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Written in the Stars

Chapter Text

Ratchet had been alive for a very, very long time. As a result of his long life, he'd seen a lot, witnessed a lot. He'd experienced so many new things he'd lost track of them all. He'd changed his daily routine so many times he was confident that not one thing had been kept the same. Some of the things he'd added or taken out of his routine he'd loved, some of them he hated.

He'd never imagined that his favorite part of the day would be to tell bedtime stories to the tiny little organic children who lived in the village.

"Come on Ratchet! One more please!" The young girl with black hair begged, clasping her hands in front of her face and giving Ratchet the best puppy dog eyes she could muster. Ratchet chuckled and was tempted to say no; he'd already told several stories and he knew Optimus would be waiting for him, should he ever escape the children.

"Oh, I don't know. It is far past your bedtime and you will all need to get up early to do your chores," Ratchet tried to reason, but he had secretly already given in. The small girl pouted even more, and the young brunette boy next to her joined in, taking off his glasses for extra effect.

The older boy on the girl's right rolled his eyes, but Ratchet could tell he wanted a story just as bad.

Ratchet sighed, a small chuckle escaping him. "Alright, alright. One more, but that's the last one, understood?"

All three children cheered, and Ratchet smiled a little more. The children settled themselves further into their blankets, eager to hear one last story before they fell asleep.

"Which one would you like to hear?" Ratchet asked, but he had a feeling he already knew the answer.

"The Adventure One! With Cybertron and Primus and Unicron!" The young girl hollered, grabbing one of the older boy's pillows out from behind him and holding on tight. The boy grunted but said nothing, a small smile on his face.

Ratchet nodded. "Well, if you insist." He adjusted himself on the large rocking chair he was sitting on, and began his story.

"Many, many years ago, in a galaxy far from this one, lived an immensely powerful being named Primus. He was a deity of immeasurable power and strength, but also goodness. He traveled the galaxy and created stars and planets and creatures of all shapes and kinds as went, breathing life into the universe.

But Primus carried a dark shadow with him at all times. His brother, Unicron, was also an immensely powerful being who had unmatched strength and talents, tied to only his brother. But while Primus created life, Unicron destroyed it.

Unicron followed behind Primus wherever he went, tainting his beloved planets with darkness or destroying them all together. He would fill the formerly kind and benevolent beings with hatred and watch in amusement as they tore each other apart, and their planet destroyed itself from the inside out.

His brother knew what Unicron was doing, but instead of fighting his brother, he countered the evil by creating more life, hoping that Unicron would eventually leave his creations alone. He prayed they would not come to war over the destruction of Primus's creations.

One day, after many long years of creating life, Primus became tired. He loved his work and he wished to continue, but more than he loved his work he was sick of his brother ruining his perfect creations. He soon arrived to a remote corner of the galaxy, where he decided to create a planet and life forms of his own image.

These new beings, unlike Primus's other creations, were gifted with small fractions of Primus's power, able to harness the wind or captivate the world with beautiful music. He gave them all personalities and abilities to develop together and grow.

Primus then gave his children a home to live by creating a planet of his own body, becoming the very core of the planet itself. Primus could still interact with his children and provide council, but he was unwilling to take any physical action in helping his children.

A few millennia after Primus became half dormant, Unicron appeared at his brother's planet, which the children had named Cybertron.

Unicron, despite his actions, cared deeply about his brother and was saddened by the loss of his brother's physical form. For his acts of destroying his brother's creation were really only to gain his brother's attention."

"That's really the wrong way to do it." The young boy interjected, a yawn escaping him.

"No interruptions," Ratchet barked, ans the children all giggled. The red and white mech took a deep breath and continued.

"In his anger and sadness, he attempted to destroy Cybertron in the hopes that Primus would emerge and Unicron could see his beloved brother once more.

His plans did not exactly work out that way.

When Unicron attempted to destroy Primus and Cybertron, the super powered children rose up to defend their home. They fought back against Unicron, able to take him on with the power given to them by Primus.

Unicron knew this would be a losing battle on his own, so he created children of his own to help him fight the war. His children, like the Children of Primus, carried small pieces of his powers and were able to even the odds. They were fierce, emotionless, faceless, and perfectly obedient to Unicron.

Despite his best efforts, after thousands of years of war, Unicron was defeated.

He couldn't be killed, not even by Primus himself. So the being was cast out into the stars, never to be heard from again. As for his children, they were not so easily dismissed.

They set a dreadful curse on the Children of Primus, a way to bind the two races together.

No matter where the Children of Primus would flee too, the Children of Unicron would for surely follow. If they were banished to the stars and the Children of Primus left Cybertron, the Children of Unicron would eventually catch up, and destroy them.

The Children of Primus - who now called themselves Gods - put the Children of Unicron - who now went by Titans - into stasis and launched them to the stars, before they reluctantly left their planet.

However, before they left, Primus gave them a message.

He foretold of a mech from the new generation of Cybertron who would bear the power of fire, would find the Gods on whatever planet they landed on, and help them defeat the Titans forever, never to have to worry about being followed or destroyed ever again.

The Gods were given a renewed sense of hope, making it slightly easier for them to leave Primus.

When the Gods left Cybertron, Primus performed his last act.

He created a new generation of mecha on Cybertron, with personalities and abilities to love and hate and be alive. However, due to Primus's weakness of having just endured a war on his surface, wasn't able to give his new children powers. He instead made sure there was no memory of signs that the Gods had once lived on Cybertron as well, and the new people went about their lives, growing and expanding their knowledge.

At some point on their journey, the Gods arrived at a planet that was uninhabited, and was the perfect place to live. It was decided that half of the Gods would remain there, while others stayed on their ship to continue to try and find another home.

Meanwhile, after a long journey, the Gods crash landed on a far away planet known as Valeran. Valeran was home to a small community of organic life forms; much smaller than the Gods and without the special powers. They were originally hesitant of the Gods and their special abilities, but they agreed to a sort of business arrangement: the Gods could take haven on their planet, as long as they provided good crops and good weather (and never rose up against the people and slaughtered them all, but that went without saying).

Valeran was also a part of a interplanetary agreement that provided them protection and technology. A few of the Gods left to live on the different planets, in hopes of learning more about the different organic life forms there.

Over time, the Gods' deal with Valerans became less of a business arrangement and more of a happy and mutually beneficial relationship. The Gods grew increasingly fond of the small band of people, becoming friends and even family with a few of them. The two factions began to work together, and the Valerans provided the Gods with massive temples in their honor and many artworks and other things worthy of a God.

Some of the Valerans did not agree with bringing these massive, extremely powerful beings into their home; uniting under one leader: Silas, the leader of the small military the Valeran community had. Those who agreed with him grabbed many supplies in the night and left their village, determined to do whatever it took to expel these Gods from their home.

Several years passed, and for the first time since Unicorn's defeat, the Gods felt as if they had found a place to call home, a place they could live out their long lives; happy and free. The Gods lived peacefully in Valeran Village, in temples created for them, in a place they loved and cherished.

However, they knew that their time of freedom and peace was running short.

But the Gods are not afraid, because they remember the words Primus told them," The red and white God smiled down at the small children laying curled up in their beds. "and they know that someone from Cybertron will soon come, and help them stop the children of Unicron, once and for all."

"That story never gets old, Ratchet." The small boy whispered, his words becoming slurred with sleep. "Goodnight."

Ratchet let out a small chuckle and lifted his servo. He stood up from his rocking chair, and as soon as he did so, the wood and fabric vanished into thin air.

"Sleep well, Rafael." Ratchet whispered, before he walked away back to his own temple towards the back of the village.

He wasn't surprised to see his bonded waiting up for him, a glass of water in his servo.

"You should be in bed, Optimus." Ratchet protested. "I know you're on the first patrol tomorrow with Arcee and Smokescreen, you'll need some rest before you go and check on MECH. Primus knows they've become bolder."

Optimus, the taller red and blue God hummed in agreement. He allowed his digits to loosen around his glass, and when the cup fell, it dissipated into a thousand tiny shards before anything hit the ground.

Ratchet and his bonded made their way back into their temple, fingers interlocked.

The inside of their temple was beautifully decorated, with paintings on the walls and ceilings that moved in a constant action, resetting themselves after a certain period. There were pictures of the entire God family; the large and happy one that it was. On one wall there was a large berth, with two little tables on either side. There was a few other pieces of furniture, but they didn't lay in their temple for long periods of time, so furniture wasn't really needed.

"MECH has most definitely become increasingly bold, I will not deny that. But I find that I cannot sleep without you here." Optimus leaned forward and kissed Ratchet on the cheek and pulled them down into their berth, a warm smile on his face.

"You need rest," Ratchet repeated as he pulled the sheets over their bodies and cuddled up against the taller mech.

Silence settled between them as neither mech fell into slumber, and they both knew it.

"The more times I tell the story," Ratchet whispered. "the more it sounds like one. It sounds like we live in some fairy tale reality; waiting to be saved by some mech whose only power is the one that serves to only destroy."

Optimus pressed a soft hiss to Ratchet's shoulder. "As far as we know," Optimus argued. "Primus could have gifted him with the ability to use his power wisely."

"Unlikely." Ratchet scoffed. "The mech is probably powerless; a cruel joke by Primus himself. He always did have the sickest sense of humor."

Optimus said nothing.

Ratchet sighed, closing his optics. "Bumblebee received another vision yesterday." The God whispered, his voice scared and tired. "He said the Titans have awoken from their stasis lock and have picked up our trail."

"Did he say how much time we have?"

"No, he only knows that they are far away from Cybertron, and even in a large ship it took us several light years to find this planet." Ratchet paused. "We have no way of knowing when they will arrive."

"My darling," Optimus whispered softly. "do not fret."

"How can I not, Optimus? The mech from Cybertron has not yet arrived here on Valeran, and I'm starting to have doubts he ever will. Primus knew the only way to get us away from Cybertron was to give us some form of hope, and he did that through his little prophecy." Ratchet rolled over so he was facing his lover.

"Just because the mech from Cybertron has not arrived yet does not mean he will not."

"Optimus, I know you think -"

"Ratchet," Optimus interrupted. "I have had my doubts about the prophecy as well, and I agree that, on occasion, Primus did give us false hopes. But I do not believe this is one of those times. We know Primus created his second generation on Cybertron, and it would stand to reason that one of them contains the power of Primus within him."

Ratchet sighed. "We do not have forever, Optimus. Sooner or later the Titans will be here, and I do not know what will happen when they do."

Optimus sighed and hugged his lover closer to his chest, and Ratchet hummed as he pressed against Optimus's beating spark, the constant rhythm calming to him. "We are fighters, my love. We will be fine. Our future is still secure."

"I want to believe you, Optimus…" Ratchet slurred out, his voice becoming thick with sleep. "but what if you're wrong?"

Optimus didn't answer, but it didn't matter. Ratchet fell asleep a few seconds after the words left his mouth.

Optimus pressed a soft kiss to Ratchet's cheek and held him closer.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

7:00 A.M. That's when Wheeljack started his day.

Every morning, he dragged - dragged was a little too nice of a word, he usually fell off the side - himself out of his very comfortable and warm berth to make himself three cups of coffee; two to have right away and one that would be stored in his thermos for work. He'd make himself look as presentable as possible without trying too hard - he worked in a engineering lab for Pit's sake, he wasn't about to dress up - water his little plants, and then he'd leave.

On the way to work, he'd always stop by a little public market and pick out a scone for his breakfast, and then he'd pick up his lunch from a booth a few steps down. He'd gotten his breakfast and lunch there so many times he was considered a regular, and had started to become very good friends with the owners.

The way Cybertronians developed their process of making energon into fuel for consumption had changed a lot in the past few years, going from regular old cubes to more organic food, picked up by a few travelers who journeyed to far away planets that consumed organic meals. Wheeljack wasn't complaining, he liked his energon scones and grilled cheese sandwiches much better than regular old cubes.

After he would get his lunch and breakfast, he would transform and drive the rest of the way to his workplace, the finest engineering building on Cybertron. He'd been working at this place for nearly a hundred years, and he loved every second of it.

Well, every second that Brainstorm wasn't rambling about his 'fantastic' love life.

Wheeljack could hear the scientist's loud voice through the door as he pressed his key card against the console, and he wasn't surprised when the door opened to reveal Brainstorm talking loudly to Skyfire, while the tall white mech was too polite to tell him to shut up.

"…He took us to the new Science Museum that opened up, and it is totally worth the couple hundred credits he probably spent on the tickets! So interesting, especially if you know a thing or two about a thing or two, which I do. I do happen to know a thing or two about a lot of things." Brainstorm said loudly as Skyfire nodded along. The tall mech had two beakers in his servos that he was clearly attempting to work with, but he was unable to properly focus on. Brainstorm's ramblings had a habit of slowing down the work day.

Wheeljack rolled his optics and tossed his lunch into the mini fridge they had, and took a large bite of his scone. His shift didn't technically start for another three minutes, so right now he was praying that Brainstorm's rambling helped the time slow a little.

Brainstorm looked up and his optics brightened. His wings gave a small twitch in delight as he realized there was now another member of his audience. "Mornin', Wheeljack! How much of that did you hear?"

"Science museum." Wheeljack grumbled around his mouth full of scone. Skyfire sent him a glare and muttered something about 'bad manners', and Wheeljack settled for chewing louder and with his mouth open. "You said it was worth it, right? I've been wantin' to go there for a while."

"Pit yeah it's worth it!" Brainstorm hopped off the counter he had been sitting on. "You should totally come with us next time."

Wheeljack shook his head. "Yeah, no. I ain't interested in third wheelin' you two, Brainy."

"Not even if we paid for your tickets?"

"Nope. Because then it'll just be like the amusement park, where I had to cover you two as you ripped the paint off each other in the bathroom."

"Kill joy."

"Horny."

"Alright, alright." Skyfire chimed in, chuckling a little. "We officially start work now, let's get these experiments done today, shall we?"

Brainstorm nodded eagerly and Wheeljack shoved the last of his scone into his mouth, and they joined Skyfire over by his station. They were trying to make a new form of Cybermatter that would be stronger and more stable in formula, but also easily accessible to the masses. They had been working on this project for weeks with little progress, but they were finally starting to get somewhere.

Wheeljack didn't look up as the fourth and final member of their team walked into the lab, but by the footstep pattern he could tell it was Perceptor.

"You started without me?" Perceptor asked as Wheeljack snapped his mask into place. He already gotten a few scars across the lips a few times after experiments gone wrong, and he wasn't about to gain another.

"You're just in time." Skyfire promised, holding up the beakers to optic level. "Brainstorm, how do we look?"

Brainstorm wrote a few things down on a data pad and gave Skyfire a thumbs up. "Both substances are stable, no sign of early reactions."

Wheeljack took his place beside Perceptor, and they waited anxiously for Skyfire to mix the two liquids.

"Here goes nothing," Skyfire whispered, and poured the two liquids in a large bowl.

The two substances merged to create a light yellow color, complete with some bubbles. Nothing fizzed, nothing imploded.

Wheeljack held his breath as the compound started to steam.

There was a small boom and a puff of smoke causing Wheeljack and the other scientists to look away, but when they looked back, there was gray metal coming out of the sides of the container, reaching up towards the ceiling like a twisted sort of plant.

No one said anything for a moment, all staring in shock.

Then, all in unison, the four mechs clapped and cheered; Brainstorm and Perceptor locked lips in a kiss and Skyfire and Wheeljack gave each other a high five, laughing and celebrating a job well done.

"Finally!" Perceptor exclaimed. "After so many weeks of fruitless results, we have finally created Cybermatter."

Skyfire picked up the metal carefully, flinching back a little as it was still hot to the touch. He carried the metal and placed it inside a machine, humming as he inspected it a little bit as he walked. "We will still need to run extensive tests on this material." He stated, and some of the excitement in the room faded at the prospect of performing more tests.

"True, it does hafta be strong 'nough to be used in construction." Wheeljack pointed out as he back tracked to his desk to continue working on plans for the city, using this new metal.

"Oh, Wheeljack, the furnace isn't starting again, would you mind?" Skyfire asked, and Wheeljack turned on his heel to walk over by his tall friend.

Skyfire stepped away to talk to Brainstorm and Perceptor about the next round of trials, and Wheeljack turned his attention to the furnace. The new Cybermatter was placed on a small silver platform in the center, but when Wheeljack stuck his servo inside, the box was nearly room temperature.

They'd been meaning to get a new furnace, since no one but Wheeljack could get it running. However, they figured they'd save their company a few credits and just continue to let Wheeljack work his magic.

Magic indeed.

Wheeljack glanced over his shoulder to make sure his friends weren't looking at him, before he redirected his attention back to the furnace. He stuck his hand inside, closed his optics, and concentrated.

Within moments, Wheeljack's fingertips ignited with a red hot flame, which in turn got the rest of the furnace working. Wheeljack pulled his hand out of the box, and shook it off, the last of his fire fading as if he'd caught fire, not started it.

Wheeljack wasn't sure when he developed his fire abilities; he'd had them for as long as he could remember. He'd been too scared to tell his carrier and sire about it, so he kept it a secret. No sense in having people look at him different or try and convince him to be a lab rat if there wasn't necessarily anything wrong with him.

"Thank you, Wheeljack." Perceptor said after he realized the furnace had started up.

"He does it again." Brainstorm sneered, and Wheeljack flipped him the bird.

The rest of the day passed in a blur for Wheeljack; most days did. He stayed at his desk most of the time, calling his superiors and reporting they had a breakthrough with the Cybermatter. He occasionally got up to help the others perform basic tests, and laughed and teased Perceptor the rest of the workday when one of the tests backfired and stained his chest pink and white.

They began to clean up for the day at 5:30 like they always did. Perceptor and Brainstorm left together, side by side and talking a mile a minute about more tests and experiments to run next week. It was only Wheeljack and Skyfire who were left, putting the last materials away and cleaning the last of the beakers.

"So, Wheeljack," Skyfire asked after a few moment's silence. "what are your plans for the weekend?"

Wheeljack rocked on his pedes a little as he reached up to place a beaker on the top shelf. "I'm usin' some of my off days to go on another trip."

"Oh," Wheeljack couldn't figure if Skyfire was disappointed or not. "Where will you be traveling to?"

"Not sure," Wheeljack chuckled. "That's the joy of my trips, Sky. I turn on autopilot and see where I end up in a day or two."

Skyfire picked up his bags from the floor and offered Wheeljack a soft smile. "I hope you have fun on your journey, Wheeljack. I will see you when you get back?"

Wheeljack waved him off, but it was still a tender gesture. "'Course you will."

Skyfire gave one last nod and walked out the door, the metal panels closing automatically behind him.

Wheeljack left about fifteen minutes after him, grabbing his thermos that was still a quarter filled with lukewarm coffee. He got a text message on his phone and checked who sent it, and a smile came to his face.

Meeting at MaccAdam's. Wanna come? Impactor had asked.

Be right there. Buy me a round, will ya?

Wheeljack walked out of the lab and kept a quick pace, waving goodbye to a few of the janitors and members of other specialties as he walked past. He got into the first elevator and was on the ground floor in less than a minute.

The roads were suspiciously quiet for six o clock, but Wheeljack gripped his thermos a little tighter and kept walking. MaccAdam's wasn't too far away.

Wheeljack would never admit to it to anyone, but he was in a funk. The kind of funk that comes from doing the same thing for so long you don't know you're doing it anymore. All of his days were the same: wake up at seven, work until five thirty, come home at nine after a night out with some friends. Sometimes he went on dates, but nothing more than a one night stand would result from said date.

Wheeljack took his shortcut, cutting through a dark alley where there was even less people, but Wheeljack supposed that was a good thing. The less people in dark alleys, the better.

Some clanked behind him, and Wheeljack whipped around, scared out of his plating.

He was surprised to see that there was a mech standing there, tall and green with kind optics and a soft smile on his face. He was handsome in a rugged kind of way, and he looked weirdly Cybertronian, but Wheeljack had never seen this mech before, not even on his trips to Cybertron's neighboring planets. Wheeljack might have probably attempted to shoot his shot on the mech….

If he wasn't completely transparent.

Wheeljack closed his optics and opened them again, shaking his helm a little when the mech was still there, closer even. Wheeljack took a step back and the mech stayed in place.

"Uh, hi. Name's Wheeljack." Wheeljack said slowly. "I'm only tellin' you this 'cause I hear yer less likely to get killed if the killer knows things 'bout you." He paused as a humorous look came to the bot's face. "Are you gonna kill me?"

His response was a shake of the head.

"Are you gonna talk, maybe?"

Another shaking of the head.

Wheeljack groaned and pinched his nasal ridge with his thumb and forefinger. "Listen, I'm not the type of guy who talks to ghosts, so if you maybe wanna -"

Wheeljack opened his optics and for the second time that night nearly hopped out of his plating. The mech had completely closed the distance between them, standing right in front of Wheeljack, so close their plating was almost touching.

Wheeljack found himself staring into the mech's optics, well aware that he was likely a stammering mess at this point, but cut him some slack he wasn't exactly sure what was happening.

The mech reached up a servo, and Wheeljack physically couldn't react except to inwardly scream when the palm of the large hand touched his cheek, not fell through him.

A sickening feeling settled in his gut, one that made him feel like he was going to throw up and made him want to curl up in a ball and cry.

"Hey, Wheeljack!"

The white and red mech turned on his heel so fast he almost got whiplash, and he was relieved to see his friends: Impactor, Springer, Whirl and Blur all standing there, waving at him.

"You've been standing in this alley for like ten minutes pal, who ya talking to?" Whirl asked, his one optic narrowing in laughter.

Wheeljack turned and jerked his thumb at the green mech, but he stopped as he realized the green mech was gone. "What…"

"Did you short circuit or something'? Drinks are half off right now, and you're over here staring at the sky! Let's go, buddy!" Springer laughed, motioning for Wheeljack to join them.

Wheeljack sputtered again, giving one last glance around, looking for tall and handsome. He saw no sign of the mech anywhere, so he sighed dramatically and turned on his heel, walking towards his friends.

'I've been around chemicals fer too long today…' Wheeljack thought and greeted his friends loudly. He smirked to himself. 'Only good solution now is to get absolutely wasted.'

But even as Wheeljack went into the bars beside his friends in MaccAdam's, he couldn't shake the green mech from his mind. But something - maybe it was the sinking feeling he got in his gut whenever he looked back - told him the mech hadn't really left him either.

Chapter Text

There was something to be said about Valeran's sunrises. No matter where anyone was in their daily activity list, no matter how many times they'd seen them in their lives, the people of the village could not help but take a moment to admire them. The sunrises were absolutely breath taking.

Valeran had two suns that rose simultaneously from opposite sides of the planet, their bright orange and yellow colors mixing with the dark blues and blacks of the night. Pinks and reds danced among the dark gray clouds, and the sky seemed to get brighter by the second, fading in an almost ombre affect into an eggshell blue. The wildlife would would as the sun warmed their backs, and the happy songs of the birds would fill the sky with their joy.

The sun's rays stretched onto the pond on the side of the village, even hitting the forest on the other side.

The sunlight reflected down on a small village, warming the roofs and cobblestone walkways that connected all of the houses and shops in the cozy little town. Smoke was rising up from a few chimneys and the smell of freshly baked bread and meats filled the morning air.

The people themselves were already awake and active, some out in the pasture with their livestock while others walked through the pathways, turning off the fire lamps from the night before. Most people waved and shouted a greeting to anyone who passed by, some falling into easy conversation, offering a loaf of bread or pastry to a small child.

As the suns rose higher, their light stretched over the village and over the hills behind them onto the large pyramid shaped temples over the hills in a clearing. The sun highlighted all of the plants and tress growing around the temples' bases, the flowers opening almost instantly as the sunlight touched their petals.

There were several temples; the majority of them circling the largest one in the center. Each temple was large and beautiful in its own right, personalized and special. The bricks were a light tan color, stacking up like stairs up to the top. At the top of each temple was a statue, showing who that temple was built for.

The statues were made of stone, their coloring slightly different than the temples they stood on. Above some temples there were two statues to show that two Gods lived in said temple, but others only had one. Most of the figures were standing regally, while others were in a battle stance, but all of them were holding one hand out as if holding a tray, but there was nothing in their palm to be held.

The sunlight rose and stretched its rays into the doorways, and a few moments later, the occupants of the temples began to emerge. Each occupants' colorful and bold plating reflected in the sunlight, causing the ground beneath them to turn the color of their plating. The temple residents greeted each other warmly, some giving hugs or kisses to each other, while others gave one last stretch before they walked down to begin their day.

As each God left their temple, the statues came to life, shifting into a new stance as the specific power of that God appearing in its servo. On one temple, a small storm cloud appeared, while in another there was a perfect little sun, as round and bright as the ones that currently hung in the sky.

By the time all the pinks and oranges nearly faded from the view above, the temples were all empty, their occupants gone to start the day ahead of them.

Well, every temple except one.

One temple, the third on the right, still had its occupant inside of it.

The temple was laced with white roses and tall green vines that stretched up the sides of the steps. On top of the temple was a statue of a mech, feet separate in a guarding stance with one servo as a wrecking ball. In his other servo, there was no emblem of power as its occupant had not left its temple yet.

The sunlight shone in through the windows and doors of the temple, reflecting down on the inside of the temple. The glyphs and paintings on the walls and ceilings were illuminated as the sunlight hit them, reflecting off the flecks of gold in some drawings. They began to move and dance once the sun completely covered them, resetting themselves once their task was complete.

The sunlight came to rest on the God who was still sprawled across his bed like a starfish. One servo was hanging off the bed, and the mech's face was squished against his pillow as he snored loudly. The white blankets was twisted around his body, and they could barely even be called blankets as they weren't exactly serving a purpose.

The God let out a hiccup and he sat up, rubbing the sleepiness from his optics. He pushed himself up and rested on his feet, stretching upwards and gave a satisfied hum as he felt several joints and gears in his back shift and crack against each other. He sighed in content as he left his arms fall.

He sighed again as he looked down at his all too comfortable pillow and mattress. "Sorry, I do have to get up." The God apologized to his beloved bed. "I'll be back before ya know it."

The God pushed himself out of the bed, grunting as the blanket wrapped itself around his ankle. Once the soft fabric was off his leg, the God lifted his servos, his digits tracing a path.

The materials followed his movements, shifting and floating in the air until the bed was fully made again, as if no one had been sleeping there at all. The pillows fluffed themselves out and rested at the top of the bed, and it was /so/ very tempting that the God simply crawl in again and ignore any sort of duty he had to do today.

The thought was interrupted and the action was stopped as the God heard a loud banging from behind him.

Startled by the loud noise this early in the morning, the God flinched and covered his audio receptors, groaning loudly.

"Wakey wakey, Bulk, it's time to-" Miko stopped mid-sentence when she saw that - for once - the bed was fully made, and Bulkhead was awake beside it. This never happened; Bulkhead always needed at least ten minutes of pressure before he finally rolled out of bed.

The gong and stick in her hands paused and lowered slightly.

The two of them made eye contact and Bulkhead made a face. "Miko, don't you dare-"

Bulkhead's protests were interrupted as Miko began to loudly bang the gong again, looking the God dead in the optic as she did so. Bulkhead rolled his optics and let out another groan.

"You are gonna be the death of me," Bulkhead lifted a servo and gestured aimlessly to the side, and the gong and stick followed. Miko whined weakly in protest, but the green mech sat down on the floor beside his bed and gestured for Miko to come closer.

The small Valeran let out a squeal and dashed over, sitting down cross legged in front of the green God.

"What are we thinking for today, Miko?" Bulkhead asked, running his large servo through Miko's hair. "Ponytail, bun? Chop it all off?"

Miko let out a small laugh. "Braids!" She said eagerly. "June gave me a lot of chores today since I accidentally let the chickens out and lost one of 'em. Do you think you could add some pink in there too?"

Bulkhead chuckled and got to work. Even though his servos were considerably larger than Miko's head, he made do by whisking his digits around, and Miko's hair eagerly followed the gestures. Bulkhead raised an optic ridge as he lifted a piece of dried mud out of Miko's scalp. "Miko, the sun just got over the hills, how do you already have mud in your hair?"

"I'm productive," Miko defended herself with a giggle.

The two of them fell into easy conversation, Miko asking her typical morning questions of 'What did you dream about last night?' or 'Can I come with on a patrol to the MECH border?'. Bulkhead responded with questions of his own, like 'Did you eat your breakfast?' and 'Can you sit still for two seconds?'.

Bulkhead placed one of his digits on the front of Miko's hairline, pulling back and a few of Miko's hair strands turned a bright and vibrant pink inside the braids. Miko squealed as she felt the color change tickle against her scalp, but forced herself to remain still as she waited for Bulkhead to finish.

The green God lifted one hand and snapped his fingers, a small rubber band forming out of thin air. He carefully wrapped it around the bottom of Miko's braid combination, and leaned back to admire his work.

Since Miko's choice of hair today was braids, it was only natural that Bulkhead give her the best braids she'd ever seen, and he liked to think he had done a damn good job this time around.

There were four small braids that were tight against her head on either side of her face, and one large braid came down the back. The nine braids merged into one large one, the small braids keeping their shape and flowing through the largest one. The streak of pink was in one of the three strands that went into the main braid, and while it wouldn't have been Bulkhead's first choice for Miko's black hair, it certainty was a statement.

"All done, kiddo." Bulkhead declared, and Miko sprung up to go look at herself in the large mirror housed in one corner of the temple. Bulkhead stayed on his spot on the floor, a small smile on his face plates as he watched Miko admire her new look.

"I love it! I'm so bad-ass!" Miko exclaimed, flexing a little in the mirror. Bulkhead rolled his optics and chuckled. "June is gonna hate it, which makes it so much better!"

Bulkhead chuckled at that. "We did this to make June mad at you?" He asked, not all surprised if that was the case.

Miko cast him a lock over her shoulder. "Duh." She replied, looking back at the mirror. "So what does the God of Earth and Love have planned for today?"

"Probably clean up after all your messes," Bulkhead replied sarcastically, but he was only half kidding. "But Clunk and Ferris were looking a little sick so I'm gonna have to check on them." Miko nodded to show she had heard, and Bulkhead was slightly surprised that she didn't offer to come with like she always did.

After a few more minutes of admiring herself, Miko ran to stand in front of the door after she grabbed her Pit-Forsaken gong. "You coming?" She asked eagerly, practically bouncing in place.

Bulkhead waved a servo at her, a warm smile on his face. "You go ahead, kid, I'll catch up with ya in a minute."

Miko's smile widened and she nodded. "Don't fall back asleep or I'll send in Ratchet to wake you up!" The young girl turned around and hoped down the stairs, banging the gong and singing a song as loud as she could.

Bulkhead smiled fondly as he stood up and made his way towards the doorway to his temple, leaning against the stone when he got to it. He watched Miko run over the hills back towards the village, the sound of the gong growing fainter the farther away she got.

Bulkhead lifted his arms and crossed them over his chassis, a large sigh escaping him as he watched the sun rise in front of him. It had risen above the horizon completely now, and the sky was almost completely eggshell blue. The Valerans were already starting their day, and Bulkhead could see a few of his fellow Gods walking among the people or kneeling beside them, talking. He saw Miko's tiny form as she ran up to a large yellow Bot, who knelt down beside her.

Bulkhead lifted a servo and snapped his digits, a cup of coffee appearing magically out of the air. He took a sip and hummed at the taste, and the noise that escaped his lips brought back the dream he had being trying to recall since he opened his optics.

No matter how hard he wracked his brain, Bulkhead couldn't remember most of his dream but he could still see flashes of himself. He knew he wasn't alone; there was a smaller mech with him. He remembered they were in some kind of metropolis that looked strangely similar to Cybertron, but he couldn't put his finger on where it was.

He could see an awkward - but incredibly adorable - smile blooming on the mech's face, and he was saying something as he approached him. He was short, and his plating was a weird mix of tacky colors like red, white and green, but it worked on him. Bulkhead knew that for certain that the mech seemed scared for some reason, but not much else.

He remembered feeling proud and love and protect rise up in his gut from the dream, and the distinct feeling that he had been there before was very strong with the scenery of the place, but he couldn't determine if that was just part of the dream or if he had really been there.

He narrowed his optics as he tried harder to focus, to remember.

Primus why couldn't he remember?!

Bulkhead scoffed and dropped the coffee mug in his servo, but before it fell very far it vanished into thin air, the stray drops of the heavenly liquid disappearing as well. The God paid it no extra mind as he began to walk down the steps of his temple towards the village area.

'I'll just have to talk to Bee, see if he can bring up my dreams,' Bulkhead thought to himself. If anyone could bring his dream to the front of his mind and figure out whatever the Pit it meant, it was Bumblebee.

As Bulkhead reached the final step of his temple and began walking on the cool, dew covered grass, the servo of the statue resting on top his temple was filled with a small mound of dirt, with a large and beautiful flower standing proudly on the top.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Wheeljack gripped the edge of the waste disposal a little tighter as he felt his gut churning a little more. He had just finished his fifth round of puking, and he guessed there was going to be another.

His guess was quickly proven correct. He pulled himself up a little higher and emptied the very last of his stomach contents into the waste disposal, swearing through his teeth when his finial hit the sides.

Wheeljack had made the mistake of telling his friends he wanted to get completely and utterly drunk - under the guise that he and the other scientists had just had a major break through with the Cybermatter, not that he had seen a strange and quite handsome ghost in the dark alley - and everyone had been in complete support of this proposal. The bartender, Macadam, was less than thrilled that they wanted to get drunk in his bar - they'd had a track record for being rowdy drunks - but Blurr had told him he planned to stay sober as he had a job interview the next day, and Macadam had allowed it.

Wheeljack was actually off today, as well as all of this week, so he wasn't afraid to drink a little more than needed.

He was regretting that now.

Once his stomach stopped gurgling and the room stopped turning around him, Wheeljack slowly rose from the waste disposal, facing the mirror. There was a small ring of gray around his optics and he looked a little more white than gray in the face plates, but he'd been hungover before and this was nothing new. If anything, this was mild.

As well as being rowdy drunks, they were also notorious for having Pit awful hangovers every following morning.

Wheeljack proceeded to clean his face with a towel and brush his teeth before he made his way out into his bedroom, and then to his kitchen.

He stepped over Springer and Impactor where they were laying still passed out on the floor, and he moved past them to his coffee maker. It had cost him a fortune to buy, but the investment had paid off; it made the best damn coffee Wheeljack had ever had.

"Are you done puking?" Impactor's sluggish voice was almost inaudible. "'Cause I think it's my turn."

Wheeljack waved him off as the yellow and purple mech rose from the floor and dashed into Wheeljack's bathroom, the sounds of puking echoing into the kitchen. Springer groaned and rose up, holding onto the counter for support. Wheeljack offered him a cup of orange juice, which Springer gladly accepted.

"Why are your optics gray around the edges?" Springer asked as he forced himself to drink half of the orange juice. He gagged and looked like he wanted to hurl, but he swallowed hard.

"Wouldn't you like to know." Wheeljack retorted, adding a healthy helping of sugar and milk to his coffee. He knew he probably wouldn't be able to keep it down, but it was worth a try. "Where'd Whirl run off to?"

"Wouldn't you like to know." Springer fired back, and Wheeljack chuckled. "Nah, he got picked up by someone, went home with them. Don't really remember it."

"Lucky bastard." Wheeljack said and took a small sip of his coffee. It tasted awful with the vomit taste still fresh in his mouth. "He's always gettin' laid."

"You're just jealous. When's the last time you got some action?"

"Dunno. Maybe a month?" Wheeljack shrugged.

"Was it that bad?"

"No, just a one night stand."

"The guy not nice?"

"No he was fine. Just didn't have a lot in common. And not my type."

Springer grunted in understanding, and silence settled between them. They heard Impactor slip and fall in the bathroom, the loud /thud/ and the muffled swearing pretty obvious. Both of them tried to hide their laughter in their drinks as the mech walked back into the kitchen. Wheeljack handed him a cup of orange juice which was accepted, but not drank.

"I got the same house out in the country for all of next week, if you guys're interested." Impactor said after a few moments, his voice still raspy.

Springer nodded. "Love to."

Wheeljack shook his helm. "Can't."

Impactor rolled his optics. "I thought you said you had some off days comin' up, that's why you could drink."

"I do, but I'm gonna travel again. Explore."

"Didn't you just do that?"

"Like, half an eon ago."

"Thought you explored everythin' already."

"That's the beauty of space, Springer. There's always more to see." Wheeljack forced himself to take another sip of coffee. "I'm goin' by Kup's to check on my ship, if you guys were interested in taggin' along."

Both mechs shook their heads. They explained they had work things to do, but to send Kup their best. The three mechs fell into easy conversation after that, telling what little they could remember from last night, how they bounced from bar to bar, getting sicker and sicker as they went. They looked through their phones and laughed at the embarrassing pictures they had managed to capture.

Springer excused himself first, taking a cup of coffee and a muffin before he left. Impactor stayed a little longer, but before he left Wheeljack called out to him.

"Hey, Impactor." The mech turned and waited for Wheeljack to say more. "You didn't happen to see a tall, green mech in the alley last night, did you?"

Impactor tilted his helm. "You mean Springer?"

"No," Wheeljack face palmed and laughed a little. "I mean when you called to me and told me to hurry up, you didn't see anyone?"

Impactor took a step back into the apartment, his optics filling with concern. "Wheeljack, you okay? You seein' things? Have you been getting enough sleep lately? You did start hallucinatin' things that one time when you didn't sleep for two weeks."

Wheeljack's spark sank in his chest as he leaned against the counter nonchalantly, or at least he tried to be. "Nah, I've been sleepin' just fine. Probably just spent too long around the chemicals without my mask on. I'm fine."

Impactor didn't seem convinced. "You sure? I can get you in with my shrink sometime, if you wanna talk to anyone."

Wheeljack offered a small smile and waved his offer off. "No thanks, you can keep your shrink. I'm sure it was nothin'."

Impactor nodded, but he still seemed worried. "Okay. If you say so." He left with a wave and closed the door behind him.

Wheeljack's smile fell the moment Impactor closed the door.

"Scrap." Wheeljack muttered around his mug, his thoughts beginning to wander. 'So no one else saw him. Just me. Perfect.'

Wheeljack did a double take around the kitchen, making sure there was no transparent bots just staring at him once again. He ventured into the living room, his bedroom and the spare, the bathroom, all with the same results: nothing. He wandered out onto his balcony, sipping the last of his coffee.

Wheeljack sighed, closing his optics while he took a deep breath.

"How 'bout this?" Wheeljack hated that he was talking to himself - not himself, he decided, he was talking to the transparent bot - and he wasn't exactly sure why he was doing this.

He rolled his eyes as he remember that his former therapist told him he needed to talk about his problems to the people he was having problems with, and this was as close as he could get to that. "You leave me alone, and I'll just continue to live out my life? Sound good?"

Wheeljack turned back around and walked through his apartment, sighing in relief when he found no strange bots. He drank the last bit of coffee and placed his mug in the sink.

"Chemicals." He told himself. "That's all it was."

He moved to his berth room to begin packing for his trip, humming a tune to himself as he went.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

::Cliff, I'm telling you, that is the worst idea you've ever had, and you've had some pretty bad ideas::

"How? I'm just sayin', a giant force field around the planet would be a worthwhile thing to do! The Titans would have a much harder time finding us then."

::None of us can create force fields that large, scrap for brains::

"Ratchet totally could!"

::Good luck convincing him to stand there all day holding a force field around the entire planet::

"Okay, maybe not the whole planet. But just the village, maybe!"

::I'll say it again: good luck::

Ultra Magnus couldn't help the small smile that came to his face at Bumblebee and Cliffjumper's discussion. Their constant chatter may have been annoying, but at least it was passing the time. Besides, stealth wasn't their main objective anyway, they were simply on a standard border patrol. The tall blue God could have forced them to be quiet, but he found it helped the moral if he allowed them to talk quietly among themselves.

Ultra Magnus stepped over a fallen tree, and he felt the whoosh of wind on his plating as Bumblebee simply used his powers to move the trunk aside. Bumblebee's indignant cry filled his mind and he wasn't surprised when he turned around and saw two identical Bumblebee's staring back at him.

Cliffjumper, as the God of Change and Character, could shape shift into anyone or anything he desired. His imitations were flawless and foiled many of his fellow Gods on occasion. The only thing that told Ultra Magnus which was Cliffjumper and which was the real Bumblebee was the yellow bot on the right was dying of laughter while the yellow bot on the left was attempting to use his powers to blow Cliffjumper away.

"That is enough." Ultra Magnus ordered, and reluctantly, Cliffjumper gave up his disguise and Bumblebee stopped trying to blow him away. Cliffjumper phased back into himself, his horns and bright red paint job returning almost in the blink of an eye. "We may not be focusing on stealth, but we still need to keep our heads in the game and our minds focused. MECH could strike at anytime."

Cliffjumper blew a raspberry. "MECH? Causin' problems? Please, I could fight them in my sleep. Which I do, Arcee tells me I wake her up all the time 'cause I'm punching in Silas's dirty face."

Ultra Magnus rolled his optics and turned around, leading the two Gods into the open area that served as the God and MECH border. It was an open field with a large river running across the center, about twelve feet wide and a few feet deep. It kept MECH on their side, and for the Gods, Ratchet had put up a spell a long time ago that ensured neither could cross.

Only the barrier was now down.

Cliffjumper stopped as he realized the familiar red hue of Ratchet's spell was missing from the river bed. "Funny. Shouldn't there be a red wall here?"

Bumblebee walked a little closer and stretched out his servo. He continued to move forward slowly, hesitantly, waiting for the force field to come back online and shock him. But no shock came. Bumblebee pulled back and gave Ultra Magnus a worried look.

::The barrier is completely down:: Bumblebee whispered. ::This hasn't happened before. Ratchet makes sure it's up all the time with like, seven supportive spells::

Cliffjumper looked both ways, trying to see if he could spot any MECH agents across the border. "Arcee told me all was clear yesterday, this must have happened between yesterday and right now."

"They have been getting much better at understanding our powers." Ultra Magnus hummed.

::We'll have to tell Optimus, and Ratchet. He'll need to create a new charm::

"OP isn't gonna be happy about this." Cliffjumper shook his helm.

::Do you think they crossed over?:: Bumblebee asked, checking the ground for footprints. There were no obvious ones in the ground surrounding their side of the border, but it was still worth it to look.

Ultra Magnus said nothing further, but he sat down beside the stream and closed his optics. He reached out a servo and placed it into the clear water and focused. Water had memory, and if he could access it, he could answer Bumblebee's question.

When there was a splash in the water, Ultra Magnus felt it.

Cliffjumper and Bumblebee heard it instead, and reacted accordingly.

Bumblebee lashed out with his wind powers, attempting to catch the small agents off guard. There were six of them, all trying to make their way back to their own side. Bumblebee let out an annoyed huff as the MECH agents lifted a shield, one that had they had seen before. It could deflect Bumblebee's powers for just long enough that they could escape.

Cliffjumper had shape shifted into Bulkhead, and he roared as he pressed his servos into the ground. The earth shook and rumbled and cracked beneath the feet of the MECH agents, and they stopped and attempted to gain their ground.

Ultra Magnus opened one optic as he heard a small beeping noise. Annoying though it may be, it was easily recognizable.

"Let them go!" Ultra Magnus demanded, and Cliffjumper and Bumblebee looked back at him, confused.

The foreign planets that were joined with Valeran didn't need to use surveillance cameras to keep track of the Gods, but MECH did.

"What's wrong, shoulder pads?" Cliffjumper demanded as he shifted back into himself. "Why are we letting them go?"

Bumblebee watched as the agents ran over the hills and out of view, but he did not move to stop them. ::We almost had them!::

Ultra Magnus raised one servo, opening up his powers in the direction of the beeping. He could feel himself getting closer to it, before he found the source of the beeping.

Ultra Magnus clenched his servo, and the beeping began to get louder and closer towards him. Soon, a small camera device came flying through the trees, until it landed in Ultra Magnus's now opened servo.

"A camera…" Cliffjumper breathed. "On our side of the border?"

::That's why they needed the barrier down. They're trying to get closer::

The God examined the device in his servo, taking in the tiny, specific work of the MECH device. MECH was far from their most formidable opponent, but they were also not to be taken lightly. They couldn't fly or turn invisible or posses the Gods like the Titans could, but they had other ways of spying on the Gods. This camera was a prime example.

This wasn't the first time Ultra Magnus had found a camera device from MECH, but it was the first time he'd found it this close to their camp. Judging by how long it had taken Ultra Magnus to get the device in his servo, the camera had been a mile or two closer to their camp, which was bold for MECH.

"Should we take it back to camp?" Cliffjumper asked, his servos clenched in anger. It unnerved him that MECH had managed to best Ratchet's shielding, and it made him uncomfortable as he didn't know how far into their territory MECH had gotten.

Bumblebee took a step closer, his door wings twitching on his back. ::Maybe we could use it to locate the other cameras, if there are any:: Bumblebee shivered.

Ultra Magnus opened his mouth to speak, but he paused. Faintly, he could hear small voices coming from the camera, most of which he didn't recognize, but the loudest of which he did.

The raspy, controlled voice of the MECH leader was a voice he couldn't forget easily.

"They can hear us." Cliffjumper hissed out, his optics glowing in his anger. "We can't bring them right into our camp."

Ultra Magnus shattered the camera without a second thought.

Chapter Text

Meetings were by far Starscream's least favorite things about being a God. They were boring, they were unnecessary, and they took up the better part of his day that could be spent helping the children tip the small things known as 'cows'.

He gripped his spark mate's servo a little tighter as he rolled his optics. The Iclic King and Airachnid were late again, causing this meeting to already be off to a bad start, and they were only ten minutes in.

As pleased as Starscream was that he as well as his fellow Gods had escaped from the wrath of the Children of Unicron and found habitable planets, it pained him beyond words that the planets they found were a part of a interplanetary agreement (Starscream knew that Optimus would have still forced everyone to see each other once a month, his fellow God was sentimental like that).

He supposed it was worth it, in a sense, it provided them extra back up should the Titans ever find them, but the Pit awful meetings were almost enough for him to leave the planet and never come back.

Soundwave squeezed his hand, and Starscream offered him a blink-and-you'll-miss-it smile in return.

This meeting was being held on Valeran; it was their rotation. The Gods from Tonin had arrived first, followed closely by the inhabitants of Nova, but the Iclic people had yet to show.

The meeting itself was being held in the main temple in the center of all the others. The temple's main room could be turned into anything the Gods so desired: a dining hall, a ballroom, but today it was set as their traditional meeting hall. There was a large, circular table in the center, surrounded by enough chairs for everyone to sit comfortably. The chairs were not split apart by faction or home world; they were always encouraged to mingle.

'Encourage everyone to reconnect' as Optimus loved to say.

The representatives from Valeran included William Fowler and June Darby, as well as her son and his two friends. (At first Starscream had questioned the usefulness of the three children being there, but he did find he liked their company and Miko's sarcastic comments made the meetings a little more enjoyable). All of the Gods who lived on Valeran were also present. From Tonin, all of the Gods who lived there were present.

Nova came with their Queen, a small organic woman with black hair and golden eyes. Beth was her name, if Starscream could remember correctly. The God respected her; no matter how intense the arguments got during these meetings, she would stand her ground and she was almost scary. Nova also came with their highest ranking generals and Shockwave, who had been the God who had left Tonin to live with the Novian people. He had ended up loving it so much he stayed.

Whenever the Iclic people would arrive, they would be represented by their King, Crow, as well as their generals. While Starscream respected Beth for being defiant and strong willed, he respected Crow for his cunning and strategic brilliance (Starscream was the God of Ice and Cunning after all, he recognized his talents where they were being used well). Airachnid was the God who traveled there, and like Shockwave, she had loved it so much she chose to live there.

Starscream wondered if she stayed because she loved it, or she stayed because she didn't want to spend any more time than necessary with her God family. She had always preferred to live alone before they left Cybertron.

"Any word from Crow on their time of arrival?" Optimus's voice cut through the small talk that filled their air of the meeting hall. The red and blue God was sitting beside Megatron and Beth.

Dreadwing was standing by the door, Knock Out and Smokescreen by his side. Dreadwing glanced out of the doorway, then looked back towards Optimus and Megatron. "Nothing yet."

"It is like Crow to be late, isn't it?" Starscream added, rolling his optics. "And Airachnid was never one to push in terms of being on time."

Megatron managed a small chuckle. "Perhaps not. However, Crow will get here when he gets here." Megatron rested his elbow on the armrest, and his arm stayed lazily in the air. A moment passed and a glass of red wine appeared in his servo. "We are in no rush."

"Speak for yourself," Cliffjumper said loudly as he propped his feet up on the table. A general from Nova laughed and followed his lead, while Arcee rolled her optics at her spark mate's antics. "my nap time is in an hour, and you all know how cranky I can get when I don't take my nap."

"Here they come!" Smokescreen announced, running back over to his chair. The sound of the portal opening was heard overhead, the familiar hum almost lost to Starscream's audio receptors.

Sure enough, a few moments later, a nimble Predacon landed on the steps leading up to the temple door. Starscream recognized Airachnid's Predacon form the instant she came fully into view. Her black, white and purple plating was easily recognized.

Crow and his generals stepped off of Airachnid's back and walked into the meeting area. Crow was a tall man with a fair completion and bright red hair. He reminded Starscream of what Knock Out might look like if he was an organic like them.

There was a roar from the Predacon before she was surrounded by a puff of smoke, and when it vanished, Airachnid stood in its place. She shook herself off a little and stretched her limbs to the sky, before she sighed and walked past Dreadwing and Knock Out with a small nod of greeting. She took the open seat between Bulkhead and a Novian general.

Optimus didn't rise from his seat, but he did straighten and offered everyone at the table a warm smile. "Welcome everyone; I hope everyone traveled safely and all is well where you come from. Now, who wishes to begin this meeting?"

"I will start." Beth did rise from her chair, but even as she stood on the steps leading up to the chair itself she was much lower than eye level to the Gods in the room. "Nova has been doing very well, and we have completely recovered from the small cases of the sickness that plagued our village, thanks to the help from June and Ratchet."

Beth waved a hand towards the two health specialists, and both nodded their heads in thanks.

"The cure you have provided us has done wonders for our people, and we will continue to develop it to remove any side effects." Beth continued. "If you have the time, we would humbly request your assistance on the matter."

Ratchet smiled warmly while June nodded eagerly. "We would love to, Beth." June said, her voice matching the bright look in her eyes. She grabbed Fowler's hand eagerly, and the Valeran leader smiled up at his wife. Across the table, Miko made a kissy face, while Jack and Raf grimaced. Starscream only snickered.

"We are excited to be hosting the Ball in one month's time, and hope that everyone will be in attendance." Beth continued, and a few excited murmurs broke out at the mention of the Ball. Smokescreen gave Bumblebee a wink across the table, while Cliffjumper blew a kiss to Arcee. Starscream turned to look at Soundwave, who was already looking a him, a small cartoon-like heart on his visor. "Nova has nothing else to report."

Beth sat down, fixing her dress as she did so.

Bumblebee turned and whispered something to Knock Out, and the red God responded in kind, and soon the meeting had taken a break and small conversations broke out between all parties. Dreadwing was talking to a general from Nova, while Ultra Magnus was speaking to Starscream in a calm tone.

Without standing up, Crow spoke, his voice loud and slightly accusing. "And how fares your Titan problem?"

The peaceful atmosphere of the meeting vanished in a heartbeat.

The meeting went quiet instantly at those words. Breakdown looked away from the Iclic leader in disgust, while Megatron's grip tightened ten fold on the glass in his servo. The delicate surface of it cracked under his grip.

Airachnid let out a chuckle that cut through the air like a razor. "My darling Crow, I have already told you; the Titans are still fast asleep across the galaxy, as they were the last time you asked -"

"Actually, Airachnid." Optimus said, his voice hesitant but still confident. "we have an update we would like to discuss. Bumblebee."

The small black and yellow God slowly rose from his seat, his frame shaking slightly from all the attention suddenly becoming focused on him. ::I had a vision, a few days ago. The Titans are awake, and they are on their way::

The meeting hall fell into an awkward silence, no one quiet sure what to say.

Starscream wasn't sure what everyone else was feeling, but he was disgusted. This was news to him, and judging by everyone else's faces - except for the Gods who lived on Valeran, go figure - this was news to everyone else. Megatron was glaring at Optimus in shock while the Novian and Iclic people shifted uncomfortably in their seats.

"And you're just mentioning this now?" Knock Out spat, his arms crossed over his chassis.

"Bumblebee only received his vision a few days ago, we decided it would be best to wait until the meeting to discuss it, when we would all be here." Ratchet said calmly, moving to the edge of his seat. "That way, everyone could get all the facts at once and we could decide together what the best course of action would be. We need to work together on this issue."

"Do not talk to us about solidarity!" Airachnid spat, standing up so fast the legs of her chair creaked against the floor. "You simply didn't want to tell us, do not make yourselves high and mighty in this situation!" Her armor flashed and puffed out, and Smokescreen felt sick to his stomach as he felt the room start to shift around him.

"Airachnid, stop -" Dreadwing leaned forward, his servo outstretched to help calm the Goddess.

"Your decision was most logical; to wait for everyone to be in the same room increases the chance of us coming to a sound agreement by nearly double," Shockwave spoke for the first time since he had arrived. "however, I do not believe that this issue is one that could be left to dwell upon. Any time wasted not discussing the Titans, is time we leave ourselves vulnerable."

Optimus nodded, his expression grave. He looked up and met Airachnid's gaze before he turned his attention to Megatron. "Old friend, you know we would not have left you in the dark. We are unified and the Titan threat is not one to be ignored." Megatron's expression changed but he said nothing.

"We were always going to discuss Bumblebee's vision, if this meeting was not due for another few weeks or even a few days more, then we would have told you the moment Bumblebee had his vision." Ratchet said.

"Sounds like an excuse to me." Crow muttered, and Beth shot him a glare.

"Be quiet, Crow. You've stirred enough emotions for one meeting."

The attention shifted back to Optimus and Megatron as everyone waited for the God to say something. Megatron scoffed. "I believe you, Optimus. Just try not to keep secrets from us again."

Miko could physically feel the tension leave the room at Megatron's words. She slumped in her seat before June motioned for her to sit up. "So, what's the plan?" She asked, standing up so she could be a little taller and included in this very interesting topic.

Miko knew she should be more worried about the Titan threat; she knew if the Titans found Valeran, they would destroy everything on it, including her. But she had complete faith in Bulkhead and the other Gods, and she had decided a long time ago that she wasn't going to worry until she had a definite reason to.

Bulkhead gave her an amused look. "Do you know how far away the Titans are, Bee?"

The young God shook his helm. ::I know they've awoken and they're started coming towards us, but I don't know where they started or how long it will take them to get here." Bumblebee beeped. ::I've been trying to get another vision since I got the last one, but nothing yet.::

Soundwave shifted beside Starscream, his speakers activating. "I could assist you." It was Ratchet's voice that played through, tender in nature. "We can work together…to bring another…vision." Different clips and voices filtered through, but the message was heard clearly.

Bumblebee nodded gratefully and sat down in his chair.

"Nova would be honored to spare any kind of food or supplies to you, should you ever need it." Beth offered, and Crow waved his arm, his silent form of agreement that Iclic would do the same.

"With all due respect," Ultra Magnus inputted. "to defend against the Titans, we do not need supplies or food, we simply need a way to defend ourselves."

Optimus raised a servo to his second in command. "But we will gladly accept anything you are willing to give us."

"I know something that could work," Knock Out raised his servo unceremoniously. "the mech from Cybertron could move his aft and get here to help."

Another session of silence filled the temple. They all knew that with the Titans came the mech from the prophecy, but everyone had been silently hoping that the mech would arrive before the Titans caused any sort of trouble, not after.

"Who needs him anyway?" Crow spoke up, his voice encouraging. Starscream scowled; encouraging wasn't in Crow's nature. "You guys have all sorts of cool powers, you can defeat the Titans without him."

"While we most certainly have cool powers, Crow, the mech from Cybertron has always been a part of the plan to defeat the Titans." Megatron explained.

"It was foretold by Primus -"

"Who?"

"Our creator. That this mech would defeat the Titans. While we could make a stand against the Titans, it will not be possible to defeat them without the one from Cybertron."

"We don't even know a thing about him." Arcee spoke up. "We don't know what he looks like, if he's even coming."

Bulkhead shifted in his seat, but said nothing.

"Why don't you guys just pack up and run? You could always just stay out of their way." A general from Nova spoke up.

"Valeran's our home," Smokescreen defended, flashing a grin to the children, June and Fowler at the table. "We can't leave them alone."

Crow scoffed. "Very well. I have full faith that Soundwave and Bumblebee can do more tests to give you more information on the matter."

Optimus rose from his chair. "And that concludes our meeting." Everyone rose from their chairs and began to give the people next to them their goodbyes. "Safe journey, everyone."

Starscream couldn't help the sigh of relief that escaped him as he rose up from his seat, his servo still linked with Soundwave's. As Soundwave pulled away to talk to Bumblebee about their plans for his visions, Starscream approached the children.

The sun hadn't set yet, there was plenty of time to tip some cows before Starscream left for Tonin.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

"Ya silly old aft burner! Come her' and gimme some love!"

Wheeljack let out a loud laugh and gladly accepted the hug Kup was offering. They clapped each other on the back roughly before they pulled apart, still laughing loudly.

Kup was one of Wheeljack's oldest friends; they'd met when Wheeljack's sire had brought their ship to Kup's shop when Wheeljack was little. Kup had shown little Wheeljack how to fix the engine leak all by himself, and they had been friends ever since.

Kup was the owner of the finest shipping building on all of Cybertron; he was well respected and well loved by a lot of Cybertron's higher-ups. Kup was an older mech; gruff and cold, but he had a spark of gold and it showed if he liked you. His plating was chipped a little, but it was still a strong teal with darker hues. He could always be spotted with a cigar in his mouth.

Kup pulled an extra cigar out of his subspace and offered it to Wheeljack, who accepted with a nod. The teal mech offered him a lighter and Wheeljack leaned forward to light his cigar, before the two mechs leaned back against Wheeljack's ship.

"Thought you weren't headin' out for a coupl' more eons." Kup pointed out, looking down at a data pad in his servos.

Wheeljack nodded and took a small drag of the cigar. "I wasn't, but then I got bored. Can only listen to Brainy and Percy talk about their sex lives so much. You know how it is."

"I don't, thank my lucky stars. But I think yer just leavin' to try n' get laid."

"Slagger." Wheeljack chuckled. "Not everything I do is an attempt to get laid, ya pompous aft."

"Ya love me. Now, where ya headed?"

"No idea. I was thinking I'd head northwest and see where it takes me. Haven't gone that way in eons."

Kup nodded, an approving look on his face. "So you're here for the Jackhammer's check up then, huh?"

"You know it."

"Not here to see my pretty face?"

"Aw," Wheeljack snickered. "you saw right through my lies." Wheeljack pulled the cigar out of his mouth and leaned down to press a taunting kiss on Kup's cheek, and he was immediently slapped in the face for his efforts. Not the worst slap he'd ever gotten, but Kup had a mean swing. Wheeljack hid the stinging pain with laughter.

Kup scoffed and turned around, running his hand over the side of the Jackhammer. He moved his way to the back where the engine panel was hidden, and popped it off. Wheeljack followed aimlessly, taking another drag of his cigar.

"Yer sure yer ready to be travelin' again, Wheeljack?" Kup asked after a few minutes of analyzing the Jackhammer's engine.

Wheeljack tilted his helm in confusion. "Well yeah. Why, is somethin' wrong with the Jackhammer?"

"No, the ship's runnin' fine, better than fine, as always. I can put in a new compulsion system for ya if ya'd like." Wheeljack waved his affirmative and Kup continued.

"It's you I'm worried 'bout, Wheeljack." Kup didn't look up from his work.

Wheeljack scowled. "I'm fine, Kup. You don't havta worry about me."

Kup did look up then. "Wheels, I've been friends with ya ever since you were in diapers. I think I know when you're not fine."

"You talked to Impactor."

"He came to me. And you know how spooked he has ta get to tell anyone 'bout anythin'." Kup tilted his helm. "But yer seeing ghosts? You know that's not normal, right?"

Wheeljack rolled his optics and leaned against the side of his ship, taking one last drag of the cigar before he walked to a garbage and put out the cigar in the ashtray on top. "I ain't seeing ghosts, Kup. I was just around the chemicals in my lab for too long."

Kup raised an eyebrow. "Wheeljack, I'm surrounded by gas n' smoke n' all kinds of chemicals all day long and I have not once hallucinated. There's something wrong wit ya." Kup closed the engine panel and gave it a few pats before he moved on to the inside of the ship. Wheeljack followed.

"I swear, nothin's wrong. I'm fine, Kup. Impactor just overreacted." Wheeljack argued, flopping down in the pilot's seat as Kup continued to inspect the controls and systems. "And you remember the navigation needs to be turned off then turned on again before it works?"

Kup waved him off and did just that, before turning it off right away anyway. He turned and sat down on the counsel, facing Wheeljack with his arms crossed.

"I'm gonna ask you one more time: you sure yer ready to be travelin, Wheeljack?" Kup asked around his cigar, his voice strangely tender and calm for Kup. It lacked its usual aggressive tone.

Wheeljack met his gaze, and his spark sank in his chest.

In truth, no, he was not ready to be traveling again.

He was about to miss a very important week for his job, which meant mounds of paperwork whenever he got back. He still needed to give Whirl the key to his apartment so someone could take out his garbage and water his plants every morning - Wheeljack questioned his sanity to choose Whirl to water the plants, anything that bucket of bolts touched he destroyed - as well as buy a couple of scones in advance from his regular breakfast vendor.

Not to mention, there was a terrible feeling settling itself in his gut that the mech with the deep blue optics and kind smile was still wandering around with him, about to make himself visible to him.

Wheeljack pushed down all those worries and looked Kup in the optic as he spoke. "Yes. You know I don't travel if I don't feel up to it."

Kup stared at him for a while longer, as if he was waiting for Wheeljack to crack under his gaze. It had worked when Wheeljack was small, but Kup's consistency to use 'the glare' had caused him to build up an immunity to it.

Kup eventually broke the gaze, shrugging. "Fine. But when ya call me in tears to come get ya from Primus knows where, I'll laugh at ya the whole way home."

Wheeljack chuckled as Kup stood up to walk down the ramp. "I look forward to it."

Wheeljack was tempted to follow him, but he decided to wait a minute more, looking around the inside of the ship he'd spent eons inside of.

"I'm just gonna take this data pad to the front desk, I'll be right back."

"Okay, I'll be here." Wheeljack sighed in relief and slumped further into the chair, drumming his fingers on his chassis.

Valeran

Wheeljack jerked as he heard a voice thunder through the ship. It was a voice he'd never heard before, didn't recognize, but it sounded so familiar the same time, like he should have known where it came from.

Go to Valeran

Wheeljack looked around, under the console and around the ship, but there was no one in the cockpit save for him. He could hear tinkering outside and loud voices, but none of them sounded like the one'd just heard.

He turned to the controls and navigation system, and looked down at them in surprise.

The autopilot had been set for some coordinates that Wheeljack recongized as far away. He'd flown far before on his journeys, but never that far and never in the direction these coordinates were pointing to.

There was an awful feeling in his gut that maybe Kup and Impactor were right: maybe he wasn't in the right head space to be flying.

Honestly, first he was seeing ghosts, then he was hearing things, and now the Jackhammer was messed up too.

But right alongside that awful feeling of regret and danger, there was a longing in his spark that he couldn't deny. He always got this feeling before he left on his adventures; the need to explore and see what else was out there. But this time, the need was stronger, as if someone was waiting for him.

Hope.. That was the feeling in his gut.

"Hey Wheels! Ya comin?" Kup's voice shook Wheeljack from his thoughts.

Wheeljack jumped in surprise and sprang out his his chair. He turned briefly and saw that the coordinates were still plugged in, and a small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

"Yeah, I'm comin' I'm comin." Wheeljack said, and ran down the ramp towards Kup.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

"I yield." Breakdown hissed out, his voice raspy from all the yelling he'd just done. His optics narrowed at Bulkhead, but the green mech could see the humor in his eyes, beneath the anger.

Bulkhead smirked and flicked his finger, and all of the earth and trees that had started to grow on Breakdown vanished in the wind, allowing the God of Strength to get up slowly, rubbing his processor.

"That was a cheap move, Bulk and you know it."

Bulkhead chuckled, rolling his optics. "I don't know what you mean."

After the Novian and Iclic people had left, the Gods from Tonin had stuck around a little longer, eating dinner with them and bringing out the high grade (which, looking back, had been a little bit of a mistake on Smokescreen and Cliffjumper's parts), and now the Gods were all having a tournament out in The Arena on the outskirts of the village.

The Arena was created by the Gods when they first arrived, a way to continue to better their skills or serve as a place to relax and hide out. It had everything needed to challenge the Gods: stationary dummies, movable drones, weapons, private training rooms, seats for the other Gods and villagers to watch. It was utilized nearly everyday, since it could be used for so much (often times the village children would use it for hide and seek). The Arena was usually above ground, but it could be taken below at a moment's notice.

After the high grade had been brought out, everyone started getting a little cocky. Naturally, a duel was demanded to be held. A classic tournament.

Bulkhead had just beaten Breakdown, so he was able to move onto the next round. It was a win by narrow margins, and Bulkhead would admit that the strong punch to the gut to get Breakdown off balance before he began to grow a tree on top of him wasn't exactly the most chivalrous move.

Bulkhead reached down and helped his friend to his feet, and Breakdown accepted the gesture. The blue mech gave him a hard slap on the back, and they walked over to the small pavilion on the side, ready to watch the next round.

Breakdown sat beside his mate, while Bulkhead sat down by Arcee, who was beside Starscream. They were having a casual conversation, little cups of tea in their servos and Bulkhead couldn't help but chuckle briefly. He turned to face them, creating a cup of coffee for himself.

"What are we talkin' 'bout guys?" He asked, and Starscream cocked an eyebrow ridge at him when he saw the cup of coffee.

"None of your business," Starscream said at the same time Arcee said "A book we decided to read in between meetings."

Bulkhead chuckled again as Starscream groaned dramatically, as if Arcee had just revealed they were in cahoots to kill someone. "Who's up next?" Bulkhead changed the subject, a grin still on his face.

"Knock Out has the matches," Starscream said, sounding bored. Bulkhead turned, and the short red mech had apparently heard his name be said, since he was now checking for the next match.

"Ultra Magnus and Soundwave. Oh, this'll be most interesting." Knock Out hummed, an excited edge to his voice. "Has Soundwave been practicing how to make everyone look like fools when they fight him?"

Starscream preened at the praise to his spark mate. "Naturally. Not that you need help looking like a fool, Knock Out."

The God of Lightning and Vanity sent a small lightning shock Starscream's way, which was stopped by Starscream's icy talons.

Bulkhead nodded in silent agreement to Knock Out's previous statement. Soundwave was better than skilled, and everyone knew it. He never bragged about it, never said he was better than everyone else, but everyone knew. The only bot Soundwave had ever lost to was Megatron, and that had been one Pit of a close match.

Primus had favorites, and Soundwave was the perfect example.

Not that Ultra Magnus wasn't skilled either, because he was. He'd worked himself tirelessly to get better, both mentally and with his powers. He could stand his ground against anyone, letting themselves show their weaknesses to him, only to have them be exploited once they tired themselves out. His speed and strength was one to be jealous of.

Bulkhead looked up as Ultra Magnus and Soundwave took to the arena, nodding to each other before they turned and walked a few paces apart, backs to the other.

"Oh, we've got a classic duel today, boys." Knock Out whispered, not wanting to break the thick silence between the two mecha in the field. "So proper of them. I would have already shot Soundwave in the back by now."

"Where's the fun in that?" Bulkhead replied, sipping his coffee.

They went quiet as Soundwave and Ultra Magnus turned around to face each other. Soundwave didn't move, his body barely twitching as he stared at the other God through his visor. Ultra Magnus dropped one foot back into a guarding stance, letting water swirl around his servos as he brought them up to his face.

The Arena was silent as the two mechs stared each other down, waiting for the other to make the first move.

Across the battle field, on the other side under their own pavilion, Cliffjumper, Megatron, Ratchet, and Optimus watched eagerly. Dreadwing was resting as he had fought just before Breakdown and Bulkhead, but he was watching the display eagerly from his chair under the shade. Bumblebee and Smokescreen sat beside him, whispering to each other as they analyzed the fight.

Cliffjumper looked up at Megatron, a smirk on his face. "I'll bet you fifty that Mags lasts longer than five minutes."

Megatron didn't look down at him, but he cocked an eyebrow in interest. "Hundred to say for Soundwave beating him in two." They shook on it, and that was the last conversation had before the fight began.

Ultra Magnus struck first, as expected. Soundwave never attacked first.

He kept his distance, shooting out water from his palms in Soundwave's direction, the water moving almost too fast for the optic to see, the water droplets like bullets flying through the air.

If he was scared of the water coming at him, Soundwave didn't show it.

He began to literally dance his way out of the water droplets, his body shifted and moving so fluidly it was like the water that was coming at him. He twirled again as the water flew past him, and if Bulkhead looked close enough, he could have sworn he saw just a few specs of paint fly off Soundwave's arm from the water grazing it.

Ultra Magnus let out a battle cry then, beginning to charge towards the silent mech. Soundwave's tentacles dropped from his chassis, small sparks flicking on the ends of them. Ultra Magnus continued to charge, water once again wrapped around his hands.

They met in the middle, Ultra Magnus trying to swing at Soundwave, only for the tentacles to deflect his every move. Bulkhead noticed that one tentacle was also trying to latch onto Ultra Magnus, and the God was twisting and turning to avoid the blow as well.

At one point, Ultra Magnus managed to land a hit, his right foot finding purchase against Soundwave's chest, and the slimmer God was sent flying backwards, twisting in the air.

Soundwave twisted in midair, landing with a loud thud on his pedes, causing the ground to crack beneath him. His knees buckled slightly and he sank lower to the ground to gain balance, his arms crossing in front of his chassis. Slowly, the God of Reality and Silence stood up, his visor blank and his demeanor serious.

Ultra Magnus wasted no time, letting out a battle cry and launching water balls at Soundwave as fast as he could.

Just as he did the first time, Soundwave dodged with the same amount of grace and skill he had before.

Ultra Magnus made the mistake to end the fight.

Just as he was getting close to Soundwave, Ultra Magnus launched himself into the air, the water in his servos turning into a large, watery sword. He intended to strike it out, but in raising his arms above his head he left his front entirely exposed to Soundwave's attack.

One of Soundwave's tentacles latched onto Ultra Magnus's face, and the Water God let out a scream before it was silenced, his body going limp and the water disappearing from his servos.

Ultra Magnus crashed onto the ground, his form still limp even after Soundwave's tentacle left his face.

"There he goes." Knock Out muttered and wrote something down on the match board. "Good fight, all things considered."

Bulkhead gulped down the last of his coffee in an attempt to get his spark to stop beating so fast. One of Soundwave's many powers was that he could force you to see any reality he wanted, and render you completely helpless while he did so. It was both incredibly useful and incredibly terrifying.

Bulkhead always made sure to never get on Soundwave's - or Starscream's, for that matter - bad side. He didn't feel the need to enter some strange reality where Soundwave was in charge.

Ultra Magnus exited his trance as Soundwave reached a servo down to help him up, and the larger mech accepted the help.

Arcee stood up to stretch, a smile coming to her face. "I'm up next, right Knock Out?" The red mech nodded and Arcee walked out onto the field, the sky already beginning to darken above them.

Bulkhead stood up as well to stretch his limbs a little bit, walking over a little ways from the pavilion. He took a deep breath in, extending his arms above his head and letting a sigh escape him.

He's coming.

Bulkhead paused, looking around to see who had spoken. Starscream, Knock Out and Breakdown were so absorbed in bickering with each other they hadn't even noticed Bulkhead had stood and walked away. Confusion thudded in his spark.

The One. He is coming to you.

Bulkhead looked around again, waiting for someone to burst out into laughter and tell him he was too gullible.

No such thing happened.

The voice was silent, even as Bulkhead waited for the voice to speak again.

Bulkhead shrugged, turning around and walking back to his seat.

Chapter Text

"Cybertron Air Command this is Wheeljack aboard the Jackhammer, I have just left the harbor and will be gone for an unknown amount of time." Wheeljack gave the classic description to the command center so they knew where he was headed.

"Ship's number?"

"CA-132."

"Affirmative Wheeljack you are clear to fly." a voice responded. "Safe travels."

Wheeljack closed the communications line and flipped a switch on the dash and his ship's radio came blasting online. His favorite song from his favorite band, Slash Monkey was the first one that played. He hummed to himself and pushed a few more buttons before the new compulsion system activated, sending him lurching backward into his chair at the force of it. The bright stars beside him faded to blurred lines as he flew past them.

"Woah!" Wheeljack cried, not ready for the increased thrust power. He touched his comm link button, laughing as he adjusted himself to the increased thrust. "Kup, you're amazing, you know that?"

Kup's voice came through the comm system. "So I hear. But what for this time?"

"You compulsion system, buddy. Faster than anything I've ever flown." Wheeljack replied back, still chuckling a little to himself.

Kup chuckled. "Good to hear. Gotta sign off pal, comm back when ya can when ya reach a new planet or whatever. And turn down that Pit-forsaken music before ya ruin your audio receptors. It's ruinin' mine and I ain't even on that ship."

Wheeljack responded by turning up his music to full volume, almost drowning out the noise of Kup cussing him out before he turned off the comm link. He turned it back to a normal level so he would be able to hear himself think.

Wheeljack watched as Cybertron became little more than a dot among the other stars, insignificant to him now. He hummed along to his heavy metal music, tapping his digit against his chest when he crossed them over his plating.

The time period between leaving Cybertron and arriving at the assigned planet was the best part of the flight to Wheeljack. He got to have hours to himself to blast his music as loud as he wanted, clean his equipment, write data reports that were long overdue, or catch up on some much needed sleep, just to name a few.

But most importantly, being alone for a few hours at a time gave him plenty of time to think.

Sometimes he would think about his job at the lab. He'd think about how excited he'd been when he got the job, and his excitement that didn't leave in the eons that he'd been working there. He chuckled as he realized he'd left Skyfire alone with Brainstorm and Perceptor, and as much as Wheeljack loved his coworkers, he wouldn't wish his worst enemies to be stuck with them for more than three hours.

Other times, Wheeljack would think of the future, what it held for him. He wanted to continue to move up at the lab, maybe even become a chair member of the board someday and help make some of the difficult - but exciting - decisions about the organization and engineering division.

He wanted to move out of his apartment and move into a house just outside the city; a house that he would build with Impactor and Springer and have it be exactly what he wanted. He imagined the garden he'd have, the recipes he would try in the modern kitchen.

He would think of his future husband and maybe a sparkling or two coming home to him after a long day at school or their job.

Those thoughts, and any thinking sessions Wheeljack would have aboard the Jackhammer would remind him of several things: he hated his apartment more than he hated anything in his life, and he was annoyingly single.

Wheeljack huffed to himself, muttering a few things under his breath. He leaned forward and checked the navigation system, turning it on, then off, then again right away.

The coordinates the Voice - that's what Wheeljack decided he would call it, since he still couldn't figure out where he'd heard the voice before - had put into the Jackhammer's system were still there, sitting innocently on the screen.

The autopilot was set, all Wheeljack had to do was turn it on.

He digits hovered above the autopilot button; something was pushing him to commit to it, a distinct feeling in his gut, but his logical side was telling him to ignore it and explore on his own.

"Screw it." He muttered. "Let's do this."

Wheeljack pushed the autopilot control and the system activated easily, different logistics popping up on the screen. It would take about two days to reach the coordinates. It wasn't the farthest he'd flown, but the white mech noticed he hadn't traveled into that sector very much prior to this.

"This should be fun." Wheeljack muttered again, leaning back in his seat.

With the soothing sound of the engine filling his audio receptors and the blurring of the stars as he flew past, Wheeljack was asleep within minutes.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

"Optimus, no. We've discussed this before."

Optimus smiled warmly as he snapped his fingers and one large white plate appeared in his servo. He placed it down on the table before taking the utensils from his husband and placing them down in their proper places.

The pair was in the main temple in the center of them all, setting up for the nightly family dinner. Every night, the Gods and some of their Valeran family members sat down to eat a feast prepared by one of the Gods, share stories and laugh until their sides hurt. These dinners had started out as nightly business discussions between the Valerans and the Gods, but someone at the third meeting or so mentioned that they were hungry, and the Gods revealed they could create food out of thin air.

The tradition had stuck and it was Optimus's favorite part of the day.

"Ratchet, I am not asking you to do something ridiculous, merely - " Optimus began and Ratchet stopped him with his classic "Yip yip yip!"

"Optimus, I don't place bets because I always loose. So no, I will not bet on whether or not Cliffjumper will place a bomb or some sort of other surprise in his meal tonight." Ratchet raised and optic ridge and tilted his head as he made several new forks and spoons at the ready for whenever Optimus needed them. Optimus smiled a little wider and looked down at the shorter mech, who glared back at up at him.

"You know he will." Optimus joked, the humor filled tone of his voice as pleasant as it was rare. The large mech kept the smile on his face, placing the final plate down on the table and putting the utensils in their proper placing, but his optics never left Ratchet's. A smile was threatening to overturn at the corners of his lips, but Ratchet was fighting it with everything he could.

"Of course he will," Ratchet conceded as Optimus took a step closer to him. "But I still don't bet."

Optimus wrapped his arms around Ratchet's waist, and Ratchet's own arms came to rest around Optimus's neck. "Not even for me?" The taller red and blue mech asked, a sweetness in his voice.

Ratchet shook his head and chuckled. "Especially not for you." Ratchet said firmly. "Besides, you're the leader Optimus. Wouldn't it do something for the spirits if everyone found out that we place bets on their cooking abilities?"

Optimus said nothing, a smile still on his lips. He settled for leaning down and pressing his lips against Ratchet's, and the former huffed into the kiss. Ratchet let out a squeak as Optimus's glossa roamed into his mouth, their servos exploring the plating and armor they'd spent centuries memorizing.

"Ew! Arcee! Optimus and Ratchet are making out before dinner again!"

The pair split apart to see the rest of the Gods making their way into the temple. June and Fowler were sitting in Ultra Magnus's servo, talking with him about the increase in crop production. Miko was sitting on Cliffjumper's shoulder, while Jack was walking beside Arcee, and Raf was talking with Bumblebee. Smokescreen was covering Bumblebee's optics and the yellow God was trying to brush them off.

"Don't look Bee!" Smokescreen exclaimed to his lover as Optimus and Ratchet pulled apart to sit at their respective seats at the table. "It might burn your optics out!"

Bumblebee eventually succeeded in tearing Smokescreen's digits off his face. ::Smokey, I'm only a few minutes younger than you::

Smokescreen shrugged and pulled out his chair, sitting down beside Bulkhead and Cliffjumper. "I know, just tryna protect ya, Bee." Smokescreen said, and Bulkhead rolled his optics.

"Only thing he needs protecting from is Cliff's cooking." Bulkhead scoffed and Cliffjumper leaned over to give him a pained expression. "'Cee, confirm it for me."

Cliffjumper turned to look directly across from him at his spark mate Arcee, who only shrugged with a warm smile on her face. "I'm sure you'll just blow us away, Cliff."

Smokescreen and Bumblebee snickered at the joke.

Cliffjumper slumped in his chair as everyone took their seats at the table. Once everyone was situated, Ultra Magnus filled the Valeran's glasses with water, and energon appeared in the glasses of the Gods. Optimus flicked his servo, and across the temple, a little music box started to play a calming instrumental tune.

Cliffjumper rose from his seat then, the legs creaking against the floor as he stood. The attention in the room shifted to him, and the red God lifted his servos. "Today, I have prepared all-you-can-eat burger buffet."

No sooner than the words left his mouth, several full plates of food appeared on the table, and the plates of each God and Valeran was suddenly chocked full of their first helping of burgers. The table was now overflowing with different kinds of condiments and sides, all of them sizzling hot and fresh.

Miko's eyes went wide and she took a massive bite of her burger, before she began to try and shovel the rest of it into her mouth in one go. Bulkhead gave her a concerned look from across the table, but said nothing and took a sip of his energon before he dug into his own burger.

It was probably a good thing that Ratchet didn't bet his husband about Cliffjumper placing something into their food, because he would have lost.

Ultra Magus had been biting into his salad when the small leafy greens exploded before they could reach his mouth. Streamers and confetti flew out all across the table, evaporating before they could land in the food. While the 'adults' per say were able to hide their laughter, the children and younger Gods burst out laughing, Cliffjumper nearly falling out of his chair as he gripped his stomach.

"Cliffjumper," Ultra Magnus seethed after he recovered from the surprise. "I have asked before that you do not conduct your pranks at the dinner table."

Cliffjumper chuckled and in the blink of an optic, an exact copy of Ultra Magnus was glaring at him from across the table. He picked up his fork and sat exactly how Ultra Magnus was sitting, his expression downcast and serious.

"Cliffjumper, I have asked before that you do not conduct your pranks at the dinner table," When Cliffjumper spoke, it was Ultra Magnus's voice that came from his mouth. The taller blue God was not amused in the slightest as he slammed his servos down on the table, rising slightly from his seat.

"Calm down, Mags. He's just lightening the mood," Smokescreen jumped in as Cliffjumper changed back into his regular form, shooting Arcee a wink and a smirk. "no need to get your shoulder pads in a bunch."

Ultra Magnus's face twisted in an unreadable emotion and he huffed, but he sat down and returned to eating his food nonetheless. He always waited a moment or two before he took each bite of food, just in case it exploded in his face.

The dinner table faded into easy conversation after that, Optimus, Fowler and Ultra Magnus talking about patrols and MECH activity while June and Ratchet talked about how the last of the Novian people were recovering from the recent outbreak of the flu. The children were engaged in their own loud conversations, Miko demonstrating with her chips as a diagram on how she and Raf had to corral the cows back into their pens after Jack had opened the door to their pen on accident.

After everyone was stuffed with burgers and chips and salads, Arcee revealed that she had been in charge of dessert. After she snapped her digits, a beautiful piece of pie appeared on everyone's plate, ranging from blueberry to apple to pecan.

Cliffjumper was quick to compliment his wife after he had one bite of the pie, and miscellaneous comments filtered in from everyone else after they had a few bites of their own pie.

And maybe it was Optimus and Ratchet complimenting each other in their old married couple fashion or Cliffjumper and Arcee cracking inside jokes with each other, but a sad feeling started to pool in Bulkhead's gut. He watched the interactions of the bonded pairs in front of him and he couldn't help the jealousy that settled into his spark.

Bulkhead would never admit it to anyone - Pit he could barely even admit it to himself - but he was lonely. He hated it, he hated it with every fiber of his being that he felt this way, but he couldn't help the feelings of jealousy settling in his spark as he watched Arcee and Cliffjumper bicker and laugh at each other.

Part of Bulkhead had given up any hope that he could find someone; someone who made him happy in a way that no one else could. He had determined that the reason that he was still alone was because Primus was a sick fragger and he just loved to watch him suffer any chance he got.

Sure, Bulkhead wasn't the only single mech in the group of Gods, but Ultra Magnus was Ultra Magnus, 'nough said. At the last meeting, Dreadwing had confirmed that plenty of them still remained single, like himself and Shockwave and Airachnid for example.

Bulkhead didn't really find that encouraging, but he kept that to himself.

Bulkhead must have gotten so absorbed in his jealousy and self-loathing because he failed to notice Miko drawing her arm back, a clump of pie clutched in her fist.

Bulkhead grunted as blueberry pie made contact with his right cheek, and he whirled his gaze to focus on the small girl. Miko chuckled and reached over to grab two giant fistfuls of Optimus's pie, while Bulkhead grabbed one of his own giant fist fulls of Smokescreen's pie.

"Hey!" The white mech protested, grabbing Bulkhead's leftover pie to launch at him. Bulkhead was faster and hurled his pie at Smokescreen's face, hitting him dead on.

Bulkhead had barely any time to relish his small victory before he was belted in the back by a few splatters of pie. He turned around to see Arcee getting ready to launch another. But as Bulkhead tried to throw a piece of apple pie at her, the blue femme ducked, causing the pie to collide right onto Ratchet's chest.

The dinner table collectively froze as they waited for Ratchet to throw them out of the temple. The white and red God wiped the pie chunks off of his chest with a grimace before he glared up at Bulkhead. The Earth God offered an awkward smile and opened his mouth to apologize, but Ratchet surprised them all by picking up his own pie and throwing it in Bulkhead's direction.

He missed and hit Smokescreen, but the effort was there.

The main temple resumed in loud laughter and screams as a full out food fight ensued, the teams switching from Gods against Valerans to girls against boys to every man for themselves, and it was spectacular.

A little while later, Bulkhead was hiding behind a flipped over table that was being used as a makeshift shield, generating a new piece of food in his servos to launch towards Bumblebee, who was hiding across the room behind his own makeshift protection system. He made a smaller piece of food for Miko, who graciously took it, ready to attack Raf whenever Bulkhead gave the word.

"Wait," Bulkhead said quietly as food flew over the table. "Now!"

Miko spun around the corner, a battle cry rising from her throat and Bulkhead stood up over the top of the table, his servo drawn back to launch his food. He tried to launch the food, but was stopped short as his spark twisted in his chest.

Bulkhead grunted and gasped in pain, dropping the food and almost hitting Miko as it fell.

"Hey! Watch it-" Miko gasped as she looked up at Bulkhead, who was turning a different color and stumbling on his pedes. "Ratchet! Bulkhead needs help!"

Bulkhead was starting to loose focus as his vision began to black out, his audio receptors barely able to focus on any noise in the temple. He was seeing triple and the room was spinning; he could barely tell if he was still standing from the immense pain. He gasped as his spark twisted before it seemed to pull in his chest, like it was trying to tear itself out of his chest cavity.

Bulkhead groaned as his body convulsed and he felt his wires and gears shifting apart inside of him, as if he was being split in two. It felt like someone had thrown acid all over his body and then tried to pump it down all of his wires instead of energon. Bulkhead's vision whitened out for a brief moment and he let out a cry of pain.

'What's…happening to me?' Bulkhead thought to himself as he felt a strange feeling of nausea pass through his gut and he placed a servo over his mouth as he realized it was a very likely possibility he could throw up Cliffjumper's meal. 'Am I dying? Is this what dying feels like?'

"Bulkhead, respond!"

"What's wrong with him!"

"Give him some space!"

Bulkhead groaned as he felt himself falling, his optics off lining before he hit the temple floor.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Sleeping was supposed to be therapeutic. Relax the muscles, calm the brain. Benefit the whole body and whatever.

Sleeping for roughly three hundred years? Not so therapeutic.

Her entire body ached. Every inch her form moved was pure agony, especially since she wasn't possessing a form at the moment.

She forced herself to open her optics, taking in the scene around her.

She was surrounded by tall trees, the ground beneath her feet soft and slightly damp. Around her, birds were singing and there was the sound of trickling water in the distance, and if she listened closely she could hear a few fish swimming around in the water, a frog or two singing their tunes.

Disgusting.

She raised her hand and clenched her fist, and immediently, dark tentacles shot up from the ground, enveloping the small pool of water in its pure blackness. There was a sickened squelching noise followed by a rumbling noise; the ground beneath her feet shaking slightly.

When the shaking stopped, the pool was gone, buried underneath the ground. A large black hole had taken its place, the swarm of blackness slowly spreading out around it.

She rose to her feet and looked around.

Her brothers and sisters weren't with her.

She scoffed. Weaklings. Must she do everything for them?

She raised her arms, looking up towards the sky. Immediately, the clouds above her darkened and lightning flashed around her, loud booms of thunder following soon after.

She didn't have to wait long before her brothers and sisters began to appear.

They were moving in their spirit forms; flying balls of darkness flying at unnatural speeds towards her. Flecks of darkness flew off the back of them, and shrill screams filled the air around her the closer they got.

The sun was blotched out of the sky, taken over by the dark storm clouds she'd made.

Her brothers and sisters landed beside her, staining the ground with their darkness where they stood. They snarled and screamed in their unnatural ways, rising to their full heights.

She rolled her eyes.

"Must you all be so dramatic?" She demanded, putting her hands on her hips.

"We've been asleep for hundreds of years, Obscurity. We have a right to be dramatic." One said, and Obscurity chuckled.

"No Null, we have a right to destroy the Gods and fulfill our destiny." One of Obscurity's sisters spat.

"Now now, Crash. We will destroy the Gods in due time. Let them suffer for a while, waiting for us to strike. The waiting game is the best part." Obscurity argued.

"Do they know we wake?" Null asked, his voice shrill and he screamed once he finished his sentence.

Obscurity took a deep breath in, closing her optics at the pure sensation of breathing after hundreds of years of simply not breathing. "I hope so. I do hope they know we're coming, that we are coming to destroy everything they've ever loved." Obscurity allowed a smile to come to her lips. Twisted as it was, it was the brightest she'd smiled in a long time. "Fear is our greatest weapon after all."

"But what of The One?" Null asked, his optics narrowing. "Can we see him?"

Crash sniffed the air, turning slightly as she tried to find the scent of The One. "I can't smell him. Either he's dead or far from the Gods."

Obscurity smiled wider, the right side turning up farther into more of a smirk. "Let us use this to our advantage."

Crash sniffed the air, opening her mouth in a sickening laughter. "I can smell them. They are far, but we can find them."

"They've run, they've hidden, but now, the chase is on." Another one of Obscurity's brothers hissed, and the others joined in the laughter, the sky above them getting darker by the second. Beneath their feet, the ground was becoming black, the trees around them shriveling and fading away into nothing but ash, flowing away into the wind.

It wouldn't be long now before the planet crumbled.

"Then let's not keep them waiting," Obscurity hummed. "Let's go pay our beloved cousins a visit."

The Children of Unicron let out shrill screams once more, puffs of smoke surrounding them. When the smoke cleared, Predacons of pure darkness were in their place, the blackness oozing off of their plating in waves, flecking off into the air around them. Their optics were lit in a red flame, the backs of their throat glowing with their dragon fire.

They wasted no time in taking flight, roaring and screaming as they left the atmosphere, and flew into the vast space beyond.

The planet crumbled into darkness not five minutes after they left it.

Just like Unicron had done.

Chapter Text

Breakdown was antsy. Things got smashed when Breakdown was antsy.

It was a rule of thumb to never get Breakdown antsy.

He was pacing the floor in his and Knock Out's shared berth room, one arm tucked across his chassis while his other was supporting his chin. He turned sharply on his heel and began the next strip of his pacing, taking exactly seven large steps before he turned on his heel and went back the other way.

Knock Out was laying on their berth, the blankets pulled up across his body while he sipped tea out of his little mug. A book was floating in front of him, flipping its page whenever Knock Out swiped his digit across his chassis, mostly lost in thought as he struggled to focus on the words and not his spark mate's antics. Knock Out's glasses hung low on his nose plate, helping him read a little better.

He took a sip of his tea and looked back up at Breakdown. "Sweet spark, you need to calm down."

Breakdown didn't stop pacing, didn't even look up at Knock Out. "I can't calm down, Knock Out. You saw the way Megatron was glaring at Optimus at the last meeting, he's got somethin' terrible planned, I can feel it." Breakdown turned on his heel.

"What? Like take on Optimus and the other Gods? Megatron may be stubborn but he's not stupid; he knows we need the others in order to fight against the Titans. He's not going to turn against them now." Knock Out argued, but it did little to soothe Breakdown's nerves.

The big blue God continued to pace, paying Knock Out very little attention.

Knock Out sighed and snapped his digits, his book, glasses and tea vanishing in a poof of cloud. "Breakdown, babe."

Breakdown wasn't done; he was beginning to spiral. "What if he never lets us leave our planet again?!" Breakdown's optics were wide with worry. "All he would have to do is say the word and Soundwave would stand outside our door all day long, or Airachnid would send her Creations over to make sure no one left Tonin." Breakdown shivered.

"Babe," Knock Out tried again, swinging his legs off the berth and standing up. "Calm down."

"I can't calm down, Knock Out." Breakdown finally looked up at his husband, dropping his arms from around his chassis and chin. Knock Out walked over and stopped in front of him, reaching out with both his servos and rubbing his digits over Breakdown's plating. "I can't calm down, and you shouldn't be this calm either."

Knock Out sighed. "I know I can't control Megatron, Breakdown. But I know I have you, and as long as I have you, I'll be fine." Knock Out said calmly, smiling softly up at his spark mate.

"But the way he was acting at the last meeting…" Breakdown said quietly, less afraid now and more sad and discouraged.

"He was afraid, Breakdown. We all are."

"You remember the time you were captured by Unicron and his Titans and he almost didn't rescue you?"

Knock Out's spark skipped a beat as he recalled being captured by the Titans back when they were on Cybertron, the other faction desperate for information that would help them gain an edge in their quarrel. Megatron was going to leave Knock Out to die, until he remembered that Knock Out carried the coordinates for a hidden God stronghold. It was only then he staged a rescue for the red God.

"Breakdown, you can't let that get to you. Megatron gives Optimus that look after every meeting that doesn't talk about only the best news. You know the only thing he hates more than Crow is being blindsided, especially by Optimus." Knock Out argued softly, moving Breakdown so he was sitting down on their berth. Breakdown sat down reluctantly and Knock Out stood between his thighs, his servos cupping Breakdown's cheeks.

Breakdown nodded slowly. "We have been gettin' a lot of bad news lately…" He trailed off and looked back up at Knock Out. "Just…don't leave me, alright?"

Knock Out huffed, a smile on his lips. "Breakdown, I promised that I wouldn't leave you when you first imprinted on me and we bonded. I'm not going to break that promise now."

Knock Out leaned down and pulled their lips together in a kiss. It was chaste and quick, but it served its purpose. Knock Out sent waves of love through their bond which Breakdown reciprocated.

When they broke up, Breakdown's optics were still sad. "I just don't wanna loose you."

Knock Out rubbed his thumb over Breakdown's cheek. "You'll never loose me. You'd have to stick me in a spaceship and send me away to get rid of me. " A mischievous glint entered Knock Out's optics. "Sounds like someone needs a reminder on that."

"Knock Out, offering sexual favors for my relaxation? Never heard of that on' before." Breakdown as Knock Out lowered himself between his thighs.

"You need to relax, sweet spark. You know it chips your finish when you stress. Chips mine too; all this negative energy. None of that." Knock Out said, reaching up and pushing Breakdown's shoulder back so he was resting against the wall.

Knock Out refocused on his work, a smirk settling on his lips.

The red God began to trace a gentle trail of kisses up and down Breakdown's left thigh, until he switched and began the same treatment on the right. Wherever his mouth wasn't, his servos picked up the slack. His thin digits weaved between Breakdown's plating easily, pulling at wires and cables Knock Out knew to be sensitive after years of practice.

"Knock Out…" Breakdown breathed down, his voice calmer and it now held more of a sing-song edge to it. "oh, baby."

Knock Out continued his work, tracing on servo up and down Breakdown's interface panel whenever he switched sides. Before long, the Titan's panel opened with a tell tale /whoosh/.

Breakdown's spike was exactly how Knock Out liked it: big and blue. It was thick and a beautiful piece of work with a single orange stripe and two gray stripes on the underside of it. It had hurt quite a bit for days after Knock Out and Breakdown interfaced the first couple times, but once Knock Out had gotten used to it, it was definitely worth it.

Knock Out started by tracing his glossa on the underside, lapping at the bead of transfluid that was beginning to come from the tip. Knock Out ran his fingers over the base a few times, wrapping his entire servo around the thick length. He gave it a few pumps and Breakdown let out a moan and gripped onto the berth side.

"Knock Out, keep that up and I won't last long." Breakdown gasped out, thoroughly enjoying the feeling of heat around his spike. Knock Out hummed but said nothing.

Knock Out opened his mouth and took almost the entirety of Breakdown's spike in his mouth, able to fit most of it. The tip of his mate's spike touched the back of his throat, and that was his cue to stop. What he couldn't fit in his mouth - which he was always proud to admit wasn't much - he wrapped his servo and continued.

Knock Out hummed around the spike in his mouth, and Breakdown moaned again. The God's servo found its way to the back of Knock Out's head as the red Titan began to bob his head and move his servo in time with each other. Breakdown's servo found a rhythm with Knock Out's mouth, and soon they were setting a brutal pace around Breakdown's spike.

Knock Out let out another hum and bit down slightly on Breakdown's spike, and the blue mech responded by pushing a little harder on the back of Knock Out's head.

"Knock Out, I'm gonna…" Breakdown didn't bother to try and contain his cry. His servo tightened around the berth and Knock Out's helm. Knock Out didn't let up, swallowing every drop of transfluid he got and continuing to milk Breakdown throughout his overload.

Knock Out broke off with a loud pop, running his glossa over Breakdown's spike a few times to clean up any extra transfluid he'd missed. Breakdown, in turn, materialized a wet cloth for them to use, wiping down Knock Out's chassis thoroughly before he moved onto himself.

"What me to do you?" Breakdown asked, smirking a little as Knock Out rose from between his thighs. Knock Out expertly swerved to miss Breakdown's chest - it had happened several times that'd stood and hit his head on Breakdown's chest, rookie mistake - and smiled at his mate. Breakdown's interface panel remained open, his spike hanging almost innocently between his thighs. "We've got time, I can just make Dreadwing take my patrol."

Knock Out shook his head as Breakdown laid down on their berth. "That's alright, you just owe me for later then. I expect the best interface and nothing less." Breakdown nodded eagerly as Knock Out crawled into bed and laid down beside him.

The two of them cuddled together, Knock Out fitting perfectly against Breakdown's chest. They were silent for a moment, Breakdown pulling up their blankets to cover them.

"Breakdown?"

"Yes, babe?"

Knock Out paused. "I was being serious, you know. I would never leave you."

Breakdown wrapped his arms around Knock Out and gave a tight squeeze. "I know." Breakdown placed a kiss on Knock Out's forehead. "Goodnight, honey."

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Wheeljack was woken up by him slipping in his chair and falling face first onto his dash.

Wheeljack's head snapped back, only to collide with his chair. Wheeljack groaned as he steadied himself, holding both the front and back of his helm.

"Ouch," The white mech muttered to himself.

Once he was sure he wasn't going to hit his head again, Wheeljack dropped his servos from around his face and opened his optics. Out of the front of the Jackhammer, he could still see the stars flying past in blurred lines, and all systems were still functioning normally. His music had turned off sometime in his sleep, so Wheeljack was sitting in silence, the only noise the soft hum of the engine beneath his feet.

Wheeljack pushed himself up from the pilot's chair before he turned and walked backwards a few steps, stretching his limbs as he went. He sighed in contentment as a few joints and gears popped in his back, and his shoulder shifted back into place. He'd meant to get that looked at a long time ago, but he just never had the time to.

Wheeljack leaned down to open his small refrigerator where his rust sticks were being stored, and he hummed to himself as he stood up at turned around.

The rust sticks fell from his servos as they changed into one blaster and the other ignited with his orange flame, aimed at the familiar white figure in his pilot's chair.

The mech was just like he remembered him; tall and clumsy looking in a perfect kind of way, a smile planted firmly on his face plates. He was sitting perfectly in the chair - Wheeljack was confident then that the chair had grown a little to perfectly seat the mech, it was styled perfectly for him and no one else - his hands folded in his lap, and his bright blue optics were meeting Wheeljack's, as mysterious as they had been the last time.

"Hi, again…" Wheeljack said awkwardly, not lowering his blaster or fiery servo.

The mech lifted his free servo and offered him a small wave, the smirk firmly planted on his lips. His gaze shifted so he was looking at Wheeljack's servo, that was still on fire, glowing brightly in the dim light of the hanger. Wheeljack put out the flame, but didn't drop his blaster.

"Still not going to talk to me, huh?" Wheeljack asked even though he already knew the answer. The mech shook his head. "That's rude where I come from ya know."

The mech's frame shook again in his phantom laughter before he lifted his servo again. He took his servo and reached behind him, placing his palm onto the dash. Wheeljack grunted as he felt himself lurch and the Jackhammer's engine roared even louder beneath his pedes.

"What did you just do?!" Wheeljack demanded, changing his blaster and fire back into his servos. The mech only shrugged, snapping his fingers.

In less than a blink, Wheeljack was back in his pilot's chair, turned outwards towards the stars. For a split moment, Wheeljack's spark dropped as he thought the green mech was gone - again - leaving him alone in the Jackhammer to think about his latest dream.

His thoughts were interrupted as his chair was suddenly swiveled around and he was face to face with the green mech again, who was nibbling on one of his rust sticks.

Wheeljack groaned. "Those are mine!" He protested, trying to reach out and grab the package the mech was still holding. The mech twisted and shifted the rust sticks into his far servo, the smirk ever present even around the rust stick.

Wheeljack's optics widened as the mech let go of the package, but instead of falling to the floor, it hovered in midair.

"What the-" Wheeljack's thoughts were once again interrupted as the mech lowered himself in between Wheeljack's thighs, his helm about even with Wheeljack's now. Their optics were locked on each other's, and the green mech's servos were suddenly planted on Wheeljack's thighs.

Wheeljack sucked in a breath, he was sure his spark beating a million times a second; he was certain the mech above him could hear the thud of his spark against its chamber. But when he looked at the mech, he was looking at Wheeljack almost pensively, his thumbs moving over the ridges on his thighs. The smirk was gone from his lips, replaced by an almost blissful smile.

"What are you doin'?" Wheeljack asked shakily. "Or, what are you gonna to do to me?"

The mech's servos moved from Wheeljack's thighs, his digits tracing delicately over Wheeljack's plating before they reached his servos. Their digits interlocked, slotting together almost as perfectly as how the mech was positioned across from him.

Wheeljack looked up again from their interlocked servos into the mech's optics, greeted this time with a bright white. Had they always been like that? Wheeljack couldn't remember now; he could only focus on the mech's figure as it glowed a little, his body glowing right along with it.

The mech leaned close to Wheeljack's audio receptor and whispered, "I'm claiming what's mine."

Wheeljack had barely any time to register that the mech had actually spoken to him, his voice perfectly matching the rugged appearance of the mech before him.

Wheeljack's vision suddenly whitened out, and he felt weightless as images flashed in his mind.

The white mech was gone, everything was gone; the Jackhammer, the rust sticks still hovering in midair, the stars around him. All gone.

Wheeljack was in a field, watching two sides of large metal beings similar to himself engaging in battle, blue energon splattering onto the floor. He saw himself charging into the fight, blasters drawn and aiming at whatever beings came his way. His optics were glowing a bright white, fire igniting on the ground where he had ran.

The image changed and Wheeljack saw he was seated at a large table, enough food to feed Cybertron's entire population twenty times over laid out decoratively on the surface. The figures around the dream him were laughing, enjoying each other's company. Some of them Wheeljack recongized from the battle he had previously witnessed, but the other figures around the table were small, organic beings that Wheeljack had never seen before.

The image changed yet again to Wheeljack and the green mech dancing underneath a large tree, small glowing orbs flying around them. Wheeljack felt his spark soar as he saw he and the green mech were looking at each other with all the love in the world; as if there was no one else around.

The image changed a final time, and Wheeljack found himself standing over a large berth, two figures laid out in it, huddled against each other. Sunlight was entering through the doorway to the structure they were in as well as through the ceiling, shining down on Wheeljack and the green mech. Thin white sheets were almost lazily placed around them, their optics closed and their digits intertwined.

Wheeljack felt something snap and something deep, deep in his being felt as if it was being reconnected and put back into place.

Wheeljack lurched again - really, much more of this and he would loose his breakfast - and he was back in his pilot's seat, the green mech still sitting between his thighs. His optics had returned to blue.

Their servos were still intertwined.

Wheeljack attempted to pull one servo out from the mech's grasp, only to find the mech was holding on tight. Wheeljack opened his mouth to speak before he looked down at his own servo.

While his arms looked largely the same; the white and red paint chipped in some areas where the rest was perfectly smooth, there was one gaping difference. On the inside of his left forearm, was a name.

Bulkhead.

Written in sloppy handwriting and the writing looked foreign and strange, but Wheeljack instantly recognized the ancient Cybertronian alphabet from millions of years ago. He'd had to write a paper in only that old Cybertronian, it would be hard for him to forget it so easily.

"What did you do?" Wheeljack asked, his voice barely a whisper. He looked up at the green mech, who had returned to smiling at him.

Wheeljack couldn't describe it, but he heard the mech's voice in his mind, as if he was speaking to him. But the mech's lips didn't move.

"I'll see you soon, Wheeljack."

The mech lifted a servo and snapped his fingers, and Wheeljack's vision went white.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

The decision for the Gods to split up into two factions to live on two separate planets hadn't been an easy one. Strength in numbers, and what not.

Optimus had wanted to stay together, to stay together as their little makeshift family and try and find a planet large enough to support them all, and serve as a refuge before the Titans found them. Megatron had urged him to see reason; if they stayed together, they were a large target on the Titan's radar. Easier pickings, easier for the Titans to kill them all at once.

The Gods had been divided, their journey across the stars coming to a halt for weeks as they tried to figure out what to do. The opinions of each and every God changed multiple times, their decision on what should happen conflicted and never quite sure.

After weeks of realizing the Gods were starting to become toxic towards one another, Megatron had tried to stress that he hadn't suggested a schism to drive a wedge in between the Gods, he was merely trying to help. Optimus knew this, but the seeds of doubt were placed in everyone's minds now, and the conversation could not die.

It had been decided that they would split up; those who made the final decision to leave would get off the Ark at the closest planet on their radar, while the rest would stay aboard and continue to look. If the party on the Ark could find a habitable planet and the other party wanted to come back, the door would be open.

So Megatron led his half of the party onto Tonin, where they had found nearly the most perfect planet for them. Mostly uninhabited, save for a few species of wildlife. They set up camp and reported to the other Gods that they were just fine, and for the moment, they would stay separate.

Megatron knew that the two parties of Gods being separate would cause issues, for example, not being told important things as they happened. But in the few dozen years they'd lived on Tonin and the other Gods lived on Valeran, Optimus would send messages twice a day, and the meetings kept him up to date on all the important issues, like he and his fellow Gods never left.

The issue of Bumblebee's vision was the first major thing that Optimus had waited to tell him about.

To look at it from Optimus's perspective, Megatron would have likely done the same thing. He would have waited the few days it took for the meeting to come around, since the Titans did not pose an immediate threat at the moment. He would have wanted to tell everyone at once, hear everyone's perspective on the matter at once.

Still, he couldn't help but feel hurt.

The simulation he'd started was a rigorous one, twenty three rounds of high intensity fighting with specific requirements on how to fight each opponent. Some of his opponents had powers, others did not.

Megatron was on the last level, and he was exhausted.

Not that he was going to let that stop him anyway.

Megatron clenched one of his fists, a black rod forming out of the center of his fist. Within moments he was holding a long sharp sword, the blade dark and it made a small gurgling noise as he swung it side to side.

The stimulation released six mechs, all a dark gray and faceless. Their servos were glowing with a power of their own: one had lightning, another light, there was ice, earth, and the last two both had wind swirling around their servos, which told Megatron one of them was a shapeshifter.

The God wasted no time in raising his free servo and extended his fingers, dark black tentacles extending outwards. The Bot with light as his power stepped in front of the others, raising his servos and deflecting the darkness as it came. Megatron noted that the other five Bots were moving away from his blast, getting into position to attack.

Megatron saw out of the corner of his optic the two wind Bots raising their servos, and Megatron had to dig his pedes into the ground to keep from being lifted up into the air.

He was so drained from the past simulations and focused on his feet sticking to the ground he failed to notice the lightning Bot charge up his powers, the dim optics glowing faintly with the immense power. Megatron was hit by several beads of lightning, and sent flying into the wind tunnel.

Megatron let out a cry of pain as he watched his own energon leak from a new wound on his side, his protocols already trying to heal him. He was flying around too madly in the wind tunnel to steady himself, so his body flipped and spun around the simulation room.

"Enough of this," Megatron muttered to himself, curling in slightly so the gray cloud could surround him. Within moments, he had shifted to his Predacon form, a loud roar escaping his throat.

He opened his wings and allowed the wind to work for him; he stopped spinning almost immediently. Beneath him, the six Bots were now charging up for their next attack, their wind tunnel gone as well. His throat felt hot and bile-like as he charged up his flame, the darkness of it already seeping out of the sides of his mouth.

Megatron exhaled and the dark flame came out with it, hitting each of the six Bots and enveloping them in a dark black cloud. The Bots attempted to break through the dark bubble with no success, their powers doing nothing to help them.

As Megatron landed back on the ground and shifted back into his regular form, the dark bubble began deteriorating around the six Bots, their gray forms slowly becoming nothing more than dust. Megatron couldn't help the smirk that came to his face as he watched one of the Bots reach out to him, Earth still moving around his plating, until his form eventually shifted into the darkness and dust of the bubble.

"A most interesting display," Megatron didn't turn until the last of the Bots had been disintegrated, but even before he turned he knew exactly who was speaking to him. Sure enough, when he looked over his shoulder one of his good friends Dreadwing was standing there, a ghost of a smile on his face plates.

"Why thank you, Dreadwing." Megatron said sincerely. "You should also try out the new simulation system; Shockwave really out-performed even himself this time."

Dreadwing nodded, but they both knew he had no intention of using the simulations. Dreadwing had his own way of practicing, it usually required a lot more meditation and calmness that Megatron thought necessary, but Dreadwing was one of the finest warriors Megatron had ever fought beside, and even in all the years since the Great War, the mech hadn't lost his touch.

So Megatron did it his way, and Dreadwing never faltered in his own practices.

"Is there something you needed?" Megatron snapped his fingers and the piles of dust disappeared, and the clouds of blackness flew back towards his servo. The small beads of black flew around his digits for a moment before they dissipated into thin air, but Megatron could feel his balance of power returning.

"Just an update," Dreadwing said, and the two of them began to walk beside each other out of the training hall. "Breakdown and Knock Out volunteered for dinner tonight."

"So we can expect a few hour's delay as they try and decide on a meal."

Dreadwing hummed his amusement. "Perhaps. Soundwave reported that the others of Valeran have received no visions or news concerning the Titans, and he has been unable to access any of his own visions."

"Does Primus not wish to speak with him?"

"He doesn't know. It's beginning to drive Starscream crazy, and in turn, all of us."

This time it was Megatron who hummed his amusement. "What else?"

"Ultra Magnus said that MECH is becoming more bold with their border, less respectful of where it lies."

"They are concerned with MECH? The pitiful fleshies?"

"They pose a small threat, and they have become more understanding of our technology in the years the others have been on Valeran. So yes, they are concerned with MECH."

Megatron rolled his optics but allowed Dreadwing to continue. "Airachnid and Shockwave reported as usual; Nova is doing very well, recovering properly. And I know you do not specifically care for Queen Beth, but she really does respect you."

"I never said I didn't like her," Megatron argued. "She has a lot of interesting characteristics that make her quiet likable. But she is annoying to me."

"Crow is also doing well. He continues to demonstrate worry about the Titans, and every time I speak to him he seems to know more and more secretive things about them."

"From Airachnid, you propose?"

"Likely. Or possibly Smokescreen or Cliffjumper when they get too eager and start to over step their boundaries."

The two Gods exited the hallway that led out to the God camp, the sun becoming so bright so fast they needed to put a servo over their optic to block out some of the light.

The God camp on Tonin was very similar to the God camp on Valeran, but also very different. There were large temples in a circle surrounding a large one in the center. Each of the temples held a statue or two above them, showing who lived their and what their power was. But while the Gods on Valeran had the small village beside their temples, the Gods on Tonin did not. Instead, they had other large temple buildings that served a variety of purposes; the training hall Megatron and Dreadwing were walking out of, the mess hall where they ate every night, and the throne room, just to name a few.

It wasn't Cybertron, but it was perfect anyway.

Once his optics had adjusted, Megatron reached up and placed a servo on Dreadwing's shoulder, smiling down at him. "Thank you, old friend for the update."

Dreadwing nodded and moved to walk away, but Dreadwing tightened his grip on his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks.

"I want you to send two squadrons of soldiers out to the stars, one to see if they can find any signs of the Titans getting closer. We are closer to Cybertron than the other Gods are, so we have a better chance of seeing the Titans before they do."

Dreadwing nodded. "And the other?"

"To Iclic. I have a bad feeling about Crow and Airachnid."

"Of course, Megatron."

Megatron allowed him to walk away then, his arm falling limp at his side. He allowed himself to stay in position for a little while longer, looking out on the Gods and their home.

It hadn't been an easy decision to come to Tonin, but it had been worth it. Megatron didn't regret it for a moment.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Even before Bulkhead opened his optics, pain swarmed his entire body. His joints ached and his stomach churned angrily. His optics were burning, and it felt like his neural net was on fire.

He couldn't even sit up, so he attempted a groan instead, hoping someone was around to help ease his pain.

"Easy, Bulkhead." Bulkhead would have sighed in relief if it didn't hurt him to do so. He could feel Ratchet's powers working over his body, the pain becoming less and less burning and more of a soreness. "Take it easy, there is no rush to stand at the moment."

"I told you he would wake up, Ratchet!" Bulkhead groaned again as Miko's loud voice flooded his audio receptor. As much as he loved her, she had a tendency to always be on the loud side. Which was normally great, when he wasn't nursing a headache the size of Cybertron. "Bulk's too strong!"

"Miko, keep your voice down please." Optimus's calm and soothing voice was music to Bulkhead's audio receptors. "Bulkhead needs quiet right now, more than he needs a cheerleader."

Bulkhead forced himself to open his optics with another loud groan, the blurriness of the room slowly becoming more defined the more he blinked.

He recognized the walls of Ratchet's medical bay easily, the light brown brick a comforting tone. He was laid out on one of the many medical berths, which was surprisingly comfortable. There were a few wires connected to his body, likely providing nutrients and energon. Ratchet, Optimus, Miko, and Raf were in the medical bay, concern and excitement mixed in on their faces.

"How long was I out?" Bulkhead forced himself to say, gladly accepting the glass of energon from Ratchet, sipping through the straw. Once Ratchet deemed he had enough, the Healer God pulled the cube away, setting it down on the bedside table.

"About three days. I was honestly expecting longer, your vitals were pretty touch and go during the first and second day." Raf inputted, and Miko nudged his shoulder.

"I told you Bulkhead was too strong! Always exceeding expectations." Miko flashed him a wink and a large smile, but Bulkhead could see right through it that she was just as relieved that he woke up as the rest of the Gods in there were.

"Yes, indeed." Optimus said, humor in his tone. He was giving Bulkhead his classic 'dad smile', and Bulkhead smiled back.

"Do you know why I was out?" Bulkhead asked a little shakily. "I only remember having a food fight in the Main Temple when I got a stabbing pain in my spark," Bulkhead subconsciously lifted his servo and placed it over his plating, itching at the tenderness there. "And then I woke up here."

"We're not sure why you passed out," Ratchet admitted. "I was going to bring in Bumblebee in when you were feeling up to it, have a look in your mind to try and determine some possibilities."

Bulkhead nodded. "Bring him in, let's get this over with."

Ratchet scoffed. "Yip, yip yip. You are not ready yet. You will need at least a day to recover some strength, you know you'll need it for Bumblebee's tests."

Bulkhead groaned, but agreed, adjusting himself on the berth so he was more comfortable and accepting the energon cube again from Ratchet as he offered it.

Ratchet deemed him ready a day and a half later, when Bulkhead was able to stand on his own, without the use of a cane or a fellow God. The rest of the Gods were summoned to Ratchet's medical bay - by request of Bulkhead, not Ratchet, as he insisted it would get too crowded, but Bulkhead wanted company for the ordeal he was about to endure - and watched silently as Bulkhead lowered himself into a chair.

Bumblebee stepped beside him, waiting until Bulkhead nodded his consent to continue. Bumblebee raised his servos, and a faint golden light surrounded them as he placed them on Bulkhead's face plates.

"So, tell me one more time," June spoke up as Bulkhead felt himself begin to grow numb. Ratchet's servos were glowing a faint red, telling Bulkhead he was trying to stop the pain before it started. The Earth God nodded his thanks, but they both knew that wasn't going to do much. "what exactly is happening here?"

"Bumblebee is going to attempt to determine what went wrong that caused Bulkhead to pass out," Ratchet explained, his voice almost bored, the boredom that came when one explained something one too many times. "he is going to sync his brain to Bulkhead's, and attempt to determine the answer."

"And don't worry June, it won't fry his brain in the process," Smokescreen grunted as Cliffjumper elbowed him in the gut. "What? I'm trying to comfort her."

"You did a sucky job," Fowler grunted, and put an arm around his wife. He looked up to Bulkhead then. "Don't worry, Two-Ton, Bee's got it under control."

Bulkhead rolled his optics. "As if I would show weakness in front of you, little man. I ain't worried." Bulkhead glanced at Miko, who was doing very best to look brave. "I'll be okay, Miko." She offered him a confident smile in return, not trusting herself to not cry.

::Alright then:: Bumblebee's voice silenced everyone else in the medical bay. ::Let's do this::

Bumblebee shut off his optics, his servos glowing a much brighter gold beside Bulkhead's body. The red of Ratchet's healing powers was quickly overtaken by the gold of Bumblebee's mind meld, and soon both Bots were surrounded in a bright golden glow.

Bulkhead felt it the moment Bumblebee began to enter his mind, the second consciousness foreign and almost unwelcome in the back of his head. The hands on his cheeks were beginning to warm up, showing he was getting closer to making a full connection.

The pain came next.

Bulkhead's entire body lit up, almost as if he was on fire. He forced himself to keep still, clenching his hands around the armrests of the chair, biting his glossa to keep from screaming.

Bumblebee's consciousness would take over soon, he just had to last until Bumblebee knocked him out.

He could feel his consciousness beginning to weaken, but the pain was only getting worse.

He threw his head back and let out a scream, but Bumblebee's servos remained firmly planted on his face.

There was an ugly splintering noise and Bulkhead barely felt the pain of the chair splintering in his grasp; there was an ugly popping sound and something came loose deep inside of him; and the pain was gone.

Bulkhead hung his head, his vision turning black within seconds. The voices of concern and a few scared cries faded to nothing around him.

Bulkhead opened his optics, and saw nothing but blackness around him. He looked around and saw the medical bay was gone, the Gods and Miko were gone; he was alone.

He looked beside him, and Bumblebee was standing there, his form glowing. He looked strong and confident as he approached him, but Bulkhead didn't have the strength to speak.

::I got it from here, Bulk. You rest::

Bulkhead didn't need to be told twice. He turned his head back up towards the ceiling, and closed his optics.

Chapter Text

As a God, one was supposed to love and appreciate the powers they'd been given. They were a gift from Primus, given specifically to each and every God, with the hope that they would use that power in the best way possible, better than anyone else could with that specific power.

Bumblebee had always loved his powers; joy came easy to him, spreading it to those around him and wind only helped with that, lifting the children into the air or being a formidable force on the battlefield.

Bumblebee knew better than anyone the wrath of the Titans. He'd been captured and interrogated by them, and when he couldn't - wouldn't - provide the information they wanted, they took away his ability to speak, and made it so the damage could not be healed, by neither Ratchet nor his own healing abilities. But despite the horrible memories that haunted him every time he tried to sleep, he always had a smile in his optics and kept fighting the good fight.

However, his mind abilities were not something he was particularly proud of.

He had been given the mind abilities when a fellow God, Elita-1 had been gravely injured in battle, and like Bumblebee, they made it so she was unable to be healed. She had been Optimus's lover before he fell in love with Ratchet, and all her fellow Gods had loved her, so her death had hit them all hard. But Elita-1 had been somewhat of a mother figure to Bumblebee, acting as a guide through the war, and a brief wing-man in his quest for Smokescreen to notice him.

Elita's title had been the Goddess of the Mind and Defiance, and on her deathbed, she transferred her powers to Bumblebee with the blessing of Primus. Bumblebee's own title remained the same, but he now carried all of the mind abilities Elita had already developed for him, and it was a welcome boost to Bumblebee's spirits.

Her mind abilities allowed him to read minds, interpret dreams, have visions of the future, and connect his mind with another and see what they were seeing. It also gave him a way to speak without the use of his voice box; he spoke directly into their minds.

He used most of the new gifts on a daily basis, but some he rarely used. The visions were few and far between and he had no way to predict when they were coming, and the mind meld was tricky and painful for the host. When Bumblebee entered their mind, it effectively knocked them out, but the time period before being rendered unconscious was excruciating. The only real benefit for Bumblebee was that he could speak again in the mind melds.

Bumblebee was now surrounded by blackness on all sides, waiting for Bulkhead's memories to play around him, to show him what he was looking for. Bulkhead's still form laid behind him; his consciousness, unable and unwilling to respond.

There was a hum that redirected Bumblebee's attention to the opposite direction, and a black screen was now moving towards him.

A gateway, Bumblebee had dubbed them, because they were a gateway directly into the memory Bumblebee wanted to see.

When the gateway stopped just before him, Bumblebee hesitated before stepping inside. Most memories were clear and defined; Bumblebee could get an idea of what would be in it before he stepped inside. But this gateway was blurred and distorted, and the image constantly flickered.

It meant it wasn't entirely Bulkhead's memory, it might not be a memory at all.

If it wasn't a memory, then it most likely was…

Bumblebee paused. "His Soul's Exit?" He took a step back. "When did Bulkhead get a Soul's Exit?"

Bumblebee hesitated a moment more, before he lifted a pede and stepped inside, pushing through the thin layer of water like substance that stood between him and the image.

Once he was on the other side, the scene became a little more clear and defined; Bumblebee could look around him and get a good view of everything.

He was on a ship, a small one that could maybe fit two to three people, nothing like the Ark the Gods had traveled on. It looked to be an up to date, modern ship, quipped with both basic and advanced systems. It had been a while since Bumblebee had been on a ship at all, so he didn't really know if the standards had changed.

"Who are you?"

Bumblebee turned, his optics coming to rest on a mecha. He was shorter, about Bumblebee's size, with white and gray plating, as well as a few red and green accents. His optics were a bright blue, and his lips were scarred and turned down in a distrusting frown. He looked Cybertronian, his frame was strikingly similar to the Gods, but going by the way he carried himself, he was not a God.

He carried himself like a scared man; he'd seen some tragedy and hardship, but he thought he'd seen all there was to life already. His optics were cold and calculating; he appeared smart and focused. He looked ready to draw the swords Bumblebee could see on his back, but Bumblebee had no idea of knowing if he was good or not.

"What are you?" The mech asked again. Bumblebee hesitated, slightly offended.

"Please tell me you can speak." He sounded almost desperate.

Bumblebee tilted his helm. "Yeah, I can." He replied curtly.

"Thank Primus." The mech slumped into the chair behind him, sighing in relief. "I've had too much of strange, transparent mechs who don't talk back to me."

Woah, that was a lot to unpack. Bumblebee took a step forward, pointing aimlessly at the mech. "Wait, what do you mean 'strange, transparent mechs'? There's been more?"

"Yeah," The mech took a long swig of something; from the smell Bumblebee could tell it was some kind of high grade. "the last one was a big green Bot, I've seen him a coupl' times already, barely said more than five words to me. Then he left. Kinda hot, but you didn't hear that from me."

"Bulkhead?" Bumblebee asked, and the white mech stiffened. A gleam flashed in the mech's optics at the name, and Bumblebee swore he saw sparks ignite from his finger tips.

"Bulkhead…" The mech echoed, as if the word was some delicacy on his tongue. He seemed to remember something then, because he switched the bottle to his opposite hand and lifted up his arm for Bumblebee to see. Bumblebee took a small step forward, careful not to overstep his bounds and noticed a name on the white mech's arm.

He recognized Bulkhead's messy handwriting instantly.

'Holy scrap.' Bumblebee thought to himself, looking up at the mech before him. He wasn't meeting Bumblebee's optics, still staring at the writing on his arm as if it would jump out or move to form a different word.

Bumblebee cleared his throat to get the mech's attention again. "Backtrack, you know Primus?"

"Yup."

"Are you from Cybertron?"

"Yup."

Bumblebee's spark dropped in his chest.

Could it be?

Bumblebee tilted his head again and couldn't help the disgusted look that came to his face.

This mech right here was supposed to save them from the Titans? He looked like he could take on maybe three attackers on a good day.

"Okay, you complain about Bulkhead not talking a lot, but you haven't said a lot either."

The mech cast him a glare. "I don't know you, and I don't want to. I'm just tryin' to get ta Valeran, and all I get instead is ghosts makin' no sense to me."

Bumblebee could have fallen over. "Wait, so you're from Cybertron, you're on your way to Valeran, you've seen Bulkhead…" Bumblebee trailed off as the mech took another long drink of the high grade. "What's your power?"

The mech choked on his high grade, coughing and sputtering as he struggled to choke the energon out of his air way. Once he'd recovered, he glared up at Bumblebee, his servo clenching onto the glass so hard it nearly cracked. "How did you know 'bout that?"

Bumblebee shrugged and lifted his servo, allowing a small wind tunnel to form out of the palm of his hand. The mech's optics lit up, and he sat up straighter, placing the bottle down on the controls behind him. Bumblebee closed his servo after a moment, and the wind died with it.

There was a long, painful minute of silence where the mech didn't move, his optics not seeing as he stared at a spot across the wall. His mouth was opening and closing a little as if he was speaking, but no words were coming out.

Bumblebee sighed and turned after a few long sentences had passed, shaking his servos around his head. "Whatever, forget I asked, it's probably some crazy coincidence anyway," He turned and muttered under his breath, "Figures Primus would be this cruel."

"No, wait." Bumblebee turned around, expecting the mech to give some snarky remark, but that wasn't the sight he was greeted with.

The mech had lifted both servos, a a tiny emblem of fire was sitting in the palms of his hands, his optics glowing a faint orange the longer the flames burned.

Bumblebee couldn't possibly describe the feeling of joy he had in his spark right now.

The prophecy is coming true.

Bumblebee felt a pull on his spark; a signal from Ratchet above that meant he needed to disconnect now. Bumblebee looked up and met the mecha's gaze, and he smiled at him through his mouth guard.

"The name's Bumblebee." He said as he felt himself drifting away.

The mech opened his mouth and a name came out, but Bumblebee couldn't hear it. He was already too far gone.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

"Oh yes, Soundwave, right there. Perfect, yes that's perfect." Starscream let out a small moan and his optics fluttered closed. "Yes right there!"

Soundwave didn't respond verbally - he never did - but he began digging his digits deeper into the spot on Starscream's back that he was currently massaging. Starscream hummed and his shoulders slumped in pure relaxation as Soundwave continued to rub out the various knots and tight wires in his back.

"You know I wouldn't have these knots and all this tension in my wings if I wasn't constantly threatened in the workplace, and I could fly out into space without fear of being attacked." Starscream pointed out, tilted his head to the right to tell Soundwave to move that direction. "I'm going to end up as wretched looking as Knock Out if I keep getting shot at and threatened by our one, good master."

Soundwave responded to that comment by digging his thumb a little harder than necessary into Starscream's back, and the God squeaked before he caught himself. "Uncalled for, Soundwave."

Beneath his mask, Soundwave allowed himself to smile. Only a small smile that allowed his lips to curl up around the edges, this wasn't the place for excessive joy for Primus's sake.

A comfortable silence fell between them, the only noise in their temple the music coming from a nearby music box; a soft tune from their days on Cybertron.

Eventually, when Starscream decided he'd had enough on the receiving end, he turned and made Soundwave turn as well, before he began to massage the stiff joints and stressed gears in his mate's back. Soundwave responded similar to how Starscream did, relaxing under his touch and using video recordings to tell Starscream when he had hit a good spot.

"Soundwave," Starscream said after a moment, his voice pensive but his tone conversational. "what do you think of the prophecy?"

Soundwave was silent for a moment before an audio recording was selected and played. Starscream recongized the computerized tone easily. "Prophecy: a message from hope. Receiver: the Gods. Giver: Primus. Function of the prophecy: provide hope."

Starscream nodded and Soundwave continued. "I believe," that was Dreadwing's voice now. "the prophecy can be our saving grace, but we must not come to depend on a measly little mech from Cybertron who we know very little about. It is illogical," Shockwave's cool tone. "likely will be arrogant, lazy, runs at the first sign of danger." Starscream resisted the urge to roll his optics at Airachnid's voice.

"We must have faith. We must trust that Primus knows what's doing, the old fragger." Megatron's voice was the last audio recording Soundwave played. Starscream huffed.

"And the timeline?" Starscream asked. "I, for one, was thinking we would have more eons before this Primus forsaken prophecy began to ruin our lives. Though I do not think I will miss this planet, the air corrodes my wings more often than not when in flight."

The God of Night and Silence once again allowed himself to smile fondly under his mask, and he turned on the bed to look at his spark mate's face. "Starscream…my love." Those audio recorders were both from Knock Out, but his tone of voice spiked between each one, telling Starscream they were from different time periods. "Don't worry." Breakdown's nonchalant tone.

Starscream rolled his optics this time before he reached forward and placed a servo on the side of Soundwave's face, tracing his thumb over the visor. "If you keep telling me to not worry, that makes me worry more."

Soundwave laid down first, Starscream following suit and laying down beside him. Soundwave reached his servo out and the blankets responded to his movements, rising up in the air before landing elegantly on the two mechs.

"Sleep tight, Soundwave." Starscream whispered, closing his optics again.

"Sleep tight…my love." The first voice was Starscream's own, followed by Knock Out's voice again. Starscream smiled to himself and cuddled closer to his spark mate.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

::A Soul's Exit!::

His voice box crackled and sputtered as it was once again forced to speak through its modified method, and Bumblebee's throat burned as the words flew past his tongue like acid.

Bumblebee could feel his world spinning around him, his body feeling all sorts of wrong, he could feel his center of gravity shifting as he began to fall, his servos breaking the final connection with Bulkhead's mind. His hands glowed a little longer before becoming consumed by a strange numbness that was overtaking the rest of his body.

This was another thing Bumblebee hated about mind melding was that the time period afterwards for him was arguably the worst part of the experience for both parties. He felt out of place in his own body for hours, numbness and stabbing pain in his mind his only constants. Even with Ratchet's healing, it would still take him hours to fully recover and feel like himself again.

Bumblebee felt arms around his waist, and the person pulled them over to another medical berth. Whoever it was lifted him up and placed him gently down; Bumblebee distantly noted that the silver plating belonged to Smokescreen, who was looking down at him with concerned optics. He noticed Ratchet was beside him, and soon the pleasant feeling of being able to twitch his own digit fell over him, calming him down.

"Wait, I'm sorry, what's a Soul's Exit?" June asked, watching as Ratchet and Smokescreen worked to calm Bumblebee down. "The soul can leave the body?"

"In a way, yes," Ultra Magnus scooped all five Valerans into his servos and walked them the few paces to Bumblebee and the others, before placing them down closer to the action. "our souls are the source of our power, our essence, our subconscious, similar to yours in that sense. It's what will leave this world when we die, and join with Primus once more. However, sometimes the soul is not needed. So, it can leave through something called a Soul's Exit."

"Nobody thought to mention this?" Fowler demanded, but his voice lacked its usual fire.

"Never came up." Arcee said, one servo on Smokescreen's shoulder for comfort. "Never happened before now."

"So, Bulkhead's soul left? Is that why he passed out?" Jack asked hesitantly.

Optimus stepped forward. "It would stand to reason, yes." He looked up briefly to Ratchet, who was still harnessing as much power as he could before he looked away. "A soul can't leave whenever it wants. The soul attaches to something, most of the time someone, and will leave the body when they find their precious memento in danger, or something has drastically changed."

"So Bulk's soul found something to attach to?" Miko asked, stomping her foot in mock anger. "I'm a little offended it wasn't me." She looked back and glared at the large green mech, who was still unconscious.

"We do not choose what our soul attaches to," Optimus said reassuringly, as Raf gripped onto her hand as a sign of comfort. Jack placed his hand on her shoulder as Miko nodded at them both gratefully. He glanced up at Ratchet. "Ratchet, is Bumblebee -"

"He's fine, Optimus." Ratchet was still using a good amount of his power, his optics glowing a brighter shade of red the longer he used his power. He reached down with one servo and adjusted the height of the berth, Bumblebee now in a half laying down, half upright position. His optics were open and adjusting to the light, but Optimus could tell he wasn't seeing anything clearly just yet.

Smokescreen materialized a chair for himself and sat down beside his spark mate, holding onto his servo tightly between both of his own. "Hey, Bee. Anyone home?"

Bumblebee's optics offlined for a moment, before slowly flickering back online. ::Yeah, Smokes. I'm here::

"What'd ya see, kid?" Cliffjumper helped Raf cross over onto Bumblebee's berth so he could be closer to his best friend. "Do you remember?"

Bumblebee nodded, lifting up one hand to touch the side of his helm. When it fell, he rested it on Ratchet's arm, a silent plea to stop the healing for a minute. The pain kept him grounded, helped remind him of what he saw.

::I was on a ship. A small one, could only fit about two or three Bots::

"Bulk's soul bonded to a ship?" Fowler asked, crossing his arms. "Didn't know two-ton was into that kinda thing."

Bumblebee shook his helm. ::It wasn't the ship, it was who was in the ship.:: Bumblebee paused. He muttered something under his breath.

"What was that? Speak up, Bumblebee!" Ratchet demanded, his patience running thin.

There was a long beat of silence as Bumblebee replayed the images in his mind, confirming it over and over until he was one hundred percent sure of what he had seen.

::Bulkhead's soul bonded to the mech of the prophecy.:: Bumblebee repeated, looking up at those around him.

Dead silence settled through the medical bay, everyone too shocked to speak. Cliffjumper fell backwards onto a spare medical berth while Arcee stared in shock. The Valerans were too stunned to speak; they all knew what the mech meant for the Gods.

"Ultra Magnus," Optimus's strong voice was the first noise to be heard. "contact Megatron immediently. Tell him that the other Gods need to come here immediently."

Ultra Magnus nodded, turning and running out of the temple and towards the main temple where he could contact Megatron and the other Gods.

Optimus turned back to the rest of the Gods, and suddenly, the silence snapped like a twig.

"How do you know?"

"There's no way, you can't be serious."

"What powers did he have?"

"Was he handsome? A good lookin' guy?"

Everyone paused and glanced down at Miko.

She sputtered, distressed from all the attention put on her. "What? Bulk would want me to ask the good stuff."

Bumblebee whirred sadly. ::He was coming from the planet Cybertron, coming to Valeran. He'd already seen Bulkhead before when I met him. And he had the power of fire.:: Bumblebee added as he noticed everyone's skeptic glances. ::He showed me! Made little balls of fire on his palms. I'm telling you, that was the mech we've been waiting for::

Everyone still seemed skeptical. Arcee cast a glance over her shoulder towards Bulkhead, where the mech was still passed out.

::He also had Bulkhead's name on his arm. A kind of imprint.::

"Imprint?" June asked, her mind starting to swim with all the new terminology she was learning in such a short period of time.

"A way of claiming, when you imprint it is a way of marking your one true love for all to see." Ratchet lifted his arm and pulled up on his shoulder pad, where the name Optimus Prime was clearly written.

There was a beat of silence before Jack changed the subject. "Do you know where he was? If he was close?"

"What about if he knew about the prophecy? Did he seem to think he was important?"

::He was drinking spoiled high grade straight out of the bottle and driving a small ship. I doubt he knows how important he is:: Bumblebee retorted.

Everyone groaned and Ratchet face palmed. "Good Primus almighty."

"Did you get his name?"

::No. He was about to say it but I got pulled out. Not your fault, Ratchet.:: Bumblebee sighed and Smokescreen squeezed his hand a little tighter in encouragement.

There was another awkward beat of silence as everyone contemplated the situation before them.

"Hey, you guys are missing the bright side of this story," Everyone turned down to look at Raf, who forced a smile to come to his face. "The mech of the prophecy is coming! This is good news! And Cybertron is closer than where the Titans were banished to, that means he should beat them here!"

"That is true," Ratchet perked up. "The prophecy is finally coming to fruition. After all this time."

Optimus smiled, but it was gone as quickly as it came. "We will need to take precautions. When Megatron and the others arrive we will discuss further. For now, we will watch over Bumblebee and Bulkhead, make sure they recover quickly. The Valerans will need extra protection, and border patrols will need to be upheld."

Everyone nodded, and Smokescreen stole a glance back to Bulkhead, who was still lying still on his berth.

"Figures Bulk is the one whose spirit attached itself to the mech," Everyone turned to look down at him. "Bulkhead always insists there's nothing special about him, that he's as ordinary as a God could get…and now, well. Look at him."

It did bring a smile to Arcee's face at the slight irony behind Smokescreen's words; he did have a point. Bulkhead was far from ordinary, but for a God, he was as close as it got. He wasn't a brilliant strategist or a conversationalist, he wasn't a leader or exactly much of a looker. But he heart of gold, and if anyone deserved to find love, it was him.

Ratchet broke her train of thought and began ushering everyone out of the temple. "Alright, everyone out. Bumblebee and Bulkhead need their space, after all. So get out, shew."

The Gods and Valerans groaned reluctantly; the only ones who were allowed to stay were the five Valerans and Smokescreen. Optimus placed a kiss on Ratchet's forehead and Cliffjumper placed a servo on Bulkhead's shoulder in reassurance before he followed Arcee out of the bay.

Bumblebee smiled up at Smokescreen as he placed a kiss on his cheek, before lowering the berth into a lower setting so Bumblebee could get some rest. Ratchet muttered a quick spell and Bumblebee was surrounded in a faint white glow, the spell numbing his sensors and making it easier to sleep.

Miko's gaze was focused on Bulkhead, his sleeping form still and unmoving. "He will wake up, right?" She asked, trying not to let the desperation be heard in her tone.

Ratchet looked up from his work, materializing a pair of protective glasses for June to wear as she watched. "Of course he will, Miko. It will take time and some healing spells, but he will wake up."

Fowler placed an arm around the small child. "Bulkhead's too tough to be outta the game for too long. You'll see, he'll be back on his feet and doing your hair every morning in no time."

"I noticed you got pink highlights, Miko. I wonder when you got those done." June said, looking briefly away from Ratchet's work to flash her a warm grin. "I've been trying to convince Jack to let Arcee dye his hair pink and blue to match her paint. He's been pretty stubborn."

Jack groaned as everyone laughed around him. "That's because no teenage boy wants to match their giant God friend!"

"Why not? I think it would be pretty cool!" Raf smiled, looking up at Bumblebee and Smokescreen.

They fell into easy conversation, poking fun at Jack and other related topics, while Ratchet watched Bulkhead's vitals slowly rise, a sign he would indeed wake up soon.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Wheeljack woke again - for real this time - to the lurch of his ship coming to a complete stop.

The compulsion systems deactivated and the Jackhammer froze in place, hovering where the engine had stalled. Wheeljack's body launched forward, and he barely had time to stop himself before his face smashed into the controls.

"Good Primus…" Wheeljack muttered, pushing himself up with a deep inhale. He looked out the front of his ship, his optics widening.

Through the front window of the Jackhammer, Wheeljack could see a massive planet, at least the size of Cybertron if not bigger. From here, Wheeljack could see the white swirls of clouds as well as the green and blue of the oceans and land below that. On either side of the planet there was a sun, moving slowly around the planet. Distantly, Wheeljack could see three moons, slowly moving farther away from the planet, signaling that it was getting later in the morning most likely.

"How long was I out for?" Wheeljack wondered out loud as he reached forward to activate his comm link system. But just before his servo reached the button, he paused.

Something churned inside of him; his spark did a little flip inside his chest at the prospect of stopping here, before this large planet. He couldn't quite place the feeling, but he felt stronger, as if he could take on the entirety of the Cybertronian Elite Guard and win. There was a new fire deep in his gut, but it felt so natural there.

Wheeljack reached away from the comm link, going to his directional compass. The computer read what he expected: he'd reached Valeran.

Wheeljack shook the excess thoughts way from his mind and returned to activating the comm link system. "Hey, Kup?"

There was a hiss of static before Kup's gruff voice filled the compartment of the Jackhammer. "I hear ya, Wheels. How goes your travels?"

"Pretty great, just arrived at Valeran; it's a beauty, Kup." Wheeljack broke off his sentence to chuckle a little. "I just slept through the entire journey, all five days."

There was silence on the other end for a moment before Wheeljack heard Kup yelling at the people around him, something like 'track his coordinates!' or 'tell me where he is!'

"Uh, Wheels," Kup said, his voice carrying a tone of concern Wheeljack wasn't used to hearing. "Ya can't be at Valeran, it's only been a day. I ain't sure what planet you're stopped at, but Valeran ain't it."

Wheeljack paused, looking back up at the planet in front of him. He checked his computer again, refreshing the compass in case it had glitched.

When it fully loaded it read the same exact phrase: Arrived at Valeran.

"Kup, I'm not sure what to tell you, but-" Wheeljack's train of thought drifted as he remembered his dream. The green mech had touched his console, and he remembered lurching forward and the stars zooming past him twice as fast. The smile on the mech's face and not responding when Wheeljack had demanded to know what he had just done.

He remembered the other mech, Bumblebee, as he spoke about powers and Primus and Cybertron and how Wheeljack was barely able to follow along, how he somehow knew his powers and seemed just a little too excited that Wheeljack was from Cybertron and on his way to Valeran.

"I'll be a son of a glitch…" Wheeljack whispered to himself. "Was it even a dream…?"

Kup's angry voice interrupted his thoughts and he turned back to face the front.

"Kiddo, this can't be possible, ya only been travelin' for a day," Kup was saying, yelling at the mechs around him to get data reports. "Wheeljack, it says the engine surged wit' power six hours ago, what did you do?!"

Wheeljack opened his mouth to respond before the Jackhammer gave a loud groan, and the ship was suddenly tilted downwards, moving quickly towards the planet below.

"Oh scrap," Wheeljack cursed as alarms sounded around him. The cockpit began flashing red with warnings and Wheeljack strapped himself into the pilot's chair before he moved to try and steer the ship.

"Kup, I'm bein' pulled in by the planet's gravitational pull," Wheeljack groaned as he tried to activate the engines and turn the ship around with no luck. The Jackhammer was falling and it was falling fast. "Scrap!"

"Hey, yer gonna be fine kid, the Jackhammer will protect ya." Kup's voice was overly calm, but it wasn't comforting Wheeljack in the slightest. "You just have ta survive til' we can send out some men to get you Wheels."

"How long's that gonna take?" Wheeljack demanded as he entered a level of clouds. Any second now the clouds would disappear around him and all Wheeljack would be able to see was the ground getting ever closer to him.

"About three weeks, pal. None of the other ships were equipped with the compulsion system yours was. Ya hang tight kid, Impactor and Springer will be-" Kup's voice cut out as the Jackhammer's engine shut off, and the console went dark.

"Kup! Kup! Answer me ya bucket of bolts!" Wheeljack looked back up through the window and he saw the clouds disappear, and all he could see now was the green, organic grass of the planet getting closer by the second. "Oh scrap!"

When Wheeljack thought about death, he thought he would die of boredom in the lab, or listening to Percy and Jetfire debate which was the more serious offense: meeting the carrier and sire on the fifth date or never at all.

He sometimes thought he would die of starvation; it'd happened once on a journey where the Jackhammer's engine had cut out and Wheeljack had been stuck for what must have been two weeks with no food or energon. He'd luckily been rescued mere days before he offlined.

He knew that when he died, he would be scared and terrified and hope that he would somehow be saved by Primus himself or literally anyone.

But at this moment, as the Jackhammer was hurdling towards the earth, Wheeljack wasn't scared at all.

His spark was calm, and still doing little flips in his chest. It pounded harder and harder in his chest, but not because he was moving towards the earth at a surprising speed, but because somehow, he knew he was going to be just fine.

It stressed Wheeljack out more that he was so calm, but the calmness overtook him, stopping him from panicking or crying out. The alarms blared around him, the steering wheel shifted and turned the engine sputtered, but Wheeljack didn't grab onto them.

He reached up and deactivated the alarm, waiting for the earth to hit.

The last thing Wheeljack saw was a clearing opening among the trees before the Jackhammer hit the ground.

Chapter Text

The Valerans who lived in the village had extensive territory; Fowler and the leaders who preceded him made sure of that. The territory started with the main village then to the plains for the livestock on one side of the village and the pond on the other. Their land extended to the hills behind the village where the temples were seated and it ended with the vast forest on the far end of the pond.

The territory on the far side of the pond had once been theirs, but it fell into MECH's hands when Silas and the others had abandoned the Valeran Village to get away from the Gods.

MECH had cut most ties with the Valerans when they had deserted, but they complied to the occasional meeting every other month just to make sure no wars broke out, despite the fact they were at each others' throats. MECH hated the Valerans just as much as they hated the Gods, and Fowler didn't like the threat that lingered over them at all times.

The MECH stronghold was admittedly very high end considering most of their original supplies had been what they could steal in the night from the Valerans. The Valerans didn't have much technology to begin with, so MECH had been forced to bend their ideals and ask the Gods for their technology, under the guise they would use it for protection and advancements.

They left with the new technology that very same night.

They had satellites and defense systems built from scratch, as well as communication devices for each other and the Gods, should the need arise. Each member was equipped with several guns and other weaponry that could inflict damage even on the Gods if enough shots were fired.

The MECH base consisted of four large buildings: one building for the majority of troops, one building for the leader Silas to sleep, another building for the horses and livestock, and the last building was for any and all scientific work they conducted.

In other words, the most important building.

MECH stuck to a very strict schedule: rise before dawn and work until long after sunset. The satellites were monitored daily and border checks were conducted religiously; every hour on the hour. Meals were prepared weeks in advance so soldiers could grab their rations without much time required. Silas commanded his troops with an iron fist, barely showing any sort of praise or allowing them to stray from their mission.

Silas was a cool and capricious dictator in the small community of MECH, but it worked for him and it worked for his men.

Silas shifted his gaze from one computer to the other as he watched his men conduct the second safety check of the day, glyph and images popping up on the screen before being replaced by a new thing seconds later.

"God activity continues to be unusually quiet, sir, as well as for the past three days. Power emissions down by twenty percent and they were only seen at their borders twice a day instead of the regular five times." One man, Kevin stated, looking back at Silas. "They had their meeting with Nova and Iclic, but that occurred on schedule with no major interruptions."

Silas raised an eyebrow. This was most unusual, the Gods not straying far from their camp. "Did our cameras in their camp give us any insight to this?"

"In a way, sir. All eight Gods were seen entering the main temple for their nightly dinner three nights ago, only for one to be carried out and taken to the Healer God's temple a short time later." Kevin replied, turning back to his computer to bring an image up on the screen. Silas narrowed his eyes as he took in what the image was showing.

The largest God, Optimus Prime, was carrying the large green mech in his arms; Bulkhead he was pretty sure his name was. The Earth God. He was limp in his leader's arm, and Silas watched the image change every few moments, showing the Gods running quickly towards the Healer God's temple.

"Do we know what's wrong with him?" Silas asked, taking a step closer to his men.

"No sir, we do not have any cameras in the temple areas save for the one next to the main temple." Kevin reported. "Nova and Iclic activity is quiet as well, sir. They have not contacted us in days."

Silas nodded. That was a comfort however small that the Iclic remained secretive and to themselves. Less trouble for MECH to deal with. Silas and Crow notoriously did not get along, and he would be lying if he said he didn't miss the meetings where he had to lay eyes on that manipulative King.

Something began to ding loudly and the room around him flashed yellow. Silas didn't flinch from his position; if anything his hands only tightened around each other from behind his back. "What is happening?"

"Our satellite, sir," another man said, pressing a few buttons and the beeping stopped. All of the images on the screen changed to show a single image: a ship burning up as it entered the atmosphere. "a ship is entering Valeran's atmosphere."

Silas was shocked for a moment, before the shock shifted into smugness. "After all this time, finally a newcomer." He smirked, holding out his hand. One of his henchmen placed his favorite gun into it, and strapped goggles to his face.

The rest of his men geared up and Silas tightened his battle armor around him, the feeling of mad, hysterical excitement chilling him to the bone. "Let's bring this one back alive, boys."

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Jack sighed as he discarded his queen; the card wasn't of any use to him anyway. Miko gave him a look and muttered "That's not the card I wanted", before she passed it onto Raf, who rolled his eyes but took the card and the extra into his own hand.

It had been a few hours now since Bumblebee had emerged from Bulkhead's mind. Since then, everyone found out that Bulkhead and the mech of the prophecy were destined to be together, and the Gods found out their whole lives were taking a turn for the better. The Gods had been running around like madmen, barely able to sit still for longer than a few minutes before they needed to do something to occupy their time.

The Gods from Tonin had arrived about two hours ago, only adding to both the excitement and confusion. Arrangements needed to be made for them to live and sleep, and they needed to be brought up to speed on all the details of the situation.

Jack, Miko, Raf, Fowler, and June had been keeping Ratchet company as he monitored Bumblebee and Bulkhead's recovery, since Smokescreen had been called away to help get everyone settled. However, the Healer God had been called away as well when Cliffjumper, Breakdown, and Smokescreen injured themselves having a 'friendly' welcome brawl, and Bumblebee had gone with since he felt much better then. Fowler and June had been summoned once the meeting started, adamant that they be present.

So the children were left to watch Bulkhead, which really wasn't as exciting as it sounded.

They started playing cards to pass the time, but they had already played several games of Go Fish, Sherades, and now they were playing Royal Rummy, and despite being only a third of the way done with the game, Jack was losing horribly.

It wasn't that Jack was bad at Royal Rummy, it was just that Raf was a genius when it came to anything strategic and mathematics, and Miko was both very lucky and strangely good at this game.

"I have my three Kings for my set, and a run of three, four, five, and six, please notice how there are no jokers." Miko announced proudly as she laid down her cards in front of her. Raf nodded approvingly and set aside cards in his hand to play on her cards later, while Jack groaned inwardly. "And I discard an Ace to you, Raf."

Raf smirked and picked up the card, and Jack slammed his head down on the table, utterly defeated.

"I have a set of Aces, a run of five, and I can play on your Kings here, Miko." Raf proceeded to do just that, and Jack noticed how Raf had only one card left in his hand. "A Queen to discard and I'm out."

Jack began counting his points while Miko sighed gratefully, since she had just gotten rid of most of her cards just before that.

She turned her gaze to Bulkhead, and her smile fell from her face. Jack put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed a little, a sign of encouragement.

"It's okay, Miko. You know Bulkhead will wake up soon." Jack said confidently, and Raf joined in.

"Yeah! He's just taking his time. You know how intense the mind melding can be."

Miko nodded, still unconvinced. "There are so many side effects, though. He could have amnesia, or can't use his powers, or can't wiggly his right pinky."

As Miko began to list things, Jack could tell she wanted to believe that Bulkhead would wake up, but in some cases after the mind melds, it took days for the other party to wake up and she did have a point about the whole 'side effects' thing. She had more than a right to be worried.

"You really think Bulkhead would allow his soulmate to arrive on the planet without him being awake? No way, he's gonna wake up soon." Raf said next, and Miko perked up a little at the mention of the whole soulmate topic.

"What do you guys think he's like?" Miko asked, bringing her legs up so she was cross legged on her chair, and placed her elbows on either knee so her chin could rest on her hands. "I bet he's got a bit of an attitude on him."

"An attitude? For Bulkhead?"

"Opposites attract and whatever, and besides Bulk's got a thing for a fiery spirit."

"Must be why he keeps you around," Jack joked, and got a punch in the arm for his efforts. "I'll bet he's tall, and I'll say black plating. But I still think he's gonna be a kind, charismatic guy."

"I think he'll be quick on his feet, and really talented. Good with battle strategies." Raf said, adjusting his glasses.

"You're both wrong. I think he's gonna be short, and let's say," Miko met Jack's gaze and smirked. "White plating, and let's say red and yellow stripes, like fire. And he's gonna be crude and crash but a really good fighter."

Jack nodded and began collecting up the cards to start the next round. "You guys are on. Whoever's closest to what the mech looks like and acts, doesn't have to do chores for a week."

"Sweet!"

"You're on!"

The children's mini celebration was cut short from a groan coming from Bulkhead's direction. Miko dropped her cards and sprang up, while Jack and Raf followed quickly behind. They ran across the walkways the Gods had built for them, making their way towards Bulkhead's berth.

The green God was sitting up now, clutching his helm and blinking his optics online. He looked groggy and Jack was worried he would pass out again, but Bulkhead stayed upright.

"Bulk? Can you hear me?" Miko asked, reaching forward a little and placing a hand on Bulkhead's thigh. "Bulk?"

"Huh?" Bulkhead dropped his hand and looked down in the kid's direction, and a small smile came to his face. "Hey there, kiddo. Hey Jack, hey Raf."

"No amnesia!" Miko threw her hands up in the air and Jack scratched the back of his neck as his own mini sign of relief. Bulkhead chuckled.

"Good to have you back, Bulkhead." Jack greeted, and Bulkhead smiled wider.

"Good to be back. Do we know if Bumblebee's mind meld worked?"

"Yeah, we do. The mech of the prophecy is on his way now."

"Yup! And you're his -"

Jack placed a hand over Miko's mouth to get her to stop talking. Bulkhead gave him a confused look, but said nothing about it. Instead he said, "The mech of the prophecy is coming here? To Valeran?!"

"Yeah, he's on his way now. The Gods from Tonin are already here. We're trying to get Airachnid and Shockwave, but they aren't ready to leave their planets yet." Raf explained as Bulkhead shakily stood from the berth.

"Okay, okay, but wait, the prophecy mech is coming here? Now?!" Bulkhead demanded, his optics coming fully online as his voice rose in excitement. "This is great! This changes everything!"

As Bulkhead began to pace back and forth, loudly proclaiming all about the greatness of the current events, the children turned to face each other.

"We should tell him." Jack whispered.

"I tried, but you stopped me!" Miko retaliated, crossing her arms and tapping her foot.

"I know, I know, I just didn't want to get him overwhelmed."

"Who wants to tell him?"

All eyes turned to Miko, who groaned. "Fine, fine, whatever. Since y'all are too chicken to do it yourselves."

The trio turned around as Miko loudly cleared her throat. "Um, Bulk! We got something to tell you…"

Bulkhead turned, giving them his full attention. He knelt down so he was closer to eye level, his mouth open to tell them to continue.

For the second time in the past ten minutes, the moment was interrupted.

"Hey, kiddos! Is Bulkhead awake?" Breakdown loudly asked as he launched himself through the doorway of the medical bay. His expressions warped into a grin and he let out a booming laugh once he saw Bulkhead on his feet. "Ha, ha! There he is!"

"Breakdown! What -"

"No time to explain, just needed to make sure you were alright. Alive and kickin', duh." Breakdown awkwardly scratched the back of his helm. "I need the kids for a second."

Bulkhead looked between Breakdown and the children, confusion written over every inch of his face. He clearly was not fully awake yet, and Breakdown running in and speaking in a weird voice was doing him no favors.

"Whatever Breakdown, you don't have to ask," Bulkhead said, leaning backwards on the medical berth. He laid a hand over his optics and groaned, muttering something about the lights being too bright.

Breakdown nodded and ran forward, scooping all three children into his arms before they could even say hello.

"The mech is here," Breakdown said in a whisper shouting tone. His optics were brighter than Jack had seen in a long time and it brought a smile to his own face.

Miko, Jack, and Raf all exchanged an exciting look. Miko began shaking with excitement, while Raf looked like he could burst. Jack's smile was wide and hopeful.

"The mech of the prophecy is here! We're finally gonna meet him!" Raf exclaimed.

"I can't wait to be proven right!" Miko said next, crossing her arms with a smug look on her face.

Jack, on the other hand rolled his eyes. "In your dreams, hot shot."

Breakdown chuckled too and placed them back down on their spot. "We're going to get him now, Optimus told me to tell you guys to keep an eye on Bulk here until we get back. Can you do that?"

Miko gave him a mock salute, and Raf joined in, eager to please. "Sir yes sir!" They exclaimed in unison, and Jack ruggedly saluted as well.

Breakdown smiled wider and gave them a salute back, before he turned and ran out of the temple, giving a fading 'goodbye' to Bulkhead as he left.

The kids all smiled at each other and sat back down at their card game, collecting the cards and shuffling them to start the next round. Bulkhead joined in on the game as well, forming his own cards that were large enough for him to hold.

But none of them could really focus on the game anymore, they were too excited for the next few hours to speed by.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Wheeljack groaned, every inch of his body radiating exhaustion and soreness.

Wheeljack looked around, taking inventory of everything around him. He had landed in a field, tall green grass leading into a large forest on every side. It was vastly different than Cybertron, which was mostly filled with metal buildings or living metal beings. Above him, the sky was bright and clear, with two suns almost touching in the sky above him. He could hear the sounds of organic life forms singing and making noises all around him, but he couldn't spot any signs of life.

Wheeljack shifted, trying to stand up before he realized he couldn't. Looking back, he noticed half his body was stuck underneath a large section of the Jackhammer, but Wheeljack himself was surprisingly void of any pain.

Maybe it was the adrenaline coursing through his body, or maybe it had something to do with the powerful feeling he'd felt on his ship, but regardless, he didn't feel the pain he thought came with being half crushed by the rubble of one's ship.

The Jackhammer was in numerous pieces around him, some still smoking or on fire. Wheeljack's optics landed on the destroyed console - or what was left of it - and he knew there was absolutely no way he could contact his friends now.

Wheeljack ignored that piece of information for the moment as he reached back and pushed off the rubble with a surprising amount of ease. The rubble slid off almost weightlessly and landed with a thud beside him. Wheeljack slowly stood up before he took a look at himself. He barely had a new scratch on his plating, no dark bruises or stray wires sticking out of limbs.

He was completely fine.

Wheeljack looked up and around his surroundings, trying to find any signs of civilization or people he could use for shelter and transportation. When he saw nothing, he turned his attention back to the rubble of the Jackhammer.

He definitely didn't have much to work with, but if he was lucky he might get enough pieces together to scrounge up a radio or something useful like that. He knelt down to begin the work process, the feeling of unease settling at the base of his gut.

The only warning he got was a snapping of a twig and the sound of a trigger firing before a large, thick web like net was wrapping around his torso, trapping his arms against his back.

"What the frag!" Wheeljack cried, trying to twist out of the wires, with no luck.

There was the distant sound of another trigger, and a new net was wrapped around his legs in the blink of an optic, causing him to tumble and fall to the ground. He hit the soft grass in an awkward motion, his shoulder taking the brunt of it.

He struggled a little and managed to flip himself onto his back, and despite his arms trapped under him, it was more comfortable than lying on his side. Wheeljack lifted up his chin from his chest and tried to get a good look at whoever had trapped him.

His attackers were shorter than he expected.

There was a group of small organics - Wheeljack had encountered organics before on one or two previous adventures, and neither of them had been particularly pleasant - all dressed in a strange sort of combat gear that looked more practical than comfortable. They were all armed to the hilt and most of them hid their faces with glasses and masks, but there was one, in the center of the charge, that only wore glasses.

Wheeljack scoffed. "Do you greet all your guests like this? You're gonna kill the tourism this way."

The man with the goggles didn't react, he merely handed his gun to one of his shoulders. He held up a hand and the other men stopped moving, frozen in place and waiting for orders. He reached up one hand and ever so slowly took the goggles off, revealing his scared face and cold stare.

"We don't get many tourists around here," the man replied curtly. "you might be the first in dozens of years."

Wheeljack raised an optic ridge, but said nothing.

The man placed a hand on his chest. "I am Silas. I lead MECH, an elite organization of men committed to the complete understanding and termination of the enemy who invaded our planet." Silas gestured to his men, a sinister look in his eyes as he looked back to Wheeljack. He began to walk closer, before he knelt down by Wheeljack's face plate. Wheeljack attempted to pull away a little; he wasn't threatened by this man but the red beams from the guns were enough to make him a little squeamish.

"We are quite literally men walking among Gods, if you will." Silas snickered, reaching out and running his hand along Wheeljack's finial. Wheeljack really attempted to jerk away then, he hated people touching his finials and this slime ball fleshie was no exception. Silas did not attempt to reach farther forward, but he didn't rise to his feet. "Now, where do you come from?"

Wheeljack snickered. "Your mother's house. Or maybe it was your girlfriend's house. That is, assuming that anyone could stand your ugly mug long enough to date you."

Silas did stand then, his expression just as blank as it was before. He lifted a hand and gestured aimlessly at Wheeljack's form, the tiniest of smirks on the edge of his lip.

Wheeljack watched as one of the men lifted his hand, a small remote in his tiny palm. He pushed a button on it, and instantly the wires surrounding Wheeljack's form ignited in bright sparks, sending shocks down his spine.

Wheeljack let out a loud cry as his frame shook uncontrollably from the lightning shocks sent through his body. The smell of burning plating was an unpleasant one, and he could hear the sizzling of the wires as they sunk a little into his sides and front. He rolled over onto his left side before he flipped over his right, the earth scorched where he had once laid.

Silas watched with an evil grin his optics, watching as the large mech withered under his foot. This may not have been a God, but it was as close as he'd gotten to getting said Gods under his feet, and he was relishing the opportunity.

Wheeljack gasped as he felt the fire awaken inside of him, the sudden urge to attack and protect moving to the forefront of his mind. He could feel the burning in his gut and at the edges of his fingertips, trying to break out and set him free of the wires that held him down.

Silas raised a hand and the tremors and lightning stopped, and the need to use his fire died along with it.

Steam came off of Wheeljack's plating from the electricity, and he breathed heavily for a few moments, blinking his optics to adjust to his surroundings.

Silas appeared in his vision, smirking down at him in a way that made Wheeljack wonder if he was going to cut him open right here in the middle of a field.

"Now, are we going to play nice or are we going to continue to be stubborn?" Silas asked, the confidence in his voice both annoying and chilling.

Wheeljack rolled his optics and sucked in one more breath. "Why'd you stop, sweet spark? It was just starting to feel good." Wheeljack wiggled an optic ridge and the speed at which Silas's amused look vanished from his face was enough for Wheeljack.

Silas gestured for the man with the remote to step closer, and once he was withing arm's reach he grabbed the remote from him. Silas knelt down by Wheeljack's face, anger in his eyes.

"Understand me when I say that I am a man who likes good results. And you have given me nothing to work with so far, so if you do not give me the answers I want, I will be forced to take them from you. Quite painfully. It is in your best interest to listen to me." Silas said coolly.

Wheeljack met his gaze. His spark was pounding in his chest, because he could not tell if this man was bluffing or not. He'd dealt with nasty natives at planets before who'd threatened his life, but he'd ever been chained down and threatened to reveal where he came from with the threat of torture as the alternative.

"Do your worst, fleshie." He seethed back, the fire in his gut appearing again without warning.

Something changed in Silas's demeanor, because for a split second he looked scared.

"You have powers as well?" Silas whispered, his voice gaining anger as he spoke.

Wheeljack didn't drop his bluff then, opening his mouth to retort.

"Silas!"

A loud, booming voice came from behind Wheeljack, and he twisted himself so he could get a better look at who had interrupted his moment. He craned his neck awkwardly and one of his finials dug into the soft dirt beneath him, but that was the least of his worries.

There was a group of six mecha charging over the hill, looking strikingly similar to Wheeljack in terms of build and make up, but he had never seen them before.

Wait.

He had seen them before.

There was one short black and yellow mech with the swirly optics, the door wings tight in the air behind him. The one from his most recent dream.

He was standing beside a silver mech who was about his size, door wings equally taunt against his back. There was the tallest mech, with red and blue plating. He was standing beside a small blue femme, who looked so incredibly fierce Wheeljack was scared she was going to kill all of the fleshies without warning. She was beside a taller red mech with horns on the top of his head, a grin on his face. There were two large mechs to his left, one blue and gray and the other green and black.

A feeling of disappointment settled in his gut, the need to find and hold and be held suddenly at the front of his mind. It was like his spark was yearning for something - someone - that wasn't really there. He shook the thoughts away as Silas let out a chuckle.

"Ah, Optimus Prime." Silas said, snapping his fingers. "I was wondering when you'd show to rescue this newcomer."

There was a rustling behind Wheeljack, and once again he shifted himself to see just what was happening.

In the trees on the edge of the clearing, a new battalion was rolling up. There was maybe twelve large forms that looked like makeshift Cybertronians, built of metal and alloys, stitched together and welded. Their optics were either burnt out husks or glowing a strange, eerie yellow, and Wheeljack grimaced as he saw there were more MECH agents in the chests of them, controlling the knock off robots with a few switches and controls.

Beside the robots, there were a few more men preparing to operate a canon, and Wheeljack could hear it charging up even from where he was lying down.

"Stand down, Silas." The red and blue mech demanded, his voice loud and powerful. Wheeljack himself was slightly deterred by the gruff tone of voice from the mech. "This mech has no quarrel with you, release him and let us take care of him."

"Not in your lifetime, God. This mech has powers too, and since he's clearly so special to you, you have to fight for him. Or maybe his head, if you're lucky enough to get only that."

Not even ten minutes on this Primus forsaken planet and Wheeljack was caught between two different teams of robots, both of which apparently wanted to bring him home.

"I hate it here." Wheeljack muttered to himself, closing his optics for a moment and he wondered just why he listened to the Ghost that told him to come to this stupid planet in the first planet.

Note to self, never take advice from Ghosts ever again.

Chapter Text

It was pretty safe to say Wheeljack was pretty uncomfortable in his current situation.

On one end there Silas and his group of fleshies shoved into robotic bodies and multiple canons aimed towards the opposing team, which was made up of living metal organisms much like Wheeljack himself. Most of their optics were glowing now and they drew themselves back into a guarding stance, some of their servos clenched and glowing with their own light.

The tension was high out in this little field, the rubble of the Jackhammer still hot behind Wheeljack himself. He felt like a piece of meat, about to be fought over by two apex predators.

"It's your choice, Optimus," Silas broke through the silence of the standstill. "Walk away and let us take him back to our base, or we kill him."

"If it helps, I don't like either of those options." Wheeljack hollered from where he was still held down, and the rebuttal to his input was that blasted organic pressing the button on that damned control. Electricity shot through his systems more painfully than the last time, and the smell of rotting plating made him want to gag.

"Do not harm him!" A booming voice came from Wheeljack's right, but he didn't recognize who was speaking.

"Temper, temper," Silas hummed, and the electricity stopped. Once again, a few small puffs of smoke rose off of Wheeljack's plating, floating away into the air above him. He exhaled sharply - which hurt immensely - and worked his way into a sitting up position. "I'm almost tempted to let you keep him, I've never been one to be fond of a feisty attitude."

Silas's stance shifted and he gained a gleam in his eye, an expression of gloating. "I'm sure the precious Tailgate could tell me all about my dislike for a feisty attitude."

"That's it!" It was a femme voice that said that, followed by a loud battle cry.

"Arcee, wait!"

"Stand down!"

But the fight had already begun.

Wheeljack turned his head just in time to see a small blue and pink femme leaping up into the air, hovering several feet off the ground. Above him, the sky was beginning to swirl a dark gray, the clouds thundering and jolting with lightning.

The blue femme still remained where she was, and all optics were trained on her.

Her optics were glowing fiercely bright, her servos clenched at her sides. The clouds began to swirl above her, beginning to sink lower and lower in the center like a tornado touching down until it was almost on top of her. A few flashes of lightning flashed near her, and thunder followed close behind.

The femme let out a loud roar and clapped her hands over her head, and lightning suddenly shot down from the sky, crashing down towards the earth at a remarkable speed.

The earth scorched where the lightning touched down, the thunder loud enough to shake the ground. It was doing the trick; Silas and his precious creations stumbled and swayed where they stood, and the canons jumped off the ground. Wheeljack let out a surprised yell as he bounced up and down on the ground as lightning struck the earth beneath him.

The lightning paused for a moment, and Wheeljack turned his gaze upward in time to see the femme letting out a loud scream, before she began spinning in rapid succession; her helm tucked into her chest and her arms straight out beside her.

The swirling ball gained speed the farther she fell, and soon she collided into one of the large robots, blue liquid and sparks flying from where her fist made contact with it.

The man in the machine was quick to strike back, stepping away from where he had been hit and gaining his balance. He drew his arm back and clenched his fist, before driving it forward and hitting the femme in the stomach. Wheeljack couldn't help but flinch as the femme flew backwards, tumbling a few times before she gained her footing. Her optics were glowing in white fury, her mouth set in a deep scowl.

As Wheeljack watched the femme get up and charge again, his optics traveled to the other areas of the fight. There was a group of two - the tall red mech, the short black and yellow - who were trying to get closer to the canons without being hit by the purple blasts. There was a second group - a bulky blue mech and a red mech with horns - helping the short femme fight the men in suits.

Wheeljack flinched back as a bright, smiling face suddenly filled his vision.

"Hi there!" The mech was yelling at him, the grin firmly planted on his face. "The name's Smokescreen! I'm the God of Speed and Courage; not that means anything to you right now."

"Smokescreen!" Wheeljack looked up and saw the large blue mech standing in the way of the sunlight., his shoulder pads casting a strange shadow on Wheeljack's form. One of his servos was shifted into a blaster and he was facing out towards the battle, but Wheeljack could see the annoyed look on his face plates. "Stop talking and untie him!"

"Right, sorry!" Smokescreen's optics glowed a bright white and his servos glowed a silver lining as he grabbed onto the cables surrounding Wheeljack.

"Blasted MECH! I should have known they would have pulled something like this after we found their cameras on our territory." The blue mech hissed out as he watched the battle unfold. He looked down at Wheeljack, his gaze hard to read. Something flashed in his optics, an emotion Wheeljack sworn he had seen many times before it was gone.

Wheeljack had never enjoyed full range of movement more than when the cables snapped and his legs and arms fell from where they had been held against his body. He sighed in relief, the sensation that came from relaxing a little enough to make him want to curl up and take a small recharge nap.

He did a quick once-over of himself to see if there was any new damages, and he was upset to see there was. Some of his plating still carried the burn marks from the rope and he had a few open wounds, but nothing life threatening.

A servo was thrust into his face - he was really getting sick of things filling his vision without his permission - before he could contemplate that nap or his escape plan.

Wheeljack looked up at the owner - it was the silver one, Smokescreen - his optics still eager and glowing.

He hesitated for a few moments before he accepted the outstretched hand. The mech barely showed any sign of effort as he helped haul Wheeljack to his feet, and when Wheeljack was being pulled he almost felt weightless. He coughed and quickly pulled his servo out of the silver mech's grasp.

"Thanks, kid."

"Kid? Buddy, I'm at least a couple hundred years older than you -"

"Blah, blah, blah. Look, I just need to get outta here."

"I am afraid we cannot allow you to leave."

Wheeljack looked up, one optic ridge raised in confusion. "I beg your pardon?"

The blue mech straightened, his mouth set in a thin line. He was taller than Wheeljack by a few head lengths and he was definitely the stronger of the two - Wheeljack wasn't sure if he wanted to find out what this mech's power was - but Primus himself be damned if he was going to be backed into a corner by this guy.

Wheeljack glared up at him, unflinching even as Smokescreen awkwardly stood between them.

"What is your name, mecha?"

"Wheeljack. Not that it means anythin' to ya."

"It does, actually. Since you will be coming back to our village, immediently."

"That's rich. I'm not gonna be a pretty damsel in distress or be your prisoner."

"It's for your protection."

Wheeljack scoffed. "I'm sure it is. And I've been lobbing with the Fallen."

The blue mech's optics widened then, as if something struck him as familiar, before his expression hardened again.

"Look, it is in your best interest to come back with us, so we may protect you from MECH and others who seek to harm you." The mech insisted, his sentence pleading but his voice was demanding.

Wheeljack stepped back. It alarmed him that this mech seemed to act like he knew him, but that was really the least of his worries at the moment. "Listen, shoulder pads -"

"Ultra Magnus."

"Shoulder pads," Wheeljack continued as if he hadn't spoken. "I just need you to make me a ship, and I'll get out of yer way. I have no interest bein' here if I'm just a piece of meat to you guys."

"You're not a piece of meat! You're actually very important!" Smokescreen yelled again, jumping fully in between Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus. His back was to the blue mech, and his optics were wide and pleading to Wheeljack.

"Smokescreen, stop it, now." Ultra Magnus barked. Wheeljack looked up at him for a moment before he glanced down at Smokescreen.

"Why am I so important, kid?" Wheeljack demanded, and Smokescreen took a step back, clearly alarmed and knowing he messed up. "Tell me."

"Smokescreen, do not."

Smokescreen looked extremely conflicted, his mouth moving even though no sound came out. His door wings twitched on his back, as if they could sense the anger coming off of Ultra Magnus's plating.

Suddenly, the smaller mech's optics narrowed and he took up a battle stance, his gaze directed at something behind Wheeljack.

The white and green mech turned, and was greeted with several dozen missiles launching straight towards him.

"Get behind me!" Ultra Magus demanded, and Wheeljack felt a few droplets of water fall against his back.

Wheeljack grunted, concentrating on his powers, which he was surprised to notice were already awake inside of him. The familiar rush of his powers coming to life ignited in his spark, and he felt the itch like sensation of the fire crawling out of his plating, remaining on his servos like a gauntlet.

Ultra Magnus turned and looked down at him, his expression changing from battle ready to shocked in a nano-second. He moved out of the way as Wheeljack stepped in front of him, and he didn't say anything as Wheeljack turned his attention to the sky.

"Like I said," Wheeljack's adrenaline was at an all time high. "I ain't no damsel."

He opened his servos and clapped them together in front of him, a large beam of fire shooting out of his fingertips. The fire wormed through the air like a fierce dragon, the flames flickering in the air as they shot forward towards their target.

The red hot fire hit the bombs head on, and within moments, the sky was filled with explosions that shook the ground. Metal pieces from the bombs fell around Wheeljack's feet, but he didn't stop,

"Holy scrap!"

Wheeljack recognized that someone was speaking and there were several triumphant cheers coming from the people around him, but he ignored them in favor of continuing to release the fire out of his systems.

The fire from the sky seemed to gain a mind of its own, and instead of vanishing into the air, it began swirling back towards Wheeljack and engulfing him in a bright orange cocoon. The fire was dancing on his plating but not burning him, he could feel the hotness and itchiness of it, but he had never felt more at home.

Wheeljack hadn't even realized he was levitating until he looked down and saw the earth was a ways down beneath him, all eyes and optics trained on him in awe.

Destroy the pests. A voice demanded.

The voice was foreign and unfamiliar, a distorted and ugly sound in his mind. He'd never heard it before in his life, but for some reason it felt so natural beside his thoughts.

Wheeljack obeyed.

There was a sound of a distance screaming, a horrible warped sound that managed to chill Wheeljack to the core despite being surrounded by fire. He clenched his fists and closed his optics, the fire burning to the surface of his armor before it seemed to seep out of every pore.

Wheeljack was confident he was giving off more heat than the sun at this point.

Wheeljack jerked his fists outwards, and the flames followed.

His flames were so bright they were almost white hot, falling towards the ground like meteors.

The fire balls hit MECH's canons and machines spot on, and the explosions came seconds after.

"Retreat!"

"Fall back!"

"Ultra Magnus! The fires!"

Wheeljack once again could register that people were screaming, but he was so tired now he couldn't focus on the white noise.

The fire was fading around him, and he could feel the anger and hunger fading in his gut. He felt cold now, the lack of flames surrounding him more deafening than anything. The voice was silent, but he felt like a presence was missing from his mind now.

"He's falling!"

Darkness was sweeping at the edges of his vision and his entire body felt numb. He could faintly feel himself falling towards the ground, but he didn't even have the energy to react.

"Bumblebee, save him!"

Wheeljack felt a gust of wind stop his fall, but that was the last thing he could comprehend before the darkness overtook him.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

"My darling, you know the moonlight doesn't help you think any better. We have talked about this before."

Crow didn't turn to look over his shoulder at the sound of Airachnid's voice. He wondered if he ignored her that she would leave him alone, but past nights of similar conversation openers told him that she would not leave him alone.

Crow was standing on the balcony of his castle, looking out at the village and the great world beyond. The moon was glowing overhead, the stars twinkling beside it. There were multiple lights lining the side of the roads in the village, and several lights on his own balcony, so Crow could easily see the last of his subjects retiring into their houses for the night.

Crow sighed and dropped his arms, letting his palms rest on the cool stone of the railing. Behind him, the soft, almost delicate noise of Airachnid's bi-pedal feet on the side of his wall was almost soothing to him, a comfort ever so strange.

Airachnid landed with a thud that shook the ground a little, but Crow didn't react.

The King kept his gaze trained on the horizon, breathing in the cool night air.

"What's on your mind, my dear King?" Airachnid asked, picking herself up and sitting down on the railing beside Crow. She turned her gaze out to try and see what Crow was looking at, but she gave up on that after a few seconds of attempting to look for some strange object or flying Predacon. "I see nothing out there of any interest."

"I'm not looking for anything out there," Crow shrugged, tapping his fingers against the stone. "it's like you said. I'm thinking."

"What about?"

"Do you need to know or are you just being nosy again?"

Airachnid chuckled. "Call it a healthy interest."

Crow rolled his eyes and leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest again. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose for a moment before he spoke. "Look, I know that you hate the Titans and all -"

"Hate is a weak word. Loathe with my entire being would be closer, but it is an anger one cannot quite put into words."

" - But in all seriousness, why can't you just…mend your differences? You always tell Fowler to try and make amends with MECH, and for Dreadwing to move on from his brother's death, but yet you can't move on from the quarrel you had with the Titans."

Airachnid scrunched up her face, a disgusted sneer written all over it. She didn't say anything for a moment, her servos clenching and opening at her sides.

She opened her mouth before she immediently closed it again, then opened it again before she huffed and turned away from Crow, crossing her arms over her chassis and putting her fingertips on her forehead. Crow could hear her counting to ten in her native language, and her let her take her time.

"I know the basics of the…history…you share with the Titans. But are they really beyond reason?" Crow asked a little hesitantly. He normally wasn't afraid of Airachnid; he had grown to be very fond of her and her slightly sadistic presence, but at the moment he knew better than to push her. He knew she would respond negatively to his question, but the counting showed she was struggling to see straight in her anger, instead of subduing to her power.

After a few moments, Airachnid sucked in a breath and exhaled sharply, turning back to Crow. She materialized a chair for herself beside him and sat down, crossing one leg over the other.

She turned her gaze on a specific star in the distance, her optics blank but full of so much emotion at the same time.

"We tried," She said slowly. "Right after we won the War and banished Unicron, we attempted to make peace with them. We had them captured and were prepared to live peacefully beside them."

Crow waited as she paused. Her voice was changing to become less attached, the emotion was nearly gone from her voice. She did that sometimes.

"But they refused. Their mindless husks could not comprehend peace between violence. All they wanted was revenge for Unicron's defeat. They did horrible, terrible things, before we banished them as well. They couldn't possess us, but they could manipulate from their cells, get Gods to kill themselves or others by a few simple, well phrased sentences."

Airachnid's emotion was void of all emotion.

"They were starting to get close to Optimus, the tender soul he is, and Megatron, who wanted nothing more than to rip out a spark. So we sent them out. Far, far away, but not before they bound us together for eternity."

Crow looked up as he felt Airachnid's optics on him. "It is quite literally inside our sparks that we have to avoid them, my darling. It's not hard for us to hate them."

Crow nodded, not wanting to comment any further. Airachnid gave him the answer he had been expecting, but it still made him wonder.

"You want to see the Titans," Airachnid mused, the faintest of smirks on her lips. "you want to see if they really measure up to the rumors and stories. Well, if they could get a formerly kind femme to kill seven other Gods in cold blood, imagine what they could do to a little fleshie like yourself."

Crow scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Then what do you say we find that mech of your little prophecy and make sure they never find a little fleshie like myself?"

Airachnid didn't smile then, but her optics brightened. "Agreed. Now, it is far too late to be this angry, so it's about time we headed to bed, don't you think?"

Crow did smile. "I would love nothing more."

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

"Stop!" Obscurity barely noticed when one of her sisters halted suddenly, clutching her helm and curling up in a ball among the stars. "Stop!"

Obscurity did stop then, confused by the anger and pain in her sister's voice. She recognized Null's form as she turned around, blackness tracing her movements, strikingly visible against the contrast of space around them.

Crash and another brother Faus flew to her side, disgusted looks on their faces as they attempted to coerce her to speak. Null clutched her head a little tighter, her glowing optics closed.

She let out a twisted scream and her body snapped into a straight line so quickly Obscurity pondered for a moment if she had snapped it or was possessed; a sick joke by one of her siblings. They always had a habit of attempting to tear each other apart more than the Gods did.

Null let out another scream and Obscurity waited for her to finish.

After a moment, Null relaxed, her optics opening and glowing a bright orange now.

Obscurity raised an optic ridge.

"His powers have been activated." Obscurity said simply, and Null nodded. There was a chorus of roars and cries of anguish from her brothers and sisters, and Obscurity rolled her optics. She raised a hand and the cries died down instantly, nothing more than the deafening silence of space as white noise.

"This complicates things." Crash spoke. "It will be much more difficult to kill the Gods now that they have Primus's special one among them."

"This changes nothing." Obscurity hissed out, narrowing her optics at her brother. "The Gods possess the same powers. This new Primus child is just an addition to their egos."

There were murmurs of agreement and Obscurity turned to Null. "What did you see?"

"The mech accessed his powers and used it to destroy a group of organic life forms and their technology. He passed out right after he used his powers."

"Did he even fully access his powers?"

Null hesitated a moment, recalling what she had seen. A few moments passed before she shook her head and Obscurity scoffed.

"Precisely. We have nothing to fear." Obscurity turned and began to fly on, not waiting to see if anyone followed her.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

They had seen the fiery ball of a mech in the sky from the courtyards by the temples. After all, it was hard to miss the fact that the sky had ignited into a burning inferno.

Knock Out stood beside Starscream, watching as the Predacons came closer and closer, their roars filling the sky. Knock Out clenched onto Starscream's servo as he saw Breakdown's large form off to the left, and Starscream said nothing about it.

Dreadwing and Megatron stepped up beside the red God, their optics trained on the Predacons as well. Megatron's fists were clenched and when Knock Out cast him a quick glance, he looked as if he was about to jump up into the sky instead of wait for the others to land.

Knock Out didn't really blame him; the tension was so thick in the air it was almost choking.

Did they find him?

The question stung on Knock Out's tongue, but he dared not say it out loud.

Ratchet pushed his way past and grabbed Knock Out's arm as he moved by, a silent request to help him if there were any injuries.

Arcee and Ultra Magnus landed first, Arcee's tiny clawed pedes touching the ground almost elegantly, where Ultra Magnus hit the ground without focusing on gentleness. They shifted back quickly, and Knock Out noticed Ultra Magnus looked eager for Optimus and the others to land.

The blue God looked to Ratchet, who recognized he was being summoned and walked over to meet him halfway. Ultra Magnus leaned down and attempted to discretely whisper something into the God's audio receptor, but Knock Out heard him anyway.

"He's the one."

Ratchet responded just as discretely. "Then he cannot be put with Bulkhead. We'll place him in the main temple, I'll have Bumblebee and Smokescreen prepare a berth. Soundwave," The silent mech moved forward, barely making a sound as he moved across the grass. "ensure Bulkhead and the children don't come out of the medical bay. Bulkhead and the new mech should only be allowed to see each other in a controlled environment."

Knock Out gave Ratchet a confused glare as Soundwave nodded once and turned away. "Why can't the big rig and the guy see each other right now?"

Ratchet sighed, his gaze focused on his mate, who was flying closer by the second. "This new mech is Bulkhead's Soul's Exit."

Knock Out was taken back, but he forced himself to keep his face and emotions in check.

"And you didn't mention it before right now?" Some of his anger slipped out into his voice.

"There was never time. I expected Bulkhead to be out for much longer than he was. It might have something to do with this mech being here." Ratchet paused. "I'm sorry, that once again you were left out of the loop. But trust me when I tell you that you all would have been informed as soon as we could sit down, we just haven't had the opportunity."

Knock Out huffed and tried to push down the feeling of annoyance that was settling in his gut. He supposed it was acceptable that this detail had been left unsaid, what with the Gods from Tonin just arriving and the new mech arriving hours after they did. And he supposed they were all together now, which meant everyone would be included in all of the updates and decisions from that moment on.

Knock Out looked at Ratchet for a moment longer before he turned his gaze to the stars as well. "Do we know what will happen when Bulkhead and this new mech see each other?"

"Not a clue." Ratchet replied honestly.

"Which is why you're not letting them anywhere near each other."

"Correct."

They said nothing more as the rest of the Gods landed around them, roaring to each other before they shifted back into their regular forms.

"Well?" Starscream demanded, never one for patience. "Was he really there? Or did he implode himself in the sky?"

Optimus, who was still in his Predacon form, narrowed his optics and huffed out, causing smoke to come from his nostrils. The large red and blue Predacon shifted so everyone could see his back. He unfurled his wings to reveal Arcee, and the limp form of a new mech.

The first thing Knock Out noticed was his finish was in desperate need of buffing and polishing. He looked like he hadn't seen in the inside of a spa facility in eons.

Knock Out noticed the fading burns second, and when he reached forward to check for a pulse, the mech's plating was hot to the touch. The God pulled his hand away quickly and shook off the burnt feeling, swearing under his breath.

"Starscream," Knock Out said over his shoulder without turning around. His fellow God was quickly to his side, silent as he examined the new mech for himself. "cool him down."

Starscream did as he was told, his optics glowing a bright blue as he activated his ice powers. Frost flew out of his fingertips and settled on the mech's plating, melting almost the instant it made contact with the white coloring. A few moments passed before the frost began to stick, and when Knock Out checked for a pulse again, he was much cooler.

"I'll carry him." Ultra Magnus was suddenly pushing Knock Out out of the way, and neither Ratchet or Knock Out protested. Arcee jumped off of Optimus's back and the God shifted into his natural form, watching as Ultra Magnus flew over the hill and towards the main temple, while Bumblebee, Smokescreen, Knock Out, and Ratchet followed.

Megatron approached Optimus and stood by his side, and Optimus didn't need to see his facial expression to determine what he was about to say.

"I was beginning to think he would never really come." Megatron said plainly, his voice cracking on the last note. A sign of emotion that was rarely seen from the intense God.

Optimus hummed his agreement. "Neither did I, old friend."

"How fortunate that we were proved wrong today." Megatron replied, their gazes still trained ahead of them.

Chapter Text

Raf had been given the task of being the scribe at all the meetings since he was a little boy, when he had been eager to learn how to read and write quickly, and to learn ancient Cybertronian whenever the Gods got really intense and reverted back to their native language. It had made him so happy to be included in every meeting and to document everything, so that years from that moment everyone could remember what happened in each and every meeting, thanks to him.

He was still very happy to do it, unless everyone was talking too fast or arguing.

Right now, it was both.

All of the Gods were seated in the Main Temple, the meeting table set up in the center like it would be for a regular meeting. Ratchet was seated beside Wheeljack, who was still passed out and laying on a cot in the corner that had been materialized for him. The God of Healing and Protection was checking his vitals, and every few minutes he would mutter something under his breath and write something down on the data pad next to him.

Fowler, June and the children were seated at their own spots, listening to the heated conversation take place. Fowler would try to add something every few moments, but he would usually get talked over. Raf wrote his additions into his narrative anyway.

"He is insubordinate and showed high levels of disrespect to me on the battlefield."

"Ah, is that why you were so eager to carry him across the field and into this temple?" Knock Out sneered, and Ultra Magnus gave him a cold glance.

Miko turned to Jack and Raf, nibbling on the chips Breakdown had made for her. "I love it when they fight. With any luck, Cliff will goad them into taking it outside, then we'll have some real entertainment!"

"Miko, you know I have to write that down." Raf joked, fixing his glasses as he tried to pay attention to his friends and what was being said at the same time.

Miko rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue. "Make a note then how I took you outside by your hair and made your face black and blue." She and Raf both laughed it off, and Jack made a gesture that told them to focus back in on the meeting.

"But did everyone see him? He burst out into a fiery cocoon and totally took out all of MECH's weapons! It'll take them weeks to get back into fighting shape!" Smokescreen added eagerly, getting up from his seat and mimicking what Wheeljack had done on the battlefield. A few chuckled as he tripped over himself and fell backwards, but the focus was quickly redirected.

"What are we going to do with him? We can't let him run free, he could destroy anything he touches." Starscream remarked, crossing his arms. Soundwave was seated beside him, and he gave a small nod of agreement. He'd joined the meeting after Bulkhead had fallen into recharge, and he trusted that he could be alone for an hour tops.

Besides, Ratchet had put up a quick barrier before he left, so there was no way anyone was getting in or out.

"We can't exactly chain him up like some prisoner, either." Cliffjumper replied, kicking his feet up on the table as he materialized a glass of wine for himself out of thin air. Arcee snapped her fingers and he made one for her as well. "Come on guys, this is the chosen one! The one we've been waiting for! We gotta stop acting like he's going to implode at any second, or fall apart."

Optimus spoke up then. "Ratchet, how are his vitals?"

"Like nothing I've ever seen, Optimus." Ratchet replied, standing up and walking over to the table where his seat was. He sat down and handed one data table to Optimus, and the other to Megatron. "His systems are already completely recovered from the electric shock given to him by that MECH device; his wounds are nearly all healed, save for a few gashes that should take me a few minutes to properly heal, and he showed virtually no damage from using his powers in such an extreme sense, likely for the first time. His cells are multiplying faster than even ours do, and each and every one of them is bursting with his power."

"This is most interesting." Megatron mused, placing a hand under his chin and passing the data tablet to Starscream. "So he definitely is the one the prophecy spoke of."

"I think that's the one thing we can agree on." Arcee piped up, and she wasn't exactly wrong.

::I can confirm he's the one I saw in Bulkhead's Soul's Exit:: Bumblebee spoke up. ::Like Ultra Magnus and Ratchet said, he's rude and a little clueless and I don't think he's really ever tapped into his powers like that before, but it's definitely the same mech::

A small stretch of silence settled between everyone, only broken by the tiny noise of Miko chewing her chips. The emotions hung thick in the air, choking like a noose: excitement, fear, worry, relief, all rolled into one. Most had started to give up hope that he would ever come to Valeran, but now, he was here.

"So," Megatron addressed everyone at the table. "what are we going to do with him?"

"I mean the first thing he's desperately in need of is a good wax bath and a buffing. Breakdown and I volunteer for the cosmetic work." Knock Out spoke loudly, and Breakdown smiled in encouragement to his mate.

"He will need some training to harness his powers." Dreadwing said next. "I can volunteer for that job."

"I think it would be beneficial for us all to be there to assist him." Optimus agreed. "Both for him to feel more accustomed here, and for us to better understand his powers and what he can do."

"One thing, actually." Cliffjumper spoke up. "I tried to tap into his powers, to mimic it, ya know. But I couldn't. I was blocked."

There was a brief silence and Ratchet tapped his chin.

"That is likely an additional gift from Primus." The God hypothesized. "Pompous bastard. Preventing you, or any of us from accessing his powers would only prove him to be the one Primus promised to send."

Megatron placed the data pad down on the table surface and placed his elbows on either side of it, his chin resting on his digits. "I propose a system." He said smoothly. "Everyone, feel free to add in at any time. But everyone takes turns watching him, coaching him on his abilities."

"We will need to remove Bulkhead from this rotation." Ratchet added, his servo coming to rest on Optimus's shoulder. "They cannot be together just yet; I'm not sure what will happen when they do."

Knock Out spoke up again. "Like I said, Breakdown and I have first watch since he is unable to say no to our cosmetic assistance at this time."

Miko glanced over her shoulder and gave Raf a tug on his sleeve. "Uh, actually, I think -"

"Don't fret, he'll look just beautiful for you when we're done, Ultra Magnus." Knock Out added, his voice velvety as he batted his optics and clasped his servos dramatically for the blue God.

"Raf, can you get their attention or something, because -"

"Stop it Miko, I need to listen." Raf interrupted, frantically scribbiling as Ultra Magnus shifted himself in his seat.

"For the last time, Knock Out, the only interest I carry towards him is that he is the one we have been waiting for." Ultra Magnus insisted. "Wheeljack does not wish to be something to be stared at or fought over, he has made that very clear."

"Guys!"

Everyone ignored Miko as Knock Out and Ultra Magnus continued their heated exchange.

"Ultra Magnus, Knock Out, stand down." Optimus spoke up, rising from his chair.

"Him first." Knock Out said, ignoring Breakdown's servo wrapping around his wrist.

"Excuse me Can everyone listen to me!"

Everyone turned to look at Miko, who was now standing on the table, her face red from yelling so loudly. She sucked in a deep breath and pointed to the cot behind her.

"We can't talk about whether or not Wheeljack is a piece of meat because he's not here!"

Sure enough, as everyone followed Miko's pointed finger, their sparks dropped in their chest as they realized the cot was empty; the former occupant completely missing from the temple.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Shockwave didn't like to think out loud. Often times his neural net would be working faster than his voice box would keep up with, and he'd distract himself from his own work by speaking about it. So he kept his thoughts were they were meant to be: in his head.

The lab that had been given to him on Nova was beautiful, possibly even better than his old one on Cybertron. It was at least twice the size and had everything he'd ever need, or ever wanted. Half of the things he'd made himself, and the other half had been provided to him by Nova, which was surprisingly far along in their technological advancements for being organics.

When Shockwave had made the decision to desert - not desert, try and find a habitable planet - he hadn't expected things to turn out as well as they did. He had been pleasantly surprised when the Novian people had accepted him without complaint, and allowed him to perform as many experiments as he wished, as long as they were ethical (he still performed slightly unethical experiments, but he kept it off the radar, since Beth did scare him a little).

The Novian people were very kind to him, respectful of his work and even offered to sit with him and offer company when he would lock himself in his lab for hours on end. He found also that he never even had to use his powers on them; all organics seemed a little too eager to express his emotions to him whenever they deemed fit. He didn't really mind, and sometimes, he appreciated the white noise of some of the village girls talking about their problems.

Shockwave had become pleasantly attached to them (in a strictly professional and scientific way). But if anyone asked that, he would deny it.

Shockwave lifted a beaker and swirled the liquid around, before placing it down in one of his cryo-inducers. He pressed a few buttons and allowed the concoction to swirl around at a fast pace, mixing the solution together further.

He'd heard the door opening, and he recognized the tiny foot pattern.

"Good afternoon Your Majesty." He greeted Beth, not even looking up.

Beth smiled and walked up the stairs Shockwave had built for the organics who came to the laboratory, and waited until she was fully on the surface to respond. "It's 'good morning' already my dear Shockwave. Did you work through the night again?"

"It was necessary to complete my project."

Beth rolled her eyes and moved slightly forward so a small ray of sunshine peaked through the glass ceiling and onto her golden robes. "The only necessary things for you to do is sleep and refuel, and yet you do little of that. Dare I need to call Dreadwing and Megatron on you again?"

Shockwave did look up at the Queen then, his antenna twitching. Beth met his one eyed gaze evenly.

She'd tattled on him before, she'd do it again.

Without looking away, Shockwave lifted a servo and materialized a cube for himself. A simple meal; he didn't like the fake burgers and salads all of the other Gods had come to enjoy.

Beth gave a satisfied nod and turned her attention to the cryo-inducer. "What are we making today?"

"The same as previously stated," Shockwave said, pressing a new button on the machine, causing the solution to come a slow stop. "I am attempting to defy the laws of creation."

"Can you not create whatever you want, whenever you wish?"

"Not a being with powers. Not another God."

"And what use have you for another God?"

"The Titans will not be expecting it; they know of the numbers and powers we currently have. To not attempt to create new life would be illogical."

"What need have you for new powers when your beloved new mech has already arrived?"

Shockwave looked up then, his antenna dropping against his helm in surprise. Beth read his emotion like a book.

"They didn't tell you."

"They did not." Shockwave looked down at his experiment, but he did not move further than that. "They requested my presence for a meeting, but they did not state what the meeting would entail. I suppose it was foolish of me not to attend, after hearing the circumstances."

"You were creating life, Shockwave." Beth said softly, stepping closer and putting a hand on Shockwave's arm.

Shockwave glanced up at her, his antenna twitching gratefully. He opened his mind and allowed a small amount of joy to go through, and he projected the emotion onto the small Queen. Beth smiled as she felt the joy rising in her chest.

"Shockwave, enough. You do not need to use your artificial joy on me. I am already happy enough around you." Beth insisted, her hand sliding off of Shockwave's plating.

Shockwave nodded once and followed her wishes, retracting the emotion and returning to his work.

They stood in silence for a few minutes, Shockwave thinking in his head once again as he worked to correct his formula. He added and took out, and at one point he even scrapped the whole thing to start again. Beth waited in silence the whole time.

It was maybe an hour later before Shockwave became satisfied with his work.

He grabbed his new solution and turned, moving towards the back where his newest experiment was being kept. Beth followed a few paces behind.

"This is one of the unethical experiments you've been hiding, hasn't it?" Beth asked once she saw what Shockwave was walking towards.

"You will find, that left unchecked, I will do as many unethical experiments as I see fit." Shockwave replied evenly, placing the solution into an energon infuser.

The energon infuser quickly sucked up the new solution, before the liquid moved through a tube and entered a large cylinder.

The cylinder was taller than Shockwave by several feet, and about twice his width as well. It was filled mostly by a light yellow liquid, but there was a large mass in the center. A sleeping form, his bio-lights still not online.

This time it was Shockwave who read her like a book.

"If all goes well, the new God will be ready within the stellar cycle."

Beth said nothing, merely settling for staring in awe at Shockwave's latest creation.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

"What about the canons?"

"All taken out, sir. Our scouts were barely able to gather the remains of some scrap metal. The rest was burned away."

A pause.

"And the suits?"

"Three were rendered completely out of commission, while two avoided the blast radius. One is being repaired now."

"The suit from the God?"

"That's the one being repaired, sir."

There was a short pause.

"I want a status report on everything in ten minutes."

There was a brief scribbling of pen on parchment and the solider muttered some quick departing words before the sound of receding footsteps was heard, leaving Silas alone.

He wasted no time in drawing back his fist and striking the wall before him. He didn't stop there either.

He turned and grabbed the small wooden desk and picked it up almost effortlessly and threw it across the room. It was incredibly satisfying to watch it shatter against the walls. The wooden legs splintered and snapped in half as they hit the floor, and the flat surface of the table collapsed, but was still partially held together. It almost looked like a trap MECH had laid out in the woods, the large, sharp splinters pointed up at the ceiling.

Silas moved onto the papers and the filing cabinets, ripping out the metal drawers and letting the pieces of parchment fly across the room. he felt a few scrape his cheek and neck and leave small marks, but he didn't care. His face was already scarred enough. It's not like he had to worry about messing up documents or tearing apart filing cabinets; he wasn't the one who would be putting them back together.

Silas let out a roar of pure anger as he tried to tip the filing cabinet completely over, and the metal creaked and groaned under his weight. The cabinet had been bolted to the floor when they had first built their camp, most likely for this exact reason.

They had been so close. MECH had been making significant progress for the first time in months, gaining ground in the Gods' territory, figuring out their skills and daily schedules.

The loss of basically their entire army was not what Silas had been hoping for when they went out to welcome the newcomer to Valeran.

The image of the mecha floating in the sky, scorching hot flames literally seeping out of him and destroying his fleet flashed through Silas's mind.

It gave him the final rush of anger he needed; adjusting his grip and pushing harder he yanked the metal cabinet free from the screws on the floor and yelled loudly as the cabinet tipped before falling completely, landing with a satisfying thud against the floor.

Silas paused, breathing heavy as he realized briefly there was little left for him to destroy now.

He slumped against the wall, his face falling into his hands.

He wasn't defeated; MECH would never be defeated. But he was down.

MECH struggled to keep up with the Gods before this new one arrived, it would be so much harder now to try and expel them from the planet or destroy them.

Silas remembered little from his time at the table when the Gods had first arrived - he tried to forget what was irrelevant - but the God who could possess the ability of Fire was the one to be feared.

The sound of his communication device beeping broke him from his aggressive trance.

Silas noticed that the communicator had fallen off in his rage, laying a few feet in front of him. The small antenna was beeping red on the end, which meant one of his men was trying to get a hold of him.

Silas shook of his anger and stood up, wiping the small traces of blood from his cheek as he crossed the room. He leaned down and picked up the communicator, and when he spoke his voice showed no trace of his previous actions.

"This is Silas. What is the status update?"

"Space truly is awful this time of year. Have you ever been out to the Milky Way, Silas?"

Silas's heart stopped as he realized this was not one of his men on the other side. It was a woman's voice, it carried a little bit of a velvety touch to it that Silas hadn't heard in a long time.

Silas took a sharp deep breath in and exhaled just as sharply, determined to keep his cool as best he could. "Who am I speaking to?"

There was a chuckle. "I do suppose it was rude of me not to introduce myself. My name is Obscurity. Does that ring a bell, fleshie?"

"How did you gain access to this line?" Silas demanded, exiting the building he was in and marching over to where his men were sitting at their computers. He snapped at them and pointed to the communicator before he quietly put it down on the table. The men understood his message and plugged the device into their computers, quickly working to figure out who was talking to them.

"You'll find I have access to a lot of things. The location of your base, perhaps. Or, even better, how horribly you were just defeated by that new God. Pitiful, really." There was another chuckle and Silas's blood boiled. "Don't bother trying to trace the line. You won't find us anyway. But we will find you."

Silas sucked in a deep breath as his men awkwardly avoided their gazes. Sure enough, on their computers, their screen read Origin Unavailable in bright orange letters.

"What do you want?" Silas demanded, his fingers gripping onto the table in an attempt to keep his self control.

"Ah, right to the point." The voice said. "I want to make you a deal."

"And why would MECH be interested in making a deal with the likes of you? What do you have to offer us?"

"Quite a lot, actually. Have you been informed of the Titans the Gods turned coward and ran from?" Obscurity said sweetly; it sounded strange with the contrast of the words she just said.

Silas's heart stopped again as he realized just who he was speaking to. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that his men glanced at each other nervously, but said nothing. Silas gripped the table a little harder and looked back to the communicator.

This was just the advantage he needed.

"I have heard about you. A lot of interesting things, like your power and might."

"Oh Silas, you really know how to compliment a lady. Now," Obscurity paused. "we want you to work with us to take down the Gods; be our eyes and ears to them until we can arrive to Valeran. We have an inside man already, but we need one from Valeran."

"An inside man?" Silas echoed. "I am assuming you are not allowed to reveal your allies just yet?"

Obscurity chuckled, but it sounded so foreign and wrong with her voice. "Of course not, but I'm sure you will meet soon enough. Back to the deal; you work with us, do your part and serve us, and when we defeat the Gods forever, you will regain control of the village you once lived in. Simple as that."

Silas tapped the table with one finger. "I want more. We need upgrades to our equipment, make them untouchable by the Gods and their powers."

"You think like a true leader, Silas I applaud you. It will be done as soon as we get there. Anything else?"

Silas shook his head, a smirk playing on his lips. "Nothing immediently comes to mind," He answered.

"Very well, Silas. I eagerly await our meeting. Over and out."

The communicator gave a small beep to show the call had ended.

A few moments after the beep, the communicator sputtered before a small boom came from it, and smoke began leaking from the cracks.

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Find him. Find him. Find him.

Just over the hill. In the temple. The basement.

Alone. He's alone. He needs you.

Find him. Find him. Find him.

Wheeljack was moving on autopilot across the fields, the strange voice in his head growing louder the more steps he took forward. A pleasant feeling filled up his spark the closer he moved to the target the voice wanted him to reach, a clouded sense of calming warping his senses.

He crossed over one hill and began his downward descent on the other side, his weight carrying him forward even faster.

He felt like he was walking on air through a thick fog, trying and failing to get a full grip on his surroundings.

Wheeljack was in unfamiliar territory, and he briefly noticed that he wasn't taking the proper time to look around and analyze where he was; find an escape route. The voice in his head was taking up all his thought process, and right now he didn't have the energy to focus on two things at once.

Wheeljack wasn't sure he really had a choice.

He followed the voice silently, his vision hazy and his gut rolling as he took shaky steps forward.

The voice led him to a temple to the right of the one he had stumbled out of; tall with tan bricks just like the others, but there were beautiful flowers that were unique to only this temple on the bottom. Wheeljack looked up and saw two statues on the top, one looking familiar to one of the Gods from the field he'd landed in. They looked like they were holding something in their hands, but Wheeljack couldn't see it from his spot on the ground.

Find him. Find him. Find him.

The voice was persistent, Wheeljack gave it that. It was beginning to become so loud Wheeljack could barely see, he was getting around mostly by reaching out his hands to attempt to stop himself from walking into a wall as he took shaky stumbles forward.

The feeling of soft grass was replaced by hard stone beneath his pedes, and Wheeljack nearly tripped onto his face plate before he realized he was walking up stairs. The voice demanded he moved on, a few other whispers filtering into his mind.

Wheeljack made his way up the stairs of the temple, walking through the entry way into the main area of the temple.

The voice relented for a moment, quieting down enough for Wheeljack to think clearly. He looked around the temple, noticing the large bed against the wall and the same decorative pieces around it. It was empty, but cozy at the same time.

It felt like home.

The inside of the temple reminded Wheeljack of the museums on Cybertron, what with the ancient writing and pictures. Wheeljack stared in awe as he realized the pictures on the wall were moving, going through the same few actions before repeating the process. He reached out a servo and placed it against the painting, smiling a little as it shifted under his digits.

The voice resumed at its max volume, and Wheeljack grabbed his audio receptors in surprise, bending a little at the middle as he screwed his optics shut.

Downstairs. He is downstairs.

Find him, find him find him!

"For Pit's sake," Wheeljack forced out through his teeth. "shut up already, I'm goin'."

Him talking to The Voice did nothing to help it, but Wheeljack pretended in that moment that it had.

Wheeljack looked around for a way to get to the basement of this place, and relief settled in his spark as he noticed a doorway to his right, presumably which would lead to the basement.

Wheeljack made his way across the temple, his steps still shaky and vision distorted.

He placed his servos on either side of the door way, looking down the staircase into the dark basement. He could see about halfway down, and there were unlit torches that had been put out recently.

Wheeljack closed his optics and concentrated, sticking out one servo to ignite said flame.

There was a small whooshing sound and the fire on all the torches lit themselves, illuminating the stairway.

Wheeljack smirked to himself and began to make his way down the stairs. He was careful moving down each step, his servos still pressed against the wall.

The Voice was growing louder, Wheeljack could count at least five different entities speaking to him at the same time, all proclaiming the same thing: He's here, he's here!

Wheeljack cursed as he missed a stair and tumbled down the last three, falling onto his aft and sliding through the doorway to the basement.

The moment he passed through the threshold at the base of the stairs, the voice stopped.

Wheeljack was thrown off by the lack of white noise; there had been the constant chatter of the voice since he'd opened his optics, and now that it was gone he wasn't exactly sure what to do. He looked around, appreciative of the fires that remained lit across the room.

He was clearly in some kind of medical bay; there were multiple berths and the room had a sterile smell to it; Wheeljack had learned to hate that smell as a youngling. There were multiple small walkways stretching from wall to wall, much too small for any of the mecha Wheeljack had seen, so he could only assume they were for organics.

Wheeljack shuddered as he recalled his less than pleasant experience with the organics on this planet thus far.

Wheeljack's attention fell to the farthest medical berth tucked against the wall, a large red force field protecting the occupant of the berth. The low hum was almost calming, but that wasn't what drew Wheeljack to the berth.

He knew this mech.

The closer he got, the clearer the memories became in his mind.

In the alley before meeting Impactor and the others for drinks, in his ship on the flight here. The green plating was so familiar even against the red hue of the force field. The mech's optics were closed in slumber, the only sign of life was the occasional rise and fall of his chest as he took a breath every now and then.

Before Wheeljack had even noticed he had walked across the room, he was standing beside the green mech, looking down at him through the shield.

If Wheeljack had thought his Ghost was hot, it was nothing compared to the real thing. The mech was handsome in every sense of the word.

Wheeljack raised a hand and moved it closer to the force field, the fiery glow of his powers warming his hand just a little. He hadn't realized he had activated his powers, but it just felt so natural at this moment he didn't second guess it.

His servo made contact with the red of the shield, and there was a few seconds of cackling as the two forces battled against each other before the shield dropped all together, a few red specs floating in the air before disappearing completely.

Wheeljack's hand fell through and his body followed the motion; he'd been putting more weight than he realized onto his hand. His servo pressed against the green chest of the mech, and he knew that his servo didn't cause the sparks this time. Small flecks of electricity flickered between his palm and the chest of the mech, but Wheeljack couldn't back away.

The green mech's optics snapped open, his lip plates opening in a small gasp.

Wheeljack still didn't pull away as the green mech met his gaze, their optics locking in an intense way that Wheeljack couldn't put into words.

The two of them said nothing as the mech sat up, their gazes still locked and Wheeljack's servo pressed against the mech's chest.

"It's you…" The mech's voice was a little raspy; Wheeljack realized that he could have been in recharge for a while now, but it still sent a shiver down his spine as he tried not to picture the raspy voice being used in other situations.

Wheeljack inhaled sharply as he felt a strong arm wrap around his back, pulling them closer together. He said nothing as the mech scooped him into his lap with little more than the use of one arm (again, Wheeljack tried no to think of all the other times this impressive strength would come in handy). He exhaled softly as he settled himself in the larger mech's lap, both his servos pressed against his chest now.

"It's me," Wheeljack replied a little breathlessly. He cursed himself for not coming up with something better, but his brain was functioning at half speed at the moment, too laser focused on the now than his flirting game.

"Name's Bulkhead."

Oh, he he liked that.

"I know." Wheeljack lifted up his arm and showed off the messy name that was torn apart by a gash he hadn't seen until this moment. "You told me a while ago."

Bulkhead gently touched Wheeljack's arm with both his servos, his larger fingers moving across the open gash of the wound on Wheeljack's arm.

"You were the one who stalked me in my ship and the alley." Wheeljack murmured.

Bulkhead laughed, his optics closing a brief moment in his laughter. His chest bounced a little with the chuckle, Wheeljack's servos never wavering on the plating. The sound warm and pleasant and a warm feeling settled in Wheeljack's gut.

Scrap.

"Can you blame me? Tryin' to see you?"

Wheeljack shook his head. "I am quite the looker, I know."

Bulkhead said nothing in response, moving one servo to the back of Wheeljack's helm and the other to his lower back. Wheeljack's spark fluttered in his chest and he felt his optics fluttering closed.

Kiss him! Kiss him! Make him yours!

Wheeljack, for once, did not mind the presence of The Voice in his mind.

In fact he relished it.

He leaned forward, his optics closing completely as he knew Bulkhead was leaning in as well. Their lips brushed against each other, even the faint touch of the mech beneath his fingertips enough to send Wheeljack into a frenzy.

"No!"

Wheeljack yelled in shock as he body was thrown backwards, and he barely had any time to react before his back hit the wall hard, one of his winglets folding at a terrible angle beneath him. His helm slammed against the wall before he slumped to the floor. A quiet hum filled his audio receptors, and when he managed to force his optics open Wheeljack noticed he was now the one under a red force field.

The God of Healing and Protection extended his own powers, forming a red shield around Wheeljack and a separate one around Bulkhead. Optimus lowered his servos, then let them rise up slowly, palms out so Wheeljack could see he wasn't going to hurt him. Wheeljack said nothing, mostly because he was still in shock of being thrown against a wall.

Optimus nodded once as he saw Wheeljack was making no attempts to break free, and he turned his attention to his fellow God.

"Bulkhead, listen to me, please -" Optimus tried to say, his voice calm as Ratchet turned to Wheeljack. The white mech backed up as much as he could, wary of the mech who had just trapped in him in this shield.

"It's okay, Bulk! Everything's alright!" Miko shouted from where Ratchet had placed her on the walkway, trying to get Bulkhead's attention. The God was laser focused on Ratchet trying to talk to Wheeljack, his protective instincts flaring as he realized Wheeljack was in distress.

Bulkhead's optics lit up in a bright color, his entire body rippling with his power. The ground shook and shook a lot; Optimus had to work to steady himself and Ratchet noticed his shield was flickering as the ground beneath it shifted. Bulkhead let out a mad yell and began pounding on the shield, switching between his own fists and blasts of rock as he tried to break free and get to Wheeljack.

Miko let out a surprised yell; she had never seen Bulkhead this angry before.

No one had.

Everyone jumped as a second yelling filled the medical bay, and it was quickly determined to be Wheeljack. The Cybertronian's optics were narrowed, and if Miko looked a little harder she swore to himself that his blue optics were glowing. Wheeljack began pounding on the shield just like Bulkhead was, small sparks bouncing off of his servos were they landed against the force field.

"Enough!" Optimus commanded, his servo emitting a bright light towards Wheeljack and Bulkhead's force fields. The light whitened out the entire medical bay, lasting a few seconds before the light was extinguished.

When Miko opened her optics again, the shields around Bulkhead and Wheeljack were gone, and the two mechs were slumped on the floor.

Ratchet was by Bulkhead's side in a moment, talking to him calmly as the mech let out a groan and rubbed his helm. Optimus walked carefully over to Wheeljack and knelled down beside him.

"He has lost consciousness, Ratchet." Optimus informed his husband, and Ratchet nodded absently as he focused his attention to Bulkhead.

"Bulkhead, can you hear me?" Ratchet asked as Bulkhead forced his optics open.

The green God groaned again, blinking his optics to adjust to the bright light of the medical bay. His gaze traveled from Optimus to Miko before they finally landed on Wheeljack.

"Bulkhead?" Ratchet asked again, a little less gently this time. "Can you -"

"I need to go," Bulkhead sputtered out, stumbling to his feet. "I need to, I need…"

"Bulkhead, sit down, I need to conduct a small exam, please -" Ratchet tried to reason but Bulkhead ripped his wrist out of the medic's grip, his optics narrowed.

"I'm going." Bulkhead said, and he did just that. He didn't look at Wheeljack, but Miko could see him hesitate before he turned to leave. He ran up the stairs and the sound of his fading footsteps could be heard before a loud roar of a Predacon followed.

Ratchet sighed and looked up at Optimus. "He needs time," Optimus said calmly, and Ratchet rolled his optics. "he's confused and scared, and you cannot blame him for that."

Ratchet scowled and cast a glance to Miko, who was still trembling and scared. "Miko, I will need your help performing a medical exam on Wheeljack; care to help?"

Miko said nothing at first, but after a moment she shook her head and snapped back to reality. "Sure! Thanks, Doc." She said a little too happily.

Optimus leaned down and picked her up in his servo. "Bulkhead will be fine, Miko. He is a strong and capable warrior. He will return soon." Miko nodded thankfully as Optimus placed her on Ratchet's shoulder.

"Uh, Optimus?" The red God turned to look at Smokescreen, who was standing in the doorway to the medical bay with Megatron and Dreadwing beside him. "Do you want us to go and find him?"

Optimus nodded. "Give him some time before you send a search party. And make sure Breakdown and Arcee are on it, there are most likely to get through to him should they find him."

Smokescreen nodded and cast one last glance to Ratchet and Miko before he walked back up the stairs to the main level of the temples.

Optimus turned back to his husband. "Do you have the situation covered, honey?"

Ratchet scoffed, but it was light with humor. "Getting Bulkhead to submit to medical examinations is like trying to convince a Titan to join our cause, but I don't think I'll have a problem with getting Wheeljack to have a quick medical exam." Ratchet looked up and met Optimus's gaze. "I'll be fine, Optimus, thank you. I will call if I need you."

Optimus smiled and nodded solemnly, before he moved up the stairs to join the rest of the Gods in finding Bulkhead.