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Megatron held up a hand over his mouth, watching through the window that overlooked the operating center of the medical bay. Ratchet was instructing the other medics as they began their process of the operation, delicate tools descending from the ceilings and moving into proper position to assist the medics in their job. The Decepticon warlord caught Ratchet’s optics through the bay window, exchanging a look of grave concern with the medic before letting Ratchet return to his duties.

Ratchet lowered the thin scalpel down to the frame below, and Megatron’s optics followed the instrument until they fell onto the still figure on the table. He winced when catching Optimus’ pale face, the smaller Prime lying still and close to death on the table. It took Megatron quite a bit of strength to keep himself from turning away from the operation.

_________________________

There was peace between the Autobot and Decepticons, Megatron and Ultra Magnus shared a treaty that actually held worth between the factions. The overall populace was actually adjusting well to the change, but that didn’t mean that everyone was happy about it.

Which is what led to Optimus Prime’s current predicament.

Megatron and Optimus established themselves as conjux endura not long after the treaty was formed. It was no secret that they may have played around before the end of the war, but it ended up steering things to an alliance after the fact. But regardless of all the politics, Optimus and Megatron were happy and loved each other very much.

Unfortunately it made them a target.

It didn’t take long for Megatron to realize that Optimus had gone missing, and not much longer to put together a team to search and rescue him. It turned out that old enemies were still brewing up trouble; their distaste of the alliance was thick and fowl, and they turned to the idea of using Optimus to showcase their brutality. It was thanks to Shockwave and Blur’s intelligence network that they were able to locate Optimus before the final blow was made on the Prime. They found him on display in front of a crowd of anti-treaty rebels, all cheering for the Autobot’s destruction. Unfortunately for them, they met their demise through the well aimed barrel of Megatron’s fusion cannon.

Though the damage had already been done.

“He was stripped of his armor,” Ratchet sat back against the wall, no doubt tired from performing the surgery, “They nearly tore him to shreds, it was a miracle that we were able to save his frame.”

Megatron was sitting by the table where the fragile little form laid beneath a soft thermal blanket and a layer of wires and tubes, machines beeping quietly around them. The Decepticon had the smaller blue hand in his own, carefully stroking over the appendage with his thumb every now and then. He wasn’t looking towards the medic, but he was listening very carefully.

Ratchet continued, “His frame will heal,” he said, voice quiet, “It will take some time, but his frame will heal. However—“

Megatron didn’t even turn his helm, though his optics narrowed, “However, what?

The medic frowned deeply, “His vocalizer,” he said almost gravely, “They tore it out, almost all the components are far too gone for repair. And the possibility of replacement is very slim.”

Red optics winced, “So he will never speak again.” It was more of a statement than a question.

Ratchet stood up from the wall, “I said the possibilities are slim, but—“ he frowned, shoulders almost sagging, “It— does appear to be the case.”

There was a pause, Megatron growing silent as he kept his full attention towards the smaller figure on the table. He lowered his helm, “Thank you, Ratchet,” speaking as calmly as he could muster, “That will be all.”

The medic seemed almost offended by the sudden dismissal, but in the end knew it was for the best. Footsteps were heard leaving the room, the door opening and closing, leaving the two occupants alone. Megatron allowed himself to break just a crack, his frame releasing a few tremors before he took a deep breath through his intakes. He swallowed thickly, leaning against the table and pulling the small, blue hand up to his lips. He kissed Optimus’ hand before holding it to his own cheek, cherishing his lover’s warmth against his own frame. Megatron resorted to silence for the rest of the evening, but internally he was speaking of promises to never leave Optimus’ side and do whatever it takes to help the smaller mech heal.

Whatever it takes.

______________________

Megatron recalls the day when Optimus awoke from his slumber, how the smaller Autobot’s frame was so stiff that he could barely turn his helm. He remembers that first look of confusion on Optimus’ face, and then watching as the slow realization seeped into his processor as the memories flooded in. It took everything that Megatron had not to keen right there and then, seeing the relief in Optimus’ optics and leaning down to press his helm against the other’s. He kissed gently at Optimus’ helm, looking down to see that the smaller Autobot was already tearing at the optics.

“Oh love,” he said quietly, “You’re safe now. You’re safe.

Optimus made an attempt to speak, but the wince crawled over his face quickly and he grimaced. A few deep breaths to his frame, and Optimus attempted to speak again, and once again the pain pierced through his throat. Megatron watched, with a heavy spark as his lover reached up to his own throat to feel the deep gash over the synflesh. The tears came once again, now spilling from Optimus’ optics more freely as the Autobot cried. The cries were nothing but static and silence, however, they spoke volumes.

Megatron could hear them very clearly.

______________________

It took a few days after Optimus woke up for Megatron to bring up the alternative of speaking hand. He learned that the Elite Guard made it as a requirement in their Academy courses, so Optimus shouldn’t be a stranger to the language. So when the Decepticon brought it up to the smaller Autobot who was currently sitting up on the table, drinking carefully at a small glass of medical grade energon; he got a rather fumbled reply in hand.

Rusty,” was all Optimus could sign, his limbs still very stiff as he lay back against the table.

Megatron simply smiled, and leaned against the table, signing back, “Then I’ll help you refresh your memory.

A small smile, the first one in quite a while, appeared on the smaller Autobot’s face.

______________________

What Autobot’s knew about Decepticons, turned out to be far more lacking than they expected. The language of speaking in hand was actually fairly common in the Decepticon culture. It was based on the old caste system back before the war, where mechs of the lower classes couldn’t afford medical treatment. Whoever had an injury of the senses had to endure and adjust their ways of communication.

Turned out, that the Decepticons had applied that to their war effort.

Since resources were lacking towards the tail end of the war, the Decepticons went back to old ways of adjusting and enduring a major injury. The most common, of which the Autobots had surprisingly found, was the language of speaking hand. It was almost wide-spread amongst the Decepticons, and it was used on a daily basis. There were new signs that were not included in the Autobot hand dictionary that were solely Decepticon.

So Optimus was learning some new words along with re-learning to speak hand.

Of course, Megatron forgot to mention what some of those signs meant, and upon actually telling Optimus their meaning left the Autobot blushing all the way to his audials. Megatron’s cackles could be heard all the way down the hallway.

But slowly, with each passing day Optimus was re-gaining the knowledge of signing. From the medical table be would sign over to Ratchet whenever the medic was performing a check up on his injuries, or to Megatron whenever he would come by. And when he was allowed to finally walk around (carefully) the private medical room, he would throw signals to Megatron as he stepped. Optimus’ recovery was steadily progressing, and by the time he was cleared the Autobot was able to speak hand fluently with both Autobot and Decepticon.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to keep him as commander of his team in the Autobot Elite Guard. As a commander, it was expected to be able to communicate as quickly and clearly to the assigned team. Speech was expected through comns when giving out orders either in the work space or in battle. With Optimus’ current condition, that made his status as Prime questionable.

The news was devastating to Optimus when Ultra Magnus had come by personally to share the news. Megatron could see how crushed the smaller Autobot was, especially considering that this was his life, what else was he going to do?

But never let it be said that Ultra Magnus was ever a bot to leave his people in the dust. And especially since Optimus (and his team) had single-handedly spared Cybertron from another war, Ultra Magnus offered an alternative.

“Considering your excellence in tactics, Optimus,” Magnus leaned forward against his desk, as he, Optimus, and Megatron all sat in his private office. He offered a small smile, “I wonder if you would consider a position in political tactics rather than military?”

Megatron and Optimus exchanged a quick glance before the smaller Autobot signed away, “As in a desk job?

Magnus nodded his head, pursing his lips for a moment, “Well, yes you would be working at a desk of course. But-” the larger Autobot stood up from his chair, moving to walk around his desk, “I was thinking perhaps a position as a liaison might interest you?”

Optimus looked confused, “But, isn’t our treaty with the Decepticon’s already settled? I thought Jazz was in charge of the trade agreements?

Ultra Magnus shook his head, having moved to stand in front of his desk without his hammer, leaning against it. He crossed his arms, “Not Autobot liaison, Optimus,” he said, “I meant Cybertronian liaison.”

A smirk crossed over Megatron’s lips when he saw Optimus’ jaw drop, hands coming up and signing quickly, “With the Universal Council?!

Magnus smirked as he nodded his helm, “Optimus Prime: Cybertronian liaison has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”

Optimus could barely contain his grin.

______________________

That had been a year ago.

Megatron smirked as he watched Optimus gesture with his hands in his attempt to tell a funny story to the mechs around them at the table. They were currently sitting in a pub, occupying the upstairs private suite where they could drink without any civilians gawking at them.

Optimus was already three sheets to the wind; he was usually a mech who preferred to stay sober, but tonight the high grade was well deserved. For Optimus, despite now being a mute Autobot, was working with the Universal Council on new trade negotiations and has finally achieved an agreement. This little bot hasn’t had a day off in months.

So, yes, the high grade was well deserved.

Megatron chuckled as Optimus made an exasperated motion with his hands, swaying as he did so and finally falling into the Decepticon’s lap. Upon looking down, he found the little Autobot giving a lopsided grin up towards Megatron, making the Decepticon laugh harder. Within the group that sat at the private booth was Ratchet, Strika, Jazz, and a surprise addition of Sentinel Prime- who, despite being an Elite Guard, was having a bit of trouble understanding what Optimus was saying.

“What did he say?” came the blunt question from the truck.

All optics turned to Sentinel (except for Optimus who was still laying on Megatron’s lap under the table) and the internal sighs could be heard miles away. Ratchet looked to Sentinel, “You’re joking right?” he put down his glass of energon, “You didn’t understand a thing he just said?”

Sentinel narrowed his optics, “No,” he crossed his arms in defense, “What’s a Elite Guard gotta learn hand for anyway?”

“How’d you pass the requirement?” Jazz quirked an optic ridge behind his visor.

Suddenly Optimus hands popped up from under the table, signing away as if performing a puppet show. Megatron quirked an optic ridge, smirking, “He says that Sentinel paid him off to help his pass.”

Sentinel sputtered, his armor almost flaring, “Traitor!” he spat out, “You said you wouldn’t tell!”

Optimus almost seem to rise like the dead from Megatron’s lap and leaned against the table to take another drink of his pretty pink flute of highgrade. Mmm, yes, so pretty. He signed once more, that goofy smirk still on his face, and Megatron couldn’t contain his smirk, “He says that ‘he had his fingers crossed’.”

The truck growled, banging his fist on the table and causing the drinks to vibrate, “I should’ve expected much!” he snapped, “You’re always so lousy to keep secrets, Optimus!”

Optimus merely rolled his optics, throwing up a very specific hand sign before leaning back against the booth. A pause crossed over the table, followed by a couple of snorts arising from the two Decepticons. Strika returning to keep her amusement down as she casually went back to her drink while Megatron merely turned his helm away, holding a finger to his snickering lips. The rest of the Autobots were left a little confused.

The remainder three Autobots looked between each other, “What?” finally came the question from Sentinel.

Megatron tapped his hands on the table, sitting back against the booth and wrapping an arm around Optimus, “Oh, nothing."

Ratchet quirked an optic ridge, “Come on, Megatron,” he frowned, “What did he say?”

The Decepticon glanced to Strika, the general only shrugging in reply. Megatron turned to the three clueless Autobots and said, “He said, ‘you’re such a node, Sentinel’.”

Ratchet and Jazz blinked, almost shocked as they glanced over to Optimus. Sentinel, once again, turned up confused, “Node?”

“As in ‘anterior-node’ you twit!” Ratchet spat, reaching up to put his face into his free hand, almost sighing.

There was a pause before it finally clicked, and Sentinel sputtered again while looking wide-eyed at Optimus, “Th-The frag?!” He leaned against the table, pointing a finger towards the smaller Prime, “How dare you! Fraggin’ maintenance Prime!” he huffed.

That’s liaison Prime to you,” Optimus signed.

“I don’t know what that means!” Sentinel snapped.

A moment of silence crossed over the table, the smaller Prime sitting back and keeping still. However, as Megatron turned to glance at his conjux, he could already see the little gears in Optimus’ processor turning, and a very particular look of deviousness gathering in those blue optics.

Of course, that always meant trouble.

Optimus was giving his goofy grin as he leaned against Megatron, reaching over to take another drink of his pretty highgrade cocktail. Megatron watched, a little worried as his smaller conjunx took a long swig of his drink. He put down the drink, then turned to the blue and orange truck sitting across the table and signed out once more.

Once again, the three other Autobots were met with confusion. The Decepticons on the other hand were trying their best to keep their laughter out of sight, though they were both failing miserably. Megatron had a fist to his mouth as his chuckles caused his entire frame to tremble, and Strika was wracked with tremors as she hid her face in her hands, obviously laughing.

“All right,” Ratchet sat back in his seat next to Strika, “I don’t know that one either.”

“What did he say?” Jazz looked over to Megatron.

Megatron coughed, clearing his throat for a moment before answering, “He said ‘take a hand up your valve, like your creator did’.”

Sentinel’s jaw dropped, and then he sputtered, “E-Excuse me?!”

That’s when Optimus decided to keep going. The next series of fluttering and swaying hands were accompanied by a very smug grin plastered on the firetruck’s face. This time around, the Decepticons couldn’t contain their laughter; Megatron’s entire frame was shaking with amusement, while Strike seemed to be wiping a tear from one of her optics.

Ratchet quirked an optic ridge, smirking slightly, “Do we even want to know what he said?”

Megatron was trying to catch his breath, “You probably don’t.”

“What. Did. He. Say?!” Sentinel’s demand came through clenched teeth.

Megatron glanced over to Strika, and the large femme just made a ‘go on’ motion. The Decepticon warlord grinned, “He said, ‘Too slow, Sentinel? Then maybe go back to eating exhaust ports around the corner’.”

That one seemed to get a reaction from Ratchet and Jazz, the medic outright laughing where Jazz was trying desperately to contain his guffaws. As for the Prime across the table, Sentinel’s face was already turning purple from the sheer anger rising in his circuits. The truck threw his hands up, “That’s it Optimus!” He made a lunge for the fire truck across the table.

A large hand easily caught the Prime, Sentinel wiggling in Strika’s grasp as he clawed towards Optimus, “Once I get my hands on you— I swear to Primus, Optimus you’re gonna—“

“I think that’s enough for tonight,” Strika’s voice was firm as she held Sentinel, “Wouldn’t you agree, Sentinel?

Said Prime froze, optics looking up to the piercing red ones of the Decepticon that held onto him. He frowned, growing silent as he weighed his options in the stern grip of the massive Decepticon. He seemed to make the right choice as his frame went slack, “Fine.

“Good,” Strike moved to set Sentinel back down in his seat. She pulled away, “Besides, I’m sure Optimus’ words are all in good fun?” She glanced to Megatron, “Wouldn’t you say so, my lord?”

Megatron glanced down to Optimus, the smaller Autobot was reaching out to his pink, highgrade cocktail. The Decepticon swiped it away before it could be caught by grabby, blue hands, Megatron holding it high from Optimus’ reach. “Yes I would say so,” he smirked down at the little fire truck, Optimus making vain attempts to reach for his drink. He looked up towards Sentinel, “And possibly far too much highgrade.”

Sentinel frowned, optics looking flatly towards Megatron for a moment before shifting over to Optimus. He caught the sight of Optimus pouting towards his conjux for stealing his drink, and he slumped against the larger, grey frame. A hiccup wracked his frame, cheeks slightly pink as he settled against the Decepticon. Sentinel quirked an optic ridge, expression falling a bit to a smirk, “Yeah,” he began, “I mean, Optimus could never hold his highgrade.”

Megatron chuckled, looking down to Optimus, “Quite.”

Optimus returned with a silent pout, optics narrowing.

The Decepticon warlord merely shrugged, “Sorry, love,” he smirked, “But it's true.”

Optimus slumped further, crossing his arms over his chassis. Megatron reached around to wrap around the smaller frame once again, Optimus trying to turn away. However, it was a losing battle; Megatron was snaking his fingers into the seams of the fire truck’s torso, tickling the smaller mech. Optimus was fighting the smile, trying to keep the pouty face up as hard as he could, but in the end, the smile won.

Megatron chuckled once again, “I would have to agree with Strika,” he began, “It would seem we should call it a night.” He looked down to Optimus, and saw those blue optics were beginning to dim, the fire truck on the verge of recharge.

Ratchet finished his drink before standing up from the table, “Agreed.”

Megatron set the drink back down on the table, grabbing onto Optimus, “Shall we?”

______________________________

“So where the frag did Optimus learn that kind of language?” Sentinel glanced up Strika as they walked back to the shuttle station.

The Decepticon general glanced down to Sentinel for a moment before turning to look at the warlord that walked ahead. Megatron was carrying a sleeping Optimus in his arms, the smaller Prime completely spent after the night’s round of highgrade. Strika’s optics reflected a grin, “No doubt lord Megatron managed to slip in a few Decepticon terms during Optimus’ teachings.”

“Those are Decepticon terms?” Sentinel quirked an optic ridge.

“Not surprising,” Ratchet grumbled, “I mean, a race of war frames who’ve worked underground for most of their existence? No doubt there’s gonna be a cultural difference in language. Even in hand.”

“So—“ Sentinel seemed almost impressed, “Decepticons are just on a whole new level of swearing, aren’t they?”

“Indeed,” Strika glanced up to Megatron again.

The Decepticon warlord was holding Optimus close, and she could’ve sworn she caught Megatron planting a small kiss on the firetruck’s helm. It was quite a pleasure to see the two together, having been through so much and come so far. Especially for the little Prime; Optimus was a marvel with the accomplishments he’s achieved.

“Huh. Well it seems to help,” Sentinel piped up, gaining Strika’s attention.

“How so?” The general asked.

“With Optimus,” Sentinel grinned, “The bot always seemed to uptight.” The Prime looked ahead towards the couple, “Nice to see him finally come around.”

Strika blinked, then glanced back to the two that were walking ahead of the group. Optimus was clinging to Megatron, helm laying against his shoulder. When she looked closer, she caught the faint, soft, smile that settled on Optimus’ face. The little Prime was relaxed, and very comfortable. A true sign of happiness.

Strika’s voice conveyed amusement, “Indeed.”