Minimus was nervous.
He had made his decision a long while ago. He had made it the day he had glanced one last time at the subsection on relations between officers and then took Megatron’s hand. He had made it over and over again every time Megatron left him bits of poetry, every time he hugged Minimus close, every time he pressed his forehead to Minimus’s and his singular optic closed into a slim crescent.
Minimus knew what he was doing. He was just terrified of doing it.
It was Megatron who had began the conjunx ritus; it was on an off-day for the both of them, and when Minimus woke up at his usual early alarm, Megatron asked him to come back to berth. Minimus hadn’t been quite sure how to respond, so Megatron picked him up around the waist and pulled him into the berth, burying his head into the crook between Minimus’s neck and shoulder. They had stayed there for a few hours, not fully falling into recharge. Then, Megatron had asked in a quiet voice if Minimus would ever want to be conjunx endura with him. Minimus had thought about the idea many times before and often found himself putting it off, but right then as he lay in the cozy embrace of his lover, Minimus could not bear to say no. Megatron had made a wordless, happy noise and squeezed him tightly for a moment.
It was only later that the realization of what Minimus had done hit him.
He truly loved Megatron—of this, he was certain. But becoming conjunx... that carried the burden of doing something he had never wanted to do. Just thinking of it sent anxious shivers through his circuits. Oh, the idea of being able to call Megatron his husband—it made his spark feel so light he could hardly bear it. But there were certain things he simply couldn’t keep from a conjunx.
…Well. The next act was the Act of Disclosure. Perfect for what Minimus would have to do.
..Oh primus, he was going to regret this.
When he had informed Megatron of his intention to perform the next act, his optic had shone bright. He agreed to meet Minimus in their room that evening with a quick nod.
Once Megatron had arrived—right on time, which almost made Minimus smile—he sat down on the edge of the berth. Minimus stayed standing, resisting the impulse to pace about the room.
Minimus cleared his throat. “You know that I have an- a smaller form, than this. I want to-“ he fidgeted with his hands, “to show you my irreducible self. My true self.” Feeling profoundly awkward, he quickly set about to do just that.
Minimus’s hands began to tremble as he slowly removed the legs of his outer armor. By the time he had reached the armor’s wrists, they were shaking, and his optics flickered erratically. Megatron watched on, though his own fingers twitched with the suppressed desire to cease the tremors in those hands and kiss them.
Finally, there was only the head of his outer armor left. Disconnected from his systems, its expression was blank. Minimus tightly folded his hands together. “I..”
“I respect you, Megatron. And-and I know—I admire—your ability to stand proud no matter how others see you. It is a quality I wish I possessed myself.”
“I made... a mistake. A long time ago. I paid for it. And I haven’t- I haven’t taken off this armor for centuries bec-because of it.” Minimus’s voice was beginning to shake. “I think- I know that you will still love me. I just hope you’re not angry, or hurt, by this. I-I love you.”
And with hands still trembling, Minimus gripped the sides of the armor’s head and lifted it up and off. Megatron’s optic went wide.
Blinking in the newfound light, a single optic just as red as his own glanced up at him.
Megatron didn’t know what to say. He only blinked in shock as he tried to understand what had been revealed to him.
“I was-,” Minimus started, “I- um...” His voice trailed off lamely.
“...I’m sorry I kept this from you.” He cast his gaze down, unable to meet Megatron’s stare. His plating was clamped tight to his frame. There were a few seconds of silence.
Then, a flurry of words burst from his vocalizer.
“I know I-I shouldn’t have, but the crew looks down on me enough already and they took away my facial insignia and I h-hate looking at myself and-“
Minimus stilled. Megatron had reached out to grip his hands, halting his frantic gesturing. He stared at how Megatron’s hands dwarfed his own, yet they were so gentle. Hesitantly, he glanced up.
Because of his own empurata, Megatron could not convey complex emotion—even when he could affect the appearance of his optic. Yet when he expanded his EM field to encompass him, the intensity of feeling left Minimus out of breath.
Megatron put a hand on the side of Minimus’s head, Minimus instinctually leaning into his touch. “Oh, Minimus.”
Then, he leaned in and touched their foreheads together, never once closing his optic or looking away. “I love you so much.”
Empurata victims could not cry, but at that moment, Minimus could remember in startling detail what it felt like. His vision would grow blurry, and it would become hard to speak. He tried to say something, but all that emerged from his vocalizer was a small, choked off sound. Instead, his legs carried him forward into Megatron’s embrace. His frame shook, optic shut tight as his plating rattled. Megatron whispered reassurances and words of calm, rubbing Minimus’s back and grounding him with his voice.
They stood there for a while, letting their fields intermingle and wash over each other. Minimus began to relax.
Megatron hummed idly. “Hm... So that’s why your kisses always felt so clumsy.”
Minimus’s optic brightened, and he drew back a bit to be able to see his partner’s face. Megatron’s optic was curved up, his field light and teasing.
“I- well- Making fun of a fellow officer is strictly prohibited, you know—I could send you to the brig for that!” Minimus sputtered.
Megatron chuckled, and nuzzled him. “I never said I didn’t enjoy them.” Taking advantage of the moment of flustered surprise that descended on Minimus, Megatron lifted Minimus up as he laid back on the berth and settled him on his broad chest.
Minimus took a second to marvel at how wide his partner’s chest had become to his irreducible form. Oh, and it was so warm... Minimus shifted a bit, settling himself into a good position. Megatron watched him do so with a remarkably soft look.
Minimus held his gaze for a moment, then dimmed his optic and lay his head down.