Title: Me and My Shadow
Author: Tirya King
Rating: PG-13 for language
Summary: Good things come in pairs. And where there's one, the other is bound to be close by...
Disclaimer: Let's see what I don't own: the Lambo twins, Transformers in general which belongs to Hasbro, and the song (which belongs to Frank Sinatra or whoever wrote it). And the paint belongs to Cyberclaw. Woe is me.
A/N: Cyberclaw, this is for you You know who you are. Please forgive me.
Me and My Shadow
Part One: Heaven Doesn't Want Them
The shout echoed through the expansive halls, seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere at once. Not a bot in the base changed pace in their current activities, not even the ever fearful Red Alert during his morning internal security check. Such a yell so early in the morning had become part of the daily routine. As normal and expected as any other happening in the base.
As were the expected clatter of four feet pounding down the hallways merrily. Two blurs of red and yellow sped their way passed the lounge, into the officer quarters hallway, around the med bay, and into the main command room where lay their only chance for freedom.
"Git yer skidplates back here!" the disembodied voice continued, another set of steps close behind the pair.
"Getting an early start today, aren't we?" Prowl asked wryly from his position in front of a geography chart. He was neither alarmed by the pair sliding to a stop just a foot away from him and nor was he upset at what had become a routine part of the day. He found it took too much energy to be upset at the two, for if he allowed himself the luxury, he could easily find himself giving Gears a run for his money. No, they were no longer worth his limited show of emotion. A few millennia ago, he might have 'wigged out' as Sideswipe so eloquently put it. But not now.
The red hued bundle of mischief, known to most as Sideswipe, grinned roguishly at his superior's words. The tactician decided that all that was missing was a halo shining overhead. "Well we can't let you be bored, Prowl. What would you do with yourself?"
Prowl frowned in mock thought, not even daring to consider the possibility of a twin-free day. "Indeed. Primus forbid I act out my job more often than twin-sit."
"See, those were our thoughts exactly," Sunstreaker agreed, oddly in a pleasant mood this morning. Now Prowl knew something was up. "So consider this our gift to you. A dedication, if you will, in thanks to all your hard work on the team."
"I do believe I may shut down from all the happiness flowing through my circuitry," the tactician responded flatly. It took a moment for the twins to realize he wasn't dead serious.
"Aw, I don't think he likes us anymore, Sunny," the red Lamborghini pouted to his partner in crime.
Sunstreaker opened his mouth to respond, but the sound of their pursuer getting closer made him think otherwise. Prowl crossed his arms and took a deep breath as if to relax himself and prepare for the worst. Not an unreasonable act when one found themselves dealing with the terrible two. By Primus he needed hazard pay for this.
"Dare I inquire into the nature of this morning's transgression against Ironhide?" he asked, knowing he probably would regret it.
He was right.
The more charming of the two, Sideswipe attempted to weasel their way out of the inevitable discipline to follow. "Now Prowl, why do you want to get all depressed on a day as fine as this? Trust this humble warrior when I say you would be in a much better mood today if you just didn't know."
Sunstreaker grabbed his brother's arm in alarm. "Time to go, Sides. Patrol duty, y'know. Can't be late."
"Ah'm gonna tear you two apart and rebuild yeh as can openers!" came a yell that was just around the corner.
Sideswipe's optics grew large and he quickly let his brother drag him to the doors. "No, Sunstreaker! We couldn't possibly even think of being late for such an important duty."
With a final shout of farewell to the increasingly exasperated Prowl, the Lambroghini twins transformed and left only a cloud of dust in their wake. Just as the doors closed, Ironhide burst into the command center, panting terribly, but looking ready and willing to carry though on his threat. "Where are they, Prowl?" he demanded, looking around to see if they were hiding in a corner. "Where are those cowards hidin'? Ah'm gonna kill 'em!" As if it were that easy to hide two very large yellow and red warriors in a rather sparse room.
"You just missed them, I'm afraid," Prowl replied, quite calmly returning to his console.
"Missed 'em? Where did they go this time!" the incensed mech cried.
"They went off to do their patrol route. Nearly 20 cycles early, but…"
"An' yeh jus' let 'em go!" Ironhide looked ready to add the mild-mannered tactician to his brand new hit list of two.
"Honestly, Ironhide, did you expect me to stop them?" Prowl turned to give the Chief Security Officer a wry look. For all his skill and brilliance in combat, the idea of him stopping two seasoned melee warriors who decidedly did not want to be stopped was absurd. Not to mention he stood at least a head shorter than the twins. "Had I half the fleet here, I might have delayed them. As it was, I was the only one between them and the door and I have grown quite fond of my internal systems where they are."
It took a moment for the fact that the dry, straight-faced words were meant to be humorous. Prowl mentally wondered why it was that it took so long for others to pick up on the joke. It took another moment for Ironhide to calm down and subspace his gun to the other's relief. "Well, they have t' come home sometime," he consoled himself.
"Indeed," the tactician agreed. "If you'd kindly tell me what they pulled this time, I may have time to think of an appropriate punishment for them"
"Prowl, yeh know as much as th' next bot that punishment means nothin' t' those miserable bastards."
Prowl shrugged, uncaring, "Yes well, if anything, it keeps them out of trouble for a few days. And the floors substantially well polished." He was beginning to think that between the two of them, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe had cleaned and repaired more of the Ark on punishment detail than the actual Maintenance crew itself.
Ironhide fidgeted slightly under the tactician's steady, expectant gaze. Clearly he wanted an explanation. Finally, the stubborn mech sighed in defeat. How this young pup made him want to tell everything he ever knew, Ironhide would never know. "Alrigh', fine. But yeh can' tell anyone else what they did. Agreed?"
"Agreed. This will be entirely confidential."
Assured that his public dignity was safe, the proud warrior turned around to show Prowl his backside. "Yeh promised."
There was a slight choking sound made by the taciturn Prowl. He struggled to breath through his intakes properly for a moment or so to Ironhide's embarrassment. Then there was silence.
"Say somethin' will yeh?" the Security Officer demanded, feeling distinctly uncomfortable under his scrutinizing gaze. "Anythin'."
"What…" Prowl's voice came out slightly high pitched. Clearing his vocal processor with a slight cough, he tried again. "What did they do?"
"What do yeh think they did!" Ironhide barked. He pointed to his skidplate which was now a shocking green color. The paint was still wet and dripped down his legs onto the floor. It may have been the Second in Command's imagination, contrary to popular belief he did have one, but the growing puddle looked rather… luminescent.
"Yes, but how did they do it?" Prowl's voice was now thankfully back to normal.
The paint covered mech turned around fully to face his fellow officer. "Those little shits put it in mah favorite chair at mah desk!"
Prowl recalled how said chair had a slight depression in it, allowing it to hold a mech's backside, or liquid apparently, quite comfortably. But, wait… "Did you not look before you sat down?"
Ironhide's ugly glower answered the question. Quite obviously, he did no such thing. If the Security Officer weren't the favorite victim for the twins' games, Prowl may have had a bit more sympathy for the mistake. But honestly now…
"Look, Prowl," the red, and green, mech growled. "Ah wan' those rodents properly punished this time. If they don' wish they were dead by th' time you're done wit' 'em, Ah'll kill 'em mahself!" With that, he spun around and stalked back to the comfort of his office. Prowl noted that the green glowed quite brilliantly as he slipped into a darker hallway. It took a moment before he could straighten his face again into his normal neutral expression.
Mirage entered the room, passing Ironhide on the way. He turned halfway, watching with a look of mixed curiosity and hilarity. The angry officer turned to glare at him which only served to turn the younger mech's look of bewilderment into an uncharacteristic grin. "Good morning, sir!" he chirped happily. Ironhide only swore under his breath and quickened his footsteps to escape.
"What happened?" Mirage asked his superior once he was in the command room.
Prowl looked up from his chart again, wondering if he felt he would ever get done with this analysis. It was seemed that even absent, the twins prevented him from getting anything productive done. "I promised Ironhide to keep his… dilemma confidential."
The blue and white spy chuckled good naturedly. "And walking down the main hall with a glow-in-the-dark backside will?" So it seemed his friendship with the Lamborghinis had served to ease on the 'nobleman' image Mirage nearly always presented. At least one good thing had arisen from their being sparked. "So where are the two little culprits now?" Both mechs knew who he was talking about.
"What makes you think they had anything to do with this?"
"Because Ironhide was grumbling something about boiling them in their own mech fluid."
Ask a stupid question…
The spy shuddered. "Now there is a ghastly mental image."
Prowl chose not to reveal that it was a mental image he had conjured on his own a few times in the past.
"So what brings you here?" the second in command asked instead of revealing his less-than-professional murderous intent toward the two.
"I wanted to report Decepticon activity over sector 9. Jazz isn't here to report it to, so I thought to come to you."
Prowl nodded in approval. At least one warrior understood the need for going up the chain of command. "Thank you. Any idea what they're up to?"
Mirage shook his head. "I only saw the three seekers and the Stunticon team headed toward the city. I expect they're trying for another raid on the power plant."
"I'll get a team on it right away. I want you to lead them to the Decepticons and engage them the moment they turn hostile. I'll contact…" his optics widened slightly in realization. "Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were headed in that direction 10 minutes ago."
Mirage likewise grew disturbed at the news. "They'll come across the Decepticons any moment if not already."
"Mirage, you wait outside, I'll send you your team as soon as I can gather them."
The blue and white mech nodded, completely turned into 'business mode,' and raced out the doors. Prowl, meanwhile, opened his comlink to all the personnel he wanted.
"Bluestreak, Ratchet, Trailbreaker, Tracks, Hound, report to Mirage at the front entrance for emergency combat preparation."
"Who got their aft in trouble this time?" Ratchet grumbled back.
"Your favorite set of twins," Prowl replied, knowing that if the Decepticons didn't kill Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, Ratchet would make them wish they had. But no matter how badly the Chief Medical Officer chewed out the two melee warriors, some strange paternal part of him would kick in whenever they were in trouble. Of course, Ratchet would reassemble anyone who said this into a pocket watch. Still…
"I'll kill them myself," he growled to Prowl. Then… "On my way." Yes, some part of him had adopted the pair it seemed. And it had happened without Ratchet ever knowing it.
With the team assembled and on their way to the rescue, Prowl could only hope they would get there in time. The fact that they should have radioed in by now with news of Stunticon and Seeker activity didn't make him feel any better about the situation.
Never a dull moment here, thought the tactician returning to his charts. He hoped to be able to look at them for a full five minutes before the next interruption.
"This sucks," Sunstreaker remarked lightly as though commenting on the fine color of his paint coat that day.
"You don't say," his brother replied just as flippantly.
The Stunticons circled the pair closer than before with the landed and transformed Seekers all pointing their guns at them. Even for the highly experienced and fearless duo, they knew there was no way they could fight their way out of this one.
"You suck as well, Sunny," Sideswipe added, warily eyeing Starscream who looked like he was enjoying this a bit too much. A happy Starscream usually resulted in a rather unhappy melee Autobot.
"Me?" his brother looked puzzled. "And why is this?"
"Because, oh brother mine, it was you who led us into the one valley where we can't send a decent distress signal."
"Distress? Who's in distress? I'm not in distress." Sunstreaker grinned wickedly at the passing Dead End who drove a bit further away from the yellow warrior.
"Oh please," the red twin snorted. "You may be happy being among others with your brain power, but this isn't my idea of a good time."
"What!" the yellow Lamborghini demanded. "Excuse me, Sides, but I believe the one given the brains and beauty at birth was me."
"Says the bot who bought millions of crickets to let loose around the Ark and left the slagging RECEIT laying on our couch!"
Sunstreaker's expression grew sour and he crossed his arms defensively. Looking every inch like a pouting child, he snapped back, "Well what about the time you took all the fire extinguishers and…"
"Silence!" ordered Starscream, not able to take much more of this. "You are now our prisoners and you will keep quiet!"
"Oh bite me," Sideswipe snapped back, not at all impressed by the intimidating Air Commander. Starscream looked completely scandalized at the lack of fear these foolish Autobots had for him. However, he kept his head about him, forcing the twins to disable or release all weapons before transforming into their car modes.
Corralled by the Stunticons and fixed with twin cannons by each Seeker, the captured Lamborghini brothers had no choice but to comply. That did not mean, however, that they would do so quietly. And by the time the prisoners made it to the Nemesis, each captor just wanted to go back and let them go if it would make them shut up.
"My beautiful finish," lamented Sunstreaker loudly, in the middle of a rather impressive tirade of complaints. "You slaggers ruined all the hard work I put into it this morning."
Sideswipe gave an evil look to the other mechs that would make Megatron look like an amateur. "You heartless bastards!" he accused furiously. "How dare you ruin my brother's finish!"
At their, and Sunstreaker's, astonished looks, he sighed miserably. "Now I'll have to hear him bitch about it until we get home!"
Thundercracker eyed the red warrior in a way that said he was used to seeing bouts of insanity living where he did. But also that he had seen new levels of madness on this day never before witnessed. "Starscream," he appealed to his superior calmly. "Might I suggest…"
"No," the Air Commander returned fervently. "We'll throw them in the brig and report our victory to Megatron." There was no way he was going to lose these prisoners, no matter how annoying or insane they may be.
"Yeah, but who will be the sorry sap to watch those two lunatics?" Dead End muttered giving said lunatics a wide berth as they all walked down the halls. He didn't like the way Sunstreaker had leered at him earlier and knew first-hand just how much damage the pretty boy sunflower could deal out.
There was blessed silence in the hall causing Dead End to look back up. To his ever impending dread, the Stunticon realized that everyone was looking at him with smiles lighting their faces. Well, mostly everyone. Sideswipe was eyeing him like a human child might a fly before pulling off its wings in glee. His counterpart, however, looked as though he were the fly immediately following the procedure.
"Lunatics!" the yellow Autobot voiced his complaint loudly. "What makes you think I'm a lunatic!"
"Because there's no evidence to prove otherwise," his brother replied unconcerned. The Decepticons tried their hardest to ignore their prisoners' words as they were eager to leave them behind in the brigs. Most willing even to leave them there for the remainder of the war if it meant they never had to deal with the two bundles of joy ever again.
"We will need those two to be guarded," Motormaster smiled pleasantly. Dead End gulped. "Thanks for offering."
The young Porsche silently vowed never to speak up again. Primus hated him. There was no other explanation.
End Part One
A/N: Ok, I'm still trying to find my pacing, so bear with me. The next part will be up, hopefully, in the near future. So until then…
This is just a little fun I like to have with all my stories just to see what else ya'll know. Today's question is: Who is Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce? Who is he most like in the TF universe?