Author: Second attempt at Transformers movieverse. I have no doubt that I will end up with inconsistencies on a number of points-please forgive them and feel free to correct me at any point in time. I have no idea where this idea came from...but I hope you all enjoy it! Thank you for reading, even if you don't review/favorite/alert. Just knowing people read my work is flattering enough.
Disclaimer: I have a RotF Soundwave toy. That's it.
Optimus woke slowly, disorientation making his head swim. His vision slowly cleared and almost immediately a sense of...wrongness...hit him. Everything seemed far too large. A number of other, different sensations made themselves known to him, things he really couldn't put words to—he just felt more...fragile. He could feel the air currents acutely, the wind caressing his body in an unfamiliar—but not unpleasant—way. Above him (too far above) he could see Earth's star hanging in the sky, and was almost hypersensitive to the fact that the photons hitting his body made it warm slightly.
There were other, less pleasant sensations that assailed his senses as well. His head hurt horribly, a pounding pain he'd only rarely experienced plaguing him. That wasn't the only pain, though. Beneath him, the ground dug into his back in uncomfortable ways, poking at suddenly sensitive areas. There was a dull, annoying thud that echoed through his body and he wished it would go away, having a hard time concentrating with the constant background noise. He shifted, and tried to get his hands under him, to help him sit up. He yelled and used some choice swear words he had learned when something sharp dug into his palm. He scowled and looked at the appendage before staring dumbly at it. He sat up fully, leaning over his legs slightly as he examined his palm.
How...how can this be? He wondered, watching bright red liquid ooze out of a fleshy palm. He looked down at the rest of himself and he felt dread, surprise, and confusion flood his being. Small, dexterous fingers ran along chocolate-colored skin, traced contours of muscle, and explored a very, very different face. He had lips, and a nose, and ears, and eyes. He had short, wiry hair on his head, as well as a line of hair that trailed down his stomach to...his brain briefly short-circuited as he realized that he also had the human male reproductive organ. He didn't mind being assigned a male body, but...the actual physicality of it was...startling. Bewildering. He was completely and utterly lost, and it was a distasteful feeling to the former Autobot leader.
How did this happen? He wondered. He attempted to push himself to his feet before promptly falling back onto his butt with a cut-off curse.
The balance was completely different.
After two more failed attempts at standing freely, he crawled over to a nearby tree and used it to support him onto his feet, even though the bark dug into his hands and his knees and feet were bleeding from the less-than-friendly forest floor. His legs trembled as he clung to his support, and his eyes swept around him.
It was odd, only being able to see in the 500 to 800 nanometer wavelength range.
What had he been doing anyway?
Right. Sam was off attempting to 'vacation' with his family and I was with them, protecting them. Megatron attacked...
Optimus felt his pulse speed up and a flood of hormones entered his system, steadying him slightly as a thought dawned on him. Megatron. What if he...?
With some trepidation, Optimus let go of the tree trunk. He instinctively windmilled his arms in an attempt to remain balanced, and was pleased when he was at least capable of standing. Walking was a different story.
I understand now why a child's first steps are seen as a milestone, Optimus thought blandly as he was forced to use the same tree to pull himself to his feet. He caught sight of a fairly large, sturdy-looking stick, and so carefully shimmied around the tree until he could pick it up. Once in his possession, he planted it firmly into the earth before taking a step, clinging to it in an attempt to keep himself upright.
A small part of him was glad that no-one was around to see the great Optimus Prime hobbling around unsteadily and naked. It would have been humiliating, and Optimus did have his pride.
He made slow, steady progress towards where he thought he remembered Sam's campsite being, although he had to stop for frequent rests. A biological body was much more susceptible to tiring than his former one. His progress was halted, however, when he came across a prone, naked human. He—obviously male—was unlike any human Optimus had seen before. His lithe body was all graceful lines, and his long hair was pure silver—even his eyelashes, Optimus could faintly see. His skin was a pale, pale cream, his features sharp and delicate at the same time.
Optimus poked him lightly with his walking stick, curious.
The human stirred and rolled onto his back, flinching as something unpleasant undoubtedly dug into his back. When their eyes locked, Optimus saw that his were the color of garnets—incredibly rare among humans, as far as he knew.
There was something familiar in that gaze...
"What do you want, human?" the man demanded, and the voice made Optimus's new eyebrows shoot up.
"Megatron?" he asked. His own voice, too, had remained the same—thankfully.
There was a brief look of confusion at the mismatch of face and voice before the former Decepticon leader gave him smirk.
It was oddly suited to his face, which was compellingly handsome in a cold way.
Optimus idly wondered what Megatron saw when he looked at him.
Optimus watched Megatron's eyes—they had always been the most expressive part of his being—and knew when his opposite discovered all of the same things Optimus had, albeit with surprising speed—faster than he had put all the pieces together.
"Optimus," the Decepticon hissed. "What did you do?"
Optimus frowned. "I didn't do anything."
"Then how are you and I trapped in these base shells?"
"I don't know. The last thing I remember was—"
"You and I fighting. What went..." Optimus watched in intrigue as Megatron trailed off, obviously thinking hard. Optimus knew when the Decepticon had reached a conclusion from how dark his countenance became. "When I get my hands on Starscream, I am going to rid this universe of him once and for all. He has crossed the line with this powerplay."
Megatron stood fluidly, making Optimus burn in envy.
He obviously was as unfamiliar with how to walk in a human body as Optimus, and after a few failures at taking steps, Optimus reached out his hand to him. Megatron gave it a look of pure disdain.
But eventually took it anyway. Once they were both steady, Optimus treated both him and Megatron to a purely objective once-over, thinking. "We cannot stay this way," he eventually stated.
Megatron gave him a look that said, 'No shit.'
"No, I mean unclothed."
"And where, my dear Prime, do you suggest we obtain this human convention?" Megatron drawled. "Surely you don't plan on stealing it."
Optimus shifted on his feet. It was a valid point.
"I also have no intention on remaining this way for long, anyway."
"We have to find a way to get to Starscream, though, and for that we will have to travel through human society. In order to get your revenge, you will need to make some concessions."
Megatron's lip curled back in a snarl. "Don't you dare seek to order me, Prime," he told Optimus in a low growl.
That, too, was oddly suited to his new form.
Optimus cocked an eyebrow. "Wouldn't think of it. However, we need each other right now—unless you want to brave the human world on your own?"
Megatron appeared to waver. The Decepticon wasn't stupid—egotistical, perhaps, but not stupid. He could figure out the odds easily enough of him surviving and being able to exact his revenge alone.
Optimus knew when the Decepticon leader came to his conclusion. "Very well," he admitted grudgingly. "We will stay together—for now."
"For now," Optimus agreed. "First, though—we must find clothes in order to move around human society."
Megatron growled uncomplimentary things about human societal conventions, which Optimus ignored.
Optimus was again annoyed that Megatron seemed to have better endurance than he, and seemed to adapt to the human gait more quickly, but said nothing. It would make Megatron gloat and that would make the man—ha—insufferable.
Night fell remarkably quickly, and a strange panic began to form in Optimus's gut. Perhaps it was the darkness that his eyes couldn't penetrate; perhaps it was the vulnerability of his naked body, or the bugs that seemed to delight in feasting on it. Or it could be that he had his usual arch-enemy leaning against him for support, obviously exhausted.
Perhaps Megatron's endurance isn't as substantial as I thought.
The two of them eventually stumbled upon an abandoned campsite, one where the majority of equipment and supplies were left behind.
"They must have been driven away by our battle," Optimus observed.
"Smart for humans," Megatron sneered, but there was a weariness in his voice that he couldn't entirely conceal.
"Of which you are now one," Optimus pointed out.
That particular statement earned him a glare that would have withered any other.
Optimus simply shrugged it off. "Come. Let's see if they left anything that we can use."
"And this isn't stealing?" Megatron asked, incredulous.
Optimus paused. "If they left it behind, they must not have wanted it."
"You're justifying doing something that would be considered immoral by your usual standards?"
Optimus sighed, his face tightening. "I want to survive."
Megatron treated him to an inscrutable look before a wry smirk formed on his face. "I see. Then, by all means, let's examine what they left behind."
The two former-Cybertronians riffled through the belongings and managed to find a few things of interest—food, a little bit of clothing, some money, and shelter. All good things for two newly-minted humans.
The next challenge they faced was exactly how to get the clothes on.
"No, I think it goes the other way."
"Don't tell me what to do!"
Optimus sighed softly and held up the piece of clothing he was trying to figure out. He paused and tried to recall how Sam and Mikaela dressed, frowning slightly.
Finally deciding it was probably something Mikaela would wear, not Sam, he tossed the bra aside, and picked up another piece—this one he recognized a little better. It was definitely a shirt. After bracing himself on a nearby tree, he pulled the shirt over his head, like he remembered seeing other humans do. With a blink, his head passed through the neck-hole and his arms found their ways through the sleeves.
So far so good.
He looked down at his weary legs and winced as he shifted his weight, pretty sure that the soles of his feet were torn up.
I need shoes badly, although pants and underwear would be nice, too.
Pants and underwear were, indeed, eventually located, but they could only find one pair of shoes that fit them.
Optimus sighed. He was in no mood for a confrontation, and if he insisted on having the shoes, he knew a fight would ensue that would most likely harm them both beyond what they knew how to deal with, so he tossed the shoes to Megatron, who caught them with a suspicious look.
"If I took them for myself, you'd eventually take them from me via force—and as I have enough pain from the day, I figure adding such hurt as you would give me would be...ill-advised."
Megatron's eyebrows slowly rose and he gave the shoes a wary look.
"They aren't rigged," Optimus replied to the look, slightly annoyed. "I'm not a Decepticon, afterall."
Megatron snorted. "You are still my enemy."
Optimus sighed. "Do you want to continue to leave bloody footprints in your wake?"
That seemed to be enough to convince the Decepticon to use socks they found along with shoes. Optimus had to settle for socks, but figured that once they reached a human settlement that they'd be able to acquire some more useful tools to help them hide among their new race.
Optimus voiced a strange sound that had Megatron looking at him in suspicion as Optimus tried to puzzle out what had just happened.
"I have heard that sound before," Optimus said slowly.
Megatron shook his head and sighed softly. "How is it that I have less experience with humans and can tell you that you just laughed? What is so funny anyway?"
"We hid in plain sight as vehicles and modes of transportation that humans see and use every day when Cybertronians—now we are attempting to hide among them as humans with considerably more difficulty. I find it...ironic."
Megatron paused, snorted, and shook his head. "You hid among them, Autobot. I have never debased myself to that level."
Optimus rolled his eyes.
Megatron startled slightly and pressed a hand to his stomach, looking completely off-guard and bewildered, which reminded Optimus of a time when they weren't quite enemies yet...
"My torso made a funny noise and I feel...I'm not sure how to describe it."
Optimus frowned, about to ask further questions when his own stomach protested the lack of food it had received, which made Optimus blink, then smile slightly. "Megatron, you're hungry."
"What?" the Decepticon asked, obviously confused. There was a curiosity in his voice that, if one didn't know him well, would be completely dismissed or mistaken for disdain. But, Optimus could tell that Megatron was more intrigued by his new human body than he cared to let on.
He always was one for new and unique experiences, Optimus thought with no small amount of amusement. "You need to eat food," Optimus explained. With the help of his walking stick, he made it to the pack that they had discovered what Optimus had recognized as food and rifled through it. None of it was familiar, but he had very little experience with human food, aside from the occasional cooking show he had watched online when bored.
But, he could read the packaging, and he knew granola bars were food, so he took one out for both himself and Megatron. He had a feeling it wouldn't be enough, but it would at least fix the gnawing protest in his gut.
"Here," Optimus said and deliberately tossed the bar when Megatron was trying to figure out how to tie the shoelaces. The former Decepticon looked up in time for the bar to smack into his forehead, making the Decepticon growl darkly and scowl at Optimus, one hand lightly rubbing the spot where he had been hit.
"You will pay for that later," Megatron promised. "What is this anyway?" he asked, picking up the packaging.
"I know it is food. What kind of food...I am unsure," Optimus murmured as he struggled with the packaging. "You do not eat the shiny plastic on the outside," he mentioned absently, guessing that Megatron would simply try to eat the entire thing. "You...take it...off...somehow." Such delicate work with his fingers was a challenge, as he wasn't used to dealing with something quite so small or with such resilience.
Megatron was the one to figure out the trick for opening the package, and Optimus followed his example, peeling back to covering to reveal a small, tan, brittle-looking bar. Optimus thought back to how Sam or one of the soldiers would eat and, with some hesitation, took a small part of the bar in his mouth and bit down. He was mildly surprised at the crunch, but even more so at the flavors. He...Cybertronians didn't have tongues, so while he had heard some of the soldiers complain about how bad army food tasted, he had never quite understood what they had meant. This...he didn't really have words in his lexicon to describe the tastes because he had never actually tasted something before. He moved his jaw up and down, and with the help of saliva his body naturally produced, broke down the granola bar into pieces he could swallow. A lot of the process was reflexive, but he found each step fascinating.
It did a little to assuage his hunger, but not much, so he continued to take small, manageable bites. He could tell when Megatron reluctantly followed his example from the small, surprised sound the former Decepticon made.
Strangely comfortable silence fell in the small campsite, and Optimus was almost sad to finish the granola bar. It had been a...unique experience, and he looked forward to exploring more of what his new human digestive track could experience.
Unfortunately, after eating he was...thirsty? He believed that was the word. When humans became thirsty they drank something.
Optimus rifled through the pack again, and picked out a plastic bottle filled with clear liquid. The label said 'Poland Spring Water', and he figured from how the seal had yet to be broken, the contained water was drinkable. He twisted the cap like he remembered seeing Sam down and with a small snap the cap came off.
Must remember—do not inhale the water.
He had seen the effects of Sam drinking water a little too fast, resulting in him inhaling a little, which sent him into a coughing fit until his body felt his respiratory track was clear of the liquid. Optimus idly hoped that his body would prove to have an instinct on this bit as well.
Thankfully, to an extent, it did. He had to semi-consciously stop breathing in order for the water to go down the right entrance, but otherwise he was fine.
When he tossed Megatron the water bottle (who caught it, giving Optimus a withering glare in the process), he took subtle pleasure in how the former Decepticon sputtered and coughed until he figured out what Optimus had quasi-known.
"How often do we have to do that?" Megatron muttered unhappily, looking at the water bottle with extreme distaste.
"Most humans have food three times every day."
"Every day?" Megatron said, surprise lacing his voice. "I suppose that is why they have such massive landfills, the wasteful beings."
"Megatron, it's no longer 'they'. You are a human now, too."
Megatron snarled. "Just because I may have the body of one does not mean I am one."
The Decepticon had a point.
"Nonetheless, it might be prudent to refrain from such statements."
Megatron shook his head, and Optimus was struck with how much more expressive the human countenance could be. Before, Optimus had needed to rely almost entirely on posture and eyes to divine what the particular Cybertronian sitting near him was feeling, but now...his emotions and thoughts were much more evident.
Optimus idly wondered if the same was true for him. He could tell Megatron was pondering something from how he was resting his chin on the back of his hands, elbows braced on his knees. His hair gleamed in the moonlight and his red eyes glowed ever so faintly. The image was oddly compelling.
"What are you plotting?"
Megatron looked at him, his lips quirked up slightly in an expression of pure innocence. "Me? Plot? I'm wounded. What would make you say that?"
Optimus snorted in derision. "It is in your face. What are you planning?"
There was a brief silence before the Decepticon leader spoke: "Tell me, Prime. Say we do manage to incorporate ourselves into the human hive. What do we do then? Your silly morals will not allow us to survive off of taking what we need without concern for the humans from whom we take. How do we proceed in finding Starscream and take him down when we are so weak and small? How do we achieve returning to our true forms?" Megatron sighed softly, obviously frustrated.
Silence fell as both Cybertronian leaders thought, Optimus leaning against a tree, his walking stick propped against his shoulder.
"I am not sure," Optimus said mournfully. "Perhaps..." When Megatron didn't butt in to make some snide comment about Optimus's lack of knowledge, it subtly frightened the Autobot. He tried to calm the annoying pounding in his chest (heartbeat, it's called a heartbeat and if I want to live, I need to make sure it stays beating) and listen. Megatron could not have walked away without him knowing.
Instead, all Optimus heard was calm, even, slow breathing. He squinted into the darkness until he saw the human-Megatron leaning against a tree of his own, eyes closed, and quite obviously asleep.
Optimus found himself smiling fondly, and quickly removed the expression from his face.
He's...somehow softer when asleep. The constant edge of anger and pride is gone, and with his almost pretty visage...it is very different. He'll probably freak out tomorrow over having lost hours that he could have been doing something in.
Optimus chuckled softly and tried to settle himself as comfortably as possible against his tree, closing his own eyes. Sleep in a human body promised to be an...interesting...experience.
Optimus distantly felt something poking at him and idly swatted it away, quite content to be drifting lazily on warm, languid currents of sleep.
"Optimus," a voice hissed in his ear, and the voice dragged him to wakefulness, since it was usually connected with danger. His eyes snapped open to find himself looking into deep ruby ones. That caused him to start, which scrapped his back against the tree and made him hit his head against the unmoving object.
The face backed away from his, a smug expression on it. "For yesterday," Megatron purred, making Optimus glare at him. The Decepticon sat back on his heels and gave Optimus a considering look. "I have been thinking about our...situation. You know much more about these beasts than I, so I have a few questions."
"They are not beasts."
Megatron ignored the statement, "Neither you nor I look typical, do we?"
"I know you do not—I cannot see myself."
Megatron quirked an eyebrow slightly. "Your skin is dark brown, your eyes are a slightly glowing azure, and you have red hair. I do not believe that is typical?"
"In way of natural coloring, no. But humans have been known to change their appearance to suit their personality."
Megatron snorted and shook his head in disdain. "Humans use forms of currency to obtain everything they desire, right?"
"Yes," Optimus replied, surprised and cautious at the topic jump.
"How do they normally go about getting this currency to help achieve comfort?"
"Most humans possess 'jobs'."
Optimus paused and thought. "I...am not sure. I am familiar with the human military and government, not as much with the civilian population. Bumblebee would know more than I."
"Unfortunately, we do not have that poor excuse of a Cybertronian as a resource. And anyway..." Megatron trailed off, looking quite thoughtful, which made Optimus nervous.
"Spit it out," Optimus demanded.
"Do not order me around."
Optimus reached out and grabbed Megatron by the collar of his shirt and dragged him close, touching their foreheads so their eyes were even. "If we are going to get through this, you will have to share your plans with me, as I will share my conclusions with you. If you do not, we cannot hope to retrieve our former selves."
Megatron's gaze was sullen. It told Optimus that he knew the Autobot was right—but he didn't have to like it.
"We will join the military," he finally said.
Optimus's eyebrows rose slightly. "What?"
"You and I are both very familiar with this country's military. We are also both fighters and leaders by nature. It would also be possible that if we got cozy enough with those in power that we might be able to join that ridiculous team of humans and Autobots that hunt down Decepticons, in which case it is possible that we will be exposed to something that might return us to our normal bodies."
"But will also run the risk of being recognized by our former allies."
"And enemies," Megatron drawled. "Nevertheless, I would like to work my way into that group—precisely because it might lead us to my former peons. Getting rid of Starscream in this form would humiliate him, and since I know where all his weaknesses are..." Megaton's eyes narrowed and glittered evilly, "I will make him suffer."
"You will not be able to do that too quickly. It would bring suspicion on you, and as we cannot afford that..."
Megatron growled darkly and wrenched away from Optimus's grip, standing and walking slowly but steadily away. Optimus watched the former Decepticon pace for a few moments before saying: "We must choose names."
Megatron stopped mid-stride and turned to face Optimus, face darkening. "I refuse—"
"If we are to obtain employment, we need names that are not Megatron or Optimus Prime."
Megatron scowled. "My name is my identity."
"And you will have to change it in order to achieve your aims. What is your name?"
Megatron's eyes narrowed. "I suppose you will want them to be bland, pedestrian names?"
"No need to drag any more attention to ourselves than necessary."
Especially because I know that we will do so whether we want to or not—we will not be able to entirely hide our difference. It is too much of who we are.
"I...I will be Oliver Pederson," Optimus eventually said.
"O.P. You are pathetic," Megatron drawled.
"Then I assume you will be more creative?"
"I do not have the luxury of two names. My first name will be Michael. As for the last...we shall see."
"Michael?" Optimus replied, slightly incredulous. "You're serious."
The Decepticon gave him a smirk. "Entirely."
"You always were one for irony," Optimus drawled. "'Who resembles God' indeed."
The smirk grew into a grin. "I do my best," he purred.
"You will always be an egotistical megalomaniac no matter what your form, won't you?"
"Thank you for all the compliments, oh dense and ineffective ruler of the Autobots."
There was a tense silence in the camp.
Eventually, Optimus sighed and pushed himself to his feet, much steadier this time. He let go of the walking stick and took a few steps. When he didn't face-plant into the dirt, he gave Megatron a look. "Shall we?"
"If we must," Megatron drawled. "Do you even know where we are or how to get anywhere?"
Optimus sighed. "I remember seeing a pathway—a broken-in trail that some might use to hike. It could quite possibly lead us to a road."
"Or get us even more lost." This time it was Megatron who sighed. "If only I could contact Soundwave..."
"You can't, though," Optimus pointed out. "So we must make do."
Megatron growled softly. "I feel deaf and blind. Such a limited scope of wavelengths..."
"But you can feel more acutely and taste. The sense of smell is also very different from what we're used to. It's...a trade-off."
"The bodies are tiny, require frequent rest and sustenance..."
Optimus allowed Megatron to rant, since from previous experience he knew that once the Decepticon had it out of his system, he would be more pleasant—as far as that could be said to extend. Megatron was never really pleasant anymore. Not since...
Optimus shook himself out of his thoughts to notice a cramping in his lower torso. It wasn't the same as when he was hungry (although he was becoming so, now that they were up and moving again), it was a different kind of pressure. Equally uncomfortable, though.
It was only when he began to leak that he got a clue.
His body needed to excrete waste.
Optimus paused and looked around, suddenly self-conscious.
"What are you doing, Prime?" Megatron asked, having noticed that Optimus was no longer beside him.
"This body needs to rid itself of the digestive track's waste products."
Megatron cocked an eyebrow. "Ah. Right. That. Annoying and inconvenient."
"You've already experienced it?"
"In a manner," Megatron evaded. "I will wait here. You figure it out on your own."
Optimus sighed gustily and walked a short ways away, running over what he had seen males of the human race do (especially when Sam had complained about feeling like he was going to explode—they had pulled over onto the side of the road and Sam had...).
Optimus unzipped his pants and let them fall slightly, before pushing down his newfound underwear so that the male reproductive organ (what was it called? Penis, he believed, although there were hundreds of euphemisms) was hanging out. He felt something within him seem to...release...and a small stream of pale yellow liquid (urine, right?) flowed out of it and onto the forest floor.
Once Optimus felt that he no longer had the need to pee, he resettled himself in his underwear and pants before turning around and finding Megatron.
He was surprised when he walked back and found him lifting things from the ground, but not, apparently, for any set purpose.
To Optimus's eyes, it appeared that he was exploring the range of motion the human body was capable of, which amused the Autobot. For all his twisted views and desire for world domination, Megatron was still highly inquisitive, and only his abject disdain for biological lifeforms kept him from examining them rather than killing them. But now that he was one, he was afforded the luxury of dealing with biological processes without having to worry about other humans.
"What are you doing?" Optimus asked, breaking Megatron's revere.
Megatron blinked and flushed slightly. "I am testing the limits of human strength and flexibility. I want to know how much work I have before me," he said in a terse, quasi-accusative tone.
Optimus was unable to squelch a knowing smile, which earned him a glare from Megatron. "I see. Shall we move on?"
"Might as well," Megatron growled.
They walked in silence for a while before Megatron began voicing his thoughts and doubts. Optimus felt that the Decepticon tended to do this while alone, but since he had agreed to a temporary truce and working relationship with Optimus, he apparently felt he could do so with the Autobot around. He spoke of practical matters, such as other clothing, food, housing, things they would need to deal with prior to attempting to join the military. They would have to learn human slang, conventions, societal norms, appropriate behavioral patterns.
It promised to be endlessly more difficult to hide as humans among humans than as vehicles among humans.
"What have we gotten ourselves into?" Optimus finally murmured, stroking his chin thoughtfully as they walked.
Megatron shrugged. "No clue. All I know is that when I get my hands on Starscream, he is going to have to redefine what he considers pain to be."
Optimus looked at his companion and sighed inwardly. It's surprisingly easy to forget just how much of a ruthless ass Megatron can be. Being a human has curbed his ability to follow through on these desires, but...I do not know if he will make a good soldier or not. He has an extreme distaste for authority, but is an exceptional fighter. We shall see...
The sun steadily rose in the sky, and before long they were both sweating, Megatron swearing about the human cooling system and Optimus quietly agreeing. It did seem horribly inefficient and ineffective. Their hunger eventually became too much to ignore, and both sat down to figure out the next bit of food they uncovered (something called Trail Mix). Once again, the sensation of taste was glorious, and Optimus could tell Megatron enjoyed it as much as he—but was less demonstrative about it. After their break (lunch? I think), they continued walking, a surprisingly comfortable silence settling between them.
It was four days after they had become humans that they ran into their first group of other humans. It was a surprise, and if Optimus hadn't put a hand on Megatron's shoulder to steady him, he was pretty sure the Decepticon would have attacked out of annoyance.
"Sorry," Optimus said.
It was a group of three—two younger, teenaged females and a male chaperone of some sort.
"We didn't expect to meet anyone on this trail," the male said, obviously fascinated by the dichotomous pair before him. Optimus, frankly, wasn't surprised. He was sure he and Megatron made a rather unusual duo.
"We got lost," Optimus replied.
"We were chased off of our campsite and lost the majority of our supplies," Megatron added smoothly, surprising Optimus.
What's he playing at?
"Bears have been known to live in these woods," one of the two females replied, apparently sympathetic. "Sorry to hear about that."
Megatron shrugged delicately, giving her a small, wistful smile. "It is fine. We've been surviving."
Optimus's eyes narrowed slightly. What is he doing?
"However, if I may ask, do you have any supplies you might share? My...companion...has been wandering without shoes and we could both use a solid meal—trail mix only extends so far."
Optimus barely kept the surprise from showing on his face. He's convincing them to share their supplies with us?
Optimus watched in amazement as Megatron charmed his way into getting them food and some money to buy Optimus new footwear. He also acquired directions to the nearest town. After a decent conversation, the group left them, and Optimus was finally free to express his utter incredulity.
"How did you do that? No, why did you do that?" he asked, surprise lacing his voice.
"You don't think I rose through the ranks just by brute-forcing it, do you?" Megatron drawled, counting the money and readjusting the new pack full of snacks and other materials that would help them survive to civilization.
"That was the general assumption, yes," Optimus said dryly.
Megatron laughed. "Oh, please. I am not socially inept. I am quite capable of twisting people to my will without having to punch them in the face. Although that is infinitely more satisfying."
The two started their trek again, this time finding the well-worn path that thousands of feet had formed.
"I think we're doing pretty well, all things considered. We've both at least adapted to these bodies..."
"...and we're apparently capable of minimal human interaction. I personally am looking forward to watching you attempt to survive in a city."
Megatron gave him a dark glare.
"Have you figured out a last name yet?" Optimus asked.
"I was thinking of Tron—since human last names seem to be completely nonsensical."
"Isn't that a little close?" Optimus asked.
Megatron shrugged. "Michael Tron. How would the normal human military—who shouldn't really know about Megatron at all—put it together?"
Optimus sighed. "You have a point."
"Of course I do."
The two walked in silence again, and Optimus idly noted that he no longer felt every air current so acutely and was no longer overwhelmed by the scent of the grass crushed beneath their feet—although he was constantly amazed by the variety of tastes he could experience.
In their travels, the two of them had found a wild blueberry bush and had taken a few—quite sweet, but with the oddest undertaste of sour.
Megatron had hated them.
"The length of my hair makes me appear feminine, doesn't it?" Megatron asked suddenly, breaking the silence.
"It is...unusual for a male to have hair your length," Optimus replied diplomatically.
Megatron snorted and from the pack he drew a small red, cylindrical object. He flipped it open to reveal a blade and gathered all his hair in his other hand. He then sheered as much as he could off, replaced the blade, and found what Optimus recognized as a hair-tie and pulled back what remained of his hair in a ponytail. "I will fix it better when I have a reflective surface," Megatron stated and walked away from the pile of bright silver hair.
Optimus looked between the hair and the departing Decepticon and sighed, catching up with him easily.
It was then that Megatron started into a sprint.
Optimus scowled before following after him.
I hate it when he does this. I know that there is a point to it, but it's still frustrating. He's faster than I, but I have more endurance than he.
He always somehow seemed to know where Megatron was headed, where he had passed, and didn't really mind. It made it easier to keep tabs on the Decepticon, just in case he decided to go AWOL and find ways to plague the human race as a human.
Primus knows they do it easily enough themselves.
It took Megatron a little longer to tire this time, or perhaps he had simply pushed himself harder, for when Optimus finally caught up, the former Decepticon was breathing heavily, sweat dripping from his face, his shirt soaked through.
Optimus was a little winded, but not half as much as the panting human before him.
"Perhaps you should take it easier," Optimus offered.
Megatron shook his head sharply, sweat flicking off him at the motion. "No. I must get this body to be as strong as possible."
Being the strongest still matters to him, even in a different form. It's not a matter of purely holding power—it's also a matter of pride, Optimus thought, mildly amused.
"Wipe that smile off your face," Megatron growled, and Optimus blinked, not even aware he had been smiling.
"Come. I am starting to stink. I need to get all this filth off me."
Optimus smiled faintly as Megatron started off along the trail again before walking beside him.