Most of the Autobot crew spilled out of the Ark as the four fliers approached.

How was one supposed to process this? There had never been, so far as they could remember at least, a Seeker that did not wear the purple crest. Never had an Autobot child been born, that they could recall, had a seeker build. And yet many new Decepticon children had been raised for the skies.

The Autobot Prime had, while the four seekers were returning to base, looked up the very same reports that Jazz had done days before, regarding the School. He had yet to read it in detail; it was an old report, and as such, thanks to Trindlespin's rather infamous reporting style, it was something you really needed to set an hour or two aside for.

But the long and short of what he quickly read, was that the building where they had found Red Alert and the Twins, probably should have housed more…. many more, than the bodies they found.

About two thirds of the estimated building population had been accounted for, leaving another third missing. It became very clear to Optimus that the seekers that made up the rest of the School's population must have been sparklings, or Seekers who had a stronger desire to live than a sense of stubborn pride.

Which was almost ironic, knowing the Decepticon Air Commander like he did.

So, all those new seekers they saw on the battlefield… the young ones that came out long enough to be shot down… were they a stolen generation, sent out with hardly enough skills to survive?
It would explain how Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp had managed to climb the Decepticon ranks as they had done. They were, so far as he understood, the only trine of Decepticon seekers to have actually been trained in the School, and they were passionate enough about their place in the military to actually want to excel. If Corkscrew was correct, that trio of seekers were nothing special in their builds, so, it was their training that gave them the advantage over the other seekers in the army.

But how did Corkscrew fit into things then? He had been drafted into the Decepticon military when his stubborn pride had given out and his self-preservation had kicked in. But as one of the seekers who had been DOING the training, as a seeker who was a 'Hunter' class, and as such, built differently to the 'Common' class of the Air Force leaders, was it really his lack of enthusiasm for the Decepticon cause that had him outranked by his old students? Or was there something more to it that Prime just wasn't seeing? The olive green seeker had mentioned something about the seekers having something… 'sacred'… that the combat trainer had refused to speak of… did that have a hand in it as well? He would ask, but, he doubted that any of the four seekers they now found themselves with would say a word.

Optimus Prime was standing at the head of his army as the fliers descended.

Corkscrew was flying in the lead, with Red Alert flying in the trainer's slipstream, and the twins guarding the smaller seeker's flanks. It was startling, seeing them flying like that, and realising just how different their builds actually were. They had only ever seen Commons up until now, and those more or less looked like they had come off an assembly line and simply painted differently at the end.
But the Hunters that surrounded the Interceptor before them… you could see the striking size difference between the larger than common Hunters, and the smaller than common Interceptor. You could also very clearly see the differences in their construction; Red Alert had much broader and longer wings, but a more slender body.

And you could hear the differences in their size and their weight, as the four seekers transformed mid-air, and landed heavily on the stone ground before the Prime.

"That went well." Corkscrew said, grinning.
Prime shook his head. "Whatever am I going to do with you?"
"Shout us a drink?" The trainer suggested.

Prime chuckled, and turned to the waiting Autobots behind him.

"Autobots!" He declared, voice rising to all. "Today, we have gained an incredible insight, into our history and our opponents." He motioned to the four seekers. "Seekers are no longer a Decepticon exclusive unit."
"Aren't you lucky, Autobots!" Corkscrew cried. "The sky can now be seared in your colours!"

At the back of the crowd, a small group of brothers frowned darkly.

Starscream was pacing. It was something he tended to do when he was actually frightened. He had long since stopped being frightened of the Autobots and of Megatron, so, it was not something that happened a lot to the red and silver white creature. But here he was, hands clasped behind his back, pacing across the common area of the Air Force Dorms. All the airborne Decepticons were housed in this area, and all of them were darned interested in knowing what had Starscream so spooked! Forget that Thundercracker was curled in a ball near the far wall and Skywarp was so nervous he was jumping at every footstep that came within a couple of feet of him.

"Hey, uh, Screamer? You three okay? Megatron seemed kind of shitted about that Oil Rig job…" Thrust pointed out.
"Yeah, for a small, quickstrike mission he seems… really peeved. What happened, did you blow something up before the Autobots even arrived?" Ramjet added, crossing his arms over his cockpit.

Starscream turned and looked at the other fliers. These Cone-Headed jets….. He wasn't sure if they attended the same School as his own trine… he doubted it; they were an unusual breed, those three. He didn't remember seeing any others like them there… and he would eat his wings if they were a proper trine, anyway.
The Twins had been Hunters, so had that hard-headed instructor. There were Freighters like that Big Wings guy (crazy bastard mated a Ground-Pounder!) , Lancers like whats-his-name… Darkroom, who had been in some of Starscream's science classes, Commons, like themselves, of course, and…well, Starscream was not overly sure he had ever met an Interceptor. But some weird, pointy headed losers like this lot? He was not overly sure.

"…Where were you three brought up?" Starscream asked, voice dry.

The Cone Heads blinked their red optics and looked at each other in surprise. "Wut?"
"What, do I have to get a black board and write it in big, easy to read letters? Where. Were. You. Brought. Up?"

They looked at each other once again, before returning their confused red gaze to the Air Commander.

"Iacon." Dirge responded. "That's where we met, at least."
"At the age of….?" Starscream whirled a hand around in the air before him as a visual prompt to continue.
Dirge looked at his wingmates. "We must have just come of age, what do you think?"
"Yeah, just gotten our adult designations, from memory." Ramjet agreed.
Thrust gave Starscream a look. "How exactly is this relevant to the Oil Rig Job?"

Starscream sighed. "You would not even begin to understand should I bother trying to explain it to you." He told them, making a dismissive gesture with his hand.

"You calling us stupid, Screamer?"
"I wasn't." Starscream hissed. "But I can, if it will stop you asking brainless questions."

The three erupted into indignant uproar, not exactly understanding how the Air Commander was insulting them, but pretty damn sure that Starscream was insulting them somehow, and being an ass about it, as usual. The red and silver white mech only shook his head at them.
"You aren't even Seekers." He said as he headed for the door. "I don't know why I'm even talking to you."

Their insults followed Starscream out the door and halfway down the hall. What did he care what they said to him. He had bigger problems.

Much bigger.

How had they survived? Shockwave was no less of a merciless killer then than he was now, so the thought of someone surviving his attack… those someones being children, of all things, was laughable! He supposed it came down to the fact that the twins had been as stubborn as all blazes, and refused to go down. Or….maybe they had just…

Starscream faltered in his step. He didn't claim to know much about what went on in the Seekers Temple that had been hidden away below the School. He knew they forged trines there, which was a big deal, really.

After his trine joined the Decepticons, Starscream had seen many seekers come, and more often, go. He wasn't dumb; he knew that about a hundred seeker sparklings had been kidnapped from the School on the day of the attack, even though many others had been slaughtered. He wagered that when most of the older seekers were choosing to die rather than join, taking the sparklings became the next best thing.

And he had seen almost every single one of those sparklings grow, be assigned two partners, and be sent off. Very rarely did they come back alive.
They didn't have the training. Didn't have the experience.

And they weren't real trines.

They were fliers in groups of three, but that wasn't a real trine. There was something about the way that the Temple had done it that made the seekers… powerful.

The twins had been in the same year as Starscream and his trine had been. That pair had been stubborn, reckless, and hot headed and for most of the time they were there, didn't have a third member.
And they had been held back, again, and again, and again, because each new seeker they sent in the twins' direction they chased away. They hadn't wanted to associate with anyone other than each other.

They had already gone through three or four possible partners before the small mech called Rocket was assigned to fly with the twins. Starscream didn't really remember, because at the time, he was too worried about his own, rather imminent graduation, but he thought Rocket had stuck with the twins for….at least a while.

And when Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp had been taken down to the Temple, two days before the attack, what those boneheads were doing was the last thing on his mind. He honestly hadn't expected there to be anything more to the Forging, but there had been.

Oh the feeling that had brought them!

It had been a little strange at first, feeling Skywarp and Thundercracker with his very spark in that first moment they were Forged. But it had been a comfortable feeling. It was so wonderful, feeling his wingmates there.

The feeling, or rather the rush that feeling gave faded somewhat over the next few days, as they flew and worked as a real trine, trying to decide what they wanted to do with themselves. The feeling itself never went away, and it was this link between them that let them decide quickly to side with the angry purple mech that had just broken down their door and demanded that they join the Decepticons or die.

The few other adult seekers that had agreed to Shockwave's terms were either broken or Un-Forged. The trainer, Corkscrew, was a perfect example. His two trinemates had died in that attack, before Shockwave had even gotten to the green seeker, in a different part of the School all together. Which was probably why he had ended up giving in. There was a power in that link, that much could not be denied. And with his trinemates gone, Corkscrew had lost that power.

But Rocket and the twins had not been Forged when the attack came, had they? The Elders had a very strict habit of only one Trine Forging per day, and there hadn't been any one planned for the day that their world came crashing down.

Then again…

The Elders generally lived down there. A horrid way to spend your life, Starscream had thought. Locked underground? He would rather die than suffer that. But, suffer it they did, in order to keep the secrets, and 'Work the Forge', had been the phrase.

And, knowing about the brash nature of Sidestream and Sunburst, the Air Commander would not have put barging in on the Elders above them. Presuming they had passed all their subjects, and presuming the Elders had not already performed a Forging that day, Starscream couldn't actually think of why they would refuse the twins and Rocket their Right of Forging, even if it was unscheduled.

And…. If the timing had been right….. those two upstarts and the runt would have had that rush… that power running through them….. right when Shockwave made it to the bottom of the complex. And perhaps…. It had been power enough…. To keep their sparks alive.

….

Red Alert and the Twins were not sure how they were going to be treated, now that their true natures had been revealed. Sure, the minibots would be pissed, but they had never liked seekers, OR the twins before, so it was more like rolling all that they didn't like into the one ball.

But, although their play had been short, they didn't stay to socialise and find out. They were exhausted.

The many flight systems of a Hunter or Interceptor Seeker were not exactly light-weight systems, and required a lot more energy and conscious thought than those of a Lamborghini. After all, you could park and zone out if you were a Lamborghini. In the air, you couldn't just stop somewhere to gather your thoughts… not if you didn't want to plummet to the ground below. Gravity, sometimes, was not your friend, and not all seekers were able to land in all terrains.

So, after being introduced so grandly to their comrades, returning the camera and the holographic equipment they had 'borrowed' to Mirage, and grabbing an Energon cube, the trine headed to the Twins' quarters.

A short debate about sleeping arrangements saw them further from the rest they were seeking, as right now, the last thing they wanted to do was be away from one another. Eventually, they decided to disassemble the bunk bed that the twins had been using, and lay the berths side by side, granting them a single, much larger bed.

And with that accomplished, Red Alert stretched out in the middle of the berth on his front, a twin on each side.

"…I'm exhausted…" He complained lightly, resting his head on his arms, optics flittering closed.
Sideswipe draped an arm over his mate's back and snuggled close. "Me too. It was a hoot though, scaring the absolute shit out of those three Common fraggers."
The Interceptor smiled, and leant over to kiss the red flier beside him. "You know…. Sometimes I wonder, what would have happened had I chosen to fly with Skywarp and Thundercracker instead of you two." He said, thoughtfully, resting his chin on his arms. "Whether they would have convinced me to join Shockwave that day…. Or not…."

Sunstreaker's fingers came over to gently rub Red Alert's helm. "Who's to say." He said. "But I can say that you probably wouldn't have had the same thing with them, as you do with us."
"With the way they behave around each other, I don't think they do." Sideswipe agreed. "Unless they only show any kind of affection when behind locked doors."

"We aren't exactly walking displays of affection either, Sideswipe." Red Alert pointed out.
"No, but we were trying to hide what we were entirely." Was the response.
"Yeh…" Sunstreaker agreed. "We don't have to hide any more… so, why should we hide what we have with each other?"

Red Alert giggled. "You know, I always thought as you two as more private mechs." He said, sitting up and smiling at them. "No one else has any business knowing what we do and don't do."
Sunstreaker wrapped his arms around Red Alert's waist. "Speaking as a Security Bot, Red?"
Red Alert felt himself shiver at the touch of his mate around him. Something he hadn't felt…. For so very…. Very long…..

Sideswipe and Sunstreaker both noticed the shiver, and they grinned, sneakily.
He blinked at them. "….What?"
Sideswipe's response was to reach over, and with gentle fingers, stroke the underside of Red's wing.

The result was instantaneous.

Red Alert's bone white face darkened in a vivid blush, and a shuddery gasp escaped from between his lips.
Tiredness forgotten, Sideswipe continued to trail his fingers along their mate's wings, and Sunstreaker let his hands slip from around the smaller mech's waist, dipping down, over his crotchplate.
"G…..Guys….."
"You know what…?" Sunstreaker whispered. "I have…. A brilliant idea."
"Funny you should say that, Sunny." Sideswipe responded. "Because I just had a brilliant idea too."

Whispy: It has been a long time coming, I know! So sorry everyone, for the wait! (And no, I'm not writing any details on what they're about to get up to, so, you can fill in the blanks yourselves xD)

Oh, but this update doesn't stop with a new chapter! Since I started writing this story, FanFiction . net has changed what it does and does not accept in story documents, like ! and ? beside one another for example, and as such, the previous chapters of this story don't flow like they did when I first wrote them. So, in honour of me getting back into writing, I have gone back and edited the previous eight chapters of Earn Our Wings slightly, so they all read better :D

Also, there is a poll up on my Deviantart page, regarding my Fan Fiction account.
All over the internet- except here –I am known as Whispatchet. I want to know if you guys think I should change my pen name to Whispatchet here, or not. So, (due to FF . net not liking links) head over to my profile page, and click the button that will take you to my deviant art page. Vote in the poll! Let me know what you think!

Thanks for being so patient with me~
I'm gunna go and write some more Leading the Blind and Knights In Autobot Armour now :D