Last chapter! Oh boy...I've got a trend running through this one and 'Meetings' 13, not that I'm giving anything away, so tell me if they're too out of character. Please, even if it's written on the pitchfork if you think it's really bad ;) Off we go -

Cyblade Silver: Here y'go, part three. Let me know if it's as good as the others - I'm a bit twitchy in case it's too OOC. You tell me.

Jess: You Jessica's getting one! Me 'boots say thanks and wriggles in chair with glee! Me Grimlock say we get on our way! Ah. I can take a hint...I'll shut up and get on with it. Hi-ho, hi-ho...

Skins Thunderbomb: Mmmh, you'd better keep an eye on that heart... Heh. Thanks, and I hope this lives up to expectations.

Soryu: Yep, last chapter - reporting for duty! Glad you liked the last one; I was a bit worried that I'd got Starscream too out of character, but I think he would be the guilty, denial-y emotional one. Skyfire's more solid and true, if you see what I mean, and he'd stick to it, but Starscream's all panicky and emotional. Awww. It took me ages to actually choose a flippin' song for this fic, so it'd better fit! Heh. I'm glad you like, and I'm now going to go and bounce aroung the room in glee. Woohoo!

Final chapter people - last chunk of angst until I carry on with 'Sins'. Make the most of it! The song's 'Bring me to life' - don't let that put you off - but everyone seems to just use the first verse and it didn't really fit like that, so I did my usual and twisted it around to fit better ' That's why it might read a bit weird. Enjoy...


Dealing with the dawn

Silence.

Complete, utter, total silence.

"Hello, Skyfire" Starscream said.

Optics met, each searching for some sign in the other - hesitant red trying to find any touch of hatred in reserved icy blue, puzzled and half-hopeful sapphires trying to fathom through scarlet clouds and find the truth, any truth. Neither dared to hope too far, or trust too early - time had seen to that.

All this time I can't believe I couldn't see

Starscream stared dumbly, any control he had left wearing away to shreds in the awful, jangling silence, and the soft, warm blue glow seemed just that - a sign of life in an ice statue looming pale in the murk. Skyfire hadn't said a word - standing there staring at him, face blank and optics bright and unwavering, and any hope Starscream had of being able to talk to him withered under the cold, unfeeling stars. The yawning gape in his spark shrieked in despair and silent agony, and the seeker's optics flickered and dimmed as he fought not to flinch or fall to his knees and scream.

Kept in the dark-

Desperate and crying inside, the barriers snapped and torn, he drew his tattered defences round him like a cloak and pulled himself up, head high and optics flaring.

Fine then. He wouldn't beg, he wouldn't show it. He was a Decepticon warrior, a fighting seeker, and he would keep his dignity as his heart shattered into pieces.

He didn't notice he was trembling.

-but you were there in front of me

Skyfire stared into brilliant red optics, caution learnt from time spent with seasoned fighters falling to wrack and ruin as he searched for any inkling of what the seeker wanted.

A faint, soft hope flickered, hidden away in his spark as soon as it surfaced.

Could... Could he...

The scientist wavered, stunned at the thought, and tried to see into the crimson fires and read the flames of Starscream's spark as he used to do so easily. The seeker's optics were wide and flared radiant in the dark, but millennia of hiding his mind from others had left a veil between Starscream and the rest of the world, and Skyfire couldn't find his way through the smoke.

Suddenly a silent cry whipped through the clouds and the shroud lifted - for a split-second Skyfire could see Starscream's sudden pain and grief, red optics dimming as his spark rocked and slumped to the floor wailing in agony. A ragged, battered wall hid him like a shield of thorns, and Skyfire fell away - dropping back into his shell with a start and staring in horror as the seeker raised his chin and glared at him, optics on fire and shoulders back, not noticing that his wingtips trembled and the fire pits welled too bright to believe.

I've been sleeping a thousand years it seems, got to open my eyes to everything

Skyfire opened his mouth.

"Starscre-"

"Well, you obviously don't want to talk" the seeker snarled, face contorted in a scowl that never even approached the condescending put-down he had intended but limped towards that of an angry child, confused and hurt but too defiant to admit it. He turned and continued over his shoulder as he stalked off, pain in every step but nonchalance in every line of his body. "It seems I was wasting my time."

Skyfire stood frozen. He's lying - he's lying! I knew it, and now I'm standing here like a dummy and letting him go!

Without a thought, without a voice, without a soul...

As Starscream walked, he forced his head up and stared at the stars with an agonised glare that would outmatch any one of them.

I should have known. He doesn't want me - he won't forgive me, he doesn't care any more - I knew it and I still came. I'm such a fool... a glutton for punishment. That's all I've ever been...

Heavy footsteps behind him. "Starscream-"

Don't let me die here - there must be something more-

White, outstretched fingers brushed his arm. He froze.

Bring me to life

"Don't go..."

Wake me up inside

He couldn't move, couldn't speak, could barely think - the fingers slipped away, trails of fire in their wake cutting through the cold. He tried not to tremble. Now what...? What else can-

Fingertips shaky on his shoulder, as if unsure whether to stay or go. They dropped, but didn't pull away again - running slow and gossamer-light down his arm like tremulous butterflies in Autumn, trying to find a safe place to rest. Starscream couldn't move if Megatron himself was after him - white uncertainty traced down his wrist to trail over the side of his palm, reaching his little finger and wrapping around it, gently but as if he was a lifeline to safety, the last port in a storm. He didn't move, still couldn't look round, and the fingers took it as it was meant - pale thumb at the base of his finger, fingertips ran carefully over each of his and curled around them, the thumb brushing lightly over the back of his hand and never leaving his metal skin as Skyfire slowly took his hand.

Wake me up inside

Starscream turned, little by little, and raised his optics to Skyfire's - wide, wondering red meeting anxious blue. The seeker's internals pitched as he stared into warm, deep sapphires, and Skyfire fell into a crimson that flickered and rose in amazement as hands clasped intuitive, and no words came.

I'd become so numb, without a soul

That didn't mean Starscream didn't try - he fought the moment and whispered "Skyfire..."

To his surprise a hint of a smile touched pale lips, and Skyfire realised what the seeker had come to say as Starscream realised that it didn't need to be said. Not now. Not aloud.

My spirit sleeping somewhere cold, until you find it here - and lead it back home

Optics never parted as a hand pulled away and ran wonderingly down a white wing. Skyfire bent and knelt, never letting go of Starscream's other hand, and held the seeker close to trail fingers down his back and trace patterns over silver plating. Starscream stared into his face and ran blue palms and fingers over the familiar curves and lines as though he'd been waiting for the chance a thousand, thousand years.

Wake me up inside

He had. They both had, and they spent the rest of the night together remembering - and forgetting - as if they were the only beings on Earth, rediscovering the delight and wonder of falling in love all over again.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

Pale light drifted over the sky, softly washing the traces of night from the sky. Two figures lay watching, entwined on the grass with no thought for anything other than each other and the morning sunlight. They hadn't moved for some time, and both were idly playing with the fancy that, if they didn't move or think about the outside world, they could stay here together forever.

Woke me up inside

As if the world was thumbing its nose at their game, Skyfire's comlink chimed. Starscream groaned inaudibly and buried his face in white armour, holding just a little tighter for one moment more. Skyfire sighed - he answered it and fended off Prowl's careful questions about where he'd been all night. Someone - probably Cliffjumper, most likely - had obviously mentioned his slip from last night, and now the Autobot Second was either worried about him or for him. Skyfire would have put money on the first. He told Prowl he'd stood outside the base for a while, then had found a clearing and watched the stars. Yes, he was still there now. Yes, he'd be back soon. Prowl signed off with a faint niggle of suspicion, but soon forgot about it and didn't bother mentioning it to Prime short of muttering about Cliffjumper's outrageous paranoia.

Called my name

Skyfire shut off his comlink and felt Starscream's gaze on him.

"I suppose it wouldn't do any good to try and convert you to the glorious Decepticon cause?" he said drily. Skyfire snorted and looked at him. The seeker's tone was candid and a little wistful. "No. And I don't suppose you'd join the Heroic Autobots, either."

Starscream smothered a sigh. "Not particularly."

Saved me from the dark

"So what can we do...?" Skyfire murmured, looking up at the sky as if for inspiration, not really expecting an answer. The flier looked up at him, shut off his optics for a moment with a sigh and wriggled out of his arms, pulling himself up and lying along Skyfire's chest with his chin in his fists. "For a start, you've got to get back. Someone may have noticed I'm missing, even if Megatron hasn't-"

Skyfire's optics narrowed. "You can't stay with him, Starscream..."

"I can and I will!" the seeker hissed, sitting bolt upright on Skyfire's chest and glaring at him. "He is going to fall one day, and I'll be there to laugh in his face!"

Bade my blood to run

A hard silence fell, until Skyfire sighed and touched Starscream's face. The flier rolled his optics at the tactics, but leant into the caress and accepted it as an apology all the same. They stayed there for a moment more, the pale sunlight growing stronger overhead, until they both moved reluctantly to get up and stepped into the sky, hands clasping once more in a silent farewell as they turned to go their separate ways.

Before I came undone

One last glance back - white, silver and red blazing in the early sunlight, Apollo the innocent sinner and the flaming pillar of white fire burning in the sky.

You saved me from the nothing I'd become.

One last glance...

Brought me to life.


And there it is. Nothing settled for definite, but they're not shooting at each other now. And I finally had a bash at Ss/Sf slash - it always seems easier with Dreadmoon. Probably because of the height difference - I can never quite get my head round it. As ever guys, read and review.

Starscream and Skyfire are © Hasbro. I think. The story is © me, just so you know who to blame ;)