When Seekers Protect
A/N: Yes, I have decided to revisit this story and continue it, because while reading through it again, it looks unfinished even to me. So...on with the story! And I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update after this, see my profile for a little more detail.
While Sam was recharging, under the watchful optics and eyes of Ratchet and his human parents, Starscream took the opportunity to go and seek out Bumblebee. The yellow scout had surprised Starscream with his swift and skilful insertion into Sam's flight training, and if they were going to be acting as co-Creators, there were discussions to be had, questions to be asked and answered, and boundaries to be set.
Having confirmed via com that Bumblebee was in his room, and after asking for directions, Starscream soon found himself at the door of Bumblebee's room. It was like all the other doors at the base, except for a few stickers that Sam had given his yellow Guardian while still a human. Starscream commed his arrival politely, and waited.
Bumblebee was, for his part, nervous. When working together with Sam, the interactions between Starscream and himself centred around Sam and his well-being, and he had to wonder why Starscream wanted to see him in his room while Sam was in recharge. He remembered how the Seeker had caressed his door wings the day Sam was changed, and gave them a little twitch. He and Starscream had been enemies so recently that he didn't feel ready for much, if any, interaction with the Seeker beyond helping with sparkling-Sam's upbringing.
When he received the Seeker's com, he briefly shuttered his optics, flicked his doorwings, and then stood straight up as he sent the signal for the door to open.
Starscream walked in, saying "Thank you for agreeing to meet me," before stopping to sweep his optics over Bumblebee's quarters. There was the usual recharge pad in one corner, and, up on a shelf, he spotted a human-sized bed, which he assumed was once Sam's. Next to the bed was a games console, with two human-sized controllers, and another two large enough that Starscream himself could use them if he so wished. The console was attached via its wires to a wall-mounted flat-screen TV, and the Seeker surmised that Sam and Bumblebee, and maybe Mikaela and another Autobot, sometimes played games in here. There was also a wardrobe, and other stuff that was obviously Sam's, but otherwise there was just an energon dispenser on the wall, and a few empty drinking cubes on another shelf next to it.
His optics quickly moved to light on the yellow Autobot who was standing waiting for him, and Starscream could read the tension in his frame, and wondered if he'd made a mistake making the meeting here. Perhaps the Medbay or rec-room might have been more reassuring, but they were not as quiet or as private as Starscream wanted for this meeting. He did not approach any closer, but bowed, and said "Co-Creator figure, there are matters we need to discuss about our young charge."
"Indeed," replied Bumblebee, the formal phrasing Starscream was using seeming to unfreeze the yellow scout, for he moved to the dispenser and poured them a drinking cube each, handing Starscream's to him. Starscream took it with a nod, and lowered himself to sit on the berth, Bumblebee moving over too, but staying stood just out of arm's reach. Starscream silently suppressed a flash of irritation at Bumblebee's skittishness, but simply reached out to pat the other side of the berth with his hand. "Please, sit, it is better if we are both comfortable for any discussions." He took a long drink from his cube, hoping to reassure the young scout with a reminder that as they were drinking energon together, that it was custom to not attack. He patted the end of the berth again. "Please, sit, I don't bite, well, not much, anyway'" he said, an attempt at humour.
Oddly enough, the jest seemed to reassure Bumblebee, who did sit on the berth, but as far from the Seeker as he could. Starscream sighed out loud this time.
"I am drinking energon with you. I will not harm you, and neither will I attempt anything you do not wish. How can I reassure you, you seem so tense?"
"We were so recently enemies," Bumblebee tried to explain. "I spent most of my life learning to keep up my guard, with the odd reminder that lowering it could be fatal."
"Yes, you are one of the youngest Autobots, in fact I think you were the youngest until Sam turned into one of us. Forgive me, I forgot that you have grown up at war, whereas most of us can recall being at peace, too."
"Yes, there is that," Bumblebee said, moving a fraction closer to Starscream on the berth. "Maybe we can get to business, what do we need to discuss?"
"Well, I think the first thing in the agenda is about Sam and what he knows," Starscream said. "We know he has many memories, but many gaps in them. By human standards, he was an adult, by age and form in our culture, he is not. However, he knows more than the average sparkling, and as such, maybe we should find out if he is still capable of giving input on issues relating to him, and in what areas he may lack the knowledge, due to memory loss or sheer lack of experience."
Bumblebee was struck silent, for Starscream had not only raised an issue that Bumblebee himself was beginning to wonder about, but he had spoken what Bumblebee himself was thinking, and was fearing opposition from Starscream on this. The Seeker had seemed to throw himself a bit too enthusiastically into the role of Sparkling-Guardian, and Bumblebee had feared Starscream would need reminding that Sam was not, to their knowledge, mentally damaged and was used to making many of his own decisions. To hear Starscream speaking what Bumblebee himself was thinking momentarily left him lost for words, so he nodded in agreement, a gesture, it seemed, that both Cybertronians and humans had in common. He quickly gained control of his vocal processor again, to add "So these discussions are mainly suggestions, until we find out, and then run them past him if it's applicable."
"Yes, although we can discuss the possibilities. For example, Should he keep the name Sam, or should we suggest some more Cybertronian alternatives?" Starscream asked.
"Maybe we should ask Sam that?" Bumblebee replied. "Like any other, if he wishes to change his sparkling name, and use another of his own choosing, he can, but I personally suspect he may wish to retain it as a link to his earlier life. For some humans, names are important, and with the level of understanding he has so far shown, I think we can assume that Sam has enough information to keep his current name, or choose another, as he himself wishes."
"Secondly, flight," Starscream said. "You showed remarkable adaptability into becoming one of his trainers when learning to fly, but we may need to adapt the training to allow you to continue to be part of it. Sam seems comforted by your presence, and for his sake, we need to keep as much stability in his life as possible."
"Actually, that leads onto another thing I wanted to raise," Bumblebee said. "If we are acting as co-Creators, we need to be open and honest with each other. I had no idea what the flight training would entail, or even that it was happening at all. I know Seekers have their methods, but you and I must both know about anything either of us may plan. I felt like you had gone behind my back, and I grabbed my jet pack and flew into that situation with no awareness of the situation. Maybe you are used to being secretive, but I need to know what is happening, and on this I will not go back."
"I apologise, it wasn't a deliberate omission, it is just something we have done for eons, all Seekers know of it," Starscream tried to explain. "It's like one of these things that you don't discuss, because everyone has been through it, and it was often seen. Well, all Seekers know, anyway," he said.
Bumblebee leaned in closer, so his face was inches from Starscream's.
"So, think of all the things that you knew as a very small Seeker, that were obvious to you, and tell me about them" Bumblebee said. "Even, what to you, is totally obvious. I'd rather be told something I already know, than not be told something I should."
As Starscream reached out to put his hand over Bumblebee's shoulders, Bumblebee realised that somehow, the two had drawn closer. He was about to pull back, but Starscream held him, not sexually, but not permitting a retreat without a big struggle. With this realisation, Bumblebee realised Starscream's restraint was not immovable, but that he'd have to mean it to be let go, and to his own surprise, he didn't feel that strongly against it.
"Perhaps I have to treat you somewhat like a Seeker sparkling to teach you what a Seeker needs to know" the Seeker said, carefully gathering the Autobot scout to him, spoon-fashion, curling about him, a position Bumblebee did not feel intimidated by, for there was something oddly protective about the gesture. It was about then that Bumblebee realised via this experience that intimate did not necessarily translate as sexual. He could have felt immensely threatened, as the spooning temporarily immobilised his arms, but it did the same to Starscream, who had his arms crossed over Bumblebee's hips and stomach, his hands free to defend the one he held, but not so free that they could attack the one the arms were crossed over.
"In the beginning were the First Thirteen Primes, and of them, seven were sent out to secure new worlds to colonise, for the anticipated population to follow after them. Of the six left behind, they shared three distinct forms. Two were bipedal, walking on two limbs and using the others to build and manipulate tools, two were quadrupedal, to explore Cybertron, a new world then, on the ground, and two were bipedal but possessed wings, to see the new world from an aerial perspective..."
A joor or so later, Bumblebee knew a lot more about Seekers and their beliefs and some of their paranoia than he had before. Much of it was not relevant to rearing Sam, but amongst all the irrelevance were some small nuggets that explained a lot, and were indeed relevant. He also found it more interesting than he thought he would, for Bumblebee, like many human teens, had seen learning history as a necessary, if very boring, evil, but he certainly wished he'd had as eloquent and passionate a teacher as Starscream when he was younger. Yes, he had been able to learn much from the computers, but it presented the data as dry facts that Bumblebee stored without doing much more than glancing at it from time to time.
Starscream had, with examples and anecdotes, taught Bumblebee about the stresses of living as a Seeker, from peacetime, where they were often tolerated, used for heavy labour, but seldom appreciated, to the Dark Ages, where Seekers had found previously accepting neighbours betraying them to the Seeker extermination squads that had, on three separate occasions, nearly made the flying subgroup extinct.
Yes, Bumblebee mused, the Seekers certainly had ample reason to be paranoid around superior numbers of grounders.
"Seekers find it difficult to trust any grounders, even now," Starscream said quietly into Bumblebee's audio, for some of the atrocities related had made Bumblebee burrow closer to Starscream for warmth. "Too often we have been betrayed by them, usually, we trust only each other. Bumblebee, you seem so scared of me, but did it ever cross your processors that I may be equally frightened, just not showing it in case it is taken as a sign of weakness? We are scared, Bumblebee, we just don't show it, and you have no idea how hard it is to have just admitted that to you."
"I am humbled," Bumblebee said, meaning it. "I swear on my Spark and my own energon, that unless that knowledge is needed to protect Sam, I will not divulge what you have told me to anybody else."
A long hand reached up to clasp Bumblebee's shoulder briefly. "I thank you for that promise, and agree to the condition, but I expect you to honour it." Starscream said in reply. Bumblebee nodded, touching the back of Starscream's hand in reassurance. Starscream then stood, before reaching down to pull Bumblebee up too.
"So, shall we continue discussions later? We should go check on Sam," the Seeker said. Bumbkebee nodded again and led the way out back to the medbay.
A/N: So...hoping this is okay. Will update as and when I get chapters done.