Bad Business 

Sugar Coating


 

Saturday afternoons usually found Megatron pouring over additional work in the dark tower - what served as her main office buildings center of downtown. Soundwave waiting outside the double doors turning away any would-be distractions, ever the silent and fearsome dragon at the gates. The building (which employees had long since dubbed a citadel and Megatron enjoyed the comparison) was hardly ever empty on the weekend, but her main creative force was usually found absent. Living whatever lives they might entertain outside of their dark offices. This allowed Megatron some much needed stillness without Shockwave bursting in with sensational news of whatever microbe she’s mutated (much appreciated doting and fond language strewn in between every arranged sentence). Or Scrapper cautiously asking for budget increases to their latest construction projects.
 

At least, that’s how Megatron once fondly remembered the weekends. Her office as of late had become a revolving door of subordinates abruptly incapable of handling their own divisions, to the point not even Saturdays held the same peaceful charm as they once had. Which left even Soundwave defenseless against the rising number of visitors with complaint or carefully worded request.
 

Friday held a new level of chaos, of the likes Megatron had not suffered since their shotgun offices by the docks all those years ago. The fact she was required to raise her voice to clear her waiting room of begging ingrates had been enough that she sent Soundwave home early and driven herself out of the building before the final wave of intruders could catch her office unguarded.
 

Megatron passed the exit which might lead to her own home and instead headed towards a (growing more and more familiar) street, to glossy high rises, to the home of the only person Megatron knew would never dare to enter work on a Saturday.
 

Which lead her to Saturday morning with her head pillowed in Starscream’s lap as the Seeker lifted the throw pillow off her face and asked “Are you dead yet?”
 

“No.” Megatron answered for the second time that day and the woman scoffed in disbelief, but didn’t return to her half hearted attempts at smothering her.
 

Friday, upon Megatron’s unannounced arrival at her residence, Starscream had permitted her entrance through the secure doors only to stare at her employer with suspicion and unease. Standing at her door with arms crossed, already changed from her work attire and settled in for the weekend. At 3:00 pm on a Friday.

“I wasn’t feeling well,” She lied immediately at Megatron’s approach, clearly assuming her arrival was due to the obvious fact that Starscream was paid to clock out at 5:00 pm at the earliest. That the young woman had been leaving work on Fridays no later than 2:00 pm for the past three months, Megatron chose not to address.
 

“Then consider this  a courtesy check up, for my ailing employee.” Megatron brushed past Starscream’s shoulder, moving into the apartment. Clean. Sparse living. Everything in its place (What little the woman brought with her from her family’s estate).  Black panel walls with inset bookshelves baring crystal shapes and impersonal trinkets which Megatron knew meant nothing to the Seeker. She moved on to the granite top cabinet which housed liquors Starscream had only recently begun keeping in her home, helping herself to a heavy pour from a dark bottle while her employee watched her from the entryway.
 

“So, this is a thing you do now? Show up and drink my alcohol without invitation?” Expensive teeth peeking out from her sneer.
 

“You drink scotch now?” They both knew she didn’t, that the scotch was a miniscule sign of hospitality now that Megatron spent an alarming number of nights at the pristine apartment. “Or am I interrupting something?” She didn’t bother looking around as if expecting Starscream to have a guest. The Seeker wouldn’t have been so crude as to invite her up in the first place had she not been alone.
 

Megatron bites down on a distinctly upsetting thought, of what she might do had Starscream not allowed her up, but that did not matter now.
 

“You’re so dramatic.” That was the devil calling another evil. “I just hadn’t expected you is all.”
 

And why should she? There had only been one time before that Megatron had approached Starscream’s home without the young woman in tow, and that was to pick her up for an investors banquet so the other wouldn’t be two hours late...as she always was to important functions. Claiming fashion as her excuse and squawking when Megatron would make a move as if to spill wine on her expensive suits as punishment. All the other times Starscream would either have Megatron invited up “for a drink” after a day of work. Or, like the investor’s banquet, they stumbled into the nearest cab and pawed their way up to Starscream’s home. Mouths drunk off too sweet of wine while Starscream made a compelling case for defiling the elevator.

Showing up sober and alone was new territory for them, but Megatron was more focused on hiding from her other employees who might have expected to corner her tomorrow.

“Have you eaten?” From any other mouth the question might have a hint of concern, the way Megatron was swallowing down her drink, but Starscream only sounded disturbed. “Don’t chug something that expensive!”

It wasn’t an expensive bottle, Starscream had only picked it for it’s looks and gold trim.

 

“Are you offering to make me dinner?”
 

“God no.” The Seeker snapped, much to Megatron’s relief. She could trust Starscream (mostly) with highly combustible materials in her work...but something as simple as boiling water might kill them both. “I was intending to go out.”
 

“Order in.” She knew of five restaurants worthy of Starscream’s palate, “You can even make me pay.” Setting the drink down she tosses the coat yet to be removed at the young woman. Watching with small amusement as Starscream lunges to catch it, realizes she was caught making an effort, then lets it fall to the ground from her arms. The woman was about to complain, likely tell Megatron to do the deed herself, but she wasn’t fast enough before Megatron was already making herself comfortable on the leather sectional. Ignoring any further comment.
 

And that was their evening. Sharing space in Starscream’s home while the young woman fussed as Megatron left her tie on the coffee table. Disagreeing with her employer on Scrapper’s alternative-fuel refining methods and reminding the Seeker why she’d lost supervision of the project in the first place. (They would never get that lab rebuilt.)
 

They ate their meal out of the containers, Starscream perched on her own dining room table like some parakeet wanting the high ground. Stealing Megatron’s fork midair to eat against being warned twice to stop.
 

“You shouldn’t have gotten the salmon if you wanted steak.”
 

“I didn’t want steak.”
 

“Then stop eating mine.” She growled and physically removed her dish from Starscream’s grasp the next attempt she made for her Châteaubriand. Dining with Starscream was a greatly different experience than the many late-night meals with Soundwave. A staunch vegetarian who, being a parent, could often be caught counting Megatron’s number of chews before every swallow like some obsessive tick. At least Starscream, barefoot in evening clothes - looking soft and compliant on her third glass of wine, never made her feel guilty for her meal. Only tried her damndest to eat it and threw a fit when Megatron took a singular bit of the woman’s thinly cut sweet potatoes.
 

“If you wanted sweet potatoes you should have gotten them!” She gaped.
 

Megatron responded by shoving Starscream off the table and  called all manner of names as the Seeker fell tangled in the nearest chair. Potatoes spilled across her lap.
 

By ten, they’d exhausted all work-related points of conversation. (Untrue. There were plenty of things Megatron wanted Starscream’s opinion on but the young woman continually tried to bring up the new drones she’d been developing and  how beneficial additional funding might be...but Megatron wasn’t about to talk money with Starscream without a lawyer and three witnesses around) she was left to the living room, vaguely directed towards the remote as Starscream left to clean up for the night. In all the times Megatron has stayed in the shiny apartment she never knew Starscream to have a television...so standing there with remote in hand she likely looked a fool uncertain where to point. She tried blindly at first with no luck, and surrendered almost immediately out of concern Starscream might walk in on her failed attempts. Besides, she was enjoying an evening without the infuriating static of computer screens and the news.
 

Even in the first hour of her arrival, Soundwave had reached out to confirm her location. Megatron wasn’t surprised in the least when responding she was at Starscream’s for the evening that her diligent Third had sent a “Thumbs up” emoji and nothing more, not wanting to discuss her reasons further. Finally a use for Starscream’s unpopularity with those they work with: Megatron being left alone.
 

But Starscream’s home was, as ever, clean and untouched by any nods of personality. Elegantly decorated from a catalog likely with the word MODERN in block letters sprawling across its covers, she’d always found it strangely empty compared to Starscream’s otherwise garish preferences. She is, after all, the only Decepticon employee to have a mirrored wall in her office and spent half a special projects meeting reviewing color schemes for work-site jumpsuit. Complete with models Thundercracker and Skywarp who looked positively mortified throughout. (When stopped thirty minutes in, Megatron demanding an actual update on the null-ray project Starscream was heading. The Seeker only waved her off saying “Yes, it’s great. Now about the variations of purple” and the meeting went downhill from there).
 

The lack of emotion in Starscream’s monochromatic home never sat right with her.
 

A steel and blacktop kitchen overlooked the living room, wide and gray. Wall of windows lining the northern side of the suite. A thin living room decorated with patterned plush chairs and a smooth dark table - little more. Only so much to keep your attention before Megatron found herself trailing back down the singular hall, passing the cream and stone half bath, continuing on towards Starscream’s bedroom. Knowing the Seeker’s first project when moving to Iacon after her hiring was to remodel the two bedroom into one so that the master was as large as the other half of the apartment seemed to be a pretty simple way to describe Starscream’s priorities.
 

Barefooted, she made no sound entering the open bedroom with it’s intimidating furniture of hard lines and dark paint. Megatron could hear Starscream’s shower going past one of many doors and thought not to disturb her, least the young woman decide she’s had enough of Megatron that evening. Passed the distant sounds and steam to run fingers over the double doors of the woman’s walk-in (practically second bedroom) closet where Starscream was never short a fuchsia suit or gold tipped shoes for flare. Megatron was not permitted to leave any articles of clothing in the Seeker’s home. Not even a forgotten sock could be forgiven as Starscream had made it apparently clear after sending her a photo of said sock being dropped in the trash.

Which was ridiculous, but fair, considering Starscream had not even been to Megatron’s home before.

Two red armchairs separated by a short glossy table stood to the right of the bed. A glass f-15 model plane  sitting beneath a red shaded lamp. The only touch of color in the depressing room. Even the long curtains where black, but perfectly clean. No speck of dust would ever be found in Starscream’s apartment. Perhaps that was why she kept it so empty: because she feared strangers might form some idea about her when they came to clean seemingly daily. But one could not know without addressing Starscream directly, and that was a dead end.  
 

There were a multitude of awards and recognitions the young woman had achieved over her years - and these were strangely never displayed as proudly or openly as the multitude of books Starscream kept in her office. Each perfectly arranged by color, not name, where spines were weak and bowed from frequency of use. A collection of first edition prints to frequently updated atlases and technical tomes of geoarchaeology, a pastime of the Seeker’s. (Because that’s a normal thing girls who are raised to fly would be interested in.)

Thundercracker and Skywarp’s shared office (not that Starscream’s subordinates / sisters needed one) were covered in signs of life. Souvenirs of their frequent trips together, heinously inappropriate posters pinned to their lab walls. Once Megatron was performing a walk through of the aeronautics division and while waiting for Starscream to be fifteen minutes late to their appointment, caught sight of a photograph balanced precariously in the mess of Thundercracker’s workbench. Simple frame, worn edges like it had been kept along someone’s side for years. Three very different looking young women, two grinning at the camera while the third crushed in the middle was trying her best to share no hint of emotion. As if she would rather die than allow proof that she spent time with her family. When the Seekers arrived, late, dragging Starscream behind the woman had nearly broken the photo ripping it from her employer’s hands, hurling it across the room. Quick to distract Megatron with the progress on their long-range USW (that Thundercracker had named “Buster” for some reason.)
 

As Megatron stood now in Starscream’s bedroom, no sign of life outside of whatever subscription to “square pillows monthly”, she wondered idly who took the photo of the three Seekers that day?
 

“This is too much,” Distracted in her investigation, Starscream had exited the shower and was standing both irate and mistrustful of Megatron’s presence in her room. Thick black robe belted tight to her lean form, hair damp and curling down unimpressed eyes . “Are you planning on leaving some time this evening, boss?”
 

The only reason Megatron tolerates the exasperated and petty tone is because a drop of water has begun to slip down Starscream’s jawline. Trailing across dark skin and changes course abruptly as it meets the young woman’s throat pounding away at the robe’s collar.
 

“Kick me out.” Megatron answers and relishes in the wrinkles of Starscream’s mouth as she tries not to grin.
 

“Go take a shower first.” She tries to dismiss the comment and the easy way her skin glows.  And because it suits her, Megatron agrees. Brushing past Starscream and able to catch the Seeker’s throat with quick fingers. Sliding certain and steady beneath the collar to the trail of water from her hair.
 

“It’s a shame you didn’t think to invite me to share yours.” The touch elicits a full body shiver from the woman, thrilled with how easy it was at times to rile up her Seeker. Allowing Starscream to slap her arm away, the scowl something heated and stunned. Moving past the delightful frown to the steamy remnants of Starscream’s shower. She gets the water running from the rainfall showerhead to a sharp heat and begins undressing, shirt unbuttoned and folded alongside Starscream’s evening clothes on the dry side of the bathroom. Her belt, then slacks following, pausing on the dark gray fabric when the door behind her opens and she’s unable to rest folded slacks on the bench before Starscream is on her. Easy to hoist onto hips, the woman’s robe splitting as damp, warm legs wrap around her as Starscream warns her not to waste all the hot water before biting her mouth.

 




 

Starscream sleeps like she’s at war. Kicking or swinging an arm across the bed - usually catching Megatron in the face or back of knees as she does so. Careless as a woman so used to the expanse of her own bed and the world bending to her rules. The only means Megatron has to protect herself is to grab a limb and drag the Seeker into her arms. Wrap around her tight until Starscream’s light snoring is muffled into her chest, often red and raw from the woman’s clawing hands.
 

She tends to watch the younger woman sleep, if but briefly, before herself. Keeping tabs on the dark lashes fretting in slumber, her warm red mouth frowning or pinched in some dream. Best to do so with the Seeker pinned and trapped in her arms, close enough to feel her breath cascade over her collarbone and fall asleep to the even tempo of the woman’s pulse.
 

It wasn’t an entirely terrible way to end the night.

 




 

By morning, her host was already up before her. Could be seen on the small balcony of the living room as  Megatron makes her morning debut, slacks from last night preferable to the alternatives of Starscream’s fickle (and small) closet. Smoke pale and bright against dark skin and a cloudy morning, Megatron makes her way through the lean doors and faces the cold morning wind with a bare chest and Starscream’s misery of such.
 

“Put on a shirt.”
 

“I don’t have a clean one.”
 

“Wear one of mine.” She suggests with an awful grin. If it wouldn’t end with her embarrassment Megatron might consider it, just to possibly rip it and upset the Seeker. But it seemed that morning would be a rare occasion as Starscream did not immediately ask her to leave. Instead chewed on the filter of her morning cigarette and turned the coffee mug balance precarious on bare thighs so Megatron could reach. Terrible, bitter stuff, but she drank down what she could and tried to save face by not winching against the sludge.

Starscream’s free hand came to brush the soft hair of Megatron’s stomach and seemed distracted by the cool morning sunrise.
 

“Feeling better today?” Megatron asks against the Seeker’s temple, in reference to yesterday’s lie.
 

“No,” Starscream hums, half burnt cigarette crushed against the high cement wall of the balcony. “I think I should stay in bed all day. Recover.”
 

“Breakfast first.” Because she’s seen Starscream go days with no more nutrients than a pack of menthol and whatever candy she could find on Skywarp’s desk. “Then whatever you wish.” She adds quickly, Starscream’s favorite words, to appease the younger woman.
 

Which is how they end up on the couch, surprisingly demure behavior after eating and Starscream revealed the television was a mirror on the far wall.  The weather channel is calming for a few minutes but not for her host. The local news was a bit better, stories of Prime’s newest call to action against the blackmarket contraband circulating through Iacon and the nearby cities. Her hopeful speech from a few nights ago clipped and played when convenient.
 

“Your ex is a loser.” Starscream huffs.
 

“Our relationship was not of that sort.” Megatron repeats for a countless number of times. Regretting ever telling Starscream about her past friendship with the now-Prime.
 

“Whatever.” More pouting until Starscream nearly pours her second cup of coffee on Megatron’s head when the woman tries to kiss her while Prime is on the television.
 

Megatron, only lightly scalded, laughs into Starscream’s stomach. Feeling every screech of indignity and do you know who I am!? pulse from her belly. She leaves her head in Starscream’s lap, idly stroking the back of her calf where it’s propped on the coffee table as the news is flipped to a  Kaonese-speaking channel where Starscream makes her translate, even though Starscream also speaks the language. She abides the order only to upset the Seeker when purposefully misinterpreting a conversation. “And I thought you knew this language. Can’t even do that right!” She bites Starscream’s knee to stop her bitching.
 

By noon, Starscream has tried to smother her to death. First lifting a pillow and very slowly resting it over Megatron’s face before asking if she’s dying? Megatron answers “Maybe” and Starscream says “Good ” while leaving the pillow on.
 

By one Starscream has Megatron’s phone and is answering emails on her behalf. Not with permission but with Megatron being smothered by a throw pillow, according to the Seeker she’s “dead and in no condition to run a business”. She eventually accepts the terms only because as she types Starscream stroke long fingers through Megatron’s hair and it’s distracting how tender the Seeker can be. Too distracting. She should have known.
 

Her phone make a camera’s telling “click” and the following transition of a text message and Megatron is bolting upright to stop her.
 

“What did you do?!” She roars as Starscream clutches the phone to her chest, rolling over the couch, and makes a run for it.
 

“Nothing!” But she’s cackling and using the dining room table as a protective wall. “I just wanted to share how docile you’d become, you old cougar.”


“Starscream!” A warning growl and when the Seeker feints to the right Megatron is able to correct her reach, snatching up the troublesome brat before she can make a dash to the bedroom. It’s simple enough to wrestle the phone from Starscream’s hands, but the laughter stops when Megatron hoists the woman over one shoulder, giggling now replaced with a furious screech.
 

“Unhand me!” Truly a damsel in distress, beating useless against Megatron’s back as she carries the Seeker to the bedroom, careful not to drop her before reaching the bed where she lets the woman roll off and land with an unflattering yelp.

“You could have broken my neck!” Both of Starscream’s wrists fit in Megatron’s hand, simple to snatch them up and press the woman back down into the sheets. Legs kicking until sheets tangle around them both.

“It was a joke!” She whines as above, Megatron checks what messages have been sent out. 
A few expected emails, dictated by Megatron herself and surprisingly unchanged by Starscream. Three password failures to access private data on the phone, and one media message she did not authorize.
 

A photo of herself from Starscream’s earlier vantage point. A hand combing through her hair, almost relaxed and still. Megatron’s bare chest and stretched arm in unfocused view but her profile - eye closed and on the verge of sleep - was clearly the subject.
 

The text’s recipient: Starscream herself. (Name changed in her phone as “The Chosen One”, how humble.)

Below her, Starscream colored a deep shade and looked positively mortified. Mouth twisted in a severe pout, looked ready to bite if Megatron got too close with any uncovered flesh (which was most of her at that point). Legs ceased their thrashing - clearly the woman had accepted Megatron knew exactly what she was up to.

“You looked fat. It was funny.” She tried to lie and Megatron only rolled her eyes before tossing the phone to the nightstand, keeping Starscream’s wrists pinned. “I was going to include it in the next company letter and…”
 

“You forgot to turn the sound off, didn’t you?” She grinned, entertained by the Seeker’s botched attempt at stealth.
 

“You’re so stupid, I didn’t think you’d hear.”
 

“Oh, do shut up.” Megatron huffs against Starscream’s mouth and she obeys.






Sunday morning Megatron relents and attempts to wear a pair of Starscream’s largest jogging tights because the woman tells her it’s filthy to wear the same outfit so many days in a row. (Not that Megatron cares, but she would like Starscream to stop complaining).

 

They cut off circulation to her waist and her thighs look ridiculous - according to Starscream who can’t stop laughing when she emerges from the walk-in closet after changing.
 

Megatron snarls and threatens to put on her old clothes and let Starscream suffer her that way, but the Seeker’s demeanor changes as she pulls herself to the corner of the bed. Comfortably naked in the wrinkled mess of dark sheets and Megatron’s attention.
 

“Well,” She hums as her employer is still reeling from how /small/ the other’s clothes are. “I don’t...hate it.”
 

“What?” Megatron blinks.
 

Starscream rolls her eyes and motions for her to come back to bed. “You’ll see.”

Sunday evening Starscream falls asleep early, leaning against Megatron’s ribs during a documentary of prehistoric iceland the Seeker demanded they watch. Megatron collects her things and leaves, only nudging the other awake to lock the doors behind her and not to forget about the budgetary meeting they have first thing Monday. The tired Seeker agrees, clearly not paying attention, and rubs a spot on hers neck that Megatron spent last night worrying between hers teeth - she wonders if Starscream has noticed yet as it’s too high to conceal with a collar but knowing Starscream she’d find a fashionable way to hide it.
 

Megatron’s standing at the door while Starscream takes her sweet time rising, groggy after a weekend of late nights and excitable mornings doing very little beyond eating and finding new surfaces for Megatron to lift her onto. Overall it wasn’t a terrible time - less alcohol involved than Megatron expected. Saturday night they ordered cheap Thai food against the Seeker’s loudest complaints and compared the stages of the Hero’s Journey to Macbeth. A conversation for no other reason than to  just to agree with one another. For Starscream to quote Lady Macbeth and take a gracious and sparkling bow when Megatron quietly, but earnestly, applauded her performance.
 

Starscream whined under her breath and Megatron grunted, a noise demanding she stop it.
 

“It’s stupid to leave so late.” She repeated, lip curled in annoyance for having to say it again now leaning on the entryway.
 

Megatron could ask if Starscream wanted her to stay.
 

She could turn a charm phrase, make it easy for Starscream to accept the offer and pick the woman up, carry her off to bed just to /sleep/. It had been...a terribly relaxing weekend with minimal fighting and acceptable levels of bitching from the younger woman now looking at her curiously, and perhaps, hopeful as Megatron’s hand hesitates on the door.
 

If she asked to stay, it would be a step towards something more than this dangerous fraternization they’ve become so accustomed to.
 

She could offer...
 

Or Starscream could ask her to stay.
 

“You’re right. I should have left earlier.” She turns the knob and shrugs her collar up, a sensation of rain creeping into her bones. “Make sure you get some sleep, Starscream. And no more early Fridays.”
 

There’s a snappish response she doesn’t quite hear as the door shuts at her back a little too quickly, leaving her alone in the hall, chest tight with a strange annoyance. Megatron heads towards the elevator, wondering if any security team keeps track of the ongoings of their tenants lives. Wonders what they might think of Megatron's inconsistent visits.
 

The brassy elevator doors begin to close on her and Megatron is too busy glaring at the security camera to notice Starscream’s door open down the hall. 


 

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