Name: The Resulting Triumph
Rating: R for sexual relations between mechanical beings
Wordcount: 3, 901 words
Pairing: Starscream/Skyfire, Starscream(/Skyfire)/Perceptor
Author's Notes: This was the winner of the March 08 Mecha Erotica Challenge, The Mile High Club. It was intended as a celebration of flight and the freedom and liberty of spirit of the Golden Age.

--

It had been a point of no small wonder for the majority of the students at the Science Academy that Starscream had chosen to partner with Skyfire. The two seemed polar opposites, though there were those who said that they had seen the alliance coming right from the first hostile introduction. That the prickly, hostile jet who openly took pride in his own brazenness, candid sarcasm and disobliging tenor had chosen, after turning down so many others, to partner with the amiable, gentle shuttle had at the time seemed outright impossible. Since then, the masses had inevitably accustomed themselves to the fact. To Skyfire, it was a natural result of Starscream's disposition that he should get on with - if 'getting on' was really the best term - creatures of a calmer, gentler, more reserved temperament than Starscream himself. For the jet to be around someone of a similar nature to himself would have been like setting fires near explosives.

So it came as no surprise to the shuttle that his partner had had his optics glued to the blue-and-red mech since his arrival perhaps eight joors previously. Within moments it had been easy to determine that Starscream should find him simultaneously fascinating and infuriating, and as he had learned, with Starscream the combination of the two inevitably resulted in attraction. The mech was everything Starscream wasn't - where he was timid, Starscream was belligerent; where he was earnestly sincere, Starscream was brutally, backhandedly honest; where he was meticulous, Starscream was obsessive. Skyfire wondered if the newcomer realised he'd had a pair of ruby optics glued to his back all day, or if he was too absorbed in his work; which, looking at him, would have been entirely possible.

The jet's concentration was only really broken when it suddenly occurred to Skyfire that they should have been working on their thesis. Starscream reluctantly tore his optics away from his unwitting fixation to look at his partner.

"Huh?"

"I said, we should be in the lab by now, Starscream," Skyfire repeated with a slight smile.

"Oh. Right. Let's get going!" cried Starscream, as if it had been his idea, and smartly exited the room with Skyfire in tow. Being around his big partner inevitably made the lissome jet look twice as small and graceful as usual, an effect that the vain Starscream hardly resented.

It seemed, too, that chance fell in Starscream's favour. He had been thoroughly distracted by their work, but by what seemed like pure serendipity this new arrival had already found out about their thesis, which had a preemptive reputation for magnificence. He had knocked on the door, dithered for a few seconds when Skyfire opened it, and then - apparently simmering with curiosity - asked to be shown the research they'd done. Starscream, despite having his optics magnetised to the mech's back, couldn't seem to manage ten astroseconds of interaction before he became acerbic and sour. He eventually stalked off to the other side of the room, working on programming the computer they'd commandeered to analyze and compile the data properly. Putting Skyfire in charge of the social relations was probably the only thing that kept the mech in the room, and kept him from noticing Starscream's constant glances.

Starscream, for his part, had no desire to deny that he was thoroughly attracted to this one. Nothing like what he felt for Skyfire, of course - but that Skyfire was his was beyond dispute, went without saying. Starscream liked Skyfire because he was gentle, difficult to anger - an advantageous quality to posses when dealing with Starscream - and despite his unwieldiness on the ground the shuttle was astonishingly graceful in flight. This new mech, however, was well and truly ground-bound. Starscream guessed he was a microscope, from the sights and lens mounted on his shoulder. He was terribly shy, certainly, a nervous smile playing on his lips at all times, and rarely met his interlocutor's optics. He seemed to be possessed by all-consuming curiosity, tempered only by his diffidence. And as well as this endearing and infuriating manner, he was small and slender, barely as bulky as Starscream himself. How could Starscream possibly avoid attraction?

The jet made a plan and then turned his attention from his partner and the newcomer. He worked on the computer's system for a good three joors, his manic concentration going unbroken. Eventually Skyfire left the room to fetch energon for the three of them - it was a habit that he and his partner had acquired in order to maximise their work; one could always stay in and work whilst the other went for fuel. Starscream's focus was only broken when he suddenly noticed the red and blue mech's face inches from his own. He squawked and jerked away, immediately feeling embarrassed at his lack of composure. To cover it up, he snapped.

"What are you doing!?"

The mech flinched away, stuttering, and Starscream grumbled.

"What were you looking at, anyway?"

"P-Perceptor."

"Wha?"

Starscream gave him a quizzical look, and he tapped his fingers together and stammered.

"Er... m-my name is Perceptor."

"Oh. I'm Starscream."

"I know."

Perceptor smiled, finally making optic contact with the jet, and Starscream quickly reset his optics. Scrap and smelt it, he was cute when he did that.

"This is the filing and database system for the project?" Asked Perceptor, optics scanning Starscream's code. The jet shifted uncomfortably under the scrutiny, but his self-consciousness was unfounded.

"Uh, yeah."

"Incredible..." Perceptor breathed. "This code is... it's fantastic. An exquisite use of active coding."

Even when apparently transfixed with adulation, Perceptor still stammered and spoke quietly. Starscream glowed like an ember under the praise.

"Most just use active code like stationery code, and it gets awkward," complained the jet. "They don't use the tools they have to their advantage, just sticking to old techniques. They're outdated. We have the tools to bring this field into the future, but those old relics refuse to use them."

Perceptor smiled dreamily.

"This is a, ah, shining example... it's so elegant, I've never seen code like this before," he murmured.

Is he flirting with me? Wondered Starscream. He risked glancing into Perceptor's optics and realised with a jolt of amusement that no, the microscope had absolutely no idea.

At that moment, Skyfire walked in with their energon, and Starscream glowered and turned away. Perceptor trotted up to the shuttle, taking the offered energon and sipping it.

"That code is amazing," he purred excitedly, relaying his latest discovery to Skyfire.

"Starscream's the most promising computer scientist the field has had in a long time, I'm told," he lauded. "He certainly makes it seem that way."

Starscream sneered.

"Postgraduate was a joke. It was straight flying. This is the first year I've been interested in anything I'm being taught anyway."

Perceptor nodded, optics wide, and when he spoke his voice was breathy with excitement.

"This whole project... it's like nothing I've ever seen before..."

"That's because we're the best in this Academy, Skyfire and I," Starscream replied complacently. Perceptor beamed.

It was the next cycle that found Starscream swerving out of one of the research labs after Perceptor. The jet caught up with the shy little microscope, grinning sharply and suavely at him, enjoying the tiny smile he got before Perceptor looked away again bashfully. Starscream put his arm around the other Transformer's waist, guiding him down the corridor.

"Are you busy, Perceptor?" he purred.

Perceptor was shaking.

"I-I..um... er?" he managed. Starscream sighed.

"I'll take that as a no. Skyfire and I are free now - come with me."

It wasn't even a request. Perceptor's optics looked feverish with excitement and apprehension.

"W-where are we going, Starscream?" he asked, and although his voice was shaking with shyness - Starscream wondered if he'd ever been approached and asked to hang out with others before, looking at his reaction - he was completely curious.

"We're going to look for Skyfire," Starscream told him truthfully.

Perceptor nodded, optics wide with excitement.

Starscream was not the kind of mech to mess around when he wanted something. His attitude had got him into trouble with tutors more times than he cared to count, earned him lectures and scoldings from everyone he'd ever known, even Skyfire. Starscream knew how he wanted things done and made sure he could do them that way. It was precisely this attitude that had him marching Perceptor down the halls of the Academy, explaining his plans, and cutting the frightened little microscope off at every weak protest. If they couldn't fight back, Starscream would get his way. And besides, Perceptor would enjoy it!

"Skyfire, are you busy?"

Starscream leaned over his partner's shoulder in the lab, glancing at the schematics that the shuttle was studying.

"A little, Starscream, why?" replied Skyfire, and then yelped as Starscream snatched the datapad away.

"Not anymore, come on, we're going out."

"Starscream!" cried Skyfire, making a grab for it. "What are you doing?"

Then Skyfire noticed Perceptor hovering behind Starscream, and smiled apologetically at him.

"Hello, Perceptor," he said calmly.

"Hello Skyfire," squeaked the microscope in response. Starscream huffed, demanding their attention on himself again.

"So, anyway, we're going to take Perceptor for a fly. Come on!"

Starscream hauled his partner to his feet, clearly absolutely refusing to take no for an answer. Skyfire yelped.

"Starscream, are you mad?!" he wailed.

Starscream leaned forwards, pulling Skyfire down to his level, grinning up at him. The space shuttle for his part looked somewhere between horrified, stunned and resigned; he'd known the brash little jet for long enough to know that Starscream would win this one.

"Are you really telling me you don't want to do it, Sky?" Purred Starscream.

Skyfire sighed. "Okay, Starscream, you win."

And he smiled.

Starscream coaxed his two companions into the elevator, Skyfire stooping inside to avoid hitting his head as always. The jet could tell Perceptor was nervous, although he'd sworn he wasn't too afraid of heights, and his hands kept brushing the microscope's waist and sights. It hardly calmed him down, but it was certainly a distraction. Starscream kept up a conversation all the way to to the top of the observation tower, technically built for astronomy students but used by Starscream as his launching and landing pad of choice. He talked mostly about their thesis, but mentioned anything and everything in order to keep up a constant flow of speech. Starscream hated elevators.

He was the first out when they reached the top of the tower, and walked out to the edge, quite unafraid. The roofs of the rest of the Academy were far below them, and Perceptor was hanging back, unsure he wanted to go that far out, but Starscream stood with the tips of his feet overlapping the edge of the observation platform, looking down, and then up. The sky was devoid of clouds, a perfect panorama of the black void of space, stars stretching infinite into the distance, into the past. Starscream smiled dreamily to himself, unhesitatingly moved forwards, and simply stepped off the edge. He dropped like a rock.

Perceptor, who had been being reassured by Skyfire, looked up just in time to see Starscream plummet off the top of the tower. He squeaked in alarm, dashing forwards.

"Starscream!"

The little microscope's face was the picture of horror, one hand covering his mouth - which slowly turned to relief and not a little wonder as a crimson and silver tetrajet tore up through the air with a roar of engines and a backwash of heat from his afterburners. Starscream shot past them up into the air, somersaulted and transformed, hovering undisputed in his domain, thrusters blazing. Starscream might talk about owning the skies, but it seemed to Perceptor that you had to wait to see him in them before you could understand what he meant.

"Here goes," he heard Skyfire murmur behind him, but he was so caught up with staring at Starscream that he failed to make the connection until a strong pair of hands wrapped around his waist and he was lifted off the ground. He squeaked, petrified, before eventually realising that it was Skyfire that held him, and he'd be okay. He was held tight to the white shuttle's canopy, pressing himself back into it - he'd never been off the ground before, and his processors were struggling to keep up with processing everything correctly - the speed, the height, the lack of support beneath his feet, the wind rushing past him... it was terrifying. Amazing.

Skyfire drew level with Starscream, holding Perceptor tightly in his arms, and smiled at his partner. He loved seeing his companion in his element, free. It made Starscream shine. Red optics lifted and gunmetal lips curved into a smile that made Skyfire's spark pulse. They drifted lazily upward to keep their momentum - or at least, lazy by jet standards. Perceptor was frozen in place in Skyfire's hands, wanting to twist around and cling to the shuttle's fuselage, but too frightened to move. What seemed like a gentle climb to the two fliers seemed to Perceptor like a dizzying ascent into the heavens.

Starscream's circuits were thrumming with pleasure as he and his partner flew. After several cycles of staying inside in the laboratory, his every sensor was burning to feel the wind rush past him, blast his face, stroke his wings like a lover; to feel the burn in his thrusters, his ailerons shifting and turning with minute precision. Flying was hard-coded into him, and he needed it like he needed energon. Lazily, almost absent-mindedly, he let himself drift behind Skyfire, still looking upwards.

Skyfire felt a pair of hands brush his wings and he cried out in surprise, nearly dropping Perceptor.

"STARSCREAM!"

Behind him, the little tetrajet cackled gleefully.

"Skyfire!"

Another touch. Skyfire moaned softly. His wings were doubly sensitised in flight, a setting that automatically enabled itself in order to allow him to control his flying absolutely. Trust Starscream to take advantage of that. The shuttle turned Perceptor around to face him, gripping him tight in order to keep a hold of him, and the microscope immediately buried his face in the glass of the shuttle's canopy. Starscream ran his fingers over Skyfire's ailerons, and Skyfire moaned raggedly.

"Cybertron, Starscream, what are you doing?" he moaned, now trying not to crush Perceptor painfully against him, his velocity increasing. Starscream purred, pressing himself up against the huge white wings, keeping pace.

"Don't drop me!" shrieked Perceptor, clutching Skyfire in terror. The shuttle chuckled softly.

"Don't worry, Perceptor, I won't drop you. You'll be fine."

Perceptor whimpered, and found that offlining his optics made the experience a lot more bearable... even pleasurable, he realised, as he became very aware of the warmth of Skyfire's engine heating his armour, the way the vibrations from the engine transferred from the shuttle to himself, the other mech's big hands supporting him, holding him close. Perceptor wasn't about to mention it to either of them, but this was the closest he'd ever been to another Transformer, and it was far from unpleasant despite the wind whipping past him at speeds he never expected to experience unless he dropped from a building. Beneath him, Skyfire twisted a little and moaned again, arching into the touch on his wings, and Perceptor's optics immediately onlined. This isn't safe..! he wailed to himself, clutching at Skyfire. Flying was one thing, flying whilst putting one's life in the hands of a mech experiencing the kind of pleasure Skyfire was apparently experiencing was quite another.

But for fliers, flying and pleasure are nearly indistinguishable. Skyfire's armour heated, Starscream expertly mapping his wings with dextrous hands and mouth - the smaller Transformer couldn't span the shuttle's wings with his arms if he stretched. The negligible atmosphere of Cybertron began to thin and Skyfire slowed, earning himself an infuriated noise from the tetrajet behind him.

"What is it, Skyfire?" snapped Starscream.

"Level out, Starscream," replied the shuttle, "Lower...aah-- l-lower altitude."

Perceptor felt an inexplicable rush of heat at the ragged tone of Skyfire's voice, so unlike his usual measured speech.

Starscream reappeared in front of his partner, pressing himself up close to the petrified microscope, and suddenly there were lips on the edge of Perceptor's sights, one hand reaching out to a forearm and toying with the dial there. Perceptor's optics guttered and reset, and he moaned loudly, arching into Starscream, his fear ebbing away rapidly.

"S-Starscream-!"

Starscream purred and nipped at the microscope sights, making Perceptor cry out and arch into him again. The jet had determined that this was, without doubt, Perceptor's first time with any mech, flier or not. Perceptor was lousy socially but nobody reacted this strongly to this treatment if they'd done it before. Perceptor's head tilted back on to Starscream's strake, his optics blazing, gasping for air to cool his systems. And Starscream had barely done anything.

"Skyfire... give him to me," Starscream purred. And then, to Perceptor, "You can hold on tight, can't you?"

With that, the tetrajet transformed. Perceptor stared, frightened again despite his arousal.

"S-Skyfire, no, don't let go!" he wailed. Skyfire smiled.

"Don't worry, you'll be fine," he reassured the microscope, and then pulled him from his canopy and on to Starscream's. Perceptor immediately wound himself around the jet, clinging with everything in him to avoid slipping. Skyfire felt it might have been a little harsh of him, a little quick... but blast it if the situation weren't Starscream's. Skyfire was fairly desperate to shift to shuttle mode and fly with Starscream properly.

And then Starscream fired up his thrusters, and Perceptor learned what it meant to be a flier.

The two aircraft raced each other through the skies of Cybertron, blazing trails like comets, the air resistance thrumming across their wings. Starscream invariably pulled ahead, leading Skyfire on a frenzied dance through the sky. They shimmered about each other, clipping wingtips, grazing each other with air pressure. Starscream wanted to cry out with the perfection of it all. Flying was ecstasy, rapture, euphoria. He maneuvered so expertly, holding himself in check whenever Skyfire buffeted him with a gale of displaced air, spiraling and wheeling through space, unchecked by everything but his own ailerons. Wind, pressure and speeds that would have wrecked another mech, Starscream took under his wings and conquered, and flight was the resulting triumph.

When Perceptor realised that he wasn't going to fall, he truly began to enjoy himself. He peeked out only far enough so that he could watch Starscream and Skyfire's flying - he didn't like to turn his face to the wind too much, as the wind stung his sensitive dermaplating, but the glimmering flight, fluid in its perfect execution, enraptured Perceptor. Starscream's energy fields were a firm pressure against his own - another bizarre sensation that he simply didn't know how to handle beyond the knowledge that it felt, really, really good.

Starscream could feel the little microscope clinging to him, scraping his feet over Starscream's wings. Perceptor's face was pressed to his canopy, teasingly close to his pilot array, separated only by the sheet of plexiglass. Starscream gave a soft cry of ecstasy and gave up, dropping into a nose-dive, transforming, grabbing Perceptor out of the air and crushing them together, pressing his face in Perceptor's shoulder. Free-fall had never been much of a big deal to Starscream even in bipedal mode, but it certainly was to Perceptor who shrieked and clung to Starscream, their energy fields mingling and flaring erratically. The terror mingled with the mind-bending pleasure was too much for Perceptor to handle, and he curled around Starscream with an ecstatic wail. Skyfire too had plummeted out of the sky after Starscream and transformed, switching his engines back on and grabbing up the little Seeker and Perceptor in his arms, managing to get them all back up the air without clipping his wings. Starscream eventually came down from his high, nuzzling Skyfire's canopy weakly while Skyfire comfortingly stroked his wings. They were slow now, drifting.

"You're beautiful, Starscream," Skyfire murmured. The compliment was almost too quiet to be heard, almost not intended for Starscream's audios.

Starscream smiled.

"I know that, my Skyfire," he replied. Skyfire laughed drily.

Perceptor had offlined to cope with the data flooding his systems. It had been too much, too fast, and his processors had shut down to protect themselves. But now he came online slowly, hazy, aware of the two fuselages pressed against him, one at the front and one at the back. The aircrafts' armour was still hot with their exertions, and Perceptor found himself sleepily nuzzling into them. He couldn't remember ever having been so contented as in this moment... and then everything seemed to lurch sickeningly off center, and he onlined properly with a jolt, struggling to cope with the lag. He discovered himself to be still suspended in mid-air, Skyfire's hands supporting his legs, Starscream pinning his upper body from behind. Skyfire was dropping down toward the observation tower to land.

Starscream's comforting warmth left Perceptor's back and the little jet floated down to land on his feet. Skyfire followed soon after and let Perceptor slide down. The shellshocked microscope's legs nearly gave out underneath him, and Starscream caught him just in time with a winning smile. Perceptor met his optics for a brief moment, giving the jet another of his perfect little smiles before looking away. They made it into the elevator and back down to a sensible altitude, and even somehow managed to get back to the fliers' quarters. They were the closest, and all three mechs desperately needed to stop moving.

Skyfire staggered over to his recharge plate, pushed up next to Starscream's, and collapsed. Starscream followed suit, splayed out on his front, nuzzling his big lover's arm. They looked lovely together, Perceptor thought. Perfect. And he had seen them in flight. He had been with them in flight. He sighed happily and perched himself on the edge of the berth. Before he knew what he was doing, his hand had come up to rub Starscream's wings curiously. The jet trembled and moaned blissfully.

"Perceptor..."

Perceptor shivered. He'd never heard his name called like that before, ever. He kept petting and stroking the great silver pinions, his fascinated, delicate fingers tracing every sensor on the sheet metal. Starscream, exhausted from his earlier antics with the two, merely sighed and relaxed into the touches.

Starscream eventually awoke, aware of Skyfire's huge, familiar form next to him - and a smaller, unfamiliar one on his other side. A closer inspection revealed Perceptor, hands loosely clasping Starscream's arm, curled up beneath his wing. Starscream's engines purred drowsily. He felt nothing if not accomplished.