A soft grunt of discomfort escaped Hound’s vocalizer as he shifted in his chair.
On his berth, Mirage looked up from the data pad in his hands, and his optics focused in on his lover just in time to see him rubbing his shoulder strut with his free hand.
“Are you alright, Hound?” he asked.
Hound’s attention was focused on the computer screen in front of him. “Yeah, yeah, I’m good. Backstruts are a bit sore, that’s all.”
And no wonder they were, Mirage thought, after Hound had balanced not only Inferno, but also a considerable amount of loose boulders on them. But he knew that his lover had already seen Ratchet; he should be fully repaired by now.
“Have you not been to medical bay?” he asked, frowning.
“Sure have,” Hound said. “And Ratchet straightened out the damage alright, it’s just... those sensors are still a bit touchy, y’know? Probably should have asked for a painkiller.”
Mirage felt his frown deepen at those last words. And why hadn’t Ratchet prescribed such a medication? It was his duty as CMO to think of such things, not to wait until his patients asked for them.
His silence, it seemed, conveyed his opinion more effectively than any words, because Hound turned in his seat to give him a placating smile. “Aw, don’t fret, ‘Raj. It’s nothing, really. I’m fine.”
Mirage studied him briefly, feeling inclined to argue. But then again, he didn’t wish to cause his lover even more stress.
“Well,” he agreed, albeit tentatively. “If you say so.”
He watched his friend turn back to the screen, and it wasn’t long until a companionable silence filled the room once more, only interrupted by the hum of their systems and the occasional bleep from the terminal Hound was working on. Somewhere between annoyance and amusement, Mirage shook his head gently and resumed his reading.
Soon, however, he found that he was no longer able to actually concentrate on the text. Every now and then, his optics would drift back to his lover, sensors analyzing his condition. Hound’s energy field was reigned in tight, his whole frame painfully tense, and Mirage winced in sympathy as the data scrolled across his HUD.
He longed to get up and wrap his arms around his lover. He wanted to lay him down on the berth and take care of him, to ease his discomfort and stroke the pain away with gentle fingers...
But apart from being a caring partner, Mirage, as a former noble, was also very much a mech of principles. He would not offer twice.
If Hound wanted his help, he would have to ask.
It was about half a joor later when the scout finally unplugged himself from the terminal and rose to wander over to his own berth. Mirage watched him discreetly, and his keen sensors missed neither the slight flinch as Hound stretched, nor how he gritted his dentae when he lowered himself onto the smooth silicone surface.
“You should consider lodging a formal complaint against Ratchet,” he remarked acerbically. “Any fool can see that he has not treated you properly.”
Hound laughed softly; the idea seemed to amuse him.
“Nah,” he drawled. “Wouldn’t wanna get on the Hatchet’s bad side. All I need is a good recharge.”
As spark-warming as Mirage found Hound’s cheerful placidness, at times like this it made him want to crawl out of his plating. Why had he brought the matter up again, anyway? Back at the Towers, or even just back on Cybertron, he would never have allowed such a slip of composure to happen.
The thought only added to his growing frustration.
“Well, turn off the lights, then,” he snapped, more forceful than intended.
Hound threw him a surprised look, but whatever he saw in Mirage’s faceplates obviously encouraged him, for a mischievous grin made his optics flash brightly.
“No goodnight kiss?”
“I am not going to tell you which part of me you can kiss,” Mirage huffed.
If he had hoped to catch his lover off guard, he was disappointed. The only credit he received was a low chuckle as Hound touched the control panel on his berthside table, obediently plunging the room into darkness.
“Sweet dreams, oh Noble One,” he teased in a singsong voice.
In his infinite kindness, Mirage refrained from hurling the data pad across the room.
It seemed that Hound actually intended to recharge, and after the cycle’s events it shouldn’t take his processor more than a few kliks to power down. In the faint glow of the emergency lights above them, Mirage watched him wriggle and squirm, obviously trying to find a comfortable position, and a gentle tingle of warmth suddenly grazed his spark, curving his lips in the tiniest of smiles. Ah, he just couldn’t stay angry with that perky lover of his...
Maybe he should go over and make up for that goodnight kiss. He was rather fond of those, truth be told.
But Hound had settled down by now, so Mirage made sure to stay silent so as not to disturb him.
In fact, the room was very silent, he noticed suddenly - much more silent than would have been normal.
Only the outline of Hound’s chassis was visible in the dim light, but even without engaging his more finely-tuned scanners, Mirage could tell that his lover’s frame had not noticeably relaxed. If anything, lying on his side as he was now, his shoulder struts looked even stiffer than before, and the occasional strained shiver ran through his field.
Mirage’s ill humor returned with a vengeance. That stupid, stubborn slagger, why couldn’t he just -
Hound chose this very moment to shift slightly, and with the movement came a soft, pained moan.
It was clearly unintentional and not meant for him to hear, but Mirage was Special Ops. His audio sensors had been designed and configured to pick up pretty much every sound in the acoustic range known to Cybertroniankind, and an utterance of distress from the mech he loved was definitely no exception.
He threw the data pad down in anger and disgust, not caring that the device gave a protesting beep as the stylus scraped unceremoniously across the screen. To the Pit with all his principles; ten astroseconds more of this, and he would be ready to find that dilettante Ratchet and punch that analgesic right out of him, if he had to...
Hound’s voice was soft, almost uncertain, yet it came so unexpected that Mirage flinched in surprise. “Yes?” he said automatically.
“Do me a favor?”
Mirage stared at him. What kind of strange question was that? “Of course.”
Hound sat up and cast him a quick glance, looking very much like a nervous youngling. His optics glowed faintly in the semi-darkness. “Sorry to bother you, but... could you perhaps rub my back a bit? It really hurts, y’know, and I think it might help...”
A surge of affection for his lover pulsed through Mirage’s spark, so sharp and deep and sudden it made his gears lock and his vents stutter. Oh, holy Primus...
“Sure,” he answered softly as soon as he found the appropriate commands for his vocalizer. “Sure I can do that.”
The look on Hound’s faceplates was equal parts relief and gratefulness when Mirage sat down on the edge of his berth. “Thanks,” he murmured.
“Shut up and roll over,” Mirage commanded.
He was answered with a wide grin, but it seemed that Hound was not about to press his good luck. He obeyed without protest.
With his lover lying on his front, arms crossed beneath his head, Mirage rested both hands on Hound’s backstruts, stroking briefly with his thumbs. “Tell me where,” he said gently.
“My shoulders, mostly. And a bit lower, somewhere to the middle...”
It took Mirage a klik to detect the exact energy frequencies that were troubling his friend, and to find the appropriate counter-frequency. A small, experimental pulse from his hands made Hound jump a bit, but he quickly settled down again, and Mirage felt the erratic energy flow in his sensor net react to the gentle manipulation, becoming a bit more stable for a moment.
“Good?” he asked softly.
The answer was a deep, contented hum.
He found a slow, steady rhythm for his energy pulses while he rubbed his hands over his lover’s shoulders and backstruts, adding a physical caress to the electronic one. Before long, Hound began to gradually relax under his touch until he was practically melting into the berth. His field throbbed gently in a pattern that somehow matched Mirage’s strokes, and his engine had started emanating a soft, purring sound.
“You’re very good at this,” he murmured languorously.
“Silly mech. You could have asked me sooner, you know.”
“Didn’t wanna put you out...”
“I apologize for disillusioning you, Hound,” Mirage said, using his patented ‘snotty-Towers-brat’ voice because he knew it would make his friend laugh, “but you’re not nearly as much of a bother as you give yourself credit for.”
“Flirt,” Hound replied with a chuckle, and Mirage gave him a slightly stronger pulse, just for emphasis. A sigh escaped his lover’s vocalizer as his frame went blissfully limp under his hands.
But little by little, Mirage felt the hydraulics in his arms begin to ache. The position he had to hold himself in was a bit awkward, to say the least, and if he wanted to keep up his ministrations, something had to be done about it. He paused in mid-stroke.
“Just a moment,” he said as Hound lifted his head to give him a questioning look. “I need a bit more room here.”
And without further ado, he climbed onto the berth and settled on top of his lover’s prone form, straddling his thighs, though careful not to put too much weight onto Hound’s chassis.
“Does this work for you?”
It obviously did, for Hound buried his faceplates in his arms again and answered with a deep “Hmmm...”
“Tell me if I get too heavy.”
“And aren’t we silver-tongued tonight,” Mirage commented dryly.
His hands resumed their work, moving in long gliding strokes combined with warm, tender energy pulses, ebbing and swelling like waves on one of this planet’s many seashores. And the more time passed, the more he found himself enjoying the situation: the familiar, cherished sensation of Hound’s armor plating under his fingers, the gentle vibration of his engine, the flawless interaction of their energy fields and, most of all, the warmth of his lover’s chassis as it slowly seeped into his circuits...
“Better?” he asked as Hound stretched slowly and cycled a deep draught of air through his vents.
“Very. Can you keep that up for the rest of my life?”
Mirage laughed softly.
“I love that,” Hound murmured, his optics offline. “The way you laugh. I love your voice. So beautiful.”
“Thank you,” Mirage said with a gracious smile.
“I mean it. You’re beautiful. Everywhere. I love every part of you. Beautiful Mirage.”
In the long vorns of his existence, Mirage had had his fair share of admirers and suitors, not to mention a number of lovers. Praise to his frame was something he was used to. And still, whenever Hound said such lovely things to him, he felt a strangely enjoyable bashfulness warm his plating.
“Charmer,” he grumbled.
A wave of tender amusement flickered through Hound’s field, and to Mirage, that small shift in frequency felt like the sweetest intoxicant. Before he knew it, he had leaned down, both hands propped onto the berth for support, and pressed his lips against the warm metal he found there to lovingly mouth along one of his friend’s neck cables.
Hound shuddered pleasantly at the touch, giving a soft sigh, and Mirage felt an answering tremor run through his own frame. He savored the sensation, enjoying the warmth and the closeness between them, not to mention the soft tingle of electricity that teased his lips as he continued to rub his mouth against his lover’s neck.
Hound turned his head to him then, as much as possible in his current position. His optics had dimmed slightly, his gaze deep with affection and gentle desire.
Their mouths melted together without any conscious effort, moving with an ease and fluency that made Mirage shiver with delight. The kiss was languid and deep and intensely sexual, a sensation strengthened even more by the perfect intermingling of their fields. Their glossae met and caressed each other, tiny sensors igniting and connecting, warming their plating and firing a salvo of feedback into their neural nets.
Giving a low keen, Hound reached back with one hand, twisting around to press Mirage’s head into the side of his neck when their lips parted.
“‘Raj...” he moaned softly.
Mirage nuzzled his cheek affectionately, and for a moment, pressed so intimately close to his lover, he wanted nothing more than to finish what they had started, to make this perfect union complete...
But then his higher CPU functions pushed to the forefront again, and he remembered what had brought them into this position in the first place. No, this was not the time for passion. Hound’s optics flickered with exhaustion, and as much as Mirage enjoyed bringing his lover pleasure, it was obvious that said lover needed rest now more than anything.
Not without a tinge of regret, he slid off his friend’s back and lay down next to him, tangling their legs and resting his free hand between Hound’s shoulder struts to send one last, tender energy pulse into his systems. Hound purred like a terran feline as he wrapped one arm around Mirage’s waist and drew him into a warm embrace. “That was nice,” he whispered. “Thank you.”
Mirage smiled, touched, and gently pecked him on the nose before he reached up to cradle Hound’s head into the crook of his neck, stroking softly. “Recharge, puppy love,” he murmured. “I’ll be here.”
It seemed that Hound had no objection, neither to the endearment nor to the suggestion of recharge. He just nestled a bit closer, clinging tight, and barely a klik later, his optics had offlined, and his systems were powering down slowly, one by one, until a soft humming was all that was left to be heard.
It was a very soothing sound, and Mirage rested in comfortable silence for a while, basking in the warmth of Hound’s embrace and relishing in the feeling of protecting his lover’s recharge. It really was a good thing, he mused, that he’d had the decency to accept Hound as his partner. The mech certainly needed someone to take care of him.
Which meant - and he felt his faceplates darken - that Mr. Cool Hand Lube Ratchet was in for a proper talking-to...
A draught of warm air from Hound’s vents drifted over his faceplates like a caress. Mirage smiled in spite of himself at the sensation, and it didn’t take much effort to put his gloomy thoughts aside.
He settled himself a bit more firmly against his lover and made sure to touch their foreheads and noses together before he offlined his optics as well.
“Good night, puppy love,” he whispered tenderly. “And sweet dreams.”