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Title: Checkmate
Fandom: Transformers (IDW: Megatron Origin)
Pairing: Slight Megatron/Thundercracker (non-romantic)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 523
Warnings: Dark, slight blood and violence, strong peer pressure, em-dash abuse

This wasn’t what he expected. This wasn’t what he even wanted. He was a soldier—built for destruction and war and speed and power—not for this. He would not deny that praise boosted his morale—though he refused to admit that he “preened” like his younger brother, reveling in Megatron’s words—but having his new leader idly stroking the edge of a wing broke boundaries he was not yet accustomed to.

Thundercracker supposed it was meant to be a somewhat comforting gesture—he always was the one who fretted over trine bonds and the complex relationship he and his brothers shared—as he watched Starscream in the middle of a bout in the arena. It wasn’t that he was uncomfortable of the fact that the youngest of them was throwing his life on the line for a mech they hardly knew because he agreed with his ideals—Starscream could take care of himself—but seeing white wings dotted with beads of energon that was not his own all in the name of entertainment did not sit well with him.

“Watch,” Megatron tells him, his words hot on his audio. “Watch how your brother fights for the cause. Fights for those who never stood a chance. Do you not want to follow him to glory as well?”

Of course he did. Of course he wanted to follow, but it was not for the glory. He followed his brothers because that is what trines did. They functioned as a unit—always—because they were sparked that way, and Megatron knew it. And for a split moment, he hated their new lord for using that against him. He cannot disagree. How could he?

“I...am not sure, Sir,” he replies, and his voice is quiet and reserved. You do not question your superiors so blatantly.

“Are you now? Skywarp is more than eager to follow Starscream and his good example. What reservations do you have, dear Thundercracker? Please, do share them.”

There is a chuckle in Megatron’s voice, his optics alight, the finger tracing his wing circling around the tip. But Thundercracker cannot voice his opinion. If this is what his brothers want, who is he to protest? He is trapped. Completely, utterly, trapped.

Skywarp is too naive to see how the entertainment is wrong—that for now, the cause that he and his brothers were so eager to rally around was not even in effect yet. He is used to violence, but this...this sport is meaningless. And Starscream? Starscream is still young, too eager to prove himself and lord himself over the other two.

His wings are hitched up high on his back, pulled back in concern, servos squealing against the strain, and he swear he can hear his wing joints rattling.

“Watch,” Megatron says again. “Watch your brother win this bout for the cause–win for those who are worthy.”

And he does—watches his youngest brother gleefully tear out an opponent's spark just to revel in the roar of the crowd, maniac grin adorning his features as he looks to Megatron for approval.

“Don’t you want to make him happy?”

Checkmate.
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