly and moved towards the smaller mech extending a servo to help. He was surprised Orion had made it that far up without help. Even at Megatronus’s height getting up here was trying. When will the mech cease to surprise me?

Orion’s servo grasped his, and he lifted the smaller mech as if he weighed nothing, extracting a yelp from the red and blue mech.

Once Orion’s pedes were on the, mostly solid roof he turned his optics up to his companion’s. “Thank you,” he started, his smile still sheepish. “Bit higher than I thought.”

Megatronus merely watched him, his optics unreadable. Orion quickly lowered his helm, and reset his vocalizer, “I... I came to apologize. I should have asked you, or warned you about the supplies beforehand. I just had to deliver them today when I finally had the, ummm... opportunity to gather them all, for good... I drove straight here away and tired to get them to you all before anything was...”

“You are rambling.” Megatronus interrupted quietly.

Orion nodded solemnly, “I was, I apologize. I just,” He looked up at the larger mech once more,  his optics reflecting the moon's silver glow as he continued.  “I just wanted to help, Megatronus.” With a huff of an invent Orion walked past the silver mech, his servos on his hips and optical ridge drawn with frustration.

“I see you all here, slaves fighting an immensely organized and powerful system and am in constant awe.” Megatronus’s helm titled at that, contemplating.

Orion turned to him, “And you, what don’t you help? You write wonderfully inspiring messages to help the masses, at the risk of your own spark mind you, you pick up the dead and forgotten, and give them some peace by not having to rot before the entire world. You, you even kill mercifully.” Orion looked into his optics knowingly.

“Who am I to all that. How can I, once a caste 5 from Iacon, that has never known hunger like you have, has never had to beg, or suffer as the acid rains burn my plates through the night, had to bleed just to fuel and not even properly fuel, has never had to carry the frame of a sparkling’s dead frame and know that melting them is a better alternative!” His vent hitched and his servos shook before him. “I, come from everything that oppresses these mechs, I got to thrive off the backs of slaves, and their deaths, and at the end of the solar-cycle sit down with cool energon and PRETEND THIS ISN’T HAPPENING HERE! “ he vented brokenly, his optics gleaming with coolant.

“Every solar-cycle I went back to that ignorance Megatronus and, I know I never wanted to, not after seeing it for myself, and I hope I never do find that ignorance comforting again, with all my spark! I just, I just don’t know what I am now. How could I ignore what is happening in Kaon, in many places, and not see the bodies, the abuses, the starvation and watch every other mech there eagerly ignore it!?”  His voice growled slightly at that. “I tried to speak to some of my colleagues of the injustices here and you know what they said? To leave it. That the senate knows what it is doing, and to say differently is dangerous. That it is all up to the will of Primus,” he laughed bitterly, his helm turning to the sky as if looking for the deity above him. His optics hardened suddenly as he watched they sky, his expression one Megatronus had never seen before on Orion.  “The will of Primus,” Orion continued his voice dripping with sarcasm and bitterness. His helm dropped once more, as he stared brokenly at his own servos.

“Megatronus, I am no warrior, no great revolutionary like you, I have nothing to offer you but these few trifles from today, but beyond those, I am nothing. I am not even an archivist anymore,” he whispered, his servos dropping to his sides, helm lowered deeply.

Megatronus started at that as Orion pulled his helm up slightly, a small sad smile on his faceplates. “They came for me.” Megatronus’s optics suddenly narrowed dangerously and his servos turned to fists, but Orion flung his servos up, pausing whatever the gladiator might have been imagining. “I was here at the time, luckily, but they told Alpha Trion to notify them the moment I returned. Luckily Trion is a kind, honorable mech, and when I arrived at the archives, he told me everything, and then, told me to run.” Orion shivered as he recalled that dark conversation. “That is why I brought what I could, while I could. I knew I only had a little time so I gathered as much as I could, emptied my savings, got the energon and ran here. I had to get it here without you knowing because by tomorrow, I am sure to become uncasted. I wouldn’t have been able to go back.” Orion invented, his optics clouded and tired, his shoulders drooping as if the weight of Cybertron lay across them.

Megatronus stared at the crestfallen mech before him, his processor a storm with everything Orion had told him. Orion had seemed so happy earlier, all smiles and wonder, all the while keeping this to himself, so busy on making sure to help other’s he hadn’t even gotten his own things as he ran from his life, probably for his life. He had lost everything in one day, his job, his home, friends, any credit to his designation, his city, and even his identity. He was uncasted now, as Megatronus was, an undesirable, thrown from very society that had built him, just because he questioned it and honestly, Megatronus wondered if the poor mech would have even told him had he not left earlier in such a huff.

“Orion,” Megatronus started words lost to him for the first time in a long while.

“It is alright Megatronus, I know what I was signing up for the first time I contacted you.” Orion’s voice grew stronger, convicted in his choice, and it’s outcome. “I do not regret anything that has happened, I want to be here, I need to help. In any way you need me.”

Megatronus stared a moment more as silence fell between them, and in that moment Orion was more beautiful than ever before, yes lost, dirty, broken, but so, so beautiful. Megatronus didn’t even know when his pedes started to carry him forward, not until he found himself within a vent of the lost mech. His servo lightly grasped the others' chin just as he had not so long ago and lifted it to him.

Orion’s optics gleamed slightly with unfallen coolant, but within them burned a righteous anger that made the gladiator’s knees near crumble. “I need you more than I have ever imagined needing any mech Orion.” With that Megatronus lowered his helm and kissed him.  

At first Orion started, surprised, his nerves ablaze, but once the initial shock washed away he found the world was slipping away as well, all that remained was the strong, yet tender lips that had caught his. Their frames shifted closer as their kiss deepened, Orion’s lips parting slightly allowing the gladiator’s glossa to tentatively enter, lightly slipping against his own. Home, thought Orion as he pulled into Megatronus’s hold, his kiss going deeper still, desperate, lonely, and longing.  He tastes like home, safe, loving, true home. Orion felt all of his tribulations of the last solar-cycle finally start to ease realizing, he wasn’t so lost. Yes he had lost everything that this system had once ‘allowed’ him to have, just enough to exist, but within this rebellious, thoughtful, strong, albeit lost, spark he was finding who he truly was, what he was meant to become, who he could trust to help him find those answers.

Megatronus pulled Orion close, holding the smaller mech tight when he felt the other’s frame start to hitch more rapidly, and he tasted coolant on his lips. Pulling back, fearful that he had overstepped his bounds, Megatronus studied Orion intently, concerned, and afraid. Primus, what did I do?

“Orion? I am sorry, I do not know what came over...” His words froze as Orion pulled himself closer to his larger frame, the smaller mech’s helm resting comfortably, naturally, against the silver mech’s enclosed spark, tears falling from his optics slowly.

“I am sorry, it wasn’t that, it isn’t that, I was just, just so lost Megatronus, I am so lost, who am I now? Who am I? How can I help anyone if I am nothing? What am I compared to you?” Orion’s vents continued to hitch as more coolant fell from his optics. He was mad at himself for crying, after all, these mechs had suffered far more than he ever had, how dare he cry over such things, but the thought only made him cry harder. He was tired, lost, and here, within the arms of this amazing, strong mech he found a moment to think of himself for once, and it weakened him, but, he wanted to be weak for a moment, just a moment.

“Oh, Orion,” Megatronus felt the other mech’s legs began to weaken as his tears grew stronger, his little frame shivering, as Megatronus carefully lowered them both shifting his arms until he cradled Orion close to him.” You are more than you realize.” Megatronus’s servo rubbed the little mech’s frame as it broke down before him. “You saw the corruption when all the mechs around you chose not to. You questioned the system that you were placed into against your will, knowing what it would cost you to do so, what it would cost to contact me, and yet you did. You want to help us read, fuel, play.” Megatronus smiled thinking of the toys. He lifted the smaller mech’s helm to his staring deeply into his cerulean blue optics.

“You want to help us live Orion, not just exist, but live! To feel, laugh, cry, love, and have done everything within your limited power to ensure that, the cost of which was all of you, that you gave up freely, readily. You, are truly incredible Orion Pax, not sent from Primus,” Megatronus spit his last words, thinking or Tor’s words to Orion, “No, you do this because you are you, beautiful, selfless, magnificent, you. Just you.”

Orion’s hitching vents eased as he laid his helm against Megatronus’s chassis listening to the melodic hum of the powerful spark there in. Once his fans started to ease he looked up to Megatronus, who was looking at him, optics deep and soft, and pulled the silver mech’s helm forward once more with his smaller servos, and kissed his lips once more, only now, both were assured in the action, thus their passion grew quickly. Servos explored one another as their kiss opened, glossas slipping between both of their lips, tracing wet lines against the other’s.

Megatronus felt a warmth spread within him as his servos explored Orion’s smaller frame, sliding across the beautiful red and blue plates, brushing their dirt, and dried energon away, those being a result from the little mech’s wild travel as he escaped everything he had called home. Megatronus had been with other bots before, out of desperate need, but never  with someone who he actually had feelings for, some mech  that had made his spark yearn for,  that made him feel strong and yet weak. It made his processor and spark race joyfully, `and also fearfully at the same time. I cannot afford this kind of distraction, he thought, but as Orion shifted in his lap and placed his servos upon the plates holding his spark chamber he felt a need for something more than duty, more than justice. A need for a companion, someone to share his darkest fears, to share his greatest triumphs, and need for some mech to hold him as he was injured and tell him you are safe now. With that Megatronus recalled Orion saying those very words to him when he had collapsed after his battle. Primus!

Orion pulled his helm away from Megatronus’s a concerned look in his optics, evidently the realization had frozen the larger mech ‘s kiss unknowingly. Shaking his helm Megatronus smiled into those brilliant optics preparing to explain his realization when he saw a shadow pass across the other’s optics, a shadow he readily recognized. Pain.

“Orion are you,” Megatronus never finished his question as Orion’s frame tightened and arched almost out of Megatronus’s arms, grasping at his left side desperately.

“Orion, what is it!?” Megatronus yelled as he struggled to hold Orion’s thrashing frame.

“My, my, arrrrrgh,  t-cog, it,” Orion moaned loudly, biting his bottom derma until energon flowed from it.  He tried desperately to withhold his scream, but as the pain suddenly tripled he lost whatever control he had and screamed out as his frame went into shock and started to seizure, his optics falling offline as energon spurted from his lips.

“Orion!?” Megatronus held the thrashing frame, keeping Orion’s helm from slamming into the roof beneath them until finally, the seizing abated leaving the former archivist inventing roughly, and unconscious.

Megatronus stood, cradling the smaller mech tightly, protectively against him as he jumped off of Switches’ roof landing hard on the streets below, startling many of the inebriated patrons there. He straightened his legs, his earlier welded leg bleeding energon freely as he took off at a sprint to Hook.

“Hold on Orion, I have you,” he whispered to the unconscious frame that he held. “You are safe now.”

Had the gladiator not been so focused on the broken frame he carried, he would have noticed as optics clandestinely followed his desperate rush towards Kaon’s only medic.

Chapter Text

Vice smiled wickedly as he watched as the frantic revolutionary ran past him, possessively holding the former archivist … No, thought Vice, his weakness, away.  Almost time.

He smiled darkly as he pulled out of the shadowed corner he had been observing the couple from. From what he had seen, that little mech had Megatronus tightly wrapped arounds his digits, just as Vice had predicted, but he couldn’t move on his plan yet, not yet. The hulking mech strode away, smile wide and dangerous. He loved watching plans come together so beautifully, much akin to creating his own sonnet of chaos and this one, if he succeeded, would be his masterpiece, or the melody of his destruction.

Almost time.

……………………….

The med bay was quiet tonight, a small blessing to the medic that ran the clinic. Sure many of the berths were still filled but none of his patients were in for life threatening injuries, the peace allowing the medic to work on other projects. He had always loved to tinker, building new medical tools, trying to improve overall function of anything he worked on, as it was with his patients, he just fixed things, made them better, or tried too.

So it was that he found himself half under his broken desk attempting to rebuild the supports that had cracked there. In hindsight, he probably should have flipped the desk so he could work on it without the threat of it collapsing on his helm, but what is life if not for the risks we take, right?

He was in the middle of carefully supporting the back end of the desk, his repairs almost complete, he could even feel a smile of triumph start to grace his faceplates when he heard his name resounding from the streets. 

Puzzled, and immediately in rescue mode, Hook made to move out from the desk but his helm crashed forcefully into the bottom of it sending strong vibrations rattling through its entire frame. He froze as he watched the large structure sway angrily above him,  I am going to be crushed! Decapitation by desk!  

Luckily, the desk stopped swaying and he warily pulled himself from the makeshift guillotine, Maybe not all risks are worth it. Hook’s thoughts were interrupted as the door to the clinic burst open to reveal Megatronus’s huge frame, and within his arms, Orion, seemingly locked into stasis. Optics wide Hook stood ran over to them indicating on of the open berths as he ran to grab his tools.

Megatronus gently laid the smaller frame on the berth in front of and then moved aside allowing Hook to start his initial scans of his newest patient. “What happened Champ?”

Megatronus invented as he tried to work it out himself, his servos curled into tight fists, “He was fine, and then started pulling at his side, then started screaming, uh, said something about his t-cog,  then his frame began to seize and,”

“Ok Champ, ok. You got him here, let’s see what we can do for him. His t-cog huh? Slag.” He looked over the scans his minimal equipment could produce, his optics narrowed, turned to Orion, and back to the readings. “I need to operate! Now!”

He rushed back to his office quickly grabbing an array of gleaming sharp tools, quickly dipping his servos into the vat of cleansing oil drying them quickly with a scrap of flexmesh and moved back to Orion’s side in a span of mere kliks.

Megatronus was still trying to figure out what had just happened, “Surgery!? Hook, what!? Why?” The silver mechs fans hitched as he watched as Hook took some sort of plug and carefully opened a small plate along Orion’s helm and stuck it into the unconscious mech. 

“I need you to hold his helm up over the side of the berth, we need to get this out, it is going to be messy.”

Megatronus numbly lifted Orion’s frame easing his helm over the side of the berth away from the medic, as Hook kicked a bucket under the berth to Megatronus’s pedes.

“He’s gonna miss.” Was all the medic said as hit a button on the device that was at the end on the cable attached to Orion’s helm.

The reaction was instantaneous; a jolt ran through the smaller frame, seizing it for a moment until Orion’s optics blazed online.

“Orion?” Megatronus inquired as a terrible, guttural moan erupted from the smaller mech’s dermas followed by a wave of sickly green liquid, some landed in the bucket but most merely poured all over the gladiator’s pedes.  

Megatronus held desperately onto the retching mech as Hook switched from the first tool for a scalpel, and braced two of Orion’s side plates open waiting for the convulsions of the red and blue mech to ease. Once Orion’s frame stilled for just a moment; inventing deeply, and preparing for another bout of sickness, Hook skillfully sliced between the plates. Energon spattered against his frame as he pushed his servos deep inside the opening, searching for a digit hold on the part that had started this whole problem, Orion’s t-cog.

Orion moaned deeper, the sound wet and agonizing as he convulsed forward, his tanks expelling their contents once more.

 Megatronus’s optics widened as he watched Hook’s servos dig within the very conscious Orion, who convulsed again emptying his tanks as more of that poisonous liquid was forced out of him. Megatronus’s spark felt like it would rip in two.

Suddenly Hook vented sharply, he had found what he was looking for! Sliding one servo from Orion, it grasped a smaller scalpel before inserting it into the groaning mech. When he finally found the wires he was searching for  he instantly cut them and pulled the t-cog for the mech’s side. Placing the scalpel and t-cog down on the tray beside him Hook then grabbed what looked to be a small soldering iron, opened the now gaping wound, and stuck the tool inside effectively cauterizing the wires. Finally he drew it back out, instantly going for his welding tools, and wasted no time welding shut the wound he had created.

Orion though, continued to purge his tanks, Megatronus holding him gently whispering comforting words to the broken mech, “There Orion, get it out. It’s alright, I know it hurts, keep going. You need to rid yourself of this.” He wasn’t sure if he was rambling the words for Orion’s sake, or to distract himself from the terror that gripped his own spark. Finally, after far too long, Orion’s exhausted helm lay against Megatronus’s frame, his optics flickering in exhaustion, until he fell into recharge against the larger mech.

Megatronus stared down at the smaller mech in his arms, his processor overcome with everything that day had given him, and taken away, corpses, wounds, spies, senate, clinics, treasures, Orion.  He invented deeply, he was exhausted, filthy with whatever had been inside Orion, and his spark ached in a depth he didn’t know it possessed. 

 It wasn’t until Hook touched his shoulder gently that Megatronus stirred from his thoughts. “Hey Champ, he sounds about done. I have a wash room out back why don’t you go wash up? You have a busy day tomorrow, no?”

Megatronus softly placed Orion down and moved to one of the few chairs in the med bay, falling into it exhausted. “What was that Hook?” The silver mech demanded.

Hook, who stood across from him, looked at the t-cog he had pulled from the poor kid on the berth and invented dejectedly. “I know some jobs in Iacon insist upon the installation of remote access t-cogs, or RATS, when their ‘employees’ receive their alt modes. It is normally rare if and when they do it, but is usually used if that mech or femme has high security access within their duties.” Hook smiled grimly. “Or, if the mech has personally created some reason for the higher ups to keep a leash on them, but that reason must come before installation, obviously.”

“They have been trying to enforce the change to become the norm, but some members of the senate have fought against it pretty hard, Senator Shockwave for instance. That has always been strange considering he was one of the scientists that helped develop them, before he came to the senate.” Hook paused at that, his processor whirling.

“Anyways, with a RAT, it assures that if they need to pull the ‘honor’ of a t-cog from some mech that ran from them, all they need to do is hit a switch and boom! Wherever that mech or femme is, supposedly anywhere on Cybertron, their t-cog will immediately cease to function within them making it useless. Instant, effective, painless. The senate doesn’t need to spend resources digging around down here for the lost mech, and they aren’t running around with an undeserved t-cog. ” Hook grabbed a mop from one of the clinic’s closets and started on the mess Orion had created around his berth.

“It... it isn’t supposed to be like this.” Hook growled, his optics peering at Orion’s shuttering frame.

Megatronus’s optical ridge was drawn tightly, he had never heard of such a thing. Seems the senate even had leashes on the middle castes fairly well. “Why would Orion have one Hook, and why did it do this to him? I know that smell, that was acid in his system. He was poisoned from that thing!”

Hook stopped cleaning for a moment his helm lowered, but his optics blazed angrily. “I imagine Orion had it because he worked in the archives, depending on what section, such a t-cog would be required. As for what it did to him, I have never actually witnessed what happens when a remote t-cog is shut down, any of the mechs that it would occur in are normally in hiding and that…” Hook gritted his denta hard.

“Is exactly what the senate hopes for,” finished Megatronus piecing it all together. “They stick these poisonous time bombs in their citizens, saying it is a security measure, easy, and painless. No one questions it because when they hit the switch the mechs are on the run, disgraced as uncasted, hidden away with the rest of the filth. The mechs just drown in the poison, melting from the inside out, and none but the Senate knows what really happens. Primus…”

Megatronus stood and walked over to Orion’s side, watching as the little mech’s fans stutter, his frame weakly trying to repair the damage the acid had done. Inventing deeply he looked to where Hook had grabbed his mop, finding another there he grabbed it and started helping the medic with the mess. He would clean himself after.

The mechs worked in silence, they were contemplative, exhausted, and fuming. This fragging filthy system, Megatronus shook his helm angrily. He had never truly contemplated the mid-caste’s situation, so busy on what he saw every solar-cycle here. They evidently suffered from the senate far more than he had thought.

It took about a breem to finally clean up the mess, luckily Orion seemed to have indeed emptied as much of the poison as he could for he stayed deep in recharge during the whole process. After they were done, Megatronus insisted the tired medic wash up first, and he found himself sitting quietly in the same chair from earlier staring at Orion.

Had he been alone, he would be dead. Megatronus shuttered his optics as he realized the weight that held.

Would he have found him some day as he walked the streets, like so many before him, frame grey, that poison covering his little frame, optics wide but empty, never understanding why he had felt so sick until…

A keen left Megatronus as his servos gripped his drooping helm.  If I ever found Orion’s frame like that. Oh, Primus, his spark burned as his vents hitched slightly, but he forced himself to pull out of that darkness. Pulling his helm up, he stood and moved to Orion’s side once more.

The smaller mech’s frame had eased, even the stutters had passed, it just rocked softly inventing in recharge.

Megatronus’s servo lifted, gently brushing along the side of the blue helm, following the long audials down to his chin plates. There were still small specks of the poison dribbling from his mouth. The silver mech looked around for a moment, spotting one of Hook’s smaller flexmesh rags. He picked it up returning to Orion’s helm to wipe the offending green liquid from his dermas, those that had not so long ago been pressed gently against his own in one beautiful, incredible moment. Megatronus frowned deeply, anger roiling within his spark as he thought of how their kiss had been interrupted.

He hadn’t even had a chance to talk to Orion about it, to revel in his joy after, his…

Growling slightly, Megatronus put the rag down, crouching next to the berth, his servo grasping Orion’s tightly. He stared pointedly into Orion’s offlined optics a promise forming in his processor, “I vow Orion, if anyone hurts you like this ever again, I will remake this world with fire.” His whisper was ragged, torn but his conviction unmistakable.

A door opened in the back of the med bay, and a far cleaner Hook stepped out. “Your turn Champ. After you’re done take a berth, you need to recharge. Don’t you have that speech tomorrow? There would be a lot of disappointed mechs if you didn’t make it,” Hook’s optics were sympathetic and understanding as they fell to where the great mech was crouched down, his servos desperately holding Orion’s smaller one.

“I will keep an optic on him.” Hook assured, coming up behind the gladiator, his optics scanning the equipment around the red and blue mech nodding ,”He is doing remarkably well for all he has been through. One resilient slagger. Should be up and walking by tomorrow, limitedly of course, though his side weld will need some time to fully heal.” Hook watched as the silver bot stood slowly next to him, his optics clouded, dark.

Hook frowned worriedly as the larger mech moved to wash racks, tension thick as he moved.

“Hey Megatronus!” Hook called to the retreating mech who turned his helm slightly, his optics brooding, “I just wanted to say, if you mechs ever hitched up, you would be one Pit of a team. Ha, yeah, you and Orion, you’d be a force to be reckoned with. One that could definitely change the world.”

Megatronus turned further to look at Hook, his words ringing in his audials. He thought briefly of Orion and himself, servo in servo standing before the Senate’s doors, their army of the forgotten behind them demanding for justice, and he smiled, his tension melting as hope replaced it. He brought his optics up to Hook that suddenly seemed very busy watching the ceiling a small knowing smile on his dermas.

The gladiator scoffed slightly as he turned and continued on. I don’t know how you do that Hook, you are almost as bad as Orion.  

His smiled lingered as he entered the wash racks, yet as he turned the cleansing oil on and watched Orion’s energon, and the acid flow down his frame, it diminished quickly. He shook his helm, once more pushing dark thoughts from his processor focusing rather, on the hope he had felt a moment before.

We shall change this world Orion, for ourselves, and those with no voice, and perhaps once that is done, we can create world together, away from it all. Just you and I.

Chapter Text

When Megatronus stepped from the wash racks and made his way out to the med bay he noticed Hook had apparently been busy.  Orion was now wrapped in a tattered blanket, and all of the instruments that were attached to the mech were pushed to one side allowing another berth to be pushed close on the adjacent side, essentially making one large berth. Swiveling his helm into the medic’s office he found poor Hook asleep in his chair, his vents rumbling loudly.

Smiling to himself, Megatronus climbed onto his berth and pushed his frame over until it touched Orion’s. He smiled, placing his helm above the other’s and with one servo gently pulled Orion’s frame closer to him, spooning the smaller mech tightly.

“Recharge well little Orion. I..” He stopped himself abruptly, his spark whirling.

 What was I just about to say!?  

He invented slowly, calming his fans, and spark. Just a glitch, he thought tiredly, Just a long solar-cycle, and a glitch. With that he huffed, and tightened his hold on the smaller mech once more.  Liking the little mech was one thing, kissing him another but, lo.., anything more than that was impossible for a mech like him wasn’t it?... Wasn’t it?

…………………………………………………….

Orion groaned slightly, his frame ached deeply, the cables in his chassis worn as if he had pulled them all at once. Shuttering his optics open slightly he glanced around himself, Where am I? A hum of machinery and the scent of cleansing oil confirmed his suspicions as he realized his was in Hook’s clinic, but, why?

He became aware of a weight lying across his frame, and as his helm turned, his optics widened as he found Megatronus’s recharging frame next to him, the gladiator’s arm across his chassis protectively holding him.

Megatronus? Was he hurt? What?

Shifting further in the berth Orion felt a terrible ache from his left side and suddenly, he recalled everything that had happened. His escape from Iacon, getting the supplies, the roof, the kiss, Orion felt his faceplates blush slightly at that but it was short lived as he remembered what had come after. The terrible pain that had started inside him, he remembered screaming, darkness, then terrible blinding light, more pain, the purging had been awful and…

His spark felt cold as his trembling servo moved to the fresh weld on his left side, My t-cog, it’s gone. I truly am uncasted now.

He tried to steady his venting, and still his fans as he slowly, carefully pulled himself from Megatronus’s arm, tentatively placing his pedes on the clinic’s floor. Finding he could carry himself he stood and quietly headed towards the door to the clinic, his injured frame trembling, panicking the entire way as quietly as he could manage, trying not to disturb any of the sickly mechs inside.

I just need some air, I need to think, I need, I need to calm down.

He pushed the door open and stumbled outside, closing the door after him. Though it was obviously late, some Kaonites were still trudging along the streets, some less than savory mechs giving him appraising looks.

Keeping his vents quiet, Orion made for the side of the clinic where he could hide from prying optics, finding a bit of peace in the darkness there. He pressed himself against the side of the building inventing slowly, collecting himself.

He would be fine, I have no home, he could do this, What am I going to do?, things would work out,  Who am I now?, he was resourceful, he could survive this, Help me Primus!

Orion brought his quivering servos to his faceplates, staring a hole into the ground beneath him, his side burned, his spark ached, his processor wild, vents working so hard it made him dizzy…

“Orion?” The voice scared the trembling mech out of his thoughts as his optics turned to see Hook standing in the alley he had hidden himself in.

“Hook, Primus, I am sorry did I wake you?”

Hook smiled playfully at that, “I could lie and say no?”

Orion pulled his servos from his helm, his vents and thoughts easing now that he had a distraction. “I apologize; I just, just needed a minute.” Orion looked into Hooks optics sheepishly, an apologetic smile on his faceplates.

“Hey, no worries there kid. Been a, long solar-cycle for you hasn’t it?”

Orion’s smile grew somewhat as he nodded, “A bit.”

Hook smiled back at him, scratching the top of his helm contemplating. “Where you gonna stay now kid?” 

Orion’s smile faded and his optics fell to the ground once more, he had no idea.

Hook smiled softly, his optics gentle, “Listen, you can stay here if ya need to, I may not always have the berths available, but I have some chairs, or the floor. At the least you will have a roof over your helm when the rains come. No fun sleeping on the streets when the acid begins to pour on ya.”

Orion looked up and smiled, “Thank you Hook. I may just take you up on that, and , thank you for helping me tonight.” His digits lightly trailed the weld on his side once more, his optical ridge drawn thoughtfully. “I still don’t understand what happened.”

Hook invented deeply his face grim, “Well, that is a story in itself, yet, why don’t we try and recharge first? We can have the long and arduous talks tomorrow huh?”

Orion smiled apologetically once more, “Of course Hook, I am sorry. Just, just been a night.”

“Ha, you’re telling me kid! Now get in there and rest, don’t need Megatronus going crazy if he can’t find ya.”

Orion’s faceplates blushed fiercely at that and Hook laughed again, “Oh come off it Orion, that mech is in deep when it comes to you, anyone that knows him can see it. He isn’t very good at being subtle.  I don’t know how much you remember of tonight, but you had that mech worried sick.” Hook paused at that, remembering Megatronus’s demeanor during, and after the surgery, “Never seen him like that with any mech, but you.”

Orion’s optics widened a bit more, and he found himself smiling as he moved to the entrance of the clinic followed by Hook.

They entered quietly, Hook whispering goodnight before moving along the other berths, doing a quick check of his patients.

Orion moved back onto the berth careful for his left side, as he lifted Megatronus’s arm and settled himself under once more. To his delight Megatronus smiled, and gently pulled him closer, ever careful for such a large mech. Orion snuggled in that protective cocoon, lifting his helm to lightly place a kiss on the other’s chin. “Thank you, for everything Megatronus, goodnight.” Then, weary, but warm, and safe for the moment, Orion shuttered his optics and fell into recharge listening to the striking melody of the other mech’s spark.

…………………………………………………….

“Orion, Orion wake up.” Orion turned his helm towards the servo that was gently shaking his left shoulder onlining his optics wearily.

“Megatronus,” he smiled lopsidedly at the larger mech in turn forcing the other to smile back.

“It is near midday, I know you’re still tired, but, I want you to be there today, after all you have a lot to do with what will happen.”

Orion’s optics narrowed in confusion as he realized how late it was. “Midday!? Primus, I haven’t slept that late well, ever! I am sorry Megatronus.” He pushed himself up quickly when a forgotten pain exploded in his side forcing him to hiss though his denta.

“Easy Orion,” the gladiator’s voice concerned. “Take it easy, there is no rush. There’s even time to wash up. Hook has a room out back. Do you need some help getting up?”

“Huh, no, no I can walk.” Orion’s voice was only slightly strained as he stood from the side of the berth. As he turned his optics caught something on a table near by, his recently washed, and pulled apart t-cog.

He didn’t mean to stare, to give that piece of him any more of his time or thoughts but his spark just ached knowing what had been taken from him. He briefly remembered his excitement the day he received it, for even then he knew how precious such a part was to any mech in the castes.  Not only were you able to transform which was one of his favorite aspects of it, but it meant you were more than nothing, more than the uncasted, more than the forgotten. Now, as Orion stared at it he only felt disgust. Disgust at how it had become just another tool for the senate to control it’s population, how it turned the uncasted into even less then they scrambled for already. Alienating them, and widening the divide of Cybertron’s citizens further.

In a small way he was glad to be rid of it, though he would miss driving desperately and the freedom he felt when he did so, for now he could prove to himself and others, that the senate didn’t make him who he was, nor did a t-cog, or a house, a job, no, now he was the only thing he had and he could make his own destiny.   It was as if those small pieces of metal represented everything he had lost yesterday, and he could either be buried by the losses, or be reborn from them.

“Orion?” Megatronus’s voice shook him from his thoughts, and he turned his helm slightly looking up at the larger mech’s concerned red optics.

“I apologize Megatronus, where were those wash racks again?”

The silver mech peered thoughtfully at the red and blue for a moment before he gestured towards the back of the building.

Together they made their way back, and Orion was surprised when Megatronus walked in behind him, “Uh, you don’t have to help Megatronus, I can uh, I am capable.” The silver mech merely smiled and rolled his optics.

“Don’t be silly Orion, you can hardly stand much less bend to wash your pedes. I don’t mind helping so stop being so slagging stubborn.”

Orion merely nodded, his faceplates blushing bright blue, Megatronus was right of course but to have some mech wash him? Either the gladiator didn’t notice Orion’s blazing embarrassment or was pointedly ignoring it as he turned on the cleansing oil, making sure it wasn’t too hot or cold.

When Orion went under the spray an audible groan escaped his vocalizer causing Megatronus to laugh slightly. The warm oil ran down his frame, and over his aching chassis, the weld on his side, over his filthy and scratched pedes from his escape from Iacon, and felt wonderful. In fact, this is the best he had felt in a long time, except when Megatronus had kissed him.

Orion’s optics widened at the thought, his faceplate glowing a deeper blue, that was the last thing he needed to think about while in the shower with said mech! He had turned his frame away from the silver titan to hide his growing embarrassment when suddenly he felt a cloth start to rub between his shoulders making him yelp in surprise!

“Orion you are the jumpiest little mech I know, you know that?” Megatronus laughed as he said it, still washing the smaller mech, appreciating the little groans his washing forced out of the mech.

They were quiet as Megatronus worked, ever gentle as the cloth slid along the small wounds, deep under his plates, across his larger weld, to his chest plates, until he reached  the little mech’s helm  rubbing it clean softly.  It wasn’t needed, Orion could have easily done half of his frame alone and yet, neither mech seemed willing to bring that up.

Finally the cleansing oil turned off bringing Orion out of whatever haze he had been floating in. He brought his optics up to Megatronus’s questioning, and the larger mech smiled begrudgingly, “Timed spray.  When we built the shower we had limited supplies and the oil tank is fairly small, so we made it timed so no greedy mech would take all the oil.” Megatronus laughed lightly at that, “I think I could have definitely been one of those greedy mechs, especially with you here.” Orion was about to burst from the amount of energon flooding his face when he realized Megatronus was suddenly very quiet.

“Megatronus?” He inquired, moving closer to the larger mech.

“I almost lost you Orion.” Megatronus’s vocalizer glitched as he spoke. Lifting his helm his red optics found the brilliant blue before him, his expression stern, angry, desperate.

“I am sorry.” Orion said quietly, and the gladiator scoffed, shaking his helm.

“Oh Orion, you must be the only bot that apologizes when they almost die.” 

Orion started at that, “Almost died? I, I remember feeling like scrap but, honestly everything is a bit fuzzy.”

Megatronus’s optics narrowed, and he laughed bitterly, “I can imagine, given the amount of poison in your fragging system, make any mech’s processor malfunction.”

Orion stepped back, his optical ridge drawn tight, “Poisoned? Megatronus, I don’t understand.”

Frowning the gladiator took two flexmesh cloths from a hook and handed one to Orion. “Come on, let’s talk with Hook before we head out. He has some slag to tell you.”

………………………………………

Orion had merely stared as Hook told him what had happened, for what else could he do? How many mechs are walking around with those? Orion would have liked to say he felt betrayed by the system, that he was outraged, but ever since digging into the filth of the senate, nothing seemed to surprise him anymore.

“Yet out of your misfortune, there might be a silver lining!” Hook said happily, gesturing to Orion’s dismantled t-cog. “I have cleaned out those nasty remote parts and, looking this over, if we could find some decent metals, Megatronus, I could make them!”

Both Orion and Megatronus gaped at the ridiculously grinning medic before them.

“You mean it Hook!? It isn’t that difficult?” Megatronus asked first, staring at the numerous pieces laid out on the tray.

“Oh, I didn’t say it wouldn’t be difficult, especially in the beginning, but it is possible. The plans of a t-cog aren’t really a widespread secret and normally, the only way to get an example of one would be to murder a mech that had one without, of course, ruining the piece itself. Annnnnd since murder is generally frowned upon, getting a perfect example of a t-cog was near impossible, until some little mech almost died to give his up.” Hook smiled at Orion, but his optics held sympathy for him.

“If we could get some engineers to help out, no drug addicts though, don’t trust um not to sell the parts they’re making, and get a team working, we could start to produce our own t-cogs for Kaonites, and get Orion here one that won’t blow up in his chassis!”

Megatronus ran both his servos over his helm taking in the magnitude of this development, “Well Rev was an engineer, and he is fragging brilliant. Maybe he knows some more in the population here, or some willing to learn? I will get him started on this right away.” Megatronus smiled wildly as he thought of the possibilities. Suddenly he remembered how they had come to have this hope. He put his arms down and looked solemnly at the quiet little mech.  He didn’t expect what he saw.

Orion stood a bit straighter, his servo still holding his side, but his optics blazed, his dermas set, determined, his entire being emanating righteous fury, when he turned his helm to Megatronus, the silver mech could only stare in awe, “Good, I want this to help our citizens, to take the senate’s control of this tech, their selfish secrets, and freely give them to the masses. Let’s throw this right back into their treacherous faceplates.”

Hook hooted at that, clapping and laughing, “Now that is what I am talking about!”

Megatronus could only smile and shake his helm; Will this mech ever cease to amaze me?

………………………………..

The two mechs left Hook’s after that, Megatronus insisting that they had somewhere important to be, and the little mech could help but feel excited. As he walked with Megatronus he thought of how he had made it here…

He had known the gladiator for around two vorns now, the first vorn they had merely communicated through the net, on Megatronus’s forums, until finally Orion had asked to meet with the revolutionary. He remembered being so nervous he thought his tanks would empty before his first words to the gladiator, never mind going to Kaon for the first time. All that he had heard of the place was from other mid-castes, saying it was a pit of despair, where killers, and maniacs thrived, but Orion had to meet this mech, and if this magnificent writer was in Kaon, it couldn’t be all bad right?

That sentiment turned out both true and false, yes, disease was rampant through Kaon’s citizens, and yes, some were less than savory, but as a whole Kaon, the city of slaves, was freer than Iacon had ever felt to Orion.   

When he had first stepped off the transport ship ,so long ago, he had been far too early for the meeting so he decided to look around first, and found himself amazed with the life within the city. Where Iacon was quiet, shinning white and gold, and controlled, Kaon was loud, every color imaginable, and wild. Colored strings of mismatched lights had lit the main streets, their glow turning everything around them a melody of hues. The citizens were a wild bunch, and the street was filled with laughter, yelling, calling from vendors. There was no order, no control, just life, and Orion had fallen in love with the rawness of it immediately.

 He had eventually made it to the bar Megatronus had asked him to meet at, he didn’t know why the revolutionary had chosen a bar to talk, even in Iacon, bars tended to be unruly, but he figured maybe it was to assure the gladiator that he wasn’t some spy from the senate, or something akin to that. Better to be in public first.

When he had pushed through the damaged door to the bar he had become even more amazed at how large some of these mechs were close up. He was normally one of the largest mech’s in Iacon but here, he was easily shorter than half of the population. Thus, he hadn’t been able to see over the hulking, crowded mechs when he stepped in.  He had tried, to no avail, to get the attention of some mech’s and inquire about Megatronus.  Growing more frustrated, and claustrophobic, he had almost decided to find a table to stand on when a deep grey mech had moved into his path, glaring obscenely at him. “Well, well, what do we have here lads! Some lost, pretty little piece of aft I think.” Surrounding bots had whistled back at that.

Orion had done his best to keep a pleasant smile upon his faceplates, “Hello, I am looking for Megatronus, do you know where he is?” he had had to yell his inquiry for the noise of the bar was overwhelming. The bot before him merely scoffed, “Ahhhh Megatronus huh? Must be a pleasure bot then, a gift from an adoring fan, huh? Well, why don’t you come with me, I will help ya find your mech.” The grey winked his optic to his companions who hooted in response.

“No, thank you, I will find him myself.” Orion knew he should have been terrified then but, he found himself merely growing more frustrated. He had tried to move past the mech but the larger grabbed his left wrist tightly, pulling him in closer.

Orion remembered the scent of poor high-grade pouring from the other mech’s dermas as brought his helm down to Orion’s. “I insist.” Suddenly the mech pulled fast and kissed him, Orion shuddered as he remembered how his dermas had been opened out of surprise and the drunk’s glossa had possessively jumped in, but, Orion smiled now, as he also remembered how much it had infuriated him.

He had already been frustrated, nervous, and there was no room to move in there and then, that mech thought he could just take him like that, in front of the entire bar, slag that! Unconsciously Orion’s servo had turned to a fist, and with everything he had in him slugged the fragger right across the helm.  Apparently he had a lot in him, because the mech went flying, his large frame slamming into another group of mechs beside them. The noise in the bar had immediately ceased, all optics on the little red and blue bot that stared, just as stunned as those around him, at what he had done. Orion had almost felt proud of himself until the grey mech picked himself up, murder in his optics. Knowing he couldn’t get through the crowd fast enough to escape, and also frag this mech, Orion had steadied himself, ready, well maybe not, for whatever was to come.

When the mech had charged at him Orion thought he had been in his last moments and he ducked his helm slightly, preparing for the beating of a lifetime, which never came. Instead he heard a roar that made his frame vibrate, followed by a huge crash, and cheers as laughter broke out amongst the patrons. “Megatronus, Megatronus!”

Realizing he wasn’t about to be pummeled into scrap, Orion had lifted his helm to find another huge, silver mech standing over him wearing a very satisfied grin, his red optics blazing with triumph. He had at last, found Megatronus, Champion of Kaon.

“You are either exceptionally brave little mech, or incredibly foolish,” he extended one of is huge servos to Orion and helped straighten him.

“Probably a little of both,” Orion admitted, as he had tried to still his trembling spark.

The bigger mech had looked at him incredulously then burst out laughing, a rich, powerful laugh that made Orion’s already frantic spark skip.

The grey mech had pulled himself up once more, but a deadly glare from Megatronus sent him running, the crowd laughing once more, before returning to their own.

Megatronus looked down at the smaller bot once more, suspicion in his optics, “Why you here little one? You are clearly no pleasure bot, but you’re no Kaonite either. Though, I will have to say, you do seem to handle yourself well enough, for an outsider. You have a habit of picking fights with the wrong kind of bots?”

“Huh, oh no, I am actually looking for you, though I know I am early,” Orion had smiled then, once more extending his servo to the great mech before him. “I am Orion Pax, the archivist from Iacon! It is a pleasure to finally meet you Megatronus of Kaon.”

The gladiator’s optics had widened once more in disbelief, before taking the smaller servo shaking it and laughing once more, “Well, it is a pleasure Orion Pax, who knew a librarian could be so interesting! Welcome to Kaon.”

“Here we are,” Megatronus’s voice broke him from his memories and made Orion look up to see where they had ended up arriving.

“The arena?” Orion asked inquisitively, his voice sounded a bit strained, the walk had taken more energy than he thought, as he looked up at the huge structure before them.

“Well, we were going to run it in the streets, but given what we had to set up, we figured the arena was best, Gearwrench my, well, I know a mech that pulled the favor, for no small pay of course.” Megatronus growled at that and Orion brought his optics to the gladiator. He knew Gearwrench was Megatronus’s ‘master’  though the silver mech hardly ever mentioned him, with good reason of course, and knowing Megatronus had little to no credits, Orion wondered how he paid to rent the arena. What had the gladiator given up, added to,or agreed to fight for this?

“Is it worth the price?” Orion whispered gently, and Megatronus merely smiled.

“I think so, but I will let you be the judge of that, come on,” with that he extended his arm to help the struggling mech next to him. Orion smiled once more, and let himself be lead into the arena through the gladiator’s pits.

As of yet, Orion had never been down where the gladiator’s awaited their fate in the arena above, it was dark, dirty and reminded him of a prison. He found himself wishing he could help free his friend, more than ever.

When they reached the stairs to the fighting area above, Orion could swear he could hear the whole city of Kaon up in the sands of the arena, and was that music? Looking at Megatronus once more, optical ridge lifted in question, the silver bot merely smiled and started forward once more.

As they ascended, the noise grew exponentially, but instead of the normal violent, and deadly noises that would echo through the ring, there was laughter, mech’s talking excitedly, and definitely music.

Before they crested the last few steps, and were able to see just what was up there Megatronus paused, and turned his helm to look deep into Orion’s blue optics. “I want you to know, you did this Orion. You are the reason for this, and every mech up there knows it. I am so fiercely proud of you Orion, and you should be too. Though you may be uncasted now, do not let that define you , do not let anymech but you, define who you are, and this, this is a big part of just that. Come, and take a look at the wonder of you.” Orion merely nodded, numb with the words Megatronus had just said to him.

The gladiator smiled, and they breached the darkness of the pits below to find what looked to be a fair? The same colorful lights from the streets were strung above the sands, casting their beautiful rays upon the many, many bots that were there. Some bots played odd mismatched instruments as sparklings danced, and giggled around them, some sat lazily chatting as they drank energon of all colors, some were in large groups, their laughing echoing throughout the entire structure.

 There were stations set up all over the arena too, some run by volunteer bots, others by Soundwave, Tor, and the other core members of Megatronus’s group. Lines of happy, smiling bots wrapped around them as they waited their turns for what appeared to be bundles of stuff.  Orion focused his optics realizing the stands were made from the boxes he had brought to Megatronus not so long ago, and the goods that the mech’s were receiving were the supplies from within them.

Orion felt his servo cover his lips in awe staring at the fanciful sight. It had completely overtaken the arena. Where once there was only death screams and spilt energon that touched this place, now toys, and tears of joy sparkled across the sands, and music filled the air almost as loud as the laughter.

“Megatronus, how did you…?” Orion began, his vocalizer filled with static. Had the gladiator been at this all morning as he slept at Hook’s?

“MEGATRONUS! You made it back! Oh, hey everyone it’s Orion!” Tor’s voice broke through the noise of the crowd, and it grew quieter for a moment as hundreds of mechs, femmes, and sparklings were staring curiously at the two bots that had exited the pits. Upon seeing who stood there all of the bots  began to cheer, and many that had received their rations already, moved towards the pair.

Orion felt his optics widen as the crowd descended upon them, his fans beginning to spin wildly, but Megatronus put a comforting servo across his back plates, and moved him forwards slowly into the approaching bots.

Bots shook his servos, patted his shoulders, kissed his digits, hugged him gently, as Megatronus informed them of his wound. They all offered their thanks, appreciation, pride, it was so much! Orion smiled and nodded at them, his words lost for the moment, luckily Megatronus was used to this attention as he spoke for them both.

Finally the awe of them waned, and the bots moved on to enjoy their time at the fair.

“Come,” Megatronus beckoned to Orion, “Let us get some energon and sit shall we?” His smile wide and comforting.

They found a couple empty boxes and Orion sat gingerly, the strain of the walk, and the assault of the grateful bots leaving Orion’s frame sore and aching, but his spirit felt as light as a flyer.

“I will be back with the energon, you rest Orion, you deserve it.” With that Megatronus walked off to get their fuel. 

As he waited for Megatronus to return Orion watched the life around him flow. He reveled in the laughter, the sparklings, the music, and Megatronus had said he done this. Well, I guess I helped a bit. Still, he felt pride in his spark for himself, I seem to be much more with nothing, than I ever was with everything.

He caught sight of Megatronus as he made his way back to him, he had stopped to talk with some mechs, and was holding the mech’s shoulder as he laughed at something they had said. Orion smiled at that musing, He is a natural leader.

“You are Orion aren’t you?” Orion looked up to find a huge mech standing next to him, he was amazed at how such a large mech could move so silently, he made to stand to greet the stranger  but the bot shook his servo dismissing the need, “Please, sit, you look like you could use the rest. I just wanted to say, thank you for this, I know many of these bots are severely lacking in many of these supplies.”

“Well, I had help, but you are welcome.” Orion smiled up at the bot.

“Must have been pretty hard to gather all this huh? That is a lot of supplies.”

Orion found he couldn’t see Megatronus any longer  and stood, carefully searching. “Well, like I said, I had help, mechs can get much more done working together.”

The other mech nodded, “Yea, yes absolutely, especially with the help of a doctor like Ratchet right? He has been around for a long time working that hole in the wall clinic, or Ariel from that donation center, ahh such a soft spark her.” Orion, who had been watching the laughing and dancing crowd, suddenly realized what the mech had said and turned his helm warily to the mech next to him, his spark growing cold.

“Uh, what,” Orion’s optics were growing wide, Why would he know that? Did Megatronus know this mech, and tell him? Although, he had never mentioned Ariel’s designation. Maybe he just knew the centers for the less fortunate as well? Many mechs would right?

“I apologize, but I didn’t catch your designation.” Orion said, struggling to keep his voice even.

“How rude of me, my designation is Vice, it is a pleasure to finally meet you Orion Pax, faceplate to faceplate.” Vice stuck his servo out to Orion, who hesitantly grasped it.

“Well, I should be off, have things I need to tend to. I hope to see you again Orion, with your popularity growing, and of course, being the mate to the Champion of Kaon, I am certain we will meet again. Until then.” The mech backed up, bowed slightly and walked off into the crowd.

Orion invented deeply then, realizing he had near frozen his entire frame. He didn’t understand why he had reacted that way, the bot had been nothing but kind, and just because he knew of Ratchet and Ariel didn’t really mean anything, plenty of bots did. I am just being foolish.

“You should be sitting,” Megatronus’s voice tore through his brooding, and he jumped with a yelp, pulling a laugh from the larger mech, that was, until he saw the look in Orion’s optics. Megatronus suddenly became ridged, and on alert.

“What is wrong Orion?”

Orion looked back to where the mech had left, but couldn’t see him. “Do you know a mech by the designation Vice?”

Megatronus searched his processor for a moment, “No, not that I can recall, but I meet new bots all the time, can’t always remember their designations. Why?”

Orion shook his helm as he sat back down, “I just met him, he just, I am not sure. Had a strange feel about him.”

“Welcome to Kaon,” Megatronus smiled, but peered at Orin, “You want Soundwave to look into him?”

“What!? No, he was just, strange, is all.”

Megatronus sat next to Orion, handing him a cube of purple energon, “Well, again, welcome to Kaon.” Megatronus smiled once more, though larger this time, before taking a sip of energon.

Orion’s optics rolled at the silver mech as he continued, “He also seemed to think we were bonded.”

Megatronus suddenly choked on the energon that he had been swallowing, gagging and hacking as his vents attempted to clear the liquid from themselves. “He, he said what!?”

Orion’s optical ridge dropped, his optics narrowed, insulted, “Primus, Megatronus, had I known that even the thought of being bonded to me might kill you, I wouldn’t have said anything.” He tried to keep his voice light, but his irritation bled through.

Megatronus still sputtering, raised his servos in defense, “ No ack, cough, it wasn’t, it’s not...”

Orion rolled his optics once more, “It is fine Megatronus, really, don’t think too deep on it, I’m not.” He said, embarrassed with his own reaction to Megatronus’s,  and he turned his optics to the crowd before them, his optics clouded and his lips drawn tight.

Megatronus finally got his venting under control, and looked over at Orion’s hunched frame as the smaller mech stared bleakly in front of him. He actually was insulted! He does care…

Putting his energon down, Megatronus quickly moved forward, and carefully scooped the small frame into his arms, eliciting another yell from the red and blue mech. “Megatronus!? What!?”

Anything he would have said after that was lost as Megatronus’s lips found his, the silver mech’s glossa sliding between his dermas, passionately sliding along Orion’s.

Optic’s wide, Orion felt his irritation, and embarrassment, quickly fade, along with the rest of the arena as he eagerly returned the kiss. He felt his servos wrap around the back of Megatronus’s helm, pulling him closer. They stayed that way for a moment, each desperately trying to devour the other until Megatronus pulled back, a sly smile on his lips. “We have an audience.” Orion blinked his hazy optics, confused at that, when suddenly, he heard the cheering, he turned he helm warily and immediately wanted to hide deeper in Megatronus’s arms. It seemed the whole fair had seen their kiss and they whooped, and whistled at the two, some clapping and some calling their names.

Megatronus seeing Orion’s mortified faceplates laughed loudly, that wonderful rich, deep, strong laugh Orion loved. Infectious as it was, Orion couldn’t help, but start to laugh too shaking his helm.

When the hoots and hollers had finally abated, Orion invented deeply.  He felt warm inside and out, safe in Megatronus’s arms, even if he felt kind of ridiculous. He smiled wearily, all of the activities, and excitements of the day catching up with his still healing frame. He laid his helm against the larger mech’s chest plates, the now familiar melody of the other’s spark drowning out the ongoing party. He felt Megatronus tilt his helm down looking at him. “I think we should let you rest Orion, you did well today but, let’s go home,” with that Orion forced his shuttering optics open slightly, fighting against the exhaustion he felt so deeply.

“Home? Megatronus, I don’t have a…”

“Shhh, Orion rest, I have you. Why don’t you recharge a bit, I won’t drop you.”

Orion wanted to argue that, and know what Megatronus meant by home, but his optics began to flicker more, and he decided resting wasn’t such a bad idea.

As he drifted off, rocked by Megatronus carrying him off to, somewhere, he felt one last smile on his lips, “Megatronus, this, this was the best day of my life, thank you.” He wasn’t sure if Megatronus could understand his mumbles, but he felt the other mech’s chassis rumble as he laughed.

“Me too Orion, me too.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Orion woke slowly, his body aching, but not as acutely as the previous morning. He felt the large arms around him once more, and smiled. Home.

He turned his frame gently so to face the silver mech, chest plate to chest plate.  Megatronus was still deep in recharge, his large frame lightly rising and falling as his fans and vents gently regulated and cooled his systems. His optics were shuttered  giving him a peaceful look, despite his scarred visage.

Orion raised his servo to the great mech’s helm, slowly sliding his digits along the side of the other’s faceplate. He is beautiful.

A low rumble sounded in the silver chassis in front him, as Orion continued to pet the side of his helm. Orion stifled a laugh as he continued. Is he purring?

The rumbling continued as the larger mech’s arm tightened around him, his helm moving forward rubbing against the top of Orion’s. Orion smiled again, after everything that had happened recently it was nice to have this pause, this simple warm, beautiful pause.

Primus, can I have this forever? I will keep it, care for it, and love it deeply, I swear.

He brought his arm down from Megatronus’s helm, and wrapped it around his larger chassis, pulling into it tightly, and nestling his helm into the other’s chest plates. He could hear the beautiful song of the great mech’s spark through the metal, I think I am falling in love with him.

His spark froze for a moment as the realization hit him stronger than he could have ever imagined.

I can’t be that to him. He is a revolutionary, a fighter, he has to be the voice for these mechs, I can’t be a distraction from that. I cannot have this peace with him!  I…

“Are you alright Orion?” Megatronus’s voice, deep, and concerned, broke through his suddenly frantic thoughts, and he realized his fans were spinning wildly against the other mech. He nodded against the larger frame, not trusting his vocalizer to not glitch as he lied.

Megatronus pulled his frame back slightly, tilting his helm to look at the smaller mech who suddenly brought his helm up, optics bright and shinning a smile on his faceplates.

“I apologize for waking you Megatronus, just thinking. Where are we anyways?” The smaller mech rambled out as he began lifting his frame to look around. Megatronus’s optical ridge lowered and his optics narrowed in suspicion as he watched Orion peering at where they were, but he didn’t push anything the mech didn’t want to talk about, he smiled instead.

“My humble abode ,” Megatronus laughed out.

They were lying on the floor in a small room; their ‘berth’ consisting of a few scraps of random mesh, and one of the newly acquired acid cloaks. There were some crates stacked to one side, they held discarded energon cubes, and some full ones.  A few data pads were stacked upon one crate, each had varying amounts of damage to them.

Orion raised his helm as something shimmered into his optic from above, and immediately invented in awe. The ceiling was covered in little bits of different colored and sized glass, and metal hanging from thin lines of steel. He pushed himself up to stand, his mouth gaping as he studied each chime. Some were tied together, and some separate, their collective clinking almost melodic in nature. The light, from the one window in the room, reflected off of the bits sending rays of color against the walls.

Megatronus stood as well, his helm tilted slightly, amused and smiling, as he watched Orion gawk at the pieces.

Orion looked at the silver mech, his optics shinning brilliantly with wonder, “Megatronus it is beautiful! Where did you find it all? How long have you been doing this? I, I have never seen anything like it, or heard anything like it!”

Megatronus laughed slightly at that, “There is plenty of scrap around Kaon.” Megatronus tilted his helm up, optics moving along the pieces above him, “I merely gathered some of the trash, and turned it into something beautiful.” His helm fell at that, looking down at his pedes, his optics darker, lost in thought.

“It is very akin to how many mechs view Kaon. On the outside we are just scrap, thrown away, forgotten, and dismissed as a broken, disgusting populace but,” his optics went back the glittering chimes above him and smiled, “If only one cares to look a little deeper, they could see the beauty hidden within these streets. The shine has been there all along, scattered, broken, but Kaon can be just as beautiful as these. It is just one more thing to fight for, the mechs of Kaon deserve more than to be viewed as just scrap, they can be treasures.”

He brought his helm down once more to find Orion staring at him, his optics wide, brilliant and gleaming slightly, “I love you Megatronus.”

His optics suddenly bulged as he realized what he had blurted out, and his servos flew to his traitorous mouth. Primus! Youu AFT, what did you just say!?

Megatronus felt his own optics bulge as well, his spark a sudden storm inside of his chassis. “What?” He strangled out, staring at the mortified mech in front of him.

“Primus, I apologize, I meant, I was just, your words… and I just, misspoke,” he found his servos were shaking terribly against his faceplates, helping to prove that what he had said previously was indeed not a mistake.

“Orion, I…” A loud banging on the room’s door startled both of the mechs, Orion jumping back as if shocked.

Megatron growled darkly as he turned the door grabbing the handle and flung it open, his fury abated quickly though, as he saw Gearwrench staring on the other side.

“HA! Ahh good, you’re already riled up! Gonna need that today mech, I,” the slave owner looked past Megatronus noticing Orion finally. His optics roamed over Orion’s frame appreciatively, causing the red and blue mech to try and to hunch into himself his faceplates blushing, embarrassed at the open lust he saw in the other mech’s optics.

Megatronus moved between the two mechs, “Is it time Gearwrench?” He asked respectfully, but there was a dark undertone to his voice.

Gearwrench smiled smugly at the gladiator’s protectiveness of the pretty bot behind him, “It is, and we have one Pit of a crowd, even senators mech. Proteus, and Ratbat, filthy fraggers, the two of um, but they put up an insane amount of credits. If you survive, you may not only pay off yesterday, but also payoff a great deal of your buyer’s fee! That much closer to freedom mech.”  Gearwrench smiled.

Megatronus raised his optical ridge in surprise, his processor spinning with calculations, and possibilities. “Thanks Gearwrench, I will be there in a klik.” Though Gearwrench wasn’t the most savory of bots, he did seem to care for his slaves in some capacity, far more than could be said of so many other masters.

“Alright mech, see ya there. Remember, today ain’t no joke, and there’s no money in death, so keep your slag together.” With that he turned and strode down the hall, yelling at more of his slaves as he did so.

“But there is freedom,” Megatronus muttered darkly as he invented deeply.

“What did he mean about today?” Megatronus started as Orion’s voice broke through his dark thoughts, he had almost forgotten about the smaller mech, and , what had been said earlier.

I need to focus, can’t let that distract me from this fight.

“Nothing really, just a spectacle fight for some senators.” Megatronus muttered, his optics pointedly looking anywhere but into Orion’s.

“Does, does that make it more dangerous?” Orion asked, his own optics aimed at the floor. His spark had already been a mess inside him, and now with Megatronus needing to do some spectacle thing for the ‘rich and mighty’, he felt broken, and terrified for the silver mech.

Megatronus shrugged nonchalantly, “They think it does, and that brings credits. As for me, I will just kill whatever they put in front of me, and collect my winnings.” He smiled reassuringly to the little bot, his optics focused, and clear.

 “I need to head out, you are welcome to stay here, or not.  Soundwave has a fight today as well, I am not sure about Tor. He has a room down the hall, four doors down, on the right,” The gladiator pointed to his left as he gave Orion the directions. “If you do go out I would like you to have Tor with you.”

Orion lifted his helm at that, his optics narrowed, blazing slightly with indignation, “I am not some lost sparkling Megatronus, I can handle myself. I found you here on my own a vorn ago.”

Megatronus vented rolling his optics slightly, “Yes, and almost got beaten to a pile of scrap. If I hadn’t been there you wouldn’t be here to argue this point right now Orion. Kaon isn’t all bad, but there are plenty of mechs that are. Just, please?” Megatronus asked, his servos in front of him emphasizing his exacerbation.

Orion crossed his arms, and turned his helm, optics still blazing, but Megatronus knew his point was solid enough for the smaller mech to concede. “Fine, I will ask him to spark-sit me.”

Megatronus rolled his optics once more as he grabbed a cube of energon, and prepared to head out, “I could always go see your fight?” Orion suggested inquisitively.

Megatronus stopped short at that, he had hoped Orion wouldn’t ask today, “Not this time Orion, not today…please.” Without another word, Megatronus strode through the door closing it behind him. Orion stared at where the mech had left, his spark racing, and nightmarish images spinning through his processor. Why not today?...

Chapter Text

Megatronus made his way to the arena quickly, only stopping a few times to speak to the citizens, he didn’t have much time before he was expected in the arena, and honestly, had too much going on in his processor.

He said he loved me.

“Argh!” the gladiator’s sudden growl startled some of the mechs around him. He smiled apologetically, and continued on to the arena, his pedes moving faster.

I can’t think about that, stay focused mech, stay focused or die.

He knew what he was going up against today, and Gearwrench was right, it was no joke.  He was to face several insecticons, and a Great Razor Snake, and though they were little more than beasts, they were fierce, fierce opponents. There were rarely beast fights in the arena, mostly because of their unpredictability. If they were to break free of the arena, the spectators could be attacked just as readily as the gladiators, and that was bad business, especially with higher caste patrons.

Apparently the senator Ratbat had been inquiring to such a match for the Champion of Kaon for a while, and luckily Gearwrench had refused, until, Megatronus had asked him to find a way to close the arena for a day. The owner of the wretched place, Shiftside, had demanded that in return; Megatronus preform the spectacle fight the day after, and so it was, the silver gladiator found himself walking into the battle he had today.

He finally arrived at the doors to the Pits, the underground hall, where the gladiators would ready themselves for the battle to come. The guards nodded at him grimly as they waved him in. They had heard the details for the fight to come, the whole city had really, and their nods seemed almost akin to farewells.

Megatronus nodded back, and ducked to enter down into the Pits below, wishing he could get his helm on straight.

Focus mech, focus.

Yet, he couldn’t help but wonder, if it was to be his last solar-cycle, would confessing to Orion that he too loved him, be so bad?

Of course it would, you aft! Tell him you love him just to die kliks later?

The silver mech shook his helm as he made his way to where Gearwrench waited, looking suspiciously guilty, and anxious.

“What is wrong Master?” Megatron asked, his glossa thick with the words. Alone, and in the gladiator’s hall, it was alright to use his master’s designation, but in public, he was to address him properly.

“Megatronus,” the nervous mech started, his voice low and desperate, “Megatronus, they altered the contract. I tried kid, I tried to fight it, why wouldn’t I?  You’re my best fighter! I would never have agreed to this if..”

“What is it?” Megatronus demanded, his spark growing cold and yet, racing.

“You get no weapons.” Gearwrench confessed dreadfully. “I swear, I tried to fight it! No weapons against beasts, this isn’t right! The request came right from Senator Proteus, and he put so much credit down Shiftside just agreed!” Gearwrench looked into Megatronus’s wide optics, frantically.

Those fragging slag heaps want me to die!  Megatronus thought angrily, yet he found himself suddenly more focused than he had been the entire day. Hate, hate is something that could drive him, and now he reveled in it.

“Thank you Master, I understand.” With that, he continued to the steps up to the arena.

Let them bring their fires, I shall dance amongst the flames.

……………………………………………..

Orion trudged down the hall towards Tor’s room, his processor running wildly, Megatronus’s words replaying over, and over, and his own, awful, terrible, honest confession eating at his spark like magworms.

He counted the doors down, finding himself in front of an unremarkable door, which mirrored the many other unremarkable doors, along the Hall of Gladiators. He hesitated just a moment before knocking lightly. He heard terrible grumbling, swearing, and crashes on the other side of the door until it was suddenly flung open in front of him, a disheveled, half-awake Tor standing there, his half shuttered eyes mean, and angry.

“Whoosit, what,…?” His optics focused on the calm, almost sheepish faceplates of the younger mech in front of him, and suddenly, his entire demeanor changed.

Rubbing his optics clear, Tor smiled at the younger bot, “Orion!? What a surprise! Eh, oh! Megatronus has that fight today eh?” His optics fell, almost dramatically, to the floor, and Orion felt his optical ridge draw down, his concerns growing.

“Yes, and I was wondering if you would, accompany me, around town for a bit. I am sure there are many places I haven’t been to yet, and, if you are up to it, I would like to see them?” Orion asked, his spark hammering as he thought of Megatronus’s fight. Why is this fight creating so many questions? Surely he has had similar fights?

Tor brightened at that instantly, “Of course Orion, I would be honored! Let me just, get better prepared, and I will meet you outside? I think, I think I have a perfect place to show you!” Smiling, the older mech turned, and closed the door behind him.

Orion invented deeply as he made his way to, what he assumed, was the front of the building.

Is something wrong, or is it just me?

 …………………

Megatronus stood alone within the center of the arena, weaponless, as he observed the cages that surrounded him, and electric safety net above. A security measure to keep the beasts within the arena, especially because they flew. The crowd was wild around him, yet he stood calmly, his vents and fans working in unison, preparing for what was to come.

He half heard the announcer rattling on yet, his optics, frame, spark , were focused on the very real threats around him, his servos itched for a weapon.

When the announcer mentioned his opponents, and his lack of a weapon the crowd gasped, and cheered collectively. They wanted energon, and though many of them were fans of his, to see the Champion of Kaon fall, that would be a dream within itself.

“ANNNNNND, NOW THE BATTLE BEGINS!” the announcer’s voice rang through the arena as the cages around him opened, revealing the twisted beasts within.

Megatronus threw his arms to his sides, his servos clawed, and ready, “Let it begin.” He growled quietly, watching as the six insecticons flew out of their cages, and directly towards him.

…………..

Orion and Tor had been walking a ways now, towards a district Orion was unfamiliar with, sadly though, it passed right next to the arena Megatronus was fighting in. The former archivist attempted to shut out the cheers he heard coming from the large structure, instead, attempting to listen to Tor rattle on about random facts, and opinions of Kaon.

“You haven’t heard a word I have said, have you?” asked Tor dejectedly, yet compassionately. Orion shook his helm, and looked at the older mech apologetically.

“I apologize Tor, my thoughts are rather, chaotic today.” His helm turned towards the arena that stood, towering and oppressive, behind him. He heard a collective “Awwwwwwww!” from the crowd as he did so, his spark jumped painfully.

 The older mech suddenly grasped his right servo lightly, and brought his optics to Orion’s. “I understand Orion.” Tor pulled him into a hug, it was gentle, understanding, and Orion felt his frame, and spark, soften within it.

He liked Tor, truly, the mech always smiled, was kind, Pit, he even bowed to him! Not that Orion wanted him to, though it was cute in a way, but, he also realized a depth of need within the mech that he could never agree to. Tor, really liked him, and he knew he could never be what the bot wanted from him. He had not lied when he told Megatronus that he loved him. He had known it, for too long. Were circumstances different, perhaps they could explore that option.

Tor held him gently, his right servo softly caressing Orion’s helm as the younger bot’s processor ran wildly, thinking of Megatronus.

“This is one he may not win Orion, but I want you to know, I will be there in the end. I will be there for you if he..” Tor stopped and he felt Orion’s frame seize, frozen with terror.

“What!?” Orion choked out, pulling out of the older mech’s hold, and stepping back.

Tor looked at the smaller mech, his optics sympathetic, and dark, “This fight Orion, it isn’t fair. Megatronus wasn’t allowed weapons, against beasts!” The larger mech dropped his helm, “He may not make it. Even the great Champion of Kaon isn’t invincible.”

Orion stared at the mech before him, the sliver of fear he had held all solar-cycle growing to outright terror, raw, brutal terror. “No…” He spun and ran towards the arena, his side weld screaming at him as he did so. Tor cried out as well, but Orion’s processor was burning with dread, and paid them no heed.

Megatronus!!!

………………………....

Energon spilled from his right side, and one of his optics flickered continually, the slice from the third insecticon having ripped deep into the wiring beneath his right optic.

They haven’t even released to Razor Snake. Megatronus thought fuming. He needed to keep his hatred tangible, clear, focused. It fed him, and helped abate the terror that threatened his spark.

He was tired, this fight had been too long already, his limbs shook as he threw another insecticon into the energon stained sand beneath him.

He had managed a weapon out of one of the fallen insecticon’s fangs, and he held it tightly within his clawed servo.

Three down, three to go!

Megatronus jumped to his left as another of the ‘bugs’ flew at him, narrowly avoiding it’s great claws, as he rolled across the sands, bringing the huge fang he held across the side of the creature’s frame. It tore deep through the protective outer shell , and into the protoform beneath. The beast’s wings stuttered as it fell, and Megatronus flung himself onto its thrashing frame, driving the disembodied fang deep within its processor.

Suddenly, the crowd roared as the final cage was opened across from the heaving gladiator, releasing a very large, very irritated, razor snake. The creature was huge, it could easily coil around the gladiator twice over, its fangs the size of Megatronus’s helm.

Frag!  Megatronus moved across the sands slowly, his optics never leaving the great beast, as he sought cover behind one of the dead frames of the insecticons.

The other two ‘bugs’, sensing this new threat, moved towards the monstrous snake, covering it from both sides.

It took not a klik before the snake struck out, violently, snatching one of the insecticons from the air above, its fangs digging deep into the metal frame of the ‘bug’, crushing it before its strong throat cables slowly worked the corpse down into its gullet.

The crowd went wild once again, calling out in their energon lust.

The last ‘bug’ attempted a retreat from the vicious snake, flying across the caged arena desperately, fleeing away from the gigantic metal snake, yet the beast merely coiled itself together before lunging forward, it’s huge fangs ripping into the smaller creature’s frame, and pulling it to the sands below.

Megatronus saw his chance as he took the fang he held, tightened his hold, and ran out from behind the corpse.  His leg cables tightened just before he jumped high above the creature, as it slowly consumed its second insecticon, and drilled the fang deep into one of the razor snake’s optics as he landed.

The beast threw its mighty head upwards, dropping the half of insecticon, and tossing Megatronus across the sands of the arena, his frame slamming into one of the side walls hard, his left shoulder dislocating itself, and slamming his helm hard enough for stars to form in his optics. He vented out energon, and he tried to pick up his exhausted frame as the giant razor snake slithered quickly towards him.

I may die today. He thought, for the first time since his beginning fights, so long ago.

The great beast spread its massive jaws and descended upon the injured mech.

I love you Orion, I should have told you…

…………………………………..

Orion arrived at the door to the Pits quickly, the guards were startled by the smaller mech’s appearance, yet they let him through, remembering Megatronus’s threat from before.

He ran down the steps into the tomb-like underground, optics searching. Perhaps he hasn’t gone up yet!?

Suddenly Soundwave approached him, his masked faceplates titled with confusion.

“Megatronus!?” Orion cried despairingly.

Soundwave pointed one of his long servos to the only other exit in the hall, one that led to the arena above.

“NO!” Orion started forward only to find Soundwave’s servo on his arm. As he turned his helm to the darker mech, watching the silent mech’s helm shake no, Orion’s spark raged!

 A fire began within him, one he had, only recently, truly known. It blazed with the injustices he had seen here, the dead frames, the slavery, starvation, his own escape from Iacon, losing everything he had ever known, and, his love for that fragging idiotic, self-sacrificing mech. It grew and blazed within him, and his optics narrowed, optical ridge drawn down, and tight.

“Frag off Soundwave.” He grasped the other mech’s servo in his and ripped it from his limb, before racing to the arena’s stairs, grabbing a sword off of one of the racks as he did so.

Frag this system Megatronus, you will not die today!

And so he climbed the steps of either triumph, or certain death, his optics reflecting the murderous intent that raged in his spark.

……………….

Pain ripped through his chassis as the beast sank its wretchedly long fangs into him. As it reared its mighty frame up, Megatronus glimpsed at the all too familiar lights of the arena above him. In a way, he had been born here, so it was suiting that he should meet the All Spark here as well.

He closed his optics, exhaustion heavy within his frame, when he heard a roar. What…?

He forced his tired optics to shutter open one last time as he watched a smaller mech run at the beast that held him, a sword gleaming within his raised servo. The mech is untrained, Megatronus noted blearily, yet determined, destructively so.

The proof of that became clear as the insane mech gripped his sword tightly between his two servos and sliced through the Great Razor Snake’s throat cables so deeply that, as its head bent back, it separated almost completely from the rest of its form,  only attached by a few strands of protoform. The great beast dropped Megatronus’s frame hard into the sands below as it splattered the arena in its energon, before finally laying still within the sands.

What, what just happened? Megatronus shook his aching helm, trying to understand what had just occurred. Free of the creature’s terrible fangs, he felt his processor restart, clearing enough to hear the crowd screaming excitedly.

“ORION, ORION!” Megatronus invented frantically as he turned his helm to his unknown savior, finding none other than Orion Pax standing there. He still held the energon covered blade, his optics staring at the beast he had just killed, his frame shaking wildly.

“Orion!?” Megatronus bemoaned, pushing his tattered frame up to stand, slightly, as the snake’s fang caused him to hunch in pain. Orion’s helm raised slightly, his frantic, madden optics finding Megatronus’s .

“I, I am sorry, I just couldn't, I never wanted to... forgive me! Forgive me...” he strangled out as he dropped the sword from his shaking servos turned, and ran from the arena without another word.

Megatronus just stood there as the crowd went wild once more, inspired by the show they had seen, the unexpected hero, the drama!

If only they knew…Megatronus thought to himself as he raised his servos in the air, continuing the show for his adoring fans, all the while his spark shrunk smaller within him.

Orion…

…………………………….

Senator Proteus frowned deeply after the match, watching the still living mech, raise his servos in triumph beneath him. He kept his optics on the gladiator as he addressed his fellow senator that sat, trembling fearfully, next to him.

“Vice is out of time Ratbat. Either he moves forward, or we will.” His voice was even, controlled, yet horrifically serious.

“As you command, my lord!” stuttered the smaller senator as he scrambled, half bowing, half running from his seat, making his way to the streets of Kaon in search of the bounty hunter.

You had better be fragging ready Vice! Time is up!

Chapter Text

Orion ran down the stairs to the Pits in a daze. What did I just do!?

He could feel the thick energon of the dead razor snake bubbling down his frame still, slowly working its way deep between his plates, when suddenly, two servos grabbed his left arm in a crushing grip. He turned his helm to stare at Tor, who stared at him with wide optics.

“Orion, what did you do!?” Tor’s voice was ragged, nervous. “You think they gonna let that mech go that easy!? No one, is to interfere in a battle, especially like this! They gonna kill that mech, sweetspark, ahh, Orion, ya ain’t done nothing but doom him to dishonor!” Tor let his arm go as Orion merely stared at the older mech, his spark wildly spinning within him.

“Tor, I didn’t mean to, I, couldn’t …” Orion felt his optics begin to fill with coolant, his processor running rampant inside his helm. The rage was gone now, replaced by the terror of the consequences Megatronus would have to face because of his actions.

He grasped the older mech’s frame frantically, “Help me Tor, help me! Megatronus shouldn’t have to suffer for what I did! I am so sorry, I..” He felt his frame begin to stutter, and hitch as coolant ran from his optics. “I ,” He was interrupted as Megatronus’s frame came stumbling for the arena above, his optic’s dark, and pinpointed on the smaller red and blue mech below.

“Orion, what did you do? Why were you here? What did you do!?” The gladiator’s optics hardened as the repercussions of the smaller mech’s choice filled his processor.

Who will speak for these mechs now!? At least had I died in the ring, perhaps my words would have carried, my legacy, all I have fought for! Now I will die in the dark, hidden, for failing in a battle!

Orion shrunk before his fury, “I apologize Megatronus, I, you couldn’t die! I, couldn’t let them do that, I..”

“THEY WILL DO THAT ORION PAX! It will be secret, and dirty, but it will happen! You have saved nothing! Honor stands for slag with these mechs, and you, YOU have just destroyed EVERYTHING! I could have offlined with honor, the poor sparks of Kaon inspired by my SACRAFICE, but now I shall die in a hole, a HOLE! YOU DID THIS!” He advanced upon the smaller mech, his frame shaking with fury.

Orion stepped back further, his optics desperate and devastated, “Megatronus, I am so sorry! We will find a way to fix it! We can talk to them, it was still a spectacle! I, I can’t let them kill YOU, I won’t!” Orion sobbed openly, and the silver mech roared before him.

“YOU CASTED, IGNORANT FOOL! I have been willing to give up EVERYTHING for this cause, and you just nullified it ALLLLL!!!!”

Megatronus hadn’t even realize he had raised his fisted servo, until it swung across from him, and slammed into the smaller mech’s helm, sending his frame far across the Pit, before crashing wretchedly against a stand of weapons, sending blinding sparks into the air as metal met metal before, finally, settling into the sand, still, unmoving.

Megatronus blinked his optics in shock as he stared at Orion’s motionless frame, terrified. Primus, what have I done!?

Tor ran to the fallen mech, lifting his frame from the mess of weapons that covered it, even Soundwave moved himself in between Megatronus and Orion, his shielded helm lowered, claws extended, facing Megatronus.

“Orion, innocent. Senate, guilty. Recall accurate adversaries, Lord Megatronus.”  Soundwave’s odd monosyllabic voice rang through the now silent Pits.

Tor finally pulled the younger bot from the scattered weapons, and helped the disoriented mech to his pedes. Tor’s optics glared at his silent brother in arms, as the former archivist swayed in his grasp.

He hit me…?

Orion brought his aching helm up to face Megatronus, and the gladiator felt his spark freeze as he looked upon the damage he had wrought. 

The left side of Orion’s helm was indented, it’s outer plating splintered from the impact, and the optic on that side had shattered, its beautiful blue light gone as it was now blind.  What remained of the optic sparked on its own, circuits trying to find their severed counterparts, energon flowing freely from it. Had he had a gladiator’s frame, the hit would have probably only left him with a slight dent, and irritation, yet, as his plates were made for the archives, the damage was far more severe.

“I am sorry, Megatronus.” Orion whispered, his vocalizer cracked, and hissed with its newly received damage. “I love you too much to let them, to let them, do that to you. I was wrong, selfish, I,” His vents hitched violently, as coolant fell openly from his good optic, “I am so sorry. I, I never meant ttt..to do anything, but sss..save you.”

“Orion, I..” Megatronus started, quietly, his voice coarse, when a loud familiar voice tore through the awful silence in the Pits.

“They LOVED IT! Oh, Megatronus! They loved it! The Hero being saved by his bonded, the slice, the chaos! Thank Primus mech, I thought you were a dead bot when…” Gearwrench stopped when he made it to the bottom of the stairs, staring at the bots surrounding him. His optics turned from the stunned Megatronus, to the injured Orion, and back. “Oh slag, your mate get hurt out there? “ Gearwrench tilted his helm as he thought for a moment, “Even Better! I will let them all know how he lost an optic, saving his true love! OH, bot, you are one lucky fragger! Like fragging poetry, those mechs are gonna eat it up! Slag Megatronus, this may have even make us enough to free you kid!” Gearwrench laughed happily, his relief tangible in the intense surroundings.

Megatronus’s optics widened at the declaration of his Master, yet when he turned his helm towards where Orion had stood, he was gone, as was Tor.

“Come on mech, what is with that look!? You could be free, by tomorrow! I will miss ya mech, but frag it if you haven’t earned it!” Gearwrench continued to laugh, oblivious to the tense air that continued to resonate within the room.

“That, is wonderful Master, truly.” Megatronus smiled grimly, as he pushed past the smiling mech, and made his way towards the Pit’s entrance.

Orion was gone, and his spark was in pieces.

Primus, what kind of a monster am I?

…………………….

Orion has no idea where he walked, his helm ached, processor spun, and his spark, it felt dead, weighted, within its chamber.

Tor walked with him, his servo entwined with his own, leading him, perhaps to Hook’s, but Orion didn’t care at the moment, he merely followed, numb to everything around him.

He knew Tor was whispering to him, kind, safe words, but he merely stayed silent, occasionally tripping, as the loss of his optic hindered his vision.

He hadn’t realized they had stopped for a full five kliks until he heard a familiar, deep voice slice through his numb state, and send chills into his spark.

“You are late Prevaricator.”

Orion tried to focus his spinning processor, Why do I know that voice? Why do I fear it?

“Forgive me Lord. There were, problems.” Orion became more aware as he felt Tor’s servo tighten painfully on his own.

“Tor?” Orion asked confused, bringing his dazed optic to his friend’s, yet Tor wasn’t looking at him, his helm faced the darkness before them.

Orion turned his helm in the same direction, peering into the darkness with his only working optic until he saw two blazing optics before him.

The mech they belonged to stepped from the shadows, his frame and faceplates becoming clearer as he treaded into the dim lights of the alley they stood within, and Orion felt his frame seize in terror.

The mech from the gathering in the arena!

He was certain of it, as the hulking mech continued towards Orion’s trembling frame.

“Ahh, Orion Pax no? I knew we would meet again. It was destined within the stars.” The great mech smiled darkly, laughing, as his servo patted Tor on the shoulder plates, “You have done well Prevaricator, even if it is late.”

Tor bowed, his servo crushing Orion’s tightly, “Thank you, Lord Vice.”

Orion’s spark froze with realization as he stared up at the towering mech glaring at him, Primus, help me…I have been such a fool.