Among all the things writing Transformers fanfiction has given me, is the tickle of writing a Christmas short. This is the result of giving up to said tickle.
This is not a story about Decepticons decorating Christmas trees. It's more like a mixture of humor and my personal version of the holidays spirit applied to two of the most fascinating characters of the Transformers universe.
The biggest challenge writing this was to respect the personalities of the characters without taking them out of their context too much. I hope I succeeded.
Well, no more rambling. I hope you will enjoy my first attempt of a Christmas story.
Many many thanks to iratepirate for beta reading.
Much ado about Christmas
by Taipan Kiryu
Megatron's roar reverberated through all the Command Center and even managed to scare some fish swarms that were swimming around the Nemesis base.
"Permission had already been bestowed," Soundwave calmly responded, indifferent to Megatron's bad mood.
"I granted all my Decepticons three free solar cycles, but this is too much!"
"Christmas has a positive meaning. Probabilities of morale increase: imminent."
Megatron got up from his throne and began to pace. "General morale has been down lately, I'm aware of that… Which is why I authorized this event to take place. But there is a big difference between that and actually allowing rituals associated with this human holiday to happen inside my base!"
"Gift exchange can be beneficial for teamwork purposes. Soldiers' success rate is expected to increase as a consequence."
"Gifts? Since when do warriors exchange gifts?! Where is the benefit of acquiring such weaknesses? Those habits belong to pathetic Autobots, not real Cybertronians like us!"
Soundwave shrugged his shoulders. Personally, he shared Megatron's opinion, but it had been very difficult to avoid unleashing his Cassettes' enthusiasm after they had returned from one of their incursions in human territory with the concept of something called Christmas. The idea had propagated through the base faster than cosmic rust.
"I like to believe I am a reasonable leader," Megatron continued. "I know perfectly well that soldiers need diversions, some free time… But I would expect them to drink some high grade, fight a little, clandestinely use the Space Bridge to visit pleasure houses in Cybertron, kill a couple of Autobots… any healthy activity for one Decepticon's morale. But this Christmas thing is… is… too Autobotish!"
"Reasoning understandable, but discipline has increased 57.24 percent since Christmas festivities were approved."
"I know, and that's the only reason why I'm allowing this foolishness to continue. But I warn you, Soundwave. I don't want any Satan Claws figure contaminating my base."
"Correct term is Santa Claus."
"Whatever! I don't give a slag for the childish human beliefs. You all can exchange gifts or kill each other, I don't care! But don't expect me to enter this nonsense game, even less to actually give a present to Starscream!"
"His name was assigned to you randomly by the computer."
"Too much coincidence! Did Rumble and Frenzy sabotage it again?"
"Negative. Computer's logic circuits functioning at full capacity."
"Whatever… I'm not giving any gift to Starscream and that is my last word. Now get out of my sight before I blast that ridiculous Satan Claws hat off your head!"
Two monotonous metallic sounds could be heard in the room the Seekers used as their operations center. The stress inside Thundercracker's processor increased with every sound, his audios drilled by what it seemed to be a tense trigger ready to release his normally controlled violent instincts.
"Would you two shut it?! You're not even following a rhythm!" he yelled when his patience reached its limit.
Starscream stopped tapping the computer terminal with his fingers and glanced at his annoyed wingmate. Skywarp did the same, interrupting his welding work on something that remotely resembled an arm.
"You are the least qualified to demand silence, Thundercracker," Starscream growled. "You are not in hell, like me."
"Aaaawww… don't exaggerate, Screamer," Skywarp said as he continued attaching the arm to the bizarre metallic figure before of him.
"I'm not exaggerating, and don't call me that! I highly recommend you not to challenge my patience today, Skywarp!"
"You and your sweetness… Couldn't live without it," the black Seeker retorted.
Thundercracker laughed, leaving his previous bad mood behind. "Is it so bad that the computer assigned you Megatron for the gift exchange, Starscream?"
The addressed Seeker expressed his frustration with a violent punch to the console of the computer. "It's a disgrace! I have been opposed to this since the beginning, to this stupid idea of imitating a human celebration, and now I am supposed to give a present to Megatron. To Megatron, of all mechs!!"
Skywarp and Thundercracker glanced at each other, shrugging their shoulders. Listening to Starscream ranting about Megatron was as common as it was refueling.
"You should use this opportunity, you fool," Skywarp said. "If you give something good to Megatron, you will gain some favor with him."
"I don't give a slag about gaining favors with Megatron! You will see me turning into an Autobot before giving something remotely resembling to a gift to that afthole!"
"Suit yourself," Thundercracker said. "I just don't understand why you love to be on Megatron's bad side all the time. But better you than us."
Skywarp laughed mischievously and pointed at his creation. "Why don't you give him a nice femme drone like this? I bet Megs misses some nice curves!"
Starscream's glance couldn't have reflected more repulsion. "How do you dare call this monstrosity a femme? You have been building it for more than two solar cycles, and still looks like the same junk pile you took from the disposal unit."
"Hey, I'm not a master builder, you know?! But it has legs, arms, feminine curves, interface port… What else could you ask in a pleasure drone? Dead End will die with my gift!"
"I highly doubt Dead End will find that thing enjoyable," Thundercracker said.
"That guy is sooo somber. He needs some action. Besides, when I say he will die, I mean it. Just wait till he finds the explosive this beauty is carrying inside."
"Warp, you are supposed to give a present to Dead End, not kill him."
"Relax, TC. It's just an innocent prank; the explosion won't be that hard. Dead End will meet hell after meeting paradise, it's simple. You were lucky, though. The computer assigned you Shrapnel."
"Finding him a gift was easy. I stole a petroleum ship for him this morning. The cursed Insecticon won't be able to complain."
"Yeah. He'll find it delicious delicious," Skywarp said, imitating Shrapnel's voice.
A furious punch on the console of the computer interrupted the cheerful chat.
"Do you know what would be the perfect gift for you two?" Starscream spat. "New processors, and some that work, for a change. I bet you both could use a little bit of thinking."
"What is your problem, Starscream?" Thundercracker growled.
"Yeah, stop barking for a moment, would you Screamer?"
"I don't know what that the slag I'm doing here wasting my time so miserably with you two morons."
"Because no one else tolerates you?" Thundercracker solemnly asked.
"Who said we stand him, TC? Hey Screamer, why don't you make up with my little pleasure drone? Perhaps she will be able to put up with you for more than one astro second."
Starscream got up from his chair abruptly and sent it away with a furious kick. "I think I told you to stop calling me that!"
Immediately, Thundercracker placed himself between his two wingmates, perceiving the signals of serious violence.
"Come on, Starscream! Can't you take a joke?"
"Yeah, what about some Christmas spirit, Screamer?" Skywarp seconded.
"You can stick your Christmas spirit up your afterburners until it erupts out of your air intakes!" was the rough and shrieky answer.
Skywarp shook his head. "But what a dirty vocalizer you have… very worth of your rank, isn't it? Do you know what the funniest thing of all this is? That you are this pissed because you don't have anything to give to Megatron…
"I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE ANYTHING TO MEGATRON!"
"Your head on a plate would look nice…"
A null ray grazed the black Seeker's head, forcing him to cover behind his hideous metallic version of Frankenstein's bride.
Thundercracker sighed. "Is it really that bad, Starscream? We agreed to do this Christmas thing… Would it kill you to give up a little, just for once? Give whatever to Megatron and terminate your suffering."
"It's easy for you say. The only sincere present I could give to Megatron would be a shot right between his optics."
"You know something, Starscream? For a former scientist, you are such a geek sometimes."
"What the slag are you talking about?"
"What TC means," Skywarp said, peeking out cautiously from behind his bizarre hiding place, "is that Megatron gives you the most precious gift every day."
Starscream smirked ironically. "Which one? Kicking the lubricant out of me?"
"Letting you live, you idiot," the black Seeker continued.
Starscream's smirk disappeared. The silence that followed would have been very tense if Skywarp hadn't have hugged his monstrous creation and started some sort of wicked dance.
"So… what do you guys think of my girl? Will Dead End have the overload of his life or what?"
Thundercracker grinned, but Starscream's face was an enigma. His mouth was a sharp thin line; impossible to know what he was thinking.
"You two, come with me," he finally said.
"Huh? Where to?" Skywarp asked, stopping his dance.
"I'm going to let Megatron know exactly what I think about this stupid Christmas thing."
Without waiting for an answer, Starscream abandoned the room, his decided steps heading toward the launching platform of the base. Thundercracker and Skywarp glanced at each other, indecisive.
"This is not another attempt to overthrow Megatron, right? Because if it is, don't count me in," Skywarp said.
Thundercracker shook his head. "I don't think so. He knows we wouldn't back him up."
"I think he's finally lost it… What are we going to do, TC?"
"Let's follow him. I'm curious about what insane idea he's had this time. Besides, any excuse to fly is good."
Skywarp smiled and followed Thundercracker toward the door, not before sending a goodbye kiss to his horrible femme drone.
The Command Center was dark. The only lights came from the dozen monitors that projected ghostly shadows over the motionless figure of the Decepticon Supreme Commander, who was sitting on his throne.
However, there was another source of light. Two slim crimson optics stood out within the features of the harsh metallic face, expressing something more than contempt. Very few times had Megatron felt such repugnance; a result of the images the monitors were displaying, but mainly because of himself, for letting them happen.
The Rec Room was an impossible nightmare. Christmas Eve had officially started and his Decepticons seemed to adapt very easily to the childish celebration and its colorful army of decorations.
It was understandable that, after some time living in a foreign world, some local habits had managed to infiltrate, but watching an immense Christmas tree in the middle of the Rec Room and listening to their normally brooding warriors singing Christmas carols was too much.
Megatron heard the door hissing open behind him and wasn't surprised when he felt the treacherous presence of his Second in Command. One of the screens reflected the never welcomed figure of Starscream, who slowly walked in and leaned on the wall beside the door.
As every time that Starscream was behind his back, Megatron prepared to prevent possible attacks. Lowering his guard was a luxury the Decepticon leader never allowed himself in presence of his Second in Command.
But that night Starscream was strangely quiet and silent, which increased Megatron's suspicions. Starscream was never quiet, even less silent.
"WHAT, Starscream?" Megatron roughly spat, leaving clear that his patience was absent in that moment.
Starscream continued his silence some astro seconds more. The lack of illumination didn't allow Megatron to have a clear sight of him.
"I just came to tell you I have no intention of being part of the Christmas celebration, Megatron," he finally said.
"How considerate of you to inform me. Would you believe me if I told you I couldn't care less?"
The uncomfortable silence returned. Megatron's suspicions increased. Starscream hadn't made any acid remark and continued leaning beside the door. He didn't seem to have intentions to leave, but neither to stay. Megatron knew his Second in Command too well to recognize when he was indecisive.
"I suppose you won't be part of this joke either," the Seeker continued.
"Your supposition is correct."
Despite the darkness, Megatron could see through the reflection on the monitor how the Air Commander nodded slowly.
"What is this all about, Starscream? What do you want?"
"I made a fast investigation about this human paraphernalia and what it means. Even you would find it interesting, leader."
"I highly doubt so."
Starscream slowly pushed himself off the wall and started to walk toward his Commander's throne.
"Christmas has to do with weakling feelings such as good will and comradeship… things like forgetting old rancor for a while."
"If you want me to purge my energon tanks you are on the correct path, Starscream."
It was then when Megatron noticed that Starscream was limping, right before the Seeker stopped behind his throne.
"You know what my best wishes for you are, don't you Megatron?"
"Overthrow me, destroy me and turn me into a pile of junk. Did I miss any?"
"Yes. You forgot about melting your remains."
"True. I hope you will forgive my forgetfulness."
In one of the monitors, Drag Strip and Wildrider, in their alt modes, abruptly started to turn their lights on and off, transmitting an obscene phrase in some sort of code, their most recent acquisition from terrestrial culture. The blinking lights coming from the screen illuminated the structure of the Decepticon Second in Command.
Open wounds, exposed cables, burnt circuits and a perforated wing revealed the reason for his limping and his unusually slow movements.
But before Megatron could say something on the matter, Starscream moved too fast for his shattered condition. A thin and flat object flew and fell on Megatron's lap, who couldn't help but flinch.
"But what…?!" the Decepticon leader shouted as he glanced at the thing resting on his legs. "Is… is this what I think it is?!"
Megatron picked up the object and stared at it with a mixture of intrigue and astonishment. The lights were very low, but he didn't need any illumination to know what it was. Megatron had fought Optimus Prime too many millennia to recognize his face mask immediately.
"How… did you get this?" he asked, still astonished.
Starscream looked at his battered body. "Isn't it obvious?"
"But… you alone? How…?"
"Would you stop stammering, leader? Brutality is your thing, not indecision. Yes, I got it by myself. I snatched it from Optimus Prime himself in battle. Skywarp and Thundercracker covered my back from the other Autobots, but they didn't touch Prime. That was my fight."
Megatron turned the mask around, unable to believe that Starscream had achieved what he never could. For the first time in millions of years, something like respect beat in his spark toward his Second in Command.
"What's Prime condition?" he asked.
"Totally functional, unfortunately. Besides snatching his mask, I didn't harm him more than some superficial wounds. While I, as you can notice, suffered some… minor damage. So, if you don't mind, I'm going to get the slag out of here. Enjoy your present or get rid of it, I don't care."
Starscream turned around and started to walk toward the door, always limping.
The Seeker stopped. He heard Megatron getting up from his throne.
"I still haven't given you your gift."
The lubricant stopped flowing inside Starscream's body. Gift? Of course… a beating, perhaps a fusion cannon shot… In his weakened state, anything would be fatal.
"No, you still haven't, leader."
Starscream dared to look over his shoulder. Megatron was standing just a few mechano meters away from him, pointing with his finger at his throne.
"Sit," he solemnly said.
Starscream's pain and fatigue disappeared. All he could feel was astonishment.
"W-what…?" he stammered.
"Sit," Megatron repeated, stepping aside.
The Seeker obeyed, like a sleepwalker. So many times he had dreamed of sitting on that throne, and now that he was doing it he felt it was burning. Reality was so twisted already that another insanity didn't matter. The hit or the shot would come from behind. It didn't matter anymore.
But what arrived was Megatron's voice, strangely lacking of hate.
"From this moment and until the terrestrial year ends, Starscream, you will be the Supreme Commander of all Decepticons."
Starscream stared at Megatron completely in shock. Words had been very clear, but what Megatron hadn't said was even more meaningful. So many millenniums had passed, but Starscream still remembered what it was to be respected by his leader.
"B-but what… why…?"
Megatron didn't answer immediately. It wasn't necessary. Both Decepticons could read each other perfectly.
"Before retiring to my quarters, I want to inform you that I have no intention to participate in the Christmas celebrations," Megatron said, making an energetic military salute and starting to walk toward the exit.
The former Decepticon leader looked over his shoulder.
"That's Lord Starscream for you, soldier!" the new Commander continued with a bright smile on his face. All traces of irony had disappeared.
Megatron smirked. "Sure… I will try to remember it."
Starscream cleared his vocalizer. "You know, Megatron… since neither of us will participate in this Christmas charade… perhaps we could, you know… not celebrate it together."
"What do you suggest?"
"Do you still have high grade energon inside this thing?" Starscrem asked looking at the throne in which he already was feeling comfortable.
"If you were a proper spy and traitor, you should know it's inside the compartment below," Megatron replied.
"I already knew it. I was just checking." Starscream activated a hidden mechanism and a small hatch opened, exposing five cubes of tempting shine. He took one and handed another one to Megatron, who accepted it and sat in a chair beside his former throne.
"I hope you will give that mask a proper place, Megatron. Literally, it cost me a wing to get it for you."
"I have the perfect place for it, don't worry."
Both Transformers stared at the monitors, in which the rest of the Decepticons were exchanging gifts, some received with more gratitude than others.
Megatron lifted his energon cube. Starscream did the same; both cubes clinked with melodic sincerity.
"Merry Christmas, Megatron."
"Merry Christmas, Starscream."
Well, that was it. If it was too insane, I blame the cold. Merry Christmas to you all! May a Soundwave with a Satan Claws hat fulfill all your dreams.
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