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A Gun and a Gunslinger

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It was a small backwater weapon shop on a small backwater planet, far from all significant space routes or centers of civilization. Such shops usually sold nothing but outdated rusty guns and ammo made here, in the back yard of the very same building.

Still, it was more of a habit for Optimus to visit all weapon shops on his way. Not that he needed it; so yes, he had to use his gun quite often during his travels – how else would one serve and protect the innocents in these lawless regions? – but his weapon fed on energon, and Optimus was more than capable of doing maintenance. No, his reasons lay elsewhere.

Now, after so many vorns since the end of the Great War, Cybertron was officially trading its technology – of strictly non-military kind and covered by all possible licenses. However, it was on backwater planets like this where old wartime weapons resurfaced, terribly destructive and outlawed in this (more or less) progressive age. Optimus counted it as his duty to find and expropriate illegal Cybertronian weaponry.

Which was why he adjusted the magnetic holster on his thigh and went in. Might as well buy some oil for his blaster.

The doorbell rang as Optimus entered the shop, waking up the owner who was dozing at the counter. He was an organic rivaling Optimus in height, although his brown appendages were long and lanky. He blinked owlishly, large yellow eyes trying to focus on the visitor, and finally the smell hit Optimus’s olfactory sensors: the shop owner reeked of organic alcohol.

“Looking for something in particular, sir?” The owner’s voice was admirably steady and clear, considering his state.

“I’d like to buy some oil for my baby here,” Optimus patted the handle of his blaster, and the owner whistled with appreciation. “And perhaps a spare cooling unit.”

“Right away, sir!” The organic disappeared under the counter, leaving Optimus to look over the showcases with feigned disinterest. The disinterest soon turned real: the guns displayed there were scrap.

But Orion Pax wasn’t a cop for nothing.

“Hey,” Optimus started as soon as the oil and the cooling chip were put away into his subspace, “do you know any other weapon shops around here? I’d like to buy a friend for my babe. Cybertronian friend.”

The shopkeeper, who grew much more cooperative after he received the credits, looked Optimus over, pondering, until greed prevailed over caution.

“You dun’ need to look any further, sir. I have some in my personal stash; here, just for you. Secret Cybertronian tech, made for war, used for war.”

With quite a dramatic gesture he took out another showcase from behind the counter, but as soon as Optimus saw the “secret Cybertronian tech”, he realized that it was just as much of a scrap as the rest of the goods here: a couple of old blasters, a shocker and an energy whip. You could buy those in any sex shop now – absolutely legally.

With a sigh Optimus dropped the act and waved his hand.

“No, thank you. I’ll be leaving now.”

The shop owned gaped at him, completely flabbergasted by the disinterest shown to his greatest treasure, and Optimus placed his hand on the doorknob… only to freeze in his tracks.

There, on a wall to his right, was mounted an old, battered silvery gun.

A very familiar gun.

Optimus stepped closer, squinted, then wiped his optics. No. No, it couldn’t be. No way.

And yet – the shape, the color scheme, the oh-so-familiar squiggles on the side… Unbelievable.

“Um, sir? It’s just a decoration. It doesn’t work.”

Optimus nearly jumped, snapped out of his shock by the shopkeeper’s voice. And now there was another feeling settling in his gut: dread.

“Doesn’t work?” Was he… Was he looking at the remains..?

“It’s Cybertronian alright, and I was very glad to get my hands on it, but it doesn’t fire. I tried to repair it, even called for some specialists from the capital, but they all say the same: the gun seems fine, but it simply refuses to fire. It’s hard to repair Cybertronian tech, and we don’t usually meet your kind here.”

“I… see.” Maybe it was for the best; Optimus was very much sure that any Cybertronian would recognize this gun.

His fingers only slightly trembled as Optimus picked the gun from the wall, running a short scan – and there it was, the trace of an EM field and a faint pulse of a spark!

Convinced at last (and not a small part relieved), Optimus hailed a personal comm frequency that he hadn’t used for ages.

[Megatron?]

[The frag do you want, Prime.]

The sound of this voice shocked him, even though Optimus was expecting to hear it.

[You are conscious!]

[Of course I am conscious. You were so loud you could wake a titan out of stasis.] The subtle grunt called for an image of Megatron gritting his dental plates, his features contorted in a frown, and Optimus almost laughed.

[What happened to you?]

[Long story. Are you going to stand here until the shopkeeper thinks you malfunctioned?]

Only then did Optimus realize how he must’ve looked to an outside viewer.

“I, um,” he cleared his throat. “I’ll be taking this one.”

“But sir,” the shop owner protested, “it doesn’t fire!”

Optimus smirked under his mask.

“Oh, I’m sure it will fire for me.”

[You so sure?] Megatron’s acidic tone could melt steel.

[Do you want to stay here forever?]

[…]

[Thought so.]

“As I was saying,” Optimus continued out loud, “I’ll be taking it.”

***

“So,” Optimus started again, as soon as he found himself in the safety of his little ship, “what happened to you?”

Guns didn’t sigh, but Megatron somehow managed.

“To put it short, I reverted to this altmode in order to infiltrate a certain organization I deemed suspicious. Then I kept the altmode, and one day my body broke on me. It lasted longer than your medic predicted, but in the end, well…”

“Failed.”

“Yeah.” Megatron went silent for a klik. “What about you? What are you doing here, at the rim of the galaxy? Shouldn’t you be leading your Autobots into the bright future or something?”

“Mmhm, about that.” Optimus coughed. “I… am not leading the Autobots anymore. Not leading anyone anymore. Haven’t been for vorns.”

“What, you finally found enough willpower to quit?”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh come on, Prime.” Megatron cackled. “You tried to resign and give up your leadership many times, and each time you came running back at the first notion of a problem, pushing whomever was in charge aside.”

“I was trying to help people!”

“Sure, sure.” Was that bitterness in Megatron’s voice? “Don’t we all say that.”

Optimus’s optics darkened.

“Don’t you dare compare me to yourself.”

“I didn’t say anything of that sort; you made the comparison on your own.”

A growl started rising from the deep of Optimus’s chest, but turned into a weary groan somewhere on the way.

“Primus…” Optimus fell into the pilot’s chair (which creaked under his weight) and covered his face with the back of his palm. “Megatron. Can we ever not argue?”

“I don’t know. Can you?”

This time nothing hindered the irritated growl.

“Don’t make me throw you back into that shop.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of making you do anything. You purchased me, after all.”

It was meant to sound as a common barb, but something in Megatron’s tone – something that maybe only Optimus, who knew Megatron so well, could catch – hit him in his chest, making his spark ache.

“Megatron. I… It doesn’t mean anything.” He rose to his feet, suddenly feeling restless. “I paid just to get you out of there. You understand that, right?”

“Right,” came the grumpy response. It was better than nothing, although it didn’t truly convince Optimus.

“We’ll find a way to repair your transformation cog,” he promised. “Or whatever is broken.”

Megatron let out an indefinite sound, but didn’t comment otherwise.

***

The tavern was the main attraction of the town’s central square – if the dusty, unpaved space with a broken carriage in the corner could even be called a square. The houses surrounding it demonstrated an eclectic mix of different architectures and materials: the town was built by the ex-passengers of a refugee ship, who came from at least a dozen of worlds.

However, despite the variety of its inhabitants, the town was far from interesting: everybody knew everybody, and the tavern was occupied by the very same faces every day, dirty and burnt by the planet’s twin suns.

That was why the appearance of a stranger – a tall mechanoid with a mask covering his face – was the biggest news of the month. The mech arrived at noon, riding a malma – a four-legged indigenous mechanimal, the most popular means of transportation here, where cheap tech that the inhabitants could afford broke down without decent care. The malma was left in the yard to chew on the crystal crusts, and the unknown mech himself was currently drinking his fuel at the bar stand, attracting the wary stares of all the patrons. What attracted the most stares was a magnetic holster on his hip – one holding an impressive looking silvery gun of an alien construction.

The mech finished his fuel and put the empty glass on the counter with a loud clang.

“My ship crashed, and I need spare parts. Do you know where I can buy some?” he said, addressing everyone and no one in particular.

A faint whisper rustled through the room, but nobody raised their voice to reply. The mech paused, then dug into his subspace and dropped a small handful of credits on the bar stand.

“Anyone?” he insisted, his voice deliberately even.

The rustle grew in volume and intensity, the townsfolk eyeing the credits, until a short, round technorganic rose from his seat. The whispers immediately died out.

“Big Brahda is the only one who has a ship around here. Maybe he will trade with you,” he uttered, approaching the bar stand and scooping up the credits.

“And where can I find this Brahda?” the mech inquired, squinting his blue optics at the technorganic.

“Bib Brahda,” he corrected, squirmed under the scrutiny. “He lives in the big house with a garage at the end of the street. You won’t miss it.”

The stranger studied him a little more and then nodded.

“Thank you.” He left another couple of credits for the bartender, turned around and headed to the exit.

***

Optimus decided to let his malma rest and enjoy the crystals, opting for taking a walk instead. Poor beast deserved a good rest, even though it didn’t seem troubled by carrying Optimus’s weight on its back.

[I seriously doubt this town can offer us anything of use. Although, considering what junkyard of a ship you’re travelling on, I might as well be proven wrong.]

Optimus suppressed a sigh. He had been listening to such comments for months now.

[For the hundredth time, Megatron: my ship is fine.]

[That’s why it crashed.]

[It crashed because I didn’t expect such strong interference from this planet’s magnetic field. It scrambled the navigation system.]

[Either it also scrambled your processor, or you can’t fly for scrap. I’m leaning toward the latter.]

Optimus was prepared to answer with something venomous, when he spotted a movement in one of the dirty alleyways. A dark figure was making waving motions at him, obviously trying to get his attention.

Optimus looked around (the street was empty) and stepped into the shadow under the interlocking roofs of two houses.

“Yes?” he asked politely.

The figure turned out to be a reptilian organic, with small greenish scales and a flexible crest on their head. They cast a panicked glance at the street and started talking in a throaty, resonant voice.

“Don’t go to Big Brahda, sir. It’s a trap. The guy who sent you there, he’s their henchman. He saw your credits and your gun, and Big Brahda will be waiting for you. They’ll take you apart. Please, just get on your malma and leave!”

“I see.” Optimus’s frown grew deeper the longer he listened. “And does this Big Brahda do this to all travelers?”

“There are not many travelers here, sir.” The reptilian’s crest clamped down. “I see you don’t believe me, but you’ve gotta! You might be tall and strong, but Big Brahda has a ship in his garage, and it has cannons. He destroyed the lawsman and his force, he killed everybody who tried to oppose him, and he will kill you. Nobody in the town will stand up to you; they have children to think of.”

“Yet you are helping me.”

The reptilian averted their eyes.

“My husband and my children tried to organize a revolt against him. Brahda killed them all and smashed our unhatched eggs.” She – since this was clearly a she – touched an ugly scar on her stomach, and Optimus recognized the trace of an energy weapon. Apparently, the woman didn’t give up her clutch without a fight. “There is nothing more he can take from me.”

“And he will take nothing more from anyone.” Optimus’s engine growled, making the poor woman tremble. “Thank you for your warning and bravery, but please don’t worry about me. It’s time your Big Brahda was taught a lesson.”

***

Big Brahda turned out to be a huge, voluminous organic – who packed quite a lot of strength and speed, as Optimus learned. Brahda’s guards immediately attempted to seize Optimus, but ended up unconscious at the walls of the room. The seconds spent on fighting them were enough for Brahda to assess his chances and dash to the doorway. Optimus’s chase was slowed down by that very door being torn off and thrown at him.

“Attack! Keep him busy!” Brahda commanded as he sped out of the house, and his goons obeyed. Their simple blasters only scorched the paint on Optimus’s plating, but their combined efforts did manage to slow him down. That’s why, when Optimus finally ran into the street, squinting at the sunlight, there was a hoarse thundering of an old, but large engine coming from the garage. In the next moment its roof was smashed, and a ship rose into the air.

It was not a spaceship, as Optimus hoped after the woman’s tale, but maybe the townsfolk couldn’t really tell the difference. It was a military gunship of the Black Block Consortia – an ancient model that hadn’t been in production for centuries, but known for its sturdiness and firepower. Those gunships’ cannons took many Cybertronian lives once – and now they were locking on the Cybertronian before them.

Optimus simply chuckled. There was a reason why these ships were considered outdated: their cannons required quite a lot of time to heat up. And it took Optimus only an instance to reach for his holster, grab the silvery gun, aim it at the gunship and pull the trigger.

The ray of purple fire hit the ragged, repaired and re-repaired armor covering the fuel tanks, and with the roaring blast of an explosion the gunship fell on the ground, crushing half of the garage.

“Good shot, old friend,” Optimus murmured, rubbing his thumb against the handle.

“You’re welcome,” Megatron replied just as softly.

Optimus approached the smoking carcass of the gunship and wrought the cockpit’s glass open. Big Brahda, coughing and covered with soot, rolled out of it, fighting the urge to throw up. He attempted to stand, but only managed to rise on his knees; he gazed up at Optimus – and then his small eyes grew round with fear as he spotted something else.

The street was quickly becoming crowded. The town’s inhabitants were peeking out of the alleyways, popping their heads out of windows; the reptilian woman stood in front of them all, straight as a rod and just as still. All their eyes were on him.

“Now, Big Brahda.” Said man’s eyes darted back to Optimus. “What should we do with you now?” Optimus feigned contemplation, tapping his mask with Megatron’s muzzle, and then addressed the townsfolk. “Do you have a prison?”

“No,” the reptilian woman answered, showing sharp teeth in her mouth.

Optimus nodded, starting to lower the gun…

When Megatron’s form in his hand twitched – and fired. Big Brahda fell on the dusty ground, his head gone in a purple blast.

The crowd exploded, shouting with joy, whistling and clapping hands. People were hugging, spitting and throwing stones at Brahda’s corpse, yelling – and among all this chaos Optimus stood unmoving with the gun in his hand and his optics fixed on the dead body.

***

“How dare you. How dare you do that?!”

“What? The townsfolk is happy. You freed them, and now you’re their hero, congratulations.”

“You. Killed. A prisoner. You killed him when he was already defeated, and without even consulting with me!”

“Oh, I’m sorry, am I supposed to ask your permission for everything?”

To an accidental witness the scene would look inane: Optimus pacing around the room and arguing with a gun that was lying on the bed. He was given the best apartment the town’s tavern could offer, and was left alone per his request by thankful citizens. Perhaps they believed that their hero needed some peace and quiet.

But right now Optimus was anything but peaceful.

“I was going to bring him for trial and imprisonment in the nearest large town.”

“And risk him escaping, or bribing the prison guards and the court? This planet isn’t Cybertron; laws don’t usually apply here.”

“Megatron, he was done with. He did many horrible things, but we are no gods to judge who lives and who dies.”

“We were doing this throughout the war. Stop playing a saint.”

“What if I did the same to you?” Optimus stopped in front of the bed, glaring at the gun. “When you were our prisoner? What if I followed your logic and executed you?”

“Your Autobots would’ve praised and celebrated you.”

This blow left aching pain in Optimus’s stomach. He knew this was true.

“It doesn’t mean it’s right,” he said quietly.

Megatron went silent, and for once Optimus felt that he actually managed to break through to him. But the silence stretched, hanging over them like a dead weight, and Megatron said nothing. Not the tiniest step toward Optimus, not the slightest compromise. Optimus suppressed a groan; his fingers tingled, old soldier’s instincts insisting that he used his fists to deal with the source of his annoyance. But Optimus knew better; he had vorns of trying to subdue Megatron with his fists, and it seemed to have only steeled the Decepticon’s resolve. No, Optimus wouldn’t take the bait.

Gritting his dental plates, he put the gun on the nightstand and fell on the bed.

“Goodnight, Megatron,” he grumbled, and never before did such a wish sound so much like an insult.

***

Optimus’s recharge was plagued by nightmares – nightmares of a certain kind that he hadn’t had for ages: him on a throne above the ecstatic crowd, fires burning around, all faces resembling grotesque masks in the wavering red light; and thousands of voices yelled:

All hail Optimus! All hail Optimus!

He woke up with a muffled gasp, his spark pounding and his smokestacks steaming. But there was nothing but the stillness of the night, only slightly disturbed by the distant singing of drunk townspeople. With a drawn-out sigh Optimus fell back on the mattress, exhausted and ashamed.

“Prime? Are you alright?”

Optimus closed his optics at the sound of that raspy voice.

“Yes. Go back to recharge.”

“I wasn’t recharging.” Another klik of uncomfortable silence – Optimus didn’t know how to react to such a statement and was too tired to think. But what Megatron said next spiked his attention. “I want to tell you something.”

“Yes?” The remnants of sleepiness were whisked away; it wasn’t like Megatron to start conversations this way.

“I once spoke to you back when you were Orion Pax. Long ago, before the war, when you were still an outlaw hiding away with your Outlier squad.”

“Really?” Optimus blinked. “I don’t remember anything like that.”

“It’s because Chromedome wiped your memories of that moment. The Lost Light crew travelled back in time… It’s complicated. But what matters is that it was me from the future talking to you from the past.”

It sounded crazy. Bizarre. And yet Optimus’s spark started pounding again, even harder than before.

“I asked you why you didn’t overthrow the Senate. Why you didn’t start the revolution Cybertron needed to survive. You knew the system was corrupt; you had a team of powerful friends on your side. Yet you didn’t act. I asked you why, and you answered: because you believed the system could be changed from the inside. Slowly and peacefully.”

Optimus bit his lip under the mask; for some reason his optics heated up, threatening to spill the extra energy in sparks. Humans would have called it crying.

And Megatron continued.

“After that conversation I felt… Crushed. Defeated. Like the path I walked was predestined for me, because nobody else would’ve done it. Not even you. But with time, the more I thought about it, the more… at peace I was. Maybe I needed to create the Decepticon cause, so that you could rise in protest to it. So that you could create something better. What I mean to say, Optimus, is that I’m sorry it turned out like this. But for better or worse, I’m here to do things you wouldn’t, so that you can do what’s right.”

“Stop.” Optimus covered his optics with his hand, dental plates scraping against each other. His spark ached. “Please, stop.” It hurt, it hurt so much, and he couldn’t take it. It was unfair, so unfair! This… He didn’t want this sort of protection, he didn’t want this sort of treatment, and yet it already happened, and there was nothing he could do about it.

“Optimus?” There was genuine concern in Megatron’s tone, almost tenderness, and it messed him up even more. “Are you…”

“Alright?” It came out nearly hysterical, but Optimus didn’t care. “No, I am not alright! Do you even… Do you even understand what you’ve said?!”

“I’m sorry. I took too much upon myself.”

“No kidding.” Optimus grabbed the gun from the nightstand and held it in front of his face. “Megatron. I expected it from anyone but you. Don’t… Don’t put me on some pedestal. Don’t you dare.” He closed his optics again. “And I’m sorry too. Maybe… Maybe everything would’ve gone differently if I joined you back then. Reached out. Tried to help instead of… How did you put it… Rising in protest.”

“You were always an idealist.” Was it fondness in Megatron’s voice? How could he be so calm and caring, when Optimus was a wreck? “I know I used this word as an insult in the past, but now I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”

“Maybe it is a bad thing.” Optimus sighed, tracing the gun’s barrel. “I don’t know anymore.” He made a pause. “Primus, a hate that you can’t transform.”

Megatron chuckled.

“What, are you feeling awkward cuddling with a gun?”

“I’m not cuddling.”

“But you would like to?”

Optimus sighed, giving up.

“Honestly? Yes. Yes, I would very much like to have somebody by my side, whom I could hold and wake up next to.”

“Hmmm, sounds alluring. I would’ve definitely enjoyed that.”

Optimus couldn’t believe his own audials.

“Megatron. Are you hitting on me?”

“I might be.” Now that came out like a purr, and the deep reverberations of that voice went straight down to Optimus’s interface system.

“You’re locked in the gun mode,” he protested, but Megatron (as always) breached his defenses with a casual ease.

“Oh, but it’s just the right size and shape, if you know what I mean.” He cackled at Optimus’s scandalized expression that was visible even despite the mask. “Come on, I’m not deaf. I know all the dirty jokes about my cannon and this particular altmode. Some of them are pretty good.”

“Please don’t recite them,” Optimus said, although he couldn’t deny the rush of excitement in his lower regions at the idea. It wasn’t the warm heavy body he dreamed of, but it was something. A companionship.

How lonely was he, that he was ready to spread his legs for his oldest enemy who couldn’t even activate his spike?

Pretty lonely, apparently.

With a soft click he retracted his mask, but then hesitated. How do you do foreplay with a gun?

Fortunately, Megatron had an idea.

“My, my, Prime! Already baring yourself for me?” There was that sinful purr again. Why in the pits did Megatron bark his orders, when he could use this voice instead and make his troops compete for the right to do his bidding? “How about you bare something else as well?” Optimus’s free hand slithered down, pressing to his heated interface panel, but he did nothing else, waiting.

And Megatron took his cue.

“Open, Prime.”

With a low moan Optimus complied. He ignored his spike cover, going straight for the valve lips; his opening was only slightly moist, but Optimus’s thighs twitched as his thumb brushed against his anterior node.

“Touch yourself. You must be nice and wet in order to take me,” Megatron continued, and Optimus followed his command with a strange sort of relief. It felt so good to just let go and do what he was told, pleasuring himself, preparing himself for what was coming…

“No, don’t push inside.” It was as if Megatron read his thoughts, and Optimus’s fingers stiffened. “Just stroke yourself between the valve lips. Slowly!”

A deep, needy moan escaped Optimus’s throat as he obeyed, letting his fingertip slide over the opening of his valve, sensing the wetness and the heat but unable to reach them. Up and down, slowly and deliberately, it was such a tease! Optimus didn’t notice when his moan turned into a whine, his inner walls contracting around nothing.

“Megatron,” Optimus wheezed, his optics closed, “please…”

“How the mighty Prime has fallen.” For a moment it was too easy to imagine Megatron looming over him, red gaze nailing him to the berth, smug smirk on his lips. “Very well. Press the barrel to your valve.”

Optimus obeyed, his movements feverishly hasty. His valve cycled down again when the gun’s muzzle spread its folds, cool against the scorching heat, but he waited. And then the command came:

“Go on, Optimus. Fuck yourself.”

And Optimus did. Carefully at first, arching and reveling in the sensation of a hard, unyielding barrel stretching him, impaling him, – and then faster, rougher, as if trying to guzzle down every little feeling, every second, get drunk on this bliss that he could never have. Megatron didn’t give him any more orders, but if he did, Optimus probably wouldn’t have heard them in the midst of this furious ride.

He overloaded fast – shamefully fast, perhaps, but there was nobody here that could mock him. Megatron, for instance, didn’t; he stayed silent as Optimus came down from his high, and only his EM field licked Optimus’s own with soft, glowering affection.

“How do I…” Optimus had to make a pause to get his voice under control. “How do I help you overload?”

“You don’t.”

Optimus frowned.

“I don’t want to leave you unsatisfied. If there is anything you want me to do…”

Megatron interrupted him.

“I am in gun mode, Optimus. Guns don’t have erogenous spots. Hey,” he continued, sensing the Prime’s distress, “stop worrying. I had fun.”

“We really need to find somebody to repair you.” Optimus took a cloth out of his subspace and started cleaning Megatron. “And then I will lock you up in my cabin and frag you until you can’t walk for days.”

Maybe he imagined it, but the gun in his hands shivered.

“Then you’d better get us off this mudball,” Megatron grunted as Optimus gently wiped his barrel. “I doubt you’ll find a decent medic here.”

***

The masked gunslinger left the town on the next day, a sack of spare parts he salvaged from the gunship’s remains tied to the malma’s back. Maybe the locals imagined it, but it appeared like he was talking to somebody as he rode – although he had no companion but the silvery gun on his hip.