Author: Another update!
Megatron was itching to meet the Autobot he was to be introduced to, flooding Optimus with half-formed questions and thoughts as they walked together. Optimus patiently waited them out, giving no answer but a 'you'll see', which frustrated the sparkling while also increasing his interest ten-fold.
When they walked into the room where they were to meet Red Alert, Ratchet was there waiting with his Wheeljack, who was giving Megatron a glance as full of curiosity as Megatron was giving him.
"Who're you?" Megatron asked bluntly, no malice in his voice at all, just a simple inquiry.
Wheeljack looked surprised, and answered, "I'm Wheeljack."
Megatron repeated his name before tugging on Optimus's hand, silently begging him to move closer.
So they did.
Megatron took the last few steps to Wheeljack alone, extending his hand and voicing a quiet, inquisitive trill.
Wheeljack slowly, hesitantly reached down and placed his hand gently against Megatron's. Megatron pinged a greeting across the connection that the physical touch formed, which obviously astonished Wheeljack.
"How'd you get him? How'd this happen? May I hold him?" Wheeljack asked in quick succession, kneeling to be closer to Megatron's height.
Megatron was sending wariness and a small tinge of fear over his and Optimus's connection, which was perfectly justified.
"No tests," Optimus asserted.
Wheeljack blinked, then looked sheepish. "No tests."
"I assume Ratchet has already given you a thorough explanation of his condition?"
"Yeah, I got it," Wheeljack replied with a small rueful smile. He looked to Megatron and asked, "May I pick you up?"
Megatron immediately attached himself to Optimus's side, clearly scared.
"I told you he wouldn't be ready to leave Optimus yet," Ratchet said, exasperated. "He's developing with remarkable rapidity, but he won't be fully trusting any mech other than Optimus with himself any time soon."
Wheeljack was obviously disappointed, and Megatron remained stubbornly close to Optimus.
~Are you scared?~ Optimus asked.
~He could hurt me.~ Megatron replied. ~You won't. You'll protect me. I dunno if he will.~
Is it normal for a sparkling to trust no-one but its parent? Optimus inquired of Ratchet.
Yes, it's normal. At this point in his development, Megatron is very vulnerable. He has no innate weaponry, is still gaining his bearings, and has very little in the way of experience. He'll rely almost exclusively on you—although I think he's willing to trust Mikaela because she reached out to him.
Optimus made a sound of understanding. "You'll have to wait, Wheeljack. Megatron is still a small child," Optimus told his chief engineer.
Wheeljack flinched at the name before he looked decidedly depressed at the prospect of having to wait.
Ratchet obviously said something to Wheeljack over a private line, who responded.
Optimus turned away from the silent conversation and sent love and comfort to Megatron, who nearly purred. He replied with a semi-question, asking if Wheeljack was who he was supposed to meet.
Optimus responded with a negative, unable to keep his amusement concealed, which resulted in a curious look from the sparkling.
At that moment, Red Alert walked in, and Megatron darted behind Optimus before looking shyly around the adult Cybertronian's leg.
"You wanted to see me?" Red Alert inquired of Optimus.
Optimus nodded. "There is someone I want you to meet."
Red Alert quirked his head, optics narrowing. "Who?" he asked suspiciously.
Optimus reminded himself that it was Red Alert's job to be paranoid. "No-one dangerous," Optimus replied and gently pressed a hand against the sparkling, indicating that Megatron should show and introduce himself.
Megatron hesitantly revealed himself, one hand firmly locked in Optimus'.
Red Alert was obviously astonished. "A sparkling?" he exclaimed, moving quickly towards Megatron, who retreated behind Optimus, alarm radiating off him.
"Red Alert," Optimus half-commanded, making the security officer stop in his tracks.
"Where'd you find him? Surely he is not yours, sir."
"I have a parent/child bond with him, so I figure that makes him mine," Optimus replied dryly, barely keeping the hurt out of his voice.
Red Alert apologized before moving to try and get a better view of the sparkling. "You made it sound like something dire, but this is a cause for celebration! A new sparkling!"
"You'll see," Optimus said and looked at Megatron. "This mech is my chief security officer, Red Alert. Would you tell him your name?"
"Hi, Red Alert," Megatron responded quietly, shyly. "My name is Megatron."
There was a pause, Red Alert's expression blank before he whirled on Optimus, expression dire.
"Optimus!" Red Alert protested, weapons out, although what he was protesting Optimus wasn't sure even he knew.
"Power down your weapons," Optimus responded calmly.
"How—how can...?" Red Alert sputtered, obviously grasping at straws. "He's a Decepticon!"
"Power down your weapons," Optimus commanded before asserting: "No, he isn't. He is my son. Which obviously makes him an Autobot."
"What if he's only playing at it? He could be a new spy of Soundwave's, could be a danger to everyone here! With a sparkling disguise, who wouldn't trust him, as long as he didn't say his name? Optimus, how could—"
"Why do only Mikaela and daddy like me?" Megatron half-sobbed, trembling at the magnitude of Red Alert's hostility. "I'm a good child, I don't get in trouble, I haven't met you before, why do you hate me?"
Optimus knelt and picked up his sparkling and cradled him in his arms, crooning softly to the shaking little mech.
Red Alert looked pole-axed before having the grace to appear abashed, his weapons retracting.
There was a long, pregnant pause before Red Alert spoke again: "I'm sorry," he said, focusing on the sparkling and sending apology and remorse and sadness to Megatron, who remained buried in Optimus's arms.
"Why?" Megatron demanded softly, voice broken.
Red Alert hesitated. "There was once a very bad mech who shares your name," Red Alert replied carefully.
"But I'm not him!" Megatron asserted.
Red Alert paused, observing the tiny mech for a few minutes before a slow, cautious smile formed on his face. "It appears that you're not."
Megatron looked up from huddling in Optimus' arms, optics wary and a little angry. "Then why do you hate me?"
"I don't," Red Alert said in all seriousness. "It was a...mistake. I made a number of assumptions that would be prudent based upon previous experience with one who shares—shared—your name. It's...my job to make sure nothing happens to the other Cybertronians here, and I was concerned that you might hurt them."
Megatron frowned. "Never!" he said heatedly.
Megatron nodded resolutely before he looked nervous and asked, "You won't hurt me?"
"You won't hurt daddy?"
"No," Red Alert replied again, but there was a hint of a laugh in his voice as his optics darted to Optimus, who gave Red Alert a small smile.
Megatron gave Red Alert a look of complete concentration, and shifted in Optimus's hold so that he could move his forearms freely. He reached a hand out, which Red Alert met calmly.
Optimus watched the play of emotions on Red Alert's face and felt them through Megatron, and found it...interesting.
As chief security officer, Red Alert felt himself responsible for the safety of all of the Autobots, and if they got injured without being in battle, it was a personal failing. Megatron, in a way, seemed to sympathize with Red Alert's feelings—he, too, wanted to protect, and would do everything in his power to do so, even though he was only a sparkling.
Optimus sighed inwardly. It appeared that Megatron had made his second friend (of sorts).
It could be worse, Optimus thought. He could have latched on to Wheeljack. That would have made for some interesting experiences.
"Optimus?" Red Alert asked.
"Yes?" the Prime replied warily.
"Megatron is still young—that means he won't be able to be on the battlefield for a while. However, he seems to have a drive to keep others safe. Perhaps, when he feels comfortable, you could leave him with me and I'll...ah, what's the human expression?...show him the ropes."
~Would you like that?~
~YES! Not now, though.~
~Not now. You should meet everyone first.~
Megatron nodded and gave Red Alert a happy trill, which made Red Alert smile.
It will be an interesting experience, working with a sparkling, Red Alert told Optimus.
We shall see, Optimus replied, good humor in his voice. So, you will vouch for the non-hazard of my child?
Regardless of his name, I will make sure everyone gets the message that he is a sparkling, and bonded to you, and that the name does not necessarily mean that he is the same mech.
Optimus nodded, relief in his posture. Good. The others might claim me having bias, having bonded to the child, but when the chief security officer tells them that there's nothing to fear...
Along with the CMO, mind you, Ratchet butted in.
It should be alright, Optimus finished.
What about Prowl, though? Wheeljack asked. He won't exactly be, ah, receptive to someone who bears the name of Jazz's murderer.
He will deal with it, Red Alert replied firmly. And once he meets Megatron, interacts with him...I think he'll see that this Megatron is much, much different from the one that he knew.
"What're you talking about?" Megatron asked petulantly.
"You," Optimus replied.
"Good things," he affirmed while sending comfort over their line, which made Megatron smile.
"Ok." There was a brief pause before Megatron spoke again: "Who am I meeting next?"
At that moment, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker stormed in, growling uncomplimentary things about the other set of twins and their lack of finesse. From the splatters of paint on their bodies, they had obviously come to the room where Optimus and the others had gathered to speak of and meet Megatron to lick their wounds and perhaps find paint to cover up the splotches that decorated them.
Megatron voiced an inquisitive sound, which brought the Lamborghini twins' attention immediately to the sparkling in Optimus' arms.
Both stared briefly in shock before Sunstreaker said, "Is that a sparkling?"
"He," Megatron corrected primly.
Sideswipe radiated amusement at that statement. "So, he is?"
Optimus sighed inwardly. "These two are Sideswipe and Sunstreaker," Optimus introduced, gesturing to the appropriate mech as he named them.
"Hi," Megatron chirped before he grew nervous and shy, his optics flickering to Red Alert, then his father.
Optimus nodded slightly. ~Go ahead. We will keep you safe.~
"I'm Megatron," he introduced himself.
Before the twins had any time to react, Red Alert was in front of them, drawing their attention to him. "If I believed him a threat, would he still be here?" Red Alert asked rhetorically, voice stern.
"The child has a parent-sparkling bond with Optimus," Ratchet added.
There was a silence as the twins obviously had a conversation with each other, and, abruptly, the tension left the room.
"Can we at least see him?" Sunstreaker whined.
"Don't you dare go about teaching him your delinquent ways once he is mature enough to leave Optimus' side," Red Alert warned and moved aside, allowing the twins and Megatron clear views of each other.
Megatron's optics flickered across the twins' appearance before he turned in his father's arms and looked him over again, then Ratchet, Wheeljack, and Red Alert. Finally, he proclaimed: "They look silly."
Ratchet and Wheeljack burst out laughing at the twins' obvious dismay, Red Alert keeping his own snickers barely concealed.
"Why do you say that?" Optimus asked, mirth in his voice as well.
"They look fragile. Daddy isn't. Red Alert isn't. Therefore, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe are silly."
"I see," Optimus replied.
"He just doesn't have an appreciation for true beauty yet," Sideswipe said huffily.
"Sunstreaker and Sideswipe are meant to be fast," Red Alert explained. "So they're not quite so heavily armored as myself or your father," Red Alert explained.
"Which means they end up in my bay more often than anyone else," Ratchet growled.
"Are people fast, too?"
"Not as fast as us," Sunstreaker replied haughtily.
"Then why are they so breakable?" Megatron asked, distressed. "They have no armor, they aren't fast—how do they protect themselves?"
"They have ingenious methods," Red Alert said soothingly. "Either Optimus or myself will show you later."
Megatron relaxed slightly, crooning contentedly. "Promise?"
The twins dragged out an "aw," but a sharp glance from Ratchet made them shut up and skedaddle.
Ratchet sighed. "With them knowing, the whole base will know about the new sparkling before sunset—whether or not they know his name we will see."
Megatron looked up at Optimus and pinged curiosity.
"You might be meeting a lot more people today," Optimus responded.
Megatron thrummed happily, although there was a tinge of nervousness across their bond. At least Megatron had seen, and so knew, that the others would protect him, no matter what.
It might take us all to keep Prowl away, Optimus thought with a sigh.
~Who is going to hate me?~ Megatron asked.
~Remember that Red Alert mentioned that you share the same name as a bad mech?~
~That mech hurt one of the others here, and he might be angry at you because of that. But that's only because he doesn't know you.~
Megatron curled up in Optimus' arms. ~Maybe I don't want to meet him, then.~
~I'll protect you.~
Could you run interference with Prowl? Optimus asked Ratchet and Red Alert. Direct him to me once I have left Megatron with Mikaela. I'll address his anger then.
There was a brief hesitation before each nodded. We'll try, Ratchet responded.
That's all I can ask for, Optimus sighed before he adjusted the sparkling in his grasp and started towards the med bay, which was where Ratchet indicated his apprentice was.
Optimus walked faster than usual, which made the sparkling voice sounds that alternated between excited and terrified. Optimus entered the bay to see Mikaela busy welding something. He set Megatron down on a bench before he knelt so that their optics were close to level.
~I need you to stay with Mikaela for a little bit.~
Megatron looked distinctly nervous. ~But...~
~I want to show the mech that you are not who he thinks you are. That way you'll be able to meet him without him trying to hurt you.~
Megatron voiced an uncomfortable chirp before reaching out and taking Optimus's hand finger. ~No. I'll be okay. Don't want to be away from daddy.~
Optimus sighed. ~You are sure?~
Megatron nodded solemnly.
Optimus sighed softly. ~Then let us go to my office.~
Megatron hopped down and steadied himself before starting to walk, holding firmly onto Optimus's fingers.
They reached his office, and Megatron wandered off to play with the toys Optimus had fashioned for him, Optimus sitting down at his desk, a handful of sensors constantly trained on his charge.
Megatron and he were settling in for a late-ish lunch when Optimus' door burst open, revealing a very irate SIC.
Megatron yelped and ducked onto Optimus' lap, Optimus putting a hand gently on top of him in a protective gesture.
"Prowl," Optimus acknowledged calmly. "Power down your weapons. Now."
Prowl was obviously struggling with his emotions, which was rare for the logic-minded mech, but he responded to the command in his leader's voice, the weapons that had been prepared powering down and retracting reluctantly. Eventually, he snarled, "Why? Why not Jazz? Why not someone who deserves to live again? Not...not...him."
Megatron made a soft, forlorn sound, and Optimus pulled him closer, holding him protectively, lovingly. "This is what the All Spark chose. There is a reason for everything—surely you know that, Prowl."
Prowl's hands clenched and unclenched, his gaze fixed firmly on a corner of the room that was as far from Optimus as possible. "There is no sense in this! Why would Primus bring back a monster?"
Optimus frowned and said in rebuke, "Before the war began, you admired Megatron for his ability to keep everything in order."
"That was then—he killed my mate, Optimus! You have no idea what that feels like!"
"I admit that," Optimus said calmly. "But you must look at the situation as it is now—if my sparkling was the same Megatron, would he be curled up in my arms, hiding from your anger? Would he have left the base in its current state? My Megatron is different. If you simply compare their behaviors, surely you can see that they are not the same. Red Alert vouches for the child. So does Ratchet. If you do not believe me, for bias of how close Megatron and I were in the past and are now, do you believe them?"
Prowl was silent for a long moment.
"Do I look like him?"
Prowl looked over as Megatron stood on Optimus's leg, his hands and head just clearing the Prime's desk.
Megatron held Prowl's optics for a long moment, Optimus feeling a stubborn determination from Megatron. Why should someone be angry at him for something he didn't do, for being someone who he wasn't?
"No," Prowl finally answered, voice tight and tired.
"Do I sound like him?"
Megatron heaved himself onto Prime's desk, Optimus's hands ready to catch him should the sparkling fall. Megatron walked to nearly the edge of Optimus' desk, hands going to his hips once he had stopped, stubbornness in every line of his posture. "Do I act like him?"
"...not from what I've seen."
"Then why do you think I'm this other Megatron?"
Optimus smiled softly and sent pride over their bond, which made Megatron send back hope and love.
Prowl's shoulders slumped and he seemed to almost deflate. "It is...illogical."
Megatron extended his hand, and made a soft, plaintive sound.
Prowl hesitated for a moment before walking to the desk and placing his hand against Megatron's.
There was a long silence as Optimus gave subtle support to Megatron, he highlighting the bond to show Prowl that it existed and was fully formed. Permanent.
Prowl eventually broke the contact and sighed heavily. "I see." He nodded to Optimus and excused himself, depression back in his frame.
Megatron pinged confusion at Optimus, who supplied a brief explanation—the other Megatron had taken away Prowl's mate.
Megatron didn't entirely understand why that was a big deal, but Optimus assured him he'd understand when he was older.
That caused Megatron to voice a discontented buzz, making Optimus laugh. "Shall we continue our lunch?"
Megatron pounced on the energon he had, slurping it happily, making Optimus smile gently.
"Is there anyone else?" Megatron asked once he was full and content.
"Yes," Optimus replied. "There are the other twins, Ironhide, Jolt, and Arcee."
"Will they be angry at me, too?"
Optimus paused. "Ironhide may be, more on principle than anything else. I'm sure Arcee, Jolt, Mudflap, and Skids won't be, especially since news of you has probably circulated the base by now. Actually, I expect—"
Optimus was cut off by Arcee striding in, her arms crossing once she had stopped. "So, where's the newest addition?" she asked.
"Who're you?" Megatron inquired, drawing the femme's optics up to him.
"My name is Arcee," the 'bot replied. "And you are Megatron?"
"Yup," Megatron replied, relief in his tone.
"Hm," Arcee responded, tilting her head as her optics narrowed. "He looks fine," she said before her gaze shifted to Optimus. "You seem to be taking care of him well enough."
Prime frowned, mildly offended. "Why does everyone seem to doubt my parenting ability?" he muttered.
"I don't!" Megatron stated before vocalizing whirs and trills of support and happiness and love, wandering over to his father, reaching out and touching him.
Arcee chuckled. "I can see that. Remember that I used to be a teacher, and so am used to the antics of little sparks. If you need any help, I'm available."
"Daddy's enough," Megatron said huffily, causing Arcee to laugh.
"I can see that," she said, warmth in her voice. She turned her optics from the sparkling to Optimus. "I'll find a way to keep Ironhide occupied until we all manage to figure out a good way of introducing him to little Megs there." She paused and cocked her head to one side. "The pests should be regaining consciousness soon. Expect them in here next."
Optimus made a "hm" as Megatron responded to the statement with a curious vocalization.
Arcee waved at the two of them before leaving, closing the door behind her.
"She was nice."
"She was indeed."
"She was like the silly ones. Too breakable."
"She is meant for espionage."
"She get information on others for us."
It took a moment of searching for Megatron to finally understand. "Oh. And she can't be big and strong like daddy if she wants to be good at hiding, right?"
There was a thoughtful pause before Megatron asked: "Who and what are pests?"
The doors abruptly banged open, causing Megatron to screech in surprise and dive into his father's lap, Optimus curling his arms around him as his optics fell on Mudflap and Skids.
"Where'z he at?" Mudflap asked.
"Who are you looking for?" Optimus asked calmly.
Megatron voiced an indignant squawk and a reproving tone. "I'm not a baby!" he cried as he poked his head over Prime's desk again, optics glaring at the twins standing before them.
Skids cocked an eyebrow. "He don' look like Megatron."
"Because I'm not him!" Megatron cried out, annoyed.
"If you're just here to gawk, I suggest you leave," Optimus said evenly even as Megatron was radiating annoyance.
"We'z ain't gawkin'," Mudflap replied stubbornly. "Jus' wanna meet 'im."
Megatron hopped onto the desk again and stood there proudly. "Who're you?" he half-demanded.
The twins seemed to bristle at the command in his voice, but a pointed cough from Optimus brought them back to center.
"I'm Mudflap, an' dis idjit iz Skids."
"You speak funny," Megatron observed, his annoyance fading quickly.
"Hey!" they replied in chorus.
Optimus pinched the bridge of his nose-plates. "He has a point and you know it. Now, you will be seeing more of Megatron in the future. If you wouldn't mind, I have work to do and Megatron stays with me."
The dismissal was clear, and the twins walked out before Optimus had to physically throw them out, much to the Autobot leader's relief. They're probably plotting something, though, he thought with a sigh.
"They look weird," Megatron observed.
"They are weird," Optimus concurred.
That provoked a laugh out of Megatron who walked back over to Optimus gestured for him to be picked up. Once he had been, Megatron placed his forehead against Optimus', sending happiness through their bond, which Optimus reciprocated.
It was a pleasure, having someone who loved him unconditionally; however, he was not looking forward to when Megatron discovered that Prime wasn't invincible.
Thankfully, among the Decepticons, there were few who could match Prime's strength and skill, but it wasn't good to become complacent. Things had a tendency of happening in a manner that pounced on Prime at the most calm of moments—kind of like the situation with Megatron.
Megatron pulled back and made a few happy sounds at Optimus placed him down. Megatron meandered over to the bedding that had somehow migrated onto Prime's desk, and fell asleep quickly once he had settled in.
Prime smiled and gently stroked the back of his sparkling, who made a contented croon at the contact.
It was surprisingly easy after that to get work done.