Characters/Pairing: Megatron/Starscream, Megatron/Mirage, mention of various Autobots
Verse: G1 AU thing I just invented for this fic. Which gives me what, 3 AUs now? And two in which the 'Cons have won. LOLZ I R PREDICTABULL.
Wordcount: 6,100+. Yes, this slagger is long.
Rating: NC-17 for... oh, just read the warnings. Every horrible thing imaginable, really. Some corners of my processor are ugly.
Warnings: Sex of the sparkish variety. Non-con of the sparkish variety (and I don't mean cutesy dub-con either). Character death. Slavery. Violence, trauma, and its aftermath. This is very dark.
Summary: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that this was originally inspired by Kookaburra's Stockholm series in which the Decepticons win and enslave the Autobots (including a couple of stories that, like this one, focus on Mirage.) My take on it here is a bit different from that fic, though. Both are very dark, don't get me wrong. But I got the idea that I wanted to talk not just about how such a situation would affect an Autobot, but what it would mean to live in a world in which Autobot values and identity are themselves threatened by a society built on their opposite. If you liked my values babbling over at crimson_optics on LJ and can handle very dark fic, you'll probably like this.
And yeah, if you've noticed I seem constitutionally incapable of not being vicious to Autobots... you'd be right. Yikes...
Thanks to meaisin_caoin @ lj for beta.
Mirage drank his energon in silence. In the old days, his teammates might have joked about it. Called it regal, said he fancied himself a better mech than anyone else, refusing to talk while he refueled.
He'd hated that teasing. He'd hated not fitting in, and hated the idea that he'd have to change, have to become loud and uncouth to truly get along.
Now, he reflected, he'd do anything for those old irritations. He'd thought his old friends were being cruel. Now he knew that they hadn't even been capable of real cruelty. At least not then, not when the war had been half serious and half game. The enemy had made its moves, and his team had made its countermoves.
The goal had never been destruction. It had never even been killing, really. The goal had been to stop the enemy cold. To laugh like wild, half-glitched young 'Bots at their own ingenuity when they'd managed it again.
It had always been dangerous. They had always known there were risks. But they'd worked so well together, and they'd won so many times. And even when they hadn't, they'd still had one another.
That bond was something their enemies would never understand. Or so they'd all thought then. The Decepticons were a fractious bunch, prone to infighting or arguing or flat-out insubordination when Megatron wasn't actively forcing them into their places.
The Autobots argued among themselves sometimes, sure. But through it all, they were a brotherhood.
Mirage had been sure that was why, in the end, they'd win. He'd never doubted it. He'd feared for his own life many times, but that had never mattered. If he fell, there would always be his brothers, united and strong, the bonds between them filling the hole left by his loss.
He took a swallow of the fuel. It was bitter, and he winced. No, he'd never been afraid to die. At least, he reflected, taking another bitter sip, not back then. Not when that bond endured.
They'd always said it would endure forever, that it meant more than any one of them. But they'd been wrong.
There had been one that meant more than any other. And when he had fallen, everything else had unraveled, too quickly for any of them to put any of it back together again.
Prime had said they were all equal. But he had led them, and they had needed him.
And now he was gone.
He drank the rest of the energon slowly, willing himself not to think. It was easier that way.
And yet he knew he was one of the lucky ones.
The others, no doubt, would think he must have it the worst. After all, the leader of their enemies had chosen him, and surely he would think of worse than any of the rest of them.
But it wasn't that way at all. Most of the time, Megatron simply ignored him. He seemed to think of Mirage more as a nuisance than as a toy, or even a useful tool. In fact, Mirage suspected that the Decepticon leader had chosen him precisely because he knew how to make himself scarce.
They'd taken away the device that made him invisible, of course, but half of being stealthy was using your wits. Mirage still had those, though sometimes he envied the others who'd all but shut down, their optics glassy and dull, for all the world like nonsentient machines.
Mirage shivered. The last time he'd seen Hound --
His spark twisted painfully, remembering. They had recounted, in horrible detail, just what they had done to Earth, the planet his old friend and lover had so eagerly accepted as a second home. It was barren now, barren and empty. Razed to its core, with only its volcanoes to spew their indignation at what had happened, the Decepticons had finally left it, despoiled and useless.
The humans. What had happened to them? He didn't know. The few Autobots who still had the will left to defy their masters whispered that Wheeljack had invented suits for them that would protect the last hardy few of them against the ravages of the environment. But even if he had, the humans would still need to refuel -- eat, they'd called it. With a pang, he remembered Hound listening with rapt attention to their incomprehensible explanation of exactly how they processed fuel.
Mirage had no idea whether any suitable fuel remained to them, or whether Wheeljack's last great invention would simply protect them as they inevitably drifted into shutdown.
Hound had listened to all of this without protest. His optics hadn't even flickered. He had simply nodded and returned to his duties, his processor somewhere else entirely, somewhere where no pain could touch him any more.
Seeing that had been worse, Mirage thought, than seeing his old lover deactivated would have been. Earth had been precious to him, and now it was nothing. Nothing at all.
And Wheeljack himself had gone mad, tracing patterns and diagrams on the walls, muttering to himself about how the latest blueprints would finally allow him to build some device that would win his kind their freedom again.
The Decepticons hadn't killed him, not at first. Mirage supposed it was because it made them laugh.
Finally, Megatron had ordered an end to their games. It had given Mirage a sick kind of hope, watching the scowl twist his master's silver features as he berated the Autobot scientist's keepers. Disgusting, he'd called it. Behavior unworthy of Decepticons.
Mirage had been amazed. Perhaps, here at the end of it all, the leader of his enemies had found some mercy. Or at least some honor.
But Megatron had merely told them all that it was beneath them to delight in control over a witless enemy. So saying, he had reached down and ripped Wheeljack's spark chamber open with his hands, tearing the bright orb free and crushing it between his dark fingers.
"You are all fools," he'd said, kicking at the gray and lifeless body of Wheeljack beneath him. "I raised you up as warriors, as conquerors, as the strongest of the strong. And with that strength, we scattered our foes, breaking the bonds that held them together. And now look at you."
Mirage had flinched hearing it, wishing he could make himself invisible again.
But hearing the disgust in Megatron's voice as he addressed his own kind had been a lesson. A lesson he would not otherwise have learned.
"We win, and look what you become: lazy, self-indulgent fools, relying on your slaves to do the things you ought to do yourselves. Soon we will fly forth to conquer other worlds. Will you be ready to leave these luxuries, or have you all simply become liabilities?
"In the days of war you were sharp and fast, honed by the dangers of slipping behind. Now you are nothing, undeserving even to carry the names of the things you were. I let you have your pick of the conquered because, once, at the end of the war I began, you all showed yourselves to be worthy of it. Now, none of you deserve it."
He moved to stand on top of the body, his great foot crushing what remained of the empty spark chamber of his enemy. "We fly forth soon to make the rest of the galaxy our own. It will not happen, unless you remember what you were built to be. Unless you remember what gave you your victory.
"Unless you learn to recapture what you are."
The shot he'd fired to underscore his point had not, Mirage was sure, been intended to actually hit anyone. Still, he hadn't bothered to avoid anyone either, and the one poor Decepticon who'd been too slow to entirely avoid it had lost a limb. No one had gone to his aid. Not even the slaves, the bravest of whom had wailed at the sight. Autobots they might have been, but they'd also known they'd be deactivated or worse if they tried to help the fallen one.
Mirage had been the last to leave, the injured mech's howls echoing in his audios. He still heard them, sometimes, lying on what passed for his berth, waiting for recharge to save him, for a few hours, from the hell he lived now.
He did not know what had happened to that poor bastard. Whether, after hours of suffering, some medic had seen to him, or if he had simply been left to his own devices, to fend for himself as best he could. Part of Mirage pitied him. Part of Mirage was glad to see the Decepticons harm their own, since his kind no longer could.
He finished his energon and straightened up, soft sighs escaping his vents. Moving as quietly as he could, he went in search of his master.
Megatron was still thinking, apparently, about the plans for the next stage of his conquest. He sat still as a monolith built of lifeless metal. Mirage hastily brought him his energon for the evening, which he accepted without even looking at the Autobot. Mirage was in the middle of slinking back to his quarters when the doorchime pealed.
He turned. Megatron had told him earlier that Starscream would be coming in. Ostensibly, of course, to discuss the plans for the next phase of the Decepticons' conquest.
But none of the Autobots had been stupid even before their fall. And neither strategy nor diplomacy dictated that Megatron should meet with his second-in-command here.
He'd heard the two together before, of course, but he'd been strictly forbidden to stay close enough to really listen. Even more than at other times, Megatron wanted him to disappear when Starscream visited.
He didn't understand why. No one on Cybertron or Earth, Decepticon or Autobot, had missed the obvious. And Mirage had heard the sounds of violence often enough to know when they were fueled by desire, rather than by rage.
Or was it both? After what had happened to his comrades, he'd taken seriously that he was forbidden to find out.
Still, he could hear them now, arguing, Starscream shrieking his latest complaint.
"Well, Megatron, perhaps if you hadn't waited so long to make the next move, you wouldn't have reason to accuse us of being lazy!"
A loud, dull thud. Starscream colliding with the wall, Mirage supposed. It wouldn't be the first time he'd had to smooth Seeker-shaped dents out of the wall.
I should leave, he thought. The only reason he wasn't already being beaten for remaining so close was because Megatron's attentions were apparently focused on beating his visitor instead.
"Laziness is not the point, Starscream," the deep voice rumbled. There was another loud sound. Probably a punch. "The point is the decadent attitudes that gave rise to the laziness. As usual, you see the symptoms, but are blind to the nature of the disease."
Another thud, and a high gasp from Starscream. "But then, I'd hardly expect you to understand this. After all, you're the one who insists on three slaves trailing you at all times."
Mirage turned back in spite of himself. It had been a long time since he'd seen the others. The last time he'd seen Tracks, Starscream had beaten him so badly he'd hardly been recognizable. Some said it was because the Decepticon couldn't stand his slave's good looks competing with his. Others said that Starscream had ordered his three slaves to follow him, lavishing him with praise. They said he'd caught Tracks playing back a recording of his own voice rather than coming up with clever new compliments.
Was he all right? Had he at least been repaired since then? Mirage knew he shouldn't wonder. And Primus knew (if Primus was even out there, which Mirage doubted these days) that he'd never liked Tracks much anyway. But once, long ago, his kind had been united, and their unity had been their strength.
Mirage remembered that, even if their masters had crushed it out of the others long ago. Someone had to. If no one did, the red mark still bright on his chest really would be nothing but a symbol of his slavery.
And he'd always been good at making himself undetectable. Waiting for another sound to cover his movements, he slid into a shadow near the door. Peeking out, he dimmed his optics, hoping the two would not see their light.
Starscream was fighting back now, his blue hands scrambling over Megatron's back. His fingertips slid up under the other's plating, and he chuckled softly as Megatron's optics narrowed.
"You want me to say my Autobots are worthless, Megatron? Fine. They are. Surely you don't think I need them."
The dark hand reached up to touch Starscream's chin. For a moment, the fingers moved gently, caressing. Then they grabbed and held.
"Think you need them? Oh no. If I thought you were that weak, I would have dismantled you long ago."
The fingers moved again, sliding over the Seeker's lip plates. He bit, hard, and Megatron let out a low hiss.
Mirage knew he should leave. He wasn't going to find anything out about Tracks or any of the others now, not while Megatron was arching his head like that as Starscream's fingers redoubled their dance.
And yet, Mirage couldn't tear his optics away as Megatron ripped his fingers free and held them up.
The dark metal glittered as Megatron slowly turned his hand. Starscream had bitten hard enough to scratch the paint, and the silvery metal beneath shone through, catching the light.
A cold smile spread over Megatron's faceplates as he curled the scratched fingers into a fist, raised it, and punched Starscream hard in the center of one wing. The Seeker threw back his head, screeching.
Chuckling softly, Megatron drew back his hand. Mirage flinched, seeing the dent it had left.
And flinched again, hearing the sound his own discomfort made. But Starscream's yell had swallowed it. And now Megatron was hitting him again, fist colliding hard with the Seeker's other wing.
And now it was happening again, and again, and again, the impacts sounding in Mirage's audio receptors over and over again. And over it all, Starscream's horrible, grating howl.
Then Mirage caught another sound, buried within the cacophony: a low rumble from his master. Mirage knew the sound, and his spark lurched in his chest, hearing it.
Megatron was amused often enough. As often as he found fault with his enemies, his slaves, and even those of his kind he seemed to value most. As often as he disdained even his own kind, the Decepticon leader's life was not devoid of pleasure.
But that sound meant more. That sound meant contentment. Sometimes, on very rare occasions, it even meant pride.
Pride? Was that what Megatron felt now? Mirage wondered at it. Or perhaps it was all simply desire, Mirage realized, watching the helmeted head tilt downward to kiss the still thrashing Seeker.
He narrowed the one optic peeking through the doorway. He'd seen Megatron beat others, and felt those blows himself. But this, Mirage didn't want to see.
He didn't want to see the glimmer of white light winking from the seam in Megatron's chest plates as they prepared to pull apart. He didn't want to hear the sound of Megatron's contentment, a rumbling harmony to audio-shattering shrieks of pain.
And yet, that's something, he caught himself thinking as his spark tilted again in despair.
Megatron smirked sometimes as he beat Mirage, his optics ablaze as he laid a long-time enemy low. He laughed at Mirage's begging and chuckled as his slave fought to protect himself despite strict orders to keep still. But in the moments between those mocking laughs came something still worse. The cold gleam in Megatron's optics as he watched his punches connect with the blue and white metal of his slave, his lip curling in disgust as though deigning to touch him sullied his hands somehow.
And, when it was done, Megatron would turn and leave without a word, without even an insult --
-- but now, with Starscream, all of the silver mech's attention was bent on the Seeker, on the way he twitched and trembled and writhed. And as he stared, drinking in the sight of his second's suffering, that sound welled from him.
And this, fierce as it was, was more than Mirage had ever been given, the great silver head reaching down to claim what it had conquered.
It made Mirage's spark ache.
The dark fists unfurled and Megatron's fingers danced, lightly now, along the battered wings.
Starscream flinched once. Then he moaned, arching into the other mech's touch. Megatron's hand curled around the wing and tightened, clutching ever harder, until Starscream gasped again, squirming, and broke the kiss.
Mirage felt sure the Seeker would pull away. Instead, his lips traced their way down Megatron's neck and then to his chest, running along the bright groove where the silver mech's chestplates had cracked open.
The chilled feeling in Mirage's spark grew. Starscream had -- wanted that? Had enjoyed it?
Of course, the Autobots had always known that Starscream goaded Megatron intentionally, laughing at their own crude guesses at how Megatron would respond to the latest provocation.
But Mirage could barely endure anything like the beating Megatron had just given his second. And Mirage's plating wasn't nearly as thin and light as the metal of a Seeker's wings.
Here he was, an Autobot, one of the Decepticons' mortal enemies (Hah! He hadn't had the courage to fight on until they'd killed him. Not like Ironhide had. Or Prime.) And yet he couldn't even endure the kind of beating Megatron gave those he desired.
He hung his head, his spark twisting with the certainty of his own wretchedness.
Then he raised his optics again. Anything, even this terrible show, wrenching and tugging at everything he was, would be better than driving off into his empty quarters, alone, unnoticed even by the master who had forbidden him to see this.
Megatron was moaning himself now, his optics gleaming red as he stared down at the Seeker. The mechanisms in his chest clicked eagerly, sliding open, the bright light of the spark beneath flooding the room with light.
It had been forever since Mirage had seen anyone's spark. He tried to remember Hound's, but the memories of his old lover raced through his processor so quickly he could not catch hold of them. He tried to focus, but one by one they slipped away. His life before was gone. His life now was only... here. Only... this.
And whatever he had seen when his lover had opened to him, he could not imagine anything as brilliant as the spark in front of him, tendrils of electricity crackling from it, stretching unerringly toward its prey.
Starscream laughed. "I should have known you'd open first."
Mirage's jaw dropped, the mechanism creaking softly. After all of this, after all that Megatron had done to the twisted, mangled wings just now, after millions of years of the same thing, over and over, Starscream still had the spark to say such things.
To Megatron's face.
Mirage's spark pulsed hollow again. His kind had vowed to stop them, to drive them off, to end them if they had to. And all of that had ended, had fallen apart, like pieces coming unbolted, when Prime had died. There had been nothing, then.
Prime had called them proud, strong, a great and unstoppable machine, built from the mutual understanding and respect of all its parts.
But without Prime it was a lie. The Decepticons had been right about them in the end: they had sought strength in unity only because they were too weak to survive alone.
Megatron's hand curled around the other's helm, slamming it backwards, hard. "Open. Now."
Starscream only smirked. "Why should I? I despise you."
Megatron laughed. "Do you now?"
The Seeker's head sprang forward as Megatron suddenly let go of it. Starscream quickly recovered himself, the blue arms reaching to push the Decepticon leader away.
But Megatron's hand had already reached the Seeker's cockpit canopy, wrenching it open. Starscream twisted to free himself, but Megatron's other fist drove itself into one of the mangled wings, stopping him cold.
Starscream's cockpit hung open, the glass half torn off its hinges, revealing a bright line like the one Starscream had traced with his lips just before.
"I thought so," the silver mech murmured. "That doesn't look like hatred to me. Relief, maybe. Freedom from the company of fools who don't deserve you."
Starscream squealed, a wordless cry of rage. "Fine," he spat, metal clicking against metal as the plates began to retract.
"Oh, I don't think so, Starscream," the other chuckled, digging his fingers into the seam. "You had your chance to do this nicely."
The light of the Seeker's spark flooded the room as the dark fingers pulled, wrenching the opening wider.
Mirage shook violently, his spark spinning within him, as he heard the metal creak and watched the light emerge. He'd seen chest plates like that before, mangled, ruined, twisted away. He'd seen it in battle, when particularly vicious Decepticons decided that settling for a clean kill would be too kind. They chose, instead, to wrench the living sparks free from those they'd defeated.
And he'd seen it at -- other times, too, fallen Autobots pleading for their captors to have pity on them, to leave them, to capture them rather than --
Megatron had never hurt him that way. He never knew why. It was common enough. He'd seen the blank, dull optics of the others countless times, watched the way they looked down when their masters passed, the way they flinched when anyone touched them. He might well be the only Autobot that none of the Decepticons had done that to.
The numb feeling he'd felt seeing Megatron kiss Starscream returned, chilling him again. The others had been braver, stronger, fought longer and harder than he had. Ironhide, Jazz, his beloved Hound. Even Bumblebee. Slag, even Tracks, a pompous, self-obsessed mech with an ego the size of Omega Supreme. Even he had been defiant. Mirage had simply hidden, staying invisible until he lacked the fuel to keep that component running. He'd surrendered far too soon after it had finally stopped.
And yet so many of them had been forced open, just like Megatron was doing to his second now, and used, and discarded. He, worthless coward that he was without his comrades to hide behind, had been spared. For no reason.
He fell to his knees, retching, with a resounding clang he was sure they both could hear. He looked up, expecting to see both of them advancing on him, their optics hard and gleaming.
But there was only the sudden flood of light as Megatron hurled a bolt of energy from his blinding spark into the Seeker's shuddering frame.
Starscream threw back his head and moaned again, his blue hands wrapping tight around the silver mech's back.
This wasn't violation, Mirage realized. Or if it was, that was nothing to Starscream, and yet again, his kind had broken, folded in upon themselves, creaked and fatigued when they should have endured.
The Seeker screeched, a harsh sound that might have been pleading or might have been laughter. His spark swirled crazily within the hole torn in his chest, lightning crackling out from it, drawn inexorably toward the other. It surged, overfull, holding the energy Megatron had lanced into it, its wild dance making Starscream moan again, his fingers digging deep into the plating of Megatron's back.
"More," the Seeker gasped.
Mirage's spark contracted hard. He told himself it was revulsion. And yet, seeing the bright light of Starscream's spark, already filled beyond capacity with the evidence of Megatron's desire, made him feel empty by comparison.
Megatron growled, slamming his fists into Starscream's wings to pin him again and piercing the Seeker's spark with another burst of white heat.
Hating himself for even thinking it, Mirage wondered if the scouring flame of that light would be worse than the nothingness filling him now. Perhaps it, terrible as it was, could sear away his emptiness.
Starscream wailed. Mirage threw back his head and opened his mouth, throwing his own soundless scream into the air around him.
Then another burst sped unerringly toward the Seeker's careening center, Megatron's optics red pinpricks floating hard and untouchable over a sea of blazing white.
Starscream clutched at Megatron, desperately grinding his chest into the larger mech's as the energy he held finally spilled over, its light flaring outward, swallowing himself, Megatron, and the room itself in pure, ferocious white.
It was not for Mirage. It was not Mirage's spark that felt it, that took it in, that filled to capacity and then burst with it. And yet, when the light reached him, he too shuddered, frozen, and fell, his faceplate colliding with the cold floor.
His optics flickered online slowly, a mist of crackling white in front of them. He found himself on the floor, a scraping tangle of limbs.
He hastened to get up. Had Megatron offlined from his overload, as Mirage apparently had from merely beholding it? Was he still offline, or had he come online again, only to see Mirage lying here, a useless heap of metal?
And where was Starscream? He got to his feet, the energon he'd drunk earlier roiling in his tanks.
He promised himself he wouldn't purge it, whatever happened. He'd been weak enough so far tonight.
For long moments, nothing happened. Where was Megatron? He hardly dared to look again into the room where his master and the Seeker had been. If Megatron was online in there, and caught him spying, he had no idea what terrible reckoning the Decepticon would wreak.
He had always known how to be silent. Willing his servos not to creak, he slid away from the door.
The voice chilled him, freezing his hydraulics, and for a moment he stood, unable to move or think or feel anything but the fear seizing his spark. Then he remembered he'd been given an order, and walked toward the voice calling him.
As he had predicted, the wall was smashed. He stared at the Starscream-shaped outline, wondering how long he'd been offline. The Seeker had, apparently, left.
"Mirage," his master said again. "Look at me."
Hating his own reluctance, Mirage forced his optics to focus on the Decepticon in front of him.
He'd expected to see anger, the silver faceplates twisting into rage. Instead, Megatron's expression was far milder. Neutral, almost, with one corner of the mouth upturned in a smirk.
The promise of relief whirled through Mirage's spark. Maybe he'd been so intent on what he was doing to Starscream that he hadn't heard.
Was this what hope had felt like, so long ago? He couldn't remember, but he thought suddenly of the others. Of Jazz, still slinging the barbs of his words and standing tall through the beatings they earned him. Of Bumblebee, or at least of what they said about him: that no one, Decepticon or Autobot, had found his fallen chassis. They said he lived somewhere near the mines now, stealing what energon he could, not caring if he starved because it would mean offlining free.
"You answered that summons quite quickly," Megatron murmured, reaching out to touch Mirage. The Autobot flinched, expecting pain, but the dark fingertips merely ran along the seams in his plating. "How did you get all the way here from your quarters in so little time?"
Mirage felt his engine stall. "I -- I came as quickly as I could, my lord," he fumbled.
The other laughed. As his chest moved, Mirage saw a bright line running down it, revealing the light within.
Mirage shuddered at the touch.
"Tell me, Autobot," Megatron was saying, still chuckling softly. "How exactly did your faction survive for so long when you're so terrible at lying?"
"We're not --" Mirage's mouth worked, creaking softly as it moved. Nothing came out. He stared, helpless, at the glimmer of light coming from Megatron's chest.
Finally, he hung his head, waiting for a lecture or, if he was lucky, a blow. Megatron was right. His kind had always believed they shouldn't lie. Why would they ever prove good at it?
Megatron's fingers danced along his shoulders and down to his chest, running over the grooves of the Autobot symbol there. Just hit me, he thought, dread mounting.
"So," the Decepticon went on, his optics gleaming. "Did you enjoy that little show?"
The fingers stilled, then dug painfully into Mirage's plating.
"I shouldn't have done it," the Autobot murmured, throwing himself at the other mech's feet and cursing himself inwardly for groveling. Ironhide would have died sooner than do this. Had died, in fact, rather than let them take him. "Please, master, I --"
And yet, even knowing what Ironhide and others had sacrificed to avoid this fate, he himself did it, prostrating himself before the worst of his enemies. What would Prime have thought, if he had lived to see this?
"No, you shouldn't have done it. But do you know why I forbade you?"
Mirage's spark whirled its terror, spinning over and over itself. On Earth, he had seen small creatures that lived in the water, flailing desperately when taken out of it, unable to function properly outside of their element. It had sickened him to see it, though he hadn't understood it. He did now.
He thought of the bright energy hurtling into Starscream, of the way the Seeker had caught and held it, still snarling defiance. Or hissing his need for more.
Mirage choked out words. He barely even knew what they were.
Megatron's hand reached down and wrapped around Mirage's head, pulling the Autobot up to look at him. "That's right, Mirage. Because you are not worthy of it."
"Please, my lord," Mirage begged, staring at the bright seam of the other's chest. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have looked. Please. Have mercy on me."
"Mercy?" With a snarl, Megatron shoved Mirage's face down hard, the metal sparking brightly as it scraped along the floor. "Having mercy on those who don't deserve it makes a mockery of justice. And mercy only weakens those who do deserve it."
So saying, he dragged the smaller mech back up to his knees again. Mirage let him, feeling like a drone someone had set there, bereft of its own will.
"You wonder why I treated you as I did? Better, you think, than the others treated the rest of your kind? There are two reasons."
Mirage knew that Megatron was about to lecture him. That'd he'd have time to protest, fight, figure out some way to plead that just might impress his master enough to win some kind of pardon. But he said nothing, frozen, as his lord continued to speak.
"One: because your kind will never deserve the obsession my foolish followers lavish on you. And two: Because, as I am quite certain you've noticed, the others of your kind have been treated so badly they barely function. They have entirely forgotten what they are. And reducing our enemies to nothing is no victory. Not when some could remain and remember."
Mirage's spark quailed. "And you chose me."
The Decepticon nodded, chuckling. "And I chose you. Did you really think I kept you pristine out of some misguided sense of honor?"
Mirage felt the energon lurch in his tanks again. Then there really was no reason for him to have been spared, while the others were invaded, used, torn apart from the inside. Those blank optics through which Hound saw the world could just as easily have been his.
"Still," Megatron continued, more to himself than to Mirage, "you did disobey me. That takes spark. And you hid yourself well enough in the beginning. Perhaps you're stronger than you think."
Mirage watched, paralyzed with fear, as the silver chest plates slid apart, right there in front of him.
"Perhaps you can endure this."
The spark pulsed, eager, and as it expanded its light filled the Autobot's optics. Its dance dazzled him and he stared, dizzied by its whirling. Around it, lightning crackled. Mirage whimpered.
Megatron leaned down toward the kneeling Autobot. "Open," he hissed. "Now."
Mirage knew he should refuse. Fight. Take his beating and hope Megatron would remember the disgust that had kept him from doing this. And yet he could think only of the others, of the way they drew away when their masters touched them, of their cold and empty stares.
He was an Autobot. And Autobots shared one another's fates. That shared destiny made them what they were.
He nodded, revulsion making him shiver again, and slid his chest plates open.
The spark in front of him hissed and crackled, spitting light as Megatron gathered its energy and hurled it toward Mirage.
Then it pierced him, its heat too much to bear. His own spark swelled, invaded, reeling and spinning its pain. He keened as the infusion wrenched him open, expanding his spark beyond what its chamber could hold. His circuits sizzled as it seared them, and he wailed again.
But the worst of it was not the pain. The worst of it was Megatron's desire, spinning suddenly through his sensornet as his spark rippled with someone else's energy, someone he had accepted but that his systems refused to welcome.
He could sense it, feel it almost as if it were his own emotion: the fierce elation whirling through Megatron's systems as his very self tore into his slave's spark and rent it, claiming or destroying or both.
His own spark surged in answer, desire seeking desire.
He retched. The pain was nothing. But this, this feeling, triumph and passion, elation and need, this he could not bear. He had not felt desire since -- how long? It had begun when the war ended. What was there to desire when they had lost? When their world, their friends' world, and countless other worlds were surely doomed?
Then there had been Hound. Seeing what the Decepticons had made him into and imagining how they had done it had convinced him not only that he didn't feel desire, but that he never would again.
And yet now, Megatron was hurting him, burning him, lancing poison through his circuits, creating a wound that both mechs knew would never heal.
But his spark still wheeled its answer, starved for the touch, for the regard, for even this violence, even this --
He cried out again, the sound reverborating in his own audios, when another bolt of energy, pitiless and blazing, burst into him, terrible and bright.
He panted, pushing air out through his vents, wishing his spark itself would follow. Or at least the consciousness invading it, invading him, twisting up passion and pleasure until they meant nothing he understood, nothing he wanted, nothing he was.
Silver arms wrapped around him, dark hands digging hard into the plating of his back as the open chest leaned down to reach him better. Tendrils of energy stretched from the Decepticon's spark into Mirage's, and every time they connected it breached him anew.
He heard a soft rumble in his audios now, ominous as Earth's thunder.
Now you understand.
He thrashed in panic. He had not heard those words. He had thought them, through the connection. They had invaded his processor itself, and now they reverborated through it, vibrating through his every circuit. He had nowhere to hide.
Whimpering, he wrapped trembling hands around the silver frame leaning over him. Yes, he understood. He did not deserve the silver mech's desire, scouring him and burning away the emptiness he'd clung to. He did not deserve it, tearing him from his numb acceptance to terrible awareness.
And yet it had come, in the end, as some dim part of his processor had always known it would.
Unsure whether he meant defiance or the ultimate in base capitulation, he shoved the whirling spark above him down into his own.
Megatron growled, beyond concern, and sent the last burst of heat toward his prey, snarling.
Mirage's spark could not hold it, and it burst free, a last great shock of pain. The overload tore through Megatron's spark as well, so close to his. He heard the Decepticon snarl again.
Good, Mirage thought, his own viciousness startling him. If Megatron's thoughts could invade his processor, perhaps Mirage's agony would catch and hold him now, in turn.
But even as he hoped for that small revenge, he knew that sound was no bellow of rage, or pain, or desperation. The silver mech had wanted this, had planned for this all along. Megatron had won, and knew it. The noise was not a roar of protest, but a growl of victory.
Mirage shuddered as his vision faded to white. Megatron was right. He would endure, broken yet intact, denied the peace of the half-offline stupor the others had taken refuge in.
He would be the testament that his master wanted, consumed and remade, the marks of the other's triumph carried deep within, where no tool could repair them or smooth them away.
With that last thought, the blazing light consumed him.