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All or Nothing

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All or Nothing
by gatekat and starsheild

Chapter 1: In Concert

Prowl was less than enthusiastic about his carrier's plans for the orn. Yes, Lord Crystal had a particular fascination for Sirenis, and yes, the singer had some talent, but that did not mean Prowl wished to go with him to listen to the concert. Yet he could not refuse to go either, not really. Not when the entire royal ruling clade was attending. Being the Lord of Praxus had its advantages and Crystal used them to his advantage when he felt like it. Ensuring his creations, whether he'd carried them or Lady Cloud did, were exposed to as much of Cybertron's culture as possible was one of Crystal's great amusements.

It was Prowl's requirement to tolerate the exposure, whether he enjoyed it or not. At least this time would be better than some of the plays and parades in the past. Prowl did enjoy music in general, and Sirenis wasn't bad. Three joor or so of the performance wouldn't hurt him, and while the reception being hosted in the performer's honor would take up much of the night, it would be much more enjoyable. If nothing else once the formal introductions had been made Prowl could find someone pretty to drag off to a side room and overload to pass the time.

Being a young royal had its advantages.

Momentary distraction was provided as a new wave of mechs and femmes entered the performance hall, shuffling around in search of their seats. Most of this group settled towards the middle of the lower floor - working class mechs. A few were charity tickets, placed directly behind the enforcers who were going to enjoy the concert while half on duty. They were there to enjoy the singing, but they were also in the front rows to protect the performer if the lower castes got too excitable.

It was also a laser edge thing for Prowl. He felt a thrill like nothing else when he could watch apparent chaos - riots especially - and make sense of it, which he did with an appetite that distressed his sparker and made his carrier frown. While he had yet to be caught, it was known that he incited small events simply to watch them happen.

He was aware it was cruel, but what he learned was too important to him to stop.

He had nothing planned for this concert, but a small part of his processor instantly started working out a scenario for a similar set up in the future. It would certainly make events like this, or ones he disliked even more, more bearable.

It would not even have to be a large trigger, for even a small amount of panic in such a confined area would spread quickly through the crowd and spark chaos and disorder. A tiny, almost concealed smile tugged at his normally neutrally held mouthplates.

His oldest sibling, the next Lord of Praxus, gave him a look that warned that his thoughts were not as well concealed as he'd intended. It didn't matter. He wasn't going to disrupt this orn, and even though they knew they could never prove his misdeeds.

All attention was drawn to the stage when the house lights went down and the stage lights brightened. The music started before the mech appeared. One moment there was only a well-lit empty stage, the next it wasn't so much dominated as owned by the single performer. Despite Sirenis' moderate size, he was optic catching in a mirror-finish silver, finally crafted decorative 'wings' with artistically pained highlights of blue and red. Prowl found himself drawn to the mech's visor though, a warm light blue polished to a near-mirror shine.

Stunning.

But that voice ... Prowl felt his doorwings tremble as his processors locked on the vibrations. It was nothing like listening to a recording, not even the quality kind his carrier had. This mech was pure charisma in person. A voice that entranced Prowl in much the same way the Prime's could, yet in a completely different manner.

Prowl wanted.

He couldn't recall the last time he'd felt something this intense. It was frightening, but that lick of distress only heightened his desire.

Whatever it took, he was going to possess this being.

The opening number faded away, and only then did the mech acknowledge that the audience existed with a smooth wave and bow. Each motion was so effective that Prowl was sure they had to be calculated to elicit the maximum response possible.

Yet they appeared completely natural coming from the mech using them, as though it was all done without a conscious thought as the music started once more, soaring through the hall as the singer wove a completely new reality with just the sound of his voice.

He had Prowl so completely captivated that the young mech was completely oblivious to time, the audience and everything else until a strong, slender hand tweaked his doorwing sharply.

Only then did he manage to snap his attention back to physical reality and look up at his sparker. It took a moment longer to processes the fact that even though she had caused pain to get his attention, she was smiling at him in a way ... he couldn't rightly recall how long it had been, only that he had been very, very young when she last looked at him with that expression.

Affectionate approval, creator approval.

A tiny part of his awareness decided it was not right that he thought the look was odd on her beautiful features when directed at him. Most of him simply filed it away to be analyzed later and stood to follow the slightly shorter femme.

The reception was a smaller affair, and after Lord Crystal finished with his comments and introductions, a rather informal affair meant for socialization.

Which was almost what was on Prowl's processors as he worked his way towards the guest of honor, flute of effervescent high grade in hand and very little in mind other than pulling the enchanting mech into a side room and sinking his spike into what he anticipated would be a tight valve, cool and just slick enough that he wouldn't tear the sensor-rich lining.

Said guest of honor was currently engaged with several other guests, just as charming offstage as he was captivating on. His visor flickered as he laughed at a comment someone made, the sound warm and rich.

His voice as he answered a question was smooth, free hand moving in accompanying emphasis to his words.

Prowl felt his engine growl, coveting what he would never be, but managed to throttle it back before anything could be heard outside his frame. He worked his way closer, quietly integrating into the group around the singer. As much as he simply wanted to grab the mech and drag him off, this was not a setting for such a base reaction.

He would have to accept listening for a bit longer, allow himself to be lost in the warm, welcoming sounds, the flash of silver, blue and red as the mech moved ... try not to think about his inability to pinpoint what city Sirenis originated from by accent or appearance.

Sirenis was friendly, and on the surface very open. Questions about his music, the themes and lyrics were welcomed and answered. Inquires to what the life of a successful performer was like were fielded with humor and expertise, the answers often earning a chuckle and pulling his audience in even deeper.

Questions about his personal life were answered or deflected seemingly at random, though never with any sign that anything was offensive or out of line. His attention shifted with ease, and like any true performer his entire audience all felt that he was looking at them alone the whole time.

It was enough to keep Prowl distracted until the subtle shifting of mechs in and out of the group left him alone with Sirenis; only his twin elder sisters between him and his prey. He wasn't sure if Sirenis knew doorwing codes well enough to realize the femmes were actually encouraging Prowl, but he didn't really care. It was now late enough he could pull the guest of honor away without being chastised about it later. Two steps forward and Prowl slid his hand along Sirenis' side to his hip. It was a blatant move, but Prowl wasn't feeling any need for subtlety either. He wanted to make his point and get moving. Sirenis wasn't a noble he had to play social games with, after all. He had a legal right to what he was silently demanding.

"Lord Prowl." Sirenis acknowledged, deferential and perfectly polite as he ignored the implication of the hand on his hip.

The young lord shifted his hand to the small of Sirenis' back and gave enough pressure to make it very clear he expected compliance without upsetting the smaller mech's balance. "Come."

"Ladies." Sirenis bowed to Prowl's sisters before moving in the direction the guiding hand indicated, offering no resistance whatsoever. A few hallways expertly navigated and the door to a luxurious, well-lived in, immaculately kept suite opened for them.

Without a moment's hesitation Prowl let his engine rev and growl in the desire he'd been keeping in check for joors. He pushed Sirenis against the nearest wall and pressed against him, mouth seeking a kiss he fully expected to have. A kiss that was expertly dodged.

Sirenis' voice was calm and even but not apologetic as he spoke. "Your pardon, Lord Prowl, but no."

"You are not a Lord," Prowl actually growled, his guard down here, the want simmering into a need he couldn't even name. He pressed into the sleek silver mech a little more. "My right."

"You're right, but not this orn. Lord Crystal has granted me the protection that noble status offers during my stay in your city. I have the proof, if you wish." Sirenis replied, speaking quietly in face of the aggression of the young lord. Yet in that aggression he saw youthful desire and arrogance more than an abusive temperament.

The performer would not have come without the protection, in fact, for just this reason. Not that many in Praxus abused the ancient privilege, but he'd been taken advantage of once in Crystal City and it was not going to happen again.

So now he watched a myriad of emotions and half-thoughts flicker across Prowl's features as he took in being denied, took in the stance of the mech before him, calculated his options. Icy blue optics clouded as those calculations went deep and projected out vorns before they went sharp and focused once more.

With a visible effort Prowl gathered himself, his doorwings hitched in a tight V of rigid self-control, and stepped back.

"My apologies, Sirenis," Prowl's voice was still thick was lust and need, but the words rang true. "I was unaware of your status."

"Accepted, Lord Prowl, and my own for letting it go this far. I did not wish to refuse you in public." For whatever reason the young lord desired him, and desired him clearly he did, Sirenis was not going to embarrass him.

Doorwings quivered faintly. "Thank you," Prowl inclined his head, hating how difficult it was to control himself in what should be a simple situation. "The door is not locked. I think it best if I do not walk you back," he motioned towards the door only a couple paces away.

Sirenis bowed respectfully and made a graceful exit, thankful that exchange had gone better than some in the past, and leaving the Praxian lord alone to regain his composure and rejoin the party as he was able.

The singer easily found his way, having paid attention to the path he was lead on, and slipped into the crowd with practiced ease to rejoin the merriment. He wasn't there a full klik when he noticed Lady Cloud begin to work her way over, though true to the nature of these events it took her most of two breems to separate him without drawing attention.

"You are unharmed?" she spoke softly, her doorwings twitching with tightly controlled distress.

"I am perfectly well, my Lady." Jazz responded, serious but calm in response to her concern.

"And Prowl?" she asked, putting a gentle hand on his arm. "Please do not take his actions poorly. He has taken an interest in so few."

"No harm done on either side, I hope, my lady." Sirenis answered, relieved himself when her tension melted away. "He was very apologetic once matters were explained."

"Good," she let out a small vent of air. "He will know better on your future visits. I am looking forward to hearing you sing during the solar festival. Your performance in Iacon was amazing."

Sirenis nodded. "Thank you, my lady. I look forward to my next visit to your lovely city."

end part 1