Sadly, the 'boots is in a smidge of a hurry since she faffed around with stuff on the net when she should have been updating and now has to rush. Ah, well. I'll settle for saying that I read a really good Dreadmoon-scatters-Starscream's-ashes fic (another one! Sniffle.) by Devi11 (read it now, and you'll see why I got sniffly) and got a severe attack of a lump-in-the-throat which was only to be relieved by writing this. It made me feel a lot happier. See what you guys think - those sort of fics (all three of them) always get me going, so I wrote this as a remedy with a nod to Season three episodes 'Starscream's ghost' and 'ghost in the machine'. It'd probably help if you've seen those, but not too essential I hope.
Yes, I know the title sucks.
And the sun goes down
Brilliant, blinding violet surrounded him, entangling and binding with searing acid fire - his mouth opened but he couldn't make a sound, helpless, furious and smothered as his back arched and circuits flared in agony until, all at once, there was nothing.
Dreadmoon stared at the messenger with pure, undisguised horror in his optics.
The mech nodded, glancing nervously at his face and backing away, even though the ex-monitor was still on Stormworld and couldn't reach him through the com channel. The pale face was frozen halfway between utter horror and disbelief, the red optics wide and bewildered - the messenger steadied himself and finished the statement.
"He was executed by Mighty Galvatron, the true leader of the Decepticons, some days ago for-"
The connection was cut off part-way through. The messenger stared at the blank screen, shrugged and considered himself lucky. Who cared about one crazy seeker, anyway?
A light flickered. Faint, shining softly in the utter nothing he couldn't fully comprehend, a star twinkled slowly in the far distance - or was it a tiny star and he was close by? There was no perspective, no planets or landmarks to help him, and he gradually realised with a kind of weary resignation that he had no idea where he was. He couldn't move towards the star - there was no sense in his limbs and he had the strange impression of being far above, far below, far away from his body - wherever it may be in the nothing. Still - the light came inching closer, fluttering larger in the void, and he could begin to make out blurry, hazy shapes through the glow. He frowned without a face, staring without eyes, and a flash of sudden panic burst in him as the star accelerated - it soared towards him and in a roaring rush swallowed him whole. He was drowning in light, suffocated and kicking out at the blinding glare...
...Until, again, there was nothing.
Dreadmoon held onto the console as if his life depended on it. His optics were wide, blank - mouth slightly open as violent tremors rocked him, his legs surrendered and he crumpled gracelessly to the floor.
Dead...No, Primus, no...I didn't know! How could I not know...he can't be dead...
His wings clanked dully on the floor as he unconsciously tried to pull them around himself - he clung to the console, and the metal began to buckle under his fingers as he threw self-control to the uncaring winds and let out a sobbing whimper.
The door hissed.
"Dreadmoon?! What- Sir, are you all right? Dreadmoon!"
He was dimly aware of Vapourtrail's shocked exclamations through the haze of blood-red agony. She scrambled round a limp wing and fell to her knees in front of him, her optics searching his drawn face and shut off optics for any idea of what had happened.
"Sir - Dreadmoon, what's wrong?"
That got through...he managed to stifle a shriek (What's wrong? My bondmate is dead!) and looked at her - Vapourtrail's optics went wide and she bit down on a squeak at the dull agony in Dreadmoon's face.
"Starscream..." he choked out. The monitor couldn't manage the words - they stuck in his vocaliser and strangled him. Dreadmoon buried his face in his hands and shook, slumped against the console, and fell to pieces as he wailed.
Skyfire was halfway back from a survey on the south continent when he felt it - a searing wave of agony shrieking through his link to Dreadmoon like a bolt from the blue. He nearly fell out of the sky in surprise and gasped at the intensity of it, wondering what exactly was going on. He'd felt a burst of pure fury from Starscream a week or so earlier - an odd, cut off snap of pain-fear-anger all at once, then a strange rush of disorientation... Only a flash and over quickly, but he hadn't felt anything through their link since. He had tried not to worry about it, knowing he'd have felt it if anything serious had happened, and presuming that the latest mission had had a small...hiccup again. Now, though...
He didn't feel any better when a panicked call came through on his comlink from Vapourtrail.
"Skyfire! Something's wrong with Dreadmoon - he can't tell me what it is and he's lying on the floor shaking! I don't think he's damaged, but I don't know what to do!"
"Dreadmoon?" Skyfire couldn't hide his surprise - the only time the monitor's composure had snapped had been under...unusual circumstances...
The scientist suddenly became very, very worried. "Calm down, Vapourtrail - I'm nearly there."
A sigh of relief over the link. "Good... I don't like this."
Neither do I, Skyfire thought, and accelerated as she signed off.
Skyfire poked his head into the control room. His optics flared as he caught sight of Dreadmoon - half curled up on the floor and shaking like a leaf, Vapourtrail kneeling in front of him with a hand laid carefully on his shoulder and a frantic expression. She caught sight of him as he moved into the room and shot upright, worry and relief flooding her face.
"Skyfire!" She flashed him a quick, thankful smile but never took her hand from Dreadmoon's shoulder.
"How long has he been like this?" he asked, edging round to kneel beside her.
"I don't know - I heard something crash when I went past, and he was just...there." She gestured helplessly. "I tried to ask what was wrong, but his voice was strange, sort of...tight..." She trailed off, and Skyfire felt a horrible chill of foreboding run through him.
"What did he say?"
"Just 'Starscream'." A pause, and Skyfire went suddenly cold.
"'Starscream.' That was all he said."
Dreadmoon was vaguely aware of someone sitting nearby, and of pressure on his shoulder, but it didn't really register. He blocked out the world and everything in it, his entire being shaking with the tempest of words storming through his mind.
Dead...no...I should have known, I should have felt it...I should have been there, been with him, died with him if I had to...Starscream, please, no...
A familiar presence took his hands. "Dreadmoon?"
Skyfire. Primus, what do I say...?
He slowly powered up his optics - anguished red stared into warm, concerned blue, and the sympathy in Skyfire's face just made the monitor feel worse.
"Dreadmoon, what happened? What's wrong?" Skyfire saw the utter desolation in the pale face and his fuel pump seemed to stop.
"What happened to Starscream - where is he?"
Dreadmoon's mouth opened but no sound came out. His lips moved helplessly for a moment, as if he couldn't bring himself to say the words, then an alien, graveyard whisper came rasping slowly from his vocaliser.
"He...he's dead. Starscream's dead."
For one icy second Skyfire was stunned into numb, frozen disbelief. He stared into Dreadmoon's dull, hopeless optics and couldn't think, couldn't move, couldn't say a word - the world lurched crazily around him, and he never heard Vapourtrail's quiet gasp of shock or the door hissing behind her as she backed away quietly and left them alone. Horror met despair and disbelief was drowned in agony as Skyfire slumped to the floor in front of the shell-shocked, dead-opticed monitor - Dreadmoon stared wretchedly back at him as visions of silver and red flashed behind their optics, and they clung together as they drowned in the flood of loss and desolation.
Their seeker was dead. And they died with him, again and again, until they felt there was nothing left in the world but agony and despair.
What...where am I...?
A shadow wandered the wreckage of the statues, gazing around dazedly at everything but the dais and determinedly keeping away from the drifting heap of ash strewn forlornly at the top.
What's happened to me?
That was sheer wishful thinking - he knew exactly what had happened. Spectral optics narrowed and the memory of a mouth snarled as he remembered - fire and ash bitter in his mouth.
'Galvatron' my aft. That was a re-modelled Megatron, or I'm a Porsche.
He gazed up into the sky, and started as he noticed the looming head of Unicron glaring balefully across the planet.
It seems I'm a little behind the times - what happened here?
Starscream's optics narrowed. Well. It looks like I'll have to do some investigating...this Sector's Watchtower isn't too-
He stopped cold and gasped in horror. Dreadmoon and Skyfire! If anyone gets in contact... I have to get to Stormworld!
He turned and leapt into the air, all other thoughts forgotten but for one.
They'll both think I'm dead!
The room was totally, unbearably silent. Neither of them had said a word on the way here, and the hush still hung in the air as if in mockery of the room's owner.
Neither Skyfire nor Dreadmoon could bear to disturb anything in the seeker's quarters - he hadn't many possessions, but those few items on the shelves they looked over as if they were made of gold, or would disappear into dust if they were picked up by anyone other than their rightful owner.
Dreadmoon hadn't said a word since he'd told Skyfire - various members of the crew had heard from Vapourtrail about the seeker's death and had wanted to ask them about it, or rather to ask Dreadmoon as he was now technically in command, but Vapourtrail had stood guard grimly outside the control room door with an expression that warned of a long, lingering demise for anyone that tried to get past her. When they had left Skyfire had just about managed a watery smile and a murmur of thanks, but Dreadmoon had kept his optics on the floor and hadn't said a word, his wings wrapped around himself like a shroud.
Now silence reigned, and they both sat on the recharge bunk and shared their grief in a black quiet that needed no words. Skyfire leant back against the wall, optics dark, and Dreadmoon sat with his head in his hands as he was battered by words and the waves of agony washing them both into a sea of sheer misery.
Primus...Starscream...I'm so sorry...
"It wasn't your fault, love" a voice murmured in his audio.
Dreadmoon jumped as if he'd been stung - he leapt to his feet and knocked Skyfire over as he spun round, wings wide and flaring, optics blazing like spotlights as he glared around the room.
"Mourningstar?! Show yourself, you-"
"Dreadmoon! What is wrong with you?!" Skyfire snapped, looking up at him in a heap half on the floor.
"I - I heard..." Dreadmoon stared around frenziedly, searching for whatever had spoken.
It must have been Mourningstar - who else! But - he's dead...
The monitor froze in place, like a toy whose clockwork had wound down. He didn't notice Skyfire's optics flicker to one side, widening as his jaw dropped and staring at-
...he's dead. And so is Starscream. And if Mourningstar could come back...
He whirled at Skyfire hissing his name, and his optics grew huge.
Starscream gave him a lopsided smile.
"Hello, love." he said.
Skyfire stared, not daring to believe what he was seeing.
"Starscream...?" he whispered, his voice shaking almost as badly as his hands - unlike Dreadmoon, he hadn't had any experience with visiting ghosts, and seeing Starscream in front of him - seeing through Starscream in front of him - was one more thing on top of too many traumas for one day.
The apparition's optics went wide and he started forward, moving to support Skyfire as he faltered and slipped down fully onto the floor, but to both their shock and horror Starscream's hands went straight through his chestplate and out the other side. Dreadmoon goggled - then he recovered what few strained senses he had left and moved to put a hand on Skyfire's shoulder. Starscream pulled back, staring at his hands as if they'd just sprouted tentacles. After the day he'd had so far he wouldn't really be surprised, and it was a credit to him that he became only slightly hysterical. Dreadmoon and Skyfire both saw him start to shake, and the scientist pulled away from dark blue hands to wobble to his knees.
Starscream looked over at him, optics wide with suppressed panic - Skyfire swallowed down his own and gazed steadily at him, looking him over - convincing himself that this really was his companion and not some bizarre, desperate hallucination.
"Starscream...?" he said again just as quietly, this time sounding less shaky and more sure, the question hanging as he unconsciously raised a hand from the floor. The seeker gave them both a shaky smile.
"Sort of." He dropped his hands, then seemed to make a decision and reached out to Skyfire, leaning forward with curiosity growing in his face. His palm hovered before the white chestplate, dipped then connected - the shimmering blue disappeared into Skyfire's torso and he didn't feel anything other than a soft tingle. Three pairs of optics widened and Starscream pulled his hand back, this time trembling only very slightly.
"This is...stranger than Mourningstar made it look" he mused quietly, looking through his own fingers again with an expression of childlike curiosity. Suddenly he started and jumped upright, panic flaring across his face again.
"Primus - Mourningstar! He died and turned into a poltergeist, then he fell to pieces!" Dreadmoon's optics flared and Skyfire looked alarmed - he'd heard the story, and the thought of that happening to Starscream...
"Calm down, Sprite" he said, by some miracle keeping his voice down and level. The nickname calmed the seeker a little, but the automatic reaction of reaching out to each other only helped to upset them all more when their hands passed through him. Starscream whirled to pace up and down the room in frustration, mind spinning through any sort of scheme to get his body back...
"Mourningstar" Dreadmoon said slowly and quietly, "could possess people and take some of their energy. If you could do that-"
"I don't know how!" the seeker burst out, turning to glare at him in panicked impatience.
"Then try!" he snapped back, patience and sanity stretched to breaking point.
With that Starscream shut off his optics and dived at the monitor - only to go flying straight through him and disappear into the wall behind. They dimly heard a muffled shriek of frustration then the seeker came storming back through the wall, his expression fit to rival one of Megatron's for sheer outraged fury. Starscream and Dreadmoon glared at each other, arms folded and looking eerily alike, until a stifled snort of laughter broke the staring contest. They turned around to glare at Skyfire, still collapsed on the floor, holding his sides and trying not to laugh at the image of Starscream flying through Dreadmoon and the wall both. With a sheepish look at each other, they turned back round and tried their hardest not to snigger. They failed miserably, and the room rang with laughter that only had the slightest edge of hysteria and did much to clear the tension.
When they had got themselves under control, Dreadmoon and Starscream faced each other again.
"Shall we try that one more time?" Dreadmoon asked, a teasing grin still tugging at his mouth.
"Let's," Starscream replied, and this time stepped carefully towards his bondmate. As he got closer his image shimmered and rippled, before suddenly shattering and dissolving into a cloud of gauzy motes of colour.
Skyfire was the only one who yelled - Dreadmoon found that he suddenly couldn't move. Panic started to rise up, sudden and automatic, but a strangely familiar warm presence in his mind teased it away.
Much he replied, and distantly felt his body turn towards Skyfire who was staring at him - them - Starscream with an expression that was half fear and half hopeful.
"Starscream? Is that you?"
Dreadmoon's lips quirked in a very familiar smirk.
"Does this answer your question?" Starscream replied, drawing close and wrapping his arms around him with a sigh. Skyfire shuddered in pure relief and held him tight as if he'd never let go. Dreadmoon gave a silent, half-hearted murmur out of principle, but didn't say anything out loud as his bondmate clung on to Skyfire for dear life.
The seeker and the scientist stayed that way for a long moment, Skyfire absently running his thumb over the curve of Dreadmoon's wing and murmuring "I thought we'd lost you."
"You don't get rid of me that easily," Starscream sighed through Dreadmoon's lips.
He paused...and a slow smirk of pure evil crept across his face as an idea flickered across his mind. Dreadmoon caught a hint of it and smiled to himself inside his psyche - This should be interesting.
"Do you mind..."
...if I borrow you for a moment?
To Skyfire's startled surprise and Dreadmoon's grinning satisfaction, Starscream slid out of the monitor's mind and almost straight into Skyfire's. The scientist was caught completely unawares and fell with a yelp into the back seat of his body as Starscream nabbed the steering wheel.
Sorry to make you jump, love, but I didn't think you'd mind too much.
Skyfire sighed inwardly at the smug excitement in Starscream's 'voice'. It's a good thing I don't, really.
True, the seeker said cheerfully. He grinned, and smirked down at the monitor in his arms. "I could get to like being taller than you for a change."
Dreadmoon laughed and held him tightly, finding being held by a considerably larger than usual 'Starscream' oddly comforting. "Don't get too used to it, will you? It's bad enough having Skyfire taller than me without you starting."
"Now that's interesting to know" Skyfire mused, not noticing for a moment that Starscream had jumped out of his body and was now standing a little way away, watching the touching tableau with a mischievous, slightly wistful grin.
"You two make a lovely couple..." he teased, snickering as the two stared at him and jumped apart in surprise.
After much possession practice, Starscream announced that he was going to Cybertron to try and find some way of getting his body back. His companions protested, argued, insisted they go with him, but after much yelling over them and repetitions of "I'm a ghost - there's not much anyone can do to me now!" and variations of the same, Starscream left his bondmates slightly mollified but no less edgy.
The seeker flew through space, marvelling at the speed he was capable of now he was - he scowled - dead. And while I'm at it, I'm going to do my best to make Galvatron's existence a living hell!
He smirked, and left the Corridor to orbit Cybertron for a moment to get his bearings. The huge head of Unicron drifted gently past him, and he shuddered as the wind moaned low and guttural through the giant's mouth.
That thing still gives me the surges, he thought uncomfortably.
It wasn't until he'd entered the planet's atmosphere that he remembered that there was no wind in space. Starscream shuddered, then put it firmly out of his mind and wondered where to start looking. Purely on a whim he floated over the Hall of Heroes, looking down at the rubble that had fallen into the wide corridor after Unicron's attack.
A coronation. What was I thinking? Might as well have asked the Fates to butt in and send something nasty. Huh. Still, I did look - looked - good in that cape. Typical of Megatron or whatever-he-calls-himself-now to blast that to bits as well.
He sulked over the Hall for a moment more, but as he was turning to look for amusement somewhere else a flash of midnight blue caught his optic. He turned, ready for a challenge or an attack - and saw Dreadmoon, dropping low over the dais' staircase to land and walk slowly up the steps to the top. Starscream saw with a shudder that there was a large, painful-looking scorch mark by the top of the stairs.
Wondering just what his bondmate was doing here he drifted lower, gazing curiously over his companion and a little behind - Dreadmoon stiffened slightly and looked round with a suspicious glance. Starscream shrank back before realising he couldn't be seen unless he chose, but hang back a little further to be on the safe side and let the monitor get on with it.
Dreadmoon looked around for a moment more before turning back to the platform. He knelt, and started brushing gently at the scraps of black ash that littered the dais.
Starscream's internals twisted - he watched as Dreadmoon carefully, lovingly gathered his ashes and followed him as he flew slowly up into the sky, arcing high over Cybertron in an infinity loop, and jerked back with a start as a rain of dark cinders fell about and through him to vanish in space above the planet.
He waited until Dreadmoon had finished before flying up to him and saying silently You didn't have to do that.
The monitor's head snapped round to gaze eerily close to his position. "I knew you were there, Starscream. Show yourself...please." The seeker faded into view and looked at him, optics slightly wide and solemn.
You didn't have to do that, Dreadmoon. I told you to stay with-
"Skyfire knows I'm here, and if he could he would have come himself" the monitor said, a little too sharply. His optics dimmed a little, and he continued quietly "Besides, it was the right thing to do. They would have just left you there..."
Starscream made a soft, sympathetic sort of noise and automatically moved to hold him. He stopped just short, pausing awkwardly, then lifted his chin and shimmered into Dreadmoon's body as the other held out a hand as if to invite him in. The seeker wrapped himself around Dreadmoon's mind, a mental embrace more close and sure than anything merely physical could even approach, and surrounded the monitor in comfort and the reassurance that Everything will be back to normal soon. I promise.
Dreadmoon sighed in his mind and smiled wryly. I believe you, love. I just...
I know. Me too.
They stayed there in silence for a few moments more, then Starscream flowed out of Dreadmoon again to stand before him, a short distance away.
Now go home, Dreadmoon. I'll be back soon.
"That's what you said the last time" the monitor muttered to himself, as he watched the silver glimmer dive into the atmosphere.
I heard that! came the faintly annoyed, teasing reply.
You were meant to.
Starscream wandered around the planet's surface, noticing with distaste the damage left behind from Unicron's short yet destructive invasion.
I have got to find out what happened here...
He heard faint laserfire in the distance, and turned towards it. It seemed to be coming from the passageways around the old crypt... Starscream stared at just who was flying around near the vault, and who was chasing him, and gave a big, evil grin that spread from audio to audio.
Oh, yes. he smirked, a plan beginning to unfurl in his mind like a rose. Pretty, entertaining - and covered in barbs where you pick it.
I'm going to enjoy this...
Some time later, Skyfire was watching Dreadmoon pace up and down in the control room as they waited to hear from Starscream. They had had to go through the entire affair with the crew several times over - thankfully both had reputations as generally level-headed mechs, and Dreadmoon's skepticism in the face of the occult was as obvious as his pragmatism. Now they both ignored the few jobs they had lying around - not that they could concentrate - to take turns in pacing and sitting drumming their fingers. Between the two of them they had driven Memory crazy, and she had left the room long ago to find a job "somewhere I can concentrate."
Skyfire didn't blame her.
Eventually, a call came through on the monitor - Skyfire was pacing at the time and he leapt for it, regardless of the danger it would be a Decepticon caller who might recognise him as a neutral.
"None other!" A boxy-looking femme neither of them recognised - not that they cared - grinned down at them with the familiar smug grin. "You are never going to guess who I've been running around as."
"Oh, Primus" Skyfire groaned in giddy relief. "Who?"
"The new second-in-command of the Decepticon army!" The grin widened. "I seriously rattled Galvatron and got him to shoot the needle-nose who took my place."
Dreadmoon smirked and Skyfire tried to hide a grin. "Do they know where you are now? Or who?"
"What do you take me for, an amateur?" Starscream scoffed. "They forget everything that happened as soon as I leave. You can't say I'm not a good houseguest."
Dreadmoon snickered. Skyfire rolled his optics and asked "Did you find out anything about getting your body back?"
A shadow fell across his face. "No..." He brightened slightly and leaned on the console top. "...but I did find out some very interesting information about what's been going on in Cybertron recently..."
Starscream cut the connection and turned around, rubbing 'his' hands with an evil grin spreading across his face. What he had in mind was desperate, tricky and would put a great many people's noses out of joint, as well as putting him and his chosen adopted bodysuit in a fair amount of danger.
But then, what the hell? Starscream wanted his body back, and when he wanted something, very few things in the Universe could stop him - short of Megatron, who was now plasma-bath-crazy and calling himself Galvatron, and on occasion the Autobots, who hopefully wouldn't need to get involved unless he chose for them to do so.
Plus, he was dead. If he lost one body, he'd borrow someone else's and let them get shot instead. The seeker wasn't feeling too charitable at the moment.
With a sigh and a shimmer, he ghosted out of the femme and deftly wiped the memory of his short possession, noting with satisfaction he had got better at it with practise. The first time he'd thought of it and tried it out before grabbing Cyclonus, the mech whose body he'd snatched had lost most of his short-term memory.
Starscream gave an invisible shrug. Ah, well...time to go looking for Scourge. It was so nice of Cyclonus to be totally up-to-date and informed on everything - it'll make getting my body back that much easier.
He grinned darkly up at Unicron's head above. And I know just who can help me...
"I don't like this."
Dreadmoon paused, looking over at Skyfire with a gaze that would have accompanied a raised eyebrow if he had any. "Which part?"
Skyfire ignored the sarcasm. "The fact that Starscream wouldn't tell us what, exactly, he was planning to do - for all we know he might be off doing something-" He stopped before saying 'stupid'. "If it's risky and he needs help, what's he going to do?"
"You don't need to tell me that" Dreadmoon said quietly, fiercely. "That's all that's been running through my head since he called."
"So what can we do? We don't know where he is or what he's doing..." Skyfire trailed off, and silence reigned for a long moment until he 'harrumphed' in frustration and strode over to the console. Dreadmoon watched him wearily. "What are you doing?"
"Can you get into the records from here?" Skyfire asked, ignoring the long-suffering tone. "The Decepticon records, I mean?"
"Of course," the monitor said, coming over and nudging the jet aside. "Why?"
"Starscream possessed the second-in-command of the army, right?" Dreadmoon nodded and looked fixedly at him. "So he must have found something else in Cyclonus' mind that he thought he could use."
"Apart from the fact a monster planet attacked Cybertron and we didn't know anything about it?" the monitor muttered absently, fingers flying over the keyboards like a pianist and staring at the screen. He headed straight for the most recent reports, and chuckled softly when he found a raving denunciation of Starscream that Galvatron had put up after the ghost had "rattled him".
"It seems Starscream's been busy" he murmured. "Galvatron says he was responsible for everything from Unicron attacking to a scuff on his paint job." Skyfire leant in to read over his head and groaned, shaking his head. "He's a lunatic."
"That or he's never heard of the phrase 'valid argument' " came the dry reply. "I'm going to try the older reports. There's nothing here that I can see..."
Skyfire watched for a moment or two as Dreadmoon immersed himself in digital paperwork, then turned to the sweeping windows of the control room, hoping that the seeker wouldn't get himself into something he couldn't get out of.
And if he did, that they could get to him in time.
Hours later on Cybertron the Autobots were in a state of emergency. Metroplex's eyes had been stolen, the Decepticons were lurking high in the atmosphere and Trypticon was pushing Unicron's head down to the planet's surface. Without any better ideas to fall back on Rodimus Prime ordered that, since they didn't know what else to do about it, they would have to blow up energon cubes in the back of Unicron's disembodied head and launch him back into space and hope that he stayed there.
The few Decepticons in the vicinity, however, had a better idea. Runamuck and Runabout ran with the two Coneheads into Trypticon's main nerve centre - they stared at the rapidly approaching cityscape below and wondered what, exactly, Thrust had had in mind when they followed him up here.
They gave in as the floor came much closer far too fast and asked - bracing themselves for much future gloating if whatever-it-was worked. To their surprise, when the flier yelled in sheer bravado and punched out a nerve cluster, the shock and sudden pain spiking into him made Starscream lose his grip on Trypticon, and the Citycon made his escape as quickly as possible. His occupants whooped and jeered, but they didn't see the seeker pull out of Trypticon's body to hover before Unicron.
"Unicron! If you want the connection made, you'll have to give me a new body now!"
"You shall have it" the giant rumbled, a blinding pulse of energy flooding in a wide, bright stream from his optics and bathing the ghost in a pale blue light. Starscream shuddered in not-quite-pain, transparent limbs twitching and jerking as a sound like the Universe stretching and reworking itself twanged through the air like a cosmic rubber band.
"I live again!" he cheered as he became solid again, throwing his arms out and jumping for joy. Now how the hell am I going to let poor Unicron know I'm not going to be sticking his head to Cybertron...? Decisions, decisions...
Unaware of this little internal debate, Unicron glared balefully down at the jubilant seeker.
"Now...make the connection!"
Starscream picked up the main fuel line, looked at it consideringly for a moment, then threw it to the floor.
"Do it yourself!" he jeered, an insufferable smirk on his face as he bent to take off.
Any rejoinder the huge transformer may have had was lost in a sudden roar of flame and smoke - Unicron was sent hurtling into deep space and out of sight, accompanied by the cheers of the Autobots and Decepticons alike.
The smaller and lighter seeker, however, was catapulted in the opposite direction - straight towards the oblivious Galvatron and his cronies, who were just about to turn and see what had made all the noise...
Skyfire jumped as Dreadmoon gasped and bent over the console. "Oh no... He wouldn't-!"
"What?" he asked, hurrying over to stand beside the monitor. "Did you find something?"
"Look at this!" Dreadmoon snapped, jabbing at the screen before heading for the door at a run. "Some Sweep reported they used Unicron's memory centre to find out what happened to Galvatron - there was still power in him!"
He turned and snarled in frustration at the baffled look the scientist bore. "Weren't you listening to Starscream before? Unicron brought Megatron back from the brink and re-built him - if he's still online he could do that for Starscream, and you can guarantee there'll be a price...now will you come on!?It'lltake both of us to either talk or get him out of it!"
Some time later...
Falling slowly through space, Starscream painfully lifted his head at the distant, vaguely annoyed - and very worried - silent call.
Starscream, where the slag are you?
He tried to concentrate as he felt the second presence join the first.
...And Skyfire... How did they...? He decided not to wonder how. They'd come, and that was all he cared about.
Starscream? Starscream...Sprite, answer us!
I'm here... he sent weakly. It was really rather unnerving watching your fuel float in blobs around you in zero gravity...
His radio had been shot out by a stray cannon bolt - I suppose I should be grateful it wasn't something vital, he grumbled, but why is it always the radio when you need it? - so he pulled as hard as he could on the ties between him and his companions. It wasn't as fast or as accurate as radio co-ordinates, but within a few long, anxious minutes he looked up into twin pairs of worried red-and-blue optics.
"Oh, sprite" Skyfire murmured, touching his face. "You look terrible."
Dreadmoon glared at him, but held Starscream's hand as tightly as he could without damaging him. Starscream grinned shakily up at them both.
"Probably...but it was worth it." His fingers closed fiercely around their hands, and they didn't let go for a short, heartfelt moment until Skyfire looked at the monitor. "Keep hold of him. I'll get us back." Dreadmoon didn't protest, taking hold of the seeker and wrapping his arms around him possessively as Skyfire transformed. Starscream held still and didn't bother activating his own jets as Dreadmoon boosted them both into Skyfire's hold - he wasn't sure if they'd work if he tried, and after being insubstantial for what seemed far too long he wasn't complaining about being held.
They landed gently on the floor of Skyfire's hold and the jet sealed the door, engines rumbling to life as he turned and headed back to Stormworld. Dreadmoon held Starscream close as they began to move, Skyfire watching them both with his internal sensors and breathing a metaphorical sigh of relief. Starscream certainly wasn't as good as new, but judging from the self-satisfied smirk on his face as he snuggling comfortably a little closer to a watchful Dreadmoon, he'd be back to normal soon.
Skyfire grinned to himself, and his jets blasted like flares on the sun as he carried his beloved cargo home.
There. Sappy, probably totally OOC, but I feel better now. Please read and review and tell me what you think. (You may also be interested in the fact that this beats 'Revenge' for one-shot length. It's about five pages longer, and totally by accident. It just kept rolling... woo.)
I don't own anyone or anything here, as all the Transformers and related stuff belongs to Hasbro. The story, however, I do own.