Summary: Because there must be a reason why Starscream came back, one that he can justify to himself.

A few short bits, Starscream first person and more stream of consciousness than I ever tried before. Kinda experimantal, so I won't blame anyone who doesn't like it.

Again, title curtsey of the Sisters of Mercy – "body and soul" this time.

Thanks to everyone who reviewed or favorited my slashy indulgings.

The dreams kept and the tears sold

"I know what you'd like me to do," I say.

Optimus nods. I feel his disappointment and his understanding and his pride at my independence, too, which is a little odd.

"Give me some time?" Primus knows I need it. The humans have this saying of a train wreck moment: you watch and you know what will happen, but you're unable to stop things and even more unable to look away. That's my life since I woke up in that brig of theirs.

"Always." He leans in to kiss me on the helm. "Be safe."

By all rights, I should feel patronized, but I can't manage to be angry. I offer a small caress down his arm, and I leave.

It's nice to fly again, air rushing over my wings, and the sky offering endless possibilities.

Half a world away, in the Indian Ocean, I find myself an island, a place with a few nice rocks on the shore to sit on and think.

For some reason I get it into my head that Optimus expects me back on the next fourth, which would be kind of fitting, since that is our meeting date. It's only one and a half orn. I can go that long without refueling.

The one time he stood me up, he had to go see fireworks with some humans. Wonder if he'd ask me along next time?

Not that I'm particularly keen to meet humans or admire their pathetic exploits. But it would be worth seeing Optimus squirm while explaining why I was there, and the mechanics of it, too. Maybe getting the question about where little Transformers came from.

Gah. Not that it would be totally impossible, but no.

I'm getting into the domestic mind frame already, and it's unnatural. I don't do domestic.

I wouldn't be doing much else on the Ark. Optimus made it clear enough that he wants an equal, so technically, I couldn't be an Autobot even if I wanted to be one.

So. I can't sit around waiting on him the entire day, because that is as unequal as it gets. Maybe I could patch up things with Skyfire. Do some research. Though that would be beyond awkward. He doesn't know I was fully prepared to end things once we got back from that survey, only he crashed, so the point was moot. And he obviously was a little confused when I didn't try and resume things after we dug him out.

As if I'd start anything under Megatron's watch.

He's got it in for me as it is, any official relationship would have just been another reason for him to target me. But then, if I weren't his target, he would have killed me already.

To think that I once admired him for his people skills.

He'll beat me if I return to him. It's inevitable. For the stupidity of getting caught, and if I'm unlucky enough, and I have a habit of being so, he'll get it into his head that I turned traitor to escape unscathed. I know what he does to actual traitors, as opposed to what he does to me when just calls me a traitor.

Unless, of course, there was a cassette inside the Ark at the wrong time, and then he'll know that I've been interfacing with Optimus Prime.

Not odds I want to face. I do like myself in working condition.

So… do I brave the wrath of Megatron, or do I return to the Autobots? Only I won't have anywhere to go if I mess up with Optimus.


I don't think these visions I have while recharging are dreams. They're there at daytime, too, only less clear. It's as if I'm carrying around a part of Optimus, feeling things that he might be feeling at that very moment. Exasperation or pride or yearning. And I think he wants me to know that tactician figured it out.

It's a little odd, but right now, there is an image of a dinobot covered in pink glitter in my head, and I'm really glad Skywarp isn't quite as clever as those twins.

That second in command of theirs is never preyed upon like that, though.

The Autobots actually like or at least respect their command element. It's been a very long time since I had that respect for Megatron.

He's keeping the outfit together by adding a silent 'or else' to every order. There's probably very few Decepticons who actually respect him anymore.

It's not a fate I've wanted to share, but ever since we've landed on this dustball, things went from bad to worse. Having Megatron in close proximity is grating on me like nothing else. He's constantly watching and waiting for an excuse to let out his frustration on me, and I somehow just can't keep from needling him.

I'm doing better when he's not around.

This little stupid scheme of his – intercept the Ark, and oh, why not take two of your three most important officers along for the trip – it's the reason all I've worked for is gone, evaporated like water on a hot day.


It's early afternoon, and understanding hits me like a bucketful of icy water.

Prime read up on our strange little communications, and it leaves me shaking.

I'm not quite bonded to the trusting idiot, it seems, and no matter how nice it feels and no matter how much he had no idea what he was doing, I didn't ask for it and he tricked me into giving in. Do you trust me?

That's it. I'm not talking to him anymore.


Keeping up this silence is hard. What I can feel from him is hurt and confused and begs to be hugged.

Sometimes, every few hours, I stand up and look to the sky, ready to go back to him and offer that hug, and then I remember it's his fault, and that it's me who deserves to be hugged and be apologized to, and I sit down again.

It's so fragging pathetic. I'm effectively waiting for an apology.

And then I can just fire my thrusters and go to him and what? Play First Lady?

Well. I am Prime's bondmate. The position does have some potential. It might be almost as good as being Air Commander if I approach this correctly.

Though, with my penchant to mess up even the simplest small talk, there's no way I'll ever get there. Been there, done that, got beat up for my efforts. On a regular basis.


Sixteen hours time difference away, Optimus is just getting ready to face the fourth of May, and I still don't know what to do. And he doesn't know what I'll do, either. That quiet confidence from the beginning definitely went to the pits after I stopped talking to him.

At least I succeeded in making him feel sorry.

However, he's not forcing the apology down my throat. That's odd, and maybe a sign of how depressed he is. Or that he doesn't believe I would listen.

We two are truly pathetic.

I can feel him missing me. And… I miss him. On the Nemesis, it was quite easy not to, except at the times they were picking on me – they always prey on those that can't defend themselves, and after a beating or dressing down from Megatron that's exactly what I am.

Megatron thinks I'm a joke, probably always has, and obviously they've come to the conclusion that if the mighty leader treats me like dirt, they can, too.

It's odd that Optimus Prime should be respecting me, then. Even if I only count what happens on the battlefield, I get more respect from Autobots than from all of my fellow Decepticons combined.

Maybe it's worth a try. Or two.

Now. I need some solvent to get these decals off.