Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. All recognizable characters are the property of HasTak. All unrecognizable ones are the intellectual property of yours truly; their theft is punishable by severe voodoo-induced pain in any and all sensitive organs of the body, followed by eternal damnation.
Because, you know, stealing is wrong.
Title: Spare Parts I
Summary: A little bit of everything, tossed in a blender and pureed into something resembling literature.
Warnings: mild cursing
Author Notes: Bits and pieces that never made it into a larger story. Possible spoilers, but I doubt it. Several of these may be considered AU due to changes I made to the overall storyline after first writing them.
Spare Parts I
"Oh, Blue, I love it!" She traced the strange glyph with her thumb, then let the cuff dangle loosely from her fingers and tapped it against the tabletop. It chimed, a clear, ringing sound. "Is this real silver? It sounds like it. Where in the world did you find it?"
"I was on duty with Hoist down in the cargo bays and found a lot of weird stuff in a box off in a corner, and Jazz said something about humans liking shiny things when I asked him what to do for your creation day, so I thought I could use some of the stuff to make a present."
"That strange stuff from Teyonu 8? And Hoist just let you take it?" Hound frowned.
"I asked Prowl first," Bluestreak replied, wing panels held down and back defensively.
Jazz snickered as he returned from fetching himself a new cube of energon. "Prowl would prob'ly give ya one o' his sensory panels if ya gave him that Look when ya asked."
The gunner turned wide blue optics toward the saboteur, his wing panels drooping uncertainly. "What look?"
Evelyn glanced from Bluestreak to Jazz, who was now on the receiving end of one of the most devastating Little Lost Puppy Looks she had ever witnessed. She raised one hand to hide her smile. The black and white mech in question looked to be quite out of his depth. He gave a rueful little laugh and held out his cube.
"Energon?" he offered.
Evelyn burst out laughing, clamping both hands across her mouth to muffle the noise.
'I have got to learn how to do that,' said Sideswipe, sounding awed.
"Brawn? But… but he's a mini."
Jazz laughed. "Mini or no, he ain't a mech I'd ever challenge to an arm wrestlin' contest, know what I mean? Really, Evy, the guy's called 'Brawn' for a reason!"
"I just find it very hard to imagine."
"Evy, the mech's got backups for his backups, safeguards for his safeguards, and reinforcements for his reinforcements! Trust me, Bruticus could step on him, and all that'd happen would be Swindle winding up with a nice Brawn-shaped dent in his chassis to hammer out back at base."
"Jazz, just out of morbid curiosity, are you and Prowl, er…?"
"An item? Dating? Going together? … Doing it?"
"… D-do Cybertronians have an 'it'?"
"Wanna' make some noise, Screamer?" challenged Jazz, grinning like a cat. Panels on either side of the saboteur's waist slid aside, revealing the heavy-duty speakers that were the mech's pride and joy.
Sideswipe screamed out, "Hit the deck!" and proceeded to put action to the words by swan-diving face-first into the ground, leaving a suddenly opponent-less Skywarp gaping down at the prone warrior, and all the Autobots within hearing range followed immediately behind the red mech, including Optimus Prime himself and the famously dirt- and mud- hating Sunstreaker.
A split second later, Jazz's notorious sound system kicked on at maximum volume and proceeded to pound the air, the earth, and the Decepticons apart.
"Give me a minute! This isn't easy, you know..."
Obligingly, the mech sat quietly. To a creature who lived thousands to millions of years, a few minutes was nothing much to ask.
Finally, Evelyn said, "I want... I want to find my right toe."
The mech's optics flicked toward her feet, and Evelyn laughed.
"Metaphor. It's called a metaphor."
"I fail to see what human appendages have to do with the concept of 'love'."
"It's... Falling in love should be like finding a part of yourself. Like my right toe. I stub my toe; my toe feels it, and I feel it, but there's no way to tell where I end and the toe begins. There should be no 'him' and 'me'... just 'us'. You see?"
"... falling in love is like injuring yourself?"
Evelyn's mouth twisted into the half-frown, half restrained laugh shape that it assumed so often around the strange alien mechs. "No. That's childbirth. That comes much, much later."
"See? See? I told you I was funny!" The younger man puffed out his chest and grinned a Cheshire-cat grin at her. Evelyn shook her head and tried her best not to smile.
"Sorry to disappoint you, Miguel. Prowl was just being nice."
"I told you. He doesn't get Earth humor. Never has. I'm not sure he ever will."
"But he rumbled! You said a rumble meant laughter. He was laughing!"
She patted his shoulder. "Sorry. The pitch was too high. I'm afraid you got a consolation chuckle."
The young man stared at her. "... too high?" he asked.
"Any higher and it would have been a moan."
"You'll get it eventually."
MOVIE STARSCREAM... MECHANICAL TRISCUIT EXTRAORDINAIRE.
Evelyn gaped at the saboteur, aghast. "Jazz! When I said I'd wash and wax anyone who could take down Ratchet, that wasn't a real bet! And Ratchet was throwing laser scalpels at anything that moved at the time!"
Jazz grinned down at her, completely unsympathetic. If anything, the saboteur was highly amused. "Tough luck, Evy. You're down with the bets, and the fight's started. If Sunshine wins, he's getting a wax."
Evelyn's face transformed into a formidable scowl. "We'll just see about that," she grumbled. She stormed through the veritable forest of towering metal legs, secure in the knowledge that she was as safe as the comm-unitbeacon could ever make her, and made her way to the front of the crowd.
Ratchet was in bad shape, dented and dinged and drawing great draughts of air into his cooling systems. The scuffed metal along one side of his face indicated that Sunstreaker had gotten in one near-victorious attack at least. The yellow Lamborghini was grinning a wolf's grin at the medic as the two circled the ring.
Evelyn cupped her hands around her mouth. "Ratchet!" she bellowed. "Don't you slagging dare lose, you hear me?!"
Sunstreaker laughed an ugly laugh, and rumbles of amusement came from several quarters. Ratchet let out a growl.
"Not now, Evelyn." To his credit, the medic did not once take his eyes from Sunstreaker.
Bumblebee tried to shush her. "Evelyn, you'll distract him..."
"Remember last week?" yelled the woman, ignoring the yellow minibot. "Who was it that came into the bay a breem before you went off-duty because he went and got into a scrap with Tracks over whose armor was a better color? Kept you nearly a joor late, didn't he?"
The noise level dropped noticeably, and several mechs looked away from the fight to watch the small organic who was shouting her lungs out.
"And what about the last battle? Who went running after the 'Cons like some glitched madbot and got his legs scrapped for his stupidity? And who was it that spent the next three orns sulking in the 'bay while you took extra time to build him replacements, and him spouting slag at you the whole time?"
Ratchet's systems let out a low rumble, his optics paling.
"And what about everything else?" Her voice rose to even greater volumes and cracked at the effort. "Who's always getting banged up in useless fights so that you always have to repair him and whoever he was scrapping with? And who's always complaining about scratches to his glorious finish? And who's the one who wrecked the 'bay and glued all your equipment to the ceiling so that Grapple had to be called in to get them loose? Who called you an outmoded piece of scrap-yard junk?"
The medic crouched, optics glowing nearly white.
"Sunstreaker," hissed the white and red mech, and Sunstreaker had one short moment to look worried before Ratchet leapt.
"Found yourself a friend, Sunshine?" sneered the minibot.
Sunstreaker's systems snarled, but Evelyn beat him to the punch.
"Oh, shut the hell up!" It felt good to snap at someone and not feel guilty about it. Most of the mechs were just too damn nice for her to justify venting her temper on them, but Gears…
Well, Gears was Gears. Case closed.
"He wasn't doing a damn thing to you," she continued, "so why don't you just mosey on along to wherever the frag you were going before you decided to try and get yourself scrapped, huh? Go on! Shoo."
Faint snickers came from various mechs around the room. Gears stared at her in shock, but then his expression melted away into mulishness, and he slumped off toward the energon dispensers.
Sunstreaker was looking at her, his expression unreadable. Evelyn shrugged.
"Jerk," she said, by way of explanation.
He regarded her silently for a long moment, and then, to Evelyn's utter shock, he rumbled a short, sharp laugh and smirked.
Pain sang along his side, severed wires crackling and popping before repair systems shut off those relays and rerouted the energy through periphery systems. Warnings flashed in his vision – structural damage, energy loss, low fuel – and his brother's ire burned at the back of his mind.
(I'm coming.) It was a promise, a reassurance, and a deadly threat all in one. He spared himself a brief moment of dark satisfaction at the thought of his brother and his pursuers meeting – a royal scrap-fest, without a doubt, and Sunstreaker would not be the one worst off afterwards.
His tires slid briefly on the wet road when he cornered too tightly. The torrents of water fell from the dark sky in a flood that did his visual sensors no good at all and pried into the rents in his armor, sizzling on severed connections and seeping into torn tubing, infiltrating his lubricant and coolant lines.
(I'll meet you,) he replied.
He could sense his brother's location, far off to his right, beyond a growth-covered ridge that he could feel looming over him even in the darkness, but the road continued forward, and he followed it for speed's sake, all-too-aware of the three energy signatures following close behind him.
His systems were redlining, but there was nothing for it. He had done it all before, pushing himself to the limit and then demanding more. His engine labored, ventilation systems working far harder than their designers had intended. It was something of a blessing that his hood had been torn away in the battle; the rain acted as an inefficient but appreciated cooling system.
It also exposed his spark chamber and his cargo to the elements and added to the danger of the various bumps and pits in the road. That would be just the energon goodie to top off this fiasco, hitting a pothole and watching It go flying off into the darkness with no regards for Its bearer's need for haste, but It was not something that could simply be shoved into a subspace pocket, and his frame had very little in the way of storage compartments – any extra space held weaponry or backup systems.
(It could be worse,) he sent, feeling his brother's growing urgency vibrating down the bond, buzzing unpleasantly.
(Oh, really.) Not a question. Not even vaguely amused.
(Yep. It could be a Trine!) A new warning blinked onto his display: systems overheating. Yeah, he had kind of picked up on that from the steam streaming back in his wake. Primus…
(Frag these glitched-up organic pests to the Pit!) spat Sunstreaker, and he swerved a bit in surprise at the vehemence in his brother's voice.
(These Primus-forsaken roads! How the frag do they find their way anywhere in this mess? There's no structure!)
(You know, there's this lovely global information system that they've got…)
One could not actually snarl over a bond, but the tangle of rage-frustration-fear that Sunstreaker tossed his way came awfully close.
He turned onto a side-road, this one aiming more-or-less toward Sunstreaker's slowly nearing presence. A few moments later, he was smugly satisfied to sense one of his pursuers overshoot the turnoff. Score one for Sideswipe. It was about fragging time something went his way.
Maybe this'll turn out okay after all…
End Spare Parts I